Work Hard, Play Harder: Tell Me a Story

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens…” (Ecc. 3:1) Join us as we explore a season of fun and family! Help us discover new ways to enjoy family time and build lasting memories.


Summer_work-playWe are story tellers. I’m not sure how this started. I suppose it all came about over bedtime stories. Instead of simply reading a book, we felt the need to tear it apart and reinvent the story for ourselves. Telling a good yarn, is a huge part of our family fun time.

When our kiddos were little, my husband started instituting a bedtime game. Name three objects, any three objects, and he could weave a story for you. He would ask the same of all four of our kids and, in turn, make up a story based on their items of choice. Some of them became so popular, he was asked to tell them again and again.

One day on Pinterest, I saw the neatest idea: story stones! A bag is filled with stones, painted with various objects. The child is to then pull three stones out of the bag and tell a story using these items.

While our kids were doing just fine with their own ideas at bedtime, I thought it might be fun to put a spin on the story stone idea and make a few ourselves. It would be neat to have visual prompts, as well as verbal.

Stones are quite heavy, in my opinion, and hard for kids to craft with. Instead, I opted to use wooden discs. We dug out our stamps, a black ink pad, and our wooden discs; then, we got busy!

I didn’t realize this was going to be a bit more of a challenge than originally thought. You don’t notice how small those discs are, until you need to stamp an image on them! Then, several of the discs were not perfectly flat; which meant that the center of our stamped image did not always transfer.

No matter! We did our best with what we had and most of the discs turned out beautifully. So far, we have almost half of our discs done. We ran out of small stamps! (lol) However, that is no worry. We have already mentioned our project to Tia Nene, who graciously offered to let us raid her mass of stamps to further our progress. On our next visit, we’ll ask her to help us out and she can join in the fun, too!

Story Discs

Click on the image above to be taken to the appropriate Pinterest link.

The kids really liked this project. The challenge for Mommy was to keep her nose out of it. I wanted the kids to stamp items of interest to them, not me. I might see a leaf and think it is not worth stamping, but the kids see a world of possibility.

Think this sounds like fun, but don’t have any stamps at home? There are several ways to do this project. Consider using cutouts from magazines and decoupage the pictures onto discs. Use permanent marker and draw images on wooden discs. It doesn’t matter how you tackle this project, this is definitely a fun activity you won’t want to miss.

Plus, think of all the fun writing prompts you can now use in your learning routine!

Time to Chime In: How often does your family sit around and tell stories? Do you have a favorite?


Dante Revisited

Dante Revisited #1Last year, the family embarked on a new adventure in our learning: alter egos. Were we all going crazy? Perhaps all those rumors about homeschoolers are true! Calm your nerves… we were simply exploring the fun world of creative writing, along with some help from Dante’s Wardrobe.

We enjoyed our adventure so well we thought we’d give it another whirl. We have updated our personalities, received new mailboxes (well, some of us), and begun a new chapter in our literary adventure.

So… who are we this timeAllow me to introduce our latest cast of characters:

  • Calaena (Me) – I am a French mademoiselle who travels with a famous circus. I train cats, not the small ones mind you, but the large kitties. I adore all who adore my cats and treat them with the utmost respect and care. I very much enjoy traveling the world and adding to my collection of tea cups.
  • Jake Brodie (hubby) – A classic noir detective who solves the most baffling of riddles. His latest caper: Trying to discover who stole the cookies from the cookie jar.
  • Bess Hay (Trinity) – Time traveler extraordinaire; she searches through time looking for new adventures and mysteries to solve. She likes all things steam punk.
  • Chloe (Noel) – The owner of an amazing menagerie of creatures; each more fantastical than the next. Looking for a flying hippogriff? She’s got it!
  • Emma (Angelina) – An animal fairy; she guards all her little creatures and experiments with fun recipes to offer her furry friends.
  • Red Bird (JAG) – Charging through our universe with the intent of ridding the world of evil pigs; Red Bird likes attacking tall buildings and is attempting to become the first Jedi bird.

As you can see, we have quite a range of characters in our little “club”. There is nothing too far-fetched and nothing that can’t be done.

Dante Revisited #2

Our goal: One contribution to a mailbox per week. We usually go well beyond this though; sometimes it’s hard to keep up with six people exchanging letters all week. My mailbox is full minutes after I empty it!

Many thanks to Judith Jablonski over at Dante’s Wardrobe. Her ideas are fantastic; truly an inspiration. (To read all about how we started our adventure in creative writing, take a look at our series, DANTE’S WARDROBE, for details and ideas.)

Dante Revisited #3Now for additional fun… How would you like to participate? Pick an alter ego and “build your character”, then send me a private message about wanting to join in the fun. Our people will get in contact with your people.

Decisions, Decisions

Seventh Grade

“T’s” list for the year.

While the kids are taking a few days of much-needed R&R, mommy thought she would get a head start on final prep for this coming school year. I probably ought to use some of the time so that I too can relax, but I don’t mind mixing in a little prep here and there.

Last night a brilliant idea came to mind. (Okay, I give God the credit for filling my brain.) I have decided to alter the way my children approach their “required reading” for the year. Instead of me handing out their assignments for the following week, every Friday; they will now have a master list to refer to all year-long!

Making a master list of requirements for the year, takes quite a bit of pressure off all of us! I no longer have to make sure they are aware of next week’s read and they have a lot more freedom.

With this list, the children will now be able to check off items in any order they like. They are welcome to start at the bottom of the list, the middle of the list, or bounce around in any which way they choose.

This should also provide them the opportunity to learn responsibility. They will need to take the initiative to see what read comes next, find the item for themselves at our local library, and be faithful to complete the task. Once the read has been finished, mommy needs to initial the item to show the goal has been accomplished. Third Grade

As before, our lists come from The Well-Trained Mind and they are based on a methodical reading pattern. Two of my kiddos are back reading the ancients, one in renaissance, and the other in modern.

I think this will be a happy compromise for all of us! Mommy is still able to keep track of reading, but the kids have the ability to make some decisions for themselves. Hopefully this will prevent burnout on their behalf and relieve some of the responsibility from my shoulders.

Now, which book will they start with? Decisions, decisions….

Does your homeschool routine include required reading?