Our Disney Adventure

December 28th, 2021

Our-Disney-Adventure

This year we had the opportunity to take our family to Disneyworld for the first time, for a family reunion. My husband got a bonus at work, and we got a military discount through my son Stephen, who is in the Air National Guard. It is something my husband had always wanted to do with the kids, because when he grew up in California, he used to go to Disneyland, and he had many happy memories he wanted our children to also experience.

While at Disney for four days, we entered four different theme parks: Magic Mountain, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom. If you ever go in the summer, be aware that is is hot and humid, because that might affect your energy level. Oh, and there were downpours of rain almost every day. Regardless of the long lines, the Lord answered my prayer that my feet would hold out, and that I would not be limping through the park. That was truly a miracle because I’ve had problems with the arches of my feet, and I’ve often limped home from a short neighborhood walk.

Walking-at-Disneyworld

Magic Kingdom

One of the first rides we went on was the Pirates of the Carribean. It was nearly exactly as I remembered it as a kid. Yes, even though my parents were missionsries in Guatemala, when we came up for furlough, we sometimes went (at least twice as a child) because my grandma lived near Disneyland.

The only difference that my husband noticed was the pirates were not chasing women. Instead the women were chasing the pirates, or one pirate was chasing another pirate. For those of you who remember the ride (or for those of you who have never been), we filmed the ride:

The next ride we took was the Jungle Cruise. You get into a boat, and your tour guide gives you a description of the jungle and its cartoon-like animals. She used a lot of humor, as you can see:

We rode on a lot of other rides at the Magic Kingdom on the first day: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Tiki Room, Haunted Mansion, and Space Mountain. Since we had entered the park at 9am, by the time it poured rain at 4pm, we were ready to go back to the hotel.

On day four, we returned to the Magic Kingdom and did the Mad Tea Party, It’s a Small World, Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse, Astro Orbiter, and Seven Dwarves Mine Train.

Epcot Center

The second day, we went to Epcot Center, which is like traveling around the world. It was an overcast day and somewhat drizzly, but we got some clear plastic rain ponchos so that we could keep going. We went to all the countries, including the ride Grand Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros in the Mexico section:

One of my favorite areas of Epcot was the Morocco section. You could walk around the cobbled streets and feel like you were at the Moroccan market. I loved all the architecture, textiles, and lamps.

Morocco-Epcot-Center.

Later we went to Soaring Around the World—which I LOVED! It felt like you were hang gliding around the world on a virtual ride. We also did the Mission Space, Test Track, and Spaceship Earth rides from Epcot.

Hollywood Studios

At Hollywood Studios, we went on the Tower of Terror, Star Wars Millenium Falcon, Muppet Vision 3D, and Star Tours. The Tower of Terror is basically a Twighlight Zone episode that you are involved in, and the elevator drops. It was definitely high intensity.

Star Tours and Star Wars Millenium Falcon were both Star Wars themed rides where we were in spaceships, trying to outrun enemy ships.

The Mupper Vision 3D was super fun, where we sat in the theater of the Muppet Show, seeing everything in 3D, including the hecklers on the balcony to the right of the theater. Years ago our family created our own episode of the Muppet Show, so my whole family enjoyed this experience.

Animal Kingdom

At Animal Kingdom, we went on Expedition Everest, Kilimanjaro Safaris, and Avatar Flight of Passage. By far, my favorite ride in the entire Disneyworld parks was Avatar Flight of Passage, which was virtual reality where you ride on top of a dragon through the air, over clifftops, and through ocean waves. It was breathtaking—so much so that I rode on it twice. I never knew that one of my bucket list wishes was to fly through the air, and now I got to do it!

Animal-Kingdom

The Kilimanjaro Safari was a lot of fun. Come with us on our safari:

All in all, our Disney Adventure was truly magical. We got to see the fireworks at the Magic Kingdom on the final night, which we enjoyed greatly. I’m so thankful to have had the opportunity to visit Disney with my whole family, along with Alan’s sister and her kids. My kids got to know their cousins in a much more in-depth way, and I had many good conversations with my sister-in-law. It was an unforgettable trip!

Plymouth Plantation + $500 Christmas Giveaway!

November 15th, 2021

plymouth-plantation

How would you like to walk through a reproduction of the original Plymouth Plantation, as if you were one of the Pilgrims landing in America for the first time? Today we will give you a virtual tour! A few months ago, my family was able to visit extended family on the east coast, and one of our field trips was Plymouth Plantation in Massachussetts. I was pleasantly surprised at how extensive the property is. You can see the ocean from the village, and each house had furniture from the 1620’s.

Plymouth Plantation Tour

At the beginning of the tour, we saw a Wampanoag longhouse. From the outside it looks small, but inside it’s very large. First the Native Americans built the structure with bent sticks. Then they filled it in with bark and other materials. They had openings in the ceiling, where smoke could escape.

wampanoag-longhouse

As you can see from the video, the inside of the Wampanoag longhouse had ribs, and the walls were lined with blankets and furs to keep everyone warm. The fire would have been kindled in the middle of the room for warmth as well as for cooking.

wampanoag-longhouse

The Pilgrim village had people that were dressed in period costumes as well as tour guides that gave demontrations. I filmed snippets of several of these actors and tour guides. A couple of women were singing an old melodic hymn, a Pilgrim man in one of the cabins was talking about what life was like back in the 1620’s, and a tour guide gave me a demonstration of cooking in that era. It was all very interesting.

plymouth-plantation-village

I enjoyed seeing the furniture in each of the houses. The beds each had curtains around them to keep in the warmth and to have privacy from the rest of the cabin. Each house had a chimney with a place to cook over a fire for the kitchen area. A small table and chairs rounded out the furniture in each house. The Pilgrims were simple folk.

plymouth-inside-cottage

At the head of the street was a fort, where cannons were kept as well as places to look out above the village, to see if danger was coming. This fort had a place downstairs that looked like it would have been used for school or church, since the entire village could have fit in it.

plymouth-plantation-fort

I also loved the animals and gardens surrounding each Pilgrim house. It really felt like we went back in time!

plymouth-village

For more hands-on activities for this time period, take a look at our Pilgrims Unit Study, on sale right now for only $5!


The Christmas Blessings Giveaway is in its 8th year, and we are excited to once again bless not one family, but two, with some cash for the holiday season! I’m teaming up with an amazing group of bloggers with the hope of making this Christmas the best yet for TWO families by giving away $500 in Paypal cash to each family!

While we wish we could bless many more families, we were able to come up with a big prize for TWO families – $500 each (delivered via Paypal) – that we pray will make a big difference in their lives this Christmas season – whether it’s to fulfill their kids’ Christmas wishes, pay off some bills, or to help build some savings, our prayer is that it helps to lessen any financial burden and/or fills a specific need.

There are lots of entry options in the Rafflecopter form below – the more you enter, the better your chance of winning!  I know it can seem tedious and time consuming to go through all the entries, but isn’t a chance at $500 worth it? I think it is!  Plus, all of these amazing bloggers donated their own money toward the cash prizes, so this giveaway wouldn’t be possible without them.  I hope you’ll take the time to check out each one. Who knows, maybe you will find some new blogs to follow.

The giveaway will run from Monday, November 15th through Wednesday, November 24th (ends at 11:59pm EST). Winner will be notified by email shortly after the giveaway ends and will have 48 hours to respond to claim the prize or another winner will be drawn. You must have a Paypal account to win.  By entering this giveaway, you agree to be added to the email lists of the participating bloggers.  Please be sure to read the Rafflecopter terms and conditions upon entering.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Mayflower Tour

September 23rd, 2021

mayflower-tour

Last month my family flew to the east coast for a family reunion with my husband’s family, and one of our favorite activities was touring the Mayflower! The ship is a replica of the original ship, which went back to England and eventually deteriorated.

Mayflower Tour

Here is our tour of the ship:

My husband’s sister lives in Massachussetts, which is the area where the Pilgrims landed in the New World back in 1620. We hadn’t seen this side of our family in six years, so my kids were excited to see how much their cousins had grown. We had a wonderful time re-connecting.

plymouth-rock-sign

Plymouth Rock is still there, even though it has been chipped away by tourists for years, making it better called Plymouth Pebble. It’s a bit anti-climactic for present-day tourists, who look down on it from the cage or jail cell where it now resides near the beach where the Mayflower ship replica is harbored.

plymouth-rock

When we climbed aboard the Mayflower, we stepped back in time. The ship is actually quite small! Above deck, we walked around the ship, which is not very much exercise, since the entire ship from front to back is only about a dozen steps in total.

on-deck-mayflower

Below deck, it was easy to envision the cramped conditions of the 102 men, women, and children who were living down here for 66 days–over two months! I felt sorry for them, since their conditions didn’t improve that much when they arrived in the New World, only to die of starvation.

inside-mayflower

No wonder Thanksgiving Day really affects our hearts, to know that the Native Americans helped the Pilgrims to survive in this unknown land. We give thanks every year for all the many blessings we take for granted, which the Pilgrims had to mostly do without.

This was a really fun educational field trip for American history that I’d always wanted to do with my kids. It was worth doing, and I’m glad we got to do it with our extended family.

If you want more hands-on activities for this time period, check out our Pilgrims Unit Study!

Back to Homeschool Tips

August 21st, 2021

back-to-homeschool-tips

My aim today is to get you revved up about starting a new homeschool year, so I will be sharing with you some back to homeschool tips.

One of my top tips to get kids excited about the upcoming homeschool year is to spread out all the hands-on, fun activities you will be doing over the school year on a table or on the floor. Whenever I did this, which was every year near the end of the summer in anticipation for the new school year, my kids would get so excited about what we were about to study. For example, I would collect all kinds of things pertaining to a specific period in history. If it was medieval times, I would have lots of medieval stuff.

In literature, we might be studying Around the World in 80 Days, so I would have some items from different countries from around the world that we would be studying. This way my kids would be excited about world travel, and they couldn’t wait to start the school year.

The same was true for the science concepts we would be studying. One year we studied botany, and we had so many plant-related items! We even got some carnivorous Venus flytraps and other cool plants in a new terrarium, just to spark interest in plants.

Here is a super short video, explaining my favorite back to homeschool tip:

If you want examples of this, watch me spread out lots of hands-on goodies for different time periods:

Another idea for back to school is to make a fun pencil cake:

Make sure you have all your essential homeschool items. Here is a list of all the items that I love to have on hand for homeschooling:

And if you are stressed out about homeschooling, take a look at some ways you can de-compress while having a successful homeschool year:

Have a great new homeschool year!