Halloween 2020

This year we celebrated Halloween at home. And we had a pretty great time. The kids declared it their best Halloween ever. And I took that as a huge win.

We had several costumes this year in the house: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Aurora which later became Elsa (costume we already had), Mickey Skeleton which later became Baby Yoda which later became Thomas the Train (costume we already had), Prince Philip which later became Bumblebee (costume we already had). If you are keeping track 3 out of 4 kids decided last minute to wear a costume we already had. And honestly I was fine with it. They all got to wear their costumes multiple times because that is the beauty of doing homeschool. It was fun to teach a variety of characters in October.

On Halloween Eve we ventured out to Downtown Mesa for the Pumpkin Scavenger Hunt. On Main Street multiple businesses and empty store fronts had different themed pumpkin displays. In addition to these we were on the look out for the tiny mice that were dressed up in Halloween costumes.

It was a fun way to get outside and masks were encouraged if you were unable to stay physically distanced from others. We went on Friday morning and there was hardly anyone there. It took us about 45 minutes and was a good way to get the kids moving in the morning and something totally different to do.

Friday also included these Witches Cauldron Cookies, a FaceTime call with the kids friends, and a drive thru trip to Swig to get the kids a soda treat.

On Halloween the kids woke up so excited! Earlier in the week I had made a skeleton on poster board and cut out the pieces. While they were eating breakfast I hid the “bones” around the house. After the kids were done eating they went on a bone hunt which took about 30 minutes. It took about 5 minutes to put the skeleton together and once completed I taped it to the wall so they could admire their work.

We had some outdoor plasma car fun later in the morning, followed by lunch, and naps for the younger ones. In the afternoon there was a scavenger hunt around the house that led to a dollar store reward for each kiddo, Charlie Brown and The Great Pumpkin, and homemade pizza for dinner.

Once dinner was done and costumes were put on for several of the kids. We had a few that opted to wear pajamas instead and that was totally fine. They bobbed for apples, a totally new to them experience. I remember bobbing for apples when I was in elementary school at the Harvest Festival and I inwardly cringed now because all I can think about is the germs that were floating around in that water.

We set up candy in two rooms of the house, gave the kids glow sticks, turned off the lights, put Halloween music and started our rotating color lights to flash on the ceiling and let the kids go “Trick or Treating”. After the that I put loads of post it notes on the floor and we played freeze dance. When the music stopped they needed to land on a post it and bring it to me to get another candy to add to their bucket. They loved this game! We played a candy toss into a bowl and also had a 20 minute dance party with the flashing lights and glow sticks.

After all that fun they were so tired and fell asleep so quickly. The next night we watched The Grinch because this year we are moving right into the Christmas movies. After the movie all the kids made beds on the floor in our bedroom and we had a family sleepover.

It was a fantastic weekend even if it was totally different from what we normally do :).


Read Aloud Reviews: When Stars Are Scattered

So many things to say about this book. Which is why I am giving it it’s own review. It deserves it. To see other chapter books I have read aloud while homeschooling my children this year click HERE.

When Stars are Scattered is the true story of young brothers Omar and Hassan and their life in a refugee camp in Kenya. There are many really hard topics that are touched on, such as an arranged marriage of a young girl that results in pregnancy, a father beating his child, death, war, hunger, etc. This book is brilliant because it takes difficult subject matter and makes it easily digestible for older children to early tweens because it is told in a graphic novel.

Yes this book is heavy and sad. But my word do you root for these boys and just want the best for them. This book brought out so many meaningful conversations with my kids we would have never had anytime soon. Plus the illustrations are fantastic and really add to the dialogue and flow of the story.

While this book has really tough topics, it was an excellent way to teach my kids about how other children in the world live. Another moment to have meaningful conversations with them about how you really don’t know someones full story or what they are going through or have gone through. We need to be kind and compassionate to everyone.

Our family has never prayed for refugees before reading this and now we do. Our kids have a deeper appreciation for what we have and the house we live in.

At the end of the book there are pictures of Omar and Hassen and what their lives are like today. It is so uplifting and inspiring. I won’t say anything more because I don’t want to spoil the story or the ending. My kids were eager each night to read When Stars are Scattered and always asked to read another chapter.

We laughed, I cried several times, and overall just really enjoyed this book. The kids asked if there was a part 2. Just for reference there isn’t, yet, maybe there will be in the future.

I would strongly suggest parents to read this book ahead of time because of the adult themes presented. That being said I highly recommend this book even if you the parent are the only one who reads it. For reference I read this book with my 6 and 8 year old.

To close out this post I will end with a word from Hassan. If you want to know what the following word means you have to read When Stars Are Scattered.



Circuit Workout + Our Week Off From Homeschool

Happy first day of fall! We are still over 100 degrees here in Arizona but each new day is one more day closer to cooler temps. Last week we took off from homeschool and tried to spend a few mornings outside before the heat of the day took over. We made it to the lake one day for a swim and also to one of my favorite places in Arizona, Boyce Thompson Arboretum.

Other highlights of the past week included Maisie losing two teeth and Caden finished reading Prince Caspian with my mom and we watched the movie to celebrate. Overall it was just a nice change up in our schedule and yesterday we jumped right back into our homeschool curriculum. The kids loved the break and I am happy to report they had great attitudes yesterday when we picked up where we left off.

My friend Doug shared a workout on Facebook yesterday and I immediately decided that it would be my workout for the day. I met Doug when I worked at Life Time Fitness and he is an overall great person and a super knowledgeable personal trainer. I learned so much about personal training from him by watching how he worked with his clients and also being trained by him.

To this day I still have notebooks that have workouts designed by Doug from when I participated in his small group trainings. If you are in the East Valley and a Life Time Fitness Tempe member schedule a session with Doug, you won’t regret it.

This workout took me about 50 minutes and I was pretty sweaty. I absolutely loved the side lying get-ups. I had never done those before and will be adding these into my workouts periodically from now on. To perform side lying get-ups: lay on your right side with your right arm bent in a 90 degree angle. Your thumb will be rotated to point at the floor near your head. Press down with your elbow as you rotate your arm and thumb to get your palm face down in front of your stomach. Your right side will lift off the ground as you do this and then reverse the move to start position.

Again happy first day of fall! I hope you make at an awesome day!