Circle by Disney

I first learned about the Circle by Disney with one of their ads, a video with a mom trying to control all of the devices and internet activity at her house.  Something that every mom goes through these days unless she just doesn’t have the internet or tablets or smart phones or iPods or kindles, etc.  

meet the circle

BTW- this is not a sponsored post, just my own opinion about something that made my life easier.  

In our home, I was constantly finding kids on our iPad and or computer when it was time for chores or do homework.    They would sneak off into their room and watch Netflix or play some game.  It was so hard to keep on top of it.  So after seeing the Circle ad and researching it a bit more I decided I wanted one.  My husband purchased it for me on mother’s day and I have absolutely loved it!  

Here’s how it works:

You set it up to your wireless network and basically it becomes your new wireless network.  You download the app and sync up all the devices that are in your home.  I have all my computers, smart phones, IPads, and ROKU’s on my circle app and I can CONTROL all of them!  It is literally amazing.  

Step 1- Follow the directions for the Circle to set it up to your wireless network. We had some technical difficulties but customer service was super helpful.

Step 2- Find the devices in your home and give them a profile.  You can do this two different ways.  If your child has their OWN device then you can make a profile for your child and give it the settings you want.  If your child does not have their own device then you can make a profile for that device.  Our family does not have their own devices, therefore I gave our devices profiles with appropriate settings.  For instance, our iPad is used for all the kids at various times of the day, so I gave it it’s own profile.  


meet the circle- how to use


Step 3- You set up each profile and what filters and settings you want for that profile.  It comes with 4 preset settings, Pre-K, Kids, Teen, and Adult.


You can block or filter any website or app you want, all from your phone.




Step 4- Set up time limits for those profiles.




It will show you what sites your child has been on and how much time was spent on those sites.  You can set time limits for those as well.  



   If I know that my son is using a device for school for 30 minutes, I can give it a time limit of 30 minutes.  At the 30 minute mark, it will give you a time limit notice and will no longer connect to the internet



And you can add a bedtime so no worries about your child being on a device all night long!


Circle time limits and bedtime


I have LOVED my Circle and now they have Circle go with will work with your mobile devices.  Seriously it’s a parent’s dream come true.



O Holy Night – – FREE Printable

As the snow falls magnificently to the ground, these thoughts flow thru my head.

O Holy night, the stars are brightly shining
It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth

I have wanted the perfect print to add to my gallery wall for Christmas, and this song kept coming to mind, O Holy night.  While in the design process of this print, I had only intended to have the words in the corner.  But just as I got the print ready to share a with you, I realized the print just felt empty.  When I sat back down a few hours later to upload it to the blog, I was in awe as the design finally came to me.  The process of how I needed to do it just flowed as I began.  The finishing touch it needed was a manger with the Christ child laying in it.   This is truly an inspired by Kayla moment.  I hope that you enjoy this free Christmas print.  I personally can’t wait to print it and add it to my Christmas decor.

O Holy night FREE printable of Christ in a manger
O Holy night

O-holy-night-howtomakeyourown-1.jpg (38 downloads)


4 Simple Neighbor Gift Ideas

It’s that time of year, finishing up on your Christmas shopping and scrambling for a simple neighbors gift.  If you aren’t to this point yet hopefully we can help you out with these ideas.  If you have already got it done, you are simply amazing, you’re my hero!  

I wanted to share with you a few favorite gifts to give your neighbors, clients, customers or friends.  I simply loved these ideas.

1- Redbox code – SAY WHAT! likes a Redbox code!  My husband and I went to a doctors appointment last week, and when we left they gave us some popcorn and a Redbox code.  I have to say I thought it was genius, I loved it!  Yes, I do plan on doing this… neighbors and friends, be surprised when you get yours 😉  I came across this link on Pinterest with a great tutorial on how to put it all together, plus printables!  I haven’t got mine put together yet, so check out how What Mommy Does.  Her tutorial is awesome.

2-Cinnamon Pretzels- Had me at cinnamon and pretzel,  is that white chocolate on top too, OH MY!’t these just look tasty?  Check out this Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels recipe from Oh Sweet Basil.  They even have a video!  I love to see the process of it.  It has convinced me that I am capable of making these.  I think that I just may make some of these as little gifts for family members in a cute little baggie.  That sounds simple and easy enough for me! 

3-You’re the Balm – Hello cute friends and cousin gifts!

My girls are always wanting to give gifts to their girlfriends.  I love this idea!  I think it is perfect for friends and such.  Check out how Simple As That Blog did these.  Bonus: she has a printable for them!

4- SPREAD a little holiday cheer- Hello Dollar tree!

Now if I go to a town with a dollar store in the next week, I just might have to make a quick stop.  I really like how simple and useful this gift is.  I am always in need of a spatula, I mean, who isn’t.  And I am not much of a cook!!!  I love how Fun Cheap Or Free put together this adorable saying to go with a spatula.  Cheap, simple, and completely doable.  I’m sold!  Want to make this gift a little more?  Add a box of good ole brownies!

Tell us some of your favorite gifts that are simple and easy to give in the comments!  I am dying to see!!



10 Christmas themed learning activities

Looking for great history, reading, math, and science to explore during this Christmas season?   I have compiled a list of 10 great Christmas themed learning activities that my kids and I are planning on using this month.  I am really excited to dig in and try these and I know the kids are going to LOVE them.   The ones we have already tried have been a huge hit  in our home and I hope in yours.  

This is another reason I love homeschooling is trying and learning all of these things either again or for the first time WITH my kids.  We are building such a close bond with each other by sharing in this time together.



A WWII Christmas from Free Homeschool Deals.

First off, a little history which is my favorite subject and WW II is so interesting.  They have a 4-part series put together from rationing and recipes to V-mail and more.  




This Frosted Crystal Wreath looks like fun and some science is involved.  


These frozen bubbles have been on our list to try since summer!  We have waited for months for it to get cold enough to try it and we are super excited!



Snow Volcano

I am pretty sure my 12-year-old all the way down to my 2-year-old will enjoy this experiment and we have enough  snow to actually try it this week!



Christmas Snow Globes by Reeko Science

My kids have already made their Christmas Globes and had a blast making them.  My husband didn’t appreciate the glitter that seems to cover everything when it comes out but the kids had fun and helped clean up so it was worth it!



Another fun science experiment with melting snow from Mom Inspired Life.   I love how simple and easy this one is to pull together. 



123 homeschool 4 me has pulled together some great writing prompts.  I’ll adjust accordingly for my 7th grader but I know my 1st grader will love these.


Christmas Math Worksheets

Here are some great Christmas themed math lessons that I know my 1st grader will enjoy and give him a break from his textbook.  


Build a sled STEAM project

I love this building challenge from handmade kids art!  What a fun idea.


Christmas Math Game

Math Geek Mama incorporated a story and a math lesson and I LOVE it!  What a great idea!


how homeschooling turned out differently than I expected



how homeschooling turned out differently than I expectedIt is the end of the day as I write this; I am in the office eating leftover birthday cake and I am counting down the minutes until bedtime.  Mere minutes folks.  The quiet is so close I can taste it!  Bedtime is a favorite around here, at least for the adults.  It’s when I can turn my brain off and just relax. 
   Daylight savings time has brought the dark much earlier than I like and for some reason 6:30 pm feels more like 10:00 pm.  Does this happen to anyone else?  
The perk to it being dark is that the little kids don’t realize the time and I can now put them to bed shortly after 7:00 and they still sleep until 6:30 or 7:00 am.  So that’s AHMAZING!  And I tell you what, with all that extra sleep we wake up happy and ready to start our day!

Anyway, enough about that.  Let me tell you about the most unexpected and awesome outcome of homeschooling.

  I think my biggest surprise since homeschooling is how absolutely freeing and calm it is.  Not what you expected me to say was it?

 Most moms I tell that too are often surprised.  They usually say “I could never homeschool my kids.  Summer is hard enough.”

Granted, not every moment is peaceful and calm but allow me to give you an example.

   On a normal Sunday evening visiting with family or friends, there’s no rush to get home to have the kids in bed by 8:00 pm.  We stay and enjoy the visit.  We leave at a relaxed pace and have joy in knowing we built  relationships. 

Morning time: There’s no rush to get up and pack lunches, make breakfast, eat breakfast, get the kids dressed, gather the homework, finish homework that they forgot they had, grabbing backpacks, coats, finding shoes, and rushing to catch the bus by 7:30 in the morning.   We get up at 7:00 am, make breakfast together, read our scriptures while we eat breakfast, clean up breakfast, exercise,  do our morning chores, get dressed and are ready for our day by 9:00 am.  It’s a calm pace which means less yelling for me and tension being felt by all the rushing around. 

The rest of the ‘school day’ is 9-3 pm with lunch and a few breaks in between.  Those hours are a calmer, relaxed time with learning activities, reading, textbooks, and arts or crafts.  My children and I are bonding regularly throughout the  day. I don’t have to worry if I spent enough time with them in that small window of time after public school was over.  

After 4:00 pm, normally had crazy painted all over it when my children were in public school.  We would rush to finish homework and then get them to the after school activities, music, dance, gym, sports, etc.  Then it was rush home to finish dinner and eat, do reading time, bath, pajamas and bedtime.  There was hardly enough time do anything beyond the essentials.  Now I have all their music and dance lessons scheduled during the day and our evenings are usually free.

One of my biggest concerns was that I would get burnt out from all the pressure of homeschooling.   Here’s what I decided to do. 

I chose to do school year round. Why?

Because I knew myself and knew that I would put undo pressure on myself to keep up with the public school.  Plus, the real world does not take 3 months off every summer.   So I switched it up and I homeschool all year so that I feel ahead and I have time for a day off if I can tell the kids need to switch up the routine, it allows for flexibility when days are just not going to work to have a full school day.  You know those days where you had extra appointments, meetings, sick kids, or the ” stuff happens” days.  

I also arranged my homeschool schedule to have 4 weeks on and 1 week off.  On our week off, I felt the best approach was to have a laid back or informal school.  Those laid back weeks are mostly planned around holidays if possible and I allow the kids to do whatever they want as long as they are learning.  Sometimes we go for hikes, we have read-a-thons, build with legos, go on field trips, play learning games, watch educational movies, bake and cook,  play for hours outside, or go crazy with Pinterest projects, etc.  We have SO MUCH FUN in those weeks.  It is the ultimate bonding time.  I am not worried about missing lessons in textbooks because I feel that learning needs to be fun and relaxed at times too. And they learn SO much on those weeks.  I really feel like it rounds out our education.   Plus it gives me time to plan the next 4 weeks and change anything that needs to be rearranged or adjusted.  The break does all of us a world of good.  

Life is incredible and I am so supremely lucky to spend this life with my children at my side.  I am adoring these moments with my kids. Watching them learn and grow are moments I wouldn’t trade for anything.  Homeschooling is not something to be feared but is something to delight in.   In the world today, there are resources in abundance to help all those moms who are still on the fence.  Homeschooling today is less daunting than it would have been 30 years ago.  So if you are feeling like you should homeschool but are letting fear take over, I urge you to let the fear go and embrace the idea of homeschooling.  









Prayer Journal

How to prayer journal

A Prayer Journal, what is that you ask?  
Let me explain…

Recently, I was visiting with moms from our homeschool co-op and we were discussing prayer and one of the moms told us that she  had “switched up” the way she prayed.   She told us that she writes down her prayers every day.  In a journal of sorts.  What she has noticed over time, is that she had the ability to be more specific about her needs and that by being more specific she was able to see specific answers.  
The idea completely intrigued me so I set out to try it myself.  Here’s what I did:

I start my morning by opening my prayer and then I pull out my phone and use the notes app OR grab some paper and begin writing.  
I always start with I am thankful for…

I then go through my previous day and think about everything that happened and I start writing down all the things I have to be grateful for.   It is absolutely enlightening to see how many things happen in a day that I never really took notice of before.  God is good.

After I write my thankful for, I then start with Help me with…
I ask God for help with the things I am struggling with or needs I have or my family has.  By being so specific with my needs, I find I am more in tune to feel the answers.  It has truly been fascinating.  I also ask for someone I can be of service for that day.  Sometimes a friend or family member will come to mind or maybe a particular child or even my husband.  As you are writing your thoughts, you will find answers come to you.  

Lastly, I end with Forgive me for…

I ask God’s forgiveness for the mistakes I have made or the places I fell short.  As I write theses words I am given thoughts and feelings of ways to help me not repeat past mistakes or just comfort in knowing God loves me. 

I love this quote by Elder Juan A. Uceda, “At the very moment we say, “Father in Heaven,” He hears our prayers and is sensitive to us and our needs.  And so His eyes and His ears are now connected to you.  He reads our minds, and He feels our hearts.  You cannot hide anything from Him.  Now, the wonderful thing is that He will see you with eyes of love and mercy -love and mercy that we cannot fully understand.  But love and mercy are with Him at the very moment you say “Father in Heaven”.  So a moment of prayer is a very, very sacred moment.  He is not one to say “No, I will not listen to you now because you only come to me when you are in trouble.”  Only men do that.  he is not one to say, “Oh, you cannot imagine how busy I am now.”  Only men say that.  “

I cannot express the joy that has come to my heart from changing the way I pray.  It is a journal of my life in a very real sense and something my kids can read back on and know who I am and what I struggled with and know of my testimony of God and Jesus Christ.   The days that I forget to write in my prayer journal seem to be harder and I feel incomplete somehow.  I noticed that was SO incredibly happy on the days that I journaled.  I encourage all to try it!  It is incredible. 

Here are some other ideas for prayer journaling for you to enjoy and pick one that best suits you.

Prayer Journal Free Printables 

From Sparkles of Sunshine


Spring Clean your Prayer Life

By Lynnae McCoy


Over 24 Thanksgiving games for all ages!

I really enjoy planning fun Thanksgiving games to enjoy.  This year I was looking for some great ones that we could play at our family dinner and get all the young kids as well as the adults involved.  It always makes for a fun day and I really feel like it brings the family together.  It has always been a hit in the past and I feel it is now a tradition to have something fun planned.  The best is when everybody has to be a little bit crazy and get out of their comfort zone a little bit.  


12 Thanksgiving Games Kids (and Adults) Will Love!



Source: Britco

This site had some awesome ideas, many of them perfect for the littlest of kids.  So even those toddlers that tend to feel left out will enjoy these games.  



Turkey Trivia

turkey-trivia-cards-by-paperelliSource: Craftaholics Anonymous

This looked like a fun game to play after dinner or maybe even during dinner.  I know my kids love games like this while we eat and it helps my highly energetic crowd actually enjoy sitting for a change. 


Pumpkin Twister


Source: Pint Sized Treasures

This game looked like SO much fun!  I loved Twister as a kid and this is a fun spin on the game… pun intended. 


Thanksgiving Bingo



Source: Catch My Party

Head over and print this adorable FREE printable and enjoy some fun with your kiddos.  I know my 6-year-old loves games like this and it helps with his reading skills so a win win!



12 Hilarious Thanksgiving Party Games



Source: Play Party Plan

I saved the best for last because I believe the most fun times are when everyone gets to embarrass themselves a little bit.  Where everyone can let loose and just have a good time, especially for the adults in the crowd.  This site had some amazingly fun games that I cannot wait to try. 


I hope you all enjoy your Thanksgiving and hold your loved ones close this year.  It is always a wonderful thing to be able to reflect on your year and see the many things there are to be grateful for.  


Thanksgiving Learning Activities

We are coming up on our homeschool week where we just do activities and completely submerge ourselves in the joy of learning without textbooks but with hands on fun!  I decided it would be so fun to plan our learning around a Thanksgiving theme, and I found all these amazing Thanksgiving learning activities.  I found all these amazing ideas and thought I would share what I found with you.  I am really excited to do these fun things with my kids.

Dancing Corn


Source: Little Bins For Little Hands

This looked like fun and required very little prep as I have most of the items necessary on hand.  I think ALL of my children will enjoy this.


Turkey Alphabet Match


Source: Mrs. Jones Creation Station

This is perfect for my preschoolers and could be adjusted to site words for my 1st grader.  But I love the FREE printable she provided.  


Thanksgiving Writing Ideas


Source: Miss Giraffes Class

Some fun writing prompts that I think will work great for my 1st grader and could be adjusted for older grades for my 7th grader.


Pumpkin Patch Sight Word Game


Source: Raising Little Super Heros

I know my active 1st grader will LOVE this game.  I am sure the littles will get involved as well.  



 Thanksgiving Movies For Kids


Source: iGame Mom

Movies are always a hit at my house.  This will be perfect for our quiet hour.  


 Thanksgiving Science Activities


Source: Teaching to Inspire

I’ll be honest… this is the activity I am most excited about.  I love hands-on science experiments.  


Thanksgiving Books


Source: Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas

This looks like a fun collection of books to have on hand for your Thanksgiving week. We will definitely be hitting the library for some of these. 


Thanksgiving Activities for Upper Elementary


Source: Teaching to Inspire

I loved the activities and the books and feel like this will work well with a few minor adjustment for my 7th grader.   We just finished reading ‘Thank you Sarah’.  It was a great book and even I learned something from it.  

I hope you enjoy these fun learning activities and I think the kids and I will have a fantastic week of learning with these great ideas! 

How to make your own Fall picnic!


With our homeschool days, I like to have moments that are a more out of the ordinary.  It helps tremendously to have days where you totally switch it up.  With the way we do our homeschool schedule, we plan a whole week of out of the ordinary experiences. On this particular day, we wanted to soak up the last remaining days of fall, before the cold winter sets in and we are cooped up a bit more.  (I am nervous about my first homeschool winter with four kids.)   I asked the kids what they thought of a fall picnic with a mini hike.  They were super excited about it and enthusiastically planned a fun meal while I planned some learning experiences to  go along  with the day.  


Our fall picnic menu:

Beef stew– We used a canned recipe my mom helped me with but here’s a similar recipe that looks delicious!  We warmed it and put it in a thermos.

Grilled Cheese Sandwiches- We wrapped them in foil to keep them warm.

Peach Hand pies–  We made a crust, and added canned peach pie filling.  They were the perfect warm treat, as we wrapped them in foil straight from the oven.  

 The kids helped prepare all the food and for my 1st grader it was a great math and reading  skill and for my 7th grader, it was Home Education.  

While the pies baked we watched these videos on why the leaves turn colors and the season of Fall/Autumn.

Why leaves turn colors in the fall?

15 facts about Autumn

After the pies were out of the oven we packed everything up and headed to eat our scrumptious food!  

We found a fun hiking trail and the kids found many leaves that were in the process of turning colors and that made the video we had watched beforehand a valuable lesson.  

fall-picnic-hike1 fall-picnic-hike

My 7th grader enjoyed learning more about my DSLR camera and showing her brother how it works.  


We studied the helpful signs as we walked, about wildlife and plants that inhabit that area.

It was so fun to explore together and adding yummy picnic to the mix is always a win!  

How to make your own Peach Hand Pies

Peach Hand Pies

There’s something about fall that makes you want to slow down, bake a yummy treat and snuggle in a blanket by the fire.   Peach hand pies sounded like a yummy treat as I had just canned the last of my peaches in a yummy pie filling and I really wanted to use it.   Hand pies are easier for my toddlers to eat and are mobile which makes them perfect for picnics! 

This was a super fun and simple process that was perfect for involving all of the kids in.  Even the toddlers got helped.  My 12 year old loved decorating the tops with cute leaves.  Perfect for fall.  This is definitely something we will have to add to our Thanksgiving menu.  





How to make your own Peach Hand Pies

Prep Time: 35 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 24

How to make your own Peach Hand Pies


  • 1 quart jar of peach pie filling or two canned jars (about 4 cups of pie filling)
  • Pie crust
  • Egg Wash
  • 1 egg
  • 1 TB water


  1. Roll your pie crust out to be a little less than 1/4 inch thick. Use a round plate, or biscuit cutter and cut your circles. Ours were a little over 4 inches wide. But you can do whatever size you want!
  2. Take disk of dough and add a few tablespoons of the pie filling being careful to leave about 1/2-inch border, and top the pie filling with another dough disk and pinch the edges shut with a fork or your fingers. Place on a greased pan or silpat cooking mat.
  3. Chill for 30 minutes, we were in hurry and threw them in the freezer for 10 minutes. Beat together your egg and water and brush on top of the pies.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes and cool on a rack for 10 minutes.
  5. We like them served warm. But you can serve them at whatever temperature you prefer.
  6. Makes about 24 pies.
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