Family Time with Pepaw and Nonnie


Pepaw came to see me and I was so excited!


We took a trip to the Virginia Living Museum after being cooped up for weeks and weeks. Nonnie and Pepaw joined us and the weather could not have been more perfect.


The boys love having Pepaw in town because he’s not afraid to get on the floor and play with them. Legoes were the activity of choice most of our days together!

Party Like You Just Had a Baby

In those first few weeks after Cary’s birth, I was stir crazy. To say we had cabin fever would have been an understatement of the century. Not only were we cooped up for weeks waiting on her to get here, but afterward I had to heal and give my body time to do recuperate which meant MORE at home time. But we kept busy, and we tried to be creative while creating special moments and memories together.


I tried to set a beautiful table at least once a day. It wasn’t always fancy or even all that “beautiful” but it was to us. We discovered German Pancakes and it changed our lives! πŸ˜‰ Breakfast became the highlight of the day when the boys were able to watch the crazy shapes our pancake would take while baking in the oven. Because no two pancakes turn out the same, it was delightful, and memorable, and … even comfortable.

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The boys had a grand time setting up forts and barricades and playing “Army” together. Timmy was thankful for his helmet because he got caught in the line of fire.


Stabbing a box with an oversized pencil was also the play of choice one day. Boys. That’s all I’m gonna say.


Before Cary was born, I gathered the stuff for a Caribbean party. We dug out the decorations, glued some sequence and googly eyes on some foam hearts to make fish, and ate dinner outside one night. thumb_img_1705_1024

Nonnie and Pepaw were with us, so it was a nice family affair! thumb_img_1695_1024

Then, of course, we enjoyed snow cones together.


And all the while, little girl continued to be practically perfect. We nicknamed her Mary Poppins!

First Hike of the Season

We had a nice warm day today and since we didn’t make it to church for various reasons and Daddy really needed some time of quiet to work on school stuff, I took the boys on a nice long hike.


After enduring the stomach bug, potty training madness, and lots of snowy, stuck inside days, this hike was much needed for the boys and me. thumb_IMG_0429_1024

Sam said no less than twenty times that this was the best hiking day ever. He can’t wait to go back.

Sam was more brave this time and ventured ahead of the pack a lot. I love watching his leadership skills emerging. thumb_IMG_0433_1024

Timmy was a trooper and successfully completed his first solo hike (no more carrying this little boy!). He did start lagging behind toward the end, but after an hour and a half of hiking, who can blame him?

I’m 25 weeks pregnant today with our third little boy, so it was a good pace for me. We were sad Daddy couldn’t be with us, but I’m so encouraged by how well the boys and I managed without him. I forsee lots of hikes in the spring!

Valentine’s Week Learning Activities

I have been thoroughly enjoying the theme weeks we’ve been having in February! It makes teaching the boys together so much easier.

Plus it breaks up the monotony of just covering reading, writing, and arithmetic from our main curriculums.

This week was all about Valentine’s Week, and we had so much fun! I did do a lot of prep work for this week, but it was worth it because I know we’ll have lots of fun with it again next year!


I downloaded this free counting hearts busy bag for Timmy to keep him busy while I worked with Sam. thumb_DSC_0097_1024

He absolutely loved it. This kept him busy and occupied for quite some time!thumb_DSC_0101_1024 thumb_DSC_0103_1024

We continued with our daily notebook work this week that wasn’t theme related, but this daily work makes this boy happy so I dare not take it away from him. πŸ™‚ thumb_DSC_0108_1024 thumb_DSC_0111_1024

I made 10 of these worksheets for Sam to work on various ways to solve simple addition problems. This activity was a very good challenge for him!thumb_DSC_0112_1024

I gave Timmy some foam heart stickers to sort by color one day. Again, I was surprised by how busy this kept him.


To further his time of play while I worked with Sam on math, I gave him his 10-frames again along with a mini mailbox I got from Target’s Dollar Section. He would go back and forth between filling up his 10-frames and putting heart stickers through the small slot. thumb_DSC_0119_1024 thumb_DSC_0124_1024

This was by far Sam’s favorite math activity. I made him a heart-themed 10-frame and we played with numbers to equal 10. He rolled the die, wrote down the number in the first blank, and put that many red jewels onto his 10-frame. Then he had to use the clear jewels to determine how manyΒ  more he needed to equal 10. He was actually sad when this activity was over.

Note to self, create more of these for him …thumb_DSC_0136_1024

Timmy still keeping himself busy with foam heart stickers and mini-mailboxes. He would put the hearts through the slot, dump, and repeat!thumb_DSC_0139_1024

Then he started experimenting with holding the lid, putting the heart through the slot, and getting it to fall into the bottom part of the mailbox. thumb_DSC_0140_1024

Next we worked on our scissor skills to cut out various heart themed puzzles (which I can’t remember where I got them from – sorry!). thumb_DSC_0142_1024

After we cut them out, we’d glue them back into place like a puzzle. thumb_DSC_0145_1024

Sam’s are all hung on the left and Timmy’s are on the right. They both enjoyed this activity!thumb_DSC_0148_1024

After that, we made a Puppy Love craft. I got the template for this activity here. thumb_DSC_0149_1024

One afternoon I had Sam solve the secret sight words. I got these worksheets for free here.thumb_DSC_0152_1024

I printed off a new poem for him to memorize and after reading it, we added it to our poetry notebook and Sam illustrated the poem. This is one of our favorite activities when I have time to pull new poems together. Plus this one worked on the color sight words which was great for him!thumb_DSC_0156_1024 thumb_DSC_0158_1024

I created a simple “I Can Measure Hearts” fill in the blank worksheet for him. Then I cut out various sized hearts and drew a line through the center of each one. thumb_DSC_0162_1024


He had to line up the candy hearts and write the correct answer in the blank. Another activity that he loved!


Timmy wasn’t even remotely interested in anything except eating his candy hearts on this day!thumb_IMG_0273_1024

More of our math worksheets. Again, these were not his favorite, but as he got better at them, he enjoyed them a little more. New concepts and Sam aren’t usually very good friends. πŸ˜‰thumb_IMG_0277_1024

We did a mind map one day of all the people we can show love to. I thought it was interesting that Sam said “enemies” onΒ  his own. I love when I get to experience God’s word transforming these little hearts.thumb_IMG_0278_1024

On another day we did some more talking about friends to work on sentence structures.thumb_IMG_0279_1024

He had to write a sentence on each of these days and illustrate the sentence in his notebook. We haven’t done a whole lot with sentences this year because it’s too exhausting for him. I don’t want to push him in this area too early, so this week was very gentle in its approach. He did well with it, but I’m going to continue keeping this at a minimum right now.thumb_IMG_0292_1024

We worked on patterns with our candy hearts. I let him work on some of these patterns first, and then we created our own patterns. Timmy did this a little bit with us, but again he mostly just ate candy hearts.thumb_IMG_0296_1024

I did manage to slow down the candy heart intake by pulling out the letter V do-a-dot printables from the Fruit of the Spirit Curriculum. I had him add foam hearts to the circles to make a big V and little v. He loved this! thumb_IMG_0302_1024

Meanwhile, Sam worked on this fun heart-themed math worksheet. I loved that he chose to make each row one single color. He loved this activity. I guess there was much to love this week (bad joke?). thumb_IMG_0305_1024

This one wouldn’t do a thing except eat his candy … I tried. I really, really tried! haha!thumb_IMG_0326_1024

I snagged this math center for free from A Spoonful of Learning! It was excellent on so many levels. He thoroughly enjoyed it. thumb_IMG_0331_1024

I made some simple number hearts for him to work on counting by 10’s. He had to feed the hearts to the mailbox as he counted. thumb_IMG_0332_1024

We also worked on our number sight words. He’d read them and feed them to the mailbox.thumb_IMG_0334_1024

Finally, while I taught Sam how to play War, Timmy put heart stickers all over this entire worksheet. These stickers were a hit with him this week. Another find at Target!

We had a very full week, but it was a very fun week. The boys were both all smiles during school time which was such a blessing. I can’t say much of the same for the other parts of our days because Timmy decided to potty train and all of us are just tired of winter weather. We are really looking forward to Spring!

Groundhog Day 2016

Since February 2nd was Groundhog Day, we spent the week talking all about groundhogs, Pennsylvania, and predictions. It was a fun-filled week with the boys.

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We are finally finding our groove with our homeschool routine. Timmy is currently 29 months old and very, very interested in school time. There is no telling him to go play with blocks anymore. He wants worksheets and projects just like brother. He even tries to trace the letters on everything I give him because that’s what Bubba does. Keeping him busy is the key to a stress-free school day.

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Sam is five years old now and it’s amazing the change that’s happened in him the last six weeks. His attention span has really expanded. There are days when he reminds me that he is still really little by something he does, and on those days, we pull back and do less. But mostly, we’re able to keep a really nice, steady rhythm to our days. We’re able to do more subjects in a day instead of JUST doing a reading lesson or JUST doing a craft or JUST doing a math lesson. So, this is really exciting for both of us and we’re having a little more fun!

Now, what we did for Groundhog Day!

I found this amazing Groundhog Day Activity Pack at A Spoonful of Learning. I absolutely love her site. She’s a public school teacher, but I have benefited SO MUCH this year from her resources. When I’m stuck in a planning rut, or we just need something fun and engaging, I go to her site. I literally have it bookmarked I frequent it for ideas so often.

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On Monday (the day before Groundhog Day), we talked about what Groundhog Day is all about.

We started out by reading her Groundhog Day Class Book together. I liked it better than any other book I found on the subject because Sam was able to read it with me, and it covered all the basic facts easily. Both boys really enjoyed reading the “homemade” book.

Then, we did the Groundhog Day Student Book to review the facts that we just read about Groundhog Day.

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Timmy’s was already filled out, so he colored his. He absolutely loved seeing that he was doing the same work as Sam. This is another reason why I love A Spoonful of Learning’s stuff. She gives various levels for each of her activity packs.

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Sam had to fill in the blanks all the correct answers. He opted to color as well. This was a day that he was pretty tired, so he was not a fan of having to write his answers in. I ended up helping him finish his book, which was just fine.

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I set our bulletin boards up with fun visuals from the activity pack. The boys LOVED this! It’s truly the little things. They were so excited to get started on school this day because they wanted to know what all these words and pictures meant!groundhog day 2016-1

Before heading outside to play, we called the grandparents and I let Sam explain that he was working on a school project. Don’t worry – Timmy was there too repeating everything Sam said. This meant I had to repeat everything too in order for the grandparents to understand a word we were saying. We’re working on phone etiquette. What can I say?

Anyway, I had Sam tell them that Groundhog Day was the next day, February 2nd, and we were making predictions. We wanted to know if they thought the groundhog would see his shadow or not. After they made their predictions, we colored a groundhog with their corresponding answers. Then, we pinned it on our board so we could see all the answers.

Finally, Sam graphed the results, but I didn’t get a picture. We were in too much of a hurry to get outside!

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This is the other bulletin board that I made our word wall for the week. We reviewed the words each day.

On Groundhog Day (Tuesday), we made some adorable Groundhog Hats from the activity pack. I wasn’t sure the boys would enjoy this, but they did.

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They were very, very proud of their creations!

While wearing their hats we did the Groundhog Day Flipbook. Again, I was totally surprised by their level of excitement. Sam declared that school was just so fun! Well, okay then!

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I love the details of Sam’s groundhog. He was really into making him look like the illustration on our bulletin board. He caught details that I had missed. groundhog day 2016-12

Timmy participated the entire time today. He may not have understood what we were doing completely, but he did get some practice with gluing each answer into the little boxes. Great fine motor practice, right? And a complete sense of accomplishment when he was done!

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He would glue his piece on and then wait patiently for Bubba to turn to the next page. Sam had a little writing to do on each page and he had to cut his own pieces out which took him a little bit longer.

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I think he looks so handsome and sweet in this picture. Plus when it was time to our afternoon school work (Timmy was napping) he said, “Mom, I want to wear my hat while I work because I think it makes you happy.” Such a sweetheart!groundhog day 2016-13

We have been incorporating listening activities two to three times a week into our afternoon time to work on following directions. Sam is very independent and assertive, but following directions goes against his stubbornness from time-to-time. These listening activities have made submitting to authority a little less threatening. I’ve already seen a big change in him, and believe it or not? He REQUESTS these activities. He loves them! I got this one from here.

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The last thing we did on this day was matching groundhog parts. I got this from this download pack.

The rest of the week, we had a few things here and there.

One morning we read Groundhog Gets a Say which is a really cute story that gives a lot of information about groundhogs in a fun storybook way. It is probably one of our favorite books.

We talked a lot about burrows, hibernation, and various other things that are unique to groundhogs. I just let the book do my teaching for me and we didn’t do any go-alongs because the boys seemed to really grasp everything just by reading the story.

Plus it was 70 degrees outside with a promise of snow the next day. We didn’t want to stay inside!


On another day, we worked on AB, BA, ACC, and ACB patterns using a worksheet from this Groundhog Day Pack.


Finally, we talked a lot about Pennsylvania this week. We worked on identifying it on the map along with reviewing the states we’re already familiar with. We also talked more about the Atlantic Ocean and just had fun working different puzzles.

I had plans for a few more things groundhog related planned for this week, but pregnancy exhaustion set in one day and I just had to rest. Thankfully the weather was warm and the boys could go outside with Daddy.

We were able to catch up on our reading lessons, complete an entire math unit, and start a new read-aloud book. I’d say it was a full, exciting week in the Dutton’s Homeschool Room. πŸ™‚


Before Five in a Row: The Snowy Day

After such a fun time rowing Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear?, we decided to pull out The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats.


Since we’ve been getting a lot of snow the last couple of days, it seemed only fitting, and we had so much fun with it!

The Snowy Day Activities


The first full day of being snowed in, the boys were already getting a little crazy. πŸ˜‰ So, I set about finding a fun project for us to do together as a family. Daddy has been studying hard all week for school and we all needed something fun to do.

Scholastic shared a fun go-along craft for The Snowy Day on their site. It had a video to walk us through the steps.

We all watched it several times and then set about making our own Snow Day Collages. I love that we all started with the exact same raw materials, and every one of us made something totally different.


Timmy and I worked together on his. I didn’t even attempt to make my own because I knew he would need a little more help. However, he placed all his buildings. Directed where the snow drifts should be glued. Shredded all of his cotton balls and glued them down. He requested trees and a snowman with hat. It was so fun working with him!


Sam is a creative kid. There is a lot running through his little mind at one time, and he has big visions of what he wants to create.

Some notables:

  • He has a fence behind the snow drifts, and he told me that we’ll see them when the snow melts.
  • Someone also threw snowballs really high up in the sky (they almost look like two moons in the sky).
  • He absolutely insisted to get stars out to add to his.
  • And he drew Peter onto a black sheet of construction paper because it was his town and he needed to be there.
  • Oh, and he asked me what city this reminds me of from our big road trip. When I said, “Chicago!” He said, “YES! You are right, Mommy!”

He rattled off some other things, but I was also helping Timmy so I simply didn’t catch it all.


Nonnie got in on the fun making her own collage. I loved her tree creation!


Daddy took a break from reading and joined us. I loved his fence!

Then of course we had to take advantage of the beautiful snow day!

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It is likely the best snow day that I recall since I was in high school. My 10 year reunion has come and gone … so that will give you a frame of reference.

It was so fun! We all (the boys, Daddy, Nonnie, and I) got outside one day and just had a blast. snow day 2016-5 snow day 2016-6 snow day 2016-7

Snowball fights were a big hit!snow day 2016-8

Oh, and sledding! This kid was fierce and over the moon excited about sledding. Sam had a blast too! I was taking part in the sledding adventures as well (pregnant belly and all) so I didn’t get any shots of the kids.snow day 2016-10

But we did make sure to make some tracks in the snow just like Peter from the story.


On another day, Daddy took them outside (my pregnant self was too worn out from the day before). They had more snowball fights and did a little baseball practice which was a lot of fun!


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Sam got pretty serious about getting Daddy!

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These whimsical snowmen were easy to make. Mine is the one in the middle and it looks more like a scarecrow according to the boys. Oh well.

We free painted our paper first and while it dried we cut out our snowmen circles. Timmy and I pulled some of the snow drift scrap paper out that was leftover from our Snowy Day Collages (top of the post) to add to ours. Sam insisted on a soccer ball in his picture for some reason. We just used various scrap paper, stickers, and sequins to decorate our snowmen.

I wish I could say this was a fun activity, but mostly it was stressful. Timmy was tired and made the entire project difficult for everyone (he even spilled paint … everywhere). I do think Sam would have enjoyed it if I had opted to give Timmy a nap instead of letting him paint too. Timmy put his snowman smile upside down making it a frown and I left it because it just seemed so fitting.

Most of the time these sort of projects are a lot of fun, but sometimes, they just aren’t. πŸ™‚


On another day, we experimented with ice melting. I set up four plates with four pieces of ice. Well, actually the boys did. They got out the plates and set the plates up with ice.

We left one piece of ice alone as our control. Then, we put salt on one, wrapped aluminum foil around another, and newspaper around the last piece of ice. We all predicted which one would melt first and last. I used our white board to record our answers.

We all thought the ice with the salt on it would melt first. Sam and Timmy predicted the ice that had nothing on it would melt last. The adults all predicted the aluminum foil would melt last.


Then, we observed. And observed. And observed. Timmy kept licking the salt and making funny faces.


While we waited we read about water from a book my mom gave me a few years ago leftover from her teaching days. I couldn’t find it on Amazon to link to it. We talked about the water cycle and at what point water freezes. The boys were totally intrigued!

Then, it was time for our results. We were all surprised by the results because the newspaper melted the slowest!

It wasn’t until the experiment was over and we had time to think about it that we realized newspaper is an insulator and aluminum foil pulls in heat which makes the ice melt really fast! I had to have Daddy come in to explain it all to us. I’m really thankful we’re a work at home family and Daddy is right here to help me when I get stuck. Plus he loved being our science superhero. πŸ™‚

I highly recommend this experiment! We all learned a lot!

And that was our week with The Snowy Day. It was a lot of fun and totally worth spending a little time each day on!

Other posts you might like:

What is Mommy Like, Sam?

I saw this short question and answer on Facebook and knew I had to do it with Sam. It’s always so insightful hearing from your child’s mouth what they think of you and what you do. It doesn’t always mean it is accurate, but it can really be enlightening.


Sam is currently five years old.

1. What is something I always say to you?

Shut the door!

2. What makes me happy?

When I do what you tell me to do.

3. What makes me sad?

When I don’t obey you.

4. How do I make you laugh?

By making silly faces and telling jokes.

5. What was I like as a child?

Hmm … I don’t know. I wasn’t there, Mom.

6. How old am I?


7. How tall am I?

Four and a half feet

8. What is my favorite thing to do?

Play games.

9. What do I do when you’re not around?


10. What am I really good at?


11. What is something I’m not good at?


12. What do I do for a job?

Work at home.

13. What is my favorite food?

French fries.

14. What do you enjoy doing with me?

Play games.

Before Five in a Row: Jesse Bear What Will You Wear?

I have been experimenting with including Timothy in our school time. He’s so eager and since wintertime just lends itself to books, I thought picking up the Before Five in a Row Curriculum for a bit would be fun. Sam loved it when we went through it, and Timothy adores books as much as Sam does.

So far it’s going pretty well. Of course, I can’t take as many pictures when I’m teaching two of them, but I thought it would be fun to share what I did snag this week.

I decided to row Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear? first. We sort of rowed Corduroy a few weeks back, but it was more just reading the book everyday so it’s “not worth blogging about.” You can, however, see what we’ve done in the past with Corduroy here.

Both boys thoroughly enjoyed this book. Jesse Bear is becoming a beloved favorite of Sam’s, a nice and familiar book and as though Jesse Bear is a friend he hasn’t seen in a while. It was fun listening to him recall much of the story before we ever even read the first page. You can see all the activities we did with Jesse Bear when Sam was younger here.



I have recently discovered Bullet Journaling and it is my new favorite way to plan lessons for the kids. I’m so in love. thumb_DSC_0844_1024


Both boys colored some bear worksheets and then sorted their gummy bears into the correct boxes one day.

I had Sam (age 5) count each category of bears, write the number, and then tell me which one had the least and most.

Timmy (age 2) just sorted his bears and worked on self-control. I told the boys not to eat any bears until they had sorted them all. They both did really well.

I talked about the colors and counted each category with Timmy.


I printed off a mini-reader for Sam. He had to read each sentence to know what color he was supposed to color each of Jesse Bear’s shirts. He loved this!


By this point Timmy had totally lost interest and I let him just practice his scissors skills cutting random pieces of scrap paper. thumb_DSC_0849_1024

Sam and I used our gummy bears to predict how tall each vegetable was and then recorded the results. He really enjoyed this and it was a great introduction to measuring with him. I’ve been wanting to do this sort of exercise for a while, so it was fun to finally be able to do it!


I pulled out our counting bears set and Timmy enjoyed these thoroughly every single day this week. While Sam did his everyday calendar work, Timmy would pull out the bears and play with them. On this particular day, he set the bowls up by himself and sorted the bears by color.


These worksheets have been Sam’s favorite part of school. They are perfect for reviewing what he already knows. I need to do an update on his calendar notebook because I have been SO PLEASED with it. So pleased! You can read the original post though here. thumb_DSC_0865_1024

One day Nonnie joined the fun and worked with Timmy on colors and counting while I finished up with Sam. He loved this and really enjoyed counting by 5’s. Love his sweet little smile in this picture.


On another day, we talked about the healthy foods that Jesse Bear ate at noon. I was surprised by how interested Timmy was and Sam was very meticulous and precise with his scissor work. thumb_IMG_0144_1024

This is just one of those pictures I just had to snag. They said, “Mommy, can you please get us a blanket so we can cuddle?” I let them watch a movie because it was just too sweet to make them stop. They stayed like this for over an hour just resting and cuddling. thumb_IMG_0148_1024

These little bear shape matching set has gotten a lot of love from this little boy. I’ve pulled them out before, but he wasn’t really ready for them. This time he breezed through the entire set!


Again, more counting bears. He would match up the bear sizes and then say, “Dump now?”thumb_IMG_0156_1024

Sam also enjoyed the counting bears. I just let them choose some of the cards from the set at random. It was fun for them to get to choose!thumb_IMG_0163_1024

Nonnie helped them make some flowers one day. There are a lot of flowers in the book, so it was a fun little go along and it let them get a little messy with paints. thumb_IMG_0164_1024

This guy was in total heaven! He loved painting and was very, very diligent about it. thumb_IMG_0173_1024

Again, more review worksheets. Using different writing mediums has been the key to making this time even more fun for him. thumb_IMG_0177_1024

We love the Tot Packs from 1+1+1=1 blog. I pulled out the umbrellas simply because it was what was on top of my stack. We used our markers to color each umbrella. Then we matched the marker lids to the color on the paper. We cleaned up by matching the lids to correct marker. We do this every single week, and every single week it’s his absolute favorite thing. Markers are his favorite! It’s also great for reviewing the colors over and over again in one sitting. He loves it!thumb_IMG_0182_1024

Bear Family Dress-Up has been another favorite of Timmy’s lately. This little toy was what started the Corduroy readings and now Jesse Bear. Between this and the counting bears he was totally occupied when I needed to do focused work with Sam.

All in all it was a really fun week. We didn’t do everything I hoped to do, but do we ever?

You can find more ideas for Jesse Bear here as well as links to all the printables I used.

This post contains my affiliate links. See my full disclosure policy here.

Bullet Journals & Five Year Old Thoughts on Jesus


These are my notes from church yesterday. Toward the end of the sermon, my almost five year old asked (read: begged) me to let him write too (note to self: make him a bullet journal).

He copied the next to last bullet and whispered in my ear the question, “What did I just write, Mommy?”

I told him even more softly and his eyes lit up as he went back to work drawing a picture to illustrate.

He whispered his explanation as he went, “The man with a black heart is a NO. He has no power. The superhero is a NO because he’s not Jesus. The white heart is a CHECK. He has power because his heart has Jesus.”

It is as simple as that my friends. He ended his doodle by writing, “I luv you.”


I love you, too, Buddy!

Praise Jesus for the beautiful, simplicity of the Gospel. Jesus lived the perfect life. He died the all sufficient death. He rose again three days later – conquering sin and defeating death. Why? So that we might be born again into a renewed spiritual life with Him. Our greatest need has been met and through faith in Jesus we receive power through the Holy Spirit to live for Him all the rest of our days. Oh, hallelujah!