Theodore Boone Kid Lawyer {Weekend Reading}

posted in: Homeschooling, Large Family | 0

Post contains affiliate links. I received these books as a gift from Penguin. I received no compensation for this post.Book reviews by a large family

Chuck and I are long time fans of John Grisham. In fact, Chuck is the one who introduced me to Grisham’s writing. When we were living in Hawaii as newlyweds we didn’t own a car. I was pregnant and sick. I rode my bike to the University of Hawaii Monday though Friday and to the grocery store on Saturday. Bike riding was no longer a leisure activity and it lost all some of its charm. Any unnecessary bike riding just wasn’t happening for me. Chuck, on the other hand, was twenty-three and not pregnant. He was living in Hawaii with his beautiful, glowing bride and had plenty of energy. Once a week or so he would ride his bike to the local library and check out a backpack full of books. I would peruse them and choose a few to read. Zane Gray and Louis L’Amour were out. John Grisham and Michael Crichton? They were in. 

John Grisham's new books series for kids means we get to share one of our favorite authors with our children. Theodore Boone.

We have read plenty of John Grisham’s books. My favorite is probably The Firm. I also enjoyed Runaway Jury.

[I will admit, I found both Pelican Brief and A Time to Kill disturbing.]

Because of our long time enjoyment of Grisham’s books, I was thrilled when Penguin sent my kids the John Grisham series about kid lawyer, Theodore Boone

Boone lives in a small town and dreams of becoming a lawyer. His dream comes true, kind of, when he gets drawn into murder trial. This legal thriller is aimed at kids and hits the mark head on. And sometimes leads to funny conversations. A couple of weeks ago I was in the living room reading (of course) when I overheard Jubliee say to Chuck, 

“Dad, are you finished with the abduction?”

It took me half a beat to realize she was talking about Theodore Boone: The Abduction and not an actual crime.


Here is Jubilee’s brief summary:

“A snoopy 13-year-old who finds out too much about everything and somehow manages to save the day every time. My favorite book was The Fugitive. Theo sees the guy from the first book who ran away after his mistrial. Theo also managed to get a video of him. One thing I don’t like about these books are they are too predictable. I would recommend them to anyone who can read because my dad likes them and I like them.”

Who is your favorite author? Do you and your kids enjoy the same books?

Large Family Shopping; It’s all About Perspective

posted in: Crazy Town, Large Family | 1

Hey, I’ve got a large family grocery shopping tip that I am going to share exclusively here with you, my friends and readers.

You probably know that you can join Amazon Pantry and have your groceries delivered to your door. 

You probably also know about how you can order your groceries online and go pick them up. Well, I learned yesterday that Costco has a similar program.

Five sisters from a large family

Five out of six of my beautiful daughters!

Yesterday I headed off to Costco with just two of my children (which is practically solitary confinement for me). I was so on my game. I had a list. I had a plan. I even checked to make sure I had my Costco card. <— bonus points  right there. 

And off to the store I drove.

Four brothers from a large family.

My boys are all grown up… what’s with that?

Just as I pulled into the parking lot I realized that I had left my checkbook at home.

But then I remembered. Costco now takes VISA instead of MasterCard. And I have a VISA.

It lives in my wallet.

Which was in my bag.

Which was in my van.

So into the store I went. 

We shopped in a blissfully near-empty Costco and bought things like rotisserie chicken and Veggie Straws (Jubilee begged for those). All was well. I marched up to the checkout line and ran my VISA through the machine. It wanted my PIN. I don’t know my PIN.

Why, you ask, can a forty-year old woman not remember something as simple as a PIN?

Because: I have fourteen children, several with medical issues. I know birth dates and diagnoses and doctors and medical terms. I know ages and grades and teachers. Heck, I even know my social security number.

But since I need dozens of passwords and PINs and none of them are supposed to: be the same, use birthdays or important dates or anything else I might need to remember, I Don’t. Know. My. PIN.

Enough said.

Large family of boys 

Eight handsome boys….mostly grown.

No problem…I asked them to run it as a credit. But the machine was stubborn and grumpy and wouldn’t do it. I had no choice but to drive all the way home and get my checkbook. Halfway home I realized it would probably have been faster to drive to, you know, the bank…but by then I was committed. 

It was on my way back that I realized I was looking at the situation all wrong. 

You see, now all I had to do was drive back to Costco, pay for my groceries and head home. The shopping part was already done. Heck, the groceries were already loaded into the cart! This was like having personal shopper. The perfect personal shopper. 

She only bought what was on the list and what I wanted.

Nothing more, nothing less.

So there is my Mother of a Large Family Pro Shopping Tip for the Day

You’re welcome.

Homeschooling High School: What About a Diploma?

posted in: Homeschooling, Teens | 12

One thing Chuck and I knew for certain when we started out homeschooling fifteen or so years ago, was we wanted our children to have high school diplomas. Real diplomas, not something I printed out myself and put in a scrapbook. As our oldest turned ten, then eleven, then twelve, this was something I worried about quite a bit. How would I go about getting a high school diploma for my homeschooled child? A diploma that would be recognized where ever she went? I talked to homeschooling moms with kids older than mine. There were ways to track classes, take tests, join organizations… It was daunting and overwhelming. 

Homeschooling High School: What about a diploma? What if my child wants to attend university?

Then along came Running Start

Running Start is a program in our state that allows high school juniors and seniors to attend college classes and earn college credit at our local community college. Homeschool students who do this are also able to earn a high school diploma at the same time. It almost seemed too good to be true. But it wasn’t. 

Adalia did this first. She started at age 16 and took extra classes so she could graduate a quarter early. She turned 18 in February and graduated with both a high school diploma and Associate of Arts degree the next month.

Judah attended Running Start for two years and graduated at 17 with a high school diploma and transfer degree. He was a member of Phi Theta Kappa and graduated with honors. He has just finished his first year at a Central Washington University, but his third year of college. He will graduate next year (at the age of 19) with a Bachelor’s degree. 


Taking two years of college in high school saved us thousands of dollars!

Homeschooling High School: What about a high school diploma?

Tilly just graduated from Running Start this last week. At age 17 she has earned both her high school diploma and her Associate of Arts degree. She was a member of Phi Theta Kappa and graduated with honors. She will not be heading to university in the fall but has a few plans up her sleeve which I will share later…

So there you have it. My homeschooled high schoolers were all able to earn high school diplomas and college degrees at the same time.  Some will go on to university, others straight to work. Or maybe take a gap year…or maybe get married and run off to New Zealand.

What about transcripts?

I was able to create a transcript for my kids. I included the classes they homeschooled as well as ones they took at community college. By the end of high school my kids have all had more than enough credits to graduate. In the end, their high school diplomas came from the community college. We used these transcripts for Judah’s university applications.

What about going on to a four year university?

Judah was accepted to Central Washington University and earned several scholarships based on his academic achievement, volunteer work and involvement in the community college. Not only that, he was accepted into Central’s Douglas Honors College which gives him partial tuition waivers and special housing.

Updated 6/25/16: I just found this great article: 5 Surprising Ways Homeschooling Prepared Me For College

Do you have any questions about homeschooling high school? I’d be happy to answer in the comments.


Pizza Night {Large Family Style}

posted in: Large Family | 4

Pizza night used to be an institution in our family…then our family grew. And grew. And GREW. Pretty soon it was taking so long to bake the pizzas (two at a time) that I gave up. Now, with our numbers down (only 9-10 kids at home) I’m bringing it back!

Pizza Night large family style...premade crusts are a game changer.

I recently bought these Rizzuto pizza crusts…they came frozen in a box of 24. I had to thaw them on the counter and then we put the toppings on and baked them for 8-10 minutes. The kids always love assembling their own pizza and I loved the lack of mess and easy clean up. I will certainly keep making dough from scratch at times, but these were a nice break for me! And Enoch said these were “as good as homemade crust“. So he’s grounded. Obviously.

This pizza night was the last day of school for my kids so a celebration was in order. Oh, and Jubilee had four friends over. For a sleepover.

I hate sleepovers. I am not a sleepover mom.

Really, I wrote a whole blog post about it right here. We have made exceptions here and there, but sleepovers are (and will remain) few and far between. 

Pizza night on the other hand? It’s here to stay!

Pizza Night large family style...premade crusts are a game changer.

Apollo insisted on putting his cheese on one piece at a time…it was slow going until I managed to convince him he could put it on by the handful. He was dubious about the entire idea of cheese on his pizza however…even asking, “does the pizza we usually eat have cheese on it?”. 

Enoch had just arrived home from work as we were assembling  pizzas. I offered to make his while he was in the shower but he turned me down.

“Where’s the fun in that?” he asked.

I love that even my busy teens can enjoy simple pleasures like making pizza.

Pizza Night large family style...premade crusts are a game changer. Pizza Night large family style...premade crusts are a game changer. 

Apollo may have been suspicious about cheese on his pizza…but he wasn’t the least bit shy about adding meat. Layer upon layer of meat. Can you believe this is a guy who was tube fed for 3.5 years???

Pizza Night large family style...premade crusts are a game changer.

Just a warning…he thought the pizza took way too long to bake. This is his Why Isn’t the Pizza Done Yet? look.Pizza Night large family style...premade crusts are a game changer.

Ah, the bliss of hot pizza!

Pizza Night large family style...premade crusts are a game changer.

After the pizza we headed out and enjoyed our first bonfire of the year. 

{And seriously…who said that kid could grow into a giant man-child? Not me…}

Pizza Night large family style...premade crusts are a game changer.

Pizza Night large family style...premade crusts are a game changer.

At least I still have some cute little boys around…some who don’t even have stinky armpits yet…

Pizza Night large family style...premade crusts are a game changer.

I’d say this was the perfect beginning to summer.

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