Moving Tips

Ah, dear Pinterest Pinners, you’ve come to my rescue once again.

It’s been a long time since I’ve moved. It’s been an even longer time since I’ve moved this far. In fact, it’s been forever since I’ve moved this far because I’ve never done it. At least not quite this far.

My last big move was when we came from Michigan to Kentucky, and that was way back in the day when all I needed was a bar of soap and a hair brush and I was good to go. It was a simpler time back then. A 400 square foot apartment, pre-child, pre-homeschooling, pre-accumulatingstuffwithmemoriesattached sort of simple. I knew I would need some kind of help to make this transition smooth.

So I turned to my Pinterest friends, trusting that they’ve scoured the web to find the best moving ideas possible. There were two ideas that were so genius, it’s safe to say that the original posters likely won the Albert Einstein Award last year. (This is not time for you to Google to see if that’s an actual award- I’m not done with my post)

The first idea was to color code the boxes with a strip of duct tape–a different color for each room. The idea is to make it easier for movers/helpers to know where to put the boxes without reading each one individually,  and without you having to direct traffic. The thing is that duct tape is a little expensive if you need several rolls, and if you are using many storage bins, the thought of the sticky residue is a downer.

Sooo, I sent my husband to the store with this idea to see if he could find something along the same lines. He came home with this—are you ready? TADAAAAA!

Electrical tape for marking moving boxes--

Electrical Tape! Equally genius! Cheaper, multicolored and won’t leave residue. My husband might win an Albert this year! (still not time to look it up) The black comes in bigger rolls and so will be used for the garage/catchall color.

The next idea was to make a master list of what was in each box and label the box itself with a letter/number combo. So if I’m looking for my nail polish bottles, I can consult the master list and see that it’s in B2–the box in the bathroom with that same number. What a time saver; no rummaging through each box every time you need a little something. Anyone who knows me, knows that one of the things I hate the most is wasting time. So, I quickly adopted this idea as well. Aaannd here it is (in black and white because the dramatic effect seemed appropriate somehow):

Master List of Madness @

Now, as much as this may LOOK slightly OCD to you, I feel like this just might be the key to my post move sanity. 

Alright well, if you’ll excuse me, the fact that I fell asleep while proofreading this post tells me that my bedtime is quickly approaching.

And now would be the right time to look it up.


Moving to Colorado!

Well, obviously there’s been a big gap in my writing– and there’s a reason for that! We are moving to Colorado! Woo hoo! My husband was offered a job (good news) and we have to be there in about three weeks (bad news)!!!

There’s so many great things to love about Colorado, but right now when the humidity is at worst in KY, the thing my mind dwells on is that it’s DRY in CO! I thought about that all day as I worked out in my yard with the sweat…well you get the picture, don’t you?

Speaking of pictures, here’s the MAIN reason to love Colorado:

Panorama at RMNP taken on a trip earlier this year.

Panorama at RMNP taken on a trip earlier this year.



Activity Idea: Pow WOW!

Pow Wow- ©Sarah Cates

One of the traditional activities that mark the years for us is the Native American Pow Wow at the Trail of Tears Park in Hopkinsville, KY. It’s always held on the weekend after Labor Day, and there’s just something about it that signals the changing of the seasons, the coming of fall.

These events can be very exciting for kids. Depending on the year, and the location, Pow Wows offer a variety of different sights and smells. Fry bread is a regular treat sold at the stands, along with other tasty goodness. There are innumerable crafts, furs, jewelry- even headdresses! As you go along, you may run into a storyteller with children sitting around his feet. Many of the dancers travel around between competitions, and almost all are friendly and willing to pose for a picture with your kids.  There are certain dances where they invite everyone into the center ring and your kids can spin along with the Native Americans! Our Pow Wows have included amazing hoop dancers, flute players, and even tomahawk throwing contests. The highlight of every year for us is the final round of the dance competition where the “fancy dancers” dance off to win the pot of money. They call this the “dance of the athlete” and you can see why! They give it all they’ve got!

If you’ve never been to such an event, it’s definitely worth trying. If you are a homeschooler and can attend a Pow Wow in the fall, you can even use the opportunity to talk about Thanksgiving and how the Native Americans helped the first settlers. Educational + fun=….funducational?

To find out if you have a Pow Wow near you, try this site. By selecting my state and pressing “GO” I was able to locate ours easily. There’s also info on the size of the Pow Wow, etc. on many of the pages. Enjoy!

Pow wow-© Sarah Cates

Check out the claw at the end of that staff!


Recommended Resource: Incredible Art Department


First of all, this post should really be titled: Cookies+Frosting=Education! Anyone who knows me will tell you that cookies are my FAVORITE FOOD. Now when I found a website that showed me how to work them in as an educational tool- I knew I had hit Homeschool Heaven!

An edible color wheel is just one of the ideas I’ve snagged from the Incredible Art Department. This site is a wealth of information with lesson plans for every age from preschool all the way up. They even include some lessons which integrate drama. Many of the ideas are provided by actual art teachers, and several have information about artists with them.


Modern mobile in the style of Alexander Calder found on Wikipedia

I taught a lesson on Alexander Calder using their plans, and we had a great time bending up wire and trying to balance it out. Bubble wrap prints and paper marbling were some other favorites of ours.

You can take advantage of the search feature by typing in the name of an artist you are currently studying, the name of a people group (such as Native American), or a time period (ex Middle Ages).

We belong to a co-op that meets weekly for art lessons, and one of my favorite ways to utilize this resource is to type what supplies we already have into the search line.  People sometimes donate materials and we can reuse those instead of having to purchase new materials. This makes my frugal side happy…Which makes all of my other sides happy too 🙂


Provided by First Palette


Bookworm Fridays: City of Ember

City of EmberIt is always night in the city of Ember. But there is no moon, no stars. The only light during the regular twelve hours of “day” comes from floodlamps that cast a yellowish glow over the streets of the city. Beyond are the pitch-black Unknown Regions, which no one has ever explored because an understanding of fire and electricity has been lost, and with it the idea of a Moveable Light. “Besides,” they tell each other, “there is nowhere but here” Among the many other things the people of Ember have forgotten is their past and a direction for their future. For 250 years they have lived pleasantly, because there has been plenty of everything in the vast storerooms. But now there are more and more empty shelves–and more and more times when the lights flicker and go out, leaving them in terrifying blackness for long minutes. What will happen when the generator finally fails?

Twelve-year-old Doon Harrow and Lina Mayfleet seem to be the only people who are worried. They have just been assigned their life jobs–Lina as a messenger, which leads her to knowledge of some unsettling secrets, and Doon as a Pipeworker, repairing the plumbing in the tunnels under the city where a river roars through the darkness. But when Lina finds a very old paper with enigmatic “Instructions for Egress,” they use the advantages of their jobs to begin to puzzle out the frightening and dangerous way to the city of light of which Lina has dreamed. As they set out on their mission, the haunting setting and breathless action of this stunning first novel will have teens clamoring for a sequel. (Ages 10 to 14) –Patty Campbell accessed on

We enjoyed this book mainly because it has a different kind of theme and feel than anything else we’ve read. Another big bonus is that there are both a male and female lead character, which should make this book appealing to most family members.

I do want to add that there are three sequels to this book, one of which we read, the others I skimmed alone. While we found the second book somewhat interesting, it lost some of the feel of the first and I can’t endorse it as a favorite read. The third book has some material which I simply didn’t care for and the fourth appeared to be similar.


Recommended Resources: Horrible Histories

Horrible Histories is a sort of Saturday Night Live variety type show meets history. It’s produced by the BBC, so usually we would not be able to view them here in the US. Fortunately for us, nice youtube users have posted many of the videos online. Although I can’t be sure about the legality of that, I’ll continue to enjoy it while it lasts.

This series makes history not only tolerable for us, but fun, and we look forward to seeing if there’s a video produced on the next topic we’ll be covering. What I usually do is type in “Horrible Histories” along with the topic or specific historical figure we are learning about. There’s not videos for every topic, but many are covered, all the way from ancient history to more current issues. You can see many of the videos I’ve bookmarked on the middle ages by checking out my Pinterest board.

Just a note: I can’t say that I always appreciate the humor, and therefore I try to view the videos ahead of time just to make sure the message is mother approved.