What a surprise when over six inches of snow blanketed my parent’s hometown yesterday. It snowed nonstop from about 10 AM until well past 10 PM, which meant a white, winter wonderland awaited the kids this morning. 

To say we were underprepared for winter weather would be an understatement.  No gloves, no snow boots/pants/coats.  It didn’t matter though!  We layered up with what we had and stomped through the neighborhood as soon as we were done with breakfast. Snowy days tend to last only about 24 hours (it was already melting off the trees when we were outside today) so I’m happy we were able to be outside and enjoy the snowfall while it still felt like real snow.

And, to compare:

Scott might be in for a slight adjustment once he returns to this continent.

Birds of Prey – skeletons

We love DK Eyewitness books!  They are the first ones I search for at the library when Hunter chooses a new lapbook topic.
Hunter asked if I could write the first part of the sentence (which he came up with on his own) and he would write the final word.


Our first day back at homeschool after the Christmas and New Year’s break.  Madison had a cough so she stayed home from preschool (which also started back up today).  Leah went to campus with Scott around 8:30 AM so she could attend her toddler’s class.  We settled into school about an hour ahead of schedule which meant Hunter did a ton of school work today. It also gave me a glimpse of what homeschooling two kids could be like if we decide to go that route when Madison graduates preschool.

Along with his core curriculum (reading, phonics, math, Bible, history, world studies), Hunter chose to study birds of prey a few weeks ago for his current lapbook.  Today’s topic was skeletons.  Quite fascinating, if a bit morbid. 🙂  This final picture makes my heart sing…when they like each other, they really like each other.

Playing by Herself

There’s a running joke between my husband and I.  Our little Leah attends preschool on our ministry campus two mornings a week and her teacher usually fills out a “What I did today” sheet to let us know what happened in class.  Without fail, every single time, hers reads:

Leah ate snack and played by herself.

That phrase has become our sweet catch phrase for our sweet girl.  Maybe partly because she’s the third kid, maybe partly because she’s an observer, learner, and watcher.  Either way, Leah tends to blend right into any situation and quietly goes about her own thing.  It’s one of the things we love most about her because it’s just so her.  Whenever my husband will ask me what the kids did today, or if I’ll text him while he’s out on a Daddy & Kids adventure, we always answer with what the other kids did and then add, “Leah at snack and played by herself.”  It brings a smile to our faces and reminds us of how much we love our littlest girl.

Because Leah does eat snack and play by herself so much (haha!) it’s not often that I have time to offer her my full, undivided attention for long periods of time.  When we took a trip to the local science museum this week, I realized it was a perfect opportunity to soak in every second of Leah’s quiet way of doing life.  We joined up with some cousins and their parents and the older kids quickly paired off with each other, leaving me to enjoy Leah-Lou all to myself.

She found her way through each exhibit, quietly observing what all the other kids were doing and then carefully choosing how she would interact.  That red shopping cart?  It did not leave her side once she discovered it.  Racing up and down the “Kid City” walkways, she would put her head down and stomp along with all her might, pausing only to poach fake vegetables and fruit from other unattended carts (and their corresponding unassuming kids).  Her favorite finds were two heads of cauliflower and a banana.

She loved building a carbon atom and also was fascinated with some sort of electricity device (science isn’t really my thing).  After watching a few older kids and adults push buttons and turn levers, she confidently slipped between them, hoisted herself onto her toes, and did exactly what she saw everyone else do to make the sparks travel up the length of the plastic tubing and into the top of the display.

For most of the morning I just watched her be Leah – this tiny person who has fit so perfectly into our family.  The little one that has healed so much of my heart gave me another moment of joy by loving someone just the way they are.

Welcome, WSIRN Listeners and MMD Readers!

Hi, bookish friends!  If you’re coming over from Modern Mrs. Darcy’s website and podcast, welcome!  If you’re wandering over from somewhere else, it’s great to have you, too.  Thanks for stopping by my blog and staying awhile.

I’m Jamie.  Here’s my family:


We live in Tijuana, Mexico, and apparently family photos are our jam (ha!).  My husband and I met here but are both from the Pacific Northwest (we traded the NW corner of one country for another).  Hunter was born in 2010, Madison followed in 2012, and Leah came along in 2014.

Here are some of my favorite posts, but please click around and see what you can find:


How to Read 100 Books in a Year

Three Books I Love (and then some) WSIRN fans will feel right at home

My 100 Books of 2016

Books I Don’t Love All That Much


Kindergarten, here we come! Our first days of homeschooling.

It’s almost summer When I freaked out and thought my kids was learning nothing.

Some of our favorite units: dinosaurs, deserts, simple machines, sharks, and the ocean.


Swing When my heart broke wide open for my little girl.

The Hardest Day of My [Parenting] Life When I came face to face with how much I couldn’t do.

When Being a Bad Mom Makes You a Better Mom When doing those things you think ruin your kids might actually save your sanity.

It takes a year Feeling like “me” again.


Chocolate Buttermilk Banana Waffles

Pumpkin+ Pancakes

Chocolate-Chia Banana Bites (dairy, gluten, and refined/processed free)

Pumpkin Bread (with a punch!)



Me, Myself, and Wellness

Fallen trees, ocean waves, and new ideas

Work is Worship

Leave a comment and let me know a bit about yourself – where you’re from, what you’re reading, if your team won this weekend (we’re Lions fans.  Eek).  Thanks again for visiting and I hope you find your way back soon.

To Grandma’s We Go – vintage board game

We LOVE Richard Scarry books, so when we found this book at the library we were so excited.  As we read before bed last night, we discovered it included a board game as part of one of the stories.  The following morning we pulled the book back out and sat around the table to play.

I might have squealed with delight when I saw this pocket inside the front cover.  It’s not often I find a real library pocket for real library cards.  Goes to show how long this book has been around and how loved it must be by many readers.

The game was simple – roll a die, move your character (we used Playmobile figures like these ones but from an older set), and see who arrives to Grandma’s house first.  At first everyone was into it, and then Leah quickly decided she want to hold the die instead of roll it whenever it was her turn, and Madison declared she was “So cold!” and couldn’t move her arms out from underneath the blanket she wrapped around herself.  Which meant Hunter and I played the whole game, with everyones’ turns and game pieces, all the way through until the end.

she’s a third child.  she knows how things go down.  which is why the die wouldn’t leave her hand.


Some of the game spaces had instructions on them, and Hunter was able to read most of them out loud to us.  I love watching him able to sound out words that are beyond his reading level.  He is confident enough to give it a try and also very aware of the context of what he is reading, so he often guess correctly.  For example, one of the squares said, “Merry Christmas!  Move 5 spaces.”  After he sounded out “merry,” he immediately shouted, “CHRISTMAS!”  He may not have read the word, but he sure did feel proud at figuring out what it said.


Plusalso, we totally skipped homeschool today so I’m counting this as his reading for the day.   I mean, right?  Totally counts.


In the end we all made it safely to Grandma’s house, if a bit upset about who go there first.  Leah won, but she had long forgotten what was going on and was off destroying something else across the room while we weren’t watching.  Hunter kept accidentally re-rolling his die to get higher numbers, which made him mad when it actually rolled a lower number and allowed Madison to finish before him.

I was the goat.  I got there last. 🙂

100% of proceeds from affiliated links go to support our nonprofit work in Tijuana.

Words words words!!’

This kid loves words.  To say them, to write them, to talk about them.  She’s all about words.

The kids pulled out the Scrabble tiles the other day and Madison was in heaven.  Letters!  Words!  She grabbed tiles and asked me what word she had spelled as she strung them together on her display stand (most of them were complete gibberish, which she got a kick out of when I tried to pronounce them).

She knows how to write her letters but I like using tools like Scrabble tiles to help promote confidence with letter learning.  Instead of remaining frustrated at not being able to write a word, she can be excited about recognizing letters and forming words.

And yes, the kids stumbled upon this song and thought it was the funniest thing to say and sing.  Which meant I had it stuck in my head for the next few hours, Aussie accent and all. 🙂