Leaving the Flock

10 Ways Travelling Has Ruined Our Kids Lives – Shared from 100 Bucket List Adventures

I haven’t had a chance to sum up our life choices into a tidy list like this, but if I had this article would have mirrored my thoughts and the experiences I plan to share with my son.

I’m not raising my kids to live a normal life. I’m raising them to live an extraordinary life. One that brings them joy, breaks the mould, pushes their boundaries and gives them the freedom to choose how they spend the precious days we have here on the planet.” -from 10 Ways Travel has Ruined our Kids Lives.

They’ve had to adapt and learn that home isn’t a place. Home is where our family is. It’s not the building that makes a place your home, but the people around you who love you, support you and make you smile every day.” -from 10 Ways Travel has Ruined our Kids Lives.

Travelling makes life unpredictable and that brings risk. But if I’m honest, this is why we travel. They learn that taking risks is ok and how to assess which risks to take. They learn to handle disasters. They learn how to stay calm under pressure and how to deal with volatile situations. These lessons are priceless and will serve them for the rest of their lives.” -from 10 Ways Travel has Ruined our Kids Lives.

I’m a firm believer that all the best things are outside of your comfort zone. If you want to be successful in life you’ve got to be comfortable doing things that make you uncomfortable. There’s no better way to practice this than travel.” -from 10 Ways Travel has Ruined our Kids Lives.

To view the original post by 100 Bucket List Adventures, go here:


Leaving the Flock

Friends, Let’s Catch-up!

We are here in Orlando getting close to the end of our trip. This has been a well-timed trip.  Many things are in flux and changing in our world, so to take time to slow down and just enjoy ourselves in the company of family has been a nice change of pace. I will follow up with more on Orlando and Disney in a follow-up post.

I’ll catch you up on the last month or so of homeschool activities. We continue to tackle our basics (reading/writing/math/spelling/good citizenship) on a weekly basis and keep our schedule full of ‘field trips’ and ‘meet-ups’. The DMA continues to provide lovely, monthly art classes rich in both art education and hands-on fun. We gave a run at an ‘escape the room’ game with some of our homeschool friends and made it out with moments to spare. It was exciting for the team to work together and WIN! We worked a month on studying Picasso and cubism. This study finished with painting ‘Picasso inspired’ selfies. I guess my inner ‘she’ is Medusa! Ha! We have a new relationship with the director of Soar United, Lynn. She has REALLY stepped up to the plate and opened up the doors to Soar so our kids can have a fun, weekly place to be ninja warriors, play soccer and dodgeball. We are excited that this is continuing on and if you are Dallas local, feel free to join. (Tuesdays from 11a to 3p). Mention you are with the homeschool group for a discounted rate. We had heard about everyone visiting the Crayola Experience up in Plano, so we decided to try it too. We enjoyed the day, but for others considering it, we felt it was for younger kids or those really into coloring/crayon projects.

If you haven’t heard by now, we are making some big changes in our personal lives. We are selling our lake home in preparation of moving in a worldschooling direction.


I have also affiliated with a wonderful, long-standing, incredibly connected travel company and taken on an Independent Travel Agent role. You will see changes as our blog evolves from just ‘homeschooling in Dallas’ to ‘Worldschooling and Travel Adventures’.  The deals, resources and inside info is TO DIE FOR!! I’m through the preliminary training and business set-up and really have not been as excited about my career since I launched Juxby in 2011.  I CAN.NOT.WAIT to share more info about this new journey and how it may help you too! CLEARLY a blog is coming about this.

Enoy the rest of your weekend and happy early mother’s day to all my fellow moms. Whether you homeschool, worldschool, public school or private school, we are all just making the best choices with the resources we each have available to us for the betterment of our child’s future. I salute you and hope you do something nice for yourself tomorrow! (like take a nap! 😉 ) 😘


Washington DC: The Capitol, Smithsonian Museums and Monument Tours

Ok, I’ll admit Washington DC wasn’t on my personal list of travel destinations but now that we are homeschooling what better way to get a ‘civics and government’ lesson than a trip to DC, right?  Sebastian and I both agree this trip was fantastic! By the end, we were so sore and tired from all the walking, but happy and impressed!

White House

Here are a few summary suggestions: 1. Do not rent a car. Stay close to the National Mall. Traffic is bad and parking is expensive. While staying close to the NM may be more expensive, the convenience and access to popular sites is worth it.  2. You HAVE to submit your request to tour the white house 3 months in advance to even get a shot at getting a tour. We were under that window and could not get one. We DID get a tour of the Capitol which I was not that excited about, but would now say was the highlight of the trip. I will elaborate later. 3. DO make reservations and take a tour bus early in your trip. This will give you the lay of the land before you venture out on foot and help you better plan the rest of your time in DC.

Portrait Gallery
In front of the Portrait Gallery

HOTEL. I wasn’t sure what to book being a first-timer to DC.  I knew I wanted to stay close to the National Mall, close to all the museums and Sebastian wanted a pool. I am a Marriot member, so I do tend to look at their hotels first and found a Residence Inn by Marriot three blocks from the National Mall with an indoor pool. I was able to get it for around $250/night. We arrived at the hotel after a $15 Uber ride from Reagan (DCA) and were promptly checked in two hours early.  I was surprised to find a complete kitchen (except oven) in the room! It also had a small 2-seat bistro table, pull out couch, desk, queen-size bed, sink dressing area and bathroom. We were able to use Instacart & Safeway to have groceries delivered to our room. Mon-Wed the hotel did a food and/or drink give-away from 6p to 7:30p and again were pleasantly surprised to find a full hamburger, chips, and drinks bar served on one of the nights. Our room was clean, well serviced, quiet and comfortable. What more could I ask for?

His request: POOL! He swam everyday!

GETTING AROUND. I am so thankful a friend recommended this tour, it was another highlight of the trip. Thanks, Sherry! Ideally, you have temperate weather as the tour runs from 7:30p to about 10:30p with the large picture windows typically open. Our evening tour begun during sunset with pick-up at Union Station, drove East to the Capitol and all along the National Mall to finish up at the memorials West past the Washington Monument. Our driver was entertainingly knowledgeable and stopped to allow us time to explore the monuments. If I would have known how valuable the perspective was, I would have booked our tour the first night. It gave me a comfort level of knowledge that would have been nice to have before tackling the area by foot. If you don’t think the ‘night time’ tour may be for you, you could consider Big Bus tours. We did not use them, but Sebastian wanted to because they were the company with the double-decker, open-top seating. By our last day as the fatigue was really starting to set it, we spontaneously bought tickets for a boat tour by DC Cruises. It was nice to get out on the water as we love boating, but the tour itself doesn’t show you much since most of the monuments are set farther back or off the tidal basin not accessible by boat.

Monument Tour
WWII Memorial and Washington Memorial at Night

CAPITOL TOUR. LIBRARY OF CONGRESS. SUPREME COURT. If you are a Texas resident, book your Capitol tour here and do it three months before your travel date. We did it just over 2 months out and were able to still get the staff-guided Capitol tour, but not the White House tour. We thought we knew where we were supposed to meet for our tour guide, but we were way off. We were to meet at Cruz’s office in the Russell building, 4th floor. This building is near the Capitol, but about a block off. We ended up being about 30 minutes late after initially going to the visitors center inside the Capitol. Cruz’s staff was still more than happy to give us the personal tour despite our tardiness. While politicians may not get a lot of things right, the staff was wonderful to us. It was exciting to see the underground tunnels that the Senators use to get to and from their offices and the Capitol. The architecture, murals, and statues inside the Capitol were beautiful and reminiscent of scenes inside the Vatican.  After a great lunch at the Capitol cafeteria, we waited in line to see and sit in on the Senate floor.  We only stayed about 10 minutes observing the day’s agenda and then made our way through the connected corridor over to the Library of Congress.

Capitol among the Cherry Blossom
Capitol among the Cherry Blossom

The Library of Congress is equally decorated and ornate. The ceiling murals all interconnect by theme. The area of books is off limits unless you hold a library card. You are able to get a card if you are 16y or older with the purpose of research. Finally when you leave the LoC you exit and can walk next door to the Supreme Court. If you take a tour then you can go inside the Justices’ courtroom, otherwise, you can walk up to the entrance. A common theme in all of the buildings is the cherry blossom ceilings. You will see them on the ceilings in a dark pink or light blue and gold in all the buildings.

Library of Congress
Reading Room Inside the Library of Congress

SMITHSONIAN MUSEUMS. It is such a treat to have so many (19 total) free museums in DC! The Air and Space Museum was running extended hours so we were able to run over our first day and see things like the original 1903 Wright Brothers Flyer, space shuttles, nuclear missiles and so much more. Another day we visited the American History Museum, Natural History Museum, and the Portrait Gallery. This was a lot to see in one day, not sure I would do this many again in one day.

Air & Space
Mural in the Air and Space Museum

CHERRY BLOSSOMS. We were fortunate to be in DC during the blooming of the cherry trees. We were told by our tour guides that there are 9 varieties and he ID’d two for us. The soft pinkish white petals float around like snow and cover the streets in pinkish-white. It is a lovely sight. While they are all over the National Mall, one of the best places to see them is on the Tidal Basin with the water and various memorials in the background.

Hanging in the Cherry Trees

WEST SIDE MEMORIALS. The WWII memorial, the Korean Memorial, the Vietnam Memorial, the MLK Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial are all on the West side of the Washington Monument. The nighttime tour I mentioned earlier will take you by all of these monuments and give you time to get off the trolleybus and explore the monuments. Great way to see them all in one shot. We returned to see the Lincoln monument in the daytime and it was a lot more crowded so the nighttime tour may be the better way to visit.

Washington Monument
Washington Monument over the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool

Expect crowds and lots of tourists. I’m not sure there is any way around it. We saw lots of school groups of mainly teenagers. I was hoping they would thin out after 3p, but no they were still in full effect through the evening hours. Just get a good night’s sleep and pack along your extra patience.

Lincoln Memorial at Night

Do save one evening for dinner at the Old Ebbitt Grill. I highly recommend reservations. It is a very old DC tradition around since 1856. No need to dress-up they took us in casual sight-seeing garb. It is an easy walk from the White House so plan your day accordingly and end up here for dinner.

Here is a map of the National Mall area and some things we did not see that I would recommend if you have the time.

1. Mt. Vernon – You will need to buy tickets and from DC is about a $35 Uber ride. A fellow homeschool family and our Capitol tour guide said it was well worth it. I suggest spending a day on this adventure.

2. Arlington National Cemetery – Friends recommended 2 hours. Visit the Kennedy graves, see The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, watch the changing of the guards, and take-in in the overall impact of the cemetery. It is just across the Potomac from the National Mall so an easy taxi ride.

3. International Spy Museum – “It is the only public museum in the United States solely dedicated to espionage and the only one in the world to provide a global perspective on an all-but-invisible profession that has shaped history and continues to have a significant impact on world events.” -from Website. There is an entrance fee, but we have heard great reviews of this museum from several sources.

4. Newseum – A fellow traveler recommended this museum for the amazing photography. You will explore everything from current events to the role of a free press in a free society. Reserve your tickets online.

4. Any of the other Smithsonian Museums such as, but not limited to:

African American Museum (time passes required)

American Art Museum

American Indian Museum

National Zoo

-Smithsonian Castle and Gardens

Portrait Gallery
Inside the Portrait Gallery with Van Gogh Peeking through the Easel.

Follow on Instagram to view the complete series of DC photos posted daily.  All photo credit to LoveCameraEarth and Natalie Prescott. All rights reserved. ©

Leaving the Flock

Santa Fe, Snow Skiing & Meow What?

January was a good month for learning and experiencing new things. We started the year off in Santa Fe, NM where Sebastian went snow skiing for his first time. He absolutely loved it, so much so that we re-arranged our plans to accommodate his request to ski an extra day.

The views in and of downtown were as stunning as they always are during the holiday season. Santa Fe never disappoints with their breathtaking sunsets, southwestern style and luminaria-topped, adobe buildings. Sebastian hadn’t been back to Santa Fe since he was 3 so it was great to re-introduce him to a town we love so much.

We spent a day exploring the psychedelic, Alice-in-wonderland like atmosphere at Meow Wolf. We found many, many hidden treasures.  You can start your adventure at the mailbox and follow the mystery of what happened to the family that used to live in the house. Otherwise, you can just wander the eclectic mix of art and portals. Despite the crowds, this is not an experience to miss when visiting Santa Fe. I recommend visiting later in the day when the families with little kids typically have to go home for nap-time.

While it ended up being a much shorter visit to Los Alamos than I would have liked, we were able to see part of Bandelier National Monument. We made it to the cavates which were my ‘must see’ part of the park.

When we visited Shidoni Gallery, we also spent time at Tesuque Glassworks with a glass-blowing artist named David Shanfield. He gave us a front row seat to observe the process and craft of hand-blowing glass. We brought home one of his signature glass flowers in my favorite colors, teal and blue.


Here are a few more favorite shots from the mountain in Santa Fe. All my photos from Santa Fe, Bandelier, the Mountain and Meow Wolf are on my photography website, LoveCameraEarth.