Blogelina Commentathon

Hi and Welcome!

Ugh the pressure to write an epic post kind of paralyzed my fingers! I’ve decided to tell you a little about myself and family and then share a few of my past posts with you instead. I hope that’s okay!

Colby and mom

I’m Erin and several people over the past year have told me I’m inviting chaos into my life by naming my blog Amundsen House of Chaos. The truth is I’ve been blogging for almost 8 years and the chaos doesn’t stem from any blog name! I started blogging to keep family and friends informed on our son Colby’s stroke recovery. He had a stroke when he was 2 years old. Yup, kids have strokes! Shocking right? It gets even more shocking when you find out that the stroke was a side effect of E.Coli O157 we all got from a local river. Good times. Who knew a family picnic in the mountains would end up changing our lives so much? Anyway, Colby is doing well and I’ll tell you more about him later. Life got crazy and chaotic and I finally decided that I’d just better embrace the chaos because it wasn’t going away anytime soon. It helped ease my heart and mind to come to terms with that and so Amundsen House of Chaos is more of a tongue in cheek name to remind me that life is crazy but we got this!

I’ve been married to John for 13 years. He returned to active duty Army Reserves a year after we were married. We moved 5 times in 5 years and then came to were we are now. Colby’s stroke happened 3 months after we PCS’d the last time. Jahnna was 4, Colby was 2 and Riley was 3 months old. Fast forward 4 years and John received orders to PCS (that’s move in civilian talk) on a Friday. We were good with that, Colby was stable and we were looking forward to a new adventure. Saturday John had a migraine. Sunday he went on a motorcycle ride with some friends and when he got home he lost the vision in his left eye for about 20 seconds. He (being a typical man*) refused to go to the hospital because we live in a small town and he said there was nothing they would do for him. I put him through the stroke assessment and told him that if he died in his sleep, I would bring him back to life just so I could kill him myself! The next morning the migraine was still there but he was determined to go do PT with his station. During their run he told his station commander he needed to go to the ER he couldn’t handle the pain anymore. Anyway, long story short about an hour later the doctor came in asked him how he was feeling and said “Well, you have a brain tumor” and that was the beginning of our second major life change. 


John has Stage 3 Anaplastic Oligodendroglioma or brain cancer. And you thought lightening couldn’t strike twice right? He had a grapefruit sized tumor removed two days later and started 9 months of chemo two months later. He was cleared after his chemo and the doctor said he figured it wouldn’t be back for around 5 years because that’s typical in these kind of tumor that respond to chemo. One year later John had a seizure and we found out it was back again. His second resection was a week later an he got to come home on my birthday three days after surgery. He then had 40 radiation treatments followed by 6 months of a more aggressive chemo. He completed 3 full rounds of chemo, had an allergic reaction to one of the drugs, had another round of just two drugs and then had anaphylactic shock and finished another round of just one drug. He has now been one year chemo free and tumor free for two years. We’re back into the wait and see mode with MRI’s every 4 months for the next 2 years. He is 4 years into a 7 to 10 year prognosis but he is stubborn and says he will live to 60.

Jahnna is 12 and has been homeschooled since 2nd grade. She loves it and we’ll keep doing that for as long as she works hard and keeps progressing. Colby attends a public school special needs program and Riley attends a local charter school. We talk in medical and military words a lot around here and basically count our blessings every day! One of our favorite sayings when asked how we are doing is “Everybody is breathing, it’s a great day!”


Blogging has become an outlet for me. I used to be all crafty and stuff and I don’t have time for it anymore. Blogging was a free form of therapy for me for a long time! I started doing reviews which I love and still do. I review a lot of homeschool curriculum but because we have special needs and public school students I always give my opinion and thoughts on how it can apply to everyone in the age group it is intended for. I also review toys, clothes, makeup or whatever comes my direction that I think is useful, helpful or fun. I blog about Pediatric Stroke Recovery and dystonia for Colby, Brain Cancer for John, Early Onset Bipolar for Jahnna and ADHD and Depression for Riley. Did I forget to mention the girls medical needs before? It’s not because I forgot, trust me! This blog is as eclectic and chaotic as I and my family are. It’s my space and my sanity and I hope you’ll join us in a small part of the chaos we call life! You can also follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram if you want to.


Here are some of my recent reviews and Colby’s 8th Survivor Day post.

My Friend Cayla

Super Teacher Worksheets

Koru Naturals I’ll be posting a review on 3 more of their products next month!

Colby’s 8th Happy Survivor Day

In my spare time I also sell Butterfly Express Essential Oils for 10% below their retail price. Use coupon code NEWSLETTER to get the 10% off. 

*On the typical man comment above I was only half way kidding. I probably should have said typical John!


Flight School: One Summer, Many Choices ~ New book launch

New Novel From Christian Author Jason McIntire – “Flight School: One Summer, Many Choices”

If you’ve read The Sparrow Found A House by Jason McIntire (Elisha Press, 2013), you’ll already know his style: Real-life situations addressed with equal parts humor and biblical wisdom. It’s a combination reviewers fivnd powerful. They’ve used the words intriguingbelievablecaptivating, and unique – among many others – to describe his writing. The Sparrow Found A House (which is available as a free Kindle download from Elisha Press) was also endorsed by Exodus Mandate, the prominent homeschooling action group. It tells the story of the Rivera-Sparrows, a newly-blended and newly-homeschooling family facing opposition from without and within.

Flight School Cover

Today Elisha Press is announcing the release of a sequel to The Sparrow Found A House – and to celebrate, they’re giving away signed copies to four randomly-selected winners. You can enter the giveaway here, or go ahead and order the book on Amazon. It’s $2.99 for the Kindle version, or $9.99 for the 256-page print edition.

Flight School follows the Rivera kids as they meet new friends, explore careers, and encounter the challenges and choices that come with adult life. As a homeschool graduate himself, Jason knows the things that matter most to homeschoolers, and how to write about those things in a way that will edify, resonate, and entertain.

“If you like Flight School,” Jason says, “thank God. If you don’t like it, blame me.”

Enter the giveaway, or buy a copy now.

Free Lesson on Ancient Egypt

Jahnna loves Ancient Egypt. She just saw that I was posting about a free lesson on Ancient Egypt and asked if I’d already downloaded it for her. She was sad when she realized she had already learned most of what was included but that’s what happens when she’s been studying it for three years completely on her own. Head over and check out the free lesson for your students and let me know what you think.

King Tut Mini Unit - Educents
Students LOVE to learn about King Tut and Ancient Egypt! Download a FREE lesson for kids about Ancient Egypt and jump into King Tut’s history! The freebie has several activities included in this pack, including reading comprehension, math review, map skills, and timeline practice, so there are a multiple ways to use them.

Hieroglyphics Math

King Tut Mini Unit - Educents
Use these fun pages to practice place value and/or addition and subtraction skills! Page 12 of the King Tut Mini-Unit Freebie asks students use the symbols to determine the number. The following page goes a step further and asks students add or subtract numbers.

Fun facts about Ancient Egypt:

  • The Egyptian alphabet contained more than 700 hieroglyphs!
  • Egyptians believed cats were a sacred animal and having a pet cat would bring a household good luck.
  • Ancient Egyptians invented pens, toothpaste, and a game very similar to bowling.

More Ancient Egypt resources:

Mini Bio: King Tut – Here’s a mini bio about King Tut to go with your mini unit! Ancient Egypt Lapbook – Study interesting facts about the discovery of hieroglyphic writing, the Rosetta Stone, the great King Tutankhamun, the lovely Cleopatra and more. Recipes From Egypt – Delight your little cooks with
two authentic and easy-to-make recipes from Egypt: Tameya (the original veggie burger), and Basboosa (Semolina cake with honey and lemon). My Book About Egypt – My Book About Egypt takes elementary students to the cities of Cairo, Alexandria, Damietta, and Giza.   King Tut Mini Unit - Educents Want free lessons for kids about Ancient Egypt? Download the King Tut Mini-Unit Freebie on Educents!

Christmas in July with Feeln

Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 8.50.04 PM
Feeln is a movie streaming streaming service that is full of love and feel good movies. It’s full of handpicked Hollywood movies, TV series, award-winning originals and Hallmark Hall of Fame features. It’s commercial-free which is fantastic in my mind! Colby despises commercials. I’m not sure I can explain how fun commercials are at house. They involve anywhere from a minute and half of screaming to four minutes of screaming. We literally either have to ignore him or try and distract him until they are over. Any type of service that is commercial free gets huge pluses in my book!
You can watch Feeln online or on your iPhone, iPad, Android phones or tablets. Feeln is also available with Roku, AppleTV and Xbox 360.
Right now Feeln is running a Christmas in July special that gives you a Free Roku Streaming Stick when you buy a 2 year subscription for $47.98.
Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 8.48.17 PM

Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 8.48.32 PM
We have used Roku products for at least four years if not more. Somewhere in the archives of this blog I’m pretty sure I wrote a review on one. We love Roku so much we got one of the new Roku TV’s. It’s easy to use and so much cheaper than cable. I just double checked and found that a streaming stick currently runs anywhere between $35 and $50 depending on where you buy it and you would still have to buy any extra channels you want. If you order through this special  you are basically getting it for free or close to free plus two years of great family friendly movies. 

Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 8.49.23 PM

Hurry and sign up now, this deal ends when July does.

Free* Roku® Streaming Stick® with a 2 year Feeln subscription ($98 value for $47.98) *Terms and Conditions May Apply


Successful Homeschooling Made Easy ~ Review

Successful Homeschooling Made Easy Review
Stephanie Walmsley has homeschooled for over 27 years and definitely has the experience to run a company called Successful Homeschooling Made Easy.  She has developed Successful Homeschooling Made Easy Course a 26 week program that is delivered right to your email inbox with a pdf attachment. Each lesson is anywhere from 7 pages to 22 pages long and filled with a lot of information. 

To be honest this was not a review I really felt I needed or wanted to participate in. I used to teach high school, I had my own in home daycare, I’m the oldest of 6 kids and I’ve been homeschooling for four years now. I felt like I had a bit of experience to go off of. We have a routine even though it revolves around doctor appointments and treatment plans. I was comfortable even though I know I wasn’t doing everything I could to be more organized and on top of things. When I saw that I was on the list of reviewers I figured I’d approach it from an “if you’re just starting out….” point of view and cover it for someone new because there wouldn’t be much for our family in it. Wrong! There is a lot that I have learned from the first ten weeks.

Successful Homeschooling Made Easy Review

Some of the topics covered in the course are

  • How to homeschool children of different ages and abilities, at the same time.
  • Why homeschool teaching is different from classroom teaching, and how to succeed at homeschool teaching.
  • How to teach subjects like music appreciation, science, math, arts and crafts.
  • How to get your housework done.
  • How to keep records in a simple way.

The biggest help for me was how to make a schedule and adjust that schedule as your children grow. You spend a lot of time working on a schedule and doing it in such a way that it is manageable. You don’t start out by sitting down and changing the entire way you do things or by coming up with an entire years curriculum overnight. Even if I could come up with an entire years worth of curriculum in a week it would be sure to change drastically by the time we were even close to half way through the year. Even nailing down a schedule is hard. I have a general outline of how our days run but with doctors changing which day of the week they are in clinic or Colby getting sick with this virus or that one it can become difficult to stick to a set schedule.

That’s why I loved lesson 3 and reading about other families experiences and advice. Homeschooling isn’t about teaching kids like they are at school. It’s about doing what is best for your child, for your family and for yourself. Children are precious and their time at home is short so make the most of it.

Reading the lessons each week reminded me why we brought Jahnna home. It was what was best for her and for us. As she has gotten older the question always comes up if this is still what is best for her. So far the answer remains yes and going over each lesson has reaffirmed that for me. I’m excited to continue on and see what the next 16 weeks have for us.

You can Preview the course here to see if it looks like a good fit for you. I love that Stephanie has come up with  several different payment options for this program. You can pay $9.50 monthly or for a 15% discount you can pay all at once for $48.50. You can connect with Stephanie on Facebook at The Broad Room.

To see what the other Crew Reviewers have to say click the banner below. I hope you will check it out because Stephanie really has included a lot of information to help everyone from the beginner to the experienced.

Successful Homeschooling Made Easy Review
Crew Disclaimer