A few years ago a homeschool mom that was many years ahead of me on the homeschooling road gave me a bit of advice. She encouraged me not to approach every subject like I had to be THE teacher. She reminded me that I have strengths, but “doing it all” with 5 students wasn’t one of them. She wisely counseled me to incorporate other teaching tools into our schooling day. Bouncing between 5 students in 5 different grades would not happen if I tried to teach every subject to every kid. Where I can get help – I take it!


Last year I shared that I was trying the online Red Apple Reading program with my girls. It has been a year since we started the program, so it is a pretty good time to give an update. I initially started because I felt like my elder daughter had some ‘holes’ when it came to reading. She was getting some sounds and concepts, but missing others. I am not a reading specialist – I would rather teach algebra! Within months of starting the program, she was reading fluidly and all those holes I couldn’t pinpoint earlier were filled. Her confidence grew quickly and so did the length of the books she was reading. I was sold.

I thought I would go ahead and let my younger daughter start the program too. She is in kindergarten this year and wanted to be able to do something on the computer like her siblings. My initial plan was for the program to introduce concepts and sounds to her, but it was quickly obvious that she was getting so much more. Instead of doing any teaching, I have been able to just sit with her and let her read books to me (and I read them to her). She is reading beyond her grade level and shocking me in the process. Earlier this week she started reading one of her brother’s cards about Otto Von Bismark. I don’t know how many times I hear her from across the room and ask, “Did you just read that?!”


There are parents that ADORE teaching kids to read – YOU ARE AMAZING. I’m not one of them. I feel completely inadequate. I relish hearing my kids read. I treasure reading to them. Teaching them to read – I wish I had found this program when my oldest was in preschool!

There is my update. Seriously, if you need help with a young reader – check it out!

Once those first big steps in reading are tackled, it seems like all the rest comes so quickly and easily. Reading opens up an entire world beyond reading books…recipes, games, signs, instructions, mom’s texts when she doesn’t have her phone and you do 😉


You can read more details about the program on my previous blog post.

If you are interested in trying it, your first month is free and there is a money back guarantee. You can also get 30% off your registration now through May using the code SPRING2017. My youngest has used the program almost every school day for the last year. I seriously have no idea where her reading skills would be without it.

For more on Read Apple Reading:

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  • Emily - What is the name of the board game your kids are pictured playing?

  • Kimberly Locke - Thanks for the update! I’m going to start using this right away.
    I’m homeschooling my five in Michigan. I’m okay with teaching reading, but I am sooooooo thankful for Khan Academy for math! And:
    Sequential Spelling interactive dvds
    Susan Jeffers art videos
    your sister’s videos…
    the list goes on and on and on
    Wood Carving at the local retirement home..

  • Kirstin - I would also love to know the name of the board game pictured!

  • AshleyAnn - Kirstin – it is scrabble junior!

  • AshleyAnn - Emily – it is Scrabble Junior

  • Michelle - My oldest daughter is 17 and my youngest just turned 13. I have loved every stage of their lives and the teenage years definitely has it’s own magic. You will love it!!

  • Lacey - Thank you for this, Ashley! For the suggestion AND discount code! I just signed my youngest up. 🙂

  • A Day in Our Life (Homeschooling an 11, 9, and 7-year-old) » This is Life. With Country Boys {Lacey Meyers Photography} - […] and he’s loving it.  And it’s helping.  You can read more about this program over at Ashley Ann’s Blog, and also receive a discount code from her!  Now he does several lessons a day on the computer (in […]

Looking back at the last couple weeks of posts, I’ve had a pretty serious theme going. That isn’t a bad thing, but laughter is a pretty good thing too. I shared last year that I added a letter board to our kitchen. Maybe one day I’ll fill it with inspirational quotes, but for now I’m using for laughter.

These were the December and January (resolutions) puns…

On Valentine’s, I told the boys I put up a sign for their dad. My oldest is like a walking Abraham Lincoln textbook. He was not impressed with my board…I got a big, “Really, mom?” Mission accomplished.

letterboard-2Last spring I saw this saying on the sign of a little country church. It stuck with me. When I got my letter board last fall, I could not wait for spring to almost arrive. It is by far my favorite pun…it will be staying up for a while!

I am trying to post on Instagram a picture of each saying I put on our letter board. My plan is to make a Chatbook once I have enough. To access them all easily for my own reference and for the Chatbook later, I’ve been adding the hashtag #Campbell7PunnyBoard

Hashtags are my favorite way to organize my instagram pictures.




If hashtags are completely new and confusing to you, there is a SnapShop lesson by Sara Parsons on how to use them for your personal photos. Use the code HASHTAG for $10 off your SnapShop registration.


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  • Lacey - These are super cute and I sure bet your kiddos look forward to reading what you come up with. 🙂 I really like the ‘outstanding’ one … that totally cracked me up!

  • Julia Cox - Where did you get this letterboard and letters from? I love it!

  • susie - Those are great!

  • Niki - I ADORE your letterboard posts! I got one for Christmas and have been pinning of your punny boards for future use! I also follow Letterfolk on Instagram and was so happy to see that they reposted your “wet my plants” quote. 🙂

  • Flunatje - Haha too funny 😉
    Love them all! Thanks for sharing!

Five years ago, February 27th also fell on a Monday.

In the last few weeks of pregnancy, I often woke up each day wondering, “Could this be the day?” On February 27, 2012 I woke up wondering the same. It was the first day we had the realistic potential to be matched with our youngest daughter. After years of waiting and trying to adopt, all the paperwork was finished and we waited for an email to land in my inbox. Based on time differences, the email would not be coming until the evening – if it even came at all.

February 27, 2012 was quite possibly the longest day I’ve ever known. It was brutal. The evening finally arrived and a sweet text came across my phone:


I wrote about the day and all the random little things that kept me busy in a post – you can read it here. As evening rolled on, we did get that much anticipated email. We saw our daughter’s face for the first time. We read her name. The part of me that always felt missing, felt a little more complete.

What I didn’t share back then was the pictures that came across our computer screen. It is so fun to look back on them now and remember all the emotions of finally having a face and a name….of finally beginning to know our daughter.




Five years. It feels like it was yesterday I was a blubbering mess looking at her picture on a computer screen. Seasons change. Time passes. Kids grow. And I am ever so thankful.

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  • Beth - !!!!!!!!YEAH!!!!!!!

  • Nikki - I love this so much. What an awesome post. <3

  • Southern Gal - Five years! Beautiful words for your beautiful girl.

  • Karen Taylor - Ashley! I remember reading that post five years ago, and I recall you saying you were choosing to keep those photos private for a while. Thank you so much for sharing them! She was as beautiful then as she is now. What a journey you have been on together xx

  • Shira - Awwww, all the feels – good tears sprung to my eyes. Thank you for sharing this. What a day!!!

  • Danielle - What a sweet memory for your family. My daughter was born 2/14/12 and I started reading your blog shortly after. Now we are going to a foster to adopt orientation meeting. Thankful for this platform God’s given you to encourage others in many ways 🙂

  • Tammy - Yes, yes…. all the feels and happy tears here, too! She is so beautiful.

  • Michelle Hill - thank you for sharing this memory with us, a memory that has been so monumental in your lives, but more so inspiring. In case you didn’t already know, Elsie from A Beautiful Mess blog, has referenced you and your story a lot in regards to her inspiration to adopt. And I would be lying if I said you didn’t have an influence on me either. Again, thank you for always sharing your life stories and thoughts, I think it affects us all, and this world, for the better… more than you know 🙂

  • Mel - Love love love this. I have been following you since before your oldest daughter was born, and watched from afar your sweet, and hard journey to hold your youngest daughter in your arms. This brought tears to my eyes. Thanks for sharing those first pictures of her.

  • Cecile - ??????? My heart is full for you and your family.

  • Cecile - Oh no… All my hearts came out as question marks. Please imagine them as a shower of big hearts!!!

  • Amy - So much beauty.

  • Sarah - Your daughters eyes in the pictures of her when she was a baby speak volumes to me, she’s a fighter!

  • ellen patton - You are lucky to have each other!

  • Angie - What a tiny little thing she was! Such an incredible adventure. She was beautiful then and, she is beautiful now.

  • Carrie - How precious. I remember those pictures of our daughter. Still on our fridge.

  • naama - It was about that time that I began following you blog. I love watching and reading about your journey as a family and as a mom. I don’t know you but you are in my heart. Thank you.

  • Julie - I remember following your blog back then and can’t believe how quickly those five years have gone!! What a lovely daughter you have and how lucky she is to belong to such a great,caring family. x

  • Debbie C - My eyes are a little teary remembering those posts. Wow, 5 years already. God is good!

  • Ashley B - Ohhh I love this!!! 5 years I’ve followed your story and prayed for this little family on so many ovvasions! I love how God has showed up everytime for y’all! I love moreyour ministry and the things he’s totally using for! Happy post!!! 🙂

  • Laura - I also remember reading that post! Can’t believe how time flies.

    She looks lovely and so you do.

    Congrats for that beautiful girl and family.


  • Bek Ryder - I’m just catching up on your recent blog posts and came accross this one. tears! streaming down my face. I’ve been following your blog for quite a while and remember well your anticipation of waiting for this day. beautiful pictures! <3 Such a beautiful, strong, stunning little girl!