Drawlloween, Inktober and Spooktacular Creations

Drawlloween, Inktober and Spooktacular Creations

Each Autumn becomes more hectic than the next it would seem. I somehow always manage to pile more on my plate than I should…this year certainly is no exception. Especially adding illustrating a children’s book into the mix.

I will admit that I absolutely love Autumn.  There is something so incredible about the humidity dropping and leaves falling. Granted, in Florida, Fall is not exactly as magical as up north.  However, that certainly does not deter us from pretending. As far back as I can remember I have always loved Halloween, and although it is only one day of the year, I try to make it last at least all month long! No surprise I was quick to join in on the artistic challenges of Drawlloween and Inktober when they first came about. These fun challenges along with our normal Autumn crafting at home help ensure I get very little sleep during the Fall!

I shall add more works as we create them.  I am pleased to know that my daughter is also fond of Fall and Halloween and even loves the drawing challenges too!

Day One of Drawlloween


Dark yet sweet…Candy Corn sculpture
Rooster for Inktober


This is not a completed list as we are in full swing of renovations.  It is the worst time of the year to be doing this as it already is quite chaotic, however, as I will have an art studio when we are done I am not complaining!

The dumpster for renovations

But of all times to do so, now is when my website went kaput.  I have decided not to worry about that right now as family and the book I am illustrating are more important.


The Next Children’s Book

Because I have no common sense…

Because evidently I like being so busy I cannot see straight….

Because I certainly must be insane….


I have agreed to try and get yet another book done in time for this holiday season. I only have agreed as it is again with Barbara Poor, who I absolutely adore. However, my poor hands and eyes are not exactly happy with me agreeing to do this.  Especially when this is the absolutely busiest time of the year as a Mother and an Artist.

I just pray I am able to pull it off! I am trying to complete at least one illustration per day.  It is virtually impossible as they are all highly detailed.  I hate to skimp on details, especially when it is such a delightful story.

I have learned one valuable lesson, I am no longer capable of illustrating one book per month any longer.

My Posts Have Vanished

My Posts Have Vanished!

Has this happened to anyone else?

I had made several posts between August and September and they simply have vanished! I mean, COMPLETELY!

The images uploaded are not within my media and there are no posts in my trash either.  I am not sure what I may have done. I will say, however, it is a trend lately.  I recently had to completely uninstall and reinstall one of my systems…a separate system that I do not post with though.

I am torn between redoing all of the posts and running the risk they suddenly reappear or just making a brief summary.  I believe I shall briefly summarize as time is so very short presently and I am simply too tired to redo everything all over again…….


For Those Who Think They Know ME

I cannot explain how painful life can be to others. I know some just assume I am lazy.  I am unable to take pain medication and my level of pain is an average of a 7 (on a scale of 1-10) at all times.

Getting Ready For Autumn and Halloween

A few of the doodles and artistic works I have been working on since August….


It is my busiest time of the year.  If you want work in time for the holidays please order now!

I am sure I have missed several things but this is all I could remember!


Digital Downloads Active

shop iconDigital Downloads Active

I am proud to announce I have added digital downloads on my website! You can visit my website here: http://www.alysathena.com/shop/ to download art.

I was attempting to create an Etsy shop.  Unfortunately they do not allow you to only use PayPal and require a bank account.  Of course, I do not have a traditional bank account and never will.  Why? Well, that is a long boring story, but it involves my ex stealing and me being blamed as it was a joint account.  As I was treated horribly by a bank, I have been left soured to all banks.  I will never ever leave myself in that position. It makes me sad as I actually LOVE Etsy and would love to have an Etsy account.  I hope one day they will come around to allowing PayPal only accounts.  In the interim, I have opted to allow digital downloads on my website and will continue using my Redbubble store, (which you can visit: here) as always, you can always request commissions.

I have a few other surprises in the works as well!!

Apologia Educational Ministries Health and Nutrition Basic Set (A Review)

Health and Nutrition Basic Set


Apologia Educational Ministries

Today I will be reviewing the Health and Nutrition Basic Set from Apologia Educational Ministries.

If you are looking for a high school health and nutrition course, let me introduce you to Exploring Creation with Health and Nutrition by Dr. Laura Chase, published by Apologia Educational Ministries, who has sent me the Health and Nutrition Basic Set.

First, I must state how much we adore Apologia . My daughter loves every single lesson she has learned with Apologia  materials. Kira says that she believes they are one of the best companies for Science materials.  As she is a Science buff, this is a very high compliment. It was no surprise to see how extremely excited Kira was when the Health and Nutrition Basic Set from Apologia Educational Ministries arrived! This wonderful set included a student notebook and a text book.

Kira with apologia textbooks

Kira could not wait to dive right into the books! We incorporated Health and Nutrition Basic Set from Apologia Educational Ministries into our daily lesson plans.  Kira averaged 90 minutes per day with her studies of the Health and Nutrition Basic Set .  This does not include our extra activities and field trips resulting from her lessons. Presently, she at module five.  Kira has absolutely loved each module, but is struggling a bit with module five.  The inner ear is causing her to become confused and we are outsourcing extra materials to help her fully comprehend this module properly.  It seems remembering the structures and their functions has caused her problems. For us, we like writing little poems or rhymes to help learn/memorize items, similar to, Every Good Boy Does Fine, in music.

Kira displaying one of her index cards for module 5.

This tactic, and using index cards, seems to help us ensure Kira can memorize most. It did, however, cause a mini melt down.  Sometimes homeschooling is not all kittens and rainbows.  As Kira is amidst SAT prep, she has placed extra pressure on herself.  Within as much, everything else becomes the teenage angstitute I have previously mentioned.  Some days, I feel as though I am in an endless cycle of a teenager’s self-doubt and self-deprecation.  I forget that kids all assume their parents are biased and not being honest when we tout just how incredible our kids are.  Some days, I pray that Kira could see herself through my eyes; then, perhaps, she could truly understand just how amazing and incredible she is.  Sadly, it seems every time I have said, “no, that is the wrong answer”, it has somehow stabbed her in the depths of her soul, causing her to think she cannot do anything right.  That homeschool over-achiever syndrome is real, and it is oh so brutal, guys! Perhaps the biggest lesson we have learned from Health and Nutrition Basic Set from Apologia Educational Ministries is patience.  Module 3 especially hit home with us. This is included, of course, with the absolutely wonderful lessons and education within Health and Nutrition Basic Set.

Kira apologia desk work

Kira enjoyed proving how good her hearing and eyesight (rather, her capability of seeing colors) is.  The best part was Kira expressing that her Daddy needs the hearing test more than she does.  Lord, isn’t this the truth.  If the man nods at you, rest assured that is a sure sign he didn’t hear a word you have said!

Kira expressed that her favorite module was the Physical Influences On Thoughts And Feelings. When I asked her why this particular module was her favorite, she said, “I’ve always enjoyed studying the nervous system. I have always found the different aspects of the brain fascinating.”

As if all of this weren’t enough, there is the free activity book. That is right, I said FREE!

Whether is was the fire drills or taking a field trip to the home improvement stores to price smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors, we all enjoyed working through the lessons within Health and Nutrition Basic Set from Apologia Educational Ministries!

Below are images of a small sample of some of the lessons within the student notebook that Kira has completed to date.

Module 3

Module 3 truly hit home.
We all are extremely emotional and tend to speak before we think. This module was invaluable to us as a family!
Kira does not use a cell phone or a tablet and strictly uses a computer for school.  For her, fasting from technology was a breeze!



Kira enjoyed the reflection on birth order and trying to discover whether she behaved more like a first born vs the youngest child.  Kira also really enjoyed analyzing today’s culture.

Kira and I both highly recommend Health and Nutrition Basic Set from Apologia Educational Ministries to all homeschooling families.  It contains wonderful, thought-provoking lessons with fun projects.  We especially enjoyed doing our fire drills.  It is fun to watch us all scramble to leave the house in under 30 seconds from each room!!!

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Disclaimer HomeSchool Review Crew

Why Homeschooling Is NOT For Everyone.

Listen, I realize there is a sudden influx of parents that have decided homeschooling is for them.  But is it really? Are you ready to have your life revolve around your child 24/7?  And I do mean literally. Not the literally that most tend to use….people do not have their heads literally explode and then still be able to say, “My head literally exploded”…can someone PLEASE educate the world on this? Am I the only one who is infuriated by the misuse of literally, I mean, and your boy/girl? If you do homeschool, this should be taught early, PLEASE!

Okay, back to the topic at hand, why homeschooling is not for everyone.  I had my daughter in 2004. Since we brought her home from the hospital, she has spent every day with us but for one over-night stay in the hospital as an infant for surgery. That is 14 years with me, every day. Every….single….day. The longest she was not with me was once when my Aunt forced my husband and I to take a break and go to a mall while she watched our daughter amidst our  family vacation.  We spent roughly 3 hours apart.  There are no baby sitters here, no friends watching her as I run to the store, none of that mess. Now, this is not required of a homeschooling family; however, I want to paint that picture for you.  Does it sound extreme? Maybe you are not the type of family who would enjoy socializing with other homeschool families.  Socializing is imperative.  You do not know everything, you cannot pretend you do, and you cannot culturize your child/children all by yourself.  If you think you can, do NOT homeschool.  That is essentially placing your child in a prison, okay? So you must fully be prepared to comingle with other families.  Accept you may actually need others to help your child in some subjects too.  By others, I do NOT mean the internet.  I mean actual living and breathing people. Homeschooling is not helicopter parenting.

Your child should go outside, each and every single day.  The sun gives vitamin D.  Splash sunblock on and get outside and PLAY.  Exercise, run, jump.  Video games, computers, tablets, and cellphones are NOT physical education.  No homeschool child should ever be obese.  EVER! Mind you, I realize there are children with health issues that cause obesity; I certainly am not including those children.

Expose your child to all children, not just homeschooled children.  Why? Because it develops a healthy immune system.  Kids get sick, they are supposed to.  I hate it every time my daughter is sick; I go full throttle into PTSD mode because of her tumultuous birth and entry into this world. However, I will not limit her interaction with others because of MY worries.  Remember, it is your child’s life.  If you had a horrible childhood, do not assume your child will. Locking them up and over sheltering them will ensure they do, though.

You must first be educated yourself before attempting to educate.  If I see one more homeschool parent post uneducated material, I may scream.  I am constantly having to learn and relearn as a homeschool parent.  There are many things my daughter has taught me. You do not know it all, I do not care what age your child is, you will miss something; make sure you educate yourself. There is a reason why teachers work so hard and have degrees.  If you did not graduate, perhaps leave education up to those who have, or at the very least get more education under your belt before attempting to become a homeschool teacher.

I know nothing, and being a homeschool Mom has taught me that in a glorious fashion.  I learn each and every day.  Perhaps the biggest struggle is realizing that now all of my time revolves around ensuring my little girl is receiving the best education possible.  Being a homeschool parent is (and should be) riddled with doubts and fears that you are not doing enough.  If you are not doubting and fearing, then rest assured, you are failing. Your child should thrive with their education, regardless of any learning disabilities they may have. Every millisecond of each and every day is an opportunity to learn.  You must learn to incorporate the small daily activities into lessons. The arts and academia go hand in hand.  If you have zero creativity, you really should invest in lessons elsewhere.  Whether it be dance, karate, art, or music, every child needs the arts.  It has been proven that children who have the arts included within their education learn better.  This starts the day they are born.  Read and sing to them.  Play music. When they are old enough, dance with them.

If you need alone time, perhaps homeschooling is NOT for you.  Alone time will come on play dates, which means you will be with other parents.  Or if you have your child enrolled in something like dance lessons, then you will have that free time. VBS provides a break if you go that route as well. Homeschool burnout is real.  I have seen it, the disheveled Mom in search of relief. Don’t let it happen to you. Be prepared.  I have also seen those Moms who decided halfway through that it isn’t for them and they then put their child (with zero social integration) into public school.  I call it the abandoned puppy. Poor children always look like lost abandoned puppies.  If you are not in it for the long haul, it is not a wise idea. It will confuse a young developing mind.  Young minds thrive on consistency.

Financially speaking, homeschool is NOT cheap.  You cannot simply print free work sheets and expect your child to learn.  It does not work that way.  Resources are extremely expensive. If you do not have an extra 1-3k per year to spend on resources, do NOT homeschool.

If you are incapable of keeping a regimented schedule, please do not homeschool.  I understand this decision is always made out of the love for our children.  But you must think logically. There is a reason why they say, “It takes a village.”

Have a plan.  Have a long term plan and long term goals and STICK TO THEM. Mine was to ensure as long as my daughter was actively learning I would homeschool.  Through the grace of God, she has excelled and learned.  Now, as a teenager, she is going through those rough hormonal times.  I will tell you first hand, this is NOT for the feint of heart.  It will beat you up and knock you down and make you question your entire existence.  If that is not for you, do NOT homeschool.

If it is for you, you shall be rewarded with the greatest gift God has given you: the gift of being a parent and an educator to your child.  Each child is incredible and excels at his or her own pace.  Your first test will be to realize your child’s pace and never ever place them in competition with anyone else.  After all, aren’t you keeping them from that atmosphere in the first place? Remember that your child is a unique individual; they are not YOU.  They will have their own identities, desires, and opinions.  Help them with their passions and they will thrive.  Never force them into your ideal mold.

Christmas In August

It seems hard to believe, but this is my busiest Christmas month.  Now is when I begin making all of my Christmas gifts.  If I do not, they just will not be made in time.  With neuropathy, things that take everyone else ten minutes can take me ten days.  I have learned over the years to allow ample time for this…mind you now, time does not always allow for this!

It should come as no surprise that I am now also preparing a Christmas book.  I am hoping to finish the illustrations in time.  It will be a crunch to fully illustrate, edit, and format in time.  I am hopeful that I can do it and hopefully do it greatly. Although I know I have to rush much of the time with the books, I never want them to look or feel rushed. The last book took 7 months; I obviously do not have that much time this go around!  I shall again be blessed to work with Barbara Poor. Her laid-back style is incredible.  I am beyond grateful to work with authors such as Barbara who allow me to let my imagination flourish from their written words with my art. Her talent seems limitless.

For the next several weeks, straight up until Christmas (for those of you counting, that is 19 weeks), I shall be swamped amidst creating Christmas cards, gifts, and this book.  That is all amidst homeschooling Kira, normal day-to-day life, and running Petite Scribe completely alone. I know I had previously been running Fox Tots essentially alone, but now I literally am and it can seem quite scary at times.  I do not want to let the authors down.