The One Lesson I Prioritize

July 7 2017:

This has been Thomas’ first year of homeschooling and Lillian’s third or fourth year. The style of schooling we follow is more like unschooling, interest based, or child-led learning. It’s definitely not traditional homeschooling. Over the past several months I’ve had a couple of friends ask how homeschooling is going. Without any thought, I answered through my heart with this, “We are learning how to be kind humans and how to have healthy relationships.” [ 651 more words ]

The One Thing We Should Be Teaching


Thomas and Camilla June 2017 Date Day

June 29 2017:

Field trip and Thomas and Camilla June 2017 Date Day.

First stop – Field trip! Tour of Reno Airport Traffic Control Tower arranged by the awesome fellow who is teaching a group of homeschoolers coding and robotics. No pictures allowed inside so this is what we got!!

First we toured Atlantic Aviation’s building and hangars used by private plane owners. Then the control tower. Incredibly interesting and what an amazing view!!!

Next, we headed back to Atlantic to see the coding instructors little airplane. As we were headed back in the building a pilot asked if we wanted to tour a business jet. So, we did that too!!! Thomas enjoyed it …. a lot!!! xoxo … ✈️ … Thank you. And, bring us more, please. xoxo …

Next stop: Humane Society to share love with cats and rabbits. My eyes were sweating with all of the sweet souls with sad eyes asking to be loved.

By the time we left Thomas was feeling pretty sad about the huge number of them. I helped us both by pointing out that they were in a safe and cool place with volunteers and employees who care for and love them.

Then home for lunch! Next was ice cream at Thomas’ favorite ice cream shop. Salted butterscotch for him and 1/2 salted butterscotch and 1/2 dark chocolate for me.

Enjoyed our ice cream at Aubrey Harris park, enjoying the beautiful view. Plus, looking at the Air Traffic Control Tower where we were this morning. You can just barely see it in one of these pictures.

Thomas and Camilla June 2017 Date Day 6.29.17 #9 Thomas and Camilla June 2017 Date Day 6.29.17 #8 Thomas and Camilla June 2017 Date Day 6.29.17 #7 Thomas and Camilla June 2017 Date Day 6.29.17 #6 Thomas and Camilla June 2017 Date Day 6.29.17 #5 Thomas and Camilla June 2017 Date Day 6.29.17 #4 Thomas and Camilla June 2017 Date Day 6.29.17 #3 Thomas and Camilla June 2017 Date Day 6.29.17 #2 Thomas and Camilla June 2017 Date Day 6.29.17 #1

Field Trip: Goats and Llama and Alpaca and Horses and Chickens and Dogs and a Donkey with a View

May 2 2017:

Field trip today!! Thomas and I went to Melinda Bourke Blackwell’s place. Got to hang out with baby goats (cuteness overload!!), horses, a donkey, an alpaca, a llama, chickens, and dogs.

And some amazing ladies!!!! Barbara Richmond Chastain, Sheila Toole, and Melinda! So fun!!! Beautiful, beautiful property!

Melinda's Property Field Trip with Thomas 5.2.17 #5 Melinda's Property Field Trip with Thomas 5.2.17 #4 Melinda's Property Field Trip with Thomas 5.2.17 #3 Melinda's Property Field Trip with Thomas 5.2.17 #2 Melinda's Property Field Trip with Thomas 5.2.17 #1Melinda's Place with Thomas 5.2.17 #8Melinda's Place with Thomas 5.2.17 #7Melinda's Place with Thomas 5.2.17 #6

Thomas and Camilla December 2016 Date Day

January 2 2017:

Thomas and Camilla December 2016 Date Day … a wee bit late. Drove up to Galena Creek so he could sled. I went down a few times too!!!! So fun!!!! Then we shared a yummy gingerbread loaf cake. My legs are still unthawing!! Brrrrr!!!!

thomas-and-camilla-december-2016-date-day-1 thomas-and-camilla-december-2016-date-day-2 thomas-and-camilla-december-2016-date-day-3 thomas-and-camilla-december-2016-date-day-4 thomas-and-camilla-december-2016-date-day-5

Reviews and Book Signing for Biggest Little Photographer

November 20 2016:

Reviews are partly the gas that fuel the forward momentum of our creations … xoxo …. Thank you so very much for being the bearer of that fuel! xoxo

If you have received your copy of Biggest Little Photographer and would like to share a review or thoughts you can do that here, message me, mail it to the PO Box listed in the book, or email to Camilla Downs @ gmail . com ….

“I got the coolest package in the mail today. Just when I was getting homesick and missing the west coast this came at the perfect time.
This book was created by the most amazing 8 year old I know who is the perfect example of determination and going after your dreams and he’s accomplished more in those 8 years then I ever will.

Thank you for warming my heart on this rainy Texas night. This kid is going places and has a positive message to share.” ~Gloria, Texas

“Since your book arrived last week, I have read it a couple of times thru and also just looked at a few pages and smiled!

You certainly are to be commended for taking on and completing such a big project for an entire year! It is so lovely for you to have a dream come to fruition at your young age!
The quotes were just perfect and so appropriate!
The message for me is to not take life for granted. Your little photographer took pictures of the ORDINARY and made them EXTRAORDINARY thru his camera lens and your vision.” ~Patricia, California


“The book is absolutely beautiful and literally exudes all the love that went into making it!! A real treasure!” – Michaela, Reno


“It gives me so much joy! I love it! Just thought I’d let you and Thomas know.” ~Kathy, Reno



November 21 2016:

Come see Mr. Minifigure (and us) this Saturday, 11.26, from 2-4! The Discovery Museum is hosting a book signing for Thomas.

We will be picking up our 3rd order of books tomorrow from LRP and that will put us nearing 100 books! Here’s the event on NVDM’s website … ….. From the website: “Thomas’ book proves what can be done when you combine perseverance, a passion for Legos, and a huge heart—truly a great story of the potential of Reno’s youth.”

The Discovery Museum Gift Shop will also be selling Biggest Little Photographer so we will be delivering 20 books to The Discovery tomorrow.

If anyone is interested in learning more about the book, hosting a book signing, carrying the book, or personally purchasing, here’s the link ….

We are happy to make the book available for fundraisers also. In addition, we are available to speak at events.

Oceans of thanks to everyone for your support and encouragement!! xoxo



November 22, 2016:

More fun news!! Galena Creek Visitor’s Center Gift Shop will also be selling Thomas’ book, Biggest Little Photographer! We’ll be delivering their books next week. This is a picture of Marilyn’s Pond in the Galena Creek Park area.

So far we have 4 local stores/shops selling the book. The Discovery Museum Gift Shop (delivered their books today so they will have for Friday), Don’s Pharmacy, Buy Nevada First, and Galena Creek Visitor’s Center.

If you know someone, we are looking for connections to gift shops in Reno, Virginia City, Tahoe, Incline Village, and Sparks. The book contains photographs from all of these cities taken by a local Reno youth and published and printed in Reno! Thank you everyone for the connections, enthusiasm, and support! xoxo



November 23 2016:

We delivered 20 books yesterday to The Discovery Museum so they have them for this Friday!

Team TLC and Mr. Minifigure Photographer will be there this Saturday, 11.26, from 2-4 as The Discovery Museum is hosting a book signing for Thomas.



November 23 2016:

As I’m making yummy, delicious dishes for the Team TLC Thanksgiving goodness tomorrow, I want to say again, “We are deeply grateful!!

Worlds of thanks to everyone for the connections to local shops in regards to stocking Biggest Little Photographer!” xoxo …. Blessings abound to everyone!!

Mr. Minifigure Photographer gets to enjoy being in another shop! Thank you Melanie of NeverEnderReno for your excitement about hosting Biggest Little Photographer!

And thank you Coral Wilcox for the connection! The five shops so far are: The Discovery Museum Gift Shop, Don’s Pharmacy, Buy Nevada First, Galena Creek Visitor’s Center Gift Shop, and NeverEnder.

If you know anyone, we are looking for connections to gift shops in Reno, Virginia City, Tahoe, Incline Village, and Sparks; including Nevada Historical Society, Wilbur May Museum, visitor centers, casino gift shops and hospital gift shops. xoxoxo


November 24 2016:

I LOVE you Carolyn R Smith, Sunshine Friend! Not simply for supporting Thomas and Biggest Little Photographer. Your friendship, support, encouragement, and love are deeply, deeply appreciated. I am grateful for YOU BEing YOU!

I so much enjoyed our chat yesterday morning. Chats with you bring forth the pure joy of sharing in oneness with another … Wonderful … xoxo



November 26 2016:

First book signing done! We are so grateful to The Discovery Museum for hosting and for selling the book in the gift store.

And thank you to those who bought books! Pictures to follow! Thomas is experiencing deep learning from all of this.

He’s uncomfortable with the praise and compliments and processing the best he can. Overflowing thanks to everyone for understanding. It is his choice to keep moving forward with marketing the book so deep learning and growth happening indeed!!!

discovery-museum-biggest-little-book-signing-11-26-16-1 discovery-museum-biggest-little-book-signing-11-26-16-2 discovery-museum-biggest-little-book-signing-11-26-16-3 discovery-museum-biggest-little-book-signing-11-26-16-4 discovery-museum-biggest-little-book-signing-11-26-16-5

Lillian and Camilla November 2016 Date Day

November 16 2016:

Lillian and Camilla November 2016 Date Day – First ….. Dessert! Pink lemonade bar for her and chocolate covered almonds and pretzels for me.

Then home for lunch. Next, a walk at Virginia Foothills park. It snowed on us!!!! Fun!!

Finishing with window shopping and goofing off at Learning Express!

lillian-and-camilla-november-2016-date-day-1 lillian-and-camilla-november-2016-date-day-2 lillian-and-camilla-november-2016-date-day-3 lillian-and-camilla-november-2016-date-day-4 lillian-and-camilla-november-2016-date-day-5 lillian-and-camilla-november-2016-date-day-6 lillian-and-camilla-november-2016-date-day-7 lillian-and-camilla-november-2016-date-day-8 lillian-and-camilla-november-2016-date-day-9 lillian-and-camilla-november-2016-date-day-10 lillian-and-camilla-november-2016-date-day-11 lillian-and-camilla-november-2016-date-day-12


Walking and Mud Pie

July 20 2016:

Taught Thomas how to make a mud pie on our walk Monday night. He was so excited to see the water level had gone down a bit to expose this little area. Great mud!!! xoxo

Thomas, Lillian and Camilla = Team TLC
See It. Share It. BE IT … Spread Love Everywhere You Go!

Wonderfully exciting news! We’ve completed the first book trailer for Thomas’ upcoming book, Biggest Little Photographer. You can learn more and pre-order here.