A Peek Inside Our Homeschool Day – 2017 Version

Last year, I wrote a post about a day in our homeschooling life. I just went back and reread it, and it was fun to look back on where we were a year ago. Things are a little different this year. Different curriculum, different daily system, a new baby, etc. So here’s the 2017 version of our homeschool day-in-the-life, containing what we did on a pretty typical Tuesday earlier this week.


5:30 – My alarm goes off. I press snooze twice. One of my Lenten commitments is to begin getting up early again. I used to be a faithful 5:30-am-riser, until I got pregnant with Bubba, and I haven’t done well with this since. But Lent is a good time to begin or renew fruitful practices, so I’m back to getting up early.

6-ish – I’m downstairs getting coffee and I hear Bubba starting to stir. He’s just chattering a bit, so I let him stay in his crib, and I start my prayers.

6:15 – Bubba is getting loud and fussy, so I go up to get him. I finish my prayers while nursing him and then put him in his playpen so I can pray the rosary and do my Lenten journal.


7:00 – By this time, Lass and Sis are up. I chat with them and play with Bubba for a bit.

7:45 – My husband has left for work and Miss is up now. I put Bubba in his high chair with some Cheerios and have the girls start to get themselves some cereal while I make strawberry smoothies for them and myself (from the Trim Healthy Mama cookbook). We all sit down to eat (drink) and I read Jan Brett’s “The Turnip” over breakfast. We are going on a field trip on Friday to a Jan Brett exhibit at a local museum, so I’m reading lots of her stuff this week.

8:20 – Breakfast is done. I start to clean up and get a phone call from a friend. We chat for a bit while the girls go upstairs to get ready for the day. Their morning routine is still the same as last year – get dressed, brush teeth, brush hair (or have me help them do hair), make bed, clean room.

8:45 – I’m off the phone and putting a French braid in Sis’s hair at her request.

9:00 – This is our goal start time for school. I put on our “get-thyself-to-the-schoolroom-pronto” song for the morning, which today is “I Wanna Dance in the Dark” (by Rhianna, I think??). We all dance around for the duration of the song, and land in the schoolroom by its end. Bubba goes into his jumper and we start with the beginning of our morning time routine which consists of singing the Doxology, selecting an old Christmas card from a big box of them we have received over the past several years, saying prayers, including an intention for the family or person the Christmas card is from, finishing with the Anima Christi (I love this prayer!), and then doing the Pledge of Allegiance. We do a super quick calendar time in which one of the girls comes to our calendar, says the date in full, leads her sisters in saying the date all together, and then another girl observes the weather for the day. Then we move to our memory work, which right now is John 3:16-18. This is a pretty standard start to our morning time every day.

9:10-ish – We move into the next part of our morning time, which can vary. Right now we’re using the Lenten Morning Time Plans from Pam Barnhill, with a few added items that we like to use as well. A brand new addition to morning time is Bedtime Math. I read an entry in the book and each of the girls answers a question (there are three levels of question which are pretty well matched to the levels of the girls’ learning). We quickly review the latin we are learning this week. I put on our Song School Latin CD (another new addition to the routine) and we sing and dance to help us memorize how to say “What is your name?” and “My name is…” in latin. We do our map work relating to the history chapter we listened to in the car on Monday.


9:20 – Bubba is getting fussy and tired, so I have the girls go to their desks to begin their individual work while I take him upstairs to put him down for a nap. Interrupting morning time to put him down for a nap is pretty common, so they’re used to this.

9:30 – We are back at the table to continue with morning time. We read Proverbs 31 and talk about the virtue of orderliness, we listen to and try to sing along with the current hymn we’re working on “Lord, Who Through These Forty Days,” we read a fairy tale (The Princess and the Pea), and we do music appreciation. On Monday we read the poem “The Donkey” by G.K. Chesterton, and we’re studying Entry Into Jerusalem by Fra Angelico for picture study, so we also read some picture books with a donkey theme (“The Donkey of Gallipoli” and “Humphrey’s First Palm Sunday,” which is actually about a camel, but kind of fits with the theme anyway) and then read a chapter from our current read-aloud “Girl in a Cage.” The girls do narration for the chapter and then morning time is over for the day.

10:25 – The girls are back to their desks doing their individual work. Instead of the workbox system we used last year, I’m now using notebooks to indicate to them what they need to complete each day. Their work is still in the rolling carts with drawers labeled by subject, but they can do their assignments in whichever order they choose, and they just check them off as they go.


In her notebook that day, Miss had a spelling test, a math test, and the conclusion of a report on Madagascar. She has been working through the beatitudes for her copywork, but Tuesday she was excited because I let her also choose a page out of a Draw Write Now book for drawing and additional copywork. She had to read through and talk with me about the sections in two of her religion books about the last supper and the institution of the Eucharist and the part of Mass when the consecration occurs (She knows all these things, but we are spending some time talking about it more in depth in preparation for her First Holy Communion in April). She also had piano practice, a lesson from First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind (FLL), and a chapter to read in her current assigned book (which she usually reads  at bedtime).


Lass had a few pages of math in her Star Wars workbook, some work on her spelling list and a couple of handwriting exercises. She had piano practice, a lesson from FLL, and a reading lesson, which consisted of reading and discussing a story with me.


Sis had two pages of math from a new Miquon math book, a page of handwriting and some practice on her handwriting slate, a few phonics pages, and some ABC practice in a new sticker book I got for her.

11:35 – Bubba wakes up while I’m doing Miss’s math test with her (Shiller math tests are administered by the teacher). I try to keep going to get through the test before getting him.

11:45 – We’re still working on the test, but the baby is getting mad, so I go get him and bring him down to nurse while I finish the math test with Miss.

11:55 – We’re finished with the math test. All the girls’ schoolwork is done except for Miss’s religion. We go and begin to make turnip pancakes for lunch (to go with our book from breakfast), and Miss and I read and discuss her religion pages while we grate turnips together.


1:00 – We finally sit down to eat lunch.


The turnip pancakes turned out great, except that they are far too salty. The girls and Bubba still eat some, so I’m feeling good about them having turnips for lunch. After they eat, I suggest to the girls that we should check the recipe again and see if we made a mistake of adding 2 Tbsp of salt instead of 2 tsp. I explain why this would be an easy mistake to make, but when we check, we find that we did read the recipe correctly, and it just called for too much salt. I discuss with them how it is possible to change a recipe if we make it and decide we don’t like something about it. Miss says next time we make these we should only add 1 Tbsp of salt.


1:25 – The girls go outside to play. It is crazy windy here, and I’m fairly certain they are freezing, because they insisted on wearing their light jackets when I suggested their winter coats, but they seem to be having fun anyway. I start cleaning up the kitchen.



2:05 – The kitchen is nearly clean, I have chicken in the oven for dinner, and I put Bubba down for his afternoon nap.

2:15 – The girls come inside. I send them to the basement to clean up their toys.


I spend the next half hour or so kind of wandering about from task to task, getting distracted and having a hard time actually finishing anything. I’m cleaning the kitchen a bit more, getting distracted by our seeds on the counter and deciding to spray some water on them, cleaning a bit more, remembering that my vacuum isn’t working right and looking for the manual so I can figure out how to clean the filter, etc.


I got a box with a few new books in it and I really, really want to sit down and start reading one of them, but I don’t.


2:45 – This kitchen is finally clean. Bubba wakes up after taking a really crummy (short) nap. I bring him down and nurse him, which gives me a few minutes to read one of my books.

3:15- I go downstairs to exercise. My husband and I are working our way through the P90X3 workouts. I was never interested in going P90X because I do not care to spend an hour plus working out every day, but these workouts are only 30 minutes, and they’re mostly pretty fun so we’re enjoying them. The workout for Tuesday was my least favorite though (Agility X), so I have to really talk myself into doing it.

4:00 – My workout is done, the girls have had a snack, and I realize that I forgot to put tinfoil over the chicken that is slowly cooking in my oven. I figure it’s probably too late, but put some on it anyway. I take the girls downstairs for some gym time. We practice basketball skills (which is kind of comical if you know how much basketball “skill” I possess), and then we play dodgeball/pickle and line tag.

5:00 – We go back upstairs so I can finish making dinner.

5:30 – Dinner (the chicken turned out okay, in spite of my failure to cover it)

7:00-ish – Everyone has had a shower or bath, I’m getting Bubba ready for bed, we say family prayers.

7:45 – I’ve gotten the baby to bed and come down to have the girls head upstairs and get in bed. They have made lots of paper dolls and are melting down because Lass “lost” Jessie, who apparently is Miss’s favorite paper doll. There are many tears. I tell them I will find Jessie while they go upstair and finish getting ready for bed. I find the paper doll (of course) and take it upstairs to relieved/happy girls.


8:10 – The girls are all tucked in and I come down to make myself a cup of coffee.

8:15 – I sit down with my coffee and one of the girls comes out and asks me to come up and snuggle with her.

8:25 – I again sit down with my coffee and my husband on the couch. We spend some time discussing and making a few purchases we have been putting off.

9:45 – Ben and I are done. He goes to bed. I get myself a snack and then go to bed too. I didn’t get my school prep done for the next day, but decide to finish it in the morning, and I’m pretty happy that I’ve managed to get myself into bed by a little after 10, which will make it a lot easier to get up at 5:30 the next day.

The End

Jamie of Simple Homeschool is doing a link up again this year, so if you’d like to see more “Day in the Life” posts from homeschoolers, go check it our here.


Wide Open Spaces

It’s been a long time coming.


We have been trying to purchase a property on which to build a new home and set up our “homestead” for a long time.

A really long time.

Yesterday, we finally closed the deal on this beautiful spot.


Our view:


It won’t be long (hopefully) before we have our home and garden and chickens and an amazing space for our girls to grow.


They’ll have even more space for all the things they love to do.

Running and rolling and climbing and exploring.


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All we have to do now is plan our dream home from scratch. Easy peasy, right?

Letting Them Help

One of my shortcomings as a mom is in allowing and encouraging my kids to help around the house.


They have little chores they have to do regularly, like picking up their toys, making their beds, and putting their cups/plates away after meals.

But what they really love to do is help me with my chores and cooking.

I know how much they love to help.

I know how much they love it and how good it is for them to do it. So I have been really trying to make a point of creating opportunities for them to help and inviting them to do so.


Problem is, I tend to get caught up in just getting stuff done and done quickly. And when I get wrapped up in that I don’t invite the girls to help. I don’t pull out the kid-safe spreading knives I got for them and ask them to help me make their PB&Js; I hurry to make sandwiches so they don’t melt down from hunger. I don’t get out their special little brooms and sweep with them; I grab my super-powered cordless stick vac to get up the crumbs under the table.




I chase them with the super-powered vacuum, which they love.

But I think they love helping more.


So I’m making a point of trying to let them help more.

I got special squirt bottles for them filled with just water so they can help me clean the counters and floor. I try to think of ways they can help me with dinner ahead of time, so I don’t end up with not much for them to do when they offer, because all I have left to do involves non-kid-friendly stuff like using my sharp knife or working with raw meat or pan frying something in a hot pan.

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I need to keep doing better with this. I love the looks on their faces and the pride in their voices when they help me with my work.

And though I always have plenty of chores and cooking to do, my most important job is teaching them. Teaching them to work hard. To value helping. To be self-sufficient. To feel good about themselves.

Helping me helps them with all of this and more.

Nashville, a Basement Flood, and Rainy Day Play

Well. I haven’t written a real post in over a week. Sorry.

I’ll spare you the details of why I haven’t written.

Like the fact that I’ve spent several evenings this week cleaning up the mess left behind from water than got into our basement while we were out of town.

Of the fact that I spent one evening filling out an application to adopt a puppy from a local shelter. He was the perfect puppy found on petfinders.com (a mixed lab, husky, and mastiff, blue-eyed little guy), and I was convinced that I had to fill out the application right away so we would be able to get him. Only to realize the next morning, through discussion with the husband, that this is really not a good time for us to get a PUPPY. Duh.

Or the fact that my youngest child is barely napping more than 30 minutes a day.

Or the fact that, becasue I finished weaning Sis last week, I spent all of last evening sitting with heating pads on my boobs, alternating sides with heat and kneading out knots from clogged ducts. Ouchie. I was sort of successful, as I ended up with two big wet circles on my shirt (clearly didn’t think that one through ahead of time), but I’m still trying to get it all worked out.

Anyway. I now have a little bit of napping from Sis, so I’m trying like heck to get this post done before she wakes up.

A quick catch-up on our happenings:

Last week, I spent the most awesome 24-hour period ever. In Nashville. Over night. With my husband. My mom watched the girls. We splurged on a fancy hotel.


Did I mention it was awesome?

We relaxed and went out for a nice dinner. Unfortunately it was slightly marred by the fact that the cab driver who took us to the restaurant was a “Too Much Cologne Wearing Man” and had apparently not only doused himself but also the seat of his cab with his chosen scent. I ended up with Eau de Bad-Man-Smell in my hair and on my dress (all I did was sit on the seat, I swear!), and my husband and I kept catching whiffs of it throughout dinner, making “ew, that stinks” faces, and then smelling ourselves, our hands, sleeves, etc., to try to figure out why the smell from the cab was still lingering. We both noticed it on our hands and made trips to the bathroom to wash, but it didn’t help. It wasn’t until we got back to the hotel that I thought to smell my hair and realized that I reeked of this guy’s cologne. And then I found that the back of my dress did too. Weird. And gross. And oddly sort of funny.

It was okay, though, since we got back to the hotel to find this lovely turn down service, complete with chocolate cookies that we were both too stuffed from dinner to eat.


I have to admit, though I love to stay in a fancy hotel sometimes, I always feel very awkward around the staff of such places. I never know when I’m supposed to tip, how much, and how to do it. I always end up averting my eyes and shoving some wadded up bills roughly in the direction of the person to whom I want to show appreciation while grumbling, “Uh, thanks a lot” or something like that. I think I was a little better this time than the last time we stayed at this place (mostly because I made my husband tip the valets and wrote all other tips on receipts), but I still always feel like a total hick in these situations.

The best part of the trip? We slept in and woke up to a room service breakfast and leisurely morning.

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No one yelled, “I’m huuuuungryyyyyy!” No one spilled her milk. No one complained about the breakfast food offerings. It was lovely.

We topped off the day with a walk around downtown Nashville, some visits to art galleries, and lunch at a place called the Back Alley Diner.


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It was a funky little place with a fun atmosphere and very good food. It made me feel young and hip again. Yes, I was once young and hip…


Our little side trip was an amazing perk of the visit with my parents. The girls did great while we were gone, as I knew they would, and I had some wonderful QT with my man.

It was a great visit with my parents. The girls had a great time, and they came home saying new things like “Doink” and “Big Honkin,'” as in “I doinked my head” and “Don’t take big honkin’ dragon bites [of food].” If you know my Mom, this will make perfect sense to you.

We were all sad to leave my parents’ house, but glad to be getting home.

Our travel day turned out to be a long one, with a flat tire on the way home and water in the basement once we got here.


But we’ve had a wonderful relaxing week at home.

Lass has been saving up her allowance money and finally got to order her “Rody” toy. It came in the mail the other day and she was so excited.

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She has barely stopped bouncing on it and has even asked to take it to bed with her. I’m pretty easygoing about letting them take books and toys to bed, but I’ve drawn the line at that one.

So she bounces during nearly all of her waking moments.


We brought up Miss’s Rody from the basement, which she got for Christmas two years ago from my in-laws. The games they are playing with these guys and the stories they make up are priceless.


They even hold them during their special time watching “animal shows” with their Dad in the evening.


The weather is still awful here. It’s snowing as I type this, and yesterday it rained all day. I used the weather as a good excuse for a lazy jammy day. We didn’t get dressed. We didn’t go anywhere. We did school in our pajamas, which the girls think is hilarious.

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And they played and played and played.

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Getting back into our home routine and hoping for better weather soon.

Happy weekend!

A Blizzard Named Draco and Other Random Stuff

I’ve been spending lots of nap and bedtime breaks this week addressing Christmas cards and wrapping presents, so I’m trying to catch up with a big post full of a bunch of random happenings from the week.

As I type this post, a big winter storm is raging outside my window. Snow is flying sideways. Wind is howling. My power keeps flickering out. It’s a blizzard called “Winter Storm Draco.” We woke this morning to a winter wonderland. The girls are thrilled, as this is the first big snow of the year.



I love that they are naming winter storms now. I think it gives some street cred to the hassles, and sometimes perils, of living in the north country. We’ve had snow falling for about 16 hours, but Draco is just starting to pick up steam now, so we’ll see how it turns out. Hopefully we don’t lose power before I get this post done…

Meanwhile, we’re just staying in and trying to keep busy. We’re preparing for Christmas (I still have a ton of wrapping to do before the weekend) and reading lots of Christmas books. “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” “Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree,” and “Christmas in the Big Woods” are the Christmas favorites right now. Other popular reads this week have been “The Snowy Day,” “The Gruffalo,” and “Interrupting Chicken.”

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The girls are finding cozy spots to hang out, to hide from monsters, and to play peek-a-boo.

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We got a fun and thoughtful gift from a friend of my Mom’s last week. She came across this Cinderella’s Castle gingerbread house kit, thought of my girls, and got it for them! What a sweet thing to do.

The girls were so eager to get it out and start working on it. I struggled with putting the frame of the house together on Monday and then had to put it away for a while to let it dry (and let myself recover from the frustration of getting it to stay up). We finally finished it today, and they had a blast!

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They were so proud of the finished product.


They’re already begging me to take it apart and eat it. Thanks Mrs. P!



I drew my last Chopped ingredients a few weeks ago. They were Crab, Pineapple, and Black Licorice. Holy crazy combination.

I decided to make Crab Tacos with a corn, roasted red pepper, and pineapple relish and some black licorice and lime mayo.

I roasted some peppers and then chopped them up and put them in a pan with some corn and chopped up pineapple. I seasoned this with salt, cumin, and a little bit of chili powder and threw in some minced cilantro when the cooking was done.

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I cooked the crab with minced garlic and chopped onion that had been sautéed in butter. I used cumin, salt and pepper for seasoning.


The ingredient that I had the hardest time with during the cooking was the licorice. I wanted to melt it to add it into some lime mayo, but couldn’t figure out how to get it to melt. I tried just putting it in a pan over medium heat, but it started to burn.


I got some new licorice pieces, added some water, and put it over low heat to avoid burning. The licorice was melting very slowly and the water just kept evaporating. After a long time messing with this, I ended up getting enough licorice-y liquid to add to the mayo and the licorice was soft enough that when I strained the liquid, I could mash little pieces of licorice through the strainer to get more of the flavor in the mayo.


Sound gross?

I know, my Chopped experiments probably always sound kind of gross.

This one turned out pretty well though.

The girls helped me with the cooking and learned about always tasting your food before serving it.


We decided it needed more salt



The finished product was good. Though the licorice was the trickiest ingredient during the cooking, the thing that caused the biggest problem in the taste of the finished dish was the pineapple. I used a little too much and didn’t chop it finely enough, so it was pretty overpowering. The licorice got lost under the lime in the mayo, so it wasn’t easily detected in the dish.


Weird as it sounds, and in spite of the problems, it really was quite good. I might even make this one again (with less pineapple).

Haven’t picked my next ingredients yet.

The week has been packed with Christmas readying and savoring. Last night I took the girls for a drive through a local park to see the Christmas lights. They called out through the whole drive, “Look Mama! More! Look, I see more!” over and over.

We got out to see the live reindeer they had on display. Lass would go anywhere near them, but Miss was pretty excited.


She really wanted to see Santa, but he’s only at this display on Friday and Saturday nights. I’m going to try to brave the mall to see him tomorrow if the roads aren’t too bad.

We’re embracing winter and the holidays this week. My girls are begging me to go out and play in the snow. They’re pretty persistent, but I have insisted that we wait until the blizzard stops, party pooper that I am. They are eager to make a snowman (Miss says it will be a Snow Queen, complete with a crown) and snow angels, and get into all sorts of other snowy fun. Wish me luck with this in our two feet of snow!



Weekend Family Fest

It was cold and rainy here all weekend. But our house was full of warmth and sunshine.

We took full advantage of being home together for a full weekend. We played, and made music, and colored Halloween cookies.

Yes, that’s a tear on her cheek. She had been very upset about something just before climbing in her seat to color her cookies. Probably that I made her take off her sister’s Snow White dress for the activity…

I had shown her how I bit off my ghost’s arms. She laughed and showed me her ghost, “Mama, I bit off his butt!”

We hunkered down for some much needed home time. Lists and agendas went out the window as we spent time just enjoying each other. It. was. awesome.

We did puzzles and played games and watched football. The girls knew the appropriate teams to cheer for (mostly “GO BLUE!” of course, but a little bit of “Yay Hawkeyes!” in there as well so their Daddy wouldn’t feel bad).

We got out paints and went to town. My girls love to paint. I love seeing how they each have their own way of doing it.

Miss decided that finger painting was in order. When I told her I wasn’t going to get out the finger paints (not my fave activity), she improvised. Tricky girl.

So, they made some great handprint art. It was messy. I don’t love messy, but I went with it. It was fun and I survived and they loved it.

It was a lazy jammy weekend. The only reason any of us got dressed all weekend (other than hubby and me when we went on a date Saturday), was that the girls got paint all over their jammies from the finger painting.

Of course we couldn’t get through this weekend family fest without carving our pumpkins. The older girls each had a pumpkin to draw a face on.

Daddy carved them while the girls looked on excitedly.

I forgot to buy one of those little pumpkin carving sets, so he was working hard and having a bit of trouble with my relatively large knives. Then he got smart.

The girls chose to do Mad (Miss’s), Scared (Lass’s), and Sad (Miss’s choice for Sis) faces on their pumpkins. I love how they turned out. It was a fun ending to a wonderful weekend.

A Photo Shoot Miracle and a Jammy Day

My girls have colds. Mostly the younger two. Runny noses, phlegmy throats, snot-shooting sneezes and all. Baby sis has it the worst right now.

I’m constantly running for a tissue to blow the noses of Lass and Sis. Lass informs me constantly, “I need to bwow boogies!” I get so confused going back and forth between the two of them, today I held a tissue up to Sis’s six-month-old nose and said, “Blow!”

We didn’t have anywhere to go, and with the girls feeling a bit yucky, I decided on a jammy day today. The closest anyone came to getting dressed was Lass’s wearing of her sister’s Snow White dress, complete with a red cape, all. day.

It was a good day. This afternoon I finally got to testify in my last case, so now I have no more work stuff hanging over my head. Miss and Lass and I did a “done with work for-evah!” dance after I was finished with my phone testimony.

I was glad to have a chill-out day at home with my girls.

Yesterday was a little more hectic. It was also the first time ever that all of my girls failed to nap in the afternoon. Miss sometimes doesn’t take a nap in the afternoon. That’s nothing new. But Lass and Sis always nap. Yesterday none of them did. None. Of. Them.

Yesterday none of them napped, and we had a photo session scheduled for just after what-should-have-been-nap-time. I planned to have our photographer get some shots of all three girls together, two-year photos of Lass, and six-month photos of Sis. I was also hoping for a family photo if my husband could make it on time after work. All this, and none of them napped!

Of all days.

Amazingly, the photo session was great. The only real evidence that the girls didn’t nap was that Miss was a little bit crazy running around, which she tends to do when she’s overly tired.

That and the fact that Sis fell asleep right before my husband arrived to do our family photo. She slept in his arms the whole time while our photographer snapped a few hasty shots of us all together. She’s skilled with the Photoshop, so we will probably have cut-and-pasted faces patched together to make one decent family photo. It’s all good. We only need one. The fact that we all made it out of there with sanity and limbs intact is nothing short of miraculous, I tell you.

Jammy day was perfect for today.

We’re looking forward to the weekend with Daddy home. Hopefully we’ll get our pumpkins carved and decorate some Halloween cookies. Watch football and chill. I love Daddy-home weekends.

Doing Summer

We’ve been doing summer a little differently this year.  Last year we spent several days each week at the pool in the mornings, and were outside playing constantly.  This year, with the arrival of Baby Sis, plus Miss having school on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, swimming on Monday and Wednesday mornings, and our standing play date on Fridays, and with naps in the afternoons, well, we haven’t been outside as much so far this summer (except for the two weeks we’ve spent at the Farm already, of course).  This summer we’ve been chilling out around the house a bit more when we are home.   

It’s different, but still fun.  The big girls have taken to putting on their own dance parties.

The little baby play table next to Miss is what she was playing the music on.  My little budding DJ…

Lass initially just wanted to watch.

I won’t dance.  Don’t ask me.

But of course she started to get into the music before long.

And eventually really let loose.

Miss is really into playing her games and being crafty.

She and I made the “crown” she’s wearing from rolled up strips of a Snow White page she colored and yarn.  The idea came from our summer babysitter, who brought over this craft and made necklaces with the girls one day.  Yep, I now have a babysitter who does crafts with the girls.  Her own crafts, that she prepares and brings with her.  And cleans up.  This is huge.  I love this.

Baby sis is just such a little lover.  She’s the happiest little baby.

She has started to giggle a tiny bit.  Here is the progression of one of her giggles:

Miss takes an art class on Wednesday mornings before her swimming lesson.  Yesterday Lass and Sis and I  ran a few short errands and then sat outside and had a snack while waiting for her class to finish.

It was the perfect spot for a little snack picnic.

So far summer has felt very full.  Maybe it has been a little too full, with school and swimming and art and play dates and travel and all the other day to day stuff that has to fit in there too.  But it has been good.  Today was Miss’s last day of school for the summer, so we will have a bit of time freed up for pool and park mornings or just playing outside in our own yard a bit more.  Tomorrow we leave for Kentucky to visit my parents.  My Grandma will be visiting them too, so we will celebrate her 90th birthday and have a family reunion this weekend.  I can’t wait for her to meet Sis.  My parents haven’t seen her since the week after she was born.  She’s three months old today.

It’s gonna be a great trip.


This weekend I’m enjoying simple things.  Lilacs in mason jars on my counter and table.  Big smiles and hugs from my girls.  Playing outside in amazing, warm weather.  Watching imaginations bloom and sister games develop.  Great times with wonderful friends.  Date night.  Some lovely real snail mail notes from my Grandma and a sister in law.  We’re not doing anything extravagant or big this weekend, but doing simple things together is exactly what makes me happy right now.

Miss has had some trouble with a bit of eczema.  We discovered it was probably largely being caused by her frequent wearing of her “ballerina costume.”  So I have had to tell her she can no longer wear it and explain why.  I was worried this might lead to an all out screaming fit.  But to her credit, Miss has taken this in stride and is now just working on expanding her dress up repertoire.  At a play date on Friday she was a doctor.  Yesterday, she was a princess.  She had been wearing high-heeled play shoes and carrying a Snow White purse in addition to her tutu and crown, but in preparation to go outside to play, we discussed every princess’s need for real shoes and sunglasses.  She chose boots.  It’s a good look.

I believe this stick was supposed to be some sort of weapon for fending off the “Evil Queen,” her sister.

The weapon of the Evil Queen?  A watering can.

Miss chose this rock as her place from which to defend herself.
“Here she comes!!!”
Terrifying, eh?

The battle.

It was epic, of course.  Miss alternates between enlisting her sister in the roles of “Monster,” “Evil Queen,” and “Prince Charming.”  Lass plays along happily.  It’s so fun to watch.

Last night I think my husband and I finally reached real “grown up” status.  We had a grown up night and play date in one.  It was awesome.  Our friends came over with their three kids, my husband cooked ribs, the kids played, no one got hurt or threw a tantrum, my friend and I chased kids around and had a some great grown up conversation (as only moms can do while managing five kids running and climbing all over and one newborn), and our husbands consumed a couple of grown up beverages while talking about manly things and occasionally bouncing a baby.  Good food and good company led to a supremely enjoyable evening.

The four oldest kids all crammed into our tiny sandbox.  This thing was the entertainment hit of the evening.  They all played in there, even dumping sand over each others’ heads, and never once was there an argument amongst them.

It was beautiful.

This little munchkin was the star of the show.  She loves to be outside, and she rocked the bouncy seat when she wasn’t eating or napping in her swing inside.  A good time was had by all.

Today we’re having a lazy Sunday at home.  The big girls are outside playing with their daddy.  Our garden is starting to produce a few items ready to be eaten (radishes and lettuce).  We have lots of leftovers from dinner last night, so I won’t have to cook.  This is the life.  Happy weekend to you.


$1 can buy some great stuff.  A friend of mine told me about these little drums that hang around kids’ necks in the $1 section at Target.  Have I ever mentioned how much I love the $1 section at Target?  Well, I love it.  A lot.  Today I had to pick up a few things at this wonderful store, so I checked the $1 section for drums on strings.  My friend said her kids loved them.  Lo and behold.

These simple little drums led to hours of fun today.  They prompted a pre-nap jam session/dance party, where both of my girls played their drums, Miss sang (her version of the Snow White song, “I’m wishing, I’m wishing, today, today.”) and we all danced.

I also bought $1 star-shaped tambourines and $1 maracas for each of the girls, but the drums were by far the favorite.

After dinner the girls showed off their drumming talents to their Daddy.  Miss in particular was really enjoying keeping the beat.  She got very excited that we could all play music together, and repeatedly asked, “Should we all play music together?”  Daddy played his guitar, I played a tambourine, Miss played her drum.  Lass lost interest in her drum after a little while and instead just danced along, wearing a tutu and sunglasses of course.  We played fast.  We played slow.  Miss practiced keeping the beat.  We sang.  We laughed.  These little $1 drums brought so much joy today.  And I’m not even talking about my girls’ enjoyment of them, which was substantial (before bed Miss asked if she could play with her drum again when she wakes up). I’m talking about me.  I had so many moments of, “Wow, look at how awesome these girls are” and “I’m having such a blast” and “I will never forget this” as a result of buying these $1 drums.  Who knew?  Talk about a cure for cabin fever.  These $1 drums, and the fun they brought to our house today, are priceless.