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Showing posts from June, 2020

My June Book Stack

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I really love reading, like really, really love it.  Before I had kids I could easily finish two books over a weekend and polish off up to ten a month.  Now, however, my reading time is more limited so I have to pick and choose what I read a little more carefully.  I tend to read a lot more "easy reads" (i.e., thrillers, beach reads, etc.) these days than I used to but I am trying to change that. I thought it would be fun to chronicle what I read each month here on the blog and also give you a chance to tell me what you're reading in the comments.  So here's what I read in June - let me know what you're reading or what you've recently read! Rural Diaries I used to be a fan of One Tree Hill.  I'm now a fan of The Walking Dead.  Hilarie Burton Morgan and Jeffrey Dean Morgan seem so darn cool and I was so excited to get this book in the mail and have a deeper peak into their lives.  The verdict - they are cool and their story is great.  It's a goo

Sibling Room Sharing

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Our house is a little funky.  It was built in the 50s as a 3 bedroom/1 bathroom house.  However, over the years its been remodeled and it's now a 5 bedroom/3 bathroom house.  Don't let that number fool you though, it's still only about 1700 square feet so we basically have three normal sized bedrooms and two tiny, little closet sized bedrooms.  Until recently, all of my kids had their own room.  Eleanor and George had normal sized rooms and we put Ruby's nursery in one of the tiny rooms.  HOWEVER, Ruby's room is on the other side of the house from our bedroom and David and I have never really been comfortable with her being so far away (I know, I know, it's really not that far considering the size of the house).  Also, with the kids being home so much more (well, all of us being home so much more), I was longing for a playroom - a place where all the kids could play that didn't "belong" to any of them like their bedrooms did. All that said, w

Quick Takes: Enneagram Crisis, Old Pets, and Frivolities

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1. Homeschool Charter Options I'm obsessing about school in the fall.  I recently learned about public homeschool charter schools and am thinking that might be the way for us to go next year (assuming we can get into one).  Do any of you have experience?  If so, PLEASE tell me everything.  I'm excited to homeschool but it would be nice to have a little guidance from some teaching authority to help ease us into things.  The funding they give for supplies wouldn't hurt either. 2. Enneagram I was going to do a whole blog post about this because it's so interesting to me BUT I just decided to stick it here for now.  Are any of you into the Enneagram?  If so, you'll understand my panic over my recent Enneagram identity crisis.  For years I thought I was a 9 (based on tests and reading) but I recently retested and was overwhelmingly a 4.  What?!  The two types are so different - one feels all the emotions and the other one avoids them.  The more I read about 4s t

Chapter Books for 8-Year-Olds

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I'm so excited to be writing this post because I really, really love children's books.  Lucky for me, my kids do too.  Particularly when it comes to chapter books for my 8-year-old, Eleanor, I'm always scouring the internet for suggestions and recommendations.  I love to see what other people are reading to their kids and what their kids are reading. For this post I asked Eleanor to pick out a few of her favorite chapter books.  Here's what she came up with: Harry Potter This list would not be complete without Harry Potter.  I'm a huge Harry Potter fan.  Huge.  The books are total comfort reads for me and I reread them every few years.  In my eagerness to pass my love of Harry Potter on to my children, I made the mistake of introducing Harry Potter a little too early and Eleanor was just not ready.  This past March, however, I gave her the first book again and - total magic.  She absolutely loved it and finished the first four books in record time.  We s

Quick Takes: Board Games, Beach & Books

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I love love love reading other bloggers' seven quick takes and am so excited to join the party.  So here goes! 1. Board Games My kids are finally old enough to play fun board games.  My husband and I have been waiting 8 years for this day to come.  Right now we're still playing a lot of Monopoly Junior, Sorry, and Checkers but I'm so excited to get real family game nights going.  We also really love Sleeping Queens, Exploding Kittens, Uno and all the card game classics (Go Fish, Old Maid, etc.).  What other games do we need to get? 2. THE BEACH About a week and a half ago we took our first trip to the beach in a very long time.  It was glorious.  We've since been back a couple of times and I can't even describe how good it feels to be doing a sort of normal summer thing after months of lots of not normal things.  I'm trying to really pare down what we bring since most of the time it's just me and the kids during the week and I hate feeling like a pa

Handwriting Without Tears Review: Cursive and Printing

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Back in March when the schools closed their physical doors due to COVID-19, I quickly realized that my kids were going to be spending a lot of time on the computers (distance learning, ugh).  To counterbalance all that screen time I wanted to find some kind of daily writing workbook for them to practice handwriting and keep those skills fresh (especially for my kindergartener who had just started learning to write).  I'm not sure how I stumbled upon Handwriting Without Tears but I'm so glad I did.  The company was running a sale in March and I was able to purchase both of these books for about $12 - such a steal and absolutely worth every. single. penny. I purchased a basic printing book for George, my kindergartener, and the cursive book for Eleanor, my second grader.  During the last few months of distance learning, I had the kids start their school days by doing a page or two out of these books.  It was a good way to get them warmed up for learning and I liked having th

Magic Double Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

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One of my kids is an extremely picky eater.  This makes trying new recipes difficult and coming up with new, different, and unique dinners almost impossible.  Vegetables are also a challenge.  My picky eater is very sensitive to food textures (doesn't like most berries because of the seeds, doesn't like cucumber/avocado/zucchini because they're "mushy", and so on).  While there are a few vegetables that I can always count on getting all my kids to eat (broccoli and green beans, PTL), when I want them to eat a few more varieties of vegetables, I almost always have to sneak the veggies into other foods like smoothies, baked goods, and applesauce. I can usually pretty easily sneak leafy greens into smoothies and applesauces.  As for baked goods, I often use them as a vessel for carrots and zucchini**.  I've learned over the years that if I add cocoa power or unsweetened cacao powder (which is what I'm working with right now - purchased at Costco in bulk) t

Relaxed Summer Nature Study

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I'll start this post by saying that I am absolutely not an artist.  I've also never been the crafty mom.  I'm terrible at coming up with unique craft ideas and the mess of crafting usually overwhelms me.  As a mom my strengths have always been reading (I'll never turn down an opportunity to read to my kids) and taking my kids on adventures (in summers past we've spent about 5 days a week out at libraries, parks, beaches, zoos, museums, indoor play areas, berry picking, etc.)  However, with this being the summer of COVID-19 and many of our usual outings being unavailable to us (and with reading out loud only taking up so much time), I'm turning to art to fill the void. That said, I've never considered myself good at drawing or painting.  Because I'm lacking in the art department I figured the easiest way to incorporate art into our summer would be to let nature be the teacher.  Enter nature studies. My plan here is to read nature books and have

Relaxed Summer Homeschooling

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One thing I really love about homeschooling is the freedom to decide when you teach and learn.  At public school, the days are long as are the winter, spring, fall, and summer breaks.  To me, it makes more sense to focus on education for fewer hours each day but spread the learning more evenly throughout the year. That said, because I haven't even really started homeschooling yet, I'm not going to jump into summer schooling or year-round schooling yet .  I do, however, want to incorporate some more traditional learning activities (read: workbooks) into our summer days.  I envision these activities taking maybe an hour total (probably more like 30 minutes) and being very relaxed (meaning if we miss a day, we miss a day - no big deal).  I'm planning on having the kids do a math lesson, grammar lesson, and handwriting lesson every day.  I also bought sketch books, watercolor colored pencils, and markers for the kids because I really want art and nature study to play a large

Helpful Homeschool Books (Secular Homeschooling)

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When I first flirted with the idea of homeschooling my kids for the 2020-2021 school year, I felt extremely overwhelmed and anxious.  I watched a lot of videos online and read a lot of blogs and articles; however, there's nothing quite like reading helpful information in a real, good ol' fashioned book.  These are three of the books I purchased and read over the last few months, organized from least helpful to most helpful. So You're Thinking About Homeschooling .  This book is not a "how to" homeschool book and, thus, will not give you any suggestions on the best ways or methods to homeschool your kids.  It also does not provide guidance on what your child should be learning in a given year.  Instead, this book tells the stories of a dozen or so homeschooling families.  This was the first book out of the three that I read and, while I didn't resonate with every family featured in the book or agree with their curriculum choices, I found this book to be ex