Friday, December 29, 2017

No.62: My One Little Word for 2018: Roots

We're just days from 2018.  Don't think I'm too crazy, but this is one of my favorite times of the year!  I love a blank page, a fresh start, and the process of imagining the possibilities for the year ahead.

It's also time to choose a new word.  This will be my sixth year, which is mind-boggling to me - how time flies!  My one little word for 2017, Slow, turned out to be the grounding point I needed when my life was clearly the opposite.  The process of buying and selling a house consumed my life for three long, stressful months.  And with the return to homeschooling, the pace really hasn't lessened much.  Yet the biggest lesson I learned is that slow is a mindset.  I no longer believe that busy equals productivity.  I've (sometimes painfully) pruned back many areas of my life and have kept only the most important parts.  I'm more cognizant of quality versus quantity.

Slow.  It's just one little word, but I'm a better person for it.

On to 2018.  I'd been throwing around some ideas, when a few things really stood out:
  • Mark and I finally feel like we can settle down in our new home.  Unless God has other plans, we're here for the long-haul.
  • My grandmother's death earlier this month (and then really feeling the weight of being grandparent-less) has me reflecting on family in a whole new way.
  • Closing my little home decor shop took a part of my identity with it.  I've been doing a bit of soul searching - who am I and what do I want to do?
So with those things in mind, my one little word for 2018 is....roots.


root (n): "the fundamental or essential part"
root (v): "to establish deeply and firmly"

In 2018, I'd like to prioritize and strengthen my roots
... in my role as a daughter
... in my role as a sister
... in my roles as wife and mother
... in my role as a friend
... in my new home
... in my garden
... in my new community
... in my faith

I think it's going to be a good year.  Do you choose a word?  What's yours?



PREVIOUS ONE LITTLE WORD CHOICES
(2013 // Intention, 2014 // Brave, 2015 // Thrive, 2016 // Learn, 2017 // Slow

Sunday, December 17, 2017

No.61: Lessons from Two of the Most Amazing Women I Have Ever Known

2017 seems to have been a year filled with declarations of "Girl Power!" and the rising up and acknowledgement of amazing women.  I feel so fortunate that I don't need to look far for extraordinary examples - I only have to look up my family tree.

I lost both of my grandmothers this year: my Nana in March and my Memere yesterday morning.  They were both strong women, funny, fiercely loyal, and passionate about family.  Below are three lessons they have passed on to me, although I truly could write a book. 

Thanksgiving 2017

You can do hard things

Both of my grandmothers had countless curve balls thrown at them throughout their lives.  One was a widow in her 30's with three young children to suddenly provide for.  One came from a large French-Canadian family, loved children and yet struggled with infertility.  In their later years, my Nana would suffer from dementia and my Memere would spend years in debilitating pain.  And yet, after (I'm sure) many tears and prayers, they both faced their days head-on and made the most of a less-than-ideal situation.  If they could survive such heartache, overwhelm and pain, then surely I can too.  I can do hard things too.

A joyful life affects countless others

The beautiful part of this story is that despite all adversity, they were two of the most joyful people I have ever met.  Happy and full of laughter and so passionate about people.  On the surface, you would never know the pain they carried in their hearts.  But their joy?  Their joy was contagious.  And everyone, from family to friends to acquaintances, could feel it. 
 

Family matters most

I visited my Nana, unknowingly for the last time, about eight months before she died.  We visited in a sunny sitting room in her nursing home.  Although confused by the dementia and unaware of who I was, my Nana gave me such a gift as she thoughtfully said, "So this is my family."  Even though her brain couldn't remember or comprehend, her heart knew.

My Memere's wish for a long time has been to have her entire family together with her.  We all live states away and with schedules and work and babies, it's been difficult to coordinate such an event.  But in a way I can only think was divinely inspired, we were all able to travel and see her this Thanksgiving.  We crowded into her tiny apartment (all 17 of us!) and shared a meal together.  We laughed and played with babies.  We joked with her and held her hand.  In just a few hours, we made one more memory.  And three short weeks later, God took her home.  What a gift that visit was, maybe even more for us than for her.

When I reflect on my relationship with both of my grandmothers and the countless memories throughout my 33 years, two words always jump out at me: love and home.  Growing up in a military family, they were our grounding point, our constant when life was always changing.  They opened their arms, homes and refrigerators.  They showed me that we choose to be significant pieces in the family puzzle, regardless of distance.  And that choice is an important one. 

So despite missing them both deeply, I rejoice that they are celebrating this Christmas with their Creator and I hold tight to the way their small, ordinary lives impacted mine.  May I live my life in a way that even remotely mimics theirs. 



Well done, my good and faithful servant.  Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities.  Come, share your master's joy. - Matthew 25:21


Wishing you a wonderful Christmas season, friends.  See you in the New Year. xoxo

Friday, December 15, 2017

No.60: Our Farmhouse Schoolhouse in Photos (Week 16)

`This post contains affiliate links.

Only ten more days until Christmas!  Our social calendar has gotten us out of the house, but not feeling crazy.  I've finished my shopping and have wrapped all of the gifts.  The tree is slowly being filled with homemade ornaments and it's just the sweetest thing ever.  With the help of my new morning habit, it's been my most fruitful Advent in a long, long time.  I've even managed to keep up with the St. Andrew novena! 

In past Decembers, I've felt a whole range of emotions, everything from disappointment to overwhelm to excitement to dread.  Last year, I had a newborn baby and felt like I was just going through the motions in an overtired fog.  But this year, I feel peace.  All is calm, all is bright.  That's definitely not how you'd describe my house (so many little people talking at once! hah), but represents my heart. You never know what can happen in the future, so I'm trying to savor it.  What a gift after a whirlwind year.

Day 11 // The Night of Las Posadas
Feliz Navidad!  We kicked off our week of Mexican Christmas traditions by trying Mexican hot chocolate for the first time.  There were varying responses from the kids: one loved, two thought it was just so-so, and two took a sip and declared it gross.

Day 12 // Our Lady of Guadalupe
We listened to the audio story on Formed as we made chocolate pretzel bites and then talked all about the amazing stories that go along with Juan Diego's tilma.  This Marian apparition is one of my favorites and I love learning a bit more about it each year.

Day 13 // The Legend of the Poinsettia
Another new story from Tomie dePaola for us this year and we loved it.  Did you know that in Mexico, they call the flower "flor de la Nochebuena" (flower of the Holy Night), but we call it a poinsettia because of the man who brought it to the US?  We made our own poinsettias using coffee filters and watercolor paint.  They turned out so cute.

Day 14 // Merry Christmas, Amelia Bedelia
How we love that that crazy Amelia Bedelia!
We wrapped up Mexico by baking Mexican snowball cookies.  The recipe I picked from Pinterest was just okay, but after help from friends on Instagram (thanks so much, Stephanie and Jackie!!), I'll be trying these next:
Stephanie's version (scroll to the last photo - she said her family has been using this for years)
Smitten Kitchen version

Day 15 // Christmas Cookies
I'm sure you can guess what we're up to tonight after Dad gets home from work?  This sugarholic and her little minions are going to need a detox come January. :)

Other things to note:
+ Last Sunday, I made homemade gingerbread for the first time using this recipe.  It was SO delicious and easy to make.  I'll never go back to the hard-as-rock store-bought version again.
+ Our read aloud this week was Truce, a narrative about how troops in World War I would defy the commanding officers by stopping and celebrating Christmas with their "enemies."  Some of the pictures were a little graphic for little ones (dead horses or soldiers laying on the ground), so I just skipped showing those pages as I read.  Lots of good conversation about propaganda, how man's greed and hunger for power affected millions of others and how war isn't as "cool" as it sounds.  M will be studying WWI after Christmas break and this was a great introduction.
+ I wasn't on the ball and didn't find tickets for the live version, so we watched The Nutcracker on Amazon.  The boys were skeptical, but watched anyway.  Sophie really enjoyed it and ran to get her leotard and tiara before it even ended.  I think it's a Christmas time staple!


Current 1000 Books Project Total: 86/1000

MOTHER CULTURE & SELF-CARE

+ Health: Aside from a few stretches, nothing.  I have this weird ache in my hip so am playing it cautious.
+ Reading: I finished What Remains True and read a few pages of Anne.
+ Spiritual: Still keeping up with Rooted in Hope!
+ Fun: I gave the blog a much overdue makeover!  I'm still working on some of the kinks (like why random paragraphs on random posts are in bold?!) and have to tweak a few things on the sidebar, but I love it so far.  Fresh and clean and ready for the 2018. 

Monday, December 11, 2017

No.59: 20 Things I Love - A Gratitude Journal vol.5

This post contains affiliate links.

the first snowfall of the season
the way our property felt like a winter wonderland all day
having kids old enough to put on their own snow gear (game changer!)
the perfect snow consistency, just begging to be rolled and thrown
watching Mark build a snowman with them in the front yard
steaming cups of hot cocoa and mini marshmallows
 lighting the fireplace first thing every morning
starting the day with prayer and Scripture
big cozy sweaters and warm wool socks
watching the little ones play with our Playmobil nativity figures
holding Mark's hand
the glow of the twinkle lights above the sink
working on our December puzzle, bit by bit (it's a hard one!)
P toddling around like he owns the place
popcorn and cranberry garlands around the tree
the smell of fresh-out-of-the-oven loaves of bread
decorating gingerbread men, made from a new recipe (so yummy!)
Christmas songs on repeat
wrapping gifts with wrapping paper from TJMaxx
slipping into warm flannel sheets at night

Friday, December 8, 2017

No.58: Our Farmhouse Schoolhouse in Photos (Week 15)


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Week One of Advent School was a success.  I desperately needed this change of pace, maybe even more than the kids.  Every day is a reminder to slow down...I have been asking myself constantly, "What's the rush?  Why the hurry?"  Calming the urgency of every.little.task has been challenging, but what's most important will get done.  I hope.

Also important to mention: I started a new habit this week and I really hope I can keep it up.  I've been feeling my introverted-ness in a big way lately and the constant interaction with people has been taking its toll.  (They are everywhere and there's nowhere to run, hah!)  So this week, I started waking up at 5:15.  I turn on the Christmas tree, light the fireplace, pour a cup of hot coffee and sit down to my devotional.  In the silence, I have time to read, pray and drink my coffee while it's still hot.  It has been amazing!  I feel calmer, centered and ready to tackle the day.   

Notes and highlights:

Day 4 // Richard Scarry's Best Christmas Book Ever
We played the board game in the book, worked on our puzzle and had an entire morning dedicated to Art for Kids Christmas tutorials.

Day 5 // The Jolly Christmas Postman
We're really enjoying the children's companion to my Rooted in Hope advent study.  We talked about Moses and then the bigger kids watched the episode about him from The Bible DVD.  (There are some scary parts, so I was close by to block off the screen when necessary.)

Day 6 // Saint Nicholas: The Real Story of the Christmas Legend
The kids found chocolate coins and the Brain Games game in their shoes this morning!
We made Italian soft anise cookies, but used vanilla extract instead.  So delicious and relatively easy to do with a bunch of helpers.  I had some on rolling duty, some on glaze-dipping duty and one on sprinkles.

Day 7 // Country Angel Christmas
We made ornaments with Sculpey clay.  The plan was to make star ornaments (to go along with the story), but the kids went rogue!  We ended up with two candy canes, a cross, a mug of cocoa and a blueberry pie.

Day 8 // Merry Christmas, Curious George (P.S. the hardcover version is less than $4 right now!)
The three littlest woke up not feeling well.  We spent the morning laying low and watching the fire.  For family movie night tonight, we'll be having popcorn and hot cocoa and watching the Polar Express.

Other things to note:
+ TJ has been playing with the Playmobil Nativity every.single.day.  We have it set up in the kitchen and I love to peek in on him.
+ We're still on a Tomie dePaola kick around here and have started his biography, 26 Fairmount Avenue.  We're all loving it so far!  His story about seeing Snow White at the movie theater was adorable and hilarious.


Current 1000 Books Project Total: 78/1000


MOTHER CULTURE & SELF-CARE

+ Health: Blogged about my workouts this week!
+ Reading: What Remains True - an e-book I got for free on Amazon.  Really sad and depressing so far.  Hoping it will pick up soon.
+ Spiritual: I'm keeping up with Rooted in Hope and already feeling the fruits of the discipline.
+ Fun: I joined 22 other lovely ladies in a HUGE Christmas book giveaway on Instagram!  We each chose one of our favorite books and one lucky winner will receive them all.  There were so many great choices - I was jotting down titles to add to our own collection, hah!  The giveaway is open until 12PM EST today! 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

No.57: Workout Wednesday - Off-Season Exercise

two weeks of workout plans to do before racing season

My main fitness goal right now is to be a faster runner.  I ran a horribly disappointing performance at the 10K last month (don't even get me started...) but after a bit of pouting, I'm ready to lace my sneakers again and get to work.  The tentative plan for 2018 is to run a half marathon in May and quite possibly go for the full marathon in November.  Maybe a 10K or two sprinkled in there too.  I won't start officially training until the end of February, so I have a bunch of wiggle room to try new things this winter.  My focus is on good form, speed and getting as strong as I can...I'm looking at you, weak core! 

Below are my workouts from last week and what I plan to achieve in the next few days.  I always aim for five days a week, but life happens and I'll settle for four good ones too.

____________________________________________

LAST WEEK
Monday // OFF DAY - I was still catching up from a week away

Tuesday // 3 miles, easy pace - I didn't run at all while we were gone, so it felt good to get going again.  

Wednesday // "Swing Dance" kettlebell workout - The workout calls for three rounds, but I could only complete two.  I added a 400m walk in between sets, just to catch my breath.  My legs felt like jelly!

SWING DANCE
3 rounds as fast as good form allows
20 kettlebell swings
20 air squats
20 kettlebell swings
15 air squats
20 kettlebell swings
10 air squats

Thursday // OFF DAY - I was so sore from the day before.  Sign of a good workout!

Friday // 20 minute hill intervals on the treadmill - Stupidly, I thought this one would be a breeze.  Only 20 minutes with changes after every minute?  Easy peasy.  Uh, no.  I was dying and almost felt like I was going to throw up.  8% incline is no joke!

20 MINUTE TREADMILL HILL INTERVALS
0-1:00     5.0 at 0% incline
1-2:00     5.5 at 0% incline
2-3:00     5.0 at 2% incline
3-4:00     5.5 at 2% incline
4-5:00     5.0 at 4% incline
5-6:00     5.5 at 4% incline
6-7:00     5.0 at 6% incline
7-8:00     5.5 at 6% incline
8-9:00     4.5 at 8% incline
9-10:00    5.0 at 8% incline
10-11:00   4.0 at 0% incline
11-12:00   5.0 at 6% incline
12-13:00   5.7 at 6% incline
13-14:00   5.0 at 4% incline
14-15:00   6.0 at 4% incline
15-16:00   5.0 at 2% incline
16-17:00   6.5 at 2% incline
17-18:00   5.0 at 0% incline
18-19:00   7.0 at 0% incline
19-20:00   4.0 at 0% incline

Saturday // Kelli's Abs and Upper Body Strength Training Workout (Fitness Blender) - 6 rounds of supersets, one arm movement paired with ab work.  I loved the arm portion and struggled through the abs.  After six pregnancies, my core is so weak!  Definitely need work in that department.    

Sunday // 4 miles "long" run - I like to get home from church, change into my sweatpants and stay that way ALL day, but I forced myself into my sneakers instead.  I watched an episode of Amazing Race on the treadmill.

THIS WEEK
Monday // OFF DAY  

Tuesday // 3.1 miles - This was supposed to be 3 miles at easy pace, which turned into a 3 mile progression run which turned into a "Hmm, I wonder if I can beat my 5K time?"    

Wednesday // Beginner Kettlebell workout - Mark has been using kettlebells and getting great results, so I'm jumping on the bandwagon too.

BEGINNER KETTLEBELLS
10 goblet squats
8 (each side) one-arm row
5 (each side) one-arm press
15 kettlebell swings
8 (each direction) shoulder halos
8 (each direction) hip halos
5 (each direction) around the leg pass
15 kettlebell swings
8 (each side) squat to press
15 kettlebell swings


Thursday // 3 miles, easy pace

Friday // 45 minutes of kickboxing (Chris Freytag) - I used to do this years ago and can't wait to try it again.

Saturday // 5 mile long run - Hoping to get in the habit of doing my long run on Saturdays, so I can stay in my sweatpants on Sunday.

Sunday // OFF DAY

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

No.56: New Habits, Little by Little - Cooking at Home (November 2017)


"All great change in America begins at the dinner table." - Ronald Reagan 

Month #5!  November was a month rich in birthday celebrations, anniversaries and meals with family in my favorite place, the real big white farmhouse in Maine.

Week 18 (cont.):
Wednesday, November 1: out for Chick-Fil-A after All Saints Day mass
Thursday, November 2: leftovers
Friday, November 3: five layer dip for the kids, Home Chef for date night (steak with horseradish-herb cream and potatoes presse)

Week 19:
Saturday, November 4: roasted chicken thighs with spinach-artichoke twice baked potatoes (we used milk and a little cheese, so not really #paleo)
Sunday, November 5: easy baked ziti and salad
Monday, November 6: leftovers
Tuesday, November 7: supreme nachos
Wednesday, November 8: one pot creamy tortellini and smoked sausage
Thursday, November 9: slow cooker honey garlic chicken and rice
Friday, November 10: USMC birthday! leftovers for the kids, Home Chef for date night (swiss fondue burger with onion jam and parsley fries), birthday cake

Week 20:
Saturday, November 11: brisket tacos
Sunday, November 12: cheesy brisket sandwiches
Monday, November 13: white chicken lasagna soup
Tuesday, November 14: frozen pizza because Mark worked late and Mama was tired
Wednesday, November 15: creamy parmesan chicken tortellini
Thursday, November 16: M's birthday! he went out for burgers with Mark, the rest of us had leftovers
Friday, November 17: Italian meatball skillet with pasta

Week 21:
Saturday, November 18: Taco Bell drive-through after mass
Sunday, November 19: Maine vacation! American chop suey
Monday, November 20: frozen pizzas
Tuesday, November 21: tacos
Wednesday, November 22: pizza from a new local pizza place - delicious!
Thursday, November 23: Thanksgiving! turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry, rolls...and the pies...and the fudge...
Friday, November 24: Date night! steak for Mark and brisket tacos for me

Week 22:
Saturday, November 25: Panera on the drive home
Sunday, November 26: Our 12th Anniversary! we ended up scrounging around and all eating random things
Monday, November 27: tacos for the kids and steak, homemade french fries and Asian salad (a belated anniversary dinner) for us
Tuesday, November 28: pasta and homemade meat sauce
Wednesday, November 29: roasted chicken thighs and Asian salad
Thursday, November 30: J's birthday! burgers and fries from our favorite local spot

Monday, December 4, 2017

No.55: Intentions for December


It's beginning to look a little like Christmas around here!  We're trying something new this year for Advent: today (on the first Sunday) we brought out the tree, but left it bare.  Then, the next two weeks, we'll slowly start adding ornaments and garland, a little bit day by day.  On the fourth Sunday (and Christmas eve!), we'll put the presents underneath.  Advent is all about preparation and anticipation and I think this will be a fun way to practice both.

INTENTIONS FOR DECEMBER:

  • Habit of the Month: Thanksgiving
  • stick with the Rooted in Hope journal (make a new morning habit!)
  • try to take a decent picture of the kids for Christmas cards
  • buy P's needlepoint stocking
  • stick with December Daily
  • bake one new type of cookie
  • make a calm down glitter jar (100LT #59)
  • watch the Nutcracker (100LT #68)
  • make a popcorn garland for the Christmas tree (100LT #67)
  • wrap and read one book everyday during Advent (100LT #66)
  • reflect back on 2017 and jot down intentions for the new year
  • choose my One Little Word for 2018
  • slow down, unplug and enjoy this last month of the year

PREVIOUS INTENTIONS:


If you're reading on your phone or in a reader, click through to see what I crossed off the list!

  • wrap picture books for Advent
  • start the Rooted in Hope journal
  • print out the kids sheets for Rooted in Hope (I decided to save paper and ink and just discuss the questions verbally with the kids)
  • try to take a decent picture of the kids for Christmas cards (no luck yet! I need to get on it)
  • decide on a gift for P's first birthday (Much to the excitement of his brothers, we got him this.  He'll be zipping around the house with TJ in no time)
  • buy P's needlepoint stocking
  • get organized for December Daily (sort-of??  I have a feeling I'll just be winging it)
  • slow down, unplug and enjoy Thanksgiving with family (our week in Maine was wonderful)
______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

What about you?  What's on your to-do list for the next few weeks?

Friday, December 1, 2017

No.54: Our Farmhouse Schoolhouse in Photos (Week 14)

This post contains affiliate links. 

Another first at the house this week: in the middle of the night, Mark and I woke up to this crazy screaming sound.  Half asleep and disoriented, we couldn't see anything through our window and were really creeped out.  A little research later and we think it was a fox!  (It sounds like this if you're curious)  Always learning something new with this country life!

Notes and highlights:


THE SOLAR SYSTEM

+ We fit in a small review lesson on the solar system this week in M's science.  He made a replica using a pre-painted solar system kit and practiced the planet's order using a mnemonic: My Very Excellent Mother Just Served Us Nachos.  We also played a little planet trivia!


ADVENT SCHOOL

+ We are so excited for December and the change of pace.  We're putting almost everything on hold (except for math, sorry kids) and diving deep into Advent.
+ Day 1: The kids each received a shiny new sketchbook.  The plan is that everyday, they will draw one of the illustrations in that day's picture book as well as copy a part of the story (sentence or paragraph, depending on age).  Today's book was Merry Christmas, Strega Nona and the little ones were especially into Strega Nona and Big Anthony.  We made puppets using this coloring page to reenact the story.  We also learned a little about Tomie dePaola and watched a few Youtube videos about him.  We especially loved this one and this one.


Current 1000 Books Project Total: 73/1000
Poetry Teatime Treat: cookie cake for J's birthday


MOTHER CULTURE & SELF-CARE

+ Health: Running and weight training with kettlebells.  I'm using this "off-season" before half-marathon training to work on my speed and strengthen...well, everything.  Now to start eating cleaner too.
+ Reading: nothing...I need a good book to dive into!
+ Spiritual: Excited to start Rooted in Hope!  My spiritual life needs a little kickstart. 
+ Fun: After chatting with my cousins about home improvement during Thanksgiving, I'm dying to work on projects around our home!  We're also really committed to our debt reduction goals, so I have to be creative.  I've been spending a little extra time on Swagbucks, using the search bar and even completing a few surveys.  The points add up quickly and I'll be able to cash out for a Home Depot, Target, or Pottery Barn gift card soon.

Monday, November 27, 2017

No.53: Five November Favorites

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1. THE AMAZING RACE
This could be alternatively titled: Why I'm Not Reading Anything Right Now.  I am obsessed!  I've been watching a couple of episodes after the kids go to bed and am currently in the middle of Season 3.  So far, I've added Australia, Portugal and rappelling off a mountain to my bucket list.  The country I'm okay never visiting? India. 

2. MY TOPS FROM GRAY MONROE
Have you heard of Gray Monroe?  You know how much I love supporting small businesses, especially when they are run by mamas.  This fall, I have been slowly creating a new fall wardrobe and have purchased two striped tops (the MacKenna and the Walker) and the Kendall dress from Gray Monroe.  I love them and wear them all the time!

3. BABIES IN FOOTIE PAJAMAS 
What is it about fleece footie pajamas?  It's finally cold enough for P to wear them to bed and he is just the cutest!  Unlike my other kids at this age, he is very tall and thin, which causes some problems dressing him.  I finally discovered footless pajamas (where have I been?!), which will help when he's busting at the leg seams but too skinny for the next size up!

4. MY DUTCH OVEN
When cool weather comes around, my dutch oven comes out and gets major use!  We've been using it all the time, making dinners like White Chicken Lasagna Soup and Taco Spice Chili.  I really want to try to make a loaf of bread in it too!

5. OUR COLOR-CODED DUFFLE BAGS
We just returned from a week in Maine for Thanksgiving and I'm convinced that our color-coded duffle bags saved our sanity.  So easy to pack everyone's clothes, shoes and toys.  (P doesn't have his own yet, so I packed his stuff in our big tote bag, another favorite from L.L.Bean.)  My semi-crazy packing method this time: I let the laundry pile up (on purpose) and then had a mega laundry day.  After each load, I would fold and put directly into each person's bag.  At the end, I checked to make sure there were enough outfits/undies/etc. but for the most part, I was done!

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I'd love to hear about five of your favorite things too!  Link up your post below!






Monday, November 20, 2017

No.52: Intentions for the End of November


2017 has been a whirlwind - how are we at the end of the year already?!  I've been thinking a lot about my one little word and how it manifested itself throughout the year.  "Slow" is simultaneously such a simple and yet intensely difficult thing to achieve.  As a family, we made intentional changes to grasp it and yet I still have so many days that are an absolute blur.  I sometimes wonder, with my big family and crazy life, if it's even smart to strive for the goal of slow living.  But the more I think about it, the more I know it is.  It may be moment to moment, but "slow" is the word that directs my actions.  I pull back, reassess and see life with the lens of gratitude.  Slow is a word that I'll take with me for years to come. 

INTENTIONS FOR THE END OF NOVEMBER:

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  • Habit of the Month: Thanksgiving
  • wrap picture books for Advent 
  • start the Rooted in Hope journal
  • print out the kids sheets for Rooted in Hope
  • try to take a decent picture of the kids for Christmas cards
  • decide on a gift for P's first birthday
  • buy P's needlepoint stocking
  • get organized for December Daily
  • slow down, unplug and enjoy Thanksgiving with family

PREVIOUS INTENTIONS:

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
If you're reading on your phone or in a reader, click through to see what I crossed off the list!

  • begin sharing our daily gratitude as a family at dinner (I totally forgot I wanted to do this and we didn't share once, ahh!)
  • finally complete the summer/winter clothes switch for the kids (almost done - why do we own so many clothes?!)
  • put flannel sheets on all of the beds
  • finish purchasing gifts for M's birthday and wrap (he got this and this)
  • start making a list for Christmas
  • begin wrapping picture books for Advent
  • finish reading Anne of Avonlea
  • get back into my Jackson Pollock book and read two chapters
  • buy a new candle
  • bake a cake (100LT #90)
  • get in all my training runs for the Turkey Trot 10K  (I only missed one run, so I'm considering that a success)
______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

What about you?  What's on your to-do list for the next few weeks?

Friday, November 17, 2017

No.51: Our 2017-2018 Homeschool Plan - Term Two

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Term Two!  The kids have been working so hard and we're all looking forward to the upcoming breaks.  For this section of our school year, my goals are to have lots of family memories (especially with Advent School) and to get a little poetry back into our Poetry Teatime.    

----------------------------------------------------


TERM TWO: November 13-February 17


MORNING BASKET

ADVENT SCHOOL
Spine: We're switching things up for the entire month of December!  We'll be using parts of Elizabeth Foss's Advent with Tomie DePaola curriculum.


FIFTH GRADE HISTORY
I'm stretching this guide out a bit and estimating that it will last us over a year, maybe two.  
Books, Field Trips and Projects:

K-THIRD GRADE HISTORY
I was hoping to stretch this guide out too, but they keep asking for more!  We'll most likely finish this year.
Books and Projects:

MATH

BIG KIDS LANGUAGE ARTS & WRITING

LITTLE KIDS READING & PHONICS

FIFTH GRADE SCIENCE
Books:

K-THIRD GRADE SCIENCE

RELIGION
The three big boys will also be attending religious education at our parish.

GEOGRAPHY
We are focusing on the continent of Africa this year, learning about one country a week.  
Term Two Countries: Ethiopia, Zambia, Somalia, Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, Madagascar, Mozambique
Books and Projects:

ART APPRECIATION

POETRY TEATIME
Trying this again!  Hopefully we can find the balance between delicious treats and reading poetry.

YEAR OF PLAYING SKILLFULLY
This preschool-ish (it's for ages 3-7) curriculum is primarily for S and TJ, but J has been interested in some of the activities too.  

Friday, November 10, 2017

No.50: Our Farmhouse Schoolhouse in Photos (Week 12)

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TGIF!  Week 12 was rough.  I've been burning the candle at both ends, trying so hard to do it all, and I finally hit the wall.  As I look back at my neurotic lack of self-care, I can only shake my head and sigh.  Poor eating, poor sleeping due to a teething baby (but still staying up late for a little silent "me time"), intense training runs, full days of school and chores and project after project...what am I thinking?!  I'm also dealing with a few hormonal issues, which hasn't helped either.  Ironically, I came across and listened to a talk about Mary and Martha and letting Jesus gaze upon us (linked below).  Oh man, a sucker punch to the gut.  I've been thinking about it all week.  33 seems like the right age to stop trying so hard and to start accepting my own imperfection.

Notes and highlights:

CIVIL WAR PROJECT WEEK

+ M (5th grade) has spent eleven weeks immersed in different aspects of the Civil War.  He has learned about everything from important battles to ironclad ships to Abraham Lincoln's assassination to the Underground Railroad.  We wrapped up all of this learning with Project Week, a chance for him to show us everything he learned!  As an educator, I found the process really interesting, seeing what things stuck in his memory and what facts just didn't click.  I think it will be helpful for both of us going forward. 

+ For memory's sake, the seven tasks on his list were:
1. Write a report about an important Civil War battle.  Please write a rough draft and then see Mom for any corrections.  You may either write neatly or type your final copy.
2. Create a map that explains the battle you chose above.  Be creative!  A few ideas to get you started: paint a map on big paper, make one out of salt dough, or construct using Legos.
3. Eat like a Confederate and bake Johnny Cakes.  Look on page 61 of your Civil War Projects book for the recipe and instructions.
4. What are your Top 10 favorite facts about Abraham Lincoln?  Make a file folder presentation with your list.
5. Use your best voice and recite the Gettysburg Address.
6. Create a wanted poster for John Wilkes Booth.
7. Imagine that you were a part of the Underground Railroad and create a paper "quilt map" to lead the slaves to freedom.

+ We squeezed in one more movie about the Underground Railroad on Friday morning: Follow the Drinking Gourd.  


READ-ALOUDS

+ We finished Nim's Island early this week.  The kids would excitedly ask for "Just one more chapter, please Mama?  We have to know what happens!" and how do you say no to that?  To celebrate, we watched the movie on Amazon Prime and it's quickly become a new favorite.  The movie is quite different from the book, but still so good.


Current 1000 Books Project Total: 70/1000
Poetry Teatime Treat: Chocolate Chip Cookies


MOTHER CULTURE & SELF-CARE

+ Health: Running, but the chilly days are making it difficult!  Trying to keep my motivation up until my race next weekend.
+ Reading: Anne of Avonlea and I took out my Jackson Pollock book out again too
+ Spiritual: I stumbled on this reflection and it was really helpful: Learning to Let Jesus Gaze Upon Us
+ Fun: I started work on a new section for the blog!  I miss searching for new, unique products with Big White Farmhouse, so decided that I would include a bit of that here.  The page is a mix of my favorite pieces and items on my wishlist.  My taste in decor is modern farmhouse, a mix of old and new, so be sure to check it out if you veer that way too!  I also hope to add some of our favorite toys and school supplies sometime soon.

Monday, November 6, 2017

No.49: Intentions for the Beginning of November


A new month, a new habit!  I'm reflecting on this quote from Melody Beattie this month: "Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity...it makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow."

INTENTIONS FOR THE BEGINNING OF NOVEMBER:

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  • Habit of the Month: Thanksgiving
  • begin sharing our daily gratitude as a family at dinner 
  • finally complete the summer/winter clothes switch for the kids
  • put flannel sheets on all of the beds
  • finish purchasing gifts for M's birthday and wrap
  • start making a list for Christmas
  • begin wrapping picture books for Advent
  • finish reading Anne of Avonlea
  • get back into my Jackson Pollock book and read two chapters
  • buy a new candle
  • bake a cake (100LT #90)
  • get in all my training runs for the Turkey Trot 10K (less than two weeks to go!)

PREVIOUS INTENTIONS:

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If you're reading on your phone or in a reader, click through to see what I crossed off the list!

  • buy stamps
  • buy or borrow a weed-wacker (it wasn't in the budget this time, but hopefully soon)
  • pick pumpkins (we were super lame and got them at Walmart, but whatever works, right?) 
  • start jotting down ideas for Term Two 
  • bake a new quick bread (100LT #6) (we made easy pumpkin bread for teatime)
  • make a list of Christmas picture books to look for
  • make a homemade muffin or brownie mix for J to bake independently (I found this recipe and just need to buy the cocoa powder)
  • finish Dorothy Day's The Long Loneliness (100LT #82) (still chugging along on this one)
  • order new foundation and blush (I'm stuck between buying old faithful or trying something new!)
  • clean my makeup brushes (100LT #44)
  • learn a new card game (100LT #33)
  • send hair off to Pantene Beautiful Lengths
  • start training plan for November 10K and "complete what you came to do" (my running motto)
  • start four weeks of No Sugar (MAJOR fail - I've instead decided to focus on quality vs. quantity.  Baby steps?)
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What about you?  What's on your to-do list for the next few weeks?
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