Monday, November 27, 2017

No.53: Five November Favorites

The post contains affiliate links.  

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. 

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!

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!

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!

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!


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. 



  • 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


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

This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you for supporting the BWF!

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


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.

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:

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:






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

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:


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

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)

 This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting the BWF!

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:


+ 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.  


+ 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


+ 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 makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow."



  • 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!)


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?)

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

Friday, November 3, 2017

No.48: Our Farmhouse Schoolhouse in Photos (Week 11)

 This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting the BWF!

What a whirlwind of a week!  The highlights include a fun Halloween celebration, All Saints Day mass and coming thisclose to hitting a deer on the way home (talk about adrenaline!), and meeting a friend's brand new baby girl.  My house is looking a little rough and the laundry pile is high, but some weeks are like that, right?

Notes and highlights:


+ Halloween is never a huge deal around our house, but we do have certain years where we go big and other years where it's a little lean.  Financially, we're on the lean side this year and couldn't swing decking out five kids with new costumes at the store.  So instead, Mark suggested that we all come up with costumes that we can make from the dress-up box or around the house.  The kids were all about it!  To make the day extra special, we decided that instead of trick-or-treating (since we're in the middle of nowhere with miles between houses), we would have "Halloween School" and a big family party.

+ We had ghost pancakes for breakfast, already dressed in our costumes.  We played a couple of fun games I found through Pinterest: a Roll a Pumpkin game and one that had you drawing with your eyes closed.  (We only had one kid crying, so I call that a success, hah.)  We also made a pumpkin pinata and lots of spooky crafts to decorate our dining room.  After a dinner of chili and cornbread, we knocked down the pinata and had a blindfolded candy taste test.  It was a full day, but so so good. 


+ The little kids started Pocahontas this week.  I'm embarrassed to say that I remember very little about her (and most of it probably comes from the Disney movie) so it's been fun for me to learn along with them.

+ M is finishing up his Civil War unit with a small study on slavery and the Underground Railroad.  I feel like we only hit the tip of the iceberg, but it was a strong start.  He read Dear Austin: Letters from the Underground Railroad, Barefoot: Escape on the Underground Railroad and Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt.

Current 1000 Books Project Total: 59/1000
Poetry Teatime Treat: Candy Bar Cookie Bars


+ Health: Running and a new kettlebell workout I tried for the first time - I was sore everywhere for days!
+ Reading: not much...I'm in a reading funk!
+ Fun: Instead of reading, I'm spending any free time watching super old episodes of The Amazing Race.  So random, but fun to watch a show that I remember from high school.  There are 20-something seasons on Amazon Prime!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

No.47: New Habits, Little by Little - Cooking at Home (October 2017)

Eighteen weeks of meals!  This month, like all the rest, tells a story: cooler temperatures, birthday celebrations, and a renewed enthusiasm for the kitchen.  Is it possible to be a cold-weather cook?  During the summer, I hate to be in the kitchen, but once that cool air hits?  I'm all about those chilis and soups and stews!  I'm not sure what they says about me, but I'm going to ride this train as long as I can, hah. 

Week 14 (cont.):
Sunday, October 1: stew meat, mashed potatoes, mushroom gravy and salad
Monday, October 2: Oktoberfest sheet pan brats and roasted vegetables (we doubled this recipe and also added a pork tenderloin, #bigfamilyproblems)
Tuesday, October 3: bean and cheese burritos
Wednesday, October 4: white chicken chili and homemade bread in the machine
Thursday, October 5: leftovers
Friday, October 6: frozen pizza for the kids, Home Chef for date night (Tex-Mex ribeye cheesesteak with caramelized onion and oven fries)

Week 15:
Saturday, October 7: slow cooker beef stew
Sunday, October 8: one-pan cheesy chicken, broccoli and rice
Monday, October 9: leftovers
Tuesday, October 10: mexican casserole
Wednesday, October 11: My birthday!  After a day of delicious meals and treats, we just ate leftovers for dinner
Thursday, October 12: skillet lasagna (thanks for the recipe, KD!)
Friday, October 13: personal mini pizzas using pocketless pitas

Week 16: 
Saturday, October 14: pasta and kielbasa skillet
Sunday, October 15: D's birthday! pizza at my parents house
Monday, October 16: french onion meatball sandwiches
Tuesday, October 17: tacos
Wednesday, October 18: chicken breasts with Asian salad
Thursday, October 19: roasted chicken thighs and rice
Friday, October 20: popcorn and smoothies for the kids, Home Chef for date night (spinach and artichoke chicken with roasted broccoli and radishes)

Week 17:
Saturday, October 21: steak on the grill, salad and homemade French fries
Sunday, October 22: leftovers
Monday, October 23: frozen pizzas
Tuesday, October 24: tacos
Wednesday, October 25: Refrigerator Clean-Out Night
Thursday, October 26: roasted chicken thighs, salad and Sudanese flatbread
Friday, October 27: popcorn and smoothies for the kids, Home Chef for date night (acapulco steak tacos with pico and queso fresco)

Week 18:
Saturday, October 28: pulled pork tostadas
Sunday, October 29: one pot chicken and spinach pasta
Monday, October 30: slow cooker chunky beef and potato stew
Tuesday, October 31: Halloween!  taco spice chili and homemade cornbread
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...