Lifting up our Mentors

Small things that we say (and do) can have a huge impact on other families in ways that we may never know.When I was pregnant with my first child, 12 years ago, our friend Amy, who was the wife of my husband's co-worker, gave me great advice: "I work at a demanding job and I train for marathons, my days are pretty hectic, but I make sure that I keep the ingredients for chocolate chip cookies on hand." Whether it was a school bake sale emergency, a play date going sour, or a teenager having … [Read more...]

Dipping a toe in to the political waters

Was any one else really embarrassed by the debate last night?  I'm not sure whether to blame the format, the moderator or the candidates, but I am leaning towards the latter.  The time clock would expire and a candidate would just keep talking and talking until finally the moderator had to interrupt.  Then, they would talk over her, or object to her interruption.  Which left the moderator in the position of having to decide whether to tell the President of the United States to sit down and shut u … [Read more...]

Logging Off for the Year of Faith

I tried out facebook at first because I thought that it was important for me to understand social media before my children were old enough to use it.  I found that I really enjoyed catching up with old friends, and adding depth to local friendships by seeing what my friends were posting.  I like facebook more than I thought.  Also, since homeschooling means that I am away from other adults for most of the day, it is nice to feel connected to people and to be able to share when something cute, fu … [Read more...]

Book basket Notes for October

My preschoolers are transitioning from apples to pumpkins.My early elementary will learn about Columbus this month, then the settlers/Thanksgiving, then the revolution (Washington Crossing the Delaware), and then Washington's presidency leading up to Presidents Day. That will take us through February in simple cultural history, all using book baskets.My older ones would like to spend October exploring the Electoral College and then stay up late on Election night and fill in a map as the … [Read more...]

Dress My Tween – An Update

I want to thank all of you who gave advice on dressing my tween, I think we have made some really good progress!  Here are some of the things I learned from you:1) Spend more, be choosy, have less.She is old enough to take care of her clothes, and the styles at the big box stores are too tacky, so we had to spend a little bit more.  This meant that I just bought one dress for church, and I paid full price.  We found a cute sweater dress at Gymboree.  It cost $39, which is really actually … [Read more...]

Apple Antics

Red and I took our families on an apple picking outing at a nearby family owned orchard.  This is the 4th year that we have picked apples together, and it struck me that annual projects like this really allow us to see how much our children have grown.  We brought 12 children to the orchard, but they really were easy to manage - two babies in Ergos, two toddlers helped by older sisters, two preschoolers who could walk alone, some big boys who could toss a football when they were tired of p … [Read more...]

Clothing advice for tweens?

So, we have established that we don't want a "sweet and sassy" girl, but does anyone have any suggestions for better tween fashion options? My oldest daughter is 9, but quite tall, so she wears a size 10 or 12. For school she can wear khakis or jeans and a cute top, it's still pretty easy to shop at Old Navy or Land's End for her casual clothes, but she needs some outfits or dresses for mass and other dressier times. This summer, she wore little cotton Lilly Pulitzer shifts (bought super on sale … [Read more...]

Surviving Survival Mode

Our school year routine is beginning this week, and it has made me realize that I am totally out of practice.  It has been three years since we had a baby in this home school, and we had moved so far out of survival mode that we do not have the habits required to get through this very intense time with sanity intact.  After a messy couple of days, here are some of the things that I will be working on:1. Stick to the schedule - get up on time, serve meals on time, go to bed on time.  If ne … [Read more...]

When I’m gone…

Here is an interesting test of parenting:  My daughter would like me to learn to do this with her.  This involves her dropping her school work to practice it, and my dropping, well, everything else.  But it is so, so cool.  And also, true to the lyrics, I know that one day my daughter will have a ticket for the long way round, and I am going to miss her when she's gone.  She won't always want me to do something with her.  So I am trying to be patient, and engaged, and have fun while I'm at it.  F … [Read more...]

Morning Routines

As we begin to think about school routines, I really like this post about a morning routine -- note that it happens AFTER breakfast.  That would be a huge help for us, making it more likely that we can do our family breakfast and then have a good start to the day.  It is always a tough thing to have the kids actually dressed and pressed in time to eat before Dad has to leave.  Also, checklists will go a long way in lessening my nags. … [Read more...]