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family fun motherhood photography wordless wednesday

wordless wednesday | pictures of june

When I look back on this time someday, these are the things I hope to remember. Not how Facebook was driving me crazy or how much I hate group texts or how much I miss that sense of normalcy that we’ve always taken for granted. I want to remember the beautiful moments that we found when we were forced to slow down and focus on home.

doodling along with some favorite illustrators on youtube - we love Studio JJK and Mo Willems!
doodling along with some favorite illustrators on youtube
what better activity to spend quarantine doing than baking my way through a new cookbook - these cheddar herb scones came out great
baking therapy for the win
making pinecone bird feeders with the kids really brought me back to doing this as a kid with my grandmother
making pine cone bird feeders like it’s 1992
finally painting again - it felt good to pull out my watercolors after a long hiatus
painting a watercolor meadow

Categories
family fun motherhood

Summer Vacation: Stuck at Home Still Edition

Summer vacation started a couple of weeks ago but for the most part nothing has changed. Despite some restrictions being lifted in town, we’re still mostly staying at home and trying to keep busy and avoid the news. Oh wait, that last part is just me.

That said, with school work out of the way and my husband back at work, we’ve had more time for Momma Camp type activities. I’m trying to keep the three of us busy during the day so we don’t melt into the couch forever.

We’ve been watching drawing tutorials on YouTube by Mo Willems and Jarrett J. Krosoczka. And a few others as well but these two are probably our favorites.

MM has been doing karate lessons online since March and just started attending in person again, with lots of restrictions and regulations in place.
My Animal Crossing addiction continues but I’m trying to play less during the day. I still managed to become a bellionaire in the Stalk Market though.

My reading life has been pretty solid this Spring. With no forced early wake ups, I’ve been staying up late reading most nights and occasionally sitting outside and reading in our backyard. My book club just finished Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng and this month we’re reading The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman. These are some of the other books I’ve been adding to my TBR pile recently.

I might have bought the Babysitter’s Club board game to play with my girlie.
I taught the kids how to make bird feeders with pinecones, peanut butter and bird seed and then we hung them outside.

Then on the way inside I slipped and sprained my ankle so that is a bittersweet mom memory for me. I was feeling all the nostalgia remembering making these bird feeders with my grandmother and got some gorgeous pictures hanging them up. Then a moment later, woosh! I’m doing ok but still in a bit of pain several days later.

Luckily I have pretty self sufficient and sweet children who manage to keep themselves busy and help me out as needed. What was that about playing less Animal Crossing again?

What have you guys been up to?

Categories
IRL motherhood op ed

Before and After. Thoughts on life before quarantine and “new normals”

People keep talking about the new normal we’re going to have to adjust to when things start to open back up. I have mixed feelings about this phrase because I have mixed feelings about what life in quarantine has been like. The things I will miss and the things I won’t miss if and when life starts to resemble before.

Before quarantine I would stop into a favorite coffee shop for a latte and a treat. Sometimes I’d meet friends. Sometimes I would simply be taking a moment for myself between errands.

Most of these coffee shops will let me pick up these goodies to go, but I haven’t taken advantage of this because it seems like it was never about the latte, it was about the place and the people.

These days my morning starts with making a big pot of coffee to share with my husband who is working from home (though it sounds like he’ll be going back to the office soon). In between meetings we meet in the kitchen and pour another cup and chat about our day so far and discuss dinner. Usually he makes us bacon and eggs for lunch. I’ll be honest, this new ritual is something I’ll miss when he goes back to work.

Right before the spring break that never really ended I chaperoned a field trip to the planetarium with my fifth grader. It’s a favorite field trip of mine and I’m glad it wasn’t one of the many that was cancelled.

I miss volunteering in the kid’s classes, serving lunch to their smiling faces, going on field trips and catching up with school moms. We chat on Facebook but it’s not the same.

That said, I don’t miss the early morning rush or the driving from activity to activity at all. I secretly love having the kids at home all day. Don’t get me wrong, my introvert frequently burns out from the chatter, but I don’t hate midday cuddles and late bedtimes.

Before quarantine I bought a travel watercolor set so that I could paint on the go. That entire sentence seems foreign to me now.

I also carried around a book to read in the car during school pick up because nighttime reading was often sacrificed because of exhaustion. These days I have all the time I need for hobbies. I’m reading three books at a time. I play video games every day, y’all. We watch family movies multiple times a week.

I don’t miss being tired from running errands and saying yes to too many things. I don’t miss the busy. I love a lot of things about this forced slow down. And yet…

I do miss going to Target to look at absolutely nothing. I miss shopping without a mask. I miss a trip to the grocery store not leaving me emotionally exhausted for at least an hour. I miss seeing friends and kissing babies and smiling at cashiers and not cringing about 6 feet of separation.

I know it feels petty to complain about little things like wanting to grab coffee at Starbucks or visit a friend. But we all know it’s not about that really. It’s about being able to breathe and stretch and exist in the world – to smile and laugh and hug each other. That’s all I want.

Categories
books & reading family fun motherhood summer reading

Summer Reading BINGO 2020 | Free Printable

three wooden dinosaur
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

I just finished creating a summer reading challenge for 2020 because my kids have ONE WEEK LEFT of distance learning before our summer break begins! Is anyone else baffled by how fast and how slow quarantine seems to go at the same exact time?

My kids are counting down the days and I’m trying to get a game plan put together so that we don’t spend the entire summer staring at YouTube and playing video games. As fun as that sounds.

I’m not sure what our summer will look like right now – our state is starting to whisper about opening things back up but we as a family are planning to continue hunkering as long as we can stand it. Summers past have involved a lot of trips to the library for free camps and checking in with their summer reading programs because one challenge is never enough for my voracious readers.

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I’ve been making the kids summer reading challenges for a couple of years now to supplement the programs offered by the library and bookstores because those tend to only last us a couple of weeks at best.

Creating these challenges can be tough because my kids are already good readers, and I don’t want to make reading seem like a chore. I’m not going to make them count how many minutes they’ve been reading or how many pages. I don’t want to make a long list of categories that don’t line up with their interests – and often they read such vastly different types of books that I end up having to make multiple challenges – one for each kid.

Anyway – behold: this year’s summer reading challenge! I’ve been pretty into the BINGO format because it lets the kids aim low or high depending on their motivation and gives a fair amount of options. I’m pretty proud of this assortment of categories because I think it will appeal to both my 10 year old and my 14 year old. Wish me luck!

summer reading 2020 bingo

Feel free to save and print this to use with your own kids this summer.

Let me know how they like it!

When do your kids start summer break?

Here are a few challenges from summers past: 2018, 2017 and 2016

Categories
family fun

Keeping busy, staying sane, staying home.

It’s week 3576 of quarantine or something like that and by now the kids are keeping busy with their school’s distance learning and my hubby is busy working from home in the office and everything is closed and all my plans are cancelled. So apart from cleaning stuff and cooking dinner, I have very little to actually do for the majority of the day. Is this a weird thing to complain about? Probably. But it’s my reality so here we are.

In between helping the kids with minor technology problems, pestering my husband and doing the dishes 37 times a day, here are some other things I’ve been doing to stay busy.

Playing quarantine Bingo with friends on Facebook
Here’s a blank copy for anyone who wants to play along.

Watching Late Night on Amazon Prime and Parks and Rec, Making the Cut, Community, Schitts Creek and everything else on television.

Making homemade donuts using canned biscuits!
Choosing alternative quarantine housemates like this selection of authors.
Making baked cheese crisps by seasoning squares of cheese and baking them.

Reading our April book club pick, The Lying Game by Ruth Ware. I’m also reading Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center and just finished The Magic Misfits by Neil Patrick Harris.

Celebrating my son’s 14th birthday
Playing a lot of Animal Crossing

How have you been keeping busy in quarantine?

Categories
family fun mama kat's writers workshop

Writer’s Workshop: Homeschooling, Week One

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It’s Thursday so it’s time to link up with Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop. How has your week been?

Here are the different prompts to choose from this week:

1. Attempt a craft or recipe you saw on Pinterest, how did it turn out?
2. Write about how you keep busy during a “quarantine.” Is your daily schedule affected much at all?
3. Show us a place you love to visit.
4. List 5 frivolous things you don’t want to live without.
5. Write a blog post inspired by the word: new


I figured I’d take this time to update you guys on how our “quarantine” is going because that’s all we’re talking about anyway.

This is week two of Hiding at Home for us and Week One in homeschooling with the kids. Our school is doing a trial run of their virtual learning plan starting today but the past few days we’ve been making up our own home learning plan.

In the mornings we have art class which meant doodling with authors Mo Willems and Jarrett J Krosoczka, both are local artists and authors from Massachusetts aka our old hometown and both are probably responsible for some of your kids favorite books. I’m grateful to them for taking this weird scary time and making something fun for kids and parents to look forward to. The kids draw along while I drink a cup of coffee and work on becoming human enough to home school.

Next the kids work on English which has so far involved them each working on a creative writing story. My ten year old is working on a short story about a girl who moves to a new school where students are disappearing when they go to the bathroom?? My thirteen year old is writing a story about a guy in space who has lost his memory and there appears to be an evil computer involved maybe?

For reading they are reading independently and writing me book reviews about the chapters or books they are finishing. They’ve been reading The Descendants Junior novelization, Emily of New Moon, Ban This Book and some Minecraft book. I’ve been explaining to my thirteen year old the difference between a book report and a book review and spoiler etiquette.

Math has been on Khan Academy and these Disney multiplication printables from Artsy Fartsy Mama for my ten year old.

Science and social studies have been more hands on for my part. After lunch we have watched educational YouTube videos and documentaries on Disney Plus. I highly recommend Crash Course for middle school and high school and Sci Show Kids for elementary. We also love National Geographic Kids. Some topics we learned about include astronomy, climate challenges for animals and the Westward expansion of the US.

I also signed both kids up with Duolingo so they can learn Spanish and French from home. Now all four members of the family are using this to learn a foreign language and I have to say we all love it. That’s not an ad or sponsored thing, I’m just letting you know that I recommend it. I have been learning German and brushing up on my French with Duolingo for awhile now and it’s the easiest learning a language has ever been for me.

Meanwhile my hubby has been working from home since Monday which involves a lot of typing and meetings and saying, “Shhhh!” and drinking coffee. I think it’s been going okay – you can’t beat the commute at least.

Overall, we continue to be in a pretty good place. We’re healthy and have enough food and the worst I can say is that it’s hard to get time to yourself when we’re all here all day. That and I’m tired of cooking dinner but I’m trying to reserve takeout for desperate times.

How are things going where you are?

Categories
family fun photography wordless wednesday

Wordless Wednesday: Scenes from hibernation | March 25, 2020

Categories
family fun

Top 5 Tuesday Alphabet Challenge: Light Reads for Tough Times (PQRST)

It’s time for Top 5 Tuesday hosted by Bionic Bookworm and we’re still making our way through the alphabet challenge. Today I’m sharing some favorite light reads for these tough times.

I was talking to a friend about how my book club pick this month has been tough to get into because it’s even heavier than reality right now. If you are also in need of something fluffier, I recommend these five books and their authors.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins is wanderlust and young love all rolled together. I love her entire series but this one is still my favorite.

Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde was a fun romance set at a convention. Fandom for days and two fun romances. (I had to search by title instead of author to find this one. I was lucky this fit my theme – skim pickings for the letter Q!)

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell is one of my all time favorite books and Rowell is one of my all time favorite authors. Perfect for a book you can really lose yourself in.

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion was really fun and it was a pretty unique premise at the time. Not a lot of great Asperger’s love stories out there and this one is great.

Smile by Raina Teglemeier is a great middle school graphic novel that would be great to read alongside your tweens. My daughter and I both love this series.

Categories
family fun motherhood

My Homeschooling Plan for Next Week

This looks like as good a plan as any, right?

I’m still waiting to hear from our kids’school about a formal plan for the coming weeks but after a week of letting the kids indulge in all the video games and YouTube videos they can stand (hey, it’s Spring Break!) I’m thinking next week will need a little more structure.

I’m tentatively considering some websites, books and documentaries that we have access to here at home that I can use for a lazy lesson plan. I figure if I can get them to spend at least 30 minutes a day on English, science, history, math and reading and then add in art, music and foreign language as needed… It will get us to lunch time? 🤣🤣🤣

Anyway here are some things I’ve found for said subjects:

History / Geography

Science

English

  • I honestly just plan to have them write stories and poetry.

Reading

  • This is another easy one. Look two feet in any direction and they will find a book here. Maybe I’ll ask for book reviews?

Math

  • Dan got a weird math calendar for Christmas.
  • Crash Course YouTube channel
  • I don’t know, their math books?

Art

Music

  • Um, there’s a new Taylor Swift “documentary on YouTube that I could make them watch with me.
  • The Masked Singer is mid season.
  • Jamie Foxx’s show Beat Shazam.
  • Shut up.

Foreign Language

  • I thought I’d get both kids set up on Duolingo. I’ve been using it for a couple years to learn German and brush up on my French.