Favorite Moments on a Wednesday

Once upon a Favorite Moment

“What day is it?”

“It’s today,” squeaked Piglet.

“My favorite day,” said Pooh.

~ A. A. Milne

We have had a crazy week. And it’s only Wednesday. But it’s not the crazy moments I think I’ll forget, or specifically, want to reflect on in the future. Those are the simple life moments with my people. Too often, I think I forget to practice remembering. The days can seem to fly by or last forever, but in every day there are memories to be made. Here are a few from today.

Garbage Day

favorite moments - watching the garbage truck
Wednesday is a favorite day around here, because it is garbage day. The kids make a beeline for the window as soon as they hear the first rhythmic thumps and beeps of the garbage truck making it’s way around the neighborhood.
I love their tousled hair and snuggling blankets. Most of all, I love the delighted giggles, and Eva’s tiny feet tap-dancing with excitement while she watches.

Love Notes in Math Class

favorite moments - love notes in math
Of all the reasons I love homeschooling, this is right up there. Sophia loves math (98% of the time, anyways) and frequently writes little love notes on the top of her papers. “I love you, Mommy!” is of course one of my favorites, but another that she produced last week was “I am a star!” (with a drawn star, not the word.) It made me laugh. She is a star, in my book at least 😉

Quiet Afternoons

favorite moments - quiet afternoon study
My sister Emily came up for a couple of days to help out and she was coloring with the kids this afternoon while I did some studying. She’s a pretty good artist, and of course the kids were intrigued and wanted to do their own coloring too.

Evening Dressup for Eva

favorite moments - Eva plays dressup
After her bath, Eva went looking through her sister’s clothes and came out with this nightgown. She looked like a baby from Peter Pan with the long, long nightgown. Her hair has the softest curl in the end, just over the back of the nightgown–it’s not very visible in this picture, but it is adorable. She’s always reminding me of a vintage poster-child for a Peter Pan book or something from Winnie the Pooh.

Those are a few of my sweet moments today. Hope you’ve had some sweetness in your day too!

What I’m Reading Now: September 2017

Reading Now

When the days turn cooler I have the insatiable urge to hunker down and read. Not that that particular desire ever truly abandons me, but there’s something especially cozy about reading in cool weather. We’ve had an unusually cool and rainy September so far, so you’ll understand the state of my reading now stack. It’s a doozy. You’ve been warned.

This month I’ve been reading the Maggie Hope Series by Susan Elia Macneal as my lighter read.
reading-now-1 reading-now-2 reading-now-3

I’ve already read “His Majesty’s Hope” and “The Prime Minister’s Secret Agent”, and am now reading “Mrs. Roosevelt’s Confidante”.
This is such a great series. World War II, espionage, and a spunky heroine. So far there are plenty of satisfying twists, and nothing is too predictable. I am loving it. The first book is called “Mr. Churchill’s Secretary”, and I highly recommend reading them in order. Maggie has quite a lot of personal and professional development throughout the series, and personal friendships develop throughout the books. They are lighter reading, but not what I would consider fluff. Each book is meticulously researched, and adds at least 5 books to my to-read stack.

I’m currently working through the Sonnets of Shakespeare–a little slowly, but I do love them. This particular collection is available for free as a kindle ebook. Just click on the picture and you’ll go straight to Amazon!

reading-now-5 reading-now-6 reading-now-7

These are my serious reads for the month. They are all fantastic for very different reasons. The Dictator’s Handbook sheds so much light on the dictators and rulers of our 21st century world. It is terrifying, enlightening, and riveting. In August I finished up Garry Kasparov’s “Winter is Coming” which gave me a decent introduction to Putin and Russia, but this is the perfect follow-up.

Brave New World is another kind of “follow-up” book for me. I read Neil Postman’s “Amusing Ourselves to Death” (fantastic, by the way) in August, and he mentioned Brave New World multiple times. Postman juxtaposed it with Orwell’s 1984, saying that he thought we were much more likely to attain the Dystopian society of Brave New World than 1984. Naturally, I immediately checked it out. I’m not sure I would have enjoyed it as much as I am, had I not had Postman’s conclusions fresh in my mind. So far, I am enjoying it and intrigued.

The Story of Western Science by Susan Wise Bauer is one of my favorite nonfiction books I’ve read this year. It’s not specialized by any means, but it gives one a wide, general background with which to begin the study of scientific discoveries throughout history. It is fascinating, and another book that is contributing greatly to the expansion of my to-read pile. Each chapter is quite short, but gives a good overview of specific scientists, and leaves you with suggestions for further reading.

So, those are the things I’ve read and am reading now.
I expect to finish off the Maggie Hope series and will be scouting for my next big light read. As far as more serious things, I’m planning to start tackling the “Well Educated Mind” Reading Lists. Bauer recommends starting with the Fiction List, but I’ve read many of the books on it, so I’m considering starting with Autobiography or History. What would you do?

What are you reading now? Let me know in the comments or leave a link to your blogpost! I love seeing other reading lists!


This Is Your Real Life

This is your real life.

Right here, right now, this is your real life.

Whether you feel happy or sad, purposeful or unfulfilled, content or covetous; this moment is your real life. The children might be swinging from the rafters, or you might be settling down after the bedtime rituals. This is your real life. The dirty dishes. Mount Laundry. The crisp night air. The musty scent of changing seasons. All happening now. All your real life.

Several weeks ago, I stumbled across a quote by C. S. Lewis, at the moment I most needed it. You might have noticed it up on the blog header, or not. But it made such an impact on me that I’ve been mulling it over for weeks. I’m sure it’s relevant to most of us, but it stopped me in my tracks that first day I read it.

Here’s the thing: I imagine I can control things.

It is one of my great weaknesses. I like to know what is happening, and when. Each day, I plan out everything I would like to accomplish, and make note of all the things that must be done. I like to have routines that run like clockwork. But they don’t always. Because I am human, and everybody around me is human. It wouldn’t be an issue, either, if it were not for my heart’s murmurings and discontent when things don’t go my way. I found myself in a cycle of disappointment when things went awry in our day. In my mind, I had an idea of what our perfect days would look like. When our days failed to meet my standards, I felt that somehow our “real life” was being bogged down by these monotonous interruptions.

“The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s ‘own,’ or ‘real’ life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life — the life God is sending one day by day.”

Could I really think that God Almighty, who ordered my footsteps and called me by name, was thwarted in his purpose for my life by what I considered interruptions in my messy days? Of course not! I felt (feel) quite foolish, to think how bothered I can be by the little “interruptions” to “my time”. It is not my time at all. It is God’s time.

This is the Day, which the Lord hath made.

Today is the day he has given me. This day, in this house, with these children and my man. I will do what needs to be done. When it happens that the next thing just wasn’t on my list for the day, I will remember that this is the moment that was meant to be–not that figment of my imagination and Pinterest. For this is the day. This is my real life.



When Summer Comes ~ A Short Story


When Summer Comes: A Short Story

By Elizabeth Peterson

(c) February 2017 All Rights Reserved.

Summer was Lila’s favorite time of the year. It was light in the morning, no matter how early she woke to race out into the early morning air. Dew drops and grass clippings stuck to her feet as she ran until the dandelion yellow sun rose high in the sky and the dew lifted. When it was too hot to run any more, it was time to jump in the pool. There were juicy red watermelon slices and cold glasses of lemonade to snack on between rounds of swimming and splashing.

By the time dinner was over and the last drop of ice cream licked from her fingers, it wasn’t such an awful thing to be sent off to the bathtub. She didn’t complain too much when Mommy pulled the fresh cotton nightie over her head, and by the time she was snugly tucked between crisp sheets, she could barely hold her eyes open long enough to ask all the important questions.
“May I have another drink of water?”
“How about berries for breakfast tomorrow?”
“Can I just wear my swimsuit all day tomorrow? It sticks when I’m hot.”
Lila fell asleep every night marveling over the wonderful treats of summer.

Then, so gradually that she almost didn’t know it was happening, summer changed into fall. First the morning dew felt cold on her toes. Then one day, it wasn’t warm enough to get into the pool. After enough of those cool days, the WORST thing happened—the pool was covered up with a great, billowing gray cover.

Lila watched in horror as the cover settled over it and her Daddy began tying the edges down.
“But I want to swim!”
“It’s too cold now. You would be frozen like a popsicle!” Daddy was smiling, but Lila did not smile. This was the saddest day she could remember.
“But,” Daddy said, almost as if he could see the tears Lila felt piling up behind her eyeballs. “After fall, and winter, and spring, summer will come again. Then we will swim and play in the sun some more.”
“Summer will come again?” Lila asked, needing to make certain.
“After Winter.” Daddy promised.
A single brown leaf floated down and settled onto the tarp as Daddy fastened the last corner to the pool and beckoned for Lila to come inside. She looked over her shoulder at the gloomy gray pool cover and whispered to the pool.
“Summer will come.”

There were fun things to do in autumn. There were leaf piles and pumpkin patches and huge roaring bonfires. Lila roasted marshmallows and ate s’mores until her cheeks were stuffed like the little brown squirrel that collected acorns under the oak tree.
But even with her cheeks stuffed full of chewy, gooey marshmallows, Lila looked longingly at the pool.
“Is it summer yet, Mommy?” She asked.
“Not yet,” Mommy said, and put a hat onto Lila’s head with a smile.
“Oh no…” Lila sniffed and thought she might cry, but there was another marshmallow to roast. She decided she could probably wait one more day for summer to come back.

But the next morning when she slid out of bed, the floor was cold under her toes and she had to hop quickly from one foot to the other while she looked for her fluffiest pink slippers.
That wasn’t even the worst of it. It grew colder, and colder, and colder every single day!

One day early in December she cautiously asked Mommy if it was possible summer might come back soon.
“Not yet.” Mommy said. “But today we’ll set up our Christmas tree.”
Lila squealed and danced around the living room with delight. If Christmas was coming soon, she could wait a little longer for summer.

Christmas-time was so wonderful that Lila almost didn’t think about summer at all. Between the candy-canes and hot cocoa, and singing Christmas songs in the golden glow of Christmas tree lights, she even began to think that if it could just be Christmas always, she wouldn’t worry so much about summer.

But then one day, Daddy and Mommy started taking the lights down and boxing up Christmas decorations.
“Why are you killing Christmas?” She wailed.
“It wouldn’t be as fun to have Christmas if it was Christmas all year long!” Daddy said.
She frowned.
“We’ll have Christmas again next year, Lila. But first are birthdays and spring, and summer, and autumn…” Mommy kept talking but Lila had stopped listening.
Summer! It must be nearly back by now. She went to the window to check, but it was still cold and gray outside.

The days kept passing, each day newly cold and dreary.
Every morning Lila pressed her nose up against the window and asked, “Is it summer yet?”
Every morning Mommy shook her head no.
The wonderful soft grass she loved had turned into a prickly ice wasteland. The fresh warm breeze had become cold and snappish. Lila bundled up in her warmest coat, hat and gloves, and stepped outside. Her nose turned red and her eyes watered as she asked again.
“Is it summer yet?”
“Not yet, sweet girl.”
“UGGGGGGGGGH!” Lila groaned the loudest groan of all.

It was a black and gloomy time.
What if summer wasn’t coming back at all?
What if Lila was doomed to a lifetime of cold toes and watery eyes?
What if the pool cover could never come off again?
After days of asking when summer would come back, Lila finally gave up hope.

Then, one morning, something felt different. Lila could hear the twittering of a bird outside. Golden sunlight peeked through her window blinds. She tip-toed down the stairs and stood in front of the great front door, hardly able to breathe for wondering.
As the door creaked open, a warm breeze ruffled her nightgown.

Lila knew then. She didn’t have to ask again.
Dewdrops and cut grass stuck on her feet as she raced outside and jumped into the bright splotch of sunlight on the lawn.
“Summer came back!”
Summer was Lila’s favorite time of year.

Happy Homemaker Monday ~ September 4th, 2017

Linking up with Diary of a Stay at Home Mom for Happy Homemaker Monday today! If you like this post, be sure to head over to her site and check out what she’s up to today too! I’m not very good about participating regularly, but I love having these snapshots of a moment in time to look back on. And I like seeing what other people are up to. I’m nosy like that 🙂

The weather…

Is absolutely perfect today. Low 80s, but breezy. We’re staying with family for the day (yay for long weekends) and have sat outside basically all day. The kids are running all over the yard and exploring the great outdoors. Makes for a great day!

Right now I am…

Sitting out on the front porch listening to Sophia and Eva play over by a big oak tree, and watching butterflies in the flower gardens! I just finished up looking over my lesson plans for the week for my 1st grader, and planning some crafts/fun for the preschooler too!

On My Reading Pile…

The Prime Minister’s Secret Agent by Susan Elia Macneal (and the rest of the series–I literally have all the books out of the library right now)
Brave New World by Alduous Huxley
The Dictator’s Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics by Bruce Bueno De Mesquita and Alistair Smith
The Summer Before the War by Helen Simpson
The Story of Science by Susan Wise Bauer

Movies or Shows I Watched this Weekend…

Just some Chopped at the hotel this weekend. The kids are old enough that I don’t want to just leave it on while I’m doing housework, even though that would be my preference. So… I’ve basically stopped watching tv unless it’s something special my man and I are watching together.

On My TV

We’re watching the latest season of Turn on Netflix in the evenings. I think we’re going to start watching Atypical (sp? not sure what it’s called actually) too. My Superman started it and said it was hilarious!

On the Menu for this week…

Monday: Family Cookout
Tuesday: Greek Salad with Chicken
Wednesday: Grilled Pork with Broccoli Slaw
Thursday: Stirfry Chicken with cauli-rice
Friday: Pizza

On My To-Do List

Just unpack and tidy up when we get home tonight. Going to try to get everything clean and tidy for tomorrow. Tuesday’s after a long weekend are always hard for the kids, so I like to try to have everything that stresses me out pared down to a minimum. If mama’s not happy, everybody’s angrier 😉

What I am creating…

Still editing and writing, and learning to code. Working on Python right now, and tinkering with my Digital Ocean server and website. I need to go ahead and dig into the process of adding another small site to the server, but haven’t felt like I have a good block of time to dedicate to it.

Looking around the house…

Not at my house right now, and haven’t been there since Thursday. A little curious to see how much I have to do tomorrow though. Superman did some cleaning while I was gone, so it shouldn’t be too bad. Will mainly be a lot to put away and tidy up, I think, after we unload the van.

From the camera(phone)

What I’m wearing…

My favorite teeshirt and jeans. The shirt says “Happiness is a cup of coffee and a really good book.” I could basically go my whole life without wearing another shirt. You know, except for the days when I have to wear my Harry Potter ‘Accio Wine’ shirt. Also, I am aware that my style should probably grow up soon. The problem is that my style is too great for my budget. 😛

Simple Pleasures…

Listening to the wind blowing through the woods and across the hill. It’s like the rushing sound of the ocean, to a land-locked state.

Inspirational Quote…

“Education is an atmosphere… a discipline… a life…” ~ Charlotte Mason. My favorite quote to remember when I’m thinking about getting ready for a new school week.

What are you doing this week?


KBR: Books that Drive Kids Crazy

Kids Book Review: Books that Drive Kids Crazy by Beck and Matt Stanton

books-that-drive-kids-crazy books-that-drive-kids-crazy

Today, I just have to give a shoutout to this series by Beck and Matt Stanton. It’s called Books that Drive Kids Crazy, and boy do they. I know I mentioned one of them in a recent book post (here) but they really deserve their own blogpost. Any book that makes the entire family dissolve into a pile of giggles is a keeper, you guys. There are two books in the series, called “This Is A Ball”, and “Who took the B from My _ook?”. AND there’s another coming out next year! We’ve just read them from the library so far. However, these will make their way under our Christmas tree for sure this year. For a few of the reasons why these books need to go into your Amazon cart pronto, keep reading 🙂

1. They’re educational. Seriously. Here’s why.

These books are fantastic introductions to logic and scientific reasoning. They encourages kids (and adults) to think systematically and identify problems. You can get the gist of this just by looking at the covers. If your kids are anything like mine, the instant you read the title “This is a ball”, and point to the very orange square on the cover, they will erupt in laughter and protests.
Through this, they begin to discern that a couple of similar elements does not a true correlation make. It’s really a beautiful thing, and very elegantly done.

2. Books that Drive Kids Crazy create a healthy opportunity for your kids to disagree with you and actually be right.

Let’s just admit it–kid’s aren’t always right. In fact, they are very frequently wrong and we must teach them the proper ways to interact with the world. But when they have an opportunity to be right–even if it’s in the context of a silly book–and when they can prove their case, it’s a beautiful thing.

3. They make everybody laugh!

The kids laughed. I laughed. When my Superman came home from work, they begged him to read it, and we ALL laughed. Books have the power to unite, and when half the books your kids “love” make you cringe after reading them once, it’s such a joy to find a book that everybody loves. Books That Drive Kids Crazy are uniquely entertaining with an inquisitive twist.

Anyways, I truly hope you can find your way to a copy of these somewhere. Let me know if you love them as much as we did!

Our rating: 5 out of 5 stars

**This post contains affiliate links. Thank you!**


Little Minutes and Mighty Oceans

“Little drops of water, little grains of sand, make the mighty ocean and the pleasant land. Thus the little minutes, humble though they be, make the mighty ages of eternity.” ~ Julia Abigail Fletcher Carney (1845)

Every Little Minute

There are 1440 minutes in every day. Most adults hope to spend 420 or so of them sleeping, and our kids probably spend between 600 and 720 minutes asleep. Even so, we have about half of those minutes to spend with our kids. That’s a lot of minutes. Here’s the thing, not all of those minutes are good minutes. Toddlers have moodswings and tantrums. Preschoolers need (what seems like) constant attention. 5-year-olds can supply enough drama for an entire high school. And, let’s face it, sometimes our own attitudes are not what we want our kids to see and emulate. We get frustrated about so many things.

Funny thing about angst: one bad attitude begets another bad attitude. When the children are fractious, our calm is challenged and it’s easiest to join them. And everybody knows, “If Mama isn’t happy, nobody’s happy.”

Here’s my point: I think we focus on the bad minutes too much. How many minutes does the average toddler temper tantrum take? Maybe 5 if she’s really committed? Little kid drama can be ridiculous, but it takes just a few seconds of silliness to totally swing from sad/angry to happy. Are the minutes spent rereading the same book for the 25th time even bad in the slightest? A few bad minutes–when we respond with our imperfect, or when our kids exhibit their imperfect–can cast their flavor on the whole day, but I don’t think they have to.

What if we gave the good minutes as much weight as we give the bad minutes?

Wouldn’t our cups be full to running over with joy?

If we delight in every good moment the same way we wallow in every bad, will we even have time to wallow?

Probably. We’re not perfect and our children aren’t perfect either. But it seems to me a good place to begin.

I bet if we kept journals for even one day, counting up the good moments and remembering them when we’d like to wallow in the bad, our perspective of our lives as a whole would gain some depth. Maybe, just maybe, that little perspective shift is all we need to turn our “bad” days into the best days.

Favorite Summer Kids Reads

Today I’m going to share some of our favorite summer reads for kids that we have devoured this year. Summer isn’t really over yet, but school has started. So, I’m just going to go ahead with this list. If you see any you want to be on your child’s summer reads… well, it IS still summer, after all 😉

All Our Summer Reads

We have read 290 kids books since May. It kind of shocked me, and made me glad that I started keeping a booklist for the kids. It also doesn’t account for the many books that we read, and reread, and reread. For this list, I picked books that a) I clearly remember because b) they were enjoyed by all of us. So, without further ado, here we go!

Disclosure: All links to Amazon are my affiliate links. All that means is that I may earn money for any traffic to Amazon through my site–it in no way affects the price you pay. Each book cover image will take you straight to it’s page on Amazon. It’s handy 🙂 Thanks for your support!

Nonfiction Summer Reads

Here are three of our non fiction favorite summer reads.
#4. This is a Ball by Beck and Matt Stanton
This one should possibly be in the fiction list, but it seemed like such a great experiment with logic that it won a place in the nonfiction list. This book is so much fun to read with kids, and it is all about getting kids to pick out the differences and find faulty logic in statements. E.g. “It has four feet and a tail; it is a dog.”

#3. It’s Disgusting and We Ate It! by James Solheim
summer-read-kidsThis is a really fun one that is great for history, geography, and challenging your picky eaters. Somehow broccoli doesn’t sound so bad after reading about the many ways that people eat insects around the world.

#2. If… A Mind Bending New Way of Looking at Big Numbers and Ideas by David J. Smith
Breaking up challenging numbers that are just to big to grasp entirely, this book relates those big numbers to large numbers of smaller, more relevant things. It is really interesting, and puts some perspective to some of the vast numbers we see within the universe.

#1. Rivers of Sunlight: How the Sun Moves Water Around the Earth
This book demystifies the water cycle. With beautiful illustrations and language even small children can understand, it’s a great first look at weather cycles.

Fictional Summer Reads

This was definitely the summer of a few different series for us. We have absolutely LOVED the Frances series and the Five Little Monkeys by Eileen Christelow, but since I’ve already mentioned those in a few other posts (here, for example) we’ll just move on today.

#5. One Small Blue Bead by Byrd Baylor
The language in this book is just beautiful. It’s reminiscent of the epic poem in style, and a wonderful book to read aloud.

#4. One Morning in Maine by Robert McCloskey
McCloskey’s classic books are a joy to read, and also to look at. The illustrations are completely charming, especially if you’re mildly obsessed with vintage-looking books and things.

#3. Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
I’ve heard this book recommended so often, it probably is a surprise to no-one, but it is just as lovely as everybody says. I love the message too: Find a way, in your life, to make earth a more beautiful place.

#2. The Nuts: Bedtime at the Nut House by Eric Litwin
The Nuts books are a riot to read through, for kids and adults alike. Very funny to kids, but with that element of truth that tends to crack adults (okay, me…) up.

#1. Three Scoops and a Fig by Sara Laux Akin
This was a delightful story about a little Italian girl who wants to find a role in the family restaurant. It is a sweet story, all around! The little girl was names Sofia, so my Sophia, of course, was especially drawn to this story.

Those were our favorite summer reads for kids this year. What were yours?

Let us know! We love to talk books and get new recommendations!

family schedule

Family Schedule Product Bundle Review and Giveaway!

**UPDATE: This giveaway has ended! Please check your email inbox if you entered! Thanks for participating 🙂

Today I’m reviewing a family schedule and chore chart from Love My Schedule. I think you’re going to love this magnetic family schedule as much as I do! Spoiler alert: They’re magnetic, wet-erase, and they don’t fall off the fridge!

Family Scheduling and Management Tools

This post is a collaboration with Love My Schedule.  I was given this product for review and giveaway.  However, all opinions expressed are my own.  

Staying organized and productive is a strong focus for me here.  With a 5-year-old, 3-year-old, and 1-year-old, embarking on our first year of homeschool, and still trying to tackle personal goals… well, organized is the only way to be.  We generally keep to a routine, rather than specifically time based schedule.  It usually works better for me to have a more general flow to my day.  If you’re interested in my take on establishing routines and habits, read my post here.

This post is directly related to that, and it is about a scheduling tool that is totally versatile.  Maybe you’re wanting to have family plans accessible everyday so that people can be prepared.  (Does that work?) Or you may need a visual reminder to keep your day on track.  Maybe you have kids that enjoy being able to tell for themselves what is coming next.  Either way–if you have a strict time-based schedule or if you’re on more of a routine flow–this family schedule will work for you.

The Family Schedule

The Love My Schedule products are all magnetic and wet-erase.  Each basic chore chart has 6 different blocks that can be assigned to specific people and coordinated with the 5 colored strips on the family schedule. (Expansion packs are available too, if you have a bigger family or more lists.)

I’ve tried a few different magnetic, dry erase boards for family schedule or to-do list purposes and there are a few reasons I like this better than any of those.  First, it’s Wet-Erase, which means if I can manage to give it a few seconds to dry, it will not smudge.  Dry erase is handy, but it is not forgiving.  Kids fingerprints, inadvertent smudging… I end up having to reprint it nearly every day.  Wet erase holds up so much better to daily scrutiny.  Second, the entire product is magnetic.  It’s not a board with a couple magnets on the back; every single segment is a flexible magnetic strip.  I cannot even tell you how many times my dry erase boards have been jostled and gone spinning off across the kitchen floor. There is no chance of that with this. Third, it is specifically designed for multiple schedules.  It’s especially great for us homeschoolers coordinating multiple kids activities all day long.  I think it would be useful even if you don’t homeschool, particularly if you have kids with different extra-curricular activities.  It’s a great way to lay it all out there and see who is doing what and when.

I have mine set up now with hour blocks.  An hour is far more than we need for most things, but when we finish the kids get to go play and burn off some steam between events, and I get to bust out some housework.  Additionally, I’ve found that it helps to have certain things that are strictly bound to a time.  They work as mini-reset buttons throughout the day.  We try to always start morning time at 8:30, and nap/quiet-times are almost always at 2.  If things have gone askew, reading books together fixes it.  Of course, you could set yours up with any amount of time segment that suits your family.

The only thing I don’t like about the schedule is that it is difficult to set up for different days of the week.  For example, we have a different schedule/flow on Tuesdays than we do on Mondays.  I would have to erase everything every day and set it up new each morning.  The other thing I may try is using the different colored strips for the different days of the week.  We don’t really need all different schedules right now.  The little ones either do what we’re doing (kind of) or I channel them off into other activities for a work period.  But, I’m not sure it’s that big of a deal to me right now either.  I still keep my bullet journal list and that accomodates the differences in the day just fine.

The Chore Chart

These chore charts are the first we have used consistently.  Part of that is probably that we’ve just reached ages where chores work, but the other part definitely has to do with the design.  I picked up a Melissa & Doug chore chart a couple months ago.  It’s cute, but the chores were already listed, some weren’t relevant, and there were SO many little magnetic pieces to distribute if the chores were completed.  Eventually, I threw away all the “reward” magnets because they kept ending up on the floor and I have a child that tries to eats everything.

I’ll do another post soon about how we’re encouraging our kids to help around the house.  It’s new right now, and I’m sure it will change in the coming months (years) but we’re trying to get there.  Slow and steady! We’re currently using this chart to keep track of the jobs the kids do and what we’ve agreed to pay them.  They don’t do all of these things in a week, usually just a few of them, and we encourage helping out in other ways too.  I also have my week of house-cleaning focus points up here.  Lastly, there’s a block where I put jobs that I’m having trouble getting to.  Josh helps with what he can in the evening and it all gets done eventually.

You can find the family schedule and the chore chart here from www.lovemyschedule.com.

And now… the Giveaway!!!

If either of these things sound like something you’d like to try, you’re in luck!  Today, I am so excited to be teaming up with Amy over at Love My Schedule to bring you a fantastic giveaway that will help you schedule ALL the things!  This is my very first giveaway on the blog, so if you’re reading this, welcome to the action!

We are giving away a Love My Schedule bundle which includes: 1 family schedule and 1 family chore chart.  Both are magnetic, and wet erase–absolutely customizable to your family. The giveaway is running for a week (August 10-17), so be sure to share it with your friends! Simply enter the giveaway with your email address and check out Minding My Peas and Love My Schedule on Facebook. I’ll be selecting a random winner on Thursday, August 17th. Winner will be notified via the email address used to sign up. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Homeschool Planning Series: Homeschool Curriculum 2017-2018

Today in homeschool planning: The homeschool curriculum we will be using during the 2017-2018 school year!

The why, how, and what of it all…

Since that definitely wasn’t too dramatic, I’ll just jump right in to our homeschool curriculum choices for the year. We actually had our first day of school yesterday. Sophia is very excited, and I am too. I’m glad to have a point where the planning has to taper off, and work actually begin. Anyways, let’s start with the three R’s, shall we?


For reading, we’re going working through the McGuffey Reader series. (Ebook versions are available for free through the Gutenberg ProjectWe’re partly through the first reader right now. I will say that I am not a stickler about mandating that she ALWAYS read this particular book. Sometimes she would rather read a book from the library. I don’t always let her choose, but I am inclined to if she has a specific desire to read a certain book. After all, the point is to learn and love reading, not to work through some arbitrary checkpoints. She also reads a few verses from the Bible at our Morning Time. I’ll be reading aloud a selection of classic kids books. The Secret Garden, Grimms Fairy Tales, Aesop’s Fables, Fifty Famous Stories, and Just So Stories. This is mainly following the course from Ambleside Online. However, we were reading The Secret Garden before school started and are loving it!

Math Homeschool Curriculum

This year, we are using Saxon Math 1. It is a very organized approach with manipulatives and opportunities to make it a hands on learning experience. I think Sophia is nearer to the middle in terms of her skills, but I’m having trouble gauging where to jump to. I’m going to spend some time poring over the manual this weekend to figure that out though…

Writing/Copywork Homeschool Curriculum

For our writing curriculum, we’re using Handwriting Without Tears, and we’re using the printing book. Sophia enjoys writing, and especially likes to write little notes to people. I love that and encourage it! However, some structured formation practice is well in order. We’ll also do short copywork sentences based on narrations.

The other subjects…

Honestly, I’m most excited about our peripheral subjects. I think everybody is. Not that Math and Writing and Reading are boring by any means–I love them too–but I get so EXCITED about Geography, History, Science, and the great literature we’ll be reading in those subjects that I just can’t help myself. Throw in some music, art, and nature study? Yes, please…

History Homeschool Curriculum

For history this year, we’re using Story of the World, Volume 1, and studying Ancient Civilization. I spent a lot of time going back and forth between Story of the World and the Mystery of History for a curriculum, but we ultimately picked this. I’m so glad we did! I’ve been reading through the Activity Book and it is just fantastic (although I think I’m going to have to pass on mummifying a chicken…) I just finished prepping for our first activity (an archaeology dig) and it’s like Christmas. The history that we read will be supplemented by literature from the library that fits into the time period we’re studying or illuminates the scientific/mathamatical advances of the time.

Science Homeschool Curriculum

We’re following the science program from the Well Trained Mind through the grammar stage. That means that our first year (this year) will focus on studying the natural world. This ties into our first year history, because science in Ancient Times was based on what was observable to the naked eye. We’re spending our first semester on animal classification and the different families within the animal kingdom. In the new year, we’ll move on to the human body, and botany. We’re using encyclopedias for this, as well as lots of library books. We’re also going to be working through this book of science experiments for kids, and encouraging observation and discovery.

Especially in Nature

Moving on down the rabbit hole, we’re also delving into nature study. Again, something I’m really excited about. I’m using Nature Anatomy and the Handbook for Nature Study, and we’re setting aside Fridays for nature walks. We’re arming the kids with a pad of paper, a pen, and a magnifying glass, and I can’t wait to see what they turn up! Nature Study is pretty quintessentially Charlotte Mason, and I love her attitude towards children in the outdoors. She encourages observation deftly, but the emphasis is always on stoking the interest of the children and being certain they have a wealth of ideas and knowledge at their fingertips to satisfy questions and fuel the imagination.
homeschool-curriculum-nature homeschool-curriculum-nature-study

And if the world in our own backyard, why not the WORLD?!

Again with the segue… We’re memorizing the continents, and learning about important countries within each continent. We’ll get into some mapwork too. This is another subject that I am SO enthusiastic about. Josh and I have a basically insatiable desire to travel, and I’m sure some of that will rub off on our kids. I was really inspired by Jamie Martin’s ‘Give Your Child the World’. So, in addition to our maps and globes, and pins-on-places-we-read-about, we’ll be reading through her booklists for each continent. Plus, there are incredible documentaries on Netflix that we’ll use occasionally, and we’ll be trying our hand at making a special meal from various countries. Honestly, this is one of those subjects where I probably have too many ideas and too little time. Only time will tell, though!
homeschool-curriculum-geography homeschool-curriculum-geography homeschool-curriculum-geography

And the arts…

We’re doing a little composer study and art study in our Morning Time as well. Dvorak and Mary Cassat will be our composer and artist study this year. I have fond (probably too-fond) hopes for music. I would love to see the kids start playing the piano or another instrument, but it is not something I am going to force at this age. I’m getting the Thompson book for young children, will offer to teach them… and just see where it goes. I’m personally taking advantage of our composer study as a little direction for my violin practice, and intend to focus on learning the music to a few of the pieces we play.

So, that was basically a book… Bravo to you for sticking with me!

Are your curriculum choices made? What are you most looking forward to in this homeschool year?

This post contains affiliate links.  This in no way changes the price you pay, it simply means that I may get a small kickback if you purchase through my link.  Thank you so much for your support.