Project Fail!

When we started school at the beginning of August, I had the awesome idea to create themes for each month.  The first month was going to be an “all about me” theme.  I thought this would be perfect for getting back into the groove of a normal school day for us.

It didn’t work.

I completely underestimated getting back into a routine with the kids.  Although we school all year long, in the summer we definitely are much more relaxed with what we are doing.  To get back into the normal routine of all the subjects takes a little while.

I also underestimated the challenges that Lucy’s changing nap schedule would give us.

My entire idea of a monthly theme for August went completely out the window.

This weekend I sat down to evaluate how our school year has started off.  I think that it has been going really well.  We have been easing into it, definitely, which is part of the reason I school all year.  That means that we can take our time getting into new subjects, and taking time when we need to in order to regroup.

Our first month has been going really well.  The kids have been working diligently for the most part.  I realize that it is going to take me a little bit longer to get school done during the day than I originally thought, not because the kids are not concentrating, but because I have two kids in two different grade levels and one little baby who has decided this month to not go down for her normal 9:30 am nap.

With regards to our themes, I definitely put that on the back burner this month.  When we started, and I realized how much I had planned to do each day, I realized something needed to go.  Projects were it.

However, now that we are more or less into our school groove, I plan to put them back on the schedule. 

September’s theme is going to be Apples. 

Part of what I love about homeschooling is the ability to change course when I need to.  If we don’t like a book, I can put it down and look for something new, if a writing program isn’t working, I can change it.  If I have too much in our day, I can cut some of it, or rearrange for it to fit better.

I am not completely giving up on the monthly themes, but if there is a month that seems overflowing, or something else has come up, I am not afraid to put it on the back burner.

Some other homeschool fails I have had this past month:

  • Not taking first day of school pictures – we will be doing that today!
  • Letting the kids take their school markers up to their rooms, never to be seen again.
  • Not having a consistent start time for school – I blame that on the baby who has completely changed her nap schedule every week for the past month.
  • Not involving the kids in chores because I just want to get them done as quickly as possible.

This has been my last month.  It hasn’t been bad, not by any means, but it hasn’t gone exactly as I had laid it out in my mind.

I’m here to let you know that that is OK!  If something isn’t working, all you need to do is change course.  This isn’t only for homeschoolers, this is for anybody, and can work for any situation.

If what you are doing, or what you have planned, is not working, all you need to do is change course.  Make one small change, make one large change, but do not keep going with the plan simply because it is the plan.

While my first month of homeschooling has been a little different than what I had expected, it has still been amazing.  I have seen Emma excel at her reading and become more confident in her math facts.  I have seen Jack fly through his first readers, constantly trying to catch up to what his big sister is doing.  I have seen the excitement when I put on the timer and challenge them to do as many math facts in 10 minutes as they can.  I have enjoyed Jack turning to Yoga when he is having a hard time, to help him sit and concentrate and relieve some stress.  And one great thing that I have seen is Jack and Emma taking turns with their old flashcards and trying to “teach” Lucy different shapes and colors while she tries to eat the flash cards.

Overall, it has been an amazing, challenging, inspiring, first month of homeschooling!  I can’t wait to see what this month brings!

What do you do when your plan is not working?  Do you resist or try to change course?

End of Summer?!

Can we talk for a minute about how it is almost September?  How the heck did that happen?!  I was reminded of it this morning when I grabbed for a sweatshirt after I got out of bed.  A little chilly! 

With the end of summer comes all of the excitement that fall brings, apple picking, football games, soups and more crock pot meals, sweaters; all things that I am extremely fond of.  

At the beginning of every new season I am convinced it is my favorite, but the beginning of fall, I think, might win over all the others.  

Warm days, cool nights, no humidity, and little rain - yes, perfect!

Seasonal living is something that has become incredibly important to me.  I think I always knew the importance of the seasons, but it is definitely coming to the forefront of my mind now, with my children growing so fast. 

I am learning to savor each season, and the different activities that come with each part of the year. 

I feel like our activities are so tied to the seasons, and there are specific things we do in each month.  It reminds me that I have an amazing book by Amanda Soule, The Rhythm of Family.  I am going to have to dig that book out and read it again.

One thing that I love about the late summer and early fall is the abundance of fresh vegetables.  There are so many available - tomatoes, peppers, onions, three of my favorites and a staple in my home weekly.

I love to chop up these veggies with just a little sea salt, olive oil and a splash of raw vinegar - delicious!

I’m also eating a lot of tomatoes and summer squash with garlic.  I honestly can’t get enough of the fresh summer vegetables, and I know they are so short lived, it doesn’t seem fair!

Usually this coming weekend would mark a time of canning tomatoes, but I will let you know, I did not buy my 100 pounds of tomatoes for canning (plus what I typically pick from my garden – since the garden is non-existent this year).  It seems a little strange to not be preparing for a big weekend of tomato canning, but I am slowly coming to grips with this year being different than years past.

Having three little ones, two homeschoolers and one under one year old, I have adjusted my expectations of the year in preserving.  I’m looking forward to a garden next year, but this year we will continue to let everything lay fallow, and start new next year.

Are you looking forward to fall?  Which is your favorite season?

Crazy Family Antics and Free mini e-course!

Am I the only one that has a crazy family?  I'm hoping the answer is no!

Scroll all the way to the bottom for video!

We recently took a trip to Target - I seem to visit there quite frequently.  I decided to vlog our little car ride, and it showed the complete randomness that is our family.  But, as Matt and I were watching the video, we realized how blessed we are to have such a fun little family.  We are able to laugh at ourselves, which is important.

There is so much stress out in the world now.  Between the economy, the stress of different regions in our country and world, it seems like people are always butting heads but not making any good progress in the right direction.

All that stress is not good for us at all.  It shortens our life expectancy, and honestly, it isn't fun.

Stress and anxiety.  Two words that I know intimately.

What do you do if you are stressed or worried?  You need to focus on self-care.

Self-care is something that I started taking more seriously last year, and especially at the beginning of this year.  Taking a minute to realize who I am, what it is that fuels my energy, knowing myself better; those are all ways that I can manage the stress of the world.

I realized that if I wasn't taking care of myself, I wasn't taking care of my family.  I want my little family to be healthy and happy.  Not completely stress free, because that is impossible, but I want us to live the best version of our lives that we can.

I'm happy to report that there is a free mini e-course that can help you and me!  It is called:

Stephanie Langford put together this short little audio e-course to help give families steps and strategies to incorporate these four healthy habits in their everyday lives.

She was able to find four of the top healthy living bloggers out there to interview, and share what they know, to help you!

I hope you will check out this short e-course, I know that it has helped me and the decisions that I make for my family immensely.

This short e-course is actually a precursor to the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle which is coming soon!  Don't forget to sign up to be notified when it goes on sale.

And without further ado, here is my crazy family living it up on our way to Target!

How do you deal with stress?  Is your family as crazy as mine is?  

Top 5 Apps for Outdoor Adventures! #BetterMoments

I am a member of the US Cellular #BetterMoments Blogger Brigade.  I was compensated for this post, but truly love the service that they provide.  All opinions are my own!

Don't forget to download the US Cellular Parent Child Agreement to help facilitate your conversations revolving around safe phone usage!

The humidity of the summer is finally giving us a bit of a break in Maine.  When the humidity level dies down my family and I love to get outdoors.  Don’t get me wrong, we are outside when it is hot hot hot, but more at the pool then rather than hiking.

I got my new iPhone 6 a couple weeks ago.  I love it.  Can I say that?  I am kind of a geek when it comes to new technology (I blame this on my brother), and so having the new iPhone is a huge treat for me.

My family loves to get outside for hikes and bike rides, and having my phone helps me to feel so much more comfortable with the planning stages of being out where there isn’t much technology.   Features like the flashlight and compass are huge helps when out hiking (or if I am trying to sneak through my bedroom without waking the baby!).

I always try to be as prepared as I can be when we go anywhere.  I have my first aid kit, lots of water and snacks, rain jackets and umbrellas, change of clothes; but when we are in the woods, sometimes we need a little extra help.  That is where my phone comes in handy.  I don’t have to carry as much stuff because a lot of it can stay right on my phone, easily accessible.

Top 5 Apps for Outdoor Adventures

1.)    Army Survival Guide:  Nothing beats good planning, however, there is so much information out there, to have it right at your fingertips is amazing.  The Army Survival Guide works both on and offline, and offers information on survival planning, shelters, water and food procurement, starting a fire and much more. 

2.)    GaiaGPS:  Let’s be honest here, we all use GPS to get directions these days!  Gaia GPS is a free app that offers the full functionality of a back country GPS unit.  You can record tracks and way points and search for nearby waypoints and then read reports about the different places.

3.)    AllTrailsThis app is awesome!  You are able to browse through guides for 50,000 trails across North America!  It provides photos and reviews for all kinds of different activities from biking to fly fishing.  You can also track all of your adventures and share them with friends.

4.)    National Parks Field Guide:  This is an interactive field guide for the wildlife and plants in 100 US National Parks.  It also lists all the important sites, hours, prices, etc. of the different parks. 

5.)    UnitedStates Coast GuardThis free app provides state boating information.  It also includes a safety equipment checklist, navigation rules and float plans.  It also offers tools to call for help if you need it.

Having these apps available on a reliable network is important.  US Cellular’s 4G LTE network keeps you covered nationwide.

What is your favorite way to enjoy the outdoors?  

Vacation Recap

Last week we were on vacation!  It was incredibly relaxing.  We decided on a staycation, and I couldn’t be more pleased with how everything turned out.  Sometimes I feel like going away is so much work, you end up rushing around trying to fit everything in, and then you need a vacation from your vacation.

We had some crazy warm weather too, which was good and bad.  I don't want to complain about the heat because we have so little of it in Maine, but (i'm going to complain about the heat) when the temperatures are in the 90’s with 100% humidity, it is a tad too toasty for my non-air conditioned home.  

We were lucky to be able to spend time at a friend’s pool, which was awesome.  I love having the opportunity to go to the pool with no one else around.  It makes for a nice relaxing day.  Emma and Jack loved relaxing in the pool, and Lucy enjoyed sitting in the shade in her pack and play.  

We went to the library when the heat was getting to us because it is air conditioned.  Jack was able to get his first library card, and proceeded to want to check out all the books - all.the.books.  He was so excited to have the library card, and it was fun to see the awe in his eyes when he was able to check out his own books, and to sign his name.  It is the little things.

Ice cream for dinner was an occurrence a couple of times, and always makes me happy!

I think that relaxation is undervalued in our society.  At least it seems to be that way in my home.  We seem to be going going going, and I sometimes forget to sit back and enjoy instead of moving onto the next thing.  I want to have that margin, to be able to sit back and watch the kids in the pool, and not try to multi-task the situation.  My hope for the fall is to stop and enjoy a little more.  

When I am constantly thinking about school and the kids, and cleaning the house, and getting out and about, time seems to move faster.  I want time to slow down!

Overall it was an amazing and relaxing vacation.  The kids spent a lot of time outside, riding bikes, going for long walks, playing in their little pool; I was able to do some reading, and some relaxing.  Now we will get back to our regularly scheduled programming of school.  The weather has cooled off, and it looks like a quiet week of rain here, so I think that it will be easy to fall back into routine.

When I was out for a walk Saturday morning I saw this one tree with leaves starting to turn red - which put time into perspective for me.  The picture doesn’t do it justice, but the seasons are starting to change, already!  It has been a wonderful summer, and I am looking forward to a wonderful fall!

Do you enjoy staycations?  Are you going anywhere in these last days of summer before the kids go back to school?

Our Trip to the Co-op

Local food is a passion of mine.  I actually love all things local.  It is something that I have thought about for years and years it seems, making sure I am living a local lifestyle - not that I am entirely successful in that pursuit.

Local living can be incredibly difficult in today's world.  You go to the grocery store and Costco to get food, you go to the mall to get clothes, you hit up Target for everything under the sun, instead of growing your own food and buying cloth to make your own clothes.  It is amazing to see the differences of today compared to 100 years ago.

I was over the moon excited when a co-op was rumored to be opening in our little downtown area.  

It was a long process.  I think maybe three years from start to finish.  But, it was well worth the wait.

Now we have an amazing local market downtown, where I can go first to buy food.  

Obviously it is not only food, and not only local food at that.  The co-op offers everything that a regular grocery store offers.  Of course some of these items are incredibly expensive, but I have found that the vegetables, meats and eggs are comparable to what I find at the grocery store.

One of my favorite parts of the co-op though is the bulk bins.  I have read so many articles over the years about saving money on groceries (because that is almost always the place we seem to start cutting when budgeting).  Pretty much every article and blog post I have read mention bulk bins.  

The bulk bins at the co-op do not disappoint.

Items that I typically have to buy online, for more than I would like to pay, are now available to me (things like nutritional yeast).

Overall I was so excited to have this option for my grocery needs, and although some things are a little more expensive, some are less expensive, and I am lucky to have the options that I do - especially since I didn't plant a garden this year!

I would love you all to come along with the kids and I on our trip to the co-op!

Do you have a co-op in your area?  Is it something you wish you could find?  What do you think about local living?

Back to School $250 giveaway!

It is that time of year - Back to School!  I know that we are not the only ones who are shopping all the Back to School sales out there right now.  Because of that, I am partnering with some amazing blogs and authors for the Back to School - Back to Books $250 Cash Giveaway.

Back to Books

Now, even if you aren't going back to school, you are more than welcome to enter this giveaway as well.

You have a choice between $250 in PayPal cash or a $250 Amazon gift card.

Back to School - Back to Books $250 Cash Giveaway August 17th to September 7th 

Giveaway Details Back to School - Back to Books $250 Cash Giveaway August 17th to September 7th

Prize: Winner's choice of $250 in Paypal Cash or a $250 Gift Code 

Sponsor List: 

Heather @ Townsend House
I Am A Reader
Author Martha Reynolds
The Discerning Reader
Raven Haired Girl
DS Venetta ~ Author middle grade fiction
Talia Jager, YA Author
Kimber Leigh Wheaton
TMBA Corbett
The Page Unbound
Author MK McClintock
Carolyn Cooper
Kindle and Me
Book Nerd Addict
Live Life Blog
Simple Wyrdings
Krysten Lindsay Hager author
Rockin' Book Reviews
Here We Go Again...Ready?
Ann Swann - Suspense and more
Author Inger Iversen
Crystal's Chaotic Confessions
Bella Street's Time Travel Romance
Bonnie Blythe Pure Romance
Taylor Dean Books
Every Free Chance Books
LeahSay's Views
My Book Self
A Tattered Copy
Glistering Bs Blog
Lori's Reading Corner
Free Bookster
Kelly's Lucky You
Chicas Love to Read
Hall Ways
Bound 4 Escape
Book Reviews and Giveaways
Author Wendi Sotis
Laurisa Reyes - Author

Giveaway Details $250 in Paypal Cash (alternately the winner can choose a $250 Gift Code) Ends 9/7/15 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use money sent via Paypal. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the authors, bloggers and publishers on the sponsor list. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Orange Stuff and a Recipe

When I was growing up my mom always made the best food.  Actually, she still makes the best food, but the difference is that I know a lot of her recipes now as well!

Whenever we had any type of celebration, food was always at the center of it.  Those flavors and those dishes give me such fond memories, and it is something that I have always wanted to give to my children as well.

I love how when you have a certain food, it brings up memories.  Isn’t that amazing!  How can eating something that you once ate years ago remind you of so much?  Perhaps it isn’t a common occurrence.  But, for me, there are so many foods that remind me of specific memories.  There are all the sweets at Christmas, the delicious grilled salmon my mom would make in the summer, and of course that first time my brother and I had lobster.

This past weekend I decided to make an old summer favorite for Jack’s birthday BBQ.  It isn’t something that is healthy, or local, but it is a delicious dish that reminds me of my childhood, and long days on the boat followed by a big BBQ with friends.

The recipe is called Orange Stuff.

I think it is similar to the ambrosia salad of long ago, and heard it referred to as close to “Watergate Salad” this past weekend.  So, perhaps you know this recipe as something else – but it is one that I love, and that my children also love!

Orange Stuff
1 large container Cool-Whip (defrosted)
16 oz small curd cottage cheese (full fat please!)
1 large box of orange jello
8 oz crushed pineapple
8 oz mandarin oranges
2 cups mini marshmallows
Mix all ingredients together, chill for a bit, then serve.

It may sound a bit strange, but trust me, it is delicious!  I had not made this for several years, and I cannot figure out why I was waiting.  It is the perfect summer dessert to me…or breakfast the next day. 

Do you have a favorite recipe from childhood?  Does food bring back amazing memories for you?

knitting and reading

This is my yarn basket.  It is full of a lot of scraps of yarn, but also has a good amount of wool in there.  I have been trying to figure out what I want to knit all summer, and now that we are into the middle of August I know that I need to start getting ready for fall with new hats and mittens for the kids.

Have I mentioned before that I love knitting for my kids?

I do.  It is because the projects don’t take me nearly as long.  Of course they take me a lot longer than most of the lovely ladies I see on the yarn along each week, but if I can make something for my kids in the amount of time it takes for one of the experts to knit an adult sweater, I am feeling good!

This year I have to make some stuff for the littlest among us who will be able to be out in the snow this winter.

A question I have for you experts out there, do you line your mittens with something, or do you knit it and call it good.  My concern has been that the mittens will get wet and not warm the hands as well.  I am using wool, so I know that helps to wick away moisture for a little while, but eventually everything is saturated.  I was thinking of lining with something, although I am not sure what, or even how I would do that.

My reading is still the same with For the Love.  Actually I haven’t read any of it since last week.  My week was full of the first week of homeschool and my weekend was spent celebrating Jack’s birthday, so I didn’t have a whole lot of time for my reading – that and the fact that I am still full on pre-reading most of the kids’ school books.

What are you working on this week?  Are you thinking fall knitting yet, or am I jumping the gun?

First Week of Homeschool and a Vlog!

Somehow we made it through the first week!  OK, so that might seem a tad dramatic.  I think that every new year I end up being more nervous about what we are doing.  This year especially, since I am reporting for the first time!

Overall I think that we have fallen into a good rhythm, but I am sure it will be adjusted as we go along.  

One thing that I realized last week is that I expect an awful lot out of my kids – considering they are seven and five.  I may have to adjust my expectations about how much I want them to do in a day. 

They have been incredibly cooperative, and haven’t complained, however, I realize that they are seven and five, and the amount of seat work I am expecting of them seems a little much.  This is coming from someone who identifies more with the “unschooling” method of homeschool rather than the “school at home” method.

It is easy for me to say “we have so much time; we can accomplish so much more!”  Then when we sit down to do it, I realize that perhaps it is a little too much.  That is the benefit of homeschooling, I am able to adjust my expectations accordingly.

I attempted vlogging last week for the first time.  Goodness, I don’t know how some people do it every day!  I couldn’t even manage to capture an entire day of homeschooling, instead we captured the first two days. 

Read to the bottom for the Vlog!

This is only a snippet into our day, but I thought it would be fun to share with you all. 

I think that perhaps my kiddos want to incorporate some sort of video class in their homeschool learning.  They absolutely love making videos.  I think it is interesting to see the different mediums children use to learn, and how when we allow them just a little bit of freedom, they can come up with so much to experience. 

Love of learning is my number one priority in homeschooling my children.  If I can show them how exciting learning is, and have them understand that they can learn anything they want, and to really take ownership of that learning, that is success to me.

And for those of you wondering, the lunchboxes are working out exceptionally well – except when I forget to pack them before the kids start school.  They are looking for those lunchboxes filled with snacks first thing every morning!

How do you go about your day with your children?  Do you spend all day schooling?  Do you take a lot of breaks?  Do you try to fit in more than you probably should (this is me, by the way)?

Celebrating Jack

These past several days have been spent celebrating Jack's birthday.  I honestly cannot believe that my little guy is five years old now!  Where does the time go?  No, seriously, where is the time going?

He is officially in Kindergarten, such a grown up little boy, serious in his love of creating stories and pictures, loving life.

It was a wonderful birthday celebration for him!

We started on his birthday with breakfast out, spent the day swimming at the pool, and ended with his requested Finding Nemo cake that I decorated.  It was a wonderful time.  He enjoyed having his dad home from work to spend time with him.  It really was a perfect day!

Then Saturday we had the big 5 birthday party - a Super Mario Brothers theme - the kid is obsessed with Mario. 

Our friends let us borrow their bounce house and a little roller coaster cart and track which was enjoyed by all the children.  There were a lot of people, tons of food, and lots of fun, and one tuckered out mama at the end of it all!

Tucking him in at night last night was the first time it felt different since he turned five.  He seemed a little older, turning into a young man instead of my little boy.

Yes, I know he is only five!  But, it seems like such a big year.

This mama has trouble every year that her babies grow older.  I am so thankful that I am on this journey of being a mama with my three little ones.  They all bless me beyond what I could have ever imagined.

Every struggle and hard time is rewarded by the cutest little sayings and more snuggles than I could possibly ever wish for.

Here is to another year watching Jack grow, and learn, and love.  Happy Birthday!

knitting and reading

I have not been knitting a lot these past couple of weeks!  It seems to be a trend for me this summer, taking time off from knitting.  I will blame it on the hot weather and preparing to start school (which we did this week!).

I have done a bit of knitting, unfortunately, it is all Christmas knitting, and so I cannot show you right now.  Not that I have a lot of people in my real life reading my blog, but there are a few, so better to be safe than sorry!

Instead, I will share a picture of this pretty pink yarn that I have yet to use for Emma’s sweater project.

Am I the only one?  That starts knitting for Christmas so early?  I have this fear of the rush right before Christmas, and so I start super early.  However, I do still tend to have that Christmas rush…perhaps because I start so early I think I can finish a whole lot more than I am actually able?

On the reading front, there have been a lot of books.  Like I mentioned above, we started school this week.  We are year round homeschoolers, but we still have a definite “start” to our year, complete with new books and new school supplies – who doesn’t love school supplies?!

We mainly use a literature based approach to homeschooling, so there are always lots of books.  This week we started reading Treasure Island (an awesome Target Dollar Spot Find) and The Candymakers, which is about four children who are in a candy making contest.  My kids are loving this book.  I think that the fact that one of the kids is the son of a candy maker, and lives in a candy factory, is very appealing to them.  It is also making me want to read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which I don’t think I have ever read – only seeing the movie.
For my own reading, I have been diving into For the Love by Jen Hatmaker.  I am enjoying the writing immensely.  It is filled with her humor, which I quite enjoy, and is very encouraging.  I’m not entirely sure what I expected from this book, so I cannot figure out where I stand on it.  I’m not sure if it is supposed to be only an encouraging book, or if there is something else that I am supposed to be garnering from its pages.  I’m about a third of the way in, and will have my full review up soon.

What are you working on this week?  Have you read any books that you seemingly love, but aren’t quite sure what it is about?

First Day of School!

How the heck did we get here so quickly?  OK, I know what you are thinking, Heather, it is the beginning of August, what are you doing?!

Well, you all know that we school all year, for my sanity’s sake really.  There is still a definite start to the new year though.  And we are all incredibly excited about it.

Last year was the first year that I started the first week in August.  I did it because we were expecting Lucy in the fall, and I knew that I would be taking some time off from intensive teaching when we brought her home.

It turns out that starting the first week in August worked really well for my kids, and also for me.  I thought they might be disappointed to be starting so early, but with the aforementioned “school all year” they don’t know any different.

In fact, they are extremely excited about starting school, because it means new books for them to use and read.

I have been diligently working on piecing together our new curriculum for a couple months now.  I took a lot of help from Sonlight, but have also used some of the many free resources online – Ambleside Online and Easy Peasy to name a couple.

After all of the books lists, Math books, Language Arts choices, Science unit research, and new lesson planner I think we are ready to go.  At least for the first week!

I am crossing my fingers for a great start to the year though.  Having Lucy is going to be a bit of a challenge, but I think that we will be able to manage.  I am also slightly concerned about having to teach bother Emma and Jack this year. 

I have been teaching Jack right along with Emma, but my goodness, he is only 4 (soon to be 5) and we were mainly doing easy stuff, and I would let him direct me as to how much he wanted to accomplish – I still feel like play is a huge part of his learning (and Emma’s as well), but we are moving on to more reading and math and writing, and those take a little more time from Mama.

Because of all the challenges I feel like I will have this year, we are going to try and set a better schedule for school related activities.  When I work only with Emma, it takes us very little time to get through everything I want to do in a day, but with Jack, and now Lucy too, I will need to be utilizing my time a little better. 

My great hope is that Lucy will continue to take a long morning nap so that we can get through all the seat work during that time.  Then, because we use a literature based curriculum, we will be able to take the time when Lucy is awake to read all the stories.

All of this is working out perfectly in my mind, but we shall see how it works in the real world!

Are you thinking about school yet?  Have you started, or are you still holding onto summer?

Feeling Lost with my Urban Homestead

I didn’t plant a garden this year.  I didn’t even plant anything in the numerous pots that I have stashed in my basement.  No, this year was a sabbatical year for my garden, and for us.  The chickens were processed last year and not replaced in the spring.

It feels really odd.

I have had a garden every year that I have lived in this house, and have thoroughly enjoyed all of the produce the garden has provided my family; but this year I didn’t plant a thing, and now I feel lost! 

Right now I should be starting to preserve vegetables.  Beans should be going in the freezer, and being pickled for the kids snacks this winter.  I should be grating up zucchini so that I can make zucchini bread or throw it in soup.  Pickles need to be made. 

Typically I start preserving right from my garden, and then purchase extra from the Farmers’ Market to round out what we have picked, but I haven’t even started yet!

This week I will be visiting the Farmers’ Market and the co-op to see what is available, and what I can purchase in bulk.  Even though I don’t have a garden that does not mean that I close the blinds on preserving as well.

I realize that all of this sounds silly, who really cares if I don’t plant a garden or preserve any food this year?  In the grand scheme of things it isn’t a big deal.  I can still support my local farmers, and we certainly can get any food we need from the grocery store.  However, I feel like it is something I need to do.

Do you ever get that feeling?  There is something that you must do, and when you resist it, you feel off?  I think that is what has happened to me this year.

Even this blog, homesteading on my little quarter of an acre has been integral to what I write here at Townsend House.  Without garden progress to write about, I have less to say in this space this summer.

Don’t get me wrong, I have been having an amazing summer.  The weather has been absolutely beautiful, surprisingly not too hot and humid, comfortable at night while we are sleeping (and I am super happy about that considering our a/c broke this year, and it was not on the priority list for replacement).  The kids have been playing in their little pool almost every day.  Watching Lucy grow has been wonderful.  It isn’t all doom and gloom here, not at all actually, just different.

I think that I am going to plant a fall garden this year, something I have never done even though I have talked about it before.  It won’t be anything large.  Actually, I’m not sure if it will be large or not.  I just did a quick google search to see what I could plant now, and apparently I can plant a whole heck of a lot…so we will see! 

I need to get a move on if I am going to do it though.  Here we are, already in the first week of August.  We are starting school this week, and I think that I will be doing a Science unit on plants right off, so we can all get involved in the fall garden planning.

Have you experienced an off year with your homestead before?  Or an off season in general because what you typically do is not happening?  I would love to hear about it in the comments!