SUMMER THINGS

We may have started our fall home school routine last week, but that doesn’t mean summer is over. We’re still in the thick of it; the air is beginning to smell hot and stale, and we realistically still have two months of summer ahead. Naturally my favorite season tends to be the next one, but I’m trying to make my favorite season always be the current one. So, instead of looking ahead to fall, I’m trying to enjoy summer for what it is, and pull as much out of it as we can. Currently, my late summer includes:

Walking…I’ve been walking every evening up and down our little street. When we first moved into our house, I loved our house, our yard, the woods behind our house, but I didn’t particularly like our street. Once I started walking it regularly, though, I’ve really grown to love it, and the people have become familiar neighbors who I have little chats with about their pets and their trees, and it’s become one of my favorite ways to end the day. There are 27 houses on our street, and getting to know the people in them one small conversation at a time makes the world feel a little friendlier and safer. My goal this pregnancy has been to walk 5 miles a day (about 10,000 steps) and for the first time ever, I actually lost a pound during pregnancy. (That wasn’t the goal, and never should be unless it’s something a doctor has recommended, but I began this pregnancy heavier than any of my others. I’ve only ever seen the scale go up during pregnancies, so it was a surprise!) It gets harder and harder to stay motivated to move while pregnant, so making it a habit not based on how I feel each day, helps me keep going even on days I don’t want to walk. And most days I feel better once I have gone out and exercised because that’s often what exercise does!

Baking…One of my resolutions this year was to bake less to make my life simplier, but then I remembered I love baking, so I’ve been enjoying it more again. This summer I made my first batch of hot rolls that made our entire house smell like grandma’s house, which I decided I needed to do more often. The kids all love to take turns helping me, and even though it’s sometimes hard to let them help, I try to always let somebody put on an apron and be my little helper. They’re learning while they’re young and interested in helping so that when they’re older and don’t jump at the chance to be near whatever I’m doing, they’ll already know how to do things in the kitchen. The girls are already volunteering to make things by themselves, and while I’m not quite ready to let them loose alone with a recipe (they’re 6 & 8), I’m excited for the day when they can stretch their independence and accomplish a meal without me!

Cold Suppers…Sometimes when it’s so hot outside, a hot meal is too much. Sandwiches, wraps, and noodle salads are refreshing when it’s feels too hot to eat anything warm. We’ve been having BLT wraps with fresh tomatoes from the farmers’ market every Saturday, and it’s become a tradition we look forward to all week! 

Book gathering…I’m slowly working through one book the past couple months, but I really don’t read very much in the summer. I’ve been stacking up a few on a special corner of the shelf for fall/winter when the longer hours of darkness welcome long books. It’s not that I don’t have time in the summer, I just don’t feel as interested in reading when the sun is out and there are things to do outside.

Praying…finally, we have been praying through some things over the past few months, and it has been a defining aspect of our summer. It’s funny how we naturally want to follow our feelings and make quick decisions, but wisdom often tells us to wait, make decisions slowly, and not be quick to decide things we might regret later. I’m thankful for a husband that encourages slow, prayerful decision making; waiting until we are in perfect agreement on things can take time we would rather not spend waiting in an unknown, but we know it will make the end result sweeter because we were 100% together in it. 

What about you? Does summer end when school starts, or do you let summer stretch until the weather agrees it’s time for a change of seasons?

FAMILY | NEW ADDITION IN 2020

 

 

I’m happy to say we are expecting baby #5! We’ve talked about it off and on over the past two years because I’ve always dreamed of having a large family. We’ve always known we would love having more kids, so we are beyond excited and grateful for this new addition in early 2020!

I am still early in my pregnancy, just coming to the end of my first trimester. It’s hard to know when is the best time to share this news, but it’s hard to hide when morning sickness kind of controls everything we do and eat. For one, all I want to eat is meat. Specifically I have been craving hamburgers and steak or any form of red meat, and I really feel better on the days that I eat meat. It feels so backwards to what we were eating just a few months ago! Right now amidst morning sickness and an almost daily need for a hamburger, I just laugh at how things change; we really have to be able to roll with the changes of life and be stable and grounded in matters of the soul and not let ourselves be defined by a lifestyle or a diet or any particular area of life that is likely to change.

We’re slowly adjusting to what it will be like with another kid in the house. I think the automatic slowing down that the first trimester forces on me has helped us readjust some of our schedule and cut back on a lot of things so that we won’t feel overwhelmed in the next few months. Overall, I’m just feeling exhausted and foggy, and I’m looking forward to the second trimester to hit in a couple weeks with more motivation than I know what to do with! Since this is my fifth pregnancy, and I tend to suffer from pretty bad morning sickness, I’m planning on writing out some of the tips I’ve discovered over the years. Putting them all together, I have been able to go an entire first trimester with minimal throwing up, which is HUGE for me. With every pregnancy I wonder if it will be my last, so I’m trying to enjoy every moment of this one, and I’m looking forward to sharing more as I go through this pregnancy over the next few months!

MY THREE FAVORITE YOUTUBE WORKOUT CHANNELS

 

 

You can literally find anything on the internet, and it’s almost overwhelming to me sometimes. When I find a favorite anything (workout videos, blogs, etc.) I tend to ignore any other options and stick with my favorites, just to make my life simpler.

I’ve always enjoyed workout videos. I finally got rid of all my old VHS exercise videos during one of our minimalist sweeps of the house when I realized YouTube was an unending resource for free workouts. When I’m feeling adventurous, I just type in an amount of time (like, 30 minute workout) or sometimes a specific workout (zumba, cardio, yoga, etc.) and scroll through whatever pops up and pick a random workout to do. Sometimes this works out, and other times I realize I don’t like it 10 minutes into the workout, and I quit and search for another one. Most of the time, though, I go back to my steady favorites that I know I like and I know will give me a good workout. I definitely have a few others that I use from time to time, but these are my top go to exercise YouTube channels and a few reasons why these stand out over the thousands of option.

Leslie Sansone’s Walk at Home

I love simple workouts, and there’s nothing simpler than walking and running outdoors. Sometimes the weather makes that impossible and sometimes I just want to stay inside. When the gym isn’t an option, Leslie Sansone videos are amazing! They’re sorted by time and distance, and take zero skill and only occasional hand weights. They’re not flashy and they might not be very exciting, but all you have to do is put the time in and calories are burned. They’re so easy and take very little thought, I will play her workouts on my phone while I watch a movie or tv show on my computer, and the time flies. It’s basically like using a treadmill without having the bulky treadmill taking up space in your house.

Tone It Up

Tone It Up has tons of different workouts. Even within their channel it can be a little overwhelming to choose which video to do, but I use their videos when I want to focus on strength but I don’t feel like working out “alone” or making up my own workout. They’re peppy and professional and with the amount of options, you never get bored. They have a prenatal workout that I really enjoy and have been using a lot this pregnancy. I think I ran across one of their workout series 6 or 7 years ago, and ever since then, I go back to their videos at least 5-6 times a month.

Boho Beautiful (for yoga)

To be honest, I haven’t watch most of this couples’ videos, and they have a lot that aren’t workouts. I probably should before I recommend them…HOWEVER, I really enjoy their yoga videos. In the past I always felt like yoga was boring, but the Boho Beautiful yoga videos are simple enough to do without a lot of yoga skill yet challenging enough that I always feel a burn during and afterwards. I like doing one of their yoga videos on days when I would rather take a day off or in the evening after a walk or run. 

There are SO many other good videos, but sometimes too many options makes it hard to decide and finding and having favorites helps in the decision making process! Do you have any favorite YouTube workout videos or channels? I’d love to hear what you use on those at home and indoor days!

 

HOMESCHOOL | SUMMER EDITION


Summer has officially taken over around here; the humidity and all the cooling activities to go with it. I’m sitting outside at what is slowly becoming my favorite time of morning: it turns out 9am can be as magical as 6am. Between walks, bike rides, swims, long evenings in our yard, outings around town, and visits to grandma and grandpa’s house, our days and weeks of summer are slowly ticking by. After our little vacation out west, I’ve taken an official break from my cell phone. Searching for GPS directions, campsites, hotels, and weather updates took a lot of phone staring, and a break felt like a much needed rest.

Something that is holding our summer schedule together is our morning school time about 3 days a week. I normally schedule in a little summer term of homeschool, but this year we’re still working on our spring semester that we haven’t completed yet. We work to complete our books, and between distractions and too many breaks this past year, we’re not quite finished yet.. whoops! But that’s the beauty of homeschooling; our books will be completed eventually, and learning is always happening, even when we take days “off”. Because my husband is a teacher, this summer has given me uninterrupted time with the girls working on their school while he takes care of the boys. We’re probably getting more work done these 3 days a week during the summer than we would get done in a full week of work during the semester without him here at home with us! I know I’m lucky to have the help, and I’m taking advantage of it as much as I can!

I’d probably have to define how we’ve homeschooled so far as eclectic. We tend to have a casual approach and use what works for each subject, often switching things up as needed. I think in the past 4 years of homeschooling we’ve tried nearly every form of homeschooling. We’ve tried traditional school at home, Charlotte Mason, unschooling, classical. I’ve definitely learned a lot these four years. I’m always trying to perfect what we do, always waiting to feel like I’ve finally found the perfect schedule, books, and routine. While I’m not sure that will ever happen, I am beginning to gather favorites! Whether favorite books or routines, I think discovering favorites is pretty close to finding what’s perfect for us! 

We’re on schedule to finish our spring 2019 work mid-July which will give us all about a month long break before beginning our fall semester late-August/early September. I’m already starting to plan for next semester when I’ll have 3 at the table; crazy to think about! I’m looking forward to a few changes that I’ll probably write about and share as I do more planning. For now, I hope you’re summer is going well! Do you homeschool year round? If you do let me know! I always enjoy hearing about how others plan their school days!

FAMILY | ROADTRIP WEST

 


 

 

 

 

A summer road trip was all we thought about this spring; we planned and mapped and looked forward to it for weeks. It eventually got shortened from three weeks to one week and ended up being less than a week away from home for a number of reasons that we couldn’t control. How often do we plan things with results in mind and the results we get are so different from what we planned? The hours in the car with the kids made getting home the ultimate goal by day 4. We landed in a hotel one night because a tire popped miles from a town, and we pulled into town too late to get it fixed.  Our last night ended in another hotel as the bright blue Kansas sky turned dark and tornado alerts started popping up on our phones. None of the trip went as we expected, but the vastness of uninhabited land is enticing and beautiful; seeing the variety of God’s creation was worth hours in the car with kids. We saw so much sky. The camping memories we made were golden: reading aloud in the tent, playing cards as a family, bathing with jugs of water from a lake. Still, home was the most beautiful word by the time we pulled in the drive. Sometimes all we need is a few days away to feel refreshed and remind us home is a pretty great place to be.