Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Summer Read-Aloud Plan :: The Summer of the Sequel


School's out! Well, for two of my girls ... I have one that has a couple more days to put in. We had a pow-wow earlier this week and talked some about what we wanted to read this summer and we came up with a plan that we could all agree on. We're calling it The Summer of the Sequel. It's catchy, isn't it? : )

We do a good job getting lots of variety in our read-alouds. However, one of the things that we don't spend a lot of time doing is finishing some of the series that we start. I can think of several series that we read the first book in and then, for whatever reason, we move on to something else. And, it's usually after we've LOVED book one ... it always happens that there seems to be something more pressing that we need to read that might tie in with our other studies.

This summer we are playing catch-up. In the photo above you can see our tentative game plan for the next eight to ten weeks.
  • The Little Princess - we finished this Tuesday and I blogged it here.
  • The Horse and His Boy - we have slowly read the Narnia series - a little every summer - in conjunction with the Reading to Know Narnia challenge. The girls have listened to the whole series on audio books, but we still want to read the last two aloud. We're starting with this one.
  • The Black Cauldron - we read the first book in Lloyd Alexander's The Chronicles of Prydian series this spring and then ... dropped the ball on this one. We're going back for book two. Amy at Hope is the Word has reviewed her family's read-aloud of this series here (book 1), here (book 2), here (book 3), and here (book 4).
  • The Last Battle - back to Narnia to finish the series. I'm looking forward to this and dreading it all the same. The good news - the boy hasn't read these yet, so in another couple years we'll start the whole series over again.
  • Henry Reed's Babysitting Service - we laughed our way through Henry Reed, Inc. just last month and the girls are eager to read more of Henry and Midge's adventures. (Henry Reed's Journey has been blogged here; it's probably my favorite of the Henry Reed books ... might have to squeeze that one in this summer as well).
  • Black Hearts in Battersea - I don't know that we'll get to this one before school starts, but it's in the pile. The sequel to The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, this book is the story of Simon, one of the supporting characters in book one.


There are also going to be lots and lots of picture books. The boy and I have been reading these three dino books daily and while Dinosailors isn't my favorite rhyming book I've ever read, I sure do love the artwork in it. We stumbled on When Dinosaurs Came With Everything on accident and what a happy accident it was! This may get added to the boy's shelf come birthday time.

And there you have it. A happy plan for lots of reading aloud this summer and wrapping loose ends with several sets of characters that we have come to love. I love finding series to read with my girls because I know even if we don't finish the series, it's there for them to meander through on their own if they choose. Any favorite series that I should be on the lookout for? I'm always happy to add to our read aloud list. : )

Of note:
My friend Elizabeth did a little series a couple weeks ago in conjunction with Children's Book Week. You can find some great suggestions if you are on the hunt for new pictures books for your munchkins: great picture books part 1 and 1a (aka great picture books about girls), great picture books part 2 (aka great picture books about boys), and favorite illustrators.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Book Talk :: A Little Princess


The Little Princess is one of those classics that I some how managed to miss in my childhood. My copy of The Secret Garden was worn and tattered, but that was my only exposure to Frances Hodgson Burnett's writing. I have to admit now to a small feeling of regret that I didn't read it until this month! (I felt that way about the Betsy Tacy books when I discovered them several years ago). However, finally reading it in 2014 means that I got to share it with my girls which was a delight. My girls had actually watched the movie a couple of years ago with their Dad, but I had somehow missed it. While they remembered bits and pieces of the story, I was unfamiliar with more than the barest minimum.

This is the story of Sara Crewe, the well-to-do daughter of a British solider stationed in India. Her father decides that she needs a little more structure to her education and sends her to Miss Minchin's Seminary and boarding school in London. As her father is quite wealthy, she is given quite a few extra privileges at the school - her own private room and parlor, a carriage and pony of her own to take her wherever she wants to go, and a maid to take care of her clothing and serve her. This causes some (a lot of!) animosity on the part of both Miss Minchin (the headmistress) as well as many of the girls in the school. You would think that Sara would be spoiled and insufferable, but that isn't the case at all. She's kind to the other girls and generously shares what she has with them. She is also a master storyteller and most evenings find her spinning tales of India, enchantments and princesses to her schoolmates.

However, you can see coming that tragedy is going to befall poor Sarah. Her father invests all their money with a best friend and in some risky diamond mines. Sadly, the mines fail and Sarah's father becomes sick at heart and eventually contracts an illness and dies. When the news of this reaches Miss Minchin, she is furious. Her star pupil is now penniless and left on her hands with no other family to care for her. She puts Sarah to work, takes away all her possessions, and moves her to the attic to live with the scullery maid. Sarah never complains. She does her work and still tries to be kind to the girls in the school. Her philosophy seems to be summed up at the end of one of the chapters when she reaches her very lowest point and it doesn't seem that her life can get much worse than it is right then:
But in Sara's hungry eyes the old light had begun to glow and transform her world for her. Here in the attic - with the cold night outside - with the afternoon in the sloppy streets barely passed - with the memory of the awful unfed look in the beggar child's eyes not yet faded - this simple, cheerful thing had happened like a thing of magic.

She caught her breath.

'Somehow, something always happened,' she cried, 'just before things get to the very worst. It is as if the Magic did it. If I could only just remember that always. The worst thing never quite comes.'
I'll leave my book report off here, because if you haven't read it, I don't want to spoil how it ends for you! Needless to say, the girls and I were quite smitten with the story and I had to invoke my own rule of not reading ahead in the book to find out what happens. I will say we were all quite pleased with out it turned out. : ) If you have little girls, please pick up a copy of this and read this with them this summer.

Linking up with Amy at Hope is the Word for Read-Aloud Thursday.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Book Talk :: The Wolves of Willoughby Chase


This week, the goal is to catch up journaling about some of the books that we've read aloud this spring. (The goal is NOT to do the world's longest spring read-aloud post like I did last fall.) In April, we read The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken. The Reading to Know book club selected this as the May read, but we had a window in April and got a jump start on it early. We were all a fan of this little adventure.

This book is about two young girls - Bonnie, daughter of the very wealthy Sir and Lady Willoughby, and Sylvia, her orphaned and penniless cousin. Sylvia had been in the care of her Aunt Jane, an older woman, but her circumstances and health being what they are (poor), it is decided that Sylvia is to be sent to live with her well-to-do family in hopes that they can better provide for her and give her a good education. While these decisions are being made and carried out, Sir and Lady Willoughby are also packing for an extended ocean voyage because Lady Willoughby is in poor health. In the interim, a distant relative, Miss Slighcarp is to come and take charge of the house and girls. (Oh, beware those distant relatives that you haven't seen before and know little about!)

As one might guess, Miss Slighcarp is not all that she seems to be. She soon takes over the house, dismisses the staff, and makes plans to ship the girls off to "boarding school." The school is anything but ... the girls are forced to work in horrible conditions and given the bare minimum to eat and get by on. Sylvia and Bonnie are determined to figure out how to escape and get back home, and a good two-thirds of the story is devoted to this portion of the tale.

This book was well-received in our house! We had a hard time waiting to find out what happened to the girls. The world "wolves" in the title seemed to be somewhat misleading to me - yes, there were wolves in the story, but from their inclusion in the title, I expected a little more wolves to the tale. Also, worth noting, this book had fantastic vocabulary in it! A chapter didn't go by without being stopped multiple times to find out what certain words meant. (If I had had my act together, I would have a made a list, but that didn't dawn on me until we were practically done with the book). Words such as damper, malnutrition, providence, and chilblains are just a very few of the many examples in the book.

We highly recommend this - it would be a great summer time read-aloud. Perfect for a chapter or two in the evening to wind down with at the end of the day. Book two in this series, Black Hearts in Battersea, is on the short list of books that we hope to get to this summer ... but more about our summer read-alouds in a few days.

Other posts worth mentioning:
Carrie's post about the author, Joan Aiken
Her post about the book, where she talks some about the other books in the series

Linking this post up with Reading to Know's May wrap-up for our classics book club, and Read-Aloud Thursday at Hope is the Word later in the week.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Teaching from a State of Rest - An E-book Well Worth Your Time


She was taking her short post-test at the end of the Explode the Code book she was working on. Struggling to pronounce the words in the second to last question, I was getting frustrated. She knew these words. She had worked hard all year long, this one who reading and forming her letters correctly has been such a struggle. And now, down to the last couple of questions, I snapped at her.

"If you just answer these last two questions, you are done!"

There were tears. There was a deep sigh on my part. It wasn't her, it was me. I was looking at the check box I wanted to mark off. This book is DONE. We can move on to the next thing. Instead, I should have been looking at a little girl that has worked so very hard this year, and just needed a little encouragement to get to the end, instead of me fussing with her.

This was this past Friday.

Math is a labor of love for all involved today.

As a admitted list maker and box checker it is way to easy for to chart our homeschool progress by what I can see that we've done. However, as evidenced above, it is obviously far to easy for me to look to the written proof of what we have accomplished instead of the what I have built relationally with my girls. Have I modeled for them patience? Have I showed kindness to them when they needed a little extra attention? Have I shown them how much I love learning alongside them and modeled for them my excitement at getting to learn with them each and every day? Some days, the answer is a most-definite "no."


I've been enjoying getting to know Sarah at Amongst Lovely Things and I have really enjoyed her recent series on teaching from a state of rest. Teaching out of a place of dependence on the Lord, instead of focusing on check lists and pushing through in my own strength. Sarah is a mom of six - three that she is schooling and three that are two and under. She says:
We homeschooling mothers are quite adept at spinning our wheels, working dawn till dusk to make sure our children have everything they need. We toil tirelessly to create lesson plans and assemble curriculum that will ensure our children know everything they need to know before they fly our coop.

We worry. We fret. We know, deep down in the core of our being, that we are not enough. That what we offer is a pittance compared to the task before us. We feel small and insignificant because we are small and insignificant.

In the midst of all the doing, we forget the needful thing. We may sit as His feet, we may begin our day with prayer, Bible reading and supplication-  but is our teaching and mothering transformed by it? Do we really trust Him? Do we live each day from a state of rest?
If you are coming to the end of your school year tired and in need of some encouragement and refreshment, I would love to invite you to check out Sarah's ebook. She's taken her blog series, fleshed it out and added some new content, and published it as a PDF and on Kindle. As an addition to the ebook, there are a couple of other goodies that you can check out. First, there is a companion journal where you can flesh out some of your own thoughts on teaching from rest and make some notes on what that might look like for you and your family. Second, Sarah has put together four audio recordings with well-known educators:  Andrew Kern, Dr. Christopher Perrin, Cindy Rollins, and Brandy Vencel. I'm looking forward to some time on the treadmill (or if I'm lucky a walk around the block in the sunshine) and taking in these conversations.

You can find details on Sarah's ebook, journal and audio files on her blog here. She has an introductory special right now that will last until June 2nd.

I was given a copy of the ebook and companion materials free of charge. All opinions are absolutely my own. The link to purchase is an affiliate link, thanks to Sarah's generosity.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Book Talk :: The Spy Catchers of Maple Hill


I cannot tell a lie - I loved this book!

I rarely buy books on a whim - and typically not without the recommendation of a friend or two or three. I'm trying to remember what exactly I was searching for on Amazon when this popped on to my screen. One of those, "if you like books by this author, try this..." A quick skim through the description on Amazon, plus a cover that enticed me and I was convinced enough to give it a try. I'm so glad I did!

Hazel Kaplansky is a fifth grader in search a little mystery and adventure. It is 1953 - the age of McCarthyism and the search is on for communists under every bush and around every door. Even arriving on her doorstep, in the small town of Maple Hill, Vermont, where Hazel's parents run the town's cemetery. Hazel has read every Nancy Drew story and just knows that she has found a spy in her parent's new employed grave digger, Mr. Jones. Hazel teams up with Samuel Butler, a new boy in her class, to try and ferret out why Mr. Jones has come to their small town. Hazel also is curious about Samuel - everyone in the town seems to know something about him but her and she is determined to find out why people treat him differently. Throughout the course of the story, Hazel learns a bit how to differentiate between what she imagines to be true and actual facts and how spreading stories and rumor can be more costly that one might think.

This was a great upper elementary aged story. It gives a overview of what life would have been like in the early 50's, after the end of WW2, when our nation was right in the middle of Cold War America. It captures the fear, the uncertainty, and the speculation that was in the current events of the time and how it could trickle down, even to the smaller towns. For example:
Hazel was not afraid of much, but she was afraid of Communists. The Russians had been American allies in the Second World War, but after the war, things had soured and now the Russians were turning all the countries around them Communist, and they wanted to do the same thing to America. They were just waiting for the opportunity to come over and make all the people here exactly like them: no choices, no freedom, and no ice-cream floats from the soda fountain in the drugstore, even if you'd been on your best behavior all day. Samuel had been right that the Greeks had started democracy, which meant that the people got a say in how things worked. Americans had those rights, and the Communists wanted to take that away. And now there was a chance that thee were Red spies right in her town! (p. 42)
Hazel was also an extremely likeable character. A lot smart and a little bit quirky. I loved when they would share a bit of what was going on inside her mind.
Hazel liked to imagine what Miss Lerner's [the librarian's] house was like. She pictured it as just like the library, full of books with neat labels on the spines. If her parents were ever to die in a horrible, tragic accident, she hoped that Miss Lerner would adopt her, and they would catalog books all the time. (p. 45)
Another example, when she is describing the local gas station where her friend Mr. Wall works:
Hazel liked the mix of gasoline, tar, rubber, and tobacco. It smelled like a job well done. (p. 33) 
She's smart and has a plan, though sometimes it doesn't work out quite like she anticipates it will. She's a loyal friend to Samuel. Even though she gets herself into a scrape or two, one of the things that I really like about her is that she was teachable. She learned from her mistakes and went back and corrected them or moved forward knowing she needed to do things differently.

The Spy Catchers of Maple Hill is one that I'll be handing over to N1 (and maybe even N2) this year as we participate in Cycle 3 of Classical Conversations this coming year. Our focus is American History, and this will be a excellent, age appropriate way for her to get a picture of this era in our nation's history. And, besides the excellent historical background, it's a great little mystery with some life lessons in there that I can heartily get behind. I might even try this as a read-aloud with all my girls - I think they would all be able to understand, and most definitely enjoy, the story. Once I started it, I had a hard time putting it down. This is the first book that I've ready by Megan Frazer Blakemore and I'm looking forward to checking out her other elementary aged story (The Water Castle) soon.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Fighting With v. Fighting For

Matthew 19: more about being the least of these and giving all you have to serve and follow the Lord. The last shall be first and the first shall be last. I'm getting the felling that the Lord might want me to work on taking my eyes off myself a little bi
Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughter, your wives, and your homes.

Nehemiah 4:14

I've been reading along in Nehemiah with #shereadstruth. (This is my first time doing a study with them). I was wondering what I was going to do for the summer now that our CBS study wrapped up. I love that I wake up with an email in my inbox with the days reading. Saturday's reading was one of those that hit me between the eyes. As a mom of girls (10, 8, and 7) that I am with all.the.time., it seems that a lot of our days revolves around our feelings and fussings with one another. We are either creating the drama or cleaning up after it.

A good reminder from Nehemiah that I'm supposed to fighting for my family (especially these three little ladies) instead of with them. God will equip me as I parent them if I remember to lean on Him.

and do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength

Nehemiah 8:10

Monday, May 19, 2014

A Summer Project :: Cookie Friday


A few months ago I purchased this simple cookie cookbook from Marta. After reading through the recipes a summer project idea was born. The goal: to bake through the Cookie Friday cookbook and try all the recipes out, one at a time. There are 27 recipes in here and that sure seems like a lot of cookies to bake (and eat!) this summer, but hopefully we are up to the challenge. : )

Malted milk chocolate chip cookies for the Monday win.

We've already gotten a little jump start on a few of the recipes. As of now, we can check off:
Second installment in baking through our little cookie cookbook. It's been a MONDAY and a half and chocolate and burrowing in this evening is a necessity.
  • Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars. Basically your regular chocolate chip cookie baked in bar form.
  • Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookies with Pecans and Dried Cherries. I made these with out the pecans (kids that don't like nuts in their cookies!) and with white chocolate chips instead of plain chocolate. A sweet and slightly rich tasting cookie. Excellent with coffee.
  • Peanut Butter and White Chocolate Chip Chocolate Cookies. Yummm. 
These cookies were actually part of another cookie project, within our summer cookie project. (Confusing.) We recently celebrated my Dad's birthday and a typical birthday present from us is a gift certificate to his favorite Mexican restaurant. We came up with a cookie of the month club!


I gave N1 the project of designing some simple cards in Word and we printed them out and glued them to card stock. Each month we make him a batch of cookies. And, so that we can spread the cookies out a little longer, this first month I only baked about half the batch of cookies. The other half I rolled in some saran wrap and froze so he has some cookie dough already prepped to cut and roll out for later.

Hopefully I will remember to update on our progress over the summer!

Friday, May 16, 2014

About a Boy

Matthew 16: seems like it shouldn't surprise me when there is another mention of laying down your life and that the one who lays their's down is really the one who gains. #matthewinmay


Someone decorated my drink for me.



He looks forward to going to the library as much as the girls. He even picks out a few books for himself now. (Superheroes in our stack is a new thing).

Star Wars, swords, playing with his little "guys" (action figures) are some of his favorite things.

Can handle two fisted popsicle action without missing a beat ... or until the neighborhood kids start playing a ballgame in the cul-de-sac. Then we don't have time for popsicles.

A little bit of sporty dude. Participated in a field day that was really for the girls and won third place in three different events, even when competing with the big four year olds.

Parenting him is absolutely a riot as he is coming into his own sense of humor and absolutely exhausting as his energy is apparently unlimited. So thankful that he is ours.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Planner Peek


When I did my day-in-the-life post last week, I had a couple requests for a closer look at my planner pages. I am one of those people that love to look at how other's organize so I totally get that. : )

There is nothing fancy about this chart. It's a simple table made in Word that lists out all of the have-to's in our day. When I started homeschooling, I used a simple spiral notebook and just listed what we had to get done (or record what we did do), but with three students and three different age levels and abilities, it wasn't cutting it anymore. Things were getting missed so I needed something that I could break down my planning a bit more on and then go back and check it off. Two years ago I download and purchased several different planner forms, but nothing was quite what I wanted. Thus, this very simple little document was born. I have used it faithfully this entire school year and never once thought of switching to something else, so in my book, that makes it a keeper!

Shepherd Academy Weekly Planning_Page_1
This is the form that I'll be using for this coming school year. I think it's pretty self-explanitory but here's a little breakdown.

  • Circle time is that time that we spend together - sometimes we start our day with this; some days we do our circle time after lunch. It generally always includes: CC memory work review, Bible study, whatever history or science we are currently reading aloud, etc. 
  • Math - I just write in the lesson number were are in (in pencil!) and shuffle them around as we miss a day or skim over a lesson if it's something that they already know cold. I've already got a line there for the boy for some reason, but he's obviously not doing math just yet!
  • Language Arts - there is a block for me to keep track of what each girl is doing in language arts. The little girls both have daily handwriting and Explode the Code. B is has reading lessons that we are working through. N2 is dying to do some kind of spelling program so that will be listed there if I add that in next year. N1's block will usually be blank because her Essentials tutor in CC sends out a detailed check list that she works off of for her daily work and I don't transfer that info over because it's in an email on my machine. However, in these last few weeks of school, I'm using those blocks to keep track of her Hobbit study that she is working through to make sure she stays on track with it.
  • The next block is something new that I've added for this coming (2014-2015) school year. I will have an up-and-coming 4 year old (not! possible!) this fall and I want to have a spot for ideas to keep him busy. He's starting to request his own "school work" so I need to be proactive rather than reactive on keeping him busy.
  • A rare empty blank - in another year or so when the boy is in kindergarten this will probably become his space for language arts but I've gone ahead and left it blank for now.
  • The last row is for extra curriculars - sports, music lessons, Awana, service projects - so I can keep track of outside activities that count as school.
Underneath, I've got three different groups of check boxes. The first two belong to the girls and the third is mine. You can see the categories: daily music practice, daily independent reading, and keeping track of the reading aloud that I do with them. N1 is supposed to read at minimum 45-60 minutes daily on her own, N2 reads 30-45, and B looks at books 20-30 (and some of that time I'm reading with her). As far as our "corporate" reading aloud, I would LOVE it if we read in big chunks twice a day, but generally I read our fiction book for an hour after lunch and call it good. It's much easier for me to do evening reading in the summer when we don't have any (or VERY few) evening activities.

Shepherd Academy Weekly Planning_Page_2

The back is just a blank note sheet for whatever comes up. Ideally, I would use it for planning and recording notes from the past week, but that's not been a strength so far. Maybe this year!

If you made it to the end of this, yay. : ) And, if you think something like this might work for you, you are welcome to try it out. I've uploaded the Word version of this chart and you can download it here if you want to play with it. I just copy it front to back and stick it in a binder. As I wrap up these last weeks of our school year, I'll put these pages out and spiral bind them and throw them on the shelf with the rest of this year's school work in case I want to refer back to it.

Happy planning!

Friday, May 09, 2014

Day in the Life :: May 8, 2014

Danger, danger. Photo overload. : )

I absolutely love Ali's Day in the Life (and Week in the Life projects) that she has posted about on her blog. I love the reminder to capture the little stuff that makes up our day - what we're eating, what toys are strewn about on the floor while I read, what the kids are up to when I can covertly capture them. This was our Thursday and it was a good one.

I was up a little after 6am and the first of the kids got up around 7:30a. Several of them had a hard time going to sleep last night so it was a slower start to our day than normal. It worked our well because this is the first day in I-don't-know-how-long where we never left the house. Lovely.

7:30am - crafting.


8:30am - sleepy breakfast face. With her nose in a book all the time right now.

8:30a : breakfast. Doing Day in the Life with @aliedwards today.

9:00a - music practice. Our recital is in a little over a week!

9:05 : recital practice. #ditl #dayinthelife

9:30-ish: caught reading while one of the other girls is practicing and I'm getting laundry going.


9:45a: starting our table school work for the day. (I've been asked to post a better picture of my planner and I will soon).

9:45 : moving to table lessons. #ditl #dayinthelife

11:00a: mid-math.


A small break to admire his plane.


More math. Y'all, the fact that none of these numbers is backwards ... big stuff.


12:30p: Lunch. Sandwiches for kids (though the boy requested a cut up hotdog) and a salad for me. Little things I want to remember: N1 only wants turkey and provolone and typically only want bread if we have these kinds of sub buns; N2 likes provolone and isn't as picky about her meat - today it was this really good salami that T bought; B wants turkey and American with "that white stuff on it" (she has recently discovered mayo on her sandwich and is obsessed).

IMG_4042IMG_404712:55p : break is almost over. #ditl FYI - chocolate chunk oatmeal with dried cherries and pecans cookies, minus pecans (picky kids) and sub white choc for reg. From the #cookiefriday cookbook. Crazy complicated baking instructions that burnt several but

2p: Afternoon read-aloud. Lunch break doesn't usually last as long, but there was a Frozen sing-along going on downstairs while I finished up lunch (and the book that I was reading - just a few! pages! left!) and I let them have a few extra minutes.


2:45p: exercise while the kids have a rare afternoon treat of watching Carmen Sandiego.

2:45p : exercise. #ditl #dayinthelife

4p: afternoon chores - picking up the upstairs, laundry finishing, cleaning the glass on the mirrors and front door.

5:00p : #dayinthelife selfie. And also, clean mirrors. #ditl

6p: dinner. Taco salad tonight.


6:45p: the kitchen is tidy and its time for outside. Bike riding and ball playing and running around.

6:45p : playing outside before bed. #ditl #dayinthelife ps. Not in the street. Thankful for our quiet cul-de-sac!

This is where my photos stop for the day. We came in a little before 8p and popped some popcorn for a before-bed snack and watched one episode of Little House on the Prairie (someone got Season 2 for her birthday). Then everyone was in bed with lights out by 9p, after stories all-round. The boy and I read Goodnight Moon (and something else that is escaping me), I read an Elephant and Piggie book with N2 and B (all ages in this house love E&P), and N1 and I are reading through Anne of Green Gables at bedtime when it's not too late. Then I went downstairs and collapsed hung out with T for a bit before I crawled into bed.

Really, this was a very normal day for us at home. The fact that we didn't have anywhere we needed to go was so nice for a change; no hustle and fussing from me to "finish your math before we have to leave!" Dinner around the table with no rushing to eat quickly so we can head out the door. I'm looking forward to many more of these days this summer.

You can read more about the Day-in-the-Life project on Ali's blog here. All photos today were shot with my iPhone 5 and most were processed through PicTapGo.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Currently :: May

Loving :: end of our yearly commitments. CC is done. CBS finished last week. Awana has one more week. Bring on the empty calendar squares.

Thinking :: of plans for next year (naturally). It's all been typed up in a chart and submitted to the "principal" for approval and budgetary consideration and then we should be good to go.

Eating :: lots of salad. There were a few too many mini Snickers in the kids' Easter candy this year.

Enjoying :: flip flops and short sleeve shirts! Seventy degree days are my favorite.

Making :: decluttering piles. Cleaning out the school room, bedrooms for a little bit more room to breathe around here for the summer.

Plotting :: a summer bucket list for us.

Struggling :: with finding time to walk or run. It's not just for my legs and body, but for my mind as well - to get out and think quiet thoughts without constant interruptions. Hoping to make this happen more this spring and summer.

Feeling :: semi-overwhelmed. I can't decide if it's just the nature of life right now, or my to-do list, but there is a lot going on. I have a few hours with a sitter during the day Friday and I am so looking forward to that. Am contemplating making that a regular part of my summer routine, maybe every other week.

Savoring :: this sweet girl. We celebrated seven on Monday. Honestly ... struggling with this birthday. My last baby girl who still is so very young in action and deed, heart and spirit.

Celebrating seven.

Finding :: a few minutes for a frozen drink with this girl. We snuck out Saturday afternoon to shop for B's birthday. It had been a while since she and I had had a mama/N2 date!

Target and frappachinos with this girl. ❤️

Celebrating :: our spring bonanza of birthdays in my family this weekend. We have both my parents with birthdays, B, my brother-in-law, and Mother's Day all about to celebrated in one fell swoop on Sunday. B was in charge of picking dessert and decided that Grandma's strawberry pie was just the ticket. There will be pie making this weekend. Yum.

Reading :: Matthew with my friend Candace at His Mercy is New and posting a daily snippet on Instagram. (Maybe I should compile them all here so that I have a bloggy record?)

Matthew 2 and iced coffee on the front porch FTW. #matthewinmay

I want to camp out on this chapter for a while! Beware if practicing your righteousness before other people - pray privately; fast so no one knows but the Lord; dialogue with the Father about trespasses first and foremost before airing them. Do not be anx

Wishing :: you all a happy Thursday. : )