Seasonal Learning through Seasonal Living?

When I started that last post about Seasonal Schooling, I was thinking about it in a "Ehh, it's good enough" sort of way. And school done good enough with joy and real love of learning is preferable to done "perfectly" but with anxiety and stress. So I stand by that. But recently, I've been thinking of this idea of seasonal schooling as perhaps actually by my ideal.

Let's think for a second. I really do want caring and learning to be integrated into my life and my children's lives for the long haul. And we live seasonally. Or at least I think we should.

Modern society does certainly try to manipulate how we interact with the seasons. Sometimes it shifts them. I'm looking at you Christmas decorations that are out before Halloween! Or pumpkin spice everything when we are all still wearing shorts. I understand some of the "why" of this commercially but I still actively fight again it. I don't want to always be feeling like the next season's grass is greener. Rushed through life.

It's August. We are doing school like we have since beginning of July, but its clearly still summer in our house. We wake up from naps and go sit in the blow-up baby pool outside. My kids are barefoot the majority of the time and when we go somewhere, they ask if they can bring there shoes in the car so they don't have to put them on until last second before the car parks. We're eating watermelon by the ton. So don't try to convince me my kids need a whole new wardrobe with sweatshirts and jeans yet target ads! No! Chances are they'll all have a big growth spurt in the next month and then where will I be? And I believe I've ranted enough about the difference between Advent and Christmas before that I won't get into it again.

Sometimes we don't just shift the seasons, we try to eliminate them altogether. We eat too much of the same foods all year round because we don't rely on local sources enough (yes, that we includes me. I'm guilty although I'm trying to change when time and finances allow). We keep our houses the same temperature all year round. That is something I've decided to fight against. This year we've kept our house at 78 during the day (and a nice cool 77 at night) all summer and try to keep the windows open and AC off until the afternoon. I thought it would be hard but I love it. It makes getting us all outside easier because it's not such a shock to our systems. And frankly, because being outside with a breeze in the 80s is normally just as comfortable if not more so than 78 inside with no breeze. I'm sure I'll struggle with this more in the winter but I will be attempting to keep our thermostat set at a low temperature this winter as well. For more fun temperature regulation info, check out Katy Bowman's blog. This post has some. But basically - temperature regulation is healthy for your body!

So that idea has been one I've prioritized when it came to my faith and eating and isolated topics for a while but I guess I just hadn't thought about it as a whole way of life.  There's a rhythm to life which involves seasons. And if  living seasonally is what I think is ideal and education is a life, then educating seasonally makes sense as well.  Now beyond what I wrote in my last post on this topic, I'm not sure how that plays out in a practical way. But it's another idea I'm going to be pondering for a while.


Friday Fun day

We used to have Fun Fridays all the time and have a relaxed school day and do adventures just me and the kids on every other Friday (and all together on the Friday's Craig has off) but those sorta morphed into our nature study days since Fridays are when our group met up. That stopped and then we restarted school and it became a regular school day again these past 6 weeks without my even noticing. This week I planned for us to do something - and it didn't work out but it prompted my memory. We needed to have a fun day!

We started with an extra fun breakfast of sour dough crepes. This is the easiest sourdough recipe I've done so far and it was a huge hit! We'll be making them again for sure.

We did do a tiny bit of school. Jonah had just gotten his new math and was super excited to try it. I went with Miquon. He's finished MEP Reception and is more than ready for a first grade math - and he wants math daily if its an option!  (I only do school on request with 4 and 5 year olds). I have MEP Year 1 all printed and ready but I wanted something more hands on since he's so young. We did the first page which was understandable fairly simple and he went along with it but then I went forward a bit and he really liked it. He told me "Mom, I just feel like my brain is getting the right math exercise now"...how cute is that?! It's been about 4 months since he finished MEP and I've held off and tried to get by with just his little Rod and Staff preschool books which have a bit of math in them but clearly he missed it.)

Lucy and I did a short math lesson and the last AO readings of the week. I had expected to be fitting these in around stuff so I made sure to leave her favorites for today (Wind in the Willows and Pilgrim's Progress) and we had no problems getting that done.

Then they played and played and impatiently waited for quiet time. Before you think that is a misprint, I have to tell you that they knew we had something fun planned and my kid's love nothing better than something labeled A PROJECT. This one really needed to be toddler-less and that meant we had to wait for Norah to nap. They were practically begging me to put her down at 10am. If only it worked that way kids! You are probably lucky it doesn't some days. Finally she slept and we painted peg dolls!

While they worked on theirs


A few of Lucy's. I really like the little penguin in the middle. 

...I did some special requests. I hope most of them are recognizable but I'll tell you so you don't hurt my feelings by asking ;-)

Wonder woman and Moana

Spiderman and Iron Man. I had plans to add more black to Spiderman but Jonah likes him as he is and I'm afraid I'd mess it up. 

Norah did not actually request these but I knew she'd be upset if everyone got some except her so these are based on one of her favorite books, Children of the Forest by Elsa Beskow. Not to be confused with whatever Game of Thrones thing that came up when I tried to search for that book. I have no first hand knowledge of GoT but my guess is that what that is referring to would probably not be appropriate for a children's toy.

You'd think that would have been enough fun for today but we quickly made banana bread and headed off to finish up Lucy's Family Helper Badge for American Heritage Girls. She had planned a fun family activity for us all - a hike and picnic at a neat local park. I snuck in a bit more school as we listened to a podcast about our current composer Telemann on the way there and Chronicles of Narnia on the way home. I'm a bit worn out so I'm not sure if we'll be cramming this much fun into every Friday but we all really enjoyed our Fun Friday and I'm sure it won't be our last.


Seasonal Schooling - Or "Ahh, it's all too much!"

One of the things I've heard multiple homeschooling moms say when they hear we follow the Charlotte Mason philosophy is that they love some parts of it but the sheer number of subjects dear old Miss Mason expected a teacher to cover is overwhelming.

Why would they think that? I mean, it's only:
  • Math
  • Reading Instruction
  • History
  • Science
  • English 
  • Literature
  • Foreign Languages 
  • Picture Study
  • Geography and Map Work
  • Folk Songs
  • Composer Study
  • Hymn Study
  • Nature Study
  • Swedish Drill
  • Handicrafts
  • Music Theory/Solfa
  • Recitation
  • Poetry
  • Timelines
Oh, okay. I see their point. And I'm really only talking about early elementary students here. We add things like a Grammar, Latin and Dictation later. So, yeah, it's a lot when you put it that way.

So much learning about to take place!

The typical responses I've seen are either 1)Yes, but we also don't do x,y, and z (spelling workbooks, textbooks, writing/grammar curriculumn for younger grades, etc) so there is room for it and most of the "riches" as they are typically called (meaning folk songs and hymns, handicrafts, picture study, etc) don't take much time and each subject isn't done daily. Okay, that's true. I mean, we knock out Bible Memory, Family Prayer, Recitation, Hymns, Folks Songs,  and Foreign Language Folk songs in just 15 minutes at what we call "Table Time."

Or 2) they jump right into defending all those things because they're important. Also true. We love composer study and picture study and nature study and the folks songs and hymns. And I know that our homeschool life (or just our life in general) would be missing out on something without those things in it. So I understand why that's the first response. I don't think it normally comes from a judgement place and they think you'll be a failure of a homeschool mom if you kid can't sing a folk song or two but more of a "No! Don't leave that out! It's wonderful!" because - it really is wonderful!

BUT neither of those things really means that it isn't overwhelming at times, especially when you are coming from a reading, writing and arithmetic background. For me at least, there are two types of homeschooling schedule pressure. One is the day to day schedule. I have my list of what needs to happen and how do I actually make that happen when I'm interrupted by the toddler and disciple issues and bad attitudes at times and well, life! For the most part, I have a handle on this.

The second type of pressure is the mom head space type. I can legitimately only think about so many things. Make so many decisions. Keep so many mental plates spinning. This is the gets me the most. Even if singing folk songs and hymns only takes 5 minutes a day, I still have to 1) think about them and what we'll be doing for that and 2) find a spot in the schedule and get it done.  The pressures are real. Not insurmountable.  But real. Let's just admit it. Then realize the results are worth overcoming those pressures and come up with a solution. And what solution works for me might not work for you, but maybe it will. (Or if you've got this covered already, then by all means, keep doing it all. More power to ya homeschool mama!).

One thing we did was to start without the readings. I actually did a whole fall term of all the Ambleside Online scheduled riches with Lucy before we started Year 1 readings. Another mom I know did a few weeks of the riches and seat work to get into the right rhyme before adding the new years's readings. Those are different ways of building up to where you want to be.

Using Ambleside Online's schedule also helps. It's not that those folk songs are the only ones you can use or you'd be wrong to substitute other ones that you have easily available or have a reason for wanting to use. No, understand the principles behind the riches and use the resources that work for your situation. But having those there is really great because you don't have to think about those. I feel funny saying that because it sounds like I don't want you to think but what I really mean is save you brain cells for the things that need thinking!

The main things that seems to have helped me as I got started was taking a more seasonal approach to some subjects. Not that I did this intentionally at first but I'll take the credit for it anyway. We school year round-ish so the dates are a bit iffy but we're starting what I'd consider our third year of real school and the first two years I noticed at the end of a term that there was always that one or two things I just didn't get too or didn't do consistently enough.  I gave myself a lot of grace (or at least I tried to). I figured that as long as I'm lax with a different area each term, we'd be okay. And we were. But with a bit of time, I realized that often those areas we missed (or maybe to frame it in a better way, the areas we excelled at!) changed with the seasons.

It's August and we just hit the half way point of our second term (and year 2 as a whole. Woo hoo!). I had thought we'd be doing more embroidery right now but except for a two week period of overwhelming heat that killed all my cucumbers, it's been a really nice summer so we've been outside a ton and we've done basically no handicrafts or art. I've got 6 weeks of schedules with handicraft and art check boxes and nary a check! It's not that I think handicrafts or art aren't vital. I've started a series on handicrafts for the young ones (Form 1 and little siblings) and hope to continue it as we learn more. Last spring we were consistently doing art two times a week, rotating between three art programs, and the kids were begging for more. We love art and handicrafts! But something has to give at times.

And this winter, we probably won't be doing much formal nature study. I mean, we'll continue reading the Nature Lore books that are included in the Ambleside Online schedule and our local nature group will continue to have meet-ups that we'll join in with occasionally but we won't be spending 4-6+ hours outside and I know we'll be doing a lot less of structure nature study time after we finish our fun fall plans (that may or many not involved an ant farm and a honey tasting party! I'm excited!).

As we really incorporate this philosophy of education into our lives, it becomes part of our family culture and seems to find a way to continue even without all the formal structure. The formal structure part is good and necessary but we can also coast for a while as needed. We've built the habit of caring about nature so my kid's will still point out what they see and they'll want to draw the birds they see at the bird feeder or the show me the bug they find in the basement. But my brain gets a bit of break from planning that subject - so it can focus on another.

And next summer term,  I won't worry about thinking through our next handicraft and buying supplies. We'll probably have plenty of supplies left over from the fall and winter terms so on the occasionally stormy days, they can sort through those and find something to occupy themselves. And with time, some of the other riches will probably become more routine as well. I'll know that I always order my art prints from bestvalueprinter in August and I'll know it works best to put all my hymns and folks songs in a Spotify list and on a cd for the car and it won't be A THING I HAVE TO THINK ABOUT that looms over me so I might have enough brain space to plan all the things for all the seasons. But for now, this works.

Update: More thoughts about seasonal living in Part 2!


Eclipse Fun

In our area at least, the Eclipse totally lived up to the hype. We had a great time with friends and ended up staying out from beginning through totality, with the exception of me taking Norah inside and putting her down for a nap. I really thought we'd go out and see it start then head into air conditioning for over hour to wait until totality but we spent the whole time doing our nature study thing - pinhole projectors, cameras, recording our observations, noticing the shadows, watching the temperature drop, debating which batman is the real batman (you'll see down below).  Who needs A/C?!

C getting ready for his live feed updates. 

Showcasing the newest in eclipse fashion gear

Norah getting tired and confused as to what everyone is doing. This was about the time I put her down for a nap. 

A picture of a chair? Or neat shadows!

The kid's nature journals from the beginning. I love Jonah's tiny eclipse "bite." These are going in their scrapbooks for sure!

Dueling batmans!

The picture above was taken 4 minutes before the picture below. 

And then I put the camera away and enjoyed my totality experience. It was amazing. We had a huge panoramic view of the sunset from the top of Neighbor J's hill and were right up against the woods so we heard the crickets (cicada's) make noise about 10 minutes before totality and then got to laugh at the rooster for crowing and crowing once the sun came back. He was doing his job!

Me and my eclipse loving guy!


Mother's Daybook - Juice, death and the sun

Listening to - To the Beauty and the Beast Soundtrack. I was kinda obsessed with it for a while and now Norah is too. All of Lucy's dress up clothes were a bit big on her and we couldn't get the proper effect from a silkie so I bought her a Belle dress and she's so adorable in it. Wearing it around and dancing. I haven't gotten a good picture yet but I'll keep trying.

Also, listening to - Norah really start expanding her vocabulary. Her speech has been slightly delayed. The delayed thing didn't bother me except there were some concerns about her hearing earlier on and we've gotten answers ranging from "She's totally fine" to "She's definitely got an issue" which was driving me crazy! The most recent feedback we got from testing at a Children's hospital was that her ears together are good and she shouldn't have any speech issue because of what she can hear and we can either continue testing by going back repeatedly (only because you can only get a tot to give you about 10 minutes of info) or just wait until she's old enough to tell us the answers instead of responding to the flashing puppy puppet. We're choosing to wait and at this point, I don't really think there is an issue but it's still really excited to hear her start to talk. Even more so than it already would be. Just this past week or two we've hit the point where you never know what random words she'll add. This weekend it was "Honey, Honey"...as in, "Honey, Honey, how he thrills me" Yep, my baby was singing along to an Abba song. Today it was strawberry. I mean, you probably wouldn't have know it was strawberry but the kids and I did. Plus she was holding a strawberry and that helped.

Watching - Okay, this is a bit bizarre but stick with me. I enjoying watching Darci Isabella's youtube channel. That parts not bizarre, she's a minimalist homeschooler with chickens, of course I'd love her. BUT after her video about her plans for a minimalist wake and funeral, another channel kept showing up in my recommendations. At first I was all like "uhm, thanks but no thanks, youtube, I don't think Ask a Mortician is really the channel for me. But then I finally caved and watched an episode and it's totally fascinating and this particular Mortician, Caitlin, is really funny. Now, this comes with a caveat. I don't watch all her videos (some go to topics I'm just not comfortable with) and I don't agree with all her views, especially in the areas of religion and physician assisted suicide.

But I've really enjoyed some of her historical based ones as well as information on green burials. That's something Craig and I have talked about in the past and its not uncommon for one of us to send the other an article about home burial or family burials. I realizing this post is taking an interesting turn but I've (re)learned in the last month with the passing of one of my best friends that even being in your 30's doesn't mean you shouldn't have a plan. So if I die (hopefully many years from now) and Craig seems to be going all crazy with talks of cardboard coffins and cremation or green/minimally invasive burial practices, you can kinda trust that I'm okay with all that. No embalming necessary here people (unless there's a specific reason and there might be, I've got family all over the country and three kids so I don't know, there might be). We haven't gotten into specifics or anything as of now, but overall, I really like Caitlin's basic philosophy on burials and being involved with your family's death time decisions. Now, moving on to something more fun...

Excited about - The Eclipse! Oh so excited! We're in a great area for it (over two minutes of totality!) and have even rented out the basement on airbnb. Craig's taking the day off and we've got some friends coming it and Craig's already started his on/off live streaming of the events on facebook. Yes, we're dorks. No, we don't care.

Drinking - Juice? Well, I'm starting to. I'm giving juicing a try. Because, despite my earlier topics, I really do want to live a long time :-)  My first batch wasn't the tastiest but I got it down. I had just gotten my hands on a juicer and didn't have any of the tastier additions I've heard suggested like green apples and lemons but at my next grocery store trip, I'll pick those up and give it another shot. But if you have any favorite fresh vegetable juice recipes, please share!


A Day In the Life

I seem to do these right before big changes. And since we have no idea when we'll get a foster placement, I feel like I'm just waiting for a big change! I know the end of pregnancies aren't completely pleasant for a variety of reasons but at least you do have a basic end date to look forward too. Babies don't stay in forever! So I'm not sure how long this will be our "average" day but for now, it's my life!

? am - Jonah joins us in bed. I realize how glad I am that this is a fairly uncommon occurance.

4:45 - Norah joins us in bed. But it's about time for Craig to get up. Craig is obviously much bigger than Norah but somehow I end up feeling more crowded when the two change spots. But both super snuggle so I can't resent it too much.

6:45 - Time to get up. I'd like another 15 minutes or so and quite frequently I can convince the kids to go play duplos in the living room while the sleepier ones of us (normally Jonah and I) stay put a bit more but Norah climbs out of bed and brings me a diaper, waking Jonah up so 6:45 it is. It could be earlier so I can't complain too much.

Kid's declare they will do all their morning chores before breakfast! (they have to have them done after breakfast before we go outside, but if they want to do them before breakfast, that's fine). They lose motivation after getting dressed and start to play. I make oatmeal.  I'm so happy the kids were playing and I was able to make it myself today. We are going through the Kids Cook Real Food Course and it is wonderful but the kids insist on helping 90% of breakfasts now. We're pretty close to them being mostly independent with our two typical breakfasts (oatmeal and fruit; scrambled eggs and toast) so I anticipate in 3-6 months, my breakfast role will be much easier but for now, I'm supervising three people and its a bit chaotic. So when they are having so much fun that I can sneak it and do it myself once a week, I appreciate the calm.

Lucy is working on her AHG Family Helper Badge so she has been promoted from sweeping floors to unloading and loading dishwasher. The first week and a half, she was super excited. The shininess of a new task is wearing off but after I finish the oatmeal (yes, I deliberately waited until it was done so she couldn't help. I'm awful - but honest), I remind her if we do all this now, after breakfast she'll just have to add a few bowls and be done. She's puts on a brave face and gets it done. I feel a teensy bit bad because it was supposed to be a 2 week only thing but she's proved to be quite good at this tasks so I've officially moved Jonah to sweeping the table for his breakfast chore and Norah gets his task of wiping the tables (with a good check by me afterwards so we aren't schooling on a tabletop of maple syrup residue!).

7:30 - Breakfast of Oatmeal and fresh peaches. I love summer food. I feel like I could live on our local farmer's market store peaches and melon when they are in season. Must remind Craig to get more for our camping trip tomorrow.

7:45 -  While I was cooking, Norah was exploring. Someone must have left the baby lock on the board game cabinet open. I normally leave Norah messes until our regularly scheduled pick-up times or I'd spend all my day following her around picking up after her but this one is right where Jonah needs to sweep so...well begun is half done! And it didn't take too long. While I'm picking up, kid's are getting ready for the day. Even Norah has her task.

That's chickens if you can't tell. It means she's going out to feed the chickens her leftover oatmeal. She takes her jobs very seriously.

8:00 - Chores are done and kid's are playing nicely inside while I start laundry. This is when I hate to disrupt non-fighting kids but it's time to go outside. Hopefully the playing nicely part will transfer too. Kids play while I workout. I was doing really well last winter but had a bit of a thryoid crash that I think was due to the cardio. So I stopped for quite a while and now I'm starting again with just weight lifting and no cardio beyond walking/hiking. Hopefully my body cooperates but so far, so good. I love my view.

Of course, I often have company. Sometimes it looks like this.

Sometimes they are even closer. But crunches with chickens sitting out your knees or a Norah on my stomach just increases the efficiency of my workout time right?

8:45 - Oh, the whining. We normally play outside until at least 9, often 9:30 but for some reason, everyone is cranky today so we head inside again. I put on some Getty Kids music and they all play magna-tiles while I take a shower.

Norah telling me she's hungry and the other two agree that a snack is needed. They all had two bowls of oatmeal but I didn't put eggs in it this time so maybe some protein will do us all good. Yogurt for everyone.

9:00 - Mom has a few minutes of school prep. Everything we do is pretty much open and go but I do love having 5 minutes to think before we start.

9:10 - Table Time (prayer, bible memory, songs and poem recitation) then I read a couple picture books to the littles while Lucy does handwriting. We switch and Lucy reads a few  more books to Norah while I do a few minutes of Jonah school. Well, that is what is supposed to happen and normally, it does but Norah is still cranky and wants to look at books by herself so Lucy works on folding laundry but then Norah gets mad that Lucy isn't paying attention to her. Lucy is telling me that this doesn't make sense. Welcome to the toddler life big sister! We push through.

Lucy and I read and narrate the Burgess Animal Book. We're finally passed the rodent section! If you've done AO Y2, you probably know how happy I am! We do really like that book but I'm over rodents right now. We update our tree and add the shrew stickers while Norah draws on my leg. Eventually I realize what she's doing and stop her. We do French then we move to the living room to read The Wind in the Willows and finally Norah starts playing by herself. Except now she's found a pen and starts drawing on the playtable. I take away her pen. She finds another. Where are they coming from! I take that one away and give her a slightly firm "Pens are for paper"! She melts down. We skip phonics for now so...

11:00 - Lunch! - and a dose of ibuprofen for still cranky Norah. When I ask her if she has a hurt, she points to her mouth. I hate molars. Another mini-meltdown when she asks for a drink but says no to milk and water. As those are the only options, we are at an impasse. It does not end well.

11:30 -  Normally we'd do a short piano practice and a longer free play time but Lucy has been waiting all week for her special one on one with mom cooking practice time. Making muffins without mom touching a thing! We're just prepping the dry ingredients for now and will finish up when Norah (hopefully!) naps. Except for my needing to catch a mis-read cinnamon amount, she does really well. And she lets Norah help her stir the mix so for a few minutes, Norah is happy too.

12:00 - Kids play with magnatiles while I take a few minutes to update this and breath. Breathing is nice. Just kidding. I forgot to restart laundry. We're going camping tomorrow so I'm really trying to get it all done before we leave.

12:05 - Norah is clearly done with the morning. We normally start naptime routine at 12:15 with a quick pick-up and a chapter book (right now it's More Stories from Grandma's Attic) but I tell kids we have to skip that (I hear yays for the first part, boos for the second) and start their audiobook (Burgess's Uncle Billy Possum). They can play legos quietly until it stops automatically in about an hour. Norah normally gets a bit of just mommy time now with picture book or two, nurse, snuggle then I leave her with books until she falls asleep. We skip the books and she doesn't finish nursing before she's out.

12:20 - Me time! Actually, God time.  First up is bible study. Since we didn't do a clean-up, I have to shove aside a puzzle and a belle dress to find some room on the floor but it's quiet so it doesn't bother me.

Then I grab my vitamins, a peach and a bottle of water and decide not to start with the school supply sorting I had planned but to squander 10 minutes on my phone. Eventually I decide to can muster up the energy to actually do it. I normally love organization but in this case the problem isn't a lack of organization, its too much stuff in the armoire and I can't fix that problem for two months (when a portion of it will be leaving) so temporary shuffling and stuffing is required. It's driving me crazy. At least there is a specific deadline. And I've decided I need a real desk. We aren't really a "homeschool room" type of family but I think I am a real desk sort of teacher. Not sure if that will go in the basement as part of the remodel or if I want to replace the armoire. None of that is happening until basement is done. But stuff to ponder! (Aren't you excited Craig! Another project!)

1:10 - Lucy and Jonah are up. Lucy finishes up her muffins while Jonah and I hang around providing emotional support.

2:00 - Math time while muffins bake. She's been struggling with crossing the tens this week. It's a new concept so that's to be expected but the shutting down and getting mad at me is not okay. Today was much better though! I like math and she likes math but when you have a bad math day, it just seem to take a bigger toll than a bad any-other-subject day.

2:20 - Math is done. Muffins are done. Kid's are playing while I'm finishing getting ready for the day and loading car up. Norah wakes up (smiling!) just in time for us all to go pick up our milk from the farmer meet-up we have and then swing by pharmacy. We get the older lady who doesn't offer lollipops not the younger one who does. It's the little joys in life! (That makes me sound cranky but she often only gives us 2 lollipops so I have a very unhappy rear-facing tot watching her brother and sister eat candy in front of her or if she does give me three, then Norah is waving a sticky lollipop around the car. It's a lose-lose situation as far as I'm concerned!)

The classic mini-van mom selfie. I feel like I should really be holding 
a starbucks in my hand but I don't drink coffee. 

3:15 - Tea time. Muffins are a success and Jonah compliments Lucy with a "I think we should call you the best cooker ever!" We study some Whistler but all agree that "He's not our favorite."  Which sounds okay until you realize that is what the kids are allowed to say about a food when what they really mean is "This is gross. I don't want to eat this." I think we might skip our last two prints of his and move on to another artist. We gave him a good shot but its time. I read Missionary Stories with the Millers and then we practice Solfa. Thursday is normally our longest day but even so, I feel like school is taking way too long but I had to turn down kid's request for more Solfa so I guess they don't.

4:00 - Kids are off finally off playing outside and I start beans in the instant pot for tomorrow. It's my first time trying to convert a recipe by myself but luckily we aren't planning on eating it today so I have some buffer time if it all goes wrong. Then I take Norah outside to play because she's been banging on the door and holding her shoes since they left her behind. It's tough being the baby.

4:15 - Daddy's home! I head back inside to start tonight's dinner while Craig watches kids. In between dinner steps, I switch laundry again. Almost there, I can do it! I also complete the hours log for the last few days. This is the first year I legally have to record hours and its not hard but I'm still getting in the habit. But after one month, we are well on our way so I'm not worried about reaching the 1000 hours we need. It helps that they do about 2 hours of audiobooks a day and at least another hour of reading aloud with Craig and I. Since I'm a book snob, I have no issues counting that as literature time. Kid's come in intermittently to ask what's for dinner. And then to ask again because they forgot what I said 5 minutes ago. And then Jonah wants to show me how he got himself "so very terrible dirty you won't even believe it!"

5:30 - Dinner's over. It was a hit.

I am enjoying Lucy's family helper week. She normally a pretty good helper but is going above and beyond today. We loaded dishes together and she ran them then folded more laundry and got Jonah and Norah to help her put it away. All while I'm resting on the couch! Norah can't help but see a resting mommy as a jungle gym though so she climbs and gives her famous super intense face hugs. 

6:45 - Bedtime routine! We actually get to the 10 minute tidy this time and then kids read some pictures book with me, family bible time, chapter book with daddy and we tuck everyone in. We're transitioning Norah to the kid's room but night # 2 goes about the same as night #1. She thinks its a great idea until it's time to actually lay down. Then she grabs her blankie and dolly and literally runs over to my room. The funny part is that it's not like I stay with here there. No, I tuck her in and leave her with some books to look at and she falls asleep on my bed. Then I move her. So you'd think she could do the same thing on her bed. Maybe next week. But I really enjoy being at the point where I can actually just tuck all my kids into bed and leave them. I think Norah is my first to be at that stage before the age of two. And I still get to snuggle and nurse her at night before I leave so it feels like a magical age.

I then finish up the (not quite) baked beans. Recipe worked but I used a bit too much water so I just turned on saute with lid off for a while to reduce it. Meanwhile I finish planning our camping meals (the night before! I know, crazy, but it was a last minute trip!) while Craig does the packing of tents and sleeping bags. I switch laundry again and it's all done! Hurray! I had hoped to pack clothes today but it will be fast in the morning.

8:30 - I'm blogging on the couch with Craig. Then I'll get ready for bed, transfer Norah over and read a bit in bed. I'm finished term two of Ambleside Online Year 7 last night so now on to term three! Then after I do a bit of hard reading, I'll probably switch over to Wives and Daughters if I can stay awake. I'm normally asleep by 10 and I'm not sure how much sleep I'll get tomorrow in the tent so I won't be pushing that tonight.