Showing posts with label How I Handle It Series. Show all posts
Showing posts with label How I Handle It Series. Show all posts

All About Breakfast



Confession:  I give my kids Marshmallow Mateys for breakfast sometimes.

Now that we've gotten that dirty little secret out of the way...

Lately I have been branching out a bit on breakfasts for the kids.  When I went to the homeschool conference this summer, one of the speakers said that you can't really get mad if you gave your kids sugary cereal with nothing more substantial added in, and they act all crazy later.

As we've established, I have nothing against breakfast cereal, but I did think she had a point.

So while we still do Coco Puffs for breakfast occasionally, I've added a few other things into the rotation, with the intention of helping my kiddos get some brain-sharpening, focus-encouraging nutrients in, especially on school days!  Here are a few of my current go-to's.

Oatmeal - One of the reasons I used to default to cereal was because it was a quick, easy breakfast for the kids - but I've learned that oatmeal is fairly quick and easy too!  And it's healthier and more sustaining since they are getting the whole grain.  I use old-fashioned oats, and add a little brown sugar, nuts, chocolate chips, raisins, apples, or cinnamon.  The kids think I'm the best mom ever when I add in chocolate chips (but it's still less straight sugar than cereal!).

Muffins (made with freshly-ground flour) - I mentioned that I got a grain mill this summer, and I have to tell you, I love it!  When flour is freshly ground, it still contains all the nutrients that the whole wheat berry contains, so it's more sustaining, has a lower glycemic index, and it's healthier.  But beyond that, I like the way baked goods taste when they are made with fresh flour, and the texture is chewier (which I actually love!).  I have a few go-to muffin recipes from this book. I try to make one batch every week so they can be our on-the-go breakfast, but that doesn't always happen.

Hard-Boiled Eggs with toast - Also quick to make, because I just pull them out of the refrigerator!  (Are you noticing a theme here?  I like quick and easy breakfasts.)  I have to be careful with this one though, because sometimes I forget I boiled the eggs and we don't end up eating them.

Yogurt - We don't eat yogurt as often as I'd like, because with five kids and me that could get expensive really quick.  But sometimes I buy a big container of plain yogurt, and I mix it with honey and frozen berries for the kids' breakfast.  This is also one of my favorite breakfasts for me!

Cereal or Donuts - Everything in moderation, right?  Sometimes cereal or donuts is just easier, and I don't shame myself or anyone else for going there.  Having a sugary breakfast sometimes is fine in my book.

What are your breakfast go-to's?  Any other quick-and-easy ideas for me?

My Morning Routine, If You Can Call It That



One of my goals for this year has been to develop a better morning routine.

I have had visions in my head of getting up before the kids, accomplishing my devotions and a ton of writing work before they even get out of bed, then graciously closing my laptop, giving my darling children a kiss, and going upstairs to make everyone a picture-perfect breakfast.  I look adoringly at my troop while I drink a cup of hot coffee.

Yeah.  That hasn't been going so well.

This is closer to what our mornings actually look like.


6:30 - The sun starts shining through the window, and wakes me up, but I am still exhausted from the night before. This isn't even just Georgie's fault - the three youngest and the dog all conspire to wake me up at least two or three times a night.  I turn my head and try to go back to sleep.

6:40 - I hear little feet pounding around upstairs.  I roll out of bed and call up the stairs, telling the kids to go read books in their room for a while.  I stumble back to bed and fall asleep.

6:55 - More foot-pounding.  I ignore.

7:02 - A child starts to come downstairs.  I want fifteen more minutes of sleep.  I remind them to stay upstairs and try to squeeze in a few more minutes.

7:10 - I realize it is futile to resist and get up.  I brush my teeth and wash my face, put in my contacts.

7:20 - I go upstairs and make the kids breakfast, while reminding them they can't actually eat it until they make their beds and get dressed.  Breakfast used to always be cereal, but then I realized the kids where a little calmer if I didn't hype them up on simple sugars first thing in the morning, so now sometimes I make them oatmeal.  After I make them breakfast, I remind them to put their dishes in the dishwasher.  I go back downstairs to fix my makeup and get dressed.

7:40 - I finish my makeup and go back upstairs.  All the bowls are still on the table.  I remind the kids to put them away again, and then tell them to go play while I drink some much-needed coffee.

7:50 - I sit and read or type or listen to a podcast and try to get motivated to actually start the day.

8:30-9:00 - Georgie wakes up.  I make her a bottle and go downstairs for some snuggles.

9:30-10 - We actually start some sort of school.


Give or take 30 minute on all those time slots, and that's how our morning usually goes!

While I still think it would be wonderful if I could manage to get up before the kids and get some of my own stuff done before the day, our actual morning routine isn't completely terrible.  I would like to be more productive, but there is a part of me that truly loves this slow start to our day.  I'll probably continue to try to drag myself out of bed early, mainly because I would love to be able to squeeze in morning devotions on a regular basis, and I think that is something that truly would be worth making a change for.  As it is, I do my daily devotions at night, which is also fine, but ideally I'd like to refocus my day right from the start.

Do you have  morning routine?  Do you wake up before your kids?  HOW did you become disciplined enough to wake up before them (especially if you have early risers)?

Why I Don't Daily Plan In Our Homeschool




"You are a type A personality, aren't you?" my doctor asked as I packed away the papers full of information I came to discuss with him.

"Yeah, I guess so," I replied.  Everyone always pegged me as a type A, especially doctors, because I love to research subjects that are important to me, and I liked my house relatively clean.  So I always just assumed that's what I was, a classic Type A.

It was only after I had kids that I began to consider that maybe "Type A" wasn't exactly a perfect description of my personality.  I always viewed things like cooking and sewing as more art than science (not very Type-A), and I was never very into planning (also not Type-A).  But after I had kids, I realized that I had a spontaneous, let's-just-do-something-fun today side, which is far more descriptive of a Type B than a Type A.  During the baby and preschool years, I loved having my days mostly wide open, and being able to fill the hours with whatever struck my fancy.

I admit, as my kids grew older and homeschooling requirements grew more immediate, I mourned the loss of my newfound spontaneity.  Because you can't really be spontaneous when you have a list of things to be done each day, can you?

But this is my second official year of homeschooling (sort-of third year, but Kindergarten is only part time in our house), and I have learned that I still do not like to have my days planned out.  When I have a list of have-to's for each day, I feel the pressure and stress rising in my chest.  If I don't feel the freedom to run errands, grocery shop, or just declare a spontaneous field trip day, homeschooling can quickly start to feel like house arrest to me.

So my solution?  I don't daily plan our homeschool.  Instead, I plan weekly.

In my homeschool planning pages, I have a spreadsheet that includes all the different subjects, and what lessons and pages should be done each week.  I don't care how much we get done in any given day, as long as we do some school each day and get everything done that I have assigned for that week.

This has been really freeing for me, and allows me to still play with our weekly schedules a little bit.  If I realize we have no food left in the house, we might go grocery shopping and only do two subjects that day - then the next day we'll catch back up.  If math lessons are humming along really well, we might do two or three lessons in one day and give ourselves a couple days off of math the rest of the week to focus on history instead.

(Or freedom to gather chicken eggs with friends?  Just trying to make the pictures work here.)

So far, this weekly planning has been working much better for our family and my personality than daily planning would.  I imagine some adjustments will be needed as the kids get bigger and their workload increases, but even then, I remember handling my own schoolwork much the same way when I was homeschooled.  If I felt like doubling up on a few subjects and giving myself a lighter workload the next day, that's what I did.

So I don't know if I'd technically be a Type A or Type B, but I know as far as daily planning goes, as long as the weekly work gets done, anything goes.  I love that I can still make homeschooling work with the side of my personality that loves freedom in my schedule.

Do any of you daily plan (in homeschooling or just in life)?  Would you consider yourself a Type B or Type A personality?





The Main Reason We Don't Celebrate Halloween

(This photo has nothing to do with the post, the boys just decided to go "fishing", and it was so cute.)

I didn't realize when I started this prompt series that one of the first subjects would end up being such a touchy one, at least when a person has my angle on it.

I've never celebrated Halloween.

Growing up, we always went to "harvest festivals" sometime during the month of October, but we avoided events on the actual day, holed up in our home with pizza and a movie.  We never got Trick-or-Treaters because we lived in such a rural area.  None of my friends really celebrated Halloween either.

As I became an adult, I not only never felt the need to celebrate it, but I also actively campaigned against it (you long-timers on here might remember a strongly worded blog post back in the day).  As a Christian, I didn't feel good about Halloween, and for a long time I had a hard time understanding other Christians who had no qualms about the holiday.  

I like to think I've grown quite a bit in my understanding of Christian liberty over the years.  (Read Romans 14-15:6 - that whole thing.)  I get now that a lot of Christians view Halloween as just an innocent kids' holiday, an opportunity to make memories and meet the neighbors, and they have freedom to celebrate it.  The Holy Spirit convicts us in different ways on these non-essential issues, and that's okay!  It's not something to argue about, or think less of anyone over, no matter which side you stand on.

As I've come to recognize that Halloween most likely falls under the umbrella of Christian liberty, and as I've had children who I've had to explain this whole issue to, it's forced me to further iron out my reasons for not celebrating Halloween.  I get that a lot of holidays could have pagan origins or connections, and I'm not one to abandon Christmas because pagans a long time ago worshipped trees or something - so the pagan origins of Halloween are a factor for me (because it's so strongly rooted in paganism), but not necessarily a reason by itself anymore.  We still live in a fallen world, and sin still contaminates everything; evil, neutral, and good.  So why do I still choose not to celebrate it (besides having sensitive kids who wouldn't be into it anyway)?

First let me lay a little groundwork for my personal reasoning - as Christians, we know that Jesus came to give us life, eternal life, life more abundantly!


The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

John 10:10


He came to free us from the consequences of our sin when we trust inHim to save us, to take our punishment, to defeat death by rising again!



So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
 “O Death, where is your sting?
O Hades, where is your victory?”
 The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:54-56

So the bottom line for me is this: if all that is true and Jesus came to give us life, I just don't have a desire to focus on a holiday that, at it's root, glorifies everything to do with death.

When I talk to my kids about why we don't celebrate Halloween, that is what I say.  I say that some people believe in Jesus and think Halloween is fun, but for our family, we want to focus on light and life, because that is what Jesus gives us.  So far, they get it, and we just do our own thing on October 31st!  (This year I think we are actually going to celebrate Reformation Day, at my kids' request, since it also falls on October 31st.)



To finish this off, I'd just like to say if you love Jesus and enjoy the innocent parts of Halloween, I'm not here to argue or persuade you to give it up.  Like I said, I believe this is a non-essential issue that each Christian should prayerfully determine their own stance on, and I'm fine if you disagree with my take on Halloween.  I know there are even a lot of Christians that use it as an opportunity for evangelism, which I think is wonderful and needed.  I won't judge you, and I hope you won't read into anything I said either.  But that's how I handle Halloween.

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Next up...well, I'm skipping meal-planning and daily-daily planning, because I don't do either of those things well, so next will probably be an update on my littlest lady!  She just turned eleven months old, which means birthday planning is in full swing!


How I Handle Things

(The colors out there are just gorgeous right now!  Seriously, the in-real-life colors look just like this.)

Something about October makes me want to write.

Last year I started a 31 Days Of Writing project, even though I had a baby due at the beginning of November.  I wrote about Memory Keeping (you can read all those posts here), and I definitely didn't get to all the posts I had planned because I was in pain and huge and Georgie arrived before the end of the month!

This year we are moving before the end of the month, but I'm still going to try another October writing project, because the trees and the cool air and the candles and the hot drinks make my inner self scream "Pull out that laptop and write!".



I saw this little image floating around Instagram the other day, and I thought, why not?  Let's do this (except I'm writing here instead of on Instagram)!  It'll give me an easy way to scratch the writing itch.



I've missed the first few days (you're not missing much - my answers to how I handle those first two are "Um...I don't?"), but I think there are some good subjects coming up.  I reserve the right to skip any days that are too busy or for which I have nothing to say.

However, PLEASE let me know if there are any subjects on this list that you are especially curious to hear my thoughts on!  
It'll help me know what to prioritize when I get writing time.

First up - tomorrow you get to read my take on Halloween, which would probably be a highly requested one anyway, because if you've been around a while you might have noticed we don't celebrate it. (For you super-long-time blog readers, I've mellowed out about this subject in more recent years, don't worry).  Check back in tomorrow if you want, and please do tell me what else on the list sounds most interesting!
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