Amy Scott's Thoughts

Sharing the thoughts that bounce around in my brain!

Summer is Coming?! May 18, 2022

We’ve been experiencing a May that feels very much like a March in our part of the PNW. When I look at the calendar, I see summer is coming. Then I look out the window and the weather doesn’t seem to agree. The cool and showery weather has distracted me from the fact that summer is right around the corner. Slowly, my mind is turning toward summer and I’m starting to get excited!

We are about to wrap-up our school year this week. We use an assortment of 36 week curriculums from September through May. The kids have been enthusiastically completing books all month. Next week, Owen will have his first year-end assessment. I took the CAT as a homeschooler in middle school so I’m familiar with it, but things have changed in the decades since I was a student. It will be a new adventure for both Owen and I. I’m looking forward to having testing finished because that will feel like the true end of the school year for me.

As we wrap-up the school year, the kids are already pulling out their summer books and asking when we can start them. I’m thankful for willing students who love to learn (even over the summer). We do a lighter version of school over the summer. We do this because we have the time and it adds structure to our days. I’m mindful of the “summer slide” and summer school helps to prevent learning loss. A little bit of school on the days we’re home keeps the brain engaged (and we have fun with it).

Anyone else make a summer bucket list? I started making mine this month! I have a few local historical sites and nature trails I hope we can visit this summer. I’m also hoping we can make it to the zoo. We’ll try to have a month of swimming lessons in the mix. Vacation Bible Adventure will happen on Sundays this year and the whole family is excited for the theme – Monumental. This will be Owen’s first year to attend an overnight summer camp! If the weather corporates, we’ll set-up the pool in the backyard soon. We love hosting playdates with family and friends! So much good summer fun awaits us!

The calendar says summer is coming, now if only the weather would get on board! With less than two weeks left in May, I’m dreaming of sunny days filled with adventure and a change of pace. It’s all right around the corner!

My Mother’s Day Book Haul! Books are my love language!
We had quite few peanut butter eggs left over from Easter so I turned them into a no-bake peanut butter cup pie. Yum!
Saturday was a beautiful day in the PNW! Our boys took friends on an adventure to our nearby beaver dam. They love giving guided nature tours!
A small glimpse of summer days to come! Nothing quite like kids running barefoot in the backyard!
 

Thoughts on Mothering in this Season May 11, 2022

Filed under: Amy's Bookshelf,Family Time,Homeschool Adventures,Parenthood — Amy Scott @ 4:02 pm

We had a quiet Mother’s Day weekend as Jeremy continued to regain his stamina after fighting pneumonia. Our plans for the weekend changed so Jeremy could continue to rest. While I do love a good adventure to celebrate Mother’s Day, I also enjoy time at home. A quieter weekend was fine by me.

In my Mother’s Day Instagram post, I mentioned coming to motherhood with almost no knowledge of little boys. Growing up with just a sister, little boys have always been a mystery to me, even after years of observing them in children’s ministry before parenthood. Somehow God saw it fit to give me two boys and the adventurous life of a boy mom. Owen and Graham have given me quite the education on the ways and workings of little men. It’s been a fantasticating experience and I’m on the edge of my seat to see what happens next.

I’m the first to admit that the baby and toddler years were sweet, but not necessarily my favorite seasons of parenthood. I have many fond memories of my boys as littles, but I was in survival mode most of the time. Each new stage of development has been exciting step forward. I especially appreciated moving into the preschool years and then the elementary school days. We aren’t to the tweens/teens yet, but I have have a feeling these middle childhood years are a sweet spot. I’m loving these not quite little, but not quite big boys. They still love to cuddle and be near their mama. They still want to tell me everything (in great detail). I’m doing my best to savor this season. I know moms who have great relationships with their tween/teen boys so I’m taking notes and studying even now.

The last two years of mothering have certainly been different than I expected. The pandemic nudged our family in the direction of homeschooling. I often wondered about homeschooling, but without the pandemic, I would have never taken the plunge. It turns out that homeschooling has been an amazing choice for our family. We’ve enjoyed the last two years so much that we are contemplating continuing next year. As an introvert, I do wish for a bit more peace and quiet in my life. My boys seem to come with loud as their default setting, but the noise and interruptions have been worth it. I could write a whole post on our homeschooling family structure and why I love it so much. Bottom line, I love doing life together. I enjoy learning together, playing together, reading together, adventuring together. (I also enjoy our daily “quiet time” when we take a break from being together – a must for this introvert ). I have the honor/responsibility of modeling our family values throughout the day and I get a front row seat to what the boys are learning and enjoying. It’s not, by any means, a perfect life. Sibling squabbles are real, the kids rarely cheer for chores, and lots of time at home means lots of time to make “creative” messes. Life might not be perfect, but it is good.

Motherhood hasn’t been easy, but it has been a joy. I am thankful for the opportunity to be home with my family. My mothering is in partnership with Jeremy and I am so glad we get to this child-raising gig together. I love how the boys take after their father. All my men are outdoorsy and this stretches me to keep up with them. Through the boys, I’ve learned to appreciate going on a hike or spending an afternoon outside. Hopefully, through me, they’ve learned to appreciate baked goods and good books. We are shaping and influencing each other. We are creating a family culture. It’s hard work (some days more than others), but I’m grateful it’s my work in this season.

The boys attempted to sleep in their forts last week. Owen made it to 9:30pm and Graham made it to 1:00am. Both decided their beds were more comfortable and relocated.
The vibe of our weekend… Owen birdwatching, me reading. Very exciting times at our house.
Took my first dive into Tolkien this weekend. Just like Harry Potter, I decided to find out for myself why The Lord of the Rings books are beloved by so many.
Mother’s Day Photoshoot
Jeremy played with some of the portrait settings on my phone. This was a fun one.
Mama & Owen
Mama & Graham
Marking art at co-op with oil pastels
The fire alarm accidentally got pulled at co-op so we got a visit from the local fire station.
I usually keep the front of our fridge bare, but at the moment it’s covered in Mother’s Day cards, end of curriculum awards, co-op art, and an orthodontist referral that keeps getting put off. This sums up our life pretty well right now.
 

What I’ve Been Reading – April 2022 April 30, 2022

Filed under: Amy's Bookshelf — Amy Scott @ 9:00 am

Bookish Thoughts for April

April was a month full of good books! The bonus of extra time at home is extra time to read! You’ll notice lots of 4 stars on my book list. You’ll also notice that my non-fiction to fiction ratio is fairly even this month (which is extremely rare). Here are some highlights of the month… Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the first play I’ve read (since long forgotten high school days). It took me a while to get into the format, but I eventually got the hang out of it and really enjoyed the story. I added two new special books to my home library. I pre-ordered both Shauna Niequist and Roseanna M. White’s new releases. I got the Barnes & Noble exclusive edition of I Guess I Haven’t Learned That Yet for the bonus chapter on writing. Shadowed Loyalty is a signed copy which is a first for me (and such a treat)! Both were excellent reads and worth the wait. I read on some of my favorite topics this month from the Enneagram to parenting to memoirs. I also read some of my favorite authors this month – Ian Morgan Cron, Bob Goff, Shauna Niequist, Jenny B. Jones, Emma St. Clair, and Roseanna M. White. It felt like a month spent with good friends!

My two extra special additions to my home library!

Top Picks for April

Non-Fiction: Habits of the Household: Practicing the Story of God in Everyday Family Rhythms by Justin Whitmel Earley. This book came recommend by a wise friend! She has pointed me toward many a good book. It took a while for me to get a copy at the library, but it was worth the wait. In fact, this book is on my short list of books I want to purchase next. I get asked for parenting book recommendations frequently and this book will be on my list now! It was practical and relatable. These habits might seem common sense or even small, but they set the tone and foundation for our families. I liked that the chapters ended with an overview, deeper application, and further reading recommendations. Any book that recommends more books is a winner! Non-fiction runners-up this month are The Story of You: An Enneagram Journey to Becoming Your True Self by Ian Morgan Cron and I Guess I Haven’t Learned That Yet: Discovering New Ways of Living When the Old Ways Stop Working by Shauna Niequist.
Fiction: Sense and Second-Degree Murder by Tirzah Price. I read the first book in this Jane Austen Murder Mystery Series last spring (Pride and Premeditation). I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t an instant favorite. I came across Sense and Second-Degree Murder as a new release and I thought since I read the first book, I might as well read the second (I’m a sucker for a series). This book was better than the first in my opinion. I read it over Easter weekend and I kept wanting to sneak in more reading sessions despite my busy schedule. I just had to know what happened next! These books are loosely based on the classics and loaded with girl power. Elinor wants to be a chemist. Marianne is training under her father to be an investigator. In P&P, Lizzie is training under her father to be a lawyer. Something about these ladies’ not letting society hold them back from their dream professions just makes me happy. Runner-ups for fiction are Shadowed Loyalty by Roseanna M. White and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany.

The Book List for April
 1 Star = I did not like it. 2 stars = It was okay. 3 stars = I liked it. 4 stars = I really liked it. 5 stars = It was amazing.

Non-Fiction:

  • Becoming Us: Using the Enneagram to Create a Thriving Gospel-Centered Marriage by Beth & Jeff McCord – 3 stars
  • The Story of You: An Enneagram Journey to Becoming Your True Self by Ian Morgan Cron – 4 stars
  • Good Enough: 40ish Devotionals for a Life of Imperfection by Kate Bowler and Jessica Richie – 4 stars
  • Habits of the Household: Practicing the Story of God in Everyday Family Rhythms by Justin Whitmel Earley – 4 stars
  • Siblings Without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live Too by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish – 4 stars
  • Tell Me More: Stories About the 12 Hardest Things I’m Learning to Say by Kelly Corrigan – 3 stars
  • I Guess I Haven’t Learned That Yet: Discovering New Ways of Living When the Old Ways Stop Working by Shauna Niequist – 4 stars
  • Dream Big: Know What You Want, Why You Want It, and What You’re Going to Do About It by Bob Goff – 4 stars
  • Wild and Free Nature: 25 Outdoor Adventures for Kids to Explore, Discover, and Awaken Their Curiosity by Ainsley Arment – 3 stars

Fiction:

  • Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman – 3 stars
  • Falling Sommerset by Jenny B. Jones – 3 stars
  • Falling For Your Brother’s Best Friend by Emma St. Clair – 3 stars
  • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, John Tiffany – 4 stars
  • The Arm of the Starfish by Madeleine L’Engle – 3 stars
  • Dragons in the Water by Madeleine L’Engle – 3 stars
  • A House Like a Lotus by Madeleine L’Engle – 1 star
  • Sense and Second-Degree Murder by Tirzah Price – 4 stars
  • All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir – 3 stars
  • Shadowed Loyalty by Roseanna M. White – 4 stars
 

These April Days April 27, 2022

It’s hard to believe that we are quickly moving toward the end of April. For the longest time I felt like April was just beginning and then shockingly, I realized that it’s almost over! This month has been quieter due to many canceled plans. It seems like spring colds/flus have running around our area. The first half of the month, we canceled quite a bit due to illness. The second half of the month, others canceled on us due to illness. We’re flexible with plans and hold them loosely these days. We’ve rescheduled so many outings and meals to May. We’ll see if they pan out!

My weekend kicked off with book club on Friday night. I decided to bring a gift for the group. My friend is a talented artist and she posted some watercolor bookmarks she’d made recently on her Instagram. I saw them and was inspired! I commissioned her to make floral bookmarks for the book club ladies. The bookmarks were a huge hit. I love our book club! I appreciate having a space to talk about books and not overwhelm people! To be in a room of readers who are genuinely interested to know my thoughts on books is like a small piece of heaven here on earth. I’ve read so many good books this month. I can’t wait to share more in my end-of-the-month book post on Saturday! Yay!

Jeremy was active this weekend! The weather was beautiful and he used his free time to work in our outdoor spaces. On Friday, he arranged our back deck into our summer configuration. He pressure washed the deck so it now looks clean and fresh. Our patio table is pulled out with the chairs around it – ready for meals on sunny days. Saturday, he ordered new dirt for his garden. It was delivered via dump truck, so of course, our kids were thrilled! Jeremy is expanding our pumpkin patch this year and I couldn’t be more supportive! Give me all the pumpkins – big, little, yellow, orange, white! I adore pumpkins! His next project is to create concrete pathways between his raised beds. He is so ambitious and the boys love tagging along when he is in project mode.

These April days are quickly disappearing. They have been filled with both rest and play. Our days are simple, but we enjoy them all the same. Whether it’s a trip to the park to watch trains, attending Sunday church, playing at our homeschool co-op, or just hanging in our own yard, we are delighting in this spring season. These April days have been good!

Bookmarks for Book Club
After 40 days in the Aerogarden, Jeremy’s petunias are now in his greenhouse at home. He just started a round of herbs to replace the petunias.
A fresh load of dirt is the perfect playground!
Watching trains before heading to church for a worship night
My current read! Really excited to give my thoughts on this book in my next post!
April showers make rainbows!
 

Spring Surprises April 14, 2022

Each season is full of it’s own surprises. We can make a plan, but there is no guarantee things will pan out. We definitely hold plans loosely these days!

The last few weeks have been fairly quiet for us because our family seems to be catching all the bugs that are going around. Thankfully, we’ve avoided COVID (we’ve tested to be sure), but each boy had a 24-hour flu and our whole family had a mild cold. I thought we might catch something with the mask mandate lifting in our area, but I wasn’t expecting a new illness each weekend. Someone starts to feel under the weather on a Friday and then our weekend plans disappear. (This has been the pattern for the last three weekends). On the bright side, the flu bugs were over quickly and the colds were minor. I’m really hoping we got all of our spring sickness out of the way so we can move on to a social spring now!

We had a surprise power outage on Sunday morning. We were home from church for a rest/recovery day. I had promised a morning of screen time for resting… and then we had no power! Oops! The kids were bummed, but Owen made due with an audiobook that was downloaded on my tablet. Graham was healthy so he took his energy over to play at the neighbor’s house (aka Grandpa and Grandma’s). It was super chilly without power! Owen and I bundled under blankets and had book time instead of screen time. It certainly wasn’t the morning we planned, but we rolled with it!

The biggest spring surprise this week was snow! Lots of snow! We woke on Monday to a spring snowstorm. We took a snowy walk before school and then the boys did some sledding in the afternoon. I’ve never seen snow like this in April. We are used to a spring weather mix, but not inches of snow on the ground. It was crazy. It felt like we should be prepping for Christmas instead of Easter this weekend. We’ve seen snowflakes each day this week and even yesterday, we woke up to a white world again (just not as much as Monday).

Now that we’re feeling better, we were excited to start a spring homeschool co-op on Tuesday. In the afternoon, the boys participated in PE and art classes. They both enjoyed co-op and are looking forward to next time. Yesterday afternoon was spent at the dentist. The boys were cavity-free and Owen walked away with an orthodontist referral. Orthodontics are a new adventure awaiting us… Oh goody!

After school today, we went down to the church to help Jeremy move Easter baskets into the front lobby. Every kid will get to take home an Easter basket on Sunday. Graham had a great time assembling the baskets at a work party a few weeks ago and he was very excited to show us the project he was a part of. Moving baskets and preparing for Easter is one of the ways we serve our community together as a family. Our kids get a front row seat to to the joy of giving to others.

It’s full Easter prep mode here! Jeremy is making sure all the details are set for Sunday. We’ve nailed down plans to celebrate with family. Jeremy and I filled plastic eggs with candy for a small hunt. We’ll hard boil eggs and dye them at some point in the next few days. I have all the elements for Easter baskets ready to go. I’m praying these weekend plans finally pan out! Some spring surprises are fun, but I think I would like a little bit of predictable right now! Just a little bit!

I decided to add the Harry Potter series to our home library. I had a hard time deciding between new paperbacks or used hardcovers. I went for used because I feel like hardcover is more durable. Also, my personal preference is to remove the dust jackets from my books. I think they look more distinguished. Anyone else have very specific book preferences?
Last Thursday was 78 degrees and the boys were in summer mode. Owen made friends with a tiny moth.
From summer weather on Thursday to snow on Monday! What an extreme flip!
Getting some sledding in before the snow melts
Graham’s science lesson called for chocolate chip cookies so he could excavate the chips like paleontologist do with fossils. I was too lazy to scoop cookies so I went the bar cookie route. Graham enjoyed the experiment and kept eating the “fossils” he found!
The boys love stopping into Jeremy’s office to check on the Aerogarden. It’s thriving!
Art time at co-op
Cavity-Free Club!
Helping Dad prep for Easter Sunday!
 

What I’ve Been Reading – March 2022 March 31, 2022

Filed under: Amy's Bookshelf — Amy Scott @ 11:00 am

Bookish Thoughts for March

I completed one of my 2022 reading goals in March! I read the entire Harry Potter series for the first time. I have so many friends who are super fans of this series. I finally decided to see what the hype was all about. As I read the books, I found that I liked each book better than the last – until I reached book five. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was my least favorite. I wanted to get Harry into trauma therapy to help with his anger. Professor Umbridge almost broke me! And the ending… no spoilers, but I finished the book thinking that life isn’t fair. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was my favorite and I enjoyed reaching the conclusion in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

I wasn’t banned from reading the Harry Potter books growing up (at least, not to my knowledge), but I wasn’t encouraged to read them. Our family was very mindful of witchcraft/wizardry. It wasn’t appreciated (unless it was The Chronicles of Narnia or The Lord of the Rings). As an adult, I wanted to read the Harry Potter series because I realized it was polarizing and I wanted to decide for myself. While witches, wizards, and magic might not be my preference for entertainment, I did enjoy the books. If my children wish to read them in the future, I would let them. I would probably wait until they are mature enough to read the whole series. It would bother me if I couldn’t read the next book in a series and I wouldn’t want to inflict that “what happens next” torture on anyone!

My next book goal for 2022 is to read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. After tackling the thick Harry Potter books, I will probably wait a month or two before diving into another lengthy series. I need some recovery time! I also finished The Time Quintet by Madeleine L’Engle this month. I hope to dive into her Polly O’Keefe series in April. I might be late to the game for some of these classics, but my curiosity has been peaked. Why are these favorites for so many? I’d like to find out!

The latest addition to my home library. I borrowed an older edition of this book from a friend last year. I’m interested to read the updated content. My main reason for the purchase was the book lists. I’m looking for inspiration!

Top Picks for March

Non-Fiction: Raising Critical Thinkers: A Parent’s Guide to Growing Wise Kids in the Digital Age by Julie Bogart. This book felt like a class on critical thinking. My biggest takeaway was if I want to raise critical thinkers, I have to be a critical thinker myself. It challenged my way of thinking and how I’m using my influence to shape my children. I’ve been recently processing how to find new books for my oldest since he is flying through our home library. Books can be a powerful influence and I’m actively weighing and researching options. Reading Raising Critical Thinkers came at an opportune time. This is a book that I will return to as a reference as my kids grow. There are activities throughout the book targeted for different age ranges starting at age 5 and going to 18.
Fiction: Lovely War by Julie Berry. This book is an interesting twist on WWI historical fiction. The tale of two love stories is told through the lens of the goddess Aphrodite. She invites a few other Greek gods to share their perspectives on the stories from time to time. While I am personally not a huge fan of Greek mythology, the tale that the gods spun won my heart. A good deal of historical fiction tends to fall during WWII, so I appreciated the WWI setting for variety. While the ugly truths of war can be hard to read, I cheered when love triumphed in dark places.

The Book List for March
 1 Star = I did not like it. 2 stars = It was okay. 3 stars = I liked it. 4 stars = I really liked it. 5 stars = It was amazing.

Non-Fiction:

  • The Path Between Us: An Enneagram Journey to Healthy Relationships by Suzanne Stabile – 3 stars
  • Raising Critical Thinkers: A Parent’s Guide to Growing Wise Kids in the Digital Age by Julie Bogart – 4 stars

Fiction:

  • The Last Bookshop in London by Madeline Martin (Historical) – 4 stars
  • My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman (Family/Friendship) – 4 stars
  • Lovely War by Julie Berry (Historical) – 4 stars
  • Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys (Historical) – 3 stars
  • The Lady’s Mine – Francine Rivers (Historical) – 3 stars
  • Many Waters by Madeleine L’Engle (YA Sci-Fi) – 3 stars
  • An Acceptable Time by Madeleine L’Engle (YA Sci-Fi) – 3 stars
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling (YA Fantasy) – 3 stars
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling (YA Fantasy) – 3 stars
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling (YA Fantasy) – 3 stars
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling (YA Fantasy) – 3 stars
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling (YA Fantasy) – 3 stars
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling (YA Fantasy) – 4 stars
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling (YA Fantasy) – 4 stars
  • Sandover Beach Memories by Emma St. Clair (Christian Romance) – 3 stars
  • Sandover Beach Week by Emma St. Clair (Christian Romance) – 3 stars
  • Sandover Beach Melodies by Emma St. Clair (Christian Romance) – 3 stars
  • Sandover Beach Christmas by Emma St. Clair (Christian Romance) – 3 stars
  • Sandover Beach Forever by Emma St. Clair (Christian Romance) – 3 stars
  • Secrets Whispered from the Sea by Emma St. Clair (Christian Romance) – 3 stars
 

A Trip Down Memory Lane March 23, 2022

This last week, I got to visit a place that is very special in my childhood memories. Jeremy has agreed to co-direct kids camp for our church network. He has directed/co-directed kids camps for our entire married life. Two summers without kids camp on our calendar has been strange. Now that COVID numbers are coming down and things are opening up, kids camp planning is back on. Jeremy had a camp tour this last Friday and he mentioned taking the boys along for the outing. I also asked to tagalong because kids camp this year is at the campground I attended as an elementary school student – Lake Retreat! Because it was a full camp tour, we got to look inside all the buildings and wander all over the campground. As we walked through the different spaces, I could remember which “cabins” I stayed in. I had memories of lining up outside the cafeteria, eating camp meals, messages in the chapel, and stories by the campfire. The camp is right on Lake Retreat and I remember how high the diving board seemed as a kid. The strangest thing was how small the camp felt to me as an adult. My childhood memory was of this huge, expansive campground. While the campground really isn’t small, it just wasn’t quite as large as my childhood memory made it seem. I guess the walk across camp felt longer for little legs decades ago. It was very special to visit a place for vivid in my memories.

While visiting camp was partially for nostalgia, I also had another purpose for tagging along. This is the first summer that Owen is old enough to attend. It’s crazy to think of him going off to camp. I wanted to get a glimpse of what camp might look for him. Could I picture him there? Owen and Graham both enjoyed the camp tour. It certainly inspired them to want to attend. One of the advantages of Owen visiting camp in advance is he can now picture where this new experience would take place. We’ve haven’t done overnight experiences beyond a night or two at a grandparents’ house. In the aftermath of a pandemic, we’re still processing if summer camp is a step we’re ready for. Seeing the camp in-person was helpful as we process our summer plans. It’s hard to believe that we have a kiddo that is old enough to be a camper!

Okay, visiting camp wasn’t the only highlight of the last week. I’ll try to hit the others quickly. On Thursday, we visited friends and saw quite a few trains on our journey to/from their home. The boys are still obsessed with trains, so it was a very good day! We met Jeremy for dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant (which I find funny since it was St. Patrick’s day). Friday night, I attended book club. I enjoy discussing books with other moms and my book recommendation list is super long now. On Saturday, we had a beaver walk up our driveway and into our front yard! We apparently live in a zoo or maybe Narnia. Saturday evening, we had friends over for dinner and the boys got to do their favorite thing – flashlight tag in the yard. Sunday, our chickens got attacked by an eagle. We missed the drama but my parents saw it happen. A crow attacked the eagle and scared it off before it could harm our chickens. A big thank you to that crow! Between a beaver in the yard on Saturday and an eagle on Sunday… we seriously live in a zoo!

After a few days of activity, I’ve been enjoying some quieter days at home. I’m almost finished with the Harry Potter series. I’m currently on book seven and hope to finish it today or tomorrow. It’s been fun to discuss the books with my friends (and hubby) who are fans. I’m often asked what I think about the books, but it’s also neat to hear what books, characters, and moments other readers like best. Oh, and the very important discussion of what Hogwarts house you think you’d be in! I’m torn between Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw, but I’m leaning toward Hufflepuff. I’ll have to give my final HP thoughts at the end of the month in my book blog!

Well, that’s all for now! Until next time!

Watching for trains while waiting for Jeremy to arrive at the restaurant.
Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day at Plaza Jalisco!
Past camper and potential future camper
Introducing the kids to carpet ball
Tripe stacked bunk beds!
Enjoying the lake
The beaver and the wildlife photographers
A visit to Dad’s office on Sunday to check out the sprouts in the Aerogarden
Learning about fossils in amber with gummy worms and orange Jell-O
Learning about weather in science
 

The Other Days March 16, 2022

It can be easy and exciting to write about the big adventures and outings. However, life is mostly made up of the “other” days. They might not be thrilling, but each ordinary day is an adventure all it’s own. With the future unknown, I am trying to intentionally savor these days at home. The last two years have greatly changed how we live our day-to-day lives. While many have rushed back to normal, we are trying to hold on to the benefits we’ve found in living differently.

Our mornings are spent at the dining room table doing school. We are one week away from the end of our 3rd quarter. The boys already have their 3rd quarter rewards selected and they are counting down the days until we can celebrate. It is very exciting to see the pages left in our school books dwindling. Some of our curriculum doesn’t end at exactly 180 days of lessons. A few books will be completed before we are officially finished with the school year. (When that happens, I supplement that subject with other worksheets/books.) It’s always a celebration when a textbook is completed. The finish line for the school year is in sight!

Homeschooling has been an unexpected chapter in our family story. It’s been a good chapter, though. Our plans for school next year are still undecided. There is a chance that the boys will be back to public school in the fall. With that in mind, I’m doing my best to enjoy this homeschool season for all that it is. It’s not over yet and I want to make the most of it. Often that means putting thoughts (and, being real here, anxieties) about next year on hold for now. I don’t want to miss this current time at home pondering (or fretting over) future decisions.

After school, we have lunch and then quiet time. This used to be nap time, but the boys have long outgrown naps. Now they are allowed to play on their beds or read books during quiet time. While they might not sleep anymore, the down time is restorative. It reminds me of the “flat on bunk” time I used to have at kid’s camp when I was in elementary school. Sleep is optional, but rest isn’t. This quiet time is just as important for me as it is for the boys. I appreciate the break! I often use it to read, research (aka look things up on Amazon), contact friends (Marco Polo), and do “grown-up stuff” (like make dentist appointments).

When quiet time is over, it’s afternoon free time. If the weather is nice, we’ll walk to the mailbox. I usually start dinner prep while the boys play. LEGO Super Mario is still the toy of choice around here. If the boys have chores, they do them in the afternoon/evening free time. Some of their chores are emptying the dishwasher, taking out the trash, collecting eggs, and helping with the laundry. We have dinner when Jeremy gets home and then usually there is a little time to play on the Switch. Some days wrap up by watching a baking show in the hot tub.

These days can feel a bit like Groundhog’s Day. Wake up and repeat… again… and again. Despite the repetition, these are good days. The last two years have certainly been challenging, but they have also been a gift. This last week Washington State removed it’s mask mandate, so it really has been two years living in pandemic mode. While I don’t view the pandemic as over, I can recognize that things are changing. I don’t know what that means for the future, but I do know that I want to make the most of right now. I am so thankful to the small things that make these ordinary days special. We do have rocky moments (like the fights over LEGOS pieces – a real-life example from 11:30am today). I remind myself that these difficult moments are a chance for us to grow together. It might seem like sibling squabbles are a chance for the kids to learn, but these are growth moments for me as well. How will I respond? Is my attitude helping or hindering the situation? So yes, lots of learning together beyond our school time. These home days don’t make for the most interesting updates, but day-by-by, they are making for a pretty interesting life!

A special stop for fro-yo while running errands
Pizza Friday! This was our second time getting Mini Murph take-an-make kits. The boys love them!
My latest attempt at cake decorating. Used some new tools. Looking forward to trying again since I’m learning a lot through trial and error!
Getting some new dirt into Jeremy’s new raised beds
My latest used book acquisition with the last of my birthday money
A quick visit to Nana & Papa’s house where Owen got to be a firefighter and help put out a burn pile.
Jeremy’s birthday present arrived a little early! He requested (then purchased for himself) an Areogarden for his office at work. After 5 days, he already has sprouts popping up!
Time to make leprechaun traps!
Homemade pizookies for Pi Day on Monday
I had a migraine yesterday, so the boys joined Jeremy for an out-of-town errand and then an afternoon of helping at the church. Jeremy sent me this picture of Graham leading a “Bible study” in the church’s church classroom! Graham has been watching Jeremy in action on Sundays and it shows!
 

Hints of Spring March 9, 2022

Filed under: Amy's Bookshelf,Parenthood,Simply Me — Amy Scott @ 12:29 pm

There are hints of spring all round these days. At the moment, the sun is shining bright and bringing me so much joy. There will be a walk to the mailbox, jumping on the trampoline, and drainage ditch exploration outside later today. Anytime we can spend the afternoon out in the sunshine, it’s a good day!

This weekend, Jeremy started a major project in his garden. He creatively built raised beds out of discarded building materials a few years ago. These raised beds were starting to break apart and a replacement was necessary. Jeremy had saved up for new raised beds and assembled them on Friday. It was supposed to be a sunny day, but the morning turned out to be showery. Because it was messy work, I would often find Jeremy sitting under our covered porch waiting out the weather. At one point when Owen was out helping him, they took shelter in the greenhouse. The new beds need some additional dirt and then they’ll be ready for spring planting.

While the boys worked outside in the mud, I worked inside on a chocolate cake. Owen mentioned earlier in the week that he hadn’t had cake in a while. It’s not too hard to talk me into baking. Especially chocolate cake. I decided after baking this cake, I would pick up some new baking tools. My cakes just never turn out to my hopeful standard. I purchased a cake level and a turntable online this week. They arrive tomorrow and I’m optimistic to make another cake soon to see if I can improve. The boys gave the chocolate cake rave reviews which were quite humorous. You can tell we’ve been watching baking shows as a family because they “judged” my cake as a “moist sponge with good texture and flavor.” Oh, the things these kids say!

Saturday was a beautiful day and the boys practically lived outside! They checked trail cameras with Jeremy near our property in morning. They spent the afternoon outside playing with cousins at Nana & Papa’s house. At dinner with friends, they built natural boats (thinks leaves and sticks) and raced them down a backyard creek. At Nana & Papa’s house, the adults played board games for a few hours. Jeremy and I learned a new game called Dixit. It’s a picture game and reminded me of Apples to Apples but with images. Jeremy won the first round. I won the second. (I don’t win often, so I felt it deserved mentioning here.) We’ve now spent two Saturdays in a row playing games. Fun times! After an afternoon of gameplay, we went to dinner with family friends. My friend recently borrowed my Enneagram books and was excited to talk with me about the Enneagram after dinner. I adore the Enneagram and will happily talk about it with anyone for as long as they are willing! It was such a treat!

This coming weekend is my least favorite of the year with the time change. I’m not a fan of springing ahead and losing an hour of sleep, but I know it will mean light later into the evening. As the weather improves, we’ll have more playtime outside after dinner. Afternoon walks can become evening walks. I do look forward to the sun setting after 7:00pm. Jeremy has tulips and daffodils making an appearance in the yard. His miniature bulbs have flowered first. They make the back deck feel so friendly! I love seeing hints of spring popping up all around. A new season is on the horizon. I’m a ready to greet it and see what it brings.

Sheltering in the greenhouse during a shower
My weekend baking project!
Painting rocks in children’s church to remember to trust God.
Sunday afternoon reading. Three readers stuffed on a loveseat. Love when the kids seek out these quiet moments with me.
Nothing quite like jumping on the trampoline on a sunny day!
First time reading Harry Potter. I realize I’m a little bit late to the game. I finally decided to see what all the hype is about.
Spring vibes on the back deck!
 

Farewell February, Hello March! March 1, 2022

I logically know that February is a short month, but it always surprises me when it’s over. Now that it’s officially March, I finally took down the construction paper hearts I had on the walls around our house. I’m still using our snowflake dishes since we did have (a trace) snow on the ground less than a week ago. All things winter are making way for all things spring. February was such a fun month. It’s hard to see it go, but I have high hopes for March!

We wrapped up February with some exciting activities. On Friday, I hosted a book club at my house. This was the first “group” I’ve hosted in almost two years. I was nervous, but this was a good group to dust off my hospitality skills with. My friend led the book club, so all I had to do was open my home and participate. I love the set-up of this book club! I mentioned it in my last post, but I’ll share it again. Instead of everyone reading the same book, each lady comes with a book to talk about. It could be any book – something she read long ago, recently read, is currently reading, or hopes to read in the future. This structure means anyone can participate without feeling guilty about not finishing the book or not liking it. I shared my two top picks for February and enjoyed hearing about what everyone else was reading. (See my February book post here)

As an avid reader and blogger, it’s no surprise words are how I relate to the world. My husband got me hooked on playing Wordle this month. I was resistant at first because it’s trendy. After a few times of “helping” Jeremy with his words, I had to play for myself. I will admit that I’ve had to look up the meaning of a few words while playing this game (tacit? swill?). Now I find Wordle words throughout my books and each time I come across one, I chuckle. Anyone else jump on the Wordle bandwagon? It’s addicting! I’m thankful there is only one word a day or I might have a problem!

Speaking of games, my forever friend, Maggie, and her family come over for a game day on Saturday. Maggie’s family is very into games and they brought an assortment to share with us. Jeremy loves games and is very good at catching on to new games. We played a few shorter games before settling into playing Wingspan. Maggie and I were a team for the first game and then Maggie acted as my consultant for the second game. I now feel somewhat confident I could play on my own next time! We don’t often have marathon game days, so it was fun to do something out of the ordinary. Especially since it was super rainy on Saturday, a day spent playing inside was just right!

Now that it’s March, my kids are counting down to St. Patrick’s Day. They decorated their windows with gel clings today from Grandma and they are actively planning their leprechaun traps. I often hear about what they will wish for if/when they catch a leprechaun. March is a big month for Jeremy has he prepares for the Easter season. It’s also Jeremy’s birthday month. We’ll make sure he celebrates well! I’ll try to forget that Daylight Savings begins in March and just focus on the fact that spring is coming soon! I’m sure no matter how the month unfolds, it will be an adventure!

Learning about igneous rock using chocolate – melted chocolate like lava hardens and creates a solid. Science is sweet!
Jeremy took the boys bowling on Friday night while I hosted the book club. I love the updates he sent me! Bowling with Owen is a lot like bowling with Tigger. The kid has bounce!
Graham was all about the fun and the food!
Making fish puppets in science!
Decorating for St. Patrick’s Day while wearing Christmas pajamas…
Always hopeful that this is the year he’ll catch a leprechaun!