Here’s to a Slow Summer

Hey Mama how’s your summer going?

We are having a slow summer over here. We haven’t jumped back into all of our pre-pandemic activities just yet, although we are doing much more we did last year! We’ve been spending lots of time outside, and the kids have been enjoying the break from school and academics. Summer for us means long unstructured days of reading, art, and outdoor play. Electronics and screens are intentionally limited; it’s a time to savor the slow, and the choruses of “I’m bored,” have begun to fade as the kids have slowly adjusted to our summer schedule and their creativity has begun to kick in. There have been interesting projects begun, and new games invented both indoors and out. I’ve caught little people deeply immersed in chapter books in the most unlikely of places, and old board games and puzzles have been given new life. Of course, we have taken some weekly trips to the beach or to walk along the river, and we have some other outings planned as well. And we’ve grilled with friends and eaten outdoors…but for the most part, we are savoring the slow.

What is your summer looking like?

#Summer

#SlowSummer

#SummerWithKids

#SummerFun

#MindfulMotherhood

#IntentionalParenting

#ScreenFree

#SlowChildhood

Simple Lunch Routine

Hey Mama.  It’s summertime.  How’s your lunch routine going?

We eat a lot around here.  With 5 kids someone is always hungry.  While I’ve had dinners figured out for awhile, lunch somehow always got to me.  I wouldn’t think about it until someone was STARVING, and then the mad dash to throw something together would ensue.  

And then I realized, that just like I have a dinner routine, I could have a lunch routine.  And it would take away not only the decision fatigue, but also the craziness of trying to throw something together and not being sure what was in the house.

So here is our simple lunch routine…I’m sure your family has favorites that you could easily incorporate to make your own.  I can’t even begin to describe how much simpler this has made my days.

  • MondayNachos Tray, made using whatever meat was leftover from Sunday’s dinner, sliced tomatoes and avocados 
  • TuesdayMacaroni & Cheese with Sliced Fruit
  • WednesdayQuesadillas, using whatever leftovers available from Taco Tuesday dinner, sliced tomatoes and fruit
  • ThursdayPeanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches and Apple Slices 
  • FridayHot Dogs, Potato Chips, Pickles and Orange Wedges (my kids favorite lunch of the week)
  • SaturdayLeftover Lunch of whatever odds and ends need to be finished from the week
  • SundayCoffee Hour at Church, or light snacks before our Family Sunday Dinner

And that’s how we do lunch around here. (Although many days, I’ll also heat up leftovers for myself and my husband from the night before.)  It’s not revolutionary; in fact, it may even seem kind of boring—but knowing what I’m serving each day, and keeping lunch to around the same time each day has made life so much easier.  I make sure when I do our grocery shopping that we have what we need in the house to make those lunches until the next time that I do the shopping. Our pantry is usually stocked with the same basics, and the kids seem to thrive on the routine of having a daily lunch schedule.

And of course, there are days when we switch it up.  Today, after a VERY hot and sweaty morning of biking and playing outside, the kids asked for a “cool summer lunch”.  I looked at what we had, sliced up some cheese, apples, and pepper strips, and served them a red and white charcuterie board with some homemade banana muffins that we had in the freezer.  And I felt like I had the creative energy to do that because all the other days this week I didn’t have to think about lunch.

How do you attend to the daily task of lunch?  Is lunch something you enjoy?  Do you sit with your kids and eat lunch together?

#LunchIdeas

#WhatsForLunch

#LargeFamilyLogistics

#MealPlanning

#SchoolsOutForSummer

#SummerLunches

#KidsEat

#Rhythms

#Routines

The Last Cookie

Just a little PSA…if there’s only one homemade chocolate chip cookie left, it’s ok if you eat it, Mama.

And it’s even ok if they see you doing it.

Some days, you need to take care of you. They see your sacrifice day after day…it’s ok to model self care. Even if that means taking the only cookie once in awhile, instead of splitting it three or four or seven ways.

You can’t pour from an empty cup.

Cheering you on and sending you love today. May your day be filled with moments of rest, glimpses of grace…and maybe even homemade cookies.

#LastCookie #HomemadeCookies #KidsInTheKitchen ##SelfCare #MomTruth #IntentionalMotherhood

Out of the Box Ideas for Getting Kids Outside

Hey Mama. Today is a “take your watercolors outside and paint rocks” type of day around here. How’s the weather where you live?

While we’re all for active play outside, there are some breathtakingly beautiful days (like today!) that my kids have absolutely no desire to go outside. And I’ve come to realize that it helps to have a few “out of the box” outside activities in our parenting toolbox to offer when the usual running, digging, throwing, climbing, biking, jumping, kicking types of activities aren’t working.

Things that seem to work best around here as alternate outside activities are:

☀️ Watercolor Painting

☀️Painting Rocks/Shells

☀️Favorite Board Games or Cards

☀️Setting up scenes for Lego or Playmobil figures

☀️Reading

☀️Making a Blanket Fort from old sheets

What “out of the box” activities do you do outside when the kids don’t want to go out?

#GetOutside #1000HoursOutside #BackyardIdeas #BackyardPlay #OutsidePlay #ParentingIdeas

A Gentle Reminder To Feed Your Soul

How are you feeding your soul this week, Mama? Is there a book that’s challenging you? Music that’s captured your heart? Scripture that sets your soul singing? A podcast that sheds light on an area you’re struggling through?

Motherhood, womanhood, is not for the faint of heart. It’s deep important work you’re doing, work that has eternal significance. Make sure you’re feeding your soul in preparation for the journey.

I try to steal a few minutes here and there throughout the day to feed my soul. In the early morning, it’s usually Scripture. Stolen moments in the afternoon are for picking up a book. (It’s almost never a full chapter—but little by little, reading happens). I fold laundry to an inspiring podcast, and sometimes, in the evenings while sitting in a dark room with littles, I read a book on my Kindle.

How do you feed your soul? What’s inspiring you this week? I love hearing suggestions for what to read or listen to!

#FeedYourSoul #MomTruth #IntentionalMotherhood #TheWorkOfMotherhood

Sunday Breakfast

We eat almost the same breakfast every Sunday. Scrambled eggs. Roasted potatoes. Baked goods leftover from Saturday’s baking.

Since we all know the Sunday morning plan, we’ve fallen into a comfortable routine. Mr. 8 gets up and cracks eggs. He cracks them one by one into a smaller bowl, then dumps this into a larger bowl with all the eggs. We’ve found that this cracking one at a time allows a child to crack eggs independently—and if there’s a big “oops” with tons of shells to clear lit, it’s only one egg that’s affected, not the whole batch. He then scrambles/mixes them and adds salt so that they are all ready for cooking.

Miss 5 gets out of bed and comes to the kitchen to chat while I cut potatoes. Then she helps me add olive oil and seasonings to the bowl, mixes them up and dumps them onto a baking tray. She’s learned to spread them out evenly so they cook well. Then she’ll set the table.

We’ve been doing the same breakfast for over 5 years. Various kids have helped out at various times, but the rhythm remains the same. At 8 o’clock we all gather to eat together. Then Dad heads off to church #PastorLife and the kids play a bit while I get myself and the baby ready. After this, I help with hair brushing and shirt buttoning for those who need it, and we all head to church together.

Rather than being rigid, I’ve found our Sunday morning routine to be incredibly free-ing. I don’t wake up and wonder what to cook—I get up knowing what we are doing. I bake a double batch of whatever treat i bake for Saturday morning, and we serve that alongside the eggs and potatoes. The protein and full meal keep our crew satisfied at church since Sunday lunch is always later. And the family breakfast is an opportunity to connect on an otherwise busy day.

Do you a meal that’s become part of your routine? I’d love to hear about it!

#SundayBreakfast #Routines #Rhythms #KidsInTheKitchen #MealPlanning #KidsCooking #LargeFamilyLogistics #DebtFreeLifestyle

Forge Your Own Path

Sometimes, Mama, you have to forgo the typical way of doing things and forge your own path.

Maybe that’s doing schoolwork outside (or up a tree).

Maybe it’s leaning on frozen food or paper plates instead of choosing between takeout and homemade.

Maybe it’s napping on a Sunday afternoon—or sleeping late on a Saturday morning.

Maybe it’s never using your dishwasher…or running it twice a day.

Maybe it’s playing outside in every single summer rain…or NOT playing on playgrounds.

Maybe it’s never buying from XYZ store…or buying all your clothes secondhand.

Maybe it’s listening to all “kid” music. Or NO “kid” music, ever.

Whatever you do that’s different than what society or social media tells you to do, but is working for your family, and helping you to be the Mama you’re called to be, keep doing it.

Forge your own path, Mama. In doing so, you’re teaching your little ones it’s ok for them to forge their own paths someday.

What’s something that you do that’s uniquely you?

#ForgeYourOwnPath #UniquelyYou #MomTruth #IntentionalParenting #SchoolOutside #SecondHand #DebtFree #1000HoursOutside #UrbanBackyard #UpATree #ReadInATree

Loving Others Doesn’t Have To Be Complicated

Who are you called to show love to this week, Mama?

Loving others doesn’t have to be complicated…but sometimes it does take a bit of extra planning. Do you need to add a couple items to your grocery list, to prep a meal or make cookies for a neighbor who could use it? Do you need to clear a bit of time in your schedule one afternoon to watch your friend’s kids who really really needs a break? Maybe you need to pick up stamps so that you can mail a birthday card to a senior, or an “I’m Thinking of You Card” to someone struggling with loneliness or grief.

Take some time today to do a bit of planning so that you can love others well this week. Arrange that play date with the other Mama who you never have time to talk to. Send flowers to your great aunt, surprise your husband with his favorite meal, or send your kid’s teacher a gift card to get coffee. It doesn’t have to be complicated; but sometimes it does need to be planned.

Who are you going to show love to this week?

#ShowLove

#Neighbors

#RadicalGenerosity

#PlanAhead

#IntentionalMotherhood

#LivedOutFaith

#MomTruth

#LoveYourNeighbor

Stop Watching & Start Living

Sometimes we spend so much time looking at what others are doing that we never get to the “living” ourselves.

How’s your week going, Mama? Are you living the life you’re called to, or are you watching others live theirs while you scroll and wish things were different?

Here’s a gentle nudge to start living this week. Put down the phone and pick up a broom or vacuum. Turn off the tv and turn on the washing machine or dishwasher. Mute the podcast and tune in to your kids voices.

Take out that book you’ve been meaning to read, or sit in silence and ask your Father what His priorities are for you this week. Close Facebook and open up the windows—or better yet, stand outside for 5 minutes and just stretch and breathe.

Life doesn’t happen in the watching—it happens in the living. Take one small step today to live more and watch less.

*Pic of our tiniest “watcher” who awoke from his nap to hear the voices of his siblings playing outside. He joined them shortly after this pic was snapped.

#MomTruth #IntentionalParenting #IntentionalMotherhood #Motherhood #RealLife #GetOutside #Vacuum #Dishwasher #WashingMachine #Priorities #Values #StartLiving

How We Celebrate Birthdays

How do you celebrate birthdays in your home, Mama?

As the years have gone by, we’ve gotten simpler and simpler in our celebrations, and I’ve come to really appreciate the rhythm we have now. And with 5 kids, it’s been good to keep it simple!

We start the day with a simple birthday breakfast, chosen by the birthday kid. Today, Mr. 8 chose walnut chocolate chip muffins. There’s always a special birthday prayer said at the table, and taper candles set the mood. The other kids usually decorate our tiny eating area with drawings or coloring pages wishing the birthday child a happy birthday.

After breakfast, we head to the living room where the siblings give the birthday boy (or girl!) cards or a small gift. One or two presents from Mama and Daddy follow, and then all the kids spends time playing together till lunch. Although they are still expected to complete their schoolwork for the day, most of them will choose to work ahead so that they can take the birthday “off” together. We always include something special in the afternoon, perhaps a birthday three marker challenge, a board game, or time spent outside together as a family.

The birthday child gets to choose dinner and dessert too! Mr. 8 requested a pancakes with two kinds of homemade fruit compotes/syrups (blueberry & strawberry), followed by an ice cream buffet with assorted candies, cookies and other toppings. We’ll sing “Happy Birthday” and blow out candles with dessert.

And then it’s time for baths, family devotions, stories and bed…but before bedtime, we have a “birthday book”—a beloved family storybook of a family coming together to celebrate a little boy’s birthday. We’ve read it every year for each child since our oldest was four or five; and it wouldn’t feel like a birthday to our kids without it.

And that’s our simple birthday celebration. How do you celebrate birthdays in your family? Are there any traditions or rhythms that you do year in and year out?

#Birthday ##BirthdayCelebration #8YearsOld

#BirthdayIdeas #Rhythms #Tradition #LargeFamilyLogistics #Breakfast #WhatsForDinner #Pancakes #IceCreamBuffet