What I’ve Been Reading – August 2018

Well….I had hoped to accomplish more, but I managed  books….and several of them were ones that were a bit outside of my usual reading genres. With Summer I always have lofty goals of what I’m actually going to finish, but life happens.

FAVORITE FICTION BOOK

I’ve actually read a lot of really good fiction books. I’ve been making a point of reading through some of the books I’ve collected from random places, and most of them were really good. My favorite though…that’s tough. I think Beneath a Scarlet Sky was my favorite. I’m a huge fan of WW2 historical fiction, particularly when it’s based on true events.

The thing I loved about Beneath a Scarlet Sky was the youth of the main character, the way he struggled with his idealism, his own personal expectations, and what the war was throwing at him and how he dealt with it; a very human character. It also helped knowing that they’re working on a movie with Tom Holland playing the main character.

The other part of Beneath a Scarlet Sky that I liked, but was more personal for me, is that my grandfather was in Italy for part of the war. There aren’t many books written about what the war was like in Italy or for the Italian people, so I enjoy finding out more about that.

FAVORITE NON-FICTION BOOK

At Home in the World by Tsh Oxenreider…hands down. I’ve loved all of Tsh’s books, but this one was very much on my heart. One of my biggest laments in life is that we don’t travel enough, and when we do, I get terribly homesick for my creature comforts. So much of what Tsh had to say in this book hit me hard. From her struggle with wanting to have a place to call home, but wanting to be out and experiencing new things…finding the balance between the two.

The other part of this that I loved was the it chronicled her family…that’s right…mom, dad, and 3 young kids traveling and experiencing the world. I would love to travel with my kids and have them experience other cultures and norms, but for us it’s just not in the cards. I can hope though that some day it will happen.

THE BOOK I DIDN’T LIKE

If you follow me on IG, you already know…Bridget Jones’ Diary…I HATED IT! I read through the first chapter and quit. I couldn’t handle how shallow the character was, the obsession with the eating, the drinking, the smoking. The movie is great, the book….I threw it in the garbage. I wasn’t even going to pass this one on to the little library boxes are Salvation Army…it’s just gone (the binding was also split on it, so I told myself it was ok to throw it out).

What have you been reading?

Keep up with what I’ve been reading on GoodReads or Instagram 

(I’ve notated books I’ve read for my book club * and F for Fiction, NF for Non-Fiction, and A if it was an audiobook).

*This post contains affiliate links. You can read my disclosure policy here.

Do Things Scared

There are some massive changes going on in our family this summer. While we’re all excited for them, I have to admit, I’m honestly terrified too. Us moms, we ultimately just want our kids to be happy, well adjusted people, who aren’t turds. I think that’s something we can all agree on. Of course the pathways there are numerous and everyone seems to have an opinion on “what is best”.

As of July 1st, I will be hanging up my hat as a homeschool mom. It’s kind of a struggle, I feel like I’m somehow losing my credentials as a mom. That by not homeschooling I’m giving up and taking a shortcut. 

I shared a few weeks ago about the possibility of our oldest four going to school in the fall. The decisions have been made and teacher assignments are in the mail. Avelyn will be going into second grade and Henry, James, and Ellie will be going to kindergarten.

Academically I think those are the right choices for them, my concern remains for the social aspect. My kids are going to be a full year to two years older than the kids in their grades. Ultimately, that’s not a big deal, because who cares how old you are when you graduate high school.

It’s more my concern that they will stick out. I’m also hoping that their maturity and age will set them apart from their classmates in a good way, that they will have the strength to do and say what is right, and not cave to the negatives of peer pressure.

So yea, I’m nervous. I’m scared. But I’m also hopeful and excited. I think it’s the right time.

People have also assumed that we’ve thrown in towel on homeschooling, we haven’t. It’s just not what is working for us right now. Maybe in a few years we will come back to homeschool, maybe we won’t. We have always said we will take it a year a time. I can’t predict or know what’s going to happen.

The other big change this summer is that the kids are going to overnight camp! It’s just for two nights, but still, that’s a HUGE deal in our house. Our church diocese has a camp they run all summer long. The kids were excited to try their beginner camp, so we will see how it goes.

I’m hoping and praying that it goes well; particularly since I have one child that does not do well with not being home, not that any of them are fantastic at being away. I’m just hoping I’m not making any midnight drives to pick kids up from 3 hours away.

So, yea…big changes for us. Good changes, but still scary. It’s a good thing my motto for the past year has been do it scared.

 

 

Peter Turns THREE!

*sob, sob, sob* yep…all the feels and tears on this one.

  • Weighing in at 33lbs
  • Standing tall (or short compared to his siblings) at 38.25″ (he’s my smallest of the kids)
  • He’s become a bit of a trouble maker: Does something and immediately screams that Henry did it.
  • He’s solidly in 3T now
  • Wearing a size 9 in shoes
  • Down to one nap a day and it’s a fight to get him to go down, but once he does…he sleeps for a few hours.
  • Can count to 12
  • Showing interest in writing his name and drawing
  •  Loves playing in water
  • He’s a HUGE fan of Rescue-bots and Paw Patrol, especially Chase in both shows.
  • Favorite books are We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, Flip Flop Fish, and Love is a Handful of Honey
  • Still loves his Goki and get’s very upset when someone takes it
  • He is a daddy’s boy through and through. He told me last night he doesn’t love me and doesn’t like when I tuck him in, that he wants daddy. Nice, right?

Mom’s Homemade Waffles

Growing up it was a special treat when we would have waffles for dinner, always with a pot of yummy soup! We didn’t have l’eggos or anything like that: It was always from scratch. {I honestly didn’t even know about l’eggo waffles until I was much older….I wasn’t impressed with them}.

While we don’t have them for dinner, I do, on occasion, make them for breakfast.
Ready?

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb (or 1 cup) Butter
  • 5 Eggs (separate whites and yolks)
  • 2 Cups of Sugar (this is rather a really sweet waffle…I usually only do a 1/2 cup of Sugar)
  • 6 Cups of Flour
  • 3 1/2 – 4 Cups of Milk
  • 1 tsp of Vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp of Baking Powder

Cream butter and sugar, add in 5 egg YOLKS. Mix until combined. Add in Vanilla.
Alternately add Flour and Milk, followed by Baking Powder.

In separate bowl, beat egg whites until they form soft peaks. Fold in with rest of batter. At this point you might need to add a bit more of the milk (if you only added 3 1/2 cups). You want it on the pourable, but not runny, side…kind of like a slightly thicker cake batter.

Use amount recommended by your waffle iron for each waffle, cook until golden brown. I have a waring pro and get about 15 waffles out of a batch of dough. They freeze really great though…I just place them on a cookie sheet, freeze, and then bag them once they’re hard. To heat them up I just put them in the toaster oven.

Easy, right? You honestly don’t even need to do the extra step with the eggs, it does make them a bit fluffier, but not noticeably so.

As for topping….use your imagination. My personal favorite is a bit of butter and some raspberry jam {heated up a bit, so it’s like a syrup….yummmmmm}

Homeschool in the White House

I shared a long time ago about how this past school year (2017-2018) was going to be the first year of homeschooling Avie and the triplets, but I never shared anything about it again. It’s been hard. This post hasn’t been an easy one to write, the words haven’t come together willing.

I knew going in that teaching the basics wasn’t going to be easy, not because I’m incapable or the kids are inept, but just because of personalities. And I was right.

We plowed through much of the school year, dealing with attitudes and personalities, trying to figure out how to approach things for each kid, because they all are different and learn different too. There were times when it was sweet perfection and times when there were tears, either me or the kids.

I love homeschooling, don’t get me wrong. I love it….in theory. Maybe it’s me, maybe it’s the kids, maybe it’s all of it together, but it was not working for us this past year.

One thing I do know is that I have always said

I will not sacrifice my motherhood on the altar of homeschooling.

I won’t do it.

My relationship with my children, as their mother, is far more important to me and our family, than whether I homeschool or send my kids to school.

In February, Avie expressed interest in going to school…then Jamie (Henry and Ellie were adamant about NOT going to school). We played with the idea, talked to the school. Right now we’re in the process of finding out where they will fit grade-wise and deciding whether or not to send them in the fall. Then the other day Henry and Ellie said they wanted to go to school.

There are parts of public schooling that are very appealing to us, and no, getting them out of my hair isn’t one of them. I really want my children to play instruments, I want them to be exposed to the arts. Honestly, we can’t afford piano lessons for all five. By the time we’ve checked off the boxes of what we HAVE to do, I have nothing left to give for the things I want to do (crafts, art, etc), and that part SUCKS!

As of right now we haven’t made an official decision yet regarding any of them. The school really feels strongly that James needs to go into Kindergarten and that Avelyn needs to repeat second grade, and I’m not sure I’m ok with that.

James will be 7 in December and while he’s not fluent with his letters, I’m concerned that he’s going to be bored and frustrated surrounded by 4 and 5 year olds (not to mention that he’s going to stick out like a sore thumb with his speech issues, glasses, and being a full head taller than any kid his age). I  truly do believe that he will rise to the occasion if he’s placed in 1st grade, as will Avelyn.

As for Henry and Ellie, I really don’t think there’s any convincing I could do on the school’s part to enroll them in first grade. They’re smart, but they’re just not there with their letters.

Needless to say, I’m struggling. Struggling with feeling as though I’ve failed them, that they’re behind, that this was my fault and my selfishness of wanting to homeschool, that my “little experiment” resulted in their being behind their peers academically. Then the other part of me is “screw it”; we did what was right for our family at that time, I don’t regret for one second having them home with me.

What is the rush of getting them into school?! Why? So they can be in the workforce or college a year earlier? I want my kids to LOVE learning, not be “educated”. We all have our opinions on curriculum, common core, and socialist education (no child left behind etc). Traditional schooling is NOT for everyone, not every kid flourishes in it, and the same is for homeschooling. And I refuse to be made to feel that I’ve done wrong by attempting this year of homeschooling.

And none of this is to say that we will never homeschool again. I really do feel that for our family homeschooling is the right choice. I truly feel that if we do send the kids to public school that it will be for a season, maybe not for all of them, but for some of them. Maybe once they’ve had the “experience” and have the basics under the belts, we will all be home again. I don’t know, but I know that I’m ok with whichever way we decide.

I’m sure this won’t be the last time I write on this, because this is a huge thing in our family right now. None of it’s easy.