Galette des Rois

Galette des Rois
Many of you saw my story and asked for this simple, delicious recipe.  You can print it here.  

Our family usually has this for Epiphany, but it is delicious any time of year! 

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3 Reasons to Ditch that Curriculum

3 Reasons to Ditch that Curriculum

Let’s face it, no one is learning if child and/or teacher are miserable. While it can be hard to toss aside plans, here’s your permission slip to do so.

  1. I get it. You invested good money into those books and materials. But what if I told you that you can recoup most, if not all of that cost? There are plenty of places to resell curricula. Social media has options, as well as homeschool conventions. You may be part of a co-op that allows it. Maybe your church will allow you to start a used book sale once or twice a year? Think outside the box. ALSO, remember that children within the same family learn very differently. If you have physical space and financial room, I would encourage you to hang onto that stuff in case a younger sibling falls in love with it.
  2. What if you no longer had to argue with your child to get them to do their work? What if it actually gave you more freedom during the day? Bringing PEACE and JOY to your home. Wouldn’t that encourage your child to pursue other things they are interested in learning? And you would have more time to recharge/have fun/focus on marriage.
  3. You’ll gain confidence, and your child will learn a valuable lesson - their educational and emotional needs come first. And I don’t mean in a “you get whatever you want kind of way.” It’s that you listened to their concerns. At the end of the day, there are times when they are still going to have to do school work they don’t want because you, as the adult, understand the value in it. But by getting rid of a program that is not valuing that particular child, you are instilling something much more important than book learning. And that is a positive character trait they will carry for their entire lives.

Want some more details of how it worked for my family?  I've got you covered.

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Use the Cloth Napkins and Good China

Use the Cloth Napkins and Good China

My great-grandmother used to always say “Use the good china.”

As I was folding napkins after the Christmas meal, I mentally added “and the cloth napkins, too.”  The thought came to me because they were sitting in a stack at my youngest child’s place at the table. 

At that moment, my heart became filled with two incredibly strong feelings.  The first was tied to a memory of my eldest child as a toddler at Christmas and how I set her little high chair with a water goblet, a silver fork, a small plate from my wedding china, and yes, a cloth napkin.  Her eyes grew so big and a smile lit up her face to have special things just like the adults did.  And I could feel the family story of my great-grandmother saying “Use the good china.”

You see, too often we don’t trust our children with the things we should, yet we hand them responsibilities for which they aren’t ready.  Could my child have broken something?  Yep, and we would have rolled with it.  But you know what?  She never broke any of it, and neither have either of her younger siblings.  Now the adults are a whole other matter! #multiplewineglassesdown 

Of course, the real moral to my great-grandmother’s saying was that the people around us are what is special, not the objects.  Don’t save things to use once per year; instead, use them regularly to celebrate your loved ones.  After all, aren’t we constantly being reminded that tomorrow isn’t guaranteed?   

So shake things up and make the signature Thanksgiving side in June.  Sing your grandfather’s favorite song whenever the mood strikes, rather than only on his birthday.  Share memories of favorite people all year long, not just at weddings and funerals.   

And break out the good china to celebrate with those you love. 

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5 Tips to Keep Boy Scouts Fun For Moms

5 Tips to Keep Boy Scouts Fun For Moms
On the eve of our son becoming an Eagle Scout, it seemed appropriate to revisit these tips. 

So your son has decided he wants to be a Boy Scout, and you are thrilled because you know he will gain life-long skills. Plus, plenty of dads will sign up for the adult roles, right? Wrong (or at least, not enough) in my experience.

My story actually started back in Cub Scouts when our son was a Tiger, and not a single dad was willing or able to be den leader. My own husband was working three jobs at the time, so I stepped into the role … which started a 5 year career of over-volunteering in Cub Scouts.

When our guy crossed over to Boy Scouts, I tried to lie low and stay out of leadership. It didn’t take long for someone to track me down for a task, so let me share what I’ve learned over the years to keep things fun.

1.  Make sure your son actually wants to be in Boy Scouts. I know, this seems like a no-brainer, but I see it all the time: parents want their son in Scouts, and the kid has no interest being there. Or maybe he loved the early years but doesn’t want to put in the work to be Eagle … and that’s okay. If you are having to nag your child to attend Scouting events or finish merit badge requirements, it is going to be miserable for both of you. Bow out gracefully.

2. Teach them to care for their own equipment. Seriously, don’t clean their camping/cooking/hiking gear for them. Instruct them on how to do it, but LET THEM DO IT. Trust me, one time of leaving food crumbs in the bottom of their tent will teach them to do better the next time. Plus, if you are doing their chores for them, they aren’t real Boy Scouts.

3 .Learn to say no (within reason.)  While the Boy Scouts of America is Scout led, they cannot function without adult volunteers. You will be asked to give some of your time, and you should say yes where you can. Don’t do like I did and overburden yourself. As with so many organizations, most Troops have a few adults covering all positions, and that isn’t setting a good example for the youth. Offer to be the Point of Contact for one outing or a driver for three trips. If you want to take on a leadership role, by all means do so. The point here is you need to help with at least a minor role, but don’t take on so much you become bitter about Scouting.

4. Go to an Eagle Court of Honor.  I know, that may not sound like fun, but once you’ve been to one, you’ll see what I mean. I go to every ceremony I can, and I’ve even been asked to participate in a few. Why do I recommend this? Well, especially for mommas, seeing how hard these other youth have worked and hearing the kind words people speak about them will warm your heart. Even if your own Scout doesn’t want to go all the way to Eagle, experiencing a Court of Honor will warm your heart.

5. Ask your son what he enjoys most about Scouting, and then ask him to teach you.  You’ll be amazed at how his joy is infectious, and watching him become the instructor will show you how much he is growing. When my son shows me a new skill, it helps to remind me why I wanted him to join Boy Scouts in the first place. An even better experience is watching him share his knowledge with younger Scouts. No matter what the rank, your son will have learned skills to carry with him throughout life.

All in all, my biggest tip is to let your son take the lead with how large or small a part Scouting will play in his life. As is usually the case, if your child is enjoying the learning process, mommas will be able to have fun, too.

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Simple Detox Bath

Simple Detox Bath

This is one of my favorite mom hacks.  Simple to use, fantastic results.

What you'll need:
1 cup Epsom salts
1 cup baking soda
1 cup hydrogen peroxide
Essential oils are optional, but I highly recommend them!  If you don't want to use them in the bath or foot soak, you can always use them after.

Simply combine in warm water and soak for 20 minutes.

Why do we use detox baths?
skin issues
respiratory stuff
elevated temperatures
simply feeling icky
when in doubt!

The benefit of these ingredients is amazing.  For an adult, I usually double the recipe.
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