Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Current Events & Preparing Our Children for an Anti-Christian Culture

The ongoing battle of worldviews being waged in this country is intensifying every day. North Carolina is in the thick of it, with the opponents of HB2 launching heavy artillery aimed at the state economy, in hopes of forcing our government leaders ( who were elected by the people, btw, so this attack is on the democratic process!) to align with the new "progressive movement.

Similar things are happening all over the country. Yesterday, the Michigan Board of Education passed "guidelines" (tied to funding, so we know what that means) saying that all schools must allow students to self-identify their gender. Last week, Massachusetts (my home state) became the latest state to approve protected class status for transgender persons, and, according to the Gender Identity Guidance report by the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, CHURCHES can be considered places of public accommodation and subjected to fines and penalties for not accommodating transgender persons in accordance with their gender identity. Similar wording was issued by a commission in Iowa earlier this summer.
U.S. Civil Rights Commission chairman Martin Castro has lashed out at "religious liberty and religious freedom, calling them “code words" for a host of hateful and discriminatory actions including “Christian supremacy or any form of intolerance.” " [World Magazine, "Churches in the ‘civil rights’ crosshairs", 9/13/16]

What is your worldview? What and who influences your beliefs about right and wrong, good and evil, truth and lies? What are the assumptions ( truth claims ) that determine your opinions and actions? Do your actions line up with what you claim you believe?
Is God real?
What is my purpose in being?
Why is there suffering and what is the solution?
What is truth?
Is truth relative, or is there such a thing as absolute truth - something that is true for everyone?

There was a time, not so long ago, when

Some resources I have used with my teens that you might want to investigate:
*The Truth Project (Focus on the Family)
*For the Life of the World (The Acton Institute)

With younger kids, ground them in God's Word, talk about what it means to follow Jesus and how sometimes that's a hard thing to do. Study the book of Daniel. Set a godly example, demonstrating God's love and compassion while also standing up for truth. Teach them to be compassionate. Read biographies of heroes of the faith, who faced hardship, disappointment, calamity, and all manner of challenges with hope, courage, perseverance, fortitude.

Ephesians 6:10-18 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.

Friday, August 26, 2016

My Baby's Not a Baby Anymore : Turning 18

Last weekend was my baby's 18th birthday.

Shake my head.

My husband, daughter, and I threw him a surprise birthday cook-out at camp, with about 40 of his and our friends. He was surprised!  Which is often a challenge!  It was hot & humid, but still fun! I was too busy to take pictures. 

He is awesome. Amazing. Handsome. Funny. Affectionate.  Competitive. Forgetful. Unorganized. Wonderful.

I use similar adjectives to describe all five of my kids.  I adore them all.

Happy Birthday, Baby Boy.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Our Last First Day of School

Reality is setting in, as we embark on my youngest child's senior year of high school.  As much as I said I wouldn't do this, I am marking the "lasts".   Monday was the last first day of school for our homeschool, Cornerstone Academy.  My husband was the one who said it to my face, as I frantically stuck my fingers in my ears, chanting "La la la la la!  I can't hear you!"

"I don't want to make you sad, but do you realize that this is our last "first day of school" ever?"

Oh honey.  Do I realize?  I've been doing nothing but realizing... I've been shoving those realizations down and trying to stuff them back into the box of denial for at least a year.  I've been gazing at my 6'2" baby and blinking back tears.  I've been swallowing around a bowling ball lodged in my throat while sitting in an empty house all summer while he and his sister have worked overnight summer camp, because I know this will be my new normal all too soon.  I have helped my second youngest move into her first post-college apartment, smiling as my insides crumble, because her bed and wall decorations and clothes and stuff are gone from her bedroom now.  The girls' room isn't the girls' room any more - although it will forever be the girls' room.  I have nearly broken down in the grocery store, realizing that a gallon of milk is too much to buy, and reaching for the 1/2 gallon instead. I feel like a crazy person.
Oh honey.  I realize.

I belong to the "school starts after Labor Day" crowd, but the local community college does not. So Jason started his 3 community college classes this week, and I'm still pulling together my plans for his other classes, that will start when they are supposed to start - after Labor Day.  He is taking Writing, Statistics and Spanish at the C.C., so this week he was up and out of the house by 8:30am every morning. This is a big adjustment for the boy who likes to sleep until 11:00am!  I only had to rouse him one of those mornings, when he apparently slept through his alarm.  Not too bad.
I have helped him figure out the online aspect of his classes, which use Moodle and MyStatLab and  Composition Connection for submitting homework, class announcements, etc.  Such a different world from even when my  oldest started college!  I've stroooongly suggested that he use an actual, hold-it-in-your-hand, paper weekly planner to mark down all his homework deadlines, quiz and test dates, project deadlines, etc., since he is a person who NEEDS visual reminders.  I think I'm going to have to go out and buy that planner today and put it into his hands and sit down with him as he fills it in.   He may be turning 18 tomorrow and nearly a grown up and about to fly the coop, but I still have a job to do, and that is to help him gather the tools to be successful when he DOES leave home.  Yes, I still have this job... for a few more months.

It's a whole new world. There is a lot of "letting go" happening around here.  I can see that this is a process and am grateful that the Lord has given me friends and a homeschool community to walk through this with.  Several moms in our homeschool support group have formed an "Empty Nest Survival" group on Facebook, to give us a place  to commiserate and support one another, knowing we are all going through something similar.  My husband is being supportive, he really is, but I can tell he is a bit bewildered by the intensity of my emotions.  He doesn't quite know what to do when I say, "I am NOT okay right now!"   My girlfriends know that I need chocolate and a bottle of wine and a chance to talk it out and possibly even a good cry.

I know God will be revealing the next thing for me, as this year goes on. But I will still be marking the "lasts" and grieving a season of motherhood that is ending, while looking forward to new good things ahead.

*** this post as well as others are linked at  Weekly Wrap Ups at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Jesus Feeds the 5000 for Homeschool Moms

Have you ever found yourself reading a very familiar passage, a well-known story in the Bible, and suddenly God illuminates the page!  Suddenly the words take on a whole new meaning, even though you've read them a dozen times before! 

In all 4 Gospels -  Matthew 14:13-21;  Mark 6:30-44;  Luke 9:10-17; John  6: 1-15   - we find the story of Jesus feeding the 5000.

This is a story for you,  homeschool moms!

Matthew 14:13-21

Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. 14 When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. 15 Now when it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” 16 But Jesus said, “They need not go away; iyou give them something to eat.” 17 They said to him, “We have only five loaves here and two fish.” 18 And he said, “Bring them here to me.” 19 Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass, and taking the five loaves and the two fish, looked up to heaven and said a blessing. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. 20 And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. 21 And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.

So, I imagine it going something like this:

[Disciples}  Hi... Jesus. Ummmm. I don't know if you've noticed but { tapping watch )  it's getting kind of late.  It's been a long day;  I think it's time to tell  these people to go back home for dinner. I know we're getting kind of hungry and could use a little rest....

[ Jesus ]  No, they don't have to go home.  You feed them.

[ Disciple ]  What?

[ Jesus ]  You do it.  You feed them.

[ Disciple ]  With what?!  There have to be at least 5000 men here, never mind all the women and children with them!  We don't have anything to feed them with!  It would take ,  I don't know....  8 months wages to buy enough food for all these people.   I mean,  we have ... like 1, 2, 3, ... 4, 5,  loaves of bread and a couple of fish!

[Jesus]   Bring that here to me.

[ Disciple ]   What?

[ Jesus ]   Bring me that little bit of food you have there. 

                        Jesus gives thanks and blesses the food.

[ Jesus]  Okay, here, now take it and feed them.

[ Disciple ]  What? 
But... but.... how?  There is still only 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish.... and all those people look really hungry!   I don't understand. This is just an IMPOSSIBLE thing you are asking us to do!

[ Jesus ]   Trust Me.

Verse 20  : They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.

Now, we are going to change the characters a little.

[ Mom ]  You know, this has been great. But she's school-age now sooooo..... it's time to send her off to school.  I'll miss the little booger, but... well, she'll be fine.  Right?  I'm sure the teachers are great and she'll make lots of friends and....

[ Jesus ]   Don't send her away.  You do it.

[ Mom ]  Wait.  What?

[Jesus ]  Keep her home with you and homeschool her.

[ Mom]  Hahaha!  Me?  I don't know how to do that.   I'm not patient enough for that.... or smart enough... or creative enough.  Never mind that we don't have a lot of money and I was thinking of going back to my old job...   no. really.  There's no way.  I'm not equipped for that.

[ Jesus ]  Bring me what you have.

[ Mom] what?

[Jesus]  I know all those things about you.   Bring me the little that you have.

                                   Jesus gives thanks and blesses her.

[Jesus]  Okay, now you're ready.

[ Mom]   But nothing has changed!  I'm still unorganized, stretched thin, tired, poor.... how will this work?  Where do I get curriculum?  How do I know what to teach?  What if I ruin my kids?  What will my mother say?

[Jesus]  Trust me.    
Take a deep breath.   
Take baby steps.  
I have placed helpers around you.   
You have more resources at your disposal than you even know.   
This isn't about how much you are bringing to the table, but about how I can bless and multiply what you have when you give it to me and TRUST ME.... and then step out in faith.  We'll do this together .... side by side.

Do you know what my favorite part of that story is?  The 12 basketfuls of broken pieces gathered up at the end.  

Jesus didn't just provide enough.  He didn't JUST satisfy.  He provided ABUNDANTLY.  MORE THAN ENOUGH.   MORE THAN THEY COULD EVER ASK OR IMAGINE!

The people were well-fed.  Your children will be well-educated, in line with the unique gifts and abilities God has placed in them. 

Jesus cared about the hungry people, and he cares about your children.  But think about this.  He could have said to the disciples, "Sit back and watch what I can do!" and just had the food appear.  But instead he said, "You do it", and he handed the food TO the disciples and THEY gave it to the people.  Why?   Because the real blessing was as much for them as for the hungry people.   The people really had no idea that there was so little food to begin with...but the disciples...
No, they didn't just WITNESS a miracle,  they TOOK PART in a miracle.  God used them and the little bit of lunch they had, and made a feast for thousands and thousands of people!  

Just as he can use you and the little bit of knowledge, organization skills, patience, desire, time, money, space that you have and multiply it in ways you cannot imagine. 

Prayer -   Father, thank you for your Word, which shows us so clearly that you are ready and able to provide ABUNDANTLY for our children, for our families, if we will just set aside fear, set aside disbelief and uncertainty, give thanks for what we DO have, and  trust you.  We are thankful for the freedom that we have to homeschool. We are thankful for the freedom that we have to read your Word and pray together and encourage one another. We are thankful for the families you have blessed us with, for the friends you have placed in our lives, for the abundance of resources all around us, for the many good gifts we enjoy each and every day.  We pray in the name of Jesus our Savior.  Amen

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Learning to Be a Trim Healthy Mama

I have long had an interest in health and nutrition, and trying to make heads or tails out of the mountains of information out there, some of which contradicts or just doesn't make sense, is no easy feat. I recently heard a friend talking about Trim Healthy Mama, directing me to the huge Facebook community dedicated to the lifestyle promoted by the book written by sisters Pearl Barrett and Serene Allison. Their philosophy of eating struck a chord with me, as it seems to incorporate much that I've been reading for years. So I bought the book and cookbook and took it on vacation with me, to start the process of learning and incorporating this new lifestyle of healthy food freedom.


I am still getting the hang of it, and find myself staying "on plan" about 80% of the time. I feel better - less puffy, less achy. I've lost about 10 lbs, but have stalled there for about 8 weeks; it seems that some people experience stalls like this, either because the body is healing and adjusting, or because certain foods, like dairy or collagen, are causing the body to hold on to weight.  I'm hoping to get the metabolism revved and the scale moving downward again soon, though.

One thing I know about myself is that if I don't take the time to write up a meal plan for the week, I will not be successful.  So I'm going to try to post my meal plan each week, along with some of the recipes I most enjoy.  Part of this plan is eating every 3- 3 1/2  hours, so snacks are planned in as well.

MONDAY:  7/4
B.  Egg mufflets (S - egg, shredded cheese, sausage, onion, pepper) ;  Shrinker (FP -oolong tea,  cinnamon, cayenne, unsweetened almond milk, Stevia sweetener)

L.  Chicken avocado salad, tomato and spinach in a low-carb pita (S)

S.  banana oat bread  (E)

D. Mexican Casserole (S - low carb tortillas, ground turkey, jar salsa, shredded cheddar); Salad w/ oil & vinegar dressing

S.  air-popped popcorn; Bai drink  (bring to Fireworks!)

TUESDAY:   7/5  cook breakfast at camp
B. Oatmeal w/ cinnamon, stevia, chopped fresh peach, unsweetened almond milk, collagen (E)

L.  Chef salad w/ olive oil & vinegar dressing (FP)

S.  pear, 1/2 c. plain Greek yogurt w/ stevia  (E) ; Shrinker

D. Baked Pesto Chicken (S) , steamed broccoli, salad

S.  Peanut butter yogurt w/ Lilly's chocolate chips

B.  Egg mufflets (S) , Shrinker (FP)

L. Cauliflower Crust Calzones (S)

S. Fat -Strippin' Frappa (FP)

D.  Taco Salad ( E - romaine, ground turkey, salsa, red pepper, onion, black beans, corn, blue corn tortilla chips,  lime juice, salt & pepper)

S.  pear

B. Oatmeal w/ peaches (E - oatmeal, chopped peaches, unsweetened almond milk, cinnamon, chia seeds, collage powder, stevia)

L.  deli turkey roll ups; Wasa crackers, Laughing Cow cheese; cantaloupe  (E)

S. Choco Secret Big Boy smoothie (secret ingredient - okra!!)

D.  Chicken Lettuce Wraps w/ Spicy Peanut Sauce  (S)

S. Zucchini Brownie w/ Cream Cheese Whip

FRIDAY:  7/8
B. Egg Mufflets (S)

L. Chef Salad (FP)

S.  Strawberry Cheesecake Shake

D.  Turkey Burgers w/ mushrooms, onions , peppers;  broccoli;  Crashed Sweet Potato (E)

S.  air-popped popcorn

SATURDAY  7/9   homeschool leaders meeting from 8am - 2pm
B. Cantaloupe and cottage cheese; (E)

L. Pot luck - bring Cheeseburger Pie (S)

S.  Fat-Strippin' Frappa

D.  Chicken Parmesan Bake (S) ;  antipasto salad, 

S.  Zucchini Brownie w/ Cream Cheese Whip

 SUNDAY  7/10
B.  oat pancakes w/ s-f blueberry syrup;  cantaloupe

L.  leftovers

S.  pear

D.  Crackslaw w/ brown rice; steamed broccoli

S.  Triple 0 Yogurt w/ coconut, Lilly's choc., and chopped almonds

Homeschool Vlog

I found a YouTube channel that I wanted to share. It is called The Encouraging Homeschool Mom (the name alone makes you feel welcome and encouraged, doesn't it?) and it is a vlog(video blog) by a mama of 7 who shares homeschool life, meal planning and recipes, household management tips, family travel, and more. I have enjoyed the bits I've watched so far. Enjoy!

Have you found a vlog that you really like?

Friday, July 1, 2016


I cannot believe it is July 1st! The summer is flying by - WHOOSH! My house doesn't look any cleaner either, so I better step up my game! No kids are home, since both Jason and Amanda are overnight camp staff at New Life Camp again this summer, so my only distractions are self-made. Unfortunately, I'm easily distracted.

I have been doing a lot of cupcake baking these past couple of weeks, providing cupcakes for 2 weddings and a rehearsal dinner. When you have grown children, there are lots of weddings among their friends. It takes mes 2-4 days of prepping, baking and frosting for each event, so that has kept me busy.  

Salty Sweet, Chocolate Chip Cannoli, Southern Peach, Red Velvet Cheesecake

Strawberry Cream, Red Velvet Cheesecake , Southern Peach, Chocolate Chip Cannoli, S'mores

 Tuxedo, S'mores, Chocolate Cheesecake
Carrot Cake, Chocolate Cheesecake, Strawberry Lemonade, S'mores, White Chocolate Raspberry, Tuxedo

White Chocolate Raspberry, Strawberry Lemonade, Carrot Cake

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Marriage Focus: Weekend Away

My husband and I were able to get away for a long weekend recently. It is one of those things I wish we'd done more of when our children were younger. Money and childcare were definite obstacles. But even if you can't go away together, it is so important to find time to focus on being friends and lovers, not just parents, housemates, etc.  The marriage relationship needs to be nurtured in order for it to thrive, and since it is the foundation of your home and your family, it deserves priority over other activities in your life.

Mark took a day and a half of vacation, and we left on Thursday afternoon, headed 4 1/2 hours west to Asheville, NC.  We both love the mountains and our oldest son lives there.  My travel-savvy daughter suggested we try Airbnb instead of our normal Hampton Inn or Holiday Inn,  and although Mark was skeptical, I went ahead and booked us a place in Swannanoa, between Asheville and Black Mountain. Airbnb is an online marketplace where people list homes, apartments, or rooms to rent to travelers coming to their city.  We were able to rent a lovely "in-law" apartment with a full kitchen, living room, bedroom and bathroom in a home on a peaceful, quiet, and beautifully landscaped country lot. The owners have renovated their home into a "duplex", and they live on one side and rent out the other side when their grown children are not visiting. The cost was less than an average hotel room, with much more comfort and convenience!

Jade Tree Place

view from the front porch 

We spent Friday at the Biltmore Estate, America's largest privately-owned home, built by George Vanderbilt II in the 1890's.  Sitting on over 8000 acres of beautiful gardens, meadows, and woodlands, the gorgeous Gilded Age limestone mansion was modeled after French Renaissance chateaus,  with steeply pitched roofs, turrets, and much sculptural ornamentation, complete with gargoyles.  The home has 250 rooms, including 45 bathrooms,  33 bedrooms, a bowling alley, a 70,000-gallon swimming pool, 4 kitchens, and a gorgeous banquet hall,  flanked by a triple fireplace at one end and an impressive pipe organ up in a raised gallery at the other end.  Tours through the house are self-guided, and audio headsets are available for a fee.  We did that once, and learned a great deal of fascinating information about the construction of the estate,  the Vanderbilt family, the lifestyle of the very rich at the turn of the 1900s, the workings of a large estate home, and much more.  This time we just wandered through, admiring the furnishings and architecture.  There was a exhibit going on, of wedding fashion featuring costumes from iconic movies such as Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Out of Africa, and more.  The house was decorated with gorgeous floral arrangements to go along with the wedding theme as well. 

This type of day is really my "thing", and not so much my husband's.  My right-brainy self loves history, architecture, art, gardens, romance... all that wandering through a gilded castle in the lush Blue Ridge mountains on a perfect June day invokes.  My engineer, left-brained, very practical husband is not much impressed with all that,  BUT this outing was his idea, and he participated gladly,  noticing many of the details and early uses of technology - electricity, indoor plumbing, etc.   And he knew that visiting this place makes ME happy.   I appreciate the effort, because more often than not, we wrangle over what to do together, trying to find things we BOTH would choose, instead of deferring to and enjoying what the other person prefers for a time.  It feels good to know that my man spent a day doing something I enjoy, simply because he wanted me to enjoy it.  

On Saturday, we spent the morning walking through lovely downtown Black Mountain, exploring some of the crafty shops ~  well, me exploring the shops while Mark sat on a bench outside;  he can only tolerate so much, after all.  Then we met up with our son, Alex, and drove to Chimney Rock State Park. This is the kind of thing we did a lot of in our younger, camping years with our family. But Mark and I are both out-of-hiking-shape.  Still, we pushed ourselves up the 500 very-structurally-sturdy steps from the parking area to the top of Chimney Rock and were rewarded with amazing views.  I struggled a bit more than my hubby, but the boys were patient to wait for me when I needed to pause for a breather on the way up, and down, and again on the 1.5 mile trek to the waterfall that we somehow thought was a good idea.   I did it though, although my back hasn't been quite the same since.  I probably need to do a little physical training ahead of time before I attempt something like that again.  I really feel pathetic even saying that, but age and relative inactivity means I'm not as sprightly as I once was. 

It was a fun trip.  Not perfect, because we are imperfect. We fussed a bit too much over trivial things, but we enjoyed exploring some new places, spending a day with our first-born, and just spending time together away from the pulls and routines of being at home.

See more Weekly Wrap Ups at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

Monday, June 6, 2016

Why I Take a Long Summer Vacation...

... a.k.a  why I don't do year-round schooling..... a.k.a. Mama needs a break!

Homeschooling looks different for each family.  Some are early risers, some sleep in.  Some are textbook fans, some prefer "living books".   Some keep a strict daily and weekly schedule, some ... don't.

Some families follow a year-round schedule, and others love their summer break!  I fall in the latter category.

Perhaps it is because I am the daughter of two public school teachers, but I grew up with a deep appreciation for summer vacation.  In case any other summer lovers are feeling pressure to keep at the books during the sultry months, here are some of my reasons for taking a summer break. 

1.  Break from the routine: When my kids were younger, our school-year schedule was full of piano lessons, band practice, sports practices, field trips,  Co-op days,  enrichment classes, volunteer work, clubs, etc. etc.  All that was suspended for the summer months, and our schedule was our own!  We would go to the lake or the pool,  turn on the sprinkler in the yard, watch movies,  have play dates with friends,  do craft projects, play board games, build forts,  and just be free to relax.  I would usually make myself a calendar with an idea for each day, and  a poster with a list of "possibilities" for when the kids needed suggestions.  A few times I tried doing "school work" during the summer, but that never stuck, and honestly, I never worried about  "losing ground" over the summer.   We still read books; we still played educational games, we still went interesting places, we still learned something each day... how could we not? But it was different kinds of learning than what we focused on the rest of the year.   If we had to review some math at the start of the new "school year", that was no big deal to me.

2.  Visiting faraway family: Every summer we spent a week or two or three with the grandparents in Massachusetts, building family relationships and making memories. Some of my kids' favorite summer memories are of visits to Grammy and Grampa's antique-filled house with the big grassy yard, badminton net, and tire swing.   Special time was spent with cousins and neighbor kids.  Family traditions included going to see a movie at the Drive-In;  going to Dunkin Donuts with dad every morning;  visits to Southwick's Zoo and taking the train to Boston;  visiting Aunt Chris's cafe in Putnam; dinner at Wright's Chicken Farm; sleeping out on the screened porch;  sewing with Grammy and listening to Grandpa's stories.   Although we live hundreds of miles apart, these summer visits created strong bonds between the generations.

3. Summer Camps:  Summer camp was not part of my youth, but it has been a huge part of my children's growing up years!  The older boys enjoyed a week at Boy Scout Camp, usually with Dad, for many summers.  Basketball camp, Runners Camp,  Science Camp, Worldview Academy .... lots of specialized learning of all different kinds.  From age 8 on up through high school, my kids have spent a week every summer at New Life Camp.  From age 13 on, they also spent several weeks volunteering there as CITs, and eventually got summer jobs as counselors, program staff, lifeguard,
First Aid provider.  Leadership skills and a servant's heart, spiritual growth and maturity, mentors, best friends, and even a spouse have come from the time spent at this camp.

4. Family Camping: I grew up camping with my family during the summers, and continued doing that with my children.   We aren't rustic, back-country hikers, but enjoy a nice family campground with running water, flush toilets, and showers;  a playground and/or swimming pool /lake/mountain stream were nice bonuses!  Some camping trips were just lazy weekends swimming and fishing at a lake;  some involved exploring national parks or historic sites.  Some trips were nudged to the spring or fall months, since sleeping outside with no air-conditioning, in the South, during the summer,  requires a strong constitution! We camped with a big tent for many years, but upgraded to a pop-up camper the summer that we took a cross-country trip.  When we camped, each member of the family had certain responsibilities during set up, mealtimes, fire starting, break down, etc;  there was lots of family bonding and fun adventures and memory-making!

5. Cleaning/Organizing/School planning:  I am undeniably a "casual" housekeeper, and organization is not my strong suit, so things tend to "stack up" when life is super busy.  Summer break gives me a chance to find my bedroom floor, reorganize the school bins and bookshelves, sort through the piles of paper, clean out the closets, and study catalogs and websites as I plan for the coming school year.  Then throughout the year I can manage with occasional "Home/School Organization" days to keep things from getting too out of hand.

Enjoy your summer, whatever you have planned!

Find more Weekly Wrap-Ups at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers  HERE

Weekly Wrap-Up