Where we’ve been

I have to tell you, I’m very glad that summer is almost over. It’s been great and all, but I’m ready to slip into a cozy sweater and curl up under a quilt. And soup! Bring on all the soup.

With fall approaching so quickly, I thought it might be good to do a little personal check-in. Summer has been a care-free ride, and that’s wonderful. But it also means I haven’t been here as often, so I’m a little out of sync. So let’s all get on the same page,–what have we been up to lately?

flowers

+ I’ve been researching essential oils again. I think I’ve finally come up with something of a plan for moving forward. *self high five* But still–hit me up with all your favorite resources! I like to learn.

+ We are splitting a whole hog with C’s parents–it’s currently at the butcher’s and will be ready any day now. But our chest freezer in the basement is full. So we went to Menards to pick up a second one, intending to grab a cheap 7-cubic-foot chest freezer to give us a little extra space for the pig. An hour later, we walked out the new owners of a huge upright freezer instead. Whoops. The bright side, however, is that we now have a ton of space, and I’m totally going to start stashing homemade egg noodles for soups. #yum

matos

+ Our tomato crop has been disappointing this summer (though it does seem to finally be producing something, rather late in the season). So we went to the farmer’s market and bought tomatoes for canning. #Boo. Still, at least our pantry is stocked for another year. And if our plants do decide to have a late summer party, we’ll be able to dedicate it all to salsa and marinara making.

+ C just got home from a week-long hiking trip he took with a few friends in Colorado. Little Rabbit and I missed him lots, and it’s so great to have him home again. I tell ya, there’s no way I would survive as a single parent! Having a partner is such a blessing, and that was really underlined for me this past week.

+ Now that C’s trip is past tense, we can start looking forward to the trip we’re taking (back to the mountains) with C’s family in October. We haven’t been to the mountains in a couple of years (sniff), so I’m beyond excited. Crisp mountain air, a week lazing about in a cabin, a trip to the Christmas shop in Estes… bring. it. on.

doll

+ I’ve been bit by the thrifting bug this month. It’s just so fun to find unexpected treasures that are truly one-of-a-kind. And it’s a lot less expensive to take a trip to the thrift store than to take one to Target, so there’s that. Plus, I’m now the owner of a little family of brass swans and an old fashioned nesting doll. Winning? I think yes.

+ While C was gone, I was in charge of the garden. Meaning I spent hours on my knees trying to kill all the squash bugs that chose that particular time to stage a takeover. #yuck I think I finally gained the upper hand, but let me tell you: fighting bugs is a pain. And majorly gross.

What have you been up to lately? What do you have planned for the next couple of months?

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Challenge #28 [August 18-24]

challenge titleChallenge #28: Do all your dishes immediately.

A sink full of dirty dishes drives C bonkers. It bugs me a little, too, though not as much. Either way, it’s one more thing on the to-do list that just has to get done. And therefore it’s one more thing that you have to get out of the way before you can create, garden, exercise, play with your kids, etc. So this week, do them right away. Even if you have a dishwasher, rinse and load all your dishes immediately. Then you won’t have to spend 15-30 minutes doing them at the end of the day–you can just get right into your fun, instead!

August journaling prompts

I’m a little late this month–I blame the hot, hazy days of summer! Never fear, though–the writing prompts are here now!

august-journaling-prompts

5 ways to support a school you love (even if you homeschool or don’t have kids)

C and I recently joined a committee to formulate a strategic plan for the Catholic school connected to our parish. We’re considering homeschooling Little Rabbit–so, even though we consider St. Pat’s to be “our” school, it’s entirely possible that our daughter won’t actually attend it. But it’s important to us that the school remain open and that it be equipped with the resources it needs to educate students well. Education shapes and forms kids. Next to parents and family life, it’s probably one of the–or even the very next–biggest influences on a child’s development. It’s important to us, therefore, that schools that include Catholic spiritual formation in the curriculum be open and available to all families. So, even though we *might* homeschool, we’re really trying to seek out ways to support that little school of ours.

In a private school setting, attendance (and the accompanying tuition payment) is the number one way to support the school. And parents are always given other opportunities to provide support: volunteering, fundraising, donating, etc. But what about the rest of the parish? How can those who don’t have children, whose children are grown, or whose children don’t attend still support the school? It’s a question I’ve been considering in the back of my mind ever since we started the maybe-just-maybe-we’ll-homeschool conversation. Obviously, joining the planning committee has been one way for us to do that. But it’s a temporary gig–when it’s over, what’s next?

Of course, you can always donate money. But let’s just go ahead and assume that you’re not wealthy enough to set up a scholarship fund or gift large sums to the school. You can make budget cuts and personal sacrifices and donate what you save. Absolutely. But let’s also assume that you’re already doing that for other organizations and causes near and dear to your heart. Can you still make a positive contribution to your school?

Spoiler alert: yes.

How to support a school even if your child isn’t a student

Pray

Pray for the teachers, administrators, students, and parents of your school. For wisdom, charity, kindness, patience, and diligence. For special circumstances and specific needs.

Participate in fundraisers

If your school hosts community fundraisers (you know, the kind where you eat at a restaurant and part of the proceeds go back to your school), participate! And if your school has kids selling cookie dough/wrapping paper/chocolate bars/raffle tickets/what have you, purchase some. Fundraisers can be hard for parents (or even for kids), so your support will be greatly appreciated. And your overall cost will still be able to fit into your budget.

Save box tops

Clip box tops when you buy products that carry them (by General Mills). Each box top gets your school 10 cents. That may not seem like much, but it can add up quickly when the whole school community works together. The Box Tops for Education website has a cool feature where you can create an account and view how much your school has earned this year (and in past years). I went in and checked out my school’s earning over the last five years and was really impressed! A whole community of parents–plus non-parent people like you and me!–working together can earn quite a bit of money for the school through the Box Tops program.

As an added bonus, Walmart is currently offering 5-for-1 box tops–turn in one box top and get five times the value for your school!

box tops collage

Ask if there are supplies or other material items you could provide

It might be that your school needs something very specific that you can furnish for them, either for the school itself or for an event or fundraiser they’re hosting. Something that’s just collecting dust in your basement could be genuinely useful to the school. You’ll never know if you don’t ask what they need.

Offer to organize a workplace tour

Field trips were huge highlights when I was a kid. Offer to organize a tour of your workplace for a couple of classes (assuming your employer is cool with it, of course). Show the kids around and talk about what the business does, what your job is, and what sort of education and training they’ll need if they want to do the same thing someday.

Think your job isn’t cool enough for this sort of thing? I’d urge you not to dismiss yourself too quickly. You’d be surprised by what has the power to totally enthrall kids. And you never know what little dude will decide he (or she) wants to grow up and do that thing.


Here’s the thing: schools need community support. Especially private schools. It can’t be just a parent thing–everyone should pitch in. And there are lots of (easy) ways for community/parish members to do that. All it takes is a little thought and intentional action!

 

Wild and Free [book review]

wild and freeI am going to say something that might be unpopular, judging by the marketing and social media firestorm behind this book: I did not enjoy it. Wild and Free, by Jess Connolly and Hayley Morgan, was all over my social media feeds, in my inbox, and on the “recommended reads” section at the bookstore before I finally got my hands on a copy, thinking I was missing out on something big. When it arrived on my doorstep, I curled up in my big blue rocking chair with a cup of coffee and cracked the cover with relish.

wild and free bookBut after weeks of struggling to get through it, I was bored and disappointed. The book just wasn’t what I’d hoped it would be–I wasn’t getting much out of it at all.

Here’s the thing: the reviews already out there are mostly (very) positive. People love this book. And I think that’s great. If you’re a new Christian, or NOT a Christian, absolutely read it. Jess and Hayley cover “the basics” just fine. This book will help you wade into the water, and it’s got a pretty cover that’ll look good on your bookshelves.

But for those who have been raised in the church (or who’ve simply been here a while), I’d recommend taking a pass. (Unless you want a refresher course or are feeling like you somehow got off track.) Jess and Hayley haven’t really done anything here that hundreds of other authors haven’t already done. This book isn’t meant to pull you out into the deep current, and it won’t. 

Wild and Free is the book world’s popular new girl, and everyone wants to be invited to her birthday party. Well, let me be the party pooper who urges you to reconsider attending the same-old-same-old gathering and filling your time with something new and truly adventurous. Pick up a classic or find a volume that digs deeper into some specific idea. Push yourself instead of hanging out on the same thin piece of ice you’ve been skating since childhood.  To put it plainly: If you’re ready to move beyond the 100-level courses of Christianity, read something else.

What have you been reading lately?

Psst. I received this book for review purposes. All thoughts and opinions are my own.