It’s been a while since I wrote about what we are loving in our home. Probably because in the Spring I was loving things like my bed, too much junk food, and extra kids’ videos on Netflix. (Morning.Sickness).
But I’m excited to share some of the things that are making our life easier, more fun, tastier, and so on.
I hope it’s fun and you get a new idea or two. And, in the spirit of caring and sharing, I’d love to hear what you are loving for yourself, your kids, or your home in the comments below!
What I’m Loving…
For my kids:
I’ve known about these books for a while, being an elementary teacher in a former life, but have never personally read them. All I knew was that they were very popular with kids.
It wasn’t until a homeschooling friend recommended them and gave me the box set of the first four books that I thought about trying them for our read-aloud time before nap time in the afternoons. My friend said that the books were really great for introducing different periods in history in a simple way. I definitely agree.
Over Independence Day weekend, we read the Magic Tree House book on the Revolutionary War and from that book we were able to talk about the purpose behind the war, redcoats and patriots, and General George Washington.
Now we are reading about mummies in Egypt and starting to learn words like pyramids, sarcophagus, and hieroglyphs. Which worked out quite nicely when we watched Night at the Museum 2 last night and heard all of those same words in the movie.
Basically, I love anything that helps learning to take place as naturally as it can in our home. Fun picture books with great content (for young kids) certainly fit that category. If you’ve never checked out the Magic Tree House books, I really recommend them. And with about fifty hundred titles, chances are good you can find one your kids are interested in.
Also, if you have boys at home or simply any child interested in adventure, the Magic Tree House Survival Guide has been one of our recent favorites too. There’s a mix of the really practical, (like how to survive getting lost), to the more far-fetched, (like how to survive an octopus encounter), to the downright not-going-to-happen, (like how to survive a T-rex attack). There’s also a real life stories section, and just this afternoon my boys were recounting a story we had read about two men who got lost in the jungle of South America for seven weeks.
2. Guided Access on the iPod and the Zoola app.
Do you know how to set your iPod/iPhone/iPad so that your kids have to stay in whatever app you’ve selected for them? It’s called guided access and it’s pretty much the only way I’m letting my kids play with my iPod now.
To use it, press the center button three times in quick succession. The guided access window will come up and you can set a password and start the program. Once you’ve started it, your iPod/iPhone/iPad remains in whatever app is in use until you press the center button three times again to quit guided access.
We try to limit our kids’ iPod usage to short, occasional doses, but there’s no denying the fact that it does come in handy. My favorite app for our nature-loving kids is the Zoola app, which is basically just pictures of animals and the sounds that they make. It’s incredibly easy for them to navigate and none of my kids have gotten tired of it yet after over a year or two of use.
1. Laundry. No kids. Podcasts. #winning
Before you think that I have a magic trick to keeping up with laundry for five people, let me just be upfront that I don’t! The amount of dirty clothes/towels/linens that need to be washed every week is crazy, and as much as we’ve been on the go recently with swim lessons, VBS, and general summer frolicking, keeping up with the loads has been a struggle.
What I am loving about laundry right now, though, is the current routine I’ve been following. It’s really simple– dump all the clean laundry on my bed (usually about 3-4 loads) and then fold it BY MYSELF WITH NO KIDS AROUND. That’s actually the most important part.
During this pregnancy, I have given myself the job of using afternoon nap time to rest in bed. Sometimes that means napping myself, sometimes catching up on MasterChef, and sometimes folding all the things.
I’ve also used this time alone to keep up with my favorite podcasts. If you are looking for a new podcast or two, these are the ones that I’ve been especially enjoying recently:
- Inspired to Action with Kat Lee
- God Centered Mom with Heather MacFayden
- Mortification of Spin with Carl Trueman, Aimee Byrd, and Todd Pruitt
- Ask Pastor John with John Piper
This essential oil spray has been wonderful at relieving my aching legs and back at the end of the day. Since I’ve been using it, I also haven’t had any issues with restless legs or leg cramps– both of which are typical complaints during my pregnancies.
If you’ve never heard of Shai Linne, you should definitely check him out. He’s part rapper, part theologian, and his music is incredible. This particular album has been playing frequently in our home and we all (even my kids) enjoy it.
Shai Linne’s writing is so God-honoring and full of deep truth. You know it’s a good choice when after listening to a song, you end up explaining the significance of the resurrection to your three-year-old.
In our home:
1. Murdoch Mysteries
My husband and I are both fans of period pieces, British television, and mysteries. We especially love when all of these things merge into one addicting show. Bonus, it’s clean– no bad language, crude humor, sex scenes, or unnecessary gore. Yeah, we are kind of prudish when it comes to videos, but we’re okay with that.
The Murdoch Mysteries are set in Toronto, Canada during the Victorian time period. If you like well-written and interesting crime shows, this one is worth checking out on Netflix.
I’m just starting to read this book, but I’ve seen it mentioned around the blogosphere for a while now. Marie Kondo’s methods are supposedly incredibly effective and given the state of my house the past few weeks, I could use a little help.
Her method of tidying up comes down to two parts- getting rid of items and then figuring out where to keep the remaining items. The key is really cutting down on what you own– only holding on to what “sparks joy.”
I’m looking forward to reading more in this book and tackling some decluttering in our home. It’s just funny, because I could have sworn I just did that not so long ago… Apparently I didn’t do it the right way.
At the table:
1. Easy meals.
First trimester. Summer schedule. Three little kids. Enough said.
I have been keeping the cooking routine simple around here lately. Sticking to the basics when it comes to lunches–baking simple loaf bread, keeping jam on hand for quick sandwiches, and throwing together easy picnics. Not to mention many more store-bought snacks than usual.
At dinner-time, my husband has taken many turns at meal-prep and I’m picking dishes that can be made quickly without a lot of fuss. Hence, the increase in thirty-minute meals on the blog in the past couple of months, (with more in the works!).
Recent favorite easy meals:
- Almond & Parmesan Crusted Chicken
- 30 Minute Chicken Parmesan
- Easy Weeknight Meatloaf (recipe coming)
- Sheet Pan Nachos
I haven’t made this recipe from Simple Bites yet, but it looks amazing! I have the raspberries ready in my fridge and I can’t wait to try it soon. I’ll get back to you on Facebook when I do.
What about you? What has been especially awesome or helpful in your house recently?