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What The Last Week of School Looks Like With Older Kids

It’s the last week of school around here.  Three more days! Or two more days depending on how you count.  How do you count the days?  Does today count since it’s in progress or do we cross it off?

My friend Christine over at So Domestically Challenged posted a great read this morning on preparing for the end of the school year with lots of great ideas.  It’s a little too late for me as again three more days! Also, my boys are in middle school and high school and things look a little different at this stage.

So does that mean that year-end is less hectic with older kids?  Ha! Nope.

What’s going on during our last week of school:

This entire week my high school student is taking EOC exams.  EOC= End of Course.  Think finals.  Plus we’ve had a meeting about an upcoming band trip, an early morning band practice, and (finally) today managed to return his rented tux to the band room.

This equals stress for my son.  A stressed out teenager is not exactly a joy to be around.  Oh, and he couldn’t find his clarinet this morning (apparently, he forgot to take it out of the car yesterday). Here smell the lavender…  last week of school Aw, that’s better.  Let’s talk the last week of school with a 6th grader (that’s middle school here although it is now only 6th graders in their own building the first year).  Basically, they just do fun (for the kids) stuff.

Yesterday was an outing and picnic at a local nature center.  There are assemblies sprinkled through the week. J is a typical 6th grader in that is all the information he gave me regarding the assemblies.  He’s requested a sack lunch all week as there is “just too much chaos” to have to worry about a lunch bag every day.

Today, he took only a pencil and his sack lunch to school.  I try to not be too concerned about his lack of taking any supplies with him.

Tonight is an open house at his new 7th and 8th grade middles school.  Believe me I know about this not from any information provided by 12-year-old son.  I am excited about the new school as I know from experience, this school communicates.  The 6th grade center was horrible not so great about that.

Here are a few of my tips for getting through the end of the school year with older kids

  • Have some extra pencils sharpened and ready to go. We had a lot of morning searches for pencils the past few weeks.
  • Don’t worry so much about a schedule but do make the calendar your friend! I still can’t recommend the Cozi app enough.  I’ve found the paid version worth it simply for the sake of being able to send calendar updates to my husband.
  • A week of lunchables won’t hurt anyone.  I sent healthy lunches 90 percent of the year so I’m giving myself a break this week.
  • Breathe.  My joke has always been those breathing exercises weren’t just for childbirth! They work great for the teenage years as well.
  • Start stocking up on snacks and making a plan for the long summer days ahead

Do you have kids in middle school or high school?  What tips would you add?


Sharing My Flowers For A Dreary Day

Just a short, mostly picture oriented post today.  Since I was in the Trader Joe’s neighborhood on Monday, I had stop in and pick up a few things.  One of those things was a bouquet of flowers for the kitchen table.

Sharing my flowers for a dreary day:

After all the flowers I planted outside over the weekend, I wanted a few to enjoy inside as well. Does anyone know what those weird spiny looking flowers are called? I’m not sure what I did wrong on this photo but one of the reasons I did buy this bouquet was because I thought the red rose added more interest to it.  Yesterday afternoon I decided the vase I put the flowers in was way too small and just didn’t look right.  So, I changed it.  Hey, see that clean kitchen table in the photo above?  The flowers make for good incentive!  Here’s another view of the flowers in their new vase: Even the rose is happier in its new vase.  

These flowers are helping to brighten up the kitchen on dreary, rainy, and cold!? day around here.  They are also helping inspire me to keep our table clear.

What aren’t they doing?  They aren’t doing the dishes, sweeping the floor, or cooking dinner.  They are also not helping with this crazy afternoon craving for chocolate.

Note to self: Do not put clean kitchen on the to-do list the same week you plan to also do a sugar detox challenge.  Especially, one very soon after Easter when extra candy is still in surplus.  So far, I haven’t caved to the chocolate bars but the temptation is real.


My 2017 Phrase Of The Year Winner

My 2017 word of the year is not one of my five finalists!  Those choices certainly figure into my word but none of them seemed quite right for this year.

It just didn’t seem possible to squash what I would like to focus on this year into a single word.   Perhaps I’ve always been a rule-breaker at heart.  I think this task of choosing a solitary word for the year is a bit harder when you love all the words so much.

I do want to focus on my health in 2017.

We all want peace (I hope we all do anyway!).

How could I not want to bring a little Hygge into our humble home?   I placed a hold on The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering The Secrets Of The World’s Happiest Country at the local library so I could learn in a bit greater detail how to do just that.

I’m admittedly a bit out of practice with hospitality to dedicate an entire year to it.

Shall I just gracefully admit the last word grace came closest to winning?  I think it will fit nicely in with my phrase though.

Announcing my phrase for the year of 2017…

I’ve become a bit complacent lately and been feeling rather blah most of the time.  It’s time to rediscover the things I enjoy doing.  Revive my tired blah feelings and spaces.  Renew myself a bit so I can return to or even discover a better version of myself.

Find the lost 20-year-old who used to be in such great shape from working out.

Become once again the person who is on top of news and current events.  I recently didn’t “pass” a news quiz on one of those fun sites.  That has never happened to me before and it shook me a bit as not all the stories were the silly ones.

Time to rediscover some old hobbies or even find some new ones.  Learn a few new tricks.

Today’s tiny goal was to figure out how to check out e-books from the library.  Painless yet so many times I didn’t want to hassle with it so I’d pass up those books opting to wait until I could get there.  So many times I never made it there.

My goal with my 3 word phrase is to rediscover, revive, and renew myself in 2017.

What goal or word do you have for this year?

Happy Homemaker Monday, The Return of Routine

It was a rough one getting out of bed this morning.  Of course, I’m sure that’s not related to staying up a bit later last night.  This week will be the boys’ first full week back to school after Christmas break.  I’m working a bit this week as well.

Wish I were a bit more excited about it all.  Perhaps I just need better rest.  I am, however, determined to not miss any Happy Homemaker Mondays this year.  It was so fun to look back on them to review our 2016.  Many thanks to Sandra from Diary of A Stay At Home Mom for continuing to host this link up in 2017!

Let’s get on with the planning of this second week of the new year shall we?

The Weather

It’s a balmy 26 degrees out there right now.  Balmy and 26 degrees don’t normally belong in the same sentence but after last week’s start with 1 degree mornings, it fits.  Supposed to hit a high of 44 this afternoon, almost 50 tomorrow, and 60 (!?) on Wednesday before plummeting back down to winter temps in the 30s with a wintry mix (means they don’t know whether it will snow or rain) for the weekend.

On My Reading Pile

I read two books on my phone’s Kindle app.  I read this month’s Amazon Prime free pick of In The Shadow Of Lakecrest by Elizabeth Blackwell and really enjoyed it.  I found it to be a quick read with a lot of good twists especially at the end!  The second book I read was better though.  Mark Edwards Follow You Home kept me intrigued from beginning to end and was also full of interesting twists and turns.

On My TV

I watched Maximum Ride on Netflix.  It’s based on a series of James Patterson books of the same name.  Think after school special with a science fiction type twist both in terms of acting and plot lines.  The boys watched Kung Fu Panda 3 on Saturday night. And of course, I watched the Golden Globes last night just to see the pretty dresses.

Menu This Week

Honestly, I’m at a loss this week.  I need to go to the store.  I’m also still casually trying to clear out our freezer/ pantry as well.  Last week’s menu didn’t really go as planned (do they ever?) so some items are repeats.

Couldn’t get the colors quite right on our Three Kings Cake but it still tasted good!

MONDAY:  Ham steaks, baked potatoes (perhaps sweet potatoes), and cornbread.  (I work 12-6)

TUESDAY:  Veggie rotini with red sauce, salad, garlic bread

WEDNESDAY:  Tacos or something else that is easy (G and I need to make dessert empanadas again to take to his Thursday Spanish class, another Fiesta in there!)

THURSDAY:  Chicken strips, broccoli, and maybe French Fries.  I may do copy cat Chik-Fil-A sandwiches (I work 12-6 again)

FRIDAY: Pancakes and sausage at the high school for a band fundraiser (I work 12-6 so likely won’t get to go unless I can get it worked out to switch with another teacher.  I missed this on my calendar when I agreed to work).

To-Do List

  1. Pay bills
  2. Go to the grocery store
  3. Pick one area in the house to clear off and clean each day (thinking of starting with my desk)
  4. Help G make dessert empanadas on Wednesday night (We’re going to cheat and use apple pie filling to start this time)
  5. Fill out wall calendar with birthdays and dates

What I Am Creating

I made a wreath for our front door!  It took a few tries (see Friday’s post) but we now have a sweater wreath hanging on our front door and welcoming us home.

Scarf Wreath Try 2, still needed something

At Christmas-time, I had pried a small wooden sign with our last name off of another Christmas decoration we no longer used since it listed pets no longer with us and came before our youngest son arrived.  I thought maybe I could find another use for at least that part of the decoration and I did!  It was the perfect thing to finish off the scarf wreath!

The completed project!

Looking Around The House

See number 3 on my to-do list.  The floors (with the exception of the boys’ rooms) are clear though and it’s not in awful shape over all.

From The Camera

While these will all be phone pictures this week, I fixed the camera!  Thank goodness because a new one really wasn’t in our budget.  And, importing pictures from my phone is not a simple task.

The camera lens cover wouldn’t open properly but I managed to get it pried open in a permanent state.  It should be okay as long as I keep the camera in its case unless I’m using it.

Tracks in the snow 

There’s more than one way to make a snowman.

Something Fun To Share

I thought this idea from Rite While U Can might be a fun challenge for the year!  I know it always brightens my day to get mail.

What I’m Wearing Today

Right now I’m wearing a striped long-sleeved shirt and jeans plus tennis shoes but I just threw these clothes on for the school drop off run.  I’ll shower and change into something else to wear to work after finishing this post.  No idea what that will be yet.

One of My Simple Pleasures

Spending some time outside especially on sunny days and I don’t do it nearly enough.  Perhaps I need to set a goal for the year to make sure I spend time outdoors every single day?

Quote for the Week

This quote of the day showed up in my inbox over the weekend and I love it!  Perfect for a Monday morning or any morning really…

With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.  (Eleanor Roosevelt)


What do you have going on this week?


My 2017 Word of The Year Finalists

I stubbornly continue to pick a word of the year.  Do you do that?  It’s not that I don’t set goals and think about making resolutions.

It’s just that this is so much simpler to me.  Seems more doable.  I don’t always accomplish the mission behind my word of the year but I still prefer the idea behind it.

Sometimes my word of the year just settles on me.  Sometimes it leaps out at me from some locale like the aisle of my local Dollar Tree store.  Maybe if I’d have purchased that silly glass, I’d have had better luck with last year’s word.  Some years I simply can’t make up my mind and think I’m going to just pick a new word each month (note: that didn’t really work so well).

Each year I ponder what my choice for the coming year should be and come up with a few candidates.   I always think of announcing my finalists in terms of an awards show.  They are just waiting to hear if they’ve been nominated.

So without further ado…and in no particular order….announcing…

The finalists for my 2017 Word of The Year:

word of the year

As I sit here getting over sickness once again at year-end, I entertain making 2017 a year to focus on getting healthy.  Healthy food, healthy habits, you know the drill.  I know the drill.  Of course, I could still work on being healthy should I choose a different word.

word of the year

This year was a little more turbulent than I cared for it to be.  I think the last few months may have been that way for many of us.  The turmoil started prior to the election and went beyond it over here.  After a year of hurting hearts (and some are still hurting), I am craving peace.

This word.  This is a fun, new to me word!  A random Pinterest pin that caught my eye and led me on a journey of discovery.  What is Hygge?  Obviously, it’s not an English word as spellcheck is glaring red at me right now.  Here’s a link to a quick definition but do yourself a favor and search it up on Pinterest and the pins that come up will give you a good feel for the word.  It’s a concept from Denmark and it just seems like an idea that would soothe my very soul.

While I’m not much of one for tooting my own horn (dislike to do that very much), this is I admit one of my talents.  One I used to use quite a bit but let fall by the wayside (Another talent? Apparently a massive over use of clichés!) with the exception of our annual Easter brunch.  I’d like to get back in the habit of having friends and family over here.  Stop making excuses for not doing it and just start inviting friends and family over for any and all occasions, small or large.

My final word of the year nominee is the one that seems to be calling to my heart lately.  I think we all (I know I do!) need to be a little more generous with this stuff to ourselves and others alike.  By the way, I recently discovered and loved a blog titled I Choose Brave and this post really spoke to me yesterday.  Worth a minute of your time to read it.  On a completely silly note: I also recently discovered the Philosophy scent of Amazing Grace and you know what would be more fun than a word of the year with its very own scent.  It does smell amazing, very clean and fresh, like it could be my go-to fragrance.

So those are my five finalists and I’m having a hard time deciding on the winner as they all speak to me on many levels.  Could you please help me out?  Which word of the year would you declare as the winner?

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