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Short Summer Break

Don’t worry the boys’ summer break isn’t over quite yet.  Though I did just see the school district post about enrollment mailings starting this week.

However, I am going to officially hop away from the blog for a bit starting today and spend some more time off-line.

I’ll return the week of Monday, July 17, hopefully joining right in with a Happy Homemaker Monday post.



A Nest And A Different Bird

I took my oldest son over to the local elementary school parking lot for a bit of driving practice early last week.  While he was making laps, I noticed a nest on the side of the building.

The most beautifully colored swallow like birds were flitting around in the sky.  My bird app told me these were barn swallows.  They do not like to sit still.  My zoom lens on the camera is not very good and I got a bit closer than I should have for the above well-cropped picture.

The birds were not happy with me.  I took the next photo with the zoom lens from my passenger seat in the car.  Thankfully, the birds returned to their nest.  The birds still didn’t stay in one place very long or land anywhere I could easily take a photo with my current camera.

I had just about given up when I thought I spotted one sitting in the tip-top of a tree near the edge of the playground area.  My son parked the car so I could hop out and try to capture a few photos. Except, it didn’t quite look like those flitting, fast-flying swallows.  I just wasn’t sure though…I didn’t have much luck with my bird app on this one either.  Caught it singing! So, what bird is this?  It’s been bugging me all week long.  Finally, tonight I sat down and looked through all the birds on the Missouri Department Of Conservation Website.  I think I found it! I think it’s an Eastern Kingbird!

The “white terminal band on the tail” is what I’m using to make my guess on this bird’s identity. What do you think?  Do you know what kind of bird I’ve captured here?  If it’s not an Eastern Kingbird, what is it then?

A bit late this weekend but I’m still joining in the weekly link-up over at I’d Rather B Birdin’

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?

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