Monthly Archives: March 2013

Homeschool Lite

There are some days in homeschool when we take a break from our regular lessons. Often that day falls on Friday and we use it to catch up on anything we’ve missed or go out exploring or do something fun. But on weekends that are so full of busy that I’m left spinning on Monday morning, we do Homeschool Lite. (The spelling “lite” has always bothered me, but it’s a key word here. You’ll see why in just a sec.)

This past weekend I was in Dallas, TX for the BlissDom Conference. There’s so much to say about finding my bliss with some of my favorite ladies, but I just can’t get caught up with all that there is to be done! By the time I got home Sunday, I was ready to collapse. Then the wave of pollen attacked me and I’ve been watery-eyed and sniffly since. So Monday morning was just too much for me to handle. I declared it a Homeschool Lite day and we started getting a few things done around here.  I needed to do laundry, make a grocery list, go to the store, wash dishes, and a hundred other little things. And I decided that instead of Homeschool Lite, we’d have a Homeschool Life day. I’d teach them the things they really need to know, like how to plan your meals and shop effectively and make healthy choices. They helped me sort, wash, fold, and put away laundry. They started dinner in the slow cooker. They made bread. They dyed Easter eggs. They were on the ball! We make a pretty great team once we get rolling!

But one of the coolest things we did was make butter.  When the decided to make bread, I figured we might as well make butter, too.  I’d heard it was easy, but I thought it was one of those things that people tell you is easy, but then it really isn’t. But this? This making butter? Super easy (but maybe a little tough on the arms).

Get heavy whipping cream and pour it into a container with a screw on lid.  You want the screw on lid so that it doesn’t accidentally pop open! I’d recently made pimento cheese and had two small pimento jars, so we used those. We also used a small jelly jar. Fill the jar 2/3 of the way full of heavy whipping cream. Close it up tight and shake. And shake. And shake.


For a small container*:
After shaking for about 3 minutes, it’ll start to thicken up a little and be the consistency of pudding.
After 3ish more minutes, it’ll be looking like whipped cream. If you want a little whipped cream, just add a dash of sugar.
After 4ish more minutes of shaking, you’ll see it start to separate into butter and buttermilk.
It’s wild how all of a sudden it happens!  You’re shaking along and then BOOM! It’s a solid!
Drain the buttermilk off (and save it if you’d like) and then add seasonings.
I used a little salt and a little bit of Italian seasoning. Imagine how good it’ll be with fresh herbs this spring!
Let it get firm in the refrigerator and then try not to eat it all at once!
That’s it! Homemade butter in less than 15 minutes! AND you get an arm workout.
I call that a win-win!

*You do the same thing for larger containers, but the times are longer.

Proud Mama Moment

I sang my first solo before I started school. I have a minor in music.
Marshall plays bass and sightreads like a beast.
My brother’s in a band. A really good one, at that.
My parents are both singers.
My grandmother led the church choir for years and years.
Marshall’s dad and brother have been known to sing in a show or two.
His grandmother was a master pianist and harpist.
Point being: music is our thing.
We really, really love it.
So last week when my shy little 6 year old asked me if she could sing in big church, I nearly cheered.
I was surprised that she wanted to do it and told her she would have to talk to our minister of music on her own.
(I wanted this to be her thing. I would support her, but I wanted it to be 100% her decision.)
So she asked and he said yes and we found the accompaniment track from the musical she learned this summer.
And then she did it.
It took a little nudge when the moment came, but she did it!
And did it wonderfully.
I am so, so incredibly proud of her.

Pardon the shaky video. It was recorded by her very proud and excited big brother!

I want chickens.

I want chickens.
And a screen door that goes THWACK and bounces – bomp.bomp.bomp – three whole times before it’s finally closed.
And a sleeping porch that’s a little uneven & rough beneath my feet, with a bed full of down pillows that hug me when I sleep.
I want open windows and an attic fan pulling the smell of love and sweat and home through every inch of my house.
I want laundry dancing on the line, and sunshine warming more than just clothes.
I want music and laughter to be the soundtrack of our days.
And our nights.

I want to toss out all the clocks and let sunrise and sunset guide our days.
I want to sit on the front porch in rocking chairs just watching time pass.
I want to listen to the cricket and frog symphony as dusk fades to dark.
And maybe, sitting in the darkness, sing a hymn or two with a quiet guitar.

I want chickens.

Is that too much to ask?

How to Toddler-Proof Your iDevice in One Minute or Less

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When I first got my iPad, I successfully hid it from my children for several months.  Like a spy, I’d hide in my super secret mission vault(read: bathroom) and click happily through my apps.  Mine…all mine! Until one day…something shiny caught their eye. (And really, who can resist something shiny? I know I can’t.) I downloaded app after app, most educational but some pure fun, and watched them giggle and smile. But I was always on edge. What if they drop it? What if they click the wrong button and screw up the whole thing?  Aaaahhhh…and so I found this case from Fisher-Price (affilate link*) which we LOVE. It fully encapsulates the entire iPad, making it pretty darn difficult to get it sticky or smudgy or other wise child-icky. And, depending on which way you put the iPad in, the Home button can be blocked. That means you can get them in the app and they can’t get out of it. Theoretically. But my babies have those super secret spy genes and manage to finagle their little fingers past the bar. In comes the best super secret EVAH: Guided Access.

Start by going into Settings and then General.
Tap on Accessibility.

Scroll down to Learning and choose Guided Access.

Choose ON and set your passcode. (You’ve got to remember this code or you’re screwed!)

Now you need to check and make sure it actually works.
Go open up any app. For this example I’m using the Endless Alphabet app, which is one of our new favorites.
(Make sure you have the volume and brightness and all that jazz already set before you go into Guided Access).
Triple click your Home button and the Guided Access screen will come up.

Look at the bottom and decide if you want touch and motion capabilities or not.
Most kid apps require touch, and many also require motion.
Then you can either choose Start in the top right corner, put the whole screen in Guided Access Mode, and be done with it…

…OR you can draw a circle around the specific area you’d like to disable, such as the in-app Home icon.
Then choose Start.

Now your child can’t get out of the app.  They can’t change the volume. They can’t turn the sound on or off.
(And, I learned, they cannot take a screen shot, hence the terrible quality picture of a screen).

See the little grayed out area on the home button? That’s the spot that I made unavailable to them.
If they try to use the Home button, they will see this message.

Here’s the important part: how to get back out of Guided Access Mode.
Triple click again and the passcode box will pop up.
Enter your passcode and you’re done!
Back to normal.
Happy parent. Happy kid.
You’re welcome.


*This is not a sponsored post, but this link is an affiliate link. If you click on it, Amazon will give me a teeny tiny piece of a fairy’s wing. If you click on it and buy it, I get a whole shiny new penny! Maybe even two! And we’ve already established how much I love shiny things!

It Starts With Baby Steps

A whisper in my heart beckons me day and night.

I awake from dreams with it hanging over me, peering into my sleeping soul.
And I roll over.

I feel it behind me, calling my name.
Bridget. Bridget. Bridget.
But I close my eyes and assume if I can’t see it, it can’t see me.

But the whispers turn to shouts.
The coincidences fall into a line, obviously no longer coincidental.
And my skeptical little mind says, “well…what if…”

“I sound like one of them,” I tell Marshall.
“I sound like a Churchy McChurcherson.”
And he laughs and pulls me close.
With his arms of affirmation around me,
I know that I must follow my heart.
And in so many ways…I want to.
It will be hard.
I must be careful, weighing my words and tempering my thoughts.
I’ll have to be open, honest, and – worst of all – vulnerable.

But, for reasons I may never understand, I perk up as I ponder the possibilities.
Exhilaration courses through my veins.
The moment I’ve been waiting for is here…
…it just doesn’t look like I thought it would.
My insides shiver, as if a spirit has blown through me.
“Hmmm…” I think. “Maybe it has.”

My mind whirs with ideas, and I hold them up to the light of day.
And that’s when I begin to crumble.

“That’ll never work, you crazy fool,” I hear from my demons.
“You weren’t cut out for this.”
“You aren’t good at that.”
“You aren’t big enough, strong enough, spiritual enough for this.”

“You never know until you try,” my soul says sotto voce.
“The heart might lie, but I don’t,” I hear.
And my whole self shakes as I realize that I’ve heard the voice of God.

Never so clearly as before.

And so I shove a whole lot of hopes in my backpack and I step out of faith.
I just wish it weren’t such a big damn step.


We originally planned on having a Dr. Seuss celebration on his actual birthday, but Carter won the derby car race at church and will be doing the state race on Saturday…so we decided it Seuss it up today.


We started out by making Thing 1 and Thing 2 cupcakes like the ones seen on GoGrahamGo blog, which is the brainchild of the wife of one of my childhood friends. I reconnected with Matthew after finding Felicia online. Life is funny like that, isn’t it?

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And then she read and he read and she read some more. He listened and she listened and then she ran away to color. She’s two, so I was surprised she made it as long as she did! (Also? This is one of those moments I regret not grabbing my big girl camera instead of my phone. But…whatcha gonna do?)

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We talked to our red fish and our blue fish. And Asa tried to comb the baby’s hair and made it stand up like she was wearing a BumpIt and we all laughed until we couldn’t breathe. It was one of those moments that starts out with a little snort and barrels into a chorus of guffaws. It was perfect. I love my strange little birds. And I hope they never outgrow Dr. Seuss.

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