Friday, April 13, 2018

7 Quick Takes on the State of the Blog

You wanted to see how we decorate for different liturgical seasons... We don't do much. We clean off the buffet that was covered with junk for the past month, though!

--1--

First of all, THANK YOU to those of you who filled out the reader survey that I posted! Your responses are super-helpful - I know a lot of people read without commenting (which is totally fine! It's so hard to find time to comment, so I totally get it), which often means I don't really know what posts people actually find interesting and which ones are total flops.

For instance: My "Week by Week" posts seem to be statistically the ones that people enjoy reading the most, but they get far fewer views than, pretty much any other posts, which made me think nobody cared (although I didn't care about that, because they're the posts my kids will be interested to look back on).

Anyway, lots of people said they wished I would write more about homesteading & homeschooling & teaching the kids about the faith. And one reason I don't write much on those is...


--2--

Those homeschooling & homesteading things are pretty time-intensive, and when I get a break from doing those things, I mostly want to... Not write about them! However... I see the value in keeping records of those things for myself, and also sharing them with you, because collective wisdom and all, and also because when I start thinking, "Oh hey, when did I start seeds last year?" I usually go search on the blog or on instagram to remind myself, so I should probably do a better job documenting things.

Lots of pajama schooling around here. I'm usually in mine, too... That's a coat of arms next to him that he made himself. It wasn't a school assignment...
Maybe I'll do a longer "state of the homestead" post, but tl;dr we have only ONE duck left out of the original eighteen, the pigs are now living in the freezers (and are DELICIOUS), we went from one goat to two goats back to one goat (Bolt kept escaping and then Heidi started following him and it just wasn't working), and we're starting a small CSA this year with a few other local families, which should be really fun but also pretty labor-intensive especially as we're starting to get into the really heavy planting season. I document it better on Instagram than I do here!

--3--

But how DO I do all of that? Well, we have an extra adult. That makes a BIG difference. So even though my mom will say she's sooooo old (it's true, she says it!), she still... folds laundry! And washes dishes! And takes the little kids so I can get school done in an hour with no interruptions! And helps weed the garden! It would be good for me to write about how we made this work, but a lot of it I think is still a work in progress? And is so very specific to us and our situation that I'm not sure it would be helpful to anyone else.

If we didn't have my mom, I'd probably be hiring outside help. No, I'd definitely be hiring outside help. And actually, I'm still considering it, because neither she nor I are great at cleaning, and the house is always a mess and it gets WAY worse when it's garden season so... Send a maid, someone?

--4--


Love offering from the 3yo.

I also don't write about a lot of stuff like teaching about the faith/sibling relationships/parenting/large family living because... I don't feel like I've got a lot of insight? There's a LOT out there in terms of "do this, not that" and the like, and I just don't have a good enough handle on things to share much knowledge!

I am strongly considering revamping our laundry system, and I'll share how that goes if I ever figure it out (I think it's time for John Paul and Cecilia to be doing all their own laundry, which will help a lot with the volume of clothing. Also in the summer the kids wear swimsuits all the time so we don't have to wash as much!).

--5--


There's a random beaker behind the vase (which I put there solely for the picture, then moved back to the table), I cleaned off the backsplash solely for the picture, and the stove was promptly covered with streusel from that coffee cake.

In general, life is pretty messy here. There's dirt, there are toys that need to be purged, books that need to be repaired or trashed, plenty of squabbling, discipline that might be working and might not be working, and once I feel like we get a handle on things... Everything changes! Someone is usually crying, someone is usually attached to me, and once the weather warms up enough we're outside almost all day long, so there's not much time to sit at the computer and blog. But I still want to, so I'll keep on keeping on!

--6--

I can answer your questions about outside activities right now! I don't think I need a whole post on that.

Cherry plum blossoms, in case you're curious

SO! We've tried a lot. Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, soccer, ballet, karate, choir... We decided to pare down after last school year, and weren't doing ANYTHING at the beginning of the year until John Paul started children's choir one afternoon a week at church. John Paul and Cecilia are (respectively) in Trail Life and American Heritage Girls, which they both love. These meet two evenings a month and my mom helps lead Cecilia's group, and Andrew helps with the Trail Life boys.

Then a little over a month ago I decided we were coming up for air and could probably add one activity in without going insane, so we signed the four older kids up for a homeschool karate class on Monday afternoons. And that is ALL we do. I would love for the kids to be able to take music lessons or art lessons, but we haven't been able to find a piano teacher who would do in-home lessons, and I don't feel up for adding another activity outside the house.

When the weather warms up we go on a lot of field trips to nature-y places, and once we wrap up school for the year we'll be going to the pool more often and also trying to go for lots of hikes. But honestly, we spend a lot of time at home. I want the kids to have a really good relationship with each other, and to have plenty of time to get bored together to help foster those relationships. Extracurriculars are great, but not at the expense of your sanity or your family's well-being. (Hmm. Maybe I should just have made this into a whole post)

But who knows, maybe things will change for us next year!

--7--


John Paul's violas, which he planted in his own little garden yesterday.

The last thing I have to say is that (and I think I've said this before) I just really, really like you. YOU. I've gotten to know a lot of really awesome people through blogging, and even the people I don't really "know" who just read my blog and comment (or even just "lurk!") are a pretty rare breed of awesome. I'm so glad you're here, and that you've stuck around!

And now I will leave you with a YouTube video of a song I wrote last week as your reward for reading this far:


Linking up with Kelly for Seven Quick Takes!

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