Last bit of Fall…


I hope your Halloween was as classy as ours was! Yesterday, in one fell swoop all of the Halloween decor came down. The boys pitched in and were a huge help hauling it all up the stairs to go in its respective attic boxes. I need one more plastic tub for storing, as we got a few new Halloween items this year, but once the items go in that it is officially put away. The boys are already chomping at the bit to get Christmas put up, but I’m holding them off for one more week to enjoy the last bit of our Fall items. Also, because I really need to replace a fall storage box that broke in our move, so I can’t quite put it all away yet. Plus, this week I’m planning to read each of our fall books one last time with the boys:

And I’m still enjoying that I actually created one big bow for my lighted pumpkins (next year I’ll get the rest done):

And our little turkey needs a quick moment to shine:

Because soon it will be Christmas trees and all the winter things!

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Pumpkins and daffodils

We headed out on Sunday to pick our pumpkins…..

 


At Lowe’s. Usually we go out to a local pumpkin patch, but that wasn’t happening this year. Then we headed home and began cleaning, drawing designs, and carving pumpkins.

 


It was laid back and the boys even went with the vibe and picked really traditional designs. Which honestly are the scariest pumpkins of all:

And our front door looks so festive!

This was one of my favorite things that I chose for the house. I love the contrast of the black door with the red brick, it just makes everything pop that we put around it. After we finished carving pumpkins, the boys had homework and afternoon sports, so I set to work planting the twenty daffodil bulbs I bought.


I was originally looking for tulips, but they were all out, so daffodils it is! I love planting flower bulbs it’s like the ultimate slow cooker of gardening, ha! I find the best time to plant them is the day after it has rained steadily all day. The red clay dirt here gets very compacted and can be really difficult to dig when it’s dry. I also have a bulb planter that has measurements to show the right amount of depth for the bulbs. And gardening gloves! Super important so I don’t destroy my hands digging in the dirt. I’m so hopefully they grow beautifully in the Spring!

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Favorite Halloween-ish Reads


Over the last seven months, one of the things that had kind of faded away and we brought back is reading books to the boys at night. The boys read every night before bed, but since they’ve both become avid readers, our routine had become telling them goodnight and then they would read in their rooms for thirty to forty minutes before it was lights out for the night. However, I started reading some to J again when he was struggling to find a book he wanted to read and just coming out of his room over and over again during reading time. All of the boys picture books are upstairs now, so I’ve started bringing out theme books for each season, and the boys are loving it! Here are some of our favorite Halloween books!

I picked up Bats at the ____book series set of three. These have always been some of our favorite library check outs, so I thought this would be a great edition to our home book shelf.

Whooo goes there? Not necessarily completely Halloween, but it is about owls. This is the first book that J memorized and began reading to us and everytime we read it I can hear his little toddler voice reciting “is it a mouse just right for my dinner?”

Room on the Broom. Declared one hundred percent hilarious by my boys, they giggle the whole way through this one.

Berenstein Bears Trick or Treat. This was mine as a kid, so it’s fun to read the boys a book that I read growing up.

Little Boo. Great pictures, and tells the story of how a seed grows into a pumpkin, from the perspective of the seed.

Gustavo the Shy Ghost. I picked this one up for the boys this year, and it is such a sweet story, and I love it for J who tells us that sometimes he feels a bit shy.

Frankencrayon. You honestly can’t go wrong with Michael Hall books. The pictures are always vibrant and colorful and the stories always hold the boys interest from beginning to end (which isn’t hard considering they love being read to).

We also have a The Little Old Lady Who Wasn’t Afraid of Anything, that reminds me so much of taking the boys to story time at the library and the sweet librarian who read it to them every Fall. Reading to kids of any age is always a good idea! And if you don’t want to purchase books check to see what your local library is doing for loaning books right now. Our city library actually has curbside pick up for books, and was one of the first in the nation to do so!

 

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Outdoor fun

Ah, the midsummer reprieve. That lovely short period of time, where the humidity and temperature drop enough that we can be outside in the late afternoon, and it doesn’t feel like I’ve jumped in a pool after we go running. The boys have taken take opportunity to ride bikes:

 


And draw with chalk:


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Life lately

It’s hot. I always forget about this time of year and then we get here and I’m like “oh yes, this is winter/summer”, which means instead of being so cold you can’t go outside, it’s so hot you can’t go outside. That being said A and his cousin J have still had some golf matches:


And J has been helping me water the plants:


We made Thanksgiving in July with a smoked turkey and grilled peaches topped with vanilla ice cream. Honestly I’d like to make this a new tradition:

And Chloe has taken to snuggling in J’s weighted blanket if he leaves it lying around:

And finally this grasshopper looking like it dropped from the sky onto the planet is very 2020:

 

 

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Life lately


Besides drawing all of the Castle Crashers, here is a little of what we’ve been up to around here!

The boys built a robot with my Dad and it may have been their favorite part of the summer (or last four months) so far…

Rounds of basketball once the sun goes down is a summer standard…

I did a 5k 2 minute walk/2 minute run with B on Saturday and I was pumped that I actually didn’t stop! I think my face is still on fire from it, ha!

We’ve spent some time watching the baby geese (who are about all grown up) flight test their wings…


And finally, we celebrated the Fourth with just us, but we got some excellent fireworks…

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Sport practice


In March, A was meeting weekly for his Operation 36 golf practices, and J had just received the roster for his Spring baseball team. In a matter of days all of that had been put on hold, then rescheduled, then canceled. J’s baseball season was completely canceled and he will be playing fall baseball instead. A’s just about to restart practices for the junior PGA league. In this waiting period, we have been working around the heat and humidity to get in practice times for the boys. J is mainly working with B because I’m terrified of getting hit by a baseball:

However, A’s practice is right up my ally. I hold his clubs, time his practice on different skills, and load up various videos when he needs to check his form with what his coach has taught him. A has been practicing chipping in my parents’ backyard:

And putting at the green at the local golf course.


Despite it being summer now, the boys have both asked about practicing, and we are working to foster that commitment. It’s not always easy because it’s hard to see the end goal of their practice right now, but we are proud of them for sticking with it.

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Blevins Gap Nature Preserve

Nestled behind one of our local churches, this hiking preserve has three different trailheads ranging from very easy and family friendly, to much more elevated and advanced. Since we were testing it out for the first time we did the straightforward Jones Valley loop:

This little loop is a walk around a long stream.

It is only about a mile from start to finish and great for younger kiddos, or ones who love looking for rocks and minerals like J:

It’s beautifully shaded, and the light streams through the trees while you’re walking which is really fun to see:

At about the halfway point of the loop, there is a fork in the trail that takes you up an incline of the Bailey Cove Trail portion. In addition, at the very beginning of the trailhead is the Fanning trail which is a 3.8 mile trail that is a much steeper elevation. We were not prepared for that trail, but have plans to go back and do it in the future. All three are great hikes for the weekend!

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Hey Clay Art


I bought this weeks ago when I saw it on an Instagram post and J finally noticed it in the box of educational and art supply items I have at my parents’ house. He got it out on Friday and is already asking what box we can get after he finishes all of the clay models in this box, so I definitely think it’s a hit. Here’s a little bit more about it…

Each set comes with the clay you need to make all of the characters on the front of the box. You do need to have a tablet or phone to download the App to get the instructions for making the characters. There is a code in the box that allows you to access all of the character models for your box.

The App is very interactive and takes you step by step through the process of making your selected creation.

The clay is a bit of a hybrid between Play-Doh and foam. It is not as messy or sticky as Play-Doh.

Once you complete your creation you just leave it out to dry (no baking, etc.) and it will harden into a toy structure that can be played with.


It’s a fun activity for a rainy day, or when you are taking a break from pool time!

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Daily schedule and routine

 

As I mentioned in Friday Favorites, last week was our first week of true online learning provided by the school, and we had started out with a schedule for that week. I have now modified the schedule for this week, and am sharing it, as well as, some of the things I have been supplementing with the school learning, and things that have made our day and week easier.

Before we started online learning through the school, I assumed A would need more things to supplement, and J would need more assistance and time on assignments. However, I learned the first day that it was the exact opposite. A was taking longer than his scheduled time on every assignment, and J only needed about twenty minutes of his allotted hour to complete his online work. Which meant A was panicking that he didn’t have enough time and J was spinning his wheels. So this lead to a few adjustments in the schedule.

Each kiddo has a schedule that has the list of tasks and they check off as they go. For A’s schedule (top schedule) I kept it pretty similar to the first week, but took out any extra activities. For J’s schedule (bottom schedule) I added in more activities and we also included some of the daily things he did everyday at school (spelling, sentence correction, etc.):

My hope is that this will keep J more occupied, and give A more time to complete his main assignments. In addition to their schedule that they can color in when complete, we have a master schedule, so we know who has scheduled work meetings, when I’m working out, and who’s in charge of dinner, etc. J most loved last week when I added in daily work that reminded him of school, including this stellar journal entry on carpenter bees:

He was so proud and read it to me after he had combed his hair:

One of the things I’ve done that has made our mornings so much easier is setting up my iPad while they eat breakfast. They watch clips from Disney Imagineering, Cincinnati Zoo animals, Bill Nye, or stories being read from their teachers. The boys argued a lot at breakfast (even before we were at home all the time), and this has made a world of difference:

I also have the boys set up in two different rooms. I really need to be able to listen to J’s lessons, so I can answer questions if he has them, and A’s lessons are also longer. So, A is set-up in his bedroom:

And J is set-up in our study:

This gives them some space, and makes it easier to designate learning areas to help them focus. In addition, I also added in Gold Friday’s for the boys where they get to watch movies in the afternoon:

I get to pick the movie (otherwise they’d be watching The Mandalorian or Mickey Mouse shorts over and over, or arguing over who got to pick what), so last week I picked Disneynatures’s Penguin, which was a huge hit. We will test the schedule out this week and see how it goes!

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