The morning started far too early. Or did the night just go super fast? Or did I lose track of time completely between diaper changes and feedings? Bleary eyed, I reach for the coffee. (Of course.) But lately, I’ve been pushing hard to reach for something – or rather Some One – else besides just the caffeine when the morning comes.

Early mornings with little sleep between them and the last evening are habit now. With lots of littles comes…well, very little rest. If you’re a parent, you know. 🙂 While this is nothing new to me three kids in, sometimes my lack of sanity and joy after a particularly tough night still surprises me.

In the more recent past, I am ashamed to admit that my attitude is less than stellar on these earlier mornings, and I’m prone to making bad habits out of grouchiness and bitterness and snappiness.

But something else has strangely become a habit, too. When I feel like I just can’t handle another stressful morning of making sure everyone does their chores and schoolwork and ticking off the boxes of to-dos, and when I have no energy to dive into a creative project or craft, I always end up loading up all the kids and heading out into nature. A park. A lakeside trail. A local garden. A nearby orchard. When the overwhelm sets in, I set out.

And miracle of miracles, its like hitting the reset button! Getting outside somehow helps me get out of my head. And when the brain fog finally clears a bit, I can hear and see and feel Jesus so much better.

The breezes kiss the yellow-tinged leaves. Thank you, Lord.

The grasshopper flits over a vibrant flower. Thank you, Lord.

The children giggle as the case each other. Thank you, Lord.

It’s like a liturgy created just for me in the time I so desperately needed it, but couldn’t create on my own.

While I strive to create a Christ-centered, Spirit-filled home, sometimes I need to breathe deeply the fresh air God created. It only makes perfect sense that being out in Creation brings us closer to the Creator. Without fail I am reminded of His love for us. His peace that passes understanding. The hope that comes with salvation in Him.

Today, by the grace of God, the baby only woke once in the night and this morning feels like a good one. But because life always throws curveballs (and messes and grief and overwhelm), I am now more aware of how practicing being in God’s presence outside is a form of worship too.

Maybe today I will seek God’s face out in His creation and find something completely new. Maybe I will find a fresh way to approach a hard situation, a sense of peace about a troubling event, a quiet word to focus on as I watch a bumblebee or a praying mantis or a swaying wildflower.

The great thing about habits is that I can start anew any time. Any day. Today, whether sleep deprived or rested, glad or upset, I’m aiming to breathe afresh the air God so graciously granted and in turn, breathe deeply His presence.

“But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you . Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.”

Job 12:7-10

Fall Homeschool Bucket List

Not a fan of the traditional pumpkin patch this year? With fall just around the corner, I’ve compiled a list of unique and social-distancing-friendly autumn activities for homeschooling families!

Grab a pen and jot a few down, or print the entire page for your fridge or bulletin board down below!

*Not an affiliate link post. I do have some links included, but only because I simply love the products/blogs. No product promos here. 🙂

Find the printable PDF at the bottom of this post!

After being cooped up for more of the summer than we wanted, our fam was MORE than ready to get out and explore. Now that the weather is cooler, we’re even more ready! Here are some of the things we’re hoping to do before autumn comes to a close:

  1. Finish an Apple Unit Study and go apple picking at a local orchard.
    – We used this curriculum for our mini unit study, and this amazing book to go along with it. Even my youngest and squirreliest learners were into it!
  2. Hunt for, label and sketch different types of leaves.
    – Use an entire morning for this! Head to your local walking path, nature trail, lake, or backyard to find your leaves. For my preschooler, I set out kid-safe scissors and glue and let him cut and glue leaves to his nature journal.
  3. Use Map Skills to Explore a New Place
    – You could use nature trail or state parks near you (be sure to grab a map at the visitor information center!), print one off from your own city, or older kids could create your own!
  4. Try Your Hand at Fall-Scented Candle Making
    – I am personally in love with this idea. While it might work better for older children, I’ll probably try this one during nap time. 🙂 I’m trying this pin first!
  5. Conduct a Bird or Plant Nature Study
    – It’s fall!! So think of migratory birds (like Canadian Geese) or fall harvest crops (like corn or maize).
  6. Make Apple or Pumpkin Scented Play Dough
    – A family favorite here. Here’s our favorite recipe!
  7. Read Aloud Outside
    – Our top favorite fall read alouds are Charlotte’s Web, the Boxcar Children Series, and any of the Magic Treehouse Series.
  8. Build an Outdoor Fort, Tent or Teepee
    – This may require some hunting for materials before, but why not include that in the school day? Gathering materials and building promotes scientific and artistic creativity!
  9. Make a Thankful Pumpkin or Tree
    – See some examples here and here!
  10. Bake with Local Produce
    – Need some ideas for a jumpstart? Try our Sweet Potato Pumpkin Pie or Spiced Carrot Cake Scones!
  11. Create a Farmer’s Market Dramatic Play Area
    – This one’s more for younger kids, but my older child loves it, too. Maybe the big kids can even create something to actually sell at a real local farmer’s market!
  12. Print and Color a Gratitude Journal Page
    – Here’s an adorable open-ended one (and it’s free!)

With those cooler breezes, you can bet on finding us outdoors as much as possible, checking these off one by one. Even as I type, I’m still dreaming up more I’d love for us to do! Must be the kid-at-heart in me. Hopefully they’ve inspired kid-at-heart in you as well.

Happy Fall!

Want to print this Fall Homeschool Bucket List off? Click the green button below!

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Preschool P.E. at Home

When we first started preschool activities at home, I knew physical activity and education would be important, but I wasn’t sure where to start!

As time went on, I realized that the most important part of physical education in the early childhood years is simply the enjoyment of and participation in being active! So we began doing things we loved, and our P.E. evolved from there.

Continue reading “Preschool P.E. at Home”

27 Ways to Play Outdoors This Spring

Spring has sprung here in the Midwest, and we couldn’t be more relieved to be spending more time outdoors!

Continue reading “27 Ways to Play Outdoors This Spring”

Dinosaur Fossil Dig Activity & Extensions

It’s time for another dinosaur post! 😀

Today’s activity is a DIY dinosaur dig designed for your little paleontologists.

Continue reading “Dinosaur Fossil Dig Activity & Extensions”