Thursday, April 9, 2020


With all that has been going on and the changes that have taken place at home,
it's hard to find a moment to fold the laundry, let alone to blog!
A few of the projects that have been keeping us busy:

Amish Friendship Bread
I was randomly thinking about Amish friendship bread the other day and decided it would be another fun ongoing project to do with the boys. We mixed up the starter together and, after tending it over the course of 10 or 11 days, we mixed up three loaves of sweet bread. The boys loved it! It was a little dry for my tastes, but I'm pretty picky about my baked goods...

Basketball Hoop
Shortly before we were confined to our homes, Sam went out and purchased a good-sized basketball hoop. Our backyard is such a muddy mess, only about 50% covered in grass, that I am presented with a huge mess every time the boys play outside (which is a lot). Our driveway is pretty long since we have a side-loading garage, which makes a great area for playing ball. The boys have LOVED shooting hoops together and with Sam, and it's a great way for Sam to de-compress too.

Organizing the Attic
Usually when I feel like I'm about to lose my mind, I start an organization project. Organizing works wonders like little else in restoring my sanity. Throughout this pandemic, I have taken several shifts up in the attic, sifting through storage that has been moved from house to house and has been largely untouched for years. I've organized holiday decorations, taken trips down memory lane as I've gone through high school photos and certificates, and reminisced as I sorted keepsakes from my foreign exchange trip to Germany I took as a teenager. I'm not quite done, but that space is looking SO much better and I feel satisfied every time I open the door.

Coronavirus Pinata
This project is going to get a post of its own, but what started as a joking comment Sam made in passing turned into a fun, long-term project as we have put on layer after layer of paper mache. The pinata is almost done and it will be so fun to smash!!

Cousins' Lego Masters
Sam's sister, who lives in California, texted after schools started getting cancelled to see if we wanted to participate in a "Lego Masters" exchange with her son. Each week has a different theme and the boys build a creation to go along with the theme and then share them over Marco Polo. It's been a fun way to stay connected and has re-ignited the boys' love of creating with Legos.

Sunshine Bag
The other day there was a knock on the door. I opened it to find Talmage's old Scout leader standing about 15 feet away (social distancing, ya know) and a big paper "sunshine bag" on the doormat. She had assembled an assortment of fun activities for the boys to do including sticker books, paper glasses to color, glow sticks to mix with bubbles to make glow-in-the-dark bubbles, snacks, and more! It was so incredibly sweet of her to think of us and to put together such a fun package of things for the boys.

Remote Schoolwork
Thankfully the schools here are super chill about school work while the kids are away. My neighbor is a teacher and explained that they have been instructed over and over to not make things stressful for parents, because they had no idea who had lost jobs, who was food-insecure, who was being cared for by older siblings who were trying to manage their own high school work, who had limited Internet access, etc. All of the work is totally optional as a result. I've been having my kids do about half of what is assigned and also giving them some additional work to do--especially advanced assigned reading with book reports. Talmage is loving a time-travel packet in which he has to research different theories of time travel, Einstein's theory of relativity, black holes, and more. Wesley just finished a book about young Norwegian boys in World War II who smuggled millions of dollars of gold away from Nazis by sledding in the snow, and Lincoln has had fun learning about plants. When I'm diligent about having the kids do work, I just make them each a list of work they need to do and print out needed worksheets, etc. in the morning and put them in each boy's folder. They then complete the work fairly independently, consulting me for help wherever needed. It's been a pretty effective system for our current family dynamic, if not quite as scheduled and hands-on as I would ideally like.

Neighborhood Food Drive
My sister shared this idea with me when she did it in her neighborhood in Utah! We printed flyers, stuck them on 30 doors on our street, and then walked around collecting food between Conference sessions on Saturday. Our neighborhood had pretty good participation considering I don't know most of our neighbors, and I estimate that we probably got around 150 lbs of food to donate. I felt very grass-roots as we dropped it off at the Mid-South food bank and I backed our mini-van up to loading docks where semi-trucks make commercial donations, but though it may have been just a small drop in the bucket, it was such a good experience for my boys to be a part of. Thanks for the idea, Jocilyn!

Celebrating Holy Week
It's been a bit more low-key than last year, but we've enjoyed doing things each day to celebrate Holy Week. We sang a "Hosanna" song and read about Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Sunday. On Monday we read about His cleansing of the temple and watched our favorite temple video. The boys' responses are always so awe-struck when we watch this one! Maxwell kept whispering, "Beautiuful!" as it played, and the boys wanted to go to sleep listening to it. I woke up the next morning to hear them blasting the song in their room on repeat! On Tuesday the older boys each chose a favorite parable to read and discuss, and yesterday we celebrated "Spy Wednesday" by discussing and reading about Judas' betrayal for 30 pieces of silver. We talked about the importance of always loving people more than money or things, and then we filled 30 Easter eggs with candy and walked over to a nearby friend's house to leave a surprise Easter egg hunt  in their yard! We had so much fun sneakily hiding eggs while trying not to be seen through their big front window. Tonight is our traditional Easter symbol dinner!

...and the biggest project of all,
Growing Baby #6!
We took the plunge and decided to add another to our crew! I'm almost 14 weeks along now (though this ultrasound is from about 9 weeks), and it's been a bit of a roller coaster so far in every way with lots of ups and downs. This little one is due October 10, and we're all so excited!!!


  1. This is a great list of projects! I love how intentional you try to be with activities, especially with your Holy Week celebration. I also love that temple video and song; there's just something that feels so sacred about it. It makes me anxious to return as a worker and a patron when the temples open back up.

  2. And of course, yay for baby #6!!! I'm so excited for you!

  3. I have had the feeling for a few months now that another baby would be coming into your family. Congratulations!!!!!!!


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