Master Bedroom Makeover

Our room was looking a little frumpy and worn, so I switched things up with a new duvet, curtains, and then shopped my house to re-arrange our accessories. I'm loving the new look and feel! I don't think I kept it to any one style, but it looks relaxing and that's what I was going for.  

Happy Wednesday!

My Baby

The other day we were eating breakfast at the table, and I asked Ella, "Are you a big girl, now?"

She smiled, pointed to herself and said, "No, I baby".

Forever my baby you'll be, little one.

Blueberry Maple Scones

We had a little tea party with a few friends last week, which prompted me to make a batch of scones served with real whipped cream. I've tried many scone recipes over the years, and I always prefer the more rustic variations. Slightly brown on the edges, soft and bursting with berries! I confess, this recipe uses both maple syrup and sugar...yet it doesn't taste overly sweet. The trick here is to make sure you cover them foil while baking so they don't get too brown. Maple syrup tends to do that in baked goods. 

Care for the recipe? Pour a cup of tea, a pot of cream, and enjoy!

Blueberry Maple Scones

3 Cups All-Purpose Flour
3/4 Cup Maple Syrup
3/4 Teaspoon Salt
1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
1/2 Cup Cold Butter
1 Cup Fresh Berries
2 Large Eggs
2 1/2 Teaspoons Vanilla
1/2 Cup Sour Cream
1 - 2 Tablespoons Milk

In a large bowl combine dry ingredients and butter. Cut the butter up and mix with dry ingredients until mixture becomes crumbly.

In a separate bowl, mix eggs, vanilla, maple syrup and sour cream. Pour into dry ingredients and mix well. Add 1 - 2 Tablespoons of Milk or until mixture becomes moist and sticky. Very gently add blueberries. 

Using a large ice scream scooper (or 1/4 cup scoop) gently plop onto baking pan.

Brush with a bit of milk and sprinkle course sugar on top.

Bake at 325 for 20 to 25 minutes or until lightly browned. 

What's in My Diaper Bag?

Well, I dusted off the 'ol YouTube, and did a "What's in my diaper bag?" Video. I love these, because it always gives me a glimpse into other people's personality and lives. Maybe I'll make a "What in my purse?" video next. ;)

Also, if you are an Anglophile, you may enjoy my new (and first) Cath Kidston bag!

Happy Wednesday!

Homeschooling Preschool: Charlotte Mason Method

When Evie was just two years old, I remember people asking if we were going to enroll her in preschool. I have to admit, it surprised me that preschool was even available for children that young.

I knew long before she was born that we would more than likely home school. Its something both my husband and I wanted. Family time and having the ability to instill the belief and character virtues that we find important were vital to us. At the same time, we also believed in giving children freedom and flexibility to find their learning styles to better suite their individual needs.

I spent months pouring over web sites, reading books and studying curriculum. The thing that really stood out to me was the "out of the box" thinking that many Montessori and Charlotte Mason educationist shared via the web. One article in particular that stood out to me reiterated something I had felt all along: we put too much pressure on young toddlers and preschoolers.

So, I put away thoughts of curriculum and spent time reading, playing, coloring and simply enjoying my children.

But, as with anything, there comes a time when a little structure is necessary.  I waited for the cue's that I felt were necessary to really dive into preschool with my oldest.

Now, we follow a very light-hearted schedule and focus on areas that come natural to curious preschoolers: numbers, letters, drawing, art, nature, etc.

My focus is nurturing their heart, head, hands and home with simple and fun based learning.

Here's a simple breakdown:

Heart: We rotate between Psalms 121 & 23 every morning and an age appropriate Bible story or devotional. This is our "Morning Basket" time, and my oldest loves it!

Head: We read inspirational books together following a Five in a Row method. We also watch videos and talk about character building lessons from each story.

Hands: We use this time to inspire their creativity through play dough, coloring, drawing, building forts (with daddy), painting, etc. This is also the time I choose to play hymns, classical or jazz music.

Home: I believe children should take ownership of their home so that home is more than just a place to rest their head. They help me decorate, clean, bake, and make things cozy (all age appropriate of course). They love helping and it gives them a since of pride over their space. It's just a few minutes sprinkled here and there, but it is so worth it.

The rest of their day is filled with free play, being outside and quiet time. We also love watching movies and dancing to silly music. There is time for blocks and My Little Pet shop. When it comes to these methods of learning, to me, it is all about balance and finding what works best for YOUR family. I'm a Type A, introvert/extrovert and I NEED schedules and routines. Following this loose schedule and channeling the CM/Montessori style has given me just the recipe that works for US.

What are your methods for schooling children? I love learning new ideas!

Walking In Memphis

We took the girls to Memphis for an overnight trip, and they loved it! When we arrived at the hotel, Evie gasped, "Oh, Thank you so much!!". She was so excited, she couldn't settle down enough to sleep until well after midnight. But, I'll take less sleep when I end up with sweet pictures of happy girls. They really are so much fun at this stage because EVERYTHING is amazing and new to them.

On the first night, we ate at the cheesecake factory (Seriously, one of my favorite places on earth!), took the girls on a carousel ride, and then Ikea. Our hotel was across the street from Ikea! Perfect.

The next morning, we headed to a local donut spot, Howard's Donuts. I always spend hours researching places to eat. The donut shop got rave reviews, and I can see why. I thought they were super moist and melt in your mouth. Evie and Ella loved it, too! I had the coconut donut, and it literally tasted like a giant slice of coconut pie. It was that rich and delicious!

After that, we headed to the local Botanic Gardens. I had no idea that Memphis had a gardens, so I was pleasantly surprised. I wish we had spent more time there, and I would love to visit again. It was such a fun outing! Besides the usually garden fan fare, they had a built in playground, tiny play houses, swings, and fun little areas for kids to play in. They went crazy!!

We also stopped at the Bass Pro Shop, walked along the river, and hit up Ugly Mug Coffee. I had an iced Salted Caramel Latte, and it was SO good. A bit more on the sweet side, so next time, I'll have to order half sweetener.

Places to note:

Howard's Donuts - Cordova, TN
Ugly Mug Coffee- Memphis, TN
Cheesecake Factory-Wolfchase Mall

Bird Watching, Books and Brownies

If I'm being honest, it has been one of THOSE days. You know the kind....where you feel like everything goes wrong, you snap at the kids, the house looks like a war zone...and...the list goes on.

But, I know that's just life.

So, today, I gave myself a little grace. I loaded the girls up and we headed to my husbands office to meet him for lunch. We ate at a new restaurant (Zoe's) and it was delicious. When I got home, I looked up a few new recipes to try for dinner. That always turns my mood around! Cooking is therapeutic for me. Anyone else?

I can't believe Spring is here! I am so happy. Next to fall, it is one of my favorite seasons. This year, we invested in a large bird feeder, a Purple Martin bird house, and a few hummingbird feeders. Over the last few days, we've had dozens of birds visit us! The girls love it. I joined the backyard bird watch program, and now I want to get the girls binoculars (Ok, I just want them for myself). I plan to do a unit study on birds for the kids this spring, as well!

In other random news, I picked up a Terri Blackstock book, If I Run, from Mardel's last week, and it has been quite the page turner! Nothing like a good mystery/suspense novel. I'll have to review it soon when I finish. I also read Francine River's latest novel. It was interesting! Not my normal style, but interesting enough to keep me turning the pages. Have you read anything fun lately?

I'm off to join my family on the back porch for brownie sundae's.

Happy Tuesday and Happy SPRING!!!