Friday, August 16, 2019


Our summer is winding down. However, we aren't ready to transition to fall yet. There is still a huge road trip to plan, execute and have a wonderful time on. Also, we are wrapping up my long list of summer projects.

Project 1 ~ Continue the Journey of Reducing our Belongings and my Workload
Just one box of Lego bricks off to the consignment shop
Every item you own needs to be maintained. I am really over taking care of so much stuff. I would rather invest my time and energy into people and animals. I needed to get my kids on board with getting rid of tons of stuff, too. It turns out they don't want to spend their free time cleaning and organizing either (outside of normal chores). So we are actively reducing our belongings. It is a work- in-progress, but progress is being made. Last week's biggest accomplishment was dropping off all of the LEGO bricks and figurines at the consignment shop. We had 25 years of accumulated LEGO kits in our home. Four kids plus LEGO sets from friends over the years meant tons of LEGO bricks and figurines, all unassembled and mixed together in a huge drawer. We washed, sorted and packed 27 gallon size bags for the consignment shop. They are ALL GONE! If I had it to do all over again, I would never let our family end up with so many LEGO kits and bricks. The kids stopped playing with them because they were too overwhelming, but they didn't want to let them go because they were fun to play with before they became all mixed together. I should have kept that part of our life way more under control and limited so playing with LEGO would have remained enjoyable.
Piles of figurine parts that needed to be put together.

This was our Lego drawer. An empty space!
Project 2 ~ Our Big New England Trip
I have spent hours upon hours planing for our New England trip. We are taking our immediate family, the maternal Grandmas (one is a step), and Dean's girlfriend. That makes eight of us which won't even fit in our mini-van. We are facing 14 hours of driving just to get to the starting point of our multi -state New England road trip -- not to mention lots of motel hopping and a budget to stick with as well. Did I mention that we have a host of special needs that will impact this trip?! It is a huge undertaking for us. I feel like it is finally coming together. I think and hope we are going to have a grand trip. 

Project 3 ~ Our Ultra Gentle Start to School
School is very gently underway. The teens are doing about an hour of school work a day. They will be increasing to about three hours of book seat work in September. We are getting a feel for how long different subjects will take and how to flesh out the schedule once the full school year starts in September. So far, I haven't needed to make any drastic changes. I decided not to do a back-to-school curriculum post this year because I feel like how we use our many resources will be an evolving process. Instead, I will be posting our monthly goals and resources based on what real life opportunities are being offered to us. Once I know what our month will look like, I will add in the living books and lessons that will enhance or fill in gaps of their real life opportunities. They will still be doing plenty of school work, but this is a shift in my attitude that school work is the most important thing going on in their lives. Instead of trying to squeeze in tons of school around their lives, I will be using our books and resources to provide them with a living education that enhances their daily lives. I have lots of resources pulled from our shelves plus many, many lesson plans set up, so it will still be easy to grab things as needed. I am also hoping that this new attitude will help the checklist person that I am stay in the present and reduce worry for the future.     

Project 4 ~ Painting the Back House
We are all working on painting our back shed or house as most of us call it. It could be converted into a living space some day, if needed. Right now we are only using it for life lessons. We had the windows replaced. After we paint the exterior, we will pick a new project. Perhaps learning how to replace the door or lay a floor on the inside (it only has a sub floor). My crew hates to paint, so this is an ordeal for them. They are earning money for our trip as motivation. We hope to have the three sides we can easily access completed by the end of today. We will work on clearing the vines and weeds behind the house this fall and paint the back in September or next spring.

Project 5 ~ Assembling Furniture
One of Dean's goals this year is to do an Industrial Arts project every week. Besides painting the back house, he assembled a chair for Grandma this week. It was a quick project and I think he enjoyed it. It certainly built his confidence. He was smiley for most of the day afterward.

Project 6 ~ Socialize
I am not sure this is really a project, but I didn't want to leave out some of the fun we had during the last two weeks. Dean did his last week of camp counseling. It went well. Anne got to go roller skating with a friend. This was the main thing on her bucket list for the summer. Our closest rink is about an hour away and hard to get to with limited hours. I am glad we accomplished her wish. Dance is still happening a few times a week so that Anne can stay conditioned.

Camp Counseling

Anne is my very own flying squirrel.
Blessings, Dawn                                                                                                                                   


  1. It looks like a great week. Good luck on the travel plans - it is always an adventure taking a group on the road.

  2. I wish you well on your trip! Your kids are getting an exceptional education through the trips and hands-on experiences you give them. I love that Dean was smiley after he put the chair together. It makes me smile to think of him smiling. And Anne is so beautiful in her dance pictures!!! I think you're smart to keep summer going while you finish projects. I'd like to do the same, but my kids are so dying to start (at least for now), and I promised them Monday, so Monday it is!

    Part of me wishes we could have your old Legos, but we have many gallons of them ourselves, so it would probably be too much for us, too! I hope there are happy families who discover awesome Legos at the thrift store!!!

  3. I'm not a huge fan of painting either, and I have 2 projects to work on in the next few months. The shed turned out lovely, such a bright/fun color.

    Best of luck with planning the trip, can't wait to hear about and see photos of your journey.

  4. It is always so lovely to see your family. It makes me happy.

  5. Wow, you are doing so well! I love the back house, it looks so gorgeous now it is painted. Gary and I met each other in America whist we were working on a camp so reading about that put a happy smile on my face as it brought back some lovely memories!
    Claire @ angelicscalliwags