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Kristen is a home­maker, home­schooler, and a home­keeper. Her experience includes nineteen years of practice, raising three kids, a husband, and a dog. Writing about her life helps her stay sane. She believes that sharing stories helps others by providing opportunities to share advice (and helpful hints) about homeschooling, and raising kids on the autism spectrum, while supporting marriages and families that are striving to thrive.

We're All a Little Mad Here

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Since the advent of Pinterest, I’ve become something of a bucket-list type of mom. We all lose our minds, every once in awhile, right? I mean to say, Pinterest makes everything “possible” and “do-worthy.” I can make anything and everything and for next to nothing, on a shoestring budget!

Before I get accused of enabling a burgeoning addiction to Pinterest, this post is more of a cautionary tale. I totally can get into bucket-lists, but I’m a little more realistic about what I am and am not capable of than when I first started Pinterest. I’d like to amount it all to maturity, but I think I’ve become just a little more skeptical of how easy it is (or isn’t) to do a project.

Also, discretionary funding of big projects that begin with “I saw this great idea on Pinterest...” has been dubiously limited by the man of the house. 

So, that being said, I have gotten some great ideas on things to do with the kids, and some projects to make, that truly are not expensive from the Pinterest-of-wonder-world. Plus, there are tons of ideas on the "what-to-do-that-doesn't-require-a-plug-or-charger"  list.

All-in-all, there are lots of good things to be said about the fabulousness of Pinterest, plus the ideas are what count, but... proceed with caution! The “make this ice rink for three dollars with materials from the dollar store!” project doesn’t work... not for three dollars, anyway, and not in my backyard --just keeping it real. Also, the glow-in-the-dark spray painted planter pots don’t glow that brightly, unless maybe you use (at least) ten cans of the stuff. I speak from experience. But, I digress.




Bucket lists are great for summer, unless they get too long, in which case you might find that you will be bringing on feelings of anxiety and remorse over NOT getting enough things done. That won't do. The bucket list is meant to be fun! It’s also meant to be helpful, especially for those days where it seems like the TV has been on for 72 hours, the computers have been bogging down the wi-fi for days, and the kiddos look a bit like manic cycle, hollow eyed Voldemorts and still have the nerve to say they are bored, hungry, starving, and desperate.




Our Bucket list, for example has some of what I would call "big ticket" items, like, make a trip to Washington DC for the day, so we can breeze through a few of the Smithsonian Museums and the Library of Congress (we are total book people). It’s amazing that we take such a great amount of resources for granted. DC is fun, there are tons of things to see, learn and do, and you can take the train for about the same amount of money as driving in and parking for the day. It’s a no-brainer. Pack lunch, though, because I am pretty sure the food industry in DC can be classified as racketeering and/or an extortion operation. The Smithsonian is free; the food is not!




Another big ticket item for this year is planning a day trip- possibly an overnight trip to hike a part of the Appalachian Trail. We like to hike, and the AT is practically in our back yard. It’s still up for debate if we are going to do it this summer, though, or wait for it to get a bit cooler.

Spending the day in Old Town Fredericksburg is on the bucket list, just because it is fun to explore the antiques and the books and visit all the little eateries that Fredericksburg has to offer. We always have fun tooling around Princess Anne and Caroline Streets.




Other things that can go on a bucket list are things like scavenger hunts, library days, themed lunch days that can go along with whatever book(s) you and the kids are reading, tea parties, backyard nature treasure hunts, and things that are easy and not too expensive (or free) to do. We’ll have board game day, and movie marathon day, too -- great for epics like Star Wars, Harry Potter, and High School Musical. Relax and enjoy!




Lastly, we pick out a few projects to try from the many wonderful things we’ve pinned from our Pinterest boards. Mine include composting and starting a garden- a real garden- that is edible. I have exactly one tomato (a squirrel robbed me of the other one), several radishes, a tidy little spinach crop, and lemon thyme, which is supposed to keep the bugs away. Danielle is crocheting a quilt. Katie is Minecraft-ing her heart out. Tommy is reading, and finding obscure facts and daydreaming about the multiverse that is his world. My husband, bless him, tolerates and encourages us in our sometimes wacky pursuits. Big bubble making is always fun, and inexpensive, for example, and we all get into it.

So, keep calm, keep your Pinterest in check, make a bucket list, and parent on!

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Cooking Autism

Cooking Autism, Inc. is driven to help children with neurological disorders (including autism) learn how to cook. Participants are encouraged to pick up critical communication skills, learn how to work as a team and be more independent. They can build skills in math, reading, and science, and learn about cooking-related topics such as health and nutrition.