Not back to school!

Wellp, here we are, end of the first week back to school for most kids here in TX, so I reckon I oughta update y’all on our schoolish going ons.  [What? I didn’t just eat a handful of peanut butter M&Ms plus coffee for my lunch, causing a caffeine/sugar high mixed in with pure exhaustion from having to hold both Apple and Smiles most of the night last night, therefore typing crazy mumbo jumbo like oughta  and y’all…YOU did. Oh wait… 😉 ]

Anyhoo, we’ve been doing bits and pieces of various schoolishness all summer, but I’m not planning to have our “official” first day till September 12th. In preperation for that time, though, I asked Artist and Boo about what their personal goals for themselves are this  coming year. Apparently this year we will be improving skills in sewing, cooking and baking, photography, art, and physics.

My husband and I actually debated for awhile what the best option is for our girls’ education this year and hashed out some different options, but ended up right back at homeschooling them in an eclectic way, with bits and pieces of different programs and curriculums that work for us, and a lot of unschooling. At least that’s out plan for right now. Fortunately we get to change at any point in time if that’s not working. Yay for flexibility! 😀

Celebrating NOT back to school! #unschool #funschool #eclectichomeschool #delightdirected | Running With Spears

How about you? If your kids just started back at school, how’s it going? Do you and your kids have goals for the upcoming year? I’d love to hear what they are! I’d also love more coffee. 😉

Mom Hack Monday

So, I’ve been sharing some of our favorite family games recently, and if you’re like me, you’re probably thinking, “How in the world do they pull of a family game night with a toddler running amok?

Here’s my secret — toddler game packs!

Packs of pieces from multiple games for toddlers to explore keeps them more interested than they'd be with a single game | Running With Spears #games #toddlers #parenthacks

Whenever we pull out a game to play with our older girls, we also grab a pack for Smiles. I took a handful of games that are missing pieces, or that I just never, ever, want to actually play again, (Chutes and Ladders? Shoot me now!) and put them together into zipper bags or the now-empty boxes so that each container has a much greater variety of pieces than any single game did before. Sure, Smiles still sometimes tries to grab the pieces to the game we’re playing, but this helps a ton! Usually by the time she’s finished exploring all her pieces she’s ready to cuddle up on the couch with her favorite blankey and watch a movie.

Plus, this way my kids can’t ever ask me to play Monopoly Junior again. Win-win!

I’ll share more tips next Mom Hack Monday in 2 weeks – right now I’m alternating with my family fun night ideas. Sign up to subscribe to my posts via e-mail (there’s a spot on the right sidebar, or below the post if you’re on a mobile device) or follow me on Facebook if you want to be sure to not miss it. 🙂

Family Fun Friday – Love Letter

Love Letter - fun, simple, fairly quick strategy game fun for families, or as a little one-on-one bonding with one kid, since this game is fun with as few as 2 players! | Running With Spears #familyfun #gamesHello again my friends! This summer I’ve been sharing a few of our favorite family games with you guys!

This week’s game is Love Letter. It’s a strategy card game that’s easy to learn, but can be fairly complex depending on how strategically you play, making it fun for all of us! Boo, who is 6, plays on her own. She may not always grasp the more advanced strategies, but she still sometimes wins by pure luck.

The idea is that each player is a suitor trying to get his love letter to the princess. Every turn, each player has 2 cards in their hand and chooses one to play. Ideally you’ll try to figure out who (if anyone) is holding the princess and eliminate them from the round. At the end of the round, whoever has the highest card wins a token of affection.

OK, so maybe it doesn’t sound  super awesome, but it’s a lot of fun to play! A game can take as little as 15 minutes to play, so it’s a great choice when we don’t have a ton of time. It’s also easy enough to stop at the end of any round and declare the person with the most points the winner, so if I want to play a bit with my girls during the day it’s an easy one to dive into without risking wanting to pull my hair out before the game is over because all hell has broken loose Apple is screaming and Smiles is dumping sugar and creamer all over the kitchen trying to make me coffee.

One of my favorite features of this particular game is that, unlike most of our games, it’s just as fun with 2 people as it is with 5 so if I want to have a little quality time with one of my girls we can pull this out and play together!

If the whole suitors for the princess  story doesn’t sound fun to you, check out the many  variations of Love Letter. There’s a Batman theme, and a Hobbit theme…Boo just spent some of her own money to buy “Letters to Santa,” a Christmas themed version of the game!

I’ll share another game we love next Family Fun Friday – which will probably be in 2 weeks, right now I’m alternating with my “Mom Hacks” posts. Sign up to subscribe to my posts via e-mail (there’s a spot on the right sidebar, or below the post if you’re on a mobile device) or follow me on Facebook if you want to be sure not to miss it.  🙂

“Seasons” Guest Post

7660103606_b5cccd0296_zHi  guys!

Just wanted to jot a quick note to let you guys know you that I had the pleasure of guest blogging for my friend and fellow blogger Wren at FINCHNWREN.

You may have noticed my posts around here have been a bit more succinct than usual lately, because honestly this season of life with 4 kids under 10, including a baby, is proving fairly challenging…which is exactly what I talk about over on Wren’s blog.

Check it out. 🙂

Mom Hack Monday

Mom Hacks - pack small toddler friendly activities in your diaper bag for times you have to wait, like at restaurants. | Running With Spears #toddlers #parenthacksEver try to go to a restaurant with 4 kids under the age of 9 and realize it practically would have been easier to make a seven course dinner from scratch?!? Inevitably before you’ve even gotten your food you’re regretting the decision to eat out…the baby is crying, the toddler who just started wearing panties is bored and wants to fill the time by claiming she has to go potty over and over, and you don’t dare risk telling her no in case it’s true…and the 6 and 8 year old are arguing because only one of them got a blue crayon in the tiny little 2 pack of crayons the restaurant gave them, and they’ve both  just decided that blue is their favorite color. Oy!

I finally decided last year to stop putting myself at the mercy of the often super lame (and occasionally non-existent) kids coloring pages at restaurants to distract starving kids while waiting for food to arrive. I’ve started stocking my diaper bag with a handful of items that I reserve only  for restaurants (or other situations where we have to wait while we’re out of the house).

One of my favorites is scratch art. There are a number of scratch art “party packs” by Melissa and Doug on Amazon that I divide up into individual zippies so each kid can make their own bookmark or whatever. Another go-to item is play-doh or other clay. I actually prefer Crayola brand “Model Magic” because it’s nice and soft and easy to shape (be sure to pack extra zippies to seal it in after it’s played with so you can use it again another time). Last but not least, my kids can all be entertained for quite some time with cheap sticker books, especially goofy ones like Funny Animal Faces, etc.

Do you have any tricks up your sleeve for helping little kids stay happy at restaurants? I’d love to hear them! 😀

I’ll share more tips next Mom Hack Monday in 2 weeks – right now I’m alternating with my family fun night ideas. Sign up to subscribe to my posts via e-mail (there’s a spot on the right sidebar, or below the post if you’re on a mobile device) or follow me on Facebook if you want to be sure not to miss it. 🙂