family life

Life lately: January highlights

“The ordinary acts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest.”
– Thomas Moore

hot chocolate

I try (but often fail) to remember how little it takes to do something special. Like surprising the kids with hot chocolate in “fancy” teacups after playing outside on a chilly day, and earning big smiles for the tiny bit of effort it took.

This year, instead of entirely doing away with my week-end posts, which many of you have told me you enjoy, I’ve decided to do month-end posts. Still all the goodness of those weekly posts, but in a slightly different format. I hope you’ll enjoy!

good reading: book + links

books I’ve enjoyed this month:

Those last two are books I’ve read with my free trial of kindle unlimited, which I’m really enjoying so far. Also, did you know Amazon has a kindle trade-in program? I sent in my old one for a new paperwhite. The process was super-easy and I got almost $45 toward the new one. Plus, I don’t feel like I wasted the old one. Win-win!

Bibliophile confession: I tried yet again to read Jane Austen, and just could not get through it. This time it was Emma. I think, before I give up entirely, I’ll give Pride and Prejudice a try. Are you an Austen fan?

around the web:

here on the blog:

happenings at home

Ken started a new photo-a-day project for the new year. With photos like these, I don’t think I’m being biased when I tell you it’s worth following:

Ken's photo project

Finally, finally, we are back to some semblance of a normal homeschool routine after all the chaos of moving followed by the holidays. I am keeping things super simple, focusing on the basics for the younger kids, and working with them one at a time. Kathryn works independently with me simply overseeing her work and being available to help.

homeschool january

Whenever possible, we get outside. Once upon a time, I loved cold weather but now I prefer days warm enough to get out and DO things. Ride bikes, go on walks, let the kids bounce on the trampoline, etc. One of the biggest goals I had when moving here is that our daily lives would be more active and outdoor focused.

walk with dogs and kids

After far too much thought on the subject, I swapped our big dining hutch for a new smaller one and consolidated all our homeschool stuff into it. Much better! Bonus: the fun couple we bought it from, owners of a little shop crammed full of fun finds and appropriately called Hoarders. I’m taking decorating slowly in the new house, waiting til I figure out what feels right. Just this week, that meant moving things around in the bedroom to figure out how to give myself an introvert corner so I have a mini getaway when all the humans I love are driving me batty.

new introvert corner

On the fitness front, I’m doing pretty well with a routine, too. I schedule workouts on my calendar to make them a priority, and I’ve got some new challenges planned for myself, including taking up running in addition to my current strength training.

How has this year started off for you? I’d love to hear about it!

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Lisa Huth

Oh, Jamie, I highly recommend Pride and Prejudice! I am a Jane Austen nerd, I will freely admit, and I feel P & P is her best. The fabulous characters Miss Austen created & the humor are so wonderful. I’ve read it 14 times & counting; the last time was last fall when my daughter went off to college & I needed the comfort of an old friend…. 🙂 I realize the style isn’t right for everyone, but do give P & P a try. I have so many other things in common with you, I’d love to know that… Read more »


I love, love those sea shell pictures! Where did you find them? Being outside more was one of our goals for moving south as well. My kids will start going batty after just a day or two inside. When we came home from MI my 10 yo promptly put on her bathing suit (it’s far too cold, even in FL!) and stuck her feet in the pool, just because she could!! 🙂

Emma is on my list to read this year.


We are huge Jane Austen fans around here. If Pride and Prejudice doesn’t appeal to you, watch the movie- the one with Collin Firth. It might take you a while to get through (I think it’s about 6 hours long), but I thought the movie did the book total justice. On the other hand, if you really want to read Jane Austin, I highly recommend Persuasion as a starting point. It totally hooked me.


I could not read Austen either, although an avid reader.

Then I reached a point with my daughter, who at the time was about 13, where I was running out of books to read aloud and decided to give Price & Prejudice a try. Totally different experience altogether!

Reading and listening at the same time, meant I was double processing the language and I was able to understand a lot more, make sense of the dialogue and actually found myself laughing out loud in places where the text was funny.

Maybe that will help? 🙂



I thnk the thing with Austen is that it’s a different paced writing than we’re accustomed to in these days. I tend to skim a bit when reading and seldom take time to ‘soak’ in what I’m reading. Austen is a slow and steady sort of read. If you go to quickly you can easily get confused and miss the hilarious and subtle humor tied up in the descriptive passages.