Lenten Morning Basket

It feels like Lent got here in quite a hurry doesn’t it? Usually, January and February drag by, but this year I think that we were so busy I didn’t even notice them come and go. With some days in the high 50s, but some nights dropping to 20 degrees, it feels as if Spring is trying to push open the door that February keeps trying to hold shut.

The chickens are starting to lay again and my Lenten rose is starting to bloom so that can only mean one thing: Easter is coming!

Lent and Easter are my favorite. Well, okay, some of my favorites. I’m really just a fan of all the holidays. Who doesn’t love an excuse to make fancy food and relax? But Easter always feels a bit extra special because of the hardship of Lent right before. The sacrifices sure make the victory that much more sweet. I have very fond memories of Lent and Easter growing up. Our Lent traditions were strict and the older we got the more strict they became. Not because our parents made it that way, we imposed them on ourselves because the journey of being shriven was undeniably gratifying and rewarding in itself. Rather than dreading it, I look forward to Lent every year. Our Lent doesn’t feel quite as strenuous as I remember it being at C and A’s age but I’m sure my perspective is warped by time. It might also be because the many of the typical Lenten foods abstained from are eggs, dairy, and oils which is our modi operandi around here 24/7. However, the older they get the more creatively stringent our Lents will become.

I’ve only added a few new things to our morning basket to reflect the season. Since Lent is so long I’m sure more spring related activities will be added later once we are in the swing of things.

To switch up art a little the kids will be working through some tutorials that we bought off of Art Hub For Kids. If you haven’t heard of them, check it out! They definitely been a highlight for A the past few years.

I’ve gotten out our Lent cross and cleaned it off, now I just need some nontoxic tapers for it. We light a new candle each week of Lent at dinner time and say some special prayers every night when they are lit. On Easter the candles get switched to all white.

We’ve used Catholicicing.com for our Lenten calendars for the past few years, and a new addition is that they have a Byzantine version now- neat! I also got a printable craft of the Last Supper for the kids to do. I’m looking forward to that as a new addition this year. I highly recommend Catholic Icing, she’s a great resource and has lots of freebies.

I was glad to pull out the kids Lenten blocks that we made a few years ago. Luckily, the personalized three categories of prayer, fasting, and alms giving still apply but I think this might be their last year before they have to be repainted; new prayers need to be memorized and I’m sure the kids would like the opportunity to think of other things to fast from. Even though our family gives up things and takes on things as a family unit for Lent, they get to roll these everyday to make the fasting season a more personal journey, until they can really guide themselves through prayers, fasting, and alms giving for 40 days.

I hope you enjoyed the wee tour of our Lenten basket folks! May you have a fulfilling and rigorous Lent.


February Morning Basket

I’m a little behind on sharing our morning basket for February but, better late than never, right? This is a short month for us, since I scheduled a week long break during this month, which means the morning basket does not have quite as many activities in it. Nevertheless, we’ve been keeping quite busy and loving the new materials.

The past few months I was inspired by my own personal struggles and decided to incorporate things I am currently learning into the kids schooling. I kept thinking to myself, “If I only knew that my body was sending me signals of distress and how to handle them sooner!” After much research I purchased an activity unit study about stress response that was designed for kids. I can’t recommend it enough, it is presented incredibly well. If only all people had this type of training as children, I can only imagine how much better the world would be, I know I wish I had! Check it out here. I spread the activities and reading out over a week but it could easily be used longer than that. For example, the posters I kept 8 1/2 by 11, laminated them, and have been reviewing them with the kids, as well as a belly breathing chart I made for the kids (and me!) to practice with. A and C took to it more than I thought they would and showed me how in tune with themselves they are.

We have been still using our art cards as inspiration for art discussion and drawing. The kids don’t seem to be tired of them and sketching is a nice way for them to keep busy while I read aloud. However, I’ve got my eye on some new ones, stay tuned.

We are listening to our gospel cd over again, and I am still really glad it’s part of the morning basket. It’s a great morning matcha companion for those of us that aren’t inclined to hit the ground running. The kids can listen while I stare off into the fire zoning out plan our day- school starts before I even change out of my pjs! Just kidding, I wear my pjs like all day.
The states and capitols have just about been mastered! I’m proud of the bigs!

My mom got us this gorgeous Panagia book. The illustrations of icons are so beautiful, the kids and I are loving looking at a page at a time and reading it together. Our trusty old poems book is still going strong. A has almost finished The Village Blacksmith and C has tackled about half of The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere! They’ve each memorized about 6-8 poems since August.

This is an ugly but effective way to contain alllll our math flash cards. C is working through all the multiplication and division facts 1-12 and A is working on all the addition and subtraction facts for second grade. Hopefully, all of these will be memorized by next year.

I’ve added more games to our morning basket, just to start the day off on the right foot. Admittedly, it is difficult for me to make myself get to them every morning, but I am always so glad that I did. We alternate between memory and slapjack these days, both of which are so fun and provide good chances for sportsmanship practice. I’m not sure if IKEA still carries these memory cards, but if they do you should get them. They have really pretty pictures and are very sturdy.

Of course it would not be a good February morning basket without Valentines! I had this big elaborate plan to have Valentines made from scratch with doilies and glitter but…it was expensive and frankly, I got bogged down with other things. SO, Amazon to the rescue (like always) and we had some simple Valentines but got some great stickers to send out with them so I don’t think the kids felt too neglected. We did end up making a few homemade ones with the extra stickers which even C enjoyed despite not enjoying art very much.

I thought I’d give you a little sneak peak into Pickle’s school time basket. As with all toddlers, things have to mixed up quite often so I ended up getting a few new items for her basket.

Pardon the terrible photo, the natural light didn’t want to come out at all. The gray busy board is from my in laws and I just love it! It is a fantastic fine motor skills activity. The blue board is a wipe on wipe off board from ages ago that Pickle really likes to use over, and over, and over! I made those animal imitation cards for C out of 3×5 cards and masking tape and a sad little pipe cleaner, haha! What can I say, things were tight. I am proud of how well it is holding up though! P acts out the cards for Recitation. The Around the Farm book and little reader books are starting to grow on her. The Water Wow is just always such a winner as is the sticker book. She prefers to do those with people rather than on her own though. The dice in the middle was a gift from my friend years ago. It has a pocket with color coordinated cards that utilize fine motor and gross motor skills. Toddlers roll the dice then pick a card and act it out. It is a big hit with P! The little jar is full of leaping frogs that she is enjoying figuring out.

Well, I hope that you enjoyed this little peak into our mornings! I’m always looking for suggestions on school materials for our morning basket and things to keep a toddler busy, so let know if you have any ideas! I’m off to prep for freezer meals this weekend. I am doing some of our favorites this time, plus a new sweet potato shepherds pie recipe I’m really excited about, I’ll let you know how it goes.

Have a great weekend friends, cheers!

Field Trip Friday: Fort Nisqually Living History Museum

Located in the Point Defiance Park in Tacoma, the Fort Nisqually History Museum is just 30 minutes away from us and yet, this was the first time we’ve been there. We have been missing out! This was one of our best field trips yet! While most of the buildings on site are modeled after the real fort built in the 1830s, the history of the fort was so well preserved that the layout and details are historically accurate. A few of the buildings are the original buildings. The kids and I had so much fun, we could have stayed there all day. I cannot recommend this experience enough.

In my opinion, the fee for the four of us to go was very modest for the experience provided. The kids got a scavenger hunt with a small prize at the end, the employees were dressed in authentic period attire, and they were extremely kid friendly. I was very grateful for their relaxed demeanors with my particularly wiggly toddler as well as their willingness to explain aspects of the fort and their jobs. The employees go about their assigned job on the fort as if they really live there. We got to see them smoke some real ham in their smoke shed. The pig had been butchered on site a month ago and has been preserved in salt as the guy said, “We use everything but the squeal!” They did this just casually, it wasn’t a set up demonstration, we got a private show!

General store. This fort was a major trading post.

The buildings are set up with amazing period artifacts. The kitchen garden is actually used, and their lavender was being dried in a store room. It was just the coolest! By far one of the best things was the blacksmith shop. We watched them light the fire with flint and work iron right in front of us, all while in authentic attire and using a real 1830s forge!

Blacksmiths – these guys were amazing! They told great stories.
Drying lavender harvested from the garden
A lookout tower
Looking down on the store and blacksmith from a tower

When we saw they had chickens naturally we had to inspect them. They had the most gorgeous speckled Sussex rooster and we couldn’t get enough of him. C and I decided we need a speckled Sussex. Or two. Or five. No plastic watering or food holders here! They even kept the chicken coop authentic.

I mean… SO handsome right? It made us miss Lucas (our re-homed rooster) a lot 😢

While wandering around we came across a whole building full of 1830s children’s toys including some stilts which the kids were quite interested in. We didn’t notice till later that Pickle had pinched some of the glass beads used in one of the games but luckily we were able to return them after we found them clutched in her tiny fist a few buildings later. To be fair, they are the same type of bead that I hide in the sandbox for her to find so… understandable mistake. She will tell you otherwise however.

Most of the buildings had 1830s wood stoves actually in use and if you look at the photo above, you can see they chop all their wood on-site!

Kitchen and garden

You can see the outside of the kitchen and the garden in the photo above both. The garden is rather dormant right now obviously but the kitchen had something hanging from the rafters in it being processed for something, and I’ll tell ya, it smelled terrible. I always like to think I’m all hardcore and could live off the land but I’ll tell ya right now- NOPE. I don’t think I’d make it. The smell might be something you get used to but the other daily, let’s say, necessities is not something I’d handle well. There were several privy’s around the fort and while they are not in use I’ve gotta be honest, the pile of corncobs right next to seat ready to be used for wiping was a humbling notion for this pampered bum.

An old painting set being admired by my artist
This lovely woman asked if the kids would like to raise the flag! I then proceeded to give a mom-ily on why the flag has those colors and layout. I’m sure she appreciated it 😬

We had an incredible time at Fort Nisqually and I highly recommend checking it out, if you have kids in tow or not, it is a learning treasure trove for all! I plan on going back during one of their workshops on tin smithing or leather working later this year. I’d imagine it would be interesting to go during each season to see what the fort employees duties are. Let me know if you go, or maybe we will see you there!

Happy weekend friends! Cheers!

Simple Breakfast Sausage

My mom recently gifted us some amazing ground pork sausage that she got from what we like to call one of her “underground mob boss sources”. She may not like the nickname but my mom is a legit homeschooling/healthy eating mafia don. She has been in the business for over 30 years. She had to wander around libraries to find ideas for homeschooling y’all, and like, order curriculum from tiny form in the back of a paper catalog. That is not for the faint of heart. I often wonder how she figured out so much and found all the sources she did (and does!) without the internet or without knowing anyone who was homeschooling or raising their own food. When I’ve asked her she usually just says she “read about it”.. how mom?! She is the one who needs to write a blog; the Don needs to enlighten us all. Anyways, back to the pork…

I was able to use the pork from mom to make the most delish sausage. While we ate it for dinner it would make a fantastic freezer meal for breakfast.

Simple Breakfast Sausage


1 lb ground pork sausage

1 medium size sweet potato

1 tbs allspice

1 tsp salt


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Shred sweet potato and combine with all the rest of the ingredients
  3. Shape the ingredients into small sized burger patties
  4. Bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes or until internal temps is at least 145 degrees
  5. Enjoy!
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