Touring Our Air Bnb Apartment

We never thought we’d move closer into town but when we toured the 1915 brick house just a block away from coffee and ice cream shops … well, we both fell in love.

After that, we started dreaming of converting the second floor into an air bnb, short term rental, and the rest is history!

Here’s a peek at our “charming apartment less than one mile from downtown!”

The second floor has its own private entrance, a sweet little patio, and lots of old fashioned charm combined with fresh paint and updates.

The first bedroom has a large closet and beautiful trim work — with a vine covered window facing the east.

The second room has two matching twin beds and affectionately holds original artwork by my sister-in-law. This room faces the west and overlooks the floral shop just a block away.

There is one full bathroom which we had remodeled when we moved in since the floor had had a leak. It’s perfectly cozy, roomy, and comfortable!

The living room has four large windows which face the Capitol building just a mile away — we keep the board games stocked in here and I plan to turn the large closet into a “kid cave” in the future! Guests can use the tv and Roku to get to Netflix or their favorite channels.

Towards the end of the apartment is the full sized kitchen and a little sunroom/storage room. I adore the open shelves and coffee area in this space.

Eventually, we plan to update the flooring in the kitchen and to finish the sunroom, making it a beautiful sitting area. I did a lot of “shopping my house” when decorating the apartment but, over time, plan to buy a few items I’ve been keeping my eye on.

It’s been wonderful having a place we can welcome tourist or family — a place I hope is comfortable and cozy!

I’d love to know what you find most important when staying in an Air BnB! Please, share your thoughts on what makes your stay a five star stay!

3 Things I Do When Writing Lesson Plans

Planning Uriah’s lessons has become a creative outlet — it’s so much fun figuring out how I can best open a world of ideas on certain subjects. I love having a flexible outline laid out — it makes our daily lesson times so much more effective and enjoyable!

While writing out last week’s lesson I realized that I tend to do three things consistently when planning and I thought I shared with you today!

Check the weather and for any upcoming holidays

Each week I choose a fun new theme to frame our lessons in and checking the weather and upcoming holidays is a logical way to keep the theme and lesson practical!

For example, if the weather is going to be cold and rainy I might choose to postpone the theme of flowers or sunshine for a different week. Or, with Easter coming up, I know I will want to have already discussed Jesus’ resurrection and eggs and spring.

It’s such a simple, easy way to make homeschooling applicable to all your areas of life!

I browse Pinterest

After I choose our theme I start looking through Pinterest for craft and sensory play ideas. I try to keep categories of favorite tasks so I can revisit them.

Here are some the upcoming crafts and sensory games I plan to do this week! The first adorable craft comes from Happy Tot Shelf and the idea of arranging flowers is from Rhymes of Play!

I shop around the house

After I’ve checked the weather and upcoming holidays and made a list of Pinterest inspired crafts and games I start shopping … around the house!

I love that there is a growing supply of adorable homeschool materials but I don’t need all of the things. I used to get a little blue when planning lessons because I just didn’t have all the cute things.

So now, I shop my house.

If I really want a flash card or poster I can either make one on Canva (for free!) or I doodle one myself. Yes, all those adorable wooden trays are SO cute but they’re not necessary.

It’s so much better to put time and energy into your lessons than to wait for the perfect set up or materials.

Your kiddo will not mind using Dollar Tree chalkboards, reading borrowed books from the library, or playing in a sensory bin filled with rice from the kitchen.

You don’t need all the fancy objects to have a great lesson plan – shop around your house and use what you have.

I’d love to know what you do as you’re making your lesson plans! Leave me a comment below — I’m always wanting to find more ways to make the planning process go more smoothly!

Love and blessings!

Frannie

The Peacemaking Experiment in my Marriage

My beloved Dalton turns 29 at the end of March and I pondered the gifts I could give him. Since we’re saving almost every penny possible to afford our roof repair scheduled this May, I felt like there wasn’t a lot of money to splurge on something great or exciting.

(I’ll probably do a little grocery haul of his favorite kombucha and mochi ice creams since food is one of his love languages. 😉 )

Then it hit me … why don’t I try a whole month of being nice?

I know, I know. Most of you sweet people probably imagine me as a sweet, timid, gentle woman and in many ways you’re right.

But I am also sensitive and defensive. Especially with my dear husband. He is logic-first and straightforward. I am feelings-based and gentle speaking. He staunchly believes there is always room for improvement in all areas of life; I (a perfectionist myself) also believe there is always room for comfort and grace.

As Louisa May Alcott wrote about Jo, “A quick temper, sharp tongue, and restless spirit were always getting her into scrapes, and her life was a series of ups and downs, which were both comic and pathetic.”

I really couldn’t describe myself any better. 🙂

Anyway, I decided that for everyday of the month I would choose to be what I always wanted to be — a peacemaker, a helpmeet, a courteous and gracious friend.

And let me tell you, just choosing to behave better has made everything better.

I feel better because I already know that today, I am going to be my husband’s best friend. Naturally, I’m setting aside time for him first instead of giving him the last bit of myself at the end of the day when I’m exhausted and irritable.

I feel happier because I’ve already chosen to believe the best, see the best, and speak the best into his life.

I’m choosing to stop the (small) habit of nagging I had started to develop. I’m working on not being easily offended and to enjoy his playful teasing. I’m making effort to be more patient with his faults and to pray for him more often. And I’m taking the time to give him preferential treatment and the best of my time and energy.

Sad to say, it’s like I’m a newly wed all over again and all the frustrations, hurt feelings, exhaustion, and hardships that made me more prone to irritability are more easily put in their place. I don’t need to be a cranky wife. I don’t have to an irritable, defensive grouch.

I’m happier because I’m choosing to live the way I should and God always blesses us when we choose to follow His ways over our own feelings.

The plus side is that my husband already noticed. The first time I offered to rub his feet instead of waiting for him to ask, he gave me a huge smile and said, “wow, that’s nice!” He acted like a happy little king and ever since then we’ve had more fun in the last week than we had in a long while.

I know that’s sad to say but it’s the truth — marriage is wonderful but it can also be hard. We’ve been through a lot in our nearly 7 years of marriage; we’ve experienced great hardship and stress. We don’t get to have dates anymore or go on trips. Everything fun has sort of been on the backburner.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t still have a blast while we wade through this season of life, now does it?

I know it sounds so simple, almost idiotic. Be nice to my husband? That’s so obvious. Of course it is but sometimes you just need to start fresh.

I promise the reward of having my husband laugh more often, be more attentive and helpful, patient and less critical has been worth the effort. It’s like I can see him relaxing as he realizes that he’s not going to come home to a distressed, irritated, easily offended wife.

We’re both reaping the rewards of his birthday gift. 😉 I think I’ll keep the challenge going even after his birthday.

Our Preschool, Homeschool Routine

Uriah and I are a few weeks into our formal preschool routine and we are really loving our new setup. Since I started sharing our routine I’ve gotten several questions — I love that so many in my Instagram community of friends are at the same season of motherhood too!

I thought I would share the basics of our “curriculum” and, in future post, I’ll share how I go about planning for the week.

First, I need to be authentic with you and tell you that, until recently, the idea of schooling Uriah has been a source of overwhelm and anxiety which led to my feeling depressed and guilty as I kept putting it off.

We spent a lot of time doing great things: reading, being outside, talking and singing together.

But we were missing out on purposeful, intentional learning time. Our days were (sometimes still are!) long and lagging. We needed intentional structure. A little more formal in my Charlotte Mason, wild and free approach.

I started googling preschool curriculums …

And felt burdened by the idea of paying oodles of money when we’re working hard to save for upcoming roof repair. Dalton is such a diligent provider and I did not want to take advantage. I also wanted something that did not require tons of printing.

Eventually, we’ll be at a stage where I’m more than happy to spend money on a pricey curriculum but it seemed unnecessary for a four year old.

I found the perfect solution …

… when I found Brightly Beaming Resources website and the Letter of the Week Curriculum! Katrina Lybbert created the curriculum and I was immediately in love with its simplicity. Please check her website because Katrina did an excellent job laying out different plans of her curriculum based on your childs age and readyness! It’s an older website but the ideas are excellent for someone starting out!

Here’s the plan …

The curriculum is 26 weeks long (for each letter of the English alphabet). For the first 26 weeks, I focus on the recognition of the letters. During the next 26 weeks, I’ll reintroduce the letters but focus on the phonics aspect.

Each week, I introduce our theme (Monday), the letter (Tuesday), a shape/color (Wednesday), and a number (Thursday). I use Friday-Sunday to read and play games related to our week’s lessons. I’ve taken Katrina’s amazing plan and I alter it according to what Uriah already knows, what holidays are coming up, and how the weather is.

Here’s how simple our routine is …

This week our theme is birds and this is a brief overview of our daily lessons which I usually plan to last about 30-60 minutes. (you can adjust based on your child’s readyness!)

Monday: I introduce our topic of birds! We read a book about birds and I talk about some key words that will come up through the week (nest, build, eggs), we look at pictures of birds and put them on the focus board, find birds on his AAC device, and then we made birds out of playdough and feathers.

Tuesday: We talk about the letter D this week! I will start by putting up a picture of the letter D on our focus board and looking at the magnetic D. We look at objects that I gathered from around the house which start with the letter D (dog, dish, duck, draw), and we read a book about the letter D and another about ducks. Our craft will be making a duck out of the letter D.

Wednesday: Here I introduce the oval shape. I put a picture of an oval on the focus board. We read a book about ovals. We draw ovals and play matching games with felt and flash cards I’ve prepared ahead of time. Our craft/sensory project will be playing with foam and wooden eggs (which are oval shaped) and transferring them from bowl to bowl with a pair of tongs.

Thursday: We talk about the number three! I’ve found the concept of counting tricky to talk about so we keep it simple! We look at a flashcard of three and place it on the focus board. We read a book about counting. W practice putting our fingers up and counting them. I place small objects in a jar (marbles, dice, Cadbury eggs) and Uriah pulls them out, one by one, and we count them.

Friday-Saturday: We play games and read books that are related to all the topic we covered! Some ideas I have for this week will be refilling the bird feeder, playing in a sensory bin full of bird seed with a tiny shovel and scoop, lacing a string through a birds nest picture I made, etc.

To make things easier …

I plan a week ahead and write everything down on my weekly school planner — if I’m not intentional and prepared I tend to wing-it and we both end up frustrated and not learning as much as I hoped.

And I made something for you!

This is the planner I made for our weekly school lessons. It’s simple and cute – just the way I prefer things! To download and print your own follow this link for the black and white version. Or, this link for the colorful one!

Please let me know if you use them and how well they work for you!

I hope you know I’m cheering for you!

If you feel overwhelmed or anxious about schooling your little one I wish I could give you a hug and convince you that the best way to overcome is to just get started! God made you your little one’s mama — He will equip you to do well!

Follow me on Instagram where I share weekly stories about our school prep, ideas, and real life glimpses into the process! Or, comment below and we can connect!

Love and blessings!

Frannie

What Our 2020 Looked Like

Hello, friends!

I can’t believe it’s been over a year since I wrote! Wow! How I wish I could pour each of us a cup of whatever you like best, sit beneath a warm window full of sunlight, and hear how you have been. Instead, we’re left with just words and I’ll do my best to paint you a picture of our world and, I hope, through leaving a comment, you’ll update me on your own life! Here’s a quick overview of our 2020 blessings!

We bought a house …

Currently, Uriah is napping and I’m snuggled up in our two-story home we bought in September of 2020! We have always been renters and we especially loved our little stone house on the edge of town. But, last Autumn we took a big step and bought our first home!

It’s a beautiful, partially refinished 1915 home that used to be used for a doctor’s office and living space. We’re tucked in the Old Muchinburg neighborhood and are just a few blocks away from downtown, icecream and coffee shops, and I can see the florist from the playroom window!

I’ll share more pictures in the future but it’s a dreamy older home with pillars in the entry way, original windows, a cast iron fireplace, a beautiful laundry room, and a semi-large yard (considering we live near downtown).

There have been lots of challenges with owning an older home especially since it needed lots of love and tending; we have roofing and landscaping planned for this summer and I’m in a very slow process of painting each room.

But the joys are still outweighing the cost of homeownership!

One of the joys is that we are now small business owners and run an Air BnB in the second floor above us! One of these days I’ll share more about our little apartment but I’ve got to say that it has been one of the most enjoyable “jobs” I’ve ever had!

We’ve stayed healthy …

One of the great blessings of 2020 is that all three of us have stayed healthy! Uriah, our now four year-old, only had two colds the entire year and we are so thankful for that gift!

When Covid season first appeared we made the difficult choice to continue our social distancing we always enter during flu season. So, we have actually been social distancing and avoiding unnecessary public appearances since November 2019!

God has been so good and we enjoyed daily walks last spring and summer and were able to keep up with Uriah’s therapy classes via Zoom!

Speaking of Uriah …

This little boy is still our biggest blessing! He brings our family an abundance of light and laughter with his funny humor, sweet personality, and hard work!

He is using a walker to walk when out and about, he scoots around the house, says “dada, mama, and done” and a myriad of other consonant and vowel sounds, uses an AAC device (emergent level) to request and discuss things, and is doing 4 days of online Zoom classes and preschool time with mama.

Some of his most exciting medical growth comes with no longer using a ventilator when sleeping and it looks like his airway may be safe and, Lord willing, he may be able to eat by mouth soon! (A scope will be happening soon to confirm this).

Overall, we had many blessings in a hard year for so many …

… and we are very humbled and grateful for this. It’s been a long year full of loneliness and isolation but we were able to keep Uriah healthy and for Dalton to continue working and we cherish those two great gifts God has given!

I would love to know how you have been doing, dear friends …

Please leave a message below or visit me on Instagram here!

I look forward to staying in touch!

Love and blessings!