Last Day of School Printable

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Last week, Luke had his last day of kindergarten and we finished up our first year of homeschooling. As I thought about how to wrap up the year, I wanted to make sure it was special. So, we had a week of finishing up the last bits of curriculum as well as special outings and treats (like donuts on the last day of school!).

I was a little bit nervous when we began this school year—would I actually be able to teach him the basics of reading? Would the kids drive me batty? Would I be able to make learning interesting and enjoyable? Would I know how to choose the best resources? Would it work for our family? I was pleasantly surprised at how much I truly enjoying homeschooling; it was SO good for our family during this season. I loved creating little routines and experiences that gave our home and learning warmth—like morning time with my coffee in hand and the kiddos snuggled up with me on the couch and Fika for reading aloud together and nibbling on treats (and enjoying a sparkling candle). Don’t get me wrong—it wasn’t all candlelit reading time and relaxing math lessons. Often, there were squabbles and jabbing and frustration. But, the overarching feeling I have when looking back is simply gratitude and appreciation for this season of connecting, learning together (I learned so much too!), and slower days.

On the flip side, I didn’t get any of those fun parent perks like a class book, portfolio of art work, or end-of-the-year interview from your child like you may in traditional school. But! I was terribly curious about what Luke enjoyed from this past year, so I made a simple “Last Day of School” questionnaire.

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I would like to tell you that he had fun answering all these questions for me while we ate apples and peanut butter on a gorgeous spring day. But the reality is that he complained about the snack choice and answered “I don’t know” for 90% of them (until I pretty much told him in a you-will-listen-to-me-and-have-fun-because-I-said-so voice that he would answer them or else) and he reluctantly gave me some basic answers. Anyone else been there? Ha!

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Hopefully, you’ll have a little better luck (and perhaps a more patient spirit) than I did and enjoy wrapping up the school year with this interview—whether your kids are in traditional school or homeschooled.

Just click down there at the bottom of this post to download it and print it for free :)

Have a good one, friends!

Nicole

A Nature Walk Through Psalms

nature walk through psalms

Friends, we are finally unthawing up here in Minnesota. The temperatures are steadily rising, the snow has melted back into the earth, and the sunshine is breathing in fresh life. Our boots are are muddy and our eyes a little watery from the crisp air, but we are loving being outdoors a little more each day.

As we explore and spend more time outside, I thought it would fun to add a little nature doodling and observation to our routine. I love how much the Psalms talk about nature—both in how God is the Creator and also how nature encourages us to look up and worship the Creator. So, during the last few weeks, I’ve chipped away a little design project—a very simple nature journal that you and your child can use to observe nature through the lens of Psalms.

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I imagine kiddos sitting outside and doodling clouds while you chat about how God’s love and faithfulness reaches to the clouds. Maybe your kiddo isn’t into drawing stuff, then maybe ask them to describe it to you and you write it down (or if they are older, they can write it down). Of course, don’t just stick with a pencil—let them use watercolors, colored pencils, paper, photography (how fun would it be to let them take pictures and then get them printed!?), paint, or markers.

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I wanted to keep the design super simple so that you can adapt it however you’d like. Maybe you print it and make staple it into a little book. Maybe you do each page individually, laminate them, and then make into a book. Or maybe you hang or tape each page up the wall and create a display. I can’t wait to see what you do!

However you use it, I hope it blesses your family and gives you yet another opportunity to share about our Creator with your kids in an everyday way.

Have a good one, friends!

Nicole




Let's Get Sentimental + Mushy (A Cheesy Free Valentine's Resource for Couples)

When Josh and I started dating in 2007, it was during the dark ages before smart phones and easy texting were a thing. Facebook was still an internet baby and Instagram didn’t exist. And since I was living in Minnesota and he was in Texas, we communicated via lengthy, late night chats and long, sappy love letters. When we had the chance to hang out in person (which wasn’t often during our long-distance dating relationship), we smooched at red lights (and told ourselves we always would) and danced to Michael Buble in the candlelight after a fancy dinner.

And somewhere between 2007 and 2019, much that romance got buried under years of finishing school, three babies, late-night feedings, mounds of diapers, the daily grind, yoga pants, and paying bills.

Maybe you can relate?

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So, a few years ago, I created this little resource to help spark some of those sappy, gushy feelings and reconnect with your spouse.

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These worksheets really are fun, gloriously cheesy, and definitely an easy way to reconnect. When Josh and I did them, I can honestly say that it rekindled all that lovey-dovey mushiness that often gets missed during every day life. We laughed (a lot!), stared at each other just a little more lovingly, and there may have been some kissing too ;)

And even though I am completely aware that relationships aren't always filled with heart doodles, oogly eyes, and chocolate, I do believe that every relationship can benefit from a little sappiness now and then. Right? I mean, you never know what a little cheesiness can lead too (wink wink)...

Plus, there’s this cute 8x10 print included too—I currently have it framed on my mantel :)

1 Corinthians 13

If you want to dig a little deeper, you can purchase a set of these conversation starters for couples to spark some deeper conversations. We’ve loved using them when we needed a little extra push to share our heart, dreams, challenges, and joys with one another :)

Have a good one, friends!

Nicole

Thanksgiving Snail Mail

Hey friends! While I wait for baby and then spend some extra time snuggling the new little one, I wanted to invite Kayla from Baby Devotions to share some fun ideas and activities to enjoy with your kids this holiday season. Be sure to visit her website or say hello to her on Instagram. She shares so many intentional and simple activities to do with your kids to teach them about Jesus, kindness, and the world around us :)

Thanksgiving cards

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and one of our favorite Thanksgiving traditions is sending thank you notes to some of our loved ones. This year I decided to mix up the tradition a little by making our own Thank You cards. My toddler loves Daniel Tiger, and I have found Daniel Tiger's “Thank You Day” episode has really helped her raps the concept of what the holiday is all about. In the episode, Daniel's family journeys to the enchanted garden where they hang their Thank You cards on the “Thank You Day” tree. So we decided to make our own “Thank You Day” trees for our Thank You cards. 

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What you need: 

Construction Paper

Black fine-tip marker

Ink pad 

What you do: 

  1. Fold the construction paper in half

  2. Using a black fine-tip marker, draw a bare tree trunk on the paper. This can be as fancy or simple as you want. If you have older children, let them draw the tree. 

  3. Then have your child dip their thumb in ink and then press it on the paper. These are the leaves. Repeat until there are several leaves on the tree. 

  4. Write a note of thanks inside and send it to a loved one. 

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Variations:

The fun thing about this project is it can be used for all ages. For young toddlers and babies, you can simply help them print their thumb “leaves” and it becomes a sweet keepsake for grandparents that might receive the note. For older children, have them think of the person they are sending their note to. For each leaf they print, have them think of something they they appreciate about that person (i.e. taking them for ice cream, they're kind, playing catch with them, etc.)

Who might you send a thank you card to? What ways could you adapt this activity for your family? 

ps. Thanks for sharing Kayla! Snail mail really is so fun to send! If you are looking for another fun activity to do with your kiddos this season, check out the free gobbly cute turkeys and thanksgiving verse cards.

Exploring Nature (Free Printables!)

Nature Hunt

This spring we bought a vintage pop-up camper. She needed a *little* more work than we anticipated, but this weekend we'll take her on her maiden voyage (and hope she doesn't leak!). Pre-kids, we camped often and loved it. But this is our first camping trip with the kids--so I'm excited and a little nervous too!

With camping + nature on my mind, I thought it was time I shared another free resource with you guys. Whether you are exploring your backyard or in the thick of a wild forest, getting outside with your kids can be refreshing and fun!

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Plus, exploring nature is one of the most natural ways to talk about God and His beautiful creation :) 

If you are enjoying learning about nature, be sure to check out this post and download a free set of cute craft/play dough mats.

Have a good one!

Nicole