Fairy Tale Funschooling… and a unique kind of camp!

My son is considering swapping out his “warm pants” for shorts. That’s saying something.

He’s 3 and lives in sweat pants, people. Or no pants. It’s all or nothing over here.


“Shorts” weather means it is time to shift from school days to… funschool days!

Now, I know lots of people school year round… and I know that lots of other people take breaks.

I think our family will find it’s place somewhere in the middle. Summer begs to be treated differently with its warm days and lighter nights. And yet, my kids tend to work best with some routine and a decent bedtime. They are still young– my oldest being 6– and kinda sorta lose their minds when they don’t get the sleep they need. (Let’s be honest. Don’t we all kinda sorta lose our minds when we don’t sleep? #guiltyascharged #tenmontholdisstillinthemiddleoftheninemonthsleepregression <–#longesthashtagever)

So, when we have nothing else planned for the day, it will be school and backyard play of some sort. If the pool or zoo or playground or friends are calling our names, there will be no guilt in leaving the routine behind and swapping out learning/playing at home for learning/playing somewhere else.

Can I just say… I’m sooo looking forward to what I have planned for my E girl this summer?! She’s six, and all story. I’m planning on keeping our current math and LA going at least a couple of days a week in the summer to finish it out (we started new books in January)… but we are going to focus on major fun with our theme: fairy tales! I snagged the Funschooling Princess and Ballerina Journal (see a flip-through here) that E is excited about, and I’m weaving in the infamous Fairy Tale Project from Brave Writer’s Jot It Down resource.

If you aren’t familiar with the idea behind it, Julie Bogart gives a nice summary in her book, Brave Learner— which is phenomenal, by the way. I’m so glad I have it as a resource at the beginning of our homeschooling journey! (Do yourself a favor and just buy a copy. You won’t want to give it back to the library, I promise.)

Basically, The Fairy Tale Project encourages you to read several versions/adaptations of various fairy tales, and illustrate and write a version of your own. By the time the Fairy Tale Project is done, the student has several stories and illustrations that can be collected and put into a Fairy Tale book of their own. Isn’t that amazing?!

We are starting with Rapunzel!

(I’m reading the version from The Red Fairy Tale Book by Lang, but also snagged this Rapunzel book that has 3 different versions of the story in it. You’ll see the “classic” version that most of us think of is actually the German version. The book also includes the Filipino and Italian stories: Clotilde and Petrosinella, aka “Parsley.” Who knew?)

I think the thing that I’m most excited about is the “Princess Camp” we are going to have during the summer. I have some ideas bouncing around about merging self-care, etiquette, lessons from fairy tale princesses, the contributions of past and current princesses on their kingdoms, what it means to be a daughter of the King, etc. that I’m going to weave in. Of course, we will incorporate fairy tale/princess-themed activities, a Royal poetry tea-time, art/crafts, maybe even some flower/plant care, etc. I think E and her friends will have a great time!

Now to get all my ideas fleshed out and organized and into a workable resource!

Between all the reading and writing and imagining we are going to be doing, I can’t wait to see what E girl is going to come up with!

Best of all… Fairy Tale Funschool gives *me* an opportunity to be creative and construct Story myself.

Who knows? I’m going to see if my 3 year old boy might want to make a tale, too.

I can almost guarantee the protagonist prince probably won’t be wearing any pants.

Courage required.

I have broken places.
And since you are a fellow inhabitant of earth alongside me, I can pretty much guarantee that you have broken places, too. 
I can pinpoint to several places as a child, as a young adult, as a wife and mother, where I felt myself snap. Felt the break in my soul. Experienced moments where I knew I wasn’t going to be the same once the acuteness of the pain subsided to an ever-present ache.
God doesn’t ask us to not break. He doesn’t ask us to be self-sufficient. Nowhere in the Bible does it say “thou shalt pull up thyself with thine bootstraps.”
It is the opposite. He says He will be our strength. He says He will make beauty from ashes, because He knows we will not walk this planet unscathed. At times, our hopes will burn. Our dreams will go up in smoke. Life in this fallen world will set our expectations up in flames.
But our Father promises Beauty.
Not just in spite of the destruction, but He will take those cinders themselves and repurpose them into an amazing gallery of Redemption and YOU will be His Masterpiece.
Here is to you. Here is to me.
Here’s to courage to rise from our broken places today…
and everyday.

(Originally posted on social media, 1.31.19)

Tomato Theology

I’m having a fun event at my house tonight… I really planned it because I’ve been wanting to learn how to make homemade cheese and realized I would never do it unless I gave myself some external pressure. (Thanks grad school.)

Anyway, I am making a tomato basil salad to go with the mozzarella and thought that the variety of small tomatoes would be a good opportunity to teach my almost six year old some knife skills.

She’s doing great. I’m right beside her, giving her instruction. She’s enjoying herself, and begins talking about the different tomatoes.

“This one is long and skinny and yellow,” she says. She cuts it and puts it in the bowl.

“This one is red. And it is really round,” she says. She puts it in the bowl. “It is like you. You are round, too.”

Enter that wave of shame.

Those of you who have always struggled with your weight are familiar with this feeling. It’s a horrible companion. It was the bully that tapped on my shoulder and called me fat before my kindergarten pictures when I was barely five. The shame made me suck in my stomach.

And I haven’t stopped feeling like I have had to suck it in and be small ever since.

With my shame present, I don’t say anything, except to place another handful of tomatoes on the cutting board.

My daughter chatters on.

“Mommy, do you ever wish you were skinny?”

I’m beginning to regret this impromptu chopping class. I was thinking the produce would be cut, not me.

I understand it is an opportunity. But it is definitely one I’m not sure how to take.

I use a cross examination tactic to buy myself a few extra seconds for my brain to process.

“That’s a really good question…” I say slowly, looking down and feeling sympathy for those slashed cherry tomatoes sitting in the bowl.

And then, words. Maybe grace.

“You see how pretty that bowl of tomatoes is? All different shapes and sizes and colors?”


I pick up an uncut round red tomato and a long skinny yellow tomato and hold them in my hands.

“These tomatoes look different, and they taste different. But God made them both beautiful and good, with their unique taste. Is the round, red tomato better than the yellow, skinny tomato?”

“No mommy. They are both tasty.”

“Right. They are both good. And then, we put all the kinds of tomatoes in the same bowl and they are even prettier and better together, aren’t they?”


“That’s how God made people. All different shapes and sizes.”

“And colors!” She interrupted.

“Yes, and colors. And He put us all together in this world, just like we put all the tomatoes together in this bowl. And all together, in all our variety, we are even more beautiful. Remember when God made us… what did He call us?”


She reaches for another tomato and cuts it and begins humming.

I place a few more tomatoes in front of her, not sure if I actually believe my impromptu tomato theology. 

But in the moment, I know I have stumbled on truth.

And I hope that I will gradually come to this faith… and that my daughter will always be a believer in the beauty she was created with and in.

(Originally published 11.02.18 on social media.)