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welcome!

 

I'm Molly Balint.

Mama of four girls, farmer of sheep, collector of family stories, curator of lovely things. With all this free time on my hands I also freelance write and bring old houses back to life.  

A little more about me here.

 

 

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reading
  • By Julia Child, Alex Prud'Homme: My Life in France
    By Julia Child, Alex Prud'Homme: My Life in France
  • The Story of Doctor Dolittle (Dover Children's Classics)
    The Story of Doctor Dolittle (Dover Children's Classics)
  • Pollyanna (Classic Starts Series)
    Pollyanna (Classic Starts Series)
  • Love Among The Chickens
    Love Among The Chickens
MommyCoddle Blog
Monday
Sep162013

A "what's been happening" list, the honest version

I think the beginning of every homeschooling year feels a bit like coming home with a newborn. It takes me a few weeks to get my feet under me again, to readjust to our new normal, to figure out how I'm going to do laundry, put dinner on the table and take care of the baby (or in this case, get our school work done each day.)

This year, more than ever it's taking me awhile to catch my breath. But this year, more than ever I'm also trying to do more than I ever have, I'm pretty sure. And, I'll be honest, it's really wearing on me. Lately, I'm longing for those moments of lingering and of not feeling like every moment is scheduled or being attacked by the things that need to be done after it. So I'm doing my best to find those still moments in the midst of the 'needs to be done'.

We're getting there. Little by little. 

I was at a Bible Study last week--a very small group of women, mothers. Most were people I'd just met that evening, one was a good friend who had invited me along. But the group felt instantly warm and comfortable, diverse but connected.

At the very end of the evening, we shared a few prayer requests with each other. And yes, I was the one who broke the ice, by breaking down as I shared my request...too many balls in the air, too many things to do, nothing that I could see that could be dropped, exhuasted, stressed, etc etc. I laughed through my tears, "I'm so easy-going, I promise. I'm not usually the crier." But they welcomed my tears and passed the tissues, and offered their warmth, and ecouragement, and experience, and most importantly silent prayers which I know are holding me up behind the scenes. 

I write all this not looking for sympathy or advice but mostly because I stink at faking it. I was about to jump on here this morning and give you a "here's what we've been doing!" list, but turns out my post turned in to this. 

But I do have a list. Four things, actually. Because I am making progress, I think. I am moving in a better direction, I hope. I am getting my feet under me again. It's just taking a little more work and time and patience than it has in the past. 

Here, are four things I'm doing to get my balance again: 

1. *I've been keeping painter's hours*. I am not a morning person. But this summer Woodlawn has been getting a facelift. And if you're a painter, working in the dead of summer then you're going to want your working hours to be in the cool of the day, not the blistering heat of the afternoon. So all summer I kept what I call "painters hours". When the painters would arrive in the early morning hours, I'd get up too. One, because the dog barking woke me up. Two, because I didn't want them crawling outside my bedroom window while I was still in bed. And three, because I discovered that those hours (hour, minutes) of quiet to have my coffee and do my thing before my kids get up is invaluable to my sanity and my ability to welcome my little people when they wake up each morning. Painters are just about done here at Woodlawn. But I'm still keeping "painters hours". 

2. *I started working out with a personal trainer*. While it initially sounded like one more thing on my to-do list, it's probably the best thing I've done for myself in a long time. I'll be honest, it's stretching us financially (see my exercise pun there? stretching?), but what I get out of those 30-minute sessions is invaluable to my health, my stress level and my overall feeling of accomplishment. And it's one big, fat thing off my to-do list/life list. Boom.

3. *I'm trying to take weekends off (or easier)*. The trouble with working from home (and working in social media) is that you are never forced to turn off, stop working or walk away. There is always something I could be doing, checking, pinning, tweeting, posting, etc for BabyCenter. But this weekend, in particular, I tried really hard to get all my ducks in a row before the weekend arrived. This allowed me to relax, be more present with my kids, and feel like I've stepped away from "work" for awhile. And it makes getting back to things Monday morning much more pleasant. I plan to make this my modus operandi from here on out.

4. *I'm knitting again*. The weather has changed and darnitall, I'm gonna knit. I had forgotten how good it feels to sit and knit. In front of the Sunday morning news, out on the front porch in the warm sun, while my littles play near me. During family movie night (Sense and Sensibility, this weekend.) 

So there you have it, my friends. The real "what's been happening" list. As always, thanks for listening, coming back here to read, and bearing with me as I find my feet again. Now, who can tell me what to make for dinner?

Wednesday
Aug282013

3 good things

Good morning! It's day three of homeschooling back to school in our house and I am officially wiped out. Phew. There's a lot to juggle this year. Ten minutes in, when the baby was upstairs crying for me to come help her put on some fancy, frilly dress, and all the girls wanted all my attention, and then that same baby came downstairs and fell off the back of the sofa and was screaming in my arms, I was pretty much ready to call the yellow bus. 

But somehow, at some point, we re-grouped and made it through. And, you know what, it was pretty okay. And I got to the end of the day and thought, "Hey, we did it."

I think I have a little "day in the life" of our first day of school ready to share with you soon. And a post I wrote about technology that I may or may not share. (One of those written in a frustrated place kinds of posts.)

But in the meantime, here are three good things to start your day:

1. From me...speaking of technology, I've really been a slacker about it this summer. And I knew I wanted to make some serious changes when the school routine kicked in. But I also know from experience that having technology as the carrot in front of the kids' faces for finishing school work does not work well. The rushing and the fact that "when do I get to get on my/watch my ______?" is always at the forefront of their minds, is really distracting to our school day. This year, I decided to take a different approach. 

The kids have a bunch of stuff they need to take care of in the mornings to keep the house running smoothly. (Kidding. Our house doesn't run smoothly, but at least I can get the clothes to the washer, beds made and teeth from rotting out of their heads.) So I made a list of the things that need to be done in the morning before school, with pictures for my emerging reader. 

School starts at 9:00am. Once they've worked through their morning routine, any leftover time is completley theirs. Hey kid, watch TV! Play on your iPod! The time is theirs until I take over at 9:00am. They get their work done, a little technology fix and then we can drop it and start our day with out the distraction. It's working so beautifully (disclaimer: 3 days in) and so much better than using technology as a reward. (I hate that. Dear Children: Going outside should be a reward. Having time to yourself should be a reward. But that's another post...)

2. Good music alert.

I discovered Mandolin Orange through Pandora this past winter. It's the best musical discovery I've had in quite awhile. I don't often like every song on a CD. But man oh man, do I love this group. If you love a little bluegrass-y, folk-y, "chill in the background while I make dinner" kind of music, you're going to want to get yourself a little of this. And bonus, they just released an amazing new CD. I love a quote I read about their music having "front porch closeness". That's a perfect description.

3. This video is making the rounds on Facebook. It's such a good reminder. Good food for thought. And though convicting in some points, also a good reminder. 

Here's a link to the video: "I Forgot My Phone". I had the video embedded, but it autoplays. Autoplay drives me nuts.

Happy Wednesday. More soon! 

*Full disclosure: The link to Mandolin Orange's new CD is an amazon affliliate link. Clicking on the link and making a purchase means I get a small commission. Hey, it keeps our family in books. Thanks.*

Monday
Aug262013

Be Out There + The Motherhood // Cool Ideas for Hot Summer Days ebook

I'm so excited to finally be able to share with all of you, the final results of the ebook that was a partnership between The Motherhood and National Wildlife Federation's Be Out There program. I was so happy to be able to contribute to the book as the topic of getting kids outside is near and dear to my heart. 

In June of 2012, NWF and The Motherhood conducted  survey and 94% of moms thoughts that kids are not spending enough time outdoors, while a third of the moms polled felt guilty that their kids were not outside enough. 

This ebook was created to help encourage families to get outside and give them practical and realistic tips and advice for doing so. Inside you'll find articles on:

 

  • Balancing Screen Time with Green Time
  • Cool Activities for Hot Summer Days
  • Outdoor Time in Everyday Life
  • Nighttime Activities
  • Celebrating Special Occasions in the Great Outdoors

 

Not only am I completely in love with the design and illustration of the ebook, the content within the pages is spot-on. The writers involved in this project bring page after page of ideas and expertise--all packed into a completely free resource for all of us. 

Today marked the first day of school for our family. For many of us, even my family of homeschoolers, it seems like the opportunities for that valuable time outdoors begins to slip through our fingers. But at the same time, we are slowly saying goodbye to the heat and humidity of summer and the gorgeous days of fall are just ahead. It is truly one of the most beautiful seasons to be outside. 

So I hope you'll take a moment to leaf through, or at least bookmark this great resource. Whether you're still hanging on to the last weeks of summer or looking to find ways to get outside even in the harried school days--this ebook is just the thing for ideas and inspiration. 

ISSUU Be Out There by The Motherhood

Enjoy + let me know what you think!