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5 Things I’m Loving This Week: School, a book I’m reading, a recipe I loved, plus more!

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1. Our Kids’ New Classical School

Our kids started at a new small Classical School this year. This was a big change for them as we’ve always homeschooled.

I’m so grateful for those 7 sweet years I had to be a homeschool mom. I’m also grateful for God’s direction this year (for a long list of reasons) that a different schooling option is best for our family and our kids.

I won’t pretend it was an easy decision. It was one that we made with a tremendous amount of thought, prayer, discussion, and tears.

I will readily admit that I was scared of what the first week might be like — not just for the kids, but for me, too. We prayed and prepped and prayed some more. And, by God’s grace, it was a really good week. It was so much better than I could have imagined and there were so many different ways that God confirmed to us that this decision was the right decision.

Thank you to so many of you who were praying with us, caring about us, and who reached out to us this week. It meant the world to us!

We are so grateful for this school, for the teachers, for the educational philosophy, and for how it aligns with our family’s values, educational philosophy, and worldview. We’re also grateful for how God leads different families in different ways for different seasons.

There will be new challenges and new opportunities and I’m excited to see what God has in store as we trust Him to lead one step at a time. (The kids were excited because they had a very relaxed dress code this past week so they got to wear shorts to school! The real dress code starts this coming week!)

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

2. Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst

I started this book last week and it is so, so good — just as I expected it would be! If you struggle with feeling lonely, left out, or like you don’t belong, please do yourself a favor and get a copy of this book.

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

{By the way, if you need some extra encouragement, I shared a video earlier this week here about how to change your mindset when you’re frustrated with what you see in the mirror. I also talk about Uninvited a little bit here.}

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

3. Our New Lunch System

We’re trying something for lunches during the school year. Our extra refrigerator is going to be 100% devoted to lunch items.

We’re making up a big batch of freezer-friendly PB&J on the weekends and, in addition, I’ll have 4 different bins of items that the kids can choose one from — cheese sticks, snack packs, veggies, fruit, applesauce, chips, cookies, etc.

Each bin will have something different so that when they choose one item from each, they’ll have a well-rounded lunch. I’m hoping this makes things super simple and easy for them to put together their lunches at night.

Kathrynne helped me set this up and she took the initiative to write a board with details on how to put together the lunches. So far, we’re one week in, and I have literally done NOTHING for lunch prep other than help set the system up and make sure we had the items on hand for Kathrynne to get everything into baggies in the extra refrigerator.

And then the kids have been entirely in charge of each making their own lunch every night. I haven’t had to remind anyone and no one has yet to forget their lunch. I know we’re only a week in, but I’m pretty excited at how well this has worked so far — especially because the kids seem to be loving it!

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

4. These Flowers Growing in Our Yard

I have no idea what kind of flowers these are… I think they might even be a weed? I’m not sure. Anyone know?

Regardless, they just started growing in our backyard and I’ve been picking them and put them in mason jars to brighten up our rooms. And if they are a weed, I’m really not going to apologize… because I think they are pretty and they make me happy! 🙂

5 Things I'm Loving This Week

5. Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pancakes

I made these Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pancakes this week. De-li-cious!

As the recipe stated, the batter was very thick. But the end result was a hearty and yummy pancake that freezes and reheats really well.

(I may have eaten way more of these than I’d want to admit. 😉 They are yummy… and they make me feel like fall is coming soon! Yay!)

What are YOU loving? Tell us in the comments!

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  • Sarah says:

    Maybe they are zinnias?

  • Sonia says:

    The flowers are zinnias.

  • Amy Villarreal says:

    I think those flowers are zinnias. I planted (from seed) some that look very similar in my side yard. They are growing like crazy and I am able to make 1 or 2 arrangements for me each week and give lots away. It has been so fun to see my elderly neighbors face light up when the kids walk over some flowers or drop some off for a friend that seems down. I use old vases and jars when I give them away so it has been a super cheap (almost free if I didn’t buy the seed pack) way to bless others 🙂 Flowers always bring a smile to may face too. Now if only my veggies would grow like the flowers 🙂

  • Kim says:

    Hi Crystal,
    I will be making those Chocolate Chip Pumpkin pancakes and freezing some. That is, *if* they make it to the freezer. 😉
    The Uninvited book sounds like just the thing for me to read soon.

    The beautiful flowers in your backyard, look like Zinnias. Are they in a sunny location? We have a ways to go with our gardening adventures, since purchasing our home, last year. But we do have a white hydrangea bush in the corner of our fence and I will clip the big flowers off for a cheery look on our dining room table. I love the frugalness there. 🙂

  • Mackenzie says:

    Yum, those chocolate chip pumpkin pancakes look so good! 🙂 My daughter would love those too!

  • Denise says:

    So happy that the first week of school went well for your kids! Our youngest started kindergarten last week. It is the first time in over 12 years without a little one home with me. Such big changes, but I’m looking forward to what God has in store for me!

  • Margery says:

    I think they are zinnias, too. I’ve grown them before and the butterflies love them. You may have been lucky in that they could have reseeded themselves. My parents used to call those “volunteers” when they reseeded themselves and came up with no human intervention.

  • We love doing pb&jelly for lunches too! I have an uncrustables cutting tool and I make up about 20-30 and freeze them. This week I am loving my son’s swim team. He started high school last week and was welcomed with open arms by the older swimmers. He didn’t know very many kids in his lunch so some senior swimmers introduced him to some of their friends to eat lunch with. I am so thankful for their kindness!

  • Keelie says:

    Getting started early on the pumpkin flavors aren’t you? 😀 Lol…

    I’m so glad your kids are having a good week and you are too! I’ve been praying for you friend.

  • I think your flowers are zinnias. This week I’m loving the super fun trip my husband and I made to The Ark Encounter. It was absolutely fascinating!

  • Completely agree that each family is different and we make the decisions that are most suitable for our needs. I had to put our son in daycare when he was 15 months old. It was the hardest decision in my life, yet something I had to do for our family. He thrived well and loves his daycare and his friends.

    You’re such an inspiration. I’ve been following your blog in the past 7 years and loved each and every post of yours.

    I recently shared 4 things I’m loving lately on the blog:

  • Carly says:

    I pack lunches everyday too and I love your system! I’ve wanted to get my boys more involved in the lunch packing but wasn’t really certain how to begin. Great ideas here!

  • Right now, I’m loving that my hubby is home from his 3 day National Guard drill weekend! 🙂 I’m so glad the first week at the new school is going well. My daughter (our oldest) starts kindergarten at the public school in 2 weeks and I’m a bit terrified! I love your lunch system idea. My daughter loves to help, so I may try something like this so she can help pack her own lunch. I hope you have a great week! — Sarah 🙂

  • Adrienne says:

    I am going through a similar school situation with my daughter. Moving her into public school at middle school when all her life she was in a small church based private school. Making new friends is especially hard on my introvert. Her father and I have shared custody. He pushed for this and I compromised. Praying she can adapt to new surroundings.

  • Love your list, and those flowers are most definitely NOT weeds! It’s also so good to hear that you’ve all had a great first week of school – I’ve been praying for your family through this transition. My five things:

    1) Uninvited. I think this is Lysa’s best book yet!

    2) A simple weekend at home with my husband while my kiddos spent time with my mom.

    3) A stressful situation at work coming to a close with a resolution that’s good for everyone.

    4) The Help on audio – just finished listening in the car 🙂

    5) Completing nearly 6 weeks in a row of posting one new blog article & sending a subscriber-exclusive newsletter each week!

  • shannon says:

    I see protein roll ups on your fridge…I would love to know what is in them. My boys need more protein in their lunches and all the protein/energy bites they prefer to eat frozen, which is hard to do when they sit in a lunch box for 4 hours, even with an ice pack.

  • Ruth says:

    We home school but I might adopt your lunch ideas! I am curious to know what a “protein roll up” is mentioned on the board.

  • Christine says:

    I’m glad school is going well so far. We homeschool and the thought of sending my kids to school is difficult for me. You’re brave overcoming those fears.

    How did you find this school? Are there other types of this school? I’m interested as I try to keep my options open in case the day arrives when God says “Ok, it’s time to change.”

    • We actually found it from a Google search, believe it or not! There are quite a few Classical Schools in our area, so we searched and then started researching each of them. We landed on this one as our top pick and after we went and met with the teachers and board, we knew it was what we were looking for.

      You could search for a Christian Classical School if you are looking for something similar. We love that it’s small, the academics are really rigorous, the parental involvement is very high, and the educational philosophy is very much in line with our family’s philosophy.

  • Ashley P says:

    I’m loving homeschooling my 3 year old. Ok, so it’s only a half hour a day. But hey, you gotta start somewhere, right? He loves his new daily schedule checklist and the many educational games I’ve made for him.

    I’m also loving the book hubby and I are reading. We finished the Bible in Chronological order and God was prompting me to do a study on holiness and what it truly means to be holy. We found Why Holiness Matters by Tyler Braun (that I got for free on Kindle, probably thanks to you) and we are loving it! We cross reference each chapter with Scripture verses so everything we read is backed up by God’s word.

    Finally, I’m loving the enormous bowl of cookies I made yesterday. Over 80 of them in different varieties: M&M, white chocolate chip, and snickerdoodle. I plan on trying to share some with the neighbors. We just moved to the area last month and except for my brother-in-law’s family, we don’t really know anyone. But I know the people next door have a son about the same age as ours. I see the swingset in the back yard and I’ve caught them walking to the car once or twice. But they rarely ever seem to be home.

    So that’s what I’m loving right now! I’m still adjusting from such a big move (nearly 1,000 miles away!) but I know it’s God’s plan that put us where we are!

  • Jen says:

    What a great lunch system! One money-saving and environmentally friendly suggestion would be to store lunch items in reusable containers or reusable (or washed) bags instead of disposable baggies. I love this method though, very smart, and it gives them some pride that they helped/packed their own lunches.

  • Diana says:

    I agree, zinnias! They have been the easiest flower for me to grow from seed and you can get so many colors. This year I have lime green and yellow, and I usually get a few volunteers from seedheads that fell last year. If you let a bloom dry all the way out on the stalk, you can show the kids the seeds that are left! (They are a funny shape, not a traditional seed shape, but I’m sure you could find photos online 🙂 )

  • Deborah says:

    They are zinnias. They will drop seeds and come back as volunteers every year. You don’t even have to do anything!

    • Denise says:

      My sis-in-law shared this fun idea–we pick the seeds when the flowers are all dried out. There are usually WAY more than we planted, so we have plenty to put in cute bags with string and give them out for stocking gifts and such.

  • Tracy says:

    1) My Mom and Son. They helped me out this weekend by cleaning the office where I work for me so I could get my Final for my first MBA class done early as I have a packed week.
    2) Freezer Cooking. Crystal since you started again it made me decide to get back into it as well.
    3) A couple of family members who had health problems are now healed and back on their feet.
    4) My son is all packed and ready to go back to school in September. (usually we are not ready until the day before school starts)
    5) White Chocolate mini peanut butter cups 🙂

  • Ann says:

    I agree…the flowers are Zinnias. I love to plant them, just for the purpose of cutting fresh flowers for my kitchen all summer long! Yay!

  • Missy June says:

    Yes, those are zinnias! They are one of my absolute favorite flowers.

    We do a similar lunch system, except fresh sandwiches daily – but the kiddos pack all their other side items. It works so well!

  • Tawra says:

    Those are zinnias!! My #1 favorite flower of all time!! They come in every size and color and are super easy to grow in most places. 🙂


  • Mel says:

    Oh ha! You sent me to one of my favorite food blogs. Sallysbakingaddiction

    Try this one. My mom loves it.

  • Carolyn says:

    Made the pumpkin choc chip pancakes this AM. I one of those cooks that can’t ever leave a recipe alone, so… I added a bit of vanilla extract, some cinnamon chips along with the choc chips and also made it with 1% milk and added some powdered milk to make it a little richer. Turned out great!

  • Ashley says:

    I want to mention that this Uninvited book is offered as a study! My husband and I are offering it for young people who are new to the area and struggling to form relationships. It comes with a workbook and a 6 session lesson. We are loving it and how Lysa has the ability to speak right to your heart through her love of Jesus.

  • DJ says:

    I love to read this post! It makes me stop and reflect on good things In my week. You are such an inspiration to me.

    1. Slightly cooler weather..shut the a/c off finally! I love to open all the windows for fresh air.
    2. My sons 18th bday was fabulous.
    3. Family blessed me with BAGS of fresh garden vegetables that I’m freezing.
    4. Neighbor gave me tons of pretty recent magazines to read..and will later donate.
    5. I started a holiday notebook with dividers for recipes, crafts, gift ideas, decorations, etc. to collect now.

    Thank you for letting me share. And thank you for helping me each week with meaningful and useful posts.

  • SK Bell says:

    I am reading Uninvited right now too. I have always struggled with these (often silly) unloved feelings too so I am so excited and thankful to get to read this one!

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