the hybrid home

Summer Favorites, Inside Fun

image2.jpeg

Some summer days require inside activities, whether it’s rain, heat or just a necessary rest day, it’s nice to have some things on hand to make those days at home, just as special as the days on the go.  This list will certainly not disappoint, starting with breakfast.  

What fun to wake up to these Mickey Waffles!  We are a big Disney loving family. And when you can’t be in the parks, the next best thing is to bring the parks home. I have two high schoolers, and let’s be real, breakfast isn’t a top priority for them.  I recently found these Mickey Waffles in Target https://www.target.com/p/kellogg-s-eggo-mickey-mouse-frozen-homestyle-waffles-10ct/-/A-52087284 and can’t wait to surprise the girls with a fun summer breakfast. Add some fresh picked strawberries and home made whipped cream and summer will start off right guaranteed!

– Denean, www.deneanmelcher.com

Another fun idea to keep little and big people happy and hands busy, is homemade play-dough.  

Ingredients: Steps:

2 Cups White Flour Mix dry ingredients in a medium bowl

¾ Cup Iodized Salt Carefully add oil and hot water

3 Tbs. Cream of Tarter Stir together until blended

1 ½ Tbs. Vegetable Oil Knead dough, and add more flour until you reach your 

2 Cups Boiling Water desired consistency.  

-Lily, www.thehybridhome.net

 

Bringing the outside in is one of my absolute favorite things and one way I do that is houseplants! This isn’t necessarily summer specific, but if you’re looking for some easy or very low maintenance plants then ZZ plants, Snake plants and pathos should be your go-tos. For my outdoor garden area I am loving Salvia bushes. They are stunning, hardy and attract pollinators! 

– Katie, humblemotherhood.com


Sometimes life hands you lemons. In the form of rain in summer. And then you need a backup indoor plan. And let’s face it, keeping three girls in the teen/tween ages occupied all summer can be trying.  This is one of our favorite games to play together,  Trivial Pursuit - Family Edition . I love that there are questions for kids and adults so we can keep a level playing field. 

-Denean, www.deneanmelcher.com

Another fun activity for those rainy or just necessary inside days, are Fuse Beads.  This kit will bring back all sorts of summer fun memories like crafting at camp with your BFF, LYLAS, forever and always!  These kits allow kids (and adults) to craft little figures, or to make keychains or gifts for others.  They are so much fun and easy to follow a pattern or to be creative and make something completely original.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07NQF2YR3/ref=cm_sw_r_sms_c_api_i_ocy7Cb0JRW1Q6    

-Lily, www.thehybridhome.net

Finally, there is this resource for summer prep and activities "For the Children's Sake".  I “homeschool” Luke right now using the Charlotte Mason method and this book has been so helpful! She doesn’t recommend formal lessons until around 6 years old so we’re just doing a very gentle introduction of her methods; mainly focusing on things like habits, nature study, unstructured play time and digging deeper into learning about things as Luke directs. I’ve also started reading Charlotte Mason’s volumes as well, but Susan Macaulay has broken it down into a bit more of a bite size book for a busy mama like me!

– Katie, humblemotherhood.com

 

Summer Favorites, At The Water!

summerfavoritethings2019.jpeg

Summer means time at the beach or the lake or pool.  We’ve teamed up with some of our favorite mama bloggers to round up a collection of super must have items to make your days at the water even more enjoyable. This is a collaborative series of articles from The Oak Grove Collective, of our Favorite Summer Things.

The first must have is a great bag to put ALL of your stuff in. This. Tote. Bag. In Extra Large.  If you’re thinking to yourself, “wow, this is massive,” you are one thousand percent correct.  But it is also every bit worth it’s massivity (eh, not a word).  It is my go-to for most family outings because I can put everything I need in O-N-E bag and call it a day.  It’s inside pockets are delightful and keep things organized while the exterior pocket ensures that I don't lose my keys.  It is currently being used for our 47 degree May baseball games that require winter attire for all members of our family, two fleece blankets, thermos’ of hot chocolate, diapers, snacks, etc.  However, I am hoping it soon converts to our beach bag full of sunscreen, towels and cheddar popcorn.  Go get one!! 

–Lily, www.thehybridhome.net  

Don’t forget the sunscreen!  As a fair skinned mother with a handful of fair-skinned children, I spend a hefty amount of summer vacation planning money on sunscreen.  A few years ago in an effort to ditch and switch some of the harmful things in our lives, I sought out some better, Yet Still Effective, sunscreen alternatives.  My favorite that I have found and as a plus has a 3-4 rating (depending on product) on the “Think Dirty” app is Alba Botanica Hawaiian sunscreen.  I love it and I love that it is a spray for keeping all 7 of our family members covered in record time and effectively keeping us from burning! 

–Amanda, www.thehybridhome.net

I don’t know about you but I can always use extra places to store and carry small items and snacks.   It seems in summer we are on the go, go go! Running kids to activities, to friends, to the pool... the time spent in the car is pretty plentiful. I love these reusable plastic bags by Full Circle. They are food-safe, BPA-free, have an air-tight "lock" seal design, are very sturdy, and come in a few different sizes and designs. Perfect to grab a snack or two to take in the car or pack in a lunch. 

–Denean, deneanmelcher.com 

Now that our snacks are covered, what about drinks?  No one likes a warm drink when it's hot outside, but no one likes a spilled drink, either. These Contigo Spill-Proof Insulated Cups are great because they come apart easily to dishwash, but they stay cold, can withstand toddlers "dropping" them, and they fit in most standard cupholders! Milk and sparkling water will start to siphon out of them, but regular cold water is virtually spill proof, with or without a straw. Ever need to leave your stuff in the car to run some errands and come back to hot water?! Not the case with these. But, if you don't like the stainless steel, we love this water-and-snack-cup combination. My very favorite way to keep track of drink cups and snack cups are these handy dishwasher safe silicone labels, or if you need more versatility, try these write-on ones (I even use one for the bottle I take with me to the gym).

– Caitlin, missionofmotherhood.com

 

And while we are out enjoying the sun and the flowers, and the beach, there is this fun and functional pouch from allshewrotenotes.com summer collection.  “Girls just wanna have sun” or maybe mine should say “Girls just wann have sunscreen” but either way, it makes me dream of beach days when I can quickly locate my phone, sunglasses, and chapstick and keep on enjoying the day.  It is so cute and happy, isn’t it? 

–Amanda, www.thehybridhome.net

Last but certainly not least is a good hair brush! Long hair + thick hair + wet hair = KNOTS! All three of my girls have long, thick hair, and whether you spend a summer at the pool, or a day at the beach, it usually results in some seriously knotty hair. This Wet Brush has saved the day so many times for us. It easily gets through knotted hair, wet or dry, without much complaint. It’s a must have for anyone with long or easily tangled hair!

–Denean, deneanmelcher.com 


Hard days ≠ Bad Days

IMG_6022.jpg

 

Do not grow weary in doing good, for in due season we will reap if we do not give up.  

Galatians 6:9

Early on in my mama-hood I was coming to grips that my firstborn was not a great sleeper.  Which sounds so trivial, doesn’t it? But, you see. He was a firstborn and I was in charge and we do schedules, so he needed to be a sleeper.  It’s what we type A mamas do. We schedule and keep clean and make little people do what they’re told. And by golly, they need to sleep.  In my naivity and lack of experience I fought hard.  I tried. I read all the things and browsed all the forums and any day that my non sleeper did exactly what I expected - didn’t sleep - I deemed a bad day.  My husband would call home from wherever he was traveling to on any given week and graciously ask “how was your day?” “Ugh. Bad. He didn’t sleep. He cried and ate.”  Which, as I am writing this, I am literally laughing out loud.

Eventually there were two little Grimme babies and of course quite naturally, “problems” evolve and seasons change.  Maybe it wasn’t the constant crying or lack of a solid schedule, but rather more bickering and fighting; spilled milk and splattered oatmeal by now the third baby that joined our family.  Colored dry erase marker on your friends most beautiful chair. Winter coats stuffed in the toilet for the 18th time. Sidenote: What is it with kids and toilets?! Again seasons change and certain things become the norm.  Like every child going through a “stuffing things in the toilet phase” and “coloring on every surface other than paper”.

These days the hard is a different type of hard, physically and mentally exhausting.  I wear tennis shoes around my house so my back doesn’t hurt. It’s 2 pm and we’ve just now started school for the day.  I’ve been wearing the same 3 pairs of stretchy pants on rotation for at least two weeks. I got dressed nicely one day and someone told me how pretty I looked and asked me if I got to shower.  <--true story.

Maybe you find yourselves in a new phase of life, a different season of hard that you thought you’d be leaving behind.  It’s supposed to get easier, right? Where diapers and sleepless nights and temper tantrums are a thing of the past? But here you are and it’s now the heart to heart conversations, reprooving and correcting on an emotional level that are just draining.  Attitudes and eyerolls abound. You are navigating the struggle against technology, revisiting conversations you’ve been having for 10 years now. Dishes and laundry are STILL everywhere. One catastrophe after another: a child gets hurt, someone is lost in the woods, someone swallows a light bulb...all in the span of 50 minutes.  <--also true story. And we will all be lucky if anyone gets more than a piece of bread for dinner tonight because I just. Can’t. Even.

The day is nearing an end (does 6pm count as the end?) and we are faced with that nagging question: “How was your day?”  

      Hard.  

     Really, really hard.  Exhausting. Hilarious and sweet sometimes, but flat out hard.

I could rattle off the many things that made it a bad day:  Harsh words from a family member. Constructive criticism (but criticism none-the-less).  A difficult boss. The car broke down (correction: I ran into someone else’s car so well, now it’s broken down).  No fruit in your ministry. Children arguing again. Zero motivation from your team. The water heater is busted.  Another medical bill. You’re unable to meet the deadlines. Whatever it may be, as hard as it may be, I’m just not sure we were ever created to live and stay stuck in the hardest parts of our days.  I wonder how much more productive, how much more fruit, how much more JOY we might have if we tallied those days into the “good - but hard” category.

As I think through the hard that is this week, the challenges coming in this day that awaits (as my now 8 year old non-sleeper stumbles down the hallway waking up the entire neighborhood as he makes his way to the kitchen at the unacceptable time of 6:45am which is approximately 15 minutes before the standing 8 year rule of 7am wake up time) awaits the reminder that hard days are indicative of the reality that this isn’t our forever home.  Each season carries a new weight and responsibility that’s different than the last, yet still hard in its own way. Hard days means we’re sowing and reaping into better character, healthier lifestyle, less self centeredness. This not-forever-home of ours isn’t intended to be BAD.  Though hard, hard days are always opportunity for the Lord to show up and provide - and that, that I can say is good.

So today, as you head out into the corporate world or hang in your pajamas wiping snot all day - let’s shift our focus and our perspective to the recognition that hard days ≠ bad days.  Let’s embrace an opportunity to flex our muscles and dig in a little deeper, or strip ourselves of the pride that’s clouding our purpose. The task the Lord has set before us can have eternal value, which means it can often be hard.  So, so hard. But He hasn’t left us alone and it doesn’t have to be bad.  

Say no to the bad, and embrace the hard.  Let the joy of the Lord be your strength today, loved ones!  

**Also, as an encouragement to you mamas out there … God has softened my type-a-ness.  Chalk it up to getting older or the 3 precious, dirty, unorganized little boys He’s graced me with… Messes don’t scare me anymore and neither do kiddos awake in the night.  He’s brought me to a place to expect and accept the interruptions, and find Him in the midst of it all. Which is just so much sweeter than letting Him try and make His way into my perceived grip on things.

 

XOXO

L