Nature Hike

We are all meant to be naturalists, each to his own degree, and it is inexcusable to live in a world so full of the marvels of the plant and animal life and to care for none of these things. ~Charlotte Mason


The sun finally showed itself today and brought with it some lovely temperatures. We took school outside to enjoy this first really spring-y day.



The pigs were loafing about, also enjoying the warm air and sunshine. They don’t have much time left to enjoy it, though! A few of them wandered over to say hello and beg for a snack.


We hiked down to the bottom of our woods, ostensibly in search of young spring nettles. We never found the nettles – they must not be up yet, as new growth is always a little slow on our north slope – but we found tons of beautiful foliage, moss, and water in the tiny creek bed.





Water in the creek bed, of course, means mud. So. Much. Mud. The girls were covered head to toe. But the giggles were worth the mess. I guess it’s time to de-winterize that outdoor shower I always tease my husband for building!

Big Family Tips – Conquering Mount Laundry

We just finished Spring Break and I can easily say it was the least relaxing we’ve ever had. We had grand plans to re-roof our house over break, which proved to be immensely more stressful than we’d anticipated. Thunderstorms, tornadoes, and snow didn’t help, either.

Being 35 weeks pregnant also didn’t help. Why do we always plan insanity during pregnancy? You’d think I’d have learned, after all this time. Clearly, I’m a little slow.

With aching hips, killer heartburn, and limited energy stores, things have fallen to the wayside. Especially when most of my helpful crew spent the last week on the roof.

But one thing has actually stayed within a reasonable¬† and manageable limit and that’s the laundry.

You read that correctly. I’ve actually stayed on top of the laundry for the last few months. It’s a victory nothing short of miraculous. It required an overhaul of our washing system, but it’s worked out beautifully.

I know many big families have older kids do their own laundry, but we haven’t gone that route. Between a finicky washer and kids who would probably opt for dirty clothes over washing, I’d rather keep this chore in my control.

Enter the Mesh Bag System. This is my husband’s brainchild and I’m quite grateful. Our kids have doubled up in rooms, so each bedroom has two mesh bags – one for clean and one for dirty laundry.

When one bag gets full, someone delivers it to the laundry room.

(If you’re a laundry purist, stop here. You may faint at my admission of never sorting laundry. Or folding.)

When I’m ready to wash that load, it all goes into the washer, gets dried, and gets returned to the mash bag. Someone from that bedroom picks up the load and they sort, (maybe) fold, and put the clean laundry away.

Occasionally, things get out of whack, but over all, this has worked quite well for us. Our laundry, as well as sheets, and towels all get done separately. But this has kept me from being overwhelmed by the kids laundry, so I feel like sheets and towels are getting better tended to now, as well.

I LOVE tips on running a home, especially a home filled to the brim with kiddos. Leave your best tips in the comments.