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Chore Rhythms as Core Rhythms: Laundry

Teaching our children how to care for themselves, their people, and their spaces doesn’t have to be difficult when we think about teaching them how to do it step by step. Many of us were thrown into it when we had to figure out how to cook, clean, and care for ourselves after we left home. And so we understand the value of starting early after we ourselves were thrown into the deep end. It can help and serve us to have some of our Core Rhythms be Chore Rhythms.

The Discipline of Laundry through the Years

A discipline is, simply put, a pattern of behavior that can be applied and cultivated. The time we take to grow in different disciplines gives us grounding in those areas thus giving us the ability and time to focus efforts in other areas of our life.

In the discipline of laundry, some of us really struggle to get laundry done. We let it pile up and then get overwhelmed by the huge pile and how long it will take for us to do it. If we instead focus on the discipline of laundry and develop helpful habits, our minds can rest easy and focus on the things we really want to without facing the overwhelm later.

Needless to say, it is actually a great gift to our children to give them time and opportunity to develop their own areas of discipline. Instead of running our houses in a mindset of “I can get it done quickly and effectively all by myself”or even “I’m all alone in this,” we can realize that every chore is an opportunity for teaching that discipline.

As teachers we strive more for progress than we do for perfection and this is a really important thing to remember each time you work to instill chore disciplines in your children. Through these Chore Rhythms remember to leave your perfectionistic expectations at the door, it will serve you well and your child well if you do that. Instead, offer them structure and room to grow. Then, enjoy the rhythm together.

A Real Ol’ Fashioned Laundry Machine!

Chore Rhythms for the Discipline of Laundry

Often times, we want to do our chores in the nooks and crannies of our day out of the way of our families. The flip side is never doing them and that isn’t helpful to us or anyone else! So let’s see how we can grow our rhythm through the years:

Babies

This is the easiest but sometimes hardest step for us as parents, but it’s simple: Do your laundry in front of and with your babies. Don’t only do it when they are asleep or napping. I’m not saying that you can’t do any of your chores when your baby is sleeping because we all know that is impossible. When you have a newborn or infant, you need that napping time to get some important things done. But as they grow, when they can crawl and sit up and want to play, start to do your laundry and their laundry with them awake. They will see you doing it and learn that it is a part of your family’s weekly rhythm and bonus: you’ll get it done!

2-3 year olds

This is a fun age when your toddler wants to experience everything that you do, with you. They have learned that laundry is a weekly rhythm and they want to be involved. So let them be involved. Give them a few pieces of their laundry to work with as you fold the rest of their clothes. Let them try and “fold” their own clothes, encouraging them as they try to do it. It’s a really hard skill actually, so realize that it will look like they just bunched it up. But as they practice they will improve and you’ll be surprised one day when they figured out a key part of folding a shirt, like first tucking in the sleeves. Next, they can master folding it in half one way and then eventually the other. Be okay with less than perfect! Help them to understand where their clothes go and how to put them away.

4-5 year olds

They know a little of the basics of what to do with laundry after it is finished. Continue to let them be a part of folding and putting it away. Now, help them to understand more about how you gather the laundry together before you put it in the machine and let them put it in the machine themselves. When it is done in the washer, let them change it to the dryer safely. We have front loading machines so this is very easy, but I know some people have stacked machines or top loaders, so remember that safety is a priority. Use a stool and a laundry basket as an in-between step if you need to.

6-7 year olds

This is the age when our family gives the responsibility to the child to fold their batch of laundry and put it into their drawers. You may have a specific day for your child to do laundry or some other “hint” that tells the child it’s time. I’ll give you an example by telling you how we go through the rhythm:

  • The child realizes they need to laundry because they have one pair of clothes left in their drawer.
  • They tell me that it’s the day they need to do their laundry and gather it together to take downstairs in their designated laundry bag.
  • They put it into the washing machine and tell me that it’s ready to start.
  • I put the detergent in and start the machine.
  • Sometimes I have them change it over or I give them a break and do it myself. I like to surprise them and do it sometimes.
  • It goes through the dryer and finishes.
  • I ask them to gather it back into their designated laundry bag and they take it back upstairs to fold it and put it away.

Let me note as well that I don’t put time limits on their rhythm. I sometimes let my son or daughter wait until the next day to fold it because I care more about building the discipline than crushing their spirit. If they really want to spend time playing with their siblings or other friends, enjoying a good book, or finishing an assignment then I help them remember to finish their laundry when it is a good time. I’m the reminder but they grow in the joy of responsibility.

8+ years old

After growing through the how’s, when’s, and what for’s of laundry, I teach them the final step which is adding in the detergent to the machine. Why wait until this age? It’s something that I personally build in last because it requires self-control. It’s not necessarily the easiest thing to fill a scoop only 1/3 or 1/2 of the way when you are little and I want to make sure that my child has the discernment to follow my directions and not try something “scientific” with their laundry. We actually transitioned to using a liquid detergent instead of powder because it is so easy to teach my children how to do it and it’s safe for them to use. You can find it here: Liquid Detergent

I also wait until this age because of the safety systems built into our washing machine. In order to open up the detergent slot, you first need to slide a mechanism inside the handle to the left and then pull which requires a little more effort and motor control.

I love this detergent because it’s safe for my family and the environment and it gets measured out by pumps! My kids usually have medium loads so they add 2x pumps into our detergent slot before closing it and starting the machine. This liquid detergents lasts us a long time, it has a very pleasing lavender scent, and I love that it’s safe for our skin.

Celebrate

As you build in a Chore Rhythm you get to see the growth and progress of your child and build in a family culture that rings true to you. Remember to celebrate progress, celebrate growth, and celebrate each other along the way!

One of my favorite things is to see the personality of my different children shining through! My son does his laundry in a very specific way:

Until next time, <3 Kate

I am a Norwex Independent Consultant, if you want more help with product tips and care check out my Facebook Group: The Good Ol’ Fashioned Clean. Request to join my group and check the box: Chore Rhythms

You can find my website here: https://katenel.norwex.biz for a safe and effective way to clean your home!

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Year 6 of Homeschooling

Last year flew by for us. We settled into a new house, and all of us went through developmental stages in between the seasons, terms, lessons and experiences. We enjoyed the nature around us and loved settling into a place that we can call our own. We are so grateful for all that last year brought, but it was also hard.

I had two little ones, a 3 year old and a 1 year old, and they were unsettled most of the time. Our new-to-us house felt very hot in the warmer months and very cold in the colder months, which is always hard to adjust to for everyone in the family. We did most of our school time on the floor in their room to accommodate for the littles and that was fun, but it was also harder to be intentional and make sure that we were doing all the learning that we could together.

During our summer slow-down I realized how tired I was of schooling on the floor and decided to plan ahead to use our dining room table again for this school year. I set up a space downstairs for all of our books, and got out our age appropriate games and hands-on learning items for our now 4 and 2 year old. I felt relief as we started this sixth year of home education not on the floor, but instead sitting around the table together to learn. I think my kids feel just as much relief as I did, which is sweet.

We have also entered into a new stage for the older two and they are no longer in the same Form. I now have a Form 1 student, age 7, and a Form 2 student, age 9. I wasn’t sure how this was going to work out, but I realized as I thought on the end of our last year how eager my 9 year-old was to dive deeper into his subjects and learn more. It’s been a joy to add the Form 2 books into our Morning Routine. We also started Family Science together and a course from Waldorfish for Art, which the kids are all very excited about. This year we’ll also pick up where we left off with Amazing Africa from Heritage Mom. We hope to deepen our love for the Lord, cook, explore nature, and find some new things to make as well.

It’s with happiness in my heart that we start this school year. After a wonderful summer, we are so excited to wet our appetites with the wonderful things to learn around us!

Until next time, <3 Kate

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Bubbling Bob, the Bobolink

What a fun sentence full of alliteration: Today our Burgess bird is Bubbling Bob the Bobolink! Writing that this morning is a great start to the day.

Bobolinks… ever heard of them? Unfortunately, this is a bird that is getting harder to find.

If you are hoping to ever spot one you should look in the grasslands or abandoned fields around you. They can be seen and heard around those long stalks of grass. Within those fields, they build their nests on the ground and when reading about them in our Burgess Bird Book we find that Jimmy Skunk is very interested in Bubbling Bob’s nest. Thankfully Bubbling Bob and his wife are very clever and lead Jimmy Skunk in the wrong direction to protect their nest.

Here is a great clip of a male Bobolink singing and I love it because you can see his back as he hops along the fence line. The Cornell Lab adds that Bobolinks are the only North American bird with black underparts and sections of white on their back calling his pattern a reverse tuxedo. (source)

The Kensington Conservacy

Until next time, keep on birding! <3 Kate

For our Burgess Bird pages, check here:

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Weaver, the Orchard Oriole

Baltimore Oriole you’ve probably heard of before, but Orchard Oriole? Maybe not.

The Orchard Oriole exchanges the beautiful orange of his Baltimore cousin with a chestnut brown. The females are very different from the males, wearing yellow and green feathers.

Here is a video of what an Immature Male looks like, much more like the female except with a black throat, and it’s call:

Go Trails Orchard Oriole

Both Orchard and Baltimore Orioles make hanging nests. As Peter Rabbit finds out from Striped Chipmunk,

“Do they have a hanging nest like Goldy’s?’ asked Peter a bit timidly. ‘Not such a deep one,’ replied Striped Chipmunk. ‘They hang it between the twigs near the end of a branch, but they bind it more closely to the branch and it isn’t deep enough to swing as Goldy’s does.”

Check out this beautiful video of the female Orchard Oriole building her nest:

From the Forest Preserve District of Will County

Until next time, keep on birding! <3 Kate

For our Burgess Bird Coloring and Writing Pages, check here!

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Egyptian Koshari and Oom Ali

We have been studying our way through Africa with Heritage Mom’s Amazing Africa heritage pack and the other day I had an idea… why not spend some time traveling through Africa and trying some of the national food in Cast Iron while we study these amazing and diverse countries. So, we started with the first country in Amazing Africa: Egypt.

Before diving into a cast iron recipe, I wanted to make a meal famous in Egypt, one which my very good friend Remonda had told me about before, Koshari. Koshari is an Egyptian rice, lentil, and pasta dish that has chickpeas, a “salsa”, and fried onions on top. I made a recipe from Maral in the Kitchen and it turned out wonderfully. The kids adored the elbow macaroni and even became well versed in lentils through this dish. For Egyptians this dish makes a lot of sense, it’s filling, tasty, and uses ingredients that are not too expensive and readily found, without any need for meat, which is very expensive in Egypt.

For dessert, we used our Cast Iron to make Oom Ali (Uum Ali), often labeled as the Middle Eastern version of Bread Pudding, but I really feel that it is unique. Living in the Middle East for a number of years, if I went to an Iftar during Ramadan I would always find my way to the Uum Ali.

I found a recipe that spoke about the traditional Egyptian bread ingredient, rooa, but gave a great ingredient option for almost anywhere that you may live: croissants.

You can find this recipe over at I Knead to Eat and if you buy croissants that you need to make in the oven, just make sure that they are the large size because if they are too small your Oom Ali will be very soupy. We enjoyed the sliced pistachios and raisins adorning our Oom Ali very much.

Next time, we’ll make our way over to Libya cooking a very familiar Middle Eastern dish in the Libyan style. And, of course, we’ll use Cast Iron!

Until then, keep on cooking in Cast Iron! <3 Kate

Need something to season your Cast Iron and enjoy it a little more when it’s time to clean up? Head over to our shop and find our Kitchen Tallow!

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Downy and Hairy

When we started The Burgess Bird Book, I just couldn’t wait to get to Chapter 11, Drummers and Carpenters. I knew that’s where Peter Rabbit would learn the difference between a Hairy Woodpecker and a Downy Woodpecker. I fought the temptation and was able to wait patiently for the day when we would read it aloud as a family. I was not disappointed. Peter Rabbit learned how to tell the difference and so did I (and my children, of course 😂).

Armed with my knowledge and situated in front of the window to watch our suet feeder, I saw it myself. Have you ever wanted to tell the difference?

Form 1, Grade 3 Student

The tricky thing for most people is when you realize that both Hairy and Downy males have red patches on their heads and look exactly the same with black and white feather patterns. However, there are some striking differences between them. The first is their size, which may be hard to tell when you spot them separately. Hairy woodpeckers are considerably larger than Downy woodpeckers.

“Just then Downy flew away, but hardly had he disappeared when another drummer took his place. At first Peter thought Downy had returned until he noticed that the newcomer was just a bit bigger than Downy. Jenny Wren’s sharp eyes spied him at once.

‘Hello!’ she exclaimed. ‘There’s Hairy. Did you ever see two cousins look more alike? If it were not that Hairy is bigger than Downy it would be hard work to tell them apart. Do you see any other difference, Peter?'”

The Burgess Bird Book, Thornton W. Burgess, Living Press edition, p. 53

Do you want to know the other difference that Jenny Wren taught Peter?

Downy or Hairy, what do you think?

The other difference is in their tails. Speaking first of Hairy, Jenny Wren instructs:

“Look at the outside feathers of his tail; they are all white. Downy’s outside tail feathers have little bars of black.”

The Burgess Bird Book, pp. 53-4

If you look very closely above at the woodpecker on my suet feeder, you’ll see he has a few black bars on his underside white tail feathers. We have positioned a suet feeder right by our kitchen window to see the difference even better. And now we delight in being able to tell with certainty what kind of woodpecker we have spotted that day. Now that I make my own suet, we see the Downy Woodpeckers very often, and Hairy comes at least once a day. And he is certainly larger than his smaller cousin.

For more fun with birds, check out our Burgess Bird pages:

Until next time, keep birding! <3 Kate

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Teeter, The Spotted Sandpiper

While reading The Burgess Bird Book, I realized very quickly that I have a soft spot for small birds with long legs. I could watch them for hours. When we lived in Dubai, my husband and I loved to spot Plovers, watching as they circled and diverted our attention, protecting their young.

You may not have spent a lot of time trying to identify shorebirds and maybe you live too far away from water to be able to do it very often. Did you know that there are actually so many different species? They are actually quite difficult to identify. The Spotted Sandpiper is the most pervasive breeding Sandpiper across North America, and the one Sandpiper that Burgess chose for his book. Shorebirds live and breed among many different types of bodies of water, so even if you don’t live next to a large lake or an ocean, you can find them near streams, rivers, and smaller bodies of water as well.

Burgess gives this bird the name of Teeter, the perfect name for a bird with such long legs, mentioning Peter Rabbits observation, “every few steps he would stop to pick up something, then stand for a second bobbing up and down in the funniest way, as if his body was so nicely balanced on his legs that it teetered back and forth like a seesaw.” (Burgess Bird Book, Living Books Press, p. 44)

A Spotted Sandpiper only wears its spotted breast during breeding season, and wears a plain white breast in winter. (allaboutbirds.org). This year, I have realized that studying the immature and adolescent stages of different bird species, as well as, their breeding and non-breeding plumage is really quite important. For this bird, it certainly is because a Spotted Sandpiper is not spotted all year round!

Look at what my Form 1, Grade 3 student gathered about Teeter:

Hope you have a long leg type of day, getting out to bird! Until the next one, <3 Kate

For more about my Burgess Coloring pages, check here:

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The American Woodcock, Longbill

Here we come to a beloved chapter in the Burgess Bird Book, chapter 9. We fell in love with Longbill, who’s Writing Page you can see above, very quickly and I’ll tell you why… You’ll have to tell me yourself if you can resist his irresistible moves when you see them here:

Youtube video by Sandra Dennis

This rocking back and forth dance is a very common behavior for Woodcocks- if you look for more videos, you can find some pretty funny ones set to music.

Burgess highlights another Woodcock characteristic, which gives Longbill his name. Peter Rabbit knows how Welcome Robin hunts for worms, but he is puzzled by Longbill’s method. To Peter, it looks as if Longbill sticks his bill into the ground with no plan. He asks Longbill:

“Even if you know there is a worm down there in the ground, how do you know when you’ve reached him? And how is it possible for you to open your bill down there to take him in?” asked Peter.

Longbill chuckled. “That’s easy,” said he. “I’ve got the handiest bill that ever was. See here!” Longbill suddenly thrust his bill straight out in front of him and to Peter’s astonishment he lifted the end of the upper half without opening the rest of his bill at all. “That’s the way I get them,” said he. “I can feel them when I reach them, and then I just open the top of my bill and grab them. I think there is one right under my feet now; watch me get him.” Longbill bored into the ground until his head was almost against it. When he pulled his bill out, sure enough, there was a worm. “Of course,” explained Longbill, “it is only in soft ground that I can do this. That is why I have to fly away south as soon as the ground freezes at all.”

Thornton W. Burgess, Burgess Bird Book, Living Books Press edition, p. 43

The amazing thing about these two specific characteristics is that together they help the Woodcock hunt and capture worms. As allaboutbirds.org tells us: “The American Woodcock probes the soil with its bill to search for earthworms, using its flexible bill tip to capture prey. The bird walks slowly and sometimes rocks its body back and forth, stepping heavily with its front foot. This action may make worms move around in the soil, increasing their detectability.”

Maybe next time I go to the grocery store, I’ll try this approach in getting my food. 😂

Until next time, keep birding! <3 Kate

For more information about my Burgess Bird Writing and Coloring pages check here:

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Eastern Wood-Pewee

“A little bit bigger than his cousin, Chebec, but looked very much like him,” Peter thought about Pewee, the Eastern Wood-Pewee. He loves to repeat his name. “Pee-wee! Pee-wee!” Give him a listen:

From Wild Bird and Nature Videos by McElroy Productions

Pewee is called the Wood-Pewee because you’ll most often find him in the forest. Allaboutbirds.org highlights that “when several flycatcher species live in the same forest, the Eastern Wood-Pewee tends to forage higher in the trees than the Least and Acadian flycatchers, but lower than the Great Crested Flycatcher.” Flycatchers are known to “sally out” or set out in a sudden manner because of their great love for insects. But the Wood-Pewee takes frequent pauses in between, which helps for us to observe them a little bit more when we find them.

Find what we learned about the Eastern Wood-Pewee below:

Form 1, Grade 3 Student

Pewee is the last of the Burgess Bird Flycatchers, next time, we’ll meet some interesting birds you may not have heard of or seen! Stay tuned!

Until then, keep on birding! <3 Kate

For the Burgess Bird Coloring and Writing Pages, check here:

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Cresty, a Lover of Snake Skin

The Great Crested Flycatcher. I love the way that allaboutbirds describes this bird: “A large, assertive flycatcher with reddish-brown accents and a lemon-yellow belly is a common bird of Eastern woodlands. Its habit of hunting high in the canopy means it’s not particularly conspicuous – until you learn its very distinctive call, an emphatic rising whistle.”

Let’s hear that call:

From #MyBackyardBirding

Cresty is the largest Flycatcher in the family and stands out to Peter because of his odd request:

If in your roaming about you run across an old cast-off suit of Mr. Black Snake, or of any other member of the Snake family, I wish you would remember me and let me know. Will you, Peter? said Cresty.

Cresty from “The Burgess Bird Book” by Thornton W. Burgess

Understandably, Peter stumbles as he replies to Cresty’s request. But it is true, Great Crested Flycatchers use discarded snake skins, weaving them into their nests. Allaboutbirds adds that “where it’s readily available, as in Florida, nearly every nest contains snakeskin.” Here is another video from #MyBackyardBirding with a female stocking the nest.

Great Crested Flycatchers make their nests in tree cavities and because of this, they are an excellent fit for a bird nest box.

Look at our other findings about the Great Crested Flycatcher:

Form 1, Grade 3 Student

They are certainly interesting birds, and until nest time, hehe, keep on birding!

<3 Kate

For more information on my Burgess Bird Coloring and Writing pages, check here: