• education,  Family

    Books My Kids Are Reading Part 7

    I’m back with another update (the 7th!) of what books my kids and I have been reading together. The books I share here are the ones my kids, 2nd and 5th graders, enjoyed and gave their stamp of approval. My feelings are sometimes more complicated. I’m a mom. I overthink all. the. things! First, I wanted to show you a different kind of book. This is my son’s Irish reading homework from a few months ago. Suffice it to say, I have to trust him when he says it’s a story about a monkey drinking milk. Now, onto the book list! The World’s Worst Children by David Walliams We’ve read…

  • Family,  holidays

    Board Games Even I Enjoy

    I’m not sure what you guys lie in bed at night watching. Game of Thrones? Friends reruns? Stranger Things? The 10 O’Clock News? This Is Us? Do you want to know what I fall asleep listening to Handy Husband watches? YouTube videos of people playing board games. Try not to be jealous of my life. This is akin to my kids watching YouTube videos of people playing Minecraft instead of just playing Minecraft themselves. I’m giving you this window into my very glamorous life to illustrate an important point. When Handy Husband takes on a hobby, you can be guaranteed that he will take that hobby on 110%. There’s no…

  • Family,  holidays

    What I’m Thankful For Ain’t On No List

    First of all, apologies to my Grandma Olsson for using the word ain’t in the title of this post. I’m fairly certain if she could reprimand me from heaven she would! That was NOT a word we were allowed to use as grandchildren of a teacher. I think it was right up there with naughty words or ‘barnyard talk’ as she called it. Maybe worse! Since she was the sweetest grandma to walk the planet (I’m not biased or anything), I think she would forgive me just this once because I’m merely quoting a song written by Trisha Yearwood. Yes, I’m trying to get off on a technicality. The first…

  • Family,  learning

    Books My Kids Are Reading Part 6

    Books, books and more books! Welcome back to what has become an on-going series sharing the children’s books my kids and I are reading. Before I get to the list of books we’ve enjoyed recently, I want to show you a neat booklet our local Irish library system publishes. It is a reading guide for different age groups from toddlers up to young adults. It includes both fiction and non-fiction recommendations. The library must have a fairly robust budget to produce this booklet and I have no complaints about that! The reading guide is compiled by a group of ‘book doctors’ who are all children’s book specialists. They have backgrounds…

  • Family,  learning

    Kid Wisdom: Everyday Superpowers

    Picture it. The kids and I are on a packed commuter train at 8:27 a.m. We’re standing, of course, because it’s a Monday morning and everyone has to get to work on time on a Monday. By Friday they won’t care as much and the train will be less crowded. I’m wearing my son’s backpack because 2nd grade homework is HEAVY and holding my own backpack with my left hand. With my right hand I’m holding onto one of the vertical bars to keep my balance as the train stops and starts. The kids are clustered next to me attempting whatever movement they can get away with in a packed…

  • Family,  Ireland,  learning

    We’re Not Catholic, but I Sent My Kids to Mass

    My kids went to Catholic Mass today. We’re not Catholic. We’re American expats living in Ireland where the public school system is run by the Catholic Church with public tax dollars. Even many private schools are Catholic-influenced. Our kids (now 7 and 10) attend a private school that is not Catholic run. As a percentage, there aren’t a lot of these schools in Ireland, but they are growing in number and popularity. Twice a year our school offers the children an opportunity to attend a community-wide Mass during school hours. All the various primary schools in the parish attend. Of course, as parents, we have the right to opt our…

  • education,  Family

    Books My Kids Are Reading Part 5

    First week of September and I am up to my eyeballs in lunch boxes and homework! Before I completely forget everything that happened this summer, I want to give you the rundown of some books we enjoyed while school was out. It’s not the entirety of what we or they read, but the ones worth sharing. These are the books my (kids age 7 and 10) enjoyed and said, “just one more chapter! Please!” AniMalcolm by David Baddiel We stumbled into the world of David Baddiel when I picked up this book at the airport back in June. AniMalcom is a book about a kid who doesn’t like animals and then…

  • cleaning,  clothing and jewelry,  DIY,  Family

    Two Easy Ways to Corral Hair Bands

    I can open a drawer a million times and the mess doesn’t bother me. At least not enough for me to do anything about it. And then… I can’t explain it. Something snaps. I find myself saying to no one in particular, “what kind of animals live in this house? Why is this drawer such a gross disaster?” I have a silverware tray in a bathroom drawer to organize my daughter’s hair stuff. As you can see, it’s working super well. *sigh* Handy Husband’s idea for organizing this drawer was short hair. That idea was met by an epic level of eye rolling by our 10-year-old daughter. *sigh* Thank goodness…

  • Family,  Ireland,  travel

    Visiting Ireland: The Cliffs of Moher and Aran Islands (with kids)

    I can’t believe we waited over a year to see Ireland’s #2 tourist spot, the Cliffs of Moher. The #1 tourist spot in Ireland, by the numbers, is the Guinness Storehouse. Tourists have their priorities! As much as we enjoyed the Guinness Storehouse, the Cliffs of Moher just might be my favorite spot in all of Ireland. So far. When visiting the Cliffs of Moher, most people will home base out of the city of Galway. I wrote about visiting Galway here. It’s not a big city, so you can hit all of the high points in a day, maybe a day and a half. That leaves plenty of time…

  • Family,  Ireland,  travel

    Visiting Ireland: Galway With kids

    Over the past year we have spent long weekends here and there visiting different parts of Ireland. Every place we visit is new and exciting for our family – it’s a perk of moving to a new country! Our kids are 7 and 10 and they are definitely becoming seasoned travelers. Last weekend we finally made our way from Dublin over to the beautiful city of Galway. Galway has a population of approximately 80,000 people. It is also the home of National University of Ireland Galway (NUI Galway). Approximately 17,000 students attend university at NUI Galway each year. LOCATION Galway is located on the west coast of Ireland. The River…