Welcome back to our nest!
How has your second week been? We’ve started to settle into a bit of a groove over here, but we’re definitely still adjusting to everyone being home all the time!
This week was definitely full of a lot of play in our home. Although we still did our academics, we definitely tried to spend more time playing, finding a form exercise we could do together, and connecting with friends online.
For those of you new to this blog, let me tell you what it’s all about! Since we are all home with our kids, I wanted to help by starting a weekly blog where I could share a look inside our week and share links to recipes, crafts, academics, and the things to do with the kids. Obviously, I’ll also be sharing a bunch of photos of these activities! I’m even going to do my absolute best to jump in front of the camera too.
(Did you miss week one? Check it out by clicking here)
So here it is – some things we did with the kids during week two!
March 29 – April 4, 2020
This week we were definitely still adjusting. Mr. D was adjusting to his sister being with us more during the day, while Miss. A was adjusting to having to do more school work with us. My husband is finding more of a groove when it comes to scheduling his day with meetings (and how those blocks of time weave into where I am with the kids). Week two of homeschooling two kiddos on the autism spectrum was definitely easier than the first week but didn’t come without a bit of push back. All in all the kids did great and I think we’ll all be okay lol!
On the photography business side, I heard from another mama who had her little one and we talked about setting up their session as soon as the social distancing bans are lifted. I was able to connect again with my girl, Sandy, to continue working on our 2020 and 20201 weddings season (click here to check us out!).
We had a few really nice days this week! Miss A. and I didn’t waste any time digging out our flip flops, grabbing some favourite snacks (cucumber, baby carrots, and kielbasa!), and sitting out in the sunshine soaking up that vitamin D.
One thing that has never been my strength, but always something I have great intentions about, is exercise. Now that the kids are both home (and their activities are all on hold) we’ve been working hard on finding something we can all do together to make sure we aren’t sitting around all day. We’ve started taking short walks on our street (keeping all the social distancing rules in mind). One thing we found that we all seem to really like is yoga. There are so many good things about yoga, but the two main things we love are it’s focus on core strength (a really important foundation for gross motor skills) and the mindfulness behind it.
This new world is full of so many unknowns and it can cause a lot of anxiety for adults and kids a like. Yoga is a great way to slow down our thoughts and body while also getting some exercise.
YouTube has a bunch of free yoga videos that you can follow, but here are a few that we love!
- Bend Yoga Studio – Bend Yoga Studio is a FANTASTIC yoga studio located in Dundas. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend a few of their classes in person and can’t say enough good things about Joanne and her crew! When you visit their website, you should see on the left hand side a note about their studio being closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Just under that, you will see the option to sign up via email for their yoga (as well as barre, kettlebell, and tabata). Once you do this, you’ll receive all the information on how to access their yoga class videos. These are by far my favourite yoga classes.
- Cosmic Kids Yoga – this one is for the kids! I would say these videos are great for kids 10 years and under, but there are days when Mr. D will humour Miss. A and do one or two with her. The Pokemon Yoga is definitely their favourite!
- Yoga with Adriene – this is one that was recommended to me by one of my favourite cousins in Chicago. The thing I love about this channel is the variety of videos. There are a series of videos that are 10 minutes or less if you’re looking for a quick break, a series of videos for beginners, videos specific to body areas (yoga for hips, yoga for migraines, yoga for neck pain, etc…), and there are also full flow videos. She does a great job of explaining the movements and poses which is always helpful!
Now, we have memberships at our local YMCA and the kids are really missing their programs. The YMCA has also come out with a series of videos that can be done at home. They have a great program called “Thrive” that has a few different programs within it.
Their “Grow” program is for kids ages 10 – 15. There are four 15 – 20 minute videos in this program and they are done pretty well! The thing Mr. D really like is that the instructors are an actual personal trainer from the YMCA and his son! Mr. D and I did a workout the other day and gave it a full 10/10!
Click here to check out all the great video classes they have! Spoiler alert – Not only do they have at home workouts, but they also have video classes for arts and crafts, early years songs, and health & wellbeing!)
Show of hands. Who has heard of prodigy?
Ok, now ask your kids!
Chances are, they’ve heard about this game and might even have an account through school!
If you haven’t heard of it, it’s an awesome adventure game that teaches kids math concepts. Their character gets to go out on different quests, fight different creatures, and has to answer math questions in order to use their battle moves. They get to collect treasures, have the opportunity to purchase accessories and costumes for their character, and can even play with their friends!
We have the free account and both of the kids love it. To them, it’s just a video game. They don’t view it as practicing math (although when I say it’s time to do math class they both ask if they can do prodigy instead lol!)
I asked Mr. D what his favourite thing about prodigy was. He said, “I like that it’s easy but also hard at the same time. It helps me remember what I already know but also teaches me new things.”
Not gonna lie – sort of love coming down in the morning and seeing the kids playing this game together!
Side bar – perk of being the older sibling is that you often get to stay up later than your younger sister. One of Mr. D’s favourite things to do after his sister has gone to bed is play some prodigy while watching / listening to live music. Tuesday nights, his music of choice is a musician out of Hamilton named Christopher Clause. Check him out here! He does a live concert out of his studio every Tuesday from 7pm – 8pm!
This night (pictured below) Mr. D managed to claim both my laptop and phone so that he could play prodigy and listen to Christopher!
We are super blessed to live a short walk away from my parents place. They are both staying home except when they go out to get groceries. They have a fantastic backyard with a climber and trampoline (would you believe I used to play on this climber when I was about 8 or 9 years old? This trampoline is also about 13 years old!)
When the weather is nice, and the kids are getting cabin fever, it’s an easy walk over to my parents place to let the kids climb and jump in their backyard. It’s been fun for Mr. D to be able to teach Miss. A some new tricks!
Ok, so social distancing and stay at home / shelter in place orders are hard. I think, just like grief, there are phases that we all go through.
The thing I miss most is seeing people. I miss my friends. I am so beyond thankful for the technology we have today and how EASY it is to stay in touch with our friends and family!
This past week was my super rad, super talented (check her out here), super hilarious cousins birthday. She is in Illinois and they are under a strict shelter in place order. This meant her birthday was spent at her apartment with her roommates and cat. No family dinner, no night out with friends, no time with her significant other. Guys. This is one of the hardest parts. Having to stay apart on the special days.
We were able to surprise Robin on her birthday with a facetime call. Who doesn’t love having Happy Birthday sung to them by Batdad, the Grim Reaper, and a mom who was still trying to get a cup of coffee LOL! As you can see, she obviously loved our singing!
How many of you are taking this time to start going through boxes you forgot you had? Check out what Brandon found in one of his mystery boxes!
(Side bar, who remembers this plastic mesh and yarn being THE craft to do when you were about 12? I can’t even count how many bookmarks I made that year!)
Speaking of mystery boxes, one of the things our kids have LOVED doing is getting to play with Brandons old action figures! The kids think these guys are the coolest and have been having a blast with not only these action figures, but a slew of original transformers as well!
Do you have toys or costumes from your childhood? Have you ever shown your kids? I bet they would LOVE to see them!
Also, pro tip! Get out all their costumes from past years and throw them in a bin. Throw all the masks and other accessories and toss them in another bin. You wouldn’t believe how much fun our kids have doing pretend play with all of their old costumes!
Last but not least, I wanted to give you guys an update on our seedlings! Look at these guys!!
SERIOUSLY, LOOK AT THEM!
If you’re wanting to try your hand at starting some seeds, here is a great link that we used to get started!
Ok so before I jump off this (already longer than intended) post, I wanted to reiterate something that I feel is super important, especially during this pandemic. I know a lot of families are really struggling with schooling at home. Some boards have sent out work for the kiddos, others have not. Some schools have been able to connect directly with families and students while others have not.
When we first started homeschooling, I was completely overwhelmed. The best thing I ended up doing was picking the two subjects I felt were most important – language arts and math. We focused on those two things every day. If we were able to sneak in some social studies or science, then that was a bonus. I think it’s really important, especially if you are flying blind with academics right now, that you pick one or two things and just focus on those things.
Especially with all the uncertainty going on, I really do feel the most important thing to be doing with your kiddos is just spending quality time together.
Paint a picture, snuggle up and read a book (or listen to an audiobook!), hunker down with a movie (Disney + has all the classics! I’m talking ‘Apple dumpling gang’, ‘Flight of the navigator’, ‘Mr. Magoo’ type classics!), do some pretend play, explore your back yard, bake some cookies, let them help cook dinner, and most importantly, spend time in conversation. Take some time to really listen to their thoughts about what’s going on – their fears and worries, but also things they are liking about being home with you.
There we go! Week two!
Again, some weeks are going to be trickier than others. Some weeks will definitely be more fun and full of laughter than others….but that’s ok. We are all doing our best to navigate through a very different and difficult world right now.
Next week I’ll be sharing more about zoom calls, our new favourite flat bread recipe, a super fun surprise we have planned for the kids, and perhaps we might even take an adventure into Mr. D getting his first at home haircut!
Jennifer is a lifestyle family photographer located in Southern Ontario. Jennifer is a newborn, baby, maternity, family, and creative branding photographer. She serves Ancaster, Brantford, Burlington, Cambridge, Hamilton, Kitchener, Oakville, Niagara, Woodstock, and the GTA.
To book your own session with Jennifer Blaak Photography after the social bans are lifted, please use the contact tab at the top of the page. You can also contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org