The big oops of reading the wrong schedule

There is a weird time vortex that happens around the holidays. Days get sucked into deep black holes and no one knows if it’s a Friday or a Tuesday. The only clock that sticks is how many days, hours, minutes, until the next thing happens.

Behold the holiday vortex!

Which is why I find this story so funny.

As someone who is trying to run her own business from home, schedules and plans are the only way to get things done. Some of these things require intense focus, so I save them for when the house is quiet. Ideally when I’m home alone. These precious silent hours are when the characters talk the clearest and the settings bloom to life.

Needless to say, I was eager for the day the kids went back to school and hubby went back to work. So eager in fact, that on January 3rd I woke my two youngest up at 7:20, fed them, made them get dressed and brush their teeth, got their backpacks and shoes figured out and was about to shovel them into the car and gleefully escort them back to school when I got a phone call.

“Hey hon,” hubby says. “I’m looking at the calendar and it says that K and D are off track,”

“What?” I hurry to the fridge and rummage through the papers important enough to earn a magnet, school schedule included. Sure enough, no school today.

No school for my younger two kiddos until the freaking 22nd of January. Yay for year-round school?

Here I am, literally tasting the sweet nectar of that most elusive of motherly gifts – free time – and I find out they will be hanging out with me for the next. three. weeks.

I might have cried. Or ate the rest of the stocking candy. Can’t quite remember.

Fast forward to today. While there’s none of that wonderful thing called silence. (Any parent will tell you that when it’s silent in the home and the kids are around, that means trouble.) What there is instead is plenty of laughter, fun, and games.

They’re pretty good about letting me escape to my basement dungeon and work, especially when it’s still early and they’re still sleepy haven’t booted up for the day.

As for my writing goals for January, this might be interesting…

Wish me luck.


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Surviving Being Off Track – Week 1

We’ve made it through one week of being off track from school and so far everything has gone well. Everyone is still talking to each other and the house has not been destroyed, yet.  There is still time for that.  My youngest has uncovered an even more stubborn streak than before and is testing his limits right and left.  As I type I’m letting him watch his favorite show on my computer screen, but he can’t be happy with just that.  He also feels he must pull my fingers off of the keyboard as I type.

Here are the highlights from last week –

  1. Homemade Gak – By far this was the favorite activity. The kids spent hours playing with the stretchy gooey stuff.  We chose clear glue to make our Gak and discovered later that the chemical composition is different from with white glue. Mixing and mashing it with more and more water until it was usable took longer than I originally planned.  In the end it still wasn’t as stretchy as I thought it should be, but was still really cool. As a side note, Gak works wonders to get dust out of the cracks of your keyboard, mine is sparkling clean now.  You can also add essential oils to make it smell nice, peppermint worked great.  Playing with the Gak was so popular that it took place of several of the other activities I had planned for the week.IMG_2261
  2. Super Absorbent Polymers – Also known as Orbeez, these spheres start as tiny BB sized balls and absorb 20-40 times their size in water. The kids loved watching them slowly grow over the course of several hours and then playing with them. They look like glass marbles and feel a little squishy when held.  The clear balls disappear like magic in water.  If let out to dry they shrink back to their original size over the course of several days and then can be stored and used again.  We found ours in the vase and silk flower section of our local dollar store.IMG_2260
  3. The Planetarium – This year we received a membership to the local Planetarium, a terrific gift for any family with kids who like science like mine.  Ours has a 3D Imax theater and a dome theater and has different shows throughout the day.  It also has two floors of exhibits and hands-on activities that the kids love.  This week we watched the 3D Imax Dragons movie.
  4. Minecraft – I didn’t want to get sucked into this game, but at the same time if this is what my kids want to do and it’s something we can do together, then it makes for good together time.  We figured out how to share each others worlds and visit.  I’ve made myself little homes and gardens in each of their worlds and then can come over and help them fight their zombies and find materials for building.

I had hoped to be able to work on my projects as well this week, my manuscript is feeling rather neglected lately.  With my youngest fighting naps and the other two at home, finding uninterrupted quiet time doesn’t happen. I did a little work on my query letter and through it was able to solve a major plotting concern that had nagged at the back of my mind. With luck, this week I’ll find a few hours here and there to get more chapters edited.

Here’s to another great week!

Perks and Pitfalls of Going Off Track

As of tomorrow, my kids are off track from school for the next three weeks and I can’t say I’m 100% excited about the prospect of having them home for so long.  When they first proposed year round school I had mixed feelings.  No more big summer break and instead random three week breaks during odd parts of the year.  Because of it my children didn’t get to celebrate Halloween at school and both of their birthdays fall during off track times as well.  Some enjoy the prospect of being able to take family vacations during the off season and while it’s nice to have that as an option, chances are you won’t be going on vacation with each break.

That means there are weeks with no school that need some sort of structure.

It would be so easy to just let the days slide by in a blur of lazy TV watching, video game playing, and not dressing until after lunch.  I’ve done it before and chances are even with the best intentions we will still be doing a lot of lazy.  There is just so much time to fill and currently, not much to fill it with.

Last night I tried to find a magical solution to this problem online. I searched “what to do with kids that are off track” and got hundreds of sites giving recommendations for different youth correction facilities and advice to deal with troubled children. Not helpful.  I searched for “kids winter break” and had better luck although most of the activities had something to do with Christmas.  I can use some of these, although I’m still limited because of the age range of my kids.  In the time I wasted trying to find a plan for keeping everyone engaged and entertained without breaking the bank or my emotional well being, I probably could have come up with some great ideas of my own.

So this morning I did –

  1. The library – I love the idea of being lazy with books.  My dream is one day to have the whole family curled up with great books and reading together for hours on end. Right now that’s more difficult, my toddler has limited patience for both visiting the library and reading together. For the other two it’s still a great idea. If I’m lucky I can even find a little something for myself as well!
  2. Cooking – There are so many fun treats that I’d like to try making with my kids.  I’ve seen recipes for fruit leathers, cheese crackers, and other yummy kid staples that would be great to try, and healthier than the store bought versions as well.
  3. Crafting – From simple paper crafts like origami and watercolors to fiber crafts like finger knitting and bracelet making, there are hundreds of different things that we could try together.
  4. Science experiments – There are hundreds of mini experiments that can be done in and around the house.  Some of the things on my list: baking soda, making slime, paper airplanes, magnets, magnifying glasses, and more.
  5. Plain old fashioned fun – Hide and seek, hopscotch, jacks, and all of those great games that have survived the years are still terrific for kids.  What’s more they don’t require expensive equipment and can be done anywhere.

Author: child and books by george hodan

Author: child and books by george hodan

With these ideas I’m hoping that the break will be fun for everyone – including me.  There’s nothing worse than working so hard to entertain the kids that there’s no time or energy left for the stuff that I need and want to do. 

What do you like doing when the kids are out of school?