Hello! My name is Kara. I’m a blogger living in a quaint town in Wisconsin. I write about my hobby as an interior designer, various trips I take as inspiration, and other thoughts on my mind. I hope my creative side brings people closer to experiencing harmony within their heart, home, and life.

Before and After School Routines

I like my systems. If there is chaos in my life, I systematize it, organize it, and conquer it. One of the areas of chaos for us as a family, and for most families, is before school times and after school times. It’s especially hard to be single and have to get your kids out the door in the morning all by yourself. It takes a long time for me to get ready in the morning, let alone my two boys. I really don’t want to get up unnecessarily early to get everything done…I like my sleep…so I have to make everything as efficient as possible.

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Fun Things to do with Kids

I found that after my separation from my husband, I no longer took my time with my kids for granted. When I was married, I’d do my own thing, and maybe complain about the kids from time to time. But when I no longer saw them as much, I’d want to see them every chance I got. And I wanted my time with them to be really special. So, we’re always doing fun things. For this week’s blog, I’ll list all the things that my boys and I have done to give you some ideas for fun family dates. Even if you aren’t separated like me, they grow up so fast. I can’t believe that in nine short years I’ll have two adults on my hands! So, take advantage of the time you have now. Even if those days seem long…the years are so short. Here are some ideas for making those moments count. Some you can do now during the pandemic, others have to wait.

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Creative Lunch Ideas

Your child may be getting their lunch at school. And that would certainly be a lot easier than packing their lunches at home. But if you have a kid like mine, who won’t eat the school lunch because he thinks it’s disgusting, you’re going to have to pack lunches. And they might get bored if you pack peanut butter and jelly every day. 

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Meal Planning for Single Parents

When it comes to meal planning, I have a system. I’ve perfected it over time and it works. So, I’m going to share it with all of you! Maybe it will help you get organized and make meal planning and grocery shopping simple as it has gotten for me. I have it down to about an hour each week and I’ve managed to save about $100 each month on groceries too. Keep reading! You won’t want to miss these tips!

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My Sister's Basement Renovation

From August of 2019 until February of 2020 I drove down to Milwaukee to visit my sister every other weekend (the weekends I didn’t have my boys at home with me). I did this to have someone to be around on the weekends I was alone, but also to help my sister with her big project, which was to finish her basement. My sister often asks for my advice when it comes to decorating her house. She likes the design work I do, and I take this as a compliment. So, whenever she has pictures to hang, I help her. Whenever she has materials to pick out, I help her. So, we’d spend these weekends shopping and then we’d get dinner at a restaurant and watch movies. I loved it. My sister is my best friend and with her company and conversation, I’ve been able to get through being alone. 

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Kids and Faith

Don’t worry, I’m not going to preach in this blog post. You can rest easy and read on. I will describe why it’s important to me to instill faith in my kids and how I have tried to do that. If what I say resonates with you, that’s great. If you have other reasons for instilling faith in your kids that I don’t mention, that’s great too. If you have other practices, spirituality, or other religions, I respect that. This post is just one person’s view on a gigantic subject, one person’s humble opinion on her own faith journey.

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Making Decisions with your Kids

Some parents believe they have to be the chief decision maker in the family. The parents are the boss and have the final say. While this is true for some things such as safety or health issues, it isn’t true for everything. If I always make the decisions, then I deprive my children of the skill of decision making. They will need that skill as adults. Therefore, if I involve them in the decision making process, they will learn these skills and be more prepared for adulthood.

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Relational Parenting

As a parent, I’ve had many successes and many failures. I have realized that when things go well, I’m using relational parenting over authoritarian or disciplinarian methods. What do I mean by this? I am constantly aware of maintaining a strong relationship with my kids. And when I have to make decisions as a parent, I run it through the filter of if the decision will strengthen the relationship or not. 

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Seaside Paradise

As soon as we checked in to our vacation rental and dropped our luggage off, I got into a sundress and took the boys to the beach. In those moments when I step onto the sand and hear the waves crashing, my anxiety disappears. It’s such a stress-relieving activity. We took off our shoes and walked in the water along the beach. The water was so warm…like bath water. I’m so used to freezing cold water. I live on Lake Michigan and the water temperature in the summer is still in the 50’s! So the water temperature on Isle of Palms, the beach we went to by Charleston was heavenly. I think that’s why I liked this beach so much. I live by Lake Michigan, and we have beaches here too. But they aren’t warm. I could wear a sleeveless sundress and take off my sandals and be totally comfortable. It was like being wrapped in a warm blanket, sitting next to my fireplace. Comforting.

Beach Crowds

There were a good amount of people there at that time, which was about 6pm. We visited the beach each day we were in Charleston and the amount of people changed at different times of day. The morning was the least busy. The afternoon was the most busy and then it got less busy again in the evening…just like a wave. The busiest time was unexpected because that was when the tide was in…there wasn’t as much space on the beach to lay out. But that’s when most people wanted to be there.

Beach Play

I brought beach toys for the kids. They preferred toys where you could splash people. I have to show you this picture of my son running up to splash me…see below. I thought I was taking a nice selfie, but you can see what he was plotting. So funny. I didn’t mind…remember the water was so warm. The kids played in the sand a little bit, but they loved the water. They played in the waves for hours. The current would slowly drag them down the beach. If I stayed back on the sand, I got worried looking for them at times because they’d drift away.

About to be Splashed!
About to be Splashed!

Don’t Forget the Seafood

Because Charleston is near the ocean, they have great seafood. We tried a place that serves locals our second night in town. It was all fried seafood and was pretty cheap. We got shrimp, scallops, fish. A combination platter. The second night we went to Bubba Gumps’ Shrimp Company. I had shrimp and the best hush puppies I’ve ever had. This was a recommendation from our carriage ride tour guide. The third night we went to a place we found on Yelp that was a little more expensive. It was a sit down, multi-course meal. It was good, but not the best we had during our trip. I love seafood.

Wrapping Up a Beautiful Vacation

The best experience by far that we had at the beach was after that last seafood dinner. It was 8 or 9 at night and it was dark. I asked the boys if they wanted to visit the beach one last time. They agreed. The moon was shining on the water. The air was warm with a gentle breeze. There were a few people with flashlights scattered on the sand. We walked down the beach and looked inside all the huge beachside mansions. We ran and almost lost each other in the dark. That night I realized how precious this time with my boys was. I had done it alone. Alone, and empowered. I had memories I treasure in my heart. During that last walk on our Charleston beach at night, I was grateful…and at peace. My heart was content. I had these two boys, entrusted to my care, that I could bless with beautiful experiences. Experiences we shared together…just the three of us. I will never forget those days in Charleston. Those moments on our beach. They, like the pattern the waves leave in the sand, are engraved on my heart. I’m a mother, the most precious part of my identity. And I love my boys more than anything. Charleston represents so much for us. A place we will always return to, even if only in our minds.

Family Meetings

First of all, what is a family meeting? A family meeting is a short time when a family gets together to talk about life: Whatever is happening in the upcoming week or month, what issues the family is having, what positive things have been happening in the family, what help is needed, and anything else a family wishes to discuss. Family meetings can happen regularly, like every Sunday, or they can be called by any family member as needed. Family meetings involve the children as much as possible. Children can help facilitate the discussion or answer questions. 

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