Schools Out For Summer

Last Day finally came.


Many adorable wee children from the neighborhood are suddenly growing up and headed off to Middle School next year.  What has happened here?!  It seems like only yesterday they were cracking me up in the half day kindergarten carpool.  Wow!

So, now that summer is here…




The Van Meter Summer Reading Challenge that is.  Here is the new poster:


2017 Summer Family Reading Challenge


I’ll try to report back, maybe their will be an upset this year and my daughter won’t mop the floor with the rest of us like last year🙂

img_0091 Daughter was the rainbow, poptart cat (yep, that’s totally a thing).

Hub was that nice inconspicuous A-Team van… you know,  say you’re a crack commando unit, framed for a crime you didn’t commit and you need lay low after escaping from a maximum security stockade… This van is ideal, especially if you’re averse to flying.  Who needs to fly when you’ve got this sweet ride?!

Alright, I digress, anyway, my son was the DeLorean and my mom (Pa Jane) was a little Harry Potter man, on his little broom.

Mine was the Little House on the Prairie, Schooner.  Quick sidetrack; This spring I dressed up in a Laura Ingalls era dress, (that I’d grabbed out of my mom’s closet) for my chat and chew group – 2nd graders, we were discussing Big Woods… Anyhoo, Ma Ingalls may never have experienced the joy and countless wonders of our modern activewear, but after a couple of hours in her dress, I was definitely ready for some yoga pants.

-and we’re back-

I love the summer reading challenge!  Hub isn’t a big fan, but definitely a good sport… that’s why he gets the short trail:)     Happy Reading Everybody!Image result for posters library books





Nobody Here but us Chickens

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Honestly, the highlight of my Halloween probably falls around 8:30 or 9:00 pm.  You know, that special time when you wave the kids back from the door, frantically shushing as you crawl in stealth mode towards your curtains and pull them closed from your position laying on the floor underneath the windowsill as your husband runs through the house making sure that every light is turned off and there are no visible signs of life.

That’s what we call closing time:)

Then we roll right into today… November 1st, the day when breakfast is coffee and Kit Kats and it’s time for some good…ish housekeeping;)

Preparing a Place

Sunday I slept through church… attended Bedside Baptist….

That’s a little joke I picked up from college friends,

Hhmmm…Image result for thinking starting to wonder if I wasn’t in the cool crowd…

Image result for you're so square baby i don't care memeIt’s hip, right?!
Usually, I make it.  I just remember the mind body connection:  If your mind can move your feet, just have faith that your bedraggled heart may yet wake up, literally smelling the coffee with any luck.

… I’ll save the rest of my profound thoughts on that for a different post, today I’m more wrapped up in,
Why I love cleaning, and how I balance that with choosing what is best.

I’m Martha, fo sho… as in Mary sat at Jesus’ feet, but her sister Martha glared at them while she finished melodramatically unloading the dishwasher.
Sometimes it’s just not easy to choose what is best. I try to be mindful of this as I embrace my gifting for service .

Part of the joy of cleaning for me is in the idea of preparing a place.
In fact , I almost think that Summer is finally catching it’s train, because I prepared a place for Fall.

After the Screened Porch Fall Clean out.  It's not exactly Better Homes and Gardens, but I'll take it.
After the Screened Porch Fall Clean out. It’s not exactly Better Homes and Gardens, but I’ll take it.

With girls heading here to s’more it up at the Van Meters, I kissed the Indian summer goodbye by dragging small plastic pools, squirt guns and the water wiggle hose back to their waiting spot in the storage room.

No more water wiggle hose b-ball or trampoline… no more kids hiding in the bushes with squirt guns and running barefoot to plastic pools to fill them amid shrieks and flying beach balls and no more flavor ice in the freezer, because even the freezer gets to make room… bags of pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and lunch ice packs are already moving in.

img_6991 img_5350
I don’t know how many of these Halcyon summers we have left, and I should let that wash over… I guess… as I bustle by inhaling the coming season and letting go of each failed goal of summer.

Even though S’more night was still 90 degrees, I’m glad I did some clearing around the screened porch and patio.  I opened up a place to peck away with Windows 7, a place for Bedside Baptist to meet, for painting and reading… and counting spiders:)

Also, The s’more fire needed a bit of help and the girls needed a place on the dining room wall for post its with their ideas for service projects.


Retiring our summer reading solved both problems.

Seasons change and we get to make room or let it pile on, but we don’t get to stop it.

Summers Coming!!

Countdown to Summer is on! I think my kiddos have about 8 school days left, woo hoo!

This is the time when I like to start thinking about goals and ideas, things I want to intentionally get on top of with my kids, during this time.  I love the shake up in our schedule, it’s always new and full of possibilities.

Last summer we did a family reading challenge.  Which we’re definitely going to fire up again, it was pretty easy and fun.

First Thing:  Make a Poster and hang it in a prominent location in your home.


For ours, I looked at some summer reading posters online for inspiration.  I found some cute clip art Popsicles and then got out the sharpies and copied a mashup of all my favorite ideas.

Then the plan was for each of us to fill in our Popsicle as we finished new books.  If your not a weird parent who loves to draw and color, like myself, have the kids make something.

Step 2:  Stock your place with piles of enticing and delightful books!

Whenever you need a little space… it’s silent reading time!  It’s a win win for everybody!

I searched online through various reading lists from all over and wrote down the ones that had reasonable parent reviews (I check common sense media or amazon.)  I also look at the reading level and go for a mix of challenge and freebie.  Then I just add them to my holds list from the public library, so I could run in and grab a pile every week or so, even if we were rocking a busy schedule and didn’t always have the time to troll up and down the aisles.

Step 3:  Have fun reading and adding titles to your poster!  This year, whatever we do will be bigger, ours was on an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of typing paper:(

We ended up writing super tiny.


Last Step:  When summer ends, look back with satisfaction.


I needed to hide mine because the kids mopped the floor with us and wouldn’t stop busting our chops about it.

I love kids.



Breakfast on the Death Star

Thanks to a rare combination of insomnia, thoughtful gift giving and leftover buttermilk, I was able to kick breakfast up a notch this morning!

IMG_9545 Huh?

So, on the left, old man Fookwire: Image result for old man fookwire

On the right, a cartoon cat making a snow angel… or 1980’s car window Garfield! lg_15307.jpg Image result for garfield window suctionAnyway, my kids were thrilled!!

Pancake molds, not as easy as it looks.

The ones that I actually used…

Image result for bad pancake shapes Now do you see it?  Who guessed X-Wing and Millennium Falcon?  If you did get it, don’t get cocky.

If you didn’t, well, you have disappointed me for the last time!!


The directions don’t specify, but you need to use the force here.  There may be no try, but there’s definitely a learning curve.

check it out:IMG_9548 better, right?!

The freezer is stocked.  What’s that blue thing in the bin with the ice?


The Dark Side has Lemonade now.

Special Thanks to our family out in Salina.  It took us a while to break out the pancake molds, but they’re pretty fun!

The only downside,

this is what my kitchen looks like now:)



Happy Mother’s Day!

Written by Rebecca Van Meter                                                                  5/11/2014

Well into the day that celebrates all things mother… or “Mouther” as it was written on the card that my son made, it’s inevitable, for me at least, to stop and wonder, “What is my part in this family, anyway? and, “How am I really doing?” I don’t receive any real performance evaluations,

other than this business….

Daughter recently told me, in kind of a ‘no offense’ tone, that things will be way better when she is the mom… in her mansion, by the sea… with a helicopter.

For starters she will be a worker, actually a government worker. That way she won’t have to pay the taxes and she can have all the money everyone else has to pay for their tax.

Also, there won’t be any children when she’s the mom.
That part just seems hokey.

Different day: We were at a skating party and she was having a lot of trouble with skating. She got very frustrated and really blew her stack, the consequence for which would have been limiting arcade fun, but she was able to kick it up a notch and be granted the Total Arcade Fun Block.

Later I said, “Well, I wouldn’t be a very good mom if I just allowed you to behave that way.”
Her unenthusiastic response, “You must be the best mom ever.”

Just today, my son said that he’s glad that I make his lunch and pick him up from school, but he’s still mad about that time that I shouted at him when he shut me in a door by accident!

Also, I talk too much… Happy Mouthers Day, right?

Honestly, I think both kids are really hoping to be placed in foster care so that they can live w/our awesome foster the people, neighbors.

So, I’m definitely killin’ it.

but, you know what?
It doesn’t matter… because I’m keeping the gifts!

I got a hand-made corsage today from Daughter, and Son gave me a brand new custom home… in mine craft!
Coveted, creeper free Son and Daughter’s World location, this home features sturdy wool block construction, ample torch light, no garage, no bathrooms, no windows and a no fuss basement kitchen leading right into 4 story vertical, charmingly tight hall ways complete with ladder access straight up to two cozy bedrooms, each featuring a private balcony overlooking a haunted castle on one side and a whimsical, giant cat statue on the other. Another exhilarating climb leads to a mysterious unfinished space with endless possibilities! The exterior, enormous flower shape, screams curb appeal!

Don’t feel jealous if your gifts weren’t this great. I know my kids set the bar pretty high. God Bless ‘em!

Happy New Year!

It takes a while around here:)

Even though I woke up on January 1st at an embarrassing 10:55 a.m., from  NyQuil induced Rip Van Winkle sleep, with  humidifier wind in my face, I’m still super-pumped about the new year.

As soon as the head cold that’s turned me into a zombie blows over, I’m going to be all over all of my new-year-new-ideas!

It’s going to be awesome!

I’m reading Cleaning House right now…

Cleaning House: A Mom's Twelve-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlementso I think 2015 will be the year that we end youth entitlement in the Van Meter house.  It’s pretty exciting, but I know it’s going to hurt me more than it does them.

It might be a little sick, but I really like to do everything.  It’s kind of it’s own quality control.  Maybe 2015 will be when I learn to let go of making things perfect and free myself up to make more things beautiful…   added bonus.

I’ll let you know how it all shakes out…  along with all of the other ideas that I just needed an excuse to implement… so excited!

It’s not too late for Resolution Revolution if you haven’t jumped on it already.

Here are a few ideas…

Eat more fresh stuff, be more disciplined, learn to speak Spanish, renovate something, break addictions, implement a schedule, read more, be a better listener, get out of debt, clear some space/donate to your Salvation Army, love better, think positive, let Jesus take the wheel, quit biting your nails (this was my 2014, I highly recommend getting a home gel nails kit.)

Follow the link below to a list of New Years Resolutions that Woody Guthrie wrote, it’s definitely worth a look…

A friend shared this, and I think it’s pretty awesome.  I’m definitely stealing some of these from Woody,  (many people are unaware that Woody Guthrie shares the blessed July 14th birthday with me:)).  His last resolution, to wake up and fight is my favorite.

Interpret it as you will.