When Kids are Running on Low

February is the shortest month of the year, but it always seems to drag on.

If you’ve been a reader for a little while, you’ll know that we embrace our homeschool days. Our little school room is bursting with books, puzzles, games, toys, Lincoln logs, play dough, craft supplies, paints, etc. This means that the little ones are with us while we do school. This also means we’re all together all day. Literally, we’re all in the same room for most of the day. I like it this way because I can train the littles in sharing and obedience while sitting next to the bigs and grading math lessons. But some days are terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days (we love the Alexander books!).

If we try to be sensitive to the children’s emotional and physical needs, we’ll recognize when their little brains are tired or their focus is running out. Often times, it’s mom who’s running on low because algebra, diagraming, times tables, Amelia Bedelia, and phonics are just a little too much. I’ve compiled a list (by no means exhaustive) of our favorite activities to break up the drag:

  1. Visit the local Barns and Noble kids’ section

  2. Take a walk after lunch

  3. Load them all up and go to the McDonald’s drive-thru for iced teas

  4. Take a break, pop popcorn and watch a science video (PBS) or National Geographic Kids (youtube)

  5. Visit the free Natural History Museum in town and take the day off

  6. Drive to the nearby indoor botanical gardens instead of school in the morning

  7. Stop for a break and build puzzles.

  8. Take the afternoon off and make cozy reading corners with blankets

  9. Go to Ikea for hot dog lunch and long indoor walk

  10. Play a fun Pandora station (Disney) or Piano Guys (youtube) during lunch

  11. Pause and put the kettle on. Let everyone pick a favorite tea.

  12. Climb on mom’s bed for a cooking show episode (Great British Baking Show)

Winter weeks are running out soon, but while we continue cocooned, what activities do your kids enjoy?

with love, Damaris

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Farmhouse Biscuits

Not too long ago, I had 5 babies. The oldest had just turned 7 and the baby was a very unhappy newborn. I felt that my world was upside down as I struggled to find time for the most daily basics. It was during those long weary days, that I dreamed of making a batch of biscuits. There was something so fulfilling about old-fashioned biscuits – If I could make a batch of well-raised biscuits, then all would be well with the world. I still get the same soul-satisfying feeling when I bring these biscuits, tall and tender, to the table. This farmhouse biscuit recipe is unbelievably easy to make and more than worth your time. In less than 20 minutes, you’ll enjoy golden, slightly crunchy tops and bottoms with a soft inside crumb. No kneading, no rising, and only four ingredients! This is the only biscuit recipe that my family requests again and again. When you make them, there will be no crumbs left, and everyone will feel all warm and cozy inside! Last night, as I dusted the rolling pin, I thought with pleasure of the days gone by, when the smells of the kitchen’s goods called everyone in from the fields. Our days aren’t quite like that, but we still think that our farmhouse kitchen sighs a familiar sigh when a piping hot batch of these biscuits comes out of the oven.

This farmhouse biscuit recipe is adapted from this original that I fell in-love with. Aren’t there so many ways to enjoy a biscuit? These are some of our family’s favorite ways:

-paired with soup or stew

-for afternoon tea with a pat of butter and a bit of jam

-makes a hearty breakfast with sausage gravy

-strawberry shortcakes (add 1/4 cup or less of sugar to the dough)

Farmhouse Biscuits

  • 2 cup flour

  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream + a little more for lightly brushing the tops

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients and add the cream incorporating gently with a fork. No need to knead! With your hand, make a ball of your dough trying to gather all the little bits left on the sides of the bowl. I avoid a countertop mess by rolling them out on the parchment they’ll bake on. Dust your cut parchment and a rolling pin with a little flour (the original recipe has a very quick way to just shape the dough with your hands and cut rectangles into it, which will be the individual biscuits- works great!). Cut out (an upside down drinking glass does the job!) your favorite shape. Don’t be shy about combining the last bits of scrap dough pieces into one more biscuit! Arrange them on the parchment, brush their tops with a little heavy cream, and bake, on the oven’s middle rack, for 15 minutes or until tops are slightly golden.

I can’t wait for you to try them!

with love. Damaris