Wow. What a crazy couple months, huh? I’m sure I’m not the only one that has felt all the highs and all the lows in the last little while.

It felt like a good time to check in with a Friday Thoughts post. How are you doing??

I have a couple things that have been on my mind to share today…but as always, I’m mostly excited to hear from YOU. This post is long; I blame it on the pain meds (see below). If you make it through, you deserve some Ghirardelli chocolate chips.

boys riding bikes with helmets and cows eating grass

1. Gum Surgery: I’ve had some gum recession on my front lower teeth for a long time, but lucky me, it decided to get significantly worse over the last year (most likely from my incessantly hard brushing habits + orthodontic work which apparently can cause gum recession to get worse due to teeth moving). I was finally able to get in with a periodontist now that our state is gradually reopening, and due to the bone deterioration underneath the recession, I was ushered into gum graft surgery pretty quickly (two days ago).

You guys, OUCH.

They cut open about two inches in the roof of my mouth and extracted tissue to graft onto my front lower teeth. I have six stitches in the roof of my mouth and more stitches holding the graft in place…and a couple other stitches on another top tooth that had an overgrowth of bone/gum. I’d show you pictures, but it is gruesome. My face is really swollen and bruised. And the inside of my mouth is pretty raw and frightening.

{Cam has parked her little buns on the guest bed next to me and read me story after story from her book of tales}
girl reading book on bed

The worst part? EATING. Or rather, not eating. Sob. I’m on a liquid and soft food diet for at least two weeks (probably longer since I shouldn’t chew on the side of the surgery site for a month – and there are “surgery sites” in all parts of my mouth). It’s honestly more depressing than I could have imagined. Pureed soups and broth just don’t excite me (and I’m kind of nauseous from the anti-inflammatory and steroid meds so nothing feels good on the ol’ tummy).

Trader Joe's boxed soups

Don’t worry though! I have a lot of recipes already made and ready to be posted…so if you see new recipes going up this month, before you dig in, take a moment of silence and think of me over here with my bone broth.

2. Miniature Donkeys: we are the proud new family members of two of the cutest miniature donkeys you’ve ever seen. My brother convinced me we needed to invest in a couple of these farm pets, and once I started doing the research, I was hooked on the idea. Pete and Harley, BFFs since birth, have been with us for almost a month now, and honestly, I can’t even express how much we love them. They are gentle, smart, funny, and already trained to harness and pull a cart (among other things!).

girl standing between two miniature donkeys

Since we continue to accumulate more property and animals, I started a small, somewhat random Instagram account to document our faux farm adventures. Already the comments and feedback and idea sharing have been awesome! 

Kunekune pigs will also be joining our family in a little less than two weeks. Eeek. 

This post gives a bit of background on why we’re doing the faux farm thing and what led us here.

Also, if you enjoy this small farming type of stuff (and even if you don’t), you must watch the documentary: Biggest Little Farm. It is so entertaining and fascinating! And it makes me realize we have all we can handle. Ha.

3. Good Books: I just finished reading the The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek. Have you read it?

Wow. I really, really enjoyed it (even in the parts that felt increasingly discouraging). It was thought provoking on many levels. In the same vein, last year I read Giver of the Stars, another book about the women packhorse librarians in Kentucky, and I thought that book was fantastic, too.

bookwoman of troublesome creek and giver of the setars

I’m currently reading Where the Lost Wander by Amy Harmon (and really enjoyed her last book What the Wind Knows).

What have you been reading lately? Any good recommendations? For a good non-fiction, I can’t overstate how much I loved Mindset by Carol Dweck – thanks to those of you who recommended it on one of these Friday Thoughts posts!

4. Teens + Jobs + Money: definitely a topic that could be a post in and of itself, but now that summer has begun and Idaho is reopening in phases, my teenagers have been looking for summer jobs. 

We’ve encouraged our teenagers to find summer work once they turn 13 (with varying hours based on their ages, of course). The kind of work where they earn their own money and work for someone else (or for themselves).

{Going off to his first day of a new job!}teenager with lunch and water bottle

This year, all three teenagers have landed on some type of summer job. Which is a huge relief to me, because bored teenagers around our house is a recipe for disaster.

  • 16-year old working 30-35 hours a week at a distribution company; isn’t too thrilled about the evening hours and potentially missing out on some social events with his friends, but the pay and environment are good, and he says when he isn’t thrilled about it, he repeats to himself “I’d rather be doing this than corn topping” (If you know, you know, haha)
  • 14-year old got hired on at the same horse ranch his brother worked at last year shoveling manure and raking out paddocks. It’s about 10 hours a week right now; but once we get our kunekune pigs, that will take up a lot of his work hours in the week since he used his savings account money to invest in the pigs and will largely be in charge of them.
  • Soon to be 13-year old is excited to resurrect his cookie dough selling business from last year (a few details about that here), and he may even hook the miniature donkeys up to the cart and sell his wares that way. 🙂

A Trial/Startup Money Management System: our oldest is only 16, so we don’t really know what we’re doing with all of this, but gleaning good tips on what works from other families, we’ve decided to help our kids set up their own checking account and debit card when they turn 16. (They all have savings accounts, but they can’t withdraw and spend money from those accounts.) 

And then in place of monthly allowance (which is very minimal at our house and isn’t based on chores), once they turn 16, I’ll deposit a set amount of money in their new checking account to go toward things that in the past I’d normally have funded for them (deodorant, socks/undies, other personal care items, my half of their gas money, etc). 

If they choose to use that money on other things (ahem, fishing lures), there’s a good chance they might be stinky in the armpits until they rebound with the next month’s deposit.

kids catching fish on boat

We’ll see how all this works. Like I said, we really don’t know what we’re doing. My life motto is: fake it ’til you make it.

How do you manage summer jobs and money management with your kids? 

As a sidenote, if you’re looking for summer schedule inspiration, I talked a bit about it here and there are tons of great comments in the thread. Our system changes a bit ever year based on the ages and needs of the kids, but it follows the same basic premise: schedule and routines with a lot of free time built in. 

My kids lately have been spending hours and hours learning magic tricks, card tricks, and learning to tie balloons (thanks to a bin of old supplies a good friend of ours gave them). I hope it keeps them busy all summer!

5. Fill in the Blank: I know this post is eternally long (thanks for sticking with me!). But I wanted to end with a little fill in the blank since the last one we did together was so insightful and enlightening and sometimes hilarious. 

“If I’ve learned one thing from the past few months, it is __________________”

My answer(s) would be:

  • I have been humbled watching the endless service of health care workers and good humanity come out around the world
  • I definitely need to stash more chocolate chips in the pantry
  • life is full of the unexpected; I am going to try harder to love, appreciate, and live each day to the fullest

mom sitting in bleachers talking to her kids

Thanks for being here! I hope you know how much I appreciate each and every one of you.