Back to School in a Blended Family

Whew! Anyone else still recovering from the start of school?

In our blended family, we have a college freshman, a high school junior and sophomore, and a 7th grader. I don’t know about you, but the beginning of school lasts at least a few weeks at our house. Between schedule pick ups, running classes before the first day, shopping for supplies (more like tracking down supplies), back-to-school nights, information meetings, sport meetings, shuttling kids here and there, etc. the days seem to run together.

Since our kids are older, we don’t have to do that back-to-school, open house dance that a lot of blended families do — trying to figure out if stepparents go or not. Thinking about it, I think I’m the only one who does go to those events. I mostly go to high schooler’s back-to-school night on the off chance that he’ll get some extra credit if I do.

I’ve read a lot of blogs and comments with regard to school information forms. I’m surprised at all of the energy that goes into who’s listed, who’s not. In our blended family world, I ensure that my ex-husband and husband are listed on my boys’ school information. I’m not sure if I’m listed on my stepson’s school information, but he’s 15 and he’ll call me if he can’t get in touch with his mom or dad. I don’t sweat that stuff too much since he’s older.

The having a kiddo in college has been a different experience. Watching from the outside has given me a look into what I can expect when my oldest goes to college in two years. My stepdaughter is going to college locally but chose to live in the dorms. Which I think is so good for her! But it’s not so great on her, ours and her mom’s pocketbooks. It’s crazy how much stuff these kids need for the dorm. I had forgotten. Either that, or the times have just changed. I’m going to go with the times changing. I told my husband that I think we need to start “Dorm Room” funds for the next two heading to college. However, they’re boys so they may not need as much. We’ll see. I’m not holding my breath.

We’re working at getting schedules settled in, establishing new routines, and trying to keep the wheels on at the same time. It’s hard to have too much of a set schedule/routine in a blended family with teens. I had to chuckle the other night when my husband told me that my stepdaughter said that her life is complicated and that his isn’t because he’s old. Omgosh! I laugh every time I think about it.

Quick update on my post A Letter to my Stepkids’ Mom —  One week after I wrote this post, my step-daughter started engaging with me in a different, more open way, AND my husband’s ex-wife started engaging with him in a different, more positive way. We’re trying not to question it, just go with it. Going with grace.

I hope you’re having a great week. Here’s to everyone having a successful start to school!

Love ya!



How to Clean Tea Stained Tea Cups

These are two of my favourite things … one of my Dunoon Nevis style tea cups and PG Tips tea. The only thing about drinking this tea in my oldish Dunoon cups is that the cups can often get tea stains in them. YUK!

Not very attractive, I know.

However, my mother-in-law, rest her soul, taught me a quick way to clean them up. First, you wet the inside of the cup, and then sprinkle a little baking soda into the cup.

It creates a bit of a paste. Rub it around the sides and bottom of the cup. You can tell when it’s working as the baking soda begins to have more of tan color to it. I had a bit too much water when I cleaned this one, it went soupy on me, but it still did the trick!

And ta-da! Neat and tidy tea cup. That was one of my mother-in-law’s favourite sayings. Everyone and everything had to be neat and tidy. Even my father-in-law!

Dunoon Nevis style tea cups are the best! Love, love them! They’re big enough to hold a lot of your fav beverage, and they have a whimisical feel. Who doesn’t like a bit of whimsy with their tea or coffee? 



Stepmom or My Dad’s Wife?

© Akakiy | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos

If you have older, teenage stepkids, do they refer to you as “stepmom”?

When my husband and I married, his daughter was 17 and his son was 14. Not too much mothering involved with them. I mean, I do my stepson’s laundry, I take and pick him up from school 2-3 days a week, but does that fall under the heading of “mothering”? I don’t necessarily think so. I do things for him because I love him and I want to bless him, but I don’t think these actions necessarily give me the “stepmom” title.

I think the title belongs to the stepmoms of younger kiddos. You are much more involved in a mothering role when they are with you, either part-time or full-time.

My stepkids have introduced me to their friends as their stepmom, and it makes me wince a bit inside. My husband and some of my friends think that it’s a positive thing as they feel that the kids are acknowledging my role. I don’t feel that way. They have a mom. I’m their dad’s wife.

I often wonder …

  • Do they feel as awkward saying “stepmom” as I do hearing it?
  • Do they know that they have the option to introduce me as “my dad’s wife”?
  • What if it’s how they acknowledge me being a member of their family?

Of course we didn’t have this discussion before or after we got married. We just sort of rolled with it. Is it too late for that conversation? Do our stepkids need to refer to us as step-whatevers? Who is that title really for anyway? Us, them, or the people outside of our family that we feel need clarifcation of our roles.

I asked my oldest son about the titles of “stepmom” and “stepdad”. I mean, he has a dad. And I don’t necessarily view my husband as acting like a dad to him. My son had an intersting take on it … he suggested “Adult Friend” which quickly evolved to K.A.F., K, Adult Friend.” And I could be D.A.F. “Deb, Adult Friend”. At 17, he’s rarely without an answer.

Have any of you encountered this? Thought about this? I would love to hear your thoughts on it all.

Lots of blended love,


Garden Ingenuity

Summer gardening feels like an oxymoron this year.

Once the heat settled in around mid-June, my crepe myrtle began growing like crazy! I’ve always had success with these plants, and just love them for loving the heat. Never phases them.

However, some of my new plants are NOT loving the heat even though they are direct sun plants. This 100+ degree heat, day after day, is just too much for some of them. So, my husband, being the ingenious man he is, came up with a sun shield for them.

And, the weeds? Forget about it! I have given up on them for a while. They’re growing too fast in the heat, and with it just being too hot to be outside, I’m going to give it a rest until later this month or next.

I hope your gardens are doing well wherever you are!






Glorious Sunset

Blessings all around this week! And this was what the sky looked like this evening when we were out celebrating my oldest son’s birthday. It was too glorious not to share. God is good!

Hope you had a great week, and hope you have an even greater weekend!