Empty Nest Survival Kit

Empty Nest Survival Kit

Empty Nest Survival Kit 

Do you have a friend who is a new empty nester who could use some encouragement? Create an Empty Nest Survival Kit to put a smile on her face while she is going through the transition from a full nest to an empty nest. (It’s ok to make an empty nest survival kit for yourself!)

Read all of my Empty Nest posts.



Empty Nest Survival Kit

 Empty Nest Survival Kit

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. For more information, see the full disclosure in the foot bar.   

What do you think should go in an empty nest survival kit? I have surveyed readers over the years, but am just now creating a kit. The key to a good empty nest survival kit is knowing the recipient. While some items are a good idea for almost all empty nest survival kits, the more personal your gift is, the more it will be appreciated.



Many of these items were suggested by readers!

Books about empty nesting (or any topic they are interested in). Check out 10 Best Books for Empty Nesters for Ideas.

Audio book credits

Bubble bath and other personal pampering items

Board and card games for two people (or more so they can invite you over to play)

Gift cards for hobbies and interests (Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, theater, movies, book stores)



Yard games like pickleball

Restaurant gift cards

Notebook for making a bucket list like The Clever Fox Bucket List Journal

Nice pens to use to write in their bucket list notebook

The Couple’s Bucket List: 100 Fresh Date Night Idea Cards

Help them with some travel ideas with Destinations of a Lifetime: 225 of the World’s Most Amazing Places

Popcorn for watching Netflix and other movie channels

New Bible or devotional books

Puppy (you should probably ask first!)

A night out or in with YOU!

Amazon Show to video call the kids (they will need one as well)

Puzzle (If you are ever sending an empty nest survival kit to me, this is what I would like 😉 )

Empty Nester Christmas ornament or other gift ideas from 13 Gift Ideas for Empty Nesters

Empty Nest Survival Kit

Put your fun items in a basket and tie it up with a bow. I created this basket with a Springbok Puzzle, a gift card to Michael’s, some chocolate, wine, bath bombs, and Jill Savage’s Empty Nest, Full Life. Brighten the day of an empty nesting friend with an Empty Nest Survival Kit!

Help for Empty Nest Moms: Let Go of Impossible

Help for Empty Nest Moms: Let Go of Impossible

Help for Empty Nest Moms: Let Go of Impossible 

Letting go of the limiting belief that it will be impossible to overcome empty nest syndrome is a help for empty nest moms. As new empty nest moms we often believe we are trapped – trapped in circumstances that make it impossible to move forward after our kids leave home. We worry we are too old, have too much baggage, and have too many obligations. We think we don’t have enough money or time. Changing our mindset from impossible to possible is a crucial stage in a journey toward a fulfilling empty nest.

For all of my empty nest posts: Empty Nest Posts

Help for Empty Nest Moms

 Help for Empty Nest Moms: Let Go of Impossible

This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. For more information, see the full disclosure in the foot bar. 

What issues are you facing which make you believe it is impossible to envision a fulfilling and even fun empty nest?



It is easy to think we are too old to achieve and experience new things. Our bodies are nothing like they were when we were in our twenties. There may be a handful of things we are indeed too old to do like… become an astronaut. But your age is mostly just a number. It does not define you. It does not dictate how you feel or what you do. How you feel and what you do is going to be determined by your health, your perseverance, and your willingness to step out in faith more than by the year of your birth. You can’t completely control your health, but you can take steps to avoid jeopardizing it.

If you believe you are too old to do anything meaningful, read the story of Abraham and Sarah in Genesis 12-25. They started out on a journey to a new land to build a new nation when they were 75 and 65. You don’t need to know exactly where you are headed right now, but you do need to take some steps to move forward.

By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. Hebrews 11:8



We all have obligations like – work or aging parents. But some obligations are the result of overly needy people. Sometimes we have an adult child who refuses to take responsibility for themself or a coworker we are always covering for. We may feel so completely drained by these people that we have no energy for ourselves. And the thought of putting up boundaries causes us to feel guilty.

While I would never advocate a “me, me, me, and only me, talk to the hand” approach, we are never called by God or anyone else to be manipulated or have no boundaries. When we allow others to use us for their own gain or to avoid consequences, we are not serving them. We are codependents in their problems. It may not be easy or fun, but you may need to unentangle yourself from people who are holding you back.


Do you want a new season of hope and purpose, but believe the lie that “your past is your future?” Do you wake up every day weighed down by guilt and shame from decisions, sins, and even trauma you did not cause? Others have long since forgotten about it. They wake up every day thinking about themselves and their issues – not yours. No one has “cancelled” you except you!

Regardless of any circumstances, whether you caused them or not, you are not limited by them. You are allowed to be happy. You are allowed to be at peace. You are allowed to have a fulfilling future.

Is anything too hard for the LORD? Genesis 18:14



Money and time are resources and you are spending them somewhere. If you are spending all of yours on things you don’t want to spend them on, it is time for a change. Make sure you are tracking both and figure out where you need to reprioritize and reallocate. 



A few months after I dropped my oldest off at college, I began to think about my future. I mostly thought, “What on earth am I going to do with myself in five years when all of my children are away at school?” From that thought Almost Empty Nest was born. It occured to me others were going through this same journey and perhaps I could write my experiences down to help others. I set up this website on a complete whim. I had no plans for where it was headed.

Pay attention to the gentle nudges, the whims, the crazy ideas that pop into your head. They may be nothing or six years from now you may have a full-time business based on that crazy idea.

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26



Nothing is impossible with God. It does not matter how old you are, how little money you have, how bad your physical and mental health are, how little time you have to think about your future, or what has happened up to this point – nothing is impossible. Letting Go of the belief that it is impossible is the best help for empty nest moms.

Adult Children Living at Home: 6 Best Tips for Parents

Adult Children Living at Home: 6 Best Tips for Parents

Adult Children Living at Home: 6 Best Tips for Parents

Fellow Empty Nest blogger Linda Hanstra shares her experiences with her adult children moving back home in this post: Adult Children Living at Home: 6 Best Tips for Parents.

I knew it would happen.

Just as I began to relish the empty-nest life–the silence, the freedom, the lack of clutter–my daughter said, “I’m coming home!”

I’ve enjoyed the serenity of empty-nesting for much of the past four years. Our “party of two” is much simpler than the “party of six” we had for many years prior. I appreciate the reduced workload of only caring, cooking, and cleaning for two. 

It’s a stark contrast to when the kids come home and the noise level increases, as do the grocery bill, the dirty dishes, and the clutter. They fill the guest rooms and every square inch of extra space in the house with stuff. Lots of stuff. I hope this post Adult Children Living at Home: 6 Best Tips for Parents will help you if you find your kids boomeranging back to the nest.

Adult children living at home

Adult Children Living at Home: 6 Best Tips for Parents

Having put four kids through college, I’ve experienced the Boomerang Kid scenario several times. I got used to their brief stays over school breaks and we learned to adjust, even for a whole summer. The biggest surprise was the extended visit during the pandemic of 2020 that doubled our household size overnight.

And here we are again, facing not one, but two boomerangs. With the recent college graduations of our final two kids (Woo-hoo!), our daughters are both coming home for…a while. With student loans to pay, an uncertain job market, and the cost of housing, it makes sense for them to avoid paying rent for a time. 

Are you making way for ducklings as well? Is your college kid returning home for the first time and you don’t know what to expect? Do you have a boomerang flying at you and you’re not sure how to catch it?

Let’s start by remembering our kids are no longer children, but rather young adults. They’re old enough to marry, buy a house, and have their own children, whether you (or they) are ready for it or not. With that adulthood comes a strong desire for independence. This means as parents, we step out of our former role as disciplinarian and commander-in-chief, and become (hopefully) a trusted advisor and friend instead. 

Here are the Adult Children Living at Home: 6 Best Tips for Parents to help you avoid potential conflicts, build lasting relationships, and gracefully catch that boomerang, and to live happily together.


If you don’t want to take on hours of extra work or spend all of your time nagging your young adult about cleaning up their dirty dishes, it’s important to assign chores and responsibilities early on. 

If your daughter had chosen (or hopes) to live on her own, she would do her own cooking. Every night. Asking her to make one or two meals a week not only helps you out, but is good practice for her. If your son has been away at college, he has learned how to do his own laundry. There’s no reason that should stop.


Don’t be afraid to talk openly about money. Or the lack thereof. For many young adults, it makes good financial sense to go back to their old digs for a time. As long as Mom and Dad haven’t downsized their home and there’s still a room available, why not? But this is usually not what either party desires for the long term. 

You can prepare your young adult for eventual independence by teaching them fiscal responsibility now. In exchange for free housing, require them to keep a budget, to pay off student loans, or even pay a small sum for the privilege of living at home. Review money matters with them regularly and determine what means are available as you help them plan a course of action for their financial future. 

If your child seems to be free-loading or taking advantage of you, it’s time to draw the line. Require job-searching goals and actions. If they can’t find their dream career, they may have to settle for flipping burgers for a time. Encourage them to move toward independence by setting reasonable limits on your handouts.


Your adult child receives many fringe benefits by living at home. Make a list of what you will provide and what you expect them to pay for or do in return. Don’t forget about internet, cell phones, and streaming services. Who will use them? Who will pay for them? 

What about transportation? Will you be juggling cars and who will pay for auto maintenance, insurance, and gas? If they don’t have means to pay in dollars yet, barter for a service, like mowing the lawn or weeding the garden. 


Will you be home for supper? 

Where are you going tonight? 

Will you be out late? 

What time do you work tomorrow?

Rather than a barrage of nagging questions, keep a family calendar to avoid schedule conflicts and surprises. Use texts or phone calls to check in. Let your young adult know what you expect and also what you need. Do you and your spouse miss your freedom and alone time? Let your kids know you want one night a week “sans kids.” 

Check out my Happy Together Checklists for talking points you’ll want to consider in kicking off clear communication. If it helps to put things in writing, consider creating an informal “lease,” outlining expectations for both sides.


Your standards of cleanliness and tolerance of clutter may differ from your young adult’s. Rather than make unrealistic demands that will erode your relationship, find a balance that you can both live with. What seems like laziness or a waste of time to you, might be relaxation for them. Permit them to have their own habits and space as long as it doesn’t take away from yours.

Remember, your child has grown and changed while away from home. Friends, professors, and mentors have shaped them. Their choices are not a reflection of only your parenting, but also of many outside influences. Make room in your life and heart for the mature adult they are becoming, with their own opinions, gifts, and personality. 


The Boomerang Kid days allow extra parenting opportunities. I’ve had many heart-to-heart talks with my adult children and have taught them skills and lessons we had little time for during their busy younger years. 

Use this added time to give instructions on cooking, gardening, and home maintenance; medical insurance, retirement plans, and career goals. Discuss issues of faith, values, politics, and current events. You can still be an influence in your adult child’s life, so listen with an open mind while giving advice sparingly and with love.

Finally, use this “bonus” time to build deeper, lasting relationships. Find interests you have in common and pursue them together. Eat meals as a family. Vacation together. Encourage your young adult to attend worship with you. Seek opportunities to laugh and have fun together. 

Before you know it, your nest will be empty and quiet again. You’ll miss the youthful energy, the conversations over coffee, and the joy of watching your child take their first steps…into adulthood. But in the meantime, follow these Adult Children Living at Home: 6 Best Tips for Parents as you get ready to catch that boomerang and live happily together!


CLICK HERE to access the FREE Happy Together Checklists! Spend 15 minutes upfront to save hours of potential conflict and misunderstanding. These questionnaires–one for the parent(s) and one for the boomerang kid(s)– cover expectations for household duties, food, finances, freedom, privacy, and more! 


Adult Children living at home checklist
Linda Hanstra

Linda is wife to Tom, Mom to Jared, Seth, Leah and Chloe, MIL to Maddie, and she’s now a grandma too! Linda is inspired by her everyday experiences and perspectives as a parent and empty-nester. Through biking, traveling, parenting her adult children, assisting her elderly parents, and spending time with family and friends, she captures stories to encourage you in your everyday. If your nest is full-for-now, soon-to-be-empty, or all the birds have flown, Linda’s message is one of promise and possibility on your journey! You can find her at LindaHanstra.com.

Best Podcasts for Empty Nesters

Best Podcasts for Empty Nesters

Best Podcasts for Empty Nesters


I love listening to podcasts. There are podcasts on every topic – true crime, hobbies, news, and of course, empty nesting. If you are not familiar with podcasts, podcasts are free internet programs created by both large news networks and individuals in their homes. They can be listened to on your computer or through apps like Spotify or Apple Podcasts on your phone. There are not very many just for empty nesters. The important thing when looking for the best podcasts for empty nesters is to find a podcast with topics you are interested in and is helpful to you.

For more empty nest resources and ideas:

What is Empty Nest Syndrome? (And what to do about it)

Bible Verses for Empty Nesters

Over 50 Empty Nest Hobbies

10 Things I Love About Being An Empty Nester

Best Books on Parenting Adult Children

Best podcasts for Empty Nesters

Best Podcasts for Empty Nesters

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. For more information, see the full disclosure in the foot bar.  


empty nest guest podcast

Empty Nest Guests with Charlotte Guest

Charlotte went looking for a Christian empty nest podcast and could not fine one, so she started her own. Charlotte conducts an interview style show where she visits with others who are either empty nesters or have expertise in an area facing empty nesters. She has completed 18 episodes and plans more. Her episodes include one with me where we discuss three things we need to let go of as empty nesters. (Episode 2)

Her other episodes cover topics like alzheimers, friendship, diet and exercise, adult children, and spirituality in midlife.

no more perfect podcast

No More Perfect Podcast with Jill and Mark Savage

Jill Savage, the author of Empty Nest, Full Life, hosts the No More Perfect Podcast with her husband Mark. It is not entirely about empty nesting, but because they are empty nesters, the topics are almost always applicable. Their episodes include #3 and #6 which are dedicated to their own story of reconciliation after infidelity, #8 called “Six Things Every Empty Nest Parent Needs to Let Go Of,” #32 about dealing with rebellious teenagers, and #43 called “Offering a Prodigal a Way Home.”


just one simple thing

Just One Simple Thing with Christa Hutchins

Just One Simple Thing is dedicated to “goals, plans, and strategy for the Christian creative.” The episodes are short and include one small action step the listener can take to move forward in their journey. New empty nesters are looking for new ideas and interests, but are often paralyzed when trying to find a way to accomplish these new ideas. Christa can help. She is a project manager by vocation and knows how to break projects down into super small action steps.

life kit podcast

Life Kit on NPR

Life Kit is so fun. The episodes are great for empty nesters especially if you are interested in finding new hobbies or learning new things. They have episodes covering biking, camping, gardening, sewing, and more. There is even an episode dedicated to finding a new hobby. You won’t be interested in every episode because there are gobs of them. BUT, you will find lots of topics of interest. It is like a fun magazine you are flipping through at the checkout stand.

woman listening to podcast

Any podcast that covers your interests and does it in a way that communicates effectively with you is one of the best podcasts for empty nesters.

To find podcasts Search for your interests online or in a podcast app – for example “Best Podcasts about knitting.” I mostly listen to podcasts about blogging with some true crime thrown in. My current favorite is OMGrowth! with Lanie Lamarre because I love all of the geeky numbers stuff. I learned everything I know about Pinterest from Kate Ahl and the Simple Pin Podcast. 

There are podcasts about everything! On car trips across the country with my sons I learned there are podcasts about screen writing and game creation. If you can’t find one you like, start one like Charlotte Guest did. 

Summer 2021 Book Recommendations

Summer 2021 Book Recommendations

 Summer 2021 Book Recommendations

At the beginning of every summer I like to put together a list of the books I recommend. Many of us have more time to read and lounge in the summer months than throughout the rest of the year. As an empty nester I am able to read year round, so I make my Summer 2021 Book Recommendations list from the books I have read in the last year.


For more book recommendations:

Summer 2020 Book Recommendations

10 Best Books for Empty Nesters

summer 2021 book recommendations

Summer 2021 Book Recommendations


This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. For more information, see the full disclosure in the foot bar.  


Pretty Things by Janelle Brown

Pretty Things by Janelle Brown

Pretty Things was one of my absolute favorite books this year. I listened to it on Audible. The readers were SO GOOD. It is a thriller with two strong female characters. I will definitely be reading more books by Janelle Brown.

the dutch house by Ann Patchett

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

I also discovered Ann Patchett this year. I LOVED The Dutch House. The book covers the lives of a brother and sister over five decades as they fight to regain everything they lost after their father died. I also recommend Run by Patchett, where a freak accident leads a family to a huge new truth.

The extraordinary life of sam hell

The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell by Robert Dugoni

The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell is the only book I read this year where I cried at the ending. It weaves faith throughout the book in a way that is raw and genuine. There are no pat answers for Sam. I did find out it is medically inacurate, but I am totally willing to forgive that for the amazing story.

Harry Potter

The Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling

I confess. I had never read the entire Harry Potter series. Years ago I read the first book and also watched all of the movies with my kids. I asked a lot of annoying questions like, “So Snape was Harry’s Dad????” I never completely got what was going on from watching one movie every few years. So in 2020 I read all 7 books and I watched all 7 movies. The Harry Potter series should be on everyone’s book reading bucket list.

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

Anxious People by Fredrick Backman

Fredrick Backman is becoming one of my favorite authors. He writes characters so realistically. I always feel like I know the people he writes about. What is more amazing is that the people live in Sweden and his books have been translated from Swedish. I am amazed at deep down how much we are all alike no matter where we live on the globe. (If you  did not catch the HBO series of his book Bear Town, it is must see tv. The story absolutely could have taken place in any sports obsessed town in America.)

well behaved woman

A Well Behaved Woman by Theresa Ann Fowler

A Well Behaved Woman is a fun read about Alva Vanderbilt, who married into the Vanderbilt family. The marriage is arranged to aid the Vanderbilts in acceptance to New York Society and to keep her family from everyone realizing they were actually broke. This book is historical fiction, but gives many of the facts surrounding her life and the lives of the members of this infamous family.

Race against Time

A Race Against Time by Jerry Mitchell

If you like True Crime, A Race Against Time is the book for you. (It should totally be a podcast. 😉 ) An investigative journalist goes back and SOLVES and helps get prosecuted murders from the Civil Rights era. It’s also kinda cool that Jerry Mitchell is also an Abilene Christian University alum. I am proud to share that with him!


A fatal grace by louise penny

A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny

I was looking for something light after finishing a big project and doing some other heavy reading (not included in this list), so I turned to Louise Penny. I had read the first book in the series several years ago. It delivered a solid “who done it.” Not my favorite characters, but a light, easy mystery read.

the four winds by kristin Hannah

The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

I listened to the Audible version of  The Four Winds. I loved the main character and her life story, but the book was entirely too long and belabored and seemed to promote Communism??? I was driving on a trip with my husband and our rule is driver chooses what we listen to, so I turned this on. After about 20 minutes, he said, “So the point is they’re poor?” Yes. Hours and hours of descriptions of their poverty. It is also kind of a rip off of The Grapes of Wrath.

the hunting party by lucy foley

The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley

I read two of Lucy Foley’s books this year, The Hunting Party and One by One. They are both murder mysteries and follow the same pattern – a group of people is stranded together by the elements and one or more of them are murdered. And, of course, the murderer has to be among them. I did not figure out the murderer in The Hunting Party, but knew from the first few chapters who the murderer was in One by One. Not the best books, but good for a light mystery read.


As with any year of reading there are going to be a few books that were merely so-so. Here is my list: When We Believed in Mermaids by Barbara O’Neil, The Boy from the Woods by Harlan Coben, Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng, High Achiever by Tifany Jenkins, and The Last Train to Key West by Chanel Cleeton (so disappointing since Next Year in Havana was so good).

What have you read in the last year that you LOVED? Let us know your Summer 2021 Book Recommendations in the comments below.

Summer 2021 Book Recommendations 1

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Empty Nest Syndrome on Repeat

Empty Nest Syndrome on Repeat

Empty Nest Syndrome on Repeat

A while back I received this comment from a reader about adult children living at home and then leaving again:

I seemed to have made it past the Empty Nest Syndrome due to a good career and really good friendships… however, now it is 6 years later… and due to the pandemic, my 23 year old son (and his adorable puppy named “Lucky”) came home from law school and spent 2 wonderful months with us due to the pandemic.

He then returned to his apartment near law school (with Lucky) and I feel an emptiness that I have never experienced before. Since I am sure that many moms and dads are experiencing this, I would love to hear similar stories and some new solutions….

(You can see her comment at 10 Best Books for Empty Nesters)

I am right there with her. My adult children have come and gone and come and gone and come and gone again. It is an adjustment everytime they come and then everytime they go. I reached out for more experiences from my readers and this is what they have said:

Empty Nest Syndrome on Repeat 2

Adult Children Living at Home

When I reached out to readers for their thoughts and experiences, Tricia wrote this about how she is feeling:

My experience was probably similar to many other moms/parent’s across the country. I had two college kids in out of state schools when COVID brought our state/country to a screeching halt in March. My daughter was home on Spring Break when the country started to shut down and we grew concerned about what her education would look like for the remainder of the semester.

We both cried when she received news that she could not return to Kansas State University for her education, job and regular life.

I cried because God answered my prayer for being so lonely. You see, I homeschooled my kiddos for 10 years. Education at home was normal to us.  Our family was built for pandemic life because being together all the time was normal to us.

When my kids both left for college at the same time for out of state schools, thousands of miles away, that was not normal to us. Add into the mix a recent move taking us 2 hours from where we raised our kids to a tiny house in the country where we knew no one. Again, not normal. My kids had never lived in this tiny house and somehow we were going to have to squeeze her into it, and my son who would eventually return home as well.

She and I eventually developed a routine back under our roof and we moved through Spring and Summer rather smoothly, it really did seem normal. 

 My son on the other hand had a much different experience. Due to the distance from home, school schedule and honestly not much room for him to live under our roof, instead of him returning home right away, he stayed at GCU in Phoenix, AZ. Again, I feel like God had prepared us for these moments of crisis and uncertainty. We had previously experienced a couple of crisis moments with our son that had already help us loosen the strings so to speak. 

I could either ‘trust God with my son or, not’ was my mantra through those experiences. I had to hold onto the assurance that God, being a good, good Father, would bring him home safely in his time. And, God did just that.

It was a magical moment for this mom to have her family tightly packed into our tiny nest.

Then came Fall, everyone returned to their out of state schools and my heart grew lonely again. I remember almost being paralyzed with fear thinking of sending my kids across the country during a pandemic . The “what if” thoughts were starting to consume me. I’ve walked with the Lord long enough to know I quickly needed to get my thoughts under control.

I set my Bible study ladies to praying for me to take my  thoughts captive (2 Cor. 10:5). I had to make a mental decision to not let those thoughts consume me. (It was tough at the beginning but we’re almost to the end of the school year and now it’s much easier to check those ‘what if’ thoughts at the door of my mind.) We were able to finally find a church to attend and that helped get me through to the holidays when everyone was home again.

Fast forward to today, when I read your email I exclaimed, “That’s it! Boomerang Nesters!” Only I’ve felt it now for what seems like the third time! This, on top of the Lord reminding me this morning of a crazy 2019 when I relied so heavily on Jesus being my friend, has helped me identify these emotional, sad and lonely feelings. Now I need to get back to asking Jesus to help me as a friend everyday, in little and big ways.

He was faithful in the past to see me through the seasons of empty nest, so I’m sure He will be faithful again. I read a few books during my first season of the empty nest. When both my kids left for out of state colleges, at the same time, I read ‘Release My Grip’ by Kami Gilmour, which I wish I had read earlier because it was so helpful.

During the second year of them being far away, I was a pre-reader for Jill Savage’s ‘Empty Nest; Full Life’. Again, I wished I had this resource earlier. I appreciate and related to her perspective and thoughts. I should probably pick them back up again because they were so helpful! 

In conclusion, the disappointments and excitement of this season, continue. My daughter graduated in December of 2020, with little to no fanfare and landed a job in St. Louis, MO making this momma proud. (And happy that she’s only an hour and a half from home instead of the seven hours that she was in Kansas.) My son will graduate in 3 weeks and has chosen to skip the limited graduation ceremony. We’re hopeful to celebrate his accomplishments by camping in a National Park. We’re thankful to have this season of college nearly behind us, hopeful we can survive this next season of ‘adulthood’:) 

God is good. I’ll survive this season. It’s comforting to know there are others out there that feel the same way I do even if I can’t see them. This central Illinois momma, that’s surrounded by corn and beans, thanks you. 




Deanna said this about her experience with her boomerang daughter:

Like most college kids our daughter came home almost a year from today. She was trying to stay in Fayetteville as long as she could but there was so much uncertainty we finally said. “Time to come home”. We were already planning to have her home last summer to work in Houston so we were very excited to have her back home.

We looked at the pandemic as an added bonus time with her. She is the planner in the family. We had fun meals daily, she did the grocery shopping and planned our days out. Workouts, walks, pool time ( it was hot in Houston), baking, games and oh yeah she and my 16 year old son did virtual school.  

We also made care packages for the grandmother. We had so much fun making them that we sent several family members birthday boxes. There was never a dull moment in our house. She is a hospitality major with a minor in event planning so she used her creativity during her time home.

She planned a Mexican themed birthday for me, our 25th wedding anniversary, then our friends paid her to throw their daughters a 16th birthday party at their lake house where we did social distancing as best we could. 

We definitely made some fantastic memories in 2020. I know their was so much sadness around the pandemic but we did not let it creep into our house. We truly looked at it as a gift to have her home for the extend amount of time. We know we will never get that back. 

We moved her into her house in Fayetteville the first weekend of August. We started planned our next visits because we enjoyed being together so much. I also started planning a care package party, thanks to you. In early October I invited 8 women to come over to send some love to our college kids. Most had never heard of doing this so we had a great time. Of course they wanted to know when we would do it again. So I immediately started planning one for February and added 2 more women. So thank you for always sharing the care package ideas.
valentine care packages on hearth

Valentine Care Packages

Aren’t these AMAZING? She used these printable Valentine Care Package decorations and way upped them!!

Valentine desserts on a table

Valentine Care Package Party

You can never go wrong inviting some friends over and hosting a care package party!

Getting together with friends, visiting, and making boxes for your kids will lift everyone’s spirits.


 Tammy feels good about the comings and goings of her nest. She shared this:

Hi -I did not experience this. I actually had my son move from Florida to Texas. My kids are 23 and 26 and I found you through your wonderful care packages;) I have experienced my son going away to college for 4 years, coming home a year and then moving to Texas (26 yr old). My daughter stayed here after graduating high school, started working and soon after I took her to California to spend her 21st birthday at the vineyards, she moved out. She lives 20 mins away .. I would say I am a good “old nester.” 

Moms, however you feel about your adult children living at home and coming and going, you are not alone. Our empty nests are sometime boomerang nests, but that is ok. Each time they come requires adjustment and each time they leave requires adjustment. Don’t try to do it alone. It does not have to be a care package party, but do reach out to a friend or two for companionship and fun! We are all in this together!!

The journey is the same whether you are experiencing it for the first time or are experiencing it on repeat. Here are some Almost Empty Nest resources which will help when your adult children living at home leave again:

The Empty Nest Super Power Quiz

Best Podcasts for Empty Nesters

5 Ways to Find Purpose as an Empty Nester

Best Books on Parenting Adult Children

What is Empty Nest Syndrome and What to Do About It