I believe having the girls home together has been so good for their relationships with each other. In a school setting, younger siblings are often labeled as the bratty tag-alongs they really are (oops, my childhood feelings just slipped out!). Just kidding-but the truth is, you can't very well dump your younger sister if she's with you all day. As a matter of fact, you get to experience life with her, make memories with her, learn together, and I'm sure occasionally complain about your mean parents together.
Because I wanted sisters so bad growing up, but only got brothers (you can see where the bratty tag-along thing came in, I'm sure-my youngest brother came along when I was 11 and he chauffeured every date until my wedding night), I stress to the girls all the time how blessed they are to have sisters. We put a high value on the way they're treated (well, I do anyway, they like to forget this value daily!). If a friend over means a sister gets treated unfairly, the friend goes home, for example. Thankfully this has never happened, but the point is, the girls know their sisters are valuable today and as they grow up.
Here are some pictures that bring this home to me:
*Just a little note about hand-me-downs. Beth got a new Beany Baby from church for Easter and named it Hammy Down, because hand-me-downs are the BEST she says! Thanks Summer for blessing her!