Thursday, December 29, 2011

They say it cant be done ...

Okay, maybe that's too dramatic lol but, for the most part, I think people think we (I) am reaching for stars much too far beyond my grasp. So, it won't stop me, of course, but I am thinking about starting a new blog focused on our self-sufficient ish endeavors. This blog, I think, should go back to focusing on homeschooling and mommy things. I hate to add another blog, but I'm hoping to get more connected online and I wonder if the homeschooling interest will be bored by the gardening, etc.  And, more importantly, these are two subjects that having clear notes will help me plan and adjust. I think the seperation will help me be more organized.  Maybe one day I'll figure out how to have several blogs in one!  So, I'll update later with a locale for anyone who'd like to chat about composting and energy efficiency ... oh and feeding a family of 6 on a tight budget (and only one of those 6 is a child lol).

So, for now, check out my view from my balcony!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Snow, snow, snow, SNOW!

We made it to our house over the weekend.  Still no internet, bit who needs it with all this SNOW? Ok, I do, but we'll figure it out!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I want to be like Tori ... Spelling and Hipster Homemakers

So, it's sort of funny how I get interested in something and soon it seems like the world is also interested.  It's, obviously, more that I tend to surround myself with people, articles, programs that center around my interest, but it's still funny sometimes.  Yesterday I had a couple of hours to myself (sorta) and watched a few episodes from last season's Tori and Dean.  Love her or hate her has little bearing on my thoughts about it right now, it's more that she seemed to be pushing toward a similar (if on a significantly higher budget) lifestyle that we are embarking on.  Of course, I can't say, "Oh, chickens are the next purchase," and run out to buy them, but the idea is there.

Mainly, I watched and wondered how she does it.  Must be some serious energy in that girl!  I know that we are seeing an edited version of her life and I'm sure there are far more bad days than what we see (however, I loved seeing her facing some 3 year old issues while Dean was away).  It still makes me think ... I want that!  I want to be so enthralled with my child that I have less frustrated days.  I want to have tons of ideas and then take those ideas and make something from them.  I love that.

Anyway, I had planned to post about this yesterday, but for some reason blogger was being a child and refused to open.  Then, today I hop onto facebook and see this article: Hipster Homemakers and "Extreme Domesticity" by Rebecca Cusey.  I would love to just copy/paste the article here, but it'll really just take up so much space.  I encourage you to read it and then let me know what you think.  Essentially, Ms. Cusey describes the modern housewife/stay-at-home-mom as some kind of rebellion against feminism and a life choice that should only be made if you just love it ... you know, those people who are just naturally talented in the garden, with their kids, at the stove, etc.  She talks about new methods being unequivocally better, simply because new must mean better. Another of the huge beefs I have with this article is that those of us who are "hipster homemaker's" are doing this out of an excess of wealth (ha!) and neurosis. Maybe I can't argue against being neurotic ... hmm.

Now, I don't know this author, so maybe her words aren't translating the way she means them to (something she, herself, claims responsibility for should her points be misconstrued).  I have a lot of arguments to this article.  First, I don't live this mom/gardener/homeschooler/cook, etc, life because I am just so damn good at it. I'm not, not at all!  I might, on some level, even be happier if I was back in my working woman lifestyle.  Surely we'd have more money because we're fortunate right now to live near so much family.  Would I be happier, though, hitting the drive-through because everyone was too tired to cook or shop?  Or when I came home and spent an hour with my son before we went to bed?  The idea of being drained from an outside-of-the-home career and then trying to pull together a bit of energy for my family and home just sounds so sad to me.

Having fresh eggs and produce from our own garden may not save a ton of money, but putting the effort in, watching our work grow and then the satisfaction we get from what we receive is so much bigger than saving, or not saving, money.  It brings us responsibility and a relationship with the world around us.  Composting allows us to do something productive with the waste we generate ... and we actually learn why that's a good thing.  Having such an active hand in my family is FAR more satisfying then being able to buy more.  I don't have to wait for someone else to tell me what my child is learning or struggling with.  I'm there.  I see it.

And, on to this "excess of wealth" comment.  So funny!  Now, maybe that's the case for a celebrity or someone who is wealthy, but who cares?  I mean, teaching your family to garden, to raise animals, to do things for yourself ... how can that ever be a bad thing?  Shocking, truly!  But, for most of us, there isn't excess wealth.  But, what's so odd about this article is that Ms. Cusey goes from accusing this modern homesteader to having too much money to saying that instead of trying to save money by recycling, growing food, etc, mom's should go out and get a job.  That this extra income is better for our kids than having less and having one or both parents at home.  What?!  I'm very confused by all of this.  

Feminists who want to work, go for it!  But, isn't feminism a movement to allow women to make their choices?  Just because my husband goes to work and comes home to a (sometimes) clean house, dinner (usually) in the oven and clothes (now and then) clean and put away, doesn't mean that my lifestyle challenges that of the feminist movement.  Not at all!  I boost that movement because I am doing what I choose; what I deem best for my family.  I'm not doing what I think society expects of me.  I'm making a choice to live the way that I think provides my child the best opportunities and creates a home that is safe, loving and supportive.  I am doing what I think is one of the most important, necessary jobs ... in our life.  Now, if someone wants to live a different life, well, go for it!  Just stop analyzing everyone else, look around, find what works for you the best and use that.  Let the rest go.  Women should be the very last people criticizing other women for choosing to live a certain way.  Men shouldn't complain either ... they either get a career woman who brings home the bacon or a woman who fries it up in a pan!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

What can I do?

As the days speed by, I find myself wondering what I can do ... for myself, my family, the world.  It's been theory up until now.  I recycle.  What else?  What do I do now that is leading my family to a better way of life?

1. I recycle.  Which I've said.  I try to reuse and I have more than enough reusable shopping bags (despite the fact that I forget them a lot).  But, I need to do more.

2. I make our own soap.  I haven't bought hand, body, shower, etc soap in over a year and a half.  I would like to reopen my Etsy shop next year, but we'll see about that.

3.  I make our own laundry detergent.  I also haven't bought store laundry soap in the same amount of time.

By this time next year I am hoping that we have had our fill, or are still having our fill, of veggies and fruit from our garden.  By the following year, I am hoping that we are spending almost nothing on produce from the store.

Almost immediately, we will have our composter up and running so that we are greatly reducing the amount of garbage we are sending to a landfill, while also providing all of the great dirt we will need for our garden.

Chickens.  Still debating on how and what we'll be doing with chickens.  I need to research more to see if this will be a viable option for us to cut back with.  Will having our own eggs be financially advantageous or not?  Will we be able to barter/sell the surplus, if any?

I'm also hoping to learn about bartering over this next year.  I'd like to really be able to reduce the amount of money that we spend on things that people around us have a surplus of.

I think it will be interesting to look back next year to see how far we've come!


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Crafty updates

Well, I'm really good at coming up with ideas.  I'm not so good at actually going through with those ideas.  The faerie houses took hold of us and we've had a lot of fun!  I'll be honest in that I did most of this first batch, however, I wanted to get some experience before Monkey had questions I couldn't answer.  The first is a decent size, maybe 8-10 inches square.  We cut a door and added in a window.  We also carved in some other decorations and Monkey helped with that before baking.  Still waiting to make a roof and paint, but for now it's fun to see! 

 I was expecting them to come out of the oven hard, but after an hour and a half, they were tough, but not hard.  Over the last few days they have hardened more, though.

Monkey wanted to take a picture too!  This was all pre-baking.
After baking, I used four clay "sticks" to glue the walls together.  Adding a roof will hopefully add in some stability!

 Monkey's carving contribution, unfortunately it doesn't show up too well.

We also made many small little houses and mushrooms.  We painted three to give to a few friends the other night.  I wish I could do all that photoshop magic so the colors were better, but, c'est la vie!  This one went to a good friend of ours ... Monkey, of course, picked the colors!

I have also been thinking a lot about how we can not only save money, but eat better and more naturally.  There are three things I don't think I will ever go to the store for again: Laundry soap, 


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Faerie Homes

There are a lot of things we are looking forward to in this new adventure.  What has my attention tonight is providing homes for all of the little faeries who are sure to inhabit such a lovely place!  This will be such a fun project for our family and friends to connect us tightly to nature.

Clay, recycled boxes, stones, twigs, leaves and flowers are a few of the things we'll use. I'm looking at ideas tonight and we'll get started tomorrow.  I'm really hoping that over the next couple of months all of our friends and family here will help us so that we'll have a part of them with us in Parks.  I don't know if it's obvious or if I've mentioned it before, but are so blessed!  We have patiently waited for the beautiful friends we now have.  It makes me sad to leave, but also so happy to know that they are in our lives, whether we live here or somewhere else!

I've stumbled upon not only many images, but also some cool websites on creating a faerie house.  What I'd love to find is a website that includes not only creating a faerie home, but also some of the natural correspondences.  This is so exciting!

Who doesn't love Faerie??? :)

Fun websites:
Fairy Houses
Fairy Woodland

Monday, October 3, 2011

Country Living Around the Corner

We have found a house!  2.5 acres and massive inside, we are so very excited!  It's a unique house and will fit us perfectly.  We will have room to have lots of guests and fit them all comfortably.  We will also have room for gardens and eventually horses and chickens ... fresh eggs and beautiful rides in the Kaibab Forest.  We will even get to cut our own Christmas Tree!!

Even though we've lived in two houses together before as well as own a home in Texas, this is feeling like a brand new beginning and it feels like this is our first house.  Can't wait to share more about our country life ... from our gorgeous living room!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Country Girl

Some might read this and think Texas rubbed off on me, but the reality is that while I grew up in a decent sized city, the country was just down the road.  In fact, even in our city yard, we had a pretty big garden filled with veggies we ate throughout the summer and even into winter.  I can remember when we "tried out" having a garden.  We rented a plot (okay, I was like, maybe 10, so the whole logistics of it are a mystery to me!) in a farmer's field and grew corn, lots of corn.  There were other veggies too, I just don't remember.  I can still picture stopping alongside the road to weed and otherwise check on our garden.  I even remember the first time I checked an ear of corn and found worms ... yuck!  But, such a memory!

The idea of living out in the country has always been in my mind.  Fixing food from our garden and using fresh herbs from the windowsill brings a smile to my face (trust me, I'm not thinking about the weeding!).  McH grew up with farm animals and I know he misses that.  So, when we started looking for a place to rent, we were very excited to see that we had some options that were not only out in the country with room for gardens, but also properties that would allow for animals, maybe someday even horses!

We knew that living here wouldn't be a forever thing and even if we don't move in December (in time for the Spring semester), we will eventually move.  We have crunched numbers, searched for the perfect towns, dreamed of country life and ultimately decided that we are going to just have faith.  Faith that this lifestyle that seems so beautiful can be ours.  Maybe not forever ... or ... maybe forever!  We don't know, but hopefully this Christmas we'll have snow and in the summer we'll have veggies!

Friday, August 26, 2011

There are many paths to the top of the mountain.

It's funny.  We have 2 laptops and 2 desktops in this house.  My mom rarely touches the computer and while my dad reads the news, he isn't monopolizing a computer.  McH and Monkey, on the other hand, definitely log hours, and, being honest, I put in a good showing online at night.  So, why is it that I have such a hard time getting to my blog?  Mainly because 1 desktop is a dinosaur, 1 laptop is at the kiddie desk and a pain to use (when Monkey lets me near it!) and my laptop is hooked up to the tv and not conducive to blogging.  Which leaves the other desktop ... brand spanking new, but won't seem to read my SD card for pictures!  I do have my phone, which seems to use blogger pretty easily, except for my silly signature.  I think that will be going away so I can blog easily.

Anyway, the title.  I was reading over at the Secular Homeschool Forum's and one of the ladies wrote that line in her response about Waldorf schools.  It really made me think.  There are many path's to the top of the mountain.  Some are winding, some shoot straight to the top and some circle the whole, big mountain.  The really funny thing is that two people can start on the same path, yet the path will lead them in very different ways.

I'm proud that McH and I, two fairly quiet people, are really forging along our own path ... taking input from the hikers around us, but making the calls that work best for us (even when they aren't the most fun at the time).  We try to be open-minded and free-thinkers and try to pass that on to our Monkey.  Will we make mistakes or ever make it to the top?  I sure hope so!

This week has been the official "start of school" week for us.  McH went back to school (after a lot of stress) and we started the MbtP curriculum.  I am loving it and I think Monkey is as well.  It doesn't take an inordinate amount of prep on my part and it flows together very nicely.  We're also using Time4Learning and it can sometimes be a little strange, but mostly it's working for us.

One thing this week has impressed upon me is that I need to continue helping my two guys with reaching their goals, but that I also need to realize some of my own.  So, to begin that I need to write them down ... can't stick to them if you don't clearly know what they are!

1. Connect more!  Whether it be online or not, I need to make connections with people.
2.  Blog more! My goal is to develop this blog into a place where I am sharing our homeschool progress and ideas, as well as sharing the struggle to find age-appropriate resources to teach Monkey about our beliefs.
3.  Write more! I have written nothing more than blogs or scribbles in 2011.  Not good!

So, there ya have it.  I know there are some amazing people out there in the world and I just have this feeling that I'm about to meet some new folks!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


We have had a wild summer so far!  We had a great trip in early June to Texas.  The first few days were spent in Dallas/Fort Worth at a few great museums and aquariums.  P really was excited to see and touch a few pretty cool animals!

Daddy and P checking out some stingrays AND feeding them!

P chillin' out with the sharks.

"Did you really catch that Monkey?"

We couldn't survive this heat without our daily (multiple times) swims!  I can't get over how amazing he's doing in the water.  Saying that he swims like a fish is an understatement.  One of these days I'll figure out how to take videos! lol

My brother and his family were here last week, so we took advantage of having so many people here and had pictures taken.  We had to improvise for a few of them and here's a cute shot of three of the great-grands. 

My beautiful Nani, with 4 of her great-grandbabies.  

And, the latest addiction ... phone games.  They sure are cute, but I'm close to tossing the EVO's into the pool (kidding).

Anyway, our books for this coming school year came in today and they look fantastic!  Daddy and P took some time to look through them, I'll get my turn soon.  I've definitely lagged and allowed myself to really enjoy summertime without much in the way of responsibility.  Most adults don't get that chance so I'm savoring it.  I'm planning to try and take more time to prep for September.  I really do need to get more networked with other homeschooling families, especially since we don't have a homeschool community here.  But I have super smart kid and I'm really excited to see where we go this year.  And, I can't wait to share my excitement as I create a path for us and then watch as we follow it, divert from it, change directions from it, go back to it and eventually find our way to where we are supposed to be!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Mom's day and Home schooling update

Hi all, what busy-ness we've had around here!  I had a great time for Mom's day, my sweet and thoughtful hubs and kiddo bought me a new bathing suit, cover-up and a box of amazing chocolates.  They also had gone that morning to Lowes and made me an adorable flower vase with a heart chalkboard on it.  I can't believe what a lucky girl I am!!

NaniRose cuddling up Jazzy after a swim.

The youngest moms playing with the kids (me and Tia).  Notice what the dads are doing in the background??

Bug with his "planets".

Homeschooling this week was fantastic!  We learned about habitats, specifically the desert.  He did really great and I was so impressed when he told NaniRose what habitat means!  We also did some gardening and, apparently, some crossword puzzles! ;)

Replanting our tomatoes.


So smart, he's learned to do the crossword in the Newspaper!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Be Jealous.

While McH finishes up a Geography exam, I thought I'd post a few swimming pics.  Our little man swam all by himself on Friday.  We haven't swam all weekend because it's been windy, but one of these days we'll be back at it!  I couldn't believe he did it!  It was like walking ... we knew he could do it for a while, but he just needed time to gather his confidence.  And, when he was ready he didn't want to stop!

Anyway, I know my northern friends are jealous, but don't be!  In a couple of months it will be hotter than you know what!  No one will be jealous then!

This is bug showing off how he can put his head underwater.  Now, please tell me why he fights me pouring water on his head when I wash his hair!!

My beautiful water baby.

 My two most handsome men.  Love those two!

And ... just one of the many, many amazing sunsets.  Every night someone yells, "Wow, what a sunset".