Monday, November 6, 2017

UnSchool Days

I've always known I would homeschool my children. I had been homeschooled myself and after spending a year in public high school, there was no question. It might not be for everyone, but it's for us. We love the freedom that it provides. We love the flexibility. Especially since my hubby doesn't work a typical 9 to 5 job. When he is off, we are off. It might be a Monday or a Friday instead of a Saturday or a Sunday and thats ok. It also leaves us with more ability to go with the flow of life. We might stay up super late to watch a meteor shower, then sleep till 10 the next day and thats ok. We might get lost in one subject because the girls find it fascinating and want to learn more, or we might ditch the curriculum all together for a day spent in nature or being creative.

I try to stick to a no complaining on social media rule for myself. This sometimes means that our homeschooling life looks a little more perfect than it actually is. There are days that are hard. There are struggles. There are poor attitudes, laziness, and impatience. That goes for me as well as for them. There are also learning difficulties. My seven year old, who we call Bunny, has had a tough time with reading. She is right on track in math and whizzes through most of her lessons. But reading is hard for her. We've tried different curriculum. We've even had her vision checked. But still, she struggles along, slowly making small improvements. I didn't expect for her to have this struggle. I LOVED reading as a child. I still do. But her mind works differently than mine does. She is much more like her father, and thats ok. He's pretty awesome and so is she. 

Bunny has the chicken pox right now, so we've had a pretty laid back school week. Yesterday (a Sunday) we read hours of history. One way she is like me is that she loves history, and being read to. We colored and cut out paper dolls of the greek gods and talked about weather we would rather live in Athens or Sparta. Athens all the way for us. We need art in our lives.

Today she was feeling a little better and started talking about what she wants to do when she grows up. This kid is so much cooler than I ever was or probably ever will be. She asked if we could make a vision board (Something she's seen my husband and I do) of all the things she wants to "manifest" in her life. Yes, she said manifest. I helped her make a list (spelling the words out for her to write down), then she picked pictures to print off the internet, cut them out and made a collage, adding some stickers. 

We discussed the things she could do now, to work toward her goals. We found a place for her to take swimming lessons this winter. She is a pretty good swimmer now, but we both agreed she should be excellent. Then I talked to my surfer friend and Young Living Essential Oils up line, Beth, about where to get lessons next summer. Bunny was THRILLED when Beth offered to teach Bunny herself. Bunny already had a surfboard on her birthday wish list (Which Beth also offered to help pick out since I have no idea what we will need), so that about covers that area.

Next she decided that she better practice her baking since she some day wants to own a bakery. So she whipped up some little vegan, grain free, cookies for our morning snack. When I say she whipped them up, I mean SHE whipped them up. I didn't do a thing except take them out of the oven. She didn't even have a recipe to follow, she just made one up on the fly... And they were DELISH!!! AND HEALTHY!!! WHAAATTT??? 

Then she took a break to rest, but little did I know she was actually drawing out floor plans for a bus house. This included figuring out measurements of different furniture.

Now she actually is resting, playing Minecraft which she taught herself to play. I am soooo not tech and have no idea how she builds all these things.

The best part about today is that it was not even supposed to be a school day. Hubby was off for the morning. He actually has zero full days off right now. Either work or school or both. We cleaned the house and hung a shelf and built lego towers with the little girls. No school was expected. This was all her. This was her chasing her dreams. Those are my favorite kinds of school days.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

This Is It


This is it. This is what it feels like to be on the verge of something amazing. Toes over the edge, wind in my hair, butterflies in my stomach. This is what it feel like to take that final step. This is what it feels like to fly.

I wrote that in my journal the night before we moved to North Carolina. We are here, Y'all. We did it. We are home.


I haven't written a post on here in a very long time. Mostly because there was nothing really to say. Nothing new to report. For the month prior to our move, we were busy painting and scrubbing and everything that involves getting a house ready to sell. It was a lot of hard work and there was not much time to think of meaningful and interesting things to write about on here.




Since moving, there seems to be no shortage of meaningful and interesting things going on.
Spending time at the beach is on the top of that list.


Also, going on outings to places like the aquarium,


the farmer's market,


bike riding,


the ferry,


the dentist,


 and visiting old (and new) friends.


Of course we've been having a lot of fun at home too.


Morning coffee,


gardening,



even a solar eclipse.

I think that pretty much catches you up on our lives here. 



Oh yeah, Papa also got a job AND is going back to school.
He's pretty busy. We are pretty proud.






 






Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Warm Weather

It is now late April and we are now entering into my favorite time of year in West Virginia. A time full of seventy degree days, green grass, and Poppaw's garden. 


After a morning of babysitting and watching the state road guys spread gravel in the rain, the clouds finally broke. 



Off we went, down our little road.
We took the long way around so we could also check the mail. 


Poppa met us outside and we walked to the garden together.


Inspecting the spring crop of onions.


"Dis pinach?"



"It yummy!"


Bunny in her favorite tree.


Wish Flowers!


When we got home, I push mowed the back yard while the girls played in the creek.
It feels good to feel alive again.



Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Last

Tonight my smallest child went to sleep without a binky. She never ask for it. She never fussed. Never shed a single tear over it. She was just done. And I cried. Because that's what mamas do when they are happy... And when they're sad... And when they are a little bit of both.



We've been in perpetual babyhood for over seven years. If I were listening to my body instead of my heart, I probably would have stopped (Or at least taken a break) after our second daughter. Instead I went on to have a third. I have never, for even a second regretted that decision. But I knew the minute we found out she was a girl, I was done. I wrestled with myself over this for quite some time (Cause babies ahhh!), but deep down, I knew. I have treated every day since then like it is the last day I will have a child this young. I both held onto to the perfect amazing moments, and let go of the stress. I took precious pictures and got in ALL the snuggles. I played more, read more, loved more. Because soon it would be over. Being up all night, or up before the sun was no big deal with her. A fussy day was not the end of the world. Because soon it would be over. Something amazing happened. I learned how I want to live. Every day. For the rest of my life. Today was our last day of babyhood. It was a good day. Tomorrow will be good also.

If anyone is curious how I weaned her from her binky so super gently, I listened to my mother (always a good Idea in my experience). A couple of weeks ago, I got rid of every single binky except one (You could even keep a few), then I poked a hole in the top. She was a little iffy about it at first, but there were no other binkies as an option, so she went along with it. After that I snipped a teeny tiny super thin sliver off the tip every few days. Eventually, there just was't enough to hold onto very well. She got tired of it and stopped asking for it at all. Easy peasy. End of story. Thanks, Mama!











Saturday, November 5, 2016

Soup's On

I've been living on a plant based diet for almost six months. At first, it was a temporary thing to lose a few pounds. I felt better almost immediately. I dropped a few pounds as I expected, because I was eating a lot more veggies, and less overly processed foods, but that wasn't the biggest surprise. My daily headaches where gone. My unexplainable morning sickness (with no pregnancy) that I've had every morning since every morning for over a year when I first woke up, was gone. After three weeks I decided to have a non vegan meal, and the next morning, it all came back. I was done.

I dropped a few more pounds over the summer. Not a huge amount because I still eat a lot, even if it is healthy food. In the beginning it was kind of a challenge to find vegan food, but now it was become pretty fun to take something that is usually made with animal products, and make it with plants.

There are a lot of misconceptions about Vegan or plant based diets that I would love to address. I get asked a lot of questions. Here are my top five:

1. How do you get protein?

The same way cows, or rabbits, or gorillas, or any other herbivore does. PLANTS! Protein is there. Its not hard to find once you start looking for it.

2. Do you miss meat/dairy/eggs?

Maybe at first, but honestly I feel like I can now see them for what they really are... And it's kinda gross. Kind of the way we might look at some strange seeming food from another culture and wonder how they eat it. Sure you could get used to it, but... No thanks.

3. What about calcium (or some other nutrient)?

Refer to question 1.

4. Ok, but vitamin B12 isn't in plants... So what about that?

Ok, you got me there. There is no good plant based source of B-12. It is actually found in the bacterial in soil. Thats where animals get it (Unless they are never let outside, the they are supplemented). In a more natural, less sanitized world, we would get it from dirt, or leftover dirt on our produce. When I get organic, locally grown produce from good sources, I don't wash it. when I get veggies from my grandpa's garden, I don't was thm. If I forage for wild growing food, I don't wash it. I also take a supplement, just in case.

5. Are your husband and kids vegan too?

No. My husband is an omnivore. My kids are (mostly) vegetarian by their own choice. I do try to limit the dairy (as well as sugar, GMOs, processed junk), and they do eat eggs.

Feel free to leave any other questions in the comments and I will try to answer them the best I can.

Now that I have explained all that, I will get back to what this post was actually going to be about, originally. I am nothing if not good at getting sidetracked.

I have been cooking from scratch a lot more in the past few months. I get a real kick out of making plant based recipes that no one would know were plant based. If four out of the five people in my family (or six out of seven if you count my parents) love it, it's a win... I think most families have the one kid who is a picky eater. In our house it's the middle one. Her vote doesn't count a whole lot because she would literally live on PB&J if I let her.

I am now about to share with you, the most epic, the most delicious, the most amazing soup I have ever eaten. Brace yourself.


Vegan Cheesy Broccoli Potato Soup.

Pretty sure I can hear angels singing...

I developed this recipe after going over several, taking what I liked from each one, and adding my own twist. It's soooooo good.

Ingredients:
1 large onion
1 clove of garlic
1 carton of veggie broth
1 head of cauliflower (or bag of frozen)
5 cups chopped celery
5 cups sliced potatoes
1 Tbs sea salt
2 Tbs curry powder
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 cups of almond milk (this is kinda optional, but make it creamier)
1 head of broccoli (or bag of frozen)
5 more cups of diced potatoes


I forgot to picture the celery... Sorry... I'm sure you know what celery looks like.
Not everything here is organic, but we are working toward it.


I literally start crying in excitement, when copping the opinions for this recipe.

Brown up the onions and garlic in a little bit of the veggie broth.


Add in the cauliflower and veggie broth and boil until soft.



These awesome crinkle cut knives are not sharp at all and great for kids.


Add in the celery and potatoes and cook through.

Ok now this next part is a time saving tip. It does dirty another pot, but that is worth it to me when kids are SSSTTTAAARRRVVVIIINNNGGG.



While the big pot is cooking, go ahead and cook up the broccoli and diced potatoes and drain them. You could wait and add them in at the end, but that will take an extra 20 minutes or so.

Ok, back to pot one...


Once everything is nice and soft, go ahead and add your salt, curry, yeast, and almond milk.

Then... This is interesting part...
Remove from heat, make sure it is all cool enough not to burn you, then dump it in a blender and blend until smooth.

*I have a small blinder and had to do it in batches, pouring the blended soup into a large mixing bowl until the pot was empty.*


Then back into the pot it goes.

Add the (already cooked and drained) broccoli and potatoes, stir in, and reheat. 

Tada!


Salt and/or pepper to taste.
You're welcome!
































Tuesday, November 1, 2016

October Ends

Yesterday we gave the baby (I mean... the two year old) a late nap, then got all three girlies dressed up to go trick or treating with their cousins.

When I asked Bunny what she wanted to be, her answer was the best costume I've made yet...
A girl knight!
The knight with two young princesses. Homemade costumes really are the most fun.

We all had a blast!

It didn't take long for this baby princess to get the hang of things!

The whole heehaw gang. Six adults, nine kids, and WAY too much candy.
We got sooo much candy that tonight, November 1st, The Switch Witch is scheduled to arrive. Thats right, my little sweeties are trading their overly sugared, processed junk, for a gift from The Switch Witch (they've requested art supplies). After the day we had today, I'm really thinking we should have done this last night. Too much sugar turns these girls into little halloween monsters. But better late than never. I am excited to get back to healthy eating. We all function a lot better with proper nutrition.

All in all, October was a rather lovely month. I am sad to see it go. But November brings a newness for which my heart has been longing. Onward and upward.







Friday, October 21, 2016

Seasons


I have recently been reading a book called Oola: Find Balance in an Unbalanced World. In it, the Oola Guys talk about how sometimes we have to be unbalanced for a season, in order to focus on specific things. However, if the lack of balance lasts longer than three years, it is no longer a season, but a lifestyle. Being someone who seeks balance, I found this intriguing.






We currently own two homes and don't live in either of them. We have been renting our home in WV to my sister and her children, so that they could be close to family during and after her divorce. Meanwhile we have been living in my parents' house. There have been many times since living here, that my husband or I or both of us have wanted to move back to our own house. I'm sure there have been many times my parents have wished to have their house to themselves as well... We all get along great, but the situation with the layout of the house was never ideal for two separate families. Every time we would talk about it however, we knew that the timing was not yet right. First, my sister's children were still adjusting, then she and her fiancé found out they were pregnant with high risk twins, then she had newborn preemies, and I just never felt like I could in good conscience, ask her to move out. This past spring however, my sister and her fiancé started looking to buy a place of their own. Her older children are now all in school and the twins are over a year old and perfectly healthy. Just like the leaves slowly fall off the trees, things slowly fell into place. Seasons changed.






After nearly three years of living in limbo, living in neither of our homes, we are moving out of my parents house and back into our WV home. Even though in my dream world, we would be moving to NC full time, my heart is at peace with this. It is time to find a new kind of balance in the world we will live in now.


We are also entering a new season of life with our children. Our youngest will be two next week! For the first time, I am not already pregnant for another baby. We don't actually plan to have anymore, so this is really the end of an era for us. No more breastfeeding (she self weaned at 13 months), no more diapers (except for at night), basically no more baby stuff. I am sooo ready! I love babies, but we've basically been in perpetual babyhood for six years. I am excited for what comes next. 

What comes next is actually getting back to a lot of things that are important to us. Blogging is one of those things. My goal is once a week. Feel free to hold me to that, and call me out if I fail to meet that goal. 

It feels good to be back!