Apr 182017
 

This is a post from a few years back.  As I reread this post, I was reminded to keep using what works, and adjust what does not.  We still move while learning, especially math facts and spelling words, but I need to find other methods to use for abstract concepts and general remembering. 

Last summer I went to a 3-day Parent Practicum held by a local Classical Conversations group.  My reasons for going were two fold:

  1. I was curious about CC.
  2. The kids got 3 days of a summer activity that was educational and fun.

I am so glad I attended.  Here was a group of parents who were pushing their kids beyond the standard I saw most of those around me doing.  What they were doing is what I had been trying to do at home with our kids without any guide to follow.  They were taking an active role in what their kids were learning and asking them to do things I would never have considered possible.  I left that practicum with a renewed sense of what I wanted our kids to do.

Then George started Kindergarten at the local public school.

George had been in preschool at this same school from Day 3 of living with us, and did well in preschool.  We did have some concerns about how he would do in Kindergarten, so set up extra help before he even started.  He was able to spend time each day in a much smaller class with a teacher who knew him.   He was able to get extra review of what he just learned.  Due to his learning disability, review is a must.  Though George might learn something one day, there is no guarantee that he will remember it in an hour, or tomorrow, or on Friday.  He might know something three times, then forget it the next five.  Eventually he gets it, it just takes a bit longer and a lot more review.  

The biggest difference between preschool and Kindergarten was the focus.  Instead of a small class setting where everyone had individual goals, they were setting the challenges for a class of over 25 kids.

school supplies 2013

I really struggled for the first few months.  The homework they sent home was too much for him to do every night.  Every night ended in tears and frustration on both our parts. Aren’t parents and kids were supposed to finish Kindergarten still liking each other? Life became better.  We learned through what we happened to be doing at that moment, something we as a family do naturally.  At one point I gave up. We did not do any homework.  None at all.

After a few months, I began to think of alternative ways to do the homework and help George learn at home. After all, what example was I setting to say that he did not have to do his homework?  What would happen when he got older and actually had to complete assignments?

I began to think back to the CC Parent Practicum and how the kids there seemed able to do so much.  In my searching online for ideas, I also kept coming across blogs of families who homeschooled their kids using Classical Conversations.  How were they able to learn so many things every year?  Not only that, how were they able to retain it and recite it back?

Reward chart for learning New Testament Bible books 2

Hand motions, songs, and movement is what I noticed accompanied all of the recitation given by the kids.  These things also showed up in the suggestions for how to teach the lessons.  It was also something I remember them demonstrating to the parents last summer.  And come to think of it, this was the exact method I used to teach George and Jack the names of the 12 Disciples and the books of the New Testament.

Okay, I may be a bit slow, after all it took me over 6 months to get to this point, but I got there.  Not sure why I didn’t make the connection sooner.  Perhaps because I didn’t think about the method I used when I taught them the Disciples and NT books – I just did it.

George needed something beyond verbal reviewing and me drawing demonstrations of concepts. (i.e. the things that caused him to shut down, me become extremely frustrated because I knew he could do it, and we both ended up in tears.)

So where do I find what is needed for George and what he is learning in school?  The audio CDs and DVDs that go with the CC material had some of what he was learning, but there was a lot that was not related.

I began the search for CDs and songs that would match the topics the school was teaching him – I searched online, asked people, checked out teacher resources … nothing fit what I needed.  Back to the drawing board.

(I’m not sure if we just do more with our kids in this area, or maybe we just do not know the right people.  Either way, there was no one around me who does something similar with their kids so it took me a while to figure out exactly what it was I was looking for.  I actually got a lot of confused looks from parents when I asked which CDs of songs to help their kids learn some of the things from school.)

One week, George came home with a new thing he was supposed to learn.  In a moment where I was short on time and patience, I turned to the web.  That is when I found a YouTube video that explained everything.  In fewer words than I would have used.  AND it had pictures.

He got it!

The next day I began in earnest to search for videos to review what he had learned, videos to cover things he might learn, and videos to review things he already knew.  It took a while to put together a list of videos that weren’t too flashy, too loud, too long or too boring,  I was looking for catchy songs, quality videos, to the point lessons without a lot of fluff, and ones that he would also enjoy watching.

With these in hand, I was able to make a play list for George (and Jack) to listen to during breakfast … or lunch … or after school.  We can even listen to these in the car while running errands.  What took him months of saying over and over, yet not learning, he learned in two weeks.  TWO WEEKS!  Now he may still not be able to count by 2’s and still forgets what coin is what value, but he can count by 10’s to 100 down, tell you the days of the week, months of the year, and many other things.  Add this to the Starfall, Reading Eggs, and an online math programs we are doing and I think we are set at home to help him review and learn in a fun stress free way.

Now I count it as doing his homework if he can sing me the song or pick up where I leave off while singing it.  At random times through the day I may break into song (didn’t I say they were catchy?).  There are even times I catch him singing while playing or explaining something to someone.  YES!!

Some of these, like the one above, have been helpful when we are working on things like reading.  I can remind George of the rule by singing the first line of the corresponding song.  A much better method than nagging him.

Once I got the basic songs down I began to look for others that he may enjoy or that Jack would like.  Speaking of Jack, he too has learned a lot of the songs and can sing them.  He is prepped for Kindergarten when it is time for him to start.  Actally, a few of the videos are for him, as his brain works differently and has been able to grasps concepts that George still struggles with.  To help avoid bad behaviors due to being bored, I began to give him things that he would actually be doing if he were in Kindergarten already or about topics he finds interesting.

Here is my current list of songs.  As time goes on there will be more added to this.  What are some songs/videos not on this list that you have found helpful?

Jack loves saying, and I love hearing, “fundamental process”.  He even tries to give it an accent.

GARDENING (Science)

The Garden Song – not a fan of the “Mother Earth” sentence, but the rest is cute

Spring Songs for Children – Spring is Here with Lyrics – Kids Songs by The Learning Station

THE PHOTOSYNTHESIS SONG

Butterfly, Butterfly! (a song for kids about the butterfly life cycle) – Harry Kindergarten Music

 The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle – reading of the book and showing of illistrations

I Like the Flowers – by Beat Boppers Children’s Music

Let’s Plant a Garden – Nursery Rhyme

plant parts – the parts of a flower, sung to the “Head and shoulders, knees and toes” song

 

SCIENCE

Solar system

Solar System Lesson for Kids | Learn about Planets , Stars, Galaxy – a decsripition of the solar system, no songs

Animal (Classification) Song

4 Seasons In A year  – Harry Kindergarten Music – Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter – asks you to name the seasons as he describe them

Seasons Song: Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter – video asks you to name the seasons they show


LANGUAGE

ABC’s

Phonics song

YouTube.com, really like

Between the Lions: “When two vowels go walking” by BTLfanatic – fun to watch youtube.com and also catchy just to listen to.

Super “e”!!!!!!! (hip children’s song by Mark D. Pencil) by harry kindergarten music

The Sentence Song With Miss Jenny / www.edutunes.com – a quick video and song, but a favorite of our preschooler

Punctuation Explained (by Punctuation!) – not flashy, but very clear and to the point

Kindergarten Sight Words

Classic Schoolhouse Rock : A Noun is a Person, Place, or Thing (1973)

 The Five W’s Song ♫♪♫

 

MATH

Shapes Song 2 – circle, square, triangle, rectangle, star, diamond, oval, heart, then some more advanced shapes.  May work for a review of shapes rather than a teaching of the shapes themselves.

3D Shapes I know (solid shapes song- including sphere, cylinder, cube, cone, and pyramid) – Harry Kindergarten Music

Good video to go with it – The Big Numbers Song (counting 0-100) 

Learning Numbers from 1 to 100 – Counting Song for Kids 

Counting by 5’s

Favorite – Counting by Tens – Barbara Milne

Count by tens song – also mentions money though a bit busy

Counting By Twos Song

count by 2- a sing-along for early elementary – Mr. R’s Songs for Teaching – a song that probably works best with the visual

Number Line Addition

Basic Addition

When You Add With A Pirate (addition song for kids)

Counting Song 1+1

Addition Songs for Children: Addition 1, Addition 2, Addition 3, Addition 4, Addition 5

Addition +1

Addition +2

VIDEO showing chart and explaining – 1st Flipped: Skip Counting

The Big Numbers Song for Children – Ep 6 

“Penny Your The One” Penny Counting Song (Money Math)

Coin Value Song- Pennies, Nickels, Dimes, Quarters! – Mr. R’s Songs for Teaching

The Coin Song

Money Song – fun video for once the kids know their coins and values

 

CALENDAR – DAYS, MONTHS

Days of the Week Song – 7 Days of the Week – Children’s Songs

Days of the Week Song

Months Of The Year Song

Kindergarten Time (Sun travel with words) – a visual display of the different times of day – tracks the sun across the sky from morning till night.  Has words telling the time of day but no audio.

 

GEOGRAPHY

The continent song – this has become a favorite bedtime song, as we can do it with me singing the first part and the kids doing the response.

 HISTORY

No More King! (Schoolhouse Rock!) – Pilgrims sailing across the ocean to leave the King of England behind

 

This post is linked up at:

Prudent Living on the Homefront

 

 

 

 

 

This post contains affiliate links.

Mar 192017
 

Here’s another fun team challenge to help you earn SB from Swagbucks!

If you’ve never tried Swagbucks before because you didn’t know where to begin, their Team Challenges are a great way to learn the ropes! Their latest, the Spring Reading Team Challenge, begins Monday, March 20th.

George is on Spring Break during this Team Challenge, I am not sure how many SB I will be able to earn. However, it is the Team Points that really matter in challenges like this.

If this looks like a repeat post, it isn’t. Well, it is, sort of, but not really.  

As we were going to be busy, utilizing George’s Spring Break from school to spend time together as a family, I had the post scheduled ahead of time.

Then the dates were moved, but I did not notice; I was too busy watching pelicans dive for their dinner in the relatively warm Gulf of Mexico and flying kites on the beach while wearing a sweatshirt and jeans. (At least we weren’t getting 1-2 feet of snow).

With all that said, remember, it is the Team Points that really matter in challenges like this.

Each activity is worth a certain amount of Team Points, in addition to the SB you may earn. The Team Points do not get added to your SB totals, but they determine the placement of the teams.

February’s challenge was a close one across the board, with all 3 teams super close the whole week. While my team was in first place for most of the days, the second place team made a surge at the end and over took us. It was a great reminder that running the race through the finish line really does make a difference.

Run the race through the finish line!

Here’s how you can join the challenge and the site:

1. Click here to join the challenge and be assigned to a team. Pre-registration is going on right now! If you don’t already have an account, you can sign up on this page as well.

2. Starting February 13th at 8am PT, in addition to earning SB you’ll contribute points to your teams total as you complete different activities on Swagbucks.

3. Check back on the page often to see the scores and what you’ve contribute so far. 

All members who participate and contribute at least 400 points to their team’s total will receive a SB bonus in the form of a SB Swag Up Rebate on their next gift card!

Not only that, but if you earn 300 SB before April 1st, you’ll get a 300 SB bonus (as long as you’ve signed up under me)!

Members of the 1st place team will receive a 50 SB Swag Up Rebate, members of the 2nd place team will receive a 25 SB Swag Up Rebate, members of the 3rd place team will receive a 10 SB Swag Up Rebate. Your SB Swag Up Rebate will be made available on Friday, March 17th and will expire on Tuesday, March 28th 11:59pm PT

During the last Team Challenge, not only did I learn a few time saving tips from my team mates, but also earned 683 SB (over $6) plus a Swag Up Rebate on my next gift card purchase.

This post contains affiliate links.

Mar 162017
 

life is a series of experiences henry ford quote

This week finds us out of the house quite a bit.  So, I thought I would take the opportunity to look back at some posts from the past.

One thing that stuck out to me was the difference in weather between years, even though all these posts are from March.

Another theme I noticed is that I often posted about food.  That may have to do with the first things that stood out to me – the weather.

Soon it had been over three weeks and I had not even begun looking for a new stove or coming to a decision as to repair it.

Living Without An Oven – This phase was actually easier than I thought, though it did take some thinking.  We were also blessed, several months in, with a $1 toaster oven find at a local garage sale.  That toaster oven even moved with us, as I came to find it useful for different situations.

Once the warm weather comes, I would rather be focusing on outside rather than stuck inside doing these things.

30 Days, 21 Projects – It is amazing how all the little things around the house can be put off numerous times.  Suddenly, no matter where you turn there is something glaring at you that needs to be done.  Having a plan of attack, and a deadline, helps you realized the list is not never-ending.  It also gives you a sense of being in control rather than being controlled by your stuff.

I didn’t plant all the tomato seeds I had, but I got 75 of them started.

Weekly Goals – March 18, 2012 – Not only is it interesting to look back and see what was happening at this time in years past, but you may also be reminded of things you used to do and can do again.  While I will not be starting seeds indoors this spring, I hope to do it again in the future.  I also learned that I did not need 75 tomato seedlings.  Live and learn.

At first $4.30 didn’t seem like a lot to Mr. Arends, but by the end of the 6-weeks time frame, he had learned several lessons.

Comparing The Numbers – Before making statements about what can or can not be done, it is a good idea to take a look at the reality of your situation.

Last week he spent over 6 hours across several days working with cardboard and duct tape.

This Week in School, practical life skills – the above quote would be called a STEM activity in public school.  At home, it was called free time.  This post highlighted a season where Jack really did not respond well to sitting to learn.  While we were following Charlotte Mason’s methods, I had not fully implemented them, nor researched them.  So some items, like short lessons, were in play, there were other things I was learning on my own.  I am still not fully doing what she recommends, but we are getting closer.

Mar 142017
 

This post from a few years ago came up in a search I did recently.  Reading through it, I was reminded of how our gardening can start off with great intentions, but time can make us forget the blessings and larger purpose it may serve.  

Botanical Garden Fountain
Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.

 

The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.

 

She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.

your  husband will appreciate your gardening efforts if you include items and varieties he likes.

She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.

playing in the dirt is actually called “working”.

She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar.

it is okay to not grow everything. instead go to the produce auction or farmer’s market if there are things you want but can’t grow due to time or space.

She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
you don’t have to do it all yourself, hire help as needed. different stages in life call for different things.
She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.

gardening … need I say more?

She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.

pulling weeds … and weeds … there are more? Didn’t I just pull those?!? (not such an issue with raised beds, but we did have to haul in dirt and build the boxes)

She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.

endless nights of canning, because you still have so much yet to do.  meanwhile, the next crop is ripe and ready to be put up.

She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.
She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.

have you ever “blessed” someone with a random bag of zucchini?

She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.

all the canning and preserving serves a valuable purpose during the colder months. (or when a new child in the home meant not being able to shop as much for two months, those stores were very much a blessing.)

She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.

when not in the garden, you are allowed to do non-gardening related crafts.  even better if it is something useful.

Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.

our gardening habits will also reflect upon the rest of our household.  let it be a good reflection upon them.

She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.

otherwise known as running a produce stand, listing extras on Craigslist, trading for other items or services, selling at a local store, etc.  

Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.

all that planning means rejoicing when the first vegetable or bloom appears in the garden.  it wasn’t all for naught.

She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.

learn from those who have done it for more seasons than you, and share kindly with the new gardener just starting out.  you were there once too.

She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.

while it would be great to sit and watch the flowers and birds (or hang out on the favorite social media site), we can’t do that all day.

Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.

gardening should not make you grumpy, short tempered, annoyed, or isolated.  instead it should add happiness to your home. if it doesn’t, then you need to sit down and redo you gardening plan.

Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.
Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.

your house may be perfect; your garden beds weed free, organic and trimmed; and you may even be one of those gardeners who can work outside for an hour in the humidity without a hair coming out of place or breaking a nail.  If your heart is not in the right place, though, it doesn’t mean a thing.  

Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.

enjoy what you have worked to make happen.  now would be the time to get that cup of tea (or peppermint cappuccino) and enjoy the flowers and birds, knowing that you have worked hard and blessed others … till it is time to go weed again or put the next load of jars in the canner.

PROVERBS 31: 10-31 (KJV)

Vase of roses in window

Bible passage taken from KingJamesBibleOnline

growinghomemakers link-up banner Modest Mom blog button copy

Mar 122017
 

This post contains some affiliate links.  If you click on them and purchase something I will receive a small portion, at no extra charge to you.  Thank you for helping support this blog.

Living in Reality with smokey border

(click here for Part 1 or Part 2)

Looking back at the list, waaay back at the start, you will notice I did not disregard everything on my “this is what life should look like right now” list.  There are still thing I can do where I am and with the reality I have in front of me right now.

can work on growing in knowledge.

can work gardening in the space I have been blessed with.

can have bees in an urban setting.

can do things on a smaller scale to help reduce energy usage, water waste/runoff, improve the soils, and teach my kids about nature.

can use solar power in various smaller settings.

can go for walks in the neighborhood.

can send my kids outside to play.

can take the kids to the local mountain/nature preserve/park/wetlands to see and experience wildlife without being surrounded by buildings.

can still recycle, reduce, and reuse. Or as my grandparents would say, “Use it up, wear it out, make do or do without.”

dad child walking by spring river

Once I got past what I could not do, i.e. stopped whining to myself, I began focusing on what was at the core of my desires and how it could be implemented where we actually were. I began to feel less confined by my circumstances and more free to find solutions.

I also have to realized that some of my life’s dreams have been fulfilled, just not all of them right now.  There are also many years ahead, God willing, to explore those ideas.

When I mentioned to George, who was watching the movie ‘Alaska‘, that I used to want to be a bush pilot, he looked at me with a serious expression and asked, “Why didn’t you?”  It was a great opportunity to point out to him that life only contains so much time.

“If I had pursued that desire, I would have had to give up so many others.  While it would have been fun, it was not what I was meant to do.”

And that, my friends, is when I realized all my contemplating and searching had finally come full circle and I was ready to move forward once again.

Mar 102017
 

Plow & Hearth

If Spring has not arrived in your neck of the woods yet, it is not too far around the corner.  With a mild winter across most of the country, gardeners are starting to get back into their gardens earlier on the calendar.

Whether you are looking to add lanterns, illuminators,  planters, or walkway lights to your garden, use solar power to add an additional interest to these elements.  Not only will you be saved the limitation of placing them only where there is a source of electricity, but you will also be saving on your power bill.

Today Only, save 20% off all solar accents and receive shipping sitewide on orders of $75. Ends 3/11/17.

In addition to these savings, if you are a new subscriber to their email list, you will receive $10 off your next order.

This post contains affiliate links.

Mar 092017
 


March is here, and it’s bringing you the chance to get a $5 bonus from Swagbucks! Swagbucks is a rewards site where you earn points (called SB) for things you’re probably doing online already, like searching, watching videos, discovering deals, and taking surveys. Then you take those points and exchange them for gift cards to places like Amazon, Starbucks, Walmart, Target, or PayPal cash.

There is no need to download a tool bar or tracking software onto your computer.  Instead, you can earn SB by doing things you might already be doing through other web sites.  Last month I earned 38 SB from searching the web, 182 SB by watching videos on my phone, and 491 SB by looking through special offers (including searching for insurance).

I have found that setting specific goals helps me earn more online.  Knowing I will be needing specific books in the fall, or am wanting to try growing a dwarf pear tree, allows me to plan ahead.  Instead of working toward an ambiguous goal, which is like running a race that never ends, I can see the finish line. As my high school coach used to say, “Run through the finish line.”

To help you reach your goals even quicker, Swagbucks is offering a $5 bonus for new users!

When you sign up through me this month, you can earn a $5 bonus! Here’s how:

1. Sign up using this link

2. Earn 300 SB total before 4/1/17. You’ll get a $3 (300 SB) bonus for it!

3. If you spend at least $25 through Swagbucks Shop* you’ll get another $2 (200 SB) bonus on top of the cash back you’ll get from shopping. If you have some shopping to do online, just go to Swagbucks first and visit the store through them. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, but you’ll get SB points for every dollar you spend (on top of the bonus)!

That’s it. It’s super easy, and Swagbucks is for real. I use it myself, and I’ve earned 1256 SB last month.  This amount translates into a little over $12 toward school supplies for next year, flower bulbs for our new yard (once we have one), a bird bath for the new front yard (again, once we have one), or other items on my goals list.

*You must receive your shopping SB before May 1st

Note: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for helping support this blog.

Mar 082017
 

Schoola.com

Schoola has been a blessing to our family several times over the past few years. More than once I have been faced with the realization that a kid suddenly grew, and needed certain clothing items yesterday.  Sound familiar?

At these times I have been able to add to my kids’ wardrobes using without having to leave the house but utilizing Schoola’s site.  Not only did I save on gas and time, but the quality of clothing was good and the prices were not too high.

Once you reach Schoola’s site, they make it easy for you to find what you need.  You can sort through clothing by gender and size.  They also allow you to search according to price, clothing type, brands, color, condition, style, season, material, and more.

Once you have found what you are looking for, you may want to create a “collection”, if you know you are going to be needing the same thing often.  Perhaps you are looking for “girls short sleeve shirts in size 6”.  By creating a collection you will not have to input all the search criteria each visit, thereby saving you time on your search to save money.

Whether you are a new customer, or a returning one, you can save money on top of the already low prices!
Buy a like-new item at Schoola and get $20 in credit! Offer is valid 3/6 – 3/10/17. Exclusions apply.
Free shipping on all orders over $25 at Schoola.com.
50% off your first order with code FIRST50OFF at Schoola.com.

Are you so excited you can not keep the new to yourself?  Share it with a friend and you will both save even more.
Send a friend $10 off to shop the amazing deals on children’s clothes at Schoola.com and you’ll get $10 off too. Shop now!

This post contains affiliate links.

Mar 082017
 

This post contains some affiliate links.  If you click on them and purchase something I will receive a small portion, at no extra charge to you.  Thank you for helping support this blog.

Living in Reality with smokey border

The most important conclusion I came to, though, was this – those things take time.  Time each day/week to be a good steward of what we are given.  Time to grow and mature, to produce fruits of our labor. (from Part 1)

George was very disappointed that we were not going to be able to get a cow and a horse.  I tired to explain it to him, to no avail.  Finally I asked him, “Would you rather have a cow, or get to see Grandma?  You can’t have both.”  He decided we could take the cow with us when we went to visit.  You have to love the simplicity of young minds.

Then I started to wonder, how it was that I grew up in an area where having those things (several acres of land, living away from town, etc.) were normal, yet people still seemed to have a great life.  That is when I came to a few other realizations.

  1. The area I grew up in contained mostly families whose relatives also lived there.  Several generations of them in fact.  Most of my cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents live/d in that county.  I can take you to 4 or 5 different cemeteries, some so old they no longer bury people there, and show you distant relatives who are buried there.  I grew up going to Grandma’s for Sunday dinner after church.  In other words, family was close by.  You did not need to travel to see them.  We live hours away from family; traveling for days at each holiday is our normal.
  2. People did not move often.  And if they did move, it might mean moving 10 miles away.  Not states away. With each move, it means starting over again.  Starting over takes time and work, as well as adjusting to new microclimates or growing zones.
  3. It was not uncommon of people would drive 30 minutes – 1+ hour one way for work.  I am not talking through traffic driving, but country driving where 1 minute = about 1 mile. It would take you at least more than 30 minutes to drive across the county on the main state road, which was probably the only straight road in the county. These miles usually took them past stores, gas stations, etc, which they would stop at on the way home. Our reality is that the kids go to bed early, 7-7:30.  If they miss this for 2 nights in a row, the next day is shot.  We can not keep them up late in order to see Dad after work if we want to have any sort of calm home life.
  4. Everyone understood “working in the yard” really might take you all day Saturday.  Especially after the kids’ morning sports activities or the afternoon ball game. Or the Saturday morning trip to town to “haul trash”, go to the bank, and do other errands. There are also no HOAs.  If you miss a week of mowing, or your car has been sitting for too long in one spot in your yard, no one is going to say much.  Well, your mom or grandmother might … :)
  5. People did not go to museums, unless they made a full day of it, driving the 1-1.5 to get there.  However, it was usually a special event, not a common event. Yet, they would go play in the creek, go hunting, swimming in an actual lake, watch the river flood each spring, listen to the band at the local restaurant/festival, hear about how “grandpa grew up down there”, etc.  It may not be in a building, but we were exposed to various enrichment activities.
  6. A farmer’s market was not a part of the culture.  They tried.  It never quite took off.  However, I know who makes maple syrup, who has honey bees, who grows Christmas trees, who has apple for sale at the local volunteer firemen’s spring event, who to go to for quilting your quilt top, where an old farmstead used to be but now is a large plot of daffodils each spring, etc.  

In general, life is different there.  The pace is different.  Time is on a different speed.  That is not a good or bad thing, it just is. 

(Honestly, if I had not married my husband, I would have gone back there to live.  That was my plan till the end of college, after all. I love him more than my plans, though. Hence I am not blogging from there.)

In case I am giving a picture that is not a full one, let me give the disclaimer: not everyone there ‘lives in the country’.  There are town folks, too. Or people like my one set of grandparents who lived about 10 minutes outside of town on a small farm, down a small county road which had no lines or shoulders. Yet about 90% of the county was a rural setting.

And that is not where we are living right now.

We live in a place that is 80-90% urban/suburban; a place where subdivisions vastly out rank farms. Due to recent population growth, there are still small farms sprinkled throughout town and a lot of people who did not grow up around here.

Where we are living is most likely not the place we will be in 10, 15, 20 years.

Unless we have a million dollars, are willing to be in a school district which can not necessarily address some of the needs George has, or want to see my husband less than we already do, our housing options are not the same as where I grew up.

This also goes to show why I am not in a rush to fulfill that dream of 40 acres and maple syrup right now.  If I were to invest 10 years of my time and labor, I may not be here to see the result of that work.

As a side note, time is all relative.  When we first were married, I was used to “tree time”, where 60 years is fast and 80-100 is when things finally start moving.  My husband thought 6 months was fast and 5 was super long.  It took us a while to get our clocks aligned. Even now, I feel like he is on fast time and I am on slow time.

That does not mean I have to give up everything.  Only that it will look different.

diy closet system

… to be continued.

 

 

Mar 052017
 

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Living in Reality with smokey border

I have been doing a lot of thinking and contemplating as of late.  While I have not come to a lot of conclusions, I have begun to realized that some of the things I desire in life do not line up with reality at this present time.

That is hard to accept.

I want it all, and I want it now!

Or, at least, that is how it seems I am supposed to be feeling and acting.

How I am feeling is … unsure.  There have been a lot of changes over the past year which have left me feeling out of sorts.

(As I look back through posts, it seems I have left out a lot of things which happened during this past year, in addition to my husband’s new job and our move – finishing up a home addition and remodel that took 2 years; my husband finishing up his MBA, while also working full time; a foster child coming and going; the kids’ official ADHD diagnoses; the passing of someone from my past and the loss of a friend’s child; plus more I have forgotten about.)

The current decision in front of us has to do with finding a more permanent housing situation.  Currently we are renting, allowing us time to get to know the area.  While we could stay here past our lease, it would mean extra money each month going toward rent.  This is not a bad situation in the short term, though not something we want to continue in the long term.

So, how do I adjust my desires of a home (perceived or real) with the reality of life at this time?

Desires

I would LOVE to have 40 acres with trees to make maple syrup and invest in timber, fields for the kids to run through, space for chickens and bees and dogs, and area to dedicate to an orchard, and room to put in a large (~1 acre) raised bed garden.  I greatly desire a house with a front porch (like our last home) where we can sit on the porch swing at night, watching the sun set and the kids play in the yard.

A kitchen with an island to mix up yummy creations with the kids would also be great. As would a basement and a whole house fan, for those days when it is too nice to rely on processed air to keep you cool.

A external wood stove to heat with and solar panels to help lower the cost of energy would also make it on my list. As would a cat to help with the small critters I would preferably not have around the place.

child shredding zucchini in kitchen

Reality
  • I grew up in the country, where mowing the grass took an hour or two on the riding lawn mower, and that was for a yard which was only an acre or two in size. We currently do not own a riding lawn mower.  Yes, we could purchase one.  Also, using our current push mower on a smaller yard might take just as long.
  • Dad used the tractor and brush hog to clear the brush away from the edges once a year or so.  We have neither of those pieces of equipment.
  • My parents ended up blocking the whole house fan (we called it an “attic fan”) because it was a source of heat loss in the winter.
  • My husband is allergic to cats. We could have an outdoor cat, though there is no guarantee it would stay around our place.
  • My husband’s allergies also make him sensitive to something as simple as a burning candle.  Hence any wood stove for heating would have to be an external unit.  Not a bad thing, but yet an extra cost if it is not already installed.
  • While I own chain saw chaps, we do not own a chain saw. So, again, another purchase or having to buy already split wood from someone.
  • We do not live near family. If we had chickens and dogs, let alone other animals, we would not be able to travel as much.  Whether it would be to see family or take a weekend away, we would have to find someone to come take care of our animals.
  • A basement, while a nice feature, does not work well in the area where we currently live.  It seems to have something to do with the soils and wet basements in the older homes leading to mold.  I have yet to see a house with a basement in the town where we currently live. Though, there is an abundance of storm shelters, as severe storms are a part of life.
  • I have lived the past 6 years without a kitchen island.  The kids still have learned to cook and bake.  It is not a necessity.

The most important conclusion I came to, though, was this – those things take time.  Time each day/week to be a good steward of what we are given.  Time to grow and mature, to produce fruits of our labor.

40 acres is not a part of our reality at this time.  Perhaps a smaller piece of land, but not 40 acres.

… to be continued

5-love-languages-of-children