Latest Posts

10 Things I’ve Done in the Last Three Months

In no particular order….

DSC_0137

  1. Traveled across the country that included The Badlands, Yellowstone, family, Utah mountains, BALCONY HOT TUBS, waterfall bathtubs, Dinosaur National Monument, EBR-1–the world’s first nuclear power plant, and more.
IMG_20150605_090302

I’m tired. I’m eating. I’m walking on Meredith Wilson’s Music Man footbridge that’s been rebuilt and is higher above the river.

2.  Hit a deer on said trip which gave us an impromptu stop in Mason City, Iowa. Music Man, anyone? Yes, River City, Iowa! And the mechanic said “yeah, you can drive it, but be careful of the AC” (because the fan had to be disconnected). And so I drove it for another two weeks. The repair shop estimator guy took one look and said “who said you could drive that???” So now we’re a one-car family once again.

IMG_20150610_070626

3.  Successfully got into crow.

IMG_20150703_161756

4.  Beautified our apartment.

C360_2015-07-09-10-40-33-470

5.  Read Charlotte’s Web to Kaelyn. She wrote a book report where she declared her love of bacon.

IMG_20150608_184642

6.  Completed 21 books including 5 audios and 2 middle grade books.

C360_2015-07-14-15-50-18-585

7.  Sent in my first intent to homeschool.

DSC_0843

8.  Logged time at the pool.

DSC_0860

9.  Began enjoying delicious local produce delivered to my door.

C360_2015-08-14-07-21-44-101

10.  Beach yoga.

 

Simple Foods

“I want something else.”


“I don’t really like that.”


“I’m full.”

“Would you like to eat something else?”

“Yes!”

“Then you aren’t full.”


“We’re not going out to eat AT ALL???”

 

This is probably something everyone with children has heard (and more!) many times. Our girl is not particularly picky about food. She won’t eat anything hot or even remotely warm. And we’re working on taste testing foods that she isn’t comfortable with yet (peppers, lettuce, tomatoes). We’ve seen success. But we hear an awful lot of the above.

Our solutions up to this point has been to enforce our rules (we eat at meals, adults approve requests, taste test everything). Yeah, that’s about it. That’s not bad but it’s been feeling like a defensive approach. She still protests but knows we aren’t budging. We were reacting and nothing has been changing for a while. I want to take action.

Eating out is nice. Eating sweets is nice. Having variety is a blessing. We’ve lost that view and I’m not sure we’ve ever cultivated that in Kaelyn. What a shock we are all in for.

Because I had an idea.

Simple food.

I’m used to hearing simple food in terms like “3 ingredient recipes” or “made in 10 minutes or less”. Have you heard of the capsule kitchen? It’s like a capsule wardrobe but with food ingredients. You make a list of 33 foods (the accessory foods like spices can be in addition to that list) and live with it for 3 months.

That wasn’t exactly my idea.

It all started with Little Britches by Ralph Moody. The times he wrote about food was for special occasions like Thanksgiving or for large gatherings like when he was working on a cattle ranch with cowboys. He talked about how he loved fudge but that was for special times. Or getting custard pie with his father (this only happened twice in the book).

Then it continued with Anne of Green Gables by L.L. Montgomery. She looks forward to ice cream because that’s not a normal food. Or tea time with Diana when Marilla allows Anne to use special items.

I guess now that I think about it, I read Matched by Ally Condie even before then where the food is delivered to you and you have to eat your own food and not anybody else’s. Cakes, pies, and ice creams are reserved for your last meal, your matching banquet, or another rare occasion.

There are many other examples, to be sure, but this is mine right now. The way we eat now is a fairly recent thing. The way we store and prepare food is new. We use it as entertainment. We eat when bored. We can buy any vegetable or fruit at any time of the year. We have so much abundance and variety and don’t even think about it. (Not to say that this is true for everyone. I know there are many people who have really tight budgets or specialized diets. But let’s let this stand as a grossly generalized statement.) After one too many times of dealing with “ridiculous” meal time antics (my child is mild and I’m so thankful for that!), I’m ready to take action.

Simple food. What does that even mean? This is what it’s going to mean for us. The same foods day in and day out. Ralph and Anne didn’t have much variety. It was commonplace and nothing thrilling. And rarely, treats and eating out. We haven’t picked out what our daily menu will be yet. If you have suggestions, I’m open to them! Our practice won’t look anything like the past. Let’s face it, we live in an apartment, don’t have a lot of storage space, and will be using the fridge and freezer. I want to do some research on what people actually ate daily before we went all “more is more!” in life.

Here are some benefits that I can see out of this:

  • Exciting foods can actually be exciting.
  • We aren’t stimulating our taste buds constantly so we probably won’t eat “just a little more” because, well, we had it yesterday and will have it again tomorrow.
  • Which leads to the health benefits of eating less, losing weight, getting fit, or fueling our bodies.
  • I’ll have less decision fatigue.
  • Shop in bulk. Shop less.

Actually, I’m really interested in seeing if those benefits will actually be seen. It seems a little hypothetical now as we haven’t actually started yet.

My dear husband pointed out that everything was still made fresh daily. This is, I think, a rather important point and one I am grateful he made. Leftovers can be the pits. Who wants to eat the same thing heated up over and over again for five days? But made fresh daily? Ah, there we can see perhaps a bit of variety (Mexican beef or Asian beef, for example) can be introduced. This also leads to knowing how to make something very very very well.

The largest struggle I can see us having is changing our minds. We’re so used to variety. We’re so used to last minute changes if it suits our mood. We’re so used to eating out or having desserts (not that we do either daily but it’s still a part of our lives). And this is going to challenge that mindset. We have to change what our brain wants. It is as we make those changes that we’ll be delighted over gelato and cinnamon rolls (hmmm, I’ve never had them together but now I want to). We’ll feel the anticipation of Chick Fil A or Café Rio (or a more expensive place). We’ll have more fun exploring new foods.

And hopefully it won’t take too long before Kaelyn stops saying “not this again…”

Let’s Go Fly a Kite

To boldly take a phrase from Mary Poppins, my dear husband one day said “let’s go fly a kite”. Kaelyn is delighted at this prospect. However, they had to be made first. Well, let’s not talk about how the kites were made because 1) I’ve no pictures, 2) Jared was in charge of it, and 3) they didn’t actually fly.

DSC_0021_01

“Why is she talking about flying a kite when it didn’t fly?”

Because sometimes learning is successful even when the project isn’t.

DSC_0026

As you can see, our kites were simple. Some dowel rods and plastic bags. We went to a nice open area at a nearby park.

DSC_0022_01

After Jared and I “demonstrated”, Kaelyn took a turn with her kite. The wind wasn’t quite strong enough and it kept changing directions so we knew it would be super lucky if we actually got a kite airborne. Showing Kaelyn that we were failing helped prepare her feelings on the subject.

DSC_0024

We have some perfectionist tendencies in this household and I know full well where Kaelyn gets hers from. That makes it a bit easier to understand how she feels and how to help her through it.

Many times in my childhood, I refused to take part in games until I had watched it several times and had a firm grasp on the inner workings of it. Even now when we sit down to play a board game, my sister-in-law always starts of with “give Suki the instructions” and “why did we give her the instructions?!” when I invariably find something that we’ve been playing incorrectly.

So when Kaelyn is struggling with something not working out, I understand. And I can coach her through it.

DSC_0027

The lessons I’m trying to teach aren’t “how to make a kite fly” or “copy this face paint picture”. It’s how to enjoy the journey even when the end result isn’t what you envisioned. It’s that you are not a failure when you don’t reach the ideal. It’s that sometimes, you just have to keep practicing.

This does not mean that we live with mediocrity forever and ever. There’s time for greatness later. When she’s more developmentally ready. Right now we are paving the way for greatness. Today we are preparing the soil and planting seeds. I have to plant a good seed and then nourish it carefully.

DSC_0029

 

One day she will bloom and blossom.

I’m in no rush. By spending time on strengthening her core values and principles, she is learning the most important things first. How to be a good person, how to love God and others, how to have charity, what is true and false, what is right and wrong, how to navigate between true and false and right and wrong. These are some of the things that are most important to us.

5.5 Book Snippets

I used to read a lot. Then I let adulting get in the way for a bit. Now… I read a lot.

A friend on Facebook posted “What’s on your summer reading list?” I gave her a slimmed down version of 11 books….

Read on for some snippets I love from my current reads. Oh! And if you click on the picture, it will take you to this website called Better World Books. I only found them recently and if you order from them, prepare a month in advance. :-) But their sales are great if you don’t have used books near you and for every book that you purchase, they donate a book to help world-wide literacy. Totally not affiliated with them in anyway but I wanted you to know about them just in case you didn’t.

Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery

 

It’s been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will. Of course, you must make it up firmly.

Using Anne’s technique of using imagination in every situation possible, I took some time to think of unpleasant situations that I could enjoy without being sadistic or any such nature. Much like Anne says a few pages earlier in the book…

I’m not in the depths of despair this morning. I never can be in the morning. Isn’t it a splendid thing that there are mornings? ….. It’s easier to be cheerful and bear up under affliction on a sunshiny day.

If we craft our environment right, we make such attitudes easier to take on. I don’t think it’s just physical environments either but within us as well. Everything is rather connected and so we ought to act with connectedness than disjointedness.


 

Little Britches by Ralph Moody

 

There are only tow kinds of men in this world: Honest men and dishonest men. There are black men and white men and yellow men and red men, but nothing counts except whether they’re honest men or dishonest men. …. Any man who says the world owes him a living is dishonest. The same God that made you and me made this earth. And He planned it so that it would yield every single thing that the people on it need. But He was careful to plan it so that it would only yield up its wealth in exchange for the labor of man. Any man who tries to share in that wealth without contributing the work of his brain or his hands is dishonest.

I hadn’t heard of Little Britches or anything else by Ralph Moody before a few months ago. I think it’s a fantastic read. This book and its seven sequels are the adventures that Ralph and his family had when they moved to a Colorado ranch when he was eight years old. I’ve heard that the whole series is great. Kaelyn asks me to read it every once in a while when she is playing nearby. I can’t wait to read it to her in its entirety in another year or two. (Not that she couldn’t listen to it now, but I especially want her to learn some of the lessons and not just the story around the age of 7.)


 

The Student Whisperer by Oliver DeMille & Tiffany Earl

 

 

FYI, this one is linked to a different place since BWB doesn’t have it listed for sale.

If we aren’t inspiring mentors, nothing else will work – no matter how closely we follow the guidelines of quality education, and no matter how hard we try. Inspiring is the critical element of great education and all successful learning.

We home educate over here. All of us. Jared, me, Kaelyn. This really ramped up recently as I made some personal choices, long-term commitments, and thought about my vision. We are all in different points in our journey. Clearly. I mean, Kaelyn is 5. I am not. My husband is easing in slowly (but surely!). I jumped in since it is my vision and all. We’re taking the viewpoint of inspiring a fantastic education. Inspiring to each other and to Kaelyn. It means hard work on my part before I see any “progress” by conventional measurements. It means having growing pains and learning curves. It means gaining a fantastic education myself.

It means that in addition to home updates and Kaelyn posts, I’ll be sharing my own education as well as more of the ins and outs of our lives as we’ve been seeing the connectedness of it all.

I’d love to see what you’ve been reading.

Paint Face

We’ve been knee deep in learning over here. Tons of fantastic changes in our lives going on and we’re loving it! This morning, Kaelyn discovered that I had found and put in our closet her face painting set. This was a Christmas present that she really loves so it took her all of half a second to find a mirror and cup for water. Actually it took us several seconds to find the mirror but she tried.

DSC_0017_01

Next time I buy any face paint, I’ll make sure they are crayons like my mom had while I was growing up. As you can see, the white is significantly not white and it upsets her greatly.

DSC_0021

After completing two designs on her own (the heart and arrow and the flower in the picture above), she begged to be an artist on me. This can always get interesting particularly if I allow my face to become a canvas. Today was not a face canvas day as we were going out in the afternoon.

DSC_0019_01

 

Here we have a parrot, two red dots, and a lady bug. “I’m going to add eyes on the lady bug so it can see!”

DSC_0020_01

Followed by this fantastic spider and her web. We got to have a talk that spiders all look different so it’s okay if the smile ran into the eyes or if you give it several eyes. The last time she did a spider was in January. I don’t think I have a picture of that one but I can tell her skill has improved since then!
DSC_0018_01My other arm became a canvas for long sweeping strokes with the sponge.

DSC_0022“Mom, can you be the artist and I be the canvas now?” Sure. And so the butterfly on her other arm happened. Then came the dragon with FIRE (for a campfire, of course, she was worried), a rainbow, a tulip, and swirls.

I haven’t been too into arts since moving. She loves painting but paint tends to get messy and I can’t handle that yet. We’ve worked with Djeco clay and doodle books a lot so she hasn’t been too sad about the lack of painting.

In other news, Jared and I have extended our daily routines into our evenings. This means…. you’ll be seeing me post more often than once a month. Oh yeah… big promises. 😉