Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Back to the Classics 2018 reading challenge

I came across a photo of a bookstack by an Instagram follower and was intrigued by her choices. It lead me to Karen's blog Books and Chocolate ...... (Books and chocolate who doesn't love that name?)

I quickly grabbed my 11 year old daughter who is a voracious reader and asked her to join with me as a Mother daughter thing. She was not thrilled about it being classics but when I enticed her with a date night out just the two of us discussing each book over coffee and baked goods, she was sold! Food is a huge motivator!

So I sent her to my room for my secret stash of chocolates and we sat down together red wine in hand (only my hand) past her bedtime on a school night and came up with this list.

In less than 4  hours :
  1. I found this challenge 
  2. Bribed my daughter with date nights, coffee and baked goods to do it with me
  3. Researched books and came up with our list
  4. Signed up for the challenge 
  5. And typed and posted my list on my blog.
1. 19th Century Classic - Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen This has been on my bookshelf for awhile but I have never read it.  Robin recalled my friend stating that her son was named after a character in the book. -  Robin's Choice

2. 20th Century -  The Jungle by  Upton Sinclair My choice it seemed interesting.

3. Woman Author - Black Beauty by Anna Sewell Robin's choice, one that has sat on her bookshelf since she started riding.

4. A Translation - The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint- Exupery Just last night Papabird and Canary were watching this on Netflix. This was Robins choice curious to read after her Dad wanted to watch it.

5. Children's Classic - 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea by Jules Verne I chose this, Robin and I both like the ocean and sea life so what the heck!

6. Classic Crime Story - The Crime at Black Dudley  by Margery Allingham (Robin does not want to read any crime with me) My choice

7. Travel or Journey - Kon-Tiki by Thor Heyerdhal This was a book I am requiring Robin to read for school this year so it just fits nicely.

8. Single Word - Heidi by Johanna Spyri Robin's choice, I have never read only seen the movie.

9. Color in the Title - The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel  Hawthorne Hoping this is okay for my 11 year old to read. I suggested this one she approved it after reading about it on Goodreads.

10. New Author - My Antonia by Willa Cather We both agreed on this and found it on a 20 classics to read list in a google search.

11. Classic that Scares Me - Dracula ( I may change this) I chose, not sure if we will keep this selection.

12. Old Favorite - A Little Princess Frances Hodgson Burrnett (the memories of my oldest reading this melts my heart. I will write about it during a review post later in the year) Robin chose this and it is the only book we have both read. Although I have only ever read the abridged version when my oldest was very young. and before I knew that abridged  versions suck in comparison!

I am very excited for this challenge, to read the books and to have this special time with my daughter.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Welcome 2018 you will be awesome

Another trip around the sun

I have 60 years left on this planet. I am going to live until I am a healthy 100 years old.

 In 2018:
I will turn 40
My oldest will turn 18
Papabird and I will be celebrating 20 years
My Dad will turn 69

This will be a year of milestones for sure.

2017 was a great year but it was a year of great change. There were many things thrown at me that were very unexpected most I did not handle very well.

I did not react well to most things, but I have the power to change that. I am a highly reactive person and usually strike back hard and fast  when hurt or angered without thinking. I have worked hard over the years to get this reaction in check but  I had some recent situations in my life that caused many hurt feelings.The second half of 2017  is when I really focused on what I needed to change.

"All bad habits start slowly and gradually and before you know you have the habit, the habit has you." Zin Zigler

I realize now that life is about perspective and the law of attraction.
The thoughts you have in your head become who you are. Raised by a police officer  I grew up in a house where the glass was half empty. There is always something bad out there, someone is always out to get you, expect the worst and be prepared for it......

Well living this way put me in a very negative place. I mean how can I be happy and positive if I think that something bad is always around the corner  and am too busy preparing to deal with situations that have not yet happened.

Sure bad shit is going to happen but I am trying hard and have making giant steps on focusing each day on the good in life, NOT the bad! The birds are chirping and the sun is shining- even when they are not!

4.Green juice

Are some things that I have been doing regularly in 2017 which I really believe have helped. When your body mind and soul are nourished and  feeling good, life will follow. I have lost 25 lbs. and am a much stronger me. Physically and mentally. I am excited for 2018 and am ready to take it on with a new mindset and motivation. I have some exciting projects that I am working on, this will be an amazing year!

Bring it on 2018

Monday, September 11, 2017

Harvest Moon Camping

I said many times and I will keep saying it: I love the moon and feel alive, invigorated and empowered every time there is a full moon. Maybe there is actually power in the full moon or maybe I just am excited about seeing something so beautiful, I may never know. What I do know is that I  will never stop looking at the moon in all it's magical beauty.
I did not actually take this photo of the moon but this is what it looked like on Sept. 6, 2017 as it was rising and peeking through the dark gray/blue storm clouds. As it rose it looked whiter, brighter and smaller.

Fun moon facts:
The full moon will always look bigger when it’s near the horizon, but it’s not actually bigger. It’s totally an optical illusion. You can test this by just holding an penny at arm’s length. The penny will exactly cover the moon when it’s by the horizon and it’ll do the same when you hold it up to the sky when the moon is higher up but appears smaller.
Also the moon and the sun will look redder when they're by the horizon. The reason for this is because we're seeing them through the maximum thickness of atmosphere, which absorbs blue light and transmits red.

I decided to take my 4 younger kids camping at Maumee Bay State park this year to celebrate the full harvest moon and our journey into the fall season.

Our campsite was gorgeous, a spectacular view a yellows, whites, and deep golden wildflowers along the large pond. I had been watching the weather and it looked like we might get a few hours of rain at check in time when we were supposed to set up our tents. So we left very early and arrived by 11pm to set up our tents before the rain.

Canary stole my phone and took a bunch of photos, most of them were of grass and and the tires on the van but this one was a great action photo of me setting up our tent.

The weather was great, we spent the day exploring and going on bike rides along the shore. I did not take many pictures but I was fully in the moment feeling the wind on my face and the sun on my skin. Owl came up with a great game that we played while riding, it was called "What to you see that is beautiful." We took turns looking around us as we cycled along naming one item at a time that we thought was beautiful. Such a great game!

We went back to our campsite to cook dinner and to make moon water which we infused with small shards of black tourmaline. We also made some glow in the dark bracelets with glow in the dark beads.

Some of our tiny moon water charms hanging in a tree waiting for the moon.

Getting ready to head to the beach for our lantern walk after reading a page in the book Full Moon Lore we love this book so much, we brought our library copy but I need to add this to my amazon shopping list ASAP.
Everyone loved the cute little mice nibbling on corn!

We watched the moon rise, wrote messages in the sand, listened to the soft lake waves, and walked with our lanterns while listening to some beautiful lantern songs found on youtube.

It was such a calm peaceful walk.

Back at camp with our lanterns glowing into the night.

Gorgeous moon photo I caught on one of our many walks to the bathroom.
Around 11:30 Robin and I sat out by the fire after everyone else was asleep just chatting about books and life. It was a nice moment, I think we should go camping together one night just the 2 of us!

Just as the moon moved out of a 100% full one of my children woke up vomiting, which brought our camp out to an abrupt end. I built a fresh fire for the children to sit around and by the light of the moon and our warm fire we torn down out tents and packed up the van with the help of Papabird who rode out on that beautiful  September night. 

We had many activities planned for the next day but I assured the children that we would stop back next week and spend the day there.

Despite the fact our camp out ended in a vomit covered mess I would do it all over again because up until that point we had a blast. 

We picked up these great books from the lodge gift shop that I cannot wait to use for our studies.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Don't clean - go play!

I was sweeping the kitchen floor after dinner and feeling overwhelmed by the mess in the house with  Papabird working late. That is when my 2 boys raced outside to  kick a ball around.

This struck me as odd because usually after dinner they get a bit of electronic time. They did
 not even ask, they just wanted to play outside. This was even after playing outside for 2.5 after school.

They are always asking me to play with them but my response is usually "I do not have time" all I could hear in my head as they were playing was:

(A fellow mom made this card for me, it was taped to the inside of my planner for awhile)

So I left my pile of crumbs on the floor set the broom down and went right outside.

They were so excited that I was going to play them...

Yes, Duck decided to take of his boots and play in socks, Sigh! I need to buy stain remover in bulk!!!

We had so much fun.

We laughed

We ran

We even fell down, all of us! My ankle still hurts to walk on today. As an extra bonus I got in 30 extra minutes of exercise according to my fitbit I burned 180 calories. Good things because my ankle is so sore today my workout is going to be quite light!

I look at my now 16 year old and am reminded everyday how quickly time passes. I really do love a clean house but before I know it my house will be clean and empty with grown kids who have moved out.

I know all too soon I will long for the days that my kids were little and the house was messy.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

No time = not a priority.

While I was eating lunch at my desk this week I pulled up a random TED talks video to watch while I ate my delicious pico de gallo. The video was was about Time management by Laura Vanderkam.

There are so many valid points in her video  the word "Too busy" does not necessarily mean "Too busy" what it really means that those said items are just not a priority.

No time means not a priority.

Every minute I spend in life is  my choice

There are 168 hours in a week how we choose to spend them is up to us, EVERYTHING we do is a choice. Should I scrub my toilet or should I read a book? = choice!

If you asked me last year why I was not reading for pleasure I would have responded  with "I have no time" I was just too busy. I decided when 2017 started that I would read 1 book each month for the next 12 months. I was surprised that once I made that a priority I was able to read not only just one book but TWO!!

How did I do that? Well, I took my book with me everywhere I went and I found 5-10 minutes here and there that I could open up my book and read instead of pulling out my phone and playing with that.I also started reading in bed for 10-40 minutes each night (some nights I read more because the book was really good) I found that doing this has helped me sleep better as well. I remember reading a few articles years ago about how blue light affects our sleep click here for an article about blue lights from your phone.

Laura Vanderkam suggests writing a  year end review of what you would like people to read about the successes of your year. This sounds like a great way of setting up your goals for the year.

What I found really important was that she suggests each week  ( Friday afternoon) writing out a priority list and putting it in your calendar making sure you make time for what you really feel is important.

I have a lot of things in the works  right now with my kids being in school, this video just dropped  many items off my list. Some things are just not a priority at this time  for me.

Simplify and re evaluate 

Interested in hearing more about Laura click here to be directed to her website.

Maybe one of her books will be on my reading list in the coming months.....

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year 2017

Every year I am alive is a good year. I have 61 years left on this earth I will live a healthy 100 years!!

I am having a hard time reflecting back on this year not because it was sad. It was good, great even. 2017 brought on lots of joy, change, success, and failures. The truth is I am very much looking forward to a fresh new year.

2016 was amazing and 2017 will be even  better.

In 2017 I will turn 39
My oldest will turn 17
My youngest will turn 3
I will be celebrating 19 years with Papabird
And my Dad will turn 68

Time flies so fast, every second matters.

My Resolution this year is to make life magical: there is wonder and joy all around us we just need to be open to all the amazing wonders of the world.

"Being Spiritual means:
Whispering to the trees,
Laughing with the flowers,
falling in love with sunsets,
consulting with the waters,
and worshipping the stars at night.
One  hand to her heart 
and one hand touching mother earth....."

Monday, December 26, 2016

The River of Change

"When the  river of change flows  into  your life  it  can  be very  frightening,  It  can bring  up all our resistance and fear of the unknown."

Change is important, stagnant water is not healthy


I started my homeschool journey 12 years ago. I never intended to homeschool. I never even knew a single person who homeschooled but that is just where my journey led me. There were many set backs and the journey was hard but by the time I was 3 years in I new my goal would be to get my first born in college by 14.

At age 14 my son who never knew another teacher besides me started full time at the University near our city.21,000  students wandering the campus and my 14 year old was one of them, it was a terrifying and proud moment.

My son is thriving, he is 16 now, sophomore in college with a 3.8 GPA and working part time.


2 years ago we won  an outdated 1970's house on 15 acres  during a house  auction. It  all happened so fast we were not ready to move nor did we think it would be sold for under 300k. 30 days from the moment we raised our  auction card number that won our house and we were scrambling to make it livable enough to move in and get our other house ready to rent. We would not be able to float two  mortgages for too long.Neither house was ready to move in or out.

We have been on an incredible journey for 2 years trying to juggle work on the house, work on the land, the out buildings, the farm animals, homeschooling, maintaining the office building we own and running a company. Setbacks came and went and everything takes 3x longer than we expected 

I have too many things to juggle and I realize  that I am  only giving a small percent of my time to each one  just scratching the surface ...........not getting anywhere..... treading water in rough seas.


I found a school that is project based and most like homeschooling than any other school I have seen, I spent the day there observing while my kids participated.. I realized that day  that my half ass version of homeschooling was about what this school does. No one is getting to college early that way. So I decided that if I enrolled them they would at least be getting the amount of education that I have been giving them for the last 2 years while freeing up more time for me to get things done at the house/farm. I can catch them up and get them ready for college later if that is the journey we decide on.

They are enrolled and start Jan.4. these were very hard papers to sign, again I felt like I was signing FAILURE on the documents.I failed them.

Papabird has been  trying to convince me to use a weekly house cleaning service: I have been resistant. So for Christmas he bought me a year of weekly service forcing me to use it. This was a hard gift to accept because it felt like I was receiving the gift of FAILURE.



Moving on....
Sailing down my river. Maybe this school will be temporary, maybe it will be permanent. When I started homeschooling I only planned too do it for one year I did it for 12!

I am a strong believer in the journey and that people, things and situations come into your life for a reason. For now I am asking my children and myself to give it a try for the rest of the year. then in June we will re evaluate and see where to go from there.