First Day on the Road

What a great day, it was cold and long, but so good!  We left home around 7:00 and fueled up and went to say goodbye to my mom.  We were on our way out of town at about 7:30.  We stopped for lunch around 1:00 and a cold rest stop.  I  was glad that I had premade sandwiches so we didn’t have to stop in the cold for too long.  We listened to lots of Secret Garden and the kids played on their ipods and other devices, which we actually allowed them to do.  That is unusual for us, but it worked out great because they enjoyed the priveledge.

Then at about 4:00 near Ashland, I had an amazing idea!  Normally we stay at a hotel this first night, just because of the cold and so the kids can swim and we can get some excersize.  As Isaac says, to shake a leg. But we knew we were not going to do that his year as we are on a tighter budget.  But, we called the Yreka YMCA to see if we can use their facilities and park in their lot overnight.  They said as long as we have a member card we can come for free!  So, we got to play basketball, run on the tredmill, take showers and everything!  The kids played pool and fooseball while I came out and made dinner. Voila!  A great evening.  For food, we had some Trader Joe’s chicken fried rice and pot stickers.  They were great an super easy.  I chopped some green onions and cilantro to put on top.   Yummy.

Now Isaac is reading aloud Harry Potter to the kids and I am about to cuddle Maya.

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Third and Fourth Days on Road (Sat & Sun)



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We stopped in at Isaac’s sister’s house in LA area on Sat morning.  We got there at around 10-ish.  We took a hwy that allowed us to totally skip LA, even though it was Saturday morning, so no rush hour traffic, we got to skip the hooplah of the city.  Megan has a beautiful house and a new baby that we had never met.  Baby Matty is just so, so cute.  I got to hold him and love on him tons.  The kids got to play with the cousins and run all over the neighborhood.  The weather was absolutely beautiful.  I can almost see why people live in such over-crowded, suburban sprawl; it just might be worth it for the amazing weather and ability to grow food year-round!  The kids went to a Christmas party at their cousin’s church and Isaac and I stayed home and took care of that sweet baby.  Megan had baked us a TURKEY!  So we cut that all up and put in plastic bags for our trip.  It has really come in handy!

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Fleece skirts

I’m so excited!  I have been wearing these fleece skirts that I make for a long time now.  They are just the best camping skirt you could ever ask for.  And the best house skirt and festival skirt.  So cozy and warm and durable!  Well, I decided to make some to sell on our trip for ‘fun’ money.  I made up 8 of them and they turned out great.  I posted them on facebook and have sold almost all of them!  Woot-woot!  Now I want to stay up all night to make more to sell to the ladies on the beaches.  We are leaving day after tomorrow so I have TONS to do.  6-8 weeks on the road, 5 people in a small camper, food, clothes etc…  equals loads to do!

Here are some pictures of the skirts.  I think I will start selling them for for real when I get home.

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Getting Ready To Go!

Kyler helping to get loaded up.

Kyler helping to get loaded up.

Isaac's hillbilly style trailer.  This holds all our mountain bikes, our kayaks, kiteboards, cooler, motor bike, camp set up, bbq etc. Do you love the canopy on top?

Isaac’s hillbilly style trailer. This holds all our mountain bikes, our kayaks, kiteboards, cooler, motor bike, camp set up, bbq etc. Do you love the canopy on top?

I covered our old camper cushions, these are way cuter!

I covered our old camper cushions, these are way cuter!

This is the part of the trailer that faces the door to the camper.  Isaac just built the table and it works awesome!

This is the part of the trailer that faces the door to the camper. Isaac just built the table and it works awesome!

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Master Cleanse Day 4

Today was awesome, I felt great all day and just had my cleanse drink!  I’m still drinking lots of green tea, which I don’t think is officially part of the diet.  Also, I have been taking the senna tea that is a laxative, called Smooth Move.  I like the feeling of all that stuff eliminating from my body!  I must be cleansing because I haven’t been eating, but am still ‘going.’  TMI?

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Day 2 Master Cleanse

UHG!!!!!!! I totally sucked today.  I did fine this morning, had a pint of the drink and made 1 qt to take to town on all my errands today.  I dropped the kids off at their classes and did some shopping.  I ate 4 Franco Mints.  Then I went to Costco and saw all that food and just wished I hadn’t started to the fast.  I came home and unloaded all the granola bars into the camper and totally snuck one!  It was a Lara Bar.  Then I got a horrible headache, so I HAD to take some Ibuprofen, but I didn’t want to take it on an empty stomach, so I had a banana and a graham cracker, with just a little bit of Nutella.  Now I have to go make dinner, I will start with one of my drinks and I am not officially back on the wagon.  I don’t think I will quit just because I messed up so bad.  Not sure what happened, the last time I did this I did not do that!

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Master Cleanse Day 3

Today was pretty good as far as the Cleanse goes.  I stayed home today and went on a long walk with my friend.  I was running late so I had to run part of the way and still felt pretty energetic about myself!  At dinner I had a few pieces of fruit because my body felt like it really, really needed the calories.  I stayed up late and didn’t snack or anything!

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Memory Lane

cari in the garden maya in the flowers isaac on mt washington maya Isaac Guilmont our family at guilmont our family boating cari kyler kaleb in treehouse maya kissing zeke maya zeke maya and fairy house

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My Boys Were So Cute!

cute kyler kaleb guilmont Kyler on easter kaleb riding logSome more ‘lost & ruined’ salvaged pictures from my old laptop.

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Master Cleanse Day 1

Today I started doing the Master Cleanse.  This is a cleanse that has been around for a long time, 50 years maybe?  Basically, it is an extreme detox where only a special lemon drink is consumed.  I make a drink with 3 TBL FRESH lemon juice, 3 TBL Grade B Maple Syrup, cayenne pepper and one pint water.  I don’t have to use filtered water because we have an amazing 400 ft well, but if you live in town, definitely filter your water!  I’ve been adding chia seeds and spirulina to my drinks in the morning and lunch.

Today was my first day.  I already eat really, really clean foods so I did not do the 3 day raw food fast first as many people do.  In fact, I have done that in the past.  This time I gorged on turkey and pie for a few days first.  Probably not ideal, but I just want to get on with it.  Know what I mean?  I had 2 cups of green tea this morning, plus 4 of the drinks.  I went for a 3.5 mile walk and made pizza for the family.  It was hard, the pizza part.  The walk was nice.  I didn’t feel too hungry today, I’m pretty hungry right now, though.  I didn’t have any headaches or coffee withdrawls, so I think I will just have 1 cup of tea tomorrow.  I’m not doing the laxative tea tonight because I have to go to town tomorrow morning and don’t want to worry about  . . . eliminating too much in public bathrooms!

I have done this cleanse 2 other times and felt great afterwards.  My body is really holding on to weight and I’m struggling with acne, so it’s telling me to CLEANSE ME, PLEASE!  I weighed 137 this morning, which is 7 pounds heavier than my ‘normal’ – which is somewhere between 129-134.  I really like this site for master cleanse info.

here are a couple important things to remember when preparing the lemonade.

For one, the lemon juice used must be fresh squeezed. This cannot be emphasized enough. It is necessary to use fresh produce. Canned juice won’t work and will erase most of the benefits of using the master cleanser diet.

Also, the maple syrup must be grade B maple syrup, not the sugar filled syrup that is used at the breakfast table.

The cayenne pepper might seem unnecessary, but it is actually very important. Not only does it help to add a bit of a kick, but the pepper helps to break up mucus and increases healthy blood flow. It also is a good source of B and C vitamins, commonly referred to as Super Vitamins due to their many benefits for the body.

Mixing teas with the recipe is one way to help modify things, just make sure It’s decaffeinated tea because caffeine can restrict blood vessels and we want to keep your body passages as open as possible.

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Meeting New Friends

One of things we love about traveling is meeting new friends.  We now keep a book in our camper.  We’ve had dozens of people sign our book, leave us words of wisdom and record our experiences together.  It’s a great ‘journal’ of our adventures.  I highly recommend keeping one for yourself!  Here are some great tidbits from our journal:

Lots of love and safe (but not too safe) travels!

Oh mia Maya Jambalaya, Jamaica Me Crazy With Your Loving Eyes and Sweet Sile as Fresh as a Daisy.

Aloha! Thank you for taking the path you have chosen for your lives, when parents make wonderful children, the world rejoices.  Aloha!

Enjoy the journey!


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Traveling With Kids

So, we are getting ready for a big road trip.  We just love these mega trips down the Baja Peninsula.  It’s always a challenge for me to keep things simple.  I always want to bring way,way too much stuff.  Curriculum.  Last year I brought a huge box thinking that we would do some book work most mornings.  What a waste of space.  There was lots of  learning, but none of it was from some store bought curriculum, it was learning Mexican culture, spending EIGHT WEEKS on a the road, camping every night, learning the language, being in nature, in the desert, in the middle of an oasis, climbing rocks, hiking arroyos, meeting lots of new people, old and young, making new friends and seeing old friends.  We listen to books on the IPOD and read a lot.  We are the weird family that doesn’t even bring along a car DVD player to watch movies for the VERY LONG DRIVE!  5 days to get somewhere warm & fun!

So, is this unschooling adventure putting a gap in the kids’ education?  I think not.  I believe it is enhancing their knowledge of nature and human kind.  I believe that their sense of the world is broadening and I believe that we are recharged as a family.  5 people in our pickup truck and in our 8ft camper is a lot of people.  We HAVE to communicate well and get along.  There’s not much choice, so we do and we are a stronger family-unit because of it!

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Why We Homeschool

When we first decided to homeschool, our oldest was just finishing up 2nd grade.  He was in a cute, country school and had a great teacher.  We were enjoying the experience, for the most part. Kyler was making good friends and doing well in class, KK was a the local pre-school and Maya was a baby.  It was soooo nice to have Ky & KK gone in the mornings and leave just Maya and me to a nice, quiet morning.  My house always got cleaned.  Every day.  I was pretty patient and consistent with the kids and our family rhythm was still very strong.  The problems started occurring because we would take Ky out of school so often.  Boating, extended camping trips, spontaneous hiking or climbing trips on a surprisingly hot day.  Not to mention winter months in Mexico.  It got to be . . . awkward to go in an sign him out for yet another day.  Then they closed his school.  That solidified it for us.  It felt so natural right from the beginning.  It was a great fit and Ky was a great student.  Kaleb was just starting Kindergarten and Maya was a nursing baby that first year.  I decided to sign up with another school district at an 80% enrollment.  I still had to meet the homeschool requirements for our state.  But the 80% in this virtual public school gave me an entire curriculum,  So, I had this amazing, well organized, very boxed and very expensive curriculum for my 3rd and Kinder graders.  We really liked it, for the most part.  It was kind of stressful to actually get all of the lessons done each week, but the lessons were super interesting and the kids liked them.  The phonics course was great and really taught KK how to sound out words.  That first year really taught me a lot.  I learned how much we COULD get done in a week, I learned a lot about structuring a homeschool day and I really got acclimated to homeschooling in a ‘school at home’ way.  Although we don’t live that way anymore, I do value what we learned to do, and what not to do, in a way that helped to boost my confidence and allow our own families natural rhythms and interests and values to help construct our ever-changing curriculum choices!

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For more than 5…

For more than 50 years now, we in the United States have been gradually reducing children’s opportunities to play, and the same is true in many other countries. In his book Children at Play: An American History (2007), Howard Chudacoff refers to the first half of the 20th century as the ‘golden age’ of children’s free play. By about 1900, the need for child labour had declined, so children had a good deal of free time. But then, beginning around 1960 or a little before, adults began chipping away at that freedom by increasing the time that children had to spend at schoolwork and, even more significantly, by reducing children’s freedom to play on their own, even when they were out of school and not doing homework. Adult-directed sports for children began to replace ‘pickup’ games; adult-directed classes out of school began to replace hobbies; and parents’ fears led them, ever more, to forbid children from going out to play with other kids, away from home, unsupervised. There are lots of reasons for these changes but the effect, over the decades, has been a continuous and ultimately dramatic decline in children’s opportunities to play and explore in their own chosen ways.
~ Peter Gray “The Play Deficit”

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Camper Checklist-First Aid Kit

  • Imodium
  • Antifungal
  • Antihistamines
  • Antacids
  • Triple Antibiotic Ointment
  • Bandages & Bandaids of different sizes
  • Gauze
  • Burn dressing
  • Hydrocortizone Cream
  • Laxatives
  • Needles & Syringe
  • Rehydration salts
  • Safety pins & tape
  • Scissors & Tweezers
  • Tylenol, Excedrin, Ibuprofin
  • Cold Medicine
  • Thermometer
  • Water Purification Tablets
  • Cold Pack
  • Ear & Eye Drops
  • Ear plugs
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Tea Tree Oil
  • Q Tips
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Our View This Morning!

thanksgiving 2013 093I just love to wake up and watch the sunrise shining on the mountains.  What’s not to love?  We’ve had some great, clear days, which make for amazing sunrises!  We don’t actually see the sunrise because we have zero Eastern exposure, but the mountains to our west light up a bright pink in the winter!

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Sweet Sadness

river rafiting with gavinA blurry picture can mean so much.  This picture is of day that I will always the cherish the memories of.  It’s me, my two boys and my nephew Gavin.  This is the summer before he died.  I can’t believe it has been 7 years since this picture was taken.  We thought we’d have these family reunions for forever.

All of my pictures were lost on my old lap top and I was able to find this one and kind of restore it.  There were lots more of the trip, but this was the only salvageable one.

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Handmade Log Round Candle Holders

“Quick, Kyler!  I need some candle holders!  Can you go make me something to put the candles in!”  I hollered to my oldest son about 3 hours before Thanksgiving dinner.  This is what he came up with.  I was so happy with them and they were beautiful on my Thanksgiving table.

Thanks, Sweetie, for making these for me!

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Homeschooling Teenage Boys!

I think all boys should have the benefit of a homeschooled life!  It just seems so unnatural for boys (girls, too, but this post is about teenage boys because that’s what I have!) of all ages to be cooped up in a classroom all.  day.  long.  How hard it must be for them to sit still and listen and stand in line and do what everyone else is doing at the same time as all the other kids, basically to the same standard as the other kids.  What about self-expression.  What about play?  What about TESTOSTERONE!  When my boys’ energy level goes up I have 2 choices: 1. force them to sit still and quietly do their work.  or 2.  Tell them to go outside and play, run or do some chores.  THEN they can get back to doing school.

Play and free time are so important to kids and teens alike.  It is an area that is often overlooked in homeschool families and almost ALWAYS overlooked in public schools.  It’s even being written about by scientists and talked about at TED Talks.  It’s important.  Play time and free time for children is diminishing, too.  When would the kids have time to play?  They are at school all day and then in activities in the evenings and weekends, not to mention homework.  Yes, kids need to know their math facts, but they need to play more!

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A Beautiful Thanksgiving!

My house was full yesterday.  24 people filled the rooms.  We have a big family and it was so awesome to host Thanksgiving this year.  I had aunties and uncles, cousins, my parents, brother and family friends here.  My son was super excited because one of the original Nirvana Band members was one of them!  He got to visit with him and thank him for a signed Bleach album.  KK was stoked!

Here are a few pictures of the table.  My mom had some folding tables and rented chairs, so we were able to fit everyone in.

I feel really good about doing this dinner on a budget.  I made the turkey, mashed potatoes from taters from our garden, a delicious beet salad from garden beets and provided a bit of wine and a few cocktail choices.  Everyone brought something and we had WAY more than enough food!  My sweet cousin stayed the night with us and we all just enjoyed eachother’s company!  We missed our sweet Gavin and aunt Steph.  My mom said a prayer and included a blessing for all those that aren’t here with us and we said Gavin’s prayer.

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My brother, dad & cousin up above.  Don’t you see the family resemblance?  Sweet baby Max below.thanksgiving 2013 139

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Awesome Article

Awesome Article

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Ch Ch Ch Ch CHIA!!!

The miracle drink!  Isaac has been doing this for a really long time but I have been pretty late in the game to get it on it.  Actually, over the last few years I’ve had it as part of my routine here and there.  But now I’m hooked.  It’s a chia power drink.  A couple TBL of Agave & lemon juice, 1 TBL  of Chia seeds and 1 tsp of Spirulina. I actually added the spirulina as my own invention-I love green drinks 🙂  So, you let this set until the chia is all soaked up and Voila! A power drink!!!  Sometimes I will have a cup or two of green tea right after lunch, then a bit after drink this drink.  I like to nap between lunch and the drink.  But then I wake up and drink it and go running 20 minutes later.  It’s not a caffeine-like- buzz at all, just a constant stream of ability to keep going.  Try it and see what you think.  We learned it in the book, Born To Run.  A great running motivation book!

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My sister, Linae @ are getting set to train for our first half marathon! We are going to meet next Oct in a town somewhere between the two of us so that we can run together! I’m really excited that we are doing this and will be motivating each other along the way ~ we both need it. Bad.
Today I ran/jogged/walked my normal 3.75 miles. Normally I jog ]/run the first 1.25, then I walk for about 3/4, then jog for about 3/4 and walk the last 3/4. My goal is to be able to do the whole thing at a nice, quick jog before we leave next month. Today I did better than my normal and jogged about 2.5 miles and walked 1.25. So, I’m building stamina!

For the record, I did that in 43.6 minutes.  I’m going to be keeping track.

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Hunters Moon Afternoon Hike

We did Science on the go the other day!  We spent a beautiful NW afternoon and evening hiking through the woods, making dinner on the fire, eating food we brought plus some chantrelles we picked along the way.  This is a hike we do often in the short days of winter because we get some Southern Sun shining in on us over the little pond.  The water reflect the sunshine, so it feels even warmer!  We love, love, love to take the afternoon off and go on a Good Life Hike!

Old bridge through forest.  Simplicity Parenting!

Old bridge through forest. Simplicity Parenting!


He calls it his Solar Panels when he takes his shirt off and stands in the sun.  He thinks it will give him energy!

He calls it his Solar Panels when he takes his shirt off and stands in the sun. He thinks it will give him energy!

I love my shadow here!  Long and lean!  I wish!!!!!

I love my shadow here! Long and lean! I wish!!!!!

night walk cari 2

Simple living at it's best! The art of doing NOTHING!

Simple living at it’s best! The art of doing NOTHING!

Soaking up the fall sun.  This was the night of the Hunters Full Moon!

Soaking up the fall sun. This was the night of the Hunters Full Moon!



How to cook dinner around the fire.   Foil dinners, kabobs on a stick and smores!

How to cook dinner around the fire. Foil dinners, kabobs on a stick and smores!

Mushrooms on our science hike.  We identified lots of mushrooms.

Mushrooms on our science hike. We identified lots of mushrooms.

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Do people REALLY still ask about socialization?

When they do, here is my response:

First, socialization starts in the family setting.  Aren’t we trying to raise young men and women who work well as a FAMILY.  Second, true socialization continues in the community.  True social growth happens when a person is in a variety of settings with a people of varied age and gender.  In general, homeschoolers are out and about during the day, meeting people, going to classes with adults and other children, etc.  Social growth is inhibited by age segregation and ability labeling.  NEVER again will one be in a group of people who are of the same age, doing the same thing at the same time and to the same standard; in the ‘real world’ we need to know how to get along with those older than us and those who are younger.

I feel so strongly that the FIRST priority is to learn how to work well together, socialize, as a family.

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Homeschooling High School

HomeschooLHSHS Blog Hop - 250x250ling through High School has it’s own, new challenges and can seem a bit daunting.  For our guide, we are using this 4 year plan that I got from the Washington Homeschool Organization website.  It’s incredibly useful for making a plan for your high school curriculum.  I think it’s best to make a basic 4 year plan BEFORE you start the Freshman Homeschooling year, that way you know what road to be on.  But, if your child takes on other interests or an opportunity comes along that would be great for them, then by all means, make changes as necessary!  Here is the four year plan: THS4YearPlan You will notice that there are three options:  the no college option, the state university option and the Ivy League option.  I don’t see why we wouldn’t plan for the Ivy League . . . just in case!  I wouldn’t want them to miss out on any opportunities that come their way!

A little research shows me that the 5 elective credits can be any of the following (plus many, many more)

  • floral design
  • drafting
  • construction design
  • journalism
  • digital design
  • fashion design
  • sewing
  • interior design
  • commercial art
  • painting, drawing, sketching,
  • animation
  • printing & graphics
  • photography
  • TV production/digital audio
  • early childhood education
  • any kind of technology study: aerospace, computer programming etc.
  • culinary studies
  • hospitality & tourism
  • marketing
  • cosmetology
  • web design/gaming industries
  • jewelry making
  • sports studies

So, as you can see, it’s easy to come up with 5 credits in 4 years of high school.  I found this information on the HSLDA website, which is a GREAT tool for homeschooling families!

For courses that do not use a standard high school-level textbook (perhaps you are putting together your own unit study, or you are using an integrated curriculum), log the hours that your child spends completing the course work. One credit is approximately 120-180 hours of work. The upper end of this range (180 hours) is usually appropriate for lab science courses, while 150 hours is the average for a year long academic course such as English or History. Don’t become legalistic in keeping track of each minute, but generally, when evaluating credit for an academic course, a good rule of thumb is 50 minutes a day, 5 days a week for 36 weeks, for a one-credit course.

Logging hours is a good method of determining credit for elective courses such as art, music, sewing, carpentry, web page design, etc. The lower end of the range (120 hours) is fine for elective courses. For a half-credit elective, log approximately 60 hours; for a quarter-credit elective, log approximately 30 hours.

Here is our basic 4 year plan:

3-4 Credits English ~ 2013-2014 Honors English @ co-op, 2014-2105  Literature & Composition 10 from Oak Meadow, 2015-2017 – American & World Literature series.

3-4 Credits Science ~ 2013-2014 Physical Science, Environmental science,  Chemistry w/lab,  Anatomy & Physiology

4 History ~ World History, American History, WA state history,  Early American Studies

World Language ~ 2 two month long Mexico road trips during high school plus 3 years Rosetta Stone

3-4 Credits of Math ~ Teaching Textbooks will be done all 4 years of high school.  Hopefully he will get through

2 Credits Visual or performing arts ~ Guitar

2 Credits Health & Fitness ~ Running, Rock Climbing, Kiteboarding, Mountain Biking

Occupational Education ~ Attend 15 home inspections with his dad

5 Credits Electives ~ Primitive Skills, Mountaineering, Mexico Trips, Gardening, Sustainability Studies, Animal Husbandry, Mechanics Shop and/or Wood Shop

So, as you can see, this will add up to more than the minimum requirement of 20 credits.  All of the electives will be done by journaling and keeping track of all the projects we do throughout the year.  We will use Oak Meadow for some of the 10-12 grade classes, specifically History as I think they will have a good grasp on ‘Real History’!  I’m really looking forward to putting together Ky’s High School Portfolio.  It’s something both he & <!– start LinkyTools script –><p><b>Powered by Linky Tools</b></p><p><a href=””>Click here</a> to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…</p><!– end LinkyTools script –>I can be proud of !

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Night time ramblings

I can’t believe it’s almost midnight and I am still awake, this rarely happens! I went to an awesome talk on homeschooling with our local homeschool support group.  It was so inspiring!

Did you know that we eat, as a family, together, 3 meals a day together.  Yes, breakfast, lunch AND dinner are all together at the same time.  Thats 15 plates of food EACH day that I provide.  This is a big job.  That’s 105 plates of food per week!  Actually, IZ makes his own breakfast most of the time and sometimes the kids do, too.  But I oversee it all.  It’s a big job.  But….it provides a strong family rhythm and it’s 3 times a day where we can connect as a family.  Most of the time we are laughing and enjoying ourselves, once in a while the kids are obnoxious and annoying and now and again there is a bit marital tension for whatever reason.  But all in all I am PROUD that I have been able to pull off this not-so-little job of household food provider!

That being said, Kyler is getting to be a really good cook.  For those days when I just don’t have it in me to do it all by myself, he always helps a lot.  The other kids do, too, but, really, Ky is a damn good cook!  He made wild mushroom soup with a roux and everything the other day.  With no recipe.  It was deeeelish.  He wished I had bacon, though, but didn’t, so his version was vegetarian.

We won’t be eating as much vegetarian food for the next while.  IZ got himself some right nice road kill!  That’s right, a freshly hit deer on the way home from town!  We just processed it all up and have lots of organic ground venison now!  Here is a picture of the boys’ hide from last years deer (not road-kill style).  It was at my moms in her freezer for the past year, but they just finished the raw hide.  They did a great job, though it was a big job!  (yes, I realize this information about raw hide and road kill makes me sound like I am straight from the woods, but I guess we really are!)  This counts as Primitive Skills and Early American studies!DSCN4591

raw hide

raw hide

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Simple Isn’t Always Easy!

Keeping things simple in an otherwise complicated world can be difficult.  Especially when it comes to parenting.  It’s so easy to overbook activities for our kids.  They always want to be on the go and to be visiting friends and jumping from one activity to the next.  But, it’s been our experience that the MORE we are together, playing, working or just ‘being’ the better our whole family gets along.  The more we do, the more chaos creeps into our house!  Especially with kids, they pretty much get along most of the time, better than most brothers, I think.  The exception . . . when we find ourselves too busy.

I love, love, love Simplicity Parenting.  I’ve just recently found this book and it really solidified my ideas about home life being better when it’s simpler.  Anyway, this is just a ramble, more for my own good than for yours.  It seems that my personality wants to be busy more than Isaac’s, so we struggle within our relationship a little bit with how much the kids should be allowed to do.

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A Great Week!

We had  really fun week. . . homeschool was very productive.  We are still really liking Oak Meadow for 6th and 1st grades.  It seems, especially with the 1st grade, the ‘schooling’ just fits right in with family life.  Maya is really grasping numbers and is skip counting by 2’s & 5’s to 100 and is working on her 3’s.  I feel like she’s just really not numerically challenged, as I most certainly am.

I made some good meals, lots of vegan this week.  I am working on a post about the many amazing meals that can be made with beans and rice.  You can pretty much hit on the flavors of all the corners of the world with beans, rice & vegis.  So, I am going to show you how to do an Indian style, Japanese, Korean, Indonesian, Latin, Spanish and Italian dishes.  It will be fun to put together!  So, look for that in the next few weeks.

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cari halloween isaac aaroon halloween isaac halloween cari carrie barb halloween kaleb looks like bryson

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Television by Roald Dahl



The most important thing we’ve learned, So far as children are concerned,
Is never, NEVER, NEVER let
Them near your television set —


Or better still, just don’t install
The idiotic thing at all.
In almost every house we’ve been,
We’ve watched them gaping at the screen.
They loll and slop and lounge about,
And stare until their eyes pop out.
(Last week in someone’s place we saw
A dozen eyeballs on the floor.)
They sit and stare and stare and sit
Until they’re hypnotised by it,
Until they’re absolutely drunk
With all that shocking ghastly junk.
Oh yes, we know it keeps them still,
They don’t climb out the window sill,
They never fight or kick or punch,
They leave you free to cook the lunch
And wash the dishes in the sink —
But did you ever stop to think,
To wonder just exactly what
This does to your beloved tot?


-Roald Dahl
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Integrating Mind-Body-Heart in the homeschool

We really are not trying to ‘duplicate school at home’.  In fact, our home learning looks very different than that of a public or private classroom.  First of all, we are really trying to serve the body, mind and heart of each of our children throughout the day.  What does this mean?  This is something I learned from our ENKI curriculum.  Well, 4 hours of brain-work (in the mind) in the morning would be ignoring their heart & body.  So, we will include a walk, some stretches, some twirling and jumping during our formal learning time.  When we take time to stop and do this after the contraction of book work, shake the wiggle out, I find the kids can sit back down and do their reading, writing & math much better.  What about their hearts?  If we are in a time of conflict, which happens at times, does it serve their hearts for me to be upset with them and still try to teach.  Or is it better to have a visit, a break or a hug?  Then we can resolve our problems and learn in times of non-conflict.  I have very different learners.  I have  a high schooler, a middle schooler and a first grader!  I have to try so hard to be in tune with their very different needs throughout the day.  Do I mess up now and again and yell at them that they ‘must sit and be quiet and do their work!!!!”  Yes, but when I take the time to FIGURE OUT what’s up, what’s wrong, why the brain isn’t settling down, it sure helps out!

My best tip for a hard day in math – when the child is just having a hard time making the numbers in his head come to the front of his brain is to play a chocolate chip challenge with simple flash cards.  Flash cards I know they already know pretty darn good.  This motivates them because they want chocolate chips and also brings the numbers out of their hiding spots in their brains!

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So I haven’t used shampoo in years, except for a bit here and there.  You can read about that here, but recently I bought some Beauty Society shampoo because it is phosphate free.  My scalp is feeling pretty itchy and icky, so I think I am going back to no poo.  Izee just uses water, not baking soda or vinegar, just water.  He started that last month and has told me that his head has never felt better.  He thinks I should try it, but I say that my hair is like 2 feet longer than his and at least 3x as thick.  So, I think that’s out, but I am back to just baking soda and vinegar.  My scalp is just too sensitive for any shampoos, I guess.  By the way, I really like the rest of the Beauty Society’s line.  I had a ‘party’ (like Pampered Chef or Mary Kay) and ended up getting so much free stuff!  My face is looking pretty clear, so that makes me happy!  I still am using my own face cream though.  I love it.  Actually, right now I have some my BFF gave me.

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Pretty Easy Wingback Chair Redo – Just a tiny bit of sewing!


WARNING!  If you are a perfectionist or a professional, you probably will NOT like this whole situation!  But if you want to quickly recover a wingback chair with very little sewing, then read on!

So, I was inspired by Four Generations One Roof to redo our very ugly but also very comfortable wingback chairs.  She does a way better job explaining and this is my first-ever tutorial, but here it goes.  I included some info that the other lady doesn’t have, but for a more complete tutorial, please click on the link above.  OK, here it goes:

First: I bought 5 yards of fabric for $8 per yard.  It turns out that I didn’t have enough to do the seat cushions, so I went back to the fabric store and spent about $30 on the green zebra stripes.  I think I like that it ads a bit of whimsy to my little corner.  But, it’s definitely not everyone’s style, so just go with it and think what it would look like all one color or a bunch of different color and patterns ~ that’s the beauty of it, you can choose!


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Personal Goals & Family Goals

So, in the spirit of living deliberately, my husband and I recently sat down and evaluated our personal values.  We each sat down and wrote down what our top 10-13 personal values were.  We then shared these with eachother.  Next, we came up with our personal goals.  We then reevaluated our values to set them up in a priority way that will enable us to achieve our goals.  Does that make sense?  We need our top  VALUES to  coincide with our top GOALS, otherwise they will never get met.   In other words, if your top value is to be adventurous but your top goal is to be better at homemaking,  you might have to reorder the goals or the values so you live your life in a way that will enable you to meet your goals. Confusing, but cool.  Also, it’s important to know that these should be reevaluated often.  You might have a short term goal that is really challenging to meet (pay off debt, loose 20 lbs, declutter house) so the personal value that you give the most attention to should be to help with that goal.  Anyway, here were my top personal virtues, values, characteristics:   (before I wrote down my top goals)

  1. Christ-likeness
  2. Peaceful Home: Homeschooling peacefully and joyfully
  3. Cheerful/gratitude
  4. Physical fitness: agile, flexible, strong
  5. Friendships: experiencing & fostering strong friendships
  6. Be adventurous
  7. Have & show compassion & understanding to others
  8. Earth-loving-enjoying Mother Nature – never causing harm
  9. Clean Eating
  10. Self Reliance
  11. Orderliness & beauty in the home
  12. Financial Awareness

Then I had to write down my top GOALS:

  1. Have a paid for house
  2. Weigh 125 lbs
  3. Have a healthy & vibrant marriage
  4. Keep a strong household/homeschool/family rhythm
  5. Do yoga 4 times a week
  6. Time with my lady friends
  7. More outdoor activity
  8. Become super orderly in homemaking

OK, so after having the above down on paper, I rewrote my personal values down in an order that should help me meet my goals:

  1. Financial Awareness (not super fun, but will help with the debt free part)
  2. Self reliance (will help with #1)
  3. Family unity
  4. Physical Fitness
  5. Friendships
  6. Orderliness and beautiful homemaking
  7. Clean eating
  8. Cheerfulness/gratitude
  9. Adventurous
  10. Earth-loving
  11. Compassionate/Understanding

Well, I am doing well in number 1 (for the most part), number 2, terrible in number 4, number 3 is going ok.  Homeschooling is amazingly peaceful, considering I have a teenager, a tween and a first grader to juggle!

I wonder if this will help inspire anyone else to look at how they are living and attempt to be more deliberate in their actions and way of life.  It’s so important to DECIDE what you want to be, how else can you grow into that person?  We create our own lives whether we are AWARE or not AWARE!

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Fall Nature Table

Our Fall Nature Table

Our Fall Nature Table

See what Little Miss Maya put together for us in celebration of Autumn!


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Harvest Moon

Mabon Moon

Mabon Moon

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Oak Meadow

I’m really excited because I am expecting to get our new Oak Meadow curriculum in the mail next week!  I ordered the first and sixth grades for my 2 youngest.  I have been researching and thinking about how to make our days flow all together a bit better.  This can be a challenge with an elementary aged child, a middle schooler and a high schooler!  It was easier when they were all younger, but now they are just in such separate phases.  I am really finding that KK is transitioning into a new awareness of his world.  He’s starting to connect the dots.  Like putting different facets of what we have learned/experienced in the past and putting it all together.  I’m really feeling proud of him right now.  He’s working hard on his penmanship and has started READING FOR PLEASURE!  This is huge!  We have been very mellow with him, reading out loud the books that he’s interested in, reading together his school work and suddenly he loves to read all on his own!  This feels like a SUCCESS!  I really wonder how it would be if we’d have forced him to sit and read and write for hours each day rather than read information to him and have him talk to us about it.  Now he is able to read, talk about it and then put it down on paper good order and he’s enjoying it!  Now, to work on his spelling!  I know reading will help with that, though.

So, here’s to allowing the elementary aged child be a little child and play and run and experience learning so they can enjoy learning as they get older!DSCN3759

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Keepin’ It Simple

Whew!  I have been working HARD for the last week.  I have scrubbed Every Single Tile and Every Single Grout Line in our whole house.  Then I sealed it all.  I’ve cleaned all the bathrooms, scrubbed down my shower, organized my pantry and my closet and did a huge general cleaning.  Izee cleaned the windows and got the yard all pretty and now we are ready for our open house tomorrow! 

So, the simple part?  My kids are making dinner.  Izee is out kiteboarding and they are in the kitchen.  It’s great having kids old enough to help out.  Kyler is making roasted potatoes.  He and Maya worked in the garden and dug out a huge bucket full of red, yellow, russet and PURPLE potatoes!  Yes-purple!  They are so cool looking – I’ll get a picture posted soon.  Kaleb is making a pizza roll, which is his specialty and we have a salad made.  Easy peasy for me.  Now to get them to clean it all up.

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Ok, so everyone is asking WHY?

Why are we selling our beautiful house?  Isaac took 2 years building this place.  We poured the foundation a few days after bringing our second baby home from the hospital.  During the pregnancy we worked on the house plans.  I found a picture of a house I liked and then Isaac drew up the plans.  No, he had never made blue prints before, he had no software and he is not an architect.  The man can do anything.  He borrowed a drafting table, bought some drafting paper and DRAFTED BLUEPRINTS!  Amazing.  I helped come up with the floor plan and layout.  It was hard, but fun.  We harvested from downed trees to get the logs for our front porch and inside posts.  We spent Sunday’s gathering river rock.  We worked hard!  Now we are selling?  Well, here goes the explanation.  We want to be debt free.  We have a mortgage and don’t want one.  We want to travel and spend time with our kids, go to Mexico every winter, camping lots in the summer time.  We want to experience life together as a family and, as much as we love this place, it’s time to try to sell it so we can live our dreams.

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Harvesting Good Life Food

One cool thing about Homeschooling and living here is that part of the kids’ school includes the science of gardening!  Soil building, sowing, cultivating, harvesting etc.  Kyler absolutely loves gardening – and he’s really good at it.  He started all of our tomatoes, he is growing cucumbers, squash, pumpkin, gords and carrots.  He is keeping track of all of his hours spent in the garden, his experiments with hybridization, his harvest yields etc and this will be a high school science credit for him.  He will have a full notebook/portfolio full of his garden experiences!  Here are a few pictures:

Kyler's carrot harvest

Kyler’s carrot harvest

Maya's zinnia harvest

Maya’s zinnia harvest

DSCN3644 DSCN3652

Cari's garlic harvest

Cari’s garlic harvest

August 2013 071

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Good Life Photos

Good Life Photos

Garden Goodness!

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Vintage Homemaking – Good Life Homemaking?

I’ve been told that I am a mix of a hippie and a pioneer!  My heart often feels like it has lived in the 1800’s and I sometimes long for that slower paced, nature inspired life.  I’ve been obsessing over other ladies’ blogs about Old Fashioned Homemaking.  It’s been fun.  What I’ve learned is that there was definitely a Rhythm to their days. (Enki or Waldorf style ed would love that).  Most of their days revolve around food gathering, preparation, eating and cleaning.  In these two ways, the days of women of old are much the same as mine.  My rhythm goes pretty much as follows:

6:30 – 7:00 ish wake up, I shower every other day, I always make my bed first thing and wash my face.  Or else I just stumble out of bed in my night shirt, put on my cozy robe and come out for coffee and visits with the hubs and make my bed & get dressed later 🙂

7:00 – 8:00 ish.  Breakfast, clean the kitchen, start up a batch of bread every 3 days.

8:30-12:00 ish.  This is when I get all my morning chores done. (it;s summer now, but during the school year, my rhythm changes a bit, you can see that here)

12:00-1:00 – lunch.  We are one of those weird, rare families that eat 3 meals together everyday!   It sounds romantic and cozy, I know, but it can be a real pain in the kiesters to come up with 21 sit down meals every week!!!!!  Lunch is no exception, for this meal we usually have soup and salad.

Afternoon’s are spent doing gardening work, playing with the kids, doing some sort of productive project.

We usually eat dinner around 6 or 6:30.  I have a goal of 6:00 from now on.  Then, evenings are spent for family together time.  After dinner, we go on a walk.  Sometimes just me, myself & I (this is my preference), more often with Isaac and sometimes all of us and 2 dogs.  Not as relaxing as by myself!  But, good bonding time none the less!

We go to bed before 10:00 pm almost every night.  We watch a documentary about once a week and maybe one other movie a week.  Virtually no TV time these days.  The boys like to watch survival/primitive skill stuff and we let them do that a couple times a week on their favorite website.

Anyway, that’s a look at our days.  Not too interesting!  Quite vintage in style, eh?

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To Do Today

  • Make bread (KK did this)
  • Clean out fridge
  • Wash front windows
  • Make soup
  • walk 4 miles
  • take shower
  • 2 loads laundry
  • look up sage ceremony for Jared

It was a sad but good day.  I got most stuff on my list done.  WE went to ‘Jared’s Lake’ and spread his ashes.  It just broke my heart to see his mom and dad pour the ashes of their sweet boy into the hole they had dug.  A day full of meaning and memories.


  • call 3D and get data on keith’s computer
  • put the dehydrator away
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Homeschooling for The Good Life

Kyler School:

  • Honors English-Sound Learning
  • Math-Teaching Textbooks
  • Spanish-Rosetta Stone
  • Science-Physical Science-Sound Learning
  • History – I DON’T KNOW YET!!!!!!!!!!
  • Typing on Good Typing

Kaleb School:

  • English-K12 English
  • History-World History A  K12 Online shcool
  • Math-Teaching Textbooks
  • Science-k12 Science

Maya School: (notice I don’t have ENKI on here.  Not sure what I’m going to do with that.  I really like it, but integrating it as a curriculum with my other kids seems way too time consuming.  What I like are the concepts: morning gathering together time for a walk or circle with all of us, rhythm to our days etc.  But for getting any academia done – which, of course, is minimal in first grade – I need to have a bit of a pre-planned plan and some structure available to me. )

  • Math-K12 1st grade math
  • English/Social Studies
  • Science-Exploration Education


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Planning school academics

So, I am really trying to get organized with what we’ll be doing for the kids’ school this year.  We will be doing Monday class, so that will make Kyler’s (9th grade) easier for me.  He will be taking Physics and Honors English there.  The other kids are just doing some enrichment there, nothing I can ‘count’ as academia.  I have all the Enki stuff for Maya, but I’m just not sure about it.  I really like the theory behind it, but blending it with KK and Kyler’s  routines seems. . . . nearly impossible.  I am looking into Oak Meadow and some K12 stuff.  I may need more structure than I thought as that will help to keep us on track, even if it’s loosely on track!  I never want book learning to take the place of valuable real life experience, but there is a place for ritualistic book learning, and for my family, if it’s not part of a structure, I’m afraid we just don’t get to it often enough.  For the younger grades, it’s ok, we can learn math and reading as we go along, but not that my middle is in 6th (oh my!) grade, it’s time to get to work!

We are super eclectic.  I’ve read up on so, so many homeschool styles and practiced for a time all of the following:  Unit Study (KONOS) – we did one sememster of this and LOVED it, it was just so fun, we did the Kings & Queens/Obedience unit.  Classical Learning – Well Trained Mind.  English – Shirley English, Math – Teaching Textbooks, History – Story of the World, Science – a mix.  This is what we have done the most of and it keeps us on track but gets mundane for me.  I like to plan fun stuff!;  K12 – we’ve done quite a bit of this, too.  A boxed set of really good curriculum.  I have American History A for KK right now and we will probably keep with that.  So, I will be mixing and matching from what I’ve done for the past 7 years and coming up with our new plan, hopefully this week!  We are concentrating so much on Family Rhythm and will be working that into whatever we choose.

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Vegan Gado Gado Recipe

Or at least my version of it.  This is a great Vegan meal.  Super healthy and one of my family favorites!  I know it probably has nothing to do with real Gado Gado, an Indonesian staple, but it’s my healthy Good Life version!

Gado Gado!

Gado Gado!

It’s a bit hard to see, but it is colorful and beautiful, like a rainbow of deliciousness!  It’s all about the layers!  First the yellow rice goes down, (to make yellow rice I just add a bit of tumeric and olive oil to my rice cooker when I add the long grain brown rice) then shredded purple cabbage, shredded carrots, finely chopped red and yellow peppers, chopped cucumbers, chopped green onions,  and then pour some coconut peanut sauce all over that.  Then goes on some unsweetened dried coconut and some chopped nuts and chopped parsley and on top of that is some golden tofu (just saute up some tofu in some oil till browned).  So, so good and kid friendly, too!  My children Ate It Up!


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Stinging Nettle Green Smoothie

This is just delicious!  Stinging nettle is a wild edible that grows in many areas of the United States.  It will leave a sting if you touch the leaves, but if you squish the leaves and stalks and put them in your blender, they make a WONDERFUL stinging nettle smoothie!  If you have access to nettle, you’ve just got to try this, you won’t believe how good it is!

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Add to Vitamix in this order:

1 cup Water, Banana, 1 cup frozen blueberries, 1 cup frozen fruit medley (I usually have Costco’s on hand), a TBL coconut oil, a bunch of nettle.  Blend till totally smooth and enjoy!  Kids love it, too!

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What is the simple life today?

Well, today, this wonderful Monday, it means doing school in the morning for me and the kids and a home inspection this morning for Izee.  Then, off to the beach for a very restful afternoon.  Maya and I took a nap and a swim and the boys found wood to carve their new ideas into.  I think KK will build a shelf and Izee a bowl.  Ky ate peanuts, swam and explored.  We picked some stinging nettle to make a smoothie with and just all around enjoyed ourselves!  For what it’s worth, I feel that our lack of involvement in a lot of clubs and organizations opens us up for many opportunities to enjoy each other in a relaxed, fun, natural way.  My post yesterday may have sounded judgemental, so I just wanted to point out that (along with keeping expenses low so I can stay home and Izee can work part time, we are able to take most afternoons off, if we want to!)

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Where I hung out most of the time!

Where I hung out most of the time!

Izee working on his new piece of wood

Izee working on his new piece of wood

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How much is nourishing & How much is too much?

How much of what we do is done just because it’s ‘what you do’?  There is so much in life to do, a never ending amount of awesome experiences.  There’s Scouts, Little League, Pee Wees, Dance, Gymnastics, Youth Group, Missionettes, Royal Rangers, Awanas,  Young Women’s, Young Men’s, Archery Club, Garden Club. . . . this list goes on and on and on and on.  What if, in your church, every teenage boy does Boy Scouts?  Do you sign your kid up just because every other kid is doing it and it’s ‘what you do at 12’?  Now, Boy Scouts is a great thing and in many, many family it serves the whole family well.  But, in our family, we had to think long and hard about it.  All of my nephews are in Boy Scouts.  I have a lot of nephews.  11.  Not all of them are old enough to be in BS, but lots of them are.  And I love them all, they are amazing boys that are so fun and my boys love, love, love to play with them.  6 of them are also homeschooled in our area! 🙂  For a long time I was worried that my boys would feel left out of the boy scout experience.  My husband was just so, so resistant to the idea every time I brought it up.  We even argued about it.  It didn’t help that he did not have a positive BS experience growing up.  Anyway, after long discussions and soul search, I now whole heartedly agree with him.  So, if they were in Scouts, they would be in separate packs.  2 meetings a week.  The goal of BS is to learn outdoor skills, to learn to be prepared, to be good citizens etc.  My husband LOVES teaching these things.  He wants to be the one with them on the camping trips, teaching them to rock climb, to glisade down a mountain, to find wild edibles, to use a knife, to help the widowed neighbor, to make a campfire, to put together a survival kit, to sew a patch on their gear, etc, etc, etc.  He wants to teach them to love these things, to set their inner compass towards a natural-loving life, that they will seek the outdoors and adventure and push their bodies and help the neighbors, for the sake of it.  Not to earn a badge.  If they were busy at meetings during the week, they would miss out on so many improptu family adventures that teach just these things in a real-life setting.  In our case, we believe that being involved in a group like that would take away from our family nourishment, from our family being together and doing these things together just for the sake of doing them, because they are the right things to do.  Because they are fulfilling.  And we can do them all together as a family.  Even with extended family, which we have a lot of!

Anyway, I am in no way saying that this would be true for everyone.  My man is very unusual in how much time he spends with our kids.  Not all dads can do this, I know.  He is lucky that he gets to work part time so he can be home and build relationships with his kids during the day, and to be the one to teach them all he wants to and not have to send them of to have someone else teach them.  I am just wanting to make the point that we should all look at our family activities and ask ourselves the question, “Is this nourishing to our family unit or taking away from it?”   No activity is more important than the activity of being together, working together, and just plain enjoying each other.  When we are too busy running around from one activity to another, we may miss the chance to enjoy our children, who we have for a very short time!  Spring 2013 039 Spring 2013 250 Spring 2013 045 Spring 2013 053 Spring 2013 061 Spring 2013 067 Spring 2013 071 Spring 2013 087 Spring 2013 098 Spring 2013 111 Spring 2013 120 Spring 2013 130 Spring 2013 138 Spring 2013 170 Spring 2013 173 Spring 2013 180 Spring 2013 181 Spring 2013 223 Spring 2013 242

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