Morning Walks

So, I have been reading and reading and really feel that the ideas behind Enki are speaking strongly to my family.  Especially my husband who has been trying to encourage me to be rhythmic for a long time now and I have been resisting him a lot!  How funny it is that it now all makes sense to me!
The only think we have been implementing so far is a morning gathering time.  When it is nice out, we have been going for a nice, long, brisk walk.  When it is not nice, we have been doing some sun salutations and morning visit/connection.  Sometimes the dad is there, sometimes he is at work, but it’s been quite nice.
I have a 14 year old boy and an 11 year old boy along with my 6 year old daughter and it can be . . . interesting trying to engage them with a good attitude for our walks.  They want to stroll and grab sticks and just generally not be as brisk and cheerful as my daughter and I.  But, they are coming along with us without complaining and I think it makes a great deal of difference when it gets to be time for them to sit and do a bit of work.  I really am interested in incorporating Enki with them as I feel sad that I did not have this knowledge when they were younger.
Anyway, just thought I’d share my thoughts and seek encouragement if there is any out there!

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Road Trip

Homeschooling and living super frugally has allowed us to take a few trips down the Baja Peninsula, Mexico.  We save and save and save all year in order to take this winter time trip.  This time we were gone for 8 weeks.  Here are a few photos.

The kids met all sorts of new friends.baja 2013 259 baja 2013 254 baja 2013 228

Lots of spear fishing and snorkeling.baja 2013 158

Christmas Eve on the beach!baja 2013 136 baja 2013 133 baja 2013 132 baja 2013 127 baja 2013 124 baja 2013 101 baja 2013 096 baja 2013 043 baja 2013 036 baja 2013 035 baja 2013 029 baja 2013 020 baja 2013 017 baja 2013 016 baja 2013 823Part of our good life is a semi-yearly mega road trip from our Pacific NW home to the southern tip of Baja California Sur, Mexico.  We pack up the truck and camper with lots of food, lots of clothes, kayaks, bikes, surf board, kiteboard gear, camp gear, camp stove etc and leave the winter behind for 6 or 7 weeks!  It is a wonderful journey to take as a family as we are together in close quarters without any outside obligations or high tech temptations for the whole time!  This year was exceptionally wonderful as the kids were older, no babies, no diapers, no nursing, no worrying about running off. . .  which meant that I FINALLY learned to kiteboard!  It is a TOUGH sport to learn, with a huge learning curve that I made GIGANTIC (it took me 3 years or more to figure it out)!  But by the time we left our little spot, I had it down!

Lots of people ask what we do down there, how we are able to leave for such a long time, do we get bored, are we scared etc. . .I will dive in to those topics shortly!  But, for now, here are some pics of our adventure!

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Thanksgiving With Family

We had a wonderful weekend spent with boy my family and the in laws.  Between IZ and I, we have 10 siblings, most all of them have had more than 2 kids, some up to 6 kids!  So, we have TONS of nieces and nephews.  We have a great time with them.  This year I am thankful for our Earth, she gives us so much of what we need and I feel God has truly blessed us.  Here are some photos of family times.

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Some Real Life Learning!

For a bunch of people that only want organic food, we are HAPPY to have gotten our first deer.  We processed it ourselves, I made some of into Italian Sausage and some Breakfast Sausage, we have roasts and steaks.  It is so, so good!  It happens to be a deer that has been eating a lot of our garden food, so it is not gamey at all, just wholesome deliciousness!  Here is a picture of the heart, which we ate.  It so happened that I had a huge beet that I had cooked up, it was in the fridge, so it was cold, as was the heart.  Cutting into them, they were identical in texture, size and feel!! It was so weird!

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Our last day in the old boat

We had a great time going out in our freebie boat with some friends and family.  It was a beautiful day and we sure enjoyed ourselves.  There is just something about being out on the canal, the salty sea-smells, the Olympic mountains as the backdrop, good friends, the kids playing on the beach and wakeboarding and just having a great time!  We got this boat in really, really poor condition and ‘we’ fixed it up.  Isaac spent lots of hours fixing it and making it into a nice, little boat for us.  It gets way better gas mileage than our other, awesome Searay boat.  But, sadly, it was the last time we took it out.  We sold it for $1000.00.  We got it for free, but put some money and lots of time into it.  We are now ready for our new adventure . . .  SAILING!  Another free boat, another post.

 

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A cute lil kitchen

 I made this little kitchen for my daughter’s birthday.  I found a little dresser at a used store.  They also had a brass sink, the lady was so excited about my project that she GAVE me the sink when I bought the dresser.  It was $50.  Very cute, great shape and great size.  I had an old piano bench that was broken, I took the seat off and attached it to the back for the back of the kitchen.  I used a sawzall to cut out a piece of the top for the sink and inserted the sink.  I took the drawers out and made shelves and then made the little curtain.  I had a little shelf from IKEA that just attach to the wall to use as a picture shelf.  I cut this and put one on top of the piano bench and then made a shelf.  I cut out little circles for a burner.  It turned out so cute and my daughter loves it!

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Physical Education for The Good Life!

We had a really fun “PE” class today.  The kids did a rock climbing training with Isaac.  Maya is learning to be lowered and to just feel comfortable with the harness and the ropes and the whole experience.  KK & KY are learning to rapelle.  KY did it on his own, but KK was double roped with Isaac on belay for him.  They did great, loved it and are almost ready for a multi-pitch climb out to the real rocks!  Here are some pictures.

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Primary Science Checklist

For my elementary kids, I used this checklist in the front of their science notebook.  We used The Kingfisher Illustrated Animal Encyclopedia & Eyewitness Books Animal Kingdom. I would read to him aloud, or as he got older, let him read.  Then he would go to his science notebook and answer the questions.  I would like to just attach a pdf file here, so you could open and print, but, if you’d like to use this, you will have to copy and then paste into your word document.

Does it have a backbone?

Does it have fur? 

Does it have wings? 

What does its skin feel like? 

How many feet does it have?  What do its feet look like? 

How many legs does it have?  What do the legs look like? 

What does its body look like? 

What does it eat? 

Where does it live? 

How big is it? 

What do its babies look like? 

Is it domesticated (tamed by man) or wild? 

Is it endangered?

Are there any other details you’d like to include?

Draw a picture of your animal.

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Homeschool Helpers

So, for our history, we are doing History of the World.  We are finishing up last year’s book 2, Middle Ages.  We will (hopefully) be starting in on book 3 in October.  For my middle schooler, I have made some pages for his notebook to help him decide what to write for his summaries and what information to include in his folder.  I have tried to insert it into this post as a pdf file, but am not sure how to do it.  So I will just copy and paste.

Kyler’s History Summary Guides

Primary Sources

  • What does the source say?
  • Who is the author? (social position, profession, political affiliations, age, other details)
  • What is the writer’s purpose?
  • What does he/she have to lose or gain by convincing others of his/her position?
  • What events led to this piece of writing?
  • What happened as a result of this writing?

Core Text ~ Encyclopedias 

  • Read a section from the core text and list important facts
  • Mark all dates on the timeline.
  • Find the region under study on the glove and in the atlas.
  • Do additional reading if we have it.
  • Prepare summaries of information on one or more of the topics in your History Notebook.  File it in the right section of your notebook.

AND FOR MY 5TH-ISH GRADER:

Kaleb’s History Writing Guides

  • In one or two sentences, write what happened.  Just write the main things and a few important details.
  • Write when it happened?  Write it on your time line.
  • Where did it happen?
  • Who were the main men and women involved?
  • Try to write at least 3 facts about what we studied today.
  • Find it on the map and see where it is.
  • File it in your notebook.

And, hopefully this will help someone.  For my 10 year old, we are doing Shurley English Level 3.  Here are the sentences for chapters 1-10, feel free to copy and then paste into a word document for your level 3 students!

Children played.

Mice ran.

Helicopters flew.

Children played happily today.

Mice ran away.

Helicopters flew around.

The two small children played happily today.

The three mice ran away.

Several military helicopters flew around.

The timid little girl sat alone.

A large fish swam briskly away.

The full moon shines brightly tonight.

The polite young singer sang exceptionally well.

The extremely loud music stopped abruptly.

Several brown ducks waddled awkwardly away.

The old dog howled quite loudly.

A white shark swam very quickly away!

The spirited racehorse ran swiftly today.

The newborn baby cried rather weakly.

The two girls sang so sweetly today.

The inexperienced pilot landed safely.

The small mice scurried away quickly.

The mosquito bite swelled immediately!

A tremendously gifted scientist spoke briefly today.

Two beautiful horses grazed contentedly.

The foolish duck quacked repeatedly.

The five chimpanzees learned incredibly fast.

The school band played surprisingly well.

Two small deer stood completely still.

The ballet dancers performed very skillfully.

The adorable little kittens purred contentedly.

The new quarterback performed quite impressively.

The dark storm clouds gathered threateningly overhead.

An enormous branch fell from the top of the tree!

The flickering fireflies soared gracefully through the night sky.

The frightened birds flew hastily away from the barking dogs.

A big, red fire engine roared down the street exceedingly fast!

The new sailors waited patiently for the arrival of the ship.

An ugly storm brewed off the coast of Mississippi.

An enormous crowd gathered eagerly for the race of the century.

Matthew left on an exciting cruise to several countries today.

Mother searched diligently for a simple recipe.

The emperor of China spoke excitedly to the strangers from Europe.

The children on shore waved at the marine biologist in the boat.

The children ran eagerly to the bus in the parking lot.

The wealthy man spoke passionately yesterday about the new library.

The little red fox hid shyly behind the bushes.

The teacher looked longingly at the new computer in the store.

She peeked cautiously around the corner of the building.

Look at the beautiful sunrise.

He lives in the United States during the summer months.

Our new car rides smoothly over bumpy roads.

My expensive digital camera fell in the mud yesterday!

Chip screamed at the top of his lungs!

We went to the zoo with her today.

Mom waited patiently for me at the airport for two hours.

He jumped vigorously on the trampoline with them for an hour.

Jane’s swollen ankle ached during her performance.

My little dog barked excitedly at his shadow.

The queen’s army camped on the hillside.

The plane’s engines roared during takeoff.

Fred’s sister moved into her new home recently.

My aunt’s black cat disappeared yesterday.

The coach’s whistle blew loudly during the practice game today.

Richard’s mom works at the city hospital.

My friend’s experiment worked perfectly during science fair.

My grandmother has worked hard for many years.

The workers in the warehouse are not working during the summer months.

Are the automobiles built in your factories?

Seven people will not fit into my small car!

Can you go with us to the water park today?

I am not running for office again.

The football players are not practicing on the field today.

Are we going to the theatre tonight.

The funny clowns waved enthusiastically to the children after their absolutely incredible performance.

My mom and dad are leaving early in the morning.

We screamed and cheered loudly for our favorite team.

Yikes!  The lightning flashed and struck close to my house.

Wow!  Mom’s yellow rosebush is blooming brilliantly in the front yard!

Bob and Annie traveled to Mexico on a mission trip.

Oh, no!  Grandfather’s old fishing boat stalled in the middle of the lake!

The dogs and cats in the neighborhood stay in Sue’s backyard.

We do not eat or drink in the new car.

Yea!  Our parents are returning today from their week-long vacation!

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Homemade Vegetable Stock

Vegetable Stock

* use a dry erase to label your jars, so you don’t forget what it is!

Ok, I know it’s pretty red, but it’s because of the beets.  Read on and you’ll find out a great, easy way to keep stock on hand for soups.  I love making soups for lunch during the school year.  More often than not, the whole family is here for lunch time.  Soup is an easy, healthy way to go.  I make a huge batch about twice a week and that’s our lunch most days.  When I have vegetable stock on hand, the soups are way yummier!  I was very inspired by Scott & Helen Nearing’s Good Life Book.  She made lots of soups and has lots of wisdom on making them.  In this stock I used 1 onion, 3 leeks (the green parts I didn’t use when using the leeks for a saldad), carrots, garlic, chard, beet greens and stems, parsley, kale stems.

What to do: when you are prepping vegetables for any other dish, keep a stock pot handy and put all the washed peels of onions and carrots and taters in it.  Any pieces of greens such as collards or kale should go in also.  As much garlic as you can spare and the trimmings of any herbs you use.  Sometimes my stock pot will take a few days to fill.  I have a compost bin and a stockpot on my counter when I cook.  The best vegis to use are onions, celery, carrots, shallots, leeks, garlic, parsley, thyme, a bay leaf or two, chard stem’s, mushgrooms, potato, tomatoes, green beans.  Avoid using cabbage, brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, red beets (I used the beet greens-that’s why my stock is pink), spoiled vegetables.

You can saute the onions in olive oil if you want, but I don’t usually.  Oh, I add a whole onion to the other scrap vegetables.  Just put them all in a big pot and add water to cover by a few inches and boil for a long time.  Let cool and then strain into jars.  So easy and it really makes a difference in your soups from scratch!

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A Beautiful Chair My Husband Made Me

Maple Chair~gift from my man

I just wanted to share this beautiful maple chair the husband built for me.  We had seen a chair in Mexico that was similar, but not near as cool, and he took a picture of it in his mind and then, a few years later, he made this for me.  With the footstool, too.  He put it in a sunny spot for me and surrounded it with plants and calls it my ‘time out chair’.  I get to decide when I need a time out and can sit in it and no child is supposed to bother me.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.  But isn’t he sweet to think of me and spend the time to make it and set it up.  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!  A chair for the good life!  Who knew there was such a thing?

 

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Spare & Simple Diet, 1825

“A very spare and simple diet has commonly been recommended as most conducive to Health.  Aim at the happy mean-be Liberal without being Lavish, be Prudent without being Penurious.  Plent of Good Food, plainly but properly prepared, is a Feast for an Emperor.” ~  Dr. William Kitchiner, The Housekeeper’s Ledger

penurious adj. Unwilling to spend money; stingy. Yielding little; barren: a penurious land. Poverty-stricken; destitute.

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Tea Party ~ with real tea, no politics allowed!

Tea Party

My daughter loves a tea party.  To dress up in something with lace, put a floral tablecloth on the grass, bring out the china, bake some cookies and drink tea! That is a perfect day for her.  I try to do this with her sometimes, but when we have girl cousins over, watch out!  She’s got it all planned out!  Here are some really cute pictures of their party.  Over the years, I have collected pretty tea cups and tablecloths.  I inherited a beautiful tea pot from my great-great grandmother, who traveled here from France in the late 1800’s.  We only get that out on really special days.  Yesterday was one of those days.  The sun was shining, the grass was green, there were other girls here to enjoy it.  I think doing special things like this with our daughters is very important.  It’s joy in the simple life.

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Raw Vegan Spring Rolls

100% Garden Food I harvested today made these beautiful ‘Spring’ rolls.

100% from today’s harvest spring rolls

So, today we are starting off on a family friendly raw food kick.  What does this mean?  We will be trying to eat way more raw foods.  This doesn’t mean we will be eating 100% raw, but I’ve got the whole family in on a raw food challenge.  Lots of smoothies, raw granola, fruits and vegis.  Coming up with meals that don’t take 2 hours to make will be my challenge.  I tend to complicate raw meals, complicated meals aren’t simple, complicated meals aren’t usually part of our Good Life, so I will be concentrating on SIMPLICITY in my raw food!  For starters, I knew I wanted to eat pretty much only what we grow or glean.  So, we went out to the garden and harvested this:

Today’s harvest, 2 leeks, 2 zucchinis, 1 Chinese cabbage, parsley, basil, nasturtium, 6 cucumbers, 8 carrots, collard greens.

The Chinese cabbage inspired an Asian tasting meal.  I decided on spring rolls.  The collards will be the rolls and the rest of the vegis will be the filling.  Except the beets, that will be for a raw beet salad.

I will shred the cabbage and carrots, matchstick the cucumbers and zucchini and chop the broccoli and herbs very small.  I will mix the broccoli, herbs, cabbage and carrots and toss them with rice wine vinegar, salt and garlic.  For the spring rolls, I took the stem out of the collards and used two leaves.  I made T by laying one length wise and the other across it.  That way it will hold the filling better by putting the filling where they cross and using the horizontal one to seal the ends, then rolling.  Like this:

Cutting collards for rolls

Laying out the rolls

Rolling the rolls

I made a quick peanut sauce (not raw) to dip these yummy treats into and included sliced apples and a raw beet salad.  The whole family loved the meal, even the kiddos!

Raw beet salad, spring rolls, apples. It’s what’s for raw dinner tonight.

Quick Peanut Sauce

  • 3 Tbls natural peanut butter
  • 2 Tbls rice wine venegar
  • Chopped Cilantro
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp honey
  • chili oil or flakes
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk

Mix it all up in your blender.  I added some of this to the rolls with some wasabi paste and some really hot chili garlic sauce!  Yummy!

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Elections Unit Study

I can’t believe this has already been almost 4 years ago!!!!!! How can that be?  This is a copy of a post I did on another blog.  I thought I would repost as elections are coming closer.  How’d all that change do for us?

This is us at the County Seat. We had a surprisingly fun day, my mom came with us, too. After going to see the Courthouse and elections fiasco, we went into downtown and had some yummy ice cream and did a little antique shopping for Maya’s birthday. The boys got marbles. KK REALY wanted an old tiny iron. I might go back and get it for him, not sure though. It was great for the boys to see all the ballots in the counting room and to understand the process, I sure learned a lot. They (the counters) seem to do a great job and take their business super seriously Now, are we REALLY going to see change for the better in our USA? Hope so!

So, we had a fun unit study on the election. Kyler made a lapbook about all that he learned, he did a great job with it. We also went to the County seat so they could see how the ballots are counted and the hooplah surrounding the election. It was all very interesting and the people were great, taking extra time to explain everything to the kids and to me, too.

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Raw Vegan Granola and Apples

THE PERFECT, SIMPLE, QUICK, RAW BREAKFAST TREAT YOUR KIDS WILL LOVE, SO WILL YOUR BUDGET.  This is super cheap, just a few dimes a serving, especially since we gleaned the apples and pick our berries.  To make it as least expensive as you can, use sunflower seeds instead of nuts, use honey instead of the other sweeteners and use butter or safflower oil instead of coconut oil.  I know, butter is not vegan, to make it vegan, use one of the other fats.

Food for the Good Life must be simple and nutritious.  This is both.

Raw Vegan Breakfast Granola
A simple, inexpensive, delicious treat!

So simple you’ll laugh.  In your food processor, process a bit of oats, nuts and seeds (I just used walnuts for this one but have done a mixture of any of the following: almonds, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, pecans etc), some butter or coconut oil, a pinch of salt, some sort of sweetener, it could be agave, honey, evaporated cane juice crystals, 2 mejool dates.  I used one date and a little bit of the evaporated cane juice, some coconut, cinnamon.  Pulse this a few times in the food processor or blender and store in an airtight container in your fridge.  In the morning, just dice up some apples or berries or stone fruit and sprinkle about 1/3 cup of the granola mixture on top.  Yummy!  For a nice amount to keep stored in your fridge to make this for your family do the following:

  • 2 cups oats
  • .5 cup coconut
  • .5 – 1 cup nuts and or seeds
  • 1/4 cup sweetener or 2-4 dates
  • pinch salt
  • 2 Tbl cinnamon
  • 4 Tbls coconut oil or butter

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Kale, Chard & Collards, Oh My!

Kyler harvesting kale

We have sooooo much kale, collards and chard.  I can only use so many in my green smoothies, and we have so many other kinds of salad greens that we just aren’t using these up fast enough and they are about to be too big.  So we are harvesting, blanching and freezing some for our homeschool lunch soups.  Most days, during the school year, we eat soup for lunch.  It’s the easiest, healthiest, simplest lunch I have come up with.  We are are all home, 3 kids, me and the husband, for most every lunch time.  Soup it is.  So, it’s great to have blanched greens ready for the soup pot.  Today we made 15 baggies full.  First we harvested, then we cut the middle stems off and chopped the leaves.  We had 3 huge kettles full.

Huge kettle o’greens

Then I steamed them in this apple steamer.  This is the first time I have used this awesome contraption for greens.  Normally I only use it for making apple sauce, but today I thought it would work great for greens.  I am a genius!  It could hold like 3 times what my normals steamer basket holds, so I saved tons of time!  I got this a few years ago for $3.00 at a garage sale! Woo-hoo!

Steamer

After they steam for just a few minutes, put them in a sink of ice water.  I cleaned, scrubbed and bleached out my sink (Flylady would be soooo proud).  Then I added a bunch of ice and some water.  Put the steamed greens directly into the hot water, then strain in a colander and put in quart bags. 

Freeze summer time greens for soups in the winter.  Photo tutorial.

 

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Sweetness

Daddy and his girl

There is just something so sweet about watching Maya-miss with her daddy.  She LOVES him and he can’t seem to get enough of her.  Sweetness in our Good Life.  Here, they are watching the boys build a tree fort.  It is great that the boys have time to pursue creative time outside, by themselves, creating and building.

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Twin A & Twin B

I am Twin A, by the way.  We are at my mama’s house.  This picture was taken at our birthday dinner and my folks’ 40 year anniversary.  They have a wonderful marriage and have been a great example of what a real unity is supposed to be about.  Sometimes I think marriage is hard, so is parenting, homemaking, homeschooling and all the rest of the roles that I play.  Except, being a sister (to my sister, it’s been rough being a sister to my brothers) and being a girlfriend (to my girlfriends) and being a daughter has been pretty easy these last 20 years.  Isn’t it funny that my easiest relationships are with women.  One score for the lesbians there, I totally get it.  But, alas, I am not one.  I am a happily married hetero.  I’d like to blog about marriage a little bit.  It might be good for processing our relationship.  If I do all my venting here, maybe I won’t need to vent to the husband?  That’s be nice for him.  Here’s the thing, most of the time all is well.  But I think I go through a minor personality change during PMS and then my perception changes drastically, as does my fondness for the husband.  It doesn’t help that he does not take my changes with a grain of salt, but wants to talk about them.  Talk and talk and talk, until there is some sort of ‘resolve’.  Usually I just need to start my cycle, and voila! resolve happens.  Unless I’ve been forced to talk about my hormonal changes and then it takes a bit longer.  My man is very eclectic.  He’s a hard worker, family oriented, deliberate, frugal, strong, in great shape, thinks outside of the box.  Always.  He’s hard to measure up to.  Sometimes I think that I could loose my own self trying to measure up to him.  But I am great in my own hard working, family oriented, frugal, strong, not so great a shape way.  I don’t always think outside of the box, sometimes I think the box is cozy and comfortable and don’t feel the need to fix/change anything.   Mainly, I know I am not mainstream in most of my ways.  That’s ok.  Well, I guess I don’t have much more to add to this amazingly written post about marriage.  I don’t know what else to say about it at this time.  I do know our relationship is worth working on, I do know our 15 years together have been mostly wonderful, I do know.  I do know the changes we are going through will be exciting and we can get through them together.  I do know I am lucky for a good man.

Here is a picture of my sweet mom and dad.

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The Praise & Happiness of the Countrie-Life, 1539

“Those that live in the country are much more healthfull, and are not subject to so many diseases as citizens and courtiers, for in cities the buildings are high, the lanes narrow and durtie, the aire dull and for want of rarification and motion breeds many diseases.  But in the country the villages are built at a great distance, the inhabitants are more carefull of their healths, the aire is quick and fresh, the sun unclouded and cheerfull, the earth less subjects to vapours and noysome exhalations.”  ~ Don Antonio de Guevara a  (c. 1481 – April 3, 1545) was a Spanish chronicler and moralist.  I kept the original spelling.  I do know how to spell.

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37 Years!

132.  I am 37 today!  Had a great day yesterday at the beach, I did my first front flip EVER off the diving board on the dock.  I like to do something I have never done before.  I am pleased (mainly) with where I am at on my 444th month of my life.  Things I would like to work on by the time I am 38 are:

  1. Positive home-life outlook.  Less negative pointing out of things with the kids, more positive reinforcement.  More discipleship, less discipline.  This is for our homeschool life too.  MORE FUN, MORE JOY! You know, the whole entire mood of the home lies in the mood of the mama.  This is an unfortunate position for me to be in some of the time.  But, if I want the mood happy, I must try to be happy.
  2. My relationship with the husband.  We could use some spice & romance.  I’ve been waiting for him to take the initiative, but I think I will have to be the one to do this.   If it is ever going to be done.  So, I will work on more physical touch during the day.  More smiles and sweet talk.  These are things I would like to have from him, so I will be the change I’d like to see in our relationship!
  3. I walk/jog (more walking) about 2.5 miles most days.  I’d like to make that more of a jog/run.  Also, I’d like to be more consistent with my yoga practice.  3 days a week would be great.
  4. Household routines.  I have them pretty well established from past years, but not well practiced.  I have not been doing them much.  Things like get up, get dressed to the shoes (thanks Flylady),  wash face, make bed, start a load of laundry THEN go to kitchen to start the coffee and breakfast goings-ons.
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My Go-To Green Smoothie

Around here, part of our Good Life Food is eating lots and lots of fresh greens.  Even the kids.  We grow rows and rows of different lettuces, swiss chards, kales, collards, parsley and cilantro.  One really great way to get your kids to eat these miracle foods is to BLEND THEM!  This smoothie is so full of garden fresh goodness that it will keep their moods up, their bellies full and their bodies strong and healthy.  When we feed ourselves and our kids lots of nutrient rich foods, they stop asking for (as we so elegantly call it) ‘crap food’.  I drink one of these for breakfast almost every morning, so do the kids.  It also helps keep you . . . regular.  Which is always a good thing.  Feeling clean on the inside is even better than clean on the outside!  The husband loves this drink, too, by the way.

Here is what we use:

Green Smoothie Ingredients

  • Kale
  • Chard
  • Frozen Blueberries
  • One Frozen Banana, One not
  • Raspberries, Frozen (Or any other frozen berry)
  • 2 tsp Bee Pollen
  • 2 TBL Flax Seeds, whole or use meal
  • Ice
  • Water

Blend it all in a Vitamix or other high speed blender.  I actually used to make this in my KitchenAid blender and it worked well, just not as well.  This smoothie is more purple than green, which makes it more kid friendly.

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Making Sauerkraut

So, if you saw my garden post, you will have seen that I have planted a lot of cabbage.  It would be impossible to use that all up before it goes bad, especially with all the other greens and lettuces and what not to eat.  I don’t like cabbage in my smoothie, so the best thing I’ve found to do with it is to make Sauerkraut.  It’s so good for you and tastes delicious.  One of my favorite things to make in the winter is to put on a pot of rice, saute up some onions, garlic and bell peppers along with some Kielbasa or other Polish Sausage (I’ve made the vegan many times, too) and serve over rice with sauerkraut and a big dollop of Dijon mustard.  MMMMMM-MM!

Sauerkraut Ingredients

So, to make the Sauerkraut, you shred 2 big heads of cabbage.  2 heads worked good for my one gallon jar.  I put all the shredded cabbage in a huge bowl with 3 TBL salt, stirred well.  I then put handfuls of the cabbage into the gallon glass jar.  You have to push the cabbage down until some juice comes up, the salt pulls the liquid out of the cabbage, so it makes its own brine.  I found a lid that was the perfect diameter for the jar, but I had to bend it to get it through the lid and then push and place over the cabbage very carefully (ok, TMI, but it was exactly the same kind of fold, insert and place as putting in a diaphragm, only much, much bigger-of course!).  Push the lid down so the liquid comes up and then you have to weight it down.  I used a pint of water to put on top of the lid.  Cover the jar with cheese cloth and there you have it.  For a much more professional description of how to do this, here is a great website on fermented foods.  If you read it, then you, too, will understand the benefits of fermented foods!  http://www.wildfermentation.com/making-sauerkraut-2/

Ready to ferment

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A Good Life Day!

Weighing in at 129.8 today but only after a long mountain climb.  Not bad, love to see that number under 130.  Ate really well the last few days, mainly just garden food, but did have a big hamburger last night.  It tasted soooooo good.  Oh, and I’ve been only drinking water.

We had a great day, climbing a local mountain here in the Olympics.  Even my 5 year old did AWESOME!  Her legs are so strong, it amazes me.  I think some people may think we push our kids too hard, or expect to much of them.  But they loved the day, it was a wonderful family day.  The confidence building of pushing ones self to summit a mountain is unlike any other feat.  I am proud of my family.  This is definitely part of living The Good Life With Kids.

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Yummy Zucchini “Chips”

These were really, really good.  Even my non-zucchini loving kid loved them.  We were fighting over the last one.  Really delish dipped in spicy garlic mayonaise, which my son always makes.  Yummy!

Simple Zucchini Chips

  • Medium Zucchini (as many as you think your family will eat, go big here, they’ll eat more than you think!)
  • Panko
  • Italian Bread Crumbs
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Salt & Pepper & Italian Seasoning
  • Milk

Thinly slice zucchini, but not paper thin.  Pour milk in bowl, mix spices, parmesan, panko and bread crumbs in another bowl.  Dip zucchini in milk then in bread crumb mixture. Place on greased cookie sheet.  They’ll stick if not greased! Ok.  Now just spray with a bit of oil and bake at 425 until browned, about 15-20 minutes, but check on them after ten.  I didn’t even turn them over.  So simple, so good.  Garden fresh, too.  Definitely Good Life Food!  I made 2 extra large cookie sheet pans of these, for my family of 5. FYI.

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Drying Clothes

God’s Clothes Dryer

I just love the feel of sun dried towels. They wick the water right off of you and are so rough you can exfoliate as you dry.  What more could you ask for? Not to mention, Mother Nature is providing all the energy we need to do this task.  There is no need to run your dryer, wasting precious dollars on drying clothes.  I think my dryer costs like fifty cents everytime I use it.  I use it 2x a day, that’s, yes, $30 per month that I could be saving just by hanging my wash!  Yes, you can, too!  I am extra lucky because my every handy husband has made this line for me and I can just stand on my deck and hang the clothes and push the line away on the little wheely thing he made.  Just like the ladies in the cities in Romania or Italy or anywhere.  Hanging their wash from their apartment windows.

My view is better, but I can’t shoot the breeze with the neighbor while I work.  Oh, well.  Can’t have both!

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My License Plate Frame

I love to watch people laugh as they pass my car because this is funny, I don’t care who you are!

Funniest license plate ever!

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Aahhhhh, Peace & Quiet!

The husband took all 3 kids out to go get firewood this morning, which leaves me . . . Home Alone! This doesn’t happen very often and I love it! I have decided never to blog or sit at the computer with a dirty kitchen.  Yep, all the dishes must be done and counters wiped off and then I can feel free to sit for 30 minutes in the morning and 30 in the evening.  That is what I’m allowing myself these days.  I just find it so easy to waste hours away looking up raw food recipes, researching homeschool curriculum, googling random facts and definitely poking around pinterest all the day long.  There are just so many good ideas out there, sure to be something to make my life simpler or something fantastic to copy, right? Well, most of the time, if I’d just get up off my rear and do my own ideas, I’d be way ahead of my work around here.

131.6 that’s my weight today.  I’d rather be at 128, but it’s been a while since I’ve seen that number.  Also, it’s the week before my period which is always a great excuse for being over 130.  Oh, and the cocktails I had on the beach this weekend probably didn’t help either.  I’ve really been like sparkling water with a bit of vodka and some lemon for a really refreshing drink. Low in sugar and calories, too.  But this weekend I made up a really easy, yummy concoction to take to the beach.  It was one can of froze Dole Peach, Orange, Mango, mixed with one can vodka.  I put that in a large mason jar and into the cooler with some cans of sparkling water.  To mix I just added however much of the vodka mix with the sparkling water.  It’s amazing how in the beginning of the afternoon, a little of the mix and a lot of water was what I chose.  As the night went on, hmmmmm, more mix, less water.  I’m pretty sure I had like 400 or 500 extra calories that way.  Hence, the number on the scale.

Hopefully the husband is teaching the kids all the work ethic they need today, while I am here, searching for the balance in this Good Life, hoping to include some work, some play, some cocktail time, a clean house and productive garden, happy kids and a steamy hot relationship.  Can we have it all?  Let’s try.

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Garden Vegi Calzones-Vegetarian

Cookin’ Calzones on the Beach!

OK, so I kinda got confused when writing the last post.  I actually saved out some of the filling from the casserole to make some calzones or empanadas or whatever you want to call them.  I knew we were going boating the next day and so I wanted to have something to easy to eat on the beach.  I just made the pizza dough and then used a medium sized bowl to cut out circles and used the filling from the day before and folded them over, baked them at 350 degrees.  The kids had a great time on the beach, making an oven from stones and practicing their primitive skills. The reheated the calzones, toasting the bottoms perfectly and warming in the insides to melt the cheese.  So yummy, the recipe made about 15 calzones.  I made the husband’s pretty spicy, so when I was rolling out his dough, I added a few shakes of red pepper flakes and rolled them in.  That way we could see which ones were spicy and the kids wouldn’t be whining on the beach about their sunburnt lips burning from chili peppers.  I really hate that.  But, if you do find yourself with raw lips and wanting to eat something spicy, a coating of chapstick works great.  Just rub on before eating spicyness and voila! Protected lips!

Here are some of our boating pictures.

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Garden Vegi Casserole

This was really good.  I just made a yeasted pizza style dough with 1/2 whole wheat and 1/2 unbleached flour.  I used kale, chard, zucchini, leeks, onions, garlic, parsley, red pepper, carrots and whatever other vegis were in my garden.  I chopped everything pretty small and stirred it up in a bowl with a little olive oil and some pizza sauce and mozzerrella cheese and a little parm.  This is what it looked like all in the bowl.

Garden vegis in bowl

Then I put this into a 9X12 pan and topped with more cheese, panko and Italian bread crumbs.  I baked it, covered, for about 30 minutes.  Everyone really liked it.  I had some of the vegetable mix left over and so I will be making them into calzones or empanadas tomorrow.

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A Garden Salad

Magical Salad Making Station

Salad Harvest


So, garden food for The Good Life. We try to make a huge portion of our food be in the form of raw vegetables. In the summer, this is an easy task. We have made it easier by making our salads in the garden. No fuss, no mess, no counters to clean! A few years ago we cut down a really great cedar tree that was in our garden making shade where we want the sun to shine. I was so sad about cutting down the tree, it reminded me of when I was young and my great grandpa was having a tree cut from his farm and my aunties and greandma were all sad about it, I thought ‘how stupid to be sad about a tree’, but now I get it.
Well, Isaac turned the tree stump into a little garden table, we put an umbrella on it and keep a bucket under it for our compost, but if lots of lettuce and carrot tops or whatever fall on the ground, no big D. And it’s right by the faucet so cleaning the vegis is a cinch. There is actually a power wash option where we just put our garden basket full of root vegetables under the hose and BLAST. No scrubbing needed. Simplify, simplify, simplify! The perfect vegi prep area. I got a big, clear plastic food storage container from Cash n Carry a while back, and that’s what we keep our salads in. It works way better that a round bowl for our fridge, a real space saver! 🙂
Above are some pictures of this great salad making invention/idea that I’m sure no one else in the whole world has ever thought of. (It was actually all the husband’s idea, none of mine.)

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Linae’s Taco Soup

Linae is the sister. She does once a month cooking and she’s all around amazing.  Here is her recipe:

  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 onion
  • 1 can green chilis diced
  • taco seasoing
  • 1 packet ranch dressing mix
  • 4 cups corn
  • 4 cans stewed tomatoes with juice
  • 16 oz pinto beans
  • 16 oz kidney beans ( I would use black beans instead)

She uses this as a freezer meal.  She cooks for about 30 minutes and then cools it off and freezes it for a freezer meal.  I will be trying this soon and will report on the goodness of it.

 

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Wednesday’s Wise Words

These words mainly come from Helen Nearing’s book, Wise Words for the good life.  I just really love history and the wisdom that comes from the days gone by.  It seems that in a time when people were more in tuned to nature, they had lots of wisdom that is applicable to us today.  We are, for the most part, deprived of the organic, natural world.  The mother earth we owe so much to, that was created so lovingly for us, we are ruining and taking for granted.  We are doing it so fast, too.  We are living a man-made life, rather than a Creator-made life.  We were made to be in tune with the seasons, the moon, the sun.  We were made to EAT what is God-given, to nurture Earth so we can eat from her bounty.  We are trying to learn this as we teach our kids to love the Earth, what she provides for us, and then thank and praise God for it all.

“When the sun rises, I got to work.

When the sun goes down, I take my rest,

I dig the well from which I drink.

I farm the soil that yields my food

I share creation.  Kings can do no more.” ~ Ancient Chinese 2500 B.C.

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Chores and Work Ethic

Let me preface this with: We really want to raise kids equipped for The Good Life. Whatever that may be, for them. We know, though, that being a happy worker is a good thing. So is a worker who has follow through. I know this, I didn’t think I needed the husband to tell me these things, which is why, now that I have written the following post, I believe the conversation started so badly.
Yesterday I was part of an annoying conversation. I’m not sure why it bugged me so badly, but it did. First of all, there was a too-serious tone to it. Secondly, I immediately became defensive, which was probably unnecessary. So, the husband wanted to talk to me about our kids’ work ethic. I automatically considered the conversation all about me and my work ethic. Big surprise there, huh? It took a while, but now I realize he really did mean it to be about THEIR ability to see a job through. The questions he asked us, as parents, were: how much work should be required of them (we expect them to be active members of our household, to feel needed and wanted and necessary to us, rather than having the feel of entitlement.) So, how much time in a day should be free time, to run, play, explore, experiment, pursue hobbies and relationships with friends etc. We feel this is a hugely important part of their growing up years, also. Infact, I once went to a talk at a homeschool group, the most impressionable point that was made was from a survey of people who, as adults, were very successful. These ‘successful’ people had to be considered successful (even by themselves) in the following areas: financially, in their relationships, consider themselves happy, so in lots of ways other than just material, that was her point in explaining ‘successful’. (Mainly, no drug/alcohol abuse, no self loathing, never been to jail, really important things we DON’T want our kids to experience.) There were quite a few threads they had in common, some that I remember the most are: 1. they felt wanted and needed at home, they had responsibilities at home and were depended on. 2. they had lots of free time to explore the world around them. 3. they had limited time with peers, they weren’t over involved in social activities. 4. they had dinner together as a family every night. Interesting information, I thought.
Anyway, back to the point. After the husband and I went around in circles, trying to get to the point, we came to the conclusion that we wanted our kids to have a certain amount of work ethic and have them know they would need to contribute to our household/homestead a certain amount of time each day. If they know this, they would not be surprised and disappointed when the time came to do their jobs. (Just had to stop to pull at tick out of Kitty’s eye. GROSS!) Um, where was I. So, if they know that they will be required to contribute, they will do it HAPPILY and with GREAT effort, right? No whining will be needed. I’ll keep ya’ll posted on that. The other questions is ‘what is work?’ This is the part that bugged me. The husband thinks that work is not cleaning up yesterdays mess, that should have been cleaned as we go. So, this has been left undefined. Due to the fact that he always cleans as he goes, I never do, we are not seeing eye to eye on that point. But, I will keep track of what I have the kids do. Today there was a fair amount of ‘awwww, do I have to?’ Not too much fighting about it, or bickering, which is what I HATE to listen to. Here is what I had them do: Kyler – clean the upstairs bathroom, sink, counter, toilet, floors, clean, scrub and disinfect the camper that Kaleb had cleaned the junk out of yesterday, the fridge, counter, sink, floor, bathroom. Kaleb- unload strainer, downstairs bathroom: sink, toilet, sweep & mop, clean kitchen counters off, move rugs, shoe shelf in laundry room and sweep & mop, sweep deck and stairs off. Maya – feed dog, help fold laundry, feed kitty. She has a ways to go before she gets a bunch of work to do. Not that she’s incapable, but she’s terribly spoiled and I need to fix that. I’ll do that later.
Anyway, here is a picture of the boys working on unloading the wood. Isaac always says that collectting firewood warms you twice, once when you gather it and again when you burn it!

Working for our winter warmth!

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Garden Tour

Here is a photo tour of our garden. We have it worked out pretty well.  Isaac does all the heavy lifting, dirt moving, building of things and ‘squaring off’ (or else everything is crooked and catty-wampus, which I think is cute and quaint, but he dislikes. Very much..  I get the nice, tilled up dirt, um, I mean soil, and I arrange it into the rows (off of the square of posts he has made me by mirac

 

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Beer for The Good Life

Sessions?

So, what do I do when I’ve asked the husband to bring home some Corona and he brings home Sessions beer? They are not the same. It is hot out, we are going boating, and now I have these short, stubby little beers that don’t taste good with lemon!  Corona most certainly wins as the Beer For The Good Life! Well, we actually would have to say, in the ideal Good Life, for us, it would be our home brew. But we have not done that for a while now.  Ideally, we would be adding that into our monthly rituals.  The beer is better, there is less shipping, less processing, less resources being used by us.  But until then . . .

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how to eliminate almost all products, their packaging and eliminate the crap you put on your skin, hair and in your mouth.

Miracle products


Lots of talk always going on about ‘buying green’, but if we don’t buy at all, we don’t have to worry about how recyclable our product containers are. Really, the ‘greenest of all green’ (I don’t care for that term, but it is universally accepted as an adj for what I am talking about) is making do with what you have. Our family moto is “Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do it out.” Buying stuff means you are supporting the industry of mining, shipping, usually slave labor, etc. I still buy a lot of crap, but I’ve been able to limit certain things with just one miracle product. Baking soda, well, 2 miracle products, baking soda and apple cider vinegar. My favorite thing is baking soda. WE haven’t bought toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, facial scrub, stainless steel polish, ajax or similar, in like 5 years. I think I started learning about this stuff when I was pregnant with Maya and she is almost 6. My hair is clean and my kids have NEVER had a cavity, not one single one and they’ve never used flouride toothpaste.

1. Toothpaste: I mix baking soda with the tinniest amount of peppermint oil and tea tree oil. It goes in little bowls, one for each member of the family. That is our toothpaste and it works great. No sugar, no crap, no container to throw away. A clean mouth.

2. Shampoo: We mix a little baking soda in hot water to dissolve and add a little geranium oil to the water and shake and that is shampoo. It doesn’t strip your oils or ruin your hair or make your scalp produce more oil to make up for stripping, no greasy head at all and you don’t need to shampoo your hair as often this way.

3. Conditioner: Apple cider vinegar and water and geranium oil. You can go with the oil. Sometimes I steep the ACV with lavender. About one inch of vinegar in the bottom of a quart jar, fill the rest with water and voila! Shiny, happy hair! You MUST rinse well, you don’t want your hair to smell like a fresh douche!

4. Facial scrub: a little baking soda in your hand, a drop of essential oil of choice and a bit of water and scrub your face. The perfect exfoliator.

5. A tiny bit of grapeseed oil or olive oil as your moisturizer and your good to go.

6. Deodorant: a tiny bit of baking soda on your hands, rubbed on your armpits while you are still a tad bit damp from the shower. Works like a charm.

You could seriously EAT everything you just put on your body, if you do this. No waste, VERY LITTLE money and easy. Who could ask for anything more!

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I haven’t washed my hair in years…….

……with shampoo and conditioner, that is. I’m POO FREE, we’re a NO POO Household! And, no, I don’t stink and my head and hair are both clean. All is use is Baking Soda and water with a few drops of tea tree oil for the wash and apple cider vinegar and water for the rinse. This works great and my scalp has had much fewer issues than ever before. No sodium laurel sulfate on these tresses. I also save money on shampoo and conditioner, I buy apple cider vinegar in big gallon jugs and bulk baking soda. We never run out and I only need to do this about 2X a week. There is something great about leaving your hair to it’s natural state. The natural oils are not stripped from my hair and so my head doesn’t overproduce oil, so it doesn’t need to be washed as often. Now, if I go for a good run and get a good sweat going, I have to wash more often. But, alas, I haven’t ran in a few weeks. But that’s a whole other post. Anyway, here is a picture of my hair.

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Chantrelle Ceviche, Fresh Figs Food for the Good Life

Oh to go back to Gardening Harvesting Season! It snowed today, like 4 inches. Uhg. I like the snow is Nov & Dec, but it’s almost March and we had a taste of some really good Springtime weather. It was just nature teasing us! So, as I was looking back on my pictures, I found this picture of a meal I made for a date night. It was chantrelle (wild mushroom) ceviche and fresh figs. This fall we harvested more chantrelles than you could imagine. I have them dried for soups and also frozen. I just sauteed them in olive oil with garlic and onions, they are great in soups or pizzas or whatever! Isn’t it soooo pretty. Here is the recipe, it comes from Living Raw Food (a great Raw Food recipe book). I didn’t use yuzu juice, I added nasturtium and also used tomatoes and garlic.

Chantrelle Ceviche

Chanterelle and Yuzu Ceviche

with Pineapple-AvocadoPuree and Heirloom-Cherry–Tomato Salsa

Serves 8 | Equipment Needed: Blender

Chanterelle Ceviche Ingredients

1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup extra-virgin
olive oil
2 tablespoons yuzu juice
1 tablespoon sea salt
4 to 5 scallions, green parts only, thinly sliced
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
5 cups cleaned and sliced chanterelle mushrooms

Chanterelle Ceviche Instructions

Place the orange, lemon, and lime juices, yuzu juice, and salt in a blender and blend until well mixed. (It’s important to blend the salt with the juices very well so that the mushrooms will properly break down while marinating. If you don’t feel like using a blender, whisk the mixture thoroughly and make sure the salt is fully dissolved.)

Transfer the mixture to a bowl and whisk in the olive oil, scallions, and pepper.

To prepare the chanterelle mushrooms, first cut off the coarse end of the stem. Then cut the mushrooms into halves or quarters, depending upon the size. Place the cut mushrooms into a bowl of cold water and massage with your hands to remove dirt. Remove the mushrooms from the water and lay them out on paper towels. Pat the mushrooms dry.

Pour the marinade over the mushrooms and let them sit at least 1/2 hour. Set aside.

Pineapple-Avocado Puree

3 cups chopped fresh pineapple (about 1 small pineapple)
3 ripe, yet firm, avocados, peeled and pitted
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

Puree the pineapple in a blender until it becomes a smooth liquid. Add the sea salt and avocados and continue blending until very smooth. Set aside.

Heirloom-Cherry–Tomato Salsa

6 cups heirloom cherry tomatoes, sliced into halves
1 1/2 cups finely diced celery (save the celery hearts for garnish)
1 small bunch parsley (about 2 cups), leaves only, roughly chopped, plus additional sprigs for garnish
3 jalapeños, seeded and finely minced
4 to 5 scallions, the white part and 1 inch of green, sliced very thin
1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt

Place all the ingredients in a bowl and toss until evenly mixed.

To Serve

Set up 8 martini glasses. Place 2 to 3 tablespoons pineapple-avocado puree in the bottom of each glass.

Top with

3 to 4 tablespoons heirloom-tomato salsa, then about 1/4 cup marinated mushrooms. Repeat once or twice, as needed. Garnish with the parsley sprigs and celery heart stalks.

Yum!

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Gadgets and The Good Life With Kids

I think it’s hard to know when to say when with certain things. My kids’ cousins have Wii’s, Kindles, I pods and pads and phones. Inevitably, after a family gathering, the boys come home with a bad case of the ‘I wants’. What we encourage them to think about and what we have also been pondering, is this: At what point is the next best gadget a benefit to your life, a time saver, a tool that you can use, rather than be used BY. We have internet, use it and enjoy it. We have a few computers hooked to the internet, the kids use it for some of their school work and they can play a few games. But, when we get up from our seat in front of the computer, we LEAVE IT BEHIND. I don’t want to be a family where we are all in one room, each of us with our nose in an Iphone, Ipad, kindle or some other electronic thing. We still read books, even outloud to the kids, daily. We play scrabble at the table with eachother, rather than online with strangers. We are really struggling to keep these values as a family, with these internet/electronic world at their fingertips at all times, I think we need to remember and teach that God’s world is worth being present in, we cannot be present when we are constantly checking email, facebook, playing games, keeping in touch with so many ‘friends’ that we miss out on real opportunity for real relationships. The world wide web is always accessible, right in front of our noses, this world of knowledge and unending entertainment. But, our kids are always right beside us, are we missing out on them by being distracted with this virtual world and virtual relationships? Are we letting time slip by us without connecting? If we turn our computers, phones, pads and tv’s off for the day or even just the evening, will the day be more meaningful? I think so.

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A Good Life Day ~ Foraging & Gathering

Our Foraging Dinner

Our Oyster Cook Out

So, we love to forage and gather and just find food for the taking. There is something so great about finding free food that our Earth provides for us, it just makes me wonder why we didn’t know about these things when we were younger. I mean, really, FREE GOOD FOOD. We had a great day. The kids and I made a fire at our fire pit while IZ was kiteboarding. Ky is getting really good at making his one match fires, he’s turned it into a fine art. When IZ got home, he had a great idea to go gather oysters. He and the 3 kids went to a nearby beach on a pretty serious mission, meanwhile, I went for my daily walk. They came back with oysters and Stinging Nettle, which was a real surprise. It’s still February, so winter time nettle is really yummy and tender. They came home and we cooked the oysters up on the BBQ and then put them in a pan of lemon, garlic, butter and cayenne. YUMMY! KY has been working on his woodsman skills and heated water with hot rocks and steamed the nettle. We wrapped our buttery oysters in the nettle and had about the best dinner we’ve had in a long time, well since our last garden harvest anyway! Here are some pictures. I tried to rotate them, but not having much luck with that. Note the Salal leaf plates the kids had us use. It was just a great winter day, outside by the fire, visiting with the kids and teaching them some self reliance, marine biology and playing games like hot potato with hot rocks and putting hot rocks in our pockets to keep us warm. Ahhh, the simple life!

Steamed Stinging Nettle

Washing it all down with some Corona

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Sunday Family Day

Today was a Fun Family Day. We went south, to our Capital city, where we found a mast for out sailboat. Last fall we brought home a 22 ft Catalina sailboat that my uncle gave me. It was a mildewy, soppy mess, a tree had fallen on the mast a few years ago, and the trailer was a rusty hunk of steel. Isaac, the ever amazing refurbisher, completely redid the trailer, sanded the whole thing and painted it with some sort of amazing salt water proof goop. It looks great now! We put a post on craigslist for a wanted: mast. We got exactly what we needed, but we had to pull apart a REALLY yucky boat to get it. We got the mast, the bow pulpit and lots of other good stainless and brass hardware. It was a lot of work, in the cold, but hopefully it will all work. Ahhh, The Good Life: Getting things you need for little or no money, but by the sweat of our brows! Reusing and recycling at it’s best! That wasn’t the fun part of our Family Fun Day. The fun part was our hike. We tried to find a spot where we used to go rock climbing, back in the day. Kaleb LOVES rock climbing, so we’ve been wanting to take him on some real rock. We had to do a bit of searching, it had been about 16 years since we’ve been there. But after about a 4 mile hike, we found it. We had a picnic in the sunshine and all the boys got out their ‘solar panels’ as they call it. Shirtless and soaking up the rays. I kept mine on, by the way!

Yesterday was also a really great outdoor day. It wasn’t near as nice, BUT, I had 6, SIX, of my nephews here! 13, 12, 10, 7, 5, 1 year old boys. Isaac and I took them hiking. We fed them some vegetable soup for lunch and then took off down the road to our secret pond. We played all day, had a camp fire where the boys showed off their scouting skills by making a NW fire in the middle of winter. It was pretty smoky for a while, but eventually it took and we warmed up. It was nice having a baby with us. The little 1 year old felt so cozy and natural on my hip! Made me miss the baby days. Just for a minute.

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I Made A Felt Playhouse!

My felt playhouse! Imaginary play for Good Life Kids!

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Terrarium Fun!


We had a great time making terrariums together. We found some of the glass at the Goodwill for $2.99 each and the vases we found in all of junk. I have lots of cupboards to declutter! These we made for gifts and the kids each made one for themselves. A little garden of their own to care for until it’s time to plant some seeds. That will be a while, I guess, but we are waiting patiently. I have been sprouting lots of seeds for eating, but it’s just not the same thing as planting in soil. I love the smell of soil.

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Family Hikes and The Good Life

We think weekly (or almost weekly) hikes are part of our Good Life. Here are some pictures of some of those. My sweet nephew was with us on this one.

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Our Story – How did we get here?

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The Good Life With Kids

We are inspired by Scott & Helen Nearing’s book, The Good Life, written in the 50′s, I think. My husband and I both loved the book right from the start. We first read the book about 2 years ago and had already started trying to live a simpler, more self reliant life. After reading their book, though, something just hit home with us. There were some huge differences with other books on self reliance that we had read. They also had the goal of being able to travel for part of the year. Travel . . . and homestead? These don’t usually go hand in hand, but it’s also what we’ve been wanting to do. They were able to because they didn’t have animals and ate a vegetarian, very simple diet. They mainly ate what the grew. This is sort of what we have been doing, but not to the same extent they did. Now, we could take so much of what they said in their books and apply it to our lives, but one great big difference stood between us. Kids. We have 3 of them, they didn’t have any. So, this is our journey towards a more simple life, the Good Life, similar to Scott & Helen Nearing, but with the kid twist.

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Our Homeschooling Journey

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We believe homeschooling is part of our Good Life.  This is our fifth year homeschooling our 3 kids.  My oldest is in 7th-ish grade and we started homeschooling him in 3rd grade (besides a half of a year of kindergarten), my middle child is in 4th-ish grade and our youngest is preK.

We have been through quite a lot of curriculum and quite a few styles of homeschooling.  We took a bit from here and a bit from there and have come up with a way that is working for us really well, for now.  We like to have as much leisure time to play outside, explore, learn an instrument, read, play a game etc.  So, we have constructed our days to flow in a certain way that will enable us to get what needs to be done done, so that we can do what we want to do without the ‘have to’s’ looming over our heads.  We have arranged our days into blocks of 4 hours.  The first four hours are for school and paid to work jobs and those projects that must be done around the house.  For the kids and I, we do school from 8:30 to 12:30.  This is usually when Isaac works as a home inspector, for 3 or 4 days a week.  The kids and I don’t do school on Friday’s, that is our cleaning morning.  We clean hard for that time.  If one of the kids doesn’t get his work done in time, he may have to do Friday work.  We almost always have something fun to do on a Friday afternoon.  During the week, we have some things we like to do in the afternoons.  Monday’s we usually stay at home.  Tuesday’s the kids have PE in town plus we go to the library.  Wed we usually stay at home, Thursday is art and PE in town.  Also, my errands are done on this time.

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I will outline our curriculum in another post.  We have an eclectic way about our homeschooling, taking from Classical Education, Charlotte Mason and lots of life learning, with no curriculum at all (the best way to learn.)  I’ve attached a slideshow of us learning, in the house, at the zoo, in the garden, on the beach or on a mountain top.  Enjoy!

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