Thursday, December 31, 2015

2016 word of the year

2015 was a whirlwind of selling, packing, moving - repeatedly packing and moving. Hurry up and wait seemed to be what we did a lot. Now that we are moved and mostly settled I want to focus on a new word for 2016.


I want to do a lot of things slowly this year. I want to eat slowly and enjoy my food. Slow down and listen to my kids even when they seem to go on forever. Take our time going places, and enjoy the slow pace my younger two give me when we are out and about. Slow down and cuddle with my husband and kids. Slow down and think about what really needs to be done *right now* and what is just fluff that can wait. 

Sure, sometimes we will need to pick up the pace and get somewhere or get something done. But my focus in 2016 is to slow down and be more mindful. So my word for the year is slow. Do you have a word of the year or a focus you will bring for 2016?

Friday, December 25, 2015

This moment

{this moment} ~ A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Small Batch Beard Balm with only 3 ingredients

What am I doing talking about beard balm??  Well, my gorgeous husband decided to grow a beard for me.  (I only asked for a year... or two... maybe 3?)  Anyhow, I wanted to make him some beard balm for his new furry chin to keep it conditioned and soothe his skin underneath.  Apparently skin can get kind of dry under there.  Who knew?

Searching the internet for a recipe, they all called for huge amounts of ingredients I didn't have that made batches of 6 or more.  I only know two men with beards, so I decided to make my own after checking out many, many recipes.

Here are the required ingredients for two 2oz tins:

Coconut oil (I buy as a co-op from here)
Beeswax (I got mine locally from a man who sells honey, but you can get on Amazon also)
Essential oil of your choice (I chose a blend of peppermint and orange)
2 - 2oz tins or holders of your choice (I bought a 6 pack of these 2 oz twist lid tins on Amazon, I will use them for other salves)

That's right, 3 ingredients plus a holder!  Can it get much simpler?

Why did I chose these ingredients?
Beeswax - helps manage the beard, conditions, and smells fabulous
Coconut oil - also helps manage the beard, but mainly for conditioning purposes and soothing the skin.  Also, smells fabulous!
Essential oil - while this smelled pretty good on its own, I love adding essential oils for both their fragrance and their health benefits.

How to make it:

Scrape off about 1/3 of an ounce of beeswax into a heat-proof bowl.
Add a few spoonfuls of coconut oil (about 3.5-4 oz)
Melt in a microwave in 15-30 second intervals (starting with the higher, and less as you go on - don't over heat!) stirring quite a bit in between heating sessions.
Once it is all melted, add in approximately 10 drops of your (or, his rather) favorite essential oil.  Mix well with a spoon.
Pour into tins, allow to cool, accept praise.  You're welcome.


Pic to show approximately how much beeswax I used off of a 1 oz bar. Also, the one on the left is cooled, the one on the right is cooling to show the difference.  

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Plum Creek Popcorn String

For day 22 I thought it would be fun to make a gift for our bird friends, and maybe a couple for our tree as well. 
Another project from the Little House book of Christmas Crafts - Plum Creek Popcorn Strings. 
The girls did such a wonderful job - though Kaybug gave up and ate more popcorn than she strung.  Hers ended up a little short. Haha!
But Jujubee and CocoBear loved it and made theirs very long.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Ma's Clove Apple

It's no secret we love Little House on the Prarie around here. Last week I found the "My Little House Christmas Crafts" book at the library and we are making some of the crafts this week. 
First up is Ma's Clove Apple
CocoBear and Kaybug had a little trouble getting the cloves poked in, but finished   

Jujubee had more fun and created a design in hers.
I love that we are taking a break from lessons and have time to make fun crafts and gifts this week before Christmas. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015


We have at least 10 hats around here. That's 2+ hats per person!  However when it's cold out and time to go outside, someone is always missing one. That was the case today.
I have had a wool sweater for a few years that I picked up at goodwill. I've made so many things from it!  Wool longies for Kaybug when she was in diapers from the sleeves, bean bags from the main body, and now... A hat from the turtle neck.  And I still have more sweater left! 
It's not the most round, perfect hat, but it keeps the ears and head warm!  All I did was cut the turtle neck part of the sweater off, needle felted a heart on it, and sewed up the top. Voila!  Instant hat! I can't wait to give it to her!

Kaybug's favorite winter story

We have a lot of books (understatement?), and I feel like leaving them out all the time can be overwhelming for little kids - and can turn into a big mess!  So I rotate books out every so often, especially for holidays and season changes.
We have our all-year-round favorites like "The Great Gracie Chase", "Goodnight Moon", etc. But for winter, this book has been a favorite among all three kids at some point. Most recently being Kaybug. 
She requests I read it nearly every day for nap, and I'm happy to be a part of it, occasionally changing "Sam" to "Kaybug" which always gets a smile. 
It is called "You Can Do It, Sam" by Amy Hest. The story is about a bear and his mama who bake cakes and then deliver them to their friends on Plum Street. Sam - the very brave bear that he is, walks to each door "all by himself". It's such a sweet story, and always makes me want to run to the kitchen to do the same. If you are looking for a good book to put under the tree for your little ones, Kaybug would like to recommend this one. 

Friday, December 11, 2015

This moment

{this moment} ~ A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.


Christmas pants - for the dolls!

Last week, I made the girls their christmas pj pants to wear for Saint Nicholas day and Christmas. Normally I don't give them out until Christmas Eve, which means I don't have anything to give them this year on Christmas Eve.
Instead, the dolls will get theirs!  
This pattern is by fleece fun, it is the free basic pattern and it is SO quick and easy. Especially if using a knit, fleece, or minky. You don't even have to hem them. I'm all about quick and easy when I have 1,000 things to do before Christmas. 
Miss Kitty, however, had different plans. Thankfully I have two chairs and just rolled hers away from the machine. She has a hurt hip/leg so I just couldn't move her. Look how cute she is!  
Ok, back to the pants. I got two pairs done in about 20 minutes, and another cut out. I'm not kidding when I say quick and easy. My 10 year old made a minky pair for her 6 yo sisters doll in about 30 minutes a few days ago. 
3 Christmas Eve gifts down!  Now I just need to make little white t-shirts for them. 
2 weeks until Christmas....

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Advent days 4-10

I decided a post a day for advent may be boring, so I'm consolidating!  
Day 4 was going to be an art project, but these awesome boxes from Lowe's arrived so we altered our plans and enjoyed them instead. 
On day 5, we went to see Santa arrive via helicopter and then watched the parade. Here he stopped to take a picture with the girls!  So exciting!
Saint Nick came on the 6th day. Here are the girls in their new mommy-made pj pants. We also put our tree up. 
The 7th, we made paper snowflakes, and they are now decorating the entire house...
Day 8, I'm going to have to come back to because I can't remember!  
Day 9 was family game night 
And today, day 10, the girls will be putting on a "fashion show" which is one of their favorite things to do!  

Trying to come up with something every day is hard!  But the girls love it so much, so I don't mind. 😊

Monday, December 7, 2015

It's just "temporary"

We brought our chickens home in late October, and - against my better judgement - went ahead and used our previous run. "Temporarily" of course. Just until we get the new run up!  

Well, it is December 7th and the ladies have turned everything that was once green into a lovely shade of brown. They are also restless and tired of their 18'x6' accommodations. Unfortunately we do not feel safe free ranging them here for a couple reasons. First, there aren't any trees near the run, and I feel like they would be huge prey to the many predators. Second, I have seen several stray cats and dogs around. My neighbors dog also is incredibly smart and climbs his fence. I don't know if he would hurt the chickens but I'm not willing to take that chance. 

So, what is a crazy chicken momma to do?  Install yet another "temporary" thing, obviously!  I was desperate the other day and used garden fabric and clamps. It worked okay for that day, but wasn't something I could use often. 
Saturday I ran to Lowe's and picked up 100' of lovely construction fencing and 4 t-posts. Voila!  Instant run!  It is not predator proof, and I will only let them out when I am right there, but the ladies sure were happy with their extended buffet!!
Of course, this is only temporary... 😉

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Advent day 2

The girls enjoyed putting together the advent spiral last night and lighting our first candle. The first light of advent is the light of stones, so we put one of our crystals next to the spiral. It amazes me how in awe they were, I love this tradition.

 Then we listened to the sparkle story for day 1. Jujubee decided she does want to listen, so we will begin and see how it goes. 

Today is day 2, and Kevin and I decided on Rudolph and popcorn for after dinner tonight. I'm sure the girls will love it. 

I am no chalkboard artist!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Advent day 1

Each morning, I try to wake an hour or so before the kids and have some quiet time to pause, reflect on yesterday, plan today, to write, and just be still.  I am so grateful for this short period of time I gift myself.  Some days it is the only quiet time I have, alone, and it helps me get through the day.  

It is dark outside right now and almost 7:00.  I feel for my husband who leaves for work early and comes home after dark.  I cannot imagine not seeing the sun each day, but that is just how this season goes.  

Today is December 1st, and for my family it is the first day we celebrate of Advent.  Normally we listen to these wonderful Advent stories by Sparkle Stories, but since we have listened to the same ones for two years, Jujubee has requested we do something different.  I can’t blame her, but I did love that little pause at the end of the day where even I could listen to a story, instead of being the host.  

So, this year, I am trying something different.  I have dug a basket out of the boxes still in the basement and decided to put a note, activity, book, movie, etc in it each day for the kids to find.  Today, they will find our Advent spiral and candles.  They will build it on our plant window and we will light a candle for each day as we progress through Advent.  Now, I just need to plan the other 23 days…

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Full days

A lot goes on in a day, even if it feels like nothing got accomplished.   We are enjoying a more relaxed feel to our days, and also having more of a rhythm than we did during the moving.  Here are a few things I get to enjoy as I do my daily tasks.  

Kaybug doing a good job imitating her sisters, and following me around so I can be her audience. 

Jujubee received this loom for Christmas last year.  She finally finished it yesterday!  Now to move on to prettier yarn!  

Cocobear found the hypotrochoid (spirograph)
 set in our game closet.  We got it for a long car trip/vacation and it has been a lot of fun.

Our newest addition, Miss Kitty, follows me around the yard.  Especially when I'm inside the chicken coop.  

Oh Fluffy, how very un-fluffy you are right now.  Hopefully this molt is over soon.  It is getting cold!!

Such sweet, full days that go so fast.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

My Little Planner

People often comment on how much my oldest, Jujubee, looks like me.  Though she is tall and thin like her father, she has tan skin, brown hair, and brown eyes like me.  Even more than looks, she is much like me in personality.  Quiet, shy, very timid, embarrasses easily, is quite emotional, and...
LOVES to plan.  

This was her desk when I went in to her room to find her.  Her current book (Magic Tree House - Thanksgiving on Thursday), planner, spelling list, scissors, and lots of colored pens.  (And that adorable mushroom fairy artwork?  My friend Paige painted it.  Isn't it adorable?)

She color codes the subjects like I do.  

I gave her one of the planners I make for this school year, and she was so excited I thought she might cry.  She immediately broke out her pens, her syllabus, and her dry erase board.  Also like me, she has to plan before she can plan.  Don't want to mess up your pretty planner!  

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Starting a farm

Starting a farm… is that what we are doing?  For so long we have dreamed about our new home and what kind of adventures it may bring.  Now that our house on land is a reality, I am bursting with excitement and trying to focus on what we need to do first.  

The house and land are pretty much blank slates.  Outside, a large, open field that was previously farmed by a neighbor.  It isn’t a ton of land, just four acres, but plenty to start with.  There is a lot of pretty landscaping (we won’t know exactly what we have until spring, as it was a tad overgrown!), a few trees, and, so far, good neighbors. 

Inside, mostly white walls and open spaces.  It is a little bit dated, but not much (and I happen to like oak).  The carpet… well, there isn’t much we can do about that right now.  It is in like-new condition and I can’t feel good about tearing it out just yet.  Thankfully it hasn’t clashed *too much* with our current style and I’m quite alright with making due with what we have.  Wood floors are something we are dreaming of, after finally putting them in our last house.  A lot of paint, our furniture and decor, and it really feels like home now!  

The outside is where my wheels are turning.  We already have 5 chickens that we brought with us.  Hopefully all of our Buff Orpington, Lucy’s broodiness will work out in the spring and we can hatch a few chicks.  (Fingers crossed they aren’t all roosters!)  We are also beginning plans for a nice big garden.  Behind that, we will likely allow our neighbor to harvest another year until we can build our barn.  Eventually I would love fruit trees, berry bushes, herbs, and enough space to grow some of our own hay/feed.  

A barn is an expensive item, and not one we can afford immediately.  We have an attached garage but no outside storage whatsoever, not even a shed.  I am thankful we at least have the garage, that is where all of our lawn, garden, tools, etc are stored currently.  However, I would prefer to use the garage for - of all things - our cars.  Not to mention, I don’t think goats in the garage would be a great idea.  

We aren’t positive on the goats. Not yet.  But we are reading, researching, studying, talking.  Though making a little side money is certainly a benefit, we are most interested right now in becoming more self sufficient.  Our garden will help tremendously, the chickens are great little egg layers and compost makers.  The next logical step for us, is goats.  Milk, cheese, cream, yogurt, etc.  Goats are a lot of work though.  They have to be milked and fed twice a day, drink lots of water, let out to pasture, their stalls need mucked out, and so much more.  Thankfully I have 3 little helpers and an awesome husband, but I know much of the work will land on me.  I still have some thinking to do.

The possibilities are endless, and I am enjoying thinking of as many as I can.  

Friday, November 20, 2015

This moment

{this moment} ~ A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Friday, November 6, 2015

This moment

{this moment} ~ A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Thursday, November 5, 2015


In August of 2014 we listed our house for sale.  My husband and I had the house built for us in 2002 and we enjoyed nearly 13 years there starting a family and raising our babies.  We have been dreaming for a few years now that we would like more land for the kids to roam, and maybe even have some animals.  Restrictions, and other incidents I won't get into gave us our push and we listed our house.  Over 6 months after we listed it, we accepted an offer.  We closed in April and moved out on May 3rd.

When we sold our house, my husbands boss took him aside and let him know the shop he was working in would be closing but didn't have a specific time frame.  Talk about devastating.  We just sold our house, didn't have another in mind, and were living in my parents 2 bedroom house temporarily (while they stayed at their campground resort in Indiana).  They let him know that they really valued him as an employee, and would like him to relocate to their new Indiana location.  So, our new options were stay in Ohio and not have a job in the near future, or move to Indiana.

Can I tell you how hard it is to shop for houses when you aren't in the same state?  Thankfully it was only a 2-2.5 hour drive, but that is 4-5 hours of driving time in a day.  We have 3 kids (who do not do well for long trips!).  Challenging is a good word to describe life this past year!  It took us several trips, many MANY house showings, and 6 months to find a house, close on it, and move in.  September 11th, we closed on our new home, and our belongings arrived on the 18th.

For a long time, I have been a believer that things happen when they should happen.  Not a minute before.  If our home had sold any earlier, his boss wouldn't yet have known our shop was closing, and we would have purchased a new home in Ohio - only to be out of a job months later.  If we had found a home immediately following selling our house, my husband would have been commuting between Ohio and Indiana for months.  And, if we had bought just any house, we wouldn't have found a home that fits us perfectly on just under 5 acres.  I'll take you on a tour in another post.  ;)

So, my apologies for not getting as much accomplished with the planners this year as I had hoped!  It has been quite a ride!  This week is the last week my husband will be commuting and he will finally be HOME for good!  I am so grateful for everything that has fallen into place for us.  We are excited to make new memories with our girls in our new home - and to plan out what that 4 acre back yard means for us!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

2015/2016 homeschool planner

I had good intentions for this year.  Could it really be November already?  I am happy to say I did, at least, get a new planner created.  I had so much fun with the woodland design and am so thankful to Harper Finch for allowing me to use her adorable designs in the planner.

This planner was both fun, and challenging for me.  Once I got going, it was a blast and all came together so well!  The challenge was deciding what to improve from the last version, and choosing a format.  My downfall, I think, was too many options!  I am one who want to please everyone, so I made several formats available.  However, it seemed to be overwhelming to my wonderful customers, and I have to agree.  I didn't have a way to really explain the differences in the planners, so everyone just thought "which one do I need?!"  I also noticed that many of you preferred last years version - the spiral watercolor.  I am unsure if it was because of the wonderful watercolor images, or the format.  (Feedback welcome!!)  I did keep aspects of the previous version and designed it with Waldorf and Oak Meadow homeschooling in mind once again.  (Though I didn't label them as specifically - some thought it was a little too restricting)

As for my good intentions, well, I have big plans every year!  I had planned to get a student planner out, as well as an A5 format for those of you who prefer a smaller planner.  I did make this planner less seasonally inspired so I wouldn't exclude anyone in the Southern Hemisphere.  And of course, I somehow let a mistake or two slip past me.  It is such an embarrassing thing to have happen.  I am thankful to those of you who pointed it out with grace and understand that I am human.  As of right now, I am still just a one-woman show and had quite a bit going on this summer during the planner creation.

Don't forget, you can still get them in my Etsy shop in both PDF files as well as a printed and bound version!

So, what are your thoughts?  Did you like the new planner?  Prefer the spiral watercolor?  Which format do you prefer?  Or... what do you wish it would have instead!?