From the barter basket

I love bartering. I love it! And, should you have any doubt, I love bartering!!!!!!!!!!!

Here you see, 1 can of homemade dill pickles, 3 garden fresh eggplants, and 6 garden fresh pears. This is from my kitchen.  I bartered for…

Plus 6 more still coming!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I totally got the better deal.  Eggs are gold in my homestead.  We eat them every day. Eggs are protein. Eggs are easy. Eggs are gluten-free.  We can easily go through a dozen eggs a day.

I will often get offers of cash as well. I am not opposed to cash but I love the old fashion feel of bartering.  I love seeing what we value more than what we have.  My friend was so happy with what she got and I was more than tickled pink by more fresh eggs.

Bartering has also a sense of friendship attached to it.  Not only do you look for what can help your family but you can also feel like you are blessing someone you love and care for as well.


Bartering. Do you do it?

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Thoughts from the chalkboard

I watched him struggle. His tongue was curling up. His concentration so deep. I thought to interrupt him with an offer to help but something hindered me. I knew if I did, he would give up and not do it at all. My kid is funny that way.
Five years old and determined to keep in touch with his good friend that has recently moved away. Firemen buddies they were. He enthusiastically draws pictures of firetrucks, firemen, Doctor Who, and his pal. Today looked different. He was actually writing words underneath the picture he drew. Rarely does he do that. He did not ask me how to spell anything. The perfectionist in me yearned to make sure it was done right. Sometimes, its a good thing to make sure it is. Not this time.
He finished and proudly showed me. I could read it. It may not all have been spelled correctly but I knew what he was writing about. My heart was so glad.

You see, about a year ago, I worried a lot over Stephen. He showed no interest at all. He was turning 5 and I thought it would be important to learn the alphabet sounds and start the foundation for reading and spelling. He was downright adamant on not learning. He was already a perfectionist. If he didn’t get it right the first time, whether it was writing the alphabet letters, saying the alphabet sounds or whatever, then he absolutely had no interest and “gave up”. I was terrified. Would I have a kid that wouldn’t learn? My daughter was ready to do all this stuff and he was so quick to give up! What would I do when I really had to buckle down on his education?

But then, I watched him. As I took in my younger sister to help my mom out, we all learned to read. Sister did, Euphemia did and when Stephen felt like it, he was encouraged to join.

I had first enlisted the help of my dear mother-in-law who was a teacher for over 2 decades and I used the same manner and skills she did. I think it worked well for her but I just felt very frustrated. It really seemed as though we never moved forward. When my sister came into the picture, she brought with her, Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. I think having such a small amount of doing and learning to do at a time, really helped. Things just went smoothly from there. Stephen grew in leaps in bounds… in so far as education is concerned.

So, I encourage you mothers out there that struggle with feeling that you are adequately doing the job of teaching your children.
I couldn’t help but this as I watched Stephen this evening, of that section in Corinthians 1:
“27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise,… 29 so that no man may boast before God… 31 so that, just as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

As Dori says, “Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming.”

You never know- our children just may surprise us with how much they really are paying attention.

“The boy is happy because he is at the fair” Interpretation by Mom.

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My life in four pictures

The big helper making muffins

The littlest making us laugh. It’s the cute ones you’ve gotta watch out for!

Fixing his Doctor Who gun (or at least making an attempt. )

Learning from big brother

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Happy Birthday Ki-Ki

Yesterday, I did a cool mom thing. I planned a birthday party for my son’s stuffed camel.
Stephen came to me with the declaration that “Tomorrow is Kiki’s birthday.” I did a total on the whim thing. Something I don’t normally think of.
“Would you like to throw Kiki a party? I can make some brownies.” His face was priceless. Like really? Mom? Are you serious? Actual brownies? Not fake pretend ones?
So I wrote it down in my Erin Condren planner (awesome thing btw) and told him it was done.

Tomorrow is now today. It was actually his elder sister that reminded him of his birthday today. The brownies are still on and Stephen made handcuffs as take-away treats. Pretty ingenious too, he took a Barret and two rubber bands to hold it. Yep he’s certainly my lil cowboy.

Part of me hopes that its the moments like these that will reap rewards when he is a quiet teenager and wants to talk to me.

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Facebook has its up and downs for me.  One week I love it, the next moment I hate it.  I think what I dislike most is the fact that I need to learn to exercise self discipline and I am not very good at that. Well, maybe I should say, I really don’t want to do that.

In my effort to redo my life (seems like I have to do that each time we have a new addition to the home) I come across the blog posts of other seasoned mothers that share their tips.  I come across the godly woman that expresses herself in what she has learned.  I read of the homeschooling family that has found their niche in such and such subject.   All of these things are so true. You can see it.  What is frustrating is only being able to see the downside to life and forgetting so easily the good moments.

Each day is a roller coaster in my home.  One minute I am praising my 5year old for almost jumping a reading level and the next I am scolding him for dumping the trash into the next door neighbors yard instead of putting it in the trash can where it belongs.   One second I am dealing with a two year old and his tantrum, the next I am rushing out of the room to hold back my smile when he has done something naughty and is trying to charm his way out of it (smart cookie that kid!) One day the kids will come in with a big grin on their face and say, “Mommy! We’re organizing and cleaning our bedroom.” And the next day you go in and it’s like a bomb went off.

When rolling down the mountain with laughter is when I sit down and right the blogs posts with a smile on my face, finger in my suspenders and my pride next to me like a mountain of garbage.   When we get to the bottom and realize we have to trudge back up that hill is when I frantically look for the fix-it-all posts and write down everything that they are doing and prepare for a radical change and eat humble pie while I am at it.

I think it’s easier to feel like a failure than to except the fact that child rearing takes time. A super amount of patience, self-discipline and time. Time always has a factor in it too. ;)
Time, that precious commodity that is so easily forgotten in a whirlwind of a day.

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You know the bad thing about having a blog? You have to keep it up. If you don’t your wonderful readers don’t visit anymore. It’s kind of the theory with the mail and the mailbox.  If you are not use to receiving mail so you don’t check the mailbox and to your surprise when you finally do… there is a handwritten letter just waiting for your attention inside.

Hello my readers.  Time has not stood still.  I spend every waking moment doing something for my family and my homestead.  The cycle of life.

I kinda went on break from coupon shopping. We had what we needed and to be honest, I am not even sure the deals are that great right now. I remember going to Rite Aid or Walgreens and coming home with at least 3-4 bags of items and now, I pick up one or two or three things here and there. I believe the good old days are behind us.  That being said, this was probably a good week in a long time.
I walked away with $12 in uprewards and paid $7 oop. I bought 3 shampoos, 2 chapsticks, 2 bath salts, 2 nail polishes, and have a raincheck for 2 mocha almonds that I will get for .50 a package.

Hubby started a new diet and we’re eliminating so much food that I am wondering if we’ll be going back to Eden and just eat herbs and vegetables… but even some of those need to be eliminated.  Let’s summarize by saying, this is a good recharge for the budget.  If you think eliminating foods would help the budget, thing again. Hubby needs lots and lots of fuel… and we’re talking premium grade now.

The gardening didn’t really happen this year.  We have some volunteer tomato plants as well as 5 pots with a couple-three plants in each pot.   I wanted to try blueberries in a pot too but sadly, I think our 102F weather is killing it… even in the shade.

The two chickens we have still are doing well. One thing I learned is that a chicken can brood even if there is no rooster.  No article or book I read ever mentioned that.  So here, I had a hen sitting in her box for days, looking at me evily every time I checked on the moody girl, wondering if our heat wave was killing her.  She acted broody so finally on day 4, I called my mother-in-law and asked her if it was possible.  Yep.  Someone needed to explain the birds and the bees to the dear one… and as I considered it my duty, so I did.  The next day she got off, no joke, and hasn’t gotten all queer on me since.  Time will tell.

Summer is coming to a close. We’re doing so well on school that I think we’ll just continue on as if it was normal to do such during the summer.  It is so encouraging to hear your 6, 5, and 2 year old reciting books of the Bible. Your older two learning to read and making it their ambition to read to the younger ones.  Little Ben picking up on mathematics and sounds and repeating it.


Yes, life has certainly been carrying on…

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Book review: Notes from a Blue Bike

Tsh Oxenreider’s new book, Notes From a Blue Bike takes on a journey to a simpler life that we can enjoy living.

I believe Tsh’s idea when she started writing this book was to show how to be intentional about living, I felt however that this was more of a biography of her personal journey to relearning how to live in the United States after being in Turkey for an odd number of years.

If you plan on reading this book as a “how-to” manual for simpler living, I am not sure this is the book for you.  However, It was a refreshing read for me personally. It was down to earth real but still keeping positive about life in general.

If you enjoy reading journals about day to day women with ambition and a way of the desired life, then I think you will enjoy this book.

I also think that Tsh put a lot of her diet struggles within this book so you can kind of see a cultural difference and trying to live with that while maintaining a simple lifestyle.

I felt that in the end Tsh ended up putting aside a lot of what she first started out trying to accomplish (living simply and intentionally) .  The life in which they now live doesn’t fee; like she accomplished in what she herself teaches.

I am not sorry I read the book and will probably read again because I did find some inspiration and encouragement. The style of writing I do enjoy.  I found that I felt like I was sharing a cup of tea with a friend but that doesn’t necessarily mean I want to follow in her footsteps.

3 stars.

Click here for more information on Amazon

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