After 5 years of being a stay-at-home mom, I found the wonder of mothering slowly starting to get crowded out by the mundane feeling. I realized our world seems to surround people with the negative, and complaining about blessings seems totally acceptable. So I decided to fight against that "normalcy" and focus only on the positive. I look back to my first year as a mom when everything was new and keeping house was fun and I aim to have that attitude again. This blog is my outlet to showcase the daily miracles that surround me in my blessed life as a stay-at-home mom so that I will never forget the wonder of it all.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Peas and Carrots

Gardening friends, what's wrong with my carrots?

I picked them when I thought I was supposed to, when their orange tops were poking up quite a bit out of the dirt.  But they're so stumpy.  I think we have nice good loose soil for them, so I don't think that's the problem.  I guess I could have picked them too early but I thought you're supposed to pick them when you can see their tops out of the soil well.  ???  I didn't thin them as seedlings b/c I just hated plucking out perfectly wonderful little sprouts.  :)  Could that be the problem?

Never the less, I ate them.  I served myself up a bowl of rice with carrots and peas from my garden.  :)  They were a tad more bitter than I'd like, but I did enjoy eating the fruits of my labor.

And of course the bunny girls thought the carrot tops were heavenly.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Today Worked

We schooled with the bunnies...outside....a LONG distance away from the table.  :)

We all participated.

Felicity practiced cutting while Logan and I continued our discussions about Fall.

And then we put those discussions to a practical use and started our Fall compost pile.  Logan worked hard, didn't complain once, and after we were done sweeping up our driveway and walk, he ran off to sweep the neighbor's driveway and add their leaves to our pile.  He sifted out bits of plastic and other junk.  His work ethic made me proud. 
Oh, and this was just the start of our pile.  :)  Its much bigger now.

letting go...

Thank You

I purposely didn't blog for a few days as I just took some time to step back, to think, and to leave my camera behind.  Yes, I could have taken pics when Lissy helped me harvest our sunflower seeds....meticulously.  :)  And yes, I could have shared with you pics of our FULL day out on the coast, just the five of us, soaking up sun, play, books, good food, and much needed family time.  And yes, I could share with you Kian's baby doll I'm racing to finish by his SECOND birthday this week.  But instead, I decided to just forget it.  I left the camera behind and just soaked up the weekend.

I also did a lot of thinking.  First of all, thank you to ALL of you who replied to my two "frustrated with homeschooling" posts.  The outpouring of love and support was so surprising and uplifting.  I won't go into much detail, but I will tell you two things I realized.  One, I attended public school from preschool through college.  Then, in college, I was trained to TEACH public school.  Though I always hated all the testing, bookwork, and standards while I was credentialing, its all I know.  I have known NO different.  I was a student of this method, and a teacher.  We always knew we wanted to homeschool and I knew all those things I hated would not be a part of our day, but it is all so ingrained, I have a hard time stepping back and knowing how to do it differently.  So, I plan to read some books on unschooling and other methods (suggestions?), and find some inner courage to throw the "system" aside.  Two, I need to deal with a few discipline issues with Logan.  I love him.  I love who he is.  I don't want to wish that he was more bookish, making homeschool easier.  I love that he is such a free spirit.  He is more naive than his peers because he is so free and happy.  And I love that about him.  Yes, that makes accomplishing NEAT work a bit more of a task.  I need to hover a lot.  But I need to realize that comes with his free nature and I definitely don't want that to change.  I need to teach him to take pride in doing neat work, but I also need to step back and let his free spirit just go, or I'll stifle it.

So, that's what I've learned, through your wonderful support and through a lot of thinking this weekend.  On Friday we put the books aside and welcomed in Fall by starting to do lessons revolving around Fall.  Just simple stuff I found online and fun activities.  Felicity and Logan were thrilled and kept talking about all the changes Fall brings.  Then that night out to dinner, Logan started pumping out written letters all over his coloring place mat.  I nearly cried.  The letters we fought over last week came flooding out under the more relaxed turn we took on Friday.  So, there in the restaurant, we unschooled and challenged he and Lissy with more letters to write. 

I think we will find our way.

Now to see if I can return those textbooks.  :)

By the way, my wonderful friend Kim did an interview with me on her blog today.  I thought I'd have a wonderful "WELCOME FALL" post for her blog readers to see when they came over from her blog.  Alas, this is life right now, and my blog is all about our lives.  So, Simply Blythe readers, sorry you caught me in a bit of a struggle, but welcome, and I hope I don't scare you off.  :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Another bad day of homeschooling.  Today, even Logan was discouraged.  I'm angry, he cried, I feel ready to throw in the towel. 

I decided to throw aside the heavy curriculum which made us sit side by side at the table for HOURS yesterday, SLOWLY walking through each tiny step.  I have two other kids.  I can't sit at a table for HOURS.  And I don't want Logan to either.  He's six!  So, today I asked he and Lissy what they'd like to learn about.  Butterflies, dragons, and owls were the choices.  So I had Logan write down each of the choices (which was like pulling teeth), and we put them in a basket.  We drew a card and it was "butterfly".  So we started to learn about butterflies.  Things were good then (other than the pulling teeth incident), and the kids were excited.  We did an art project and then I decided to teach them how to draw a butterfly in the simple form of drawing two B's, one correctly and one backwards, and putting them together to make a butterfly.  I asked Logan to put his pencil at the top of the B, he froze.  He just couldn't do it.  ????!!!!  This is common.  And it frustrates me to no end.  How am I supposed to teach him how to read if he can't follow the simple instruction, "put your pencil at the top of the B"?  I feel so lost with this.  I hate the thought of him in public school but I refuse to homeschool if it means me ending in wanting to get out of the house for a break, and he in tears.  So far, this year is getting off to a horrible start.

Monday, September 19, 2011


Well, today was our first official day of homeschooling this year.

How did it go?  Just OK.  Logan did GREAT!  I was discouraged.  It was SO much bookwork!  In fact, I can't believe he stuck with it for so long.  He really pushed through and did fabulous.  But its just too much.  Last year I fought with myself about teaching methods.  I'm a trained teacher.  I was trained to test, meet standards, and document.  And though I hated all of that while credentialing, its really all I know.  No, I don't test Logan, but I do worry about him being up to standards and documented. 
The standards thing makes no sense to me.  I tell myself if we learn about the states because he's interested in them NOW, instead of waiting till 5th grade when its normally covered (I think), who cares.  He learned it.  But I still struggle with wanting him "at level."  I dont' know why.  Maybe because I'm afraid if people question where he is, they will compare him to the standards and only see where he's behind, and not see where he's ahead.  I'm so afraid of someone...who, I don't know...judging his capability because he's homeschooled.
But the documentation, that's where I really falter.  I'd LOVE to completely do unschooling.  But I fear how that will look on paper when he wants to go to college.  And even if I waste a ton of time researching laws, etc, it really doesn't matter.  The laws will change MULTIPLE times before he is ready to graduate High School.

Why do I fight myself?  Why can't I just throw it all to the wind and FULLY embrace unschooling?

In my head I think, "I don't even know HOW to unschool!  If someone could just show me."  Really, that's ridiculous because I believe unschooling is what YOU make of it.  Its you.  Your rhythm, your motivation, your speed, your desires.  Is it something you model after another unschooling family?  My mind says of course not, because that would be taking another family's "curriculum" (for lack of better words) and making it our own.  But then again, some guidance in the unschooling direction would be nice.  I'm just so fearful of making the wrong decision and it affecting my child's future opportunities.  But oh, his nose in workbooks all day is NOT what I envisioned when I dreamed of homeschooling one day. 

Any suggestions out there?
Sorry for the vent.  I know it sounds confusing, but I decided to not edit it.  It gives you a look into my confused brain.

On a happier note, there's my 1st grader and his little sis using their bright minds to make a cool toy even better.  Adding the slide to the trough....brilliant.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Questions and Patience

Kian, "What's THAT, Papa?"
Papa, "A charger."
Kian, "What's its NAME, Papa?"
Papa, "Charger."

Felicity, "What's THAT, Papa?"
Papa, "The wiper fluid."

Logan, "Why is that plugged in, Papa?"
Papa, "To charge my battery."

Kian, "What's THAT, Papa?"
Papa, "The charger."
Kian, "What's it NAME, Papa?"
Papa, "Charger."

Felicity, "What's THAT, Papa?"
Papa, "My headlights."

Logan, "And what's THAT, Papa?"
Papa, "That's where I put the oil."

Kian, "What's THAT, Papa?"
Papa, "The charger."
Kian, "What's its NAME, Papa?"
Papa, "Charger."

Logan, "What are you doing, Papa?"
Papa, "Reading my manual."

Felicity, "Whatcha doin, Papa?"
Papa, "Reading my manual."

Logan, "Why are you reading that, Papa?"
Papa, "I'm trying to figure out what's wrong with my battery."

(Kian and Felicity frantically push all the buttons they can find)

Logan, "What's that, Papa?"
Papa, "The engine."

Kian, "What's THAT, Papa?"
Papa, "The charger."
Kian, "What's its name, Papa?"
Papa, "Charger."

Felicity, "What's THAT, Papa?"
Papa, "That's the horn."

Kian, "What's THAT, Papa?"
Papa, "The charger."
Kian, "What's its NAME, Papa?"
Papa, "Charger."
Kian, "Oh."

Everyone needs the patience of a good Papa to ask lots of very important questions to....LOTS.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Sheep Trough

Felicity and I were on the front porch the other day when my Papa drove up with something BIG hanging out of the trunk of his car.

A sheep trough!!!

A month or so ago, I had told my Papa how I HATE those big plastic pools that are only really used for one season, then they crack, and get thrown into the land fill.  Can you imagine how many of those are in there!?  Anyways, I told him how if we had the money, I'd buy a big watering trough for the kids to play in.  He got this as the kids' combined birthday and Christmas presents for the year.

Denver finds it handy too.

As fun as it looks, I've just dipped my feet in, or my head, which really does lower my body temp on these HOT days.  And though many of my blog friends are reporting Autumn like weather, color changes, and falling leaves, we here could quite possibly have another month and a half of water play weather left.

And no water waste here.  At the end of the day, I just bucket the water out and use it to water the garden.


After they get cooled down, Logan and Lissy like to lay on the sun soaked cement to warm up, even though its in the hundreds outside these days.  Just because they're cute, I'll leave you with some pics of my sun bathers.


Monday, September 12, 2011

Camp Felicity

For Felicity's birthday camping trip, we went to the Los Padres National Forest, which is a place I spent a lot of time at as a kid.  Its one of my favorite places and it was so fun to take the kids there.

There was some flashlight play....

....learning how to start the camp fire...

....learning how to BBQ...

...a visit from a wonderful High School friend whom I hadn't seen for FIVE years....

...some typical boy play...

.....and some treasure collecting.

There was also an AMAZING thunder and lightning storm to awaken to one morning.  And coffee to brew under the canvas eave of the tent to help start the day REGARDLESS of the storm.

And there was rain to watch from our tent door, in our PJ's.

And of course, there was LOTS of play in the creek.

The kids even got to watch a pet duck swim around in the creek.  Her owners had brought her camping.  Yes, their duck.  The lady said she flew around their camp site but always returned.  She swam all over the creek with her owners and the kids loved watching her.  And sure enough, the owners had no problem getting her back to their campsite because the next day, on a walk, we saw the duck in her camp.

And thus ends Felicity's fourth birthday.

"Mama, when it my birthday again?"
"12 months honey."
"12 MONTHS!?   **sigh**"

Thursday, September 8, 2011

In Our Garden

The tomatoes are FINALLY coming and there.  I've resigned to the fact that we'll not get enough at once to can, but probably have too many cherry tomatoes for ourselves alone.  What to do?  Time to make neighbor baskets I guess.  I was really hoping to can tomatoes this year.
Next year.

If you came to visit, you might have to step around the tomatoes taking over the front step railing.

Carrots are coming.

Our "Watermelon" turned orange.
This was growing before we bought pumpkin seeds so I have NO clue how this came to volunteer in our garden.

The volunteer sunflowers are going to seed, supplying the birds with a treat, and a few more volunteers for us I hope.

And these beauties are possibly the neatest thing to watch grow.  No wonder they're called eggplants.  It certainly does look like the plant is painfully and slowly laying an egg.
I love it.
The corn is done, and we won't be planting it again.  :(  We just don't have the room for it to be worth while, which makes me sad because my kids like corn.  The more we've gotten into this urban homesteading, the more grossed out we get when we buy produce in the store full of chemicals and pesticides.  We can't afford to buy organic, which is why we'd like to grow as much as possible.

Speaking of organic, would you care for some organic weeds?  Our bunny girls LOVE them.  I don't know why I didn't think to feed them these sooner.  I'm just a beginner urban homesteader.  :)  I've been picking them bucket loads each day as I work in the garden, and they devour them.  I'd rather turn good organic weeds into good organic bunny fertilizer than just throw it in our green waste.  These cyclical things make me very happy.