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I was so excited to find these guys and their blog!
This is a pic of the couple (taken from their website with permission)
In their own words:
We are a recovering, 40-year-old, Type-A couple who learned that living large is not necessarily living well. We did all the typical things people do in their 20s and 30s: climb the corporate ladder, get married, buy a house, get divorced, climb the ladder some more, get married again, accumulate more crap, and keep repeating the process like hamsters on a wheel.
We were in love with each other but not with our lives.
After a serious wakeup call, we decided to focus on what matters and get rid of everything else.
What we kept:
A sense of adventure
What we trashed:
Everything that would not fit into our backpacks
Living by someone else’s rules
Debt and obligation
What do you get when you do the math from that equation? An open-ended trip around the world.
How cool is that! Check out their blog and follow it with me (if you aren’t already… because they are so cool).
They are living their dream. Your dream might not be travel, but as long as your dream includes something beyond the treadmill of the familiar and easy, these guys have hints, tips and even a BOOK to help you. I really like these guys because my dream is travel too.
I read their book in the past few days and really enjoyed it! It is practical and fun.
Do you have a favorite blog or your own blog you would like to share?
This past sunday the kids went to play at grandma’s for the day and Bryon and I wandered kid-less for a few hours downtown. These are some of the pictures he took.
I want to start off by saying that in no way am I saying that anyone needs to be more than a mom to be fulfilled. I am a stay-at-home mom. I am also not saying that being a mom isn’t super important to me. It is my biggest responsibility and my greatest job.
That being said, I am more than a mom.
Becoming a mom is the single largest identity change. Graduating from college, getting married, getting the corner office, none of these are close to the social change that comes from becoming a mother. (probably the biggest personal and physical change too)
I was someone before I had kids, and I will be someone after they leave home. I want my life and how I see myself as well as others and society to remember that identity.
I am not talking about doing, this isn’t a post about working or non-working mom’s, I am talking about who I am.
Sure the world is going to end, but convinced I need to trust God and enjoy life, only dealing with what can make a difference and not stressing about what I can’t change… or packing cans in the basement. … this isn’t a problem we can work out or plan for beyond staying close to Jesus.
Accepting of others but unsure how to culturally meet several
Live life in fast/happy or slow/sad swing
Don’t watch TV or movies much, I get too emotionally drained
Don’t watch or read the news (see #15)
Believe that most of life is what we create, how we respond and what glasses we choose to look through
Not near as strong or healthy as I wish I was, but determined to keep working on it
I don’t spell very whell
Have been in 7 countries and really hope to multiply that by 10 or so if I get the chance
Love my life
In love with my husband more than when we were married
Really this is a post about stereotypes (motherhood is just the big one I see everyday). It is hard with human nature to look beyond them. But, I am learning the joy of taking the time to look past the outside and obvious parts of a person and finding some of their true self. Often, even though the outside/obvious person doesn’t seem similar or have ‘friend potential’, the inside has pieces identical to mine.
I would like to think I live big. I also live small.
Let me explain. Within my grasp of walking or driving I have access to a nice pool, several parks, shops, a great library and even a world class zoo. The great thing is that I don’t have to pay to maintain any of it. (The small membership fee for the zoo is nothing compared to what we get)
Our living is much bigger, smaller:
First off the library. Sure we used our local branch on the edge of town, but we also housed several hundred books in the house. Our whole family are readers (now even my 4 year old, I am so proud). They usually didn’t cost much, especially the kids books because we got them at garage sale or gifts. What they did cost was space and clean up time. The kids had books all over their rooms and playroom all the time! My son would also come into my room and clean off my book shelf. We got rid of over 90% of them. As a family we have access to 160 books at a time from the library, and it is only a mile away. Sure, we still have piles at the house, but they are smaller piles and they are different books every week.
That stack of books next to Lily.. that is just her getting started
Here is Ian showing me what books he wants to look for.
Second the pool. I really wanted to make sure my kids learned to swim a few year ago, and they need practice a well as swim lessons so we got a 15′ above ground pool for the back yard. We spent hours trying to get that thing to work. Our first problem was that the yard had a gradual slope so we went at it with shovels. We ended up with a hole in the yard and it was still not flat. Second, I hated messing with chemicals. Third, we couldn’t keep the leaves out of it. Fourth, it was cold…. you get the idea. Now we have an awesome warm, clean, indoor pool and hot tub at our apartment without even a gym membership cost. Even if we needed to pay a gym membership it would be less money and stress than all that maintenance.
Just in the last week he has been practicing without his life jacket. He can’t really touch that well, even in the shallow end. He is a nut though. He has been practicing with the jacket so well that when we took it off he could swim about 10 feet on his own.
Lily is a fish, she spends more time under the water than above it.
Third the parks. We had a gym set in the back yard for the kids… we got it for free and we gave it away for free… it wasn’t that great. Now we have a few parks within walking distance and some really good ones just a short drive away. The great part for the kids is that they even come with playmates most days.
Lily at the park
Forth, we are much closer now to the zoo and stores which saves time and gas.
I thought this looked cute. Looks like he is trying to get the tiger to bite his ear, but he is probably just trying to hide behind it as soon as daddy pulled out the camera.
Both kids love bounce houses. This one was set up at the zoo when we went.
Fifth the yard care. With the apartment I have no yard maintainance …except throwing out the dead plants off my porch (my thumb isn’t as green as I want it to be).
When I look at this list it and remember all the work we did it makes me tired…. it represents so much time and work I put into bringing the world to us when it wasn’t all that far away.
Many people have asked me how we can manage to live in such a small place, and this is really the reason. In our bigger ‘real’ house we still had the same access, but we didn’t go out and take advantage of it as much. Now when we do go play, or sit down and read, or swim it is way easier and much better.
Reading is hugely important. It is therapy (think chocolate) and growth. On days when it just seems like the dishes never go away or I am only around for clean up and drinks of water, they are my escape.
Want to join me? Textual chocolate all around.
The trouble with book clubs is that we are all different. We may be interested in reading some books or not others or have access to some books and not others.
So here is what I am proposing. I will let you know what I have read in the past month that I would recommend AND I will let you know what I am planning on reading this coming month.
You are welcome to join me with the books I am reading and let me know what you think at the end of November, or you can recommend books you have recently read, or you can let me know what is on your reading list for this month.
Reading is just important, and it is more fun to do it with others.
I wanted to share a recipe for cake. I know this is under ‘Simple Eating’, but trust me… this sure isn’t hard. Really I think it is a great shame that we have box cakes. I think they taste yucky and, because of them, most people have never tried to make a cake from scratch or are afraid to try.
Trust me, it isn’t hard and it is sooo worth it. Not only does it taste better it is healthier and there is no goofy, fake ingredients in it. I will walk you through it, we will do it together
This recipe started from Better Homes and Gardens New Baking book… and I have adapted to make it vegan and healthier.
First assemble the ingredients and set oven to 375 degrees.
1 cup unbleached white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp flax seeds ground
1/4 cup oil (I use canola)
1 1/2 cups sugar (you can use brown or other natural sugars or use less than this if you want)
2 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cups milk (soy, almond, rice, whatever your prefer)
Next put some oil on the pan and then dust flour over the oil (I used some butter… sorry to the die hard vegans, it works fine without it, it was just what I grabbed). Put about 1 tbsp of white flour in the pan and then shake it around till it covers bottom and sides and then dump out the extra.
Not a very exciting picture… but you get the idea.
Next mix the dry ingredients. This is the flours, baking powder, salt and ground flax seed (not the sugar…even though it is dry).
Next, in another bowl mix the sugar, oil and vanilla.
Measure out the milk and add about 1/2 cup to mixture to make it runny (as shown above).
Alternate adding about about 1/2 to 1 cup of dry ingredients and mixing and then adding some milk to thin it back out until all the dry and milk are mixed in. Milk, mix, dry, mix, repeat.
Then divide into the two cake pans. Let mixture sit for 15 minutes. This lets the whole wheat flour soak up some moisture.
Bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes or until the toothpick inserted comes out clean or you tap it on the top and it is firm.
Let cool for 10 minutes and then pull out of pans.
There you have it. Isn’t it beautiful! And the house now smells awesome. You have now done what an embarrassingly small percent of women ever try, you have successfully baked a cake from scratch.
Let it cool for an hour or more and then you are ready to frost. This recipe can also be made into cupcakes, it only takes about 20 minutes (or less so watch them close) to bake them.
Ok, so I cheated here too. I frosted it with whipped cream. I really dislike the super sweet gritty frosting and really like the whipped cream taste with the yellow cake. Maybe sometime I will make up my chocolate version, I have a good vegan chocolate frosting that is super good. This cake was for Grandma’s birthday. Happy Birthday Grandma!
For this post I wanted to get pictures of our feet representing how we need to focus on where we are at presently. I love these shoes of Lily’s. It was cold and getting dark so she wouldn’t take off her socks like I wanted.
I am excited to write this post. This is something that God has probably been trying to teach me for years, but it is only now that I am really ready to understand and rest in it.
I want to work for God. I want to make a difference in my world. I have spent most of my adult life trying to figure out how I can achieve this. As a family we have looked at lots of mission calls, and lots of ‘mission’ jobs here at home. I read about people helping orphans or doing relief work and I want to be part of it.
My boy will take off his shoes and socks and play in the grass no matter how cold it is outside
For all these years it has never worked out. I am ok with that and assume God has something else we are supposed to do, but I am always looking, always wanting the ‘change’ to ‘true’ service for God. I completely understand that my family and my kids are my ministry, but there is so much pain and hurt in the world I want to try and help.
The problem with always looking for ‘the call’ is that I am living in the future. I am focused on what I could do, or what I might be called to do, and everything I am doing now has just been a time filler till something else.
What I have discovered is that this is dangerous for both my sanity and simplicity, as well as my position and relationship with God.
My husband never takes off his shoes, here he is standing on the slide at the park. Thanks for playing along baby!
A common saying in our culture is ‘Don’t just stand there, do something’. God however calls us to ‘Don’t just do something, stand there and focus on me’
We try so hard to work for God that we don’t have a chance to know God. And, if we don’t know Him, how can we really know what He wants us to do?
We learn about God, and we grow to want to serve Him, but all to often, we jump from one to the other without getting to know Him in the middle. Once we fill our life with lots of ‘good-God-work’ we don’t have the time to ‘Be still, and know that I am God’ Ps 46:10
Here are my feet with my home-done toes. I love red! Usually looks better from a distance… up close they look pretty messy.
So What Does It All Mean?
Our society has us living in the future… when I get past this busy time at work…. after the kids get potty trained…. after I get at least one good night sleep…. when I am finally out of debt…., and I was taking the same problem to my spiritual life.
We have to live in the present. Live in the present with our kids, our finances, our life, and our God. It is a simple law of biology and physics, there is only mental energy and time for the present.
God wants my worship and service today, maybe just this hour or this minute. It isn’t that we shouldn’t wish to make a difference for Him, it is that we need to focus on what He wants us to do now.
I would love to personally pack up and ship out, but I can’t right now. I wanted to write about how we are, AND how you can, pack up and ship out a Christmas gift(s) to a child(ren) around the world. It is super easy. Here are the steps you need and some pics of my kids packing. How to pack a shoe box
First go shopping for fun toys, (and other things mentioned on their site). I loved this pic of Ian!
Here is the good pic of him with his cars
Here is princess Lily shopping for a little girl. We found a bunch of stuff at Target in the dollar section.
Next, get packing. Here the kids are going through stickers. Stickers are fun for kids everywhere and we send lots of them ever year.
Candy is super important…. but it is also important to double bag it and make sure it isn’t something that will melt if it gets to hot. We usually stick with these smarties that are everywhere in big Halloween bags now. … I got candy canes mailed to me when I was overseas several years ago and they melted all over the whole package…
Get packing. Grandma made us a king’s cape for Christmas last year and Ian now calls it a ‘super-hero’ cape and has worn it for several days in a row… I think he may be sleeping in it as well. He is so funny. He is also sporting his Canada shirt proudly for mommy that we got on our vacation last summer.
This is Ian’s favorite toy from the collection.
Lily packing her princess box.
Ok, this is important. After the boxes are packed they ask that you put in a check for $7 per box. If you are like me and don’t want to just send a check with all my bank info on it AND if you want to be e-mailed to find out where your box was sent you need to follow this link, donate on their website and print out these labels.
After your box is all packed it can be mailed or sent to a drop off location for collection the week of Nov 14-21.
There you have it! Get some Christmas shopping done early and make a childs year. With each box they are also told about Jesus and get Bible studies. It is such an amazing ministry and a great thing to get the kids involved in.
2. If it isn’t as ‘green’ as you want it… maybe water it a bit where you want it to grow. This isn’t always possible or always going to work, but it can also make a world of difference.
“Most opportunities in life are not achievable in life without initiative”–my brilliant hubby Bryon said yesterday and I thought it fit in great.
Also ‘The Tasmanian Minimalist did an interview with me today which was super cool! Click on the link to take a look at it.
I would love to hear of other great blogs. Feel free to share your own if you would like too, BUT if you share your own also share your favorite that is not your own With the blog give a snippet (sentence or two) of who would benefit from reading it.
(love this pic, we got it on the way to the library on monday. I just love the way the sun shoots through the pic and leave lots of spots… this was a lucky shot… I am not good enough to figure out how to find this otherwise)
This is Part 2 of ‘Overlooked Perks of Home School. See Part 1
This might be something where home school is better at avoiding. We try and stay out of the sun between 10 and 2 and then get outside time in the afternoon. Most outdoor periods at schools are during the middle of the day when the sunlight is the most dangerous to the skin.
This is using good stuff wisely and avoiding the bad stuff. At the age of my kids I don’t think/hope that they would be dealing with drinking, drugs or cigarettes, but they do deal a lot with sugar. Sugar is everywhere for kids, free cookies at the store, suckers at the bank, treats from friends, bags of candy …. from seemingly everywhere. Sugar is also a main ingredient in most processed snacks that kids end up taking and eating in school (see nutrition in part 1). Sugar is unhealthy, addictive and makes it hard for kids to sit still and concentrate. These are all bad things for a learning environment. Sure, sugar is great, and we eat our share of deserts, but we can limit it at home much easier. … out of sight out of mind kind of idea.
(Really this is just a shot with Lily’s eyes closed, but I thought it looked like she was enjoying the air:))
Do you know that most schools now can’t open the windows? My husband has worked on several schools and school remodels (he does construction) and most of the windows now are made not to open or to only open a crack. My first thought is fire safety, but fresh air is also super important for health as well as airing and cleaning out the germy air. As long as it isn’t crazy cold we have the windows open at least a crack all the time. Depending on the whether they are open early or late or both, but there is almost always air available. I love the smell of fresh air!
This is another big one! Kids are kids, they have crazy days and they go through growth spurts. Sleep is not only important for health, but also for a properly functioning mind. Most of the time my kids wake up before 6:30 on their own…. I would prefer to stay in bed till 8 , but there are days when one or both of them sleeps in. With home school I never have to wake them up. If they miss some of the earlier classes, we can just catch up later in the day. It is way easier to teach a rested kid later than a tired zoned out one ‘on schedule’. We also have rest period in the afternoon. The kids don’t usually sleep (sometimes I get lucky and Ian falls asleep) but they have a quiet rest on their bed reading. … and I have a quiet house for a few minutes which is great for my sanity and health.
(Ian loves the monkey bars, but he isn’t quite big enough. Here he wanted me to lift him up and let him hang for a while…. he loves ‘dropping’ into the sand below)
T=Trust in God
Often overlooked, this is super important to our physical health. Not only to learn about the Bible in school, but learn about how to incorporate Trust In God into our lives. It is something I am still learning, but it is an amazing key to health to let go of what we can’t control and trust God to handle it. … that right there can probably add more years to my/your life than any one of the other things in this list. Not sure if we are doing a better job at home school than a Christian school, but we are doing our best.
There you have it. Not saying that school is terrible or parents who send their kids to school are being unhealthy, just saying it is amazing how much easier most of these points are at home without even putting much time or effort into it.
This is exciting to me. It is exciting when I see learning, social, and health benefits all coming from the same direction. … makes it easier to continue pressing on and makes me glad I made the decision to try home school.
I love simple food! Ok, so this is supposed to be called brownies, but I think it is more like fudge. I got this recipe from a great friend and have made it twice …. in the last week. I haven’t had the guts to add the cocoa, and I haven’t made the icing, but just the brownie/fudge is heavenly. (no cooking and only about 5 minutes of work)
Truth be told, I have this as a treat now instead of a piece of dark chocolate.
Ok, so this is what I do: (I double the original recipe)
2 cups dates (the ones I have are rolled in flour, but it would probably work better with the straight ones)
1 cup coconut (I used 2 cups coconut and no nuts on the first batch and it great too)
1 cup nuts (I used cashews)
Instead of 1/3 cocoa powder I put in lime juice and a bit of cinnamon. Enough lime juice to make the mixture sticky. (add as you mix)
Put all the ingredients into the food processor. (I use my blend tech)
Press the mix into a brownie pan (or another pan that will help it hold it shape)
Put in the fridge for a bit (you can eat it right away, cooling just makes it less sticky and hold form better)
Here is the finished product.
Here is where my friend got the recipe. (this includes the icing and more yummy pictures)