Friday, August 16, 2013

Have I become a granola crunchin'dirty hippie momma?

      Someone mentioned to me the other day that they think/are worried that I am becoming a granola crunchin ' dirty hippie momma.  I wasn't sure whether that was a compliment or a comment on my personal hygiene.  For the record I shower regularly and I shave my armpits and legs,  which IMHO disqualifies me from the dirty hippie part of that label.  So working on the assumption that this had nothing to do with my personal hygiene,  what would prompt someone to believe I am granola crunchin ' momma? (I mean other than those girls from high school who believed I was a full fledged member of the granola crunchin ' club because I didn't wear makeup or force my hair to defy gravity with fifty tons of hairspray.  They don't count.)
     Now assuming (I am just assuming all over the place,  let's hope it doesn't come back to bite me,  you know what they say!) you have read my previous post about cow shares and my journey toward being more informed about what I eat and where it came from,  you will not be surprised to learn that I have begun to turn that focus toward what I am putting ON my body. I don't want to get all preachy here but we put a lot of questionable products on our skin. Did you know "The skin is the largest organ of the body, with a total area of about 20 square feet.  The skin protects us from microbes and the elements, helps regulate body temperature, and permits the sensations of touch, heat, and cold."-http://www.webmd.com
Now just because our skin is protecting us doesn't mean it doesn't absorb what we put on it,  sending it directly into the blood stream.  So all those chemicals and parabens and petroleum based yuckies are going right into our blood stream and doing goodness knows what to our bodies!  I don't know about you but that bothers me. A lot.  Why?
       My oldest child has eczema on his wrists and it gets bad.  Really bad. It looks like his hands will just fall off his wrists bad.  The solution?  Well according to his doc keep it moisturized, and if that doesn't work they will pull out the big guns: steroid cream!  I don't know about you but whenever the word steroid is mentioned I kind of freaked out a little on the inside.  I know they aren't talking the freaky body builder type of steroids but still something about it makes me twitchy.  Especially when that word is used while talking about my child!  
     We jumped on the lotion crazy train, where I searched high and low for natural lotions that would help instead of aggravate the problem. And none of them worked in the long run. I tried every all natural, paraben free, gluten free, whatever free, I could find and afford and eventually all of them failed. Then one day in my email in box I got this and I thought why the heck not!? I have tried everything else and whats the worst that could happen? We could hate it and be back to square one, which is where I was already!
     So we tried it, and we LOVE IT! Now in the effort of full disclosure I use less coconut oil than the recipe calls for. Coconut oil can be drying for some and I found that that was the case with my son. We halved it and it is working really well for us. We have been using it for about 4 or 5 months now and as long as he remembers to put it on his hands and wrists after washing he is good. The few times he has had a flare up, the lotion helped to calm it down and soothe it a lot faster than anything else we have tried. I stopped using my store bought lotion and have been using this instead. I love it, its a lot cheaper and lasts quite awhile, even with my son and I using it several times a day everyday.
     This lead me to looking into making my own dishwasher soap (ah Pinterest how we love thee!) Sadly this was IMHO an epic fail. It didn't get my dishes clean! This of course could have been due to the fact that in the 2 or 3 years we have owned this dishwasher I had never cleaned out the filter! Well when I decided to clean it out I learned why I hadn't tried to before! What a pain in the A$$! But it was done, I have just been to afraid to try my homemade dishwasher soap again! Maybe I will give it another go, it can't do any worse than the store bought stuff I am currently using! LOL.
     I also switched my jet dry out for white vinegar-um yeah not so great either! I don't know why this doesn't work for me. Others have reported that it is miraculous. Perhaps it is my hard water I don't know. What I do know is that everything would come out of the dishwasher cloudy and covered with a white film. And yeah that was even after I had cleaned out my dishwasher. This failure has prompted procrastination in making my own laundry soap.
     I have everything I need to do this but I have been reluctant to try it. (Can you blame me?) The recipe I plan on using is also a bit involved, as in if you do it wrong get ready for epic laundry failure! I have everything I need to do it, I just need to Woman Up and do it I guess! Here is the link if you are curious:
So all of this tinkering with personal care products lead me down the proverbial rabbit hole and I began to wonder if maybe there was something I could use on my face instead of the wash and moisturizer I was currently using. It's not that I was unhappy with what I had been using, but I wasn't happy either.
      Let me tell you about me and my relationship with my face, well the skin of my face to be more specific. The two of us have been duking it out since I started puberty. All through that time I heard "don't worry once you get through puberty it will all get better" LIES! ALL LIES! Okay I will admit that it is actually better than when I was 16, but once a month I might as well be in 10th grade all over again! Ya know what I am sayin'? I tried all the prescription junk on my face-it only made it worse and was painful-I tried Neutrogena, Clearasil, Noxzema, I even tried the infomercial stuff, Proactive when I was in my early 30's. You name it I have probably put it on my face. Masks, clarifiers, acne specific soaps and lotions the list would be longer than this post! I am 35. 35 years old! And I am still dealing with acne like I am a teenager! Frustrating much? Oh yeah!
      Then one day this appeared in my trusty in box:
It was all about something called the Oil Cleansing Method, ever hear of it? I hadn't either. I was however, intrigued by all the testimonials and comments about obtaining the glowing, dewy, blemish free skin they had always dreamed of! Yeah I got all excited, could this be the solution I have been looking for? Why not? Worse thing that could happen? I could totally hate it and go back to my old way of cleaning my face.  Was there a little part of me that was screaming "you want me to put OIL on my face!? Are you CRAZY?!" I am not going to lie I was a little worried as I have always been told that OIL = BAD as far as our faces go, but ya know I have begun to realize in my 35 years on this earth that "the man" is usually a total liar who doesn't have a clue what he's talking about most of the time. So why not? This stuff is way healthier that what I had tried in the past, and I could actually pronounce all the ingredients and knew what they were!
     So I read up on it using the above link and the basic recipe contained therein. I got some grape seed oil and castor oil at the grocery store in an effort to prevent the heart palpitations I inevitably cause my husband whenever I say the words "I need to order______(fill in the blank) on line." So do I love it?  Has it changed my life? Made me famous beyond my wildest dreams? brought about world peace? Um, ok that's a bit over the top, I get carried away sometimes sorry!
     Let me clarify, I have been using this method for about 2 months. I love the way it makes my skin feel, all soft and supple. Am I dewy? Glowing? Blemish free? Well so far no one has said anything about my skin looking amazing so I am going to have to go with a no on the first two questions. Blemish free? Sadly no! It is still only once a month but now they are bigger, more painful, and there are more of them! That said they don't stick around nearly as long as they used to, but still! I was seriously considering going back to my old facial cleanser and moisturizers. But I just couldn't give up! Something inside me really really wanted this to work! Whats a girl to do? Troll the Internet of course!
     So I did. I searched for all natural facial cleansers and what did I find? Even the "All Natural" ones have ingredients I can't pronounce and have no idea what they are, and the price tag!? HOLY COW! The hubs would have a heart attack if I told him I need to buy this little bottle of face wash for $45! and I don't blame him one bit! The cheapest one I could find was $18 not including shipping costs.
    But then I stumbled across this which in turn led me to this: Washing my face with honey? Really? I figured why not? Perhaps this is the boost my OCM blend had been missing? What did I do? That's right I ran right out to Costco and bought a big old thing of honey! Got home tried it out and loved it! My face felt even softer! This had to be the answer! (Insert celebratory dance) and then I read this:
Now you would think that this would be a no brainer considering the fact that this has been a quest to find something natural and good for my face right? Wrong! Wrong! WRONG! (insert mental face palm here) I know. I know. Shouldn't it have been obvious that I needed organic, cold-pressed grape seed oil and organic hexane free castor oil? and RAW honey!? Apparently not to me. Sigh. I got all gung-ho and ran out and bought everything without doing ALL of the homework. (In my own defense my first articles on OCM did not mention any of this! It should be obvious but apparently it's not)
    What did I learn? Several things. First I learned that my OCM blend may not be working because they are not organic or cold pressed or hexane free (i honestly don't know what this means. I Googled it but that didn't help! LOL) Second, my face may not like grape seed oil, or it could be that it dislikes castor oil. Some people just can't use it because castor oil is very drying. I could be one of those people, as I have had to adjust my blend several times adding less and less castor oil and more and more grape seed because I have been having issues with dryness. (light-bulb?) Third, my honey is not RAW. So all of the goodness has been heated out of it from the pasteurization process. Which they only do so that your honey doesn't crystallize as quickly.
    So what are my options now? Well I am going upgrade my honey, and my oils. Until then I will just keep doing what I am doing. And yes I totally expect to have movie star gorgeous skin once I do upgrade! So keep your eyes peeled, as I may be coming to a theatre near you! LOL I am not giving up. This method works for so many people I just can't give up yet. And considering everything I have done wrong, I am hoping that once I start doing it right I will start to see the results I have been hoping for. I will keep you posted.
Here is a link to the OCM method that I found much more informative than the first one I used:
   Can you tell that is my new favorite hang out on the web? Yeah I like it. I like the tone she sets, and I like her mission statement. And after watching the video she made (see the honey wash link above) I love her sense of humor. I am actually thinking of just biting the bullet and buying her OCM blend which she sells in her Etsy shop. The upsides, she does all the work for me AND she even sends you the complete recipe so you can make it yourself if you so desire. This I really really like! How many companies are willing to do that?  Honestly I will probably buy it and then do a price comparison using the recipe and see which is cheaper, buying from her or making my own. If you are interested in my price comparison let me know in the comments and once I do it I will post it here on the blog.
     So where is my granola crunchin' journey going to lead me to next?
I am looking into doing this: The no shampoo, shampoo.
I am a little nervous about it. My hair is long and has always been fine. If i don't wash it at least everyday it becomes a grease pit. However this could be from the fact that I am stripping all the natural oils out of my hair when I wash it. This causes the scalp to overproduce the natural oils our hair needs thus causing me to wash my hair everyday. It is a vicious cycle. I also suffer from eczema/psoriasis on my scalp (the dermatologist isn't willing to give me an actual diagnosis. Whatever! ) So I am seriously thinking of giving it a try. Anyone interested in doing it with me? Sometimes it helps to have a buddy! LOL
     If you would like to be my No 'Poo shampoo buddy let me know in the comments and we can totally set up some sort of challenge. Please read the whole article above before you decide you want to do this as it takes at least three weeks for your hair to adjust back to a normal way of being. Your scalp will over react and it will overproduce oil during this three week period, and then it will be happy and shinny and beautiful! So until the happy and shinny part of this experiment I would go with her recommendation of hats and ponytails!
     I am still exploring the Crunchy Betty site, it may take awhile I have about 5 years of posts to go through! LOL I do encourage you to check it out if you are at all interested in making your own products. I just found a make your own deodorant post-Yup I may be doing that next too because really who wants to develop Alzheimer's because of the stuff you put on your armpits?

     Am I bothered with being titled a "granola crunchin' dirty hippie momma"?
Honestly? Just the dirty part, because as I have expressed before I do have personal hygiene standards!
I do not consider myself  a granola crunchin' hippie momma because
1) I don't eat granola, hardly ever, even though I do like it.
2) I haven't worn Birkenstocks since I was in high school! and
3) as much as I would like to be 100% organic, my wallet won't let me. It is getting more affordable but it is still, a lot of the time, outside of my price range.
I do what I can, when I can and as far as I am concerned every little bit helps.
So sure you can call me a GCHM if you want to, but I know some real ones and quite frankly I am not even a rank amateur compared to their greatness. ;) And I am okay with that. We all need something to aspire to right?

Here is a recap of all the links I referenced in the post:
My lotion:

The laundry soap I hope to make someday:

The first OCM post I read:

The honey wash make up remover solution:

The honey wash challenge:

Why does honey quality matter:

Crunchy Betty's OCM post:

No'Poo shampoo:

I do use the whipped body butter lotion and as I said I love it!  I enjoy making my own products because I know (when I am paying attention, ahem) what goes in them, they last longer, and save me money in the long run.

      So hey jump on the Granola Crunchin' band wagon and go make something!!

UPDATE: I did buy Crunchy Betty's oil cleansing blend: It's Tamanu Thyme Cleansing Oil. I haven't tried it yet as I am doing the honey wash challenge.  I am on day 5 of the 2 week challenge.
But once I do I will check back in :)

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Forget time share, I want a cow share!


I am being completely serious here.

I grew up in rural Southern Idaho but I was a townie. My father was a teacher,  and my mother still works for a farm equipment company. So farming was something I was vaguely familiar with but hadn't ever really done. We had a vegetable garden for several years and my husband and I have had a veg garden every year we've had a house, more or less.

Then several things happened over the course of many years that changed my view of farming.
First this country girl (who coincidentally had never thought of herself as such) moved to the "Big City!" 

Now don't laugh. 

Coming from a small town where everyone knew everyone; Salt Lake City seemed huge.  It took 20 minutes to get from my small town to the "big" town where the mall is and between them were fields as far as they eye can see, and cows.  Lots of cows.  In Salt Lake everything runs together. You can't tell where one town begins and another ends! So to me it seemed so large! 
And freeway driving!? FORGET IT!  I refused to drive on the freeway the first 3 months we lived here.  Most of my driving had been done on sleepy highways and quiet country roads so forget Utah freeways!  In truth I still hate driving on the freeway and I have lived here over 12 years.  Utah drivers are crazy!  I am sure people say that about their own cities but seriously you can see some of the nicest people you have ever met turn into enormous rage monsters once they get behind the wheel.  In Utah they are usually enraged soccer moms. I am no exception to this rule, except the soccer mom part, but I digress... 

When I became pregnant with my first child I read an article by Michael Pollan.  It was about how he had begun to wonder where his food actually comes from and decided to buy a calf and follow its progression from farm to CAFO to plate. It was an amazing, humorous and horrifying glimpse into the world of food production. I ran home and told my hubs all about it.  He wasn't as surprised as I was,  he actually grew up on and worked on a dairy or two.
But it got us both thinking about alternatives to where our food comes from.
Not to long after that I developed asthma and the doctors wanted to put me on a steroid. One of the possible side effects was violent hallucinations. I was breast feeding at the time and suffering from postpartum depression. So violent hallucinations weren't anything I wanted to mess with in any way.  The Dr. dismissed my worries and questions treating me like I was a paranoid idiot.
I called my husband in tears.  Bad enough I was a new mom away from my family,  no real support network,  suffering depression and now I had a Dr who was supposed to help me treating me like I was crazy just because I dared to doubt his word!

I was quickly losing faith in the mainstream food and medical industries.

Luckily for me we have a friend who is a homeopathic practitioner and Chinese medicine specialist.  We threw the meds in the trash and went to her that day.  She was (and still is) marvelous.  She listened to me, didn't dismiss my fears and worries and helped me find a way to control my asthma without meds.
Then I saw the films Food Inc and Super Size Me.  My (food) world was literally rocked off its foundations.  We started reading every Michael Pollan book we could get our hands on and began talking about chickens and getting a place out in the "country". 
Child number two arrived, the housing bubble burst,  the economy crumbled and selling our house so we could move into the country was no longer a possibility.
My children are now 6 and 4. We are still in the same house, living in the semi-ghetto.  We plant a garden every year, which our boys love.  My youngest will eat vegetables but usually only from the garden.
We try to eat mostly plants.  Because we are lower income we don't eat a whole lot of meat, which honestly, considering the things I have learned about the meat industry, is a good thing!
We don't eat out nearly as often as we did before Michael Pollan came into our lives.
In fact my children don't like chicken nuggets or Mac and cheese from a box.  They think the powdered cheese tastes gross!  (Am I doing a happy dance?  Heck yeah! ) They prefer my from scratch Mac and cheese! 
Do they like fast food?  Of course they do, it is manufactured to speak directly to our biology.  Lots of fats, sugar and carbs.  So yes occasionally my kids get a fast food meal but it is usually rare and considered a special treat.  I don't mean to come off like I am better than anyone else because believe me usually all my 4 year old wants to eat is "peanut butter sandwich with honey!" (And 6 times out of 10 I just give in and give him one) I swear he asks for it for every meal and half the time he won't eat what is actually on his plate!  It is frustrating,  I have bribed him with desert.  Doesn't work. I have tried forcing the food into his mouth or tricking the food into his mouth. Doesn't work.  He is one stubborn monster but I have learned if I keep putting the good stuff on his plate he will eat it,  eventually.  It took a YEAR! Yes a whole year! before he would even try carrots,  asparagus or broccoli.  It doesn't usually take most children this long but Sam is nothing if not stubborn!  Which only proves that this is something you inherit. I swear he is my grandpa reincarnated!
My oldest has always eaten his vegetables.  I have never had trouble getting him to eat.  Which, of course, just makes it even more frustrating when DS #2 won't. 
So yes my kids have better eating habits than a lot of their peers,  but trust me if you gave them a choice between cake and a carrot, they would take the cake! LOL!
So my dreams of acres of space for my children to run freely on and not have to worry about traffic (we live on a very busy road) were dashed.  I looked into getting chickens which is actually allowed in our county. However,  the coop must be a ridiculous amount of space from not only our own door but every one of our neighbors doors too. Though with some strategic planning it may yet be a possibility. We can't have roosters (though I know for a fact someone near me does I hear him every morning) and we can only have so many hens but we are only a family of four so we wouldn't need many anyway. 

I am however pretty sure they won't let me get a cow.  (Yes finally we get to the cow!) 

After I had my first son I read a book called The Untold Story Of Milk.  It was a very interesting look at why and how milk became the pasteurized less nutritious substance we are familiar with today and why that may not be a good thing.  So we went looking for raw (unpasteurized) milk.  We found a goat farm, Drake Family Farms (in the middle of Salt Lake City!) that sells raw milk, cheese and yogurt.  Unfortunately it is waaay out of our budget and though we did buy some milk on that visit, we haven't been able to go back.  It is just too expensive for us.  However since reading about the benefits of raw milk, I have wanted to get a cow of my own. 

Crazy right?

A townie who now lives in urban sprawl wants a cow!  What do I know about cows?  Nothing.  Not a thing. All I know is that when they are calves they are super cute!
My husband who, as I mentioned before, worked on a dairy has told me that cows are big smelly and stupid. You must,  MUST milk them twice a day or they will also be miserable cows. 
Do I still want one?  YUP!

I want to do a cow share.  They are expensive beasts to buy, feed and to take care of. (At lease I think they probably are, I haven't done a great deal of research into this since I am pretty sure I couldn't have one on my current property)
So why not get a group of like minded people who go in together on getting a cow? Buying its feed, paying for the medical whatever and in return they all get a share of the milk, butter, and cheese that comes from said cow? 

There you have it.

My idea for a cow share, way better than a time share in my opinion!  I realize this idea is probably not new or revolutionary in anyway but I still think it's brilliant ;)

My cow would be grass fed (way better for you than corn fed). She would only take medicine when absolutely necessary (no crazy antibiotics regimens for my sweet Bessie Thank you!) and of course because I didn't grow up on a farm I would think of her as a pet. A family member really, rather than just some beast who is here only to serve my needs.

(Yeah I would probably put bows on her ears and dress her up on Halloween too,  but how cute would that be?!)

So that is my fantasy. I know in reality things would be totally different.  I mean in reality you have to muck stalls and other yucky things but I would just delegate that to my hubs! (Which is probably just another fantasy! LOL!) 

So yeah I want a cow and chickens and a goat (a fainting one!) and space and green things.
Someday,  hopefully in the not too distant future, say 3 or 4 years, this dream will become a reality. 

So in the mean time think about it. Wanna go in on a cow together?

(Aren't they cute!? The furry ones are my favorite!)

***here are some links to some of the people, films, books, and cows I mentioned that have changed the way I think about food!***

For all things Michael Pollan:

Information about the documentary Food Inc.

Where to buy the documentary Super Size Me:

The local goat farm! Drake Family Farms

Where to buy The Untold Story of Milk (You may be able to find a copy at your local library as well)

Information on Highland Cattle: (the cute furry ones from the pics!)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Ramblings from an Easter hangover...With a rant on education for good measure ;-)

Ever have one of those days where you just can't get up the gumption to do anything?  That has been me the last two days!

I kind of wonder if it's an easter hang over...

I was overly ambitious with my culinary endeavors and made several recipes I had never tried before. 
There were strawberry donuts with strawberry glaze and French Toast with strawberry butter and yes we did fall into a sugar coma directly after breakfast and I slept from 10 am until 1pm!
Then I started making my sweet potato gnocchi and as if that isn't time consuming enough I decided to make regular gnocchi because one family member despises sweet potatoes with a passion I have never seen before.  So okay bring on the gnocchi!  It took me all day,  then I had to make the mornay sauce and then roast the asparagus and make the corn bread and the salad,  well actually I forgot the salad to be quite honest.
The gnocchi was a huge success both kinds, tho my boys didn't like the mornay sauce.  And the asparagus was perfection,  the corn bread (a new recipe I was trying,  buttermilk cornbread) turned out sadly flavor less.

Anyway I was so busy I didn't get to hide or find any eggs with my boys :( so next year I will either prep way in advance (which I tried to do this year but forces were conspiring against me) or just do something super simple. 
I feel like although I had a ton of fun in the kitchen I missed out on some serious memory making. 

But with all that frenzied kitchen activity packed into one day,  and the late night playing easter bunny I just couldn't seem to muster up anything more than a cup of tea and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. For every meal and snack!

Monday and Tuesday I honestly didn't want to do anything.  And I mean nothing, nada, zero, zip,  zilch.  No dishes, no meals, no school.  Monday we did manage to get our  lessons in but Tuesday was a failure and it didn't help that my new shiny, as I am going to call it, arrived mid morning on Tuesday.  My new shiny is the Samsung Galaxy note 10.1 and I am loving it, but it definitely has been distracting, for me and my kiddos.  They love all the drawing apps and those damn Angry Birds,  they are addicting! We resisted as long as we could but they have Star Wars Angry Birds!  Star Wars for cripes sake! How is a fangirl supposed to resist?!

Ky and Sam's art done on the new shiny. 

Needles to say we have not been all that productive.

So Monday all we got done was school and one load of laundry. Tuesday we got all the laundry washed-it is currently piled on top of my bed- a load of dishes done, the new shiny explored,  a lot of Justice League,  Yo Gabba Gabba,  and Muppet Babies watched and I made cream of asparagus soup and FINALLY froze my homemade chicken stock. No school but the boys and I just seemed to need a break. 

I hope Wednesday I will have a bit more get up and go. Of course it hasn't helped that it has rained the last few days, being stuck inside can be such a downer, ya know? 

And don't even get me started on my lack of coffee!!!!! Tea just isn't doing it for me. Don't get me wrong I love tea, all kinds but as far as lighting my fire in the morning, give me a good ol' cup of Joe! I have been out of coffee for about a week.  I have a Keurig and we have been researching which would be cheaper,  grinding our own or buying the k-cups.  I have surmised that buying the k-cups from is cheaper than any other option.  So I am going to try their new Kirkland breakfast blend.  200 k-cups for $84 that includes shipping etc. If you know of a cheaper alternative by all means throw it at me!  But I love my k-cups and the brew your own filter dealio just doesn't taste as good ya know?

On a totally awesome note my oldest read his first word tonight!

He said,  "Mom what does m-o-o say?

"My response: "well sound it out,  M makes the... what sound?"

He said "mmooo, moo!" 

"That's correct,  do you know what you just did?"

He looked at me then his face lit up like the forth of July and he said excitedly, 

"I readed!?" 

"Yes you did",  I said,  "you read your first word!!"

 I know it is only the word moo but this is serious progress to me, it means my teaching endeavors are paying off and my children will not end up illiterate!  HAPPY DANCE! 
Being new to the whole homeschooling thing I honestly worry about these sorts of things.  And it can be so hard to balance between where public education says my child should be, learning wise, and where his curriculum says he should be.  Don't get me wrong I love our curriculum, we use Oak Meadow in case you were wondering, but sometimes that pressure to have my 6 year old reading The Odyssey and my 3 year old starting on The Shakespeare Sonnets can really mess with my head ya know?
I find it insane that if my sons were in public school they would be expected to know how to do things in kindergarten that I didn't have to know until 1st or 2nd grade.  It's like the experts decided the only way to fix our boken education system was to speed it up,  because that is totally going to work for all the kids currently getting left behind!  
And don't even get me started on the whole no child left behind I mean legislation.  ;)
 We will save that for another day possibly in the future, because I honestly did not intend to get up on my educational soap box tonight, but there you have it LOL
Enjoy and remember sometimes you just need to play hookey to refuel and regroup, because we don't want any burnout here Thank you!  :-)

P.S. I totally wrote this entire post on my new shiny! :-D and yeah that makes me super excited! 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

I am a bad bad blogger

The title says it all! I am bad at this.
We were so busy last year with homeschooling and preping for my sisters wedding and then our house flooded and we lived in a hotel for 2 long weeks! Then our furnace had to be replaced, and my oldest started refusing to do lessons! All in all it was a pretty crazy year and it definitely kept us on our toes!
So to recap:
My little sister (18 month difference) got married this past summer. I was her maid of honor and had much to do as we live in different states! I was in charge of making her a shrug with her colors and it turned out beautiful in my humble opinion! I also made brackets for the bride and bridesmaids, yup even one for me. And I taught my self how to do some Retro 50's hairstyles. I only did my sisters hair but she looked GOOD! Which amazed me but it is far easier to do someone else's hair than it is to do your own!
The wedding was beautiful and we had a grand time. When we got home we got back into our homeschooling routine for about two days and then our house flooded! Almost all of the flooring had to be replaced! The first week we lived with fans and dehumidifiers going nonstop. It was very hot in my house as it was the end of August and we couldn't run the swamp cooler.
Then 2 weeks in a hotel while they redid the floors and moved everything back in. While that was going on we realized the furnace breeder to be replaced so that was a very expensive welcome home present to us!
Finally tho we were home and able to start up again. There was only one problem...
My oldest started refusing to do lessons. I tried to be patient hoping it was a phase but as days turned into weeks I really had to dig to figure out what was wrong.
Watching him play one day it hit me, as those mommy epiphanys often do, he is bored out of his mind with our current curriculum!
I talked to him about it, asked him what he would like to do and he told me: He wants to read.
I looked at oak meadows first grade curriculum and decided it would be a perfect fit.
I ordered everything I needed including an extra recorder for my youngest. Sounds a bit crazy but I would rather listen to loud off key recorders than I would the fighting that would ensue if I had only gotten one!
Then of course right after Christmas we were hit with the flu. HARD. It has taken 3 weeks and 3 Dr's visits but we are all finally on the mend. So we have resumed our journeys into first grade. So far he seems to be really enjoying it.
It has been difficult for me, I wasn't ready to part with our kindergarten schedule. It was easy and relaxed and only required a few hours of prep time a week.
When I first went through all of the first grade curriculum I felt completely overwhelmed and inadequate. In all honesty it isn't too much different than kindergarten, though it is a bit more intensive. Math (not my favorite thing) is beginning in earnest, and there are lots of science experiments. I think the worst is the one that states I need to find a pond and and take the kids there. "I have to find a pond!?" I wailed at my husband.
I was having flashbacks of sophomore science class and the pond water experiment. Our classroom reeked of pond scum for two months! It was nauseating!
So yeah first grade is more involved, more prep time and more responsibility which scares the crud out of me! But when I think about the alternative, public school, that scares me more than having to teach my boys math!
Now my current problem: my 3 year old who I am trying to do OM preschool with. I feel like I am so focused on the oldest that my youngest is getting the short end of the stick. We include him in all the activities we do and if he isn't interested I let him color or go play.
Do I need to be doing more? He's 3 will be 4 in June and he is very smart, likes to look at books, loves to sing and play games, but he isn't as verbal as his older brother was at this age which is only a problem when we can't understand what he wants.
He seems happy with "school" as it is now so maybe I am just toying with the mommy paranoia and guilt cards.
So far the year is finally looking up and I am hoping it will go a lot more smoothly than last year, or at least have less stress and more blog posts!

How do you manage to teach two children in different grades at the same time?