Thursday, March 12, 2015

Mountains, Homesteads, Classes, & Such



Rushing three girls to a total of 8 dance classes each week.  Popping over to Shasta Rock Club for my son's PE.  Planning a year's worth of monthly, interactive workshops, and preparing to share at a couple events afar.  Homeschooling.  Homesteading.  Blogging.  Hiking.  This isn't a look how-much-I-do-aren't-I-awesome post.  It's more of a how-did-this-happen one.


Over the winter months, Jeremy and I rekindled a love we both held before we even met.  The beauty of creation heals, regenerates, restores perspective, and brings life into our spirits.  Whenever Jeremy wasn't traveling, we planned a weekend family expedition, be it all-Saturday or only for a couple hours.  Sure it's a ton of work loading up seven people and a giant Anatolian Shepherd, along with snacks, waters, and extra changes of clothes, just in case (almost totally potty-trained toddler, ahem).


Sometimes friends and family join.  Other times it's just us.  Always, we Instagram.  Especially him.  He's discovered a new gift, that photog extraordinaire husband of mine.  It's a delight to watch him come to life as he peers through a lens.


Occasionally, one or two of our children don't want to go.  There's some whining and complaining, but by the time we reach a destination, wonder overtakes every eye and at the end of the day, the van is quiet in the most peaceful, contented, connected-to-each-other-and-creation type of way on the road back home.


When we are home, there's no shortage of things to do.  We purchased two Oberhasli Swiss Dairy goats.  One just kidded last week!  One may or may not be pregnant, but the children pray that she is, with "two baby girl goats" every day.  This batch is extremely cute and extremely healthy, and also extremely masculine, of which we plan to sell, sadly.

Then there's the new batch of chicks, brooding in the coop until they're old enough to emerge into the great outdoors, come April.  Boy do they grow fast (and eat a lot of starter feed).


Also, the garden.  My gym, grocery store,  tanning salon , and quiet place all wrapped up in one, 3,000 square-foot plot.  The place I find so much joy, anticipation, hope, deferred hope, problem solving, and where I'm challenged to either keep trying or give up.  Some things are effortless.  Others feel futile.  But by the end of most days, there is dirt under my nails, browner skin from both sun and soil, and so much contented peace.  We are looking at another year of drought, though we pray each night for rain.

I am not bored.  Amazingly enough, I'm also not stressed (for the most part).  That sweet spot where hard work and doing what I love, give and receive, push and rest, all blend into a soft-serve swirl of what "enjoying life" looks like.  

Our youngest just turned three and sleeping through the night is becoming increasingly consistent, giving me more rest and energy that ever before.  We aren't living in survival mode after being in that state for ages.  I feel a happy anticipation for the day ahead as I go to bed, dog-tired, fully spent, and so satisfied.

Life here is far from picture perfect.  I just snapped at the kids for the messy state of the house and quickly apologized before tucking them into bed.  Daylight Savings is getting the better of me this week.  An unknown critter took out two cauliflowers from a recent transplant and I had a full blown hissy fit inside my head.  But the balance between bummer and peace is currently a gracious one, and I daily thank God for that.

A friend and I taught our first homestead class together and will teach another one Saturday morning.  I'm so thankful she thought of this class-teaching idea.  It's been a lot of fun sharing from learning experiences (mostly failures sprinkled with glistens of success).  I hesitated at the idea at first.  I love new ideas and promptly overwhelm my life with them, taking three steps forward and two steps back.  But these classes have been such a pleasure.  I feel a new community growing.  An organic, cultured, slower, mindful, intentional one.  I feel less weird and more a part.  We are gathering a kombucha-drinking, scoby-sharing, non-toxic, slow food loving, organic, artisan, handmade, homemade, homegrown collective where our passions and interests are shared and inspire one another.  I find myself so looking forward to the next class and a new bunch of kindreds to enfold to the community.  I'm tidying up the garden every spare chance in preparation for April's class (linked below).  As much as I'd love to make these classes available online, we don't have the funds for that yet.  For now, it's been lovely to watch this community?  movement?  collective? grow organically and locally, and the future is looking quite homestead-y from where I see it.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Coupon Code for A Non-Toxic Cleaner That Works & 3 Simple Steps To Detox Your Life



"I want to be healthier, but where do I start?  How do I start?"

I have asked this, people have asked me this, and today I share ideas that were most helpful for me when I began my health journey.

To help us start detoxing our lives, it's my pleasure to introduce to you our new favorite non-toxic cleaner.  We have been using Branch Basics for a couple months now and I am super impressed by their product!  We haven't even used it for every purpose yet, but I can tell you that it's the most effective non-toxic all-purpose, stainless steal, glass, and bathroom cleaner as well as hand sanitizer we've ever used.  I'm excited to also try it out as a laundry detergent and shampoo this month.  There's a long list of uses for this cleaner and absolutely no warning labels, because each ingredient is so safe, it's food-grade and won't harm you, your children, or your pets.  I don't cringe when my kids are doing their chores and get cleaner on their hands!

Our friends at Branch Basics are graciously offering a 20% off coupon code for their non-toxic cleaner for one week only, so jump on this train while it's still in the station, y'all!  Visit their website and when you're ready to make a purchase, type in RIDDLE20 in the coupon code box.  This is a wonderful place to get started in detoxifying your life and definitely counts as one of your baby steps (explained in the video below) for this month.  Also, saving money is awesome.

UPDATE: Branch Basics has gone on backorder due to higher demands than anticipated, but the good news is you’ll be the first to receive their newly branded products and more concentrated formula in about two weeks!

As promised, here's part two of my health journey and the first three baby steps that helped me make a permanent change to a better quality of life:


Have a spectacular, healthier week, friends!

Monday, January 12, 2015

My Health Journey, A GIVEAWAY, & Something To Laugh At



Hello hello and happy new year!
It might not be legal to say that half way into January, but the year is still new so I wish you a happy one.

Health seems to be at the forefront of most our minds after we may or may not have over-indulged over the holidays.  To kick off 2015 here on Riddlelove, I wanted to share one of my favorite easy-grab foods.  We have been enjoying goodies from the Bearded Brothers since the golden days of summer.  As I share on my health journey video below, I'm a huge advocate for cooking from scratch, but there are those days that take unexpected turns and it's nice to have an emergency supply of grab-able food in the pantry.  I adore these bars because they are 100% clean.  I couldn't have made them more healthy, so there's no bad feelings while stuffing our hungry faces with them.  You flash the words "raw," "gluten-free," and "paleo" at me with the slogan, "Bros Before GMOs," I pretty much order in bulk before I know what's happening.  It makes it all the more easier to click that order button when your first one is 15% off after subscribing with them and free shipping over $75.

I've tried all their flavors (several times) and have many favorites, but my top three are Outrageous Orange Kale, Radical Raspberry Lemon, and Bodacious Blueberry Vanilla.  My kids' faves are Mega Maca Chocolate and Colossal Coconut Mango.  I'm so happy to partner with the Bearded Brothers to offer you a whole case where you can sample two of each flavor!  Go on and enter below!

Today is packed with healthy goodness.  On top of this nifty giveaway, here's a video (complete with some embarrassing childhood photos) of my health journey, and how I went from being chronically fatigued to full of energy, and everything in between.



But wait!  There's more!  If you missed it on YouTube, here is my uninspiring pep(less) talk for 2015 from earlier this month.


And just in case you're bored, another new year's resolution of mine is to laugh more, so I started a new YouTube where I make fun of myself, basically.  I find that it's easy for us homeschoolers to take things overly seriously; most of the time unintentionally.  It's a lot of work to homeschool!  Add the feeling of anti-homeschoolers' hot breath bellowing over our lesson plans and it can get really hard to laugh.  I have found myself pulling away from potentially explosive situations in our homeschool just enough to imagine it as a reality TV show and have to laugh, which is the inspiration behind these YouTubes.



Back to the giveaway!  Continental US residents only, I'm afraid, though you can order yourself a box from anywhere.  A winner will be chosen from random.org once the contest has ended and will be notified via email.  Come back to this post to see who the luck winner is.  There are so many ways to get several entries, so go for it!

***  Congrats to Heather Simpson who won the bars!***

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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