Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Days of Togetherness

Homeschooling means connecting during breakfasts instead of speedy swallows and rushing quickly out the door.  This morning, we had a surprise visitor.

We learned it was a red-tailed hawk, and that they can be trained as hunters for falconry if they are passage hawks.  We learned that passage hawks are less than one year old hawks who have left the nest.  We also learned that falconry is a sport where trained raptors hunt for humans.  Then we learned that raptors aren't just extinct dinosaurs, they are also birds of prey.

Homeschooling means music can be played and enjoyed by all ages anytime throughout the day. See?

Homeschooling can also mean as a mother, you get to weather through your children's least favorite subject with them, and you usually experience more moodiness than they'd probably throw at an unfamiliar teacher.

But it also means you get to enjoy recesses, too.  And recesses can be in the form of gardening, trampoline jumping, or teatime outdoors.  Or anything you want it to be.  And it is together.

I like being together.
This is a contributing post for Gratituesday,
Photobucket  Making your home sing Mondays

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Simple Soaked-Bean Chili ~ A Recipe

This is a recipe my mom made up after enjoying some chili at a restaurant that she wanted to emulate.  We've been happily eating it up for decades now.  I only tweaked it a little to enhance it's nutrition content, but it still tastes as delicious as my mama's, if I do say so myself.  Pair it with some homemade cornbread slathered with raw butter an honey and you've got yourself the most comforting meal ever on a chilly evening in.

*A note on cooking dry red or kidney beans.*  Red beans carry a toxin that cooks out, so only eat red beans that are not undercooked.

Simple Soaked-bean Chili
1 1/2 cups dried beans (I use a mixture of black, navy, pinto, & sometimes kidney)
2 Tablespoons lemon juice or whey
1 pound ground meat (turkey, beef, bison, venison... your choice)
1 green bell pepper, minced
1 onion, minced
3 cups water
2 Tablespoons chili powder
1 Tablespoon cumin
1 Tablespoon cocoa powder
3 cloves garlic, seeded and minced

Optional Garnishes
Grated cheese (cheddar or jack are our favorites)
Creme Fraiche or sour cream
Fresh cilantro
Crumbled tortilla chips
  1. 12-24 hours before making the chili, place the beans in a large bowl.  Cover with water about 2-3 inches above the beans and add lemon juice or whey.  Stir, cover with a towel, and let soak for 12-24 hours.  Drain and rinse.
  2. Brown ground meat with onions and pepper in a Dutch oven.  Stir in remaining ingredients.  Cover and simmer for 4-6 hours.  You can also cook this in a crock pot for 6-8 hours on the low setting.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Peek Inside the Cabin

We visited our future home today.  It was a perfect day for it, and we could clearly see our favorite peaks.  Here is one of them.  Boy, will it sing after the first couple of snows!

 So...  I showed you the mini ranch part of our new homestead.  Are you ready to take a look inside the soon-to-be ours cabin?  Vision goggles activated?  Okay...  Here's our kitchen.

 May I remind you these are very much before pictures?  After shots to follow once we get our hands on it.
And here's the crazy couple who are in the process of purchasing this piece of work (groovy mirrors included).

That's all I can bear to show you for today. Let's go back outside, shall we?  It's getting hotter and mustier in here.
Look!  We discovered a pomegranate tree.  I always wanted a pomegranate tree.  It needs lots of love.  Come to mama.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Drive-by Dinner Suggestion

Good evening. Are you enjoying the beginnings of autumn? I know I am; especially before this weekend's heat wave is supposed to hit. Oh well.

If you're looking for a simple, nourishing, delicious, fall-ish kind of dinner, these sourdough biscuits and this butternut squash soup? They are a heavenly pairing.
The end.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A New Chapter ~ Stepping Into A Dream

**If you are unfamiliar with our story, we have lived in a trailer since late April. Find out why here and this post will make much more sense.**

It is happening. Way earlier than expected. Like, half a year earlier, thanks to a mind-blowingly generous gift we received to slice our debt load almost in half. Let me try to compose myself... OK. Here goes:


We are in the process of purchasing a mini ranch that needs people with love and vision. Pick us! Pick us! Oh wait, it did! And the mortgage? It will be less than what we paid every month for rent.

This is so much more than purchasing a home, although that within itself is massive. We're stepping into a lifelong dream. We're about to embrace a lifestyle we've wanted since forever. A lifestyle of sustainability. A lifestyle more connected with creation and where our food comes from. There will be lots of dirty faces, sweat, and grunts. There will be hard work, patience, growth, harvests, accomplishments, tending, nurturing, raising, feeding, pruning, training, building, loving, and resting. I'm not just talking about the land. I simply couldn't be more giddy. It's almost too hard to sit and type right now. Someone give me a shovel!

I could hardly wait to give you a little tour. If you will, slip your most polished pair of vision goggles on and come with me.

This is one of my favorite spots. I love stone walls, especially when moss is growing along it. It feels ancient. This is where many thoughts will be thought, quiet times will be had, books read, pictures drawn, blogs written, and whispers shared.

We even have our own child-sized rock wall. Train them up in the way they should go...

We have wanted to grow grapes for years. Look! An empty slope! Hello, my table grape vineyard.

And barns? Why yes. We have two. Both need love. We have plenty of that. Here's a peek into the big barn:

The other is a horse barn.

Let's not forget pastures. There are three of those.

Also, I want sheep.

Do you know what? There is room to spare. For chickens, sheep dogs, dairy cats, and beyond.

All-in-all, it figures out as about five acres.

You might have noticed there are no pictures of the cabin. It sits atop a little hill where a view of mountain peeks can be enjoyed; two of our favorite, to be exact. We'll get to the cabin another time soon. Make sure you don't lose your best vision goggles for that one. You might want to polish them with Windex first. It's one thousand square feet. That's a great upgrade from our 250 square-foot trailer. When money comes in, it will be demolished and a new home will be built. In the meantime, the cottage will get new paint and floors before we move in. Just keep that in mind when I show it to you.

Excuse me while I give a little scream and do a happy dance. Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Out of the Mouths of Four-Year-Olds

Driving home after a sweet time with good friends:

"Mom, I really wish my friend's family would adopt me."
"But I would miss you so much!"
"Don't worry, Mom.  I'd send you lots of pictures with me and my friend."
"But my heart would hurt so badly if I couldn't be with you anymore!"
"Mom, you can baby-sit us lots of times, it'll be fine."

Sweet mercies from heaven.  If I wasn't laughing so hard, I'd be crying and wondering where on earth I went wrong.

Links: You Capture

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Signs that...

...summer is ending,

and autumn is coming,

Yes, this is poison oak, and yes I think it's pretty this time of year; and thankful it's so easy to spot.

rainy season is approaching,

and my four-year-old and I decorated our trailer home,

my beautiful eldest is only getting older.

And more beautiful.

See more signs at You Capture

As Simple as ABC

Some of us, after being inspired by a great work of literature, feel moved to tell the world about it in the form of a review.  I...  well, I... I really liked the pictures.

On a previous visit to the library, my children discovered Alphabet Soup.

Here's what I like about the book besides the pretty pictures:

  • For ages 1-8+ This is a great book to read with the family (or for your older child to read to your younger ones as read-aloud practice).  Your children are introduced to the simple sounds of each letter of the alphabet and the book introduces the most common digraphs.  IE: Not only do the children find that snake begins with s, sheep begins with s, too.  Taking the time to point that out and thinking of other sh words is really helping my 6-year-old son to remember his digraphs.
  • Animals, animals There is an animal who's name begins with each letter of the alphabet.  My children had fun guessing which animal would represent each letter.  Don't go with the easy animal choice, though!  They pull out some unique ones, which has been a fun way for my four-year-old to learn about some new creatures.
  • Food for the foodie In the book, an animal friend is hosting a housewarming soup potluck.  Not only is there an alphabet animal friend for each letter, the friends bring tasty veggies and legumes that match their representing letter.  The foodie in me loves this part.  I think I was the one guessing which vegetable each animal would bring.  It's fun for the whole family, I tell you.
So there you have it.  My ABC book review.  It moved me, this book did.  Oh, the depth.  The suspense.  The intrigue.  The food. The pretty pictures.