Monday, August 31, 2015

Why I sent my homeschooler to public school.

Well, I can tell you this, it was not by choice. At least it wasn't by MY choice. My newly 10-year old daughter up and decided, the day before public school kiddos were back in session, that she wanted to be a part of them.

 First day jitters...she wasn't so sure when it was 
actually time to walk in.

What do you do when your homeschooled daughter tells you she wants to go to school?

You calmly let her explain why, and then let her make her own informed decision...obviously.

Well, I get credit, because I did do that. Sort of. I did let her explain, and I did pretend to understand. Then I walked around like an injured zombie for the rest of the day. (I also broke down and cried...but only once...and only for a second.)

By the fourth day she was a pro! Made her own 
lunch, and was off the boat 30 minutes early!

Boy oh boy.  Sometimes those stinkin' kids of ours have their own minds and we just gotta go with it. (Yes Mom, I see the irony in the situation.) To be honest, it isn't a huge commitment since we're leaving to travel in two months anyway. It's more like a social experiment; a homeschooled kid in a public school world.

The cool thing is, taking a step back and looking at the situation...she's living exactly the way we're trying to help her to be willing to try something live her best not be afraid to try for something she wants. Maybe our life changes have already helped her grow...and if that's true, who am I to stand in her way?

Her brother walked in with her to show support

For normal kids going to school would be no big deal...but for my kid, whose comfort zone is homeschooling, choosing this is the path unknown. I'm actually pretty damn impressed that she chose to step out of her comfort zone and try something not only new...but a little bit scary.

"Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try."

Now, I won't lie, this homeschooling mama felt a little lost at first. I started to worry that mixing our very simple intentional lifestyle with public school kids would bring back a lot of the things that we've taken out of our lives. Most school kids have iphones, cable tv, new first-day outfits...and years of experience dealing with public school kids. And to be honest, I like my no-nonsense gal exactly as she is. I don't want her to come home talking about fashion trends, TV shows and asking for an iphone! (She hasn't asked, but she has informed me that only she and one other girl in her class don't have a cell phone.)

I can't speak for the changes to her personality over the next 60 days...only time can tell. But I can honestly say that the girl I picked up after the first day was glowing. She was so proud of herself for doing it, and for breaking free and being her own person. It's only been three days, but I'm pretty sure she's grown up a little bit more in that time.

Look at that face...that's a proud face.

The good thing is, she wants to do this, and it gives her an idea of what school is like, so if she wants to try again (or not) at least she will have this experience to help her decide. I don't know how long we will travel, or when we will stop and grow roots any more life experience that she can take with her is a good thing. 

At least I hope so!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

My Home

I am so excited about our upcoming travels...but I will miss this place so much. Not just Ketchikan, but our marina, our yacht club and our boat. I know it sounds strange, but even doing the laundry is fun...every time I walk down the dock to put in a load I see seals, otters, eagles, salmon and sea is truly a wonder. 

It not only makes me feel grateful for this life, but it makes me feel alive.

I never felt alive doing laundry in my regular just seemed like a chore.

This picture was NOT taken by me. (I wish!) This is a local photographer, Mike Gates, and he posted it on our local Ketchikan Facebook Photography page, and I just had to share it.

This is my marina...and yes, it is THAT beautiful.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Goldfish Party at Settlers Cove

Laurel's biggest birthday yet (10 years old!) is also the last birthday we'll celebrate in Alaska.  And it was one that will never be forgotten.

She chose to have her final Alaskan birthday on the beach again, but this time we decided to rent the cabin at Settlers Cove.  This way if it rained we could move all the food inside.  And, as an added bonus, when the  party was over we sat by the dying fire, watched the sun fade into the sea and then crawled into the cabin and read our family novel by lantern light.

I have never seen a child glow like this.

Thankfully Alaska provided the entertainment.  Except for few moments to refuel on food, or whack the pinata; mostly the kids were running through the woods, climbing trees, walking along the beach and playing in the cabin.

We had good friends, good food and a beautiful view.  I don't think you can ask for more than that.

It was perfect.

(And since Laurel made the cookies and the pinata, all I had to do was the cake...which fell over twice on the way to the cabin. Yes...twice.)

The next day Luke woke up with his eye like this...don't know what bit him...but it ain't pretty.

Friday, August 28, 2015

catching ourselves when we falter

Today I'm going to tell you a story about me.  

The changes we have gone through as a family have changed me so much. What started as one simple thing; family travel. Turned into SO MUCH MORE. Our belief system and our daily habits had to be joined. So often we say one thing, but live another. Not on purpose of course, but life has a way of living us if we aren't paying very close attention.

Not on purpose of course, but life has a way of living us if we aren't paying very close attention.


For instance, we believed in quality family time, and not using too much technology, but we had cable TV, and we used it...much more than we should have. So we cut it out. We said we didn't believe that processed food was good for us, but every time we wanted a special was always something processed. And like any good mom, I told my children that their natural beauty is what counts (inside and out), but I put on make up every single day. 

I was raised to think that we needed make up to cover all of our flaws. From the 5th grade until the time I was 35 I woke up and put on my foundation, powder, eye shadow, mascara and lipgloss. It's hard to break a 25 year old habit...but I did...and I have begun to love not having to fix who I am.

But...and here is the point of the story...I live in a very intentional world. My friends have been cultivated out of a group of amazing women who stand for who they say they are. They have similar beliefs as myself; healthy food, limited technology, natural beauty, etc. I don't have to worry about how others see me, because I am always in a safe and loving environment. daughter announced that she wanted to try out public school. I had to go in and talk to the principle and the teacher and see other parents...I hadn't been in this kind of situation in years! 

It made me nervous, lord knows why, but it did. 

So, I automatically fell into old habits...I turned on a curling iron, and pulled out my makeup. Without even thinking I did myself up. Then, minutes before leaving I actually looked at myself in the mirror...and I laughed. I couldn't believe how ridiculous I looked. I looked like a person who was trying too hard...and more importantly, I didn't look like me. I had grown so accustomed to seeing MY face in the mirror that this false version of me looked silly. So I stopped and washed my face, then walked out the door, happy to feel like myself again.

I think it's important to really sit down and think about what your beliefs are, and then compare them to your actual life and see how it jives. In other words, you want to make sure your present day actions align with your convictions. I think that this is the most important part of living consciously. 

You want to make sure your present day actions align with your convictions.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Kids of Summer

Could summer really be ending? This summer has been filled with the woods, and the beach and lots and lots of hours doing nothing in particular.  

That's my favorite kind of summer.

a domino effect of goodness

When we first sat down to figure out what we wanted out of life, we came up with this idea of traveling for a little while.  The next obvious question was how to pay for it. Which caused us to look for a tiny house option.  Which required us to downsize. Which taught us to buy less stuff.  Which reminded us how much more money we could save. Which allowed us to see the disparity of riches in the world. And consequently made us never want to live a life where we were completely out of touch with the needs of others. That helped us look at how to live more sustainably. Which convinced us to make more environmentally conscious decisions. Which made us appreciate the world around us more.

Sometimes it just takes tipping over that first one 
to change your life.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

11 Weeks left...

We have about 11 weeks left to live in this home that has been so dear to us.  Every square inch of this place feels like a part of us, and leaving it will likely be the first time I have cried over leaving a home. (and I've left A LOT of homes in my life)

There is no other point to this post.  

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Have you met the Frugalwoods?

Obviously I'm someone who is open to new ideas.  As a family we've pretty much turned our old lifestyle on it's ear and begun a journey to find peace and happiness every single day. This journey has changed me in sooooooooooo many ways.


But there is one way that has been a challenge for me for a long time, in part because I simply didn't want to be bothered.





I'm not here to rant about budgeting and the cash system and how it has changed my life. (you can read that rant here) I'm going to talk about NOT budgeting as a way of saving money. WHA?!?!  I know, that sounds crazy...until you hear it from the Frugalwoods.

                                      The Frugalwoods from the Forbes article

Have you heard of these guys?  They have it together BIG TIME.  If I could go back and know then what I know now, we could have retired 5 years ago. For reals.  But that's ok.  My journey is what it is, and I don't live with regret.  I am grateful and overjoyed at the choices we're making.  What I do want to tell you is that you should head over to the Frugalwoods blog.  But first, let this article in Forbes give you an introduction to what they're all about.

The part that REALLY stands out to me is that they do not follow a budget.  In fact, their point is that following a budget promotes more spending. If you focus simply on not spending, then you will save. Whereas if you use a budget, you tend to spend the whole thing.  And that (for us) has been true.  If we have money left over at the end of the budget cycle, we do tend to blow it on something.

That really caused me to stop and think even more about our spending habits.  Especially since we're still making full time money right now...but next year we will not.  I don't want to spend more than we have because it means we'll have to stop traveling and start working again!

So right now I have been taking $200 out of the budget money every two weeks and putting it away in a can.  (Just to see if we can do with $200 less.)  Of course, that's not the point...the point is to simply face everything as a way to not to spend money just because you can.  Every chance to spend can also be a chance not to. And since one of my favorite Thoreau quotes is "The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it" I feel like I've come a step closer to fully realizing my new spending philosophy.

Ethical Budgeting: How to Live a Life of Wealth & Value |
Hank's kind of cute...right?

I like learning new things.  It makes me feel stronger and more resilient against the mass consumer spending that permeates our world.

Thanks Mr. and Mrs. Frugalwood!

Monday, August 17, 2015

7 Creepy Adventure Read-Aloud Books for Families

We love to read.

We have been known to have 2 family novels and 1 audiobook going at the same time. We have definitely been known to hold off all other school work to finish an amazing novel (thank goodness we're homeschoolers and we have that freedom!). We especially love books about kids saving the day, even more so if the background is fantastically creepy. 

The Wildwood Chronicles (series)

I love this series!  The Impassible Wilderness is very similar to our cedar & spruce rainforest in southeast Alaska. (Every time I go for a hike I imagine I'm walking into Wildwood.) Strong characters, rich landscape...and amazing illustrations.  A little tidbit for you, the author and illustrator are a husband and wife team; the husband is also the lead vocalist for The Decemberists. 

The Lost Children

My kids loved this one in particular.  We read it in a dark rustic cabin in Alaska, by firelight no less. Kidnapped children, strange creatures, unknown worlds...yep, it's a good one!

Spirit's Key

This is not a series, which is nice.  Sometimes it's good to just read a good book and move on with life.  That's how  Spirit's Key was.  When it was over, it was just need to wonder what happens next.  And that can be a really good thing. Another strong lead character, a young girl this time...if you're turned off by the supernatural, then this one isn't for you.  There are animal spirits, trances, and reading of futures.

The City of Ember (series)

Ok, I know I said Wildwood is my favorite series...but City of Ember is also my favorite series.  They are quite a bit different, seeing as how Wildwood is fantasy, while Ember falls more into the dystopian future genre. What I love most is that her characters are good.  There are no evil President Snow type characters here (Hunger Game reference, in case you were wondering). Not to say that everyone is perfect (there is a bad mayor in the first one), but mostly it's about always being willing to try, to fight for what is right, and to decide for yourself what is good and honorable.

The Giver (series)

I love this entire series, but I really love the second book the most.  I love that each book seems unrelated to the one before, and eventually get weaved together into one story.  The author is creative by nature (she has written MANY books worth checking out), but what I like the most is that she doesn't write for reality...imagination weaves in and out of normal life seamlessly.  

The Five Kingdoms (series)

My son found this series, and thank goodness he did!  We had just finished the last City of Ember book, and we were looking for something new.  We felt like the writing was similar to the Percy Jackson series.  It definitely has something for everyone...strange worlds, kidnapped children...and kids that can hold their own.  (an obviously favorite recurring theme for us)

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place (series)

The author's silly humor is infectious...and I swear, if Jane Austen were to write a childrens' series, it would be this one.  The strength of the main character isn't quite what we usually like (a bit prim for our taste), but her unstoppable positivity more than makes up for it. 

Sunday, August 16, 2015

10 Years in the Making

How is it possible that this wonderful person has been in my life for a decade?  Granted, I can't remember what life was like without her anymore...but still...10 years?  Where does the time go?

No longer a little girl, but still not a woman.  
But always, my sweet little first-born gal.

Friday, August 14, 2015

letting go of fear

Why do some people do seemingly amazing things, while others do not?

What Would You Do Today If You Knew You Couldn't Fail: Feminist Mental Health Self Care Affirmation Poster Print
ETSY print from FabulouslyFeminist

I've read a lot about this...and thought a lot more about it.  And I've certainly allowed fear to stop me (a lot) in my life.  It's a rare person who lives completely fearlessly. 

Think about it, when a person is doing something amazing, something out of the norm...but it goes wrong.  They get cancer, or someone dies...the first thing people do is attack their choices.  But bad things happen whether we do amazing things or not; why do we feel compassion for those who choose a normal path, but judgement when someone veers from that same path?  


Fear is so pervasive, it not only stops us from doing amazing also causes us to judge others for their choice to do something amazing.  Sometimes it's fear for their safety (like a parent would feel for a child), but more often it's fear that we're living our own lives wrong.  If others can do amazing things, why can't I?  But rather than dig deep and find their own amazing path, it's easier and safer to stay the course and judge others for leaving it.

Fear.  Fear.  

I am reading a book right now that says that we approach everything in one of two ways; fear or love. The list of fear responses was eye opening...I could see my own responses over the years.  I could see my own responses to what we're planning now, both the fear the love responses.  I could see the responses of our parents, friends and perfect strangers...and it was easy to categorize them all into fear or love.  Here is the list, which do you gravitate towards?

-try to control, manipulate, and micromanage people and situations, thinking we always know best
-think things are good only when they're going "our" way
-operate from our heads all the time, overthinking and overmanaging
-become reactive and get easily triggered
-react negatively and see problems first, instead of acknowledging what's good
-come from a poverty mindset and feel like there is never enough
-punish, judge, and close ourselves off from others

-trust-and allow those we love to follow their own unique path (even if we don't agree)
-practice acceptance and let go
-listen from our hearts in our interactions and respond in the moment
-communicate openly and be more receptive and flexible
-come from a prosperity mindset and see that there is always "enough" time, attention, space and resources
-see everyone's true essence, who they really are, not how they're acting in the moment
-slow down and experience gratitude for all that happens

So how do we change our natural responses?  Well, I will admit...I am no expert.  But from my own life I have been able to overcome fear by really digging deep and getting to know myself and my family.  From there we really learned what we wanted out of this life.  Once you do that, there really is no excuse for not trying to attain your deepest most important life goals. This process is not quick, or easy...and you will find that what you think is important will change.  No matter what, you must continually remind yourself to approach it with love, not fear.  Reread the lists over and over again to help you recognize when you're headed down the wrong path.  

Fear. Fear. Fear.

I still have terrifying moments where I realize we're REALLY leaving our job, our life, our security...what happens if it all goes wrong?!?!  And I start to let those deep dark feelings sink in. And I wonder if we should change our minds.  Could we quietly just sneak back into our lives? Maybe no one will even notice.  I can feel fear taking over...and I have to remind myself to approach it with love. Then my heart opens, and I can see clearly again.  

This next few years of slowly traveling with my young (but quickly growing) kids, and my very loving husband who NEVER has free time, will be the single most important experience we will probably ever have together.  We will talk about these days for the rest of our lives.  We will draw from the love, patience, fun and adventure for the rest of our lives.  It will become a benchmark for whatever comes next, and if it isn't at least as awesome as traveling, than why bother?  

You get one life.  Live it in love, not fear.

Love. Love. Love. Love.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Inspiration for Digging Deep, Simplifying and Finding Your Path

Inspiration comes from many places.  When we first started our journey towards digging deep into ourselves, we didn't even really know that's what we were doing.

I would type simplifying into a web browser and come up with 100 ways to declutter your home. So I started by reading a bunch of those, but every book I read on the subject came up flat.  There was no substance, no heart, no soul.  Basically if you threw some stuff away you could buy new better stuff. Plus, obviously you just needed to be better at cleaning up.  Hmmm...not what I was looking for.

Then I ran across this one,

and this one.

The first is much lighter reading than the second, but both ended up with a lot of material to chew on. And both have to do with really looking at yourself and figuring out what you want out of life, and out of yourself.

By the time I read both of these books, we were already on our journey of extreme downsizing and keeping to a budget. So nothing was earthshattering-ly new...but there was so much food for thought, so much inspiration to dig more, and so much motivation to keep going.

These are the kinds of books that reinforce to me over and over again that we are on the right path. These are the kind of people who help keep me on our path.  That is true inspiration.

A couple of others...

This one has nothing to do with simplifying or budgeting...
but the family adventure and willingness to follow a dream 
(plus the authors humor) make it a great read for anyone.

This was the first book if it's kind that I had read, so for me 
it was a bit revolutionary.  I never really thought about 
questioning life, not just my life but ALL life prior to this book.

Sometimes you just find a great book.  This one was 
recommended by a friend, and it did not disappoint.  
More than anything it reinforces the importance of 
maintaining strong family and community bonds.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...