Tuesday, January 31, 2012

It's Official.

On a drive out in the country one day, I sighed aloud and said, "I want to be a farmer."
And Chloe sighed and replied, "I want to be a farmer's daughter."

I wish I could tell you all the time we've spent driving around in the country, daydreaming about owning our own farm. It's a dream we all hold dearly.

And, as Jiminy Cricket once said, "If you don't have a dream, how can you have a dream come true?"

Our dream come true:

It's more than we'd dreamed of, honestly. A lot more.

Complete with a barn - and a red one, at that.
This picture is out the window above the front door - not a bad view, eh?
I only wish there were words to describe how excited I am as we venture into this new chapter in our lives. Thrilled, humbled, ecstatic, anxious. But none of them can completely describe the feeling.

It's official: we're farmers now.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Chicken Love

Do ya ever sit in wonder of the things you find yourself saying out loud to your children, things you never thought you'd have to say? It seems as though now that we have chickens, these phrases pop up more and more frequently. Nearly a year since we acquired our hens, and Two Little Girls haven't come close to losing interest. They are constantly trying out new ways of playing with their chickens.

"Girls, chickens don't belong on slides. Or swings."
"For heaven's sake, stop tormenting those chickens!"
"Those are chickens, not puppies! You can not train them to sit!"

But we reached a new level tonight:

"Chloe, please go take the bib off the chicken before she goes to bed for the night."

Watching my children spoon-feed soaked, mashed chicken food to a hen wearing a baby doll bib? Priceless.

This farmy life is a good one, I tell ya.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Reality is Sinking In (And the first publicly posted picture of the farm!)

I keep sitting down to try to write a blog - it's been a week now - and I keep failing. I tried to write about using dehydrated onions in the winter. I tried to write about using recycled boxes and canisters as toys. I even tried to write about having our entire yard and driveway dug up to have the sewer line replaced, and nothing is coming out.

There is a good reason for this, of course. It's because we are one week away from signing papers to buy a farm. A farm! A real life, honest-to-goodness farm. And it looks like we may be moving in sooner than originally anticipated.

It's been a month now since we first found it, and it's been an interesting process.

Phase One: the Giddy Phase. "We're buying a farm we're buying a farm we're buying a farm!" Along with a lot of jumping up and down, squealing, and maybe even a bit of spontaneous tap dancing in the hallway. So much excitement, I couldn't sleep.

Phase Two: the Dreamy Phase. Pinterest every spare minute, picturing all the great decorating ideas being put to good use in this lovely new home. Ordering seeds for the garden-to-be that will be four times the size of the one I have now. Daydreaming about having a school room, and a craft studio, and a kitchen without peach cupboards. So much imagining that I couldn't sleep.

Phase Three: the Logical Phase. Researching meat chicken breeds and milk goats, packing everything we own into McDonald's fry boxes, creating a to-do list a mile long of things that must be done to this home before we can rent it out. Organizing and planning galore, making sure no detail was left unaddressed. Laying awake at night thinking about everything that needed to be done... and not sleeping.

We're entering Phase Four now, and honestly, I'm getting tired.

It would appear that Phase Four is the Reality Phase. We got a call from the realtor this evening, tying up loose ends, covering last details, as we prepare to sign the contract on the farm early next week. Somehow this all just now became real to me. We are packing up our small children and everything we own to go live an hour away from our closest friends and family, on a piece of land where our only neighbors will be deer, elk, and an occasional bear. Omgoodness we're buying a farm.

This qualifies as one of The Biggest Things In Our Lives. It's a seriously big deal, not something to be tap dancing or daydreaming about.

There are a million reasons to freak out right now. I was laying in bed running through the list of them in my head - and not sleeping - when I decided to sit up and write.

This is an amazingly huge, not-to-be-taken-lightly financial decision. It's not just a sweet little house in town, it's the house we will live in for the rest of our lives, the house we want to leave to our daughters some day. It means a new budget - a tighter one - and new financial responsibilities. We have to rent this house out, meaning we'll have two mortgages to pay if a renter bails on us. We have to be prepared for things like fertilizing a hay pasture, shoeing horses, and the gas to go back and forth to town.

We have to learn so much! I don't know how to irrigate. My mother's stories of irrigating are enough to scare anyone away from it, and our farm will be far more complicated than what she deals with (though hopefully the neighbors are nicer.) I have to learn to garden in a climate with six weeks less frost-free time, where I'll be expected to produce (and store) enough food to feed my family for a year. We may never eat another ripe tomato as long as we live. We'll have to learn to cut and stack wood for warmth in the winter, and when to cut hay so it doesn't mold in the summer. I'll have to learn to milk goats and butcher chickens.

We're going to be virtually alone. We don't know anyone up there. No one cares if we're okay, if we're surviving. It might be days at a time before I have any adult conversation, especially if my husband works out of town. I dream about that now - 'getting away from it all' - but will I love it once it's reality? I'll have to work three times as hard to get my children any social interaction at all, for fear they'll turn into the stereotypical unsocialized homeschoolers everyone always whispers about.

The workload of a real farm is incredibly daunting. Here on our little homestead-in-the-city, the amount of work required is manageable enough that I go to bed most nights with the to-do list checked off. The reality of living a real farm life is that the to-do list will never be complete. I'm going to have to come to terms with going to bed at night with tasks unfinished. And farming goes entirely against my control-freak nature. When one is relying so much on nature, one has no control. I'm going to have to accept it, and adjust, and that may not be easy.

Homesteading here in our little city house is easy stuff. I keep the garden, I can some food, we butcher some game, we're set. It's a whole new ball game up there, and all I keep thinking is "we have no idea what's even coming."

But that's not true. Obviously, there will be some surprises, though I like to think of them as "adventures". We've spent the last six years of our marriage building skills to take with us up to this place to help us be successful. We embrace simplicity - we can handle living on a budget. We can butcher an elk - I'm sure we can handle a few dozen chickens. We go camping for a week at a time, with no one but each other for company, and we do that on purpose. I can handle solitude. We do all we can to shelter our children from everything they see on a daily basis in the city - living in the country is only going to make that easier.

Our parents raised two intelligent, capable kids who are now going to take all those skills and experiences we've gained and put them to the best use possible, in an effort to live our dream, follow our hearts, raise great kids, and live by the ethical standards we believe in.

If I can keep telling myself that, I just might survive the overwhelmed state of panic and anxiety that's creeping in. Our "Farm Dream" is about to become our "Farm Reality."

All that said, it would appear that Stage Four affords no more sleep than any of the previous stages did.

For those who have been asking for pictures, here you go:
This pictures shows most of the 37 acres, with the meadow, the buildings, and the little hillock my children will spend their days exploring. :-)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Two Broken Hearts.

Being a Momma is hard. Really hard. It's hard to keep up with housework, it's hard to try to be patient, it's hard to homeschool, it's hard to teach right from wrong.

But I discovered today what is even harder than any of those things.

Today I had to tell my sweet girls that their newest best friend, Cowboy, had died.

When we went out on Sunday for them to ride him, we could tell he wasn't feeling well. He was lying in his stall instead of eating, and acting like he was in pain. It didn't take long to realize he was colicking, though something more might have been going on. We likely won't ever know for sure. A couple of visits to the vet didn't help much, and he lived only a couple more days.

Breaking that news to my daughters is high on the list of Most Awful Parenting Moments. They only had him for two months, but with such a sweet little horse, that was plenty of time for them to love him dearly. No Momma ever wants to break her daughters' hearts, and that was the job I got to do today.

Chloe reacted in typical Chloe fashion. She shut down, refused to talk or even let me see her face. She spent a good long while lying on my bed crying quietly with me beside her. As I type tonight, she's drawing pictures of him, the coping strategy she turns to most often. Cora was far more outwardly emotional... and that was hard. The look in her little eyes, the quiver of her chin, those big, huge tears. Four is too young to learn how it feels to lose a friend.

And he was an amazing little friend. No little horse could have a sweeter disposition, so patient and gentle and calm. He put up with everything - having his mane and tail brushed and brushed and brushed, having a nine year old try to teach him how to turn on the forehand or learn to lunge him. He took it all in stride. You just don't find horses like that every day, and especially not miniature horses.

I'm so sad for them. He opened up a new world for them, a world I want to see them continue enjoying. Not to say we'll never find another great horse, but he really was special. I hate that such a wonderful experience for them was so short-lived, that they couldn't have enjoyed him for longer. I hate that such a wonderful little horse's life ended much too soon.

Little Girl Dress-up Fun

Our home is well stocked with dress-up clothes. My children, however, have been on dress-up hiatus for some time now. I assumed, when I packed them, that the dress up clothes would not be missed between now and the time we move.

I was wrong. The sudden urge to dress up like a princess (or bag lady) came upon my smallest daughter yesterday in a desperate kind of way. And there were no dress up things for her to exercise this adorable, ultra-girly form of creativity.

So I did what I used to do for her big sister, back in the days before we had a great stash of play clothes. I opened up my closet, pulled a few things out, and gave her free reign of my scarves, hats, and jewelry box. (I'd say shoes, too, except that... I packed them.) She took care of her own make-up, and the result was... well, adorable, if not quite "princessy."

Big, flowy blouse-turned-dress with a scarf for a belt; a kerchief-shawl and a crocheted hat...

Complete with dirty old cowboy boots on the wrong feet (I kept out the necessities. She didn't seem to mind the lack of high heels though.)

And lots of "real" jewelry.

All dressed up, she sighed happily and said, "I look like a real Mama now."

Is this really what she thinks I look like every day? Hmm...

Then a change of accessories...

And then it was "I don't feel like a princess now. Or like a Mama. I kind of think I look like... a beggar woman." And then, because in her fairy-tale laden little mind, being a beggar woman is a rather romantic notion, she began dancing around the kitchen in the most beautiful way she knows how.

Proof that fancy dress-up clothes aren't needed at all... and that sometimes Mama's closet is more fun anyway!

This is how I spend my afternoons when all of the stress of the Moving To-Do List gets to be too much for me. :o)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Grinding Meat - Revisited

I've had a handful of messages from folks wanting to know more about grinding game meat into burger, so since we just did it this weekend, I thought I'd share the process. I did write a very similar post a couple of years ago on the subject, but I've learned some things since then that I'll add to this post.

As we butcher an elk or deer, all of the small scraps of meat and lower-quality meat cuts go into the "burger bucket." (We use a five gallon bucket lined with a clean plastic trash bag.) Wild game fat isn't the greatest tasting, so we trim most of the big fatty chunks off, but little bits left on aren't really a problem. When we're done processing the animal, we freeze the burger meat big freezer bags until we're ready to grind it. Yes, this means we refreeze our meat once. I'm not gonna recommend you do it too, but I can tell you that after spending a day (or two) cutting up and packaging an animal, the last thing I want to do is stand at the grinder for another few hours. I prefer procrastination. We've never noticed a problem with the taste and/or quality of our burger meat because of it.

So anyway. Thaw your meat if it's frozen, and round up some fat*. Pork and beef fat are equally suitable. Pork fat tends to be less "gummy", making less mess and not clogging the grinder as often. Beef fat is kosher, and we have kosher family that we like to have for dinner on occasion. Either way, you want a pound of fat for every four pounds of burger meat. This makes an 80/20 mixture, which makes great burgers, meat loaves, meatballs, etc. (I've done a 3:1 ration in the past, and it's good too, but the difference is minimal. 4:1 means you buy less fat.) Fat is cheap, about $2 a pound. Find a butcher shop that will sell you fresh fat, already ground. (We ground our own for the first two years, thinking that was the only way. All butcher shops are not equal - find a good one.)

Grind your meat on the coarse setting first. Then, mix four pounds of meat with one pound of fat. We mix by hand, wearing gloves.

When it's well mixed, run it through the grinder with a finer grind plate.

Then package it according to how you'll want to use it - we do one pound portions.

To package it, I put it in sandwich size ziploc bags, press out all the air and seal it, then wrap it in a layer of freezer paper.

This seems to work great - we'll still be eating this meat in August, until next hunting season, and freezer burn hasn't been an issue for us yet. Mark the package with the contents, and load up the freezer. From the deer we processed this fall, we ended up with 24 pounds of burger in addition to the steaks and roasts we kept out.

Notes and tips:
*Work quickly, and keep your meat cold.
*Have every large bowl in your kitchen clean and ready for use. You'll use them all, and wish you had more.
*Two people working is better than one. It makes the work go faster, and it's more fun that way.
*Get a small kitchen scale. Ours is a little digital that goes up to 10 pounds. You'll be surprised at the number of uses you'll find for it.
*We've used our Kitchen-Aid food grinder, and a Cabela's heavy duty meat grinder. The Cabela's one is about three times faster than the Kitchen-Aid, and doesn't have to be stopped periodically to prevent overheating. It was a worthwhile investment. If you're cooler than we are, you could also use an old fashioned hand-crank grinder. We've done it... well, we tried it. That's a whole lotta work.
*For self-sufficiency reasons, obviously purchased fat isn't absolutely necessary for making burger meat. But the taste is better, and added fat keeps the meat moist. A hamburger with no fat is going to be a dry, crumbly burger, and not very pleasant to eat.
*If you're going to make sausage, leave some of the ground meat out of the freezer, and plan to make the sausage soon. It's not a hard thing to do, and worth the extra effort.
*Clear your counters of everything you don't want blood splattered on. Then, consider using a bit of foil to create a sort of tent over the grind plate. Otherwise, your kitchen will resemble a massacre scene by the time you're finished. Grinding meat is messy work.
*Learn the "butcher wrap", or you'll be going through an insane amount of freezer paper and tape. Ignore the directions on the side of the freezer paper - you'll use twice as much. The trick is the work on the diagonal.
*Do buy freezer tape. It looks just like masking tape, but masking tape will come undone when it gets cold. Freezer tape won't.
*This process is the same for any kind of meat you want to grind. We made sausage out of last season's snow goose as well. Burger/sausage is fabulous for any meat you don't love the taste of (like snow goose) because you can easily cook it in a way that hides the gamey taste.
*The cost analysis: $10 for purchased fat, $20 for deer tag, $1.50 for a fourth of a roll of freezer paper and a bit of tape. $31.50 total. 24 pounds of meat at $31.50 equals $1.31 per pound for free range, grass fed hamburger after two hours of work. Not a bad deal.

This post is shared on Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

(Almost) Instant Homegrown Pizza Sauce

Pizza is a standard at our house - Saturday night dinners alternate between spaghetti and pizza. Everyone likes them both, and it seems to be a good lead-in to our "family night."

I make pizza sauce by the quart all summer long as the tomatoes are coming in, then freeze them in 1 cup portions. This works great, until I forget to take sauce out to thaw and dinner needs to be on the table in half an hour. So tonight, I improvised, and the result was so yummy I thought I'd share it.

Here's how to have "fresh" from the garden pizza sauce in less than five minutes.

Use half a quart of canned roma tomatoes. (Yes, half a quart is a pint. However, I can my tomatoes in quart jars, so I call it half a quart.) Squeeze most of the juice out. Put them in a bowl, cup, something that you can use your stick blender in.

To the tomatoes, add a couple cloves (or more) of garlic, a tablespoon or so of dehydrated onions, and a good bit of whatever Italian-ish spices grew successfully for you this year. I used dried basil, oregano, and rosemary.

Now mix away with your stick blender until it's pretty much smooth. If it's too thin (mine was) add a small handful of dried tomatoes to the mixture, and blend them in really well. It'll thicken right up, and add really rich flavor.

And that's that. Super simple, and super fast. I think I might actually like this more than the sauce I've been using for the past three years, it was that good.

An actual "recipe":
1 pint canned roma tomatoes, drained
2 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp dehydrated onions
2 Tbsp. mixed dried Italian herbs
1/4 c. dehydrated tomato slices

Blend all ingredients with an immersion blender until smooth.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Boxes everywhere...

It's getting hard to walk through the house without tripping over boxes...

16 days til closing, another five (or so) days after that, and we move to the farm! It's amazing how slowly three weeks can go by, when one is desperately waiting for a dream to come true.

I keep scouring Pinterest for great ideas for the new house, which is only frustrating me because my whole craft room is packed neatly into boxes. There are more "CRAFT" boxes than any others in our house. What does that say about our priorities? Granted, much of it is kid's craft stuff. It's not all my fault.

See my super-awesome organizational skills? Printer labels with the room where the box is to go, one on the top and one on the side.

When we move in, no one will have to wonder where each box ought is to end up, because I will post signs at each door labeling the rooms. Anyone who wants to volunteer can be convinced to help with the move will be able to jump right in and unload boxes from the truck.

Tip: McDonald's fry boxes are the best moving boxes ever, and there is a huge abundance of them. Try to find a McDonald's that separates their cardboard from their regular trash, and you're set to go. They're the perfect size for books, and we have a lot of books.

The Oldest begged and begged to pack her own things, so I sent her down to her room with an empty box. She came up ten minutes later declaring she was too exhausted to continue. There were eight things in the box. Obviously, the kids aren't going to be much help in this endeavor. When I sent them outside with a box to pack the toys from their playhouse, the asked why we couldn't just move the playhouse with all the toys in it. If anyone is great at avoiding any and all extra work, it would be my children.

In our Household Notebook, I have running lists of To-do projects for this house before we rent it out, to-do projects for the new house before we move in, address changes that need to be made, etc. I desperately want this move to go smoothly and quickly. We have one week to get unpacked before seedlings must be started, when we jump in head first in our attempt to farm. Staying organized will be key in keeping things running smoothly.

I'm making double batches of soups, stews, chilis, and everything else that I can possibly freeze, since it may take a few days before my kitchen is in enough order to begin cooking, and the Tiny Little Town doesn't have any fast food restaurants to run to when the children claim they are starving.

All this is really just an attempt to make the days go by a little faster, since mostly I just want to move right now. But patience is a virtue. Right?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Nature Study: Bird's Nest

For as much as we love nature, and spend as much time as possible enjoying it, I've struggled with exactly how to "teach" nature study. But I've finally figured some things out, and thought I'd share them with other home-teaching mamas, in case you're looking for a few bits of wisdom.

First, get a great nature study/ nature journaling book. My favorite for kids is Nature Connection by Claire Walker Leslie. It's got a month-by-month guide of things to look for, a great how-to for different types of drawing, and so many beautiful drawings from Ms. Leslie's own nature journals that one can't help but find it inspirational. I also have Keeping A Nature Journal, which I use for my own, more grown-up nature journaling.

We split our nature studies in half - some of them are just time spent exploring nature around us, with no structure. I'm fairly convinced my children learn just as much from just playing outdoors as they do from trying to see details and make notes. But the other half of the time, I encourage a bit of structure, point out interesting details in nature they may have overlooked, and we hypothesize together about the hows and whys of the things we find. During those studies, we do our journaling and drawing.

For the past two years, I've encourage my oldest to draw something she finds, and write about it. Granted she's been little, but the results haven't been what I was looking for. I'd make suggestions, "Look for the little details, try to draw those," or "Write a little bit about what you see." But the final result was usually a 2-minute scrawl with a one-word description, and I knew she was capable of more than that. (Some children might not be at seven and eight years old. But this is the kid who would draw detailed pictures of horses and dragons that would take an hour or more to complete. I knew she could do more than a circle with lines sticking out of it for a beetle. What she needed was better guidance.)

Then I started nature journaling on my own. Not because I'm a homeschooling mother, but because I realized I really, truly enjoy it. There's a calmness and peace that comes from focusing on one little bit of something in the world around me and trying to draw it... even if my drawings are rather pathetic. I write what I'm thinking about - sometimes just facts, sometimes the thoughts running through my mind. And one day, I left my own nature journal out where the girls found it... and read through it... and suddenly, their own journals are filled with more detail, more notes, more detailed pictures. It's all in leading by example, I suppose. And not pushing or correcting - just showing them, indirectly (even accidentally), what I'd love to see them do as well.

They found this nest out in the front yard yesterday, beneath a tree:

I saw it as a great opportunity for a structured study, looking in detail at what all the nest was made of, the size and shape of it, what kind of bird might have made it.

Here's Littlest One's page:

Notice she's already "journaling". That string of letters - made up mostly of c's, o's, r's and a's - says "I saw a nest under our tree."

Here's The Oldest's:

And here's my own entry into my nature journal:

Admittedly, I'm not much of an artist, especially when it comes to drawing. But no matter - the girls learn that their drawings need not be perfect if they see that mine aren't.

As often as we feel like - often times once a week or more - we can flip back through our books. There are drawings and entries from some of our camping trips and hikes, and it makes for a fun way to remember our adventures together as a family. It also works well as a science lesson, reiterating the things we've learned. The Oldest and I love to exchange notebooks to look through one another's: often there are details that one of us noticed that the other didn't.

So I guess that's the best advice I can give: show your own interest. If your kids see that you're interested in something, they'll likely pick up on it and develop an interest as well. When kiddos are this young, they think Mom is the coolest person in the whole world, and they want to be just like you. So give them a gentle example, encourage their efforts, and you might be amazed at what they'll end up producing!

The Oddly Shaped Egg

Remember Goldi, the chicken with the egg laying issues earlier this summer? Amazingly, she's alive and well, even as the temperatures drop and it's practically frigid out there. I'm still not holding out hope that she'll survive the winter, but so far, so good.

But look at this:

Do you see the long, skinny egg? Her eggs are never "egg shaped." They're always flat on two sides, and long and skinny or lumpy in strange places. They taste fine, are perfectly edible... just funny looking. Chickens sure are interesting creatures!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Nine! and Slumber Party Photos

Time flies, doesn't it? My sweet Biggest Girl turned nine this weekend! We had three friends over for her first slumber party, and it was a great success.

While Chloe was out of the house, Cora and I decorated the front walk:
And the living room (in an attempt to make it look more festive, since we're moving and every room looks naked right now, save for boxes in every corner.)
With Grammy's help, we made the cake:

And then waited for the birthday girl and her guests to arrive. They were all pretty excited.
Littlest One was excited too.

She enjoyed the first half of the party before going to Grammy's house to spend the night.

We had dinner, then cake and ice cream...
with confetti poppers, because they're just so much fun.
And then opened presents.
Yes, she's hugging a lava lamp.
There was some craziness with balloons..
And then they all got to decorate their own pillowcase with fabric markers.
And since no party at our house is complete without some kind of paint, we did handprints on the backs of the pillowcases.
There were horse-head shaped cookies to decorate,

and a wild game of Twister Hoopla, one of the gifts she received from her friends.
Then we settled down with lights off, and some glow-sticks to keep the fun going a bit longer.

Sleep finally came around 1:00... it was a long, long night. But we survived. :o)

Homemade fried donuts and fruit for breakfast
and then they settled in making beaded bracelets until the mamas came to pick them up.
Overall, it was a really great party! Chloe declared it "The Best Birthday Ever", though I think she's said that about every birthday she's had. But anyhow, I'd call it a success.

Happy Birthday, my sweet Chloe! So glad you had a great time!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Little Homeschool Gems

The best kind of home school book combines two or more subjects into one "living" account, and all the better if it combines both of my girls' age/grade levels as well. Gems like this aren't always easy to come by, so I thought I'd share this one with you:

This book, and others in the series, were published at the turn of the 20th century. (Why does it seem as though the most useful books for schooling our children were written over 100 years ago? But it does often turn out that way.) We're only a few short stories into it, but both girls are riveted and work diligently through their other schoolwork for the reward of the Farmyard People.

Ms. Pierson was truly brilliant in her writing - not just for the beauty of her descriptions, but the thought that went into the little fables. Each story teaches nature by using animals as the characters and describing events in their lives as they might speak about them. The stories are factual and informative but are also just plain interesting. And - even better - each story teaches a character lesson. The rude young dove that needed a good scolding from his mother; the vain lamb with the long tail (that was soon to be cut off.) The stories are so easy to relate to real life that even my four year old can see the parallels.

After we finish the Farmyard People (figured I'd use it as a precursor to relocating Two Little Girls to the farm in the Tiny Little Town) we'll move on to stories about the Forest People, the Meadow People, the Pond People. I can't wait, and they can't either.

Here's the best part though: if you have a Kindle (or a smart phone with a Kindle app) these books are all free for download. Score for the frugal homeschool mom. I'm the first to admit that there is something far more satisfying about holding an actual paper book in one's hands, but homeschool can get expensive, and any book available for free is worth downloading. The ones that turn out to be really wonderful will eventually make their way into our "real life" library as they are found.

If you're in the market for fantastic, intelligent children's literature and are trying to work on a tight budget, check out the Amazon Kindle versions before you buy the paper version. Nearly every great children's classic can be found for free, it seems, if you just take a minute to look. And I don't have a Kindle, I just have a Smart Phone. The Amazon Kindle app came free with it. Granted it eats battery like crazy, but I can sit in my rocker with my phone plugged into the wall and read to them for as long as they'll sit. It's like Little House on the Prairie... with a Smart Phone.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Living Deliberately


[adj. dih-lib-er-it; v. dih-lib-uh-reyt] adjective, verb, -at·ed, -at·ing.
carefully weighed or considered; studied; intentional: a deliberate lie.
characterized by deliberation; careful or slow in deciding: a deliberate decision.
leisurely and steady in movement or action; slow and even; unhurried: a deliberate step.

Mama Kautz asked a great question on Facebook this morning: do you have a word for 2012? Her word is "simple" and I'm looking forward to seeing her move her family closer to that word each day.

My word is "deliberate". I want to live deliberately, and encourage my daughters to do the same. My husband is already deliberate. Maybe he can give me lessons.

Note some of the key words in the above definitions: slow. unhurried. careful.

I'm a spazz by nature. I get an idea in my head and I run with it without ever looking back. Without thinking twice, without considering the consequences. At times this can be good - it means I accomplish a lot sometimes - but there are times that when I finally do look back I shake my head and wonder what on earth I was thinking. I don't want to have to wonder any more!

It's easy to get so caught up in everything going on that we just sort of "float" through our days, float through life, going through the motions without putting any thought or meaning into anything. I want to stop doing that! Every little thing we, as wives and mothers, do can be meaningful if we choose to give it purpose, if we think about it before we act. I want to create the habit of carefully, even prayerfully considering each thing I do as a wife and mother and homemaker.

Moving to a farm has been a very deliberate action. We have considered carefully and slowly the right type of land, we have saved money intentionally, over the past few years we have prepared ourselves with skills to use when we begin our new lifestyle out in the country. It seems to be a good start for my Year of Living Deliberately.


So what is your word for the year? What adjective are you going to strive for? I do look forward to hearing about it! Maybe we can convince Mama Kautz to do a weekly link-up as we check in with our progress for living the word we choose for the new year...