Even if you’re not a runner, this TED talk has a great message. And not just about running. About life, really. Whether you’re a serious athlete, a weekend warrior, career woman (or man!), SAHM, WAHM or home schooling parent. Have you let circumstances, ambition, or anxiety steal your joy? I hope you will be as inspired as I am by Krissy Moehl.
what do you think? should we paint the wee storage door or not?
My awesome and amazing husband has been working on the Sprouts’ rooms these past few weeks. With our crazy family schedule, their room renovations have been done in baby steps. The cottage cheese/popcorn ceilings have been soaked, scraped, spackled, re-textured, and painted! We are all whispering a collective “yay”. Now we are almost ready for the really fun part: painting the rooms in the colors the Sprouts themselves selected! At their ages, its really important that they have a say about their decor. There will be two colors per room and we even let them select which walls will get which color. Hence the orange post-it note on the walls (see above photo). They labeled the walls so there would be no confusion when Daddy starts painting.
How will it all turn out? Stay tuned …..
Raw milk, that is. I’ve read about the benefits and supposed risks of consuming raw milk for the past year or so and have been intrigued. After a bit more reassurance from a chemist mama friend, we took the plunge. Thanks to some new and dear homeschooling friends here in the Grand Valley, we we able to try about one and half gallons for free. It was great! I was warned that you don’t want to consume too much initially so that your body gets used to “living milk” rather than the “cardboard” grocery store variety. So, most of our raw milk was converted to homemade yogurt and cheese.
Being the practical and I suppose lazy (really just a time crunched busy mama!) urban homesteader that I am, I made the cheese from a fabulous kit by Urban Cheesecraft. You can make ten batches of mozzarella or ricotta cheese with the kit. They send you recipes, cheesecloth, a cheese thermometer, vegetarian rennet, citric acid, and cheese salt. Add a gallon of milk and get a pound of cheese! I’m sure that I could have rounded up all of the kit’s contents, but it was nice having it all prepared and ready to go!
I made the same yogurt I’ve made for years now. I use a yogurt maker purchased from Williams Sonoma and get my yogurt starter from them or from Yogourmet. Both starters are great and I just use what is available. In Montana, I always had to order online and so right now I’m stocked up with Yogourmet from a bulk order I placed last summer. You can also use a jar of homemade yogurt as your starter in order to stretch a few dollars. The yogurt maker makes seven jars of yogurt and I just make it a habit to whip up a new batch every Sunday afternoon. I know that now there are lots of yogurt recipes online and many of them are for batch yogurt. Silly as it is, we like our yogurt in the cute glass jars. The individual serving sizes work best for our family. I have two sets of jars and the newer ones even allow you to register the cooking date on the lid.
All in all, our “raw” experiment was a success and we will probably do it again soon!
Even though we no longer have our almost ten acres out on the range, its been a real treat having a proper yard again where things will actually grow. In Montana, our soil was so heavily clay laden (and the water with a high sodium content) that all we had was wild prairie grass. And while the grasses certainly had their own renegade beauty, we are thrilled to be surrounded by landscaping with blooming flowers and the small beginnings of a vegetable garden here on our (sub)urban homestead.
The previous owners did a splendid job of landscaping the yard and building a stunning pond and waterfall. They also filled raised terraced beds with nice rich soil! We are on a steep learning curve in regards to pond maintenance (Ben and the boys spent all of Mother’s Day emptying the pond and using the wet vac to suck up the sludge that had accumulated), plant identification, and all around botanical maintenance. There are frequent surprises as we gradually get to know our “land”: a small strawberry patch on the hill; raspberries; a patch of rosemary; garlic; lettuce (I’m almost certain); grape vines; and dwarfed fruit trees (one apple, one pear, and Ben just planted an apricot tree that he snagged at Sprout’s). I personally am beyond thrilled to finally have a small spot near the back of the house for a kitchen garden. I’ve been pining for one for years now! Last week, I plopped some herbs into the spot this past week: dill, parsley, thyme, basil, and chives. Botanical bliss indeed.
an herb garden at last!
One aspect of our new digs that we are hoping to address immediately is the ceilings. With the exception of the kitchen and bathrooms, we have those dreaded popcorn ceilings! We decided to address the Sprouts’ rooms first and so they are all camped out in the bonus room for a while. Ben poked around online for tips and then started earlier this week with Mandy’s room. Thankfully, the texture came off quite easily and the mess is currently manageable!
Our closing was gleefully uneventful at the end of April and we are thrilled to be moving into what we hope will be permanent digs for quite a while. Initially, we began with the massive cleanup. We were, of course, behind “schedule” immediately due to discovering a water leak associated with the washer hookup! Never a dull moment, I tell you. The laundry is on the main level of the house and the leak found its way down in the basement. So my sweet husband had the sheer pleasure of making a few trips to Home Depot to remedy the situation.
I’m really thankful that we had time to clean before moving our stuff in. We have had many relocations as a young family and this house is by far the filthiest we have ever encountered. You don’t notice those things oftentimes when previewing a house. Or, at least I don’t. With three Sprouts running around while previewing a house, sometimes cleanliness becomes obsolete.
When we finally got around to unpacking after moving our belongings piece-meal style over a seven day period, our priorities were 1. eating 2. sleeping 3. reading! The kitchen was fully unpacked first, followed by the bedrooms and library. Yes, I said library! One of the appealing aspects of this house is a study/office area with built in bookshelves. We have quite a number of books and its so nice to have most of them in one location (yes, “most of them” because we still have overflow). Many of the books have been packed away due to our lack of living space these past few years. Placing them on the shelves has been like seeing old friends again! I also love that our library is next to the kitchen so its easily accessible. This is where we have our books, school stuff, desk top computer, and the kids’ work table. I love that we can all work in the same room now. As I am writing, our tiniest Sprout is happily coloring only four feet away. If she needs something, I can easily help her instead of getting up and going to another room in the house. And, our Art Closet is in the adjoining hallway, so its going to very easy for all of the Sprouts to initiate their own projects!
I think this house is going to suit us just fine……
The art closet is right next to the library and is organized so that the kids can help themselves when inspiration for a project strikes.
The “ask mommy” items are located on higher shelves…scissors, glue, etc. Only because there is a four year old in the house.
Every inch of useable space is taken advantage of. The hanging tote bags hold awkward items like wooden rolling pins for play dough and clay projects. Other items such as the boys’ musical recorders (for homeschool) hang there as well.
This was our last moderately “calm” weekend for probably quite a while. If all goes as planned, we should close on the house this Thursday and then start moving! We are beyond thrilled to be yet another step closer to settling into permanent digs. Finally. Its been eight months since we first started this move from remote Montana to “fringe rural” Colorado! (Don’t you just love that description…”fringe rural”? That’s how Wikipedia describes our new town.)
A friend gave us some goose eggs to try!
The goose eggs tasted just a bit richer than chicken eggs. Our crew enjoyed them more than the duck eggs the same friend gave us this past Fall. I’ve never been bothered by the appearance of eggs, but for some reason the larger goose yolks grossed me out!
Mr. Hollywood decided that my sunglasses were the perfect accessory for viola practice.