A couple of years ago, I put together some end-of-the-month blog posts called “Things I Love” where I shared 5-6 things I loved from the past month. You know, things like books, holidays, trips, products, etc. that I wanted to remember and also share with you. From time to time, I think about bringing those posts back, mostly for my sake because I want to document things that we can look back on one day, but also because I think they offered a bit more “real life” for you to see. Maybe. Maybe not.
Since I’m not so sure if I’m ready to do that just yet — they’re a lot of work to put together — so I thought I’d try something that another blogger I follow does and write a post on some random things I’ve been thinking about and wanting to share with you lately. These things aren’t ready for their own blog post, so instead, I’ll put them all together in one post and see how I feel about this after I’ve done it a few times.
- First, homeschooling is going really well. Sure we only have three weeks under our belt, but things are clicking along nicely. I simplified our schedule a bit this year, cutting out classes that weren’t serving us well (like Plutarch), and adding in classes that seem more valuable (like Latin). We’ve also changed around how we’re doing our foreign language study. Instead of learning grammar along with vocabulary and trying to speak in proper sentences, we’re focusing on vocabulary and pronunciation only. Once we have a good bit of vocabulary under our belt, we’ll move on to putting basic sentences together and later move into the grammar part. In the past, I’ve made foreign language way too complicated, and one of the biggest things that helped me to come to this simplified conclusion was a blog post I read somewhere that said Charlotte Mason approached learning a foreign language like one would approach learning a first language. It starts with hearing words pronounced, then progresses to learning words for everyday objects, then piecing sentences together, and lastly, learning grammar. So that’s how we’re doing it from this point forward. It seems much more natural, and it feels as if we’re all learning more this way. Only time will tell, though.
- I made some healthy oatmeal banana cookies recently that turned out pretty well. The boys liked them, and they could easily have been eaten as breakfast. I made them in the Vitamix (only one appliance to clean) and baked them on some reusable baking sheets (I got these as a gift over the holidays, but I’m not sure how healthy they are. Someone please tell me!). They were vegan, gluten-free, and sugar-free which is great! They used oat flour, baking powder, cinnamon, dates/raisins, bananas, and I threw in a bit of Pyure sweetener for a little more sweetness. They turned out a bit thick… kinda like bread, but they were tasty, nonetheless. Definitely a keeper recipe in my mind.
- I just released my first full-fledged herbal course, and I’m super excited! It’s centered around an easy way to learn about and use herbs — one that folk herbalists have used for many, many years — called “simpling.” It’s going to be great! You can learn more about it right here! Registration is only open until March, 3rd!! I’ve been thinking about creating some fun courses for a while as a way to share what I know and am learning with you. These courses won’t all be on the topic of herbs, but on other things as well. If you’re curious about this first course, be sure you’re signed up to receive my Letters To Natural Mamas emails so you can get a nice little subscriber-only discount.
- I’ve been thinking of the projects I’d like to see done around the house this year. I would like to get our house trim and deck railing (upper and lower) repainted, rock on the bottom part of our house, the treehouse finished, Dean’s shed decorated and some plants put around it (if he’ll let me!), an entertainment area built at the bottom of our hill below our house (complete with a fire pit, nice chairs, and a handmade, woodland table with benches, and new plants top it off), finally get curtains up in the house, finish putting borders around the garden beds, re-mulch all garden beds, so on and so forth. Yes, I’d love to get it all done this year, but I know that probably isn’t likely. No matter, this is my running to-do list of house projects that I’ll be working on checking off one at a time.
- Recently, I’ve been thinking of taking a trip alone. Yep, just me. I’ve never traveled on my own, so I’m not sure if I’d like it or not, but it’s worth trying it to see how it goes. Being an only child, I preferred being with other people, but I got used to spending a lot of time on my own. The older I got, it seemed I was always busy going somewhere, doing something, or having someone over. I hated being alone. No wonder I was drawn to Dean and his huge family where there was always something going on and something to do! However, now that I’m a busy mom with four kids of my own, I’ve learned the value of time alone. Not that I mind having my kids around all the time — I wouldn’t want it any other way. I guess what I’m saying is that I look forward to time alone every now and then when I can get it. Anyway, months ago, I was reading a blog post from a blogging acquaintance, and she was talking about how every now and then, her husband keeps all the kids for the weekend so she can take off on a little personal get-a-way. She has no plan. She just drives and enjoys whatever she finds along the way. It sounded kind of exciting. I know that I’m a social creature, and I like doing things with others more than I like doing them on my own, so I’m not sure if it’s for me or not. No matter, I would like to try it and see how it goes… at least once.
- I’m 200 days into my 365-day photo/writing challenge on Instagram… so just over half-way. I’m definitely enjoying it, but I feel like it’s taken over my Instagram page a bit so I’m going to try to squeeze in some more herbal teaching into it. I was thinking that I’d share more about what I’m learning in my personal studies over there for a bit. For example, I’ve been focusing on winter herbs and things to forage and harvest, so I could share bits of information from there. We’ll see. While there are several upsides to this challenge, one of the best is having more photos of things going on in our life! If you’re not following me on Instagram yet, what are you waiting for?! I’d love to connect and chat with you over there!
- I just added more reading material to my 2019 reading list. While I’m not pushing myself this year, I would like to get all of this read. I’m loving everything I’m reading so far! Anyway, there was a conversation going on in a Facebook group that I’m a part of the other day about books that have a good bit about the topic of herbs in them so I added Clan of the Bear Cave and Daughter of the Forest based on the recommendations of others. Both of these are the first books in a series. I don’t know if I’ll end up reading through the series or not — I suppose it depends on how good the first books are. Also, please know I’m not recommending these books since I haven’t read them yet. I’m just sharing what I’m reading with you. Oh, and I also added the book Women Who Run With Wolves as well. It’s not a book on herbs, but I’ve heard great things about it so I’m reading it!
- While I normally function just fine through the long, cold, dark days of winter, I feel like I’m having a more difficult time with this winter to spring transition this year. It’s rained non-stop here in East Tennessee for DAAAAYYYSS, the sky is grey, it’s a mix of cold and colder, and with the full moon rising during this wet weather, I’m finding myself feeling really restless. I feel restless during every full moon, though. Weird, I know, but the more mindful I am about myself and how I feel, the more I recognize things like that. It’s a good thing too because I know that the restless feeling will subside as the full moon wanes, and I’ll be back into a productive, goal driven mode. However, during the week around the full moon, my body is in all-out release mode. I’m minimizing everything — getting rid of things in our home we don’t need, clearing things from my schedule, and simplifying meal planning and cleaning schedules (an ongoing thing around here), and more. While it can feel strange, I do think it’s good to do this each month — to clean things out per se.
- Speaking of releasing, I’m ready to transition my diet from heavier, cooked meals to lighter, more raw meals, but the weather is holding me back. I suppose this is a lesson in patience and how transitioning from season to season is an individual process for each of us. It’s not based on the date, but more on what life is like where you are in the world. Anyway, I’m looking forward to grilled veggies, morning smoothies, lots of salads, and things of that nature. I really need to start some food boards over on Pinterest that are less about the type of food and more about seasonal foods. Hmm… something else for the neverending to-do list. Ha!
Okay, so nine random things out of my head and onto paper (or screen rather). It feels good to get things out and good to share life with you all. Thanks for reading!