Sunday, February 18, 2018

Snow, eggs, river and mountains

When I woke up two mornings ago, something felt very, very different. And very, very quiet. It's always quiet out here in the boonies, but the quality of the lack of sound had an eerie, muffled feel.
We have to get the kids up at 5:45 am so they can make it to the school bus at 6:25 am, and thus it was still dark, but when I let the dogs outside to pee first thing, I saw right away what the cause for the stillness was: snow. 

Yes, I know it's pretty. But you guys? I don't like it – not one bit. I intended to start onion and leek seeds on Valentine's Day, but the weather rained snowed on my parade.  Hmpf.

It's a good thing we got a huge head start on our fire wood scene.

Our chickens don't like this #$% either.  We have them in the chicken tractor so we can move them around the lawn and pasture, but when it snows, they have to hang out in one place.

Before the snow hit, they pecked fresh grass and bugs every day.  Can you see what a huge difference this makes by the looks of their eggs?  Store bought organic eggs with their paler yolk compared to our homegrown bright orange ones: there's no comparison.

I feed my chickens the scoby from my kombucha making.  They gobbled the whole thing up.  I bet they are the healthiest chickens in the Skagit Valley!

I put together a beautiful online course on how to raise chickens organically and naturally, if you are interested.  It also includes detailed video instructions on how to make a chicken tractor like ours. I filmed Steve how he made one, so it's super easy to follow along.

Before all this snow descended on us, we had to deal with record rainfall.  You can really understand why we Pacific Northwesteners are addicted to our coffee.

There was a three-day window in all the shitty weather when the sun came out.  As soon as the first sun ray showed, up, I grabbed my oldest son and told him I needed a mother-and-son date.

He was fair game, since he truly is a nice kid.  Plus, the choices were: either go on a hike with Mom, or build a mountain bike trail with his brother and Dad. I won. Yay!

I love this guy.  As far as 15-year-olds go, he's golden.  He's still more or less okay spending time with his old mother, funny as heck, and more thoughtful than most adults.

So we hiked up the dirt road behind our house, and got to this spot:

A day after this, we got together with friends to bushwhack to a beautiful, remote spot by the river.  At least it felt remote, until we found a rustic outhouse in the middle of the woods.  Magic, man!

We spread out on the sand, brought out pounds of snacks, settled down with knitting, and the teenagers promptly fell asleep.

On the way to the river, we found the first nettles! Nettles! That night I went home, and wouldn't you know? I picked enough nettles by the compost pile to make nettle pesto!

In closing today, let me show three more scenes.

1) We bottled our homemade elderberry wine, and we even designed our own labels.

2) Steve and I found a heart rock on one of our walks.

3) And up until all this snow fell, I kept up my daily practice of walking barefoot.  One day, I even walked on the frozen ground, and it felt totally fine.

What's happening in your neck of the woods?  Do you still have snow?  Have you started seeds yet?  Any baby goats?

Friday, February 9, 2018

Do you want to be a better mother?

Okay, so I cringe a little when I say "better" mother, because that implies judgment and gives us Moms another reason to beat ourselves up.

But here's the thing: I've talked to hundreds of mothers, and when I ask them what their biggest pain is, they share they are afraid that they are bad mothers sometimes. They suffer from Mama guilt.

Do you? Do you feel guilty about not giving your kids enough quality time, feel stressed out, over-extended, pulled in too many directions, juggling too much, feel alone, fight depression, can't keep up, and making time for yourself is really hard... maybe you feel like you are cracking in half?

I hear ya.  As you know, I'm a mother of three, and I've experienced every single one of the feelings listed above.  I know many of you do, too.

This is why I want to invite you to my FREE webinar (replay available).

In the webinar, I will show you three surprising and easy principles and practices to go from mama guilt and burn-out to ease and balance between taking care of your own needs and desires, as well as your kids' needs and wants.

I have completely transformed my own pattern of feeling like I'm a shitty Mom, neglecting my own self-care and balance, and resenting the crap out of my kids.

I have beyond-successfully used the principles and practices I teach in my free webinar, and I've taught it to many women in my one-on-one coaching practice.


You want to feel balanced between taking care of your own needs and desires, as well as your kids’. You want to be a better mother and wife.
You want to get in touch with your own yearnings and achieve them.

You are yearning for:
a purpose beyond children
time for yourself
self care
self trust

You want to feel:
connected with your children

You want to experience:
how to be perfectly imperfect
creative time
deep love

Let me show you how to get there in my FREE webinar.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Homesteading in Paradise January Highlights movie

Hey peeps!

Homesteading in January sounds like an oxymoron here in the wintery, rainy, cold Pacific Northwest.
No veggies are growing, no fruit is budding, no milk is flowing, not many eggs are forthcoming from the chickens.

There's still plenty of homesteady-stuff going on: cutting, splitting, stacking firewood, cooking amazing food (my 13-year old son is becoming quite the baker), racking wine... and so much more.

Come see for yourself.  This month's "Homesteading in Paradise Highlights" movie is peppered with beautiful scenery and plenty of bald eagles.

Watch it here.

Have a wonderful day!

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Why I walk barefoot in the rain, in the winter

Wind ripping on my scarf, rain pelting my face, clad in snow pants and heavy rain coat, I make my way gingerly along the trail in my bare feet.  Since it's January and I haven't gone barefoot in months, I don't have callouses yet, and I step carefully over sharp rocks and broken shells.

Despite the cold and sensitivity in my feet, walking barefoot feels good.  I need contact with the earth right now, because I crave grounding and comfort.  I always get this when I'm out in nature, but I'm experimenting with removing the layer of insulation on my feet after reading the book "Earthing: The most important health discovery yet!"

The book is very fascinating and talks about how putting your naked feet (or hands or any other part of your body) on the ground every day can improve your health in dramatic ways, reducing inflammation and helping people sleep better.  It has to do with the electric charge of the earth affecting your body.  I won't explain it here, but read it if you are intrigued.  I've been doing this for a week, even when it's almost freezing, and it feels great.

So after I received some horrible news from my dentist and being terribly upset, I cancelled all my plans and headed west to Bowman Bay, one of my favorite places in our area.  Usually visited by many people in nicer weather, this time it was deserted - thankfully, because I didn't want to deal with people staring at the crazy woman walking barefoot in this weather.

Can you see why I love this place so much?  Ragged cliffs, sandy beaches, eagles (can you spot the eagle in the picture above?), tide pools, awesome views, salty air, twisted Madrona trees, shells, sea weed... What else does a girl need?

Shifting gears, but still talking of beautiful things: my son and his baking.  My 13-year-old boy is on a cake-baking-trip.  He does it all himself, without any help from me, except the occasional "Mom, where is the vanilla?", or a panicked "Oh, my god, Mom, we are out of butter and I need one more stick for the frosting. NOW!!!"  

So I help him search or call the neighbors to borrow butter, and then I take photos of him.  I can't eat the cake because I don't eat refined sugar, but I sure help him admire it and show it off.

Talking of creativity: I'm up to my ears in fiber.  Wool fiber, that is, not the dietary kind.  My project "From Sheep to Sweater" is moving along at a rapid speed, all the spinning is done, and I started knitting!!!  

You guys, you really should go to my membership page and become a patron, so you can watch the movies I made about the process.  It's so fun! (And it's worth the $1 a month).

Also, I'm gonna put up a tutorial and recipe on making the awesome lotion bars below (sooooooo easy!!!), so you can make some as Valentine's gifts.  It will be on my membership page soon.

I'll leave you with different scenes from our week.  

The first one shows Eva, Steve and Yoda relaxing after a long day of doing firewood.  Eva's reading is really taking off, so we have her read to us while we spin, knit, cook, or relax.

The second picture shows the sunrise when I pulled into the kids' school parking lot.  If you're stuck in school all day, you might as well be in a beautiful location.

The last picture is from Chuckanut Drive, on my way back home from Bellingham.  We live in a gorgeous area, don't we?

How are you doing?  How are you keeping yourself grounded?

Monday, January 22, 2018

Time urgent!

I'm just popping in with something time urgent: I'm part of the Back to Basics Living Bundle, but the incredible deal ends Tuesday night. It only costs $39.97!

You'll get:

  • 59 eBooks, Courses and/or Videos
  • $529.85 Retail Value
  • 92% Discount, meaning it costs only $39.97
  • Bonus offers (coming soon)
  • Money back guarantee
  • This offer goes away Jan 23

Get it now <---- Click here

Here are the categories of the bundle:

These are all things we do here at our homestead as well, and learning to do more: 

- Cooking from scratch, 
- do it yourself, 
- food storage, 
- frugal living, 
- gardening, homesteading, 
- natural parenting, 
- natural remedies, 
- preparedness, 
- natural living.

Here are the book and course titles:

  • Artisan Bread – The Art Of Sourdough
  • Batch From Scratch
  • Delicious Dandelions: A Recipe Collection
  • DIY Homemade Butters with Herbs, Nuts and Fruit
  • Heritage Cooking
  • Kid’s First Homestead Recipes
  • Make Maple Sugar in 3 Simple Steps!
  • Never Buy Bread Again
  • Homebrewing eBook Package
  • How to Make Gouda Cheese at Home
  • Hot Process Soap Making
  • Make Your Own Vinegar for Pennies
  • Natural Soap Making How-To And Recipe Book
  • Canning for Beginners
  • Food Storage Made Easy
  • Freezer Meals To Feed The Hungry
  • Homemade Dried Fruits & Vegetables
  • Pantry And Food Preservation Planner
  • Your Shelf Stable Pantry
  • Electronic Budget Worksheets
  • Handmade Gift Planner And Organizer
  • Rags to Rugs
  • Rural Hobby Turned Business
  • Edible Landscaping in The Desert Southwest
  • Get Growing: Five Easy-to-Raise Vegetables
  • High Performance Gardening
  • The Art of Gardening: Building Your Soil
  • Homestead Management
  • Honeybee Tales
  • Keys To Successful Homesteading
  • Modern Homesteading
  • Pasture Raising Livestock- A Beginners Guide
  • Pioneering Today – Faith and Home the Old Fashioned Way
  • How To Make A Profit Homesteading
  • Provident Homesteading
  • Raising Chickens Naturally
  • Joyous Home Journal
  • A Heart Of Gratitude – 30 Day Thankfulness Devotional
  • 31 Days to Simpler Living
  • Back to the Basics: Small Space Living
  • Dreams From God, A Glimpse of the Future
  • Everyday Gratitude Journal
  • Green Your Clean
  • Mom’s Quiet Time Journal
  • 9 Easy Steps to Homeschooling
  • How to Afford Homeschooling
  • Parenting Your Differently Wired Child
  • Preschool: At What Cost?
  • Your Homeschool Blueprint
  • Zero to Hero Nutrition: How to Actually Get Kids to Eat Healthy Food
  • 100 Essential Oil Diffuser Blends
  • Edible and Medicinal Flowers
  • Going Herbal
  • Herbal Teas for Winter Health
  • How to Handle a Crisis
  • Living Off Grid
  • The Guide To Primitive Survival Traps
  • The Modern American Frugal Housewife Book #4: Emergency Prepping
  • Your Own 72 Hour Kit Plan

Get it now <---- Click here

I’ve been getting a ton of questions about the Back To Basics Living Bundle. Because it’s only on sale for only a few more days, I wanted to send you my answers in case you have the some of the same questions.

Over 59 resources is a small library, how will I even know where to start?

The reality is that you probably won’t use every single resource in the bundle. Heck, you might not even find every one valuable (after all, we are all in different seasons of life). The thing is that it only takes one book–one connection–for you to start seeing real change (for example, start saving money by sticking to a budget) and for that change to be long lasting you probably don’t need more than 3 or 4 eBooks on any one subject. 

There are many resources in the bundle that if you bought them on their own you’d spend more than the price of the bundle (in some cases lots more). Yes, it is a small library for you to peruse at your leisure, or you can take advantage of our step by step getting started guide that will help you figure out the resources that are relevant to you right this minute. Then of course you have the other resources when you get to another phase of your getting back to basics journey.

How do I know this bundle is worth the money? After all I’ve seen a lot of “throw-away” eBooks floating around and they’re not worth my time to read them.

I know what you’re talking about. I’ve seen those books too and wondered why the authors even bothered to take the time to write them…

Last year over 1,800 bundles were sold. So the thing is that if the books were garbage the word would be out, but that isn’t the case. Actually, there are a ton of people asking when the bundle will go on sale again. There are even people asking if they can still buy last year’s bundle.

The Back To Basics Living Bundle team have a lengthy selection process that actually starts at the end of January for the following year.

What if I buy it then find out I don’t like it or I can’t use it?

While I’m pretty sure you’re going to love it, and the return rate last year was barely measurable, you don’t have to worry, because there is a 30 day no questions asked guarantee. That’s how sure the Back to Basics Living Bundle folks are that you’ll love it.

What is with the short time frame to buy this bundle? Don’t marketers use this “buy now” stuff as a “marketing gimmick”?

This is a great question!! Because yes, there are a ton of online marketers ready to take your money and they want you to buy “Right Now”. The bundle is actually on sale for a few days so you don’t have to buy right this second.

But here is the scoop as to why it’s a short sale. The authors of the resources do not usually sell their products at this deeply discounted rate. That’s why I keep saying it’s 92% off the “retail value”. And for good reason, these are top notch resources from authors living this lifestyle. 

But once a year for a very short time they all come together for this extraordinary sale. They do it for a few reasons. Number one is to help you. Let’s face it, the back to basics living lifestyle is not about getting rich or acquiring fame. That’s not what these authors want or need. The number one reason they wrote these resources was to help you! It’s really that simple.

And by being in this massive group effort once a year they are able to get the word out to more people!

What are bonus offers? How do I use them and are they any good?

I’ve seen those offers for FREE products but then you have to turn around and pay a large shipping and handling fee. Yeah, some bonus offer, right? These bonus offers are not like that. They are products with a low shipping fee or coupons for a percentage off of a purchase. And you’ll know how much you pay before you order. No hidden fees.

The Back To Basics Living Bundle bonus companies are well known in the back to basics movement, and have usually worked with Jennifer and Bill (the bundle team) on their own website. So they are carefully vetted to bring you the best offers.

If you take advantage of just half of the bonus offers the money you save will easily cover the price of the bundle, and you’ll be supporting companies that support the back to basics movement.

I think that does it for questions. If you can think of any more don’t hesitate to email with a question. To me this is one of the easiest buying decisions of the year! But do mull it over and check out this page to learn more. But don’t wait too long, because I don’t want you to miss out!

Get it now <---- Click here

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Floating on the river, firewood, biking, and other great ways to feel good and connected to nature

My windshield wipers couldn't keep up when I drove the kids to school this morning.  Dark, pissing buckets, and urgent need for coffee characterize January days in the Pacific Northwest, especially where we live: butted up against tall mountains, where the clouds get trapped and dump their load.

So when the weather turned unseasonably warm and sunny for a few days last week, we took full advantage of it: Namely, splitting and stacking firewood, getting urgently-needed exercise on the bike so we are not as terribly bitchy as some of us have been so we live longer, and rafting the Sauk River.

First things first: Rafting the river.  

Our kids are part of the Glacier Peak Institute (GPI), a local organization who in their own words "empowers youth, community and ecosystems to prosper and cultivate a shared resilient future through action-based education".  What this means is that they take kids out (for free) into nature, hiking, biking, rafting, and working outside.

They offer curriculum-based activities, after-school programs and summer programs.  Again, it's all free, it's awesome, and you should totally check them out if you are local.

On Martin Luther King Day, we joined the GPI and Sauk-Suiattle Natural Resources people to help them count eagles on the Sauk River.  Our whole family saw eagles, got wet in some rapids, and enjoyed a great day on the river. 

We really needed this down time in nature.  These past two months have been so intense, with friends passing away from cancer, other close friends being diagnosed with other serious illnesses, tragedies happening in our community, and dealing with head lice.

Yes, head lice.  As I've been learning, this is actually quite common at the public school the kids go to.  Now, I have said before that I admire lots of the teachers and their care and dedication for the kids in our community.  But when I called the school in horror after discovering we had lice, they said it's super common at the school.  I was pretty upset because I knew that some of our kids' friends had head lice two weeks earlier, but none of the parents were notified by the school.

Knowing that there are parents in our school district who can't properly feed their kids, or wash their clothes, let alone be vigilant about lice, I can see how the kids just re-infect each other constantly.

This thought and all the laundry, vigilance and stress is burning me out right now.

When this amount of stress hits, there are few things that help me as well as exercise does.  In this weather, I'm not getting enough of it, but when the sun came out, I hopped on my bike for a two-hour ride.  And when I was done, I was actually smiling.  Itchy head and all.

If you want me to write a blog post about how to treat head lice naturally, let me know in the comments.  The over-the-counter chemical stuff doesn't work well, because the critters built up resistance to it.

Another great way to get exercise around here is splitting, hauling and stacking firewood.  We are clearing a small patch of our land to build a small cabin.  This means cutting hemlock and alders, and since we heat our house exclusively with wood, it also ensures years of a warm house.

The boys are involved with this firewood work, and so am I.  Who needs a gym if you have to deal with firewood?

Other ways for me personally to stay healthy involve spinning and knitting, since this makes me happy.  I'm starting a project called "From Sheep to Sweater", and you can follow it on my Patron-only site here.

I started with white wool and hand painted it, which is a fancy way of dyeing.  Now I'm in the process of spinning it into yarn, and after that's done, I'll knit a sweater with it.

You can see a taste of the process on a Facebook live I did to demonstrate it.

Okay, wrapping up here, I'll show you a few more things that happened this week:

First, I'm on the front page of the Concrete Herald, our local newspaper.  Fun, eh?  It's me and my fellow homesteading blogger Melissa, and the article is about how we both teach self-sufficiency and resiliency.  It's fun how the article goes into some explanation of my life coaching, since that's part of being resilient. 

Next, there's still a lot of brewing going on at our house.  Steve just started making ginger mead, settling in nicely next to the wood stove.  And I keep making Kombucha, fermenting it a second time with juice and ginger for extra fizz and zing.  I'll teach you how to do this here.

I'll leave you with a picture of me trying to do yoga.  It's hard around here, since either the little fluffy dog wants to perch on top of me or the big dog wants to do downward dog with me on the mat.

Have a great week! Watch out for an email very soon for an exciting announcement!