It's hard to believe 2016 wraps up year 6 of blogging. How is it possible to be starting my 7th year blogging? Some of you have been with me since the beginning.

Per usual, I try to do a wrap up post the last day of the year. Here's the previous years.

This year, I was trying to think of what I want to re-cap, or what I want to remember about 2016. In past years, I included a lot of stuff I made and the highlight photos of the year.

This year, I am sort of focusing on something different, specifically the homesteading lifestyle I have been shooting for. I want to be as self sufficient as possible. I want my kids to be free ranging kids who are able to roam. I want them to learn what sparks their interest in a way and at a pace that feels good to them. I want to keep them from being overly exposed to media. I want to be home. I want to let them get dirty. I want to be together.  I want a good rhythm that grounds our days. I want them to look back at their childhood and think that although it was different from most kids' childhoods....that it couldn't have been better.

There are some days I fall short.  Lately, being pregnant with my 3rd, I lose a lot of steam at night. Things don't get done. There's clutter. There's challenges with cooperation. There's defeat. Lingering to do lists. Things breaking. Feelings of discouragement.

What I want to remember is those moments of frustration are just that...moments. They clearly don't define the success of this past year. I have my health, my family, my two (soon to be 3 kids), a plethora of animals and my dream home.  I have learned even more this year than years past with all my homesteading adventures. Our kids have been kept home another year and I feel they have truly reaped the benefits of living this lifestyle.

Those moments of challenge are distant memories, in the forefront of my thoughts are the blissful times we have shared this year, evidenced by this collection of photos. I bring you our Maine Homesteading/Homeschooling adventure of 2016:











Thank you so much for all of your kind words, love and plodding along this blogging journey with me. You all brighten my day just by reading along.Wishing you and yours a wonderful 2017!  ~Jackie

Handmade Mitten Surprise

Look at my kids' new handmade mittens!
 Now for the good part... the story that made me smile.

I was at my husband's family's Christmas Eve/Hanukkah party. My dad stayed at our house.  While he was at our house, a woman arrived with gifts she made for the kids. She said that we wouldn't know her, but she was a friend of a friend and had made a special gift for our kids. My dad said he noticed right away that the mittens were specifically made for them...given the John Deere ones for Adrian and the Rabbit ones for Audra. The kind woman met my kids at the draft horse plow day we went to (which if you haven't seen the pics from that day, they are here...and they are some of my most favorite pictures of the year!) and as my kids were visiting person to person gathering treats, she had traced their hands on a paper plate so she knew the sizes to make. What a delightful surprise!  Such kindness!

My kids both LOVE them. In fact, they haven't worn any other mittens since they arrived.

 Thank you so much, Beverly, for such a lovely surprise!


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