10 years!


10 years ago today, we got the keys to my most favorite place. A decade ago. It feels like forever ago and just yesterday a wrapped up into one. 

I was listening to a radio program earlier today and the broadcaster asked "How much have we changed in the last 10 years?" He asserted that most everyone hasn't hardly changed at all in the last decade.  

I was listening to that and goodness, I would disagree. I'm hardly the same person I was a decade ago. We've had to stretch our dollars to make them count for the things that need fixing.  We've dealt with (and keep dealing with) the stress of projects that come along with an old house.  BUT, this home has allowed me so many more homesteading opportunities with gardens and livestock.  It's given me room host gatherings and I have hosted MANY.  It's given me a chance to earn a little money with the roadside stands. It has allowed me to house more books and fabric (yay!) and educate my children in a way that is just so more robust than if we lived elsewhere. It allows me the chance to dream of all the possibilities that lay ahead. 

I love our home with my whole heart and am so content to spend the rest of my days living this dream.  Eager to see what the next decade brings. 

Free time...

 The stark difference in my kids and their free time pursuits. Adrian helped me dig the glads.

Audra and Anna-Kate put on their swimsuits, gathered some chickens for an audience and had a gymnastic show/singing debut.


To be honest, I was a little worried and a little sad that Anna-Kate's early learning would be so different from her older siblings. When Adrian and Audra were little, everything we did was preschool-like/kindergarten like at those ages. I have to spend time doing lots of big kid stuff with homeschooling a 4th and 6th grader.  My time at home is much more divided with such an age gap, I just can't have the whole time set up to be only with her.  Goodness, I was wrong.  In fact the opposite is quite true. This little girl savors her 1:1 time and is creative, focused and independent much of the time on her own. She's thriving and I just couldn't be more proud of her! 


(Above is the same book I did in Kindergarten that she breezed through. Below is my vintage Disney playset). 

Five and a HALF recap

 I tell you, these half birthdays are something special.  It's always just a little family thing, but it feels like a big thing to the half birthday kids. 

She ran to me as I returned from my doctor's appointment. 
She was over the moon that I brought everyone french fries for her celebration and she had a gift to open.

She got a couple of puzzles and a cake mix, frosting and sprinkles that I thought she'd like to make herself.  
Who was I kidding? She said she likes when I make things and she can just eat them.  Oh well. 
She was thrilled with her half birthday strawberry cake with sprinkles. 

Anna-Kate is Five and a HALF


Anna-Kate is five and a HALF! 


Four and a HALF


 three and a HALF.


You are five and a HALF and just tickled to add that extra half!  

If I could describe you in one word, I would say you are a TALKER.  You talk and talk and TALK.  ALL day long, even in your sleep. You talk to yourself, you talk to others, you've never met a stranger. You sing, recite poems and narrate all you do. We can leave you in the bath and be far away and not worry, because we can HEAR you. Sometimes your dad offers to pay you for a bit of silence.  You'd rather talk than have money. 

You are so independent in so many ways (such as choosing your wardrobe, tidying up your toys, choosing what order you wish to put the letters of your name in) and so 'little' in other ways (such as you'd like to be carried places and have someone buckle you in, even though you are plenty capable). 

You love books-being read to, looking at pictures on your own, listening to audio and the animated books on Kanopy. You have many mostly memorized, such as Smart Little Mouse is a fave.  You are eager to learn, love to 'do school' (provided you can do it your own way, of course). Other than books, I'd say your next fave would be Spanish. You are quick to pick up everything and have some poetry, songs and books memorized in Spanish.  You also love nature, especially edible plants. 

While you are perfectly happy playing alone, you love how Adrian has made a special nook for you in his room to come play.  You love how Audra dresses you up and plays old fashioned with you. 

You love people of all ages.  I mentioned that you talk to everyone, but you also have a skill in getting other people to talk to you. You ask questions, give compliments and remember things. People of all ages love you. So far you're not competitive at all. Playing games with others is about connection, not winning (which is like your mama!).  Out of all people in the world, I know I'm your most favorite.  I worked a lot of hours when your siblings were your age and work much fewer hours now.  Whenever I am away from you for an hour or two, you think it's forever and express your love for me with a giant hug.  

I'm so thankful I got you, my 'one more' that I begged for.  You are a perfect grand finale for our little family and we love you so. 

Love, Mama

Mama Made Old Fashioned Dress

I *Finally* finished the dress I started for Aurdra in August. It just needed a button.  She tried it on at camp (pic below), but hung here for almost 2 months awaiting a button.

And finally got to wear it the end of October.  


I know it was a good, good day when we spent most of it with friends and I was talking too much to take many pics! Hiking, cider making and chili eating.  Thank you, dear friends of mine! 

Took a little pic of this for my dad....because I think you could make this, BOG.  For me.  (Hint hint). 


 In the midst of season change, lots going on in and outside.

Enjoying the last of the flowers.

Potted a new fig tree.
Planted/transplanted 70 perennials and have 200 bulbs to put in.
Took the floor to ceiling screens out and put the walls and windows back in. Got things cleaned up and ready for fall. This room gets nice and warm on fall sunny days. 

There's something special about seasons, I love the changes each season brings.



A bigger than usual crop this year for pears. Our neighbors have let us take as many as we want for well over a decade.  This is a small portion of what's there. I think I'll have my work cut out for me! 

Planting trees

My husband rolled his eyes on this one.  The kids and I dug up a bunch of maples and put them out front.  10, to be exact.  I'm afraid that the trees in the front of the house are on their last limbs and wanted to get something growing to provide some shade sooner rather than later. I think I like them, and then I think I want to dig them all up. The kids say they are staying.  Change is hard.  I think in another few years I'll be glad I did this. Or maybe not. It only cost us an afternoon of time and if we don't like them, we'll have firewood. Time will tell. 

A very nature day

The bonus of being a homeschooler is taking full advantage of every day being a nature day when the weather is this grand and the trees are this spectacular.

We started our day with a date with just Anna-Kate and me.  We went to a Leaf program for 3-5 year olds. Somehow there were just three other kids at the program. We had a ball. She kept looking at me and hugging me, telling me she loved me so much and she was so happy we had a date.  


Meanwhile these three were off exploring, Justin had taken the day off.

She was so happy! 
We had lunch as a family of five at the ocean and I didn't snap one pic. High tide, waves crashing, seagulls wanting our lunch. I then came home to fun mail!  Target's buy one get one 50%. A few titles I was longing for were delivered.
Then tonight, I attended a mushroom program with the big kids at the library. There were only 3 other participants other than us, and it was fantastic!  Tomorrow we'll be foraging for mushrooms with the presenters (in a downpour). We can't wait!


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