Thursday, November 14, 2013

we were so wrong.

shaver lake 10. 2013

we were so wrong.

we thought with this move that we were ready for a "little more city in our country". 
dont get me wrong, it has been kinda nice in some ways especially the conveniences: sidewalks. starbucks & Target like 5 minutes away in each direction. tons of shopping centers + a real mall like 5 minutes away. a grocery store across the street & a Trader Joes like 10 minutes. no predators or tarantulas. etc...yaaay!!!
just maybe not THIS much city! 

so far almost every weekend after soccer games on saturdays. we get ready as quickly as we possibly can & head for the nearest mountains in the nearby Sequioa National Park. as soon as we start seeing the nature we love & so desperately miss & as we hit the gorgeous mountains & pines at a certain elevation, we immediately start getting our happy back. after our busy weekly schedules in the city, the brownsugars are usually begging for a hike thru the forest, my husband has the truck ready & running & im running towards the door yelling "hurry up! lets get in the car & GOOOOOO!!!" 

living back in the city has also made me realize something i never have about myself: 
i am an actually an I N T R O V E R T! what?!?!??!!! 
i mean, i already knew my little fam was but moi?!?!!! 
i kinda suspected it a little more & more esp as i get older, but had no clue how much! YIKES!

so thank goodness for little weekends get-a-ways in the mountains for our little fam! otherwise i'm pretty sure this "little more city" business...would be absolutely insufferable for us!

Friday, September 20, 2013

they wanted to try it

so much has been going on over here i can barely even keep up with it all myself! anniversary trip, camp trip, soccer practice & games, not to mention still unpacking etc...& to top it all off: 
this year my brownsugars all decided they wanted to try public school. 
(the pix are of their 1st days)

my oldest wants to be a space engineer & got accepted into the engineering program of her dreams. (THANK GOD!!!) she is NEVER EVER coming back to homeschooling! the program is A M A Z I N G!!! she comes home beyond super stoked every single day of her amazing new life! in turn i am beyond super stoked for her & her straight A's making self(our years of homeschooling the way we did paid off!)

the younger girls wanted to try it for a month. 

my middle girl missed being homeschooled in the very beginning, but after time & esp after 6th grade camp...she decided she has found her niche (aka new friends!!!) & is staying in school. its amazing how much she has blossomed in so many ways. she is loving having her own thing going & is also making straight A's while she's at it! 
her teacher (whom i LOVE LOVE LOVE)calls her "a model student!"

my baby girl on the other...public school just didn't work for her. i'm not going into all the negative details but she (we) really tried to stick with it (& the teacher *ahem*) for about 3 weeks but it was all way too much. things got so bad hubby even pulled her out while i was away chaperoning camp. but now she's happily back home, loving "being like an only child finally" as she put it & her little world is back to good. with mama her favorite teacher, her favorite classmates (ollie & mahalo) & in her favorite classroom
...H O M E :) 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

a glimpse into my [simple] summer kitchen

GF pasta with olive oil, butter, garlic & sea salt sauce topped with melty cheese. turkey meatballs & slices of ripe tomatoes from my daddy's garden.
chunks of melon & fresh juicy fruit of all kinds.
my daddy's tomatoes & veggies of all kinds. cool refrigerated hummus to dip them in.
i thawed out some brown rice & lentils i previously cooked & froze. topped it with cauliflower lightly sautéed in olive oil, curry powder & turmeric (quickly as to not over heat). 

lots of big salads topped together with anything cold & raw.
it is sooooo stinkin' hot here!
we are trying to re-acclimate ourselves to the heat we've been away from for the last 7 years. with no ocean breeze to blow away this awful one feels like cooking much around here. so we have been eating simple meals.
thankfully though we have moved back to the perfect climate for growing amazingly delish local fruits & veggies. 
bonus: i've located the kitchen boxes with my dishes & other kitchen necessities. once i figure out where everything fits (or does not fit), i will be back to good.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

urban country fix: DIY compost bin

there are a few things i just could not live with any longer in this house. the one that drove me the craziest was throwing perfectly good compost specimens in the trash bin (especially with my neighbors owning a farm stand!). we were used to throwing our compost directly on top of our compost piles on the ground at our other home.
but in this home we needed more of an urban country solution :)

my husband was heading to Home Depot today for some light bulbs or something & asked if I needed anything. to make my own compost bin. using this post as a guide i literally put this baby together just a few minutes ago. pretty much BY MYSELF (hubs carried the bag over for me). start to finish...20 minutes (including picture time) & only $23 in materials.

another thing i couldn't live with was having no garden. i miss my garden & my little container herb garden is temporarily doing the trick until I get the rest of my garden figured out.
*I added about less than half the bag of organic compost to add weight & a little boost to the bottom of the bin to get things going faster & to catch some of the goopy compost drip.   

Thursday, August 8, 2013

"be near family" life season


loooong story short: 

for the last couple of years my husband has been working & traveling like 90+ hours a week at least & the girls & i were home alone most of the time in this beautiful but isolated little country town with few friends, nothing exciting to do & very little conveniences. just me & the girlies in our huge house, on a huge lot with a huge yard, huge citrus/avocado grove, too many animals, too much driving all over to get to activities (let alone run errands & daily life stuff), no family support, etc...blah blah blah. for some people the country lifestyle is paradise but for us...not so much. i like a little more city in my country, i love small (house, car, yard...) & being mostly alone to care for everything all at once, the girls & i were quickly becoming completely overwhelmed & not enjoying it!

my husband & i decided a couple of months ago that it was finally time to downsize (hence the summer: becoming minimalist project 1 2). good thing i got started early because this decision set in motion a ton of huge lifestyle changing chain of events! all of which happened so fast & to which we are still trying to adjust. so fast in fact that i did not have time to get everything purged. we had to pack some unwanted items up & bring them with, but no worries, i'll be setting up a goodbye pile as i unpack boxes. 

one of the biggest events was rushing my daddy to the ER over a month ago & spending a week with him in the hospital. afterwards we decided we wanted to be here for his long recovery & it was quickly becoming clear to us that we are in the "be near family" life season (we were too far away for emergencies). my husband had a few job offers but the day after the initial news of my daddy's health issues (before the hospital stay) he got a job offer from back home & we accepted.
*(this job has turned into a true blessing for our little fam especially in the life season we are in with our girls ages & them growing up so more insane hours for my husband & if/when he has to travel the girls & i have family near for support)

this is all very last minute & our heads are still spinning but here we are:
back where we started, in the "be near family" life season, life literally & figuratively purged, focusing on the "stuff" that really matters & waiting to see what God's plan is & why he brought us back home.

really hope you continue to join us for this new chapter in our sweet little fam's journey. it will be different. yes...exciting different! if we've learned anything in this little fam it is that change is constant, change is good & as long as we are together as a fam & focus on the positives we will adapt. 

the pic is from the house we will be in for the rest of this year at least. we went from a 3200 sq ft home in the country to a 1800 sq ft home in the city. i, the lover of things small & a little more loving it! once we recover from the move i plan on making it cute cute cute! thanks for sticking around :)

Saturday, August 3, 2013

more & more good byes!

a summer becoming minimalist progress report: 
more & more good byes!!! (previous posts 1 2)
this was our amvets donation last Friday, felt so good to clear this extra stuff out of our house & give it to someone who may actually NEED it. (the black bags are filled with clothes & shoes of all sizes & seasons)
our life has been C R A Z Y since then^^^
happy weekend & be back with what's new!

Friday, July 12, 2013

summer project: becoming minimalist // an ugly update!

 i've been working long & hard almost everyday & this is still what every room in my entire house currently looks like!
this looks far from progress, but the majority of this stuff is leaving my house!!!

along with keeping up with a little bit of summer schooling, we've had a couple of family emergencies that required taking long road trips. one involved a family members extended hospital stay so I've kind of gotten thrown off track a bit. this has been a tedious process as i sort, purge, & organize each & every item as i go.
due to one of the fam emergency trips I missed our neighborhood yard sale so my current frustration is figuring out what to do with all these discards! for my sanity, i need to get it all out of the house to make it at least appear like i'm accomplishing as much as i am. (& so the kids wont go treasure hunting in the piles, or dogs & kids wont play in them & ruin my organization, etc...) 
a friend aptly labeled this as "THE GREAT PURGE OF 2013"!
tremendous progress...still a long ways to go BUT i now have a july 31st deadline & my mind is focused on attaining my goal of finally becoming more of a minimalist & having a drastically simplified life!

sorted, purged & organized so far:
(i'm trying to keep notes as i go)
1. each & every single book on the shelves. we had books in every single room including bathrooms! (i should have counted before i started!)
2. craft closet & supplies. down from approx. 15 bins to about 6 so far (still editing) 
3. my entire clothing collection, handbags, shoes. each of the girls closets & storage bins of clothes, shoes & bags. we got rid of everything out dated, barely or never worn, disliked, stained, too small (tried each item on), etc... most of the items were barely or never worn & had expensive price tags, some of the girl things i thought were super cute but not their tastes, some of my stuff was cute even, $$$ & barely worn also, but just not my style anymore. no matter...let it all go!
4. everything hanging on wall (art, photos, bulletin boards etc...) pottery barn? anthropologie? target? fave thrift store? love it? NO??? then who cares? its all just
" EXTRA STUFF"...let it go!
5. china cabinet, knick knacks & sentimentals...see above!
6. i tested sorted, purged, organized each & every pen, highlighter, marker, paint bottle, tub of clay, etc...making sure it's good & made an inventory list of  school & art supplies we have on hand & that needs to be replaces. i also examined school books, old school work etc...(* i have the old school work boxed, dated & marked to sort & reorganize in a more efficient system than what i previously had...another project & post for another day.)
7. i put all our photos in black photo boxes to sort & organize later also (* again new more efficient system...more later) in doing so i eliminated the big bulky containers they were in. the new photo boxes sit nicely & look much cleaner on the bookshelf.
8. sorted, purged & organized board/card games & puzzles. out with all the "baby-ish" games & puzzles, anything missing pieces or damaged. made an inventory list to replace only our faves that were damaged or incomplete.
9. cds: i set up a station to listen for skips, music tastes we go thru our day. we also upload them to our computer & make copies, putting the originals back on the shelf (to keep them clean or from getting any further damage).
10. purged kitchen cabinets & drawers. out with anything damaged, useless/unused, duplicates or not my fave. i really hate having too many kitchen gadgets, so this wasn't tough.
11. in the pantry i purged expired meds, including things like sunscreens, ointments, etc...we've have been cooking with stuff that needs to be eaten 1st in the fridge, pantry etc...makes for some interesting meals :)
12. we are using up any partially or unused body products 1st before we open or buy new. tossing anything old or outdated.
13. in the yard i've (drastically) reduced my "collection" of pots & plants that i did not particularly love...(waste of space, time & water!). this includes yard ornaments & figurines also. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

8th grade promotion ceremony

each grad received a cute personalized chalkboard pennant.
love love love these group of girlies!
she walked in to the "Star Wars" theme song
(each grad picked their fave song).
wearing yellow checked sunglasses.
(each grad walked in wearing kids.) 
the co-op teacher gave each grad a special word & a special gift that defined them.
her word was empowered & her gift was a Spock figurine. both abs perfect!
dress & converse...yes!
these two crazy best friendsies...peas in a pod {heart}
yummy gluten free 'stache cakes made by my sweet hubby!
{such a good daddy!}
me & my beautiful amazing girl
our oldest brownsugar's 8th grade promotion ceremony was Saturday. a little windy, but an absolutely BEAUTIFUL day for a country club celebration!
the promotion ceremony events were planned by the 8th graders themselves & our wonderful homeschooling co-op families did such a fantastic job with the party planning, decorating, etc...! these 8th graders were such an awesome group of smarties, they more than deserved it all.
extremely proud!
it's just sinking in that 8th grade promotion means she is done with 8th grade forever & will officially be a high schooler next year!
{only 4 more years left in the nest}
it all happened so fast...sadness.