How I Got My Sleep Back 

I’m a busy mom.  A busy sleep deprived mom.  Somewhere along the road six years ago I seem to have pulled off on the way side of sleep and never returned to the road.

About three months ago I realized that living in this sleep deprived state was not good for me, or my family.

Making a few basic changes I was able to start sleeping and amazingly enough find my REM cycle again.


The kids sleep while we drive.

Schedule Changes

The first thing I had to look at was our schedule. Sir Swine and I were in a busy time with our show pigs and to be honest we were burning the candle from both ends.

Spring was coming. Along with pigs we had garden planning, conferences and we also made a big switch to year round homeschooling.  I was losing sleep to often.

After realizing sleep was my big problem causing my added frustrations and higher anxiety we took a hard look at what we had been doing.

Re-evaluation had to be done. We needed to make the shift for a more rest filled evening.

Originally our solution had been to have me sleep in later in the morning. I am home with our kids daily so it made sense.

This was NOT a good choice for us.  I think we only tried it a week and I was worse than before. Sleeping in proved to mess up our entire daily routine.  This only added to the chaos that was happening.  It may work for some but not for me.

We tried changing up our schedule again but this time on the nightly side. We got the kids to bed earlier and ultimately mom to bed earlier.  This helped but it still wasn’t getting me into a restful sleep, one where I had a REM cycle.

My New Bedtime Routine

The simple changes I decided to make every night before bed were hindering me.  A New routine needed to be made.

I started by setting the standard of no internet of any kind after 9pm.  I actually shoot for 8pm but it doesn’t always happen. This helps my brain to realize I’m going into rest mode.

After 9pm I do not take calls.  My parents used to do this and I think it’s brilliant. Respectful people should and would not call after 9pm unless it was an emergency so this made perfect sense for us.

Soft lighting was our next big goal.  I cannot stand those high efficiency lights.  From day one I told Sir Swine they are to bright for me.  Turns out there is logic and science behind it and for some that is true (like me).  See these great article sources  and another.

In my room and the areas I prepare for bed in we have opted for softer lighting. My brain responds to this and knows that I’m slowing down for the night.

We dropped the temperature of the house a bit before bedtime as well. The cooler room makes us all sleep better.  My children are hot sleepers.  I myself like to have a blanket but if I am unable to use one, due to a warm room, I do not sleep as comfortably.  It’s not just me though, more info on this here.

The BEST thing we found was something my husband had started taking to help his joints.  He’s from a family that has bad knees.  Enter collagen, to help protect his joints.

Yes collagen.  I thought he was crazy but I mixed a big spoonful of this stuff (here is my amazon affiliate link for easy use in finding it) in a half a glass of orange juice an hour or so before bed.

The first night I had a dream.  Not that excited by that? The last time I could remember having a dream was non-existent to me.  This was big!

We have continued to take this and are thrilled by the results we have had.

We fall asleep easily and when woken up by children in the night the transition back to a restful state is easy and fast.  This had been a big deal for us and especially for me.

Ultimately getting more sleep falls in each of our shoulders individually. Finding ways to encourage your body to rest and making simple changes to get that much needed rest is worth every effort you can make.

Rest easy.

Do you have any special things you do to help you fall asleep?

Bokashi Composter Review

This last fall I was selected as a winner, by the website Misfitgardening, to receive a free Bokashi Composter to use in my home as long as I gave an honest evaluation of the product.  I have had several months now that I have been using the product and I would like to tell you what I think of this household way of composting.

The Good

This nifty little gizmo is wonderful for having in a house!  If you live in an area where you have little to no yard space this is where I would start.  The Bokashi system requires very little space (so little that Sir Swine didn’t notice ours for a few weeks).


I kept our system in the basement.  After each meal or baking session I would take my composting bowl down and add it to the bucket (the system is virtually a bucket with a screen inside of it- you add some fancy microbes/bacteria and put the lid back on).
The ease of use to simply add whenever and not have to ‘mix the pile’ like you do with a large compost pile is wonderful.

I also loved that the bucket kept all of the smells inside!  It was really nice to know that I was composting but the ‘yuck’ of it was well contained within my home.  Sir Swine even said how surprised he was that we did not have any odors sneaking out.

I also thought that the nozzle where you are able to take the liquid out of the system was very well designed.  This proved to be a well constructed and throughout product.


The Bad

While there were strong wonderful sides of this product I did have a few snags in my journey.

The directions I received were pretty well written but also difficult to follow.  If someone was brand new to composting and didn’t understand the general ideals of it I could see them being confused.  I really wish that the directions would have said exactly how much of the microbes/bacteria you should be adding per batch of compost added.  I think at times I was not using enough so I was not getting the break down that I should have been.

The liquid that comes off of the compost is awful smelling (this is not to be blamed on the system by any means-it’s compost!).  The suggestion to feed it to your plants is a good one but I would also advise that they should be outdoor plants.  To put that on indoor plants would really add some odors to the home.

I was also hoping to see a bit more decomposition of the elements added to the compost bucket.  When I added it to the pile I had going in the corner of the garden I was a little disappointed that they had not broken down more.  Again though, this could be due to my uncertainty on how many microbes/bacteria to add.


I am happy to say though that after checking back at the pile, with another set of compost, most of the materials had broken down well. We had the exception of a few orange and grapefruit rinds.


The Final Opinion

My overall opinion of this product is positive.  I would suggest this unit for those that live in towns, cities or suburbs.  It was also wonderful for a country girl like me, but if you have plenty of space I could see the more logical choice to just start a pile outside.

The decomposition of the elements in the bucket was a negative that I found, but since I live in the mid-west and we cannot really compost in the winter this gave me a great outlet for those cold months.  Using it in the winter vs taking compost out daily to a pile where it would just freeze…it makes sense to me to use the unit instead.

Any newbie composters should consider this option.  It comes as a complete system and it was SUPER easy to use.  Set up took all of five minutes (and that includes me trying to figure out where to put it for three).

This is a product I am continuing to use in my home.  I think that should say quite a bit about it.  I’m going to keep using it IN MY HOME.

Composting in your home is something that I would say to do with caution since one mishap could lead to foul odors for weeks to come.  I trust this system though and I’m not worried about an effect like this happening.

I say go for it.  If you are new to composting or have limited space this is a great system to start with!  You can even find the complete kit on Amazon right here.

A side note for Misfitgardening.  Thank you so much to Emma and the crew at for giving me the opportunity to test this product.  I was very pleased with the final results and look forward to using it for years to come.  Thank you!

Teaching Life Skills From “The Past”

As a Mom I am always trying to find new and creative ways to engage my children when it comes to their education.  Having two very busy and inquisitive boys makes it a further challenge but also one that I am willing to try to win.

With the holidays just around the corner I could not help but think that gifts outside of the normal box (literally) would be a great choice for our kids.  Why not an experience?

More and more parents in our society are stepping away from the store bought goods and working to engage their families in experiences.

For example learning to cook and bake from scratch.  Kids, including my own, are now learning the basic skills to cook that many children knew when they were three and four back in the day.

When I say back in the day I should make note that we have just finished reading Farmer Boy and started The Adventures in the Northwoods Series for the boys for school.  “Back in the day” when all you had, you had worked for every moment of the day.  When a loaf of bread took four hours of work and not just a stroll to the store.  I think you see what I’m saying.

There is no more humble way to show your child their lesser qualities than to read books like this.  It is a rather abrupt way to explain better behavior.  Children being seen and heard, doing chores, never talking back to an adult, knowing where their food came from and actually being part of processing it.

These life skills that were the norm in the olden days are finally making a comeback and I for one want my children to have an opportunity to join in.  But it is not just “country kids” doing this.

You now see in cities beekeepers, small gardens and even chickens.  Parents are striving to teach their children where their food comes from.  And really that is a fantastic life lesson for them to know.  Plus they are earning it.

Here in the Mid-West we have just finished up hunting season.  Every year the facebook post comes up on someone’s page showing that famous statement saying we should “buy our meat at the store where no animals were harmed”(and I paraphrase there).


Yes, that’s right some people still do not know that their food, though in a grocery store, still came from an animal.  Do you think the same thing could be said about many of the other goods we purchase?  I bet so.

My search to educate my boys on all things life skills led me to several great resources.  I hope you will take a moment or two to visit the links I have attached below.

While I feel strongly about food preservation and gardening I cannot help but think that my boys would love a boat building or blacksmithing course.  And really where else will they see these lost arts?

Note** our county fair still has a blacksmith come in one day so be sure to see if yours does as well.  It is a joy to watch and makes you appreciate every spoon you own.

So now is your chance!  Go out an google search your area for some of those folk skills that are passing us by.  Be the trend setter in your area to step out and have your child learn to cook or shoot a bow and arrow.

These lessons are some of the most influential.  And I’m sure they will be the ones most talked of and never forgotten.

Happy homeschooling and homesteading.

First I would like to say that I in NO WAY get any type of compensation from the below listed opportunities.  This is simply a list of things that I have found in our area that are jam packed with life skills that I hope to pass on to my children.  A chance to preserve a tradition in time.  Enjoy and please let me know which you love the most.

Kids Cook Real Food is a wonderful online course that you can purchase for your children.  I love this course for my kids!  Plus you purchase the course and you have it forever!  We got the lifetime membership of all three courses.  Montessori based and fun for the kids.  My boys love Miss Kimball.  Registration opens periodically so be sure to check back often.

Fiber Spinning Classes Independently run and currently participating in “pop-up classes”, Angora Gardens, offers a chance to take wool and make it into so much more.  Step-by-step instruction and hands-on help readily available.

Black Smith or Wood Crafts and much more. Boat building, jewelry, tools, art, weaving, food preservation, the list is endless with this place.  They also offer family courses. North House Folk School will soon be seeing my family and I once our boys are a bit older.  So thankful I found an opportunity like this close to home.

Sustainable Living or learning about growing your own food.  Try Eagle Bluff Skills School.  There is not better way to understand how to survive than to take part in a sustainable living or self-wellness course.  And if you are up for a fun weekend with the spouse why not try the homemade beer making course?  Prices are very reasonable!


Seeing a Complete Family


I am a wife and mother.  My husband and I have two wonderful, adventurous and often challenging boys.  Tractor Man is six and Tag Along is three, but that’s not where our family ends.

For years I have not been able to talk about the members of our family that nobody sees.  The children born to us and just as quickly lost.  While they brought us much joy, there have also been seasons of ache.

The Rest of the Family

On February 27th, 2015 our twins came into the world.  They were only 12 weeks along so many see that as to early to be excited.  We were though, this was to be our last pregnancy as Sir Swine and I had agreed upon.

Twelve short weeks and our decision changed.  Our family grew by two but nobody saw or really knew about Cassidy and Carter.  Our twins.  Can you imagine!  It brought me joy to know that I had gotten the twins I had always dreamed of having, but sadness that our time together was so short.

We grew by two but no one really knew.  We moved on and so did our family.

At the end of May 2016 we rejoiced when we found that I had a positive pregnancy test again.  Knowing how hard it was to tell everyone about losing the twins we again chose to keep the pregnancy to ourselves until we were much farther along.

June came and on the 7th things changed again in a way we had not expected.  A rush to our doctor confirmed that I had lost the baby, Morgan, and was bleeding internally.  After surgery while you sit quietly with your thoughts it is a good time to cry.

It is also a time when I am thankful most for my mother.  She has a great way of showing up when things are going south, often before we even know it.  She’s really amazing like that.

Why People Don’t Know

I am not really sure why it has taken so long for me to finally talk about our family.  I think in the beginning I was hurting and I simply wanted to hold them close to me and selfishly not share them with anyone.

They were my babies.  They are my babies.

The other part of me simply felt that others could not possibly understand what I was going through.  The mental battle I was facing everyday trying to figure out life and death and why God did this.  Why would he give us these babies only to take them away?

I still do not have the answer to those questions.  I don’t think I will ever fully understand.

However, I have found a joyful appreciation for the two that I do have here.  Tractor Man and Tag Along are challenging and exhausting but they are also wonderful and loving.  They are a gift that I am thankful for everyday – not every moment (crayons on walls are not one of my favorite moments for me).

Finding Joy Through the Pain

At a homeschool conference here in Minnesota I went to the bloggers gathering that I have attended the last several years.  I was pregnant with Morgan at the time.  The year before I had shared with the group the loss of our twins and only three days later I would lose Morgan as well.

These women, my fellow blogging mommy’s, are what provided me with some of the most remarkable support when I needed it.  Several of them have lost a little one as well.  So many of these women reached out to me after our twins, just to check up on me.  How wonderful is that?

I will be seeing all of these lovely women in just a few short weeks at the same conference.  We will share our joys and triumphs of the last years blogs, homeschooling and parenting.   We will share our challenges and heartaches.

Most importantly we will share our faith and how we have been able to find joy through those challenging and painful times.  We will unite as women and mothers and rejoice for the things we have lost.

We will renew our hope.

I recently participated in providing a reflection of how prayer got me through the loss of my twins.  This book was created by one of those lovely Mommy’s at the homeschool conference I mentioned.  This wonderful book can be found on Amazon (this is my affiliate link).

When it comes to families, always remember that we only see a small portion of what is really there.  Sometimes our families are so much bigger than meets the eye but no matter how they look we all know that we have a complete family.


The Day My Son Did Not Need Me In The Kitchen Anymore


The day has come.  My son no longer needs my help.  I’m officially no longer his lifeline to having food.  He is cooking on his own and so he has indeed learned what he needed to.  

I am saddened and relieved but mostly in complete awe since he is only six.


How It Came About…

A little over a year ago I decided that I needed an elective for our homeschool program.  Something different that would last him a life time.

Life skills!  That’s What I decided was necessary.  Tractor Man had recently shown interest in cooking so I searched that and found few result for kids cooking courses.

Finally after narrowing my search results farther I found it, Kids Cook Real Foods.  An e-course dedicated to teaching kids to cook on their own.

I instantly purchased the all access to all threes levels.  I figured this was our best choice since Tag Along will eventually need these same skills.

We have been working through the lessons slowly and often repeating, that’s our choice to make sure he fully understands.  Currently we are a few lessons into the intermediate level.

Today was a shocking moment though.  All I did to make our blueberry oatmeal muffins was read the words.

What He Can Do Now

I have to say I’m impressed by my six year old.

He spreads,,cuts (yes with a knife), he measures.  He Can follow a recipe once the wording is changed to the terms he understands.  He is stirring and flipping pancakes!

Flipping pancakes! He’s is only six!

Through the Kids Cook Real Food course he had learned so much.  And we aren’t even half way through the lessons yet!

It has been amazing to watch him grow in the kitchen.  He now tells people what is healthy and what isn’t.  For a young boy he is really impressing his Mama.

Where He Is Headed Next

We still need some work cracking eggs.  Although he did get it right today, with no shell’s I might add.


He is making such great strides in the kitchen that our next big thing that need to happen is for Mama to let go a little bit.  He wants to experiment with flavors on his own.  And I need to start giving him those opportunities to try the new things to add to what he loves for his pallet.

I’m looking forward to the garden this year.  Being able to share the joy of fresh home grown produce will be wonderful and it will open new opportunities for them both while they learn to cook.

I’m planning to let him try a few new things as well while we are camping this year.  I was excited to see that one of the e-books also available with his course is one on cooking while camping.  For me this will be a perfect time to let him have an opportunity to prove himself as I will will want the break and hopefully clean up will be easier as we are outside.

I know we are still a long way from Tractor Man or Tag Along being able to do all of their own cooking and that is ok with me.  But I must admit I am so happy and proud of my children for learning to cook real food.

Find your joy today.

**If you are interested in this course I have included my affiliate links to Kids Cook Real Food.  Please check it out.  Currently the owner is offering a free downloadable e-book on “10 Healthy Snacks Kids Can Make”.  Enjoy! **


Our Secret Homeschool Elective Course

Homeschooling your children can be a wild and fun ride.  It can also feel a bit overwhelming from time to time.  How do you  know if they are learning enough?  More importantly, how you do you know if they are learning skills that will last them a lifetime?

I really like to focus on adding those life skills to our homeschooling days.  Last fall when I was looking for just such a option I found one!  It is called Kids Cook Real Foods and Tractor Man has been doing his lessons on and off for the better part of this last school year.

Let me add that I love this program so much and rave about it even more that I decided to sign up as an affiliate (links here are my affiliate links).

About the Course

I love that the curriculum is self-paced!  We can start and stop as we choose.

In the beginning I was scared to give Tractor Man a knife (even if it was just a butter knife) with the actual intent of cutting something.  We took a few extra weeks on that section until Mom was comfortable and Tractor Man was a cutting machine.

When I looked into this there was a free knife skills class.  The free knife classes no longer exist sadly (but you can get it for $7 here if you are still interested).
But the team at Kids Cook Real Foods has come up with a few other free classes for you to try for free!  The free course they are currently offering is “10 Healthy Snacks Kids Can Make Themselves”.  Go ahead and click on that link so you can see for yourself how the program works and what they are all about.

Once you get there they will have you enter your e-mail and your children’s age ranges.  Then the healthy snacks download will be sent to you.

Just for Homeschooling?

I have been asked before if this course is designed ‘just for homeschooling’.  The answer to that is no, but it really works great to have this as an elective if you are.

As a parent teaching our kids life skills is so important.  Not only does it allow them to learn something they will have for a lifetime but it also empowers them to be more self-sufficient.

Tractor Man makes his own peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  When I was sick for a day or two this winter it was a huge relief for me.  The first morning he came in and said “Don’t worry mom I’ll feed me and Tag Along(he used his real name of course).  I know how to make my own sandwiches.”

The pride and joy on his face shows through.  I want him to have those winning moments.  And I love the break!

If you are a homeschooling parent and want to look at the program from that perspective there is a separate link with more homeschool based information.  You can find that here.

But again please understand that anyone in all walks of life can get this course for their children.  It is not about homeschooling or not.  It is simply about teaching your kids to cook real food!

Additional Resources

One thing I was really worried about (but they have a 30 day money back guarantee) was that I would get these courses and then I would need to dig on the internet to find more resources for the boys to practice the skills with.

Thankfully I was wrong!

The Kids Cook Real Foods course is as complete as they can come.  She provides lesson plans, grocery lists for each week, a curriculum map, video demonstrations with every lesson, and my favorite the Recipe Book.

After watching his video lesson we always take a look at what the recipe book option is to cook.  Having a recipe book that is 50 pages long helps me to know that I don’t have to dream things up on my own.  They have it covered.

We have also gotten a few of the e-books to expand our options for more practice.  There are so many choices when it comes to the e-books.  Snacking, lunches, even sweets options.  I love that she provides options for gluten free choices as well (Tractor Man has a friend who is gluten free so we can make snacks with him still).

The Bottom Line

The bottom line that I am getting to here is that my family has really enjoyed this course.  I think that there is a good chance that your family would as well.

Tractor Man has the sense of self-worth and confidence to do these things on his own.  He makes muffins, sandwiches and he is even flipping pancakes (reminder he is only 5).

I am happy to know that my son will not need to rely on boxed dinners as he grows.  He will be growing his own food and cooking it himself!

If anything please take a minute to get the free healthy snacks download to enjoy.  Test it out and see if this is where you want to take your family next.

Spread some joy!



Day Dreaming…Simply

I tend to be a day dreamer.  I always have been and probably always will be.  It seems that I have also passed this rather odd trait on to my children as well.  Tractor Man is so often off in his own little dream world that I simply just sit and listen to him pretend and day dream all of his ideas for what we can do with “our life”.  It is a breath of fresh air.


Tractor Man dancing in the mirrors while shopping with Gaga (my mom).

Fresh air, that is something that we have been craving here in Minnesota lately.  We had a few beautiful days in February (wait, what?!?!) that were in the 50’s!  Then March came and more wonderful weather followed, then tornadoes and snow.

Recent Snow

Yes, it is currently snowing outside again and just last week we were taking shelter in the basement.  It has been a strange change of seasons for us.

So, snug in our home there is not to much else to do but to day dream…

With all of the thoughts crossing my mind I cannot help but hope for a simpler life for everyone.  There is so much that goes on in our day to day lives, even when we homestead and home school (so we have a few less outside distractions).  But I find myself longing for a slower pace, less of everything.

Can you imagine that?  Wanting less…

Walk through a grocery store today and that is not what generally comes from the mouths of our youth.  And to be honest, as parents, we want to give our children the best of everything.

Maybe the best is a little less.

A few less toys, so they can focus and imagine the day away with the ones they still have.

A few less hours hours of screen time, so they can have a real conversation with us or hear us read a story to them.

A few less sugary treats, so they can learn what a healthy diet can do for their bodies.  And to learn that a treat is something we get in moderation-a new word! 😉

But really giving our kids a bit less is not hindering them in life.  Looks at what the offset was to the less that was listed above.  Yes, it may take adjustment time for them to get used to less candy, TV and toys but they will learn to appreciate and respect the times when they do have it.

Day dreaming of a simpler life is not something that has to stay a dream.  We can take steps to make our lives more simple and more beautiful everyday.

I used to enjoy a great cup of coffee but I found that throughout the rest of the day I was agitated and anxious.  I was starting my day all wrong for me.  Your morning routine may require this but maybe you just need a warm beverage like I do.  I now have tea, way less anxiety and I am happier.  I have less coffee and more sleep at night.  I simplified my routine.


Snow that came up on us.

Today I encourage each of you to sit and dream.  Make a list of those things you really want to do.  Vacations you want to take, people you want to visit, moments you want to share as a family.

Dream a little.  What is it that you want?  Take away the hustle and bustle of the world and ask yourself what would make you happy.  Write it down so you remember it.  Place it where you will see it often, even daily.

Then, start taking steps to achieve it.

Happy homesteading.

New Additions

It’s one of the most rewarding and challenging times on the homestead, showpig farrowing season.  This week we had babies being born for so many different shows.  I wish I could say that all went smoothly, but that is not always the case.

On Wednesday night, after a busy and full day, I was more than ready to head off to bed at 9pm.  Sir Swine informed me that he would be needing my assistance.

On the homestead during farrowing season I know this means pretty much only one thing.  A piglet is stuck.  And I have a smaller arm to help smooth over the situation.

I do not mind sleeving sows but I feel for them.  I have had two children myself so I get it.  Every time I sleeve a sow I sing to her, talk to her, coo at her calmly the way I want when I’m in labor.  It’s just my thing.

The problem is usually a pig that is coming out upside down.  Never easy since they get stuck on the cervix and then everyone else trying to get out piles up behind them.  Sounds bad right.  Imagine how the sow feels!

My job is to gently turn them the correct way and coax them out. 

I know there are some out there that think this is mean but please hear me out.  In the simplest terms I will say this, if a pig is stuck and the sow can not pass it two things happen.  The piglet, and any behind it, will die.  And the sow, with dead pigs inside her, will become very I’ll and probably die as well.  We do NOT want this for our girls, so we assist them.  If they can do it on their own, we are elated! That’s our goal self farrowing sows, but we don’t always get our wish.

Two hours later we had assisted the sow in farrowing four, very large, piglets.  With the boys there waiting patiently, for the most part, we welcomed-in order of birth- Jack Sparrow, Fiesty, Jello and Lucky. 


New additions.

Not a huge litter but I’m happy to report all are doing well.  Including a wonderfully nursing sow. 

Farming is not always easy.  There are days that make me want to cry.  I’m so thankful this time was a happy ending. Those are always my favorite.


Love the marking on this guys face.

Happy homesteading.  What is your least favorite struggle on your homestead?

You Almost Hit A What?!?!

You know that moment when you are driving home from dropping your car off at the shop for some basic care and you almost hit a horse?

Oh, you don’t.  Well that’s good.

Oh but you do.  Scared ya pretty good doesn’t it.

Last night we almost did just that.  Its rather ironic for us though.  Let me explain.

Almost three years ago we were driving home with our first purebred Poland China gilt.  It was a long trip and we were getting home right around 11:30pm or so.  We were only three miles from home (ironically right by where currently live now) and Sit Swine said a few choice words, swerved and we narrowly missed a purebred Angus bull standing directly in our lane. How we missed him was a miracle all it’s own.  Thankfully nobody was hurt, nor the bull, nor Gertrude our new breeding gilt.

So what happens next you might ask.  Well in both cases the same thing. We don’t know who the animals belong to and it’s late so people are in bed.  Not the best time to knock on doors.

So you instead hear, “911 what’s your emergency?” 

“Well, we almost just hit a horse” that’s all Sir Swine and I could think to respond. 

We waited for the officer to arrive (thanks for working late guys) and it’s a good thing we did.  Before the officer arrived we had our hazards going but still had to repeatedly flash our headlights to warn an oncoming car. 

Today all is well.  The horses got back home (Did I mention there were two?).  The bull survived the night three years ago.  And amazingly for us we did not dent the pick-up either time.

Somedays on the homestead are challenging but we could not say they are boring. 

Kids Activities: Fun or Chaos?

Hello fellow parents.  I am a stay at home mom who homeschools her kids.  While I like to have my kids involved in many different things I have recently noticed and exhausting trend-over involvement.


What am I talking about?  Take a look at your calendar and see just what you have “going on” over the next two weeks, or even worse the next month.  Parents (not all of us though) are really starting to spread themselves thin by having their CHILDREN become over involved in activities. 


This, my friends, while wonderful for your child is exhausting on parents and ultimately your pocketbook.  How?  The activity only costs us $50 dollars a month.  Well, let’s take a step back my friends and see what that childs’ activity is really costing you…


Have you thought about the gas?  Convenience foods since you are running more?  Good old fashioned time?  Stress (both you and your childs’)? Lack of sleep?


It can’t be that bad right?  Wrong!  Think again my friends. 


Here’s our example.


Last year we put Tractor Man into wrestling for a year.  The season runs basically all of November, December, January, February and into March.  You can choose to continue on past March, for how much longer I am not sure, but for us five months was enough.  Practice was Tuesday and Thursday nights from 5:30-7pm.  Cost up front was $35 for the wrestling fee and a lovely $50 for hours worked (you got your check back after you worked at least two hours at a tournament). 


So, $35 isn’t that bad…but you need to factor in costs.


Gas, being nice, we will say our car gets 32 miles to the gallon.  Gas (again being nice) is $2.00 a gallon.  We live 10 miles from town, twenty miles round trip, or forty miles a week. For ease of numbers we will round it DOWN and say that we only used one gallon.  Nice! Only $2…but that’s per week.  This went on for 24 weeks.  So $48 dollars in gas. 


Hmm, it’s adding up.


Throw in a few convenience meals say at twenty dollars each, we are a family of four, so that will add on another $40.  I personally feel this is on the low end for families that do grab food and go.


Ahh and the final one that I really feel looks simple but bites hard, tournaments and events.  My bet is that if you have your child in a sport like this and they have a chance to compete you might take them up on that opportunity.  Registration $10, Admission $10 (per parent-Tag Along is still free), snacks and drinks $10, clothes and gear $50. 


**Note on the gear.  I’m sure some of you are saying no way it costs that much.  Well Tractor Man’s singlet was $40, head gear was $10 (used) and shoes we borrowed from a friend.  So again, this sadly could be worse.**


So let’s total this up.


$35 (up front cost), $50 (work hours), $48 (gas-only to practice, no tournaments included), $40 (convenience food), $80 (events).  Total of $253 for one season!


Let’s say you worked those two hours so you saved yourself $50.  That is still over $200 for one child’s sporting event.  And that is only if you have one child in the sport!  OUCH!


I have a few friends with more than one child.  They do events like swimming, dance, gymnastics, wrestling and basketball.  At every time of the year these kids are involved in at least two sports.   How can they afford it?!?!


The one thing that really is the biggest that I didn’t even factor into the costs is time.  While this event was wonderful for Tractor Man to be able to go out and meet new friends and exercise it cost us a LOT OF TIME.  Every Tuesday and Thursday from 5-7:30 pm, since we had drive time.  As I said above by the time we reached March I was exhausted!


So parents here is a thought.  Take the money you would have spent and save half (buy a basketball hoop for at home or something like that instead).  Take the other half that you would have spent and invest it in some family games (not computer ones either) and use the biggest thing you saved and spend it with them.  Your time is what your children are looking for the most. 


Take your kids out on a parent child date night for ice cream.  Shut the radio off, talk to your child in the car.  See what they have to say.  Sometimes the conversation is completely hilarious!  Laugh with them, make jokes and listen to each other.  There is no price tag that can be placed on quality time.


Happy homesteading.



Last year I took a delightful course online called Hibernate.  If you are interested the course is still open until Friday, so it is not to late to join if you like what you hear.  Hibernate is simply put all things beautiful about the winter weather.  A home retreat, which is self-paced, that enables the individual to find inner peace, warming and happiness in the depths of winter.

When you think about it hibernation in nature is truly a beautiful thing.  Animals are forced to make one of three choices: head south, stay and tough it out, or hibernate.

It’s not often that I would say that I choose the easiest of the three but when given the opportunity I would happily hibernate as a bear versus flying south like a Canadian goose or even more extreme as a Monarch Butterfly.  Yes I would be a bear.  Happily sleeping away the winter, oblivious to the world around me.

As humans we are given the gift of choosing, after all some of us still do fly south *smile*.  But really hibernation is not an option in our society today.  We have to work, we need food, we need companionship but most of all I think we all really do need a bit of REST.  And I do not mean the kind you are forced to take when ill.  Just simple, peaceful rest.

Yes, there are parts of this course that I do not fully participate in.  Like the beautiful dish drying matt so many made last year (I finally got a dishwasher so I’m letting it work for me).  But there are still many parts of Hibernate where I step out of my comfort zone and simply try them.  Who knew that a homemade Chai tea blend could be one of my favorite warm beverages-prior to this I hated chai teas.

The point is this, in today’s busy society we so seldom take time to simply rest-for body, mind and soul.  I know that I have benefited from taking this relaxing course and I’m sure you could as well.  Don’t feel pressured to join the class-I have NO AFFILIATION with them-but do take time to do a bit of hibernating for yourself.  You may find a peace that only the ice, snow and cold of winter can bring.

Grab a cup of something warm, snuggle under your blanket and watch in awe of those critters that brave the winter toughing it out (No, I don’t mean your neighbors…well maybe).

Happy Hibernating!

From Mama Bear

Here is the link to the course if you are interested.