Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: My Kids

Sasha & RonniSasha (15mo) & Ronni (12yo)
with a toy they both love

Ronni, Sasha and Momma JorjeRonni, Sasha, and myself
Giftmas visit at Gran's
(it is a rare nursing pic!)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Sunday Surf: Slightly Random

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday full of love and goodies. Here are the links that caught my eye this week:

  • We get NetFlix so I was amused to see that there is a site dedicated to origami you can make with your NetFlix flaps! Check it out at NetFlix
    NetFlix Origami Starched ShirtNetFlix Origami Starched Shirt

  • From Baby Dust Diaries, I enjoyed this article titled Drop-side Cribs, Penises, and Vaccines. In the post, you'll find some statistics regarding the safety of drop-side cribs (which I guess are being banned in the states now) versus circumcision and other oh-so-dangerous baby-related things. I doubt any of my readers will find any of these things too surprising, but the presentation here was entertaining.

  • I don't read enough to warrant the purchase of a Kindle. I think they're pretty cool, but they are simply a luxury that would be an inappropriate expense for me. However, I learned that Amazon also offers Free Kindle Reading Apps for iPhone, Windows PC, Max, Blackberry, iPad, Android, and Windows 7 Phones. I had no idea! So... I think I might download the app because I do like doing most of my reading at my computer.

  • After much debate, we had decided that our best / greenest live-on-the-road travel option was a diesel truck (converted to run on WVO) pulling a travel trailer. I like the idea of being able to park our home and not have to take it with us everywhere we go. However, I'm beginning to think that is too large a goal for my timeframe. My mind keeps coming back to the school bus ideas. Plus I keep seeing RVs pulling cars and that is totally an option as well. So, timely as ever, Kelly Halldorsen posted a detailed tour of their bus: The Unschool Bus Tour. I love what they've done with their bus! I think I should show this link to my dad. I do see some good prices for these things available locally, but we'd need his supervision and connections for materials. You can see their bus transformation in video and in pictures.
    Unschool BusThe Unschool Bus - unschooling liberty

  • I really suck with Thank You notes. I mean REALLY. After my first wedding, I had purchased thank you notes that fit the color scheme of the whole thing. And there they sat. I probably still have them. I (shamefully) never wrote a single Thank You card for those gifts. Bad Jorje! John Kralik, however, decided to write a Thank You note every day for a year! Read about his exercise and the book he put together from it. Why can't I think of such a nifty idea for a book? Perfect Thank You Notes: Heartfelt And Handwritten - at NPR.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Sisters

Sasha & SamanthaThey hadn't seen each other since last Giftmas

Elmo, Samantha, and SashaElmo, very happy to have his girls together

Samantha helping Sasha up onto the bedSamantha helping Sasha up onto the bed

Sasha & SamanthaThe girls played very well together.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sunday Surf: Giftmas Edition

We started moving on Wednesday. Elmo has had a friend helping him along the way, but has also had Sasha underfoot while I've been gone 8+ hours per day. He and I finished emptying and cleaning the apartment Saturday evening. I did one last walk-through today and turned in the keys. Meanwhile, I have been going through the mountain of boxes here! Do not doubt, you will notice losing 250 square feet of space!! In a box, under many floppy diskettes I have now tossed, I found my CDIB card which has been missing for 5+ years! Why the hell did I still have floppies?? Without further ado, on to this week's links:

  • Elmo and I have agreed not to lie about Santa. It seems strange even to me because I was so determined to "do the Santa thing" with Ronni. I think he may still believe at 12 years old! If you're still debating what you want to do in your own family, check out Why we decided not to "do Santa" at Adventures in Mommyhood. She includes a few links offering different perspectives, so she isn't just trying to sell you on her decision.

  • Already decided to do the Santa thing? Well if you love Santa, North is a great site to visit with your kids! Among other things, your child can use a form to send a letter to Santa. It has some multiple-choice options as well as a free-form space. Your child will actually have a response from Santa within a couple of days! My daughter still loves this and includes it as one of her traditions. The site has more than just fun stuff for kids. It offers a section of activities for parents, teachers & students, recipes, crafts, and more!

  • Love elves, but not necessarily the North Pole variety? I'm talking fantasy here, folks. I discovered Elf Quest as a young adult and LOVE the series offered by the Pinis! I have many of their published works, but have been planning to sell them in my "downsizing." I never did complete my collection. However, I have Richard Pini on my FB friend list and just found that every known EQ tale to date, well over 6500 pages, is offered online - for free! O.M.G! I am in hog heaven. I have to limit myself, though, as I have SO much work to do away from my computer! I've read 1 issue, starting at the beginning, each night for the last 2 nights. I hope I'm able to keep up this new routine.
Speaking of how wonderful Elf Quest is, here is some amazing Family Bed artwork from them:
Image short descriptionArt by Ron Hayman
Click on the image to go to the FB page and see the larger version!
(Artwork copyright 2010 Warp Graphics. All rights reserved.)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Newest Member of our Menagerie

Cobalt Blue TarantulaOur newest pet, a Cobalt Blue Tarantula
These pics do not do the color justice

Cobalt Blue TarantulaOur newest pet, Tears, a Haplopelma lividum tarantula

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Family Tradition Origins

Welcome to the December Carnival of Natural Parenting: Let's Talk Traditions

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama.

Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


Where do our traditions originate? I have some odd Giftmas traditions that originated out of a sort of necessity / convenience when I was a child of a single mother. My parents divorced before I can remember and my father managed to make more "happen" on Giftmas morning (read: Santa was very good to us), so I almost always spent that holiday with him. Because of that, we opened gifts at my mom's place the day before the day before Christmas (December 23rd). During my last marraige, we actually started opening gifts between the adults a day earlier than that, then let the kids open on the 23rd. That left Christmas Eve open for all the family visiting and other gifts. We both had divorced parents, so this convenience / necessity was just expanded. Now I'm remarried and my husband loves opening pressies early!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sunday Surf: Short List

My energies this week have been spent more on minimizing belongings for our move this Wednesday into a smaller apartment (and eventually into an RV). Here is a picture of the stuff I got out of here today. The box in the lower right-hand corner went to the apartment office for their food drive. There is a box of science stuff I got when Ronni was little and haven't ever used. Three bags of clothes, some that were hand-me-downs to me that didn't fit. There is one bag of board games (plus one that didn't fit in the bag) and a baby play center in a bag in addition to the bouncer seat. Elmo and I agree that we won't need these things with our next baby. Oh! And there is a small bag containing a couple pairs of shoes.

Truck Load of DonationsTruck Load of Stuff

I went on about all that much longer than intended, but the point is - links have not been my main concern this week! I do have just a few for you, though:

  • MET Recycle (The Metropolitan Environmental Trust) is a local organization, but this Green Gift Guide could be useful to anyone anywhere. If you're not done with your shopping list, perhaps you could find some ideas here. I am proud to share with you that the MET also held the first phone book recycling event in the nation, Project ReDirectory, which is now modeled in cities across the country.

  • As I've said, I'm finding more and more families that have left the hubbub of life in one town and are traveling while homeschooling and even unschooling their children. In my research on how we can do the same, I've had to give a lot of thought into how to feed us and keep fuel in the tank. No answer works for every family and Kelly from Unschooling Liberty does a good job explaining that here. A lot of what she said reminded me of the eBook on long term travel I have linked here and on the side pane of my page.

  • Have you ever thought about where your tax money goes? While reading Un-Jobbing : The Adult Liberation Handbook, I was given some history on US taxes and asked to consider this point. The National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee is a good place to start learning how to stop paying for war. I've added a button for their site to my blog, too.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Just One Short Month Later...

I posted nearly a month ago about Following a Chain of Inspirations. By the end of that post, I was talking about hitting the road by next Fall. That seems SO far off, but there is much to do!

I wanted to update about what we've done to that end. It is hard to believe it has only been a month! For starters, we gave a car back to my dad. That cleared our debt to him.

Blue Ford Focus with SpoilerGoodbye Ford Focus

Next week we're transferring to an even smaller apartment! Four months ago we lived in a two-story, three bedroom (1½ bath) condo. We currently live in a two bedroom / two bathroom apartment that is 900 square feet of space. It has seemed very cramped after the condo, which had a HUGE kitchen! Now we're going to lose 250 square feet, but we'll be dropping our rent by $145! Our new apartment is across the courtyard from us, so it makes for an easy move. However, we move next Wednesday! This seems like an extra big hassle because 1) I'll be in full-on working schedule. and 2) I just can not get my mind on Giftmas because we have too much other stuff happening. Our lease will still end in August, perfect for our plan. Besides, what better way than to take steps down to the size of an RV? Better than going directly from three bedroom with a huge kitchen to an RV!

We (especially my husband) had been planning to purchase a nice television. However, we've agreed to wait until we get our RV and get one that suits it. Most impressively, this was his idea.

On that note, Elmo has also gone through his DVDs and took a bunch to Vintage Stock. You get a better deal if you take store credit and he was able to get the ear piece he has really been wanting! That ear piece also takes up much less space than the DVDs he traded. He has a huge DVD collection, so minimizing it had been a concern of mine. He came up with the idea on his own, though. We've also been looking around for ways to travel with his movies.

I've been selling items on CraigsList. I listed them, sold one or two, then I had to re-list at lower rates. I sold a couple more and then lowered rates again. I re-post about once per week because listings are shown in date order by default. I'm coming up with more and more stuff to sell, I think.

We've decided what sort of transport we'd like to get, including a 5th wheel dually truck with a diesel engine and automatic transmission. We want to get the Vegetable Oil conversion, the entire point of getting a diesel. Of course we'll want a 5th wheel travel trailer to go with it! Oh, and we need the truck to have an extended cab to hold (eventually) two car-seats!

I discussed our plans with my dad. I had trouble getting up the nerve for this one, but it went well and he seemed supportive. He thinks we should definitely stop at 1 baby then, but I keep telling him we're pretty set on another one. I think he is watching for something good for us. If we get a fixer-upper of a trailer, he'll be able to help (supervise, anyway) the renovation of it. This could potentially save us a lot of money.

We've dropped our NetFlix account to half the price it was. We tried out Hulu as a cable television replacement, but we didn't like it at all. Even the selection wasn't all it was cracked up to be. Still, we're going to cut out cable television when we move across the way. That will drop our cable bill by more than half as well! (We also get internet through our cable company.)

I've purchased and read Extended World Travel – How to Take a Break from the Rat Race and Travel the World with your Family. It was a great starting point, but I've already come a long way since then. I've just finished reading Un-Jobbing The Adult Liberation Handbook and am starting in on the Appendix of resources now. It was a good read and a good reminder - don't feel deprived. I may need to remember that as I'm cutting out unnecessary expenses. Next up is The 4-Hour Workweek.

I have finally figured out what to do about my water dilemma! It seems simple now, but we rent a water dispenser and have 5 gallon jugs of water delivered (they take back and reuse the empties). I just can not drink tap water. We only spend about $25 per month on it, but we can't take that on the road! Then it hit me... a filtration pitcher! I can use that now and take it on the road. So, that is on my list to purchase this weekend. Then I can stop the water service with the move next week, too.

Goodwill logoI've been setting stuff (mostly clothes) aside to take to Goodwill. I'm planning to run that errand this weekend, so it gets done before the move!

My vision board / to do lists are growing (sticky notes on the pantry door and the wall). I've researched several possible ways to earn money and even started contacting possible sponsors for the travel. Even with the light at the end of the tunnel (next Fall), some days it breaks my heart to walk out the door, headed for work. Still, I'm proud of how much progress we've already made.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sunday Surf: Broad Spectrum

This week I only have 4 categories of links, but I have 10 or more links within the categories. I hope it isn't overwhelming and that you find at least 1 or 2 links just for you!

  • One of the people that inspires me online is The Organic Sister. (I hope to meet her someday!) Anyway, she has a passion for sustainability, in manageable steps. Her new site, Sustainable Baby Steps answers the question, "How do I go green?" She offers steps in different sizes, whatever size fits you best. She also explains how some things really aren't as environmentally friendly as we're made to think. I already link her button on my page, but I wanted to specifically tell you how awesome her site is! I'm very infantile in my own green steps, so I'm using her site to help me better our home without going off the deep end or going further than my family can handle.

  • Cutest Kid Ever offers this amazing article entitled Big Sis and Little Brother: Attachment Theory and the Sibling Relationship. It is a different point of view on attachment relationships, not just parenting. It served to reinforce some of the reasons I choose AP myself.

  • I love to go barefoot. It is a pleasure I share with my children. Sasha has, unfortunately, had to wear socks. But when I do remove those, she loves to walk around barefoot, too! Well these days, the world is realizing that shoes are bad for our feet! Check out Parents for Barefoot Children! You could also read The Barefoot Book. There is even a Society for Barefoot Living! If it is warm enough where you are, take off your shoes and wiggle your toes in the grass! There is nothing like it!

  • Since deciding to hit the road (though we're still in prep stages), I've been finding more and more Families on the Road. I've found The Unschool Bus. I find everyone's start on the road is fascinating, but Kelly's is pretty moving (no pun intended). I've been checking Winter Road Tales which is written from the father's point of view for a change. The only problem there is that he doesn't update very often. Just last night I found Aberryhappyfamily's blog. The mom is some sort of nurse and got to see birthing inside the Northern Navajo Medical Center! It made me want to birth in New Mexico myself! And finally, A Camp Host Housewife's Meanderings. There are no unschooling children on this one, but Camp Hosting (or Workamping) is one of the jobs I'm researching, so I thought this one was interesting, too.

    Mostly, I have been simply amazed at how many families I keep finding that are living on the road! I am not a patient person when it comes to what I want, but I've been doing pretty well staying focused, eyes on the prize! I need to post about what I've done toward this goal.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

WW Macro Answers

Thank you all so much for guessing! I love seeing my macro shots from other viewpoints! And... without further ado...

  1. Bread - Great job, Missy!
  2. Carpet - Great job, Mama Whimsy!
    Lauren, you cracked me up with the Spider Bedding guess! You just know me so well!
  3. Sunflower Seeds - Great job, Purple Dancing Dahlias!
    I love seeing them as rocks, though.
  4. Bubble Wrap - too easy!
  5. Lava Rock, actually a BIG one, at a cemetery. Great job, Lauren.
    Pumice stone could also be considered a correct answer.
  6. One of my favorites! This is actually the lid to one of those plastic turtle sandboxes!
  7. A light fixture outside Boston Avenue Church - you can see more great pictures of it by doing a Google Image Search: Boston Avenue Church Tulsa
  8. A glass brick lit up from the inside as part of an Art Deco Mazzios in midtown Tulsa, OK - I couldn't find any good pictures of the location. I won a ribbon at the local fair for a similar photo highlighting a brick lit up with green and red.
  9. No one ever gets this one! It is a rubber glove for doing dishes, etc!
    The answers on this one always amuse me.
  10. Filter was close enough, I think. This is the outside of the A/C unit at my old house.
  11. One weathered wooden plank of a park bench. :-)
  12. A stack of ash trays on the bar in a restaurant at lunch time.
I hope you all enjoyed playing! I should take more macros (these are old) and play again some time. I love sharing these.
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