Tuesday, February 19, 2013


This is one of those pictures that I sometimes choose not to share.  Part of that mess is a pile of stuff getting ready to go to a thrift store, but still . . . .  If you think unschooling three young children can be done well without a mess, I think you have powers that I don't know about.

Gluten-free apple tarts that I whipped up for Valentine's Day.  
The picture I'm not showing you? . . . . that would be the frozen pizza baking in the oven right know.

 Camille and Sylvia have been enjoying homeschool classes at the Kickapoo Valley Reserve for the last couple of Fridays.  While they are learning how to make nature journals, identify animal tracks, start a fire on the ice, see patterns in nature, hear like an owl, or snowshoe to an ice cave, Ayla and I just hang out.  I don't want any of my kids to feel like a tag-along, so I bring a mighty supply of goodies along to help her enjoy her time.  Snacks and puzzles, art supplies, dollies and pretty shells and stones to sort, (and knitting and coffee for me).  This means that I can be found sitting on the floor singing along with my two-year-old sometimes instead of joining the other parents chatting.
We also hike sometimes and listen to the ice break up on the river or look for animal tracks.
Sometimes hikes don't last long either.  Ayla nearly fell asleep while making a snow angel, and then immediately fell asleep on my shoulders, draped awkwardly half-over my head.

This is when I can chat uninterrupted ^

I haven't been as connected with Sylvia lately as I would like.  So I made a Saturday date with just her.  We went to Echo Valley Farm for a day of Garden Dreaming.  Sylvia gets as excited as I do to look at seed catalogs and imagine what we could plant, so this was a good fit for her. An Amish man gave a fascinating talk about seed saving, which was followed by a seed-swap.
outdoor oven

 Sylvia almost couldn't wait to look through the seeds that others were sharing, either from their own gardens or leftover from recent years.  I handed her my camera to take pictures which kept her busy for a bit :).
We also met friends there, had a lovely community dinner, and sang along with some folk musicians.

The part that I might have left out? . . . at one point, she sat in our van with two friends eating potato chips that we had bought from the gas station on the way to the farm.

Camille has been designing and stitching little presents lately.  This one is for Sylvia's up-coming birthday.  That's pretty sweet.  She sometimes yells, "Shut up, Stupid!"

On warmish days I usually have an eager helper or two to help with outdoor chores.
Today was very cold and windy.  Last night, I apparently hadn't latched the coop door tightly.  This morning the door of the coop was wide open and the inside was covered with snow.  The chickens were alive (thank goodness), but they were miserable.  Then I managed to pour a good cup of cold water out of their waterer and straight into my boot while I was outside trying to feed them up and apologize.

Solar heating is awesome on sunny days!  On cold, windy, overcast days I am thankful for the propane heat source and for the wood from our neighbors' land.  The woodstove is also good for drying very wet boots.

The last couple of nights Camille has been reading aloud by candle light to her sisters.  She usually has to talk them into it.

 Ayla, not to be deterred, ^ is talking on her Disney princess play cell phone here.

The un-finished part of our house is another area I seldom share, but we are making a lot of progress.  To give credit where it is due, this is Papa's work mostly.  I can paint a wall or lay some tile, but I'm not too handy with building walls and such.

A lot of hard work goes into this house, and into this life.  It's good work and a good life, but it's far from effortless or perfect.


  1. Posts like this make me sigh with relief. We're not the only ones! Thanks for sharing the truth of your days.

    1. Thanks, Jen! It's nice to know we're not the only ones, either :)

  2. Awesome post Nikole! I know I need to blog again. I'm always inspired by your consistency and openness. This post was particularly beautiful. Thank you! with lots of Love for you, Laura

    1. Laura, thank you. And I would love to see more blog posts from your Hawaiian life! Much love to you and the family from all of us xx

  3. I never get tired of your pics - they just look so different from our community here. And I LOVE that you show the balance (I think most people sigh a sigh of relief that they are not the only ones).

  4. As soon as I saw your first picture a huge smile came to my face. Then I read the rest :). Another great post!


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