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peppermint in the country








It was my sophomore year of high school, career counselors were visiting for the day. They were there to help the student body of 248 fifteen year-olds decide what they wanted to be when they grew up. My honest and loving hippy response was "I'd like to live in a little house in the country and grow peppermint."

Never more sure of anything, I wrote it in my journal. Which I still have to this day. 

My counselor on that day told me I'd be better suited for a career in Humanities. I wonder if writing and making art and raising a family and homeschooling and sharing beauty with the world counts as a career in Humanities?

I sat next to my friend Nicki, she said she wanted to be a flight attendant. I wondered if she had ever thought of that before this particular day. Because on career counselor day, if your responses to their questionnaire stated that you liked helping people, travel, and were outgoing... flight attendant was one of a dozen professions that were recommended to you. I wonder if flight attendant is still on the list? I'll never know what Nicki would have become, she didn't live past high school. She was killed in a car accident just before entering her senior year. I'll always remember though, Nicki didn't roll her eyes as most adults did when I shared my peppermint filled dreams. We were different in many ways - she in her pleated, tapered leg pants and awesomely teased hair, me with my out of fashion Indian print clothing found at the Salvation Army and long non-layered hair. She was kinder than anyone you'd ever meet (anyone would say so), and because of her, my aspirations were heard and honored that day. That meant a lot to my fifteen year old free-spirit-self who was used to being listened to, but in a "that's nice dear" kind of way. 

I don't know why I'm writing this today. Perhaps because these photos, this magical place we visited yesterday, evoke a certain nostalgia for me. Yesterday I pretended (if only for a few moments) that this was my shabby cottage on a dirt road in the country. A place where clothes are tossed on the river bank for a dip in the cool flowing water, where late afternoon sun rests on the meadow and the scent of peppermint lingers in the air. Along with dreams that still live on.

The Little Things


Getting out there, even in the rain. Making our own sun.

Wine from one neighbor, flowers from another.


Her little job, and the flowers that greet her.


Tea, in solitude.


Him, barefoot on the trail.


Using the very last shallot from 2010. Happy the farm opens in two weeks.


Incredible friends (who are blessed to live on a lake). 




Productivity.  Grateful for (and loving) the variety of things I get to call work.

Borrowed car for the week... vintage store 'field trip!'

The first of the season.

Not much interest in cooking, but she'll spin salad all day long. (It's fun!)

Surprised at how moved I was by this. 

The return of blue skies and sunshine.

These little things... grateful they make up the essence of our days. 

Middle School Resources and Materials - Curriculum Fair!


“The Montessori program for the young adult from age twelve to fifteen is very different from that of traditional school. Dr. Montessori felt that because of the rapid growth, the increased need for sleep, and hormonal changes, it is useless to try to force the adolescent to concentrate on intellectual work. She recommended an Erdkinder, or Earth school, where children would live close to nature, eat fresh farm products, and carry on practical work related to the economics of supplying food, shelter, transportation, and so forth. Intellectual work is still done, following the child’s interests, but without pressure.”

The Michael Olaf Montessori

Join me today at Simple Homeschool as I share the nuts and bolts of our homeschool.

junk or treasure?

Sometimes bulky waste week is nothing but piles of 80's couches and old broken black lacquer furniture on the side of the road.

Sometimes, though...


Well, maybe just one time...








Papa gets a brand new grill! Last night, I could hear him through the window, down by the garage admiring his found treasure. The words "major award" were uttered more than once... and we've officially welcomed the Silver Mamba into our family.

I have no idea where we'll put this thing.

(The picture doesn't do much for the scale of The Mamba - she's about six feet wide. That's a lot of corn on the cob!)

Finally, Everything is Green















Everything is so lush and green out there now. Was there ever a more life-affirming color? A perfect spot, so close to home that we've never known about. Actually, I grew up less than 2 miles from here, making it's discovery even more magical. 

Good morning, friends! Looking forward to a new week... still raining, but I'm planning on plenty of good things. I hope the same for you!

Rearranging Things... Again

With the rain keeping us indoors for most of the week (please let there be soccer practice tonight), I've enjoyed creating a summer reading list thanks to all of your suggestions. Checking in with each other for book titles is such a great thing to do once a year. Thank you!

But there are many hours to the day, you know? What's a girl to do... rearrange furniture, of course! I'm easily entertained. So as you can see, my computer has been moved back down to a more central location in our home. I was able to finish the work I needed quiet for, now I will fit writing (of a 'less concentration required' variety) into pockets of time throughout the day. Oh, and I'm still committed to my afternoon work schedule. That's been going really well!

There was a whole bunch of other furniture rearranged too. Poor Sukha is so confused. 

My real reason for stopping in here today was not to tell you I moved my computer again (wondering why didn't I get a laptop...), but to let you know there will be a giveaway here tomorrow! Yay! It's been a while since I've done that... so please be sure to stop in for a chance to win something fabulous of the most visionary kind! 

Rainy Day Reading


Every once in a while I like to ask what you've been reading lately. You all seem to have the best book lists! This week we are enjoying rain, more rain, and then a whole lot of rain... we sure could use a new title or two. 

Current pleasure reading - I'm reading All Over but the Shoutin', Emily is reading Anne Frank and for Literature Study we are both reading Tom Sawyer. But the week looks long and rainy from our home, as in "100 % chance" according to the weather man. I think we'll need some more books before the week is up. Tonight or tomorrow we'll venture over to the library for a fresh stack, so please... what's in your book bag these days? 

Rainy spring days are the perfect time to dream up summer reading lists.

Another reason to love a long stretch of wet and soggy weather?


Well, I can't possibly stain the deck as I should be doing right now...

Weekly Wrap-Up

Good morning! I'm feeling like a series of random thoughts today...

:: Have you been following Tsh's series at Simple Mom about Working From Home? I've been devouring every word! Today, she shares her daily/weekly routine - and within the post you can take a peek at what it's like behind the scenes as a writer at Simple Living Media. The first time I stepped into the beautifully organized all access pass as a Simple Homeschool writer, I swooned over the editorial calendars, style guides, html codes, etc... and I immediately understood why Tsh is so successful. Aside from her timely, inspired ideas, she works hard! It looks like she may have a Blogging 101 Webinar in the works, if interested (does not mean you are committing) you can fill out this form. Imagine, a class with Tsh about blogging and working as a writer... looking forward to this for sure.

:: My Art Shop has re-opened with a small selection of prints. A few people have inquired about the Good Teaching print as end of the year teacher gifts. I've also listed a new print, Grace in the Turnaround. I shared the intention behind the drawing in this post from the winter, goodness that was a special moment for me. So glad to finally be offering this to you. Shipping envelopes are on order and prints will begin shipping from my home at the end of next week. 

:: I changed the blog around a little. New banner, new and larger font. Tell me, is the font too huge? I don't want it to feel as though I'm shouting at you. My nearing middle age eyesight has been having trouble lately reading smaller print on blogs and websites (even with glasses). Next stop for me, the large print section of the library!

:: Made Heidi's Little Quinoa Patties for the second time. I think they are going to be in the weekly rotation over here. So good. 

:: Just found out there will be a Race to Nowhere screening in my town! Looking forward to that on May 31st.

:: Loving the David Rawlings and Gillian Welch Tiny Desk Concert on NPR. Ruby (the second song) is so pretty. Makes me weep with it's beauty.

:: You are the best. I just wanted you to know that. Your presence and support here adds so much to my day, thank you. 

:: This weekend includes two soccer games, one first communion, time outdoors with my family, and the pleasure of teaching a nutrition module to a group of yoga teachers in training. It was requested that I teach the class "from a yogic perspective." Ahh, yes... 

All good...

And what is on tap for you this weekend?

the little things


 A new banana cake recipe.


 Reading Call of the Wild. Language Arts, homeschool style.


 Thrifted fabric. Whether I needed it or not. 


Indulging in some annuals this year. Aside from geraniums, I'm usually a perennial girl. Loving the new addition to the garden.

 Playing on two teams this season. Double the fun!


Revisiting an after school snack from 25 years ago. If only Phil Donahue were still on. (kidding, sort of)

 My people, and the absence of time.


 Her laundry. I wish I could wash, dry and fold it forever.


 The way animals trust her and allow her into their world.


 A new corner for writing. I tend to do this a lot... it keeps things fresh.


 Things we can all agree on.

 The freedom for her to be who she is. 

Yeast proofing, quinoa soaking, door open. 


 Her perspective through the lens.


 The little things... my goodness. Where would we be without them?

let's talk about blogging

This post has been on my mind and heart for some time now, but following a series of painful, harassing, and completely out of line comments on a dear friend's blog yesterday, I decided to finally write this today. I thought of turning comments off, but am trusting any words left will be constructive and in support of the good people who create these beautiful spaces for us all to visit as we choose. We'll see how that goes... I'm not feeling up for debate today, just wanting to share how I feel, on my blog. Honestly, any comments of a derogatory nature may be removed.

Over four years ago I started this blog. My motivation came from reading other blogs that were pretty and inspiring. How simple is that? I like things that are pretty and inspiring, the world needs as much of that as we can deliver. The women I found blogging on the world wide web were celebrating and capturing simplicity, creativity, family, and mindfulness through photos and words. A new world opened for me, I began designing my own corner of the web, and one more blog was born

We've all watched blogging evolve over the years; advertising fills sidebars, book deals are common, even TV shows and cooking shows are the result of blogs. I think all of this is awesome, if it works for the writer. Bloggers appreciate their readers immensely, though we realize that over time readers will come and go. As long as the writer stays true to themselves, the experience remains authentic. It's amazing that in this day and age (with advanced degrees providing people with little professional security) that any person with talent, who's willing to do a lot of work, can earn or supplement a living doing what they love, on their own terms, providing the world with something beautiful, thought provoking, funny, or motivating (for free!) along the way. Where is the harm in that?

Ahhmoney. Blogging for a living brings money, and money can make people weird... and I'm not talking about the bloggers who are earning the money either. Actually, bloggers generally do a really nice job of remaining true to who they are and what their blog is about. However, it's inevitable that somewhere along the way, there will be people with a lot of energy around a blogger's success. They will have opinions about how "honestly" a blog should be written or about how much of ones personal life should be shared (usually, the expectations are quite high). It's a little bizarre and kind of creepy that another person would care so much about how and what a blogger writes about. Don't like it? No problem, choose not to read.

Here's the thing. People need to lighten up about bloggers and blogging styles. Just because a person has a large following and/or earns money from blogging does not mean the writer owes his/her readers a deeper or alternate view into their personal life. If the theme of a blog is to focus on the positive, then so be it! We are all big girls and boys out here and are capable of deciphering (and appreciating) a style of blogging for what it is. A theme.

Of course there are other pieces to the pie of life, who would think otherwise?

Many of us are faced on a regular basis with low bank accounts and medical bills and arguments and feeling fat days and  raised voices and family members that disappoint and self doubt and home/car repairs that don't fit into the budget and fear and opinions of others and so much more. But... there is also decorum and grace. This is the internet after all, and it is very unforgiving.

When I write a post on this blog, generally a couple dozen people might leave a comment. In addition to those people, about 3,000 read quietly and never say a word - for the most part, I have NO idea who those people are. I am a quiet reader of many blogs myself so I know it is largely all good and innocent. But you just don't know. And I'm not talking about living in fear of the world because I share a slice of my life online (believe me, my physical location is of far more concern to my family's safety than the internet) - I don't buy into fear just for the sake of it. What I mean is, you really don't know who is reading. It is wise to have a plan and tone that feels right for you, and stick to it.

Decorum and grace. The world could use more of it.

When you write a blog, and attach your name to it, you are now writing on behalf of every immediate or extended family member, and every friend, colleague or co-worker you have. You are representing all of them. That may or may not matter to you. As writers, we have to decide that for ourselves.

I have a cousin who married into a family with a brother that held high political office in Florida. At the time, this person was being groomed for the Presidency... yes, of the United States. My cousin, a young bride-to-be, was all in a tizzy (rightfully so) about every parking ticket she ever had, or that fake ID (she may have had) in college, as she understood the broad investigation that would take place on his behalf, if a campaign were to move forward. We live in the age of information, and depending on your associations, people will want all the information they can have about you. The internet is a huge holding tank for that information. This isn't to say you should live your life according to the standard of others (hell no), it just means you have to be completely okay with what you put out there, now and forever.

Once you put something on the internet, it is out there for good. It is a wise practice to share carefully and mindfully. If it feels totally comfortable for you to share deeper hardships, or embarrassing things your kids did, then so be it. Just don't feel you need to do that because you're a blogger... so you must put it all out there.

My husband holds a fairly public professional life, my daughter has a personal and professional life yet to be determined. Anyone who blogs has similar considerations, and has to decide for themselves what feels comfortable to write about.

Personally, I write this blog as if company is coming, it is not my personal journal. Unapologetically, I fluff the couch pillows, wash the dishes in the sink, and put a fresh hand towel in the downstairs bath (so to speak). I love to write and share here, and what I do share is real, but I choose not to capture publicly if I'm behind on my electric bill or am filled with self doubt as a wife, mother and friend - not because of what people will say about me, but because this blog is not just about me. 

It is okay for bloggers to decide their style of writing and sharing, and it is okay for readers to decide if a blog is suitable to their tastes. But that is about as far as it goes. A blogger does not need to conform their topics to a reader's requests (or demands), and a reader does not need to spend their time reading a blog that doesn't fulfill them. 

Look, blogging is completely new when considering the scope of humanity. And mostly, we all do it independently. There are no hard and fast rules or proper trainings to be had. Each of us must figure this out for ourselves.

A few things seem to hold true though:

  • Writers are free to write what makes sense for them personally.
  • Readers are free to read only what they enjoy and can make time for.
  • Telling each other what to do does not work. 
  • The world works so much better when we are kinder to one another.

It feels good to release this here today. Thank you for your support, as always. I wish each of you a day filled with kindness, both given and received. Peace.