This Week’s Project Download…

It was another whirlwind week here on the homestead.  And this morning it was tough programming the kids to wake up earlier than normal because of daylight savings time.

I am proud to say that the derby car is complete!  Just in time for the races this coming weekend.  Just some minor sanding and paint touch ups.

I’ll have a special blog post on this project and my many lessons learned.

IMG_20130310_092839

I didn’t have time to do many projects this week (I’ll get to that in a minute).  I was able to make a peppermint citrus scrub though.  It is extremely easy to make.  You can use sugar or salt, both will gently exfoliate the skin.  The cooling sensation of the peppermint oil helps soothe itchiness, and the coconut oil (or another other oil you choose to use) moisturizes.  I like the citrus because it is very invigorating and immediately wakes you up and has a wonderful clean, spring/summer scent.  We definitely need that up here in Northern New England!

scrub

Here’s how to make the scrub:

  • 1 cup granulated white sugar or salt.   (I personally buy the cheap stuff since I won’t be eating it)
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil .  You can substitute olive oil, almond oil, apricot oil, avocado oil, or even use a combination.  
  • 2-4 Tablespoons orange zest.  You can also use lemon or grapefruit zest, it’s really your preference.
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable glycerin.  I’ve read it’s optional, but it does add extra moisturizing properties.  
  • 10 drops peppermint essential oil.
  • 10-15 drops orange essential oil, or any other citrus of your choice.   

Instructions:

Mix sugar, oil, zest, and vegetable glycerin together. Depending on what type of oil you use, you may need to add more or less to get the proper consistency. Make sure there is enough oil to make the sugar stick together, but not so much that it is floating on top.

Gradually add in the essential oils until you’ve reached the desired scent. It may take more or less, depending on the type of oils you use.

Store your sugar scrub in a glass container.  I put mine up on the kitchen window sill.  The great thing is that this scrub also makes an awesome gift, especially in the summer when we’re all out in the garden getting our hands dirty!   Just rub a small amount of the scrub on your hands or body and rinse with warm water.  

Honestly the sky is the limit on this scrub.  You can add any scent and oil you choose.  I think my next one will involve lavender and rosemary.  

This week I really had to focus on my daughter and her school work.  I was so nervous about her learning and study habits.  Thankfully, everything turned out just fine.  I just need to ensure I stay on top of her and encourage her.  She has been reading “My Life as a Book” so I read it as well.  I must say this has been of my favorite books she’s brought home so far!  Maybe it’s because the main character reminds me of a cross between her and her devious brother!

7259969

The kids enjoyed a wonderful few days with dad as he made a quick visit home (thus the lack of projects I could complete – there was too much excitement at home).  Unfortunately, the visit was short lived and he’s out patrolling our waters again.  It’s only for a few weeks and he’ll finally be back home for a decent amount of time.  Just in time to get the garden going!

IMG_20130306_095652

Advertisements

This Week’s Project Download…

Ever have one of those weeks where you feel like nothing was accomplished, yet it was so busy you were relieved it was over?  That was my week.

Between a snow storm, power outages, homework, after school activities, and doctor’s appointments it was a hectic week on the homestead.  I wasn’t able to get many projects started, or even finished for that matter.

The derby car is still a work in progress.  I only have two weeks to get it all done!  A lot of painting and priming to do, and then it’s on to the wheels and axles.

IMG_20130302_170123

I had to hollow out a couple eggs for my son’s school project this week.  He is making ‘cascarones’, eggs filled with confetti and broken over a friends head at the completion of Lent.  My son’s class will fill the eggs with birdseed instead and break them over their class tree.  He will enjoy this project so much!  Thanks to YouTube I quickly learned how to blow out the eggs and empty them out.

IMG_20130302_170459

A trip to the grocery store for fresh Italian parsley got me cilantro instead (apparently I have no idea what either look like).  I’m not a fan of cilantro so it is in a handy mason jar growing roots.  The cilantro sits nicely on my kitchen window sill, along with the basil, mint, bamboo and aloe so I guess it’s a keeper.

IMG_20130302_170635

I did make another batch of elderberry syrup and vanilla extract.  We go through about a 1/2 pint of elderberry syrup a week.  The extra vanilla extract will stay down in the basement until the holidays.  It should be extra yummy by that time, and a gift our neighbors will surely enjoy!

As far as reading…  I’m old school… I still love the feel of the paper in my hands.  This week I didn’t have much time to read so I settled for a Kindle book, “Wait for Me” by Elisabeth Naughton.    Mystery, heartache, joy and, yes, a bit of passion.  I don’t care much for the cover of the ebook though.  The cover gave me the impression the story would be “fifty shades’ish”, but that was not the case.  It was a quick read and I enjoyed the story.

13282015

This week is an exciting one at the homestead.  My husband is making a brief stop home and will be here for a couple of days.  The kids don’t know so they will be extra surprised to see him!  As quickly as he arrives he’ll soon be back out on the steel boat patrolling our ocean.  We take what we can get!

Which reminds me… I better buy some bird seed!

800px-Mohawk

May the Force be With You…

DSC_1858 I don’t know about you but I am so ready for winter to be over!  Don’t get me wrong, I love New England and its change of seasons.  But we’ve had a storm every week in February.   I’m done with the snow, the slippery roads, the power outages.  I’ve especiallyhad it with the snowsuits, gloves, hats and boots laying on the floor, surrounded by a pool of melted snow.  Spring, where are you?!?!  Please hurry!  For if you do  not quickly arrive on my doorstep I am afraid I may have to use the utmost of powers… the Jedi mind trick.  You know, like in Star Wars. The mind is a powerful thing.  Perhaps I, Obi-Wan of this homestead, can exude my force…

Mother Nature:  Are you ready for more snow to fall?

Mama Jedi:  *waving hand* There will be no  more snow. 

Mother Nature:  There will be no more snow.  

Mama Jedi:  You will bring us Spring now.

Mother Nature:  I will bring Spring to your doorstep now.  

Mama Jedi:  Move along.

Mother Nature:  Move along.

Okay, so maybe I’ll just continue with wishful thinking.  But, regardless,  I am going to do whatever I must to get the spirit of Spring going!

This week I started on some spring cleaning.  This concept is pretty foreign to me.  Being half Asian, and growing up in Japan most of my life, this type of cleaning happens at the end of the year.  To me, it makes more sense to purge the old at the end of year, beginning a fresh new year.  However, now that I live in New England, I guess I can understand why spring cleaning is a must. You’re holed up in your house all winter, dust bunnies collecting around the wood stove, the air not circulating enough because of the tundra outside, stashing cardboard boxes down in the basement because you dread walking it to the end of your driveway for trash collection.  (Note:  I do not cite these examples based on first hand experience)

I so get it now.

Spring cleaning has arrived at the homestead.  I am getting rid of all the “junk” accumulating around me.  If we don’t use it, if it’s lost in the abyss of my kids closet, it’s gone.  Although I’m sure I could make a decent chunk of change, I am not big on selling things.  Instead, I choose to donate as much as I can to our school, local clothes pantry, local children’s hospital, Goodwill, and churches.  It’s an act that the whole entire family take part in, and enjoy.  There are others out there less fortunate that could use something as simple as a jacket, or great picture book.  The notion that my son gets excited about his once favorite fire truck going to another boy puts a huge smile on my face.

A few more rooms to tidy up.   One last snowman, that is it.   And then I expect the snow to melt away very soon.

Yes, Mother Nature, I am speaking to you.  I’m itching to get my hands dirty!

storm troopers 3

This post was featured at the Homestead Barn Hop

Barn-Hop

This Week’s Project Download…

Happy Sunday!  It’s snowing at the homestead this morning.

This week I had one focus… derby car.  We’re slowing making progress!

IMG_20130218_144653

IMG_20130218_144603

IMG_20130224_075322

I was able to make a quick batch of homemade vanilla extract.

It’s so simple… vodka & vanilla beans.  Just add 6 – 7 vanilla beans (split down the middle and cut in half) to about 4 cups of vodka.  Store for 2 – 3 months and that’s it!  I purchase my vanilla beans from Mountain Rose Herbs.  I paid $23 for 4 oz of vanilla beans (about 25 – 30 long beans).  That is a lot cheaper than my local grocery store.  They had ONE bean in a glass jar for $11!

Pure vanilla extract.  Not that imitation stuff!  And they’ll make fantastic gifts for the holidays!

135-800x533-615x409

3659432326_8810c6730b

This week I also started (and finished!) another book borrowed from my daughter’s teacher.  This was a great book!

cover

Leap of Faith…

il_fullxfull.147693805

Life only happens ONCE.  And it is either what you make it, or what you allow it to be.  

When I began my blog I had one mission:  to be as debt-free as possible, which should allow me to stay home with my kids and take up homesteading.  It’s been a wonderful year of self-discovery, focus, education, and, yes, many sacrifices.

Though the odds seemed stacked against me, I am happy to say that my first goal has been achieved.

Last week I took the biggest leap in my journey… I quit my job.  As terrifying and nerve racking as it was I felt completely liberated.  I’m not going to cry.  I’m not fretting.  I’m not second guessing myself.  I am savoring this moment and looking forward to the future.  “I’m all in”, as my husband says.

Most folks would slap me silly for leaving my job.  In retrospect I did give up a fairly big position, full of advancement potential and salary to boot.  I am also very aware of the situation in today’s economy where there are thousands of people looking for employment who are not as fortunate as I am.  However, when balanced against my goals, after months of nail biting and angst over the decision, I surprisingly sailed out that door and I haven’t looked back yet.

Am I crazy?  Perhaps.  But I was not happy any longer.  I needed something more.

My life has taken a dramatic turn over the past few years.  I’ve always teased myself (and have been teased) that I’m the black sheep of the family.  I’m much like my late grandmother, Rosie.  These years have reinforced it.  So rather than fighting it, I choose to embrace my heritage.  I am what I am and I like to think Rosie and I would see things the same way.  I have her traits, her preferred way of life, her somewhat obnoxious attitude.  It’s “the Rosie gene” that has guided me to the realization that I must do what makes me happy in life.

When my grandmother died she was still very young.  I was only 16 at the time.  It was unexpected.  What made it most heartbreaking was that she still had so much to give, and had such a fire for life.  She always had something going on… her garden to tend, her cooking, her trips to the lake with her best friend Babe, her collections of chickens, and her old, yet cool, light blue VW Rabbit.  I would have learned so much from her.  She was just a lunch lady at the local high school who always had a waiting line because of her good cooking.

Although she didn’t make a lot of money her life was rich with accomplishment.  That is what I aspire to be.  A person beyond the flashy dollar sign and the latest gadget.  I want to downshift.  To get away from “living competitively”… job stress, consumerism, and feeling I have to live up to someone else’s expectations.  I am not okay with this anymore.  It no longer fits… if it ever did.

So, goodbye rat race.  I am going to pursue the things that enrich my soul.  For me, I am choosing to be home with my children.  I choose to live a lifestyle that may seem simplistic to some, but to me it has all the potential of the rich loamy soil in my garden.  I can grow anything with what I have.

I’ve heard life is what you make of it.  If so, I see a challenging, exciting road ahead of me.  I am going to make something I can be proud of.

And so can you…

Rosie6_Babe

Rosie2_June Masog

Rosie7_Little Jeff

This post was featured at the Homestead Barn Hop

Barn-Hop

It’s 2013… Another Journey Begins!

CABies Homestead

As I close the door on 2012 and open a new one in to 2013 I am excited for what lies ahead.

2012 was the year to focus on my ultimate goal.. to be as debt-free as possible, which will allow me to stay home with my kids and take up homesteading.  I am happy to say that goal was achieved and I am fully prepared to bid adieu to the corporate working world and say hello to the simplistic, homesteading way of life.

I can stay home, raise my kids, take care of my family, garden, learn new skills and, top if off, raise some chickens and get some beehives.

Thus today begins another journey.  Join me for another year of storytelling, education, soul searching, and, yes, some more husband belly rubbing!

Goodbye 2012…

Sunset ship

We have said goodbye to 2012 and entered in to a new year…

It has been three months since I’ve written on my blog…  a long time.  A lot has taken place in these past few months.  Let me bring you up to speed…

On November 17th my husband and I welcomed our third child in to this world.  We are both incredibly blessed to have her in our lives.  Not only is she a cutie but she is truly a wonderful baby.

9693_4543463417987_2002586654_n

I’ve said all along that 2012 was my year to make a change.  My goal was to work towards the ability to stay home, raise my children, and focus on building our homestead and simplifying our life.  Since I’ve been at home it has allowed me the time to really think about my goal.  Can it be done?  Are we financially able?  As a person who has always worked can I personally do this?  Will there be any regrets?  So many questions.  And the more I think about it the more I am terrified.

Not long after I created this blog I found out I was pregnant.  It was a surprise for us, and I wondered how this would change my goal for 2012.  It scared me to think that I was going to bring another life in to this world, quit my job, slice our family income by 50%, and invest more time on living a simpler lifestyle.  As terrifying as it was I trekked on and kept my focus.  Perhaps having this child was a gentle push to lead me in the direction I really wanted to go, but too nervous to pursue.

In the end, I realize the doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live.  My inspiration lies within me on the path I choose to take.  I choose to be happy.

With that said, I close the door on 2012 and open the door to 2013.  A new journey begins.

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language and next year’s words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning.” ~TS Eliot

“The constitution only guarantees the American People the right to pursue happiness.  You have to catch it yourself.”  -Benjamin Franklin

209038_10150182136606178_79979911177_6747080_3535902_o