Monday, March 31, 2014

40 bags in 40 days

As you know, I've been on a minimizing journey. I was delighted to discover a blog chock full of tips and ideas to help me on my way. She has been running a 'program' if you will, called "40 Bags in 40 Days". Her blog is White House, Black Shutters (  .

You can start any time, but the goal is to get a bag of stuff out of your house every day for 40 days. You can have them be industrial sized contractor trash bags or plastic shopping bags. You can do literally one bag a day, or you can make it fit your shedule (as I am doing) and just get 40 bags out of your house.

I have loved the motivation and inspiration. I've done my closet, the kids' clothing bins, random cabinets, purged (some) books and (a ton of) magazines. I haven't yet had the courage to get rid of all the kids' toys that are in storage. 

Yesterday I tackled my studio!
This doesn't even begin to cover it. You can't see the bags and bags of fabric scraps or the boxes of fabric and projects in progress I inherited from my Grandma (who died 5 years ago). It doesn't show you all the hidden stashes of this or that abandoned project, halfway done. It doesn't show you the boxes of out of focus and many years old photos or out of style scrapbook paper I will never use. 

I worked diligently while Netflixing Parenthood for hours yesterday, annoying Kevin in the process becasue all the child care fell to him on "Family Sunday". 

I think the results are worth though, don't you?

Even more impressive (for me, at least), I'm giving up coffee. So I was barely caffeinated whilst tackling this project. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Alphabet Baby Book

A long long time ago, when I only had three kids, I made an alphabet book using family pictures. It turned out to be pretty cool, but it wasn't very sturdy. It's not very nice to make a book "for the kids" that you won't let them play with for fear they'll wreck it. And believe me, they'll wreck it.

Then in the blogworld, or on Pinterest, I can't be sure, I got the idea to just edit the pictures, and put them in a cheap photo album, that just holds one 4x6 on each page. Here are some examples:

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Becoming Minimalist

I've been purging a lot lately.

Getting rid of the past feels good! Getting rid of the junk feels good! Getting rid of all those maternity clothes feels amazing!

I saw a post on organizing your pantry a while ago, and I finally got kind of started on that project. I don't like investing a lot into my organization though. Spending tons of money on baskets and glass jars for my pantry just doesn't ring true to my miser's heart. I've been putting a lot of it in Mason jars, but often those aren't big enough so it's still not really helping.

Then I saw a Pinterest post (probably) on making your own "baskets" out of cardboard boxes and rope. Brilliant.

So for the price of several glue sticks and a couple pounds of jute twine, I was able to go from this:

to this:

I just used construction paper with white colored pencil as labels. These are up high in the pantry so all you can see are the "baskets". It really helped a lot, but I've got a ways to go :)

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Chickens again!

 Upcycled soda crates as nesting boxes.
 Upcycled corn crib
This is temporary housing we think. We are 90% sure it's coon proof. We need to get the dog used to the chickens, so then we can let them out during the day.
 We already got an egg! It's kind of green!
 Aviana says the chickens are going to be her responsibility entirely because she wants to earn the egg money. She plans to check on them twice a day, collect their eggs and feed and water them. I want to encourage her, but I'm skeptical on how long the enthusiasm will last.
 Most of the new flock. We've got mostly Speckled Sussex, Golden laced and Blue laced Wyandottes, and a couple of light Brahmas. We also have a couple of Aracaunas, which lay green eggs. The rooster is a teddy bear of a Speckled Sussex. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Parenting 101

You probably know I have five children. Five adorable, rambunctious, full of life, spirited children. My children overflow with exuberance and willfulness.

You probably also know that in the past year we have completely revamped our parenting stratagem. Gone from corporal authoritarian parenting to gentle unconditional parenting. I've posted a little about that here and here.

You likely do not know I grew up in a home, while filled with love, that was also filled with anger, pain, rage, yelling, shame, and abuse. My parents and I have a wonderful, growing relationship now. They did the best they could based on their own upbringings and the tools they had at the time.

This combination has left me ill prepared for the kind of parent I want to be. The kind of mother I feel God is calling me to be. The kind of peaceful home we desire. It  is so hard to change the very way I think, the way I react, to what I know to know to be true, but is not at all natural to me.

Enter Parent Coaching. I was searching the internet one night looking for some gentle parenting ideas to help me with one of my children in particular. I have found the more I read to reinforce my beliefs, the better I do and the more it becomes part of my core.

I had not even heard the term parent coaching before and I was intrigued. I perused Kassandra's site for a while reading her blog and getting some idea of who she was and if her philosophies aligned with mine. When I was satisfied they did, I filled out the form on her site. She emailed me the next day and we set up a time to talk on the phone when Kevin and I both would be available.

After talking with her for a while, getting to know one another and what my expectations and hopes would be, we decided to move forward and agreed to six sessions. That was in late October, and I am still meeting with her via Skype, weekly.

This work has been life changing for me personally and the landscape of my family. Kassandra introduced me to the world of inner empathy. At first, it felt a little awkward and weird--listening to myself essentially have conversations with parts of myself. I would normally identify those parts as emotions, feelings or physical sensations but for the purposes of this inner empathy work, we call them parts. When you listen to and hold the parts of yourself in your own compassion, without trying to change or fix them, miraculous things happen.

This work has been SO life changing for me that I went through a training Kassandra held to become a parent coach myself. This work has been so life changing, I can't help but want to offer it to the rest of the world!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Writer's Un-Block

Poems jangle around in

my head 
like the boots 
in my closet
like the screams of frustration
my toddler
emits when life
does not conform 
to her desires
never getting out
never released
never written
It's time 
to do something different
the poetry flow

Thursday, February 13, 2014

support midwives for Iowa

If you live in Iowa, I ask you to please write your representative to ask them to support a licensure bill for Certified Professional Midwives. 

You can find your legislator here by entering your address:


The main points are that midwives would be able to be licensed by the state of Iowa to practice. This includes those who are CPMs, Certified Professional Midwives. Twenty-eight states (and counting) have passed similar bills.


The term 'Midwife' would then join the ranks of other professions that need to be licensed by the state (eg. physicians, nurses, chiropractors, podiatrists, mental health counselors, athletic trainers, barbers, massage therapists, etc.).


The bill would establish a Board of Midwifery.  This would follow the NARM (North American Registry of Midwives) and NACPM (National Association of Certified Professional Midwives) definitions and standards for midwives. NARM is the organization that oversees the CPM National Board examination.


This is an important bill because it changes the legal climate for midwives. Without this change, CPMs cannot practice in Iowa, and women do not have access to quality midwifery care in most parts of our state. 

Women choose home birth midwives for many reasons, including safety, better outcomes, fewer interventions and comfort. I myself have had three babies at home and had a couple of very scary situations. I knew I was in good hands. The OB at the hospital after Elivette's birth told me that my midwife had already done what needed to be done to save my life. 

You can copy and paste the following letter and easily email your representative asking them to support this very life changing bill.  

Dear Representative _______________,

 I'm writing today as your constituent to ask you to support the bill to license midwives in Iowa. Certified Professional Midwives undergo high quality education and training, and their care has been associated with excellent outcomes for mothers and babies. Midwife licensure ensures that all midwives meet standards of professional competence, and ensures that all Iowa families can access safe, affordable maternity care. 

This bill is important to me because women need choices, safe options, on where to birth. Many more women would be afforded this amazing option by licensing Certified Professional Midwives. 

 By allowing midwife licensure for Certified Professional Midwives, Iowa would be the 29th state to have this opportunity, including Wisconsin, Missouri and Minnesota.

I can see by the bills that you sponsor that you care about women and the rights of the individual.
Voting for this bill would fit right in with what you stand for.

Thank you for representing me, and for your attention to this important issue. 

(be sure to sign your letter with your name and street address)