Sunday, November 25, 2007


I was thinking about what it means to be content the last few weeks. When I think about being content I automatically associate that with being complacent. I’m not ready to be complacent, I’m still looking for ways to change and improve our way of life. I’m still looking at ways to implement my “less is more” attitude towards living. If I am content then that means I’m done looking and changing. That doesn’t mean I’m unhappy with everything in our situation, I’m finding things that this particular place offers us that we may not have elsewhere. At the same time I’m continuing to dream and plan about what I’d like in the future. So I’m not content with our life but that’s okay because I’m still striving for ways to make our life even better.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Christmas Parade

I couldn't have been more pleased with the way things went at the Christmas parade!

Just to give you an idea of why this was such a groundbreaking thing I need to explain how far Lorna has come with Ginger. When she first saved up and purchased her horse 2 years ago her expectation was that Ginger would be a great beginner horse. The acquaintance we bought her from had purchased the horse at an auction and only had her for 6 months before he sold her to us. He really wanted to help Lorna get her first horse so he sold her for a lot less than she was worth.

Lorna didn't have much experience with riding so she really needed a "kid-proof" horse. Ginger quickly found that she could take control and promptly threw Lorna off twice. After that Lorna would only sit on the horse and have us lead her around. Once we got settled here we told Lorna she either had to work with Ginger or sell her because the cost of upkeep was too much for a lawn ornament. She started lessons in August and now is able to maintain control of her horse. Today she proudly rode Ginger down the street with sirens blaring and people cheering. Never once did Ginger give her a problem, that's a long way from throwing Lorna off and running down the road! Lorna is now confident enough that she is going to ride Ginger at her next gymkhana event.

The group Lorna rode with (they won 1st place for the equestrian division).

Coming down the street.

Lorna and Ginger

Malachi greatly enjoyed all the candy the various participants threw to the spectators.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A Nontraditional Thanksgiving

We don't celebrate Thanksgiving like most others do. A number of years ago, after a failed attempt to hold a traditional dinner at our house where all but 2 people cancelled the day of, we decided it was a waste to do all that cooking for just our small family. In addition to that, none of us care for turkey and we just don't have the money to attempt such an extravagant dinner. We now have the tradition of doing appetizers all day.

I started the day by making homemade french and brown bread.

The french bread was used for a goat cheese spread topped with sun dried tomatoes.

Lorna made homemade crescent rolls for the next 2 snacks. These are filled with cream cheese, dried onion, asiago, and bacon.

The last batch was filled with cream cheese, asiago, and roasted red peppers.

The only ingredient that we bought special for today was the cream cheese so the cost was really minimal. And just so you don't get the idea that we ate junk all day I should add that our lunch consisted of chicken salads.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


I've been remiss in posting lately. There just isn't much going on so I'm enjoying the relative calm of our lives right now.

We celebrated Lorna's 12th birthday last week by taking her to the American Girl Store in Los Angeles. She was surprised since we didn't tell her where we were going. We were able to get a couple of her grandparents to give her money so she could shop while there. We left with 2 dolls, their accessories, and an outfit that was on special. Since the store is in an outdoor mall we walked around and enjoyed being out and about.

This Saturday we are gearing up to take Lorna and her horse into town to be in the Christmas parade. The gymkhana club that she is now a member of is part of the parade and asked if she wanted to join them. I know it doesn't sound like any big deal but we are taking her horse, Ginger, for her to ride. This will be the first time she's done anything with her horse besides ride her around the property. Lorna's been working with her horse daily. She's gone from not being able to control the horse very well to trotting around trashcans set up as barrels. Now we will see how Ginger does out with other horses and lots of people. We are hoping Lorna will be able to start riding Ginger in the gymkhana events sometime next year.

Even with the addition of transportation available I find that we aren't really using it. We've gotten so used to being home and working our errands into one day that I forget we can go out. Today we will take a trip to the library to pick up some books the kids requested in. Since we have found another branch with a nice librarian we have started using the library again. This branch is only open 2 days a week and has one small room full of books but I can order in just about anything at no charge.

Sunday, November 11, 2007


We finally broke down and purchased another vehicle. The rising fuel costs and maintenance on the truck pushed us into this as a way to save money.

We found this on a local dealer's website after visiting a few used car lots. It seems everyone wants a small fuel efficient vehicle so the prices were out of our range. This particular vehicle had been sitting at the dealer since April so they had just lowered the price by almost half. It's in really good shape considering the price. The best part is that our yearly premium for insurance went down by $11!

This now leaves me with the truck during the week. I don't foresee actually going anywhere because of the cost of fuel, but at least we will have it available in case of emergency.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Typical day

I’m in the middle of reading Homeschooling: A Patchwork of Days and I’ve been thinking about what our days are like. I also had a nice discussion with a woman at the stables last Friday. She was wondering about what resources we use and how we go about doing school at home. I decided to actually write down an average day just to prove that we aren’t normal!

Here is what Monday looked like at our house…

Since the time change was yesterday we were all up by 8am! That is an unusual occurrence for me, I usually get up closer to 9am. I’ve given up getting the kids out of bed so they get up when they want, which is usually after 9.

8-9am I spent reading email and blogs.

The next hour I spent getting dressed, making the bed, getting a list of books together for Paul so he can go to the library for me, printing out the planning sheets for school, cleaning off the kitchen counter, washing dishes, and hanging up the wet laundry from yesterday.

At 10am the kids put away the Legos they were playing with so they could start their schoolwork. I needed to make bread so I started that while they worked on their individual stuff. While the bread was rising I checked the stuff Lorna had already finished and got her working on some overdue thank you notes. Between kneading the dough and letting it rise a few more times we worked on science and history together. We finished up with catechism work and prayers. By this point it was after 1pm so I left Malachi to finish his thank you notes while I cleaned the bathroom. Lorna decided to move her horse riding to the afternoon since it gets dark so early so she went out to ride Ginger. After I finished cleaning, the bread was ready to go in the oven and Lorna was ready to start her afternoon chores.

I got off easy today since there were leftovers from last night for lunch today. So at 2pm, I sat down to eat and read a bit. Malachi was still working on those notes so I helped out a bit before I finished lunch. The kids ate lunch after I did because they were busy with their own stuff. From 2:30-3:30 I read some more email and decided to start this blog post.

Paul got home relatively early, 3:30, with the load of library books. From then until Paul left for his night job at 5:30pm I read one of the books he brought home. At 5pm the kids were finished with their chores so we put in the movie we got in the mail from Netflix. About an hour into it I started making dinner. Once the movie and dinner were finished I went back to my book. I started getting ready for bed around 10 pm. The kids finished up showers around this time as well, getting to bed around 10:30pm.

I finished my book and started another one until Paul got home at midnight.

This is a pretty typical day for us. The kids don’t have set times to go to bed or get up and they have chores that help the house run pretty smoothly. I have a lot of time to read or sew because I don’t have access to a vehicle during the week so I am home all day without any errands to run. I frequently read 5-7 fun books a week and check my email numerous times a day. I sometimes feel guilty that I have so much time for my own amusements but I don’t have many of the same opportunities for adult conversation that others do so these things help keep me sane. I used to try to clean a lot more but realized it’s useless to try to keep things picked up. The house is so small that it is really impossible for it not to be cluttered. One benefit of it being so small is that it is a quick job when I do go on a cleaning spree.

An average day for school is only about 2-3 hours. We are using fewer and fewer textbooks every year. I started out really regimented but have relaxed a lot over the past few years. Even though "school" is only a few hours we all spend a lot of time reading and doing things that could be counted as school related.