Monday, December 19, 2011

How To Naturally Make Your House Smell Wonderful For The Holidays


I love doing this for the holidays. It makes my house smell festive and fantastic! (Without having to worry what scary things I might be subjecting my family to). You can play with this, change up the recipe, but this is what I use:

Fill a small pan about a fourth of the way with water. 
1 tsp cinnamon (or a piece of whole cinnamon)
1 or 2 bay leaves
1 tsp cloves (or some whole cloves if you have them)

Then simply simmer on your stove or fireplace. Be sure to check the water level often and add more water as needed. 

No ingredients you can't pronounce, and your whole house will smell amazing!

Merry Christmas to all my bloggy friends.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Sometimes You Just Have To Jump

I've been meaning to sit down and write this post for over a week now. But I just haven't had the right words. I've been mulling it over in my head. Turning it this way and that, trying to figure out how to put my heart in a blog post. Tall order. 

I'm thankful that my online presence has been missed! Friends have been missing me on Twitter and Facebook. Noticing I haven't posted much over at my fitness blog. So, where have I been? You might want to sit down for this.

Several months ago my husband and I sat down and took a hard look at our lives. Instead of just letting life bump us along we wanted to live more deliberately. Darran has been working very long hours at a job that would not provide any long-term financial security for us. While he was away at said job our boys were growing up. He deeply wanted to be more present, more involved. We missed him. What we decided was that we wanted to live our lives differently. We truly wanted our family to be the center of our priorities. 

Around the same time we began devouring Joel Salatin's books. We watched Food Inc together and I read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. These things called to us, brought back memories of childhood, and stirred something inside. We began having a strong urge to make different food choices. Choices so different that they would change our lifestyle, not just our grocery shopping. Since then I've scoured the library and internet for material on sustainable living, homesteading, gardening, simple living, and the like. 

We both grew up in rural areas. In farming and ranching communities. Our long term plan has always been to have land and return to that lifestyle with our children. But why not start now? With what we have? Why not live our lives the way we want?

We made a plan to begin our adventure in March. What is the saying? How do you make God laugh....tell him your plans. The situation at Darran's job changed in such a way that it became clear he could no longer work there much longer. 

We changed our plan.

While I'd hoped to have 6 months expenses saved up before we began, I have roughly 3. The last week or so has been rough on me. I'm a huge planner. Huge. Having to adjust my plan has been tough, but I'm over that hump and now I'm downright excited! 

Back to where I've been since I've fallen off the internets. We've been finishing our greenhouse (that has been housing the baby chicks we ordered in October). We expanded the chicken coop to hold our existing chickens and the baby chicks. Instead of occupying only a portion of the building they now have run of the whole thing. We made a scratching shed on the side and improvements to their outdoor yard for the long cold Colorado winter. (More on all of that in another post). I've been hanging laundry on the clothesline to save money on the electric bill. We've been homeschooling our boys as well as teaching them things about compost and chickens and growing vegetables that they won't learn in school books. Hubby has been cleaning out the workshop that was his great grandfathers. We've been researching things like worm beds and compost piles. We're planning our raised bed garden for spring.... The list of activities is long. The work days have been long. And I am happy. Blissfully so.

The plan is for hubby to pick up side jobs enough to pay the bills and spend the rest of his time with us. Raising chickens and cows and whatever other critters we take the notion to raise. Gardening and growing as much of our food as possible (at just above 7,000 feet in Colorado this is no easy task). Figuring out how to live on less. Raising our boys to be good men. And me? I'll be doing all that as well as my writing and blogging. 

We've taken a huge leap of faith. Believing fully that this is where we are supposed to be. Worst case scenario we fail miserably and Darran has to go get a 'real' job. Best case, we get to live life the way we want. Doing the things we think are important. Enjoying every part of it. 

Sometimes you just have to jump.

I hope you'll come along on our little adventure through this blog.

Friday, November 18, 2011

And It Begins!

I am so proud of my husband today. 

He is a good man in a way that most people can't even understand. He's just deep down to his soul, good

Today he is choosing to do what is right while knee deep in people that most definitely are not doing the same. 

I'm proud of him...oh, did I already say that?

In other news...he will likely be unemployed soon. 

I say bring it! I'm ready for the adventure to begin.

Life is good. Ya know?

It is better to risk starving to death than surrender. If you give up on your dreams, what’s left? – Jim Carrey

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Name Change! 4 Acres Farm

ChickenHappy chickensFall leaves 6Fall leaves 7

4 Acres Farm, a set on Flickr. This is a photostream on flickr that I'll be posting a lot in if you're interested.

Dandelions in the Sidewalk, while I loved the name just didn't quite suit our upcoming, this blog will now be 4 Acres Farm!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Fall Cleaning

I know most people spring clean, and I guess I do a little. But for some reason I really feel like I need to fall clean. After a summer of being much more relaxed about our chores. Of running in and out from the creek. Of living on dusty dirt roads. I just feel like I need to totally clean things out before we're sort of closed in for winter. Closed in is a bit of an exaggeration, but with Colorado winters you catch my drift (pun intended).

THIS is the weekend. The pantry needs cleaned out, the refrigerator needs cleaned out. And everywhere else just needs a good thorough cleaning. It's time to sort through our overstuffed closets and weed out the too small, worn out, not worn stuff. Time to go through the overstuffed toy room and give away what's no longer loved and throw away what is broken or general junk.

Look out hubby and kids, it's time to get our clean on. Oh yes, this is going to be a family project this weekend. The kids' rooms are absolutely high on the list. They don't get dusted near as often as they should...and we're having a bit of a lego...issue. And yes, I may have bribed hubby: a full day of cleaning for a full day of me helping get firewood. That's another must be done before the snow flies. It all works out that way I suppose.

So if you need me...I'll be cleaning....

Thursday, August 4, 2011


Hubby and I had a long talk last weekend. We discussed our goals, our plans, our life. We discussed what we want for our family compared to where we are right now. The main thing that kept coming up, is if what we want is A, why keep doing things that take us towards B?

Case in point: if family and spending time together as a family is our number one priority, then why is hubby working 50+ hours a week (and 2 hours driving time each day) and never home? To get 'ahead' financially? What if we just learned to live on less? What if getting 'ahead' isn't even our goal? What if just having enough and spending time learning, loving, and growing as a family IS our priority? His entire life he just wanted to be a dad. When asked as a child what he wanted to be when he grew up his response was: a dad. Why then should he spend our kids younger years GONE all the time and miss everything? What if there was a better way? Better for us anyway.

We made some life-altering decisions. Consequently HUGE changes will be taking place for our little family. And I am excited. 

A ranch and a move to Montana is still in our long term goals. But it might just be a little longer, and that's OK. Good things are coming up for our little family. Our choices may not be popular, they may seem a little odd to our friends and family, and definitely are not for everyone. But for us, they are right.

More coming soon...

Monday, July 25, 2011

Back to School?!

So...I've noticed all the stores are starting to have aisles and aisles of school supplies. My mailbox is filled with homeschool catalogs. Back to school already?!

I have to say: yay! Now, I am definitely the one that can't wait for school to end come spring. After a long winter of feeling a bit cooped up and definitely over schoolwork all together, spring fever hits hard...summer cannot come fast enough!

We sleep late. We go to bed whenever we want. Chores get lax. There are days we are still in our jammies playing video games at noon. Days we will play at the creek. All. Day. Long. BBQ's, family reunions, sleeping in the tent...ahhhh, summer. Blissfully the way it was meant to be.

But after a fun filled, schedule went out the window summer I always look forward to this time of year. This is the time of year that I start doing my research (and do I LOVE my research), perusing the homeschool catalogs and websites, picking out curriculum for the upcoming homeschool year. I love it.

I begin looking forward to getting back to routine, to having days filled with structure again. Yes, I start looking forward to the coming school year!

This year I will have a high school senior (yes, eep, when did that happen?), a second grader, and my youngest *sniffle* will be in kindergarten. To tell the truth, I want this year to last forever. So many changes coming down the road. I want to revel in every little detail of this year. My teen's last year of high school, my babies first year of 'big boy school'. 

My goal is to slow down and smell the, er, math books? To thoroughly be present and enjoy the moments. These are the times that just don't come around again. Bring on the back to school! I'm excited, I'm ready.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Bernice's Plight

Like I said in the video above, Bernice is having some issues.

Let me back up a bit. You see about a year ago our rooster died. Yes, it was quite the sad event. He was a good rooster. A handsome little fella he was and not a mean rooster like many can be. He had sort of a crooked-warbly-funny-sounding crow that used to wake me up with a smile each morning. How could you not smile at his silly little crooked crow? He was protective over his girls, but not mean to us. He let the boys come in the pen, feed them, and get the eggs. As roosters go, he was a good one. We were quite fond of him, then he just inexplicably, kind of... died. My middle son was crushed (his nickname is the chicken whisperer).

OK, back to Bernice. Bernice wants to sit on her eggs. She makes herself a sweet little nest and tries to hoard eggs and sit on them. Bernice wants to hatch baby chicks. She has even been known to peck at the boys when they try to gently sneak the eggs out from under her. She is determined to be a mama. She sits and she sits and she sits. We steal her eggs. She makes more. And she sits more.

I have tried to have 'the talk' with her. To explain exactly where baby chicks come know, when a mommy chicken and a daddy chicken love each other very much... But she just cocks her head at me and sits some more.

But sit, sit, sit as she might, she can sit all summer on those eggs and without a rooster all she is going to get is...smelly eggs.

Poor Bernice.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

1 Year With No TV

My family has been in technology overload lately. With the internet, TV, Netflix, my Blackberry, video games...seriously, we have a Wii, an Xbox, an Xbox 360, a Nintendo DS XL, a Nintendo 64, and a Playstation.

Too. Much.

We thought it over and we've decided to ditch the TV. For at least a year!

Can we do it?

We'll see.

No Biggest Loser, no Phineas and Ferb, none, none, none.

We called and cancelled our DirecTV a few days ago. So far, I don't even miss it. 

Yes, we'll still have all the other things I listed, but baby steps. 

A little less technology and a little more family time and physical activity...that's the goal anyway!

Could you go without TV?

I'm off to decide what to do with that extra $43 a month ;)

Friday, January 21, 2011


A friend recommended the book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years


Have you read it? If not, you should.

It's crazy how certain books can really strike a chord, really hit you. This one has touched me.

It's basically about our lives as stories; stories we write. And that we have the power to write better stories.

What I take away from it is that I want my story, my life story, to be epic

I want the world to be a changed place because I was here. I want to raise my boys to be good men. I want to have not just a good marriage, but an amazing one. I want to write books that make people feel, that give people hope, that people will still be reading 100 years from now. I want to qualify for Boston and be #1 on the NY Times bestseller list. I want to live on that ranch in Montana and make memories with my family...Epic.

Sure, these are big crazy goals. From the outside looking in they may appear downright impossible. I may fall short of some of them. Who knows for sure. But if I don't even try? I will absolutely fail. And I will always wonder...what if?

I don't want regret to be part of my story.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Good-Bye Self-Limiting Beliefs

I haven't been around this blog much, been working on my others a lot. Hoping for great things for this shiny-hopefilled-gonnabefanfriggintastic 2011. With my writing (as a career and not just a hobby) and so much more. I have big goals, big dreams, big plans and I am believing they will ALL come true this year. I can see it, I can taste it!

One thing I have realized recently is that I have limited myself so much in my life, and yet I had no idea I was doing it. Self-limiting beliefs have been a big battle for me. With my thoughts and what I believed possible for myself I have been holding myself back! But now that I see them and I realize the power I've given them, I can fight back. I can simply refuse to give them that power anymore. No more limiting myself, just no more. I'm a smart, talented, full of life woman. I am capable of more than I ever imagined! Anything is possible, really, anything.

This is my year. My year to throw off those self limiting beliefs and step into what I am truly capable of. My year to believe in myself and push harder than I have ever allowed myself before. My year to believe in the impossible. To be the person I truly believe I am meant to be. 

Hold on tight, it's going to be quite the ride!