Trading “American Girl” for American Farm

I’m one of those mothers who unfortunately has the fault of chronically comparing herself to other mothers. And in our quest to get out of debt and to live a simpler life, I find myself questioning my decisions involving my children even more.

We cut the cable cord over a year ago–we do have a few channels still, due to a digital tuner–but avoiding the bombardment of incessant commercials telling me what we supposedly need and apparently lack is totally worth it. I don’t have children who ask for the latest and greatest toys, gadgets, processed foods, or whatever else is being sold and packaged in bright, neon colors and advertised with flashy commercials and ever-present advertising.

However, I am on Facebook. I do utilize social media. So, it’s easy to see the green grass on the other side. At Christmas, I see children with smartphones, and American Girl dolls, and tablets, and piles of clothing, and expensive shoes, and shiny presents with gigantic bows that fill entire rooms. I know that my Kindergarten-aged son’s friends have video game consoles, the latest toys, their own electronic gadgets. I know this, and it worries me. For now, my son seems oblivious, but sooner or later, he will start asking why we don’t buy presents on the level of So-and-So’s family, or why he can’t have a smartphone when he’s eight years old. I feel it is inevitable. Someday, his little sister will want Barbies, and even more expensive dolls, and more toys, and what her friends have.

And, sometimes, I question my decisions–is it wrong to deny them a grandiose Christmas? Should I make presents more of a priority? Don’t I care whether or not they will be made fun of in school? Is our goal of a self-reliant life going to set them up for bullying later on?

Today, our family attended a Maple Tree Tapping class at a local farm. And as I watched my children marvel at baby goats, as they chased chickens while trying to feed them organically grown soybeans harvested from the farm, as my son learned that maple syrup doesn’t come from a cute glass jar at the grocery store…during those moments, and on this rare occasion, I feel like I’m doing something right…..









A Month of Gratitude, #8-12

I am so behind on my Thanksgiving posts. Sometimes, the therapeutic posts need to come first before the “fun” ones.

What am I thankful for tonight?

8) A roof over my head and shelter. I know I said I would try to stray away from traditional items, but given what has been happening in the Philipines, one can’t help but be thankful for such a basic thing.

9) Movies and books that provide me the much needed escape from reality that I crave at times.

10) Candles. Sounds silly, but we have a lot of local candle makers who provide yummy scents that take my home from smelling like kids and animals, to possessing the sweet aroma of vanilla and cake (without the pesky baking).

11) Intelligent conversation. Sometimes, we need our ideas challenged and questioned.

12) Catharsis. The release that comes from either enjoying or creating a work of art or writing my thoughts is something I cannot live without.

What are you grateful for today?

Deal of the Day

I apologize for the lack of regular posts. I haven’t been feeling the best, so finding time to blog has been difficult.

Along those lines, look for discussions on natural remedies, as well as the usual updates on our CSA share, within the next few days.

As I have mentioned in a previous post, I like posting deals I find that are related to products or things pertaining to the mission of this blog–self reliance.

Last year, I had the opportunity to attend a Mother Earth News Fair. Mother Earth News is a magazine devoted to all things homesteading, natural, and eco-friendly. They have been the authority on such issues for over forty years. And for some time now, they have been hosting yearly fairs with dozens upon dozens of vendors and seminars devoted to obtaining a more self-reliant lifestyle.

These fairs are traditionally held in Pennsylvania and Washington state (the one in Washington just happened last week, actually), but they added one in Kansas this year for those in the midwest.

If you’re interested in attending what is such an enriching, inspiring event, check out You can find info on speakers and workshops at your local fair.

A friend asked about the ticket cost, and admittedly, they offer great prices off and on at a discount before the event. However, if money is an issue, I found out you can volunteer to help and receive a free weekend pass and free food.

For more info:

575476_10151597451922010_1908193077_n(Photo from Mother Earth News’ Facebook page, available for sharing.)

End of the Year Pre-K Shenanigans

Yesterday was the day of the end of the year festivities for my son’s pre-K class. They had a lovely video presentation that his teacher made chronicling the year in photographs, and they also had a picnic at the local park (though, admittedly, it was freezing, and we ducked out early).

We took our little man to Altoona, PA, about an hour away, for what originally started out as a lunch date at Eat ‘n’ Park and a mission to buy our little Pittsburgh Penguins fan a Sidney Crosby t-shirt, basically to celebrate his first full year of school. We had purchased the shirt, but then found, for about ten dollars more, we found a genuine, licensed, embroidered Evgeni Malkin jersey on clearance. I waited for 25+ years before I started getting my daydream jerseys. Little Man has his first at the ripe old age of five years old! 😉

And of course, he wanted to go out to eat again, so after some extra shopping, we took him to Texas Roadhouse for dinner. He was our king for the day, and I enjoyed getting to spend the time with him, with just him and his Daddy. Happy end of pre-K, little buddy!  DSC_0076DSC_0108DSC_0086 DSC_0110 DSC_0120 DSC_0123