Back on the Path

It’s been so long since I’ve posted here.

I have a problem with goals and dreams. See, I throw myself into them, as a rule, almost to a fault. When I started this blog, and I saw (slight) success when it comes to interest and readership, suddenly I wanted to do ALLTHETHINGS. Everything from scratch, mending, making do, doing with less, all natural, all local. I wanted to turn the blog into a networked business–advertisements, product reviews, classes in the community, affiliate links, obsessing over Facebook likes and shares. ALL. THE. THINGS.

And you know what? I lost the joy for it. I became exhausted. I can’t do it all. I lost my therapeutic outlet, my desire to share my story, stumbles and all. This blog is supposed to be about my path to self-reliance and a more natural, simple life. Turning it into my obsession wasn’t me, and it wasn’t what it was supposed to be about.

In addition, there were struggles and adjustments in our personal lives as a family. My husband was laid off for six months. We both started new jobs. I switched from a part time job to a full time job which was a career change for me. I’m contemplating going back to school. I’m potty training a reluctant three year old. I’ve been reminded that marriage and parenting are really, really difficult jobs, and it’s not always easy navigating the challenges. I simply couldn’t do it all.

Some things I haven’t been as diligent in maintaining. Our finances still need work. I don’t have time to cook at home as often as I would like, and when I am home, I’m too tired to want to do it all from scratch. My house is an unorganized mess and is chaos. I’ve lost almost forty pounds due to a number of factors, but still find myself lacking a true workout regimen. Natural medicine and remedies have frequently given way to conventional treatments, so I’m trying to learn a balance there.

In other ways, I’m meeting goals and making changes. We still support as many small businesses as we can. We buy much of our meat and produce from local farms. I do exercise, even if it isn’t as consistent as it ought to be. We’re renewing our CSA this season. I feel like I am a more patient parent who yells less and tries to understand my little ones more and their motives and feelings. I still use natural skin care products when possible, still try to clean with healthier, less toxic alternatives when able. It’s a balance. I’d rather be consistent with a few things than fail at trying to do it all.

And there are the victories. I have been under the weather for a week or so, and we still managed to go strawberry picking as a family for 45 minutes, and ten pounds of berries later….. These are the moments that matter. It’s the little things and moments that add up to a true lifestyle change, and not obsession and extremism.

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No-Bake Power Poppers

(I adapted the recipe from http://www.gimmesomeoven.com/no-bake-energy-bites/. She adapted it from someone else. Etc, etc. This recipe is so variable and is found in so many places online.)

My husband LOVES no-bake cookies. It was a childhood favorite in his family. Meanwhile, honestly, I can take or leave them. I’m more of a granola bar sort of gal. So, when I found this recipe for bite-sized, no-bake bundles of energizing goodness, I was sold. I did, however, want to make them my own, which I will share with you.

The critic….

© This Path Less Traveled

© This Path Less Traveled

The players….

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© This Path Less Traveled

 

  • 1 cup uncooked oats
© This Path Less Traveled

© This Path Less Traveled

  • 2/3 cup toasted coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
© This Path Less Traveled

© This Path Less Traveled

  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup chia seeds (or ground flax seed)
© This Path Less Traveled

© This Path Less Traveled

  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
© This Path Less Traveled

© This Path Less Traveled

  • 1/3 cup honey
© This Path Less Traveled

© This Path Less Traveled

  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Then, mix the ingredients together in a large bowl, either by hand or stand mixer

© This Path Less Traveled

© This Path Less Traveled

 

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© This Path Less Traveled

Roll dough into balls, place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, and then chill for 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Enjoy!

© This Path Less Traveled

© This Path Less Traveled

 

© This Path Less Traveled

© This Path Less Traveled

 

Yield: about 2 dozen. Prep and cook time: 10 minutes total.

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…..

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Canning is My New Favorite Joy

I have been working on organizing my food storage shelves, so of course, now that I have some extra free space, I decided I need to fill it!

I am *just* learning how the canning process works. I feel like I have an okay sense of water bath canning, but pressure canning still confuses me a bit. Thanks to my mother in law, I am rapidly filling my shelves. Next “foodie” goal–making bread from scratch!

Homemade applesauce!

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Home canned peaches!peaches

 

Homemade tomato soup–the picture does NOT do the taste justice.

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And diced tomatoes….tomatoes

Plus, I have LOVED having my toddler along for the process. I hope that she carries memories of these special activities, even if she is only two. 🙂

Making Every Day Special

I have a new goal/resolution for our family. In addition to budgeting and spending less unnecessary money (I’m severely lacking when it comes to those goals), I want to try to find some way to make every day special for my family. This doesn’t mean trips and presents and fancy dinners every single day. Maybe some days will hold such things, but even the little things can be turned into sweet memories to cherish. It’s a plan to appreciate the little things, to “stop and smell the roses,” so to speak, to enjoy my children while they are still so little and curious. Like with all of my goals, we will see how this goes….