"Let's have a merry journey, and shout about how light is good and dark is not. What we should do is not future ourselves so much. We should now ourselves. "NOW thyself" is more important than "Know thyself." Reason is what tells us to ignore the present and live in the future. So all we do is make plans. We think that somewhere there are going to be green pastures. It's crazy. Heaven is nothing but a grand, monumental instance of future. Listen, now is good. Now is wonderful." ~ Mel Brooks

Friday, August 30, 2013

Home Educating at Heart, Hearth, and Homestead

Come visit us at our new blog, Heart, Hearth, and Homestead, and see how we plan to homeschool this Autumn. Our schooling officially begins next week and we're so excited! The planning alone has been so inspiring.

How's your planning going? If you don't homeschool, are you ready to send your children off for another year? What's your favorite part of the Autumn school year?

Come join us! 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Introducing: Heartbeat at Heart, Hearth, and Homestead

Part of what our new blog represents, along with our homesteading adventures and the pathways we make to create our home life,  is shining a light on what's at the heart of this life; how we interact with each other, how we create this life together, how we build room for Spirit and God-centeredness within our hearts and our homes.

Lee has spearheaded our new page (tab up top!) thoughtfully named: Heartbeat. Here you will find links to various forums designed to ignite our inner fires to think on and hold and interact with others in mindful and Spirit-led discussions. Currently, there is one forum up. The discussion that has begun has been created to help us identify blame in our lives and how those experiences play out in our daily lives.

From Merriam-Webster: 

Blame: 1. To find fault with 2a. to hold responsible b. to place responsibility for

This particular discussion is also a 10 day challenge! Can you identify and release the blame that has taken hold of your precious heart-space? Join us! Invite your friends! We'd be honored to hear your experiences and learn from you! 

" To be hopeful, to embrace one possibility after another - that is surely the basic instinct...crying out: High Tide! Time to move out into the glorious debris. Time to take this life for what it is." ~ Barbara Kingsolver

Monday, July 22, 2013

We're Switching Gears!

Hello friends! We've been on hiatus this summer and as I've sat with the question of blogging and what this blog has been for me, I've realized that what I've needed most is to switch gears.

I've been blogging about many wonderful things here, I've made many wonderful connections and have enjoyed the friendships that have blossomed through this little portal. I've discovered that this space has become muddled: it's been the melting pot of many ideas. For what ever reason, to me, it's just not flowing like I'd hoped. So! I've created a new blog, geared toward the things that make me swoon......Heart, Hearth, and Homestead. These are the three things I feel like I talk about the most. They are my life. My love for family, friends, and all of God's great Earth. Our hearth. Oh, our home. How it holds us and how we fill it up with such joy and memories. The warmth of our hands working together to make our home a haven. We homeschool here, we bake here, we play here, we work here. And then there is our ever-growing homestead. It's little, for now, but we have dreams. Not big ones, but we do have them. Right now it's our garden, sheep, and chickens but one day it will include Shetland sheep (hopefully by this winter!!), honey bees, more canning and preserving, who knows what else!

The idea for the switch is I will be free to talk about these things as often as I like because it will mirror our days better, and I will be joined by my best friend and partner in life, Lee. While A Simple Life has been a wonderful place to fill up with our multitude of crafting projects, recipes, and other random tidbits, I'm looking forward to our new home where we can really just come and be with all of you as if you were visiting in our home. That's my wish.

So please, come join us on our new adventure at Heart, Hearth, and Homestead. We look forward to seeing old friends and meeting new ones at Michaelmas time xo

Friday, May 10, 2013

And now for me......

.......a break. Yes, friends, it is time. I'm falling away from blogging for a while. There has been so much on the horizon these past few weeks that I've had to really dig deep and come to terms with the fact that somethings have got to be pushed off to the side for a bit. Writing is so cathartic for me so I will have to discover a new way to put my words out of my head, perhaps journaling will fill the void.

My hope is that during this time of rest, I will be be able to wrap my head around where exactly I want my blog to go, I've been feeling a bit lost, muddled even, about what is most important for me to be writing about. It's been kind of a free for all, and I'm quite fine with that, but something is missing. Not sure what it is. I'm really pushing to disengage from the big world that exists through the computer and use that time to richly engage with the living world that is living around me. How I would love to have each of you present in my everyday life to share  a cup of tea, a chat, or a nice long walk. And because you don't, I'll miss each of you. Thank you to those who comment and to all who come by to spend a moment with me in my world. Rest assured, our little homestead will continue to grow and thrive (we've currently hatched out 12 baby chicks!!!), homeschooling will go on and shift as necessary, our lives will chase the sun and we will continue seek out all the gloriousness of each God given day.

My hope is to be back in the swing of things in time for Michaelmas. But if not, know that I will resurface at some place and time. Until then, dear friends, I wish you a most glorious summer/winter and look forward to meeting you again.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Mother's Day Giveaway

In honor of the beauty, the delicate, and the divine in every Mother, I am beyond ecstatic to introduce you to the amazing Maude White of Brave Bird Jewelry & Paperwork based in Buffalo, NY. Maude's work is stunning, breathtaking, mind blowing. Her work is one of a kind, unlike no other, much like ourselves and those who gave us life. Maude gives life to paper (among other things) and has created a magic all her own. Maude has graciously given us an unbelievably beautiful piece of her art for our Mother's Day giveaway.

Maude moved from Smalltown, USA to a bigger, harder city in pursue of dreams and the ability to be more and see more than what might have been possible in her little hometown. After much effort, failures and many successes, Maude seems to have found her spirit in the intricate work of handcrafting fine paper arts and felted jewelry. She is currently a student, in life and at school, and has a power to make the unimaginable happen, like this paper cut below...

Maude's work has recently been published in the most current issue of Carrier Pigeon Magazine, a magazine of illustrated fiction and fine art that believes that by 
"giving full creative control to the writers, fine artists, illustrators, and designers, the magazine deconstructs the singularity of each artistic discipline while setting an uncharted standard for their successful merging."
Each and every cut is made with such precision and with determination. Every line, pregnant with emotion and meaning. By cutting away the blank canvas, Maude is bringing honor to the possibility of what lives within, she sheds light on what otherwise might not be seen.

Amazing, right!! So, here is what you can do to enter ( with multiple ways to enter) to win this amazing piece below. For one entry, simply comment below! For a second entry, please like our Facebook pages:: A Simple Life and Brave Bird Jewelry & Paperwork and don't forget to come back here and tell us you did so. For your third entry, share this giveaway anywhere and everywhere, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram! Where ever you might go please help spread the word so we can shine some love on this amazing artist and her work (and again, come back here to tell us you did just that!)!!
This giveaway will close at 12am EST on May 5, 2013 has closed! Thank you to those who participated!

This is our giveaway piece. It will arrive to you framed and nicely wrapped in time for Mother's Day! (hopefully, depending on our winner's location)


Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself. ~ George Bernard Shaw
Like in motherhood and in art, we create each day and the experiences we have and the love that is shared. It isn't found, it already lives inside of us. When we can allow those gifts to shine, either by will or grace, it is a divine creation that we could have never comprehended. I am utterly grateful for all you Mama's out there AND for all you artists. We are really one in the same and could not exist without the other. xo


Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A Treat for Mother's Day

Mother's Day is fast approaching. In years past I haven't given much thought in to how Mother's Day would go, but this year, as I'm surrounded by my ever expanding brood, I'm realizing that in celebrating this day given to being a Mother, it's important that I, too, experience the day as I wish.

This year, in honor of Motherhood, I will be doing a three part series on how to celebrate the Mothers in your life, including  yourself. Yes, I am suggesting you celebrate just being you, the radical, amazing, beautiful Mother that you are! This series will include many wonderful things including a mind blowing giveaway from an amazing artisan who creates absolutely breathtaking pieces of work! I can't wait for you to see it!

Today, I would like to direct your attention toward a lovely discovery called Treat, a part of the Shutterfly family! Here is their description from their website::


"Welcome to Treat, your online home for making, sending and putting some real love and personality back into greeting cards. Treat is all about customizing, personalizing and making your cards one-of-a-kind creations that could only come from you. We're talking about adding your own words and pictures so your cards stand out from the crowd and the person who receives them will be totally psyched—blown away actually. These aren't your typical boring greeting cards from the drugstore—these ones actually have thought behind them.  Our reminder service will make sure you never miss a birthday, anniversary or important milestone. At a loss for exactly the right words? Our Message Library will help inspire you. Need a gift on the fly? We got you covered with integrated gift cards printed right inside the card you create. Treat is fun and easy to use, but more importantly, helps connect you and all the people in your life in a more personal and caring way."

I was immediately intrigued because I am a sucker for a unique card and because of that, we always make our own cards or seek out those ultra unique ones at our local specialty stores. Our children really enjoy the process of creating a card; thinking of just the right words, what pictures to draw, and so on. Using Treat, you create your own card with the help of various templates available to you that you can make your own by adding your own photos and creating your own personal message. Your littlest ones would need assistance with the process but it would be a cinch for the older ones. Our eldest daughter, who is 11, created one all on her own. She uploaded a photo to the card she liked the best and changed the words in the template to create her own unique message. I also joined in on the fun and created one for my own Mother. We received our cards in the mail just the other day and they are beautiful. The cards are a heavy card stock paper, the photos are matte, and the colors are vibrant. I was most impressed with the quality of the photos. They are clear, no pixels are visible, and the colors are just as I would have hoped them to be. This is quite an improvement as our printer tends to give us photos of an interesting color palette, not like I would have hoped most times. 

If you'd like to check out some of the other templates available at Treat specifically for Mother's Day, click the photo below!

These are our cards! Aren't they beautiful?!

More Mother's Day Cards

There is a card for every season at Treat; birthday cards, holiday cards, and your everyday greeting cards. I can't help but think of the next birthday around the corner with a family of our size! What I absolutely can get behind is the scheduler that is available for your cards. You can create and schedule delivery of your unique card up to a year in advance! For me, that is revolutionary because typically speaking, I'm the one that ends up calling a day to two after the birthday has passed. That's not the most fun place to be and I look forward to growing out of that particular experience :)

I hope you come back tomorrow to see how we've been inspired through our Pinterest board and for a lovely craft idea that we're making for the Mama's we know and love xo 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

A New Way to Follow A Simple Life

Google Reader is set to shut down this coming July. This is how blogger creates our following, for all blogs. I've discovered Bloglovin from other bloggers who have used it and find it a successful replacement for Google Reader. It is yet another application to download, another place to look at among the myriad other sites one might check in a day. For me, I find it's one stop shopping! All of the blogs I love and follow I have in one place. Bloglovin organizes all of your posts and keeps it simple. If you have your own blog, once you sign up you can "claim" your blog and update your information accordingly.
I adore each of you who come to visit me here and I hope you continue to come by often. Your comments are so uplifting and I've enjoyed creating many nurturing and supportive relationships with many of you outside of this blogger world.
On this Saturday, the sun is shining here (for the moment). I hope you find peace and joy where ever you might go. Thank you for joining me on our journeys around the sun xo

Friday, April 19, 2013

For Little Hands ~ Frogs

Welcome to For Little Hands, a weekly series that hopes to inspire creative whimsy for the little hands in your life.
We had a fun spring craft project planned for today but we were joyfully distracted by this unplanned frog date. I'm choosing to post this instead of the craft project because I'm finding it all too necessary to be focusing on the whimsy of life, the unplanned joyous moments with my children. There is so much to be sad and scared about in the big world outside our window.....pulling in and really seeing the beauty, the peace, and hearing the belly laughs is way more important (today) than sitting down to a structured something or other. Today, we needed to just be in our moments. No directions. No plans. We needed to just be lead by the wind and our childhood daydreams.
Today we met some frog friends. We visited Daddy at work today and there is a great little frog pond that was bustling with activity. One peek lead to immediate giggles and wet feet. Can you make out our little friend in the center of the picture above?

We were all on our hands and knees being eluded by these slippery little frogs. Some, actually, weren't so little!

Sometimes we actually caught one!

When we did it was shear joy! To feel their slippery, wet, smooth skin. How quickly they jumped and slithered through our hands. Oh, how happy they made us all!

It's hard to explain the excitement about catching frogs. It's a simple activity, perfect for any size hands, young and old. It's all about timing and being gentle.

Kiki would have carried one around in her pocket all day if she could!

This photo made me so happy. My adoring husband, my three littles, and our dear Victor (my husband's work partner) all down and seeking a frog in hopes of holding one for just a moment.
I even caught one!
Whatever it is you'll do today with the little hands in your life, I hope you'll take the time to breathe in and soak up those precious, undirected moments. Turn away from the darkness in the world for just a while and embrace the light that brightens your life. Our children are the carriers of the brightest light. Give them the space to shine and allow yourself the space to let them remind  you how to shine.
Loving wishes to you all for a peaceful weekend xo

Thursday, April 18, 2013

{ pretty, happy, funny, real }

Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life.
Every Thursday, at Like Mother, Like Daughter.
{ pretty }
Kiki has one of the prettiest noses I've ever seen xo
{ happy }

Our six little chicks finally got to spend some time out of doors; pecking, scratching, and soaking up some of that gorgeous sunshine that we had yesterday. It has been a long time coming, that elusive sun. I'm looking forward to many more sunshiny days ahead.....and I bet they are, too!

Our little Sprout. She's become such a happy little bugger. Now that her teeth are starting to poke through her days are quite a bit more manageable. The poor lass, she's on the cusp of 11 months and has only 3 teeth. Her siblings each had a full mouth of teeth by now. She's very proud of the ones she's got, that's for sure!

Although she isn't beaming with smiles, I know for sure this little heart is as happy as happy could be. This soft, little bundle of love makes my Charlotte so happy. Little Lionheart brings much happiness to our hearts, he doesn't even need to try.

This is how Kiki spends her days. Barely awake and she has a chick in her arms and sings to them, rocks them, pets them. I'm not sure Kiki can imagine her life without a baby chick in it! Her days revolve around theirs. Our little chicken whisperer.
{ funny }

Kiki's hair this morning upon waking. I don't think I've ever seen hair so unruly! We were in stitches and she couldn't believe what had happened to her hair overnight.
{ real }

We've begun incubating some of our chickens eggs in an attempt to hatch out a few of our own. We've never experienced this and I'm so eager to have our children experience the miracle of a chick hatching from it's egg. It's such a beautiful process (I've only ever seen through pictures).
Our little homestead is growing. Our next introduction will hopefully be some Lincoln sheep. I'm eager to have some sheep that have great wool for fiber processing. The sheep we have currently are not breed for their wool so it tends to be short, wispy, and it breaks when you try to spin it. I'll begin cleaning, skirting, and carding some to see if I can make it work, but.....it would just feel so nice to have wool that is meant to be worked. Dreams!

Monday, April 15, 2013


“Why do farmers farm, given their economic adversities on top of the many frustrations and difficulties normal to farming? And always the answer is: "Love. They must do it for love." Farmers farm for the love of farming. They love to watch and nurture the growth of plants. They love to live in the presence of animals. They love to work outdoors. They love the weather, maybe even when it is making them miserable. They love to live where they work and to work where they live. If the scale of their farming is small enough, they like to work in the company of their children and with the help of their children. They love the measure of independence that farm life can still provide. I have an idea that a lot of farmers have gone to a lot of trouble merely to be self-employed to live at least a part of their lives without a boss.” 

~Wendell Berry, Bringing it to the Table: Writings on Farming and Food

Our little homestead is growing by leaps and bounds. Living in community we have the great gift of living among many farm animals; we care for them and in turn they provide for us. It has been our greatest dream to contribute to the provisions by having our own little team on our plot of land and this weekend, we began to see our dream to reality.

We welcomed six chicks into our family this weekend (along with the newcomers you'll meet below). Kiki adores them and has spent every waking moment tending to them, singing to them, holding them. For just three years old she has given us a glimpse into what amazing care she is capable of. Her tenderness, quiet, gentle devotion. It's almost like she goes to a meditative place while she is with these chicks.

We were also gifted this beautiful Lionhead bunny. While he won't necessarily produce anything akin to food or materials he has already produced a softening of heart, a smile within us all, a gentleness that we all needed after this long, long winter. His name is Little Lionheart.

This beautiful Black Sexlink is Beatrice. She is a wise old gal and happily and immediately made herself at home. She is gentle, sweet, and so far, has enjoyed begin carried about by various little hands. She also have us our first egg!

We have a Red Sexlink as well (her name is Ruby). It has been of utmost importance to her to figure out her new digs as she's feeling pretty broody. I found her nestled into the coop working on laying her first egg so I didn't want to disturb her with a photo op.

This is Max, our Rooster, and his lady love, Gwendolyn. She follows him everywhere. They are both still a bit nervous but have warmed up to us and have let us help them into the coop at night. Our coop is our old outdoor rabbit hutch, modified with nesting boxes and roosts to accommodate our brood. It will require a bit of assistance on our part to get them in and out of the coop, just until they're comfortable with the process on their own.

Our landscape is a beautiful one. The sheep add an element of olden days and when living off the land was how you survived. We're getting closer and closer to that place of self reliance. Our dream is not to live as if it were the 1800's but to embrace and accept our gifts and primal calling to be connected to  the land, to keep our children connected and focused on the sanctity of caring for and working the land, working with our hands, and allowing the realness of providing for ourselves to be at the forefront of how we build our home.

"The soil is the great connector of lives, the source and destination of all. It is the healer and restorer and resurrector, by which disease passes into health, age into youth, death into life. Without proper care for it we can have no community, because without proper care for it we can have no life.” 
Wendell Berry, The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture


Being a Waldorf inspired home we are fortunate to live where we do. The daily tasks of tending to the animals, preparing the garden for the season, integrating the childrens daily play and rhythms into the ebb and flow of the natural world around them is so beautiful and unique. 

"As child, one has the magical capacity to move among the many eras of the earth; to see the land as an animal does; to experience the sky from the perspective of a flower or a bee; to feel the earth quiver and breathe beneath us; to know a hundred different smells of mud and listen unselfconsciously to the soughing of the trees." ~ Valerie Andrews, A Passion for this Earth

Friday, April 12, 2013

For Little Hands :: Homemade Seedling Pots

Welcome to For Little Hands, a weekly series that hopes to inspire creative whimsy for the little hands in your life.

Spring is eluding us today. It is a mere 38* outside and there is this wintry mix of rain/sleet/snow happening periodically. This photo was taken this morning.....I was a bit shocked! I know April is capable of many things, I've just been in denial that we would actually continue to see the "white stuff" again. Oh well. We've got the wood stove cranked and it's a balmy 76* inside, I'm devouring a box of Hot Tamales,and while we've got the dream of Spring and warmth on our minds we set off to make some seedling starter pots that we will transfer into the littles gardens outside when the time comes.
If you'd like to join us, this is what you'll need::
Newspaper cut into 3-4 inch wide strips (the length of the newspaper)
A bottle (a notch in the bottom is helpful by not necessary)
Good potting soil
A tray for the pots to sit upon
something to label your pots
A sunny window
I find that this type of activity is perfect for a cooped up inside day. Hands get dirty and there is an element of care and excitement built into the activity. Planting seeds and children go hand in hand. I couldn't imagine planting a garden without a child or two in the mix.

Set the bottle on about 2/3 of the newspaper strip, long ways. You should have about an inch or so that goes passed the end of the bottle.

Roll the paper strip around the bottle, tightly.

Fold the end of the strip into the notch of the bottle, sort of like wrapping a present. It won't stay put entirely but when you put the soil in it will balance out.

Next, fill your pots with soil.

And then the seeds! YAY!!!

Once all of your seeds are planted give them a good drink of water and set them in a sunny window. Covering them with plastic wrap will form a greenhouse effect and sprouting may begin sooner.

The best part about these pots is they can be sewn directly into the soil and will amend the soil as brown matter. It's a win/win.

I hope where ever you are today, dear friend, you are warm and embracing Spring (or Autumn, for my Southern Hemisphere friends xo)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

{ pretty, happy, funny, real }

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life.
Every Thursday, at Like Mother, Like Daughter.
{ pretty }
Our new bedroom.
follow the link to learn more :)

{ happy }

This little Sprout has decided she's in the mood to try pulling herself up and try her hand at balancing. While she's not quite crawling (scooting on her belly currently) I'm finding she's at her happiest when she's making my heart jump while attempting to catch her when she tumbles from her various acrobatics......

....or when she's got a big sister or two or three to play and laugh with. Seraphina could hear laughter from another room and will bust out laughing. Happiness abounds.
{ funny }

Our local theatre had it's open auditions this past weekend. Bella (our 11 year old) tried out and so Charlotte (our 5 year old) thought she'd toss her name in the ring(both are pictured above, the two girls on the left). She was the youngest one there to try out, which consisted of: singing a song with accompaniment in front of a panel of pretty intimidating faces AND learning a dance routine (not geared for the beginner dancer) in about 10 minutes. By golly, that little lass kept up and followed directions and sang her little heart out. She danced like NO ONE was watching and at times threw in a little improv! It was spectacular and kinda funny!

Another bit of funny this week is as we were unearthing what would soon be our new bedroom (link above in {pretty} ) I discovered our old baby names book. I promptly looked up Seraphina as we didn't us a book to find name ideas for her, hers just came to us. I was shocked. Deeply. Her name, in Hebrew, (as you can see) translates to burning. You might recall, if you've read it elsewhere, that Seraphina suffers from monthly fevers of unknown origin. Every month since December (September, really, but those fevers were identified with illness) she has suffered from high fevers, going as high as 105*. We've been in and out of the hospital, appointments with specialists, labs after labs. Thankfully, her body seems to be perfectly healthy. The fact that she has fully embodied her Hebrew name well, I'm OK with that.
{ real }

It's lambing season. So far we have four little lambs with the promise of more on the way.
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