That’s Not My Baby Gender Reveal

Recently I was handed the responsibility of hosting a gender reveal party for my brother and sister in law. They wanted something simple but unique and after a great deal of thinking I finally hit upon an idea. I came up with a game where mom and dad had to hunt through the group looking for their baby.

I created 20 index cards featuring pictures of animals and a silly sentence explaining why that wasn’t their baby. For instance, on the index card featuring a baby lion I wrote “That’s not my baby it’s claws are too sharp”. One person in the group had an index card attached to the ultrasound picture with the words ” That’s my baby SHE is so perfect”. Each index card was placed in a brown envelope and closed with pink and blue ribbons. I attached the ribbons so that when they were pulled it was easy to open the envelope and uncover the index card. This worked out really well and even the little kids participating in the game were able to easily open their envelopes.

Since the day was nice and warm we chose to play this game outside and we had the entire family line up and we passed out the sealed envelopes. My brother and sister in law had to start picking family members one at a time to reveal what was in their envelope. There were a lot of laughs as people uncovered baby skunks, turtles and hippos. Finally, after going through most of envelopes they called on my sister in laws Grandmother to open her envelope. Grandma opened her envelope and immediately started to cry once she realized that she had the ultrasound picture. With a shaky voice she read out “That’s my baby SHE is so perfect!”. Everyone started laughing and crying with excitement and it really ended up being a lot of fun and super special.

Now prior to the party I had marked one of the envelopes with a heart on the bottom because I wanted to make sure Grandma was the one who got to make the announcement. How many Grandma’s get to tell their granddaughters whether they are going to have a boy or a girl? I am glad that this worked out so well and wanted to share this idea in case anyone else would like to use this for their gender reveal party.

For the record this idea was inspired by one of my kids favorite children’s books produced by the Usborne Publishing company. Usborne has a whole line of That’s Not My…. books for young readers. I think one of the first baby gifts that I will be giving baby girl once she arrives will be one of these books for her library.

Materials Needed

Blank Index Cards 1 for each guest

Two colors of ribbon

Small paper sacks or gift bags 1 for each guest

Images of baby animals ( I found a ton of these online through Pinterest)

Craft Glue

Permanent Marker

Hole punch

Paper Clip

Print off pictures of baby animals or you could even hand draw the animals on each index card.

Write out silly sentences for each animal picture starting each sentence off with “That’s not my baby it’s __________________”. Glue animal picture to the card.

Attach ultrasound picture with a paper clip to an index card with a sentence that says “That’s my baby (insert he/she) is so _____________” (If you are selecting a certain individual to receive this make sure to mark the bottom of the bag with a tiny symbol).

Cut strips of ribbon for the bags I did 6 inches of pink and blue for each bag.

Place index cards inside paper sacks or gift bags and punch a hole in the top.

Fasten 2 strands of ribbon to each bag and tie two knots to keep bags sealed.

Game Time!

Once you have everyone arranged either into groups or in a line have the expectant parents take turns selecting an individual to reveal what is in their bag. Individual selected has to pull there ribbon to open bag and than read off their card and show the picture they received.

Keep going until the ultrasound picture has been chosen.

If there are cards left you can have people read them off after the gender has been revealed.

As a special memento you can retrieve the cards and put them into a little book bound with ribbon.

This was super affordable I spent under $10 for all of the supplies and I purchased everything at my local Walmart!

Let me know what you think of this idea?

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

Advertisements

The Importance of the Electoral College

i voted sticker spool on white surface

Photo by Element5 Digital on Pexels.com

Since our last presidential election in 2016 we have heard a number of politicians and media personalities discussing whether or not we should continue using the electoral college in our elections. Now it seems that discussion has turned to action as a number of democrats have gathered together to submit a measure to congress that would remove the electoral college in future elections.

The scariest thing about this is how many people especially younger voters seem to thing this is a great idea. They believe that by removing the electoral college that it will make the election process more fair. In my opinion this is the result of our poor education system in this country. The electoral college is in place to make the voting process as fair as possible by giving every state a voice in the election regardless of population. If this measure is approved elections would be determined by the popular vote which means that populous states like California, Texas, New York and Florida would hold all of the power. There would be no need for United States citizens in other states to vote because their vote wouldn’t carry the same weight if any weight at all.

Our founding founders devised the Electoral College because they wanted the voting powers to be equally distributed throughout the United States. While it may not be a perfect system it is the best way for each and every citizen to have their vote recognized and counted. I believe that removing the Electoral College will destroy Democracy in the United States and threaten the foundation this country was built upon.

I am very concerned about the state of our politics and our country in general. We have so many children graduating from high school without the ability to think critically, and without adequate knowledge of history and government. I have spoken with a number of teens and young adults who have expressed a desire to see the electoral college abolished yet can’t provide a reasonable argument to support their opinion. Schools are supposed to teach children HOW to think they aren’t supposed to teach children WHAT to think. This is  dangerous behavior because these children are being taught to think a specific way and then they go on to be voters.

Our future is dependent on our youth and all educators including those of us who homeschool; we have a duty to teach our children HOW to research, think and form valid arguments. Research and education will highlight the importance of the Electoral College in our voting process. The right to vote is an important one and it should never be done lightly because it is our civic duty to be informed and active participants in our government. That way we can “all” ensure that the values and rights established by our founding fathers in the Constitution can be upheld for generations to come.

usa flag waving on white metal pole

Photo by Element5 Digital on Pexels.com

https://thehill.com/homenews/house/423810-dem-introduces-bills-to-eliminate-electoral-college-stop-presidents-from

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/senate-dems-introduce-bill-to-abolish-electoral-college

https://www.thenation.com/article/democrats-need-to-get-rid-of-the-electoral-college/

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

Commonly Googled: How to homeschool for free…

google search engine on macbook pro

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I wanted to see what questions Google was being asked about homeschool so I turned to the Google search engine and typed in how to homeschool and the first thing that popped up for me was how to homeschool for free. When I first began my homeschool journey years ago the financial burden was something that had concerned me because we had very limited finances. I wanted to provide the very best in education and was worried that our budget would restrict the quality of our resources. After a great deal of research I learned that it was possible to homeschool for free without affecting the quality of the education we provided.

If you are thinking of homeschooling and wondering how to do this either with little money or no money I recommend reading Homeschool Your Child For Free by LauraMaery Gold and Joan M. Zielinski. This is a great book that breaks down how to homeschool various age groups and subjects for free and where to find free resources. I found this book in my local library and loved it so much that I hunted down a used version online. Over the years I have read and reread this book countless times and have always found great advice and inspiration.

In order to homeschool your children successfully you need to provide access to books, activities and lively discussion. The first step is providing access to books and even if you don’t have an extensive home library you can accomplish this by taking advantage of your local library. Here you can find books and resources to really teach any subject or topic. The next key to success is to engage your children in activities outside of the home where they can experience new things and learn while having fun. Check with your local metro, state and national parks in your area because many times they provide free activities and events. We have done bird watches, butterfly walks, fishing, hiking and a number of other activities all for free through our park system. With a little online research you can find museums, zoos and field trip opportunities that are free for residents on certain days of the week. Finally, you can utilize lively discussion to educate your children. I love having conversations with my children discussing what we have learned and there thoughts and feelings on the situation. Recently, when discussing the American Revolution I had my kids split into Loyalist and Patriots and argue their stance from that perspective. This was a great way for them to practice what they had learned in a fun way while really gaining an understanding of the issues the colonist were dealing with during that time period.

Homeschooling doesn’t have to break the bank and you can provide a quality education at home for free. Of course you will still need to provide things like pencils, paper, glue and other craft supplies but you don’t need an expensive boxed curriculum to homeschool. Make sure you do a lot of research and read as many books as you can on how to homeschool. This will help you develop a plan for your school year which will basically be the map you need to navigate your journey as a home educator. Anyone can homeschool if they have the desire, the initiative and the willingness to provide an environment that encourages and promotes learning.

Below you will find links to some great information about homeschooling for free. If you have a specific question about homeschooling for free or in general let me know in the comments below.

 

 

Free online homeschool

 

Online Homeschool Community

 

Free Online Math Game

 

Preschool Science Curriculum

 

Education.com (access to lesson plans, worksheets and other resources for a small monthly fee)

 

The Free Reading Program

 

Starfall

 

TeachersPayTeachers (While there is a fee for some of these resources you can find free worksheets and lesson plans)

 

The Good & The Beautiful (Language Arts courses Level 1-5 can be downloaded for FREE)

 

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library (Free books for kids 5 and under. Not available in all zip codes)

 

 

Ordering Prescription Glasses Online

black framed wayfarer eyeglasses on book

Photo by Manfred Hofferer on Pexels.com

Did you know that you can order prescription glasses online? I just learned it was possible about a week ago. I had received a new prescription from my eye doctor and when I went to pick out my glasses I discovered a very long line. I didn’t have enough time that day to wait so I figured I would just go back later in the week. That night I randomly wondered if I could somehow get glasses online so I turned to Google for answers. This is when I discovered Zenni Optical an online retailer that makes it possible to purchase prescription glasses from the comfort of your own home. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that not only was this a convenient option it was also an affordable option as well.

I found frames for as low as $6.95 with free lenses and I was able to add the anti-reflective coating for $4.95. I purchased two pairs of glasses and had them shipped directly to me for the low price of $29.07. The entire process was relatively simple the only hard part was measuring my pupillary distance. Luckily Zenni Optical provides easy instructions to help you figure this out with a ruler and a mirror. I measured three times to make sure I had the right numbers but this is the only tricky part. Other than that you select the frames you like, enter your prescription for each eye, your pupillary distance, and select whatever options or accessories you want to add. Once your order is submitted it takes between 7-10 days to receive your order unless you pay extra shipping to fast track the order. Since I enjoy saving money whenever possible I chose to wait the 7-10 days and was very happy when I received my order exactly 7 days later in the mail.

I have to admit I was still a little skeptical that I could get a quality pair of prescription glasses online especially with the price I paid for two pairs but I am no longer skeptical. After trying on both pairs I can happily say that this is a fantastic way to purchase glasses in fact I might be going back to their website to snag a pair of sunglasses. In the past every time I have picked out a pair of glasses at the eye doctor I end up with glasses I hate. It’s because I feel rushed and usually just pick the cheaper option but ordering them online allowed me the chance to browse and really find frames I liked. I absolutely love both pairs of glasses I picked out and no longer have to wear the bulky glasses I hate.

If you are in the market for affordable prescription glasses I urge you to check online. I know there are a few online retailers like Zenni Optical but I can honestly say this is a great company to buy through. I love the variety of frames they offered, the fact that they carry children’s glasses, their affordability and of course the convenience of ordering online. From here on out this will be the way I purchase not only my glasses but my family’s glasses as well.

20190330_234139

 

Disclaimer: I am not being paid or sponsored by Zenni Optical or any other party. This review is unsolicited and contains my honest thoughts and opinions.

 

Zenni Optical

www.zennioptical.com

 

 

 

Grocery Budget and the Bulk Store

grocery cart with item

Photo by Oleg Magni on Pexels.com

Today I took my monthly run to Costco to pick up my bulk items like toilet paper, paper towel and other random household items where buying in bulk makes financial sense. Over the past year I have learned what to buy and what not to buy at Costco and this has helped me avoid the trap of overspending. Unfortunately, while I was waiting to check out I witnessed a common situation where someone had attempted to do all of their grocery shopping at Costco and blew their budget. The lady in front of me had filled her basket with meats, cheeses and produce as well as some household items. When the cashier gave her the total of $400 I thought she was going to pass out right there in the line. Instead of assessing her purchases she swiped her card and left the store in what appeared to be shock.

Stores like Costco, Sams Club and other bulk stores are a great way to save money on household items and random groceries but you have to be strategic when shopping these stores. First never attempt to do all of your grocery shopping at a bulk store because this is a great way to overspend. Second make sure you know the unit cost of items that you buy on a regular basis because this will help you make an informed decision. Unless you have a very large family that can consume bulk produce before it goes bad do not purchase produce from a bulk store. My last tip is to avoid impulse buys if it isn’t on your list walk away and take a day or two to think it over. The seasonal department is the best place to encounter items you feel you must have so either avoid this section all together or practice will power. If you see something that appears to be a great deal take the time to investigate other stores and make sure it’s the best deal first. You can always go back and grab the deal later in the week.

I love Costco and often refer to it as “Disney World for adults” because it really is in my opinion the most wonderful place in the world. While I enjoy my Costco membership I have learned that not everything in a bulk store is a great deal and you have to be pretty choosy if you are working with a tight budget. It’s so very easy to overspend in bulk stores because you could purchase your entire shopping list in one convenient place but you will pay for that convenience. When it comes to items like paper goods, trash bags, laundry soap, dish soap and pet supplies you can find amazing deals in bulk stores.I have even snagged some pretty awesome deals on clothes, shoes and books at Costco.  You can find additional deals within the grocery aisles but you really have to hunt for them. Remember just because a deal is advertised as a “deal” doesn’t necessarily make it so. Things like cookies, crackers, cereal, chips and other snack items are often over priced and would be best purchased at your local grocery store.

If you often find yourself overspending at the bulk stores take a look at the things you are buying to see if you are really getting the deals. Take a notebook and jot down prices at your local store as well as the unit price so you can really compare the prices. I know it sounds like a lot of work but make it fun. Leave the kids at home with your spouse or a babysitter, grab something from your local coffee shop and stroll down the aisles at your local grocery store writing down prices. You don’t need to record every price in the store just on the items you buy weekly. Whenever you are out shopping this little record will help you determine if you have found a deal or if you should pass it by.

They say the one place American’s spend the most money is on their grocery budgets and I believe it. Life is hectic and we often find ourselves overworked and tired so a simple run through the grocery store never feels like a simple endeavor. This is why it is so important to plan your shopping in advance with a meal plan and a shopping list. When you do shop stay focused, stick to your list and really pay attention to prices. You will be surprised how a few simple steps can save you money in the short term and how it can really add up in the long term.

 

 

Hollywood College Admission Drama

accomplishment ceremony education graduation

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

It was recently made public that a number of parents including two very well known actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman used their position and power to manipulate the college admission process. Now I believe that parents should invest in their children’s education but this is going to extremes. What bothers me most about this entire situation is that these individuals have the wealth to purchase educational materials, tutors and other resources to help their children excel. They should have been investing their time and resources into making sure that their children received a quality education from day one. Instead, it appears that they waited until the last minute and decided it was best to pay people off to make it appear that their children had received a proper education.

A parents job is to love,  nurture, and educate their children while preparing them for a future where they can be productive and independent. When parents choose to make life easier for their children they make life harder for them when they become adults. I have a great deal of compassion for the children involved in this situation and while they might have been complicit they were simply following the path their parents laid out for them. They will spend the rest of their lives dealing with the fallout from this situation while dealing with the pressures of living a publicized life. It’s ironic that these parents invested so much money in creating a facade of academic success when in the long wrong they were destroying their children’s chances to be successful.

As a homeschooling parent, I work very hard to make sure that my kids have educational resources and opportunities available to them.  When they struggle I provide love and support and help them figure things out. I do not “do” things for my children I teach my children “how” to do things. We may not have a lot of money but my children are receiving an education that will allow them to become life long learners who value education. They are learning how to be accountable, respectable, and compassionate individuals. They are learning to walk alongside people instead of walking over people.

I would love to see one of my kids make it into an ivy league school but only if it is truly what they want and they do the work to get there. It honestly doesn’t matter to me whether any one of my children goes to college. All I want for my children is to be happy, balanced individuals with the confidence and drive to go after their dreams. I have faith that they will be successful because we are helping them build strong work ethics with good character. Parents all over the world are doing the same thing with their children and it doesn’t take a monetary investment just love and time.

I hope that Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman and the other parents involved in this situation learn a powerful lesson. I pray that their children will also learn a lesson and that this situation will propel them forward to do good with their lives. I pray that those who had their college spots stolen will get another shot at admissions and find forgiveness in their hearts. This is a teachable moment for us all and we should share this with our children so they can understand that while their path won’t be made easy in the end the bumps along the way will help shape them into the people God wants them to be and the people that we can be proud of.

 

“In all the toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty.”

            -Proverbs 14:23

 

Planning 2019-2020 School Year

person writing on white book

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

I know we are a ways off from the start of the  new school year but this is the time of year that I begin to plan. I gather my curriculum catalogs together along with my trusty notebook so that I can plan out what materials I need for next year and where our journey will take us. I love this process because it allows me to recharge, gain motivation and let’s face it I get to buy books so of course it is my favorite time of year.

Before I begin the process of planning I like to sit down with each of my kids and go over where they are and how they are feeling about their progress. I think it is important to have these conversations with my kids because it’s the best way to keep them on track and involved in their education. During these conversations I like to find out if there is anything in particular they are interested in learning or adding to their curriculum. For instance, my oldest this year has told me that he is really interested in aviation and would like to learn all about flying. When I am planning next year’s curriculum I will be looking for aviation themed books and resources for him to explore this interest. During these conversations I like to take notes that I can refer back to during the planning phase.

Once I have had a conversation with each of my kids I then like to review what we have done over the past year. This is a great time to get rid of what doesn’t work and find replacements. Starting this far in advance with my planning allows me to research and read reviews so that I can make an educated decision on what to try next. Of course things that are working well will be continued into the next year. This past year we have had great success with CTC Math so we will continue this program next year. Again I record these notes in my notebook so that I can reference back to them.

Over the next few weeks I will peruse through my catalogs (my favorite is the Rainbow Resource Catalog) and conduct online research. I usually do this after the kids have gone to bed so I can relax with a cup of coffee while I read uninterrupted. When I find books that interest me or materials I want to try I will write down the information in my notebook. By the time I am done my notebook will be pretty filled in but it will become a valuable tool when I finally write out my scope and sequence for next year.

When the research part is done this is when the real fun begins I like to take myself out for a parent teacher conference. I go to a cafe where I can sit down with my books and my laptop so I can work for a few hours uninterrupted and I can keep the coffee coming along with a delicious lunch. I will use my notebook to fill in what we will be learning next year in Bible, English, Math, Science and History and a list of materials for each subject. I will also determine what extra curricular subjects or activities will be covered. Each of my kids will have an outline created and I will create my short term goals for the year and re-address our long term goals to ensure we are on track. I will then create a homeschool budget and create a game plan to stay within that budget.

Once I have everything figured out on paper and typed up I print up a materials list. Since I plan in advance this allows me several months to purchase materials and gives me the opporutnity to get the best price. I love ordering books through sites like abebooks because I often find gently used books for a few dollars a piece. I keep this materials list on me whenever I am out because I have found resources at used bookstores, thrift shops and even garage sales.

Over the years I have found that this approach to homeschool planning works best for me but what works for me may not work for others. However you plan your homeschool curriculum make sure you make it fun, use it as a way to invigorate your homeschool and find out what your children think about their education and what they might be interested in learning.

apple blank business computer

Photo by JESHOOTS.com on Pexels.com

Best Catalogs for curriculum:

https://rainbowresource.com/catalog

https://www.bookshark.com/request-a-catalog/

https://www.sonlight.com/about/catalog/

https://timberdoodle.com/pages/free-catalog

https://www.nature-watch.com/online_catalog.php

https://www.christianbook.com/apps/catalog-request

https://www.libraryanded.com/request_catalog.html

The Terrible Teen Stage

handmade sneakers

Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

My oldest is almost 13 years old and he is a crazy, funny, unique individual but recently the terrible teen disease has begun to plague him. If you have a child between the ages of 11-13 who is exhibiting the following symptoms your child might also have this obnoxious disease.

  • Moodiness
  • Suddenly knows everything under the sun
  • Argumentative
  • Clumsy
  • Forgetful
  • Accident-prone
  • Strange odors emitting from body
  • Refuses to change clothing
  • Eyes rolling

 

In all honesty the terrible teen stage is not that different from the terrible twos with the exception of temper tantrums. So far I haven’t seen any signs that my 12 year will fling himself to the floor in fits of emotion but I will keep you updated on that situation. I survived the terrible twos so I am pretty confident that I can handle the terrible teen stage too but only time will tell.

This is such an awkward time for kids because they are in between childhood and adulthood and everything in life seems dire. It’s equally painful for us parents because we have to come to grips with the fact that our children are no longer little caterpillars. In fact they are going through the final metamorphosis to become full-fledged butterfly’s ready to make their way in the world. It’s a beautiful, awkward, and painful transition for both parties.

 

 

adult art artist artistic

Photo by Anthony on Pexels.com

 

Toddlers afflicted with the terrible twos act out because they are learning how to communicate and understand the world around them. Pre-teens and teenagers are attempting to do the same thing they are learning how to communicate, understand and participate in a world of adults all while dealing with the physical and hormonal changes brought on by puberty. I remember living through this stage of life and I wouldn’t go back if you paid me a million bucks.

Whenever the eye rolling or moodiness gets to me I do my best to remind myself of my own teen years. I draw on empathy, patience and my abundance of love for him to help me through the trying times. If your child is also going through the terrible teen stage remember to…

  • be patient
  • pick your battles
  • follow through on punishment
  • keep open lines of communication
  • help them set short term and long term goals
  • keep life simple when they are feeling overwhelmed
  • remember to tell them you love them often
  • keep an arsenal of room freshner on hand and a window cracked for fresh air

 

The terrible teen stage doesn’t last forever and with faith, love and family on our side we can get through any challenge life might throw our way.

grayscale photo of man woman and child

Photo by Kristin De Soto on Pexels.com

 

If you have survived the terrible teen stage let us know how you made it through!

 

 

It’s Never Too Early!

baby sleeping on white cotton

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

It’s never too early to start home education, in fact, the best thing you can do for your little ones is to begin their education early. Even if you intend to enroll your children in a traditional brick and mortar institution you should still start them off with old fashioned home education. Many parents engage in home education without realizing that this is what they are doing but recently I have come across a large number of moms and dads who are passively raising their children. Instead of interacting with their children and teaching them ABCs, 123s, colors, shapes and other basic skills they are plopping their children in front of televisions and electronic devices. I know that this is the electronic age and I appreciate what technology provides us but I am disheartened that so many people are using technology to raise their children. Young children are the most receptive to learning new skills and this includes social skills. Sure you can download an App that will sing the alphabet to your child but this doesn’t provide the same level of education and it’s missing the social element. Children flourish only when they are being nurtured. Electronic devices can’t nurture and they do not provide the love and support that young children need and desire.

abc abstract alphabet art

Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels.com

Passively parenting your children not only hurts children but it hurts the parents as well. It prevents parents from making the deep connections with their children and as their children grow they will find it difficult to bond and to parent. We want our children to grow up in happy, healthy families where they feel love and are connected to their parents. This is the best way to secure a future of young people who are able to be compassionate, empathetic, and productive.

sunset hands love woman

Photo by Stokpic on Pexels.com

You should be educating your children from day one in the early days this means simply holding them, singing to them and reading them stories. Talk to your little ones and tell them what you are doing and what your plans for the day are. They may not be able to communicate verbally but they are learning how to communicate. As your children grow they will be able to participate for instance when reading a story help them find objects on the page. Another fun activity for little ones is to give them a ball and an empty laundry basket to shoot hoops. Get out the bubbles and finger paint and let them make a mess and then show them how to clean up the mess. A lot of parents are nervous about kids making a mess but kids should be allowed to get messy.  I know that this sounds a lot like play but this is the best way to teach kids of any age. If you can make learning fun they will enjoy learning.

pexels-photo-1148998.jpeg

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Pexels.com

In regards to the electronics, I am not completely against their use but I feel like they should be used rarely especially with very young children. My kids enjoyed Sesame Street and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse when they were little but I wouldn’t just sit them in front of the television and walk away. Instead, I would sit down and watch the shows with them while singing the songs and doing the silly dances. These weren’t just moments to educate these were moments to bond and make memories.

white teddy bear reading book

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

My favorite people to hang out with are my children and I enjoy spending time with them and learning with them. If you are passively parenting you are missing out on so many opportunities to make memories and bond with your children. You are also missing out on an opportunity to start your children off on the right path towards education. Children grow so quickly so it is important to be as present as possible and to teach them the skills they need to be independent, productive and loving individuals.

Check out my Early Homeschool board on Pinterest for fun ideas for your little ones!

 

***Quick Safety Reminder***

When planning activities for young children make sure that they are age appropriate and keep choking hazards up and out of reach.

Introducing Blackberry Ridge

closeup photo of black and red round fruit

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

We are about to do one of the craziest things we have ever done in our entire lives. We are in the process of packing up our life in the Midwest and moving to our property in southern Tennessee. This past weekend we spent a few days visiting our property and mapping out our ideas for our mountain side homestead. This was my first time visiting Tennessee and I have to say that it is one of the most beautiful places I have visited. I was enthralled by the rolling landscape, the southern hospitality and the serene quiet of our little woodland property.

20190304_124408

We found this property just around Christmas time and fell in love with the pictures of the property. After a great deal of research and phone calls to ensure this wasn’t a scam we put down our deposit without actually setting foot on the property. Thursday night we loaded our little car up and made our first treck down to the property. When we arrived in Tennessee it was just after 7pm and after checking into our hotel we couldn’t help ourselves we had to see our property even though darkness had fallen. The drive out to our property was exciting but we were also feeling a bit uncertain. Once we arrived we got out and took in all that we could see with flashlights and the uncertainty grew. We went back to the hotel with heavy hearts not sure if we had made the right decision. Having lived in Southeast Michigan and Northwest Ohio we weren’t prepared for how hilly Tennessee really was and we were expecting our property to be a tad more level.

20190304_112955

After a long night of sleep we drove back out to the property to see what we had with the light of day. The second time viewing the property washed away all of our uncertainty. We fell in love with the property all over again and spent the day walking our property line and exploring our little wood. One of the things that I love about the property the most is the running stream there is nothing more soothing than the sounds of water bubbling over rock and stone. During our exploration we discovered a hidden pond full of aquatic life and a bubbling spring. This property is definitely wild and it is going to take a lot of work to clear areas for our house, gardens and chicken coop but I know in my heart that it will be worth it in the long run. A lot of people would walk away from this property because of the hard work needed to make this a livable spot but we are up for the challenge. In fact I have never been more excited to do anything in my entire life.

20190303_134529

While enjoying our future home we noticed some physical changes with ourselves and our children. Every one of us battles congestion and allergies and for us it is just the way of life but within hours of being in Tennessee our congestion cleared. My husbands dry eyes improved and our youngest kids who have “allergy shiners” lost their black eyes. In fact my daughter who is rather pale had a healthy pink glow that we had never seen before. The fresh mountain air is so clean and pure and obviously much healthier than the air we breathe in Toledo that I think perhaps our overall health will improve with this move.

20190303_124312

 

I am so grateful to have found this property and already I am accumulating ideas for our future home. We applied for an address and began kicking around ideas for naming our property. When we were exploring our property we kept getting tangled up in these rose bush like vines growing up around the trees. We weren’t sure what these were but after some online research we discovered that we have wild blackberries growing everywhere. This inspired the name for our property which will now be known as “Blackberry Ridge”. I can’t wait to go back down in a few months to harvest some of those blackberries and make a delicious jam.

IMG_20190304_122012

So as you can see this is pretty crazy moving our family hundreds of miles to a wooded property in Southern Tennessee. While it may be crazy we feel that God is moving us down this path and that this move will be the best thing for our family and especially our kids. We want them to have a safe environment to run, skip and play. We want them to learn valuable skills that will build character and make them appreciate the things in life that really matter. So while it may be crazy this will be an adventure that our family will remember for a lifetime. Our hearts are filled with hope and joy as we plan out the details that will help us down the path to “Blackberry Ridge”.

beam cabin clouds country

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com