Boys Can be Boys, But not Quietly!!

As a mom of all boys, I am always thinking about either feeding them, or keeping them busy! I am a fan of things that keep them occupied but do not take batteries or make noise! I love to see my boys busy with their imaginations and creating something to play with. If you have children tho, you know that even quiet toys make noise when paired with an active imagination.

Tinkertoy Fun

We discovered this toy set, Tinkertoy/K’nex or Kid K’nex and they work with the Duplo legos.  I also discovered with a little searching that you can get bigger sets for a bit better price, they are called K’nex Education.

My very favorite thing about this set/sets is they are very sturdy and can actually be played with, no need to set the creations on a shelf!! They are great for building eye & hand coordination, and encourage skill building and trouble shooting.

See Reese and his latest “big Rig” creation here.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9K10u_J8rc 

Happy Creating!!

Dorcas For #thedelightfulcottage

Disclaimer for Affiliate links!    The links in my posts are links to items or articles I personally use and want to share. These items are not paid advertisement, I do get a bit of a percentage if you purchase through my links. The proceeds gained from the affiliate links help support my blog and our family on our adventure west.

Triple F Salad – Fast Frozen Fruit

If you know me in real life, you know that I don’t consider myself a foodie! You also know, if you know me in real life, I do like healthy food. I am also a fan of quick and easy!! I know those three things are not really compatible!! Although once in a while I stumble across a new way to do something that does actually fit all three,

Like my creation of 3F Salad!! Fast Frozen Fruit Salad is a big hit at our house and we almost always have some handy in the freezer.

See a Quick Demo here!! 3F Salad

Dorcas for #thedelightfulcottage

Ingredient list

Water, 3 cans of fruit cocktail, 1 can of crushed pineapple, 1 can of frozen orange juice concentrate, 2-4 bananas.

 

Disclaimer for Affiliate links!    The links in my posts are links to items or articles I personally use and want to share. These items are not paid advertisement, I do get a small  percentage if you purchase or click through my links. The proceeds gained from the affiliate links help support my blog and our family on our adventure west.

 

 

Same old, same old story!

We live in a camper and work on a harvest crew!! Sounds so cool and adventurous.

Harvest 2017 Camper train

Well I’m here to inform you it is the same old, same old story!!

There is still dishes, laundry, parenting, school work, parenting, cleaning, parenting, grocery shopping, laundry, entertaining children, … you get the picture! And you get to do all of it in a space the size of a storage unit.

Walk through it with me here

The new part of the old story is, when you live in a tiny house on wheels, there is less of the cleaning and more family togetherness and skill learning.

Family togetherness is all fun and games till you realize not everyone fits on the couch! But it has been good to learn to respect others personal space and privacy even in the small ways.

Three boys on the couch.
Close Neighbors
School under the awning

There are also lots of opportunities for teaching new skills like how to wash dishes in a small space, or take a bath without getting water on the floor, correct procedure for stabilizing the camper, helping check laundry (running over to the laundry room), and to never leaving an empty ice tray!

Dishes With a smile.
Filling Ice trays

New skills for mom also include, drying laundry on the awning edge to save money, cooking in my instant-pot, learning to dump the black tank (sewer), Cooking portable meals, and navigating small towns (thank goodness GPS knows where the P.O. is). My least favorite new skill is refrigerator Tetras.

All in all I’d say that the new part, of the old story, is mostly positive and is allowing for new growth in many areas of our family.

Dorcas For the Heatwole Clan

#thedelightfulcottage #wheatharvest17 #harvest2017

The Delightful Cottage

 

 

 

Texas is Different

Well we are in Texas folks!! We are learning to embrace the differences and to be grateful for the new experiences.

Big Tex

There are many differences like  Higher speed limits, More space, Straighter roads, Dryer climate, Laid back natives, and Unique wildlife, Oh and lots of trucks … trucks of all sizes and styles!!

I have lots of pictures to share, So I’ll let them do the talking.

Checking out Dad’s truck.
Dad headed out to the first Farm.
Wild FLowers
Laundry room Guard
High & Dry
Unique Wildlife
Canyon Scrub brush
Copper breaks state park
River through the canyon at sunset
Wind farms
Cacti Flowers
Texas Longhorn steers This Guy was 22 yrs old.
Texas Longhorn Steer

 

Wheat Harvest in Progress
Supper in the field
A rainy day view from my Front door.

Thanks for Visiting and enjoying a glimpse into our lives.

Dorcas for The Delightful Cottage.

If you would like to read more about our adventure, you may find this post interesting.

Big Changes = Family Adventures!

Sunset
Changes on the Horizon

Change Ahead

There are times in life were you look ahead and see a big fork in the road.

I feel like that time is approaching for our family.  One side of the fork is the comfortable and normal life we are use to, and the other side of the fork is a Family adventure, We have chosen to take the path of adventure!

New Path

We are looking forward to becoming part of a harvest crew this spring.   Crabtree Harvesting  has hired us for the 2017 season! They travel as a family and serve the Lord with their harvesting crew!

We will travel with the crew from May till Nov. Josten will be continuing what he does here,  driving truck but it will be hauling grain. The rest of the family is going to travel along, we will help with various things such as cooking and parts pick-up as needed.

This family adventure is going to cause another family adventure to start, one that I can’t say I am as excited about . We will officially become a Home-schooling family! Well, Road Schooling might be more appropriate!

So the crazy begins!

I must start collecting boxes again, I really do not like boxes. Boxes signify a lot of work to be done!  We will be having a massive yard sale in about 2 weeks and this will help finish out our camper fund.  I am going through the house room by room and deciding what we actually really need. I have already started a pile of tupperware, clothing, kitchen stuff, etc for this yard sale!  We just rent the house we are living in, so that means packing to move out of it. I do not enjoy this process called “packing”! This time I am going to do what I have threatened to do the 12 other times we moved, I am selling 90% of our stuff!

We are planning to keep the very basics of household stuff to stock the camper, essential clothing, and of course things like bikes and rip-sticks (aff. link). There are only a few pieces of furniture that have sentimental value and we will need to find a spot to store those, as well as basic canning supplies, tools, and china.

Currently we are camper shopping, oh that is a big job! We know what features are needed to make it user friendly for us, but finding those features in our budget is proving hard. Hopefully in the next week or so we will be able to locate a camper in our budget. I am really hoping to have it here for a couple weeks before we leave so we can pack it and do any needed maintenance. Time is counting down!

I’m hoping to do a small series of posts on the packing process, and then also use the blog to follow our trip west! Please feel free to follow our journey.

Dorcas for the Heatwole clan. #Harvest2017

Disclaimer for Affiliate links!    The links in my posts are links to items or articles I personally use and want to share. These items are not paid advertisement, I do get a bit of a percentage if you purchase through my links. The proceeds gained from the affiliate links help support my blog and our family on our adventure west.

 

 

Food boys hate, & a Cleaner Fridge!

Food my Boys Hate!

Help me out, am I the only mom who buys good food to fill the fridge for her family, only to find out they hate it? We eat a lot of yogert, or at least we use to! I have had a stash of it in the fridge for a while (way to long)! I would ask the boys during lunch packing “who wants yogert?” and they responded with gagging noises!!! This mama is fed up. So I started thinking, how can I use this all up?

A Cleaner Fridge.

I pulled all the yogurt cups  out of the fridge and emptied them into a large measuring cup. It was 8+ cups of yogurt!!! Now I have an empty clean fridge drawer to refill, not with yogurt tho!

I pulled a bag of frozen strawberries out of the freezer, some milk, protein powder, a bit of super sweet and the vanilla. We are going to have Strawberry Grande smoothies for supper. I split the strawberries into 5 sections and blended them ,one chunk at a time, with the milk and sweetener and protein powder. After that was blended, I topped of the blender with yogurt and a splash of vanilla. It made 4 huge beer mugs of smoothie with enough left for a refill.  I then pulled out my stove top popcorn popper and popped a Mega bowl full of popcorn topped with nutritional yeast and Himalayan pink salt.

What foods does your family refuse to eat? Have you discovered unique ways to use this food?

Dory ~ Copilot for The Delightful Cottage

 

Do you have the Homesteaders itch!

homesteaders
Sunset on another day!

It is a gorgeous February day here on our makeshift homestead! The breeze is warm and just strong enough to make my wind chime sing, I can hear it through my open windows. The sun is shining off my little fish pond and the chickens are scratching in the dormant garden while the goats lay in the pasture enjoying the pleasant warmth!! I wish I had a good excuse to go out and get my fingers dirty!

I love to work outside in my flowerbeds or garden. There is just something about plants that draw me in!! Bulbs & saved seeds, the idea for a new flowerbed, free mulch waiting to be used, these are my weaknesses!

But I can’t do that, there is no good reason to get my hands dirty! We are renters, renting a very small piece of property! I have tried for 2 years to grow a garden in the only available area on the property, but I have concluded that is will not happen this spring! There is just to many things that are not in the favor of that spot being a garden. I also came to the conclusion that spending money on these flowerbeds will not happen either this spring. It is just not one of the good uses of our time and resources. Oh, this is one of those moments where it is not fun to be an adult.

The Homesteaders Itch

I think this is why the homesteaders itch has bit us so bad. I look out my windows and see 12 or more neighbors houses. We need Space! I don’t need a big house, a cozy one with lots of windows and wood heat will fit the bill! My guys would be in heaven if they had a nice shop to work in, (diesels & oil & wrenches, oh my) when the weather wasn’t nice.The boys could enjoy a long driveway for bike riding, and go-carting!  It all comes back to the fact that we are really very country at heart and we need space to spread our wings and our roots!

The Dream.

In my daydreams I have the space for a full size vegetable and herb garden irrigated from rain barrels and mulched “Back to Eden” style! Space to plant lots of flower beds with perennials for cutting. A real  honest to goodness hen house. I dream of  pastures for beef, goats, chickens, turkeys, pork and maybe even enough land to grow our own hay! A small orchard and vineyard would be planted, and we could take up beekeeping!  I most certainly would have a greenhouse, built with the windows I have been saving for almost 4 years! In my dreams the property would be full of wildlife and my boys could have plenty of good experiences with hunting and exploring.

The Reality

I sit here on this beautiful winter day and wonder what it will take to finally become homesteaders! We are grappling with the decision right now of what the best way is to become homesteaders. Would renting a farm be a good choice, or just buying a couple acres and renting the rest? What about the best area to buy/rent? What would we do for income till the land supported us? Are we crazy or just completely batty? It is a hard job to just keep waiting, I work better with a goal or deadline in sight! Reality is that we are not wealthy and we do not have enough of a nest egg to just strike out and see what happens. This dream needs to have money to power it! I know that it will be even more intense work for all of us, but we can do it. Hard work does not scare us, bring it on! We are ready for this challenge!

What About You?

Property owners, oh those words are music to my ears. Do you have the homesteading itch?  Are you looking for ways to get back to your roots? What have you done, or are you doing to scratch it? What ways have you found to finance your way of life?

Dory~Copilot for The Delightful Cottage.

Am I a Homesteader?

Am I a homesteader?

I am a bit of a homesteading junkie! I love the term homesteader, it seams so steady and current. So I ask you, and myself, what does one need to do to “be a homesteader”? What kind of property must you own? Do you have to own livestock or chickens?  Oh wait, maybe I already am, I have goats & chickens! Must you grow all your food? Well than count me out! I decided to check for an official definition to answer this question!

The Definition of a Homesteader.

Lets start with what a homestead is,

homestead

A homestead is a house and surrounding land owned by a family — often, it includes a farmhouse.

Most people have homes, but not everyone has a homestead: that means your family owns more than a house. The homestead often consists of a farmhouse and land devoted to crops or animals. You’ll find a lot more homesteads in rural areas than in cities. Often, a homestead is passed down from parents to children for generations. 

What is a Homesteader? A homesteader is a person or family who occupies a homestead! So by definition to be a homesteader you must own a homestead.

I guess I have answered my own question, I am not an official homesteader. I have animals but they do not provide me with income or food (lazy chickens). I do not own the property or the house.

homesteader mini moments
Moments in nature at TDC

So how do I become a homesteader?  I must be a property owner, of property that can support my family with food from gardens and land enough to raise some type of animal for income and food!

Why would I want to become a homesteader? Oh I can give you reasons all day. Where do I start? I guess a little background on us might help you understand why we want this. We both come from families that are culturally country folk, no city living here. My husband grew up on a working dairy farm. He grew up milking cows, feeding calves, driving tractor and 4-wheelers. There was no lack of things to do.  I grew up upstate NY and spent many hours helping with dairy cows on my paternal grandparents farm or beef cows on my maternal grandparents farm. If we were not on my grandparents farm then we were likely stacking wood for one of my dads firewood customers, or weeding the acre of garden or playing in the stream or in our forest hideouts.

We want our boys to have that life. The chance to experience the hard rewarding work of animal care or harvesting a crop.  The realization of were food comes from and how much work it takes to get it! To grow in their realization that God is an awesome creator to have created all this and blessed us with earth to care for.

We want this life because we really want to grow more, much more, of our own food.  Vegetables & fruit for our own use and possible to sell would be a dream come true. Raising animals for our own meat and also to sell would be wonderful as well! We are working towards this big dream.

“A Goal is just a dream with work boots on” Dave Ramsey

How about you? Are you a real honest to goodness homesteader? Or are you with me, wish and working towards that goal of being a homesteader?

Dory ~ Copilot here at The Delightful Cottage.

3 ways to keep boys busy!

Boys at play

Y’all know the challenge of keeping boys busy. It is a sun-up to sun-down job!  It must be done, this is the only way to retain a sense of sanity and peace.

Boys are men in the making….take a  look around you at the good, full-grown, income producing, contributing, males in your life…. they are busy by choice! There are many ways to be busy, maybe it is mental and maybe its physical.

I have found for me, as a mom of all boys, that I must encourage them daily to stay busy! There is a lot less time for fighting and bickering and straight-up mischief! Here are three ways I use here at my house.

#1 SCHEDULED RESPONSIBILITY

I know, I know, I am one of the last people you expected that from, but stay with me a minute! I have very very simple schedules for the requirements around the house and the time slots they need to be accomplished in. This is only changed up about once a year.

By having this simple chore schedule there is no question who does what! I require these chores be finished before they are allowed extended screen-time. They are also responsible to empty their lunch bags after school (ice packs back in freezer, dirty dishes in sink, lunch cooler wiped out and stored correctly) as well as putting their own laundry away sometime during the evening.

Example: A simple schedule of the household chores they are responsible for, and who cares for what animals. Glenn does the kitchen on Tue Thur & Fri, The living-room on Mon. & Wed. and feeds the chickens morning and eve, Wyatt  Does those same Jobs on the opposing days  and he feeds the goats morning and eve. Reese is still in the chore learning stage but I assign him something each day (vacuum a specific area, line up shoes, shake out rugs, empty silverware) and he is responsible to feed & water the dog morning and eve.

Sweeping the floor while listening to music.

#2 Hobbies (an activity that is enjoyed more than once)

Hobbies are very important in any child’s development and should be encouraged. I also see this as a good time for them to work together with other siblings, or this may also be a good time to encourage independent play time!

EXAMPLE: Paper air planes were a big big deal here for Wyatt & Reese for several weeks. They worked together to perfect the craft and make the “best paper airplanes in the state”! Glenn is collecting the supplies right now to make knife and flashlight cases out of Kydex. These hobbies do not require a lot of parental assistance but provide hours of busyness that is productive and skill building.

Some other Ideas: Strategy Games, Puzzles, Lego’s, Good books,

#3 PHYSICAL ACTIVITY

As I mentioned above, boys are men in the making! There are few men who don’t enjoy physical activity of some type. It might be hiking or hunting, sports, weight lifting, running or working around their property. Boys need this as well, and it is a very important developmental issue especially for boys.

EXAMPLE: Put up a hoop so they can shoot baskets, Bikes to ride, a football, a set of 5lb dumbbells, a soccer ball and a net to kick into, the ideas are endless! Right now at TDC, basketball is the activity of choice, although Reese & Wyatt are also in a running challenge, they run around the outside of the house after school and see who can put in the most laps before they give up!

Boys enjoy things like riding their bikes over ramps, maintaining their bikes, working on small engines, Rip sticking in the garage, Throwing softball or football to each other.  Here at TDC they like to go and explore/hike the overgrown pasture behind our house.

I also have the boys help me with most of the physical jobs around the house such as mowing, power washing, weed-eating, washing the SUV & truck,  animal care (trimming goat hooves, cleaning out the chicken house, fencing issues) trimming bushes, and even mulching & weeding the garden & flower beds.

Small Engine Repair

One thing I will point out tho is, if you don’t have someone for your young man to play with, you may need to go out and catch the football or at least be a spectator/cheerleader. It is a good thing to show them that we value the activity, plus the fact that boys (and men) thrive on competition. Last Sunday the boys were all out together shooting hoops, and they called me out to tell me how far they had shot and made the basket. It doesn’t take much to let them know we value them!

And in the spirit of real life and honesty, these are our goals and they happen regularly but not absolutely always. I do find tho that we function well in this plan.

What are your favorite ways to keep your boys busy?

Go out and parent your children with confidence, this is love in its true form. You can do it!!

Dory ~ The Co-pilot of  The Delightful Cottage!