27 Dec

Practicing Mindfulness When You Just Want To Cry

This year past year sucked. There is really no other way to describe it. Oh, I suppose I could take the higher road and admit that after this past year I am wiser and stronger as a human being. However, I am instead channeling my inner rebellious 15 year old self and calling it like it is at face value. When life throws so many curve balls at your head at one time, it becomes difficult to be an adult and take the lessons with a smile. I know there are people out there that have it way worse than my family does and I still have things to be thankful for. But every once in a while, just for general sanity, it helps to chalk things up with a label of “damn this sucks”.

Needless to say, I am seriously looking forward to 2015 being done and gone and being able to start a fresh new year. I have hope for things to be better. I know that it will take mindfulness to make it happen. To slow down and be able to analyze decisions before having to jump in with both feet. It is so easy to get tired of your current situation that you just want it to change and end up in a worse situation because of impatience. I feel that probably my biggest lesson of 2015 was that no matter how fast situations are thrown at you it is still important to stop and slow down. Otherwise, you simply get ran right over.

I know that in the coming year there will be difficulties. It is already setup to be completely devoid of rainbows and unicorns.  My mother is ill with cancer, which we found out about this past May. She has no options for treatment and so I know that things will undoubtedly progress and worsen. Our 100 year old home seems to be falling down around us and will have to be fixed. My husbands job, our only income, is less than stable and we live in an area where there are no jobs. These are things that will come to a head this upcoming year. These are things that I lose sleep over. But they do not define me. That is where practicing mindfulness comes in.

If you want things to be better, or be able to handle traumatic situations then you need to know who you are. You need to understand that character in your head that will allow you to either weather the storm or crumble into a heap of wreckage. I spent a bit of time in wreckage the past few months and it’s a space of total despair and gets you nowhere fast. While there is no easy button for dealing with end of life issues for a loved one, I figured out that being able to share inner strength will make a huge difference for you and them. The strength to sometimes step out of the situation and make decisions when necessary or the strength to sit and cry with them when necessary. You won’t find that strength if you don’t know who you are inside.  So with this in mind I plan to make the time to find peaceful moments to be reflective and intentional. Hopefully, I will come out of the next year with less wreckage and a better appreciation for the journey.

I hope, for all reading this, that you take every moment to breathe in everything you cherish. Find joy in the unexpected places. And last, but certainly not least, don’t wait to follow your dreams and decide what you do want to have define you. Life is short, live it before it’s gone.

23 Dec

My Favorite Tool For Teaching

As a homeschooling parent I am always on the lookout for new teaching tools that will allow me to help my kids really get what is being taught. Well, I’m happy to say that I discovered my favorite tool for teaching lessons! It’s so simple, it’s actually stupid! Well, I feel kind of stupid for not thinking of it like three years ago when we started homeschooling anyway. So, what is this miraculous thing I discovered? A whiteboard, about 4’x3′, hanging on the wall with a plethora of dry erase markers in various colors. That’s it? Yep, that’s it!

No matter what lesson we are doing, whether the boys are reading something or learning mathematical equations, I use the whiteboard to hash it out with them. And it gets intense!!! Homeschooling your children can be fun? Hell yes! They ask questions, I explain it on the board. We turn lessons into game shows. I draw silly little illustrations to show different ideas. They even get to write out ideas on the board. We have had the best conversations surrounding this board that hangs on the wall and only cost me about $16.00 at Walmart.

Lesson learned! Sometimes it isn’t the most expensive, complicated, hair tearing thing that will be the most effective tool in teaching your children. Actually, it’s quite the opposite. Keep it simple and keep it fun!!!

20 Dec

Lemon Geranium Body Butter

About two months ago I started as a student at the American College of Healthcare Sciences seeking a degree in complimentary alternative medicine. So far I absolutely love everything I am learning about aromatherapy and herbalism. Probably my favorite part has been the hands on projects and learning how to blend essential oils in a beneficial way. So, that is why I am going to share with you a creation that I came up with to not only beat the winter blues, but also, beat the winter flakiness. Skin flakiness, that is!

Now, you must be forwarned…geranium essential oil can quickly overpower if you’re not careful. The last thing you want is for your glorious body butter to end up making your eyes water because the aroma is too strong. That would be a mess.

Secondly, this body butter is specifically for super dry skin caused by cold weather. Don’t go slathering this on in the summertime or you’re going to end up looking like a greased pig chillin by the pool. Also, lemon essential oil can cause photosensitivity when worn in the sun for long periods of time. This means you could very rapidly end up with the worst sunburn of your life.  The greasy sunburned piggie look in not exactly in. So, don’t do it.

Lemon Geranium Body Butter
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Ingredients
  1. 1/3 cup Shea Butter
  2. 1/3 cup Beeswax
  3. 1/3 cup Coconut Oil
  4. 12 drops Geranium Essential Oil
  5. 15 drops Lemon Essential Oil
Instructions
  1. Place shea butter and beeswax in a pan over medium heat. Stir constantly until just melted.
  2. Place coconut oil in a medium bowl and get your hand mixer ready.
  3. Slowly pour the shea/beeswax mixture into the coconut oil beating with the hand mixer constantly.
  4. Beat for about 5 minutes or until it reaches a whipped cream consistency.
  5. Add in the essential oils and beat for 3 more minutes.
  6. Scrape your new body butter into a dark colored jar with a tight fitting lid.
  7. Store your body butter in a cool, dark place to prolong its shelf life.
The Rural Chick http://theruralchick.com/

 

05 Sep

A New Homeschool Year!

It’s that time of year again when we begin gathering our ideas for homeschooling. It’s an exciting and incredibly frustrating time! We have four little ones ages 2-10 to teach and while we love teaching them it can be a little nerve racking trying to find ideas and curriculum that will keep them engaged throughout the year. This year we are throwing our traditional textbooks and accompanying workbooks out the door! Gone will be the days of reading and filling in various hum drum pages. That’s old news. That’s what they do in “real” school as my kids refer to it. This is Homeschool, new and improved!

Maybe I’m behind the times with this decision. I have struggled with feeling adequate in our lesson plans for the past couple of years…I fear them falling behind their peers. However, this fear culminated in an absolute collapse of my confidence last year and mid year we put our two oldest boys in “real” school. Talk about a huge mistake. They were miserable. We were miserable. They started just in time to take the standardized tests for their grades and we were joyfully surprised when they tested at and above level with their peers. That was a pretty good confidence builder. We were grateful for that information to just know that in reality we really are doing a pretty darn bang up job with teaching them at home. We were also very grateful to realize that we are a homeschooling family through and through and no societal pressures will ever change that.

So, this year our approach is going to be a combination of the basics along with a bit of self led learning. I feel like we really have no reason to be dropping hundreds of dollars per kid on curriculum every year when we have so many amazing resources these days. Why spend hundreds to bore them to death?  I sat down with my two oldest boys and asked them what they wanted to learn this year. Novel idea, eh? My 10 year old, who is starting 5th grade, wants to learn Zoology and cooking. My 9 year old, who is starting 4th grade, wants to learn Chemistry and Robotics. This I can totally work with! Beyond these two things we will also work on math, literature, and history. I even have a bit of plan to sneak in some gardening and herbalism! My youngest son is 4 and will be learning to read and write his letters and numbers this year and whatever else he may find interesting. He is quite the little painter so I am sure we will be having many afternoons of free form art projects. My daughter is 2 and is currently working on potty training so she is going to focus on that. Hopefully she aces it….soon.

I think this has been the first year that I am not scared to death to make a mistake but rather wholeheartedly excited for what we will all learn together! I plan to share the tools, resources and projects we find along our journey this year so stay tuned! It’s going to be an awesome year!