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Keeping With The Classics… Gifting The Outdoorsman And The Indoors-Woman

If I had to guess I’d say the majority of men could be perfectly happy with a new pocket knife or the perfect pair of work gloves and us ladies, we’ll welcome anything soft and pretty our way.  I wanted to share a couple of great new brands I’ve discovered this year with you and encourage you to support their missions both big and small.  These brands offer the best classics for outdoorsman and some pretty special treats for us girls too!

A top choice is the amazing huckberry.  There are so many reasons to love huckberry for gifting that man in your life.  They believe in getting outside and making adventures happen!  Their motto, “see you out there” makes me smile everytime.  You know how much I belieive in making the most of everyday and living for the moments.  So I love to encourage that in my man’s life too!  He gets such good energy from his outdoor hobbies and I love shopping for things for him that inspire those adventures.  Huckberry recently launched more women’s items as well as a children’s line too!

Another favorite is a local business from my hometown called Riverside Cap Co.  They have a heart for representing our beautiful ozark heritage and providing inspiring gear for the great outdoors.  We have been wearing their pieces like crazy because they are so special to us and the quality is perfect too!

Head over to these shops to find just the right thing for you and your man this holiday season.  So much to choose from for the outdoorsman or the indoors-woman;) 

the pieces we love lately are in the photos below… 

hat – riverside 

shirt – riverside 

Lessons From Our First Chapter of Homeschooling

Wrapping up this first season of homeschooling feels good.  It has flown by and I can think of so many things that I wish I would have done, or could have done better.  However, in the end, I’m just thankful for the opportunity we’ve had to try it out, for the grace of learning as we go, and for the time I’ve had to focus on my children.  I’m mostly excited I’ve had the chance to think long and hard about what I hope to develop in them through this process.

I’m sure that our rhythm will change bit by bit each season but there are definitely some key pieces that bring fruit and growth to our days, and I can see development for the better.  These are the things that I plan to continue on with in the next quarter.  These are things that can be done as a homeschooling family or a typical schooling family.  I was interested in homeschooling for two years before we dove into it and I enjoyed integrating a few of these values in even when my children attended public school.  You can always adapt things into your lifestyle if they’re important to you.

The hardest part about starting homeschool has been discovering so many new ideas and inspirations all the time.  There are so many resources that it can be overwhelming to try them all.  I’ve learned to start small and choose what fits our family.  I don’t try to do it all.  I try to choose what interests our family and go from there.  I thought I’d share the things we’ve done throughout this quarter that I’m really happy with and hope to grow more in.

I thought it might be easiest to see how I implement the things that we value and what it looks like in our day to day by showing our daily rhythm.  Our rhythm is super basic… I operate best this way, too many expectations make me crazy!!!  It doesn’t always flow this perfectly but this helps us keep on track and touch all the areas of need.  These are the priorities we feel best align with our vision at this time.  Our children are pre-k, first, and third grade levels.

Our Rhythm:

 

6-9 GOOD HABITS

(this time is for waking up, reading some bible, praying, planning and talking about our day/week/month, exercising, getting ready for the day, doing chores, and eating breakfast)

 

9-11 COLLECTIVE… CONSUME + CREATE

(this time is for math + reading, and writing)

 

11-1 OUTDOORS + FREE PLAY

(this time is also used for community activities on some days)

 

1-3 COLLECTIVE… CONSUME + CREATE

(this time is for art, handcrafts, and music + reading alone)

 

3-5 OUTDOORS + FREE PLAY

(this time is also used for community activities on some days)

 

5-8 GOOD HABITS

(this time is for eating supper, doing chores, getting ready for the night, stretching, reviewing and talking about our day/week/month, praying, singing some hymns, lullabies, or seasonal songs, and laying down)

About good habits…

I hope to give some perspective by sharing how highly we value good habits in the day and teaching and training our children to care for themselves and develop a strong sense of ownership in their day and life.  It was something I have always strived for even before homeschooling and believe can be done to a worthy degree even on a limited time frame like when public schooling.  I will say I struggled more with it then, because time was of the essence so much, but I think if you believe in it enough, it can be improved on even with the time constraints of heading off to school.  It can be adjusted and tweaked as needed to still achieve the goal.

We read bible stories from the Egermeier’s Bible and sing from an old hymnal we have that’s been handed down in our family.  The kids usually can get ready, make beds and do their exercising or stretching on their own. I put in the time in the beginning to train them as well as address it when needed throughout.  We typically make our meals together and do the daily chores together as well like dishes, laundry, plants, animals, sweeping and taking out the trash.

About collective…

Collective is what I use as the heart of our learning and experiences.  I’m a big believer in the create and consume philosophy and that there needs to be a rhythm in ones input and output.  I have applied this idea, as well as not applied it, and applying it just flows so much better, especially with children!  You can get so much more out of them when this is done well.

My planning is pretty simple.  I only have to prepare for the two collective times essentially.  I listen to the children’s interests as well as align learning with the seasons.   I plan block studies or some would say topic studies based on interest or season.  These last anywhere from 2-4 weeks typically.

In the morning I try to conquer the things that require more concentration and a fresh brain.  For reading, which includes social studies and science, I select 4-12 books per week (that’s 1-3 a day) depending on the length of the stories… we only school 4 days a week… I get most of my book inspiration online via ambleside and beautiful feet books.  I also love Jodi Mockabee’s book list from her new line of schoolhouse curiousities.  I will check what I can out at the library, purchase new books, and use many books from the collection we already have.  For writing, I choose a quote and a poem for each topic of study and the children practice memorization, penmanship, and grammar by completing copy work of the selected piece.  We use the method of notebooking to practice many more writing skills.  Notebooking is also my favorite way to document the children’s learning!  It has so many positive offerings, I can’t even begin to discuss them all!!!  So far, we have used math mammoth to help us stay on track with grade level math skills.

In the afternoon we are more relaxed and enjoy some type of hands on learning or experience.  I use the wild and free handcrafts book as a resource for making something interesting and meaningful with our topic.  I use art supplies that Jodi Mockabee lists in her note booking section of schoolhouse curiosities for our art efforts, and I use my playlists or pandora to introduce the kids to good music as we create.  They also play the dulcimer, zylophone, and harmonica some as they please.

About outdoor/free play…

A huge part of our vision was to allow the kids more time to enjoy the outdoors, use their imagination, and explore together.  The children get quite a bit of free play and outdoor time each day and to some it may seem too much.  Through my experience as an educator and with the research I’ve discovered it has become quite clear that the children can achieve a lot in a small amount of time that is focused and aided with my undivided attention.  If the child is ready they can learn in a short period of time.

That being said, the kids are able to be successful and get their work done leaving them with more free time.  Free time to wonder and explore is also where they learn.  Just like us, their free time is needed for their best production and often inspires their best production.

(A note referencing our community activities:  We are an athletic family and the children are involved in seasonal sports activities as well as private gym lessons and horse riding.  Sometimes  we are active in the evenings with these things too which influence our night time habits.  Our night time habits have to ebb and flow a bit with the seasons.  We also participate in a community group with other homeschooled children once a week.  I hope to include some type of music training one day but that will depend upon the interest I suppose.)

An Important Part…

I also thought it important to share my process for documenting our journey.  I use a small journal to write down a thing or two about our rhythm each day.  Mainly I note what was accomplished or not accomplished in each section of the day.  this is were I keep track of our state requirement of a time log.  I then use that to look back on when I journal about the kids individually once a week.  I have a separate field note journal for each child where I write something they did well, something that needs work, and something that has sparked their interest (also called a learning thread).  This is what helps me so much as I evaluate our progress and plan for upcoming learning.  I will try to elaborate more on this in a future post because it is truly vital!

One Last Thing…

The reason I believe in sharing this is to record our journey but not only that.  I know that every mother wants to help their child be their best possible.  I don’t believe that homeschooling is for everyone.  In fact, I would advise most parents who are considering it to check their heart good before committing to it as it takes a lot of grit.  I’ve found that you really have to want to do it in order to stick with it and to find success as with most things.  That being said, I truly believe that learning starts in the home and the first teacher is the parent.  It’s so easy to get busy and lose track of what you are doing with your child to develop them, but take the time to consider it.  You may be doing exactly what’s right for you and your family right now.  However, there could be some things that need some work still too?  It’s always good to assess things periodically and take some time to look at reality and address the areas that need attention.  If there’s an area that needs help try one of the ideas I’ve listed or search some ideas up.  I broke it down into different sections of the day so that if there is an area you need some inspiration or ideas for you could start by looking at that section in our rhythm.  I’m going to continue to do this each quarter as we go because it really helps me get a good picture of the place we’re in and the direction we’re going.  I hope it might be enlightening and give you a fresh idea of something to try as well.  If you have any questions please leave me a comment below and I’ll reply with my best answer.  

Best wishes to you and your child this school year!

Live for the most,

xx Kasey

 

 

 

Forest Table Feast

At Thanksgiving I host my husbands side of the family and since I’ve never been able to afford to purchase all the beautiful settings all at once, I started simple and made it tradition to add one nice thing to the table scape each year.  I hold myself to it and allow myself some room for creativity to come up with the other odds and ends as I go…  This year I was able to add some gorgeous glasses to the setting.  I love a little lux and lavish for Thanksgiving, but I’m also typically very simple and drawn to natural elements so to keep things toned down I went on a nature outing with the kids and found some greenery to tie into the look.  Bringing the outdoors in is always my go to just because it pleases all the senses so well.  The sight, smell, and feel of the real deal is so priceless and invited on a budget any day!  Hope this gives you a fresh idea and some inspiration for your next feast!

live for the most, 

xx

Festive Favorites For The Holidays

For the festive season I’ve included some of my favorite looks that dress it up a bit.  I’ve included my favorites from this season, but my main goal is to give some ideas for timeless pieces that you want in your wardrobe for the holidays!!  I try to purchase a few things each season to update or replace things in my closet and here’s a peek at what’s catching my eye.

Fall Traditions

The magic of the corn maze.  Each year we plan a fun family day at our local pumpkin patch/corn maze and each year we come and go with sweet memories made.

This particular  year we went at dusk which was so beautiful to watch the sunset behind the big red barn.  We played and laughed and snuggled close with hot cocoa as it cooled off down in the valley.

Family traditions are so close to my heart.  Growing up, my mom and dad made the small things special and I have so many cherished memories from it.  I leave you with a beautiful quote about living for the most and making memories and the most of each day.  It’s by the beloved Mark train who is a fellow Missourian.  He said…

Life is short, break the rules, forgive quickly, kiss slowly, love truly, laugh uncontrollably, and never regret anything that made you smile.  Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did.  So throw off the bow lines.  Sail away from the safe harbor.  Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

Go live life.

xx kc

Creating Culture

I’ve been wanting to write on culture for a while now, but I keep feeling like it’s something I’m still not good at…  Is it something we must strive for or is it the people we already are?

To me culture is what we represent as well as who we are becoming.  It’s ever evolving…  right?  There’s a lot of talk on culture out there and it seems a buzz word lately, so it’s had me thinking.  Obviously culture can be discussed on a large scale or a small one, but I tend to gravitate towards the smaller concept of family or community culture since that’s the main responsibility present in my life, and one worth talking about in most people’s lives.

It’s so important to be thinking about culture in our daily lives because it matters, and big time!  You have the ability to create a thriving culture around you.  It’s about who we are and what we are passing on.  It’s goes much deeper than our values.  It’s what we do, how we act, and it’s ultimately a feeling or representation of our character that’s given to others.

When I think of the culture I pass on, I am mostly embarrassed.  How many times do I fail at showing good culture in the day to day?  A lot.  I want my culture to represent positivity and be life giving, but it typically doesn’t look that way.  It’s usually selfish and life stealing rather.  Sure, I have my moments of glory, but those are too few to keep track of.  What stands out, are those flawed moments I need to grow through.  It’s actually those exact moments though, that can be used in our culture, as our culture.

As I’ve started focusing on creating good culture in our home and being more intentional with it, I believe the only way to teach it is through our own character as we experience our individual journeys.  To show those around us who we are with our imperfections through humility, as well as who we strive to become with integrity and honor.  If we can do this, we have the magic.

Our humanity is our culture.  We must be able to rise above our own afflictions and while doing so be vulnerable enough to share those times, whether good or bad with others.  That’s where the heart of culture is.  People around us don’t expect us to never go through bad times.  Be open enough to let people walk with you and ask for help as you go.  I believe that is the true magic of culture.  And that is how we learn to be better and teach others from our lessons learned as well.  I now understand that old saying about honesty and hard work.  That’s really all it takes to be successful.  Be honest and work hard to do your best.  This simple theory is all you need to influence others and motivate a positive culture.  Will it always look perfect and run smoothly, no.  Will it always demand respect and admiration, yes.

I’m learning that in my own family, friendships, and community, you don’t have to have it all figured out to create a good culture.  A good culture is created in the presence of figuring it out.  It just takes an openness to learning, the ability to work hard at it, and the vulnerability to be kind and humble through the process. What kind of culture are you creating?  Remember to include laughter!  Good culture requires the ability to laugh at yourself also…  and often!  Accept grace and go get em!

If we want to see change in the world, it has to start small, with us.  An individual can change a family, a family can influence a community, a community can impact the greater and on and on.

Live For The Most,

xx kc

 

 

That Homemade Touch… What Kind Of Artisan Are You?

Take a minute to close your eyes and walk through the best home you’ve ever had the pleasure of stepping foot in.  What did it smell like?  How did it make you feel?  Why did you love it?  

If you put any time into this at all congratulations!  You’ve given yourself the warm and fuzzies!  Most importantly though, you’ve realized that the place you love the most wasn’t an empty shell from a high end magazine article.  Rather, it was a place with lots of character, depth, and soul.  A place that had warmth because of it’s imperfections in all of it’s hand spun glory.  

The more I get into design and use my eye to look at what draws me in, the more I see original creations.  When I scour pinterest looking for style ideas, the images I adore are the ones that aren’t cookie cutter.  They are the ones with significance and some type of craftsmanship.  Whether it’s a custom tile shower, or an arched wooden entrance; a unique chandelier, or a hodge podge of artisan layered rugs.  I notice that homemade touch.  

The best places have a little something that makes things interesting.  That tells some kind of story about the history and background.  

As I’ve begun homeschooling my children I’ve been introduced to handcrafts.  Handcrafts are a skill you develop yourself at using your hands to create something useful or of value.  Handcrafts have many positive benefits outside of producing an end result, but the obvious is the art of making something and getting better at it as you practice.  Handcrafts date back to a time when people developed themselves at a trade and made their living from what their said skill was.  It is the art of artisanship.  

Once I made this connection with handcraft, I fell in love with it!  I use to think of crafting as busy and meaningless work, like knitting for example.  Something that bored me and seemed to simply pass time with no real grand product.  That was just my perspective though because I didn’t enjoy the craft of knitting and didn’t have much use for its end product.  What I’ve learned is you have to find your own handcraft.  You have to figure out what end product you appreciate!  It could be woodworking, jewelry making, sign painting… the list goes on forever!  What is enjoyeable specifically to you!  What would make you feel alive and happy making?  What could you be proud of and satisfied with?  What is your special trade?

It may take some time to play around with ideas and figure out, but start with something your unsatisfied with in your own home.  What is something you haven’t found the right fit for?  It doesn’t even have to be a household object?  Maybe it’s something you wear, or use?  What could you try to make to suit a need that isn’t being met?   

In our home, I started in the children’s rooms.  Since my hope is to introduce them to the idea behind handcraft and get them strewing about what they might like to create and develop artistically, I wanted to make something meaningful and noticeable to them, something they’d appreciate to get them thinking on the kind of things that they appreciate!  

Dakota’s room has been shifting from little girl to big girl, so we decided to take down her fancy princess canopy and make something unique to her that could hang above her bed.    Since she loves nature we found some driftwood on our creek bank and we tried our hand at creating a homemade mobile that adds a more natural character to her room.  

The boys were more focused on something they could use and keep in their room.  They decided they wanted to own pocket knives and learn how to be handy with them.  They have begun practicing the rules and care of knives along with some whittling basics.   

Hopefully, you will put some thought into what you might create by hand for your home.  Who knows, maybe you will even discover a gift or idea worth developing and selling!

What kind of artisan are you?

 xx kc

 

How To Handle The Ups And Downs

Raise your hand if you are facing a hardship.  Now raise your hand if you have overcome one before.  Now raise your hand if you have the answer about staying on the upside all time.  

Well, well, well, news flash!  Life is all about ups and downs.  Right?  

Okay sorry for that rash opening, but it is truth.  It’s life, it’s normal.  We are not alone going through a bunch of unexpected and uncontrollable twists and curves.  Each individuals journey is jammed pack with highs and lows and those peaks and valleys are a part of our life to teach us how to live.  They are in fact good for us! 

The sooner one accepts this the sooner they can start responding to it.  That’s the key, how we choose to respond.  

It’s a difficult path to walk… our own life path.  It’s not like anyone else’s.  It’s constantly new territory that we’re exploring and discovering.  It’s constant questioning, reflecting, adjusting, and planning.   It’s easy to look at other’s and wish we had it as easy, or on the flip side, be thankful it’s not as rough.  Either way,  at some point we will be glad when things are good or we will also at some point, be trying to figure out how things got so bad.  We can of course be looking to our pupils and those who’ve gone before us to glean wisdom from their experiences, but inevitably we all must face our own path.  We must at some point comprehend and attain a vision for how to handle the ups and downs were dealt.  

The good news is there is always something we can do about the place we find ourselves.  Here are a few steps to consider through the ups and downs.  

  • Recognize – Take a sec to soak it up and gain some perspective.  Recognize what has happened whether it’s a high or low and how you found yourself there.  Did you make a good choice or a poor one?  Was it a series of choices?

  • Remind – Remember what you believe in.  What values helped you or hurt you?  Decide good from bad and either repeat or retreat.

  • Refocus – Whether you are on a peak or in a valley time isn’t going to stop yet.  You have to continue on.  Quiting isn’t an option.  Think about the next best thing you can start doing right away and get busy.  No one ever climbed a mountain or sustained the victory by being stagnant.  The only option is to move forward.  

I completely understand that these steps seem quite simple.  However, if you’ve lived long enough, you understand they are much easier said than done.  We can never get too good at this.  The more we live and learn about, the more challenges we face.  Life is about learning.  That is the real lesson to accept.  The ups and downs are simply things we haven’t learned about verses things we have.  

What are you experiencing?  A high, a low, a lull even?  What are you going to do about it?  

I hope you choose to learn, grow stronger, become better and  “Live For The Most”

xx kc 

 

Braving The W I L D… Why Camping With Kids Is Worth It

It all started when we went camping on a whim this past summer.  We loaded up last minute and headed for the W I L D.  We were craving some unexpected and that’s just what we got!  

We were surprised to discover that camping really isn’t that hard.  In fact, it’s pretty free and easy.  We realized that it’s actually the perfect entertainment for young families.  Our kids were amazingly happy and well behaved… their little senses took it all in and they stayed busier than anything we could have possibly planned.  Pure heaven for us too!  Something about a breath of fresh air and a place to be W I L D + F R E E.  

A few things to remember are bikes, books, and a big ice cooler!  If you stay at a state park, they have amenities as well as fun seasonal activities to do.  We have camped at parks, private sites, and even in the wilderness of our own property at home.  

We have a list going of supplies we want to purchase including a bigger tent (we need some growing room.)  We believe that braving the wild is the best way we can travel with our kids during this season so we plan to explore much more!  We’d love to know tips and advice from family campers.  Where are your favorite places to visit?  What are your favorite ideas to do?

The photos below are from Devil’s Den in Arkansas.  The park had some fun and engaging activities that we really enjoyed.  I didn’t include many photos of them because we were so in the moment, but we played a community ball game with all the other families in the site.  We observed and listened to bats over the lake at night by sonar, and  we learned about reptiles in the park and got to watch them eat their prey!  The boys loved this one of course…

Here’s to new adventures and braving the W I L D!

Live For The Most,

KC  

Details and Dainty Jewels… Finding The Perfect Pieces

As I’m going through my closet this week trying to transition to fall, I have been looking at the gaps and taking note of the things I need to invest in for the upcoming season.  I really love a good basic collection and I typically stick to the basics, but after looking at my fall pinterest board, which I do when I need to remind myself how to own my style, I noticed that details make a huge difference.  A little something unique or bold needs to be a staple in your wardrobe, so get to thinkin what details you’re drawn to?  Need help?  Check out my pinterest board here for ideas and inspiration!  If you do decide on a great detailed piece opt for some dainty, less showy jewelry.  I’ve been training myself to invest in smaller pieces that can be worn with everything and I can wear every. single. day as with my wedding band.  Think signature jewelry.  My favs are on this board!

Happy Transitioning Loves!

xx kc 

These photos were taken at our visit to Big Cedar Lodge which you can read about here, but I went bold this summer and did the jumper thing… it got so many compliments and I surprisingly felt very timeless and womanly in it.  Don’t be afraid to try something new.  Sometimes those choices can become your favorites!  Also, the piece is from banana republic