Bartering; It’s a Beautiful Thing

One of the awesome things about having skills, and owning your own small businesses especially, is the ability to barter with other small businesses!  Michael and I have made some fantastic bartering agreements over the years, that have really made us feel like we got quite a deal. They have also enabled us to get more tasks accomplished sooner, than we otherwise would have been able to.

    Not sure exactly what bartering entails? Here is an official definition of the term:
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bar·ter
/ˈbärdər/
verb
gerund or present participle: bartering
  1. exchange (goods or services) for other goods or services without using money.
    “he often bartered a meal for drawings”

    synonyms: trade, swap, exchange, sell

    “they bartered grain for salt

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I bartered a few deals when I had my photography business running. Michael has bartered many great deals in his business, over the years. Michael works full time for our church now, but he still runs his own business on the side that started 15 years ago or so. He is a truck letterer and sign maker, and so the majority of his many client accounts are small local businesses; men with families they are trying to support. We always make an effort to support small business people, and do our part to help our own community thrive. We know many have done the same for us. Needless to say, Michael is tapped into a vast array of blue-collar trade services, and has known them all long enough to know who does the best work.

For example, Michael has exchanged his truck lettering or sign making services for [Read more…]

Let Us Eat Dessert!


Do you have dessert very often in your family?
There is no time that I have been more reminded that our time as one family under this roof is dissipating fast than when the six of us have been gathered around our table, having a meal together. As a mother, I just don’t want to ever let these days go. So meals together have been something we have always done, and it has always been important to my husband and I, and I believe to our children too. Though the meals have felt rather usual in our day-to-day routines as a family for years, I knew they were memories in the making. Instant treasured memories….the day one or more of those seats were empty, because life moved on.
Well, life moved on this year, when [Read more…]

The Kids’ Gardens

After intending to for far too long, I am finally sharing with you our kids’ little gardens, today!

All 4 of our kids help in our family gardens at some point or other through the gardening seasons; although some do with more joy and ambition than others. There is always some weeding, dead-heading flowers, or picking vegetables, that needs tending to. I do much of it myself, but sometimes I could use another pair of hands, and the company is nice sometimes, too.

But just prior to the gardening season in 2013, I pitched the idea to the kids, of having their very own little garden.
I explained that they could plant and grow whatever they wanted, but they were also responsible for keeping it up. That meant keeping it weeded, watered, dead-heading their own flowers, and generally tending to it with love.  Not only that, but after their father built the frame base, they had to be a team and prepare the bed themselves. They all loved the idea, and each have had their own little garden ever since!

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It may have been more work than they anticipated, that first year!  Because although we have had loam brought in by the truck full for our other garden beds, we had a perfectly good dirt pile next to the driveway that we didn’t really want there.  It had been overgrown with weeds and grass, though. Basically, it was less of a dirt pile any longer, and more like a grassy hill, riddled with rocks! So they did work hard, like a team. The boys dug the hill up, pulling and shaking out the grass and weed clumps, and putting shovel fulls earth onto the handmade screen on the wheel barrow.  The girls sifted the dirt through, to remove all of the rocks, and then wheeled the barrow over to the garden bed, and dumped the dirt in.

That was the less than fun part. But they made the most of it, and it was good and done for many years to come.
Now let’s look at their gardens, today…. [Read more…]

Photos from Around the Homestead – May, June, July 2015

*Hello Friends!  First, there are a whole bunch of photos to this post here, so you really need to NOT scroll, and just let them load for a minute. Therefore, you might as well just read this brief intro, if you are one who usually just looks at the pictures.  😉

About the title: I always use the term ‘homestead’. So just so you know, yes, we do understand that we do not technically live on a true homestead, by definition. But we still have taken to the word. We are simply referring to our home and the little tiny property we live on. We’re going to keep using it, because it works for us.

Lastly, it’s been quite an unusual spring and early summer for us all.  Kind of tough, but it’s all good. I am finally starting to get around on my own two feet, following my wicked broken ankle and torn ligaments in mid-April. That kept any usual projects and activity off the table. But God has taught me much through it all, as I knew He would. Things like patience, Psalm 46:10, and all of that good and hard stuff. I didn’t realize how much transforming I had to do but, um….I see it in full color now!

Anyway, the photos are probably loaded now. Just some brief descriptions from here on out. Hope you enjoy……
01 [Read more…]

Our First Homeschooled Child Graduates from High School: College Bound

When she started out homeschooling, we felt like we had a lifetime ahead of us. Certainly any thoughts of high school, graduating from high school, or possibilities of heading off to college, just seemed like….another lifetime.  It was something I would always be prepping for anyway, for someday. But, it was so far off. And there was a whole lot of living, loving, and learning to do, in each day, between now and then.
01_2005_As-First-Year-Homeschool And we did a whole lot of all of those things. But like any of the most precious times of your life, in what seems like the blink of an eye……

Well, here we all are.  On the other end a lifetime, I guess, with the oldest of our four children. With our first homeschooled child. The one we always called our ‘Trail Blazer’.  She is graduating from high school, and definitely college bound.
We’re here at the end, and yet, a whole new, beautiful beginning.
[Read more…]