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Happy 2016!

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I haven’t disappeared despite the state of the blog@ It was a year of big changes and I needed some time to process everything before writing again. I don’t have much time to get this out, so it will be short, unfortunately and not edited very well…here is the quick recap.

After a miscarriage in the fall of 2014, I felt like I needed to purge a good amount of our stuff and because of this, we started the new year fresh. The yurt looked better than ever before – I was able to take real baths and look out over the fields while doing so!! Despite the cold winter, we were very cozy.

Shortly after the new year we happily discovered I was pregnant again and this time with identical twins! We were full of joy and excitement and knew that God would guide us through the next chapter, so thankfully we didn’t have “the freak out” moment that most of our friends and family had for us. Despite having no idea what was to come, we felt like everything would be fine as long as we trusted God (and it is!).

We assumed we would be in the yurt so made plans to change things in order to accommodate our newest family members. Instead, however, we received notice from our town that we had to take the yurt down. We moved a couple months before the babies arrived and now live in a house. It was heartbreaking having to tear down our home, and we still miss it (Alma asks weekly if we can move back to the yurt), but it has been a good thing for us to be in a house. Washing diapers is WAY easier now that we have our own washing machine, and dishes can be washed much quicker when you don’t have to wait for the kettle to boil. It is also a lot easier to keep the house warm, so we aren’t burning as much wood.

Life is really busy with newborn twins and a toddler, but it is very fun as well. The girls have been quite colicky for the past two months, but we are hoping that will pass and they will feel better soon. Despite not really being able to get things done (I pretty much tandem nurse all day while Mike changes diapers and feeds the rest of us), I feel like 2016 has a lot of potential. Even if I can’t realistically accomplish most of it, I love lists..so here is what I’m hoping might be half-accomplished in 2016:

  • read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo and hopefully get our house in order once and for all
  • get things organized for Alma (a self-serve art area, a DIY lunch shelf in the fridge)
  • develop a cooking routine so that we have meals ready in the fridge for the entire week
  • get outside with the kids every day even if it isn’t for very long
  • stretch every day and try to get my strength and flexibility back
  • read through the entire Bible by next Advent

I have finally jumped on board with the “word of the year” thing and have chosen the word hygge for 2016. It is a challenge to translate, but how I have interpreted it is: your surroundings are cozy, inviting, and peaceful. When the yurt was aglow with oil lamps and beeswax candles on a snowy winter’s evening, I believe we were experiencing hygge. My hope is that we can create the same feeling of warmth in the house.

Happy New Year!

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A Cozy Winter

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I have been away from the blog for quite a while, and I’m sorry to those of you who wrote to me and didn’t receive a reply! The winter was a cozy, quiet one and I am surprised that it is already over (well, almost over). This was our third winter in the yurt and probably the easiest despite the coldest winter on record. We stayed warm and didn’t have any wind issues after installing the giant zipper connecting the roof and the wall. Spring has arrived, although you would never know it by looking outside. We still have quite a bit of snow and it looks like a picturesque Christmas scene out there right now, however it has warmed up quite a lot. I will have to write a better post soon, but for now I hope you all had a good winter and I was very excited to hear from those of you who are living/planning to live in a yurt! Take care.

5 Tips for Cold Days

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Winter arrived, for real this time, a few days ago. With the wind chill, it felt like -38 C last night. I love winter, so I actually like this weather. We bundled up this morning to feed the cows and enjoyed the quiet that only comes with such cold.

Winter is my favourite season, especially in the yurt. Here are 5 tips for cold, wintery days:

  1. Don’t forget to stoke the fire. If you take notice of how warm and cozy you are, stoke it. Don’t wait until the fire dies to add more wood. If it is very cold outside (colder than -20 C), we do smaller stokings more frequently.

    My Dad looking like he is stoking the fire while, in reality, burning a piece of toast

    My Dad looking like he is stoking the fire while, in reality, burning a piece of toast

  2. Wear slippers. If you have cold feet, chances are, you aren’t going to enjoy winter. Warm feet = happy person.IMG_1272
  3. Ditch the polyester and bring on the wool. I used to freeze every winter because I refused to wear wool. I wore cotton sweatshirts and polyester sweaters before I learned about the magic of wool. It really is so much warmer – I cannot believe the difference fabric can make on my grumpiness level. I am so much nicer when I’m warm. If wool makes you itchy, the good news is that there is such a thing as soft, non-scratchy wool: merino and alpaca are my favourites. IMG_8403
  4. Sleep under a good duvet. Our beds have such fat duvets on them that we could probably sleep outside and still be toasty. Everyone in our family finds them too warm except for me. Alma kicks off her blankets every night, and Mike needs his feet out of ours or he can’t sleep. I, however, think they are perfect.
  5. If all else fails, cuddle and drink tea by the fire with a good book. If you are still cold after all of that, have a dance party and then cuddle up by the fire until summer arrives. IMG_1315

On the first day of Christmas

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As it has happened every year, I was the first one awake this morning. Radio 2 played classical Christmas music all night long; Carol of the Bells played just as I was coming out of sleep, so it felt like Christmas morning right away. I snuck out of bed successfully and then, anti-climatically, sat waiting half an hour for Mike and Alma to wake up. Once they were up, we opened our stockings and made orange roll (a cinnamon bun with orange that tastes like Christmas). Mike wished the cows Merry Christmas with a bunch of turnips and did the chores while Alma and I washed dishes (I hope she always loves doing dishes with me…ha).

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We opened one gift each and then got breakfast ready. Alma was given a French book about a nativity play, Mike received two incredible cook books that he said he would share with me (The River Cottage Meat Book and River Cottage Every Day), and I got a pair of cozy down-filled booties (Alma got a bonus gift of mini versions of my slippers). Our stockings were simple and only had a few things in them (clementines, hazelnuts, chestnuts, and a treat). We are going to do stockings, hopefully, each of the twelve days.

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This is the first year that we are stretching out the celebrating and the gifts, and it is the first year I don’t feel overwhelmed. I usually feel gluttonous by Christmas afternoon, as a result of the treats and the gifts. This year I feel relaxed and enormously blessed, plus a little sick from all the maple fudge I’ve eaten. I can’t remember a Christmas day ever feeling this relaxed. Without all the pressure being put on one day, I’m enjoying everything more. I usually feel like I need to DO ALL THE THINGS on Christmas Day, but there are another eleven days to go this year, so we read books and had naps this afternoon.

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new socks

 

Happy first day of Christmas!

 

 

Sustainable Living

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The term ‘sustainable living’ is thrown around almost as much as ‘natural’ and ‘organic’. It is a term used so loosely that it is difficult to know what people mean when they refer to it.

a completely unrelated picture of the ducks

a completely unrelated picture of the ducks

I wrote a guest post over at The Canadian Housewife (my sister-in-law’s blog) about sustainable living. Due to my enthusiastic love of lists, I included a bunch of ideas to make our lives a little more supportable. Here is a peek:

4 Ways to Live Sustainably This Summer

1) save energy

  • keep lights turned off until dusk
  • sweep your house instead of vacuum
  • open your windows at night to cool the house

2) save water

  • wear your clothes more than once before washing
  • capture rainwater to use on your garden
  • turn off the water while you brush your teeth

3) use fewer chemicals

  • wash your sink and bathtub with baking soda
  • wash your floor with vinegar and water
  • cut one hair-washing session from your week

4) buy less stuff

  • use up half-full bottles of shampoo, moisturizer, etc. before buying more
  • cut out a few products from your beauty regimen
  • give handmade gifts

For more ideas (everything from lowering your energy consumption to DIY beauty products), head over to The Canadian Housewife. 🙂

 

For Mother’s Day

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From Amy Young, guest contributor at The Time Warp Wife:

“To those who gave birth this year to their first child—we celebrate with you

“To those who lost a child this year – we mourn with you

“To those who are in the trenches with little ones every day and wear the badge of food stains – we appreciate you

“To those who experienced loss through miscarriage, failed adoptions, or running away—we mourn with you

“To those who walk the hard path of infertility, fraught with pokes, prods, tears, and disappointment – we walk with you. Forgive us when we say foolish things. We don’t mean to make this harder than it is.

“To those who are foster moms, mentor moms, and spiritual moms – we need you

“To those who have warm and close relationships with your children – we celebrate with you

“To those who have disappointment, heart ache, and distance with your children – we sit with you

“To those who lost their mothers this year – we grieve with you

“To those who experienced abuse at the hands of your own mother – we acknowledge your experience

“To those who lived through driving tests, medical tests, and the overall testing of motherhood – we are better for having you in our midst

“To those who are single and long to be married and mothering your own children – we mourn that life has not turned out the way you longed for it to be

“To those who step-parent – we walk with you on these complex paths

“To those who envisioned lavishing love on grandchildren -yet that dream is not to be, we grieve with you

“To those who will have emptier nests in the upcoming year – we grieve and rejoice with you

“To those who placed children up for adoption — we commend you for your selflessness and remember how you hold that child in your heart

“And to those who are pregnant with new life, both expected and surprising –we anticipate with you

“This Mother’s Day, we walk with you. Mothering is not for the faint of heart and we have real warriors in our midst. We remember you.”

Thank you to Amy Young for putting her thoughts into words so eloquently. Click here to read the full article and here to visit Amy’s blog The Messy Middle.