Homesteading– A Dream, A Plan, A LOT of Work.

Our Homely Farm

Seven months so far.

That’s how long we’ve been working on our house and property. Seven, very long, and tiring months. Only recently have we “moved in”, all into the one room in the house that needs the least work.

It’s not really anyone’s fault necessarily that things are taking so long. We knew we were getting ourselves into a big project, just didn’t know how big until we dug in. (As the story goes) And to be fair, this winter was extraordinarily long. It rained from October through parts of June. And when I say rain, I don’t mean a little drizzle, maybe some showers…it poured. We accumulated somewhere around 180 inches of rain here on the southern Oregon coast. That limited us since the majority of big projects involved tearing into rot from the exterior and inwards.

Even with rain and wet weather, the entire interior of the house needed to be gutted, so there were projects to be done.

I pulled shag carpet from every single room while Javin was at work and whenever the kids could go to Grammy’s. Kitchen included. The two full bathrooms upstairs got demoed and were all 100% tile with extra mold on the inside of every wall. The kitchen was smashed and we took down walls. Our contractor replaced four 8-foot sliding glass doors, and has replaced to this day ten windows, and a full picture window door in the kitchen. We also had a brand new wood-stove insert installed in the living room, since this big house needed some dry heat with all the moisture it had collected being empty before we found it. We also had the whole kitchen re-wired, and sconces added to the bedrooms as well as the living room. For some reason in the 70’s and 80’s people didn’t build in light fixtures like they do now. My parent’s house is the same way, like a cave. And last but not least, we had the plumber move some pipes around and also plumb us in a gas line for our stove.

We were stuck at that point for quite a while. Waiting. Once the rain decided to let up and allow summer to begin, we’ve really dug in to some big projects around here.

The balconies have been rid of rot and re-framed. There are no railings yet, as we are waiting for the roof to be done. (That should be within the next week) Javin stripped the roof, and we pulled all staples and our contractor has finished any repair work that needed to be done up there. The exterior is only about half sided, because of all the replacing and repairing that’s been done, but we have the new siding in the garage. We have spent hours cutting down trees and brush and burning. Even on wet days, we burned brush. We have a round-about driveway, and when we first bought this place, it was overgrown and thick! We’ve now cut well over 50 trees down, all smaller ones. A lot of them were rotten and were a hazard anyways. The others, we will use for firewood. We actually didn’t realize how much usable land we had until we began clearing brush and trees. It’s exciting being able to see the potential our land has now.

And yet, after all of this, we still have so much to do. 

The roof needs to be done. After that, the drywall. After that, the painting. After that, the floors. After that the kid’s bathroom upstairs. Somewhere in there we also need to do the railings for the three balconies, paint and seal the water-proofing on balconies, establish some sort of make-shift kitchen since we wont have the finances to put in a full, brand new one right away. And, maybe unpack our things that have been in storage over a year now.

We will also be having our property logged by a professional, he should be here within the next few weeks. That’s going to leave a mess, since it’s now fire season and we cannot burn the heaps and heaps of limbs we will have piled. If it wasn’t for the fact that we are adamant about wanting to create a more self-sufficient life, we wouldn’t be pushing to get the property done right away. But we want our greenhouse, an orchard, a chicken coop, pigs, more goats, bees, a barn, and the list goes on! Plus, the kids and dogs need a yard or space to be able to run around and play.

Now that we have baby number three on the way, I’ve been getting a little antsy.

I feel like I can see at least a place in the near(ish) future that feels more like home rather than a construction zone. But it’s been hard to say the least. But I guess this is the price to pay. We wanted to be close to family, knowing we also weren’t going to sacrifice our dreams of creating a little farm. We new this was the route we would have to take to get what we wanted.

But the most exciting thing, is knowing that we WILL have what we have always said we wanted no matter how long it takes…three beautiful babies, the love of our family, a house that is more than big enough for us to continue to grow into, the resources to grow and produce food on our own property, and the ability to teach our children that this is what life is all about. That, is the biggest blessing. 

Photo_2017-05-27_02-01-22_PMThis is the style we are going for. We will be replacing portions of the cedar siding with horizontal hardy-plank. Both sidings will be painted the same color, similar to this farmhouse here. Decks will be tan, with walnut stained wood. Trim will be white. Roof will be dark brown. 

 

Advertisements

Plank Workout

Workin' Out

Planks are wonderful.

They are for the most part low impact. They offer total body possibilities. They allow you to take exercise anywhere and everywhere without equipment. They help build strength, but also posture and balance.

I decided to play around with your average plank and came up with a fun planking workout that was somewhat new to me, and also challenging enough that I was sore the next day from the exercises. These planks however, used added equipment. I did use a step/box and a set of dumbbells.

1. Decline plank with alternate kick through— The goal with these were to keep a tight form, and push my “kick” as close to my opposite elbow I could get without twisting my hips to the point where my core was no longer strong and activated.

2. Plank with front raise— Holding the plank position while lifting a dumbbell forward until arm was straight and parallel to the floor. Then alternate sides.

3. Plank twists— The one exercise in this workout I’ve done many times. From the forearms, twist just enough as you dip your hips. You should feel these in your obliques.

4. Reverse plank with leg lifts— Reverse planks are challenging without adding any extra movements to them. The position of hands are my biggest struggle with these, as after a while, my wrists get tired and achy. From the full reverse plank, lift legs and alternate sides. I noticed that with each leg lift, I had to focus on keeping my glutes and core tight or my hips wanted to fall and break form.

5. Plank with open and push— similar to the front raise, but opening up your body just enough to push overhead rather than up and forward. Again, keep form tight and don’t allow wobbly twists.

All these exercises were done in controlled movements. Never try to go so fast that you sacrifice form in order to finish the reps faster. Each exercise ranged between 12-20 reps. Do 3-5 rounds.

A Third Tiny Little Poppy Seed

Mama Mama

As you know, our family has been discussing the idea of a third baby for the last eight months. Before our second, Avaley, had her first birthday we decided it wasn’t time. (My husband actually decided, he was certain he was not ready. Which is quite alright, I don’t think I was ready either.) And after our positive test a few months ago that didn’t hold, we made plans to wait until the end of summer and then decide if or when we should have another baby.

Well, here we are, not quite at the end of July, a couple months ahead of schedule and we found out over a week ago that without any planning, God decided we were ready for that third baby!

When life gives you lemons…or a tiny little poppy seed…you fill your heart with so much love that any nerves, confusion, and stress just melts away.

The nerves. Emotionally, maternally, I have wanted another baby for a while. Logically, sometimes I think I am crazy.

I had given myself goals, that I hadn’t fully accomplished. We are not fully living in our house, and wont be for months still. My husbands schedule at work is beyond inconsistent and makes it so he doesn’t get to join us for dinners or many important family times. We have a big house, but the layout isn’t ideal for three children so now we have to get even more creative with space. Do we need a bigger car? Holy cow, I do not want to take progesterone shots again! And how in the world am I ever going to grocery shop with three babies!? Some days getting by with two that are so close in age and still young is challenging enough.

First thing’s first. For me, I need to stay sane and feel healthy. 

My goal was to get back into tip-top shape before getting pregnant again so that not only can the pregnancy also be active and healthy, and labor be smooth, but I can bounce back like I did after both my others. I wasn’t quite where I wanted to be, but I know my body can still gain strength even during this time. I lifted all the way through my second pregnancy and Ava’s birth was perfect.

Not a horrible starting point.

11472

Fit pregnancy here I come!

As far as getting creative goes, I’m good at that. And thankfully, so are many many others on Pinterest.

We are in fact going to need a new vehicle in the near future, but not only because of a third baby, it’s just about time. Not sure how we are going to pull that one off though.

The shots. Dreaded and hated and literally the one thing that makes me angry about being pregnant. I already know the midwives are going to strongly suggest them, which means I will have a little time to research and try to come up with an alternative, but when it comes down to it, a healthy and to term baby is important.

Everything else, the day-to-day, we will figure it out. A little time, a little prayer, and a lot of love. We will find what works for us, there’s no doubt.

There’s only a million and a half things going on right now, but you know what?!

We are having a third baby. Another blessing. And we are super excited about that!

**Note: I am not sure exactly how far along I am. I wont see the midwife for another ten days.** 

 

 

 

Sample Weekly Meal Plan

Nutrition & Good Eats

The truth is, in our family, the only way to be successful at eating healthy, is to PLAN AHEAD! Not every week do we actually get a full game plan of meals laid out, because lately, it seems every week’s schedule is a little different from the week before, leaving holes to fill and arrangements to be made. Most of the time, we manage to figure out four days at a time, and then make a new game-plan when the time comes.

Having a meal plan not only helps you eat healthy, but it also helps save money, makes less grocery trips, and eases your mind. When it comes time for dinner, you can feel prepared rather than anxious and guilty about boiling up mac’n’cheese for the second night in a row.

I’ve had so many people in the past ask me for advice and guidance when it comes to planning meals, so I decided to throw together what a week of meals looks like in our crazy world.

sample weekly meal plan-1 copy

I am a creature of habit, so the only thing that we do that isn’t 100% accurate on this chart, is most mornings, breakfast is the same. And most days, our first big snack/early lunch is always eggs of some variety. For the sake of giving you ideas, I added in a few other options.

NOTES:

-My body responds well with eating the majority of my carbs in the morning and early afternoon. When dinner comes around, I tend to stick with protein and vegetables.

-A lot of days, Greek yogurt becomes my dessert, instead of a snack during the day. 

-I try not to forget my probiotic drinks, and usually have coffee in the morning. About four nights a week I enjoy a small glass of cabernet, organic if I have it. if you’re trying to find balance, or lose weight, drinks should be included in your meal plans because most people don’t realize the significance of whats in most beverages. 

-An after dinner snack/ dessert option I did not list is popcorn. We pop our own on the stove top. A little bit of coconut oil, heat, and a tiny pinch of stevia, and you’ve got a delicious and light snack. 

-Javin almost always takes leftovers for his lunch to work, so the kids and I may not always get leftovers. 

Message 2 my Kids #5

Mama Mama

Parker and Avaley,

The two of you share so much laughter and so many snuggles that it warms my heart.

Thank you for loving each other the way you do.

I’ll always remind you of these moments when the day comes that you think you can’t stand each other.

You were born to be not only brother and sister, but playmates, and friends.

 

Deadlifts and Upper Body

Workin' Out

So. Happy.

I’ve been anticipating getting a chance to use my weights now that we brought them back from storage. Deadlifts. That’s all I’ve wanted to do.

So yesterday, I set up a pyramid style workout for Javin and I to do together. My mother in law had the babes for the afternoon and it gave us a perfect opportunity to workout together. Taking turns on the bar meant we got rest between reps and it all worked out great! We added weight at the same rate, until he actually upped me by a little, all thanks to my grip giving out.

Guess I need to work on that.

For me, pyramid workouts are fun. It allows you to get in high volume, but still challenge yourself as far as strength goes.

Here’s what we did:

Photo_2017-07-03_07-32-24_AM.png

45lbs x 35 reps

65lbs x 30 reps

95lbs x 20 reps

115lbs x 20 reps

135lbs x 15 reps

155lbs x 6 reps (this is where my grip game out.)

135lbs x 13 reps

115lbs x 20 reps

95lbs x 20 reps

That’s a total of 179 deadlifts.

Obviously, the weight isn’t what I was once doing, but for not having weights to use in monnnthssss, I am happy with that outcome. And I’m a little sore today, so the stack did it’s job. What bothers me the most is that my legs, buns, and back didn’t fatigue. I could have added more weight if it wasn’t for my grip.

After these we did upper body. Which sucked, because I had to shake out my hands after every exercise. My forearms are sore and tired today.

Neutral db press x 12-15

Photo_2017-07-03_07-33-39_AM.png

1 arm bo row x 12-15

Photo_2017-07-03_07-34-58_AM.png

Kb curl x 12-15 each

Photo_2017-07-03_07-36-35_AM.png

Plate high pull x 12-15

Photo_2017-07-03_07-35-42_AM.png

3 sets

All in all, I feel the upper body workout today more than the deadlifts. That’s alright, my booty and legs will be getting in a lot of hikes this next week when we take our little family road trip.

At the end of the day, I am thankful my husband and I can enjoy these workouts together.

 

 

My Secrets to abs After Babies

Mama Mama, Workin' Out

I am 28 years old. I have two littles, ages 3 1/2 and 1 1/2. I am a very busy stay-at-home mama, juggling enough projects I couldn’t count on all my fingers. And I have abs.

I don’t work overly hard at keeping my tummy tight, I don’t take any supplements, or use any miracle products. I don’t do hundreds of crunches and I don’t workout every single day.

Want to know my secrets??

It’s actually very easy.

1. Eat smart. Food is fuel. I listen to my body and have finally found a happy place where I no longer crave junk. I know what foods my body responds best to and I have become a creature of habit because of foods that my body has not responded well too. I spread my meals out throughout the day. Some days I have 3 full meals and 3 snacks in between, and others days I have 5 small, unstructured meals. Either way, I’m eating all day.

2. The majoriry of the time, I do compound exercises while working out. I also vary my exercises enough so that all areas of my core are activated. I make sure to use my range of motion to the best of my capabilities. No half reps or poor form.

3. If I feel I must do cardio, I make it short and sweaty. Don’t get me wrong, there have been times nothing has felt better than a long, torturous run…but that’s not how you get a tight and strong tum. Especially after having babies. I was a long distance runner in the past, and never had abs like I do now.

Lately my workouts have been far and few in between, so I rely mostly on my number one rule, eating smart. I don’t weight myself, or care what the scale has to say because I follow what my body is saying. When I let down my guard and I slip on that number one rule, I feel the changes. And I don’t like those changes, so I rarely slip.

Slip. Makes it sound like I’m following a strict diet or being overly harsh on myself, but in fact, I still eat a wide range of foods, including chocolate and cabernet! And I never feel deprived.

I suppose an honorary number 4 could be established since there is one more thing I am adamant about.

4. Sleep. I don’t care if the dishes don’t get done or if it’s still light outside, I put my sleep high on my priorities. Eight hours is ALWAYS a goal, and with children, we all know there’s never a perfect, uninterrupted stretch of sleep that long. But regardless, that alarm is never set unless I’ve got my 8 hours clocked. Some lucky nights, we get 9! (Again, usually interrupted from various babies and/or dogs and/or contractors beginning work at 6:30am)

If abs are a goal of yours, your first step is in the kitchen. It doesn’t take much to start seeing and feeling the differences once you begin a healthier routine.

Goes to show, mamas are strong too!

 

Quick, no Equipment Workout

Workin' Out

Lately I’ve been so short on time, that I’ve planned my workouts to be high rep and fast paced.

Yesterday’s was a total body, countdown routine that took me a total of 33 minutes.

This workout is great for any where, as it doesn’t require any equipment.

100 sumo squats
10 burpees
90 spidermans
10 burpees
80 bridges
10 burpees
70 in&out abs
10 burpees
60 curtsy lunges
10 burpees
50 supermans
10 burpees
40 dips
10 burpees
30 shoulder push ups
10 burpees
20 sit ups
10 burpees
10 plank punches
10 burpees

**during the bridges, squeeze your butt cheeks for a second or two before lowering and beginning next rep. This will increase the burn in the glutes.

**alternate legs during curtsy lunges

**sit ups not pictured

**during the plank punches, punch ten times with each arm, alternating sides.

Photo_2017-06-26_07-01-16_AM

Sumo squats

Photo_2017-06-26_07-00-35_AM

Spidermans

Photo_2017-06-26_07-42-41_AM

Bridges

Photo_2017-06-26_07-44-07_AM

In&out abs

Photo_2017-06-26_06-59-34_AM

Curtsy lunges

Photo_2017-06-26_07-45-06_AM

In&out abs

Photo_2017-06-26_06-56-58_AM

Dips

Photo_2017-06-26_06-57-33_AM

Supermans

Photo_2017-06-26_06-56-30_AM

Shoulder push ups

Photo_2017-06-26_06-54-52_AM

Plank push ups

Photo_2017-06-26_06-55-21_AM

Shoulder push ups

 

My First Relay Experience

Workin' Out

Way back before the beginning of the year, my husband and I were asked to join a relay team. We decided to make the commitment as this relay was actually something we had wanted to do, and it was close to home, which made making arrangements for childcare etc. easier since we actually finished the relay here in Brookings. When something is set up so perfectly, you kind of have no excuses to not do it…right?!

The Wild Rogue Relay.

It sounded daunting to me at first, only because I had never previously participated in any sort of race. I have been a long distance runner in the past, but that was years ago. And to be honest, I’ve never been overly competitive with anyone other than myself, so races never were exciting for me. The worst part of the whole experience I knew, however, would be leaving my kids, and not the actual running part. (Which was indeed very challenging, I missed my kiddos very much because this was the first time my husband and I had ever been away from both of them! The first night we were gone, we had no cell phone service so I wasn’t able to call them like I had promised before bedtime. I had a hard time falling asleep because of that.)

What was exciting, and kept me looking forward to more adventure, was being able to explore an area so close to home, that I had actually never been before. Also exciting, was the fact that I could enjoy the company of other like-minded adults. I was a bit nervous, to be honest, because the group of people we were joining (and going to be spending a lot of close-quartered time with) I didn’t know personally very well, so I wasn’t sure exactly how like-minded we all were until we all crammed together into the truck and began our journey.

I am so thankful we fit in so well.

My husband and I initially thought we were going to be in this to really push ourselves, and try our best to have fast times on our runs, and be serious about the outcome. Maybe half way into the drive over to the valley did we decide this trip was going to be more about having a good time than it was about being great. I knew we would do our best during the runs, but being able to let loose a little felt better than good times were going to feel.

I don’t get much time around adults, and when I do, it is family, and my children are still around and demanding the majority of my attention. So to be able to fully relax and not have to filter, or watch what I said for fear of little ears, or offending anyone, was wonderful. On top of that, I do not think I have laughed so hard in…way too long!

Lord knows I needed this trip.

The trip in itself went basically as I imagined it would. Thursday being random, as it was our free time before settling in and beginning the race.  We left Brookings early enough so that we could stop in Cave Junction at Taylors for lunch. We did add in a couple stops I wasn’t expecting, but fully glad we made them.

  • Pour Authority—A newer place, with an outstanding selection of cold drinks. We all had one there, and bought a few for the road.
  • Army Navy Store—to purchase a couple State of Jefferson flags. One in which we had to represent next to the American flag flying on the back of the truck.

 

 

We decided not to camp at the starting line, since the relay and owners of the campground set things up differently this year and we would have had to wheelbarrow our coolers, gear, and whole lives up a hill and to a campsite far away from the truck. Instead, we drove up the road a few miles, and found a more remote camp ground, made a quick camp, started a fire, cooked some dinner, and enjoyed those cold drinks. We also tattooed the truck. Javin and I headed to bed before some of the others, and I know we didn’t fall asleep probably until closer to 11:00. We slept on hard ground, no pads, but inside a small tent. So at least we didn’t get eaten alive by mosquitos. I tossed and turned, thinking about my kids, and also  my hip bones were digging into what felt like rocks no matter which way I rolled. Needless to say, those iffy six hours of sleep would basically fuel me for the next 40 hours.

 

 

Our alarms were set for 5:00 am, to give us enough time to take down camp, eat, and get to the finish line in enough time before our first runner had to start. Our team’s start time was 6:35 am.

relay12

Brice began the race for our team. Then Javin, then me, then Hap, then John, then Laurie. And then we handed off to van 2 who would meet us at the first big exchange. At this point it was getting hot out, and I knew we weren’t going to be able to really get in much rest. We ate, decided to find a place to jump in the river, and headed down the road to our exchange, a church in Merlin. There, we finally relaxed, and some of us dozed. No luck sleeping though. I did acquire a sunburn, a snazzy one too! (Over my KT tape crisscrossed along my knees and up my leg.)

 

 

We began our second legs from this point, which took us into about 11:00 at night. We all wanted so badly to sleep, but we had to commute on a narrow, gravel road, while sharing the road with the runners, so our drive took a couple hours.

 

 

After a long day, and logging two runs, my fitbit (somewhere around 9pm, before the battery died a couple hours later) clocked me in at 15 miles, and 94 minutes of “exercise”. That was only Friday, which was our longest day.

relay17

By the time we reached the next exchange, we were so tired; we threw out our sleeping bags, scurried inside them, and slept for a few hours. That’s all it was, a good solid two for sure, maybe a little more. Our 4:00 am wake up call went off, and we packed up, and headed down to the hand off. It’s a good thing we didn’t dilly-dally because our team came trucking in shortly after we arrived.

 

 

I was hurting on Saturday morning. I knew Friday night my knee was going to give me hell, I had just hoped it would wait until after the relay was over. Nope. My third run I passed up a runner first thing, and it hit me that I was going to have to slow my pace and deal with a limp for the whole 8 miles. After accumulating 15 kills, this run was the first time I got killed myself. A big disappointment for me. I actually wasn’t happy about it one bit. My husband was trying to be supportive, but I ended up snapping at him. I’m pretty sure my exact words were “Javin, you know I’m better than this!” (In which I apologized about once I cooled off)I think, what bothered me most, besides the pain during my third run, was how perfect of a morning it was to be out running. I didn’t even use my music because it was so peaceful.

But, I was done!

relay25

Don’t judge.  I only had one swig. Maybe two.

John and Laurie took us to the port of Gold Beach, and there, our last exchange was made. We made it through the relay, our three legs were finished! At this point, we were all home…so while we had six-ish hours to get to the finish line, we decided to all shower and get into clean clothes. I of course, only wanted to go see my babies!

At the park we enjoyed a complementary cider in our sweet glasses, and just hung out while we waited for our team to make their way to the finish line.

19145896_675564369300670_1613796605035061900_n.jpg

Delicious apple-ginger cider.

By now, our kids were down at the park with us, and actually got to run into the finish line with mama, daddy, and the rest of the team.

And, there we have it. 35 hours, 16 minutes later and our team was done running.

Thank you for allowing Javin and I to be a part of your team this year.

relay photo.jpg

Parker, was still talking to me about it just this morning, even though it happened nearly a week ago. He says “Mama when I grow up I want to run with you.” I couldn’t think of anything I’d enjoy more. I sure hope he continues to share his mama’s love for fitness.

______________________________________________________________________________

OUR RELAY FOOD PREP

 

When you are used to being fairly structured as far as eating meals, and showers, and sleep times go…you’ve got to prepare yourself for being able to be a bit more flexible when it comes to doing races like this.

There are no structured anythings.

Our team members who weren’t newbies warned us that eating was a challenge, and that sometimes you weren’t hungry, and other times you were starving. Being as I am used to eating throughout the day I made sure I prepped food that was easy to eat in the truck, or as a fast bite. Also, food had to either be able to fit in the cooler, or eaten without any cold storage. We didn’t heat up food other than the first night we camped, because we were on the go too much and had no time/way to build a fire or set up propane.

We planned to stop along the drive for lunch, so we needed dinner for Thursday night, and we planned for elk and turkey burgers, veggie quinoa salad, and fixins. I prepped the quinoa salad, and pre-cooked the turkey burgers, so all we had to do Thursday was cook the Elk.

relay29

I also prepped a large batch of my gluten free banana pancakes, and portioned them out into baggies so I could grab and go with them. I had these Friday morning with almond butter, and also Saturday morning.

relay26

I also prepped chicken salads, two for myself, and two for Javin. We had these for lunch Friday, and lunch Saturday.

relay30

Friday dinner ended up being leftover turkey burger without bun, trail mix, and fruit. It was kind of a jumble, since our second legs were at or after dinner time, which meant no real sit down meal.

Saturday we just snacked until we got to Brookings and had our finish-line meal.

We packed fig bars, banana chips, apples, trail mix, yogurt covered almonds, almond milks, sports drinks, and baby carrots. Basically things we eat every day at home anyways, which made it easier on my digestion, and made for easy shopping. The only thing I forgot to pack was our string cheese, which would have been a nice addition to everything else we had.

 

 

We actually didn’t have many left-overs, which means we prepped pretty accurately. The nice thing about this trip, was everyone kind of shared everything. We were like one big family. Looking back, I don’t think there is anything I would have changed about what we prepped. I feel like for me personally, I was plenty fueled, and hydrated. I never felt weighed down or got an upset stomach, which is common during these runs.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

ADDITIONAL ITEMS WE PACKED

Other essentials we packed that I would make sure to pack again if we do another relay similar to this:

  • Foam roller/ some sort of myofacial release tools
  • Music for running—I personally enjoy it 95% of the time I’m running, no matter how short or long the run is.
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat—No showers and three runs = nasty hair!
  • KT tape. I needed it, and I saw many others using it during the race.