June 5, 2014

Why I Quit Blogging

So I was dusting off the old blog roll and was interested to see that several of the blogs I used to follow are also now defunct.  It got me to thinking about why I quit blogging.

  1. Voice-  I feel like I come off as prim and proper in my blog, which I am oh so totally NOT in real life.  I'm not sure why that is.  Possibly just trying to seem professional or be concise, but I know as time went on, it bothered more and more, and I got to a point where I felt like I had unintentionally boxed myself into a persona that really didn't reflect who I am. 
  2. Pressure- It may seem laughable to people with huge blog followings, but even having 30 people following me started stressing me out.  Part of this is likely a manifestation of my anxiety (which I'm now on Cymbalta for, woooo!)  This probably relates back the the first point, in feeling an internal pressure to live up to a standard/persona I had unintentionally created.  What people don't like what I post?  What if someone leaves me a nasty comment?  Minor issues for most people, but when you have anxiety, everything gets blown out of proportion.  I had mentioned once in a post that I have *GASP* tattoos, and noticed that basically immediately a long-time follower dropped me.  Ouch.
  3. Disappointment- I found myself getting pretty discouraged by the cattiness, infighting, and snark I was seeing in some of the popular blogs I read (I'm so totally not naming names, so don't ask!).  None of us are perfect, but man.  I found myself thinking that if I had to become a sanctimonious asshole to be a blogger, especially a "popular" one, I'd rather just don't blog at all.  Okay, so maybe saying that makes me sound a bit like a sanctimonious asshole myself, but I see people offering constructive criticism in a very loving and gracious way, and the response is basically "shove it, I'm hilarious and popular and you're not" it's just...blah.  It really turned me off of blogging, which was not fair to the 99% of bloggers who aren't like that.  But combined with the other stuff I was just not feeling it anymore.
  4. Lack of focus- This was a big issue as well, and again ties into the first.  Initially my blog was largely about homeschooling, conversion, and country life.  Well, then I was not homeschooling for a couple of years, my conversion was several years in the past and I was experiencing the euphoria crash following my conversion zeal, and we moved into town.  So.  Yeah.  I definitely felt a loss of focus there.  And with the other issues mentioned above, I just didn't really have the desire to figure out how to re-focus the blog.
So that's that, and here I am trying to get back into it.  I do miss the sense of community and having  a place to put my thoughts down.  We'll see how it goes.

Did you quit blogging, or take an extended break?  Why?


June 2, 2014

Lapbooks!

Something I've started adding into our homeschooling routine, and will definitely do more of next year, is lapbooking.  It's a fun break from more monotonous activities, and it's something my 6th grader and kindergartner can do together (of course, I expect significantly more detail and depth from the 6th grader!)

The first lapbook we did was a volcano/Pompeii unit (Pompeii focus for my oldest, because it was her interest in the historical event that prompted me to do the unit).  Since this was our first time, I kept it very basic; we read some books, watched some videos, put a simple lapbook together, and then made our own volcanoes!  I also had my 6th grader read City on Fire: A Novel of Pompeii and write a book report.



"Erupting" our volcanoes!

Oldest painting her volcano.




The printouts I found through Pinterest searches, and the volcano kits I purchased through Amazon

We just started on a butterfly life cycle lapbook.  We ordered a live butterfly kit so we can watch them go through their life cycle.  We started a nature journal where we're keeping observations, and we're reading books and starting to put our lapbooks together.  I found this resource particularly helpful! 

I was a little intimidated by the idea of lapbooking at first, but thanks to so many wonderful (and free!) resources around the internet, it wound up being a lot easier than I had anticipated.

Do you lapbook?  Share your favorite resources or units!

May 25, 2014

9 Months...

It's been nine months since my last post, so I suppose I can do another one, right?

Appropriately, I've been thinking about family size (no, I'm not pregnant).  With four children, we're at the cusp of what's considered a "socially acceptable" family size.  Of course, as Catholics we're expected to conform to the Church and not to society, but that's not exactly an easy path to navigate, either.

We're told to be both generous and responsible with our fertility, but what does that mean?  And how do we separate our personal feelings and biases from societal pressure to truly discern what's God's will and what this concept of generosity and responsibility looks like in practice?

Let's take responsibility- sometimes it's clear-cut (if you're homeless, for example, most people would agree it's not responsible to intentionally have children).  But other times it's not so clear.  What if having more children means your insurance premiums become significantly burdensome?  Is it irresponsible to use Medicaid?  Many politically conservative Catholics would say yes, but is it irresponsible from the viewpoint of the Church, and thus God, or is it in reality irresponsible from the viewpoint of their preferred political party or personal bias?  We're a solidly working class family that lives paycheck to paycheck, so trust me, money issues are something I'm keenly aware of!

Generosity...with falling fertility rates in the US, many Catholics, regardless of income and other considerations, seem to feel that 3 or 4 kids is plenty generous.  But again, who's standards are we judging against?  God's, or our culture's? 

I know there's a middle ground between having a dozen or more kids and living in abject poverty and having your 2.1 and living in your McMansion, but finding it is proving to be difficult for me.  I know many other mothers who also struggle with this, and clearly I myself have more questions than answers. 

For now, we're forgoing biological children and focusing on getting licensed to foster, and hopefully adopt a child.  But after that (5 children is the limit to foster in our state), who knows?

If you're still reading, I'd love to hear your thoughts on discerning family size!




August 21, 2013

Raised bed garden boxes from wooden pallets

Well I won't promise a full resumption of blogging (after all, I am the World's Worst Blogger), but here's a post for you! We decided to create raised bed garden boxes from wooden pallets. I saw this idea on pinterest, but it just used one pallet. I was concerned that wouldn't off enough soil, especially for deep rooted plants like tomatoes, so we figured out how to put two pallets together to make it deeper and allow for more soil.  One benefit of using pallets is that the slats make it a nearly weed free garden.  Anything that cuts down on the laborious task of weeding is a plus in my book.

We took two same-sized pallets and started by sawing off all the middle slats on one side of each. Then we placed them together with the "empty" sides together to form the box. We then used the slats we had sawed off and cut them to size and nailed them all around the box to hold it together. We had some larger pieces of wood in our garage and my husband used those, too.














Next, we stapled garden cloth to the bottom of the box.  This helps contain the soil.





















Then we flipped it over and moved it into position, and filled it with 10 40lb bags of potting soil.

















It makes perfect rows!  Here are some pickling cucumbers come up. 





















Those are pumpkins that the kids planted at Purdue University's Spring Fest.  I transferred them to the box and they're all over the place now!
















Since we built the boxes one at a time over a period of a few weeks, things were planted a bit haphazardly.  I have three boxes right now (we'll put together the fourth box next season).  One has green beans, green onions, a couple cherry tomato plants, and pickling cucumbers.  Another has zucchini and pumpkin, and the last has green beans and tomatoes.  This was a relatively easy and cheap garden project.  I've seen raised beds sell for hundreds of dollars, so recycling wooden pallets definitely saves you money.

August 12, 2013

Hi!

Well, I don't know if anyone reads this anymore, but I was thinking of my blog the other day and thought I'd give a quick update.

We are doing well.  Our children are now 12, 8, 5, and nearly 3!  We're returning to homeschooling; I will have a 6th grader and a Kindergartener, and our 8 year old will continue at her public school M-TR, then be with us for our small co-op on Fridays.  She also started attending our state school for the blind last year, so she will keep going there one week a month.

I've been helping my sister-in-law and her husband with their gaming company (Proving Ground Games), which has included working on a technical certificate in Business Administration so I can better assist (and hopefully secure a paying, at home job one day!)  It's been hard work but fun, we went to the Origins Game Fest in Ohio a few months ago and did well. 

My husband's employer sold the company to a larger company, which unfortunately is struggling and handed out pay cuts to everyone.  At least it wasn't a pink slip!  We tighten our belts up some more and keep moving forward.  We've been working on paying off debts and not acquiring more.

My husband and I built raised-bed garden boxes from pallets, that's worked pretty well and I've been canning a lot, which I love to do.

I can't think of much else to add!  I've toyed with the idea of blogging again, but as you know I'm the world's worst blogger and I don't have much to say these days, I guess.  God is good and I hope all of you are doing well!

March 29, 2012

New Blog

Hello everyone!  I've decided to do a cooking blog, I hope that having a specific focus will make blogging easier and more enjoyable. You can find me now at www.thedownhomecook.blogspot.com

Blessings!


January 17, 2012

Goodbye

After tossing it around in my mind for the last year, and especially the last few months, I've decided I'm done blogging.  It's simply not enjoyable for me anymore.  I will leave the blog up for a few days and then delete (I've downloaded it to keep for myself).  I sincerely appreciate all the support and comments I've gotten over the last few years.  Thank you so much for reading, and God bless you all!