Monday, October 13, 2014


We started a new chore chart last fall and we've made some changes. The chores remained the same but the approach of pay has changed. Recently, we read about a mom who paid her kids to do chores. Yes, this is a huge debate in and of itself but she had an interesting take on the paid tasks. She paid on a scale: Poor quality, standard expectations and exceeds expectations.

We've decided to adapt a variation of this. The girls will still have the ability to earn their age in dollars as the maximum weekly, yet poor performance will result in less financial reward.

Our chore chart is simple, it follows tasks we need to perform each week and allows me to guide and help with each task. Each task focuses on what most people will need to know as an adult.

Monday- Laundry. Athena's responsibility is to put her laundry in the washing machine, switch it over and fold and put it away.

Tuesday- Dishes. Rinse the dishes, load the dishwasher and put them away properly.

Wednesday- Help create a meal plan, list of items to buy, find those items at the grocery store and put them away properly when we arrive home.

Thursday- Clean and organize room and play room.

Friday- Help organize the family room, this involves her doing any light dusting or sweeping that I may need help with.

Sunday- Help with tasks around the garage, lawn and house Raking, harvesting, canning, stud finding if using nails, pulling weeds and more. Obviously, not all of these tasks are completed each weekend.

If she does a poor job she will receive a quarter, if she completes the job to a respectable standard, she receives $.75 and if she completes the job beyond our expectations she will receive a dollar. Our chore system is not forced, it is voluntary so if she chooses to forego a chore, she will not receive financial reward.

This method made a lot of sense to me. As an adult, she will be rewarded for good job performances in the form of bonuses, promotions and respect earned by colleagues. If her performances are lacking, she will let down those same people which may (likely will) result in a loss of respect, job promotions or a job in general.

I've found this to be very motivational. While it is a Monday, I am finishing up a few apple/ pear sauces and she is dying to learn. Her performance in the kitchen today has been amazing!

Only being a few weeks in, I can't really say how the new system is working but I look forward to exploring the new opportunities and potential growth.

I would love to hear others experiences and philosophies so feel free to share.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Reflecting and moving on...

We started our "school" year on July 1st so this is a little late to the game as we are currently on fall break for two weeks.

Anyway, reflecting...

I used K as a learning experience finding what works for us academically and what philosophies work for Athena.  I've found we have an appreciation for most philosophies, roadschooling, Charlotte Mason and hands on projects. Sometimes I feel pressure or judgement to pick a philosophy because others feel it works so well for them. The thing, most either don't work for me or Athena and we need it to work for us as a team.

Last year also left me wanting to step back from a lot of activities and I did. We dropped a gymnastics class for Athena. We dropped any Saturday activity and we dropped any weekly commitments outside of paid EC's all specifically chosen and thought out by our kids. Athena has five hours of structure per week. She sets her own goals and thrives at meeting them.

I've been questioning a lot of what I thought we needed as well and now that we are into the school year, we've decided to reduce what we are doing. Not because we are overwhelmed or stressed like last year but because Athena has choices. Lex has choices. They make them each day, some I agree with and others I step back and cringe wondering why the prefrontal cortex did not come fully developed. Come on evolution, step up your game! In all seriousness, they are learning and I am thankful to grow alongside of them. 

Athena has chosen to step back from play dates.

I never thought I would type that particular sentence in regards to the first born. For anyone who knows her, you know she is social and loves her friends fiercely.

She misses her friends when we are unable to see them. With this step back, we are hoping to see her close friends more frequently and in smaller groups giving her time to build and nourish each friendship. 

I felt weird leaving group play dates. It was me. Not her... Which made me ponder, are play dates really for kids or for moms?

A friend set this in motion today. Another friend told me about it and 'forced' me away from my cave today. I gave up my troglodyte status to venture away from the cave and chat only to come home and to feel relief. Yes, relief.

I'm not the only one who feels pressure to say yes. I'm not the only one who feels the need to step back or out completely! So we are, we are stepping back from various groups and group play dates to nurture the relationships with the families we don't always have the chance to be around.

It may seem like a big decision but to me now, today, it seems small. It seems tiny and it made me wonder why it had taken so long. Thank you friends! I'm thankful for each of you!

Friday, September 5, 2014


One of Athena's good friends moved to Florida in June to prepare for a sailing trip around the world. We were tentatively scheduled to be on our trip when they flew back so we did the only logical thing, we came home early.

It was great seeing both April and Audrey! We will look forward to seeing them again soon! 

My child is not this strong.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Roadschooling to worldschooling transition: Decisions!

Six down, 43 to go!

In mid July we committed to making a decision by Labor Day for our goals and best way to achieve them. You can read the original post here.  There were many questions but Jay and I finally came to what we consider a fair compromise.

(I think. I hope.)

Are we going to sell our house?

No. We have decided not to sell our house. RV's and vehicles towing them depreciate. Our house is gaining value and it's in great shape. We would like to hold onto our house until we are done traveling the US or until we move abroad in roughly five years.

****Random, I can imagine our retirement homestead with goats in New Zealand.****
****It also helps that we love our homeschooling community and friends in Boulder.****

Are we going full time?

No. As much as I enjoyed three weeks on the road with the girls this summer alone, I can't in good conscience go full time knowing Jay needs to be in Boulder for meetings at work from time to time. We would either travel without him much of the time or we would be driving back and forth across the country which is not at all economical. In the ideal world we stay together as a family more than not. I will still be traveling with the girls and without Jay a decent amount but we will be happy to have him join us more often! Giving up Jays current job to go full time would not be a wise decision in the long run as it would impact our savings abilities drastically.

And Yes... We are going to go full time but not now, it will happen when we travel/ live in Africa, Asia and Europe.

Are we going to buy an RV?

Yes. The idea is to buy something cheap and remodel to what we need. Because we will not be traveling full time, our kids do not need the privacy a 5th wheel bunk house provides and we will not need as much storage. The idea is to gut part of it and put in a small rabbit hutch for Promise and Lilith. Thereby, eliminating the need to pay rabbit sitters frequently and also keeping the cost of pet fees in hotels to zero.

Are we taking the RV to Central or S. America?

We might attempt it. A lot of people jeep S. America and rent homes or apartments along the way. I like this idea but if we can pull a travel trailer, I will try it. I often times justify purchases by usage. If we spend $18k on a trailer and upgrades to only use it once it costs us, $18k. If we use it 180 times, it's down to $100/ use. Obviously, getting our money out of it in S. America is idyllic but we need to research more.

We still have a few details to work out minimally in the coming weeks and months but the major decisions are made. It was a huge relief to finally have a plan!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Grand Teton

Our family stayed in West Yellowstone the night before heading through the Grand Tetons and back to Colorado. It's a cute town with a nice park near the restaurants. We picked up dinner to go from the Slippery Otter and played at the park, I can't give them an honest review because we only had salads but it was a great break from huckleberry jam sandwiches, yogurt and fruit on the way down. Oh, and the fighting... Our kids decided to fight over who was able to pet Sparty, our Scottish Terrier. 8 hours later, I was happy to have survived.

The morning of the Grand Tetons we drove through Yellowstone. We missed Old Faithful, Athena was disappointed. She had every plan of showing it to Jay because he had not seen it recently. I think she wanted an excuse to time it. 

We did a few short hikes at the Grand Tetons and attended a few of the ranger programs on bison and wildlife. Having attended many of the ranger led programs at various parks this summer alone, I must say, they did a great job with content and being able to address and engage the entire audience. We plan to head back through each the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone when we travel through the Pacific Northwest. We will hike each of the parks more thoroughly at that point.

She is getting taller... Or maybe she is standing on a rock. 

Toddler hikes- barefoot. It's all fun and games until you step in mud. 

We loved the wildflowers. 

Athena has decided to hike with technology in hand to take pics. Or play games. I'm not sure. Okay, it was the first. I suppose the iPad thing is growing on me because it gives her a camera (which is hard to misplace, unlike her Olympus Tough) to take photos from her level and POV. 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Taking on Idaho in a Day

We decided to knock Idaho off our "to-do list" during this trip and because we were in Northern Montana visiting GNP the day before we wanted to stay near Coeur d'Alene. We started the morning with a mine tour... Considering nobody in our family has mining experience outside of Snow White's seven little buddies singing, "Heigh Ho" it was bound to be educational or insightful.

*Note: It was slightly disappointing when Athena missed the Snow White reference, yet at the same time I was relieved.

The tour company we used was the Sierra Silver Mine in Wallace, Idaho and Lenny, AKA the "Smurf" was our guide. He was funny and brought the tour to life. He had a lot of personality for someone so small, hence why he was nicknamed the Smurf. The tour touches on every aspect that went into mining from the air channels, mine shafts, equipment used, miner safety and more. It covered things which seemed obvious and many "Oh, so that's how it works." I would highly recommend The Sierra Silver Mine. The office staff was equally helpful at answering questions.

Our guide, Lenny. He may be heading back into the mines to work again.

I would be lying if I said I did not want to hijack a mine cart and sing, "Heigh ho," it is however, slightly less tempting than driving on a runaway truck ramp in the mountains.

Lex has had the same life motto going on three years, "Not impressed."

No car seats...

We arrived back safely, spinal cords intact, thanks to a great driver and few cars in sight.

As we were leaving Wallace, we needed to grab lunch... The idea was to head towards Old Mission State Park and pick up lunch along the way. There was nothing that was not fast food so we decided to head towards Coeur d'Alene and explore the town. We had lunch at the Dockside, I highly recommend for the views alone. The food was decent for a hotel restaurant.

A fun view from our table:) We took a walk around the boardwalk following lunch.

Athena has always had a strong interest in historical sites so I was a bit surprised when the Cataldo Mission was of no interest to her.

Except sarcasm and goofy smiles.

Our family did enjoy walking the grounds and viewing the graves. However, I would not recommend Old Mission State Park to friends passing through unless they have a strong interest in religious history... which we do not.

That said, it was a fun day in the area. I am interested in finding a coal mining tour to explore the differences and similarities in mining styles and we would love to visit Boise in the nearish future.

Idaho, The End

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Glacier National Park

We spent the day at Glacier National Park learning about Glaciers, erosion and  wildlife in the park. Glacier is a great park for kidlet hiking. It is estimated by 2030 there will be no glaciers left in GNP. Global warming... Climate change, either way. It's a reminder that we don't always have an endless amount of time to explore with our kids. 

*He should have tossed her in;)*

Friday, August 22, 2014

Tire 'em out

Happy Birthday to me... We celebrated my last year in the 20's by heading to a soccer game and Montana. Go Rapids?!?!?! Surprisingly, it was fun. I guess I could call myself a Rapids fan now:) Husband- pleased.

LA Galaxy won 4-3

Soccer is more exciting than pictures:)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014


We are in the process of downsizing substantially at the moment. I know people talk about how nice it is to downsize and get rid of everything but it is a challenge.

What do we keep that is sentimental? I've decided to keep the girls coming home outfits from the hospital, one other dress and their "crib" blankets. I will keep Athena's otty, and one of Lex's stuffies.

What do we need? For some reason the notion of getting rid of all of this stuff is difficult when we are physically in a house. I feel like we have more "needs" in the house when in reality, we probably would not need them on an RV.

Should I keep the clothes Lex has not grown into yet? The girls are four years apart... Keeping clothes for four years does not seem that efficient and to be honest, I have not looked through all of the clothes we have in tubs in a year. I'm sure many outfits no longer fit and were passed by.

Do we sell or donate? I know there are a myriad of community garage sale pages on facebook and other places on the interweb but I wonder if the time is worth more than the money? I'm a huge believer in saving money... I'm also a huge believer in maintaining a balance in my life. If I'm selling various things I need to create the time to meet somewhere or be at our house while people want to meet. Part of the reason we are downsizing is because we are rarely home!

To be honest, this process sucks. I'm not a fan of it but I dislike having so much "stuff."

I watch episodes of "Hoarding: Buried Alive" for motivation.

*****To be clear, our house is not dirty or cluttered but it is a good motivational booster. :)

Now if only we can implement a program to keep things from coming into our house... Hmmmm....

Monday, July 21, 2014

Roadschooling to worldschooling transition

I made it through trip number one this summer solo with the girls and we are getting ready to head out in late August for trip number two! This time with an additional three family members, the dad and the doggies but a lot less stuff. (Anyone interested in rabbit sitting?)

Our tentative itinerary is: 

Friday afternoon: Head up to Grand Tetons. 
Saturday: Explore GTNP and collect the Jr. Ranger badge (Athena's hobby.) Drive into Montana. 
Sunday: Relax:) 
Monday: Visit the Cataldo Mission House and a mine tour near Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. The girls will head back to Montana with their grandparents and Jay and I will continue on to Seattle. 
Tuesday/ Wednesday: Jay and I will be in Seattle, drive back to Montana. 
Thursday: Visit Glacier National Park. (Athena wanted me to mention a badge of some sort?)
Friday: Hike and relax. 
Saturday/ Sunday: Drive back to Colorado. 

While on our earlier trip we visited New Mexico, Montana and Wyoming we have not yet visited two educational spots to count each of the states. We hope to knock out Wyoming and Montana on this trip and hopefully NM in the fall. 

Jay and I decided to take a few days to ourselves and discuss the transition from roadschooling to worldschooling with the hopes of finding a transition that is suitable for the entire family unit. The two days will be spent discussing: Do we keep our house? Rent it out? Do we rent an apartment or move directly on to some sort of RV? Do we buy new or used? Do we consider a travel trailer which may be better for fitting our entire family in a larger SUV compared to truck with two dogs in tow? Do we keep the pets? (I'm sure this has to be a YES!) How will we balance cultural immersion vs. knocking off countries? There are many other logistics we need to consider.

We've spent months going back and forth on a plan of attack so to speak so we are hoping it is nearing the end and a final decision will be made by Labor Day weekend at the latest.

Wish us luck! 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Yellowstone: Part Two

Notes from Athena:

I did Young Scientist books at Yellowstone for big kids. I did Canyon Quest and Old Faithful and the Jr. Ranger program. I formed a hypothesis and had to prove it right or wrong. They asked if geysers are alive. I believe are. They are alive because they provide food for the microbes that live there kind of like plants provide food for animals. It is a different type of alive. Some people don't think they are alive but I do. Kayla does not think they are alive. She is wrong. I got two patches at Yellowstone. It is my favorite park. I want to go back again and again.

We came back to Yellowstone for a day and decided to head out. We camped the last night, I woke up needing to use the restroom and looked out the tent to find an inch of snow on the cars and no longer had to pee;) Funny how our brains and bladders work.

We cancelled our last two days of the trip and headed home early but only after the cowboy dinner and wagon ride.

It is against their philosophical beliefs to wear jackets on days it is snowing on and off? There may have been people rolling their eyes and making comments.

I formed a hypothesis: They move. More than you. More than me. When they move, they heat up and no longer feel cold.

The end. 

Athena took a picture of a bear:) She was pretty excited. 

You can not tell but the meltdown she had minutes prior to this was impressive! Toddler- Day 23... Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

The Cowboy cookout. Athena does not eat corn products or meat and Lex will not eat grains and may or may not have a potato allergy so they ate watermelon and steak... Interesting how their GI systems work. 

Lex was proud to sport her geyser badge:) 

Following the cowboy dinner we hit the road back to Colorado. I drove overnight and hit a road called Dead Indian Pass... It was challenging around 10 PM, foggy, and pouring, sleeting with little gas and no cell phone service if there was an emergency. I'm sure it is a gorgeous drive during the day but I think I will avoid it in the future. The name seemed fitting.

We made it home around 6AM the following morning!