2017-2018 School Year Curriculum

We are already a couple of weeks into our new school year and things are rolling! We have already made some changes (*shock*) to our choices. I know that for some of you this post is pretty boring, but I am typing it up more for myself so that I can look back next year and see what I had “planned” to do vs what I end up *actually* doing. LOL. Can anyone relate?

So, without any fluff here’s the line up for what we are trying to accomplish this year!

Lea-age 8- 3rd-ish grade

Elly-age- 5-K/1st-ish grade

Cai-age 3- preschool

Zach-age 1- tot school

Math Picks

The girls are both very brilliant in math, although Lea has a bit harder of a time applying herself. We have been using Life of Fred up to this point with her successfully. We have purchased the intermediate series, however she is already getting bored with those so we are more using them as supplemental instead of the full curriculum, like we did last year. She is trying out Teaching Textbooks as well as Math Lessons for a Living Education (level 3, not pictured). She right now is bouncing between TT and the MLFLE.

Elly is using Math Lessons for a Living Education (level 1) and is adoring it. I would not normally push such a young student to do this kind of “book work” however she LOVES writing and begs to “do math” so I can’t really fight it. She is almost 3/4 of the way through this book already (we did some over the summer), so I am not really sure what we are going to do next. We also use lots of hands-on manipulatives and real life math activities.

Language Arts

We are really excited this year about some of our language arts picks! Lea is not really doing any formal reading program as she is fluently reading. This year we are focusing on quality writing, spelling and gentle grammar. We are using All About Spelling Level 2, Grammar Galaxy Nebula (not pictured), and incorporating Brave Writer Lifestyle to the rest of her studies. We are also using the Good and the Beautiful by Jenny Phillips handwriting program. Lea is on Level 4 as she wanted to learn cursive this year. Handwriting is not Lea’s favorite so we set aside 5 minutes (hopefully building to 10) for her to do her best effort work and whatever she completes at “best effort” for 5 minutes is enough for the day.

For Elly, we are using All About Reading Level 1. Elly is using the Good and the Beautiful handwriting Level 2, when she wants to. At this age, I do not really force any school. However, she loves to have her “own books” for things and is constantly writing.

Brave Writer Lifestyle

This year we are really embracing the Brave Writer Lifestyle…and I could/need to write a whole blog post on that. For now, there’s LOTS of other great blogs that do a fantastic job explaining what that is. For us, this looks like poetry tea time, free-write Friday, lots of creative writing and storytelling. In a nutshell, we are fostering and developing a love of writing without drilling mechanics until later. We are learning how to get the ideas that are in our heads, down on paper without criticism of perfect grammar, spelling or punctuation. I believe that children begin storytelling at a vary young age (imagination!), but there is difficulty in actually translating that onto paper. It is a very different part of your brain that you use when you do the actual writing process. My goal is to alleviate as much pain as I can from the actual writing process so that the children can focus on how to get what they are thinking or feeling actually in spoken and written word.

For writing mechanics, right now we are using a Charlotte Mason approach, doing copywork and discussing books that we read (noting how the author uses punctuation, inflections, etc).

Read Aloud

We do lots of reading aloud! Sometimes this is a very difficult task as the toddlers are not always quiet…ok, scrap that, NEVER quiet. As much as I am working to teach them to play quietly, usually when I am reading every other sentence I have to stop and remind them “when mommy is reading no one is talking.” Children’s book authors should have just done me the favor of writing that in the books themselves. “SHHH” “STOP TALKING” “STOP HITTING YOUR BROTHER” and so on.

Nevertheless, we push through. In the mornings when the littles are with us all we read aloud picture books, nature books, and silly stuff. In the afternoons when the boys nap the girls and I will pick up the chapter book that we are reading. These are some of our picks for this year! The girls are excellent listeners, occasionally they will paint or color while I read but for the most part they sit and listen. 9 times out of 10 they will re-enact what we read later in the day. We just finished Nim’s Island and their outside playtime ever since has included abandoned islands, floating coconut boats and talking sea lions. That is a gem for me that I tuck away for the hard days.

Nature Study

We have been doing nature studies for years now, but this is the first year that I bought an actual curriculum for it! We are really excited about using it. Exploring Nature with Children is a very gentle curriculum that covers the ENTIRE YEAR! It is seasonally appropriate and includes so much. It was also extremely affordable which made it an easy pick! Each week we study something different, and there are book suggestions, poetry to read, a famous piece of art to study as well as specific references to the famous Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Comstock. Usually about once a week we go on a nature walk, collecting items to look at and observing. Finally, at the end of the week the girls and I will do some watercolor painting in our nature journals to paint whatever it is we found or studied that week! We reference the Wild and Free Nature Journal for inspiration!

Morning Time

This year we are trying a dedicated “Morning Time” hour for the first thing that we do. As part of this morning time we kinda do a little bit of everything. Firstly we do our devotions and prayer time. We are using Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing in the first quarter. Not sure what we will use after that. Lea will sometimes read a passage out of The Jesus Storybook Bible. Both of these are fantastic resources. After that we usually do some memory work then some singing and dancing to get the wiggles out.

One of our favorite additions this year is doing composer studies on classic composers using a curriculum that I grew up with called Color the Classics. Basically, about once a week the kids will get a coloring page for a composer and we will listen to the music and read a small bit of information that goes along with the picture. We study each composer for about 6-7 weeks. Kids have enjoyed it so far, and even Cai is really dedicated to coloring. Don’t worry though, Zach is still wiggling and trying to eat the crayons so all is not peaceful. Don’t get any ideas that I somehow have mastered the art of getting kids to sit still and listen.

We utilize a Loop Schedule for morning time, meaning we don’t do the same thing everyday. I have a list of activities (like the composer study) that we rotate. Sometimes we play math games, reading games, simple crafts, or study something the kids are interested in at the moment.

Finally, we wrap up by doing a short lesson in our Grapevine Bible Studies. By this time Cai is bored to tears and ready to go play so the girls and I do the stick-figuring through the Bible curriculum together and then move on to our other studies.

History

For history this year we are sticking with our co-op buddies! We selected to use Homeschool in the Woods unit studies. We are starting with The New World Explorers, then Colonial Life and finally The American Revolution. We will be spending about 8-9 weeks on each subject and meeting together at co-op for activities and discussion. We’re really excited about it!

Routine

This is the first year that I am trying a more structured routine. We will see how long that lasts, LOL. For the most part we get 80% of our work done before lunch then the kids have a nice long lunch break. The boys go down for a nap and the girls and I finish up. I usually save intensively messy projects for the afternoon as it takes so much time for clean up. It’s honestly a tough season with the boys, Z being so little and wanting to get into everything. Cai does play nicely on his own now, but he is LOUD! He is always talking and making noise, so thats tough when we need some quiet focus time.

Things that are really helping this year…

Minimalism! We have gotten rid of so many toys and unneeded things around the house. For toys, we have 90% of the kids toys organized and put away in the closet. They can have 1-2 things out at a time, clean up and put away before they get another out. It’s working out great, I really never have to ask them to clean up more than once. This year the favorite toys are Legos, Calico Critters, Beanie Babies, Tegu blocks, and Playmobile.

Alex also got a new job this year that allows him to work from home. He is home all day, so that helps if I need to run a quick errand without the kids, go to a doctors appointment or whatever. He also takes his lunch break with us and helps get the boys down for a nap. We have had such a great time with him home and I am convinced that I am spoiled to the point that he can never ever have another office job again. We are incredibly blessed!

Oma days! Having my mom local is such a blessing as she helps out with the kids at least a couple of times a week. The kids enjoy an “Oma Day” where they go out and about and do things that I don’t always have the energy to take 4 kids to. Parks, zoo, libraries, swimming. Gives me a smidge of a break to catch up on housework, business stuff, or coffee with a friend. Weekly sanity check.

Finally, I’d say the last thing thats really helping is that I am getting up earlier and trying to have some “me” time in the morning before the kids get up. Right now, that usually means I get up, go to the living room, put on some worship music, read a verse or two off my Bible App and fall back asleep. Just bein real. It’s peaceful resting in the Lord. I am trying to learn just to “show up” even if I end up drifting off. After that, I get up and make coffee and breakfast. From 7-8, I sneak off into Alex’s office to catch up on emails, make plans for the day or take care of business stuff. That has been a huge help as I don’t feel stressed in my school day to deal with business needs as I know I’ll get to them either that morning or the next day. It’s working good for now!

Final Note

Again, I wrote this post for my own reference so that I can look back from year to year. Lest you think that I have it all together, let me assure you there are still plenty of days of tears, me looking for the resignation office, days where we try to do school, fail and eat donuts instead. Yet, I have my best intentions of connecting with the kids and wanting to give them a quality education. So I am committed to sticking it out through the hard storms. All of the above only serves as a guide. It also gives me something at the end of the year to see what worked and what didn’t. So it’s all good. If you are connecting with your kids, you’re doing a great job regardless of school choices, curriculum choices or daily routines.

You got this. Leave me a note or connect with me on Instagram if you need some encouragement. I am here. 🙂

Peace and Love,

E

Just Let Them Be Kids

Just let them be kids…

That’s what my dear husband told me the other day…after I had a bit of an outrage…

I was standing in the kitchen window looking out at the children playing outside since it was a nice spring day. Lea runs by and I notice her shorts are covered in mud…shorts that we just bought new 3 days ago. I’ve been reading blogs and articles about minimizing kids clothes, doing this whole trendy “capsule” wardrobe thingy. We took off school this week so that we could focus on organizing, and getting our brains together (note to self: never make such lofty goals). I successfully purged all of the kids clothing…saving their favorites and ones that are not ripped and stained. We went shopping to fill in the gaps where they needed a couple of extra items. I was feeling good. Ahh so much control.

Back to mud scene. Oh I forgot to mention that we created a intentionally very specific “MUD CLOTHES” pile and put them in a specific spot they could access when playing. Today was also Alex’s birthday…so the girls decided they wanted to dress up for Daddy’s birthday. Deck out in their brand new clothes. Fine. Dandy. Hey, I’m so nice you can even play outside in them! Just don’t.get.in.the.mud.

Mmmmhmmm. My face when Lea runs past the window covered in mud. “Oh no she didn’t. Mmmm, girrrrrllll. Hallelujah.” Elly next, white leggings turned poop brown, giggling and running around. Cai with a saggy diaper from sitting in puddles. Mercy. Then began my tirade of “why’s”.

I don’t even understand my own emotion. I was so mad. Okay I was hot. Thank goodness there was dishes to take my anger out on (yes, I am an angry cleaner…) Why the devil couldn’t they have just put on their mud clothes. LIKE WE TALKED ABOUT. Yo.

Yo.

Sigh. Okay, so I’m like WHY does this make me so mad. Why does it matter so much. Probably because I see these pictures of these kids all dressed up in their cute little curated capsule wardrobe and I feel slighted. I just want to be able to take the kids places and not have them all looking like hoodlums. Brown butt hoodlums. Not that I look entirely much better with crusty boogies on my shirt, pants that are way too big, Ms Frizzle hair and some hot pink lipstick. Man, I gotta stop looking at those blogs.

Meanwhile, my husband is sitting at the table playing some computer game listening to this conversation I am having out-loud with myself. Finally, I sit down. I start my why tirades all over again, this time expecting him to answer. And he does. I have a list of 1, 000 reasons why rolling around in the mud in your-brand-new-clothes-that-mommy-just-bought-with-her-hard-earned-money is not a fantastic idea. Not to mention I single handedly braved the clothing store with all 4 children to buy said clothing. So I think it’s fair I have a say. He says:

Just let them be kids.

Excuse me while I pick my jaw up off the floor.

Someday they will grow up and have nice clothes. Someday they will grow up and think that rolling in the mud is gross. But for now, this is their joy. They are not thinking about how mad mom will be. Let them play. Just let them be kids. Let this be their memory. 

And so, I let go. I grabbed the camera and decided that, well, at least it will make a decent blog post. A real life story of a superbly control freak mama, who let her kids roll in the mud in their brand new clothes. Hallelujah. There’s still a part of me that doesn’t particularly like this situation. I’m gonna have to keep practicing deep breathing and letting go. In the meantime, we might have another conversation about our mud clothes pile and our nice clothes pile. And I’m buying the Costco sized Oxyclean.

So next time you see my kids, with stained and dingy clothes. Please remind me to let them be kids and that its not about me.

Oh, and remind my husband to install an outdoor shower for me.

Mud On Friends. But really, I prefer flower picking days.

 

Happy Earth Day!

I love that the homestead is buzzing with new life! I love to see the new blossoms on the trees, seedling plants springing up out of the black dirt, and dandelions by the millions scattered across the yard. I was so excited to find that the strawberry plants I planted last year came back this year! We were weeding the garden a few weeks ago and noticed that the dead pile of brown strawberry plants had sprung back to life! They are proliferating big time and already have little berries on them! Man…that brings joy. This truly is the best time of the year.

We have been working super hard on getting some trees transplanted. We have about 50 sunset maple trees in a small “holding garden.” They are getting big enough to transplant through the property. Planting trees is really hard work. Like REALLY hard. I am not even kidding.

We are also super excited that we got 6 new fruit trees to add to the orchard- 3 apricot and 3 plum. They have already started new growth and have leaves! Ah! Such a miracle to watch. Literally. CAN.NOT.WAIT. for the day our fruit trees start producing.

Anyways. Just wanted to share a homestead update and a fun video we made today of what a breezy day in the country looks like!! Enjoy. (Ps-Sorry the video is so small…I was just playing around with a new app and couldn’t make it bigger).

Acceptance of "The Way it Is"

Life has been a bit crazy lately. But then again, as I write that…I think that every blog post I have written over the past two years has basically started the same way. I had this realization the other day when I was pondering if I was ever going to feel “on top of it.” My kids are swirling around, screaching, playing in dirt, bumping heads, crying…oh the endless crying. The mere thought of having to empty the dishwasher for the 2nd time in one day seems overwhelming. I keep thinking to myself…if I can just get past this hard stage then I’ll be ok…just make it out alive. Then I had this slightly unhappy thought of “what if this is just the way it is.”

We have made a lot of choices over the past few years that have really set us up quite nicely for a life lived on the edge…of insanity. When I am evaluating all of these choices, I honestly can’t really think of any that I am wanting to  let go of in order to save brain space. So, I have really had to sit myself down this week and talk to God about how in the world I am supposed to function in this way. For me, just coming to this acceptance has helped me. So on days when I feel like all my to-do list my swallow me up alive, I think about how this is just how it is right now and move along. I can personally waste a lot of time living in the “what if’s” and in the frustration that things aren’t the way I want them.

I specifically feel very challenged in the realm of child rearing and homeschooling. I have pretty much come to the determination that this was not intended to be done as a solo parent. Alex works outside of the home for 11 hours a day. That’s a REALLY long time to be alone with 3 children, manage a house and a business. It is for this reason that I feel I am putting every spare minute I have into building businesses that can help us achieve our ultimate goal of sustainability and for Alex to not have to work outside the house. It really is such a big dream.

It honestly brings me to humble tears thinking about how blessed we have been over these past few years. I cannot give God enough glory for what he has accomplished in our lives. I cannot thank our friends and family enough for the love, support and help they have been to us in all of our crazy endeavors.

So through it all, I fight hard and cry hard. Most days I don’t think I am going to get through it. Other days, I feel completely renewed and motivated. Accepting that this life that we have chosen is indeed a lot of work has helped me push past the regret, the envy, the pity and helped me put the pedal to the metal and make it happen. Fueled by passion, letting stress go.

work hard

2015 Homestead Life Goals

2014 was a crazy busy year. We had babies (ok, just one but it feels like 5…), renovated structures, opened businesses, & ate way too many zucchinis. Come the end of the year we were tired. December was a rough month with water problems (2 pipe bursts) and mouse issues out the wazoo. Yeah…those little dickens are so determined. They chewed through our pest block foam spray from last year. Just so they could laugh at us while they ate all our tasty crumbs…Sorry, not to gross you out. The house has been officially sanitized. It was like spring cleaning in the dead of winter. Fun!

Annnyways. 2015 is going to be different. It is going to be full of so much opportunity. So here’s a few things on the checklist.

Homestead Goals

  • Expand garden and spread out the woodchips that were delivered last year
  • Make a better garden plan
  • Plant 3 new fruit trees & 3 new fruit bushes
  • Transplant all trees that have been in the “spare” garden for a year
  • Prune apple trees
  • Build duck coop and enclosure
  • Gutters on the house (not accomplished in 2014)
  • Build insulated house for the well pump (not accomplished in 2014)
  • Landscape front of house near porch
  • Paint one room of the house (living room or our bedroom)

Personal Goals

  • Last year I had pledged to buy better meat. I was pretty successful in that endeavor, I am happy with where we are in our eating habits right now. However, I would still really like to make it a priority to grow the bulk of our vegetables and can/preserve them for winter.
  • Finish the two courses I am enrolled in at Vintage Remedies. Enroll in two additional classes by the end of the year.
  • Finish the book Aromatherapy for Health Professionals 
  • Finish the book The World Atlas of Coffee
  • Do more educating on this blog

Coffee Business Goals

  • Integrate more missions-minded aspects into the site
  • Integrate an artists shop on the site
  • Partner with local businesses
  • Attend a local vendor event
  • Set up coffee shop at community events, such as concerts
  • Plan business expansion, including larger roaster

We are intentionally trying to keep all of our projects reasonable this year…and not trying to do any major renovating, building or projects that take more than a couple of weekends to complete. The past two summers have been crazy and we would like to actually enjoy a few days of summer without back breaking, sweat-to-death kinda work. I am sure you are all nodding your head in approval. Who is ready for a 2nd annual Camden County’s Largest Slip-and-Slide party!? Don’t ask me why I am already dreaming about summer…maybe its because we had the “first snow” of the season. I call it “snow” because of course all schools were closed and my kids had to get dressed in head to to winter gear to go play in the snow dust. Alas, I am not a cold weathered gal. Except that I have an excuse to drink more coffee. In fact, I think I’ll go brew another pot now…

What’s on your agenda for 2015? Comment and let me know!

Orange-Vanilla Brown Sugar Scrub

I’ll admit I have an obsession with sugar scrubs. They smell delish, feel luxurious, and taste good too! You think I’m kiddin? Ewww who eats their body care products anyways? I may or may not be guilty of that. In reality, aside from the part that sugar is sweet, I actually prefer sugar scrubs over salt scrubs because I find that the sugar is more gentle and is less prone to burn your skin like salt does occasionally. In particular, I have found that brown sugar is better than white sugar; for some reason the particles are finer. Sugar scrubs are so easy to make you have everything in your kitchen already. You don’t have to go out and buy fancy ingredients to make this… Unless you want to. Sugar scrubs are perfect for dry wintry skin, which if you’re anything like me, you are very prone to it this time of year.

The scent of the scrub was inspired by a product a friend gave me recently which smells like the classic Dreamsicle popsicles we grew up with. Of course like everything, I always have to try to recreate it in my own way. Not to mention, as I mentioned before, which means that I actually already mentioned it, I really enjoy sugar scrubs a lot. When you are a mom of three kids, shower times can easily become spa times with the addition of sugar scrub… It’s that yummy.

So back to the part where I suggested you eat it. I don’t actually recommend that you get a spoon and eat it spoonful by spoonful, however, it makes a very lovely facial scrub and lip scrub. And in case you accidentally lick your lip you might actually crave more. I’ll leave that to your discretion. On a serious side note (cue putting on your smart hat)…the ingredients contained within are all food ingredients, hence why I’m suggesting you taste it. However! Homemade things don’t last as long as store bought body products. If by some miracle this lasts more than a month, of toss it and make a fresh batch. If it smells weird don’t rub it on your body. Mk? On another safety side note I have used essential oils from a company that I am very proud to be a part of and I trust their quality. If you are interested in finding out more and supporting a stay a home crunchy mama visit my oils page! For all my oil geeks out there and those who would like to know this information, the dilution ratio for the essential oils is 1% or less, depending on how many drops you choose to use. This scrub would be safe for the whole family to use (except delicate baby skin…don’t scrub that!) Finally, while orange oil is considered a phototoxic oil (meaning if applied to skin and then exposed to sunlight for extended period of time it can cause burns), since this application is a rinse off product this is a non issue. There is no need for concern about that effect in this use method.

Okay so on with the recipe so you can go get in the shower!

Orange-Vanilla Brown Sugar Scrub

Ingredients:

Directions:

In a clean bowl place the coconut oil, and using a hand blender, or mixer, blend until fluffy. Add your avocado or grapeseed oil and vanilla and continue to whip it until it is again fluffy. If your coconut oil is not solid (ie its over 76 degrees in your house) you may put the mixture in the fridge to allow it to cool down so that it will whip better. Or, don’t worry about it…might look a little different than picture, but it won’t effect the end product.

20150115_111551 (1)

Next, add your brown sugar and mix it in. Finally, add your EOs. Start by adding 5 drops of orange, smell, continue adding until you reach your preferred strength up to 15 drops of the orange and 4 drops of the Stress Away™.

Place in a glass jar and leave it in the shower or near the shower if you have little ones in the bathroom! Glass is important here due to the presence of citrus oils. Citrus can breakdown plastic, so we want to be careful that doesn’t happen here. No one wants to rub plastic chemicals all over themselves. Oh…one more thing…then I promise the over-protective mama will go drink a cup of coffee…be careful getting out of the shower as the floor might be slippery from the coconut oil.

20150115_112231

The Real Joy-Giver

Joy-Robber. That is his name. The one who seeks to kill, rob and destroy. He has been fighting hard at our family these past couple of weeks. Trying to steal Joy. This is the season that invokes so much Joy in hearts. It is not surprising he is pulling out all the big guns. Battle after battle after battle. Joy doesn’t surrender. The continued tap tap tapping on my patience and sanity has led to me my knees crying for grace. Things given that I do not deserve. For most of these days, I have needed abundant grace. I have failed in miserable ways. Selfishness, angry outbursts, control-freakish tendencies…its all been rampant around my mind. But there is also a Mercy-Giver, who can look past all of my short comings. All the while Joy still bobs her head above the surface, never sinking. It is the whispers of Joy that keeps me moving on…”keep going, keep going, you got this, you got this.” Many times for me, Joy-Robber comes in the form of a panic attack. My mind completely lost. But I have found a strength amidst the teeth grinding that helps pick me back up again…helps put the pieces back together. I find this strength in Joy of those surrounding me. You see, I have been given so many  Joy-Carriers. My husband, my strong tower, who deals ever so gently with my broken pieces and helps me recollect them to take them to the Puzzle Fixer. My Mom and Dad who are always there as relief…taking burdens away so that I can breath and always reminding me who gives air. My in-laws for the selfless help and un-exhaustible patience. For my children who even admist their struggles manage to tug my heart towards Joy- their smiles, their jokes, constant need for me. Finally, (but not least!) my faithful friends. My listening ears. My secret keepers. They are the warm touch of Joy…the balm that soothes the wounds.

There is a need deeper still…that the Joy-Carriers cannot meet. Somehow Joy-Robber still manages to squeeze his way into the cracks of human relationships. Frustrations, mis-communications, annoyances, incessant crying…But there is One who can meet needs. One who Robber cannot touch. It’s wonderful. There is someone far more capable of Joy creating because He is the Joy-Giver. Joy-Robber meet Joy-Giver. And Robber never can win because Giver never stops giving. Take what you may Robber, it will be replaced in full plus more by the Great Giver. Ha.

So this season, in the midst of our hardships, our heart-ship, that is that which makes our hearts go astray in the vast oceans of confusion, let us find the Peace-Giver and the Joy-Giver. For He is the only constant, and always giving. More, more, more than we need. More than the Robber can take. Joy to our hearts, to our bones. Let us rejoice for He has given us a spirit of Joy in the midst of the struggle.

Merry Christmas from The Monroe’s. May you find the Joy-Giver.

 

 

Summer Projects Wrap & a Winter Plan

I run my life on lot’s of to-do lists and goal scheduling. It feels so incredible to write down a list and then check things off. Ahh sweet checkmarks. So for my own peace of mind and satisfaction I present to you my summer project check list…and that which was checked off.

  1. Put in vehicle gate to back yard (for mulch/sand/wood) deliveries. 
  2. Build kids a playset and sandbox. 
  3. Build the kids the “Ultimate Slip and Slide”.
  4. Put gutters on the house
  5. Can LOTS of tomatoes
  6. Begin renovations to garage for coffee roasting business.

Wow, that was a crazy summer that actually merged into fall…hence why I don’t have any fall plans. I’m tired.

Winter plans. Well…I’d like to say I’m going to cozy up and never venture outside. There are a few things on the list.

  • Christmas Vacation!! It’s been over 5 years since we have ventured to Michigan to visit the rest of our family. We are looking forward to taking the kids to the “real snow”.
  • Insulate well pump. (Froze last year=not fun)
  • Organize House
  • Spread mulch for next years garden
  • Research apple tree pruning
  • Roast lots of coffee

That sounds do-able. Doncha think?

Alright ya’lls. Sorry for this terribly boring post. It was kinda a brain-dump kind of night. I promise more exciting things soon. In the meantime…Go buy some coffee.

 

What's Going On: 10 O'Clock Contemplations

You may have wondered where I have disappeared to recently. Maybe you haven’t. I secretly wish that you did miss me. What have I been doing for weeks without posting an amazingly entertaining blog post? Well…we have been a tad busy around here lately. I’ve also gotten into some writers block. I know! Crazy! Out of amazing ideas! Nevertheless, I’m back tonight. Thought I would deliver you some updates and some changes.

WHAT?
Wow were getting so close to having the coffee shop open. Cleaning and a final inspection to go and we’re ready! I honestly don’t even know what to say about it all as I am so overwhelmed with emotions. This has really been a challenging and exciting time for us as a family…but it’s been hard and we are ready for a break…a break in manual hard labor that is! No more drywall, paint, plumbing, digging, or cleaning. We are ready to just do the business work! Which does lead me to the announcement of a few things. In just a few days we will be launching our very own eCommerce site for coffee. Wanna sneak peek? Visit MonroePostCoffee.com and poke around 😉  We’re not accepting orders quite yet…but we will be very soon. With that we also have the ability to ship orders to anywhere in the country. Woo! It also means we have to deal with pesky things like taxes. Just part of the package. So that’s the nitty gritty’s. Lemme move on to more emotional topics.

WHY?
I have found myself asking myself (as I am sure others have wondered the same)…WHY? Why are we doing all this. Pouring our heart and soul into a business…swiping the card endless amounts of time at Home Depot for yet another few parts and materials. Why is a good question. One I am not sure we can fully answer right now. We have been dreaming for many years about the idea of starting a family business. The first reason is because we love coffee…we always have. We got passionate about the organics and fair trade industry and wanted to make a difference. We also were passionate about connecting people with missionaries in foreign countries through the use of coffee. We began Coffee with a Mission at church to bridge this gap. It has really grown from there. The second reason why we wanted this business is to pursue self-sustainability. While it seems a far fetch of a dream that this business could actually support our family entirely without Alex having to work away from home, we cannot make any progress towards that goal unless we are willing to take some steps in that direction. Thirdly, the feeling of “making the dream happen” is such a satisfying experience and we wish everyone could experience it. So that’s the nutshell.

HOW?
How have we been able to do all this? Afford all this? I’m going out on a limb here…pure honesty. I struggle with feelings of guilt and unworthiness. How was I so blessed to even have this ABILITY to begin such an adventure? Deep down I am afraid of making others feel bad or jealous. I hate that feeling. If I could just give all the coffee away I would (although my husband would surely come after me). I want to be real though. We have NOT done this alone. While we have followed in God’s leading of taking a leap of faith, it has certainly been very backed by supporters. Our parents have been generous supports both in work and financially. We literally could not have started this journey without them. The help and hands they have provided over the past months has been invaluable. With three young children running around, it would have been near impossible…scratch that…IMPOSSIBLE to ever accomplish this single-handedly. We have been very blessed with hardworking parents who are willing to lend their skills & child wrangling abilities. We have also had major support from close friends who have offered their help and encouragement along the way. This has kept our head above water, esp when times got hard and tried to pull us under. So all this to say- we’re really trusting God through this process and letting Him guide the next steps. This is not the result of some ability of ours…but rather the Grace He is pouring out. My mom wrote me a beautiful letter and I love the verses that she wrote.

Even now the one who reaps draws a wage and harvests a crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. John 4:36

I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor. John 4:38

Those who have sowed into our lives will be blessed just as we are being blessed. There have been those who have gone before us and worked hard in order to help us now. We are reaping the blessings of our parents and grandparents’ hard labor. We are so grateful and full of joy. So when I start to feel those lies creeping in of guilt or fear…I just recall the Grace which He has lavished and rejoice that we get to share that with YOU through the practical means of coffee. Man that’s a win-win. So…that How. That’s how we did it.

Alright ya’ll deep thought for the night are shuttin down. Gotta put the brain to rest! We have a big business conference we are attending tomorrow! Stay tuned!

Coffee Biz Update: Plumbed & Painted

Hey ya’ll thought I’d give you a quick update…we have been SWAMPED busy here lately…which is probably why the blog has been rather quiet as of late. Whoa life is busy. But good…mostly good.

Where we at? How are we doing? We are getting SO close. These past couple of weekends we have knocked out the final huge project of bringing plumbing into the space. We had to dig yet another trench…about 80 feet worth. It was terrible, miserable, curse-worthy work. I helped, so that gives me permission to complain. OK…sorry, no complaining here, we don’t do that. Let’s just say that was definitely NOT the highlight of the project. We were blessed to have some help from a friend and we got all of the plumbing in and tied into the septic system. Yikes! I would really like to re-iterate God’s blessing throughout all of this. We got a quote from a plumbing company on how much they would charge just to tie into the septic system…no digging included…it was going to cost us $1,200. Wow, yeah no. Thankfully we have a very skilled plumbing friend who helped us FO FREE…well some labor bartering and Mexican food. Come on, who can pass that kind of wage up? 😉 Thank you friends.

In other news, we got all of the drywall up, plastered and painted…with free paint mind you. 😉

So what’s up next?

1. Get plumbing inspected.

2. Install crown molding (high class, I know!) & base molding.

3. Trim out windows

4. Install flooring (linoleum)

5. FINAL INSPECTION!

We’re getting super super close ya’ll! This is so exciting. Do we really have any idea what we are doing?! No…not really. We are just trusting God and His leading. He is always faithful to light the next step. I am quick to doubt sometimes…and really scratch my head thinking “what in the world girlfren, you done gone crazy.”

Well, crazy or not, were here, we’re moving forward. Another step towards the dream. Thanks for following.