Whipping Cream and Running Crazy

Despite my most valiant efforts and noble intentions, we have been failing miserably at this whole do nothing project.

I really meant to, and I thought I tried to, do nothing at all this past week.

Well, it seems the harder I try, the bigger we fall!


We made our own whipped cream for dessert- yummy, low sugar, all natural, organic, and educational!

...and I'd say it was a success!

(home ec, health, math, science)

We learned about healthy food choices and the importance of presentation!

(aka- let's find a way not to open another box of those evil girl scout cookies!)

(nutrition, visual arts, chemistry)

We went to a new food market that had lots of samples (free snacks are fun), and bought organic milk to make our own homemade ice cream, (and cream for making whipped cream and butter!), and veggies and salt for our fermenting party coming up this Tuesday!

(economics, home ec, science, math, social studies)

There was a patio demolition that took place in our back yard this afternoon. (my part was staying out of the way with the girls and then directing while the hubs backed the trailer into the driveway) He says I'm good at directing. ;)

(architecture, business management, safety)

We all watched a supercross race together (sort of;), and had some of the yummy farmers market tamales for dinner (with lots of fixins that the girls helped with)!

(phys ed, economics, home ec)

Yesterday, the girls played with barbies in the 'swimming pool', :( i didnt get a pic, and painted pictures 'inspired by' the new flowers blooming in the front yard.

(p.e., drama, art)

We've also been:

Writing letters to pen pals.
(language arts, communications)

Prepping and planting a backyard garden.
(biology, economics, agriculture)

Man, these girls are advanced! ;)

And, we are still remodeling the house. This week, the hall bath got new floors, paint, baseboards, and a new vanity! Here's a nice picture of our toilet:

Way to go hubs!

All this trying to do nothing is wearing me out!

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Rainbow Libra Love

I've recently realized that my favorite color is rainbow...

...how's that for typical libra indecisiveness?

Perhaps it's not an inability to decide on just one thing, but rather a deep desire to have it all???

Thanks V for my beautiful hoops!

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Something About Nothing

I have big plans to do absolutely nothing tomorrow, all day long.

Yeah, I have to make a plan to do nothing. Don't judge.

This last week or so has been a whirlwind of family, friends, and tons of fun... and I am whupped!

Anyone who has this idea that we unschoolers are just laying around playing video games all day every day, is just completely uninformed!

...Or maybe I'm just doing this all wrong?

Not that we can't (because we can if we want to), or not that we don't (because sometimes we do), CHOOSE to do 'nothing' all day, (and when I say 'nothing', that still usually doesn't equate to 'nothing' in any 'normal' sense of the word 'nothing'), but only other unschoolers would really know what I mean with all that 'nothing'-ness up there...
I digress.

If you happen to still be reading this, and happen to NOT be a fellow unschooler, and happen to want to try to wrap your brain around what all that 'nothing' was about...
Try clicking HERE.

The point is, even I didn't really get how much 'something' we are doing around here all the time; but keeping this blog is really helping me realize that I've been calling a whole lotta 'something', 'nothing', for WAY too long.

For example, when my parents call and ask what we've been up to, i used to just throw out the default 'nothing', (aka: 'nothing much' 'nothing new' 'not much')...

WHAT??? Really???

AS IF!!!

On any given day, there are so many 'somethings' going on in our home and lives, (both external visible active somethings, and deeper subtler quieter somethings), and there's so much of those 'somethings' going on in any given week, that I usually don't have the time or energy to document it for ourselves, our supporters, (or our naysayers), to see what we're REALLY up to; and there just aren't enough words in existence to ever truly express all those amazing quieter subtler somethings that I am so blessed to witness every day of my children's lives.

But what an injustice that little 'nothing' has been all these years- to me, to my kids, to the people who care enough to ask what we're up to, and to the reputations of fellow unschoolers everywhere!

I mean, If we don't give ourselves credit for all the amazing 'somethings' going on in our lives every day, then why would we expect anyone else to see it?

The Challenge:
Never say 'Nothing' again!

What about you, do you have the 'nothing' default?

Do you give yourself and your kids proper credit for all the amazing things you're doing and learning every day?
(even when it looks to the rest of the world like you're doing 'nothing' all day?)

Do you take the time and energy to share the truth of this amazing life with people who might not get it or agree with it?

I think it's high time we did!

...now, how to find the time to document, the words to define, or the brain space to remember all that 'Something'!

Here are just some of our most recent 'somethings':

Lady J writing (drawing) and mailing a 'letter' to Blue and Steve of Blue's Clues, (she doesn't like the taste of envelopes)

Miss T developing her own temporary tattoo business as a fundraiser to stop kill shelters for homeless animals

Trying out a new Asian restaurant, and totally loving it! (chopsticks and all)

Girl Scout Adventures: a midweek field trip to The Women's Museum and a project passport trip around the world (which included some yummy homemade exotic foods)!

Playdates and parties with awesome fellow unschooling friends!

Honing our hOOping skillz and deepening our Hoop Love! <3

Spending an entire week with some of our favorite people in the whole world, cuddling with a sweet baby, touring a farm, going to the Lego store, and so much more!

Learning about, and trying, different foods from different cultures.
1. Farmers market bounty
2&3. Mexican Palletta (ice cream, we know this now, and also that if you order melon, don't expect watermelon because you'll get cantaloupe)
4. Sushi lunch date with my Little Lady J, who wound up eating all of my crunchy roll (even after that face) because she loved the 'baby fish eggs' on top. (I kept trying to get her to call it roe, or at least leave out the word babies, but she didn't seem to have a moral issue with it!)

...more fun with food!
1. Gluten free chocolate pancakes made with friends
2. Homemade Mardi Gras King Cake (made by friends, enjoyed by us) for our Fat Tuesday Party
3. Smiley Face Sprinkles discovered on a Starbucks cake pop (cake pops are so good they even make themselves happy;)
4. Delicious dessert made by Miss T with chocolate bread from the farmers market

Special just us girls time together, learning to love and care for ourselves

And of course some good old fashioned family time at the pet store and the park...

...no turtles pace for this unschooling family!

(and all of this is just in the month of March, so far, and this just barely skims the surface of what we've done, and really doesn't even touch on all we've learned, and how we've grown, or how we've felt, or fueled our interests, or discovered things about ourselves, or each other, or life in general)

Do me a favor, try to do nothing for a whole day; and more importantly, try to learn nothing.

Let me know how it turns out! ;)

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Love Notes from the Universe

Did you ever have one of those days where you felt like the whole universe was conspiring to make you feel abundantly blessed and excessively happy?

Today was that kind of day.

Starting with a solo trip to the farmers market at white rock lake, which felt anything but lonely because of the warm, friendly, neighborhood vibe of the market and the people there.

So many cool vendors, selling everything from refurbished vintage bikes, to adorable handmade clothes and jewelry, to repurposed plastic ray guns and rocket packs!

Oh, and you can find beautiful real food there too! (assuming you can peel yourself away from the artists tables)

Everyone i encountered was friendly, and kind, and interesting, and encouraging and inspiring.
It was all so uplifting.

Maybe it was just the Farmers Market Effect, but the rest of the day was just as pleasant, if not more so.

I stopped at the nursery on my way home from the market, and found heirloom tomatoes and pole beans!

Just a week ago, I asked about heirloom varieties and genetically modified seeds at this very same nursery, and the woman looked at me like I had a nipple growing out of my forehead, and then screamed over her shoulder for "EARRRL!", like she was calling the bouncer to throw me out for breaking the rules.

Today, they had a whole table of heirloom veggies, so I bought one of each! (I hope my friends like tomatoes)

Add to that the fact that after my near miss with EARL last week, I came straight home and ordered heirloom seeds from two different etsy stores; but for some reason, still haven't gotten them. :(

So I was talking to my dad on my drive home from the market, about his freshly flooded tomato plants, and my impatience with waiting for seeds, and how I wished I had ordered sooner bc I really needed to start them weeks ago, etc...

Well, since he clearly wasn't done talking, and my sister was calling on the other line, I figured i needed more phone time, so decided to pull in to the nursery and just tool around for a while.
...and I found heirloom tomato plants, already started for me.
Wink wink universe! ;)

Then I came home to my girls happily playing with barbies and littlest pet shops in the grass, my hubby happily washing and tweaking his new bike, birds singing, sun shining, soft breeze blowing...

There was so many things, too many little details to even be able to express, but today felt like a really warm hug.

Thanks universe!

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Hooping at the Park, Hooping after dark...

I like to Hoop both here and there, I like to Hoop most anywhere.

I do so like to Hula Hoop.
I do, I like it, and that's the scoop!

I have to admit, I didn't jump head first on the hooping bandwagon in the beginning.

For one thing, I'm kind of categorically opposed to being a sheep. And it was the 'new' thing, and everybody was jumping in and acting like they single handedly brought back the humble hula hoop. I found it annoying and would just vomit slightly in my mouth every time I saw someone else mention it on Facebook.

I'm just not the person to jump in and do something just because that's what everyone else is doing. I mean, I'm an unschooler for goodness sake. I'm clearly not into the whole 'if all your friends were jumping off a bridge' (public school, ahem) mentality.
(excuse me, I must be coming down with something) ;D

For example:
I even refused to buy into the whole insane cult girl world of LPS, (that's Littlest Pet Shops for the layperson), that is, until I saw how intensely into it both of my girls were. (Thanks to gifts from their aunts and grandmas, who were smart enough to just listen to the kids when they said they wanted them.)

I, on the other hand, was determined to reveal the evils of cheap plastic toys from china and mass marketing campaigns, to convince my girls to be above it all.

Ok, saying it now, of course I realize how ridiculous those expectations were, but at least I can say I shared my honest thoughts, gave them the real information about the consequences of our choices as consumers, and maybe somewhat illuminated the sly tactics of media and marketing.

Yeah, I know. I said 'maybe'!

And I can also say that I was open-minded enough to notice how amazing these ugly little things were for my kids hearts and minds, and now I even have a few favorite LPS's. I love them and think they're adorable, and at one point memorized the names of more than fifty of them, and was quizzed repeatedly (against my will) by miss T until I had them all right!

(I even handmade a t-shirt patch of Lady JaJa's favorite kitty...

...And am working on a peacock for Miss T)

The point is, I'm not a blind follower, but I'm not just a rebel without a cause either. I'm still open-minded and balanced enough to recognize a good thing... Eventually. ;)

So... at first, I didn't jump on the Hoop Craze, well, because everyone else was doing it.

But perhaps more importantly, it's not much fun when you feel like a completely spastic hooping robot!
I mean, there are only so many ways to play it off when you just smacked yourself in the teeth with your hula hoop! (again)

But still, there was always something about hooping that appealed to me on a deeper level.

It's simple, it's retro, it's timeless.
It requires no batteries.

Not to mention, the hoops are all so bright and beautiful!

What can I say, I like vintage, and I like pretty.

Hooping is a classic, and that appeals to me.

So after being dragged to a couple hooping classes and hoop jams by a friend, and actually learning a couple tricks, (and how to smack myself in the teeth much less often), I have to admit...

Hooping is a good thing!
(even if everyone else is doing it)

So now we can be seen most days, (and nights), out in our yard hooping. Or out at some park with gaggles of unschooling moms and kids. Sometimes even at midnight on Mardi Gras, disturbing the neighbors, with our awesome new friends! ;)

Hey, I can admit when I'm wrong!
(just don't tell my husband) ;)

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Phat Tuesday

Tuesday was Mardi Gras!

AKA- Fat Tuesday

But ours was a Phat Tuesday.

P.H.A.T. Phat.

Being from south Louisiana, right outside of New Orleans, if I don't celebrate Mardi Gras, I might get disowned, or banned from the state!

So we planned a cajun style feast with some friends, and threw our own little party.

Our friends were participating in some kind of promo thing from Zatarains, so they had all kinds of boxed foods and recipes to try- jambalaya, red bean and rice dip (yum), and even a home made king cake recipe!

Now I know my Louisiana peeps will take one look at this pic and say "that's not King Cake"!

But, I have to say, it was pretty tasty.

Other than the colored sugar, it really was nothing like the king cake we grew up with every Mardi Gras season.

It was more like a real cake, a really thin layer cake, with root beer flavored cream cheese frosting.

(I've never seen root beer flavored filling in a 'real' king cake before, cream cheese yes, root beer? Hmmm...)

But that was the recipe Zatarains sent her, and it WAS very tasty.

They also sent her a recipe for homemade root beer, which luckily we just so happened to have all the right ingredients on hand between us, so we went ahead and tried that too!

I was wondering what was up with all the root beer stuff, but I think the hostess was hoping for me to have an answer to that question. I didn't.

So being the curious minded person that I am (or just feeling slightly ignorant and uninformed about my heritage), I asked my dad about it today.

He didn't know either. But he did come up with the fact that the 'root' in root beer is from the sassafras plant, which is also the plant used to make file (pronounced fee-lay) powder.
That I knew. I guess that makes sense then.

(But i did have to pick up the Zatarains box to see if it was really based in Louisiana.)
It was. New Orleans. Oh well.

Anyway, the reason I spelled it:

P.H.A.T. Tuesday

Is because it sounds just like:

Fat Tuesday

But it's just not quite the same.

Everyone knows (ok, maybe not everyone, maybe just everyone from my hometown), that real jambalaya doesn't come from a box (or have tomatoes in it), and real king cake looks like a huge oblong donut with filling inside the pastry (which is most certainly nothing like cake).

All technicalities aside, we had a very nice night with friends, the kids got to dress up and make Mardi Gras masks...

...and I had a good excuse to make some gumbo, (which started with a roux, not a box).

So even though it was somewhat of a 'faux' Cajun style celebration, for Dallas, TX...

...still pretty phat!

It's all about 'The Girls'!

It's Girl Scouts Birthday Week!

In lieu of our weekly meeting, our troop took a field trip to The Women's Museum in Dallas, and let me just say: WOW!

I mean, look at this place!

And this is just the lobby!
(not to mention it's a phone pic)

What a great place to visit with our girl troop on International Women's Day!

What was I thinking not even bringing my camera?

But, we were promptly informed that we couldn't take pictures in any of the galleries... :( bummer.

(but my phone doesn't even have a flash... Something something copyright infringement, etc, ...darn!)

Seriously, I take copyright very seriously. Seriously.


since she clearly stated that it was specifically the items on exhibit that potentially constituted infringement of some sort, and because my iPhone doesn't even have a flash that could potentially damage the artifacts (or accidentally get me busted), and because this building was just so amazing and beautiful, and it's very purpose was to celebrate the incredible women in our history who were responsible for where we women are today, (usually by breaking some rules)...

I really couldn't help myself, but these were the only ones i took, and I was very careful not to get any of the exhibits in the photos! :/

Don't judge.


My life lately seems to revolve around this scout program, so I'm thinking I'd like to get to the root of what the girl scouts organization is all about.

Why did this woman start this scouting group for girls 99 years ago?

...I get the feeling she was a bit of a mover and shaker in her day too.

And I'm thinking that the original spirit and purpose of the Girl Scouts is probably something that is much more in alignment with my personal values system.

I'm thinking I'm going to find out.

Why can't I just go along with the flow and not question things?

I don't know really, it seems like things would be simpler if I could, but it seems that I'm afflicted with the need to really know the why's of things, and really believe in the things we do.

Maybe I'm just feeling all 'girl power' after visiting the Womens museum; or maybe I was meant to be a mover and shaker? ;)


Movie & a Manicure

Sunday was all about having some good QT with my two best girls!

We went to the park, got manicures...

...then went to the movies to see The Chronicles of Narnia- Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and went out for ice cream!

Love to pamper those sweet baby girls!

(I better start bringing in some extra money) ;)

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Girls (of a certain age)...

Saturday night turned into an impromptu Girls Night Out with a couple of my grownup girlfriends-

-Hot mango tea and some delicious lebanese food at a very hip hookah lounge, (a first for me).
-which it turns out is a great comfy place to actually be able to sit and talk with other women, about all of those things that we women like to talk about, in an environment that seems a little more suited to women at this particular 'phase' in life. (i will not use the word age, i will not use the word age, I will not...)

No ridiculously loud bass thumping to scream and lip read and smile and nod over, no meat market vibe with people just looking to hook up, no strange men dry humping your leg from behind on a sweaty dance floor, no drunk bitches spilling drinks down your back or on your feet.

Remember those days?
Do people really call those 'the good ole days'?

Yep, I'm at that 'phase' in life.

That phase in life where even after being in a quiet, calm hookah 'bar' for a few hours, I couldn't wait to pick up my kids from their friends house and get home.

I mean at 10pm, I was heading home, and I missed my girls so much, I couldn't get there fast enough to be with them again!

It's not that I was disappointed to realize these things about myself-

-That maybe I'm at a 'phase' in life where I'd rather be home with my family than just about anywhere just about any time.

-A phase where although I really feel like I need a nice long break sometimes, I really don't want to be away from my girls for more than a few hours.

- a phase where even a quiet hookah bar feels a little too much like a bar to me, and I'm just so not a girl who wants to hang out in bars anymore.

...Surprised maybe, but not disappointed.

I guess maybe I thought I had a little more oomph left in me, a little more rock n roll, party hardy, crazy wild child leftover from my younger days, ahem, I mean 'other phase'.

But I was a little shocked to realize that I don't really have any desire to relive that 'other phase'. Like, ever again.

(And maybe even more shocked to be perfectly happy about that knowledge.)

To be completely content in knowing that any piss and vinegar left in me is energy channelled quite a bit more constructively these days, towards things that I'm truly passionate about-

-like the sanctity of family, and preserving our natural heritage, and protecting my kids right to breathe clean air, drink clean water, and eat REAL food, and even grow it themselves if they so choose, from non-genetically modified seeds.

-and protecting my right to have my children at home with me, learning joyfully and naturally, in their own time and pace without the pressure of peers or teachers or government testing standards.

Yeah, I still got some fire in me yet. But it's no longer the destructive and uncontrollable wild fire blazing everything in it's path. Its controlled, it's contained, it has purpose, and i like that.

Is it really the worst thing in the world to realize you've reached a certain 'phase' in life where you know what you want in life, what really matters to you, and that it's small and simple and humble?

I guess I'm also at a certain 'phase' in life where I can answer that question quite simply:


Actually, its not so bad at all.

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Scaling the Gluten Free Mountain

Anyone who knows me, or has talked to me in the last month or so, or has seen my facebook page or twitter feed at all recently, knows that i am going gluten free, or trying to at least...

But i have to say, this is a much bigger and more complex challenge than i thought it would be.

Aside from all the secret hiding places for gluten, and the difficulty of finding gluten free products, and the expense and the research and the label reading and the rest of the world still eating big juicy chocolate marbled bread pudding right under your nose...

Bitter much???

Quite simply, yes. I am bitter.
(I didn't speak to my husband for over an hour because he ordered bread pudding when we went to dinner last night)

Ridiculous? Maybe.

But maybe I just need to pout and whine and stomp my feet for a moment while I try to digest the thought of a life without.

Without cupcakes, and birthday cake, or pizza, biscuits, flour tortillas, the list is seemingly endless and infinitely complex, and apparently ever-changing.

I've been reading GF forums, and most discussions revolve around whether this or that formerly safe food is now still safe to eat, what companies have separate processing areas to avoid cross contamination, are extracts with grain alcohol safe, and the list of chemical derivatives and technical food processes goes on and on.

It's mind boggling.
It's overwhelming.
It's exhausting.

Add to this the fact that I was awake most of the night bloated and sick- even though i didnt eat the bread pudding, and believe me i wanted to- from some apparent missed gluten source, or who knows what is actually making me sick because I'm having a hard time finding any distinct pattern here, and when I was finally able to fall asleep from complete exhaustion, I was still aware that I was in horrible pain all night.

That's why after a long day of being frustrated and making lots of excuses to just give up on this gluten free idea altogether, I'm happy to find inspiration from others sharing their gluten free lives.

This post touches on the level of frustration I'm feeling lately, and just how serious this needs to be taken:


And this may give a little perspective for the people who are living with someone who is going gluten free:


And this one gives me hope that on the other side of this mountain, there is normalcy, and a life free from pain, and delicious satisfying food that can be not only ingested, but enjoyed- free from fear and pain.


Oh to be on the other side of this hill...

Inspiration to stick to this is a daily necessity.

(at least for me it is, at least for now)

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Dr. Seuss Day

Just a note for everyone:

Today is Dr. Seuss Day!

He's one of our favorites, so we will be celebrating by reading some seussian classics tonight!

Personally, I think he's a genius!
I was once asked on a questionnaire who some of my spiritual influences were, and among many others, I put Dr. Seuss- No lie!

His books are so simple and sweet, and still so deep and meaningful...

...I hope to be the same!


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We make Wednesday

Today we made pancakes!

Not just any-old-ordinary-everyday-pancakes, but gluten-free-grain-free-chocolate-pancakes!

And guess what?

They were GOOD!

Not just I guess this ok and will have to do since I can't eat gluten anymore good, but I can't believe these pancakes don't have any grain at all can I have another one good!

Don't take my word for it though!
These were happily taste tested, and then retested, by our lovely volunteers (and sous chefs)...

...and they agreed, 'can I have some more?' good!

Mission accomplished, and the best part was we got to hang out with our sweet friends while we cooked them!

Thanks for the recipe MB! ;)

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Thinking Tuesday

Tuesday was Girl Scouts day.

This particular Tuesday was the day that our troop was celebrating World Thinking Day, and we had 'projects' due for our meeting.

For those of you who are Unschoolers, I don't have to explain how my guts turn into knots just at hearing the word 'project', or even worse, 'due'!
...oh, the horror!

Anyway, all of my personal opinions about the girl scouts organization and rituals aside, and choosing to ignore comments from friends that 'girl scout cookies are evil', (which I happen to agree with, but for an entirely different reason I'm sure),
I have chosen, as an unschooler and respectful parent, to give my kids the freedom to make their own decisions about what feels right for them, and right now, Miss T wants to be in Girl Scouts, and she is really enjoying herself, and experiencing some real growth, and I couldn't be happier about that, and would not do anything other than support her in that.

After all, isn't that what we Unschoolers believe in?

This is T giving her presentation about England. (which was of course the country she chose since Harry Potter was set there)
She did great!

All of the other girls books were really cute too, and it was interesting to see how differently each girl approached the project and what they chose to talk about.

Then they each got to tell everyone about the food they brought and we all shared in a multi-cultural feast!

All-in-all, I'd say it's not an experience that is going to negatively affect my unschooler, and I might even go so far as to say it was a good opportunity for learning, self-discovery, and growth! (I think it was for her, but I know it was for me)

I mean, if we don't stretch ourselves to support our children fully in something that we don't fully agree with or believe in, then maybe we're kinda missing the point?

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Manic Monday

It's been a busy week so far!

I'm trying to document what we're doing every day, at least a little something, but me keeping up with things daily is going to have to be a process!

Clearly, I'm going to need to be patient with myself as I grow into this goal, but in the meantime, there may be the occasional (or weekly) 'catch-up' post! ;)


We had a play date with a group of girls we haven't seen for several months.

I had planned to do Mardi Gras mask making and crafts, and I had the best intentions to have some King Cake or other Mardi Gras themed food, but like I said before, the whole 'me keeping up with things' is still a work in progress!

So instead the girls all played outside, swinging on the hammock and chasing the dog, until the littlest member got upset that nobody would play kitties with her. :(
What do you do when the bigger kids don't want to include or play along with the little ones?
You break out the black liquid eyeliner and paint everyones face like a kitty!

And after five whole minutes of playing kitties, they were all happy to move on to making kitty themed crafts (totally their idea), and made construction paper mice, fish, and balls of yarn!

Gotta love those unschooled kids!

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