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Friday, January 31, 2014


What's that you say?


And our winner???? (Picked by our "random number generator" AKA - hey kids, pick a number. Ummm. ok!)


So, Rachel, send me a message on my Facebook page with your address and I will have Alpha Phonics ship directly to you!


Thanks for participating everyone! And thanks to Alpha Phonics for the generous giveaway.

Hope you are all having a nice morning!

We are sitting in the sunshine like cats, playing "transmorgifier" (someone has been reading too much Calvin and Hobbes lately!), reading about building yurts, and drinking too much coffee (time for another pot!)

Hope your morning is just as lovely!

Hugs mamas!!

Monday, January 27, 2014

thoughts on silence

I feel like a domestic goddess right now, writing to you, engulfed in my "polar vortex" fleece pants and shirt as the frigid sun shines down. What brought this on you ask? I shall tell you. Home made pop tarts. In the oven. And I included the kids, without tearing my hair out. Of course they are playing the Ipad now as I recover but, just the same. I did it.

And so, I write. Here is what I am thinking about.

About how on Saturday a small miracle occurred.

I actually put on REAL clothes (jeans! a cute sweater! makeup!) and drove to the closest mall. (AN HOUR AWAY! No, seriously, how is it that I live an hour from a mall? And thirty minutes from a TARGET??)

By myself.

The purpose? To shop. For myself. With gift cards.

I don't think I have done something like this in....years?

And, on the drive down, in the golden silence, I did a lot of thinking. And what I thought about, among other things, was silence, how I missed silence, how mommyhood was a lot of anti-silence, (AKA, noise, albeit happy noise a lot of the time, still NOISE) and how even in the silent moments, I manage to fill it up with anti-silence.

Have you ever noticed this?

Mostly its the blasted smart phone. That blessing/curse for the modern mama.

First, its facebook, which I have actually gotten better about checking (every three minutes) to a more reasonable (every ten minutes.) Then its reading CNN or Buzzfeed. And then a celebrity gossip site. I don't really do the games, I am just not a game person. But this alone is enough to consume my free moments of the day.

And its enough to eat into my "thinking" time.

So, all that to say. Driving in the car. No facebook. No smart phone access. I didn't even turn on the radio. Just silence.

At first it was eerie.

Then the pent up thoughts started coming.

Nothing productive like, plotting out the next pivotal scene of my book or what to make for dinner next week.

No, my brain was like a flurry of un-related randomness that nearly drowned me as I drove along in the sunshine.

At first the every present back-of-the-mind to do list consumed me.

"We HAVE to get the kids to the dentist."

"I wonder who is the best dentist around."

"I seriously hate the dentist."

"Why do I hate the dentist so much?"

"I really should use these gift certificates to buy the kids some new play pants."

"Crap, I forgot to send that email to Bekah."

"I should tell Steve to defrost something for dinner."

Then the random started coming.

"Why did we stop eating quinoa?"

"I cant wait until we can buy garden seeds."

"Good grief its cold."

"I really should've gotten those transition lenses for my glasses."

"I feel like I suck at homeschooling lately. Seriously. I am shitty."


"I hope I can find something to buy at Jcrew."

"I am REALLY not into Jcrew lately. How weird is that?"

"Remember when we used to walk the mall for fun Sara?"

"I should've called someone to go to lunch."

"That guy just cut me off. People are stupid."

"Nah, I don't think I could have a conversation today."

"Since when did I get so boring?"




And it took me the whole drive there just to settle my mind. Now, granted, big things have been afoot in the June household. "What is next-ing" about everything. And baby has slept for crap this week. Waking up every SINGLE night. For an hour. Or more. Because her skin is "scratchy" darn polar vortex eczema.

And I realize, as I quietly walk around the stores, browsing, touching the soft beautiful fabrics, shrugging off salespeople help, that I need more silence in my life. True silence. Not the exhausted end of the day silence on the couch, but silence that allows one space to really think.

And this is hard for mommies, to give this to ourselves.

But we must.

And then we come home, and we bust right back into "mama mode" of hugs and dishes and dinner prep and "eat your food" and run the bath and pajamas and big sigh, couch, Netflix, bed.

We cant forget us, that is, who we are, and to make sure we don't we need space to let that us emerge, all wide-eyed and confused, a dizzying rush of thoughts, and there, in the sunlight, blinking, alive, unique, valued, whole.

(This isn't necessarily relevant, but beautiful just the same.)
Thursday, January 23, 2014

trying to nap down baby

"Mama. I sleepy. See my eyes. Dem are tired and sleepy eyes. Mama. I take nappy?"

(Sigh. Puts down laptop and hot cup of tea)

"Guys. Mama needs to go put baby down for a nap. Please play quietly okay? Please? Are you even listening to me?"

(Children playing Duplos and Legos barely look up, acknowledge, barely, by a nod of the head)

"Do you hear me?"

"Yes mama, we hear you."

"Come on baby."

(Baby nurses, snuggles, etc. Eyes close. VICTORY. Door to bedroom opens. Eyes pop open)

"Mama. I need to take a nap too."

"Really? Yea, you do look tired. Okay. Fine. Lay down. But quiet!"

(4 yr old snuggles in, Duplo creations in hand. Baby sees Duplo creations. Baby wants her own Duplo creations.)

"Where my guys? I want my guys!"

"Okay baby, I will get them."

(4 yr old retrieves Duplo creations, hands them off to baby, who puts them to sleep on mama's pillow, pushing mama to the side.)

"Okay. Now can we sleep?"

"Okay mama, okay."

"Mama? My more milky?"

"Yes, yes,okay, come here."

(Baby closes eyes, almost asleep, and then...the door opens. Again. Brother comes in. Baby's eyes pop open. Again.)

"I want to snuggle too."

"Okay, fine. But seriously guys, QUIET."

(Silence for approximately 1.5 minutes. Brother scoots under the quilts. Sister follows. Baby giggles and follows too. Mama closes her eyes. Counts to ten.)

"Okay, kids. Baby needs to sleep. Get out if you aren't going to sleep. Okay??"

"Okay mama."

"I am gonna sleep in here. I'm a bear. Its my cave."

"No. Its not a cave. Its my bed. If you aren't going to sleep GO PLAY."

(Silence for approximately 30 seconds, cue giggling which of course, turns to crabbing 30 seconds later.)

"He kicked me!"

"I did NOT!"

"Okay, get out, both of you. OUT."

"Okay. Okay. We're going."

"Me too. All done with nappy mama. I go play now too."

(Kids leave room. Mama sighs, pulls blanket over her head. Baby shuts door behind her then comes back in the room.)

"Mama, you comin'? GET UP."

"Yes. Mama is coming."

(Mama heats up tea, sucks it down, makes more tea, then makes brownies. It's all gonna be alright. right?? )

(And as I type....honest to gosh...)



(NOTE TO SELF: Sara, you don't know how to make brownies without following a recipe. LOOK UP THE RECIPE GIRL!)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

mid-winter getaway

For the past few years we have taken a minivacation in the city. A night at a hotel. A dip in the pool. A trip to a mall. A coffee with a friend. Such a good thing. 

And then we come home to more polar-vortex-y weather and tired kids and clouds and grey and cold fingers it bedtime???

Oh. But the sun this weekend... And it was 35 degrees. And we took the kids to the zoo. And. Pink. And. Flowers. And. Lovely.

And home is lovely too. Especially when its this clean. (Both bathrooms clean. At the same time. Ha.)

So. Hi.

Oh January. Today you got me. Time to retreat to my fleece fuzzy pants and hibernate.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

you know, a day

I just spent 20 minutes scraping mermaid stickers off the kitchen chairs.

Ah, the glamour. The glamour of motherhood.

And yes, I'm wearing the fuzzy pants today. Again.

It's one of those "get-crap-done" days. Make the phone calls you've been avoiding (How big are my library fines??) Scrape the stickers off the chairs. I even scrubbed the dishwasher interior clean.

Pause to note, have you ever had the pleasure of scrubbing out the inside of a fairly old dishwasher in a rental house.

NOT for the faint of heart.

It took an hour and my hands are burnt from the bleach. And it still looks grimy.

And so it goes. You know?

And now I am faced with the age old four o'clock question dreaded by all mothers "WHAT THE HELL TO MAKE FOR DINNER?"

Sorry for the swear. But truly I have no idea what to make. Cornbread and....soup? Something like this is what is going to happen. Meanwhile the Dominoes coupons sitting in the stack of coupons in the mail are taunting me from the counter. "BUY ME. BUY ME. BUY ME."

And really I should do some writing. But REALLY I should wake up the baby, who should not be napping any longer, who has been up till 11 because of her newly revived napping habit, who is so adorably cute I somehow manage to read her books for two hours after her siblings are in bed.

Ah, me.

Yet. And yet. My kids have been super duper playing together buddies lately. I hate to even interrupt their play to call them to do school. House, with baby being "Queen" or "Princess" (she seriously wont take off this pink princess dress. EVER. I have to cajole and beg to get it off of her for bedtime and bath. She mostly wears it to bed. But as she takes it off for bath, she whispers to reassure herself "I am still a princess. I am still a princess" its literally the most adorable kid thing EVER) and little miss as "Knight" fighting off bad guys and little man as "Tiger-named CLAW" who prefers to eat meat and MUSHROOMS (no idea) and then hours of playing with Duplos, building armies and castles and then getting out the forest creatures we made baby for Christmas, talking in quiet little whispers.

And here we are. Dinner decision hour.

So Hi. That is my day. The scraping of stickers. The finding of princess slippers. The scrubbing out the dishwasher. The tripping over Duplos. The reading stories. The sweeping the floor. The folding the laundry. The deciding of the dinner menu. You know, a day.


Saturday, January 11, 2014

when mama gets sick - a list of natural home remedies for the cold season

Well, let's face it, when mama gets sick, life goes on.

It is mama who suffers, in silence, with the occasional whiney text to dada who texts back things like "I am SO sorry" which, he means well, but, that doesn't take away the pounding sinuses and it certainly doesn't do the dishes or clean out the litter box or make pancakes for the little three people who want pancakes, and etc.

We soldier on.

Because that is what we do.

Meanwhile, I remember all the doctoring I did for all the little people who were sick a few weeks ago. (I never got "the pukeys," by the way. Baby toddler was sick for days, little miss was fine, dada was sick for 48 hours, little man did "pukey" once. Me? Nothing. SO now my body is like "HA HA HA. PSYCH! Here, have a happy new year hacking cold and cough! YAY FOR YOU. Bwahahahaha!!! Yes, my body talks in an evil villain voice. Today anyway.)

So, yes. I remember all that doctoring two days into the evil cold and its like, "Oh, yea, right, I should do that for myself too I guess, huh?" Nobody is as bad a doctor for mama as mama. Right???

So, for the past 24 hours here is all the hippie crunchy healthy goodness doctoring I have been doing for myself. And I post here because 1) this is how I record and remember things like this for future reference and 2) I would LOVE you all to read comments about other hippie crunchy doctoring goodness ideas you use that work.

Meanwhile I have been taking Nyquil every night. Ha. I am a dichotomy like that.


So here is my hippy crunchy list of things we do at our house to fight colds and icky yucky sickies. Anything to add? Please leave your ideas in a comment!!

1) Moist air - Large pots of water boiling with drops of tea tree oil and eucalyptus oil in it. This is also to address the arctic-like weather that sucked all moisture out of the air.  (Poor baby has developed eczema!)

2)Elderberry syrup - This was SO easy to make, and I need to make another batch. Perhaps I will post a "how-to" post here soon? It includes elderberries (my sister has a bush on her farm! we are totally planting some this summer...) cinnamon, Thieves oil (we use Young Living Oils) and honey (always use GOOD honey medicinally, not the crap from China and etc in the stores in the plastic bear containers...I read a report that most honey from China is full of toxins from the pollutions and that they thin it with PLASTIC. Ew. Also, we are friends with a local beekeeper so....)

3) Homemade Vix - made with coconut oil (of course, you must include coconut oil in any home remedy list) and drops of lavender, eucalyptus oil, tea tree oil and thieves oil. Use on the feet under socks or on the chest.

4) Thieves tea - hot water with a single drop of thieves oil, a single drop of peppermint oil and a spoonful of honey. This is POTENT STUFF. Sip cautiously! I usually sip in tiny sips over several hours and also refill the mug with hot water halfway through. This is also great for bad stomachs/flu and as an immune booster.

5) Honey Lemon Ginger tea - this is great for sore throats. I do hot water in a teapot with the juice of one lemon (using real lemon juice is important because the enzymes are still active...something like this...) cut in slices of ginger, just a few, you can also use powdered ginger. Now a generous spoonful of honey. I also put in either kombucha, just maybe 1/2 cup or a splash of apple cider vinegar (the good stuff with "the mother" in it. I have been making my own since summer and its so easy to do!) On bad days I drink this all day. This is also a great immune booster and detox tea.

6) Homemade Cough Syrup - Slice one lemon and maybe an inch of ginger root into a small wide-mouthed jar. Cover with honey and store, covered, in the fridge. Take a half teaspoon or so for coughs or mix into a mug of hot water for a nice tea.

7) Cinnamon Honey Cough Cure - Mix powdered cinnamon and honey (good honey!) in a small container. I use a jelly jar size mason jar. Take for cough attacks. It really works. I did this last night when I was having a cough attack and trying not to wake the sleeping kids. Must. Not. COUGH. Must. Not. WAKE. KIDS. Ugh. The worst.

8) Mullein Ear drops - So, you can buy this in the store, but as I discovered that the tall, fuzzy leaved plant that grows around here is MULLEIN, I made some myself this summer. You just use the blossoms and let them sit for awhile in olive oil, then strain out and store the oil in a jar. I dab some in sore ears (always with colds for me) on a q-tip. You can also do warm olive oil with a few drops of tea tree oil, or you can use garlic infused oil.

9) Nutrition - This is of course the time to break out the yogurt containers full of homemade bone broth in the freezer. I made chicken pot pie the other night with some of this. You can also sip mug fulls of it, watered down, especially after the flu as a first food or with bad colds when you have no appetite. I also try to beef up the probiotic intake with yogurt, kombucha, and kefir. I would say with my nice fridge full of fermented veggies but, alas, I have none right now. Why?? Because the gut really is the first line of defense! You need a healthy gut to have a healthy immune system!

10) Liquids - Of course, this is logical. Lots of liquids to keep mucus flowing and prevent sinus infections. (Which is why taking Nyquil and other cold meds really is dumb of me. it stops of the flow for awhile and makes you feel WORSE when it wears off. But. I take it. Because I need to sleep. Also...AHHHHH....NYYYYYQUIIIIIILLLLLL...)

11) Vitamin D/C/etc - I also take mad doses of Vitamin D like, 10,000+. (400 IUI is the recommended) Also a packet or two of Emergen C (fizzy vitamin drink) daily. Also fish oil (we are using

12) The Neti pot - A handy little device for when colds are coming on or to moisten dry sinuses because of hayfever type allergies, etc. For me though, I really dislike using the neti-pot when I have a full on cold. It feels like I am going to drown.

So, what else do you have for me mamas??? That is about my list. There might be things I have heard of (colloidial silver being one of them) but this is what I actually do. What do you do??

Now, is it bedtime yet? Mama wants her NYYYYYYYYYYQUUUUIIIILLLLLLLL.

Here are some pictures for you, of a blue jay out on our deck during the arctic freeze last week. Because pictures of me sick or making homemade coconut oil/honey/ginger/teatree oil remedies are boring. HA.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Alpha-Phonics curriculum GIVEAWAY!

So, January.

The first week of January is always half and half for me. toys...organizing....yay. And then...Curse...home...too many toys...trying to fit it all in...overstimulated kids who only want Ipad and sugar...etc ...etc. This year, lucky us, add to that, frigid polar vortex temperatures which makes blowing off energy outside IMPOSSIBLE.

And here we are. Its both things, but we are working out the kinks and getting into a rhythm. Today I feel slightly under the weather so we do a low key school day, I type at the table while boy does math problems and girls play the unending game of house.

I did take a shower this morning, though (uninterrupted! AMAZING!) but rather than putting on clean real jeans or pants, per my intention, I snuggled back into these fleece lounge pants I found at the thrift store, new, with tags on, exceedingly soft, and exceedingly ugly. I mean, PINK ZEBRA PRINT ugly, so so so SO ugly. SO ugly in fact little miss cringed when I stepped out of the bedroom with them on and dada almost refused to let me wear them until I swore up and down I would NEVER EVER take a picture of myself in them to post online. EVER. I swore, up and down, and now I just can't bring myself to take them off. 1) I have no where to go 2) polar vortex 3) SO SOFT AND FLUFFY.

All that to say.

January is boring.


I have never had the intention to do giveaways or product reviews with this blog BUT a few months ago I was actually contacted by the Alphaphonics Company to do a review and giveaway of their materials. I said yes because, well, we have always used it, in fact my mom used it to teach my younger siblings so its a curriculum I really believe in. In addition, the company is owned and run by a family, the Watts, who I have been in touch with personally about the giveaway, and that is nice to support, and well, because giveaways are fun, and January is boring, as we have already established.


No but really, this is exciting for me because these are GREAT materials and I love being able to give things away to you guys.

So. Not sure how to do a "proper" review of a product, as I have never done it. But I can tell you what I have to say about this curriculum.

Day one of our homeschool adventure I just sat down with the book, opened it up, and read through the first lesson with little man. That is it. We got to about lesson 50 by the end of his first year with it, taking it slow. Each lesson is short, simple, and allows your child (and you) to tackle reading in easy bites, one step at a time. This takes the fear and/or monotony out of teaching a child to read. First lesson is  "a+m= AM". And literally, right there, they have an "Ah, HA!" moment, and they are reading sentences by the second lesson!

In the back of the text are brief instructions to the parent on the concept to be introduced in each lesson. The new curriculum packet they sent me to review (and keep! yay!) also includes a CD to use on the computer which talks you through teaching each lesson, as well as a workbook (which perhaps is more suited to a child who is reading more easily already, because it really seems to be about reading comprehension, not just letter and sound recognition, etc) The packet (which you could win!) also comes with reading books, simple sentences in a simple story format that corresponds with the lessons easily.

The text is very simple in layout. Large print. No distracting pictures. No stickers. Just walking through the basic steps of reading - the 44 sounds of the alphabet - one simple lesson at a time.

Well, um, it worked. We got through the first 50 lessons or so in our first year ("first grade"), supplementing with lots of reading classic books out loud, copy work, and practicing reading with a few small books (Frog and Toad mainly). We let it go over the summer. I think that is key too, to let it all lie fallow for awhile. Suddenly at one point in the summer I look over and he had found a Calvin and Hobbes book and he was READING IT. I even said "Are you reading that?" and he was like, "uh, yea, so?" Such an amazing thing as a parent, when your kid starts the journey of reading! So, yes, effective.  It has also helped several of my siblings who struggle with dyslexia to learn to read, so it works well for a variety of learning styles and those with learning difficulties. This year we are using it a few times a week, maybe just once or twice really, in addition to lots of copy work and starting in on cursive writing. We use the long lists of practice words (to reinforce the concepts in the past few lessons) as our spelling words and pause when we get to these lists to study the words, for one week, and then have a "quiz" on Friday to check his work.

So, yes. I've got the beat up old copy used by my mom for my siblings, and we are still using it for little man. Little miss has started in on the first formal lessons of the shiny new book. (VERY exciting for her!) and within a few lessons she is now reading simple words and sentences (this is a full year earlier than we started with little man. A difference in child I think. She is nonplussed when she can't figure a word out, he at that age acted like it was the end of the world.)

All that to say - if you are hoping to work with your child on reading skills, as a homeschooler, or to reinforce reading skills at school, or to help out a child with learning issues,  I'd really recommend this book!

So, the giveaway part!

I think, like last time, I need to make some clear guidelines. You will only be officially entered if you leave a comment here on this post (NOT on my facebook page) this is mainly because it gets to darn complicated to keep track of otherwise. SO, to enter:
1) follow my blog here OR my page on facebook (which is more fun, really) AND
2) share a post on your facebook page (if you don't have a facebook page, share on twitter? pinterest? or email around? the point is share this blog around!) This could be this post or another favorite post. AND THEN...
3) leave a comment here with YOUR NAME (initials if you like) but NO anonymous entries, please, and how you shared this blog around.
4) one entry per person/family please, and I will announce the winner (determined via random drawing) on January 31! (Prize will be shipped directly from the Alpha-Phonics company to you!)

[ETA... clarify....1) follow my blog here or on facebook (here is the link!) AND 2) share this post or my blog somewhere else on the big wide internets (pinterest, facebook, twitter, etc.) AND THEN 3) let me know how you did it in a comment here (with no anonymous posts!) hope that clears things up!! THANKS!!!!]



Good luck!

And if you want to just order these materials now (or you don't win this contest) the order form can be found here on their website.


the original book used by my mom!

nice shiny new curriculum, all including in the winning packet!
Saturday, January 4, 2014

a letter to the girl with purple hair shopping at target

So, I saw you at Target the other night, shopping with your mom, browsing the dollar spot, rolling your eyes at her as she asked your opinion about something trivial. Your side looks of perhaps, maybe, admiration? I saw your mother check out me too with that "Oh good grief, does that woman have dreads in her hair" look on her face. And I saw you see that response. Your look of "So wait a minute, that lady can "be different" and have three kids and a husband? And shop the dollar spot on a Saturday night? And just be "normal" but "different" all at the same time? Really???"

And maybe I am reading a lot into those looks. But I am pretty sure I saw that all take place. Just like I get comments from kids, hanging out in the rough section of the city on skateboards, the old me would clutch my purse tighter as they came riding toward me full speed, the dreadlocked me stops and smiles as they slam their skateboard to a stop right in front of me, look up at me in surprise and say "Wow. Nice dreads."

And I smile and say thanks.

And. You know. Different. I am good with different.

Perhaps its growing up in a giant family. One of a row of ducklings in the grocery store, taking up a whole pew at church. Then being raised a homeschooler, when homeschooling wasn't a thing people did. And then traveling overseas, going to place where people reached out hands, perfect strangers, to touch my long blonde hair, a novelty in their corner of the world.

Perhaps I am just comfortable with "different."

But here is the thing, my friend with the purple hair. You are rough, we see your piercings and the hair, of course, and the carefully stylized "I don't care" clothing ensemble. But you are also sweet and kind. And you may roll your eyes but you shop with your mom on a Saturday night and answer her questions and I saw you pick out a puzzle for your little sister because you said she would like it.

And, here is the thing.

Don't be "different." Don't try to be "different."

Just be.

Be the multidimensional person you are. If that means purple hair, go for it, but don't think you need purple hair to "be different."

Just be.

The world doesn't have a "you" in anyone else, except you.

And I want to give you a hug. To thank you for trying to express yourself, so bravely. Meanwhile I see girls you go to school with, groups of three and four walking around the mall with matching sweatpants with words like "Sweetie pie" on the rear end and Ugg boots (NOT knockoffs) and tight t-shirts (and no coat!) and long hair and coach wallets in the latest color set. And I have to say thank you for being someone different. For trying your hand at individuality. Because really, I'd rather my daughters one day be the one purple haired girl in their class than one of a matching set of girls all the same, unable to step out of the mold to be anyone "different."

But hey, that's the thing right, don't feel like you have to be "different," like you have something to prove. Let go of the need to prove your difference. Just let it go, and BE, be YOU.

...And awkward segue way here...

...because have you seen the movie "Frozen"?? We saw it last week and I can't get the music and the message out of my head. Its lovely. About Sweden! And sisters! And finding who you are! And who you should be in the world! And empowerment! And this song,  I swear, gives me chills up and down. I think its my theme song for the next transition year of my life. Transitioning away from the world of tiny babies, into the land of writing book international go-getting mama and suddenly I realize how okay I am with being different. With being me. And honest to God, how I am kind of in love with my life, and, am I allowed to say it, who I am becoming? Mother, wife, sister, writer, blogger, homesteader, artist type. All of it. And yes, purple haired girl's mother. Yes, I have dreads, and I'd apologize except, well, I'm not sorry. I'm proud of who I am and who I am becoming. And really, sincerely, I hope the same for your daughter, mine too. Hugs to you mama, out there, wherever you are, for being cool with the purple hair, even if you really aren't. I hope you can see there are more offensive things in the world than dreads and purple hair for your daughter to admire, and I say that sincerely with good wishes, my fellow mama in the trenches.

And okay wow. This is really a "rah rah go me" post. I don't mean to say I'm "all that" but sometimes its good to step back and say objectively, yes, that Sara, she is KICK ASS, and really admire that, and that is what evil side glances/stares of admiration from purple haired girls do for me.

So, there you have it. My thoughts. And honestly please seriously see this movie. At least listen to this song.

Let it go, let it go
And I'll rise like the break of dawn
Let it go, let it go
That perfect girl is gone
Here I stand in the light of day
Let the storm rage on!!
The cold never bothered me anyway.
(except for that it DOES bother me, ITS COLD OUT) 

Hannah, keep reading below for "how to make dreads" tips. GOOD LUCK!

So, tis is for Hannah who dared to ask the question, "Tell me, Sara, how DID you get those dreads in your hair."

So, yes, rolling out the dreads was quite the process. Like any good thing in life, it takes some doing. Ha. Um. Anyway.

Section off little bits and pieces. Keep the chunks under one inch. Smaller is easier to wash and keep clean. Now there are lots of theories out there about the "how" and which method is best. I chose to avoid all wax and NO perm dreading, thank you. I read too many scary things about chemical burns and hair falling out and wax that attracts bugs and mold. EW.

So, I sectioned off bits and pieces, after not washing my hair for several days, not too long though, just a few days. Then get those tiny rubber bands to keep all the sections in place. Then gather some sturdy combs and sturdy friends with sturdy hands. And then start teasing each strand back, like old school ratting up the hair, one lock at a time, your hair will bunch all up but will flatten down eventually, so don't freak out when you look like a total puffball. Because you will. There is also a "ri and twist" technique that I used when a few fell out. You will have to google this because its impossible to describe without pictures.

Now comes the hard part. Tolerating the next few days/weeks as you wait for it to "take." I didn't wash my hair here, for awhile. I did spray my scalp with some water and lavender oil. Finally after a few weeks, two maybe, I washed my hair with my standard routine, now I do this once a week. Take 1/4 cup of baking soda, 2 tb of lemon juice and mix in hot water, then stir in a few drops of tea tree oil (helps with the musty smells that inevitable happen) and lavender oil. I also use ylang ylang oil, because I like it. That first time I let the solution sit and soak on my scalp and in my hair for a good 20 minutes, then rinse in hot water. Now I just use this solution like shampoo once a week, like I said. Maybe one other time a week I wash with Dr. Bronners peppermint soap diluted in water. I have also done vinegar rinses a few times, which totally gets rid of musty smells and really softens your hair.

During this period and for the next several months just roll your dreads every now and then. I think I did this to each dread for several minutes after the initial ratting too, to get the poofs settled down. Just hold your dread in your palm, flat with your thumb hooked around the top to hold it in place, then use the other palm to roll back and forth working your way up and down the dread. I still do this. My kids do this to me. HA HA. No seriously, they do.

I also used several sort of trouble shooting techniques that first year. At one point the ends just weren't holding well so I did the loop and tuck technique (like flipping a ponytail once its in to create rolls of hair on the sides, remember when that was a thing??) this helps locks the lock in place. It also causes weird lumps in the dread when it grows out. I wouldn't recommend it. I also did tie embroidery floss around a few of them to strengthen them. I have one that needs this now. The floss eventually came out, except for the one that was meant to be permanent. I also used wool and a felting needle to felt around one of them with my one "in real life" dreaded friend. I should do more of that too. What I would recommend if your hair isn't "locking" is to use those tiny clear plastic hairbands to secure your locks at the roots. This really worked and I should've just done it right away. Once things seem more securely in place you can just easily clip them out. I think I just broke them out by pulling a little actually.

So there are my "recommendations." But really, do what works, just try to avoid wax and perming. Also remember your hair will be MUCH shorter after dreading, not at first, but eventually within a few months. My waist long hair was just below my shoulders after 6 months. I would recommend growing your hair out first before dreading. Its easier to keep them in at first with longer hair too. More hair to get knotted up.

So hey, there you have it. Happy dreading! Also, read this original post after I did the dreading. HA. The whole "dreads" series of posts are also entertaining. Click on the "dreads" label on the side.

early dreads. before sisters and mom got out them.
the length keeps coming up as the dreads really take
this is fall of 2010

dreading sisters!

after sisters and moms combed them

dreads after several months

early dreads
late winter, that first year. see how much shorter my hair got!

the favorite summer hairstyle with dreads. this past summer

the crown braid. love this one.

me pre dreads. (baby little man!!)

the dreads, a year in

my typical hair style, this past summer.

long and crazy dreads. three years old this fall

the original inspiration picture...I'd say I'm there!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

happy new year!

I had this great New Years post in mind for this week "five days to an organized life" tackling a certain kind of project a day for a total of five days throughout the month. 


Maybe next week.

Or next year.


For now this thought from our history chapter is in my mind today. We read about Marcus Aurelius, the great Roman emperor and looked up some of his sayings. This is the one little man chose to copy out:

1)the mask is due to his ongoing ninja obsession, plus it's cold, SO COLD, and he refuses to wear socks (???) so I encourage the mask wearing.

2) his cursive is getting so good, and his reading too, makes me such a proud mama 

3) I love homeschooling in that my kid knows who Marcus Aurelius is. I'm totally teaching him Latin next year. I'm a dork.

4) they are now watching pbs kids on the iPad so don't assume I'm "that mom"


5) isn't this a beautiful concept? I also liked these two:

"The soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts"

And especially:

"Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them."

May you run with the stars this year mamas. 

Happy new year, from our little family to yours.

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