“In the tapestry of childhood, what stands out is not the splashy, blow-out trips to Disneyland but the common threads that run throughout and repeat: the family dinners, nature walks, reading together at bedtime, Saturday morning pancakes.”― Kim John Payne
Here in the south, the last of the winter weather has subsided, with maybe a last minute snow from time to time. We start to spend more time on our front porch and play in the backyard. We sometimes forget the beauty in our own backyard. Our favorite memories are the simple, ordinary days at home. The impromptu football games until dark, catching fireflies, the dirt biking and bonfires, and staying up late talking and laughing on the front porch.
We are blessed to live in the country with some acreage. We have designed it for our own comforts- a small dirt bike track in the far back of the land, a bonfire sitting area, a table for family dinners outside, lounging areas, basketball goal, trampoline, and open space for biking and play.
I am so blessed with a great front porch. It was the only thing I cared about when we decided to move from the city to the country, I HAD to have a front porch. I have a swing and some rocking chairs on one side and a table and another sitting area on the other side. To make it cozy, I added a rug to fit my personality (with a house full of boys, this is my own girly area bc I love the porch so much. no one has complained about the decor), lighting such as lamps, candles, lots of plants and pillows. I bring out a blanket to enjoy the porch on the cooler days.
The more inviting we make it, the more we want to stay out and play. And the more we love our ordinary days.
We don't believe a little rain will dampen fun. We still like to venture out to bike and hike, and even camp. But, if it is storming we will stay inside and enjoy each others company. Home Movies- A family favorite is to watch home movies, which we only do about once or twice a year. Oh, the giggles that come from the kids when they see old home movies. Even the children not even born yet in the movies, absolutely love this. Board Games- Our family loves board games and card games for a rainyday. Our favs are monolpoly, skip-bo, headbandz, say anything, watch ya mouth, bounce off, would you rather, dragonwood, dominos. TV- I love watching tv to relax, but I know I can become very lazy. So, a rainy day is perfect to settle down to catch up on something. Movies- I am movie fanatic. You wouldn't know it with my ADHD, but it's an obsession. I could go to the movies every single day. Maybe not, I would probably get tired of that, so it's good that I don't. I'm also glad I still have little kids so I have an excuse to go see the kids movies. I love all kinds of movies, action, suspense, romance, but comedies are a favorite. I just love to laugh. We like to share with our boys old movies we liked as kids. Mine are The Goonies and Annie, my husbands are things like Rad. We also have movie marathons. I mean we don't actually sit down and watch all the Narnia's or Lord of the Rings in one sitting. But, we scatter it out from Friday to Sunday, and when we have quiet time or each evening. Baking day- I know the boys love to eat, so I provide opportunities for them to learn to bake their favorites or a family afternoon treat. Once they have learned, they are able to bake on their own whenever they feel like baking. Men need to be able to cook and bake, too. They need to be sufficient on their own. And their wives will thank me for it.
Where I live, we start planting our summer garden by mid April. I start planning and preparing the soil, and making a plan of what to plant and where. I also plan a children's garden like a sunflower house and let them plant whatever vegetable they choose. I save and budget for plants. I love huge ferns hanging on my front porch. I mean, it's not a country home unless you have ferns hanging. I love to plant petunias and ivy's in pots for the front porch and back patio. If I am not careful to budget and plan what I want to plant, then I can be very wasteful. I've learned what amount best suits the needs of the areas without going crazy. It took a while to learn, though.
Birds- we have several trees and bushes in our front yard that are homes to bluebirds and cardinals. They are beautiful to watch. I have a few bird feeders in the front and a few in the back yard. I'm not a bird watcher, but it's pretty calming to watch them as I sip my morning coffee and afternoon tea.
Daylight Savings Time
We lose an hour at DST in the spring. We are very affected by this. Since we love to camp, we noticed this help us reset our body clocks. So, we go camping on this weekend. We fill our days with hiking, biking and kayaking. We come back to camp and cook and eat over the campfire. Then, we enjoy an evening talking by the fire. We aren't really the kind of campers to sit around camp and do nothing all day. We like to be active. A few days of this and our bodies do better with the change. The change in time is much better if you are able to take the entire month to be slightly off schedule to accommodate the change.
Camping and Kayaking
When spring time is here, the days are getting warm enough to enjoy the front porch, and when there are more days of rain, I get the urge to kick off my winter boots and put on my Chacos or Teva's. I have the urge to take off to camp and kayak. Now that we have children who love to kayak, it makes it even more so enjoyable. I love to hike and find waterfalls. I have to admit that through the years we have tapered off kayaking, bc of colicky babies, which caused a few kids to not love this as much. But, once we are out there, they love it and have very fond memories. Check out Ozark Whitewater and Arkansas Waterfalls and Hiking. We don't live in Arkansas, we just love the natural state. A favorite camping spot is Long Pool in Dover, kayaking Big Piney and jumping off of Falling Water Falls. We love primitive camping deep the Ouachita Mtns. We have great memories of the long drive in the mtns to set up. My son actually has a video on youtube of our last trip. If you want to see a rare occasion of me freaking out, this is it. We also love hike-in camping and hiking on Mt Nebo. And hiking at Petit Jean. I dream to kayak/canoe the entire length of the Buffalo River, with over night camping. The little town of Mountain Home is like a dream, out of a movie.
We live near Memphis, hence my I LOVE MEMPHIS page. West Tn is flat so we enjoy camping in middle or east Tn, where there are more rivers, creeks, and waterfalls. We love Rock Island tent camping, kayaking, and waterfall jumping, and hiking Fall Creek Falls State Park. My absolute favorite place is the Nantahala in NC. I feel at peace here. I highly recommend a rafting trip and stay here. Enjoy food and music by the river as the sunsets. Then I love the primitive camp spots right by the cascades. Heaven for me. I know this isn't everyone's thing, but I love it. Our boys loved rafting it. Other love kayaking it. We spent many weekends at the Ocoee River so that is very sentimental for me and we love showing the kids. This river is serious, and for experienced boaters only. Kids 13 + can raft with an expert guide. Other favs are South Cumberland-amazing, all of it- hiking, waterfalls, hike in camping- and Picket State Park- great hiking and several nearby creeks.
Every chance we get-spring break, summertime, fall break, Christmas break, free weekends- we plan a fun new trip for the family. Some people like going to Disney, we love to get away from all the stress and electronics and enjoy nature. We usually stay just a few hours from Memphis for a camping trips. We have vacations to camp on the beach at Perdido Key, or other places far away.
A while back I started a thing called weekend walks. But, really it needs to be everyday. We all need at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. Walking is easy. I even take walks in the rain, with our rain jackets and waterproof shoes, of course. Our dirt bike track in the back of our property serves as a place to walk at home after dinner or early in the morning. On Saturdays or Sundays we sometimes venture out to a nearby park, nature trail, or state park trails to hike. We participate in REI's #OPTOUTSIDE . I read somewhere that in other countries young children take walks everywhere, even very young. And a child should walk a mile per their age starting at 3 years old. Wow, I've been slacking in that area. It's never too late to start.
We have markets that are open year long. But, this is the time we frequent them more often. We eat a mostly plant based diet, some kids are vegan, some vegetarian , some omnivores, and even one would say a junkatarian- but I'm working on my habits. :) Read more on my HEALTH page and Minimalist Meals page.
I shop mainly Sprouts for our fresh fruits and veggies. But, we also love to shop local to help local farmers and businesses, so we go to farmers markets when we can. Cooper Young is a favorite here.