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Capture Your Grief Day 5: Journal

Capture Your Grief Day 5: Journal

“Writing is a wonderful tool for healing. When you put your pen to paper you may have no idea where you are going or where you will end up and that is the beauty of it. It is your own adventure. Find some time today to write. You can write about whatever is on your heart right now. It gives you the chance to write down anything that you need to release. Some ideas on things to write about are, you could write a letter to your children or maybe a letter to yourselves. You may want to write about what you are feeling in this present moment or maybe you could write about a memory you have of your children. Do you have a poem inside you or a short story that is waiting to come out? Maybe it is just one word, that needs to be written over and over and over. Whatever it is, write as little or as much as you need to. You may want to write in a journal, on a piece of paper, a postcard, a post-it note, a blackboard or a tree in your garden. If you try to write something today and it all seems to go horribly wrong, don’t be disappointed. This is where you are in your journey at this very point in time and sometimes our minds are too clouded to be able to  write. You can always come back to it or skip the day together. There is no pressure to complete this project.”


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Capture Your Grief Day 4: Now

Capture Your Grief Day 4: Now

“Who are you now in this present moment? What are you feeling? Have you been irrevocably changed by the death of your children? How are you different now? Do you love anything about the new you? What do you want to become?
cygday4 cygday42 cygday43 cygday45

The me now is braver.  The me now is stronger. The me now tries to live in the moment while still planning for the future. The me now takes adventures, keeps myself healthy, and knows that life is short.  I take hikes for the view even if it’s hard.  I go on adventures and take chances even when I’m scared.  I climb trees, ride bikes, take hikes and live as much as possible, even though there is always a part of me that feels out of the moment.
If the circumstances behind the change of me were different, it would be a good thing.  As it is, I can’t think of it as one.

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Capture Your Grief Day 3: Before

Capture Your Grief Day 3: Before

“Who were you before your children died? Do you miss anything about that person? What did you love about that person? Did you dislike anything? Do you see your life as before and after or do you believe that you have always been changing?

day3beforeThis picture was taken while I was on vacation in August of last year.  I was pregnant at the time, but I didn’t know it.  I did not take a test until I came home from that trip.  And I never expected a positive, as it had been 3 and half years of trying at that point.  In many ways never expecting to get pregnant was easier. I didn’t even test until I was 4 days late  because I simply did not think it would be possible.  I debated picking a goofy picture, since my husband I were and still are.  But I chose this one because of the calm it invokes in me.  I don’t think I have felt so calm since then.  And I miss it.

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Capture Your Grief : Sunrise and Heart

This post is going to deal with loss.  In fact, until the month of November you can expect to see a post dealing with loss every day. If that is upsetting to you, I understand, and hope you will come back and read in November.

October is Infant and Pregnancy Loss Awareness Month.  October 15th is Miscarriage and Pregnancy Loss Awareness Day.

Over the past year I have had three losses.  One of which happened in the 9 week mark, the other two occurred within days of a positive pregnancy test.  Tomorrow, October 3rd, is the first anniversary of the first loss.

This year I needed to do something to try to heal.  Try to move on.  Miscarriage is such a touchy subject for many, and unfortunately there is quite the taboo in speaking of it.  The result of which is many women, and men, who have nowhere to turn to with their grief.

So, for the next month, I am taking part in Capture Your Grief “Capture Your Grief is a beautifully poignant act of remembrance and awareness.. There are 31 subjects, one for each day in the month of October. You are invited to share a photo that captures your journey with each daily subject that inspires your heart.”  Some days I will post a picture only and some days I will post a picture with a description.

I missed posting yesterday.  Yesterday’s picture subject was to capture the sunrise.

I unfortunately woke up too late for the sunrise yesterday, but I did capture the sky when I woke up. It was overcast, the sun barely peaking through the clouds.  It felt appropriate for the day.  The overall gloominess of the sky fit my mood, my grief perfectly.  But the sun trying to come out fits who I want to be.  I want to break through the clouds and shine through the grief.


Day two had the subject of a heart, to draw a heart to represent the child/children you lost.


Samuel, my first loss was due in May of 2014.  We did not have a name for him until it was given to me in a dream by my late grandmother.  It was not a name we had a picked out when we daydreamed about things like that, and the dream felt real enough to me that Samuel will forever be his name.  Our other two losses were so early we never even had the opportunity to daydream.  The due dates for those children were in October of 2014 and March of 2015.

They will forever remain in my heart and forever be a part of me.


Last Summer’s Kitchen Project

Our current big project isn’t even in our own house.  My Mother-In-Law has a horribly dysfunctional kitchen built in the 1930’s and we are tackling it for her.  The choices she wants to make are not exactly our taste, but hey, she’s the designer, not us!

But last summer we embarked on a rather large partial project.  Partial as in, it’s not done yet!

We owned two houses for a while.  One we live in, and one that we have not lived in for 4 years now.  But before we moved out of the old house we remodeled the kitchen.

The old kitchen's workspace


That was the entirety of the workspace of the old kitchen.  There was one metal cabinet hanging above it and a refrigerator across the room.  And that was the kitchen.  Hooray for 1940’s military housing!

newkitchenIt wasn’t the best remodel, but for the space we were working with and the budget we had, I think we did a pretty good job with it!

But fast forwarding to last summer…

That house, and all the houses in the neighborhood, had the value plummet.  A lot.  It’s last known value was sitting at around $15,000.  No joke. The house was worth less than the kitchen. So we made the decision to carefully remove the cabinets and counter tops from that kitchen and move it into our new house!

Orangey tiled floor


house 017

A year later and there is still a lot to do, but those are things that need to wait for the funds to do them.  The two big items on the still to be done list are buying two pantry cabinets for the gaps that now exist at the end of the counters.  Hey, it’s not like the kitchens were laid out the same way.  And the other is to shorten a window so a counter section can actually be attached to the wall. One more thing we need to do is put up a backsplash, but that will not happen until the other items are competed.

And now for a reveal of the partially finished kitchen switcharoo!  I wish I had been blogging more around then so I could go into more detail, but I’ll go into quite a bit of detail for the kitchen we are working on now.


Don’t mind the dishes.  Ha!



I am definitely looking forward to the day that those gaps are filled up and the cabinet is flush with the wall, but for now I am honestly thrilled with how it turned out.  And even though it is not finished yet, it is so much better than it used to be.

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Firefly Gathering

I’m not always the best with follow through. I completely own that flawed aspect of my personality.
So here I am, sitting on the couch, thinking about posts I would like to do for my little blog. And then it occurs to me, I have promised many blog posts in the past! I need to get on those and I need to stay motivated to continue with blogging.
Is anyone interested in this blog? I don’t know. But obviously no one will be if I don’t actually write! And writing is something I genuinely love to do, so more regular posting, starting….NOW!

Back in June I mentioned we had attended a gathering called the Firefly Gathering.


Aww, look there we are!

Firefly Gathering takes place near Asheville, NC.  It’s truly an amazing event if you enjoy anything outdoorsy.

This is going to be a summary, so I’m not going to dive into a whole lot of detail.  So, to begin.

The ride to the event was quite long and tedious.  Road food included Beanitos chips, guacamole, and sliced up vegetables.  When you have Celiac Disease, you cannot always count on stopping somewhere to eat!  With that in mind, we did a full grocery trip for the event prior to leaving and packed it all in our giant cooler.  Our grocery trip included items such as string cheese, apples, bananas, carrots, eggs, bacon, coconut water, Applegate Farm deli meat, and trail mix in addition to our dinner foods.

Along the way we stopped at an Appalachian Trail crossing.  Doing the whole length of the trail has always been a dream of mine and I know someday it will be a dream come true.  For now, though, I satisfy myself with small little jaunts down the trail.


Moving on from there, we finally arrived at Firefly as a storm was coming in.  We set up camp quickly and pulled the night’s dinner out.  Chicken breast and broccoli with mushrooms.  Our camp kitchen set up is fairly simple.  Camp propane stove with a cast iron skillet.  Heavy, but fantastic for when you can camp near your car!


The next day came very early.  Workshops begin!  Our first class we decided to take together.  Tree climbing!  I will say, Dom was far better at this activity than I was!


treeclimbingmirandaFrom there I went to a cordage making class.  It was pretty fascinating learning how to make rope out of the fibers from plants!  Dom headed over to the fire making class.


This was a obviously a pretty proud moment for him.  Making fire by friction is not the easiest task!

Dinner that night was sausage kabobs around the primitive kitchen fire.

051The following day saw us taking classes in useful crafting plants, what to do when there is a medical emergency on the trail, and flint knapping.  For dinner I froze a batch of chili at home and we reheated it at camp.  Chips and chili, a perfect camping food combination!


Classes the following day included how to start a Homestead, Primitive blacksmithing, tool sharpening, and a basic how to survive in the wilderness walk.  The walk was particularly interesting because it covered good plants for kindling, plants for shelter, plants for eating, and plants for medicine.  Kabobs for dinner again!  But this time we followed it up with roasted marshmallows for dessert.

Our last day was bittersweet.  Shoving all of this activity into just a few days is exhausting, but along the way you meet some incredibly interesting and amazing people.  Now, you maybe see these people in a year at the next gathering, but that’s a long time!

Classes on our last day included self defense, stick fighting, and natural exercises to deal with neck pain.  I was very grateful for the neck pain class, especially since we had a 9 hour drive staring us in the face once the class was over!

After closing circle we sadly packed up all of our belongings and headed down the road, only stopping for gas and food.  Our last dinner of the trip ended up being gluten free crackers and cheese.  Not exactly the most filling dinner ever!

All in all, though, I would give this trip 4 thumbs up!  Can’t wait for the next one we have planned for in February!




What Are Primitive Skills?

Wikipedia calls primitive skills talents that relate to living off the land, often using handcrafted tools made from naturally gathered materials.

Totally true!  Well, primitive skills are a hobby of mine and the hubster’s and have been for years.  They are skills that at one time were dangerously close to be lost, but in recent years interest in them have been revived by many.  Now those that know and those that remember these vital skills teach those that want to learn.  I want to learn.  I want to know it all.  I want to be able to teach others.

What are some examples?

Fire Making.  That’s a huge one.  Fire making is a skill that everyone should have if they ever venture into the woods for any reason.  It’s surprisingly easy to get lost in the woods and stranded and fire could be the difference between survival and dying.  Sure, you could have a lighter.  But it may fail.  A back up plan is essential.  I’d say that Fire Making is the most important primitive skill one could possibly learn.   The bow drill method is my favorite.

Wild Edibles and Medicinals.  Hey, you have to eat!  Of course you could not eat for 3 weeks and probably be fine if you are just lost in the woods.  You aren’t likely to be stuck out there for that long.  But, it’s nice to know anyway.

Water!  Drinking is important, of course.  How to find it and how to purify it is an essential skill.  Your bottle of water that you took hiking isn’t going to last long.

Hands on skills such as cordage, basketry, shelter building, and skinning and tanning of hides are all primitive skills.

See how varied these skills are?

I find them to be fascinating.  That is why for years now we try to make it to at least one primitive skills gathering.  For a few days many people interested in these skills comes together, camp out, and go to a variety of different classes each day focused on these skills.  This past week hubster and I went to the Firefly Gathering in near Asheville, NC.  It was our third year attending this gathering and we are already looking forward to next year.

I wanted to do a really long post about this gathering, but I thought that might be a little overwhelming.  So instead over the course of the week I’ll do a series of posts.

I’ll talk about the classes we took, the (gluten free and mostly paleo) food that we ate while camping, and a  post about the experience in general.

I know that many of you might not be interested at all in hearing about these things, but I hope that least someone out there reading this will be!

Up in a tree

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It’s hard…

I’ve been delaying this too long.

I realize I dropped off the face of the earth.  It wasn’t the first time. It wont be the last.

No matter what I do, health problems plague.  This time I was pregnant.  And I had complications early on.  I spent a month on bed rest in early pregnancy, had an ultrasound every week, each showing a healthy heartbeat.  I lost the baby anyway in early October.

I don’t think I will ever recover from that.   I don’t think my husband ever will either.

But it’s time to move on.

To be as healthy as I can be.

I wallowed.  I wallowed a lot.  While I haven’t gained any weight, I haven’t lost any either.  And I need to.

We have been given the go ahead to try again.  That’s hard to wrap my head around.  What if it happens again?  It’s not like I can replace the baby we lost.

The house is a disaster.  I’m crawling, climbing, my way out of depression.  It’s a rough road.  But I’ll survive it.  I have to.

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Things are a bit hectic lately….

No recipes or gluten free restaurant recaps or vacation pictures or DIY stuff to be seen here today!

But I figured since I haven’t done a post in a while I would let you all know some stuff in the works.

We have completely gutted the old kitchen and moved it all over to the current house.  The house is a disaster from kitchen stuff scattered on every flat surface near the kitchen that isn’t floor.  We’ve been eating our meals either standing or on the couch for the last week.  We’ve been chipping away at the kitchen slowly, whenever there is a free moment.  Lots to share on that front when all is said and done!  Expect a few posts on the subject soonish.

We are currently without a stove, so my creatively has been flowing for gluten-free crock pot dishes.  I’ll share those as well once things calm down.  The trick is figuring out crock pot meals that don’t require the stove initially.  So far it has been going well.

On more home improvement projects, we have spent the days we have available when we are a bit burnt out on the kitchen harvesting bamboo.  It’s a rough process, but we are building a patio set out of it!  I’m very excited to share that once the harvesting is over and the building begins.

I have finally taken a house tour video.  Of course I took it while the house is a disaster from the kitchen, but that just means an after video will be so much better.  I’ll get that video up by next week!

So, that’s what has been going on.   Once things are calmer be prepared for quite a bit of posts!

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Getting Over the Dream Kitchen and Help Me Pick A Color!

This past weekend was spent doing a renovation reversal of sorts.  Basically we moved most of the cabinets and counters from the old house and moved them to the new house.  We only left the sink and dishwasher section because it would not work in our current kitchen without a lot of opening the walls.  As it is, we will likely have counter tops blocking windows for a while.

I’m looking forward to having more counter and cabinet space.  That is such a necessity at this point that I’m okay with a little bit of wonkiness in our kitchen.

So before we put everything in it’s place, we would like to paint and and choose a back splash.  This will be our kitchen for the foreseeable future.   Maybe 5 years or so from now we’ll be able to do an update, but for now this is it.

So, there’s the deal.  Honey Oak Cabinets.  Orangey tiled floor.

Honey Oak Cabinets

Honey Oak Cabinets

Orangey tiled floor

Orangey tiled floor

With their powers combined it creates a powerfully orange room!  Orange is not a color I particularly enjoy as it is unless it’s in a sunrise or sunset.

So, with your help, hopefully, I need to decide on a wall color and back splash color to help tone down the orange!  I’m thinking maybe a light green, or perhaps something in the blue family.  A cooler color for sure however.

Any advice?


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