first day of school

Posted on August 16th, 2016 by mountain girl  |  9 Comments »


It all begins again today–this time (third grade!) with a new teacher, and as always, a few new classmates. Montessori combines grades, so a little band of 1st graders joins the classroom’s higher grades each year.

And this year Zia will go and come home by herself each day. Caleb is still in Germany, but has decided to live with his mom in New Mexico when he returns to the States later this week. It’s a big decision for him, and one that affects all of us in many ways.

I think he is looking forward to a change (he’s been with us five years), and also thinking of the different opportunities living with his mom will present. Through all the different feelings that come with his decision, our overriding sense is that the Lord is guiding and leading all of this, and, somehow, it will all work together for our good–including his.

The little kids took the news with some sadness, but they are resilient and already moving forward into the next thing–which for Zia is the new school year, and for Cash is whatever is in front of him at the moment. He is already telling people he is going to school next year, and he definitely has life by the horns in every other aspect. I might fight to homeschool him, but then again, I might let him run forward and just be there for him to run back to.

Which, come to think of it, stands true for all our kids.

ice cream sign

Posted on August 12th, 2016 by mountain girl  |  4 Comments »


Here’s Mama–she stopped at this ice cream shop while driving through the Adirondacks the other day.

I painted that top sign when I was a teenager, probably about 25 years ago! My brother Seth helped me–I think he at least prepared the wood and did the base coat. I vividly remember figuring out the tones in the swirl and the cone, working them almost to death, LOL, so much that my memory of the lettering took a back seat. Now, though, I remember painting coat after coat of yellow, trying to cover up the dark green underneath. Guess I never thought of priming it, haha.

So fun to see it, after all these years–still doing its job and shining out like a beacon to the sugar-starved soul. :)

this little life of mine

Posted on August 4th, 2016 by mountain girl  |  4 Comments »


I started the Whole30 this month. It’s pretty ok–so far.


Got my old job back! I’m illustrating a new sewing pattern–the first since Cash was tiny.


My walks these days consist of going to the mailbox and back. I’m ready for anything, though, as you can see.


Coming home to our mountains after an evening down below.


Making boxes for my shop–beetle kill pine and western red cedar.


Coffee shop treats.


Playing at the “Bear Park” in Black Hawk.


Some new books I can’t wait to read. :)


This man. <3


This is our stove top, oven, and broiler for the next week or so. Fun times:)

(But that’s what you get for buying a stove that contains a motherboard.)


My two bears


…or maybe, the Three Bears.


Sunset from our front porch–our mountain lullaby in the sky.

face exercises

Posted on August 1st, 2016 by mountain girl  |  4 Comments »


I did an experiment over the last two months that I’m blogging about today. Get ready:)

After kind of a challenging year, I could see the effects in my face. I felt like it was getting thinner and more tired-looking, and going slightly downhill in general, LOL. My facial collagen seemed to be evaporating day by day, and it was pretty disheartening.

I decided to do something for myself, took some extra money I had made, and ordered a “Beauty Bundle” from the Beautiful on Raw online shop. Everything they make is natural and free from parabens, pthalates, mineral oil, and other yucky stuff you find in most beauty products. I was mostly interested in the bundle because it included day cream, night cream, a green clay mask, shampoo, conditioner, and nourishing hair serum.

A little book of facial exercises was also included, as well as an exfoliating face brush. I thought the exercises were funny, but decided to give them a try. The author said you would be able to see a difference within two weeks of consistently doing them, and you would reap the most benefit after two months.

I just completed two months of exercises. Along with the exercises, I also used the exfoliating brush, creams, and mask.

I couldn’t see much of a change in my face during those two months, and was pretty sure the exercises hadn’t made a difference. But when I compiled my Before and After photos, I realized there was a slight change. My face became a little wider, rounder, fuller and tighter.

Before pics are on the left, After pics on the right. Can you see the difference?


Before, and after two months.


After 2 weeks; after 2 months.


After 2 days; after 2 weeks; after 2 months.

Some of these pics aren’t very flattering (hello, deadpan face), but I tried to use ones that give realistic and honest comparisons with similar facial expressions. If you study them, you can see a difference in my facial muscle tone and face shape, especially if you squint. It’s small, but substantial enough that I’m pretty psyched about it, and feel like the Beauty Bundle was worth the cost ($150).

Although I love the creams and mask, I really feel like the exercises made the most difference, since they affected the underlying structure of my face. The exfoliating brush was awesome, too–the gentle daily brushing has helped tone my skin. I also LOVE the nourishing hair serum, and just replenished my supply. I have a lovely little halo of new growth on top of my head, and I think it’s partly due to that.

(If you’re interested in Beautiful on Raw products, but don’t want to spend $150, you can buy each product in the bundle separately. Tonya Zavasta, the company’s founder, also writes interesting info about natural beauty on her website.)

The whole exercise regime was especially satisfying to me since I haven’t been able to exercise or even do my daily walk for the past four months, while dealing with some lung problems. I felt like I was sort of wilting with all that downtime, and this has made me feel like I could at least improve a small part of me, haha.

Let me know what you think of my facial exercise review! (Even if you only find it hilarious) :)

Disclaimer: I wasn’t paid for this review and I’m not affiliated with Beautiful on Raw. I’m just a happy customer:)


And…I just got my hair done, and the color is a lot closer to where I want it. I’m also rocking my salon-straightened hair for a few days before I bring my curly head back to life. When David came with the kids to pick me up, Zia gasped, “Mama! You look like a real woman!” LOL!!!



4 years old

Posted on July 30th, 2016 by mountain girl  |  6 Comments »








Happy birthday to our little Chub. It seems like you were just a baby, and suddenly you’re a big boy. You’re strong and fiery and independent, but you love to snuggle and kiss and give sloppy puppy licks when you’re really happy. You make us laugh more with each year of your sweet life, and you also make us relearn over and over again all we thought we knew about raising kids–because the rules are just different with you. I wonder what you’ll be someday, and I know I have to just stand back and watch you go. Happy birthday, Cashy Boy. May all your dreams come true. :)