Family, Faith and Off-Grid Living in Rural Maine

Nowadays it seems like everyone is trying to live more simply. I believe its a sign of our advanced and often chaotic modern times that people are looking back toward a less complicated way of life. Many are taking living simply to another level by living off the grid! An estimated 180,000 U.S. families are living off-grid according to a study by Home Power Magazine. Whether your goal is to watch less television or adopt a whole new way of life we can all take a page of inspiration from writer and homesteading Mama Masha Goepel from Yisforhome.com as she gives us a glimpse into Yurt life!

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Our Multi-Generational Home

The family car was packed to the brim. 3 kids, 2 adults, and all the belongings we could stuff in what little space remained. I sat between my sister and my brother in his car seat and twisted myself around enough to look out of the back window. My heart felt heavy as I watched our childhood home shrink from view.

Not only were we leaving the only home I could remember, the comfort of our neighborhood, the backyard with the grapevines, and my best friends who lived down the street; but the home still held half of our household. It would be the first time I could remember that we would live with only our nuclear family.

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The Living Word

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I am not known for my organization! I find it really helpful to have lists and routines for myself and my family. Even if only followed loosely, I find that it helps us not to be so scattered. Some things you can allow to fall off the list and defer it to the next day but others are a must do!

As I was discussing my attempt at a more orderly home with my family I expressed the importance of making time to pray and read God’s Word each day. I told my 11-year-old daughter that she needs some form of the Word to be part of her day, each day whether it’s a devotional, church, music, or Sunday school–That night I suggested we watch a movie about the miracles of Jesus together.

My preteen rolled her eyes and sighed saying, “Mom, I know all of those stories! I’ve seriously heard them a hundred times! I already know everything!” My husband and I chuckled as I sighed and rolled my own eyes with exaggeration. I regrouped and explained to her that none of us will never know it all!

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Finding Time With God

Yesterday was tough. Really tough. It was one of those days. You know the kind. Where it all seems to be falling apart and you can barely keep it together. Where you run on coffee and adrenaline. One of those days that you just don’t stop. I knew there was a lot to do that day and wanted it to start off with some quiet time with God.

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Pear Harvest Photos

Hello All,

I wanted to share some photos from harvesting our pear tree in the backyard the other day.

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It was a sunny and humid afternoon which made for hot work but we still had fun!
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My husband has been shooing the kids away from the pear tree all summer so they were happy to finally have the okay to pick the fruit!
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He sat in the shade on his boppy and a blanket most of the time. Next year, buddy!
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The tree had little spiders and bigger daddy long legs in it. One scared little Miss Muffet behind me and she was less interested in picking after that.
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Hope was enjoying the shade of the tree. She loves having the whole family outside at the same time.
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Going up to get the good ones! When a pear is ready to harvest it should come right off the branch without resistance. If it’s not yet mature it will try to hang on.
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After we harvested all of the pears I brought them inside, inspected them and washed and dried the good ones.
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I have bowls full of pears in various sizes in my kitchen now and I’m giving them away in bagfuls!
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Pears don’t ripen on the vine. They need to sit in room temperature for about a week to soften up. If you put them in a paper bag it speeds up this process. My family is planning to use them for pie and other recipes.

Do you have any recipe ideas for my pear crop? Let me know in the comments!

❤ Cait

Harvest Season

My husband is old fashioned and still likes to buy the paper. One morning as I was reading yesterday’s news over my coffee I saw an advertisement for a grand opening. In a nearby city, a trendy restaurant was holding a round of open interviews. They knew that once they were in business they would have a lot of demand but little staff. “No experience needed! Willing to train!” The ad exclaimed.

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Free Back to School Devotional

Today is my daughter’s first day of school and to kick off the academic year right I created a free 5 day Back to School mini devotional! Since many kids have already returned to school or start mid-week like mine, this devotional is made for Monday-Friday. It’s never too late to begin!

“The dog days of summer have come to an end and the cool autumn winds carry with them with them a new school year. Whether we home school or send our kiddos on their way each day, households with school aged kids have to adjust and settle back into the school year routine.

I think parents and kids alike could use some encouragement to help us ease into the new academic year confidently and prayerfully. I hope that this 5 day mini-devotional will help you to do just that!”

Click the link to get started and have an amazing year!

Free Back to School Devotional!

❤ Cait

Our Trip to Newport

Hi everyone!

I am adding a new element to my blog: my travels! While, I don’t travel too often or too extravagantly, I have visited a few cool places over the years and thought it would be fun to revisit these locations and memories and share my experiences with you all!

Recently we visited Newport, Rhode Island!

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We visited family for the night who were checked in at Newport Beach Hotel and Suites in bordering Middletown. We stayed in the historic building pictured above. The hotel is  part of Historic Hotels of America which describes it’s interesting history:

A massive hurricane in 1938 wiped out the town’s numerous beach establishments…the Toppa family decided to build a new inn on the beach, positioning the property 100 feet from the rocks and the ocean’s crashing waves. Over 65 years later, the Newport Beach Hotel and Suites is the only beachfront hotel in town.

The rooms were a little small but you can’t beat the location! Right across a (pretty busy, be careful crossing there) street from the shore. I liked the off road parking, signs pointing to the beach, and old timey photos in the hallways. I am a history lover and find it so interesting that there were once people in full suits and petticoats on the beach. It made me hot just looking at it! They had a tiny fridge which came in handy but we had to keep all of our snacks in plastic bags because there were ants that would come to eat it. They also showed up in the closets. There was a breakfast spot adjasent to the lobby manned by a lone millenial with a man bun. The food was okay but a bit pricey for some basic egg sandwiches and terrible coffee. The front desk was great providing seemingly endless towels for beach and pool use and parking passes for visitors.

 

 

Across the street was the hotel’s modern building. They had an indoor pool which was accessible with our room key. The option to be indoors was helpful with the kids because it was hot. And I mean 90’s, air quality alert hot. It was nice that they could escape the blazing sun of the beach but still enjoy fun in the water. The pool area was humid but clean. Floor to ceiling windows framed a nice view of Newport Pond.

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Easton’s Beach, or First Beach to the locals, provided a scenic backdrop with turn of the century mansions and the beginning of Newport’s famous Cliff Walk. There is a pier with concessions, bathrooms and a carousel. I didn’t go but the kids and their Grampy got a bite to eat there. The waves were gentle and sparkling. The beach was very clean, not much for shelling but, no litter and you could tell that the sand was maintained in the morning. But halfway down the beach, red seaweed was washed up. It was sticky and smelly and the seagulls liked it but my little princess’ toddler toes did not. Luckily it was just a band of gook sandwiched between the soft, sandy shore and the wet, packed sand near the ocean. There were people around having a good time because its a touristy spot, but the beach wasn’t crowded.

 

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The main drag offers a few restaurants a stone’s throw from the hotel. We were deciding between pizza and Americana type foods and chose Tickets. We decided against eating outside due to the heat but there was the option was there. They were good about our huge double stroller and a waitress even held the door for me. Once seated it took a while to get our drinks and put our orders in. The drinks came sans-straws and signs and employee t-shirts adorned with sea turtles encouraged patrons to consider going straw-less for the good of the environment. I appreciated the trendy but noble persuit. We ordered mozzerela sticks for an appetizer. They were good and came out in a flash but we had to cut them open for them to cool enough to be edible. My husband had a pulled pork sandwich that he liked and he is a picky eater so that says a lot! I ordered the chicken taquitos. The taquitos themselves were a little bland but came with a yummy mango salsa, guacamole, and sour cream which made up for it. Much like the appetizer the entrees came out quick but were too hot to eat right away.

 

Another establishment we visited was Flo’s Clam Shack. It’s a restaurant/ bar with a kitschy, beachy feel. Sand, tiki-torches and grass hut style umbrellas create ambiance for outdoor diners. Swaying sea grass and a mini boardwalk lead to a take-out window and the indoor dining room. Upstairs is the bar where we sat. There was an upper deck feeling with nautical details like porthole windows and buoys and fishing nets on the walls. We ordered drinks and split a quahog, french fries, and a fried cod sandwich. The food was fast and fresh and the best companion to a cold beer on a warm day. There were tourists and a few people that were clearly regulars enjoying colorful conversation. I asked the bartender what was in the crock pot on the bar next to him and he said “Buttah!” But, of course!

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Perhaps my favorite part of the trip was going for a sunset picnic at Brenton Point State Park. A short drive past pastures and stately Newport mansions leads you to there. It’s known for it’s wonderful shoreline breezes and it’s common to see colorful kites flying over the grassy hilltops. The views are nothing short of stunning.IMG_1793 (3) This place is special to me because when we were kids our parents used to take us there for day trips all of the time. The sun was gorgeous over the water and though it was cloudy there was still a decent sunset as we ate. Some nice people gave our kids a couple of kites to on their way out of the park. Before it got dark I took my daughter and nephews past the rock wall through the field to walk the forest trails that I used to play in as a girl. Though I hadn’t been there in years and years when I started to walk it all came back to me. I told my nephews that we were on our way to the castle (the lookout tower) and we pretended that we were in medieval times riding horses on our way to see the king. We got to the lookout and everyone climbed to the top with a little encouragement. There is something that is so enchanting to me about a woodsy path, the beauty of nature takes me in and ignites my imagination. It makes me feel small and full of childlike wonder. there is another old abandoned structure back there but I didn’t bring them there. Its not safe for climbing and with my two nephews, fearless and rambunctious, I was looking to avoid injury at all costs. This place is great for families but could easily serve as a cool date location.

 

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Overall we had a great time. Though this destination was familiar to me and not too far away as I live in Massachusetts, it still felt like enough of a change of scenery to make it feel like an escape. Make sure you follow the blog for more travel stories coming soon!

What’s your favorite place to visit in Rhode Island?

❤ Cait

My Team Green Experience

I was checking out at the convenience store I stop in for gas and snacks for the kids a few times a week. The cashier, a kind older woman smiled down at my rotund middle and asked how far along I was. “32 weeks!” I said with joyful exasperation. “What are you having?” she asked. “I’m not sure actually, we decided not to find out!” I replied. “Oh my goodness!” she exclaimed with a puzzled look, “That’s crazy! How will you know what color to paint the nursery?” I grabbed my items and smiled “We’ll find out soon enough!”

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Postpartum: Why Its More Than Just The First 6 Weeks

We’ve come home, bonded, and established nursing. We’re back to driving, cleaning and errands. When weeks begin to turn to months, especially at the 6 week point, the pressure is on to let go of our birth experiences and move on. We are expected to be completely healed and back to our daily grind full force. We’re cleared to exercise and should be focused on getting back into pre-pregnancy shape. People around us start checking in on us less and we put pressure on ourselves to be back to “normal”. This pressure is only stronger by our society’s obsession with post baby celebrities in their slinky dresses and Instagram models posing with their newborns in body shapers and full glam.

Yet, I don’t feel normal. I had a harder delivery and slower recovery this time and I don’t feel “over it”. I just got to a point where I’m almost totally pain free and besides the occasional stroll I haven’t started working out. The world may have forgotten but my body hasn’t as it continues to feel  the twinges of muscles repairing themselves from surgery, the ache of streams of milk, and my noticeably weaker knees. I’m still sporting my linea nigra , stretch marks and a fresh red scar. I still feel emotional about having a newborn. But I’ve reached the 6 week mark! I’m not “postpartum” anymore. Why don’t I have it back together by now?

When I was pregnant I used a week by week pregnancy tracker, asked my midwife a million questions and googled every little symptom. Yet up until today I had neglected to brush up on anything regarding the post-partum period beyond my c-section recovery.  This was not due to me thinking that I know it all by the third time around. I just got so wrapped up in the baby that I forgot all about checking in with myself.

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So what did I learn on my quest for knowledge? That the postpartum period doesn’t abruptly end at the 6 week mark, but consists of 3 distinct phases:

The Initial or Acute period- This is the first 6-12 hours after your baby is born where you’re potential for complications is higher and you’re monitored closely by the hospital or midwife.

The Sub-acute period- which last 2-6 weeks, when you are more stable but still recovering from delivery. This is what most people think of as “postpartum”.

The Delayed period- According to an article on The Journal of Prenatal Medicine website, this period can last up to 6 months! The article states:

“This is the time of restoration of muscle tone and connective tissue to the prepregnant state. Although change is subtle during this phase, it behooves caregivers to remember that a womanʼs body is nonetheless not fully restored to pre-pregnant physiology until about 6 months post-delivery.”

No wonder I don’t feel normal again yet, I’m not! The article goes on to say that in some ways we may never be back to our pre-pregnant state and certainly, our lives are changed by our little ones forever. Yet, once the baby comes Earthside we’re encouraged to show as little evidence of carrying a child as we can. We’re told to get back to work, tone up and erase the marks left on our bodies as quickly as possible. As if it’s something shameful.

We shouldn’t be ashamed. We should be proud of all of the ways in which motherhood has changed us, body and soul! Though sometimes I struggle to appreciate my postpartum body, it has done amazing things. These lines and scars are symbols of sacrifice and strength. This vessel has co-created with God. Its loved, housed and grown my family. It continues to nourish myself and flourish my baby. When the temptation to rush back to some false sense of normalcy comes I need to remind myself to take it slow. To be less eager to shed these signs of pregnancy, these physical memories, and to fully appreciate them for the beauty that they represent.

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Did you feel pressure from yourself or others to get back to normal after baby? Share in the comments below!

❤ Cait