Category: A Day in the Life

Where We Are June 2012

On the house front we have a buyer– maybe.  Have to get a “dye test” done for the sewer and if that needs work then the buyer is walking– so still no idea when we will have to move and just waiting on God.

Otherwise all is well and the Lord has continued to provide enough for the coming month.  It has been so awesome to see where the money comes from each month– some from book sales, some from website stuff and art sales, some from ads, some from donations, but regardless it is just enough eacah time.

The kids are busy and happy and growing and learning and just plain awesome.  We got to go meet up with some fellow Christian unschoolers yesterday at Old Bedford Village which was so much fun despite the heat.  I am thinking that is another post though.

The Christian Unschooling group I run (now with the help of 11 wonderful ladies) on Facebook is growing by leaps and bounds with roughly 20 new people a WEEK and all sorts of conversations ranging from basic unschooling and Christianity questions to health to prayer requests to who knows what (today’s big question was about coffee– best type of coffee maker and coffee because one of the kids wanted to know so Mom asked.:))  It takes a lot of time and energy to keep up but it is amazing to see what God is doing and I am so grateful for my small group of admins who help me keep it kind, gentle, and away from the danger zones.

I AM remembering to post recent pictures of the kids but mostly just to my Facebook page for the blog since I am on Facebook for the group all the time and am able to quickly upload them there now (used to be nearly impossible for me to upload pictures to Facebook, plus their policy about photos used to be squiffy).  So if you want to see where we have been and what the kids have been doing and learning  you can find the pictures here: http://www.facebook.com/untraditionalhome?

Also, I have been updating my Etsy shop with all the art I have sitting around that never got posted (still have Sherwood Showdown paintings to post but otherwise  I think I have them all up there and decently organized).  Lots more geeky stuff for sale plus art from Shamus’ book: http://www.etsy.com/shop/ElasahArt

Where We Are May 2012

It has been a long month full of paperwork (house related stuff) and illness. Shamus, Es, and Rachel still have whatever this sickness is and I just really got over it finally yesterday. This is probably more rambly than usual as I have been dealing with the remains of the illness (headache that won’t just go away) and have been spending much time pondering things in my head rather than out loud.

Issac built castles with the boxes for packing.

We are still working on selling the house. Finally have all paper in for possible short sale and now it is a waiting game. People keep looking at it but no offers yet. We have gotten a letter from one of those companies that buys houses offering to buy it but we feel we need to wait on God on this and not try to jump the gun and go with a quick solution.

Enjoying taco salad out with great-grandma.

We are also continuing to prayerfully consider an RV. We would really like to be able to travel to conventions (which would help sell Shamus book and get his name out) and the kids and I just want to travel and see the US in general (what better way to homeschool?) An RV would give us a cheap place to live, allow Shamus to travel while giving him a place to work and be comfortable and home, it would allow us the freedom to go where we want to go but be back home with family as needed. We need to wait for the Lord on this as well. We don’t want to get something that won’t run, doesn’t fit our family, or has had pets so we are prayerfully watching and waiting.

Headband from Japan-- gift from unschooled friends in Japan

We have also decided not to sell our stuff but rather to give it away where it is needed. We have prayed about this a lot and feel strongly that we need not attempt to sell everything but instead rely on God to provide. I am trying to decide how best to put my art for sale since we don’t want to store it. The paintings of the kids will mostly go to family as interested but I have the dragon and bunny paintings plus illustrations from the game and book that I would like to sell. Have considered ebay but looking at sales results I don’t think that is the best way. Considering just putting buy it now buttons directly on my art page (http://elasah.com) or just putting things up on Etsy. I don’t keep up with Etsy enough to really get sales that way so am not sure. I have however spent the last few days updating my art site (http://elasah.com) and Etsy (http://www.etsy.com/shop/ElasahArt) with more art so hopefully some things will sell.

Cool Japanese stuff from friends.

The Lord has been providing, mostly through sales of Shamus book. The initial sales were good though they have tapered off and it will be interesting to see how the Lord continues to provide. We have an added monthly expense for Him to provide for (in order to do short sale we have to pay a certain amount each month– nearly as much as the original mortgage which we didn’t pay because we didn’t have it. Thus far He is providing and we trust Him to continue.

We continue to rely on Him rather than the government and He has been faithful. Just the other day we had several checks we had been waiting for suddenly go through just in time to make the mortgage payment that had to be in that day or we would go straight to Sheriff sale. We have also had numerous small miracles– free vitamins, $10 off coupons for new stores accepted at the only store that carries the butter we use, things like that. God continues to provide and take care of us in wonderful ways.

Watching the raw milk coming directly through the pipes from the cows (who are being milked during sell times.)

The last few days it has rained while the sun was still shining. Usually we are in the perfect location for a rainbow (they appear just over the hill from us nearly every time it rains). I look forward to them as the Lord has used them many times in the past to remind me that He provides and will continue to take care of us. However the last few days there have been none. As I was driving home from getting milk in the pouring rain with the sun glaring directly in my eyes I had a revelation.
Sometimes we can’t see the rainbow because we are in the midst of it. I am sure those around us could see a rainbow and I am trusting that He will continue to use our current situation and how He takes care of us to give others around us hope.

Interview with Issac

Interviews continued.  If you missed the first one: Jennifer over at Path Less Taken has been interviewing her kids.  I did that  several years ago with all three (here) so I decided to do it again and see how things had changed.   I started with Rachel which is here, Essie here, and now Issac (who was the hardest to pin down– he doesn’t like to be put on the spot. His initial answer is always I don’t know, then when he thinks a bit he answers.)

Issac does Kung Fu with marker sticks.

1. What is something Mom always says to do?

Nice to meet you, Hungry. (In response to his constant “Moo-oomm, I’m hungry”)

 

2. What makes Mom happy?

If I make her tea or clean up the living room.

 

3. What makes Mom sad?

I’m not sure.

 

4. How does your mom make you laugh?

Jokes or tickling.

 

5. What was your mom like as a child?

I don’t know, I forget.

 

6. How old is your mom?

37

 

7. How tall is your mom?

2 ft taller than I am. (a foot off– I am 1 ft taller.)

 

8. What is her favorite thing to do?

Painting

 

9. What does your mom do when you’re not around?

I don’t know because I am usually asleep.

 

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?

I have no idea.

 

11. What is your mom really good at?

Painting.

 

12. What is your mom not very good at?

Tripletown

 

13. What does your mom do for a job?

Paint

 

14.What is your mom’s favorite food?

lettuce

(Apparently I like salad a lot.:))

 

15.What makes you proud of your mom?

When you finish a painting.

 

16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?

I don’t know.

 

17. What do you and your mom do together?

Board games

 

18. How are you and your mom the same?

We both make weird faces sometimes.

(Weird=silly)

 

19. How are you and your mom different?

Your hair is longer.

 

20. How do you know your mom loves you?

You listen to what I am talking about.

 

21. Where is your mom’s favorite place to go?

Um, to the computer.

(First kid who got this close to right– essentially unless I am taking a road trip my favorite place to go is “home”.:))

Interview with Esther

Interviews continued.  If you missed the first one: Jennifer over at Path Less Taken has been interviewing her kids.  I did that  several years ago with all three (here) so I decided to do it again and see how things had changed.   I started with Rachel which is here and now Essie.

1. What is something Mom always says to do?

*thinking* *shrugs* I don’t know.

 

2. What makes Mom happy?

When I clean the house and stuff voluntairily

 

3. What makes Mom sad?

When I ignore her when she says please clean this up or whatever.

 

4. How does your mom make you laugh?

Points out funny things that I have said, points out funny things on the internet.

 

5. What was your mom like as a child?

Me.

(almost exactly to the point of freakiness)

6. How old is your mom?

No idea.

 

7. How tall is your mom?

*Laughs* Still no idea.
8. What is her favorite thing to do?

As far as I know so far, play Tripletown.

(Current obsession so for now, yes.)

 

9. What does your mom do when you’re not around?

I have no idea, because you don’t do it when I’m around.

 

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?

Painting.

 

11. What is your mom really good at?

Painting. And taking care of us.

 

12. What is your mom not very good at?

*Thinking* Mmmm, Tripletown.

 (Stupid bears.)

 

13. What does your mom do for a job?

Paint

 

14.What is your mom’s favorite food?
*Long think* I don’t know. Salad as far as I know. I think it’s salad.

 

15.What makes you proud of your mom?

Her painting, her skill of taking car of us, her skill at taking care of us, her skill at cooking, her skill at cleaning, her skill on the computer.

 

16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?

I don’t know.

 

17. What do you and your mom do together?

Draw.

 

18. How are you and your mom the same?

Personality.

 

19. How are you and your mom different?

Height.
20. How do you know your mom loves you?

Says it every day, says it in her actions, and how she interacts with me.

 

21. Where is your mom’s favorite place to go?

*scratches nose in thought* I don’t know.

 

Interview with Rachel

Jennifer over at Path Less Taken has been interviewing her kids.  I did that  several years ago with all three (here) so I decided to do it again and see how things had changed.   I started with Rachel and used Jen’s questions:

1. What is something mom always says to do?

Do the dishes, but politer. And you always say, “Eat a bug.”

(I do– in response to the constant “I’m hungry, what should I eat?” question.)

 

2. What makes mom happy?

Red appliances.

(Which is true I guess…)

 

3. What makes mom sad?

Bears.

(Stupid *grumble *grumble Tripletown bears.)

 

4. How does your mom make you laugh?

Showing me ridiculous dresses in the thrift store.

(I do– I find all kinds of crazy things I know neither of us would ever wear and try to convince her to try it on.)

 

5. What was your mom like as a child?

Why would you ask me that? Kind of a brat but I don’t want to say that. Creative with food I guess.

 (The kind of a brat thing is because I was almost exactly like her younger sister, Esther, therefore the “kind of a brat”.  And the creative with food thing is because they hear lots of stories of the messes and mistakes I made in the kitchen.)

6. How old is your mom?

27?

(HAhahAHAhaha– I am 37. 😛  I told her my age and she said, I knew it had a 7– stupid dyslexia.  She is also in denial that I am nearly 40– I am not allowed to say that I am.)

 

7. How tall is your mom?

Shorter than me.

(I KNEW she would say that.)

 

8. What is her favorite thing to do?

Go to the thrift store.

(I love that she picked the most extroverted thing that I do as my favorite– this is my extroverted child. Plus she says it is because I laugh when I go there.)

 

9. What does your mom do when you’re not around?

Shopping

(Usually she is at babysitting if she is not around, so yeah, I take that time to go shopping so I don’t have to waste gas and stop what I am doing to go pick her up.)

 

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?

Art.

 

11. What is your mom really good at?

Art.

 

12. What is your mom not very good at?

Tripletown.

(Stupid bears.)

13. What does your mom do for a job?

Art. Webdesign.

 (She said  she added webdesign because she didn’t like only saying Art for so many questions.)

14.What is your mom’s favorite food?

Salad.

(True, though it is more my go to food.)

 

15.What makes you proud of your mom?

Art. (Says this laughing because she has answered art for several questions now.)

 

16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?

(Not a specific character but rather an anime stereotype)

The anime girl character whith black hair and glasses who always sits in the corner and reads and never says anything.

(Note: this is always the character with the wise advise– I can do that. :P)

 

17. What do you and your mom do together?

My favorite thing we do together is go to the thrift store.
(I am noticing a theme here.)

18. How are you and your mom the same?

(Got the staredown for that one.)
Our dorkishness.

 

19. How are you and your mom different?

Should I start with the top 50? Not a bad thing, just true. Introverted verses extroverted is the biggest one.

(I am the introvert here. :))

 

20. How do you know your mom loves you?

When I come home and my closet or something of mine has been cleaned.

(Good to know.)

21. Where is your mom’s favorite place to go?

The library.

Looking back over the original answers and seeing them now, being more radical unschoolers has REALLY changed our relationship.  I am amazed how much more relaxed I am, and apparently how much more fun I am (and obviously no longer fighting my kids about cleaning the house and just trying to make them obey in general– AND the house is CLEANER than it ever was then.  The “take initiative” thing was about them helping out when they saw a mess.  And now they DO, naturally, without me asking because I am not always demanding housework.)  I just read both aloud to Rachel plus my response and she is nodding and smiling in agreement.  So that is cool.  (And she wants me to add– saying bears.  Stupid bears.)

Unschooling in the House

A random list of unschooly things going on in our household over the last few weeks (partially pulled from my twitter/facebook accounts) and including the learning Shamus and I are doing since it all goes together that way.

 

Issac is:

  • Spending large quantities of time playing Terraria and Roblox with friends online.  I love that my shy, introverted boy has found friends his age that are interested in the same thing and has found a way of playing that does not overtax his introverted-ness.  When he needs quiet he walks away from the computer (often leaving Skype open… need to work on that).  He has always talked through whatever he is doing and being able to talk to someone actually involved in what he is doing is a blessing.  He is still shy in person to some extent but this has REALLY helped him come around a bend.  He is no longer afraid of playing on the unschool kids Minecraft server (he was afraid people would talk to him and he would have to respond– he prefers building in Minecraft on his own projects.)
  • Issac’s reading and writing skills have grown significantly.  He is still nervous of typing/writing unless he can copy something but he just had me add youtube videos to his growing list of favorite movies to watch (found 3-2-1 Contact and Square One on youtube and he has been loving them.)  He is now confident that he can type in things he has written down, and confident that he can read what I write for him.  In fact, yesterday he pointed out that he is now putting closed captioning on on all the videos on Netflix that has it because he is enjoying reading what they are saying.  He also had me make a food chart/menu plan for him so he is more confident getting his own foods. It is not a legalistic chart, just suggestions so he doesn’t have to make decisions when hungry.  I love that he is confident enough in his reading skills now that he ASKED me to make him a food chart and it didn’t even occur to him to worry about being able to read it.
  • He continues in his fascination with all things science and math though I recently heard him declare that he was “no good at math” which is funny because this is the kid that uses math regularly without thought and has always thought of it as a game.  I think it was him repeating what he had heard both from his sisters (who are the same way– good at it but imitating what they hear and know is expected) and what he has heard on iCarly and on Ned’s Declassified.
  • Recently he has taken to wanting to watch kung fu movies with me (Jackie Chan and Jet Li with the occasional Bruce Li thrown in) which is another testament to his reading since they are mostly the older ones that have subtitles.  He also watches my Korean dramas with me (especially the ones with action) and no longer complains of subtitles there.
  • Doing tons of experiments with bubbles and various bubble solutions– trying to figure out how water tension works and why.
  • He is teaching me how to play Spore Hero– he takes great pleasure in this.
  • He is showing interest in maybe, possibly joining us in Just Dance 2 (took him a year to try Dance Dance Revolution) now that we have Kung Fu Fighting and Mambo No. 5.  He also loves the song Rockafella Skank but thinks the dance is too embarrassing.

Esther is:

Suddenly looking freakily like Uma Thurman.
  • Recording Minecraft lets play videos with friends that she has been posting on Youtube.
  • Designing a dragon from texture pack up in Minecraft so she could hav ea cool desktop background.
  • Spending lots of time learning about the ins and outs of the computer so she can personalize her user account on the shared computer.  This is carrying over into interest in designing websites.  She now wants me to install a wordpress website for her so she can learn to personalize it.
  • Reading, reading, reading.  She was going kind of nuts because she ran out of books– so we downloaded a whole slew of free ones from Amazon plus she borrowed the Eragon series from my brother.
  • Spending a lot of time drawing and painting– often beside me when I am working.  She is growing by leaps and bounds and is very comfortable in her artistic skin.  In fact I just shared this on Facebook:
    • Just saw Essie on chat say confidently “I am an artist.”   And she is. She spends a lot of her time not spent reading and writing and on the computer drawing and painting. She sits by me when I work, asks questions, and experiments.
    • The thing is she is just like I was EXCEPT she has the confidence to call herself an artist and behave accordingly. It took me YEARS to get that confidence (ps all the way, with all free time spent reteaching what supposed to learn in school but basically unschooled all summer). I internalized all the criticism I received in school and at home and despite drawing and painting from the time I was Essie’s age I didn’t “call” myself an artist until I was in my 30’s.
    • If that confidence and comfort with self (and love of the Lord) is all she takes away from our unschooling lifestyle, then it is WELL worth it.
  • Writing a Minecraft fan fiction novel  She read it aloud what she (with a friend who was spell checking it and giving ideas) had written and it was kind of shocking– it sounded like a real novel. Shamus, who is working on his 3rd novel went on and on about how her pacing was perfect, how she had a good solid voice, etc. Not surprising since she reads constantly but it was a huge jump forward from the last story she wrote (about a year ago.)
  • Using tutorials to teach herself Blender (3-d object creator/animator.) This is especially amazing because my husband and I both used Truspace to design avatars for a game years ago and Blender was too much learning curve.

 

Rachel is:

Essie and Rach voluneered to pull up old tiles and replace them-- because it "looked fun" and apparently it was.
  • Using youtube as a piano instructor for harder songs than learning at class.  Currently learning a relatively simple (compared to the full version) “Moonlight Sonata”.
  • Researching a doll found at the thrift shop in order to sell it on Ebay.  Finding out prices, finding out how much it might be worth, learning to photograph it for ebay, learning how to sell on ebay.
  • Writing a parody of a song for a youtube video.  Practicing singing the song, learning how to record it, as well as learning video editing.
  • Weekly babysitting– voluntary  1 day plus in exchange for piano lessons the other– the Friday one means she gets up, packs a lunch, and gets herself out the door on her own because lately I have been sleeping way later.
  • Taking lots of photos and learning how to take better photos.  She is considering using the money she has been saving to buy a decent camera.
  • Spending time with online friends; chatting, playing Words with Friends, and Tripletown.
  • Doing a lot more around the house on her own.  She is currently sleeping afternoon through evening so  I will wake up to find various jobs around the house done.  Which is really pretty awesome.

 

Shamus is:

  • Playing a game I am not allowed to talk about because it is still in Alpha and he had to sign an NDA, but I can say he loves it.
  • Working on his next book (which I get to read and LOVE)– a completely different setting from this one.
  • Writing stuff for the Escapist.
  • Recording Spoiler Warning.
  • Redesigning a website.

Me?

Oh yeah, I chopped my hair off-- about 10 inches.
  • I am working on illustrations for Shamus’ book.  (You can see them on my Facebook page if interested: https://www.facebook.com/ElasahArt)
  • Editing the final revision of Shamus ‘ book.
  • Formatting Shamus’ book.
  • Attempting to keep the house in order for showings and fix up what we are able to fix.
  • Feeling like I need to share things more online…so I am trying to do that.
  • Helping Esther with some art questions she has.
  • Helping Rachel figure out how best to record.
  • Helping Issac with computer questions.
  • Reading James A Owen’s Imaginarium Geographica series which is prompting all kinds of thoughts about classical writers.
  • Reading a 1920’s girl detective story I found for free for the Kindle.  Very fun.  Prompting much thought about the changes in language and slang from then to now.

Provision-y stuff and an Octopus

Rach proudly holding the homemade marzipan octopus she sculpted.

We are busy cleaning and packing plus doing Hanukkah (not to mention family Christmas stuff.) In the meantime God has been blessing us in a variety of ways, including the above marzipan recipe which makes it much cheaper and thus lets Rach sculpt to her hearts content.

It's a Calvin octopus.
Some cool God stuff that has happened:
  • We managed to get rid of 6 garbage bags full of sheets, blankets, and books– which means less stuff to pack!  YAH!
  • The kids have been a great help with packing things up, especially since I keep getting minor injuries that are forcing me to stop and rest.
  • We bought the kids 1 gift for each day of Hanukkah and it has been so peaceful and enjoyable.  Instead of a pile of presents the kids are really focusing on their one gift and enjoying it, which has been a huge change of events.  In the past a stuffed Mario or book would have been tossed aside when the bigger, cooler gifts come out but this year they are enjoying each to the fullest.
  • The peace that Hanukkah has brought has especially blessed me as I normally go crazy during the holidays, preferring to hole up in a corner with a book and avoid all the chaos.  This is especially good considering all the other stuff going on.
  • The Lord is continuing to take care of us financially.  We have been waiting, praying and trusting and He is making our money go much further than we could have imagined.
  • I got a God-gift today (usually around the holidays and my birthday the Lord blesses me with something that is exactly what I wanted, something just perfect that blesses me in a huge way– I always call them God-gifts…because they are obviously a perfect special thing just from Him to me.)  Today, Rach and I ran to the thrift shop to drop off the bags of stuff.  While there we were checking for something she was looking for and while she was looking at something else she ran across a food processor in the wrong spot.  We had just been talking about how little time this one has left (I have burned them out in less than a week and our current one is used and was missing the shredding/slicing blade.)  The one she found was a perfect match to my current one (which was a thrifted gift from a friend) and it included a non-broken bowl and the blade I needed.  This means I can use the current one till I burn it out and have a backup.  Plus I now have two bowls and mixing blades!  We are all so excited because I have been wanting to make sauerkraut and other ferments again and really needed that blade (due to my RA cutting and grating are pretty much out so without a food processor that works well I can’t make a lot of our foods.)   Someday we will have the money to get me a good one again (I killed my Bosch after 9 years of daily use) but for now I have a backup that does what I need!  So excited and blessed that God would provide this for me in such a way (and I think the kids are as excited as I am– we all love God-gifts and get excited about them together).
  • The sign is up in front of our house to let people know it is for sale.  Today someone stopped and asked about it (we are appointment only because we are all home all the time and I am not sure if we will have sheets to give out or not– we don’t right now which is what he was asking for.)  I am just feeling really encouraged that someone is even interested at all.
  • When the bank called today they suddenly said that we DON’T have a sheriff sale date.  Not sure if it changed because the house is now for sale for real, if he just didn’t see it, or what but he was pretty sure we didn’t have a date for sheriff sale which is interesting because last week they said January 6.  Either way we are encouraged again that something is happening and God is moving.
  • After the thrift shop Rach and I ran into the grocery store nearby to pick up a few things we needed.  On the way out they had a huge pile of excellent boxes (banana boxes and egg boxes which are super strong.)  I had totally forgotten that  when I had called they said Thursday was their shipment day and that they just put them on the ledge in front for people to take.  So Rach and I filled the minivan up with boxes and we now have plenty (I think) for what we need.

Where We Are: September 2011

This month (and the end of August) has seen as much busy-ness as our summer though of a new variety. We are prayerfully considering what direction we should be heading financially (have money to live on for the moment and had hoped to save up and live on it longer by bringing in more income but that all but stopped when the check finally came. Good thing God knows what He is doing (and He obviously has us trusting Him completely in this) because we have no idea. Well, we have some slight direction, and the Lord is kind of herding us in a certain direction that we are getting more and more comfortable with but the logistics of it all are still kind of out there and we don’t feel free to share yet. Still no money for the house payment and we are just waiting for the bank to kick us out– packing things up that we don’t need so we can simplify significantly is what we are focused on at the moment. Due to our awkward financial circumstances (no steady income, no savings, everything pretty unstable) they aren’t willing to work with us (not that I blame them.) So we will see what is around the next bend.

Idlewild 2011
The kids on a ride at a rare trip to Idlewild park (carload days are awesome.)

In the meantime, still doing GAPS– in fact we are being more rigorous with it while we are here so we can kick some more food allergies (which will simplify things down the road.)

P1090397
The youngest son of a friend who sheltered with us during Hurricane Irene.

We are still unschooling (and yes, the kids are still learning way more than they ever did when workbooks were a way of life for us).

We just got a package
The kids opening the box of Magic: the Gathering cards friends sent us-- our living room is overrun.

 
We are focusing on doing the next thing, whatever that is, as the Lord guides us. Right now that means I will be painting, purging excess stuff (and God willing having a yard sale, taking my grandmother shopping several times a week, helping Shamus with his projects, and more time to spend with the kids; chatting with them, being with them, loving them where they are. Shamus is currently working on his autoblography which when done, God willing, will become an eBook memoir.

If you would be praying for wisdom and direction, especially regarding our finances and where the Lord wants us but also regarding spiritual things He is showing us recently, we would heartily appreciate it.

Goings ons: GAPS, unschooling, work and more

So I have been a bit busy. I mean, I am ALWAYS busy in the summer, but this is unusually busy. Some of it has been the Christian Unschooling Facebook group which take as lot of my time as I am admin there. Some of it has been learning new things: between Pinterest (you can find me here) and Google + (find me here). BTW both programs are wonderful but I am really, really in love with Google +. The artist community there is amazing and inspiring.

We are still on the GAPS diet and it is still helping.

 

P1090081

  • Rachel has been able to fully add multiple foods into her diet that triggered full SJS symptoms before– including lemon, chicken, and ginger.  She can also be around tomato and apple without symptoms (just being in the same room with them would trigger a reaction before.)  She has also had plenty of energy and zero RA symptoms since going on the diet.
  • Issac is doing very well on the diet though he now has added regular raw milk in (it is something he can fix himself quickly and will always drink.)  He doesn’t like broth so I make reductions with whatever he is eating — kind of like gravy which works well.
  • Esther was doing very well until she started forgetting to eat and just started drinking straight raw milk all the time. Around that time she contracted a stomach bug, her system got all out of whack and she has to restart intro  in order to heal.  We are nearly back to where she was already and she is now able to eat way more foods than she could before without enzymes.
  • I am continuing to heal well though we ran out of grass fed beef and it is hard to get around here without ordering quarter (which we are doing but it will take 8 weeks to get.)  I can now eat chicken and eggs with no reaction though after years of being allergic I am really nervous of it.  Up until this week I have had no RA symptoms at all.  This week we ran out of broth and I have been slightly stiff (no big flare-ups) and dealing with the exhaustion that comes when I am dealing with what would be a flareup if I were eating a regular diet.  Considering that in the past the first weeks of August are my worst flare-up times and have meant me on crutches most years I am doing exceptionally well.
Unschooling is still going on:

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  • It has become so much of our lifestyle that I seldom think about it anymore.  The kids as always are doing all sorts of things– mostly on the computer (but what do you expect when most of their parents time is spent on the computer?)
  • Rachel is spending a lot of time playing piano, watching anime, drawing manga, learning Japanese, focusing on being more independent, reading the driver’s handbook again and again (she can’t wait to get her license in 3 years),  playing Minecraft and WoW and doing odd jobs for money.
  • Esther is spending much time reading, on Minecraft, Roblox, and Sims 3, drawing, and trying to get her sleeping and eating into healthy patterns so she grows properly (her goal not mine).
  • Issac is spending lots of time playing with his Fisher Price castle, pirates, and submarine thanks to finding more parts via my brother and the thrift shop.  He is also really into Roblox and Minecraft, chemistry, and electricity.
Work stuff:
  • Shamus finally got paid.  It was a year in coming but it is here which means we are no longer struggling (though we still can’t make the full house payment since we need to make this last — since who knows the next time we will get paid. :))
  • This means that part of our current work is figuring out how best to spend on the big things (ordering things we use in bulk, paying off bigger debts, and generally learning how to live on freelancer income.)
  • Shamus is working on a game engine and a book and is thinking about another book.  He is currently working on a game proposal for the game engine as he has potential backers, finishing the first book, and thinking on the new book.  We are also considering different ways of monetizing his site more efficiently.
  • I am working on some more book illustrations/cover art, several portraits, and have some website work on the backburner (waiting for clients to get back to me.)
  • The card game is out and for sale (once we get the cost of making it paid off in sales then we get a chunk in proceeds so…go buy a copy, or two or three?  It makes an awesome gift, is fun to play even as adults, is fast paced and educational (math, history –since I made the costumes and everything involved historically accurate to the 16th century, reading, logic).  My kids love it as do other unschooling friends who have played it.  It is also easy to adapt to other games or for more than 2 people.
Provision:
  • It has been amazing how God has provided this last year and we are trying to learn from the experience and make wise decisions for the future.  He has made sure we have had all we needed despite our lack of funds and it has been awesome to see how various people have stepped in  and provided where work did not.  Shamus’s readers on his website are absolutely amazing as their random gifts saw us through many tight spots, as did several families who took us on and sponsored us, making sure we had what we needed.  We praise the Lord for all of their help.  Our personal goal is to make this (which the Lord has lead us to) work.  To avoid needing to eat into the chunk of  money we have been paid for previous work done and to instead of try to work our way out of the debt we are in.  We want to get to the position where we can freely give and help those in need out of our excess instead of just out of our tithe.  We are praying that the Lord will get us to that point via the work He has provided for us to do.  That said the life of a freelancer may not be easy but it is always interesting.