Sustainable Shaving?

Muhle safety razor and The Billie

Now that there are two ladies shaving in my household, I’ve upped our shaving game. Thankfully, my husband has been willing to serve as a guinea pig for alot of “innovations” for our family. When Harry’s arrived on the scene, we were all in and then to take our sustainable game further I urged him toward the safety razor. Meanwhile, I was sticking with my Venus.
However, as my daughter inched closer to needing her own supplies for the shaving game, I realized I needed to test drive a few options for myself. First, I tried my husband’s safety razor.  When I finished with all my fingers and toes still intact and only a very little cut, I figured it was worthwhile. I ordered my own, shown above.  It has a slightly longer handle and a texture along the handle to help with grip. It’s been about 4 months and while I still get a small cut every other time I shave, despite slow and careful strokes, I’m really happy with the result. BUT, when I thought of my daughter, a complete shaving novice, I cringed. Also, in the spirit of full disclosure, now that it’s headed toward summer, when I’ll be shaving twice as often, I’d like something a little more forgiving. Read, faster!  So, while the Muhle is my winter razor winner, I continued hunting for another tool in my grooming kit.
Enter, Billie. I’m guessing the normal Billie customer is 30 years of age and under.  You can choose a razor handle color from about 4 options, there’s a subscription to send you razors, the marketing refrains from mentioning anything about shaving in relation to “sexiness” – I’m looking at you Venus.  But the reason I pushed the buy button was due to their  “Pink Tax” rebate program.  It felt really good to tackle this topic and support a solution with our razor purchases.  While the sustainability is low, the social awareness is high and for this next phase in my family, it feels like the right way to spend our money.  The shave is great, there are 5 blades, it is super responsive, very easy to handle.  Both mama and daughter are very pleased with the results, no nicks, no cuts, no interrupts!

This post is not sponsored, just hope this helps someone navigating these purchases for their own people!


What 10 and 12 looks like

My youngest is ten years old, soon to be eleven, he’s so young in some ways and so very old, and wise in others.  The changes in him are becoming subtle, more nuanced.  His interest in things now lasts for months and years because he seems to understand the next new thing, is not necessarily the next best thing.  Star Wars, Harry Potter, Legos, Celtic music, Narnia, medieval swords, World War II, Fablehaven, Gandalf, Maileg mice, these are his favorite things.  But his true favorites are his family and friends.  He still wakes up with a ferocious hug for me every morning, he says he loves homeschooling and believes that I am the best teacher he could have.  He is getting impatient about growing so we’ve been marking his height once a week lately.  He joined a swim team this year, even though it’s more his sister’s thing, and keeps me rapt on the drive home with observations about his peers.  He tells me he’d like to get married one day and have a wife like me.

Twelve!  The last of the tweens for my daughter, in a matter of months she’ll be a teen.  Outspoken, brave, and confident, I can’t help wonder how she, especially, would be different had we chosen traditional schooling instead of homeschooling.  She is hard on herself, she wants to get it “right”, she wants to be true to herself.  She would rather be alone than dance to anyone else’s tune, she says she feels more comfortable around guys her age than girls, who commonly wear a “mask”.  She is quick to defend others and quick to loose her temper, much to her chagrin.  She loves swimming.  Strong, graceful and speedy, when she finishes swim practice I can feel the vitality and peace rolling off of her.  She loves her family, her brother most of all, with a fierce devotion.  She still grabs for a hand when we go walking, lacing fingers together and letting them swing.  She is perceptive, thoughtful, kind and says she loves having a mama like me.  Our embraces are getting longer rather than shorter as she grows into a young adult, she’s smart like that.

I’ve been warned off of so many stages by other well meaning parents:  Just wait till they’re two! Oh, wait for the fu*%ing fours!  Ugh, the tween stage, everything is so awkward!  Most recently, Get ready for the teenage years, nothing will be the same.  I don’t mean to say all parents walk around with warning signs and Lord knows we all have bad days when the parenting experience feels overwhelming.  BUT every single moment of being a parent to those two kids I’m talking about above has served me well.  The good and bad, lovely and sad, I feel immensely grateful for it all!


A love letter to Audible



Dear Audible,

I was late to your party, I thought I had experienced audio books and didn’t feel the need to add one more digital subscription to my life.  I feel like I should apologize for those early thoughts seeing as how you have become such a huge influence in my day to day life.

I am a person who does not have dyslexia, living with three people who do.  Two of them are my children and it took me awhile to figure all that out.  I thought that maybe my kids were late bloomers, or I had not spent enough time on spelling, or they weren’t trying very hard or I hadn’t found the right kind of books to get them hooked on independent reading.  Then one day, my husband was working from home and got the “up-close and personal” view of our homeschool day.  “Hmmmm,” he said, “hearing the kids go through their school day reminded me a lot of my own frustrations in school.  Dyslexia can be genetic, we should have them tested.”

The rest is history, or maybe I should say a new beginning.  A beginning that had me whole heartedly determined that my kids were not going to miss out on a love of literature.  But there is the reality that I cannot read out loud all day every day, also some books are HARD to read out loud and some don’t interest me, like what ever book came after “The Lightening Thief”!  Audible doesn’t get tired or loose it’s voice, Audible doesn’t have to stop to switch the laundry or make dinner, Audible doesn’t force my kids to ONLY listen to “mom-approved quality” literature, it offers them everything, all the time.

That’s the first part, you helped my kids, and that’s huge but you also helped us as a family.  You’ve given us shared friends, shared stories, shared experiences.  We spent a month of evenings listening to, “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas” together.  We laughed, held our breath, sighed with relief, and occasionally fell asleep together.  We loved the shared time so much that we did “The Wind in the Willows” right after it.  A long car trip would not be complete without a “Harry Potter” book, but we’ve sprinkled in dozens of others for the shorter trips in our life.  A few favorites are “The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict”, “The Chronicles of Prydain”, “Whittington”.  Without this audio option my husband would miss out on all of these stories, all of these experiences and people that my kids talk about.

Please keep adding to your library, please keep improving based on the suggestions of your loyal community, please keep your costs affordable so anyone and everyone can enjoy the beauty of being read a story.

Many thanks.

Your loyal customer and big fan,



What 9 and 11 looks like

My youngest is 9 years old, the last of his single digit years.  He’s an old soul, possesses an inner calm, he has not out grown his righteousness streak and I wonder if it’s simply a part of his character.  He is quietly bold, I feel his presence deeply at the times he does NOT say something or does NOT react to provocation.  That said, one of my great joys is to hear him wax poetic about something – anything!  Like most lightly spoken people, when they DO say something, you want to listen!  Once tidy, he now prefers his room……un-tidy.  He has a best friend, he has a more complicated relationship with his sister that is more about choice than just being related.  He holds my hand or his sister’s hand or his dad’s hand when we walk places.  He gives me a morning hug and asks to be tucked in to bed at night.  He loves being read to and got into biographies about Robert E. Lee this year.  He also found a love for Stephen Foster, arguably America’s first pop star, you many know him from “O Susannah”.  He likes Rick Riordan books, J. K. Rowling, the “Wings of Fire” series, “Johnny Tremain” and “Where The Red Fern Grows” also top his list.  He skied his first black slope this year and put us all to shame on the mogals.  He is kind, honest and brave.

My daughter, my fearless wonder, is 11 but if you ask her how old she is, she may reply, “I’m almost 13”.  It seems she may choose to jump over year 12 altogether!  She decided to quit dancing this year, which was a brave, wonderful choice.  She has found a joy in art –  painting, drawing, clay work, I can see this being a steady thing in her life.  She’s thinking about what she’d like to be when she grows up, the answers are costume designer, architect, inventor.  She struggles with school everyday and gets very sad when the results don’t line up with her expectations, it breaks my heart.  But try she does and after a pep talk she’s ready to plunge in again and again.  She has an excellent memory and if you get the chance to hear her recite poetry you are in for a treat.  She loves being read to and always asks for another chapter when our time is up.  She fell in love with “Anne of Green Gables” this year and all I can think is “of course,” she is SO like Anne.  In our homeschool group of foam sword duels and nerf gun wars, she is considered one of the best fighters, even among the older kids.  She is often elected the leader of the teams and relishes creating maps and assigning each player’s duties.  She’s a loner, she’s courageous, she looks out for the little ones – whether little in spirit or in size.  She loves animals, she still loves Toca Boca games, she could eat a hamburger and chocolate shake everyday if I let her, she sings along with the radio and dances in the car, she plays legos and likes to keep her room tidy (this is a new development).

For all the young mamas and papas out there, who are just getting started with their families, I send you love, support, encouragement, peace, and rest.


What 8 and 10 looks like

Sleepy 10 and wide awake 8

Sleepy 10 and wide awake 8 leaving Big Bend National Park

Today my kids are 9 and 11, since I wasn’t in the habit of blogging when 8 and 10 commenced, I wrote my thoughts down in a good old fashion journal.

At 8 years old you so aware, so curious, so thoughtful about the world around you.  You are fast, you are strong, you love Harry Potter books and your cat, Goodman.  You’ve made a best friend, your first beyond your sister and this family.  You received your First Communion and asked so many great questions through out the whole process it made me consider religious education in a new light.  You enjoy more space from your sister this year, you are putting more importance in your own voice instead of always deferring to her.  I still get one of your amazing morning hugs every morning, you still like to be tucked in at night, you are still not very good at brushing your teeth – this might be a personality thing?  You have some of the neatest hand writing I’ve ever seen on an 8 year old – boy or girl.  I love you more.

At 11 years old some changes are definitely afoot.  You are sleepy again, almost like a toddler, your emotions can overwhelm you and bring you way down or raise you way up – this scares you a bit and we are learning to ride these waves together.  Your love of dance continues and you had your first year preforming with the competitive dance team, you LOVE performing.  Ballet has replaced hip-hop as your preferred style of dance.  You are clever, funny, sincere, innocent, beautiful and vulnerable.  You let things in, you try things out, you remain one of the most fearless people I’ve ever encountered.  I love you more too.

For a walk down memory lane here’s: What 7 and 9 look like and 6 and 8.

A lot can happen in a year

And sometimes it can feel like nothing changes during those 365 days.  I turned 40, I joined Instagram – to look at others, not to post (for now), I have gray hairs, I’m better at homeschooling, I started watching “Fixer-Upper” along with most of Texas.  My kids are now 9 and 11 and life feels very sweet.

Here’s what Addie’s looks like:

We took out a wall to open these rooms (total Fixer-Upper move).


Trying to save the original windows with some sanding and priming.


We are finishing the floors throughout the house this month with a dark stain.  We found a really cool carpenter who loves old windows as much as we do.  He plans to rebuild the original windows and will travel from Ft. Worth to Camden to install them personally!

On the homeschooling front I’ve signed up for my first homeschooling conference through these guys: Wild and Free  Most of my school mornings begin with either a glance at their Instagram account or Courtney Adamo’s.  It puts my head in the nicest place and my kids reap the rewards of a calmer (more calm?) mama/teacher.

About 4 weeks old, don't know gender, we've treated them for worms, fleas and are both finishing a round of antibiotics.

Kittens about 4 weeks old, don’t know gender, we’ve treated them for worms, fleas and are both finishing a round of antibiotics.

Last but not least, we found these kittens abandoned at our local park, if anyone in the DFW area knows of someone looking for a new pet or pets please comment below.


What 7 and 9 looks like

7 and 9 on their first ski lift

7 and 9 on their first ski lift

Over a year ago I did a post on what 6 and 8 looks like and it’s something I find myself going back to read over and over.  So before these years pass me by here’s a snapshot of 7 and 9.

My 9 year old daughter now poses for pictures, she talks about how the zoo offends her, “I mean what if you were a lion, do you want a million kids passing by and tapping on the glass while you are bored out of your mind?!?!  It’s just wrong.”  She’s ready for more independence, walks around the neighborhood by herself, bikes to the park on her own, wants more time with her peers.  She still likes a hug first thing in the morning.  She still has her brother sleep over every night on the couch in her room.  Tears have started to fall for incomprehensible reasons, she calls these moments growing pains and it’s terrifying when I consider adolescence in this force that is my daughter.  She’s one of the coolest people I know.

My 7 year old son dances when no one (except my daughter) is watching and boy can he move.  His “R” sound is still soft and it makes him seem younger than he is.  He gets frustrated when his sister is able to catch on to things faster than he can (like skiing) but his careful personality pays off when he explains how NOT to fall off a ski lift to his older sister (which, of course, she did).  He asked me this week if I knew the bad word that rhymes with “buck”.  The bad words he’s currently aware of include “stupid” and “shut up” so times are changing!  He still cuddles and is generous and thoughtful like his dad.  He’s one of the kindest people I know.

This crazy parenting experience provides something new with every passing year.  I wonder if anyone ever feels like they are good at this job/role?  On one hand I can’t believe I have the privilege of helping these little beings grow, on the other I cannot believe the challenge of helping these little beings grow – what a mix!  To all the parents out there, here’s to us!

Stop me if you’ve heard this one


Here I am day 4 of homeschooling.  Yes, we are teaching the kids at home now.  I cannot believe how many spelling/phonics rules I’ve never been privy too.  Sure maybe you can rattle off, “‘i’ before ‘e’ except after ‘c’ or when pronounced ‘a’ as in neighbor and weigh”.  When my kids were small they loved Starfall, and I learned the handy jingle, “when two vowels go walking the first one does the talking” (Like in meat or treat).  But this week while getting familiarized with Spalding’s, “The Writing Road to Reading” I’ve picked a gold mine of this stuff, for example:

1.  ‘c’ says ‘s’ when filled by e, i or y

2.  ‘v’ and ‘u’ can’t have the last word (meaning in English we don’t end words in ‘u’ or ‘v’

3.  ‘g’ may say ‘j’ when followed by ‘e’, ‘i’, or ‘y’

There’s about 29 of these rules, about half I’d never heard before!  Although my children don’t seem to be quite as enthused as I about this fascinating new world where the English language has started to make more sense, they did say they are having fun at school again!  That alone would have been worth it but knowing that many vowels have more than just short and long sounds also rocks.




Addie’s House 2

Back to Arkansas where the only time I think about my hair is to check for spiders before calling it a day.  How about a little look inside?  Truthfully we still haven’t had the opportunity to fully assess the inside of the house.  A family member uses the house for storage and until we get everything moved out, we’re not really sure about how everything looks within.

Part of the back room of the house.

Part of the back room of the house.

Talk about the land of the lost, this house seems to be where things go to be forgotten, but try to look past the stuff and get a glimpse of the floor……I’m sensing some interesting things there.

Here's the other side of the room, whoa look at that natural light streaming through the bathroom.

Here’s the other side of the room, whoa look at that natural light streaming through the bathroom.

Time to roll up our sleeves and get cleaning.

Child labor is highly helpful, you should see this kid suck up the dearly departed wasps with the shop vac!  Who needs video  games with fun like that?!

Child labor is highly helpful, you should see this kid suck up the dearly departed wasps with the shop vac!   Who needs video games with fun like that?!

Many, many sweaty hours later we were able to clean out three rooms.  This whole exercise was a huge motivation for living simply!

Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 1.05.52 PM

Hey, where'd the kids go?

Hey, where’d the kids go?

What the......

What the……

Nothing quite like building traps in the sand-like Arkansas soil while tethering yourself to the porch!

Nothing quite like building traps in the sand-like Arkansas soil while tethering yourself to the porch!

What else sounds like fun?

Sawing some stuff down?

Sure, never done that before!

So much harder than I imagined!

So much harder than I imagined!

Just keep breathing, arms must keep moving.  It's gotta come down eventually....

Just keep breathing, arms must keep moving. It’s gotta come down eventually….

That little 2 inch tree was my Everest, so darn proud of myself!

That little 2 inch tree was my Everest, so darn proud of myself!

Lastly, found this little inspiration for the house “skirt”.  We will probably only be able to do this in the front and use lattice around the sides and back, but I think it’ll compliment the house perfectly.

photo via the internet

photo via the internet

Hope you’re enjoying our Arkansas adventures, until next time!

Repopulation of the Night Furies

Meet Toothless, the lovable night fury from How to Train Your Dragon

Meet Toothless, the lovable night fury from How to Train Your Dragon

Halloween is nearly upon us and it’s a big holiday in our family.  My kids begin discussing costume possibilities in July.  This year my son made his proclamation in August, “I want to be Toothless from How To Train Your Dragon“.  I start trying to visualize some half-homemade type creations I can bang out for him.  Then in September, my daughter’s got her final choice, “I’m going to be Toothless too.”  Hmmmm.
“Did you check with your brother?”

“Yup, we are both going to be Toothless.”

“Okay, sounds good”.

Better than good, my job just got easier.

Then both my kids mention they are over trick-or-treating, they just want to hand out candy this year.

WHAT?  What kind of children have I raised that running from stranger to stranger and collecting all the contraband I never allow is now passé at the ripe ages of 7 and 9 years old?

So I decide we’ll find a party to attend all together and bring some spark back to this family favorite.  But now my husband and I need costumes………

“What if your dad and I also go as Toothless.”

“Oh yeah!  This is going to be awesome.”

“Yes, we’ve obviously been working on repopulating the night furies since the last movie came out.” (I think I’m very clever to work this all in).



Kids:  Hoodies from Target, Black knee high socks for the tails also from Target, packed the tailed with left over packing materials, I used garbage bags that I cut and sewed for the wings and tails, mask from Etsy.

Parents:  Hat found Target, Black dress (old)

Screen Shot 2014-10-27 at 10.46.38 AM


One afternoon of sewing and voila, all finished.

We’ll even dress up twice this year thanks to our first “truck or treat”.

Hope everyone has a nice Halloween!