A Spring Bouquet

Part random family life, part linky post, part moving update.

Like a bouquet of colorful spring flowers.


  • It's Mothers Day this weekend (like you didn't notice) and we don't have any plans except to give me a bit of time off from this move. We're not big gift people and in truth I don't want or need anything. And I did just get a new camera after all. Or rather we just got a new camera. A Sony Alpha NEX-5 to help meet my needs as a backcountry photographer. My other camera, a Nikon D300 is just so heavy for serious backpacking. This little Sony also does good video. I've only been using it since last weekend but so far I like it.
  • I found Karen Blados Design and Illustration blog via a comment she left here. Isn't her art just beautiful? Sketching her family's life. Gorgeous.


  • Laurent finished his first chapter book last month and is reading his way through another. Choosing to read the book was 100% his choice after I finally let go and let him direct the pace of his learning to read. There was no reward offered as a motivation but I just love to celebrate the beauty and accomplishments of everyday so took the kids out for a treat (and who doesn't like an excuse for a pastry from the artisan bakery?). Realizing there might be a reward, Brienne has decided to also read a chapter book. Which means Mama is listening to her third Littles book this spring.
  • Did you know the Littles have the same homeschooling philosophy as us? From the book The Littles Go To School, "You know very well, William, that tiny children are allowed to learn whatever they wish to learn afer they've learned their reading, writing, and arithmetic. And they can learn just as fast or as slow as they want to." Next Friday is my contribution to the Simple Homeschool Curriculum Fair. I'll be talking about our reading, writing, and math curriculum (and some other stuff).

Creative Homestead

  • There's been a flurry of posts this month in my internet world about eating well and spending less. I'm a bit of skeptic in this regard as everytime we improve our diet (and deal with food intolerances), the grocery bill goes up. So I was delighted to see Jennifer's Philosophy on Food Buying at Kidoing. Someone who speaks my language on the importance of good food and how to find savings, while not sacrificing your health. You can read her FIMBY guest post here.
  • More vegan goodness. Aimee at Simple Bites interviews my editor Jamie Martin on her 30 Day Vegan experience. And stay tuned because Heather at Beauty That Moves is putting together a 30 Day Vegan ebook based on her great course. (pst... that pastry up there, definitely not vegan)
  • Blarter - an online community of bloggers who barter. Cool.
  • I want to start a new knitting project but need your help. I want to make a beautiful, dressy, evening wear type shawl. For either cool summer nights or added warmth in winter. My wardrobe keeps getting whittled down to essential pieces (ie: the closet is nearly bare) and I have wanted something like this for years. I'd like it to be large enough to wrap around my arms. The only other knitting project I've ever completed is this little shawl/neck warmer. Any knitters out there who can recommend a pattern? Must be fairly easy.
  • I'm looking for recommendations for a new broom. Don't laugh. I don't like shopping. I don't watch TV ads. I avoid large box stores like the plague. How's a woman to find a broom? I'd like to transition away from owning a vacuum but if I do that I want one seriously awesome broom. Aesthetically pleasing and very functional. Preferably handmade and wood (no swiffer for me). Our current broom keeps too much dust in bristles and is just old and ugly.

Life 3.0

I'm getting ready chomping at the bit to spend more time writing and working together with Damien at home to create a family livelihood. And to start testing the waters of earning money from my creative endeavors. The following have been helpful reads:


  • Both suites in our two family home are now rented! This is a huge piece of the moving puzzle fit into place. Still left to do in the house:
    • patch plaster and paint a bedroom
    • paint touchups throughout the house (you know the dings on the walls that come with active family life)
    • lay lino in the porches?
    • other minor repair and maintenance work
  • Most of the decluttering is done - toys, books, clothes, craft supplies, kids' room. Haven't packed much but lots of that stuff is now organized in bins that will just get packed as is. I don't want to think about sorting and packing the kitchen. Still have a few big things to sell. I enjoyed reading Heather Mattern's Seduced By Simplicity this week as an extra boost in my resolve and determination to see this process through to the end.
  • Our schedule is filling up with going away parties, playdates, and invites for meals. We just love those invites for meals! Last week we said goodbye to the farm. A bittersweet parting to be sure. But my mom has already signed up for a csa near her home so the kids can have their weekly farm experience.
  • 14 days till we pull the trailer out of our driveway and Damien has just 4 days left of employment. I'm exhausted, the kids are bored and restless but it's happening, it's really happening.

I'll be back next week to share a few more house photos before I saw goodbye to this home. 

Have a lovely weekend, hopefully outdoors. 

Renee Tougas participates in affiliate marketing, including the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. Whenever you buy something on Amazon from a link you clicked here, I get a (very) small percentage of that sale. See disclosure for further explanation.

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  • heather Bruggeman

    heather Bruggeman on May 6, 2011, 10:41 a.m.

    such a fun and interesting post renee! i feel like i should comment in bullets... ;) the new camera sounds cool, can't wait to hear more about it. your nature photos are top notch as it is, so the new camera has some pretty big shoes to fill!

    like you, i can't seem to get behind a super low budget when it comes to eating well. it's a hard message to convey in my position sometimes, it's usually one of the first things people want to hear from me (that you can eat a whole food organic diet for cheap). i hate to be the bearer of bad news, but... i'm teaching a nutrition module to a group of yoga teachers in training next weekend and i anticipate this topic will come up.

    yeah for chapter books! looking forward to you post next friday, i always love to read about your schooling. oh! i met jamie at a homeschool convention last weekend - fun!

    well, i too am looking forward to your endeavors with damien... and crazy as it seems, i feel a little sad that you are saying goodbye to your home. all good things to come though, yes? ;)


  • SavvyChristine

    SavvyChristine on May 6, 2011, 12:37 p.m.

    What perfect timing -- I just learned about a handmade broom company called Justamere Tree Farm this weekend, and (non-affiliate) linked to them in my post today! This is the second cool coincidence I've had this morning.

    Anyway, we purchased a pot scrubber, but their brooms look awesome: https://justameretreefarm.com/brooms/ I think this coincidence means the universe wants you to have one of their brooms. I can't speak to how well they work, though, but Martha Stewart approves (if that means anything to you!). :)


  • Rambling Heather

    Rambling Heather on May 6, 2011, 12:55 p.m.

    I LOVE your photo's!! Thank you so much for all these wonderful links, I cant wait to go check them out. I remember counting down the days, isn't it wonderful yet nerve wracking at the same time? I am super excited for you all! OK now to go see if our library carries The Little's :)


  • Jennifer @ kidoing!

    Jennifer @ kidoing! on May 6, 2011, 3:19 p.m.

    Renee, Happy Mother's Day! And, thank you for linking to my recent post on food buying.

    I love this post, too. It's just like some of the emails my in person friends and I pass back and forth - what's happening with kids, good reads, looking for help/advice.

    Just two weeks left! Can you believe it? I'm so excited for you.


  • Christie

    Christie on May 6, 2011, 3:49 p.m.

    I made this shawl http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/meandering-vines-shawl last year and it was quite simple after a couple of false starts to get the pattern down. I was impressed with my ability to see that I wasn't making mistakes while still on the needles. I'd tried a different shawl pattern where I just could see that I was on track until a couple rows later when the mistake was glaring. I think I also had stitch markers located at each repeat so that I was at the correct ending stitches when I got to the marker. The blocking is so COOL!


  • Ellen

    Ellen on May 7, 2011, 12:50 a.m.

    I haven't thought about the Littles in ages! :) I also haven't been by in a while and wanted to wish you well as you pack up and start a new chapter, exciting!


  • Claudia

    Claudia on May 7, 2011, 9:49 a.m.

    I'm getting so excited for you, Renee! Such big life changes coming, you deserve them.

    (If you'll be coming through our way on your way to Nova Scotia, let me know. It's a long drive).


  • Karen Blados

    Karen Blados on May 7, 2011, 11:20 a.m.

    Big, BIG, B I G THANKS, Renee, on your link to my blog. What a nice way to wake up today! I enjoy your writing and feel we're on a similar creative path, so that was such an honor.

    And good luck with the move. We've been here for four years now and I still swear I'm never moving again. I'm hoping for a happy and smooth transition for you and your family.

    Happy Mother's Day!


  • Jen T

    Jen T on May 10, 2011, 12:23 p.m.

    On the broom front (hope this isn't too late) - Although it isn't wood, I would suggest checking out Flylady.net. In her shop she has some really great products and her floor duster mop head is great, but you have to get the mop too. I've found it more effective at picking up all the dust bunnies running around my place than any broom I have ever had.


  • Anonymous

    Anonymous on June 21, 2011, 8:39 p.m.

    I think buying brooms online is a little too farfetched/detached for me. Go to the hardware store. :)


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