Healthy living, healthy parenting, healthy gardening. One Family's approach to off grid living.

Posts tagged “parenting styles

Early Fall Photo Gallery

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Dirt Rich; Mid June photo gallery

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Boy in dress on rope swing and other photos

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The gift horse of video games, parenting boys

Once upon a time I bristled at video games.  6 years and 3 sons (and a husband) later and I have a video game shack in the yard.

I’m okay with this.  Really.  When Mr.T set out to build the man hut I was truly offended, I mean, after all we have a ton of stuff we need working on in the yard.  Do we really need 100sq foot cabin with loft?  The answer is yes.  I love the Hide Out.  It’s my favorite room in the house.  But I rarely go into it.

This is where weapons are sent, noisy toys go to die and where my trifecta  snuggles into blankets, busts out the popcorn and gets into LEGO video games.

The oldest is particularly die hard in his gaming love, but I know it is just time before the others follow suit.

The following is the genius of Mr. T and is working so very well I need to brag.

Labor = video game minutes.

Coach Rapper will do anything for video game time.  He comes and ASKS me if there is any thing he can do.  He takes out the compost AND washes it down and returns the pail to the counter.  The play loft has never been cleaner!  He picked up wood for Mr.T ALL afternoon.  He cut grass.  He is the garbage and recycling patrol.

And we are stingy.  2 minutes, occasionally 5 minutes or more offered.

For example- I have a standing offer for 30 minutes of screen time for picking up a wheelbarrow full of rocks from the yard.  He has accepted the offer, but he is only about 10% done.

So step back for a second.

He is counting ALL the time amounts up.

“So if I pick up all the playmobil I’ll be at 47 minutes?”

We’re too broke to pony up for allowance.  And 2 minutes of gaming is a WAY bigger incentive than 25 cents!

And, the best part?  I would have let him play anyway.

*note- this method does not work on ornery 3 yr olds.


Maybe today I will plant Dahlia

Before the sun makes it over the trees I am a major grump.  To put it politely.

I hate the cold, I feel like I have been cold every single second since I got here.  I hate getting up with the baby in the frigid night.

I hate crawling out of bed and seeing my breath, putting on my jacket, changing #3’s diaper and putting his fleece suit on over his jammers, wool slippers on his feet.

It makes my head pound with angry heat, and I stub my toes and bump my elbows and curse myself for coming home this early.  Why didn’t I wait another 10 days?  10 more days and the mornings wouldn’t be like this.

Sun pouring honey over new leaf buds

It’s morning on the mountain and the chickadees dee dee dee

Sonny boy laugh away some morning dew

Already planning today’s river and civilization destruction

rapid creek water flowing from the gravity fed

turns my yard into valleys and waterways of epic ages

ground steams in the warmth of the day

just begun

It’s sooo good it smells like artificial colors

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He groaned in pleasure as he washed his hands with the pearly pink soap in the Visitor Center’s washroom.


Yep, I had just pulled into Sparwood to see the Largest Truck In The World.

I’ve NEVER stopped for the kids at the truck before.  I’ve never driven the Southern route in 3 days instead of 2 before.  *I* feel like I am on holiday, and that’s a great feeling after a month of mostly single parenting.  The Super 8 was fine, but the Days Inn is really nice and feels like a major treat even though it was cheap off of

Seeing the world through these eyes is such a gift.

They alert me to beauty all around me.  They alert me to misery all around me.  I want more beauty than misery in their lives.  This is the gift my parents gave me. In the car the boys play, talk to each other, fight, and spend a lot of time looking out the window.  We don’t have any babysitting devices in the car.  We used to, a portable DVD player, for a couple of years, we used it a ton.  It broke shortly before Finn was born and neither boy even notices.  However, today it took us 9-10 hours to complete a 5 hour drive.  This is most I’ve ever enjoyed travelling with the kids, which is remarkable because it is a 3 day, 14 hour drive alone with 3 boys 5 and under.

The difference is a) nice weather and b) time to actually stop and enjoy the view

view c) stopping and doing enough fun stuff that my kids realize that their siblings really are their best friends.  That’s pretty much how life on Erie Mountain is in the spring/summer- like an extended summer vacation a peter pan land of no bathtubs, showers in waterfalls, nightly fires, rope swings in trees, early morning hikes while the clover is still damp and the air still cool.  Sweltering Kootenay afternoons in a cold mountain lake nestled between green peaks.  Experiencing the seasons by integration.  This is the why.

The Brotherhood

The easy movement, lack of pretension

I watch laugh pauses, all their deep breaths

They are alone.  Fragile. I am still the mothership

and can see their minds crunching away without

calculating I am not him.

Open,a book of boys, they play

Lithe bodies rolling and climbing

Exploring movement; Because.

I cherish these moments; Because.

“Secret club of Erie Mountain,

Hip hip hooray -we’re going home”



The how isn’t quite as intuitive or poetic.  It will be hard.  So hard that I couldn’t face the first night straight up, I need to arrive in the day time so I can acclimatize without having a panic attack.  I’m learning to figure out what I can handle, and what I can’t.  I’m going back with the understanding the kids and I will leave in the fall the second I am not handling it.  I’m really hoping we can get this lovely summer home winterized over the next few months and we can spend our 1st winter in Erie Kingdom.  The combo of post partum mood disorder and off grid living was just way too much for me to handle.

Today is the day.  A small bird is caged in my chest trying to get free.

All of these pics are SOOC, no cropping, no editing.  I would love any critique.  I`m just starting to feel at ease holding a DSLR.  I don`t have time to edit, so I`m just working on getting it right in camera.

PS.  The water in Cranbrook tastes like fish in April.

PPS.  Makes me scared to try the lobby coffee.

PPPS.  Free hot breakfast!!!  Love the Days Inn, Cranbrook!

The joys of sand