Homeschool Dreams

Lili loves studying history.  Naomi is just okay studying history, but her study of the fall of Rome and the rise of the Renaissance seems to capture her interest a little more.

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Lili is studying Victoria’s Empire currently, and their studies makes planning a European vacation more appealing than ever.

My homeschooling dream has been some book study at home, with travel to help the girls better understand what they have learned.  So completing our history studies this year followed by a trip to visit some of the places they have been learning about will help fulfill my home school dream.

Travel Hopes and Dreams

It seems my blog has turned into a travel blog of sorts.  Not a blog where I share about my daily travels across the world (although that would be wonderful), but more about my travel hopes and dreams.

The dream of traveling the world isn’t something I’ve always had.  For most of my life, I simply hoped to see all of the U.S.

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To date, I have been to 41 states, so I have some work to do there.  However, my desire to see other parts of the world is growing stronger all the time.

Canada is high on that list.

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I find it very sad that we lived in Washington state for so many years and never made the drive to British Columbia.  However, Toronto seems to get rave reviews from those who have visited.  Hubby was there several years ago on business and was highly impressed during his short time there.  Of course there is always the possibility of combining my love of cruising with a visit to the eastern coast of Canada 🙂

I would also love to visit Denmark some day.

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I’ve read nothing but good things about Denmark and there is so many things to see.

Germany is another country on my bucket list.

I would love to see the place hubby spent two years of his Army life.  I would like to see the place my friend is from.  Plus, it’s close to Denmark so we can visit at the same time.

And if we’re going to Germany we might as well see Switzerland.

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Maybe on to France.

I’ve spent my life learning European history, reading books, seeing pictures, and movies about all these places I’ve never been.  Now I want to experience the castles, see the windmills, the Matterhorn (other than the Disneyland version), see the Mediterranean Sea, visit museums, see the art, the architecture,  and just enjoy life outside the U.S.

I hope you’ve enjoyed your geography lesson for the day 🙂 and now I’m off to buy a lottery ticket in hopes of winning so I can live out my travel hopes and dreams.

Until then, where have your travels taken you?

What has been your favorite place to visit?

Is there a place which you long to revisit or even stay?

Or maybe you are an ex-pat living out your dream.  Where has that dream taken you?

I’m always interested in learning about new places that I can add to my travel hopes and dreams list.

 

 

Plans Change

We have had a lot of plans for our future and as is true for most of us in life, those plans sometimes need to change.

One thing our move to Texas has made me realize, is that I need to let go of some of those things I really had hoped to do in life. Like farming. Yes, I’ve had to let go of the farming dream. For a number of reasons, it’s just not feasible for us in the future.

Why?

For those of us who may not be familiar with the Dallas area, it’s a very large city that is growing in leaps and bounds right now.

Hubby recently heard that there were approximately 1000 people per day moving into the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) area. Texas has made it easy and lucrative for businesses to move here and that is exactly what they are doing. Many large companies have pulled roots from other states and move or are moving to Texas. Dallas is a magnet for many of these companies who are building their offices here. This, of course, means building more houses, apartments, roads, schools, etc.   This also means buying up more farm land to expand and build on. Every day I pass fields with farm animals roaming around as shopping centers are being built across the street and roads expanded to carry the additional traffic thru that area.  The land that those buildings and road are now sitting on used to pasture for these farm animals, so there is less farm land available now.

While roads are being expanded and probably beyond, traffic becomes a problem. We’re fortunate to enjoy some farm scenery around the RV park, but this also means hubby is commuting to work. His commute can vary from 40 minutes to 2 hours depending on traffic. While this is doable for the time being, it’s not something he wants to do his entire working career here and I don’t want him to. After all, any additional time he spends on the road is time he isn’t here with his family. That’s not a good trade-off.

The additional influx of businesses means the job market here is outstanding!!! It also means the real estate market is booming. As I’ve looked at real estate have discovered three things.

  1. The cost of buying land we can build on is more than we can afford.
  2. The cost of buying an existing farm is even more cost prohibitive.
  3. Hubby’s commute would be as far as, or possibly further than it is now.

Aside from the cost and commute, we have had to decide what is most important. Specifically, what are our priorities now that we live in the DFW area?

Ultimately, we decided that getting a farm down here is out of the question.  My hope is that we are able to find a home that sits on a large enough piece of property that I can do some gardening. That will be the extent of our farm life. A home with a pool and nice outdoor living space is what we will look for in our home down here. More travel seeing other parts of Texas, the U.S. and the world is what we desire.

Some of that travel will need to include visits to other’s farms so I can get my fill of the farm life I’m leaving behind.

Sometimes our priorities in life change and even though I would love to do all those things my heart desires, I have to pick and choose those things that are most important – spending time with family, seeing the world, enjoying life – those are the biggest desires of my heart so that is what I need to do.

We close on our home in Illinois next week and some have asked when we’ll be buying a house down here.

Unfortunately, because the housing market hasn’t bounced back in Central Illinois like it has here in the DFW area, we won’t be putting any money in the bank from the sale of our house. We refinanced our house when the market was really good and used the additional funds toward the adoption of our girls. In essence, we received the proceeds several years ago and now we’ll be in the position of trying to save enough money to buy a house down here.

All the changes in our life are good though. These changes are life experiences and life experiences are what keeps life interesting.

So we’ll continue to enjoy RV living. We’ll enjoy some travel. We’ll spend time with family. Hopefully one day we’ll buy a house. Along the way, we’ll do our best to enjoy life and make memories.

 

 

Tell You What I Want

What I really, really want . . . . .

We’re house/dog sitting this weekend. After living in our small space for the last month, being in a large home feels strangely uncomfortable. Not in a terrible way. Just uncomfortable. There is so much space between all of us and it makes me realize just how much untogetherness my family has been experiencing over the years.

One of our dogs isn’t handling this big space very well. She runs around in a panic trying to figure out how to get out and as I write this, she is sitting in front of me with her body pressed up against my legs. At least she’s calming down a bit, but the newness of the last month has been taking its toll on her psyche. She really likes our little home. She seems very comfortable in that space. We’re all right there together in our cozy little space and that makes her feel safe. But since arriving in Texas she’s gone to be groomed and has had to meet a new vet. In a couple weeks we’ll add insult to injury when we take all three dogs to boarding and leave on a week-long cruise to the Eastern Caribbean. Right now I feel this cruise is well deserved and needed, but I’m quite sure my anxiety ridden dog will not feel the same. She is going to be thrown into yet another new situation and hopefully she’ll handle it better than I’m anticipating. If not, I may be seeking out the services of a dog psychiatrist (do they exist?)

Our RVing experience has caused me to really think long and hard about our next home and exactly what will make us happiest. Now that we have an offer on our house, I feel that we can really begin to make plans for our future Texas home.

At this point, I certainly can’t see us settling in another 3600 sq ft home. Something much smaller is very likely in our future. What we really want more than anything is nice outdoor space. An extension of our indoor space so-to-speak. A nice covered patio area for outdoor dining or just sitting outside in the morning enjoying a cup of tea or in the evening with a tall glass of iced tea (or whatever cold drink suits my fancy).

With the pool because we’ll need to cool off during those long hot Texas summer days.

Space for keyhole gardening, which I’m determined to do here in Texas.

At this point I want my outdoor space to be larger than my indoor space.

Will we be able to find this without hubby’s commute being terribly long?

Not sure, but it’s what I really really want and we should have plenty of time to find it.

Our Christmas Gifts to Us

Recently, hubby came home from work and wanted to talk to me about our homesteading dream.  As he began spilling out all of his thoughts I sat there thinking, “He’s right.”  Yes hubby, I said it publicly – You are right!  🙂

We’ve been waiting for the perfect moment.

We’ve been waiting for that perfect location.

We’ve been waiting for the perfect property.

We’ve been telling ourselves that until all the pieces fall into place, we can’t make our homesteading dream a reality.  The problem with that philosophy is that we put our lives on continuous hold.  There is no perfect moment.  There is no perfect location.  There is no perfect property.

All the obstacles that seem to stand in our way are only there because we’ve put them there.  For 2+ years, we’ve stood in the way of making real progress toward our dreams, our goals and our desires.

Our Christmas gift to us was letting go of all those things holding us back.  It was realizing that the most important thing we could do was to make our dream reality.  Not next year or the year after, but now.

We aren’t in a perfect moment or a perfect location,  but we need to take advantage of the moment and we’re in a location we know.  Hubby and I have lived in this area for the last 19 years.  I was born and raised here.  Hubby spent the majority of his growing up years here.  Other than the 10 years we lived on the West Coast, we’ve lived most of our married life here.

We live in prime farm country.   No, we aren’t necessarily fond of the landscape, but we know the land and this land is made for raising food.  Better than some of the areas we’ve considered.

No, we don’t necessarily like the weather, but we are fully aware of what each season brings.

We have friends here.  We have family here.

Our girls like it here.  They love that it snows in the winter and that the snow sticks around to enjoy for days or even weeks at a time.  Then they have plenty of hot summer days for water fun.  They have activities they love and lots of friends.

We are well established in our homeschool group and I have trouble imagining a better group for us.

For these reasons and others, we realized that we don’t have to pack all our possession and move to another state to homestead.  We can homestead here as well or maybe even better than anywhere else.

Our other Christmas gift to us is to begin shopping for property that will allow us to fulfill our dream of  homesteading right here in Central Illinois.

It’s not our dream location, but we don’t always have to live out every detail of the dream for life to be truly wonderful.

The best Christmas gift we can give to us is being good to ourselves and for us that means finding our homestead.  That place in the country where we can garden, raise animals and begin living the life that we long to live.  A life in the country!

 

Should Have Known

When I was a little girl, the church we attended had a toy farm set.  I loved playing with those toys.  I would set up the fences, carefully place all the farm animals where they belonged and pretended to be the farmer.

Guess I should have known that one day I would want my own farm with real live farm animals-)

Today the girls and I purged toys and got everything organized.  Lili really likes having things in her life somewhat organized as do I.  As I was putting all the toy animals into a canvass box and into the cubby, I shared the story of how much I loved playing with the toy farm animals as a little girl.

My little farmer in the making said, “I want my own toy farm to play with.”  I told her to put it on her Christmas list.  Although if  truth be told, I’m kind of excited about the possibility of playing farm with the girls as I continue to dream about one day having my own farm.