Nine years ago this March, Himself and I settled on our first home, a townhouse. (Yes, I had a blog there too).
Three years ago this March, we settled on our country house and officially moved in.
AW sure was a lot smaller! She wasn't even two years old, and DC was a bun in the oven, meaning I did a lot of supervising that day and not a whole lot of carrying heavy boxes.
It snowed right after we moved in, proving that this year's March snowstorm wasn't a complete anomaly in the past couple of years. (Although I'm really hoping to avoid an anniversary snow this year).
The first year was really a year of discovery. We discovered that the tree next to the garage was a teacup magnolia, the same kind of tree that blossomed every spring outside my childhood bedroom window. It felt like a sign from my dad. We found white dogwoods on the property, my dad's favorite kind of tree. And later in the summer, we found blackberry and wineberry bushes along the wood line.
In July, we brought DC home to the Ridge. It was definitely a big year for changes: new house, me leaving work, and growing our family.
In 2015, we started working on our homestead dreams. We built a garden and got chickens.
2016 brought further changes to the homestead. We bought a breeding pair of rabbits and started raising meat birds in addition to our layers. We had another busy year in the garden.
This year brings a new chicken coop, a new baby, and our second year of raising animals for meat. The rest remains to be seen!
On Monday, we were out hiking with our preschool group, the Traveling Acorns. One of them invited me to join a weekly playgroup that meets on Wednesdays, and I mentioned that I work on Wednesdays.
"Oh! I didn't know that you worked." I get that a lot. But I do have a part time job, working from home, and I love my job. I thought I'd explain a little bit about the company I work for, how I got started, and what I'm up to at my job.
Two years ago, I was working on a local farm for barter. It was an absolutely fantastic experience. I learned how to milk a cow, which weeds are edible, and a whole lot about gardening. When I was working one day, the farmer mentioned that she had a friend who was looking for someone to write about American history for her company, History Unboxed. She connected the friend and me, and I was initially hired to develop American history content.
So what is History Unboxed?
Here's the description from the website:
"History Unboxed offers subscription boxes and on demand educational resources for students ages 5 and up. Recipes, crafts, art, myths, and relatable details enable students to experience history with many of their senses and form a lasting and meaningful bond with the past. And the best part? Everything ships right to your door. All you have to do is open the box and start learning."
It didn't take me long to fall in love with the work and with the product. It's pretty much a dream job: I spend my work hours researching and writing about history, and I get to choose my own work hours and work from home. I write articles, stories, and recipes for the box, and help check over the accuracy of other elements of the box. I also do a little bit of social media work, helping out with the newsletter, Pinterest, and Facebook page. So far, there are two timelines available for subscriptions: Ancient History and the Middle Ages. I'm working on the American history content, where I have more creative input on the activities and artwork, in addition to my writing.
I'm really proud of the product that I work on. I feel like it's something really special. I get super excited when I see the materials that go into the boxes. It's actually made me really picky about the subscription boxes I get for the kids. Materials for the boxes are often imported from the country of origin, such as papyrus from Egypt or a boomerang from a store run by Australian aborigines. Each box has custom artwork. And the activities are often really unusual, beyond your usual craft project. I don't want to put out any spoilers for this month's box, which just shipped, but I got giddy when I saw it. It has some seriously niche contents.
This might sound a little bit like a sales post, but I promise it isn't. All of my work on Ancient History and the Middle Ages is hourly. By the time someone orders a box, I've already gotten my paycheck. In the interest of full disclosure, I will earn royalties on the American history boxes when they are released.
It's also a perfect job in another way: I live in the same town as my boss, who is also a homeschool mom. Every week, we get together for a coworking session and our kids play together. Today, I was over there for five hours and barely saw AW the entire time. AW adores one of my boss's daughters and spends all week thinking about the games they will play together. I get to talk to another adult about history, squee over the products, and occasionally just sigh with happiness about getting to be so nerdy.
(Note: Some of you will remember that I had my own parenting consulting business. It still exists, but I have turned all of my energy onto this work and homeschooling for now. I do the occasional babywearing consultation here and there).
February and March are big planning months around here. For years, we've spent the time planning our garden and then revising those plans. We're a little bit late getting some seeds started, but we do have everything on hand and laid out. Himself is in charge of the garden this year, since I'm currently 34 weeks pregnant and most likely will spend May and most of June recovering from a c-section.
Now, we've added homeschool planning into the mix. Why plan so early for next year? Part of it is that convention season is coming up (though not for me this year) so lots of people are starting to think about it. The other part is that it means saving up for curriculum or hunting for used curriculum. These aren't things to do at the last minute!
I really like Pam Barnhill's Plan Your Year.