Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

The Book, The New Global Student, Lit A Fire Under My Ass

by Kristen Suzanne in Expat, family, kamea, kids, Kristen Suzanne, travel

This book inspired me to move abroad… sooner than later.

Image credit

I bought the book, The New Global Student, to inspire my family’s future travels around the world. I don’t recall how I came to know of the book, but when I read the description, I knew it was destined to be in my library.

From Amazon.com 

In 2005, Maya Frost and her husband sold everything and left their suburban American lifestyle behind in order to have an adventure abroad. The tricky part: they had to shepherd their four teenage daughters through high school and into college. This hilarious and conspiratorial how-to handbook describes the affordable, accessible, and stunningly advantageous options they stumbled upon that any American student can leverage to get an outrageously relevant global education. 

Sounds good, eh? 

It is, though I didn’t devour the book in one sitting. Actually, I started and stopped the book a few times over the past year (or two?).

I guess I didn’t feel a need to rush through it, seeing as my daughter was only five years old at the time. I figured I had a while before I would take action on anything I was reading. Not only that, I didn’t see the reality that we’d be moving abroad any time soon, because, like, THAT seemed a daunting idea… so why rush reading through the book? I could take my time.

As I was reading it one day, however, I wanted to share some of it with my husband, Greg. So I did that. We were driving to my mom’s which was about 45 minutes from our home and I started reading some of the really cool things I’d highlighted. As expected, he loved what I was reading to him, and his excitement served to inspire my continuing the book. 

Over the following weeks, I read the book at a faster clip. It became more and more exciting, as I imagined the life we could give Kamea… helping her become  The New Global Student. Wow, the advantages were numerous and awesome. 

So. Yesterday, I wrote that we’d always known we would travel the world. Honestly, though, I never knew when that would be. I really didn’t know how to make it happen. It seemed like a dream. It was a dream I felt would come true, but I didn’t know when “someday” would be. 

I mean… how does one just up and travel the world or move to another country?

The New Global Student was enticing me with fun stories of families traveling all over the world (many of whom didn’t even homeschool, by the way). Still… while I was reading it, I didn’t really make a connection of how I could relate to the stories I was reading. For example, I read about families selling their houses, cars, and/or businesses. They sold belongings, got rid of tons of stuff, and then had money to move somewhere else in the world. One family even bought a sail boat and took to the oceans for their epic adventure (turns out that’s a thing). 

Well, I didn’t have a business to sell. I didn’t have a house to sell either. I didn’t want to buy a boat (Greg gets seasick.) 

Hmmm… I just kept reading the book, figuring that someday we’d figure it out.

At the end of the book the lightbulb came on for me. At this point, the author’s husband chimed in and itemized the savings and expenses the family incurred while living in Mexico. I was blown away by the savings and cost of living that was possible. The book also illuminated the notion that any age is a good age to start (with respect to kids), emphasizing that younger is good and totally doable!

I salivated at how much money we could save living in Mexico (or other parts of the world). Savings plus the obvious awesomeness of immersing ourselves in other cultures, learning languages, and helping Kamea be a Global Student was just too good of an opportunity for which to wait. 

Turns out I wouldn’t have to… I realized that since we rent our condo, there would come a time when the lease ends and we won’t be obligated to pay that rent anymore. (Um, duh, Kristen. Why hadn’t I thought of this before now??) At that point, we could sell belongings (not a whole lot since I embrace minimalism these days), including cars. We could donate stuff. We could put anything leftover into storage (um, hello mom!).

Bam. We could take this dream of living abroad and make it happen when our lease is up. 

I know this sounds silly, but it just never dawned on me that we could simply not renew the lease. The veil had been lifted. The light was turned on. I could see our worldschooling path before my eyes.

At this point, I closed the book, having finished it, and called Greg into the bedroom.

The topic of living abroad was not new to us, as I’d just been reading him The New Global Student a few weeks prior. But, when I told him that we could actually do it when our condo’s lease ended, I think I took him by surprise. I filled him in on the details, and told him about some areas in Mexico where we could begin our adventure… and the wheels began turning in his head.

Now, mind you, he wasn’t jumping up and down with excitement (yet) like I was; but, truthfully, I’d had a whole hour to chew on it before I told him. :)

He raised a few questions about whether he could transfer his work successfully to a laptop only. He already works from home, and I told him we absolutely could (exciting details on that for another blog post). However, to make it easier on him, the lease wasn’t going to end for a good long while. We had time to figure it out and make it work.

The fire was lit under my ass… my deep dive into living abroad research began. Expat life is within reach.

It’s been about three months since that conversation in our bedroom, after I finished reading The New Global Student. I’ve gone from knowing nothing (other than it was possible somehow to do this because clearly other people are doing it) to knowing quite a bit about the how, when, where, and why for our adventure. 

I’ll share in the next post what I’m learning with my deep dive of research.

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Monday, January 9th, 2017

Using an Online Drawing Class with My Daughter for Homeschool

by Kristen Suzanne in homeschool, kamea, Motherhood

Getting ready for our online drawing class.

We are planning to move abroad (Worldschool here we come!), and even though we won’t be doing this for over a year, I’ve been diving deep into research to decide where to go.

Through my research I found a witty blogger and author, Christine Gilbert, who wrote a book called Mother Tongue which I am crazy eager to read. If the book is anything like her blog I’ll be entertained the whole way through as she tells her family’s globe-trotting tale.

So while devouring her blog, I learned that her husband offers an online drawing class for only $12 (looks like the price went up to $39 now but still worth it).

LEARN TO DRAW AND KEEP A SKETCHBOOK

Have you ever sat yourself in a cafe in some unfamiliar place just to people watch? Have you been thinking about keeping a visual journal of your trips? Make this the year you take your travel sketchbook out to sketch your travels, and start by learning how to put on paper what you see in the world.

Wow. Awesome.

This will be a super fun way to spend time with Kamea and improve our drawing skills. Kamea is a huge fan of doing art. It’s never been my forte but that’s because I suck at it. :)

Case in point: the assignment for the first day it was to look at a picture of yourself and draw it. By the time I was done I looked like I had drawn a monkey.

Don’t laugh. No, please, go ahead and laugh.

That’s going to change though. I’m already seeing progress.

The assignment for the second day had amazing results because of the technique used. We drew a picture that was presented upside down. It was trippy seeing the results when I turned my sketch right-side up.

Mine: left. Kamea’s: right.

Hard at some fun work.

I can see it now … Greg, who is very good at drawing, alongside Kamea and me, with our sketchbooks and pencils in hand … drawing what we see as we travel the world. I’m loving this dream.

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Sunday, January 1st, 2017

Welcoming 2017 With More Hands Free Mama Time

Happy New Year!

Happy 2017.

I’m starting off the year by still wearing the same clothes I wore for the past couple of days, which means I’m wearing the same clothes as last year – hehe. It’s just been one, or two, or three of those days.

All good though, because my lack of changing into clean clothes meant more time for me to plan our move abroad, in the sort-of (not sort-of) near future. So much more detail on that throughout the year as we plan our epic adventure, and OMG I’m beyond excited to Worldschool Kamea.

In other news, I am not loving my dark hair and feel the need for some highlights… And… I’m becoming a Hands Free Mama to spend more quality time with my daughter and husband.

Enjoying this book very much.

Enjoying this book very much.

 

Being a Hands Free Mama means more active listening and less thinking about snacks while people talk to me. Or, maybe that’s just plain being polite.

Yes!

Yes!

I stumbled upon this author’s website last week and it hit home.

I immediately started implementing the ideas.

I took my Hands Free Mama-ness seriously when I forced shined a smile while Kamea threw those pom-things everywhere and rolled in them, scattering them even more. My old normal reaction of, “Ok ok, cute, um ok can we clean those up now?” was put on hold for a good ten minutes while I played with her. Rolling in poms.

Pure joy.

Pure joy.

Sadly (because I didn’t do this with her until now) yet excitedly (cuz I see how I can be in the future), Kamea had one of the best times of her life giggling into fits as we played with the poms on the floor.

Creating a life with more moments like this.

Creating a life with more moments like this.

We will have a lot more funny crazy moments.

Case in point.

Life is too much fun.


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Monday, September 19th, 2016

Lucky YOU! Dr. Cowan’s Garden Coupon Code! Plus Super Slaw Recipe.

My collection of Dr. Cowen's Garden powders. SO GOOD!

My collection of Dr. Cowan’s Garden powders. SO GOOD!

Today is your lucky day!

Recently, I blogged about my passion for both my new kitchen robot, the Instant Pot Smart as well as my collection of Dr. Cowan’s Garden Vegetable Powders.

In case you didn’t read that post, I’m loving my Instant Pot Smart because cooking just became so easy I think I could do it while I sleep.

And, I have new best friends in my life: Dr. Cowan’s Amazing Awesome Nutritious EASY-TO-SNEAK-ADD VEGGIE POWDERS! For more details read here.

Dr. Cowan’s team saw my post and wanted to offer my readers a 15% discount coupon for their veggie powders. OMG! Lucky dogs you are!

You will get 15% off your purchase when you use the coupon code at checkout: KRISTEN

It bears repeating that I love these quality garden vegetable powders. They have thought of everything from using miron glass containers to protect the product to briefly cooking the kale, for example, before dehydrating it.They also use an amazing variety of vegetables to strive for balance and nutrient variety.

I can’t speak highly enough about Dr. Cowan’s Garden Veg Powders. I am a customer for life!

Dr. Cowan's delicious kale powder.

Dr. Cowan’s delicious kale powder.

For example, from their website about the kale powder…

Kale is a highly nutritious vegetable known for its many phytochemicals, which are anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-cancer. It is one of the best sources of Vitamin K, which helps regulate the body’s inflammatory process, as well as beta-carotene, which has been shown to help prevent cancer.  It is also a great source for Vitamin C and manganese, which is important for skin health.

However, kale also contains goitrogens, which inhibit thyroid function but which are mostly removed with cooking.   We steam our kale before dehydration to remove these goitrogens.  More than four pounds of kale are contained in this 150-gram jar. The varieties in our powder include Red Russian, Scarlet, Lacinato, Dwarf Siberian and Toscano.

The flavor is bright and grassy. When folded into most other foods, it takes on the flavor of those foods, which makes it ideal for picky vegetable eaters. To use, sprinkle on salads, eggs, rice, quinoa, buttered popcorn, steamed or roasted vegetables, fish or chicken. Add to smoothies, soups, stews, pasta, spaghetti sauce – really, anything you enjoy eating! Our favorite way to use Kale Powder is sprinkled on scrambled or over-easy eggs in the morning.

See? Awesome.

I’m able to add extra nutrients to just about anything I eat. I use these powders on so much and I can’t wait for them to make their pumpkin powder to amp up all foods and recipes Fall Season related. Um… pumpkin latte anyone?!?

Today, as I write this post, I’m drinking homemade grass-fed kefir to which I simply added a 1/2 teaspoon of Perennial Greens. This powder blend includes: Tree collards, gynura, perennial chard, chayote, moringa, perennial kale. That’s a powerful blend.

Super Kefir with Dr. Cowen's Garden Veg Powder #grassfeddairy

Super Kefir with Dr. Cowan’s Garden Veg Powder #grassfeddairy

 

Not all powders are available all the time. But, here’s a secret… if you join their newsletter, you’ll be the first to know when they have new options available. Jump on it(!) and buy, because they sell out fast!

It’s hard for me to pick a favorite, because I find use in all of them.

I like the winter squash to increase my beta-carotene. I LOVE THE LEEK (which as of this writing isn’t available but I’m told it’s soon) because of its FLAVOR (OMG!) and leeks might be extra important for gut health it seems. I love the beets because I’m just not one to make beets often (well, except now that I have my Instant Pot I admit it’s way easier).

Still, the ease of adding Dr. Cowan’s beets to anything is mega attractive. Plus, an important note is recognizing that Dr. Cowan’s team uses three varieties of beets (Detroit Red, Chiogga, and Golden) – remember that variety is the spice of life. It’s important for health.

I also love the threefold blend because it’s so balanced. I use that one often with my 6-yo daughter. One of her favorite combos right now is my open-faced grilled cheese with raisins.

 

Very special open-faced grilled cheese for my daughter.

Very special open-faced grilled cheese for my daughter.

Here’s what I do…

I toast a slice of organic, TRULY sourdough bread. Then, I spread grass-fed ghee on top.

After that, I sprinkle Dr. Cowan’s Garden Threefold Blend on top and add some raisins (I stuff them into the sourdough holes when possible – hehe).

Add a sprinkle of sea salt, sometimes fresh herbs if I have on hand.

Then, I top with thick slices of raw grass-fed cheese. Toast it briefly under the broiler to melt the cheese.

Voila! She has this almost every day right now.

 

Super Slaw with Veggie Powders! (no mayo)

Super Slaw with Veggie Powders! (no mayo)

And, then there’s my SUPER SLAW recipe.

Super Slaw 

Try this super coleslaw which is amped with veggies and doesn’t have mayo. Creamy and cooling with a bit of cabbage-crunch.

Yield 6 to 8 servings (or fewer if you like big-ass bowls of coleslaw per person)

2 medium carrots, shredded
1 medium head green cabbage, cored and shredded
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon (or more!) Dr. Cowan’s Garden Threefold Blend Powder
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric powder
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
4 tablespoons raw honey
1/2 cup grass-fed sour cream
1/2 cup grass-fed, whole-fat Greek yogurt (I like Straus)

Place the shredded vegetables into a large bowl. I use this food processor, fitted with the shredding blade, for shredding with ease.

In a small bowl, stir together the remaining ingredients for the dressing. Add the dressing to the bowl of vegetables. Toss to mix well. Season with additional salt, if desired. Add more Dr. Cowen’s Garden powders if desired, too!

Refrigerate for up to an hour before serving, if possible.

REMEMBER! You will get 15% off your purchase of Dr. Cowan’s Garden Vegetable Powders when you use the coupon code at checkout: KRISTEN

I also want to add that these garden veg powders are super for travel. I’ll be heading to the 2016 Bulletproof Conference later this week, and I’m taking my veggie powders with me. #HaveVeggiePowdersWillTravel

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Friday, April 22nd, 2016

My 5 Year Old Teaching You How to Meditate

by Kristen Suzanne in kamea, kids, Meditation
My little girl. :)

My little girl. :)

My five year old daughter, Kamea, was visiting my mom for the night, and they surprised me with this video that she made about “how to meditate.” Glad to know that all of my meditating is rubbing off on her.


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Friday, March 18th, 2016

Corn Chips and Salsa? Nope. Try Apple Chips Instead.

by Kristen Suzanne in crackers, gluten free, kamea
Try apple chips with salsa instead of corn chips.

Try apple chips with salsa instead of corn chips.

We don’t keep chips in the house, at least not the common kind. And for crackers, we don’t usually eat those unless they’re flax crackers like these.

But, we love us some salsa.

What could we dip into salsa?

My daughter had a great idea!

Apple chips.

Have a great day :)

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Wednesday, February 10th, 2016

A Day in Our Homeschooling Life

by Kristen Suzanne in home school, kamea
A day with my kiddo. Homeschooling with unschooling.

A day with my kiddo. Homeschooling with unschooling.

My daughter is five years old, and on this day of homeschooling, we did mostly “unschooling” (basically teaching through life experiences instead of having a set curriculum).
Here is a list of things we did in one day:
  • Electric cars – we talked about electric cars as we walked by them at Whole Foods in the parking lot. The discussion was why they can be important, how they work, and benefits to drivers of electric cars.
  • Barrett Jackson Auto Show – this is an annual event in Scottsdale and when it’s here we frequently drive by it, which brought it up for discussion. On this day we discussed what it was, why, and antique cars.
  • Colony Collapse Disorder – After seeing a bumble bee on a  reusable shopping bag we discussed colony collapse disorder which involved what it is, theories about why it’s happening, and what we might do to help.
  • Reading – She read words on signs at Whole Foods.
  • Omega Fatty Acids –  I’ve been diving deep into learning about omega fatty acids. While reading about them, Kamea asked me to tell her about them. So, we talked about the differences in them (n-6 vs n-3), their importance and health implications, and what foods have which.
  • Physical movement – We climbed our stairs for 15 minutes, up and down.
  • Rebounding – (more physical movement) rebounding on the Bellicon rebounder is a daily event when the TV is on. Bellicon is the BEST. (We get a lot of movement daily since we threw our couch away)
  • Reading – She read a beginner book to me and did a math worksheet (we wouldn’t usually use a math worksheet with unschooling, but on occasion I like to check in with what she knows.
  • Games (to learn math) – We played Yahtzee Jr, Monopoly Jr., and Play Nine where she practiced math without realizing it. Now, that’s unschooling.
  • Art – She did a lot of art (that’s daily). She loves painting, drawing, stamps, and this DohVinci is a new fascination.
  • Dolls – She played dolls with Greg, where used the opportunity to teach while playing.
That’s not all we did but that’s off the top of my head.
Oh: Here’s a great buy: I recently bought these refrigerator magnets to make reading and sentence formation way more fun than worksheets.
Refrigerator magnets for homeschooling.

Refrigerator magnets for homeschooling.

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Sunday, October 18th, 2015

A Hospital Tour For Those Planning Home Birth

by Kristen Suzanne in kamea, kids, Kristen Suzanne, Motherhood, pregnancy
Questions to ask a hospital on a hospital birth tour.

Questions to ask a hospital on a hospital birth tour.

No. I’m not currently pregnant.

But, as I wrote in a post recently that talked about all about breastfeeding, I’m sharing some other posts from my old Green Mommy Blog. This is another one… taking a tour of a hospital even though I originally had planned a home birth for my daughter.

Well. As some of you know, I did end up in the hospital for the delivery of Kamea, but it wasn’t the local one I toured. 

Here we go….

Read More »

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Friday, October 16th, 2015

My Life: Naked Dolls, Qigong, Lemon Water, Matcha, Hot Yoga

Lemon water did more than I realized.

Lemon water did more than I realized.

Here’s a day in my life.

700 am Wake up naturally. Sometimes I oil pull at this time.

715 am Drink some spring water with organic lemon juice squeezed in. I’ve heard about people doing this forever. I never got into it… til now. I read recently that drinking it on an empty stomach does something to help digestion, which helps you better absorb nutrients from your food later. Interesting. Okay, I’ll try. (The rule is that it’s on an empty stomach and you don’t eat for about 30 minutes.)

717 am Rebounding to start moving, getting the kinks worked, blood flowing, and because it’s fun. (Bellicon is the best rebounder.)

740 am Brew Upgraded coffee in my groovy Technivorm coffee pot. While that’s brewing I get other ingredients ready to make Greg’s and my Bulletproof Coffee (Greg likes his in a cold shake form), or I grab my Bulletproof Frozen Cubes.

745 am Make Kamea’s breakfast (usually gently scrambled eggs – something like this)

Read More »

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Wednesday, October 14th, 2015

Unconventional Ways to Celebrate Halloween

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween

As a mom who doesn’t give her kid candy unless it’s dark chocolate, Halloween is a tricky situation (pun intended)… until now.

To tell you the truth, we have a lot of things we do to celebrate Halloween and all without the traditional trick-or-treating.

HALLOWEEN DECORATING!

For starters, we begin the celebrating with decorations at the beginning of October. This includes wall clings, scary music, carving jack-o-lanters, hanging skeletons from the ceiling, and more. This starts at the beginning of October to ensure a healthy dose of Halloween-ness.

Halloween is a whole month celebration for us.

Halloween is a whole month celebration for us.

Kamea painting a small pumpkin for decoration.

Kamea painting a small pumpkin for decoration.

 

HALLOWEEN HUNT!

When the actual day of Halloween arrives, we have a Halloween Hunt where we hide dark chocolates and little trinkets, toys, stickers, etc around the house (or where ever we are).

 

HALLOWEEN TRAVEL!

Another thing we often do is travel during this time to make it extra special… with costumes, of course.

Travel to Flagstaff, AZ. A spooky town.

Travel to Flagstaff, AZ. A spooky town.

 

What kid wouldn't want to go to DISNEYLAND for Halloween?

What kid wouldn’t want to go to DISNEYLAND for Halloween?

 

16 months old as a fairy while traveling to Sedona, AZ for Halloween.

16 months old, as a fairy while traveling to Sedona, AZ for Halloween.

 

WEAR COSTUMES MANY TIMES!

We don our costumes many times(!) during the weeks before Halloween. Myself included.

I wear this costume pretty much every year.

I wear this costume pretty much every year.

 

Halloween Headbands are awesome.

Halloween Headbands are awesome.

 

HALLOWEEN STORE!

We check out the crazy Halloween stores that pop up every year. Sometimes we go more than once. #FieldTrip

Trying on a witch hat. "I'll get you my pretty…"

Trying on a witch hat. “I’ll get you my pretty…”

 

HALLOWEEN PARTIES!

We go to Halloween parties… like this one at her Karate Dojo.

Halloween Party with a light show and dancing.

Halloween Party with a light show and dancing.

 

MONEY FOR CANDY!

I remember growing up, my mom gave us money for the candy we collected trick-or-treating, which we always preferred over eating the candy. That’s another idea.

 

A walk down memory lane with Kamea’s first Halloween.

This was Kamea’s first Halloween costume. She was a Chipotle Burrito.

Baby as a burrito: Halloween

4 months old Kamea as a burrito: Halloween

We swaddled her in an organic blanket, first, and you can see the rest. Foil. Organic lettuce. I actually thought she’d hate it because she’s not big on the swaddle thing, but she was a real trooper in her costume as Greg took photos.

——————-

Halloween as a SCIENCE EXPERIMENT! From Mothering.com…

I loved candy when I was a kid, but when I became a mother, I worried about my kids eating too much of the stuff. Still, I’ve never banned it from our home. Now, when my children come home on Halloween night, examine their candy, and go to bed without asking to eat a single piece, it’s not because I’ve forbidden it. It’s because they have better ideas about what 
to do with it.

It began with a simple question three years ago, when I was overwhelmed by our collection of Halloween candy. An afternoon with too-generous coworkers, a church Trunk-or-Treat (i.e., collecting candy at every car in a full parking lot), and a subsequent trick-or-treating expedition up our street had provided my four-year-old princess and two-year-old cowboy with mountains of candy. But since the candies had been the gifts of kind friends, and of elderly neighbors on fixed incomes, I didn’t want to throw them all away. Instead, I decided to dole them out one piece at a time. Handing out pieces after lunch was painful—the bowl loomed enormous atop my fridge, and I knew that at this rate we’d be eating candy for months.

Then, as my daughter Katherine poured out a box of Nerds, she asked the life-changing question:

“What would happen if I put these in water?”

I almost missed the moment. I was cleaning up the lunch dishes, and didn’t want to get out another one. Besides, the experiment sounded messy and wasteful (even though I’d just been agonizing about how to get rid of the stuff). I brushed her question aside, hoping she’d forget it. Instead, she asked again. I got her a white, unspillable mug, filled it with water, and set it down in front of her. She poured in her strawberry Nerds, examined them, stirred them into something the color of raspberry lemonade, and examined the cup again. Then I dumped 
it down the sink.

That was our first candy experiment.

Now, that’s a good idea for candy.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN SEASON!

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