Archive for Friends

East of the Mississippi

After our stop in Broson, we headed to the metro St. Louis area.  We were officially East of the Mississippi, and on our last leg to Michigan.

Before arriving at our home, we stopped at a friend’s house.  James had worked with Blake at Scott AFB back in the day, and now we were going to park at his house for the night and spend time with him and his wife.  We had planned on having a poker party there but other things came up.  That was fine enough because then we got to go to Aroy Thai with Blake, Alisha, and Eric.  Yum yum! 🙂

It was a short and quick visit, but it’s always nice to reconnect with our STL friends when we are traveling.

We also enjoyed the green grass!!

And loading up the dolly one last time!!

When we got home home home – Valentine got to show off her special new trick to her Grandpa.  “Nice to meet you!”

Meeting a Dingo in Bronson, TX

I have been a member of MDC for quite awhile (way before I had Val), and I happened to get involved with a group of running moms which we have now coined the Dingos.  Fast forward FIVE years, and I finally have a Dingo meet up!  At her homestead!  Which was on the way back to MI from Gonzales, TX!  I love how things come together. 🙂

She lives on her land that was her parent’s, and her dad built the cabin 40 years ago that they live in now.  They dream big things like houses like Stoneview and converting buses that run on veggie oil.  She runs barefoot, cooks from Nourishing Traditions, and homeschools her boys.  It was just the type of family we dream of communing with about our goals in life and being inspired by seeing these things in action already.  It was something we *needed* on our trip home as there is so much up in the air about our futures right now and what we *want* to do.

I had just ordered my Vibrams for barefoot running, I was thinking of ordering NT’s on the Kindle but after talking to Dana I decided to buy the book and I’ve been cooking from it already, and I will be homeschooling Valentine and any future children – it’s just so great to see it working for another family.  We chatted about all of these things, we skimmed through their books which motivated James to read all about cord wood houses, and she made us amazing food.  I still drool at the thought of her homemade honey latte with raw milk.  Yum yum!

I cannot put into words how much this stop meant to me (and us as a family).  Our time there was far too short!  Maybe we will return to their homestead for a “barn raising” if they decide to build a guest house like one of the books James has read.  Until then… our memories of this visit will be our inspiration as we move forward with our dreams.

A giveaway to share!

Do you remember Sara who put in my dreads?!

Well, she is having a giveaway on her personal blog!  Don’t miss it! 🙂

Hill Shade RV Park in Gonzales, TX

After our trip through El Paso and La Vernia, we traveled a few hours away to meet up with some friends in Gonzales, TX at Hill Shade RV Park.

The park itself was surrounded by trees and lush grass (which we had so missed during our time in Arizona).  There were also long horns that came in during the evenings to graze along the fence line of the park, and there was a dock with water on the other side.

During our time there we got to catch up with The Happy Janssens, meet Organic Sister and her family, meet The Tao of Long, and also meet Welcome to my Brain.

Valentine played with the other (bigger) girls in the park, we shared picnic dinners together as families, and we even had a night time campfire that turned into a grand conversation that I just sat back and listened to for the most part.  It was so educating, but heartwarming to hear so many views that are like our own.  The topics spanned from free range kids, to art, to life on the road, to passions and work, to education and unschooling.  I am blessed to have had that time with such wonderful people who have sparked new ideas and questions in my mind.

We did leave the park during one day to travel to the beach, but it wasn’t much of a beach trip.  It was overcast and windy (no bikini for me), so the time playing in the rocky beach (not even sand) was short for our little family.  But we gathered sea shells and dipped our feet in the Gulf before packing up and heading into town for something to eat before heading back to the RV.

Just as I was starting to feel at home at Hill Shade, it was time to continue our journey.   It was sad saying goodbye to other mamas who share the same ideals, but yet have so much more information to share (and I have so much to learn)! 😉

Our next stop was at the home of another friend I had met online – five years earlier.  This would be our first meeting face to face and at her home in Bronson, TX.  Stay tuned for that post next! 🙂

El Paso and La Vernia, TX

Traveling from Tucson, we connected with a high school friend via Facebook, so we stopped off in El Paso to have lunch and catch up.  Having a loose travel schedule and being connected while on the road is an amazing thing, and I am grateful for it.  I even got to meet their little girl. 🙂

Our 2nd stop to stay was in La Vernia, TX with some friends that James was in the Air Force with back in the day. 🙂  After a drive on a bumpy red dirt road (doesn’t that sound so TEXAN?!), we arrived at their 10 acre homestead.  Did I mention that the wildflowers were in full bloom?  And that the drive on the back roads was beyond beautiful?

Valentine got a lot of play time with their 3 kiddos, a cat named Bob, Roxy the dog, chickens, and sheep.  It was wonderful to catch up, sit and chat and have grown up talk, and share in some great food.  They spoiled us with steaks, James made french fries, and they sent us away with free range fresh from the farm eggs!!

Somehow I managed not to get any pictures of our hosts at this stop – doh!  But do know that they surely made us feel at home and we are very thankful they let us stay in their yard and share time with their family. 🙂

Dreads from Sara

I promised that I would share pictures from Sara when she had time along her busy travels to edit and post to her blog, so here you go!

Making the dreads

Ta-Da!  Dreadhead!

Courtesy of Sara

If you’d like to book a dreading sessions when she’s near by, visit the Happy Janssens.  Or if you’d like to schedule a photography session with her, visit her at her photography site.

She shared her time with us on her blog as well, so be sure to take a peek over there to read about Making Dreads and visiting The Tree of Life.

Tree of Life with the Happy Janssens!

My family was blessed this week by the Happy Janssens coming to visit us here in Arizona.  They were passing nearby on their way through to Texas, and Sara offered to put dreads in my hair.  Yay!  {It was like having a celebrity to visit since I have followed her blogs for so long!}

When they arrived, it was like I knew them already (the internet really is a wonderful way to make friendships).  There was no small talk – just jump right into regular conversations.  I made a buffet style dinner, and then the dread action began.  Honestly, it didn’t take very long to do even with nursing breaks and hubbies coming and going.  Somehow I managed to neglect picture taking that night.  I am sure Sara will have photos on her site really soon.

On Thursday, we all packed into our minivan and headed to Patagonia, AZ to eat lunch at the Tree of Life Cafe.

What an awesome place to be, especially on the sunshiney day that we had to experience eating in the raw – outside and living foods.  The food there was on a buffet with loads of greens, raw dressings, a yummy kale salad, raw ravioli-like entree, raw spaghetti, raw granola with cinnamon apples, sweet potatoes that were just like Thanksgiving… oh I could go on and on.  Just believe me that it was worth the $25 to enjoy a meal in this way.

Afterwards, we walked around the grounds for a little while getting video of the area and the kiddos and snapping shots of each others families and just enjoying our time outside.  Our tummies were full, our hearts were happy, and we were just soakin’ in the rays.

The time with the Janssen family was one that I will remember for a long time to come.  After all that blog reading and looking up to Sara as a mother, wife, and steward of the Earth – she is as REAL as she portrays herself.  Although, I was sad to say good-bye after such a short visit, I am thankful that I was able to spend those precious moments with them that I did.

Be sure to visit the Happy Janssens and follow them along their travels as they motor around in their Veggie Powered RV!

WSLW Giveaway

One of my favorite bloggers, Sara, who is on the road full-time now with her family is having an awesome giveaway.  Helloooo beautiful, handmade, organic clothes!!

Be sure to check it out here.

The Journey to AZ (as told by Jen)

Day #1
We got a late start because we packed the RV and visited with family until late afternoon.  We finally got

on the road around 4 or 5pm.  We had to stop at the RV center in Green Bay to pick up tires for our trailer,

a cover for a vent (that we broke by running into the limbs of a tree), and once we checked the trailer we

needed to stop for some hooks for our emergency strap.  The emergency strap was dragging on the ground for

80 miles and the hooks flew off.  Not only that but the tire straps started to shred.  How our van didn’t

detach, I have no idea.  But I am thankful it didn’t!!!

We stopped somewhere north of Bloomington IL at a rest area and slept there.

Day #2
James was up around 5am and got us back on the road before Val and I even crawled out of bed.  We made it to

our friend’s house in time for Thai food with a group of friends from STL and set up camp in front of his

house.  I don’t think he appreciated the awning and lawn chairs coming out, but good discussions sure were

happening outside.

Most of the time, I sat inside the RV and watched Val take her nap.  I also listened to

Matt Monarch’s interview with Shazzie about natural parenting and raising children on raw diets.  It’s so

incredible that you can be pretty much anywhere and still keep up with all of your normal technology.

We had a late night that night because we went to Whole Foods and we went out to eat at the Macaroni Grille

in Brentwood, but we were all happy campers once we got back to the RV.  It was so nice to catch up with

friends in the STL area.  Some we missed (like Rebecca)!

Day #3
We drove through Missouri and Oklahoma on the turnpikes and hills.  Up and down all day…. drive drive

drive.  We made it to Oklahoma City to sleep where we were just going to eat some spaghetti in our RV and

then keep driving a little while, but we all passed out.  James went in the back to watch YouTube videos on

how to dump, I meditated on the couch, and Val was asleep in the pack and play.  I woke up at 1am to her

whining for milk.  She never sleeps away from me, so I was totally disoriented by the whole experience.  I

guess we were tired!!!

Day #4
We got on the road and made it through Oklahoma, Texas and started into New Mexico.  We stopped at a

Cherokee Diner where James had a buffalo burger and I had a buffalo steak and eggs breakfast.  We also

visited the trading post where we walked around for a long time looking at all of the cool trinkets and we

got to see some buffalo outside of the trading post before we kept driving for the day.

We drove through Albuquere at night, which was beautiful.  I’d love to see the city in the daylight and

spend some time there, but watching the lights of the city come on for miles was awesome as it was.  We

slept in a rest area and I woke up to a little palm tree and a mountain out my door.  Life on the road sure

was never boring!  The sights were something!

Day #5
We stopped at the meteor crater early in the day, where we had to pay $30 to see a big hole in the earth.

It was cool – I will give it that, but $30?!?!

We got to the KOA in Flagstaff that day and set up camp before heading to the Grand Canyon for big hole #2

of the day! 🙂  It was Grand!  We walked around for quite some time, got some pictures of the park, and

asked the Ranger about the hike down.  Hopefully we’ll be able to do that someday soon!

We ate dinner out, grabbed some things from the grocery store, and went back to the Angry Vegan to crash for

the night.  It rained on and off and it was pretty windy, so I didn’t sleep the greatest but it seemed like

the rest of the household did.

Day #6
We drove DOWN to Sedona, which was by far the scariest drive of my life.  Mountains, switch backs, rv towing

a van, looking over cliffs.  Yikes!  Part way down we had to stop because our brakes were smoking.  (RV

driving in mountains for dummies should’ve been purchased before that drive!!)  We stopped again to cool off

the RV a few miles ahead at Sliding Rock.

It was a park where the small waterfall goes down a rock that

looks like a natural slide.  It is very beautiful with the red rocks, big mountains around the edges of

view, and small cacti that I could look at close up.  My first experience with cactus! 🙂

Once we got to Sedona we had to be creative about parking at the Chocolatree.  It’s a raw, organic, vegan

place.  This made the Angry Vegan a little less angry. 😉 We got inside and they were closed still, but the

lovely girl working put together some great things for us.  Tropical smoothies, veggie sushi, pumpkin spice

pie, chocolate pie, and chocolate coconut cups.  SO AMAZING!

We finally arrived at our friends’ house in the early evening and we ate some awesome enchiladas (see how

the trip revolves around food, driving, and sleeping??) and talked before retreating to their driveway to

sleep in the RV.

That was our journey here.  Be sure to check back for more updates about visiting a town called Bisbee,

pictures of the remodeled (and lived in) RV, and what there is to do for fun in a dry, barren land with lots

of big hills. :0)