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Winter camping- the best time to camp

I used to be one of those people who only camped during the summer just like everyone else. I’d fight off the mosquitos, blister in the unforgiving sun, and constantly replace the ice for my coolers. I hardly had any energy to do the things I planned on doing during our trip.

Trying to find a camping spot where we weren’t so close to other families had been a challenge. I remember paying enough to stay in a 5 star hotel once for a camping spot by the river where we had no amenities or even a fire pit and people were just walking right by our tent like we weren’t even there!

Some of the things I love about winter camping;

There’s no bugs

No ticks, no mosquitoes, no flies. Leave the bug spray at home because you won’t need it if your winter camping! Spiders, ants, and mosquitoes are exothermic; that means, they cannot produce their own heat, so they are dependent on environmental temperatures for mobility. Different insects have different strategies for avoiding the cold. Some hibernate, some migrate, and some just hide out and wait until the warm weather comes back again. I don’t care where they go or what they do as long as I don’t have to deal with them when I camp!

It’s quiet

Bugs aren’t the only creatures who don’t like the cold. A lot of other animals make theirselves scarce as well and it creates a quietness that you don’t get to experience in the summer heat when everything seems to be active. It’s really very peaceful.


Making a campfire is much more enjoyable and practical than having one in the summer. We will light a campfire at anytime of the season because we love to cook on it and enjoy watching the flames dance around. But c’mon, it’s not really practical to have a fire going throughout the day when it’s 90 degrees out other than trying to keep the bugs at bay. A campfire in the winter just warms you to the bone and is much more cozy and rewarding than having one in the summer or even the spring when a pop up rain shower could happen at any moment.


Most people only camp during certain times of the year. And few, even seasoned campers like to setup in harsh weather conditions. That leaves a lot places that are usually packed, open and free which makes for a less crowded camping spot for us! With three young children, it’s important for me to be able to relax while allowing them to have the freedom to roam around and not bother other families while they are camping. Plus, when I’m in nature, I like to feel like I’m actually in nature, not hear other people’s music and conversations going on in the background.

Less need for Ice

I enjoy camping in remote locations far away from the cities where I don’t have to strain my eyes to see the stars through the greenhouse gasses that fog up our skies. I don’t care to hear the sirens, highways or airplanes. I go camping to get away from those things. That means our spot is usually tucked away somewhere far from grocery stores or gas stations. Camping in the winter means I don’t have to make trips into town to get ice! Yay! It’s cold enough to keep everything from spoiling and the ice that we do bring, last 10x longer than it would in the summer months.

Camping, in my opinion, is better in the winter months. But there’s just one problem. Most areas close down roads and campgrounds during the colder months. We have found that it is much harder to find areas that we like during this time. That is not to say that there aren’t any, just that we haven’t found anything to fit our needs yet!


Your energy can change the world

In these uncertain times preparation of any sort is worthwhile. With ammunition, firearms and toilet paper in such high demand.

I often wonder where all of this is going?

We are being divided in some of the worst ways. Our fears being manipulated and capitalized on through marketing strategies, media tactics and political agendas.

Some big things are happening in our word today and you are only seeing and hearing about 8% of it. If that scares you, it should! A major shift is taking place around the globe. We are entering into a new era that is all too familiar to this word.

A depletion of our natural resources, the extinction of hundreds of plant and animal life forms, deforestation, natural catastrophes, unequal separation of power and wealth, collapsed education and government systems. People are withdrawn from spirit and detached from one another as a species. We will, inevitably become our own demise.

We can’t take any of our material belongings with us to the afterlife but yet we live and die by the dollar Bill. We are but energy. Energy can not be created nor destroyed, only transferred. What you learn here is taken with you. Not your house, not your car, clothes or jewelry. As you raise your energy or “vibration” here you are outputting that energy into the bio-field and therefore creating your reality as such.

You’ve heard terms such as “misery loves company”. It’s not that people want to be miserable and bring down everyone else with them. It’s the energy that being miserable creates that sets a domino effect in place by everything falling apart around them because they are stuck in that energetic state of mind. Negative energy attracts negative energy and the same goes for positive energy.

Most of the time people are thinking about what they don’t want to happen and they are subsequently inviting those things into their life. Your thoughts create your energy field and your energy field is felt by more than just you or the people around you. As I said before, energy can not be created or destroyed so it is transferred out into the bio-field which surrounds the entire earth.

Being responsible for your own energy is a heavy burden and can be very challenging at times

We are connected to the earth and it’s connected to us. Everything works in perfect sync, harmony and balance with one another. When that is thrown off, chaos is the result. When an imbalance occurs, nature responds by a sort of purging. Discarding anything that is not serving it. Including US!

The natural way of things will be restored eventually. Only after destruction can a reconstruction begin. But we don’t want it to get to that point. We can all play our part by individually raising our energy and vibration frequency. Laughter is contagious and a sincere smile to a stranger goes a long way. Fine tune your brain by paying attention to your thoughts and then take control of them.

We are all imperfect beings and were never meant to “be” perfect by any means. But you play a big part in this world and your role in it.

Make it count!

Hiking at Capitol reef national park

When we first arrived at the park entrance, my youngest daughter– who we were recently potty training, decided to squat down and start going to the bathroom while people were walking by.

We didn’t want to discourage her from going on her own. I mean, she was so proud of herself. We also didn’t want to confuse her because we had been allowing her to use the bathroom out in the open in nature at our camp site. So we were kind of stuck in a weird position.

We had been potty training her for months at this point but between the day care and home she wasn’t getting the consistency she needed so it was challenging. She was completely potty trained during the first 2 weeks we were camping. Victory!

We all really enjoyed the hike at Capitol reef. There was so much to see and not near enough time to see it! We made several stops including my favorite little area where the sand was everywhere. The sand here is softer than any beach I’ve been to. I mean, it’s so soft that you can barely feel it as your walking through it. I took my shoes off every chance I had.


Siblee is a hell of a dog. She’s pretty old– about 14 years old, but she kept up with us all the same. She didn’t want to miss a second.

There were so many cool things to see and so many cracks and crevices for the kids to explore. We all had a blast and hope to do something similar again sometime soon.

I can’t wait to share our adventures with all of you!

How to keep warm in a tent

When we woke up this morning is was 2 degrees out! The wood burning stove we have gets hot fast but doesn’t maintain heat for very long. Someone had to get up throughout the night and keep adding wood.

I had brought all my plants in the night before. They have been through so much. A few didn’t make it. My tomato plant and toothache plant suffered the most. The basil is wilted. I’m not too disappointed though because I was able to collect some seeds from my favorite plants and I put them to good use since we’ve been here. They’ve made many meals flavorful so they’ve served their purpose. We will start again next season.

I’d like to share some tips with you on how to keep warm when your camping in the winter. Winter camping is one of my favorite times to camp. There’s no bugs, no one else seems to like camping in the cold so you get the best spots to yourself, it’s quiet, the cool crisp air is refreshing, and the cozy campfire is very welcoming.

Tip # 1 dress the part

Wear wool socks, long johns, gloves and a stocking cap. Dress in layers! Heat escapes from your head so it’s important to keep it covered. A vest will keep your torso warm which will also help your body keep heat.

Tip #2 Bring a cuddle buddy

Could be a friend, child or pet. Cuddling is my favorite form of keeping warm. There’s nothing more soothing. Women have a higher percentage of body fat and conserve more heat around the core, which helps keep vital organs warm, but not extremities. My hands and feet are always freezing 🥶

Tip #3 Get a zero degree sleeping bag

These kinds of sleeping bags are the warmest blankets ever! We use one to put down over the bed to lay on and the other to cover up with. Investing in a decent sleeping bag makes a whole world of difference.

Tip #4 have a heat source

You should have something like a wood burning stove if you have a canvas tent. If you do not, you can use space heaters. If you don’t have access to electricity you can use a propane heater or pour hot water in a few water bottles and put them inside of your sleeping bag. Heating up large rocks and putting them inside of your tent is also an option.

There’s another method that I love. This requires a little more as far as the process goes but is worth looking into. It’s called the Swedish log torch. Click on the link below to see how you how to make it.

Tip #5 Bring extra blankets

This goes along with the whole layering idea. What’s fun about camping in the colder months is; if your cold you can always layer up, if it’s hot there’s only so many clothes you can take off. Bring lots of extra blankets. If you don’t use them to cover up with, I promise you’ll find something clever to use them for. For example, we use some of ours for bed padding and a curtain for privacy when showering.

Don’t let the cold prevent you from enjoying the outdoors in the chilly months. You’ll miss a whole world of camping that you never knew about. Be prepared, make it fun and you’ll be just fine!

No Privacy

Living in a tent day in and day out with three kids has it’s downside. Though we are out in the middle of nowhere, we have no walls to muffle the sound of our adult private conversations. Every whisper is heard. I mean, these kids have some pretty impressive super sonic hearing. They hear everything, they see everything, and they are a part of everything whether we want them to be or not!

By this point, we know everything there is to know about each other, including who’s fart smells like what 😂

yes, I just said that 😯

Seriously though. When we want “time to ourselves” it simply involves one of us taking a walk while the other stays behind and watches the kids.

My oldest son Donavan will be 13 this December. He’s been a trooper sharing a bed with his two sisters. At home he has his own room– here he and his sister decided to put the two cots together to make one big bed so they could share the big sleeping bag and utilize each other’s body heat to keep warm. Smart.

Of course we have to hear them all bicker every morning and night. “Scoot over” “your hogging all the blanket” “stop kicking me”.

I know how important it is for a growing boy entering into the pre-teen years to have his own space. I have come up with a plan. I can’t give him his own room but I can give him his own personal sleeping bag and bed.

We found these amazing bunk beds that turn into a little love seat when not in use. I am excited to get them setup. They should save us space too!

Privacy is not a luxury we have here. It would be nice to have but then again, I feel like it’s brought us closer together. Whole families used to live together in one house in the nineteenth century and long before that. They were called multigenerational families and it’s starting to make a comeback today.

Some privacy tips when camping with children

  • Send the kids on a scavenger hunt when you and your S.O. need some “alone time”.
  • Announce that you are going to the bathroom so that you don’t get walked up on.
  • Announce when you are getting dressed and face away from little eyes.
  • Use noise isolating head phones to block out everything for awhile if you need.
  • Take a long walk and make sure no one sees which way you went Lol.
  • Get a tent with a privacy screen or separate rooms.
  • Use a towel to hang over a canopy–use as a shower curtain while bathing.
  • Take a drive.

Limited privacy is a matter of inconvenience or annoyance more than anything, but for us we make it about establishing boundaries and teaching the kids respect. We are forced on a daily basis to respect one another’s space and have boundaries. I think it’s an important thing to teach young ones especially at an early age.

Would you agree?

How to “read” Nature for survival

The soothing sound of a gentle stream running through the parted earth, the crashing ocean waves rolling to greet the sandy shore, squirrels shuffling through the dry crunchy leaves, the wind picking up and gusting though the trees as the crimson leaves shake, feathered friends singing their complex array of tunes, a bumble bee buzzing by.

Mother Nature sings to her own tune and if you stop and listen, she has a lot to say.

The native Americans and our ancient ancestors learned her language and lived by it. For most of us, finding out the weather is as simple as turning on the TV or checking the forecast on our phone. The native people looked for signs of nature which told them about what weather to expect, how to track food, find safe sources of water, which plants were safe for eating and so much more.

Predicting bad weather

When bad weather is coming Mother Nature and her friends get quiet. The birds fly lower and will gather in trees. When you live for an extended period of time outdoors you can smell rain in the distance even if you can’t see it. Before a big storm the tree leaves will move in a way that shows the bottom lighter colored side. Crickets will stop chirping and most wildlife disappear. Watch smoke from a fire. The air pressure determines what direction the smoke will go. In high pressure, the smoke will go directly up into the air. If the pressure is low, it will spiral back down around the fire. If you see the smoke spiraling back down, bad weather is likely on the way.

Finding water

As I said, Mother Nature speaks to you but you have to listen. A voice isn’t going to echo from a tree and tell you where the nearest water hole is. She will guide you to it if you keep your eyes open and have a little common sense.

To find water, look for green leafed trees such as aspens or cottonwood. Look for birds and flying bugs which stay close to a water source. Follow animal trails downhill. If you see an animal drinking from a water source, that usually means it’s safe but not always. Drink from running water whenever you can especially streams with a lot of rock which cleans the water as it passes by introducing more oxygen into it and traps particles.

Identify edible plants

Our ancient ancestors looked to nature to see what other animals were eating which helped them know which plants were safe to eat. Most wild berries grow near the edge of the forest. If deer, birds or other animals are eating them, chances are they are safe for human consumption.

Old man of the woods (edible mushroom)

If your not sure, always smell first, rub on your wrist and wait 15 minutes. If you don’t feel an itching or burning sensation take just a small nibble, chew a bit with the top of your teeth, keep it on the tip of your tongue and do not swallow. Wait a a few minutes. If you notice a super bitter flavor or any kind of burning or numbing sensation it’s best to throw it out and leave it alone. If not, consume a small quantity and wait for a few hours. If you don’t feel sick then chances are it’s safe to eat. There are some species of mushrooms that can be deadly and make you very sick so always do your research.

Stay away from anything that smells like almond. It could contain poisonous cyanide

Finding your way back

Getting lost in the woods can be scary but you shouldn’t panic. There are several ways to ensure you make it back to your starting point. It’s easy to become consumed by all the beauty around you and sometimes everything can look the same. Hopefully these tips will help you not get lost.

First of all, you always need to be aware of your surroundings. Make a mental map of everything even the sun or moon’s position as you go, keep a mental note of certain kinds of trees that are oddly shaped or stick out to you. Make a habit of breaking branches every few steps. Look at the moss on the base of the trees. Which way is the moss facing? In the Northern hemisphere moss mostly grows on the north side of trees. That’s because moss tends to prefer shady areas so that it doesn’t dry out. Remembering this will help you navigate if you lose your bearings.

These are just a few basic tips and strategies for reading Mother Nature. There are plenty more that she is willing to teach you if your willing to learn!

Brigham tea-AKA-Mormon tea

Branch of Brigham (Let it dry out and boil in water to make tea)

Brigham tea also known as Mormon tea was introduced to the early Mormon pioneers by the Native Americans in 1847.

The Native Americans called it “Popotillo”. Brigham tea has been used for over 5000 years. It is used to treat an array of ailments such as coughs, colds, headache, runny nose and fever. Also know as whorehouse tea, it’s said to have been a cure for Venereal disease such as syphilis and gonorrhea.

When hunting for this shrub, the greener the plant, the better. It is found in the southwestern part of North America, southern Europe, northern Africa, southwest and Central Asia, northern China and western South America.

Brigham tea lists ephedrine, pseudopherine, lucenin 2, phosphorus, resin, tannin, and vicenin 2 among its active ingredients. The conventional world extracts ephedrine and pseudopherine for use in pharmaceuticals. Ephedrine stimulates the central nervous system and is used for treating depression and narcolepsy. It is also used for weight loss. Pseudoephedrine has a similar, but weaker effect that that of ephedrine. It has a stronger diuretic effect.

Ephedrine should not be mixed with other stimulants, such as caffeine.

On Friday, February 6, 2004, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it was publishing its final rule banning the sales of all dietary supplements containing the controversial herb ephedra (Ephedra sinica Stapf, Ephedraceae) and any ephedra group alkaloids (e.g., ephedrine, pseudoephedrine).1 The final rule was published in the Federal Register on February 11, 2004, and took effect sixty days following the publication on April 12, 2004

In five thousands years of use of the whole plant, not one negative side effect has been reported. In just a few short years of extracting ephedrine and pseudoephedrine from the Ephreda plants, many negative side effects have been reported, including death! When the whole plant is used, all of the chemical constituents are present, including those that balance out the active constituents. When just one alkaloid is extracted, the alkaloid becomes a powerful pharmaceutical and very dangerous.

Medicinal plants are made perfect just the way they are. When you go extracting certain components and properties, you alter the medicinal value and therefore change the entire effect or reaction of the plant that it was intended for.

There IS a treatment for anything in nature and for FREE. Mother Nature graciously and generously provides that for us. These remedies have been long lost to our ancient ancestors the moment we started drifting away from one another and relying on the big pharmaceutical companies to take care of us.

I am here to learn the lost art and share with as many people as I can in hopes that I help someone somehow, along the way.

The laundry situation

The first time I hand washed my clothes I expected it to be a tedious task. I was surprised to find out how much I actually enjoyed doing it!

Though they never seem to come out quite as clean as a machine could get them, and sometimes still look dirty afterwards but they sure do smell like the cleanest clothes in the world!

Of course there’s been a lot of tweaking of my method since my first load. We are close to a running stream and the water is ice cold. It sometimes numbs your hands it’s so cold! I wanted to find an easier way for the kids to do theirs.

We recently started using the bucket method to do our laundry. We use two buckets and a plunger to get the job done. The first bucket has several holes drilled into it. The plunger has about 15 holes. We set the bucket with the holes into the bucket without holes. We cut a small hole in the center of the bucket lid and place the plunger inside. As we thrust the plunger up and down and the water shoots out from all directions which agitates the soap and simulates a traditional washing machine.

I was told by a college friend that the best way to do laundry this way is to allow the clothes to soak for at least 10 minutes before and after you do the plunging motion. This allows the stains to break free from the clothes.

After washing, I pull the bucket with the holes out of the one it’s sitting inside of and use the one it was sitting in to push all of the water out of the clothes. I then fill with water and rinse twice.

I ring the excess water out with my hands and hang on the line. That’s it! All done.

I can’t say that this process takes any longer than a traditional washing machine. The only difference is that your doing all the leg work. That’s fine with me because I love being outdoors and in the sun. Plus, who can complain about freshly hand washed sun dried laundry! It smells soooo good!

The next time your camping bring your portable washing machine bucket and plunger and try it for yourself!

Making candles with bacon grease

What to do with all that bacon grease… Don’t throw it away!

Me and my son Donavan made some homemade bacon grease candles last year. These candles are clean burning and the wick is composed of beeswax and hemp and last much longer than the average candle. They won’t make your house smell like bacon if you were wondering 😉

You can make all kinds of good stuff with fat. Any fat will do, really. Lard, bacon grease, hamburger fat, any of it!

But today I will teach you how we made bacon grease candles.

You will need:

  • Bacon grease
  • Candle wick
  • Small mason jar- no lip
  • Small strainer

You’ll want to melt the bacon grease. You can use the microwave – Only a few seconds at a time. Or heat it up on a sauce pan.

Strain the grease as to remove all of the chunky bits as you pour the grease into the mason jar.

Then put the wick inside. Secure the candle wick so that it stays in place right in the middle. Keep it straight!

Now stick it in the fridge and let it harden.

That’s it! You now have a bacon grease candle.


When nature calls

Something I thought long and hard about before we came here was the bathroom situation. Digging a hole would work just fine if you were staying somewhere for a few days. We actually did that for a while here before we got our toilet setup. But what is the solution for long term stays?

When you have five people doing it, it’s kind of hard to keep track of where everyone has buried what. Having a dog that likes to dig things up doesn’t help either!

So after putting our heads together we figured out something that works well for all of us.

We have 5-gallon bucket with a toilet seat lid and we cut the bottom of the bucket out. Then we dug a hole about 1 ft deep and made the diameter the same as the bucket so it fit snuggly inside. We formed a little bit of dirt around the base of the bucket and packet it to prevent our stool from sliding around or rocking back.

If you want, you could use a little cat litter after each sitting to keep the smell down. Once the bucket is full, we simply pull the it out and cover everything with the dirt we used to dig the hole, then repeat the process.

For cold evenings and nippy mornings, we have another solution. This method is for liquids only! A while back I found this nifty little portable car urinal that came in handy during my final stages of pregnancy. It also doubles nicely for camping so of course we brought it with us.

We have an oil funnel connected to a water hose inside our tent and the part that is outside is buried underground and spills out into a 1ft hole that is filled with various sized rocks and pine needles. I have the smallest rocks settled at the bottom of the hole and the biggest rocks on the very top. As we pour the liquid out from inside the tent, it drains into those rocks and the dry ground sucks up all the moisture. This is a great method because you never smell the urine from outside since the ground absorbs everything so well.

Be sure and flush your hose out with clean soapy water every once in a while

Whether it’s #1 #2 or #3… doing your business while camping shouldn’t be embarrassing or messy! I don’t know about you but one thing that will never get old for me is not having to scrub the bathroom. Yep, no mirrors, ceramic toilets or bathtub rings here!

Eating healthy on the road

Is it even possible to eat healthy while on the road?

There are so many yummy products out there that hold a long shelf life which make them the perfect go to food for camping. Pop tarts, chips, cereal, crackers, granola bars, trail mix, hot dogs, popcorn etc.

Those are all simple foods that would make meal prep so much easier and we could just get on with our day. But for those of us who want to maintain a healthy diet even while on a short road trip, these foods are not even an option!

Healthy eating while doing long term-camping can be difficult. Our family eats a non-processed diet that consists of primarily meat, fruits, vegetables, dairy and nuts. Storing perishable foods such as these for long periods of time can be challenging and requires planning. We have to have enough room to fit meals for a family of five with only three coolers. Add the ice and we’re using about 20% of a standard fridge space.

Now, I said it was challenging, not that it couldn’t be done.

I typically cook two meals a day. Breakfast and dinner. I try and cook twice the amount for dinner so that we can have the same meal for lunch the next day. Another tip is to choose your fruits and vegetables wisely.

You want to get things that don’t expire quickly like:

  • cabbage
  • carrots
  • zucchini
  • Squash
  • potatoes
  • celery
  • cauliflower
  • melons of any kind
  • apples
  • pears
  • oranges
  • onions

The nearest Walmart is about an hour away so we try and make everything stretch for at least two weeks. Of course you still have to make a few trips a week to the local store for ice and meat. We like to get boxed whole milk from the dollar store. It has a long shelf life, doesn’t need to be refrigerated until opened and doesn’t take up much space in the cooler so we rotate them out.

Cooking is something I enjoy doing very much and I wasn’t planning on stopping just because it’s harder to do out here. I get to use the Dutch oven more often and my pressure cooker helps get big meals done in a cinch!

I am responsible for feeding my family food that is going to be nourishing to their bodies and important for health and growth. One of the most important things you can do for your family is feed them well! I don’t take the task lightly. 😆

Yes. It is possible to eat healthy on the road. With a little planning, time, patience and motivation you can whip up healthy meals (that I will be happy to share with you) in no time!

Bucket showers

Most people don’t realize just how little water is needed to shower. I can get me and little one showered with just one 5-gal bucket with some to spare!

Did you know the average person uses 20- gallons of water for a just a 10-minute shower?

I fill the bucket up and heat half of the water in a large pot. We take our showers outside by the trailer for coverage. I like to take mine when the sun is at its highest peak. Helps keep me warmer. On breezy days it can be chilly 🥶

Scooping up the warm water with a sauce pan or large cup allows a good amount of water to be used without sacrificing “water pressure”. Have you ever taken a shower with sucky water pressure? As a female, It’s nearly impossible to get all the shampoo/conditioner out of your hair.

I actually have a solar powered portable shower but the water comes out so slow that it takes forever to bathe. Therefore we have decided to just use the bucket method.

I like to shave my legs down by the creek. There’s something peaceful about watching my little leg hairs flow down the stream. Lol. Jk. But seriously. That’s where I shave them!

The first time I was introduced by the bucket shower was by Ryan. It was down to the low 40’s that day but I was desperate to bathe so he helped me out by doing the pouring so I had a constant flow as I did the washing. The warm water felt amazing as it hit my skin which then began to emit a fog of steam. Not half bad — I thought to myself.

Since then I have gotten to experience many more bucket showers and I’m here to say that they are the way to go in my opinion.

Simple. Easy. Practical. Anyone can do it!

Toothache plant

Scientific name: Acmella oleracea or Spilanthes oleracea

Toothache pain? In my previous blog I talked about Pine sap as being miracle medicine. This annual that is an herb of the daisy family is no exception! This amazing plant inhibits a lot of the same properties of the pine sap.

The Toothache plant has been used for centuries to manage tooth pain. It is an antiseptic, antibacterial and anti-fungal. It is said to have originated from Brazil and grow like a weed in the most parts of the tropics.

The flower heads can produce up to 1.25% spilanthol which is what causes the tingling and local numbing sensation. The leaves can also be chewed but may not be as potent. The results can last up to 15 minutes.

The flowers can be dried and saved or you can grow more plants! Just one flower head produces up to 5000 seeds! Woah, that’s a lot!

This plant is super easy to take care of and grows lots of flowers quickly. Why not have one or two on hand for when you need to soothe whatever mouth pain ailment you have? Great for babies that are teething, canker sores, gum irritation, and of course, toothaches!

I think everyone should try as much as they can to stay away from manufactured medicine and get back to our natural roots. So many remedies that used to get passed down form one generation to the next, have been lost. Party because we’ve relied on the Healthcare system to fix us.

I know you all have seen those dreamy prescription commercials with perfectly happy healthy looking people dancing in slow motion in a picturesque field under a perfect blue sky and fluffy clouds. And then at the very end of the commercial they speed up the commentators voice to list all the side effects that they couldn’t possibly go over in just a short 43 seconds. Umm, No thanks.

We are too reliant on the big pharmaceutical companies when the answer to many of our health problems can be found right in our backyard.

Pine sap- miracle medicine

After the first couple weeks of being here, we realized we were positioned on a popular trail that led to a beautiful lake.

There was one man in particular that all of my kids took to especially my youngest. His name was Larry. He was a vet and had lived here all of his life. We were excited to meet a local who knew about the land! Larry had a lot of wisdom to pass on. I looked forward to our talks about life and how things were when he was young. He told us about how him and his brothers would chew these little hard balls that came off the pine trees. He called them pine gum. Nasty at first, but if you don’t give up and keep chewing, the bitterness subsides and it has a sort of taffy texture in your mouth.

The weekends got a little heavy with many 4 wheelers and hikers. Although we realized we weren’t completely secluded, we didn’t mind them passing through. In fact, my youngest daughter made a point to say hi to each and every person that came by.

Larry also told us that the sap from the pine trees could be used as medicine. Mixed with a little lotion and applied on any wound, even deep cuts.

Pine trees secrete resin as a defense to close wounds from insects or other forces. The sap provides a protective layer or sealant over the injury . The sap hardens forming an amber glob which turns dark in color over time. Pine sap acts as an antiseptic, astringent, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial. Much like the toothache plants that I grow (which I will tell you about later).

Could use a little more thinning out

I thought this was so cool! I wanted to collect as much as possible to have on hand for later. About a week or so later, my youngest daughter was on my oldest daughters back and slipped off. I heard the blood curling scream and couldn’t make it out of the tent fast enough! I cleaned up her wound and then realized I had used this sap on one of my cuts–just for fun, and to see if it did in fact work. Which it did. Was better than a bandaid in my opinion because it was waterproof and I don’t have to keep changing it. Once it was on, it did it’s thing and came off on its own when it was done. So I went ahead and applied it to her face.

Tip- keep hair tied up and away from sap. Otherwise it will bond to it and you won’t be able to get it off without damaging the hair

Here we are a week later and I’m absolutely amazed at the results! She’s as good as new now!

So that’s my bit on pine sap and how amazing it is for those of you who didn’t know. You’ve learned a useful and important tool. Your welcome 😊

The beehive state-Utah

By the time we finally made it to Utah we were all pretty exhausted. I desperately needed a shower and my plants were showing stress from the frequent elevation change. No one told me that nose bleeds were common with high elevation. I started freaking out the first time one of the kids nose bled. It had been very dry the first night we camped in Utah, but it decided to rain that night. I didn’t get much sleep and migrated to my vehicle early in the morning.

I’ve never seen so much rock in my life! All kinds of rock. All different colors of rock. All shapes and sizes of rock everywhere you turn. It was like a different scenery everywhere you looked! Believe me when I tell you it was the hardest drive of my life. It was hard because I couldn’t take my eyes off all the natural beauty that was around me. I felt like a kid in the candy store for the first time.

We started to think about where we were going to setup camp. This time it would be longer than a night and we had a few specific things that we were looking for. We had to find somewhere that was close to a water source. We had to have cell service and my portable WiFi device had to work too. We also wanted a place that was secluded but close to Ryan’s work and close to town for our shopping needs.

We drove up a steep mountain but my 2WD SUV couldn’t make it any further so we had to turn around and come back down. As we searched the map, we noticed a stream close by where we wanted to stay. As we followed the stream we found a nice little covered area that would be perfect! But oh, wait. No cell service. So we continued following the stream up the mountain. As we were driving, we noticed that the small stream had dried out but I had cell service now! It was getting dark and I started to become discouraged. We started to approach a steep hill as we winded around the curvy, rocky terrain. We got out to walk around and I was shocked at what we found! It was perfect! I checked my cell phone and WiFi device and I couldn’t believe it! I had better service here than I did in the city! It was within walking distance to water, there was gorgeous evergreen trees and a perfect spot for our tent! Thank you lord! We have arrived!

We put on our headlamps and started working together quickly to setup the tent. It took us about an hour to get everything up. It took the next 2 weeks to get completely settled in.

At this point there was a statewide fire restriction set in place because of how dry it’s been along with the California forest fires so we had to rely on the buddy heater and propane stove. Things were a total mess for a while.

My daughter wanted to bathe but the water in the creek was too cold. I also hadn’t dug out the solar shower so we had to improvise with a cooler that we had on hand. She thought it was fun.

After we unpacked everything and organized the tent I was relieved. I could finally relax. Or so I thought.

Haven’t seen any beehives 😝

Passing through Colorado

We had been driving for a long time and had ended up in Pike and San Isabel National Forest in Colorado so we camped amongst the aspen trees. We still had a ways to go before we reached our destination. On the road again.

The mountains were enormous and beautiful. They made you feel small which was kind of humbling. We were now in the White river national forest and it was getting late so we decided to setup camp. We found the perfect little spot with an amazing view and I couldn’t believe that it was absolutely free! I wanted to stay longer but we had to get back on the road.

But before we leave we’re gonna have ourselves a little tail gate style camp breakfast : ) Coffee, eggs, potatoes and ham anyone?

Keeping the kids entertained during the drive wasn’t that hard. I had purchased tablets for homeschool and they didn’t waste any time downloading a ton of movies, books and games before we left. They aren’t your typical kids in the sense that they are on electronics all the time. We actually do not encourage them to use electronics and had to fight the school on this at one point. But since it was a long car ride I decided to allow them to use them for fun this one time. We had lots of snacks and a cooler inside the car with plenty of fruit and drinks. I think we were all pretty comfortable.

Deciding to leave

I was working part time as a leasing consultant while the kids were home from school due to the Covid-19 pandemic. My fiancé Ryan had told me about an amazing job opportunity that would involve traveling to some states out west. I have lived in the Midwest all my life and had only traveled to some of the southern and northeast parts of the country. I had always wanted to see the west, but the thought of leaving my best friend and a job that I absolutely loved made the decision difficult. Even so, the adventurer in me didn’t take long to decide as I’d been aching for a change of scenery and longing to break away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

A year prior to this I had already decided I wanted to live off-grid and start a homestead. I began researching and setting goals for how I’d get there. We love to camp (year round) and with 3 kids we needed a lot of space. So I had already had invested in a 12X14 wall tent and a small enclosed trailer. We also built a fantastic wood burning stove out of a 5 gal bucket for fun one day! Turns out, it’s actually functional and we use that bad boy ALL the time now!

Materially, we were good to go. Mentally, we were already there. Just a few little loose ends to tie up. Oh yeah, my job, day care, Bank account, the kids school, the house! Right around this time it was like the universe started to rearrange things for us and sort of “pave the way”. I put in my 2 week notice and to my surprise my lovely co-worker and best friend suggested that I could work remotely! I hadn’t even thought of that but I know we made it work during the lockdown so why couldn’t it work this time? Meanwhile, the day care was on some BS and I was no longer comfortable sending my 2 year old there so I immediately pulled her out. Shorty after I enrolled the kids in school I learned that it would be mostly virtual and the “back to school plan” seemed extremely complicated and unorganized. Since I had been looking into homeschooling for the last year, I took it as a sign/opportunity and pulled them out without hesitation. As far as the house goes… honestly, I’m the kind of person who likes to have something to fall back on, a plan A, B and C if you will, so I decided to keep it for now.

It took us a few weeks to completely pack up. We knew we would have limited space so we really had pack smart! Take only the necessities. I bought all of the kids totes that would fit snuggly under their cot and told them that they could take whatever would fit in it. I vacuumed sealed my clothes to ensure maximum space, and downsized everything at least 5 times before the final pack. It’s amazing how little you really need. Even though I downsized I still feel like I overpacked! I really couldn’t part with some of my plants so they had to come. A few are medicinal and the rest are food so I categorized them as necessities : )

As I pulled out of my driveway and seen my old life fading in my rear view mirror, I couldn’t help but be touched with bit of nostalgia. I knew we’d make amazing new memories on our journey ahead and I also knew that when one door closes another one waits to be opened. I’m so glad I opened and walked through this door : )