🎈Our 3-YEAR BLOG-AVERSARY! This year’s top ten!🎂

Thank you for being here, faithful friends and followers! I’m so grateful to have the opportunity week after week to share my favorite things with all of you. But today isn’t about my favorite things, it’s about YOURS! Yep, it’s that time of year again. I’ve tallied the likes and put together a list of the top ten follower-favorite posts from our third year together!

Taking notice of which posts have received the most attention helps me hone in on what our readership (you!) values most. And each year the results have both surprised and inspired me!

A few FUN FOLLOWER FACTS I discovered in tallying this year’s likes:

1.) You LOVE to celebrate good times, come on! Posts focusing on creative and intentional ways to honor the holidays marked the second most popular category on the blog this year.

2.) YETI consistently gets more love than anything else on the blog (other than chocolate which swept last year’s blog-aversary post).

3.) Y’all have a DARK SIDE! When something goes wrong up here, you guys sure want to know about it! Whether it be wasp infestation, flooding, vegetable suicide, or Yeti destroying the homestead, our readership seems to say, “the bleaker the better!” It’s alright, we don’t mind keepin’ it real.

On that note, let’s move on to this year’s top ten!

Your Top Ten Favorite Posts from Our 3rd Year Together:

*these results are according to likes only

#10: When it rains, it floods.

Yesterday, June 14th, marked the wildest Flag Day weather I have ever seen. I awoke to wind whipping over the house and begrudgingly got out of bed to go check the thermometer. Brrrr. The house was wintry cold. Even before I drew back the curtains, I guessed what I would find, and sure enough I did; swirling snow catching in big fluffy clumps and meeting in a sort of tornado, intersecting on the east side of our house. The wind seemed to be pouring from every mouth between the mountains on all sides. I threw a blanket around myself and stepped into my hubby’s giant, size thirteen boots by the front door and clumped—Gumdrop the clown style—out onto the porch.

“I better bring in the glass hummingbird feeders in case they freeze,” I said to myself. But a glance at the feeders revealed that no such thing would be possible . . . at least not without condemning all my little refugee friends.

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It doesn’t take long for sweet things to spoil. I learned that the hard way one time with a pint of maple syrup. Hold on fast to those gentle, bountiful, joy-filled, or downright giddy moments in life, my friends. Crisis is inevitably around the corner.

Our little plot of heaven began raising hell a couple weeks ago, with Papa as the first victim. He came thudding in from the garden uttering all the child-appropriate curse words he could think of. Some kind of wasp had swooped down on him the moment he had reached for the spigot in an all-out water rights ambush. The striped assassin bit and stung him on his arm before he could get away from the damn thing. Come to find out, unlike other types of wasps, hornets and yellowjackets are the over-achieving members of their species in that they actually bite first IN ORDER TO GET A GOOD STRONGHOLD FROM WHICH TO STING YOU BETTER. Oh the horrors you can discover in a quick Google search.

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#8: 🌻Best and Worst In-Show for Our First Harvest!🌾

We went from shorts and t-shirts, busy as the bees still working the garden, last Wednesday . . .

to building our first fire, settling in for board games and read-alouds on Friday . . .

then welcoming our first magical snow day Saturday morning!

What they tell you about Montana is true. It’s wild.

The tamaracks tried to tell me, but summer seems eternal when your hair is sun-kissed, and your arms and legs feel golden as the trees.

And just like that, our glorious first harvest season has come to an end. It’s ok, it was more than full. In fact, it was overflowing. And as far as I’m concerned, we enjoyed three bonus weeks of harvest that we had not counted on.

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#7: 🦌Bambi Book Review🐿️ Felix Salten’s classic novel is definitely not Disney!

Bambi, Felix Salten

Page after page, chapter after chapter, Felix Salten bequeaths to his readers no mere trinkets in poetry, narrative, nature study, and philosophy. Once upon reading the first chapter, my soul was enraptured in Disney-like charm. However, the effect was fleeting. Stark as the changing of the seasons, the bare and brutal realities of forest life were slowly unveiled before our eyes. Suffice it to say, Felix Salten’s classic novel is definitely not Disney.

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#6: 🦉Spice Up Your Routine for a HAPPY HOMESCHOOL HALLOWEEN!🎃

Nearly a month has gone by —BLINK— since we checked that back-to-homeschool box. There were the first day frills followed by that confused week of is-it-summer-or-is-it-fall? As always, it’s taken us a couple of weeks to settle into our routine, working out a kink here, readjusting something over there. As the mornings have grown chillier and the forest has flocked herself in flecks of gold, our homeschool rhythm has relaxed into itself. It always does if we just let it breathe a little.

Then, yesterday, the trouble started.

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#5: ❤️ Mother’s Day Weekend Special! ❤️ Stories, Songs, + Treats for Mom!

Make Way For Ducklings, Robert McCloskey

Thank you for tuning in to our Mother’s Day Weekend Special! Today’s post features five special, yet super simple ways to celebrate mom this weekend. Enjoy!

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#4: 🌻Everything we did our FIRST SUMMER on the Homestead🦗

After months of endless “surprise packages” faithfully deposited on our front mat, I feel at once enchanted and exhausted with this property. Never has a place delighted and drained me more than this, our little clearing in the big woods. My hubby and I have poured everything we have into this place in our first nine months as homesteaders. We are proud of our efforts, intimated by our list of future projects, and awestruck by the daily wonders we are so blessed (and sometimes cursed) to witness. Most evenings we seem almost non-responsive —numb from so much beauty and hard labor. We marvel together at how much we . . . can’t. How much we can’t complete, solve, absorb, or fathom. It’s as if we’ve been made fully raw through our now daily witnessing of and wrestling with a rugged mountain habitat, and then trying to grow stuff on it too.

Somehow the days have marched on, our bodies have survived (even thrived), and we find ourselves already at the end of our third season on this burgeoning bit of land. My thoughts and emotions are all over the place —much like our mountain weather— as I reflect on our first growing season on the homestead.

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#3: Breaking News!! We’re breaking ground on a new branch of our blog!

Family and friends encouraged us that moving out of the city would be enough. We didn’t need a homestead to restore our souls. We simply needed to live in a neighborhood, complete with green grass and automatic sprinklers, to help assuage our homestead hankerings. Much to our homeowner’s association’s chagrin, we made every effort to take our loved ones’ advice and satisfy our cravings for self-sufficiency in an on-grid setting. In fact, we spent a year and a half in that golf course community, transforming a pointless lawn (is there any other kind?) into a suburban garden. To our surprise, the results were more than a little inspiring.

We grew heaps of herbs, tons of tomatoes, and crazy cucumbers. We filled our freezer with more than fifty jars of salsa and lined our cupboards with forty some jars of dried herbs and teas. Our friends were somewhat right. It did prove to be a restorative time for us. But my hubby and I both knew our time spent gardening in suburbia was only the rough draft of a masterpiece waiting to be written into our lives.

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#2: 🌟Country Christmas Book Bunting!🎄

Christmas has arrived at our own little house in the big woods, and I’m not sure who’s more excited . . . the kids, my hubby, or me!

This is our first Christmas on our little homestead. After more than a decade of Christmases celebrated in apartments and rental houses, it just seems too good to be true that we’re finally home for the holidays!

To celebrate the fact that we’ll be home for Christmas, I have a little something to share with all of you today! This festive treat combines a few of my favorite things —Christmas, crafting, and BOOKS! Just a little something called Book Bunting!

Read more.

and . . .

#1: All about 🐾YETI🏔️

While I still often feel like a visitor at our new mountain homestead, Yeti seems like he’s lived in these woods for centuries.

It’s hard to describe Yeti’s relationship with this mountain. He seems drawn to the woods with a seemingly hell-bent devotion, much like that of some great migratory animal. The only thing he seems to love more than the woods is all of our attention. When we are outside together, Yeti’s loyalty to us rivals that of literary dogs. But when we leave him outside and return to the house, Yeti turns tail and runs for the woods as if the trees are calling him by name. Then again, maybe they are. I allow him to run wild and free but can’t help spying on him from our upstairs windows.

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for reading . . .

for following . . .

for liking and commenting . . .

for reaching out . . .

for sharing . . .

and most of all . . .

for being a present & proactive parent!

If I may ask a little favor of you lovely friends: If you enjoy this blog and consider it to be a positive part of your life, please spread the word! Share your favorite posts on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, or share in an email with friends and family! It would mean the world to me to share my love for ~Holistic Homeschooling and Homesteading~ with more and more families around the world each year! 💗

May our lovely little holistic hub continue to thrive and grow!

Love, Candace Arden

~Our Holistic Homeschool~

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