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Mother’s Journal – April

harmony-art-mom-mothers-journal-april-2017Mother’s Journal

April 2017

This has been a month of contemplation regarding the up-coming changes in our family. It seems as if we are navigating the transition to empty nesters by doing a complete change ourselves and jumping out of the nest as well.

Every corner of this house has memories that come up at the odd moment. For instance, a few weeks ago I was standing in our front driveway with our son who was just getting ready to leave for another trip to Guyana. I was sitting on the block wall in the sunshine and it popped into my mind how many times I had sat in just that spot watching the boys as they scootered up and down the driveway or they dribbled the basketball. It was a sweet memory but also a little bittersweet as I realized that my son and I were experiencing the very LAST time we would be in that driveway together. My husband and I will be moving to Oregon before he comes back. This was one of the last days he would be living in the house on Hilltop Drive. It made me cry. I hadn’t even anticipated feeling so sad or sentimental about this move because I am very excited about our new home.

It’s hard to pull up roots that run deep…over 30 years deep. All four of our children consider this their childhood home because my oldest was just a year old when we moved in. This is the house I brought all three boys home to when they were born. As homeschoolers, this has been the center of our universe.

We have for many years worked hard to give our children a solid foundation; roots upon which they could grow and flourish. As they grew older and matured in our homeschool, we also strived to give them wings to fly.

Charlotte Mason Gave Our Homeschool Wings

For the first time ever, my husband and I are going to fly. We are ready to fly from this nest and make a new one together. In Oregon, we hope to send down some new roots.

Can I just say I love using these metaphors?

My husband is ready to fly. He will be retiring from an almost 30 year career in public service, 25 of those years as a wildland firefighter (the other years at the USPS). I have a feeling he will struggle for a while with his identity since he has lived and breathed the fire service and loved it. He is a respected person by all who work with him and so many have expressed that things will not be the same this summer without him around to be consulted. Our children have at times been sad that their dad wasn’t home during fire season as much as they would have wished. But, the flexibility of homeschooling allowed us to take family vacations during all seasons so we just had to learn to be adaptable.

I am ready to fly. I have long wished to have a new place to explore. It’s not that I have learned everything there is to learn here in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. Far from it! I’m just itching to experience another way of living. My roots are here in California so transplanting my life to Oregon is going to take some time and adjustment.  My family (parents and siblings) is all in Northern California within about 150 miles. It has caused quite a stir that I am moving out of the state and 450 miles away. My friends are all sad but supportive. I keep emphasizing that they will now have a new place to visit! The wonderful thing about working online is that I can have some continuity with my business…things should just chug along as normal in that respect. Moving our home to a completely new habitat will be something that stimulates my thinking and my writing which is a win-win for my loyal readers and customers.

Three of our children are going to help us physically move to Oregon so it will be a family time of reconnecting. Hopefully after spending a little time in the new house they will start to feel some new family roots growing, a new place to call home (or at least home base). Next month I will update how it all turns out for the McCoy family and the BIG move.

You may also be interested in reading this entry:

Take a Chance Homeschool Mom

“Maybe you are thinking about taking a chance on changing your homeschool in some way or trying a new direction in your is scary to make decisions and changes. But, it may just be the best decision you ever made.

Risking nothing is safe but you will never know what experiences you can have and where it will lead until you just take the chance.”



Harmony Art Mom – Creative Month April


First of all, thank you to my many followers, here and on Instagram, who have sent your well wishes for my up-coming move to Oregon. This business of selling a house is such a roller coaster ride, even from one minute to the next.

Leading up to listing our home for sale, I spent a lot of time decluttering, cleaning, and staging the home to help potential buyers see our cozy, bright, and inviting home at its best. We have lived in this house for over 30 years, so going through every nook and cranny was emotional and exhausting.  I parted with many items by giving to friends, selling at a garage sale, and gifting to our local hospice thrift shop. I tried to be practical and used many of the ideas found online for making decisions about whether to keep something or let it go. Sigh. The process is draining but now that I am living in a more minimalistic space, I see the wisdom in going through this exercise more often than once every 30 years.

Depersonalizing our home was not an easy task. I have lots of family photos decorating our walls and bookshelves. Once I cleared them away there were huge expanses of blank walls. My daughter and I used Pinterest to find fresh ideas that would make the house still look inviting and far less like a hotel.

In the end, creating a new living space was very satisfying and many of the ideas we implemented will be carried over to our new home. Here are a few of the areas we spruced up.


We added some small potted plants, arranged interesting books, and created an inviting dining table.


My daughter picked out some artwork that complemented things we already had in the house to fill up the large blank walls.

I took a quick trip to our local Big Lots and found a few items to give the bar area a little island appeal. I had the basics, but found the wall art and trays to pull it all together.

Other than revamping our house, my most creative activities this month have been scrapbooking and working in my nature journal.


My sister plans a scrapbook retreat once or twice a year and this time I worked on our family vacation album almost the whole time. I was behind quite a bit and I made a great dent in creating a keepsake album of our travel to the Oregon Coast.


I was able to keep up my once a week nature journal goal this month which makes me happy; not only that the pages are getting done but that I have made time to actually get outside to find things to journal about that are interesting.


My husband and I had the opportunity to spend the day with our two oldest sons hiking in Southern California. It was timed perfectly to see the “super bloom” of wildflowers with hills covered in masses of coreopsis, lupine, yarrow, mustard, Mariposa lilies, poppies, blue dicks, Indian paintbrush, and more.

All of our hard work has paid off and we had an offer within a week of listing the house. Unfortunately, that deal fell through. We turned around and relisted the house and that afternoon we had another offer! See what I mean, roller coaster ride of ups and downs.


I am dreaming of the day that all this will be behind me and I will be living in my new Central Oregon home. Buying a new home was such an emotional experience. But, I knew the minute I walked into the door of the house we purchased that it was my heart home…a place that our family now can make new memories in as time goes on.




Harmony Art Mom – Creative Month February

creative-mom-february-2017-harmonyartmomCreative Mom – February 2017

So far February has been a great month for creative occupations. I participated in an online course that was aimed at beating the winter blues with creative ideas, recipes, and musings on the beauty of winter. It wasn’t a really good fit for me so I was only able to glean a few new ideas but I can imagine that in years to come I will be pulling up downloaded activities to use in winters to come.

Get real Barb!

I had to be realistic. I was not ready to invest in soapmaking supplies, learn to knit more complicated items like gloves, make cheese, or create my own teas. Sometime in the future I will be more in a position to tackle a few of them but now it seemed like way above my skill set (and ability to financially invest).

In a way though, it made me think about the creative activities I already enjoy and find great pleasure in doing for myself and my family.

scrapbook work

Since I have a spot to leave my scrapbooking supplies out at all times, I sit down more frequently to work on my pages. I made a trip to Hobby Lobby for some new paper and a few stickers and this stimulated my creative juices once again. I finished my Hawaiian album and now I’m working on family events in my personal album.


I baked some yummy treats this month for my sweet husband. He does so much around here that to repay him I will often take his suggestions for a recipe to try. I made him flourless peanut butter cookies, almond shortbread, and biscuits so far this month. The trick is then for my hand to stay out of the cookie jar!


Sketch Tuesday and my nature journal have kept me drawing and painting each week. I try to keep both simple and focus on the relaxing aspects of drawing. If things don’t turn out perfectly, no big deal.


Shutterfly has shared so many coupons and free items with me in the past few months that it is an easy afternoon of creating that fits my budget. This wall calendar was a lot of fun to design and customize with my photos. It now hangs right next to my desk and it makes me happy to see my loved ones smiling back at me.


Here are a few more ways I have been creating during this past month. I have customized my little mini travel watercolor palette for my nature bag. I got my passport renewed and my kids and I have been planning a trip to Canada! I have been taking lots of photos from my window during the rainy days. This California towhee was right outside my office window and I was able to snap a few photos before he flew off. I am working on my picture wall and updating my images to fit my current interests.

So, although I had planned to follow the online creative course, I stuck to my basics and feel like I truly accomplished some great creative energy. That really is what it is all about!
So what have you been doing this month to be creative?

Have you participated in Sketch Tuesday?

Have you listened to Music Monday?


Art Show Wall Display 1

You may wish to read this entry from my archives:

Creative Atmosphere in Your Home


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