Author

Tashina Monk

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Welcoming Autumn & Embracing Our Simple Life

There is something truly magical about Autumn. I love to bundle the kids into soft sweaters and run around outside once the heat of summer is gone, and then cozy up under a warm blanket with cider and a story. Of all of the seasonal changes, Autumn is the one universally loved by myself and the kids. We have been looking forward to the first day of Autumn since last year! In our home, we celebrate the first day of each new season by cleaning out the house, buying fresh seasonal produce and spices from the farmers’ market, and exchanging our toys and books from storage. We keep all of our books and toys separated into 1/4th’s (other than our favorite blocks, grimm’s rainbow & art supplies) and we exchange them for more seasonally appropriate items. This keeps our messes down to a minimum, creates a rhythm in our lives, and helps the kids see old toys with fresh eyes. Since…

Minimal and Natural Kid’s Art Supplies

Buying natural art supplies is perfect for downsizing if you want a minimalist lifestyle. The best part? It is more beautiful, smells better, and is more environmentally friendly. Downsizing our art and craft supplies for the Tiny House move was a little bit overwhelming. Since we homeschool, we have had boxes and bags and jars of glitter and sequins and fabric scraps and so many broken crayons. At one point, we had an entire walk-in closet full of art supplies. I wish I had a photo. It was probably 1/3 of the square footage of the entire tiny house and it was just piles of stuff. To be honest, once I got over the fear of downsizing, and stopped thinking things like, “but I might need that jelly jar full of felt scraps or that box of half finished origami. If we throw it away, it’s just a waste.” It was really, really freeing. Who really needs 10,000 broken crayons? Here is a step-by-step guide to…

Christmas in August – Peppermint bark

Andes Mint Bark and Peppermint Bark Christmas Candy and Wooden Peg doll Nativity toys!  It has been dark and dreary and flash flooding for several days. The kids and I have spent a lot of time coloring and painting and storytelling, and even a fair share of moping around because we can’t go anywhere. I was trying to cheer them up, and Selena asked to listen to Christmas music… and one thing led to another. So, even though we missed Leon Day, we celebrated Christmas in August! Since we’re moving, all of our stuff was easily accessible, so we even got out our stockings, a mini tree, and this little peg doll nativity set by HereComesBrotherSun! One thing I always do on Christmas is make lots of candies. Since this was last minute and we couldn’t drive during the flooding, I looked for things I had around the house, and I had the supplies to make some simple 2 ingredient bark. It…

Blueberries for Selena and Gideon.

Kira spent the weekend with her grandmother, so we decided to make it an all weekend date with the littles. Selena decided that it should be blueberry themed, in honor of the summer solstice and blueberry season. So, we decided to visit a pick-your-own blueberry farm. Actually, it was a fully functioning farm, with bees, chickens, lots of various veggies and fruits, and a wonderful little farmer’s market with jam and homemade ice cream. We got our hats and sunglasses and cameras and started to make the trip over there… and it started pouring. Selena said, “Dad, I asked if you checked the weather!” She’s five going on seventeen, in case you didn’t catch that.  We panicked. What else could we do in rural Alabama? Nothing. Well, stop and look at cows and soybeans, but that was about it. It stopped raining, so we headed out to the blueberry area.   Gideon stopped to visit the chickens. This baby is such…

We’re starting the tiny house build!

It’s been a year since our family began the journey toward building a tiny house! It all began with a mouse… well, a book about a mouse anyway. When my book came out last year, we knew our family wanted to do something different for our future. We wanted to raise awareness about causes that are important to us: homelessness, sustainability, and of course, the ability to spend more quality time with our children. We could have never expected some of the obstacles that have come our way. The idea that a tiny house can just be built in seven days is true… if you’ve got a world class team of experts on your side. But when you are starting from scratch, it is a bit more difficult. There was a lot we had to learn about trailers, trucks, axles, mounts, bolts, nails, proper windows, doors, and the list goes on and on. Every inch and pound matters in a tiny…

Help me wish Father Nathan a Happy Birthday by being turned into a Disney Character

Today is Nathan’s birthday. Every year, I ask him what he wants for his birthday, and every year, he tells me the same thing, “there is nothing that I need.” I follow it up by asking if there is something he wants, and he always tells me that he has everything he wants. It makes for some pretty difficult birthday present shopping! Most years we just end up with pizza and carrot cake. This year was different. I asked the obligatory question of what he wanted and he said, “To be able to get started on the tiny house.” I was pretty shocked to get a real answer this time. So, for Nathan’s birthday today I am taking over his social media and trying to make his birthday wish come true! We have nearly reached half of our tiny house goal by selling copies of the book or other perks, but today I am asking everyone to go give Nathan a…

Tiny Cabinet Tetris & Selling Everything

I’ve spent most of this week cleaning out the cabinets and closets, eliminating everything that won’t fit into our tiny house. We briefly discussed renting a storage unit for the transition period, but decided against it. Even though we are going to store a few sentimental things, like my wedding dress, everything from spare blankets to craft supplies are expected to fit inside the house or be sold at the flea market or in one of our Etsy shops. It’s a lot harder than you think to get rid of excess junk. I have gone through the same cabinets six times to the point that I felt like I was only keeping the bare bones, and I still find things we don’t need every time. I’ve also discovered a significant amount of things we need to just use. Apparently, I buy handmade soap bars more often than I actually use them. I’ve created a pile of East Hill honey soaps and…

Our kids’ first tiny house tour

Something I have been asked several times since we launched this campaign and tiny house project is how my kids feel about it- especially the oldest. The truth is that the kids have been our biggest cheerleaders. Kira, my 10 year old, wakes up every morning and asks how much we’ve raised, and Selena, my 4 year old, asks every day how many more books we need to sell until we can build our ‘tiny little bitty house. They had never actually seen a tiny house in real life before… so a few days ago, I panicked. What if they liked the idea in theory, but not in practice? I decided it was time to take them to tour one. It just so happens that we are lucky enough to have met a few people here locally who are a part of the tiny house community, so yesterday we were able to tour a 21 foot long house with the kids.…

Do you believe in magic?

Every day since we filmed the video launching our crowd funding campaign, our 10 year old daughter, Kira, has asked me for updates on how much we’ve raised so far. She considers herself an activist, and is very anxious and excited for us to reach our goal so we can move forward on the tiny house build in a tangible way. Tonight, she lost her last baby tooth (well, more like pulled it out because she couldn’t wait for it to come out on it’s own…) and she specifically asked if I thought the tooth fairy would bring money toward the tiny house project. Kira is Autistic, and if you know her, you know that fairies have always been one of her favorite things. I just can’t help but think how excited Kira would be if I was able to tell her that the tooth fairy granted her wish and helped with the tiny house campaign. If everyone reading this gave even…