Thursday, January 22, 2015

Rise & Shine Sleepy Head...

I'm not gonna lie...I love, love, love to sleep. I go to bed early, stay in bed late and take an occasional nap every once in a while. For the last few years I have come to believe that I am a night owl. This is primarily because I stay up until 10:30pm or 11:00pm in an attempt to complete as much as possible while the birds are in bed. Why do I focus on doing this at night? Because waking up in the morning for me is HARD! I am so tired in the morning even though I have been in bed between 8-9 hours that I will hit my snooze button over and over again until I have no choice but to get up and get everyone ready. As recently as a month ago, I had resigned myself to this sad, sad fate. Try to go to bed early, try to get up in time to get the boys off to school and myself to work and then nap whenever I get the chance (or splurge and sleep in AND nap on the weekends). Needless to say, sleeping and waking have both become really stressful to me. Which upon realizing this, got me to thinking...

It wasn't always this way.

I come from a family of early risers and as a child all the way through my teens, I had no problem getting up early. I can remember my friends in high school giving me evil looks in the morning and complaining that no one should have that much energy before 9am. I got a lot done and went to bed at a reasonable hour. I still napped though...(there are very few people in my family who don't nap.) Maybe that's a learned behavior, maybe its hereditary. I don't know. What I do know though is that I am tired of being tired all the time.

Over the years I have tried lots of different ways to try and get up early. I've prepped everything the night before so I can take as much stress off in the AM. However, this leads to my morning self using it as an excuse to sleep in. "Well you don't have to make any lunch now, or lay out any clothes so you can sleep in a while longer...go one will judge you..." Except myself. I've even gone so far as to set up an alarm clock in the kitchen so that I would have to get up and go shut it off. Half way through the night though I woke up and started to worry that the alarm clock would wake up everyone in the house and I didn't want that so I turned it off. Sigh*

This sleep problem has lead me to do some research on sleep habits. While I have learned for the most part that sleep habits are largely determined by your genes, you can still gradually work your way into the time frame that you want. Here are a couple great links I found on sleep habits.

If you prefer reading to video check out this article from Espresso Science; Can a Night Owl Become an Early Bird? (click pic for link)

And if your a video person who can't stand reading check out AsapSCIENCE's awesome video about the differences between night owls and early birds. (But seriously, check them both out...)

So obviously I want to fix this. Because while some people might not see being a night owl as a "problem," I do. Mainly because I don't feel like this is my natural state of being. My reasoning for being one at this point is that through a combination of motherhood and going to school full time while working full time and being a generally lazy human being, I have progressed from my natural state of being into a more sluggish, depressing state. Not cool.

There are so many different articles and discussion boards out there about how to change your sleep habits. While they all offer great advice that work for some people, I have tried most of their suggestions and have still come up short. The only one I have not tried yet, but will be forced into once we move to Hawaii is the whole camping for a week thing. Researchers have taken people out into the forest with no electronic devices and had them camp for about a week. Afterwards, the participants sleep cycle has "reset" and they now get up and go to bed with the suns cycle. Camping for a week in the Pacific Northwest is kinda hard just because you can't really plan around the weather here and some weeks it feels as though we go through every single season known to man. So camping on our property in Hawaii while building should change things around for me. But...being the impatient person I am, I don't really want to wait that long to get a handle on things. So (que more awesome research) I found this amazing app for my smartphone that I both love and's a complicated relationship.

It's called "I can't wake up" and it is available in the app store on my android phone. Not sure if its available for you apple people or not...#sorrynotsorry. Basically it's an alarm clock on steroids. You set the time that you want to wake up at and then you set tasks you have to complete in order to turn it off. I know right...My inner early bird is all like "Yay! This will be amazing!" while my inner night owl is like "Are you f'ing kidding me..." I have used it twice now and let me tell you, this thing works! I have two tasks set for my alarm. First I have to play memory/matching with 9 different cards. They shuffle every day so they are never in the same space in a row. Once I match all the cards the alarm pauses for a couple of seconds and then starts again. My second task to complete is a barcode scanning task. I selected the barcode on the seasoning salt we have in the kitchen for this. I have to get out of bed, go into the kitchen, track down the seasoning salt and scan the barcode to shut off the alarm. I control the volume of the alarm when I set it so I don't have to worry about it waking up anyone else. Just me. And boy oh boy did I have a productive morning after using it. Below is what the different screens look like. There are 8 different tasks to choose from and you can set the difficulty range however easy or hard you want to make it. Click on the pic below to take you to the android app store to read more!

Have I fixed my issue. Probably too soon to say. But I am very optimistic that I am well on my way to getting my internal clock back into working order. Time will only tell. Until then...

Sweet dreams...

Rachel B. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Starter Homestead...

Papers have been signed and money has been sent. We are now just waiting for the whole closing thing to happen and the fresh start we are looking forward to in Hawaii is all ours!!! I started this whole adventure feeling scared about what the future may hold. We are going to Hawaii without any jobs and without a house. Just a forested plot of land and a sense of adventure. Call us crazy...others have. Now however, I am feeling more and more excited about the whole thing. We have house plans and a massive pinterest board with loads of fun ideas to get us started. We'll take enough money with us to survive on until we find jobs and in time, hopefully, everything will fall into place. Its not going to be easy on any level. The pictures I have of the property are enough to tell me we are going to need a hotel to sleep in until we can at least clear a spot for a small shack or tent. There is a lot of foliage. Don't believe me...check it out.

This is a straight on shot from Alii Rd which runs in front of the lot. 

This is an aerial shot of the property. Those three giant trees are on our lot. The house is our neighbors.

Since I'm sure someone will point it out, yes we know those are Albizia trees. We understand how much they can cost to remove and the hazards they pose. We get it, we got it, we've accepted it and are moving on from it. The front corner of the property is that small patch next to the front tree that has no giant tree on it. That is where we are going to clear and do our temporary site.

As for the main house. We are thinking about working with a company called Yurts of Hawaii to build a 770 sq ft yurt that will be on a platform that will provide us with the additional 110 sq ft we need to meet the home owner associations CC&R's. Overall, we have a plan and we are moving forward as diligently as we can. We are excited to be taking on this adventure head on and win or lose, we are sure to walk away with some amazing memories.

Rachel B.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

New Happenings for the New Year!!!

Well it's almost completely official. By the end of next week, the hubby and I should be the proud owners of a small but lovely plot of land on the island of Hawaii!!! We are purchasing the property in full and plan to move there within the next few months. At this point it looks like I will be going over first and he and the boys will follow a couple of months afterwards. The hope is that I can secure a job and get the ball rolling on our house building plans before they get there.

To say I am excited is an understatement. This year is going to be our crazy adventure year!! The only thing I will have at my disposal when I land on the ground will be a plot of land, a tent, and a set of house plans that we have designed ourselves. The rational part of my brain that shuns adventure of any kind is constantly tisking and shaking its finger at the animalistic part of my brain which is always chomping at the bit to do something amazing. Am I scared at all...oh yeah! But not so much in a bad way. There are a lot of people who have told me we are crazy to be doing this and there are those who have just fallen short of begging me to take them along.

The hope for this whole adventure is to hit reset. William and I have been stuck in a rut for too long. After talking it through I think we have both come to the realization that we are never going to go after what we want here. We need to shake things up and to move on. The compromise in all of this is he gets Hawaii, the place where he was born and feels called back to, and I get my off grid paradise. I will do my best to blog about this adventure so that if others want to set out to capture their own dreams they can look to see where we have succeeded and failed and hopefully learn from us. Do I expect there to be bumps? Yes. Absolutely. But I'm an obsessive planner so plans A through Z will be mapped out in full before I even step foot onto the plane. But what's life without the occasional ups and downs. Once the sale is final I will share what limited pictures I have and begin the task of detailing our map for the future. And thanks to my amazing husband, the house plans already rock...

Here's to adventure, good or bad, better or worse! Everyone should have at least one crazy thing happen in their lifetime that they can look back upon and tell the grandkids about. Life is too short to be so boring....

Adventure awaits...


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Changes for the New Year

Its been a long time since I have opened up this blog to write. I love writing and I miss blogging but life gets busy and things get forgotten or put to the way side. But here I am with some time to finally sit down and say hi. "Hi!" The last few months have had a lot of ups and downs but there are huge changes on the way. Not "new year, new you" kind of changes...I'm talking life altering changes. At this point I wont write much. We haven't told our family or friends yet what our plans are. I am so incredibly excited and a little anxious though. Once we have told them, I will begin blogging again because it will all be too exciting to not share. In the mean time, this blog will undergo some changes too. I want to make it more user friendly. I'm gonna figure out how to get my posts to appear on the appropriate page and I am going to add you tube videos to it. I hope that everyone who reads this blog will be patient with me as I move forward with the changes. I promise, they will make everything better in the end...

Just keep swimming...

Rachel B. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

DIY: Block Print Stamp

The last few days my brain has been swimming with ideas for my very own product line. Because I am creating kid friendly clothes I want kid friendly fabrics, designs and prints. Now don't get me wrong. The print fabrics they sell in stores are great and all but I really wanna do my own thing. After some extensive research (which equals hours cruising pinterest)...I settled on the idea of block prints. This technique is where you take a block that has a design on it and print the fabric with it over and over again. Since I am a "do it myself" kinda gal, I didn't want to buy a stamp. But, I can't carve so I had to figure out a way to make my own block stamps. Preferably using the materials I already had on hand at home. So, without further is what I came up with!


Poster board (6"x6") plus some small two inch long strips
Craft foam
Some kind of weight (I used a rock)

Step 1: Cut the poster board to size

I cut my blocks into 6"x6" squares. It seems to really be the perfect size for handling the prints. After I cut out the main block, I cut the scraps into small long strips for the handle.


Step 2: Glue on strips/handle

I used Elmer's school glue which so far has held up pretty well. You just need a little bit to get it to stick. Once you have glued and stacked all of the little blocks on top of one another, place the weight on top. Allow to dry.

Step 3: Create your design

Take the foam and draw your design onto it. For this tutorial I did circles, which I intend to use on a cute skirt design I have in the works. (Polka dots rock!!) Once you have drawn the design cut it out and glue it on. There is no set way to do this. The more random the better. Allow to dry, again under the weight.

Step 4: Print Away!!!

The very first block print I made was of mini-mustaches. To show how well the block print works, I took a little bit of paint, sponged it onto the print (just covering the raised print) and then dabbed it onto a scrap of plain white fabric I had.

Overall, I think it turned out pretty snazzy looking. I hope that this tutorial will help inspire you to create your very own prints!!

Happy Printing!

Rachel B.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Busy Days Ahead

I think I have finally decided to take the plunge into this whole "business" thing. For years I have sewed for family and friends as a hobby. At one point I thought I would make wedding dresses that would be of my own design but I got bored with that quickly. I find myself, time and again going back to kids clothes. I have two amazing little boys and a whole bushel of nieces and nephews so I have plenty of opportunity to make stuff for little kiddos. I've just never sold any of it before. With that being said, the next few weeks are going to be spent drawing up and creating prototypes, developing my brand (hence the new blog design...) and creating a real life business plan.

Wish me luck!

Rachel B.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Hiking Season is Coming!!

Yay!!! It's almost spring time ( a couple of months or so) and in our house that means its time to get ready for the hiking season!! In the past our hikes have always been really low key short little treks out and back, usually to some waterfall. However, Bird, my oldest, has become uber fascinated with survival skills. What better way to teach him survival skills (and the rest of the family too) than to go on a few overnight backpacking trips! When I was a kid all we ever did was car camping and no hiking. My kiddos have both car camping and day hiking under their belts so this just seems like the next logical step. Of course I'm geeking out about it over here because I can just imagine how fun (and probably stressful) this will all be. So to gear up for the season we are going to start small, organize our gear, shake off our winter cobwebs and work on some fun projects.

We got started this last weekend by going for a short day hike out along Strawberry Island. There are several trails through this little patch of land that are pretty well maintained and are not very far from our house. Score! This really made for a perfect little trek out. While we were out there Bird decided to bring along some of his tracking books. We bought him several animal tracking books for Christmas because it never fails, every time we are out on a hike we come across tracks we can't identify. Not this time! Towards the end of our hike we stumbled across a print in the mud that at first looked like it could have been a dog (to my untrained eye). Checked the book...not a dog...Bird thought it might have been a cougar...checked...nope...William thought it could be a coyote print...checked and BINGO!! We took pictures and while its kinda hard to tell from them, we feel pretty good about our id. Overall it was a successful first trek out. Because of the weather here we wont be able to actually go backpacking until April or May but until then the short little day hikes should be good for brushing up on our skills.

Happy Trails,

Rachel B.