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BTRT Patterns (on Etsy)

Monday, 23 February 2015
The Usual Mayhem blog is an eclectic mix of homeschooling, nature, crafts and every day life on gorgeous Manitoulin Island (Ontario, Canada).
As a blogger, one of my greatest joys is to share the work of other artisans and bloggers~ to introduce you to some of the very cool and interesting people that connect, in one way or another, to my work  at BTRT.  The connections and the community are the part of my work that feeds my soul~ I hope that you are as inspired by these women and their stories as I am!

It has been truly a pleasure to 'meet' Erin from The Usual Mayhem.
In part, because she is a kindred spirit who happens to live within 500 km (much less as the crow flies) of our home and shares our Northern Ontario spirit, but also because she is an experienced homeschooler, a fledgling off-the-gridder, and a nature lover. And if you don't know it, there is something very magical about people who live on islands (and I can say from experience that Manitoulin is an amazing island!).  So here is your chance to meet Erin, too!
The Usual Mayhem is very much a family affair.  Erin and her partner (a work-at-home software developer/ corporate trainer who also has his own blog) live on a large plot of land with a ten-year self-sustainability plan. They have three children~ a 22 year old entrepreneurial homeschool graduate, a 14 and a 7 year old.  Their spring plans include doubling their current garden and adding ducks, chickens, goats and sheep to their current critter count of 3 dogs.  Brave souls (14 ducklings coming our way has me trembling!). With everyone pulling together, the family also plans for wind turbines and solar panels to reach their goal of independence (although Erin admits she is willing to become an heiress if anyone is accepting applications!).

Erin began blogging while living in the province of Quebec, which has the unfortunate reputation of being very difficult on homeschoolers.  Her blog was a way to document their schooling and their progress.  Since the move to Ontario, she has continued to blog with the support of her family, near and far.  Blogging, like life, can have its slumps~ and a very serious health crisis last year truly shook the family to its core.  But they are returning to strength, leaning on one another, and striving once more towards their goals. Growing The Usual Mayhem blog is more about sharing than earning (a commitment I share wholeheartedly!) .

The Usual Mayhem is full of rich resources for homeschoolers,  with reviews, sections on 'Five in a Row', Unit Studies, and Erin's particular specialty, Nature Studies.  Along with crafts, hikes and adventures on the Island. With a recent change towards the Waldorf style of education at home, there are lots of handwork with natural materials and festival celebration ideas to enrich your own schooling efforts!  Be sure to take a peek at the Nature Studies Pinterest board Erin curates!
All this mayhem keeps Erin busy, along with her part-time work.  But she makes the time to pursue her hobbies~ favourite among these is buying and selling vintage furniture and antiques, inspired by their history and the stories they could tell. The family enjoys leisure time outdoors, and Erin notes that no matter how foul your mood, it is bound to change when surrounded by wildflowers or when struggling to keep your balance on a slippery rock!

Erin's attitude of thankfulness and the team spirit of her family are truly inspiring.
{And her sense of humour is delightful... I have to know more about this 'Hoser Hen'!}
In the coming year, the family plans to begin selling some of their creations on Etsy~ particularly the childrens' handmade fabric art.  And, says Erin, they are "open to whatever comes our way and aligns with our values". I suspect the goats, sheep, garden, dogs, business, blog, chicks, ducks, kids, work, play and adventures might keep them busy~ all that usual mayhem!

Please visit The Usual Mayhem, explore the many homeschooling resources from an experienced educator and follow along to be part of the learning adventure! ♥♥


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