PJ Planting Day

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Today is the first day of February. So naturally, in the Houston area, it’s time to pull out the swimsuits & play in the hose water.










The new month also designates a new gardening season for us here at the Collins’ homestead! Personally, if I am going to go through the time and effort of planting something, it had better be edible. I mean, daisies are pretty and all, but they just don’t give you the satisfying return that biting into a juicy tomato does. So, while our yard is distinctly lacking in beautifully landscaped flower arrangements, we do have quite the nice little vegetable garden set up in our backyard, if I do say so myself.

DSCN1183We’ve [successfully] grown a few crops in the couple of years we’ve lived here, but this is our first attempt at early spring/winter planting.

I suppose it goes without saying, then, that this is also the first time we will be trying our hand at most of the veggies we have planted.

In our “large” 8×8 garden, we have planted a row of broccoli, followed by a row of cauliflower. These two cruciferous veggies kind of intimidate me. I’ve heard that cauliflower in particular can be quite picky, so we are really trying to do everything “by the book” for this first go.

Next we have two rows of beets, and two rows of carrots finish us out.


One of our raised 2×4 beds is purely dedicated to being an onion patch, due to their minimal watering requirement. The other raised bed was still full of producing kale that we planted in October.









Kale is an awesome superfood, and the homegrown leaves are so much more tender and flavorful than the grocery store varieties, that I was not ready to part with it quite yet. I have no idea how long it will continue to produce, but it’s super convenient to snip off the leaves I need for our dinner, and watch them regrow for a future meal!

So, not ready to say goodbye to the kale, but wanting to plant some other leafy greens, we decided to compromise by ripping out half of the bed to make room for lettuce and spinach. This will be our THIRD attempt at spinach, so we’re hoping that this cooler weather that is so hard to come by around here will be the magic key we’ve been waiting for.


Preparing the garden and planting our variety of seeds was such a fun way to spend our sunny Saturday as a family. The kiddos loved being able to help out and be a part of the proccess. There are so many fun ways to let them get involved; you can keep an eye out for a whole post dedicated to “Gardening with kids” coming in the near future.


First planting of the year!We are so excited to have a fully planted garden, and can’t wait to see what our harvest will hold!


Our Story…

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Six years ago a Houston-suburb boy met a small-town Iowa girl at a little college in east Texas. Fast forward 4 years, 1 wedding, 3 moves, 2 jobs and 2 kids later, and we were living the suburban American dream….and we wanted out! Tired of the rat race and the work-to- live, live-to- work cycle, we began looking for ways to simplify our living.


Getting out of debt was our first step, and by the end of 2014 we had everything paid off except for our mortage. The credit card was shredded, never to be seen again! Since then, we’ve added another tiny member to our crew as well as a furry friend, and have begun taking baby steps towards a more frugal, simple way of life.

We believe in natural, healthy living, and want to make the most out of what God has entrusted to us in this life.


While our dream would be a 40 acre “Little House on the Prarie” hobby farm, we are committed to being faithful with what we have, and invite you to join us in this adventure of life!

Tyson Jedidiah’s Birth Story

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11:30pm on Wednesday, June 10, I woke up to a contraction. I kept dozing off, but would wake with each one. Eventually I started timing them because I couldn’t sleep anyways, and they were about 1-1.5 minutes long coming every 10 minutes. There was no change in time over the next hour and a half, but I definitely had to focus on breathing though them, so I texted my midwife, Cathy, a little after 1am to fill her in. She said that since it was my 3rd kid, to head on over and meet her at the birth center. Barrett packed up our stuff, brewed some coffee for himself, let my mom know we were sneaking out, and we hit the road!

On the drive there, I only felt a couple contractions, and they seemed less intense. I told Barrett I was thinking maybe we were too early and I would feel so bad for getting Cathy there if I was only at 3cm or something. I even asked him to drive the long way through town so we wouldn’t get there too early.

We finally arrived at the birth center at 1:45am and met Cathy and her assistant Amanda in the most calm, beautiful, comforting atmosphere! The tub was filling up in the corner, lights were dimmed, and music softly playing. A cervix check was first on the list, and I was excited to hear that I was at 7cm, stretchy cervix and bulgy bag of water. Awesome! Then she pulled out the Doppler and listened to baby’s heart rate. I could immediately tell it was WAY too slow. In the 70s Cathy said. I had been having a contraction when she listened, so she asked me to get on hands and knees and listened again. His heart rate was in the 150s, but dipped into the 60s during the next contraction. I did an inversion on the sofa and she listened one last time. The heart rate recovered to 160, but again dropped during the contraction.

“Zandria,” she told me, “the baby’s heart rate is dropping dangerously low. I’m suspecting a cord issue. I would usually take you to the Memorial City Hospital, but we don’t have time. We need to go to the Memorial Hermann around the corner.” Amanda asked about an ambulance, but Cathy said we’d get there faster in our car. She jumped into the back of the Equinox and strapped oxygen onto me as Barrett sped there. A nurse met Cathy and I at the Emergency Entrance while Barrett parked, and wheeled me up to labor/delivery. The on-call doctor checked me. Now at 8cm and bulgy water. I could tell she felt really bad for the news she had to deliver, but told me that the cord was draped completely over the baby’s head and there was no way to move it out of the way. A c-section was the only option. They started hooking up an IV and also immediately declined my head to try to prevent my water from breaking before I was prepped. All I could think as they pushed me down the hall was, “God, please save my baby!” They did not let Barrett or Cathy into the prep room, and the anesthesiologist explained that he would try to perform the spinal block, but I would need to stay on my side because they were trying to keep my water from breaking. For half an hour he kept poking in different spots on my back sending jolts of pain down alternating legs as I had to lie perfectly still during contractions listening to my baby’s heartbeat on the monitor.

The doctor finally told the anesthesiologist to stop trying and that we needed to switch to general anesthesia. This is where I kinda lost it. A c-section was something I had never even considered. After a healthy, easy pregnancy and 2 previous quick, smooth vaginal deliveries, the idea of anything different never crossed my mind. Yet in the last hour I had already lost my beautiful, serene, natural birth setting, then the option for vaginal was gone, and now I was not even going to be conscious for my baby’s birth. My husband wouldn’t be allowed in the room either. I started crying, asking for my husband, and they did let him and Cathy come in for a moment so I could tell them; then they were gone again. They strapped some different oxygen mask on me and told me they were starting the anesthesia through my IV. They were strapping my arms down as I was crying and begging to hold my husband’s hand. I’ve never felt so alone in my life.

When I woke up Cathy was with me. Barrett brought our beautiful baby boy, Tyson Jedidiah, in a few minutes later. I wish I could say that the moment I saw our little guy none of it mattered any more, but it still did. I had a healthy, handsome little miracle from God in my arms, but I was still heart broken. After all these months of planning, prepping, and praying for a gentle, peaceful birth I got what seemed like the exact opposite. I was anxious about what it would mean for recovery, for breastfeeding success, and for future pregnancies. I remember Cathy telling me in the recovery room that she didn’t know why this happened, but she knew that God always has a plan.

The recovery has been much more difficult physically & emotionally than with my previous births, and all I could think about in the hospital those next few days was how I should be at home snuggling on the sofa with all 3 of my kids instead of in a hospital bed barely able to move. I know that God had a reason, and I am still praying for acceptance and total dependence on His sovereign plan in my life. He tells us that in this life we WILL have trouble, and it is through our weaknesses that his power is made perfect.

My husband pointed out to me that if something had gone differently…if we had waited longer to go into the birth center, or if my water had broken earlier, we could be crying very different (much WORSE) tears. So I am trying to go forward without asking, “Why me??”, but rather use this as an opportunity to say, “Thank you God for inviting me to be a part of the incredible miracle of bringing a brand new eternal soul into existence. Thank you for delivering his little life safely to us.”


Things I am beyond Thankful for:

  • My mom came into town early! I don’t know what I’d be doing without her help right now
  • My midwife is the most amazing supporter & mentor. She’s been so encouraging through everything
  • The nurses at Memorial Hermann Katy were so sweet and helpful
  • Zero back labor even though he was completely posterior (we found out after the birth. He had been anterior at my prenatal appointment the day before!)
  • Baby Tyson and I are both recovering very well for a post-c-section. No infections or setbacks. C-sections can cause issues with breastfeeding due to blood loss of mother, but as of 5 days postpartum Tyson is already back up to only 2oz under his birth weight on exclusively breast milk!
  • Support from family and friends <3
  • The most amazing husband who is a godly leader for our family & makes sure we are always taken care of
  • A God who always has us in His hands

II Corinthians 12:9-11

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.