Jen Not Just For ChristmasHi, I’m Jen.

One of the things in my mental ‘soundtrack’ to Christmas growing up in England was a public service announcement by Dogs Trust, which ended with the slogan “A Dog is for Life, Not Just for Christmas” – I believe it’s actually still running.  Apparently people used to give puppies as Christmas gifts and then when they turned into big dogs who needed feeding and worming and putting outside multiple times a day so they don’t crap on the carpet, the gift-ees would drop the dogs off at the pound where they would end up getting put to sleep.

I never saw myself as a mother.  I don’t really ‘do’ nurturing – at least not of things that have a lot of needs and can’t be reasoned with.  And yet here we are – by choice, and not by accident – and I find myself trying to figure out how to be a good parent and not lose myself in the process.  Because A Kid is for Life, or so I’m told.

IMG_7462I have a lovely husband, Alvin, who (mostly) puts up with me (somewhat) cheerfully.  Our daughter, Carys (rhymes with ‘Paris’), was born in June 2014 and since then we have been backpacking in Switzerland/France/Italy, Ireland, and Colorado – and will be in Italy and Wales in 2016.  She’s eaten sand on the beach on Kaua’i and has conquered every park within a two-mile radius of our house.  We follow a mostly-RIE approach (there’ll be lots more about that in upcoming posts) and we try to never say ‘Good Job.’

I like to make stuff for her – mostly wooden toys at the moment, which branched out of my interest in framing, plumbing, and general DIY on our house before she was born.

I started this blog after I wrote an Instructable on dehydrating food for backpacking that got 34,000 views (and counting).  I’d never had that many people interested in something I wrote before.  People had been telling me that I should start a blog to chronicle our adventures but I guess I always thought that at some point I would run out of things to say.  Well, it hasn’t happened yet…

If you’re new around here, then welcome!  I’m so glad you stopped by.

Want to know more?

You might be interested to check out the following posts:

My very first post.  I published it right after we got home after hiking from Breckenridge to Colorado, so I was sure I’d have content for at least a few posts…

The series of posts chronicling the Breck to Aspen trip with a 14 month-old on my back.

This post explains why we use the parenting philosophy called RIE.

And depending whether you are most interested in parenting, hiking, or making stuff, there’s a whole category of posts just for you.



I recommend so much stuff on Amazon that I decided to become an affiliate.  If you click through the link to a product I mention (when I say “(*affiliate link)” after the link itself, I get paid a small commission that doesn’t affect your purchase price.  If I don’t say it’s an affiliate link, it’s not an affiliate link.  I have never been provided with free products to review (if that changes, I’ll let you know!).  All opinions are my own; I won’t recommend something I wouldn’t use myself.

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Making Stuff