J: You're listening to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast, episode number 78.
P: Because we all know that, as moms, we can do it better and we can do it faster than our kids can. But if we don't, then the time teaching them how to do it, then we're stuck doing all of that ourselves. And so by teaching the children how to do things, I mean, the… you know, the children do things like they cook, they make… you know, they make the dishes, they do the laundry, they do all of that. So that frees a lot of my time up, it gives me a lot more time to do other things, it gives me a lot more time to spend time having fun with them.
Intro: Welcome to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast, stories of vibrant women living happy lives. And now, your host, Jen Riday.
J: Hey there, welcome to Vibrant Happy Women. I'm Dr. Jen Riday and I'm here to help you shift from burned-out and overwhelmed and back into that place of loving your life again. Just because we're busy, busy women, doesn't mean we need to lose ourselves. It's okay to do the things that make us happy. I get to interview so many amazing women on this show and I am so grateful for that. I've learned so much and I hope you've learned even just a portion of what I've learned. I love how there's so many women out there who struggle truly with deep and difficult hardships, but they're able to find happiness despite it. I'm so glad you're here. School has started again and that means you're probably trying to get back into the routine of things, doing more of the things you need to do like exercising or maybe a bit of journaling or cooking healthy food. But if you're like most women (and I get a lot of emails about this), you feel like you're constantly tied down by that to-do list, by the schedule, by the school activities, it's go-go-go do-do-do, you're pulled in 1000 different directions and it feels so out of alignment; you just feel out of balance, you just want to feel in control of your life and time. You want time with your kids you want time for fun, you don't want to just be working on that to-do list all the time. So many of you write in and say, “Jen, I just want to find myself again. I want to get my sparkle back.” That all starts with a consistent routine where you're doing the things to help you feel amazing, and having a plan for all those things that need to be done. How do you keep track of your shopping list, your to-do list, your cleaning, your cooking, the kids schedule without swimming it at all? Well, Time Mastery for Women will be opening again in a few weeks. Time Mastery for Women is a complete A-to-Z system to help you make time for what's important, to help you build consistent routines in your life and to finally get organized. Do you know what your priorities are? Do you know what legacy you want to leave for your loved ones? And are you living a happy life? It was shocking for me several years ago to realize that my kids were going to remember me as a grumpy, tired, exhausted mom, and that was not the legacy I wanted to leave. So I had to learn how to take care of me so I could teach my kids what happiness looks like, what a balanced and organized life looks like, and teaching them how to make time for the important things and not just giving away all your time to a to-do list. Time Mastery for Women will help you with all of that. That'll be opening in a few weeks so be listening for more details.
Today, I'll be talking with PJ Jonas all about how she has taught her kids to work hard. And she is super inspiring with 8 kids and a goat farm and all the things she's doing. So let's go ahead and jump into that interview and you can hear how she does it.
I'm with PJ Jonas today and she's a business owner, a goat Wrangler, (so cool (Laughs)) an entrepreneur and a mom. After getting goats to provide healthy milk for her 8 children, (yes, 8) she decided to put some excess milk into a batch of handmade soap. That decision was the beginning of Goat Milk Stuff, a growing goat milk products business that includes goat milk soaps, cheeses, candles, fudge, gelato, and more. PJ lives in Indiana with her husband Jim and her 8 kids, and the entire family, along with 6 full-time employees, work hard to promote the goodness of goat milk; so cool. Well, we have to dive right into goat milk real quick and then we'll come back to your quote, but how is goat milk better than cow's milk? Because I've heard that and I just like to understand why it's better than cow's milk in many ways.
P: Yeah. So as far as vitamins and minerals, go there are some things that goat milk is higher and some things that cow milk is higher in, but mostly it has to do with how easily digestable the goat milk is. So goat milk is much easier for humans to digest, the fat globules are a lot smaller, it doesn't cause a lot of the intestinal issues. And because it's easier to digest, a lot of people with lactose intolerance are able to drink goat milk and we're able to get the nutrients because they're more bioavailable to us. So we get a lot more nutrients when we're drinking it.
J: Oh, that's nice. So would you say that the market for goat milk products is growing?
P: Oh, definitely. Yeah, people are really… you know, America is definitely a cow place still, and probably it will be for quite a long time.
P: But more people are becoming aware of the health benefits of goat milk. And as the homesteading movement continues to grow, it's a lot easier for a lot of homesteads to care for goats than it is a cow, for a lot of reasons. And so a lot more people are just drinking it for themselves and therefore sharing it and so the popularity of it is definitely growing.
J: Awesome. Well, let's dive into your favorite quotes and then tell us how that, you know, has affected your life and a little about your low point in life and how you've overcome that.
P: One of my absolute favorite quotes is from Thomas Jefferson. And I went to the University of Virginia; I'm a big Thomas Jefferson fan. But the quote says, “I am a great believer in luck and I find that, the harder I work, the more I have of it,” and that definitely kind of describes our family and my philosophy on life. We are all hard workers, you know, we have a farm, we work, you know, 24/7 sometimes it seems like on the farm. And all of that hard work ultimately leads to the success that we're looking for.
J: So, okay, we've got to go right to the point everyone's thinking. Hard work, 8 kids, how do you do a farm and how do you do 8 kids? I mean, what does that look like in the, you know, the summarized version?
P: Yeah, so I spend… you know, from the time the children are born, I spend a lot of my time seeing them how to work, okay? I… you know, I think we're a lot of moms run into trouble is they do in trying way too much for their children Because we all know that, as moms, we can do it better and we can do it faster than our kids can. But if we don't, then the time teaching them how to do it, then we're stuck doing all of that ourselves. And so by teaching the children how to do things, I mean, the… you know, the children do things like they cook, they make… you know, they make the dishes, they do the laundry, they do all of that. So that frees a lot of my time up, it gives me a lot more time to do other things, it gives me a lot more time to spend time having fun with them instead of doing all of those chores. So and the fact that everybody works makes it so everything ultimately ends up getting finished for the day.
J: That's great. And what ages are your kids?
P: Right now, the youngest just turned 10 on the 4th of July. So they are 10 to 20 right now.
J: Wow! That's awesome! And tell us about a low point in your life and how, you know, been able to stay positive or return to some level of positivity despite that struggle.
P: So we are a single income family. I grew up, I was a stay-at-home mom, I was homeschooling my children, my husband worked very hard to help us to make ends meet. We were living in New Jersey at the time and it really just got priced out of New Jersey; it was just, you know, very, very expensive, especially on a… he was a teacher and, you know, single income for such a large family. So we… we moved out to Indiana and absolutely loved it out here. Spent a lot of times living very frugally, saving money, doing all sorts of things. And we went to visit my parents one time and they… we drive a big vehicle called a Sprinter and it's a diesel vehicle. And so we went to visit them, got diesel into the vehicle and then spent the day hanging out. And when we came back, the vehicle wouldn't start. And it turns out that, instead of being diesel in the diesel pump, there was gasoline in the diesel pump.
J: Oh, wow.
P: And it ended up… yeah, it ended up destroying the engine. But it would have been almost easier had we just known that the engine was destroyed. You know, we took it to the mechanic and they told us, “Yeah, okay. Well, we just need to fix this thing, it'll cost $200,” so we did that, and then, “Oh, well, now this thing's broken and it's another $300.” And this go… I'm not exaggerating, this happened for 6 months; it took 6 months for them to finally get the vehicle working.
P: And because, you know, you have to do all these part delays and whatnot. And at the end, when all is said and done, it was a $9000 bill, okay?
P: We did not have $9000, you know? And it was really kind of… you know, like, “Really, God? I mean, we worked so hard to be so frugal, you know, we pinched pennies and, you know, $9000!” because had we known at the beginning that it was going to cost that much, we would have just got rid of the vehicle. There was no way we would have committed to that much.
P: But we had the bill; we had no choice. And so I, you know, being… being the frugal person I am, I was like, “Okay, well, you know, I can't pinch back any further, okay? So I'm going to have to figure out a way to bring some extra in.” And I had been making goat milk soap for the family for about 2 years, and it made a huge difference for us. We’d been giving it away for, you know, gifts and stuff; everybody absolutely loved it. And before this happened, I had bought enough ingredients to make soap for… that would have lasted us for about a year. I was like, “Okay, well, I've got all these ingredients on hand, let me make some soap and I'll sell it.” And that disaster of the, you know, engine being destroyed and not having enough money, was what actually the start of our business and the start of Goat Milk Stuff.
J: Oh, that's so cool. And it reminds me about quote I just read that, you know, “When one door closes, it's like God saying, ‘It's time to be on this next phase of your journey, and since you weren't going on your own, I'm going to close this door to help you get there.’” (Laughs). Well, tell us more about what that's been like, you know, selling the goat products and what it looks like for your family.
P: Oh my goodness, it has been… it has been such an amazing journey. It's just radically altered our life, you know, in some ways and pretty much, it's been an extension of another. So, you know, we were homesteading. We had gardens and chickens and the goats for milk and that kind of thing. But when we started Goat Milk Stuff, everything had to become more focused. And I always wanted the children's home schooling education to be very practical. And so starting a business, from the very beginning, I involved all of them in all the business aspects of it, right? They all started getting salaries, they all started how to… you know, learning how to pay their own taxes, how to put money aside for retirement, how to talk with customers, how to handle, you know, customers that had a problem, customer service and all of that. And it's been something that we all get to work side-by-side. We were able to bring my husband home, bring him on full-time about a year after we started the business.
P: And so it's just… yeah, yeah, total blessing from the Lord. But it's just radically altered, you know, pretty much everything. We ended up moving and getting a new and larger farm and, you know, everything pretty much revolves around it. You know, when you have a farm there's (Laughs)… there’s always more work that you could possibly do in a day.
P: But there comes a time when we just say, “Okay, well, we're done,” but we're all here on the farm and we're all… because we're working towards a common goal, we all really enjoy the free time with each other, and we're able to just do a lot of really simple fun things like, you know, play frisbee or, you know, play a game of cards. And we'd all just appreciate it so much more because we know how much work there is to do.
J: Yeah, that's true (Laughs). I grew up on a farm, and were you and your husband raised on farms as well? I mean, what led you to want to do homesteading?
P: No, I had no clue. I actually grew up on an island. I had sand it's my front yard (Laughs). I didn't have anything; Long Beach Island, which is off the coast of New Jersey.
J: Oh, okay, okay. Well, gosh! What a change! How did you learn everything?
J: And where did the desire come from?
P: You know, it really was a desire. I started learning about how unhealthy the typical American food supply is.
P: You know, just all the stuff that is in the food that we just go to the grocery store and buy. And I just… I had a really hard time once I understood all the chemicals and pesticides and, you know, now with the genetically modified stuff, and I just didn't feel good about feeding that to my family, you know, as the stay-at-home mom. And, you know, I really just felt like that was one of my most important jobs was to do what I could to keep my family healthy. And so that made it really easy to say, “Okay, well, you know, we're going to start having a bigger garden. We're going to start putting up food. Okay, well, yeah how hard is it to have our own chickens? And instead of buying eggs, you know, we'll just raise our own chickens,” and, “Oh, well, what about meat and what about milk and cheese and all of that?” So it really was just… you know, it happened over a number of years, we would just kind of be like, you know, cleaning up a little bit of our diet at a time and, yeah, it just kind of grew slowly.
J: Well, so I'll say what I think some people might be thinking; I think there are 2 camps that are listening. My camp might be, “That sounds like a lot of work, however, I am so tired of all the screen time my kids spend and I would much rather they were helping with goats or something like that.” (Laughs). So, you know, all the work you put in, how do you take care of yourself, you know, during that process? How do you make sure you're meeting your own needs amidst all of that that you're doing?
P: Yeah, you know, I do have to backtrack for 1 second though, it is a lot of work. There's a lot of work to be done and my children do not spend time in front of screens. We're… you know, we're out weeding next to each other. We're… right now, we got about 250 pounds of peaches off our peach trees so we're all processing peaches and we're just standing around, listening to music, talking and cutting up and, you know, canning and freezing peaches, so there is a lot of stuff.
J: Okay, so the one camp is, you know, “That sounds really good because my kids are on screens all the time and I love the idea of just working together as a family, although my brain can't really understand how it's possible in this day and age.” So tell us more about what that's like with your kids and with your lifestyle.
P: Yeah. So you start small, right? You're not going to go and change something overnight; that's where a lot of us do it wrong is we try and make too drastic of a change too quickly.
P: You know, pick something. Can you start a garden? Okay, you don't have to have a massive garden and grow everything, you know, what's something that you eat that would be nice to go out and have fresh? You know, plant a couple tomato plants, plant a couple of peppers. I mean, peppers, you know, over the winter, peppers are like 2 bucks apiece they can run. Now whereas you can grow in one summer enough peppers to last you for a whole year; all you have to do is chop them and put them in the freezer. You know, so start with something small and then start with cooking, right? So many of us have no time for cooking; you know, we're so busy running the kids around doing this and that, we run in, we eat out. Pick a meal that you can teach your children to make, okay? So what I did was each of my children have 3 meals that's kind of their meal, and if we're in the mood for let’s… okay, so let's say meatloaf, meatloaf is my oldest son, Coulter's meal. So he knows how to make the meatloaf. And we keep just about everything, you know, put up in the freezer so he just has to get it all out, let it thaw a little bit, and make a meatloaf. You know, pick something. Start with something small. You know, don't try and you it all radically because if you change too fast, it just falls apart.
J: Well, so it just sounds so ideal… idyllic, you know? (Laughs) And I would like to do that.
P: It really, in many ways, is. It's hard, but it's worth the effort.
J: I'm trying to analyze, “What would be my resistance to doing that?” And so I'll just put that question to you.
P: Time. (Laughs)
P: Yeah, it's time.
J: What did you have to give up to be able to create more time to do what you're doing? I mean, you had to let some things go, right?
P: Yeah. Well, because we homeschool, it's a little bit easier. You know, if your kids are in the public school and having all of those… those time constraints that go with it, all the activities, all of everything, that that makes it a little bit harder.
P: You know, we… my kids all run cross-country, but they do it all together. We have a homeschool cross-country team and so it's one thing. We don't have to… I don't have to split up and take them a different practices, it's all (Laughs)… you know, one event, one thing.
P: So the first thing you might have to do is you might have to say no to something good, right? You might have to let something go. And that's hard for a lot of moms because we think we're… you know, we're depriving our children. But what you have to remember is you're not raising future children, you're raising future adults. You know, “What's important that they need to know for their life as parents and their life as adults?” you know? “Do you want them to know how to cook, you know, healthy meals or do you want them to just run out and, you know, pick up fast food or whatever they have time for?” And so if you could kind of take a little bit of a longer-term view and say, “Okay, I know, this is hard, but I really want them to be… to understand that, you know, vegetables are good for them and… and this is how you prepare to grow a vegetable and prepare a vegetable and, you know, are able to do that.” And sometimes it makes it a little bit easier to let go of some of those other things that, while they're fun and nice in the short term, really aren't all that necessary when you start thinking about 20 years out.
J: Yeah! And sometimes, I think, it feels like you're all in or all out. I feel like, to do what you're doing, I would almost have to pull my kids out of school to create the time. But I think what you said earlier, just starting small with one thing, and then maybe, you know, creating a list of your choices, good, better, best, I suppose that teaching…
J: … my kids to cook is way better than them sitting on their screens like they're doing right now (Laughs). So…
J: And I kind of… you know, I guess it helps me to think, “It doesn't have to be all or nothing and I can take a few steps.”
P: It doesn’t.
P: And those successes start to breed success. When you start to see what your children are capable of that, you can say to your… you know, your child, “Okay, we're having spaghetti and meatballs for dinner. I want you to go and make that while mom does this.” (Laughs)
P: And they do it and it's on the table and one’s making the spaghetti and meatballs and one’s put together a salad, you're like, “Whoa, I can do more of this!” you know? And those things, they just start to kind of feed on themselves. And what ends up happening is, you know, there's so much talk today, right, about… about self-esteem and the children, you know, and everybody needs a ribbon just for showing up. Well, when your children are doing real life things that, you know, their peers aren't doing and they’re like, “Of course I know how to make dinner, of course I can do my own laundry. I know how to iron the shirt.”
P: There starts to be some pride in that and they start to want to learn to do more. You know, they start to look… like, I have 1 son who loves coming up with new desserts for us and he'll just scour the internet or, you know, recipe books until he finds something new and he makes it on, you know, pretty much like once a week; something new. And sometimes you're like, “Okay, yeah, that wasn’t very good,” and something like, “Oh, that's awesome! We want that again.”
P: And… you know, and he takes such pride in it. So, you know, and that's what you want for your children, you want them to learn the things that they're good at and that they can really implement into their lives because if they can enjoy that kind of stuff, you know, they could enjoy housework and (Laughs)… you know, and cooking and healthy eating and spending time with their family, instead of being entertained on the screen.
P: It goes so much better for their future because they don't need that screen time nearly as much.
J: No. Well, so how do you create the limits for the screen time? Because I'm just being 100% honest, if I said to my kids, “Make this meal,” they would, but there would be some grumbling. And I think it's because they want that screen time instead; and I'm talking about my middle schooler who has more screen time than he should because he has cell phone service. And so how do you limit screen time and give them that motivation to do other things?
P: Okay. Well, you're probably not going to like this answer, but they don't have any screen time (Laughs). They don't have cell phones. They don't have game boys.
J: Ah, okay.
P: We have, you know, a family computer so they… “Can I go and look up a recipe?”
“Of course you can go look up a recipe.” And we do a lot of… when the work is done, like we really like watching, you know, like movies together or documentaries or things like that. And so that's kind of the family reward, but the families work has to be done, right? “Oh, you want… you want to do that? Okay, well, help… go help, you know, your brother, your sister, your dad, your mom, whomever get their stuff done and we could all do that together.”
P: Because I want… you know, technology is so useful, right, it helps in so many ways, but it can also be really detrimental, especially, you know, there are certain children that can get really…
J: I'm with you.
P: … really hooked on it.
P: And for those kids, it's hard to limit. So the screen time is spent as a family where there's a natural beginning and a natural end to it.
J: Okay. Well, so this is where I go back and forth. You can tell you've hit a nerve for me (Laughs). I’m not…
P: Yeah, I kind of picked up on that.
J: (Laughs). Well, so I'm not going to homeschool for various reasons because my kids really, really need social skills. But there's a benefit I see from you having homeschooled because they don't have the expectation that they even should have the screens, whereas kids in public schools, everyone has a phone. If you don't have a phone, you would be completely excluded from most socializing, you know? So would you say that homeschool friends also aren't as into technology as, you know, others who might be in public schools?
P: Okay, so a couple of things. Number one, you talked about socializing, right?
J: Yeah, right.
P: Here's what I would say to you because you even said it, right? So you need the technology to socialize. In my opinion, that's not socialized, right? But that's not socializing; the back and forth on, you know, whether it's FaceTime or Facebook or whatever, that's not real socialization, okay? Socialization is not spending time with peers your age, I mean, how many… once you're an adult, how often do you spend time with people the same exact age as you, right? (Laughs)
J: Right, right.
P: We don't.
P: We… you know, it's older, they're younger, they're all sorts of things. You know, there's lots of reasons not to homeschool, socialization should not be one of them because there are so many ways for your children to interact with other people homeschooling.
J: Yeah, right.
P: And I would argue much more than in… you know, than in the public school setting. So here's what you have to do, if you're going to… you know, you're going to stay public school for them to not have the screen is the problem… and this is a whole lot harder with certain children than others; so absolutely, you know, I will give you that. You have to decide how much you want your children to be conformists versus nonconformists.
J: Ooh, that's good.
P: It is, because are you raising them to just do what everybody else is doing or are you trying to give them the skills to be able to cope to be different? And it's okay if you don't want them to be different, right? If you don't want them to be the nonconformists, I get that. I can understand parents… you know, I can understand specific children, you know, that would struggle with being a little bit different anyway.
P: But, for me, I want my children… but, you know, my children, I have one who has a little harder time going along with everybody. But, you know, if they're all out there and they're all doing… you know, their friends are all doing something bad, I want them to be able to have the strength to say, “No, I'm not going to do that and you shouldn't either.” And a lot of that can start with something as simple as a cellphone; you know, a lot of us don't look at it that way. So I think there's a lot more deeper, you know, deeper thinking we have to do than just, you know, the straight screen time, if that makes sense.
J: Yep, yep, that's true. And would you say your kids know that you value nonconformity? I'm taking a leap there.
P: Yeah, we’re… yeah, I think I pretty much, you know, tell them, you know, “If people think what we're doing is normal then we're doing something wrong,” you know? (Laughs)
J: Oh! That’s good! (Laughs)
P: Because I… you know, you look, right? I mean, look at the average American, do you really want your children to be like the average American?
J: Yeah, yeah.
P: You know, I don't.
P: That's not what I want for them. You know, I want them to be extremely happy, extremely healthy, I want them to live below their means, I want them to know what's important.
P: And so much of that is beaten out of… you know, my husband was a public school teacher for 7 years, my parents are public school teachers, you know, I understand that; I was public schooled. I understand how difficult it is for children in that kind of setting to really stand on their own 2 feet and do, you know, what's important to them, and it's so much easier to just do what everybody else is doing.
J: Yeah. Okay, you're going to have me thinking and thinking.
P: Yeah, you know, homeschooling is a really big decision. And, you know, I talked to… I counsel so many women on this because it is a big change, you know? But what you have to think is all of your fears about homeschooling, there are so many ways around those fears. And so much of it is being afraid that you're going to miss your children, right? That's seem to be the number one, “I'm going to screw this up. Like… you know, I'm going to (Laughs)… they're not going to be able to have a do-over and they're going to be messed up for the rest of their lives.”
P: That can happen anywhere, you know? And you will always do the harder work for what's best for your children than any wonderful teacher in the public school system will have the time and ability to be able to do.
J: Yeah. Well, I'm so impressed with what you're doing; oh my goodness. And then, I really love…
J: I really love that your kids are getting practical real education that's not jumping through hoops, that they're going to use for the rest of their lives. I mean, so cool; how many kids know how to make goat cheese or goat soap?
J: You know?
P: Yup, yup. And, you know, and even if just those life skills, but they… you know, they know how to run the business. You know, my 11 year old is learning the bookkeeping right now; she's doing all the cash deposits and all of that stuff.
P: So just how much ahead of the game she's going to be for her family budget someday.
J: Ah, so cool. Well, if people want to learn more about your store and what you sell, where can they go?
P: The easiest thing is to just go to the website at www.goatmilkstuff.com. I do have a free bar of soap for them if that's something that they would like to get.
P: All they need to do is go to go is go to goat (Laughs)… is go to goatmilkstuff.com/vibrantsoap; and vibrantsoap is 1 word, there's no space in between.
J: No way! We have our own vibrant happy soap! Okay.
J: goatmilkstuff.com/vibrantsoap; love it! Thank you!
P: Correct. Yeah! Absolutely.
(Interview resumes) [27:57]
J: Let's talk about some of your favorite things, PJ. What is a habit that contributes to your success? You know, and we didn't get into how you take care of yourself amidst having 8 kids in a business. So if the habit relates to self-care, I would be super curious how you find a little time for yourself. (Laughs)
P: Yeah. So, you know, I prioritize sleep. If I don't get enough sleep, I am not a nice person. (Laughs)
P: And that, as you imagine, is always difficult to do. So I really turn off and go to sleep so I'm not up as late as everybody would have me. And then we have… I literally don't have time to go to a gym like I used to, you know, exercise, you know, half an hour or an hour day; I don't have time for that. So what I have learned to do is incorporate exercise into my day. So every time I go to the bathroom, when I'm done, I do squats; I do 10 to 15 to 20 squats, and I'll do a couple of like push-ups against the sink.
P: And then, you know, when I'm… if I'm washing dishes, I'll do calf raises while I'm washing dishes; you know, things like that where you don't have to work up a sweat, you don't have to change clothes to go out and do this, it's just into your day. Because if… you know, if you go to bathroom 8 times a day and you do 10 squats, when you're done, that's 80 squats a day.
P: That makes a huge difference.
P: So, you know, I challenge people, “Don't feel like you have to do this special routine workout. You know, “What are you doing regularly?” You know, things like, you know, brushing my teeth; when I brush my teeth, I stand on 1 leg and I just balance on 1 leg 1 brush while I’m brushing my teeth, you know?
J: Oh! Yeah.
P: Things like that because you have to anchor it to something so you remember to do it.
J: Okay, PJ, I have a book idea for you, and no one else better listen out there. But… (Laughs)
J: … wouldn't that be the coolest book if you share about 100 ideas for building exercises into your day? I just want you to create the freebie at least…
P: Oh, that would be fun.
J: … and send it to me (Laughs)… with the 1-legged toothbrush!
J: The 1-legged toothbrush, you call it the move. (Laughs)
J: That’s so good.
P: Yeah. I could probably… at least a blog post, I could definitely…
J: Oh yeah!
P: I podcasted about it once so I think we could definitely make a blog post about that. (Laughs)
J: Send… send me a link… send me a link. I will…
J: I will hook it up (Laughs). And what's your favorite easy meal or the favorite easy meal you have your kids cook?
P: Yeah. So we have massive gardens, right? (Laughs)
P: So usually it's a matter of what is fresh and needing to be used up in the garden. But I would have to say just the quick and easy is anything pasta-based. So to throw on a big huge… because we… when I make pasta, it makes 4 pounds of pasta, so my kids are really big eaters.
P: So whether it's a cheese-based sauce or if I have tomatoes in the garden and tomato-based sauce or would do pepper-based sauces and stuff like that, that's probably the fastest and easiest thing that we can toss together.
J: Oh, yum! And your favorite kitchen gadget.
P: For us, it is definitely my knives. We have a really good set of Cutco knives that we send back once a year to get factory sharpened. And, like I said, we put up, you know, we grow hundreds and hundreds of pounds of produce every year, so we are constantly cutting and dicing and chopping. But I have a whole set where everybody can have their own knives that they prefer that… that's actually nice and sharp. I tell people when they're teaching kids to cut, the sharper the knives are, the less likely they are to cut themselves. If they do cut themselves, it tends to be a little bit worse, but they're much less likely to cut themselves with sharp knives; so that's important to keep on top of that.
J: Ah. So you send them back and then, I assume, you have a spare set. (Laughs)
P: You know what? We actually do; we do it when go on vacation.
P: We… when we go on vacation, we pack it up and before the day we leave, we ship it off, and then so it's usually back by the time we come back from vacation.
J: Okay. Well, so and I'm thinking, calendar system for a family of 10, what do you use?
P: We just use Google Calendar, that way everybody's got access to it. We have probably 10 different calendars as far as, you know, calendars for the goats, calendars for the business, calendars for each of the children. We have guest… a guest calendar or so…
J: No way!
P: Because we have lots and lots of people (Laughs)… who want to stay with us. So…
P: We kind of keep track of who's there when and stuff. So… and then you can give access to anybody, so that's definitely what we use very, very frequently.
J: Ah. That would be a cool blog post too. See, your nonconformity, your amazing life, you have books ahead of you (Laughs)… I love it.
P: You know, it's really funny, that's what I'm actually working on right now. (Laughs)
J: Really! What are you writing?
P: Hopefully. Yeah, well, I actually have a series about 6 books planned.
P: The first one will pretty much just be our story and, you know, how we manage to do what we do.
P: And some of the lessons we've learned from it.
J: Oh, so good.
P: Good, yeah, yeah.
J: Okay. Well, when you have it done, come back on the show and tell us about it; that'd be great. Well…
P: Alright, I can do that, yeah.
J: What is your favorite book, if you could narrow it down?
P: I would probably have to say the book ‘Margin’ by Richard Swenson. I try and reread that book every year. It talks about having space in your life. So there's like 4 different areas like time, physical energy, finances, and then emotional energy. And so there’s that space between being overwhelmed and being able to keep up with where you're at, which obviously is a massive problem in our culture and I think mothers, were always stilling… trying to fill up that margin with more stuff. But if you can just keep that little bit of space, life is so much more enjoyable.
J: ‘Margin’ by Richard Swenson; sounds great. And the best advice you've ever received.
P: Probably to remember what's important, okay? And that sounds so easy and simple, and yet it's so hard to do because we get so distracted by what we think is important and sometimes even more what's important to other people, right; other people, what's important to them on us. And we need to constantly fight against that. We need to constantly remind ourselves that what we're doing isn't necessarily what's important and we need to find a way to stop all that other stuff and focus on what is truly important to us for the long term.
J: Well, how do you decide what's truly important for you? Because, you know, like you said, it's not going to be the same as the next person.
P: You have to look 20 years down the road, right? You have to look and say, “Okay what's going to matter 20 years from now? Is what I'm doing contributing to that or is this just like totally taking away from that?” you know? And, for me, 20 years from now, I want… you know, I don't know if I'm still going to be here, if I'm going to be gone, but I want my children to be best friends and have successful marriages and families of their own; that's what's most important to me. And so, “What am I doing to facilitate that? You know, am I giving them the memories to share that they have those common bonds that have this common ground? Am I teaching them how to sacrifice? Am I teaching them how to work hard? Am I teaching them how to put someone else's knees in front of their own?” okay? All of that stuff you can work towards in the things you're doing today or you can be doing things that completely take it away. You know, you talked about the screen time, it obviously bothers you.
P: You know, “What about the screen time that's going to help with that?” you know? “Okay, well, if I have to have screen time, is there any specific kind of screen time that I can put in place that might help with that?” you know? So a lot of it is just having the time to think, you know, just pulling back a little bit. For me, it's when I weed. I weed the garden a lot and I just spent a lot of time while I weed just thinking, you know, about those sorts of things.
J: Yeah, you know what? I find my best thinking happens when I'm moving as well; walking or whatever, it… it flows. So that's…
P: Yeah. I'm not a big believer in multitasking with stuff that takes, you know, energy because I think your brain gets distracted. But I think there's a lot of things we do with muscle memory and that's when we could be thinking and doing those other things, and that's when like the multitasking actually happens.
J: Yeah, that's true, that's true; when it's on autopilot.
J: Well, this has been phenomenal. I've loved everything you've shared. I have so much to think about; I hoped our listeners are thinking as well. So let me remind our listeners they can find links to everything you talked about, your site, that link for the free soap, on jenriday.com/78. And now, let's hear your personal happiness formula. What would be a few words or phrases that would go in a formula for your happiness?
P: So my personal happiness, I think it's probably sleep plus eating well plus doing nothing with my family would make me happy. You know, by doing nothing time, just the time when we're sitting around, we don't have anything planned, we're just together being a family, telling stories, laughing; you know, to me, that's what it's all about.
J: Yeah, the margins. (Laughs)
P: Yep, absolutely.
J: Let's have a challenge from you to our listeners, something that might benefit their lives, and then we'll say goodbye.
P: I would challenge your listeners to figure out something that they can let go of, right? Because I guarantee most of your listeners probably don't have a lot of margin in their lives; they're probably doing a little too much. So, you know, is there something you can let go of and stop doing and say no to so that you can free up more time for just some space just to be, just to think, and just to be with your family?
J: Thank you so much for being on the show, PJ; phenomenal. Everyone, check out PJ's site at goatmilkstuff.com. And if you go to goatmilkstuff.com/vibrantsoap, she'll send you some free soap; so generous. Thank you so much PJ.
P: You're welcome. Thanks so much for having me.
J: Don't forget to head over to goatmilkstuff.com/vibrantsoap to get your soap; I just ordered mine and I can't wait for it to arrive. And also, come back next week when I'll be talking with Rachael Pickworth, all about the law of attraction. You've heard me say on the podcast before that, “Like attracts like and that which we focus on increases.” This applies in parenting; trying to get our kids to behave a certain way. This applies with finances, relationships, everything in our lives. Rachael's a mom of 3 and she is also an expert with the law of attraction and she'll be telling us how to use it in our lives. That'll be on Monday, and be sure to come back Thursday for a happy bit. And a small challenge for you today, take time for you, 10 minutes, quiet, alone, reflective; go. Alright, I'll see you next time. Take care.
Outro: Thanks for listening to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast at www.jenriday.com.