What is Cultivating Us?
Hi! I’m Karin! I started Cultivating Us to share the ways my family intentionally has fun together in ways that encourage learning, faith, and a willingness to care for others.
I have come to believe that through this intentional fun as a family, we can we can encourage deep relationships, and create well connected families who are kind, confident, and able to face life’s challenges together.
We all get to make our own decisions about how we parent and manage our families. I’m not saying you should do it “my way” or that there is even one right way… I think we should all have grace with each other. Rather than critique or judge, we should encourage, support, and learn from one another. Starting this blog is a step of faith for me, as its something that others have encouraged me to do over the years, but the timing never seemed right. And, it always felt like if I did this, I would be implying that I thought people should do things my way but that’s not my heart…
With that said, I hope you take my ideas and adjust them to fit your family’s style:
- I hope the things I reflect on will help you think about your own family and ways you can be intentional with them.
- I hope the books and products I share will be useful to you in this journey (or that they will give you a much needed break from the chaos of family!)
- To my foster family friends, I hope what you read here encourages you and reminds you we are not alone in this crazy journey. To those who don’t foster, I hope this gives you insights into what the foster care adventure is like. God calls us each to our own “thing” and we just need to be faithful to do that “ thing.” For our family, for now, foster care is one of our “things” but that doesn’t mean I think it should be yours as well.
Let’s find our thing. Let’s encourage and learn from each other. Let’s create connected families and go make this world better, all to the glory of God!
So, That’s my passion for this place and why you’ll find stuff here about:
- having fun together,
- learning through the use of educationally sound strategies for both traditional and homeschooling families,
- honest and straight forward book & product reviews, and
- transparent reflections about my family’s foster care journey.
Why the Words Cultivating Us?
When I started thinking about what I hoped to do in this space, I just kept thinking that I wanted to encourage families so they would be stronger together, and so they could use that to make a positive difference for those around them.
“Cultivate” means things like: to prepare, to encourage growth, to develop or improve, to refine, to devote, to foster. These are all words that summarize what I want for my own family and for yours- that we can cultivate the things in our families that will make us into what God has for us.
“Us” includes all the various communities that we are a part of- my immediate family, our group of friends, our church community, our school community, our neighborhood community, and even our state, national, and global community. It is my hope that together we can cultivate and grow our families into ones who are able to impact these communities around us.
Who is Karin?
I’m a Daughter, Sister, Wife, Mom, Educator, and friend. My husband of over 20 years and I have to two amazing kids, and together we have fostered seven sweet babies we have loved deeply and let go. Foster care has been an incredible adventure for my family in recent years, both amazing and awful, and we love the fact that our family can work together to make a difference in the life of a baby who truly needs us. My husband is a fire captain who used to be a youth pastor. We met in college and still genuinely enjoy each other’s company after all these years. I’ve worked with kids of all ages in a variety of settings, taught both middle school and graduate education, homeschooled my daughter, and volunteered a zillion hours at my kids’ schools (both public and private). For a while a colleague and I spoke at various mom’s groups about using play to help kids learn. We wrote a book to use while we talked called Play on Purpose (which is still available on Amazon, and while the content is amazing, its probably time to update it a bit). My family loves being together- we play games, read books, play outside, work around the house, take walks, go to the beach, camp and water ski/wakeboard, go skiing/snowboarding, and visit my family. My kids are involved in sports and music, and so we spend lots of time doing that. No matter what we are doing, we genuinely desire to glorify God though the things we do. We don’t always get it right, but we try and He has been good to us!
Karin’s answers to a few fun questions:
Favorite Childhood Books: As a young child, it was “Good Night, Moon” by Margaret Wise Brown. In elementary school, it was the Little House on the Prairie books. I have always loved reading!
Fun Childhood Memory: Taking family vacations together and laughing as a family where my dad kept us cracking up even when things got crazy. Helping dad in the yard (thanks to our special times back then, I can fix a sprinkler with the best of them today!) Shopping with mom, and her taking us swimming at my grandma’s house. Playing in the backyard with my brother, on our swing set and in the mud!
Best Parenting Advice I’ve Been Given: Enjoy every moment because time goes by so quickly! Sometimes I stop myself and take a deep breath, trying to capture the moment in my mind… Its true, that the days are long sometimes, but it does go quickly, and being a mom is my most favorite job! I tell my kids that all the time. Doesn’t mean they don’t make me crazy sometimes, but they know I mean it!
What I Do With My Kids When I’m Totally Exhausted: Play outside! That way we don’t make a mess inside, and we all do better with a little fresh air! If we run into trouble and the outside play doesn’t work, then we will play a game inside (picking something fun, that doesn’t require too much of my brain power or make too much of a mess).
My Role Model Or Inspirations: I’m inspired by the story of Esther in the Bible. I like how her faith compelled her to take a difficult risk even. My parents are my role models- they don’t expect me to be exactly like them but encourage my family greatly, and love us unconditionally. So much of who I am and how I live is deeply impacted by them.
Favorite Food as a Child: Mexican. Some things never change. I’d still have it every day!!!
The #1 Most Played Song On My iPod: It changes… Right now its “Trust” by Lauren Daigle. I love the words. My kids love that song…I love listening to them sing it.
Favorite Indoor/Outdoor Activity: I enjoy sitting with my coffee (which I mix with chocolate and milk and sweet stuff so it hardly tastes like coffee!) and reading a relaxing book. I love playing with my kids or going to the beach. I also enjoy gardening.
Least Favorite Chore: Dusting. No, make that laundry-it never ends! So maybe its both 😉
Favorite Time Of Day/Day Of The Week/Month Of The Year: Summer evenings are my favorite! Especially if there’s the smell of freshly mowed grass and the sound of my kids playing happily nearby!
Favorite Sound: The waves crashing on the sand at the beach… unless its my kids laughing, which is the most amazing sound ever!