My son and I had to kill several hours today while waiting for my husband to finish some business in the city. We decided to go shopping which is something I never do. Right now my son is very interested in music and we decided to see if we could find any stores like Musician’s Friend in the big city. We went to malls and shopping strips of all sorts but didn’t find a single music store. I guess if we want to find music related items we will just have to keep shopping online because we certainly aren’t going to find what we need in our small town or in the nearest big city to us.
We just got back from being away for 3 days. It is nice to be home. While I really enjoyed our trip there is something about traveling that just wears me out. Even though we didn’t travel far away it still feels like a journey to get home. I am looking forward to sleeping in my own bed and not having to listen to people talking in the hotel hallway until all hours of the night. We stayed in a very nice hotel which would make you think that people would have a certain level of class but this wasn’t the case last night. We were all awakened by some drunk people carrying on until all hours. Sleep is something I am very much looking forward to.
This is a very busy week for me. I have to pack for my older son who is going away to scout camp for a week next week. I also have to pack for my husband who is going away on business for a week. In addition I have to get our school supplies packed up and mailed back to the school by the end of the week. I haven’t even had time to browse the internet. Maybe next week I can mindlessly look at joyjewelers.com or read the news because everyone will be away and I will be home alone. I am looking forward to a bit of down time.
Our neighbors tree has been a cause of concern for us for a while. It has a split that goes from the top of the trunk to the bottom. The neighbors approached us about helping them to pay the cost of cutting it down. We have decided to help because even though our deductible would be less than the cost of having the tree cut it is worth it to us not to have to deal with the inconveniance of having the tree either fall on our house or our garden. It will cost us around $500 for our share of the tree but I think that will be money well spent not to have to worry about the tree any longer.
Last week one of our projects finally came into fruition. We built a homemade incubator and a week ago our first hatching of eggs took place. There are many families who would never try something like this. A normal day for those families might be looking for print services in new york to order birthday invitations. For us family projects involve working towards becoming more self-sufficient. We now have 8 quail that we hope to raise as breeders for future hatches. From those hatches we intend to develop a source of eggs and meat.
So, by chance I ended up having a ton of blood work done. As it turns out I have a few new health issues I have to address. Despite eating healthy and exercising daily I am still prone to developing a bunch of diseases. I now get to take statins everyday due to a genetic factor that causes my lipid panel to be completely out of whack. I carry the anti-bodies for Graves Disease and have to have that monitored on an ongoing basis from now on. To add to the mix I am now insulin resistant. All this despite loosing 30 plus pounds and burning 400 calories a day exercising. Living proof that diet and exercise don’t always fix everything.
I workout 6 days a week. It has become something I look forward to doing and am proud of having done. Over the last four months I have made serious strides to improve my health and make lasting changes. I carefully watch my diet and my efforts are paying off. I have lost about 18 pounds during this time and am very pleased with that. I have lost weight very quickly in the past but have never kept it off. I truly believe this time is different because I am not doing some crazy diet or starving myself to loose weight. The things I am doing are all the steps necessary to make lasting lifelong changes. I know in my heart that if I keep doing what I am doing that eventually I will be at my goal weight and this battle with weight will finally be won.
When my children are done with their online lessons for the day I make them turn off their computers and find something else to do. I know parents who cyber school that let they kids sit on their computers all day and night. I know my children would if they could and it wouldn’t matter what they were watching as long as they were watching something. I have no doubt that they would watch videos about www.wegotpumps.com if they could. I refuse to let them just sit and be entertained by the computer all day. I think it forces them to entertain themselves when they aren’t constantly tethered to an electronic device.
Just last week I got over my second cold of the winter season. I was only well for a few days when I came down with yet another cold. Each of my colds has had different symptoms. If they had the same symptoms I would begin to think that my body just wasn’t getting over the first cold. I think my children are dragging home these viruses when they go to there activities. At least we haven’t been horribly sick. It has been just enough to make feel me drug out on a continual basis. I haven’t let it stop me from working out despite it being hard to breathe properly.
So, I never thought I would do this but I applied for a license to carry a firearm in my state. It is something that my Dad and my in-laws have been after us to do. We went to our local sheriff’s office about two weeks ago to turn in the paperwork. My husband received his approval today and went and picked up his license. I have not received my approval notice yet but expect it shouldn’t be too much longer. I don’t really intend to walk around with a firearm on a routine basis but if feel a situation warrants carrying one at least we will be legal.
This summer we have a goal of spending a great deal of time fishing. We have fished on and off over the years but haven’t had much success at actually catching fish. My husband and I have been spending time reading and learning everything we can about the tips and techniques suggested by great fishermen. We have also been researching gear and ordering bit by bit the things we will need. I am excited to have a hobby that we enjoy as a family and that we are going to really try to master it once and for all.
I have been feeling really tired for about a week. Two days ago my ears started hurting. About a day after that began my throat started to feel full and swollen. Today it is sore, and I feel like I need a nap. I officially have another cold. Despite feeling crummy I made myself get on the treadmill, and I walked for 3.5 miles. Somehow I feel better for having exercised even when all I wanted to just lay around. For just about 3 months I have been firmly committed to exercising 6 days a week and I refuse to let a cold hold me back.
Normally I am someone who like to cleanup from Christmas right after the New Year begins. I get overwhelmed by the clutter of Christmas decorations and want everything tidied up as soon as possible. This year I haven’t gotten around to cleaning up and still have my Christmas tree up and the crinkle taffeta table linens sitting around. I just don’t feel the need this year to rush to get everything packed away. Maybe the holidays were so relaxed this year that I want them to continue just a little bit longer. I have plans to start cleaning up in the morning but if that doesn’t happen I am fine with leaving things up a few more days.
The scale is finally moving in the right direction! I started running in early November and couldn’t imagine ever being able to run for more than 5 minutes. Tomorrow I am scheduled to run for 30 minutes which is something I have already done. I simply cannot believe that 9 short weeks ago running was such a strange notion. I really like it now and intend to keep it up at least 3 days a week. I am also starting strength training and my next goal is to finish the “100 Pushups” program. I am quite proud of myself and happy with the results of my efforts.
One of things that we had to accomplish today was some shopping in a big chain store. I typically prefer to shop at small local businesses but had no choice in this situation. I was surprised just how pleasant everyone in the store was. They all seemed happy and glad to be doing their jobs. Maybe they have great employee and employer representation when it comes to how the business is managed. Whatever they are doing it seemed to be the right thing, and I will definitely shop at that chain again. I haven’t had great shopping experiences with large chains in the past but I will be rethinking that position given today’s experience.
Today the entire family got up early and headed out the door. It is rare that I am able to get my entire family up, clean, and dressed before 9 am on a Saturday but somehow we did it. It ended up being a very nice day with limited stress. I was surprised how much we managed to accomplish in just a few hours today. Normally I prefer to run errands alone because my family tends to make me feel like I am herding cats when we are out and about. I love them dearly but they all just seem to stray everywhere and I end up forgetting half of what I set out to do.
We celebrated Christmas with my family a couple of days early. It was the only time my sister-in-law was available to share the day with us. I don’t really know her that well and don’t have much in common with her. She and my younger brother knew each other in high school and were in the band together. One thing she loves to do when they get together is relive their band memories. I got to hear everything from how the band won this competition to how much they like their band director. I also now know about buying a vandoren at wwbw and why this is such a good idea. I have no idea what she was talking about because I don’t have a musical bone in my body. I am just glad she filled the silence, and I didn’t have to work to make conversation.
It occurred to me today that I really am running – on a consistent basis. Today, I began week seven of the running program that I am using. I can now running consistently for 25 minutes at a stretch. Never in my life have I been able to do something like this. It really feels amazing to be able to do something I always thought I was incapable of. I feel like I can no longer tell myself that certain fitness goals are unattainable. I will finish this program, and then I will work on improving my speed. I am a slow runner but I am running and I am going to keep running.
I have been working on getting my Christmas shopping done. I do not like to shop in crowded stores during the holidays. It drives me crazy to fight crowds and stand in lines to buy gifts. To avoid all this I shop online and love it. I can browse at my own leisure and not worry about taking up aisle space. Usually I find deals that are as good or better than what I would find in a store. The best part is that everything is delivered to my door, and I never have to leave the house.
We don’t have much shopping left to do for people on our Christmas list. The only people we have to buy for is my in-laws. They are absolutely the hardest people we have to buy for. One idea I have is to get them a gift certificate for house cleaning services in raleigh nc. They don’t need anything and won’t give us any ideas for things to get them which forces us to get creative. It seems like every year we find ourselves in this same position and worry that what we get them won’t seem thoughtful enough. In my mind who wouldn’t want to not have to clean their house once in a while?
We started remodeling our kitchen a couple of years ago. It has been a long slow process because we have been doing all the work ourselves and only doing things when we could afford to do them. The final phase of our remodel has been to do the countertops. This weekend we installed a new sink and faucet. Both of them are vintage items which gives the kitchen exactly the look we had been going for. Tomorrow we will skim coat the countertops in concrete. It will be a multi-stage process. Once that is done we will repaint the cabinets and put on new hardware. Then the job will be done.
My oldest son’s best friend attends public school. I think it is pretty neat that he and my son are friends. I also love that he loves spending time at our house. He is a really great kid and is a joy to be around. I think it is funny that when he is walking home from school he often comes to our house before he goes home to his own house. His mom is aware of his visits so it isn’t like he is avoiding going home. He says he simply enjoys being with our family. I had friends like that when I was a kid and am really glad to be able to be that family for someone else.
This weekend was a flurry of canning. We were given a few bushels of apples earlier in the week that absolutely had to be processed into apple sauce. At the last minute we were given some venison that a hunter did not want. So, we ended up canning venison right after the apple sauce. For those not familiar with canning I have to tell you that it is a bit of work and can be tiring. I also ended up canning a couple dozen jars of mushrooms. All in all, I have been exhausted since them. I think it was all the standing in one place.
I thought that the summer was over, and that fall was on the way. Our temperatures had dropped, and the evenings were quite cold. Something happened, and for the last two days our temperatures have been in the nineties. What is really weird is that in two days the daytime high will be in the fifties. I find it bizarre that our temperatures are fluctuating so much. Today was absolutely miserable with the heat and humidity. I am very much looking forward to Friday and the low temperatures we are going to get. As much as I have enjoyed summer I am ready for it to be over.
There was a time when I believed that shopping was a sport. I loved shopping and buying and convincing myself I needed things. We were very close to needing a free consultation bankruptcy appointment. Finally,we decided to get our finances under control and pay off our debt. It took a while, but we did it. Today we only buy little things that we really need. We save up for big purchases and pay for them with cash. It feels really good to be out of debt and to no longer have all that worry hanging over our heads.
This weekend we went to our large garden to harvest our corn and potatoes. This was the first year that we tried to grow corn. As it turns out because of my husband’s health issues we are not eating corn anymore. I figured I would harvest the corn, and we would only eat it occasionally. As it turns out we waited too long to harvest the corn. It was overgrown and although it looked pretty it did not taste good at all. Right now I have decided to just let it dry on the cob and either use it to feed my chickens or for seed at some time in the future. I guess we weren’t meant to eat corn after all.
My husband has been waiting on some results from lab work he had done. His doctor’s office is only open four days a week. This makes it tricky at times to get in contact with them. They are open at 9 am and close at 4 pm. They also close for an hour at lunch. Every time we call them they say they will call me back. In the year that I have been going there they have never called me back. The only way we get in contact with them is to keep calling them. If my husbands doctor weren’t good I would encourage him to go elsewhere because I often feel like things could fall through the cracks at this office.
One of our good friends is a high school music teacher. Because of budget cuts she has been unemployed for the last year. She has been able to supplement her income by giving private lessons. She is absolutely brillian when it comes to music and can tell you about everything music related like buying the best blackstar ht-5 at musicians friend. I have no clue what she is talking about most of the and don’t really care that much for music. She called this week to tell me that she had been called back to work at the school because they found some extra funding. I am really very happy for her and glad to see her skills put to good use.
My oldest son has come down with a summer cold. He has a fever of around 102 degrees and a cough and sore throat. Summer colds are the worst in my opinion because of the nice weather. At least in the winter you don’t feel like you want to go out in the snow when you are sick. At least today isn’t horribly hot, and there is a nice breeze so we can have the windows open. My hope is that he is feeling better very soon and that his fever breaks. He doesn’t seem extremely sick just a bit tired and sick of being sick.
We go through a great deal of ink in our house. Because we home school it seems like someone is always printing something. Ink gets to be expensive, and I have tried a number of ways to save money on ink. I have tried refilling ink cartridges myself. This has proven to be very messy with mixed results. Someone suggested something like eoncode web to print solutions but I haven’t looked into that. What I really wish was that I could find a clean and easy way to refill cartridges that would actually provide nice clean prints.
It seems like every summer I find myself typing a post about how weird the weather is. Last summer the weather was unbearably hot. This summer aside from one week our weather has been pretty cool and rainy. We haven’t had to haul water to our remote garden once. Last year we had to haul water every other day just to keep the plants alive. The weather this year is also cool enough that the plants aren’t really producing like crazy. They have fruit but I would certainly be happy with a bit more.
We have several raised garden beds in the back yard. My husband build a hoop house to cover one of the beds in order to extend our gardening season. The hoop house was built with a stainless steel piano hinge to make it so that it could be raised and lowered to adjust the environment according to the weather. We are thinking of building a second hoop house using a different style that will allow us to grow well into the winter. It would be really cool to harvest fresh vegetables in January in our climate.
For several months I was very involved in couponing. I was able to build quite a stockpile of things that we need and use throughout the year. It was almost like having a job tracking down deals and matching them up with coupons in order to save the most possible money on these items. I spent several hours each week matching these items and coupons. I finally reached my burn out point about three weeks ago. It occurred to me that we have about a year supply of everything imaginable that can be stored. I am now going to take a break from couponing and focus on other things.
Every day I spend an hour or so catching up on news from around the world. It is a ritual of mine each and every morning. I make coffee and then I sit and read the news. Why I do this I am not quite sure. The news always leaves me feeling drug down. I would likely have a better outlook if i simply read about immigration lawyers in los angeles as opposed to the news. So very rare is it to find an uplifting story on that makes headlines. I suppose if the news were all happiness and joy people would not be as drawn to reading the news.
Tonight my husband is off to his twenty-fifth high school reunion. It doesn’t seem like it has been that long since we graduated. I elected not to go with him because I really feel like he deserves to have a night that is all his own. I actually have no desire to sit and listen to them relive their high school years over and over for hours. The stories were the same 15 years ago and five before that and so on. I could tell them by heart all on my own. So, I am home with my children and I hope that he has a safe and enjoyable night out and about.
Just about a year ago I bought a new laptop. My old laptop was about 6 years old and was due to be replaced. I got a deal on a refurbished Lenovo laptop and was really happy with my purchase up until 2 days ago. Out of the blue I started getting error messages on the screen telling my that there was a hard disc problem. After much fiddling with the computer I ultimately ran diagnostic software that confirmed the hard disc was about to fail. Thankfully the computer was just shy of the expiration of the one year warranty. I have now sent it in and am hoping for a positive outcome from the repair. I am typing this post on my old now 7 year old laptop that is still going strong. I will definitely we going back to Dell with my next computer purchase.
Have you ever spent time with someone on a regular basis who just drives you crazy? This is a stupid question because we all have that experience from time to time. I tend to be someone who distances myself from people who push my buttons whenever I can. I am currently struggling with allowing my child to get together with a friend and my wanting to punch myself in the head when having to deal with the child’s mother. The woman wore a shirt to my house yesterday that said “I don’t mean to be difficult it just comes naturally”…That tells me that either she realizes she is a pain in the ass or someone else realizes it and gifted her the shirt. Either way she drives me insane and I kick myself each and every time I consent to a play date. We are such polar opposites on our style and approach to the world. The difference is that I shut up and don’t try to share my every view and cram it down people’s throats…
It seems like each and every we day we are given a reminder of how precious life is. It could be a simple little thing or something large and horrific. Yesterday I couldn’t help but hug my children tighter and that God that they are here with me. As I watched the news about the tornado in Oklahoma my heart just ached for the families who had lost so very, very much. The thought of all those children being hurt, killed, or missing is gut wrenching. My prayers are with each and every person impacted by such horrific devastation. I can only hope that we will hear miraculous stories of survival in the hours and days to come.
There are days when I ask myself why I opened the door to having a conversation with a particular person. The other day I was browsing in a hardware store and this guy stuck up a conversation with me about the various products I was looking at. Before I knew it he was involved in this lengthy story about his pool and his pentair heat pumps. I don’t have a pool and don’t know a single thing about heat pumps. All I really wanted to do was buy some parts I needed to construct a trellis in my garden. I guess the guy felt that I needed to know about his pool and was open to hearing his tale.There must be something about me that gives people the sense that I care or that I want to talk to them.
My youngest son is about 6.5 years old. He is at the age where he is completely fascinated with his bodily functions. It is gross, but he finds the greatest joy in acknowledging everything that comes out of his body. No matter how much I try to impress upon that this is not proper he persists in telling us about his bathroom adventures or what sounds come out of him. His other favorite thing to do is see just how often he can incorporate bathroom words into everyday conversation. I have decided that this is just a phase and that it will pass. The more I point it out to him the more he fixates on talking about it.
My husband has several hobbies. One thing that he likes to do with our children is to go metal detecting. They call it treasure hunting. Nothing gives them greater joy than finding a cache of old coins or possibly some silver rounds. They even get excited when really old bottle caps. I love that they have something they can all do together that gets them outside and away from technology. Maybe one day they will actually find some treasure which would be really cool. For now we are just happy with an odd coin here and there.
I used to live in a neighborhood where it was illegal to sell stuff door to door. I didn’t fully appreciate this law until recently. It is not illegal to sell stuff door to door in our neighborhood. Once the weather turns even slightly warm it is as if buses pull up an send people out on a daily basis to peddle crap. Yesterday we had 3 people here trying to sell us one thing or another. It is ridiculous. One guys stood on the porch knocking for what seemed like forever even though it should have been clear that I wasn’t going to answer the door. I finally made a sign an stuck it to our front door stating that we do not welcome these visits. I know it is a job and someone has to do it but I don’t have to like it when they come to my door.
It always seems like we have a project planned for each summer. This year is no different. We are planning on taking one of the camps that my parents have and repairing it. Right now the camp is full of stuff that my folks have stored in it and no longer use. The biggest project will be to convince my folks to part with stuff that is just sitting there taking up space. For some reason they always think they will find a use for these items despite not having used them in decades. One we get the camp empty we will then be able to assess just how much work needs to be done to it. Hopefully the biggest project is emptying the camp, and we don’t find a ton of structural damage.
In a couple of hours we will be heading to my brother’s house for Easter dinner. I am not really looking forward to it because his wife always gets so worked up and chatters endlessly about stuff that doesn’t always make sense to me. She might as well be giving me cigar reviews or explaining quantum physics to me because her streams of chatter are so hard to follow. This is the first year that she is handling Easter dinner, and I am quite sure this will only add to her stress level. Given that she doesn’t cook it should be quite interesting to see how it all turns out. Hopefully it is over in short order, and we are home safe and sound in a short period of time. I am hoping that she doesn’t suggest we play board games. For some reason she loves board games and always tries to get everyone to play.
I took children for their yearly physicals this week. It is always interesting to see how much they have grown over the last year. What was really funny is that my younger son was two inches shorter than he was a year ago. This leads me to believe that whoever measured him last year didn’t record the right numbers. My older son has grown two inches in the last year but only gained a couple of pounds. My younger son supposedly gained 15 pounds which really doesn’t seem right. Given that he isn’t overweight and his clothes are shorter than last year I am quite confident that the doctor’s office didn’t record things properly.
Today is the first day that I can truly say I feel like spring is here. This winter has seemed unbelievably long and dreary. The weather has warmed up, and the sun is shining bright and strong. I don’t think I will be daydreaming about highlands nc homes for sale today. I might even feel motivated to start planning my spring garden. This time last year I was our rototilling the garden. Our ground is still frozen solid, but I know that it won’t be long before I can start digging in the soil. I will know the time is right when I start to see buds in the trees and it looks like that time is just around the corner.
Our community has been shaken by the disappearance of one of our most active citizens. This person is someone who is known for giving his time and energy to everyone. My children know him as a leader of a couple of groups they belong to. He is simply not someone who you would every expect any harm to come to. The search for him has been very troubling because there are simply not any clues as to what might have happened to him. Explaining this to my children has been tough because they have no concept of a person vanishing without a reason. The only thing we can do is hope and pray that he has simply taken some time for himself and that he return takes place very soon.
I workout with serious intensity four to five times a week. During each workout I burn over 400 calories. My activity includes walking uphill at a fairly rapid pace. I have am not someone who can just casually exercise and see results. You won’t find yogitoes here in this house. What frustrates me to end is that I am not seeing dramatic results. I have been working out for 3 months and would expect to see some big changes by now but I haven’t. I guess there is something that I am not doing that I need to be doing. I suspect I have to cut out carbohydrates in order to see the results I expect to see.
Last week I decided to start shopping at CVS after reading what good deals there were to be had there. It takes some planning but there are definitely ways of getting some incredible bargains. I ordered a bunch of coupons on the internet for all the things that were on sale that I wanted to buy. The items I was buying also offered cash back coupons on each purchase. In the end I ended up spending very little for a great number of things. It is just a wee bit addictive but I can really see why people are so into shopping there. I never saw the point before this because the prices just seemed to high but at the time I didn’t know how the deals worked. I am now hooked.
This has been a very busy week in our house. It seemed like we had something going on every single day and night this week. My son had a project he needed to display for Boy Scouts. I thought about sending it off for overnight printing to have it professionally done in a rapid manner, but we ended up getting it done in time. This weekend we completed a large building project for organizing my pantry which will really simplify organizing it for me. My children also got to go sledding for a while this afternoon. All in all we are a tired and happy family who did not waste a moment of free time this week.
I spent the better part of today working on organizing my extended pantry. I keep a fair amount of food on hand and needed to get a bunch of it processed into packages for long term storage. Most of what I did to day was to take the food out of the original packaging and place them in food saver bags and vacuum seal them. This not only condenses the amount of space they require in my pantry, but also extends the shelf-life of the product. Most people don’t realize that food will store for a significantly longer period of time when it is properly packaged in an air tight container.
I have fairly long hair. Well, it is the longest hair I have ever had. I love having long hair but hate taking care of it and hate spending tons of money on hair care products. I recently learned a way to cut it that takes literally 5 minutes and is perfect every time. I am now trying to make my own beauty and personal hygiene products. One method I read suggested not using shampoo at all but rather to simply wash with a mixture of baking soda and water. This is then rinsed and followed with a conditioner mix of apple cider vinegar and water. I am now two days into this method and can’t report one way or the other what I think of it. Apparently it takes a few weeks for your hair to adjust so I will be giving it a few more weeks before I decide what I think.
Since returning from our Ham Radio class this morning we have been sitting around trying to figure out how to program them. This has been nothing short of exhausting. We finally decided to switch topics and look into accessories for our radios. One thing we have been trying to find is the best rechargeable battery for the type of radio we own. We all own the same brand which keeps things a bit simpler. We can try out a single accessory before buying them for all three radios which makes it nice. Hopefully we can find some great resources for program them in the future. For right now we are taking a break from that because our nerves are frazzled.
For a couple of months I have been worried about a lab test that was ordered for my husband. We initially has the test performed at a large university hospital and it ended up being screwed up by them. They didn’t follow the protocol and my husband ended up having to have the test repeated. We then has to wait to have it rescheduled, and it was finally completed around Christmas time. Due to the holidays we had to wait for the results for what seemed like forever. This week the doctor’s office called and said the test results were fine. I am relieved because has the test been abnormal my husband faced a lifetime of health problems.
We attended a class today to learn more about Ham Radio. Although all the members of my family have ham radio licenses we are by no means competent in how to use our radios. Most of what they covered in the class today was like a foreign language. They might as well have been explaining something random like a roller stand to me because I had no idea what they were talking about. I had no point of reference for the topics covered because I have yet to actually talk on my radio. They promised that the next class would be more hands on and I am looking forward to that because right now my license is useless until I learn how to use the radio.
For the last few days my husband has been off work. He has been working on various areas of the house. One thing he has completed is the repainting of our bathroom. The bathroom was previously a peach color, but it was looking a little sad. We decided to make the color of the bathroom much darker. I was hesitant at first but it has ended up looking very nice. We have also spent time this week touching up many other areas of the house. It is nice to use time, during the winter, to clean up the house and be productive. We are also going to be cleaning out our attic and hauling a bunch of stuff to Goodwill.
Last Christmas we had a horrible vacation time. During Christmas vacation my entire family came down with the swine flu. We were all in bed for almost the entire time we were on break. On top of that on Christmas Eve one of our windows got broken by falling ice. We found ourselves looking for hampton va windows and every other type of window on Christmas Eve. Luckily we found a store with a window that was a perfect fit. My hope for this Christmas was that we would get through it without being sick and without anything breaking. Thus far we are doing great and nothing has fallen apart. It has been a really nice holiday.
Christmas is now over and done. We had a very nice holiday and were able to visit with just about everyone in our extended family. It was a nice and relaxed time together. We did not exchange gifts this year with my family but instead we chipped in to get a project done at my parents house. Our children ended up being spoiled rotten which is fine because this is the only time of year that they are spoiled. My husband and I bought each other things that we really needed but we didn’t splurge. It is so nice not to have to worry about paying off a bunch of bills because we only spent money this year that we already had.
Today is one of those days when I realize how blessed I am. Tonight I will able to tuck both my children into bed.They are here and healthy. My husband is laying next to me watching television and is happy and healthy. There are many people in our country tonight who are facing unimaginable loss. Violence has senselessly taken so many innocent lives and we all need to look deeply at ourselves and our world. Somehow we have to be able to bring a halt to people hurting and killing one another. I don’t know how that will happen but for now I am just remembering how fortunate I am to be able to hold those I love.
My husband doesn’t normally ask me what I would like for Christmas but this year he did. I told him that I would really like a new MP3 player and a set of decent headphones. I specifically told him that I don’t need anything special like . I cannot walk on the treadmill without listening to music and both of my MP3 players are on the fritz. The children keep stealing my headphones because they prefer them to their own. These factors combine to make my workout routine a bit frustrating. Hopefully, he hears my request and doesn’t decide to go with his own ideas as to what I need for Christmas.
My older son worked really hard to sell popcorn for his Boy Scout troop this year. I absolutely loathe this process and wish there were another way to raise money for the troop. We are in the process of trying to deliver the orders to people and are done for the most part. We have about 4 people left to track down and are not having any luck. One man placed a pretty large order and we haven’t been able to get a hold of him. His phone is now disconnected and we have no other way to contact him. Another lady is home but won’t answer her door and hangs up when we try to call her to arrange a time to drop off her order. Why do people order things if they have no intention of paying for them or even want them?
Today is a much adored holiday in my home- Thanksgiving. Despite loving Christmas and the giving of gifts my family really loves a good feast. This morning we going to my parents home for a big dinner. My mom loves to cook for the holidays and makes tons of desserts. There is literally a dessert for each person in attendance. I bought a turkey to cook tomorrow for a small feast with my husband and son. Then on Saturday we are going to my in-laws house for yet another dinner. Once we are done with all these meals I intend to once again hit the Paleo diet hard. I am not happy with the state of my health and it is time to get back on track.
We have several silly games we like to play as a family. Most of these are typically created during the course of a long car ride. Many of them have involved silly quizzes like who would win in a battle or what would happen if you crossed this monster another monster? One of our favorite games is to see how fast we can say certain phrases or sentences without taking a breath. It all started with a me saying a couple of words really fast like “standsandmounts” and it sounding really funny to the children. Since then the game has take on a life of its own and has become our private family joke. Certain things are no longer referred by their real name and we simply use the jumbled up name of the item that seemed the funniest.
Yesterday was a perfect day. It was my birthday and it was actually quite nice. For some reason I typically get a case of the blues on my birthday. This year was the exception and it was great. My children made me a cake and we just had a quiet day at home. Dinner was also at home and exactly what I was hungry for. My in-laws stopped over with another cake and my mother even remembered to call. Both of my brother’s emailed and wished me a happy birthday. Usually no one remembers so it was really nice….
My youngest son is extremely picky about the types of clothes that he wears. I am not implying that he cares about the brand name but rather that is requires his clothes to look or feel a certain way. For example he likes sweatshirts but doesn’t like them to have a hood and doesn’t want them to be pullover type sweatshirts. I have considered looking to find find custom sweatshirts for him. What he really wants is a zip up sweatshirt which doesn’t have a hood. I have looked high and low for them but it seems like custom sweatshirts are the only way to find this type of shirt. Shirts aren’t the only thing he is picky about. He also doesn’t like pants with too many pockets or those that have a button instead of a snap. I am just thankful that he isn’t as picky about the name on the label of his clothes because he would be impossible to buy for if that was the case.
I realize that this has been an awful week in our country and I feel for everyone who has been impacted. It is times like these that you realize just how powerful nature can be. I cannot imagine what life must be like for so many people who have lost everything to something they were powerless to control. What would be even harder to have children and try to explain all of this chaos and damage to them or to give them any sense of security…
My youngest son has been absolutely bursting with energy this week. I don’t know what it is but he just can’t seem to stay active enough. If he isn’t putting on an acrobatics show he is on the flow wrestling this giant teddy bear he has. He is so serious about his performances that I am surprised he hasn’t asked for nike wrestling shoes. When he isn’t running around or wrestling he is talking. A non-stop flow of talking comes from him from the morning he wakes up until he goes to bed. I just find it funny that he has so much energy and enthusiasm for life.
I just finished cooking up the last of my squash and pumpkins from our garden this year. It was a lot of work to get them all cooked, mashed, and dehydrated but I am nearly there. Only one bowl remains to be dehydrated. I am pretty happy with the amount of food we were able to grow this year. Yesterday I processed the last of my brussel sprouts and got them in freezer bags this morning. All that remains to be done is to deal with some apples were were given. I have some garlic and potatoes I hope to dehydrate but luckily those can wait a while unlike the other items.
It seems like every weekend we have the same tasks that need completed. I wonder if everyone else spends their weekends canning or washing linens and bedding? I try to keep on top of the housework during the week but there are some jobs that just have to be put off until the weekend. I tend to get a great deal of my preserving done on the weekends because my husband keeps the kids out of my hair. There are just days when I wish that instead of canning or doing laundry there was something exciting on my schedule to do. I would love to have someone take me to see a musical or to attend a play.
Have I ever mentioned how much I hate cooking dinner? I don’t know why but I just wish that we could eat breakfast or lunch for dinner. Everyone seems to expect a big to do for dinner and it just makes me tired to think about it. I guess I don’t enjoy cooking meat very much and that contributes to my loathing of cooking a meal for dinner. If I could I would make pancakes or waffles a couple of times a week and grilled cheese the rest. That won’t fly with my family so I force myself to cook a meal for them. It would be easier if just a couple of times a week someone else would put themselves in the drivers seat and cook dinner.
Right now I am tucked in bed under the covers trying to get warm. We spent the day putting our large garden to bed for the season. It was a gorgeous fall day to be outside. I really appreciate the quiet of the outdoors. My husband is the type of person who needs to have music playing at all times. He would probably install some sort of speakers in the garden if he could. I am not sure but I wouldn’t be surprised if he has looked online for the search terms with the notion of buying them for the garden. He has a radio in every room of our house. I am someone who simply likes the quiet and being outdoors is the one place I can generally find that. I let him have his music anywhere in our house but draw the line at listening to it outdoors.
This year was a rough year for fruit in our part of the country. Most of the fruit trees in our area were damaged by a last frost last spring. That meant that all the blossoms got frozen. My parents have several apple trees on their property that are very old. None of them have fruit on them. So, we didn’t get any apples this year. The price for apples at the farm market were almost double what I paid last year. We also didn’t get any peaches this year because they were $60 a bushel. I am hoping to get some fruit at the grocery store but there is no way I can afford to buy those for canning and preserving.
This year I made a point of getting my family in early in the season to get flu shots. Last year we got the flu and it was horrible. Last week my children and I got vaccinated for the flu. This week we all have colds. I don’t know if there is a correlation but it sure feels that way. Maybe we picked up a germ while waiting to see the nurse or maybe the colds are a side effect of the vaccine. Either way it sometimes makes me wonder if we would spend less time being sick if we hadn’t gotten the vaccine.
My father-in-law was just here for a week long visit. He lives about 700 miles away from us and we only see him a few times a year. When he comes to visit he absolutely spoils the children rotten. I do believe that he would buy our son anything he asked for. It wouldn’t matter if our older son asked for linear actuators he would buy them for him without question. During this visit my oldest son was taken to an electronics store and told to pick out whatever he thought he might need to build a robot. It is nice that he treats our children in such a way but it makes it hard for anyone else to ever buy a gift that compares to any they are given by my father-in-law.
Last year we did not get flu shots and I ended up regretting that decision. During Christmas vacation my children and I came down with the flu and ended up being very sick. This year I have already gotten my flu shot. Tomorrow I will be taking my children to get the flu mist vaccine. The doctor’s office does not have the shot and offered the mist which makes my kids very happy. I don’t know why but people in their office seem to prefer the shot. I haven’t read anything bad about the mist and think it sounds like an easier option for the kids. I am just glad we are able to get it this early in the year.
This year I tried to grow most of my own plants for the garden from seed. I have had really good luck in previous years with starting my seeds under fluorescent lights. I have a shelving system that we attached several sets of fluorescent lights to. This allows me to start numerous seed flats indoors without an issue. For some reason this year my seedlings did not do so well. I actually think the problem was the source of my seeds rather than my lights. All of the seeds I bought from one particular supplier failed to thrive. All the other conditions were the same as they had been in previous years. The lighting conditions did not change and neither did the environment. I am going to give starting seeds indoors under fluorescent lights another try next year but I will be using a different source for my seeds.
Over the last few months I have had to assume a more parental role with my parents that ever before. My parents have been ignoring the fact that my father should not be driving. They have been kidding themselves that it is okay for him to drive short distances despite the fact that he can’t stay awake for any length of time and hits stuff on a regular basis. I finally had to threaten them both with contacting his doctor and the DMV to make any headway with them. Not a good place to be but this seems to be the way things work as we age.
Right now there are 14 pints of canned ground beef cooling in my pressure canner. Yesterday I spent the day making a variety of tomato based sauces. The first thing I made was barbecue sauce. We love all things barbecued and can’t keep enough sauce in our house. I made seventeen pints of that. I then made ketchup. My youngest son loves ketchup and I made him 8 pints of it. When the ketchup was done I then turned my attention to making salsa. We like to use salsa in our tacos and enchiladas. I ended up with 7 pints of salsa. Finally, with my remaining tomato sauce I made sloppy joe sauce. I have never made this before and have no idea how it will taste. I finished my canning with 7 pints of sloppy joe sauce. Tomorrow I will be canning potatoes and french fries
I have an enclosed front porch that has 9 windows in it. When we first moved to our house I knew that I wanted to put curtains on the front porch. I shopped at many bargain curtain stores online and tried to find a deal on curtains. Eventually I found what I thought would be a great price for 9 sets of curtains for my porch and ordered them from a place that didn’t specialize in curtains. The price was so cheap I figured it didn’t matter where they came from. When the curtains arrived they were not the cream color I expected but were instead a salmon pink color. I thought about returning them but realized that shipping them back would cost me more than the price of the curtains. I now have pink curtains on my front porch and have learned to buy curtains from stores that specialize in them. At least everyone can find my house now because all they have to do is look for the pink curtains.
I have several friends who are always making fun of my canning and stock piling of food. They only buy things when they need them and make several trips to the market each week. They are also the same friends who complain about the prices at the grocery store and worry about making ends meet. Grocery prices are only going to get higher and higher. I love knowing that the food in my pantry cost me a fraction of what it would cost in the grocery store. Yes, it took time to prepare and process but I don’t care. I also like knowing that if something were to happen and we couldn’t get to the store that my family would be just fine. I like to think I am looking towards the future and not just living in the present.
Every so often I take the notion of trying to trim our bills down as much as possible. Today I decided to try to see if there is any other trash service providers in our area. As it turns out there is but they don’t charge any less than our current provider. We don’t have that much trash and it seems crazy to pay as much as we do for a few bags a month. We recycle as much as we can which means there is very little that needs to go to the curb in a bag. I can see why my friend burns her trash or drives it to the dump. I think we would spend as much driving it to the dump as we would for them to pick it up each week.
There are times when my mother-in-law makes me giggle. She was over to our house last weekend and offered to take us out to dinner if I would explain to her how laptop computers work. It boggled my mind that somehow she found the notion of laptops entirely confusing. She could not and would not believe that a laptop would have the same capabilities as her PC. What she wants is a portable computer to take with her so she can check email when traveling. I suggested she simply get a smart phone and be done with it. I know she would go crazy buying iphone 4 accessories once she got the hang of using it. She seems to think that a laptop is the only thing that will do the job and won’t hear of anything else despite the fact that she is convinced they operate on some sort of magical radio waves floating in the air.
Last Sunday we celebrated my youngest son’s sixth birthday. It really doesn’t seem like he should be that old already. This fall he will start 1st grade. He is also looking forward to starting Cub Scouts. He is so envious of all the things his older brother has been getting to do in Boy Scouts and is anxious for his turn. I have a feeling he will do really well in Cub Scouts because he just loves to be learning new things. In my mind it was just yesterday that I brought his tiny being home from the hospital and in the blink of an eye he is six years old.
My oldest son is a very good kid. He is at that age where he could be much more of a handful than he is. I know people with children his age that do nothing but complain about the attitudes their kids have. My son could care less about the latest trends and wouldn’t notice if his clothes came from the mall or from Goodwill. I have a friend who’s teenage daughter is extremely demanding and wants to wear only name brand clothes and jewelry from slane and slane. She is constantly talking back to her mother and is just plain unpleasant to be around. After being around her for any length of time I can detect a change in my son’s demeanor. We usually have to talk about how she treats her family and how we treat each other in our family. This is usually all it takes to set things straight in our house. I am so glad to have a child who I can talk to and actually see results.
I have been ordering parts for my husband to fix our truck with. It would be easier to go to the local parts store to buy the parts but it would also be more costly. I placed an order for two control arms for our track and have been patiently waiting for them. The place where I ordered them from shipped them in two separate boxes with the same tracking number.
The FedEx delivery man did not want to give me both boxes because of this because this is apparently policy in case an item double shipped. I took out the packing slip and showed him that indeed two items were ordered and stated to be shipped but that only one was in the box he gave me.
He called his supervisor for permission to give me the second box and then had me remove both items to prove that they were not identical. I explained that they would look identical because they are control arms for the left and right of the vehicle. He still did not want to give them to me until I showed that they each had a different part number. Had I not been home he would have only left one box and returned the second control arm. He was helpful and simply following policy but this could have been avoided if both items were shipped in the same box.
I have always felt that my old computer was perfectly adequate for my needs. When my old computer started acting up I started to wonder what else was out there. For the last few hours I have been working away on a new computer and I can now see the serious flaws of my old computer. I can visit sites like http://www.shoppharmacycounter.com/t-phentermine.aspx in the blink of an eye if I wanted to do so. I have yet to try watching videos on this computer but that is on my list of things to do tomorrow. The clarity of the screen is amazing and the keys are like butter. My old computer was about six years old and sometimes I really had to pound on the keys to get them to work. I am sure my hands will appreciate the new computer in the months and days to come.
I have spent today doing next to nothing. I am trying desperately to baby myself into getting over this vicious cold that I have. We are supposed to head out of town for a few days on Friday and I really need to feel well. Today has been all about sitting around and watching television. Normally I am outside working in the garden or processing my harvest from it. I feel a bit guilty about doing nothing because I am not a person who likes to be idle. In this situation I feel it is more important that I be well and perky for our trip. I want our children to have positive reflections on our family trips rather recalling grumpy parents who just wanted to lie in bed all day.
My youngest son loves to play dress up. One of his favorite things to do is go through his father’s dress clothes and put on his suits and ties. I would love to find him a something like leather briefcase for men at GotBriefcases.com but is made for kids. I don’t think he could lug around real sized briefcase. I keep watching to something similar at thrift stores and garage sales but haven’t found one yet. I love to watch him dress up and play pretend. My older son never really played like that so it is all a new experience for me as a parent to see his imagination at work. It is also cute to see what his idea of going to work is all about. Some days it means building with blocks all day and other times it is all about drawing pictures. My husband would love to have a job like that!
We all have habits that we consider normal but other people may consider weird. For example my mother-in-law won’t run a fan in her house because she is convinced it makes her allergies worse or is the reason people get summertime colds. I find this bizarre. Her house could be sweltering and she will still not turn on a fan. I even bought her one and sometimes turn it on when I am at her house. She finds it strange that we have ceiling fans and actually run them. Since I presently have a summer cold she is convinced that the fans are the root of the problem. I guess I could see how a fan would stir up dust and dander but I would rather have some sort of breeze on a 95 degree day.
It is that time of summer when the kids are starting to get stir crazy and need something to do with themselves. I have started assigning them projects to work on to keep them out of each other’s hair. Today I told them that they needed to build the biggest biggest thing they could with all of the building blocks in the house. That kept them busy for an hour or so. I am quite positive that I will run out of ideas to keep them busy by the time summer is over. There are times when I consider making them do online research like looking up recipes or finding websites for doing online gre prep. They aren’t the type of kids who love crafts which rules that out. I am going to have to get creative if I am going to keep them busy for six more weeks.
As I type this my husband and family are outside hitting golf balls. My children have taken and interest in golf and can’t get enough of it. Even though they don’t really understand the sport they love the notion of it. A friend of our family gave the boy’s a net to catch golf balls when hit them. It makes it that much more fun for them to be able to really hit the balls rather than just sort of hit them. I am a bit surprised to have them be interested in any sport at all because they haven’t expressed interest in sports at all until now. I am glad to have them share a hobby with my husband and I hope they continue to share this interest.
I am proud to say that I am finally typing on a new computer. I have been blogging for the last six years on the same laptop. When I first got my old laptop is was a very nice device. I have never really had problem with it or had a need to anything like a hard drive cleaner. Until the last year it worked well for what I needed it to do. For the last few months it has started to act funny and sometimes the screen goes completely blue and it shuts down. It also runs very hot. I have had concerns that it would ultimately shut down and not turn back on at all. We finally decided to buy a computer and I took delivery of it today. It works like a charm and I am very happy to have it.
It is that time of year when the garden is starting to produce. Things are always kind of anxious for gardeners when you don’t know whether the garden is going to do anything. It seems like gardening is always a waiting game. You wait for the snow to melt and the ground to warm. Then you plant seeds and wait for them to germinate. Once they germinate you hope that they live and that you don’t get a late frost. Then you wait for them to grow and possibly blossom. Once they blossom you wait for bees to pollinate and for fruit to develop. Now I am feeling confident the garden is going to be okay. Given how dry this summer has been the biggest worry is keeping the plants properly watered. Harvesting the produce and getting it processed is my current project. I know it won’t be long before the garden is tired and we are putting it to bed… and then we start it all over again.
We have spent a great deal of this summer helping my parents clean up some property they own. They inherited the property from my grandparents and it came with a great deal of junk. My parents have never really had the time or the inclination to do the work themselves and we took it upon ourselves to get the project started. My hope is that once we clear the land of the junk that we can look into different steel building types and maybe build a camp there. Right now we have our pop-up camper set up on the land and have a sizable garden in place. A formal camp would really be nice and we would make good use of it. I don’t know what the zoning laws are like for the area which will be something we have to consider when the time comes.
We are leaving in a day or so for a quick vacation. I am not sure how excited I am about it because I currently have a cold. I have been fighting this cold for almost two weeks. We committed ourselves to travel to Ohio for a family reunion. My kids are really looking forward to getting to know their relatives. The trip will hopefully turn out okay despite my feeling cruddy. It will be nice to have a change of scenery. We go camping quite a bit but it is not the same as leaving town and not having to worry about the you have to plan for when camping. Maybe getting away from our house will be the change I need to shake this cold.
We received a letter this week that instructed us that we will be receiving new insurance cards in the mail very soon. Apparently the place my husband works for has changed insurance and prescription coverage providers. We will be interested to see what type of prescription membership cards we are sent. We use a local pharmacy that is not part of a big chain. I anticipate that we will have to now use one of the large national pharmacy chains. I really like using a small local store as opposed to a national chain but I guess we won’t have a choice if we want our prescriptions covered.
My heart is full for my oldest son… He went away to camp this week for what he thought would be a great experience. When we picked him up the leader of the group said that he had a pretty hard time because the kids picked on him constantly. He didn’t know anyone at the camp and I have no idea why they singled him out. When we asked him how the camp was he said that the kids were really mean. He said that the activities were really fun but the free time was pretty awful. Apparently the kids wouldn’t let him join in things like playing frisbee. It breaks my heart to know that he keeps having these types of experiences. This is one of the reasons we home school. He is just a kid who has a hard time finding his place. He is so smart that he comes across as geeky I suppose but that doesn’t excuse their cruelty.
I might have mentioned in a previous post that I have let my hair grow long. I have never had long hair in my life and I don’t really know what to do with it. I never learned to braid or style long hair because I have never had a need to. This week I read about a way of styling long hair with socks and I am going to try it out tonight. I don’t know how this would work it you had a scalp issue like Psoriasis or something along that line. My hair is really thick and I have a hard time getting it to hold a curl. Supposedly twisting it up in socks while damp and letting it dry overnight is a great way to get long lasting curls. I will let you know how it goes after I try it tonight for the first time.
Tomorrow I have to prep for a test. This is not the type of test you want to take or have to prep for… I am having a colonoscopy on Monday. I was pretty sick in April and the doctor recommended this test to rule out a serious problem. It is a little funny that I had to wait so long for the test because I would think that something serious would have caused issues in the two months I waited for the test. Either way I don’t get to eat tomorrow and right now I am trying to stuff my face with as much as I can because my test is not until the middle of the day on Monday. So, let the good times roll starting tomorrow morning.
My mother-in-law is always late. It drives me crazy. If she says dinner is at 4:00 pm there is no doubt in my mind that we will eat at 6 or 7:00 pm. Tonight she is supposed to be coming over to spend the night and visit with the children. It is 20 minutes before our youngest son is ready to go to bed and she is not here. She just called and said she is on her way but she lives about 45 minutes away. My youngest son is now sitting in the window looking for his grandma to pull in the driveway. It is kind of sad because I know he will be ready to sleep as soon as she gets here. I wish she understood how her perpetual lateness impacts other people. I could go on about her lateness and what it makes me think but the point is that if you are someone who is always late think about a little boy sitting in the window watching for grandma and watching and watching and watching.
This year I will be canning significantly less than I did last year. My total number of cans that I put away last year was around 800 jars. In tallying what we have eaten to date it would be about 400 jars. This means that I won’t be canning myself to death this year. It is nice to have a buffer of jars left over from last year to carry us into next year. I have spending time trying to determine exactly how much we will need to put away this year and what to do with the excess from the garden we won’t use. It is nice to have the buffer from last year just in case things don’t grow well. My hope is that the garden exceeds my expectations and that I have produce to share with family and friends. I guess the big question of what we need won’t be answered until the end of the gardening season and we have a final tally of what the garden produced.
My neighbor is an avid gardener. You might have picked up on the fact that I love to garden as well. The difference between us is that we are two different types of gardeners. I only grow things that are edible and produce food for my family. My neighbor on the other hand only grows things for the beauty they bring into the world. She has every type of flower available in her yard from potted azaleas to dogwood trees. When you look at our yards side by side you can appreciate that in each house lives someone who takes pride in their garden and that somehow though vastly different types of gardens that they give us joy and purpose.
This week the world lost a shining star. My husband’s 24 year old cousin passed away after her second battle with cancer. She was in remission after having cancer at age 5 years of age. The loss of her is tragic enough if it weren’t for the fact that her mother passed away just a year ago. They were both preceded in death by her sister who also died of cancer. I just cannot imagine the pain they are feeling to have so much loss in the same family. It seems like so much more than one family to have to cope with. Continual loss and sickness…loss of such wonderful people. When you think you are being handed too much to bear consider the father in this story who has buried a wife and two daughters at such a young age.
I have invested a fairly good chunk of time extending my strawberry beds. Having a number of strawberry beds means that I also have to be diligent about protecting my crops from birds. I spent the better part of this morning installing bird netting over all of my strawberry beds. I am quite pleased with the way it all turned out. There is not doubt in my mind that my husband could have done a better job but I did the best I could. He likely would have come up with some sort of complicated cage device. Since I don’t really know a clevis pin from a drill bit it seemed like a good idea to keep my project simple. If he wants to build some elaborate structure that will be up to him. For now the birds are at bay and that is all that matters to me.
Today we had our last teacher conference for the year with my oldest son’s cyber school. It doesn’t seem like school should be almost over yet but thankfully it is!!!! Summer is a busy time for us with gardening and camping. We appreciate every extra day we can get of summer vacation. As soon as my children finish their curriculum for the year we are able to start relaxing and enjoying the warm weather. While we aren’t officially on summer break just yet we will be very soon and that is enough to put a smile on all the faces in this house.
I am a simple woman. There are not many material things that I long to own. Thankfully my family appreciates this about me. I know many woman who love things like armani perfume and designer clothes. There is nothing wrong with this but it just isn’t who I am. This morning my children gave me a gift they picked out for Mother’s Day. It was exactly what I have been wanting but would never buy for myself. The smiles on their faces when they gave me the gift was almost as precious as the cute garden gnome they picked out for me. My older son knew that I secretly wanted a garden gnome and made his dad take him out to buy one for me. I will treasure it as much as I would have a gold necklace because it suits me perfectly and shows they truly know me.
Yesterday I planted part of my garden. It is still a bit early for this but the weather has been so warm here I decided to take a gamble. I started seeds back in February and have difficulty getting them to grow properly this year. Last year my seeds grew into awesome plants without a bit of trouble. But this year has been entirely different. I ultimately decided that my little seedlings my be happier outside in the ground rather than inside. If they don’t grow I will still have time to replace them with starts from the store.
Mother’s Day is just around the corner and I have yet to buy any gifts. Time has just gotten away from me this year. I am generally the type of person who has researched and purchased just the right gift to express my thoughts well ahead of time. I really should follow this link and look at gifts instead of getting side tracked with other projects. My mother-in-law is going through and especially rough time right now and could really use a cheerful gift. She does so much for us that I don’t want her to feel unappreciated when special holiday’s roll around. It seems like one thing after another keeps popping up lately and shopping is the last thing on my mind. Fortunately, I still have time left to find and order a gift in time for Mother’s Day.
Yes, I belong to Facebook.
No, I don’t post stuff on there regularly.
Mostly I just use it to communicate privately with people I know.
Daily I am amazed by the stuff people put out there for everyone to see and read. People I know post intimate thoughts on their relationships, news about their children, and photos of everything imaginable. I really don’t understand this. It is as if the value of privacy is simply slipping away from us.
I never understand how people with 300-400 friends on Facebook will post stuff that they would tell you in private. Then again maybe I don’t know these people as well as I would like to think. Honestly, I wouldn’t tell 300 people that my husband was making me angry or that I had PMS.
What people don’t realize is that on Facebook people you don’t even know can have access to your info and post if you don’t set it up correctly. Putting everything out there is a real invitation for trouble if you ask me….
This weekend we went to a basketball game with my parents. I have not been to a sporting event in at least fifteen years. Sitting through an entire game on those hard bleachers was not enjoyable at all. I would rather sit in church for that long. At least church pews chairs have a back on them an offer some support. I found myself constantly moving around to try to get comfortable. It was fun to go to the game because my children had never been to a live basketball game. By the end of it all of us were ready to get up and walk around. I think bleachers were designed with children in mind as opposed to adults with bad backs and achy legs.
We have finally narrowed down exactly where we are going to send our oldest son to for summer camp. It is fortunate in our area that there are a number of great summer programs available to him. One of his options was to go to Boy Scout camp for a week. In the end I simply could not justify the cost of a week at our local camp. For the price of a week of scout camp we could have booked a cabin for the whole family somewhere. Instead of scout camp we are going to send him to space camp at a fraction of the price. I am glad about this because I don’t really feel he is ready for spending a week away on his own just yet. He might be the age where other kids are doing that but he isn’t quite there maturity wise.
Our youngest son loves to play dress up. Several times during the day he makes various costume changes. Today he has thus far been dressed up as a cowboy and a detective. Mens Hats are one of his favorite costume accessories. For Christmas we found him a hat that looks like the one Sherlock Holmes wore. I think it is awesome that he has such a great imagination and is able to amuse himself without television or video games. Just give him a wardrobe full of costumes and props and he is happy as can be for hours on end.
For about a month my husband and older son and have been studying to take the test to get ham radio operator licenses. Before starting to study for the exam I think they assumed it would be a fairly easy process. As it has turned out there is quite a bit more information to process than they anticipated. It would likely take them much less time were they able to devote more than a few hours a week to studying. I have no doubts but what they will pass the test when they finally do take it. When they take it might be much further in the future than they thought.
I took my children to the doctor’s last week for their annual well-child visits. My kids are generally pretty healthy and this is the one time of the year that they see their doctor. I had guessed in advance of the visit that both children had grown quite a bit. I can no longer carry my youngest son without risking the need for bulging disc surgery because he is so big. My oldest son had grown six inches in the last year and only gained two pounds. My youngest had grown about two inches and gained four pounds. They are both now very tall for their age. I hope they continue to grow taller despite the cost of keeping them in clothes. Their father and I are on the short size and it would be nice to have children who are tall.
Last week I received a much awaited kitchen tool. I have been into dehydrating for about a year now and have come to realize just how easy this is an how much space it saves in my pantry. I am now the proud owner of a made in the USA Excalibur dehydrator. In the two weeks that I have had this tool I have come to appreciate what a great product it is. My other dehydrator is a Nesco and it works fine but the Excalibur is the clear winner for function and speed of drying. Between the two dehydrators I hope to be able to preserve more of my harvest using dehydration. I love to can but there are times when being able to dehydrate stuff is so much easier and the space it saves is awesome.
This week my mother stopped by as she usually does every week. My mom is not someone who voices her opinion about my life very much or often. My folks have always just let me live my life. I need to remember this with my own children. My mistakes have always been mine and mine alone. There are moments when I wish they had been more involved or steered me in a different direction but somehow I have turned out fine. I realized this week that my mother thinks I don’t go out and about enough. This is something I hear from other people. I used to love to be on the go but over time I have found that being at home is comfortable and I simply like it. I have what I need and who I need right where I am. My children and my husband and all the things really important to me are here. I don’t need to shop or drive the roads to feel content. It is as if people today are searching for contentment outside themselves. Is it so wrong to be absolutely content right where you are? Why is this weird? We take our children out and about a few times a week and keep busy at home with tons of things and they are content with life.
This week is turning out to be fairly busy week in our house despite the kids being on spring break. We are going to have to go an help my parents take down a dead tree on their property which will be a big project. I also need to find time to make Easter candy and buy things for the children’s Easter baskets. There is also a great deal of baking that I need to accomplish sometime this week as well as planting in the garden. It seems like only yesterday we were having a Valentine’s party and in no time it will be Mother’s Day. I probably should spend a minute looking into gift baskets for dad delivered to his house because I always forget Father’s Day until it is almost too late. Things just seem to pile up as soon as the weather gets warm and the holidays are always the last thought to cross my mind.
Yesterday I spent the better part of the day outside planting. To people who aren’t familiar with what gets planted at certain times of the year it may seem odd to plant in April. There are certain plants that are more cold tolerant than others and that actually prefer colder growing temperatures. One thing that is best planted early in the year in our area is onions. This year I ordered onions starts rather than planting bulbs or seedlings. I have had miserable luck with starting onion seeds or growing onions from bulbs. I planted about one hundred starts each of onions and leeks yesterday. I hope that at least 75% of them actually grow for a change.
We have a couple in our circle of friends who are newly married and wanting to start a family. Generally I am all for people wanting to have a family but in this case I have serious reservations. They have placed having children in a category that makes them seem to think raising children is like having a pet. Having a baby in your life is nowhere like having a puppy. It is so much more than buying things and having baby showers. Having a child is a bigger decision than buying some ashton cigars and handing them out. Having a child changes you in such a fundamental way that you getting a dog never will. Children must be considered in every decision you make from waking until going to bed at night. When someone tells me that they are thinking of either getting a puppy or having a baby I can only think that they should get the puppy.
I am the middle child of three children in my family. I have both an older and younger brother. In my family all I ever heard about was how smart my older brother was and his proclivity towards genius. To this day he still believes he is the end all source of knowledge. What kills me is the fact that he continues to base his opinions not on information available today but on things he might have read 15 years ago. I find him to be a very negative person in his view of the world or any ideas that might not come from him. I am using this post to rant just a bit about him because presently I am irked by his attitude towards anything I suggest I am learning about or considering doing. I am not a dumb person. I have 4 college degrees but this doesn’t stop him or my family from continuing to consider me the “dumb” one. There was a time when I cut myself off from my family because of this type of behavior. Over time I learned not to be bothered by their attitude but moments like today leave me irked nonetheless. Every family has issues and I realize that. My hope is that I am not raising my children to have the same complexes about themselves or towards one another.
Since moving into our house three years ago I have been trying to make our kitchen more functional. If you have been following this blog then you know that I am always cooking or canning something. In my opinion there is a big difference between a kitchen that looks good in a magazine and one that is functional for a very busy cook. My husband and I debated for a long time over what our options and budget would be for redecorating our kitchen. I have always wanted to replace all the cabinets with metal shelving because I like seeing everything I have on hand and being able to find it quickly. Ultimately we decided to replace all of our upper cabinetry with simple shelves as well as to add one large section of floor to ceiling metal shelving. The walls were also recovered with bead board prior to installing the shelves. The end product is extremely function and I actually feel like I have more room than ever before. The kitchen has a simple country feel and I couldn’t be happier.
In this part of the country we typically are unable to plant outside until at least the early part of May. For the last 3 weeks our temperatures have been very warm. The soil is no longer frozen and all the plant and trees are coming to life. I decided to take a gamble and go ahead and put some seeds in the ground. We really didn’t have winter here and it seems unlikely that we will suddenly get winter at this late juncture. If my gamble pays off we will gain an extra couple of months in our gardening season and be able to produce more food than normal. If my plan fails we will only be out a couple of bucks for the seeds that I put in the ground.
About four months ago my husband started feeling run down and not like himself at all. His memory wasn’t what it used to be and he had absolutely no energy. His disposition was such that I thought he was depressed. We did a bunch of reading and started to wonder if his testosterone levels were low. I read everything I could from natural testosterone boosters to alpha t1 reviews. His doctor did some testing and it turned out that his levels were extremely low for a man his age. My husband is only forty years old and is on the young side to have his testosterone levels plummet. His doctor prescribed some medicine and within a couple of months he started feeling and acting like his old self. I am just glad we did some research and didn’t just pass things off as depression.
We have been married for twenty years. In that time we have had multiple microwaves. I don’t know what the issue is but for some reason our microwaves seem to just die. Today yet another microwave died for no apparent reason. It worked fine last night but today it just seemed to make this weird sound and it wouldn’t heat anything. We unplugged it and will be sending it to the trash heap. I am on the fence about replacing it because I really don’t like using a microwave. My older son probably uses the microwave more than anyone in our house. My current plan is to not run out and replace it and see how things go. If none of us really miss it then we will just live without it.
Last weekend we had visitors for a couple of hours. These were a couple of people who hadn’t seen our house since we have done some renovations to our house. I have to say that I felt a bit offended by some of the comments they made about my pantry and food I have put away. They kept staring and commenting on how big my shelves were how much food we have on hand. One of the comments that really irked me was an inquiry as to whether we were “doomsday preppers”? I am not preparing for zombies or the apocalypse. Is it really that ridiculous that we have food on hand? In my grandparent’s day people grew food and preserved it. That is what we are doing and yet somehow it is deemed crazy in our world of ease. I don’t want to rely on the a store to provide food that I can easily grow myself and enjoy growing.
My parents are the type of people who grew up not having very much at all. In fact all throughout my childhood they struggled to make ends meet. Today they are finally in a position where they have some financial security. This seems to have switched a button in them that makes them want to buy and buy more and more stuff. Last weekend I spent time with them trying to sort and purge their copious belongings. We started in the attic where I honestly believe I found everything imaginable from yankees cufflinks to antique gum machines. My mom has saved every pair of pants she has ever owned. There were no less than 300 pairs of pants in on one closet. It was tricky but I gently coaxed them to begin parting with some of their belongings which was surprisingly hard for them. It is as if they feel they need to hang onto stuff just in case something happens in the future and they can no longer replace things. To a degree this is a smart idea but not when you can’t find anything when you need or enjoy your home because of it.
It is rare, very rare that I get to spend time alone. Tonight is one of those nights. My husband and older son are gone for the weekend and my youngest is sound asleep. I am taking advantage of this time to watch silly romantic comedies. Normally I don’t watch television much at all. I prefer to spend my time productively. This weekend though I decided to indulge myself and not be the slightest bit productive. I will stay up late and sleep in as long as my youngest son allows me to. In the morning I will drink copious amounts of coffee and likely play Legos with my son all weekend. It will be wonderful alone time for us both.
This week I will be starting another batch of seeds for our garden. It likely seems silly to someone who doesn’t garden or isn’t familiar with seed starting. The reality is that now is the time to begin seeds for a summer garden. This week I will be starting peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant. I need to check my frost dates for this planting zone to determine what other seeds might be started now. Pepper seeds can take up to three weeks to germinate and another 8 weeks to reach a decent size for planting outdoors. Given how mild this winter has been I am hedging my bet that we will be able to plant outside earlier than usual. It is always fun to start seeds because it feels like spring is truly just around the corner.
A couple of months ago I made a decision to switch electric suppliers. Our state offers this choice to consumers. I hadn’t really looked into changing suppliers prior to this but given rising energy costs decided it was time. Depending on where you live it might be worth investigating what choices are available to you. It is pretty simple to find out by simply doing a search for something like “energy choice” or possibly an your energy company name such as ” connecticut energy“. By researching my options it appears that my electric bill will be about $7.00 less per month. This might not sound like much but it does add up over time. My bill this month was about $10.00 but we used less energy that we typically do. Either way I am pleased with my choice to switch suppliers.
I am so thankful this is a long weekend! A couple of weeks ago we started remodeling our kitchen. This has left my house a bit of a wreck. You can’t fully appreciate your kitchen until you are left without it. This weekend we will be able to spend some much needed time getting the kitchen put back together. The first project will be putting up new drywall. Once that is done we will be installing shelving to replace the very dated upper cabinets we removed. Most people I know would rather have cabinets as opposed to shelves but I like be able to see everything and know exactly where a certain ingredient is as opposed to hunting for it. I will be very glad to see the first shelves go up as I will be close to getting my kitchen back at that point.
A good friend of my husband is going through a divorce. She was completely blindsided by this and has been asking my husband for all kinds of advice. My husband has no idea what to tell her because he has never been through a divorce. Given some of the spending she has been doing lately I wish she would ask for debt advice rather than legal advice. Since announcing her divorce she has bought a new car, started remodeling her house, and planned a trip to Hawaii. I know that she is just trying to make herself feel better but I don’t think she is adequately considering what may happen to her financial situation as the divorce proceeding continue.
I just finished filing our federal taxes and I am glad to be done. In our house I handle the taxes because it has always been that way. Now that we are no longer working in one state and living in another our tax situation is much simpler. It really didn’t take that long to do them as they were pretty cut and dry this year. Thankfully we didn’t owe a bunch of money and are getting a bit of a return. I am just glad to be done with them and to have one less thing hanging over my head that needs to be done.
Earlier this month my son started participating in a stock market club via his cyber school. It is a very well put together program that teaches student all sort of things related to business like small business loans and investing principles. He really seems to enjoy learning more about business and finance. I would have no problem with him pursuing this as a career in the future but I am quite sure he will end up working in a science related field. The most important thing to me is that he be happy and self-sufficient in whatever he pursues in life. For the time being I will encourage him to experience as many options available to him as possible.
In an hour or so I have to take my oldest son to the eye doctor for his annual examination. This is always an interesting experience because my son wants to understand every facet of the experience. I appreciate his inquisitive nature but there are times when I wished that we could just go in and get the appointment done and leave. I have a background in a medical field and realize how frustrating it can be to be the person seeing patients who just won’t let you keep to a schedule. I am prepping my son for the visit by telling him that he is to only ask a couple of questions and may not just spew them without end. I feel bad about this but it is a simple fact that he must learn that there are some things we just don’t have to understand.
This weekend I spent a good deal of time putting away things my children received for Christmas. I have to say I am thrilled with what they were given by our extended family. The gifts they were given really reflect how well our children are know by their relatives. I know many families prioritize the newest electronic gadgets like 3d tvs but that is not us. My family simple loves to read. You will find stacks of books in every room of our house. Each of my children prefers to spend their free time with their nose in a book as opposed to watching television or playing video games. Right now I am pondering where we are going to put all of our books if their collections grow any larger. I suppose things will slow down with the addition of e-readers to our house. Nonetheless I love that people give my children the gift of literature and don’t feel compelled to track down the newest toy or gadget.
About two weeks ago my husband gave me the go ahead to purchase a pricey kitchen gadget that I have been lusting after for years. This gadget was on sale for a much lower price than normal and also available on a payment plan. I normally do not ask for pricey things and feel they really have to be worth the investment. The gadget that I purchased is a Vitamix blender. In reality it is so much more than a blender. It is amazing and I am thrilled with it. So few things live up to the hype behind them but I have to say that this is one device worthy of its cult like following. I am really glad with my purchase and haven’t one once of buyer’s remorse (which I am typically bound to have). Even my husband is amazed at the power of this appliance and is happy we own it (which is truly saying something)!
This morning I sat down and decided to assess our tax situation for last year. As it turns out I didn’t work nearly as much as I had in previous years. Home schooling two children is twice the work that it had been with just one student. I found little time to pursue Medical Transcriptionist Jobs or other work that I had been able to do in prior years. As it turns out we will end up with the same tax liability this year as we had the year prior. My husband counterbalanced my lost income with earning more himself. I would love to be able to contribute more to our family finances but it is just impossible if I am going to do a good job schooling the children. Their education has to be my priority for now.
Last week was absolutely miserable in our house. When the flu swept through my family I really couldn’t see it as anything but a negative. Now that we are all better and gaining our strength back I have begun to see an upside to the flu. We all lost weight. I don’t want my children loosing weight but it did help with their wardrobes. My older son now has pants that fit comfortably that he had grown out of. This may only be a temporary thing but it is nice not having to run out and buy new pants right now. I was trying to loose weight prior to getting sick and my illness definitely moved that goal along. I can only hope the weight stays away in my case and that I am now over what was a frustrating plateau.
I typically work out every day. I spend a minimum of thirty minutes and up to sixty minutes each day alternating between cardio and strength training exercises. Since being sick I haven’t worked out in 6 days and it feels really weird. I simply don’t have any energy or strength. I would love to get back into my exercise but this flu has just sapped everything out of me. The most I can do right now is search the internet for yoga blocks from yoga direct or something similar. My diet has consisted of ginger ale and a bit of toast which is likely why I have no energy. I am used to a protein and vegetable based diet but I can’t stomach those foods right now. When you are used to being active and healthy it feels bizarre to be absolutely listless.
The children had big plans for the holiday season. Our house was stocked to the gills with cookies and other sweet treats. Since my husband and I have gone grain free the boys have been more limited as to what they eat. We aren’t trying to make them go grain free but we are trying to shift it as a focus of their diet. You can imagine how thrilled they were to have so many starchy things in the house to eat. Sadly, they have not been able to partake of these treats since we all came down with the flu. I am now facing the fact that I am going to have to throw out most of these treats as they have been sitting around since before Christmas. I don’t know if we were infected with the flu virus when we made them and think we would be better off throwing them out. I believe I will have to make up for the loss of their treats by making more when they are feeling better.
Last night I was to have hosted overnight guests at our home. I was very much looking forward to having guest because we don’t often have people stay with us. Unfortunately, I had to turn my guest away because the children and I have been so sick. Instead of using a hostess stand I found myself curled up in bed with a glass of ginger ale. My youngest son has not left my side as he could only be comforted by sleeping with me. I actually felt better with him sleeping next to me because I was right there is he got sick. So, far my husband has been able to avoid the flu and our guests were understanding of our need to turn them away. They will come for a visit in the spring and hopefully we will have a nice visit that is free of cold germs.
I really looked forward to our Christmas break this school year. I had plans to accomplish a great many things in the weeks we were to have off. As it turns out I have spent the last 4 days in bed very sick alongside my two children. We seem to be turning the corner today but I know it will be a few more days before we feel right again. For my children to lay in bed for day you know how bad they must feel. With stacks of Christmas presents still under the tree and untouched is a pretty strong sign of how sick we have all been. I keep reminding myself that this is but one we of our lives and we will soon be better. At least we are not dealing with children who are sick on an ongoing basis. My heart breaks for anyone dealing with a child who sick on a long term basis. Next week this should all be behind us and we will be back working on the second half of the school year.
As I type my husband and sons are making cut-out cookies. I really don’t like making cut-out cookies but they do. They approach the project as if it were a lab project which always makes me chuckle. You would think they were inventing a cure for the common cold or something. I imagine them standing in a science department somewhere with beakers and lab ovens all around them rather than in my tiny kitchen with aprons and cookie cutters. I made the dough for them earlier today but leave the rest of the project up to them. Right now there is a great deal of planning taking place as to what cutters should be used and where they should be placed. As long as I am not expected to roll the dough and I am happy. I love baking but rolling dough is not my cup of tea.
We received our new washer just about a week ago. The washing machine we chose is a front load HE washing machine. Our old washing machine was 12 years old and in working order but had several prior repairs. Our main reason for replacing it was to improve our water usage. For some reason water in our area comes at a premium. We have done several things since moving here to decrease our water usage but our washer just used tons of water. It took about 50 gallons per cycle which really added up over the course of a week. The new washer takes just 13 gallons per cycle and also spins the clothes much drier. This reduces our electric usage when we dry the clothes and our gas usage when we wash in warm or hot water. Thus far I am thrilled with the washer and the prospect of much lower utility bills.
If our winter weather trend continues it looks like we might have an easy winter to look forward to. Usually we have a fair amount of snow on the ground by this time of year. As it stands right now our ground is bare and there is no snow in the future. I really hope we have a mild winter because it means we will have less motorhome repair to conduct in the spring. Because we store our camper outside there are always certain things that need taking care of when winter is over. Thankfully, nothing major has happened to date but there is always that possibility. I worry every year about a storm bringing a tree down on our camper. Last winter there was so much snow fall that several buildings in our area collapsed and many trees were brought down. A mild winter would be very much appreciated.
Today is the day of the holiday season where I set my sights on getting my baking done. This is a tradition in our house. By the end of my baking frenzy there are usually 20 dozen or more cookies in our house. This year I have dramatically curtailed my baking because we are going grain free. For a couple of months my husband and I have not eaten any grains and the goal is to get the children on the bandwagon over time. I told the children to pick their favorite kind of cookie and that is what we would make. Instead of dozens of cookies to be ingested with abandon we will have a few dozen favorites. I intend to freeze part of the cookies in order to have them available over the coming months rather that letting them gorge themselves on sweets now.
This is going to be a Christmas where everyone gets something they have secretly been wishing for. Most years we make are only able to get the children gifts and just a small gift for each other. This year we are in a good place financially and decided to buy each other a gift that we really wanted. After much discussion and researching things like the features of a kindle vs ipad we elected to buy an e-reader for our family. I also bought our oldest son a basic e-reader for himself. He is such an avid reader that I know this gift will be something he uses daily. My husband is going to get a very special camcorder that he has been eyeing online. I am not sure exactly what my husband is getting for me but I know that this year I won’t be getting something like socks or underwear which is enough of a surprise for me to be happy with whatever he chooses.
I have been eating a very low carb Paleo diet for over a month. Tonight we took our kids out for a meal and decided to have a cheat meal. Every so often it is good to have higher carb meal to trick your body into shedding extra weight. The meal was amazing! I feel like I ate just the right amount of food. My husband ate everything in sight and clearly enjoyed his meal and whatever the children didn’t eat. He has been eating low carb in support of my dietary changes but I can tell he struggles with it much more than I do. It was nice to have a meal that tasted great and although it wasn’t Paleo and featured grains I don’t feel horrible about what I ate. I only ate part of the bread with my sandwich and it was otherwise low carb. I did however eat my french fries because they were absolutely perfectly fried diner style fries. I may regret it tomorrow but for today I feel satisfied.
This weekend I have to spend some time organizing our home school area. It is amazing how much stuff we can accumulate in the course of a couple of months of school. The children seem to generate and endless stream of papers. I wish there were some sort of paperless office software we could use to organize it all. As it stands they have about a dozen workbooks each and daily there are probably 20 worksheets filled out by each child. The stack of paper is further exacerbated by scratch paper they need for math problems and art projects. As it stands right now I can’t see my desk blotter because of the stacks of school papers on top of it. This weekend I hope to somehow devise a better organizational system to collate the papers for each my kids for storage. We’ll see how that goes given that they are intent on hanging on to each and every thing they write on or create.
Since I was a child my siblings and I have always been present for every holiday at my parent’s home. This was the first holiday in my 41 years of life that we haven’t all been together. It felt weird not having my youngest brother at the Thanksgiving table. I understand that he is off leading his life and chasing his dreams and I am happy for that. It doesn’t however make him any less missed. He always adds something unique to the conversation and my children love him dearly. I know that we will see him for Christmas which is good. Hopefully, we can all adjust to his new life and not seeing each other quite as often.
My older son said for a couple of years that he wanted a guitar. Finally we bought him one and he tried to learn to play guitar. The problem is that he is always wanting to learn something but doesn’t want to put in the time it takes to master new skills. Since his guitar has been sitting in the corner of his room for a year or so my husband decided to take control of it for a while. He has spent the day strumming on the guitar and getting accustomed to holding it. I think it would be really cool if he could teach himself to play. I have always thought people who played guitar were interesting. I am a bit like my son when it comes to some things and don’t see myself learning to play but I really hope someone in my house does.
I know many people who just love to go out and about on Black Friday. My family does not partake in this event. It is really funny to me that none of my siblings want any part of this type of event. We simply are the type of people that don’t care how good a bargain might be we are not going to fight for it in a crowded store. My husband and my brother’s wife feel exactly the opposite and think it is like participating in a massive sport. They somehow get a charge out of pushing through crowds of people in the hopes of possibly scoring a deal on stuff. I feel like I do just as well from the comfort of home by carefully scouring the internet. I guess this is just what makes us all unique and special. I will be among those spending Black Friday on my computer…
I bought some new walking shoes before the start of summer. Over the course of summer I was distracted with so many other projects that I did not walk at all. I put on my shoes this week and they felt entirely different than they had earlier in the year. These shoes are a type of walking shoe made a top brand athletic shoe company. They might feel strange because I spent the summer wearing sandals as opposed to a type of shoe that completely covers the foot. I would love to be able to wear unlisted shoes but I am not coordinated enough. I am so clumsy that my feet need to be very near the ground in order for me to walk upright. I am hoping that after working out regularly that my walking shoes will start to feel normal again.
About 5 days ago I started following the Paleo lifestyle way of eating. I don’t want to call it a diet because it isn’t something you do with the intention of going back to your old way of eating once you lose weight. After reading about it for several months it simply began to make a great deal of sense for my situation. I know from previous dieting experiences that eating a very low carb diet just works for me. The problem has always been that these diets seem to be very restrictive on certain things. When you eat a Paleo diet you are restricting certain things like dairy, grains, and sugar. The difference is that you can eat the remaining food groups without restriction. That means as much lean meat, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and fat as your body needs to feel satisfied or NOT hungry. Obviously if you ate a ton of stuff beyond the point of not being hungry and beyond what calories you burn in a day then you will gain weight. Thus far I do not feel deprived and eating has been easy and best of all I am down 6 pounds!
My laptop has been giving me issues for a while. It is several years old and has needed various repairs in that time. It isn’t that I am rough on it but rather that is just isn’t as durable as newer technology. I am thinking that after the first of the year I will look into something along the lines of the new samsung netbooks. I haven’t quite pinned down exactly what I want but I know what I don’t want. My new computer has to be light, durable, and quiet. Most of all it has to have a power cord that doesn’t break every year and some ability to keep itself cool. My present laptop puts off so much heat I can’t stand to have it on my lap for very long. I know things have change in the last 5 years and I am hoping that they is a product out there that will fit the bill and my budget.
My oldest son is selling popcorn for his Boy Scout troop. This is something that they do every year and we have come to expect the forms around this time of year. This year his troop leader’s sent out and email detailing a goal of $600.00 in sales for each scout in the troop. I was a bit shocked to hear this because last year’s goal was nowhere near the same. Last year they wanted each boy to sell $100.00 in popcorn and peanuts. Given the economy I find it crazy to expect kid’s to sell more than ever before. What is also puzzling is the packages of popcorn and nuts are smaller than they were last year and most cost more. How does that work out? Ask the kid’s to sell more of a smaller product that costs more in a tight economy….
I am already wracking my brain to come up with Christmas present ideas for my in-laws. They are impossible to buy for because they seem to have everything they could need or want. I have considered everything from a fruit-of-the-month subscription to can am commander accessories but I can’t pin anything down yet. My father-in-law is the type of person who will tell you to your face that he doesn’t like or want the gift you give him. I have always found this a little tough to swallow and try to keep things simple but it has gotten increasingly more difficult over the years. I feel like I have to start thinking about gifts well before the holiday’s to narrow down what we are going to buy. The right gift has not come to me as of yet but hopefully it will.
At the beginning of the gardening season we decided to try to grow giant pumpkins. We had never grown them before and had no idea what to expect. We started the seeds indoors and grew them to a fairly large size before transplanting them outside. Today we harvested the pumpkins from the three plants we grew. Each pumpkin plant yielded one large pumpkin. Although they didn’t reach gigantic proportions they are good sized. It took two of us to carry them into the house. I would speculate they are each around 70 pounds. The children want to carve them this weekend which should prove interesting because they are really odd shaped pumpkins. Needless to say this is something we will definitely be doing again for the sheer fun of it. We usually grow stuff to eat but these pumpkins are just for fun.
Have you ever been completely stumped on what to give someone for a gift? We have a couple of people in our family who are absolutely impossible to buy gifts for. They are people who are at that stage in life where they have everything they could possibly want or need. For years we would try to come up with something creative and useful to give them each holiday season. Over time it became impossible to come up with new gift ideas. I finally decided not to stress over finding the right gift and decided that it was more important to let them know they are loved and thought of. I now schedule flower delivery to them each holiday season. We also have the children make greeting cards to send them and make sure to block out special time for visiting with them. It has made the holiday season much less stressful and the important people in our lives know we appreciate them. Time together is so much more important than finding the right present and wrapping paper. They now look forward to the holiday arrangement I send for their table and using it to decorate the table where we will share a special meal together.
Today we picked up one of our last orders of food Despite having attempted to grow our own potatoes we still found ourselves wanting to have more on hand that we were able to grow. So, we ordered 50 pounds of winter storage potatoes from a local farm market. Winter storage potatoes are those that are unwashed and have been cured for a period of time to prepare them for storing. Somehow not washing them and leaving some field dirt on them makes them last longer. My oldest son loves baked potatoes and would have them for lunch and dinner everyday if possible. I am quite sure that the majority of these potatoes will go into his belly.
Given all the canning I have been doing it should come as no surprise to me that my hands ache. Arthritis runs in my family. I remember my grandmother’s hands being knotted by it. There was a time when I thought about looking into Medical Secretaries Jobs but I never did. I am thankful that I did not pursue that interest because I am quite sure given the state of my hands today that I could not have kept up with the work load. The fingers on my right hand are already starting to twist and hurt whenever I over use them. Typing all day likely would not have worked out. Given what a great career option the medical field is I sometimes wish I did have arthritis to deal with but am thankful that thus far it is mainly in my hands only.
So far this year I have canned 779 jars of food. The things I have canned have included virtually any vegetable, fruit, or meat you might imagine. I had considered my canning year complete for the year until last night. Last night my husband came home with a bushel and a half of Bosc pears that were given to him by a co-worker. Can you guess what we will be doing this weekend? That is right canning pears! My husband loved the pears I already canned this year so free pears will be a nice addition to the expensive pears I already have. I am grateful for the free fruit and I am sure we will enjoy them during the months to come.
There is a great deal of talk on many of the blogs that I follow about prepping and emergency preparedness. There was a time when I thought having a stockpile of food and alternative power supplies on hand was silly. I no longer feel that way. In the last month a handful of people I am close to across the country have been placed in situations where being prepared has quite literally saved them a great deal of hassle that less prepared people living around them were forced to endure. I like to think that having a supply of food on hand and a way to cook as well as heat my house should traditional methods fail is just good sense.
I have spent the last couple of days catching up on some very overdue house cleaning projects. Many things I routinely do are left to slide over the summer when I am in the midst of my canning and gardening extravaganza. I discovered dust balls as big as a rabbit under my dressers yesterday! Normally this would drive me crazy but I believe it is more important to spend my summer days putting away food for my family than concerning myself with dust. I have also been using these quieter days to purge our house of clutter that has accumulated during the summer. There is presently a contractor bag full of stuff to be taken to Goodwill on my porch and I hope to add another to it by the end of the week. I simply hate clutter and useless stuff lying about all winter!
Most people that I know embark upon cleaning their home in the spring. I am not in this majority. I do a bit of spring cleaning but the majority of my cleaning is done in the fall. This is the time of year when the gardens need put to bed and the yard tidied up for the onslaught of snow. In the spring I only need to do a bit of picking up in the yard to start my gardening. Fall is also the time when I like to rid the house of clutter. Being cooped up so much in cold weather means spending a great deal of time staring at the stuff in my house. Too much stuff makes us all a little crazy. We like a clean streamlined house without a bunch of riff raff laying about. I use the cool weather as my motivation to start purging the excess in our lives and get ready to bunker down for the winter.
I don’t go out shopping very much because I really don’t have the need to these days. Today I did run a few errands and ended up in one of our local big box stores. I was a bit surprised to see Christmas decorations out. I then realized that it really isn’t very long before the holidays arrive. You can be sure that I won’t be spending any time standing in line to do my Christmas shopping! There is nothing I loathe more than crowded stores at the holidays. Instead I will be once again doing all my shopping online. I only need to look up a coupon code for whatever store I am shopping at so save money. For example for shopping for the children I first look for toys r us coupons before browsing their website. If I can find coupons for free shipping or a discount I then complete a purchase on the website. Typically I get as good a deal shopping online as I would spending hours browsing a crowded store and waiting in line to pay for my purchases.
My canning season is winding down here and my mind is searching for new projects to direct my attention towards. Thus far I have decided that this fall and winter I will attempt to render lard from the fat we will request from the butcher when our beef and pork orders are processed. I have ordered some maple taps and we intend to try our hand at making a bit of maple syrup. I also hope to boil down some apple cider that we press into something called apple molasses. Today I discovered something called “barrelponics” which is a form of aquaponics. Our family loves fish but it tends to be out of our price range more often than not or it is shipped here from foreign countries. Barrelponics would enable us to potentially grow a supply of fish in a barrel in our garage during the spring and summer. I have quite a bit more research to do but it looks like a doable option for providing us with great organic fish.
I am beginning to think more and more about moving to the country. Right now we live in a small town but have neighbors that are very close. Thankfully we have decent neighbors but there are times when I wished we had none at all. I sometimes look at the home listings in our newspaper to see if there might be a cabin in the country that we could afford. I would love to be able to have as large of a garden as I wanted without considering how the neighbors would feel about it. Another thing I would love to have is bee hives. Right now our town does not allow bee hives but least they do allow chickens. My husband and I hope to retire to the country but until then I will just have to dream about having cows, bees, and sheep.
A couple of nights ago my hubby brought home a bushel of pears I had ordered last spring. We have a farm market down the road that takes orders in the spring for fresh produce by the bushel when it comes into season. I haven’t canned pears since I was a child and had no idea how much work pears are to can. Pears have to be peeled by hand, cored, and sliced. I have canned a great deal of peaches and assumed they were about the same in terms of work. Half of my bushel of pears took 2 hours to peel. Peaches are a breeze to peel because you blanche them first and the skin just slips off. I love canned pears and can only hope that all the effort to get them into the jar is worth it when it comes time to eat them.
We belong to a local home school group that gets together for shared experiences and learning opportunities. Our group has been pretty loosely organized until this year. Several parents have stepped forward in an effort to bring our group together on a more regular basis. One thing they have been trying to organize is a weekly gym time for our children. The issue thus far has been with finding a location to host our meetings. We are in a pretty rural location with few options. It is not like we have several places that large gym facilities or even anything resembling jungle gym installation new york. One thing I miss about living in the city is just how many places there were to take your children to play on gym equipment. Our group is hoping one of the local churches will let us rent or use a space for a weekly get together which would be really nice for our children.
For most of my life my hair has been either short or chin length. About a year and a half ago I decided to grow it out. My hair is now longer than it has ever been in my entire life. For the most part having longer hair is actually easier than having short hair. I don’t really have to style it very much and can let it air dry or just pull it into a pony tail. This weekend we are attending a wedding and I have been trying to come up with a pretty style to wear my hair. I have never had to put my hair up into any type of fancy style and have to say it is trickier than I thought it would be. Right now I am toying with a low bun style because any other style I have tried has proven a disaster. My hair is very, very thick and most styling clips won’t hold up to the bulk of it.
What a crazy gardening year it has been! Our spring was so wet and cold that planting was delayed just about everywhere. Where summer finally got here the weather was sweltering. Locally we had a drought for most of July and into August. Our plants have truly suffered as a result. The potatoes died not too long ago. Our beans are riddled with bugs and now the squash are giving in to powdery mildew. I have no idea how commercial farmers faired this season. Likely they had more tricks up their sleeves than we did to keep plants alive in such tricky conditions. Hopefully next year will be a better growing season. Thankfully we had some canned goods left from last year to make up for what we won’t be putting away this year.
Today is one of those days where I have a ton of stuff I could be doing but am forced to spend it waiting. I have to take the the dog to the groomer in the middle of the day which is a pain. It was the only appointment available and the dog desperately needs trimming. My youngest son’s school sent an email indicating that they were shipping his school supplies and that I need to be home to sign for them. There is no indication as to when the supplies might arrive today so here I sit. I could be canning apple sauce or working in the garden but both would take me away from the area where I might here the doorbell. I hate wasting time when I could be somewhere being productive. Hopefully, the shipment of supplies comes in the next hour or so and I can get on with my projects before running the dog to the groomer.
Tomorrow we will be heading to the beach to celebrate my youngest son’s birthday. He turned five years old this week and wanted to spend his birthday at the beach. We have had to put off the trip because of the weather. Tomorrow promises to be a perfect day for playing in the water. I love that he has such simply party requests. Of course this could all change as he grows up. I know that as a child I never had fancy birthday parties and always wanted one. Secretly I would love for someone to send out Adult Birthday Invitations on my behalf and throw me a surprise birthday party. I realize that my children are not me and that they may well be perfectly content with simple parties and celebrations. In the morning I will be baking some cupcakes and picking up some snacks. All that will be left to do is wrap his gifts and jump in the car.
Today has been a day spent focused entirely on produce and preserving it for winter. We purchased 65 ears of corn yesterday from a local farmer. The cost of the corn was $18.00 which is a better deal than buying it by the dozen. My family and I spent the morning husking, blanching, cutting and bagging the corn for the freezer. From the 65 ears of corn we ended up with 28 bags of corn with 2 cups of corn in each bag. This is plenty of corn for my family of 4 at a meal. We hope to process another 65 ears of corn before the end of the season which will mean we will have corn enough for one meal each week. I would like to have more than that but it really is a job processing it all and finding the freezer space. Last year I canned the corn and none of us cared for the flavor of it once canned. We did however love it frozen and found it tasted just like fresh corn. After the corn was done we then moved on to canning 6 quarts of green beans from our garden and 6 quarts of new red potatoes. As I type I am preparing to finishing processing about 7 quarts of sweet pickled cauliflower and cucumber slices. It has been a truly long day!
For the majority of our marriage my husband has always taken our car into the garage for minor service issues. He does the majority of the work on our vehicles himself which is a wonderful thing. It has saved us a great deal of money over the years. Not having to pay to have our oil or brakes changed in a garage is wonderful. I have no idea what a fluid tech or mechanic gets paid but I hope it is a decent wage. My friend just spent a few hundred dollars having brake work done on her car and I can’t imagine paying that kind of bill. This week was the first time in a few years that I had to take one of our vehicles to the garage. Luckily it was just for an inspection. While sitting in the garage I overheard the prices being charged for various services that my husband has done to our vehicles and I walked away even more thankful for his self-taught mechanical abilities.
My husband took the day off today by accident. He thought he had committed to spend the day working on a project for our older son’s Boy Scout troop. As it turned out the work day had been rescheduled and he wasn’t needed. He could have went into work but we decided to spend the day running errands as a family. It turned out to be a perfect day! We were able to get a great deal of gardening work done in addition to tracking down some much needed produce. We don’t grow corn ourselves because it takes up too much space in our garden. Buying local corn in season and freezing it for winter is our favorite way to preserve corn. We found a deal on 65 ears of fresh local corn for $18. I have found corn cheaper later in the season but it tasted terrible. I would rather spend money on decent tasting corn now that cheap corn I end of throwing away. Can you guess how tomorrow will be spent? That is right we will be shucking and blanching corn all day!
Today I received a formal invitation to my brother’s wedding. He had announced about 4 months ago that he would be getting married in September. I had started to wonder if something was amiss since we hadn’t received our invitation. Now that I know the details of the wedding I can begin to shop for the perfect gift. My brother is 42 years old and has never been married or shared his home with anyone. This means that he doesn’t really have a great many of the things that I married person his age might own like cookware and kitchen gear. He does has a bit of cabin furniture in one room of his house but not much else. Living by himself he has never felt the need to really decorate his home. I am sure that his new bride will dive right into this full force. It is just nice to know that he has found someone to share his life with. I am hoping to find them something sentimental and useful for a wedding present and I don’t have much time to do so.
This has been a wacky gardening season. The spring was so wet and cold that we didn’t get most things planted until very late. Then summer came in a fast and furious way. Most of our summer has been a drought situation and our plants have paid the price. Our potatoes still need another 30 days in the ground and they are already dying despite our best efforts to keep them alive. I finally harvested some of them because my worry was that bugs would get to them in the ground. Thus far I have harvest 66 pounds of potatoes from about 14 pounds of planted seed potatoes. I don’t know if that is a good return or not. I guess I am just happy we have potatoes whereas last year our container grown potatoes were and absolute flop.
A friend of mine just started a new business. She had previously had a small custom greeting card business and decided to pursue a new avenue. She has always had an interest in photography and can tell you everything imaginable about the subject. I am referred to her for advice on topics like digital camera exilim and processing film. She has taken some classes and just seems to have a natural knack for photography. This week she formally put herself out there and started a photography business. I think it is awesome that she is so adventurous and willing to go after what she wants. If she lived closer I would line up a session for our children because her portfolio is just amazing.
This week I decided to figure out some way to preserve the red onions from our garden via canning. I know that you can cure and store onion but this wasn’t the route I wanted to go for these onions. I found a recipe for red onion marmalade and decided to give it a try. I have to say that this was about the nastiest smelling thing I have ever cooked. It was really hard to believe that this vile smelling stuff could turn into something edible. Tonight we grilled some grass fed burgers and decided to baste them in the marmalade. These were absolutely the best tasting burgers we have ever made. The marmalade added a sweet and onion flavor to the burgers that was just delightful. It goes to show that something can smell horrid and taste awesome.
About six months ago we decided to go down to owning one car instead of two. Thus far it has been a pretty simple adjustment for our family. Because we home school the children there isn’t a great deal of running that I need to do during the week. Most people just don’t understand how we can manage with just one vehicle. There are times when I worry whether we need a roadside assistance club. With only one vehicle if we break down it isn’t like the other person can come and help out. I have to wonder how many of the people that don’t understand why we have one vehicle are struggling to pay their bills. One of the women my husband works with actually works a second job just to pay her car payment. I can’t imagine having to work a full time job and a part-time job just to pay for a car. There may come a point when we have to have another vehicle but for now we are managing just fine and like not being indebted to someone for our vehicles.
Today was another day spent canning. I try to spend time several days out of each week to preserve food in some form or fashion. My canning season is starting to kick into gear and today’s focus was pickles! I have been growing cucumbers in the backyard but don’t get enough at once to make pickles. A quick run to the farmer’s market solved that problem and my pickle making operation was under way. I ended up with way more cucumbers than I anticipated and instead of making just dill or sweet pickles I was able to make both. I ended up with 19 pints of pickles. These combined with the pickles I canned earlier this week brings my total to 26 pints. I now consider my pickle canning for this year to be done!!!
It seems like I am forever battling the image I see in the mirror and the number I see on the scale. For some reason I am in a slump and just can’t seem to get myself motivated to diet or exercise. I know there are people who would tell me to take some apidexin and move forward with my life. For whatever reason I seem so focused on other things lately that what is going in my mouth doesn’t enter my mind. Honestly, I think the heat plays a huge part in my motivation or lack there of. I am not someone who wants to workout when I am already dripping with sweat. There is a small urge to start eating better building in me and I am trying to reign that drive in and put it into action. Hopefully, I can find it in myself to take control of my eating and get back on the treadmill very soon.
It occurred to me today that I believe I have finally found a hobby that I truly am passionate about. Last year I embarked on a backyard garden and it was truly a joy. Over the last year I have expanded both my garden and my knowledge of gardening. I realized today that I no longer hate the feeling of dirt on my hands. Seeing a weed makes me want it gone and no amount of dirt on my hands is going to get between me and that weed. There was a day when the thought of dirt on my hands drove me a little crazy. Today I take such joy in seeing veggies grow and plant inch towards the sun that took root because of some small part I played in it all. Looking forward I can see myself continually expanding my garden not just for the food it grows but the joy it provides.
Tomorrow is my husband’s birthday. This is the year that he will turn 41 years old. A week later we will celebrate our 20th anniversary. His mother called me this morning to find out what I had planned for his birthday. I have no idea why she thought I would have anything planned because we have never made a fuss in the past. My husband is one of those guys who really would prefer to have the day pass unnoticed. He has little interest in being given gifts of any sort which makes it simple. I like knowing that he is not expecting a new golf club or a ps3 headset. The only thing he asks for is a particular type of cake each year. I intend to buy him the cake he requested, a card, and a small gift. There will be no party nor big affair because that is not the type of guy he is. I know that his mother has now started plotting her own way of recognizing her son’s birthday which is fine because that is who she is and what she wants on her birthday. She believes that is how everyone wishes their birthday would be recognized. Having been married to her son for more than half his life I am confident that my lack of party planning will please him more.
I love old retro advertisements. In fact I created a back splash in my kitchen out of old advertisements. There is just something about vintage things that makes me feel good. I am always on the look out for new ones to print out and add to my collection. Today I stumbled across one that just made me laugh. It was an advertisement for Chase and Sanborn coffee. The ad depicted a wife being spanked by her husband for not buying fresh tasting coffee. Can you imagine this type of ad being used today? It truly shows how far we have come in terms of women’s equality -at least on some levels. I just can’t imagine a bunch of people sitting around today and saying this is what we need to do to market to women… encourage them to buy our coffee to avoid being spanked by their husbands….Although this ad made me laugh I will not be printing it out to put in my kitchen…
This weekend we will be inundated with family members visiting. It is always fun for my children when we have out of town visitors because they spoil our children. The last time we had company was at Easter. Both of our children were given so much Easter candy for kids it was crazy! I ended up putting a great deal of the candy in the freezer because there was just so much of it. My children are not huge candy eaters but my husband and I love candy which is why I had to freeze some of it. Frozen candy is so much less tempting to my brain. At least this visit won’t bring with it baskets of candy. Instead I have no doubts that my children will be gifted a bunch of sparklers and assorted fireworks. This drives me crazy because fireworks are illegal here. Where our relatives live fireworks are legal and they see nothing wrong with bringing them to our children. I have to immediately confiscate the more dangerous stuff and hide it which is hard to explain to my children. I love that our children are loved by so many people but wish sometimes that the holidays were centered around things like giving books. It would be so much nicer to have to regulate a stack of books rather than fire crackers.
I have spent the last year or so growing my hair out to a reasonably long length. Now that it is long I don’t tend to spend much time styling it. Today the notion struck me that I had option now that I have never had before with my hair. Having no clue how to style my hair I decided to look online and stumbled across retro hairstyles from the 40′s. I decided to have a bit of fun and try to mimic one. Surprisingly it turned out pretty cute and actually looks attractive on me. The test will be when my husband gets home in an hour. He will either compliment me or ask what I am doing with my hair. His mouth sometimes speaks before his brain thinks so I will definitely know whether he likes it or not before too long.
Next weekend my husband and I will celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. This is a milestone in our lives that we do not take lightly. Last year at this time my husband was recovering from a serious car accident which almost cost him his life. Since that time I have never forgotten what a blessing each day we have together is. Fortunately, my husband has fully recovered from his accident and is almost as strong as he was before being injured. His leg and ankle were broken and required surgery to repair them. We were concerned for a long time that he might not walk properly again. Today he walks as well as before aside from some stiffness and the need to occasionally wear a support stocking. He no longer needs any sort of ankle braces or crutches and is able to exercise. It really is amazing that legs that were so damaged recovered to the degree they have in just one year. We have always had a very close marriage but since the accident we truly have an appreciation of how precious each and every day we are given together is.
I just returned from spraying the plants in my garden to prevent blight. This is not something I want to do but I realize that this season is perfect for getting garden diseases. As much as I try to grow my garden organically I also realize that loosing my plants to disease is not something I want to do. This means that I am using a regimen of preventative sprays to hopefully avoid problems with blight. My hope is to be able to stave off the diseases that may come my way long enough to harvest vegetables. I know many people who will not use chemicals of any type in their garden and would rather not get a crop that use them. I researched my options and have chosen what I believe to be the safest product out there that will actually work to prevent the diseases that may take hold in my garden this year. Things are so wet and humid that there is a good chance that many gardeners will deal with blight this year. I don’t want to be one of those who waits until it is too late to treat a problem.
A few weeks ago I had someone comment to me about how much of our yard had been turned into a garden. This person stated that our children had little room to play ball now that we have such a large garden. I responded to this person by indicating that my children love to garden and that I am not raising athletes. My children have little interest in sports and will likely never bring home sport trophies. They do however love nature and watching things grow. My children are endlessly entertained by watching birds and insects. The process of how our garden and nature are intertwined is a source of constant curiosity for them. Were they to show an interest in playing ball or catch in the backyard I might have thought twice about enlarging the garden. As it stands my older son wakes up every morning to go and see what has grow in the garden and what is ready to harvest. He loves being able to bring in fresh food and find recipes to use them in. In my mind that is a better use of his mind and energy.
This week I busted out my canning gear and formally began my 2011 canning season. I picked up a couple of flats of strawberries and decided to try a recipe that had caught my eye. This recipe was for strawberry-lemonade concentrate. The recipe was very easy to make and each flat of strawberries made around 12 quarts of concentrate which will ultimately create 24 quarts of juice. My family gave this the seal of approval after our first taste test. Today was also spent canning. My recipe list included blueberry syrup, strawberry sauce, and chocolate strawberry sundae syrup. All of these will easy to make as well and turned out extremely tasty. It will be nice to have syrups on hand that aren’t full of high fructose corn syrup and other crazy ingredients. I hope to make several other types of syrups over the summer because we have pancakes or waffles at least once a week.
A few months ago we signed forms to opt out of having most mass mailings delivered to our house. I always feel bad when I pick stuff out of the mailbox only to put it in the recycling bin. Since opting out of these mailings we have hardly any mail delivered to our house. I have to admit it feels weird not to get any advertisements for used car sales and credit card offers. Whenever our box is empty I have to wonder if the mailman skipped over our house. There is the possibility that it will take me some time to adjust to the decreased level of mail in our box. Having had our mail delivered to the wrong house on several occasions there is always the thought in my mind that someone else has been given our mail. At least I know that the important things like credit card offers will not be falling into the wrong hands because they are not being mailed out at all.
After waiting for what seems like forever today is finally the day I will begin planting our big garden. We rent a spot at our local community garden each season in addition to our backyard garden. The weather has been so incredibly soggy that they have not been able to work the soil at the community garden. They promised this afternoon that we would be able to get to work and I cannot wait! My husband is taking a half day off from work in order to spend time tilling the garden. My potatoes have been chitted and my other seeds and plants are just in a holding position waiting to be put in the soil. The weather is perfect for being outdoors and I am itching to head down the road!
Tomorrow I am heading off for a day in the great outdoors. Actually, it is an event designed for women who love the outdoors. I will be participating in a day long event with lessons and speakers about various outdoor activities. I am hoping the sun doesn’t shine to brightly because I don’t need another sunburn. My skin is still peeling from my previous outdoor exposure and my face looked like it could use some vitamins for acne. I plan on taking a hat and some sunscreen and am hoping for the best. If the sun decided to hide behind the clouds all day that would be fine with me. Either way it should be a fun day of learning and meeting new people.
Last night I went to the funeral home. It was the first time I had been to a funeral in about 6 years. My aunt passed away from cancer and I accompanied my parents to the viewing. Although I wasn’t close to my aunt it was still a sad occasion for me. I realized how kind my aunt had been over the years to everyone and how hard she tried to draw our family together. I also realized how out of contact I had fallen with many if not all of my father’s family. Most of them didn’t know I had two children and had never met my husband. Considering we have been married 20 years this month that is a sad statement to make. I left feeling very sad for my uncle and my cousin’s who are quite shaken at the loss of a wonderful woman in their lives. It also left me realizing that there will come a time when I stand in their shoes facing burying someone close to me.
With all the rain we have been having and the higher temperature the house and outdoors are incredibly humid. I feel like I need to take a shower twice a day just to feel clean. My skin absolutely hates this weather and is in serious need of acne cream and possibly even something like nanocleanse. I know people who wake up day after day with great looking skin and don’t even try. I have no idea why mine is the way it is. I eat organic and have a skincare regimen and yet here I am at the ripe old age of forty with the skin of a teenager. I guess it could be worse at least I don’t have wrinkles and acne. I know that at some point my skin will stop reacting this way and at least I will have great looking skin without many wrinkles when that time comes.
A couple of days ago I was in the backyard with the children working in the garden. A lady startled me by saying “hello”. She then went on to ask if she could look at my garden. Not many people take and interest in my garden. We have worked incredibly hard on it but not many people seem to care. In fact we have had more negative things said such as how we ruined a great lawn. The other comments have informed us that there are bears in the area and that we will attract them to the area. It completely kills me that people care more about green grass than growing food. This lady absolutely made my day by telling what a great garden I have and how neat if was. She even stopped by later in the week with a friend to show her the garden. I am happy to know that someone out there gets the notion of growing your own food.
Our local school district is facing some very tough budget choices for the upcoming school year. This impacts people across so many areas of our town. My next door neighbor has been informed that she will be loosing her teaching position at the end of the school year because of the cuts. She is now trying to decide what to pursue as a career in the future. She is considering an it degree or possibly nursing school. Given the cuts that are being made she does not foresee the possibility of her return to teaching at any point in the near future. I hope she is able to pursue a job that will lead to the career stability she needs in order to provide for her family. I think that an it degree coupled with her teaching experience might open some doors she hasn’t considered. Many online charter schools are looking for teachers with strong computer skills.
Like most of the world we have had nothing but rain for days on end. I feel like I shouldn’t complain because of how badly the rest of the world has been fairing. Today is the first day in so many days that the sun shone brightly. We took full advantage of this break in the weather to get some plants in the garden. All of our tomato and pepper plants are now planted. We also got a trellis built for our cucumbers, winter squash, and melons. My herb garden is now planted as well. This project took most of the day and a ton of work but it is done! All I can do now is hope that this rain relents and the temperatures continue to warm up. I feel so badly for the farmers across the country who are suffering as a result of this wet weather.
This school year I have been working with my oldest son to increase his ability to complete his school work independently. He has shown great improvement over the course of the year but there is still a way to go. He is very easily distracted by anything and everything. The biggest distraction for him is when a lesson directs him to a website outside of his online school. I might leave the room to go to the restroom and return to find him on some website like. Somehow the child is able to find a way to veer completely off track and onto other websites routinely throughout the day. His computer is somewhat locked down by his school but there is still room to cruise the internet. My goal for the next school year is to get him to realize that his school day would be much shorter if he were able to focus his attention to the task at hand and not get distracted.
It has been about a week since we have had any construction in front of our house. Today the water company pulled up with a couple dozen trucks. Before I knew it they had a back hoe in our front yard digging it up. We thought all the work they had done was complete but apparently we were wrong. The children love the idea of having all the heavy equipment right in the front yard for them to watch. It is like taking them to the movies because they sit completely enthralled for hours. I hate the yard being torn up but I like the children having something they enjoy to watch. Free entertainment is good by me in these economic times.
There are times when I wonder how some parents manage. I home school both of our children and therefore spend a great deal of time with them. They go almost everywhere with me. This doesn’t mean I always enjoy outings with both of them. Taking them to the doctor is always quite and experience. One of them insists on interrupting despite my best efforts to prepare that they need to sit quietly during the visit. I wish I could say that my oldest is quite content to sit and read supplement reviewswhile his younger brother sees the doctor but that isn’t the case. This morning my youngest son has an interview for kindergarten. His older brother knows he needs to sit and read during the appointment but undoubtedly he will have a great deal to say. I cannot imagine if I had to take a handful of kids to appointments like many of my friends have to do. I know some will say this is a parenting issue but honestly it doesn’t matter what consequences I impose for situations like this my child simply cannot refrain from talking.
Today is a day of minor firsts in our house. This is the first day that my husband has ever road his bike to work. We decided to get rid of our second car a month or so ago. The plan is that during decent weather he will ride his bike to work. We live just 2 miles from his office which makes the ride definitely doable. The other great fact is that there is an awesome bike trail between our house and his office. Another first this morning was that I got up and walked on the treadmill. I usually do this in the evening but I figure that if my husband can bike to work then I can get up and walk as well. Our final first of the day is that I will be taking my youngest son to register for kindergarten. It is cyber kindergarten but that doesn’t make it any less momentous in our lives. A good day thus far and it isn’t even 8 am….
I posted in a previous post that I was trying to come up with an appropriate punishment for my 11 year old son. He has consistently lied to me about having completed his Spanish coursework over this school year. I decided to take a bit of time in determining an appropriate punishment for his lack of effort in this particular course. I decided that there would be two actions that I would take in response to his lying. The first action was that I would find jobs in the house that needed completed and have him do them. He is not very found of housework which makes it a good job for him to do right now. The other punishment is that I am suspending our television account for one and possible two months. The reason for this is that his primary motivation for lying to me was in order to spend more time watching television. Our agreement until now has been that he is allowed to watch some television after his schoolwork is done each day. Now he will have no reason to rush to the television because there will be nothing to watch. Instead of watching television he can use that time to complete the 39 assignments that are now past due.
Our oldest son has reached the age where it is clear that he is beginning to think of himself as being smarter than his parents. I have until now considered my son a very honest child. In fact he has always been too honest. Today I found out he has been lying to me on a regular basis in regards to his Spanish class. This has been the one class that I have trusted him to complete the work independently because he always has. Today I found that he has skipped over every single assessment for the entire school year. I am beyond disappointed in him and am trying to come up with an adequate punishment. It is hard when you have a child like him who has until now been so honest and trust worthy.
We spent the weekend visiting with many members of our family. Among the visitors to our house was my brother’s fiance. I don’t really know her and have been trying to get better acquainted with her. Both of my brother’s are in their 40′s and have never been married. The prospect of someone new in our family really changes the dynamics. With a wedding on the horizon it is interesting to see how people change the way they relate to one another. My mother is of course in a panic about dresses, tuxes, and all sorts of unusual stuff like getting my brother a lapel pin. My brother seems pretty oblivious to the fact that he is acquiring a wife and is approaching it all in the same way as he does everything else. While I am happy for my brother I am not really looking forward to more weird family get gatherings in the future. Having someone new in the group made everyone act weird and quiet. I know we will get used to it eventually but it might take a while.
It has been raining here for what seems like a month. It just feels like the weather is never going to to warm up and that spring is never going to truly arrive. I have a couple hundred plants that I have started and would love to get planted outdoors. The weather has been so unpredictable that I just don’t feel like it is safe yet to put them outdoors. At the rate it is going we are just going to go straight from winter into summer and will skip right over spring. The children are nearly done with their classes for the year and are just itching to move onto summer vacation. I know how they feel and would just love to pack everyone up for a day at the park. The problem is that all the rain has left the park by our house under about two feet of water. My youngest son just doesn’t understand why we can’t go to the playground. The only thing we could do at the playground right now is practice boating.
I am in the process of beefing up my garden security. It seems that we have bears on the prowl once again this year. I am not particularly worried about the bear situation but for some reason my neighbor seems to be. He tells me every chance he gets that the bears are out and about. I will be more concerned when I actually have stuff in my garden worth worrying about. In the meantime I am looking into various motion activated stuff that might scare the bears and other pests away. At the top of my list right now is a motion activated sprinkler. I would have loved to have this device when we lived in a crummy neighborhood and had people living around us who knew no boundaries. It would have been great for limiting loitering in the yard and whatnot. I am so happy that bears are my biggest worry right now instead of hooligans.
It is definitely spring in our part of the country. I can always tell when spring arrives by the amount of sneezing and coughing in my house. Everyone in my house has seasonal allergies and spring is a particularly tough time for us for some reason. For most of the winter we are able to get away without running our air purifier but when spring comes we can’t live without one. I have had to add a second allergy medicine to my daily routine just to keep myself from sneezing constantly. I hate winter but I love the way my sinuses feel during the cold winter months when pollen levels are zero. I would love to have springtime weather without the allergies that come along with it.
This week I decided that the time had come to take control of my eating habits. I put myself on a very strict regimen of meals and hope to loose a significant amount of weight. It has been a struggle this winter to keep my weight under control. I have been working out regularly but apparently it has not been enough to make me loose weight. Now that the weather is warmer and we are outside more it is easier to not turn to the refrigerator for entertainment. I have a goal to get my weight back down to where it was last year at this time. That should be attainable as long as I keep myself out of the kitchen and busy in the garden.
It is funny how the different viewpoints that people can take on the idea of gardening. We have met a ton of people who see no reason to grow a vegetable garden when the vegetables can easily be bought at the market. On the other hand there are just as many people who completely understand why growing vegetables is so rewarding. We have a couple of neighbors who are keenly interested in each and everything we do in our backyard garden but for very different reasons. One neighbor seems to be a bit put out by the fact that we don’t keep leave our lawn as it was. This neighbor commented on how nice the grass was in our yard. Yes, the grass was lovely as it the gorgeous kick plate and antique door that came with the house. These were definitely factors that drew us to the house when we bought it but the world has changed since then. We can’t eat grass and America has lost tons of wonderful farmland because people insist on having huge lawns that produce nothing edible. By growing a small garden I put my yard to work for my family which is also better for our world. My neighbor might not get this but he doesn’t have to look at my garden if he doesn’t want to. He can look at his perfectly manicured lawn that no one ever walks on or even sits outside to enjoy.
We spent the entire day outside today! This is the first time in oh so many months that we have been able to do this. Our winter has seemed endless this year. The snow melted off and then we were hit again and again with minor winter storms. Today the temperature was perfect for working in the garden. Nothing lifts my spirits quite like a day of digging in the garden and working on project outside. We were able to put in blueberry, gooseberry, nanking cherry, and currant bushes. My husband planted 3 new grape vines along our property line. I planted another 10 crowns of purple passion asparagus along side the 10 crowns I planted last week. We put in a 16 foot row of German butterball potatoes as an experiment. In my mini-hoop house I planted some carrots and transplanted some lettuce and kale seedlings. The last project was to start a new lasagna garden bed. Needless to say we are all exhausted from our day in the fresh air and hours spent digging in the dirt.
Once a week I attend a walking and running group along with about 200 other women from our community. The group is awesome on so many levels. It is a great way for women to support each other in physical fitness and friendship. I do have to smile at some of the women who come there. They are dressed in all the latest and greatest in urban clothing and trendy clothing. As lovely as they look it does cause me to wonder if they are their to impress the other women with their clothing or to become more physically active. I usually throw on a pair workout pants and a couple of layers of shirts. My hair gets pulled back in a ponytail and I am set for an intense workout. I suppose no one at the group goes home wanting to copy my style but at least I feel properly dressed for working out as opposed to shopping at the nearest mall.
This week has been one of those weeks that just seems impossible. It started when a friend from high school died without any warning. She was a health and newly married 40 year old woman who is no longer on this earth. A couple of days later another friend of ours lost his father to leukemia. A few days after that we received a middle of the night call letting us know that my husband’s cousin has suddenly passed away. She had been told 36 hours prior to dying that she had a sinus infection. This turned out to be much more serious than that and was in fact a rare blood infection. She passed within hours of her initial visit to the hospital. All this was after having overcome leukemia several years prior. She was wonderful woman who had lost a daughter to cancer at the time of her leukemia diagnosis. Her other daughter had also won the battle against brain cancer as a child. At the time of her death her mother was recovering from surgery to remove cancer from her throat that had spread from another area of her body. This was a woman who deserved to live and deserved to see her grandchildren go old. She did not deserve to die in the middle of the night without notice. Her life had been a war against disease in every single person near and dear to her. She deserved a chance to fight this infection with the warrior spirit that was so clearly a part of her.
Last weekend we returned our lease car to the dealership. We discussed the notion for a long time of not replacing it with another vehicle and instead relying on our other car. The decision to keep just one vehicle was easy for our family because we home school and my husband only lives a couple of miles from work. We have a wonderful bike path that he can take from right near our house to directly in front of his office. Having the kids at home means that I don’t have to run them to school every morning and pick them up every afternoon. Obviously having only one vehicle will mean that we need to practice defensive driving to keep our single vehicle in good running order. Not having a backup vehicle makes it very important to treat our remaining vehicle as carefully as possible.
This month has absolutely flown by! It feels great to know that warm weather is just around the corner. Our gardening projects are already in full swing. There are 4 flats of seedlings under grow lights in the basement that are thriving. This is a huge improvement over my bumbling attempts to start seeds last year. The soil in the raised beds has been worked and amended. Two new gardening areas have been dug and are just waiting to be planted. The plants I have had on order for the last 6 months are now on their way to my house. Our spot at the community garden has been confirmed. We have a new cultivator that should make life at the garden infinitely easier. I am thankful for so, so many opportunities to get my hands in the soil.
Last weekend we removed the door from my youngest son’s closet. The closet door was inconvenient for him to use because of the way it had been installed. It also prevented heat from getting into his room. For some strange reason the source of heat for his room was placed in the closet. The door is a beautiful old and very heavy oak door. My husband wanted to get rid of it but I said I wanted to keep it. I have an idea for reusing it to make a table. My husband doesn’t quite share my vision. He typically only understands my ideas once they become a finished product. Truth be told he would prefer I just buy atlantic furniture or something similar and be done with it. His preference is for new things when it comes to furniture as opposed to my preference for older or reinvented things.
My parents have had apple trees in their back yard for as long as I can remember. The trees produce beautiful apples but have not been pruned in about 20 years. As you can imagine the trees are very overgrown and in need of care. Today we went up to attack the trees and prune them as best we could. Never having pruned apple trees before we kind of just did the best we could. We watched a ton of YouTube videos on pruning apple trees and read what information was available online to prepare us for the job. The thing is that in cold it is a very different job from what it is when you are in and the under the tree. We really needed more tools to do a proper job but I think it was a good start. We figure that next year we can do a bit more work and every year thereafter. I only hope the trees reward us with apples in the fall and that we didn’t damage the tree too much.
We woke up this morning and realized that just about every quick breakfast food in our house was gone. This isn’t to say there isn’t food in our house. In fact we could easily survive on the supplies I have in the house for many months. What I am referring to is easy breakfast foods like bread, bagels, cereal, and yogurt. The uproar in my house over this fact was a bit hilarious. You would think that my children and husband were living in one of those luxury new york city hotels or something. I reassured everyone that I would be baking later in the day and that life would return to normal shortly. In the meantime the world would still rotate if we had to have oatmeal or eggs for breakfast.
One of the biggest struggles I have had in living a sustainable lifestyle is getting my children to eat the food that I make. Trust me when I say I am a pretty decent cook. The taste of my food is not the problem. The problem is that my children grew accustomed to their food coming in a specific package. Bread that comes from a pan is foreign. My oldest son adapted fairly rapidly but the little guy has been an entirely different story. His fussiness was to the point that I would save wrappers from store products to put my own home made food in suck as bread, donuts, and yogurt. I may have finally gotten over this hurdle just this week as the child is finally eating these items straight from the container they are made in.
If you have followed this blog for very long you will know that I am a girl with simple needs and wants. I don’t follow trends and I don’t have need for the newest thing on the market. This is a value I hope to instill in my children. I think my philosophy is rubbing off on them to some degree. My son is constantly asking if we can make or build this or that rather than buy it. This isn’t to say that I don’t treasure special gifts given to me. My favorite belongings include those gifts and Personal Creations given to me by the special people in my life. I treasure a small clay worm made by my oldest son when he was just 3 years old. He wrapped it in tissues and was so very proud of it. Even now, eight years later, my heart melts every time I look at that little worm.
This winter I have been like a kid in a candy store when it comes to gardening books and blogs. I simply CANNOT get enough. Just when I think I have my gardening plans plotted out and ready I stumble across a new and better idea. I simply want to badly to bet getting outside and getting the soil ready. I feel so much more prepared for gardening this year. Last year we didn’t really know a great deal and somehow things worked out. This year it is a different ballgame. It is almost as if the risk is higher because I have invested so much time planning and researching. I also recognize the value of what we are able to produce in this economy. Not buying fruits and veggies for a year is huge in a world where gas is likely going to be $4.00 a gallon soon.
February has been a very long month. It has been a month that we have not looked forward to and are very glad to see come to an end. February reminds us of everything we dealt with last year at this time. All I can think of is accidents, surgeries, and dealing with auto insurance companies when I think of the month of February. You see last year my husband was involved in a very serious accident and we spent the entire month dealing with doctor’s, hospitals, and insurance agents. I am very glad to be on the other side of that time in life but I can’t help but be flooded with emotions when I think about everything that happened last year.
Our neighbor stopped me while I was shoveling snow and asked if we might want her son’s pet lizard. Her son is leaving in a month for the military and is looking to find a home for his lizard. I know that my oldest son would love to have such a pet but I do not feel so inclined. The lizard is in a cage that would take up a great deal of my son’s room and it is already small. The other thing is that the lizard would ultimately end up being my responsibility. My son is a fairly responsible kid but handling his dog is about all he can manage right now. The other thing is that I have a particular sensitivity to things kept in aquariums. Lizards and snakes, for some unknown reason, make me sick to my stomach. Going into a pet store with snakes and lizard makes my stomach lurch. I can’t imagine how it would be if I had to take care of one myself. We are going to have to decline this offer which I feel bad about but I just can’t handle the responsibility.
For some reason the only thing I want to eat today is chocolate. I realize that this signifies something that my body is trying to tell me. I have read that magnesium supplements can help with chocolate cravings and I have been taking them. I really am going to need diet pills if I can’t get these cravings under control. I have already had chocolate chips, a small chocolate bar, and hot chocolate today. I have absolutely no desire to eat anything else. Right now my house if filled with the smell of bread baking. This is usually a smell that causes me to want to eat the bread fresh from the oven. The only thing I can think about right now is how I can incorporate chocolate into our dinner. I have been known to make chocolate chip pancakes on days like this. Likely I won’t sleep well tonight because of all the caffeine in my system from the chocolate.
Our backyard adjoins that of our neighbor’s without any division. To the casual observer our two properties appear to be one big yard. This is good and bad. It is good because it gives our children a sense of a bit more room to play than they otherwise might have. It is bad in that people visiting our neighbor’s don’t respect the property line nor seem aware of it. Our neighbor’s have a church on the other side of their house and it is the church that they attend. This means that they have a lot of people visiting them after church and during the week because their home is viewed as an extension of the church in some respect. People going to the church regularly walk through their yard and into ours.Our extensive gardening projects have peaked the interest of many people who think it is okay to come over the our yard and check things out. This would be fine if we actually knew anyone of them. We are happy to share information with people who really want to learn but most of these people just want to see what is in our backyard. We are now considering putting in a natural fence or hedgerow. I would like to use something that would produce food for us as well as offering just a bit of privacy and separation to our yards without being an obvious fence. We like our neighbors and don’t want to offend them.
My children are the light of my life. There isn’t a day where I am not amazed and amused by them. At times I wonder how on earth such amazing people are from my gene pool. They are intense kids and always creating or doing something. This means I need to keep my energy level up as much as possible. I am trying to keep myself physically fit by exercising daily but it gets hard to fit it in some days. By the time the children are in bed I feel completely drained and the only thing I want to do it sit and relax. I am working on finding a way to fit in a mid-day workout but all I honestly it is very hard. I could devote about the amount of time it takes to swallow one of the best weight loss pills but that is about it. I realize that the solution to my is to just get up before the children and get my workout in then. Finding the motivation to hit the treadmill at 7:00 is really what my problem is right now. I love my sleep and I also love my quiet evenings alone.
I wonder how many people out there are true to themselves each and every day? What I mean is how many of us are living the life we always saw ourselves living and being true to our beliefs. When I think about all the people I have gotten to know in this life I can only think of a few that I would confidently say are living life this way. We all make concessions and assumes roles demanded of us by society. It always seems like the people I know who stand up for their beliefs and chase their dreams should be entirely happy. I wonder if they really are happy with their lives or are they like the rest of us. By the rest of us what I mean is are they only achieving certain dreams and still have secret dreams that will never be achieved. I suppose this sounds silly but when you look at someone who seems to be living life without fear or caution and chases their dreams to no end it just seems like they should be happier than the rest of us.
One of my many interests is making homemade personal care products. I have yet to try making deodorant but I have copied a couple of recipes. I have successfully made bath soap with a variety of ingredients including tea tree oil and lavender. There is just something about making deodorant that has me on the fence. I know a woman who uses a natural deodorant and well to be blunt she smells of body odor. I am not close enough to her to feel comfortable addressing the situation but it is enough to keep me from making my own deodorant right now. I know there must be recipe out there that works but I am going to have to be convinced of that before I invest the time and money making it. For now I will keep on using my highly processed and totally unnatural deodorant. I have enjoyed success with the products I have made thus far and believe at one point I will try deodorant but just not yet.
A great many people I know think the idea of stocking a bunch of groceries in your house is silly. These people always say that they will just go to the store should they run low on supplies. I really believe you need to approach life in a way that works well for you and your life situation. I am one of those people who has gone “without” at various points of my life. Being hungry as a child is still a painful memory that I can easily draw upon. I never want my children to experience that feeling. We are not struggling to make ends meet but we are also not wealthy. If something happened we could easily find life very precarious. I like the idea of buying food that I can have on hand for the “what ifs” in life. I like not having to run to the store in the middle of a horrible storm. I like knowing surprise guests for dinner will not throw me or my food budget for a loop. I don’t stock prepared foods like I once did but I still stock staples that will allow me to make a multitude of meals from scratch whenever I like.
My youngest son has had very chapped lips since late November. It all started when he got a cold and he starting sucking or licking his lips for whatever reason. We have been trying to get them cleared up ever since then. We have tried creams and salves of all sorts and nothing seems to clear it up. The problem is compounded because my son absolutely hates to have any sort of balm or cream put on his skin. It would matter if I was trying to put body lotion or accutane on him. The process of putting lip balm on his lips results in a screaming battle of wills. As soon as the balm is on his lips the entire screaming match is over. I recently made homemade lip balm from coconut oil, shea butter, and bees wax. This balm seems to be the first thing that has improved the state of his lips. After just a week they are almost entirely healed which is a huge relief to us all.
For some reason I am prone to getting stiff necks. I don’t know why this is. I suspect it has something to do with my posture when I am working at the computer. For whatever reason I tend to develop a stiff neck after I have a great deal of work to do at the computer and also when there is a lot of snow to be shoveled or leaves that need raking. Today there was so much snow it was ridiculous and I had to shovel twice. As you might imagine I am having some serious issues with my neck today. I would like to take a muscle relaxer but I always worry that somehow something will happen and the muscle relaxer will prevent me from being alert and attentive to the situation. So, I sit in pain waiting for it to go away. Usually it does in about 3-4 days. This is day one.
Over the last year my life has become simplified on so many levels. We have tried to live life in such a way as to not only live most sustainably but to also limits the amount of money we spend. There are several things I think are important areas to focus on when shifting to this type of lifestyle. When we first started out we began to seriously assess what we truly needed in the way of food, beauty products, and cleaning supplies. I investigated how we might make or provide these things on own using more natural or organic supplies. I think many people don’t even consider the chemicals they are bringing into their homes. Most people buy things simply based on price or convenience. If everyone made just a few small changes in these areas it could have a huge impact on our health, budgets, and the world in general.
Our oldest son is avidly involved in Boy Scouts. His troop actually meets twice a week on most weeks because of all the activities they have planned. Our son is also very busy with gifted program through his cyber school. You wouldn’t think it would be possible for a child who goes to cyber school to be overly involved in extra-curricular activities but mine is. Between projects for Boy Scouts, science fair research, and the stock market team the child seems to working most of the day on something with someone. That is why I have to laugh whenever anyone comments about home schooled children and socialization. Clearly mine is socialized.
I have a serious case of spring fever. I want so very badly to see something green growing. Last week I started some onion seeds and they are just now starting to germinate. It seems like I am spending every free moment I have in front of one of our computers reading everything I can on gardening. Today was the first day in about 3 months that I have felt like spring may really be on the way. The temperature today was in the mid 50′s and a good deal of snow melted off the ground. I can almost see my raised garden beds once again. If felt so good to feel a bit of warm air on my face when I went outside. I know we still have a couple of months of winter left but at least I can see light at the end of the tunnel. I might be squinting to see that light but I am sure it is there.
Tonight was our weekly evening out on the town with the kids. If I haven’t mentioned it before – we live in Nowhereville. It is a town that has just about …well… nothing going on. The main things to do in town during the winter are go to Walmart or the “mall”. We took the children to the library and then to eat at a fast food restaurant. We hardly ever eat fast food so going to Burger King for junk food is a huge treat. After eating a feast of what is in reality corn based food we headed to the “mall”. Our local mall, at one time, had maybe 20 stores in it. As it stands there are now 4 stores in it. One of them is a pizza place. The other three are Big Lots, Kmart, BonTon, and Goodwill… You can imagine how long we spent in the mall right?
This has been a particularly hard winter for our part of the country. We have had more snow and ice that I can remember for a very long time. Last weekend there was so much snow pile on our back porch roof that my husband had to climb out there and shovel it all off. We were a little concerned that the the roof might give way and fall on our camper. We don’t really have money right now for a motorhome repair and wanted to do whatever we could to avoid it if possible. I am really happy that the weather has given us a little bit of a break and everything is melting. There actually have been a couple of roofs in our area that have collapsed recently because of the stress of the weight of snow on them. I feel awful for the people it happened to because it just seems like something so unexpected.
One of our chickens has been laying eggs for almost a month. Right from the very beginning she understood exactly where to lay her eggs. She lays her eggs in exactly the same spot every day and doesn’t care what or if there is a box there to catch them. One of the other chickens started laying about a week ago and has had no clue where to lay them at all. We have had 3 nest boxes in the coop and she still drops them from the roost to the floor. This has meant a broken egg each and every day. Two days ago we decided to mount a nest box to the roost where she normally sits. Low and behold today there was an egg in that box! Apparently the little lady wants her own special spot and doesn’t want to go where everyone else is going. I think it is a little bit funny but have to respect a chicken that clucks to the beat of her own drum.
Sticking to a workout routine is something I struggle with. I am able to consistently workout as long as I do it every single day. When something comes up and I am not able to workout for a day it throws me completely off. I then use this as an excuse not to workout the next day and maybe the one after that. I wish I could just pop a pill like adapexin-p and the weight would melt away. That is not reality as I see it. I know that my body needs me to exercise and eat right. There is just something going on in my mind right now that can’t make my mind decide to get back on the treadmill. I know I have to and will feel great once I am back in a workout routine once again. All it took was the flu to throw me off track and now look where I am. The reality is that is just a pathetic excuse for sitting around and doing nothing.
Yesterday I spent some time in my pantry moving things about. As you might remember I canned about 500 jars of food last summer for the first time. Some people might say I went a bit overboard but I really don’t think so. We are about 1/3 of the way through this stockpile of food. I have a ton of green beans to use and know that next year I won’t need to do quite so many. The other things I canned like peaches are very clearly going to run out before peach season comes again. When I look at our tomato products it is also clear I will need to do more and change my recipe a bit. I canned a great deal of juice because I wanted to process things quickly. This means when I make spaghetti sauce I have to add tomato paste to the juice which adds to the cost of the end product. By cooking my juice into a sauce I will eliminate this step next year. Our apple sauce supply is right on target and I will undoubtedly do even more next year. My boys love it and I hate limiting them when it comes to fruits. I will not can corn next year. The corn I froze from the same batch is far, far superior in taste and texture. I love having canned potatoes and can’t imagine not having them again next year. It is fun to be able to gauge our needs for next year.
Having my children in cyber charter schools has been an unbelievable experience for our family. My children love their schools and don’t feel like they miss out on anything. Aside from a top notch curriculum they have tons of outings and clubs that they can participate. There really is no shortage of opportunities for them to pursue their interests. I love that I have the freedom to modify their curriculum and schedules to suit our needs. Each month I have a conference call with their teacher’s to discuss their progress and the assignments we have submitted. This is a wonderful experience because I have the teacher’s undivided attention applied to my students. When my son was in public school we only met with his teacher 2 times a year for 15 minutes. It was a brief and concise meeting that left me feeling that my child was expected to fit into a specific mold. With our present school we create the school experience that best serves the needs of my children.
One year ago today I received a phone call that I will never forget. It was from a paramedic on the scene of an accident. He was telling me that my husband had been in a car accident and that they were in the process of “cutting him” out of the car. He said that my husband was not conscious and that I needed to get to the hospital as quickly and carefully as I could…
We were having homemade pizza that night and we waited and waited for my husband who is never late to arrive. Although we are now past that horrible incident and my husband has recovered I still cannot look at pizza without thinking of that night. Tonight by coincidence we are having homemade pizza once again. My husband has strict instructions not to be late and not to stop for any errands.
Early last September we brought home 3 newly hatched chickens. We got them for the purpose of having our own fresh eggs. When we first brought them home it seemed like it would be forever before we got any eggs. Yesterday my husband went out to their coop to take care of them and was thrilled to find two eggs. This was a pretty exciting moment for our entire family. I honestly think we called as many people as we did for the birth of our children. I kind of felt like we should be handing out Avo cigars or something. It seems that only one of the chickens is laying at this point but I know it won’t be long before two are also leaving us gifts each day. They are gorgeous brown eggs and I cannot wait to have enough to make a meal for our family with them.
Last Thursday my older son said he didn’t feel well. He is the type of child who never tells you much about what is going on with his body. When he does mention something you know that he must feel pretty crummy. By the next morning he had spiked a fever and looked terrible. The day after that he was vomiting. By Sunday our youngest son had joined the fun and had a fever and a cough of his own. As of this morning I now find myself with a terribly sore throat and nice deep cough. It has been a very long weekend and looks like it will be an even longer week at this rate.
For Christmas we gave our youngest son a digital camera made for young children. I spent time today looking through the pictures he had take with his camera and clearing things out that needed deleted. It is always fun to look at life from the vantage point of a four year old. He must have take 400 pictures of our living room. Most of them were of his feet or his toys but there were a few that actually showed our home from his eye level. I can now why he is always crawling on our modern coffee table and footstools. From where he stands it is really hard to see anything in the room past the couches and chairs. The only way for him to see the rest of the house is to get up on something. I almost want to keep all of his pictures because they really do offer a unique view of the world that as adults we are so often oblivious to. The problem is that as I said most of his pictures are of his feet. I think I need to spend a bit more time teaching him to actually look at an focus in on other objects in the world that interest him besides his feet.
This afternoon I finished cleaning out my various pantries and cupboards. My main goal was to go through the food in our cabinets and determine what needed to be thrown out. For a long time I was an avid user of coupons. I thought I saved tons of money on groceries using these coupons and I suppose in a sense I did. At that time in life we didn’t make very many things from scratch. What I mean is if I baked a cake it came from a mix and so on. I know there are people who think that is cooking from scratch but let’s be serious. In the last year I have totally changed our habits of consumption and strive VERY hard not to use convenience foods. I make things from real ingredients and use very little processed foods in our daily life. I do keep some things like crackers around for the kids but I make everything else. Yes, I could make crackers but I think there do need to be limits. It is work to make everything but I actually enjoy it and my family appreciates my breads, muffins, cookies, granola, pasta, and well everything. My project of cleaning out the cupboards was to enable me to see where I stood on using up the stockpiles of food I had amassed using coupons and to weed out stuff that was way past the usable date. To my delight there was very little of these items remaining. I did have to throw out some things and that irks me because it is like throwing out money but they were things that I couldn’t in good conscience feed my family or give away.
For several years I was unable to sleep without taking some kind of sleep aid. Honestly, I took them for so long that I had no idea if I could ever sleep without them. Finally, I broke down about a month ago and decided that enough was enough. I made the decision to wean myself off sleeping aids even if it meant I didn’t sleep well for a long time. I honestly envisioned myself going for weeks without sleep while I waited for my body to adjust. I could just see myself aging from the lack of sleep and needing the best wrinkle cream for my tired face. It was surprising how quickly my body adjusted to the changes once I made the decision to do so. I have used some herbal supplements to promote sleep but do not feel the they are entirely necessary nor is my body reliant on them. Looking back I can see how the stress I was experiencing so many years ago led to my sleeplessness which caused me to seek out something to help me sleep. Little did I know how my body would come to rely on these sleep aids to get rest.
I don’t like answering machines or voice mail. In reality I don’t care much for talking on the phone at all. I suppose there is something wrong with me or someone would declare me as such. There are a few people I like to talk to but outside of that circle there aren’t many. Making business phone calls is something I loathe. Maybe it is some sort of social anxiety issue? I don’t really care because it doesn’t harm anyone and I take care of what needs to be taken care of. Most of the time I don’t think about this at all. Today a voice mail reminded me of this and caused me to think about my issues with the phone. My mother-in-law loves to leave voice messages. What irks the crap out of me is that they are ALWAYS vague and cryptic messages. The message generally sounds like she is worried or something and they always say “This is your mother, please call me”… No clue as to what she needs or wants or if it is an emergency. I WANT to know why you called and what you need and whether I HAVE to tend to it now or it can wait until I get my coat off or I need to hop in the car and call on the way… You know what I mean? If I call you I say why and for what purpose I am calling. If I am upset – I will clearly tell you why. All of her calls sound like someone has been hurt or is seriously ill. The reality is that many of the calls are to tell us stuff like – her power was off for an hour or there is a sale on milk….
We have owned a treadmill for several years. It has to be my favorite piece of workout equipment ever. The reality is that it is the only piece of equipment that I find myself able to stick with. I like the fact that I don’t have to think about what I am doing or perform crazy moves to get a decent workout. Recently I started to experiment with varying the incline of the treadmill while working out. I read that this was one good move to make if you wanted a real fat burner. After doing a bunch of reading I learned that by increasing the incline while walking it was possible to burn a significantly larger amount of calories during the same duration of working out. It took my body a while to adjust to the incline but now I can’t imagine not using it. I love the exhausted feeling I have after an intense workout using this technique. I could walk twice as long on a flat surface and not feel half the workout.
In learning to live sustainably I have had to see the world in a different light. One of the main things that I have had to change entirely is my view of food. Two main things now steer my decisions as to what food I buy and bring into our home. One thing I look at is where my food came from. The closer to home the better. Food that comes from around the country or around the world generally is full of preservatives or is essentially “old” food. Consider where fruit might come from in the dead of winter here in the northeast. There isn’t a single place I can think of within hundreds of miles that could grow any type of fruit right now. I tend not to shop in places like Walmart but had to go there this week for something. I ended up in the produce section and had to laugh at the array of stuff available there that was totally out of season and outrageously priced as a result. Yes, I love raspberries with a desire so deep…but… there have been out of season in this area for 6 months. Consider what it might take to not only grow them but to ship them to my area. How fresh and wholesome are those pretty little berries in reality?
I am 40 years old. This isn’t a number that really means anything to me. In the course of my daily life I give it no more thought that I do whether the sky will be clear or cloudy. Apparently this is an age that is of some significance when it comes to weight loss. As many of you know I have been working out diligently for some time. I admit that I have been frustrated with the lack of movement downward on my scale. I almost considered where to buy apidexin cheap but decided to keep working on my objectives. This week I learned that after the age of 40 that it becomes more difficult to loose weight because of changes in metabolism that take place as we age. That news did not set well with me and I intend to ask my doctor about it when I see her this week. I hate the idea of thinking that I might have to work out harder than ever to see any results. As it stands I walk 4 miles a day on a steep incline at a pace of 3.5 miles per hour. I honestly don’t know how much harder I can work out.
I love my children there is no denying that. I would do anything for them and would have to say that just about everything I do is with them in mind. There is one thing that I have never been thrilled about doing with my kids… and that is imaginative play. It really centers around my just not being horribly imaginative in that arena nor I suppose comfortable. I do, however, play with my children. I hope they don’t realize that my whole heart in not in the process because I try to act like it is. Reading books to them is something I truly love. Playing farm or race car champ is just not my cup of tea. BUT… I do it. Hopefully, they remember that “Mom” played with them and not that I did so with silent grudging in my mind.
I woke up this morning quite early and realized that I had a few errands that I needed to take care of. I prefer heading out as early as possible because I detest crowds and waiting in line. Our town really only has a handful of stores despite a decent population. This means that everyone ends up shopping in the same place. If you get the stores before 9am there is good chance you will get in and out quickly. When I left the house the weather was fine and the sky seemed clear. I couldn’t believe the difference in the weather when I emerged from the store after about an hour of shopping. It was so snowy that I couldn’t see my car in the parking lot. My husband was already in the garage when I got home trying to start our toro snowblower. Apparently we are supposed to get another foot of snow today and more tomorrow. The funny thing there was nothing on the radio about us getting another snow. I am guessing that at this point our winter has been so bad that everyone just expects that we will get snow and more snow.
Last year was the first year that we gardened with any kind of intensity. We have a few raised beds in our backyard as well as a decent sized plot at our local community garden. I consider last year to be a year of learning. It became clear that maximizing our garden space would require more planning in the future to ensure a decent return for our time and effort. This year I signed up for every garden magazine available. I have spent hours pouring over them to determine what plants might or might not work in our area. I have also been using an online garden planner to try different planting plans out. My orders for seeds have been placed and I am now just waiting. A few of the plants we intend to grow will need started towards the end of next month. I love when things are in the stage because it feels like spring really is around the corner.
It was a bit weird having Christmas on a Saturday this year. I don’t know why but it feels like Christmas should occur on a weekday for some reason. I guess in my head it just seems to fall into the category along with Black Friday and Cyber Monday. All the big shopping days prior to Christmas occur on a weekday and it just seems like Christmas is always on a weekday as well. I didn’t go out shopping yesterday but I have to wonder if the after Christmas sales will be different because of the holiday falling on a weekend? So many people are back at work today that it would seem like there would be fewer bargain shoppers out and about. I have to run a few errands tonight and am hoping to find a few bargains on wrapping paper for next year.
My friend is obsessed with people gaining weight. This isn’t something new and is really how she has been the entire 20 years that I have known her. I love her but this has to be one of the characteristics about her that drives me a wee bit crazy. She is a petite woman and makes a point of drawing attention to this fact whenever she can. It verges on being a helpless type of attention seeking behavior. She can’t do this or can’t do that because she is so “small”. I know a bunch of people the same size as her who are not nearly so helpless. I have yet to have a visit with her where she isn’t telling me about how much weight this person has gained or how much they eat. I just don’t care what other people weigh nor what they do or do not eat. I sometimes wonder if she talks about me in the same way that she does all the other people in her life…. I would rather be a bit overweight and able to do things for myself than be “petite” and always in need of someone to do this or that for me.
My youngest son is inquisitive. He investigates everything and anything that he can get his hands on. This is for the most part a good characteristic but can sometimes get him into trouble. For example, he has decided to test out the new tomato strainer that I was given for Christmas. I found a pen and a bean in the hopper this morning. This is a device designed to juice tomatoes and separate the seeds and skins from the pulp. It is not designed to juice pens nor plastic beans. I can only imagine the trouble the child would get himself into if we had gotten a power lift chair or some other electrical gadget. He surely keeps us on our toes as we try to anticipate what he might get into next. I know that his need to understand how things work is a positive attribute and I try very hard to keep this in mind as I fish pens and whatnot out of my kitchen gadgets.
I love decorating for Christmas. We always put our tree up around the first of December. The children love this part of the holidays and are very involved in decorating. I am, however, also one of those people that is ready to take the tree down the day after Christmas. For whatever reason the tree somehow adds to the feeling of clutter and chaos in the the house and drive me crazy once the holiday is over. I would be taking it down at this very moment if it weren’t for the fact that my children would be sad. I want them to enjoy the magic of the holidays and not send them the wrong message because of my issues with clutter. I keep trying to tidy up the toys and packages littering the floor but it is a useless process. I need to resign myself to the clutter for the time being and just be glad they want to spread their toys everywhere.
This morning I spent a few hours finishing up my Christmas shopping. I couldn’t believe how crowded the stores were at 8:00 am! I don’t do a great deal of shopping in stores because I prefer to shop online. Despite the incredible lines I did manage to pick up the last few things on my shopping list. I managed to stick to a pretty strict budget and not use any credit cards this year. I set a mental limit of how much I was going spend on each person on my list and did not deviate. I would have loved to buy my husband a Sony VAIO but I resolved to only spend the amount of cash we had on hand. I am proud to say that this is the very first Christmas that I haven’t used a single credit card to make a purchase. I like knowing that the presents under our tree are paid for and I won’t see a single bill coming for them in the New Year.
I am a person who needs to bathe daily. Well, I should word that to say I have deep desire to get clean each and every day. I have a couple of friends who don’t feel this way and have no problem skipping a day of bathing. I just can’t bring myself to do that. This morning I needed to get out of the house early to run errands. I decided to give not washing my hair a try. I took a shower but just put up my hair and didn’t wash it. That worked out fine for a few hours but then quickly looked bad. About half way through the day, my hair just looked greasy and gross. I just now took another shower to wash my hair. In the end I should have just gotten up early and gotten everything done because I lost time taking another shower. I don’t see how people can skip a day and look and feel just fine. Maybe it is all in my head.
The winter weather we have been experiencing is making life interesting. I do not remember winter coming at us with such a fierceness in the last several years. Living in the Northeast we tend to take winter in stride. It snows and we just deal with it. Getting four feet of snow in two weeks has thrown us for a loop. There is so much snow that there really is nowhere to put it. Cars that normally would be parked on side of the street are now more towards the center. The snow narrowing our streets to the point that it is only a matter of time before there is an accident in front of our house. I can only hope that the people daring enough to park their cars on the street have good insurance or know their way around carinsurancelist.com because their cars are going to get hit. I know some people have no choice but to park in the street but I think I would seriously drive around until I found a side street to park on rather than the main road. Even if I had to walk a distance it would be better than risking getting my car hit by a snowplow.
When I first started working with our youngest son at the start of the school year he was very resistant to learning to write. He really hadn’t chosen a hand preference and found the process of writing very awkward. It has been interesting to see his interest in writing and school develop over the last four months. He now loves to do the work sheets required for each lesson. In fact, he insists on doing his work sheets which is a total change from the beginning of the year. He loves writing to the point that he is constantly writing his name on sheet of paper he can find. Yesterday, he found a pad of sticky notes and then proceeded to write his name on each and every slip of paper. He then placed these papers all over our footstool. My first instinct was to tell him to stop wasting the stick notes but I quickly realize that he is not wasting them because he is working on a skill. The sticky notes were free and had been sitting around for a very long time just waiting for a good purpose.
I am reaching the point with my computers that I foresee some equipment upgrades coming. I spend more time messing with things that I do actually working. Most of my problems are because my computers are now hitting the 5 year mark in terms of age. This is outdated by most standards in today’s world. I should spend some time over Christmas reading hp laptop reviews and other websites to determine what my options are. I always dread shopping for a computer because I never can make a decision given all the options on the market. I figure if I start shopping about 6 months before I am actually ready to make a purchase that I will have some clue as to what I want or need. Considering that I work from home and also home school the children it is really important that I have a system that can perform a variety of tasks without issue.
We are two weeks into what feels like the worst winter in a very long time. Usually our winter’s tend to build up slowly. In the past we seem to ease into the idea that the long, cold days of winter are here. This year it was like a cold slap in the face announcing that winter was in fact here and in a big way. In the last two weeks I would guess that we have gotten about 3-4 feet of snow. There doesn’t seem to be any end in sight. This week the wind chill is so bitter that I don’t even want to venture outside. Usually I do not mind shoveling snow and consider it an excuse to get a little bit of a work out in. Today, I haven’t even been outside because I just don’t want to know how much snow is out there. The predictions are that we will continue to get snowfall daily for the next week. All in all there should be no worries about us standing a chance of having a green Christmas. We will be lucky if we can get out of the driveway to go anywhere for Christmas.
This weekend we made some changes to the “security” inside our house. Our youngest son has always been a bit of an adventurer. He can and will test the limits of anything and everything. As a result we have had door knobs covers and protective devices on an extensive array of things. We finally feel he is beginning to understand what the limits are in our house without these devices. We have now removed the door knob covers and some of the cabinet locks from around the house. I don’t worry in quite the same way as I once did that he is going to get himself into trouble by simply exploring the house. He is far to interested in playing with his toys or watching television to try climbing up on things or exploring the basement and attic. It is nice to seem him maturing and becoming more predictable in his actions.
I have been trying very hard to retrain my body to go to sleep at night without the aid of some sort of antihistamine or sleeping pill. I read that 5-HTP was a good supplement for increasing the amount of serotonin in your body. The first night I took I slept okay. It wasn’t perfect but it wasn’t terrible. Last night I took a double dose of it because I had worked out pretty intensely prior to going to bed. I ended up spending most of the night trying to get comfortable and not really sleeping. For some bizarre reason my nose started running like a stream from one nostril at about 3 am. I have no clue what that was all about. It went on for about an hour and then quit. I really, really want to be able to sleep at night on my own. I think this is going to take some time because my body simply has forgotten how to do so.
I make no secret about the fact that I am anxiously looking forward to next summer. This is primarily because I feel like I have finally found my passion in life. Gardening has given me joy like you wouldn’t believe. I still love a great many other hobbies that we have such as camping but it doesn’t compare to gardening. Gardening is something I can do virtually anywhere. I don’t have to worry about rv insurance or packing up a truckload of supplies. To garden I simply need soil, seeds, water, and sunlight. I can grow plants anywhere which is always fun. You can start a garden in a container on your windowsill which makes gardening a truly versatile hobby. We really love to spend our weekends, as a family, camping and connecting with the great outdoors but the garden gives me an entirely different sense of connectedness. When I manage to grow food for our table from a tiny seed I feel connected to the earth on a different level.
This week it seemed like winter came at us with a fury. Usually our area tends to ease into winter. We get a few cold days with a bit of snow and then it warms up for a while. This year winter just decided to slam us full force without relenting. We were gifted with about 3 feet of snow over the course of the last week. I just looked at the weather report and it seems like there is no end in sight. On Sunday we are expected to get another foot of snow followed by bitterly cold temperatures. I know I live in an area where we just tend to deal with a bunch of snow and go on with life. The difference this year is that we haven’t even had a chance to wrap our heads around the idea that winter is really here.
There are only a couple of people left on my Christmas shopping list this year. I have managed to accomplish most of my shopping relatively easily right from my house. The only people I have left to buy for are my in-laws. They are almost impossible to buy for because they won’t tell us anything that they need or want. I have been scouring the internet looking for christmas list ideas for women. My mother-in-law doesn’t really have any hobbies or clear interests that I am aware of. She pretty much works and comes home and watches television until she goes to bed. She doesn’t enjoy reading which is a sharp contrast from everyone else in the family. My father-in-law has the ability to buy anything he wants or needs which leaves little room for creative purchases. He enjoys golf and some sports but has everything imaginable related to these interests. It would just be nice to have them simply say what they want but I know they won’t. Instead I sit here hoping for inspiration. What do you buy people for whom there is no perfect gift? I am very close to donating to a charity in their honor because I can think of nothing else.
We have been cyber schooling our oldest son “L” for three years. In that time I have heard very little in the way of complaints from his about this. There have been times when he would make a comment about remembering something fun that he did in public school but this is a rarity. Today was the first time he made the connection about the children in cyber school having “snow days”. We have received about 18 inches of snow in the last 24 hours and the public schools were closed here today. My son noticed this fact and thought maybe the “snow day” would apply to him. Sadly, it does not. Our school never closes for the weather. I reminded him that our school also lets us finish as early as April if we have completed our coursework and met our hourly requirements for the year. I know he will appreciate this fact when April rolls around but it didn’t quite hit home today. Needless to say we had a decent day of school and were still able to enjoy the bounty of fluffy white snow in our yard.
This week I had the occasion to attend a public event. While there I needed to relieve myself and found myself waiting forever in line for the restroom. Why they don’t require a certain number of stalls be available for women, at these type of events, is beyond my understanding. Any woman who has spent time in line at a public bathroom can appreciate this post. As I stand in line waiting for my turn in the stall I like to observe people. There are always people who seem completely oblivious to those around them. You know the people I am talking about. These are the women who take their sweet time in the stall and at the wash station. I am all for personal hygiene but do feel you need to be considerate of those around you. Do not take time in the stall to contemplate the ways of the world. Do your business and move on. By all means you should wash you hands and use the hand dryers. You should not stand in front of the mirror and reapply your makeup while five people wait behind you with dirty hands. While I hate standing in line to wash my hands I would much rather do so than not wash my hands at all. I always manage to notice someone who just skips this step in using the bathroom. I know there are people who think that the hand sanitizer in their purse will serve the same purpose but I don’t happen to agree. Hand sanitizer doesn’t remove the dirt and yuck from your hands. I will use it in a pinch but don’t consider it a substitute by any stretch for good hand washing when the opportunity is available.
My littlest son “N” is an amazing kid who has strong convictions for a four year old. He knows exactly what he likes and doesn’t like and will not give any leeway on his personal stance on the subjects important to him. He hates all red clothing with the exception of his precious “Cars” pajamas. He only drinks milk and nothing else. He likes to be constantly in motion and busy. Passively watching the world is just not for him. I could go on and on about what he does and does not find acceptable. Some parents would see a child like this as a challenge that must be broken and dominated. We have found that parenting him is about making him feel like he is in control when in reality we are still achieving our objectives. I don’t give him a coat to put on because I have learned that having no choice means there will be a battle of wills. Something about the coat will be wrong in his opinion. Instead I hold up two coats and ask which he is going to put on. He feels like he has been given a choice and I have a child in a coat as opposed to one screaming and insisting on none at all. This isn’t to say he entirely controls everything but I know what battles are worth picking and what is better handled with a “choice”.
There are a couple of blogs that I follow on an almost daily basis. The authors of these blogs share simply the events of their daily lives in way that compels me to keep reading and wanting to know more. Their is a gift in their words that makes you feel like you know them on a personal level. Reading these blogs is like a book that you just don’t want to put down. There are a great many blogs out there that read more like www.coloncleanserreview.net rather than a personal journal. When I read these blogs I feel like the fly on the proverbial wall or a mouse hiding in the corner. Recently the author’s of these blogs have both quit writing. Honestly, the break in their writing is understandable given that while on separate ends of the globe they have both experience heart break and tragedy in last few months. I almost feel like I should send a card or a note which is what I would do if I knew them on a personal level. But, given that I don’t it doesn’t seem appropriate. I keep checking in with the hope that I will find they are doing better and that the sun is at long last shining on their world but there isn’t a word.
I might have mentioned that last weekend I turned 40 years old. It may have come up that this day passed pretty much the same as any other day in the year. This is something I try to tell myself is okay with me. My friends on Facebook all marked the day with nice comments. My husband gave me a card and my brother send me a gift card. His gift really surprised me. No one else made comment or anything about this day. By no one I mean my other family members and specifically my own mother. Even when I saw her for Thanksgiving she made no mention of my birthday. She never does. As a child she pretty much told me to bake my own cake if I wanted one. My brother’s get noticed on their special days but not I. My husband said to me something that put it all in perspective. He said “Your mother loves your brother’s and she loves you but she loves you differently”… I never, ever want my children to have that realization. It is something I have always known in my heart but to hear it from someone else puts it all in a light that is a wee bit more painful. To not know why but to know it always has been is just hurtful. Maybe this is why I have never dreamed the dream most woman have of having a daughter. I think in my heart I have always feared that I would be like my mom and “love her differently”… Life is such that I will never know. All I know is that I desperately love my son’s and will never overlook the events of their lives.
Over the last few weeks I have been giving myself a gift each day. That gift is one hour of the day that is dedicated to myself. In actuality I am making myself exercise strenuously for one hour each day. I need to loose some weight and could take diet pills that work but I am not. I realized that working out makes me feel good. Even if I don’t loose a pound by working out I gain something from the time I spend alone taking care of myself. In the course of that hour I set a goal of burning 500 calories. It would be nice if this equated to weight loss as time progresses but I am not going to gauge things based on the scale. I am going to judge by my sense of well-being rather than the numbers on the scale. I learned the hard way that those numbers don’t mean much if I am still miserable at the end of the day. Knowing I walked 3.5 miles or burnt 500 calories makes me feel like I accomplished something whether the scale moves or not.
Today we were supposed to have our second Thanksgiving feast with my in-laws. We always celebrate Thanksgiving with my family on the actual day and then later in the week with my in-laws. As it turns out our youngest son has caught something and is pretty miserable. He spike a high fever last night and spent most of the night crying. My in-laws are a little perturbed that I am staying home with him and not bringing him to their house. I just don’t get their perspective and think it is just a wee bit selfish. When my father-in-law is sick he makes darn sure everyone knows he is miserable and does his best to make you know how put out he is to be where he is when he doesn’t feel 100%. To ask a small child to leave the comfort of his home when he is sick and feverish is selfish. Yes, I know he isn’t going to catch a cold from the visit but who wants to travel or sit at a long drawn out dinner when they don’t feel well or have the slightest interest in eating. So, here I am at home with fingers silently pointing my way because I am taking their grandchild away from them on the holidays….
I have already posted this week about my horrific experience with allergies over the last seven days. I am actually afraid of what might happen if I have another one because of the severity of the last three. My husband was really surprise when I asked him to go to the store and get me some sleep aid tablets when I had my last allergy attack. I have tried to explain to him the tablets I was requesting actually contain a powerful antihistamine as their primary ingredient. He cannot get past the idea that I am taking a sleeping pill to treat my allergies. He thinks that I am taking the pills to sleep my way through the allergy attack rather than treat it. I am reasonably sure that I have grown immune to most other allergy medicines and for whatever reason these pills are what is currently working. I know he would feel differently about the pills had they been prescribed by a physician and the label said they were to treat allergies. It wouldn’t matter if the contents were the same because for him it is all about the label.
We have embarked on a new stage with our four year old son. This stage is what I refer to as the “fear” stage. He has always been my fearless child. The one that acts and then considers the results. It is odd now to find him being fearful of things. This week has shown us a whole new host of fears that never existed before this time. He is afraid to go to the bathroom alone. There is something lurking in the stairs. He is afraid to take a shower because the drain might suck him in. At night in his bed he is afraid of the sound of our heater heating his room. For some reason, yesterday, he was afraid of our toilet and would not use it. This was hard because our other bathroom is torn up due to a remodeling project. I know that these fears are a natural part of childhood but it doesn’t make me any less surprised to see them manifest in my little fearless boy.
For several months I have been searching for a the cookie recipe. I have made tons of cookies that are great for snacking and look pretty but they all lack a certain something. I have been looking for a cookie recipe that I can let my children eat any time of day that they want. I have been looking for something that is wholesome and low in sugar. A cookie that doesn’t make them act like they have taken diet energy pills or had a big cup of coffee. A cookie that really is a breakfast cookie. Good for you and that tastes good. I believe that at long last I have found that cookie. It contains no flour and is made from oatmeal and peanut butter. My youngest son is currently eating them without a second thought. This has not been the case with my previous breakfast cookie trials. There is usually something about the texture or the taste that just doesn’t set right with him. The only thing I would like to change with these cookies is to lower the fat ever so slightly and to decrease the sugar or substitute a more natural sugar. As soon as I do a few tweaks I will be sharing with you the most awesome cookie recipe ever.
Yesterday I embarked on the process of making penguins from chocolate, marshmallow, and fruit snacks. I have never been especially good at working with chocolate. I needed to create a cake for a Boy Scout auction for my son using stuff I had in the house. I had been very sick in the last week with allergic reactions to who knows what. Leaving the house was not something I was anxious to do because I didn’t know what was causing my frequent reactions. Surprisingly, my penguins turned out pretty well. I have learned to give myself slack and realize that there are things I will succeed and things I will not. Sculpting with chocolate is one of those things I give myself slack. Today, I sculpted an iceberg out of cake and icing and it turned out pretty darn good. Put together the penguins and the iceberg made a cute little combination. On the top of the cake I placed a little tiny flag that said “Just Chillin’” … It might not win but we had fun making it and my children thought it was pretty awesome.
I am one of those many, many people who suffer from allergies. My allergies don’t impact me every day but when they do come they come fast and hard. I have had allergy testing in the past but it didn’t tell me anything specific aside from the fact that I am allergic to dust mites and grasses. I have tried taking prescription allergy pills but they have never stopped me from having these attacks. In the last 4 days I have had allergic reactions to something 3 times. When I have a reaction it leaves me completely miserable and in need of heavy doses of antihistamines to gain any sense of control over them. Yesterday, my tongue and throat swelled pretty significantly and it was actually pretty scary. My insides literally hurt. I am now over the attacks but am afraid of another coming on. It is hard to imagine them getting much worse without me needing to go to the hospital.
My older brother is 42 years old and is a great guy. He is just one of those quiet guys that really doesn’t have much to say but is always there when you need him. He has never really had a long term relationship until the last year. It is interesting to see him with his girlfriend because he just seems so much more alive. She is very talkative which is a good balance for his introverted personality. I have my suspicions that it won’t be long before he is shopping for diamond or cubic zirconia engagement rings for her because they seem pretty committed to one another. She recently described him as “the most patient man on earth” because he willingly spent the day shoe shopping with her. I am happy that he finally has someone who appreciates him just as he is and put a smile on his face.
I am not a person who likes to sit and stare at the wall or even at the television. I like to have something going on that I can do with my hands or at the very least with my brain. I like having lists of things I intend to do or plans for things that I am working on. I don’t understand how people can sit in front of the television all day and not do anything. I suppose it depends on how you were raised to a degree. I come from a family of people who are hard workers. I have a friend who constantly asks me where I get my motivation to get things done. She is forever complaining that she is behind in her housework or feels overwhelmed by everything that needs done. Her reaction is not to try to get something done but instead she decides to do nothing. I have a hard time feeling sorry for her sense of being overwhelmed when she doesn’t do anything but sits around. It is hard to explain to someone who doesn’t have the same drive to live each day to the fullest why I just don’t just spend my days staring at the wall.
My husband is an awesome guy who always tries to take care of the people around him. He puts a great deal of time into watching out for others and making them feel important to him. He has already be researching what he feels would be the perfect Christmas gift and has been dropping hints for quite a while. I am wracking my brain trying to come up with something equally special for him. I would love to get him some outdoor gear but I have no idea what to get. I know he would love to get into skiing or snowmobiling but I don’t even know where to start when it comes to looking at ski or Polaris Accessories. I can’t very well give him a gift certificate and I hate dealing with salesmen. What I need is a someone who is willing to do the shopping for me and then I get to take the credit for finding a great gift. I guess that would be a personal shopper wouldn’t it?
Yesterday I spent a good deal of time raking leaves. The leaves I raked were not all entirely our own. Our next door neighbor is currently dealing with a health crisis and has been unable to do it himself. The weird thing is that his wife is kind of paranoid and has yelled at my husband in the past for mowing their yard for them. They were gone from their house and I decided to get part of their leaves taken care of them for them. The husband had commented to my husband that he wasn’t sure he would be able to take care of them this year. I wasn’t sure whether to rake them or not since the wife is a little odd but went for it. I think it is important to role model being neighborly for my children. Later in the evening my husband and I went over and got the rest of the leaves. The weird thing was is that once again the wife yelled for her husband and son to go outside because “someone was taking their leaves”. Seriously, who steals leaves. Needless to say her husband and son were both grateful to us and thanked us repeatedly. The wife will probably never say a word but at this point I have to think she is just not going to understand someone being kind for no reason other than to be kind.
Facebook is something that always manages to somehow enlighten me about the people I know. I don’t tend to post much of anything on there but I do like to read what people I know post. You can really get a feel for the lives people lead based on the frequency of their posts and the content they offer up. For example I have one friend who is constantly posting about shopping and the things she wants to buy or has bought. If she isn’t buying urban clothing you will find her looking for new shoes online. I have another friend who is extremely religious and instead of making a status post uses the space to share a bible verse. I have yet another friend who does nothing but share video clips from “American Idol” or make comments about television shows she watches. I notice people who only talk about their children or pets and others who simply use the space to rant about the world. When I think about the opinions I draw about people I know based on their status posts it makes me hesitant to share too much myself.
Earlier this month my son was given instructions and forms for the popcorn and peanuts that his Boy Scout troop would be selling this year. I have no problem helping the troop or having him sell these things. I realize that this is a right of passage for children and I want him to have as many of these experiences as he can withing reasonable limits. What I don’t like is when families are told their child needs to sell a certain amount of these products. This is one of the reasons we quit participating in a particular little league group that forced parents to sell $10 tickets for a cash drawing. Each child was told they had to sell ten of these tickets and if they didn’t their parents would have to buy the tickets that weren’t sold. One year we got stuck with 6 of these $10 tickets. This year it is requested that each child sell $50 in popcorn and peanuts. This is pretty doable considering the price of the items. What kind of irks me is that one of the children somehow got access to the sales forms before any of the other children and had already sold $1000.00 in products before the other children got started. This makes it impossible for any of the kids who don’t sell, or rather have their parents sell, that volume of sales. We will be lucky to sell $150.00 because we just don’t have a large family circle who will drop $10 on 8 oz of peanuts….
For the last week I have been getting back into working out. I have decided to try a new plan when it comes to timing my workouts. I used to try to do one really long workout in the evening. The problem was that by the end of the day I was just to stressed and tired to get on the treadmill after the children were in bed. I am now trying to do 2-3 short but intense workouts during the day. I find it much easier to get a 20 minute workout, three times a day, as opposed to a 60 minute workout in the evening. There are other things I plan on doing like reevaluating my diet. There are some changes I would like to make like incorporating protein drinks and maybe some creatine powder. I know that I do better on a low carbohydrate diet but I have a hard time sticking with it. I am starting with small changes like the amount of time I spend on my workout and building up to bigger dietary changes.
There are so many things I love about raising boys. I believe I have commented in the past that I am not one of those women who had a desperate need to have a daughter. I would have gladly taken whatever I got when it came to children but I have never been disappointed in “not getting a daughter”. I have several friends who bemoan the fact that they have only sons but I am not one of them. When I hear about the complaining that so many of my friend’s daughter’s do about clothing and personal items I feel blessed not be dealing with that. My children have never asked for sparkling sneakers or a certain brand of clothing. The only thing my children ask of me is that I not buy them red pants or clothes with velcro. This is pretty easy to accommodate! I have my own personal rules about red pants on my butt and have no problem understanding why someone else would want to steer away from having to wear red pants.
There has been a topic of conversation in my circle recently that seems strange to me. This week everyone I have visited with or spoken to has mentioned having a terrible headache. The weird thing is that I have also had a terrible headache for the last 3 days. My husband said that all I have been doing is tossing and turning at night and that he is surprised I have gotten any sleep at all. The truth is I am exhausted and look exhausted. I really need something to kill this headache and could also use some eye wrinkle creams for the bags under my eyes. Last night my head hurt so much that I could barely stand to hold it upright. My husband doesn’t usually get headaches but even he has had one in the last week. It really makes me wonder if it is something in the air or maybe our diet? I am currently enjoying a big cup of coffee with a side of aspirin in hopes of taking the edge of this headache.
Have you ever had someone tell you something nice when you really needed to hear it? I have been having a bout of just feeling blah about where things are. There isn’t any clear reason why I feel this way. My kids are doing great in school. I am juggling teaching them both and keeping on top of my work and home duties. Life is generally rolling along and yet I feel like I could be doing more or am not doing enough. I think all parents feel this way but home schooling make it hard to know how you really are “doing”. Report cards and testing give a picture but these are few and far between. This week I got the pick-me-up I needed when our neighbor stopped by for a quick visit. She and I chat occasionally but I have never gotten a feel for how she views me. I sort of think people automatically assume that if you home school that you are a trifle bit off or want to shelter your children from the world. She paid me a great compliment this week when she said that she sees me as being an incredible mother. She told me that I make her feel like she could have been a better mother to her children and that in seeing all the stuff we do with and for our children she realizes what she could have been doing with her own now grown children. This isn’t to say I want her to walk around feeling bad about her own parenting but that I am glad to know that people don’t see us or me as that “wacky” home schooling neighbor that everyone seems to know about or have.
One of the many things I love about having my children in cyber school is the array of learning opportunities afforded them. They are able to participate in classes and clubs that would not be available to them in our local public school system. For example both of my children are in elementary school and are able to take foreign language classes. This is not something they would able to do until high school in our school district. Another great example is a club my older son participates in that is dedicated to learning about handling money in the real world. They learn all about banking topics ranging from managing a personal checking account to asset based lending. The class affords students the opportunity to learn about money in ways that are applicable to real life situations. One of my favorite classes they offer novel discussion groups. It is really neat to listen to children talking about books and sharing their love of literature. There really is a club or group for every child and participation is so convenient. I remember not being able to participate in anything in school because I didn’t have evening transportation to clubs and groups. All we have to do is log onto the computer and my son is in attendance.
We have a family friend who is very, very, very opinionated about just about everything. We all have opinions but knowing when to voice them is something that some people just don’t seem to understand. There is also the matter of how to voice them. This friend drives me crazy because every single visit turns into this diatribe on the gambit of issues in this world. I would love to be able to sit through a meal without being told how the world is going to pot. I really believe that sitting at the dining room table ranting about the things you don’t like politically or socially is dumb. It you are so fired up about the state of the world and want to change it then get out there and do something. Don’t sit around watching the news, smoking cigarettes, and complaining to yourself and later the world around you. Stop sending me 40 plus emails a day about the conspiracies lurking in the world. I don’t want to hear it. My vote at the polls is all the viewpoint I am going to put forth. I am not going to argue or agree with you because you yell louder or email more often. I will declare you “spam” and move on until the next email slips through the cracks and into my inbox. I will then once again delete you and move forward.
I am a sucker for a sale. I have gained a considerable amount of control over this in the last year. I no longer buy stuff just because I have a coupon. There are times, however, when I realize that I changed my habits a bit too slowly for my own good. The fact that we still have 12 bottles of shampoo that I bought 5 years ago sitting in our closet is a good example. I bought the shampoo because it was on sale for a ridiculously low price. Little did I know that it would leave my skin a complete disaster. Every time I use it I end up with a bad case of acne and have buy a bunch of acne products to clear up my breakout. The shampoo ended up costing me more in the long run because of the acne and how awful my ski looks. It costs me money sitting in the the closet because we still have to buy shampoo to replace the shampoo that we aren’t using. No matter how good the sale is, in the future, I am done buying stuff I don’t know anything about.
My husband is a wonderful man who goes out of his way to make me happy. For a while now I have wanted to have an outdoor pizza oven. I would use it for many more things than just pizza. He really didn’t understand why I wanted one until we saw one in use at the Mother Earth News fair last month. Now he is fully on board for building one in our backyard. The problem is that at this point he wants to build it right up against our house. I don’t want it right up against the house because of the smoke and the fact that it is a fire hazard. The neighbors have a very large tree that covers a good bit of our backyard and could potentially catch on fire. I am also not keen on catching our house on fire with a stray ember that could get away. I would rather not have the pizza oven if I have to be worried each time we use it about starting a fire. I am hoping that he realizes there is some reasoning behind my wanting the oven in a particular spot.
Our children seem to be plagued with small skin conditions on an ongoing basis. It seems like as soon as I get one of them cleared up the other one has developed something on some part of their body. Both of my children have allergies which I believe contribute to a great many of their skin issues. I am constantly researching what sort of treatments are available for their various conditions. I wish they would outgrow these issues because I would rather be reading diet pill reviews than creams and ointments for dermatitis. This morning I notice my oldest son itching his head. When I inspected the area I found that he had a really large patch of dandruff. He has never had this issue before but for some reason he does now. My husband is picking up some cream on the way home from work that should solve this issue while we wait for the next to appear.
My littlel guy is finished up his school work a while ago and is now watching a bit of television. The children actually watched their favorite television shows via Netflix and our Wii system. I really like this because we don’t have to deal with all the television commercials and marketing directed towards children. I have to laugh at some of the concepts that people come up with for preschool television shows like dinosaurs living under the water and having trains with them and whatnot. Right now I am listening to the “Wonder Pets” rescue a cow that is stuck in a tree. A hamster, duckling, and a turtle are rescuing a cow that ended up in a tree as a result of a tornado. Even my older son who will watch anything no matter how crazy is sitting the living room declaring the program utterly ridiculous.
Next year my older son will be entering 6th grade. He is already working on the 6th grade curriculum at his current school despite being officially in 5th grade. We realize that despite loving his current cyber charter school that it does have certain limitations. His current school does not allow him to work at his own pace across the curriculum subjects. This means that he is not able to advance in areas like science and history at the same pace as he is allowed to in math and literature. We now realize we need to research the other cyber schools available to him. He is particularly drawn to one school in particular because they just started issuing each student an ipad instead of a laptop computer. His current school uses laptops and likely will not switch to iPads any time soon. I recognize there is much more to consider when choosing a school besides whether they use iPads, laptops, or Netbooks. The school has to offer a rich curriculum, great teachers, a top notch support team, and other opportunities. I admit that if I were an 11 year old boy the only thing I would really care about is whether or not I was getting to use an iPad or not. Right now I will admit I would love and iPad or even a Kindle myself but that is beside the point. Fortunately, we have a great many schools to choose from that offer top end technology.
We are finally done putting away food for the winter and spring. The last thing we had to do today was to pick up the side of pork we had ordered. We have never ordered pork before and really didn’t know what to expect. Once again our expectations have been exceeded. Our side of pork ended up weighing 77.5 pounds which was right on target for what I anticipated. The price per pound was $1.45 a pound. The butchers fee totaled $44.00. The entire side ended up costing $163.00 which averages out to $2.10 per pound. We ended up with 10 pounds of sausage, 5 pounds of bacon, 10 packages of pork chops, 2 roast, 2 packages of pork steaks, 4 packages of ham steaks, 1 smoked ham shank, 1 smoked ham butt, 1 pack or neck bones, 1 pack of ham hocks, and a couple stray packages of other stuff. All in all I am really happy with the amount of meat we got and the selection. The price was far less than I would have paid at the market and it came from a local farmer which is even better.
My oldest son is a generally sweet and likable kid. He has boundless energy and enthusiasm for learning and the world around him. There are so many things about him that I love and would never want to see change. I know that change is inevitable and like it or not he will become different as time progresses. I am already beginning to see the signs of him behaving like a teenager. He isn’t quite ready to spend time researching acne on www.severeacne.org but he is beginning to look more mature. Today he simply wanted to spend time alone in his room. Typically he doesn’t care who enters his room but today he expressed quite clearly that he just wanted to be alone. This threw his little brother for a loop because he is used to coming and going from his brother’s room freely. We respected his wishes to be alone but I can only hope his need to isolate himself does not become an ongoing theme. I love having him around and want him to want to be with us.
This is the first year that our freezers have been completely stuffed full of food. We have two freezers and two refrigerators. I never thought I would be able to use them all to their fullest capacity but I have. This year I put away tons of fruits and vegetables from our garden and local sources. Most of what I put away is food that we routinely eat but there are a few new additions to our diet. One of these is zucchini. We grew a ton of zucchini and were also gifted numerous extras. I froze about 72 cups of shredded zucchini. I am now finding numerous ways to sneak this into our family diet without making it to obvious. One thing I am doing is making lots of muffins. In particular I am experimenting with chocolate zucchini muffins. I am finding that if the children can’t really see the green flecks of zucchini they are more likely to eat it. So far this has been a huge success. I am also going to try blending it into a really fine puree to add to things like waffles and soups. We are now going to have to learn to eat blueberries because I have 10 pounds of them in the freezer.
Today I spent a good deal of time watching the news. One news story in particular really drew me in. The new coverage of the trapped miners being rescued has been absolutely amazing to watch and learn more about. I cannot imagine being in the situation those men have been in for the last two months. I can only imagine what has been going through their minds during their confinement. I think that what they have done during this time is amazing. I didn’t realize that during the time they have been underground that they have been continuing to work. Part of the rescue operation required them to help with the rescue operation on their side of the collapse. I really believe these men are incredible. I would think that they should have no problems in being able to find jobs in the future given the qualities they have displayed under such conditions. I know that if I were an employer I would want that them on my team. Hopefully, really positive things happen to them as a result of what they have endured.
For a few days I have been looking for my makeup bag. I typically leave it in the car. There isn’t much in it of any real value. I leave it in the car because I only ever put on makeup when I going somewhere in the car. It never comes in the house. Despite the fact that I never bring it in the house I have looked everywhere for it. I finally came to the realization that it just isn’t in the house and I need to give up looking for it in here. I have searched both cars from top to bottom. The makeup bag is gone. This leaves me with the notion that someone swiped it from the car. My makeup bag looks like a makeup bag. It doesn’t look like a purse. I suppose this wouldn’t stop someone from taking it but taking makeup is lame. I hope they enjoy all my cheap and well used makeup. It kills me to think people think nothing of swiping useless stuff just because it is there.
Most of the appliances in our house came with the house. Many of them are over 20 years old and although still functional they are not the most energy efficient products around. Our refrigerator is one of the biggest ones that I have ever seen. I love the size of it but I know it must be costing us an arm and leg to keep running. We are debating whether or not to upgrade to something newer. We would love something with some sort of filter in it for the water. Our current refrigerator has no ice or water function. I know our kids would drink a great deal more water if they could get it from the fridge. I am just not sure if the cost of a new refrigerator would be outweighed by the energy savings we could obtain by buying one. We need to do some more research.
This week has been a great week for eating in our house. My older son even noticed that we were having bigger and more complicated meals than we had in a long time. Spending the entire summer in the kitchen canning over 500 jars of food left me with little energy to put into big meals. Now that my canning is for the most part done I am finding myself with a drive to cook once again. Tonight we dined on prime rib, seared potatoes, green beans, and artisan bread. My husband said that the meal was as good as any meal we have ever had in a 5 star restaurant. I am very happy with that compliment because I don’t get many at that level. It feels good to be back in my cooking grove.
I consider myself a pretty decent baker. There isn’t much I haven’t tried to make that hasn’t turned out well. This isn’t to say I am a great cook but I can bake like there is no tomorrow. Bread is something that I have worked at for a very long time. I can bake almost any type of bread imaginable. You have probably guess by now that I need to do a bit of fat burner work. There is one bread that has haunted me for a long time and that is a crusty French bread. Today is the day that I have at long last mastered making a decent loaf of crispy French bread. The trick in this case is to use a Dutch oven as the baking vessel. By baking the bread in the Dutch oven you end up with an incredible crust and a moist inside. It is absolute perfection!
This weekend I stopped by the farmer’s market. I was looking for pie pumpkins in particular. I bought two at what seemed like a steep price of between $2.50 and $3.00 each. When I got home we had gotten a flier for our local fruit stand and it featured a bushel basket deal for squash and pumpkins of $12.99 which is a steal compared to buying them individually. We picked up a bushel almost immediately and ended up with around 20 pie pumpkins. It took several hours to process them, including the seeds. The end result was 40 cups of pumpkins puree and 3 quart bags of roasted seeds. The roasted seeds are a bit tougher to chew than I anticipated. I don’t think we will spend the time to process the seeds again. The pie produced from the puree was so incredibly good that my family was fighting over the last piece. We are going to have to get another bushel this weekend because 40 cups of puree is not going to be enough.
A couple of years ago my spending habits became drastically different. There was a time when I priced having a closet full of clothes and keeping up with the latest trends. If you asked me about the latest Gucci products I would be able to tell you what I loved and what I didn’t. Over the last couple of years my focus has shifted and I realize that it isn’t stuff that makes our family happy. No one really cares if we have the newest or greatest thing on the market. I actually believe that having all that stuff can be a huge burden. Not only are there bills that need to be paid because of purchases but there is an increased urge to keep on acquiring newer and better stuff. I have no problem with people buying things they need and can afford but I think many people are caught up in owning rather than making targeted purchases that fit their needs. If you asked me what I would like to have right now I would probably say a new blender but the truth is I don’t need a new blender I just would like one. Therefore, I am not running out to buy one until the one I have breaks.
My husband love to watch very few shows on television that always give us something to wonder about. There are couple that we watch that always give us something to talks about. In particular we like watch the shows “Hoarders” and “American Pickers”. These might sound like completely different shows but we find them surprisingly similar. The guys on American Pickers are scavengers of sort that seek out antique or really old items that they then resell for profit. The people they buy from are what they call “collectors” the reality is that once you watch the show you realize that there isn’t a big difference between most of these “collectors” and the people featured on shows like “Hoarders”. Very few of these people, on either show, are particularly motivated to sell their possessions or part with them. Amongst the various collections there is often a great deal of useless junk. The only difference I have been able to see is that the people on the hoarding show often have houses that are completely uninhabitable. The people considered collectors tend to keep their main living area a bit more clear of stuff. On the other hand they very rarely show the inside of the homes on the “picking” show.
I spent this summer in a literal flurry of work. In fact I do not remember resting for any significant amount of time the entire summer. I am someone who sets goals and works tirelessly to complete them. I often wonder why I don’t have stress related hair loss or at least more gray hair because I am also a worrier. My goals for this summer were to can or put away almost all of our food for the fall and winter with produce and products from our own garden or local sources. This was a great deal of work. If you have never embarked on canning anything you cannot appreciate how time intensive the process it. You have to grow the food and harvest it and then prepare it for canning. The cans needs prepared and everything processed in a particular sterile process. Processing the prepared jars take time and attention. The cans then need cleaned, labeled, and put away safely for long term storage. I have spent entire days canning batches of food. In fact I cannot recall a day this summer where I did not spend a portion of the day tending to a food related task. I am done now and have to say I am quite pleased with my 572 jars of food, dozens of pounds frozen produce, and hundreds of pounds of local meat. We won’t have to worry about food for a long time and that feels really good. I love knowing exactly what is in the food I serve my family and knowing how it was handled before it is on our table. I also love not worrying about getting a basket full of produce processed before bedtime.
One of the things I love about having my children at home instead of in a traditional school is that they spend so much time together. Because there is a 7 year age difference between them I had no doubt in my mind that they wouldn’t be nearly as close as they are if they were in traditional school. My older son dearly loves his little brother and doesn’t mind spending time playing 4 year old games with him. I know that if he were in traditional school he would be facing all the stuff that goes along with becoming a middle school student. He would undoubtedly view his little brother as more of a pest than as a brother. There are indeed moments where they both get on each others’ nerves but this is not a common occurrence. As I type they are playing robots and making up a story about what their robots are doing. I realize that this happy relationship isn’t always going to be there but for now I am really thankful that they have it.
On Monday we took a day long trip to pick up our newly hatched chickens. On the way back we ended up stuck in a traffic jam the likes of which I have never seen. Our poor children couldn’t understand why our car was at a dead standstill for 3.5 hours. This was not a good thing after already having spent about 8 hours traveling to and from our destination. My youngest has been not feeling well ever since. I think he ended up completely constipated from the experience and just needs a good colon cleanse. As much as we hate to talk about it the reality is that little people and big people need to be up and moving it their bodies are to work appropriately. Sitting the car all day kept him from getting the exercise that he is used to and I swear it has taken him all week to become regular again. This was his first really long car trip and I am making a mental note here and now that our next trip will include more frequent breaks for the kids to get some exercise. This has been a miserable week for our little man.
One of the tasks I asked my older son to do today was to put up all of the straggly and dying tomato plants. In the process I had him pick all of the remaining green tomatoes and set them aside. I now have a grocery sack full of green tomatoes and not a clue what to do with them. I read all these incredible sounding recipes for green tomatoes but the reality is that my family is pretty straightforward when it comes to food. We don’t like complicated or fussy things and I can ‘t imagine anyone trying more than a bite of anything that was made from green tomatoes. I am going to spend tonight doing a bit of research to find something that might potentially be eaten but I have my doubts. In the meantime I am going to dry dehydrating a batch of celery and then some carrots. I haven’t used my dehydrator yet and hope that it works out all right. I would hate to spend the time cutting and chopping stuff and not have the dehydrator do a proper job.
A few month ago I began using powder milk for our regular milk at times when I couldn’t get to the store to buy milk. In our state milk prices are regulated and it tends to run us about $3.59 for a gallon of whole milk. This can get to be pretty pricey when you go through 5 gallons a week. I found a deal on powder milk that made my price per gallon around $2.14 which is quite a savings. We can drive about 25 miles to the state closest to us and buy milk for $1.99 a gallon but this isn’t always a convenient thing to do. Unless I buy 6 gallons or more it doesn’t end up being much of a savings and I don’t always have the room in my refrigerators for that much milk. My youngest son hasn’t had a bit of a problem switching to powdered milk but my older son refuses to drink it. I am seriously considering looking for the best calcium supplement I can find if he doesn’t start eating more dairy products soon. I don’t want to be sacrificing his health just to save money. I am trying to work out a schedule so that I can routinely make the trip to get the cheaper milk and make it worth my time to do so. It is funny because gas is much cheaper in our town but milk is so much cheaper in theirs.
As I type my husband is back from picking up the chicken meat we purchased and has quickly set to working in our garage on the chicken coop. We are building our chicken coop in a corner of the garage. We know that most of neighbors could care less if we have a couple of chickens but we don’t want to risk problems with one particular set of neighbors. I kind of figure what they don’t know won’t hurt them. Keeping in chickens in your back yard is legal in our town but we still are electing to keep things to ourselves. The chickens will be warmer and more protected from predators. Since there are only 4 of them it is easy to create adequate space and room to exercise for them. I know that there will be issues when July comes and the heat sets in but I have plenty of time to plan for that. I love that my husband embraces my wacky ideas and does what needs to be done to get things completed. He could be glued to the television but he is building a chicken coop. You have to love a man like that.
There are times, as a parent, that you look at your children and see them almost growing up before your eyes. I had one of those moments today when I looked at my older son. I could see the teenage in him bursting forth. His eyes were sparkling as plan for spending his Saturday was developing in his mind. You see he recently discovered that he could climb one of the trees in our yard. This is a big moment for a child. He isn’t a particularly athletic child but is active nonetheless. I seriously doubt that he will ever have to worry about weight loss pills that work because he is constantly on the move. Anyway, this tree has been calling to him ever since he realize there was a perfect place to sit in it and hang out. His plan for the afternoon is to take a book he just got from the library and climb to this particular spot and spend the day in the sunshine reading. I think this is an awesome plan and love that he isn’t asking to watch television or play video games.
This morning we harvested our potato crop. We had high hopes at the beginning of the year to grow tons of potatoes. We planted 6 garbage cans with potatoes. An article I read online said that you could grow 100 pounds of potatoes in a garbage can. We figured that if we got even a third of this that our garden would be a success. Well, I am very disheartened to report that grew in all 6 cans a total of maybe 5 pounds of potatoes. These 5 lbs of potatoes ended up costing a crap load of money when you consider that we had to buy seed potatoes, compost, and 6 garbage cans! I estimate that the 5 pounds of potatoes ended up costly nearly $75.00. I know that there is always next year and that we will have the cans to try again with but it doesn’t make it any less disheartening.
As I type my husband is headed out to a local farm to pick up some whole chickens that were being processed for us. I don’t know what it is about whole chickens but they completely gross me out to eat if I have to handle them prior to eating. In fact I wish all foods had this type of appetite suppression on me. It would be really easy to diet if simply handling a food grossed me out to the point that I didn’t want to eat it. Imagine no longer looking longingly at danish and pastries after having to put them on a plate! I think whole chickens bother me because they still look very much like they did when they were living. Ground beef and steaks just don’t look like cows to me. I guess I prefer a less personal approach to my food. Last time we bought chickens from this farm there were live chickens running around next to the area outside where they processed the meat birds. I couldn’t shake the image of the live chicken from my mind as I prepared the whole chicken for roasting. You can probably understand why my husband is going to pick up the chickens by himself this time.
Our family likes to stay busy. We don’t spend a great deal of time sitting around staring mindlessly at the television. My children like to be reading or making things. There definitely was a time when the television was a primary source of entertainment in our house. Since discontinuing our cable they have been forced to look in different directions for ways of entertaining themselves. It is pretty funny the stuff they come up with to keep themselves busy. This week they decided to build a palm tree out of blocks. They then took all of the pillows off the couch and covered them with a sheet. This area then became the beach area next to the palm tree. The entire afternoon was spent at the beach engaged in various beach type activities. I know a great many children would have been completely bored with this form of entertainment but my kids absolutely loved it. In fact my youngest son will even set the beach up on his own to play when his older brother is busy with other things.
This was the first year that I attempted canning food. I had toyed with the idea in previous years but never really got around to trying. I admit that I was a bit scared of pressure canning. This spring I summoned the courage and bought a pressure canner. After the first batch of peaches all of my worries about canning vanished and I became hooked on the process. Over the summer I canned literally anything and everything as it came into season. I really wish I had a better set of scales and could have more accurately weighed all of the produce I grew and subsequently canned. It would be cool to know just how much food we grew and how much we bought from local farmers. I did get a good deal of free tomatoes and apples which was awesome! When everything was said and done I canned 527 jars of food. My estimates are that this should last us well into the spring and potentially summer. It will be really cool to see how much our food budget decreases over the coming months since we will have already invested in a good deal of our food needs.
I realize that childhood is a never ending process of growth and change. There are days when some of that change just can’t come soon enough. Today my 4 year old son has thrown 4 tantrums lasting about one hour each. He has not been feeling well so I give him the benefit of the doubt. I do however wonder if it is truly necessary to scream because you need to wear a long sleeve shirt? Is it later necessary to scream because the short sleeve shirt that you somehow found and put on is now dirty with paint? When you have used every last small band-aid on endless imaginary boo boo’s is there a good reason to scream because the only thing left are large band-aids for your real boo boo? Who knew there was such a drastic and important difference in the size of a band-aid when it came to covering an injury? You would think the child would realize that any band-aid will cover his wound and just be thankful to have said band-aid but not this boy. I am at my wits end with the tantrums for this day. We are currently listening to a revamping of the previous band-aid tantrum because there wasn’t enough of an audience upstairs and it was necessary to put on a larger display downstairs. Thankfully I am a very patient person and bed time is rapidly approaching.
I was reading statistics this week about the various cyber charter schools in my state. I realize that the students that are drawn to these types of schools are often quite different from those who attend traditional public school. I admit to being a bit shocked when I read the statistics about how few children who graduate from cyber schools go on to attend college in our state. I realize that there are a number of children who end up in these schools because they just can’t make it in traditional schools. On the other hand I think there are a large number of students who choose cyber schools because they need to be more challenged. Our school allows students to move ahead at their own pace. It is conceivable in our school to graduate high school with both an associates degree and a high school diploma. I really hope that our state cyber schools do more to encourage students to attend college and dream bigger dreams beyond high school. I think they need to spend more time on guiding children to realize what it will take to achieve their life goals. For example there aren’t many jobs in healthcare that don’t require a college degree. It bothersome to think that these schools are churning out students who aren’t driven to further themselves in life beyond having a high school diploma. On the other hand you have to wonder how much their home environments are factoring into this?
I just took a turkey out of the oven. No, it is not Thanksgiving. I likely will stick another turkey in the oven tomorrow and every few days for the coming week. The reason is because I went just a wee bit overboard buying turkeys last year. The prices were so low that I convinced myself we would eat one a month and have lots of leftovers for other meals. The truth is that I now have half a cow coming and need the freezer space. I am going to cook these turkeys and can the meat for soups and casseroles. I am determined to get all six of these turkeys cooked and canned in the next two weeks. My children do not understand why I am cooking a turkey and there is not going to be a huge family meal to go along with it. One year ago I had that intention but today I just want to empty my freezer and get it ready for beef. Hopefully, the plan to eat grass fed beef goes better than the plan to eat turkeys.
This morning I had a few errands to run. One of them required me to go to a local store and pick up some random items. While I was checking out a young boy bumped in line ahead of me. I didn’t say anything because I tend to give children and people who don’t know any better a free pass. When the boy got up to the cashier he started quizzing her about several items he was searching for. As he asked her where the iphone accessories were located I began to realize that I truly am a bit out of touch. I have never seen an one of these phones. The truth is that I don’t even own a cell phone right now. There was a part of me that wondered exactly what a young child could need with this type of technology? On the other hand just about every kid I see walking past my house is either texting or talking on the phone. I guess I am just turning into an old fogy.
Each weekend my husband takes our older son out for the day. I have decided to call these outings their “Man Day”. I love that my husband does these things because I feel it is really important for our son to spend alone time with his father. Our older son is getting ever so close to being a teenager. My gut tells me that the closer our bond is with him now the better chance we stand of all getting through those trying teenage years in one piece. I also appreciate having some time alone with our younger son. He needs one on one time and a chance to do special things. Because both children are home all the time I sometimes feel like our little guy doesn’t get as much of that special time little people need as our older son did. After a day alone with a parent you can just see the light in their eyes and a sense of being special. All kids are special but I think this somehow escapes them in the midst of a busy family life. Having a day to themselves allows them to be the center of attention. Don’t we all need a little of that at times?
As I type the rain is pouring down. This is a much needed break in the weather in our area. I will gladly slip on my rain boots if it means cooler weather. The temperature inside my house has hovered around 85 degrees for the last several weeks. It has been almost unbearable at times. Tomorrow we should be able to relax for the first time in quite a while. I intend to make use of the cooler temperature to work outside and complete some projects that have been on hold due to the heat. My children need to get outside and play. They are cranky and fighting with each other because of all this pent of energy they have. When the temperatures are this high no one wants to be outside and being cooped up just makes them irritable. I cannot convey how much I am looking forward to potentially needing to wear a sweater when I head out in the morning to run my errands.
The gardening season is just about done here in the northeast. It is now time for me to start planning next years garden and to reflect on this year of gardening. I consider this year to be a part of my learning curve when it comes to gardening. There are several things that we grew that were tremendously successful and a few things that were complete failures. For next year we intend to double our garden size and yet reduce the variety of crops we try to grow. I attempted way too many things this year that were a waste of time to grow. It is all well and good to grow broccoli if your family eats it but mine does not and growing it made no sense. I have decided to focus on a few types of things that my family loved and grow more of those items next year. For example we love carrots and I found out that I didn’t plant nearly enough of them. There were other things that I planted that we loved but just didn’t produce enough food to justify space in my small garden. I can cheaply buy organic peppers in bulk at the farmer’s market. Buying the plants at my local greenhouse and only getting a couple of peppers per plant just isn’t worth the expense. Tomatoes on the other hand grew really well in my garden but I didn’t plant enough of them. Next year I will double or triple my tomato plantings.
For a very long time I have always felt that my husband looked a good 10 years younger than he really is. Yesterday for the first time I have to say I think he is starting to look closer to being the 40 year old man that he is. Around his eyes I am beginning to see a few creases. I would never tell him that he needs to use eye cream but it looks like a little bit wouldn’t hurt. I love him no matter how he looks and find him as handsome as the day I married him. It is comforting to know that at long last we look closer to the same age. I am quite sure many people, who didn’t know we are the same age, have thought I married a younger man. The older I get the more I believe that men really do age better than women. Time just isn’t as kind to us as it is to them. I for one will be making use of every lotion and potion I can get my hands on to beat back the effects of time on my face.
Yesterday my mother came to my house to use my stove. She has a newer stove that does not allow her to use a pressure canner to can food. My stove is older and I offered her the use of my kitchen. My mom has canned food her entire life. What has become evident to me, in my short time, canning is that the rules for canning today are not the same as they were when my mother learned to can. I have tried repeatedly to gently tell her what things are recommended today to ensure that canned food is safe to eat and she refuses to listen. I finally has to exit the kitchen and leave her to her work because I couldn’t watch it any longer. I have to wonder if all of the various flu like illnesses that she and my father get over the year are not is some part the result of the canned food they consume. Food poisoning mimics the flu to a person who is not familiar with the differences between food poisoning and a true flu infection. I warned my husband not to consume any canned tomato products while at my parents since observing her canning practices.
Our growing season is coming to an end in our area. I have completely enjoyed my first year as a gardener. This is due largely due to the fact that the majority of our gardens thrived and produced a bountiful crop. There are just a couple of things left to be harvested and put away for winter use. These include apples, tomatoes, and pumpkins. As much as I have enjoyed learning to garden and can my own food the truth is that I am ready for a break. The idea of curling up next to the electric fireplace to read a book sounds really good right now. After spending just about every day this summer in the hot sun gardening or in a hot kitchen canning the idea of cold weather sounds really good. It will be nice to look at my nice full pantry when everything is finally done and know that my work is done for the year in regards to putting away food.
Yesterday one of the news headlines was about a recall for tainted eggs. These eggs were produced and distributed from a factory farm somewhere in the mid-west and distributed to stores across the country. Millions of eggs were effected by the recall. When you consider this it is kind of mind boggling to think how many people could be sickened by this recall. One thing it did bring home to me was how sound my decision to keep a couple of chickens in the backyard is for our family. The cost of feeding and housing a couple of chickens is probably about the same as “cheap” eggs from the nearest grocery store. I don’t happen to buy cheap eggs but instead get my eggs from a local farmer for about $3.00 a dozen. They are incredible eggs and organic/natural. You can absolutely tell a difference in these eggs as opposed to the watery and very old eggs from the store. I love that I will be able to have control over the handling of my eggs and that the cost will be so low for such great quality.
I have spent many nights fretting about what our neighbors might say if they noticed that we were keeping chickens in our backyard. Finally we decided to just break down and ask one of our neighbors what she would think of the idea . She said she had no problem whatsoever with us keeping a couple of hens. This was a big relief because she is the neighbor that would be closest to where we would house the chicken. Knowing that she is fine with the idea and that we are within the scope of the law makes it so much easier to move ahead with our plans. I can not start looking through a slideshow I found that features various coop plans and find one that is perfect for our situation. I think it will be a good experience for our children and the fresh eggs will be really nice to have. We are planning to make a trip to a hatchery a couple hours away and pick up the chicks ourselves. This should make the process much more educational for the children and ensure that we get nice healthy chicks from the start.
There are many things that my husband and I enjoy doing together. What is funny is that the one thing we both had to learn to enjoy was getting rid of stuff. Over the 20 years we have been together we have moved a dozen or more times. For a long time we simply packed up everything and lugged it along to the next place where it would sit in boxes waiting for the time when we “might” use it. After a while this got to be pretty old and we started parting with stuff. It has now become a ritual that takes place in our home a couple of times each year. Today was one of those days. We spent the day looking around the house at the stuff that was just taking up space and deciding what should stay and what should go. Two van fulls of stuff went to Goodwill and several large bags of stuff that can’t be recycled will go on the curb. The van is not sitting filled to the brim with all the cardboard that we have been saving for several months and it will go to be recycled. I like the feeling of spaciousness and I like not having to wonder where something is amongst stacks of stuff or boxes packed away somewhere. It feels good to know we might be helping other people somewhere down the road.
In the process of leading a more environmentally friendly life I have started to look at all areas of my home. One thing I had not previously looked was the type of chemicals I have been using to clean our home. I typically would just grab a bottle of cleaner from beneath one of our sinks without considering what might be in the bottle. Over time it has occurred to me that every time I wipe the down the counters I am putting many harmful chemicals into our environment. The more I have learned about various cleaners and such the more determined I have been to switch to natural cleaners that are healthy for people and the environment. Thus far I have been really pleased with what I have tried and don’t really see and difference in the cleaning power of these products. I love knowing that we are not ingesting toxins and that I am not putting additional chemicals into the water stream.
There has been something I have wanted for a while that may sound silly. I didn’t really think I could have them but it turns out that I can! This silly thing is – chickens. I want to be able to provide fresh eggs to my family from animals that are treated with respect. If you have ever read how factory farm chickens are treated you likely know that they lead terrible lives. For a while now I have been getting eggs from a friend of a friend but her prices have almost doubled since I started buying them. I also hate having to get the eggs second or third hand. I don’t really know how the chickens are treated and if they are being treated any better than at a factory farm. Keeping a few chickens in the backyard seems like an easy workable plan for our family and looks to be within the scope of the law in my town. The plan is to get them later this fall. Hopefully everything will work out and there won’t be any major issue that we haven’t identified in advance.
The weather here in the north east has been incredibly hot this summer. I remember last summer it never got hot enough to make anyone really complain. This summer I have barely lifted the roller blinds or pulled back the curtains in an attempt to keep the heat out. Having half a dozen fans running doesn’t seem to move the air in the slightest. I am half tempted to make everyone hang out upstairs and shut all the windows and doors. We have one air conditioner in the house and it is in our bedroom. I never use it because I feel guilty sleeping in a cool room when our children don’t have the same luxury. When they were little we would have a camp out in our bedroom but now that they are older that isn’t easy to do. I just hope the weather breaks soon even if it is just for a couple of days.
In my efforts to become more sustainable I have many long range plans. One plan that has been in the back of my mind is to have a small flock of backyard chickens. I had been told by several people who live in my town that this was against the law. Being a person who does not accept word of mouth information strictly at face value I elected to find out the legality of my plan myself. Actually, my husband investigated the legality on my behalf. A short trip to city hall confirmed what I suspected that the word on the street is entirely inaccurate. You can have chickens in my town provided the coop is not within 25 feet of another dwelling and that the yard is covered and enclosed. It surprised me to find out that having a cow in town would be legal if it was housed in an enclosed pen not less than 60 feet from a dwelling. Weird… to consider a cow in someone’s backyard isn’t it?
My mother rarely takes my children anywhere. For whatever reason she isn’t interested in spending a great deal of one on one time with them. I think she is someone who just has never really been comfortable around children. I never realized this until I had children of my own. Today, my mother took my oldest son out with her for a couple of hours. They went to various garage sales and to pick blueberries. When my son came home he brought along a treasure trove of goodies from the various garage sales. I asked my Mom how the day went and she said that my son is too smart for his own good. She could not believe the big words he knew and was able to pronounce such as “spirometer” and “hyperbole”. She said that he read a book most of the time that they were out and would occasionally tell her about aspects of the book that really interested him. She seemed let down that he didn’t take more interest in the scenery as they drove but I assured her that it isn’t in his nature to do so. My child like to keep his brain challenged and looking at rolling fields just doesn’t do that for him.
For the last month I have been working to put away as much food as possible for the winter and spring. We have a couple of gardens from which we are getting the majority of our produce. In addition I am trying to buy as much as I can from the local farmer’s market and area places that offer pick your own produce. I took stock of my stash of food today and couldn’t believe my eyes! I have over 120 pints of green beans and numerous jars of other goodies too numerous to mention. I did realize that I don’t have nearly enough space in my freezers nor on my shelves for what I intend to put away in the coming weeks. It has been work to put all this food away but it has been entirely rewarding and fun at the same time. I cannot imagine at this point going back to buying flavorless foods from the grocery store again!
In my efforts to preserve food I have been experimenting with various methods of drying herbs, fruits, and vegetables. I have tried doing this in the oven and also in a dehydrator. Yesterday, I stumbled upon what may be the best method yet! I took a wire basket of fresh oregano and laid it on our car dashboard with the windows rolled up. By the end of the day I had perfectly dried oregano. My husband thinks that if I could just figure out a new idea for a product along the lines herbal phentermine or a good tea mix I would be in business! Growing herbs and vegetables is pretty straight forward and now so is preserving them. For the time being I am happy to at last have solved my drying dilemma in a cheap and simple way. I hate spending money on things like dehydrators that don’t work or take days to accomplish what the sun does in a matter of hours.
When it comes to camping I am not very picky. I don’t need a luxurious camp site and I don’t need tons of stuff to do. I do need to be clean. Even if it means a cold shower I need the feeling that I have at least tried to wipe the dirt and grime off my body. Dry camping has made this a particular issue this summer and I have had my share of cold water showers. We have been trying for a few weeks to get the outdoor hot shower we bought to work. We narrowed the problem down to a few likely sources and one by one eliminated them. As of 5 minutes ago it looks like I will indeed be enjoying a good hot shower this weekend! Apparently we did not have enough water pressure coming out of our shower to trigger the pump to activate the heater. Now that we have a pump with the right water pressure the water heater is working like a dream. It will be awesome to finally take a good hot shower while in the great outdoors.
This weekend we are getting together with some friends we haven’t seen in a while. The funny thing is that no matter how infrequently we see each other it never feels that way. These are the type of people that instantly make you feel comfortable. We see each other a few times a year and it is always a great time. I have to admit there is just one little thing I don’t get about them and that is their desire to have a huge family. I seriously think they could sell sign space on their van for some place like www.prenatalvitamins.net or something. I don’t recall a time in all the years I have known them that they haven’t been expecting another child. I love children and they are great parents but I have no clue how people parent so many children. It won’t surprise me one bit to hear that they are expecting yet again when we get together. It would actually surprise me more to hear they now consider their family complete and are done having more children.
For about a month now I have been trying to encourage our little guy to make independent trips to the toilet. He has been resisting up until this weekend and insisting that he have a spectator for his big “production”. For the last two days he has made a couple of trips a day without me. I have to say now I wish I hadn’t encourage his solo flights. When you have to clean poo off the toilet, the wall, and the child an hour or so after the feat it just isn’t a good time. Through in some 90 degree temperatures and it is even better. I like the independent streak but I think we need a few more joint trips to the bathroom to work out the wrinkles in the execution. At least he is trying… right?
We go camping just about every other weekend during the summer. This is something that we have done for as long as we have had children. This weekend will be no exception. The only thing I dislike about camping is the packing and unpacking. No matter how well I try to prepare for a weekend in the wild there is always something I forget. When you realize around ten o’clock at night that your power setup isn’t working in your RV it is no fun. It is even less fun when you realize that your maglite led flashlights are sitting on the kitchen counter at home where you left them. It really isn’t fun to try an crawl under the RV and work by the light of a propane lantern. Those things get really hot! I am earnestly trying to devise a means of setting up and tearing down that leaves everything in the camper but it has yet to come into total fruition. There is always one or two things that we don’t have spare sets of around the house such as flashlights and the like. Despite these small hangups each weekend never ceases to be a wonderful although brief getaway. Sometimes it is a dark getaway but fun nonetheless.
I hate having to be on the run. What I mean is having to constantly taxi the children from one place to another. I love my children but we function best when we are in a routine. I signed my older son up for way too many camps this summer. I schedule 3 different things on one day for several days. It is all my fault but I just thought the experiences would be good for him. I didn’t consider that none of us really likes to be up and out the door in the morning. My youngest son is absolutely guaranteed to be in a bad mood whenever he is woken up before he is ready in the morning. You can probably see why home schooling is perfect for us huh? Today was the last day of camp and I couldn’t be happier! The next six weeks of summer I intend to sleep in an relax. No more sitting in the car and waiting for one class or another to be over. I know we will do it all over again next year but for now it is good to be done. Really, really… good.
There is something about a sleeping child that I find absolutely adorable. For the last few days my children have both been sleeping pretty late into the morning. I personally can’t sleep well without a small does of one of my favorite over the counter sleep aids. I realize that relying on something to sleep is not a good idea but it helps me get the rest I need and also treats my allergies. My children go through bouts of restless sleeping followed by really long restful nights. I love the mornings where they wake up late but fully rested and oh so very happy. Those are the days that I know we will all enjoy because everyone is so bright eyed and ready to get things done. I am glad the weather is breaking a little bit and the heat is disappearing a little because we are sure to get a better night’s rest.
I love pickles! I love pretty much anything that is pickled that isn’t incredibly hot. A couple of weeks ago I pickled some turnips. They aren’t that bad. Not something I would sit and gorge myself on but a surprisingly different taste that is good mixed with other pickled things on your plate. Today I believe that the time has come to try pickling something I have heard about but never tasted – watermelon rind. There is just something about this that calls to me and begs me to give it a whirl. I bought a melon yesterday and have been plundering my way through it. I LOVE watermelon. I have been cutting the fruit away from the rind and saving the rind. Cutting the peel off the rind is a bit of a pain. I have read a couple of recipes that call for leaving the green peel on the rind. I may try it both ways or a mixture of the two in the same jar. I will let you know what the results are as the tasting time draws nearer.
This has been the hottest week that I can remember in a very long time. The temperatures have reached around 100 degrees each day. It has been impossible to get comfortable and relax. I swear I have sweated off at least 10 pounds. I guess I should be thankful for that and the fact that it didn’t take any effort or diet pills to accomplish the loss. Today we are supposed to get rain and it is very much needed. I have tapped our rain barrels dry in an effort to keep the garden from suffering. My husband is going to pick up another barrel tonight to add to our system. The system functioned amazingly well and kept us from having to use city water to keep the garden hydrated. I really feel for people who have live under this type of constant heat for extended periods. I am thankful our heat waves are not long lasting.
This is the first year that we have had a real garden. It has been an amazing project that our entire family has enjoyed immensely. We built a raised garden bed that is about 16 feet long by 8 feet wide. We used a blend of garden mix from a local supplier, peat, and cow manure. Our garden had exceeded our wildest expectations and the season is only half way done. Thus far we have been picking zucchini, turnips, carrots, peas, lettuce, and basil. I now want to build another bed to use next year in order to double our bounty. The children are so much more likely to try new veggies that they have had a hand in raising. I love watching the daily changes in the garden and seeing everything just spring to life. The raised bed is so little work that I cannot believe it. I envisioned having to be constantly weeding it and I haven’t at all.
This fall our youngest son will start kindergarten. This is a online kindergarten program through a charter school in our state for 4 year old children. I am beginning to realize that I need to start organizing our home school area. It know that we will need to rethink our school furniture to accommodate the needs of a young student. We didn’t start home schooling our older son until he was in the second grade which made it much easier to set up a workspace for him. I can already see that an adult size and chair are going to be a bit big for our little guy. I also can see that I am going to need a better shelving system because our the books and supplies we use are going to double. It might require my husband to build something that will be strong enough to hold everything and yet the right size for both my kids to use.
Kitchen gadgets are among my favorite things. I love products that work really well and do the job they are intended to do. If there is one thing I do not have good luck with it is blenders. We have been married 19 years and I do believe I have had 6 or more blenders in that time. I make tons of smoothies and whatnot. The most recent blender I bought was a Waring blender. It is pretty to look at but is sorely lacking in the power department. It overheats and just doesn’t blend things smoothly. As much as I would love a Blendtec or a Vitamix blender I cannot justify the price. I hate buying a blender only to be disappointed with it and stuck with it for a few years. I wish there were a way to test drive them in my house and return them if they don’t do the job. I know people buy stuff and return it all the time but somehow it doesn’t seem quite right to me. So, what blender do you have and what do you like or dislike about it? Did the price justify the results when using it? What do you look for in a blender?
In the first six months of this year we were able to pay off the majority of our debt burden. We still have student loans and a mortgage but no longer carry credit card debt or have car payments to make. Becoming debt free has totally changed our attitudes about spending and living within our means. If we don’t have the cash to make a purchase we wait until we do. One of the first things I did when our debt was paid off was to cancel our credit cards. I simply didn’t want those crazy high credit limits available to us. I thought this might make online shopping difficult but it really hasn’t. I have found there are ways to make purchases safely online without using credit cards. One such way is to use “eBillme.com”. I haven’t personally used this site yet but after looking at it I think it my be a good fit with my new spending philosophy. This site not only offers a means to pay for purchases online but also offers aj madison coupons and coupons for many other online merchants. I am impressed by the fact that this site encourages people to spend within their means and to live a debt free life. Living under a cloud of debt can be a very heavy burden that is hard to get away from. We learned the hard way how it can debt can accumulate very rapidly and can take years and years to pay off. Living without debt is a freeing experience. While we are not truly debt free I consider the debt we do carry to be positive debt rather than negative. We bought a home well within our means rather than our dream home. Our educations have only allowed us to better our lives and that of our children. Credit card debt never did anything for us but drag us down. The sad reality is that many people are paying for years on silly stuff they put on credit cards like a meal out or a new pair of sneakers. I am glad to know this will not be our reality in the future.
For 3 days I have had cold. Summer colds are the pits. There are so many things that need doing and I can’t just sit inside hiding from them. The children need taken here and taken there. The yard and garden need tending. I realize there are much greater illnesses in the world than a cold. I am thankful it is just a cold. What made today bad is the fact that on top of the cold I ended up having an allergy attack. This has happened the last 3 times I have gotten sick. There are very clear differences between my allergic reactions and my cold symptoms. What I do not understand is why I am not having them in whenever I get sick. It worries me just a little bit that one day I may have a really bad reaction because my allergies seem to be getting worse not better. I never had them in the past at the same time as I had a cold. At least the medication I am taking is working and I am back on my feet rather than lying in bed.
We seem to be living across the street from what is a perpetual garage sale. The people that moved in have a garage sale every Friday. I have never lived next to someone who does this. I have heard about people who just constantly have a garage sale set up in their yard or garage but haven’t witnessed it firsthand. This sale is kind of strange. The people are selling stuff that people clearly don’t want. My approach to a garage sale is that is stuff doesn’t sell after the first two days then it isn’t going to sell. I then donate it to charity. These people however seem quite intent on selling every last item no matter how many times they have to set up an tear down this garage sale. I wonder if there is a limit to the number of garage sales you can have in one year? I get that people need money but it is quite distraction in the neighborhood with people parking all over the place. I suppose there are worse things that they could be doing besides constantly selling stuff in their front yard. As long as people stay out of my yard and driveway I am not going to think too much about it.
Yesterday we made a very tough decision. For six years we have had two cats. We got these cats when they were just about 4 months old. Both of them were fixed before we brought them home. One of the cats has always had an issue with peeing on dirty laundry that might be laying on the floor. This occurred infrequently over the years but as time has progressed has become worse. He has graduated to marking just about anything imaginable from his scratching pad to bags. In the last month the problem has become an issue that we knew was not going to be solved with adding more pans or different litter or more intense cleaning. This cat began being on the carpeted steps to our finished basement. The carpet is glued down and no matter how much I have cleaned it he still marks the area. Finally last night we decided that for the health of our family he needed to go to the humane society. The total number of cat pans in our house was up to four and it wasn’t having any impact on his behavior. Our lives were beginning revolve around making sure there was nothing out for him to mark and cleaning up after what he did mark. He really is a beautiful and sweet cat but my gut told me that his next step might be to pee in our beds. I even tried retraining him by confining him to an room of the house with multiple pristine pans. After what I thought was a fair amount of retraining he immediately began marking the house again when set loose. We feel absolutely awful for what came to be but short of letting him live outside there wasn’t much we could do. The vet offered no insight and we tried everything imaginable over the years to correct the problem. Dexter, I am sorry… very sorry.
I heard a new term this week that was related to the recession. The article I was reading suggested that we are headed towards a “double-dip recession”. I found this intriguing and did a bit of reading on the subject. There are mixed opinions as to whether this will indeed happen or not. It does have me a bit worried to say the least. I have to wonder what it will mean for unemployment and the future of our nation. It is already a tough job market out there. Ask anyone who has recently gone through employment screening and they will fill you in on the challenges faced by job seekers. The article also detailed what could happen with the price of goods in the coming months. I can only imagine what might happen to oil prices and such. You can’t open a newspaper without reading about job cuts and budgetary woes in our area. I can open hope that this speculation does not prove true. Our nation has seen enough financial trouble in the last year. It would be lovely to think that the glass is half full and not verging on being emptied yet again.
We began the process today for a new chapter in our youngest son’s life. He was enrolled for cyber charter school today. The interesting thing is that he will be attending a preschool or K4 program using this method of education. I never would have thought that online learning was available to such young children but it is! He cannot wait until the time comes that he can sit down at his own computer and go to class just like his big brother. There is a part of me that is just a little sad to think that my little boy is ready for school. The truth is that even though I see my kids all day everyday I still want to savor each part of their childhood. At least I can relish the fact that I won’t be dropping him off at a school building and walking away sobbing. I still remember the first day of kindergarten for my oldest son and how heart broken I was. At the time I believed he would be the only child I ever had and I could not envision my life without him in it all day. Later on when we realized that cyber charter school would better serve his needs I was able to fully appreciate how fortunate I am to be able to be his teacher. I look forward to watching both my children thrive and learn in a loving and challenging educational environment.
I spent the better part of the morning baking a number of foods. I also went across town and bought 25 pounds of peaches. My entire family is looking at me as I type wondering what there is to eat. When I told them to go look in the kitchen you would think I suggested we crack open a bottle of Lipofuze and share it or something. There are tons of things in our house to eat. Fresh and healthy foods of an infinite variety. The problem they are having is that there are not tons of junk or highly processed convenience foods in our kitchen. My thinking right now is that if I spend hours baking and cooking then you need to fend for yourself and get a little creative. Make a sandwich or have a bowl of granola. I am not spending this particular cooking a big meal after cooking and baking for hours.
I just finished going through several boxes of clothes offered to my children by one of our neighbors. It was a really generous offer on her part that is very much appreciated. My youngest son is currently in heaven because many of the clothes were his size and feature his favorite television characters. He is currently wearing a pair of Buzz Lightyear pajamas and running gleefully throughout the house. If the clothes hadn’t come from someone who I knew well I would obviously want them to be washed properly first. I love knowing that the clothes are fresh and clean and there is no problem having my child wear them immediately. I also love that they were free and the sizes are just right for now and in the future. Once again the notion of the more you give away the more comes back to you is proving true. We have given away countless things recently and have in turn been given stuff we needed by other people.
For the last week I have just been tuckered out all the time. I don’t know if it is the heat or the fact that our schedule has been super busy. I wish there were something I could take to give me some energy because I really need it. I almost need phentermine and a big shot of caffeine because I am not only tired but have gained a bit of weight. There is so much on my plate that I haven’t been paying very good attention to what I have been putting in my mouth. I have made a promise to myself that I would watch more carefully what I eat in the coming days. I haven’t gained so much weight that it is out of control but even 5-10 pounds makes me feel cruddy and tired. At least school is now over so that is one less thing on my calender to keep track of. What I really need is a nice long date with my pillow and a good long rest.
I am looking at 25 pounds of peaches that need canning. I am both nervous and excited by the prospect of canning these peaches. You see I have never canned anything before. I have all of the supplies necessary to can and an instruction guide but I am still nervous. I know it isn’t rocket science but it sure feels like it. My goal is to put away the majority of our families food ourselves this year and I have been amply preparing for that. The peaches were really expensive but I really wanted to get started with trying to can something so I would be over the fear and experimentation before things got really busy. Tomorrow I am going to embark on this journey when I have some free time. Hopefully, I will report back that everyone survived the experience and that I have several properly canned jars of peaches on my shelf. I have no idea how many jars of peaches I should be able to get from a half bushel of peaches but I doubt it is very many. Either way it will be a good learning experience … I hope.
We all know that people come with all types of personalities. We have learned that these personalities are never predictable. You can think you know someone and suddenly something changes to make them act completely different. Our neighbor seemed like a quiet person who minded his own business. For some reason suddenly he needs to know about everything that we are doing. It wouldn’t matter if I was reading a magazine about the best weight loss pills or weeding the garden because the man would find a reason to ask what I was doing. Today, my husband was building rain barrels in the back yard and this fellow had to come over and ask what he was doing. Mind you it was quite clear that our neighbor did not appreciate the idea at all. As my husband describe what the barrels were for our neighbor just shook his head and looked confused. If was as if he was saying that we should just keep using water out of the faucet and quit wasting our time with the barrels. People just need to mind their own business. It is not his concern if I stick a dozen gardens or rain barrels in my back yard as long as I keep it neat and orderly. The man clearly has his own idea about what living life is about and that is not one I am going to share. I should note this is the same neighbor who’s wife screamed at my husband last week for mowing their lawn. I just can’t figure them out for the life of me.
My husband is a happy man. As I type this post he is in the backyard with our older son riding a lawn mower. This might now sound like a big accomplishment but for him it is. You see this particular lawn mower was declared junk by every mechanically inclined person in my family. My husband swore that it could be fixed but no one would listen to him. Finally, my parents decided to get rid of the lawn mower because no one could fix it. They offered it to my husband to do with whatever he wanted. After several days of messing around with the mower it is now running smoothly and exactly how it should be running. Despite the fact that we don’t have a lawn large enough to require a riding lawn mower he is happy nonetheless. It will be interesting to see just how much mowing he gets done now for everyone in the neighborhood. I suppose that won’t apply to the next door neighbors since they don’t want him to touch their lawn when he mows. What is sad is that he was going to offer to mow their back lawn along with our once he fixed the lawn mower. I don’t think that offer will be forthcoming now.
My husband and I are the type of people who like to stay busy. We are continually starting new projects and looking for new ideas. The problem is that we often find ourselves a bit stretched because we have so many things going at once. Last night my husband was talking about redoing our bathroom. The bathroom has not had new cabinetry since the 1960′s. It has been painted but really does not fit the space and is very over sized. As much as I would love a new sink and something like a Robern Medicine cabinet I don’t my husband to not start this particular project right now. Between the gardens we have going and the compost tumbler and rain barrel system that needs built there isn’t going to be time right now. The bathroom would an ideal project for the fall or winter when things slow down just a bit.
Tonight my friend is stopping by on her way home from her parents farm. I am pretty excited because she is bringing me some farm fresh goodies such as eggs. These eggs are so amazing! If you haven’t had farm fresh eggs I would encourage you to try them whenever you get the chance. They are richer in flavor and color. The other thing she is bringing me is coconut oil. She was able to get a deal on a 5 gallon bucket of coconut oil at a price that was amazing. For what we would have spent on 1 gallon previously she was able to get 5 gallons from a local Amish bulk food store. I am going to be so happy to no longer have to use my coconut oil as sparingly as I was. Coconut oil is really healthy but can be quite costly.
Over the last few weeks I have begun to see a shift in our family. I no longer feel like a lone pioneer trying to change the future of my family in regards to sustainable living and healthy eating. For a long time it seemed like I was speaking a foreign language when I would talk with my family about “real food”. They quite literally looked at me as though I was suggesting we start eating tm-t88iv when I suggested that we replace the sugar in our house with date sugar. I am now feeling like their eyes are open and receptive to making changes in our lifestyle. I actually caught my older son reading a food label today and commenting about how many things that aren’t food were in it. Tonight we sat down to a dinner of salad from our garden and fresh berries from our patch. This might sound like nothing but it was a huge step forward because not one of them complained.
The oil spill that has been happening in the Gulf is just sickening. I am completely amazed that with all the technology it must take to run pipelines and whatnot under the ocean that more thought hasn’t gone into handling catastrophes. I am sorry but I honestly believe if more woman were heading up these projects we would be better prepared for the “what if” situations that come along. Women are planners we look ahead and we prepare. At least that is true of the women in my “tribe”. We don’t say “let’s do it” without considering that decision from all angles. I sincerely hope we don’t read about big bonuses for BP executives anytime soon considering what a all out disaster this is.
This week we spent our first few hours at the community garden. We have rented a plot for the summer and are in the process of putting in a very large garden. It became painfully clear to me just how many supplies we are lacking when it comes to gardening. I quickly realized that I am going to need some sort of sunhat as well as women’s rain boots. The area where the garden’s are located provides no shade but is always in a low lying are that is prone to becoming water logged. I also learned that just about everyone who garden’s there has there own rototiller. Our plan for this year is to simply do the best we can and hope it all turns out alright. Next year we can plan better and budget for the larger items and supplies that we know we will need. I am going to have to pick up a hat at the very least because the weather here has been unbelievably hot.
There are days in life when a woman just needs chocolate. This is one of those days. I am not hungry or stressed but I need chocolate nonetheless. After 19 years of marriage my husband possesses an incredible ability to detect when I need chocolate. He is my supplier supreme and has just returned from the store! The man came back from the store somehow knowing that I was in need of chocolate covered peanuts and diet root beer. These are things that I don’t keep in the house because they aren’t that great for you. I do a pretty good job of keeping my chocolate cravings at bay by taking magnesium supplements but I still have the occasional urge to ingest massive amounts of chocolate. Thankfully, he only brought home a small single serve pack of chocolate and a large bottle of diet soda.
It doesn’t seem like a year should have passed since I posted about our state’s budget crisis but it has. One year later finds the state facing yet another financial crisis. I am anxious to see how this year’s crisis is resolved. I know that there will have to be massive changes to the way our state does business if it is ever to be resolved. I am hoping that there will be minimal job cuts or changes to benefits for state employees. I know that there will come a point where we no longer have the same health insurance, life insurance, or pension package we now enjoy. I can understand that there are limits to what the state budget is able to do for state employees. I can only hope that they try as hard as they can to minimize job loss because that is not going to help the local economy in the slightest. In our area the state is one of the major employers and many local businesses rely on this customer base.
It is not even summer time here and we are already facing the storm season. There are tornado watches in effect for our area and severe thunderstorm warnings. I just read that this could be one of the worst hurricane seasons to date. It really makes me wonder why people continue to ignore the changes that have been occurring in the world over time. Our weather is nothing like it was when I was a child. I am sure my own children will say the same thing about the weather when they are my age. I don’t profess to know exactly why our world is changing but my suspicion is that we are all somehow at fault. Change is inevitable but I sure wish we would look at our own actions a little more closely and band together to slow the coming change down ever so much.
The school year is done in our home. We were formally dismissed from school last week. That does not mean that we close up shop for the summer and goof off. There is always something that my children want to learn more about and I do everything to empower them to do just that. We visit the library frequently to pick up books on subjects they are currently interested. I make sure that summer camps offer something that is not only fun but educational. If there is something they ask me about I try to answer the question but also guide them to other resources. My idea of home schooling is that even though we are enrolled in a school that education does not stop at the end of the school year. We try to view the world as a wonderful place that always hold some new information to learn about.
Our younger son has taken a sudden interest in pictures of himself. This is interesting because he never really seemed to care before. Yesterday I set up a running slide show of all the pictures on our computer for him to watch. He sat in front of the computer completely enamored with seeing himself at various stages of his young life. It is almost as if he suddenly realized he has been “different” at different times and that he is in fact growing. The look of wonder on his face was so cute to watch. He pointed out every facet of his life from being a newborn to present day. I loved that he realizes he can do things now that he never could before and that there are things he used to do that he no longer needs to do. For example, he no longer needs to wear diapers, sleep in a crib, or use a bottle. Wouldn’t it be great if as adults we could watch a slide show of turning points in our lives? I would love to see all the times I grew as a person in a positive way wouldn’t you?
For about two months I have been drinking kefir water. It is easy to make and is supposed to be good for you. I cannot honestly say that I feel better or worse in general from drinking it. I do know some people react adversely when they first start drinking kefir products. This reaction is somewhat similar to taking a laxative or something like colonix. If you aren’t looking to have that type of reaction it could be a bit unexpected. I never had a reaction to either milk kefir or water kefir. Supposedly there are all kinds of great benefits to be derived from consuming either product. Lately my drink of choice is a mixture of half kefir water and half green tea. I find the tea tends to balance out the yeasty taste the kefir can get in this heat. I have tried a number of mixtures but this is my current favorite. I just have to remember to drink it more often than I have been because my kefir is getting a bit strong. I believe the alcohol content is increased the longer it brews.
Do you blog? Do you allow comments? For a long time I allowed anyone who wanted to comment on my blog to do so. I figured it couldn’t hurt. I then learned differently and started to moderate my comments. I am guilty to admit that it has been a VERY long time since I moderated my comments. I had hundreds of them waiting. Just sitting there like a time capsule for me to read. Many were spam. People leaving mindless nonsense with the hope of getting a free outgoing link on my blog. Some were neat to read because it brought me back to the point in life where I wrote that particular post. Happy times, sad times, uncertain times, and stressful times. I wish I could say that I read each an every comment an allowed the real and sincere ones to publish. In the end I did not because I needed to be done with the task and move on. Having been place on a list that stated I allowed free outgoing links I decided to banish all comments for the time being. Maybe just maybe the people spamming this blog will notice that I am not allowing comments and will move on…
Our summer is shaping up to be a very busy one. I am now looking at everything my older son wants to do and we might be busier than ever. He is attending a couple of summer camps, a stitching class, and also wants to take swimming lessons. We are fortunate to be able to have access to a pool on a regular basis and that makes it important for him to know how to swim. I keep telling him that he won’t always have pool floats to rely on to keep him afloat and that he needs to know how to save himself in an emergency. He seems to finally accept this idea and is ready to commit to learning to swim. I am really hoping that he gets a teacher who knows how to hold him to a high standard. He has taken lessons in the past and they ended up being more about goofing around in the water than learning how to swim. I like being able to enroll him in things that have something to offer besides just a social experience.
It is now almost the end of the day and it has been a good one. For some reason I found myself reflecting on the food my family consumed today. It occurred to me that each and every meal or snack that we ate was home made. This is my form of opting out of what we have all been trained is the way we should eat. We have been fed this line that convenience is good and time spent creating food is wasted time. I have been striving to make as much of our food ourselves and as organically as possible. Our meals consisted of homemade granola, yogurt, bread, cheese, nut butter, and more. It is pretty cool when you realize that you are saying “No” to big business and over processed foods. I am hoping that more people will join the slow food movement and realize that we have been literally fed a line of crap over decades about what good wholesome food really is. The only way we will ever achieve truly clean food is for people to opt out in mass.
In June we will be meeting with one of our state cyber charter schools to enroll our youngest son in their K4 program. It is not the same school as my older son attends but offers many of the same things. Our 4 year old will be issued his own laptop computer, printer, and set of text books. The school will provide him both online classes and a hands on curriculum. It never ceases to amaze me how far education has come since I was a child. The idea that my children can attend a great school right from our dining room is awesome. The curriculum challenges them and their is an amazing amount of support from the faculty. I think more people would take advantage of this great type of educational opportunity if they were able to see it first hand. I know my own family did not understand it until they were able to sit and watch my son attend one of his online classes and look through his texts. We couldn’t be happier and are thrilled to find a similar opportunity geared for our littlest learner.
We are an unusual family and we are “cool” with that. We like living “sustainably” and making stuff for ourselves. Our weekends involve gardening, metal detecting, camping, and geocaching. Homeschooling is the route we choose for educating our children. My children begged me to go somewhere today. When I asked them where they wanted to go they didn’t say a store or even to the playground. They both excitedly wanted to go to the library. How cool is that? So we went to the library as a family and checked out enough books to fill our earth friendly tote bag. Our local library, despite being very small, is awesome. There are tons of programs for the children and that staff is more than happy to help you find what you need or to order it. What a great way to spend the evening and my kids are now contently reading and I have a moment to myself.
Last night I had a long discussion with someone close to me about their current mental status. This person has been stuck in a very negative place for a while but doesn’t actually see this. I finally pointed out that this particular person has not had a positive thing to say in several days. It is really hard to know what to say when someone tells you the feel crummy and need to look into top fat burners and start exercising. It is also hard to know what to say when all you hear is what is negative about a person’s life. As hard as it was I finally just laid the facts, as I see them, out and called the situation for what it appears to be. I pointed out that it is pretty hard to feel good about yourself when you aren’t involved in the world or doing anything to stimulate your mind. If the only thing you have to say is something negative then maybe you need to do a reality check and look at your own life and outlook a little more closely. I don’t know if what I said had any impact at all but at least I put it out there. Hopefully, a little insight was gained from our discussion.
For a while I have working on how to do things in the kitchen in an “old school” way. I cook from scratch and try to make everything as naturally as possible. This means limiting processed foods. Essentially, I try to think of foods as only being food if they are something that my grandparents would recognize as actually being food. When you consider food that was available when my grandparents were my age it puts what we are offered by today’s stores into perspective. I am pretty sure that my Grandmother would have no idea what a chicken nugget or a protein bar was. If the ingredient list has things I can’t pronounce or seems endless I don’t want it in my body. Sure this way of cooking make things take longer but I don’t see it as more work. I see this as time I am not spending mindlessly staring at the television. It is time I spend connecting with my family and connecting them to the food we eat. I love that my children now say “can we make…” instead of “can we buy…”? They are now seeing food as something we control not as being controlled by some distant corporation or entity.
This week was our last formal week of school for the year. That is one of the things I love about home schooling or cyber schooling. We can work as fast as we want and enjoy the fact that we have earned a very long summer vacation. It is funny how the end of school year almost automatically brings out the boredom in our world. For some reason my children cannot manage to find a single thing to amuse themselves without me. I might just have to assign some reading if they persist in pestering me to find something for them to do. I am sure a few hours of reading diet pill reviews or audiology magazines would very quickly change their attitude about amusing themselves. At the end of the month I am having our satellite television discontinued. I have the sneaking suspicion that they will not appreciate this at all. My instinct is that all those toys just sitting in their closets will suddenly start to look more interesting when they can no longer sit in front of the television.
This week has just seemed to be a dark one. The darkness has been more than just the clouds that have filled our sky. This is the darkness that comes when the world seems to be over run by sadness. Between the evils being wrought in the news across our country and lesser evil that hits more close to home it has been hard to find the sunshine. Today, the sky is sunny and somehow I can see this past the worries of the world that have filled my sleepless night. I know that the plants will continue growing in the garden and the laughter of my own two beautiful children will echo in our house. I am blessed and know that the world will be okay despite sadness coming at us from every direction. I will smile and I will carry on because that is what needs to be done. I worry and I cry for the heartache of other people and for what might befall my own home one day but life must go on cheerfully and happily and today the sun is finally shining.
This week I had the brilliant idea that I would make my husband a sustainable type of gift to give him next month. Not only do I have to give him a present for his birthday but also for our anniversary. There are also Father’s day gifts that must be considered as well. All of these presents must be given in the same week. My brilliant idea was to give my husband a “old fashioned” shaving kit. I found a wonderful reproduction of a 1934 Gillette safety razor and a shaving brush. Today, I decided to make homemade shaving soap. The soap smells great but it isn’t setting up at all. I happened to mention to my husband that I tried to make shaving soap and his response was negative. Apparently using shaving soap is not on his list of things he would like to try. Maybe when he sees everything I put together for his gift he will decide to at least give the soap and razor a test run. I had good intentions even if he doesn’t see the thought behind my gift when it is all said and done.
I have no reason to complain but I am feeling low today. The troubles of the world seem to be weighing on me. None of these woes impacts me directly but for some reason I can’t shake them from my mind. A friend of ours has a young son who is battling leukemia for the second time. Another family that we know indirectly lost their teenage son to a car accident this morning. I cannot imagine the pain these families are enduring. Both of them are exceptionally strong in their faith in God. The father of the family that lost their son this morning happens a to be a pastor. I read two blogs that I follow closely today and found out that one of the writer’s lost her husband to suicide very recently and the other is loosing her young husband to cancer. I should be sitting here rejoicing that my world is so good right now but I can’t help but be fearful for what is next to come. I realize that these tragedies are not my own and I shouldn’t be making this about me but I am nonetheless saddened by the grief of the world around me.
My big push to loose weight began last November. Over the course of two and a half months I managed to loose about 25-30 pounds. I looked into a ton of different things like nuphedragen and other products to aid my weight loss plan. It ultimately became clear that I needed a very specific plan suited for my eating habits. I began to realize that there are some very specific foods that I need to avoid. For example, I cannot eat white flour or refined sugar without crazy it like crazy afterward. It is like my body cannot have just a little of these things. In hindsight I realize that these foods have always been a problem for me. As a child my mother would teach me to bake in order to cope with the stresses of life. She did the best she could to help me through tough things in the only way she knew how. It would have been better for us both had we learned how to talk to each other instead of eating.
Our older son has struggled for a long time with the concept of money. I am not referring to him actually being able to distinguish money or count it but rather to see it as something of value. He tends to loose it and doesn’t really see one thing as being a better value than another. Last week we decided to try to start paying him for doing extra chores around the house. He was pretty resistant to the idea for quite awhile. It finally clicked in with him when I decided to stop buying toys and later letting him work off the cost in chores. He is now saving his money to buy things he wants. The problem is that since instituting this new plan he has already lost some of the money he has earned. I struggle with replacing the money or letting him learn from the experience and realizing that money just doesn’t replace itself and that you have to earn it.
About a week ago our youngest son decided that being completely potty trained was a very good idea. The thing I have noticed about is that once he decides that he needs to do something he does it with all his ability. The poor little guy is going to need a hemorrhoid treatment if he keeps trying to constantly go to the bathroom. For some reason he think that if he needs to urinate then he must need to make a bowel movement as well. We must make a dozen trips to the bathroom a day. I know that eventually he will understand that the two bodily functions are indeed different but for now he hasn’t quite grasped that. I will gladly take him to the bathroom twenty times a day if if means no more dirty diapers.
We are really big fans of giving away stuff we no longer use. I know that we could have a garage sale and make money off of these items but it just never seems right. As a child I was very much dependent on the charity of strangers. My clothes and toys were always used. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized what a gift these items were. No matter how little money we have had over the years we have always given away our unwanted items. For some reason I think that what goes around comes around. This week I posted on Freecycle that I was looking for canning jars. A woman was kind enough to meet me with almost 4 dozen canning jars. This was a wonderful gift and greatly appreciated. She even refused to take money for them which was really nice!
The other night I was the unfortunate victim of a computer virus. For the life of me I could not figure out how I managed to get the virus. After dealing with the virus and getting my system secure once again I began to investigate where I might have gotten it. It took me a while before I came to the conclusion that it might have been due to my youngest son. He loves to turn on the computer and then randomly begins to click here and click there. The child simply knows too much for his own good about computers. He knows exactly where to click to get to his favorite websites but sometimes his little fingers make a wrong click. I believe that this is why my poor computer was almost overtaken by this particular virus. I am very orderly about keeping my computers secure but even I can’t always account for little children.
This week my reading list included the “Omnivore’s Dilemma”. This has been a book I have wanted to read since watching “Food Inc.”. The book covers in detail all of the subjects that movie touched on. It is very troubling to understand exactly what the status of the American food system really is. I know there are people who could argue that this book only presents one point of view. From this reader’s point of view I think it presents the food system in a very clear light. The issues raised by this author are something that every person with a conscience should know. I honestly believe that is people really knew how and where the food products available to them come from they would rally for reform. Our food supply is really a mess and it is likely to only get worse. More and more people have become entirely dependent upon prepared foods and have absolutely no idea how to make food for themselves.
It has been just about a year since we decided to make over our way of eating. Over time it became pretty clear that our children had no clue where food actually came from. We started out pretty simply by making just a few easy things ourselves. As time progressed we tried more and more complicated foods. Recently I decided to try to add sprouts to our diet. The first thing I tried spouting was wheat berries. Sprouting was a pretty easy thing to do. It takes a mason jar and a piece of cheese cloth. You put a couple tablespoons of seeds into the jar and let them sit in some water for a while. After a bit of time you drain the water off and repeat this process twice a day until you have nice sprouts. This is a super easy way to have fresh green veggies on hand for sandwiches and salads. They make a tasty little snack to eat while blogging as well.
We have been carefully assessing the state of our finances for a very long time. About a year ago it finally sunk in that we needed to make serious changes in our spending. It seemed like every penny that came into our home went right back out. After buckling down and redirecting our money we are finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel. I am not saying that we are going to be rolling in gold bullion when this is all done but we will be out of debt. It really feels like a huge burden is being lifted that has hung over us for so long. To know that we are finally done with paying creditors is an amazing feeling that I never thought I would know again. It is almost like the debt gets so out of control that you can’t ever see it going away. Because it doesn’t seem like you can get away from it you almost tell yourself that adding to it won’t matter because you are always going to be paying on it. I now realize what a vicious circle this is and want nothing to do with it ever again. We are setting a rule of paying cash and we can’t pay cash we won’t be buying it.
In my quest to learn more about healthy eating and nutrition I have been reading about soaking grains prior to using them. This is a bit fascinating to me because I absolutely love whole grains. The idea behind soaking grains is that the soaking process makes them easier to digest than they would otherwise be. I have made several batches of sourdough English muffins using a soaking technique. These muffins have been absolutely phenomenal. The entire family gobbled them down in a way they have never done with regular English muffins. I just found a recipe for soaked sourdough waffles that sounds right up our alley. I don’t know if there is any actual proof that soaking grains make them better for you but I would sure like to believe that there is something behind this. At least they taste wonderful!
My husband came home today wanting to talk about work. This isn’t something he routinely does but today was the exception. Apparently a couple of people at his office are retiring and this will leave some admin jobs vacant. He says this has caused quite a stir in the office because it is not clear whether these positions will be filled or left vacant. Because of the economy a hiring freeze has been in place for some time. No one knows whether this freeze extends to situations like this or not. If they don’t fill these positions it means that everyone in the office will have a heavier work burden because the work will be spread amongst the group as a whole. He say that they are already expected to carry a huge case load and adding more to them will make the job impossible. I hope for his sake the hiring freeze is lifted and the positions are filled.
Have you ever traveled with your kids alone for a few days? I don’t mean traveling with your significant other but really traveling alone with them. This is what I just spent the last three days doing. My older son actually did just fine despite being a creature of habit. My younger son was absolutely overwhelmed by having his routine broken. He wanted nothing more out of this trip than to ride the elevator at the hotel all day long. This really isn’t something that I could encourage given our trip had a purpose. The poor child was totally and completely out of sorts by the time we returned yesterday. I would like to say I enjoyed myself but the truth is I wanted nothing more than to get back to my own routine. A nice hotel with a great pool and a good breakfast just doesn’t make up for a screaming child and no sleep. I think it is going to take us all another week to recuperate from our short excursion. Thankfully, we don’t have to take this type of trip for at least another year.
There is something about the change in the seasons that just drives my skin crazy. I currently am experiencing a terrible breakout of what looks like hormonal acne. It makes me feel like a teenage girl instead of a grown woman. It seems to happen each time the weather makes an abrupt change. Some people use the aches and pains of their body to predict the weather but all I need to do is look in the mirror. The weather started to hit 60 degrees and my skin was a little blotchy. When the weather hit 70 degree it was really blotchy. I can only image what it will look like tomorrow because today it hit 85 degrees! I don’t know what else do to prevent this. I am almost 40 years old and still dealing with this stuff. It drives me crazy to look in the mirror and see my skin like this.
These are the evenings that I really love. You know those days when the children have spent the entire day outside in the sunshine running and playing. When evening rolls around there isn’t a single complaint about getting their pajamas on and going to bed. As you tuck them in their little eye lids are already fluttering from drowsiness and within minutes the house is quiet and peaceful. I dearly, dearly love my children but there are days when putting them to bed is just a battle. Given the proper amount of outside activity and fun bedtime is just a pleasure. I cannot tell you how glad I am to be able to be outdoors and not have to worry whether everyone is warm enough! Thank you, Mr. Sunshine for a peaceful and happy day.
This weekend my entire family came over for a visit. This was the first time my mother actually made a comment about how much weight that I have lost. I appreciated the compliment given that she is very sparing with compliments of any type. I did not appreciate the subsequent questions about whether I had taken adipex without prescription or some other drug to loose the weight. Why can’t people just pay you a compliment without any further comment? I might be overly sensitive but the comments detract from the compliment in my opinion. It implies that your weight loss is somehow less if you have used supplements of any type. The truth is that loosing weight is hard work no matter how you loose it. Only people who have really lost serious amounts of weight can appreciate this. My mother has not ever lost a serious amount of weight and doesn’t understand my point of view. I decided to let things slide and didn’t respond to the questions and change the subject.
It seems like I am always finding new hobbies that I want to try. Most of my hobbies involve adding to my food “creation” repertoire. I have learned how to make cheese, yogurt, bread, granola, and many other things. The newest addition to my collection of skills is going to be mushroom growing. I ordered mushroom spawn and my brother was kind enough to help me get the right kind of logs. I now just need to get the logs home and install the plugs. Mushroom growing essentially equates to drilling holes in logs and plugging the holes with dowel rods that have been inoculated with mushroom spawn. You then cover the holes with a bit of wax and sit back and wait. With proper conditions the logs will fruit in 6-12 months and continue to fruit for several years. Might sound a bit silly but who doesn’t love gourmet mushrooms for nothing?
Yesterday my older brother came over to help my husband with an electrical problem. We were trying to put in some new lights in our garage and couldn’t get anything to work. In the process of sorting out the wiring they discovered an exposed and live wire. Considering I had been looking around in the same area as the wire recently for a circuit box it was extremely upsetting to know I could have easily been injured had I touched this wire. We have long wanted to put in new lighting similar to Golden lighting but all of that is on hold for now. Until we go over the wiring in the house with a fine tooth comb nothing is going to be installed. I am so thankful to have someone familiar with wiring to help us with all of this or we would truly be lost.
Our younger son is absolutely the most stubborn child I have raised. I love his independent streak but it does drive me crazy at times. We have been slowly trudging ahead with potty training for a very, very, very long time. He is finally to the point where he will wear cloth underwear and for the most part keep them dry. He has at long last realized that you shouldn’t poop in your pants. This does not mean that he wants to poop in the potty. Instead he just holds everything in as long as possible. He finally gets to a point where he is so uncomfortable that he walks around whining and asking for “help”. Other than sit him on the toilet there isn’t much I can do to “help”. I just don’t understand what is so scary and bad about pooping in the potty. He will stand next to it and do the deed but not sit on it. I am stumped at this point. We have read books on the subject and watched movies. Nothing makes it okay in his mind.
One of my main projects for this summer is to learn how to can. I have been slowly acquiring the supplies that I believe I will need for canning. The thing that I was not prepared for was the cost of canning jars. Jars in my area of the country are hard to find because so many people are into canning. The prices that I have paid have averaged out to around a dollar per canning jar. If you plan on putting away enough food to feed a family each year that means you will need a huge supply of canning jars. The jars are reusable but I would only go into canning with the intention of doing it for the long haul because otherwise it is a very expensive endeavor. Your cost per jar would be several times what you would pay in a store per jar unless you reuse the jars over the course of many years.
We found out today exactly what our new car is going to cost us in terms of monthly payment and insurance. My father-in-law handled acquiring this car for us through his place of employment. This was nice on one hand and troubling on the other. The price for the car ended up being wonderful but the price for the insurance was just plain crazy. My father-in-law didn’t check with any car insurance companies to compare prices and just went through his present insurance company. The car is actually under his name and we are on his insurance policy because he is leasing it from the manufacturer that he works for. This gave us no control in choosing an insurance company or in determining what coverage we obtained. I can’t complain at all about the monthly payment but was more than surprised at how much the insurance is going to cost. I guess since it is only for one year we will deal with it but after this year there is no way I will pay that much.
Today the weather was in the high 80s in this part of the country. That is just wild when you consider that we typically wear sweaters and winter gear on Easter day. I have no idea what is going on but I have to say that I like it. I started all of my seeds early according to everyone but it looks like this is going to pay off. If the weather trend continues we may be able to get some second plantings in for a few of our crops. I am so looking forward to having fresh from the garden produce this year and the weather could just stay like this forever and it would suit me fine. I have a friend who loves the snow and is miserable when the weather is hot like this. To each his own but there is nothing about the snow that motivates me to get things done. At the first hint of warm weather I am just itching to start any number of projects.
In a couple of weeks we will be getting our new car. We have never leased a vehicle before and are only doing it for one year. My father-in-law was able to secure us a one year lease through his employer. Since our car was totaled last month this seemed like a reasonable thing to do. The lease will allow us to drive 30,000 mile without incurring additional charges. We have decided that this would be a prime opportunity to take a road trip. We are trying to decide where to go and how many luggage sets we can fit in the car. It is pretty small and between two kid, a dog, and the luggage there won’t be a whole lot of room. This means we will have to pack lightly and plan carefully. I am hoping to find a destination that is family friendly and affordable. It will be really nice not to have to worry about anything going wrong with the car since it will be brand new.That is one thing that has kept us from taking trips in the past. Our other cars are older and have high mileage making them prone to breaking down.
Our 3.5 year old has been a terror to potty train. I started trying to potty train when he was 2.5 He was so resistant to my efforts I remember being in tears at one point. I gave up for about 6 months and gave it another try. He quickly decided that peeing in the potty was okay. There is however no convincing him that popping in the potty is the way to go. He will simply hide in his room and poop in his pull-up. Last week I decide I was not going buy anymore pull-up and started using cloth underwear. He has stayed dry but still runs to his room and poops. I keep hoping that the underwear will make it more uncomfortable and motivate him to use the potty. It thus far has had no impact whatsoever. I keep telling myself that everything will happen in its own time but it is just a little irritating to keep washing loads of yucky clothes.
Both my husband and I have been noticing that our hair seems to be falling out more rapidly than usual. It isn’t to the point that we need hair loss treatments or anything but it is noticeable. I went so far as to put one of those hair catchers in the drain to try to catch it all. It likely is the result of all the stress we have been under in the last month. That has to play some part in hair loss I would assume? I remember loosing a fair amount of hair after the birth of my second son and that it stopped once life became more normal. Given that my husband will have his cast removed tomorrow I am guessing that our collective stress levels will be reduced significantly soon.
It has been about a week since I decided not to buy my son anymore Pull-ups. It became clear that he has no intention of learning to poop in the potty as long as he has pull-ups on. The child uses the potty whenever he has to pee but just wants nothing to do with sitting on the toilet. Well, after a week of wearing cloth underwear I don’t feel one step closer to having him poop in the potty. He walks around telling me “I poop in my underwear”. My hope is that eventually he will realize that being uncomfortable is not fun and being dry and clean is. For right now I just don’t see any progress. I know everything will come together in its own time but it is still just the slightest bit frustrating.
Yesterday was supposed to be my day for baking. I used to try to spend one day a week making homemade food that will last us for the rest of the week. As the list of things I can make from scratch grows my baking days now seem to stretch into 2-3 days. On Sunday I made muffins, cookie bars, and cheese. I started out baking yesterday with the intention of making sandwich rolls only. I ended up baking 4 dozen rolls followed by 2-3 pounds of granola. This is probably does not sound like the best way to lose weight does it? Well, I didn’t stop there and then threw together a batch of peach yogurt. Once the yogurt was in the oven it was time to roast coffee. Our first batch of home roasted coffee was incredible! We used an old hot air popcorn popper and it only took about 7 minutes for a batch. I doubt I could ever go back to convenience food if I tried. Today, I am stuffed to the gills with real “slow food” and I love it.
Last night I set out to make some cereal. We had used up the last of the Kashi in the house and I couldn’t bare to run to the store. I started scouring the net looking for ideas and found a ton of recipes for granola. I love Post Great Grains cereal but the price has gotten ridiculous. The granola recipes I looked at all had a ton of oil in them. I decided to take a general granola recipe and tweak it to fit what I had in the house. I have to say it turned out AMAZING! You really can throw just about anything into granola and it should work out. My recipe ended up being:
7 cups oatmeal
2 cups chopped assorted nuts
1 cup unsweetened coconut
.25 cups wheat germ
2-3 Tbsp flax seed
.25 cups flax meal
1 tsp cinnamon
.24 tsp vanilla powder
Several sprinkles of Durkee maple sugar
stir this all together
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 Tbsp olive oil
scoop of coconut oil
1/2 cup water
boil this together and slowly pour over dry mix so as not to over soak any one area.
Put on 2 parchment lined cookie tray. Bake at 300 degrees until golden brown, stir frequently. I sprinkled periodically with more maple sugar.
Cool and put in airtight container.
Did I mention this is amazing? My son who refuses anything to do with these items on their own tried it and at a bowl. He also did so with milk which he never does!
This weekend I had to have a serious talk with my older son about nutrition. The child only wants to eat things made of white flour, starch, meat, or cheese. Any combination of these items is fine with him as well. I have been trying to get him to understand where our food comes from and how it is made by making most of our food from scratch. He finally expressed his disappointment with the newer limits in his food choices. I explained to him that my job as parent was to guide him to make healthy food choices. I explained how people who only eat sugary and starchy food end up overweight. He had no idea what I meant and why this would be a problem. I realized because we never discuss people being overweight in his presence that he has no idea what being overweight means or even looks like. I explained how hard it was to be overweight not only on your body but on your life in general and that I don’t want him to need a fat burner supplement or some other diet when he grows up. It was necessary to explain to him that loosing weight can become a lifelong struggle and that is not something I want for him. He seemed to grasp the concept despite not completely liking everything he heard.
For Christmas I bought our younger son 4 sets of identical pajamas. They feature a character from one of his favorite movies and I thought he would love them. He screamed at the sight of them and absolutely refused to have anything to do with them. About 2 weeks ago he decided that these pajamas were the best them ever and has since refused to wear anything else. He doesn’t want to wear regular clothes and battles me to put them on. The only time he will wear jeans is to go somewhere in the car. For some reason he understands that you can’t wear pajamas outside the house. I am now really glad I got 4 sets because we would be in trouble if there were only one.
For the last week I have not been sleeping well. I don’t really know what could be the cause of my restlessness. I just seem to be waking up every couple of hours and not being able to get completely back to sleep. I have tried an over the counter sleeping pill and it worked for a while until I ran out. My older son has been sleep walking quite a bit lately and that has me concerned. I think my mind is afraid to fully go to sleep for fear of missing him up and roaming around the house. We have talked to him and there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong. One night he was up laughing hysterically at something he found funny. I am hoping this is just a stage and that a good night’s rest will be mine once again.
For some reason I woke up today with a tooth ache. I would like to think that nothing is wrong with my tooth. This is a tooth that I had a root canal done on about 10 years ago. It has a crown and a filling. I am thinking that in my flurry of granola making and testing that I somehow got something up in the space between the gum and the crown. I am hoping that the pain is temporary and that I don’t find myself in need of the dentist. I just can’t manage to juggle a dental appointment into the schedule right now with only one car in the family. Hopefully the situation with our other car is worked out soon and we will be mobile once again. Until then I am trying to limit my driving as much as possible so we don’t have to share a car…
The accident that my husband was in last month taught me more than I ever wanted to know about automobile insurance. I learned that you can think that you are fully covered and not truly be covered in a serious accident. I have to wonder at this point whether or not I should get life insurance quotes or wait until I learn everything possible? I now know that the minimum insurance required by our state is pitiful and that people should not be allowed to carry such pathetic coverage and be on the road. If we had not had decent insurance I can only imagine the grief we would be dealing with at this point given the amount of bills that resulted from the accident. I will never again question whether or not to carry the best insurance possible or whether to try to save a buck or two on my premiums.
I have found two things that do not mix well. Actually they are three things. The first is an office chair. Office chairs and three years are trouble. Office chairs move way to easily and allow little boys to get into fast amounts of trouble. That makes the second thing a little boy. Three year old boys are trouble. Joyful trouble that I am happy to have but trouble none the less. The third thing is 5 pound bags of chocolate chips. Five pound bags of chocolate chips, three year old boy’s, and a rolling office chair just don’t work well. The boy uses the chair to climb up on to reach the five pound bag of chocolate chips in the freezer. The boy then eats the chocolate chips until he can’t eat anymore and proceeds to turn into a wild creature the likes of which I have never seen. Any questions?
Tonight is the night we embarked on a new hobby! We are in the midst of making cheese for the first time. I have to admit that about 15 minutes ago that I had some serious misgivings about how this project would turn out. Right now I am taking those thoughts back as I gaze at a big pot of curds and whey. The separation of the curds from the whey means that we are inching our way towards making our first blob of cheese. The end goal is to make Monterey Jack cheese but I will be happy with anything that resembles cheese at this point. I know that with most skills I have set out to learn that there is a learning curve and that the product improves the more times you attempt it. I am hoping that this will be a cheaper and healthier alternative to the cheese that we buy in the store. If the kids eat it that will be a real plus!
For his birthday my son had asked for video games. When Christmas rolled around a week or so later he had a ps3 on his list. Since he has another gaming system we decided not to add a new one to the collection. Instead we bought him several games on his list. The funny thing about my son is that we actually have to tell him that he needs to play video games. He has a passing interest in them because he thinks that is what kids his age are interested in but he really doesn’t spend time playing them. I feel bad at times telling him to play a video game but I feel like that is the only way we will ever recoup the money we spent on them. I am debating about taking them and one by one selling them on eBay. I don’t really think he would notice at this point. I think the money earned would better be spent on funding his science projects and ever changing business plans.
The garden is finally underway. We started several packets of seeds last night. I love starting seeds with my kids. It is really funny how dirt, water, and seeds are like magic to them. I had to giggle this morning when my older son went to check and see if the seeds had sprouted. I tried to explain it would take a few days but he didn’t want to listen. I finally decided that the anticipation is half of the fun for him. Somehow growing a garden is as amazing to him as creating science projects in school. I cannot wait until the last of the snow fades away and we can start to put our little plants in their final home. We have our work cut out for us given how big our gardening plans have become this year. I just hope it all pans out and none of us are disappointed.
This week the first of the bills from my husband’s automobile accident came in the mail. I can’t help but wonder how this is going to impact auto insurance quotes we obtain in the future? Although the accident wasn’t deemed to be his fault it still leaves me worrying. If for some reason the bills aren’t paid by the other driver’s insurance what happens? I am assuming that our insurance will cover anything not covered. I don’t really know anything about auto insurance but am learning pretty quickly. I now know the difference between limited tort and full tort in a very up close and personal way. I really need to do some research to learn exactly what the insurance process is for paying medical claims from an auto accident.
For 10 years I have not been able to successfully cook potato wedges. I have finally conquered cooking wedges and feel better about feeding my kids “french fries”. The one trick that I have found with most any recipe out there for potato wedges is to cook them on a baking stone. It helps them to crisp up better. I bake my oven fries on a stone or greased heavy duty cookie sheet in a single layer. Sometimes I cover the cookie sheet with foil instead of spraying it with Pam.
6 medium potatoes
1/3 cup butter melted
1 tsp. minced garlic (or 1/2 tsp. garlic powder)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese ( I use the kind in the sprinkle can because it coats better)
1/2 tsp italian seasoning, crushed (just rub it between your palms)
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
Cut potatoes lengthwise into eight wedges. In a large bowl combine melted butter, garlic, cheese, salt, italian seasoning, and pepper. Add potato wedges and stir until thoroughly coated. Bake uncovered at 425 for 30 – 35 minutes or until tender.
This recipe is also a favorite, and very fast.
Crispy Potato Wedges
3 tablespoons melted butter
garlic salt (or garlic powder and salt)
paprika(or chili powder if you like spice)
Cut potatoes into eighths. Place in a large bowl and pour melted butter over potatoes. Toss until coated. Pour onto greased cookie sheet. Sprinkle with garlic salt, pepper, and paprika (chili powder). Bake at 425 for 30 – 35 minutes or until tender.
This month we have been able to pay off a ton of debt. It feels really good to know that when we look at our upcoming credit reports that we will see positive changes. Our credit scores were already very good but we were carrying a big debt load. We have plans to continue to pay off the rest of our debt in the upcoming year and I simply cannot wait. It has been such a burden and I am ready to be done with it. I know that things will come up that are out of our control but for now the future is looking brighter.
Recycling is something that we are firmly committed to right now. My son is actively involved in the environmental group at his. Recently they discussed unusual things to recycle and he suggested egg cartons. These are some ways to put those egg cartons to good use! My friend uses them as drawer organizers. She puts earrings, rubber bands, & other things that will fit in there! If your school has an Art teacher, she would love them. That is who I try to save mine for. A kindergarten teacher or other lower elementary teacher would probably love to have them for their art time as well. Do you know anyone who goes to golf courses and finds golf balls that other people have lost? Some people use them to sell a dozen golf balls. If you don’t know anyone, maybe you could call a golf course because they probably do! Are they the paper cartons? And do you have a fireplace? If so, you can make fire starters from the cartons, your dryer lint, and remains of old candles. Think outside the box or carton in this situation and you would be surprised what uses you can come up with.
When I think back to the time when I was in college I have to say that I am envious of students in today’s world. Had there been technology available when I first went to school like there is today my world would have been so much simpler. I know that I would have chosen a different career path had I had online LSAT prep courses available to me. I am the type of student who would have taken full advantage on flexibility of such comprehensive and affordable technology. When I was deciding between various professions the type of testing I would have to take was a strong consideration. I am someone who just doesn’t learn well from dry text book based material. Having taken online courses over the years since entering my profession I know how useful online learning can be for students like myself. I can now only wonder what I might be today if I had different options. I might be a lawyer today had I this technology been available a couple decades ago.
My husband amuses me pretty frequently. I am sure that I amuse him as well. We both have areas where we like to prepared. His happens to be in the event of heavy snow fall. DH has his generator ready.. his snow blower…he is all set to go. So this storm coming today started out to be 3-6 inches. DH get to work and calls me to say he heard 4-8. Not 10 min later he calls to say someone told him .. 8-10 inches. 10 min later he calls to say someone told him a foot!
Then the phone rings again… He has been at work an hour! I answer the phone and he says… Its me Margaret. ( you have to be really old to understand that).. but this time he says.. “I just found out I am getting a raise”. I told him he could keep calls like that coming and that I was proud of him.
So about lunch time he calls to say its now 12-14 inches with high winds. Just now he is leaving work and calls to say so and so told him 20 inches!! I told him to stop talking to people.
I am planning on baking a ham if we have a snow day tomorrow and maybe DS and I will make some cookies as well.
My husband has a cast on his leg for at least the next 6 weeks. I understand that given everything he has been through over the last couple of weeks that he is stressed out. What I don’t think he realizes is how all of this sitting and not moving is going to impact his health. If he keeps eating the way he is there is no amount of xenadrine rfa x in the world that is going to help him. You simply cannot eat a full dinner and then follow it by two full size candy bars and expect to stay slim and trim. I love him dearly and know how miserable he is going to be when everything is said and done. This is all the more true if he finds out that once the cast is gone he is not only weak and out of shape but is also 20 pounds heavier than when he started. I believe that in the morning I am going to take all of the Valentine’s candy and hide it in the freezer in the basement. For at least the next six weeks he will not be able to navigate his way to the basement and going to the store for snacks is definitely out of the question.
I absolutely hate when I don’t do well on a shopping trip. One thing I strive for is to save every dime possible on our groceries without sacrificing wholesome food. I recently realized I just blew it when shopping and it irks me. It was late, the kids were already grumpy, dh was tired (and grumpy), I was tired and aggravated cause the kids were whining. So needless to say it was a terrible grocery trip despite the savings. Each time I take them all to the store I vow to never do it again. I seriously need to shop by myself in order to maximize my savings and to even begin to think straight. The kids love to go and my husband thinks it is good for us all to go together occasionally. I have no idea why anyone says that they enjoy shopping together because they all seem totally miserable while they are there.
There are people who are just too stubborn for their own good in this world! You the type of people who refuse to do anything outside of the way that they deem appropriate. I have finally decided that being overly stubborn is not an endearing quality at all. I used to think that this was a good attitude to have about life and that being stubborn made you somehow stronger. I now realize that strong people realize when they need to bend and mesh their ideas with those of the world around them. I have a friend who is so stubborn it drives me crazy. It doesn’t matter what I say she knows a better way to do something. If I told her that I was dieting and taking various supplements to aid me. She immediately told me that I need to rethink my diet plan and look into something that sounded like “lipozene“. When I told her that what I was doing was working just fine she refused to quit talking about her diet ideas. She then followed this up by sending me countless emails detailing the products she suggested. I just think there are some people who don’t know when to quit no matter how subtly you try to tell them. It is starting to make me not want to be around her because I am hesitant to bring up any topic or idea because I know she will know more or think she does.
…when it’s cold and snowy outside? Or chilly and rainy if you live where it doesn’t snow LOL.
I love a big pot of soup! Potato, veggie or chili is great when the weather is nasty! In Oct. we went camping with some friends of ours. We had 5 couples ranging in ages from upper 30′s/low 40′s to a couple in their 70′s. We had 4 kids too. It was SO cold that weekend. It was windy and rained one day……ugh! We got together on food and one night we had potato soup, chili and veggie soup! It was so nice!
I made veggie soup earlier this week but I’m thinking of maybe making some potato soup tonight. It’s just the kids and me so I might make homemade chicken nuggets instead. Can’t decide LOL.
I also love hot cocoa on cold days! I like to have it all made early in the storm so I can curl up with the kids, books, games, movies and the scanner (it’s always interesting to listen to those reports during a storm!), and just relax for the duration…that’s all provided I’m not trying to get to work, or home from work during the storm.
My husband described me a couple weeks ago to a stranger in a way that I never thought I would hear him do. He told the nurse at the hospital to be looking for a short, tiny, blonde haired woman who looked worried. I don’t think I have every heard myself referred to as tiny. It was a really nice thing to hear despite the awfulness of the situation. Later that same night friends came to the hospital who hadn’t seen me since I lost the weight. You would have thought I had discovered some new secret weight loss formula. My friend was convinced I must have taken ephedra diet pills and refused to believe the details of my diet when I told her. I had a really hard time convincing her that I hadn’t found a secret to rapid weight loss. It was even weirder when I told her that I planned to loose more weight and to hear her tell me not to get “too thin”. I guess the vision of myself in my head hasn’t caught up to the reality of what my body looks like.
I stockpile groceries and make no excuses. I save tons of money. I have several family member who think this is absolutely ridiculous. One of them stopped by this week and looked through my pantry. I only have two shelving units, not even full, that’s it!! I am afraid she is going to have me committed. I tried to refer her to research online but she does not get it. I explained my last shopping trip I saved 71%, and she doesn’t get it. She thinks I should only buy what I need for 2 weeks. But she didn’t have a problem raiding my stash, or raiding my coupons! this is funny but her reasoning is I should be saving my money! She doesn’t get it that THAT IS what I am doing! It’s not like it’s all over our house. It’s only on two shelving units in basement at bottom of stairs. I am beginning to think both kids turned against me on everything. I must be one horrible mom. But at least my money saving/ stockpiling excites DH! I love the feeling of opening our pantry and seeing it stuffed with boxes and cans, all purchased on sale! When times get tight, just opening those doors and taking a peek inside really does calm my nerves.
My youngest son has the most sensitive skin I have ever come in contact with. He very easily breaks out in allergic rash to most soaps. If he isn’t plagued by allergies it seems like he is covered in patches of eczema. This week he even had a couple of pimples on his cheek. I was tempted to use a bit of acne wash on them but decided against it. I am thinking that he also has food allergies that we just can’t pinpoint right now. It seems like as soon as I get one area of his skin cleared up another one breaks out. I almost hate to use any soap on him because I can never tell what is going to happen as a result. I finally found some unscented and allergen free soap that seems to be working for now. I just hope that it continues to be available for the foreseeable future. It makes me wonder if this is something that he will outgrow?
Our bill is about 65/month in the winter, and over 100/month in the summer due to watering lawn, garden, etc.
I now keep a 5 gal. bucket in the shower, and when I turn the water on to heat up, I just aim the shower nozzle into the bucket. When the water is warm, I push the bucket to the side and hop in. Later, I haul the bucket out and dump it on a plant. Now we are having to use the hose less to water!
Sometimes I’ll scoop the water out of the tub after my son takes a bath, then dump it on various plants. MANY gallons saved, and we ae seeing a smaller bill!
This was our first gardening season with our rain barrels. We love them! We made our own, but then at the end of the season, we bought “official” ones from a near by county. They are made from the same barrels we had, but with faucets and towards the top there is an overflow hole. You just connect a hose to the next barrel. Plus it’s a program where trouble teens make them and earn money, so good cause.
My husband was in an automobile accident two weeks ago that landed him in the hospital. This was a very scary and stressful time for our entire family. It reminded of a great many things that I have been intending to do but haven’t gotten around to doing. For example, I could not find people’s phone numbers when I needed them. I need a list posted somewhere for emergencies. The other thing I need is a list in my purse of what medications and over the counter pills I take. My husband would not know for example if I took conjugated linoleic acid or a multivitamin each day. I was surprised to find out that my husband took an aspirin daily and some fish oil. I told the emergency room workers that he didn’t take anything only to find out later that he did. The aspirin was an important piece of information when it came time to schedule the surgery he needed. I now know what he take and he is going to know what I take each day.
This is a very good task and recycling must take place in order to utilize our preexisting resources and produce new resources out of them with all the creative efforts and innovative techniques with new products. We used to just recycle cans and paper and what not…but I’ve just discovered a newer and easier way. If you go into the Goodwill, they give you a cardboard recycling bin that fits a big black trash bag. Then just throw anything that’s recyclable in it (without separating!) and when it’s full, just take that bag to the bin at Goodwill. They separate everything for you so it makes it SO much easier! Just thought I’d share! Not all Goodwill’s do this so you will want to check but I think it is AWESOME
I have written several times in the past that few months that I have been trying to loose weight. I guess I shouldn’t refer to myself as “trying” to loose weight because I actually have been loosing weight. It is amazing to finally finding out which diets that work for me! I am feeling great and love fitting into my clothes. It is funny how many people have nothing good to say when you tell them about your diet plan. I believe this is due to jealousy. There is one person in particular in my life who has never said a positive thing about any diet plan that I am on. He will say things like “that diet will give you a heart attack” or “good luck keeping it off”. I wish he would just keep his opinions to himself and not say anything at all. I know that the biggest struggle with weight loss is not loosing weight but rather in keeping it off. I look at it that at least I am trying and not sitting back critiquing everyone else and doing nothing about my own health.
We were recently discussing with a friend the topic of taxes. Our friend was debating between using an online tax program and going to a professional to have it his taxes done. So, I thought I would compare the two myself. OK, I just sat down and went through the online tool at H&R Block, with the documents from my CPA in front of me to make sure the amounts I entered were the same in both places.
Keep in mind that I’m just your average person with basic tax document knowledge. It’s highly likely that I may have made a mistake or two, especially when getting into some of the hairier parts of the return, like investments (and ours are still pretty straight-forward). But, I entered everything as I understood it (with the help of their little pop-up info boxes), just like I would have if I’d been doing the return for real.
The H&R Block return came in at $501 LESS than what the CPA came up with. I think I’ll stick with paying my CPA! For us, it’s worth every penny. We’ve never tried to do our own, but we did use H&R Block one year and came away not feeling satisfied. We took the documents to the CPA and he found several mistakes. We paid H&R $85 for their services, and the CAP $50 for his. We’ve stuck with him ever since. We just feel like he knows tax stuff inside and out and it’s better to pay a small fee and make sure they are done right than screw it up ourselves!
There are many decisions in my life that I wish I could go back in time and make again. Some of these are simple things like picking a particular room color or a different type of car. Most of us can relate to these types of decisions. Other decisions are not as easily understood by other people. For example I would love to be able to start from scratch and choose my profession over again.
I have spent over half of my life in school pursuing the four degrees that I now hold. What no one ever made clear to me in all my years in school was how limited my career choices would be once I graduated. My profession is so narrow that there really just aren’t many options available unless you live in a metropolitan area.
If I were able to relive my decision in pursuing a college education I know that a career in nursing would be one of my top picks. Having worked in a medical field for over a decade I can attest to the wide variety of professional opportunities afforded to those in the field of nursing.
I was recently asked to spend some time looking at programs options on www.wgu.edu and found some very interesting information. I was surprised to learn that you can obtain a rn to bsn online. I didn’t realize this was possible. I honestly thought pursuing all areas in nursing required on-campus participation. Programs like those offered by WGU offer student the flexibility to obtain an affordable education that challenging and competency based.
It was really informative to know that there are a tremendous number of options out there in today’s educational arena for distance learning. As an adult learner, with the accompanying responsibilities, you are no longer locked into a particular set of career choices based on the offerings your local education providers.
We just finished putting together a reading nook for our kids. This has been a great addition to our home. We put two super soft & disliciously squishy normal-sized chairs in our reading nook. The kids (3 and 10) love to snuggle up and sink down in them to read. Plus, I can have any of them sit on my lap and read to them that way, too. Have good lighting, for sure. We have both short and taller shelves–baby books (in dish tubs so that the littlest ones can just flip through the tub & find the covers they like instead of emptying the entire shelf to see what they want) on the bottom, picture books in the middle, and chapter books at the highest level. We have lots of pillows and blankets and have added an electric fireplace w/ mantel, too. The kids can turn it on themselves and sit in front of the fire and get toasty warm as they read. Simple pictures of animals in frames are fun because they can be changed up as often as you like–or even use it to display your kids’ current works of art. Vinyl lettering (a fun quote about reading or from a family-favorite picture book or even just the alphabet) is great because it isn’t too expensive (if you own a Cricut or know someone who does), isn’t permanant, or can be changed in just a few minutes. Take pictures of your kids reading and blow them up (cheap at Sam’s or Costco) and hang them on your walls. This is a fantastic project that I urge you to try in your home!
When I tell people that I have four college degrees they are often somewhat surprised. I have spent about half of my life in college pursuing one degree or another. When I went back to school to pursue my Doctorate everyone assumed we would need to move in order for me to do this. To their surprise I was able to obtain an advance degree right from the comfort of my own home. Obtaining a college education is now as simple as logging onto your computer.
It always amazes me when I learn about the ever expanding opportunities available for online learners. Today you can pursue everything from criminal justice degrees online to health information technology studies from wherever you happen to be. The technologies available to today’s distance learning students are absolutely incredible.
Schools such Northwestern College offer regionally accredited programs geared for career oriented students. These programs are designed to enable students to meet the demands of a busy life while improving there education and future career prospects.
Online learning made it possible for me to juggle the responsibilities of working full-time while raising a rambunctious toddler. This would never have been possible had I been required to physically attend an on campus classroom.
There are so many wonderful options for students in today’s world. Online classrooms offer flexibility without sacrificing a great education.
My son is ten and it doesn’t matter if I wash it or if he does (me really good, him not so good) but it always smells dirty. He is a very active boy and plays sports everyday so he does sweat alot. He can be out of the shower 10 min and as soon as his hair dries it stinks. It has only been going on a couple of months but it is gross. Different shampoo’s do have an impact though. I personally love Pantene, but I stopped using it on my kids hair because their heads seem to smell more quickly with it. Biolage is very helpful, but it is more expensive so we don’t always buy it. We’ve tried about everything there is. Some things work better than others, and it’s different for each kid.
We have had our bedroom furniture for around 10 years. We bought it just before the birth or our oldest son. During those tens years we have moved at least a dozen times. I have to think that moving that many times has taken a toll on the strength of the furniture. This weekend I came home and heard my husband muttering something under his breath that sounded like “mmf drawer” or some similar utterance. I hesitated to inquire what the problem was but did anyway. As it turned out the drawer on is dresser had gotten stuck inside the dresser. As he tried to pull the drawer out of the dresser it came apart. His dresser drawer is now sitting on our bedroom floor in 3 pieces. We are hoping that some glue and clamps will repair the situation but it doesn’t look promising at point. I really didn’t want to have to buy a dresser right now and hope to get several more years out of the one we have.
My husband broke his wedding band a few weeks ago. He has had it for at least 16 years. He lost his first wedding band around our second year of marriage at a softball game. We bought a very cheap band to replace it that was almost paper thin. Last week I ordered him a tungsten carbide ring and gave it to him as an early Valentines Day present. There are amazing deals online for these types of rings. We looked at some in a local jewelry store that was price hundreds of dollars more that we paid. We are very happy with the purchase and would recommend this to anybody. I can’t say enough about how wonderful this product is. It’s very sturdy and you’d think we had paid a lot of money for this. I now wonder why people spend so much money on wedding bands that never hold up. There is no reason why you couldn’t get a ring like this for your wedding ring as it is just as good, if not better, then some of the rings that are out there that you pay much more money for. I like his so much I kind of wished I had one to match.
I know everyone has this experience but lately I can’t seem to remember some things. This relates mostly to going shopping. I will head to the store for something in particular like batteries and end up coming home with everything except batteries. I write lists and still manage to get sidetracked. We use a great many batteries in our house and it seems like every toy the children want to use has dead batteries. I have re-chargable but apparently not enough of them. My three year old is always walking around saying one toy or another is broken and “neeeds batteries”. I wish when people bought toys for Christmas they would consider how many batteries the toy might need in normal use and include some with the toy. This might sound greedy but I can’t help feeling this way. We have one toy that takes 8 batteries! When it goes dead I never seem to have 8 batteries in the house to replace them.
Tonight was the first night I had pasta since starting my diet in November. It was amazing! I chose a low carb pasta and made my own sauce and low carb meatballls. I had my doubts about the pasta since I have had some miserable experiences with low carb items in the past. I had been eating whole wheat pastas, which are okay, but recent reading convinced me that even whole wheat provides too many carbs.
I was skeptical about Dreamfields, so I bought one box at my local market. I made macaroni and cheese with it and I couldn’t tell the difference between it and regular pasta, even plain.
I love the fact that it has low net carbs. I try to keep my simple carbs low because there is type II diabetes in my family and I’d just as soon avoid that. There certainly isn’t anything wrong with avoiding simple carbs whenever possible.
A caveat: Do NOT overeat this pasta or you will regret it. I heard an interview with the president of Dreamfields & he said that the serving size is THE serving size and overeating the pasta can lead to nasty gastro effects and my hubby can tell you that’s true :). They also emphasize that the pasta should not be overcooked. Be sure to always cook al dente. It’s definitely nice to be able to include pasta in my repetoire of recipes again!
One of my most recent dietary objectives has been to get my family to eat more fruits and vegetables. I know this is something that most parents struggle with when it comes to feeding their children. My younger son eats pretty much nothing that isn’t beige. He seems to be in a streak where the only things he wants are peanut butter, wheat bread, and cheerios. You would think that asking him to eat some fruit was a matter of life or death. The way the child carried on about trying some apple wedges was crazy. I am sure the neighbors thought somebody had better be shopping for online life insurance soon given all the screaming that was going on. The child screamed at the top of his lungs and sobbed at the sight of a new food on his plate. I finally gave up trying to force the issue and removed the apples from his plate. My mindset is that these things happen in their own time and it will all turn out alright. I don’t remember anyone making me eat certain foods I am turned out okay. I am sure he will as well.
I have been trying to find a good way to track the calories in homemade meals. This has been a process of trial and error. If you have an iPhone or iPod Touch, the app LoseIt! Is the most valuable tool. I liked SparkPeople for awhile until I discovered this app.
It is fantastic, and has been the number one app in the Health category for over a year now. And it’s free. But if you don’t have either of those, SparkPeople is pretty good.
Whenever I cook things from scratch I just manually add in everything that the recipe asked for. Don’t know if it will end up being the same, but I usually cook with few ingredients so it comes out similar enough. Another thing you can do is Google the recipe you are using like “Calories Mashed Potatoes” or something to that affect. I realize that was a bad example, sorry. I know there is another website you can search for the calorie content of various foods but I don’t recall it. I’m sure it would be easy to find in a search engine as well.
If you want to find low fat versions of recipes, Hungry-Girl.com has some good ones, and that way you will know that what you are making is below 300 calories per serving.
The nice thing about calorie counting is that you can modify it however it works for you, and there are so many great tools available to keep track of them.
Do you have someone in your life who you feel tries to undermine the positive things you do? We all have these people in our lives to some degree. For me that person is my mother. I love my mother but she has never wanted to see me succeed with a weight loss diet. Even when I was an overweight teenager she would do or say things to make me want to give up on becoming a thinner person. This I believe stems from her own inability to diet or loose weight. What makes me sad is that this behavior continues into my adulthood. For example she knows that I am not eating any sugar or starch and have lost 25 pounds as a result. In response to this she decides to invite me over for dinner and bake all of my favorite foods including cream puffs, chocolate chips cookies, and scalloped potatoes. Any other time I would love that she actually cooked foods for me but this time I couldn’t see past the underlying meaning. Fortunately, something in me has changed and I explained that I had brought a salad with me to have instead of the starchy side dishes and that I would be having some of the sugar free desert I had also brought along. It was a moment I am actually quite proud of because it showed how far I have come in changing my eating habits.
Do you go to bed at the same time as your spouse? I am a morning person and my DH is a night person. I remember being shocked when we first got married that he didn’t want to go to bed with me at 10pm! I’m so over that now! I fall asleep at the drop of a hat and he has to wind down, watch something on tv in our room (doesn’t keep me up at all) or try to read. He usually nods off around 12:30 or 1am. There are times when we go through cycles where I will stay up later, he will stay up later, or we go to bed together. Currently I’m the one going to bed several hours before he does. When we do go to bed at the same time it seems like it is the only time we can be together and carry on a conversation without being interrupted every 30 seconds.
Our youngest son seem to constantly have one thing or another going on with his skin. We have tried everything we can think of to keep his skin clear but it always seems to break out again. I have scoured the internet for information and think I have seen every ad that says click here for eczema information on the web. The bumps are on his arms and legs and they don’t seem to bother him but I wished they would go away. I use a gentle soap and keep him moisturized but the issues with his skin persist. The doctor treated him with prescription medicine but it didn’t make much of a difference. I hate to put him through allergy testing but that may be where we are heading in the future.
Do you have a “theme” in your kitchen? I’ve seen a lot of apple, stars, grapes, and watermelon themes. My kitchen has a vintage theme (like Grandma’s kitchen). The color scheme is dark red, brown, and cream. I went to Home Depot and bought a sheet of panel board that looks like bead board,and put that halfway up the kitchen and dining area walls, and used decorative trim to make a chair rail (very cheap to do). I used canisters that have old time writing on them (ex. flour, sugar, coffee, tea), antique kitchen utensils,and wicker baskets to decorate above my cupboards. Old 1/2 gallon canning jars (from the ’20′s and ’30′s) are used for storing bulk items. I have a vintage 1/2 pint wide mouth jelly jar holding my scrubbies and bottle brush sitting by the sink. An old #2 pickle crock holds my cooking utensils. I used decorative tea towels from the craft store as cafe curtains with a berry sway for a valance. I got most of my stuff from a discount decorating store, thrift stores, and my DH grandma’s storage shed. I see vintage kitchen items at auctions all the time, and most go cheap! My next purchase is going to be some old half aprons. I want to tie the aprons strings together, and hang them on the wall over my basement stairs (it looks fabulous in my head!).
Just about every day I have a protein shake for either lunch or dinner. You would think that after two months my children would start to realize that I am making a protein shake. For some reason the minute I start the blender they come running. I know that they have hope that what I am making is not a nutritional mix of my weight loss supplement and ice but instead a milkshake for them. I always feel bad because I know they think that what I am drinking looks like a milkshake and therefore must taste like one. I offer them a sip each time I make one but for some reason they won’t take me up on the offer. I know that if they just tried my protein shakes they would realize that I am not having some secret dessert that I am keeping from them.
One of my friends is having problems with her daughter talking negatively about herself. She wanted to know how I dealt with this or if I had encountered it in my own child. I explained that we counteractit like this: for every negative thing they said, they had to say 3 positive things. We started a gratitude journal as part of the tuck in routine. We also didn’t allow the negativity to go on. I’d try to determine if there was a real problem- if there was, help them solve it or just deal with it. If not, I’d ask “How is your attitude helping you feel better or making you feel worse?” We can always change our attitude. If they begged for constant reassurance, I’d start asking them to tell me things they liked about themselves. If they had specific fears or concerns, we’d read books that addresses those issues and try to come up with ways to deal with the issue.
My older son is very confused by the diet plan that I am following. He is constantly asking me questions in an effort to understand exactly what I can and cannot eat. I took him to the grocery store this week and it ended up being a constant barrage of questions as to whether I could or could not eat each and every item we passed in the the store. He wanted to know if I could eat muscle builder supplements, Oreos, and virtually every snack item in the store. I have tried explaining to him that it is really pretty simple but he still seemed confused. For some reason the idea of not eating sugar, starch, or processed foods is troubling to him. I believe he thinks that in some way I must be starving myself or putting my health at risk by not eating all these things. I haven’t yet told him that over time he will find himself eating fewer of these items as well.
We have spent the last six months going from a very unhealthy, mostly processed diet, to a mostly whole-foods, sugar, wheat and dairy-free diet. I am really looking forward to veggies that I know are organic and fresh and free (well, sort of…). I also want to grow herbs this year. I’ve never grown them before, or even used them in cooking until the last few months. This will be fun! If you by organic or non genetically modified seeds (and they are not hybrid) you can save seeds from your produce to plant the next year. Harvest your seeds by squishing your tomatoes on newspaper and let it dry then pick seeds off and store in a cool dry place or in the freezer (store them wrapped tightly in plastic wrap so ice crystals won’t form if you put them in the freezer) until the next year. Things like peas, beans, squash, cantalope, and watermelon just harvest and rinse them and dry on a mesh screen or newspaper in the sun or a warm place until they are “petrified”. Then store them just like the tomato seeds. You can start your tomato, pepper, and squash seeds yourself if you have a warm sunny spot that gets sun at least six hours a day. Use yogurt cups with two or three drainage holes poked in the bottom. Fill with potting soil, dampen soil, plant your seeds and set cups in a plastic trays or aluminum cake pans on a shelf or windowsill. Cover with plastic wrap to create a green house and watch them grow. I usually start my seeds around the first of February so they are ready to plant around Memorial Day. OOOH I’m so excited to get started!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Over the holidays we spent some time with friends that we haven’t seen in a long time. It was funny because they have come to the realization the having more kids is not something they want to do. I never thought I would hear them say this. For as long as I have know them they have wanted a huge family. They have had a child each year we have known them. I don’t know what made them change their mind about having more kids but I have to admit I am kind of glad. It has gotten a little bit old listening to my friend complain about nursing a baby and needing to the find best hemorrhoids treatment. I almost wonder what we will talk about now that she isn’t going to be having anymore babies. It will be interesting to see our friendship changes over time. I am hoping that we find out we have more in common than just having young children.
I have lost 25 pounds since December. Now that I am adding new foods into my diet it is interesting to see how the scale reacts. This weekend I tried many new foods and found out the scale does not appreciate these changes. To compensate for this I am having nothing but protein today. So far I have had 96 grams of protein. I intend to have another 48 or so before bed. The theory behind this is that my body will be forced to use the extra weight I gained this weekend to make up for the lack of fat in my diet today. I am hoping this is true! I also think the weight gain could be due to the fact that I have been working out very intensely since adding the new foods. It should be interesting to see what the scale does in the morning after my first day of protein only on this phase of the diet.
We have some friends that for the most part we get along with great. They have boys; we have boys and DH’s get along great. Every once in a while we run into a snag though. Not just a ripple but a big nasty snag…..
I parent in black and white for the most part. You make a choice and you reap the consequences of that choice- good or bad. Certain behavior is simply unacceptable at our house- no lieing, stealing, or back talking. What mom and dad say goes! You may be given a warning but if mom says something she means it.
At our friends house, nothing is ever stood by. The do it or else….well “or else” never ever comes. Consequently I have seen there boys really manipulate their mom and totally disrespect her knowing full well she will not follow through with her threats.
The problem is influence and 3 yr old DS is picking up these habits. I don’t like it and we constantly reinforce OUR RULES. The proverbial “straw that broke the camels back” is when DS comes home saying Santa doesn’t exist because this friends says he doesn’t. They don’t believe in Santa, that’s fine, but for me Santa represents sooo very much good. We have talked about this lots and I just reinforce that I Believe in Santa!. DS#1 was always excited about Santa this year. I am just really bothered by someone else affecting our traditions. This friend is also sneeking around to take DS’s toys home because he no longer has his. UGH! Am I out of line to be frustrated over this? How do you limit friends influences at such a young age? It’s bad enough when they get older.
This morning I believe it is the coldest morning that we have had here this winter. I know it is cold when the dog goes out first thing in the morning and then turns around and runs right back inside. Our dog is usually the type that takes forever to choose the perfect spot to do her business. This morning she just wanted no part of sniffing around and around. I don’t blame her! I wish I could just find a deal on cheap hotels miami and just spend the rest of the winter in the south. Since this isn’t going to happen I am just going to spend as much time inside as possible. I guess I should be glad I am not like the dog and have to wake up first thing in the morning and go outside to use the facilities.
There are a number of things that we have been slowly changing in our diet. I am trying to move towards eating no processed foods. This has been a gradual adjustment and we are almost completely there. Several things we now avoid are : all partially hydrogenated oils. Which are found in sooo many things!!
Refined sugars and flours. I try to make all breads, pancakes, rolls from scratch so I know what is going into them. It is amazing how much sugar they put in store bought bread. I also can beef up the fiber content when I make it myself.
Nitrates which are found in lunch meats, or any processed meat. There are several varieties that have taken these out! Hormel’s Natural is nitrate free. Nitrates are found to cause cancers.
We avoid butter and other processed fats. I use olive oil or apple sauce as a substitute for just about anything that calls for butter. We put olive oil on our popped popcorn, and substitute good parmesan cheese on veggies for butter. When you buy milk and butter that are from an animal that has been given hormones, it goes straight to the fats that are processed into milk and butter. The butter that I do keep on hand for rare occasions, I buy organic. I can’t afford to buy everything organic, but when it comes to animal fats and milk, it is worth it.
Food coloring is avoided in this house too! What about you?
The topic of giving our children an allowance is always in flux in our house. We tend to go in spurts. We do really great for a while and then allowance falls by the way side. (I guess you can tell my kids are not motivated by $$!) We have tried a quarter per year old per week, $1 per grade level, and pay by the chore. I hated pay by the chore…ugh. It is ok when it is a special occasion and they want to earn extra, but weekly? NO.
I think we liked the $1 per grade level the best. The kids all have certain chores they have to do separate from allowance such as make bed, clean room, fold your own laundry, etc. Additional chores like bathrooms, dishes, etc. are expected and $$ deducted if not completed. Unfortunately my kids don’t care much about $$ yet, so this wasn’t a big deterrent. It really depends on your kids and what you want/expect them to do with allowance.
My SIL gives each child $1/wk/yr old. They put it in a savings account and the girls have to use that $$ for shoes, clothes, etc. It works really well for them.
I have posted in the past about how difficult it is to buy Christmas gifts for my in-laws. They have no want or need of anything. They are also the type of people who will readily let you know if they don’t like your gift and intend to return it. I really do not like buying gifts for them at all. This year I decided to get them digital photo frames. Neither of them had one and surprisingly they very much appreciated these gifts. Of course I neglected to buy a flash drive for them and was very quickly reminded of this. I could have screamed when my father-in-law commented on how nice it would have been if I had given them the frames loaded with pictures in addition to buying a flash drive. I had thought about this but quickly realized that I would then have to listen to comments about my choice of photos to install on the frames. I figure that for the most part my gift was a hit and they can work out the details themselves. Now at least I have 11 more months before I have to worry about gift buying again.
My extremities–hands and feet (even my nose)– are always cold–even in the summer! I talked to my doctor about it. She told me I have poor circulation and gave me a prescription for niacin (vitamin B)–it helps with blood circulation. Don’t take niacin without talking to your doctor though because of the side effects.
In the winter I always wear socks and lined slippers. I wear Dearforms that I bought at Costco (they don’t have a back). I also wear socks to bed–my husband told me that I am the only woman he ever knew who wore socks to bed. Also Smartwool socks are pretty awesome. When I sit at my computer in the basement on the hard floors I will put my feet on a blanket to keep them warm.
I know there have to be other people out there like me. What do you do to keep warm?