Monday, December 20, 2010

2 Days Later (eczema)

Wow! Just look at this!
I promise they are the same legs.
I did a little happy dance when I saw her legs this morning.

Yesterday morning we saw an improvement in Munchkin's legs. They were still red a scaly, but the inflammation had almost disappeared. These are both picture of her right leg (the worst one) taken yesterday morning after a night of nothing but the hazelwood necklace wrapped twice around her right ankle and the usual Eucerin (but we do that every night).









Now, don't rush out and buy a necklace yet. Save some money first and try this:



or something similar. It's pure soap. Nothing but lye and oils.
We've been using Dove on our kids at our doctors advice for 6 years. We've had the most success with it and it was the only soap that didn't aggravate my kid's skin. It wasn't until last week I looked at the ingredients. Holy cow!
I've wanted to try soap making and knew all you really needed was oils and lye. When I saw how much junk was in Dove I got out the castile soap (just oils and lye) I had off the shelf (I make a face wash for myself with it) and used it on my daughter yesterday before church. When she got out of the tub I put Eucerin on as usual and we also kept the necklace on her ankle (wrapped twice) so it was closer to the breakout.


Something worked. This is dramatic! I just don't know why it wasn't this dramatic before, which is why I'm hesitant to give all the credit to hazel wood. Maybe it's the combination of the two.

But here are three days in a row of pictures to really show the improvement. Saturday 24 hours after prescription steroid (small improvement); Sunday after a night (about 14 hours) with hazel wood necklace; Monday 24 hours after pure soap and 36 hours with hazel wood.

Sorry these are posting weird. The middle one is Sunday.

I bought my castile soap at Good Earth a few years ago. It seems expensive, but a little goes a long way. I used about a tablespoon to wash her hair and body. I'd try a small bottle and see if it works (be sure to follow up with Eucerin or another lotion good for eczema). I have also bought some pure bar soap from makers on Etsy. I plan on trying a goats milk soap at some point.
We bought our hazel wood necklace from hazelaid.com. Amazon sells them too, but even with shipping hazelaid was cheaper. We bought the one with hematite beads (maybe it was the magnetism...I have no idea).

So now you have all the info. Caveat Emptor, I am unaffiliated and will make no money from these companies, blah,blah, blah. But if your kids (or you) suffer like mine, please, at least try pure soap if you haven't already. If that hasn't worked, try a necklace. I hope it will work for you too!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Hazelwood Necklace for Eczema

A few weeks ago a friend told me about using hazelwood to help with eczema. Her sister had had great results with it. So I ordered one. I'm desperate!! :)
When the necklace arrived no one had any rashes because I had used to prescription steroid. We originally bought it for Jack, but since his was under control we switched it to Munchkin. (I have nicknames! Check the top bar for who is who.) Hers is usually the worst because it covers more area and flares up more easily. So I bathed her with regular soap and got this:
so I put the necklace on her, wrapped twice around the ankle.
There wasn't much improvement the next day.

She wore it for a week and after a week it looked like this. Still red, but not terrible.
So we took it off Monday to let Jack wear it again. On Thursday her legs looked like this:
These were Munchkin's legs this morning:
I could cry, they look so awful. The pictures really don't do justice. But if you think this is bad you should see her after swimming!

So did it help?

I'm not sure. It certainly didn't cure it. But they have definitely gotten worse since we took it off. So I put it back on her today. On their website some people said they noticed improvement after two weeks. So I'm leaving it on 2 weeks this time. I mean, we already bought it and it certainly isn't hurting her.

Verdict: inconclusive.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Small Kitchens

I love these colors! Anyone else think this is a big kitchen?
Usually I'm not a fan of HGTV and BHG's idea of a "small kitchen". They look cute, but not livable. But I did like this article called Hidden Spaces in Your Small Kitchen. It actually has useful stuff.
My favorite idea was getting cabinet depth appliances. I didn't even know they made those!

The best advice I ever got with kitchen items is if you haven't used it in a year, toss it. Now, I think exceptions should be made for canning equipment and such, but if you have it and don't ever can, what are the odds you're going to start? After years of it taking up space I recently sold my breadmaker on craigslist. Bottom line is I never really used it and now I make bread the old fashioned way: in an electric oven. So that was easy to ditch. The beautiful glass pitcher I got as a wedding gift that I never use...that one is harder for me. Because I might use it when my kids are older right? (probably not)
Now here is an actual small kitchen. Monocromatic really seems to be the way to go.
I have oak cabinets and I am struggling to decide how to paint my kitchen. I found an orange I love that blends in well, but then I wonder if I should just go with a light color and paint the cabinets or something. I hate major decisions like this.
I plan to paint next month so I better decide soon.
Do you have a small kitchen that you made look/feel bigger? What did you do?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Furniture for the Small House

ummm, yes please!
Some time in the next 2 years I am buying a new living room set. I'm going to have a grown up living room!
Home Reserve not only has cute, relatively affordable sofas (think $375 shipped) and chairs ($200), but they also come with built-in storage! If one piece gets damaged by, say, young children, you can just replace that one part without having to replace the entire set. I like things that are good for the environment and my wallet!
Right now we have a second hand sleeper sofa which has been wonderful, but I am ready for something else. And I seriously dream of built in storage.
I also dream of my own yurt, but that's for another post.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

In case you didn't know, God loves you.

Yesterday was a Bad Day.
First thing in the morning my daughter broke her dresser. The only pieces of nice furniture we own are this dresser and my piano. Truth be told, it's a bit of an albatross. We have 2nd hand dressers we got for the kids and this one doesn't really fit in our room so we gave it to her. Now each girl has her own dresser. So it is useful, but sometimes it's hard to own things that kids will eventually break and that will upset you when they do. It's just too nice to get rid of it. Do you have stuff like that?
The previous night the baby didn't go to sleep until 2am. Yes. TWO ante meridiem. So I wasn't exactly well rested. I was like a robot going through my chores that day.
I cried twice.
I tried for the twentieth time in the last 2 weeks to call the building scheduler for our church
Christmas party (Saturday) to make sure we weren't double booked and to arrange key pick up. And for the twentieth time she didn't answer (no answering machine either).
Then I went to pick up my son from school; I missed him. I also looked like a homeless person when I went to get him, but I didn't care. Obviously.
After giving him a hug I realized he wasn't wearing his necklace. You know, the $20 eczema necklace I bought last week for the great Eczema experiment. It had fallen off on his second day of wearing it.
I had about 32 million thoughts go through my head at that moment. I wanted to yell at him, I wanted to cry, I wanted to put him on a guilt trip. But instead I said I was really disappointed and let's try to look for it. We couldn't find it. So we went home and I told him all we could do was pray. I wasn't going to replace it without knowing if they work yet, they're too expensive.
When we got home I knew I needed to leave the house before doing permanent emotional damage to my family. So I went to buy groceries and thought about everything in my life that was stressing me out: my son's first "red day" at school, the upcoming church party, money, asthma medicine that costs $50 (with insurance) and has bad side effects -so I didn't get it and feel like a bad parent, feeling like a bad parent, my unruly 2 year old, and a lost $20 necklace and the hope I had with it, and other small things.
And then I missed my dad. I missed him so much and I just cried and cried. And I'm crying again as I type this because I just knew that he could make me feel better. That if he told me none of this mattered and he was proud of me I could pick myself up and tackle life head on.
But he's not here. And I hate that life isn't fair!
But I composed myself and went in and bought my groceries.
As I exited the store I was greeted by a breathtaking sunset. I stopped in my tracks and just stared. And I teared up (are we keeping a tally?) because I just knew that was God's way of telling me, "I'm so sorry you've had such a bad day. I love you."
No judgement. No criticism. No "go home and pray/read your scriptures/do your visiting teaching". Just love.
I wish I could say a magical sunset made everything better, but I can't. I had a hard time falling asleep from worrying over everything from the kind of shampoo I use to Sudanese politics.
This morning I got up as soon as my alarm went off and did some yoga. It helped. My kids did it with me which also helped.
I get to volunteer in first grade a Thursdays and when I got there I was greeted by my son who held up his hazelwood necklace! One of his classmates had found it.
And the best part was when my son whispered into my ear that God answered his prayers again.
Moments like that are precious. And I'm grateful for it. I don't want to blog too much about feeling depressed because it's, well, depressing. But if I don't write for a while or comment on your blog or facebook be rest assured I'm simply wallowing in undeserved self-pity. :) Love you guys and thanks to all for the kind words earlier. I know so many of us feel this way (heck, it's my second go around) and it's comforting to know we aren't alone.

When Life Gives You Lemons...


Then you stick it life's exhaust pipe! hahahaha!

Okay, seriously though, when life hands you lemons then you think of someone else. Here's someone to think about.
His name is JD, but most know him as Deeds. Deeds has Autism, Periventricular Leukomalacia (google it), and mild Cerebral Palsy. His parents are hoping to get a service dog for him. Please visit the link above to learn more about how a service dog can help JD.
I first met his mom on the internet and we saw each other at local parties and such. Then we both became pregnant at the same time and really became friends. She developed cardiomyopathy and preeclampsia and shortly thereafter I developed a pericardial effusion (again, you can google those). We ended up having the same cardiologist and even though their due dates were a week apart, little Deeds came 1 month before my oldest daughter (I really need to get some nicknames). I've watched him grow as I've watched her.

When my friend announced JD had autism I was humbled. I often forget how lucky I am to have such healthy children. I can't imagine the fear and pain my friend goes through with her son, but I know her love for him is immeasurable. I also know that having an animal to help JD with his autism or when he has seizures would bring the peace of mind that all parents crave for their kids. I know most of us can't donate a lot, but if you can donate even a little, please consider it. If you look at the donation page you'll see that all the $5 & $10 donations have really helped add up.
Merry Christmas to Deeds and his family!!! I love you guys!

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Big D

Not divorce (thank heavens!) The other one. depression. (dun dun DUN!!!) Last week a friend asked how I as doing and if I had any baby blues and the tears began to well up.
I'm gonna take that as a yes.
How annoying! I think the worst part right now is that feeling of knowing what you need to do to get out of it, but feeling too down/tired/lazy to do it.
Do you know what I had for breakfast today? 2 brownies and a cookie leftover from last night's party. I did get laundry done (and folded and put away, thank you!), but the dishes remain. I don't want to talk about what my floors look like.
The thing is, I know that if would just get off my butt in the morning and make a green smoothie or oatmeal or something that my whole day would go better. I know it would. Not that I would be cured or anything, but it would help. If I would just do 15 minutes of yoga. And the baby is no longer an excuse. I have the time I just don't take it. Instead I sit in my home and stew over what a terrible mother I am and how many other people are thinking that I'm a terrible mother.
Why is that?
Is it a self discipline thing? Is it because every day feels the same and what's the point? Do I not love myself?
I can't figure it out.
Because all I really want to do right now is shut this computer and play sudoku. Ultimately I think I just don't want to care. Life is much easier and happier when we do the things we know we should. And yet.... and yet it's somehow just easier to let things fall apart a little each day, isn't it?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

'Tis the Season for Eczema

Oh my poor children (and their poor mother)! I married an asthmatic with hay fever and I have food allergies. Not a good combination genetically speaking. My children all have eczema. I was hoping our baby girl would be spared, but she just got her first red patches.
My son was born with eczema. He's mostly outgrown it, but when winter comes his hands look like he's been dragging them on pavement for a mile. And they just keep getting worse. Since his 2 week checkup we've had to use special soap, laundry detergent, lotions.... and it's getting old fast! He was also diagnosed with mild asthma yesterday, a related condition.
My oldest daughter got it at 4 months and has it the worst. Hers is less severe in winter and is out of control in the spring. She absolutely cannot go swimming or she gets weeping sores. Her skin was the main reason I switched to cloth diapers. Her breakouts are mostly on her bum cheeks and backs of the legs.
I left the doctor's office yesterday with three prescriptions in hand feeling helpless. I'm always a fan of alternative medicines, but hadn't had much success in that department. I renewed my efforts earlier this month and I had my mom pick up some emu oil in California. It's sort of helping my daughter, but not so much my son.
It soothes the skin great, but it isn't getting rid of it. The only other thing my son can stand to have on his skin is Eucerin. So now I have a prescription. I'm loathe to use it and the doc really doesn't want me using it much either. He suggested lathering Eucerin on my sons hands last night then wrapping saran wrap around them and putting socks over them before trying the prescription. That only lasted 4 hours and helped about the same as the emu oil. Guess I'm off to the pharmacy.
But I have 2 more options: Food elimination and Hazelwood.
My niece has found that gluten triggers her eczema and has gone gluten free to control it. I'm suspecting dairy might be a sensitivity for my oldest daughter and also for my baby. She is so gassy you guys and I am exhausted! I'm starting to get depressed and I need to do something to fix her tummy so we can sleep!!!! So I'm gonna try switching to goat's milk. I really, really don't want to do food elimination again though (I had to while nursing my son-milk, wheat, and eggs. He ended up being allergic to eggs)
So that leaves hazelwood.
Have you heard about this? My neighbor sent me an email this morning after seeing my facebook post about eczema. Her SIL used hazelwood necklaces for her kid's eczema and it got rid of it! I know. It's just wood. But it worked for her. And if it means I can keep baking bread, it's worth it to me.
I'm skeptical. Because I hate the acid/alkaline diet stuff. I don't think it makes sense physiologically unless you have kidney disease. But I'm willing to give it a shot. I'm not sure who will be the guinea pig yet, so I ordered a gender neutral one. If nothing else, I just got a cute necklace, right? Too bad I hate wearing jewelry....

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Christmas Advent


I have been struggling with Christmas since last month. Every year the commercialism gets me down and this year I have been down right depressed about it. My husband thinks I need antidepressants. I'm serious. I used to act like a 4 year old about Christmas, getting all giddy and begging to put up the lights and decorations.
But this year it just hasn't happened. (all right, I did smile when we pulled out the box with lights in it to test them)
I was talking with a friend about this today and she admitted she was feeling the same way.

We're tired of Christmas excluding Christ! I'm tired of Santa and promotional sales.

So I'm taking back Christmas. I'll have posts throughout the next month on some of the things my family is doing. Some of them involve just doing more things together. Some will be directly about the Savior's birth.
The first one I decided to do was make a unique advent calendar.
I went to my church's website for archives of the children's magazine The Friend. I typed in Christmas and printed off some of my favorite talks. I also printed off some scriptures. I am now folding these into origami cranes to put on the tree. Every morning starting Dec 1, the kids will take turns picking a bird and we'll read one of these along with family scriptures and prayer.
Regardless of what faith you belong to, I think anyone can use this idea. You can do nice thoughts or stories or your favorite scriptures about the Savior.
I want Christmas to mean something to us again. We're going to be doing a lot more homemade and a lot less store bought in hopes this will help our family be closer and remember the true meaning.
What are your favorite holiday traditions that bring your family closer to God?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Help, I've Fallen & I Can't Get Up

That was me yesterday. Isn't it weird how you can lift heavy boxes & hoe your garden and feel only slightly sore, but you go to pick up a 15lb munchkin and completely throw your back out?
So there I was, basically stuck on the floor until hubby came home and helped me to the shower to help relax my muscles. I was a ridiculous sight, you guys. It took minutes for me to crawl (walking was impossible) 5 feet.
I have learned a lot from this experience. One, I learned that doing laundry at the beginning of the week is one of the smartest things you can do. Before I had it all spread out throughout the week and this week I decided to change my system and do it Monday & Tuesday. This system works much better for me.
Two: I do a lot. It doesn't feel like it most days, but the mere act of putting dishes in the dishwasher and of making a simple sandwich are pretty darn important. One day off (now going on two days) can set you back for a week!
Three- ice & motrin. NOT HEAT.
Four: I seriously need to start taking care of my body. I've been pretty, no, really lazy about that lately. I only did my exercises for about a month after the munchkin was born. I walk most mornings, but I let my 2 year old set the pace.
I can't remember the last time I did yoga.
And please, let's not discuss my on again off again healthy diet. Halloween candy is truly evil.
How can I expect to teach my children those things I'm not even willing to practice? Do I really believe that my body is a temple and should be treated as such or is that just nice to preach and not practice? I need to get off the sugar (she types while sipping Sprite) and maybe even the dairy (I'm considering it). I would love to go to an 80% plant based diet. See, there's the 80/20 thing again. Maybe I can relate that to everything in life!
Anyway, that's what's on my mind today. I wonder when I'll actually follow through with this stuff.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Make Your Own Sling

This baby (I love that smile!!) has informed me in no uncertain terms that she is awake and
will be for some time. So I'm blogging to pass the time! I figured it was high time I post about the sling I made last spring. 8 months ago. I may have a procrastination problem....

I've tried a few different kinds of baby carriers. I never liked the baby bjorn style. It just never felt right. I bought a new native for my first baby before my first was born and really liked it. I also made my own Moby wrap when my second baby came. It's basically 5 yards of fabric cut in half lengthwise. My favorite carrier is the moby, but it's too much of a pain to wrapfor quick
trips. I like it for zoo outings and such. So for quick trips and helping first-graders I prefer a pouch style. But my new native didn't give me enough freedom to nurse, I wanted something that fit me better.
See, there I am with the New Native. It works, there's just not as much fabric as I'd like for nursing. I've never been able to position the baby well. So I looked for patterns online to sew my own pouch. Here's my favorite sites for a pouch style sling:



I like the first because it's reversible. They are EASY. The most time consuming part was the ironing. And here's how to make a flat felled seam tutorial for very strong seams to hold your LO

Here's my finished product. I've got her peeking out a bit in the first one, but as you can see in the one on the right, there's totally enough fabric for discreet nursing. I've been able to nurse her while walking to school! (a jacket helps to hide your undershirt. Yes, you need an undershirt/tank so no one sees your mama belly flab)


I of course made this out of old sheets because, well, I make everything out of old sheets. But you can use just about any fabric you have lying around. I plan to make one for big sister for Christmas so she'll stop tying fabric around her neck to carry her dolls. ACK! Have I mentioned she's two??

Do you use a baby carrier? Have you made your own or thought about it?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy Veterans Day


Thank you to my brother, my brother-in-law and all the other men and women who have sacrificed to serve our country. I never agreed with the war my brother fought in, but it didn't change how proud of him I was. Seeing these pictures reminds me of that scary time (he was stationed in Falluja) and I'm so eternally grateful he made it home. My heart goes out to the families of those who weren't as lucky. May God bless them.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Where Does Baby Sleep?

If you're lucky enough to have a room devoted solely for your baby, move on. This is not the post you are looking for.
One of my friends is pregnant with #5 (yay!!!!) and trying to figure out the bedroom situation. I wanted to post about options and see what my creative readers have come up with for their homes.
In the beginning my babies sleep with me. Hubby takes the couch so he gets enough sleep for work and I feel less sleep deprived from "nursing all night" by having her close. Now, I know some people who keep that up long term (hopefully hubby moves back in sooner), and I know some people can't ever be in the same room as a baby. Do what works for you. We also know that having baby in our room past a certain point gets, um, invasive. So here's our solution:
During the day, the baby sleeps in my room in her pack n play (um, I don't think a crib would fit anywhere in my house). At night, we move the pack n play into the living room. It takes all of 3 minutes, baby sleeps longer and learns to put herself back to sleep, mom & dad get their room back, baby gets naps, and everyone is more well rested. yes, some nights I get tired of moving the bed, but it's worth it. It is so worth it. Once she can sleep without needing to eat then we'll move her into the girls room (which I think means we'll need to consolidate & sell a dresser. hmmmm)
Whenever I think about families feeling cramped, I think about pioneers and the homes as big as my living room that would fit 10 people. I'm not advocating that or anything, but they made it work. Kids shared beds and only had a handful of toys (if they were lucky). I think if we got over the showcase home mentality, our homes would be more functional (I'm telling myself that. I suffer severely from showcase home mentality!) If my neighbor can fit 10 people in 1200 sqft then I figure anyone can make their home work :)
So what about you? Have you had to get creative with sleeping arrangements? Please share for anyone else needing solutions.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Introspection

I know I didn't post yesterday. I never should have mentioned NaBloPoMo but I thought it'd be fun. Really, I just want to be able to blog when I feel like it. Oh well :)
It rained all day today. It knocked the leaves from the trees and much of sidewalk was like a golden carpet. It was absolutely lovely. Rain is my favorite weather for so many reasons. I sat and watched it and thought about how important each little drop was to create this wonderful storm.
I'm doing some hard thinking. Big thinking. Sometimes I feel like that's all I do. Like I'm some emo teenager trying to "find herself" or something. No thanks, already been there.
I'm trying to figure out what I want my family to be. I'm trying to decide what kind of mother and wife I am. Where am I willing to sacrifice and what am I willing to compromise on.
They're big questions and I find myself on different pages with my husband which makes things more complex. I suppose it would all be easy if one day I said, "honey, I'd like to change the way we spend our holidays." and he said, "I've been thinking the same thing." Easy!
It's happened before, but more often one of us feels differently. because life isn't usually easy. And it's hard to mesh that. I never did like group projects ;).
So I may become quiet or I may post twice a day. I'm not sure. I just know I have a lot on my mind and I'm desperately feeling a pull to read Little House in the Big Woods this week.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Where I Want to Be

Last night I was able to attend a lecture about Shakespeare at our local University. I haven't been to lecture in years. I went to a couple after I graduated, but that was basically it. I was really excited and it proved to be filled with some new and fascinating info. I miss school. It was sponsored by the Utah Academy of Arts, Sciences, & Letters and before the lecture they had a bunch of awards and such to give out. I watched all these scholars and students accept their plaques and talk a little about their research and I was jealous. I wanted to do research! I wanted validation! I thought about the professors I let down by not going to grad school. Then they gave this old retired man a lifetime fellowship. He hobbled up there with his cane and thanked them and gave a nice acceptance speech and sat down.
I thought about the road not taken. I could have been one of them. I would be trying to fill my office and my resume with awards and publications and spend time learning more and rubbing shoulders.
And then one day I would retire. I would clean out my office and I would go home and some people would miss me, but they'd get on with their lives. I would come home to my husband (um, I hope!) and the occasional visit for my kids and grandchildren. And would probably spend a lot of time wishing I could see them more.
And that is why I stay home. Because I can. My family is the most important thing to me and I don't want to miss it. My little toddler is learning her letters and sounds and I get to hear it every time she masters a new one. I get to be available to help in my sons classroom and watch him at school. I'm sure I wouldn't have my little baby. I'm much to sick while pregnant be in that state while teaching students.
I know some people have to give that up because of their life circumstances or they get a lot of satisfaction from their jobs. And I'm honestly not judging that. Everyone is doing the best they can with what they're given. I'm talking about the focus of life. After my son was born, I knew I wanted to be home, but last night what a revelation at how cluttered my life would have been and just how empty my life would have been if I chosen career over family. I need to do better at remembering my priorities more often.
I still want to do research and I still want to go to grad school. But I've become more accepting that there really is a time & season for everything. When the time is right, God will provide. Meanwhile, I can still learn and maybe take a class here and there. I can even do research, it just probably wont get published ;). I can live with that.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Because It Felt Appropriate Today

"Good evening, London. Allow me first to apologize for this interruption. I do, like many of you, appreciate the comforts of every day routine — the security of the familiar, the tranquility of repetition. I enjoy them as much as any bloke. But in the spirit of commemoration, whereby those important events of the past, usually associated with someone's death or the end of some awful bloody struggle, are celebrated with a nice holiday, I thought we could mark this November the 5th, a day that is sadly no longer remembered, by taking some time out of our daily lives to sit down and have a little chat. There are of course those who do not want us to speak. I suspect even now, orders are being shouted into telephones, and men with guns will soon be on their way. Why? Because while the truncheon may be used in lieu of conversation, words will always retain their power. Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth. And the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn't there? Cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression. And where once you had the freedom to object, to think and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and systems of surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission. How did this happen? Who's to blame? Well certainly there are those more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable, but again truth be told, if you're looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror. I know why you did it. I know you were afraid. Who wouldn't be? War, terror, disease. There were a myriad of problems which conspired to corrupt your reason and rob you of your common sense. Fear got the best of you, and in your panic you turned to the now high chancellor, Adam Sutler. He promised you order, he promised you peace, and all he demanded in return was your silent, obedient consent. Last night I sought to end that silence. Last night I destroyed the Old Bailey, to remind this country of what it has forgotten. More than 400 years ago a great citizen wished to embed the fifth of November forever in our memory. His hope was to remind the world that fairness, justice, and freedom are more than words, they are perspectives. So if you've seen nothing, if the crimes of this government remain unknown to you then I would suggest that you allow the fifth of November to pass unmarked. But if you see what I see, if you feel as I feel, and if you would seek as I seek, then I ask you to stand beside me one year from tonight, outside the gates of Parliament, and together we shall give them a fifth of November that shall never, ever be forgot."
-V in V For Vendetta

Happy Guy Fawkes Day!!!!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Pizza crust

It goes to figure that as soon as I decide to do NaBloPoMo that I then get a crazy day with a needy baby and no time on the computer. BUT I did make calzones tonight because my friend shared this easy and tasty recipe with me (thanks Em!) None of my kids like pizza, but they actually ate this! It's picky eater approved and now I want to share it with you.

The Dough:

  • 1 pkg active yeast (I figure that is a little less than 1 T or 2 2/3 tsp)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 T oil
  • 1 c. warm water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 c. flour

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir in remaining ingredients; beat well with spoon or fork. Let rest 5 minutes. Mix dough and place in cookie sheet. It takes some stretching, but keep trying.

I added toppings based on everyone's likes and baked it at 425 for 15 minutes and they were good! I promise they looked yummy too. I think I want to try bread sticks with it soon. Did I mention it was easy? And fast? And possibly versatile? I'm wondering about using wheat flour next time. hmmmm

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Halloween

It's NaBloPoMo! A post every day and then, World Domination!!!
My turn! My turn!
How many posts have you seen about not celebrating Halloween this year? Maybe it's just the types of blogs I read, but I have seen A LOT.
Like 7. (that's a lot for me)
Now, if you had brought up not celebrating Halloween because of it's Pagan origins/promoting selfishness/promoting immodesty/ fill-in-the-blank any previous year I would have said, "thanks for the opinion grandma!" and gone merrily on my way hanging up my ghosts & tombstones & spiders. Halloween has always been my very favorite holiday! I love spooky things and I love dressing up.
But I'm 30 now. An adult. (serious face) And I've spent a year praying and reading and learning about what I want to make room for in my life. And there isn't a lot of room left for things that aren't truly important. There are plenty of posts out there about the satanic aspects of Halloween and I'll leave those for you to google and decide about yourself. I definitely think it's worth discussing.

What I want to address is holiday decorations & costumes. I have 2 large totes for Halloween and 2 more for Christmas. In one tote I store 4 ghouls/ghosts I hang from my tree and 1 more who peeks from behind a large tombstone. I have a big spider web & accompanying spider as well. Then there are the lights (half of which I didn't even hang up this year) and some other small decorations for inside.
I used to dream of having a "haunted house" at Halloween. One that looks like the cover on a magazine spread with fun jars and spider webs and such. But what I never realized is 1) nobody actually lives there, 2) if someone does, it only looks like that if the Jones's are coming over, & 3) they don't have children. So what's the point in trying to emulate it?
I find myself preferring the idea of decorating with things from my yard. Gourds I've grown, sticks the wind blew down, corn stalks, harvest stuff...things I can throw into the c
ompost instead of a plastic bucket for 11 months. I can't say how Jesus would feel about my decor, but I do know that if He came over, I would feel uncomfortable with some of it. And yes, I do think that is something worth considering.
So sorry to my neighbors who love my ghouls. If you'd like them, just let me know! (then I'll know who's reading my blog too :P)
The second tote is full of costumes and trick or treating pumpkins. The latter is easy. Those are plastic pumpkins we bought from Walmart a couple of years ago for trick-or-treating. They are a horrible use of space and they are going. Just like our easter baskets, I'd much prefer something fabric that can be folded up. Or I can just cancel trick-or-treating all together, mwhahaha!
(seriously, I'm about ready to. The older, ungrateful ones are ruining it for us) Now the question of how likely we actually are to reuse costumes in storage. This year my son was a mosquito. In all likelihood, that costume will never ever be used again. Luckily it was homemade and didn't take a lot. We also borrowed the lady bug vest. I can't recommend that route enough.
Speaking of which, what is with all the brand name costumes these days? I was ready to start withholding candy from all the Iron Man's and telling them to be more creative! /rant
I'm going through my box and keeping accessories, but that will probably be it. No one will be a bumblebee again and no one will be that pumpkin. And I need to just accept that and donate or sell those costumes. The kids have plenty of dress ups and can use those for future costumes if needed.

I just find myself preferring a homegrown/homemade Halloween to a made in China one. Do you love your decorations? Are they just up to impress others (or even yourself) or because you couldn't pass up a sale? Let's give ourselves permission to let that stuff go.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The 80/20 Rule

I already know I'm going to butcher this so please forgive me in advance.
In a management book my husband read, some guy figured out that in most businesses, 80% of their income came from 20% of the clientelle. So logically, the focus should be on meeting the needs of that 20% and not as much on the other 80%.
Hubby's adapted that to small space living (and I wish he were the one blogging about this, but I have yet to pursuade him on that. It's enough he's on the de-stuffing band wagon.)
He figures that 80% of the time, we only use 20% of the things we own and that those things should have the greatest prominence and space devoted to them. The rest should be stored away properly or gotten rid of. Now, this can create some fuzzy math because then the 20% ends up being 50% or more. But if I bring up stuff like that he glares at me. So I wont bring it up.
Now, finding the time to really implement this is the tricky part. But I like the idea. Especially in the kitchen.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Pink Dress

First of all, I love everyone who commented or called me. I also love my neighbor for picking up my son on the way to school. I was cold :) I really am doing okay, it's just been stressful lately and I'm not going to pretend otherwise. I don't want to sound whiny, I just want to make sure the internet knows I and my life aren't perfect. My husband might be, though. ;)
This morning I was blessed to talk to wonderful friends and neighbors and spend some time with one of my best friends and then talk to one of my others on the phone. She said something about laundry and I jumped up to put mine into the dryer (before I forgot again).
When I opened the dryer door, I found and hollow crayon wrapper and this:

It's my favorite dress and it is ruined. Anyone have Martha Stewart on speed dial? I bet she knows how to fix it.
Maybe no one will notice...

What bugging me the most if how wrinkled it is. I put it in the dryer to get the wrinkles out and then left it in there. This was just all FAIL from the start.
I have to admit, I cried a little. BUT I only cried a little!
Because it's just a dress. And she has other cute ones. And I'm trying to keep my perspective. The only other things in the dryer were my 2 year old's and either aren't noticeable or are underclothes. At least it wasn't one of Mr. Small House's work shirts!

This is leading to the second part of this post. I need nicknames for my kids. I avoided it at first because everybody does it and I try to fool myself into believing I'm an original sometimes. But now I get it. Writing my son, the 6 year old, the 2 year old, the baby, or my oldest/youngest daughter gets REALLY tiring. But how does one go about choosing names? I feel like I'm picking out Spice Girls names: whiny spice, gurgly spice, brainy spice, messy spice, "If I have to tell you one more time" spice, and my favorite: gassy spice.....
The possibilities are immense and overwhelming.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Thoughts and Confessions

I had a fantastic September, but October was hard. 3 weeks of sick kids & husband, putting on a church party, and a rolling everywhere baby has worn me out.
I'm not sure if it's been going on since the first day of kindergarten, but I've noticed ever since my son skipped to first grade I have been super sensitive about other people's opinions. It's made me regress by about 20 years. I suddenly find myself worried about the clothes he's wearing or how his homework looks or that I seem to be the only parent who doesn't drive their kid to school. Can I be perfectly honest? I've become what I loathe. I feel like all the "I don't care what you think" stuff that comes with being 30 has completely disappeared. I feel like I have to constantly justify his grade skipping. Like I have to apologize for it and be like, "but look, he really does know all of this already." I've been trying to hide it from him, but he knows I'm stressed and that it has something to do with him, I'm sure of it. More mom guilt! ARG! I used to be so chill, where did that go?
Thursday after I dropped him off at school, scrambled to buy balloons & other birthday extras I cared about more than he did (I forgot the balloons!!! I'm the worst mother in the world!!!) I came home and tried to get the baby to take her nap and make the crust for a pie (he wanted pie, not cake). She woke up after 10 minutes and wouldn't stop crying. That was when I broke. I fell to the floor and just held her and cried right along with her. It was all too much. No matter how much I declutter I can't keep my house clean! I really can't. I have a toddler who loves clothes, nuff said. I can't remember every single appointment. I can't please everyone with my church service. No matter what, someone will complain. And I can't visit everyone I'm supposed to. I don't even like half of them! That seems like the greatest sin of all?
Confession: I don't like that lady that everyone else does. I actually can't stand her or her children. There. I said it. And I cried about it for a good 40 minutes. Because I want to be a nice person who can see the good in everyone, but there are always those people I just can't seem to muster any charity for. Maybe because they remind me of the "popular group" in school. Maybe because they mirror all the things I don't like about myself. I'm still trying to figure it out.
The timer for the pie crust went off and I got up and wiped the tears away and put on my happy face for my son and enjoyed his birthday with our family coming to visit.
But it felt good to cry. And it felt even better when my daughter brought me her blanky and elephant to help me be happy.
The next day was the costume parade. As I watched my son I realized with motherly pride that he really wasn't like other kids. He's sensitive & doesn't pick up on social cues very well. I always thought he'd just "catch up later", but now I don't really want him to. While sometimes his feelings do get hurt by teasing kids, for the most part he's happy just to be himself. I also realized that I was starting to get a plugged duct & 10 minutes after walking into my house felt the brick wall flu feeling. Early intervention seems to have prevented a full on mastitis infection though.
But it got me thinking how I was stressing myself out to the detriment of my own health and my family's well-being. I may or may not have been yelling waaay too much the past couple of weeks. I got my priorities all mixed up and need to spend some time getting them fixed again.
My greatest flaw is probably how much I worry about the opinions of people that don't matter & usually that I don't even like. Peer pressure sometimes seems harder as adult. Maybe because people are now judging our kids as well. I don't have much else to add, just the scripture that's been going through my head the last few days as I've reached my breaking point:
Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
-Matthew 1:28-30

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Motivation

I spent the weekend putting on a church Halloween party. Then I spent the last 2 days recovering. I'm still recovering, I think. Meanwhile, my husband cleaned the house.
He not only cleaned, he has been purging as well. Be still my heart! There's nothing sexier than a man who throws things away!
Unless they're my things. Things I want to keep. That kind of stuff turn me into the Hulk.
He came up with a great idea for getting rid of stuff that I'll have to blog about later. He read it in a management book I think and it's called the 80/20 rule. Anyone familiar with it? I'm not so I want to see it in action.
It sort of motivated me to clean out more. I tried to do the big hall closet and did manage to get rid of some stuff. But I should get rid of more. I need motivation!!
Enter Karen's blog. Karen probably doesn't know I read her blog sometimes or even that I'm linking to it (I hope that's okay!), but honestly, this post made me want to sell everything I own.
Check out her before and after photos: http://thetaleofourquest.blogspot.com/2010/10/rest-of-house-before-and-after.html If you don't want to read the whole post (it's a bit long), just skip to the pictures. Those closets are positively inspiring!!
I'm still working on that closet (how many blankets do we need?) and also on my kitchen. I'll post pictures if I ever finish. I'm a terrible finisher.
In other news, I hate first grade. 7 hours is too long for kids to be gone. I miss my little guy!!!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Music to My Ears


Today is hearing test day at school. As I was in the shower this morning (YES! I got a shower! In the Morning!) my son asked me a question and I answered. "What?!" he yelled? So answered him again. And again. Finally he heard me. And I started thinking, "what if he gets sent home with a note that his hearing needs to be evaluated?" and how awful that would be and what I would do? (anxiety runs in my family) Maybe it sounds crazy, but if he were to lose his hearing, the first thing I thought was that I wanted to play really good classical music over and over until he couldn't hear it anymore. I thought about Beethoven and Grieg and Handel. I thought about some of my favorite hymns. I wanted to play them until he would be able to replay them in his mind for the rest of his life.
What got me thinking this morning though was what I didn't think about. I didn't think about any rock music or pop. I didn't think about watered down religious music. I didn't think about Old McDonald even.
Just a picture for funsies
So if that kind of music isn't important, really important, to me, why do I keep it around? Why aren't I always listening to the BEST music? The kind with substance.

This isn't supposed to be a post bagging on anyone's music choices. But it's to get you thinking. (although if you're thinking you'd have your kids listen to Justin Beiber all the time we can't be friends) If we only had one year of hearing left, what would we spend that time listening to and why aren't we doing that now? Why do we fill our time with the mindless things that really aren't important to us.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Line Drying

I spent most of the summer mourning because I didn't have a clothesline. Go ahead and laugh. Get it out your system.
I picture myself hanging bright white sheets on beautiful sunny day with a nice gentle breeze. And every time I picture that I start singing, "mama makes whites bright like the sunshine..." It's one of those idyllic stay-at-home mom moments I try (unsuccessfully) to create.
I tried hanging a string when we started cloth diapering, but it only held diapers, nothing else. So I resigned myself to my dryer and a small fold up drying rack. Remember, I'm poor. Spending $50-100 on a clothesline simply doesn't make economic sense.
But I love line drying my clothes.
But when I hang up my laundry I have to take time to just put the clothes up. It's wonderful meditation time! Just me and the sunshine, working together.
So anyway, I FINALLY (now that summer is over! *eyeroll*) made a clothesline and it only cost me $3 for the actual line.

I took a 1x4 and nailed it to my deck post
Then I took another 1x4 and nailed it to a fence post 25 feet
away and strung the line through the holes I drilled in.
Ta da!


And if you have a swing set, this is how I dry my shirts :)

Do you line dry? What's your motivation for doing it?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Moving On Up

After a month of kindergarten we made the decision to skip our son to first grade. AAAH!! Did I just write that?! Part of me is thinking this is awesome because he works so hard at learning and the other wants to bring him back home and never let him leave the house again!
I really appreciated all the info I got while making this decision, so I'll write about why we did it in case anyone else goes through this.

His teachers brought up skipping the first week of school, but I didn't think he could handle it behaviorally and when praying just didn't feel like it was the best thing for him. I spent the month volunteering in his class and have noticed a downward trend. He was bored and I could see seeds of poor study habits and lack of motivation beginning to grow. But he needed to learn how to "do school" and I needed to get a better idea of where he was academically.

I had quite a few people advise me to leave him in K because then he'd be the smartest in his class all the time. But I don't like the message that sends. School isn't supposed to be about being smarter/faster/better than other kids, IMO

When his teacher and I discussed skipping a couple of weeks ago, his future GT teacher agreed and after the principal agreed too I prayed again. This time he would have a different teacher and I felt like it would be a good move. She's really nice and really fun. There's some neighborhood kids in his class that have already welcomed him warmly as well.

Today was his first day and I only cried for about 15 minutes after dropping him off. Don't ask me how much his kindergarten teacher and I both cried yesterday.

I miss my little guy. I like all the opportunities he has going to school (like he already gets to look through a microscope!), but I still hope to home school eventually. One of the things that gets me stuck though is feeling like I don't have the space! Meanwhile, I'm busy gathering curriculum. Just in case. I should probably spend that time getting back on track with getting rid of more stuff. Why is there so much?!

By the way, it's National Chemistry Week. If you live near a university, see if they have anything going on. We got to go to a magic show (ie blowing stuff up) and will be visiting some exhibits later this week. If you live in Utah, check this out for things going on in Provo http://www.chem.byu.edu/nationalchemistryweek

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fixed!!!!

Did you try to visit my site tonight? Or last night, I guess. (not that I would ever stay up past 1am fixing my blog. No way!) It didn't work, did it? Because Google was watching out for us. Thanks Google!
I was a bit confused because I tried running programs to find this malware it said was on my site and just couldn't figure out what was going on. It was obvious I hadn't been hacked.
But one of my pictures came from a site that did have malware. It was like a big internet STD spreading to anything that touched it. And even having the link made my site an accomplice. And smarty pants me was finally able to figure out what googlebot couldn't! (see: I'm awesome!!)
So I had to remove it and the only way to do that was to remove my post.
No more ranting about the crazy lady (me) with 57 spices.
And I'm sad. Because you all had some fun comments.
So now I know to stop being lazy by just linking to other sites for pictures, even if they seem innocuous at first. Can I just claim fair use instead?
In the mean time, I'm sure you all will be thrilled to know that I have scavenged both my blog and my computer and both should be malware free. Now that you're filled with that peace of mind, go to sleep. I mean it. Because after 3 weeks of interrupted sleep by sick children (tonight was no exception, btw), you need the sleep; you look terrible.

Monday, October 18, 2010

I'm feeling like I just can't win. And I suppose I can't. Because I can't live my life to make other people happy.
I think that's one of the hardest lessons in life.
If I do my best to teach my children and they end up pretty smart, then I come across as stuck up when I try to get their needs met at school. I've seen the eye rolls and heard the jabs. Unless you have a nice average child, you'll offend someone with your offspring.
As I've tried to eliminate negative influences in my life, I've found it alienates those around me. I used to see most of pop culture in shades of grey and lately things are seeming more black and white. I wont watch most programs on tv and hardly watch any new movies any more either. No matter my reasoning or motives, this comes across as holier than thou.
I'm frustrated. Because I want to talk to people and enjoy their company, but I have to keep the subject to the weather. When asked how school is for my son I'll just smile and say, "it's fine." When asked if I've read that book they recommended, despite the foul language, I'll lie and say I've been too busy to read. I really don't want to live like that, but I also don't want to make others uncomfortable.
More likely though, I need to just get over it. Because how someone feels about me is really none of my business.
I miss my friend. The one who "gets" me. She moved across the country this summer and now no one close to me understands why I don't make crude jokes anymore or why having a smart child creates problems. That you are finally tired of the worldly things you've had your whole life. It's nice to be gotten. So the great lesson here is if you ever have a friend like that, treasure them and don't take them for granted.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Lesson on Parenting


I'm going to tell you a story my uncle told me. I really liked it.

Once a man walked into a class and told his class he was going to teach them how to raise their kids. The class sighed in relief. FINALLY! Someone was going to give then the unattainable handbook of instructions for offspring!
He told those on the front row, "I have a box of doughnuts. You may have a doughnut, but if you do, I'm going to smack your hand really hard."
Now, if I was in this class, I'd totally take a doughnut because, well, it's a doughnut!!
So the first person on the row also decided it was worth the slap and took one.
"All right," the teacher said, "Now I'm not going to slap your hand THIS time. But next time I will."
He went to the next person on the row who also took a doughnut.
"All right," the teacher said, "Now I'm not going to slap your hand THIS time. But next time I will."
And so on down the row until all the doughnuts were gone and not a single hand was slapped.
He then said "class dismissed".

And that, my friends, is our parenting lesson for the year.

Monday, October 11, 2010

A cold has hit our house

First it was the 2 year old. The she gave it to the five year old, who gave it to his dad and now the 4 month old has managed to catch it.

Maybe if I just keep her in the rocking chair all night she'll stay asleep.

You'll notice mom hasn't caught it yet. I'm not allowed to get sick until everyone else is done. It's the rule.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Spice Reduction

all my spices
Yesterday, a commenter, Laura, made a good point: spice only lasts for so long before it loses its, um, spiciness. So while part of me really hated to part with poppy and caraway seeds never used, I knew it was past time. Plus the caraway and celery seed had gone rancid.

By the way, I had two full poppy seed containers. Ugh!

I separated my spices into 4 categories: Never used, sometimes used (3+ times/year), frequently used (monthly), & frequently used w/doubles (I have no good excuse for that)

*Geek digression* - Does anyone else want to go read Dune after seeing the word "spice" repeatedly?

What I learned:I have ten spices I've never used. Three of those have a double for a total of thirteen containers I don't need.
I have nine spices I sometimes use. Four of those have a double for a total of seventeen containers I don't need.
I have thirty spices I use frequently. Eight of those have a double for a total of twenty-five containers I don't need.
So I combined the doubles and ditched the never used and some of my frequently used that I honestly don't use that much. And I tossed them.
the new wall rack complete with labels. ooooh

new lazy susan & cabinet spices
Do you know what I just effectively did?
I just got rid of the spice rack on my counter (holds 16 jars) and most of the loose ones in my cabinet.
everything I'm tossing
We all know that counter space in a small kitchen is prime real estate.
So the counter one will go into the sell/donate box.

I feel so much better now! I only own....
THIRTY
spice containers now. (make it thirty-two, I need to buy some more for thyme & rosemary)

Next question: How is your medicine cabinet?
(that one I clean out every 6 months, but if you don't, go check it out. Expired meds don't often work & sometimes become dangerous!)
By the way, I checked out this site Lauren left in the comments yesterday. It's out of my price range (I can just use what I have now!) but looks pretty cool if you're in the market.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Welcome October!

We're experiencing an Indian summer here. It's been 90 degrees during the day. Yeesh!
last autumn
Apparently fall didn't get the memo this year.
But then I look at my squash and pepper plants and instead I'm grateful for an extended growing season. The tomatoes can die though. I'm fairly sick of tomatoes at this point. My kids wont eat them. They'll pick them - as evidenced by the sun dried squished tomatoes covering my yard - but they wont eat them. So why did I grow so many?
We have a pumpkin that got a late start and I'm waiting every day for it to begin to turn orange. Green might be cool though.
We watched The Great Pumpkin today to help us feel more festive. The heat sure isn't.
I'm putting up my Halloween decor beginning next week. About 2 weeks later than I usually do it (I love Halloween!!). But the spiders in my crawl space where I keep my holiday stuff haven't been killed from cold yet.
me with one of my ghosties in my ghost tree
And I'm spending the weekend being spiritually edified. My favorite of fall traditions!

But I'd like to have an official tradition I do every year to welcome fall. Shall I pick our lone sugar pumpkin and bake a pie? Have a special dinner or way to put up the decor?

What are your favorite fall traditions? Do you have a special way to ring in the new season or does it just gradually happen?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Greatest Compliment

my baby in my sling
Some women are natural mothers. They're sweet and love babies & children and have really creative ideas for their home and are super patient.
I am not one of those women.
I never liked holding babies until I had my own.
I would make a much better research scientist or college professor. But I value motherhood. I value homemaking. I see many societal & environmental rewards from having one parent taking care of the home and children full time. And after numerous failed attempts at getting my masters degree, I have learned this is where God wants me. And I really do think He knows more than I do. I know everyone (including myself) is happier when I'm here doing the mom thing. So I stay home. And I have spent 6 years learning to like it.
And I've started to love it!
my eldest girl peeking from a window
Today I was telling my husband about taking my girls to the library while their brother was in school and how much I loved talking with my 2 year old and watching her and just being with her.
And then he says to me, "I am so glad to see how much you enjoy our children!" And it's true! I DO enjoy my kids. They are some of my favorite people to be with. I haven't always, so this is a big deal for me!

I felt pretty awesome after that. *big grin*

Monday, September 27, 2010

What's going on in our small house

We're busy, but not in a "we HAVE to get this done" kind of way. We've been playing football and frisbee (my 5 year old is getting good!), picking apples, making applesauce, making fruit leather, and then eating it!, sewing (I'm making a tote from old jeans-pics to come when I finish!) and reading a ton! Some days I dream of having a large house so I could have a massive library. And another bathroom. We are watching fall arrive and spend a good chunk of time looking at the changing leaves on the mountains. Time well spent.
The great "folding table in the kitchen experiment" is still going on. Mr SH wants to make it permanent and I want our table back in.
I found a home for all those crafty things, by the way (my sons kindergarten class!). Now to take them in! That would leave some under the bed space for canned food. It must be autumn because my husband is also getting in preparedness mode. He's making sure all the flashlights work & have batteries, updating 72 hr kits, fire drills, and wants to have another massive purge so we can fit more food storage in our home. Bring it!!

I love him, by the way. Last week he wanted to buy 5 acres and be a farmer. He totally wants a jersey cow for milk. This week he's acknowledging we should probably be able to make our 1/3 work for us first before going large scale. But still, it's nice to have a dream.
I dream of having massive food production in the backyard and growing most of my own food (except bananas. I'm not ready to give those up)
What do you dream of? Have you reached part of that dream?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Radical Homemakers

This is my next book to read:
I'm often telling my husband I feel like the last homemaker in our city. It's not true, of course. And I hear more and more about moms & dads who are able to work less & spend more time at home and it gives me hope for families. This book gave me more hope as I read the first sentence on the homepage: “Imagine women with masters degrees and PhDs who choose home over career advancement."
Does anyone else ever feel like they don't justify their degree (if you have one) when you choose to stay home?
You can read the book's intro at their website. I'm going to play around there a little. Warning: it may be a guilt trip if you're a single parent (hopefully not, you can still do a lot for your family & the planet even if you work 2 jobs). I love the premise and gives my inner a hippie a hug as well. I hope I enjoy the rest of the book (when my turn on the wait list comes)!!

By the way, my neighbors got 3 chickens this last week!!! My turn next year (I hope!!)

Friday, September 17, 2010

From the Garden

This year my son requested we grow purple carrots. We only did 2 squares & they're mixed here with the scarlet nantes, but they're pretty, huh?
I cooked some of them earlier with a roast and while they tasted delicious, they also turned black so I recommend keeping them raw for aesthetics.


they taste yummy too! We had a salad of carrots, peppers, & tomatoes all from our garden. Yum!!! Nothing beats fresh!!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Kindergarten it is!

Well, after much study and prayer we decided to keep the little guy in Kindergarten. That decision has been reaffirmed as the correct one daily since then. I've also had reconfirmation (is that a word?) that he really was supposed to go to school and not be home schooled just yet.
Seriously, how do people raise kids without prayer?! I'm just not a very good decision maker by myself :)
I was going to write more about why we chose kinder over first grade, but that involves personal info about my son that I just don't care to share with the internet right now. Suffice it to say that I know he will learn what he needs to while there and I can continue to teach him those extra hours at home.
A lovely arrangement, I think!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

First Grade?


There's no real way to write this post without sounding braggy so I'll just cut to the chase and say that my son's kindergarten teachers (he has 2 right now) both think he should move to first grade. One of them is my neighbor and she generally does not promote this so it's telling that she's strongly advising it.
So next week a first grade teacher they talked with is going to observe him and they'll do some testing and see if he'd do better moving up. Someone mentioned moving him Thursday (!!!!!) which makes me nervous.
He's very bright. I don't know his reading/math levels, but they said they're above 1st grade. I know his science knowledge is strong. So academically, he'd be fine. But he is a spirited little boy who loves to move and talk!
The hardest part for me is the 7 hours of school. I think it's too much for energetic little boys. I should ask how much recess they have. But I have to temper that with knowing how impossible he is when he's bored. And his teachers think he's too advanced for what they can give him even in GT classes. Plus, I miss him so much already with just 3 hours of school!!!!
He says he wants to learn more, but doesn't want to go to school for 7 hours either (can you blame him?) But I know he's more restless when he's bored which will make kindergarten a lot less fun in the coming weeks. So far they've been reading and playing Lego's. No wonder he's in heaven!
Digression: holy cow! He can't even build a sword out of Lego's! I better check and see if he can draw them, but my guess is no. How completely sexist! Do any of these people making the rules have little boys?!?!?!? /rant
Obviously I have a lot of thinking and prayer coming up over the next week. I am really anticipating the results of his tests, just for my own curiosity. Of course, the first grade teacher may decide he's not ready yet. I like her though. When thy told her about him and his inability to sit still and be quiet she said, "well he'd fit right in with my class!" His birthday is October so he'll only be the youngest by 2 months so age isn't really an issue.
There are as many strong opinions about grade skipping as there are about homeschooling, I've found (heaven forbid we NOT maintain the status quo!). But those I've talked to who have skipped a grade at teacher's recommendation has not regretted it. Still, I'm nervous about it.
Thoughts???

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

My "Desert Island" Shelf

Sorry for the lack of blogging. My birthday was last week and I've been busy giving away more STUFF. It's such a wonderful feeling! I have a trash bag full of toddler toys/accessories, about 25 books, and 8 bowls. I can't believe I had 8 bowls I never used!

I've spent the last couple of days working on this and folks, it is HARD!
I own a lot of reference books and those probably take up more room than anything else. So they got their own shelf. Okay, so they've spilled over to others as well. There's too many and I read them all; don't judge me! Baby steps, right?

We still have lots of other shelves with plenty of books: photo's, reference, religious, library, music, & Dickens (yes, an entire shelf devoted to collectors edition Dickens!) that may or may not get whittled down. But here's my shelf:
(I left room to grow after my Tolkien books on purpose.)
The Complete Tightwad Gazzette (reference, I know, oh well.)
(not shown because I'm reading it) Uncle Shelby's ABZ's

I asked myself the questions: have I read this in the last 2 years? Do I remember the story? Did someone give it to me & there's a emotional connection? For the last question, I kept those on another shelf as I try to make that decision.

So, what have I learned from this? That in all reality there are a handful of books I can't live without and none of them are pictured here because they're on our religious shelf. That made it much easier to whittle away at the rest of them. And from what's left - the books I read over and over - that I ultimately enjoy fun books more than others.

Many of our books are headed to the public library. A lot of them we bought because the library didn't carry them and we may read them once or twice more. Not enough to justify holding on to them anymore.

So what would you have on your shelf? Are you storing books you can live without?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Things I Need to Toss but Haven't


If you haven't seen or heard of the book Material World by Peter Menzel you should. It takes a look at the things people own in different parts of the world. Here's another link to whet your appetite. It's humbling and thought provoking to see how little those in second & third world countries live with. I don't aspire to live like that; it's just comforting to see how little we actually need. I do want to be more conscientious about what I spend my time and energy on.

Mr. SH & I are feeling the need to purge again. I'm really getting into minimizing and he just likes cleanliness. I've spied him looking at tumbleweed houses though. Maybe I'm converting him! mwahahaha!
I'd like to get rid of about 1/3 of our remaining possessions. Did you know I currently don't have a kitchen table? Well now you do. It's been in the shed all month. We've been using a folding table. I haven't decided if I like this yet. I'll let you know.
I'm looking around my living room as I type this and trying to really decide if I want to own each possession. The couch, the piano, and at least two of the book shelves stay. I really don't want the vintage radio anymore or the fish tank currently resting on it. However, I can't bring myself to kill the frogs & fish so for now it stays. But once they die (on their own) those are gone!

I have 3 brown containers. One has extra cameras, cell phones, & other just in case items. I haven't used any of them in 3 years. The other has manuals that go to those items. And the third has fabric scraps. I have used those in the last year. I had a grand vision of making a quilt and then I had a third child.

Do I really think I'm going to make that quilt?

I still have a box of crafting supplies. I have more in my closet. I think I need a support group or something.

There are glasses in my kitchen I never use. And I seriously think I have about 8 bowls I never use. I have 3 lamps that are sitting in a closet I can't bare to part with just in case. I think I could write a whole post about those 3 words. My kids use wall lights now and I don't want to go back to table lamps because then you need a piece of furniture for them to rest on. Why keep them? Because they're pretty. So pretty sitting in my closet where no one can see them.

Someday I really will take pictures so you can see what I'm talking about. I'm terrible about uploading them, but I'll try to work on that.

I have 3 tall bookshelves in my living room. They contain lots of books, board games, video game stuff (that's hubby's), filing, and computer equipment. I wonder if I can pare it down to 2??? Just typing that makes me feel emotional and nervous. About STUFF. It's JUST STUFF.

I dream of being able to fit all my possessions in my car. Now keep in mind I have a sedan so no one else's stuff from the family would fit. But how wonderful would it be to know I could!