Sunday, July 29, 2012

Because Beth Said So

how's that for a catchy title? well, beth over at simply sewn sent me a comment today that said, "i think it's time for a new entry." and you know what? she was right. i looked back at my last blog and it was february since i last wrote. things around here always seem to move at warp speed and show no signs of slowing down. frankly, i had actually forgotten about this little plot of the blog landscape that is mine. so, really, there's not much to tell about lately. we have been plugging on as we have been known to do. the kids have been doing some theatre and lots and lots of dancing. i've been working alot on my business and trying to get our little corner of the map organized. right now i'm working on setting up school books and plans for this coming school year as well as chore lists and ways to implement them. with a 7th, 4th and 2nd grader this year, definitely not to leave out the toddler (because well, that's probably the most precarious piece of this mix to tell you the truth), i need to get a definitive daily hold on this place. the work of six people is too much for me to handle on my own and i'm hope that lists and charts help everyone to know where their place is...and what the consequence will be if they don't take care of that place. :) we've also been doing some gardening around here. we have enough rabbits to build our own rabbit zoo or something so my husband and i built a box...4ft by 4ft...and 3ft. tall. yes, you read that right. it's three feet tall. as long as the rabbits don't employ pogo sticks or trampolines, i think we should be fine. however, the cantaloupe plants were trailing out the sides and the stupid little buggers ate all of the blossoms off. so, i fenced off the place like a little plant alcatraz or something. now it doesn't look quite so cute, but we are keeping flowers on the plants to actually get some fruit.
things have been growing so well this year. so well that this tomato plant even grew right out of our composter.
this is plant, i mean the extra raised bed. and yes, that is only 6 tomato plants, 2 cantaloupe and a pepper. who knew they would like the compost quite that much?
here's one of our first cantaloupes. they are getting rather large now. yum. :)
and here's the extra garden space on the deck. tomatoes, peppers, basil and other assorted herbs. i'm pretty proud of what we've been able to do this year with the small amount of land we have. we have all of the aforementioned plants and also apples, strawberries, blueberries and raspberries. hopefully we can keep adding bit by bit every year.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

For Lent...I'm Cleaning House

yep, you read that right. i always wonder every year what to do for lent. take something away? add something new and better? and every year i don't feel like i quite hit the nail on the head or really accomplish anything. sure, i've given up drinking soda and eating dessert more times than i can count. i've added a rosary or scripture reading every day. but afterwards, i always seem to be back where i started. so, this year for lent...i'm clean house. literally and figuratively. let's go with the literal first because it's easier to nail down and not quite so exposing to talk about. my house is a shambles, to put it bluntly. our smallest little guy was born six weeks early, smack dab in the middle of me changing the other kids clothing from winter to spring/summer. i had started it all and thought i had some time. but then he came and everything halted. he had multiple health issues and it made taking care of him a twenty four hour a day job, for quite a long time. please overlook the fact that he will be two in about six weeks. raising him so far has been a bit more of a handful than we had anticipated, what with the trips to other states, surgeries, marathon feedings, therapists, etc, etc and etc. but now that he is almost two, we are settling in to a norm and i'm sick of the crap. yep, there is stuff seething out of every pore of my home, or so it seems. ok, not really everywhere and it really can be narrowed down to three really bothersome things.

1.papers clothing

it seems as if i throw away papers upon papers every day and yet, as if they are happy little rabbits, they multiply while i sleep. i shred and throw away junk mail the minute it comes in the door. much to the chagrin of my family, the sunday newspaper is usually in the garbage by monday morning. but yet, the papers are here...they are everywhere. the kids clothing, well, i guess with four kids you've got to expect that there is going to be some amount of kid's clothes around but really. i have to get rid of alot of them. they are making me bonkers. and books, frankly, they are a weakness of mine. it's sort of like fabric to me. i like to look at them, feel them, smell them...and dream of the day i will read them. :) actually, many of them are our school books which obviously can't be tossed, but do need to be in better order so we can actually find them when they are needed.

at first i felt a bit foolish for putting a sort of material spin on my lenten promises but then i realized how much of a mental and spiritual hold it also has on me. clutter really sucks it all out of me. as much as i live with it, i can't stand clutter. i function so much better with minimal things in the house and those things in their rightful place...or at least having that place to go to when they are picked up (remember, there are four kids here under twelve, it ain't going to be something out of better homes and gardens). i need to clean up the physical before i can feel free to tend to the spiritual. call me crazy, but that's just the way i am. when there is a project staring me in the face, i can't break my mind away to focus on the higher things. i wish i could, but i have never been able to. just call me martha i guess.

so, i have begun the grand purge. it's going to make for one heck of a garage sale i have a feeling. i recently became a pampered chef consultant so the kitchen is where i have started. i need some space to store some new kitchen stuff. so, since adding on to the house for storage isn't in the cards (nor do i think it should be) i'm tossing some of the old and unused to make space for the new stuff i am using regularly. next will be the second floor. kid's rooms, the master bedroom...the walk in closet (aaaaaaaaaah! run!). then i will move to the basement, aka the land of no return. because really, isn't that where everything else in the house goes to die? and maybe, just maybe i'll find my oldest daughter's math book in the process. :)

but really, in the process, i hope to find myself (ooh, that sounded really butterflies and burlap). what i mean is to find some clarity in myself. to clean out the stuff in order to grow. and hopefully by the end of lent, my heart will mirror my home.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

My Day Will Come

i spend alot of time on tuesdays in my van. i left at 8:30 this morning and just got home around 3:30. i drive places...drop people errands with smaller people in tow while those bigger people are at classes...then i pick up those bigger people...we eat lunch (usually in the car)...and then we go to more classes...and finally home. did i mention how much time i spend in my van on tuesdays? anyway, if said other people are occupied, that gives me alot of time to think. today i had much on my mind. why do i continue to do this? why do i keep it up? this particular "it" being homeschooling and the whole ball of wax that goes with it. over the years i've had plenty of homeschooling comrades who have chosen to go the school route instead yet why do i stay? first thought, because i'm as stubborn as the day is long, sometimes to a fault. yes, that is a reason i'm sure. but, then as if as a gift from came to me. because my day will come. i've been told this more times than i can count by friends and acquaintances who have children older than mine. and i must admit, every time in the past it has made me angry. while in the thick of it i don't want to hear, "your day will come, just wait." i'm not one for waiting. i never have been. i even read a book one time about the blessing of waiting. guess it didn't sink in. but today, in the surprising stillness of my van, i was at peace knowing my time will come.

despite the noise and activity constantly in my ear, my home and my day will come when it's all quiet and i can hear myself think.

despite all of the running i do hither and yon right day will come when i can choose to leisurely stay at home instead of rushing somebody off to an activity with everybody else packed in the car.

despite never having a minute totally to myself day will come when i can pray or read or nap or just sit as long as i want to.

despite now feeling like the house is never clean, the dishes are always dirty and the laundry pile is bigger than day will come when there will be nobody to mess the house up but me and my husband, where i'll be cooking just for two and it will take a week for the hamper to fill.

despite now feeling like my days are filled with first grade readers, third grade math, sixth grade history and a toddler undoing it day will come when i can spend a leisurely morning with my Bible and a cup of tea.

and despite all of this, my day will come when i cry because my house, the chairs at my kitchen table and my laundry hamper are empty. in fact, there's a tear in my eye (ok, and on my cheek too) right now as i write this. when your entrenched in the here and now, and sometimes it doesn't look to good, the tears come for different reasons. but right now, when the youngest is napping, the next one is at a friends and the oldest two are happily entranced in new books...i can get nostalgic. my oldest is just shy of twelve. seems just yesterday i was bringing her home from the hospital, not at all sure of what to with a kid. her brother, just shy of nine is not far behind. my tiny little girl is already six and my baby will be two in just a few short weeks. in this time i am reminded that i do this not simply because i am educating them, but because i am building a family. and my day will come when i can pray in silence, and read books upon books, and sleep all night long and eat without reprimanding and volunteer as much as i like. but right now they are the day God has given me. and i will be thankful. yes, even joyful. and not long for "my day" but rejoice in this one.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

What I've Been Up To

i've been perfecting a new skill. wire wrapping. i've been making rosaries and jewelry for years and years but i had never ventured into wire wrapping. then, i received a special order in my etsy shop for some wedding jewelry. it was to be wire wrapped. so, i ventured into a new skill and i am really pleased with how it all turned out. i made four pairs of matching earrings, four bracelets and one necklace. the bridesmaids will each sport a pair of earrings and a bracelet and the bride will wear the same in addition to the necklace. this has spurred me to make some wire wrapped items to put in my etsy shop and show on my facebook page. i hope to have them completed soon. it takes quite a bit longer than making the other stuff i have done, but i just love the results.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Daily Funnies

yep, two posts in one morning. it's a record. but, two things really made me chuckle yesterday and i know if i don't write them down they will be out of my mind as quickly as they came in.

#1, courtesy of my wonderful husband. a couple of weeks ago i had taken the kids strawberry picking at a wonderful local place called shady creek farms. i had not recorded the check i paid with in the ledger but the duplicate check was still in the book. my husband recorded the check into the log the other day. when i looked at it yesterday i read "check #blah, blah, blah - shady greek farm." hee, hee.

#2, i was reading the wonderful book "little acts of grace" to my youngest daughter yesterday. we were reading the section on holy water. after i had finished reading it i asked her why we bless ourselves with holy water as we enter the church. she said she couldn't remember. i said it was to remind you of something but she still couldn't remember what. so i said, "it reminds you of your ba...." waiting for her to quickly pick up and say "baptism." instead she responded, "i know, backwash!" um, not quite.

My Talented Friends

i have so many ideas swirling around in my head, yet not too many of them come to fruition. yes, i know. there's a time and a season for everything. and as many people have told me many times, this is just simply not my season for getting things accomplished. with an eleven, eight, five and one year old, homeschooling and a house to take care of, i do well to keep my head above water most days. forget the finer things that i dream about like fine tuned organization, musical theatre (performing in it that is) and making all sorts of cool things ranging from sewing to jewelry (i do manage to get a bit of this done, you can check out my stuff here and here...when i actually have things listed) to cheese (yes, i said cheese). but, i wanted to direct you to two of my good friends who are doing things with their hands and their minds (that don't involve wiping little hands and behinds and reprimanding 'til the cows come home...and if mine ever do come home, my hoa laws will have something to say about that, but that's another story all together). so, i invite you to check out amy and beth and the wares they have to offer. amy and her really talented daughter have taken a big leap of faith and rented a stand at a local establishment called building character. they felt led by Our Lord (thought He definitely warranted a link too) and opened a lovely little spot called fresh vintage that provides even lovelier items for the little girl in your life. take a look at her posted pictures. they just scream "come up and pinch me 'cause i'm so darn cute!" they have quite the eye for what is fashionable and classy. my other friend beth has to be one of the most talented people i know. she can put together just about anything from nothing. and i really admire that when she thinks up something, she actually gets it accomplished. not just in her mind or possibly even drawn out on paper like i do all the time. when she has a good idea (which she does all the time) she makes it happen. beth has an etsy store that she has recently started filling back up again (yeah!) and she is also showcasing some of her lovely items at amy's place. so, if you are local, come stop by tonight during first friday and check out all the great items they have to offer. i'll be there. i'm also hoping to check out this great place. because you know...i need more craft and sewing supplies like a need a hole in the head. but, it's too good to pass up.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

What The...?

wow, first, posting two days in a row for me posting? definitely some kind of record. second off, i am flabbergasted by my local newspaper. not in a good way. we were trying to figure out if there were any areas around here where we could shave some more money off...or into...our budget, however you'd like to look at that. so, we were thinking of canceling our subscription to the local paper. we only get sunday anyway, for the coupons primarily, but we thought maybe we were spending more than we saved annually. so, we let the subscription lapse, didn't pay to renew and they stopped delivering a paper. ok. that's what we were looking to do. so, yesterday i decided that we should get the paper for a year, see how much the coupons saved us over that year and then reassess next year at this time. i went online and tried to do the renew function but it wouldn't let me because it said my subscription had been canceled. so i clicked on the subscribe button. i was floored by what i saw next. the bill to renew my paper for a year was $88. if i was not renewing and starting a subscription, my bill was going to be...drum roll please...$45 and some change. this prompted me to the "what the...?" title you see above. that's pretty much double the price. why? obviously because i have been a loyal subscriber for the past oh, ten years or so. gee, thanks. i see how you reward my loyalty. i really appreciate it. i went ahead and did the subscribe thing and then i got an e-mail from someone at the newspaper today saying that i couldn't do that and they will restart my paper again but that it won't be paid for the whole year. i almost felt like telling them to refund my money, that i didn't want it at all until they stop charging me double what a new subscriber is. aargh.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Cooking From God's Bounty

cooking in the summer. i absolutely love it. ok, i should rephrase that. i don't love cooking in the summer when it's all hot and sweaty out and i've refused to use our air conditioning because i would rather save some cash and it's like 95 in my house. what i do like about cooking in the summer is the freshness of things that you can cook with. we live in an area that is so full of farms and road side stands that during the spring, summer and early fall months you can practically find any type of produce you are looking for that has been grown right around the corner. one example is strawberries...really yummy strawberries. i took the kids strawberry picking on a cool morning this past week. it was lovely and we came home with eight quarts of really yummy berries. mind you, we had already gotten about four or five quarts off of our own plants here at the house but, well, we ate them. what can i say. we're fiends and they don't last long. so, the berries we went down the road to pick were slated for homemade jam and freezing for later uses like smoothies and muffins. we ended up with twenty two jars of freezer jam (yes, i take the easy way out but i really do like the way it tastes better than the cooked kind and i also think it has way less sugar) and about eight bags of frozen fruit. the jam will last for awhile but i doubt the frozen fruit will make it past the end of the summer. that same day we went to a friends house down the road and picked five gallons of the tastiest snap peas. the pattern seemed to be "one into the bucket, one into my mouth." it was so good to see the kids adopting this pattern too. they just love these fresh peas. we were able to share a couple of bags and then freeze quite a few for ourselves. then, last night, (ok, here's where the real cooking part comes in) i made a yummy dish with chicken, tomatoes, mushrooms, parsley from the garden of my friend beth and spinach from my back porch. even the kids liked it and sometimes that is quite a miracle. it was so pretty and colorful and i simply loved how i knew where all of the produce came from...ok, aside from the mushrooms. we have been trying to figure out how we can do more of this lately and one step we have taken is to replace our dying silver maple tree in our front yard with an apple tree. we got a newtown pippin variety. we chose this type because it is a semi-dwarf and is self-polinating, two very good things when you live in a development and have a lack of space. we also have plans to put in some raspberry bushes and a small garden in a corner of space we aren't using. it feels good to finally be doing some things to the yard which will benefit us down the road. now to find somebody who has a tiller to get these tomato plants in the ground...