Monday, May 23, 2016

Keeping House

 Tragically, I was not born with the "automatically knows how to keep house" gene.
And boy do I wish I was. It is a thorn in my side. I've tried multiple charts and lists, scolding myself for not being a good homemaker, snapping my fingers ala Mary Poppins, cleaning one room a day, but they all seemed not quite right for us. Finally, sometime back, I printed up every semi helpful cleaning schedule or chart I could find on Pinterest (totally getting distracted by ugly colors and fonts- am I the only one who does that?), sat down with a cup of coffee- because I do everything with a cup of coffee (including writing this post)- and started writing down everything that seemed like it would suit our needs and haves. I *need* a list to keep me on task, otherwise I'll bring down a load of laundry to start and clean out the pantry instead. This is what I came with, based on what I felt was a necessary to keep our house clean and mostly picked up on a daily basis. (there are piles of books all over the living room right now by the way) My goal was something that wouldn't take too long and consume our day, and also something that could easily be done around homeschooling. This worked for me beautifully, until I spent a very large part of last summer at the dentists (one pulled tooth, one abscessed tooth and a root canal, plus assorted fillings. yay me.) and I got lazy. For a very long time. Like until today. I mean we picked up and cleaned and all that (major spring cleaning in the kids rooms which was GREAT!), but not the hour or just over that we *had* been doing when we followed my lists. So, having finished school for the summer last Thursday, today was THE day. And guess what? In a little over an hour, we had the bathroom sinks sparkling, bedrooms dusted and vacuumed and the breakfast dishes done. The kids are outside playing and I'm avoiding the sewing I have to finish for my sisters wedding this Saturday. (2 flower girl dresses, a 2 bow ties, a junior bridesmaids dress, my bridesmaids dress, and a head band and flowers for the flower girls, if you were wondering.) So, if you need a little inspiration housekeeping wise, here are my charts, wrinkly paper and all. I keep them in page protectors on the fridge and use a dry erase marker to cross things off.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a load of laundry to hang out and lunch to come up with. And B.'s tilling the garden this evening!

The lines are for any extra jobs that may come up. So far I've managed to avoid that though.

Thursday, May 12, 2016


I'm still here! I'm having trouble getting photos loaded onto the computer, hence no posts. I did manage to get these though and look!!!!! I made my first real basket!!!

The base is about as big as a dinner plate and I used newspapers rolled into tubes. to make it. You guy's this is habit forming. I flicked school with the little ones to finish it this morning. All in all, it took me maybe 4 hours total. I can't wait to start another. This one still meds to be painted and sealed, but ahhh!
Okay, that's all!
Miss all of you!
Claire is doing great!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Post Surgery Update

This is actually from her napping (finally) the other day.

Thank you all for praying! Claire's surgery went well, but was long, over 7 hours.
They opened her skull up from the back and top by 2 cm. (almost 3/4 of an inch). The skin has been stretched tightly to cover it and this will be a long painful recovery. The pressure is normal now! She had a rough night last night with her blood pressure dropping. She's being given fluids to help, but that's hard on her little swollen body, and her heart. Again, thank-you all for your prayers!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Claire Update

She underwent emergency surgery this afternoon to put a shunt in to alleviate pressure that was pushing her brain down into her spinal column. That went well, but she will still need surgery shortly for a cranial vault which is very much what it sounds like. She's still not out of the woods, so keep those prayers up! Thank you all!!!

UPDATE as of 3/21
She's on morphine and zofran because of head pain and throwing up. Surgery will happen this week if neurosurgery can coordinate with plastics. It will be fairly complicated, not as straightforward as last time (last cranial vault). It will require 2 surgeries and please pray this will do the trick and a permanent shunt won't be needed.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

A Prayer Request

I have a post in the works, but in the meantime, I have an urgent prayer request. My sweet little 4 year old niece Claire was born with Apert Syndrome. It's pretty rare, and among some other physical problems (such as her fingers being fused together, as well as her toes at birth), her skull plates fused together before she was born. She has been through multiple surgeries for untangling her little hands and feet, ear tubes, and skull surgeries. She learned to crawl in casts. She is a trooper and hilarious and EVERYONE loves her to pieces. Recently, she's been having bad headaches, and originally thought to be adenoids, just today they've learned that it's much more severe, this is pressure building up and they missed it because she doesn't have any of the other symptoms. She needs surgery ASAP, no more than 3-4 weeks, they just need to assemble the team to do it. This surgery is very difficult, dangerous and the older the patient the tougher it goes. Claire's baby sister was inexplicably stillborn at 32 weeks last August. The threat of death in this surgery is made even more real after experiencing that tragedy. Would all you kind readers lift Claire and her family (My bother D., his wife J. and nephew D.jr. (5) ) up in prayer? They have been tested over and over and come forth as gold, but that doesn't make it any easier. Specifically for peace, healing, peace, finances, and peace. Yes I said peace 3 times. J.'s family, though loving and close, does not know Jesus and can make things a little more stressful even though they mean well.
Thank-you so much Sweet Readers, I'll keep you updated.


The pressure is in her optic nerve and they will have to perform a cranial vault. This was done once before and they were;t expecting to need to do another.

Monday, February 15, 2016

It's the Sugar Creek Gang...

Every week day at 4:15, myself and my brothers, and our best friends who lived around the corner, would come running from whatever corner of the house or yard or woods we were in. We'd huddle around the radio, hit record if we had a tape player that worked and a tape to tape on, and listen to the Sugar Creek Gang. How frustrating it was when Prairie Princess or the Parsonage Family was on instead. In vain I have searched for the Sugar Creek stories we used to listen to. The version with a guy just reading doesn't hold a candle to the radio drama versions we listened to. No one has them. Anywhere. Moody Radio "does not currently have these titles available for sale or plans to do so in the future." Bah. But then one day, inspiration struck and I though to check the Archive site that has Ranger Bill episodes (another childhood favorite)- Bingo! Only 3 stories, but finally my kiddos could listen to the same Sugar Creek Gang stories I did, and listen we have. And even though I was more interested in the adventure part as a kid, the mini sermon in each one is phenomenal. The importance placed on praying always, honesty and integrity and obedience to your parents and to God. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do! (clicking on these should take you to the link, also for the Thief in Town, episode one is actually the second one down. Episode 10 is listed first)

Monday, February 1, 2016

Planning and Plantng

There are a lot of things I should be doing right now (overseeing the kids afternoon chores, grinding pork for supper (sausage gravy and biscuits), folding laundry, trying to get Mr. Crabby-pants down for a nap, planning a bridal shower for my sister, working on baby shower stuff for my sister in laws shower), but I decided writing a blog post sounded like more fun, so here I am.

It's supposed to be 50 for the next two days, but then back to cold and snow again. Just in time for Sprouts visit to the ortho guy. (Sprout discovered that he cannot fly off the bunk bed ladder and spiral fractured his tibia about a month ago. It's been lots of fun.) The snow has melted and while it doesn't smell like spring, I have spring fever. This has been a very mild winter so far and it's not helping that spring fever one little bit. I've had my pot of seeds (see that yellow pot off to the side? That's what I keep everything in at the moment. I'm so organized...) sitting in the kitchen waiting for a chance to sort through and see what I have and what I "need". Need being a relative term. Garden catalogs suck me and I "need" *everything*. I do not have enough garden space to plant everything I want to, so I guess I'm going to have to get creative. There is a difference of opinions amongst the adults of the house regarding gardens and I'm not pushy enough to argue. But if I had my way, I would have separate gardens devoted entirely to pumpkins, squash, garlic, onions, and different types of beans. And I feel like a perennial garden is going to be a must this year. My herb garden is mostly established, just a few changes need to be made here and there.
I'm starting seeds for my raised bed tomorrow so that once it's warm enough for cold weather crops, I can put in plants instead of seeds. They may have a fighting chance then. The weeds in that bed come up so thick and so fast that everything gets choked out before it has a chance. This is the last year I'm trying it. If I can't keep the weeds down with mulch and paper this year, I'm taking it out. It's not worth my time.

Which brings me to: what have been your most creative and successful garden beds? Has anyone tried hay bale gardening and if so, what gardening zone are you and how did it work? What about potato towers?  Vertical gardening? Hugelkulture and permaculture sound interesting, but I think we have too much other stuff in the way.  Our land slopes and holds water and we have to be careful of where we dig and till because of underground drainage pipes and drain tile. Plus I don't completely understand it. I need layman terms and everything I'm finding is technical. Attractive and raised is probably going to be where I need to go. Oh, and we're zone 5, but I tend to incorporate zone 4 stuff too.
Hit me with your garden wisdom folks, I'm in need!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

JANUARY 2016!! My Sisters Bridal Shower Tea

I thought I lost this post, I couldn't find it anywhere and then today, January of 2016, I found it.
So here, in no particular order, is my sisters wedding shower tea I threw, with the help of my mom, sisters, sisters in law and some friends.
Lots of gifts. Lots of them.

They got 4 ironing boards.

I don't have closeups, but having tea cups for 100+ people was doable but stressful to be responsible for, so I printed tea cups on clear labels and we stuck them to all of the paper cups. Besides tea, we had coffee, lemonade, and a friend made raspberry cordial and rose milk.

My new favorite cheap party decoration trick is to grab a package of miscellaneous doilies and stick them on the wall.
For desserts we had cream puffs, tea cakes, thumbprint cookies, cake balls, cake rolls, strawberry shortcake, chocolate covered strawberries, and brownies that I baked in a mini muffin tin and topped with whipped cream and raspberries.

My sweet niece Claire. Oh my goodness, you guys should see her smile, it is the best thing!The quilt on the wall was made by a friend and it was amazing! It chronicled all of Anna and J.'s dating and engagement in photos. 

I baked for what felt like years. The day before the shower, my mom, sisters and a friend came over and helped assemble the sandwiches. I made pumpernickel bread for cucumber sandwiches, oatmeal bread and white bread for chicken salad (I also made all of the mayo because homemade beats the pants off store-bought.), a rollup sandwich on homemade roasted red pepper tortillas, and we had peanut butter and jelly as well.

we also had 3 kinds of tea bread, lemon, banana, and zucchini, crackers and cheese, grapes, scones with mock devonshire cream, lemon curd (homemade) and jam (these were in tea cups on each table to help keep the line moving and to keep with the tea party look) and salami with cream cheese and banana peppers rolled up inside.

That crooked table cloth is making me crazy.

I had originally printed up, cut out and laminated tea pots to stick on the ugly industrial coffee pots, but we were afraid the tape and the plastic would melt so we skipped it.

This is the entry way to the church fellowship hall. And a dandy reflection of me.

All of the tables had cloth table cloths, a tea pot for a vase (we nicked daffodils wherever we could and bought a couple of bouquets to fill it all out), a vintage glass luncheon plate withe the tea cups of scone fixings, candles, and a tea quote.

I never got a good picture of the favors, but I made lime cookies, cut them into teabag shapes and dipped them in white chocolate. Then we attached a little tag on a string to make them look more like a tea bag.

My sister said that her husbands family *still* talks about how much they enjoyed this shower, so I guess we did alright.