Sunday, May 13, 2012

What a whirlwind

I have wanted to write a post so many times in the past two weeks, but I couldn't figure out how to put into words what I have been feeling.  The past two weeks have been such a bustle of activity.  Most good.  Some not so good.  All very thought provoking.

I would have to say that the activity that had the most impact on me was being allowed to provide labor support to my friend as she gave birth to her second child.  It is not my story, not really, but it is still a chapter in my life.  I do not know how someone can have the privileged of witnessing someone bring a new life onto this earth and not be profoundly affected.  When I had my first child, I experienced a bit of postpartum depression.  It was wonderfully lifted when I was able to share the story of my birth experience.  That experience lead me to believe how cleansing it is to verbally share your story.  From viewing the process, there is so much I want to share, but honestly I do not feel I can.  As I said, it is not my story to tell.  And while I have no desire to share the story of the birth, I want to tell how incredible it was to witness. But I now understand why Mary, "pondered all these things in her heart."  Jesus' birth was not about Mary, but how could she not be affected?  I will be forever changed and forever grateful to have been allowed such an opportunity.

The next event that took place is so pale in comparison as to be almost transparent.  However, I was immensely overjoyed to be able to sew a dress for my daughter that she not only loved, but that she received many compliments for.  Not that I wanted compliments; however, have you gone clothing shopping for a young girl who is trying to live while displaying a testimony for Christ?  It is next to impossible to find suitable clothing.  So I took matters into my own hands.  I knew the style she was looking for, so I found a pattern then showed her the line drawing.  My dear daughter is such a visual person.  Once she sees something in a certain pattern of fabric, she cannot look beyond that far enough to see the style and know that it can be made of something different.  My plan worked, and she gave me permission to proceed.  Several years ago, she was involved in Christian Youth Theater.  I worked on the costume committee for several shows and made some pretty nice pieces.  But I was hesitant to try it for Snickerdoodle.  I decided to put that fear behind me and I am so glad I did.  The dress was a triumph.

The next activity was that the husband and I got away for a couple of days, sans children, for our 17th anniversary.  We have never been able to do that and it was quite nice to be able to leave our children in the care of very capable people and just enjoy being a couple again for a few days.

However, real life smacked us in the face very quickly after getting back home. We had to put our dog, who has been with us for 15-1/2 years, down because of a series of health complications.  That is an experience I never wish to repeat.

I also got to put my new found sewing confidence to use when a friend asked me to alter her daughter's prom dress.  Talk about nervous!  Try cutting into the fabric of a dress that someone has paid more than $100.00 for.  But I was glad I was able to do it.

One more big event.  Today, on Mother's Day, Snickerdoodle and myself, along with other moms and their daughters, got to go enjoy an afternoon and evening together.  We went out to eat, then went to see a Britt Nicole concert.  Not that big of a deal for me, but a huge deal for my daughter.  She was even able to "touch" Britt.  Heartwarming to share that with my girl.

Other mentionable activities include son #1 going on a overnight hiking trip--that gave me much reason to worry, and Bubbie Boy testing all my fortitude as a mother.

Ahh, onward and upward!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Menu Plan for the Week of April 30, 2012

Only four days to plan for this week as the husband and I are headed out of town this weekend to celebrate our anniversary.

I have really got to get proactive on the menu planning stuff. I plan meals, I just have lost my way as far as planning for more than one day at a time. There was a time I would plan and go shopping for two weeks at a time--with two young children and my pregnant self. Sometimes my neighbor would join me with her two young children. We lived about 45 minutes from the nearest grocery store. You should have seen the mini van loaded down with four kids, ice chests and food for two families for two weeks. Wow! Can't believe we did that.

*I will make the necessary changes to make these recipes gluten free.  We are pretty much loving this change in our diet.



Most of these recipes are linked although for some reason my blog won't display them as such.  Just mouse over to see if there are links.
 
Monday

Breakfast: Coconut Flour Banana Muffins 
Lunch: Waffle Iron Hash Browns with Spinach & Fried Eggs
Dinner: Oven Baked Chicken Fajitas  

Tuesday
Breakfast: Pumpkin Muffins 
Lunch: Tuna Casserole and Peas
Dinner: Sweet & Sour Chicken and Asian Slaw  

Wednesday
Breakfast: Refrigerator Oatmeal 
Lunch: Black Bean Salsa & Corn Chips
Dinner: Chipotle Chicken  

Thursday
Breakfast: Pancakes
Lunch: Alfredo and Mixed Veggies
Dinner: Taco Corn Fritters & ???  

Friday
Breakfast: Pancakes & maybe Mini Quiches

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The one where . . . we decide to try gluten free

It has come to my attention that for various reasons my husband and I should venture into the land of gluten free. I also think that it may be beneficial for my oldest and youngest children, and that it may not even be a bad idea for my middle child. Consequently, I am deep in research mode on this front. I have been making more gluten free choices and two weeks ago, my husband said that he actually wants to give it a try. That makes it easier for me, so the research mode has been amped up.

In my dilemma over making this decision, I wrote the following e-mail to a friend who lives gluten free:

The idea of just taking baby steps until it is accomplished seems more reasonable now than just going cold turkey. I have made dietary adjustments before, so I know it is possible; there is just a bit of mourning that goes along with it. With everything else I was able to have a conversation with myself. "It is not like you will never have chocolate ever again. You can do this and enjoy the times when you can have the treat." But bread? It is the staff of life. No, it turns out. Not so much.

I think one of my biggest mental blocks is the idea that there will be times when I will ingest gluten, albeit unintentionally (or intentionally at times--I am still human and I cannot comprehend that I will absolutely NEVER give in to temptation), and it makes me wonder if it will all be for naught. Will an occasional slip-up completely negate all the hard work of avoiding gluten?

For years I have been a creature of moderation in eating. There are certain things that we have totally said, "No," to, but those are things that, while not always easy to avoid, have been very doable. But the idea of staying away from those vegetables and fruits that are known to be heavily sprayed while still eating some conventional has been a simple switch. The idea that all the good could be undone with only one bite is where I am stuck. Add to all that the fact that a high-fiber diet is how I have been living for so long and now I have to change is daunting. And it is not as though I eat with no thought or concern. I put a lot of careful attention into our/my diet.


So here we go, on a gluten-free adventure. I am excited, overwhelmed and frustrated. However, it is a journey and I am looking forward to traversing the terrain.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

"I Love You Most" Pillow

Bubbie Boy and I have a couple of traditions.

I do not know how long ago we started the first one. At some point I showed him the sign for "I love you," and told him that wherever we are we can always tell each other that we love each other. We use it quite a bit.

The second one started after we became owners of the Disney movie Tangled. We had gone to the theater to see it. (With the daughter, my brother and nephew--just to clarify that it isn't totally a girly movie.) But we didn't really pick up our second "thing" after the first viewing.

At some point after the daughter had viewed the movie for the umpteenth time *sigh*, Bubbie Boy started the dialogue.

I said to him, "I love you."

He'd replied, "I love you more."


I knew what he was waiting for; he wanted me to say, "I love you most."

These are lines from the movie between Rapunzel and her awful "mother." But the lines are cute.

So began many, many nights of a ritual between myself and Bubbie Boy.

Unfortunately, I think he believes that I mean that I love him more than I love his brother or sister, but I am not going to fight that battle. THEY know I do not mean to say that.

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, I got a fabulous idea:



I decided to make a pillow for him combining the two traditions.

Here's how I did it.

1) I traced my handprint--all five fingers down on the paper. I rounded out the bottom of the print under my palm. Also, I was going to smooth out my fingers because they are no longer really young and are a little knobby, but I decided that it is those hands that tell him I love him, so I would leave them be.

2) I cut out the paper handprint, pinned it to red felt and cut out a second handprint. I ironed on heat and bond to the back of the hand (the palm, thumb, pointer finger and pinkie). For the two middle fingers, I cut a narrow strip of the heat and bond and applied it to the front.

3) Using my Silhouette and this tutorial I cut out the letters M-O-S-T from a coordinating fabric. I did not use the Silhouette fabric interfacing, I used the heat and bond from my local fabric store.



4) I was planning on using a 16-inch pillow, so I cut my front fabric at 17-1/2". I centered the felt handprint and letters onto the fabric, being sure to place them with care, then I ironed them in place. I had to be careful of the two middle fingers on the hand as there was heat and bond on the front of those. Once everything was ironed down, I folded down the two middle fingers, leaving space at the top to give them dimension, and ironed them in place. I used this tutorial on blanket stitching and stitched around the handprint. Where the fingers were not attached at the top, I just stitched through the felt, not the felt and pillow front.

5) Then I used my sewing machine to applique stitch around the letters.

6) Using another pattered coordinating fabric (I probably would have used the same fabric I used for the letters, but I didn't have enough), I cut two 12-1/4 x 17-1/2 inch pieces. On one of the 12-1/4 inch sides on each of the pieces, I turned under a half inch then turned under and inch and stitched a hem.

7) Then I pinned the two back pieces to the front piece, right sides together. The "hemmed" sides overlapped each other in the middle.

8) I stitched around the whole thing using a half inch seam allowance.

9) I turned, clipping the corners, ironed well, then top stitched using a quarter inch seam.

I then sneaked the pillow onto Bubbie's bed.

He was very excited to find it and I got lots of hugs.

Linked up @


Friday, March 2, 2012

Arg!!! Can I Just Say, "ARG?"

O.K., so there seems to be a lot of things to say, "Arg," about right now. Granted, my life is good, really good, compared to a couple of my friends right now. Friends who are terribly, terribly sick. And, really, if I was just complaining, I wouldn't be brave enough to post about it. So, let's just say that I have been doing a lot of web surfing on topics such as:

1) Naturally cleaning the home
2) Homemade neti pot solutions
3) Gluten-free diet (Can I add, "YIKES!" to my "ARG?")
4) Colloidal silver

That's a lot of stuff to wrap a brain around, and the conflicting information abounds. Well, except for the gluten-free stuff. That seems pretty set in stone.

Happier stuff?

Sure!

I found a wonderful book at the library called The Meghan Method. The best thing about that find was that I wasn't looking for it. Snickerdoodle is growing up and has decided she wants a room decor upgrade. We can do that. We never really decorated a nursery for her, so I think we can do this. Truth be told, the whole house needs a decor upgrade, but we can start with her room. Nice small beginning space.

But I was feeling a little decorating stupid. I am really, really bad at this thing. But this book. THIS BOOK!!! Meghan made me feel so much better about my abilities. She is not an interior decorator, so there are no stupid rules like, "No ceiling fans," or "Only odd-numbered groupings." No! She believes you should decorate your space to fulfill what you hope to accomplish in the space. If it is the living room, everyone who uses the living room should get a say. After all, they live there too. The teenager's room? Well, mainly it is her space, so she should have the majority of the say. I agree. However, I do reserve financial backer rights. *GRIN* And, it is my house, which, sadly, she will not be living in forever. Matter of fact, that timetable is getting smaller and smaller every day. *Sigh.*

I can't wait to read more of the book and put it into practice.

"Even so, come Lord Jesus!!!"

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Gradual Changes--Making Our Home Less Toxic



I paid a visit to my natropath a couple of weeks ago. I have been having ongoing problems--nothing major, just things that I wanted to have guidance in dealing with. During our conversation she asked what cleaning products I use. After a minute or two I told her that I really don't do that much cleaning. Yes, I dust and sweep the floor. The floor gets mopped. I don't let mold sit around in my shower or toilet. However, I don't follow a regular cleaning schedule and I don't like to use a lot of commercial cleaning products--the basic reason I don't do a whole lot of cleaning. I know that sniffing that stuff is not good for us. The whole time I am using those type of cleaning products I am trying not to breath. I mop the floor with vinegar, but I haven't taken the real plunge into more natural cleaning.

Tonight, however, that all changed.

Step #1:
Get rid of the artificial scented wax stuff in the Scentsy.

A dear friend gave me a Scentsy for my birthday a couple of years ago. I have only used it a handful of times because those scents are totally toxic. The daughter got headaches from them, and while I enjoyed having good smelling smells, I knew it really wasn't good.

So . . . I heated up the existing wax with my hair dryer and threw it out. I put coconut oil and lime essential oil in the bowl and plugged it in. So. Much. Better!!! Good smelling home--no toxic induced guilt. Ideally I would like to use beeswax not coconut oil, but I do not currently have any beeswax available, so I used what I had.

Step #2:
Wipe down the walls.

Have you ever been totally amazed to find dust on the walls of your home? It totally freaks me out. So tonight I mixed up the following:

Wall Cleaning Spray
2 cups distilled water
1 cup white vinegar
12 drops lemon essential oil

Mix in a spray bottle. Shake before each spray.

My living room walls got the treatment tonight with the above spray and a microfiber cloth.

Step #3:
Refresh the carpet.

I have found a recipe for a carpet cleaner using essential oils in a rented steam cleaner. That will be happening at some point, but for tonight I vacuumed very well then shook the following onto the carpet:

Carpet Refresher
1 cup cornmeal
2 cups Borax
2 cups baking soda
10 drops rosemary essential oil
20 drops lemon essential oil
20 drops lavender essential oil

Mix well and sprinkle on carpet. Allow to sit for several hours, or better yet, overnight.

The mixture is currently sitting on my carpet and will be vacuumed up in the morning.

My family just got home and they are all very happy with the wonderful smells from all my work.

One room started, many to go, but slow and steady wins the race.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

A piece of my heart

My third born, my Bubbie Boy, is the child I shake my head over. The one who causes me to do deep breathing. The one who makes me wonder on a regular basis if we are going to be taking a trip to the emergency room. I often say that his older sister and brother did absolutely nothing to prepare us for him. They are responsible, mature. Bubbie? Not so much.

A sign hangs in his room that reads, "Meandering to the beat of a different drummer." He is very unlike the rest of us who are living this life with him. Yet he is passionate. He feels things deeply. He fiercely defends those whom he loves. He sings at the top of his lungs. He wakes in the morning asking if anyone wants to play a board game.

To be truthfully honest, he Absolutely. Wears. Me. Out. For me to try to accomplish anything is a chore because he almost always requires my attention.

So, why is it, that tonight, while he is having a sleep-over at a friend's house, do I keep looking at his room and sighing? It feels like part of my heart is missing. Don't get me wrong. I am glad he is enjoying his friends and I am not trying to keep him my little boy, but I just feel better when he is here.

I know I should be striving to accomplish some of those many, many things I am always saying that I am unable to because of his activity level; but, honestly, I will be glad when he is back home under our roof.

I so love that little boy.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Parent Directed Education



Our homeschool is in for a shake-up. Plans are not yet hammered down, so I do not want to share details, but for us it is big.

In light of the changes, I have become increasingly annoyed by the lack of support for parents who are just trying to do what they feel the Lord wants for THEIR family.

Jimmie inspired me to make a blog button of my own. My old "Proud Homeschooling Mom" just wasn't fitting right for now, so this is my attempt at replacing that button.

I am NOT a militant homeschooler.


Details will be forthcoming with what I think will be a long editorial. For right now just let me say, I am clinging to my Father for guidance.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

HOW many steps???!!!


Do you have people living in your home who cannot just wait to get to their (BIG breath) Xbox, texting phone, DS, Ipod, computer, TV, etc., etc., etc.?

We seem to have that problem.

I decided to come up with a solution.

It's called PEDOMETERS.

I placed an order on Monday for three pedometers. (I have had mine for a little over a week.) Did you know that you are supposed to walk 10,000 steps each day? You are. I am not going to require quite that much. But I am going to require 6,000 steps. We will increase that number over the summer. Each person who desires screen time must log 6,000 steps on their pedometer first.

Excitement currently abounds. The little step trackers have been in our possession for all of thirty minutes. We will see how excited everyone is tomorrow.

As for me, I am excited and will continue to be.

Works for me!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

New Year -- New School Plan

We are two days into our new school schedule--so far, so good. However, I have learned to not count on 2 days being a predictor for future days. Tomorrow will throw a wrench in our day as it is the day I have staff meeting and Snickerdoodle (a/k/a "The Daughter") has riding lessons right in the middle of the day.

I have started using a workbox system for DS #2. He seems to be liking it. He likes to work through the numbered boxes. I have to find stuff to put in each , but that makes it more exciting.

DS #1 is using his new history curriculum. We LOVE it. I wish that Notgrass would come out with curriculum in every area. But I still have Math-U-See.

Snickerdoodle is working hard on her science and Starting Points. She is getting a head start on her assignments for Starting Points and, as usual, I am very proud of her.

The husband and I got to exercise together yesterday and today, first thing in the morning. We hope to continue that. I actually made the kids breakfast both mornings--no cold cereal, although we love cold cereal. But the point here is to keep tummies full until lunch time so we don't get derailed by scavenging for food.

Hope we can keep it up. It takes 7 weeks to form a habit, right. Yikes! Two days down, 33 more to go.

Keeping my fingers crossed!!!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

"Hi, my name is ****, and I am a recipe-a-holic"

*I don't use my real name on my blog, so . . .

I have a bit of an obsession. I LOVE recipes. Used to be I would surf the web and e-mail myself recipes. Matter of fact, there are eleven pages of recipes in my recipe folder on my e-mail account. Now, well, now I have Pinterest. I should make a resolution to actually make the food represented by these recipes, but that will never happen. I use them occasionally, but I will never get around to using them all. I will say, it is a much cheaper hobby than some. I get to enjoy the wonderful looking food and I don't gain a pound. But, seriously, it is a little crazy.

*sigh*