27 May 2015

MYO Cold Gel Packs

I've been meaning to try making some gel packs for the Man/lings in case they got bruised and bumped, but it just so happened this morning the Munchkin slipped down the deck steps (again).  So Manling #3 and I did a quick search for solutions.

Apparently all they consist of is:

1 cup water
1/2 cup rubbing alcohol
freezer bags--1 for the pack, 1 to layer over top while freezing to prevent leakage.

You can double or triple the recipe depending on the size you want to make.
If you add more rubbing alcohol, the pack will be softer; easier on worse injuries.

No reason not to have some of these on hand!

Winter Projects and Books 2015

Yes, of course it's the end of May and I'm planning my projects for the upcoming winter.  Heavens!  When else would you?  If I wait till winter gets here...well, that's called "Procrastination" and I am not one of those!  A-hem.

I will, naturally, add to and amend the list as needed throughout the summer/fall.  I'm going to tack the Reading List on here too....so I don't forget where I put it. 

Winter Projects 2015
1.  Corn/Rice/Flax bags for heat/cold packs.  
My boss when I worked at The Office had a lovely rice bag she would use to keep warm when our side of the office hallway was freezing (which was nearly always because the heat didn't work in the winter and the A/C was stuck in "high cold" all summer).  I used it when I was in after-hours to keep my fingers from freezing to my keyboard, and it was a lovely little thing.  I've been meaning to make some for at home for years now, but it's one of those "not really important" projects that I have finally decided to pursue for this year.  The Man/lings prefer the heater set substantially lower than my (aching, aging) bones like, and I love the heaty blanket they bought me...but the thought of using the electricity for that makes me cringe.  So when I saw "Therapuetic Corn Pillows" at lehmans.com I immediately went looking for these:


Because I've got scrap fabric, and this cheapskate ain't payin' money for a bought one! 

2.  New tablecloths for the table.
I've been looking for some at thrift stores and yard sales, and I guess I'm just picky 'cause I haven't found a whole lot I like, not to mention we could use some new napkins and maybe even (gasp) placemats!  Can you imagine?  ;)  

The next question then is whether or not I'll have a new table by then.

26 May 2015

Spring and Summer Book List 2015

At present I have a plethora of mom/home/schooling ebooks I'm reading, bit by bit.  I think I got the better part of the pile out of an Ultimate Bundle of books the other year; and in true Procrastinator Fashion, they have been lounging in a quiet dusty corner of my hard drive, awaiting the light of my Adobe Reader.

One of my (unlisted) Goals for the year was to clean out said hard drive, particularly after its brief demise in January, glean what I could, ditch what was redundant, and save/print what worked and was Really Very Useful--like Thomas the Tank Engine!  Whoo-whoo!  (Sorry, my little buddy from across the street was here last week, and my brain is still in shock from having Small People in the house again.) 

I'm still reeling from the sheer enormity of the task I have set myself (along with finishing up the backlog of scrapbooks from the last ten-plus years), but I have learned a lot.  Here is my current stack, and a short review of each.

Book List 2015:

1.   Live for Him by Leigh Ann Dutton of IntentionalbyGrace.com  
This is my new favorite goal-setting workbook.  She also has a new Intentional Planning book to help set up your goals and plans in a workable way for the year.  I've gotten so much more accomplished this year due to these two books. 
2.  Goal Setting Workbook by Ruth Soukup of www.LivingWellSpendingLess.com 
The graphics in this workbook are charming, and I had filled it out before I read through Live for Him.  I loved them both so much I will probably still use them both together even though there's a bit of overlap. 
3.  Hula Hoop Girl by September McCarthy  hulahoopgirl.net
I was glancing through this ebook while watching a movie and realized I was paying more attention to the book than the movie, which is usually a good sign that I should just read the book.  I am adding it to my quiet time in the mornings.
4.  One Second After the Lights Go Out by Lisa Bedford  www.thesurvivalmom.com
This is a emergency prep report in advance of her upcoming book on surviving an EMP.  I can't wait to read the book, because the report was so full of good information. 
5.  The Homemaker's Guide to Creating the Perfect Schedule by Amy Roberts www.raisingarrows.net
This is a lovely little guide to setting up a household/homeschooling schedule.  I didn't realize how dated my schedule had become now that the Manlings are older.  We were working with a daily routine that suited a bunch of elementary/middle school boys, not teenagers who need more sleep and would rather play video games than read books.  
6.   One Bite at a Time by Tsh Oxenreider www.simplemom.net
I resisted this book for a while, I think because there's 52 WEEKS of projects.  Overwhelm!  But as I started through it, there were some projects I was already in the middle of or had already put in place or really didn't need to set up.   This book has still been very helpful in pointing out different ideas or ways of doing some of the things that might or might not be working for me.  
7.  Good Wife's Guide by Darlene Schacht www.timewarpwife.com
This is on my July book list.
8.  Called Home & Simply Homeschool by Karen DeBeus www.SimplyLivingForHim.com
We are two Manlings graduated, eleven years in, and two Manlings and five years to go.  I have my days when I am so tired and exhausted of anything school-related that I think I might go bonkers.  These two books are like a fresh breath of air and a shot-of-Godly-grace in the haze of the hardest days. 
9.  True Christian Motherhood by June Fuentes www.truechristianmotherhood.com
This is on my June book list.
10. Kingdom Distractions by Jenny Ervin www.amothersheritage.com
I read through this short and sweet little ebook in about 15 minutes.  Then I printed it out, put it in my prayer notebook, and whenever I start to lose sight of The Goal, I take another 15 minutes to read through it.  The book is about just what it says: distractions.  You know the ones: the Internet and too many outside activities, time-wasting distractions that sneak up our time and steal it away like a thief.  If you have a tendency to lose yourself in externals during the day, read this little gem whenever you need to!

Other books on my To Do List:
1.  Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen), again.  I prefer Sense and Sensibility, so maybe I'll read that later this week.
2.  The Four Loves (CS Lewis)--I wish I could say this one has me captivated, but it gets a bit long-winded.  Not for the faint of heart, I'll say that.
3.   North and South (Elizabeth Gaskell)--The BBC miniseries of this book is one of my all-time favorite movies; but my friend has read the book and says it was sorta dry.  But I plan to read it anyway, between canning this summer.
4.  Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss (with a Bible study to use with it)
5.  Under God by Toby Mac--This is part of our Bible study during the week.

I'm always open for reading recommendations, so if you've got something good or funny or good and funny, drop me a comment and let me know.  

20 May 2015

Why do I always think I need to re-invent the wheel?

I have been trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.

The Hubs seems to think that once the two youngest Manlings are out of the house, I will be going back to work at a full time job somewhere, and the truth?  The truth is, I can't fathom leaving this house to spend my days with a bunch of strangers, every day, for the rest of my adult life.  I've developed some serious anxiety issues over the last couple of years, and my stress level goes up every time I have to go out.  I really would like nothing better than to just stay here, quietly, in my house, for the rest of forever...with the occasional drive on Sundays and a trip to local graveyards for genealogy research.

This is not the point of this post.

The point of this post is that I have been thinking about really doing "the blog thing" for a while, but I have no ideas what I would write.  Most of what I know someone else already has a blog for or writes about much better than I could.  I'm not even sure I qualify as a semi-expert on ANYTHING.  Except feeding Manlings, and my husband is better at that than I am. 

But after starting a blog at Wordpress, and not liking it, I think I'm going to stick with this.  Because I like this blog set-up, and I like this spot in the 'verse.

Now to figure out what I'm good at....

13 January 2012

I want SNOW!!

I'm married to a man who loves cold weather.
My Manlings would rather play in the snow than swim in the summer.
And I confess....I love snow days.  
I really do.

There's just something so peaceful about a cold winter day with snow quietly blanketing the ground.  Something refreshing and cleansing.

When I lived in Wyoming, winter storms consisted of howling winds and blowing snow that would drift up to your windowsills and sometimes pile so thick it would stop life cold.  I LOVED it.  Especially since it meant afternoons huddled by the woodstove in our basement living room, sewing or reading or playing board games with my brother and sister.  Very Laura Ingalls Wilder-ish.  

Now I live in a little suburban house with no woodstove, no fireplace, and the only winds that blow across the farmer's cornfield down the street usually bring Rain.  Lots of Rain.  This year it's rained so much that I think we might have beat out Washington for precipitation.  

But every once in a while...
...grey clouds will pile up on the horizon, and a cold wind will sweep in.  And we'll get a snow that makes the homesickness that never quite goes away almost bearable.  

Today is not that day.
There's barely a dusting on the ground.  Those clouds look much more fearsome than they are.  All bluff and bluster!  Still, even as the golden yellow sun breaks through from the other end of the development, I can close my eyes and pretend.  

On the upside, the roads are clear, barely wet anymore; and today is Town Day.  So I'm off to the bank and the store and Lowe's for paint to get that laundry room done.  

And who knows?  Maybe those clouds will decide to be ferocious.  Maybe God will send MY 18 feet of snow to cover our house and neighborhood.  

Or maybe we'll just have to move to Alaska.

10 January 2012

Positively Filthy Rich

It's been a rough day...and God knows I needed a bit of a kick in the pants to remember that my current "mess" is my own fault.  But in the midst of the mess, He also wanted to point out the fairly obvious:  no matter how "poor" we might be by America's standards?  We have SO MUCH when compared to the rest of the world.  It's absolutely appalling, the waste and excess in this house.  I can state without blinking an eye that I had NO idea just how much Stuff was sitting in my laundry room.  Granted, a lot of what was on the shelves in there was storage.  I keep extra paper towels and laundry soap ingredients up above the washer and dryer.  One wall has wire shelving for cans and jars.  But it was the Stuff I didn't know about--things I had just haphazardly stuffed in an open space because I would get to it "later"...and later just happened to be today.  

I'll spare you the gory details of what necessitated the emptying of my laundry room.  But the cleaning led to a huddled discussion with The Hubby about when/how we were tiling the floor in there.  Why not now, we decided.  We had got the tile a couple of months ago, and there were a couple of items to pick up at the hardware store to complete the project (tile grout, etc).  So we picked up the Older Manlings from VoTech, went to lunch, and then to Lowe's.  When we got home, the Manlings and I all finished emptying the laundry room and stripping the walls.

Which brings me to the point of this post:
Regardless of how AWFUL my days may seem, the sheer insanity of life that astounds, the complete idiocy of some decisions made around here, we have life GOOD.  

No, not good.  We have it GREAT.

I can walk into my pantry...or the laundry room...or the cellarway...or go downstairs to the storage room....and I can fix any one of a dozen...maybe two or three dozen..different meals because I have everything I need.  When compared with places like Africa and India, we are positively Filthy Rich.  

08 January 2012

Well, despite the fact that we called a couple of Sick Days for the end of the week thanks to this nasty little upper respiratory bugger, I think I got more done than I'd hoped for.  All things considered, I should give myself a bit of a pat on the back.

Weekly Accomplishments:
1.  School work--I sat in my favorite chair, huddled in a blanket, sipping hot tea like I had no tomorrows for three days, and still we managed to get everything done (except the State Study, and that is NOT priority).  Go me!

2.  Obviously starting my Cleaning Rampage was not on for the week, BUT!  I felt better on Friday and decided to mow through some of the mess in my bedroom.  UGH.  It was a mistake, 'cause the dust I kicked up just made me feel worse again the next two days...but there was a serious amount of mess taken care of.  So...Bonus Points for Mommy!

3.  Paperwork--Oh Lord....it follows me around wherever I go!  Please, slay this dragon for me!  *deep sigh*  Yeah, He helps those who help themselves, right?  Well, then maybe I'll get a reprieve for a bit.  I went through most of the bookshelves in my Home Office area and filed and sorted and prioritized and even conquered some of the "to do list".  

4.  Menu Plans--Why am I struggling so hard with these?  I updated the Recipe Binder, organized a whole bunch of meals behind the plans, and I still just can't sit down and MAKE UP THE MENU.  I even printed off some other people's weekly suggestions for lunches, etc.  Stuff that we'll eat and are acceptable budget-wise.  So why can't I just go for it and make the menus??  *stops to consider*  

I think part of this problem is that I am not very adventuresome in the kitchen.  I worry too much that something will flop or the Manlings won't eat it or DH won't like it.  I know I shouldn't let that limit me, but it's frustrating when you want to try new things and are worried all the men in your house won't eat it.  (Not that I can honestly say this has ever happened...completely.  There are one or two protestors regularly whenever I make something; but it scares me!)  

Well...I guess I'm going to have to deal with it.  'Cause the menu I did manage to cobble together for this week is a LOT of new stuff.  More Bean recipes and a couple of Red Meat recipes (which is something we don't do often with DH's gout). 

5.  Family Genealogy--I stumbled across a scholarship that Manling #1 is eligible for since becoming an Eagle Scout.  One of the requirements is to fill out a 4 Generation Ancestor Chart.  Lo and behold, you can now find the Family History binders on my newly-cleaned shelves...and I went through and filled most of it out for him last evening.  And then I started poking around on ancestry.com AGAIN.  And I decided to put up My Basic Family Tree and another for the Hubby.  Around 11 o'clock last night, I finally decided to stop for the night....  Heh.  I showed the Manlings this morning (and they all pretended to be suitably impressed, good children that they are), and they asked if I'm going to continue.  I think, yes.  I've got A LOT of information I've gathered over the years.  It deserves some organization and updating.  Once I get that all sorted and uploaded, then I'll get my membership renewed and start some more research.  *sigh of contentment*  I like not working....

On the To Do List for this week?
1. Start my Cleaning Rampage.
2. Can some chicken stock.
3.  Finish cleaning the bedroom.
4.  Plan our family vacation for Memorial Day.
5.  Start working on the boys' official high school transcripts.

Oh ambition...where art thou??