What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Friday, May 26, 2017

Puppies! (And a Birthday.)






I think it an extraordinary thing to be born in the midst of fragrant, lilac-perfumed May.

The first clusters of purple and white lilac blossom out just in time to be plucked from the bush by little hands and bundled up in birthday bouquets...the very best kind of birthday presents.  I always put some by my bed... it is my opinion that there is nothing more extraordinary at making a person feel luxurious than flowers by the bed.  At night, they flavor my dreams.  In the morning, when sun is filtered through cloudy curtains-just upon waking, without even opening my eyes, I stretch my arms wide and breathe deep, that glorious scent.  And asparagus- tell me, a birthday with the first asparagus of the season is made that much more special, wouldn't you say?

My birthday was nice, despite Matt being out of town.  My mom visited and brought HAPPY cookies with her.  The children worked on handmade gifts, so sweet.  Corynn made me homemade Andes mints that were to-die-for.  YUM.  The day before Matt had made breakfast and cut a heart in cheese for me.  I ate dessert, a rare treat these days, and I made a households worth of one of my favorite meals Chicken and Vegetable Alfredo.  Matt doesn't prefer alfredo and I've been avoiding pasta in order to lose weight- so that was the special treat I decided upon for my birthday.

I turned 35 years old- which doesn't seem all that old and yet, very much too old at the same time.  Judah said the other day, out of the blue, "Woah, Mama!  You have A LOT of gray in your hair!  You have a whole PATCH -right there!!  You should really dye it!"  And if you have never heard Judah speak...he speaks VERY loudly and with MUCH enthusiasm.  To hear him say it, you would surely think it MUST be done.  And quickly.

Actually, I think I might.

But then again- if I dye my hair, that opens up a whole new can of worms, doesn't it?  One doesn't usually stop dying ones hair after one has begun.  And that is a whole lot of commitment.  And cash.

Then again- I am not keen on being grayed while in my 30's.  Not when women in their 50's and 60's would look younger than I would.  That would be a strange thing.  It's a conundrum.  Thoughts?

Lately, I have been having a hard time focusing on more than one event at a time.  It is like my brain can't fragment into the necessary parts anymore.  (Old age?!)  I could juggle lots of things with ease before and now I have to get through one thing in order to get through another.  Getting the puppies to their new homes was the big thing in the beginning of May.  They left the weekend of Mother's Day and my birthday.  It was sad to see them go.  Realizing I don't want 8 full size dogs living with us next year didn't make it much easier to see 7 adorable little puppies leave us in a day.  Boy, were they precious.  How can you resist those adorable faces?

Then it was Mother's Day.  Then it was a curriculum sale to prepare for.  Then a weekend out of town.  Now it is the garden and an anniversary party and a vacation.  If I can just get the garden in, I can think about the anniversary party.  And after the anniversary party, I can finally focus on the vacation.  One thing at a time.   Just one thing.

I thought the vacation would be the last of the big things but June is already shaping up to be just as busy.    As busy as spring is, it is a busy that I quite like.  Getting my hands dirty, watching flowers swell and blossom, feeling the sun, visiting with friends and road trips.  The last of the school days and the postponing of school days for planting days.  It feels...productive.

And that always feels good, doesn't it?

Friday, May 12, 2017

The Month that Was: April

A quick resolutions update since we are halfway through May already!

The Good~

Sent Snail Mail 3x

Upped the Ante on my weight loss goals by adding running (or actually a mix of jogging/then walking/then jogging/then walking) 5x a week for all of April.  Still no real difference in weight which had me VERY discouraged (as you can imagine) but I measured myself and I have lost 1 inch pretty much everywhere.  So that was at least something.  I've upped the ante again (now that we are in May) by using MyFitnessPal.com to count calories.  (For those who have asked: I've tried THM (and have the book!) and though I know it works amazingly for many others, it never seems to work for me.  I don't know why.  Maybe I just eat too much?  I still try to follow its' guidelines by sticking with S and E meals and I continue to limit carbs but since I am not showing any real weight loss (and that is the goal), I am compelled to count calories too.  Blech.)

Continued with the Envelope System...using cash for everything purchased.

Had personal Bible reading on a daily basis.

Started seeds indoors (I'll still need to buy a few things...but I made a dent.)

Didn't drink soda all of April.

Sold all the puppies!  Yay!

The Bad~

I never ordered school books in May.  ACK!

I never canned meat to get it out of the freezers.  The day I intended to do it- I sent Corynn out to find the stew meat and she couldn't find it anywhere.  I looked where I thought it was and couldn't find it either.  Sooooo....my window closed and never reopened.

I never made a menu plan in April and it made things very inconvenient!  I made a few more trips to the store than I should have too.

The Next Month- (plans for May.  Or at least, what's left of it.)

~ Can some meat from freezers. Ultimately I would like to consolidate and shut off one freezer by the end of May.  (I don't know if I'll be able to do that or not but canning some would be a great step in that direction.)

~ Clear out main garden.

~ Weed asparagus bed. 

~ Add mulch or rocks to rhubarb.  (Something to keep out the burdock.)

~ Transplant strawberries?

~ Plant Gardens.

~ Prepare food/packing for camping trip at the end of the month.  

~ Make a menu plan for the rest of May (haven't had one so far...)

~ Spray and  mulch fruit trees.

~ School Testing for children. (ugh)

~ Sort through boys' clothing and donate excess

~ Make Summer Reading lists for children. (I'm going to have to 

Trying not to be overwhelmed at the next couple weeks... but it isn't working very well.  ;-)

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Five Days of Darkness









Hello computer. Hello lights.  Hello flushing toilet and water that runs from a faucet freely.  Oh, how I missed you this week!

A fearsome store blew through on Monday and since then, we have been without power.  When the electricity went out in the house before the storm even came, I just *knew* it was going to be a long time before we got it back again.  It went from quiet and calm to fierce, jetting winds in a matter of moments and the children nearly got caught right in it.  (Children who think blowing winds are fun to run and catch things in may think again in the future now that they know how difficult it can be to get out of them!) Gusty walls of wind blew roofing and siding and insulation waaaaaaaaaaaaayyyy down the hill and pushed trees down everywhere.  Lots of trampolines were decimated (not ours, thankfully!) and all the neighboring towns lost power.  Our hill was the last to have it return (five days later) except one town nearby who (poor things!) are still waiting.

Electricity trucks from Michigan have traveled over to help and it is more likely to pass a cherry-picker truck on the roads than it is to pass a tractor (and that says something for around here).

Thankfully we have a gas stove, so eating wasn't particularly hard.  Soups.  Homemade Mac n Cheese.  Pancakes, eggs, sausage.   We raided the grandparents' lighted (!), watered (!) and heated (!) home for a jammy party pizza and movie night (we brought the pizza!) on Friday night and when we came home, the lights had turned on.  The first thing I did was take a very hot shower.   I may or may not have used up every last drop of hot water...

I had to start fixing supper earlier than usual because the house got so dark in the afternoons.  We read by oil lamp or battery operated twinkle lights.  Twinkle Lights are my new best friend.  We hauled water from the lake to flush the toilet (and it still stunk) and gathered rain water to wash dishes.  We plugged our generator in just long enough to keep our freezers of meat from spoiling.

On Thursday there was a frost warning so with flashlight braced firmly in teeth, I went out and tried to cover up a bit of lilac and a bit of peach tree to keep them from death by burning.  Thankfully, they looked beautiful in the morning so my efforts were needless.

Rationing our meager drinking water supply (and finding ways to refill, refill, refill it) was the most difficult part of the whole ordeal.  Although by the end of the week and no heat (thanks to our new electric dependent wood furnace) we were pretty chilly too.  By Friday the house sat at a chilly 52 degrees.  And, wouldn't you know it- I finished packing away the last of the winter things just a week or two ago.  Perfect timing.

 We were so cold, it was hard to concentrate so I made the executive decision to travel for schooling on Friday.  We raided the library to do math, the science center for writing, grammar, science, the car ride to and fro was filled with history (audiobooks!  Love 'em!) and we headed to my sisters' warm house for an art party.  It actually worked out pretty great.

Other than that, life seemed pretty normal and not all that different than what our lives look like on a daily basis.  (Minus laundry)  And I realized that my 'quick hops'  onto the computer take up a lot more cumulative time than I would like to admit.  I'll be remedying that.

 Being without power for a week makes you eternally grateful for things like running water.  HOT water.  A flushing toilet.  Lights.   Abundant, clean water.

It takes losing these things to be reminded just how grateful we ought to be to have them.

And we feel extremely grateful these days.