Saturday, December 28, 2013

A Quick Update, Then Christmas

Thought I had forgotten you? No, just not able to keep up with everything. Pushed and pushed to get the house ready enough to bring in a realtor and at the same time get ready for Christmas. We failed on both accounts. We weren't fully ready for the realtor or Christmas. We did interview over the phone some realtor companies that come to our town, most don't. Then when the realtor we had chosen came to the house and later brought back what she thought we should sell our house for, we had a bad feeling about it. As we contemplated that feeling we realized we need to finish projects on the house but wait to put our home on the market. You know what restraint that takes? Your impulse is to hurry and sell and that is the advice you get but hurry might not get us the price we need.

At least I've done the research to know what each of the realtor companies offer and at what price. Let me just say the majority of the realtors are waiting for the buyer to fall into their lap and will admit if pressed that many of the things they do aren't effective - like open houses, they just do them anyway. How does that make sense?

Meanwhile this coming week we are meeting with the family that owns the home we wish to buy and hopefully settle one way or another on some concerns. Don't know what the Lord has in mind but we feel peaceful on that front. How we will pay for that place if our house sells for a dime like the realtor advised us to market ours for is beyond me and naturally panic settles in over that thought. (Houses just haven't sold in our area for the past year unless they were listed for dirt cheap.) It takes a mighty shove to push that aside and say "Thy will be done Lord" and search for his still small voice. With faith it all will work out.

We do have a large amount of things to sell or move. So maybe that is what we need to do first before putting our home on the market. That requires that we have a place to move to so we know first of all what we will need there. We have a forging shop and a storage shed and a semi-trailer Kirk was going to turn into a shop but presently holds lots of storage from our home. We have a little pile of scrap metal we use on projects like the front porch and, and, and all neatly stacked but maybe folks couldn't imagine the place with it gone.

There is all the things at the corrals too that need to go or be sold. We have our work cut out for us and it will all take time. Maybe the first step is indeed a place to move to and then we can shift to what is going and what is staying and putting it up for sale with its removal before selling our home. Just Lord please make it before I have two lawns to mow and a garden to deal with. The lawn at the other home is HUGE. That will have to eventually change. 
As for Christmas, it was none stop go, go, go. We had all four little girls for two days and then asked that the little one be picked up on Thursday.
  I must admit guilt pangs wracked me off and on Thursday evening after the one year old ran to the far corner of the living room and yelled NO!! when her dad asked her if she was ready to go home. She had so much fun and experienced new things at every turn, one can hardly blame her for not wanting to leave. But she came on Tuesday and left on Thursday, I'd say that was pretty long for a one year old. This is a very needy child who demands human interaction almost constantly. This grandma had only an hour or two worth of sleep Tuesday night and not much on Wednesday night either because of her constant tossing and turning in the Play and Pack by my bed or part of the nights I was sandwich between her and her four year old sister being kicked and punched. If sleep didn't come and soon I'd not be walking come Friday. Addison's disease does that to you. 

On Tuesday Toni read " The Gingerbears' First Christmas" and we made tiny ginger bread men for Santa's elves, The Prep and Landing crew. If you haven't watched those shows you should. They are really cute and our four year old became a big fan. We made ginger bears for Santa and of course peeled carrots for the reindeer. When the food disappeared off the plate we set out Christmas Eve for Santa and his crew, each child in turn declared it was cemented proof that Santa does indeed exist. On Christmas Eve we kept the computer tuned to NORAD so the kids could pop in and out of the room to see Santa's progress something I've not done before

Meanwhile, the two older girls popped in and out of the basement pushing the handle back and forth on the old bulky knitting machine creating a scarf for themselves. The machine has no electronics  and is very similar to the wood ones made and used in cabins in the pioneer era. Knowledege, time, and the feeling of artistic creation being one of the gifts I wished to give them this year. I later crocheted frills on the ends and will begin blocking them today, along with the one I whipped up for the four year old. 

The marshmallow popcorn didn't taste quite right being made like Rice Crispi bars. I couldn't find my old recipe but I'm sure it had a touch of Karo syrup in it. Still it was fun.

The six year old received a sewing machine from her parents for Christmas on Monday being she is into fashion and our oldest daughter helped her sew two draw string bags. Her first sewing experience. She did very well.

 The kids played in the snow for two days. The youngest had the most bewildered look on her face as we dressed her up in snow pants, mittens, hat and snow boots. Or attempted to put snow boots on her. She has such thick ankles you can't get her feet in and without the liners the boots fell right off. We settled on high top tennis shoes. 

Bundled to the waddling stage, she became a one year old dare devil. The kids don't go out in the snow at home but live in it here so this was this tykes first experience with the cold white stuff. She flopped all over in the snow and the faster the better when sliding down the hill. The problem being she flew off the sled if the speed wasn't controlled. We attached a length of baling twine to the saucer and slowed her decent to solve that problem.
 On Christmas our oldest daughter (their aunt) and the girls dug deep into the costume boxes and clothes flew everywhere as they whipped them off and on with frequent costume changes while acting out the story leading up to Jesus Christ's birth. 

 The shepperds weren't exactly Scottish I know but our oldest daughter insisted on wearing the Touring caps. Her reasoning, "They would have been there had they known." We ran out of sheep so a llama attending this non traditional scene. 

She also decided that one of the wise men must have been a businessman too and donned a vest and this hat on our four year old.

We had to repeat the part of Samuel the Lamanite high on the city wall, (aka, the bench), calling the people to repentance and prophesying of Jesus birth. The older girls kept hitting Samuel, with the wadded up paper balls or rather our four year old while peels of laughter rang out. They were completely rewriting scripture for the  Lord protects Samuel from the stones and arrows slung by the angry crowd. 

When Kirk got home on Friday he showed the kids a neat trick with a pomegranate. You cut it in half and tap all around the outside and the seeds fall out. He also drilled into a coconut so the kids could drink the liquid before cutting it in half to scoop out the insides. Adventure abounds within these walls. LOL Now I have to figure out what to do with it. I found out a carrot peeler does nicely to take off the brown outer layer left when the inside comes out but the taste is very bland with the one we have.....hmm..... 

Yes, indeed we had fun this past four days with the kiddos and now they are off to their dad's and today I'm refusing to get out of bed until noon or near unto it. I'll just write, read, and play the bum for I'm plum done in with demands. I hit the stage of my Autism where I'm so over stimulated I've hate everyone and everything. I'm smart enough to know it is just an emotional reaction. Oh how I hate emotional reactions. See, I hate everything. Though to be fair I dislike emotional reactions on any day. 

Emotions are such liars and too often deceive one into journeying down the wrong path where reason is not one of the companions. I try my best to not act upon my hateful emotions knowing they are imposters and to lessen the chance of a bite in my voice, I keep as much to myself as possible until the feelings pass. 

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and are looking forward to the New Year as I am.

Friday, December 13, 2013

French Toast Sandwiches

And while I'm cooking up a storm for Kirk's next work shifts I made French toast sandwiches or dessert or whatever you want to call them. I sliced sourdough bread and set it aside while I mixed a little powdered sugar in cream cheese to slightly sweeten it but you wouldn't have to. I whipped four eggs in a bowl with a touch of milk. My cooking is not detailed because my ingredients vary. Two of the eggs were ginormous from the two, two year old hens keeping John Henry, the rooster, company and  the other two were two pullet eggs so how do you measure that? It is like the watery pumpkin I'm going to use today for pumpkin bars. I'm thinking I'll get out some sugar pie pumpkin puree also to mix with the Cinderella pumpkin puree so it is thicker and then strain the whole thing for a while to drain off some liquid.

Anyway, I got off track there. I spread the sweetened cream cheese on one slice of bread and smoothed some low sugar blueberry jam on the other slice of bread placing them on top of each other to form a sandwich. Then cutting the sandwich in half I soaked it in the French toast egg mixture flipping sides as the egg saturated the bread. The next step is to toast them as you would French toast. After cooked, I sprinkled powdered sugar on top. 
Hind thought makes me think that my usual adding of vanilla and cinnamon into the egg mixture would have been good in this situation too. You could also change up the type of jam you used. Blueberry was just handy at the moment. I'm also thinking I'll cut the sandwiches into wedges instead of just across, more visually appealing that way. 
We put the computer desk back to the way it was since our four year old no longer is pushing off and on the computer. Yes, we have a one year old but she isn't here as often and we do need to put the house up for sell. When we moved it we first took a photo of the backside so we knew just how to hook it up again. Not that I haven't done it without but we are practicing for when we move and we are photographing everything electrical to save hassle.     

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Cold Weather and Setting the Stage to Sell

Warmer weather is on its way. We can breathe through our mouths once more. Think this is a small thing. How miserable are you when you have a cold? Yes, the lips dry out and your throat is always dry and you really begin to appreciate the workings of your nasal passages. It is disconcerting in the single digits when the cold is accompanied by 30 mile an hour wind chilling blasts and you suck in air to have your nostrils seal shut. My sympathy has gone out to the poor critters shivering in the cold. "Oh the weather outside is frightful but the fire is so delightful"

Why the goats are particularly bad about this shivering I don't know but they "shiver in the cold let us bring them silver and gold" (Hush!! brain, your interfering with my thoughts.) they do shiver far worse than the other animals we've raised like horses, beef, sheep, pigs, chickens. Come to think of it, I've never seen a chicken shiver. Hunch down and become as small as possible yes, but shiver - no.
Despite Kirk screwing a piece of plywood across 3/4 of the narrow doorway into the goat shed and all but the roof being insulated, the does spend a great deal of time shivering. Anyone know why goats and not the other animals and do and why Christmas carols keep creeping into my thoughts? Does this happen to you?

What I was thinking when I was interrupted by music playing loudly in my head was that the warm weather, 20's and 30's brings with it the need to clean sheds and it will be nice to not see the goats shivering. It bothers my sympathetic side.

I don't know about you but I'm seeing the days of December fly by while my finger tips and face feel like they are freezing off. I'm panicking here. Hence, last nights late night shopping on the web. Today I need to regroup and figure out what I don't have and what needs made before the day arrives despite not really knowing when that day is. My daughter talked about doing their Christmas in pieces. The 23rd being Christmas dinner and opening all gifts that aren't from the big man in the red suit. He of course delivers on Christmas Eve and they will open those Christmas morning possibly before she has to be to work at 6. My hubby on the other hand works most of Christmas week away from home along with our son so not a clue what we are doing.

All Kirk and I really want for Christmas is a new place to live. The deal on the house we made seems to be coming unraveled. If it is going to do so I hope it is quick so we can get back on the market shopping. Not that I haven't been looking still. All this stress and it is no wonder we have lived in this house for 32 years.What will we do when we have ours on the market too?

We felt great peace when we bid on the place, despite reservations. From experience I know that can mean two things. All these second thoughts and problems we are having now are just the devil at work and it will work out in the end. The other is that lessons needed learned by us working on this deal and indeed it will go completely south but the experience will give us wisdom and put us in a better position for what we need to do later if we will let it.

Patience is not a virtue I have mastered. I like things spelled out and done. Autistic people like myself can't figure out social games especially when that Autistic person is very very analytically minded like myself. Think Temperance on the show Bones, that is pretty much me. Not quite so verbally blunt and not a genius IQ but I'll guarantee you that those extremely blatant thoughts are roaming upstairs though they don't always make it out the door.

 My husband calls me narrow minded. Like the other day when my thoughts did indeed go outside and I said woman look ridiculous in high high heels because they walk so awkward. Why would a self respecting woman wear them when they not only look silly but the shoes damage their bodies?  That one instance when he called me narrow minded. I just can't understand what is narrow minded about it. My view is logical - fashion often is not logical. Why people allow others to dictate what they wear is beyond me especially when they dictate you should look silly. See, Bones at work here. 

By the way, my daughter has heard men comment pretty much in the same manner as I just did. A recent study has found that Autistic women are more malish mentally. Which is why I often feel more comfortable around men than women. Which leads to another logical thought, I wish these scientist would just ask highly functioning Autistic people like me because we could save them a fortune on research costs. We could have also told them that we avoid social situations because we feel emotions too intently and can't deal with them at that level so we have to shut ourselves off from the world or completely fall to pieces. 

This self preserving shut down is why it appears we don't care  - another study costing a fortune to come up with something many of us already knew. See why I connect with the character Bones? Watching her makes me feel not so alone. That and talking to our oldest which isn't Autistic like myself but has tendencies toward the behavior.

Just give me a clear cut path to start with on this house deal and I can make adjustments but please make them detailed. I'm not my mom and I can't fill in the blanks as I please. I never understood my mom but then she made up a fictitious character which I gave up years and years ago trying to convince wasn't me so she never understood me either. The fictitious character was probably nicer so who can blame her. 

I LOVE details which is why I love James Bama paintings. (See I am ADD brained) the most memorable to me being the old man in front of the split firewood. I seem to remember a spider on the logs and I know there was a safety pin holding up one of his bib overall straps. Detail is also why I love the children's books by Jan Brett. Well, that and the Scandinavian slant.

Enough about houses but oh wait. I said I'd show you some of the things we have done. Okay here goes. 

The new bathroom. It now needs pictures.

See the difference a couple photos made to the other bathroom we renovated a few years ago. It really classed it up. 

Kind of like how they turned out but wish I could have cropped the photos instead of the printer shop doing so. You may have noticed our house is done in a variety of woods, hickory in the kitchen, oak in the master bath, and mahogany in the main bathroom.We LOVE wood and in the spirit of the early 1800's where each room of the house was done in a different wood, I followed suite and am pleased with the results. The house still flows from one room to the other and it adds interest.

I need to move the wooden antique bee catcher down, it is hanging on a nail that was already in the wall, but I kind of like how this trio turned out.

  I'm adding and changing photos around the house to stage it for the home sale market. I know things are decorated a bit different than most homes because well, face it, I'm not the norm but hopefully it will be memorable in a good way. So far most people who stop by comment on how beautiful the house looks but then what are they going to say, "It looks ugly" probably not. I'm just taking encouragement from the positive inflections of their voices.
 And though we are too busy to put up a tree because first of all we'd have to travel over an hour east to buy a decent tree, a directions we have no other excuse to go, so I have added some touches of Christmas around the house and that will have to do. Like here at the base of my bed where I added gold snowflake garland, greenery, and sheep with wooly backs I made years ago with clothes pin bodies, leather ears, and hand spun wooly bodies.  

Next year we will plan on a tree since we will be near the mountains and can make a fun snowshoeing day of cutting our own. A Charlie Brown one it might be but at least it will be real. I have this thing about real trees. Our son once came home with a tree he had freshly cut and it actually began growing new needles. Yes, he had left it up for a long time but hey, he liked it, and why not leave it up as it brought enjoyment to him and he's single.
 Our oldest true to tradition found another figurine for my village. I love the round hale bale.  She knows the barn scene is my favorite part of the whole village scene- go figure. LOL
 I wasn't ever someone who played with doll houses but then they didn't have a barn and a forging shop either. Somehow, for me, putting up this three tiered village tops decorating the tree in favorite things to do for Christmas. I'm thinking of leaving it up for January. It took me years and years to collect all these pieces. I'd look for specific things each year like a windmill for the barnyard which took me several years to find and an outhouse too. Got to have an outhouse on an old farm. I'm talking from experience here. 

 My style of decorating for Christmas isn't air filled Santas or flashy lights but subtle touches around the house. This is something new I added this year, a bow made of curled metal, bells, and greenery for the two floor lamps in the livingroom.

There is something about Norman Rockwell that just makes me smile. This book was Kirk's moms and it speaks of simpler and less commercial Christmas's past. If you stop by around the holidays beware when you step inside our home, it might just feel a bit like you have been thrown back in time.This and the nativity scenes around the house remind me just what the reason for the Christmas season is all about.


Friday, December 6, 2013

Random Thought and Discoveries.

Found photos of cow moose being used as beasts of burden - really old photos. Now that is ingenuity. A friend of mine has a pet deer. No, he didn't raise it. It just started coming for the food he put out for the turkeys. Then it would hang around when he would grill meat on his back porch. Eventually it would bed down while he cooked and he got so he could scratch it behind the ears and it wouldn't even rise from its laying position. One day he went in the back door to get some beef pellet feed for it and it came right on in the house after him. Being smart he moseyed out another exit and the deer eventually left too. 

 So if a deer can become semi-tame then why not a trained moose? Note that I said semi-tame.  I saw pictures of a team of them pulling a buggy, a young one pulling a travois in front of a teepee, and a single cow moose pulling a cart with a women driver. I would never have thought of such a feat but why not? I guess they eat less than a horse, are stronger, faster, but they said they overheat more quickly. This might limit them to winter time and of course they were female. One doesn't foolishly mix male testosterone, large horns, and think they are going to accomplish anything. I came across a reference to a, I think, Swedish king who tried an experiment of a moose trained cavalry. The solders thought it unmanly to be mounted on girls and moose are not easy to train so that eliminates a number of riders. Wish I could find again the site I read this in. 
As for pictures, copying and pasting can get one into trouble. 

What started all this searching into moose, a false facebook post about a man training a moose to pull logs. Very believable but none the less false. I've been doing only a little hopping around on the Internet beyond scouting out houses to look at and this diversion was a welcome break. My computer would let me look at houses but not at my own blog grrr.....  It has taken several days off and on work to get it up and running correctly again, I hope correctly. Yes, frustration at its height. 

Not that I've been doing exciting things to share other than ordering deer fence in the winter. Yes, I found some that was on clearance, plus 15 percent off, plus free shipping. My Fed-Ex carrier was totally baffled at the rather light but very long package. But he just laughed when I told him of my deal. I wasn't planning on buying but how can one pass that up? I found it because I was researching how to keep deer out of the garden, the huge one I want to grow, white-tail specifically since they are everywhere by the house we are in the process of buying. The very beginning process of buying. So I won't tell you all about it until we are further down the road. We have some hurdles to clear first. 

But anyway there are tons of wild life all around, deer, elk, turkeys and the like. Plus with a creek running below us there is a really good chance racoons are also lurking nearby. Those little beggars know exactly when the corn is ripe. I'd rather not depend on them telling me so I thought I'd get a leap on laying out the garden, the present owner's is small compared to what I want. They do have raspberries and strawberries - bless them. I learned that white-tail deer can jump 12 ft. The fence is 7 1/2 feet with a half foot staked along the ground, not high enough. I also learned that deer will jump up but don't like the coming down part so the full 12ft isn't needed. So to make up for a shorter fence I can add width. If the top of the fence is angled at a 45 degree that counts as width or double fencing works great too. I'm thinking of putting two chicken runs along part of the perimeter. 

The garden fence will save me on fencing on one side of the runs and I'm hoping the narrow space of 3 or 4 feet will keep hawks from wanting to dive inside for a tasty chicken dinner. Our present neighbor at the corrals has chickens that clear a high fence so I'm thinking high is also important for them too. I'll need two runs for the year we have pullets and hens for a short while. The rest of the fence configuration I'm not real clear on yet. 

I've vowed that this year my garden will be planned, really planned but I've said that before. I do plan on a permanent garden where their present garden sits. It already has two strawberry beds, and a raspberry bed so I thought I'd add asparagus and lots of grapes with a herb garden section. Then attached to it I'll add another larger garden for corn, squash, beans etc. I looked into gardens incorporating chicken coops but the gardens were just too small. One half the garden one year was the run and the other half the next year became the run. Great for long growing seasons but this place is next to the foothills of the mountains in Wyoming so a long growing season it does not have. 

While I'm dreaming of gardening a new seed catalog appeared. My mind just happened to be thinking about just how wonderful that dried and powered pepper combination I made the summer before last has been in cooking. It was an experiment into making my own chili powder. I LOVE it!! I have some bell pepper, some pepperoni peppers, and I'm thinking some really mild jalapeno peppers in the mix. At times like this I really wish I'd keep some better records of the things I do. I'm going to have to search my blog posts to see if I can find out what I did. The dried onion tops that didn't make full onions are a nice addition to the kitchen too especially when I don't have a fresh onion. Last year we had fresh onions most of the year with the ones in storage but the hail killed the entire garden in August this year.

Kirk and I are getting so we really dislike going to the store. We just do without half the time or substitute. I'm thinking with the much higher cost of housing in the area we are moving to that that is a good thing as money will be tight until we can pay the place off, plus the house we are trying to buy is in the toolies, as in the boonedocks, or the way north forties. You know, a long way from town. Jotting off to the store for something just isn't going to happen.

Anyway, in this catalog we found pimento peppers and paprika peppers. I'm thinking, no surprise there, that since seeds last two years that I can start a pepper rotation. Chili powder peppers one year with green bell peppers, and the next pimento peppers with paprika peppers and bell peppers. You've always got to have bell peppers or rather I do. Peppers have flowers with the male and female parts and don't need insects, or wind to pollinate them but they do have an off chance of crossing so I might have an area in the permanent garden for just such rotation crops to help space things from each other. 

Anyone with experience from up north that has grown paprika or pimento peppers. I'd like advice on varieties and growing tips.

Sorry no photos but I promise next week to start showing you some of our areas we have been working on. This getting ready to sell is about to drive us insane. We vow to never let so many things slide again. This amount of work to get ready is ridiculous.

Finishing up a long day of cooking to send with hubby and so not much else got done. Breakfast burritos and sourdough English muffins with egg, cheese, and ham in between the bread for breakfasts. Meatsa pizza made on Ciabatta bread. Ciabatta rolls with ham sandwiches and soup for lunch. Salisbury steak with brown and wild rice and broccoli. Chicken cor don bleu with corn and I don't know what yet. Burritos with black beans and rice. 

Yes, double or triple use is my theme. The Ciabatta bread for rolls and pizza crust.  The sausage and bacon for the pizza, this morning's omelet, and the breakfast burritos. The rice for the burritos and the side dish for the Salisbury steak. The tortilla shells, plain ones this time, for the breakfast burritos and the regular burritos. One has to save energy when one has so little of it these days. That is it for meals for the next few day. More than plenty I'd think and that means my meals are made also.  I do have to keep cooking though because the dreaded three one three is coming up next. Work three days and one day off and work three days. A killer to pre-cook for.

 It is up really early in the morning to go meet the grand kids and travel a couple hours to see Frozen, the new kid's movie. The mine has a free Christmas movie for the kids every year and since Kirk transferred hours away to a new mine, we have to travel to the movie theater nearest that mine. Not handy but we are doing so little this year for Christmas, we are keeping this tradition. 

Kirk is working four days all through Christmas week and will therefor be gone. Our daughter is working and I think our son is scheduled also to work. Not sure we will even put up a tree though I did put up some of the other decorations. All this remodeling, and running to look at houses, bidding on a house, and Kirk running back and forth to work has dampened the desire to do much for Christmas. The thought just seems exhausting.  I'm thinking maybe our oldest daughter, who will be home, might enjoy relaxing and cooking up some goodies during Christmas to deliver to friends. It will after all be the last Christmas here. We have lived in this home 32 years but I'm more than ready for a new adventure.  

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Soap, Fruit Fly Trick, and Going Crazy

I'm going insane and my body is done in. This house hunting and house fix up projects, has me in such a panicked dither. My adrenals crashed today and my temperature plummeted to 92.8 F.  I can't get my body to sleep more than six hours a night and with 2 and 1/2 months of doing this it has taken a toll. My body said NO MORE. I'm a bit foggy brained, a bit woozy, and a bit weak in the legs and though I don't feel too bad sitting, standing is another thing. I've been on pain killers last night and today, something I rarely take. When the adrenals crash you go into body aches from the top of your head to the soles of your feet and your lower back and back of knees scream. The pain didn't ease until midnight last night and still I was up wide awake at 3 this morning.

It has been a rest day because I dare not do much of anything else as rising starts the symptoms all over again. Of course there is a lovely loaf of bread in the oven and an Italian soup in the crock pot. You know I can't simply do nothing. I did whip up a cake from a box and put it in the oven with the bread. OOPS, the oven was at 400 for the bread and that is 50F degrees too high. A sure symptom the brain is not functioning. That and my husband doesn't believe a word I say because it is all garbled. Oh well, this too shall pass.

I just hope the Lord has plans for this all to end soon. I don't want to do Thanksgiving or Christmas. I just want to move as in move out, move on and settle down. I'm forcing myself to decorate as it will be expected when the house goes on the market which I hope is in the next two to three weeks. Kirk is home working on the bathroom and I am hauling load after load out to the semi-trailer to make the house look less cluttered and more roomy. I've hated that old semi-trailer but it has had its use lately. It too will be sold.

We are waiting on a phone call to go and see one more place but we think we have what we want -- more or less. Nothing is a perfect fit but this place had more of our wants and needs than any other.

Try looking for five months for a new place to live and see just how much you learn about yourself and what is really important to you. We keep thinking that if we didn't have so many hobbies, animals which ties into a desire for a more self-sufficient lifestyle then this all would be simple. We could then look at a large number of houses in town or very small acreages just out of town in our price range and voila, we'd have a place to live in no time.

But no, we want a shop area for Kirk, an office, a craft area for me, ( so the sewing machines could quit getting drug around, the knitting machine would have a home and a loom could be set up. Mine now is for sale. That is when I can get photos of it for I want a much smaller one.), we need livestock facilities, and a mud room. And last but not least some land. Each place has been this but not that, and that but not this and we keep trying to figure in if we can afford to build what they don't have or just do without. Add into the equation that we are getting older and this new place is to be our last move until the grave or nursing home.

At first I thought I wanted lots of land but then we've begun to think of all the work that would mean in our older years. Then we saw places with land but the house didn't have enough room or we'd have to do lots of remodeling to it and build a shop.

Then there was the place with the dreamy shop and hardly a house at all. Not even fit to add on to. Oh and the prices, well if we had 100,000 more in our top top squeak by budget range then we could have it all but that isn't the case. So we are checking out a place that has most of the things on our list but can we make the payments. We are looking at retirement in 10 years and we want it paid off. That leads to the panic of getting enough for this house to take a huge chunk out of the new place's cost.

That leads us to thinking of just how self-sufficient can we be immediately on each place to save money and how can we bring in extra incomes from the property boundaries to hurry the pay off time. At first we thought of the land providing the extra income but our thoughts are moving now more toward my sewing and Kirk's knives as being the extra income.

I am finding out that being able to have a place for everything and everything in its place is paramount for me.  I can't handle having things in four locations anymore. Winter coats, hats, glove, boots, etc. in four places, and the same goes for most of our other belongings. It is one of reasons we are moving, to try and relive my highly stressed out feelings all the time. I need a controlled environment as the world around me throws its curve balls. The two A's in my life, Autism and Addison's disease are taking a pounding on my mental and physical health in our present situation.   

Yet after all the thought and work of searching we don't want the decision to be ours. We want to do as the Lord would have us do. Where ever he wants us is always the best place. He knows our future needs. He knows just how bad things will get in the USA before it has been put to rights once more. How bad it will get around the world before a balance has been reached.

And while we work on a future, the present screams take care of me. I'm really low on vanilla. I should have whipped up a batch the beginning of October but I was just hanging on with the kids staying here for three weeks and all this mess. I made the vanilla tonight, just 1 cup of vodka, and three vanilla beans cut in half and split open placed in a pint jar. I did this just before I filled supper plates and decided I was breathing so hard I needed a rest. Ridiculous I know. 

I was going to mix up some laundry soap and dish soap but I ran out of steam after supper and after my rest because I then hauled two pinly loads of wood for the fire while hubby hauled in coal. Priorities you know, warmth before cleanliness. Luckily I shredded a bunch of soap bars the other day so that stage of the process is done for numerous batches to come. I used old handmade soap, all I've got is old soap. The advantage is since the moisture has long gone it is much dryer making it shred into a powder. That melts very nicely. I hope to make my dish and laundry soap in the morning before we leave, if we leave to look at another house, I haven't heard from the realtor yet. I'll add more washing soda to the formula for the clothes soap this time to see if the whites are whiter this way.

I don't think I told you but the smell did come out of my towels, the smell that was always there with the store detergents that were no perfume or dyes formulas. It just took a few washings to get it all out. I now know why the perfumes in soaps is so important to the commercial companies. They are trying to hide the fact their products just don't work well. I also forgot to tell you but the kids left a pretty good ring around the tub the other day when all four girls stayed for the weekend and I tried Dawn dish soap which I usually use to clean the bathroom. I'm not thrilled with it as it has too many soap bubbles and takes some doing to get all of them down the drain in the tub. Then I tried shampoo because years ago my mom said that worked great - nope. Then I decided to try my laundry soap. Worked like a charm so I'm making a double batch this time so I have some to clean the bathrooms. I'm beginning to really like this homemade stuff.

I just have to get my life together so I can keep up with making it all. It may save money but it doesn't save time. One other thing I forgot to tell you. I had lots and lots of fruit flies around the house. I knew they came from the bananas and I'd looked up traps but I finally swatted enough of them that they are almost all gone. Meanwhile my Bountiful Basket deliveries keep sending bananas. I didn't want people looking at the house wondering if they had entered the jungle. Yes, to the Internet once more I went. I learned that if I rub each banana vigorously and thoroughly with my hands while holding it under water I rub away the eggs and such and I don't get fruit flies anymore. No soap is needed just a scrub job. Three batches of bananas later and I can safely report that it works like a charm.

Well, since it was a really rough night before 12 pm and a 3 oclock morning, I'm headed off to bed. I've got to make soap in the morning before we go look at another house. That is if the realtor calls. Nighty, night. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A Rant and Some Research Into Whitening Clothes

First of all I need to rant just a hair bit longer and then I promise I'll get to the good stuff. If you don't want to hear it skip to the pretty line of flowers. I get off the subject there. Talked to my big sis who has been a school teacher for a long time. She said the teachers stood up in their school and refused to switch from program to program in math and so they teach Saxxon math though the rest of the school district does not.

This program works and though she has to tweak it for a few individual kids the success speaks for itself. The program is heavy on review. Each lesson has repetition from lessons before besides the introduced concept. Each child is gradually taught up to four ways of doing addition, subtraction or whatever the lesson is on allowing the child to choose which ever method works best for them. Love the fact that they see people as individuals.

Oh how I remember doing nonsensical math as I called it because the teacher didn't know how to do it any other way and by George that was the way it was done in the book and that was the way it had to be done - NOT! When I later discovered there was a understandable way for me to do a math concept I became very resentful but no longer felt dumb. School was hard enough for this Autistic girl let alone when it was made purposely more challenging due to subpar curriculum and a poor education on the teachers part. Luckily I discovered I was actually quite smart but not until I had gone through a suicidal period in high school which no one knew about at the time.  

I wish I had teachers like my sister as she really works to reach the individual. We each have a learning style that includes handicaps and strength. Playing on the strengths and routing around the weak areas while strengthening them is what a teacher should do not just know how to parrot the lesson. To teach denotes a understanding on the students part. Do you know what age the brain has developed fully to be able to read? Three years after the school has already taught reading which can cause learning disabilities because it is taught too soon. A great struggle occurs when it would be a simple task if timing was even considered instead of a greater income for the school. 

Which did you know that set bed and nap times as a child hard wires the brain so that the child will have a much greater success later in school. Of course the set times are also important in grade school but set sleep times are no longer effective when the brain has fully developed.  How come these tests on learning have been totally ignored by public education? Seems like a huge oxymoron to me.

A child is a child no matter where in the world they live or when. The program I used to teach our children to read was of course Synthetic and came from the fifties when I was born. The needs of the children then and now to learn to read and do basic math haven't changed. Our oldest daughter spoke of some great things being done in France. Why don't we check that out?  Learn from other's successes and failures and we won't have to make so many of our own. Why do we condemn so many to failure?

So though it probably won't do any good as all those letters my sister has written to her legislature have not, I am going to write to our state's secretary of education and have my say. 
Thank you for your patience during my rant. Now to tell you that I am in bad need of starting everything again. My lotion is gone, my dishwasher soap jug is empty, my laundry detergent is down to a half a cup, ( I have been using it for stain removal and bought a box from the store.) and of course the buttermilk culture died and about everything else. Life has been a challenge with so many demands but we did see a lovely place for sale yesterday with phenomenal views of the mountains, fruit trees, raspberries, strawberries and a barn, oh yeah and a house so we shall see what we decide to do. Kirk has a couple weeks off to work on our house coming up so we have a chance of getting the it on the market soon. 

Meanwhile I really need to get my supplies built back up before he comes home and grout the bathroom, sand the trim etc. etc. etc.  But still I need to squeeze in making a few things especially the laundry detergent. I am in love!!! For a stain remover I've used it on chocolate, grease, punch, a child's not wipes so well underwear and it works like nothing I've ever used before.

One problem. The whites are a bit dingy. I like my sparkling white. You know exactly what I did. Off to the Internet I went and I came up with this.You can add up to a cup of washing soda to your load.You can soak your whites in one cup of lemon juice. (Sounds rather expensive unless you have a lemon tree and can home can it.) Another thought on this is that lemon juice weakens fibers in clothing, especially cotton so this option doesn't seem good and others have said this doesn't work too well. So this one is out.
Hydrogen peroxide is a killer of mold and mildew, exactly what is the difference between those two? Anyway you have to soak your clothes in a diluted solution for a while before washing. In my hurried schedule I'd rather skip that step. Hang in the sunlight which also kills germs by the way but he temperature is freezing out side more times than not so though freezing clothes has its advantages I don't have the time for the process.

I did find this rather off the wall comment on one site which intrigues me. A gal suggested generic aspirin. 3 to 4 tablets per load. I've never thought that whites get a headache but maybe there is a lot of pressure in their job. I know white on me doesn't stay white for long. This experiment sounds just too fun not to try. I'm strange I know but never ever bored. Don't have any aspirin right now but I'm going to get some in the next few weeks.

Another gal on a site said boiling whites on the stove does not weaken fibers and does wonders for whitening. That sounds like a desperate measure so I'll skip that one for now. I have boiled clothes on the stove before years ago and I will attest that it does help clean them.

Others say vinegar helps and softens clothes too. I tried this on a load of towels which I have yet to fold so I'll let you know how this worked. I'm sure the softening is due to the softening of hard water if you have it so that could be a hit or miss deal. But here again is another reason I need to learn to make vinegar. But not now though it does make my mind wonder to the apple trees, cherry trees, and plum trees on the place we saw. Lots of vinegar materials there. I bet there are some chokecherries around by the creek down the road too.

Now if anyone can tell me how to get a nights sleep out of this body I'd love it. Go to bed at 9 or 9:30 and I'm up at 3 to 4 in the morning. 10 or 11 o'clock and I sleep until 4:30. Almost two months of this and I can tell you the bag lady has arrived and she is going to look like a sloth soon if she doesn't get more sleep. I don't have time to sleep but I really don't have time not too.  

For now I had better start cleaning, grouting tile, and decorating for Christmas as I deep clean a room. The house needs to look GOOD this holiday. First I think I'll go and have a pineapple cookie. I'm on a soft cookie binge. I made boiled raisin cookies also to take to my hubby when we looked at houses yesterday just to tell him I'm thinking of him. He's back to work today after just one day off.


Friday, November 15, 2013

Menus and Public Education

Once more it is 4:30 and I'm wide awake and to think I thought waking at this hour was cruel punishment when I was a kid. We would load saddles and gear the night before and then at this early hour we'd load up the horses into the trailer and head to the other ranch, my father driving while brother and I slept. We had a long day in the saddle ahead of us. There were a thousand of those doggies to round up and herd. Groups of them spent their time back and forth between the ranches.

As an adult I can see the advantages of early mornings and oh how I love the quiet. Yes, my eyes are rather purple beneath  because I've also visited late nights at the same time far too often lately. Things are intense around here. I need to remedy that but how?

I'm tugged on every side including the needs of our grand children. It is why I picked up our four year old grand daughter on Monday as I really didn't like the looks of her on Saturday night. She like her mother gets a pinched face and quits eating when stressed and it was clear she had lost a lot of weight in a short time.  On Tuesday, though it was far more difficult, I took her in tow and headed off to deliver the 96 project bags and work on another contract for more in Colorado. Our grand daughter wasn't thrilled as she is a home body like me.

We got home around five on Wednesday, our granddaughter having eaten almost non stop, and rested for an hour before I dove into cooking. I had to say at least hi to the man I love but don't see so often now. Hubby is working the long stretch of his work rotation this coming week and he needed over 20 meals before the next afternoon when he would leave to go back to staying with our son. By 2 the next day I had made the following and sent this list:
( 2)  SoufflĂ© *** Eat me first

(2)  Swedish Pancake & sauce
(3) Yogurt & Muffins ***keep me frozen until needed


(3) Potato Soup – Bread  ***One container is extra full to divide into another ***Eat me first
 (2) Turkey Sandwiches – Lettuce/tomato/Miracle Whip/ Mustard/Cheese--Chips

(3) Roast Sandwiches – Lettuce/tomato/Miracle Whip/Mustard/Cheese- Chips
(2) Stew –Bread *** Can freeze if you want


Turkey / asparagus/ sweet potatoes
(2) Turkey a la King  -- *****Frozen biscuits dough must be baked the night before.

(2) Lasagne / Bread / Green Beans **Needs Cooked put foil underneath

Leftovers for Two Meals or go shopping your wife is out of time and ideas.

 Cookies / Cake for Dessert

Put cookies in freezer
Yes over eleven hours of cooking but hubby helped when he could packaging and chopping. By the last couple hours I wanted out of the kitchen so bad I could have screamed. I'll guarantee you it was love that kept me there. It has really been hard on my home body husband to live away half the week and this is one way I can say how much I appreciate his sacrifice while we work on this house and look for another.
I didn't have a moment to rest when I was done for I had to do our four year olds hair and change to run off 50 some miles north for a conference for our 8 year old granddaughter at her new school. She is VERY bright but has a bit of short term memory issues and learning disabilities that impede her learning. I have BIG time short term memory issues so I understand just what is needed. These issues were not addressed in her past school or elsewhere. I had some insights after having her and worked with her for three weeks last month.
I'm not a fan of public school. The education of the teachers is poor at best. They know programs, they do not know learning, how the brain works in relation etc.  After having dealt once with public schools and having home-schooled for sixteen years I have realized a few things. The education of children is ultimately the responsibility of parents. As a parent our children are ours and therefore OUR responsibility. If we choose to have others help in their training then we are responsible for what is taught and we had better fill in the gaps. 
I agree with this quote by Ezra Taft Benson." Parents must resolve that teaching in the home is a most sacred and important responsibility. While other institutions, such as church and school, can assist parents to “train up a child in the way he [or she] should go” (Proverbs 22:6), ultimately this responsibility rests with parents. According to the great plan of happiness, it is parents who are entrusted with the care and development of our Heavenly Father’s children."
And may I add grandparents. You can spoil your grandkids if you want but I'm going to do everything I can to see that ours learn all they can spiritually and temporally. It was after all my grandparents that I attribute to the path I chose in life.
So yesterday I sat in frustration in the meeting for our granddaughter as I heard programs not ways we learn. They had no clue about different phonics formats just different companies selling the same products under different banners. They  were obviously taught Analytic phonics and didn't know anything else existed. Our grandchildren were barely taught that for two years and they are loosing what they learned fast. You know a..a..a.. for apple which makes no sense because first of all you have to learn the sound a and that it goes to apple. Then you start all over again to learn that  a.. a.. a.. also goes to alligator and ant etc. If you watch children carefully see you will note the confusion and the memorization tactics not skills learned to figure things out.

At least at the new school they had noticed the things I saw which is a step up and have some plans to address it. Not in the full manner I'd like but then my standards are obviously much, much higher. That was very clear to me.
In Synthetic phonics you begin with what you already know. You know the sound of popping popcorn and you label that p. You learn to recognize p and because you already know the sound you can quickly learn that many words also have that sound in the beginning such as pie, pipe etc. Kids within a few short months are far ahead of others taught Analytic phonics and pass them by up to two years. Imagine a whole 3rd grade reading at 5th grade levels. This great learning style also uses more of the sensory network which it has been proven that the more senses you use to learn with the better and more efficient the learning process.
Our super old Open Court program (Synthetic Phonics) we used with the kids used touch, sight, and sound to teach every facet of reading. Did you know that when you sing something you learn the information with a different part of the brain? So though you may not be able to memorize it easily reading it because of short term memory issued, you can use singing and learn it without a problem. We memorized the presidents, and math with songs. Rerouting is a part of learning with disabilities. Something school disability specialists know very little about just start asking questions and you find that out in a hurry. Read the book The Mislabeled Child. It is awesome as it studies the brain and how it works in relation to learning.
Analytic Phonics relies heavily on memorization. But if you can't memorize easily you are sunk. Try memorizing with a short term memory deficit? If you don't have short term memory you can't put it into long term memory. That is where our grand daughter is. I too for that matter though my disability is far, far worse than hers. I do have the nickname of Walking Encyclopedia because I've learned to better work around my disability. In part because I taught each grade three times because we had three children and I learned more than a thing or two since the teacher always learns the most and all three of our children have multiple learning disabilities, none the same. Another reason I think homeschooling is so great. The parent is so much better education when they come out of it making for a wiser grandparent.
 Since a parent is given the responsibility by God to raise up the child, it stands to reason that they are also given the most inspiration in their upbringing, which includes education. I testify to you that often when I homeschooled and began to explain something to our children, that I didn't have a super grasp of myself, I would hear in amazement an explanation come out of my mouth that astounded me in its clarity and I'd say silently, "Oh that's how that works." Prayer goes a long way and when you are on the right path there is always help when help is needed.
I love Synthetic phonics because it is rooted in science, not a new fad to sell to the public schools which I'll guarantee uses either sight reading or a style of Analytical phonics all in a new founded brightly colored package to make money. Companies don't make as much money replacing a few text books as they do a whole new reading program-- which at its roots really isn't new at all. Isn't money the root of nearly everything? No wonder they say that money is the root of all evil.
 Synthetic phonics works so well that even underprivileged children are up to two years ahead of privileged children who are taught the Analytical method. And America wonders why we  lag in education compared to other countries. First of all we should throw out our inferior programs and give our teachers a proper education. They need to understand the mind and how it works. We need to be like France in that we don't label children with ADHD and drug them but solve the mystery of how each child learns and work with their minds. We need math programs like Saxxon Math who teach how to do the same problem in four different ways and never moves on without repetition of what was learned before.
Check out this seven year study in Scotland, it is impressive and I'm sure what led to the outlawing of the teaching of Analytical phonics in England. Austria and Germany also teach Synthetic phonics before they teach the children to read. Wake up America. That begins with parents waking up. Check out Synthetic phonics and begin teaching yourself and your children. You will be amazed how well it works. Before I pulled our children out of the public schools I assisted in the classroom and the kids jumped 1 to 2 reading levels in a very short time. Our daughter jumped 3. Our third grade daughter's  teacher and I both agreed my programs of choice were far superior to the public schools and I should teach at home and so it began.
Before pulling our children out of school I read all their books. I wasn't impressed. I can see where the down fall of America has its roots and why people have such miscued thinking. I was appalled by the social studies lessons. You are responsible with the Lord for what your children are taught, you had better learn just what that is as you will be judge by it.
Many times in the last month and a half I have thought I could not go any further so exhausted mentally and physically was I, but the Lord has carried me forward. He has been my rod and my strength and forward we shall push. Monday we go and look at more houses. Hopefully Kirk will get some vacation time and we can work on this house to get it ready for sale. I feel the clock ticking and wonder how it will all be done but I must have faith that it will in the Lord's time.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

I've Lost My Super Woman Cape

The list of to do's is huge. We are making progress on all fronts except house cleaning. I vacuumed. I might clean the bathroom tomorrow. The kitchen floor hasn't been mopped in three weeks and for sure my Good Housekeeping seal is lost. Yes, the girl who keeps a neat house has lost her super woman powers. It must be that I can't find my cape. It must be lost somewhere in the wash. Oh well it was too small for me anyway. LOL Ever noticed that stress makes you gain weight.

This too much to do has meant setting priorities. Today's was to go town to buy the cabinets for the bathroom, the toilet, the towel bar, faucet, etc. etc. etc. for the remodeling project. They will sit for a short time as it is now my turn to work on the bathroom. I need to grout the tile and paint. But this week Kirk and I are taking a quick reprieve other than he did the ceiling today. We both are working on making some extra cash. He knives and I the project bags.

You see between the expensive bathroom supplies, the groceries, and a little fabric for a couple new project bag designs I'm going to try, and of course a few (very few) Christmas decorating items, I blew my way through a thousand dollars today. The bulk being the bathroom needs. Yes, maybe I didn't need to buy the Christmas items today but they were 40 percent off and I'm going to have to decorate the house to the nines. About the time our house will be ready for the real estate market it will be time to have it decorated for Christmas. I want it to look GOOD -- creatively!

I've got some ideas I'll show you. One of them is this bouquet that usually sits on the kitchen table but it won't fit at the moment and is barely finding a spot on my dresser. I'm planning on buying some red sprigs to add a touch of Christmas color. The best part is I won't have to find a place to store this all year bouquet during the holidays. But first before decorating, the house has to be clean and uncluttered. Hence, the boxes that I'm packing of things we aren't using at the moment. And before most of that we have the bathroom to finish, and the knives, and the bags and, and, and.

So if you are stopping by soon forget the gloves. I'm telling you right now you could write, "Clean Me!" on my furniture. The dust from the remodeling is about over though and I will have lost my excuse so that will become the end of next weeks priority - clean house. Without priorities one would loose their mind.
Don't think it has been all work around here though, I've manage to complete two hats and a hat band while on the road. The blue silk/Merino wool hat is pure luxury. It is so.... soft and feels like heaven to the touch. It is for my nearly bald hubby's head. I spun one strand of silk and the other strand was from a roving of silk and wool blend. Should keep him warm this winter. The double thick brim is to make positively sure of that. Our oldest taught me a trick. For the edge where the knit turns under, purl it. Indeed it forms a flatter edge. The yarn is busy by itself and I needed something real soothing for my jangled nerves so I did the whole hat in just plain knit. You don't even have to watch what your doing and the repetition is memorizing, nearly sleep inducing. 

  Another thing besides shopping I got done today was meet with our financial advisor about buying a new place. Ever thought of doing that? He was a great help and I will go back when we have the property picked for sure and we will finalize the best strategy for buying and paying off the property as soon as possible.

When retirement is only 7 or so years away then plans have to be carefully laid. Especially when money isn't flush. It is your financial advisor's job to help you spend your money wisely. They aren't there for just investing in the stock market or IRA's so listen.. You don't have to take their advise if you don't want to but they just might give you options you never thought of before. Like ours told us if we were going to move it had better be this year or next at the latest as we needed to try and have the place paid for before retiring. Moving after retirement isn't as good an idea he advises as your income is fixed and it is harder to fit in a house payment.

All this talk of work has me more tired than ever. I'm going to finish this blog, put on my pajamas, brew a cup of herbal infusion, and spread my cook notebooks around me and plan menus. I've got to cook tomorrow and sew. My hubby now needs at least four days of meals at a time ready made and sent with him. That is breakfast, lunch, and supper. Twelve hour work days with over an hour travel time means it is sleep, eat and work only.

I'll let you in on my menu plans each week and maybe you will get some ideas for make ahead meals. That isn't the only challenging part of meals to come. Kirk and I will also have to come up with a good way to store them. Maybe not quite the bear prevention method of hanging your food way up in the air suspended from a tree a 100 yards from camp but something similar.

I made Artisan bread and Barred snatched it off the countertop eating it. Barred is our son's bird dog. He's grown very naughty since Kirk's arrival in his home. He howled, and the softy that Kirk is, he let him in when he went to bed. Barred then proceeded to eat all the Halloween candy that had sat untouched in a bowl on the floor for a week. He also ate the following day the blueberry lemon muffins on the table I'd made but with them he was willing to share. He brought one in his mouth to our son as he was working in the garage.

Life is indeed full of challenges.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Broken Silence

                            Happy Halloween --belated!!
First of all thank you oh thank you for your patience. Things  indeed have been rough around here and that is why I haven't blogged. My husband will move this weekend in with our son and begin his new job. We are remodeling the bathroom and watching our bank account shrink to nothing while the truck keeps breaking down and we try and get this house up to snuff to sell. I'm sewing every spare moment trying to get my contract done. 

Needless to say I'm behind with all that needs done as the three older grand daughters have been living with us for the past three weeks. They left last night. Yes, my days have been full and beyond with running back and forth three times a day to the public school, to ballet which I finally had to give up on, homework, snacks, meals, games, and yes, livestock chores, canning tomatoes, canning apples, canning milk, and sewing. Didn't see housework in there did you? Not much of that got done, just laundry and keep things picked up.
Did you know that if you put fish net stocking over your face and sponge paint it will look like scales?

                                                I didn't.

Our oldest daughter baled me out last weekend and came to help create Halloween costumes for the kiddos. We are in debt to her. Through this all I did prove to myself that the same kids who don't pick up their clothes or anything else, and fight in one home can be placed in a different home and they will voluntarily get up in the morning, get dressed, make their bed, brush their teeth, and hair without being told. As a reward I always had clean clothes available, which they chose the night before after we consulted with the weather channel. I had a tempting breakfast waiting them as they rose that filled the house with a wonderful aroma. And yes, lots of love abounded in this home.
This hair accessory is called a fascinator and it does definitely fascinate people. I put the fascinator more on top of the mermaid's head for the school party and the raffia draped down into her face giving a seaweed like look. The kids in her preschool couldn't quit ogling it. This black widow creation from a Styrofoam ball cut in half, yarn, pipe cleaners, and felt was actually quite fun to make.
This sweet grand daughter decided on a Renaissance costume. We had the pretty dress in the costume box I keep for dress up. I whip stitched it shorter by five inches, took it up in the waist and sleeves and it kind of fit. Our oldest daughter added the ribbon crisscross and voila, a thing of beauty. Her momma bought some gold and blue twist braid and we told her to check out the button isle for jeweled buttons and we had a nice circlet for her hair. Kirk made the lyre, said just like the one that is a fib  but is a musical instrument of that time period. It is made of paint sticks, cardboard, and string.  Our oldest went online and let the kids watch and listen to a lyre played. Education is intertwined into everything we do. With the kid's mom buying a few things to make the smallest ones outfit it all came to about 15 bucks since I try and keep a stash of things in a craft box. One box of this and that's. I'm not a crafty person. If it can't be used like a wool hat, I'm not interesting in making it. 

 Children are influenced more by example than words. If you want to change your children, then first change yourself. What is important to you will be evident and if you have EARNED respect, your kids will aim to please. Want the kids to clean up their rooms, then clean up yours. Don't make tasks hard or over whelming. I've got bins under the kid's beds to sort toys into and routinely throughout the day they know to pick up at certain times like an hour before bedtime. Once a day leaves just too big a mess to want to tackle. It would be like leaving a whole day's worth of dishes to be done at once. Before bed when things are picked up it is play time with Grandma again. We do puzzles, draw, play card games, etc. 

 I have toys up in the top of the closet that are small and they know if they want to play with the beads or Legos they have to make room for them so they won't get lost and they pick up the toys first before asking. They have to pick up before the art supplies come out, the Play Do, the paint, the markers, etc. and because Grandma and Grandpa's house is the fun house where we plan adventures, they do.  

I got up each morning way before the kids and began working. The kids went to bed and I kept working. The grand kids said they wanted to help because we did so much for them.

We indeed had fun. We flew kites, played ball, blew bubbles, played cards, and read, and read, and read stories or listened as they read them to us.  Kirk's and my goal was to show them a life with Christ in the center so yes, we ended the day with Bible stories. My siblings and I attribute who we are to our grandparent's influence. No, I do not believe grandparents role is to spoil. I believe they are here to change lives.  

I tried new things while I was silent. Four new recipes were a flop. My husband said to quit and just keep making them up , they turn out better. Oh how that man makes me laugh. I designed new project bags in my head after researching, I planned Christmas - now to get it on paper. It will have to be mainly home-made as money is tight. How will I have time?

But mostly I've just hung on for dear life. We have been praying that God would shine a little light on all the confusion surrounding us and help us to know what we can and can't do when so much needs done all around us. We just can't afford to fix everything up to bright shiny and new on the house. There are medical bills, vehicles breaking down, and family problems all around us. How does one survive without faith? Knowing that God knows the answers and has charted a course is all that is keeping us going.

 One huge concern. How do you move the Rexroat's at a moments notice after the house sells?  We have been in this house 32 years. It is full to over flowing. Kirk's equipment fills part of the basement, the garage, the small shop outback. It includes many things weighing over 500 pounds and two trip hammers weighing in at 2000. We have livestock, a tractor, and, and, and, and. Yes, we have thinned and are still thinning. I'm packing up things and thinning once again. Not finding a lot but a bag or two per room is helpful. We can't move quickly and still work. There is just too much stuff. 

How do you buy a place when you've poured everything into this one and it isn't sold? How do you stay financially afloat? Today I'm going to seek answers as a place we've looked at came down in price. It needs work, lots and lots of work and is still pricey for us but oh how nice it looks self-sufficiency wise.

I'll just keep praying that the Lord will grant us wisdom as we charter a new course.

Sorry if the story within a story confused you but that is the state I'm thoroughly confused and overwhelmed. Hang tight though because for sure exciting things are ahead.