Thursday, December 23, 2010

Birthday and Baking

Happy Birthday to Isaac! I can't believe he turns 2 today. Though he is the baby of the family, he definitely is NOT a baby anymore!

Here is a couple of weeks old:

Here is a recent pic:

I love that newborn snuggle stage, but honestly, I have to say, that every age has its fun points. What a joy to see his soulful eyes light up in laughter, or when he discovers something new. I love to watch him study things over and watch how he is so dexterous! He has excellent fine motor skills.

This morning Jerusha and I made Isaac's birthday cake. Then I wrapped his gift and we went about our day.

Esther was mixing up some bread dough and I realized how cozy and nice it was to have us girls in the kitchen, working together. Elizabeth was busy washing breakfast dishes, too.

Speaking of Esther, she took on the task of making a gingerbread house... from scratch. I offered to get her one of those kits from Target, but she just looked at me scornfully and said, "I'll do it from scratch, thank you." Look out Martha Stewart!

Here is the end product, which came out pretty well at first. She finished yesterday before church, but when we got back we saw the roof had collapsed and knocked down part of a wall. She and Dale tried to fix it, but it didn't hold very well. This morning more of the wall was down. I don't know what happened, but my guess is that more frosting was needed to glue it all together. Overall though, it was an excellent first attempt!

Since last January I have been on a journey to lose some weight, but more than that to get into a habit of healthier living. I have recently bought a Heart Rate Monitor as a reward to myself for losing over 30lbs. It will help me more accurately gauge how many calories I am burning during a workout, and while going about my usual routines. That way, I can be sure not to overestimate how many calories I need to consume.

I have learned that no matter what approach you take to losing weight, it boils down to the math. You can mess around with carbs all you want. You can go on specialty diets (which I do NOT recommend). But it is very simple... you have to burn more calories than you take in. I also have learned it is a whole lot easier to put on weight than to take it off. Most importantly I learned NOT to diet, but to change my lifestyle so that it is healthier.

One of the side effects to this healthier lifestyle is that the clothes in my closet have become way too big for the most part. Earlier this fall I went through and got rid of two large garbage bags of clothes that no longer fit. Over the summer I had to replace a couple of jean skirts. Now my favorite black and khaki skirts no longer even came close to fitting, so I had to replace those in a size I haven't worn since I had the twins. That's 13 years! I also got a new top and stylish scarf with a gift certificate my mother in law gave me for Christmas. Talk about good timing! anyway, I hate to toot my own horn, but here is the "new" me:

I still have a little ways to go, but I'm so excited to be feeling energetic and slimmer! I have no plans to revert away from all I am learning. It is a process, but at least things are going in the right direction.

Oh, I got my new skirts from New Creation Apparel. I recommend them for affordable, modest, stylish clothing. Their sizing charts are right on. When they say the waist is say, 32, then it really is a 32" waist. I measured myself at home to make sure I got the right size, and it was exactly as they advertised. Also, I ordered the skirts on Monday afternoon, and it got here Wednesday afternoon... and that during the busy holiday season. So, two thumbs up for New Creation Apparel!

Have a great day everyone!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Isaac's BSJ

I guess technically it is a TSJ... Toddler Surprise Jacket. :) I just finished this yesterday. I really enjoy the BSJ pattern, and may try to upsize it for my 10 year old son. The directions I have give the formula for doing that, I just haven't worked up enough courage to tackle the math. It isn't that complicated, but I don't want to make a large sweater only to find it it is way off. Of course, one of the benefits to having a large family is that if it doesn't fit Josiah, it will either fit Caleb or will be ready for Caleb to grow into it.

Speaking of Caleb, I started on a simple vest for him with some wonderful yarn I got from Knit Picks. It is City Tweed, in Jacguard. It is gorgeous to look at and work with. I have plans and yarn to make a matching one for Isaac. I was thinking originally of making one for Josiah too, but the pattern doesn't go up to his size, and I'm not comfortable altering knitting patterns too much yet.

Anyway, here is Isaac's new sweater... all ready to wear!

Also, I finished up another secret project. I can't post about it here, but if you are on Ravelry, you can catch of glimpse of it there.

Left on my "to do" list before the holiday is a ton of wrapping. Have a great day everyone!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Things are really getting Christmassy here! Here is some proof that the holiday spirit is prevailing:

Last night we decorated our little Charlie Brown tree.

Ummm..... that's not the tree.

Oh yeah, so innocent looking. Too bad my halo is held up with horns.

Okay... those aren't trees either. Really, we do know what a tree is.

Yeah, I know... not a tree either. What a face. Only a mother could love it.

We did finally get around to the tree, after a lot more goofing around from which I will spare you.... the finished product looked something like this:

I say "something like" because after about an hour Isaac decided to rearrange some of the ornaments, then I saw evidence of Pumpkin doing the same this morning.

Last Saturday the kids treated Dale and I to a "date night". Pizza was on the menu, but they did up the kitchen like a little restaurant. They switched around the big table and little table, so that we could have our own little romantic spot in the side of the kitchen.

We had a lovely pizza dinner with some sparkling cider, and were waited on hand and foot. In fact, when I got up to refill my own water, I was thoroughly scolded by the maitre'd.

Part of our decorations is a little bouquet of mistletoe. Fair warning to all, if you are standing under it, you are fair game. Isaac found that out last night.

One of the kids' favorite decorations is our little Christmas Village.

I have been working diligently on my projects and putting in every spare moment. I am glad to say that Isaac's birthday quilt is finished... two days ahead of time! I just need to wrap it.

The rest of the week we have some special baking to do (oh, there goes my diet! Oh no! LOL) and a TON of wrapping to finish up. Overall, things are on schedule and though I have one little secret project to finish up, I'm feeling much less stressed than I was about a week ago. I'm even getting some non-holiday sewing and knitting done during my down times.

I'm still fighting this throat cold, but overall I think it is getting better. Hopefully. The coughing is calming down some, which is so exhausting when you spend most of your time sounding like you are hacking up a lung. It isn't in my bronchial tubes at all, just all in my throat, which makes it sound horrendous.

Last Sunday the kids and Dale sung a nice special at church. I tried all day yesterday to post the video I took of it but cannot get it to work. After trying several different tactics from the laptop and desktop computers, I believe the problem is on Bloggers end, and not mine. I will try again posting it in the future. They did a really good job! Benjamin played guitar, Elizabeth and Josiah played recorders, Esther played violin, and the remainder bodies sang, except for me, who bowed out from throat troubles. This mama was very proud of her brood! I'll keep trying to get the video on, but I may have to resort to showing it to grandparents when they come visiting, and stop hiding in the south. :P

Have a blessed day!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Getting in the Christmas Spirit

Bah Humbug.

I've been very Scrooge-y here lately. I'm counting down the days until Christmas, but not with anticipation. I'm working on all my projects, but to me, they are just one more thing to cross off the list of things to do.

Before I go any further with this post, let me just say that our trip to the Animal shelter last week yeilded a small, 10 month old orange kitty which we adopted and named Pumpkin Truffle.

Pumpkin is still a bit skitterish, but is settling in well enough. Mattan was a "percher" but Pumpkin is what I call a "duck and hide" kitty. When he wants to relax, he likes to get under our bed and snooze. At night, when I am locked in my room knitting on... er... something.... Pumpkin likes to curl up in my lap. Usually he'll snooze a bit, but lately he has been loosening up a lot and now attacks that horrible yarn that keeps tapping him on the ears or back while I am stitching away. The other day I was knitting along and came to the end. Only there wasn't supposed to be an end to the yarn there. That striped kitty (who we really should have named Neelix, really, but the kids wouldn't have understood that) bit the yarn in two! Little stinker. It was good yarn too. Oh well... such are the hazards of owning a cat I guess.

He is quite lovey-dovey once he becomes comfortable with you. He is absolutely terrified of Isaac. He refuses to be in the same room as that loud, unpredictable two legged creature. He is slowly warming up to the others, but it is going to take a while. The kids all agree (and so do I, but don't tell them that!) that it is nice to have a kitty in the house again.

This week we have kicked it all into high gear. Monday, we made home made Christmas cards. Tuesday we did our annual candy making. Wednesday we painted some wooden ornaments I got on sale at JoAnn's last weekend. The kids were all gung-ho on decorating Monday, as well, so we split it all up into teams and did it. It didn't take long.

Christmas music is playing, presents are getting made, some are even getting wrapped, and I think I am finally getting a little bit into the spirit of things. I joked with Dale that by the time I feel like I'm in the Christmas spirit it will be Easter!

I can't share too much of what I have been up to since some of my readers need to be kept in the dark for nine more days. :D I can tell you that Isaac's quilt is coming along fabulously. I absolutely love the fabrics I picked out. I have the top all done, and the back prepped, and was going to get it all basted this afternoon while Isaac was sleeping only to find I didn't have batting. Ugh. I was just at JoAnn's Saturday for crying out loud! Why didn't I think to get batting? I have a wee little bit, not even enough to piece together to make a big enough piece for the crib quilt.

I went to start getting the cards we made all filled out. I like to use my fancy calligraphy pen set to make it look extra special, but wouldn't you know it, the set is MIA? I looked through drawers, shelves, under desks, then the kids looked, but to no avail. I may have to purchase another set.

Feeling rather frustrated over the delays in what I really NEED to get done NOW, I decided to just start piecing another quilt. Ahhh.... stress relief therapy. This one is overdue for my newest nephew. It won't be ready to send with the Christmas gifts, but should be done shortly after the new year.

Other sundry secret projects are coming along on schedule, with minor glitches that come with crafting anything.

Oh, did I mention the shopping is all done? Esther and I finished it up last weekend. I was breathing a sigh of relief when I realized that just because the shopping was over, that didn't mean my job was done. AT that time I still had cards to make, candy to make, ornaments to paint decorating to do (all done, as previously stated), but now I need to finish Isaac's quilt, a couple of other little gifts, and wrap like crazy. Some of it will have to be wrapped and ready to get in the mail by this Saturday.

While we were at the mall (gasp.. faint... jaw drop... I actually braved the mall! In December! Those of you who know me know I am NOT a mall rat, and stay away from them usually like they were the plaque), we stopped at a Subway for a very late lunch. I needed a break and a chance to revamp my list, check it twice, figure out who has been naughty or nice... oh wait, that isn't my job!

While we were eating we were regaled by a young teen group playing Christmas music. This live band would have been more pleasant to listen to if the accompanying instruments were softer. Why they had the sound so loud on the guitars, I'll never know. What little I heard from the vocalists, made me think that they had nice voices, but you absolutely could not make out the words at all, and most of the time the singer was totally overpowered. When we did hear her, she hit a good half of the notes off key.

I know, it sounds like a Scrooge type comment. But I couldn't help it. Few things irritate me more than performers being off key and overpowered by instruments. And the poor teen group got my bad review when we got home, because they were inferior by comparison.

What happened was that when Esther and I got home, Benjamin and Elizabeth and Josiah had the pizza made, and the table set with candles like a little pizza bistro. We were waited on for every little thing we wanted. It was so sweet! The pizza was delicious (kudos to Chez Ben). As we were finishing up, Benjamin brought up his guitar and he played while Elizabeth sang a few folks songs and a couple of hymns.

I have to say, I was proud of them. Now there is a gal that can sing on key! Even when her big brother flubs up on the guitar.

Not that I'm biased. :)

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY December 13th...

Outside my window... temperatures have dropped and we are getting some snow!

I am thinking... that sleep is highly overrated and that I'll be burning the candle at both ends AND the middle until Christmas.

I am thankful for... Helpful hands.

From the learning rooms... Studying Albert Einstein, doing a unit study on Huckleberry Finn, music practice, and all the regular stuff.

From the kitchen... Supper in the crock pot, bread raising, and tomorrow we'll be making candy.

I am wearing... jean skirt, t-shirt, and my cranberry tweedy type sweater.

I am creating... Oooh, I can tell anyone that yet. :D

I am going... to hopefully get into the holiday spirit soon.

I am reading... the second book in the "39 Clues" series the kids like.

I am hoping... to get lots of time to work on Isaac's quilt this week.

I am hearing... washer and dryer running, recorders, guitar, and piano practice going on.

Around the house... Decorating (hopefully!), lots of laundry, and general picking up, organizational tasks, cleaning out ashes from the woodstove.

One of my favorite things... being serenaded by my kids.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Get and decorate a tree, get all the "away" gifts sent, cards made, candy made, and a secret project or two done.

Comfy-Cozy Crazy sock!

For guidelines go to:

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Wolf Lapbook Unit Study

I know I have said it before and I'll say it again: I love lap book studies! You can make them as involved or basic as you want them. More writing, or less. More pictures or less. More manipulatives or less.

We just finished a lap book on Wolves. It was a quickie, and took us about a week and a half to do. We did a very basic approach. No fancy folds but lots of learning. I got the pack on sale at CurrClick this past summer.

I had a ton of links I looked up too. One of the favorite things to this unit study for the kids was making wolf masks. In the first pic Esther couldn't find hers, but of course, found it right after the pic was taken. That is why she is privileged with a solo shot. :)

Here are some links we used, including the one with the template for the masks. There is adult and child sized available.

Nova Online Wolf Howling Audio

Discovery Wolf Facts and some Short Videos

Kids National Geographic Grey Wolves

National Geographic Wolf Pictures

How to Draw a Wolf and Free Coloring Pages

Wolf Notebooking Paper

Happy Learning!

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY December 6th, 2010

Outside my window... a nice dusting of snow an it is wintry cold. Yay!

I am thinking... "Now where did I leave off on Isaac's quilt?"

I am thankful for... a husband who puts up with my bad moods.

From the learning rooms... Finishing up our Wolf lapbooks, continuing with Huck Finn lit study, and all the regs.

From the kitchen... Ham in the crock pot for supper. Mmmmm!

I am wearing... Olive green corduroy skirt, embroidered pink fleece pull over, and .. believe it or not... LONG JOHNS!!! Woot!

I am creating... a gift for Dale, and a quilt for Isaac.

I am going... to take Benjamin to the Ortho's Friday morning to fix a broken wired on his braces. (Already! Ack... methinks it is going to be a long few years with these braces.)

I am reading... the second book in the 39 Clues series.

I am hoping... that Isaac starts getting to sleep earlier.

I am hearing... general chitter chatter from the kids.

Around the house... Decorating this week!

One of my favorite things... January 1st. Feels like time to settle in and cozy up for the winter.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Decorating the house and church, trip to the orthodontist's, oh, and going to the animal shelter in town.

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...

For Guidelines go to:

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Pressing On...

We are trying to get back to business here. After Thursday we were all moping around (except Dale... he felt sorry for Mattan but more so for the kids because of their sadness)and trying to occupy our time while we got over the shock. We still look for him from time to time, and more than once a couple of us has gone to do the door to call him at the accustomed times.

The promise of a new kitty has softened the blow, and we got online together to look up the local SPCA. They had some pictures of kittens they have available. I called to ask some questions. After a brief discussion with Dale he said, "Well, you've done all the homework. All we have to do now is find a time to get down there as a family during their open hours."

We are hoping to be able to do that this week. Maybe by the weekend we'll have a new addition to our family.

Meanwhile, I hit the sewing pile. Our new church outfits are done, after a long delay. I was hoping to have them done before vacation, but alas, I just plain ran out of time.

From my hand:
Jerusha's jumper and blouse
Esther's skirt
Elizabeth's skirt

From Lilies of the Field:
Esther's blouse
Elizabeth's blouse
My blouse

Next up..... working on Isaac's quilt for his 2nd birthday on the 23rd. Eeeek!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Roller Coaster Week

You would think that after completing the NaNo challenge that I would be flying high for a while. I was cruising at a high altitude for a few day, but Thursday the whole family was dealt an unexpected blow that sobered us all up quickly.

Isaac hasn't been sleeping very well, and has been pulling some very late/early hours. Thursday morning around 1, just as we got Isaac asleep, the cat wanted to go out. He was meowing by the door, and I knew if I didn't let him out he'd be meowing up and down the hallway for the rest of the night.

The next morning after Dale went to work I called for Mattan, and he didn't come. No biggie. That was somewhat typical. Throughout the morning one of the kids would call for him from time to time. He didn't appear, and as the day wore I got worried. Being gone for more than twelve hours without poking his nose in was not his style. I got especially worried when I saw the neighbor's cat, Target, and arch enemy of Mattan, come strutting across our yard will a feline like smile on his face. Cats will try and dominate another cat's territory when they know the other cat is out of the picture.

Also, Tabby, Mattan's special friend, was hanging around a lot, meowing and waiting for Mattan.

I have to say that deep down I knew this wasn't going to end well, but I tried to downplay it to the kids. Esther is our resident cat expert, and knew something was up too.

We had lunch, still no Mattan. I curled up with Isaac,who actually slept,and tried to rest. Around 2, I heard the phone ring. I must have drifted off because the next thing I knew, Esther was in my room with the phone.

"It's Benjamin... he's with Tim. He said to hand you the phone whether you are asleep or not."

He found Mattan. Actually, Tim found Mattan. Benjamin went and confirmed it was our cat. He was up by the main road. Apparently he got hit by a vehicle during the night. It looked like he got hit in the head. Benjamin got a box, brought Mattan home, and buried him at the edge of the property.

So, we are adapting. I still look out the window looking for Mattan crossing the yard. Tabby is still hanging around meowing for him. And suddenly, all the cats in the neighborhood he lorded over feel at liberty to congregate in our yard again. The kids and I keep glancing at his usual favorite spots around the house and expect to see him there. He was about a year and a half old, but we have lots of fond memories.

To help fill the gap in our family, we are looking into adopting another one from the SPCA nearby. The kids are trying to talk Dale into getting two. We'll see how that works!

A week that started out so well has ended in sadness.

Goodbye Mattan, we love you!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Been There, Done That, Bought the T-Shirt

Guess what?

I did it! I managed to get in a lot writing yesterday, despite lots of interruptions. However, even those were a blessing as they gave me some ideas for dialogue and events in my sad little tale.

I made the challenge! I hit 50K while Isaac was napping. The story wasn't over yet, but I was close, and was able to finish it by supper.

NaNoWriMo challenge?

Been there, Done that, bought the T-shirt.


After your word count is validated a new page on the NaNoWriMo site opens up just for "winners". You get to download buttons, a certificate, and you can purchase t-shirts declaring your winning status for 2010. I had to do it. I couldn't resist!

I am already thinking ahead to next year. I think I will try and get an outline of sorts started and some research. The rules are you can't start writing the actual story before Nov. 1. Outlines, research,interviews,etc, are allowed before then. I've always wanted to write a book. Now I can say I have. :D

Don't I sound cool, calm, blase, non-chalant?

Ha! I probably won't have to do any exercise today for all the "goodie goodie" dancing I am doing.

Meanwhile... the sewing pile is calling me and I need to get busy. Back to your regularly scheduled life.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Series of Unfortunate Events

Did you know that technically speaking, your PC shouldn't be able to run on less than 20% of free memory?

That was an interesting little tidbit of information my Dad gave me over the holiday. Lest you think my Dad just sits around blurting out random nuggets of trivia, let me just say, we found out ours is running on a whopping 3% right now.

Eeeek! My dad said he couldn't figure out how our PC was even turning on, and it showed what a good unit it is. That is reassuring, but knowing we are skating on VERY.THIN.ICE is not.

I got a call from my stepmother yesterday letting us know that she just mailed a hard drive for our tower. Doesn't that make it sound like I know what I'm talking about? I do.. now. Initially, when my Dad first discovered our lack of memory he offered to send an extra hard rive to bump it up with plenty room to spare. I told Dale later that I appreciated my Dad's thoughtfulness, but how on earth were we going to fit another tower by the computer? There is no room for so much a piece of paper. Well, I guess there is room for some paper, judging by the debris leftover here at the desk from a certain 5 year old's adventure in paper crown making.

Dale looked at me like I had 3 or 4 heads.

"What do you mean?" he asked.

"The tower... how are we going to fit another one? The one Dad is sending?" I prodded his understanding.

Those of you who know Dale know what I am talking about when I say, he gave me a goofy little grin and said "we'll just hang it from the ceiling or something."

It was the goofy little grin. I knew it. He was pulling my leg.

Come to find out it isn't a TOWER that is the hard drive, but a little thingie that goes IN our current tower to boost the memory.


My stepmother also told me she put a cork in the package. Now some might think that is a not-so-subtle hint from my father to "put a cork in it", but there is an explanation that is less insulting to his favorite "dottah".

A while back, one of our gremlins left our fancy smancy Pfastgraff salt shaker on the stove while they were baking. The shaker is make out of ceramic, so that wasn't a problem. The cork, that holds all salt in from seeping out the bottom hole, was made out of plastic. We found out, that is a problem.

I love my salt and pepper shakers, so there was no way I was going to retire them because of the lack for a cork. For Thanksgiving I got four bottles of that yummy sparkling cider. Yes, I love the stuff, but my real motive was for the corks in the bottles. I was thinking I could whittle one down to fit the hole in the salt shaker. By getting four bottles I had some for error. I'm not the best at whittling.

All went well, and on Thanksgiving we opened the first bottle. My face crumpled up into a frown. That cork wasn't a cork! Not in the traditional sense. It was a plastic screw in cork. So much for my cleverness!

Anyway, my stepmother assured me they had REAL grown up corks and sent me one with the hard drive (not a tower! whew!).

"A Series of Unfortunate Events" is a book series by Lemony Snicket. Okay, seriously, think that might be a non de plume?

These books are for kids, but come with the disclaimer, in the first chapter in the very first book.

"If you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other book. In this book, not only is there no happy ending, there is no happy beginning and very few happy things in the middle."

The dedications all go something like :
"To Beatrice- our love broke my heart, and stopped yours."
"To Beatrice - my love for you shall last forever. You, however, did not."
"To Beatrice- I would much prefer it if you were alive and well."

This series has been one of my children's favorites over the summer. It is about three children and all their misadventures. I read the first book and understood why the title of the series. My kids laugh at the happenings. I don't know if that means they are mature enough to understand the satire of the story, or that they are just hard hearted little beasts.

Though our life hasn't been as unfortunate as the Baudelaire siblings', I felt like the last couple days could be titled with their book series.

Monday, I realized I had only two days left to finish my novella challenge. I knew from my writing on Sunday, this would be possible, yea, even probable. I was confident I could accomplish the goal I had been working for so hard all month. I didn't take into account Mr. Isaac.

Isaac decided to start the day at 4a.m. Monday morning. He didn't start it pleasantly either. If he had been content to play and just burn off some energy with a happy countenance, I could have set up the lap top in the living room and taken some advantage of some unexpected writing time. I have the sorry little story saved on the word processor there instead of the PC for portability. In others, I can duck and hide to write in whatever corner is quiet when Dale is home.

Isaac was C-R-A-N-K-Y and had to be held, rocked, walked and finally he managed to fall asleep snuggled up to me in bed just before Dale left for work around 7a.m.

Not a good start to the day.

As a result, I overslept a bit, and with Isaac snoozing on our bed, I couldn't just get up and walk away for fear he would roll off, despite the barricade of pillows and blankets. I had to direct activities from our doorway. I did putter about a bit in the bedroom, and would have one of the twins come in to keep an eye on him while I did the wood stove or ate breakfast quickly and got thing rolling in the right direction.

So, I planned on writing like a mad woman last night. However, I could tell Dale needed to go to bed so I shoo'd him and the kids off to bed in a timely manner after supper, fully intending on writing while Isaac (the night owl) played for a while in the living room. I blocked off the big entrance way, got out the lap top and was ready to type.

Well, that didn't go so well. I think I got about fifteen words typed. Isaac is at that age where is into everything. Including my two flute cases. He got them unlocked and opened and the parts and pieces to the two flutes all mixed up while Benjamin sat right next to him, distracted by whatever he was doing on the computer. Since my tall teenager wasn't being helpful, I sent him to bed.

Then I shifted my agenda again. I figured I would play with Isaac, wear him out, and he would be in bed by say, 10p.m., and I could write for a while and still get a decent night's sleep.

Once again, Sir Isaac had other plans. He was WIRED last night. I changed diaper, snuggled up, rocked and rocked, and sang, stopped singing when he cried harder, and tried desperately to get him into a state of drowsiness.

Finally, after a very long session of rocking and crying, I stood up, and his eyes slammed shut.

Seriously? That was all I had to do?

I swayed/walked into the bedroom and after about five minutes of standing and gently rocking him, I felt Isaac get very heavy, and was able to put him in the crib.

By now it was almost midnight and I was too pooped to even think about writing. Two intense, late nights in a row were taking their toll, and I admitted defeat in the writing challenge. There is not a very good chance I'll be able to finish it by tonight, and have it validated for the 50k word count.

This is extremely frustrating to me because it makes it feel like all the hours I spent writing were for nothing, and just a big waste of time now. Plus, to fall short just a little over 5k from the goal is like kicking a body while they are down.

Oh, and just when I got into a nice deep sleep, guess who woke up? What is with this child? He must be allergic to sleep. Around 3 a.m., he was awake, but not bright eyed, so he thankfully fell back asleep quickly in our bed, snuggling with Mama. I was getting a kink in my back from whatever odd angle I was at, so I slipped off the bed, surround the child with pillows and extra blankets on one side, and told Dale I was going out to the couch. He got the part that Isaac was still in bed with him, but mumbled something at me incoherently. I have no clue what he said.

Before Dale left this morning he told me two things. 1) Isaac was in his crib so I didn't have to worry about him rolling off the bed. And 2) to try to get some writing time in today and when he got home I could write like crazy to try and beat the deadline.

Yeah, well... homeschooling 7 children doesn't leave a whole lot of time, but, hey, you never know! I am dubious but think I'll give it the ol' college try. If you see a cute little button on my blog tomorrow on the sidebar then you know I accomplished my goal. If not... well, best not to mention it. I may have to have an over tired, over caffinated, first class melt down.

Either that or a nap. :D

I know what you are thinking. All the time I spent here typing all this out I could have been writing on my story.

Yes and no. The problem is that I have been interrupted a billion times by kids and by someone at the door who wanted Dale, but ended up chatting with me for way too long. Whenever I am interrupted, it isn't a matter of just starting up again. There is lost momentum that has to be recovered, and my train of thought redirected. No offense, but for blog writing, it doesn't really matter. But for a story line, you kind of have to pay attention, if that makes any sense.

Before I go and check on Sleeping Beauty and maybe get a little while of writing in, here are a couple of awesome freebies this week.

This first one GET IT NOW. It was actually for yesterday, but I downloaded it this morning because of some puter issues I was having yesterday. It actually had nothing to do with the scant 3% free memory. Much to my embarrassment, it was pilot error. .

The Hiawatha Primer for grades 2-3. Could be tweaked for any age, really. This is a fantastic resource. Make sure you RIGHT CLICK and SAVE AS or you may not download. Usually the links on that page you can just click and it will automatically download, but this link didn't and I thought there was a problem with the site and tinkered and tried and finally figured it out this morning. I strongly encourage you to try this primer.

For Jerusha I have downloaded the Cinnamon Bear coloring book and the little online stories you can listen to are available until Christmas. Each chapter is about 15 minutes long. What a great little treat for the littles!

Okay, here is a great idea that I am going to do as soon as the writing crisis is over. An encouragement journal! You can make them for Christmas presents to give as family gifts, or just use it in your own home. One of my favorite bloggers, Abbi at Proverbs 31 Living has the tutorial on her blog, here.

Have a blessed day, ya'll.

I'm going to get more coffee.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY November 29th...

Outside my window... A very heavy frost after visiting the single digits overnight. The sun is coming up, and it looks like a gorgeous November day!

I am thinking... Mostly about finishing my NaNo challenge in two days.

I am thankful for...Time with family over the holiday.

From the learning rooms... Back to our normal schedule this week!

From the kitchen... Oatmeal for breakfast, and I need to clean the stove and figure out what to have for supper.

I am wearing...hunter green corduroy skirt, turtleneck, cranberry tweedish sweater.

I am creating... Sewing a church blouse for Jerusha, and church skirts for the twins. I'm knitting a BSJ for Isaac, and starting on a secret project. Shhh!

I am going... To be catching up on some of my sewing pile (hopefully) this week after the NaNo challenge is over. Whew!

I am reading... Ummmm..... hmmm.....

I am hoping... To be able to catch my breath before the rush before Christmas.

I am hearing... Children doing chores, and getting ready for the day.

Around the house...Laundry, general picking up, menu making, school work, and writing like crazy!

One of my favorite things... Sitting down with my laptop and having a good excuse to just write with abandon.

A few plans for the rest of the week:Basically just getting back to our routines, and working on some sewing and knitting.

For Guidelines go to:

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Game Plan

Like almost every other American family, for us, this will be a busy week. At least up until Thursday. How do you prepare for Thanksgiving? Do you wing it? (No pun intended... maybe) Do you have a list, or lists to keep you on track? Or maybe you have lists but ignore them an just do whatever comes to mind? No matter how you do it, it gets done, and I'm sure you will have a lovely holiday.

I'm a list type person for the most part. I like to keep a "Ta Da" list. Not a "To Do" list, a "Ta Da" list. I like to see the tasks marked off. It gives me a sense of accomplishment. I've also learned that it helps to keep my expectations more realistic. I tend to plan way more than what Super Woman could do in one day. I don't always get everything crossed off. Truth is, I almost never get everything crossed off. But, I almost always get most of it crossed off. That is where the sense of "Ta Da" comes in.

I won't bore you with the details of my list for everyday but the basic game plan for this week is:

Monday: Detail clean the kitchen, laundry, start some cleaning downstairs, take the turkey out of the freezer.

Tuesday: Do the rest of the cleaning, laundry, prep the guest room, make dinner rolls, bake squash for a squash pie, check on the turkey and see how the defrosting is progressing.

Wednesday: Pie making day! This year we are making 2 apple pies, 2 lemon meringue pies, 1 french silk chocolate pie, 2 pumpkin pies, and 1 squash pie (my dad prefers squash over pumpkin, but I've noticed he's never refused pumpkin if the other wasn't available). Also, I make sure all the finishing touches are done on the cleaning, and poke at the turkey and pray it is defrosted for the next day. Wednesday evening after church I prep the turkey so I can shove it in the oven at O'darkthirty Thursday morning.

That is the basic plan. We try to eat between 1 and 1:30 or so. The rest of the fixings I make while the turkey is doing it's thing in the oven and driving us all bonkers with the smell.

We are looking forward to lots of family time this week with grandparents coming in for a few days.

Oh, before I forget, I finished Isaac's scrappy Forrest Soaker last night. I can check another project off my list!

I will lanolize that today while I am cleaning in the kitchen. After the kitchen is clean, I'll reward myself with some sewing time. I was hoping to finish Jerusha's blouse over the weekend but that didn't work out. We had a certain birthday to get ready for on Sunday. Happy birthday to my sweet heart!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Just for My Dad

You know what that is, don't you?

::::: Big, Cheesy, Grin :::::::


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Just Stuff

How is everyone? I know we are entering a wicked busy season of the year. Lots of stress (good and bad) and lots of fun, and lots of work to do! But that's okay. Maybe it is good to have the holiday rush so you feel burnt out. Maybe that is why I don't mind winter so much. Those January days when I still feel like I need some recovery time from the holidays are much appreciated. I am so thankful then I don't have our garden to tend to! LOL. Of course, by March, all bets are off.

I have a few "special" projects I want to work on this winter. My list keeps getting longer and longer. There is NO way I will have time to complete everything I have in mind. I'm going to have to prioritize after the holidays.

In the meantime, I am tackling my sewing pile. I finished Jerusha's moleskin jumper for church, and am in the process of making her blouse. She is such a girlie girl that I am doing the gathered long sleeves and peter pan collar with lace trim. I haven't done anything this trimmed up in a few years. The twins are outgrowing that "little girl" type style, and like more classic lines, which means quicker, simpler sewing for me. A good thing, as it gives me more time for my thousand other projects. But Jerusha is still into "pink" and "frilly" and "fluffy". For her everyday stuff I never put that much time into it. She may like all that frilly stuff, but she also likes to play outside. I'm not into the muddy ruffled look.

When get her blouse done, I'll have her get all dressed up and I'll post a pic. Immediately following the blouse are church skirts for the twins. Yes, I'll be posting pics. Of course, after that... QUILTING TIME!!!! Woot! I have fabric for my nephew' wedding on the 13 of December. I'm doing a disappearing 9 patch, cuddle quilt sized, machine pieced and quilted. Anyone think I can get it finished, wrapped and sent to Ohio in time for the wedding?

I won't bother with the list of things I have to make before Christmas. I am not going to be able to do it all, so I am working on formulating "plan B" for now. I may actually have to spend the rest of the winter catching up on my "pre-Christmas" list!

Without applesauce to do this week I almost feel at a loss of what to tackle. Almost. As I already said, I've been working on my sewing pile. Today has been a smorgasbord of tasks. This morning we did some picking up, laundry, the usual for us. I also decluttered my closet. Four bags of clothes are leaving this house. All clothes, that thankfully, I have outgrown... the right way! They were too big and it was time to get rid of them. It was refreshing. I need to do a major decluttering in the basement, but that is for after the holidays. That is on my radar, very brightly, I might add. I've already done some sewing today, which is nice. I plan to do more this afternoon.

I'm still working on my novella for the NaNoWriMo challenge. I missed writing yesterday, so I'm just a wee bit behind. No biggie. I can make it up easily tonight. Here and there around the other stuff when I have a few minutes I am still knitting, and almost done with another soaker for Isaac. I'm in a hurry to finish it because I am making a surprise for Dale for Christmas. Shhhhh! Can't say any more than that right now.

We have been tortured today with the smell of a sirloin tip roast cooking in the crock pot. It is making us salivate with anticipation. The wood stove is burning merrily along, keeping us all warm (too warm!) and cozy.

So, that is how things are here at the Beehive today. Hoping everyone's day is blessed and that you are thanking God for those blessings!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tea Time Black Mail Picture

We were supposed to be doing chores. I thought everyone WAS doing chores. I went along in my blissful ignorance until the quiet (well, relatively quiet, at least for us) morning was interrupted by gales of laughter.

Esther, Jerusha, and Isaac emerged from the girls room, going to tea (as I was informed). I least I think it was Isaac. Unless we recently adopted a little girl, I now have another wonderful black mail picture for later.

Oh, and Isaac was renamed "Charlotte" in honor of the tea party. Lovely.

Of course pictures aren't enough. He could claim later that he was forced and didn't have a choice. I think the following is evidence enough to prove the opposite.

When Josiah was Isaac's, excuse me, Charlotte's age he used to dress up in the twins special dress up clothes. Boas, heel, hat... the whole nine yards. Anyway, you see what happens when you have older sisters who play with you like you are a little doll.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today, November 15th....

Outside my window... cloudy with some very brief patches of sunshine.

I am thinking... about a situation that has come up at church and is taking all our emotional energy and thoughts right now.

I am thankful for... Being done with the applesauce. WE did 230 quarts in 4 days. Whew!

From the learning rooms... We are back in full swing.

From the kitchen... split pea and ham soup cooking, and smelling wicked good and causing the children to pester me every two minutes with: "Is it done yet?"

I am wearing... black denim skirt, green t-shirt, cranberry tweedish sweater.

I am creating...a church jumper for Jerusha made out of a pretty printed moleskin.

I am going... to be writing this evening.. I hope!

I am reading... Ummmmmm.... errrr.....nothing except the Bible at the moment.

I am hoping... to have enough energy to exercise later this evening.

I am hearing... "Hey Mama, is it done yet?" Again.

Around the house... we did some cleaning this morning, some laundry, some folding, I did some organizing of the menu and shopping list.

One of my favorite things... A lazy afternoon with nothing to do but drink tea and knit.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Quarterly reports due, sewing, and getting ready for Dale's birthday this Sunday.

For guidelines to the Simple Woman's Daybook go:

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Applesauce Update

After doing 94 quarts in two days, we are taking a break today from canning. One reason is that we have to do some baking. Also, Benjamin had an appointment at the orthodontist's this morning, and it wiped out a huge chunk of time.

If you are looking at that close up picture thinking something looks funny, it's because it does. They are RED braces. And no, he doesn't have them on the bottom. Yet. That will happen a little later. His top teeth need to be shifted a bit before they deal with the bottoms. He has a lot of instructions, and lot of what he can and cannot eat, but I noticed that most of the "Don't" eat stuff is junk food that we normally don't eat anyway, so no loss. He does have to be careful with something like apples. He isn't supposed to bite into it whole, but can cut it up to eat.

I've been puttering around this morning working on some odds and ends with picking up, laundry, folding, putting canned applesauce away, and making bread. Well, Elizabeth actually made the bread. Esther will be making some cookies later, she assures me. She is my chief baker. I did manage to finish Jerusha's other corduroy jumper this morning.

Isaac took one look at Benjamin's braces and laughed. Then while I was taking Benjamin's picture (what a good sport he is!) Isaac kept saying the toddler version of "cheese!" and trying to get me to take his pic. I guess he wanted to show off his cute little teeth.

We had a pleasant read aloud time listening to the old radio drama based on the book "Captain Courageous" by Rudyard Kipling. We listened to it at The Homeschool Radio Show. Every week or so they have some new freebies to listen to, and we enjoy drawing, coloring, knitting, or playing quietly while listening to the dramatic performances based on classic stories. Some of them are very humorous... like the version of Pinocchio we recently listened to that starred what'shisname who did the voice of Bugs Bunny.

It has been a regular type day for us, which is nice, since we haven't had one of those since before we left for vacation! I've forgotten what our normal routines feel like. It feels all comfortably predictable to be in our usual schedule again.

At least for today. Tomorrow it's back to the ol' grind... of the Squeezo.