Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pictures and videos for the grandmas

Taylor in Birthday outfit from Grandma Schuh!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

God's Plan For Us

1 Thessalonians 4:11-12

Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.
This is one of my favorite verses!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Where I've been

Sand dune riding!

Spending time with visting Grandparents

Fighting disgusting tomato hornworms!

Doing ropes courses

Rock hounding


River swimming

Between vacation, my parents visiting, and regular day-to-day stuff my time has been occupied. We also had computer issues- I'm typing on a new lap top and the kids are currently playing on a new desk top- two new computers are OUCH on the budget. So that's where I've been. (I've been playing hookie this summer and just having fun.)
But now I'm getting back to normal life. The kids are starting homeschool on Monday and I'm back to homestead activities. (Read: cooking from scratch, prepping and planting for fall gardening, u-picking fruit etc. and preserving it and numerous other projects.)

My DH and I took a break from weight loss from the end of May to the end of July so we are starting back up on that. Back to daily exercise and kicking out the junk food. The good news is that during our "break", we didn't gain any weight- we just didn't lose any. (It's all that summer ice cream!) Expect blog posts on our progress.
Also on a back road country bike ride we found a very nice property that is up for sale. We would love to purchase it but we currently have too much debt to make the purchase. The good news on that is... it has kicked us in the rear end to get ourselves out of debt once and for all. Even the kids said they would stop "wanting" stuff if it means we could get into that or some like it. They and the DH and I are willing to cut way, way back and get frugal. So expect some blog posts on this effort.
Frugality is great but to hasten the mission of getting out of debt, the kids and I are going to be trying to make some $$ from home. So lots of posts about this are going to be coming soon too. I've got lots of ideas but right now I'm praying and seeing where the Lord leads in this regard.
So that's where I've been and where the Lewis clan will be heading. Barring any unforseen
happenings (which happen frequently when you five children) I hope to get back to daily posting. Comments really motivate me so please "talk" to me!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Earaches and Antibiotics

My son has gotten himself a monster of an ear infection. We are living on a Motrin/Tylenol mix and I wish antibiotics but it turns out the doc wrote a script for horsepills of the non-chewable nature. My son doesn't do pills. So tomorrow I get to call the doc back and ask for a new script of liquid antibiotics. I really wished I had made sure at the office that I was getting liquid but I never thought he'd give a nine-year old horsepills.

I certainly hope tonight and tomorrow are better then the previous night and today. Crazy! Okay, I have to go try and get some sleep.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Who needs Toys-R-Us?

We have mini cereal boxes in the house! Taylor had the best time taking each little box out of the big box. She looked at each one, shook it and then decided on the best place to put each one. Sometimes she built towers other times she dropped them behind the big box.

Besides cereal boxes she also like to build with toliet paper and paper towel rolls. She likes empty laundry baskets and boxes. And her favorite thing to do is go outside and pick up rocks. Woe to the sibling that steps outside and doesn't take her.

Isn't it nice to know that our children can have fun without painted plastic and batteries.

Impromptu School Lesson

God brought us a change in our schedule today- a stop the workbooks kids and come see what the Lord hath made- moment.

My husband had the day off and was out mowing the lawn and came across a little bird who had fallen out of its nest. Luckily he saw it in time and was able to mow around it. He showed it to me and one by one I brought the kids out to see such a tiny, beautiful creature, making sure they knew not to touch it.

Of course we were all concerned about this cute little thing but we needn't have been. His momma new exactly where he was and from a distance we watched her bring food to her little one.

Hopefully it will learn to fly before it becomes some other animal's dinner or the neighborhood children kill it with kindness.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Homestead Bath Seltzers

These little gems go by many names: Bath bombs, bath seltzers, bath fizzies... but no matter what you call them they are an easy, inexpensive way to help you enjoy a nice, relaxing bath.

Our Maiden's of Virtue Bible study lesson this week was on "the bath" and how God not only desires cleanliness in our hearts but also desires us to present ourselves clean on the outside as well. Usually after the lesson we scrapbook but since "bath" was the theme, and in a former life I ran a handcrafted bath and body care business, I thought I'd teach the girls to make bath seltzers. (They are solid bath salts that fizz and release color and scent into your bath water.)

Most of what you need to make these can be found in your kitchen or around the house. You can also find supplies at Micheal's or Hobby Lobby or through many suppliers on the internet. Nothing is overly expensive or hard to locate. The one exception might be Citric Acid as you usually can't just jaunt into the grocery store for it. But there are many bath and body suppliers on the web. Google handcrafted soap or bath products in your state and you'll find a good list to check out.

The process is easy and after a quick demo and some learning curve experience the girls were off and creating.

Since I used to have a small business making and selling these types of products I still had plenty of supplies on hand. I have lots of molds, scents and colorings. But something as simple as a muffin tin can serve as a mold, and food coloring for color or you can go colorless which can be simple and elegant. Synthetic colors are pretty but they are synthetic chemicals so who knows what you are exposing your skin and self to. As for scents you can get these online, at a health food store, some grocery stores or craft stores. Try to stick with essential oils which are natural vs. fragrance oils which are synthetic. NEVER use a fragrance oil that is not approved for skin. If you find it in the home fragrance or candle section of a store you do not want it for body products. Who really wants to bath in a chemical cocktail?

The process can be messy but clean up is pretty easy.

My son was fascinated by the creation process and so he got into the action the next night using a more manly scent, shape and color. The girls were able to teach him how to do it with out my help.

So go ahead and get your hands dirty so that you can get clean in the bath.

The resulting relaxation is well worth it.

You will need:
One cup baking soda
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup citric acid (this is what makes the fizz)
scent to liking
color to liking
Mix the baking soda, cornstarch and citric acid in a bowl. Carefully add scent and color a little at a time. (Too much liquid will activate the citric acid and make it bubble. So add small bits... you can always add more but you can't take it away.)
Once you have your color and scent added you will take a small spray bottle and lightly spritz the mixture until it holds it shape when squeezed in your hand. It's a lot like playing with playdough or wet sand. The learning curve comes from knowing what the right consistancy is. Too little water and your shape will fall apart. Too much water and it will fizz up and lose its shape.
After you are satisfied with the consistancy then you will press the mix into your mold. Pack the mold tight- just like brown sugar. Once the mold is entirely filled and packed tight you will turn it out on some cardboard covered with wax paper. Be gentle these puppies are fragile. Don't worry if your shape breaks in the process. You can just crumble it, spritz it again and shape it once more.
Let your seltzers dry overnight.
To use just drop into a drawn bath and relax.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

God's Plan For Us

John 3:16

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.

Salvation through Jesus Christ is God's ultimate plan for us!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

A funny thing happened while curriculum browsing...

A couple of years back I purchased a wonderful curriculum for my girls for them to use for Jr. High and High school. It is Far Above Rubies by Lynda Coats and focuses on preparing girls to become skilled homemakers. This fall is when we will start it with our oldest. While perusing it for the first real time, yesterday, we were making a list of things we need. One of the things was a book on writing style and grammer. I pulled out my old ones that I've had forever and my daughter started looking through them. Up till this point she was very excited for this new curriculum (self-directed unit study) but suddenly she looked glum. "Do I really have to read this book cover to cover?" she asked.
I started laughing! I thought she had realized that these were for reference. I quickly reassured her that she was not going to have read them like a book. Ugh! Cover to cover grammer? What a way to kill a love of learning. (For me at least. I'm sure there are people out there that eat, sleep and breathe grammer. Eats, Shoots and Leaves people.)
It's also time for her to start learning to properly type. Not just hunt and peck. I want a book for her to learn from, not a computer program so I went to the library to see if they had something. They had something alright! Something from 1985. (I took typing in school in 1981.)
I nearly split a gasket when I opened the book. It had pictures of typewriters and old, clunky word processors. The first lesson included learning to identify the parts of the typewriter and how to load and center your paper correctly. Ahhh... the good old days of pre- everyone owning a PC.
This book is just temporary to get her started while I search for something a little more current to purchase. (I've got 4 more- thus far- coming up behind her that need to learn too.) But I'll have to edit some of the lessons for her unless of course I want this to count as history too. Long live qwerty!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Planting early is a crap shoot!

You know we aren't proponents of gambling so I don't know why we try and start plants before its really time in Michigan. It really is a gamble.

Lettuce doing great!

More lettuce doing great.

Spinach- not harmed by the freeze we had but not doing exceptionally well. We think the two year old seed is not good.

A different type of lettuce, not doing as good as the other two, but trying. This was new seed (at least we bought it this year).

My poor lemon balm. It was so pretty and then we had two nights of freezing weather. But all I have to do is trim off the blackened leaves and it will be just fine.

My lavender can't quite decide what to do. Most of it looks dead but there are some signs of green life.

Chives doing just great- They are about to blossom. I will cut off the blossoms and let them grow more. At the end of the growing season I let the blossoms go to seed and the chives replant themselves.

My beautiful tomatoes- all dead. The blueberries are fine though.

Corn- kaput!

Pumpkins and basil- kaput.

Cilantro barely hanging on.

Strawberries looking good.

New tomato plant being kept up on the deck for easy moving inside on any more cold nights.

Even the lilacs (My very favorite flower.) around the area bit it. They were flowering but not quite to full potential when the freeze happen. Lilac season abruptly ended.

Now most of the shrubs look like this.

I did find one still blooming quite nicely.
If you want to see some fine lilacs and get some ideas for using these edible flowers check out this. I don't have any lilacs in my yard but next year I will scavenge some from the sides of public roads to play with. (I see people doing this every year.) Unless of course I have land by then. If I do I'll plant plenty of bushes.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

You might be a homeschooler if...

Your front room is under marble run construction!

We have a magnetic front door, much to the delight of the children! Warning stepping into our house might lead to extended moments of creativity.

To make a marble run you will need to save up some paper towel tubes and toilet paper tubes.

Of course you will need various sized marbles, beads or other small, round ball type objects. Ohhh.... just thought of Magnetics balls. I wonder how they would work on a magnetic door with other magnets around too. Hmmm... more science experiments tomorrow!

You will also need some scissors, glue, and a roll of strip magnets that you can cut to size as needed. (You can find the magnets at a craft store.) Oh and crayons, markers, paint or colored paper for decorating the tubes.

Cut tubes to various sizes and make joints for easy transfer. There is no perfect way to do it other than trial and error. You can cut widows in the tubes, make half-pipes and be as creative as you desire.

Decorate your tubes and cut your magnet strips to match the size of your tubes and glue the magnets to the tubes.

Once the magnets are dried onto the tubes you can arrange the tubes any number of ways and drop your marbles in and watch the fun. Be sure to have a bucket or box of some sort at the bottom to catch the marbles. I imagine most people don't have magnetic doors so you can mount your tubes on kitchen appliances or a file cabnit or any other magnetic surface.