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.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A post of tidbits

Our friendly little ground squirrel is going to get aquainted with a new spice!

I've just read that squirrels don't like cayenne pepper. Guess who's going to go to Costco and buy a big ol' honkin' container. The heavy rain we've had has surely washed away the castor oil I tried and the neighbor's teen didn't have any luck with his BB gun. So cayenne pepper is next on the list. Apparently you sprinkle your garden plants and soil with it and it keeps the squirrels away. I'm pouring it right down the hole.

Also heard that the USDA is not going to persue the National Animal ID System. Yeah! Don't tread on me!

Remember the cigar box purses that were trendy a few years ago? Well now, you can make cowboy-boot purses. Actually they're quite cute! The how-to is in the June/July issue of Mary Jane's Farm magazine.

If you can sew and are looking for fun vintage style patterns check out FOLKWEAR. They have great vintage patterns from many different periods, countries and cultures. I found several I'd like to try once my sewing abilities improve.

Just today an idea for a children's picture book popped into my head. I've got great words but alas I have no artistic talent in the illustration department. Anyone know Johannah Bluedorn? She is the talented lady who illustrated Raising Maiden's of Virtue. Her drawings for that book are right in line with the pictures in my head. I'm going to write it and send a proposal off to Vision Forum. Actually, I'd like to publish it myself (not vanity publishing but actually start a publishing house) but I fret that the entire process might be a bit large for me. Anyone else ever thought of publishing? Any illustrators out there?

Finally, because of the excitement of building and having a greenhouse this spring we started lots of seeds. They were doing great and then we had two nights of freezing weather. Now we need to start at least half of what we had started over as they went caput. We lost pumpkins, tomatos, basil and corn. Also, my beautiful lemon balm turned brown and the leaves curled up. Thankfully, there is plenty of new green leaves already growing. So what did we learn? We need to keep rabbits in the green house to heat it to keep the plants alive. But how do we keep the rabbits warm in the winter? Anyone have knowledge on this. We'd want meat rabbits, both for their meat and for their skins (for fly tying.) Of course we would also need to learn to tan the hides as well as butcher the bunnies and I'm not sure the landlords would appreciate us processing rabbits in our garage. LOL!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Virtuous Scrapbooking frustrations and Homestead learning tools

Here are my beautiful maidens. If you have been reading my blog recently you know that I've been leading a Bible Study on Raising Maidens of Virtue using Stacy McDonald's book by the same name. Using a suggestion at the back of the book we also have been scrapbooking the lessons.

I am not a scrapper booker. While it is fun, I just don't find it as relaxing as other crafts because the lay out and creativeness just doesn't come naturally to me. I worry too much about if my pictures are in the right place and if I've done the best layout I could. I've checked out books on scrapbooking from the library and the time and creativity people put into their pages is just amazing. I can come up with great quilt designs with no problem but for some reason scrap booking is just not my creative forte'. Any whoo how... I am trying to put together pages that go with the theme of each lesson. The pictures are easy enough to take and print out but finding the right embellishments is a bit frustrating.

I went to look for some tonight at a local scrap store. (A little local one, not a national chain craft store.) I wanted stickers that show modest fashion. Yes, I was naive enough to think that this little store in the Bible belt of Michigan, that is closed Sundays and plays Christian music over their sound system, might just have something in that category. At least something historical or even with a Parisian twist. Nope. I also wanted something that celebrated Godly feminity. Ahhh... nope. I mean I did find a few things that passed but they were more of a make do kind of thing and not what I really wanted. Most of the stuff in the store spoke worldly messages showing women as party going, shop happy, girlfriend celebrating, self-centered vixens. The girl selections were either cutesy ponies and lollipops or hot pink zebra designs shouting the virtues of rock star glam. I know this is what most people want and that the store is in the business to sell things but surely there are other people like me out there that desire something else. Can someone point me in the direction of a scrapbooking supplier/designer that caters to home-centered, Proverbs 31 women?

It was a relief to come home to the mailbox after scrapbook shopping to find some good rural reading and homestead how-to learning.

We have a free subscription to Living the Country Life and that came today. (John snatched it up to read first.)

Also our little local power company sends out a free country type magazine every month. That came today.

And at the Grocery store I noticed the new edition of Mary Jane's Farm was out, so I came home with it. Like I don't have enough reading. Mary Jane's Farm is a fun magazine to read with beautiful pictures but it does have a feminist bent to it. I get it to spur my homestead creativity (I like pretty and functional) and I filter out the "woman power" mumbo-jumbo. Contrary to public opinion these days life's not "all about me."
Please tell me I'm not the only one who feels this way!