Friday, May 29, 2009

OK, not that I had much pride to begin with but . . .

I think I've lost any that I might have had, and am now resorting to begging.

(Oh, and this post is mostly for the local readers, by the way.)

I am expanding Montgomery Academy a bit, and I'm going to try and go ahead and get licensed to do child care. My goal is to up and running with the new and improved Montgomery Academy by September 2009.

I need/want quite a few things for MA. You know me, though, and I want to avoid having to buy new. So I thought I would throw the list out here to ya' all. If you have any of this stuff, and you are willing to sell it to me, let me borrow, or ESPECIALLY go to a garage sale and buy for me and I'll pay you back, that would be great, (I often can't get out early enough to garage sales, and when I do, I have to take all the children with me. And I have the most rotten luck at garage sales when I really need something. I can't tell you how many times I've pulled up JUST as the item I need/want is being sold.). Or see on Craigslist or Freecycle at a thrift store or whatever and get and I'll pay you back/pick it up, etc.

I'm o.k. with a little dirty, and used. I'm not o.k. with broken/not easily fixable, or completely worn out. I'm willing to pay a fair price. Anyway, here's the list:

(Updated on 07/04/09)

** A Little Tikes or Step2 climber - check
** Cozy Coupe - check
** A plastic picnic table - check
** A sandbox with a cover - check
** Wood bookcases from 2 shelf to 5 shelf - need one more
** Wooden toys for children Zero to 5 - can always use more
** child-sized indoor table - check
** Wood trays, especially with handles - can always use more
** Writing table - check
** Art or music materials - can always use more

More long shot items

** window well covers for larger window wells - decided I didn't need them
** 2-3 daycare cots - check
** cubbies for coats/backpacks, etc. - still need
** large corkboards - still need
** A laptop - can be older. But needs to work! and be able to be able to used with a wireless router. - still need

Oh, and for my sister,

I'm always on the look-out for capris for Flower and Jelly Bean - size 10. The rest of you don't need to be on the look-out for stuff for my family. Well, unless you want to, of course.

I also have one opening starting June 1st, if you know anyone looking for daycare.

O.K., back to more "regular" posting. Whatever that is. I really should stop trying to define my blog. It is what is. It is just stuff about my crazy, multi-faceted, life.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Almost Summer . . .

Yesterday was the last day of school at Montgomery Academy. It was a great year, it really was, but I'm looking forward to a less structured summer. It will be good to have all my kids together again (my middle goes to public school), and one of my full-time daycare children will be home for the summer. So far most of the time, it will be Me, Flower (9), Jelly Bean (7) Super (4), Daycare Kid #1 (5), and Daycare Kid #2 (1).

I have plans (I'll post them in the document section soon) for some things that I'd like to do education-wise for myself this summer, but here are some other that I'd like to do this summer:

:: draw
:: garden
: have a midsummer night celebration
:: sew
:: FINALLY learn to knit
:: read
:: cook
:: camp
:: go on lots of picnics
:: play outside.
:: Actually spend as much time as we can outside
:: Start making things for Christmas presents

It makes me smile just thinking about it . . .

How about you? What plans do you have for the summer?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

OK, I should be back sometime this weekend . . .

I have been "gone" from my blog for almost 3 weeks now. I've been very, very busy, and my Simple Life has been pretty complicated lately, and I was just in general in a funk. But I've got a bunch of posts rattling around in my head.

Soon . . . .

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Saturday: Home Management - Time Management

I took this list from Down To Earth. I probably should have wrote my own, but my list would have been the same, and I liked the way she wrote it. If I follow these tips, my life goes so much smoother.

Here are a few things that I do that might work for you too:


I have goals. Every morning when I rise, I know what I want to do that day. Write a list of what we need to do tomorrow. Write your list in the order you will do your tasks, or the most important tasks first, but be flexible enough to change it if it doesn't all go to plan.


This is a difficult one to develop. I started doing this when I was much younger and my boys were in school. Then, I was working full time and studying for a degree, as well as being a mother and a wife. I discovered that if I rose early I had a few hours of time when I was alone to study or write. I still do this but now it's the time I write my blog - so what I want to do doesn't impact on what I have to do. [I love this part. I think I'll put this quote on my fridge or tattoo it to my forehead or something.]


Having your meals organized will help you relax enough for your other tasks. You'll know what you'll be preparing for dinner that night and have all the ingredients waiting for you. No last minute panic, no rushing to the store to buy something that is missing.


I believe children benefit a lot if they grow up knowing they contribute in a practical way to the welfare of their home. From an early age, give them tasks, within the limits of their age and ability, that help with the overall running of the house and teach them how to look after themselves in the process. They can start off putting their dirty clothes in the laundry hamper, picking up toys and feeding the cat, and progress to more involved tasks as they mature.


My days are made up of housework but for those of you who work outside the home as well, get into the habit of doing a few tasks each day. You might clean the bathroom, wash a load of laundry every morning, or vacuum the family room. Whatever it is you can manage during the week, it will keep your home in order and give you more time on the weekend to spend with the family.


Turn off the TV, walk away from the computer, say no to the neighbour who always pops in for morning chat. Say no to whatever temps you away from today's list.


Saying no to time wasters will free up time for yourself. It will give you time with your family or to spend on sewing, or a spare 30 minutes to sit alone with your thoughts.


Stockpiling groceries has turned my weekly trip to the supermarket into one that I do maybe once a month. Shopping once a month instead of weekly will free up quite a few hours for other things you need or want to do.


Doing a few extra things at night will free up time the following morning. Most families are in a rush in the morning - if you can do a quick tidy up, make tomorrow's lunches, put on a load of laundry or pick out clothes to be worn the next day before you go to bed, you'll free up time the following morning.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Frugal Friday: Resource Management - Buy Used

Today's tip is:

1. Buy used whenever possible.

I buy almost all of mine and the children's clothes used, primarily at local thrift stores. We bought our vehicle used. I try to get my furniture used. I swap things with friends. I borrow things that I will only need for a short time.

If I can't buy something used, I try and ask myself if I can make it. I try to make buying new not be my first choice.

Thursday: Social and Emotional Strength - Family Communication

So much of life comes from learning how to communicate well with one another. Today's topic comes from an article called “Improving Family Talk,” in the July 1990 Ensign.

“You never understand! You don’t even try to see things my way,” cries a resentful teenager, storming out the door.

After a school band concert, a teenage girl sits alone in her room. She performed well, and her father was proud of her. But the only comment he made was to joke about how her music fell off the music stand. He wonders why she is so upset.

A man looks across the room at his wife, who is reading on the couch. He thinks of the love he has for her and how he appreciates her efforts to make the family’s life more comfortable and enjoyable. But he says nothing.

The silence is deafening.

What Is Communication?

Communication is a vital part of family life. But despite technological advances in communication—radio, telephones, television, and satellites—our communication with those we know best is often as difficult as it ever has been.

The Importance of Our Conversations

We often fail to recognize the powerful teaching—not preaching—potential in our conversations with our children. Wise parents have found that informal, unstructured moments can permit the giving and receiving of very vital messages. Brief conversations in the car or chatting together while working or playing together often leads to deep, intimate moments of sharing and love. Such exchanges are among everyone’s favorite childhood memories. “That’s the only reason I go fishing with my children,” says one father who doesn’t particularly like fishing but likes the time it gives him to visit with his children away from other distractions. Some families take regular walks in order to create conversation time. Others use the dinner table as a place to keep in touch with each other. One pediatrician, a father himself, believes that what families say to each other at mealtime is of greater importance than what is eaten.

Not all parents realize the value of good conversation. But children benefit greatly from participating in interesting conversations. Such conversations help them learn to express themselves clearly, listen compassionately, respect the opinions of others, develop an interest in a variety of subjects, and see different sides of complex issues.

Starting Family Conversations

Some conversations start themselves. Special occasions, such as the arrival of new babies, baptisms, mission calls, marriages, and deaths lead to conversations all by themselves. In some families, children talk to their parents for a few minutes after coming home from dates or other activities.

But what do parents do when conversations don’t start themselves? First, we need to recognize that not all times are appropriate for conversation. Trying to carry on a conversation when one person is too hungry, tired, or upset may only lead to frustration, perhaps even antagonism.

Second, we need to set an atmosphere conducive to good conversations. We establish such an atmosphere when we show respect for our children’s thoughts and feelings. If we belittle a child when he offers his opinion, he will feel he has nothing worthwhile to contribute to future conversations.

Perhaps the best way to show respect is to listen. Listening is improved when we resist the temptation to interrupt or finish statements for one who might be slow of expression. Here, parents not only set the example but also establish courteous behavior as a rule. No one person should be allowed to monopolize a conversation. We can encourage others to take part in a conversation through pointed questions, such as, “How do you feel about that, Jane?” or “What has your experience been with that, Tom?” In fact, the surest way to stimulate conversations with children is to ask a question that invites a thoughtful response. Such questions show our children that we value their opinions, increasing their self-confidence.

If we don’t already enjoy the blessings of good family conversations, our first attempts to open these lines of communication may be discouraging. We may meet timidity, interruptions, or a lack of interest. It may take time for our children to realize that we are honestly interested in what they have to say. But the rewards are worth it. Good conversations can become a means of increasing family unity and providing memories that we will treasure throughout our lives.

Wednesday: Home Storage: Gardening

Well, this year I'm trying to grow more food and buy less, and I don't have space in my yard, so this year I'm doing most of my gardening in a plot behind our church. I've got a plot with my sister and we also have another family that is using the plot next to us, and we are all sort of planting together.

Last year was my first real year of gardening. I just used the small raised beds that I have here at my house, and I recommend this to people starting out. Just do small raised beds, and see how it goes. We were successful with almost everything we grew. The carrots didn't do very well.

With the bigger garden, it was initially tempting to just grow all different sort of things. But the more I though about it, I (and my sister) decided that we really needed to focus on a) what our families would eat and b) what would be best in terms of preserving. So that's what we are focusing on growing.

Last weekend, we planted peas (seed) and broccoli and cauliflower (starter plants). We are doing succession planting with the peas, so we need to go back over this weekend and plant more peas. We will also be planting green beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, and garlic. (There might be a couple of other things. My sister has the chart.) I'll be growing spaghetti spices at my house, as well as lettuce, and strawberries. Ideally, I'll have fruit trees here at the house, but realistically, I think that we continue to get apples from the church trees, and some from my friend hopefully, and then apples, peaches, and cherries from local orchards.

It was some work getting the planting done, but with three adults (me, my sister, and my BIL) and the kids helping on and off, it really didn't take too long. And it was, dare I say, enjoyable?? It was nice to get out in the Spring weather, and fresh air, and working with the soil and plants. Some kids were helping with the garden, some were watching my sister's baby, and others were playing - running, playing with sticks, doing make-believe. As I stood looking us, it made me smile. I'm sure not every day at the garden will make me smile, but it sure did that day.