Monday, August 31, 2009

Quotable Sunday - Traveling Through Life

From Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Family Collection

"A friend of mind tried to sympathize with a woman for being "tied down" to her farm, with no opportunity to travel or study, and with none of the advantages of town or city life. To her surpirse she found that her sympathy was not needed. "My body may be tied here," her friend said, "but my mind is free. Books and papers are cheap and what I cannot buy I can borrow. I have traveled all over the world."

(Life Is An Adventure)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Quick Post - In Case You Didn't Notice -

I added a couple of new documents a couple weeks ago to the Documents section. The first one is What Foods Do I Buy Organic, and the second is When Are Certain Foods In Season For Illinois.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Here's what Super's been up to lately -

Super has been very busy lately, usually doing one of two things - dressing up or making "inventions."

Meet Thomas - Firefighter - Knight - Man
(Note that he is using a fire engine ladder as a sword.)

Invention #1 - I'm never quite sure what exactly he is inventing, but he really enjoys doing it.

Invention #2 - the crane is attached to the high chair and the car is connected to the Garden Activity Center and the Kitchen

Close-up of Invention #2 - car connected to the kitchen with a stethoscope
I must say, I don't remember the girls going through this stage. I saw plenty of ballerinas and fairies when the girls were small, and they liked to make forts, but Super has definitely taken things to a new level!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Something New, Something Old . . .

We've recently purchased a couple exciting things around the Simple Home.

First, the Something New . . . .

We picked it out a few months ago. We'd been saving our pennies for awhile to buy it. But reports from Mr. Simple put the assembly being done around Christmas. I really hope that he is kidding.

And the Something Old . . .

Well, they aren't THAT old, but they aren't new. I had been searching for cubbies for months now. And wanting them for longer than that. I had been checking on Craiglist (as well as other things), but never expected to see cubbies listed there. Well, imagine my surprise! I e-mailed the seller, and crossed all my fingers, and I was the first person! We picked them up from someone who lives about 10 minutes away, and voila! I LOVE the cubbies! The kids love them too. The baskets are Pottery Barn baskets that I got years, and years ago. I will probably get two more eventually.
So it has been a banner week over here so far!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Quotable Sundays - Having A Cheerful House

(From Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Family Collection)

"I spent an afternoon a short time ago with a friend in her new home. The house was beautiful and well furnished with new furniture but it seemed bare and empty to me. I wondered why this was until I remembered my experience in my new house. I could not make the living room seem homelike. I would move the chairs here and there and change the pictures on the wall, but something was lacking. Nothing seemed to change the feeling of coldness and vacancy that displeased me whenever I entered the room.

Then, as I stood in the middle of the room one day wondering what I could possibly do to improve it, it came to me that all that was needed was someone to live in it and furnish it with the everyday, pleasant thoughts of friendship and cheerfulness and hospitality.

We all know there is a spirit in every home, a sort of composite spirit composed of the thoughts and feelings of the members of the family as a composite photograph is formed of the features of different individuals. This spirit meets us at the door as we enter the home.

If the members of a home are ill-tempered and quarrelsome, how quickly you feel it when you enter the house. You may not know just what is wrong, but you wish to make your visit short. If they are kindly, generous, good-tempered people, you will have a feeling of warmth and welcome that will make you wish to stay. Sometimes you feel that you must be very prim and dignified and at another place you feel a rollicking good humor and a readiness to laugh and be merry.

Each individual has a share in making this atmosphere of the home what it is, but the mother can mold it more to her wish. I read a piece of poetry several years ago supposed to be a man speaking of his wife and this was the refrain of the little story:
I love my wife because she laughs,
Because she laughs and doesn't care.

I'm sure that it would have been a delightful home to visit, for a good laugh overcomes more difficulties and dissipates more dark clouds than any other one thing. And this woman was the embodied spirit of cheerfulness and good temper.

Let us be cheerful! We have no more right to steal the brightness out of the day for own family than we have to steal the purse of a stranger. (Emphasis added.) Let us be as careful that our homes are furnished with pleasant happy thoughts as we are that the rags are the right color and texture and the furniture comfortable and beautiful!

("Thoughts Are Things")

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Thank You, Little One

If you are a regular reader, or at least someone who has checked my blog occasionally over the past year, you probably know that we lost our youngest son, Christopher, to stillbirth on March 28, 2008. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about him.

But this post is not about Christopher. Well, not exactly anyway. This post is about another little boy in my life. I will not post his picture here now or his name because he is not my child. But he is a part of my life, and he has helped me so much in the past year.

As my pregnancy progressed with Christopher, I started picking up a few baby things. I had nothing left, not even the high chair or the crib, from when Super was a baby. I got a pack-n-play, a bouncy seat, and a high chair. And then after we lost him, I didn't know what to do with them. I thought "I should give them away. I should sell them. I should just put them out with the trash." But I didn't.

And then in early May, just a few weeks after Christopher had gone, I was at a Mother's Day tea. I mentioned to a couple of the ladies that if they knew anyone who needed daycare for an infant, that I was available. I had baby things now, so I might as well use them. I don't know why I said it. It must be too soon. But maybe someone with an older infant, maybe that would be all right.

One of the ladies contacted me the next day. She was teaching childbirth classes to a woman who was due very soon, and she knew that the woman hadn't figured out what to do for childcare. Oh, a newborn. I didn't know if I could do it. But I gave her my phone number anyway.

A month went by and no call. I figured that the woman had found someone else. Probably better this way. And then the woman called. Could she come by and meet me? Could she see the house?

I said Yes. But I was Oh. So. Nervous. I should have said No. Why didn't I say no? She arrived, and she was so nice. Super came out while she was here and just matter of factly stated "I have a brother, but he died." She looked at me, and I didn't know what to do. I was so afraid that she would think that I was trying to substitute her baby for my lost baby. I wasn't. I really wasn't. But would I? I said to the woman "Yes, I lost a baby two months ago." I know that it sounded too soon. Or maybe it didn't, if you didn't know the circumstances. And I wasn't up for sharing the whole story with a woman that I didn't know very well, and I may never see again. She continued talking with me, and said she would call in a few days to let me know what she decided.

And she did call back, and I did start watching him. I started July 1, 2008. He was such a bitty thing at first. He was 6 weeks when he started. But like all babies, he grew quickly.

At first, it was a little hard, but not in the way I really expected. It didn't make me sad to have him there or make me miss Christopher more. It was comforting, a little healing, to have a baby in the house. It was mostly hard after August 25th, 2008. That was Christopher's due date. And so kept finding myself thinking October, oh, Christopher would have been two months now. He would have been acting like Little Boy did in August or whatever.

But it helped me to be able to hold a little one, and help take care of them. It wasn't a substitute for Christopher, but it helped me to be able to do for a little baby what I would have done for Christopher.

He helped heal the children's hearts too, especially Super's. Super took Christopher's death so hard. It took him the longest time to understand that he wasn't going to come back. But with Little Boy, he could see him, he could play patty cake with him, or give him his toys. Super has always spent so much time with Little Boy just making him laugh. Again, some days it is hard for me to see it, because I would have loved to see Super making Christopher laugh. But I'm oh, so grateful to be able to see a glimpse of what it would have been like.

And now, Little Boy is almost 15 months old. He walks and babbles. He plays with toys (well, mostly he just takes them out and makes a big mess, but oh well.) Gone are the days when he would play in his exersaucer or just sit on the blanket. He is always on the move.

And Little Boy is now a toddler. He is in my life when I'm struggling to try and find the balance in my life. And he has helped me see that it really is just the very simple things of life that are important. Just being together. Because you can't do much else with a toddler around. Any housecleaning, printing, sewing, organizing, etc. needs to be done before or after he is here, or while he is napping. Because when he is awake, all I can get done is watching him play, watching him play with the other children, or playing with him too. At first, it was hard to let go. And it has been hard shifting most of the work to early mornings or late nights. But once again, Little Boy has helped me see it - helped me see what is really important.

So Thank You. Thank You Little One. Thank You For Being In My Life, Just When I Needed You.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Quotable Sunday

From Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Family Collection:

"Dr. Wiley, the food expert, states that drugs, drink and worry are making us a nation of nervous wrecks, and declares that practically every man and woman are at some time in their lives on the verge of insanity. Outdoor life is the remedy he suggests as the best cure for this condition."

(Outdoor Life the Remedy)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Themes and Plans for August

It's been a LONG time since I did this. I got the idea and some of the items from By Sun and Candlelight (Dawn is my semi-hero.)

* Named for Julius Caesar's adopted nephew and heir Augustus.
* Flower: Poppy
* Birthstone: Peridot
* Zodiac Sign:
Leo (July 23-August 22. Leos are proud, risk takers, with lots of self-confidence.)
Virgo (August 23 - September 22. Virgos are great thinkers, organized, and problem solvers.)

* Sunflowers
* Corn growing SO high
* Fireflies
* Crickets
* Big, Loud, Short Thunderstorms
* The Full Green Corn Moon (8/05 - Last Night. Did you see it? We did, when we were coming home from the garden, which seemed like the right time to be seeing it.)

Provident Living:
Home Storage - Baking Powder, can some fruit, can some tomatoes, and can some vegetables.
Emergency Preparedness - Gather certificates, photos, etc. and place in a secure location away from home.
Resource Management - Copy important financial papers and place in a secure location away from home.
Education and Literacy - Read one non fiction and one fiction book.
Physical Health - Use more herbs
Employment - Try and find one more daycare child to watch (age 2-5).
Humanitarian Aid - Make School Kits


Growing in the Garden
* Green Beans
* Butternut Squash
* Zucchini
* Tomatoes
* Yellow Onions
* Peppers
* Basil
* Parsley
* Oregano
* Cilantro

Picking Up at Farmers Market:
* Berries
* Melons
* Peas
* Kale

* Clean the learning roomS; refresh supplies.
* Order winter outerwear.
* Make appointment for individual pictures of kids.
* Plan for Super and Flower's birthdays.
* Start planning for Christmas.

* First US Mailboxes installed in 1858 (2)
* National Watermelon Day (3)
* Birthdate of Barack Obama in 1961 (4)
* Birthdate of Neil Armstrong in 1930 (5)
* Gertrude Ederle becomes first women to swim the English Channel in 1926 (6)
* International Art Appreciation Day (9)
* NFL Preseason begins (9)
* Birthdate of Herbert Hoover in 1874 (10)
* International Left Handed Day (13)
* Birthdate of Benjamin Harrison in 1833 (20)
* Waffle Iron Patented in 1869 (24)
* Amelia Earhart Completes Non-Stop Transatlantic Flight in 1932 (25)
* Wizard of Oz released in 1839 (25)
* Krakatoa Erupted in 1883 (27)
* Birthdate of Lyndon Johnson in 1908 (27)
*Birthdate of ME in 1966 (27)
* Motion-picture camera patented by Thomas Edison in 1897 (31)
* Birthdate of Maria Montessori in 1870 (31)

Stories: (Themes: blueberries, watermelon, corn, country fair )
* Peter in Blueberry Land
* Blueberries for Sal
* Watermelon Day
* The Little Red Hen
* Raccoons and Ripe Corn
* Corgiville Fair

Field Trips:
* the farmer's market
* the Lake
* blueberry picking
* corn husking

* work in the garden
* watermelon seed-spitting contest
* make corn husk folk
* hang sunflower heads for birds
* gaze at the stars
* canning - tomato sauce, salsa, veggie relish, green beans, blueberry and strawberry jam

So why haven't I been posting about my food deals lately?

Well, part of it has been time - we had a VERY busy summer up until last week. It takes me about 2 hours on Sunday/Monday and another hour on Wednesday/Thursday to do the Food Storage Deals, and I just didn't have that kind of time. And while my time, especially during the day, is less busy now, I've been tending to the garden in my free time in the evenings. It was SORELY neglected in July, and there were lots of weeds to show for it.

The other thing is that I haven't been doing much shopping. Part of it again was time, but the other thing is that I don't teach preschool in the summer anymore, and I have one less daycare child in the summer, and so our food budget is quite a bit less during the summer too. And then, I decided that after 7 years of living in this house, I really needed to have the living room/hall and stairway painted, and the money for the paint and supplies came out of the grocery budget.

So I haven't been shopping as much, and we've been filling in with food from the 3 month supply. I should be back to posting coupon/food storage deals/once a month cooking stuff in the fall.

Despite not shopping for food, I did manage to squeeze enough money out of the budget to pick out a couple of deals at thrift stores. Priorities, you know?? LOL I'll post pictures later.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Lazy Summer Days

Here's the Simple Kids and the little girl that I watch (after almost two years of watching her, she is going to Kindy in the Fall! Sniff! We'll miss you! She's become almost like Super's twin sister.) We don't have anything scheduled for almost a month, and so we are just hanging out and doing whatever. We decided to go on a walk today, and we stopped to run around at a local football field. Go Team! (Oh and yes, Flower is wearing the same dress she wore to the Fair. She loves that thing! Bought on a very rare shopping trip last fall, and my dear friend Stacey talked me into (just kidding Stacey!) buying some clothes at Old Navy and the Gap that were on clearance. I must say, the kids have loved them all!

Then we came home and we've been listening to music while we cleaned the house. It helps us all get the work done faster. After this, we are going to go play in the sprinkler.

I was reading on a blog that I follow that said Time Is All That We Are Given. I don't know that the person who wrote it on the blog was the author of the quote, but I don't know who wrote it, but I've been thinking about it for the past couple of days. It's made me think a lot about my life, and what I've spent time doing, and what I've not done. And it has made me think about the time that I've had on this earth, and what if today is my last day. (Hope not!) Or next week (Hope not!) But I do want to make the best of the time I have been given. I need to be purposeful with my Time and not wait for "someday" to do some of the things that I want to do. But I will also never regret spending Time just walking, listening, working, playing with my kids either.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Welcome to the World's Largest 4-H Fair!

Our county hosts the world's largest 4-H Fair, and this year was Flower's first year in 4-H. Flower entered 4 projects - a drawstring skirt, a cloth bag, a sketch, and a bookmark for a book that she had read. After the judging, we ate (gotta love fair food!) and checked out some of the other things, and then since it was 1 ticket per ride day, we went on a BUNCH of rides (I usually let them ride on one each.) It was a very fun day.

Talking to the judges about her skirt

Modeling the skirt for the judges - she got a blue ribbon!

Modeling her cloth bag

Talking to the judges about her cloth bag - she got a blue ribbon!

Petting the baby pigs

My own little piglet!

The girls were inside the tractor and there was a simulator showing fields so that it looked like you were driving a tractor. Super went in front of the screen to show a pig running through the field. Silly Kid!

Jelly Bean in the fun house

Super and Flower in the fun house. Flower was very proud of herself for managing to walk a few steps without falling.

Sliding down the big slide

Both girls were tall enough to do the bumper cars this year. Sigh. Why do they have to keep growing up???

Super on the Merry Go Round

Super in Heaven - on a Fire Truck ride. He LOVES fire trucks.

On the mini ferris wheel. Maybe next year we'll go on the REAL ferris wheel.

Flower getting ready to start bungee jumping. You can see Jelly Bean in the air to the right.

Jelly Bean is jumping in the middle - If you can't find her, look at the ferris wheel.

Super jumping. They all got jumping really, really high!

We can hardly wait until next year!