Wednesday, December 31, 2014

De-Licing

Well, we had our lice episode about a month ago, and ever since then I've been really paranoid about lice.  Then, we were exposed to them again (for real, not just in my head!), so when we got home, and my head kept itching, I decided to mix up 2 T coconut oil and 12 drops tea tree oil and smear it all over my hair.  I figured that then I'd comb it out and know for sure.  I discovered a couple of things: first, I didn't have lice.  Second, 2 tablespoons of oil is a ton of oil, even for as much hair as I have!  So it took quite a bit to wash it all out, and my hair is still slightly oily today.  I've decided, though, that the peace of mind was well worth it.  And if I ever think I have lice again, I'll only use half of the oil!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Nesting


I've been a bit busy lately getting things ready.  I made this blanket, since I realized that he has no blankets at all.  With the other kids, I always crocheted a baby afghan, but I decided to make a toddler comforter this time, since the little afghans I made were usually mostly used to cover up the babies in the car, and our little guy is already two. He will need some sort of comforter for his bed, and this will work in the crib and later when we transition him to a toddler bed.  Plus, my hand/wrist is not as good as it used to be, and I don't know how long it would take me to make an afghan now.  So I found this cheerful fabric at Wal-Mart and got to work.  Now I'm thinking that I should make Malachi a comforter, too, since he actually doesn't have one, or any type of covering for his bed.  He just uses several smaller blankets, but I think he'd like an actual twin-sized one.  He does use the comforter I used as a teenager sometimes, but it's red and black, and I know he'd love green.

This blue and yellow comforter is warm and cozy.  It's not too great for cuddling on the couch, though, as it's too bulky.  But it should keep him warm at night.


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

We passed court!

Yesterday, our adoption paperwork went to court, and we passed!  So we are now the parents of a two-year-old little boy.  We won't get to bring him home for about 6-8 weeks, though, and we are waiting to hear what the travel dates will be.  I'm still not posting his pictures on here yet, just to be on the safe side, but once we get back to Eastern Europe to hold him, there will be lots of pictures of my little one.

Monday, December 8, 2014

4 Stockings

This weekend, we got the Christmas decorations up.  Nathaniel and Elijah did the outside lights.  Elijah put up the tree, then Malachi and Lydia helped him decorate it.  I set up the Nativity and the fireplace area:


The kids were excited to pick out their stockings, and to have four this year.  (I have made several stockings for the kids, and each year they pick which one they will use.  The only exception is the snowman one that Elijah made several years ago - he often picks that one.)


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Sunshine and Rain

Yesterday, I was in my room when it suddenly got so very bright that I thought someone had turned on the light.  I was the only one home, though, so I quickly realized that the sun had come out and illuminated the room.  It has been so gray lately that I had forgotten how very bright our house gets when it's sunny!  It was lovely.  Of course, today there has been no sun, only gray and rain.

I did add a few aprons to my shop today.  Lydia enjoyed modeling for me.  She's been a little fussy after school this week, needing more attention and easily upset.  I think she's just been so tired after our busy Thanksgiving weekend.

She smiles for the camera, though!  

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Thankful for a good Thanksgiving

We had a good trip to my inlaws' house for Thanksgiving.  We went bowling yesterday, and the kids just loved it.  It was Lydia's first time:

As you can see, we were all dressed for the Auburn game, much to Nathaniel's delight.  Of course, he bought us all the shirts.  


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Rough week

Well, we've had a rough start to this week.  After a great weekend spent with family and a wonderful Thanksgiving meal, we came home to...issues.  Yesterday, the septic people were unable to fix our system and aren't sure what the problem is, exactly.  So there is still water leaking into my garage.  And the neighbor's dog got loose and jumped our fence and killed three chickens.  And this morning, we discovered that one of the kids has lice.  Is it Friday yet?  It feels like we've had a full week in two days!

But on the postive side, Elijah had his first band concert.

I was surprised at how big the sixth grade band is!

And Lydia had her Thanksgiving play:


She told me that she chose to be a pilgrim because she likes the word pilgrim. "It sounds funny.  Pilgrim!  Pilgrim!"  She did a great job delivering her lines and singing the songs.  

Monday, November 17, 2014

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like....Thanksgiving?

So, a week and a half before Thanksgiving, you need to find everyone's gloves, hats, and scarves.
 Brush the snow off of the pumpkins on the front porch.


And go play!



I had just finished shoveling off the concrete pad of our driveway when it started snowing again.  It now has another half inch on it (no pictures of that driveway spot).  But it is supposed to get colder and colder today, and this morning it was quite nice out, so we all got in some good outdoors time.  All in all, a nice snow day, although it feels more like it should be around Christmas (or later!) instead of before Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Lydia at Work


Lydia absolutely loves school.  Here you can see how she works.  She loves animals, so when told to write her own sentence using the word so, she chose "Armadillo is so small".  I think she did a pretty good job sounding that out by herself.  In case you were wondering, she has been playing armadillo a lot lately.  It's one of the many animals she's very fond of.


Monday, November 10, 2014

Leaves

Yesterday was a beautiful fall day.  I raked a pile of leaves in front of the stump the kids call the "cannon," then called them out.  Lydia and Malachi delighted in playing there for hours.  Elijah took over the rake and spent a very long time re-raking the pile for them.  (It is handy to have a big brother around!)


Yes, they were still in their church clothes.  I didn't have the heart to make them stop and go change.  Luckily, the leaves were all dry, so the clothes faired well.





Saturday, November 8, 2014

Monday, November 3, 2014

Montessori Style Aprons

I'm going to be doing a craft show with my sister in a few weeks, and I've been meaning to try to make a child's Montessori style apron, so I decided that this was a good time to do so.  These aprons are reversible, and even small kids can put them on by themselves.  Here Lydia and Malachi are modeling the same apron, both sides:


 Malachi prefers the blue side, but I love the sailor fabric that my Mamaw gave me.  It used to be in her fabric shop.

The kids are wearing the child's size apron, and it is a bit big on Lydia.  She will probably fit better in the toddler size, but I haven't made one of those yet.  I did cut one out, though, and I've already made a daisy child-sized one.

The top strap has elastic in it, and there is a side strap that goes behind the back and velcros on the side, so the apron stays in place.

I'm very pleased with how these turned out.  I hope to make several more before the craft show!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

The aftermath...

Well, I never managed to get a good photo of everyone dressed up, but this is the aftermath:

The boys have already taken off their superhero costumes, and no one is really interested in getting a picture taken, because look at all that candy!  Nathaniel hooked up the trailer and filled it full of hay to pull us around.  The kids had a blast, even though the weather was lousy.  It was cold and misty, and towards the end it started raining.  About a half hour after we got everyone inside, it was a snow/rain mix out there.
All in all, though, it was a very Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Sweet Potatoes and Apple Cider Vinegar Part II

In early June, or maybe it was still May, I got some sweet potato slips from June at the farmer's market and planted them at the far end of the garden.  The deer promptly ate nearly all of the slips, and the three that survived were in the shadiest spot in the garden.  Today, I was thrilled to harvest a few sweet potatoes from those:


They are now sitting the sunroom, where they will cure for 2 weeks before we can eat them.  Yum!  I do love sweet potatoes, and I kinda forgot I had these, so they were a very nice surprise today.

Also this morning, I started phase 2 of the apple scrap vinegar.  I strained the liquid and put it back in the big jar minus the apple pieces.  Now it needs to sit and be stirred every day for 2-4 weeks.


And lastly, I had to leave you with a picture of my big 10-year-old!


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Camping 2014

Well, we are back from the annual family-reunion camping trip.  This year 53 people camped, and four came to visit for a few hours with a one-week-old baby!  It was nice to hold such a little one again.  But now, onto the pictures:



Elijah liked helping Max.  Here they are riding Grandma Betty's wheelchair lift up and down.


At the Falls


This little man is now 10!  I still can't believe it!

Lydia loved the pony ride.  It was drizzling off and on during our pony time, but it didn't bother Lydia in the least.  The area around the stables was full of color, like God was showing off with his paintbrush.

The park was just gorgeous...
but it's not the only beautiful place around.  Check out the beauty of my own front yard:



Monday, October 13, 2014

Book Review - The Brickmaker's Bride by Judith Miller



I enjoyed my latest book from Bethany House, The Brickmaker's Bride by Judith Miller.  This story is set shortly after the Civil War in West Virginia, where a young woman and her widowed mother are selling the family brickmaking business to an Irishman and his nephew, Ewan.  Ewan is a devoutly Christian young man with high morals, though his uncle has many vices that could cost both Ewan and his whole family dearly.  Ewan quietly displays his faith throughout the book and is just a very likeable character.  Laura, the former brick owner's daughter, is a feisty and determined young woman.  She is courting a lawyer to please her mother, but as she works with Ewan, she finds herself more drawn to the young Irishman.

This book is full of historical details.  The author deftly describes the brickmaking process through the enthusiastic eyes of Ewan and Laura.  The manners and customs of the times are also prominent throughout the book, so it was obvious that the author did her research.  I always appreciate historical detail!  The story was engaging, and I particularly enjoyed some of the minor characters, especially the children.  The ending was satisfying though not surprising.  Overall, I enjoyed this book and would recommend it.  I will say that I am not fond of the title, though.  This book is the first in a series, and I am curious to see what book two will entail.

I received this book from the publisher, Bethany House, for the purpose of writing a review, but all opinions are my own.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Applesauce and Apple Scrap Vinegar

I came home to a clean house, happy kids, and still those apples that I should have dealt with last week.  I decided to make some more applesauce.  Today, I made plain (4 jars) and blueberry applesauce (5 jars).  I used some of the blueberries that we picked and froze this summer.


Last week, I canned an additional 2 jars of plain and 4 jars of raspberry applesauce.  This time, though, I decided to make apple cider vinegar with the scraps.  The chickens got about half of the peels and cores, but the other half I put in a large glass jar and covered with a water and honey combo to make apple cider vinegar.  There are several tutorials on this online, so I picked one and am trying to make it for the first time.  If I succeed, I'll have some nice homeade vinegar, and if I fail, well, it took no money and very little effort, so I figure this is no-lose situation.

Now, I've dealt with all of the apples I'd intended to can, and we still have those delicious russet apples for eating.  To make it all even better, Nathaniel discovered that the world championship gymnastics tournament was on tv, so I was watching that while making and canning the applesauce.  It made for a nice afternoon.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Fireplace Tile

When we put in our hardwood floors, we also knew that we needed to redo the fireplace tile.  The old tile was not only ugly but also broken and coming off.  So we picked out this tile a while back.  Nathaniel finished up the tile a couple of weeks ago, but he just put on the trim today.  I love it!

Friday, September 26, 2014

DIY Seed Drying Rack




Last week, I signed up for the seed saving class at the library.  We made these great seed drying racks.  They are very easy and inexpensive to make.  (The library only allows $10 per person for a project, so I know it was under that amount.)




First of all, we used canvas frames.  She had taken off the canvas so we were left with a solid wood frame.  You could also use an old picture frame or make a quick frame with scrap wood.  We hot glued a square of screen to the bottom of the frame.  The librarian had alread predrilled a hole in each corner of the frame, so we could just screw in the eye hooks.  Then we attached s-clips and the chains, which all attach to another s-clip for hanging on a hook.  You could use other fasteners, too, if you wanted.  The way this one is set up, the chains and s-clips easily come off for storage.

The view of the bottom of the rack.   Here I have some Cuban oregano leaves drying.
I actually got to make 2 of these, since some people registered but didn't show up for the class.  I think I will screw eye hooks to the bottom of this frame and just attach the second frame below it.  You could also put eye hooks on the bottom for tying bundles of herbs to dry.

Right now, I've got Cuban oregano in the rack to dry, but I do plan on drying some seeds in it next. Speaking of Cuban oregano, does anyone happen to know if it is the same plant as Mexican oregano?  I hope so.  It does smell like it.  I use Mexican oregano in cooking often, and when June gave me a Cuban oregano plant, I was very excited and hopeful that they are the same or very similar in flavor.  She didn't know; someone had given her the plant in the first place in exchange for vegetables.

I shared this link at the Prairie Homestead Barn Hop. Check out the other links here: http://www.theprairiehomestead.com/2014/09/homestead-barn-hop-178.html





Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Busy, Busy

It's been a bit of a whirlwind around here lately.  My brother got married this weekend, and I've been trying to finish up all of the adoption paperwork that can be done right now.  Plus, did I mention that it's consignment sale time?  Yeah, I've been a little crazy.  On the plus side, I think all of the adoption paperwork that I can do at this time has been completed.  So until the next paper arrives and I do more hurry, hurry, right now I'm in waiting mode.

But back to the wedding.  It was beautiful, of course.  Lydia was excited to be one of the flower girls, along with my nieces.  The boys looked spiffy to hand out programs and were so glad that they got to match their baby cousin.


Saturday, September 13, 2014

Peppers and S'mores

It is really feeling like fall now, and though my tomatoes have not had a great year, the peppers have been abundant and wonderful.  Here are the ones I picked today:
This includes 4 different varieties.  I've been really impressed with how prolific and hardy the Bulgarian peppers, Garden Sunshine, and Pimentos have been.  The sweet chocolate were planted a bit later, so they are just starting to really ripen, and they are delicious, too, although not as tasty raw as the Bulgarian or the Pimento.  

I also planted some seeds for a small fall crop of lettuce, carrots, and arrugula.  The arrugula has already started sprouting.  I may plant a bit more.

And since we were feeling the fall air, we decided it was time for s'mores:




I also am making a photo book for our new son, to leave with him so he gets familiar with our faces.  Nathaniel took this one of me for the book:




Friday, September 12, 2014

Book Review - Playing by Heart by Anne Mateer




I love getting new books in the mail, and it is even more of a treat when it is historical.  This book, Playing by Heart by Anne Mateer, is my latest.  It is set during World War I in a small town in Oklahoma.  The main character, Lula, has had to come home to help her sister after the death of her brother-in-law.  She takes the only job available, as a music teacher and basketball coach at the local high school.  Romance stirs between her and fellow teacher Chet Vaughn, despite both teachers' intentions of not seeking romance.

This was a really good book.  I especially enjoyed how the chapters alternated between Lula's viewpoint and Chet's.  It gave the author the ability to bring out more of their backstories without being a distraction.  The author clearly understood the time frame, as the story flowed naturally with lots of historical detail.  I do think it would be helpful to many readers to state the year at the beginning of the story.  This book also featured a great deal of spiritual growth for both main characters that continued throughout the story.  I enjoyed several secondary characters as well, and some, like Chet's Ma, proved more complex.  I highly recommend this book.  It has great historical detail, complex characters with realistic issues, and is just a good read.

This book was given to me by the publisher, Bethany House, for the purpose of a review, but all opinions are my own.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Runners

All three of my kids had their first official cross country meets yesterday.  It was hot and sunny, and the course had some hills, but all three of them ran like champions!  We were shocked at how well they did, because there were so many kids running.  We thought they'd be more intimidated, but they did great.



Elijah ran in the open race, and he got a medal for 22nd place in that race.  I think he ran faster than he has been running, but I don't have the official time yet.  Malachi ran in the elementary limited race, and he had a good time.  Lydia ran in the elementary open race, and she blew her time away!  She ran about 2 minutes faster than her best time.

The open and limited thing works like this: The teams pick their fastest runners for the limited race.  In elementary, it is the 10 fastest boys in the boys' limited race.  For middle school, it is only 7.  Everyone who is not in the limited race runs in the open race.  There were hundreds of runners there!  It was amazing how many kids are at these things.  We were relieved that Lydia didn't get trampled.  She surprised us and loved the race.  

Things have been really a whirlwind around here lately.  We have exciting news: Our new child is a boy!!!  We can't say much else online, but Nathaniel and I get to go meet him soon.  We are so excited.  It will still be several months before we get to bring him home, but we are all so very happy.