15 October, 2015

House Perspectives

When finding out I was carrying a new little soul I felt we finally qualified as a "large family". I joined a LF board on a forum & "ran" into other mothers w/ 3-15 children from different countries & a wide variety of backgrounds, religions & means. It's been really nice & kind of fun to compare notes on recipes, vehicles, fertility, priorities, child troubles, assets, in-laws, negative & positive reactions to baby #4,5,6,7, etc.

One thing I realized is that my house, while feeling large to me, is small for the number of people in it. A lot of these families have 2500 sq' w/ 4 or 5 bedrooms. My mom has also remarked on the amount of clutter, it was a bit overwhelming for her while she was visiting last spring. A lot of the LF homeschool, probably half public school & it makes a difference in how you view a house.

 I grew up in a home that was decorated to be a refuge from work & a place to come home to for relaxation. But...that doesn't apply to my adult reality. I leave the house generally only 2 days a week & almost never more than 4 hours. There's no place to come to & generally no relaxation. I work where I live. I can sit down but I'm always on call to jump up again.

I live in a cannery, dairy, bakery, butchery & garden center rolled in one. That's just the kitchen & doesn't even count making breakfast, lunch, supper & snacks. The occasional chicken pokes it's head in looking for a handout & it's a miracle there's never been a dropping on the floor.

I live in an elementary school. The artwork isn't very tasteful or coordinated & it's EVERYWHERE. It creeps along the wall spreading its Crayola fingers further in more rows depending on subject & age as the school year progresses. There are charts & bookshelves. I rotate the books out by subject & grade; everyone gets 1 drawer for their daily work & supplies. I detest cluttered shelves. But this is the most occupied room in the house, the smallest & the one w/ the most and largest pieces of furniture so it's the main room I seasonally decorate. This adds to the cluttered/cozy feeling. This is the one room I actually would alter as our table won't fit when we'll need to (Lord willing) add a leaf in the table to fit us all. I'd like to knock the little half wall down to make a larger dining nook as opposed to a small formal space. This wall, Q-T.

I live in a machine shop. There are several cabinets that house Mikes tools & projects. He actually hates clutter worse than I do & has a shed he's put most of it in, but there are still 3 cabinets in the house. We use everything we have but a lot of it is seasonal. There's no getting rid of it w/ the option to replace it when we feel like it.

BUT w/ all of that said, I decided I like my house. It is cluttered & noisy. What I like best is that it's a place of productivity. Every day something different is being produced for the future, be that a jar of pop corn from the garden or a character quality in a child. Funnily enough, sometimes the one will help to make the other. No one gets their own room or has their own space (except Victor... for now. Mwahhahah.) I have 6 pairs of muck boots by the back door that grow in number & size every year. They drop dirt underneath their stair steps & I don't get it swept up as often as needed. But I like seeing them, all the small shoes on top getting larger as they go down.

After all of that ruminating ending in contentment, the one thing that I would like from the LF board though is the Nissan NV. We'll have maxed out the minivan & it wouldn't be so bad except that the back row isn't growing in leg room. We're hoping to get a mom bus next year. I'll thankfully accept anything we find w/ 12 seats & $40,000 is way out of our budget. But it looks so cool! If I Pinterested, this would go.

06 October, 2015

Rainy Review

We had nearly 2 weeks of rain, it was so dismal. We're very thankful to have the sunshine back again. We were in a Carolina drought, which is nothing like a California drought. As far as I can see, it just means we couldn't get our usual 3 cuttings of hay, only 2. The day before the rain fell there were bed accidents galore, I don't know what happened but there were 8 sheets to wash. I don't have that much line to dry on but at least the drips got out enough so it could finish overnight in the house. Our well pump has been cutting out & leaving us w/out water, Mike replaced it before the contacts before the rain & asked me to dry up the goat, so I did before the storm hit. Neither she nor I fancy milking in the rain.

I was alarmed at the amount of vacation looming ahead of us. We were only able to purchase one semester of curriculum at a time this year & we have been so steady & on schedule which never happens; it looks as if we'll be done by the end of Oct. We use Christian Light Publishing for the backbone of our curriculum. 10 workbooks that cover 3 weeks each. The first one is more like a review after a summer off, so we skip it & have a shorter first semester of 4 books but I usually have more field trips for the fall w/ cooler weather & lesser crowds.

With only 1 light unit remaining us for math, I took a week off that coincided w/ the rain. It was the least fun week of vacation. I did a lot of cleaning, but we were mostly tired of each other & tried to avoid one another. Arguments & strife would erupt if siblings weren't rotated. I don't feel like I got much done, but typing it out, I change my mind. The hours it only sprinkled I had them in the garden pulling the last of the tomatoes & corn. I weeded as I could but I have too much acid reflux going on right now to handle that. I'll cover the beds w/ straw for winter as it comes, the greens that came up are doing beautifully.

I got my 2 biggest dumping grounds de-cluttered, baby clothes & car seat gathered, sorted through, washed & put away. All of the seasonal clothing was rotated through & organized in a new clothing system w/ file boxes a la' Large Families on Purpose. I got the dining room walls scrubbed & shampooed because the cat decided to quit being housebroken awhile back when we were dog-sitting. She's decided to use a litter box instead of scratching at the door like she used to, but she won't share w/ the other cat & needs her own. I gave her a dishpan.

The last Fri. was spent at the apple orchard because I was determined we would go this year & do SOMETHING fun. It was raining. Apples littered the ground. We were the only ones there to pick & I had the feeling they didn't want to give out the wagon, though I think the storm caused a financial hit for them. The orchard is hilly & I under-estimated my wagon-handling abilities at 8 months pregnant in hilly mud hauling a (HEAVY) 2 year old & 40ish pounds of apples.

I think they look back at the whole day fondly, though they were cold at the orchard. We had cider doughnuts, which are always fun. We hit the library up first, then the orchard & ended w/ Pizza Hut because it's Book-It season & I didn't want to cook. It's nice having 3 of them in Book-It, I buy a family size cheesy bread for the rest of us as a soup side & call it good. We'd like to get the zoo in sometime this month, but the roof beam of the root cellar cracked & caved in so we need to budget for that repair.

It doesn't seem fair but now that there is plenteous sunshine, we are back to our school work. I'm catching up on laundry. I've baked up all of our pumpkins into pie, muffins, rice pudding & frozen yogurt as they weren't keeping. It's only Tues. & we've managed to get science & history started for the week. Not milking the goat & less sunshine has me waking up at 6:30 to have breakfast ready for them before morning chores, though now everyone wants a nap by 10:30, lol. I see more smaller post ideas in this lengthy one, so stay tuned.

18 September, 2015

Lunching on the Golden Calf

This was a fun activity of Miranda's & I thought I would post it.

Her lesson today included the Israelites worshipping the golden calf while Moses was on Mt. Sinai. Her activity included making peanut butter play dough & it was a hit!

 Mix 9 oz. creamy peanut butter w/ 3 oz. of honey. I used tablespoons instead. Add in dried milk until it's a handling consistency. That's it! I sprayed a sheet pan & we made a calf-ish creature. It made enough so that we had enough extra to make an alter to mount it on.

Since it was Miranda's lesson I let her decide what part to eat first & unsurprisingly she chose the head & horns. Victor wanted the body as it was biggest, Charlotte wanted the alter, leaving the legs & tail to Leora. It was perfectly proportioned for each of them & not too sticky.

It probably would be too much peanut butter for just one child. If that were the case I would sprinkle it w/ cocoa powder & keep it in the fridge to tear off as needed. That might have been really good too! On apple slices & fresh bread & butter in the beautiful Sept. sunshine, it just makes for a happy day.

12 September, 2015

Brownies for Supper

I know a lot of people are into gluten free whole foods nowadays. I'm fairly neutral & do whole foods as we're able. I do step up my nutrition during pregnancy though & was surprised to feel nauseus the whole first trimester. That was a first for me. I ate less than usual & mostly toast/crackers.
I had a "birth a healthy baby weight" plan by cutting out all sweets during the week & indulging in desserts only on Sun. during my second trimester. This really worked for me & it was easier to say no during the week knowing Sun. was always so close. For the record all of my babies have been healthy weights, I'd just like one a little smaller than Leora. She is built like a box. I gained 20 lb. by 20 weeks & then stopped for a month & a half.
My 3rd trimester is a no dessert time whatsoever excepting my morning coffee. I have found this more difficult than I thought. We had our once a year church baptisms/picnic of ALL FRIED FOOD. Except coleslaw. Fried fish, chicken fingers, onion rings, french fries & 2 kinds of pickles. I thoroughly enjoyed 1 plate, Mike is my will power during these times. He carries away the extra plates I'm holding for the girls so I won't be tempted. I avoided indoors completely where all of the desserts were until the end where I spied watermelon & grabbed 2 slices on the way out. Fruit doesn't count! Also our church is full of fitness freaks, on the whole we have a pretty healthy congregation. The sermon that morning coincidentally happened to be gluttony, we're going through the 7 deadly sins.
But w/ no more desserts I have had some serious chocolate cravings. I don't know if this means I need to increase my intake of magnesium or what. I cobbled this recipe together last night after not liking a previous one so much. I had baked sweet potatoes in the crockpot for supper but they were wanting to sleep outside in tents so I gave them these muffins to run around outside w/. They were full after 2 of them! My first batch a week ago had stevia instead of honey & no flour. Meh.
Into the blender:
  • 2 eggs
  • dash of vanilla
  • 2 T melted coconut oil, 1 T creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 C apple sauce
  • 2 C rinsed black beans
  • 2 banannas

Mix in a bowl:
  • 1/3-1/2 C raw honey
  • 1/2 C cocoa powder
  • 1/4 C flour
  • 1 t. baking powder
Mix together & you can use an 8x8 brownie pan & slice but I like them in muffin tins. This leaves nothing leftover. Bake @ 350 for 25 or so min. This might be too much chocolate right before bed; there was a lot of giggling out in the tents up until 10:00 but it might of been the novelty of sleeping in the tents. Leora stayed indoors & fussed & kicked until nearly 10 so I'm thinking it wasn't just the tents. They've tried this about 8 times & this was the first time they stayed out all night w/ out getting scared, even w/ light rain & distant lightning. I was proud & Mike & I enjoyed listening to the weirdness they came up w/.

So there is some sugar in these which means I've lost my goal but in my head dividing it among 12 muffin cups it didn't seem enough to get bent out of shape over. Lots of people add chocolate chips to these which sounds great but off the table for now. I had walnuts in my last batch & enjoyed that too.

17 August, 2015

A New Reward

Silly me, I was rereading my blog & realized I'd never announced here. We're expecting #5! So far this pregnancy has been unique in several ways. I gained 20 lbs. in my first trimester which I've never done, & I don't really think I was eating much extra. I've not gained any the last 2 months, so I'm back on track, weight wise. I've also had a lot of nausea which I've never had. This baby has moved the most by far. I began feeling movements at 17 weeks, the earliest I've ever felt & I don't think baby has stopped yet. We hope to meet this new little person by the middle of Nov. & are thankful for this newest gift!

24 weeks, we're viable!

15 August, 2015

The Walking Dead...

Ha, that's what Mike called my leg after staring at it. He knew about it but hadn't really looked at it until laying on the couch staring at my foot on the recliner. The Walking Dead is a zombie show I watched a couple of episodes of but not to my taste. He's into season 30 or whatever it's on. I am genetically slammed on both sides of my family for varicose veins, this time is the worst yet. Our AC was out for July, the one month we typically run it straight through. It died on my first day of canning season. The heat doesn't bother my leg though my ankle is itchy & tender. The children call it "mommy's ugly leg" & run to pet mommy's "pretty leg". I kind of roar & shake the ugly leg at them to make them rush away screaming, it's a hoot.
To make up for showing you that, here's are pictures of Leora:

She's so big & squishy, I always want to nibble on her. That's a size 6 shirt of Charlotte's she's wearing.

31 July, 2015

How We Do Movies

Victor went to see A Night at the Museum III for his birthday. We hadn't seen the first 2, but a movie at the theater is maybe a once a year deal for us. The blood center was offering free tickets in exchange for a pint & I was able to donate in Nov. & Dec. so they could go out together.

The girls went to see Cinderella w/ their grandma when it came out. Charlotte had just been given the blue dress & Miranda had the pink princess dress left over from Dollar Generals Halloween clearance. I embellished hers to look like the dress the step-sisters trashed. They were thrilled to leave the house in character, something usually not allowed. The movie people were taken enough to give them 2 free movie posters.

Mike stayed w/ them one night so I could go see it w/ some friends, which was nice; I hadn't been out w/ friends in public in nearly a decade & never w/out drinking. It was good calm fun.