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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A mile long to do list.

   I was awoken this morning at 6:15 by the rumbling of a roofing company's truck making a delivery,not my idea of a pleasant way to wake up on a day "off" but it means I am now able to be here writing.

 I have a to do list that is right around a mile long or only seems a mile long because some of it is time sensitive.Here is my list:

Make Pickles before the pickling cukes are gone for the year. ( My family will revolt if I don't make this deadline happen.) The lids from last years jars are marked 9/10/09 so maybe I have a few more days to get my cuckes.

Make Strawberry Jam- this one has wiggle room,the berries are still in the freezer so time wise I am covered,whew, maybe this can go farther down the list.

Pick some late Peaches for the freezer,if it dose not happen today or tomorrow it won't happen.(Winter Sunday breakfasts just won't be the same without them, better make it happen.)

Call Senior Services to ask for help with/for my Dad,if I am lucky this will only take one call from which I will not be dropped. It's time for extra help in the home for Dad,he as fallen twice within two weeks and is losing things. The sooner he has more help the better, so this is top of the list.

Call Dad's Doctor-see above as to why.

Remember at dark to move the now not so little chicks and their Mama to the big coop. The now Poultes  are out growing the Broody House so into the Big Coop they need to go.Mama still won't willingly roost with the other chickens so I think it is time to force it.

I already ordered 100 pounds of Apples for Apple Sauce and Butter so making those can wait until October when the Apples arrive.Yes, I did write 100 pounds last years 82 pounds was not enough to keep us in Apple Sauce, we ran out by March.When you have two boys who can sit down and lick clean a quart jar of Apple Sauce before you have realized they opened the jar, 100 pounds of Apples is necessary.

Get the boys ready for school to start. Sol needs shoes,can't send the baby to school without them and both boys still need a handful of supplies.School supplies that sounds easy and so do the shoes right? Not when it has to be this certain Binder that zips and is so many inches thick and the right color. That's the boys demands not the schools but they are kind of right since the other Binders just fall apart after week one and I am back at the store shopping Again. Finding the right shoes is a mystery and when I figure it out I'll let you know. I have until Monday evening to get this one done, somehow I must capture the boys and force them to be home long enough for me to stick them in the car and zoom away with them.

Maybe that dose not seem to bad to some of you but I am feeling a bit overwhelmed by it. Somewhere amongst all of the things to do I have gone back to work so my time has been shortened here at home.I am happy to be working again but it hind sight maybe if the universe had sent me my job mid-September things could have been better organized. I feel like I am re-learning how my life works or how to juggle this new era. I read some place that Chance and I are called the Sandwich Generation- still caring for our own kids and taking care of aging parents.Wow, how dose that work? I mean, I know people get there because of timing and all, but how do they do it? I have all of these balls I am juggling around , teen boys, my Mom, my Dad (geez it would have been swell if they were still together,one stop helping.) a job, Chance,the house and oh yeah Homesteading.
  Someplace in that pile of balls is the tricky one,the wild card out of them-the emotional side.That ball has a mind of its own and rares its ugly head as it sees fit.Watching your parent slip into Alzheimer's is scary unknown territory with out a map or a how to guide.Then there are the boys who's needs from us are changing,we are now the parents of young men, not little boys, a thing that pulls at our heart strings.

  This summer has been like Dorthy and Toto swirling in the tornado with all of that stuff whipping by.Chance and I sit in the eye of it looking around thinking "I don't think we are at Hrafinstaad anymore" But it will all clam down and we will land safely back at Hrafinstaad.School will start for which I am more grateful this year than any other-life with the boys will be forced into a slower pace.Senior Services will be called and the Doctor as well.Appointments made, Jars filled and neatly placed in the pantry,Peaches will be frozen,Work days will come and go.It's just getting the hang of it and putting everything down on my mile long to do list.



Wednesday, August 25, 2010

poppytalk: Back to School: How to Make a Snack Bag

While I am busy training at work,hosting out of town guests and getting the boys ready for school I wanted to share this video with you.
I am always looking for ideas for things that can replace throw away items.Even though somethings are recyclable I still feel like by making more reusable/washable things I am cutting down on waste and pollution,it still takes power and resources to recycle that are on a larger scale than throwing my homemade things into a load of wash.
The fold down top is an extra nice touch to these bags,ever have sticky lunch goo stuck in Velcro?Not so nice.I am going to have find some cloth that will fit into our household style, not too girlie, not to little kid something just right.
poppytalk: Back to School: How to Make a Snack Bag: "- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Sorry I have not been here much.This summer has become a beast of its own and has me realizing that Chance and I have entered into a new phase in our lives. It is giving me much to think through and the need for a new game plan that has yet to manifest its self.


Friday, August 13, 2010

That's a lot of chips

That's Prime Metal Man hanging on the garage,even he is saying -Oh my that's a lot of chips!
Many months ago Chance and I called to be put on a waiting list for a load of free wood chips from the local power company.When I talked with the lady in the office she asked me  "Are you sure? It can be like 5 pickup truck beds full."  Yes, we wanted them even if it did seem like a lot of chips. This week the trucks have been in our neighborhood trimming the trees away from the power lines and finally yesterday they dumped our load of chips in the driveway. Not 5 pickup truck beds full but it is still a big pile.

Half way across the yard.

 Chance and I started by filling the path in the backyard.We filled the path to the top of the stones knowing the chips would compress down after a while. We also put some around the back garden near the chicken coop, around our old apple tree and under the big fir tree in our breeze way.
Hmmmm,there's still a lot of chips left.

 We still have a big pile of chips to figure out where to put.We can put some in the compost and around our climbing rose but after that I am at a loss as to where to put this big pile. I am wondering about along our driveway since that's a spot come winter gets pretty wet and muddy. It seems like a useful place and somehow we can make it look nice as well.

  Other than that.... Well, Chance put the Mama hen back into the big coop with the rest of the chickens.It was time,she was starting to pick on the chicks and they have not spent time together in over a week now.Two signs it was time for the next stage. We are leaving the chicks in the Broody house until they are a bit bigger.We have been making sure to let all of the chickens loose so they could socialize and get used to each other.That has been going fine with only a few moments where the chicks have been chased off.

 And my other news is I am returning to work today. I used to work for a local shoe store called Clogs-n-More, my local readers are probably familiar with this Mecca of Dansko's. When Issac got SO sick with his Crohn's a couple of years ago I left Clogs-n-More to take care of Issac. I was sad to leave because I liked my job,co-workers and you couldn't ask for a better company to work for.Well, not only do they sell adult shoes but they also have a kids store,there was an opening there and I applied and start work today.I am excited, I am returning to work for a company I like and I can put my preschool teaching skills to work as well. And honestly I need to be working outside of home.My brain needs the fuel,I need more interaction with people and extra money is always a good thing. I am only working part time which will be perfect for us as a family.I can still be home in time for dinner and homework and have time for homesteading projects.
  Oh and the other bit of family news that is just as exciting as my job,Sol has a new guitar teacher.This is huge for Sol and since he has been at Camp all week he dose not know yet.We had been working on the lessons deal before Sol left but it had not been finalized. Sol is really in to learning to play Delta Blues slide guitar,had started lessons until his teacher had a big ball of life happening and Sol has missed the lessons.Even without lessons Sol has been practicing what he had learned,that is how passionate he is about his music.This Monday will be Sol's first lesson with a local musician who plays this same type of guitar. Also check out this link,it's my favorite video of him.
 I must go now,it's my first day of training and I really should not be late.I hope you get to take a walk on the sunny side of the street today, I know I will be!


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Recycled Kitchen Island

 Since the garden,yard and chickens are all just doing their own thing Chance and I have been focusing on some indoor projects.About a week or so ago I had seen a posting elsewhere about using creative items for kitchen storage.The posting reminded me that I was wanting to reorganize our kitchen,then my gears got rolling and then I remembered Chance and I have been tossing the idea around about having a Kitchen Island for extra work space.We remodeled our kitchen about 3 years ago and have yet to come up with an idea that was affordable and one we both liked.

Our little black dresser turned upside down.
  When we remodeled the kitchen we had picked for about $10 at a yard sale a small dresser that needed paint and new knobs.The dresser was the perfect size for a niche in the kitchen and the drawers are nice and deep for linens. We painted it black and added extra knobs we had for our cabinets. I started our Island project by moving the dresser where an island would be in our kitchen just to get a feel for wither the island would work for us.It did, then Chance remembered he had a sheet of stainless steel in the shop,could it work as a top? And he had some casters to help raise it up and make the island movable.

Casters taken off an old chair.

  The Stainless Steel fit almost perfect (YES!) the only issue was when we set the piece on it hung over and we could not open the top drawer.To solve this Chance built out of some 1x2's a frame that fits the inside of the steel.This frame allowed the top to be raised just enough to still look right and make it so we could open the drawer.Chance attached the wood frame to the dresser with wood screws.He then had to chisel the screw tips off so the drawers would slide in and out smoothly.

 All together the project took about an hour to do.The cost was zero dollars since we reused a dresser and everything else was salvaged from various places.

The finished Island.

   I am getting used to the island being there so far I have only bumped into a couple of times.I am still used to the old lay out of the kitchen.Besides the island I have been moving things around in the house and reorganizing.With the house being small (1200 sq ft) keeping unused stuff out is important.I am also always looking for ways to store things away.
Little Horse Vase.
Before I go I also wanted to show all of you the little horse shaped vase I found at the Goodwill for under a dollar.The top of the horses mane is where you stick the flowers in.I fell in love with its chunky body,it reminded me of the Fjyord Horses I love so much.Even the shape of the mane is like the way Fjyord's are cut.

It is Scout Camp week! We love the boys to death but dang it is nice to have a long break that has no Mother's guilt attached to it.I don't have to feel bad about having a good time because the boys are having one as well.No playing Mom Taxi, WAY less cooking since Chance and I will just eat left overs and whatever else is easy, and quiet. I am sure later in the week I will start to miss them but until then Ahhhhh.
  I am hoping Chance and I can go this afternoon to pick either Blueberries ( I know, it's getting late and I had better do it.) and/or Peaches for the freezer.If not today then maybe tomorrow will work.

             Take Care, Rois

Friday, August 6, 2010

DIY Mason Jar Chandelier Kara Pasley Designs | Apartment Therapy San Francisco

I found this DIY this morning and thought the comment in the article saying "do you have a collection of jars with hopes you'll find something cool to do with them someday" was funny.
Although the chandelier is clever I think I'll use my jars for canning and as drink glasses. What are some ways you use canning jars other than canning?

DIY Mason Jar Chandelier Kara Pasley Designs | Apartment Therapy San Francisco: "- Sent using Google Toolbar"


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Sigh.... Cafe Da

Cafe Da,served in the finest of glasses a Mason Jar.
       Remember in my last posting how I said I have had Cafe Da on my mind,that yummy coffee float drink from Vietnam? This evening my husband proved to me once again that I made the best choice in life partner,he made me Cafe Da.

  To make this yummy drink is super easy all you have to do is:
    Make a pot of coffee
    In a glass put a couple of  good sized scoops of ice cream.We used vanilla but any flavor that you like with  coffee will work.( Chocolate? Mmmmm Mocha sounds good.Caramel, oh dreamy.)
   Now pour the hot coffee over the ice cream  just like when you make a float with soda.Be sure you choose a glass that can take the quick change in temperature. No need to add milk/cream or any kind of sweetener,that's the ice creams job.
   I have never tried this with any of the no dairy ice cream choices out. I think it should work only because it just seems like it should.If anyone tries this with something else that is ice cream-ish let me know 'cause I am curious.
  Ok I must say that the combination of coffee and ice cream makes this a favorite treat of mine,two loves in one glass.But what I also enjoy about it is the different temperatures inside the drink,cold,cool and warm all in different bites.
 As you can see in the back of the photo I baked today and my newly erected shrine to St Elizabeth seems to be working. I baked Short Cakes for Peach Short Cakes with Vanilla Ice Cream. As you may be able to see the pan is still full of cakes,my family chose the Cafe Da's over the Cakes.I find that an ironic point. I baked and it went the way it should but did my family eat any of it? No. Go figure. They will keep and actually the cakes are scone like so breakfast may be Peaches and Cakes minus the ice cream.
  If anyone wants the recipe for the Short Cakes let me know,they are easy peasy and more versatile than people think.

Sunday, August 1, 2010


 Looking back on the past few posting I realize that I have not had any homesteading projects to share.Are we still homesteading? Well, yes we are it's just it seems like I have posted about the daily stuff many times,the garden (which is currently not doing much.) baking (see last post on how that is going.) DIY projects(none in the works right now.) and canning (have not had time but need to get my butt in gear.).
  I could tell you that a few weeks ago we bought an ice cream maker at a yard sale for $5,a score! And I now find myself obsessed with the idea of making homemade ice cream and dream of making ice cream sandwiches.Oh but the ice cream treat I am really dreaming and drooling over is Cafe Da, a Vietnamese drink kind of like a Coffee or Espresso Float. The problem with my obsession? Well ah,um, you see I am not suppose to eat ice cream because of my gut issues.I know there are lots of other alternatives out there but nothing replaces good old milk based ice cream.So, I am waiting to make ice cream until I have been super good about what I have been eating (or not eating) and maybe there are extra people around to help eat the whole batch up,that way I won't kill myself or at least not land in the ER by eating ice cream until the tub is empty.
  I could tell you that it's X Games week, a once a year Skate Boarding, BMX, Rally Car and Motor Bike competition that is on TV for 4 days running (the boys have recorded all 4 days of it which means I will be one lucky girl and get to watch the prime parts over and over .) What does that mean to me? It means my house will be full of teenagers hooting and cheering for guys like Travis Pastrana, doing flips on his motorbike or Najda whom we have been watching for several years now zipping around on his skateboard with waist length dreadlocks flying.My cupboards will be bare by the end of the games but my sofa will be full of crumbs and that is alright by me,it is once a year and I think it's the most TV my boys ever watch all year.
  I can tell you Chance and I are busy getting house and yards ready for a family reunion for my Dad's side of the family,a wish I have had for my Dad for a while now. Dad misses his siblings and I have wanted to do this for him before his memory is too far gone.It's going to be a bitter sweet day in September,good to see everyone but sad due because of why I was motivated to do it.
  By the end of today I will have some photos to share of the sitting area I created here out of things we had stored away. I have been wanting to do this project for some time now because the house gets hot, we don't have a family room and some times escaping what the boys are up to is not always easy. I.E see the paragraph above about X Games.Now Chance and I have a place to sit with a drink,a project or book where we can relax in the cool shade.
  It has pleasantly cool here making it easy to get work done.My screw noggin' is not getting fried as I weed the gardens and when I sent Chance up to the attic for something I did not have to feel like I was sending him to the burning bowels of Hell.
  I will confess that I am a basket case of nerves over having my Dad's side of the family here,I am overly house proud.I had this short list of projects/honey do things for Chance to do and now as I look around my crazed pride is finding things all over the place.Sorry Dearest,your list may be growing but like always I will be there right by your side working our way forwards.