Monday, August 31, 2009

The Simple Woman's Summer Daybook - August 31

I really enjoy participating in Peggy's Simple Woman's Daybook when I am able to.
Peggy is taking a hiatus from the Daybook for the summer until September, but I think I'll just keep on when I can since it is such a blessing to me! It's just a great way to start the week!

For Today Monday, August 31, 2009

Outside My Window...
Cool but bright and sunny - the perfect first day of home school!

I am thinking.
this is going to be a challenging school year.

From the learning rooms...
The Historian is doing history with our Storyteller first this morning and Dreamer is tidying our home school supplies. Later we will do some reading and home chores. We have a home school order to place and some scheduling to do. Piano lessons are later this afternoon, followed by a few errands I hope!

I am thankful for ...
A fresh start for our school year!

I am praying for ...
creativity and patience as I begin teaching again

From the kitchen...
The cookie jar is empty so we'll have to fix that before tea time!
Monday Supper - Breakfast for Supper (make extra waffles for the freezer)
Tuesday Supper - Macaroni and Cheese (by special request)
Wednesday Supper - Oven Roast & Veggies
Thursday Supper - Grilled Chicken & Salad
Friday Supper - Homemade Pizza
Saturday Supper - Steak on the grill, Corn on the Cob, garden potatoes
Sunday Lunch - Pulled Pork sandwiches

I am wearing...

Brown capri's, a long sleeve white t-shirt, Bare feet, pony tail and a smile!

I am creating...
Schedules and to do lists, school year goals and fall home project plans!
The cooler weather has me feeling more energetic!

I am going...
Out to the clothesline to hang the wash! Out to the garden to plant fall veggies! Out for piano lessons and to the library later - hmm ... that's a lot of going out for one day!

I am reading...
Miss Read - The School at Fairacres

I am hoping...

That we can settle in to our fall schedule easily and that we will be organized and productive.

I am hearing...
Quiet talking from the Historian and Storyteller as they go over his history lesson.

Around the house...
General tidying and a good vacuuming are needed, as well as laundry and some ironing!

One of my favorite things...
Cool, crisp sunny mornings - a hint of fall in the air!

Fitness goals ...
Vacationing is hard on the fitness goals, but at least I didn't gain any weight despite all the good things that Mum served us! Now that we are home and getting back into routine, I am hoping to be able to concentrate on my walking and healthy eating again!

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week:
  • sewing for fall
  • daily school work
  • long term plan for the school year - place another curriculum order
  • menu planning for the month of September
  • planting fall crops

Here is a picture thought I'm sharing:

This is the view I am missing - Trout Lake

Thank you for reading my daybook!

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Friday, August 28, 2009

No more braces!

After 2 years and 7 months, our Dreamer is finally smiling without braces! Yeah! She has waited soooooooooooo long! It was supposed to be 14 months of torture, but a few complications really stretched things out. The good news is, she can chew - her top and bottom teeth are actually working together and connecting to break up her food properly - which was our main concern! The side benefit of nice straight beautiful teeth - an added bonus! What a smile! Now we leave the world of elastics, adjustments and frequent appointments and learn to live with just retainers! Easy!

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

It was quite inevitable you see ...

we have 'school pictures' scheduled for Monday.
Something always happens when I schedule a professional photo shoot - always!

I thought it would be great to start our home school year off right this year with official school pictures. I always intend to do it, but usually forget. I decided that this year would be different! What better time to get professional pictures than when our children are all tanned and healthy looking from two weeks by the water? Do you see those wonderful freckles? It was absolute serendipity to find a coupon for professional services in my mail just days before we left for vacation - so I booked an appointment. For Monday. This Monday.

This morning, our special guy woke up looking like his face was used for a punching bag. His lips are swollen and his cheek is hot, swollen and itchy. It's a reaction to the scoric acid the dermatologist used on that teeny tiny wart on his lip yesterday! We have been battling warts on our guy for over a year - and we have tried everything from caster oil to duct tape. We decided a few months ago that we needed professional help since our Storyteller couldn't get shoes on without great irritation, but since we started treatment, more warts have been popping up everywhere - but only on the left side of his body. Weird.

We've got a call in to the dermatologist for advice, but I'm wondering if it's time to re-schedule or just go ahead and have another set of professional pictures complete with bumps bruises, scrapes and other real life stuff!

It was really quite inevitable you see ...

EDITED: Thanks for your sympathy and suggestions! We are using Benadryl and hyrocortizone and he is improving - maybe by Monday at 3 he will be back to looking like the boy we know and love ... we're praying!

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Vacation Memories

We made it home safely on Monday just after supper, but I've just been buried with various and sundry things 'to do' ever since! You know how it is - a post vacation vacation would be nice about now! At first I was so overwhelmed with all that needed to be done I was ready to turn around and have another week of vacation, but really it is very good to be home and begin to adjust to a regular schedule to begin our school year.

The first 5 days of our vacation were difficult - I really wasn't feeling well, but we muddled through and the children got lots of sunshine and swim time. It was the first hot weather the Bay had experienced all summer - a direct answer to our prayers, I think! Though, it was obvious I wasn't really praying believing since I didn't bring enough hot weather clothing for the week! Mum kept saying how cold it was all summer, and I wanted to be prepared! The Storyteller squeezed in a bit of baseball with Poppa and some catching practice too! The two youngest cousins were also visiting and had a great week at Canoe and Kayak Camp, and we ate picnic lunches with them everyday to keep them company. The children got along well, and had hilarious times putting on 'plays' for us all!

Over the week I began to get over my cold, but than had a few painful days with my liver - but again, we just kept going - albeit, much more slowly. On Saturday while I was feeling well and energetic, I baked a few sweet treats to fill up the cookie jars, vacuumed and bit and tidied up our 'stuff' and Mum went out for yet more groceries. I think we ate them out of house and home! Cousin A came 'home' to Poppa and Grammy's from camp Aush-Bik-Koong and brought a weeks worth of dirty laundry! We all enjoyed joining Mum and Dad's church family on Sunday and saw a lot of old friends. We were there for a big church picnic and birthday celebration for Mr. B who joined the 65 and over club - though he really doesn't look or act it! Poppa drove down the highway to take the younger cousins to meet their family.

On Monday we were delighted to have my Uncle and Aunt come up for 24 hours of visiting and catching up! It was great to see them and hear about all the exciting places they have been recently. Our two children started Canoe and Kayak Camp on Monday and had a wonderful week. It was good for them to be learning a new skill and they had wonderful coaches. They had great weather all week except for one morning when they could not go out on the water due to distant lightening. They are both so brown and healthy looking - despite our ample applications of sunscreen! If we do this another time, they definitely need hats that are wind-proof since they could not wear their floppy tops for fear they would blow away on the water!

Thursday, I happily spent a quiet afternoon eating frozen yogurt and berries on a lakeside porch conversing with a childhood friend - a rare time out from mommyhood for both of us!
We all had a lovely evening eating at a favorite restaurant and enjoying the mini train rides and Carousel rides on the waterfront. Rolling down the big hill is always a favorite (free) activity, and meeting old friends is inevitable and enjoyable!

On Friday, our children were honored to participate in the Rotary Club's 'Paddle for PADDLE' with the rest of their camp mates and even got to meet the Mayor! They all piled into a huge Dragon Boat and paddled over to a lakeside shop for huge scoops of ice cream on the last afternoon. On Saturday, we were all a bit tuckered out, but Poppa and his Dreamer took Cousin A, who was staying the week to help Poppa with a recycling project, down the highway to rendezvous with his family. I haven't heard all of the details of that adventure, but there was a tailgate ice cream party for two, a big climb up a mountain, and some rose hip collecting!

Poppa and Dreamer arrived home just about the same time as our Historian - he had a long drive up to get us, and between a slow border crossing, heavy traffic and an upset stomach, he was quite tired out. We were slow getting away Sunday, and only made it half way home before taking a room for the night. The children enjoyed pool time, some of us got a good nights sleep ( not me!) and we headed home Monday!

Now that I've written this all out, it really is quite a wonder that I am not more tired than I am! We certainly packed a lot in - Mum made loads of delicious food, did uncountable loads of washing, carted kids to the beach, packed wonderful picnic lunches, stocked and re-stocked the ailing fridge, kept the bathroom decent and we even packed in some thrift shopping too! She'll be needing a vacation from our vacation! The rest of us helped out too, of course, but despite her constant pain and fatigue, she was the glue that held it all together, as always. Poppa did a ton of driving, a bit of nice grilling, worked hard with Cousin A and has half the beach to vacuum out of the truck and car! We owe them both a huge

Thank - you,
Poppa and Grammy!

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Monday, August 10, 2009

Vacationing isn't for sissies!

I woke up this morning sounding like Darth Vader. It's not a great way to start a vacation, but we're making the best of it.

My Dad drove down Friday, slept over night, and packed us up Saturday morning. We got about 3/4 of the way to the Bay before I completely fizzled out. I was in pretty bad shape, so we had some supper, and took a room for the girls and one for the boys. Poppa took the kids swimming in the salt water pool, and I tried desperately to get rid of a headache and rest. In the morning we enjoyed the complimentary breakfast, and headed out. It rained very heavily, which really slowed things up, but we got here. We thanked God for bringing us all this way safely. Poppa put 1287 miles on the truck - just for us! We are very thankful, since I don't think I could have brought us up on my own. The children were excellent, we had no close calls, and the girl at the border was quite friendly - all good things.

The Storyteller was starting on a cold Friday before we left, which he thoughtfully shared with Sister and I. Hence, my Darth Vader imitation. I am not going over to the dark side - really! My voice is always the first thing to go when I have a nasty cold. It isn't pretty. I am praying that we do not share any of our germs with anyone else! Dreamer coughed until 2 am, so she went to bed early and is hoping to feel much better tomorrow.

It's a kind of miserable start to our vacation, especially since the heat we were praying for seems to be here - and now we are avoiding the water, hoping to forestall ear infections for Storyteller and a full asthmatic episode for our Dreamer. They did swim yesterday, keeping heads mostly above water, and today they enjoyed catching minnows without getting too wet - so they are not totally deprived! They just think they are. We are using peppermint essential oil for the sinus symptoms, Vicks on the chests, and drinking lots of fluids. We made sure to get the kids tucked in earlier tonight - hopefully they will get to sleep soon!

I just read all of your kind comments on our Storyteller's pants predicament, and I must say that I am delighted to not be alone in this struggle! Our guy has a tummy and little love handles - no doubt the result of all of the fresh whole milk he consumes. But, he is lacking on the back side ... so we see a lot of back ... slide ... if you know what I mean! We did overalls for the longest time but Osh Kosh B'Gosh stopped making the 'big' boy sizes and he was getting teased a bit about them anyway. Then we tried those adjustable waist pants with a belt or suspenders, but we still saw more of him than we ought to have. Elastic all around may not be 'cool' but if they give a boy a chance to play without having to hitch up his pants every 10 seconds, well, we're all for them! He is as pleased as punch with his freshly hemmed Land's End Cargo Climbers - and they are on sale HERE if you're looking! I know I'll be ordering a couple more pairs when I get another 'free shipping' offer! Double kneed pants that don't slide down are a boy's best friend! That and a good baseball game!

I am off to bed now myself - same treatment as the children - only my 'liquids' involve nice china cups filled with lovely hot tea ... and a nibble or two of Grammy's sweet treats! I'll have to be careful though, or I'll be rolling out of here with a few extra pounds in two weeks when our Historian comes to get us! That would not be good!

I'll check in again when I've got my voice back! Do try to make the most of these fleeting last weeks of summer! That's what we'll be doing!

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Friday, August 7, 2009

Company Girl Coffee

Hey girls! Thanks for dropping by! We're having a busy day today, but I always have time for a tall cold sweet tea - I'm just making a fresh batch! I need the caffeine today since I am preparing for a little vacation for the children and I, getting the guestroom ready for my Dad who is coming to get us, and putting together a wee hostess gift for the Pastor's family - we are invited for supper tonight! We are really excited!

Last night we made a mad dash to the mall for PANTS for our boy! I know - the mall isn't very thrifty - but I've been looking for pants for our guy for over a month and there just are not any boys pants in the thrift stores that are in decent shape. I know the trend is the 'grunge' look, but please - we'll make our our rips and stains thank you!

We love the Land's End double kneed cargo pants and I had ordered some form the sale catalogue for our boy, carefully following the size suggestions - but they were HUGE! I was so glad 'cause I've never thought of our guy as really 'husky' and that's what category he fell into! So we took them back to Sears and scoured the boys department for pants for our guy! It's really cold in North Bay, where we are headed. Mum and Dad haven't really had summer yet - just the absence of winter. I am praying for a heat wave in North Bay while we are there - the children are dying to get in the water and they have canoe and kayak camp next week, so we need a smidgen of heat for those activities!

I'd better run for now! Have a great weekend!

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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Summer Supper

I haven't been grocery shopping for a while - we've picked up milk and eggs, but I haven't done a major shop since before cousin's camp! Once again, I overestimated how much food we would need, but no worries because it all got used ... eventually! Needless to say, my lengthening shopping list tells me it's time for some more fresh produce, baking staples and other good things to eat! With that in mind (and no car in the driveway) I cleaned the fridge, 'gleaned' a decent supper, and felt very very blessed to be able to do so!

Corn Meal Muffins (used up some sour milk) with my homemade Apple Butter ( last fall)

Sweet pickles & pickled beets ( store bought)

Sliced Beefsteak Tomatoes from the garden

Sliced Cucumbers and Green Beans - picked while the rains let up

Garden Potatoes Roasted with fresh Rosemary and sea salt

Steamed Green Beans (for those who like their veggies cooked)

Herb Roasted Chicken with dipping sauce

Jumble Berry Crisp

(made with six or seven cups of various berries discovered here and there in the fridge! - a variation of THIS OLD RECIPE)

So, we had a good supper, the fridge is clean and quite empty, and we are ready for groceries in the morning! Yeah! All in all, supper took about 30 minutes of prep time, and the same in clean up time for Daddy and the children. After supper we dug into James 1 again for our family devotions.

On an entirely different subject, I want to say thank you for all your kind comments on our freshly painted front door! Our rarely excitable substitute rural route mail lady gushed over our door the other day and made me feel really quite self-conscious! My quietly comical Historian thought that the numbers on the door strongly resembled the cell door numbering from his former prison ministry days! I guess that just goes to show you how he really feels about married life!!! The truth comes out!

Anyway, please keep in mind that I was just boldly copying creative Karla at It's the little things that make a house a home' and this isn't anything original I thought up. Red is not a quiet color - in fact it speaks loudly! This is 'A Place of Quiet Rest' ... so this was quite a bold departure for me!

In case you really want to paint something 6 times to achieve the same glorious shade of lush cherry red, you'll need to take this info to your Home Depot (or Behr dealer) and beg the nice lady to find this retired color formula for you:

BEHR'S Premium Plus 'Cherry Tree' ECC-32-3

We used the satin exterior enamel and the base # is 9340

Have fun!

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Monday, August 3, 2009

Drought: A spiritual lesson from my garden

The other night I found myself in a panic as I noted the wilted appearance of my beautiful container gardens. How had I forgotten to water them? How could I neglect something so beautiful - something that brings my heart joy every time I pause to look?

Then it hit me - I've not been paying attention. I haven't stopped to really look. Usually, by this time of the year, we live in a brown parched land; we are enjoying 'missionary showers' to conserve the water in our well, and often the ground is cracked and crazed like an old china plate. The grass dies and the weeds just hold hands and flourish. The weekly mowing ceases, the sprinklers that keep the Country Club and mansions in our neighborhood lush and green go constantly, and I am watering my annual containers twice a day with carefully saved bathwater, dishwater and laundry water. It's a huge chore - requiring an investment in both time and energy, but I do it faithfully because it is absolutely necessary to keep the gardens alive. Usually.

This year, I have been lulled into a false sense of security by the wonderfully regular weekly rains that we have enjoyed. The grass is still green and growing, and the trees are full and lush where normally they would be beginning to curl and brown around the edges. The plants that are deeply rooted are growing by leaps and bounds, and my perennials and shrubs have required more pruning than ever before. We are not experiencing those near-drought conditions for the first summer since we moved here. The farmers are hoping for bumper crops to make up for the low yields resulting from the winds of 'Ike' which flattened their crops last season. It's been really nice - a blessing in fact.

Even so, my annuals are planted in small containers, and even when it rains enough to keep the grass green, it's not enough for those little vessels. My annuals are not deeply rooted, and they are really water hogs. As I carefully watered just before sundown, I began to see some parallels in my life, and my own times of 'spiritual drought'.

I never choose to go through a dry time in my walk with the Lord. Like the false sense of security I felt because we were getting a pretty good amount of rain, I am often lulled into a dry season by thinking that the little bits of God's Word that I am pondering are enough to keep me going. If I hear a good message from the pastor on Sunday, catch the occasional radio ministry, or just do my devotional sort of regularly, I think I'll be fine. I forget that my spirit needs more than just a random sprinkling - I need to be watered deeply. That means spending time reading and meditating on God's Word. Not easy for a busy mom plagued by chronic illness, but really, who is it easy for? I can't use any excuse. I may not be in the season of life where I can devote hours to studying the Word, but I can certainly take more time than the three minutes it takes to read 'Our Daily Bread'. For me, it's finding a balance. I usually like to take notes during our Sunday School class and the message and try to look up those verses that were hard to understand, challenging or just plain new to me. Spending time reading them, writing them out and looking them over during the week helps to keep me deeply watered by the Word.

It's easy to neglect my container gardens when we are on the go, busy with other things or stuck in the house during a storm. I don't take the time to really look and see if all is well with my plants. Dry spiritual times often come for me just after a difficult trial, simply because I've been focused on other things and fail to pay attention. I sometimes forget the truth of 1 Peter 5:8

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

The middle of a trial is not the time to let down your guard! Those 'urgent plea' prayers are effective and assuredly answered, but they can't be the full extent of my communication with God. I need to take time to really pray, with confession, thanksgiving, praise and petitions - not just one quick S.O.S.!

I noticed that my parched and wilted flowers where suffering from a case of hardened compacted soil. The earth in my containers was so dried up that even the moisture granules that I add every year were collected into tight lumps. I couldn't even make a dent with my finger! I gently sprayed a small amount of water slowly, directly on the soil and walked to the next plant, giving each one just a bit of water to begin with. Later, I gave them the full soaking they needed, and by morning they were their old perky selves. The soil was softened, pliable and ready to soak up the life giving moisture that came in the form of rain last night.

The dry hard soil reminded me of my own hard heart. Sometimes, in the midst of a trail or a dry spell, I am guilty of hardening my heart to the Lord. I forget that God is aware of our struggles, and that He is present in the hard times as well as our times of blessing. I forget His past faithfulness to us, and allow our small difficulties to grow way out of proportion in my mind. I forget the goodness and grace of our God and I stubbornly hold on to my belief that nothing but a big old miracle can calm the storm for me.

There is only one cure for my hardened heart - praise. The other day when I was so very down, my Historian recommended that I just go to the kitchen, strap on my apron and put on some praise and worship. He knows me very well. At first I grumbled. I didn't want to praise the Lord for yet another struggle. I was pretty content with my hard heart and my pity party.

I put on some slow quiet praise music and tackled the dishes and counter first. I had to clean up the clutter before I could make any headway. It took about twenty minutes for the sparkling counter and quiet praise to do their work - and then I turned up the music, pulled out the mixing bowls and began to hum along. Within an hour I had confessed my hard heart and lack of faith in God's provision, and my heart was lifted in praise to the Rock of my salvation. My taste testers, who had been hiding from the grumpy Mama, came quietly into the kitchen for hugs and cookies, and to sing along. Never underestimate the power of praise in softening the soil of your heart and preparing you for the blessings to come!

Times of dryness leave my with two choices. I can get back to doing what I know is right or turn my back on the faithfulness of God. One of the very first verses I learned as a child was 1 Corinthians 10:13

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

God is faithful - even in times of drought. He will provide a way to draw me back into a warm, vital relationship with Him. I just need to stay in the Word, remember His past faithfulness, spend time in prayer, and keep on praising Him! These are the things that are absolutely necessary to keep the garden of my heart thriving!

Psalm 51:10

Create in me a clean heart, O God,

And renew a steadfast spirit within me.

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The Simple Woman's Daybook - August 3

I really enjoy participating in Peggy's Simple Woman's Daybook when I am able to.
Peggy is taking a hiatus from the Daybook for the summer until September, but I think I'll just keep on when I can since it is such a blessing to me! It's just a great way to start the week!

For Today Monday, August 3, 2009

Outside My Window...
Warm and sunny - the perfect day to spend at the pool with friends!

I am thinking.
that we need to make the most of these last few weeks of summer!

From the learning rooms...
The Historian is doing history with both children this morning, and later we will do some reading and home chores. We are still in summer mode, though I know many homeschool families are beginning again today.

I am thankful for ...
the unchangeable truth of the Word of God!

I am praying for ...
clarity ... I am finding that I'm getting quite mixed up these days!

From the kitchen...
Blueberry sour cream coffee cake and some chocolate crinkle cookies!

I am wearing...

Swimsuit and cover up - we are on our way to the pool!

I am creating...
finishing some sewing projects for my Mum - a chair cushion and a quilted runner.

I am going...
to use lots and lots of sunscreen!

I am reading...
We were hunting through a favorite antique place when my Historian discovered a whole shelf of Grace Livingston Hill books - hardcover library bound oldies for $2.50 each! I gave away my paperback collection about 15 years ago, so it was a joy to find some of my old favorites.

I am hoping...
that we get a lot accomplished this week as we prepare to go away for two weeks! The children and I are heading north to visit Poppa and Grammy - I haven't been there for 2 years!

I am hearing...
quiet talking from the Historian and Dreamer as they go over her history lesson.

Around the house...
general tidying and a good vacuuming are needed, as well as washing sheets and towels and some ironing!

One of my favorite things...
thinking ahead toward something fun - like vacation and a new school year!

Fitness goals ...
The good news is I was more faithful with my walking this week, but the bad news is I seem to be stuck - no weight loss to report! At least I didn't gain, and my legs are feeling stronger! I think I need to do a longer walk or two walks a day to break through this 'plateau'.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week:
  • sewing for Mum
  • packing up and leaving a tidy house
  • leave some easy meals for the Historian
  • plan for the school year - place a small curriculum order

Here is a picture thought I'm sharing:

Last week our friends came over and we tie-dyed using the dye bottle kits. We had never done it before, so it was very fun, very messy and we love the results! We learned a lot from our experience and would like to do it again soon! I will be keeping my eye out for more $1 white shirts from Sally Ann and watch for the dye kits to come on sale at JoAnn's!
Thank you for reading my daybook!

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