Thursday, October 29, 2015

Produce Report

Monday night Ram and I were afraid it was going to freeze so we went out with flashlights and picked eggplants, jalapeno peppers, tomatoes, green peppers, cucumbers, and pumpkins. Everything we picked was small but worth picking. We made a good decision because it was right at 32 degrees that night. I just couldn't believe our first freeze was so late in the year.

Recently our raspberry bushes have had a lot of raspberries. It was strange to be having fresh raspberries at the end of October.

Ram's parents have two apple trees that went crazy this year. We enjoyed several apples from them.

The neighbors gave us several white potatoes from a local farmer about a month ago. We don't eat many white potatoes and last year we didn't make it through them before they went bad. This year I left them on the counter to remind myself to use them and we finished all of them last week.

Our PE co-op had to cancel twice this fall- once for rain and once for bad air quality. It was cool but not cold today. The Lambs still wore short sleeves and shorts today. I layered but took off some of the layers during PE. Beginning next week PE Co-op will be inside so we have several months before worrying about the weather for PE.

Because of bad air quality we used the A/C much longer than I would have liked to this month. We couldn't open windows during those bad air days. I'm determined to wait until November to turn on the heat since we used the A/C so long. A local friend was surprised I haven't turned the heat on. I can handle putting on extra sweaters or blankets instead of turning on heat.

We are still not good at gardening here, but this year with the long growing season we did better than any other year we have lived here.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015


Lamb 2 and 3 are doing spelling together this year. Lamb 2 has caught on quite quickly, Lamb 3 is taking a little longer. Usually I do spelling with them together and then later in the day do the same lesson with Lamb 3 again by himself. This has worked well and so far they are staying at the same level by doing it this way.

After they are finished I check over their spelling list that they wrote. One of today's words was "some". Our recent family read aloud was Charlotte's Web.

As I looked over Lamb 2's spelling book here is part of what he wrote.


some pig


He didn't say anything while he wrote his words, I just found this surprise when I looked over what they wrote today!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Children Today Part 2

If you haven't read my post from a few days ago that was part 1, please read that first.

8. Chores-
"Boys and girls, if they are to be prepared for their own family life later, need to be familiar with the details of family routines. By the time they are 12 they should be putting up their own lunches, doing simple cooking, planning and carrying out projects like cleaning their own rooms. Children who live on farms have an advantage over city children. They may have first-hand experience in work by means of which millions of people earn their living. They care for stock, or even raise them, learn to use and repair machinery, and help get meals for threshers. The city boy's job of washing the family car, and his sister's practice in helping to serve at church suppers are examples of the less frequent work opportunities coming to urban children."    Your Child from 6 to 12 Children's Bureau Publication Number 324

I struggle with giving my Lambs appropriate chores. The Lambs are assigned to each clean their bathroom two days a week. They pitch in to help with dishes, assist to make meals, clean their bedroom and playroom, put their clothes away, help Ram with yard work, and chores like that. But besides their bathroom they don't have assigned chores. It usually turns out that on Ram's day off we all help to get lots done inside and outside our house.

My challenge is trying to find the happy medium between them doing chores that provide experiences that help them become self-reliant and useful and finding the time to supervise them doing most chores. Sometimes it is easier to just do the chores myself, but I know they need to learn how to do these chores and not have me do everything for them. I want them to learn how to contribute to our family and be useful to our family. We don't have pets or a large garden for them to help with.

I do try to have a good attitude about work. Sometimes I will make them a list of chores they need to complete and when they are finished with that list they are allowed to play the rest of the day. Sometimes I let them pick music to listen to while they do chores. Sometimes I work with them to all work together on a chore.

9. Learning to read and write-
This book strongly encouraged reading to and talking to children a lot, but leaving the rest of schooling to their teachers when they go to school. It encouraged parents not to worry if their children don't learn how to read in first grade and reminded parents that some children take much longer to learn to read.

Society doesn't allow parents to give children time to go at their own pace for academics any more. Some children really are ready to learn to read at age 6 and others aren't ready until age 10. Parents are expected to hire a tutor for their child if they can't keep up with academics for their age level. I think it would be good if we remember each child will go at their own pace.

10. Musical experience-
This book strongly encouraged listening to and discussing good music. Although it recommended piano lessons it reminded parents to not give their children so many scheduled activities that they don't have free time. I think many Americans today have shifted their focus on children's extracurricular activities away from music to sports.

11. Child illness-
The end of this book had a whole list of common childhood illnesses and how parents could help their children when they were ill. I praise God that most of the common illnesses in 1950 are now rare. Medical advances have also taught us how to better care for children with the childhood illnesses that are still common.

It was interesting to read this publication and see what the experts 65 years ago told parents about raising children.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Declutter Update 4

I made lots of progress this week in all kinds of areas of my house.
*We received a silver plated serving dish for our wedding, but we never used it, not even once. I had Ram assemble it and I polished the silver. It went in the bazaar pile.
*I cleaned our master bathroom shower once again. I finally got the shower floor clean. I am very frustrated because I can not get the shower doors completely clean. My cleaning lady in MN used WD-40 and I also tried dryer sheets because it was recommended on the Internet. Everything I try helps some, but nothing removes all the soap scum and hard water marks. Any other suggestions?
*The Lambs cleaned up their playroom and game closet. There is more to do there.
*I organized all the give away stuff again after making deliveries a few weeks ago. Ram delivered the donate pile.
*I got all my homemade crafts and homemade jam organized and labeled ready for the bazaar.
*I washed the slip covers on our sofa in our library and put them back on.
*I organized the 600s in our library. This section was on one bookshelf in our master bedroom. Before organizing it the books didn't all fit on the shelves. After organizing everything fits with about 1/2 a shelf empty. This section had a large give away pile-we are done with pregnancy/birth/nursing books.
*I organized my purses and bags (backpacks/duffel bags). I filled a paper grocery bag with give away from this project.
*We filled our van and all 5 of us went and delivered all the stuff for the church bazaar. Now I have more room to get more ready for the bazaar.
*Ram and I worked in the garage for a couple of hours. We got a bunch of trash ready  and organized some areas of the garage. We brought a couple of boxes in to go through. Ram got all our old phones together and got rid of all of them except the last landline ones we used. There are still several boxes that haven't been gone through since we moved here, but we are dealing with one project at a time. Everything we did made the garage look a whole lot better.
*I organized all the Thomas the Train bins. My boys don't play with it any more, but I do want to keep it for when we have company with children. It was in a couple of overflowing bins, now the lids fit on both bins.
*I emptied some canning jars with applesauce and cherries that I canned when we first moved here. It got pushed to the back of the pantry and I forgot they were there. We would have eaten the applesauce if I would have remembered it was there. Now I have more canning jars for more canning.
*I made Lamb 1 clean out his candy stash-he really doesn't need Easter candy or Halloween candy from last year!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Children Today

When I was teaching first and second grade, my grandma gave me a book titled, Your Child from 6 to 12. This was a pamphlet written in 1950 by the US Department of Health, Eduction, and Welfare. I decided to skim through this before putting it in recycling. I had a few thoughts after reading this that I want to blog about.

1. Houses and where we live-
Our house is much larger than houses that families lived in the 50s, but we live in the city. My boys have their own bathroom and I have a separate master bathroom. I don't want to give up my bathroom, but there isn't the necessary sharing of living space that families used to have. The opportunity for physical activity is also cut down by where we live. That physical energy must be let out by children and sometimes that means getting in trouble for being too loud or wild considering we have neighbors close by. Recently a neighbor boy got a little wild and broke the fence connecting our yard to a different neighbor's yard. If we lived in the country there wouldn't even be a fence for our boys to need to be careful not to break. We wouldn't have to abide by HOA rules.

2. Family Size-
The average family size is smaller than the 50s. We are blessed with several children in our neighborhood for our boys to play with. But there is a big difference between playing with neighborhood children and having siblings to always play with. I am thankful that each of my boys has two brothers to play with and wish that my boys also had sisters. With a smaller family each Lamb gets more individual attention from Ram and Ewe than if we had a larger family. Sometimes this is good, but sometimes I think it would be better for them to have to figure more out on their own and have siblings help each other more.

3. Inventions-
We don't have to do as much physical activity at our households as they did in the 50s thanks to washing machines and dishwashers and lawn mowers and more household servants. Even if I give the Lambs chores they are drastically different than chores that my parents did.

4. Amusements-
The average family doesn't stay home together in their free time any more. The one exception is that we rarely go to the movie theater, when we watch a movie together it is usually at home. But the other activities that we do as a family aren't usually at home, we go to a park or pay to go to a baseball game etc. Gone are the old fashioned family sing alongs. We don't expect our children to find their own activities to play together in their free time. They have so many toys (in our house, it is Legos) that they don't even play with all of them.

5. Moving-
I have been shocked in my brand new neighborhood how often the neighbors move. There  seems to always be a house for sale on our street. Much of this is because of job transfers and some is because they really couldn't afford the house they bought. But some is just they move on to a bigger house or better neighborhood because they want to. This makes it difficult for children to form relationships in their neighborhood. And Ram and I don't have any adult friends in our neighborhood other than knowing their names.

6. Going to camp-
This pamphlet highly recommended sending your child to camp away from home as a necessary skill as they grow up. I must admit that none of my Lambs have ever spent the night away from home. Today many children attend day camp but few go away for a week. This is on our list to send them to a Lutheran Camp soon, but hasn't happened yet.

7. Play-
Lamb 1 has been frustrated playing with neighborhood friends recently. It is rare that our family and a neighborhood family are both home long enough to really play a whole game that he wants to play like a football game. And when they do have a long time to play the other kids don't want to just play one game for a long time, they want to do several activities. They don't have the focus to keep at one game. I feel sorry for Lamb 1, but know there is really nothing we can do about this. And we give them bikes and scooters and so many toys that they don't come up with their own games to play for an afternoon.

I have more to blog about this so this is to be continued...

Monday, October 19, 2015

The door knob problem

Before our house warranty ran out, we needed the builder to come out and replace a few door knobs in our house. After the warranty ran out Ram has replaced a few door knobs in our house. We are disgusted with how cheap and easily broken things are at our brand NEW house.

There is a door between our garage and our house. Last week it got jammed again and it took some work to get it open. Ewe seemed to have more luck getting it unjammed than Ram did. We planned to replace the door knob soon. We finally got the Lambs trained to not let the door slam shut, to leave it open about an inch. This was no easy task to teach them this as they go in and out of this door several times a day. One day Lamb 1 came inside and left it open an inch. Ram came in after him and totally forgot about the door and it slammed shut. Neither Ewe or Ram could get it to open. Ram removed most of the door knob and it was still jammed shut. After both of us worked on it doing everything we could think of, we decided we needed a handyman.

The next few days were a pain, we had to go out our front door and open the garage door each time we had to go some place or we needed something out of the garage refrigerator. I'm not used to carrying a house key with me and I was so afraid that we were going to get locked out of our house. I was afraid that after playing outside the Lambs would forget to close the garage door and it would be open all night.

All of our friends from church that could have helped us are really busy this time of year at their work and they are hunting every weekend. So we went to social media asking for advice of a handyman that would take such a small job. Once we could get it unjammed, Ram could replace the door knob.

The first response was from someone that tried to tell us how to fix it. His response was that the door needed to be open to remove that part. That was exactly what the problem was, we couldn't open it.

The second response was a guy that lived near by that offered to come fix it for us. He did come the next day and fixed it with a little tinkering. We found out he was an unemployed neuroscientist that moved here for his wife's job. He knew how to fix the door because similar things have happened at his house. It only took him a few minutes and he had the door knob off. Ram offered to pay him because he took the time to come over. He refused payment.

Then I offered him some homemade jam. He said his wife would be upset if he refused that. I gave him his choices and he chose blueberry. I haven't even labeled my jam yet this year, but I knew which ones were blueberry.

I just had to laugh that this neuroscientist comes and fixes our door and we pay him with unlabeled jam. But God provided someone to fix a real problem at our house. We were so thankful when Ram could complete the repair and going out to the garage isn't a problem any more!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Declutter Progress Update #3

We continue to work on projects here. Here is what we accomplished this week.
*Began working on the church library-more to do on that. The room that we used to have the church library in was needed as a preschool classroom. So the books that we wanted to keep were moved to another room and need to be organized.
*I was looking for a book in Ram's office at church and decided to bring a few books home. I would love to have him bring one shelf worth of books home at a time to catalog them until we get his entire library cataloged. He inherited many books from the previous pastor and from my dad. I would guess there are more duplicates in there some where. So that project is now added to the to do list.
*I took some electronic waste on the correct day of the month. Ram had loaded it in the car and we went through drive through on the way to piano lessons. The man wasn't sure what I was giving him-I told him it contained batteries that I wasn't allowed to put in the regular trash. My stuff looked small compared to the car ahead of me, but I got rid of a few items!
*After I completed my mending pile about a month ago, Ram added several pastor shirts to the pile and the Lambs added a few more items. I completely finished my mending pile this time!
*The Lambs removed all their built Lego creations from the windowsill in the playroom and they are reorganizing the whole area-houses on one level with a garage below the houses. Once I told them what I wanted them to do they completely did this project on their own. I can't imagine them doing this by themselves a few years ago.
*The Lambs have 8 storage cubbies underneath their train table. Each cubby contains different toys-one for blocks, one for music instruments, etc. We are almost done cleaning out all of those cubbies. Only a little went into the give away pile but a lot went into the trash (broken toys). It is good to get that all organized so as we clean up other areas of the house when they find toys they can put them away in the correct cubby. Cleaning these cubbies out was a big project and we are glad to have it completed.
*Ram replaced the door knob between our garage and the house. That adventure deserves a whole blog post.
*Ram dropped off an outdoor Christmas decoration at the thrift store. I figured this was the time to donate something like that instead of waiting until after Christmas. It was a big box and good to get out of the garage.
*I also want to add that Ram and I have communicated a lot about all this decluttering. While we haven't begun all the projects, we both have projects in mind and we're starting to prioritize those projects into an order that we would like them completed. We realize that we have way too much stuff and we are both trying to make headway in as many areas of our house, garage, and his church office as possible. Because Ram is busy with church work this usually means I am in charge of the decluttering, but he is helpful to  take out the trash and recycling often and load stuff in the car to give away. He also motivates the Lambs to get to work on their projects. He doesn't mind taking a load to the thrift shop or to try to resell. And when I'm running errands or chauffeuring the Lambs he keeps up with the dishes and cooking. But I really need to talk about some of this-Should we give this away yet? Where should I donate this? Sometimes it takes both of us to come up with an answer. Because we are working together we are accomplishing more.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

October 15

This photo is from one of my miscarriages. I have about 5 other photos just like it, some with more syringes, some with less.

The doctors I have seen in both MN and ID have all told me that I'm doing everything right and everything that they know is possible. I have taken prenatal vitamins every day since my wedding day. I have taken baby aspirin daily since I found out I have Factor II. Once I know I'm pregnant I begin twice a day heparin injections and also progesterone supplements. I continue all this until they are absolutely certain that I'm having another miscarriage, even though I often know it's a miscarriage weeks before I stop this routine.

Sometimes I wonder if it's all worth it . The doctor told me back in 2011 that the chances of me having another baby were very very low even if I did everything they know to do. Heparin and progesterone cost a lot of money and recently insurance is paying for less than they did before. Remembering injections twice a day is difficult.

Then I remember that I'm doing this for one of my Lambs. I want to do everything possible to give my child a chance. That makes it all worth it. That makes me continue this whole routine each time I get a positive pregnancy test.

I long for the day that I will meet my other 11 Lambs. October 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. Not every pregnancy has a happy ending. Not every birth has a happy ending. Not every newborn has a happy ending. So I keep all those parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles and siblings who have lost babies in my prayers today.

“Be near me, Lord Jesus: I ask Thee to stay

Close by me forever and love me, I pray.

Bless all the dear children in Thy tender care,

And take us to heaven to live with Thee there.”

LSB 364:3

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Declutter Progress Update 2

We had several activities this week plus Lamb 1 and 2 had to write legislative bills for participating in Stonesetters next January. This was the first year they participated so they needed some help and I spent a long time reading the directions so I was sure it was in the correct font and everything required. I think they both had good ideas for bills, especially considering they never did this before. I will blog more about Stonesetters as it gets closer to January. So my decluttering happened in-between activities and no extra cleaning was done this week. Here's what I did accomplish.

*ordered some Snapfish and Shutterfly free or cheap deals to pick up some presents for Christmas and some of our family Christmas cards
*we have our DVDs organized in a binder. For several months there has been a pile of DVDs and CDs in our living room. Some were birthday presents and some came home with us from our trip to IN. Our whole family worked on organizing all those and recycled all the cases. We also made a pile of DVDs that the Lambs could watch once or twice and then we could give them away.
*last Sunday I spent the whole day in our library decluttering. Our VCR was broken so we  disconnected the old one and hooked up one I brought home from my parents. Sometimes Lamb 2 and 3 will watch a VHS tape while Lamb 1 is watching TV or a movie downstairs. I put a whole bunch of VHS tapes to get rid of. I still have a project to go through a few more homemade VHS tapes and decide what is worth transferring. Now I am able to do that with the new VCR.
I went through all the wrapping paper and gift bags and put a whole bunch of that for the bazaar. Most were from gifts we received in MN and since we still haven't used them 4 years later, I doubt I ever will.
We have about 1/2 a dozen boxes of books in the library closet that don't fit on the shelves. Ram helped me go through those boxes and decide what to get rid of.
Once the library closet was all organized then I worked on the library. I had a few bags of unfinished craft projects. I got some of that ready for taking to the church ladies and threw the rest out. (They were happy to get everything, especially the old jeans.) We have the science and history books that we are using in homeschool this year on a book cart. I got that organized. Ram organized our playing cards and made sure we had complete decks. When all that was completed the Lambs vacuumed the library for me. It hasn't had clear floor to vacuum for a couple of years!
The shelves still need to be cataloged and organized, but the library looks a lot better.
*I packed up a box for my sister of craft stuff and other stuff I have found in my cleaning out. I wrapped a few birthday presents for her and my brother-in-law. I mailed that box.
*I found some items in my cleaning out that would make excellent baby presents-some were toys never opened and some were clothes with the tags on. I have a baby shower to attend next Saturday for a first baby in the family. I found out it's a boy so I chose boy items and wrapped them. I also filled a grocery bag with items the Lambs no longer use but she may find useful. I will make clear the bag of stuff is extra, not her present, and she is free to donate whatever she can't use.
*Ram took two bags to the used kids store and they gave us credit for everything except one set of books. I was shocked that they took everything.
*I completed one more file drawer. I recombined from the other file drawers and now one file cabinet drawer is completely empty! 8 more file cabinet drawers to go.
*cataloged and reshelved the 400s in our library. This is a small section, but we have some English grammar and Latin books.
*cataloged the 500s in our library. I still need to reshelve these. This is a huge section and there was not very much that we were willing to part with. Ram likes math and I like science books!

Friday, October 9, 2015


On Thursday I was talking to a mom at the park. She said she felt so strange putting her sun tea on the porch next to her pumpkins.

Ram just got some new shorts. When I told my mom she was confused that he got new shorts in October. None of us have worn pants yet this season except for Ram to wear to work.

We joined a P.E. Co-op this year. One day was canceled because of rain. The rest of the days so far this year have been very hot. We give the kids plenty of water breaks. Even the day that it was lightly raining it was hot. That just made it humid and hot.

I have made a great effort to leave the air conditioning off since October 1. October 1-8 were what I call "almost free" energy days at our house. Both the A/C and the heat were off at our house. The windows were open and some nights we used ceiling fans. Some of those nights it was difficult to leave the A/C off, but we made it. I often heard the neighbor's A/C was on while I had my windows open.

Today it was 90 degrees and we were home all day. This afternoon I broke down and turned the A/C on. Even with the A/C on for several hours it is still over 80 degrees in our house.

Tonight we picked eggplant, peppers, and pumpkins from our garden. We left several vegetables on the plants because it is still warm enough for them to grow more. This is the best year our garden has ever done since we moved here. Abnormally high temperatures really helped our garden.

Tomorrow we are going to take our pumpkins to be judged. On the calendar it is time for the harvest festival, but the weather doesn't seem like it yet.

Maybe we'll feel like having pumpkin desserts and hot chocolate in early December?

Friday, October 2, 2015

Declutter/Cleaning Progress Update 1

  • 3 file drawers of teaching materials organized-These drawers contain language arts, science, and history. A lot went in the recycling bin! 9 file drawers left to organize!
  • We have been eating through our pantry and freezer. I made a huge batch of granola, a bean dip, paleo chocolate chip cookies, and Chex Mix. Ram made a double batch of snails. We have 3 cans of snails left to eat. I have in mind some other recipes to use up ingredients.
  • Our bathroom was cleaned well and the cupboards were organized. 
  • I went through all the kitchen cupboards with dishes etc. A lot went to the bazaar pile. My sister started to help me organize my spices when she visited in 2012. I finally completed that project!
  • I subscribed to a teaching magazine called Mailbox from 1996-2004. It had excellent ideas for all school subjects and for crafts. I went through and pulled out the ideas that I thought we might use in homeschool or if I return to the classroom. I recycled the rest. What I am most proud of is then I filed all the ideas I kept. This took a few days of free time. I wish I would have had this organized when I was in the classroom. I used some of the ideas, but not as many as I would have used if I would have had it organized.
  • I scheduled appointments for my mammogram and for me to go to the eye doctor. I think we have either already completed or have scheduled all routine doctor appointments necessary for 2015.
  • Ram tried to sell 4 full boxes of books at the used bookstore. They bought 2 whole boxes. There was one set of books that they did not buy that we will try to sell at the bazaar. Ram got credit and bought 4 books. There was a wide variety of books and I was surprised they bought almost all of them except for that set. The books that Ram bought with his credit were on his wish list so that reduced his list. We still have a couple of dollars credit left to spend.
  • I organized the give away piles-bazaar, used kids store, just donate. I will try to deliver this stuff soon.
  • I made a list of stuff that needed to be replaced that I have noticed during my decluttering. The Lambs needed a new shower curtain liner and I needed a new oven mitt and items like that. I bought a couple of items during my weekly shopping and used a coupon at Bed Bath and Beyond for a couple more items. I have a couple of items left on this list to keep my eye out for a good deal.