Thursday, July 30, 2009

Spaaaahhhhhhh.....

For my birthday, my fantastic husband got me a gift certificate for "the works" at a local day spa. My appointment was yesterday. The children were quite happily babysat by Grandma and I spent 2 1/2 hours being pampered and becoming totally convinced that such luxeries are a necessary thing at times.

First came the 1 hour massage. Bliss!! The LMT couldn't believe how tight my back, shoulders and jaw line were. "Do you do a lot of heavy lifting," she asked me. I have two toddlers....the answer is yes. She also could tell which shoulder I hang the diaper bag off of and guessed that my stress response is to grit my teeth/clench my jaw. It was so nice to just relax and listen to the water fountain and a nature music playing. The room was very private, dim and cozy, not at all institutional or ridiculously sexy (like how tanning booths and teenage girly hair salons are). I'm sold. The LMT has a private practice and I'm definately booking appointments for hubby and I.

After than came a manicure and a pedicure. It was really neat having my feet paid so much attention because they're usually greatly ignored until I notice the toe nails are getting a bit long. Plus, I really liked soaking them in that foot-jacuzzi thingy.

I will have to say that it took a little will-power at times because I'm horribly ticklish and get all squirmy. I did well and only flinched a couple of times.

My finger nails are all shaped and polished a pretty pink, but I have to say, my toesies are really cute! I wore open-toed shoes while grocery shopping today just so I could peek at my pink toes poking out. I feel so girly! Usually my feet are encrusted in garden dust and mud and my toe nails all scratched up.

So, happy is this little wife! I would honestly have to say that a once or twice a year spa treatment like that would not be wasteful at all. It was quite healing. I think back to the days and cultures gone by where women were given plenty of time and means to pamper themselves. Of course, in many cases it went WAY too far and vanity, sloth and wastefulness became the norm. Whatever happened to dressing up for dinner? Whatever happened to vanity tables and getting your hair "set" and long soaks in clawfoot tubs? I think it's time to bring a little of that back.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Attack!!!

The cottage with the green awnings is sale pending now. So now I can stop day dreaming and put all my focus into Taigh Beag. I'm starting this week off with an attack plan that includes less time on the internet. I'll probably keep blogging as I feel inspired to, but I'll just spend less time browsing.

First plan of attack is to clean the bathroom.

Friday, July 24, 2009

I love harvest time...

I'm glad I braved the rain and not knowing where the farm exactly was (and forgetting my map) to go pick currants. Turned out they were only $3.00 a quart (and the quarts were over-flowing quarts). I picked 4 quarts. I'm not sure I'm going to make jelly out of them. It seems such a waste. I'm probably going to dry most of them. 18th century recipes often use currants, including this yummy bread pudding recipe that's more like a sausage. They're also great in stuffings and with boiled salad (a cooked spinach recipe) and taste great with poultry, pork and rabbit. Use them instead of raisins in fresh salads, with yogurt, in apple pie, etc etc etc.

This morning I canned the peaches I bought yesterday. A half a peck can make 8 pints of peaches. I used as light a syrup as possible. Not wanting to waste the skins, I made a delicious crumb-top pie out of them. I didn't use any sugar in the pie itself, but the crumb topping has about 1/2 a cup of sugar.

Early afternoon I planted my fall crop of snow peas. In a couple of days I plan on planting the second crop of garden peas. By August, I might plant a second crop of spinach. My second crop of beets are starting to poke little green-red heads out of the ground.

A fall garden catalog came in the mail recently and I'm picking out things to plant this fall for next year.

Also, Emma, thanks for letting me know about Charlotte Mason. As a matter of fact, my penpal is going to lend me her Charlotte Mason books.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Art and more...

I think I've decided that my "intro to homeschooling" for my son and I is going to consist of art and lots of reading. I really felt comfortable with this idea this morning when I was faced with a pile of books my kiddos pulled out from the bookshelf. As my son and I were returning them to their proper places I was struck with the thought that I don't want to look back years from now and wish I read to my children more. I remembered that "The Well-Trained Mind" states that it's terribly important to read read read read and read some more to your children in the early years. I tried joining BookIt, but my son has to be 5.

As for the art, this morning my son approached me during a time I was in frustration with something (can't remember what). He asked if he could paint and I was going to refuse him, but something made me ask, "paint what?" He said, "I want to paint turtles." Well, it was just so darn cute, it softened my heart and God gave me a good idea. I pulled out some thin cardboard and cut out turtle shapes for him to paint. He had a grand time painting turtles!

Art is a great way to express and develop creativity. I teaches shapes, colors, motor skills, and even cause and effect. It teaches my son to be careful and thoughtful. I encourage him to do things finely, but I also give him a chance to go willy-nilly.

Yesterday, he was all about scarecrows so that's what we made with construction paper. I tell you, I'm having as much fun as him and I just love decorating Taigh Beag with his home-made creations.

Today, I picked up peaches at a local farm (rather expensive I thought, but they're the tastiest peaches on the planet!). I discovered a local farm that sells currants. I called them today and they are lamenting that no one wants to buy currants. I do! (I think part of the problem is the price...they're a little steep, too, though cheaper than local blueberries.) I'm hoping to get out there and get some for myself and some for a friend of mine for her birthday. I also got her retro apron kit for her birthday.

My garden gave me plenty of lettuce today along with wax beans, baby carrots, the last turnip and peas and the first zucchini.

I bought the closet for the shed for our re-enacting clothes. Hubby's not too thrilled with moving our re-enacting clothes into the shed, but understands the need for the space. If I really work on it, I think I can make it work out to his liking.

I also painted more of the play area wall in the basement with that inexpensive "oops paint" I found. Hubby likes it. :)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Bargains, Diagnosis and Produce

I love a good bargain!

I found a quart of sky blue paint in the "oops paint" section at Lowes today! It's original price was nearly $14.00, but I got it for $3.00. FIY, Home Depot tends to have cheaper "oops paints" than Lowes, but I happened to be in Lowes and found the perfect paint.

I also stopped in Goodwill today. I needed a summery white blouse. Not only did I find that at 25% off in 100% cotton, but I found a lovely bias-cut 30's style toile dress at 25% off and magazine holders at $1.99. I have an ever-growing magazine collection that could use more holders.

Well, my Dr. has concluded that I'm hypoglycemic. It's not bad hypoglycemia in that my blood sugar doesn't plummet to extreme levels, but my blood sugar does take quite a nose dive. I'm on a more specialized diet and encouraged to do more aerobics. Plus, I'm to prick my finger and take a blood sugar reading whenever I have that low blood sugar feeling.

I was right, too. My immune system was shot. The antibiotics helped. Back in January, my white blood cell count was 10.4. Two weeks ago it was 3.8! Now, I feel much better.

A quick glance in the classifieds and I found out that a local farm has u-pick currants! I think tomorrow might be a good day to run out to local farms and get some currants, berries, peaches and maybe even cherries. I see lots of canning in my future. :b

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

An idea...

With a growing family and the abundant blessing of dresses galore for my daughter, I am in need of closet space. Our enclosed porch has its own closet which holds our re-enacting clothing. Since re-enacting clothing is rarely used, I think it'll be wiser to purchase a couple of those portable closets and put them out in the shed. You know, those cedar-scented ones that the bugs don't get into. Then I can put the winter coats in the porch closet thus leaving more room in the nursery closet for daughter's expanding wardrobe!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Treasure Hunt

I live across the street from an old one-room schoolhouse. My neighbor owns it and uses it for storage, but a lot of the stuff is still in there. He's been cleaning it out and let my husband know that if I wanted any of the old school books I was welcome to them. I came home with 4 or 5 milk-crates full of old school books, most dating from the 1920's to 1950's! They're not in the best of shape, some having been a little mouse-eaten and well-worn. I don't really mind, though. So long as they're readable. I did avoid taking books that are obviously outdated. There have been so many changes in the world and new discoveries in science that related books from so many years ago simply aren't a good resource now.

Yesterday, I did more painting in the "school room." I'm in need of blue paint, so I'll be keeping an eye out on the "oops paints" at Home Depot and Lowes. I'm actually considering painting the cement floor. Hmmmm.....

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Thinking ahead....

I have two lists started in my mind that I will soon put down on paper.

Firstly, I am putting together a list of things to stock up on for the winter months. I want to avoid stores as much as possible. Last year it seemed every time I went shopping, the kids would get sick and then I would. We're facing a lot of odd viruses and diseases this coming winter and we've been sick enough this year. I'm making full use of my pantry and hoping to get my freezer hooked up. I'm looking forward to hermiting.

Secondly, I started thinking about things I could make for Christmas.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Tempted....

Out of curiousity, I e-mailed the realtor and asked what the taxes are on the property. She got back to me and asked if I wanted to see the property. I am so tempted to write back and say that I do, but I know it would be a waste of her time. I'd hate to take up her day just so I can see the property when I know I can't afford it. Besides, I'd just be torturing myself. If they have an open house, I'll go.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Lavender Sunset

I just peeked out the basement window and the eastern sky is lavender from the sunset, a beautiful shade.

It's been difficult for some time with illness after illness in the house, particularly mine. My dear daughter is getting over a viral bug that made sleeping for the occupants of Taigh Beag nearly impossible. I haven't had a good night's sleep in so long. I can't recall the last time I actually slept in my own bed! I usually end up on the floor next to the crib or on the sofa.

Leave it to God to use difficult times for His purpose. Two nights ago was perhaps the most difficult, yet in the wee hours of the morning as I cried out to Him, He responded and I haven't been the same since. I am much more relaxed. I have more patience. I'm prioritizing better. And when I do fall asleep, it's a better sleep.

God also let me know that this is just a passing phase. It's ok. Just ride it out and I'll be back on my usual schedule at a later date. I can sleep in. I can take time out. Amazingly, I'm still getting plenty done!

For example, today I slept in until 8 am after yet another night of very little sleep. The kiddos were still asleep, so I grabbed a nice hot shower and got myself ready for the day. Breakfast was leisurely and afterwards I did chores around the house and sewed the pattern shell for the regimental coat I'm making while the kiddos watched Sesame Street. Then, I decided today was a perfect day for a long walk and a picnic. Fresh air and exercise always helps the children and I sleep better. We walked up to "Tasha Tudor's" place and on the way back I found wild raspberries growing on the side of the road. I parked the stroller and we feasted! Then we stopped at the farm and had a picnic. Afterwards, I put daughter down for a nap, did some more chores and son and I weeded some of the gardens. When daughter woke from her nap, we played a bit, tided up, set the table and made a loaf of bread, home-made graham crackers, dinner, blueberry scones and home-made lemon curd. Daughter went to bed. Son and I put out the compost, brought in laundry and got him ready for bed.

It's amazing how much we can accomplish, even when we take things at a leisurely pace.

Well, I cannot sleep in tomorrow since I have an early morning appointment, so I better close this and curl up in bed with my new Cottages and Bungalows magazine and go to sleep.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

I know, I'm beginning to obsess...

On the way home from my parents' house today I drove past that cottage with the green awnings. The neighbors have a beautiful black horse!! Perfect!! Also, the owner was home and working in his garage. I ALMOST stopped, but dear daughter was just drifting off to sleep. It would take a miracle of God to get us into that house, but I still believe in miracles.

*sigh*

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Occupied With Thoughts

My sweet little girl has been ill lately with a fever, so I spent last night by her cribside. During this time of quiet darkness as I monitored her fever and listened to her breathing, between interruptions of whimpers and restlessness, I thought about all the neat things I'd like to do to fix up Taigh Beag. My main musing was smashing out the front patio and putting in a larger, sweeping brick one. But, I'd also rip up the arborvite in front of the master bedroom window and expand the patio over there with an arbor around it for privacy. As icing on that cake, I'd like to put on that patio a jacuzzi and replace the master bedroom window with a french door to the patio. Then, this afternoon I thought, "Why just an arbor....we could easily build a sunroom instead for year-round use and expansion of the master bedroom!!

Of course, all this takes money which is pretty scarce these days. Still, it could be done if I just applied ourselves....a little sweat equity can take you far....so can some bargain hunting.

Hmmmmmm.......

On the other hand, I can't keep that white cottage with green awnings out of my mind....

Friday, July 10, 2009

Real Estate Radar Going Off....


Hubby keeps saying I should become a realtor. This house is about 2 miles from my parent's house (about 9 miles from my house) and it's for sale. It comes with over 5 acres of land, too! The price isn't bad (taxes are probably really high, though), but it's still more than we can afford. I'm keeping my eye on it, though. Perhaps it'll stay on the market long enough for hubby to get that new job he's working towards. All in God's timing and in His will.
Still......if the realtor has an open house, I'm there!
That sunroom on the side of the house looks like a perfect place for a homeschool room!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Cottage Blog Roll (and more)

Do you live in a cottage or know of a cottage-related blog? If so, please share with me so I can add to my cottage blog roll.

I learned today that brussel sprout leaves are edible. Most of the cooking suggestions I came across suggest that the leaves be prepared like collards. I'm going to try using them as a replacement for cabbage.

Today, I plan on working on my compost heap. It needs to be weeded, some branches cleared to give the box more sunshine and it could stand a rotation. If I have time, I might harvest grape leaves to pickle and use for dolma. There's a lot of wild grape vines growing around here, though we've pulled out most of them because they didn't produce grapes.

My Mission: Kitchen was a success! I better tidied the master bedroom this morning and changed out the vintage dress on the dress form to something more summery....a mint-green junior's school dress.

Well, the sunshine is finally peeking out from behind the clouds and I don't want to miss it since my computer's in the dark basement. Besides, I have laundry to hang out!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Mission: Kitchen


As I've stated many times on this blog, my house is small. 880 square feet according to the deed. While it is fairly easy to clean, it gets soiled and cluttered quite quickly, too. About a year after we moved in, it was obvious that I was simply moving messes around and no matter how much I cleaned, the house still looked unkempt. I made up a list or rules, such as nothing on top of the microwave, and radiators are not shelves, and chairs are not coat racks. That helped and so long as I keep things where they belong and adhere to these rules, the house looks uncluttered and better kept.

However....

The kitchen is the bane....

It is the first room one walks into. Thus, it is the first room most stuff gets dumped in. It is also the most active room and sort of doubles as a mudroom despite being a rather small galley kitchen. It is also the first room of the house hubby sees when he comes home work-wearied. It troubles me that he often walks into a room that usually looks like it exploded at some point during the day. Usually, that's because it is being used for dinner preparations. I try to leave ample enough time to clean up my cooking prep messes, but with two young children, that doesn't always happen. I think my biggest problem are the general clutters that occur throughout the day and just seem to manifest themselves around dinner time...shoes by the door, stuff on the countertops, dishes in the drying rack, toys that made their ways into the room, vegetables I've harvested from the garden that day, and always dirt.

Now, I've talked to hubby about our house before, apologising that it isn't always perfectly kept. He said that it reflects a home that's lived in and he appreciates that and what I do to keep it. That gave me some comfort....at least to continue to allow a couple of toy corners in the living room. On the other hand, walking into a cluttered, messy kitchen simply isn't relaxing. At least, it isn't for me, so it probably isn't for hubby.

Some may argue that he doesn't really notice that mess for the smiling family, but I'm sure it would help the over all coziness of the home (not to mention make me feel better thus reflecting a better feeling about it towards hubby).

So, my mission is the kitchen....keeping it kempt...at least when hubby pulls in the driveway. Although, I won't beat myself up about it. I'm trying to reduce stress in my life not only for my own health and well-being, but to have a better overall attitude and countenance for my family.

I'm sure a tidier kitchen would help.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Gingham bliss.

http://www.target.com/Girls-Seating-Kids-Furniture/b/ref=sc_iw_r_2_0/185-0454902-5361619?node=384313011

I saw this little chair at my local target store and fell in love with it! (It's the lavendar and white gingham chair, second row down). I won't be buying it, though, but a woman could build a beautiful little girl's room around this chair!

Where is Summer?

Once again it is chilly and raining. Despite numerous claims of global warming, we have yet to pull our air conditioner out of storage. Our fans sit motionless most of the time. Where is Summer?

Then, I realized that very question can be applied to my life at the moment. This should be the Summer of my life! It should be fun, sunny and carefree filled with days of play with my littles. For quite some time now I've felt as cloudy as today's weather.

Just like this Summer I do have a few days of warmth and sunshine, but then a storm moves in again. Illness. Frustration. Lack of time. Disappointment. Unexpected things.

I look to God, but I can't see Him for the clouds. I know He's there. I know He can blow the clouds away. I know He can stop the rain. But, I think He's waiting for me to do it. After all, I can, too.

I have made a couple of appointments to improve my health...dentist and doctor visits. I'm also learning to prioritize and not agonize. I'm taking time to rest as well as time to work. But what I must do is take time to seek Him.

Before August is up, we'll surely have real Summer weather. I'm sure I'll be hauling the AC out of storage, even if it's just weeks before we have to turn on the furnance. As I look forward to Summer, I look forward to the Summer of my life as well.

Monday, July 06, 2009

A Better Monday


It's amazing what a change of attitude and a little more focus will do for someone. This Monday has gone more smoothly.
I finished reading Acts (finally). I did 1/2 hour Denise Austen Fat Blasting Yoga this morning. I was able to get showered and dressed in a feminine skirt and top. My kids ate their oatmeal this morning. I got my chores done in a timely manner. The kids and I walked to the farm and played on their swingset and in the sandbox. I finally found blackeyed susans I could pick for my table! Thanks to my dear mother, I was able to pick up hubby's truck from the repair shop and now I have a moment of time before tidying up and starting dinner (german brats, pasta salad, baked beans) to type a quick post here.
This evening I'll probably run out to the farm to get milk and if I have any energy or time left, I'll freeze peas, turnips and can pickled beets from my garden.
I love an accomplished day as much as a day to relax.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Our Own Tasha Tudors

If you look around your neighborhood, family, friends or aquaintences you may just find your own Tasha Tudor among them. They may not be as involved as Tasha was in her artistic endeavors and passions. Perhaps they're just someone who lives a peaceful life and keeps their home and property breath-takingly beautiful.

I know a small handful of ladies who are Tasha-esque. One of them lives just about a mile down the road. Yesterday, she stopped by to let me know that she's putting her beautiful home and property up for sale again. Last year she had it all for sale (home, barns, 10 acres) but it was way WAY too expensive. She told me the sad news that she subdivided her beautiful estate and is now offering chunks of land as well as her home, barns and 3 acres for $289,000. That's about $200.000 more than hubby and I can afford, but I'm just devastated that she's sub-dividing. It is a property worth keeping together, in my opinion. She's cared for it very well over the years. I'm sad to see it being chopped up and sold.

While Tasha Tudor's hard work and legacy live on, this sweet german lady's hard work and legacy will be bull dozed and wasteful mcmansions erected in its place. I pray another Tasha Tudor can afford to buy it all and keep it well.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Back In Business/Homeschooling

Looks like I'm back in the sewing business. I'll be making a King's 8th Regimental Coat (like the one shown above...I made this one several years ago) and waistcoat for a fellow re-enactor. I'm going to take this slowly. Perhaps one order at a time will be best. I don't want to get bogged down and totally stressed out. My life is busy enough caring for family and home. I am excited to make another regimental coat. I haven't made one in quite some time.

I gotta say, I love Target. In their one dollar section they've been having such great workbooks, posters and things suitable for homeschooling young 'uns. I was even able to pick up a lesson plan book and a grading book. They'll be great for "unofficial" homeschooling which I plan to start this September.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Rain Rain Go Away

It's been raining so much this Spring and Summer! I'm trying not to let it bother me by occupying myself indoors. However, my gardens are all completely overthrown by weeds. I told my husband that if I find a monkey in the jungle of weeds, I'd capture it for a friend of ours! Before the storms rolled in, I was able to pull up two wheelbarrow loads of weeds from my vegetable garden. As soon as this rainy weather passes I'm going to have to put housekeeping aside just to catch up on the gardens and yard work.

We spent 5 blissful days at a re-enactment last week. We took along a young lady from church as a nursemaid for our littles and it offered me plenty of uninterrupted time to set up, keep tent and cook. I was even able to grab some shopping time with hubby and a quick nap. It was also blissful in that the cares of the modern world were no where to be found. The onslaught of media about Michael Jackson's death were miles away and drowned out in the chorus of 18th century sounds....fiddle music playing, the natives war whooping, joyful chatter, the crackle of camp fires, the shouts of children, the roars of laughter from the men, the glass-tinkling giggles of the ladies, wood being chopped, musket fire, bacon sizzling in a cast iron pan, and children playing gleefully without an electronic or fancy toys to be had. Bliss.

I'm trying to figure out where to homeschool my son this fall. We have such a tiny house and I don't want to just sprawl out on the dining room table. I have cute maps and posters to hang up. My only options right now are my porch and my basement. I think basement might rule out because my porch gets quite cold in the wintertime. In the basement I have access to the computer, a television set with DVD, and shelf and wall space for various homeschool supplies. The only challenge is keeping the basement dry and must-free. I think it's time to finally hook up the humidex. I can use the dryer vent since I don't use the dryer anyway.

In other news, I'm happy it's July. There's just something so nice about a fresh, new month. I feel open and excited about all the things I can accomplish this month. Plus, I love seeing my pantry and freezer fill up with this year's harvest. More Bliss.