Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hurricane Irene Wipes Out Small Town Library's Children's Section

Up in the Adirondack Mountains lay small communities, often of lower income mountain families, who rely on their public library for books for their children. In Upper Jay, NY, the Wells Library lost almost all of its children's section to the extensive flooding caused by Hurricane Irene. They are looking for donations of New Hardcover children's books.

Do you have a children's book favorite? Perhaps consider buying a copy and donating it. You could also donate money, or or Barnes and Noble gift cards. You could look through your children's book shelves and see if there are any books in like new condition you could mail up. Media mail is inexpensive, too.

Please consider donating. For more information, visit here:

Switcheroo Mutually Approved!

I am excited! I talked to hubby and we both agreed that we should switch bedrooms with the children. Our oldest hit a growth spurt and jumped up another 1 1/2 inches. His toddler-sized bed is no longer comfortable for him, but we can't fit the other two children in the room with a twin size bed in it.

I am so looking forward to carving out a nook for my little girl. Her own girly space. Hubby also gave me the go ahead to redo the smaller bedroom to a mutual decorating taste we share! I am so excited!

At the same time, I am humbled, thankful and grateful. While this little cottage is getting small for our growing family, at least I have a sweet cottage to call my own. So many lost their homes and possessions, pets and even more great a loss, loves ones in the recent flooding caused by Hurricane Irene.

I would greatly appreciate it if you would take the time to check out the Hurricane Irene soaps I am selling on etsy. Every soap labeled Hurricane Irene is being sold with 100% of the profits going to 3 families I've "adopted" who lost so much in the flooding. I will be making more soaps every evening, so if I sell out, please keep looking for more.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

And People Wonder Why I Want to Homeschool?

I read an article today, a commentary written in an area paper that really didn't help me to sympathize with our public school teachers. Why? If this statement really does echo how our teachers unions and teachers feel, then I find it disturbing:

I suppose the pendulum has swung to the other extreme from the days within our lifetime when teachers were venerated and idolized, the never-wrong authority figures to whom parents and students always deferred.

Um....really?!! I thought PARENTS are supposed to the authority in a child's life. I thought only GOD can be our "never-wrong authority." And deffer to a teacher? Perhaps working with the teacher for my child's education, yes, but deferring to them to make the ultimate decisions on behalf of my child? IDOLIZED?!?!

Granted, the author speaks of the pendulum swing which means from one extreme to the other. The ideal would be somewhere in the middle....parents and teachers working together for their child's education. Sure, I plan on homeschooling, but I also plan on utilizing some teachers to farther my children's education beyond what I am capable of. But, I will be working with the teachers, employing them, and not letting them overstep their boundaries into my parental authority. As far as I know, from the teachers I know, they are elated when parents utilize their parental authority! It makes their job easier and more successful for our children!

Still, I certainly hope teachers in general do NOT feel they ought to be as the statement above says.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Hurricane Irene Damage Near Me

South west of me is a stunningly beautiful valley. This is a before shot of the valley, I believe from just last autumn.
And here is the valley after Hurricane Irene.

This is just a mile from my house. Thankfully, I'm up in the hills, so I had no damage, but in some of this footage, a friend of mine lost her house. Buried under water.

HERE is a youtube video of an historic site not too far from me. The water is supposed to be well behind the house. It hit flood stages and just kept going, higher and higher.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hurricane Haikus

While whittling away time on facebook today during Tropical Storm Irene, a facebook friend got me started on Hurricane Haikus. I thought I'd share them:

The wind is blowing.
Rain seeps into my basement.
Power, please stay on.

I've had one brown out.
Rain seeps in through kids' AC.
Damage has begun.

The wind is so strong.
My heart is pounding stronger.
Grammar: more strongly?

Facebook distracts me
From the wind and rain outside
As I write Haikus.

Leaking heater vent
In bathroom vent; and Cora
Has a stomach bug.

Prayers are lifted
For the locals flooded out
And other damage.

Stay off the roadways
All you crazy idiots!
Walmart stores can wait.

The frogs are croaking
Just outside my window.
Life returns for me.
But for many more
My heart breaks for flooded loss
And displaced people.
Such destruction here
But Upstate New York will be
Beautiful once more.

For picture of what Irene did in and around the local area, click HERE!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Marguerite Patten

Marguerite Patten, then.
Marguerite Patten, OBE, now.

I have recently learned about Marguerite Patten, the home economics and wartime rationing and cooking queen of England. The little I've seen of her on BBC's "1940's House" reveals a woman of grace and positive thinking. I look forward to learning more about her and her home economics. I have found some of her books on etsy, but I am looking for her wartime rationing cookbook now.

She considers a field.....

She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. Proverbs 31:16

Just down the road from my house a 2.3 acre field went up for sale. It has a stream down one side of it and woods about it, but nothing else. I want it. I would LOVE to have a patch of earth like that to plant my orchard, berry bushes, rhubarb row, and big ol' vegetable garden. Since it isn't too far away, I might even consider putting on some animals! I, personally think it's a little pricey for the area and local real estate market at $21,000, but oh how I'd like to have it!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Great Switcheroo?

I've been debating for a few weeks now whether or not to switch bedrooms with my children. Should life continue on the same path, it will be inevitable that they'll have to move to the master bedroom for the simple fact that they are growing. So, should I just delay matters, or get right to the point?

We live in a small 1950's cottage that only has 2 bedrooms. The master bedroom is 11x13 feet and the children's bedroom is a tiny 7x9 feet. Can you imagine that I'm squeezing 3 young children into that space? Before I start getting all sorts of nasty comments, let me assure you that they are comfortable and actually love being together like that. But, they are getting older. They are growing up.

My daughter doesn't really have a corner to call her own, other than her bed. I feel badly, especially since she does like to go off on her own and play and imagine. Having two brothers on either side of her in a small house, she's often overrun with trucks, tractors, noise, and construction zones.

That's another thing. If I gave them the larger room, I could possibly eliminate the toy zone in the living room. Granted, they do have a play area in the basement, but it is small and there's not really a lot of room for 3 children to spread out and play all at once.

Here's the clincher, though. In a 7x9 foot room, there's really only room for my husband and I's bed. Thankfully, it does have a walk-in closet. But, it would be a real challenge to fit all that two adults have into a room smaller than many people's closets!

Ideally, we need to move. We've outgrown this house. I try to be creative, thinking about decades past when families were larger and lived in smaller houses, but this is the 21st century. There are new standards, such as pubescent children not sharing rooms with their siblings of the opposite gender. Granted, my oldest is only 5, but the time will come.

The next ideal idea on the list is to add a loft bedroom in the attic.

In confusion and indecision, the best thing to do is pray and let the Lord lead.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

More Wishes for My Little Cottage

I thought of a couple more things I would like to have should we stay in our little cottage. I would like a root cellar. There is a small embankment behind our garage. That would be the perfect spot for a little root cellar.

A grain mill! I want a hand cranked one. The electric ones are only good should you have electricity. I like the security of not relying on electricity.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Looks Like I'll Be Sewing Again

I was just asked to create a suit of clothes for the new chaplain of the 21st Regiment of Food (living history). I'll be a race to the finish as he'll need it for a wedding in October, but I am excited to sew again!

Friday, August 19, 2011


The Frontiersman's Daughter by Laura Frantz

In typical Christian romantic fiction fashion, the book creates an angst that seems to draw in romantically starved teenage girls. It left me wanting to slap Lael upside the head and rolling my eyes at the cliches. Also, as an 18th century living historian, I was annoyed by once again, an author's lack of expertise in the area of clothing of the period.

Also, for a book marketed as a CHRISTIAN fiction, I found it a bit too risque. While some may laugh at me calling it risque, hear me out. A tangled web of romance between 3 men, mostly spurred by infatuations, the lead character sharing passionate kisses with all of them, and a near-naked evening swim with 1 of them. I guess it wouldn't bother me so much, but I know these books are devoured by impressionable teenage girls and I found it a bit much, remember my own impressionable teenage self. Granted, the lead character, Lael, wasn't saved, I still think it was a bit much.

The book drew me in and I had a hard time putting it down. I did like the frontier aspect and the simplicity of living. However, the book felt long....loooonnnngggg and ended rather abruptly, leaving some significant questions unanswered and characters suddenly dropped with little explanation.

All in all, I give the book 3 out of 5 stars. It is a fiction book and fiction books really are nothing more than a bit of fun, a pleasure, so I don't really expect outstanding historical accuracy or for them to conform to my moral comfort zone.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Making Do With Leftovers

The making of culinary creations using leftovers used to be a housewife's skill. I'm not big on leftovers, myself, but in the name of thrift and less waste, (and the fact that I cleaned out my fridge today) I'm tackling some leftovers.

I have turned some old carrots, green beans from my garden, frozen corn, some leftover mashed potatoes and one lonely drumstick into a pot of nourishing soup with the simple addition of chicken broth I had on hand and some herbs and seasonings.

Then, there was the loaf of bread I made that was quickly going stale. I whirred some more of those old carrots in the food processor along with some eggs, spices, the good bits of an apple starting to go bad, raisins, maple syrup, a little bit of organic cane sugar (hopefully to make it more palatable to my picky eater) and some milk. I added that to half the loaf crumbled up in a bowl and I'm letting it sit overnight. In the morning I will bake it into a bread pudding (disguised as cake) and make a low-sugar glaze cutting the sugar with arrowroot powder.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Low Waste Challenge

A while ago, I posted THIS video of a zero-waste family. The other day, I came across her blog HERE! While I am quite certain I could never get my family, or even myself to go that extreme, I do look Bea's idea that we should consciously live. So many times we just push the auto-pilot button and don't even realize all the mindless things we were doing. It's just easier to unwrap the processed food, pop it in the 'nuke and toss the packaging into the trash. We are also a society of visual people. Years of television have drawn us away from the reality that even if we don't see it, it still exists. Just because the landfill isn't within eyesight doesn't mean that all our waste just disappears into oblivion.

Bea put me to shame! I always thought I did pretty well with my garbage. I'd feel a little self-righteous pride as I drove down the road on garbage day and saw other people's cans bulging while mine wasn't even half-filled. But, after reading Bea's blog, I started realizing all the stuff I still mindlessly toss, and the the needless waste I consume.

I mean, even something as small as switching to bulk teas and using a steeper rather than buying individually double to triple packaged tea bags could reduce my waste.

I also started realizing my mindless spending. I got into couponing for a while. At my worst, I remember returning around $100.00 worth of stuff I'd never really use. I was embarrassed that I got caught up in savings that really weren't. Even now, I'm hoping I can find the receipt for some Christmas presents I bought for my children than I really don't want to give them. I'd rather buy my oldest a couple of handmade wooden trucks on etsy than give him the two plastic nerf pistols with target I got on clearance at Target. My children have proved to me that if it is plastic, they destroy it. Heavily packaged, Chinese made, cheaply made and really no imaginative value. It really makes me rethink a lot of things.

It really is embarrassing. And as I go through my house, I see so much waste. Toys broken after only a few months of use. Clothes bought on the cheap that don't really fit or aren't really worn. Food that just gets tossed out. Silly items bought on impulse, like movies, magazines, and nick nacks. Hobby items for projects never finished.

Big box stores are becoming more and more discouraging, too and quality plummets and everything is so disposable. My parents still have appliances from when they got married in the 70's. I haven't been married for 10 years yet, and I'm on 2nds and 3rds of appliances already!! It really is taking a conscious effort to live quality lives! It isn't just about the environment, but about our lives and the lives we provide our children with!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

I Can Dream, Can't I?

While my ultimate dream would be to have our own farm with our own farm house and a few cottages for my aging relatives to be nearby, sometimes I like to dream about what I'd like to do for our current little cottage.

1. Vermont Bun Baker
I'd put this in my basement and in the dining room I'd put in one of those large, Victorian grates in the floor for the heat to rise up through. I could use this for off the grid living, for fun, and for heating and cooking should the power go out in the wintertime.

2. Gutters and rain barrels

We need gutters on this house. It would greatly help in keeping water out of the basement. Plus, rain collection would be a great way to green up our water usage. Not only could I use the water for gardening (gravity fed irrigation system to my garden, perchance?) and animals, but I could run it through a:

3. Berkey Water Filter

This would allow me to use the water collected in the rain barrels for human consumption!

4. Farm Animals (and coops and a barn):

We don't have much land, so I can't have much. I could do some ducks up by the decorative pond, chickens by the dry well, and a couple of miniature goats down in the back point.

5. Greenhouse
Ok, so ultimately, off the side of the sun porch, I'd like to put in a solarium. Nothing too big, just big enough for some dwarf fruit trees like citrus and figs. But, I'd be happy with a greenhouse down by my garden so I can get my plants started early. Also, a couple of winterized hot boxes would be nice, too. Fresh lettuce in December is my goal!

6. A Loft Bedroom
This would be the first thing I'd have done. It is a necessary! I'd have our attic turned into a loft bedroom. It is such wasted space up there, space that we need for our growing family.

A new, bigger garage for hubby would be nice, too! Plus, there are lots of trees that need to come down and new ones planted. Poison ivy needs to be gone and in its place rugosa rose bushes for their fragrant flowers and healthful rose hips. Oh, and then the big luxury item: I'd like one of the windows in the master bedroom replaced with a door that leads to a secluded patio containing a jacuzzi! Pardon me as I close my eyes, sit back and smile. LOL!