Thursday, September 29, 2011

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Open Door Policy

I have to admit that I love that my mother and I have an open door policy. No knocking or doorbells needed. We just open the door and let ourselves in to each other's houses. Of course, we have the common courtesy of notification first, for the most part. Though, "dropping in" is welcomed, too.

I think it is a beautiful and comforting thing between my mother and I.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Pattern Envy

I want this pattern.

Monday, September 26, 2011

I've Awakened My Son

I didn't realize when I started this year that homeschooling would awaken my oldest son! Throughout the last 2 years, I've noticed a decline in his enthusiasm, imagination and activity. I stopped wanting to help. He just wanted to sit and watch TV. Oh, he'd still play, but his play and his art lacked development and imagination. I worried and I knew why it happened. A very difficult pregnancy followed by a very difficult year of illnesses, challenging events, changes, etc forced me to rely on the "electronic babysitter" too much. It got to a point where if the TV was off, he didn't know what to do with himself!

We had little improvements once things settled more, but it wasn't until I started homeschooling him that he blossomed and grew! He's a big helper now. He's more cheerful, joyful, reasonable, imaginative, responsible, playful....and he's soaking things up like a sponge! More than I could have asked for!

And while homeschooling has its own challenges, it warms my heart when I say, "school time" and he responds with, "Yay" as he runs to our school room.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Germ Warfare

As public school begins, even though we homeschool, I begin my germ warfare against the common cold. It is inevitable that as soon as large groups of children join together, illness breaks out. So, I started this September with adding an immune booster to our diet.

Unfortunately, the common cold still got a hold of us. It took advantage of our weakened states from suffering the ill effects of contaminated well water after the massive rainfalls of Tropical Storms Irene and Lee. It took advantage of my 3 year old's weakened immune system from her extremely picking eating habits and gut problems. Thankfully, even in her weakened state, the immune boosters (and simply being a child) helped and she recovered within 3 days with nothing more than plenty of nose rubbing and fussing.

The baby got it next with tell-tale fussiness, congestion that kept him up all night, and a runny nose. Although he's too young for me to comfortably give him supplements, he recovered quickly, too, thanks to his overall health, well-being and vitality.

But then, I got it. As soon as I felt that prickle in the back of my throat, I upped my supplementation to battlefield levels. Plenty of vitamin C, extra immune boosters, echinacea, garlic and extra multi vitamins. Herbal teas were increased.

Colds run the same course for me. I start out with the scratch in my throat. Then, it's 2-3 days of a burning sore throat, often with earaches. After that is a day of congestion followed by a day of my nose turning into a faucet. Then, some more congestion and earaches as the mucus gels into that green, thick stuff that you blow out all at once and feel better afterwards. That usually lasts from 2-5 days.

Now that I supplement and engage in germ warfare, the colds follow the same path but with less severity and a shorter duration. This time around, the sore throat was very mild. It felt more like I spent the night sleeping with my mouth open rather than the inflammed, on fire burning. The congestion part was very mild, too. I could breathe through both nostrils at all times.

I am currently in the middle part of the cold as I type this. I've been up since 3 am because this cold does have a uniqueness to it in that the overall congestion (not just nasal) settles at night and makes it hard to breathe. I spend a good hour just clearing myself of it. I also have a dry cough probably associated with an irritated throat from acid reflux I've recently started suffering with along with the irritation of the sore throat I had with this cold. The congestion and associated pain along with the coughing has greatly reduced now that I've had a cup of chamomile tea with Manuka Honey.

Tea tree oil is also an important part of my warfare against the cold. I dab some on a cotton ball and put it on top of the humidifier in my children's room as a safer and more effective alternative to Vicks.

I also believe in the helpfulness of medicinal doses of a good single malt scotch. Yes, I've had some people raise eyebrows in obvious protest to the use of alcohol, but these same people have no problem drowning their viral sorrows in Nyquil, a chemical (and, yes, alcohol) laden medication. I'll take the scotch and my herbal remedies, thank you. I'm trying to kill this cold, not suppress the symptoms and possibly causing the cold to drag on.

Usually, if I get attacked by a cold when I'm in a particularly healthful state, I can successfully kill the cold in a couple of days with very mild symptoms. But since I went into this cold already compromised (and naughtily enjoying junk food which does nothing but make the immune food work harder and weaken more), I'm paying the price. Thankfully, the supplements make it a lot less miserable than it could be.

Update: I chickened out on Sunday and bought OTC meds for cough and cold and possible allergies....yep, one of those all-in-one cocktails. I was sick of being sick and wanted to go to church. Well, it didn't do much but make me feel worse. I should have stayed home, slept and let the mucus work its own way out. After all, that's what it was trying to do when I forced the symptoms to slow with chemicals. I was so miserable by the evening, that I caved and went to Urgent Care for antibiotics.

I know full well that antibiotics don't do anything for viral infections and it was most likely I had a viral infection. I also know how antibiotics can do harm, possibly irreversible harm, to my already damaged gut from the contaminated well (and junk food...ahem...2 donuts in 1 week? What as I thinking?!) So, I got the script, but thankfully the pharmacies were closed, giving me time to "sleep on it."

I woke up feeling miserable, took my supplements and considered the script again. I normally wouldn't feel so pressed, but I have my grandfather's wake and funeral this week. But, as I had my tea and hopped in the shower, things started to work as nature intended them and I was able to expel a fair amount of the irritants and realize that I am indeed not falling into bronchitis, but just suffering from a settled cold.

So, after tomorrow (because after the funeral, we're having a luncheon at a fantastic Italian restaurant) I am going on a GAPS-inspired diet. I'm sick of being sick. I've been sick this entire month. I also have some thoughts and ideas on improving the overall health of my home.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Welcome Home, Grandpa

February 28, 1927 - September 24, 2011

He left a legacy of 3 Godly daughters, 10 Grandchildren, and 16 (and counting) Great-Grandchildren
He left a legacy of a Godly husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather.
He leaves behind my Grandmother, one of the most graceful and faithful women I know.
He leaves behind 9 years of Alzheimers, Parkinsons, and lung cancer.
He goes on before us to be with our Savior.
Praise be to God!

Friday, September 23, 2011

It Happened One Night

I was preparing to go to bed when I hear some fussing on the other side of the children's bedroom door. Upon investigation, I see two books poking out from underneath the door. When I opened the door, my daughter was on the floor in tears. I asked what was wrong and she said, "They're stuck!" I bent down and picked up the books and asked if she'd like me to read them to her. She smiled and said that she did. So, we sat down on the floor together just outside the bedroom door and I smiled as I discovered what books she had chosen:

As I read to her, she chimed in with comments and discoveries. She loved seeing what the little mommy did and ogled the little girl's illustrated bedroom. Hopefully next week my daughter will have a space to call her own, too. She loved that the baby in Baby Looks has a big sister.

When I finished Baby Looks and closed the book, my daughter carefully took the books from me, tucked them under her arm and went straight to bed without a peep.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Slow Clothing

Lately, I've been interested in the budding movement called "Slow Clothing" or "Slow Fashion." Wikipedia describes it as:

"The term "Slow Fashion" was coined by Kate Fletcher in 2007 (Centre for Sustainable Fashion, UK).[10] "Slow fashion is not a seasonal trend that comes and goes like animal print, but a sustainable fashion movement that is gaining momentum."[11]

The Slow Fashion Movement is based on the same principals of the Slow Food Movement, as the alternative to mass produced clothing (AKA “Fast-Fashion”). Initially, The Slow Clothing Movement was intended to reject all mass produced clothing referring only to clothing made by hand,[12] but has broadened to include many interpretations and is practiced in various ways.[13]

Some examples of slow fashion practices include:

  • Opposing and boycotting mass produced fashion (AKA "Fast-Fashion" or "McFashion").
  • Choosing artisan products to support smaller businesses, fair trade and locally-made clothes.
  • Buying secondhand, vintage, and second-hand clothing and donating unwanted garments.
  • Choosing clothing made with sustainable, ethically-made or recycled fabrics.
  • Choosing quality garments that will last longer, transcend trends (a "classic" style), and be repairable.
  • Doing it yourself - making, mending, customizing, altering, and up-cycling your own clothing.
  • Slowing the rate of fashion consumption: buying fewer clothes less often.

The Slow Fashion movement is a unified representation of all the "sustainable", "eco", "green", and "ethical" fashion movements. It encourages education about the garment industry's connection and impact on the environment and depleting resources, slowing of the supply chain to reduce the number of trends and seasons, to encourage quality production, and return greater value to garments removing the image of disposability of fashion.[14][15] A key phrase repeatedly heard in reference to Slow Fashion is "quality over quantity". This phrase is used to summarize the basic principles of slowing down the rate of clothing consumption by choosing garments that last longer.

The beauty of the Slow Fashion Movement is that anyone, no matter what price point they shop at or style aesthetic they choose, can practice it. It is a fashion philosophy that anyone can embrace and follow."

For me, it includes upcycling, mending, and making my own. It also includes the vast amounts of hand me downs I receive not only for my children, but for myself.

I'm also getting sick of the man made fabrics out there. It is virtually impossible to find natural fiber clothing in my price range unless it's a basic knit! Sometimes, I just want to wear something a little more tailored than basic knits! I have visions of swirly wool skirts in the wintertime. Tailored wool slacks, a la 1940's are also on my list. Who doesn't love a crisp cotton blouse or cotton velvet vest paired with a silk taffeta plaid skirt for Christmas?

I'm also looking into cutting up old jeans and making them into jeans for my 1 year old. Do you know how hard it is to find affordable, decent jeans that actually fit my peanut? I have a simple pants pattern (somewhere....where in the world did I put it!?) that takes less than an hour to make a pair of pants for a wee lad.

Are you interested in slow clothing? What ideas do you have?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Autumn Upon Us

With terrible weather and illness, we have missed the unofficial end of summer. Even the weather has changed. Throughout the neighborhood, I am beginning to smell wafts of wood smoke. Leaves are beginning to change and the garden browns. Today, I removed the air conditioner and put socks on my cold feet.

Still feeling the affects of quite an illness, which has been pretty much narrowed down to a contaminated well from the overflow of rains recently, I've been dreaming of a hearth to curl up in front of. I love that they make those electric or gel fireplaces now so anyone can enjoy a hearth. Some day I'll buy one.

In the meantime, knitting is starting to sound good again. Just sitting and knitting. I can't knit worth beans, but I can at least make squares and scarves and it is relaxing.

What's your favorite curl up in an Autumn evening activity?

Oh...and cinnamon rolls! Autumn beckons cinnamon rolls and apple cider donuts from a local orchard! Oh, I am so going to gain back to 7 lbs I lost during this illness!

Thursday, September 08, 2011

A Very Trying 2 Weeks

It started off with earthquakes, which I thankfully didn't feel here. Nevertheless, there were 2 local earthquakes and the large one in VA that many felt here in Upstate New York. Then, Hurricane Irene made landfall, downgraded to a tropical storm and slammed us with rain that caused record flooding and widespread destruction. Again, thankfully, I didn't get any more damage than a wet basement, 12 hours without power, and a few leaks, but it was a busy week trying to help out those who lost so much.

My efforts were cut short by the ravages of a nasty stomach flu, which happened to strike me the same time as a rare tornado cut through my neighborhood less than 1/2 a mile from my house, knocking out electricity for 30 hours, and closing the county down. The tornado was registered as an F1 1/2 a mile wide. It traveled down into the valley, across the river, and up over the other side of the valley in a north east path 7 miles long. How's that for unique!?

The day after the tornado hit, I was still without power, out of water, and quite dehydrated from running to the bathroom literally every 10 to 20 minutes! My mom took me to the ER where I received 2 bags of fluids and was sent home. I seemed on the mend, the power returned, and I was hoping for life to return to normalcy.

Well, the stomach flu lingers in a vicious way. Heavy rains have caused terrible flooding again and once again closed my county.

My 5 year old was able to raise $250! It will be delivered to the local farmer who is once again losing so much to the 2nd flooding in a week as soon as I recover from this wretched illness! As for the Hurricane Irene soaps, all is on hold until I am well again and I can leave my house!! For the 3rd time in less than 2 weeks, I am forced to stay home due to the county literally being closed. All travel is prohibited except for emergency.

May next week bring better health, better weather, and better news.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

5 Year Old Helps Farmers

Yes, that 5 year old is my son! He's got farming in his blood. He wants to be a farmer when he grows up and loves all things farming. Many of our local farmers lost crops, livestock and equipment right at the start of harvest season due to the massive flooding from Hurricane Irene here in Upstate New York. My son wants to help so we started a weekend long $1.00 Drive.

The collected monies will be personally handed to the local farmers (we're compiling a list) by Donald who will visit them on their farms.

Please consider donating. Donald is only asking for $1.00, but if you feel led to give more, you can.