Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Mmmmm. Crackpot.

Yep, you read that right. I'm addicted to crockpot cookery! (OK, whatever, it's corny, so what?)

I've always been a big fan of simple cooking. When I had my firstborn, I discovered the reality of "the witching hour" - that magical (Hahahahahahaaaaa! Ahem.) time between naptime and when daddy gets home from work, the period when the happy homemaker attempts to get a healthy and delicious meal prepped and ready to put on the table when her hardworking dearest arrives.

What mama hasn't stirred the jarred spaghetti sauce dumped into a pot on the stove while holding a screaming toddler? Or holding the toddler while the two older banshee.. er, kids whine for more miiiiilk, a snack, "can you turn on Noggin'?!", "can I play PBS Kids?", "Moooom, where are the crayons?"...

I've been reading a crockpotting blog for a few months, and bought her book recently.

Now I'm on a mission to cook with my crackpots every weekday. So far we've had her Fajitas, Chicken and Dumplings, Creamy Beef over Noodles, Tamale Pie, Apple Cheddar Turkey Meatballs, Creamy Corn and Spinach Enchiladas, and Lasagna. EVERY.LAST.ONE. has been met with two thumbs up by everyone, including picky picky 6 y/o and never-eats-veggies not-quite 2 y/o.

So. Just a little encouragement to Make it Fast, Cook it Slow. Tell the witching hour who's boss!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

OK, consider me a couponing convert.

I have never really gotten into clipping coupons. Here and there I'd see a coupon for something I knew we'd use, cut it out, and take it along to the grocery store the next time I went that way. Other than that, it just seemed confusing, time consuming, and pointless -- I live in Alaska - prices are higher, we don't have any stores that double or triple, there are no discount grocery chains like Aldis or whatever.

But someone pointed me to Money Saving Mom a few months ago, and she piqued my interest. Something about the ease with which she described how to go about getting the deals, and recognizing myself in her - she's a homeschooling mom of three young kiddos - if she can coupon, I can coupon... right? So I started clipping a few weeks ago.

None of my coupons seemed to be matching up to sales, so I shrugged my shoulders, tucking away the ads every week, just waiting to see if I'd be able to pick up steam eventually.

Sunday was my first shop using store ads along with MSM's (and Pinching Your Pennie - another great coupon/deal blog and message board!) advice. First stop, Walgreens. I spent $36 (total before store discounts and coupons was $58) and received $18 in Register Rewards - basically CASH to spend the next time I shop at Walgreens. I was AMAZED! Not only did I get great things - 4 boxes of granola bars, 2 boxes of tampons, 2 boxes of sanitary pads, a fancy razor, two bottles of hairspray, chapstick, 2 tubes of Crest Extra Whitening with Scope... but they gave me money BACK. WOWZA.

Now there's another deal I need to go snatch up. Apparently Huggies Jumbo packs of diapers are on sale 2/$18. I have coupons for $2/1 package, making my total $14 for 2 jumbo packs. THEN I'll receive a $4 RR at checkout! I'm also going to buy a Vaseline Intensives Lotion for $6.99, since I have a coupon for $1.50 off and I'll get a $6.50 RR! They're basically PAYING me $1.50 to take the lotion home! AND since I'll be using part of my $18 in register rewards to pay for these purchases, I'll walk away having MADE money! It's mind boggling!

Anyway, I just had to share. I'm NO coupon queen, but I'm learning, and having fun with it. I encourage you to look around at blogs from true coupon queens and enjoy!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Saved $71.36 at the grocery store tonight!

And they practically paid me to take home Snow White on Blu-Ray/DVD! There is a $10 off coupon here and my grocery is offering $10 off when you spend $100 on groceries. They are also giving away a free bottle of Langer's Juice (I got Pomegranate at a value of $5.99!) and a sugar pumpkin with Snow White purchase.

With all of my various coupons and deal-hunting, I spent $102 and saved over $71! That's 41% off! Plus I got a movie I absolutely adored as a little girl for MY little girl. Happy day. =)

Thanks again to one of my favorite bloggers, the money saving mom.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Curriculum Update

We're nearly settled on what we're using for 1st grade.

Language Arts:

Social Studies: Geography/Maps workbooks, Sonlight Core 1

Science: Usborne Science Experiments, Encyclopedia of Science, Science in Seconds for Kids

Bible: Lifepacs 1

Art: Usborne Complete Book of Art Ideas Usborne 365 Things to Make and Do

PE: Homeschoolers PE class 2x/wk, daily outside time. Seasonally: Soccer, Basketball, Tae Kwon Do...? Hip Hop/Gymnastics? Bug is still deciding what he's interested in trying out.

I think my head is spinning a little less, now that I have it all written down!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Daily Log

(I feel like saying "Stargate 6.1" or whatever they say on Star Trek here. Hee!)

Today, we:
  • Didn't do much. On first thought, it's escaping me what we actually DID do... hrmmm...
  • Ohhh yeah, I introduced Bug to calculators. He checked three pages of his own math work, and then I caught him using the calculator to move ahead. I explained that I would rather he use his brain to do the problems FIRST, then check them with the calculator. =)
  • I am attending a moms' group on Tuesday mornings, so he spent some time with other homeschooled kids in the "study hall" they offer during - they played Zathura and he worked on some word searches and reading. I really didn't care what he took to work on, just wanted him to have some fun meeting and hanging out with the kids.
  • We came home, had lunch, Bug and Monkey watched Power Rangers while Chickie took a nap and I cleaned, did laundry, etc.
  • Bug putzed around on for about an hour before dinner. He did the first level of the states game, and LOVED the castle game.
  • He spent some time helping Monkey with his take-homes from church last Sunday - "We need to put stickers on the places where God is with you, Elliott... is God with you in a tree? Is God with you at church?" SO sweet! I treasure those kinds of moments.
  • He read a devotion on anger and told me how he tries not to be angry and to get along with others.
  • Right now he's been in bed for over an hour and he's still up reading... I think it's currently Spiderman of some sort.
  • Besides that he was his typical boisterous self, showing me how he could keep a balloon up in the air using only his head, hitting it repeatedly. I think his record was 5 times, not sure...

All in all, a relaxed and cozy day 2!

Tomorrow the big plan for the day is harvesting what's left of the garden and clearing out the flower beds. =)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Daily Log

I'm thinking I'll keep a daily log of what we're doing, learning-wise, just to keep myself encouraged, record successes and flops, and as a record to reflect upon as needed.

Today, we:
  • Had devotions about sharing out of 5-minute devotions and Big Book of Devotions for Boys.
  • Bug wrote a letter to mail to his best friend, Ben.
  • Talked about time and clocks, doing 4 or 6 pages in a workbook (his lead, I shut it down to move on to something else). Bug learned that the short hand tells us the hour, and the long hand the minute. We also discussed the face of the clock, clockwise, and the numbers.
  • 2 workbook pages of double digit subtraction, used quarters as manipulatives. (Again, I asked him to stop after 2 pages, not wanting him to do too much too soon.)
  • Went to a homeschool meeting where Bug, Monkey and Chickie had some seriously fun playtime and I got some seriously needed ideas for interaction and field trips.
  • Bubbles - Bug discovered to his delight that the little bit of solution left in his bottle worked just fine for bubblemaking when he filled it back up to the top with water.
  • He is rereading Fantastic Mr.Fox and still working on The Horse and His Boy, most of his reading time is at bedtime, usually for at least an hour a day.

Day one in a nutshell. We're both so happy he's learning at home again!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

"There's nothing half so pleasant as coming home again.”

Margaret Elizabeth Sangster must have loved homecomings. I know I do. There's something about the warmth and comfort of just being... at home. It's even more pleasant when the weather is blustery and gray, when you come inside to light and laughter, warmth and good smells. A fuzzy blanket, slippers, a fire... hot tea. Mmmm. I love to come home in the fall.

We've made the decision to homeschool again. After three short weeks of first grade for Bug at the immersion school, not a day going by without a sense of unease and discontent in my spirit... It wasn't the school itself - not even a little bit. By all measures, it is a remarkable public charter option. Our choice is no reflection on the teachers or school.

I'll just say that there's nothing like the peace that settles when you find yourself right where you should be. I feel like the boulder I've been dragging around has been cut off and I'm floating around with abandon. Not that I'm under any illusion that homeschooling is easy - it ISN'T! But we're certain it's right, right now.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


We've been:
  • watering, weeding, eating
  • having a garage sale and making $477
  • organizing and redecorating the playroom
  • blueberry picking
  • walking, running, hiking, biking
  • baking batch after batch of muffins to freeze- the zucchini is keeping us hopping
  • missing the papa, bug and monkey when they went to Washington to visit the papa's mama.
  • going to the gym almost daily
  • spending time with good friends

Ahhh. Summer. Why must you end?

I registered the Bug for 1st grade the other day. My first baby. 1st Grade. I don't know how it happened so fast. He is giddy with excitement and can't wait to get back to his friends and his favorite teachers. I'm already missing him. And Monkey is gonna be lost those first days without his big bro.

Didn't summer just begin?

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Yes. Diapers on a line speak contentment to my soul.
I accept that I am strangely peculiar. I'm okay with that.
Sorry for the lack of posts lately, I'm gearing up for a garage sale this weekend and stuck in sorting/pricing/organizing/planning insanity. =)

Friday, July 17, 2009

I have shredder, hear me squeal.

4 bags of shredded paperwork in my garage. And I haven't even opened the filing cabinet(s) yet. (Blush. I'm a paper packrat, admittedly.) But - WOO! - no more! The shredder has changed my life, tell ya what. My closet has never looked better, I'm fluttering around with the glee that always cheers me when my home is organized and in order. I know, it's a sickness!

After a week "off", I am satisfied. We spent days doing much. And days doing very little. It was all good.

The things on the list that I/we did/were better at/focused on:
  • Sew - Pillows, Reconstructed Denim Skirts for the girl.
  • Make yogurt. YUM. Granola. Double YUM.
  • Try once a month (once every two weeks?) cooking.
  • Try new recipes.
  • Read more. Frequent the library. Filled up my hold queue!
  • Spend more time with each of the kids individually every day.
  • Play WITH the kids more. Stop telling them to "go play", and GO. Play.
  • Eat healthy consistently. Plan meals. Eat out less.
  • DAILY devotions. Pray more.
  • Go to the gym consistently.

Decluttering progress: Red spaces are undone as yet...

  • Kitchen (pantry, cookware, serveware, pots and pans, fridge - everything)
  • Upstairs Bath storage
  • Chickie's Closet
  • Downstairs Bath storage
  • Bug and Monkey's Closet
  • Playroom Closet
  • Master Closet

Things I still want to work on:

  • Take the kids to the park, gymnastics center, Bouncin' Bears regularly.
  • Spend more time with each of the kids individually every day. (Yes this one is in both categories. On purpose.)
  • Do more crafts. (I loathe most kid's crafts. Bug LOVES crafts. It's a worthy sacrifice.)
  • Read to the kids more often.
  • Just hanging out with the Papa in the silence. We fill it up too much. TV, internet, movies...


We have a barbecue planned here tomorrow night. I think we've got a total of 18 adults and 10 kids coming over to grill and chill. I'm looking forward to seeing some family who just flew in from Outside, along with good friends. =)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

$72 richer.

The kids and I delivered two totes of their outgrown clothes to Kid 2 Kid this morning. A little over an hour later, we walked out 72 dollars richer, many pounds lighter, 2 closets cleaner... I'm adding that money to our "redoing the family room fund"; we eventually want to update it with a flatscreen wall-mounted TV, fresh paint, and a rocker recliner for the Papa.

I'm eating spoonfuls of granola mixed with honey-sweetened yogurt as I type. It's almost too sweet - I feel funny saying so, but I was a bit scared to taste my fresh homemade yogurt without sweetener! Next time I'll try it without any extra honey. It is thinner than store-bought yogurt and I'd like it to be a bit more creamy, so I'll probably let it set another hour next time, and if that doesn't thicken it enough, maybe I'll try adding some pectin or gelatin. It tastes very *fresh* and there's a definite difference. The Papa raved when he tried it this morning for breakfast, so I suppose I'm going to need to keep this up!

We stopped by the fabric store on our way home today and picked up some remnants for pillows and fabric for more reconstructed skirts.

I'm going to Bunco with my mom tonight, filling in for one of the regulars who can't make it. I've never played before, so it oughta be interesting!

Monday, July 13, 2009

I made a skirt. Or, rather... I reconstructed jeans into a skirt.

For Chickie. See?

My friend Emily inspired me with her own version of mama skirts made from jeans, I googled a bit, and wound up just making it up as I went, no pattern. First time doing pleats, and they're a little off kilter, but 'tis ok by me. =) It looks longer than it is in this picture, it hits around her mid-calves. She's outgrown 12-18 month jeans and pants by length, but the waists are still perfect, so I figure she'll get at least another 6 months or so of wear out of these "jeans" this way.
This fabric is a remnant of a favorite mei tai of mine, a custom freehand I carried Chickie around in most of her young life. I love getting to see it on her, especially now that she isn't enjoying being worn as much.

My granola turned out very tasty! I wanted a simple, no frills recipe that I could add to as desired... so I melted a stick of butter, added about 3/4 C. of honey, 1/2 tsp. vanilla, a sprinkle of nutmeg and a couple of shakes of cinnamon. Let it cook until it was all blended and syrupy, then stirred in 5 C rolled oats. Baked at 350 for about 20ish minutes, stirring every now and again. YUM.

This morning's yogurt has been poured into containers and set in the fridge. I'll report on that after I try it with fruit and granola (hee!) tomorrow morning.

Yogurt "cooking" in a thermos on the counter...

if this works, tastes good, and is really so simple -- well, I'm just gonna kick myself for having waited so long to try it. *Smacking forehead* It's ridiculously easy.

And considering that I added it up and discovered that we go through about $14 worth of yogurt cups every two weeks, and that's when they're on SALE... well, my grocery bill might enjoy the benefits as well as our bellies!

Next up for today - decluttering the boy's bedroom and playroom closets.
Next cooking project - granola. Also feeding the freezer some baked goods.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

14 dinners in my freezer...

$200 worth of groceries.
5 hours in the kitchen.
One sliced thumb. Not deep, but ouch.
Not having to think/plan/prep dinner for at least the next two weeks? Mmmm, happy sigh.

Prepping and putting together.

The larder. I wish it was more revealing, but they're all stacked up in my 5 cu.ft. chest freezer in the order I suppose we'll eat them. Close your eyes and picture aluminum foil lined baking dishes and bowls full of yumminess. You get the idea. Even better, imagine the relaxation of knowing you don't have to think about dinner! I am psyched about that!

I used a book I picked up a couple of years ago, thumbed through often, but never put to use: Once a Month Cooking. I used the first two-week cooking plan and followed the recipes to the letter. There were a couple of recipes I'm certain we'll really enjoy, a couple I'm not sure I'll be making again, and the rest were likely keepers, even if not family favorites... They include chicken, ham and beef dishes, burgers, casseroles, a roast, pasta, rice... The proof will definitely be in the eating, so I'll update as we eat our way through the full freezer. =)
Oh, and tomorrow? I'm making yogurt.

Friday, July 10, 2009

We played today. Played and played and played. In the circle, in the yard, in the woods, down the road...

We went for a walk in the sunshine. Bug on two wheels (!), Monkey on his four-wheeler, Chickie strolling along.

We watered and weeded the garden.

We baked and ate banana bread using up the 3 overripe bunches of bananas (sigh, we just don't eat bananas fast enough) that had been residing in the freezer for months. We put together an apple crisp for dessert. I suppose I "made" dinner, too - curried chicken over rice - but I just defrosted and heated it up, giving us that much more time to play. =)

Simple pleasures, brimming with goodness.

And now that my babies are all tucked into bed and I'm relaxed and warm after a long bath, I'm off to hang out with and sit close to the Papa.

The kids are still sleeping...

So I'm here with a quick recap of yesterday.

We spent the morning doing nothing much. I straightened and cleaned, the boys did their morning chores, the girl followed me around with her impish giggle.

I went to the dentist at noon, the Papa met us there and swapped vehicles with me. He took them out for lunch, and I had to get a filling fixed, apparently I broke a piece of tooth off eating almonds. Woops.

After that we came back home, it was time for Chickie to get a nap. Usually nap time is "my time", and I've almost always spent it turning on PBS or Noggin', or a DVD for Bug and Monkey since they no longer nap. Then I settle down with the internet and "escape" for a while. The boys asked if they could play outside, and I told them they sure could, just as soon as I had some lunch and once sissy was sleeping.

I sent them downstairs to play while I got her settled and got myself something to eat. It struck me then in the quiet that I've rarely used that little piece of time when my baby(babies) were sleeping during the day for anything other than myself.

I dug out a few of my favorite devotional books and my bible. Multi-tasking for sure, but after I finished eating, I took the boys outside with me to finish up while they played in the backyard. I started in Genesis, getting to know Eve using Women in the Bible , out of Proverbs using Your Daily Walk, and from Daily Wisdom for Mothers. Those 20 or 30 minutes of reading through a couple of devotionals and soaking up the Truth felt more relaxing and rejuvenating than I remembered it could be. It isn't a chore to check off my list. It's a joy to experience. I forget that.

After that, we went out front in the culdesac and Bug rode a two-wheeler for the first time. I was watching him *not* use his training wheels at all, so I asked if I could take one of them off to reassure him that he really could do it. He agreed, and minutes later astonished himself when he realized he COULD ride on two wheels. It was pretty sweet! What a moment, watching your child take off speeding away from you as fast as his little legs will take him. Conquering his fear and feeling free. I giggled and cheered, clapped and beamed. My kids are growing up so fast.

After about and hour outside, we came in and I offered to let them watch the movie we had rented the day before. Bug told me he would "really appreciate it" (ha!) if I would watch with them... and I had to pause. I *never* sit and watch movies with my kids. Ever. I get recommendations, I check them out, I may see a few minutes here and there, but actually sit and watch a full-length kid's movie? Nope.

I sat. I watched. We snuggled and cuddled. Ate popcorn and parmesan goldfish. The Tale of Despereaux encouraged my little boys to be gentlemen, courageous and noble. I loved it.

It was more than a great day. It was full of simple time and joy.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Where's the off button?

I'm taking some time off. Away from the computer; facebook, blogs... turning it off for at least a week. I think I'll check in once a day, limiting myself to 15 minutes... but maybe not.

I don't even want to talk about how much time I generally "waste" online... I just want to change it.

Last night I made a list of the things I've neglected, wanted to try or do for a while, or just want to spend more time on. Not in any particular order, just what came to mind as I brainstormed:

  • Sew - Pillows, Reconstructed Denim Skirts for myself and the girl, Curtains... floor cushions, dresses for Chickie. Lots of projects half done, bugging me!
  • Scrapbook - Monkey and Chickie have empty scrap and baby books. Bug has three lovingly crafted full books. I have guilt.
  • Make yogurt.
  • Make bread consistently.
  • Try once a month (once every two weeks?) cooking.
  • Try new recipes.
  • Read more. Frequent the library.
  • Take the kids to the park more often. To the gymnastics center. To Bouncin' Bears.
  • Spend more time with each of the kids individually every day.
  • Do more crafts. (I loathe most kid's crafts. Bug LOVES crafts. It's a worthy sacrifice.)
  • Read to the kids more often.
  • Play WITH the kids more. Stop telling them to "go play", and GO. Play.
  • Eat healthy consistently. Plan meals. Eat out less.
  • DAILY devotions. Pray more.
  • Go to the gym consistently.
  • Turn off the TV when the kids are in bed and just hang out with the Papa in the silence. =)

So. There you have it.

I'm also going to finish my decluttering and major cleanout, in prep for a garage sale while the Papa and boys are gone to visit his mom in a couple of weeks. (The Papa can't stand the mere thought of garage sales, so I thought I'd spare him!)

I'll report back. =)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Words of Life Wednesday

Psalm 33:3
Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy.

Monday, July 6, 2009

True Christian Motherhood.

Too good not to share.

Now how did that get there?

I'm decluttering.

Room by room, closet by cranny, old out, fresh clean space in. I'm decluttering our home, only keeping what we need and use. Sounds easy, right?

Lord help me.

If you stopped by unexpectedly, you would think I was one of those totally organized freakishly neat people. A place for everything, and everything in it's place... Yeah. My closets and crannies, the areas you wouldn't ever see? They're pitiful. Full of odds and ends, pieces of who-knows-what put here and there. I can't stand it! I was going to get all deep here and explore the meaning behind my messy hidden spaces (and maybe someday I will!), but honestly, I think I'm mostly just tired. It's hard enough to keep the high traffic areas up to my admittedly high standard, much less the stuff behind closed doors!

But it ends this week. I'm getting brutal; pitching, donating, sorting and selling.

The areas I'm working on:

  • Kitchen (pantry, cookware, serveware, pots and pans, fridge - everything) DONE
  • Upstairs Bath storage DONE
  • Chickie's Closet [CURRENTLY WORKING ON]
  • Downstairs Bath storage
  • Bug and Monkey's Closet
  • Playroom Closet
  • Master Closet [UGH. Dread.]


Organize Me

Organized Home


I'll post after pics. You can just close your eyes and imagine the befores. It's not "Clean Home" status, but it's not pretty. =)

Friday, July 3, 2009

Fun Friday

This week's fun, in no particular order:

  • Spent two evenings in the sunshine at Cuddy Family Park and Rogers Park Elementary.

  • Picnic and playdate with friends in Eagle River.

  • Completed the Hidey Hole.

  • Played in the sprinkler.

  • Went to the gym 4x (this is great fun even for the kids, I promise! They love the play center and never want to leave!)

  • Watered the garden daily. (Can I just repeat what I posted on a friend's blog this week and say -- Mmmmmmm. Just thinking about my garden brings peace to my spirit. I can't believe I waited so long, and was so afraid to try my hand at it - our first real garden was planted about 5 weeks ago. It really took getting my hands dirty to understand the earthy pleasure and pure joy, the connection and awe at how a tiny seed can bring forth food. Real FOOD!? It never ceases to amaze and thrill me.

  • Noah's 6th Birthday celebration, complete with cake (yellow with chocolate frosting) for dinner, and going to Sports Authority to let him select his two main gifts; a baseball glove and binoculars. He also got a bike helmet and is going to Build a Bear with me, he just doesn't know it yet. And no, we didn't plan the alliterative birthday boy bash, but... =)

  • Saw sweet new baby moose three different days.

We were pretty excited to see this amazing double rainbow. I wish the picture did it justice. You can't tell, but we could see both "ends", one in the mountains, and the other right behind this church (ABT!) The kids were in awe. And I was blessed when Bug told his brother, "Hey, that's God promising he'll never flood the earth again!"

Thursday, July 2, 2009


The Bug is 6 today! Our firstborn son, the one who made us a mama and a papa. (Awwwww!) We're so proud of our little man. Papa took him to his traditional father/son birthday breakfast. We wake him up early and they go out to a restaurant before anyone else is awake. As you can probably tell, he's still a bit sleepy in these pictures. =)

We love you, sweet boy. Happy 6th birthday!

Noah at six is so bright and full of energy. He loves to play soccer, read, and be outside. A fierce protector of his younger brother and sister, he is strong, determined and never gives up. He has an impish grin and makes us laugh every day. He's our little director and very independent, and he'll tell you like it is. Softhearted, he is quick to giggle, gives the biggest hugs, and is a great encourager.

BB in whipped cream, for the Birthday Boy!
As they were driving, they came upon this mama moose and her two babies!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Words of Life Wednesday

Psalm 104:13-15
He waters the mountains from his upper chambers; the earth is satisfied by the fruit of his work. He makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for man to cultivate — bringing forth food from the earth: wine that gladdens the heart of man, oil to make his face shine, and bread that sustains his heart.
God is good!

Monday, June 29, 2009

A "Hidey Hole" for the kids

I think they like it. =)

Mama Monday

OK, blog as list:

Laundry schedule - check. The laundry has been overwhelming me lately, and I finally decided to get back to my old routine; bedding Monday, boys' clothes Tuesday, so on and so forth.

Pack/plan for camping - so much to do/think about. Food planning/buying/prepping, getting the kids and myself packed, need another couple of camp chairs...

Bug's birthday party. He turns 6. 6! Thursday. I am totally unprepared. We need to decide what we're doing and when, and it's going to be late since we're heading out of town the evening of the 2nd.

Weight loss/working out. Made it to the gym 5 times last week (GO me!) and plan to do it again at least 4x this week.

The garden is coming along, I need to take and post some pictures.

Still tossing around when to start my childbirth education work, talking, thinking.

Think that's it for now. :)

Friday, June 26, 2009

Fun Friday

Last week, we made Reading Nook Canopies from the June/July Issue of Family Fun Magazine. Unfortunately, I couldn't find the description and instructions online, but I'll describe how we did it!

It's SO easy, really.

The frame is a hula hoop. You'll need 2 pieces of 4.25 yards/ea. fabric (tulle, muslin, whatever), total of 8.5 yards. Lay 'em out, find the middle of each piece, put a piece of duct tape on each side right in the middle, then cut a small (1" or so) slit in the tape through the fabric.
Cut 6 pieces of 1/8" ribbon, 66" each (you'll need two rolls of 10 yd. ribbon), make a loop with each piece of ribbon, pull the two ends through the loop around the hoop, then spread the 6 ribbons evenly around the hoop. Knot them all together in the center, making a loop to hang the canopy from.

Then lay out your fabric in a big + shape, middles on top of each other, pulling the ribbon loop through the slits you cut. For the top, I used felt; 1 1/2 yards for each nook, I layed it on top of the hoop and used chalk to outline a circle about 6" out from the hoop, cut out the circle, then just freehanded the leafy looking stuff. Cut a small slit in the center, and loop the ribbon through.
You can cut the bottom edge with pinking shears if you want, or just leave it if you're lazy like me! Voila!

Chickie has completely made her nook her own by stacking up pillows and blankets inside, along with a basket of books and toys.

The Bug and Monkey like to use theirs as a hideaway fort while playing spies. Hee!

A fresh new blog!

Ahhh... not quite the same as a fresh notebook and thick gel pen, but it'll do!

We are an Alaska Grown Family. I was raised in the Interior; Eielson AFB, tiny but sweet North Pole, and Fairbanks. My husband was raised in Anchorage. We have three kids, all born here. Two at the hospital and one at home. =)

I've been down this blogging road before and never stuck to it, but I really want to have an account to look back on as my kids grow. It seems to be flying by me faster than I remember to breathe, slow down, enjoy the moments...


I'm going to try to stick to a theme a few days of the week in an effort to stay motivated and continue to post. Who knows if this will work... but I'm trying!

Mama Mondays - More personal posts about my progress in various areas - Spiritual, Health, Emotional, Personal Fulfillment, Homemaking, Crafting, Cooking, Sewing... less about the kids and family, more more more about me, me me! (Ha!)

Wordless Wednesdays - Photos tell the story.

Fun Fridays - crafts, projects, what-who-where we've been having a good time doing-seeing-going.

With that, since it IS Friday after all (and thank the Lord for that!) next up is a post slash tutorial on our new Reading Nook/Canopies!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Conscious sedation dentistry. Or in short, I like drugs. =)

I have always been deathly afraid of the dentist. I grew up an Army and Air Force brat, and no offense, but every dentist I ever saw was condescending, insensitive, and all business. No care or concern for my feelings, and I have memories of pleading for more pain medication, feeling the drill, and needing to use the bathroom going ignored. Once I became an adult, I said I'd never go back. No amount of prayer or positive thinking ever seemed to calm that fear, it was overwhelming to me, so I just avoided it.

I knew I needed to go. I was having some sensitivity in one tooth and could see a cavity in another. I heard a radio ad several years ago for "The Gentle Touch" dentist, who offered conscious sedation, allowing you to sleep through your dental work. I always kept his website in my favorites, looking at it from time to time, trying to work up the nerve to call and go in.

When I finally did about a month ago, I was so relieved to talk to the nicest lady who understood my fear and told me I wasn't alone. I made the appointment for the next day, and I was really happy not to have to wait long and stew about it.

The first visit was scary, and I was embarrassed about having not been to the dentist in so long, having to open my mouth, expecting to be scolded like I always had been when I was a kid. There was NONE of that. Everyone was so wonderful and calming, totally gentle, and everything (getting in the chair, x-rays, etc.) was my choice every step of the way. My dentist is an older gentleman with a soothing voice and quiet warmth, and he just took pictures, told me step by step what he thought I needed done, and reassured me that my teeth looked great for not having been to a dentist in nearly 12 years.

OK, so prep for the actual sedation. I went in a week ago to get the meds and prep sheets. My husband took the day off because I needed a driver and responsible person to stay with me after the appointment. I took a valium the night before to guarantee that I'd get a good rest. The morning of the appointment (yesterday), one hour before, I took two triazolam .25 mg (Halcion) pills. At first I didn't notice anything, but within about 20 minutes I felt sleepy and kind of heavy. I just lounged on the couch and waited for it to be time to go. I kept looking and the clock and realized it seemed like time was flying by.

My husband drove me to the office. I don't remember much about that, or getting inside. When I walked in there was a gal waiting to take me to the chair, and I didn't even say goodbye to my hubby or kids, I was pretty spacey and really sleepy by this point. She sat me in the chair with a warm blanket and put on a blood pressure cuff and pulse oximeter. I don't remember much else until I got out of that chair.

At some point the dentist came in, but I didn't even see him, just heard his voice. He asked, "On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being (......something... I don't remember,) and 10 being you just want to go to sleep, where are you on the scale?" I didn't answer him, and I think that was his answer! I remember getting a few shots, but they didn't hurt, it was more like I just thought, "Oh, shots... I don't think I really like shots..." ykwim?

Then I remember someone asking me to open wider and to bite down once or twice, I think for my crown impressions. I don't remember any smells, sounds, or drilling. What seemed like minutes later, the assistant said something about being done and needing to move to the cleaning. I got up, she helped me to the bathroom (I used it alone, she just guided me to and from) and then they set me up in another room with another warm blanket.

I remember parts of the cleaning, some scraping... but again was just thoughtful about it, "Oh, I'm getting my teeth cleaned..." not bothered.

Again, within what seemed like minutes, the hygienist said I was done and sat me up. They brought me some juice and said my husband was on his way to pick me up.

They helped me out to the van (I could walk, was just a bit woozy) and my hubby brought me home. I had some ice cream and then slept for four hours. I think that's the best (only?!) nap I've had in years. When I woke up I was a bit sore in the mouth and still a bit numb, but by evening I was feeling almost back to normal.

Today I feel great! I had a couple of ibuprofen because I was a little sore where the shots were and my gums are a bit swollen, but overall it was an awesome experience.

I highly recommend conscious sedation for fearful dental patients. It was amazing, 4 hours of work (5 fillings, crown prep, cleaning) done with no pain, no fear, and no negative memory of anything. I hope this post and my experience might help someone who has been avoiding dental work to find a caring dentist and overcome their fear.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Yeah, Chickie, that cute little face you make when I stop you from pulling ALL of the wipes out of the container...

It's not working. Sorry.

OK, OK, it *is* working, a little bit. Stop it. And none of the sweet little pouty "uhhh!" noises, either. Not cool.