Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Joy on a foggy day

Today, we are getting the rements of hurricane Fay (or tropical storm Fay or "that big ole rain from down there.") The view is completely gone. Heavy white fog slowly moves through the tree branches like oil-rainbows in the parking lots of town. And it's damp. Damp to the bone this morning. Even the toilet paper sitting near the bathroom window was damp. It immediately took my memories back to my grandparents' outhouse on "the fork." (click here to read some of Judy's memories of "the fork." )

I was wishing for a bright and cheerful fire in the fireplace this morning, but the weather is still just a tad too warm for that. Y'know those fancy fireplace candle holders that the stores sell for outrageous prices? I always thought those to be a beautiful way to cheer up your fireplace during the warmer months. But who wants to drop $50+ for a candle set-up? See? See what I did this morning?!! Oh, I just can't tell you how much it tickles me to see bright flickering flames in the middle of our living room (and it not be that the house is about to burn down.)

Remember that one of my monthly goals for August is to go through the magazine bin and pull out wanted articles (keepers) and recycle the rest of the magazines? See sidebar. Well, I've been working on that. Son needed the bin to carrying things to college so the last of the magazines are occupying the dining room table right now.

A few articles that I've pulled out have made their way to the floor this morning. I suspect the cat tried to get on the table and found the corner to be slippery with glossy pages.

So, I found a photo in one of the decorating mags (which I kept and used when trying to decide how to plan our new home and gardens) that used a clever and CHEAP alternative to get candles into your fireplace.

See? (I used the flash for this photo so that it lights it up enough to show you.) So simple. Just set some candles on a PLATE and set that on the fireplace grate. It doesn't look tacky at all. All you can see is the soft flickering glow at the top of the candles. Very clever. And I didn't even have to buy a thing. (Hey, Annette! Notice anything familar about those candles?) They are from my brother's wedding years ago. (All of my family has a hard time getting rid of things. Her mom made them. There were a lot of candles for centerpieces. These survived and I ended up scavenging them from my mother's basement.)

So, I'm finding little joys around the house this morning. I'm not even letting the weird video chair that is sitting in the middle of the living room irk me. How can I when this scene is the result?
A cat curled up in front of the fire; such a lovely sight (if you look for the loveliness and not at the weird chair or the cheap plate.)

I wish you many little joys today!

Monday, August 25, 2008

A new chapter

Daughter took this video of the drive to the dorm. You'll see me walking in the right of the screen at the end, ready to unload the van. I only got to carry a pillow! Upperclassmen were swarming - helping the freshmen move in. Son walked into his room, empty-handed because everything had been carried in already! Gotta love that.
video

After a day of picking up some last minute things, meeting his advisor, setting up his campus mailbox, and paying for the room and board on a hot and humid day, we got back to his room. He was ready for a nap! Loaded up with everything he deemed necessary for a college student. What? Momma didn't cry? Nope, those red faces are from the lack of any air-conditioning in the whole dorm! Gratefully, fall weather is just around the corner.
Nope, no tears. He has a good head on his shoulders and a good heart. I had already talked all the talks and reminded him of all the reminders. Once it was time to go, there was nothing to do but hug and say, "I love you. Call if you need us."

I kept expecting it to hit me. Several of my family members (over the years) told me to my face (and through the grapevine) that I was too involved (wanting to know where he was and what he was doing), made my kids too much of my life (homeschooling), was in their life too much (talked to them before bed at night)... therefore, I would crash when they left. Funny, there was no crash, just a feeling of peace that I knew I had done all that I could do and prepared him to the best of my human ability. Now, only prayers and his upbringing will bring him through the rest of his journey and I will cheer from the sidelines.

Say a little prayer for him as he strikes out on his own and makes new friends and has to study harder than ever before. Pray that he will hear and heed that quiet voice.

Meanwhile, back home, it is very quiet. I finished a Christmas afghan. Daughter and I are gearing up for a new homeschool year. We plan to restart art classes. We need rain. Our tomatoes are finally ripening up. I got to spend some time with my two wonderful friends, Catherine and Cat. We had a wonderful time and I look forward to more.

In the coming months, daughter will have a birthday and there will be a festival to go to nearly every weekend! Busy, busy.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Retaining wall & front porch steps

It all begins with a footer, poured and level. This retaining wall will hold back the dirt and be backfilled to redirect the ground water.
Halfway there....


Finished retaining wall, perfect for extra sitting and flower pots. Hubby did such a good job and all by himself! It's good to recruit the family to help with some projects...

(This is our niece who spent a day with us. Isn't she precious?!)
(NOTE: blogger is being ugly today so I'll put the video up asap.)

With the footer and the block lain, it's time to face the steps with rock.
Isn't he creative?! He put a red diamond pattern in the steps.
The diamond in the top step in actually inlain into the grayish rock.
It only needs a good cleaning and to be sealed now.
As you can see, he has also started putting lattice up. My Hubby can do almost anything!



Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Cloth Pads


O-kay, if you're a guy or easily blushed, then you need to stop reading here. I'm going to talk about a woman's issue. Please read this post with consideration for my privacy as you would want someone who heard the same about you. That said, I realize that this is a blog and that some people are unable to control their own tongues. Yet I feel compelled to raise this issue and it's importance.

This post is about menstrual alternatives to tampons and commercial, throw-away pads. In particular, my personal opinions and experiences.

Long term tampon use has led to my having, well basically what amounts to calluses on my cervix. I didn't know this until about three years ago when my doctor freaked out at the sight of white patches and sent me to a specialist. The specialist got her money and told me that it's not unusual and to cut back on tampon use for awhile.

HUH?

Not unusual? Why had I never heard of this? I don't want something to rub white patches on me, especially on the inside. So I switched to pads.

But, I've heard things like there are chemical additives in pads that help "wick" away moisture so you feel drier. For some women, this causes cramps. Who needs extra cramps? Not me. Plus, when you really think about it, why oh why would I want chemical additives up against my, well, you-know?

If you don't want to believe any of it, then go on with your bad self. (wink) I'm sold on cloth pads now. Organic ones at that. Oh, it felt like my birthday when I opened the mailbox. "Present time, present time, open the present and see what's inside!"

Oooo, someone wrapped their product up with care....It's from DSmomof3boys. Check out her Etsy shop. I think the camo one is cute too!
This one is my favorite after one cycle. It's an all-in-one (AIO) pad and is long enough to give you a feeling of being covered from leaks. Yet it's nearly as thin as the commercial thin pads. I LOVE this one. The following two are a sample pad and a discontinued close-out from Sckoon.
With both pads, you don't get to choose your color/pattern. I do love the pink one as it is soft and comfortable. The bright pattern isn't my style and the fabric not as soft (meant to be leak proof), but it still does the trick. But the pretty side goes against your underwear.
As you can see below, if you can hit the middle then the advantage is that you can change just the liner instead of the whole pad. And for heavy flow days you can add liners according to your need. Each pad came with one liner and I've found one to be enough. But, again, I would want a longer pad on heavy days and nights. This company has plenty of pretty fabrics and sizes so check them out.O-kay, this one is from an Etsy shop that has since disappeared from my bookmarks for some reason. I believe she had just the one though. It's made from terry cloth and flannel and came with two liners.
Here's the backside view. One liner is polka-dots like the back of the pad/holder. The other liner is a diamond pattern. I've discovered that terry cloth is not my preference. This is my "last one before laundry" pad.
The next pad is from Ambrosias Designs in Australia. It arrived later due to being from overseas so I haven't tried it yet.
I tried to keep to those made in the USA so as to support local economy but I just couldn't pass up this pretty fabric. The back side is pink flannel.

There is one more pad on order so I'll add it here when it comes in. (Here it is, plus she added in three pantyliners, maybe because it took awhile?) These are comfortable and good for light days or for young teens.


Most regular cloth pads seem to come in about 10" lengths, but I've found that I prefer the longer ones, like 12-13". This is just one advantage of buying a few before making a large purchase. If you decide to try cloth pads, shop around first. Try going to this page and browse the Etsy and Ebay shops listed. Or just go to those sites and do a search as I'm sure there are more and more shops appearing every day.

For more on menstral alternatives start with a google search or here. There are even tampon alternatives, but given my previous problem I've decided not to try them at this time.

Pads are either made to have a removeable liner or are an all-in-one (AIO) design. Try both. I thought I would only like the liner ones, but the aio's have become my preferred pads.

Also, try to get an assortment of fabrics. The benefits of finding just the right one for you are amazing and will make you wonder why you ever bought those rough paper and plastic ones from the store.

Plus, you'll have the benefit of never having to run to the store again (or calling your hubby to pick up some....blush.)

To answer the most common question, after use just put them in a bucket that you've prepared with cold water with a bit of Borax. Just set it in a corner next to the throne. I've revamped a plastic ice cream bucket with a lid for the job. When you are ready to wash (at least every other day) drain the water and dump the pads in the washer for a normal hot wash. No chlorine bleach and no fabric softener. Dry in the sunshine or on hot in the dryer without fabric softener as this could cause them to lose some of their absorbency. Every pad I ordered came with instructions/suggestions and you can find the answers to all your questions on nearly every site that is pro-alternatives.

I often think about all the women who lived before disposables. I wonder if they just used some plain rags or if they too became creative in making reusable pads. I'd like to think that given all the homemaking skills of yesteryear that they would have made some wonderful pads with very personalized fabric choices. I bet that personalized pads were actually a sign of being "well-to-do" enough to have the time for such considerations.
Remember pad belts? I bet those could've been made very pretty too. Hmmmm....
Oh boy, I can't wait to read the comments on THIS one! LOL!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The fishing is fine

On the last day of our vacation ( a couple weeks ago), we laid around the house taking is easy.

Then Hubby said, "Let's just go fishing."

Hubby headed down to the cabin and caught a Mason jar full of big, brown crickets. He loaded up the poles. He packed the cooler with drinks.

Daughter grabbed some snack cakes "just in case."

I pretended to want to go fishing instead of crochet.

We headed down to the "ole mill dam". Around here that's this place. It usually has a steady stream of fishermen and occasionally children who busy themselves with creek rocks and ducks.
Our poles fitted with crickets or red worms, we fished above the dam for a couple of hours. Just nibbles.


So they got smart and fished next to the dam. (Actually, it didn't feel smart when I thought about someone making a false move!)
But it started to pay off.

A few bass, a few bluegill, and a couple of red-eye. I saw a huge gar that was a long as my arm swimming closer to the other side, but I just admired and let him swim!








I was glad that big turtle didn't grab onto the lines. It would've pulled them right off there!


Once dusk set in, we hated to stop. It was just getting good.



One old timer pulled up in his car, fished for 30 minutes, then left. He held up his big bass and small bluegill to be admired before he tossed them into the boot like I do the groceries.

"Supper's caught," he said with a grin before he drove away.

It was a good ending to a good week.

I let the last two crickets loose.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Loved by our neighbor

On Friday afternoon, I walked through the kitchen and spotted something on the porch table. Had the UPS guy delivered something?

No, it was a brown grocery bag. What could it be? I hadn't heard anyone drive up to the house! Wait a minute! I remembered a conversation that happened between Hubby and one of our neighbors. She is 90 years old, a widow, cooks and heats her house with wood, and only has a hand pump for water. Hubby asked her if she ever makes rhubarb pie. He said he missed having one.
OH MY! I called Hubby right away. "She must've walked here! It's uphill for almost a 1/2 mile! It's the prettiest pie I've ever seen. She must have baked it in the wood oven too!"
I had never had rhubarb pie before. It's wonderful. I'd describe the taste as a mixture between tart cherry and sweet pineapple. Oh, and the crust is to die for! Hubby says he likes it best with some cheap vanilla ice cream. I don't know. I think I could just eat it like it is with plenty of milk.

I consider good neighbors and homemade pie baked with love to be big blessings, so I've linked to Marci's "Count Your Blessings Monday" for this post. You can follow the link to see what she and others are counting as blessings today.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Bunco!

Back in January of this year (2008) a wonderful friend recruited 12 women to start a Bucno game to be held once a month. I am so glad I was invited to learn this game.
We each take turns hosting which means that it's at our home or some other place we choose (like the church) and we are in charge of buying the prizes which are paid for by a donation from each player. (We give $1-$5 at each game, depending on how we feel led or what's in our purse...lol!) Each player brings some food, usually something savory or sweet and finger foods are best.
We set up three tables (4 players each) with three dice on a table. Note the bell and the rubber chicken on the table. This is "table one."
Each player rolls the dice, trying to score points by rolling the number that concides with the round we are playing. (First time, we try for 1's.) When "table one" reaches 21 points they ring the bell to stop the round.
After each round, we switch tables (point losers move to the next table and winners stay but switch partners). Table one losers move to table two and so on. Then we try to roll the next number (2's). A "Bunco" is when you roll all three of the numbers you are trying to get. This earns you 5 points.
The rubber chicken is the best part. Her name is Henrietta and she is the "Chickie." A chickie is any time during the game that you roll all three dice and get all 2's. The roller screams (and I mean screams) "CHICKIE!" and runs to grab Henrietta. Ususally we give her a good squeeze to make her scream too. Whoever still has the rubber chicken at the end of the night wins the chickie prize, so it's lots of fun to steal her away from someone else.

It sounds crazy and possibly boring, and I guess it could be if all you have is boring players. But that's not the case with us. It's fun to cut-up and laugh and eat and enjoy each other's company.


And afterwards, it's good to rest from a full night of loud and crazy fun.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Offline

Hello, Dear readers and friends.


Just a quick note to let you know that our internet card was evidently fried during a storm last week. I will be offline until ... I'm back online again! I will post then.

Love to you all!