Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanksgiving & Gratitude

~This moment of gratitude is brought to you by David Della Rocco~

Do you watch cartoons? Have you ever seen that episode of American Dad where Roger has to be nice? You know, they tell him it wouldn't kill him to be nice and grateful, but it turns out that it will kill him. He has to bitch and vent to be healthy.
Ok, so I'm guessing by now you've figured out that this isn't the typical attitude of gratitude, ready for Thanksgiving post.
And, lest you think I'm wussing out already, I AM VERY grateful for the things I have. I am blessed to the stars and back, and I am grateful every day for those blessings.
But, maybe, just MAYBE, I ought to stay offline as much as possible this week. Every where I turn I see people posting/emailing/twittering/whatevering on and on and on about how grateful they are. They're grateful for their family. They're grateful for the weather. They're grateful for the shit they took this morning.
Like people in thong bikinis, they've revealed FAR too much!! Enough already!! We get it, you're happy!!
Perhaps I am a cynical and bitter person. But perhaps not.

So - in honor of this plethora of gratitude and thankfullness (that makes me only thankful for the bottle of booze in front of me) I will NOT post about our Thanksgiving. I will wish you all a happy one .. as I wish you every day a happy day.
Other than that I am going to show some fucking modesty and keep it between myself and my loved ones.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Homeschoolers Havin' Fun

~How can you resist the park on a day like this?~

~Tristan, "rock climbing" at Longwood Park~

~Brave Tristan~

~Shannon, playing with a just-met friend .. because, you KNOW what an issue socialization is with homeschooled kids!!~

~You call it goofing off, I call it learning about nature~


~Tristan showing off~

~Josie & Shannon, with Deirdre not paying attention to the camera~

~Josie, Shannon, & Deirdre, with Tristan running around off to the right there~

This is our little group of homeschoolers. There are a couple of the kids not pictured, but you get the idea. We meet every week at Longwood Park in Salem to let the kids run and play. Sometimes we even learn a little bit: lessons about playing nice with others; what's a hypocrite? .. it's what you get when you blend a hippo with a cricket!; sharing; what a female horse is called; don't eat holly berries; look, that's a ginko tree; and so on.
And, of course, there is the very substantial benefit of homeschooling parents getting to talk with each other. Getting the support that is desperately needed from a society that wants to doubt and criticize every step and action.
But, once again, how could you possibly spend a day as glorious as this INSIDE??

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Do You Have Any Tissues?

Tis the Season! Although the stores have already declared it to be the Holiday Season, the season I'm talking about is Cold Season. You know, the "there's a nasty bug going around," "you're sick too? I was sick all last week and now my kids are sick," and of course the various versions of the flu that seem to be circling that hungry vultures .. just waiting for you to collapse so they can swarm in.

So, we notice that with the start of this season comes the shopping and preparations that are similar to the Holiday Season, but just a little different. A warm-up course perhaps? hahaha

I posted on about making some Garlic Honey to help out. Honey truly is golden this time of year. And I am getting ready to order Elderberries for making syrup, another must-have for Flu Season. But .. there is something else that isn't medicinal, but is vital. Tissues.

~oh .. Earth Friendly~

Being the frugal, tree-hugging, barefoot (yes, it is not even 50 degrees out and I'm barefoot .. that's another story), crunchy kinda mama that I am, I decided that I'd had enough of store-bought tissues this year. 1)Recycled tissues just are NOT as soft as the other options. 2)Softness is KEY when you're blowing your nose repeatedly. 3)Eco-Friendly store-bought alternatives are also WAY more expensive, something that is a BIG issue. 4)I found a cool alternative.

We were cleaning out our attic for the weatherization that was going on, and I found a box of old towels. You know, those ones that just get softer and softer with age. The ones that they just don't seem to make anymore .. unless you maybe spend a small fortune on towels? Anyway, I didn't really NEED these towels though. We have our towels. So .. what to do. And .. then .. inspiration struck.

~Inspiration struck - a homemade tissue~

I got out a pair of pinking shears and began folding and cutting. This was really easy to do, and in fact I did it while sitting on the front porch of our neighbor's house, while all the kids played in the sandbox. (Since when does work like this need to be hidden away?)

The result from one old, soft towel was an empty diaper wipe container full of homemade tissues. Using the pinking shears meant I didn't have to worry about hemming the edges and fraying. I also gathered up some old baby washcloths, and toseed those in the container too. I wrote on the lid (as you can see in the top photo) what was in the wipe container - both so our kids would know and so that guests would understand.

~the finished product, ready for use~

For "what to do" with the used tissues, the answer was just as simple. I had found a package of clothespins that had a hanger top when cleaning out the attic and put one to use here, holding an old pillowcase. You can easily rig up something that would do the same job. Used tissues go in the pillowcase. When we need to wash them, they get the rare priviledge of being washed on HOT water. Most things don't really need hot water, but for obvious reasons, go with hot hear. To dry them, it would be best to line-dry in the sun. The sunlight will help kill any residual germs that might be lingering about. If not, just toss them in the dryer on a high-heat setting. You can also add some Eucalyptus essential oil to a rag and toss it in there with them for the last 5-10 minutes of drying. This will give them a nice scent as well as help kill germs. Another good essential oil for this would be Tea Tree Oil.

And, there you go. TA DA!! We have discovered handkerchiefs!! Here is a little fun history from wikipedia: A "handkerchief" or "hanky" primarily refers to a napkin made of cloth, used to dab away perspiration, clear the nostrils, or, in Victorian times, as a means of flirtation. A woman could intentionally drop a dainty square of lacy or embroidered fabric to give a favored man a chance to pick it up as an excuse to speak to her while returning it. Handkerchiefs were sometimes scented to be used like a nosegay or tussy-mussy, a way of protecting those who could afford them from the obnoxious scents in the street.

Re-using, re-purposing, re-cycling, and saving some money in the process .. does it getter better or smarter?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Looking back at October

November is well underway, so it is past time to reflect upon October. I'll get the Harvest Tally out of way first:
Eggs for October - 34!
Quite a drop in production there. The gals are going through their first molt, and so we've seen a HUGE decline in eggs. As I type this, we've yet to get ANY eggs in November.
Harvest for October - 15+ pounds. Ok, I'm being lazy here and not looking at the book.
We harvested one birdhouse gourd that weighed in at well over 7lbs, and then over 7lbs of Jerusalem Artichokes. These are native to North America though now grown all over the world. They can be quite invasive and are often called "sun chokes." Their name is a misnomer, as they are a member of the sunflower family, and not actually an artichoke. They are very tasty and can be cooked like potatoes (and are good in mashed potatoes!) ~ but, be warned, they give you gas. I've read the effect will decline the more you eat, but so far it's been a lot of windy fun around here!

~Boo, y'all!!~

Halloween is always HUGE around here. Seriously, we get over 200 kids every year! You actually do see them being dropped off by the bus-full. It is insane, but in a fun way. Since I grew up in this house, this is how I've always known Halloween and it was quite a shock to move somewhere where you were "lucky" to get 10 kids. I was happy to return.
One thing we do every year is to have a Halloween Party, always on Halloween. It started out of an invitation to friends who lived on a mountain, for them to bring their kids and trick-or-treat here .. and if you're gonna invite some people, might as well invite more and make it a party!
The dads tend to take the kids trick-or-treating, the moms hang out on the porch and hand out candy. We're lucky, our kids go spend the night with Grandma and Grandpa after they've gone through our neighborhood, so the adults get a chance to let loose. Everyone is in costume.
This year, a friend went as a Zombie and asked me if I wanted to help with her costume and do her make-up. I agreed to. She was one rockin' Zombie. I then did my make-up as well as Justin's ~ we went as a dead/corpse bride & groom. I got to wear my wedding dress again which was a lot of fun. I gotta say I think I have a knack for Halloween make-up.
This year, as I'm sure you remember, Halloween was on a Saturday. Much to our shock, we had a lot less kids than usual. Still well over 100, maybe between 150 & 175, but a noticeable amount less. I think there were a lot of churches doing stuff since it was a Saturday, so we'll wait till next year to see how things go.
The other odd thing we noticed was a lot less kids dressed up, and also kids with very little enthusiasm about it. Where did the fun go?? Where was the fun of going house to house, seeing pumpkins and people in costumes, and of course, getting candy?? Maybe these kids get too much candy on too regular a basis? Maybe imaginations have been killed by tv and video games? Maybe the commercialization of it has taken the magic out? I don't know, but it was a shame. Keeping the magic alive is vital.