Friday, October 31, 2008

Here's the thing

when people are sick, and you actually care, you call to see if they are okay or need anything. That is what I do.

Fry ups, fires and bellyaches

So Grayson seems to be feeling a bit better this morning, he has been drinking some tea, but hasn't eaten yet. His personality is back, and for that I am happy, the crabby crying child from yesterday was not my baby. The girls went off to school happy and content, I am hoping that they stay well through trick or treating tonight. They were so sad about not having the party tonight, so I have a few things up my sleeves to take the sting out.

The forecast says it will warm up today and be beautiful, but right now it is so chilly. Ryan just made me a gorgeous fire, and I fried up some potatoes, onions, leftover farm sausage and an egg for breakfast. Usually I don't eat in the morning, but today I really wanted a good old fashioned fry up. Now I must go grade papers, start a pot of applesauce and apple butter, maybe we will finish off the last of the apples today!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Let's just call the whole thing off

Since Gray is sick, I decided it was best to inform the RE head at church since I am supposed to help in class this week. In addition, our Halloween party, and all of the goodies I had planned, is canceled due to potentially ill kids, and I am guessing we will just skip Saturday's activities as well since we wouldn't want to share the germy wealth. So if you are looking for us, you will have to wade through the Lysol, we will be here until Monday.

Sick kid

So while busily baking cookies for the parties tomorrow, Grayson decided it was a great time to come down with the stomach flu. He has been sick for a few hours and the poor thing looks just terrible! Knowing people who have just had this, I know he will feel better tomorrow and will be able to enjoy Halloween, I just worry that the girls will get sick tomorrow :(

Bad Teacher/Good Mom

So, I decided to let my Friday class have the day off. They were only meeting with me to go over presentations, so they can send that information via email, and I can save myself the Friday traffic nightmare prior to trick or treating.

Tomorrow all three kiddos have parties. I am baking some ghost cookies for the girl's classes, and Grayson's class is getting carrots (I signed up for the healthy snack). Gray will wear his costume and the kids get to go trick or treating around the high school where the preschool is located. The teachers get so into the little one's coming and fill their sacks full, I swear I have never seen one small child with so much candy!

As is tradition, we will have a themed dinner tomorrow and the Fallon kids will come and eat with us, then go trick or treating. I also have saved a movie for them for after they truck through the neighborhood.

Tonight I have some grading, posts and a call to make, but then I will get some down time.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Falling behind

The last few weeks have been overwhelming, and I feel like I just keep falling further behind. I still have three to four batches of apples to dry and the house needs a good going over. There is plenty of clean laundry, but none is folded or put away. I have been working to get the basics done each day, dishes, vacuuming, laundry, gathering up the general mess, cooking, work and errands, but there is so much that is looming and it is making me very overwhelmed. Living in a house that is disorganized is frustrating for me, and while I KNOW what I need to do, I just never seem to have enough time when the basics are done. Right now I am halfway through grading for FT school, and I need to finish today. I am still not feeling well, not that anyone at my home would care to notice, and I still have to cook dinner and go to PT school tonight. Tomorrow doesn't appear to be any better, since I need to bake cookies for the girls parties on Friday and wrangle something up for Grayson's party. I need to layout Halloween costumes since I work Friday afternoon and won't be home until dinnertime, and I must fold the kid's clothes at least. I am waiting for the guy to come put in the water heater and I must get on a call at three, so when am I supposed to get it all done? If I could, I would get another five hours in the day, and maybe I could get on top of this heap. Did I mention that the curtain rod in the family room is falling down and I need to go get a replacement and paint for this room?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The day just gets yuckier

So, the new water heater is ordered and will hopefully be installed in the next few days. Thankfully the old one works, it is just leaking, so we can still be clean. Ryan's dad is in a bad way as well, he lost a big client and isn't going to pay alimony, to his mom who has no job and is facing foreclosure. Sounds like fun huh. So we, the only remotely stable people, have been trying to figure out what to do. We have asked her to come live here, and while that may seem like fun to some people, lets just say my MIL and I are polar opposites. She never has a plan (evidence for my life here), is erratic, a blamer, doesn't own her choices and mistakes and is very, very critical and passive aggressive. Visits with her can be tough and I bite my tongue a lot, but if she lives here it will have to be different. This world we have built is strong, stable and grounded for the kid's. They know who their parents are, our beliefs and our goals. While we always knew she would end up with us someday, I was hoping it would be after we moved and bought a house with an apartment or inlaw suite. I am very stressed about what is to come, and it is taking its toll. I am feeling very sick, I think I have a fever working and I just want to go to bed. As I am a mom, I am supervising homework and making dinner in spite of my yuckiness.

Another note on home ownership

When you own a forty year old house, and it needs a repair, it is just a mess. Needless to say, we have one quote for 1400 and one for 600 but we aren't even sure a new water heater will fit in the space of the old one! Apparently codes have changed, and we need an expansion kit, so who knows what that means.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Joys of Home Ownership

So as the kids were getting out of the bath, I was in the laundry room and noticed that there was water dripping in. Called Ryan down and we saw that the pipe was dripping. While looking at the pipe, we noticed water on the other side of the room, seems the water heater decided to spring a leak too. So tomorrow the plumber comes and I am guess we will be getting a new water heater. Lets just hope that the whole thing doesn't decide to bust a leak tonight and flood the house, that would be unbearable! Again, like the tires, I am taking it as a blessing that we can actually afford the repairs, a few months ago this would have pushed me into a stress overload, but so far I am ok, as long as there is no flood in the morning.

There is a chance of SNOW???

Holy schmoly! I just looked at the forecast and on Wednesday they are calling for rain/snow showers in the morning. Now I know it has been cold, and I have been enjoying it, but we live in Virginia and it barely ever snows at all, and never before December! I would love if we had a white winter, we desperately miss snow, but come on, it is October.

Mondays keep me hopping!

This morning the crew and I made it out the door with no real hiccups. Britt had her field trip and it is very chilly, so I am hoping they went and she stayed warm! Tomorrow Haven and Grayson each have field trips.

After dropping Gray at school, I ran home and did some work, then back out the door at 10:30 to get the CSA which is in the opposite direction of preschool. Got the CSA bag (we will eat well this week!) and headed off to preschool. Grabbed Gray and Maggie, ran to the grocery store to get juiceboxes and bread, no canteens on trips :( The kids were really good at the store and even helped me scan some of the stuff we were getting. The I ran home, fed the littles some lunch, made a fire, finished my work, sliced some apples to dry and vacuumed the lower level. Now I can relax for a bit, enjoy the warm fire and do a little web surfing. Tonight, as requested by my smallest child, we will be having tacos and spanish rice.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

CVS is my friend

All I can say is, my stuff ran up at over 130 dollars, and I paid $6. Yes SIX DOLLARS. Bwhahahhahaha!

Church and graniola

We thankfully made it to church today, no sick kids, no flat tires! They held a pagan ceremony, it was really interesting and I enjoyed the message it sent. Grayson's class is using Dr. Seuss to learn morals, today he came home with a quote from Horten Hears a Who in a bug plastic egg, it was really fun to see how they have worked the message of giving your word into something a four year old understands. Brittan's class focused on the changes in nature and the symbols of harvest, and Haven's class focused on the ceremony of the chalice and using creative listening.

After church we headed over to the new Lowes to use our coupon and buy a new inflatable for Christmas. My husband for years resisted the blow ups, and we always decorated the house very classically, white lights, wreathes, etc. Last year Grayson was so sick and all he wanted was the blow up Santa in an airplane, so we got it and placed in an area in front of the garage. It looked a little bare, so we added a train, a blow up snow man and lights. I managed to keep everything to the one area, and the rest of the house still had the classic decorations, so hubby was OK. Well, now we have the big polar bear and he will be over by our big tree in front of the house. He's holding a wreath, do you think that will help? I figure the kids are only little once, and they get so excited every night when we turn the lights and decorations on. So come on Thanksgiving, I am ready to decorate!

After Lowes, we headed home, I made the kids stromboli with the cheese I made yesterday and I have a batch of apple raisin granola in the oven. I must run out to the store tonight, all three kids have field trips this week, so I need drinks and paper bags.

Off to stir the granola.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Families are stressful

We have been dealing with some issues with my mother in law for a few months now, and have been trying to convince her to come and live with us. A few weeks ago we found out that my father in law lost a bunch of important clients (he owns his own company) and that he may not be able to pay his alimony. Mother in law is unemployed now, and owns two house, one that was just rented out and the one she lives in. My husband's brother just called to tell us that she may be losing that house, which was our biggest fear. We had been trying to get her moved out for months so we could go in, pack the house and rent it out, covering most if not all of the mortgage. Now it is a crisis and we need to figure out what to do, because if she keeps sitting there, all of her stuff will be on the curb.

Fire and Cheese....

So the first fire of the season is going and I am very excited! The ONLY reason I let Ryan have his way and get this house was because of the fireplace. Now I have fallen in love with lots of things in this house, although I could do without others, but that is another post.

I also made cheese for the first time today and it was so easy! We have had an abundance of milk, so I needed to get rid of some extra. I made mozzarella today and it took less than a half hour from start to finish. The process was very easy, and I have enough supplies (excluding milk) to make at minimum of 30 more batches. I also ordered yogurt cultures that are sitting in my freezer, so now I have something I can do when I have too much milk :)

As anyone who knows me or reads here knows, all I want in land and animals. The economy being in the toilet is not helping me make that dream come true, but I know it will happen someday. I am trying to hone my skills now so that I will be ready for the farm when we get there. As I plan to grow lots of our food, as well as raise animals both as pets and food sources, it is important to practice skills now. Here is to hoping the economy will rebound in two years when I am done with school!

Dressing Three Kids

We are a fortunate family in that we get loads of hand me downs that are in awesome shape from my niece, nephew and Declan. The kids always have too many clothes, especially since their mama splurges on some cool duds for them. Not having to buy all their clothes allows me the luxury of picking and choosing what I do buy for them, and it makes it so much more affordable.

When my girls were little, before the little guy came along, I used to get their Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter outfits at this gorgeous little boutique. My favorite outfits were from the year Brittan was born. Haven had a tapestry swing top with pants covered in tiny little cream colored pom poms. Britt had a dress in the same tapestry pattern and a proper bum cover to match Havey's pants. They were so precious in those outfits, but they set me back a pretty penny! Since adding a boy into the mix, we have become creative in holiday outfit choosing, and I have been pleasantly surprised each year when I find something I love, that is a good deal (well for dressing three kids).

Last year the kids wore Hanna Anderson for Christmas, and I loved the outfits, full of snowflakes and rich reds. This year we have chosen Gymboree for Christmas, and they will be wearing matching outfits with plaids and Scottie dogs. Haven, who is ant-dress a lot of the time, is wearing a plaid skirt, cream sweater with a Scottie dog on it, Scottie dog knee highs, hair ties and a matching bracelet. Brittan is wearing the Scottie Dog dress with matching tights and beret and will carry her Scottie dog purse. Grayson has a plaid button down, red sweater vest and argyle socks which will be paired with black cords. Thanks to super sweet Emily who had Gym Bucks to share, the kids will be decked out with all the accessories for $40 per kid!

Since Christmas was taken care of, I then decided to focus on Thanksgiving. Last year I put the girls in brown corduroy knickers, with cream sweaters, tights and brown ballet flats (trust me, it was so cute.) Gray had a sweater to match and they were all quite adorable. We are unsure of where we will be on Thanksgiving, but that doesn't mean the kids don't need to look spiffy. I love using fall colors for Thanksgiving, and was so happy to find brown sweater dresses at Old Navy for the girls, on sale for only $10 each!!! I then purchased each girl a pair of patterned leg warmers to match, and hoorah, two kids dressed for under $50 bucks! Grayson already has a brand new pair of brown cords, so I am on the lookout for a sweater that will work with the girl's outfits, I love him in orange or rich golds, so maybe something will show up soon. Maybe I can dress all three for only $25 per kid.

So while non-parents can not understand the desire to have your children dressed up and looking snazzy for the holidays, and just how expensive it can be, parents know that this is quite the feat!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Settling in

It has been chilly and I can tell winter is around the corner, so we have been settling into the new routine. Today we had a cord of wood delivered, depending on the winter, we will use at least a full cord, sometimes two. We also had a family night, ordered pizza as I got home late from work, and we all watched a movie. Ryan loaded some wood into the garage since it is supposed to rain tonight, and we tarped the rest to be stacked after the rain has passed. Britt is supposed to have a soccer game, but if it rains, it will be canceled, and I have to say I won't be disappointed.

Tomorrow morning I am hoping to cook up some of the sausage I got from the farm to have with yummy pancakes and apples. I also got my cheese and yogurt making supplies, so I can make some fresh mozzarella tomorrow as well. If it is chilly and we have a fire, I will use the whey to make some delicious bread. Should be a cozy day.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Its chilly

It has been a busy day lots of little things were accomplished, and I never left the house!

I know I cleaned the house up, rehung the curtains, did some laundry, dried two batches of apples, played with Grayson, argued with husband, did lots of dishes, worked, did schoolwork and made dinner. I have done all I can for the day, and being Thursday, I am making some tea and settling in for some tv time....under my warmest, snuggliest blanket.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Grading, yucko!

The classes I am teaching this term are a BEAR to grade. I am sitting here at PT school giving an exam and trying to grade.

Double yucko!

Today is overwhelming

So, it has been a bang up day. Gray decided he didn't want to go to school, and his mama allowed him to skip just this once. We grabbed Em and ran a million errands, then came home to find Ryan just getting home from work at almost 1 pm! He decided he was just staying up today, which means he will be a total grouch tomorrow, and helped me bring stuff inside. Then I decided I would quickly run out, make copies for tonights class and get the hangers to fix my curtain. Ran to Lowes and while there, husband called to tell me that the dog got out and some nice lady two blocks over had her. He then needed to wake Gray up, and go get Rosie, then he promptly tied the gate shut! After Lowes, I ran to see my favorite chiropractor, and I must have looked crappy since he offered a, not a huggy person. Then leaving Dr. Tom's, husband called that Gray was screaming for milk and we were out of rice milk. I swore we had more (we did), but said I would stop and get some. Then stopped at Staples and quickly made copies, then to Bloom to get a few things. Got lots of rice milk, the shrimp they had on sale buy 1 get TWO free, some brie and crackers and grapes. Went to check out and the stupid thing wouldn't take off my free shrimp (24 bucks worth!) So I had to go back, get different shrimp, then come back and rering! Then home to do dishes, clean the kitchen, do some work, vacuum the house and help the girls with homework. In an hour, I will get in the car, and go to campus. My class has an exam, so I will be grading during that time. See...overwhelming.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Just makes me smile

I promise, last post of the day!

So I was a but annoyed when I came upstairs to head to bed. I had just cleaned the bathroom and it was messy, and my room is messy and even though I know that Thursday I was planning on cleaning these rooms, I was annoyed. Then I took my shower and went to climb into bed and was greeted by this........

I can't be annoyed when I see all that sweetness.


See what happens with a whole day at home, lots of posts!

The apple butter is about to go into the canner, which is great because my newest way to abuse apples came today, MY DEHYDRATOR! I won't be able to play with it tomorrow, but come Thursday, apples will be sliced and drying. This should be the end of my canning, I am sure you are all thankful :)

So, to keep with the apple theme we have had the last few weeks, I brought it into dinner. Tonight we are having a roast chicken with homemade stuffing (there are water chesnuts in there, mmmmmm), some of the apple pie filling recreated as warm, fried apples, a great big salad featuring the last of our tomatoes, CSA lettuce and of course apples, and some biscuits. I never did make the apple pie, oh well.

I will be happy to see the canner and supplies move back into the pantry room, they have taken up space in my kitchen long enough. The dehydrator, well, it is new and can sit on the island for a few days cranking out dried apples to be used in salads and muffins and homemade granola. We are ready for winter, bring it on!

Christmas Jammies

So, there was a deal at American Girl, and I was planning to order my girls the Christmas PJs for them and their dolls, and even with the deal, it was over 100 bucks!

In looking for choices for Grayson, I found PJs that had snow globes on them, in white and blue for Gray, in pink for Haven and in purple for Brittan (the girls are often color coded Haven=pink, Brittan=purple). I was able to get them all PJs, plus matching slippers and a pair of sneakers for Britt and one for Gray for under 100 bucks, now that is a good deal :)

Apple Pie Filling...

is much harder to can than one would think. I made the syrup, heated the jars and sliced the apples. The first jar I packed the apple slices and tried to add the syrup, but it was too thick and wouldn't drip down. I fixed that one and put aside. Then for the next jar, I added some apple, then some syrup, and so on. This worked pretty well, but I still had some pockets at the bottom without syrup. For the last two, I added syrup THEN apples and layered. Whew, it worked. This has been the hardest canning option yet, the syrup makes quite a mess and can be difficult to work with, I will have to rethink my plan. Right now four quarts are in the canner and will be ready in about 20 mins, then I will cut more apples and make as many pints as the syrup will give, I am guessing 4-6.

The apple butter will cook all day in the crockpot, it was the applesauce I made yesterday and will be canned in jelly jars. After I finish the apple pie filling, I will do another batch of applesauce, we eat it by the jarful so we can never have too much!

Off to can!

A day at home

We got up about 15 mins late, but everyone still made it out the door. By 9 am, I had packed two lunches and sent two girls to school, made the kids breakfast, started the apple butter, did the dishes, vacuumed the lower level and dusted the family room. I still need to go get the apple pie filling made and mop the kitchen. At least the house smells yummy!

Monday, October 20, 2008

We may be old, but some of us are still hot

OK, so back in the day when I was a youngin' I thought Balthazar Getty was totally hot in Lord of the Flies. Nothing creepy here, we are the same age so it was an age appropriate crush. Fast forward about 18 years and I am happy to say that he is still hot, even with the gray around the temple, better yet, with the glorious, we are proud to be 33 gray around the temple. So nice to look at and still age appropriate ;)

A quiet day

Fall has set in, the air is crisp and the leaves crunchy! I have finished all of my work for tonight and am indulging in a little me time. Tomorrow Gray and I will hang around the house, a much needed home day. I will do some canning, cleaning and laundry, he will play and hopefully nap. I cannot wait to get a quiet day off. Now I need to go order the wood for the fireplace!

It has been quite a day!

So, got the sleepy kids up today, made them some eggs and toast and packed lunches. I was sure we were off to a great start, until I let the dog out and she ran off! Fifteen minutes later, which is a lifetime when you only have an hour to get three kids out the door to school, and Rosie was back. Off to school, dropped the girls and Gray, came home and finished some work, did dishes and straightened. Ran to CVS then to the CSA then to get Grayson. Emily and I decided to take the kids to lunch, BIG MISTAKE, they were awful. Then Gray and I came home, I sent him to bed where he is now sleeping, then things got hairy. One of the cats has had a stomach thing, so he threw up all over, then I went to fix the curtain in the Dining Room and the whole thing fell down and splintered the molding! That will be a husband task. Then I was slicing apples for yet more applesauce, and I cut the heck out of my finger. I was thinking stitches were in order, but finally the bleeding stopped, I slapped on a band aid, then finished slicing apples. I still need to finish the applesauce, it will be canned tomorrow, I need to switch laundry, make dinner, help the girls with homework, take Britt to soccer and write a paper. Argh! At least i can stay home all day tomorrow!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Not as planned

So, on our way to church, we got a flat tire, rear passenger side (this will be important) Ryan came up and changed the tire, which is a huge pain on a Trailblazer! I froze standing on the side of the road.

I decided to cut my losses, and head to Emily's so I could do my shopping run. Come inside to drop off kids, head back out, and flat tire. This time it is front driver side!!! Call husband as I am now stuck with no spare. He tells me to use roadside assistance b/c he is tired. Get through fighting with them, arrange a tow truck and wait. Truck got here fast, dropped the car off at the tire shop, and am still waiting at Em's for it to get done. Then I need to go get the car, go home, finish making dinner, switch laundry and go out to the store tonight after husband gets up. Not the plan I had.

Pre church

So, we are getting ready to leave for church, today I will be helping out in Gray's class, and he is not thrilled :(

After church, I will see how Em is feeling, then if OK, I will drop my three off with her husband and their three, and we will hit the grocery store.

Dinner is already in the crockpot, pork ribs with apples, and my very tired husband was kind enough to stop at the other grocery store to buy 4 bottles of ketchup and two newspapers. Does he think I am crazy, yep, will he appreciate those ketchups when we are out and the kids want some, yes!

When we get home, I will be canning even more apples. I also finally ordered a dehydrator, so that will be put to use this week as well. I have a bunch of end of season tomatoes that must be peeled and frozen as well, and I should make an apple pie for dessert.

OK, off to get dressed, do the girls hair and print my master list for the store. Hopefully it will be a good day!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Back home

We made it down and back with only a minor snag, if you can call two hours trying to get through a tunnel to the graduation ceremony minor! Poor Em, all that hard work and she missed the ceremony, she was a trooper, but I am sure she is disappointed. I hummed Pomp and Circumstance a few times, but it wasn't the same :)

The past few days I have been starving, which was a surprise since I was feeling yucky since I was sick last week. Then tonight, my yucky stomach feeling is back, so I am drinking tea and heading to bed early. Tomorrow we will head to church, and if Em feels up to it, we will hit the store.

Caps and Gowns

So Emily, her girls, my kids and I loaded up last night and headed to Hampton Virginia for Emily's graduation! The hotel is beautiful, and the ride was painless, although Em may claim otherwise since I waited a long time to stop for her to pee!

This morning we had a delicious breakfast and are heading over to graduation, then off to lunch in an old church, then homeward bound. It will be a whirlwind 24 hours, but so worth it to share in this special day with Emily and her crew!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Everyone do the can can!

I am still in apple canning mode. So far, we have 7 pints of applesauce, 3 quarts of applesauce and 9 pints of sliced apples. Here is just some of the fruits (haha) of our labor...

And these are the apples I still have to do!


So I have been slacking a bit on blogging, but we are super busy! Today Ryan and I have our meeting at Haven's school to discuss her health and learning issues. Then I need to come home and process more apples, I fear we may never get to the end! Then Haven has riding, I have a call, plus dinner and cleaning and packing. Tomorrow after I get home from work, Emily, her girls and my kids will load up to drive south. We will be going to see Em graduate!!!! After staying overnight, seeing the graduation and eating lunch, we will head back home Saturday evening. I have to say, I am looking forward to next week when we don't have anywhere to be, but I wouldn't miss Em's big day for anything :)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


One soccer game, lots of experiences with people. One women seemed annoyed at how I choose to live my life, that I can, cook from scratch, go to the farm. In addition, she questioned whether or not I could do all I do if I had another child. All I could think was, well this women obviously doesn't know me and has some kind of guilt or concerns about how she runs her own life. I have said this before, I really know that how I choose to live is not "normal" and that I need to be more active and busier than most people would prefer. I hate having downtime, and I really struggle and get anxious when I don't have something to do, this is why I do all of the things I do, it helps me stay calm. I DO NOT think that the way I live is the best way, in fact, I think it is probably pretty unhealthy given that I am often stressed and overwhelmed. I do this because I am crazy and have horrible OCD and anxiety issues. I repeat, I AM CRAZY!!!!

It is so odd to me that people react the way they do. I can almost see their minds ticking away, running through what I do, what they do and seeing if they measure up in their own minds. Then they are weird or make jokes or say nasty things to me, and all the while I am thinking that they should be happy they can probably sit still and watch a movie! Why do people care what I do, and why do they feel I judge them (and I don't Emily, sometimes I don't understand when people say they don't have time, but I don't think less of people who don't do the same things)

The other experience at the soccer game was with a mother who feels her kid does not wrong, except her kid is a bully. He has done a number of things to kids on our team including my daughter, as well as siblings. To me, he is a spoiled and undisciplined child, and while I can agree that this women has every right to parent as she sees fit, my kid and the kids on the soccer field shouldn't be paying the price for her parenting choices. I just never understood the "My kid is a perfect little angel" syndrome. I learned that my kids were neither perfect nor angels well before they were two, because, lets face it, they are KIDS! Kids take advantage if they can, they push limits, the act out, they are impulsive, and they behave the way they are taught. No discipline=no self control. Oh well, not my kid, but the sad part is, I bet he is just looking for attention.


I have always been one who enjoyed a schedule, not that we couldn't be flexible, but we had goals each day. Lately I just cannot get it together, and I think part of the problem is that chalkboard i used to use for daily chores has been down since we redid our kitchen. I will be ordering a new chalkboard today!

We have been very busy, and as a result, everything else has been pushed to the side. Today I was planning to stay home all day and clean, but Haven is out of her epilepsy meds, so I need to go get them filled, and then Britt has a soccer game tonight and I have to bring snack.

So Gray and I will head out in a bit to get the script filled and grab some drinks for soccer. Since we will be out, Gray and I will go grab lunch, then home where I am hoping he will nap. Then I will work, clean, cook dinner and help with homework when the girls get home. Britt's game is at 5:30, so we will head to that, then pick up Haven's meds, then home for bedtime!

Tomorrow is more running around, I have my call, then will meet Em to get Gray, then to the farm, a quick stop at Gymboree to make an exchange on Christmas outfits and then home to make dinner and go teach! Busy busy!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Wiped out

So, after being sick last week, then running around with the family on Friday and Saturday, I am feeling a bit yucky again. I did manage to get the CSA, vacuum the house, do the dishes (I am about to do them again!), make the applesauce, get some work done and cook dinner. The family only got an easy dinner tonight, I was getting too tired, so it was pierogies and keilbasi. Ryan just got the canning pot down for me, so I am going to go get the water going so I can can up the applesauce. I also fear I am almost out of jars, so tomorrow I will need to run to the store to see if they have any of the big jars left, if not, I will get more lids for the small, empty jars I do have on hand.

I also must work on a paper tonight, although I am pretty sure I won't get too far. The girls go back to school tomorrow and I have a ton to get accomplished, as always!

Canning Day #1

Oh my, so we really have apples coming out our ears! Here is a picture of the 2 1/2 bushels we picked on Saturday (minus about 15 apples that were eaten).....then mentally add to it the five pounds we got today from the CSA!!!

The apples we picked are HUGE, bigger than my fist, and the trees were filled with them. I guess it pays to go pick up in apple country, and we will head back next year to this orchard, they were fantastic and cheap. Each 1/2 bushel was 12 bucks, and they each weigh around 25 pounds, 30 if you are like us and overfill the bags!

Last night we enjoyed fried apple pies, right now my biggest stockpot is filled to the brim with diced apples to become applesauce. Later today, the applesauce will be canned up to be enjoyed all winter. Tomorrow I am hoping to get the apple pie filling made and canned, then Thursday will be the diced apples.

My kids are so excited, they love anything apple, so having a pantry full of apple goodness makes them happy.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


So hubby and I were talking on the ride yesterday about how lonely it feels for me sometimes. It is hard to explain, but when you work online, and your school is online and the only time you see people is when you teach and are the authority, it can get lonely. I find that most people don't understand what my world is like, and in no way do I fault them for it, but it can be hard to relate to others sometimes. I wish I knew someone else who was getting their doctorate and was a mom or 33 so we could compare battle stories. This path is unique, and it can be difficult to explain to people who are very close to you, just how alone one can feel. I joked with Ryan that I was going to go and take an onground class for no credit, just to meet others who are doing this. He said go for it, but I need to figure out when I have the time. Oh well, pity party over, and by the way, I do really, really appreciate those who do put up with me, my crazy life and all that goes with it, I know you all try to be as understanding as possible and I love you for it!


So, after crashing late last night, we were up at dawn and back on the road by 9:30! We made it up to my sister's area around 11:30, picked apples for an hour, threw food at the kids, changed their clothes and ran to see my niece dance in Beauty and the Beast. The kids were great, and Jessie did fantastic. She is such a great kid, and I always love to see her, she is full of chatter and hugs, and she and Haven always love hanging out together. I wish we lived closer so they could see each other more. Matthew is always a bit of an odd duck, but he and Grayson and Brittan had each other in stitches and they were being a goofy bunch hanging together. My poor sister and brother in law, their kids are always so quiet and calm, then when we come, chaos and noise! All in all we had a great day, we are exhausted and I have 125lbs of apples to deal with. Tomorrow morning we will head to church, then home to make the first batch of applesauce. The kids are begging for apple pie, so I am guessing one of those will need to be whipped up as well :)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Howlin' good fun!

We took the kids down to Busch Gardens today, and it will probably be the last trip this season. We rode a bunch of rides, saw one full show and a half of another and took the pumpkin express train ride. All in all, it was a really fun afternoon and evening, and the kids are wiped out!

Prior to our Howl O'Scream fun, Grayson and I went to the allergist to see what was causing his hives. Well, he is now MORE allergic to pollen, dust mites, mold, and all sorts of growing things. He is also pretty severely allergic to cats, milk and soy and there was a small positive to peanut as well. Whoopee!

This means we need to go back on a color coded food system in the house. We are tree nut free for Haven, but milk and soy are harder as they are in everything. We will be cutting out straight milk, and limiting foods that contain milk and soy as well. Limited yogurt and cheese are okay and may actually help. One peanut exposure per week, just to see what develops, and we head back in six weeks to see how things are going. With his asthma issues, the cats are a concern, we will try to treat with allergy meds, but they may be moving out. We are taking this in stride, hell we can handle food allergies. The doctor did tell me that this means even more food from scratch and local foods, and that if his allergies keep getting worse, we will need to run bloodwork. Just another day, and onward to tomorrow!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

I love Thursdays

We have had a pretty good day here at home. I got lots of cleaning and straightening done, some laundry was folded, kids played with friends, and we ate a nice dinner together. I have my weekly call in just a bit with faculty, and while I love talking with them and finding out how things are going, I hate that it interrupts the ONLY night I keep free for television. I am a Thursday night TV junkie. I love it all, and when the call is done, I will sit here and laugh myself silly!

Tomorrow we are planning to take the kids down to Busch Gardens, if the weather and every one's health holds up. Grayson has to see the allergist in morning, and the girls get out early from school, so it is the perfect day to go. Saturday we are heading up to my sister's early to pick apples and then watch my niece dance in a show. Sunday we have church, and then I will have to start prepping all of the apples from the day before. I would expect that Sunday will yield many jars of applesauce and applepie filling. What a nice fall weekend!

Sleep sleep sleep

So, I went to bed last night, loaded on Advil PM and ready to pass out until 7:30. Well, that didn't work out. Between midnight and 4 am, husband kept snoring and waking me up. At 4:30 Haven was up coughing, she has a cold and can't take anything for her nose and cough, so she was up awhile. Then Gray was up at 5 am covered in hives again! I gave Gray meds for the hives, and made a mental note to call the allergist today, Haven fell back to sleep and I came downstairs. It is now ten to six and I have been up most the of the night. So, what do I do in these early morning hours? Well, I poke around online, check in with work and blog of course! In a few minutes I will start breakfast for the kids, so they can eat something hot, then I will vacuum, switch laundry and straighten up, all before they come downstairs. Then somewhere around 10 am, I will pass out on the couch for an hour :)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Realistic views

So, in the course I teach, we have a few classes that I call aha moment days. One is the "Day of Doom", which, well, I don't want to talk about right now, being all doom and all!

The other is the, "Hey, guess how much money you REALLY will make" We had that class today, and I have to say it went over better than expected, no tears, no temper tantrums, just acceptance. Interestingly enough, the two statistics that got attention today were: That woman in a two partner heterosexual relationship make 80% of travel decisions, and that woman who label themselves as liberal in their youth (teens/twenties) label themselves conservative later in life (30's+) by as much as 50%. Funny what spooks people ;)

On the mend

So I went to be around 8 pm last night and slept all night. I felt better and was able to make all the lunches, get the girls and Gray dropped off. Came home, did the dishes and worked, and in a few minutes I will head out to grab Gray and Maggie and run to the farm. As long as I stay on the tylenol, the fever is under control and I can function. I have to teach tonight, and as long as I can make it through that, I will be a-ok!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

OK, I am so over this

So basically I have spent the entire day laying on the couch freezing and shaking. My head is pounding and no amount of medicine is helping. I am about to go up to bed since I feel so crappy, even though I just woke up. I think I have slept most of the day on and off, which is not like me. I hope I feel better in the morning, or I may need to cancel class!

Still yucko

OK, so it got worse, not better. Broke down and took half a stomach pill, then promptly passed out on the couch (husband was home, so kiddo #3 was safe). When I woke up, I was still bitterly cold, so Ryan made me some tea and finally headed up to bed. I took two tylenol, just in case I was getting a fever, and then hauled my freezing self up to finish those pumpkin muffins. Earlier today I began the treats, but we were out of baking powder, so hubby brought some home. Now the muffins are baking, the oven is making the house warmer, I just drank some chicken soup and finally feel a little better. Soon I have to finish the dishes, I really cannot stand dirty dishes in the sink, and then I need to start dinner. Oh, and so you don't think I slack because I am sick, I have vacuumed the house, blanched the broccoli and beans, and packed them for freezing. I also checked in at work. No slacking, no matter what!


So I was so excited about a day at home with nothing to do, and I woke up with a very sick tummy. Now I have a pill I can take to settle my stomach, but it will make me very tired, and since I could pass out right now, more tired is not a choice. So I guess I will forgo the coffee and opt for some soda over ice. Then maybe I will make an english muffin or some toast. Then I will tackle the dishes, laundry and make those muffins. Hell an upset tummy doesn't mean the world ends!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Looking ahead

So, I copped out on dinner tonight, we were supposed to have Lemon Chicken, but I just ran out of time and energy! Britt and Gray had leftover Spaghetti and Meatballs, Haven happily ate leftover pulled pork and coleslaw, so at least they got a hearty dinner. Tomorrow I can stay home ALL DAY!!! I promised the kids pumpkin muffins since I just processed two big pumpkins, so I will bake those, two loaves of bread and make that Lemon Chicken. I am so excited that it will be a brisk fall day full of baking and snuggling on the couch! Em and I even planned ahead and brought our favorite soup home so we can indulge our addiction!

The fall CSA hauls have been really nice (that is where the two pumpkins came from). Today we received a butternut squash, which was peeled, seeded, cubed and frozen. My kids love roasted butternut squash, and I love butternut squash soup, so as much as I can pack in the freezer, the better! We also got some small, but decent tomatoes, ours here at home are dwindling as well, two huge bunches of broccoli, some bok choy, purple beans and some arugula. The arugula will become part of tomorrow nights dinner, the broccoli will be cleaned, blanched and frozen for future meals, soups, etc. The purple beans will also be cleaned, blanched and frozen for dinners.

I am off to finish my paper so I can do the dishes. Then I will roast a few batches of coffee beans to get ready for my baking day tomorrow. Gotta love fall!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The long days

Some days go by quickly, and others seem to drag. I feel like I have had almost no down time the last few months, and it is getting to me. Today, the girls and I ran some errands after Ryan got home, then I made lunch, started dinner and did some grading. I still have 17 more exams to grade, plus a paper I need to write tonight. Dinner is cooking, thankfully, and we are having spaghetti and meatballs. The sauce is homemade and so are the meatballs, and I will make bread and salad to go along with everything. The dishes need to be done, I need to switch laundry and I MUST look at the paper I need to write! I need a slow day!

Best laid plans

So, we bathed the kids and laid out clothes last night to be ready for church. We got up, I showered, kids got dressed and ate breakfast. We were well on our way to getting out the door on time so we could all make it to church, and then, it happened. Let's just leave it at Grayson's tummy must be very upset and I had to throw out his underwear and pants-yuck. So now we cannot go to church, because I cannot have him sharing his germs or messing pants there. I can't get my errands done, and will have to do them in the morning, and the whole tribe is sad that they missed church school. I guess I can get some housework and grading done instead.

Friday, October 3, 2008


The economy, it is on all of our minds, and for those of us in our early to mid thirties, we have just hit stride in our lives, and are facing tough times. As a mom to three small kids, the news on the economy frightens me. We have been through layoffs in the tech bust, and it was horrible, but at that time we weren't making as much money, so it was easier to make the money up. Thankfully, my jobs are pretty secure, and husband's company is still understaffed, so we think we will be OK.

Waiting out the next 2-5 years will be rough, we know that everything will become even more expensive than what they are now. There will not be any opportunity to get extra credit, not that we want it anyway! I know what we are looking at, and some may even say I can be a pessimist or an alarmist, but I think I am prepared. We have found a way to store food and keep working on new ways to grow on our land. The big garden will be expanded next spring, and Ryan is going to set up the side of the yard by the driveway to grow additional food (we get the best sun there) I am in the market for tree nets to prevent the wildlife from stealing my pears next year, the berry patch should be up and running as it will be on it's second year, and we have located a network of local producers as a means of getting fresh food. I am shopping for a generator, especially since our freezer contains almost all of our food stores aside from the canned goods, I must find a pressure canner and learn to master it, and Ryan and I agreed to buy a water purifier just in case fresh water ever becomes an issue. I still need to build the chicken coop.

Maybe I am extreme, but even the thought of my kids going hungry makes me sick. I never want to fear for survival, and we both have boned up on some skills that would be needed to sustain food and water for the kids.

Cruising through town

Where we live now is not where my husband and I grew up, far from it. Today, while driving home from dropping Gray off at preschool, I realized that this is the town that my children will remember as their hometown. My girls were 3 and 1 when we moved to this house, and Grayson was born here, so the landmarks, roads, stores, etc are all they know as their town. It is interesting to think of how they will reflect back, especially when I think back to my hometown and how it was when I was a kid. While I complain about our house, and lack of suitable land, I may never be able to pry us away from this town we call home. I will, however, be able to pull away from this house and buy more land :)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The unplanned

So, today was not the best day. I am crabby, husband is being jerky and kids are being rotten. Oh well, happens to the best of us!

I had dinner all made, coleslaw was chilling in the fridge, pulled pork was cooking in the crock and we had a plan...until Em called to see if we wanted to go to dinner. Well of course we did, it was Declan's birthday after all! We went, the kids were awful, I was still mad at husband even after the Mug'orita and home we came to put them to bed.

Dinner is now all set for tomorrow, which is a surprise bonus since I have to teach :) I have a bit of a headache from the frozen beverage I had, but I am about to make some coffee, take two tylenol and grade some papers. I am also anxiously awaiting 9pm to watch the debate.

What's cookin?

It is a breezy, chilly, rare fall day here in Virginia, and I am loving it! I have some housework and a bit of grading to do, but mostly I plan to laze about and enjoy this beautiful day. Emily and I also must choose where we will be going the week between Christmas and New Years. Originally we were looking to rent a house in the OBX, but now we may be looking at Vermont and Maine as choices. How nice it will be to look outside and see snow and just snuggle up with a good book!

Husband, on the other hand, is taking a morning nap(!) and then getting up to clean the gutters and do some yard work-or so he says.

At just after 10 am, my dinner is already cooking away. I am giving the crockpot another shot and making my famous BBQ pulled pork in it, I am hoping is comes out as tasty as it does when I make it in the oven. I also had roughly four pounds of CSA apples that are on the stove becoming applesauce!

Off to switch laundry and do some dishes. Then I will get grading.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Small moments of pleasure

So, there were many frustrations today, mostly revolving around technology and work.

However, there were so many moments of joy and pleasure. A cup of coffee and conversation with a friend while the littles were at school. The same friend who was kind enough to pick my boy up and meet me for lunch and then took him home for a play day! Having her share her Gymbucks with me so i could buy my kids the Christmas outfits they wanted, with all the accessories, for much less than I could have imagined.

Small pleasures such as the rare treat of having nothing to do tonight except hang out with my husband, and the ability to wear my PJs all day tomorrow. Do I have grading to do, yes. Do I need to clean up a bit, yes. But tonight, I am relaxing!