Thursday, January 24, 2013

Flu again, and spring cleaning

I wrote about Flannery coming down with a cold.  It was a short, but intense cold.  Fever, body aches, extreme tiredness.  It almost resembled the flu we had 4 weeks ago.  But it was short lived.  I figured it was just a bad cold.  Then Saoirse came down with it.  She was only on day one when I last wrote.  It is now day 6 and she is over the acute phase, but is nowhere back to normal.  The three boys all came down with it within the same 24 hours.  They are on day 3.  It seems to me to be day 475!!!  High fevers, headaches, stomach pain, coughing, noses, aches/pains, etc.  Basically the flu.  I didn't really think it possible to get the flu a second time.  It turns out, according to one of our news stations, that there are 3 flu strains going around.  I find it odd that they were saying the local hospitals were preparing for a huge influx of flu patients in a weeks time (exactly when the boys got hit with it).  How did they figure they would be hit in a week?  Regardless, we are stuck with it.

Next day now....had to attend to a wee sick boy.  Now I'm coming down with it.  Oh joy.  I really do not relish having to dig out of the mess that always results when the big ickies hit.  Especially seeing as how I was making some progress with my spring cleaning.  Yes, I am aware that it is still winter.  But I learned my lesson last year.  Spring around here involves baby goats, chicks, trying to get back into a milking routine, starting and planting seedlings.  Of course the every day stuff still must carry on.  Last year I started spring cleaning right before all of the spring commotion started.  Oh.  My.  Goodness.  That was a recipe for insanity :-)  One I wished not to repeat. 

So in the interest of keeping my sanity intact I've started some spring cleaning projects.  I've made some headway, but for the most part I'm in the stage where it gets worse before it gets better.  My goal is to carry on with our regular stuff and try to squeeze in a bit here and a bit there.  I kind of prefer to take a week off of schooling to do the spring cleaning, but I don't have that option right now.  My list is long.  It would be nice if I could prioritize, but I have to be extremely flexible since my time is so limited. 

Here is what I've been working on:

I pulled out all of our empty 5 gallon buckets.  They need to be washed out thoroughly and set aside until we need them.

I'm going through our closet, where we house our food storage, to make an inventory of what we have on hand.  This was after I had some 'help' by some little boys to gather the items that were scattered here and there around my room, the closet or elsewhere.  I am making a list in a notebook to tally how many of each item we have.  I plan on making a sheet where we will record what comes in, with the month and year written in the provided square.  Then when we need to take something out we will look for what is the oldest of our needed item, and check it off the list when we find it.  I started using a permanent marker to write the month/year on each item.  Not sure if I am making sense, but once I have my tally sheet completed I will share it.

More messes.  This shelf is right above all the food you see in the above picture.

This hasn't gotten too out of hand, but some food dust and such needs to be cleaned off the wooden board.  Plus I need to take note of all that I have under the board.

This is the ONE area that I got finished.  I really wished I took a before picture.  For a taste of what it looked like, just look at the below picture, the one of our medicine cabinet.  Just imagine that same chaos in the above picture.  On the right side, middle shelf you can see the 3/4 gallon plastic jar, currently holding coconut flakes.  I had a few more of those in there (below you will see where I moved them), but the weight of them was making the shelf bow.  You can still kind of see the curve in the above picture. We used to keep the tea on the top shelf, but it was being used constantly and the boxes started to be just thrown up there!  I would have put them on the bottom shelf, but I was afraid that the weight of the beans would have caused the same bowing that the other containers did.  On the bottom right you see some of our bulk foods (lentils, flax seeds, nutritional yeast).  On top is my stick blender, and a bunch of empty tins. The tins are used to house any active homeopathic remedy.

The monster of a medicine cabinet.  Oy, I am not looking forward to dealing with this beast.  I would love to throw out most of this stuff.  It always, ALWAYS gets trashed not weeks after I put it all in order.  The middle shelf houses first aid and supplements.  I think most of the supplements could be safely gotten rid of, but there are always those...."I might need this..."  The top left is for the animals, the top right is my homoepathy.  The bottom left is for creams and impliments (nail clippers, medicine cups, etc.).  The rest of the bottom is for pain meds, and tummy stuff.  I think our cold/allergy stuff has gotten strewn about.  I will be tackling this next.

Here are the other 3/4 gallon plastic jugs.  These jugs are what our coconut oil comes in.  After we go through the oil, I just wash the jug out and try my best to get the paper off the front.  Even though they are opaque and you can see what is inside, I labeled them.  I had just dehydrated almost two bags (6 pounds) of almonds (first I had let them soak over night).  There wasn't enough room for them in just one of the plastic jars, so I put the left overs in the glass jar.  Somehow, with all the mess and sickness I've gotten these things done and dehydrated a few things.  Not much, just small things, like a bunch of celery, Jeremiah found out...some canned pumpkin.  I found a recipe, GAPS legal, for a cup of creamy hot cocoa.  The secret ingredient was pureed pumpkin.  I had a large can, but only needed a wee bit.  So I threw the rest of the pumpkin on my dehydrator trays.  The next day I had them sitting in a baggie curing.  They were in large strips, just like a fruit roll up.  After I knew that they were thoroughly dry I planned on giving them a whirl in my blender to make pumpkin powder.  Well, Jeremiah came by and thought they were fruit roll ups.  Ha, ha.  Boy was he surprised!  He was a bit worried as well, wondering what on earth he had just eaten. 

This shelf was a big mess as well.  This is after I pulled off a bunch of 'stuff'.  I had a few boxes of mason jars up there, that I moved to the laundry room.  I really need these shelves to be available for our dishes and bulk foods.  The bottom shelf and floor really need an overhaul.  Yikes.  Not just two days prior to this picture the shelf that has the large pink pitcher was filled with my gallon and half gallon glass jars.  They are now all being used for yogurt or the miriad of tea I've been making for our sickness.  Oh, and soaking beans and almonds.

I've shard a picture of my pantry closet before.  It was a huge mess as well.  I had recently gone to the local herbal store and bought some new herbs.  Isabella helped me make up a bunch of labels for their new homes.  I'm hoping to get the attachment to my FoodSaver that seals mason jars.  When I do, I will probably move all my herbs over to mason jars.  Most of them are in mason jars, but I try to recycle when I can.  I think some of the jars may be able to use a regular mason jar lid, but not all of the recycled ones. 

Sorry for the poor image.  I can not tell you how many times I've called our local herbal store to see if they have x, y, or z.  They came out with a new brochure and I snagged one and put it up on the inside of one of my cupboards.  I am hoping to make a bulk purchase through herbalcom.  They have the cheapest prices out there.  Most of their products have organic options as well.  This will save us a lot of money in the long run.  Not to mention they have free shipping!  You really can't go wrong with that combo.

That was the last of my spring cleaning pics.  I'm throwing in a few of the boys that I and Jeremiah took a few days ago.  We've had some rollercoaster weather in the past two weeks. Freezing temps, then upper 50's.  Today and tomorrow it will be in the low 30's, and in a weeks time it is supposed to be in the low 60's.  Oy.

This was the first or second day that the boys were sick.  There wasn't a whole lot of running around going on.  Jonah hung out on the truck or our large rock.

That didn't mean there was no fun to be had.  Monsters were still roaming around :-)

Poor Saoirse.  This was one of her bad days.  I think she ever so slowly walked the bike up the hill and rode down once.  That was all the energy she had.

Jed wanted to make some more mud snowmen.  Saoirse had taught the boys to make mud balls a few weeks ago.  They made a family of mudmen.

Jonah was being our ham.  We got quite a few silly, and a few good pictures from him.

Usually Aubrey is all smiles.  He did smile here and there, but not a whole lot.  And not long after this picture all smiles went out the window.  All the kids, except Aubrey...although I've been teaching him, know that if they hear a car coming down our road that they are to run off to the side of the road.  The boys were ahead of us, up the hill, they were just going up and down.  One of the kids said they thought they heard a car.  I didn't hear anything, but took a few quick steps forward to make sure.  A second later we all heard it.  The older two boys got out of the road, but Aubrey just stood there.  Jeremiah says he (talking about himself) hasn't run that fast in a LONG time.  He sprinted up to grab Aubrey.  As soon as our  neighbor started coming over the hill I was waving my arms and telling him to stop.  He immediately did so.  He was still very far from Aubrey.  But the poor baby was terrified. And I would say Jeremiah's and my heart were beating rather quickly as well. 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Been a while

It seems that it's been a while since I last wrote.  We've had some good times and some bad.  Mostly good :-)  The bad will probably take a whole post on its own, but in brief.....Eating dinner one evening I swollowed some meat that didn't go down all the way.  As such, neither did anything else, including saliva.  My saliva glands were turned on high, which resulted in me choking every 30 to 60 seconds on my own saliva!  We headed to the ER as it was obvious this meat was not moving!  Thankfully though, upon entering the ER parking lot it moved!  Yeah!  I was left with a very swollen and sore throat for the next couple of days. 

The latest good?  It snowed :-)  We didn't get any snow last year, leaving us some very unhappy children.  This was Aubrey's first snow, that he has seen (I think it snowed soon after he was born), and it was Jonah's first all over again.  He was two the last time it snowed and clearly he hadn't remembered.  He was SO excited.  Early this morning we set out to a local school that has a huge hill out back.  Two of my kiddos learned a hard lesson about obedience.  We had told them to wait till Daddy had gone down to make the way.  But two kiddos went down on one sled, and said two kiddos did a wipe out.  Both got scraped up!  Poor things. 

Jonah was running all over the place.  I was sure he was going to take a nap.  I was right, but he didn't conck out until 5PM.  After some breakfast and cleaning the kiddos went out again for a bit of sled fun in our front yard.  Jed is quite upset about the snow melting.  We had a bit of a surprise with the snow.  We actually got it filmed on video.  Flannery has the video uploaded to her blog.  It's short, so go check it out.  The kids just bust out laughing every time they see the video.

We are dealing with a cold now, just weeks after having the flu.  Not fun.  Flannery came down with it first.  She's on day three but seems to be mostly over it.  Saoirse just came down with it.  Her cough seems to be worse than Flannery's. 

Saturday, January 05, 2013

No longer a baby

Although Aubrey still holds the status of 'the baby', he's no longer a baby.  He turned two years old today.  Wow!  Amazing.  He was greeted with his birthday sign upon waking up.  He saw it immediately after coming out of his room.  He gasped in awe and said, "MOMMY!!"  And then he proceeded to say, "Ish".  Ish, is a universal word that has been in Aubrey's vocabulary since he's been about 16 months old.  It stands for anything that Aubrey does not know the word for.

We had small plans to try to get outside today, but that didn't happen.  Hopefully tomorrow we can head out.  I whipped up a small bunting to hang up for Aubrey's celebration.  It came out really cute.  I really need to get my hands on some coordinating yarn.  I was blessed by a very large bag of free yarn.  I've used quite a few skeins of it for projects already.  But, because there are many different brands in the bag the texture, thickness and colors don't go together very well.  Most of them are great for a project that requires just one color.  But, I wanted to do a little something for his birthday, and this bunting worked up very quickly.

The girls made a really cute birthday sign for Aubrey.  Lots of really neat ideas from all of them!  The older two boys were impressed as well.  Jeremiah made a dash to the dollar store to pick up a couple of streamers.  And to round off the birthday celebration was cake, of course.  The girls made the cakes and Jonah got to put the candles on.  Jonah insisted on helping, but the girls didn't want their designs to be ruined.  So Jonah had to settle with a compromise :-)

Aubrey wasn't really sure about all this birthday stuff.  I would say, "It's your birthday, you are two years old now."  Aubrey would respond, "NO!"  Hmmm.  He warmed up when he was served one of his favorite meals (macaroni and cheese).  His facial expressions were pretty funny when we were singing to him.  When we told him to blow out the candles he was too afraid to!  He didn't want to get too close to the 'fire'.  His brothers were happy to help him out.

I think that's it.  A pretty simple day.  Here are the pictures that we snapped:

Lots to see!

I asked Isabella how to spell "evil" and she answered correctly.  However, that was not how she spelled it on the sign!

The wee bunting.

 Someone was sneaking the frosting!

 Want some?

 Cake number one.

 This is for me?

 Oops, the pictures got out of order.  This was after Aubrey opened his gifts.  He LOVES puzzles.

 Moira was kind enough to give the boys a bath so that I could get the streamers put up.

 Aubrey was enchanted with the streamers.

 You can't really see the colors, but they are blue and green on the ceiling, and white around the light.

 Cake number two.

 Aubrey was pretty interested in the lighting of the candles.

 Everyone giving a hand to blow out the candles.

Opening gifts.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

The first day of the new year

I wish I could say we had a smashing great day today.....but.....that isn't exactly the case.  Most children slept in, but not all.  I was a walking zombie for quite some time.  I figured that I would lay down for a nap when the baby went down for a nap.  I was trying to finish up the boarder of Aubrey's new sweater, but he woke up (waaaayyyy tooooo early) before I was finished.  I tried to get him to go back to sleep.  No go.  I guess we will just head to bed early tonight.

I went to upload the pictures from the park and clearly Isabella's camera is not working properly.  Everything was very pixilated.  I managed one that looks half way decent. 

Most of our plans for today were put by the wayside.  We normally take down our tree, but the kids all asked if we could keep it up a bit longer.  Being sick for two weeks and not even setting foot in the same room as the tree for those two weeks definitely makes it seem that we haven't had enough decoration time :-)  We will take the tree down next week.  We were supposed to make up our goal lists.  I think a few worked on them, but definitely something we need to keep working on.  Tomorrow we are to start the second semester of our school year and I am feeling unprepared.  I organized the school shelves, made sure we have all the needed books, but I can't seem to get my mind to run through how our day should go.   I was hoping we would have gotten through our to do list before we started back to school.  Sigh.  I guess we will have to tackle those things on the weekends. 

All the kiddos at the park.

Not much else to tell.  I did finish Aubrey's sweater, that I was making for his birthday.  It is WAY too BIG.  I tried it on him, and he is just tickled with it.  He was sitting there, looking like he was being swallowed by the sweater!  I can roll the sleeves up, but the neck area is too big as well.  Not sure if I should pass it on to one of the other boys and try my hand at a second attempt.  I really loved the colors, buttons and the over all look of the sweater.  I was trying to take a pattern for a 12 month old and scale it up for a 2 year old.  Apparently I need to spend some time working on that skill!

Here is the finished sweater.  Well, I guess it isn't officially finished as some of the yarn ends have not been woven in.   Thankfully I did as many as I could as I went along, so there are very few ends to weave in.  The coloring did not come out in the pictures.  There is much more green than these pictures relate.  And, yes, the pocket is a bit wonky.  Number one, I did not block the sweater before sewing it together.  Secondly, Saoirse begged me to let her sew the pocket on.  I did one side to get it started and she finished it.  I really need to get a set of round headed pins, and some t-pins as well.  Sometimes I find the lack of 'proper' tools can make a difference.  That's ok, I think it gives the sweater some character :-)  Plus, I know that Saoirse if very proud to have been able to help contribute to Aubrey's birthday present, and THAT makes any wonkiness worth it!

 I was hoping that a close up would give a better representation of the yarn colors.  You can see a bit more of the green, but it's still far from accurate.  The 'buttons' are wooden beads.  After I got them home I realized that securing them to the sweater may be an issue.  I have to say that I need to come up with a better way than what I did as the yarn securing the buttons has loosened considerably with little use.  I will have to get a picture of Aubrey actually wearing it for you to see how big this sweater really is.  He doesn't seem to mind.  He knows that the sweater is his and he let us know this by showing his displeasure at the idea of trying it on Jonah to see if it fit him better.  Ha, ha.
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