Monday, July 16, 2012

Riding The Crazy Train

You know what I think is one of the greatest things ever invented?


We certainly have our share of them at our house! Do you know why I love them so much? Because you can stash all of your junk in them, stack them on top of each other, and pretend you are all organized.

Hubs has this grand plan of having a garage sale sometime in August. Along with that, I am in the process of sorting through my 1,700 books that I have bought over the 10 years that I have been homeschooling. I am selling some of them on eBay, so I can afford some of the higher priced items that I plan to buy for the oldest who will be a...gulp.....junior this year.

In order to sort through stuff, you have to make one gigantic mess along the way! This means piles and piles and PILES of books stacked here and there and everywhere.

This eBaying stuff is a full time job, I tell you! First, each and every book must be found. In my case, this is often easier said, than done. When you have an entire set of something, it tends to sell better, and for more money.

Now, if you are one of those perfectly organized homeschool Moms, then you have dutifully stacked everything together at the end of the year, and all in grade order.

However, if you are like me, you sometimes don't even go through things, you just throw them all together into a tote, sometime before the beginning of the next school year. You may or may not remember to label what is in said tote. Along with the school books, which may or may not be together in the set they came in, may be a collection of other odds and ends you needed to find a place for along the way, such as old copies of bills, magazines, clothes a child has outgrown....hypothetically speaking.

So, when you have found what you think is the entire set of what you have, then you must go through each and every page in each and every book. Some of these books are 300-400 pages long!You are looking for highlighting, stray pencil marks (that you must erase), underlining, or random pictures that a bored child may have drawn. Not that any of MY children are ever bored in school. No siree, Bob. Each and every day here is filled with joy and happiness, and the girls are always eager and willing to learn. Ahem.

So far, my biggest money maker has been Teaching Textbooks for Math. I will be doing a review on this curriculum soon, so stay tuned!

In the midst of all of this mayhem, our realtor called and said that we had another showing. Which is like.....Yay! But, wow. LOTS of work to be done to get ready for it!

All of the many, many books had to be put back in the totes, although, this time, I tried to keep them separated so I would actually know what was in each one.

The stuff that I had gone through for the garage sale was just put who knows where. Will this garage sale actually happen? Only time will tell. All of the totes are now neatly stacked back together, and I am very hesitant to get them ALL back out to go through them again.

I was joking with Hubs, who does not find my disorganization funny by the way, that perhaps I should just label each tote "junk", because that would be an appropriate term for what is in at least half of them!

My girls cringe when I start "crazy cleaning" because they know that whatever I put away, there is a pretty good chance that they will never see it again. What can I say. Organization is NOT one of my strong points. Out of sight....out of mind.

My oldest daughter is away for several days, and I told her that, before she left, she needed to make sure her room and bathroom were clean for the showing. I told her that if she didn't clean them, that was okay.....I would just clean them for her!

Needless to say, before she left? They were both clean. Ha!

I always tell myself that I will deal with it another day. Why do something today, when you can put it off until tomorrow? Only....tomorrow never seems to come.

You think to yourself, "Self.....don't you own such and such? Yes, you do! But.....where did you put it?"

Then, on one of your crazy cleaning sprees, you find it, when it is no longer needed, or no longer fits the child you bought it for.

I am especially terrible when it comes to papers. They are never where I can find them. I make more work for myself that I really need to because of it.

Every year I tell myself that I WILL do better this year. This will be the year that I am super organized, have everything in it's proper place, and even perhaps remember where I put things.

Make me feel better. Tell me I'm not the only one who has no clue how to organize things! I have read all of the books, it's just like I am missing the organization gene or something!

I am seriously considering buying sock clips because I cannot keep the socks together after they get washed. We have totes that contain nothing but stray socks!

The totes they are in are not labeled, by the way.

So, if any of you super organized people out there have any tips that I can use to help organize my crazy life, feel free to leave me a helpful comment. It would be greatly appreciated!

Now, where did I put the girls' 4-H project papers? Perhaps they are in the tote with the stray socks....

Saturday, July 14, 2012

I'm Melting....

Notice the title of this post? It actually has a double meaning.

One is, it has been incredibly HOT around these parts. I am so thankful that we have air in our house! I'm sure I would be a whole lot less pleasant to be around if we did not. When we bought our house, it did not have central air. To make matters worse, we did not have any windows in our main living area that would fit an air conditioner! We had to put a window air conditioner all the way back in our bedroom, and place fans to try to strategically blow the air to our living spaces.

That did not work out so well. So, the first thing we bought when we had saved up enough money was central air. And, we have NEVER regretted it!

Not only has it been blistering hot, but we have not had very much rain. AT ALL. The grass is so crunchy and sharp, that when you walk on it in flip-flops, it actually feels like little needles are stinging your feet! I was surprised that they did not cancel fireworks this year. Instead, they had the fire department hose everything down around where they were lighting them off.

All around you see brown grass. However,  Hubs is adamant about having a GREEN lawn. Since we live in the "country" (and by that, I mean we live in a subdivision, right outside of town) and don't have to actually pay for our water (other than the electricity it takes to run the well) the sprinkler is going almost non stop. There are only several homes in our neighborhood who water their lawn, and the difference is striking. You can definitely tell who waters their lawn, and who does not.

Some people love when the grass gets brown, because then, they don't have to cut it! But, Hubs loves cutting the lawn, and making our yard look nice. We definitely have the curb appeal factor going on. Which is a good thing, since our house is for sale! Ha!

My other meaning for the "I'm Melting" title, is that my body is literally melting away! As of today, I have now lost a total of 17 lbs. I got some clothes out the other day that I haven't fit into in a while, and let me tell you, it was just like Christmas! I had even forgotten I had some of them!

I am trying to remind myself that nothing tastes as good as being a healthy weight feels. Most of the time, it works!

Some of the things that I have been doing are eating more fruit (which is easy to do since it IS summer), salad, and drinking more water. I allow myself to have ice cream occassionally, but just a 1/2 cup.

When I say that, what comes to your mind? It does seem like an awfully small portion, doesn't it?! But, if you eat it reallllllly s-l-o-w, it's enough to satisfy your craving.

I also make a mean orange smoothie in my Ninja. Here's my recipe, if you can even call it that. I crush ice to make "snow" (that's a Ninja term on their infomercial) add a few tablespoons of  orange juice concentrate, a few teaspoonfuls of vanilla yogurt, a splash of vanilla extract, a packet of Stevia, and blend away! It is yummy, sweet, and makes me not want ice cream so much. It's kind of like an orange creamsicle.

I try not to deprive myself though, because, who wants to live their whole life saying "I can't have that" every time? There are already SO many foods that are off limits to me as a Celiac, that I am not willing to tell myself that I can NEVER eat (you fill in the blank) again.

It's all about portion control, and moderation. And, if you slip up, you just forgive yourself, and start over again.

Inch by inch, pound by pound, it is slowly coming off.

17 lbs.....and counting......

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Big "C"

We found out this week that my husband has cancer.

He has basal cell carcinoma, the most common form of skin cancer there is.

Not gonna lie, I'm a little freaked out about it all. I have heard though, from friends in the know, that this is not a big thing, although it sure feels like a big thing to me!  I guess though, that if you have to have cancer, basal cell is the kind to have.

Still....the big "C" word? Scary....

It started out as a little bump by his eye. He didn't think anything of it. Just thought it was a little blemish or something. It started to go away....but it didn't... and it hasn't.

This had been going on for like 8 or 9 months. Yes, you read that correctly. Now, it is more like a "hole" that just.won't.heal. I tried getting him to go and get it checked out. He refused. He said that it was healing on it's own, it was just taking time. Men...

Finally, after the girls and I begged and pleaded, he finally made an appointment to go and get it checked out. Our primary care physician said he thought it looked like basal cell skin cancer. He sent him to an eye doctor to get it taken care of.

When we were in the office, filling out the multiple forms, I couldn't help overhearing a conversation. There was a lady in a wheelchair, who was being attended by another elderly lady. She was also filling out the required forms. Apparently, the elderly lady in the wheelchair was very hard of hearing, and also had trouble with her eyes.

We will call the two ladies Ethel and Mildred to protect the innocent. Their conversation went something like this:

Mildred: Now, Ethel (lady in the wheelchair), I'm going to read you this list of things, and you need to tell me which ones you have, or have had in the past. Okay? Here we go.  Have you ever had the mumps?

Ethel: What? What did you say?


Ethel: No.

Mildred: Okay....are you anemic?

Ethel: AM I WHAT?



Mildred: It means that you have low iron levels in your blood.



And, so it continued. Through the entire list. Tuberculosis, measles, rubella.... could she possibly be pregnant? I think I could have answered that one for her, due to her advanced age.

This doctor also thought it was skin cancer, but Hubs still had to have a biopsy done, which was just all sorts of fun for him. Now, he is going to have to have it surgically removed.

This particular doctor could have removed it,  but it would have had to be done in the hospital. He also mentioned that he may have to do a possible skin graft from his eyelid to close it up if the skin wouldn't stretch enough.


We are going for a consultation with a dermatologist who specializes in Mohs surgery. We know someone who had it done, and she barely even has a scar. We are praying that Hubs' cancer is not very deep, and that it won't be very difficult to remove. He should have had it done a long time ago...

I asked the doctor how he could have gotten it by his eye, since it is normally covered with sunglasses. He said that it was most likely due to sun exposure he received as a child. Back when he and I were kids, sunscreen wasn't really used very much, if at all.

I can remember getting so brown every summer with nary a sunscreen bottle in sight. Hubs can remember getting several bad sunburns. Now, we know so much more about the sun, and the harm that it can cause, that I make sure my girls slather on that sunscreen! I have even been known to offer it to others at the beach if I see that they didn't bring any with them.

*If you happen to get it in your hair, you can read here about how to get it out. It is one of my most popular blog posts :)

So, now we wait, which to me, is just sheer torture! I just want it to be over and done with already.

Like yesterday.

Hubs does not seem overly concerned about it all, but I think that I am sufficiently concerned enough for the both of us! He tends to want to know  as little as possible, where as I feel the need to research everything to death.

I'm trying to remember this:

* ‘Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ Isaiah 41:10

* Cast your burden on the Lord [releasing the weight of it] and He will sustain you; He will never allow the [consistently] righteous to be moved (made to slip, fall, or fail). Psalm 55:22

* Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.  -Deuteronomy 31:6

And, one last one....

* You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.
-Isaiah 26:3

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Tie Dye, Tin Punch, and Chickens

It is once again time to work on projects for the annual 4-H fair. If you would like to read about last year's projects, you can go here. Once again, my daughters signed up for WAY more things than they will ever have time to do, but what can I say, we are overachievers.

We got together with our club to try to get some of the projects done together. Getting messy with tie dye is always more fun with a friend!

Last year, my youngest wanted to make a pink and black shirt, but she went a little crazy with the black, and while I thought the shirt turned out pretty, she refused to take it in to be judged. She tends to be a little bit of a perfectionist on the things that she does.

Not sure where she gets THAT from.

So, this year, the rule was simple: NO black dye was to be used. AT ALL!

Now, the tie dye kit comes in a box decorated with all the many different kinds of designs that you can make. The designs they feature on that box are nothing short of amazing!

And....provided you had nothing else to do in your spare time, you may be able to pull one of those fantastic designs off.

However, we are working with kids anywhere from ages 5 to 15. The containers are drippy, and the dye kind of "sloshes" out the second the bottle is tipped over.

Hence the reason we had the kids wear these attractive plastic bags over their clothes. These were affectionately titled, "Wedding Dresses", coming to the run way soon! Rompers ARE all the rage this year.

My youngest wanted to make her initial on her shirt, but quickly realized she was not going to be able to pull that off. So, she decided to make a diagonal rainbow. I think it looks fabulous!

Notice, NO black was used this year.

My oldest did a sausage roll with her shirt, which is what you need to do to make a bulls-eye design.

My middle daughter made hers into a circle, which will create a swirl design.

With these designs, you can't tell what the actual design will turn into until you are have finished the entire process. The suspense is killing us!

We finished off our project day by starting out on our tin punch designs.

The key to making tin punch look amazing, is to use different sizes of nails to give your picture some variation. It is also important to make the nail holes evenly spaced, and the same size, which is easier said, than done!

Our friends live on a semi-farm, and they raise chickens.

Can I tell you a little secret? I am a little afraid of chickens.

This one kept squawking, and bobbing it's head back and forth, and coming up to me like she wanted to peck me.

I asked to see the chicken coop, and the chicken followed me in there. She clearly wanted to be back in there with her fellow coopmates.

I asked where the chickens laid their eggs, and she showed me their nests. There was one hen in there, squawking to all the other hens that SHE had just laid an egg, and that they were NOT to come near her.

I cannot imagine having to put my hand in that nest, to retrieve her precious egg. I was reassured that they don't do that to people, just to the other hens.

Even though some of my girls would like to raise chickens of their own, I think we will just keep getting our eggs already pre-packaged in an egg carton.

When you do it that way, there is also the benefit of not having to clean out their coop!

Although, that would make a good punishment....err....I mean consequence.....for a mouthy tween, or teenage girl.