Friday, February 28, 2014

Too Cold, Too Hot… Where is JUST RIGHT???

OK - now I know I am really stretching myself. 7 posts in 7 days just to make it happen is quite a challenge! I need to go around and find some link-ups to do on various days of the week if I am going to continue at any kind of similar rate of posting! Then I will have an idea to spring off from!!

As it is, it is near the end of the day and I have very little to share that I have a photo to go along! I like pictures. They make reading my drivel a little better, no? So, where does this leave me? Hunting in iPhoto for something to share.

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What is "this" you might wonder! Well, let me tell you about this. These are ice crystals that were in my pitcher of strawberry lemonade in my side by side refrigerator-freezer in the kitchen. The beverages are stored on the top shelf (Heat rises, but apparently not in a this fridge.) and I poured myself some lemonade and it was very cold!! Would be extra appreciated in the summer!

So, what is so great about these ice crystals? We currently keep the thermostat in our house anywhere between 68 and 70 degrees F. The thermometer on the cupboard says it is 79 degrees (but it IS sitting right next to the printer…) in the kitchen. The freezer in the same appliance freezes things rock solid. The settings are such that we expect the freezer to freeze hard and make PLENTY of ice continuously. Somehow, the freezer is freezing things in the refrigerator, though. My vegetable drawer is producing frozen lettuce, frozen cucumbers, frozen carrots, frozen mushrooms. I am pouring lemonade crystals into my cup. The cheese is freezing. The LEFT-OVERS are FREEZING!! (This might be a good thing considering how long some of them sit in there!)

But, here is where things get a little more interesting. We have a refrigerator -freezer in our garage. It is the kind you probably had growing up with the freezer on top and the fridge on the bottom. It is out there in the unheated relatively cold garage. It has been quite cold lately and I wouldn't venture into the garage without at least socks on my feet and sleeves on my arms. (I am currently wearing a tank top, but would put on a jacket, sweater or sweatshirt to go into the garage.) Things in my refrigerator out there are at a normal refrigerator temperature. It is gonna get crazy here so hold onto your hat…

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The temperature in the garage is probably under 30 degrees F. The freezer of the fridge/freezer combo cannot seem to keep ANYTHING frozen. There is a chest freezer out there and it freezes rock solid. But there isn't a thing out there that will stay frozen in the fridge. I need to take all those frozen pizzas and bring them inside my nice warm house and put them in my refrigerator to keep them frozen… WHA????????? So, the heat is rising in that appliance where the air temperature around the appliance should keep the stuff frozen if I just open the door! I would imagine that it might have something to do with the temp outside being too low for it to work efficiently, but my chest freezer is working great. The fridge portion is working great and now houses all fresh veggies so they stay cold, not frozen. 

What to do? What to do? Have any of you had this problem? How do I fix it? I am tired of frozen stuff in the fridge and thawed out things in the freezer. I don't want to live in backwards world!! Help?? Ideas please!

(And… this post is definitely squeaking in under the wire for 
Friday at just before 11 PM… but I did make it! Woot! Woot!!)

Thursday, February 27, 2014

I Like Licorice

We joined one of our homeschool groups for a field trip not too long ago and went to visit and have a tour of a small business in Lincoln, NE.

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Licorice International where they sell various forms of licorice from 14 different countries!

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The packing, shipping and receiving area. Sitting and listening and then asking lots of questions
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We visited the day before St. Valentine's Day and I considered purchasing these pretty little treats and then wondered how many fans of Husker Sports buy these!

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We had the opportunity to sample these. I had a brown one that was supposed to taste like root beer. Hmmm - might have tasted like root beer. I am not sure that I liked it and from the looks on my kids' faces they would have rather had… something else!
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These were liked by several of us. SO, I bought a little bag of these as well as the best selling red licorice and the best selling black licorice. I was surprised that Bump liked black licorice, but that is also his preferred cup of tea!!

It was fun to go meet up with some other people for the morning. It looks like the group schedules an outing once a month. We hope to go often!!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

So, Sew a Little

Branch has been learning to sew a little by trial and error and a little with help and some instruction.

Geemah and PopPop were here earlier in February and Geemah spent some good quality time with Branch working on using a pattern to create a nightgown. They worked at it for a day and Branch learned quite a bit about reading a pattern and cutting and sewing. In the end… she turned out a lovely nightgown that she wears more often than she wears any other pajamas, now!!!

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I think she must have had fun and is proud of herself!

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I am proud of her, too!!

Lays Potato Chips.

I CAN eat just one. I have no problem eating just one of those classic potato chips. I can eat just one of the sour cream and onion, the barbecue, the wavy plain, any of them…

I can eat just ONE and quit.

BUT - with this baby? I absolutely CANNOT pick just one picture to show. Ever. He is so blasted cute in my very biased mama vision. Maybe that bias is too much to see. But, this beautiful baby face gets me every time. 

There are half a million pictures on phone cameras, both of my dSLR Nikons, on Branch's new for Christmas Nikon Coolpix, the iPad, and even a few on "Photo Booth" on the computer.

I cannot choose just one to share… so, I will share all of them from the other day when Pops was holding this precious bundle of joy!!

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Now, you've scrolled all the way through and you couldn't stop at just the first one, either!
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I am so blessed.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Daybook Entry 2.25.14

Outside my window…
A spit of snow. I know that many people have more than their fair share it seems… but, they must have some of mine. We get a sprinkle here and there. Sort of like Parmesan on Noodles. Never enough to fully cover and have good fun for days out there.

I am thinking…
I linked up to post 7 posts in 7 days over with Jennifer and am glad that I did - sort of. She says it is a great opportunity to clean out the draft posts you have written but haven't posted. I don't have any. I have to think up plenty, or pay attention to my treekids and post their funny stuff!! Maybe I will have plenty to share. Cheer me on!! 7 posts in 7 days will be a true immersion back into this here blog of mine!

I am thankful…
For a 12 year old who will go up to the mailbox even in 16 degrees for his little 4 year old brother who wants to know what magic has appeared in the mail each day.

I am laughing…
That the 4 year old is pacing for the return of said 12 year old!!

Learning all the time…
When I was in high school we had "L.I.F.E. Week." It stood for Learning Is Fun & Easy. That was my favorite week of school by far. You would sign up for interesting things to do and either learn a new skill or improve on one that you already had experienced a bit. My favorite thing was going skiing. We got not he school bus and spent a day on the "mountains"- ha! It was hardly a mountain, but it was a great slope and perfect for learning. I also remember baking and candy making. I am sure there were other things, but my 'rememberer' isn't that great. BUT, I do remember that those days of school were looked forward to and I learned good things! So, in that spirit, I am doing some fun things with the kids lately. Trying to inspire and show that learning IS fun and easy. Self-motivated learning usually is! Our schooling over the past few weeks has been VERY "un"school-ish. Some days I type up a list that might have math work, typing, science experiments and the like in the learning area of the list. Other days, have had "Make up a dance and teach it to your sister. Perform it for your family." and "Learn to write a Haiku poem." They all seemed to have fun with that kind of thing. This week I changed it up again! I said the need to choose 3, 2 and 1. They looked at me cross-eyed! Chores, Non-electronic Fun and Educational. They needed to choose 3 of one, 2 of another and 1 of another. I was surprised that no one chose 1 chore!! :) AND that when faced with having to choose to make their own list, they struggled with writing down non-electronic fun. Now, we do not have a Wii, we don't subscribe to TV service (we only have some DVDs and, yes, VHS!), they have a 30 minute limit on their computer account… you would think that deciding on their "fun" wouldn't be difficult. BUT, when framed in that way, they could ONLY focus on electronics!! Later, I found the girls skating in the basement, dancing and twirling, Bud was of course reading, reading and reading - with paper books instead of ebooks or audio books. Bump was working hard to convince all of the bigger kids to play Candyland and UNO!! Today, Branch is creating a booklet about horses, Blossom is creating a booklet about cats, Bud has painted an Irish countryside and is working with some colored craft sticks. My experiment is turning out fun. We'll be back to some books soon enough...

Celebrating our faith…
Continuing to learn about the deep and rich faith that we share. Bud and Branch will be Confirmed this Sunday and they are looking forward to it!

From the kitchen…
We are eating out of the pantry! Meals are being planned to use up the sweets and heavy carb-laden foods. Lent is nearing and we are sacrificing a family addiction to sugars! So, it seems that we are eating a lot of sugar in cleaning out the coffers!

I am working on…
A sewing project that I may have gotten myself in a bit over my head. I have much of the project cut out, will need to find lots of time to sew it up! TIME? Where do I sign up for an extra 8 hours per day (where the children are sleeping, don't need me and I have already had my 8 hours of sleep)!?!

I am creating…
Bridal shower ideas for my soon-to-be sister-in-law's upcoming shower! The invitations are sent. The RSVPs should start rolling in. I need to clean this house! ;)

I am going…
To keep making meal plans. It seems to help me "keep it together" with feeding my family!!

I am hoping…
For 5 Minutes Peace. Just 5 minutes. I would love more than 5 minutes, but I would be happy, no THRILLED to have 5 uninterrupted minutes of my own. (Can you tell that maybe I have been working on this one single blog post for hours??? - and I haven't even a single picture here!)

I am reading… (links are amazon affiliate links)
Plenty of picture books with Bump. Lately, my favorite is not his. :( I like My Lucky Day by Keiko Kasza. Bump is liking Little Critter… in particular Little Critter: Just a School Project by Mercer Mayer

I am listening…
To an audio book - Drive: the Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink (Hence the interesting things I've been doing with our "school." All those scratch and sniff stickers as motivators and certificates of completion might not be the best way… So, working to figure out how to encourage internal motivation!)
(amazon affiliate link)

Around the house…
I "won" a silent auction item this weekend. It is a cute thing to hang on the wall. I haven't a clue where I will be hanging it! I didn't think that I would win anything that I bid on, since I was an early bidder and certainly not a high bidder! But, I have a little item that will need a home on the wall. Hmmm.

One of my favorite things…
Watching and being amazed at what things babies do. Why does it melt my heart to see a smile or hear a coo? Why do I love seeing that kind of interaction between one of my bigger kids with the baby?

A few plans for the week…
I need a couple things for getting ready for the bridal shower for little things I am making. I need a couple things from the bookstore for Confirmation gifts. I need to exchange a baby bathtub that I bought for this baby that is growing and now nearly too big for the baby tub I have been borrowing. The trouble is I got it home to discover a crack and decent sized hole in it. Grrrrr. Wasn't hoping to go back to Toys R Us with children in tow!! Otherwise, we will be hangin' our hats and staying home. It is going to be a cold week after tomorrow!

Pondering these words…
In order to grow, truly grow, you have to abandon some of your old ways and embrace other new ways. Are you willing? - Matthew Kelly

Monday, February 24, 2014

Pals R Us

It must be so fun to be 10 years old when your mama has another baby born into the family. This 10 year old, Branch, has ALWAYS loved all things baby… real or pretend. She is a great helper and loves to play and smile and hold and rock and sway and snuggle this new little babe.
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I have to believe that God will give her many babies of her own one day (far far off in the future) to love and raise to be as sweet as herself. Of course, they will make that one frustrated and angry face for her just like she does for me about twice each month!!
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On the other side of the equation is the baby. He LOVES her, too. He is very generous with smiles and coos and giggles for her. Of course, that doesn't make it harder to love him!
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This is the first time I have had the "guts" to let her (or any of the kids for that matter!) change diapers. She wanted to change Blossom's diapers when she was just a baby herself. But, she was easily appeased with throwing away the wet ones! When Bump was just a little stinker, she wanted to change his diaper, but was ok with doing the smiles and entertaining and picking out his outfits. This time around, she tells me that she is big enough. I figured she could try (after he had a big ol' poo one day and I had already cleaned that up) a wet diaper change on the bed, which is lower than the changing pad. She did splendidly! So, when she offers to change wet pants… and I don't have to hurry us along, I am happy to have a "little" helper!
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How do they grow up so fast!?! Remember that one angry face she makes? Yea. I remember when she was 18 months old and making that same face at me! She makes some angry eyes that are almost, but not quite crossed and purses her lips really tightly. She's been making that same face… but it is now on this becoming all grown up girl! WHhhhhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa...
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It is true that the days are LONG and the years are so short. I am not sure how that happens, exactly. But, I try to enjoy all the moments. I told Branch a few days ago, "Babies. Aren't they sweet and wonderful?" She grinned and said, "YES! Who wouldn't love them!?" True. But, some people don't. She just cannot grasp there being someone out there who wouldn't just be enamored with a baby! Maybe one day she'll be overly exhausted with a fussy baby and she might have a tiny glimpse! 
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My Branch has been concerned and asking me often if this little guy has a blog name yet. I haven't settled on anything yet. Do you have any ideas to call this sweet pumpkin? Here is a list of several ideas that I contemplated for Bump… And those of you who like Ohio for some reason… BUCKEYE is NOT a real option!!! :) 
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Lots of love here. Tingly Toes. That is all. (If you are thinking, now, that you'll comment and say Buckeye is great… don't. Really. Pick something else. I don't have time to clean up my computer… that baby needs more kisses and love than he's had yet today!)

Sunday, February 23, 2014

3 months today - Chubby Tub Time!!

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What are you looking' at?!

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I can sort of blow bubbles...

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OH!!! You are serious about this bath thing. Good! I love bath time!

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Yea, I look GREAT! All those rolls? They prove I am a good eater, my mom is a good milk maker and the other stuff in the mirror? Ignore it… Just check out MY CUTENESS!!! :) Gotta love … me!!

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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Snow Day!!

Well, the weather isn't too bad for kids to go to school. But, the snow did cause some visibility difficulties and slick spots. We, however, don't worry about those things for our school!! But, the wind isn't whipping, the snow stopped falling, the snow is wet and packable… I declare it to be a snow day!! Go out and learn about how this wet snow is different than the dry stuff we have had dusted across our area often this winter. Go play and find out what the difference is. Go PLAY and LEARN!!! :) Snow days can be great learning days!!

I was learning from INSIDE the house. I learned that my kids are ingenious! No standard snowmen, here!

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A Chair and Ottoman for Branch

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Looks like a potential toilet, not sure what we have going on, there. The snow mound to the left of Bud is a snow sofa - turning into a bed. Pull-out sofa, anyone?? ;)

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So excited to be out playing!

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I don't remember where he was heading with that, but he was helping build all sorts of creations out there!

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Everyone busy, having fun with the snow. It will likely be gone later this afternoon. The forecast says we'll reach 45 today.  They set bowls out on the patio table to catch snow for snow ice cream… it is mostly water, now! Maybe I've learned that this wet snow is great for packing and the drier snow would have been better for snow ice cream!!

Sometimes you just need a spot of tea!

It has been fun spending so much time snuggling and hugging on our new little babe. But at some point, the big treekids want some fun, too! OK - so, I think in looking over these pictures, I know why I don't do a tea very often!! This was a LOT of work. FUN. But, a lot of work. I spent all morning baking, nursing the baby, baking, and showering. Then, we ate some lunch, cooked a bit, finished it up and was ready for tea time around 3 PM right as Pops was arriving home from his latest trip. Branch and Blossom set the table (Can you say an iron would be nice for the table cloth!?!! But, then we wouldn't have gotten to tea time at all!)

The table was set with all sorts of treats and finery.
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Wanna guess whose teacup and teabag rest was used by whom? Only Pops' was chosen for him. Everyone else chose their own teacup set out of the cupboard. I'll post who used which set later on. So, chime in!!
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I felt a wee bit guilty about all the sweets, so I made some fancied up cucumber and carrot treats! The girls thought they looked lovely and sort of sushi-ish! Whatever - there were none left over! Mama scores!!
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A family favorite - Scones and Lemon Curd!! Oh, my! Have you ever had any lemon curd? The recipe I use tastes like lemon meringue pie filling. DE-LISH! (I just put some more of the blue spot remover stuff in the dishwasher - sorry about that spottiness on the flatware! {Shaking head - wishing the spoon would have not been in the jar.} Next go 'round it should be better.)
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Super Secret Yummy Brownie Recipe cut into circles to be able to sit in these little paper cupcake liners and on my springy cupcake tree? Yum. You can't eat just one. I love brownies. Branch and Bump helped to make them but Bump was in on the tasting before the eggs were added. He said, "This tastes like chocolate and SUGAR!! Yum. I love Brownies!!" FOUR. I love four - even more than brownies!
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A few chocolate dipped strawberries. I figured they would be pretty and exciting… I NEVER expected them to actually be all that tasty! Strawberries in February? These little beauties were red all the way through. They had better flavor than many strawberries we eat in the summer!
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AND tea. Many flavor options. Peppermint, Chamomile, Vanilla Chai, Apple Cinnamon, Lemon, Licorice Spice… yum TEA with cream and sugar! 
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And this beautiful Polish teapot from my mom when my folks were living in Poland!! Isn't it so pretty?!?!
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Dressed in their best… Cowboy Bump lost his tie along the wait, Blossom was being, uh, fancy, Branch did up some make-up for herself and her sister (there will be lessons soon…), and Bud dressed in a suit and forgot to shave, I see.
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Since it has been a while, I took several close-ups of all my treekids…
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Bump - 4

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Trying to give me a wink!

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Blossom - 8

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Posing  - this is how a fancy person would use a tea cup!

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Branch - 10

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Pinky must be up and carry the plate so as not to drip or dribble on the floor as I pretend with nothing in this cup!!
And, then there was this handsome mysterious man...
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Bud - 12

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Puberty has brought the hair in nicely on his upper lip, no?

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OK, OK… Some temporary tattoos were given to him for St. Valentine's Day!

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Pinky up the girls tell him.

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It feels weird to use manners and pose for the camera for more than one picture with the group.  But, it made mama so happy to get several pictures of this most elusive character!!

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OH, my! Can't make mama happy for that long, now can we!?
We had lots and lots of fun talking and giggling. We enjoyed our treats, practiced some very nice manners and enjoyed the company of Pops. 

I hope to be blogging more regularly again soon. I read a great little post from a gal who has many children… it resonated so well for me! She talked about how sometimes it is easy to fit all of the social media into life and other times you just have to focus on life and put social media on the back burner until you are back on track. I relate well to that. I need to have a name for that so I can post a picture or something when life gets too busy and then get back at it when I can. I love having a blog and posting things here to remember later. I love reading comments and making "cyber friends." But, there are times I just cannot keep up with everything and social media is what has to go sometimes.