Sunday, September 10, 2017

Preparing for the Flu Season

I try to keep these things on hand to be prepared for anyone getting sick-

In the linen closet "cold care" box-
Vicks Vapor Rub - to put on chest, nose and the bottom of your feet with socks.
(a bottle of Eucalyptus Oil works for your feet too or for use with the vaporizer)
Box of lotion Kleenex - so much softer!
Cough drops / lozengers
Vitamin C chewable tablets
Cold Medicine - Alka Seltzer cold care and Cough Syrup
Vaporizer on bottom shelf

In the Pantry keep stocked-
Homemade Soup Supplies:
Boxes of chicken Stock
Fine Egg Noodles
Better than Bouillon Chicken Base
Fresh Garlic
Tea Bags

In the fridge-
Fresh Lemons or Limes
Parsley - Fresh (can sub Dried)

In Freezer-
Frozen Chicken Breasts - can cook quick in microwave
Homemade Chicken Broth - made with lots of onions & garlic from Rotisserie Chicken

The minute it is needed I start by making a big pot of soup, it always seems to help kick it .
I put in at least 3 big onions, 4-5 cloves of Garlic, Carrots, Celery with leaves & Parsley.
Season with lots of pepper and not too much salt as the chicken base has enough.
Add cubed cooked chicken and lots of noodles.

Make cups of hot water with fresh lemon wedges put in the cup and Honey - very soothing.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Our Life When it Rains Too Much

Well all the rain last weekend has been seeping into our basement...again.
This is not a new experience for us, so we at least know what needs to be done and I think we surprise people by our calm attitude.  I never know how to quickly explain the situation so they understand without boring them with all the details.  I'll try to tell it here instead.

For starters our basement was reduced down to the bare bones of cement after our 3rd flood, so we don't have the stress of trying to save the drywall that once was a family room & bathroom.
And after that,  my brother, who is an electrician nicely came and moved all the electrical outlets 4 feet up so we can still go down if it gets really bad.
So now the only things we need to worry about are our washer, dryer, hot water heater, freezer & furnace.   We have acquired the equipment we need along the way too- a generator in case the electricity goes out, floor pumps with long hoses, a squeegee on a broom handle, long extension cords and a back up sump pump.

If we think that we may be in for the next episode we start getting ready early.
First, is to get all my laundry caught up since we will need to limit our water use and not have to pay to use the laundromat.
Second thing, that I have learned from experience, is to thoroughly sweep the floors.  That way there isn't any debris floating around that could clog the floor pump.
My husband makes sure that we have a full gas can & everything is ready to go.

We make sure there isn't anything on the floor that can't get wet.
  All of our shelves purposely, have a bottom shelf that is up at least a foot from the ground.
All our eBay inventory that is waiting to be photographed are in plastic bins with lids are down there.
This is a part of our livelihood so we protect it as best we can.
 We carry up all our hanging clothes because even though they are not touching the water the moist air will make them damp.  We unplug lamps and heaters and put them up high.  The boys carry up the wooden ironing board,my art easel.  And the big bin of blankets, all food from the back up cupboard and anything else that we want to rescue.

All this does help but when we are all set then our living room looks like we are hoarders!
Boxes, Bins and baskets are everywhere!  You never realize how much you have until you have to try to squeeze it into one average sized room.  So while it really is very nice for friends to offer to help we are not sure we want them to see our home like this   Then we also have to explain that we are not hoarders but resellers, really!  Please believe us.

.It requires having some one being up at all times of the day and night and this needs to be explained too.   The floor pump works great but it can't just be left running or the motor will burn out.  I have been doing the graveyard shift, as my husband works during the day.  Being somewhat of a night owl anyway this works fine and explains why I look so tired at church and am up at 3 in the morning writing this blog post.     We use the timer on the stove to keep up with when the pump needs to be turned on and off.  At the beginning when it was at it's worst with the rain coming in fast it had to be turned on every 15 minutes, let it run for 10 and repeat.   Now a week later we are up to every 45 minutes off and 5 minutes on.  And so it goes.

I'm sure it gets to sound like a broken record after awhile as it's one of those problems that doesn't clear up quickly and I understand that it gets to be old so I try not to talk about it too much.
It's just rainy days routine for us.   We honestly do appreciate the concern and I've realized after typing all of this up that maybe there isn't a short explanation.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Last Minute School Project - The War of the Worlds Shadow Box

This is the project we did for an Art & Literature Fair last night.   It is a shadowbox from one of my son's favorite books  The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells.
I discovered the day before when I thought we weren't going to participate that he REALLY wanted to and so of course I adopted a can do attitude and we spent the entire day working on it. One of the beauties of homeschooling is that we can make these type of decisions and we got it done!

It reminded me once again the importance of keeping certain supplies on hand so these can be done without trips to the store.  In the hopes of helping other parents who may be faced with this situation here is my list of items to keep in stock.

From the Dollar Store - 3 sided Display board and poster's boards in white and maybe a few colors
Also pick up some of those thin plastic cutting boards, great for painting on or cutting out things.

Good Markers and the key to having these is to hide them!  I can't tell you how many times we dug them out only to find half of them had dried out.  So keep a stash for emergency use only.
Add some black sharpie markers in with the colors too.

Acrylic paints are awesome in that you can literally paint anything.   Our alien and the houses and ground on our project were done with acrylic paint.  The other great virtue about the paint is that it dries fast, we put some newspaper down in front of a fan to speed up the drying time.  The quick drying time allowed us to add a second color or even change it as we worked.

Add box cutters or an exacto knife along with a good pair of scissors to your private stash.
Use the plastic cutting boards with these.   We cut up several thick cardboard boxes today.

Fimo clay is another versatile tool.  You can shape it and bake it hard and then paint it.
 It held up the trees saplings that I dug out of our garden today.Another year we used it make little stands for some playing pieces for a geography game that we made.

Stock up on all kinds of paper, construction drawing, tracing and typing.

Wooden dowels or skewers, plastic straws and cups, cotton balls, Wire are good to have on hand too.  The legs of our alien was made with plastic bendable straws which looked good but ended up not being strong enough to hold up tin cans, so we strengthened them with wooden skewers like the kind you use to make shish kabobs.

We made the alien out of food cans with an old CD and a plastic funnel with a marble on the top.
The arms were from thick pieces of wire.  Tin snips were used to cut the wire and we used a glue gun to put it all together.

I hunted for ideas on Pinterest and saved websites that had interesting facts and images as we researched the book.   We glued some quotes from the book on the top of the box after we put construction paper on it with a big glue stick so add that one to the list.    

The dining room table was a mess when we ran out the door but the project came out great and that was the important thing.  The key is to remain calm and think creatively and help your child to make something you both can be proud of.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Moving Means Lists!

We will be moving to a new house sometime this year.
With that thought comes different emotions...the fun of a new place to decorate, feeling sentimental about leaving our home of the last 12 years.
Of course I have started making lists!

List 1 - has two columns Wants & Needs
This was to help me figure out what we really need in our new home versus what would just be nice to have but we could do without if necessary.  
On the Need side:
1  Bedroom on the main level (not getting any younger and stairs do bother my  knees sometimes).  Connected with that one is a bathroom nearby  (at the moment it is down said flight of stairs).  A master bath would be great but probably falls closer to the want then need.
2.  Dishwasher and Gas Stove - just essential in every way.  
3.   Garden - even if it's smaller I still want to be able to put in tomatoes, some herbs & flowers
4.   Basement - Have to have somewhere to go during really bad weather and we need it for our ebay business.
5. Privacy - We have come to realize that we are just more like country folk and need some space around us to feel comfortable.
6. 3 Bedrooms - for the boys and down the road for our daughter and family when they come to visit
7. Wood floors - This was more necessary when the kids were young and we had dogs but it just fits us better. That and leather couches that can be cleaned is just who we are.
8.  A room big enough to entertain company - This has been on our list a long time and a open floor plan where the living and dining room flow together would work.
9. Parking.  This goes with the above entertaining idea so a long driveway or easy street parking
10. Central Air Conditioning - yep there's no going back once you've had it.
 On the Want side:
1. Fireplace - we have so enjoyed having one.    Connected with that is a little woods nearby to collect fallen branches to burn
2. Covered front porch - for sitting on and a protected place for packages
3. Pantry -  Would be so nice to have All my kitchen items in one area.
4. Built in Bookshelves - we are avid readers.
5.  Ebay room - somewhere with natural light for photographs and an area for packing and storing        inventory.  All in one place would be a dream.
6. Big closets - where I could actually have all of my clothes instead of storing out of season ones.
7.  Deep Bath tub -  This almost should be on the Need list as I like to take baths over showers
8. Whole house humidifier - for those long dry winters
9. Attached Garage - where we would actually park our car for a change.

List 2 - Garden
Our house will be knocked down as it floods so there is no reason to leave anything so I am saving all my pots for transferring my garden to the new house.
The Need List:
1.  Japanese Maple Tree - slow growing so still small.
2. Blueberry bushes - DH's favorite
3.  Peony bushes - one of my favorites
4. Rhubarb
5. Bleeding Heart
6. Virginia Bluebells
7. Hens & chicks and small Sedum
8. Lavender & Sage
9. Lily of the Valley
10. Spring Bulbs
11. Ellen's Lily plant
12. Hydrangea
13 Azaleas
14. Japanese Iris
15. Primrose

And depending on if there is room at the new house can add to the want list
  Balloon Flower, Forsythia bush, Raspberry Canes, Hosta, Vinca, Mint and so on.

List 3 - Purge
There is nothing like moving to really clear out the house!
Of course we won't really know everything that needs to go on this list until we find the new home but for now it is a growing list.
It just feels good to go through everything we own and pare it down to only those things we use or love.    Plan on having a huge garage sale in May.
First before the sale is giving things away to anyone who may need them  It's good to share!

Making the lists have helped me with all the emotions tied to moving. I know that the Lord will provide a new home for us so I'm trusting in Him as to where we will be going.   I am praying that he helps us along the way in really letting go of things that are just that..things.