Thursday, February 17, 2011

It's a Beautiful Day to Be Thirty

I turned 30 yesterday.  Where is the time going?

It seems like just a moment ago, I was 20 and had no direction.  Whatsoever.

I shouldn't be, but I am...amazed by the change 10 years can bring.

My direction is solid and I'm more than content.  I'm peaceful on my path and it just feels right.

Strangely, though, the me in my minds eye is still a little girl of about eight years old.  A little girl with the mind and heart of a 30 year old woman.  I know I am and I go through the motions, but I'm not sure if I will ever feel like a grown, responsible woman.

So, what do I want for this next decade?  In no particular order...

  • Gain financial independence.
  • Learn Latin.
  • Learn German.
  • Learn Latvian well enough to calm the panic in my heart over losing my heritage.
  • Feel good about myself (get my thyroid medication optimized, get healthy, and get skinny).
  • Buy land, build a house, a barn, and buy horses (Friesians), chickens, and bees.
  • Build on our family ties - bring us closer and closer.
  • Bring the boys all the way through high school, successfully home schooling.

I think that's it.  I know that whether I meet these goals, I sure will have a good time trying.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Antique Store Finds...

My parents arrived last week...and Mom and I have been having fun.  I don't have time for a full length update, so I'll leave you with some pictures.  ;)

Gorgeous, footed, silver overlay bowl

Ironstone teapot, sugar and creamer

Roseville creamware pot

Purple Pyrex mixing bowls (not vintage, I'm sure, but they go well with my Emile Henry Figue cookware)

A beautiful glass necklace we think may be Czech (if anyone thinks otherwise, please contact me).

Aaaannndd.....though it's a bit premature, because it's a Christmas present and I don't have it in hand, I have to share a picture of it...  It's 13 inches tall!  Ironstone pitcher...

Happy holidays!!!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Word Vomit from Grumpy Gus

That's me today.  Grumpy, grumpy, grumpy.  But productive...which is an odd combo.  Grumpy because my body's doing weird things because I was irresponsible yesterday by eating something I knew would lead to me feeling this way.  Productive because...well, I don't know why, but I'm goin' with it.  Now, if only the rest of the family would get on board, too.  (see? grumpy.)

After scrubbing the kitchen counters and floors, making smoothies for breakfast, and running around as delivery personnel for my husband as he dismembers a deer (yay)...

I have a huge pot of Bolognese sauce simmering away on the stove, getting ready for the freezer.

I have one chicken already cooked, picked of meat, and stock boiling down for bouillon.  The second chicken is almost done in the pressure cooker and the stock will be boiled down, as well.

I have just finished picking pumpkins seeds from three huge pumpkins (since the boys were being prissy, grossed out, little girls about it - yes, I just said that) and we'll have salted, roasted seeds in just a bit (which I'm not sharing with the boys, thankyouverymuch.  Not today, anyway LOL).

By the end of the day, I will have also cut up and frozen one bunch of bananas (for smoothies for the boys) and sliced the other bunch to dehydrate for banana chips (yeah, like we really need the sugar).

After the bananas are done (tomorrow?), I will also dry roast a huge tub of garlic cloves and dehydrate that, as well, for roasted garlic chips and powder.  I also have jalapenos and tomatoes to dehydrate...

Have I ever mentioned how I really am not a huge fan of cooking or being in the kitchen?  Especially when I'm the one cleaning it?  Hm...

Laundry mountain needs to be folded before the weekend, wait...three laundry mountains.  And clothes need to be gone through for a Salvation Army/Women's shelter drop off.

I will also be taking a match to The Man's beautifully handmade bar, as it is covered with clutter and crap that I've asked him a million times to put away (his stuff - gun stuff, RV stuff, tools, manly stuff).  I've been asking him to do that for...months.  Yes, months.  And in my grumpiness, I'm deciding that a big ol' bonfire out on the lawn would help me feel better.  Yes, immensely.  :)  (most of you probably think I'm joking, but with my thyroid issues, I tend to run a bit cool and a bonfire would warm me up quite nicely).

Oh, yeah...and we still have a full school day ahead of us before the kids are supposed to go to their beloved "Kids Night Out."  Oooh, thought...  I am making Friday's "Art Days" since we do every subject all of the other days of the week and are ahead of schedule on everything else.  At least for today.

But once that's done, I'm hoppin' in the shower, putting on my new shirt and (clean!!!) jeans, I'm cozying down with some candles, the fireplace, a cup of decaf coffee with cinnamon (thank you Lord for Emeril's Jazzed Up decaf K-cups - it's the little things in life), and a good book.  And maybe some of this...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Dear God...

Thank you for boys who give me (key) rings.

Thank you for nature in abundance (even in the middle of riding lessons).

Thank you for unconditional love (even when it's pretending it wasn't doing anything wrong).

And thank you for the vast array of men and women (each with their own, special personalities) who fight to keep this country safe.

Go love on a soldier today.  Especially if you don't get to everyday. 
Then, go hug your family and give thanks.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Art for Stress Reduction? Maybe?

Sometime over the last couple of days I got it into my head that I didn't have enough to do.  I have convinced myself that I need to learn how to watercolor.  It will help me reduce stress (says the anal-retentive, type-A-screaming-to-get-out, micro-managing woman).  Watercolor isn't what am I trying to do?  Put myself into an early grave by using flowing colors that I just relinquish my control to?

So, since I don't have any watercolors (and am anally researching the best quality supplies - should take a year to finish my comparisons LOL), I thought it would be wise to bone up on my drawing skills.  I used to draw quite a bit in school, but it's been many, many years since I dabbled in shapes and shading.  Today, while the boys were practicing their writing, I was searching for drawing exercises and came upon this beauty.  For whatever reason, this seemed easier to me than the jalapeno I'd initially planned on drawing (we have a box of 'em on the counter).  My crazy brain seems to think that typically difficult things are easy and typically easy things...insurmountable (like, freezing fear - it's totally irrational).  I don't know why I'm like that, but going with it, I took it step by step and came out with...

My mom would say I'm being too hard on myself, but if you don't push yourself, how are you going to get better (and I'm certainly not freaking out over this being not quite realistic enough for me)?  Obviously, I need to work on my brows and lashes.  Hair completely escapes me and it has always driven me nuts.  The eyebrow is a bit too close to the eye, too, and my shading is off.  If anyone has any constructive criticism, I'd sincerely appreciate it.  And to do with the title of this blog entry...I do feel incredibly relaxed now that that's done.  ;)

I think that as soon as I can learn to draw some simple sketches, I'll invest in some good water colors.  My watercolor passion is flowers (like everyone else  LOL).  Peonies, roses, and iris', to be specific.  I've been watching YouTube videos on how to paint these gorgeous flowers and I'll admit...I do have hope for myself (fleeting though that may be).  We'll see, though...  I pray that the end result of all of this IS relaxation and not an aneurysm.  Haha!  Famous last words, right?

On a completely unrelated note, is it normal to do a happy dance when the UPS man delivers my rechargeable triple A's?  I can imagine some things needing batteries are worth doing a happy dance for *ahem*...but I needed them for my LED candles.  I think this is one of those "annoyingly domestic" moments in which I annoy myself after realizing what I'm doing.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Home Schooling Check In

This is a home schooling update for anyone who may be interested.  I've had a few requests for an update on the boys, so here goes...

We've started the new year off with a bang.  If there were any doubts whatsoever about homeschooling being the right choice, all doubt has been put to rest.  The boys are doing so well and are enjoying the year immensely.  I never thought I'd say this, but I am, as well.  I look forward to beginning our work most days and it's a good feeling.

A little bit of back story for any newcomers...  Jake was born almost exactly six months before 'Nic who are brothers through marriage.  'Nic was "held back" by the school system here because of his age (missed the cutoff by two weeks), which is a major factor in why we're home schooling.  He had been in an academic setting since he was a baby and was, quite frankly, more ready for school than Jake was.  We "dealt" with it his preschool and kindergarten year and tried to just go with the flow, but 'Nic, being the precocious kid he is, started um...occupying his time in ways that got him sent home on a sometimes daily basis.  Typical story...the kid was bored and understandably so!  He was the oldest in his class, he was beyond what they were teaching, and the teacher was teaching at the youngest child's level.  So, a few months before the end of the school year, we just bit the bullet and pulled him out.  He was falling behind in every aspect of his development.  It was heart breaking.  Anyway, at that point, he all but refused to read.  He hated it, felt embarrassed by it, and swore that when he had children, his wife would be the ones to read their bedtime stories (no joke).  Within two weeks, he was reading Harry Potter (5th grade level)...and telling us all about the story with a beaming smile.  Over the next couple of months and part of the summer, we caught him up to where we thought his true level should be (it was nearly effortless, so we're confident in this) and this year...he's learning the same 2nd grade level work as his brother.  The crappy behavior he was learning at school has been nipped in the bud and he's one happy go lucky little boy again.

Jake had a great first grade teacher, but after home schooling 'Nic independently for a couple of months, I realized that Jake could be learning so much more if he was getting more one on one education.  Not only that, but we were teaching 'Nic things that I know Jake wasn't learning and I felt he was missing out and I just couldn't bring myself to school him at home after he'd already been in school all day.  He began asking if I could be his teacher, too, so, out he came, too, and he's been growing by leaps and bounds mentally, as well.  His reading has also catapulted to around the 5th grade level).  No question that it was the right choice for him.  :)

For anyone interested, our curriculum is based on the book, The Well-Trained Mind, though we do quite a bit more than recommended because the boys are so eager for it and I'm really enjoying it, as well.

We study:

*The Bible
*Reading (currently, Jake's reading the Percy Jackson series and Nic's reading the My Side of the Mountain Trilogy)
*Spelling (Spelling Power)
*Writing & Penmanship (Writing with Ease)
*Grammar & Memorization (First Language Lessons)
*History, Geography & Mapping Skills (Story of the World)
*Math (Math-U-See)
Science (Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding in addition to learning about their new pet, a Texas Spiny Lizard named Grace that they caught in the backyard)
*Classical Music (listening to and/or stories about composers - I will begin teaching them Suzuki Piano shortly)
Swimming 2x week
Western and English Horse Riding 2x week

* = done daily

The boys are moving though their math books at a rapid fire pace, as they both LOVE Mr. Steve's videos that come with the Math-U-See program.  Their writing and narration abilities are improving noticeably each day.  They LOVE ancient history (they cheer when I grab the book every day LOL) and are fascinated by the things they're learning about geography and map reading, too.  They're still very much into science and take in MythBusters episodes like they're water (usually on the weekends when we have some "down time").  In the past eight weeks in swimming, 'Nic has gone from being TERRIFIED around water (like, climbing up us like a cat and screaming bloody murder) to literally jumping in and "hangin' out" under water to explore the bottom of the pool - AND they've both just started swimming on their own.  They love their horse riding lessons and while they get frustrated at times, trying to control such a big animal, 'Nic is clearly becoming more self-assured (as I'd hoped) and Jake is learning to temper his explosive energy a bit (also as I'd hoped).

And that's it in a (rather large) nutshell!  Good stuff!

Friday, November 5, 2010

For the Love of Fabric

I love fabric.  Fabric in general, yes, with all of its possibilities.  One fabric, in particular, really pulls at my heart strings, though.  Robert Allen's Patna Paisley in Fawn.  Isn't it gorgeous?  The print is far larger than it appears in the image and there are beautiful blues and creams in the pattern.  Can one "OD" on one fabric pattern?  I guess we'll find out, as I just bought a whole bolt of it.  Thank you God for 50% off sales. (now I can finish my bedroom curtains!)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Excalibur Food Dehydrator

My love got me something I've been drooling over for AGES for our anniversary...

Yep, the big boy, Excalibur 9-tray food dehydrator.  Seriously.  I have a whole long list of foods I want to dehydrate (it should be no surprise to anyone who knows me that I had to make a list before jumping in).  I'm one happy woman.

I'm watching all of Dehydrate2Store's videos for, like, the third time now (in about 6 months).  Great video's for anyone who's interested, by the way...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Three Years Ago Today

A cool, snowy wedding on Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska.
November 3rd, 2007
On this day, three years ago, I was doing something I never thought I'd do.  I was getting married.  Merging two families together and knowing, without a doubt, that we were a great team.  It's been a long, hard three years trying to blend our families (let's just say the boys did NOT like each other one bit), but this year was the year we found our light at the end of the tunnel.  In fact, it now feels like we are through the tunnel and out into the sunshine now.  The boys are closer than any siblings I've ever seen, my husband and I are stronger than ever, and all of us, together as a family, are as if we were never apart.

I love you honey.  I love you 'Nic.  I love my family and I wouldn't do this any other way than with you guys.  Life is good.

Monday, November 1, 2010

New Furniture!

We've been busy!  Thus, the blog has been sorely ignored.  But, as usual this time of year, my interest in blogging is renewed and hopefully, this is it.  So...

I did it!  I placed my order!  For the past year, I've been drooling over the Paula Deen Home Paula's Rectangular Dining Table in Tobacco, and after searching for something antique, something less expensive, something local, something else...I had to admit defeat and accept that, well...I am simply in love with the Paula Deen Home line and nothing else was cutting it.  I was really sad about the price, because...well, I just don't like to spend that kind of money.  We have two GIANT, really nice sectional sofas in our house and this table and chair set cost us about the same as both of those sectionals combined (we love a good sale).  So, my husband was poking around on the website and noticed that they have a price match system.  I sent the Google hounds hunting for me and came up with *gasp* lower prices elsewhere!  I called up CSN and spoke to a great guy (named Guy) who helped me lower my total for one table, two leaves, and ten chairs...ALMOST ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS.  I'm not kidding.  At all.  I 'bout choked on my pumpkin spice coffee.

Anyway, the table is a hefty size at 44" wide by 76" long, seating six.  With both leaves in it, it extends out to 117" long, seating 10 comfortably.  This means, no more seating the kids at the bar, separate from the parents when we have family over or are entertaining friends (all of whom have children).  It also means we can have more than one couple over for dinner, too.  ;)  Only I have to find strategically appealing places for four of the chairs when the leaves aren't in use, which will be most of the time, since we're a family of four.

Next on my wish list?  Check these out...

Paula Deen Sweet Tea Console in Tobacco (a lot bigger than it looks!)
Paula Deen The Bag Lady's Writing Desk in Linen (also a lot bigger than it looks!)
Paula Deen Sweet Tea Filing Cabinet in Linen (shown in tobacco)
Paula Deen Put Your Feet Up Coffee Table in Tobacco (or Linen...not sure yet)
I'm one happy woman right now.  Oh, hey!  I just remembered, I didn't write about the bed we ordered last year from CSN!

Klaussner Ashton Panel Bed (it's dressed up a bit
in our bedroom, and not as contemporary looking)
I'll be writing up a review on the bed in a bit...but let me just say, we are thrilled with this piece and especially for the price we paid (a steal, I swear!).
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