Right now I have so many chores that I am behind on. I really need to give my house a good cleaning but just can't find the time. I would love to call raleigh house cleaning services and have them do it for me but that isn't in my budget. For now the house is at least presentable and throughly cleaning it will have to wait. As long as I can keep up with the laundry, cooking, and harvesting the garden I will go to sleep at night feeling content. When things calm down I can worry about things like dusting knick-knacks and washing the woodwork.
Posted by LJN at 8:09 AM
This is the time of the year that very busy for me. Right now I am completely tied up with harvesting produce from our garden. Harvesting is the easy part of the process. What is time consuming is preserving the harvest. If I am now blanching and freezing produce you will find me canning it. Sometimes I also dehydrate certain things that I want to store for a really long time. Yesterday I dug up our potatoes and have about 30 pounds of them that I hope to turn into french fries for the freezer. As busy as I am I feel really good about all the food I am able to produce for my family at little to no cost.
Posted by LJN at 8:06 AM
A couple of weeks ago we celebrated our 23rd wedding anniversary. It seems unreal that I have spent more than half my life married. In my mind it was only yesterday that I was searching for wedding aisle runners - burlap and deciding on a cake topper. I am very blessed to have been able to spend my life with a truly wonderful man who has made the last 23 years a joy. We have experienced our share of trials but thankfully the good times have outweighed the bad. I can't wait to see what the next 23 years are like and I can only hope our joy is equal to what we have already experienced.
Our quail are now 3.5 weeks old and fully featherd. We hatched 8 out of 21 eggs. I realize this doesn't sound like a great hatch but we were happy with the results. We will be setting another batch of 48 eggs in the next couple of weeks. Our goal is to get around 12-15 hens for laying eggs and to raise the rest for meat. We will keep two sets of breeding quads which is one male and 3-4 females in addition to the laying hens. Quail are quick to mature and will start laying eggs at around 6 weeks of age. They are also "table ready" at that age. I moved the quail out of the brooder today and into their full size pen. It is good to have them out of the house and moving on to the next stage of their lives.
Last week I took my children to a homeschool event. We don't usually attend these because to be honest most of the homeschool families we have met are unusual and make me feel uncomfortable. I don't mean to sound rude but am simply being honest. At this event they asked that the parents remain in a "parent lounge" while the children attended the event. So, I spent 6 hours in a small room with about ten other home school moms. I learned more about their children than I ever wanted to and said less than two words about my own. I came away from the event knowing that one child has aguitar and is taking lessons three times a week. This child, according to her mother, is destined to be on television and is skilled beyond belief. I know every performance she has been in during the last year and even got to see a video of one. I doubt this woman left the event even know my name. It was strange and I am so glad I rarely attend events like that. At least my children enjoyed themselves.
Posted by LJN at 4:52 PM
I can't believe it is March! Hopefully, this winter comes to an end soon. It has been what seems like a long and bitterly cold winter. We are anxiously waiting for spring to arrive. What we are even more anxious for is for April to get here and along with it the start of trout season. This year my family plans to spend a great deal of time fishing. We enjoy fishing greatly but have been so busy the last few years that we haven't been able to devote much time to it. This year will be different and we are going to try to hit the water at least a couple of times a week.
For quite some time I posted about our neighbors' across the street. It seemed like there was a never ending band practice taking place at their house. I don't know if they had gotten a fishman loudbox mini at guitar center or where but we could hear them as clear as day everywhere. For the last couple of months there hasn't been a peep to be heard. I really think they might have moved somewhere else. I never saw a moving truck and the lights still appear to be on occasionally. It is nice not to be serenaded by music you don't want to hear at all hours of the day and night.
Posted by LJN at 8:18 PM
My husband has been invited to go to a mixer by the agency he works for. The event is sponsored by the local chamber of commerce. He asked if I wanted to attend with him. As much as I would love a night out with my husband I do not like these types of social functions. I always feel completely awkward and don't enjoy making small talk at all. Thankfully my husband understands my social issues and doesn't feel the need for me to be there. I am great when I am in a professional role but to go and simply be a stay at home parent is weird for me. I will be happier at home with the kids having a movie and popcorn night.
Posted by LJN at 8:09 PM
My children are displaying signs of cabin fever this week.The weather has been so very cold that we have been stuck in the house for days on end. They have been coming up with some very creative ways to amuse themselves. Today they decided to imagine that they were in a band. This wasn't just any ordinary band. They asked if they could look foronline because they needed one for their band. I told them they could look but not buy anything. I am quite sure that their band is a passing fancy and that by the end of the week the band will be long forgotten. In the meantime they managed to make due with a guitar and a tambourine. We should have warm weather by the end of the week and that I can get them outside to burn off some energy soon.
Posted by LJN at 6:15 PM
Lately, I have been a bit hooked on watching this show about plastic surgery in Beverly Hills. In the back of my mind I have always wanted someone to wave a magic wand over my stomach and erase my tummy. Truth be told I would never have plastic surgery unless there was a medically necessary reason. This doesn't stop me from being fascinated with the plastic surgery that other people choose to have. It amazes me that people who by most standard look perfect still feel that they are imperfect and in need of surgery. It goes to show that you can't judge how someone feels about themselves by looking at the outside. There are people who simply feel that they need to do whatever they can to strive for some picture of perfection in their own head. Although I wouldn't make the choices they make I can't fault them for reaching for what they want.
Posted by LJN at 6:08 PM
Lately, I have been feeling a bit stretched or drug out. Despite working out on a regular basis I feel stressed and as if I need to burn off some steam. There are times where I wish I knew how to play drums. It would be fun to sit down and bang on one of those . I have always found drawn to drums despite not having a musical bone in my body. When I watch people playing the drums they always seem like they are just really enjoying themselves and as if they don't have a care in the world. For now I am going to simply have to find another way to blow off steam because there is no likelihood that I am going to learn to play the drums any time soon.
Posted by LJN at 6:00 PM
I finished the C25K program a couple of weeks ago. Since then I have continued with my running on a consistent basic. My new plan is to work on increasing my speed and the time that I run. I have upped my speed slightly and added about 5 minutes to my 30 minute run. I am feeling really proud of myself for sticking with this and find myself looking forward to the days that I run. I never in a million years would have believed that I would run for 10 minutes let alone 35 minutes. I also walk for another 30 minutes in addition to my run. On the days that I don't run I also walk for 60 minutes. So...all in all I work out 60 minutes a day six out of seven days of the week.I am also adding some strength training into my routine.
Posted by LJN at 5:53 PM
I may have mentioned in a previous post that I have a family member who is a musician. She has very high expectations of the people in her life when it comes to giving her gifts. She thinks nothing of asking for a new violin case or other music related gift around the holidays. Her requests are so specific that it takes the fun out of shopping for her. This year my family elected not to exchange gifts in order to simplify things. We are, for the most part, simple people and don't really need much. It was nice to not have to worry this year about buying gifts and to simply enjoy a meal together.
Posted by LJN at 5:37 PM
It is the day after Christmas, and we have spent a relaxing day at home. Our traveling and gift opening has come to an end. The children were spoiled rotten by everyone in the family. They have spent a quiet day building and constructing with all the toys they were given. Everyone seems to have enjoyed themselves. It was really nice to visit with family and have everyone happy and healthy. I am looking forward to spending the next 12 days enjoying time with my kids and taking a break from home schooling.
Posted by LJN at 5:32 PM
On Sunday we will be having a party to celebrate my oldest son turning 14 years old. Those attending will be mainly our immediate family members. I know people who throw fantastic parties and invite a couple dozen kids, but that just isn't our thing. We like a quiet family gathering with cake and a little background music. I am always hesitant to choose music because my sister-in-law is a musician. She never fails to have something to say about my musical choices. She also loves to offer advice on buying musical equipment. She told me I should really looking into the revo 4 american dj at musicians friend for my next party. I always let her advice just roll off my back. I love music as much as the next person but for a simple birthday party our stereo works just fine.
Posted by LJN at 8:22 PM
So, my doctor called yesterday to tell me that my cholesterol is high as well as my LDL... I have to go on a low fat diet. I already eat a Paleo diet but I steer myself towards low fat meats. My glucose level was also high which could mean I am pre-diabetic. I have to have all of this tested again in 6 months. I will be interested to see what changes in that time given that I started running 6 weeks ago. Hopefully, everything straightens out but I am really thinking this is genetic because both my parents are on statins and diabetes runs in my family.
Posted by LJN at 8:16 PM
It is funny to listen to my father-in-law talk about things not that he is retired. Before he retired he had absolutely no interest in home insurance or finding a north carolina health insurance agency. Up until he retired he rented an apartment and had insurance through his employer. Now he has bought a home and has to find his own health insurance. I just have to giggle because the all frustration he is now feeling is something we have dealt with for countless years. I bite my tongue and simply listen to him but inside I am thinking that he finally understands all the stuff we have been dealing with. Hopefully, he finds what he is looking for in insurance and can move on to other pressing issues in his life.
Posted by LJN at 7:07 PM
I never go to the doctor's office but at my husband's nudging I went for a visit today. As it turns out I seem to be in good health. My doctor is pleased with the diet I am eating and the type of exercise I am doing. She says that she doesn't care what people weigh but is much more interested in what they eat and how they exercise. She said that if I can run a 5K when I am done with my training that in and of itself tells her a great deal more about my health than the number on the scale. That made me feel tremendous. I get very fixated on the number on the scale, and it drives me a little crazy. I have to wait for the results of my blood work but thus far I am encouraged by this visit.
Posted by LJN at 7:02 PM
Getting together with my family is always an interesting affair. We all have such diverse interests and opinions. You just never know what topic of conversation might come up. At lunch we might find ourselves talking about immigration attorneys. After dinner the conversation might drift into politics or what ever television show we are presently watching. While we differ on our opinions on these topics there always seems to be an underlying current of respect for one another. I hate talking with people who try to sway you to their opinion and fail to acknowledge the merits of your opposing viewpoint. Somehow we always have an engaging conversation without ending up upset with one another.
About three months ago my husband and I gave up eating grains. For the most part this has not been very hard to stick with. We do allow ourselves to eat normally on holidays. With today being Thanksgiving we indulged in all the foods that we have been denying ourselves. It was absolutely delicious but I really didn't fell the need to eat seconds or thirds of anything. It was just nice to eat what I wanted and not feel guilty. Tomorrow I am sure that I will hate what the scale says but for today I am just thankful for good food and family. I might even go for an extra walk tonight to work things off from today's dinner.
I have gotten Christmas shopping done for two people on my list this year. I still have a great many people left to buy for. The hardest person to buy for on my list is my sister-in-law. She loves music, and I know nothing about music. Every year she puts something on her list that involves me looking for things like an. When you don't have a musical bone in your body this can be quite a challenge. I would prefer she put stuff like books or gift cards, but that never happens. Who knows what she will ask for this year that will require me spending hours online doing research.
We awoke today to find the ground a blanket of white fluffy snow. The kids were beyond ecstatic because to them snow means that Christmas is on the way. I used today to continue working on my Christmas shopping. I was able to get shopping done for my youngest son. It took me hours to find good deals on what I have been looking for, but I found finally found them. My youngest son will be thrilled. What is even better is that my purchases earned gift cards that I will be able to use as gifts for other people. I can now cross my youngest off my shopping list and will now move on to shopping for my oldest.
I looked out the window today and saw what I would consider to be our first hard frost. I have actually been waiting for a hard frost because my hope is that it will kill the mosquitoes outside. I haven't been able to put the gardens to bed because the mosquitoes have been so bad. I know that this hard frost means snow is coming and that I will soon wish I had heated auto seats. Putting the gardens to bed for the winter isn't a big project but it isn't easy if you are being chewed up by bugs. Now I hope to be able to get the work done without ending up covered in bug bites.
Posted by LJN at 6:30 PM
There was a time when I believed that food from the store was absolutely the best thing for my family. Over time I have come to realize that is not true in the slightest. Food that I grow or am given by other growers or harvesters is best for my family. I have learned to accept free locally sourced food when it is offered to me. It may take time to process and my back may ache from the work involved but free food of this nature is good food. In the last week I have been given apples and venison. Later this week I will be picking up some free pears. My family will enjoy these things in the months to come, and I am thankful to have them no matter how much work is involved.
Posted by LJN at 6:23 PM
There are days when I just become overwhelmed with noise. My family tends to like to have a lot of things going on. My husband loves music and constantly has music playing. It isn't like he is a music aficionado and has a or anything. He basically has a large record collection and an antique record player and plays them constantly. Most of the time I love his musical choices, but there are just days when I need a little quiet and today is one of those days. I am sitting upstairs working on some projects, and it is silent, and I am happy. My nerves just need a break from the music for a bit.
Posted by LJN at 6:13 PM
I spent so much time this weekend canning that I almost cannot remember where the weekend went. My major project this weekend was canning even more apple sauce. We were given a couple of bushels of apples that we weren't expecting to get. They ended up being quite a project because they were not in prime shape. When the apple sauce was done being processed I found myself with a bunch of free venison that needed to be canned. This was also a bigger project than I anticipated. Since I was busy canning all that I decided why not just keep going, and I then put away 24 half-pints of mushrooms. Aside from the cost of the mushrooms the other food we put away had and estimated value of $130 considering everything was organic food. This was a totally worthwhile project.
Posted by LJN at 6:12 PM
A couple of years ago my in-laws purchased me a Squeezo to aid me in my canning endeavors. I had been wanting one, but it just wasn't in the budget. When they gave it to me I knew had to use this new gadget as much a possible because of the hefty price tag that came with it. I have learned to love my handy dandy device. It makes things so much simpler. All I have to do is was and cut up the apples and cook them until they are soft. The Squeezo turns the pulp into beautiful apple sauce with just a few cranks of the handle. It truly is the easiest apple sauce ever.
Posted by LJN at 7:25 PM
I didn't do a whole lot of canning earlier in the year. We had a great deal of stuff left over from my previous years of canning. I did freeze a great deal of fruit that we grew in our garden. I have however found myself canning a ton of stuff lately. This has included beets, apple sauce, apple juice, grape juice, and mushrooms. I am sure there are many other things that I have been canning but it slips my mind. I still have a bushel of apples to process into apple sauce and then my canning should slow down dramatically.
Posted by LJN at 7:20 PM
I don't have to look at a calendar to know when school is about to start in our area. All I have to do is listen out my window. Just before school starts I can hear the booming of the marching band practicing at my local high school. I can just picture them all marching around the football field or sitting in the bleachers discussing the pomarico black crystal mouthpiece. There is something comforting to hearing the band practice. I guess it reminds me of my high school years and brings back fond memories of listening to the band play.
We are so happy to see the sky darken and rain clouds form! Our area has been experiencing quite a dry spell. The ground is so dry the grass crunches when you walk on it. We have had rain but, it hasn't been a good soaking rain. As I type there is thunder in the distance. It rained quite a bit yesterday. I can only hope that what is coming is a nice long steady rain. Although we are just about done harvesting the produce from our garden I am sure it would benefit from one last nice rain. Thankfully we haven't had a drought like last year and things have grown nicely despite intermittent periods with no rain.
Posted by LJN at 5:04 PM
Last week we went out of town for a mini-vacation. The kids wanted to stay in a hotel and my husband had to travel for work. We decided to travel as a family and enjoy simply being in a different environment. We hotel we stayed at was a new hotel and had new beds. I wasn't sure about the beds at first but I realized over the course of our stay that a latex mattress is comfortable. We all slept very well on our trip and enjoy the hotel immensely. The pool was very warm and the staff was great. We loved our mini-vacation. I would definitely return to the same hotel in the future.
Posted by LJN at 4:37 PM
We have two gardens. One is in our backyard and the other is on my parents property. The garden in our backyard is just about done producing for this year. Last week we harvested the peaches from our three year old peach tree. We were very surprised by the amount of peaches we were able to harvest from such a young tree. Our bounty was about 80 pounds of peaches. We froze 10 pounds for smoothies this winter. The rest of the peaches were canned into 24 quarts of beautiful canned peaches. We still have about 8 pounds of peaches to process which I believe we will dehydrate. Next up on the agenda is potatoes and corn from our more remote garden. Overall I am very happy with our harvest.
Posted by LJN at 4:29 PM
I have mentioned before that there is a apartment building across the street. The people that live across the street are frequently visited by the police. This doesn't cause them to move any closer towards being law abiding citizens. One of their stupidest habits involves their dog which happens to be a pit bull that they leave loose in the yard. I have no doubt that one day they will find themselves faced a lawsuit filed on behalf of someone who had to find a san diego dog bite lawyer. The dog is not a nice dog and runs at everyone who walks by the yard. The guy who owns it claims it is just playing, but I have serious doubts about that. My dog never runs and lunges at people in an attempt to play.
My internet connection is acting all goofy. I don't know what the deal is. This has been going on for about an hour. I realize this isn't a very long time but it is still driving me crazy because I am trying to get work done. Everything I try to do is just lagging like crazy. All the usual tricks are having no impact on the problem. If I didn't have stuff that I needed to get done I would just shut it down and call it a day. When this stuff happens I try to remind myself of what life was like before the internet and computers. My kids have no idea what that world was like, but I do. Everything was so much slower....
We hosted a birthday party for our youngest son last night. My brother asked if it was okay if some friends of his accompanied him the party. Apparently they were headed out to some event after the party and were car pooling. I said the more the merrier. One of his friends is apparently quite the musician and also likes to be the center of attention. He talked all night about his band and random stuff like buying affordable banjo strings at musicians friend. I think I would have been more entertained if he would have brought and instrument and actually played music rather than rambling on endlessly about it. I guess the only way I will get to hear him play is to find out where his band actually has a gig.
Posted by LJN at 4:59 PM
I said I would not grow zucchini this year. I have so much dehydrated that I will never use what I have. Somehow I ended up with four volunteer zucchini in my garden. These plants are producing like none I have ever grown before. It is kind of funny. I also have a couple of pumpkin plants that I did not plant nor want to grow. In addition,I have two tomato plants in my garden that just decided they needed to be there. It is really funny how you can plan a garden and plant a garden and nature will still have plans of its own.
Posted by LJN at 4:54 PM
I have been spending every minute that it is not raining outside working on my garden. The humidity is so high that the sweat just pours off me. Even though I don't feel like I am accomplishing much I am completely drained at the end of the day. I decided that tonight I am not going to do anything. I don't care if I sit and read about bankruptcy in new york state or just stare at the ceiling. It will just feel good to relax and not think about weeding and more weeding. All this rain has made the weeds go absolutely crazy.
Posted by LJN at 6:25 PM
I graduated twenty fives years ago this June. My class isn't having a reunion and hasn't had one ever that I know of. It bothers me just a little bit, but I know I wouldn't attend a reunion anyways. My husband is headed out tonight to his own twenty-five year reunion. He only knew his class was having one because a friend let him know about it. I really wonder why a class would have a reunion and rely on Facebook to let people know about it. A lot of people don't use Facebook, and my husband is one of them. I hope he has a decent time and gets home safely.
This has been an interesting gardening season. When it comes right down to it they are all interesting. In the years I have been gardening no two years have ever been alike. It seems like every year I learn something new. Last year we struggled through a drought. This year it had been cold and very wet until just the last week or so. Now it is very hot and humid. I don't know what the rest of the summer holds but I am sure that I can't really count on or plan for anything. Just when I think I have sure crop we are thrown a loop. All I can do it hope for a decent harvest and learn from my mistakes.
Posted by LJN at 8:23 PM
I was talking this week with another home schooling parent about what our children want to do in the future. I have always looked forward with the idea that my children will want to go to college. My friend on the other hand thinks college is a waste of time and has raised her children with that attitude. She said her daughter has no further educational plans after high school and plans to go into musical theater. She talked all about their recent purchase of a and paying for ongoing piano lessons for her daughter. I try to wrap my head around this way of thinking but I struggle. They don't push their children to really learn in school and barely getting by is good enough. I really think that even if you don't go to college and pursue a music career that having a solid education is a good thing. It seems like every day we hear about some famous musician who had and lost it all and can't do anything except make music.I really think people need to broaden their horizons as much as possible and not limit themselves.
Posted by LJN at 8:13 PM
Have you ever made a new friend that you weren't completely sure you wanted to get to know really well? I am a person who trusts my gut and it usually steers me in the right direction. My son has made friends with a kid in our neighborhood and he is really a nice kid. There are certain things that the child's mother says when we chat that set off bells in my head. I wonder about the relationship between the parents in the house and what exactly is going on there. I also am not sure if I want my child exposed to a home where everyone might not being treated as well as they could or should be. The mother seems like a super woman but I wonder if she might be a second class citizen in her home. I just need to feel them out really well before committing to a deeper friendship. It isn't that I don't want to help someone or befriend them but I also need to think about how knowing them might impact my family.
Posted by LJN at 8:08 PM
A couple of weeks ago I went to a fly fishing class. I like to fish and have an interest in learning more about it. The guy who taught the class owns a fly fishing store. He told us about all the activities at his store. They have a night each week where they offer a class in fly tying and at the conclusion everyone is given a cigar to smoke. It sounds fun in a way to me but I don't smoke cigars and imagine that it would be a group of men essentially getting together. I think it is something that my husband would greatly enjoy if he was more into fishing. Right now he has so many things he wants to do that fishing is the last thing on his mind.
Posted by LJN at 7:39 PM
I spent the entire day working on my large garden at my folks house. There was tilling to be done and tons of rocks to be removed. It has been a number of years since the garden was actually used as a garden and the number of rocks to be found is plentiful. I spent a couple hours tilling between the rows that we have planted. After that I spent a few hours raking rocks into piles to be hauled off and dumped. This gardening season has been pretty wet which has made for a bit of a problem in getting things to grow properly. My seed potatoes rotted in the ground...It has been a rocky season in a couple of ways. My hope is that it will turn around and the plants will prosper.
Posted by LJN at 7:34 PM
My oldest always seems to be bouncing around the house lately. He went through a phase where all he did was spin in circles when he had nothing to do. Then he went through another phase where he seemed to run everything. Now it is bouncing that fascinates him. The problem is that he is no longer a tiny boy, and I am worried he is going to break something. I have considered a monitor mount bracket for some of my electronics as a precaution. For now I am telling him that anything he breaks is something that he will be working to replace. This means he will be doing chores to replace anything he damages by bouncing around the house. Maybe the idea of doing laundry and scrubbing the walls will slow him down.
I have been couponing at CVS for about 4 months. In that time I have acquired quite the stockpile of items. Initially I did have to spend quite a bit of money to earn Extra Care Bucks to start rolling from week to week. As it now stands I feel like I have a very good understanding of the CVS system and am able to get things for very little out of pocket expense. This week I purchased over $120 worth of items and my final cost was just a quarter. I did use a multitude of coupons and Extra Care Bucks, but I walked out with a bunch of Extra Care Bucks as well. I feel confident I could not have to buy any health or beauty products for one to two years at this point and we would be just fine.
Posted by LJN at 5:23 PM
While my husband and son are away this weekend I intend to spend the weekend organizing my pantry. My pantry is stuffed to the limit, and I really need to get some things labeled. I hope to find my label machine so that I can't print labels to put on the outside of boxes. Most of my food is stored in cardboard boxes or totes, and I really don't know what is in each box. My kids love to use the label maker and this is one project where they are really helpful. Sometimes having children help makes a project bigger than it needs to but I enjoy having them help when it comes to organizing.
Posted by LJN at 6:38 AM
My husband and son are going camping with the Boy Scouts tonight. I really don't think that they are going to have a very good time because it is supposed to rain all day and all night. They will be sleeping in tents which will make for a pretty wet and cold night. The temperature tonight is not supposed to more than 45 degrees. This trip was a last minute trip and whoever planned it didn't plan very well. We are getting emails from many families wanting to know what exactly is going on. I am just hoping they have some fun and don't get too wet.
Posted by LJN at 6:35 AM
I am a home schooling mom. I know there is a stereotype about people who home school and I feel that the stereotype is wrong in a number of cases. I don't have some religious reason for home schooling and didn't come to it as a first choice. I am not trying to protect my kids from the world nor am I fighting the system. I really find nothing in the stereotype that I identify with. The home schooling stereotype is about as foreign to me as the topic of raleigh creditor rights bankruptcy lawyers. My children are socialized and active in various groups with their peers. I don't feel that you would pick us out of a crowd as a family that home schools. I do wish that people would see home schooling as simply an option that fits some families in a way that public school does not.
Posted by LJN at 5:36 PM
The person from our community that I posted I about going missing last month is still missing. It is hard to believe almost a month has gone by without a clue as to what has happened to him. My heart breaks for his family. What really irritates me is that fact that people who don't even know him are spreading rumors about him. The man our family knows has been nothing, but kind, giving, and decent. To imagine him as anything less just seems wrong. Several people have tried to talk to me about the rumors, but I have not engaged them in this. I would like to believe that if something happened to me people would continue to believe the best of me, and that is what I am going to do in this situation.
Posted by LJN at 5:29 PM
Last week I took our truck for an inspection and was not happy with the results. The mechanic came out with a laundry list of things that he said needed repaired. I had them write them down because he might as well have been telling me I needed cam action edge clamps for all the sense I could make of what he said was wrong. My husband and I ordered the parts from his list of what was wrong with our truck and this weekend my husband will be starting the repairs. I am hoping that what they said is wrong with our truck really is and that this wasn't just a ploy to get me to pay for a bunch of repairs.
Posted by LJN at 8:01 PM
It seems like I just posted about how the weather was warming up here and that I believed that spring must finally be coming to our area. This morning I awoke to what appeared to be whiteout conditions outside. I honestly can't believe that the ground is once again covered with a couple of inches of snow and that winter is still here. The kids keep asking me what season it is, and I keep saying that it is spring and my younger son asks me why it is snowing? I just tell him that sometimes winter doesn't want to go away even though spring is here....
Posted by LJN at 7:55 PM
For some reason I cannot stop sneezing this morning. It is almost as if someone sprayed me with a perfume atomizer. I am really allergic to perfume and never wear it. I think what might be upsetting my allergies is the pollen from all the flowers that were in the grocery store I visited this morning. I have quite a sensitivity to pollen and didn't really think about it before I went grocery shopping. Around Easter the stores are always full of flowers and I should know better than to go shopping, but I had to buy a few things for Easter dinner. Hopefully my allergy medicine kicks in and I start feeling better soon.
Posted by LJN at 9:28 AM
Today we are going to my brother and sister-in-law's house for Easter dinner. My sister-in-law does not cook and in fact burns everything she does try to cook. It should be an interesting affair. She insisted that we have dinner at their house this year, and the rest of us decided not to argue. My mother cooked enough food to take to their house to more than make up for anything burnt beyond eating. I am also cooking some things to take along. I hate to speak badly about someone, but I really wish my sister-in-law would not try to cook for us all and just focus on learning to cook easy things first before trying to make a big meal for several people.
Posted by LJN at 9:24 AM
I can't tell you the number of hours I have spent organizing my coupons this week. It really can be quite a job when you coupon intently it can be quite a job getting things organized to scout out the best deals. When people say they don't understand using coupons it makes me laugh because these are usually the same people who stand in awe behind me in line as I pay pennies for my shopping. The reason most people don't understand it is because they don't want to take the time to research and organize their shopping. It is inconveniant to use coupons. You can't just stroll the isle throwing stuff in your cart. You have to have a plan and coupons available.
Posted by LJN at 6:43 PM
I spent this afternoon getting things together for a bunch of rebates that I have been meaning to send out. I have been saving receipts for quite a long time and really needed to get things sorted out. It might sound like a simple job but it was really time consuming. All of the rebates required multiple forms to be filled out. They also required the UPC codes to be included. Since I was doing several of them at once there was quite a number of receipts to organize as well. It took a long time but hopefully everything is in order and soon I will have cash in hand.
Posted by LJN at 6:28 PM
We are now in the midst of the flu epidemic hitting our home. For the last week my older son has been down with it and now our younger son is coming down with it. It seems that the flu vaccine did not help us thus far. What I hate with little kids is that there isn't much you can give them to help them get some relief. My older son if now at the age where I can give him adult medicines. I am hoping that they only have a mild version of the flu and we in the clear in a few days.
Posted by LJN at 5:49 PM
I have found that for me working out in the early afternoon is the best time of day. It doesn't matter if I am walking on the treadmill or doing resistance bands I simply feel the strongest at this time of day. Since I workout at home I don't need to worry about packing yoga bags or carrying around a change of clothes. I usually just wait until after lunch and jump on the treadmill and walk for 45 minutes. I then take my shower and feel energized for the rest of the day.
I only set one goal for myself for this year. That goal is to work out almost every day of the week. Thus far I have been walking for 45 minutes each day. During that time I burn about 400 calories because of the pace and incline that I am walking at. I have set no other goals because I feel like if you try to do to many things at once you set yourself up to fail at them all. Once I get my workout routine under control then I will add other things into the mix.
Posted by LJN at 5:40 PM
We are a family that is always reading. At any given time of the day you will find someone with their nose in a book. I absolutely love that my family loves to read. My children even like to listen to books so I am always trying to find free audiobooks online. I try very hard to always encourage my children to be voracious readers and it seems to have worked. I really hope that reading is a love that they carry with them throughout their lives. I cannot imagine what a life without reading would be like.
Posted by LJN at 2:48 PM
As I type I have a pot of elderberry syrup brewing on the stove. A couple of years ago I discovered this was recommended as a preventative for colds and the flu. If you are already coming down with a cold or flu this syrup can decrease the severity of the illness. My oldest has been coughing a great deal today and I am worried that he might be coming down with something. I am down to my last couple of doses of the syrup I made last year and decided to brew up a big double batch.
Posted by LJN at 2:45 PM
I don't know if I mentioned it or not but last month I passed the test to become a ham radio operator. I decided to get a license because my husband and son had gotten their licenses. In the month that I have had my license I had decided that ham radio is definitely a hobby pursued mostly by men. I have yet to hear a woman on the air. Somehow I picture all these ham radio clubs getting together to smoke nicaraguan cigars and talk sports or something. I have yet to join a club but I am a bit hesitant to do so if I would be the only woman. For now I am just going to listen and talk to my family when the need arises.
Posted by LJN at 6:51 PM
As I type I have sent everyone in my home to a different corner of the house. There comes a point when we have just been around each other too much and need a break. Right now my husband is finishing up painting our bathroom. My oldest son is finishing up a chore I asked him to do. My youngest son is in the basement watching a television show. I find myself in the quiet of our dining room all alone and finally getting a bit of work done. As much as I adore my family I need silence every so often...
Posted by LJN at 6:48 PM
This year has been one that I am looking back on with mixed emotions. I can only think of what the future may hold and hope that it brings joy and health for those that I love. I have faced in this year the loss dear and the potential loss of more. All I can hope for is that the future is bright and that those who I love are flooded with healing and well-being. My simple wish is for this and nothing more.
Posted by LJN at 6:37 PM
This holiday season there is absolutely nothing that I want or need. I am sitting here today deeply grateful for all that I have been blessed with. My children are safe and healthy. My father is once again well and feeling good. No one I know needs a california rehabilitation center for any reason. My husband is starting a new job that he desperately wanted. We have a roof over our heads and the love of family and friends. It makes my heart ache for all those people in the world who are not as fortunate. We should all reflect this holiday season on just what blessing we have in our lives.
Posted by LJN at 1:13 PM
My husband has been in a funk for quite a while. He has been having some worrisome health problems and has a very stressful job. His job is one that requires him to carry a huge caseload of clients and the paperwork associated with them is overwhelming. No single person in his entire department is every caught up with their work because they are so understaffed. The clients are very demanding and believe they have every right to immediate service even when they don't meet their requirements for participation in services. Today my husband was offered a job with a different department and called me in tears to tell me about the new job. That should tell you just how stressful his job is for him. To cry tears of joy simply because you are switching departments!
Posted by LJN at 1:02 PM
We lead a fairly simple lifestyle. It isn't important to us to have the newest or most expensive thing to hit the market. We share a single vehicle as our mode of transportation. Vehicle lettering is not something you will find on our truck and it doesn't have fancy bells or whistles. I know many people who couldn't not live without these types of things but it doesn't phase us. I like knowing I will be able to pay the bills each month and don't have a great deal of debt to pay off. So many people work simply to pay for their things. They are in a never ending quest to pay off debts and yet keep acquiring more and more stuff. About four years ago we made a choice not live to live for stuff but simply to live and that has been the best change we ever made.
Posted by LJN at 12:52 PM
I just read a news story about a shooting spree at a Connecticut elementary school. Our world is truly a depraved place. This is the second shooting spree I have read about this week. What is wrong with people? Why can't they just end their lives quietly... Hurting innocent people proves nothing and accomplishing nothing. It is just so sick and sad that this is becoming the norm for our society.
Posted by LJN at 12:44 PM
This year we are simplifying our Christmas shopping and only buy what we absolutely have to buy. Our children always end up being absolutely showered with gifts by their grandparents. It makes it nearly impossible for us to ever give them anything that will compared to what they get from their grandparents and this year we aren't going to try. They are each getting something they need, something to read, and something they want. The ground under tree may look sparse but it is just going to have to be okay.
Posted by LJN at 5:11 PM
We just got home from the first of our three Thanksgiving dinners. This one was with my family which includes my parents and brothers. It was a really nice meal with tons of food. My youngest brother is in town for a few days and we haven't seen him for about six months. Given my father's recent health problems it was nice to have everyone together as a family and to have everyone feeling better. It is however a long day and I am glad to be home.
It is snowing here today. After days and days of rain it is nice to see something else fall from the sky. The problem is that I can't get warm. I would turn on an infrared heater if I had one to take the chill out of the air. Our furnace is running but it just doesn't seem to be doing the job. I think I am just worn down and need to crawl into bed and take a nap. We have an electric blanket on our bed and I think that might be the best way for me to get warm right now. Hopefully we don't get too much snow because I am just not ready for it quite yet.
Posted by LJN at 1:06 PM
After spending the last two day in a hospital with various members of my family it should not surprise me that I feel crummy. To top it off my mother-in-law came by to visit and informed us that she had just been diagnosed with strep throat. Grr.... Today my head is stuffy and my throat hurts so either I am coming down with something or suffering from psychosomatic illness from spending too much time in a hosptial. I don't need to be sick right now and have too much on my plate to waste time like that.
We sat down this weekend and looked at our finances. My husband and I both have retirement accounts. We try to periodically sit down and assess our finances although we aren't financial experts and couldn't explain to you what immediate annuities are. What we try to do is to educate ourselves about our options and make an informed decision as to where we direct our money. Right now we are pretty pleased with the growth of our accounts and have decided that for now we will leave things as they are. It is always a tough call but we try to be realistic about our expectations and only move our money when we feel we aren't doing as well as we would like to be doing.
Posted by LJN at 12:33 PM
We are in the process of rushing through our school day. The reason we are rushing is that power outages are predicted for our area due the impact of Hurricane Sandy in our region. Although we are not near the coast, it is predicted that we will get very strong winds and heavy rain tonight. In the event that we don't have power tomorrow I want the children to be on track with school so that they don't loose a bunch of time.
Have you ever had one of those days when everyone seems to want to talk to you. I mean someone is constantly sitting next to you and just rambling away? That is the day I am having. Normally I don't mind people wanting to chat and will gladly keep up my end of the conversation but for some reason it is grating on my nerves today. Honestly it is probably just something to do with the changing season or lack of sunlight or something but all I want is to sit and just be alone with my thoughts. I don't want to talk about someone's day at work, robots, recipes, or the newest cartoon on television. It sounds mean to say and I will feel differently tomorrow but I just want to not talk with people for a bit.
There are times when it feels like we just never seem to relax. Even on a weekend when we have nothing on the schedule we somehow manage to end up being busy. At some point during the weekend I find myself daydreaming about pensacola beach house rentals. I can just imagine myself sitting by the ocean reading a book. I have never actually sat by ocean and read a book but it always seems like the perfect way to relax. The reality is that I am years away from having a beach vacation. That will have to wait until our children are grown and out of the house. Until that point I don't see us having the extra money for a beach vacation because every penny we have goes into raising them. I am happy just to daydream about vacations whilst enjoying seeing my children grow up happy and healthy.
Posted by LJN at 5:26 PM
A few months ago I joined a pretty cool seed club. This seed club sends out several packages of seeds each month as part of membership. It is really nice to get a surprise package of seeds in the mail. The cost of the membership is significantly less than it would be to buy the same seeds individually. So far everything I have received is something I would have picked to grow in my own garden.
Posted by LJN at 5:17 PM
We spent a very long day working outdoors. It seems like only yesterday when I was posting about getting the garden ready for spring planting. Today I am writing about putting the garden to bed for the season. It was a big job pulling out all the plants and cleaning up the debri. We have a large garden at my parents that we share with them. The way the garden is set up it makes the fall clean up a bit cumbersome. But it is done and the garden actually produced well this year which makes it all worth it. Nonetheless I am tired and ready for bed.
In just under a week my mother will be officially retired. She has worked at the same nursing home for almost 30 years. Over that time she has see so many changes in the way healthcare is provided. I am not talking about just simple things like nursing staff switching from wearing white dresses to maternity scrubs or regular scrubs. What I am talking about is everything from the basics of medical care to patient rights. The decision to retire did not come easily for her because after thirty years her co-workers are pretty much like family. I am just glad she is now going to be able to do some of the things she wants to do and won't be working so hard. I hope to throw her a small retirement party in the weeks to come to let her know we appreciate her working so hard all those years.
Posted by LJN at 3:20 PM
I am finally seeing light at the end of my canning tunnel. As I type I have 7 quarts of soup that are processing in the pressure canner. This will bring my total canning to over 400 jars this year. That is just about half of what I canned last year. I didn't need to can as much this year because I still have lots of food left from a year ago. It was really nice to have a more laid back canning season. I would have like to have been able to put away more fruit but most of the crops in our area were destroyed. Thankfully I put up so much last season that we won't be hurt as much by the high prices out there this year.
Posted by LJN at 3:19 PM
I haven't worked in my profession in about 7 years. I almost forget that I have the degree of training or experience that I have. Today a friend of mine emailed me to ask about some balance and dizziness problems that she is having. It felt really good for someone to ask for my professional expertise on something. There are times when I feel like my professional life was a million years ago and the only thing that I am any more is a housewife. As happy as I am with my life it is nice to have someone remember that I was once something more.
Posted by LJN at 1:34 PM
We have not had to buy very much in the way of clothing in the last year. We have been fortunate to have several people who have been kind enough to gift us their extra or unwanted clothing. A couple of weeks ago one of my husband's co-workers sent home a bag full of all sorts of stuff like cp shades clothing. Our neighbor has also been giving us her son's outgrown clothing. It is nice to be on the receiving end of nice clothing that my family will put to good use. It helps to stretch our budget and puts good clothing to good use.
Posted by LJN at 1:09 PM
The point in time has come where I feel like I am assuming more and more responsibility for my parents. It is not a place that I wanted to be but yet here I am. The hard thing is that my parents don't want to listen to my voice of reason. My father should not be driving. He cannot stay awake and can barely walk and yet he thinks he should be fine behind the wheel. He has about a dozen health problems that are reasons for having his license pulled. I finally had to explain to them both that if he continues to drive I will contact his doctor as well as the DMV to have his license pulled.
We are very simple people. Our house is neat and tidy but it is by no means modern or fancy. We simply don't place an importance on things like expensive decor. You will never find wall fountains in any room in our house. I often wonder how the people we know afford the things they talk about buying. A friend of mine was raving about her kitchen stove. I decided to look up the brand of the stove she was talking about and found out that the bottom line price tag on a stove like hers was around $6,000.00! I cannot imagine spending that type of money on a stove no matter how much money I had. It really felt like we were living in different worlds to hear her talk about the money they were spending on stuff for their home. In my head I just kept wondering what type of debt they must be in to support their lifestyle.
Posted by LJN at 9:33 AM
My tomatoes have had a rough go of it this year. I lost all the plants in the backyard to late blight. The plants at my other garden produced fairly well but are now loosing the battle to late blight as well. I should be happy that I got any tomatoes at all this year. I have about a bushel of tomatoes that I need to process but just can't find the motivation to do it. I have only canned about 400 jars this year as opposed to the 800 that I put away last year. Despite the smaller number I just feel less motivated. I know food prices are going to spike which means I should be putting away everything I can. I am resolving that tomorrow I will spend the day preserving my bounty no matter how little I want to because I know we will be glad to have the food in the coming months.
Posted by LJN at 9:29 AM
The other day I spent some time chatting with some people I used to work with. When we worked together we always seemed to find something to talk about such as shopping for silver chains, new purses, and shoes. When I was working it seemed like I was always shopping. I had none of the hobbies I now have to fill my free time and shopping seemed like a good way to spend time. In the six years since I left my previous occupation my habits have dramatically shifted. I rarely have free time that isn't filled with some activity in my garden or kitchen and I hardly go shopping. In the course of our visit I realize that we have next to nothing in common any more and the visit left me feeling awkward and sad. I actually feel bad for my former colleagues when I realized that all they seem to do is go shopping or out to eat. I would rather work in my garden or in the kitchen than spend hours at the mall.
Posted by LJN at 7:26 PM
A friend of mine has gotten into canning after listening to me talk about about my canning adventures for the last couple of years. I can between 300 and 800 jars of food a year. It all depends on what I have on hand and what my garden produces. She makes fun of how much I can but I think she is slowly transitioning to doing more and more canning. This year she purchased her first bushel of green beans for canning. I find it amusing to listen to her talk about how much work a bushel of beans is to process. I don't say anything but can't help but think that a bushel is nothing compared to the 110 pounds of beans I did two years ago.
There was a long period of my life when I could not imagine going a day without washing my hair. For the last three years I have had long hair which is unusual for me. Over that period of time I have begun to realize that my hair actually looks and feels better when I don't wash it every day. I now only wash it every third day. This is nice because I use less shampoo which means I can buy better quality products like weleda or something similar. It is nice to be able to get out of bed and take a quick shower without spending an hour messing with my hair. My hair tends to look nice for a few days after I style it with only a little bit of freshening up. It is a nice change of pace. I wish I had discovered the ease of long hair years before this.
Last year I canned over 800 jars of food. This year I am canning about half of that. The reason being that we still have plenty of food left from last year. I try to keep a one year supply of food on hand at all times. People think this is crazy but I don't care. It give me a sense of security. I only have couple of things left to process on my list this year. Once I have processed a bunch of potatoes, more meat, and a few more assorted jars of sauce my canning will be done. Then I can turn my attention to stocking our pantry with dry goods. Food prices are not going to be going down and I want to buy all I can before prices start to sky rocket.
Posted by LJN at 6:27 PM
We just came back from a play date at a friend's house. It is always interesting to go to her house because you never know what she might have changed about her house. She is constantly re-decorating. The last time I went there her house was decorated around a western theme. She even had western bedding sets in all the rooms. Her dining room had horse decor and a western border. The time before that it was more of a Victorian theme. I really don't know why she feels to constantly change things up. This visit the western theme seemed to be mixed with primitive country stuff. I am suspecting that she is in the middle of a style transition. I guess I find this interesting because I haven't really change the decorating style of my house in a decade or more.
Posted by LJN at 3:52 PM
There are days when I really appreciate my husband more than others. I was talking to a friend of mine about car repairs. She indicated that her husband doesn't repair anything on their vehicles and that they always take them to a garage. I can't imagine how they afford it since they have a pretty tight budget. My husband has taught himself to repair just about everything on our vehicles since we were first married. He just sets his mind out to figure out what needs to be done and does it. Considering he didn't have anyone teach him how to fix car I think he is pretty darn amazing.
We bought a used truck last week. This truck was originally well beyond our price range but we manage to get it for a great price. The truck had papers inside it from the original owner detailing all the repairs that had been done to it. It also had notes from the shop indicating what repairs needed to be done to it. We had in our hands every record related to the truck since 2004 when the owner purchased running boards for it. It even listed where he found tires for sale at a discount. By negotiating a fair amount for our trade in we brought the price down. We then went on to discuss the repairs that we listed as needing to be done and the amount it would cost to have them done at a shop. My husband took it one step further and offered to buy the truck "as is" rather than with a small warranty. We figured if we got the price down far enough that he could do the repairs himself at a fraction of the price a mechanic would charge. In the end the price of the truck was nearly $5000.00 less than the asking price. We drove away with a truck that we really wanted that was once out of our budget.
Posted by LJN at 3:25 PM
My husband is the type of guy who has a natural mechanical intuition. It is really pretty amazing because his father was never really involved in his life and didn't teach him this sort of thing. It all started when we were newly married and one of our cars broke down. We didn't have the money to pay someone to fix it and he decided to try to fix the problem himself. Since then in the twenty years that we have been married we have only taken a vehicle to the garage a couple of times. Yesterday he fixed a problem with the airbag system in our truck by installing a new clock spring. Tonight he starting the process of replacing the upper control arms and shocks on our truck. Next week he will be putting a new oxygen sensor on the truck. I am so thankful he has these skills because the cost of these repairs at a mechanic would be two or three times what the parts have cost us.
Well, my garden has started producing and it looks like this is going to be a good harvest year. So far I have been picking cucumbers, carrots, collards, and peas. In addition to those things my green beans have been coming in like crazy. So far this week I have canned 14 quarts from just one raised bed. I have 2 more raised beds with beans that should be ready to pick by next week. I am also growing yard long beans that I hope to freeze for stir frying this winter. Despite the drought we have managed to keep everything watered. I would love to be using rain water but my barrels are dry. By planting densely I have been able to keep the plants a bit moister than usual which has helped. Hopefully we get some rain this weekend!
Posted by LJN at 3:40 PM
In the last couple of months we have had to make a tough call and take away my father's driving privileges. His health has declined so much that we do not feel he is in any position to be behind the wheel. He quite upset about this but it had to be done. Every time he get behind the wheel of his truck something happens to it. I am not talking about something that could be covered up with ford f150 seat covers or a bit of scratch remover. The last time he got behind the wheel he decided to drive over a fallen tree and ripped the oil lines loose. Before that he backed over an embankment and got the truck high centered. My parents have had to call a tow truck more times than I can count and I am worried about other people on the road. Hopefully, his health will improve and maybe someday he can drive again but for now my mom and I are driving him everywhere.
Posted by LJN at 3:29 PM
I don't normally post about celebrities or get very caught up in anything to do with Hollywood. I do however have an opinion on the divorce between Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise. I would like to applaud Katie for finally having the nerve to free herself from Tom and his crazy Scientology ways. The manner in which she orchestrated her departure from him is brilliant. I really think everyone on the outside looking in has questioned this relationship since the beginning and there has been a sense that she was somehow under his control. It is to be applauded that she has prioritized her daughter in the way that she has and is moving forward to free herself and her child from Scientology.
Posted by LJN at 3:24 PM
Somehow over the last couple of years we must have developed a reputation for taking free stuff. Whenever people are getting rid of something it seems like we are the first people they offer it to. Don't get me wrong I really appreciate free stuff. Just this week a friend dropped off a bag of custom tshirts that he no longer wanted. The week prior to that a co-worker offered us a freezer that she needed to get rid of. Thankfully all the stuff we have been given is stuff we can use and is in great shape. I really hate when someone gives you something that ends up being junk. It is always weird when they visit and you have gotten rid of something they gifted you because it was unusable.
Posted by LJN at 3:16 PM
In previous posts I have commented about the age of my laptop computer. For quite a while I have thinking about replacing it but couldn't bring myself to do so. Over the last few months my laptop has begun to display some problems that have prompted me to decide that replacing it was not going to be optional. Last week it shut down spontaneously after displaying a blue screen. It did not come back on for quite some time and was very hot to the touch. Today I received my new laptop computer. Actually it is a refurbished laptop that I got at a considerable savings. It has the same warranty as a new laptop and looks like a new laptop. I couldn't be happier with it!
Posted by LJN at 3:07 PM
This month my husband and I will celebrate our 21st wedding anniversary. Next month my brother and his wife will celebrate their first anniversary. It seems funny that my older brother just got married last year for the first time and that I have been married two decades. I am thinking about what to send them for their anniversary. My brother is a practical guy and would even appreciate his and her's welding jackets since his hobby is blacksmithing. His wife would not appreciate that sort of gift but I would love to give it them something like that. She is not very down to earth and really wants things that are aesthetically pleasing as opposed to functional. I might just send them a gift card because there is no way I will ever please either of them with any other type of gift.
Posted by LJN at 5:41 PM
I am in the midst of prepping for my first colonoscopy. I will just say this- it sucks!!!! I am hungry and it is not fun to sit on the toilet all day. About two months ago I had some issues which made my doctor think this test would be a good idea. Considering I had to wait this long for the appointment I am now wondering what the point might be since I feel fine. If I could I would cancel the test but my family wants to get it done so I am going. I just wish there were a less personal way to verify the health of that region without this particular test.
Last year I canned over 800 jars of food. Last week I took a tally of how many jars I have left and what we will need in the coming year. I realized that we have used about half of what I put away last year which is fine. Canned food lasts for a couple of years under ideal conditions which means I won't have to can nearly as much this year. If you find this boring you could always click here to read about something else but canning is what is on my mind right now. One thing I know we will need a bunch of is strawberry lemonade concentrate. I made this for the first time last year and we absolutely loved it. I am planning on canning at least 48 quarts of it this year because the 12 quarts I made last year were not nearly enough. Have you ever canned anything that your family just couldn't get enough of?
Today is the first day of summer vacation for both of my children. Since it is raining they have elected to spend the day watching television. My older son had lost his television privileges earlier in the school year because of some bad decisions and was told he would regain them when he finished all of his school work for the year. Last night he finished the very last of his work and was able to have his television watching privilege back this morning. I don't mind them having one day simply sitting in front of the television after months of not being able to do so. I will reign in their viewing to a reasonable amount in a few days but for now I am going to let them just enjoy themselves.
Posted by LJN at 12:21 PM
The first harvests of the season are always exciting. Thus far this year I have been able to pick 3 quarts of beautiful strawberries right out of my own backyard. In addition to the strawberries I have been lucky enough to pick a couple of quarts of really tasty sugar snap peas. The children find it especially exciting to see what is ready to bring in the house and love to help me in the garden. It takes a bit of planning to get things going at the right time in the garden and keep the plants healthy but it is so worth it.
Posted by LJN at 12:09 PM
A couple of weeks ago I shared some personal information with my brother. I asked that he not tell anyone because of the nature of the topic. Since my conversation with him took place his wife has sent me multiple emails that were subtly digging to find out what I had shared with my brother. I don't really know my sister-in-law very well and would feel more comfortable talking with her about non-personal like online business insurance quotes than I would sharing a personal problem. Instead of answering her probing questions I simply chose to respond only to those areas of the email that were less personal. There may come a time when I feel comfortable talking with her about sensitive topics but I need to know her better before do so. As it stands she tends to send out mass emails to everyone she knows when she is facing a problem or someone has a health concern. I simply don't approach life in a such a way and would hate for my issues or health problems to become public knowledge in such a way.
In raising children I have come to appreciate their need for being active and playing outdoors. Too many children today don't get nearly enough outdoor time. We all hear on a constant basis that our country is becoming fatter and fatter. Should this really surprise us when you consider how much time children spend "plugged in" ? We make a point of taking our children outdoors as much as possible. Just about every day my husband takes them for a nice long walk around the neighborhood or down the street to the playground. At the very least we all head to the backyard to play frisbee or work in the garden. This is as important to me as making sure they eat fruits and vegetables.
I have a Saturday morning ritual that I look forward to each week. On Saturday's I get up very early before anyone else is awake and head out to do my weekly shopping. I love being in the store when no one else is up. It is so nice to browse the isles without having to push through crowds or wait in line to use the barcode scanners. Before hitting the store I always treat myself to an extra large coffee. As much as I love my family shopping with them somehow becomes stressful to me. I like not having to worry where everyone is and there is no begging for stuff we don't need when I am alone. When I have a great deal to accomplish I make sure to do in on a Saturday morning. This makes trips when I do take them more about letting them browse than me worrying about getting everything on my list.
Posted by LJN at 10:10 AM
This morning I had to take my older son for an MRI of his leg. In a few days we should have a better idea of what is going on with it. He has had pain off and on for a while and the x ray he had came back with some abnormal finding. This afternoon I have to go for my annual mammogram. That is always a good time. Later this week I have to go for a visit to schedule a colonoscopy. Last week I took my Dad for a visit to find out the status of a biopsy he had. It turned out that he has prostate cancer and will soon start having radiation treatments for that. I will be glad when May is over and we know what is or is not going on with us. Even though I expect things to be fine it is still worrisome.
Posted by LJN at 10:04 AM
My younger brother has been in a serious relationship for about a year. I have a suspicion that this relationship is one that will last and that they may announce their engagement soon. His girlfriend has been married before which means I will have to check out some gift ideas at somewhere like http://www.redenvelope.com/second-marriage-gift-RSMGS. My brother has lived on his own for a very long time and is unlikely to need the typical wedding gifts like a toaster or dishes. I am just so happy that he finally has someone in his life who shares his interests and outlook on life. I think they both will bring a great deal of positive attributes to a marriage and really hope that it is the future for them.
Posted by LJN at 3:21 PM
My laptop is about 6 years old. Until the last couple of months it has worked really well. Lately it is sounding really funny and I am confident that something is about to fail in it. After running for several hours it starts making a really loud sound. We have had to take it apart to clear dust out of it which usually makes it work fine. This is now not even working which makes me think that the sound is a part that is going bad. I have started looking for a replacement but am trying to keep this computer as long as possible. It serves my needs and I don't want to spend money that I don't have to until I am forced to do so. It would be really nice to get another 6 months or so out of it.
Posted by LJN at 3:17 PM
Raising boys is always exciting. They are constantly learning and doing things in a way that keeps me on my toes. My oldest son can find something intriguing wherever he goes. The child wants to understand how everything works and what it means. He also expects that I will be able to explain to him whatever catches his attention. It doesn't matter if we are at the library and he sees ITIL Books on the shelf or books on automotive repair. I suppose I should feel good that he thinks my knowledge base encompasses everything under the sun. At least he expects that I will have some understanding of such an array of topics. So many children his age already think they know more than their parents.
Posted by LJN at 3:05 PM
My youngest son is the proud owner of his first pair of glasses. It is absolutely adorable to look at him wearing glasses. He looks like a mini version of his older brother. What is even more fun is to watch him experience the world through his new found vision. On the way home from the optometrist's office he was pointing out all kinds of things to me that he never did before. I listened to him taking note of birds and signs and the clouds in the sky. It really made me appreciate just how much he had been missing out on without glasses.
Posted by LJN at 2:59 PM
I have just a couple of projects left to finish for the day and then I am headed to bed. It might be just the weather but I can't seem to get warm today. Sunday afternoons like this are perfect for laying in bed and catching up on a bit of television. Usually my youngest son is the first to jump in bed for a "snuggle". It won't be long before we are complaining about the heat and humidity which makes me not a mind a cold day like this every so often. My only hope is that the cold days are coming to an end because as much I like crawling under the covers I would rather be digging in the dirt.
Posted by LJN at 2:18 PM
My husband and son are considering trying to build a go kart. I don't know where they got the idea but they are pretty excited about it. I really wish they would abandon it all together. They are both kind of easily distracted and even if they had hjc helmets on their head I would worry about injuries. My husband is the type of driver who is constantly scanning the side of the road rather than looking at what is ahead of him. It makes me nervous to ride with him. I can only imagine what could happen if he wrecked in a go kart. With any luck they will abandon this idea before they begin and we can move onto the next big project in their lives which will hopefully keep their feet planted on the ground.
Posted by LJN at 2:14 PM
There is an apartment building across the street from us. About six month ago this guy moved in with a pit bull. I have only seen the dog outside once in that time. The poor dog barks and howls non-stop whenever the owner is away which is most of the day. I have to wonder if the dog is going to the bathroom all over the house or if the guy is expecting it to "hold it in" until he returns. The dog sits at the open upstairs window and just barks and howls for hours. At around 10 pm each night the owner returns and all the noise stops. I just feel really bad for the dog...
Posted by LJN at 2:09 PM
Yesterday my husband and son returned from what was one of the worst camping trips they have ever been on. My son's scout troop held a camp out in the rain at a local playground. The tent that they used was not adequate for the weather conditions and they came home with everything absolutely soaked. Our tent is nothing special and not at all like any of the Sierra Designs Tents you might find online. We should have known better than to trust a cheap tent in bad weather but you live and learn. I don't think either one of them will be heading out to camp in a tent in the rain until we upgrade our tent a wee bit. Sleeping in a downpour is impossible and getting everything dried out after being drenched is no fun at all.
Posted by LJN at 2:06 PM
Do you buy fresh celery from the store? If you do I want to tell you the neatest thing that I have been doing with the bottom of the celery that you normally cut off and throw away (or compost). I have been taking that bottom inch or two of the celery bulb and placing it in a small dish of water. After a week or so the celery starts to regrow leaves out of the top where the cut is. Once the leave appear I bury the bulb in dirt up to the leaves. The celery then continues to grow into an entirely new celery plant. This is a great way to get more bang for your dollar and is a really fun project for children.
Posted by LJN at 2:02 PM
At dinner tonight we had a conversation about shaving with our oldest son. He is almost thirteen years old and it has become clear that he needs to learn to shave. It was interesting to see the look on his face when we mention that his father was going to show him how to shave in the very near future. It is as if he doesn't feel he is old enough to be bothered with this. To tell the truth I don't feel like I should have a child old enough to be shaving. It will always seem like just yesterday when he took his first steps. It is nice to see him maturing and growing into being his own person but I think we both feel a bit rushed by his growing up so fast....
Posted by LJN at 5:22 PM
This week I took my children to the doctor's for their annual check ups. I don't really have a great deal of interaction with other children their age on a routine basis. While at the doctor's office there were a couple of children, around the same age as my older son, who were waiting to be seen. I listened to them talking about needing new neff clothing and cell phones while they waited. The conversation struck me an interesting because my son never asks for different clothes or electronic gadgets. I realized in that moment just simple my children's needs are. Being home schooled they don't feel the pressure to own certain things or dress in a particular way. It is nice to have them be happy with what they have and who they are.
Posted by LJN at 5:18 PM
My children started spring break this weekend. Typically I would not expect the children to do any school work while they are on break but this year is an exception. My older son has a very heavy workload this year and needs to put in a little extra time on his studies in order to finish on time or early this year. We enjoy having an extra long summer vacation whenever possible and putting in some extra school hours now will enable us to do that. He is going to be doing a couple of lessons a day during break in order to make sure we are able to have a nice long break this summer. I love that he understand the concept of working hard and playing hard.
Posted by LJN at 5:14 PM
We are in the process of planning the layout for our new garden. This garden will be much bigger than anything we have had previously. We are hoping to use rain water that we collect via a simple gutter system to do the majority of the irrigation for the garden. My son has all kinds of plans for how our rain water collection system could be improved if we were to install a pump and some teflon hose but I really want to keep it simple. Getting the ground ready and building a fence will be a big enough project for this year without any addition projects. I am looking at this year as an experiment that we can improve upon in the years to come.
This week my husband and I went to have our eyes examined. We are lucky to have eye care insurance because the price of glasses is absolutely insane! For about 7 years we have been electing to use purchase our glasses online despite having insurance. I can buy about 5 pairs of glasses online for the cost of one pair at my eye doctor's office. I realize that there selling glasses is how eye doctor's cover the cost of staying in practice but I cannot tell a difference in the quality of glasses that I pay $25.00 and those that I pay $200.00 for. Given that everyone in my family wears glasses I simply cannot afford to buy glasses at the doctor's even with my insurance coverage.
Posted by LJN at 4:51 PM
I thought I would pass along a tidbit of information that has saved me a few dollars. We live in a state where we can choose who supplies our electricity. I decided to investigate the prices between providers in my state and found quite a difference. By doing a little investigating I was able to lower my electricity bills by ten dollars a month. It is pretty easy to do this. Just do a search for your electric provider's "price to compare". You need to know the provider's name such as new jersey energy and some basic information like your account number to do the research. If you live in a state that offers consumer choice you can usually compare prices right online as well as change service provider's. I might have invested half and hour in researching my options. I think this is time well spent to save over one hundred dollars a year.
Posted by LJN at 2:12 PM
Two days ago I got the wild idea to dehydrate some onions. Not just some onions but more like 15 pounds of them. If you have never chopped that many onions it is hard to appreciate the smell. What is even harder to appreciate is the smell they put off while dehydrating. So far my onions have been in the dehydrators for over two days. I finally took them out and ran them through the blender to get them even finer to speed up the dehydrating process. I guess it must be humid enough to make it take longer to dehydrate. Either way they stink. I don't know if I will do onions this way again...
Posted by LJN at 2:05 PM
I have a good friend who seems to perpetually be on a diet. Every time I talk to her she tells me about the newest diet she is trying. She has attempted to loose weight by doing everything from taking myonox to the cabbage soup diet. When I talk to her about diet and nutrition it always seems to fall on deaf ears. She is convinced that there must be some tricks to loosing weight aside from simply eating well and moving often. I have been in her shoes and finally accepted that the only way to get healthy was to follow conventional wisdom. It isn't easy nor quick but it works it you give yourself over to it. I now realize that I didn't gain weight overnight and I won't loose it that way either and keep it off.
We are a one car family. It has been about a year since we got rid of our second vehicle. It was hard to justify the cost of insurance to keep a second vehicle sitting in the driveway. For the most part this has not been a hassle. There are times when I wish I could put the kids in the car and go for a drive but these moments are rare. Given the cost of gas today it is hard to just go out and drive for no reason. Today, I took advantage of the gorgeous weather and took the kids out and about. They had a blast just visiting stores and looking at everything. It makes them appreciate shopping trips all the more when they are few and far between.
Posted by LJN at 5:07 PM
Having idle time is not something I am used to. It is in my blood to keep busy and keep learning and doing new things. This week I decided to try my hand at canning citrus. I have to say that this is not something that I will be doing again real soon. It is a great deal of work. Possibly more work than anything else I have canned. As a follow-up project I decided the time had come to process all the garlic heads I had stored from my garden. Let me tell you that peeling the cloves from 80 heads of garlic is a time consuming process. Hopefully, the garlic powder tastes amazing and it was worth my effort.
Posted by LJN at 5:24 PM
For Christmas I gave my husband a video camera. He had been eyeing them in the store and I knew that he would love having one. This has been the best gift I could of given him and he is constantly taping something. I need to check for ritz camera coupons or something similar for him to use to buy additional gear for his camera. I know that he would like a tripod but I haven't had time to look for one. His birthday is coming up and I might just give him a gift card and let him pick out his own present. It is so nice to give someone something that you know they love and use as opposed to a gift that sits around collecting dust. It seems like every day he has a new video he wants to show me of something that caught his eye.
Posted by LJN at 4:45 PM
The impending rise in gasoline prices has me intent on planning for the future. I suppose this might fall under the category of prepping. I am intent on stocking my pantry with food as cheaply as I can. Last week I bought 20 very large peppers for next to nothing. I made stuffed peppers and froze them. I also bought 8 pounds of mushrooms and dehydrated them along with several pounds of carrots. All of my celery is being dehydrated and the bottom half of the bunch is being re-grown! You can regrow the bottom of celery and green onions. I dehydrated a couple of bunches of green onions and them potted up the rooted bits. They are already growing and it has only been a week. My next project is to get a bunch of meat canned.
Posted by LJN at 4:41 PM
Our winter has been exceedingly unusual this year. We normally get tons of snow and winter seems to never end. This year we have had very little snow and lots of rain. It really makes me wonder what summer will be like this year. Last summer was so hot that it seemed like it would never cool down. My brother could hardly keep his pool supplied with a salt cell and chemicals because it saw so much use. Given that our winter has been so mild it makes me wonder if our summer will be mild as well. We had a very harsh winter last year followed by a terribly hot summer. I don't know if there is any connection between the two but I would love to have a nice comfortable summer this year.
Posted by LJN at 5:02 PM
We planted a peach tree in our backyard a couple of years ago. It was just a tiny little thing and has grown quite a bit since then. It might even be big enough this year to produce some fruit. I am considering getting a second fruit tree for our yard this year. My goal is to be able to produce enough fruit in our yard to feed my family for a year. We love fruit and it can be pretty pricey in the store. I don't mind waiting for the trees to be big enough to fruit because I know the investment will be worth it. I am just not sure what kind of fruit tree to get. I want to plant fruit that costs me the most at the store and is easy to grow. I need to research pear trees to see if they would do well in my climate and my area.
Posted by LJN at 4:50 PM
The time has come for our family to begin starting plants for the upcoming gardening season. I love that my children are completely enthused about growing a garden. I don't know what I would do if I had children who were more interested in sports than nature. I know that I could learn all about baseball uniforms and who needs baseball cufflinks if I had to but I am glad I don't. My children are begging me to start another batch of seeds tonight. We have already started some spinach and lettuce to grow indoors until we can plant outside. They just love checking every day to see if something is sprouting in the soil. I think they find it magical the way a tiny little seed becomes a huge fruiting plant if given the right care. I know I love sharing my passion for gardening with them and look forward to getting my hands in the dirt very soon.
For the last few years we have gotten our beef from a local group who offered grass fed beef at a very fair price. The beef has been incredible and we absolutely love it. We have gotten beef before from a local farmer who did not raise grass fed beef and it was not nearly as flavorful. We found out today that our source will no longer be offering beef and that we will have to find a new source. I am quite sure the price will be much higher. I also wish I could count on it tasting the same...
Posted by LJN at 4:28 PM
Earlier this month my brother got a new dog. He has never had a pet before and has waited for a very long time to get one. In anticipation of his new dog I tried to fill him on things that the dog might do. He didn't want to hear my advice and went into the experience convinced his dog would be perfect and their lives together idyllic. This week my brother emailed me to let me know that he would not be getting some photos he had been scanning for me to me at any point in the near future. Apparently his dog went a little crazy and knocked over his laptop and broke his portable hard drives. I had to smile just a little bit on the inside even though I felt bad for him. He had passed off my warnings about very active dogs as me not knowing how to train my dog. At least it isn't only my dog who has damaged a few things as a puppy.
Posted by LJN at 4:01 PM
In our home the task of filing taxes has always been my job. It is not that I am some financial wizard but rather that I started doing our taxes almost 20 years ago and have kept it up. I don't like doing the taxes and always fret a bit over them. This year I decided to just get things done and not put them off until the last minute. I am proud to say that as of about an hour ago my federal tax return was filed and accepted. That is one less thing I have to think about in the coming weeks. I now have only my state and local taxes to do and they are much less complicated. I will likely put those off a bit longer simply because I don't feel compelled to pay the state money ahead of time.
Posted by LJN at 3:56 PM
My husband desperately needs a new hobby. He says that the winter weather leaves him bored and restless. I have suggested tons of ideas to him such as signing up for guitar lessons online but he doesn't seem interested. I understand his desire to find something he is passionate about but at this point it would seem like anything would be better than sitting around bored. In my own life I try to constantly be learning new things and expanding my knowledge across an array of topics. Along the way I come across ideas and hobbies that I never knew existed. I think if he would just spend a bit of time trying one new thing he might discover something that he really cares about. Sitting in front of the television makes this a highly unlikely event.
Posted by LJN at 7:22 PM
Since we paid off our credit card debt a couple of years ago I have made a point to pay cash for everything we buy. There have been a couple of exceptions to this rule and that is when I can get a payment plan that is cash based. This is how I bought my Vitamix blender. When I can't get a cash based (no credit card) payment plan I either save the money or look for a layaway option. I noticed this week that Kmart has layaway options available online for certain items. This is pretty cool. I like the idea of not having to go to the store to physically collect an item and take it to the layaway department. I haven't used the online option but it sure sounds handy if it works like the traditional option.
My laptop is about six years old and it has worked like a dream until now. For some reason it is getting really noisy. My guess is that the fan needs cleaned but I don't know for sure. Something similar happened with our desktop computer a few years ago. The computer got so loud that we could hear it running through the computer cabinet. My husband took the computer apart and cleaned it and it worked fine until the day we replaced it. I don't know if laptops can be cleaned in a similar fashion or not without ruining them. They are so much more compact that it seems like it would be easy to dislodge an important component. I will have to do some research before I set my husband loose on this particular computer.
Posted by LJN at 7:14 PM
I have lusted after a Vitamix blender for several years. I finally became the owner of one a couple of weeks ago. I bought it on QVC using their payment plan. It is absolutely EVERYTHING I read it would be. Each day since we received it has been used at least twice a day. We have made ice cream, sorbet, soup, almond milk, and smoothies galore. The texture of these items is so much better than in a regular blender. I know that these are expensive gadgets but for someone like me who cooks just about everything from scratch and eats only whole foods a Vitamix is a must have tool. I really couldn't be happier with it.
Posted by LJN at 7:11 PM
My father-in-law is someone who is always taking pictures when he visits. He takes countless photos and keeps every single one of them no matter how they turn out. During his visit over the holidays he finally gave us copies of all the photos he has taken in the last five years. I don't know whether he used Disc2Day.com cd duplication or what to make us copies but he gave us a ton of CD's with all his photos on them. It is really nice to have the photos but I wish that he would edit his photos when he takes them to get rid of those photos that are not flattering or are simply bad pictures. This would probably cut the number of photos that he gave us in half which would be more manageable to look through and organize. At least he is interested in his family and wants to remember every moment of his time with them.
Posted by LJN at 5:56 PM
This is the time of year when I need to plan for the next gardening season. It would be nice to have a huge garden and all the room in the world to grow everything. As it stands my back yard garden is limited and I need to choose carefully what I grow. We are adding a garden at my folks house this year which will enable me to grow more. The problem is that I have never grown anything there and don't know what will work the best. It has been a process to determine what I want to grow and where it might end up growing. This year is going to be a learning curve and next year it will hopefully be easier to plan and prepare.
Posted by LJN at 5:52 PM