Friday, February 25, 2011

foggy morning...


the whole world (at least our whole world) is covered with tiny ice crystals...

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I love the way it changes the way things look...

... it makes ordinary things beautiful.



Even the donkey's ears were tipped with frost...



M is better... he seemed to turn a corner Tuesday. His gut started showing signs of waking up again, and the abdominal x-ray showed no obstruction. Now we're working on getting him eating more normal (for him) foods again...

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We're off today to work in the soup kitchen downtown. Volunteers from our church prepare and serve a meal monthly (I think), we're going to help serve today. Depending on how the kids do, maybe next month we'll help prepare... (M has to be pretty stable to be safe around knives and heat.)

  The frost coating everything probably won't last long... once it warms up a bit it will be gone.



I'm glad I was out early enough this morning to catch it before it melted away...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

*~*daybook*~*

simple-woman-daybook-small
FOR TODAY

February 22, 2011

Outside my window... the snow has almost all melted away and the mud is even mostly drying up. Must be time for another snowstorm!

I am thinking... about what to do about M. His gut still hasn't "woken up" despite ever increasing types and quantities of the medications that should work to get things moving again. Yesterday I even got desperate and let him have a large coffee from Starbucks, followed by a can of Mountain Dew. (Caffeine has also been known to get a GI system moving.) Unfortunately the only affect from all the caffeine was a jazzed mood and increase in hallucinations. I emailed the doc last night, maybe it's time for an abdominal x-ray. :(

I am thankful for... M feeling well physically, despite the GI problems, and a reachable pediatrician

From the learning rooms... we're still just keeping our regular routine, although yesterday I did give the kids full responsibility for a couple of their own subjects. These are subjects they don't need help with (usually) and I've told them they need to have them done by school time each day, on their own. I'll review them, but I don't think they need me hovering over them while they work. The word of the year seems to be independence, and I'm working on it hard with M, hopefully this will be another step in that direction.

From the kitchen...  I tried make yogurt yesterday from this recipe (using a hot water in my big canning pot as the incubator). I think it turned out but it was a bit of a hassle. Next time I'm going to try this recipe using the crock pot. It sounds easier.

I am creating... I've got a sewing project I'm hoping to work on today, and I've started work on the old ladder back chairs I got from my sister. They were our dining room chairs when we were growing up, but they need a bit of restoring. I'm working on cleaning them now, then will try my hand at redoing the rush seats.

I am going... no place today I hope. We have a busy end of the week, so a relaxed beginning of the week would be good.

I am reading... I haven't been reading much lately, so I'm still reading New York, and One Thousand Gifts

I am hoping... and praying that my neighbor's daughter is safe. She is only 19 and left last week for New Zealand to live on her own, work, and rock climb. I've been reading about the earthquake there and praying that she's ok...

I am hearing... nothing but the tick of the clock, the kids are both asleep and even the dogs are quiet. Earlier this morning I had to go to out to the car for something and heard an owl... very close... calling his "who who" over and over. It was so cool, standing in the dark and hearing his calls echoing around me.

Around the house... I've been working on a little project.. photos later. ;)

One of my favorite things... the tangled bare branches of the old cottonwood trees. I never get tired of looking at them, I think they are just beautiful.

A few plans for the rest of the week... several trips down to Castle Rock to take care of E's (dd#1) family's pets while they are out of town, movie tomorrow with some friends with the homeschool group, get R's locks tightened, work at the soup kitchen with a group from our church, and hopefully not have to squeeze in an abdominal x-ray or cancel any of these plans because of M's GI stuff.

A picture I'm sharing...

an old cottonwood we pass by each day on our way into our neighborhood




Visit Peggy's blogfor more about The Simple Woman's Daybook

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Beautiful full moon tonight....

..glowing bright in the night sky

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shining through the kitchen window...

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...creating hazy-soft moon shadows.

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Not much sleep happening here lately... the moon will be good company tonight.

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M is sick again... The situation is reminding me (too much!) of the road we traveled down almost a year ago. His gut seems to have shut down again, and if his GI system doesn't start working by tomorrow I will have to take him in... probably to the ER where they can quickly do the needed diagnostic tests and treatment.

The last time this happened (last March) the situation quickly became life threatening. I'm hoping this time I caught things quickly enough, and gave him enough of the right medications to get things moving again and we are able to avoid that crisis point.

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He started getting sick last night, and never got much better today.  I was hoping after the rough day, he'd be tired enough to sleep tonight. But he's just sitting up in bed, hoping the stomach pain will go away...

No.. probably not much sleep tonight... hopefully things will be better by morning.

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Edited to add: M had a rough night but was better when he got up this morning, and his gut is showing some minimal signs that it's starting to work again. We are keeping the medication and diet changes I started when he started getting sick again and hoping that the issue resolves itself. Thanks for the good thoughts and prayers...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

We've been...

...drowning in deer lately.



They are everywhere... in the driveway, the front yard, even up in the flower bed.

Cody (a dog of very little brain) is very happy about our plethora of deer, and even got out the other day and went after one again.


Did you know that deer don't seem to pin their ears back like horses and donkeys do when they are angry? The one that Cody decided to take on laid hers down flat to the sides... it looked like her head was an airplane, with her ears as it's wings. I don't have any pictures of that particular bit of deer body language because at the time she was laying her ears flat, I was running up the driveway after Cody... and towards the deer to frighten her away before she finished off my little dog.



The kids delivered some of the Valentine's Day cookies we made to the neighbors yesterday. I was standing at the window watching for them because it seemed like they had been gone for longer than they should have been.

Before I saw or heard them, I knew they were coming... How?




The deer gave it away.

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I love having the deer around... there is nothing in the gardens they can hurt right now, and it's fun to watch the fawns growing up.

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I just hope that someday Cody figures out that chasing them is a bad idea...

Monday, February 14, 2011

sweetheart cookies

Bake...

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Decorate...



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... take your time, some things can't be rushed.



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Admire....



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eat.



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Sugar cookies... simple and sweet.

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Here's my recipe:

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Bader's Sugar Cookies

Mix 1 1/3 cup flour, 2/3 cup sugar, 1/2 tsp baking powder, and 1/2 tsp salt and set aside. In another bowl cream 1 egg, 1 stick butter, 1/2 tsp vanilla, and 1-2 tbsp of milk, then gradually add flour mixture (milk can be adjusted as needed). Roll out, cut into shapes and bake at 425 for about 5 minutes (watch them carefully, they burn quickly!)

Sugar Cookie Icing

1 cup powdered sugar

2 tsp milk (adjust as needed)

2 tsp light corn syrup

1/4 tsp almond extract (or vanilla, or lemon extract... but we like almond)

food coloring

Mix sugar and milk until smooth, beat in corn syrup and flavoring until icing is glossy. Divide into bowls, add food coloring. (If it mixes up too thick add a tiny bit more milk or corn syrup.)

Happy Valentine's Day!


Friday, February 11, 2011

her locs rock!



R finally got her locs!

It took almost a year, several false starts and dead ends, and emotions ranging from extreme disappointment to over-the-top excitement. (we are talking about a 14 year old girl, you know..)

But they are done.

The woman doing her locks is amazing... and even came to the house to do them.

We decided to go with locks because they are a natural style for her hair (no nasty, damaging, straightening chemicals) and celebrate the beauty of her hair just as God made it...



I feel strongly that, regardless of the messages she gets from popular culture, she knows that her hair doesn't need to look like caucasian hair to be beautiful. It doesn't need to be straightened, slicked down, cut off, or have extensions added. It's beautiful with all the texture she was born with (a texture that is especially good for locks!).

It took almost 5 hours to put them all in... there are literally hundreds of tiny locks!

Yes, they are permanent, and they will be very good for her hair... it will probably grow much longer locked, than it would have otherwise. (Which makes R very happy!)



They haven't even fully locked yet, but R is already thrilled with them...



banking the fire and strange lights in the sky...

So.... it's very cold outside right now (-10 F) but luckily the wind isn't blowing.

I kept the fire going all day yesterday and it kept the downstairs nice and toasty... I like to use wood to help heat the house when it's very cold. (Yes, I could just use our hot water heat only, but paying the gas bill when it came might involve selling one of the children or the car! ;)) I was worried about getting the fire going again today though. When it's VERY cold, it can be hard to get the fireplace to draw... The chimney is a tall one, and the cold air rushes down it faster than the fire can warm the air and get it drawing well. The result, of course, is a house full of smoke!

So... knowing today was supposed to even colder than yesterday... I banked the fire last night before I went to bed, hoping I could get it drawing this morning.

I was amazed at how well it worked. Just a simple thing like banking the coals made all the difference in the world. The fireplace was still warm this morning, and all I needed to do was uncover the hot coals, put a couple of pinecones on top of them and blow on them for a minute to get the fire going again.

As I looked out the kitchen window this morning I saw the strangest thing...

It seems to be a tiny bit of a rainbow...

It's been in the sky for half an hour or so...

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Very strange...

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

*~*daybook*~*

simple-woman-daybook-small
FOR TODAY

February 9, 2009

Outside my window... it's still dark outside... it's very cold and a foot or so of snow is blanketing the ground, leaving everything muffled and snow-softened, and... once the sun comes up... dazzlingly white.

I am thinking... about what we are going to do today. I thought we had an appointment with M's orthopedist, but discovered last night when I was checking the appointment time, that the appointment had really been yesterday... and I'd missed it. We couldn't have gotten there anyway, because of all the snow that piled up on us yesterday (there is no way my car could have made it up the driveway) but still... we'd waited a long time for that appointment. Staying home today might be a hard transition for M... and I'm disappointed too, I really wanted to get him in... he's starting to have pain in his "good" hip (the one that wasn't fixed last year because it seemed to be doing fine) and I'm worried what that might mean in terms of his activity level, etc.

I am thankful for... the wonderful visit we had with B (dd#2) who spent almost a week here on her way relocating from KS, MO to Boston for her job. It was so good to spend time with her, and I'm glad she was able to spend time with her sisters while she was here. She flies out this morning... I hope she loves Boston (but not so much that she doesn't move back to Denver one of these days!)

From the learning rooms... All these cold snowy days make it easy to get a lot done in school. We're not tempted by the sunshine to spend the afternoon outside... working or playing.  The classroom is cold, so we bring all the school books downstairs and do school by the fire. Unfortunately, M has been having trouble thinking lately, it's like he's just not able to process at anything close to a normal (for him) speed, and isn't able to make connections between bits of information (connecting today's lesson to what we learned yesterday) connecting and breaking down his math, seeing the basic functions he needs to use to get the answer, and drawing upon skills he's already learned. His brain seems to be dozing, even though his body is awake... which probably doesn't make sense. We're pushing through school, but it's not easy. Hopefully things will start to turn around soon.

From the kitchen... snow and cold makes me want to cook. Last night I tried a new recipe from one of the Gooseberry Press cookbooks... Sour Cream Enchiladas. Mmmm... they were good!

I am creating... I'm back to creating order. After taking a couple of weeks off from my compulsive cleaning and organizing, I'm back at it. M's room is my newest target and I've already taken two big loads down to Goodwill.  His room looks awesome... if I do say so myself. ;)

I am going... to call TCH and see what I can do about rescheduling M's orthopedist appointment. If I have to wait another month for an appointment, I might ask about pediatric orthopedists in private practice. Maybe I could get into someone else quicker, and even if it's not a permanent change it would be good to have a second opinion.

I am reading... a couple of wonderful books New York (great historical fiction) and One Thousand Gifts : Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are (possibly my new favorite book).

I am hoping... the sun comes out today. It snowed all day yesterday, and it was beautiful... but I miss the sun.

I am hearing... Emma's (our Golden Retriever) breathing and restless stirring while she sleeps.

Around the house... we're still waiting for the estimate to finish the basement. I'm not sure what the hold up is. I'm thinking the guy (neighbor/contractor) who came to look at it and give the estimate, might be too busy right now for a small job like this. It might be time to either shelve the project for now, or start looking for someone else to do the work.

One of my favorite things... sitting by the fire on a cold snowy day (which just happens to be what I'm doing right now!).

A few plans for the rest of the week... try to get the car up the driveway (Joe's plowed...should be do-able), and start digging out... I especially need to shovel a trail to the barn, the drifts between the house and the barn are deep.  Tomorrow is R's orthodontist appointment, and Friday we are getting together with friends.

A picture I'm sharing... winter sun through the clouds




Visit Peggy's blog for more about The Simple Woman's Daybook

Friday, February 4, 2011

Bad hair day...

 Don't you hate the way the cold, dry air makes your hair static-y?

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I think Cody needs a little conditioner...



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The bitter cold seems to be over, at least for now.

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Yesterday we had a lovely (insulating!) soft snow...



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.... and the sun is out today and the thermometer is already up 40!  It feels like a heat wave out there! ;)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

TIRED of being cold.

Tired of being COLD.

I like snow... a good foot or so of snow on the ground makes me happy.

And I don't mind cold... I just bundle up if it's a little cold, and appreciate the frostiness of the air and the sweetness of the warmth when I come back inside again.

But I'm tired of this bitter cold...

Thankfully it's supposed to warm up again today.

It's barely 0 (f) outside now and I'm really looking forward to today's warmth. If it gets as warm as they are saying it will (32 f) it will feel like a heat wave and we'll trade our coats, hats, scarves, and mittens for shorts.

Thanks to Susan I found out what the light in the sky was the other day (see this post). After getting her comment I got very curious and sent a couple of my pictures into the TV news website. I got a VERY long reply... and it appears the light is called a "halo". Someone else from this area got a cool picture of sundogs, but I missed seeing them... I must not have been looking outside at the right time.

Here's part of the reply I got from the local weather guy:

"It was such a bitter cold morning today and we had a fine fog of ice crystals floating in the sky.  This does happen often in the Dakotas, Minnesota and Canada during the bitter cold winters that are common there.  The phenomena is usually called a halo or sundog. The term halo is generic for all rings, arcs and spots produced by the reflection and refraction of light by ice crystals in the atmosphere.  There are two major types of ice crystal, the hexagonal (six sided) plate and the hexagonal column - these two types account for almost all observed halos.  They can create a variety of shapes - rings, arcs, etc, because the tiny crystals are swirled around in different ways by the motions of the air."

The TV station even used one of my photos on the news that night! :)

The big animals seem to be handling the cold ok... Brighty's had a coat on for days, and I put a coat on Murphy too... but in true Murphy style he somehow managed to tear out some seams and break a couple of straps, and it ended up no longer wearable. (Remember... his name is short for Murphy's Law!) I've been out at the barn checking on the big animals and giving them more hay every four hours or so since the cold settled in, and except for some super nasty snowballs under their hooves a couple of times they seem fine...

The dogs have also adapted quite well. They are in the house almost all the time, of course... and Cody seems to be the only one who really misses being outside.

All three dogs can be very territorial, and bark at virtually anything that moves outside. Emma, our Golden, even barks at every single car that drives down the road. But I think Emma's barking is just being sociable... she's hoping if she barks enough the car will turn down our driveway and the people will get out and play with her. Quin (the Sheltie) seems to bark for entertainment... his. He puts a lot of drama into his guarding of the backyard... While Emma doesn't even bother getting up from the backporch to bark... Quin makes a big show of shooting off the backporch at high speed, rushing up the hill to the fence and throwing himself at the fence each time a dog happens to wander down the road. He's not aggressive.... just easily bored and rushing around barking is cheap entertainment.

Cody, our Bichon Frise mix, actually seems to be trying to guard us... personally... not just the backyard. He often sits, looking out the window into the back pasture... watching for... who knows? Whatever might threaten us. :) He's also the only one of the dogs that has ever tried to take on a deer... Luckily he survived that hasty, and risky, decision, but he still seems to think he's a Pyrenees that's somehow gotten stuck in a 19 lb body.

Since he can't be outside for very long, he's found a new way to keep track of things... giving up a bit of his canine dignity to sit on the windowsill like a cat. From the front window he can see the road, front porch, and part of the driveway...

Nothing is going to get past him....
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We have hopes of getting to town today. We haven't gone anywhere but the barn and the mailbox since Sunday, and cabin fever is starting to set in. (Stephen King... The Shining... Jack Nicholson... we're getting close) Hopefully the car will start and we can go to town and remember what civilization is like again. ;)