Thursday, May 26, 2016

Let It Begin....

We're heading off to buy the paint.  Hopefully my kitchen turns out wonderful and Chris loves it!  We also need to buy more carrot seeds because I planted those on Monday and yesterday we got over an inch of rain.  Pretty sure they were washed away into oblivion!

Here are a few random pictures from around our place.

All that's left of the headless fairy tree.

We have a couple of old foundation walls scattered around.

Ava took this one, and about a million others on my phone!

Enjoy the day!

Monday, May 23, 2016

DIY Laundry Soap & High Efficiency Washing Machines

Our washing machine broke the day our tree fell down.  As you can imagine, a family of 7 cannot go very long without something in which to clean our clothes.

Well if they're going to a good cause, I guess I can live without having matching socks....:

Can I just take a moment and say that this must be true?  I literally just bought the boys 12 pairs of Star Wars socks on clearance at Target less than 3 months ago.  They have all disappeared except for two non-matching socks that the boys alternate between sharing.  I cannot find them in my house anywhere.  Did they eat them?

Anyway, we went washing machine shopping for the first time in our lives.  Both of our houses came with a  machine.  Did you know they don't even make them with agitators sticking up in the middle anymore?  We were shocked and looking all perplexed and the sales people laughed.  They literally laughed.

Long story short, we ended up buying a Maytag Bravos top loader.  We almost bought a front loader and then realized that with the wall literally right behind us in the worst ever designed laundry space in the history of mankind, we couldn't have bent over to get the laundry out without our butts hitting the wall.

Pretty much all the sales people say that you can't use homemade laundry soap because the high efficiency washers use so much less water and there are too many bubbles.  Well, we've been using our recipe for the last 5 years or so and it never bubbled at all, so we took a risk.

And it totally paid off.  Our soap never really bubbled anyway and then because I now have a smart phone after fighting it until I couldn't anymore, I googled and found that tons of people use homemade soap in their washers.

Here's my recipe, it works awesome.

DIY Laundry Soap

1 bar Fels Naptha soap, grated
1 cup Borax
1 cup Arm and Hammer Washing Soda

grate soap, put in heavy duty pot and carefully add water until soap covered.  Melt over medium heat while stirring.  Put 1 cup borax and washing soda in 5 gallon pail, add melted soap.  Stir.  (I literally use a stick from outside for this.)  Add hot water to top of pail, let set overnight.  Use 1 cup per load, more if you have exceptionally dirty clothes.  Save lots of money on soap.

You will have a liquid consistency that doesn't bubble in the washing machine but still cleans your clothes.

Friday, May 20, 2016

The End Is Here- Finally!

Of school that is.  My kids finished today (the oldest two).  A week earlier than what I had planned, but we do a 40 week school vs. public school 36, and they are both well into the next grade anyway so I don't feel bad about ending now.  Plus, we were getting twitchy as we were winding down the year. Like do your math and then the rest, well we'll see if we get to it!  At this point I'm favoring the unschooling concept of "go outside and don't come back in until supper" and we'll call it science/gym!  I'm kidding, sort of.

Love it....going to change mine to this tomorrow.:

I should totally do this at my house next year.

The opportunity for our oldest two to spend time with their grandparents for a few weeks came up without me having to drive the 5 hours to drop them off.  You better believe I'm taking advantage of that!

Life will be a little strange with just Chris and me and the littles for a couple of weeks.  I'll actually use the time to focus on Moyz who just "started" kindergarten.  And Truitt and Kembia will keep moving through their reading programs.

It'll actually be good because now with Ava in upper math programs I've had to focus a lot more on her (do you remember Geometry?!) and it's harder to do school with the littles.  We keep their school basic- reading/phonics, math, handwriting, and a very easy intro. to grammar concepts.  They listen to Science when the other kids do it, and that's their schedule.

The littles love school so we'll probably do some of it during their summer break, although we probably won't break from reading.

Other than that, since summer is officially here for us, we'll be taking it fairly easy.  And I'm looking forward to it, May was busy enough for the next several months.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Gray Maybe?

Chris is headed to Canada for his annual fishing trip soon.  Whenever he leaves I tend to do something different to the house.  With him it's just easier to do it and either he loves it, or doesn't love it and then I beg for forgiveness.  :)

This time I think I am taking on our kitchen.

This is roughly what our kitchen still looks like.  The 90's oak is just driving me bonkers.  But it's such high quality and we have so much going on that I am afraid to paint these cupboards. I don't have the patience or the time right now to do the cupboards right.

Instead I am thinking of painting the walls a grey to help tone down the crazy oak.  Something along the lines of these.

21 Rosemary Lane: Kitchen Inspiration ~ Gray Paint Color with Honey Oak Cabinets:

Paint's cheap and so much faster and if I really hate it I can go right back to white.  And this way Chris can't argue that I am wrecking expensive cabinets.

Monday, May 16, 2016

The New 5 Second Rule

I was with a group of women recently when one mentioned her chronic issue of not feeling like she gets anything done.  I can totally relate.

She mentioned a piece of advice she had gotten recently that has helped her a lot.  It was if you think of something that you need to do you have 5 seconds to make a conscious choice to do it or you will forget about it and move on.

Funny Minion Quotes Of The Day:

I've been trying this a bit at home and it definitely helps.  I think of something and basically immediately do it.  My only one concern is that sometimes I think of something to do while I'm already doing something that needs to get done.  I don't want to run frantically from one thing to another never really accomplishing anything.

I still think its helping so I'm going to try and keep it up.  We'll see!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Life Has Been Crazy

We've been super busy with hardly any time for anything.

Humans were banned to Earth a very long time ago for their creativity, and an environment was shaped around them to ensure they never needed anything from outside of their home planet. Yet the universe forgot that along with aloof creativity and imagination comes an insatiable curiosity.

Here's what's been occupying our time:

* We have 46 chickens either growing in our garage, and the newest 4 in our kitchen....

* The coop is not finished and Chris is getting ready to leave to Canada

* A storm blew over the headless fairy tree into our yard

* That same day our washing machine started smoking and broke, we're hopefully buying one tomorrow because 7 people with no machine equals bad situation

* Chris coaches soccer 3 days a week, plus Awanas on Wednesday, so our only free evening is Friday

* We are hosting an all church picnic at our house in a week, white carpet, lots of people, you get the idea

* One of our sheep got bloat in the stomach and we had to feed her alka selzter, 7UP and gatorade, someone give me an award for learning how to be a farmer real fast

* It's been raining for the past 4 days so when the sun was out this morning when I woke up I almost cried with happiness

* I've read exactly two books for the month of May, I seriously haven't had time for anything

Rebel Circus: My signature move is bottling up my emotions over time and them having a completely disproportionate meltdown to something smell like not being able to find matching socks.:
I thought this was appropriately funny and although I am not at this point yet, if life doesn't slow down a bit I just might be!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Headless Fairy

When we did the final inspection on our home a year ago, we noticed a gorgeous tree with the trunk rotting.  It was the perfect place to put a fairy garden and hope our kids would find it and be enchanted and come running and telling us how fairies lived at our new house.

They never mentioned it.

I finally had to ask if they had seen it and they were all like "oh we found that a long time ago".

And then this spring I decided to see how the fairy garden fared and found this.

It's kind of hard to see, but about the middle and to the left is a headless fairy.

I have no idea where her table and chairs went or her fairy friends and the gnomes.  Not to mention the cute little metal flag banner that was hung up in the background.

Poor sad fairy garden.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Jess Reads April

This month I was way off my goal for reading.  If you remember, my goal for 2016 is to read 100 books and I have to average about 9 per month to make this happen.

What happened in April was we became insta-farmers.  We brought home 36 baby chickens and 2 baby sheep that we bottle feed.  Much less time for reading and much more time feeding chicks, building a ginormous coop and many other farm related things.

Most likely you'll see more homesteading posts in the future.  Now onto the books!

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

I finally finished up reading the Harry Potter series after 9 years.  I loved it as much this time around and even shed a few tears on the last book.  It makes me curious to see what the next "big series" will be and there have been several tossed around but nothing that even comes close.  I should revisit this series more often because I really do enjoy it.

Last month I read Pride and Prejudice, which inspired me to read and rank all the rest of the Jane Austen novels.  So I finished the rest of Austen in April: Emma, Northanger Abbey, Persuasion, Mansfield Park and Sense and Sensibility.

I definitely don't recommend taking a month and reading nothing but Austen.  As much as I love her it's a little overwhelming but I felt that I wanted to read the novels as quickly as possible to gauge accurately how I preferred them.

To see how I ranked the Austen novels you can go here to my blog post.  And that was the sum of my reading for April- five Jane Austen novels and 1 Harry Potter.

Looking forward to a more diverse May.

Jess Reads March
Jess Reads February
Jess Reads January
Jess Ranks Jane Austen