Monday, February 8, 2016

February 8, 2016








What a great Monday.  Seriously.

One step starts a journey, right?  Well, I did half an hour of yoga in my room before breakfast...with the door locked.  Because I hate exercising alone and being seen.  Eeeep!  I liked it though, and it got my heart rate up, and I had a great day.  So hopefully tomorrow is day #2!

I'm out of chocolate (vegan) protein powder, so I used the vanilla (dairy whey) kind....which I don't like the taste, and it gives me a stomach ache.  Not actually too sad when two kids asked for cups of my protein-filled, half-spinach, smoothie.  Better nutrition that cinnamon toast crunch, right?

Kids all did well in school.  I saw a bug downstairs, so lunch break came half an hour early as I demanded EVERYTHING be off the carpet so I could vacuum.  Ew ew ew.  Pretty sure it's brand new carpet, so that's nice at least.  I don't know what kind of bug it was (just like I don't recognize any plants or birds here) and that's always a little disconcerting.  Ernie has moved from studying the southeast and southwest and northeast states to the midwest.  It's rather dry going, so I look for a few new materials to help her remember things a bit easier.  We're trying a "doodle journal" for her notes about the regions- a piece of paper in her notebook that will just have all the info she needs.  I posted my example on Facebook, because E thought it was funny.  My friends wanted to know why there was a bunny (it was a bison), why there was a snake licking a picture of Kansas (it was a picture of the East Wind), and why there was a fish ball kabob (it was the prayer beads of a rosary.)  Obviously, I am not a good drawer.  BUT, as my fourth-grade-teacher pointed out on the same post: I KNOW WHAT IT ALL MEANS.  So I guess that's my goal for E- her own version of things to help her remember what's important.  And someday I will be able to doodle.  I just need another three decades of practice.  Practice makes perfect, I'm sure.

I locked myself in my room after school to finish J's Valentine's Day present- it's absolutely goofy and wonderful and I love it to pieces.  I don't know if he will feel the same way though.  I need to find time to make the kids' gifts- I'm pretty excited about them, but I think they need to be done after the kids go to bed because they involve paint and drying time.  And paint brushes.  I haven't found my paintbrushes yet.

Yesterday we celebrated Chinese New Years.  But, I fell asleep till 5 after church and our potsticker wrappers were in the freezer, not the refrigerator.  Oh well!  I made steamed greens beans with pickled mustard greens, rice with dried chinese sweet sausage (a kid favorite here), and a kind of hot pot seasoned with peppercorns, green onions, star anise and a couple other things I can't remember.  I cooked fish balls, napa cabbage, vermicelli, and shiitake mushrooms.  We had moon cake and tong yuen (boiled mochi served with brown sugar) for the dessert.

SO, the potsticker wrappers were perfectly thawed tonight and we had a fun family night mixing up the filling, and pleating and cooking (and eating!) the potstickers.  J fried the rest of the filling with leftover rice for a nice fried rice too, and we had mooncake and apple slices for dessert.  

Thursday, February 4, 2016

February 4, 2016

I don't have many words tonight!

Kids worked hard in school.  I vacuumed before school, taught 9-12,  washed two-days-worth of dishes, taught 1-3, and then started dinner at 4.  Cocoa helped me make dinner- I chopped up onions, garlic, yams, potatoes, carrots, and celery and added them to browned beef cubes with some flour and chicken stock to make a really great stew.  He helped me make biscuits too- they turned out nice.

While the stew was cooking, I pulled out my jewelry supplies and made a new necklace.  It's a stamped medallion that says "Hope is an anchor" with one of my "Grandma pearls" as a dangle next to it.  The pearls I'm sure weren't anything special to Grandma, but they were part of her collection of costume jewelry to make pictures with.  I'm still collecting jewelry to make my own jewelry tree for Christmas, but I love these old fake pearls she gave me.  They are plastic and the pearly finish is wearing off in places.  Just a yummy, lovely, patina about them.

Everyone loved dinner, and was happy I was able to make exactly ten huge biscuits.  The kids played Kinect after dinner, Jays did the dishes (doing all those dishes, and then the jewelry, and THEN trying to rub cold butter into the flour for the biscuits just did my hands in for the evening.  But so worth it.)

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

February 3, 2016

The wind blew in the cold and the clouds.  Without the sunshine coming through all our huge south-facing windows....it felt pretty chilly in the house today!  I taught school in a flannel shirt, leggings, a skirt, shearling slippers, and a queen-sized comforter.  Yesterday our kitchen was 76 degrees, just from the sunshine.

Cocoa is IN LOVE with school right now.  I think part of it is because he is still abnormally clingy- he fell asleep twice on me today, and is pretty much attached to me if we're in the same room.  It makes cooking hard, with his arms wrapped around my waist.  I'm cutting out most of the games, so we covered I think five lessons today.  His kindergarten materials arrived in the mail today, but I think I will hold off on starting him till September, just because I need all three kids to be on the same schedule for my own sanity.

Mimi struggled a bit with "borrowing" tens for subtraction today, but with enough little coins to mess around with I think she understood it.  Constructing a proper paragraph from an outline is still an art lost on her, but I think she finally got a better grip on her weekly spelling words (ow and ou words like town, cow, frown, house, mouse, etc.)  She just has to see that little pattern in the middle- she is such a "give me something to touch and I will understand it" kind of kid.  Writing it out doesn't do much for her, it has to be something she can move around.  We do a lot of flashcards and jumping and clapping and such.

I helped Ernie cement types of governments a bit more, and the natural resources and major industries of the Southwest region of the united states, and re-explained using factor trees to find the greatest common factor between two numbers.  (She just missed the last step.)  We also talked about different sentence diagramming ways to label subjects.

Ernie decided today MUST be bento day, so lunch didn't get served until 1, so school went a bit late.  I sent Cocoa off at 3, and the girls finished up at 4.  I think E went back and did more later though.

Jays was late home from work today- he scored an air filtration system off of Craiglist for his workshop downstairs.  He came home to Ernie scooping spaghetti out of a pot with tongs because she couldn't lift it to drain it, and me underneath a sleeping Cocoa.

I'm having one more green smoothie, because it's sweet and I'm hungry.  All the kids are tucked in and sung to, we studied Amulon and Alma in the Book of Mormon today (we accidentally read those last night too- I didn't update my bookmark.)  We still don't understand why the Lamanites were so mean to promise to let Alma's people go and THEN break that promise.  Probably because stinky Amulon was running around with them- Lamanites never broke their promises.  Not then.

Anyway- Myrnie has a headache, and tomorrow is another day of school!  Oh, and dishes.  Our buggy dishwasher started working the morning after it wouldn't work- the start button would work, which means whatever the last cycle it was set to (no heat dry, normal wash) would turn on when I shut it.  Unfortunately...that changed tonight, and now the only button lit up is "locked."  It won't unlock either, which means I really need to get on top of getting that machine fixed or replaced and I am wishing I had dish gloves because that water and soap is murder on my hands in this dry climate.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

February 2, 2016

Windy windy windy.

The day started off gorgeous and sunny, and it stayed gorgeous and sunny till the evening when the clouds came in, but my word were the leaves dancing around in the streets.  Weather app said the wind was about 23 mph.  I know why the lawns are so clean here- they're just scrubbed bare of anything that isn't rooted down!

We all went to IKEA last night- the master bedroom blinds have been slowly snapping one by one.  We've lost two out of six, and the teal sheet covering the one and the up-ended painting covering the other weren't doing any favors for the decor of the room...or giving any favorable impressions to the neighbors unlucky enough to be facing those windows.  Not pretty.

We found large, white, curtains...which isn't a huge surprise, because given a choice I will always choose white curtains.  The only thing that varies is the fabric.  However, they are SUCH a nice upgrade to the room and I love looking at them.  I would have snapped a picture, except the ladder and extra hardware are still up there because we only installed the 13' rod, not the shorter rods for the side windows.  Those happen tonight.  It's an understood thing that Myrnie does NOT hang things in our homes....unless you want them crooked or at the wrong height.  It's a gift.  It's alright though- Jays and I can't be good at all the same things, and in this instance I am happy to watch!

The kids are really getting back into the swing of school, which is VERY nice.  We barely got any done in December and January during the selling/packing/moving/unpacking.

Cocoa is still way back at the beginning of his Pre-K curriculum, because he just hasn't shown much interest, but now he is very interested and we're flying through three or four lessons a morning.  I skip the games and such, and we read stories and do work sheets and pre-reading and pre-math activities.  I only get his attention for about half an hour, which is just fine for a four-year-old.

Ernie is flying through with very little help from me- I help her review tricky concepts, but she learns quite well from videos, online tutorials, and text books.  Her tricky subjects right now are history and science and geography- there's SO MUCH vocab flying at her, it's just not sticking the first time through.  But math and composition are great, and those were such a huge struggle for her for so many years- I'm not complaining that she doesn't have perfect trivia recall.  Today she started learning HTML coding, which was funny to hear her discuss with Jays over dinner.

Mimi works best next to me, which is exactly what I would expect from a 2nd grader.  She doesn't get frustrated with work, but sometimes I get frustrated with her blank stares and zoned out expression!  "Do, or do not, there is no try."  She loves writing stories, and spelling isn't her strong point.

I made bread again during the lunch break- we work from 9-12 and 1-3 on school.  I also got some laundry thrown together and got the kitchen cleaned up from breakfast.  After school, the kids played piano, or games, or iPad, and I kept futzing.  I finally got through the large stack of papers that had accumulated during and after the move.  I have a few more things in my to-do pile (changing addresses, etc.) but it's much more manageable.

Monday, February 1, 2016

February 1, 2016

Last post was in June, 2015.  So.... June was good.  July, August, September were very good.  We visited Utah family, attended a family reunion in Washington.  I enjoyed my garden immensely, we had everything running smooth as butter.  All my plants thrived.  The fig tree even bore two crops- it was a record-busting drought summer after a too-dry winter and spring.

October, J told me he felt we needed to move to Kansas City.  We sold in December after a week on the market, and purchased a home near Kansas City the following week.  That week we also accepted a job offer near KC and gave notice at J's office.  January 18th, we rolled into KC after a week staying at my parent's and a week driving across the country.  We made stops in Idaho, Utah, and Colorado.  We got to see J's family in Utah, the Provo Temple open house, and my friends in Colorado.  We were so VERY tired of sitting in that minivan!

So now we have been here two weeks.  The house is beautiful, the neighborhood is quiet and friendly.  The kids found a wonderful friend behind us who has the gift of bringing everyone together- she's with a new neighborhood friend every day, and my kids are always welcome to run out the back door and join the crew.  I didn't know how much I would love not having fences.

We've done a bit of handyman work on the house- fixing leaking sinks, leaking toilets, clogged garbage disposals, un-grounded light switches, etc.  J's parents stayed the first week with us and were a HUGE help.  Nana actually left a day early when J's sister-in-law had a medical emergency- we're all pulling for her though, and it's under control even though she will need some extra help going forward for the next month or so.

We've seen temperatures all the way from 17 to 65 in the two weeks we've been here.  On the warm days, the kids spend all afternoon outside and we maybe go for a walk.  On the cold days, we drink cocoa and stare out the window and hope the milk in the fridge doesn't run out before the ice melts.  It's constantly windy.  Breezy actually.  I see why everyone wears their hair up!

It's funny- the only women I see in yoga pants and a tee are the women who literally just came from the gym.  This Seattle girl feels a little sorry for them, but at the same time I often feel a bit under-dressed at the grocery store.   Also, everyone talks a really long time.  Just when I think they have stopped, and I start to respond, they start talking again and just plow right on through me.  Makes me feel a bit rude for CONSTANTLY interrupting people.  I kind of get the feeling they aren't terribly interested in me responding though, so maybe this could work out for my benefit?

My kitchen and pantry are pretty well stocked now, and I'm loving having time to really cook again.  I'm not sure what the difference is, but I've made yogurt and bread and boba tea and nightly large-ish meals.  It's lovely having a prep kitchen and a cooking kitchen- prep kitchen keeps the small appliances and pantry items.  I prepare things for baking in there, and stuff like that.  There's a sink with a garbage disposal, and a dishwasher.  OH that reminds me, my dishwasher in the kitchen is barely functioning...but I have two more, so maybe I should just cart my dishes around to whichever machine is working best?  I want to get the kitchen one replaced, it barely cleans the dishes and only two buttons work (normal and start) but I need to call the home warranty company and see what my options are.  Or just can it all and go order a new one and eat the cost.  Because Mama wants clean dishes.


Sunday, June 14, 2015

June 13, 2015


After years of waffling, we have drip irrigation!!  Woohoo!!  Coolest thing ever. Now that it's in, it is easy to modify.  I can run emitter tubing from the main line, I can add more tubing in the beds.  It was a bigger project, and an easier project, than we guessed.  Designing it and planning and gathering the pieces was definitely the most brainy part.  It took about 3 1/2 hours to install, and didn't have any hiccups.  We are still tweaking how often it will run and for how long, and there is a dripping leak at the spigot so we are turning it on and off manually instead of using the timer until we get that fixed.





Cocoa came out with this dress up box gem.  He looks like the scariest kind of mob boss: the one who doesn't care what you think.






We ordered about 30 pounds of cherries from a farmer in Eastern Washington through a group buy- I was up till nearly midnight pitting them, and cleaning the kitchen, tucking Mimi in, and helping Ernie clean and vacuum her room.  It was BAD.  I got through about 12 pounds in an hour, which filled three gallon-sized bags for the freezer.

Friday, June 12, 2015

June 12, 2015

I sent this to my sister today.  My hair is increasing in sheer volume.  It would not even cooperate for a bun.  Yikes.  What hath this bleach wrought?  I am fairly certain I am never going to bleach my hair again, so I am having fun while my ends are accepting color.  It will grow out, get trimmed off, and fade soon enough.  Sure fun though :)  Crazy to take care of, especially since I barely even brush my hair normally.  Now, I only have to wash it once a week, but if I get it wet I have to slather conditioner in or it will be a snarled mess.  So....I use shampoo once a week, I use conditioner every 2 or 3 days.  I wash it in cold water, too.



A friend came over to drop off everything my kids left at her house, and she and her kids stayed for a few hours.  The oldest girl, N, is a Brain.  She's five, and she and Ernie get along famously.  They just "get" each other.  Super fun.  

My sister grabbed the kids this afternoon since she was driving by, and I had the house to myself for a few hours.  I probably should have cleaned, but I am still deep into organizing my studio stuff and wanted to dig out of that.  I've been typing up checklists for a master binder to track things like scales, payments, songs passed off, etc.  I know.  Spreadsheets rule my life.  When I feel off kilter I make a list and a spreadsheet.  I still feel off kilter, but at least I can point to a piece of paper and pretend I am in control and everything will go smoothly.  I can pretend.

Oh.  Speaking of planning things, I have been looking at getting drip irrigation for YEARS.  But, it was complicated and expensive.  We are finally at a point that $200 isn't going to break the bank.  I spent hours reading guides, and we bit the bullet.  For our date night tonight we spent an hour in the irrigation aisle of Home Depot getting tubing, hose, timer, fittings, couplers, et cetera et cetera.  I sure hope we have all the bits and bobs we need!!  Tomorrow is the day :)