He Did IT!

Make sure you turn on the sound above!

Sean received his Bachelor Degree this past Saturday on June 14th.  

 

The ceremony was beautiful, the weather was perfect.  Mother Nature loves Sean too.  Words cannot express how proud I am of my son. 

 As a mother and especially as a homeschool mother,  watching him walk into the stadium was an amazing feeling.  It wasn’t just that he was graduating–it was  knowing how hard he worked to earn his degree.  It was knowing that all the effort I had put into homeschooling was worth it.  It was knowing he had developed a true love for learning–which was what I had hoped for. 

I am grateful for the support of homeschool pioneers like Karen Fogle who supported my decision to pull Sean out of public school and bring him home.  She taught a short course for parents who did not have a two year college degree.  She bypassed the formalities and gave me a fast “pass” which  allowed me to remove Sean from public school immediately.  She believed in my ability to teach Sean even though I had never graduated high school!  I soon discovered that home teaching isn’t anything like regular school.  I believe modeling social interactions and my own love of learning and life helped encourage Sean to do the same.  At one point Sean took off on his own and left me in his academic dust!  It was an awesome experience.   I would do it again in a heartbeat. 

 We love you Sean!

CONGRATULATIONS to Olivia too !  Olivia is Sean’s girlfriend of three years.  We love Olivia and it made the graduation extra special to see her walking with our son.   You two will go far.   I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again–I couldn’t have hand picked a better woman and partner for Sean.  Olivia is as intelligent as she is beautiful and we are proud of her too! 

We love you Olivia!

Sean is planning on applying to graduate school.  His father and I wish him the best in whatever direction he chooses to travel in life.  I signed his card with a quote by Mahatma Gandhi which I will close with now:

We must be the change we wish to see in the world. 
Gandhi

 

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Chicken Coops and Basmati Rice Pudding

It’s cold and raining here in the great Pacific Northwestern US.  Big surprise, eh?

Mark has been busy on the chicken coop.  He is promising to have it mostly finished by tomorrow.  We still need a vinyl floor to put inside.  Soon, we’ll add the pen and finally the chicks will have a lot more fun than they’re having in that old brooder.  I don’t know if you can even call it a brooder.  It’s basically half a row of kitchen cabinets turned over on the side.  They aren’t complaining, but I’d like to get to be able to stretch out a bit more. 

As I’m writing this I can see Mark carrying the main door out to the coop..we must be getting close.

ABOVE: Mark working on the Chicken Coop

I have managed to entertain myself inside.  I started the day with some yoga and a fast paced walk on the treadmill.  Sometimes I wake up with horrible headaches at the base of the back of my head.  I tried to drink lots of water, do yoga, and then walk it off on the treadmill before I realized it’s going to take 3 Advil to stop the pounding.  I even tried my old homeopathic constitutional before giving in.  I suppose taking Advil isn’t the worst thing in the world.  It worked.

In other news:

I am trying to clean my pantry and use what I have before I go out and buy more food.

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ABOVE: My pantry–dwindling

After a nice conversation with my friend Liz, I decided to go through my fridge and I found my leftover basmati rice from last night.  I hate to throw away rice–especially at the prices they’re charging now.  I decided to make up an Indian style rice pudding.  I’m very happy with how it turned out.  I brought some out for Mark to try and he said it was really really good. 

I tried to use what I could from the pantry: coconut milk and rose water

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ABOVE: Rose water I bought in my “Act like a lunatic and buy food you don’t need” days.

 
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In the end, I have to say, I think the rice pudding turned out great.  I’ll make it again. I’m not sure if the rosewater added anything.  I think using vanilla and cinnamon may have defeated the purpose of the rose water, but I was aching to throw it in.  I was having one of those “Act like a lunatic and add ingredients you don’t need” days.

 
want to see the recipe? Click here… Continue reading

All Things Vintage -ish (To Ebay or Not to Ebay?)

 

The sweet babydoll nighties remind me of my Grandmother Violet.  She did hair for a living and I thought she was the prettiest woman I’d ever seen.  I suppose all of her six husbands must have agreed.  I used to beg to wear her babydolls and she’d always give in.  I started wearing sexy see throughs when I was three years old.  I still love to wear them.

This set of sugar and creamer is Indiana Glass, but they are not from the depression era, they were made in 1982.  Still beautiful.

I can’t resist a folk art doll.  I didn’t have many dolls as a kid, so I’m making up for lost time.

I’ve been a seller on Ebay for several years now.   Recently, Ebay has made some changes, which as a seller, has made me a little weary.  Sellers can no longer give negative feedback–we can only give positive feedback.  I’ve only left and received a negative feedback one time out of 1300+ items sold.  I quickly told the lady to keep the item, I refunded all of her money including shipping, and she still gave me a negative. I read her feedback later and she had given everybody a negative and been removed from Ebay.   I’ve had to make changes over the years because, let’s face it, plenty of people on this planet are not very conscious.  Most of my buyers –I would say 99% have what I call “Auction Common Sense”, but there are a few people who think Ebay is like Nordstrom’s and if they have a change of heart about an item they’ve won, or if they decided they “overbid in the heat of the auction”-they believe they should receive a refund–one time it was a full refund–I ended up paying all of the fees plus the cost of shipping ($18 ) because the man who won an item said he had changed his mind and wanted to make a return.  Of course I gave the refund, but I knew I’d lost quite a bit of money and time in the process.  Now that gas is over $4 a gallon in my area,  I’m not sure I can afford to sell on Ebay and make a profit.  I might be able to sell as a hobby–as I enjoy the process of hunting for great vintage items, but the small profit I used to make may be gone.  Selling on Ebay is physical and mental work.  There are no two ways about it.  Shipping day for me is rough.  Often I have to cut down boxes to fit unusual shaped items.  I have to carefully wrap and pack around 25 items–usually glass or pottery, and that requires time and energy.  Taping up the boxes, wrapping n bubble wrap, writing and printing out the addresses, keeping track of every item, loading heavy items into the van, driving to the post office and unloading, waiting in line for international shipping (not to mention filling out the customs forms), etc.  can take more than one work day-I usually work from morning until bedtime because it’s important to me to get my items out right away.  People get impatient.  I also have to report and pay taxes on my Ebay sales.  It wasn’t a bad deal when a seller can profit, but when I’m breaking even–or worse yet, losing money–it doesn’t seem to make sense anymore. 

I’m still considering going back in.  We’ll see.

ABOVE: Yesterday, I took some photos of items I’d like to sell, and when I was finished I left a few things in the corner of the dining room.  When my other woke up this morning he thought the manequin was me as he came around the corner–and having just seen me sound asleep he had a nice startle 🙂 

Honey, What did you do today?

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Today it rained.  Boy, did it rain!  Rain, rain, rain!

What is a gal to do when it’s raining out?  Well, I’ll tell ya–  I found plenty to do:

First, I made some vanilla extract.  I poured 3/4 cup of Everclear and 1/4 cup brandy (I didn’t have any dark rum) into a glass jar and dropped in 6 vanilla bean pods that I’d slit wide open and chopped in half.  In about 8-12 weeks, as long as I shake the bottle up every now and again, I should have some pure vanilla.
I have had that Everclear for years!  I bought it to make herbal tinctures, but I had quite a bit left over.

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After I set my vanilla in a dark place (my pantry), I decided to try out the Excalibur Dehydrator I scored at the thrift shop a few days ago.  For a little under six dollars, I can dry just about anything I want to.  It has a heater and a fan, so I can make jerky with this too.  I decided to give it a test run with the left over strawberries I had in a little sugar.  I threw on the few blueberries I had left that were just about to shrivel too.  I also sliced a Golden Delicious apple and sprinkled it with a bit of sugar and cinnamon.  I had a few slices of canned pineapple from some other meal I’d prepared, and I decided the dehydrator is better than the garbage can.

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These dried fruits will be excellent in sweet breads, cereal, or just all around snackin’.

Dehydrating takes a loooong time, so I knew it was bread baking time.  I made my usual 6 loaf recipe for Italian bread, but I decided to keep one piece out for a nice homemade pizza.   I whipped up some homemade pizza sauce, sliced the remaining fresh mozzarella, and covered it in sliced pepperoni.   Oh, it was a great pizza too.

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While the bread was rising, I cleaned out the pantry.   I have a lot of rice and I need to think of some good ways to put the rice to use in a meal.  I want to empty the pantry and freezer before I have to shop again.  We’re on a tight budget this month, and I’m convinced I can get away with cutting way back on groceries this month if I can be more creative.  

OH!  Last night I scored a small truckload of canning jars for FREE!  I believe  I have at least 500 canning jars.  A very kind family of 12 (yes, they have 10 kids!  wow!) are moving, and answered my CraigsList ad and told me they would give them to me free of charge.  
I may be canning for two months straight…or longer. 

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Garden Gnomes, Fairies, and Wee Folk ~ Do You Believe?

ABOVE: one of many gnomes left in my yard my the former owner.

When I was around four years old, an elf-like being came to visit me in the middle of the night.  Well, I’m not quite sure he was an elf.  In my four year old mind, he appeared to be an elf.  He made an unbearable few months more tolerable.  He visited two or three times that I remember.  He wore pajamas similar to my little male cousins.  One time he played the piano for me. 

I know it could have been a dream sequence, but I’d like to imagine he was real and sent from another realm to make me smile.  I never forgot him.

When I bought this home over three years ago, the gnomes came with it.  I had wanted to haul them away, as I found them a little tacky and faded, but for some reason they grew on me.  They serve as a reminder that there are many things I do not understand, and there is more to the world than a little me.

 

ABOVE: This one appears to have been painted and he will be close to the chicken coop

Above:  I love this little sleeping gnome

 

ABOVE: Even this little frog was left

Medicine Cards ~ The Eagle

Eagle Medicine

I have used Medicine Cards for many years.  I gave my original deck away a few years ago, to a friend who I felt could use them, and I used a smaller deck.  Last year, I found a brand new set of Medicine Cards at a thrift store, and I’ve been pulling a card every now and again, for both myself and privately, to assist in prayer for my own friends and family.  I usually think about the person I am concerned about, pull a card, and place it next to their picture.  I’m sure I don’t need a card, but it’s nice to have something to look at and remind me to hold them in the light when I see the card next to their photo.  I don’t “worry” about the person.  Instead I send the energy of the medicine in the card to assist them in working through their own difficulty. 

Today I pulled the Eagle for myself.  I love eagles.  

Eagle Medicine helps me to remember the greater spiritual picture and to recognize my connection to all that is.