Tuesday, July 31, 2007


This past weekend we were persuaded to go camping with Hubby's family.
Excuse me, I mistyped. Hubby was persuaded. I was ...drug? dragged? drugged? It might've been better if I was drugged.
My brother-in-law excitedly told us about a camping trip he wanted The Family to go on, in honor of his wife's birthday. We had a barbecue on her birthday, but they're very short-lived, and you can eat a lot more in a weekend camping trip, I guess.
I'm not sure how a whole host of people can be convinced that it is a good idea to take a 33 week-pregnant lady camping, but perhaps it was alien mind-control, or mass-hysteria, like liberalism.
Anyways. I went camping. Actually, the drama started well before I went camping. My mom and her sister visited for a couple days before leaving early Friday morning. That same earliness, I set to work with my pre-camp duties, like making sure both of my maternity outfits were clean, and planning a semi-parallel menu to the Main Campers', that would fit my dietary needs and Hubby's different ones. Well, I had planned the menu earlier, but it was time to institute it. I did laundry, made mayonnaise (turned out quite well, I might add, using sunflower oil and less dijon mustard than the recipe called for), made potato salad and macaroni salad, packed coolers and crates with "our" bread, "our" sour cream, "our" graham crackers, "our" salt, "our" water, and various other things. Hubby was off at 2 so we could get going and be there early. Hmm... We pulled out of the driveway about 7. We got to the campsite at 10, with a very sore, very tired, very wrung-out pregnant lady in tow. I can be so stoic, sometimes, but I was in tears and just wanted to find a place to lay myself down by the time we pulled in. Actually, I truly wanted to be home and in bed about 10 hours previous, but that wouldn't have been reasonable.
The main attributes of "camp" went pretty well, actually. The river had changed it's path, and though it had wiped out our previously favored campsite, it had replaced it with a great log and swimming hole. The water was absurdly warm, which we blame on the early snow-melt. Jumping and diving from the log and ledges were favorite camp pasttimes, though I'm sorry to say I don't do much jumping or diving these days. I did wade in slowly one day and dog-paddle around a bit. It's nice to get The Belly into the relative weightlessness of water. The guys each brought like five motorcycles I think. Well, they made the noise of 5 each, but maybe they had fewer. The only things about the trip that I wish could've been better would be the rest/sleep thing, and the Evil Bloodsucking Mosquito thing. Don't get me wrong; I was afforded the second-best in camper accomodations, evicting, by my condition, the family of in-laws who usually enjoys those arrangements. My lack of comfort was by no means due to any slight. It was due, entirely, to my oddly-arranged body and Evil Bloodsucking Mosquitos buzzing in my ears. Oh, and the morning before we returned I burned 3 attractive blisters into my face and neck with hot grease and pancake batter, a routine I hope never ever to repeat. My new neighbor came to the door today and I'm pretty sure she thinks I'm a leper. She probably thinks we're a family of lepers, due to Little Monkey's twenty-four mosquito bites, just on her face (I haven't tried counting the ones on her arms, hands, or legs). Let's hope she's had and is immune to West Nile, shall we? {decent mother disclaimer: Yes, I did slather her repeatedly with deet-free mosquito repellant day and night, and even while she slept. For some reason she's tasty enough to warrant braving the repellant and eating her up anyway.}
Hubby was unusually tolerant and exceedingly helpful while we were there. He might've been afraid of precipitating another emotional breakdown, but either way he was more than happy to fetch and carry all my strange food from the coolers and my slippers from the car, or set up my nice reclining camp-chair* in the shade. I thanked him, but I'm not sure he knows how really grateful I am, not only for his service, but the wonderful attitude he displayed. I don't believe he did anything with a sigh or complaint, and that means more to me than completing those tasks, even.
Overall, I'm glad I went, if only to bless Hubby and The Family with my gracious, er, unstable? presence. Next time, I hope the river keeps it's new course, and I am more fit to join in the jumping.

That is one of my sisters-in-law, and my mother-in-law...

Wow, I hope I can do that when I'm 50+!!

*wow, I did NOT pay that price for mine. But it is a great chair.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Faithfulness Update

The insurance adjuster came by recently to look at my roof, as well as the hood of my car (oh yes, the wind took the shingles from the roof and whacked my car with them before dropping them on the lawn). He took pictures, and gave me some paperwork to fill out.

The bottom line is that we need to pay the larger deductible ($500) and we will have a new roof, and a nicer hood on my car.

Of course, if I want a nicer side to my car, that's an extra $1100 (my fault, durn burning barrel).

Why am I always so amazed at God's goodness? I am amazed. I have been nearly in tears all day due to gratefulness (and tired feet, but that's another issue). I have a mindset that needs seriously changed. I grew up always figuring that I'd have a hard time having kids as punishment for some sin. Why kids? Because I so wanted to be a wife and mother. I assumed if I wanted it that bad, I'd have to tolerate much heartache along the way as recompense for... something. Anything. But it wasn't so. The first two were "planned", and came right away. This one I think the kids prayed into being (warning; if your daughters want a baby brother and you tell them to 'talk to Jesus about it', they just might). I figured it'd be many years before we could ever afford a 'bigger' house (our first was 874 sq. ft), and God blessed us with this one (three times that or more) after almost no time at all. With the market change, you can hardly rent a house now in Town for what we pay on our mortgage out here. I struggled with that, because we were certainly far less 'deserving' (in my mind) than many of our friends or family. When we started looking for a car about a year-and-a-half ago or so, I researched and knew I wanted a new-ish Toyota Camry, but with a manual transmission. NOT a common item, apparently. Not only did we find one nearby we could afford, but it had such extras as I'd not even thought of. A moon-roof, a 6-cd changer, a power-driver's seat, and a magic rearview mirror that 'dimmed' without being angled upward. It still doesn't make sense to me. Why does God care about this stuff for me when there are 'more important' things in the world, like Christians being slaughtered in Sudan or innocent babies starving, or a million other more worthy causes than my transportational comfort??? I don't know why. Maybe this is why I need to have a serious paradigm shift. Maybe this is evidence that I don't know Him near enough at all. I'm sure it is. Which means I need to get off here and go talk to Him a while...

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Rooster Domestication???

Can it be? Is Red joining the ranks of the civilized? I am almost hoping.

Hubby had another ... discussion ... with him last week. One that I could not even blog about due to it's... possible misunderstandings. Let's leave it at that.

Earlier, my daughter asked me if I could go build a fence in the yard. (oh, of course... let's see if my tool belt still fits...) She said the rooster was out.

She went and cautiously played anyway, and eventually came in to inform her little sister that "the rooster isn't mean! It's scared of us! C'mon!" and they both went outside to play.

A few minutes later, as I sat here working on the last blog, she came in (the computer is upstairs) to "show me". Yes, she had the rooster in her arms and carried him thru the house and upstairs just to let me know how tame he really is.

I could almost believe it. *astonishment*

Friday, July 27, 2007


I have been very worried about finances lately. Somehow I didn't realize it until very recently, when God started to reveal fears and concerns. Again. Like after one of the recent windstorms, when Hubby dropped the bomb on me with, "We're going to need a new roof before winter." What?? A new roof? What does that cost? Why didn't you say something while we were spending half our savings on paying down debt?

In my thoughts I worried... Was this like a $1000 thing, or a $3000 thing, or even more? I was informed eventually that it would be much more. Gulp. We have been blessed with a large home, and thankfully it's on 2 stories which makes for less roofing needed. I can't imagine what we'd do if it was a ranch-style this size. Let half blow away, I guess. As it is, I started looking at the money in the bank, and the bills (fairly important ones, things like giving birth, educating my children, things like that). Things certainly weren't adding up. I asked Hubby, "how bad is the roof?" He made the mistake of first saying, "I don't know." This is when some of my fears and worries REALLY started to show up, along with my not-so-meek-or-quiet spirit. "You don't know??? I've been freaking out and having crazy dreams* and wondering if I should give birth without help because of this roof issue, and you tell me you don't know???" As it turns out, he didn't really mean to say that (wonder why), and he was fairly certain we needed an entire new roof. Not a small fix, not a tarp, not a spray-on-waterproofer, but a new roof. I didn't sleep much that night, and tried to turn things over to God.

Monday the roofing-estimate-guy came to check it out. He asked what we wanted (he noted the shingles still lounging in the lawn and driveway), a patch, or what. I told him I would defer to his expertise, that Hubby thought it needed replaced entirely, but we might be in trouble if that was indeed the case. ...He then worked up a bid with $6300 written on it... But the first part of it says "As a result of wind damage..." and told me to submit it to my insurance.

I am prayerfully hoping that this might be God's answer. I should not doubt. He gave us this house, and He is faithful.

*I dreamed last week that Hubby went out and bought a huge, black, new four-wheeler, new clothes, and more while I was sleeping (yes, in my dream I slept). When his reaction to my obvious concern was a cocky smile and a "it's my money, I'll do with it what I want" sneer, I smacked him in the face THREE times, then ran out of the place and fell down crying (also, my mother-in-law was tattooed all over and wore see-thru clothing. Gotta love these pregnancy hormones). I woke up with the same emotions I'd had, and had to call Hubby and talk it out. He assured me that he would never do that. It would've been a motorcycle.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

How Does My Garden Grow?

Well, at least it's growing! We have eaten 1 zucchini so far, and there are probably a few more out there if I was braver than the heat. You can see our biggest gourd in the picture above (below is probably the smallest!). Three of our four gourd plants have survived, and I think 2 plants are like this one. I had a packet of a variety of seeds, and would have liked to have many different types, but maybe next year. They sure are cute, though. The other gourds are either round, or unknown. The round things might be volunteer pumpkins. I might have to rethink the whole "oh, look, I didn't even have to plant it and it's growing for me" idea. Weeds do that. These pumpkins might be weeds. Oddly enough, the pumpkins originated from a little grocery store in Town. Last December they had a huge box of them sitting out back, frozen solid. Of course, I thought my piggies would love some pumpkin-cicles, so when a guy popped out the back I asked if I could have some. He was very uncertain... "um, how many?" I guess months-old, frozen-solid pumpkins might have some better use...? I took six, and tossed them into the pigpen. Of course, that is where our garden is now; hence the volunteer pumpkins.

Below is a view of the "row" part of the garden. In the prior pictures the chicken house was directly on the other side of this. From left to right you see Miniature Indian Popcorn, random tomatoes with New Zealand Spinach (note to self; it's faster to swim to New Zealand and buy spinach than to grow this), carrots, beets, and Big Sister and seedy-radishes behind a sunflower. The other smaller sunflowers towards the left are called "Infrared Mix". They should be a dark rusty color. If the picture was wider you could see more and more carrots to the right.
This view aims a little left. The other side of the popcorn is where the really wind-damaged tomatoes and peppers were. Between the popcorn and tomatoes/peppers is borage and gourds. Where the corn didn't come up I planted crookneck squash and cucumbers. Where the tomatoes and peppers took it in the shorts, I planted more tomatoes and peppers, and also 4 zucchini plants. And there are the volunteer pumpkins.

Towards the upper left here are the broccoli and cabbages. Mostly the bugs and chickens have ruined them, so I almost don't count them as part of the garden. I usually 'prune' the tomatoes, but that has been a trick this year. Usually I allow the main vine, plus one or two side-shoots to vine out. Since they were so beat up, the only thing growing is side-shoots, and I'm not sure WHERE to start pruning. Maybe they and the pumpkins and the morning glory can wrestle it out for domination. Left of center are 2 zucchini plants, then gourds and borage as you approach the corn. The rest is *gulp* weeds.

My main hope is for a few things. I don't want to buy canned tomatoes all year. I think 10 of mine survived (but bearing fruit with the odd pruning might complicate things), and I planted an additional 12 from the nursery, of the beefsteak varieties. If they come to fruition and if I can do the work, I should be able to make lasagna and spaghetti and chili all winter. I also want to have carrots. Last year, the few carrots I had stored very well in a hole in the ground. I covered them with a pair of Hubby's old jeans (didn't have any burlap) and then a good layer of sod. They kept fresh down there, and I just had to go out to the edge of the lawn, look for the denim waistband, and heave-ho to find some fresh carrots. Until the rockchuck found them too, but we ate them till Christmas at least. If I have it in me, I will learn to pickle some beets for Hubby (in the weird, not-pasteurized way!). The sauerkraut looks like a lost cause. The little popcorn and the gourds will be pretty decorations (and snacks, in the case of the popcorn), and the rest will last as long as the weather does, I guess.

Good Eatin'

Apparently, eating the way I do is very complicated. Actually, I don't notice it's complexity until asked to mesh it with others with more conventional habits. To me, it's pretty simple. Indeed, it's the way I want to feed my kids. Here's the basics:
  • No sugar or high-fructose corn syrup, no "fake" sugars like aspartame or splenda.

  • Why not? Sugar is so refined and processed. It feeds yeast and candida infections, causes cancers, heart disease, and more. HFCS actually causes an immune response in the body, and has the rare distinction of converting straight to adipose tissue (fat) as opposed to first becoming glucose (useable energy). In the 70's, aspartame was denied FDA approval over many issues. Out of 6 monkeys in a study (fed aspartame), one died and six had grand mal seizures. It ate holes in the brains of baby mice. It caused numerous brain tumors. Things like uterine polyps and ovarian neoplasms were later found to have been covered up. When liquid (think diet coke) and stored above 85 degrees, aspartame turns into DKP and formaldehyde. Yummy. Splenda, while not penetrating the blood-brain barrier like aspartame (creating neurotoxins), is still far from a good idea. It's made with chlorine. The inventors of Splenda admit around fifteen percent (15%) of sucralose is absorbed by the body, but they cannot guarantee us (out of this fifteen percent) what amount of chlorine stays in the body and what percent flushes out. And this is assuming they're not lying like the aspartame pushers.

  • Instead: Natural sugars (should be limited, too). Honey, pure maple syrup, sorghum, even rapadura and sucanat. Stevia is a plant substance that is 300 times sweeter than sugar and no calories. You can buy it as a 'dietary supplement', but the FDA won't approve it for use in food. Of course, thousands of years of South-American natives eating it isn't enough evidence. Not good evidence like the aspartame studies.

  • No (or very limited) use of factory-farmed animal products. This includes meat, dairy, eggs, etc.

  • Why not? Do a google search for "factory farming" and see what pops up. You won't eat it either. I don't relish a large percentage of my meal consisting of fecal matter, bacteria (dead or not), bad fats, etc. I don't want my daughters pumped full of synthetic hormones via their hamburgers. The nutritional difference between something raised the way God intended and the way the Bottom Line prefers is huge. The kinds of fats are far different. The levels of fat-soluble vitamins (e, d, etc) are much higher in the 'right' kind of food. Milk from grass-fed cows is nutritionally far superior than that of grain-fed ones (organic or not). I just don't want to feed my kids poison.

  • Instead: Home grown, local, or organic meats, eggs, dairy. Personally I'm still not on top of it with the cheese yet. I do purchase brands that have pledged to not use BST, as I'm not big on the whole 'genetically engineered hormone' thing.

  • Nothing "white". Yes, call me prejudice. White flour, white rice, white sugar (as discussed).

  • Why not? All are worthless or destructive. Your body doesn't know the difference between white flour and pure sugar. They metabolize the same.

  • Instead: Whole grains. Not, "made with whole grains" or "good source of whole grains". Just whole grains. Which usually means you buy the grain whole, and do with it what you will. You can even buy it rolled. It's still all there.

  • No (or as few as possible) conventionally-grown fruits/vegetables/grains.

  • Why not? Again, I don't like to eat poison, or feed it to my kids. Whether that poison is sprayed on, infused into the soil (and taken up into the plant), or genetically engineered to be manufactured by the plant itself, I don't want it. This includes bug killers, weed killers, petroleum-derived N, P, K for fertilization, things like that. Soil is important, and moreso the critters who live there. Chemicals of all kinds destroy it. Remember that when they do an "organic vs. conventional" study and plant them both in the same plot of soil they've been ruthlessly destroying for a decade. No wonder the conventional ones grow bigger.

  • Instead: Organic, or even better, homegrown or locally organic. There are a lot of 'envelope pushers' in the organic industry, now that the Big Guys are getting their hands into it. And please don't eat anything from China, organic or not.

  • No, or as few highly-refined vegetable oils as possible

  • Why not? They're bad news. Another man-made solution to a problem that might not have existed has led to even worse problems. Google 'vegetable oil refining' and see what you find. Again, high-heats denature and change important parts of food. And I'm not too excited to eat something who's refining process advertises "continuous bleaching" and "continuous deacidification and deodorisation".

  • Instead: Extra-virgin olive oil. Extra-virgin least-refined coconut oil, and expeller-pressed sunflower oil. Oils that don't take an acre of crop to refine down to a tablespoon. Oils that exist in high-percentages, that we were meant to eat. Butter.

  • No soy.

  • Why not? It's evil. Okay, not inherently wicked, perhaps, but still not good. Lots of plant estrogens. Again, I don't want my daughters wearing bras when they're 7. Lots of phytates which bind to and remove important minerals from the body. Lacking in some important aminos (not a big issue if you still eat meat). Oh, if you're going to naturally ferment it and add it to foods like they do in Asia, go for it. That helps break down the wicked stuff.

  • Instead: Just don't eat soy.

Aside from complexity, it's leading to moral dilemmas. We've been invited to go camping this weekend with some people, and I'm not sure how to work out this whole diet thing. Among the others are those who would gladly eat beer and twinkies all day, also those on calorie- and/or fat-restricted diets. The first group has it's obvious problems. The second, while they're conscious of what they're eating, have differing priorities and the food is usually full of the toxins and additives that I truly believe are unsafe. But what do I do when my kids are handed a drink of this stuff, or a plate of it? The first moral issue is 'do I offend my brother by publicly deeming his offering as unfit?' or do I earnestly pray for protection? The second moral issue is 'how do I educate my kids without either a) their being confused by others' differing standards, or b) their garnering a morally-superior attitude towards others?' That last part applies to SO MANY things, really. Not just food. Dress, attitude, language, service, etc.

Back to the complexities. My above rules mean I must make many things from scratch. I can't eat cold cereal, conventional meat, eggs, milk, canola oil, soybean oil, all-affordable-oils, store-bought bread (except one expensive brand)... good grief. Not a big deal, when I'm at home. This campout however, may require a trailer-full of my 'snobby food.' Snobby food which might well be disdained. If these aren't your values, it makes no sense to pay $10-$30 per quart for oil in which to fry an egg. A pressurized can of toxic biscuits probably tastes better than my crumbly attempts at using soft white wheat and Real Butter.

So again, what to do? Take all my own stuff and pin a sign to my kids' shirts that says, "please don't feed the monkeys?" Make plenty to go around, but risk it being hated and/or wasted? Maybe that's a bad attitude on my part. Perhaps I need to have a heart to bless others despite the cost. My frugal side says, "they don't really care about the work or expense that went into this. They'd be as happy (or happier) with xyz from the deli."

The other problem is our grocery budget. It seems I spend a lot on food. Way more than in our early days of marriage when I *hangs head in deep, deep shame* actually bought hamburger helper on sale for $1 apiece. And bought the cheapest version of anything. Now it is nearly opposite. I pay thru the nose for things I deem 'safe'. Oils, for instance. Organic food. Animal feed that isn't full of cow-brain. What is right? It seems like we have to choose between stewarding our money and stewarding our temple.
I don't think these dilemmas are going to be solved in this post. I will be praying and thinking on these things for a while though, especially as I try to prepare for this camping trip.
And I'll save the whole camping/pregnant/peeing every hour dilemma for another post.

Monday, July 23, 2007

School Shopping

Little Monkey is trying my patience today. So far the patience is winning, I think. No crazy antics, but lots of whining and fits. But they don't last, and I have won both of the major events.
Big Sister is trickier, since her disobedience is more 'reasonable'. Getting up from quiet time to ask me to read the directions on an activity page, for example. We are instituting a sound-free zone around here during quiet time. Also eye-contact free.

I made two batches of Mmmmmocha ice cream today. Maybe it's Mmmmmocha Ammmmmaretto. It has almond extract in it, anyway. VERY tasty. The first batch is still churning, the second is just going to freeze with lots of icy crystals in it. I decided I'll take my Mmmmocha icy if I must. Maybe it's "Iced Mmmmocha" flavor. Hmm...

Apparently Hubby made an omelet for breakfast today. My egg-white container was empty and there was a very eggy pan to wash. I know there were at least 2 batches worth of egg-whites there, which adds up to eighteen egg whites! At least! Plus as many eggs as he added to give it some 'regular' color. Breakfast of Champions! And he is, actually. He's lost over 40 lbs since February. I ran across a picture of him from winter, and I can't believe the difference. And he's really a very quiet, sober guy, so I have to post these pictures. Back when we had Sears do family portraits, the photographers were always surprised at how he would NOT smile. Catching such antics is a blessing. And yes, he's showing his 'good eye.'

Speaking of Mmmmocha ice cream, each batch takes 9 egg yolks, 9 cups of the heaviest cream around, 1/2 cup of honey and/or maple syrup, plus the cocoa, arrowroot powder, vanilla, almond extract, and coffee. I have made a lot of ice cream. If food becomes so scarce the world starts to starve, we're going to be the fattest people in the state, providing we still have electricity for the freezers.
Today is my beautiful sister-in-law's 23rd birthday! Twenty-three on the 23rd! Happy Golden Birthday, Amy!!!
I have almost finished shopping for homeschool stuff this year. It has been an adventure. I purchased this printer brand new for $55 less than retail. Well, $5 less than what Costco is advertising today, after a rebate. The printer prints both sides of a page, very quickly, very cheaply, and is important for printing out veritable books from things like this curriculum, which I bought second hand, but unused, for $72.50 less than retail. I bought the Teacher Edition of Saxon's Math 1 and 2 for about $33, shipped. They're used, but when each of them is regularly $60 + shipping, I'll take a creased cover. I found this lovely book (at least I assume it's lovely, it sounds like it is) for raising up daughters. Counting shipping, I saved over $22. And lastly, I bought the starter and completer sets of Math*U*See manipulatives and saved $18.49. That adds up to saving over $250 for things I've had on my list as very needed for this year. God bless ebay, and to the person trying to get that robinson curriculum for at least the second time, please don't hate me, I'm praying that you win an auction for it too. I still need to buy the student workbook things for the math, and I'd like to get some other small things, but the big spending is out of the way, and I think we came out way ahead. Especially since much of it can be used in upcoming school years, and with younger siblings.
Thank you, Lord!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Mixer Update

Allright. We are getting there. I have about 35% of what I need. I sold a little bit of Trudy, and a little bit of Mary Kay (no, neither on ebay). I still have a little more of Trudy and a lot more of Mary to divest myself of.


We have more ideas. Thank you ebay.

I plan to sell (when I can figure out the logistics of it) much of my book collection, mostly Christian Fiction/Historical/Romance. I'm still debating on the Janette Oke stuff.

I really might sell parts of the old Celica, not for scrap, but on ebay, for people looking for little tidbits. Hubby spends enough on ebay for motorcycle parts, why not with the Celica? Or with some of his un-useable chunks of motorcycle, for that matter. Hubby bought a "sprocket" thingy lately; it was just larger than a quarter. And lighter, probably. Anyway, he bought it for $10 plus another $10 for shipping! I mean, really. I'm sure I can find a few sprockets lying around here somewhere.

The garden is growing, finally and really. I might even have a zucchini or two to harvest in the next couple days! And we found little teeny baby gourds on one plant. They are the bulbous type that are yellow across the mid-section, but green-patterned on the base and at the stem. SO cute! I'll try to post some pictures one of these days.

We have new neighbors in the fancy house up the driveway. I plan to meet them today with a dozen eggs, and a few questions about the marauding canines that were chasing my chickens yesterday (I think they belonged to visitors, but I'd like to make sure).

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Vaccine Challenge

I found this information here.

I wish I knew more. I guess I will have to learn more! I'm still very on-the-fence about the whole vaccine issue, mostly because I'm not sure what to do "instead." Let the kids get whooping cough, polio, mumps, etc? My grandparents as children ate all sorts of farm-fresh, whole-foods, and they got this stuff. I had a grandfather who spent 6 months of his childhood strapped to an ironing board when he had polio. This is probably what saved him. Ouch.

On the other hand, I certainly can't say I trust the doctors and companies who produce and administer this stuff. And previous posts have shown how much I trust Mother Government. Well, here is the tidbit (click the link at the top to see more links and comments following the article):

Jock Doubleday, director of the California non-profit corporation Natural Woman, Natural Man, Inc., has offered $75,000 to the first medical doctor or pharmaceutical company CEO who publicly drinks a mixture of standard vaccine additives.The additives would be the same as those contained in the vaccines recommended for a 6-year-old according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, and the dose would be body-weight calibrated. It would include, but not be limited to:

Thimerosal (a mercury derivative)
Ethylene glycol (antifreeze)
Phenol (a disinfectant dye)
Benzethonium chloride (a disinfectant)
Formaldehyde (a preservative and disinfectant)

On August 1, 2007, if no one has taken the challenge, the offer will be increased to $90,000 and will increase at a rate of $5,000 per month until someone accepts.

Vaccination Liberation Press Release
Jock Doubleday’s Vaccination Liberation

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

High Calling

I found this on a blog I check routinely, and had to post it here. Next time someone asks me, "What about your Calling?" or the like (yes, I've heard that question), I shall direct them here.

Mary was studying her Bible quietly at her desk. A still, small voice began to speak to her.
“Yes, LORD?” Mary had been walking with the LORD and recognized His still, small voice. Especially in His Word.
“Mary, what if I was to ask you to go to work for Me.”
“Oh, yes, LORD.” Mary answered anxiously. “To France, perhaps?” As she gazed at the globe on her desk, pointing a finger decidedly on Paris.
“Mary, what if I was to ask you to go to work for Me in an obscure place.”
“Ah, yes, LORD.” Mary sat dreaming while moving her finger down a bit. “Africa. The jungle…” Her mind wandered to the missionary stories she had read, “perhaps where Elizabeth Elliot worked.”
“Mary, what if I was to ask you to work for Me in an even more obscure place.”
“Hmmmm…even more obscure. South America, LORD? Or innermost China? Or perhaps Indonesia? Is that what you mean LORD?”
“Mary, what if I was to ask you to work for Me in a home.”
“Ah, now I understand, LORD. A home for handicapped kids.”
“Mary, what if I was to ask you to work for Me in an obscure home.”
“An obscure home? Perhaps a home for orphaned children in Mexico or South America?”
“Mary, what if I was to ask you to work for Me in your own obscure home?”
“Here, LORD? Here?! All I do here is scrub, vacuum, wipe noses, wash clothes, sing lullabies, pray with toddlers, change diapers, cook meal after meal, sweep and dust, stretch one income, mop and mop; oh, and then over and over the very same thing again. Sometimes more in one day that I can count. This can’t be the obscure home You mean, LORD!”
“Yes, Mary. This is the home. Will you do it for Me? For when you do it for the least of these, you do it for Me. Will you do it for Me, Mary?”
Big sigh. “No one is going to notice it, LORD. Not even the ones I am doing it for. None of them really even care, LORD. Everything I do, they undo. And then I have to do it all over again. Don’t you think Paris is kind of obscure?”
Big Smile. “Mary, I have chosen you especially for this work in this specific place. I have Leaders and Warriors being raised here. I have wives of Leaders and Warriors being raised here. Will you wipe these noses for Me, Mary? Will you bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the LORD, Mary? Some day I may send them out to places like China, Indonesia, South America, Mexico, and yes, perhaps even Paris. Will you do this for me, Mary, in this obscure home of yours?
Spinning the globe gently, Mary bowed her head, “Yes, I will, LORD. Yes, I will.”
“I’ll do it through you, Mary. Keep coming to me for your strength. It is a very big job raising My Warriors and My Wives of Warriors; but I will walk you through it every step of the way.”
Laine Amavizcahttp://www.lainesletters.com/

Monday, July 16, 2007

Good, Acceptable, or Perfect?

I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12: 1-2

This scripture could have a dozen points and sermons written about it, but I want to focus on that last phrase. Good, acceptable, and perfect will of God. I don't think this is one thing. I think Paul is referring perhaps to three separate things. I think God's will is fluid. *gasp* Did she just say what I think she said? Isn't that heresy? Isn't God the same yesterday, today, and forever? How could she say that??? Well, remember Moses? The children of Israel were led out of generations of slavery by one miracle after another, and still, at their first chance they turned away to idolatry. There are several times when God tells Moses he will do one thing or another, and Moses talks him out of it (one of my favorite side-notes; slaves just want a set of rules and a list of jobs... Moses was used to facing Pharaoh as a son - God wants sons, not slaves). Or Moses requests something (to see God's glory) and they have a debate as Moses convinces God. Or when God was going to destroy a city and Abraham pleads with him "if there are x number of righteous men..." I think God can be and is swayed by those who grow close to his heart. Therefore, I don't think his "will" is set in stone. After all, if God "wills" for me to not yell at my children (which seems reasonable), and I do, have I put off the entire balance of the universe? Am I forever lost because I stepped out of His will? Of course not. When I screw up, I have another chance to step into His will. I can ask forgiveness and repent. But repentance (especially if it needs to be repeated) probably doesn't qualify as God's perfect will. It's definitely good, and maybe even acceptable.

So I wonder. How much of God's "will" is based on our own limits or circumstances or other things? How much of it is "good," or "acceptable," let alone "perfect?"

For instance. A year ago I believed God was leading me to open up a coffee shop. At this point it's not even a thought. Sometimes even hindsight isn't even 20/20. Was it just an exercise in faith? Did I miss a window of opportunity somewhere? Did I miss it all entirely? Or was it a good option, a nice possibility, but one that just didn't come to fruition? Perhaps it is for later? I just don't know. Another example of the fluidity of God's will: A couple chooses to marry completely outside of God. They are Christians, but pursuing their own desires and goals. Eventually it becomes obvious that they are poorly suited, and begin to turn towards God in an effort to find peace. God of course begins to work more in their hearts and lives, healing their marriage and family and giving them a Vision of His plans for them. God's will changed as the lives of these people were carried out. Of course, God in His ultimate wisdom likely used all of it to bring them to a place of seeking Him. But I bet He would've been more thrilled if they had each sought him wholeheartedly from the beginning.

Over 10 years ago I went to college. I have no doubt that God directed me there. Months before, I dreamed of the exact campus, which I had never even seen a picture of beforehand. Looking back, I am really not sure why God did it. I didn't graduate. I don't think it helped my heart to submit or serve. It didn't help me to be content with my place in my family. So how much was this part of God's perfect will? My family wasn't entirely the type of family to caretake a daughter and train her up until marriage. On that same note, I wasn't the type of daughter to submissively be trained up or caretaken. So my best guess today is that God did what he could with what he had. Hence, his will was (and is) fluid.

If that's the case, my job today is to make sure God has all he needs of me in order to fulfill that perfect will. I don't want to look back and see that God was limited in his plans for me by limits I placed on my heart, or plans *I* had that I wanted to pursue. I don't want to settle for good, or even acceptable, when there is that perfect will He has for me.

Sunday, July 15, 2007


Saturday morning, early, Hubby went fishing with A Cousin. The cousin is hard to describe, but I"ll try. He loves God a lot. He's married almost 10 years, has 3 kids, and is a redneck, in certain ways (Cousin, if you're reading this, I hope that doesn't offend you! We love you even if you're a redneck). They were fishing in a little creek, I think, and while they got a lot of bites, and a couple small fish, they didn't have much luck with any keepers. Then one of them spotted a critter of some sort in the brush. It was a young badger!

Hubby: "Do ya have yer .22?" (of course; a live critter, let's shoot it!)
Cousin: "No." (lemme guess, a little one, so hardly any meat at all?)

Somehow Cousin hooked his Mepps 3 into the badger. I'm still not sure if this was intentional or accidental, but of course he started reeling it in.

Cousin: "Man, I'm so glad you're here to witness this! No one would believe I caught a badger!" (especially with a Mepps 3?)

I'm not sure how far the badger was 'reeled' but eventually the lure came out, and the badger was growling. Of course, being the reasonable civilized guy he is, he hooked him again. According to Wikipedia, "Aside from Polar Bears and Humans, Badgers are thought to be the only animals which attack without provocation." By all means, let's hook him again. Eventually the critter lodged himself in a crevice somewhere, in a great mood, I'm sure.

Another interesting tidbit from Wiki: The lower jaw is articulated to the upper, by means of a transverse condyle firmly locked into a long cavity of the cranium, so that dislocation of the jaw is all but impossible. This enables the badgers to maintain its hold with the utmost tenacity.

While Cousin might not be familiar with the Wikipedia information (I'm not sure what those details mean, even, but I get the idea), he at least had the good sense to cut his line (and his losses - $3 for the Mepps) as opposed to reaching into the crevice and retrieving his lure. And while I'm glad they all escaped unscathed (aside from the hip young badger with the new piercing), I can't help but lament the lost opportunity to educate ourselves about a badger's transverse condyle.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Cream of the Crop

Cream is the crop, more like. I'm swimming in it.

Actually, if I had black maternity clothes, I'd be wearing them for mourning. In the shade, anyway.

My dearly beloved milk supply is becoming nonexistent this Tuesday. Let me tell you, it is a travesty indeed. This milk is organic, completely grass-fed, and the only milk my midwife would approve. It's not just that it's going to be processed at a different place by different people (which is what we thought would be the case). It sounds as though the dairyman may just sell it on the wholesale market to one of those big terrible milk-making places. As far as I know it would then be treated as and lumped in with all the other hormone-laden, steroid-laced, e. coli-ridden (grain, you know), antibiotic-infused milk from any nasty confinement operation. These are assumptions, and I don't know any details, other than I better get it 'while the gettin's good'. Which I'm doing. Hence the bootleg cream, too. So, how to make this stuff last? The cream is good in the fridge MAYBE a week or so... unless it's frozen as ice cream. Oh yes, and lots of it. Except now I'm running out of honey, maple syrup, and sucanat. *sigh* And egg yolks. But as soon as the hens lay a few (and we find them), I'm back at the food processor developing new and interesting recipes, none of which are churning well. Most of them churn for an hour and still look like soup. Tastey soup. I freeze it anyway. Could be that I"m using pickling salt instead of rock salt. Ran out of that too. Raspberry ice cream, peach ice cream, chocolate, and now mocha. Let me tell you, I think that one is going to be very fine. I haven't tasted a frozen version, but the soupy stage was worth downing a glass. As I drank it, I thought how I'd probably be consuming fewer calories if I just downed the same amount of melted butter. I made 2 batches of mocha. I still have 3 gallons of cream, 6 peaches, and a few eggs, but I need to get some sweetener asap.

And hubby is going to have a HUGE egg-white omelet for dinner.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Christian Books, Homeschooling Stuff

Years ago my folks used to get catalogues and order from Christian Book Distributors. Things were very affordable and they had a huge selection. If you are so inclined or interested, go here, click the link and at least request a catalog. They have a lot of homeschooling materials, even Saxon math and it's all very reasonable, considering. You can even browse online and order, or create a wishlist.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Do pirates say, "Aye, matey" or do they say, "Eye, matey"?

Hubby almost became one last week. The kind that would say, "Eye, matey."

Tuesday morning, the third (he was on vacation all last week), he was mowing the lawn. Bless him. I just can't do it anymore. In any case, the blades were obviously in need of sharpening (thanks to my mowing boulders), and he took them to the garage to grind them nicely. He wore sunglasses, but not safety goggles. He thought he got a bit in his eye, but brushed it out and was fine.

That evening his eye was very red and irritated. Some people we know have had pink eye, and I thought somehow he'd gotten it. By morning it was no better, so we treated it with some pink eye medicine left over from a couple years ago. He decided to go to the Independence Day festivities, such as they were, though he didn't look very good. The drops helped it feel better, he said, but they weren't having the quick effect I remembered them having on the kids. In our family, we always wait until national holidays to need medical care.

Thursday morning I called Hubby's naturopath who recommended a local doc here in our town. We got in within a few hours, and I must say the guy cracked me up. He delivered all five of Hubby's aunt's kids, years ago. He laid Hubby out on a table and used dye and pain killer and giant q-tips and phrases like, "Oh crap," and "What'd ya do? Pluck your eyebrows?" He meant eyelashes; he had nothing to grip to turn Hubby's eyelid inside out. As it was, he discovered a tiny speck under hubby's eyelid, and an abrasion on the eye it had caused. He also found a piece still lodged in the front of the eye, just below center. Not good. That's when the "Oh crap"s really started. They called some eye doctor on call in Town, and sent us there straightaway. I'm very grateful my mom was here with the kids and I was able to go with him. When the doc said, "Yeah, you really did it. Crap. You're gonna have to have an opthamologist reverse-drill that thing out before it digs itself all the way into your eyeball" Hubby started to get a bit nervous.

The opthamologist on call used a needle-like knife (I think) to "reverse drill" (looked like "dig") the stuff out. Hubby wasn't convinced it was from the grinding he did until the doc talked about all the rust in there. No wonder it hurt. Is that how pirates lost their eyes? Specks of steel rusting in their cornea? Eye, matey.

He had to use some eyedrops every 2 hours while awake for 2 days. The rust might've returned, but I think we're in the clear by now. It might still cause a permanent change in his vision. He says it's blurry, and he feels the "hole" still, but no more pain (and wouldn't you know it, he'd busted his glasses and we ordered and paid for another identical pair just before all this).

By the time our outing was over, it cost us $265... and he didn't even get an eye patch.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Hubby & Red, Again

Hubby must have a thing for the Red rooster. I'm not sure what kind of thing, but their interactions are always noteworthy.

The Auracana was pretty. Was. It took after my niece when she was here, and hubby immediately gave chase, cornering it in the garage, catching it, and doing it in. He now resides in a gallon ziploc bag in The Very Cold Place.

Red was out the other day, and Hubby gave chase to him as well. He cornered him in the fence, and caught him up. He turned him over, and exclaimed, "Dang, look at those spurs!" His spurs were probably 3/4" long, and beginning to get pointy. Much to my shock, amazement, and disgust, Hubby leaned over and BIT the end of a spur off. Yes, with his TEETH! He then repeated the process with the other spur, spitting out the piece after each bite. When he was done, he let the kids pet him, then put him back in the pen.

I couldn't help but exclaim, "Do you KNOW where that rooster WALKS?!?"

I don't recall these things being discussed in pre-marital counseling.

Mixer Fundraising

Last night I was up until midnight baking 2 loaves of bread. This morning the kids and I had to be up early to take Hubby to work, as his service truck had been repaired and he had not been able to drive it home. OK, I REALLY want that mixer. I could do 6+ loaves of bread at once, in pretty much the same time, thanks to my lovely convection oven. I have some ideas for raising the money, but it's a lot of money. Plus a bit more for some stainless steel bread pans. I don't have enough pans to cook 6+ loaves at once.

Here are the ideas. Comment here if you want to take me up on any of them.

1: Start charging $25 for people to touch my belly.

2: Start fining people $50 for touching my belly without asking first.

3: Auction off some of my surplus Mary Kay inventory, since I'm not turning it over fast enough (BIG breach of contract here...).

4: Haul trampoline pieces to recycling center. I think steel's only 5 cents per pound, though.

5: Sell non-engine pieces of old Celica for scrap.

6: Sell all Hubby's motorcycle pieces and paraphernalia (oops, another big breach of something, I bet).

7: Sell espresso equipment. This could actually pay the midwife too, and put a new roof on, if I can get a buyer.

Any other ideas? I'm game.

Weather Complications

The weather has been plain obnoxious. I'm wondering if I'm getting to be an old fogey, the way I seem to refer to it so much. In early spring I complained of coolness, now I'm complaining of the heat! It's been in the 90s and well into the 100s this past week. I find that ANY time I spend in the sun is VERY taxing on my person. Spending even a few minutes outdoors in the daytime really drains me; I have to be very careful, and rest accordingly. Since we live without air conditioning, we also have to be very careful of cooling the house at night, closing it up tight at dawn, and not being stupid about heating it up in the day. This means no roast turkey.
This complicates some of my chores. Gathering eggs midday is not always doable; I cracked one open last week (it must've been out a day or two) and it was actually soft-boiled. THAT was a surprise. Forget "hot enough to fry an egg" - we're baking them in the shell.

I hung out a load of laundry last week and it put me down for an hour or more. The girls' clothes are the worst, because they're little, and they're many, and it takes forever to hang them, or bring them in. I've taken to drying theirs in the dryer at bedtime. I obviously can't do it in the daytime, but neither can I do all of the laundry like that. As I type, 2 loads of hubby's laundry are hanging out; they will probably do so until tonight. I just hope they're not all bleached by then.

I also can't bake bread in the daytime. I can't make the dough either, because there is a set rise time I can't mess with. So I can bake bread after dark (which is 9:30 or 10:00). But by then, I'm usually completely wiped out. We're a little short on bread around here right now. Anyone want to donate to the mixer fund, you're more than welcome. In fact, I'm putting together ideas for raising money, but that's a different post.

The garden is becoming a bit jungle-esque. Man, those beets are certainly growing! Especially when I don't get a chance to be out much. Some mornings I get up at 6 or 6:30 and spend an hour or two weeding. The weeds grow even faster than the beets and radishes. Oddly enough, I don't even really like beets or radishes. They're tolerable when they're from my own garden though, and in a salad.

Another weather issue we had lately was a sudden wind. Not the 2-day-long, holocaust-creating sustained wind, but some gusts that whipped up for a few minutes, then were done. It was very odd. Very dusty. And very expensive for some.
For us, I was facing east thru the sliding glass door. I could see the trampoline almost start to move. The wind came from the south, which is unusual. My narration to hubby (to my right and facing north) went as follows:

"Honey, oh my gosh, that little birch tree is really leaning over. Wow, the trampoline is moving! (add a tone of hysteria here) Oh my gosh, the trampoline just took out the bunny cage and---!"

Hubby, by then able to view the airborne trampoline through the north window, was on his feet. We stood at the window, my hands on my head, watching our now-very-mobile trampoline leave. A few other things had become mobile, and within a few minutes Hubby was outside moving the bunny and cage (they actually survived) to the north side of the house, and also the "baby turks" and their cage. They were under the trampoline also, but somehow escaped the tumble-dry cycle. Shade for them is now an issue.

A few trampoline facts:
It wasn't little. It was a 14-foot trampoline, steel frame, and upper-net-holder-thingies also of steel. The mesh net was only partly up. It has survived wind before. It traveled a full 1/4 mile before coming to a stop, making it over 2 fences and an irrigation ditch. You can see it dead-center in this picture. It looks like a small blue-black oval, above the green grass, and below the line of trees.

After the trampoline's sudden emigration, I had to console my crying 5-year-old. Hubby witnessed some dirt from the neighboring field flowing straight up. I wonder if it might've become a tornado, or was trying to.
We were much luckier than some. Power lines went down on the other side of town, a large tree uprooted itself and leaned on a 2-story house in town, bringing up a couple spans of wooden fence and a cement patio. I drove by a south-facing ... shed? and it looked like it was teetering on the edge of collapse. Not a small shed, but one of those long steel buildings, open along one side to house tractors and hay and other important equipment. At least they were probably insured. As our insurance has ... issues? with trampolines, they weren't privy to it's existence. And won't be privy to this information either.
Within a short period of time, things were calm again (save the billowing smoke in the sky from a fire somewhere northeast of town), and my girls, my mom, my niece, and I took a little walk. We followed a trail.
Apparently speeding trampolines like to divest themselves of critical parts. We were grateful the neighbor had recently mowed and baled this field, else we would have had a far harder time.
We finally found the bulk of it:
With Hubby now on hand, and the kids pitching in, we had it dismantled and piled in the pickup in no time at all.
We found some interesting bugs along the way. As a child I always left the bug-catching to my insect-loving brother, but I guess without one of those on hand, my girls take the role. In our Audobon Society book we discovered that this red one is a "Red Milkweed Beetle." Aptly named, since he was found on milkweed. After this photo he spent a few days in a plastic cup with a daisy. And was named "Chomp."
I found these by myself, which, as it turns out, might be a good thing. Apparently if handled they "emit a foul-smelling odor." I do not handle things with many legs. Oh, and these are "Milkweed Leaf Beetles" and the A.S. bug book picture doesn't do them justice.
We're not sure what we're going to do about the trampoline. The trampoline-y part is fine; but we need a new frame, maybe some new springs, things like that. I don't know if you can buy them a la carte, but I hope so. It's the closest thing I could find to a padded room when Little Monkey became mobile. It'll have to go on the list I guess. There's still the midwife to pay, homeschool curriculum and a new printer to buy, hubby says we need a new roof... And of course, the mixer. :)

Friday, July 06, 2007


Wow, this week is hot! 103 or more today. My mom has been visiting with my neice, who is 5, and it has been a real blessing. She doesn't get to make many trips this way, and we're so happy to have her here!

I ran across a scripture that was so, SO refreshing to read! I mentioned in my 2nd homeschooling post how I constantly look at other families and try to learn from what I see; whether they seem to be doing something worth emulating, or if I would like my family to avoid something they embrace. I have also always struggled with whether or not that was classified as "judgment" and if so, how then to go about evaluating methods of parenting and such. Well, God has answered this for me (Thank you so much, Lord!).

Proverbs 24: 30-32 reads like this:
I went by the field of the lazy man, and by the vineyard of the man devoid of
understanding; And there it was, all overgrown with thorns; Its surface was
covered with nettles; It's stone wall was broken down. When I saw it, I
considered it well; I looked on it and received instruction:

"Wow," was all I could say. If this is among King Solomon's writings, and I do as he did, I guess I'm grateful to be walking in the steps of the wise. I can "look on" others' fields... not to condemn, or point out their weeds, or even to shake my head in pity. I look on them and receive instruction. I can't tell you how freeing this is for my heart. I am so grateful.

Now if I can just quit thinking, "...the field of the lazy lady... all overgrown with obnoxious locust trees; Its surface covered with cheet grass; it's field fence all saggy and leaned over..."

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Monkey Antics

This has been some week, let me tell you. For some reason (perhaps the heat? Mama's lessened energy due to the heat?) Little Monkey has been extra diligent in her creativity and antics. I'm sure I've only recorded a fraction of them here: I wrote them down occasionally, but those I didn't are blocked into that recess of the mind where goes the impact moment of a head-on collision and other such things.

She got into the arrowroot powder. I do mean "into" it. Her dress and skin were a dusky white, the floor of the kitchen was pure white, and she moved the whole production into the family room, presumably to maximize impact. I had to vacuum her.

Apparently several pounds of pinto beans are more appealing on the floor than in the bag. And yes, I try considerably hard to keep things out of her reach. She is, remember, a Monkey.

Thank God whatever evil pharmaceutical company produces Benadryl does it with childproof packaging. Those bright pink pills must look SOOOO tasty! Again, for the record, those are kept where even I must stretch to reach them, and I am 5'10". So far, the haircutting scissors suspended from the kitchen ceiling have not been breached.

I left the mop and water out for 5 seconds too long; you can guess how that worked out.

After watching me select a needle from a packet of 50 (to remove Big Sister's sliver she got because she got in the car for town day without shoes - yes, it's been a week), she later selected many, many more to disperse on and within the quilt I use when resting on the couch. So far no 'accidental' discoveries or injuries.

She figured out how to open my file box, and did so, removing several files and their contents, and arranging them in a very random manner.

Several armloads of blankets and sheets were removed from the hall closet for an unknown purpose, and placed at every point between said closet and her bed. Unfolded, of course. (Note to self; re-organize hall closet)

While taking a brief trip to the potty, and still within my eyesight (yes, that plan has been instituted), a swishing noise made me look closer, to find her rinsing her shorts in the potty.

In an effort to more involve the girls in chores and household upkeep, I bought 2 ostrich-feather dusters on Thursday. Before they had much chance to be used constructively, she had secreted one away and gave it a rather thorough haircut. Her room and everything in it now needs a rather thorough vacuuming, but at least I know where those scissors had disappeared to.

During an evening exploratory trip, she rubbed Vick's vapo-rub all over her chest, arms, belly, and legs. Daddy discovered this, but Mama set to work trying to remove it from her skin. WHAT do they put in that stuff? Crisco would come off more easily, I surmise. She survived, but even my hands were burning as I tried to fall asleep that night.

What to do? There are a few problem areas here. Bedtime is not respected (speaking of, last night she tore some pages out of a child's dictionary while 'reading' in bed). There are a few reasons for this, and I need to come up with a plan. YES, she gets disciplined for getting up. The sun is setting at 10 pm right now, and that makes it hard. The place doesn't cool down until the sun goes down. I am exhausted by 8 pm (or earlier), and perhaps my diligence lacks. The girls not only share a room, but share a bed - one girl at each end, but this makes for too much play and kicking/horsing around problems - at least before sleep comes. Many of her 'antics' occur during this time when she is supposed to be in bed, but goes on little expeditions. I'm glad I caught the 2 dolly-bathtubs of water before she spilled them on the sheets.

What I have tried to counteract this problem: A fan in the room. Blinds and a blanket on the window (blanket is tough - it blocks the breeze we count on overnight to cool the house). Putting the girls side-by-side in bed (didn't work or last, and Big Sister can't use the top bunk, because she's lately taken to wetting the bed again [after many, many months of waking to pee], and a top bunk just isn't conducive to such training). I've sat for an hour and supervised their bedtime. Didn't seem to help, but I only did it once. I tried putting them to bed separately, but it doesn't seem reasonable to have one up for an untold amount of time while waiting for the other to fall asleep - especially when I'm trying to rest in bed myself.

To Do: Have hubby help me disassemble the 'bunks' so they can sleep separately. I fear for the acrobatic temptation this may create - a top bunk is handy for discouraging such play. Perhaps I'll try separate bedtimes again, if reasonable. I'll try to stay away from wrapping her and the mattress in bungee cords.

The other main problem area is while we're doing outdoor chores and gardening in the mornings. Suddenly I'll realize that she isn't right beside me sitting on the tomato plants or mashing the beets, and she'll have gone indoors for some dark purpose. By the time I get up from my hands and knees and hobble my way into the house, damage control is in order, as is discipline. So far my only idea to prevent this is to use that big tow-chain the kids found, and anchor one end in the lawn, and the other to my Monkey. I think that might be frowned upon by the community at large, though.

It is supposed to get up well into the 100s this week, and I'm not sure what I'm going to do. I don't suppose I have much choice, either way, actually. I need to remember that "I can do all things..." and "His grace is sufficient..."