Tuesday, April 30, 2013

No pictures, words will have to do...

Today I woke up earlier than normal.
The sun woke me up shining in my face.
Papa and son walked to Liturgy.
It was a crispy morning, the clouds hung low and snow was trying to fall.
The remaining six of us drove to church and attended Presanctified Liturgy.
Communion was served, the Holy Gospel was read, prostrations were made and we returned home.
I started a fire in the stove to give warmth to our toes and hearts.
Math had to be done, lessons had to be re-learned, tears were shed. School is not over, quite yet. Next week will be our Spring Break (during bright week) I love being able to set our home schedule around the Church's calendar.
Older son's hair needed cutting, he wanted to cut it himself, he did a great job.
Animals were fed, watered and milked. Eggs were collected, manure was shoveled.
Dishwasher loaded and emptied, rooms cleaned, island tidied, table cleared, messes made, messes picked up, always trying to stay ahead of those messes.
I'm making a skirt for Fran, I made sure it would fit and started hemming it, then the phone rang.
I started working, customers are waiting, facebook and pintrest grabbed my attention. Customers are still waiting.
Papa went to town, he has the week off for Holy Week, it is so nice.
Yesterday and today he: jumped the car and got it working, jumped the truck and got it going, checked the bees, finally went to the chiropractor, trimmed up the long hairs on son, ran an errand for me, read his book, bought a new battery for the car, worked on choosing a new electric smoker for his fish and meat projects, took a call from work, read books to the girls. I imagine he'll fix the 4wheeler next. I like it when he takes a week off of work.
We got another lamp for the girls room from the mail carrier today, we have the best mail lady in the world.
Sus went outside, she's tormenting chickens and cats. I love that we have cats and chickens for her to torment.
My neighbor and her six kids are out cutting their firewood logs with the chainsaw, splitting them with their mauls and hauling them inside. I am convinced God put her next to me to constantly humble me.
It's April 30th and it's snowing and I don't mind. I love Alaska and her surprises. I love the calmness that the weather on days like today bring with it.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sneak Peak

I'm not sure how much I have talked about the "new girls room" on here. I haven't had my phone now for three weeks now (aka my camera, that's another long story about the repair shop being sold to a Russian man named Egor all while my phone was there being held hostage as I'd already paid half for the special order part that didn't end up getting shipped...doesn't really boost the confidence in the repair of said phone). During that first week of no camera is also when my builder friend had two days worth of time to dedicate to building us some built in beds in the little girls room. It just happened to coincide with the goat giving birth, the chicks coming and the bees arrival. Needless to say, that week was insanity.

I, like so many pintrest nuts out there, have been wanting built-in-bunks for a while now. I, not like so many others, have a really good excuse to build them (yay for having 6 kids, sometimes you get cool stuff). I have three girls crammed in one bedroom. They have been sharing two twin beds for the last two years. I have been saving up for this and finally hubby and I had had enough of the fighting and crying at bedtime. Something had to be done. This room is the largest kid bedroom but has weird quirks. There's the giant 5'x8' window on the north wall. It also has a basement bump out wall on two sides of the room. And the south wall has the closet all the way at one end and the door all the way at the other, thus eliminating the ability to put bunks on the door end. Ugh, I have thought long and hard about how to solve this room dilemma. I love the look of window seats, and that's what we would end up with in here, two separate window seat/beds built at the height of the bump out. The bottom two bunks would be shorter with no window and less head room, and they also would not have a base, the mattress must rest on the floor, but when it's your space, it's your space and it's still better than nothing. Also, since we only have 3 girls, there was no need for a fourth mattress, it's the perfect spot for the doll house, the extra dresser and, well, their junk.

After the room was painted all white (cut down on taping labor and time, all me) I had time to figure out what lamps I wanted in these 4 beds. Lowes had ugly wall mounted lamps for $42 each, so I easily settled on these hobnail milk glass wall lamps and just so happened to find 4 matching ones on Etsy the price was between $30-$50 each including shipping. The plan is to take some plain lampshades and doll them up with some cute bright pompom trim.

And remember the photo of the cute green chandelier with buttons? Well, I don't think mine is as cute, but it's cute. I spray painted our old "antique brass" one I'd gotten for the dining room (that was too small) and put it up in here. I also ordered the beads/buttons from a gal on Etsy. I'll add the bead necklaces as I find them around the house or as they break.

Notice the bunting in the background? Em loves to sew and she really loves sewing triangles. She did the bulk of the initial sewing and I finished them up on Friday. The vintage circus pictures came from the local antique store "Chickadees".

Here's a photo of the least messy bed (Fran's):

Eventually I'll have curtains up on the window, closet and on each bed. I'll also eventually get Sus her own big-girl-mattress and her own set of book shelves. I am ordering a mirror from the local gal who re-paints old pieces in super cute bright colors, I'll put that on the blank wall in the pic straight above.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Almost there

Today is Lazarus Saturday and today we sing the most beautiful hymn: Rejoice O Bethany. This song talks about Christ when He came to Bethany to visit His dead friend Lazarus, how He wept for His friend, how He lamented his death and then how He rose His friend from the dead. It reminds us that Christ was human, He felt pain, not only physical but emotional pain. It's a lovely tune.

And if you'd like to sing along go here for the sheet music.

The following picture was neat. Another reason why I love my Orthodox faith. The feast of Pascha that lays ahead in less than 8 days time. The beauty. The awe. The wonderment. Pascha is amazing, but Pascha after attending most or all of the services during Holy Week is really mind blowing. It's an experience you just don't get in this life very often. If you are Orthodox and have Holy Week services every day at your parish, it is worth it (at least one year) to take the week off and go to them. Work during the daytime if you have to work, but try it. It will blow your mind.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Just a giant rabbit trail.

I got up today and our floor upstairs was warm, very warm. Must be cold outside! Sure enough, the clouds had cleared out and the temp dropped. It was 15F when I looked at the temp after the sun had been up for 3 hours or so.

My school mate/awesome builder called on Monday, he had time this week to do built in beds in the girls room, I had just enough money for what he bid me and the room needed to be gutted, he'd be back on Wednesday. No biggie. Hahahahahahaha. I crack me up. Today he finished and I have to get in there now and paint it all and repaint the room. We're going for all white so I can avoid taping off moldings, it'll go faster.

Hubby is getting his 6 or 8 colonies of bees this Saturday, he had to put the hives in the garage to thaw out.

Added another coat of spray paint to my old kitchen chandelier, it's now red!

9-yr-old wanted to help me make bunting today, I'd started cutting out pretty triangles last week or the week before. It's been taking up half the dining room table. I set up my little child labor sweat shop and she happily started sewing triangles. She'd get one sewn before I could cut them out. I had 2 other kids match them up for me from before I figured out how to cut them properly.

I'd seen a pintrest pic of button garland hanging off a bright chandelier so I had 7-yr-old start stringing them together. Easier said than done. 9-yr-old just showed me how she'd taken over and has one string almost full of buttons, so cute!

14-yr-old was sick yesterday and today, she went out to feed the goats today and she said her goat is "goopy" thinking she'll kid/freshen soon. Yikes, not this week! It's too cold. We have a stall now in the shed we can set her up in, but daughter is too sick to do that today. Goatie isn't due 'till April 20th so I think we're good for a few more days before she needs a kidding stall.

We're getting our chicks on Monday, have to have room in already full garage for them. The old bunk beds from the girl's room are in the garage too. ;)

The owner at the local kitchen supply store "All I Saw Cookware" and I have gotten to know each other since my business was in the mall at one point. I called him yesterday with about 5 ideas of items for him to sell. He's having a hard time getting people to come in there. I told him about Weck canning jars, Pamona Pectin, Harsch Crocks, and Tattler caning lids. I told him that I could let my large Alaska Farm & Food (facebook) group know about the availability and he said he'd look into it. He called today with some more questions and he'll start carrying many of those items soon.

My sister picked up my 11-yr-old son today to go play.

I haven't checked my work messages in 2 days now. I really should go and paint...

I think I may be getting what ever this crud is that the girls had this week, yuck.

So much going on, and time doesn't stop. Goodness.

inspirational photo - not mine

Monday, April 8, 2013

Snow Icecream

As I sit at my desk not working but blogging instead, my kids are giggling behind me while they watch AFV with my husband. I love hearing them laugh.

The sky decided to open up this weekend and take a dump, literally. We have SO much snow from this "storm". The roads are really bad because they had a good coating of water last week from the melt off then froze, then it snowed, making things very slick. There have been countless numbers of crashes out there, I'm staying home.

To those that say it shouldn't snow in April? I say, "then you shouldn't live in Alaska...it ALWAYS snows in April". Learn like I had to that March is "fake spring" and end of April-May is "real spring".

My 9-year-old asked at 9:30pm if she could make snow ice-cream and papa wanted to say no since it was late but really? How many more great large fluffy snowfalls will we get this year? Here's how we make ours.

Sorry no pictures, my phone is in the shop after last weeks phone-death-by-dog incident.

Snow Ice-cream: serving 6 children

Fresh snow
Vanilla extract (I typically save my gallon of fake vanilla extract for this recipe since we use so much making this and I'm not eating it, the kids are)
Milk, any kind (almond, soy, real, we end up usually making this with vanilla almond milk)

Scoop up a LARGE bowl of snow, heaping if you can - (don't scrape it off the ground, gross).
Quickly swirl on one large circle of vanilla, we don't measure.
Scoop on a scoop of sugar over the top, we don't measure.
Swirl on some milk. Stir, mush down chunks of vanilla and milk, keep adding more milk as needed. You want it to be almost mushy but not quite. There should not be any bright white snowy spots yet, you want all the vanilla mixed in. Taste to be sure you have enough sugar, add more if needed.

Serve in bowls, not cones, it melts fast.


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

This week...

If you are Orthodox then you know already that during lent, all sorts of "bad" things happen. Most people understand that it is because the Evil One is testing us and trying to make us go crazy, quit fasting, quit praying and just give up on it all. It helps to remember that especially during lent, especially when you are trying to fast, pray and go to church more than normal, the bad guy doesn't like this and will attempt to discourage us.

Each year at our house things break, typically appliances or car engines seize up or we get very very sick. Something new and fun to look forward to every year.

This week has been a trying week, starting on Monday when I really couldn't find my phone and finally went to see if it was in my sister's driveway...maybe it had fallen out of the car the night before. It wasn't there.

On the way home there was a strange man on our road who stopped me and asked, "Is this your dog?" holding up a small white terrier looking mongrel. I replied that it wasn't and he explained how he had found it by the mailboxes wondering around aimlessly and so he had gone to a few houses looking for the owner. He explained that he didn't live in our neighborhood and it would be best if I took the dog since I actually live here and know more people around here. Sheesh, I want another pet like a hole in the head, but what was I to do but take it home.

Later in the day I got a phone call that my brother-in-law found some phone remains in his yard, my phone case was trashed (chewed by their dogs) and my sister was looking for my phone. It's a good thing I was in such a "good place" on Monday, because it was turning into a doozy. A few minutes later he called again, they found the phone in a puddle of mud and were trying to dry it out in some rice and see if it would work. It had no bite marks, so maybe it would work?

Fast forward 2 days later...

The phone worked last night, made 2 calls and now the screen is totaly black, I'll have to buy a new one.

The dog has become dear to us, in only 2 days, he's the sweetest thing. The owner called from the pound today frantic. It was his dog, his description nailed it. "Sir, what does your dog look like?" Man: Well it's a Shih Tzu but I gave him a really terrible hair cut."

This poor man was out of his mind with angst. His 8-yr-old daughter was apparently staying the night at a friend's house in the neighborhood and when the dog ran away the daughter didn't really think she needed to go after him. He came to our neighborhood yesterday to look for him and drove past 4 of my "found dog" signs, they even had pictures...

I had to inturrupt him, "Sir, we have your dog. It's yours." I gave him directions and he came to get the pup after an hour.

The dog was taking a nap on my lap when he got here, what a sweet dog. I guess if I even need a companion dog I'll know that a Shih Tzu would be a good choice. He was great with the kids, very attentive, very quiet, playful but gentle. It was nice to give him to the little girl, he seemed so happy to see her.

Ah, this week. I'll be happy when Pascha arrives...

mangy Shih Tzu

Monday, April 1, 2013

Life is great.

Warning: this post contains words like God and priests and soul. If you can not handle such content move along. I did, however, try to keep it brief.

This is not often my outlook on life. I struggle. I hurt. Life sucks.

Yesterday I was able to talk to a close friend (ok, my priest, but he is a friend too) for 4 short hours.

Today I feel like a new person.

The sun is out and it's beautiful, the snow is melting, water is flowing down driveways. Life is good today.

I love days like this, because it's not the sun or the snow or the spring-ness of it all that uplifts my spirits, it's my view on life and it's problems. It's knowing more about myself and knowing that yes, I'm a seriously messed up and sinful human being. But God loves me. And to truly understand that makes so much that is wrong ok. It makes me nicer, it makes me actually happy. Today I can see the job that is set in front of me and I plan to do it. I have tasks that I can complete and being such a project oriented person, I know that I can start working on them. Does this mean that I won't fall again? Does this mean that I won't simply forget those things that I know today that are so clear to me? Does this mean that I will succeed in...life? No, but it's somewhere to start.

I always forget how good it is to have a priest to talk to, you can really tell them the most nitty-gritty most terrible details of your life. They just smile or giggle or sigh and might say things you don't want to hear but that you need to hear. It's truly refreshment for the soul. I felt like I was digging up clods of dirt and throwing them out. By saying these things I was admitting them not only to him but to myself. That was powerful. To admit things that I do and think that cause problems in my marriage and life. That is huge. To be able to see one's self is huge. I know that I can't really see myself for who I truly am, who of us can? But yesterday I was able to peel back the next layer of the onion that makes up "me" and I have a new fresh beginning to life again. That is really wonderful.

Sometimes (this is for my different friends sake that I say this)...sometimes, priests say the wrong things, sometimes they give bad advice, and sometimes they hurt you, but that's because they are human and just as prone to temptations and stupid-ness as anybody else. Just as you may have a best friend and you spill your guts to them, they can easily say the wrong things or really hurt you. Most people are very sensitive about personal things they divulge to only priests. You really need to have a good mesh with a priest (or a best friend). I haven't had any negative experience, personally. God gives us what we can handle, and He must know that I needed some good priests to lean on. I haven't had a bff in ages that I could really talk to, but I have always had a priest waiting in the wings if I needed him.

Yesterday I dusted and cleaned the cobwebs off of my soul, today Christ is happier to live there, and that is making me happy.

Spring cleaning for the soul? It's a good thing.