Making a List, Checking it More than Twice

I made the decision to look for a new home closer to my youngest son and his family.  I thought that was the hard part. ;-)  I have narrowed down my choices to three completely different homes each with its pros and cons.

I made a list of what I needed and one of amenities I would like.  On the must have list were items that included items such as accessibility, close to public library and thrift stores. Size of the home is another consideration. I refuse to live in a home too large for my needs.   In addition my new home would have to be close enough to my son and not require freeway driving between our homes as his wife is still uncomfortable driving on them.

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Plan for the Worst, Hope for the Best

Summer is coming to a close, for those of us in the northern hemisphere, and yet I still feel as if I am waiting for summer to start.  This summer has been irregular, the best word I can come up with.   I only needed to use my fan twice and never did we have those hot muggy days where you get out of the shower and can’t seem to get dry.  The nights have been cold, often hovering between the 40s and low 50s.  It used to be that the minute June came around the windows were all open, day and night, except when it rained too hard.  This year people have put their heat on and most windows need to be closed more often than not.

The rain has been both a treat and a pest.  When I get sick of near constant rain I just remind myself that my organic garden is truly organic as I don’t have to water it with tap water from the hose.  To make this summer stand out, we’ve had so much rain that the garden never once needed watering.

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Good News Monday

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This past week I had to avoid a lot of the news, it was too grim from Ferguson Missouri to drought conditions leading to more earthquakes and even a new hurricane forming…it’s just too much.  After avoiding mainstream news today I caught a story on the California earthquake.  It seems not a day goes by without news that saddens me.

The good news is that as a result I was actively looking for good news to counter the rest and found several good stories for you.

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Making Gifts

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This afternoon was beautiful. At first I divided my time between chores and the sun then I had company, my granddaughter wanted some grandma time.  I was in the process of determining just how much of a drop sheet I had left. It wasn’t enough for the project I had in mind but the one section was smaller than the rest and an idea came to me, something the little one would enjoy working on.

There is something about the age of five and six where tic-tac-toe becomes an obsession with children. It’s no different here. We use the chalkboards but paper has been used often, a habit I like to discourage. So beginning with cutting a piece of the drop cloth and using fabric markers left from the onesies I did last month, I drew a tic-tac-toe grid.  Little one decided there had to be three, one for herself, her brother, and her oldest cousin, it was too much fun to hoard all for herself.

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We had to put each child’s name on the fabric, then we headed to the sewing machine where we sewed the openings to create a bag out of the fabric.  I cut a strip for each to add to the upper one side that would be easy for a child to tie closed.

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Then it was time to collect the playing pieces. For this we headed outside and collected rocks. Once we had enough it was time to scrub them down and set them in the sun to dry.  Then it was time for the little one to choose paint colors and paint the rocks. She picked two colors, one for the “X”s and one for the” O”s.

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Once the paint was dry we wrote the letters “X” and “O” on the proper rocks and set about giving the game bags a trial run.  After several games with grandma, it was time to challenge dad.  The game bag went home to share with mom.   Tomorrow brother will receive his game bag, and later this week another will be mailed to her cousin.

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Total cost, Zero!  These were made with leftover fabric, free paints and rocks from the field.

What started out as a creative project between the two of us became an afternoon of creating gifts.

 

Have you been in a creative mood lately?

Enjoying Change and Simple DIY

Some people hate change, I happen to enjoy change.  So with that I thought I would show you a few changes I’ve made recently.

changing up the Little Cove

changing up the Little Cove

This is taking much longer than I had anticipated.  I wanted to simplify the mowing process by eliminating the need to weed whack around the plantings in the Little Cove.  I purchased five yards of tree mulch and have been digging up the grass and weeds that grow around the plantings.  I’ve laid layers of cardboard over this and then filled in with the mulch.

eliminating need for more than a simple mower

eliminating need for more than a simple mower

In the front I’ve also dug up the turf and buried more cardboard under the rocks to fill in.  I am thinking of the future when I may not be here with the time to do all the weeding that is necessary.  This process has been slowed by all our rain. While rain is a good thing, normally when you want to dig up weeds it makes getting a wheelchair stuck quite easy.

In the above picture you can see our zinnias and some of the milkweed around it.  Today we spotted our first monarch caterpillar on one of the milkweed plants.  My granddaughter happened to be here at the time and had to show everyone.  She also asked if she could touch it and then gently touched the caterpillar to see how this one felt compared to what we call wooly bears.

Monarch caterpillar on milkweed plant

Monarch caterpillar on milkweed plant

I added new art to my walls. The children love to color and like when I color with them. Children’s coloring books only hold my attention for so long so I also had a book of Mandala designs.  I wasn’t happy with all of them but a few were, well me.   What do you do with pages from a coloring book when you are finished with it?  I decided to turn them into art.  For this I found a handful of art canvases on clearance, painted them black to match the frames on my other art, then glued and sealed the colored pages onto the canvas.

New art

New art

I have a couple more I would like to add when I find more canvases on clearance so it may be a while.  For now the gallery wall will do but at some point I may rearrange the display and move the photographs to another wall.

Of course the children enjoy the mandala coloring book as well. It gives them freedom to use color as they wouldn’t in an ordinary children’s coloring book.  My granddaughter was so happy with one of her creations she asked if I could frame it, but the frame had to be blue.  I pulled out an old frame I was waiting to find a use for and she changed her mind on how the finished piece would look.

Her art and the frame we found.

Her art and the frame we found.

The children know where I keep the paint, so a color was quickly selected.  I took the backing out of the frame and painted the one side. When dry simply cut out the finished design and framed it.  The best part is that she’s thrilled with how it turned out.  I do see a budding artist here. ;-)

The blue made her choice of colors pop.

The blue made her choice of colors pop.

In her new home the walls are white and painting is not allowed, I think this will stand out on her white walls and hopefully go nicely in the dresser she designed.

 

There is one other big change I made last night. I have wavered for a while about social media, specifically Facebook.  I avoided it for a long time, then was asked to join so I could see family pictures.  From there I was invited to join a blogging group which led to adding a page for this blog.  I struggled with how to use Facebook with blogging it never quite fit for me.

I don’t like Facebook. There I said it. 

I find Facebook to be much like television, a way to while away time.  For those of you who enjoyed the links I shared on Facebook. I apologize and will return to sharing my opinions of those types of stories here on the blog.  I have permanently deleted my Facebook account.  I feel such a relief knowing it is no longer there. The pressure to post something is gone and I can focus on just my blog.

One final change is quickly arriving, school.  The oldest grandchildren will be starting school this year, returning this coming Tuesday. Why don’t they start on a Monday? With that I will have much more free time and lots of projects to fill those hours.

 

Change the World Wednesday, Population

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This week, the subject of Reduce Footprint’s weekly challenge is more a philosophical discussion than a challenge.  It’s one I have avoided discussing as I don’t feel I have much of a right to cover it.  But with most challenges presented I will do my best.  I won’t bore you with links of studies done on population though, I would much rather answer this challenge from my heart.

This week, let’s open up the discussion on population as it affects the environment. Please leave a comment and/or write a post about your feelings on the topic. You might discuss if, in your opinion, our growing population is a concern. Perhaps talk about such things as the earth’s ability to support growing numbers of people, or if the number of children we have should be regulated (and if so, by whom). While religious considerations are often a factor in a person’s decision to have children, let’s keep this discussion environmental in nature. Let’s take an honest look at the environmental affects of population growth.

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Join Me in Doing a Good Deed

There are days we all need to curl  up with a good book and some soothing music.  That was exactly what I was doing this evening when all of a sudden I realized the air had changed.  There was an odor that caught my attention.  Taking a deep breath and letting my senses do their thing I realized what I smelled was water, and not the water from the lake. This was rain.  Turning off the music I confirmed with my ears it was in fact raining, a nice steady downpour.  I am so blessed to live where water is plentiful this year…. most years.

That blessing comes with a responsibility.  A responsibility to not further harm those less fortunate.  I’m sure you are curious what I mean by that.

 

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Good News Monday

Happy Monday, all!  I hope you had a lovely weekend. I was happy to be back home and have an opportunity to check on the gardens.  Flowers finally started to bloom, it’s only the end of August, but I’ll take it.  The area had a bitter storm while I was gone which resulted in all the corn being laid down, both in my garden and the neighbors, but that’s not exactly good news is it?  The good news would be that none of the corn was damaged it’s still doing fine if slightly blown over.

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This past week there has been filled with negative and even sad news stories (Robin Williams comes to mind) so let’s start this week off right and hope the rest of the week follows along with better stories.

1. While we all wait to hear that GM crops are banned everywhere we have to take what we can get. Certain food manufacturers are quietly switching to non-GMO ingredients.

 

2. Apple iPad and iPhone will now be made using two fewer toxic ingredients! Listening to what people really want via petitions Apple is taking steps to green up their manufacturing processes.

 

3. Researchers experimenting with mirrors to increase the heat from the sun as it shines on solar panels may the the break through we need to use less solar panels and receive more energy.  This is definitely good news because it will reduce the amount of natural resources needed to make solar panels and make them more affordable.

 

4. And lastly, a short video of a good deed, but listen closely because this isn’t the only good deed by this individual.

The Moneyless Man

My experience has been that when you give freely, with no thought of what you’ll get in return, you receive freely, without fail.  ~~ Mark Boyle

A while ago Wendy (Quarter Acre Lifestyle) wrote a post about Mark Boyle’s book, The Moneyless Man. If you haven’t read the book Wendy did a great job covering his year and I highly recommend  Wendy’s post on how Mark Boyle lived his Moneyless year.  I would like to discuss different parts of the book that stood out for me that concern community rather than Boyle’s year-long experiences.

 

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Erase Forty Years in One Afternoon

My break took a bit longer than I had anticipated.  At the end of the day I was too tired to think about turning on the computer sleep being the only thing on my mind.  This little bundle is why I was away.

 

Just arriving home from hospital.

Just arriving home from hospital.

I received a call at eight am this past Saturday telling my daughter-in-laws water had broken, but she wasn’t in labor.  I was on the road three hours later, coincidentally the same time her labor began,  hitching a ride with a neighbor who was taking a trip to the same city for the day. By four that afternoon I was holding the latest addition to the family.  For those of you who offered alternatives for the middle name my son wanted to use, Francis, they ended up going with Francis.  It had grown on mommy over the months.

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