Tuesday, April 29, 2008

New Dress

Lorna had out grown all but one of her dresses so after finding a good deal online for some fabric this was the result.

This is the same pattern I used for this dress with a few minor alterations, gathering in the front center and a higher neckline, Lorna picked this pattern since it looks like the dresses in the A&E version of Pride and Prejudice which is one of her favorite movies (mine too). I recently ordered a supplement to the pattern which will give us a few bodice styles to choose from.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


We've been searching once again for a church home in the area. We had hoped to be able to start to driving to church in L.A. again but gas prices just won't allow it. We know that we need to find a place within a "reasonable" distance so that's what we have been doing. One thing I noticed this morning was how much the Divine Service from TLH was something I relied upon. The church we visited this morning used a different setting out of LSB. I felt lost and frustrated during the whole service, unable to really concentrate on the words because I was trying to keep up with the music. By the end of the service I gave up trying to sing along and just read the words while the music was played. I wasn't alone, the congregation stumbled over the service as well so it must have been a new setting for them too. For me this just highlights a downfall of having so many settings and hymnals to choose from, you never know what you are going to get when you walk in a church. I wonder how the older people in the church feel about the changing liturgy if it's so difficult for me and I've only been doing it for 6 years.

We met with a pastor from a different congregation this last week. It was nice to have someone be totally honest with us about the practices of their congregation but at the same time it was disheartening. The pastor isn't sure if he will accept Lorna's confirmation, not because he doubts that she has been catechized but because of her age, this congregation doesn't confirm until the end of 8th grade and she would only be in 7th grade in the government school system. We also asked about their practice of once a month communion and were saddened by the response that it was often enough and not really all that important. The pastor didn't see a need for more frequent communion and that it was more important to get out earlier because people didn't want to have service go too late. Hearing these words from a pastor made me want to weep, to have such a low opinion of such a great gift is just beyond words.

So you might be wondering where that leaves us. We have 2 options at this point, to try the church down the street which has practices far outside our comfort zone or continue with the church whose pastor we met with this last week. Decisions, decisions...

Friday, April 25, 2008

Wild Flowers

These are a few of the wild flowers that we have been fortunate to have on the hills around us. The lack of rain means that the season is almost at an end so I wanted to share a few pictures of my favorites before they are gone.

Monday, April 21, 2008

April Gymkhana

This is going to be an odd gymkhana post since I don't have any pictures of Lorna riding. She hasn't been released by the doctor to really ride yet but we attended the April show anyway. Malachi still had scooping duty and Lorna wanted to help out and see her friends.

Lorna started out doing ribbons for those riders who wanted them. She then proceeded to help out in the arena. She helped set up and tear down an event and stood guard over one of the barrels during the event in case it needed to be reset after a ride.

It was difficult for her to just sit back and watch but she was able to learn a few things about what it takes to put on a show.

Kirsten's new dress

I'm taking a break from other stuff so I decided to make a new dress for one of Lorna's American Girl dolls. I've had this page bookmarked for awhile and just now tried out one of the patterns. The patterns are easy and quick, my favorite kind of project!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Time cont...

I now have 2 comments on the subject both expressing that they don't know what they could possibly cut in order to have more time. Has anyone ever tried writing down what they do for a week and then looking to see if there is anything that can be cut that wastes time? I know that lots of people use this method when they are looking for ways to save money so it stands to reason that the same method could be used for time.

I know that when we lived in a suburban environment I wasted a lot of time driving places. After looking at all the time wasted for very little gain I changed our habits. It helped when we moved to a small town where everything was at least a 30 minute drive each way. Now I spend one day going to the library, market and anywhere else that is necessary; there really isn't anything that can't wait for an errand day. I make out the menu for a month at a time so I don't run out of food, we aren't locked into whatever is on the menu but it serves as a guideline. Of course this doesn't work so well when you are in the midst of a big project, like moving, but once you are settled in a place it works well (at least it does for me). I was a lot better about cleaning when I tutored in the mornings, cleaning was easier to keep up on then just trying to do a deep clean once a week or so. This is definitely something I could do now to save time and back-breaking labor. I'm also a mean mommy and make my kids help with chores. Lorna's only chore outside of her room and horse is the dishes. Malachi is in charge of the trash, dogs, dusting, and sweeping/mopping the floor. None of these tasks take very long in a house the size of ours but it means I'm free to tackle other big things that come up and to spend time making meals from scratch. Everyone is in charge of their own laundry and sheets, I do the towels but since I have a washing machine this never takes more than a few minutes :) I tried a new way to plan school this year, planning all the lessons for the whole year ahead of time and then just cutting and pasting what we are doing for the week. It works better for me than planning once a week and because I'm cutting and pasting I don't have to worry about getting behind.

We are slowly adding a few outside activities. Lorna has horse stuff 3 times a month, two of those times are during a school day. The one show a month on a Saturday has become a family outing, something we all look forward to. This week I tried singing with our local Sweet Adelines chorus. It looks like it will be a great way for me to get out of the house by myself so I plan on making this a normal activity. I know that there is no way I can commit to anything else on weekends because we need time to cut firewood, since we all do this together it's just another way to spend time as a family.

These are just some things that work for us that might not work for others. One of the things we never had when we both worked full-time jobs outside the home was time together; so we've come up with things that work for us now that I'm home. It took awhile to find what works but we didn't stop trying because it's worth it to find "time".

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

$4 gas and more

Yesterday we had yet another follow-up with the surgeon who has been working with Lorna, everything is looking great, and saw a few stations at $4 a gallon for gas. It isn't even close to summer yet so this is depressing. But even though gas is the highest I've ever seen it there were still tons of people towing travel trailers and toys on the freeways. It amazes me every weekend when I see the campgrounds and lake shore filling up with people and their boats, I don't know how they do it.

Is anyone else having problems with Blogger? My last post was something I posted over the weekend but somehow it didn't show up so I had to repost the draft copy. I also cannot load pictures because the connection constantly times out. I thought it might be our connection but I've had no problems posting pictures and updating my Live Journal. Don't visit that page if you are embarrassed by feminine products.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


I was thinking about this topic as I thought about line drying the clothes. I have tons of free time. It seems like I should be ashamed of this fact since most of the people I read emails from talk about how little time they have; but it's true, I have lots of time to myself. My free time might be spread out throughout the day but there is rarely a day I can't sit down and read for at least a few hours.

I have fond memories of walking to the store and playing games with my grandmother over the summers when I was growing up. She didn't drive and we had to walk or take a bus everywhere. One thing that she seemed to have in abundance was time. We would spend one morning walking to the store, having lunch, and then returning home. The next day we might play a few games, watch TV, and hang up the laundry. I don't remember her ever being in a hurry or pressed for time.

Today few people seem to have any extra time. They are constantly running here and there and rarely stopping to do much more than catch their breath. I wonder how children will remember their parents and grandparents. Will they have the same type of memories that I have of playing games and just enjoying each other? Or will they remember being in the car on the way to one activity or another and never really having time to talk?

I just finished In Defense of Food and one of the things the author mentions is the lack of time we as Americans spend on preparing and eating food. Convenience foods are something that are common in today's world since so few people have extra time. Where has all the time gone?

People don't have time to hang up the laundry, cook food, or just enjoy life. Why is that?

Monday, April 07, 2008

Ways we save

The topic of hanging laundry out came up on Loopers and made me think of all the ways we use to try to save money. I thought I'd make a list of the ways we save.

Obviously since this is how I got started on this topic, we hang our laundry up. We also stopped using fabric softener, we don't notice a difference in the softness of our clothes so it's no big sacrifice. Since I have a front load washer I use about 1/4 to 1/2 of the suggested small load amount of detergent. Our washer also only uses 10 gallons of water per load. I use the dirty wash water to water the trees, it saves us water and electricity for the well pump.

Since I'm talking about water, we only flush when we have to. To wash the dishes we fill up one side of the sink with about 2 inches of water and soap. As we rinse the dishes the water is added to the wash water so we have plenty of water for the big pots at the end of the dishes.

We heat with wood. The forest is only a few miles from our front door. We buy permits from the USDA so we can cut dead wood to use as firewood. With permits, gas, and upkeep on the chainsaw we spend about $30 per cord of wood. We use about 2.5 cords during the winter. The forest service does controlled burns on the dead wood in the forest, so instead of wasting all the wood we use it in our home. The cost for a comparable amount of propane heat would be about $500, possibly more with the rising costs of propane. It's also a free source of exercise, cutting and hauling wood is a lot of work :)

Since propane is so expensive we've lowered the thermostat on the water heater. The water is just hot enough to take a shower without using any cold water. We also do all our laundry on cold.

I've written about our use of florescent lights and power strips before. We also make sure to only have lights on in the rooms we are in. We don't leave any lights on overnight and very rarely use the porch light.

I love to use reusable products. We started using washcloths for napkins. We switched to dishcloths for the dishes and counters as well, they clean better than sponges anyway. I don't use swiffers or disposable bathroom wipes. Instead I use microfiber cloths for dusting and rags with natural cleaners for the bathroom. All of these things are added to whatever load of laundry is available so we don't create any extra laundry, which would defeat the purpose of using reusable products. I switched to reusable feminine products over a year ago and can't imagine ever going back, I never realized how much money I wasted on those uncomfortable things!

We combine our trips and only run errands once a week. We got really good at not making extra trips out when we only had one vehicle. Even though we've relaxed that a bit since getting a second, more fuel efficient vehicle we still don't go out much. I order in the books I want at the library and pick them up on one of the 2 days a week they are open. Since I'm already out I go to the little local market if we need anything and hit the post office on the way home. Paul does all the other errands when he's out for work and goes to the post office on the way home (there is no mail service where we live so we are assigned a PO box). We buy in bulk at Sam's Club for most of our stuff, it saves us a tremendous amount and it's on the way home for Paul. Combining errands seems like such a simple thing but it is also something many people don't think about. Consider how much money and time is wasted by daily trips out, there are very few things that can't wait until the next errand day.

I think that's it, at least it's all I can think of right now. I'm sure there are other little things that we do everyday that I can't bring to mind but you get the idea.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Washer fixed

After waiting almost 2 weeks for parts my washer is finally fixed!

Every time a repairman comes out he comments on the fact that the washer sits outside under the carport. Technically there isn't anything in the service agreement about it having to be inside but they don't like it. This time he said the new rule is that anything small, all undergarments and the like, have to be put in a mesh garment bag to be washed or I void my warranty on the new pump. They even provided a bag. Easy enough and I have no problem using it.

I'm pretty sure the problem with the washer had to do with it being moved and abused so many times over the past 5 years. A nut came loose which caused the washer to spin improperly. Over time it stripped a few part making the belt come off. The pump issue may be because of it being outside and having frozen a few times. An enclosure for the washer and dryer (it is not in use because we don't have a 220 outlet) is next on my to-do list. I'm thinking we can insulate it and be rid of any more problems when the temperature drops below freezing.

Of course I have to finish the siding on the outside of the deck first. We always have a problem finishing up the little pieces and parts of a project. We only have a few small pieces of plywood left to cut and a few pieces of trim left to nail up but it seems to be difficult to find time to do it. That's the plan for Saturday, finish the outside of the deck!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Doctor update

Lorna saw the surgeon today and all the tubes were removed! He says he wants to see her again in a month, which will give us a break from these long drives. She is getting around better without any pain now that everything is out.

This appointment wasn't easy to get. We got a call from the surgeon's office yesterday trying to reschedule for next week. It seems a big donor for the hospital died a few weeks ago and the memorial was today. It was mandatory that all the doctors attend and they were informed less than 24 hours ahead of time. I refused to be pushed off. At our last appointment the surgeon wanted to remove the tubes in one week, which would have been last Thursday but since he was too booked they pushed us off until today. There was no way I was going to let Lorna suffer for yet another week. We offered to take her anywhere and they relented and "squeezed" us in. She was the only patient seen this morning and it was still over an hour after her appointment time until she was seen. I felt sorry for the family who showed up while we were waiting. They had driven over an hour to get there only to find their appointment was canceled, they hadn't received the message. It's frustrating trying to get in to see this doctor, he only holds office hours 2 days a week and he's the only pediatric urologist for several hundred miles.