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Loving the Sunshine

20 Feb

 We are having warmer days. The daffodil shoots are up and the skunks are out of hibernation. Our dog got herself sprayed this week. 
For Homeschool I have been making the girls grade their own math. I discovered that Cherry Pie  was missing 10 of 30 problems and instead of asking for help, just going on to the next lesson like it was fine.  I’ve already changed her math book once this year because she was struggling so much. So now I have to figure out what to do. I think I’m going to have to personally teach her math lessons and we are going to have to start over yet again with algebra 1. Normally the big girls do math on their own and I help Key Lime Pie.   I haven’t exactly figured out how to schedule more “me as the teacher” time, but never fear, I will figure it out.  

My big homeschool weakness is that when the girls complain about not wanting to do work, I often totally cave and let them do something else or make the assignment easier. I have to come up with some strategies to keep myself from letting them be lazy bums.  I’m too soft.


Friday night and Saturday, my sister-in-law Amy kept all 6 girls and the Skooter Pies, and I spent the day sewing a shirt for myself. It was pretty fun to finish a project. The house was weirdly quiet though. I kept catching myself listening for babies to wake up.  I finally turned on some music.  

This was my beta test  or my “muslin”.  I used an old piece of fabric that has been acting as a tablecloth for several years and was ready to be retired.  After measuring myself and the pattern, I cut a size 12 neck and shoulders, graded it out to a 14 on the sides and put a size 18 sleeve in.  

( Trying to figure out what size pattern to make from my measurements makes me feel a bit like Frankenstein’s monster–such a hodge podge of mismatched parts!).   

My muslin took until noon to create, and then went into the trash because the sleeves were too tight, the neckline was too tight across my chest, and the neckband gaped in back.  

For Try #2, I decided to trust the pattern maker a bit more.  I made a straight size 16 bodice, but I needed a size 24 sleeve because my upper arm is just big compared to the rest of me.  So  I learned how to alter a sleeve skye to fit a larger sleeve. Thank you, you tube.  I also took about a 1/2 inch out of the back neckband to hopefully fix the gap problem.  

I lucked out and the shirt fit me very well, and the neckband lay flat. Perhaps I may have been able to get away with a size 14 bodice–I think it would fit through the shoulders better-I have narrow shoulders compared to the rest of me.  Also I’d like to raise the neckline an inch, but I couldn’t figure out how to Saturday.  This morning I had an idea of how to do that and keep the pretty pleats.  Next chance I get, I’ll try it. 


The nice thing is that once  I have my pattern perfected, I’ll be able to crank out a beautiful top in a couple of hours.  My trusty dusty 20 year old Bernina 1008 is still going strong and handled this slub knit very well.  I used the overlock stitch (#12) and a needle for stretch fabrics.  

This pattern is from Hotpatterns.com, a little inde pattern company run by a husband and wife.  The wife designs and the husband does all the printing/folding/shipping.   I ❤ her patterns, all of which are graded from size 6 up to size 26.  Unheard of elsewhere! Also, she starts with a size 14 and grades up & down from there, so the patterns begin by being closer to what a real person is shaped like than the big 4 pattern companies’ patterns. That really helps if you are a Frankenstein monster or a human who has been pregnant a few times.  

 This top is called “Everybody loves the Sunshine” HP1193. It’s very forgiving and so comfortable! I need at least 3 more !

Memorial Day Thoughts

30 May


Today we specially remember those who served the United States during war, especially those who gave their lives.  War is terrible.  

The way to spread peace through this world is to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. As we share the message of His love and change our own hearts to be more like Him, hate will die out and brotherhood with all will grow. The pure love of Jesus Christ will change the world. Nothing else can. But we who call ourselves Christian must do better. We must live what we profess to believe.

I believe we can remember and honor our Heros without holding onto malice and hate.  I believe we can even admit the mistakes of our leaders without dishonoring the brave soldiers who followed orders and loved their country.
My Grandfather’s brother, Peter Nelson Hansen, was stationed at Del Monte Field in Manilla in 1941.  On the morning of December 8, he heard about the attack on Pearl Harbor over the radio.  That evening, Japanese fighter planes attacked Del Monte Field.  

Mothers Day 1942, he and the other American soldiers there were taken prisoners of war. He was a prisoner for 3 ½ years. He was given only rice and water to eat during that time and suffered from beriberi because of malnutrition. He was tortured. When the Marines rescued him on September 9, 1945, he weighed only 120 pounds, about half his normal weight. His legs were shriveled like dry sticks. The doctors told him he would probably never walk again. However, he was eventually able to walk with the use of a cane.  My father described to me how Uncle Pete’s finger tips were disfigured because the Japanese guards had driven bamboo slivers under his fingernails when they tortured him.  

After the end of the war, Peter Hansen was freed from the Japanses prison and spent several months recovering in the hospital.  One week after he was discharged from the army hospital, he left on a mission for the church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) to the Central Pacific Mission.  
He said,

“Yes I have seen the inhumane treatment by the Japanese in their prison camps. It was torturing alright. But, fundamentally, the Japanese people are not bad. They have been brought up wrongly in an atmosphere of regimentation. They need democracy. They need Christianity. They need the restored gospel of the Master as revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith. Then they will be alright.  

A great work lies ahead. I have not hate in my heart towards the Japanese. My desire is to help them. I want to lift them up to the heights I found in that little Japanese Sunday School I visited in Hawaii before the war.”    

Peter Nelson Hansen served 28 months teaching the gospel to Japanese people living in Hawaii in the Central Pacific Mission. Returning home in March 1949, he bore a simple testimony stating his readiness to accept another mission call. Soon after, he was called on another mission, the Far East mission, and served in Japan itself.

Sometimes a shorter memory would be good

13 Oct

So sometimes I’m in a big group of people and there’s talking and I say stuff and then later I wish I had kept it all to myself and not said anything.

I over share.

And then I really just want to sink into the ground and let it crush me into dust.

Hugs and Snoodles

30 Sep

I came across this post of mine from a few years ago and it was a great reminder. Sometimes I forget the things I’ve learned.

Marvelous Pigs in Satin


**Warning: sappy post**

It was all started by a book, as many good things in my life are.

I have never been a “Huggy” person or a “touchy-feely” person. Probably because my mother wasn’t either. Not that I didn’t love my children, but somewhere around their second birthday, I just didn’t actively think about hugging and snuggling them any more.

That all changed the summer I read “Missing May” by Cynthia Rylant. It is about an orphan girl who has been passed from relative to relative until she is taken in by a couple named May and Ob.

“…the first time I saw Ob help May braid her long yellow hair, sitting in the kitchen one night, it was all I could do not to go to the woods and cry forever from happiness. I know I must have been loved like that, I must have; otherwise, how could I…

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Saving Money on Groceries: Part 2

29 Apr

Here is part 2 of my grocery tips.  Don’t miss part 1 here

Tip #2:  When buying & serving  food, I get the most nutrition for my money that I can.

For example, when buying food for breakfast, I very rarely buy cold cereal.

First of all, it can hardly be called a food.  It’s like processed flour, sugar, chemicals, and sprayed on vitamins (do those even get absorbed?  highly doubtful.)

Second, cereal isn’t very filling (in other words, it is not cost effective.)  My teenage boy can eat an entire box all by himself.

What do we eat instead?

3-4 days a week I serve “soaked oatmeal”  That is yogurt with raw oatmeal stirred in.  You can find delicious recipes for this on theyummylife.com.    My kids like it very simple, just plain yogurt, raw old-fashioned oats, brown sugar, and craisins.  Most of my children prefer this to cooked oatmeal.  However, in the winter I often serve hot cereal (cooked oatmeal, steel cut oats, or cracked wheat mush.)

Other Breakfast items I often make are whole-wheat  pancakes, muffins (make enough to have again for after school snack) biscuits, fried potatoes & eggs, bean and egg burritos, toast & eggs

Think about the price per pound of the snack items you usually buy.

Bananas vary in price from 29-50 cents per pound.  Crackers cost anywhere from $1.50 to $4 for a box that is usually less than a pound.  Also, like cold cereal, crackers from the store are just processed flour, sugar, and chemicals.  No real nutrition for your money.    See Saving Money on Groceries,Part 1 for more after school snack ideas. 

When buying vegetables, consider the following:

**more color = higher nutrients, so I often get red potatoes or sweet potatoes instead of russet potatoes, red cabbage instead of green cabbage, and so on.  Ice burg lettuce is the palest of the lettuces.  I almost never buy it.

**buy what lasts longer in the fridge.  Romaine lettuce & Kale last way longer than spinach, so I usually choose them.  If I do get the quicker perishing veggies, like cucumbers & spinach, I make sure to use them within the first 2 days of buying them.  If I don’t use all my spinach within a couple days, I put the bag in the freezer and use that spinach in a smoothie or soup or lasagna, rather than let it go bad.

When buying fruit, I stick to what is $1.50/pound or less unless it is a really special occasion.  This includes canned, fresh,  and frozen fruit.  If it costs more than $2/pound, I don’t buy it.

I plan my meals according to what produce is on sale, or make substitutions at the supermarket if I am surprised by a sale.  For example, you may have a Chicken Cacciatore recipe that calls for green bell pepper, but Zucchini is on sale for $.99 a pound and bell peppers are $1 each.  Make the Cacciatore with zucchini instead.  Your family will love it, maybe even more than when you made it will bell pepper.

When bananas and strawberries are on sale at ALDI, I buy as much as I am able and freeze them for making smoothies.

I soak lentils and alfalfa seeds to make sprouts.  I like to eat them plain.  My family will eat them in salads and sandwiches.  These are super high in nutrients and so inexpensive.

When buying meat, I only buy chicken and pork at $2 pound or less.  I only buy beef for $3/pound or less.  If it costs more, I just don’t buy it.  This usually means I have to wait for sales, or buy a 1/2 a cow at a time from the butcher.

In most recipes, like soup or spaghetti sauce or casseroles, you can reduce the meat called for by half, and your family will never notice.  Since we eat mostly meat-free, I regularly sub in beans for meat.  Navy beans for chicken, lentils for ground beef, etc.  But your husband has to be on board for you to get away with that.

Two winters ago, we super lucked out, and a white-tail deer wandered into our yard and hung out for about an hour.  My husband finally called our bro-in-law who is a hunter and he came and shot it for us.  Thirty-five pounds of ground venison fed us for a whole year.  I think venison is delicious and very economical, as long as your husband doesn’t go crazy buying hunting gear.  This year, my husband spend quite a bit of time hunting, but had no luck actually shooting anything.  We have high hopes for next winter.

That’s all for today!  Join me again for part 3!

Because Twins- Part 2

29 Apr

So I think the best thing about being pregnant with twins is that when well-meaning strangers say to me 

“Wow! You are huge!  Are you sure you aren’t having twins?  You look like you are about to pop!”

I can say, “Actually I am having twins.”

I get huge with every pregnancy.  My guess is that because I’m short-waisted, the baby has nowhere to go but out.    So by the time I am 6-7 months pregnant, I get comments like the above every day from just about everyone who lays eyes on me.  Or the comment’s cousin: 

 “Wow! You are huge!  Are you due, like, tomorrow?”

I plaster a stiff smile on my face and say, ” No I actually have 8 weeks left.”

Then I inwardly cringe at the look of horror that crosses their face, clearly they are sure my skin will give way much before then, and I will explode.

 I often wonder why people think it’s okay to inform a pregnant woman that she is the most horrifyingly huge thing they’ve ever beheld.  As if maybe she hasn’t noticed that she’s put on weight?  

I always want to say “Thanks for pointing out that I look like a hippo, that really made my day.” 

There is this very nice man that goes to my church who commented on how huge I was two Decembers ago when I was 8 1/2 months pregnant with Baby Bean.  To this day, when I see him, I feel this twinge of intense dislike.  Then I remind myself what an otherwise nice human being he is.  But I’ll never really feel friendly towards him, I don’t think.   The hormones burnt my emotional reaction to his comment into my brain forevers.  Maybe my reaction was extra strong because I couldn’t tell if he was serious or trying to be funny.  He did not succeed at funny.

It’s a bad idea to insult a pregnant woman.  

I suggest you even stay away from adjectives like “majestic” because they imply largeness.  

Trust me, a woman who has put on 25-30-60 pounds in the last 8 months is not unaware of the fact.  Nor is she unaware of how uncomfortable she feels or how moving at all is difficult and sometimes painful.  Last time she was getting out of the shower and caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror, she was momentarily frightened (“Dear Goodness! What is that huge pink thing?”) before she realized it was herself.  

The only comment I hate more is “Haven’t you had that baby yet?”

Hello!  Would I be here looking swollen and miserable if I had?  Saying this to a pregnant woman who is past her due date will incite murderous feelings within her breast.  I would not vouch for your safety.  Lock your doors while you sleep.  Better yet, keep that comment to yourself. 

This time around, when people comment on how huge I am, I can say

“I’m having twins, that’s why.”

And maybe I’ll feel less like its me that is huge.  Because really, it’s the babies, and I want them to be huge, healthy babies.

Because Twins- part 1

27 Apr

twins

I’ve only known since March 20.  Only for a little over a month.  But it feels like months and months– a year.

We will be having twins this summer.

Identical boys.

This is my 8th pregnancy and until a month ago, I thought I had this pregnancy thing down.  Everything is different this time around.

Doctor visits are a lot more exciting/intense.  Normal pregnancy visits are about 10 minutes long.  I step on a scale, pee in a cup, have my blood pressure taken, tell the doctor that I don’t have any unusual symptoms.  He tells me everything looks great, listens to the baby’s heart beat and says, “see you in a month, keep drinking water and taking care of yourself.”  I smile and nod.

This time around, I get new information every visit.

“Because of the high chance that you will need a Cesarean Section, you will deliver in an operating room.  Also, your gestational diabetes will be worse this time around, you may even need insulin.  Also, we will do several more ultrasounds to check on the growth of the babies during the pregnancy.”

or

or “Baby A’s femur is measuring short.  This might indicate a chromosome disorder, but it is what we call a ‘soft sign’ and everything else looks totally fine. It could be just a measurement error.  We will definitely measure again on the next ultrasound.”

or

“It looks like the twins are sharing a placenta.  That puts the babies at risk for Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome.  I’m not worried, and you shouldn’t be either.  But to be prepared, we’ll have you visit the high-risk doctor and have another ultrasound and see what he thinks.”

Then there is just the extra suspense of looking all around with the little doppler thingy to find 2 baby heartbeats instead of just 1.  Twin B is super wiggly and hard to pin down.

Last of all my doctor asks me, “What questions do you have?”

I generally don’t have any questions yet.  I’m still processing the information.  I mean, I know what questions I want to ask, but I’m not ready to ask them yet. I have to think about them first.

I go home and look stuff up on the internets (which is always horrifying.)   I cry a little bit about the possibility that my twins will be born tiny and struggling instead of strong and healthy.

After a day or two, I am able to explain to myself all the statistical reasons why my babies will be fine.  I make out a list of questions to ask my doctor and obsess over those questions and what the answers might be for the weeks until my next appointment.

I wear my friends out talking over and over about whats going on inside me.

Sometimes I even end up calling the doctor extra, like when I had a week of the most terrible headaches in my life.  Turns out they were just tension headaches caused by hormones and there are a lot more hormones boiling around inside me right now because of 2 babies instead of 1.  That tends to be the answer for most everything.  “well there are 2 babies this time.  That means twice as much hormones/tiredness/ect.”

I think I am doing a pretty good job of not worrying about things I have no control over- like whether that wiggly twin B is going start hogging all the nutrients his brother needs.  Or whether Twin A is still alive in there, because I don’t feel him moving as often.  But I never forget that I’m having twins.  Mostly because I’m so extra tired.  Walking down my hall makes me feel like I just ran 2 miles.

I’m totally excited about having cute identical boys running around.  Bow Ties are going to happen.

I’m also very trepidatious about what it will be like to care for two newborns at once.  What it will be like to chase after two mischevious little boys, who will no doubt gang up on me and cause all kinds of mayhem and destruction.

It’s gonna be good.