Counting My Frustrations

When times are difficult you’re supposed to count your blessing right? Well, I’ve been doing that for a while and it finally dawned on me: I need to count my frustrations! Stick with me…it turns out ok.

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It all started when I was thinking… i mean talking my baby…okay I was talking to myself. It happens, ok?

Anyways, I was having a wonderful little chat with myself when I realized how ridiculous it all sounded. And not because I was talking to myself either, just because of what I was muttering on about. So here goes. In the last few weeks these are the things that have made me whine, stomp, growl at the world and call my mommy:

  • I think it started when rodents (otherwise known as adorable little bunnies…die, bunnies, die!) ate the entirety of my spinach and lettuce crop. Fantastic.
  • Rodents invaded my house. Mouse infestation, which only says one thing to me: gross. I armed myself with a boatload of traps and two (maybe three? eh details, details) kinds of poison.
  • The poison worked (happy dance) at which point the aforementioned mice went off and died in some corner of my attic where apparently, flies and maggots did their thing. (I certainly didn’t go check.) Fly infestation. I woke up to a stupid (yes stupid, it’s a fantastic adjective, I know) number of flies in my house. Great! (Make a whiny phone call to my mama.)
  • The bees came back. You see, I live across from commercial beekeepers. When the bees come back they immediately start foraging. It’s like a carpet of bees in my yard. Usually that means no playing in the yard for like week. Oh yah! I forgot to mention that I’m afraid of bees. Don’t judge me, I know they just want their pollen. So I work alongside them, just as long as I’m clothed from my neck to my toes. So our “week” turned into like 6. Apparently they’re scaling up business over there and they keep bringing
  • more bees to their little home base across the street. But I like honey, so I work around the bees’ schedule: early mornings, late evenings and let people think I’m avoiding the heat of the day.
  • We got busy. (This the point where you start to say, “really? everyone is busy.”) But yes, we got so busy that I basically did chores at home and nothing else. Did I say chores? I mean I washed a few clothes because we we’re completely out of clean laundry and tried to keep dishes out of the sink. At the risk of sounding like a crazy yogi, my whole rhythm got thrown off and I called my mama again. “Nothing feels right. Everything is off, we’re so busy!”
  • Mold. Yes, mold. In the house that I live in and breathe air in. Not only did I have a rainbow of mold in the wall right behind my couch, everyone thought I was crazy for being disgusted by it. “Mold spores are everywhere,” they say. Yes, but mold colonies are not supposed to be behind my couch! On top of that we had to uninstall the newly installed air conditioning unit that caused the mold which would have it’s own bullet on this list except that it got freezing cold out side (I mean like 50-60° but it’s August people).
  • I moved out. In our hurry to just get it out, we removed the mold all wrong. You know, according to the experts over at google. So I decided to give our friendly neighborhood spores a few days of quality time with a box fan. Of course I then procrastinated moving back. It was a little difficult keeping both houses clean and my new dairy cow spoiled and my garden going, so after a week…
  • During my little mini-vaca, I came home to get some clean clothes and food only to find, oh just another mouse in one of our “just in case” traps. I also found it somewhere particularly yucky to me, but whatever.

Chlo-chlo

  • Also while we were living in two houses at once, I found my bred cow (how shall we say this) spotting. (Sorry non-animal people, I guess this is farm life!) Why is my pregnant cow bleeding from her lady parts? Well, because most likely she’s not pregnant anymore. Maybe just maybe my praying for a bovine miracle will land us milking Chloe right on time this January, but most likely it was wither signs of a spontaneous abortion or a heat cycle. Thankfully, I’m working with some cool ladies who appear to love Jesus and have good integrity. If she is open (farm/ranch people language for no meat and no milk up in that heifa!) we won’t be out our lots of dollars.
  • Some other stuff that involve other people so I can’t write them on the internet, but believe me: very, very frustrating. 

Okay, you say.

You’ve heard enough.

So as I whined out loud (to myself and also my very wonderful, patient parents & husband) I sounded ridiculous. A little bit of wildlife? Some completely normal farm problems? What am I whining about?! I felt the same way and just kept asking myself, “What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I just get over my sinful heart and be happy, let it all roll off?”

Thank Jesus for good “older women” in my life! “Maybe God’s not trying to teach you a lesson,” they say. “What if you’re just supposed to keep on, keepin’ on? Just wait on God’s perfect timing.” Apparently I can even be narcissistic in my problem-solving. It must be me and my sin problem. Never mind Satan out there trying to steal, kill and destroy!

Okay, I’m better. I got myself some therapy (aka rearranged my living room, I’ll take some pictures for you…you’re welcome).

So I’ll just enjoy the birds and the bees (wait what?), the “wildlife” and all of the wonderful people that stop by “the parsonage” while I wait on God’s perfect timing for the perfect chunk of dirt to grow my green beans and keep my milk cow.

And that’s the rest of the story.

To blog or not to blog: Chloe

I have far less readers on this blog than on my previous one. I think a good portion of this is because the Bella Red had a focused theme of content: theology and the church. The rest probably had to do with my passionate heart coming off a wee bit…dramatic.

Finding Engedi doesn’t gather any one kind of reader; probably because one day I post pictures of my latest sewing project, one day I talk about homeschooling and the next what I learned from Scripture.

So that leads me to my question for today. Do I continue to blog about my everyday life if it adds the additional dynamic of…farm life? I guess that’s what you’d call it. I don’t feel like I have a farm. I have a garden, some chickens (both for several years) and now, Chloe: our milk cow. None of which exist on my own piece of dirt. Do I add one more “thing” to this blog?

IMG_20150720_1949568_rewind

Homecoming Evening :)

As I was wondering this, I started thinking about why I blog at all. Is it to collect readers and be heard? Not really. And I definitely don’t see myself doing it for money anytime soon. So I decided this is simply a journal that I don’t mind you peeking at.

Whether it be on paper, in the sand or on the world wide web, I will always write. It’s just in me. I may not do it perfectly, but it gets the confusion in my head out and simplified so that Jesus and I can take care of business.

I didn't even know a "felfie" was a thing. But here we are taking a farm animal selfie.

I didn’t even know a “felfie” was a thing. But here we are taking a farm animal selfie!

So the question remains, will I blog about my novice homestead adventures? I think so.

Will I post a tutorial on how to milk a cow? Probably not. Will I share what God was speaking to my heart in the milking parlor? That’s more like it.

So while you may see and hear about our adventures in dairying off and on; fear not, loved readers of my diary, it’s not turning into a farm blog!

Happy New Year!

I don’t make resolutions. Even as a child, I thought they were pretty silly. ‘Why now?’ I used to think. If you’re doing something you shouldn’t, quit as soon as you realize it. If you get lazy and give up, start again! If you think you should be doing something, chances are Jan 1st isn’t the first time you thought of it.

Well, I was a different kid. An old soul they used to call me. It’s ironic considering how much of my life revolves around the very young: children of my own, teaching within the church, oh and that youth pastor I’m married to keeps my house perfectly populated with young people.

Here are some things I’ll be working on this year, but for the record most of them have been in the works for several months:

  • My husband and I have been trying writing in cursive. PenMANship he calls it. Pending him making the first move, I think we’re going to write letters to each other, thereby improving our penmanship AND our relationship!
  • I’ve trying to be diligent about making my own bread, yogurt and kimchi regularly. Maybe the “resolution” spirit running around will even inspire me to add meats and cheeses to the mix. We’ll see :)
  • A thought occurred to me today that it might be helpful for me to record each day. This way, I can remain accountable to myself for what I accomplished each day, keeping me from idleness or simply doing things that are not worth my time. I doubt I could keep up with food to, but maybe recording what I ate would help prevent the accidental gluten exposure that keeps ruining several days at a time.

So there you have it, resolutions from someone who hates resolutions.

What bandwagon(s) are you jumping on? Anti-resolution? I want to hear about that too!

Potato Chowder (Dairy-Free Option!)

This is the kind of soup that warms you in and out on a dreary day. I don’t share much when I make a single batch.

For a small batch you will need:
3 medium sized potatoes
1 carrot (diced)
2 cups Chicken Stock
1 Cup Milk (I used Almond Milk and it’s delicious!)
1-2 tsp Oregano
1-2 tsp Basil
1/2 tsp Coriander
1/2 tsp Thyme
1 tsp fresh Garlic
1 pinch Turmeric
Salt
Pepper
+/- 3 TBSP cornstarch

To Cook: Quarter potatoes and boil in a large saucepan. Boil until water has reduced to only a bit standing (1/2 inch or so) in the bottom. Mash potatoes until they’re “chunky” and add stock and seasoning. My seasoning measurements (as usual) are approximate, season to your liking! Use a whisk to combine potatoes and seasonings. Your potatoes ad stock will slowly become creamy mixture. While stirring, add milk. Add diced carrots and thicken with corn starch. Simmer for a while for better flavor!

Make Fun Stuff: Fly Me To The Moon!

In the first Make Fun Stuff post, (which you can find here) I showed you our pirate ship. Today I’m going to show you a new mess that you can enjoy making with your little one on a new frontier: Space! We had a blast making this little diorama and lots of fun playing with it too!

Fly Me To The Moon!

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‘rocket sounds’

You will need:

  • Old fashioned clothes pin
  • Egg Carton
  • Large paper or file folder
  • 2 Popsicle sticks
  • Small piece of fabric for flag
  • Washable Paint
  • Glue (all purpose/hot glue)

 

I laid out our file folder under everything to protect my coffee table. I then cut the lid off of the egg carton and used it as a paint tray.

  • Paint the bottom half of your clothespin with flames and the top half as an astronaut.
  • Cut one end off of your carton and separate into two egg slots. Make a hole in one. Glue your carton pieces onto both ends of a popsicle stick, the one with the hole is the bottom of the rocket.
  • While your rocket and astronaut dry, paint the egg carton white/gray. (My two year old’s attempt to paint it made it look perfectly moon-like – so let some of the carton color show through!)
  • Also paint your scenery: dark blue or black sky a little white space on the bottom for the moon and yellow or white starts. You could add some planets too! My toddler wouldn’t have had the patience to do so :)
  • Assemble your flag: glue the fabric to your second popsicle stick
  • While everything else dries, push your astronaut through the bottom of the spaceship to that the flames come out the end and he sticks up into the cockpit.
  • Glue your flag to the moon and your moon to the background
  • Make sweet rocket sounds and enjoy!

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Feel Free to Link Up your favorite messy projects in the comments!

 

Make Fun Stuff! – The Pirate Ship!

Role playing is incredibly important play for young children. It is also my very least favorite way to play. One of my dearest friends recently said that she would rather read 100 books to her daughters than play house with their dolls. In our house, it goes just a little bit differently.

When I don’t think that I can possibly fix another zebra’s owie with my amazing veterinary skills or lose one more army guy battle, I break out the paint. Yes, I would rather clean paint (or clay, or markers…or even glue) off of every table (and child) in my house than “talk guys” as my two year old would say. So, I decided that I would share some of the fun things we make!

But first, some tips on being crafty with kids:

  • Don’t run to the craft store and buy a bunch of stuff. Be frugal. Not only will you slowly acquire supplies inexpensively by buying one thing here, another there, but you are teaching you children to be resourceful! The dollar store can be your best friend, or your worst enemy if you go overboard.
  • Don’t stock up. Unless I know I’m going to be making 3 pairs of “binoculars” soon, I don’t keep every toilet paper roll we empty. If we’re feeling crafty, we work with what we have. If you’re not a spur of the moment person, plan your activities in advance or only keep enough “supplies” to have 2 or 3 projects on hand for rainy days.
      • Idea! Do an inventory check in your head and then do a 10-15 minute google/pinterest search. For example: crafts with egg cartons. Don’t spend more than a few minutes searching, pick something and get to work!
  • Store up treasures in heaven, not in the garage. Yes that rocket your four year old made is precious and if he becomes an astronaut you might wish you had it. But instead of collecting plastic tubs full of evidence of fond memories, it makes for a more peaceful home if you just bury yourself in the memories themselves. I give our projects 1-2 weeks. I let our kids and their friends play with them and wear them out and then throw it out. If you’re a memory evidence hoarder, try keeping a picture of their art which you can store digitally!

The Pirate Ship
(or other sailing vessel, if you’re not pirate people)

The little one's mine :)

The complexity of your ship will highly depend on the age of your boat builder.

Supplies:
Milk CartonOne straw for each mast
Brown paper bag
Cardstock (old file folder)
Crayons, markers or paint
Tape or glue
Scissors

Step 1: Paint or cover with brown paper bag(I chose to cover. I didn’t think my two year old’s attention span would last through painting) I folded/gathered the paper to a squarish point in front to make it feel more ship-shaped.
(older kids could cut holes in their carton to make it more dimensional on deck or cannons etc)

Step 2: While ship is drying, color or paint some sails – be creative! You could even make a fabric flag to0!

Step 3: Use strong glue (such as hot glue) or tape to attach your sails to straws.

Step 4: Poke holes and attach straws using the same medium as above (duct tape for us haha)

Step 5: Add accents to ship including windows, cannons, board lines etc

A sword fight aboard!
A sword fight aboard!

Matching Kids Pajamas

The other day, I set out to make something for my little girl to come home from the birthing center in. She should be here around the coldest day of the year, and I wanted some warm pajamas that could buckle in to the car seat. I finished a pair of footless pajamas only to have the snaps start popping off as soon as I was finished. (I’m guessing it’s because I’ve been trying to use up notions that my grandma bought who-knows how long ago.)
Soooo….I got off the bottom, added a ruffle and WAH-LAH! A night gown! Since I made my son a pair of pajama pants to match I figured I might as well show them off.

PhotoCred EliciaJohnson

I used a pair of newborn footie pajamas as a pattern for the top half of the gown. I then just cut two extra wide rectangles (the same width) and pinned the ruffle on the way I wanted it. I then sewed the right sides together, back stitching over each gather. I don’t have a serger so of course I zig-zag stitched all of the inside seams.

I won’t even pretend I am an amazing enough seamstress to make this all up on my own so here are my other resources for using existing clothing as a pattern and making children’s pajamas. Check the tutorials sections of these websites:

Made By Rae

MADE

It’s Always Autumn
Here are a few of my Little Dude flying a plane for us in his new PJs!

PhotoCred EliciaJohnson

PhotoCred EliciaJohnson

PhotoCred EliciaJohnson

It was to late to charge my camera battery so I’m sorry for the bad lighting and the instagram look!

What are some of your favorite online craft resources?Do you have a favorite tutorial?!

Repurposed Shower Curtain

In my frenzy of nesting this pregnancy (aka the whole second trimester) I have done a lot of artsy things! It all started with knitting projects and migrated to sewing/fabric projects. Since this baby will eventually share room with my son, I had wonderful plans of making my own crib sheet, crib blanket and trendy curtains.

Oh the plans we make! Since none of these have made it past the planning phase (so far), I decided it was time to give in and buy some curtains to replace the ugly tan ones in my son’s room. (They came with the house – yeah that ugly!)

While I browsed the curtain isle in Target, I was disappointed as everything I chose seemed out of stock or the wrong length. Just as I threw in the towel and walked away, I found myself on the endcap looking at the clearance items. While the curtain selection continued to be less than encouraging, my eye was drawn to a geometric orange shower curtain…and the gears started turning!

I bought two (I only ended up needing one) and headed home to start sewing! I simply cut the shower curtain in half and redid the seams on those edges. I then folded over the top and sewed a new space for the curtain rod. No fancy extras, I didn’t even take them up any which I had originally planned on – and tah-dah!

Photo Cred: EliciaJohnson

 

The whole project was MUCH cheaper than buying curtains OR fabric to make them, and half of the work was already done for me!

 

What’s your favorite “look what I did” repurposing story?

Potty Training Slow and Steady: Update-Stage One

If you haven’t checked out the introduction, you can do that here. In the meantime, here’s a review of our slow and steady way to toilet train.

Step 1: Run around naked as much as possible – 3-5 days.

This is to bring an awareness of what it feels like when he has to urinate. He is forced to think about it instead of just letting it happen and the diaper taking care of it. I keep the potty chair out in case he feels it in time to sit down.

Step 2: Once he is aware of what it feels like before he urinates, we introduce the potty chair as the place we try to pee every time. He can wear underwear and/or training pants at times for this stage, but running around pant-less will still be very helpful – 4-7 days.

This is where pee on the floor officially becomes an accident. He has an awareness and should communicate or sit on the potty before he goes.

Step 3: At this stage he can be considered potty trained, but we’ll still reward for going in the toilet to encourage this to stick – about 1 week.

Underwear are a must during the day now! (Unfortunately we can’t run around butt-naked forever!)

Stage One Update

I kept Micaiah bare-bottomed for a little less than a week. He began to say “Oh! Pee!” when he went on the floor. Or he would come and say “Mum, towel!” when he made a puddle. If I asked him if he had to go he would usually say no but sometimes he would reconsider and go sit on the potty chair. Eventually he started saying yes and willingly sitting on a toilet/potty chair. He had definitely developed an awareness of what it feels like to need to pee or poop.

On Saturday I felt like he would be ready the next day but Sundays are way to busy for me to give him the kid of focus potty training requires. To my delight, in the evening after our activities(since he was naked) he made his way to the potty chair everytime he had to urinate without even being asked!

I would say Stage One – huge success!!

How old was your child (children) when he/she knew when they had to go to the restroom before it was to late?