Wednesday, October 1, 2014

What Story Does a Tree Tell

Learning about trees during the spring and fall is second nature around here.  Our trees are tall and old.  They creek and can be eerie at times.  They have lived more years than any of us.  Just think about the stories they could tell, the things they have witnessed, the people they have seen, the scandals, the happiness.  Today we are listening to the trees through piano.

The short two minute video below shows how Bartholom√§us Traubeck used a modified record player and computer to translate the rings of trees into music.  Totally amazing.

Traubeck has an album called Years you can purchase or you can listen to the tracks on line.  Click the following links to listen to the different trees.

Spruce Tree  Ash Tree  Oak Tree  Maple Tree  Alder Tree  Walnut Tree  Beech Tree

Now, close your eyes and listen, really listen.  The sadness, the loneliness, the joy, unexpected exhilaration, the empathy.

Enjoy the stories.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Those Days

Every once in a while I miss those days.  You know what days I am talking about.

Those days when the Picklets were little and school was fun. Laying in the hammock together reading aloud.  Sitting in the tree house together giggling during quiet time.  Water guns, water balloons, Pokemon, American Girls.

Those days where every little thing they learned they loved.   Magic School Bus, Bill Nye the Science Guy, nature studies, watching Seventh Heaven to start our day.

Those days where they wanted to help clean the house.  The cleanie meanie got her posse together clothed in bandannas and got busy.

Those days where they loved to play together.  Making up games that made no sense to anyone but them.  Their imaginations ran wild!

Those days when they laughed all day long.  At nothing but the love and fun in their hearts.

Those days I thought were so difficult.  Pulling my hair out and for what?

Those days that really weren't difficult.

Those days I miss.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Thursday, Friday, Saturday...what a blur!

We left home Thursday at 9:30 and got home at 9:30.  We left home Friday at 7:00 and got home 14 hours later at 9:00.  We left home Saturday at 6:15 and got home at 15 hours later at 9:00.  It is quite a blur!

Thursday Dill and Sweet were hired to wash mirrors at the gym.  It takes 2-3 hours, a bottle of Windex and rolls of paper towels to get all the chalk off and make sure it is smudge free.  The result is remarkable though.  The gym looks bigger, brighter and cleaner.

After they finished the mirrors we went to a local Mexican restaurant for lunch.  They changed their seafood nacho recipe and it isn't nearly as good.  Will probably pass that next time.  Our tummies were full and we were sleepy so we went to the park and listened to The Horse and His Boy.  We listen to books on cd in the van.  It is a great way for us to get great literature in and it is a great way to just relax without the phone ringing or the tv/computer distraction.  We have found that listening to our book while eating Chinese take-out is one of our favorite meals.  At 2:00 Sweet had practice so we headed to the gym.  Next thing we knew it was time to go home...time flies!

Friday morning was jam packed too!  Dill went to the gym to help with setting up for a meet.  I dropped him off at 7:45 and took Sweet to the acupuncturist.  She has had a headache for about a year and we are trying different treatments before putting her on daily medicine.  Our opinion is this:  antidepressant/psychotic medicine is NOT the answer for our daughter.  Sweet agrees.  She was scared silly going but quickly found  the Dr. is super nice and the acupuncture itself doesn't hurt.  The Dr. said it could take 3-5 treatments to see if it works.  This story about acupuncture on Tiki the giraffe tells how acupuncture is a great alternative to western medicine.

After her treatment I took her to the gym to help with set up and took off.  My mom and I were going to get pedicures but ended up not.  I went to Wal-Mart and got gas for our grill, ran home and let Cassie out and went back to town.  After getting the gym ready for the meet it was 8:00.  We stopped through the Taco John's drive through and scarfed down out take out on the way home.  We were home and in bed by 9:15.

Saturday morning the kids had to be at the gym by 7:00.  We dropped them off and went on our way.  Cool and I had a day of fun planned.  We built plyo-boxes for his parkour program.  We took Cassie with us. She had a great time running in the big playground.  After a LONG day of measuring, gluing, nailing, cutting and moving wood, we finally got home at 9.  After cleaning up, eating a salad and saying we should go to bed about 10 times we finally hit the hay.  I don't think I moved all

The kids spent the night at their Grandmas so I woke up at 6:00 when my alarm went off to call them so they could get to the gym on time.  Think I could go back to sleep?  Not a prayer.  So I shut the bedroom and started laundry and cooking for the week.  Pork chops; cooked and in the freezer.  Chicken breast; roasted and ready to be cut up for our homemade protein box.  Hamburgers; seasoned, made into patties and ready to be grilled tomorrow (with no bacon but with pepper jack cheese).  Ribs; BBQ'd and in the oven on low for lunch.

Off to have a cup of joe with the hubs!  Have a great day!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

"It's a great day. We saw Reuben Bob, my song was on and I got my license. Life is good indeed."

Ah, they grow up so fast.  It seems like just yesterday Dill was driving his Power Wheels Motorcycle through the yard and BAM! now he has his drivers license.  Yes, time does fly.

We don't do drivers ed.  There are a couple of different reasons...1) we didn't want to take it through the school system and 2) we offered to pay half for Chip and he declined saying he would wait until he was 18, Dill did the same thing.

Dill turned 18 a month ago.  Trying to find a time to fit in a driving test in between all the running we have to do is difficult.  But yesterday WAS THE DAY!

He dressed in his suit pants, dress shirt , vest and morning coat.  We drove the 20 minutes to the License station and off he went.  The lady commented on how nice he looked and that she likes to see young men dress up.  Winning points!!

After checking lights, registration, they went.  Turn left, stop, pull in here, back out here, turn right, turn know the drill.  They were back in 15 minutes...smiles on both faces.

Yes!  He passed!  Her exact words, "He is a great driver.  He didn't make me feel nervous at all."  My exact words back, "Really?  He scares me."  Still makes me laugh to see her reaction.

After passing the test Dill drove us home on some of the back roads.

  It was  gorgeous day and there were a ton of Woolly Bears out.
 We pulled over and observed them.It is a time I will cherish as they were both so fascinated by them.
      It isn't like they haven't seen/caught woolly bears every year since they turned 2...but that is what makes it so special at 18 & 15.  (Sweet is in the middle of the road saving the lives of innocent woolly bears)

After a little school work we all went to town.  Dill spent some time at grandma and grandpa's house.  Later he went to help move asphalt (volunteer hours), participated in his parkour class and open gym.  Sweet had a short hour workout, coached for 2 hours and then joined in open work out with Dill.  It is a great group of kids...nice and mellow.  I love that one minute they are wild and crazy and the next they are sitting in a circle just talking.

Let me just say that my favorite quote of the day will make no sense to anyone but the three of us but I need to record it so I don't forget.  Dill, "It's a great day."  Me, "We saw Reuben Bob."  Sweet, "My song was on."  Dill, " And I got my license."  Me, "Life is good indeed."  Put all together,

"It's a great day.  We saw Reuben Bob, my song was on and I got my license.  Life is good indeed."

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Tuesday, Tuesday

Tuesday is normally a long, boring day for us.  We have to leave at 3:00 and don't get home until 10:00.   I try to let the picklets sleep in until 9 or 9:30...but that makes the school/home day shorter than I like.  Yesterday by the time everyone actually got moving and down to work it was almost 11:30.  Then it was almost time for lunch.  The day flew with little getting done.

Sweet studied a little about the nervous and endocrine systems as well as a little about early America. She also finished her melted crayon art.

Dill worked on a notebooking unit for Arguing with Idiots, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens Workbook & Name that Movie! A Painless Vocabulary Builder.

They also spent a little time training our pup Cassie.  Yesterday was her 5 month birthday and she is learning bang-bang.  Basically she is supposed to drop to the floor and play dead when we say "bang bang".   Her favorite and best trick is sleep.  You can see it in the video here.   

Today is busy with excitement in the air but more about that tomorrow.

2 ingredient banana pancakes

taco meatballs (DELISH!)
refried beans
salad with homemade ranch

snack pack eaten in the car on the way home---kohlrabi, purple carrot, tomato, cucumber, homemade guacamole, 1 oz cheese, cut up roasted chicken breast, hard boiled egg or egg white & water

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Back to Blogging

Well, it certainly has been a long time since my last post.  I can't give an exact reason for the absence...maybe just loss of interest?  Regardless, I have had this itch to get back to blogging for some time.  So, here it goes.

First off in the years of my absence a lot has changed around the ole pickle barrel.  Chip is finished with school, has moved into an apartment and has a "mostly" full time job coaching gymnastics.  I couldn't be prouder of him.  He is self sufficient, good with money and has a sense of duty to God & family.  However, I can say he could take the adage "Cleanliness is next to Godliness" to heart.  :)

Dill just turned 18 and is in his last year of studies here at home.  He is an aspiring writer, has his recommended black belt in TKD and purple belt in Hopkido and also has a vocabulary unlike anyone else I know.  He wears suits because he likes to and searches Goodwill for new to him suits, waistcoats and tailcoats.  He has a heart of gold and would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it.   In his spare time is takes a parkour class and coaches gymnastics a couple times a week.

Sweet is 15 and is a mixture of her brothers-both good and bad.  She still loves gymnastics and like both her brothers, is also coaching a couple days a week.  She is currently equivalent to a sophomore in her studies.

As much as we are blessed by our two legged children, our 4 legged children bless us too.  Shadow, Palo and Sirius are our feline children and Cassie is our K-9 child.  They bring a lot of fun and wonder to our lives.

Cool is an accountant and loves his job.  He volunteers quite a bit at a different gym and is trying to start a Parkour program there.

As for me, I am still a wife, mother, daughter, teacher and hopefully friend.  I work part time at the same gym Sweet and Dill work as a secretary.  It gets me out to socialize with people and pays for gas and groceries.

We have started our 2014-2015 studies and I plan to update daily.  The picklets are working on individual work as well as doing a Chronicles of Narnia study together.  It is proving to be a fun though busy year.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Antibacterial Wipes

I am all for convenience. I love convenience. Convenience loves me. We have a friendship, a bond. It's sort of inseparable. Well, it used to be. I am having issues with ingredients and prices of "convenience". Therefore, I have taken a pledge this year to do less convenience and more preparation. One of my first endeavors is homemade antibacterial wipes.

I love antibacterial wipes. I use them in the bathroom to wipe the toilet seat, handles, doorknobs, etc. Cool and I recently had the stomach flu and I credit my use of antibacterial wipes to the picklets not getting sick. And thank goodness they didn't. Oh yeah, thank goodness.

A big problem with antibacterial wipes is the added junk you just don't need. According to the ingredients in their wipes is: water, substrate, isopropyl alcohol, alkul dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride, Alkyl polyglucoside, Fragrance, Preservative and Propylene glycol propyl ether. I had to look at the definitions for 5 of the 9 ingredients. And even though I know what fragrance and preservatives are, I don't know what are contained in those. I had to find an alternative.
I have done some research on how to make "natural", low cost, effective cleaners. This one is simple, low cost and effective. Win-win-win!
You need:
  • 1 roll of paper towels. Any brand of paper towel will do BUT the thicker, more quality, brands hold up better to rubbing the surfaces. I use the cheapest ones I can find because my children use wipes as their main cleaning supply.
  • rubbing alcohol. Rubbing or isopropyl alcohol is a natural disinfectant. . Hospitals and doctors offices use it. If it is good enough for them, it is good enough for me. Rubbing alcohol is also one of the main ingredients in Clorox wipes
Your method:
  • Cut the roll of paper towels in half. This is a messy job as pieces of paper towel lint fall from the roll, but a serrated knife does the job. I have heard using an electric knife works too, but I have no need to invest in something like that just to cut paper towels.
  • Put one half of the paper towels into an air tight container. I use the Cottonelle toilet paper holder they sent me free. It matches my bathroom, is decorative and was FREE after all. If the roll seems too big, I put the roll in Ziploc bag, pour the liquid over it and it and put it in the container. I have not had a problem getting it to fit after they are wet. Of course it depends on your brand.
  • Pour rubbing alcohol over paper towels until wet. The amount you need depends on the thickness of your paper towels. I usually put too much in but I can squeeze out the excess if I need to.
  • Take the paper tubing out of the center, discard and pull towels out from the center.
That's it! Easy peasy, right?

Now, the smell of straight rubbing alcohol can be is very strong and overwhelming. I did some looking around and found that you can mix rubbing alcohol with essential oils. So, I drip essential oil drops into my rubbing alcohol bottle, recap, gently tilt to each side and then pour over the towels. :) I picked orange and peppermint. It was a nice improvement.

My cost for homemade antibacterial wipes:

paper towel roll 33¢                1/2 roll 16.5¢
rubbing alcohol 55¢                1/3 bottle 18.3¢
essential oil $4.15                   15 drops 51¢
container free                          container free

**Grand total: It costs me less than a dollar to make a container of wipes (1/2 roll of towels, 65 wipes) for wiping down the bathroom. And that could be even less if I didn't put the essential oil in. For me, it is cost effective, easy to make and uses natural ingredients. I love being frugal. :)

I know this solution isn't for everyone but it is definitely one way for me to make a financial difference in our house!

**The costs in your area, the brand of towels you use and the kind of essential oils will vary the cost. And be sure to add in the container if you need to buy one.**