Monday, March 5, 2018

Camping on The Land

Our new house, "The Cottage" is getting much closer to being done. This weekend we spent a good chunk of time "camping" there. 

The kids were playing Ships and Sailors when we first arrived. This is Five Men Rowing.
Paul keeping it clean. That boy loves to vacuum!

Rebekah spent a lot of time in this position. She is a bookworm for sure!

First, Updates:


We have electric power from the solar panels. The panels are doing great pulling the power and the batteries are doing great storing it. After buying an inverter that was twice the cost of the first one we got, we are quite pleased this this system.

Heating and cooking.

We have a propane heater (with an electric blower) and it is working well. It is a bit loud, but we are adjusting to the sound -- like any heater, it takes a little getting used to. We have our gas range moved out, but are waiting on new orifices to fit it for propane. They should be in later this week. Fortunately we have an outdoor propane grill we cooked on this weekend.


We have a propane water heater (tankless) and I imagine it is fine, but we haven't really tested it because we're having a slight water issue. We shocked the well as we were supposed to, but even after letting it run for numerous hours, the water remains urine colored and brings up sediment. We are hoping to test the water again this week and see if we can figure out what needs to be done. We are complete newbies when it comes to dealing with wells.

The water heater is the upper box on the right. (It's hooked up and all now -- this picture is a little old.) The box on the left is for the well, along with the blue pressure tank.

Plumbing -- poop.

Despite the water being bleh, the plumbing in the new house works well. The sinks run and the toilets flush. Speaking of flushing toilets, the worm bin (aka "natural septic" or "composting toilet system") is in place. Gordie still needs to run the laterals from it, but the worms are there and being fed.

The worms are in this tank.

The Take-Home


We are really enjoying our somewhat isolated environment. Although the house is small, the rooms are actually quite large. And leaving the ceiling open, coupled with the patio doors letting in so much light, makes the entire house quite inviting and comfortable to me.

Demonstrating some natural light. -- I was going to wait until everything was "clean" to take a picture, but then I figured I might never get one taken!! But in my defense, that mess on the freezer is Gordie's tools and such. 😊

Peter LOVES being outside. He was happy as a claim to play outside for HOURS, just picking up dirt or toddling around or playing in his little log cabin. He is a free-range child. Who knew?

The big kids are especially excited about the KCC (Kids Command Center). Grandpa and Grandma gave this old communications bunker to them for Christmas. We gave it a good wipe down this weekend. Once Gordie gets the two holes patched we plan to move out the "big kid" toys (like legos and board games). Gordie says it won't be hard to run a power line to it and we can just pick up a little propane heater for it, as well.

KCC -- Kids Command Center

Everyone was pleased with the mats being the floor in the main room. And we hung a few toys (the ones that could be moved again -- as we have not planned it all out yet) and those were a big hit.


The wind. So so so much Kansas wind and no trees! I commented to Gordie that it almost felt like we were on a ship at night as the wind blew and buffeted the house. Granted, everything held and all was fine. But the noises kept Gordie uneasy -- worrying something might break or be wrong. I imagine we will grow used to this.

And Finally, More Pictures 😊

Mom splurged and got the kids pomegranates. They LOVE pomegranates! Here they are patiently waiting for Rebekah to separate them fairly (as I only got three, so the had to share). 

Master Bath

Parents' Bedroom

Got a couple of the cabinets up. We are planning to put one of the ones on the floor in each of the bathrooms.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Happy Birthday Daddy!!

We had chicken fried steak and mashed potatoes. -- Daddy's favorite.

I got him a sunrise alarm clock. I'll report back on whether or not it works.

The obligatory Facebook collage for this year. Theme: "The Joy of 2005." 😊

Friday, February 2, 2018

7 Quick Takes -- Beginning of the year update

1) Our new little house is almost ready.

We are affectionately calling it "the cottage." Basically all that's left are to put the sinks and shower in and finish hooking up the kitchen things (like stove, dishwasher, etc). So a little, but still a lot. The solar panels and batteries are doing great and the new propane heater is keeping things warm. The well is done but we have not finished "turning it on" yet.

Here is the color we painted all the drywall: Avenue Tan.

2) We did the Shepherd for Advent.

So we journeyed with this shepherd guy (that the kids named Maximus -- or Max, for short) to find Jesus at Christmas. I think the little ones especially enjoyed it. Rebekah helped me mastermind it. It would not have gone nearly as well without her! We are considering asking the shepherd back for Lent.

3) I fit in my jeans again!

It only took a year and half. Guess it's time for another kid now. 😊
And here's some cute pictures of the girls mimicking me as I worked out one morning.

4) Miriam loves me.

She made me this little heart. All by herself.

5) Chores have been going better lately.

However, it's probably because I've turned into psycho Mom one too many times. 

And concerning chores, I posted the following on Facebook a few days ago:

Rebekah had been helping the younger children (Paul, Miriam, and Zipporah) water the plants every other day, but she told me this morning she decided to just do it herself now because it was too much work to have them "help."

I claimed solidarity in how I was trying to raise productive adults, but it was so much easier to just do the chores myself! Then I followed up with, I didn't have many chores when I was a kid and i turned out okay. -- To which Rebekah responded, "You turned out way better than okay. You turned out awesome, Momma!"

Oh that girl, what a blessing!

6) We like Aikido.

Rebekah, Samuel, and I attended the Aikido winter camp -- well, I attended the most of all of us, Samuel made a few days, and Rebekah a few more than Samuel. But it was very fun. We all really enjoy Aikido. And I especially like how the principles can help relate in regular life, too (things like relax completely and extend positive ki).

7) Here's some pictures of our kids playing outside at our new house.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

On Birthdays and Such

This time of year, as amazing as it is, is kind of depressing to me for some reason. And then along comes my birthday and I'm getting slightly older and THAT's kind of depressing. So tonight, my dear hubby was going to take me out for a birthday dinner, but being grumpy and just generally unsettled, I did not feel like just eating out. 

Then, as I was putting the baby to bed, thoughts of my work today came to mind. Today I was helping clean and organize a local free store (sponsored by a local group called Unite). It is nothing spectacular, just a bunch of donated items that hopefully pass into the hands of those who really can use/need them. The food portion was especially sparse. And there was a stone-age dirty crockpot/rice cooker thing that I felt was just begging to be thrown away. 

Anyhow, the story from our local parish mission (by Casting Nets, by the way -- a great couple of guys, you should have them out to talk at your parish, or give them your money 😊) about Mother Teresa came to mind. Apparently she was taking a flight somewhere and the airline was going to server her dinner. She requested to fast instead and take the money that should have been spent on her dinner. Apparently 80% of the plane followed her lead and gave her the money for their meals. Then, as she's leaving the plane, she has the audacity to ask for the meals that were not eaten since they will probably have to be thrown away. The airline gives Mother Teresa those meals and she goes and gives them and the money to the poor.

So in honor of that story, instead of eating out for my birthday, I went and spent that same amount of money on food and a few various other items for the free store. Now, before you think I wrote this post to brag, I will quickly clarify that who knows if these items will actually end up in those that really, really need them. Who knows if they are the "right" items. Who knows if they are going to sit on the shelf for years (although, some of the packages of crackers I bought are good for a year and a half -- we checked -- so hopefully they will be consumed before then 😂). Who knows if that money would have been better spent donated to another ministry or service. Well, God knows, but he's not telling. So all I have is what I did and even if it ends up not meaning anything at all, it was good for my soul, if nothing else (and possibly my waistline, too 😂)

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

7 Quick Takes

1) Wondering why I  haven't blogged in about a year are you?

So my computer crashed a little over a year ago. Wha, wha, right? Anyhow, without being able to access my pictures blogging just did not appeal so much. And I figured I would just wait for my pictures to be retrieved from my hard drive before getting back into blogging. Unfortunately the hubby attempted to get to my pictures and documents from my hard drive one evening (many many moons ago), but things were being difficult so he had to stop for the night and has not had time to get back to it. But life marches on. Enough with the excuses. Time to pick up the ball and get moving.

2) We cut Peter's hair and it is STILL tripping me out a week later.

He looks so much like Paul did as a baby. But he acts so different!! Yet, he doesn't look like the Peter I know and love. It's like a new kid, seriously. And it doesn't help that he has suddenly starting talking -- and I don't mean just jabbering. He had been jabbering adorable for the past several months. But now he uses words. Not always correctly, but real words -- LOTS of them! It's crazy. Seriously, someone swapped out my baby for this little boy!!

3) I tried to crush my finger a few weeks ago.

It was the day before Gordie's cousin's wedding in Topeka (a 2.5 or so hour drive for us). I was cleaning out the car for the event. I had just taken the bikes off the bike rack (from our previous trip to Grandpa & Grandma's) so the top part of the rack was loose (normally it's locked tight). As I was pushing the rack to get into the back of the van, the top part wiggled and smashed my finger. I lost the last part of the nail now (as it caught while I was working) but it's almost all healed up!

3) We recently did new chore charts again. I think they are going well.

They each have two chores for every meal. We rotate once a day. Obviously this is just for the big kids. Rebekah, Samuel, Jacob, & Paul. The younger three can help with a few things, like setting the table or clearing their plate, but they are not very dependable. Rebekah did the artwork.

Rebekah washing the dishes tonight. She looks so grown up in this picture!!

4) I made checklists for the kids and so far I am liking these.

I've made a bazillion schedules and then we never stick to them. But these are more fluid. Plus I can look at them on Saturday and hold playing wii on Sunday (which is generally our tradition -- since they don't play during the week) over their heads to get anything caught up if needed. -- I've told them I don't mind if they play during the day. I don't mind if they take breaks. But they need to get their lessons done.

5) I put up two nativity scenes this year.

Since there were two in the box, I decided to put both up. One went on the piano, like usual. The other I decided to put in the kitchen because that's where I spend a lot of time. I felt silly, though, as I don't have a lot of space in my kitchen so as I tucked Jesus on top of the spice rack, I apologized to him. Rebekah said, "I think it's fitting. He is the salt of the earth." -- Well-played, daughter, well-played. :)

6) I was on the radio again this week for our local Catholic stations Care-a-thon.

I spoke on covenants and how each Sacrament is a covenant. And how God relates to us with covenants and Jesus; his life, death, and resurrection, is the final covenant that fulfills all the others. It was pretty deep. I had to like look stuff up and really read my catechism for this talk. It was good.

7) A while back we cut Miriam's hair . . . and I still need to find it.

She had this beautiful long hair, but she was just not fond of keeping it brushed. So we had it bobbed at our local beauty school.  There was enough hair cut off to donate. We brought it home from the salon with the best of intentions, and I have yet to find it again to send it in. Mom of the year here. I imagine will turn up eventually?