Gratitude Sunday–June 30

Wildflower and Bee

Before I begin my Gratitude Sunday post, I just wanted to let everyone to know that I will be taking off two weeks to do some blog maintenance.

Sunday – Celebrating 22 years of marital bliss today!

Monday – I assembled my new sewing table. I haven’t had one since Secunda moved back in and I lost my “office”. I finally just bought a cheap one at IKEA yesterday and set it up in our bedroom. Either I am getting better at assembling things or IKEA has improved their directions, I managed to assemble the bookcase/legs, table, and chair with nary a cuss word uttered!

Tuesday – I replaced the “Shift” key on my computer! Yea me! I’m on a roll here for fixing things. Last week, I fixed the stove, removed some malware from my computer, and repaired a part on my computer that was breaking off (my computer is particularly old, but I’m trying to hold out until they come out with a Windows version to replace Windows 8, as I have heard so many bad things about Windows 8).Tractor RidingWednesday – Primo got his first job and Dora had a blast riding the John Deere pedal tractors at the Farmers’ Market

Thursday – Enjoying the wildflower assortment that I planted in front of our rock wall. I hope to plant some taller plants to go with them in the fall, just to had a little height variety, but they have been beautiful this spring/summer and have made the yard so much more pleasant to look out at from the kitchen and family room (where I spend 50% of my day).Shadow Puppets

Friday – Enjoying Dora’s cute shadow puppet show.

Saturday – The weather cooling down nicely to make for a lovely evening outdoors.

Please note my sidebar for all the awesome link-ups that I participate in!

Maureen

Labels: Gratitude Sunday
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Yarn Along Wednesday– Sleeves

Sunday SweaterYes, I skipped another two weeks of Yarn Along Wednesday and it is with great trepidation that I post my work-in-progress this time. Thus far, every time I have posted about the progress that I have made while working on the Sunday Sweater for Dora, I have subsequently messed up the sweater in such a way as for me to have to start all over again. At this point, I am done with the body and working on the sleeves and fear for my mental state if I have to start all over again!

In working on the sleeves, I have had to learn to “work in the round”. On the one hand, working in the round is nice as I can easily stop and start knitting very quickly, since there aren’t very many stitches on each needle. Also, since all I have to do is knit, knit, knit, I can talk with people while I knit. On the other hand, I find it to be a bit tedious and will be very happy to be done with the sleeves. After that, I need to finish the collar, weave in my loose ends, block the sweater (I’ll have to learn how to block to do that, of course), and add the buttons.

Speaking of weaving in loose ends, I did learn one very important lesson when I had to restart this sweater three weeks ago. One should not weave in the loose ends of one’s yarn until the project is done. I thought I was far enough along that I could weave in some of the loose ends, which were annoying me a bit. Unfortunately, I then noticed a mistake I had made and when I went to unravel the yarn to my error, it got all tangled up on the ends that I had woven in. I have gotten a lot better at knitting backwards/unraveling while doing this sweater (not that the sweater pattern isn’t great, I just bit off a bit too much, given that I was a beginner).

In regards to reading, I’ve been finishing the Jane Austen mystery series. Jane and the Canterbury Tale is the the most current book in the series. I really enjoy reading books that take place in this time period. I’m sure, had I lived during these times, I would not have enjoyed things so much, as I probably would have been much poorer, but it does provide for a nice mental retreat.

Please note my sidebar for all the awesome link-ups that I participate in!

Disclosure: Some item links in this post are affiliate links. I will make a small amount of money if you click on them and make a purchase. All opinions expressed, however, are 100% my own.

Maureen

Labels: Yarn Along
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

17 Good Summer Reads for Children

17 Good Summer Reads for ChildrenFor those of us who like to follow a seasonally-inspired lifestyle, it is now the time to be pulling out the summer-themed books for our children. I thought I’d share a list of some of the books that we have been enjoying.

Do you have any favorite summer-themed reads that I didn’t include? If so, please share the title of it in the comments section below, as I am always on the lookout for new good books!

Please note my sidebar for all the awesome link-ups that I participate in!

Disclosure: Some item links in this post are affiliate links. I will make a small amount of money if you click on them and make a purchase. All opinions expressed, however, are 100% my own.

Maureen

Labels: Literature, Summer
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Our Summer Nature Table

Summer Nature TableWith summer officially starting tomorrow, we set up our summer seasonal table (it’s  a shelf really). We included our summer-themed wooden tree set and wooden sun stacker, but forgot to include any wooden animals. We also have a summer fairy doll and some seasonal puzzles. Of course, we are now using the summer gnomes that I made and we have some summer-themed postcards. I set out a lot of shells, which we have recently started collecting. I also have a jar of sea glass and a jar of yellow stones, mostly yellow onyx. I know there is probably some official stone that represents summer, but in my mind, I associate the color yellow with summer, so I sought out yellow stones.

What about you? Do you have a summer seasonal/nature table set out? If so, what have you included on your table? Do you have any special plans for the solstice?

Please note my sidebar for all the awesome link-ups that I participate in!

Maureen

Labels: Nature Study, Summer
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Hive Talking

Hives on LegOn Saturday, Gohan came and told me that he had broken out in a rash. As there was nothing on his face at the time, I didn’t expect much. Then he lifted his pants leg and I was amazed to see raised, red splotches all over it. The rash was also on his arms, chest, and back. I had never seen a rash like this before! It was late at night and I had to put Dora to bed, so Mr. Mo had to take Gohan to Urgent Care. I don’t know if all moms are like this, but I just don’t like it when I am not there to talk to the doctor myself. It always seems that important things don’t get relayed to me, our household doctor, or the professional doctors, if I don’t go to an appointment. The urgent care doctors diagnosed the rash as hives. We have no idea what caused them, as he had not eaten anything new, we had not changed any detergents, etc. Not to mention that Gohan has never had allergies before, though they certainly run on all sides of our families. He was given prednisone and told to take Benadryl at maximum strength every six hours.Hives on BackThese photos don’t even do the hives justice, as I took these them early in the outbreak. Things would get much, much worse, to the point that no part of his body was spared. He even had hives in his ears and they caused him to run a fever, which I didn’t even know could happen! It would be a full 24 hours before he started to experience any relief, at which point, he fell fast asleep on the couch! Sleeping After HivesWe will be seeing the pediatrician tomorrow for a follow-up appointment. I don’t know if they are going to want him to be tested for allergies or just wait and see if this ever happens again or what. He never had any trouble breathing, thank goodness. Needless to say, this kind of threw things out of whack this week. He is still exhausted and itchy, even tonight and I am still on edge, for fear that they will come back or his breathing will get bad.

I hope this post finds you all feeling well and allergy-free!

Maureen

Labels: This and That
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Gratitude Sunday–June 16

Card FrontSunday – Eating my first strawberries of the season from our garden. They were tender, sweet, and warm! Now I’m really looking forward to next year when the plants have a chance to mature even more.

Monday – Watching “The Red Balloon” with Dora after she got a balloon today. She was so entranced by this movie, though it is more violent than I remembered it being and that upset her some. Still,s he laughed so much at the antics of the balloon, I couldn’t help but laugh until my stomach hurt!

Tuesday – Receiving a very strange card from Dora, who picked it out, though Secunda was with her and paid for it. Dora had no idea what it said, but liked the picture (note top of post). The inside saying just cracked me up though (note photo below). It is definitely the strangest card that I have ever received!

Card Inside

Wednesday – Being almost 100% recovered from yesterday’s migraine! I forgot how bad those can be, given that I so rarely get them.

Thursday – Attending Primo’s end-of-year presentation for the special-needs college program that he is enrolled in (he is learning life skills, in addition to an associate’s degree). He has come so far and I am so proud of him!

Friday – Listening to Dora’s happy humming while she was coloring.

Saturday – So very grateful that Gohan’s all-over body rash was just hives and not more serious!

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Maureen

Labels: Gratitude Sunday
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Glitter Putty On the Light Box

Glitter PuttyI’m not sure why making putty seems to be a summer activity for us, but last week once again found us playing with putty on our light box. This time we made a slight modification to the putty recipe by using glitter glue instead of clear glue. We found this putty to be a bit more firm than the clear glue putty. Dora was even able to mold the putty into a short-lived snowman!Glitter Putty SnowmanWe also blew putty bubbles with straws, which Dora just had to pop, of course!Glitter Putty BubbleGlitter Putty Bubble Being PoppedPopped Glitter Putty Bubble

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Maureen

Labels: Arts and Crafts
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Health Update and Dry Skin Brushing

Dry BrushingYesterday, I should have been posting my Crunchy Tuesday link-up post, but was unable to, as I was feeling quite unwell. It made me realize that I am still not well enough to commit to running a weekly link-up. In fact, I still hadn’t found the energy to properly promote the Crunchy Tuesday link-up, by inviting others to link up and so forth. So I am going to discontinue the link-up, after only two weeks, which is lame, I know.

It saddens me, as I had been feeling soooo much better since starting the meds for my connective tissue disease. Alas, “better” is not fully recovered. As an example, I have been trying to start walking and was really happy and encouraged that I had been able to do this. I even secretly daydreamed that I might be able to start running again, some day. Then I had an appointment with the rheumatologist yesterday and she pointed out that while my joint pain had improved, several of my other, more serious symptoms had actually gotten worse. Connective tissue diseases can be weird that way, the symptoms that feel the worst are not per se the ones that are the most serious. My diagnosis is still undifferentiated connective tissue disorder, but things are pointing more towards a diagnosis of scleroderma. It was the one connective tissue disease that I thought I did not have, but that was because I did not know what thickened skin looked like. Now I know that I have had it for some time, just no doctor noticed it, even though it is on my hands. Also, my kidneys may not be doing as well as I had been lead to believe by my nephrologist. So it was a a bit of a depressing appointment, all around, and normally my rheumatologist is quite optimistic. Though she was very encouraging of me continuing to walk every day, just no more than three miles a day. So, no marathons in my near future….

With, scleroderma in mind, I now having even more of a reason to have concern for taking care of my skin, so I thought I would post about dry brushing. I use dry brushing in addition to my homemade body custard  tin an attempt to keep my skin as supple and non-itchy as possible. I am not going to make any claims about dry brushing removing cellulite or detoxing your body, as some people do, but it certainly helps to keep my skin looking and feeling much healthier.

Dry brushing, ironically, entails brushing your dry skin with a dry brush. There are a variety of brushes and loofahs out there that claim to be for dry brushing, but the first one I tried, hurt like “H” “E” “double hockey sticks”. Currently, I use the Yerba Prima Tampico Skin Brush, which has a nice long handle, which helps me reach all of my back, which tends to be really dry (have you ever tried moisturizing your back?!?!). I really recommend, however, that you look at a health food store, if possible, so you can test the brushes yourself to see which feels the best for your skin (do try for natural bristles though).

  • As this exfoliates a lot of skin, I dry brush in my shower (The first time I did this, the amount of skin that came off was just disgusting and I worried that I might be exfoliating off too much skin, but I was fine afterwards. Since then, I haven’t exfoliated anywhere near as much skin.)
  • I rub firmly, but not so hard that it causes pain, in a circular motion first, and then brush towards the heart afterwards
  • I usually start with my toes and work my way up. (If you vigorously brush your leg hair in an upwards direction and then shave right after you finish dry brushing, you will get an incredibly close shave.)
  • Then I move on to my fingers and work my way upward, towards my heart
  • Finally, I do my back.
  • I do try to brush of my front, which many healers recommend, but I find that most of my skin in that area is just too sensitive.
  • NEVER brush your face!
  • I shower or bathe to remove any remaining loose skin.
  • Afterwards, I apply a good moisturizer afterwards to protect the newly revealed layers of skin.

The one thing that happened to me after dry brushing that I had not expected is that it is incredibly invigorating. I guess it’s because it stimulates the circulation or something, but I feel so refreshed and alert after dry brushing.

I only do it once a week, any more frequently and I start to get eczema. I have heard of some people dry brushing every day though, so it is clearly a personal preference that one needs to experiment with to get just right.

Please note my sidebar for all the awesome link-ups that I participate in!

Disclosure: Some item links in this post are affiliate links. I will make a small amount of money if you click on them and make a purchase. All opinions expressed, however, are 100% my own.

Maureen

Labels: Natural Personal Care
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Gratitude Sunday–June 9

Garden VisitorSunday – A garden visitor that likes to eat the clover in my yard, but doesn’t seem to notice my vegetable beds

Monday – Primo got his first job interview and Gohan cleaned out the disgusting compost drum for me!

Tuesday – having a picnic lunch at the park with Dora and Secunda (and seeing a little pileated woodpecker while we were there)BluebellsWednesday – My bluebells are blooming (three years after I planted them, go figure!)

Coral-Colored Icelandic PoppyThursday – a coral-colored poppy blooming, I’m not sure if I actually have multiple Icelandic poppy plants (I bought it from a nursery) or if the plants just produce multiple colors…

Friday – Dora having a nice evening playing with the neighbors

Saturday – Figuring out that Dora’s headaches are being caused by Dora watching Netflix on my phone during the long drive home from vision therapy, not by the vision therapy itself

Please note my sidebar for all the awesome link-ups that I participate in!

Maureen

Labels: Gratitude Sunday
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Our Fairy Garden

Fairy GardenAs a Waldorf-inspired homeschooling mama, who loves to garden, it’s kind of amazing that I haven’t got around to creating a fairy garden any earlier than I did. We finally got around to it last month though.Fairy Garden WellTo house our garden, I used a large metal tub that I bought a long time ago. I drilled holes into the bottom of the tub, put a layer of rocks on the bottom of it, followed by a large layer of coconut coir, which is very light and bulky, followed by a layer of potting soil. I planted a couple of moneywort plants, a couple of thrift plants, some British soldiers (lichen), and lots of moss. We then decorated the garden with gems and fairy garden miniatures. Two items that I particularly love, are the adorable fairy house, which came from an Etsy store, called Gnome Sweet Gnome, and the wooden well, which came from another Etsy store, called Dragonfly Studio Arts.Fairy Garden HouseWe really enjoyed building the garden and a couple of days after building it, I left a small bottle of “fairy dust” for Dora to find. She was so excited that the “fairies” would leave something for her. She was disappointed that it didn’t make her fly though. She even warned me that if she suddenly started floating in the air that evening, it would mean that the fairy dust had finally started working.

Maureen

Labels: Arts and Crafts, Fariies, Gardening
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff