Wednesday, February 21, 2007

tapping maple trees

some great links i found on tapping maple trees:

bulletin 7036 - main extension office

ma maple producers website - great info on tree identification, how to tap your own, recipes, explaining sap flow, etc. great for homeschoolers!

great misc. tips

kitchen maple

i am in the process of giving the kitchen a facelift. already, it looks so much better. i can't wait until it is finished. it is a slow process made even slower because i told greg my plans and so now he's helping which means i have to work with his time schedule. a mixed blessing. he can do the heavy work for me (cutting the wainscot,etc) but now, i have to wait for him to do the things he wants to do before moving forward (such as installing the shelves for me so i can move the two existing shelves to the basement). it is about 1/2 painted. the color is wonderful. very martha stewartish which greg is not thrilled about (it is a robin egg blue and he thought it would be a bit greener). however, he made a suggestion which got my gears turning so now, i'm booting out all the shelving in the kitchen and replacing the one i was going to keep in there with the deacon's bench so we'll have a seat next to the door for putting on/taking off shoes. hopefully, i'll be able to empty out its contents (herb stuff) so we can store shoes, coats, hats, etc. in there.

next up, something i forgot to add to my february to-do list but have been wanting to do since last february is tap two of our maples and attempt maple syrup making. a friend gave me two taps and so i'll be researching that today and going full speed ahead!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

chalkboard paint

i picked up a martha stewart magazine at the library (jan 2oo7) and discovered a chalkboard paint recipe to make any wall paint color into chalkboard paint. i am thinking about using it on a wall above a table i am putting in the kitchen when i redo it. the recipe is very simple:

1 c. flat paint, color of your choice
2 T. powdered tile grout

mix and apply several coats on wall to evenly cover. sand with 150 grit sandpaper until smooth. condition by rubbing side of chalk over surface and then wiping off with a lightly damp sponge.

i'm not sure greg will be crazy about this though. we'll see. also, i just sent him to the store with the paint chip selection for the kitchen and i'm sure he'll purchase semi-gloss instead of flat. personally, i prefer flat but he likes the semi-gloss. i just don't care for shiny walls but i guess in the kitchen, it's more scrubbable that way.

Monday, February 12, 2007

gift planning

february -
valentine's day
kids - cards and sugar cookies

march -
adelena - mini dish set for doll house
jaden - mini dish set for doll house
all kids: homemade marshmallow treats

3 - greg's b-day
8 - maggie's b-day

12 - tom's b-day
13 - mother's day white echinacea plants (have seeds, need to start at end of this month)
19 - kim's b-day embroidered dish towel(s)*

17 - father's day

8 - caleb's b-day
mom's b-day
embroidered dish towel(s)

13 - jaden's b-day matching animal card set,
31 - sage's b-day

9 nina's b-day clothes and accessories for josefina

14 - dad's b-day

7 - ridge's b-day
22 - solstice
mom & dad - photo album
kim & tom - photo album
jane - earrings*
ian - matching game set
jen & eric
(3) girls - matching game set, phonogram card set,
barbara - photo album
lisa - pics of kids, earrings*
lauri - jewelry set*
johnny -
john -
vicki - pics of kids, earrings*
mike -
tori - matching game set


Friday, February 9, 2007

preparedness list

one of my goals for this year is to be more prepared, be it for short term or long term emergencies. since there are a lot of items to procure, i've broken them down to several lists and as short term vs. long term emergency items.

my definition of short term emergency is anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of days or weeks. things like water being shut off due to pipeline break, tornadoes destroying property, loss of a job and loss of electricity from a storm all fall into this category. in other words, a temporary situation that can/will be rectified to make life go back to 'normal.'

long term emergency would essentially be the end of life as we know it. lack of oil causing shortages of gas and other petroleum based products, major catastrophes causing a disruption in governmental power, the power grid, etc. would fall into this category. basically, life would not go back to 'normal' and we would need to fend what we have and make do with what we have.

while my instincts scream 'buy everything right now!!!' financially it is not feasible so i am starting with short term emergency items. i'll then move on to long term and once they are covered, i'll get into 'luxury' items (things we wouldn't need to sustain our lives but would make things much nicer such as an ice cream maker).

here are the categories i've come up with so far:

clothing- covers everything from making clothes to cleaning them
food storage/preservation - covers everything from storing seeds to storing food
food production - covers everything from raising and butchering livestock/animals to growing in a garden and other means of production such as a green house, still, etc.
cooking / canning - covers everything from preparing meals in all conditions to putting up food
shelter / heat - covers everything from protecting/preserving our home to heating it in the winter
comfort / lighting - covers things that give us comfort and how to see at night (alternative solutions to electricity)
sanitation - covers toiletries
water supply - everything from harvesting to storing and purifying
personal care - dental care, haircuts, soaps, etc.
communication - contacting outside world (friends, family)
medical - for ourselves and animals. includes conventional and herbal care
transportation - alternative sources of getting around
self defense - anything from guns to martial arts
misc. - past times, games, fun stuff, education (teaching kids the basics beyond all the above)

anything i'm forgetting?

now, i plan on going through each of these categories and making lists of what we have to contribute towards them so far, what we need to add and figure out if it's a sti, lti or li.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

a year from now...

...i hope that the meal i'm preparing tonight will mostly come from our efforts:
-chicken baked with almonds and cheese
-acorn squash
-baked potatoes w/butter
-fresh baked bread

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

solstice gifts

check it...i just found a gift idea for kids for solstice!

these beautiful matching cards modge-podged onto thin wood (plywood scraps) to make a matching game. also, these might be made into flashcards too.

heck, while i'm at it, i might make some coloring books too!

i'm so excited! they will rock! off to count the # of kids to make them for...

activity website

calling all homeschoolers. here is a great website!

jan brett

i love her drawings and had printed out her alphabet cards for nina years ago. now she has a lot more stuff!

Saturday, February 3, 2007

january and february goals

january goals:

-plan 2007 garden
-inventory existing seeds

-order seeds
-research growing mushrooms
-purge clothing & magazines
-plan food preservation
-check/update truck emergency box
-review & streamline production line
-review & tweak budget
-knit hat &
gloves for self (bartered gloves w/fellow blogger)
-move caleb into new room (we are almost done with this)
-return borrowed diapers (haven’t gotten to that part of town yet, should be able to this month)
-create gift timeline calendar
-make jewelry set for lauri, vicki, lisa &
embroider 1 dishtowel for sister (almost done)
-create feb special day cards
-write outline for next herbal class (halfway done, put on back burner for a month or so)
-write article for essential herbal (deadline jan 15)
-prioritize and start acquiring preparedness items
-sew 1 clothing item

overall, i am pleased with myself on getting most of the list done. with the exception of the mushrooms, i have at least started everything. the diapers aren’t out of the house but they are all packed together in 1 bag.

february goals:

- paint dining room (oops! did this in january)
-paint adelena’s new room
-move adelena
-kitchen facelift: paint, put up wainscot, replace shelves, acquire 3x3 kitchen table (want to spend more time in kitchen but have nowhere to sit), investigate flooring beneath vct
-sew curtains for front and back doors and dining room
-march cards
-make 1 solstice/birthday gift
-ostara gifts made for kids
-purchase kerosene heater (back up heat source, part of preparedness plan)
-research and purchase laptop and printer
-get taxes done
-make bloomers for kids

bed head

tired of having a cold head at night, i knitted up a cap to wear to bed. it knit up in about 3 hours. jaden likes it a lot. i’ll be knitting her one next.
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