Friday, October 31, 2008

Sorely Missed...

Oh beloved books!
Beloved books!
How we missed you these last twelve months!

When we filled our van to max capacity and drove it to Colorado nearly a year ago, we took only the things we most needed.
This did include books, but the list was carefully whittled down to: only the most cherished; and the immediately necessary for school.
All the rest of the books went into plastic Rubbermaid bins, as we blotted our eyes with hankies and bid them farewell for who-knew-how-long.
Not really, but it was almost that traumatic! I bet Suzanne is with me here?

Anyway, our books sat in storage in California, then traveled to Idaho and sat even longer locked away in their dark untouched piles.

Last night though...
I had completed the painting of my living room, and planted our tired little bookcases in the corners where they will reside until a "real" wall-size bookcase is built. (So that could be some time from now!)
And then, with my faithful REI headlamp a'burning I made numerous trips up and down the stairs to unearth our hidden treasure.
What fun I had in making sure the books were placed carefully in the right order on the shelves.
Would the children's books best serve us on the bottom shelf?
At the farther corner of the room?
Or at the nearer corner which is also in the walk-way and in front of the wood stove. Hmmm...

Not to give you the false impression that I am an organized person by nature, but it seems that bookshelves are one of those places that look so nice when tidied up, and occasionally they stay that way for two days put together.
Hence I take delight in making order of the books:-)

This morning I was rewarded with exclamations of delight for at least four hours, as my children discovered last nights handiwork.
It was worth staying up late for, and worth being awake this morning for!!

"Oh MOM! This is my favorite book!"

"Oh MOM! THANK YOU... I LOVE this book!"

"MOM, look! Look! I forgot about THIS one!"

And so the happy voices rang out holding up first this book, and then that, as they reacquainted themselves with dear old friends.

Makes me think I should take all their toys and put them up for a year! :-)

I Am Loved!

An Award!
For... um.... proximity?

This groovy award was bestowed upon me by my dear friend Mommy Reg who is the smartest-coolest-schooling-her-kids-at-home mom (really, you are J!)
And also the most beautiful, talented, witty, gracious, smart, beautiful, and fun... (how can you top fun?) Mother Hen.
Mother Hen is a blogging fool - I mean, just look at how many posts this lady manages to get out there each day - THREE so far today!
She says I remind her of her, which I take as an enormous complement, but I suspect she was also thinking of the "beautiful, witty, and fun" parts of me :-) *GRIN*
(WHAT Mother Hen?! You're not my young age? I didn't know your were so deceptively cunning (note: Add "cunning" to list)!

Anyway... I will give you all a description of this Proximity award, but be aware, I do not claim to be as smart as either Mommy Reg, or Mother Hen...
I am just plain confused reading this!

“This blog invests and believes, in ‘proximity’ [meaning, that blogging makes us 'close' - being close through proxy]. They are all charming blogs, and the majority of them aim to show the marvels of friendship; there are persons who are not interested when we give them a prize, and then they help to cut these bows; do we want that they are cut, or that they propagate? Then let’s try to give more attention to them! So with this prize we must deliver it to eight bloggers that in turn must make the same thing and put this text.”

(Twice and three times didn't help me either)
It just so happens that I like awards, and especially from my friends, so thank you friends!
I accept!

If you want to see what a super-smart Mommy blogger looks like, go meet my friend Mommy Reg,
and if you want to know what I might be like in another few years, go visit my friend Mother Hen. It gives me great pleasure to think I could improve so much with a little time and another child or two!!! ;-)

I bestow this lovely award (I assume it is good since I received it?!) upon my dearest Sister-of-my-sister-in-law, Faith who makes me laugh, and makes me think deep thoughts late in the evening when I should be sleeping instead:-)

And also sweet Ashley of Bowery Hollow, who is my new friend, and as I am a few steps behind Mother Hen, I am a few steps ahead of Ashley. She is dear, and charming, and everything ladylike (and I don't say these things for my praise!).
You'll love her blog!

New Stuff on the Blog

Who noticed my new collage at the bottom of my page?
I'd link to it, but you can just scroll to the bottom.
I think I'm addicted now. I might play with some of the other neat features that Picasa and Gimp have!
I love seeing all the photos out at once - only problem was how hard it is to choose just a few!

Let me know what you think:-)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Meet and Greet (Part 2)

This here is Buster.

Or Crowie.

...Or Mellie.

There are
three Steller's Jays that visit our bird feeder, and all of them have been named.

We just don't know which one's which!

They all come to visit daily. The first to show up was Buster (I suggested we call him this, and Olivia approved, so that's how Buster g
ot his name)

Shortly after Buster, came Crowie (named so by Susanna; and th
is moniker cracks me up since I can't help imagining he's trying to be something he's not!).

And last of all Mellie (because once Susanna get's started, she's hard to stop!).

These guys show up and perch in the tree directly in front of the cabin. Then, when no one appears to be watching, one will swoop down to the porch rail, determine whether there's more food in the feeder, or whether there is a better supply on the ground (having been carelessly spilled by the last one to dine)

As I said, we can't tell them apart, but they ALL look this cocky and act as though WE are invading THEIR domain!

The food won't last forever Buster!

One day when it's gone, you'll think I'm pretty special!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Sweet Language... So Fleeting!

Olivia is at the stage which can't (or won't) pronounce certain sounds. When we attempt to help her, this is how it goes:

Olivia: "tan I hab a cha-ko" (translate: can I have a cracker)

Zachary: "Olivia, say "Cra - Cra - Cra-cker"

Olivia: "Cra - Cra... CHA-KO!"

It has been this way with each of my children at the age of two-years plus, and so the saga continues.
We all enjoy a hearty laugh, and it's another good year or three before the word is pronounced correctly, since it is now a perfect way to commandeer the comfortable position of center stage.
(which can be tricky when you fall fourth in the birth order!)

Still we chip away at teaching correct pronunciation.
Daddy Bug feels it's important to help the little guys get it right when they are such sponges for learning. Cuteness isn't a reason to let these things slide;-)
Just the other day Zachary turned to me after one of these frequent scenarios, and says to me
"It's SO CUTE when she talks like that! I like it!"

I agree to the tenth power.
The good news for us, is that human nature combined with vanity has a strong pull towards making it last... as long as a it can!
Olivia's smart that way:-)
Besides, EVERYONE would rather eat "Oat-molies" for breakfast than plain old oatmeal, so maybe she is teaching US a thing or two!

Language is a constant source of laughter in our home.
We have a first-born who catalogues away words for future use, and then uses them in astonishingly accurate context, and has done that ever since he outgrew the "Cra - Cra - CHA-ko" stage. Just tonight he asks me "Mom? What is a 'heart's desire'?"

Then there's my number two who is as famous as his mom and grampa for mixing metaphors,
and butchering words in the most hilarious way.
Just take the "Holy mammoths" for example, or today he asked his dad for "a sip of your Doctor Pepsi".
He really keeps us rolling!

So the spoken word is really neat. And it apparently it has other uses than merely communicating an idea or thought - in fact, the way words get used around here, an idea is likely to be slain unintentionally (at least by me or Clay).
Laughter has great value.
Proverbs says that it can even bring healing to the bones...
I believe it, and on any day, I'd rather have good healthy bones, and a stitch in my side from laughing, than hear a word pronounced correctly and in proper context!

It's great fun!

It's the Sweet Language.

...and it really is fleeting.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Lamp Maid

Sparkly glass
cotton wick
Stately globe reflecting sunlight

waiting in the kitchen window
poised for use
prepared for night.

Sunshine boasting brilliant radiance
mocking the unlit maid

Little he knows the comfortable warmth
of a dancing flame on parade.

She's not the only lamp, you see,
to spill her light at Evening's Ball

When she arrives the gentlemen harken
three or more in all.

Modestly blushing she curtsies low
then raises her eyes to see

The moon nod his head,
and darkness cower
she watches every shadow flee.

Her dance card fills with willing partners
the lovely lamp for a while is queen.

Then music fades
and guests depart
her luster dims in morning's gleam.

Sparkly glass
cotton wick
stately globe reflecting sunlight

waiting in the kitchen window
poised for use
prepared for night.

By: Lil' Ol' Me.
(Though I am not a poet, and I know it
- I couldn't help it... inspration struck!)

Can you help me come up with a better title?
I'm not too fond of this one.
C'mon Ashley and Emily,
I'm depending on you here! :-)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Meet and Greet

We met one of our neighbors today.

We've seen him around but never actually introduced ourselves.

He's a nice enough fellow, but not very talkative.

He didn't tell us where he lives exactly, but made it clear he'd be back to see US again!

I think it's the food he likes so much.


It could be the over-all hospitality.

What do YOU think?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Another Thing Worth Bragging About

I know it's lopsided.

I know it's browner on one end.

I realize that the frosting is full of lumps.

But Friends! I am
I baked this cake in a

And then made the frosting without my electric mixer.
(I doubt that the pioneer women would be impressed, but then they probably don't read my blog).
To date, I've made:
*and brownies.
I'm thinking of writing a cookbook:

Backwoods BBQ Baking
By Momma Bug

Copyright 2028

(2028 because I probably won't get around to writing it for another 20 years)

It will be a best seller though, because you all might decide to join the ranks of the backwoods hillbilly type like myself, and you will have to know how to utilize your resources.
By the time I publish that book, here are some other titles I might consider:

*What You Can Wear for a Week
(without smelling stinky)

*When Darkness Falls
A "How To" book on the finer points of
cooking dinner in a dimly lit kitchen,
finding your flashlight once you can't see,
and keeping wild animals at bay when your trip to the outhouse can't be postponed til daylight.

*Becoming a Mountain Momma
How one Momma learned that enjoying life, doesn't depend on circumstances

And I think this is just the beginning of my list. I have a feeling that creativity is boundless here!
I might even get better blog stats if I start posting some of the content that might be found in these future books:-)
The cake was really good!
(In case you wondered)

200th post!!!

Look how well I've kept up, and what fun it's been!

I started this blog just for my beloved parents and grandparents, and friends that I have removed my Little Bugs far from.
It seemed like keeping pictures and snippets from our day-to-day doings posted here was the best way to keep everyone in step with our life and the growth of the little ones.
I have had a ball!
As it turns out, almost 100% of the people I so diligently keep up this blog for, I never know if they look at it!
I believe they do, so I keep up what is mostly journal-like writing.

However, there has been an outcome to blogging which I never anticipated;
I have had the privilege of making some new friends out in the blogosphere which have been a wonderful encouragement to me, and have renewed some friendships with some gals that are a part of my ancient history:-)
These are the dear ladies who comment on my posts, letting me know that someone "out there" reads my blog! (and apparently enjoy it since they keep coming back) :-D

Thanks Ladies!
And thanks dear Grama's and Aunts and Sisters... for reading my blog faithfully - if in silence :-)

I would very much love to hear from any and all who peek in to my life here...
YOU are a huge encouragement to me:-)

Onward to the next 200!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Littlest One... is now THE BIG ONE!

*Born at home October 23, 2007

*Arrived at 6:thirty-something in the evening
*Delivered by Dad, and confirmed his status as a "good guesser" when weighing in at 8 lbs. 2 oz. just as he predicted!
*Carolina was born with lungs full of air - she was a squawker!
*Beautiful and bright eyed! Never had I seen one so alert!

We knew right from the start that we had been blessed:-)

First things first:
The gifts were set before her majesty...

What is this? A Bear?

First lets read the card.

Anything else in this thing?


What do you think these are, Bear?

Oooo... This is neat - how pretty!


What's this Daddy?

Well all I had to do was watch YOU - I know just what to do with this stuff!


Okay - this is worth getting old for!

It's a good thing for brother's and sisters, because another year would be too long to wait for THIS again!

Did someone say I'm getting OLD?

How rude.

HA! You should see my MOM!

(Just kidding Momma!)

Over all it was a pretty nice day...

Lets do it again sometime!

Happy Birthday Dearest Carolina Truth!
You make my heart sing!
I love you:-)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Here We Go a'Herbing!

I was completely enthralled with all the lush green landscape this Summer, but I never dreamed there would be this much yellow-gold!

Where I come from in California, our Fall is wet and grey/brown.
The colorful trees and shrubs there are mostly foreign to the area.
I've never lived where the native trees and shrubs are so breath-taking!

The bigger Little Bugs took me walking down the lane this afternoon.

First we scouted out some Oregon Grape.

The berries are ripe at this time of year after a couple frosts increases their fructose.

They're not especially sweet, but high in vitamin C; and the root of the Oregon grape has some very valuable medicinal properties which can be easily utilized for home use.
We tried to poke around in the dirt for the root, but never got to the bottom of the plant, it and decided to do a little more homework before getting in over our heads.

While we were out, I had intended for us to pick a bag full of Plantain, but some of us got side-tracked by a forest of fern (which was perfect for making tunnels through), and some Snowberries.

Others of us... got distracted with the camera!

The Snowberries we discovered, are edible but called "a famine food when all else fails" and are not too tasty (as might be suggested by "when all else fails" -and see below).

Apparently they have some medicinal uses as well, but the boys found that they made great ammunition for blow fights, and I'm pretty sure this is the use that will be more popular at our house!
(I think the inspiration must have been Uncle Char's marshmallow guns, minus gun, substitute Snowberries for marshmallows - THANKS UNCLE CHAR!)

And a day like this is MY KINDA SCHOOL!

Monday, October 20, 2008

If God is Omnipresent...

...Than He isn't bound by time - which we know is true since he created time.

It was a long afternoon of running errands. Our family enjoyed lunch at the little store at the bottom of this hill since we had some mail waiting for us at the post office in the back room.

Later we waited in the van while dad and the boy-Bugs got lost in the Army Surplus store;
Then Susanna and I got lost in an antique store or two (looking for things we needed, of course!), and then finished off with Home Depot, the grocery store, and Wal Mart.
I took 4 out of 5 with me into those last two stores while AJ and Z went to Home Depot, and it was not a brilliant idea.
Hair-raising, to say the least, but that's frequently how shopping trips at seven in the evening will go. If you've tried it (with ANY number of children) you know what I'm talking about.

When we loaded our van for the last time this evening, it had just stopped raining.
My husband was quietly feeling concerned because there has been roadwork up on the hill by our house.
The kind of construction consisting of and excavator and dump truck on a one lane dirt road.
A road dubbed "The Cardiac" by locals because of it's steep grade.

Needless to say, our two wheel drive van packed to the gills, would be no match for a very steep mud pit.

Well before we turned off the highway, AJ and I, and all the little Bugs prayed that the Lord would mercifully carry us to our home beyond the torn-up road, that our van sould not faint if the way was drenched, and the clay soil slick.

When we arrived at the spot where all the equipment was parked for the night, the road was practically dry!
Thank you Lord!

I asked the children if they thought God knew we would ask him to get our van through that spot, before we prayed, and even before it rained?


Yes. Our prayer was answered before we prayed.
It was not coincidence that the road was dry. It mattered that we asked God to get us home somehow. He is not bound by time!
The road was dry before we got there - before we asked for it to be passable, but the Lord God, present everywhere and in all times, heard us speaking as He chose to lessen the rain, to keep the way firm, and to carry us home as we asked.
That's one of the infinite number of reasons HE is God. He can DO THAT!

We are home safe - by His mercy and undeserved favor.
The children are tucked in and sleeping soundly already.
I am glad to be reflecting on this event, because I am honored to belong to a God who is so kind.

Kind enough to listen to my prayers...
and answer me...
before I even pray them.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Survival Math: 1 = 0

As frequently heard around our mountain retreat:

"One is none,

two is one,

and three is even better!"

What in the world is THAT supposed to mean?

That is the preparedness Maxim for: "Buddy, you'd better have a back-up for that much-needed item in case it doesn't work when you are depending on it!"

Originally when I heard this, it sounded to my skeptical ears like an excuse from a man buying two (or more) of any or all his most cherished manly possessions!
-you know,
One generator might not be "enough".
One knife might not be "enough".
One hunting rifle might not be "enough" and so on...

I have since learned to appreciate the value in this simple saying.
For instance when both the gas lanterns were incapacitated, I was VERY glad we had diversified our fuels, and had kerosene lanterns to fall back on!
Besides, who doesn't benefit from:

One ten-pound bag of chocolate chips might not be "enough"?

The boys have become savvy to the many uses of this "one is none..." business, and I'm hearing
survival math pretty often lately thanks to their dad.
But if you've never heard "one is none...", here's a saying you may be more familiar with:

"The apple doesn't fall far from the tree!"
And that's the truth! :-D

(And here's why I love the new hats!)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

I'd Rather Blog in the Morning...

Id' rather blog in the morning...
...When my scrubbing arm is up to it's elbow in a soapy pot.

I'd rather blog in the morning...
...When everyone is asking for their third bowl of cereal.

I'd rather blog in the morning...
...When I'm applying wet paint to the kitchen wall.

I'd rather blog in the morning...
...When I'm refilling AJ's coffee, feeding Carolina, or turning Olivia's dress around so she doesn't appear to have her head on backwards.

The morning is way more interesting!

The middle of the day is just plain crazy,

the evening, exhausting;

And night is clearly...
"The End."

Friday, October 17, 2008

Week # 12

Fall is in the...Kitchen?
Yes. Fall is not only out of doors turning the Tamaracks and birch golden hues, but it is displaying it's colors in my new kitchen towels!
(If you can find them beneath the piles of dirty dishes, that is.)

A few months ago I found a pretty set of dish towels at Costco. I bought them and split the package between my Colorado home and my Idaho home.
I must say they look especially "at home" here in Idaho!
Gramsie sent a box to the children and included a different set of towels that coordinated exactly with the ones I had bought at Costco!
To boot, I found some wash cloths that are the same colors, some of which you see here, though
this isn't all of them,

I picked up two sets of washcloths at wally world, each set containing 18 cloths.
My plan is to use them as napkins, and in place of paper towels. All-purpose rags, if you will.
I thought 36 would be LOTS, but now I'm second guessing...
I'm actually not using too many at present since I have no convenient way of washing them.
(but it's not really cost effective, or environmentally friendly I concede)

So... the lovely colors are not only going to me to enjoy the smells of wood smoke, and cider scented candles, but will hopefully inspire me to wash (and dry) that mountain of dirty dishes..

If not, at least they'll make a very pretty addition to the kitchen decor!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I'm In Awe

I sit here on the couch tonight, with a smile on my face.
Meditating on a miracle that took place today.

Some people showed up at our house this afternoon-
- our new neighbors.

I don't think I can do justice to my awe and amazement, so let me just list a few of the pertinant details as they unfolded to me in the course of our visit.

Mr. and Mrs. Neighbor bought the 20 acres next to us on the same day we bought ours.
They found it online too.
From their home in Colorado:-)

They have four children which Mrs. Neighbor is homeschooling.
She is taking Shonda Parker's herbal home study course,
and makes their family's bread!
They are familiar with the Pearls, and the Above Rubies ministries.

These guys love the Lord God, believe that the Bible actually means what is says,
want their life to reflect that, and are willing to do crazy things because of it!

They recently packed up their children, dog, and chickens, along with all their worldly possessions to move to Idaho - for a list of reasons that nearly exactly matches our own.
Our new neighbors share a vision that is dear to our own hearts!
They are planning to build a house debt-free, and live off the grid...
how crazy can you get?

They left all their friends and extended family so dear to them, in order to obey the prompting of the Holy Spirit.

So did we.

I can't believe that the Lord would see fit to bless us in such a miraculous way in order to confirm His love once again, and provide heaps of peace that we are just where we are supposed to be.

I am in awe.

In awe.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

My Dear Suzanne,

You laugh at me! That's alright, I can live with it!

Especially after all that I
don't live with at present:-)

You call me a romantic for speaking fondly of my primitive life.

I have no electricity,

no plumbing in my house,
hence no toilet.

It is dark,
and at times dirty.

Yet I love it.

It is the way of life that I like so much.

I don't really love the outhouse being so far away, but it is a reason to sing and joke with my children when I take them out in the darkness before bed.

I don't especially like the darkness, but it makes me stop whatever project I'm doing and get everything situated for the night - in addition to that, everyone's ready for bed earlier because the house is dim.

I don't especially like doing my dishes on the deck, but I do like the view over the sink!
It seems to be a perfect opportunity to meditate on God's Word, and have quiet conversation with him - something I haven't been forced to do in a long while.

There's just no option.
The lack of creature comforts forces me to "do my chores" NOW, or we don't eat dinner. I have to wash the forks from breakfast, therefore I have to remove myself from the house, place my hands in the soapy water, and look out before me at the Ceder and the Birch towering far over my head... I have to meet with God!

As it turns out, those chores are building character,
strengthening my family relationships, and pushing me closer to my loving Saviour.
He has always been here, but because there is less clamour distracting me... I can hear Him speak.
Or maybe I'm listening better.

It is a daily, and sometimes minute by minute decision to view the glass as half full - that is what cultivates a grateful heart!

I believe that a grateful heart is the key to thankfulness, and a joyful countenance is the unsought fruit that it bears.

I believe that what I see as being wonderful, is truly full of wonder!
If I dwelt on the unlovely, that would be just as real, and the fruit of that would be discontent and a withering spirit.
Who wants that?!!

So dear Suzanne,
I know that you too, are a girl who chooses to worship The Creator no matter your outward circumstances.

You have blessed and inspired me with your
own heart of gratefulness.

I may be a romantic, but if that's true...

...than so are you.


Name That Tree

Yesterday's school was the identification of a tree at our cabin property:
The Larch, also called Tamarack is a coniferous tree (meaning that it bears cones) but loses it's leaves (which look exactly like needles) in the Winter after turning a vibrant yellow!

Larches seem to be exclusive to this area of North America according to a forest service map I found; and while they are now turning a bright chartreuse color, it will be a while yet before they are completely golden.

These are the Little Bugs renditions of the branch we brought into the house to look at.





And here's our "just-for-fun" project:

I know he looks little creepy.
I drew a circle for the head, and the boys and I passed it around, adding features and clothing - some clothing, that is. Note the hairy belly?
Zachary thought he was being clever to add "soopr man", and Clayton topped that with "steencr".
What can I say? They're boys!

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Dark

I learned something new recently:

The children go to bed without a fuss...

In the DARK!

This might seem obvious,

but you see, I take them up to the bedroom...

in the dark.

With nothing but my little R.E.I headlamp.

They get into jammies...

in the dark.

situate their water bottles,

and climb into bed...

all in the dark.

Then I sit on their bed and read to them,

or make up a story,

or sing...

in the dark.

Then I tuck each one in, and give kisses...

in the dark.

Say all my good-nights...

in the dark.

And finally I leave them...

in the dark.

Amazingly, what I always dreamed of, happens...

In the dark, they fall asleep.

I've decided that there are some really nice things about not having electricity.

Such as...

the dark.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Armor Against the Cold

With these new Walls quilted coveralls, the children spent all day outside twice in a row at 40 degrees!

That's great for my crew - we're not big fans of the cold. Or at least being cold:-)

The orange hats were a quick fix from the Army Navy surplus. I guess we left the nice cozy fleece ones in Colorado.

And regarding the color, I overheard Clay telling dad: "We were going to buy the black ones, but mom said she might lose us, so we got these instead!"

It's true. I thought it might be nice to see where all the little Buggie bodies were at a glance. If I can't spot them in neon orange, I'm in trouble!

Note the pink Crocs on Sue, and here she is in her pink tiarra.

She is such a girl! She totally dug having a pair of coveralls just like the boys, but trust Susie to "princess" it up a notch!

If You Give a Moose a Muffin...

Introducing Momma Moose.

She stood on the path between the men, and their work destination at the creek.

I don't know about muffins, but if you have a maple tree growing in your yard... moose seem to like them too.
Momma moose found one in MY yard, and as she munched away on some leaves between the house and port-a-potty, this appeared behind her:

This is Baby Moose.

He (or she. I don't know my moose types real well) was littler than Momma, but very large still.
As you can see, moose look just like a cross between a horse and cow!
Funny looking if you ask me, but I didn't laugh out loud since I didn't want to get on Momma moose's bad side!

Zachary, who has been the confident outdoorsman since we arrived, just asked if we could move the outhouse closer to the house!
I'm glad sombody see's things my way!