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Thursday, February 26, 2009

More of the Same

My posts are kind of cycling through right now. The bull gets out, the washing machine is broken, Caleb is sick . . . but not in that order.

Tonight, while Ethan was at work, our neighbor knocked on our door to let me know our "calves" were by the road. Actually, it was the bull and two cows, but that's what you get for having tiny cattle. I called Ethan and spent a bit of time getting them away from the road. If you can picture a bull that is joyfully out of a pen with two ladies - running, kicking his feet up, and just enjoying the freedom - well, that was him. I got them towards the center of the property, and then Ethan came home and we got them back in the pen. They took a few fast breaks through the grasses of freedom, but it went much better than the last time. Lesson learned - our bull is determined and we need to do something different with the fence.

Our washing machine is still broken. Tomorrow is my dad's retirement party, and we were going to be by Ethan's mom's (2 1/2 hours away) tomorrow where there is an extra washing machine. Key words "we were". So no new washing machine yet.

The reason I use the words "we were" is that Caleb's cough ended up being a nasty virus. It started with just a cough, went into a low grade fever, and the fever climbed day after day. He has thrown up 6 times now (with no washer at home) and has a temp of 102 yet. I took him to the doctor (they have seen 40 cases of it in 3 days) and he tested negative for strep and the flu - whew! Unfortunately, he's going to miss my dad's retirement party at John Deere. He would be devastated if he knew, but thankfully we never tell the kids our plans until we pull up to where we are going. (Lots of "surprise rides" - makes life easier.) We have been washing clothes at the pastor's house and the throw up stuff at the laundry mat.

I don't really know how I can duplicate the fleece diaper post. Especially since our Walmart just got rid of their fabric department, a topic all of it's own!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Fleece Inserts for Cloth Diapers

When Hannah was a baby and in cloth, I was having trouble with her waking up when she would wet. Somehow I got the idea to make fleece inserts to keep the wetness away from her skin when she was sleeping.

I went and picked up some fleece and cut it into rectangles, just big enough to cover the diaper when folded. When she would sleep, I would put one of these on top of her folded diaper. They worked great! She would stir a bit when she wet, but would soon fall back asleep. I continued to use them as she grew, but I used different colors of fleece for the different sizes, making them easier to sort.

Now that Isaac is in cloth, I have pulled out the fleece as well. It does add a tiny bit of bulk, but it's definitely worth it for naps!

(I scheduled this post before our washer went out, so maybe now I will have to also post my disposable diaper trick.)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Scheduling a Trip to the Laundry Mat

When Caleb was a baby, he had GER, gastroesophogol reflux. He spit up all day long and could have been described as colicy. He was much happier by the time he was 6 months old, and his spitting up pretty much stopped by the time he was one - for the most part.

He is almost 5 now, but when he gets to coughing hard while laying down, well . . . his food just doesn't stay in his tummy. There are usually a couple times a winter when he gets a hard enough cough to cause problems.

Now is one of those times. We have had a cool mist humidifier in their bedroom running, and we open the door at night so their room doesn't get too cold with it running. Sunday night I forgot to open the door though, and it got cold in their room. Caleb now has a bad cough.

If you have read my previous post, you will know that our washing machine is out. Well, last night and today while Caleb was resting he coughed up his supper and breakfast on two different sets of bedding and two sets of clothes.

So I think tonight I'll go to the laundry mat.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Another One Bites the Dust

Last year our washing machine went out, and I spent a few weeks carting laundry to the laundry mat. We were thrilled when Ethan's dad gifted us with a washer and dryer set that he picked up at an auction for under $35. (We were going to need a dryer too once we moved.) The dryer worked fine and with $40 dollars of parts and some internet searching, we were able to get the washer working - it had a broken spring.

So for less than $100 we had a great washer and dryer set. They were both pretty clean and had great setting. The washer has an extra deep drum, 4 load size settings, 3 water temp settings, 3 speed settings, an extra rinse option, 2 auto soak options, and agitation options for cotton, easy care, and delicates. The extra deep drum cut down drastically on the loads I ran each week, and the extra rinse and auto soak options were perfect for cloth diapers.

One problem, we soon found out that the realtor accidentally listed our new (to us) washer with the house. Thankfully, he said he would take care of it and buy another washer. We could choose to take the new washer or he would get one for the house. We checked out the washers at Menards, and I didn't seen any that I liked as much as the one we just fixed. Ethan left the decision up to me, and I chose to keep the one we had. It matched the dryer, but more importantly to me was that its settings and features would make my laundry life so much easier.

Well, I should have chosen door number 2. This week our washer died. It still makes noise, the problem is that it makes a lot of noise. When it should be agitating. And it doesn't aggitate.

Now remember, I am the kind of person that puts things like jar scrubber and dish drainer on my Christmas list and am thrilled when I get them. I like functional things especially functional things that make homemaking easier so I have more time to enjoy my family. So I was not only upset that my washing machine with all the cool features bit the dust, but I was just as upset that I made the wrong choice and now am without a washing machine.

But such is life. And really, a washing machine going out is really miniscule compared to other things we could be dealing with. I can always fill the tub with water, dump some laundry in and soap in, and let the kids stomp around in it. (Not cloth diapers of course - we are going to be using disposable awhile again. Also, Ethan is going to try to do a load a day at the pastor's house when he goes in to work.) Hopefully we won't be without a washer too long though . . .

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Bad, Bad Bull

Last night Ethan and I were both in town, although in separate vehicles. I got home a bit before him and put the kids to bed. I soon noticed that there were sounds coming from just outside the house. It was pretty windy, but I couldn't think of anything that would have been hitting the house. I was pretty relieved when Ethan finally got home. He thought it must be the wind too.

Ethan then went out to make his nightly rounds. He wasn't out long before I heard the door open and "Becca, get your coat, hat, boots, and two flashlights." When I got outside I was informed that our new, rather skiddish, bull was out along with the the cow and heifer that came with him.

Since he has been here he has been standing at the edge of his fence mooing and longing to get over to the other fenced in area - where all of our cows reside. Well, yesterday he had had enough and broke through the fence. Thankfully he went right over to the cows, and his family followed him.

So, it was now up to Ethan and myself to round up the skiddish, uncooperative bull on a mission with no outside lights, not much of a moon, and some pretty worthless - quick dimming flashlights. (I know what is going on our shopping list.) After many, many, many attempts, we finally herded the bull into the cow pen. Ethan was able to bribe the other two into the pen with a bucket of treats.

We were going to then cut out the bull into a separate pen, but after thinking about our previous dealings with him and assessing the situation, we decided to cut out the heifers instead. We got all but one, and boy did Ethan try hard. We decided it just wasn't going to happen though, and went inside. It was then 11:00 p.m.

Needless to say, I was not thrilled with having to round up a new bull, who obviously had a mind of his own last night, without much for lights. I am glad that we have a more docile breed because he really didn't give us much of a threat besides just not going where we wanted him to.

So Mr. Bull got his way and is with the ladies he so longed to be with. I hope he is happy.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Milk Jug Time

The weekend before last I was walking around outside enjoying the break from the cold spell. I happened to walk by my garden where we temporarily put my flowers during the move and noticed that some of the spring flowers were starting to poke through the ground! This got me thinking about spring and garden preparation. So I guess it's time to start saving my milk jugs.

Milk jugs make great green houses for tomatoes and other touchy spring transplants. Just cut off the bottom and place it over your plant. It keeps moisture and heat in and wind burn off.

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Friday, February 13, 2009

Sweet Potato Time

It's sweet potato starting time! If you have never started sweet potatoes before, you can check out my week by week postings from last March. You can pull them up from the dated blog archive or in "gardening" in the topic archive.

This year I am starting my sweet potatoes a bit earlier. I will hopefully have enough time to break off quite a few rounds of starts. I am only using one sweet potato to make starts this year due to space/house clutter from moving and continued construction. I was hoping to bring in some of the vine from last year's plants as a houseplant and try it as a ready to go start. Unfortunately, we were so busy with the construction and move I didn't have a chance to. Maybe this fall . . .

Anyway, last week I started my sweet potato. I am happy to see it is already getting roots. Here are a couple things I learned from last year:

- Not all sweet potatoes root the same. I heard that some are actually treated so they don't start to sprout in the store, which in turn leads them not to spout well out of the store. Since I have seen different varieties cycle through our local grocery store, I waited until they had some that looked as if they already had some sprouts forming - hoping they weren't treated.

- The water can get dirty quickly. I needed to have mine in a spot that was easy to check and easy to change - i.e at the kitchen sink. It isn't the best decoration, but hopefully it will look nicer when it gets some nice green leaves growing on it.

I don't plan on doing a week by week update this year, but I might have one or two. I'd love to hear about your sweet potato starts and things you learn if you try them this year though.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

We Added a Bedroom

Last week we added a bedroom to our house. I actually started it when Ethan was at his Super Bowl party with the youth group. I spent the rest of the week working on it while he was at work. Now Isaac's room has turned from a cement floored, box filled, construction room to a floored, box filled, baby room.

Isaac had been sleeping in a bassinet in our room. Not only was his room filled all the way to the door with boxes and a homemade work table for our remaining construction, but I just didn't feel right having him sleep in a room with a cement floor - even if we could make enough room to push his bassinet in.

Now that he is almost 2 months old (on the 18th), he was needing to get into something bigger than a bassinet. We have a 3/4 size pack and play on wheels that Hannah slept in until she was 1, but finishing his room sounded much better.

So now the floor is done in his room and his crib is set up. It makes the house seem much bigger to have 3 functioning bedrooms now. Once we get the mudroom finished I should be able to unpack most of the remaining boxes and hang pictures. I don't think Isaac minds too much though.

p.s. I will try to post pictures of our laundry room soon. We just got a cabinet hung up this weekend so I am doing a bit more rearranging with the room.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Baby Bottoms

Baby bottoms are expensive! Or at least they can be expensive. I can't believe how fast they go through disposable diapers, and wipes don't last that long either. It is because of this that I dug through my mountain of unpacked boxes to pull out the cloth diapers. It may be a little extra work right now while we are still not settled in, but the savings is definitely worth it!

When Caleb was born I decided to go the cloth diaper route because of the expense of disposable. I I went with prefolds and my mom and I made the covers. With Hannah, I continued cloth and started using white washcloths for wipes to save even more. (That is all they got used for, by the way.) Now my cloth diapers are on baby number 3. I have had to recover most of them since they were wearing thin, but it was still cheaper than buying new ones.

It is nice to be saving again on baby bottoms - and also on trash bags!
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