Doing the best she can to raise happy, healthy children

Dear New House

Dear New House,

We’re very excited to have you join our family. We are, really. Even though we’ve only met you twice and the first time was just two weeks ago. We are anxious to make our relationship with you official. I hope this isn’t too fast for you.

It’s a bit fast for us. We had just started looking for you. My daughter is having some difficulty adjusting. You see, she loves the old house. Its all she’s known. She has so many memories with our old house. I know she’ll grow to love you too. I know the old house will soon become a memory. She is passionate and (sometimes) a bit stubborn. But until then, be patient with her. Be kind with her. And know. she will come around.

My son, he’s excited. I think you’ll find him a bit more rambunctious and easy going. He’s loved our old house too. Its also been the only house he’s known. But, he’s a bit more accepting to change. He will be teary, I’m certain with saying good-bye to the old house. And he’ll have days when he wants to go back. But I’m confident, he’ll be filling you with laughter and curiosity.

I and my husband are nervous. Anytime there’s such a large investment. We are get nervous because we too love this old house. We wonder, will the new be good for us? Will it be what our family needs? Will the neighbors accept us? Most importantly, will our children adjust?

So you see, we are very excited and a bit nervous to add you to our family. Thankfully we have a very short 1.5 months to adjust to the idea and say our tearful good-byes. We will be preparing and are looking forward to officially meeting you very soon.

Yours Truly,

A very excited (and nervous) future family

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Book Review: Secrets by the Knoll

I stopped by a local bookstore several weeks ago and they were hosting local authors. This was a great surprise! Not only did I have the opportunity to purchase new books but I also had the opportunity to meet three local authors. One had written a child’s book, so I didn’t purchase it as I have no children at that age. The other two were murder mysteries. I have since finished one of the two books and starting the second one today.

Secrets by the Knoll by Julie Metros

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In the early 1900’s, Highland Park in Des Moines, Iowa was shocked by the murders of two children. The children were returning home following evening church when they were brutally attacked. This murder remains unsolved.  The Secrets by the Knoll is loosely based off this murder.

This story starts off modern day as a young women begins to learn about her family history. The reader is then transferred back in time and the story starts with you getting to know the family. Its a fun glimpse into the local history. It is obvious Metros spent a lot of time researching the area. I enjoyed her description of 1900’s neighborhood and city activities.

The characters are varied making the story interesting and easy to keep them straight in my head. I feel the male characters are best fleshed out. The dad’s love for his dead son is palpable. The middle son seems shady at best. I enjoyed how even some of the least important characters (like the coroner) got their own voice in the story.

Overall, I enjoyed reading a bit of local history woven into a murder mystery. I’ve not read many local stories so this was a fun escape. Its a quick read for a sunny afternoon on the porch.

I give this book a 4/5 bookends. I recommend this book for anyone who is looking for a local read or an historical fiction. There is mild violence, alcohol suggestion. It would be appropriate for an older teen.

Meeting the local authors and getting a signed copy of their books was a lot fun! This was only the second I’ve had the opportunity to meet an author and have it signed. I would love to do this more. I need to track down a good way to find and connect with authors!

What are you reading? Do you read local authors? If so, how do you find them? Leave a comment and let’s chat!

Five Prepping Things You May Already be Doing

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a blog. The kids were done with school this last Thursday. Something  I didn’t realize until this year is how much prep work and “tying things up” occurs at the end of the year. I’m not sure if I just didn’t notice it in previous years or if it’s just because my daughter is older and just finished 4th grade (which was an intensity I also wasn’t expecting but is for another blog post). That paired up with soccer season led to a very tired mama.

However, today I wanted to get a couple of posts up. One of those being a list of prepping things many people are already doing. I think when people hear the term “prepper” they automatically think of the extreme. Part of this is because of how television has portrays prepping. This makes it hard to talk to people about prepping if that’s what they are thinking about.

This list, I’m hoping, will help those who want to open-up conversation with non-preppers about prepping, provide information for those who are prepping-curious, and give others a starting point.

So without further ado, I present to you my list.

5 Prepping Things You Most Likely Already do
1) Shop bulk at Cosco or Sams Club. Shopping in bulk just 
makes sense, right? Most people shopping at the big warehouse 
stores are only there for the deals. Buying enough toilet paper to 
last one month is a convenience, right? Whether its toilet paper 
or canned foods, buying in bulk and having some stockpiled is one 
of the key ways people prep. 
2) Create weekly meal plans. Busy mom's everywhere will say meal 
planning is key to having healthy food on the table most nights.
Many who routinely do this will also say it helps to decrease 
waste as they are using the food more efficiently. The fact is, 
meal planning is a form of prepping. You are preparing for the 
week and planning ahead. That is truly the goal behind prepping, 
planning for the future. 
3) Keep blankets in the car during winter. If you are lucky to 
live where it snows or gets really cold in the winter, you've 
most likely been told by your parents, grandparents, and 
(sometimes) even the news to make sure there are extra blankets 
in your car. Most likely, you have a blanket (or two) in the 
backseat. Heck, you may even have a change of clothes if you 
commute outside of town just in case you get snowed in. If you do 
this, embrace your beginner prepping skills. 
4) Buy medications for 90 days instead of 30 days. In most cases 
getting a 90 day supply of medications just makes sense. It often 
times savesyou money but most importantly, it saves you time. You 
don't have to go to the pharmacy nearly as often. Well, in the
prepping world, having more medication on hand is incredibly 
useful and could save your life in case of a natural disaster. 
5) Go camping. Lots of people love camping. I was just at a 
campground last night and all of the 122 camping spots were full. 
Camping helps teach a lot of valuable skills such as starting and 
maintaining a fire. A good fire can help cook food and keep you 
warm. Camping can also help you begin to recognize plants like 
poison ivy.

So that’s my list. What do you think? Anything you add to this list? What do you do as a prepper that most non-preppers do? I’d love to hear from you.

BeeKeeping: Hive Inspection 1

Today I completed my first hive inspection. My goal was to find the queen and look for brood or proof of a laying queen. I saw the queen go into the hive with the installation. Overall, I feel quite comfortable she was still in there somewhere. However, with a new hive, losing the queen would be tremendous set-back.  So I need to make sure she is there.

Hive inspections through the year will look the same in process. However, the reason for hive inspections will vary. The main reasons to do an inspections are listed below.

The purpose of hive inspections
1) Check for a laying queen
2) Check for brood disease
3) Check for swarming signs
4) Check honey stores
5) Learn to recognize brood pattern
6) Learn to recognize drone vs worker brood

I was able to find my queen and she is laying well. I was excited to see brood cells which means she’s laying. We are good shape to start the season. I was pretty lucky to have honey frames from my husband’s hive to “jump start” mine.

Here are a few pictures from my inspection.

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Queen Abaddon and the girls 

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Me removing the first fram 

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Just Abaddon and some bees

That was my inspection today. I’ll probably check it again in a week to make sure we’re doing well. If the bees continue to grow well, I’m hoping to add an additional box in the next couple of weeks.

 

 

Beekeeping: Package Installation

My husband and I have kept bees for about 5 years, give or take some. Mostly my husband has been managing our hives. He did most of the management the last several years. Although, I picked-up pieces of information, I did not actually manage any of the hives. Well, until today that is.

I received and installed my first package of bees into a new hive today. It was a bit cold and rainy today which made the installation process easier and more difficult. The temperature was around 40 degrees. Since the temperature was low, I did not spray them with sugar water. The cold also meant they were clumped together pretty tightly which made it more difficult to get them shook out of the package container.

It was a bit unnerving to have the bees on my veil. I didn’t like seeing them so close to my face. I was quite nervous about touching them as well. I know as I manage the bees more my comfort level will increase. However, since it was cold and we didn’t want the bees to freeze, my husband did jump in and help me out a bit. He also got a bit of a laugh out of my response to the bees on my veil/touching them.

Here are a few pictures from the installation.

I plan on my beekeeping adventures to be a blog series. So stay tuned for updates throughout the summer.

Everything to Everyone: the Curse

Hi. My name is Ruthie and I’m an exhausted mom trying my best to be everything to everyone. I am the mommie to two wonderful little ones who are active in sports and dance. I am the homework boss, snack regulator, grocery shopper, and home referee. I am classroom volunteer, fieldtrip driver, school board member, and cheerleader. I am the housekeeper and home chef. I could go on, but I’m sure you get it. I’m certain you feel my pain. You are in similar shoes.

We are moms. We are wives. We are employees. We wear many hats. And do many thankless jobs. We are the ones who everyone goes to to get things done.

So, what happens when we need a break?

This is exactly where I was last weekend. I needed a break. From Friday until Sunday, I had 2 dance practices, 2 soccer games, 1 dance picture session, and 1 school auction. Plus, I needed to move into my new office space. I felt pressured to attend all of these functions. with a smile on my face. You see, all of these activities needed me or at the bare minimum wanted me. But I felt EXHAUSTED thinking about the weekend. I needed a break. After working 40+ hours a week, I still had a crazy busy weekend to get through.

I silently rejoiced when it was too cold and snowy for soccer. It was one thing off my list. I opted out of attending the school auction. And you know, it was OK. The world didn’t end. Yes, some may have been disappointed. My kids for the cancelled soccer game and probably some people from the school since I typically attend the auction. And you know I and my kids had one of the best weekends we’ve had in a long time. We hung out and watched TV. The kids helped me move into my office without me feeling impatient and rushed. The kids played video games.

I gave myself a pass. You can too. You can take a deep breath and opt out of things. You don’t have to be everything to everyone. You can pick and choose what you want to volunteer for. And, quite frankly what events you want to attend. ITS OK. Give yourself permission. Because, when you slow down you win. Your kids win. Your family wins. And, that’s more important than anything else in this world.

Trying to be everything to everyone is a curse. Its not realistic. It won’t make you happy. Volunteer and do things you want but also give yourself a break. Accept being able to take a break and just enjoy life with your family. Sleep in. Break that curse.

(This post was shared HERE where you can find blog posts from other encouraging posts.)

Book Review: Scarlet

Good-evening! I’ve been pulled in a few different directions this month and wasn’t sure if I’d finish this book before the month end. Work is beginning to pick-up and the kids schedules picked-up. This is. of course, absolutely wonderful….except that it takes a bit away from my hobbies, like reading.

I’m guiltily sitting up here in my bedroom as my kids and husband think I’m watching one of my favorite shows which isn’t kid friendly. My wonderful husband is getting the kids into bed. In my defense, I THOUGHT my show was on right now. As it turns out, I’m an hour late! GAH! Guess I’ll have to stream it tomorrow night.

But my loss is your gain. Here’s my book review!

Scarlet: The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

Cinder is now trying to break out of jail. If she manages to do this,
she will be the Commonwealth’s most wanted. Halfway around the world,
Scarlet’s grandmother is missing. Scarlet meets wolf and believes he
may hold the secret to where her grandmother may be. As Wolf and
Scarlet begin to unravel the mystery abduction, they find themselves
drawn to each. Cinder meets Wolf and Scarlet which throws them into
another mystery, waiting to be solved.

Meyer does a great job of building her characters. Each one has its
own uniqueness which makes them seem real. Scarlet’s character is
strong, independent yet dependent at the same time. Cinder is
determined, sassy, and kind. Wolf is cunning, intelligent and focused.
Personally, I can’t wait to see more of Scarlet’s and Cinder’s
interactions in the next book.

I love the new twist on the fairy tales. This one was the focus on
Red Riding Hood. The wolf in this story is cunning and daring. It
is hard to figured out which side he is on. Just when I thought I
knew, some new twist would make me question.

This book is excellently written. I loved the story and the characters.
I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys the YA genre, mysteries,
or Sci-Fi. There are hints to romance, but it is very appropriate for
an audience of teens.

I give this book a 5 out of 5 bookends.

Have you red this book? If so, what did you think? What are you reading? I’d love to hear from you.