Sunday, March 1, 2015

7QT: Rinks Rule!

1. We have a winner!



Would Susan Kolosionek come on down! You have won the Blackberry Sage Dragon Soap from RobinsOwn (that I bought because Robin doesn't know me from Adam) and the teal soap dish (from TJ Maxx).

2. Have you seen this Reese Witherspoon movie, The Good Lie


So good.

Reese is not really the star of this film, but she is the headliner. The Good Lie, for those of you who live under a rock or in a cave as I do, is about three of the Lost Boys of Sudan, their journey to Kenya, and eventually to America.

There is one not great scene, the first scene with Reese. The movie is rated PG-13. I think the rating is spot on, though I did let my 12 year old watch it.

So good.


The Good Lie reminded me of the incredible children's novel I read and reviewed about the Lost Boys of Sudan by Linda Sue Park called A Long Walk to Water: Based on a True Story.

Edmund doesn't know it yet, but he's reading A Long Walk to Water: Based on a True Story in the near future.

3. Big skating party here yesterday. 


A (young, hip) seminarian-deacon came over as well as a dozen or so friends and family.

He said he couldn't skate, but he was skating backwards and whipping around the rink like nobody's business. I did hear that he can't stop though.


The little girls and I stayed in the warmth and made blueberry muffins.

It was picture perfect.


The rink definitely puts a positive spin on winter. Edmund uses the rink every chance he gets for recess and has neighbor kids or cousins over most days after school.


We've accumulated an enormous stash of skates so we can provide for just about any size, including Lucy's entire skating party of fifteen teens. We had enough hockey sticks for them all too.

I bet we have your size if you'd like to come visit!

Exercise, endorphins, and sunshine are just a few of the benefits. My kids are all good skaters now. Jill will get her first pair next year.

4. Some people have pools, some people have rinks.

Heather at Mama Knows Honeychild asked on my IG picture if it's difficult to build a rink.

Yes, Heather. It is difficult to build a rink, but if you live North of Arendelle, it's worth it.


First you need plywood and 4 by somethings to build your boards (sides). Wood is not cheap. We store our boards in our crawl space during the off season.


The boards go up Thanksgiving weekend or as close to it as we can get.

We buy a liner from Nice Rink in Wisconsin.  Patrick, or one of our rink building relatives with a large vehicle, will make the trek to the factory and pick up the liners for a few of us.

The liner alone costs about $400.  Ours is the biggest backyard rink we've seen, so it's the most expensive too.  Can't re-use the liner, because come spring, the sides are shredded and it's gross.


Then there's the water. We run a hose from our basement laundry sink to the rink for about 72 hours. It's a big rink. The deep areas fill first and the shallow areas fill last. The deepest part of our rink is 11-12 inches deep. We get billed for the water and the sewage/waste-water too, even though we put the water in the public drain. The water costs are about $200, much less for a smaller rink.

The next part is up to Mother Nature.  Zero degrees (Fahrenheit) for 24 hours makes 3 inches of ice. If the temps are above zero, but below 32, it takes longer. On average, our rink freezes in about 4 days. It won't be solid yet, but it will be skate-able.



Anytime we have a day above freezing, the rink starts to melt. It's too slushy to skate on, but a short thaw can re-surface it nicely.

Otherwise, Patrick re-surfaces the rink himself with a homemade device called a rink rake.

5. Other Important Rink Facts

Snow can ruin your rink, especially slushy, wet snow. If that slushy, wet snow freezes on your rink, the texture will be like a gravel road.


We never had a snowblower until we had to shovel our entire backyard.

Many people ask if the rink ruins the grass.


No. A thick heavy block of ice on top of the grass does nothing to it.

6. Pa! The Chinook Is Blowing!


When and if spring comes, the ice begins to thaw beyond all hope of recovery. We use an electric pump to pump the water to the curb so as not to flood our neighbors' yards.


Then we cut up the liner into manageable pieces and throw it away. This must be done as soon as possible because a heavy piece of wet plastic on a warm(ish) day will kill your grass.

Then the boards come down and go in the crawl space until next winter.

Patrick always gets sad when this happens, but SPRING!


7. Don't forget! This Wednesday is the March What We're Reading Wednesday Link-Up!


I'm late to the link-up party with Kelly and the Krew for 7QT Friday.

WWRW. 3/4/15. Must. Not. Forget.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

A Day in the Life at St. Jude's School for Kids Who Want To Read Good and Do Other Things Good Too



For the See Me Homeschool blog hop, I photo-journaled last Wednesday, Ash Wednesday, February 18th, 2015. Technically, you don't actually see me homeschool, but you see my homeschool.  I'm the one holding the camera.

The idea behind the blog hop is "a photo album of a typical homeschooling day - no words." I'd love to explain the crazy behind the chaos but I'll just have to leave it up to your imaginations.

There is one cheater photo in the bunch. The picture of Edmund altar serving isn't actually from Ash Wednesday, but he did serve noon mass last week. My hands are pretty full when he serves. Even though I brought my camera last Wednesday, I didn't get the opportunity to use it.

Welcome to St. Jude's!



























.  








 

Many thanks to Theresa of Ordinary Lovely and Micaela of California to Korea for hosting the See Me Homeschool blog hop and for inviting me to participate. Thank You!


To learn more about our homeschool journey, here is an interview I did for the How I Homeschool blog hop.

To learn more about homeschooling and dyslexia, here are some other posts I've written as part of a series I'm working on:

Catholic, Homeschooling, and Dyslexic: Diagnosis
Catholic, Homeschooling, and Dyslexic: Religion Class

This post is the one where our homeschool was born.

Be sure to check out the other See Me Homeschool participants! Today, you can also check out Erin's homeschool over at Seven Little Australians and Counting.

Friday, February 20, 2015

7QT Friday: blah, blah, blah, GIVEAWAY!

1. Happiness is letting your 3 year old burst into her older sisters' bedroom to wake them up with Rebecca Black's Friday blaring from your iPhone.



2.

Theresa of Ordinary Lovely and Micaela from California to Korea (and back again) are running a blog hop called See Me Homeschool. (You can read my interview for Micaela's How I Homeschool series here.)

You can get an in-depth look into the chaos that is St. Jude's School for Kids Who Want To Read Good and Do Other Things Good Too on Monday, February 23rd.


That's Monday, Monday, better check back on Monday...

Dang song stuck in my head.

There are lots of other (better) homeschooling bloggers participating so be sure to check out their homeschools too. Here is the blog hop schedule.

If YOU have a homeschool and want to participate, there's a link-up and an Instagram hashtag (#seemehomeschool).

3. This is a short video of actress Frances McDormand saying wise things about aging and womanhood. 



4.

I've been having far too much fun over at the Twice website. Technically, it's Like Twice. Twice is another one of those online secondhand stores, but with higher end clothing and...

wait for it...

Actual Measurements of the Actual Items for sale!

Do you realize what this means?

It means a much higher chance of getting something that actually fits!

Not only that, but the Twice people include the "fit" in the description.

Lemme 'splain.

The women in this house wear Julie fit pants from LOFT. Over at Twice, if the tag says "Julie," they let the web readers know that detail!



They also have good prices and a great return policy. They'll give me a little bonus if you sign up through my link and they'll give YOU a $10 credit!

5. RobinsOwn Soap Shoppe on Etsy.

You must go to there.

Robin makes soap by hand in her home using goat's milk and a cold process method that I do not understand.

I do understand that the soap is beautiful to see, smell, and touch.

Brown Sugar Soap
Edmund uses the Cedar Bay in the shower. Patrick uses a bar of Sexy Man he got for Christmas.

We currently have a lovely sweet wine heart-shaped soap in the powder room. Who knew that wine scented soap would smell so delicate and clean?


I got wee rashy Polly the Simply Goat's Milk shown above.

Pumpkin Bier, or as I think of it, Cinnamon Goodness
Robin is always adding new scents and shapes and I have yet to receive one I didn't care for.

I don't have a picture of them, but for Christmas I gave some people Robin's Madonna and Child shaped Cherry Almond soaps.

Sunshine Yuzu
In the past, we have also enjoyed the Frankincense and Myrrh, the Pumpkin Bier, and the Sunshine Yuzu flavors too. Sunshine Yuzu is my favorite everyday hand soap scent. Yuzu is a Japanese Lemon.


I'm saving this one for summer. It's called Icky Yucky Hands.  It's so pretty, it looks like it would taste good.

Robin is a single mom who runs her Soap Shoppe out of her own home.  She doesn't have a car, so she walks to the post office to deliver her handmade products every Friday.

I don't know Robin and she has no idea who I am, but I do know her soaps and recommend them to everyone I know.  I call her "my soap lady."

6. A GIVEAWAY!

I am going to give one of you LUCKY readers this gorgeous bar of Blackberry Sage Dragon soap AND the teal soap dish pictured here.


Just hop over to Robin's Shop then come back and tell me what you think looks good in my comment box. I will choose a winner from the commenters so please make sure your contact info is accessible.

The winner will be chosen sometime in the next week when I get around to it. Probably by Wednesday because I'm planning a WWRW post for that day.

Patrick just stuck his head over my shoulder and said, "What are you blogging about? Soap! I love her soap!"

7.

I did not do a What We're Reading Wednesday post this week, but the February link-up lasts all month.  Next month's link up will be on March 4th.

Linking up with Kelly for 7QT Friday! Friday! Gotta Get Down on Friday!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

WWRW February Link-Up

Welcome back to the What We're Reading Wednesday book review link-up party!


I post book reviews nearly every Wednesday here at Housewifespice{dot}com, and I used to have a weekly link-up. Then I had a baby. A high-need baby. Then, I fell off the blogging wagon.

I'm clawing my way back, slowly but surely, but I'm not confident enough yet to host a weekly link-up, so monthly it is. For now.

Here's what I've been reading.

Old college friends were discussing old books on the Facebook. I'm a sucker for old books. So I cracked my knuckles and opened up the World Catalog on my library's website and proceeded to track down some endangered titles with the skill of a Tatooine bounty hunter.


Hannah Fowler by Janice Holt Giles, where have you been all my life?

We first meet Hannah in the wilds of unsettled Kentucky territory, in 1777.

I said SEVENTEEN seventy-seven.

Not Eighteen seventy-seven, like those Ingalls and Wilder folks. Livin' the easy life in the 19th century. Railroads and telegrams and sewing machines. Pish posh.

This book is hard core.

Hannah is tending her pa, Samuel, who is suffering from a self-inflicted ax wound. They are alone and had been on their way to Daniel Boone's fort when the accident occurred. Alone. In the middle of an unsettled land filled with unknown dangers, Indians, mountain lions, bears, wolves, tetanus. Dutifully and skillfully, Hannah hunts and forages, tends the camp, and nurses her father. She is SurvivorWoman.

Hannah is a plain woman. When her mother died, Samuel raised her "as good as a man." She can hunt, track, handle an ax, build a loom, cut fence posts, as well as cook, spin, weave, and bake. There's not much she can't do.

She is painfully shy however. And extremely humble.

She has a chance meeting with another human in the endless forest. Tice Fowler had been searching for his stolen horses when he meets Hannah. He kindly stays with Hannah and her father until they can travel. Unfortunately, Hannah's father does not survive his injury. Tice kindly helps Hannah bury her father and offers to escort her to civilization.

Hannah accompanies Tice to Ben Logan's fort and sees her safely esconced in the care of Mrs. Ben Logan. It doesn't take long for word to get around that there is a single female in the area.  Hannah is courted by every eligible bachelor and widower for miles around.

Only one man will do for Hannah. She overcomes her shyness to make Tice Fowler her partner for life.

The novel goes on to tell of their marriage, the building of a home and a family, the accumulation of stock, the passing of seasons.

I was perfectly content for the book to stay this way, happily ever after and so on and so forth. But deeeeep into the novel, 4/5 or 5/6 of the way in, danger and destruction threaten. Hannah is up to any hardship though. Nothing can stop her.

Janice Holt Giles is real fond of writing the dialogue in a countrified dialect. It's a mite burdensome at the get-go, but you'll soon be swimmin' like a duck. Giles wrote this epic in 1956, and her treatment of Native peoples is less than politically correct, historically accurate though it may be. I do not know.

Hannah Fowler is a novel about real love, romance, and contentment. It is also a novel about crazy people who went to live in the vast unknown in the middle ages with nothing but a gun, an iron kettle, a spinning wheel, and an axe head. For real. Just the axe head. Hannah makes the handle herself.


I will stop now.

Now for the part we've all been scrolling down to see...




Sunday, March 1, 2015

7QT: Rinks Rule!

1. We have a winner!



Would Susan Kolosionek come on down! You have won the Blackberry Sage Dragon Soap from RobinsOwn (that I bought because Robin doesn't know me from Adam) and the teal soap dish (from TJ Maxx).

2. Have you seen this Reese Witherspoon movie, The Good Lie


So good.

Reese is not really the star of this film, but she is the headliner. The Good Lie, for those of you who live under a rock or in a cave as I do, is about three of the Lost Boys of Sudan, their journey to Kenya, and eventually to America.

There is one not great scene, the first scene with Reese. The movie is rated PG-13. I think the rating is spot on, though I did let my 12 year old watch it.

So good.


The Good Lie reminded me of the incredible children's novel I read and reviewed about the Lost Boys of Sudan by Linda Sue Park called A Long Walk to Water: Based on a True Story.

Edmund doesn't know it yet, but he's reading A Long Walk to Water: Based on a True Story in the near future.

3. Big skating party here yesterday. 


A (young, hip) seminarian-deacon came over as well as a dozen or so friends and family.

He said he couldn't skate, but he was skating backwards and whipping around the rink like nobody's business. I did hear that he can't stop though.


The little girls and I stayed in the warmth and made blueberry muffins.

It was picture perfect.


The rink definitely puts a positive spin on winter. Edmund uses the rink every chance he gets for recess and has neighbor kids or cousins over most days after school.


We've accumulated an enormous stash of skates so we can provide for just about any size, including Lucy's entire skating party of fifteen teens. We had enough hockey sticks for them all too.

I bet we have your size if you'd like to come visit!

Exercise, endorphins, and sunshine are just a few of the benefits. My kids are all good skaters now. Jill will get her first pair next year.

4. Some people have pools, some people have rinks.

Heather at Mama Knows Honeychild asked on my IG picture if it's difficult to build a rink.

Yes, Heather. It is difficult to build a rink, but if you live North of Arendelle, it's worth it.


First you need plywood and 4 by somethings to build your boards (sides). Wood is not cheap. We store our boards in our crawl space during the off season.


The boards go up Thanksgiving weekend or as close to it as we can get.

We buy a liner from Nice Rink in Wisconsin.  Patrick, or one of our rink building relatives with a large vehicle, will make the trek to the factory and pick up the liners for a few of us.

The liner alone costs about $400.  Ours is the biggest backyard rink we've seen, so it's the most expensive too.  Can't re-use the liner, because come spring, the sides are shredded and it's gross.


Then there's the water. We run a hose from our basement laundry sink to the rink for about 72 hours. It's a big rink. The deep areas fill first and the shallow areas fill last. The deepest part of our rink is 11-12 inches deep. We get billed for the water and the sewage/waste-water too, even though we put the water in the public drain. The water costs are about $200, much less for a smaller rink.

The next part is up to Mother Nature.  Zero degrees (Fahrenheit) for 24 hours makes 3 inches of ice. If the temps are above zero, but below 32, it takes longer. On average, our rink freezes in about 4 days. It won't be solid yet, but it will be skate-able.



Anytime we have a day above freezing, the rink starts to melt. It's too slushy to skate on, but a short thaw can re-surface it nicely.

Otherwise, Patrick re-surfaces the rink himself with a homemade device called a rink rake.

5. Other Important Rink Facts

Snow can ruin your rink, especially slushy, wet snow. If that slushy, wet snow freezes on your rink, the texture will be like a gravel road.


We never had a snowblower until we had to shovel our entire backyard.

Many people ask if the rink ruins the grass.


No. A thick heavy block of ice on top of the grass does nothing to it.

6. Pa! The Chinook Is Blowing!


When and if spring comes, the ice begins to thaw beyond all hope of recovery. We use an electric pump to pump the water to the curb so as not to flood our neighbors' yards.


Then we cut up the liner into manageable pieces and throw it away. This must be done as soon as possible because a heavy piece of wet plastic on a warm(ish) day will kill your grass.

Then the boards come down and go in the crawl space until next winter.

Patrick always gets sad when this happens, but SPRING!


7. Don't forget! This Wednesday is the March What We're Reading Wednesday Link-Up!


I'm late to the link-up party with Kelly and the Krew for 7QT Friday.

WWRW. 3/4/15. Must. Not. Forget.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

A Day in the Life at St. Jude's School for Kids Who Want To Read Good and Do Other Things Good Too



For the See Me Homeschool blog hop, I photo-journaled last Wednesday, Ash Wednesday, February 18th, 2015. Technically, you don't actually see me homeschool, but you see my homeschool.  I'm the one holding the camera.

The idea behind the blog hop is "a photo album of a typical homeschooling day - no words." I'd love to explain the crazy behind the chaos but I'll just have to leave it up to your imaginations.

There is one cheater photo in the bunch. The picture of Edmund altar serving isn't actually from Ash Wednesday, but he did serve noon mass last week. My hands are pretty full when he serves. Even though I brought my camera last Wednesday, I didn't get the opportunity to use it.

Welcome to St. Jude's!



























.  








 

Many thanks to Theresa of Ordinary Lovely and Micaela of California to Korea for hosting the See Me Homeschool blog hop and for inviting me to participate. Thank You!


To learn more about our homeschool journey, here is an interview I did for the How I Homeschool blog hop.

To learn more about homeschooling and dyslexia, here are some other posts I've written as part of a series I'm working on:

Catholic, Homeschooling, and Dyslexic: Diagnosis
Catholic, Homeschooling, and Dyslexic: Religion Class

This post is the one where our homeschool was born.

Be sure to check out the other See Me Homeschool participants! Today, you can also check out Erin's homeschool over at Seven Little Australians and Counting.

Friday, February 20, 2015

7QT Friday: blah, blah, blah, GIVEAWAY!

1. Happiness is letting your 3 year old burst into her older sisters' bedroom to wake them up with Rebecca Black's Friday blaring from your iPhone.



2.

Theresa of Ordinary Lovely and Micaela from California to Korea (and back again) are running a blog hop called See Me Homeschool. (You can read my interview for Micaela's How I Homeschool series here.)

You can get an in-depth look into the chaos that is St. Jude's School for Kids Who Want To Read Good and Do Other Things Good Too on Monday, February 23rd.


That's Monday, Monday, better check back on Monday...

Dang song stuck in my head.

There are lots of other (better) homeschooling bloggers participating so be sure to check out their homeschools too. Here is the blog hop schedule.

If YOU have a homeschool and want to participate, there's a link-up and an Instagram hashtag (#seemehomeschool).

3. This is a short video of actress Frances McDormand saying wise things about aging and womanhood. 



4.

I've been having far too much fun over at the Twice website. Technically, it's Like Twice. Twice is another one of those online secondhand stores, but with higher end clothing and...

wait for it...

Actual Measurements of the Actual Items for sale!

Do you realize what this means?

It means a much higher chance of getting something that actually fits!

Not only that, but the Twice people include the "fit" in the description.

Lemme 'splain.

The women in this house wear Julie fit pants from LOFT. Over at Twice, if the tag says "Julie," they let the web readers know that detail!



They also have good prices and a great return policy. They'll give me a little bonus if you sign up through my link and they'll give YOU a $10 credit!

5. RobinsOwn Soap Shoppe on Etsy.

You must go to there.

Robin makes soap by hand in her home using goat's milk and a cold process method that I do not understand.

I do understand that the soap is beautiful to see, smell, and touch.

Brown Sugar Soap
Edmund uses the Cedar Bay in the shower. Patrick uses a bar of Sexy Man he got for Christmas.

We currently have a lovely sweet wine heart-shaped soap in the powder room. Who knew that wine scented soap would smell so delicate and clean?


I got wee rashy Polly the Simply Goat's Milk shown above.

Pumpkin Bier, or as I think of it, Cinnamon Goodness
Robin is always adding new scents and shapes and I have yet to receive one I didn't care for.

I don't have a picture of them, but for Christmas I gave some people Robin's Madonna and Child shaped Cherry Almond soaps.

Sunshine Yuzu
In the past, we have also enjoyed the Frankincense and Myrrh, the Pumpkin Bier, and the Sunshine Yuzu flavors too. Sunshine Yuzu is my favorite everyday hand soap scent. Yuzu is a Japanese Lemon.


I'm saving this one for summer. It's called Icky Yucky Hands.  It's so pretty, it looks like it would taste good.

Robin is a single mom who runs her Soap Shoppe out of her own home.  She doesn't have a car, so she walks to the post office to deliver her handmade products every Friday.

I don't know Robin and she has no idea who I am, but I do know her soaps and recommend them to everyone I know.  I call her "my soap lady."

6. A GIVEAWAY!

I am going to give one of you LUCKY readers this gorgeous bar of Blackberry Sage Dragon soap AND the teal soap dish pictured here.


Just hop over to Robin's Shop then come back and tell me what you think looks good in my comment box. I will choose a winner from the commenters so please make sure your contact info is accessible.

The winner will be chosen sometime in the next week when I get around to it. Probably by Wednesday because I'm planning a WWRW post for that day.

Patrick just stuck his head over my shoulder and said, "What are you blogging about? Soap! I love her soap!"

7.

I did not do a What We're Reading Wednesday post this week, but the February link-up lasts all month.  Next month's link up will be on March 4th.

Linking up with Kelly for 7QT Friday! Friday! Gotta Get Down on Friday!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

WWRW February Link-Up

Welcome back to the What We're Reading Wednesday book review link-up party!


I post book reviews nearly every Wednesday here at Housewifespice{dot}com, and I used to have a weekly link-up. Then I had a baby. A high-need baby. Then, I fell off the blogging wagon.

I'm clawing my way back, slowly but surely, but I'm not confident enough yet to host a weekly link-up, so monthly it is. For now.

Here's what I've been reading.

Old college friends were discussing old books on the Facebook. I'm a sucker for old books. So I cracked my knuckles and opened up the World Catalog on my library's website and proceeded to track down some endangered titles with the skill of a Tatooine bounty hunter.


Hannah Fowler by Janice Holt Giles, where have you been all my life?

We first meet Hannah in the wilds of unsettled Kentucky territory, in 1777.

I said SEVENTEEN seventy-seven.

Not Eighteen seventy-seven, like those Ingalls and Wilder folks. Livin' the easy life in the 19th century. Railroads and telegrams and sewing machines. Pish posh.

This book is hard core.

Hannah is tending her pa, Samuel, who is suffering from a self-inflicted ax wound. They are alone and had been on their way to Daniel Boone's fort when the accident occurred. Alone. In the middle of an unsettled land filled with unknown dangers, Indians, mountain lions, bears, wolves, tetanus. Dutifully and skillfully, Hannah hunts and forages, tends the camp, and nurses her father. She is SurvivorWoman.

Hannah is a plain woman. When her mother died, Samuel raised her "as good as a man." She can hunt, track, handle an ax, build a loom, cut fence posts, as well as cook, spin, weave, and bake. There's not much she can't do.

She is painfully shy however. And extremely humble.

She has a chance meeting with another human in the endless forest. Tice Fowler had been searching for his stolen horses when he meets Hannah. He kindly stays with Hannah and her father until they can travel. Unfortunately, Hannah's father does not survive his injury. Tice kindly helps Hannah bury her father and offers to escort her to civilization.

Hannah accompanies Tice to Ben Logan's fort and sees her safely esconced in the care of Mrs. Ben Logan. It doesn't take long for word to get around that there is a single female in the area.  Hannah is courted by every eligible bachelor and widower for miles around.

Only one man will do for Hannah. She overcomes her shyness to make Tice Fowler her partner for life.

The novel goes on to tell of their marriage, the building of a home and a family, the accumulation of stock, the passing of seasons.

I was perfectly content for the book to stay this way, happily ever after and so on and so forth. But deeeeep into the novel, 4/5 or 5/6 of the way in, danger and destruction threaten. Hannah is up to any hardship though. Nothing can stop her.

Janice Holt Giles is real fond of writing the dialogue in a countrified dialect. It's a mite burdensome at the get-go, but you'll soon be swimmin' like a duck. Giles wrote this epic in 1956, and her treatment of Native peoples is less than politically correct, historically accurate though it may be. I do not know.

Hannah Fowler is a novel about real love, romance, and contentment. It is also a novel about crazy people who went to live in the vast unknown in the middle ages with nothing but a gun, an iron kettle, a spinning wheel, and an axe head. For real. Just the axe head. Hannah makes the handle herself.


I will stop now.

Now for the part we've all been scrolling down to see...