Monday, December 3, 2007

Busy Days at ElCloud Homestead, and ElCloud Homeschool starts again ...

The past few days have been very busy.  Friday was a busy housekeeping day.  I washed 3 medium sized loads of clothes:  sheets, whites, and cloth diapers.  I used the clothes line for the sheets and the indoor drying racks for the white clothes and cloth diapers.   At dusk, I draped the sheets over the indoor drying racks, and the dining room table to finish drying.

The children picked up their toys and I vacuumed all the floor surfaces (bathroom tile, wood floors, and kitchen carpet).  Then I hung the new thermal drapes in the living room and dining room.  We have huge windows in these rooms, so it took awhile.  And of course, the usual child care, cooking, washing dishes, etc.  Many of the children were sick with colds, and cranky.  So, I just took care of things myself.

Saturday, we got up and took our non-burnable trash to the dump.  Then we did our grocery shopping, and also stopped at a craft fair where we did a little Christmas shopping.  We bought some kitchen towels with the crocheted loop for hanging them on a handle.  Steve's mom loves those, and we could use some here, too.  Then, we found these cute cuddly crocheted teddy bears.  A pink one and a blue one.  We bought one for 20 mo L, and one for my 6 mo nephew.  L saw hers, wanted it, snuggled it in the car, and now keeps asking us where it is since we hid it away until Christmas day.  She called it Hug and keeps asking us, "Where Hug?"  It's so cute!

We came home and I folded the dry clothes from the drying racks and hung up the load of dark clothes I'd washed that morning.  We had the children all shower,  helped two of them wrap their gift for their sibling (we drew names this year), ate supper, and I washed dishes while the family enjoyed a Christmas movie.  Then I joined them and cut/tied a double-fleece blanket for a Christmas gift.  I'd never done it before, and was surprised at how fast it went.  Of course, 12 yo A sat and started tying at the other end, so that did help.

Sunday, Steve stayed home with most of the kids.  I took 3 yo M with me to church, since everyone else was sick.  Then we stopped at Walmart for a few forgotten items, and came home.  After lunch and dishes, I set up the ElCloud Barber Shop and cut 8 yo C's bangs, 1 yo L's bangs, 6 yo J's hair, 3 yo M's hair, and finally Steve's hair.  I had cut my own bangs on Saturday.  The only ones untouched where 12 yo A and 10 yo R who don't have bangs and are growing their hair out still.

After the haircuts, I cleaned up the mess and then helped Steve and 6 yo J begin building a wooden shelf for the basement storage area.  They also swept up the floor and examined a few mouse corpses.  Great fun.  I was not happy to see the poison package totally empty.  I'd been deluding myself that since I didn't see or hear any mice, or see any fresh evidence, that we didn't have any down there.  Of course, Steve encouraged that to help calm the mouse fear the kids (and I) had.  He kept saying we scared them away when we moved in.

I've not seen/heard any in the upstairs part of the house, or seen any evidence of them.  But since we don't have enough cupboards here, and our food items are on open shelves, I'm aware that we are just begging for mice to come upstairs.  Of course, we do have two Persian cats who live in the kitchen/main house area, and another one confined to a bedroom so that may help.  I do want to take more precautions, and set some traps.  I just need to put them where cats and kids won't get nipped. 

We bought a tall metal cupboard at an auction Thursday night, where we were hoping to replace Steve's commuter car whose transmission went out, but failed.  (So we're still a one car family, at the moment.)   Steve was thinking garage for this shelf, but I think I've convinced him that with some cleaning, and some spray paint,  it will be perfect for storing food in my pantry.  I'm hoping metal will be more mouse-proof than open shelves.  I know it will look less messy. 

Anyway, back to Sunday.  I left J and Steve hard at work on the shelves for the basement while I cooked supper.  We ate the elk brats Steve's boss gave him, and then Steve and I washed dishes.  We did a little more work on the shelves, but L was very needy and I finally gave up helping to watch her.   Soon, everyone returned upstairs. 

We ushered them off to put on pajamas, and then Steve read us the first reading from Bartholomew's Passage, for the start of Advent.  (This is our second time through the series, our 5th year using the books.)  We didn't have a carol pre-selected to sing this year, so we need to choose one today and print words for the reading children to use tonight. 

We shuffled the children off to bed soon after that, and I nursed L down to sleep, too.  I sat and read my copy of Passionate Housewives Desperate for God  (a housewarming gift from an internet friend) while Steve finished up at the computer, and then we went off to bed around 10:30, too.

It feels like there isn't much to show for our busy weekend, but we did stay busy.  I didn't get around to planning out school for this week.  I think when the children get up that I'll have them do their math, handwriting, read their nature readers/science books, and then work on their little pieces of art for the photo calendars we make.  I'll look at my Five In A Row or find a Christmas unit study online to do for December. 

I'm not ready to start Tapestry of Grace yet.  I need to have my own vehicle again so I can spend more time at the library finding the books we need, since our new library is not yet online.  But we're also so busy with Christmas preparations and celebrations over the next 4 weeks that I need a lighter school load anyway.  I'm feeling very behind with my Christmas preparations this year, but we need structure in our day again, so we are starting school again.  2 months off was more than enough.

While they do their schoolwork, I'll sit with them and work on signing Christmas cards.  Today, I'll also finish working on the calendar pages (adding in birthdays for different sides of the family) and printing them so I can begin assembling them.  Christmas Eve is in 3 weeks and I haven't put a single calendar together yet.  I have to make 11, although some are more urgent than others because they need to be mailed, or we are celebrating Christmas with them sooner than the others, etc.  I'll prioritize them, and Steve's office copy and our home copy will be the last two completed.

And today a new week in our new home begins.  We've been here 3 weeks, and other than the fact that I am still not completely unpacked, it feels like we've been here longer.  Except, we don't have any friends yet ... but we're trying to change that.

Blessings,
April

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