We're Back Home

After two months in Florida visiting family, my children and I are back home with the hubby. He wasn't able to join us this year, and for the record, that's just too long to be apart. I can now empathize a little with those who are separated for things like military deployment, etc. :(

Other than that, our trip was great. We were able to visit with my family and friends, and I attended my 25th reunion from Florida College. Yes, folks, I feel officially OLD. Some of my classmates have children in school at FC now. Thankfully, my younger children are keeping me from feeling REALLY OLD.

Jetlag hasn't quite left us, though my youngest (age 4) seems to be over it. He woke me up very cheerfully this morning, so I suppose this is a good thing, right? He's helping me to adjust a little faster??

I'll be catching up with everyone as I have time. Right now, I'm trying to get everyone back into the groove of full-time school. (We adjusted our schedule so that we could have a light load while in the States. It worked SO much better! Florida winter is just too beautiful to be sitting inside doing school work.)

Hope everyone is having a good 2017 so far. We're happy to be home! :)
  • dawnmk23
    How wonderful to be with extended family! Happy to see your name light up!
    by dawnmk23 at 02/21/17 6:24PM
  • this_old_man
    You feel OLD? I knew you when you were a whippersnapper how do you think I feel? :) Glad you had fun back in the states.
    by this_old_man at 02/22/17 12:59PM
  • bandmom
    Glad you all are home safely, and that you had a great visit. Robert must have been SO happy to see you! (I hope it's okay I added you on here.)
    by bandmom at 02/22/17 4:50PM
  • ginnyann
    Ooh how exciting. Been wondering where you were. Good to hear you had a wonderful trip back to the states with family and friends. Hope you found Mom and Dad to be well!
    Will be looking forward to your new posts when you have time.
    Hugs!
    by ginnyann at 02/23/17 8:57AM
  • misssonja
    This article is pretty informative... You're right about lady bugs as a great predator -- but note that if you completely eradicate the aphids your lady bugs will starve (not good!). I attract pollinators/aphid predators by inter-planting everything with marigold, borage, zinnias, cosmos, and nasturtiums -- and I don't have a big problem with aphids now. (Whereas the first year I lived here, they devoured my roses...) Improving the health/balance of things will diminish the problem over time. You can also knock them off into a bucket of soapy water or spray with soapy water (but I don't love spraying bc the soapy water drips into the soil and kills good stuff).
    by misssonja at 05/20/17 3:59PM
  • dawnmk23
    A walking Taco is just Doritos with taco meat, tomatoes, lettuce, cheese, sour cream, etc. They serve them in individual bags at sporting events here. :0)
    by dawnmk23 at 05/20/17 7:52PM

Where is Summer Going?

Why does winter drag but summer fly? (No, this is not a funny riddle.) Perhaps it's my attitude toward it, but honestly, where has our summer gone??

RE: the dress issue - As it turned out, my eldest caught a cold-ish virus which came with a high, lingering fever. My daughter got stung by a bee on her foot and could barely hobble around. My hubby decided that he would go to the wedding alone, and I would stay home with the children. I think he was glad to have the dress issue settled for us. My MIL had offered to let my daughter wear one of her own dresses, which I thought was a nice concession. I think my hubby and I were at least a little happy not to have to deal with the awkwardness of the situation.

I'm working on another lesson for a ladies' class. It's still in the "brainstorming" phase, and I'd like some ideas from other people, if possible. I'd like to discuss specific examples of religious errors that are creeping into the church. It seems like there are more and more concepts drawn from "devotional books" written by denominational authors, phrases used that sound "spiritual" but are grounded in erroneous teaching, etc. I've heard the same thing from other christians, and I'd like to address these in a focused study. However, I need specific examples of phrases, false doctrines, "dangerous" trends, etc. If you can think of anything along this line, please comment (or write me a private message, if preferred). Also, if you know of any resources that cover this topic, please tell me. Thank you! (Oh, and hopefully this idea makes sense. Did I mention that I'm still in the early stages of this study?)

We're all doing fine here. My garden is simply wonderful! OK, it's not perfect, but I love it. My tomato plants have not yet shown signs of fungus (knock on wood). We'll see what happens over the next month. The tomatoes have tough skins so far, but they're still tastier than anything the grocery store can offer. I found a new recipe for gingered zucchini soup that my children love. SCORE! I'm growing a new kind of pumpkin this year - Muskat, or some such name (the package was printed in Czech). Strawberries have been delicious. All other family members loved the raspberries (not a huge fan myself). 1/3 of the blueberries have ripened and been enjoyed (We have 3 different varieties, and they ripen in succession of each other. Cool!). Hubby's grapes are looking good. Hopefully the bees will share some with us this year. Red and black currants, josta (English name escapes me. It's supposed to be a cross between a black currant and a gooseberry.), and gooseberries were enjoyed by at least a few family members. I'm eagerly awaiting the result of my potato crop (first time trying that one). Butternut squash and Hokaido pumpkin are looking promising. First crop of carrots are super sweet. Yum! I have two yellow squash . . . on my one surviving plant. That's better than none, right? Oh, how I love squash!

I'm trying to focus on the previous happiness in order to block out the fact that 1) Although onions grow like weeds (so gardeners tell me), I can't seem to manage to produce more than three scrawny ones this year. And those were grown from bulbs, not seed. 2) I can't seem to remember to stake my son's sunflowers. We lose at least one per year in a storm, and this year he only had one nice one. Guess which one got blown over and broken? Poor boy. 3) Little helpers are not very good at planting tiny seeds. Our spinach crop and second carrot crop are pretty pitiful due to this issue. They're such cute little helpers, though, so I think I'll keep them. :)

I'm working on reducing mow-able areas in our yard. (Read: more flower beds) I've given up the lawn area to the clover. It was either that or spray it with poison. Since my children run around barefoot in our yard, I opted for the former. Unfortunately, clover blooms when it's rather short. Bees love clover. Did I mention my daughter's hobbling? I'm getting better at treating bee stings this summer. :( Any tips are appreciated.

My knee is almost back to normal. It will never be perfect again, but it is much better than before surgery. I'm very thankful that it was a successful procedure.

My baby turned four today. How is that possible?? Someone said that life with small children is "long days and short years." I can relate to that some days. Other days, it's all short! Where does the time go??
  • praguer
    Forgot to mention my Romaine lettuce! I just pulled the last plants this week - couldn't believe it's lasted so long! Hubby and I have really enjoyed it. The children . . . . not so much.
    by praguer at 07/29/16 4:39PM
  • dawnmk23
    Sounds like a lovely garden! You have such a great variety of plants! I love it!! This is our 2nd time dealing with the mites, and our buck is recovered. He did seem a bit puny for a few days during a huge heat wave, but he recovered. I was sure we were going to lose him! Enjoy your babies, for sure!
    by dawnmk23 at 07/29/16 7:24PM
  • dawnmk23
    I will message you about the Bible study ideas.
    by dawnmk23 at 07/29/16 7:24PM
  • dawnmk23
    I meant to say that we do use the Ivermec- thanks for the tip!
    by dawnmk23 at 07/29/16 7:50PM
  • dawnmk23
    I have also done water bath canning with good results.
    by dawnmk23 at 07/29/16 9:21PM
  • ceoltoir
    I'm about to go to sleep but here's a tip for stings: lavender essential oil. I haven't tried it because we haven't suffered a sting in years. But people consistently praise it in soothing the sting, helping it heal and minimizing the itch that often accompanies healing.
    by ceoltoir at 07/29/16 11:40PM
  • ginnyann
    Well, it's good to know you all are alive and kicking...some not as high....but kicking.
    Your garden sounds delightful. I could never even grow tomatoes in a patio bucket much less in a garden. Our one attempt to have a garden was a disaster so we just left that to the people who could do it.
    Can't believe your baby is 4 yrs. old so quickly.
    Our baby will be 47 in October..(candy)...Melanie just turned 49 and our granddaughter is 12'going on 21......
    Hope your Mom and Dad are well. Does Mom blog or is she a FB fan? I don't do FB. Tell her hello for me!
    Hugs for you all.
    by ginnyann at 07/31/16 12:55PM
  • ginnyann
    Hey there!
    Haven't seen you on here for a long while.
    Are all of you OK?
    Hope you had a good holiday and will have a happy 2017......
    Love and hugs!
    by ginnyann at 01/04/17 5:58PM
  • granny
    I'm probably too late, but I am really concerned about the phrase I keep hearing from Christians - "God has a plan for you." Indeed he has, for us to obey him in full faith in Jesus Christ. To my knowledge there is no scripture that God has a specific plan for me or you. You may have seen my article on FB concerning this and other phrases. If interested, I can email it to you or post it on Pleo.
    by granny at 01/06/17 9:12AM
  • granny
    Just looked at your date...how went your class?
    Other phrases:
    Everything happens for a reason
    God has a plan for you
    Its in the stars
    Its fate
    Some things are just meant to be
    It was destined
    by granny at 01/06/17 9:15AM

How to alter a dress to make it modest

I need some advice on how to alter a dress. I'll try to explain the situation without sounding snarky. I truly don't mean it in a snarky way, it's just that the situation is strange to me and I simply don't understand it. Hopefully it comes across that way. :)

My daughter is expected to be in a family wedding this summer. (Something like a flower girl) Note that I did not say that she was asked to be in the wedding. As a matter of fact, I don't believe any of my in-laws have even mentioned it to her. My hubby and I have not been involved in the planning of this wedding, but we tried to explain that our daughter likely will be too shy to walk in front of a group of people. Our comments fell on deaf ears. Then I was shown the dress that she will be expected to wear. Oh dear. It's not just a little short. It's *really* short, and I can't even put it in the "grey" area of modesty. My hubby, ever the practical one, simply said, "She doesn't have to wear the dress, or even be in the wedding." She can wear one of her modest dresses when we attend the wedding. End of story for him. However, I'd like to try and keep family relations a little less ruffled, so I'm trying to think of a way to alter the dress. It isn't really fancy - just a typical dress that a girl would wear to a nicer occasion. (Actually, it even looks a little "cheap" to me, but I'm rather conservative where fashion is concerned.) However, it matches the dress her cousin will be wearing, and thus the problem. (K has dresses that are modest and even nicer than the one she's expected to wear. She could easily have worn one of those, but it wouldn't match the dress of the other girl.) There's always the legging option, but I really hate that one. (I think it looks tacky, and she's still wearing a short dress.) I have thought about adding another (long) ruffle layer (or 3) under the skirt. Either way, the dress will look very different from her cousin's dress. Part of me wants to say, "It would be best if K simply weren't in the wedding." Then there would be no awkwardness for K. (She just turned 7, and she's still struggling to understand this whole modesty issue, besides her aforementioned shyness in crowds.) But perhaps it would be better for family relations if we *tried* to participate, while attempting to be good examples and hold to our principles?? Any thoughts??

Note: It is easy for me to brush odd situations into the "it's just a Czech custom" pile. I have discovered, however, that this is an odd situation even to the ears of some Czech friends. Maybe I married into an odd family. Hmmmm . . . . . :)
  • praguer
    Oh, and in totally unrelated news, I had minor surgery on the meniscus of my knee. I'm now hobbling on crutches but hope to be back gardening soon. (Don't tell hubby, though.) Everyone else is fine, and my little helpers are doing great while Mommy is incapacitated.
    by praguer at 05/28/16 3:15PM
  • ceoltoir
    Can we see a picture of the dress?
    by ceoltoir at 05/28/16 3:26PM
  • ginnyann
    I was thinking the same thing^^
    Reads like a difficult spot to be in. However, I think I would go with not wearing the dress and suggesting one of her own......do they have to match?
    Good wishes for decisions that don't upset anyone!
    Hugs!
    P.S. Your right about the cookie!
    by ginnyann at 05/28/16 3:32PM
  • misssonja
    Depends on the style of the dress, but a couple of options would be putting loose legging/knit pants underneath -- like these... or adding wide lace or a ruffle to the bottom of the dress...or a slip with a decorative edge that could hang below.
    I think I would let them choose from those options and let them know that if they don't like any of those, you completely understand and would be very happy just to come as guests.
    by misssonja at 05/28/16 6:15PM
  • dawnmk23
    I would add a lacy ruffle at the bottom, and even offer to do it to the other dress, so they can be twins together. I think many lace ruffles are very nice, and may even make the dress more elegant.
    by dawnmk23 at 05/29/16 5:42PM
  • praguer
    I don't actually have the dress. It was shown to me, then put away. I intended to ask my husband to bring it home on his next visit, if possible, but I forgot.
    by praguer at 05/30/16 7:27AM
  • praguer
    Thanks for the thoughts, everyone! We're still working our way through this, and as mentioned, I really need to get my hands on the actual dress. :/
    by praguer at 05/30/16 7:31AM

Will the real spring please stand up?

Yesterday I decided to plant some potatoes. This is a new project for me, but I'm working under detailed advice of the native gardeners here. It was a little cool, but we decided that the potatoes would be fine. As I planted, I began to be pelted with small white clumps. Something between snow and ice. This morning it was 34°F. (sigh) Will spring please hurry up and stay? I'm sure this is yet another lesson in patience (of which I need many). Maybe one day I'll learn.

Every time I see a first bud of spring, my heart leaps, and I feel like shouting for joy! God is faithful! No matter how cold and hard winter may be, spring will always come. Perhaps not exactly when we want it, but in its own good time.

And so it is with life. Hard and cold times will come, but God is faithful to bring spring again. So if you find yourself in a cold time, keep your chin up, and put on your coat. Maybe grab a scarf and gloves. But don't give up. Spring is coming. It's just not time for it yet.

And there's my "lesson from nature" for today.
  • dawnmk23
    Great thoughts! And so true!
    by dawnmk23 at 04/25/16 8:54AM
  • ceoltoir
    An excellent way to start my day. I'm often lacking in patience too.
    by ceoltoir at 04/25/16 10:43AM
  • ginnyann
    So true! Good lesson from nature. Wish I could package our warm weather and send it your way.
    Good luck with the potatoes. I think we all have trouble with patience!!!! :)
    by ginnyann at 04/25/16 11:43AM

still here

Or maybe "I'm back" is more accurate. Life is busy. Good, but busy. I hope to catch up with everyone soon. Until then, please know that I think of you even when I'm absent from Pleo.

The cookbook idea has been put on the back burner for now. The logistics are too complicated at this point in life. Maybe someday I'll get back to it.

I hope everyone is enjoying spring. This week we have had gorgeous weather, but I heard that one more snow might catch us. Hopefully my lettuce and spinach will survive in the garden. The garlic has already survived at least two layers of snow. Tough stuff, that garlic.
  • ginnyann
    Good to see you are still alive and kicking....lol
    Was getting worried. However, I do realize you have your hands full. I remember those days long ago......I was busy and I didn't home school so I know that takes a lot more time.
    Hope your Mom and Dad are doing well. Has she retired yet?
    Take care and enjoy the spring......is pollen bad there like it is here in Georgia?
    Hello to Robert!
    by ginnyann at 04/05/16 8:39AM