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May 2010

A Bit about Bookworm

I'm back with another medical report - and this time it's not on me, but on one of the kids. Bookworm started a cough last week - it was accompanied by a sore throat and a high, stubborn fever. When he woke this morning with a temp hovering around 103, I decided it was time to get him checked out ... 

So Bill and I brought him in to Urgent Care this morning (I swear it feels like a second home to me these days) and they ran a strep test which was negative - BUT - they also did a chest x-ray and it showed a small pneumonia on his right side. 

He is feeling ok, but obviously we are alarmed that our son has such an illness. He started Zithromax this morning and will take it for the next five days. If he is not significantly better by Tuesday (i.e. the fever has receded and the coughing slowed) he will need to go back in for a reevaluation. 

Could I ask you to keep Bookworm in your thoughts and prayers and to send some healthy healing vibes our way? We sure could use them, and I would appreciate it so much ...

I will let you all know how he's doing in a day or two. Thanks so much my friends, and please take care this holiday weekend. :)

Checking in ... Take 2 :)

Happy Pentecost Sunday, everyone! I hope you are all having a nice weekend. :) Checking in with you all again - thank you so much for all your kind messages! 

First let me share a few pictures from the past week(s) and then I'll catch you up on the continuing drama that is my life these days lol!


A lovely rainbow after a late afternoon storm. Earlybird spotted it first!


A new rhododendron plant - a Mother's Day gift from my brother.


 Bookworm took this picture of a turkey vulture landing on a neighbor's chimney!


And the little guy above is an eastern gray tree frog - the night before we took this picture our entire neighborhood was serenaded by tree frogs! The "singing" started just after nightfall and was absolutely deafening! (You can hear a sample here.) And yes, as the name implies - they were up in the trees!

Ok, now for my "medical minute." :) The good news is, my pneumonia has cleared up very well. I had my lungs listened to this morning in fact and they were clear. The not so good news is I'm still coughing a lot and Friday night I actually injured myself by coughing so hard! I went in to urgent care this morning and the doctor feels I either bruised or possibly even cracked a rib! Not much you can do for such a thing - just rest, pain relievers and time. And round-the-clock cough suppressants (my med of choice is Delsym) to keep the coughing to a minimum. 

So! Here I am feeling quite out of the loop, like the month of May is passing me by ~ though grateful I am feeling more like myself day by day. I'm not sure when I will be back to regular posting, but I promise it will be just as soon as I can. In the meantime, take care of yourselves and your loved ones ... and I'll see you all again sometime soon!

Checking in ... :)

Good Saturday Morning, my friends. I wanted to check in with you all and let you know how things are going here on the homefront ... it's been quite a week let me tell you!

As I reported last Sunday, I came down with a case of pneumonia - and was started on an antibiotic right away. Unfortunately I reacted to the medicine - so badly that by Monday morning I was bright red and itchy and my throat was swollen. A quick ambulance ride later (!) I was at the emergency room getting a course of Benadryl and a steroid to stop the reaction. They started me on yet another antibiotic and sent me home ...

Fast forward to Wednesday, and I'm back at the doctor's having yet another reaction to the second antibiotic! (I looked sunburned all over, my hands and feet were tingling, and I was having muscle spasms in my arms and legs.) 


My doctor felt it best to take me off antibiotics completely since my body was so stressed by the allergic reactions. And since my fever was gone and my lungs sounded better, she decided it was worth the risk of not medicating. She prescribed good old-fashioned bed rest for the rest of the week and weekend. 

And so that's what I've been - and still am - up to. :) My mother and Bill have been absolutely wonderful - taking care of me, the kids and the house, while I'm out of commission. And the boys have been great too, helping out as they can and just keeping quiet when they need to. 

I also wanted to thank you all for the kind messages, thoughts and prayers. I appreciate every one, and I hope my dear readers are all doing well - keeping healthy and enjoying this lovely time of year. 

See you all again just as soon as I can! :) 

Mum and Me

My mum ~ my best friend, role model and confidante ...


Thank you for always taking such good care of me, and for showing me how to take care of others. 

I love you!

  p.s. Dear Readers, I'm sorry to be MIA lately - I've been under the weather these past several days and finally was diagnosed with pneumonia this morning. Thankfully, I've been started on antibiotics and prescribed lots of fluids and rest. I'll be back again just as soon as I can. :)

In the meantime, Happy Mother's Day to everyone ~ I hope your day (and your new week) is a good one!

Easy Treats for Cinco de Mayo!


It's the 5th of May - Cinco de Mayo! Here are a couple of super easy Mexican treats to make with your kidlets today. :)

Cinnamon-Sugar Tortilla Chips

(Recipe from

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread 4 plain flour tortillas with softened, unsalted butter. Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar. Cut into triangles (or use fun cookie cutter shapes). Bake for 10 minutes or until crisp.

*Note: little hands can help spread butter, sprinkle cinnamon-sugar, and if using cookie cutters, make shapes for baking.*


Fruity Virgin Sangria

(Made up on the spot. :))

Brew a small pot of herbal, kid-friendly tea (I used Little Citizen's Strawberry-Vanilla Red Tea). While the tea cools, fill a pitcher halfway full of fruit punch or juice (I used Welch's White Grape-Raspberry 100% juice). Add the steeped and cooled tea along with chunks of miscellaneous fruit (we added diced golden apples and orange slices). Let your "sangria" steep in the fridge for a while and then serve over ice.

*Note: Depending on your kids' tastes, you could add a little zip with plain or lime-flavored seltzer or a splash of citrusy soda like Sprite or 7-Up.*


Happy Mid-Week, my friends! :)

Spring at the Orchard


"When spring comes, our apple tree wakes up. Pink buds and white blossoms show that it is ready to make apples again ... 


"Bees come to visit, flying from blossom to blossom. They visit every apple tree for miles around. Every day the bees gather sweet nectar and dusty pollen. Every night they go home to make honey and feed their babies. Wherever the bees go, they take some pollen and leave some pollen behind. And soon the blossoms begin to turn into the tiniest apples, all soft and downy. In the warm sun, the apples grow bigger and bigger ... 


"Our apple tree is hard at work."

(Excerpt from Our Apple Tree by Gorel Kristina Naslund ... a charming and beautifully illustrated children's book ~  a whimsical, informative story about the life of an apple tree, the partnerships in nature, as well as the changing seasons.)


Happy Tuesday, everyone! :)

Journalkeeping ~ Questions & Comments

Happy Monday, everyone! I hope you all had a good weekend. It's muggy and damp here this morning - which makes it even harder to wake up and get going! But before I dash off to start our day, I wanted to address a few recent questions and comments re ~ my journals:

I love the idea for journals. Where do you find the time to journal? Do you write stuff down all the time or have a set time during the day. ~ Dawn

    Dawn, I keep my journal open on the kitchen island through the day and this makes it easy to add things in as I think of them. This space is kind of like my "command central." I keep my current file folder there as well as my calendar (open to the current month). I jot things down as they come to me - reminders, thoughts, ideas. Most days (certainly not all) I steal a little time in the afternoon to sit down on the couch with my journal while EB watches Curious George or a favorite movie. I go through the mail, saved sections of the newspapers and any magazines I have piling up on my reading table. I clip and tape things in as I go along. I try to devote time on the weekend to read back over the pages I've worked on throughout the previous week. 

I read somewhere about a journaler who put page numbers on every page and then created an index. Whenever she added something, she just made a note of what it was and what page it was on. Maybe that would help? ~ Kristie

I started saving a few pages in the back of my journals to make an index page. As I add stuff I write it in the back. It has helped me. Page numbers if you want but I didn't go that far. Just an idea as to what's in each journal helps with looking for it. ~ Pam

    Thank you, Kristie and Pam - I just love the idea of an index!! I think it would be a lot easier (not to mention, less bulky) than lots of post-it notes sticking out of the journals here and there. :) 

Dawn, where do you find such pretty papers for your notebook covers? ~ Becky

    Becky, the background papers are various scrapbooking sheets I pick up at craft stores. The front image is from my Mary Engelbreit Page-a-Day calendar. It tells me the start date of each journal - and it looks cute, too. :)

That's all for now, folks - I'll be back here again just as soon as I can!

Little Lanterns for a Cool Spring Night ...


... or for any time of the year!

So, I've wanted to make these little glass jar lanterns for some time now. The original craft was found in an issue of Family Fun magazine (a clipping that went in my journal at the time) but the base was a jam jar and there were some ribbons as well as beads involved. Possibly, I saw the baby food jar variation somewhere else - or possibly I thought this up myself, I can't be sure. 

I completely winged this craft (as I couldn't find the journal page I needed - see previous post for more on that) and gave it my best shot. I started with eight empty baby food jars - soaked in a sudsy sink and stripped of their labels. 


(I'm only showing you three prepped jars in this picture because it became clear pretty quickly I was only going to have the time/patience/energy to make one lantern for each of my three boys. I'll save the other five jars for a future project.)


I also had purchased tiny beads - metallic stars, silver butterflies (a favorite subject of Earlybird's recently) and some multi-colored jewel-like beads. I picked up a spool of beading wire and Bill rustled up the wire cutters for me to use.*


*Strangely enough, the wire cutters did not cut the beading wire. If you can believe it, I ended up using my fabric scissors - these tiny hot pink scissors were much stronger and sharper than the cutters!

(In case you can't tell, I have very little experience with beading. Like I said, I was totally winging this craft!)

So my first step was to lasso the rim of the jar with a length of the wire, tie it on one side in a knot ...


... and then start stringing my beads on the long end (the end still attached to the spool) ...


Here is a set of beads - I actually used double this amount.


Half the beads rested on one end of the wire (where it attached to the jar rim) and the other half rested on the opposite side. My final step was to tie off the other side of the wire. I already had a small tea light tucked inside.


I kept it pretty simple - like I said, I don't have much experience with beads and I was really just trying to lend a little color and sparkle to the lanterns. the boys of course could care less what beads I put on the lanterns - they were way more interested in the fire element!




We hung the lanterns in the garden and then waited for night to fall ...



They came out pretty well, I think!


And they were fun - to make and certainly to look at. :) (The boys also had fun walking their lanterns around the dark back yard.) These would be neat at the Fourth of July (I'm picturing red-white-and-blue beads and stars), Halloween (autumnal colors and shapes) and of course, Christmas (I'm envisioning a possible Advent project).

So there is my lantern craft! I hope you've enjoyed seeing the steps involved and the final product. I would do this again - but I would need to have a few hours of quiet (no distractions) and someone to keep the cat off the worktable! (Lol, Smokey was intent on batting those beads and chewing that wire!)

Enjoy your Sunday, everyone! :)

Weekend Project:


Going through my old journals and tagging things for future reference.

I spent sooo much time yesterday hunting for a lantern craft I just KNEW I had somewhere ... taped into the pages of one of my journals. Between today and tomorrow I hope to peruse these old notebooks and add small post-it tags where I find projects and recipes I might want to try in the future. Not the most organized system I know, but these journals are not, after all, meant to be organized - just a hodgepodge of thoughts and ideas. Still, if those ideas are going to be useful, I need a way to refer back to them in the future ...

I did finally find the lantern instructions - AFTER I made our May Eve lanterns, lol! I am putting together a post on this neat little beading craft I undertook yesterday. I worked on it through the day, and after dark (and after our first grilled supper of the year) we lit the lanterns to watch them sparkle in the night. The boys also marched them around the yard, an impromptu lantern walk on a lovely spring eve. :)

Also, later this weekend I will share our lesson plans for the new week ahead. I had a wicked toothache this past week (resulting in sleepless nights and an emergency root canal on Thursday) so our plans for last week kind of went by the wayside. We'll be playing a bit of catch up next week ...

Oh! And while I think of it, recently a reader asked me where I store all these journals - well, here's a peek:


So as you can see, there are quite a lot of them! (The lower shelf holds my old large-style notebooks; the shelf above holds the smaller journals seen in the picture at the top of this post.)

So all that's all that's on the docket for today and tomorrow ... along with all our usual weekend activities ... and oh, by the way ... Happy May! Have a great weekend and see you here again sometime soon!