Monday, 17 November 2014

Another Crazy Two Weeks

1.  For the record, which this is the record, so it literally is for the record, just in case you were wondering, this last two weeks were not as crazy as those last couple of weeks in October.  No rashes, no canker sores, etc.  but they still were more busy than I intended.  And that is why I haven't added to the record more frequently.

2.  Wonder ovens.  Oh, how I loathe thee.  Okay, not really.  I actually quite like mine, which is why I wanted another. But this has just dragged out forever, and some people still aren't happy with theirs, which in truth, make me feel pretty guilty and I wish I could fix it, but I just don't have energy, nor the funds to do so.  To explain a bit, here's an extract from the email I sent out after spending most of the day Saturday (the 8th) at the church making wonder ovens.

Secondly, while making the Wonder Ovens today, I had a couple questions about the amount of fill added to them.  I followed the directions I was given by a lady, Megan, who has made a lot of wonder ovens, (this is her pile)

and actually has a cookbook using recipes for wonder ovens, and she lives right here in the Houston area—I met her at an emergency preparedness fair.  I completely trust her experience with them, as she uses them a lot.  Anyway, the wonder ovens we made today definitely do not have as much fill as some.  When I searched a little more, one set of directions I read listed the amount of fill as 7 gallons for the top pillow and 12 gallons for the bottom pillow (fully double on the bottom of what we put in them today). 

This is because we made what’s know as “floppy” Wonder ovens.


The benefits of having a fully stuffed wonder oven are:
  • They stand on their own completely.

The benefits of having a floppy wonder oven are:
  • It’s easier to store.
  • It’s easier to wash in washing machine.
  • It’s easier to fit in a tote.
  • Pillows are more adaptable, each on their own when there are fewer beads. You can even use them independently (the bottom or the top on its own) to retain the heat of a small item, wrapped up by the pillow. For example here’s a wonder oven safety-pinned around frozen food.
But it IS definitely better to use the floppy with a container of some sort because this gives the box better structure and keeps the insulation tight to the pot you are cooking in no matter what size or shape that pot is.  It also makes your Wonderbox easier to move and keeps it cleaner. 

Like these.

So, a lot of people weren't happy with the amount of fill in theirs, and still aren't happy about it. I wasn't happy that several people signed up and then notified (or didn't notify me) right before the activity saying they didn't want one anymore. I guess I should be glad of that though, because we ran out of the polysterene beads anyway, because Megan had told me they fill 22-25 wonder ovens a bag, and ours filled about 15.  I had bought three bags, and of course we ran out (in total we made 55).  So with the Relief Society's blessing  I bought another bag, and the Relief Society covered it.  But that just barely finished the rest of the wonder ovens ordered.  And people still want more filling, but really then I should charge a higher price to cover the cost. And I've made two trips to a not very pleasant part of Houston, and otherwise spent a lot of time trying to get the supplies, patterns, info, etc to people who didn't show up to the activity but still want one, and I'm just tired.  October just wore me out, and I haven't had a chance to recoup.  For the record (again), the Saturday activity went wonderfully, and I had so many awesome ladies helping and it went great and if that had been the end of it, everything would have been peachy.  I guess I'm just bummed that people aren't happy.  If I were to do this again, I would put at least 8 gallons of fill in the bottom and keep 4 gallons of fill on the top. Although on one website talking about floppy wonder ovens they said that one of the biggest problems with them is that people who haven't used wonder ovens before don't think they'll work, but they have confidence in the overfilled ones.  :/   Whew.  Sorry to carry on so long, but it's nice to get that off my chest.

3. I also stayed up almost the entire night before the wonder oven activity finishing a Christmas present that I had to finish before my coupon expired.  At least it's done.

4a.  Lice.  I have new appreciation for "nitpicking" and "going through with a fine-toothed comb."  A couple of weeks ago my neighbor, Vanessa, told me that her daughter had had lice.  This was after my kids had been playing with her all week, and I filed that away in my brain so when a week later, Elena complained about her head itching, I immediately had the flashing lights going off in my brain thinking that it might be lice.  I wasn't quite capable of dealing with it then though (the day before the wonder oven activity) so I sent her off with Leo and the other younger kids to go camping.

4b. Leo's company had a camping trip, and yes, Leo was brave enough to take Elena, Isabel, Sebastian, and Nicolas all by himself.  I loaded the van for him and had all the food ready, so when he got home, they could just head out.  They had a blast!  Ana stayed home with me and spent the weekend, for the most part, at her friend Alyssa's house.

Okay back to 4a again. When he got home from camping on Saturday night, I looked briefly through Elena's hair, saw something, mentally refused to acknowledge that it was lice, and declared her lice free.  Then I looked up lice the next morning after sleeping on it and being a little more prepared to deal with it, and sure enough, it was lice.  I buzzed the boys' hair, cut Isabel's hair, stayed home from church with any possible lice infested people, and sent the rest with Leo. And then we bought lice shampoo, treated Isabel and Elena's hair, vacuumed the entire house, washed all the bedsheets and towels, ran all the pillows and stuffed animals through the dryer, boiled in water (thus destroying them) all the combs and brushes, and vacuumed the chairs and couches.  Leo combed through Elena's hair picking out nits for almost an hour, and together we went through everyone's hair in the whole house.  It was a long Sunday.

The next day I found nits in Isabel's hair.

I spent three hours Monday night picking nits out of Elena and Isabel's hair.

I spent four day with an extremely itchy scalp swearing that I had lice too.  (I don't, just an over-active imagination).

We repeated the process yesterday, only to a lesser scale, vacuuming the whole house and furniture, and washing all the bedding and pillows from the little girls' room, and shampooing their hair.  I then spent 2 hours picking through their hair again.  I found zero on Elena (HURRAY!) and 5 on Isabel.  I think if I go through it again tomorrow and I find more on Isabel, I might cut her hair to chin length (it's shoulder-length now) because it's so thick and long, it's really hard to look through.  Wish me luck that they're all gone though.

5.  I also had to finish Elena's baptism dress last week and although it's really simple, the directions weren't that great and I ended up unpicking the waistband 3 times. Okay mostly my own errors, but the directions really were lame so I wasn't following them and just making it up as I went.   Errr....  Also I bought a e-pattern for the first time, and I really don't like them. They're a pain, because you have to tape all the pages together.  Yuck.  And now the dress is too small (my bad) and I'm considering remaking the top, and thus unpicking the waistband for the fourth time. I have all the fabric and stuff to do it, I'm just a little burnt out.  However, I'm sad that a dress I wanted Elena to be able to wear for a while and keep as a keepsake doesn't really fit her.

6. The baptism went wonderfully!!!  It couldn't have been better.  The ladies Elena wanted to talk did a great job, and Isabel, Elena, and Sebastian sang with Talmage and Logan B., Holding Hands Around the World (I love that song) and did a good job, and Ana was an excellent accompanist.  It was just sweet, and peaceful.

7. Here's some pictures of Elena in her dress. Just for you Kayli, I'm not making you wait until we go up to the Houston Temple.  I ran out of time, and it is just too cold.  Yuck.  It was down in the 40's almost.  When it warms up, I plan on taking her to the temple to take pictures there.  And Halloween pictures. Ah, silly, not Halloween pictures at the temple, but just better pictures of their costumes because I don't even have one good one of Isabel.   

(Yes, it needs a hook and eye at the bottom--this is because the bodice is too small. Err...)

8. My in-laws came on Saturday to the baptism.  I'm really glad they came.  It was nice to have them there for Elena. They took us out to our favorite Colombian restaurant, which was also nice.  

9.   The Renaissance Faire was kind of a disaster.  It rained. We were cold and wet.  Leo stayed home from work to go with me and help.  That was nice.  The kids cried.  We trudged across the town stopping to see some armor and a blacksmith, to go watch the falconry show, but we never made it. We were too cold and the kids were crying. And Isabel's feet were red and dripping wet.  So we took shelter in a covered pavilion, ate lunch, changed the kids' clothes and trudged back in ankle deep mud to watch the jousting, which the kids watched in rapt attention, never even moving. Seriously, Sebastian, Elena, and Nicolas NEVER moved. They loved it.  Then we trudged back to our car and went home.  Hardly worth it, but yet I can hardly wait to go again next year!  I should probably make another post of these pictures, but, I don't feel like it.
 See, Leo was there. He didn't dress up.

 At a broom shop.
 At the blacksmith shop.
 Isabel was so cold, I let her wear Jubal's hat.

 I thought my baby wrap hid the fact that I was wearing only my petticoat and shift (shocking, eh?) pretty well.  My Renaissance dress bit the dust, and I turned it into a skirt for the pirate costume, but I only wore the one petticoat because I didn't want to drag two skirts through the mud.  Also, Jubal is wearing his normal clothes, except I made him the little cap.  It's a little too big but still so cute!

10.  We unfortunately got a letter from the police two days later reminding us that in Texas our children not attending school is a crime.  Isabel has missed four days of school, once to go camping at the beach, once to Dewberry Farms and once to the Renaissance Faire, and I can't remember the last reason.  (They never marked Elena absent though, even though she was absent the same amount of times as Isabel.) And now we're in a quandary because we want to take her out again to go to San Antonio, but we don't want to have to go to court and be slapped with a $500 fine.  Ruff.

11.  I hate it here.  I try to convince myself I don't and I try to be positive... and then my children get lice and we get a letter from the police and my family are all partying together for Thanksgiving.  And it takes me another 3 months to try to get back to sort-of having a positive attitude.   

12.  And that is all.  I'm so excited for Christmas, I've already been playing Christmas carols, which, this is really early for me.  I'm usually an after Thanksgiving adherent.  

Oh no, wait, wait...there is a 13.

13.  I was so proud of myself, because I tried matching lace with Elena's dress and it was actually very hard, because the fabric is off-white but not ivory, and most of the lace at Joanns was bright white, and I was running out of time to order something online, plus it would have been a bit of a gamble anything I bought online anyway, so then I was looking through my stash again and I found the perfect lace, which I had seen and discarded before because it was ecru colored, but then I had a lightbulb moment, and decided to bleach it.  And I did, and it worked brilliantly!  Yeah!  But my google searches that day went like this: "How to bleach fabric" and 10 mins later: "How serious is spilled bleach on your skin?" Oops.

14.  Yes, there's a 14 too.  Silly me.  I made scones!  Yes, this is worth a 14, because I made English scones!  Four different types.  Chocolate-Chocolate Chip, Plain, Craisan Oatmeal, and Fresh Cranberry with candied fruit and peel in it as well.  Then I made mascarpone cheese.  Yes.  I made it. It's delicious.  I can make cheese.  I'm officially awesome.  Then I used it to make a wannabe Devonshire Cream to go on the scones.  That was also delicious.  I also made a different type of wannabe Devonshire cream with cream cheese and sour cream, which was also good but not as good, unless you ask Ana--she loves cream cheese.  And then I served them all at Elena's baptism with strawberry jam and black currant jam (which I love) and strawberry/orange juice and it was the perfect brunch treat and I felt very British.  Now for real, the end.

15. Oh, no wait.  Another funny tidbit.  Amy asked me to make invitations and a program for some random kid's baptism two weeks ago, which I did, and it worked wonderfully, because then I just used the same one for Elena's. I only changed out the picture and names.  It was providence.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

2 Weeks

1. It's been a while since I wrote last.  (I actually wrote that movie blog post awhile ago, so while I posted it last week, I really didn't write it then.)  And it has been insane.  Well, the week two weeks ago, was insane.  Last week I was just recouping.  I literally broke out in a rash for three days across one side of my face and got a canker sore that week.  Yes, I get canker sores when I'm stressed.  One time in college during finals, I had nine canker sores.  Maybe that was partly poor nutrition too, I don't know.  Anyway, the rash was new, and I know that was just stress.  As soon as Saturday afternoon hit, and all my stuff ended, it went away.

2. Frankly, I don't remember much about that week, I could look at my day planner but I'm too lazy to get up and get it, but I know I was just running the whole week.  And I had about the average of 3-4 hours of sleep every night.  And no, that was not just because I was sewing constantly--I was only sewing when the kids went to bed, that's why I was up late some of the nights. I was doing a bunch of other things too. And some of the nights I was up late working on my Hispanic Family History class.   And there were other things's all kind of a blur.

3. On the 23rd, my cousin Maria stopped in with her family. It was so fun to see her and meet her kids!  And then she was awesome and helped me sew buttons on Isabel's dress.  And then they came to the trunk or treat with us on Friday evening before driving home to El Paso.  These are her pictures from the trunk or treat.

4. I made a ton of White Chili and cornbread that day because I figured with 12 kids and 4 adults I better bring a lot, but then there was tons of food there, and I wish I had only brought the chili I signed up for.  Oh well.

5. Saturday the 24th was the Family History fair, and it went really well except I forgot to calculate in to my presentation time the fact that it would take twice as long because everything had to be said twice, once by me in English, and once by Leo in Spanish.  So I only got half way through.  I did have several people come and ask for a copy of the presentation afterwards, and Leo and I were able to help one guy figure out his circa 1700's records of where he was hitting a wall.  (The town had a long name. i.e. Santé Fe de Bogotá, and sometimes it was referred to as Santé Fe and sometimes as Bogotá. Not Bogotá really, but that's the idea. Anyway, Leo figured it out! I was so proud of him!) I went to two classes as well and I always love learning what's new and happening on FamilySearch.  So interesting. We brought the little kids too for a bit of it and let them do the kids' activities.

6. I volunteered Leo and I to teach at the Family History Fair because A. I know a lot about Hispanic Family History, which is rather rare and B. I don't want other people to have to go through what I did trying to learn how to do family history research in Hispanic countries, and C.  I love to help people and encourage people to do their family history work.  Leo was kind of annoyed at me because he knew how busy I already was, BUT I was more than amply blessed for it because Leo asked me afterwards if there was anything he could do to help do research on his family line.  Like him doing it himself, not me harassing him to call this uncle or that great-grandpa or translate this letter.  He said he felt strongly while there that he should be helping his ancestors not just relying on me. And today, he started entering all this info in my Reunion program that had been erased when our computer crashed over a year ago, and I have only managed to get halfway through my family history files since then.  Happiest day of my life!

7. I slept for 4 hours after getting home from the fair and I literally felt the adrenaline that had been keeping me awake and moving for the week before drain away, and I felt dead tired.  It was a weird feeling.

8.    My Grandma Ruth passed away this last week. I so regret not ever taking my kids up to Canada to meet her.

9.  Halloween was fun! We carved pumpkins and Ana passed out candy while Leo and I took the little kids trick-o-treating. Jubal fell asleep just before we left so we left him home with Ana.

Sebastian's spider.
Ana's grim reaper.
Elena's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle
Isabel's Creepy
Nicolas's two wolves and a cat.  (I forgot part of the one wolf, so it looks not quite right.)  Guess which one's I carved?  Yes, if you guessed all but Ana's you guessed right.  And yes, I do like carving pumpkins.

10.  This Saturday I'm in charge of a 4 hour activity of making Wonder Ovens.  Joy.  I can't wait till it's over.  But in total 66 wonder ovens were ordered.  That's a lot.

11 (a).  I also have to make Elena's baptism dress this week.  It shouldn't be hard.  That's what I keep telling myself anyway.

11(b). I also am in charge of preschool this week and I'm taking the little kids to the Renaissance Faire, and of course the wonder oven fill that I have to go pick up, etc.  It will calm down eventually, right?

12. Leo's end-of-the-year work party is in San Antonio again this year.  We're going to take the kids and go to Sea World again since they pay for the hotel, gas, food, etc.  It's Western themed this year and will be at a ranch.  So Western wear was encouraged if you wanted.  I wanted.  So I went to Once Upon a Child the other day and looked through all the shoe bins for cowboy boots for Isabel, Sebastian and Nicolas (Ana and Elena already have cowboy boots) and I didn't find any. I was so disappointed because I've always seen at least one pair when I was there before.  But then I went to check out with my westernish-looking shirts for them and I saw a pair in a bin behind the counter and I asked about them, and they brought the bin over, and lo and behold it was FULL of cowboy boots.  I ended up with a pair for Isabel and Sebastian.  They were getting ready for a Cowboy display.  Sah-WEET.

13. This is kind-of lame of me, but I always feel a lot of pressure to dress our kids perfectly (well, nothing is perfect, but you get the idea) for Leo's work things.  Just because we have such a large family and I want people to have a good impression of a big family that is well-groomed and cared for so they don't think all big families are chaotic and a mess.   It's not so much about my family in particular, but just for the good name of large families everywhere.  I guess because I think people judge big families a lot.  Does that make sense?

14. My kids are all alive and doing mostly okay.

15. Remember the awful week I had a while ago where I bawled half the day, every day, and  bought a ton of things, including hats?  Well, here's one of the fabulous hats I bought.  I LOVE it!  It's my favorite hat I own now.  I guess the emotional week was worth it.

15. And just for fun: