Friday, February 28, 2014

“This activist loves Oregon more than he loves life.”

"Oregon is an inspiration. Whether you come to it, or are born to it, you become entranced by our state's beauty, the opportunity she affords, and the independent spirit of her citizens." --Address to the 1973 Legislature

There have been a lot of sudden big changes rolling around in my life. I feel poorly that I've neglected this blog so much!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

How Would You Even Know I Was Here?

Day 16: Monday outside 20 minute hooping with the kids. Amazeballs!
First thing! The results of the Curvy Hooper Video Challenge 2014!
Next, is probably more spectacular:

I wanted to make a general update/overview. With starting at the new store, and the kids' Mondays being a little bit more full-- I've been slacking on my updates. Plus, there is something magical about setting aside the time to write, with my snuggly kitties, and a bowl. That's what make day's off so amazeballs.

Like I mentioned in my previous update I've been working really hard to be actively involved with the kids' homeschooling as possible. Frankly, this is selfish on my behalf, because I am trying to prove myself indispensable to The Walters clan. I need Jess to be apart of raising my kids, and I need to continue on in my journey with her children-- and I want to move to back home to Oregon. Jess can have an amazing garden there, and I can raise my kids in the open air.

Part of making myself be indispensable looks like this:
On Monday's, per the kids' request, I write up our schedule for the day
During the kids' lunch time free time, Liam asked if he could use my tablet. Since that activity is normally reserved for Thursday we compromised by doing a 10 minute rotation; tablet, elliptical, and reading. This seemed to work freakin' awesome!
Part of after lunch free-time looked like a 10 minute rotation.

Set a timer for 10 minutes, and have the kids rotate activities every time the timer goes off

Liam asked me to hang this up, because he is excited for the sun to return, and for us to start hiking. 
Like I mentioned in yesterday's blog post, the kids and I have baked bread and made homemade butter, have done many Mad Libs, gone to the Salt Lake City Information Center, studied Imbolc, watched episodes of Ghostwriter, practiced our handwriting, worked in workbooks, planted onions in reused yellow cups from Dickie's, hula hooped tons, we've been reading Save Queen of Sheba together, and have had our hands in some crafting. And, here are the picture's I've been taking along our way:
Kieran made a Sabbat Wheel for Imbolc last Monday. Goal for upcoming Spring, To Love More. 
Violet's Imbolc drawing
Bright Imbolc Blessings to All. --Liam

Liam's Seasons Wheel

Violet's Season Wheel

I know I write monthly goals, but I participated with our Imbolc activity by writing my monthly goals while the kids were here.

My Sabbat Wheel

Chinese New Year, and Imbolc were our introduction into learning about seasons, months, the difference between solstice and Equinox.

And to see more about this craft read this blog entry.

I try to make the kids as comfortable as possible when with me, and try to make school stuff fun. I think I do an okay job of that-- at least they always seem quite content in their pictures with me.
Violet going on 10 hours of sleep at my house

Workbook activities at PRC

My little buddies being fuckin' adorable. 

Simple Bread Recipe the kids followed:

2 cups very warm water (we put a kettle one and take it off pre-boiling)
Big Spoonful of honey and/or molasses
1 Tablespoon Yeast
Bread flour (about 4 cups, until the dough is stiff, and difficult to stir)
Pinch of salt

This bread recipe is fairly simple. Hell, our 7-year-old has pretty much mastered it. First take your very warm water and mix it together with honey/molasses-- once everything is mixed and dissolved sprinkle the yeast on top.
The yeast foaming

Sprinkling flour ontop of the warm liquid and yeast

Mix everything really well

Then let the dough rest and rise
After all of the ingredients are mixed, allow the dough some time to rise. I read to the kids during the rise time-- I also found since my house is kinda on the chilly side, making a nice, warm, humide space for the dough is a giant help, pre-heat the oven to 200*F with a pyrex casserole pan full of water (do this when your water is heating up when you're first starting), once the dough is ready to rest turn off your oven, and let the dough rest in there. Doing this will help it rise fairly quickly.

After the first rest give the dough a good mix, and transport from the bowl to it's bread baking dish. Once there allow the dough to go through a seond rest while your oven pre-heats to 350*F, bake for about twenty minutes, rotating half way through. Viola. Perfect, simple bread.

A few more pictures from our Mondays together:
In honor of learning a little about pioneers we had stew in pie tins.

Liam explains over dinner how he made the stew.

Kieran aproves of Pioneer Grub.
Outside of my Mondays, the new store, and brain-washing the Walters that they need to move with me to Oregon. I also got to see my sister, Amanda, and I've been trying to focus on my health and future as much as possible.

Marc, and I have been talking a lot more about our future plans and what we want to do in terms of legally making a commitment to one another. It's been difficult, because he really wants to do certain things more traditionally, and I want to say 'fuck all' focus on us, and what would be fun, and make us happy in terms of making a legally binding commitment out of our relationship.

I want something more personal, beautiful, and meaningful-- and it's not that he doesn't want those things, I just think he thinks things should be a bigger stress/to-do than they really need to be. I'm not trying to put anyone down, I'm just saying a big, flashy show isn't us.

I don't know. It's been a lot of fun talking about plans-- exciting, romantic, honest. But, enough about that.

I know I already shared February's goals, but after feeling like January had a few let downs (I was sick a lot of the month, but still participated in making healthy choices) I don't think it would hurt to see them again:
February 2014 Goals: Looking forward to a magical Spring.
Day 17 on Project: This is my 'I am super excited to exercise' face!
My 15 Goals are totally doable, and since I'm currently getting over January 2014 the month of sickness-death-and-doom I am recommitting to an *active* (I've been making pretty okay food choice, I can always improve, but I'm mostly proud) tomorrow. 

To be honest, it's been really difficult staying positive, and therefore it's easier for me to choose immobility over activity. However, this blog was partialy started as a way to keep myself accountable, and to keep track of my journey through life. This is part of my journey.

My journey consists of depression, and my depression is stemming, still, from our last miscarriage, and due to the fact that my cycle hasn't been this wonky in a long time.

However, on a more positive note, Marc and I are currently trying to get pregnant. After our last experience, we both felt that this was something we wanted, and decided to start working towards our goal. So, we've been tracking my Basal Body Temperature, and using ovulation strips. Hopefully, due to my active, healthy, and happy lifestyle we'll eventually fall pregnant, and be able to sustain said pregnancy, and have our healthy baby we both want.

 Until my next post, here's proof I'm working toward some of February's Goals already, and plan on doing more tomorrow!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Monster Magnet

With the kids being home-schooled I've been really trying to up my involvement in their activities. We've baked bread and made homemade butter, have done many Mad Libs, gone to the Salt Lake City Information Center, studied Imbolc, watched episodes of Ghostwriter, practiced our handwriting, worked in workbooks, planted onions in reused yellow cups from Dickie's, hula hooped tons, we've been reading Save Queen of Sheba together, and have had our hands in some crafting.

One of our crafts we did together (well, mostly Violet and I)  was weaving a rug made out of old T-shirts, using a hula hoop as a loom.
Hula hoop Rug Weaving

Old shirts that were lying around my house, and clearance finds

I've had a few people request instructions on making said rug so here's roughly what we did:

You'll need:
-hula hoop (I used an old one I picked up at K-Mart a few years ago, cost about $5)
-about a dozen T-shirts (I used old ones lying around the house, and $1 finds in the clearance section at Old Navy)

1- Pick out a hoop for a loom.
2- For the wrap, cut 1"-wide loops from the bodies of the tees (I found using Men's XXL from the clearance section at Old Navy), removing the hem and stopping at the sleeves. I read online that 11 loops work the most ideal, I used 8, but the next rug I make I will do the 11 loops (this should take about 2 shirts).

The beginning
3- Stretch one wrap loop over the hula hoop. Add and secure a second loop, perpendicular to the first. Repeat, filling in the spaces. 
4- Push together two loops at the top of the hula hoop. This creates an odd number of spokes in your wheel, which allows the overunder pattern of the weft to alternate with each new row. Secure the first weft loop to the center of one of the spokes (you can use the double spoke that was created) by wrapping it around then looping it back through itself.

5- Begin weaving the weft over and under the warp spokes, forming a tight spiral. For now, treat both parts of each spoke as a single unit, weaving over or under the two together. As you work, push the weft material toward the center of the hoop and keep it just snug. If you pull too tight the rug will deveolop lumps and/or bends. When you reach the end of the piece of weft, add a new loop by threading it through the end of the first and back through itself.

6- When your rug is about 8" across, begin treating each warp spoke as two individual strips instead of a single unit, weaving over or under each strand instead of going over or under the doubled spoke. This will improve the structure. When you get to the two warp spokes that you pushed together at the top of the loom, separate them. Treat one of the spokes as two individual strips, but continue to treat the other as a single spoke-- this will help maintain the odd number of warp spokes.

7- When the rug is the size you want snip open your weft loop. Tie the ends around warp spoke, and tuck ends into the rug-- cut the warp spokes off the hoop one at a time. Tie the ends in pairs, then trim them to make a fringe, or tuck them back into the rug.

Our finished rug

While looking up how to write this blog (we free styled what we did on our own, I had a pretty good idea of what I was doing due to what I learned in the Idian Education Program), I found a lot of helpful sources including this one.

I also googled 'hula hoop rug weaving instructions.' And, that turned up a lot of helpful information.

I am really looking forward to making our next rug with a bigger hoop. It should be a lot of fun, especially now that we have the first rug under our belt.