Thursday, October 31, 2013

Wiggle Breaks

So I'm writing today while Junior takes a "Wiggle Break" in his homeschooling. (I swear, this is not a home school blog. I swear it!) It is week three, things have reached a sort of "order" we just have to keep plodding along. Burning through the curriculum is actually helping us, but because it's all boring review, we have to take a few wiggle breaks through the day where he can sing to himself ("DOO DOO DOO!"), shake his strut, and decompress. I keep them to about every two hours or so, and that seems to be working.

Slightly less wiggly than Junior.

Since we have no online teacher meetings today, our Halloween Schedule is our own. This is great because the Home Front has not been exactly the bastion of sanity. I'm behind on almost everything because between being upset about money troubles (that I make none), and trying to get Boy Scout patches sewn on, costumes made, and every thing else, well...

Situation Normal.

I've got a pile of laundry that's reaching my height in a corner. It's clean, but I'm behind on folding. I've got a kitchen that looks like a greasy dinner bomb went off, a kitchen table that looks like a school bomb went off, and our larder is running a tad bare.

Oh, and my palm pilot, where I keep all my shopping information, and months of data? Crashed. Hard. I lost everything.

Go home, Plane, you're drunk.

Rule #1 on the Home front, though. Never panic. Never. You could be actually on fire, but there will be no screaming, no running around. We deal with problems head on.

Also applies to palms.

Today, I have to work on decorating for All Hallow's Eve. On that note, I've decided that I need to join the neighborhood association and start campaigning for a better solution to Halloween, one that I'd seen in a dream, twice. First and foremost, spooky is great, but our neighborhood was laid out by drunken hobos on a five day meth bender. There are few streetlights, and fewer sidewalks, not to mention many, many front yard gates.

Trick or... Treat?

Do you enter a front yard gate? Usually those strike me as good signs to move on. Well, our haul has been less than spectacular the past couple of years mostly because of these reasons, so I had an idea to use the big local track/soccer field as a sort of massive neighborhood Trunk or treat, only without cars, and maybe with a sorta party in the soccer field area. Basically, we would be getting together as neighbors in a safe place.

And just because it's Halloween, I'll leave you with a picture that's not scary at all:

Not even a little.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Fighting on the Home Front! Hidden Gems in your Refrigerator!

What's for dinner, Mrs. Jones? Leftovers? That's excellent! You've been paying attention to what Uncle Sam has been telling us:

What's the matter? Ah, the family can get pretty bored of three days of roast. Well, I suppose few of us would blame them, but let's go look at Mrs. Smith, her family never seems bored! She's serving up a wonderful casserole tonight, my my, that smells good!

Mrs. Smith, what is your secret? Oh, there IS a secret hiding in that dish, isn't there. With rice, crackers or breadcrumbs, white sauce or gravy, a little meat and some fresh vegetables, and maybe even a dash of cheese if you can spare it, and you've turned leftover night from a sad affair to a gala event in taste and thrift! Just layer it all in together, bake in the oven until heated through.

Our friends across the pond remind us:

Now, let's not forget those little ones at Halloween. For those craving sweets at home, don't forget that many recipes for spice cakes and honey buns take less sugar than they used to, and a spooky and fabulous time can be had when you're not filling up bags.

Also, let's look at what we already have on hand for those costumes. Just like our food, we must save the cotton and other fabrics for our boys overseas. Mrs. Smith has adapted an old dress and a pair of Mr. Smith's trousers that are too worn to wear, and now Junior makes a scary ghoul, without wasting precious cloth.

Keep 'em flying, Mrs. Smith!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Fighting on the Home Front! Ready for Winter

It's not quite time for Halloween tricks and treats, but a chill is in the air in our little neighborhood. Mrs. Jones is in her favorite spot, curled under a blanket and listening to music on the Wireless.

Mrs. Smith is--Say, where IS Mrs. Smith?

Why here she is! Out back in the garden. While fresh bread rises in the kitchen, she's working hard to finish out the summer victory harvest. Anything left, she'll get into cans or on the table this week, but what about the ground? No, our Mrs. Smith would never let all that hard work go to waste!

She's already checked her copy of the Old Farmer's Almanac for what to do to keep her garden healthy through the long winter months. They've been in print since 1792, so they know their business. Not only that, but there's a lot more great information to help you through the year. Now that's a national treasure!

(These suggestions have been adapted from the page. Our thanks to the Old Farmer's Almanac for their contributions to the American household through the many years of their service!)

Let's check back on Mrs. Smith!

Here she is checking the carrots. We'll leave those in the ground, along with garlic, parsnips, and radishes. Here's plenty of good mulch to keep the ground warm and some tall stakes so we know where the rows are.

Beans, Tomatoes, Squash and Pea plants are checked for any diseases. The good ones are thrown into the compost, the bad ones are burned first.

She's tilling up any insect nests that might have decided to make their homes there, and also sowing some mulch, compost and fertilizer as needed into the soil.

Don't forget those cover crops. Mrs. Jones is using pea plants as a cover, but she won't be picking these peas! Just dig them under in the fall and you'll be ready to go in the spring as soon as the last frost has passed.

Once again, a little hard work sure can save you some trouble when it's time for the spring planting. Why, Mrs. Smith, I bet you'll double your yield! And every vegetable you don't have to buy is one more for our boys overseas to eat good healthy meals and keep up their strength for the long road ahead!

Keep 'em flying, Mrs. Smith, and Old Farmer's Almanac!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Raining and Complaining... and tarts!

Welcome again to the Thursday rant. It's been a--how do I put this--

Edvard Munch understands.

It's been this kind of a week. Plus side, I've been cooking more. That's one of the most important lessons that I've learned in studying the homefront. Just because you're out of everything doesn't mean you can't make dinner. Tonight, I made cheese dumplings in tomato sauce, and tonight I'm thinking I might use the rest of the cheese to make sausage and cheese breakfast pastries (to cook early tomorrow morning). Last night I made jam tarts which were VERY sweet, especially after the reduced sugar of the ration cooking I've been doing, but as was suggested I might try using a sugar free preserve next time, but also not attempt to make them a breakfast food.

Great dress, needs mouse slippers, though.

Home schooling has hit a few road bumps. Not the least of which is a lack of communication between the school and me. Junior's enjoying it, though. I've not seen him have this much fun in a couple of months.

Playing in the rain was HIS idea, not mine.
(I just told him where the better puddles were.)

I'm actually less stressed than I was. I mean, no more sitting in the rolling death fog while I wait to rescue him, no more worrying about notes from school, no more nervous tatting.

Breaks my heart just thinking about it.

Not that I've stopped work. I am taking a short hiatus from the tablecloth to work on the worlds most foppish handkerchief. I'll post photos in my regular google feed later.

Overall, I've not been doing my utmost to improve morale on the Home Front. Part of this is getting everything set up for home schooling, part of it is just general malaise. Okay, I'm not saying I need to be Miss Sally Sunshine all the time, but I need to do a better job of sucking it up.

I'd like to see Twilight Sparkle do this some time.

So that's my goal for the next week. To stop focusing so hard inward when there's work to be done, a family that needs my attention, schooling that needs doing. As we remind ourselves here on the home front:

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Fighting on the Home Front: The Smells of Home

(Editor's note: Last week while Mrs. Smith handled her son's education, Mrs. Jones was in charge of the Blog posting. Now you understand why we do not let this happen often.)

It's lunchtime, and Mrs. Jones is setting out her bread and jam while she counts up her points for next week's meals. There never seem to be quite as many as Mrs. Smith seems to have, even though they have families of the same size.

What's that wonderful smell coming from Mrs. Smith's house? Why, it's fresh bread! Manufactured bread costs more than just points, shipping the ingredients to factories and then to your home wastes precious resources needed for our boys overseas.

Our troops need shipping far more than our food!

And let's not forget, pies, and other pastries, when you can spare the rations provide a great lift to the family, and a little sugar can go a long way when it comes to morale at home. Meanwhile, homemade jam need not be trucked further than from the local berry patch, or even your own garden, and can bring a taste of summer to a blustery winter day when canned as jam! Making jam can also earn you extra sugar rations since you'll be stretching those points through the winter.

And let's not forget the wonderful smell of a kitchen in operation! This can help lighten spirits as well as lengthen that food budget. So ladies, let's get cooking!

Keep 'em flying Mrs. Smith!

Today's recipes come from Ms. Anna Liffey, who provides us with a few things to help satisfy that nagging sweet tooth!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Breaking up is never easy.

Oh wow, is it Thursday already?


It seems like a thousand years ago that I was posting about being fed up with Junior's school, or as we began to think of it, his state required daycare. He really wasn't learning anything but how to be bored. Story of too many lives, including many of you, my dear readers.

So thanks to modern technology, I don't have to feel so disconnected as I join the ranks of--

Resistance is Futile.

Well, I was going to say homeschooling housewyfs. Close enough.

I will adapt.

After all, there's a lot to be learned from our Delta Quadrant friends, here, and not just about trans-warp corridors. They have the fighting thirst of the Klingons, the art of the Romulans, the ruthlessness of the Cardassians, and the calm of the Vulcans. After all, their technological and biological uniqueness was added to their own.

These are ST:TOS meerkats, your argument is irrelevant.
(I see nothing wrong with this. Don't judge me.)
(ETA: On review, I noticed that they were in front of the Enterprise-D, that IS wrong.)

So, back on topic, next Friday, I finally seal my fate and sign the papers to withdraw Junior from Brick and Mortar public school and resign myself to spending 6.5 hours a day attempting to fulfil his educational needs. I'm actually really very thankful that I don't have to figure this out from scratch, and that I won't be alone. He'll have a teacher to report to, books to learn from. It's all wonderfully done for my lazy butt. (Can you say bon-bons and daytime TV? Nah, I can't either, I'm only occasionally a total "Mrs. Jones.")

Currently, I'm penning a final letter to Junior's first grade teacher asking her to collect all his things. It's going to feel a bit like the exile scene in the Stallone Judge Dredd. "Let him be remembered in/stricken from our hearts and minds, forever." (EDIT: Mistaken date due to bad communication. Next Friday. Imagine the day we had.)

It could be worse.

In other Home Front news, we've put another infernal machine out of use. My grass whip arrived today, which may not be as sharp as a scythe, but it requires a lot less skill and not only can I clear the weeds without a Masters Degree in peening, but I can also work on my golf swing while I do yard work. At this point, between the new grass whip, the reel mower, and the scythe, the Home Front is now using only human power to tend our little 1/2 acre.

Also not powered by gas or electric.

Finally, a bit of a quandry has been solved, but not in the way I would have liked. It turns out that the evening cough has not just been a dry throat. I seem to be having an allergic reaction to my bedding, probably dust mites. There's not much for it, even replacing the mattress would regain the same problem in a few short months.

To save that cost (we will eventually need to do this as ours is 12 years old and we tend to meet in the middle), I'm going to buy a cover for our mattress and start regularly either hanging out my pillows in the sunshine or throwing them in the dryer for a while to kill the dust mites. Husband and I might revisit our earlier discussions of a Japanese style futon, especially if I can convince him to build me a drying rack outside for daily or weekly hanging.

Suck on some sunlight, you little bastards!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Fighting on the Home Front: Keeping fit!

Good morning, Mrs. Jones! And what a fabulous morning it is. You've had your coffee and the children are off at school.

Oh my, you don't look ready to face your day! The clock is ticking on the hours you'll be by yourself, you should get as much done as possible so that your family time isn't wasted with cleaning what should have been done earlier.

Let's have a look in on Mrs. Smith.

That's right, Mrs. Smith is getting her day started right with a work out as soon as the kids are gone. Not only does this keep her fighting fit, but it also helps to boost her energy so that she can do what needs to be done!

It can often be hard to motivate yourself, so it's best to find a partner that does workouts that you enjoy. And don't forget:

It's never too early to get your little ones involved in physical fitness. Something as simple as letting your toddler walk instead of keeping them in the stroller can help their endurance, and when you have to pick them up, it helps you stay strong too.

Just like eating healthy, a regular work out should be part of your routine on the home front, after all, if our boys overseas can do it, it's the least we can do for them, too!

Keep 'em flying Mrs. Smith!