Wow, it's been awhile! But...I've been BUSY! Okay, maybe not as busy this past week now that the market is closed, but I've not been motivated to do much but laze around this week. And having a daughter succomb to the flu kinda ruined those plans. Shoot. Oh well, gave her lots of snuggles, even more meds, even more prayers...and praise God, today's the second day with no fever or meds!
Right now, I should be doing our final payroll...but I HATE accounting! So I'm procrastinating (sorry employees!). But...tonight is our employee party, so they have to be done by then! Which reminds me, it was a year ago that my brother arrived from Vegas then rushed me to the ER an hour after he got here...I went home several days later missing a body part....which I really don't miss....
We closed the market for the season last Saturday with a tiny whimper. Weather wasn't too bad, but attendance was way down. Not a problem; God blessed us with an abundantly good year, so much so I'm still very much in awe. The Lord has been very good to us, and I pray we've been a small mirror of His love to our employees and customers.
I've done LOTS of canning this year, but no where near what I've done the past several years...not enough time! Still have to do apple pie filling and chicken soup...but I did over 50 quarts of spaghetti sauce, peaches, and green beans, not quite that much of peas (for Tony, yuck!), cherries, and salsa. Also froze lots of strawberries, raspberries, and cherries, strawberry jam, raspberry jam, and combos of strawberry/raspberry, raspberry/peach, and strawberry/raspberry/peach jam. We still have a good amount of pork left from the half pig we got earlier this year, but our beef is gone...for now. Tony is butchering again really soon. Can I wait another three weeks for a good roast beef? It's so hard..... Regardless, we're set for quite a bit of our winter food! Have some potatoes in cold storage as well. Oh, and I dried a bunch of honeycrisp apples this week, too (not that many of them are left....we've been eating them almost as fast as I've been dehydrating them!).
I've also been trying to gear up to start some serious home schooling with the kiddos...but haven't been too motivated as of yet. Maybe it goes back to that whole kid with the flu thing this week....or just needing to veg out and not do much of anything. But...we do have co-op on Mondays with LOTS of stuff the kids are learning, and Luke and I worked on writing yesterday and more on telling time today. He and Susanna are wrapped up in lots of coloring and art crafts each day. I've been telling myself it's helping them work on their fine motor skills (does that excuse fly right now?).
Tony has been busy taking things down from the Market, winterizing things at the farm, mulching strawberries, spreading manure, you name it. The weather this week has been fairly nice and unseasonably warm (okay, in the 40s), so he's been trying to get as much done as possible before the start of hunting season tomorrow morning. Supposedly, the deer population is down this year (but not according to anyone who actually lives in this area, pesky deer!), so the limit in our area is one deer for the season....and to be able to get a doe, you had to enter a lottery. Tony's name was drawn, but the first deer he gets, the season is done for him. We've been praying that he'll get a deer first thing tomorrow morning! Maybe be able to be home a bit more!
We've also spent lots of time laughing at the kids, as usual. For some reason, Luke has taken to calling Susanna 'missy' -- "okay, Missy?" "Whatcha doing, Missy?" "Want me to help you, "Missy?" You can also tell we spent a bit more time watching PBS kids this week than normal. He looked at me the other night, out of the blue, and said, "Mama, did you know that McDonald's is a proud sponsor of Sesame Street?" I started laughing and asked what that meant. "I don't know....but they are."
He continues to be a quick study in endearing himself to women and saying just the right thing. One day last week when I was feeling a bit out of it, I was sitting at the table downstairs at about 11:00 still in my pjs and glasses, hair flying out all over, hunched over my cup of tea, trying to wake up, when Luke looked at me and said, "Mama, you are so beautiful to me." "What? I'm beautiful? Looking like this????" "Yep, you are VERY beautiful to me!" "Susi, am I beautiful to you?" "Well, Mama, um, I like your shirt and you ring is VERY beautiful!" Yeah. She tells it like it is.
And like I mentioned earlier, she had the flu earlier this week for several days -- red, raw throat, aches and pains, fever, misery. I spent most of Monday just rocking her and snuggling, trying to get her to have any kind of fluids (she did eat grapes but wouldn't drink any kind of water, juice, soup, nothing...hurt too much on her throat). That night, as I was tucking her into bed, she took my face in her hands and said "Mama, you tried so hard all day to make me feel better, but I didn't. I still love you, though." Wow. Thanks, Sus!
I'm also realizing that as much as I love the time change in the fall, it is NOT enjoyable when little people are involved. Today was the first day they both slept until almost 7:00. Most of the week it was before 6:00 (okay, Susi was also up several times a few nights because of the flu). And usually, it was only one of them waking up before turning on their bedroom light around 5:30 and deliberately waking the other one up. So as I tucked them into bed last night, I reminded them "If you wake up first tomorrow and the other is still sleeping, do NOT wake them up. You stay in bed and don't talk." This is what I heard a few minutes before 7:00 today.
Luke, LUKE, LUUUUUKE! Wake up!
I had a tewible dweam about satan! Want me to tell you?
Okay. Oh wait, Susanna. Remember what Mama said last night?
If you wake up and the other one is still sleeping, don't talk and don't wake them up. I'm still sleeping, so STOP TALKING!
Oh. Okay. But I just want to tell you my dweam.
Okay, you can.
We were dancing and satan was watching us from a twee!
We also had fun this week with dress up. We don't "do" Halloween, but since it is so hard to find dress-up play clothes, I usually hit the stores right after Halloween and buy costumes at deeply discounted prices. Found about 6 outfits for each of them Monday morning when I ran out quickly to get more meds for Susi. They've had so much fun being a bride, a princess, two different dancers, a gorilla, a race car driver, a clown, a fire man, Captain America, and GI Joe. It's also helped me be able to not do much of anything in my totally unmotivated state.
I mentioned a bit about our home-school co-op. One of the classes they are taking is US History and Science. In the short hour the teacher has, she also covers about 5-10 minutes of Bible, too. I'm amazed at how much she covers in such a short time. The kids have learned about the Vikings, Christopher Columbus, the Mayflower and Jamestown, the Revolutionary War, and we're now starting to learn about the 50 states (2 each week). They've also learned to do some general map reading, what direction is what way, and that's not counting all the science things that have been covered. Each week, we get about 10-20 "recommended reading" books on a list to check out of the library. I've been requesting the books, but most of them are mainly for review since I usually get them several weeks after we've studied each subject. But...the classes are sinking in, as are the books! A couple books in particular have made a big impact.
"The Courage of Sarah Noble" is a book we spent reading over several nights at bed time. It is about a young girl who goes with her father to build a new cabin. Mom and baby cannot come yet, so they go to get things ready for her. Then Dad goes back to get mom and baby while Sarah stays with a new neighbor. All along, through her fears, she remembers how her mother told her to keep her courage...and she does. This has REALLY helped with bed time fears, the darkness, and things in general. And yesterday, when I was pretending to be scared of Luke when he dressed in the gorilla outfit, Susanna looked at me and sternly said, "Where's your courage, Mama?"
"What Happened Next, Paul Revere?" is another great book. It is a little above their heads, but understandable enough for them. And I cannot believe what all I learned about Paul Revere! Did you know he was captured the night of his big ride? That he made dentures? That he had 11 children who lived and another 3 or 4 who died in infancy? That he was born on January 1? Well, at the end of each page there is a question along the lines of "And THEN what happened?" After about the third or fourth time, the kids were really into the book and started answering "We don't know! TELL US!!! WHAT HAPPENED NEXT?????" Luke now pretends that he is Paul Revere warning everyone that the Red Coats are coming...he also likes to pretend he is a Red Coat but is quick to assure me he is a GOOD Red Coat.
I've also been continuing to train my monkeys...I mean my kids....to do all my work around the house so I can sit and watch soaps and each chocolate (not really....soaps are stupid and chocolate doesn't sit well since my gall bladder was removed, sigh....). I do, however, try to get them to do quite a bit of things around the house. They honestly love emptying the trash cans and know how to knot the bags closed and put new bags in, hauling the garbage bags up to the front door for Daddy when he gets home. They also set the table, clean up their own messes before bed time (otherwise, their toys aren't there in the morning...which they've learned twice the hard way). And one of my favorites...they sort the clean laundry for me! All the clean clothes get dumped into a large pile with empty clothes baskets circling the pile. They then put Susanna's clothes in one basket, Luke's in another, socks in another, towels in another, Daddy & Mama's in another, and hanging up clothes on the couch. Since the vast majority of clothes are theirs, this GREATLY reduces what I have to fold. I've tried having them fold the towels and match the socks, but alas, to no avail. Yet. Towels are a bit too challenging still (not the folding, just the amount of them!). And neither of them like to wear the same two socks on their feet, so folding socks to them just consists of putting any two socks together. Which wouldn't bother me so much (after all, matched socks just get taken apart so they can be unmatched...or Barbie dresses...or gloves....), but when they start wearing my socks...and even Tony's, that's a bit too much!
Enough about the kids! My Watkins business is continuing to grow, too. Not just in sales for me, but with my team, too. There are now 50 people under me -- about a dozen of them are under other of my team members. And my volume has greatly shot up, too, as many of my associates are really growing their businesses. I love it! I've earned enough points for a trip to Hawaii in March and hope that Tony and I will be able to go to celebrate out seventh anniversary. My parents offered to come and stay with the kids, yippee!
I've also been getting things ready for our second annual Christmas Showcase. Last year we had ten different home-based businesses involved as well as two non-profits. This year, we have more than fifteen different groups -- Shaklee, Mary Kay, Pampered Chef, Discovery Toys, Tastefully Simple, Tupperware, Young America Essential Oils, Cookie Lee, and several others as well as a MOPS bake sale and Kinship will be doing something, too. One of our local grocery stores will be displaying holiday deli and bakery platters. We have some massage therapists who will be doing 15 minute chair massages for $10. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be there for the kids, and David Overly who starred (and excelled!) in our local production of Fiddler on the Roof will be doing dramatic story-tellings of traditional Christmas favorites. We are also requesting people bring a food item for several local food shelves. It's gonna be a GRAND time...so if you live in the area, mark your calendars for Saturday, December 5, from 10-3!
And a brief update on my nephew Caleb...he and his family are in Washington DC right now at the first National Bible Bee. Caleb did an awesome job yesterday for semi-finals, but not quite enough to make it to today's finals. Ron told me what all was required, and WOW! I am sooo impressed with all those kids and especially Caleb! Thanks for all your prayers and support.
And if this wasn't enough to keep me busy, I still have to catch up with the farm accounting (and ours!). Which reminds me...gotta do pay roll! But we've also been asked to be the featured growers at our Minnesota Fruit & Vegetable convention in January. So I'll be working on that, too......
Keep in touch, and I'll try to post more often! Wash your hands, cover your coughs and sneezes, stay healthy...