Liam Marcus’ Voice – We started. Yep. Collecting pennies is a thing of the future again. Remember when you saw a penny on the streets? You picked it up. Why? Because back then you could use it to add to your other four pennies and buy a piece of chocolate candy somewhere. Today you should still pick them up. Why? Because one penny is worth two pennies and rising. Some people are calling them the “new silver” and by the way, when I bought my silver coins a few years back they were $22/each. Today those same silver coins are worth about $40/each. 50% profit, huh? Not bad. With the death of paper dollar(s) soon approaching and the institution of one world currency, copper, which pennies predating 1981 (and some 1982) is what they are made of, will be worth a bit more than a couple of pennies. Mind you, you’ll probably have to melt them pennies, but not yet, because remember, it’s illegal to melt currency. Just wait until it’s dead first.
Megan Ryan’s Voice – I have a little coin collection passed down to me from my paternal grandfather. It’s not worth anything but the fond memories of my late father. Dad got me into coin collecting by bringing home the occasional coin that was a bit different looking from the rest. Now the children enjoy coming across those ‘State Quarters’ and giving them to me. Once we collect them all, we’ll put them in a little display Papaw got me before he went home to Jesus.
Megan Ryan’s Voice - Marcus is cultivating a lovely black mustachio lately, and he and I were just bemoaning the fact that men’s mustache wax (think Poirot) is ridiculously expensive starting at $2 per ounce. Then I said, “Hey we should Google how to make our own.” Marcus thought for a second and said with a grin, “Well I have some left over tar in the garage.” We laughed, and I said, “It’ll hide your gray!”
Liam Marcus’ Voice – Ha ha ha, very funny man. I don’t want to look like this guy, just a bit smarter. Plus I am a bit superstitious, that’s all. I am thinking that if I get some mustachio handle bars, well, the other handle bars will disappear… you know what I mean?
Liam Marcus’ Voice - The little guy is almost five years old, and while he has enjoyed his older brothers and his older brothers’ friends it has been a struggle to find compatible playmates for him. Thanks be to God for technology, in part, because we have stumbled upon an immense cascade of activities geared towards the little guy. What have we been using to find such a resourceful shower of activities? We have found Meetup.com, and in it we have found a number of groups geared towards physical activities in his age range.
We have been in two groups, and so far it has paid off with dividends abound. The little guy has met new friends his age, visited a nearby petting zoo with the same friends, and more adult women to say things like, “Hi! I’m this old… (hold up four fingers) but I’ll be five soon.”
Mami, a.k.a, Megan Ryan, has found a way to meet like-minded women, too. Seeing that these groups are geared towards mothers of toddlers and homeschooling families, she’s finding it exciting to be able to surround herself with women who have similar dilemmas. Some homeschool and some don’t, but they are all seeking friends for their sons and daughters.
The Meetups.com groups have become a serious problem, though. Megan Ryan has been so busy studying the schedules and planning out trips and get togethers with these other families that she’s forgotten to make dinner on occasion and a few other household tasks, like getting her ginger brew going (she calls it her pain medicine). Isn’t that marvelous, well, not for her if she’s forgetting to brew it.
The whole experience has put a smile on everyone’s face in this family. Thanks be to God.
Megan Ryan’s Voice - Yeah, we’ve been going to playdates, etc. at least four days per week, all in an effort to see which group(s) we’ll stick with and which we won’t. It’s been tiring but loads of fun, all of it free too. There were some playdates scheduled in places that charged admission, but we avoided those. It was going very well until public school started. Then all of the children his age disappeared off to preschool and kindergarten. Only one other homeschooling family in the lot, so it’s back to the drawing board. We’ll drop out of those groups and find some for homeschoolers. As most of you know, we already belong to a homeschool group, but it is quite small and only meets twice a month this year. That’s not nearly enough meets on the playground for Preschooler 4.11, a.k.a. the Energizer Bunny. Plus all of his friends in that group live a bit too far away to meet and play a few times per week. Overall it’s been a great experience, lots of fun and has opened my eyes to all kinds of places around home that have free activities for children.
Liam Marcus’ Voice – We have found a fountain of musical rainbows, and the music is free. We found it at reverbnation.com. Our special “somewhere over the rainbow.” The beauty is that these artists aren’t signed with major private record labels making their music extremely available for any interested listener.
Megan Ryan’s Voice - Call me a geek, but I really enjoy listening to “unknown” artists. There is SO much more out there than what “Big Entertainment” pushes down the public throat. Plus we can help these artists share their talents independently instead of conforming to what they “should” sound like in order to make it to the big time. It’s also much easier to find talented Christian artists and support them.
Megan Ryan’s Voice – I’ve been in a lot of pain lately. Namely my right shoulder and and neck has been acting up from carrying a 25 pound baby around. It’s an old injury from a car accident which yielded a couple of bulging discs in my upper neck. My lifesaving remedy has been organic ginger root. Yep, that common root you can find in about any grocery store. It is great for lots of medicinal uses including inflammation of any kind, but don’t forget that organic will be MUCH more effective than conventional ginger. My grand father-in-law used to drink a cup of ginger tea every night to keep his arthritis in check. I forgo the tea in favor of a decoction which is stronger. I hate spicy stuff and drinking hot beverages in the summer so I’ll let a big batch cool, add loads of honey, then refrigerate it. Then when I need some I’ll pour a bit in a cup, add an equal amount of cold, raw milk which eliminates the spiciness. If the pain is as bad as it has been lately I’ll go a step further and put an ice pack on my neck at bed time. In my opinion it is just as effective as over the counter drugs like ibuprofin, naproxen, etc. I’ve been trying to grow some, but it grew a little and then died on me ( surprise :-[ ) How hard can it be, right? It’s a root…ya stick it in the ground and it grows, right?! Not for me.
Liam Marcus’ Voice – The concoction is not half bad, it’s great! And the other half isn’t half bad either, so that leaves a quarter that’s not as bad as the other three quarters So, in conclusion, the whole thing is SOOooo bad it’s GREAT! If you haven’t guess it, ’cause I am deep like that, the quarter of the concoction is a bit gingerly. You know, like a ginger, “Hey ginger!” Bass drum, snare drum, cymbal crash please.
I might have to start using the concoction too very soon. The little girl won’t leave me alone. As soon as I enter the room she wants her daddy… yeah. She’s a ton after several minutes, of which she only lets me get a 10 second break and it’s “carry me, I’m just a baby, standing on the carpet; play with me, I’m just a baby, please play with me” – song a la Jars of Clay’s chorus part for “Carry me (Dead man)” LISTEN TO IT! LOL!
What natural remedies do you use for pain? We’d love for you to tell us about them in the comments section of this post.
Megan Ryan’s Voice – Our organic guava bushes are fruiting which also happens to be the first ever from our yard. Marcus planted them a year or two ago and they are finally bearing fruit. Cute, little, red guavas the size of large grapes. They do very well in our climate and are shockingly nutritious, not to mention tasty. Also nice because you don’t have to peel or seed them, but you can if you wish. So then it hit me. Whoa, we have to of those good sized bushes out there and they are both covered in unripe fruit. What the heck am I gonna do with all those little suckers when they become ripe at approximately the same time? So what did I do? You guessed it! Research. Thank you Jesus for the internet, and thank you for Marcus and all his hard work planting them. Here is a nice and simple recipe for guava jam and they are also surprisingly yummy eaten raw with a dash of salt and pepper. Like lots of fruits they do well in salads (savory or sweet), and my current favorite, smoothies! Click Here for my personal recipe that can be used with just about any fruit. I also read that several cultures use them to flavor savory/salty dishes. When I find the time (Ha. Ha. Ha.) I’ll search the internet for a few.
Liam Marcus’ Voice – LOL… a.k.a. hahahaha – Yep. Guavas for everyone. Nope. Not really. Just about thirty or so little rascals. In Puerto Rico we used to have a guava tree that gave us quite a load of fruit. The problem later was that it got so sick that worms started damaging the fruit from the inside. A total waste. Inedible, unless you didn’t mind munching on the little squiggling things. Since then a certain desire to avoid eating the delicious fruit grew in me until recently. I still take a peek inside the fruit whenever in doubt. Eek!
Megan Ryan’s Voice – We’ve been on a smoothie marathon at our house lately so I thought I’d share my ridiculously simple recipe with you. The teenagers crave these smoothies, and the little ones ask for a “smoovy for dessert”.
Hint: I do this all by using the measuring lines on my blender to avoid washing any extra dishes.
Raw Yogurt Smoothie
one handful of the fruit of your choice
approx. 3 cups raw yogurt, unstrained (Click Here to learn how to make your own and save money)
½ cup raw honey
In your blender add the banana and other fruit. I use any seasonal fruit that I have in the freezer, or four frozen cubes of fruit puree leftover from making our own baby food.* (See TIP below) Then I pour the yogurt until it reaches the 3 cup mark on my blender. If you don’t have unstrained yogurt, you can always use two cups of thick yogurt and one cup of whey or raw milk. Then add honey until the mix reaches the 3.5 mark on your blender. Pop on the lid and blend like crazy. Taste, add more honey if desired. The end result will be the consistency of a milkshake, only slightly thinner.
*TIP: If you are using a seedy fruit like guava, you may blend/puree the fruits at this point to reduce the amount of whole seeds in your drink.
Liam Marcus’ Voice – Hey, ever see a cat do her business in the toilet? I try not to. Our cats can do it, and have done it since we got them six years ago. This is one reason why we don’t have dogs anymore, because dogs would not be able to do what cats do, jump on the toilet, squat and sigh with relief. Sorry, that was a bit graphic, but I couldn’t resist. The other reason is the new arrivals. No, not the cats, the children. We wanted a few treats with fur from God, so why not as independent an animal as a cat? Yeah. A cat. Two cats. We don’t have to take care of that messy, smelly, little box “no more”. However, we do still have to deal with the extra fur lying around…almost everywhere.
Ryan Megan’s Voice – Now all we need to do is get ‘em to flush. We used a dandy device called a Litter Kwitter to train them. One cat was fully trained in a month, the other took a bit longer. It was a bit of a hassle, especially if you only have one bathroom in your house, but it was oh so worth it. No mess, no smell, and more moolah in our pockets because we don’t have to buy kitty litter. No litter is also nice for when we have wee ones. The cats themselves are more sanitary because they’re not climbing in and out of their own mess on a daily basis. The babies can pull and grab to their hearts’ content and no worries about extra germs.
Marcus’ & Megan’s Voices – We recently found a cool website called IFTTT.com. This cool site notifies you when new stuff has been posted on websites like Craigslist, Facebook, YouTube and more. For us it means we can stop perusing page after page on Craigslist day after day. For example, we are looking for another baby gate now that Infant 0.10 has graduated to Toddler 0.10, so I checked Craigslist once. Then I set IFTTT.com to notify me when any new listings for baby gates come up. Kewl huh?!
No, we’re not affiliated with IFTTT or getting paid for this post, etc. We’re just sharing another little way to make life easier. Enjoy!
Megan Ryan’s Voice – Okay, we’re getting to be too crunchy. Some is good, but I have to draw the line somewhere, right? Our dryer broke down two weeks ago (after we finally got around to fixing it by unclogging the vent!! ) and I got so frustrated I forbade Marcus to buy more parts to fix it again. Instead I had him install a retractable clothesline. Where? In our living room! Am I freakin’ redneck or what?! We can’t put one outside because we would get into major trouble with our homeowners association. So I figured hanging our clothes inside would serve a dual purpose, 1) save me the hassle of dealing with the little ones while sweating my tookus off outside, and 2) the evaporation would help to cool the house a bit and save us a buck or two on the electric bill, not to mention saving money by ditching the dryer in the first place. Now instead of having a laundry marathon one day a week (starting at dawn and folding the last of it before going to bed that night), I now do one load four days a week. Starting on Tuesdays I wash and hang before bed, then take it down and fold it the next morning after breakfast. The last day is Friday night which leaves me Saturday morning to fold. Then I can take a break on the Lord’s Day (Sunday) and Monday before starting all over again. And YES I did some research on how to line dry your laundry! Ya’ll know me Click Here for the best site I found on the subject.
Liam Marcus’ Voice – Yeah, Meg gave me an ultimatum, no new parts for the dryer. Hey, I’m just thankful it isn’t something serious, like the air conditioner compressor, although, that may be next. We’ll see. We have been miracle-like fortunate. Just the other night I looked at the eatables we have on the counter top and then at the refrigerator inners and thought to myself, are we poor or do we still have too much? Then the automobile tire started giving us trouble, again. I had already stuffed the hole with three plugs so I knew I had to seek recourse. Right after work this past Saturday I visited a little auto repair shop next door to ask how much a patch work would cost. I was geared to visit a Tire Kingdom and contract for their $35 patch services, but the little deviation paid dividends. The little repair shop refused to contract with me for possible liability. The hole was too big and according to some unknown statute, if the tire failed because of the patch work and I or someone else got injured, they would become liable – so no no. I asked, “Well, do you have a spare of this size?” And won’t you believe it. They didn’t just have a spare, they had a super spare of the same size. They had a BF Goodrich. Wow! LOL! Now I have three leisure-like tires and an all-terrain tire on our little sedan. I can feel the difference. I installed it on the back-drivers side, ‘cause you know, that side has to hold lots more pounds per square inch – no, I’m not that fat/heavy Well, one problem a week is all I can take, and it’s been phenomenal because of the little miracles we get to enjoy from time to time. God bless!