Thursday, February 28, 2019

Goodbye 2nd month

February was a really rough month.    It began with the flu and it took down the family one by one and circled back around and knocked us down again.  Two visits to Urgent Care, prescriptions for inhalers, cough syrups, and around the clock medications to keep fevers down were all part of the misery.  Lysol became the scent of the month as my natural choices didn't seem to be working. 

Summer school is officially being planned as we laid around most of the month in blank stares wrapped in blankets.  Lessons didn't unfold in many educational ways, but we will always remember this month - spent together closely sharing our numerous germs. It's the memories and the helping each other - greater life lessons than I could have tried to instill on my own.  The experience will bring forth compassion and empathy.

We hibernated through February and have hope in March bringing forth spring and renewed energy as we slowly emerge from our sickened blanket cocoons.

But,  February did bring beautiful snow days!  Lots of snow days.  Watching the snow fall brought comfort to ache.  Sipping hot tea was soothing.  Blankets were warm and the mountain views were amazing!

Goals didn't go as I would have hoped, but I still feel blessed in what was accomplished.

-:- continue reading my Bible in 90-180 days
I failed here.  There isn't an excuse fitting to share, but honesty and a humble attitude to know that I need to make this happen.

-:- date with dear husband
This didn't happen unless you count grabbing lunch and going for a walk with the girls after visiting urgent care.  We all have been cooped up sick for the entire month.  I wish I were exaggerating the entire month being home, but this illness kept us indoors and away from other people.

-:- decorate a little for Valentine's day and a candlelit table
Yes!  I did decorate the table with a centerpiece for the month, but we rarely ate at the table.  Meals were simple, usually slow cooked, and grabbed as each of felt we could eat.  Sometimes the best of intentions don't always play out the way your heart desires.  But the love was there.

-:- make Valentine treats and create something pinned
Yes, and no.  I didn't make any treats to eat - zero appetite among us for sugar, but I did make a very simple decorated mason jar that I had pinned.  I used the mason jar as a vase and a candle holder throughout the month.

-:- make some fabric hearts with the girls - handiwork
Yes!  Before the illness stole my energy, I used some quiet time to hand sew some cute little fabric heart pillows.  The girls were not feeling up to making any with me.

-:- gather family for H's birthday & opening Nascar Race of the season
We didn't "gather" family from outside of our four walls, but we did celebrate her 10th birthday.

-:- get back in the habit of buying fresh flowers
Ummm...not  when you aren't able to go to the grocery store to buy them.  I relied on help to do shopping and so while we had one bouquet of roses for H's birthday, the rest of the month was flowerless.

-:- I'd like to try drying a few stems of roses
Yes!  With the one bouquet of beautiful blush colored roses, I did try my hand at drying them.  They are hanging upside down now and I think drying nicely.

-:- "let's stay home" as much as possible
Yes, yes, and yes!  All month long.  All day long.  With the exception of 2 visits down the mountain to Urgent Care, a drive thru pharmacy, and a moment to savor the 70 degrees outdoors for a short bit on the way home, we were at home lying around.

Spring is around the corner and bringing renewed hope.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

slow moments - the sick days

...because we had snow falling nearly every day this week

...because the flu hit us hard and really slowed everything down to a halt.

...because we slow cooked nearly every meal.

...because painting is a quiet activity when your sick. (Daughter H painted)

...because drying roses takes time.

...because drawing in a new book doesn't take too much energy.

...because the sun popped out for a brief moment before the next storm.

...because snow is so pretty against the ever green branches.

...because they love the snow, too!

...because walking through mud puddles with rain boots is child like fun.

...because this window is where I often pause to embrace the beauty - even when your husband's truck blocks the view because it was stuck in the snow.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Handwork - among tissues and hot tea

While I was the last to succumb to the flu, I did have some quiet moments that I tried to invest in creating beauty around me.  ...believe me the tissues, thermometers, blankets strewn everywhere and extra laundry, left me needing something beautiful.

I looked at my pinterest board marked love and then scrolled through a favorite blog that I intentionally chose for mentor inspiration this year -a kindred spirt, and decided to create.  This mason jar was so easy to pull together with a few paper doilies and some baker's twine and I had a darling little mason jar vase perfect for some blush colored roses - which were on my list this month to try my hand at drying a few.

Next I had bookmarked a post (actually so many of her posts) long before I heard of pinning, that I've wanted to make or do.  I had the supplies on hand and it was so comforting to sit on the couch and just sew by hand for hours and hours while sipping hot tea with honey.  I had intended for the girls to join me, but they were not feeling up to activity and much preferred to sleep off their fevers.


They turned out so cute!  I'm so glad that I was able to find some comfort among the sick moments and joyfully create.  I had one other project that I tried to complete - sewing garland strands of felt hearts, but I waved the white flag of surrender when the achy body hit me.  I did get all the hearts cut out, but they will be saved for another time.  We may not have truly enjoyed the celebrations this month as we would have imagined, but some of the quiet moments were fully embraced.  I know that in coming years, these little pillows will be pulled out and I'll remember working on these while taking care of my sick family.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Celebrate 10 - double digits!

Our baby girl turned 10!  It was a party that didn't go as planned.  The flu was in the air.  Fevers, coughing, sneezing, and misery lingered, but we tried our best to make her very quaint party special.

A couple of years ago, my husband and I started watching Nascar.  We started knowing zero about the sport, but it was a time when sportsmanship of other sports were dishonoring our country.  I'm not here to get into politics or morals, but Nascar came into our family room when a prayer started every race and the military and our country was honored.  It was something we felt we wanted to watch and support.

We all picked drivers to cheer on ... again knowing nothing about them.  This little girl chose to cheer on Logano who at the end of 2018 season won the championship.  She was thrilled!  She had always had her birthday shared with the Super Bowl, but her request this year, was she would rather have it moved a week later and have it on Nascar's opening day with a Nascar theme.   I wanted to dress it up a little and add the femininity to the decor.  She came up with tortilla pinwheels for food - so creative as it tied in with "wheels".

Because of the flu, none of us were really hungry and while it all "looked" pretty, behind the party scene was a pile of blankets to wrap up in and watch the race after I took pictures.

I am baffled to say that this party was over 2 weeks ago, and we are still fighting a very miserable virus.

I dreamed of "let's stay home" for February, but this is getting a bit discouraging and we are needing a bit warmer weather to allow us to get some fresh air without freezing and becoming worse.


Wednesday, February 20, 2019

slow moments - Valentine style



Another week filled with illness.  I really tried to make it an enjoyable day, but donuts were left over, and heart shaped pizza was not all that appetizing.   Dear husband was hit with the stomach part of this virus on top of fever and congestion, while the rest of us have the coughing, congestion, and exhaustion that keeps us lying around. 

Surrounded by love is really what matters!

Monday, February 18, 2019

Walk with Nature - snow falls

"When snow falls nature listens."
~Antoinette Vankleeff

And sometimes you just have to sit at a window and watch because the flu bug insists that you stay indoors.  The girls love snow days, and sadly, as the storms keep bringing snow this week, they are aching with fevers and coughs that steal away these precious moments of white fluff.  The fever struck Daughter E before the sun.  And slowly, but surely, this viral tormentor would take down Daddy and Mama with the rest of them.   The whimpers broke this mama's heart and prayers were whispered that health is restored quickly and snow play will resume.   

Winter hibernation with blankets and extra rest have blocked out another week on the calendar.  A forced slowing, but it will be embraced as we hope for recovery and strength to return.

A week of rest and recovery.  Needed.  Quiet.  Slow.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Homemade Elderberry Syrup

Several years ago, I was introduced to elderberry syrup to help build our immune systems during a really rough season of constant sickness.  Although, I am not fully educated on all the health benefits of the elderberry, I have many friends who attest to its use during the cold and flu season.   I do believe in the benefits of raw honey, ginger, and cinnamon, so this has been something I've been making with different kits and recipes.  Since that time, I now have my own recipe that pulls together a spicier alternative similar to what Berry Well used to make and has sadly discontinued. Quite honestly, I don't care for the taste or the smell or super sweetness, so I needed this a little spiced up and the echinacea tea with cinnamon, ginger, and cloves helps a lot.  It's still not my favorite, but better than the flu.

The flu bug hit us hard again this year and I'm so glad that I had the ingredients on hand to pull this together and get us all started on it.  Even better that I am taking the time to type it out and get it saved so I can toss the little scrap piece of paper that I took notes on as I tried to flavor this better.

Elderberry Syrup


½ cup dried elderberries
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger (or 1-2 T freshly grated ginger)
1 tsp ground cloves (or ½ tsp whole cloves)
3 Echinacea tea bags
3 ½ cups distilled water
1 cup raw honey


Boil 3½ cups water, and remove from heat and steep the 3 tea bag  for at least 15 minutes.  Remove tea bags.  Add in cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and dried elderberries and return to a rolling boil, reduce heat and simmer for 40 minutes.  Sometimes, I'll toss in a cinnamon stick, too!  Remove from heat and let sit for another 20 minutes.  Strain into a container with a mesh strainer and add in 1 cup raw honey, discarding the berries, grated ginger, and cinnamon stick.  Stir well and pour into prepared bottles or jars.

Refrigerate for up 3 weeks or freeze in smaller portions for later use.

Suggested usage:  Flu season prevention, ½ tsp for children over the age of 1, and 1 tsp.+ for adults per day.  If using while battling the flu, take every 2-3 hours until improved.

I just made this and it filled 2 -  8oz. bottles with a little extra to spare.

8 oz. bottles link

NOTE:  I am not a medical professional or offering medical advice.  


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