Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Running out of steam!

Tomorrow the family returns and I have not quite met all of my goals. My body is killing me with aches and pain but...ONWARD!!!! Charley asked me if I have been getting any exercise while they have been gone. Cough, cough!!!! Um...yes. I was going to paint the stairs again this evening but I might attempt getting some more sleep instead.

Today I painted our bathroom. It is not completely trimmed out and am not sure I will get to all of that before tomorrow evening. I have the upstairs attic room and bath which has too many little walls to complete quickly. That is where my efforts will be centered tomorrow. I think I will have to blast a variety of music to make it through.

Erik and Scott made Cecilia a loft today. It is almost complete and is up in her room now. I can't wait to see her face. I am putting the small wardrobe from our bathroom in there as well since there are no closets upstairs and she and Ingrid only have a small wardrobe to share together. I ultimately want even less furniture everywhere but figure the kids might need some extra furniture some day so....out it will go! (Only if they really want it).

The garden and bees are haunting me. Maybe just maybe I can get some of that done too before collapsing. Working myself into the ground is not a very bright idea but the worst of this work will be behind me and I can focus on routines with the kids and actually enjoying our summer.

(I am seriously considering painting steps now...crazy!!!!!!)

Monday, May 30, 2011

Juggling house and family

Yikes. We need to set up more of these 'work' vacations around here. Our house will be 150 years old next year. It was built the same year the Civil War began. That boggles my mind. Keeping up with the upkeep of old homes is not a romantic undertaking. I am definitely feeling my Lake Wobegon roots in the phrase "where the women are strong" aspect. I....am....exhausted. I am sitting down for a few minutes before calling it a night and hopefully not opening my eyes again till the morning. Evan has been getting up at 4:00 a.m. for several mornings and this morning did not go back to bed for an hour and a half. ZZzzzzzz..... His cough and ears have been making him pretty uncomfortable. Poor little thing. His silly mommy should not stay up late reading up on Scandinavian art and tapestry. Why??? am I reading about this after working for days painting, cleaning and decluttering!???

I just got done putting the first coat of paint on the stairs. They are a beautiful staircase with a slight curve at the top. I am catching a new addiction to painting trim and doors. I walk by house details which need a fresh coat or the first coat for that matter, and....I contemplate the next step. Have paint, will tackle.

I have also acquired a buddy in landscaping and gardening to clean up the yard and beautify this place more than it is now. We are planning various future parties out here which I assured her I would attend. ;o) It should be fun. I made some major strides this spring to this end anyway so help will be appreciated and the outdoors therapeutic to us both. I forgot to tell her the history of this place. The first owner and builder was the first weather man/horticulturist in the area. There are still remnants of the variety of trees he planted 150 years ago. Pretty cool. My eyes also spy out the paths which I would like to clear and make pleasant, freshen the variety of trees on the property and build or add more benches for little retreat areas around the yard. Ten acres to play in.

Now...to hit the hay! Art work will have to wait til another day!

Clean up and removal

Besides painting I am trying to remove every piece of unnecessary furniture and *stuff* which is squirreled away in the furniture. How many bottles of shampoo can one family need even if it is OUR family. Huge bottles of shampoo, bottles of some sort of perfume spray for stinky us, and enough cleaner to clean a monster house for years. Gone!

I am almost done with third room in painting project blitz since last Thursday. Seriously the less human contact I have the better as tired Karin is not a very nice Karin. Me not have good filters when me tired of working non-stop. Can Karin paint two more areas AND plant the vegetable garden by Wednesday afternoon????

Right now I am watching Gilligan's Island with Ingrid, Erik and Evan. WHERE did Ginger get all these dresses???? Three hour tour??? Season one she only had one dress.


Sunday, May 29, 2011


I suppose I will call my little house painting adventure an attempt to grind myself into the ground in the frenzy of reaching some pretty hefty goals. We have so far ALMOST completed the kitchen painting but I am too short to get to the area above the cabinets so am getting a tall volunteer in the morning. I repainted the trim around the doors today and they look bright and awesome. I tackled the window in the kitchen as well but did a pretty shoddy job of that. I need a smaller brush.

Yesterday I finished the walls in Cecilia's room and the boys and a friend are building her a loft to make more room in the room. Ingrid lives there too so her bed is going beneath part of the loft. Erik has invented a book shelf of sorts which will be much more efficient use of the space and the best part it will be free just like the loft. We have wood coming out the ears so we are using what we have.

Erik sanded the stairs again and somehow I need to muster the energy to wash them again so I can paint them tomorrow. I guess it will be later in the day as I want to get the attic/bathroom upstairs painted with the help of my painting friend.

Our yard is a disaster so perhaps I will get some of that mown too. I started mowing the lawn this afternoon and heard a weird noise.....tornado siren. So we all spent an hour in the basement and the lawn is still a foot high or higher. The vegetable garden is not planted but I did plan where everything is going. LOTS of work to be done in my Karin retreat. Lots of dreams and my two oldest sons rocking and rolling with me for progress. The rest of the family comes home Wednesday so will keep pressing on in the meantime.

Cooking the boys steak and baked potatoes tomorrow to keep our spirits up and salmon and asparagus on Tuesday. Yum. Food.....must eat yummy food to keep this up.

Friday, May 27, 2011


I am on a painting frenzy the next few days. I probably already mentioned that. I have my colors picked out and am almost done painting the kitchen. I am very pleased with the results and look forward to putting everything away again. Most likely I will feel more like keeping it cleaner.

The gardens are calling me so I picked up a stock pile of mosquito repellent today. I had two appointments to go to today plus one piano lesson. That did not leave much time to get much done around here. A friend helped with painting prep so it was easy to attack the walls once the kids were in bed. I think I need to fashion some sort of back splash for the kitchen sink to keep that looking nice. My stomach has been aggravating me so perhaps some chicken noodle soup will be in order for tomorrow. Since I only have two bigger kids home it is very difficult for me to figure out cooking smaller and we are still trying to eat up the food that was left from earlier in the week. Hmmmm....I suppose I could donate some of it to some friends. It is yummy and still good but there is only so many times I am excited about having salad again.

Perhaps I will get the whole garden mostly planted tomorrow. We shall see. Hopefully the sun will actually shine too. Now time to attempt the sleep thing.


The husband is away, the wife will play. I am trying NOT to do what aggravates me about the dear well meaning husband. Most of the kids are with him so I am tempted to paint every wall in the house which needs paint. This is a LOT of walls. I know I won't get to painting the barn in the next four or fives days but the kitchen, mudroom, two bathroom and Cecilia's room.....that is NOT biting off more than we can chew is it???? We will try HARD to finish one room before beginning the next. The kitchen is almost completely painted and looking great. Wow. Amazing difference. Stay tuned. I think the boys and I will nap some during the day so we can work at night. Hmmmm......there's a thought.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Two vacations at once

The husband and five of the kiddos are taking off for Duluth tomorrow. Of course they are visiting our buds the Francks. They will have a blast. Evan, Ingrid, Erik, Matthew and I are staying here on the homestead to do various things and I hope to get some chillin' time in. It will most likely be pretty quiet around here. Ingrid might give us a run for our money. A friend plans on coming and helping with kitchen plaster and painting. That will be Erik, Matthew and our buddy Scott. Me...I need to get out in the dirt. Dirt. Plants. Weed murdering. Vege planting. Should be awesome. The pool opens too. Yay!

We will be here most of the time! Feel free to drop in.

The Sounds of Silence

Silence is a very temporary thing here in Hornerdom. Yes. It was nice and quiet and peaceful about fifteen minutes ago and the birdies were singing and chirping and the cool breeze of the morning was drifting in the window. The Ingrid woke up and joined me in getting ready for the day. She is magically clean and WAS quiet. We then discovered Anna on the couch curled up in a blanket. We decided we wanted Martin to make french toast so Stefan, who was already up went upstairs to blow my Vuvuzela in the boys faces. Of course they were arguing over who could blow the horn. Ingrid's screaming was louder than the horn. Ah.....the pleasantries of morning with nine plus one kids in the house.

Birthday adventures

Every birthday seems to get simpler as years go by. We just go with the flow and simply spend time together. We have managed a trip to Chicago to pick up Anna's boyfriend, took him to IKEA to educate him in the way of Anna and my idea of a fun time. Ate salmon. Yum.

Today I remembered I had a few gift certificates for Tippecanoe place that needed used so.....I called Charley at work to see if he could make it with us. Anna, Ben, Charley and I had a nice meal of....salmon...and the guys had prime rib. We also had a rich desert and now my stomach is perhaps revolting.

We are having ice cream and wine later. No cake this year. We are on rich food overload now and my tummy is on revolt.

Well....this was yesterday's post. Today, I think we are staying home. It is gorgeous out. Time to get more flowers and veges in the ground. Time for Martin the French Toast maker to get us all going. Yum.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Invasive species

Matthew and I have declared war on day lilies, ragosa (sp) roses, and garlic mustard in the yard. The lilies are HORRIBLE!!!!!!!! Do NOT plant day lilies if you can at all avoid it. When they are offered for free there is a reason...... The same is true for any sort of ivy. Don't do it unless you want to be whacking this stuff out the rest of your life. Trumpet vine can also drive you out of your mind. It looks tempting to plant with all the glorious pictures in magazines but they don't tell you it takes four or five years at least before they flower. In the meantime they spread all over your garden. Lily of the valley.....how romantic.......will take over your life if not contained.

These are the main headaches of MY gardening life. I feel like a vacuum with a shovel and slowly we are cleaning up. Just beware what you do!!!!!!!! I keep thinking of more and more plants I wish I never planted!!! Back to bed.....

Thursday, May 19, 2011


I'm dreaming of putting together a fairy garden with my little people. Sounds like fun. My children like me and fight over who can sit by me. We could plant little miniature plants and make little houses and things out of sticks. How about little people made out of......???? I'll get back to you on this. Pictures forth coming.

I'm dreaming of sunshine.

Um.....my kids and I have too much fun together. I like my kids. I think I am a kid. I never grew up. We like to have fun together. I dream of dressing up like a Brit and playing croquet in the yard together while sipping tea in the garden (read that in a pretentious way). We can then stroll through the garden (read in a pretentious way) and talk about.....how annoying weeds are and whether we will be able to get the herb garden under control.

Interesting life I lead. Highlights are biking to doctor appointments, biking to friends homes, reading to kidlets, buying vacuum cleaner bags after looking at three stores, contemplating buying swimsuits for the kids which will allow them to swim even if it is freezing out.....lots of stuff like this. I might get the annuals in the garden today plus perhaps the seed potatoes (Martin cooked some of them for dinner the other night), and....and...design a feeding tube with eleven hook ups to plug into my family so I can just flip a switch and get smiling faces with less preparation and clean up.

Fairy gardens.....I think I will move in. I wonder if Charley will mind sleeping between miniature hostas and irises????

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Things I covet

Other people's plants. The flowering bushes and flowering trees are killing me about now. The cool spring, rain and lack of scorching heat have gifted us with the most awesome display of color this spring. The color has lasted and wowed this plant coveters socks off! My short list is quince, witch

hazel, and deciduous azaleas. Wow. The color!!! I keep posting wow flowering everything on facebook as it warms this soul anyway. And I wonder why I struggle through winter.....


I do NOT feel like doing anything this day. Perhaps that comes from spending most of yesterday hunting down bee supplies, figuring out all the problems with the bees, organizing my thoughts on what to with the problems.....neglecting my children while doing all of this.....then not wanting to face the day today. Hmmm......


Eat something.

Get children to eat something so they will stop being cranky.

Ride herd on school work.

Ride herd on garden.

Argh....another list. We did manage to find the front hallway, vacuum and lament that we are out of vacuum cleaner bags. NEVER resolve to stop spending money. Everything will break or need something all at once. This mom knows what she needs to do but just doesn't feel like it.

So for this family to get anything done this day I think I need to tie down the short people or tie them to the sandbox so they will play and allow for productive time for the older children who want to accomplish something. Lesson never learned...if I expend myself too much on one day the next day is a wash.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Why am I crazy?????

Mom....I need the next book for the book discussion....

Mom....what is my Social Security number....

Mom...my burn is turning yellow...

Mom...I am hungry...

Mom...I know Chicago is a big place....

Mom...this place is a mess....

Mom...where is my feeding trough....

Mom...what did you do with my blue pen...

Mom...I am hungry...

Mom...Evan isn't happy....

Mom...where's Matthew?

Mom...I forgot....

Mom....I remembered!...(relief)

Mom....what happened to baby Ingrid? She's screaming (almost three now).

It goes on and on....

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Biking and Walking

In the last month or so I have had the opportunity to do a lot of walking and now biking in town. (@_@) Anyway....walking where you need to go or even biking is really not all that bad or difficult. I have driven down all the roads I walked down and let me tell you I look at those roads with new eyes now. Today I arranged a walk with my 'sis' Cindy and decided to bike to her house from my house. This is eight to ten miles round trip to bike there. I forgot to check the odometer... Then we walked for about four miles. I see everything I have driven by up close and personal.

With the price of gas, I think this is going to be happening more and more. It seems to me that biking and walking is very possible for everyone frankly. The paths are there and the roads etc. I will pay for my extra equipment pretty quickly this way when you figure it would have taken about fourish dollars to drive to the Berrymans and back anyway. I had time to myself to just think and exercising, even though it was rain gear biking time, it was also good for me.

Anyway.....this is what this mommy hopes to continue doing. I have grocery panniers now too. I could probably even put a few gallons of milk in there. High gas prices put a whole new perspective on a reason to exercise......

Friday, May 13, 2011

Today's rambling thoughts

(Not all of them.....) So I am still digging away in the gardens and making steady progress. I see this as school and destressing for the little children. They are happy as long as they can haul plants, water them, dig, talk about plants, talk about bugs, talk about worms etc. I found a great potato planting idea for old bushel baskets. You plant the potato in the bottom of the basket and add dirt through the summer. Easy harvesting. I love to be home in my back yard. The weeds will take over in some areas if I don't keep chasing them. I am also digging up invasive plants and getting rid of them. I hate day lilies!!!!!! They are everywhere. I will keep digging and digging.....and digging.

Asparagus. I need to go check for more yummy asparagus. It occurred to me while pitching wood in the firewood bin that I can take all wood chips that are piled up there and use them as mulch. More asparagus food on the menu. I hope to expand and improve that area too.

Art. I want to yank out the sketch books here soon and sit them all down for some good ol' fashion sketching. They can identify and label them just like that woman who wrote that incredible book which I can not possibly do everything she says. Mary Pride???? Can't remember her name. Mary Pride might be that curriculum review person but I don't read any of that stuff anymore as it just makes me paranoid I am not doing something right.

Tired. Up till after one last night. Did mange to sleep till six thirty. I still think everyone who has this sleeping problem should party together. If the moon is out I should go weed or read outside. I still need to set up my tent......

I have other Karin happenings I am pursuing quietly. Not telling. A few know. A VERY few. I love inspirational thoughts.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Garden continued

Stumbled through more garden work this afternoon. Matthew and Cecilia had a piano competition thingie this morning so to "celebrate" their success we went for a light lunch and spent our time plotting our next plan of attack around the house for progress.

I am almost done cleaning the front of the house weeds, leaves, horrid English Ivy and Creeping stupid Myrtle from around the porch. Now to finally get some annuals in and the few perennials we got from the nursery in. Yesterday I mowed the asparagus patch down (yes, I picked it all first) to rid it of all the nasty weeds from last year I didn't get cleaned up. Erik is tilling the garden so I can start planting corn and such.

Now to go lounge in the hammock with the cuddle bug. Yawn......

Monday, May 9, 2011

Vitamin D

I have been enjoying twenty four hours of some sunshine. Sunshine and fresh air is a good thing. I have gardened in the past with my dear, dear garden buddy LaRena but with the price of gas we are going to have to just do the best we can with sharing gardening. I was thinking it might be good to invite people to help with the garden as they are able in exchange for food. LaRena did the lion's share of the work last summer since I had Evan arriving in July and other such challenges. This summer I do hope to basically live outside as much as possible. The lady who does my hair just informed me it is supposed to continue to be rainy this summer. Hmmmm.....well, have rain gear so will keep gardening and biking etc to spite the rain. I sort of have the weird goal to basically keep the congregation in awesome vegetables for the summer. We shall see what happens.