Barn Kitties, Everyday Activities, Journal Style Posts

A Rundown of December and January

So, my last post happened before the holidays and my house has been a whirlwind of absolute chaos since then. I am currently purging the house and organizing everything, but before I get into that, I will get you all caught up on the whirlwind that was December and the beginning of January.

We had a lovely holiday with just the three of us, the kids were all supposed to come home this year, but life happens and they were all unable to come home. I would have enjoyed having everyone here together and actually being able to get a recent family picture, but I completely understand that life is harder when you are a young adult and usually living paycheck to paycheck. The kids will all be visiting this year, but it will be at different times. I did get to see my daughter in law and grandson this month so, that was amazing and stressful at the same time.

I guess I will start with the pictures I took in December and January as a little bit of brightness to this post. Fizzgig and Gizmo thoroughly enjoyed the tree.

They didn’t climb it this year, but they loved hiding out under it and sleeping on the tree skirt. Fizzgig loved the lights when I turned them to twinkle instead of constantly staying lit. He would lie under the tree and just watch them twinkling. He was definitely being quite photogenic.

We also saw snow at the beginning of January and some ice as well.

It began snowing and I honestly didn’t expect much because it didn’t look like it was going to be much more than what is on the ground in this picture. Boy was I wrong. We saw almost a foot of snow by morning.

It was absolutely beautiful and the perfect snow for snowmen and snowballs, but it was brutal cold and while we invited the neighbor’s little ones, and the other children who were visiting her, to go sledding, we didn’t play in it aside from helping the little ones go faster down the hills on the back of the property. (Our neighbor’s property is completely flat aside from the edge of her fenced backyard which sloped towards the fence dividing our property.)

The barn kitties stayed inside of the dairy building aside from a few short trips around the front of the property. I am guessing they went to see if any small critters were out and about for a quick warm meal. I warmed their wet foot and placed their wet food and water dishes on waterproof heating mats. They also have special beds in the dairy building rafters that hold warmth when they lie on them so, they are kind of like a heating pat that warms them using their body heat. They were all being used, but I couldn’t get pictures because of how the beds are set up in the rafters. I have pieces of plywood across the beams to create an attic of sorts so they can be up high and not be in danger if a predator manages to get into the building somehow. Additionally, they are out of my reach unless I climb on stuff so, they feel safer if I come into the building and don’t have to bolt out of there. The pawprint pictures are all around the dairy building. The last one is at their entrance and there were at least seven cats inside the building when I went to feed them. I am glad they were safe, warm, and had free access to plenty of food (both kibble and wet food), water, and warm beds. They do such a good job keeping the mice and snake populations in check. I just wish they would let me pet them.

These pictures are before the second round of snowfall. We had approximately six inches of snow at this point and about a 1/4 of an inch of ice formed that night on top of the snow. The pawprint photos are the only ones I got of all of the snow. We shoveled the snow away from the door and entrances to the dairy building for the barn kitties so, there wasn’t as much snow around the door thankfully. We didn’t want them trapped from snow.

I know this is a terrible photo. It was taken from inside the house the day after the snowstorm. The barn kitties walked through the raised bed outside the window. It was in the 40’s F the following day and the snow was gone by the third day after the snowstorm. I am hopeful that we get one more good snow before spring. I will get better pictures of it snows again. I wasn’t feeling well and the last thing I wanted was to be cold and wet as well as feeling icky.

Fizzgig really liked the table linens and took quite a few naps on the runner. He had just woken up from one when I snapped this picture.

At the end of December or very beginning of January, we got some new neighbors. I am not sure when they arrived, but they sure are adorable.

I had taken Miss Mia to check the fence line and once I was done doing my checks, I took her back to the house and spent a bit of time greeting these sweet babies. They were fascinated with Miss Mia and kept sniffing me because I smelled like her. I can’t wait to get a few calves of my own, but we still have a ways to go before that happens. The previous owners had 100 head of cattle on 10 acres. This is insane because the suggested number is one cow per acre. We are leaving the property alone. We mow the yard, but have only really mowed the property once or twice a year because we wanted it to grow back. It was pretty bare when we bought the property and it finally has a good layer of grass. We boarded horses so they could give the soil a bit of fertilizer without destroying everything like cattle tend to do when they are grass-fed. It’s getting there, maybe in a year or two I can finally get some calves.

Gizmo has been regularly stealing Miss Mia’s bed from her. Miss Mia is not a young puppy. she has arthritis and she’s getting old. Gizmo has no shame. Miss Mia will NOT throw Gizmo out of her bed because she thinks the cats are her puppies. Fizzgig and Gizmo were bottle babies (bottle fed and very tiny at 2 weeks and 4 weeks old) and Miss Mia loved them, groomed them, and let them cuddle with her anytime they wanted. She would rather sleep on the floor than kick her “puppy” out of her bed. We have placed another bed right next to her bed so, she now has another bed to sleep in if Gizmo steals her bed.

Now for the pictures of my grandson’s visit.

He is 15 months old and he’s huge for his age. His momma had no idea what to feed him for snack time since I was in the shower he got a little bit of everything. He enjoyed it thoroughly.

Lunch was cooked for him. (He had a spoon when I gave him his food. It was immediately flung across the kitchen and he chose to eat with his hands.) Lunch was ham cubes, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and noodles in a cheesy bechamel sauce. He ate three servings and I had to teach his mother how to make it because he tends to play with his food more than he eats it and he destroyed this meal. He did wear some of it, especially in his hair. πŸ˜‚

He fell in love with my Boston Red Sox blanket and slept with it for every nap.

Nonno stopped on the way home from the airport to buy his grandson some Batman clothes because he was wearing Captain America clothes and that was unacceptable. We chose to be called Nonna and Nonno because hubby and I are both from Italian backgrounds and these are the Italian versions of Grandma and Grandpa. I am 39, I am not old enough to be called Grandma. The wonderful thing about choosing to be called by these names is that he can say them.

He was so much easier to take pictures of when he was eating. He had French toast and sausage for breakfast and wanted cheese too. (I made omelets and French toast for everyone else)

He was laughing so hard the picture was blurry. He was laughing because his momma had hiccups.

He fell asleep holding onto her after giving her a serious leg workout.

My legs hurt just watching. He weighed 25.6 pounds (He loved the scale and stepped on it multiple times a day.)

He loves taking pictures.

He used me as a bed quite often. He sleeps like his dad.

Deconstructed taco salads were a hit too. We tried a plastic spoon because he didn’t like the toddler spoons or the baby spoons I had. He still ate mainly with his hands, but he tried really hard to eat with his spoon. I told him if he ate all of his food, I would give him an amazing dessert.

Needless to say, chocolate cake was a hit. (It was a TastyKake chocolate bell) I also gave him a bath. I wasn’t mean and I cleaned him up instead of just handing him back to momma and making her clean him up.

I also made him tiny pizza with tiny pepperoni when we had pizza and calzones for dinner. He had never had his own pizza before. He did exactly what his dad does, he picked off the pepperoni and ate those first then, he ate each slice.

It was definitely messy. (He had refused to drink from any sippy cups so, I bought some and got him drinking out of them. He still has his bottle, but this is a good start towards toddlerhood.)

I discovered that he loves snapchat so, these next few pictures are all snapchat filters. Some are a bit ridiculous, but those of you who haven’t managed to add me on other platforms will actually see my face.

We enjoyed being silly.

I am glad he came to visit. I said stressful earlier when describing his visit. He and his momma were both sick with the flu for their entire visit. Also, my house is NOT childproof. We bought a baby gate on the way home from the airport because we have stairs and stairs are dangerous for little ones. He also doesn’t sleep through the night so, I woke every time he woke, and he woke every 2 hours. Makes me glad my youngest is 18.

Fizzgig does NOT like tiny humans. He had a bad experience with our friend’s 5 yr old so he hisses, growls, and runs away from tiny humans. He does enjoy their comfy accessories though. He really liked camping out in the stroller.

So, that was a fairly quick rundown of December and January. I am purging and organizing the house because I realized just how much clutter we have after having a toddler locating chokable items and having to take them away and put them out of reach. While I will not be childproofing unless a grandchild is living with us, I do need to reduce clutter and get the house more organized. I realized I have a bunch of junk that needs to go. Maybe I will take some before and after pictures while I am purging the house. I am really glad we have a dumpster and not just a trashcan. I can throw out so much stuff without having to wait a week for the rest.

Until next time….

Holidays, Homemaking on the Homestead, Journal Style Posts

Holiday Decorations Have Begun

Fizzgig was so excited to see a gift bag that he could play with.

Gizmo immediately claimed the tree skirt as her own.

She got quite comfy.

That is, until Fizzgig decided she needed to share it with him.

This is my elf. He goes on the front door. I haven’t finished decorating, but he has been hung. I don’t hang outdoor lights because we have a two story home and I don’t like heights and neither hubby, nor myself want the electric bill that comes with hanging oodles of lights. We may get some led lights that don’t use a lot of electricity in the future, but as of right now, we decorate indoors and a few things hang in windows or on the front door, but behind the storm door. No decorations on the porch because I have not figured out how to keep them from blowing away or falling over from the wind. Eventually I will figure something out.

This was before hubby came home from work and added the tree topper and before I had finished. This is important because the final version looks different.

A bit better view from the side with more lighting. (Again, not even remotely finished)

My dining room table is covered in decorations and GLITTER!! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

My daughter made this in elementary school. It is made using a coat hanger and plastic sandwich bags (no zippers, just the fold ones.) Then you just add ornaments. Over the years, ornaments have fallen off or broken because they were super inexpensive plastic ones so, I added some ornaments, a stocking, and some silver glitter ribbon because glitter makes everything better.

Hubby put the tree topper on and I set up my penguin. Fizzgig ran under the tree as I was taking this and knocked over one of my stuffed penguins that I had set at the bottom of the tree. (Have you figured out my chosen theme yet? Penguins 🐧🐧🐧)

There are quite a few on the tree. I took some close up pictures of them.

I mailed this one to Iraq during one of the many deployments. He shockingly still has his tag and is in perfect condition after being mailed to Iraq every time Hubby was there in December. He made the trip 7 times.

This is our first penguin ornament. We buy at least one penguin each year. Sometimes we buy a few.

One of the kids even made a penguin foam ornament in school. There are two in this picture because they were right next to each other.

This is our disco penguin. He has a switch on the bottom and he flashes colored lights when turned on.

This one came with a pair of fuzzy penguin pajamas my fabulous mother in law sent me one year. There is a year on the back, but I didn’t think to take a picture of it.

Another penguin and a sprint car ornament. (Hubby races sprint cars on dirt so, the sprint car ornament was rather necessary. I bought it on Etsy and it is a Matchbox car.)

I told you we have a lot of penguins. And these are just the ornaments so far.

Sometimes it is EXTREMELY difficult to locate a penguin ornament. So, sometimes they are rather small ones. Other times they are large.

This one makes noise every time the cats go under the tree. (It has a jingle bell on it) I have quite a few bells too.

Not a penguin, but how many people do you know who have a batman ornament? πŸ˜‚ Batman belongs to Hubby.

This one came in a boxed set with penguin ornaments and silver glitter ornaments. They are hand painted and glass so they are up high and I have them on special hooks because Fizzgig liked to climb the tree last year. (I will find the pictures of him in the tree.)

One of the stuffed Penguins I was talking about earlier.

This is the one that was knocked over when Fizzgig ran under the tree.

One of the kids won this one in a claw game machine and gave it to me.

And this is the final tree for this evening. (I still have ornaments to add, another tree to decorate, stockings to hang, etc. etc. )

Miss Mia in her antlers last year. She ran and hid upstairs when I pulled them out this year. πŸ˜‚

Found it. Fizzgig playing in the tree. Oh this reminded me to get candy canes. There were some amazing ones last year, hot chocolate, salted caramel, and Espresso were the assortment that I ate every single candy cane from. My son loves the ones that taste like skittles, sour patch kids, or starburst. I had different curtains and almost forgot about them. Hubby went somewhere and came home after dark and realized he could see right into the house and was not thrilled about that so the lace curtains came down and the plaid ones went up. (The plaid ones block the cold from the windows so, it’s quite toasty in the dining room now.)

A friend of mine made these for me last year. Aren’t they adorable?!

I also hung some of the cards up. In the entryway to the dining room. It isn’t a doorway because there are no doors. So, I guess it’s an entryway. My son was laughing because I used cinnamon dental floss to hang them. He said, ” Mom, why didn’t you use plain floss? Is it because it is red and you think red is more festive than white?” Nope, it’s because I couldn’t find my kitchen twine and that was the flavor I had in my purse. πŸ˜‚ It worked. I will get a close up of my tree topper tomorrow and take more pictures as I continue to decorate.

This is what my weekend looks like. Just a half a foot of snow expected. Nothing major. If we get that much, you will also get oodles of snow pictures. I love going out and looking for animal tracks. I especially enjoy the barn kitty tracks because the tracks tell me where they go when they aren’t close to the house.

Until next time….

Everyday Activities, Homemaking on the Homestead, Journal Style Posts

Life Happens Sometimes.

I apologize to all of you for being missing for so long. So much has happened so, I will do my best to bring you all up to date in a single post because tomorrow is decorating day and I plan on making an entire photograph post for that.

If you have been following along, you know that so many things have broken and been “repaired” and then been broken again. Well, the air conditioning is fixed. The heat is working just fine and we are looking at snow and ice this weekend, which I am hoping doesn’t knock out the power. If it does, we will be just fine. We have a generator and an amazing kerosene heater, which I can place a pot or pan on top of and actually cook on it. They would be simple meals, but hot food is so much nicer than eating whatever I can quickly cook on a crappy hot plate plugged into the generator. I can also use an outlet on the generator for my crockpot so, we will be eating like normal. I just prefer to have my oven and stovetop.

The well pump was acting up prior to my hiatus and that turned out to be a MAJOR issue. It wasn’t just the pump. We ended up replacing all of the PVC piping from the basement to the well, the pressure tank (we upgraded to a 100 gallon tank from a 45 gallon one), the pressure switch, the pump itself, and all of the wiring from the basement to the pump. It rained just before the pump went out and I am so glad it did because it made the rock hard Oklahoma clay soft.

This is the old pressure tank. We replaced all of that PVC because it snapped when we removed the tank.

This is the new pressure tank and that funky looking piece right next to the tank makes it EXTREMELY easy to remove the tank. The end allows for drainage in case of sand building up in the tank. We will switch to a different filtration set up next summer.

This picture shows where the wiring was originally going through the well housing pipe. As you can see the hole isn’t very big and it was shredding the insulation on the wiring causing shorts to happen. We drilled out this hole and added a fitting so the white PVC pipe fits snugly and protects the wiring instead of shredding it.

Originally there was some metal conduit coming from the basement wall and when the pipe from the well to the house sprung a leak, water flooded through the metal conduit hole into the basement. The wiring was coming from the house through a hole and about a foot of metal conduit the rest of the wiring was just buried without protection and there were so many electrical tape patches. We replaced the wiring and it is now inside of the white PVC pipe. The black PVC is the water line. It’s flex pipe not rigid pvc so it is an upgrade from the random bits of patched together pipe that was in the ground. No wonder it sprung a leak.

This end is where the pipes meet the basement wall. As you can see, no more metal conduit. (Inside the white PVC, is a copper pipe that fits through the basement wall and the space between the copper pipe and PVC has been sealed with silicone so, it is water tight, but the pipe can be easily removed if needed.) The water pipe is connected to the old metal pipes for the house, which are original to the house, but most of the pipes in the basement have been replaced. We just didn’t want to cut a hole in the cement block that makes up the basement wall so we left this metal pipe section in place and connected it to the flex pipe with copper fittings, which have hose clamps as a backup measure for securing the copper fitting inside the flex pipe. I wish I had taken a picture of that fitting because I know that’s confusing. There is a screw in side going into the metal pipe and the side that goes inside the flex pipe has these ridges that dig into the flex pipe if you attempt to remove it. We just weren’t taking any chances and added two hose clamps for extra peace of mind.

So, that’s everything for the well that I took pictures of and still have the pictures. It took almost a week to complete everything since hubby still had to go to work every day and my son still had school. We had water except for one full day. Hubby had everything situated for temporary measures since we got muddy daily working on the well. Showers were a must.

Next up is the drafty doors. I REFUSE to get rid of the original front door. It is absolutely beautiful. I was tracking up thick blankets each year making the front door unusable and the back door, it’s a French door and while new (previous owners put it in) it has a serious draft and the glass just allows cold to permeate the living room. So, blankets were not cutting it for me or hubby. They looked terrible and we were forced to use the mudroom for coming and going. It was not fun.

I decided on a more permanent solution, which blocks the drafts and cold, but we have use of the doors and it looks much nicer than a blanket.

Okay, this is the back door. As you can see, theres a blanket still partially tacked up over it. (I think those are called French doors. Both open.)

This was my solution. (This is the front door) It is a sliding glass door curtain and it’s thermal as well a a blackout curtain. So, it’s pretty thick. There are single pane windows that are decorative and they don’t open, they are just panes of glass, which surround the door. It is lovely in the summer because it let’s in a ton of light. So, the curtain needed to cover all of that glass as well. (The glass is also original and I am not destroying the history of my 100 year old home.)

These are the best pictures I have of the front door and the surrounding windows. I don’t normally take photos of the doors because they aren’t exactly a needed thing usually. We discovered that Fizzgig knows how to climb a ladder while installing the curtain rods and the curtains. I do normally take a ton of pictures of my animals. So, these give some idea of how much glass is actually there. I am currently searching for someone to actually fix this door as well as searching for a solution for all of the single pane glass. I was thinking about using clear film as a bit of insulting. (Like tint for car windows, but it is clear) I am just not sure how it would hold up to the Oklahoma sun.

Finally, if you have made it this far, I am grateful for your patience. I will now reward you with some cute pictures of the critters.

Gizmo has claimed my fabric basket as her new bed.

Here she is checking out the tree, just after it was brought up from the basement. (Yes, I know the lights are uneven and it is completely crooked. I will fix it tomorrow and I will fluff it back out.)

Fizzgig sleeping in the empty fish tank, which used to house my Guinea pigs. I put an old sheet in there for him to snooze on once he learned how to get inside of it. He is dreaming about being a catfish.

This one is a bit older but they were both snuggled up to Miss Mia and it’s adorable.

Time for daily ablutions while nestled in hubby’s sweatshirt. Fizzgig loves coating his clothing in luck fibers. (Aka fur)

He also has a thing for heater vents and doesn’t care if we freeze as long as he is toasty and warm.

Miss Mia supervising the Chewy.com delivery. This is where I buy their food, treats, kitty litter, sometimes toys, and even the new leads I got for Miss Mia to go outside alone since she can get through all of our fencing. It’s just not safe for her to be outside without a lead since she will holt after a squirrel or rabbit and chase it for miles. We live on a state Highway and semi trucks are a real danger. She has 100 ft of freedom and she gets to explore the rest of the property on a leash with us taking her for walks.

Tomorrow, hopefully I will get my decorating completed and get the pictures posted tomorrow night. I will do my very best.

Until next time….

Everyday Activities, Journal Style Posts

Bad Things Come In Threes, But The Air Conditioning is Fixed

The air conditioning is fixed!!! I cannot even begin to explain how happy I was to see the AC repairman pull into the driveway today. One air conditioning unit was low on freon and the other needed a tiny little part that he called a fan start capacitor. Both are blowing super cold again. Neither of them has shut off or begun blowing hot air so, they are officially fixed. (He left his personal cell number just in case something else happened with them after he left.) As of 10:13 pm, the house is basically a polar cave, just the way we like it.

I am still waiting on the lawnmower deck. I keep looking outside and hoping it doesn’t rain a whole lot before the deck arrives. I am trying to find someone with a tractor and a brush hog who is willing to cut it for us for about $100.00 or so. (I would even pay 200 if they would do it just before the new deck arrives.) The deck is apparently back ordered until late August even though the website said, “In Stock”. I seriously cannot catch a break. With the Air conditioning, the lawnmower deck, and the dishwasher, that’s 3. They say bad things come in threes and that’s 3 things. (I am not counting the chicken coop because it just needs the cover secured again. It’s not broken, just slightly damaged.)

The dishwasher needs a new heating element. That can be repaired and does not mean I need a new dishwasher thankfully. I am just fed up with things breaking. I realize this is part of owning a home, but it still sucks. It raises my stress levels, which in turn raises my pain levels and by that point, I just want to flop on the couch and no longer more for the entire day. I simply cannot flop on the couch doing nothing. My household would fall apart rather quickly if I did that.

I am making the best of the stressful situation. I have no issues doing dishes by hand. I drive hubby crazy because I have a dishpan with sanitizer in it and I dip the dishes after washing and rinsing. I didn’t use my dishwasher to wash the dishes, I used it to sanitize the dishes. Therefore, sanitizer is necessary. (Yes, I realize that most people do not sanitize their dishes.)

I sanitize my dishes because I have a compromised immune system. I clean my house with bleach and a disinfectant called Cavi-cide. I love bleach. Bleach kills almost everything that floats around the typical home. Cavi-cide is normally reserved for the bathrooms. It’s a hospital grade disinfectant, which needs to be rinsed off of surfaces after letting it sit for 3 minutes. It kills stomach bugs, flu germs, the common cold, MRSA, TB, HIV, etc. It keeps me from getting sick and ending up with a week long hospital stay. (I hate hospitals.) Hubby will be replacing the dishwasher element when it arrives. Apparently it is an inexpensive and simple thing to change out. Until this happens, I will continue to sanitize my dishes with sanitizer tablets.

Aside from the onslaught of breakages, everything seems to be going fairly smoothly. I will be spending tomorrow cleaning up the side of the basement we plan to turn into two bedrooms. It is currently cluttered with holiday decorations, Army fungus (uniforms, gear, etc.), and boxes I never unpacked when we moved. I will have to wear a mask while I am down there cleaning. There is a section between the two large areas of the basement, which has a dirt floor. This is the location of the old coal chute for the coal furnace, which was removed long ago. The dirt is an extremely find dust and I don’t want to be breathing it in while sweeping it back to the dirt floor area. Once everything is organized and swept up, we can figure out exactly how we want to remodel the basement. I will take some pictures while I am down there. The wall has names and birthdays for the boys who were members of a Boy Scouts Troop/Den back in the late 1950s or early 1960s (I don’t remember the exact dates.) The original builder’s wallpaper is also in patches on the walls. The builder’s wallpaper was calendar pages from 1918. We plan on preserving these bits of history even though we will be remodeling. Hubby plans on filling in the dirt floor section with concrete once he has it checked out to see if it’s still dirt for a reason. I will be taking the metal detector down there before he fills it in. The area is approximately 12 ft. X 7 ft. and I am bringing the metal detector down there because there was a Boy Scouts Troop/Den meeting in the one side of the basement. The entire square footage of the basement is about 1000 square feet. The attic is another 1000 square feet, which we would love to turn into usable space. Right now, the attic is about 120Β° Farenheit (It was 165Β° Fahrenheit earlier today when the AC guy was up there checking the upstairs air handler. Both units are heat pumps, and I have no idea what the difference is between a heat pump and anything else.)

Looks like an AC unit in my opinion. I apologize for the dark picture. It was 3 am and I was taking pictures because it froze up. I will show you what that looks like.

The first picture is the piping for the freon. And the second picture is through the top where the fan is and the entire compressor was frozen in a block of ice. In order to keep the AC going somewhat, I would have to turn it off, allow it to thaw out, then turn it back on, I repeated this process every few hours. This was the upstairs unit and all of the bedrooms are upstairs so, this one was pretty important at night.

This is the downstairs unit and it needed a capacitor replaced. For this one, the fan in the top wouldn’t turn on. To keep this one going, I had to reset the breakers until the fan kicked on every few hours. The air handlers are located in the basement and in the attic. They kept blowing air. It was hot air, but both kept blowing air. I really am glad they are fixed.

I am sunburned from being outside while both units were being fixed. I stayed outside and watched because I wanted to know how he was fixing them. He was so awesome, he explained everything, showed me the readings when he tested freon levels, told me what normal levels were, and showed me when he tested the old capacitor with a multimeter. It was showing zero for a reading and the new one was showing a much higher reading. He also flushed the drain lines in the basement for the air handler. He explained how to do it in case the water started to show on the small section of concrete again in the future. (Basically, he blew air through the lines with a handheld air compressor. I really want one of those, but they are stupid expensive.)

Fizzgig was being especially cute and snuggly this morning while I was drinking my coffee. I hated to get up and disturb him, but I absolutely had to get dressed today.

He has been really snuggly lately and I am not sure why, because he rarely wants to snuggle with me.

He has even been snuggly with Gizmo. (Pardon my couch. I am married to a mechanic and he doesn’t always change out of his work clothes before flopping on the couch. Motor oil and other mechanical fluids have destroyed my tan couch.) I vow to get a black leather/pleather sectional when I replace the couches. They are 9 years old so, they are actually in pretty decent shape for surviving oodles of kids a grandbaby, other people’s babies, cats, Miss Mia and hubby and I sleeping on them for several months when he had his knee surgeries. (He has a titanium knee now.) Miss Mia is not allowed on the couch, but that has never stopped a dog before when no one is home. They have also survived a move across the country and another across the state. I still want to replace them. They are a two piece sectional and I want a “U” shaped sectional with recliners.

Miss Mia also got brushed this week.

The birds had a field day collecting the fur that blew away before it could be bagged. They will have super comfortable nests when winter comes. The small family of Finches, who live in the tiny birdhouse on the Hackberry tree in the backyard have been stuffing the birdhouse with her fur since they moved in the same time we did. The first decorations I hung was my birdhouse and then, my windchime. The windchime has seen better days. Hubby finally rebuilt it using lacing wire to hang the chimes and a large metal washer on a nut and bolt to hang against the chimes because the Oklahoma wind ripped the chimes off and the part that bangs against the chimes. It will definitely survive any wind that blows on it now.

This sunburn has made me feverish. I used my favorite sunburn remedies because I didn’t want to be in excruciating pain. Yes, I was wearing sunblock and I was covered, but I was outside for far too long and burned anyway because of the photosensitivity caused by one of my medications. Those remedies have been working EXTREMELY well for me for as long as I can remember and I added a few over the years. First, is the vinegar bath. I mix about a quart of white vinegar in about two inches of water in the tub, the water is lukewarm. I cover my whole body with this mixture several times and let it dry. Then, I keep aloe gel in the fridge so it is cold. Aloe is a wonderful thing for burns. I make my own gel now, but I have bought many bottles in the past. A few hours later, I take another bath. This time I grew a gallon of very strong black tea, (about 8 quart size teabags for a gallon of water.) I let it cool and with the tub plugged, but empty, I cover myself in the tea several times and let it dry. I add more aloe and sleep in super soft pajamas. (A tank top and shorts with flat seams and EXTREMELY soft fabric) by morning I have no sunburn symptoms aside from some light redness or pinkness. I am extremely pale so, I burn easily. I ALWAYS wear sunblock, but sometimes I still burn. It’s nice to be able to stop the heat and pain rather quickly. I am sure these old home remedies are probably NOT recommended, but they work for me. Please don’t take any of this as medical advice. I am NOT a doctor. I am just telling you what I do for myself and my kiddos. See a doctor if you have a severe sunburn as it could be sun poisoning or even a 2nd or 3rd degree burn. Blistering of any sort should be treated with medical attention.

With that being said, aloe gel is super easy to make. Just cut open an aloe leaf, scrap the gooey inside out, add a bit of witch hazel (just enough to thin to your desired consistency) and mix in a food processor, blender, or mash together with a fork. Pour it into a bottle and keep it in the fridge. Keep in mind fresh aloe will mold because it doesn’t contain preservatives. I have also made a spray by adding a bit of distilled water along with the witch hazel. For this, you definitely need to use a food processor or a blender and then, strain it so, your spray nozzle doesn’t clog. I firmly believe all aloe marketed for sunburns should come in spray form because rubbing it on can be painful when your skin is tight and hot. You can easily water down store bought aloe with a mix of witch hazel and distilled water to make a spray form as well. No matter what, the best treatment for sunburn is to avoid getting one in the first place. Sunblock is a wonderful thing. Reapply every 2 hours and after sweating or swimming. You should be using a shot glass full of sunblock for a child and 2 shotglasses (a shot glass is an ounce) for an adult. Use more if you feel that isnt enough. The lotion provides better coverage than the sprays simply because you can see exactly where it has been applied. I am a huge believer in sunblock. Skin cancer is deadly and terrifying. Also, sun damage to your skin causes your skin to age faster. You will see more wrinkles and more discoloration when you don’t protect your skin from the sun. Even the bottom of your feet can get sunburned. Apply sunblock EVERYWHERE. Remember, even waterproof/water resistant sunblock needs to be reapplied every 2 hours and after swimming or sweating. 😁 you can also buy clothing with built in sunblock, which is especially awesome for kids who hate sunblock or anyone with a sensitivity. This is the brand, Athleta, which I have personally been using. It is not terribly expensive considering that it will help protect you from UVA/UVB rays. It’s also cute and comfy. (I have ZERO affiliation with this company. I am simply sharing the brand that I have been personally using.) Their clothing is soft and pretty durable. I was expected something itchy or heavy feeling because its sunblock clothing. I am very happy with my purchases. I can’t wait to get more.

Now, that I have lectured everyone on the importance of sunblock, I sincerely hope, if you take only one thing away from my blog, this is that thing. It truly is important to take care of your skin. Until next time…