Suburban Homesteading in Southwestern PA

Re-Learning the Homesteading way to make life better in the Suburbs today.

December 6
    Goodness, but it's hard to believe the first week of December is over already.  Time always does seem to fly even faster this time of year when there's so much to do, when what we really need is for it to slow down.
    The weather is quite miserable this morning, windy with rain and it's cold.  The weatherman keeps saying the rain will pass and we'll see a high of about 53 degrees today and tomorrow the temperature is supposed to top out in the 60's!  We have really been quite lucky so far.
December 5
    We went back to our old church today for the first time since February.  It was weird.  Most everyone was very nice and went out of their way to speak to us and let us know how happy they were to see us.  There were a few who stayed away and that was kind of sad to see.  We'd hoped there'd been enough time for wounds to heal.  We've known everyone so long that we didn't feel lost or anything when prayer requests or church business was discussed, but when we left Tim was the head elder and I was the youth director.  We were definitely upper echelon, inner circle leadership.  To go back as visitors/observers was......well, weird.  The current head elder is supposed to visit us Thursday evening to talk about things and work on getting us back in the church.  Tim and I have both learned to set limits while we were gone and won't be pushed or guilted into anything.  We've learned to say no.  We talked after church and while we both enjoyed the service today, we aren't making any decisions.  We're just going to take it one Sunday at a time.
    I had a roast with potatoes and carrots in the oven and it was done perfectly by the time we got home from church so as soon as we changed out of our good clothes we were able to sit down and eat.  Afterward Megan and I baked a batch of chocolate chip cookies (with a handful of peanut butter chips thrown in) while Tim and Matt took advantage of the sunshine and mild temperatures to finally get the deck furniture wrapped and put away.  I am so glad that is done.
    Tonight we all went to Barnes & Noble's.  We each got a hot drink and sat and looked at magazines and books.  It was such a nice treat.  We didn't buy anything except a magazine spelling out the basics of using eBay.  Tim, Matt and I all want to get into buying, and particularly selling, on there.  When we got home we found out none of us had a house key on us.  I wanted to call my mom and run up the ridge to get a key from her, but everyone else was too impatient so Tim used a crowbar to pry the door open.  It worked, but tonight he has to repair the door frame.
December 3
    I had a field trip today between my morning and afternoon runs.  I took the 6th grade excelerated math class to the mall.  They are studying statistics and do something with it there.  So, while they were doing their thing I had four hours to myself at the mall!!  I got Matt the special edition DVD of Monty Python's Holy Grail that he's been wanting and Sears was having a big sale so I found a really nice shirt for Megan and two pairs of good earrings at ridiculously low prices.  After that I bought myself a paperback at the bookstore and sat reading it over Chinese in the food court until it was time to go.  And I got paid for this.
    We ordered a pizza for supper and it took two hours to arrive and was cold when it did.  Everyone was starving.  I don't know that we'll order from that place again.
December 2
    Megan's Christmas concert was tonight.  Tim came home early to go and Mom and John went, too.  It's the first time John has ever gone to any of the kids' concerts.  Matt had his orientation at Pizza Hut, but called right as we were walking out the door to say he was done so he went to the concert, too.  I'm glad everyone made it.  It was such a nice show.  A bit of a play went along with it and the premise was following one man's life through the years from high school, through WWII, etc.  The man was a photographer and as a really neat touch at the end a screen came down and they showed pictures the kids had brought in showing their favorite Christmas moments.
December 1
    Very, very windy today.  The top wind speeds this morning were approaching 65mph!  Getting those kids to school was quite an adventure, let me tell you.  There were branches and entire trees down everywhere and new ones falling all the time.  Power lines were getting knocked down.  All morning all you heard was buses calling in to say they couldn't get through.  Our school district was lucky but others lost power and had to send the kids back home.  We didn't have any real damage here at the house, just some blown over Christmas decorations and the deck furniture was rearranged in a most "interesting" way.  The wind had died down by this afternoon.
November 30
    Back to school today.  Nobody wanted to get up this morning and it seemed like the day just drug on and on.  Tim was late getting home.  He stopped to talk to the interim pastor at our old church.  You could have knocked me over with a feather.  That was completely unexpected.  Even more surprising?  Tim told the pastor we'd come to the 11:00 service this Sunday and give it a try.
November 29
    No school today as it is the first day of deer season.  Tim couldn't get off work this year so he and Matt didn't even bother getting their licenses.  Matt has a friend who already got a couple of deer in another state and he has promised to give us one if he gets another here.   I took Matt, Megan, and her friend Mackenzie to see the movie National Treasure this afternoon.  It was really good!  We all liked it and it has really stirred up Matt's interest in the history of the Free Masons and the Knights Templar.  On the way home I stopped at Aldi's and stocked up on staples while I had the kids to help carry everything.
    Yesterday afternoon Mom came down and helped Tim finish wallpapering the kids' bathroom.  She is very good at it and can match up the pattern like you wouldn't believe.  It is pieced together all over the place but you can't even tell and the way it's done there was very little waste.  We drove out to see Tim's great uncle and aunt in the evening because they'd called and asked us to come fix their answering machine.  They didn't have directions, but I started pushing buttons and after a few mistakes figured it out and recorded a new message for them. 
November 27
    Not a bad day weather-wise and Tim was home so he and Matt spent a good chunk of the afternoon putting up the outside lights while I washed clothes and finished up the inside decorating.  Tonight I took the kids to Ligonier.  They were showing the Wizard of OZ in the old theater.  I'd never seen it in a theater and thought it would be kind of neat, especially since they'd just finished restoring the old theater.  The kids agreed, but Tim passed.  His loss.  It was really amazing how much we noticed seeing the movie on the big screen compared to on television.  Anyway, it was a lot of fun and a good way to kick off the holidays.
November 26
    Spent all day at home working on putting out the decorations and cleaning.  Megan and I watched a lot of our favorite Christmas videos while we worked.  We did go out once in the afternoon.  We met Mom at the nursing home to celebrate Nana's 86th birthday.  She sure enjoyed her cake and ice cream, but I'm not sure she knew who we were or why she was eating it.  We couldn't ignore her birthday, but it sure feels funny celebrating when she is like she is.
    16 eggs today!  I found some recipes that use a lot of eggs that I will have to send along.
      A really dark, cold, windy, snowy day.  Tim's family invited us to spend the day with them, but we passed, choosing to have dinner with my mom and John instead.  I had invited them here, but John wanted to have dinner at his place up on the ridge so we headed up there shortly before noon.  John built his home by himself and it is very rustic with each room featuring a different kind of wood.  He has a small yard, but mostly he has a large field that you can see from the picture window at the end of the dining table.  Lots of times you can see deer, fox, turkey or even bear while you are eating, but we didn't see anything today.  With the nasty weather all God's creatures great and small must have been huddled up somewhere.  We were no exception.  It was very snug and nice in John's house with a fire glowing in the fireplace while the wind roared around the house and the snow whipped against the window panes.  We watched movies and football and played some games the kids had brought along.  When we went outside to leave at 8:00 we found the temperature had dropped considerably and the car doors were frozen shut!  Some warm water got us on our way, though we had to be careful as some of the wet spots on the road had frozen.