Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Prince Edward Island Part II

The first day we were on the island for our anniversary trip we went to see some of the Anne of Green Gables sites. We stayed in Cavendish which is where L.M. Montgomery lived. From here on out I'll refer to the author as Maud which is what she went by.

First we went to the home that Anne of Green Gables is based on. It was the home of Maud's cousin Myrtle, her husband Ernest Webb, and their 5 children.
Green Gables was drawn from David MacNeill's house- now Mr. Webb's, though not so much the house as the situation and scenery, and the truth of my description is attested by the fact that everybody recognized it...Although I had the Webb place in mind, I did not confine myself to fact at all.                                                                                                  
                                            -The Selected Journals of L.M. Montgomery Vol. III Jan. 22, 1911

In a little case near the house they had these original copies of Maud's books. I love the old-fashioned covers! (Sorry for the picture but it's hard to get a shot of something in a badly lit glass case.)
 On the lot is this barn:
They had plaques with interesting tidbits and some farm implements and such to look at. Below is a turnip pulper and seeder. I'd never heard of such a thing! It's used to chop up turnips which then have grain added to them to make a mash for animal feed. Apparently turnips were just as important as potatoes on the island.
 I thought this leather fly swatter was pretty neat. I guess people figured out how to make such things before the advent of plastic!
 Below are pictures of the house. It is just the kind of house you imagine when reading the book!
 Ha ha! Short doorways. ( :
 SUPER gaudy decor. Wow. Everything was wallpapered to death and the carpets were SO busy. I'm really glad that styles have changed. All those busy patterns would make me dizzy to live around.

 "Matthew's Room"


 Teeny tiny stove. I can't even imagine how awful it would be to cook on this thing. Bending over all day to reach the pans....ugh. And the heat of it baking you in the summer.

 "Anne's Room"
 The infamous slate from the story that Anne broke over Gilbert's head. (Obviously placed there just for fun as the story is fictional of course.)

 Back of the house. The white thing in the bottom right is a covered well.
 The LOVELY grounds around the house.


It was such a nice day when we went and we were there the week before tourist season really started so it was pretty quiet. I could have just sat and enjoyed the green and lovely scenery for hours!

One funny thing about this trip is that I kept confusing fiction with reality. We learned a lot about Maud's family and real happenings on the island, but in my mind it was all woven together with stories from Maud's books. I had to keep asking The Professor questions about what we'd learned to get a better grasp on the real history because his mind wasn't befuddled with the stories. He's never read any of the books or even seen the movies! (I've gotta work on making him watch the movies with me!)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Prince Edward Island Part I

I'm baaaack! I have had quite the whirlwind of a month in June! My brother's wedding reception, my sister's baby blessing, a family reunion on The Professor's side of the family, an anniversary trip to Prince Edward Island, and a week spent at my parent's home just doing whatever we could to be useful there.

I was away from home for 3 weeks straight! It was really strange to be gone for so long and I felt bad about leaving my church calling for so long. I've been paying for being gone by having crazy days of trying to catch up. It's amazing all the things you have to do to catch up after being away for a long time. I finally sorted through all my receipts and such from the various expenses during this whole grand adventure. What a nightmare! But now the financial record I keep is all caught up and I can feel guilty about exactly how much our P.E.I. trip cost. Ha ha! (Yes, I have a complex where I can't REALLY enjoy a trip because I feel bad that I went instead of donating the money to starving children.)

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to share a few pictures and tidbits from my trip to the island.

First of all, why go to Prince Edward Island? I imagine most people would never think of going there on a trip. Well, for me it's because I crave beauty and lovely green in nature. I grew up in the desert of Utah and now I live in the Mojave desert in California. My soul positively aches for green and growing things and I've never been able to live anywhere lovely enough to suit my tastes. When I read the Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery as a young girl I was enchanted by the descriptions of Prince Edward Island and have always longed to see the places described in the stories.

Well, now I've seen those places and.....they did not disappoint!  Montgomery was entirely accurate in her descriptions of the beauty of the island and I'd recommend a trip there to anyone!

This picture is taken at the site of the home Montgomery grew up in. The landscape no doubt has changed a fair amount since she was young but the general effect is surely the same. 
 Oh I could have stayed there ALL DAY! It's very difficult to capture in a photo how beautiful this is. Look at those green rolling hills and lovely wooded areas! And beyond all that, blue skies and the sea. It did my heart and mind good to be there and see it all. The first day we were there the weather was just perfect! (Sadly it rained the other two days, but oh well. You can't expect all that green without a lot of rain.)

Somehow the island has managed to stay quiet, lovely and quaint despite the fast pace of the rest of the world. We did a lot of driving all around the coast and it was just a quiet 2-lane road with the loveliest little houses here and there along it. Everything was so rural! All the homes were so nicely kept and everyone mowed their grass. (The long green stuff is everywhere and you just mow some of it to have a yard!) I loved the style of homes there, such pretty colors all with siding and shutters.

And the churches! Oh they were so cute! I didn't take a huge amount of pictures (partly because of the rain) but here's one I snapped from the car of a typical church there. They all looked so fancy with gingerbread trim and fun colors like the yellow below. There were churches like this all over the place.

Well, that's all I can tell you today. It's probably going to take several posts to relate the highlights of the trip, but I'll do it for sure because I know there are other Anne fans out there who'd be interested. There's also a book I picked up that I really want to tell you about.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Summer Break

I'm going to take about a month long break from the internet. I've got a lot of family things to attend to, a vacation coming up, and all kinds of fun things going on so I'm just plain going to be busy. I also need to spend some time considering the way I write and how to be less obnoxious when I post. Ha ha!

So, if you have a comment or question I WILL get back to you, but not for a few weeks. Don't think I've dropped off the face of the earth. ( :

I hope everyone is having a lovely summer!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Thank YOU Fellow Bloggers

For some reason I really feel like I just want to run around giving out big hugs to all the bloggers out there whose blogs I read and enjoy.

I so enjoy the opportunity to learn from other people and be uplifted by them. At this point in my life I can't seem to get out much and talk to very many people. So blogs are a window into the lives of others that I would never have otherwise. I love to read about people's joys, sorrows, triumphs, and struggles. I love to see people trying new things and sharing what they've learned.

I enjoy being able to share things I've learned with others as well. I often say the wrong thing, or over share, or make a mistake. But because of this blogging business I have learned a great deal and it has forced me to grow and stretch. I have actually spent many a night crying myself to sleep over some goofy thing I wrote on my blog, or a dumb comment I made elsewhere. It's hard when you realize you are wrong, or unkind, or silly, or maybe even a leetle bit dumb. (Not you, ME! Not always the brightest bulb in the box, but I keep trying...)

If you are feeling discouraged in your own blogging, keep trying! It's such a good opportunity to share and learn and grow.

I appreciate the small group of people who stop by my blog and find an interest in what I write. I'm sorry if I've ever written something that was hurtful or damaging to you in some way. Thanks for putting up with this very imperfect little homemaker.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

How to Keep Your Child's Bedding in Place

I wrote recently about how I sewed the fitted sheets and top sheets of each of my daughters' beds together. It really helps little kids make the bed and is very helpful on a bunkbed which can be a nightmare to make.

I mentioned in that post that I wanted to figure out a way to keep the top blanket in place on their beds as well. And now that Mr. Car man has a nice quilt I really want a way to keep it in place on his bed. Every morning it's that one more thing for me to do- help him straighten up his bed. I want to help the kids be more independent in their chores and be successful at doing them properly.

At first I thought maybe I could put buttonholes in through the bed sheets and button the top blanket to the sheets. But that seemed like a huge pain (who likes making buttonholes? Ugh.) Finally I decided some sort of strap was in order.

Here's what I came up with:
 I grabbed some ribbon I already had on hand and my large roll of Velcro. (The Velcro was originally for making diapers but now I just find all kinds of handy uses for it.) I used pinking shears on the edge of the ribbon to discourage fraying, then sewed the Velcro on. One end is attached to the blanket where it will not be seen at the back. Below you can see the four straps I did down the side. (The blanket will be hooked at the other side of the bed though.)
Then all I had to do was hook the strap around a bar on the bed! Make sure your straps are long enough to go around some part of the bed you are working with.
 Below you can see one spot where a strap is hooked for the blanket on the upper bunk.
Now all the girls have to do is pull the blanket over the sheets on the one edge and smooth it out a little!
 So easy!
 One last tip- put a pool noodle (I used a whole one on the bottom bunk and one cut in half down it's length with an electric knife for the top bunk) down the side of the bed to keep little stuffed animals and other assorted bedfellows from falling down the crack there.
 Let me know if you try it and it works for you!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

I'm Finally Going to Say It

I have been wanting to write about something for months- maybe even years. But I keep putting it off. It's just too difficult a subject and everyone gets their feelings waaay too involved instead of using critical thinking. So, I'm just going to hurry and say it before I chicken out and then move o

I DO NOT support homebirth in the United States. 

I had one homebirth with my 2nd child. It was a joke. The midwives and assistants quite obviously had no idea what they were doing and were lacking a huge amount of training. I won't go into details now, but I CAN say I've "tried it."

Here I am, laboring away at home. You can see a corner of the birth pool (Which I hated and absolutely did NOT give birth in.)
 EVERY SINGLE midwife's website I have seen shows their obvious lack of education, the completely unscientific way they treat their patients, and their utter disrespect for the real dangers that can accompany birth.

I have read story after story after story of babies who died or were damaged in some way at a homebirth. And the worst part of it is that every single time they could have been saved at a hospital! (And yes of course babies die in the hospital too. Duh. Because all the really sick babies and mothers are there. Homebirth is supposedly for low risk women and babies.)

Just today I came across yet ANOTHER news article about about horrible homebirth gone wrong and a completely incompetent midwife. Midwife Vicki Dawn Sorensen is being charged with manslaughter after the death of a preemie twin. I'm so angry and sad for this poor mother who was no doubt indoctrinated with the belief that homebirth was better and safer and that you can never trust a doctor and that your midwife is so "wise."  This happens over and over and over.

I have carefully watched the homebirth movement for the last 9 years or so. I read a great deal on both sides- for and against. And I've come to the conclusion that homebirth in the US is a really horrible thing.

And what's worse is that many LDS women turn it into a parade of spiritual superiority. They try to say on the side how you can make whatever choice you want, they won't judge.....but really, you can tell that they are just dying to bring you over to the more "spiritual" and enlightened side of things. It makes me sick. I've even seen an LDS woman write about how she tried birth with an epidural and without and couldn't see that it made any difference in how she felt about herself, the experience, her baby, her worth, her spirituality, etc. But then the homebirth crowd comes along and tries to convince her that she really should feel more spiritual and happy because she came closer to God through that birth by not getting "drugged up."

I have finally realized I can no longer be silent on this issue. There are just too many bad things happening and I feel inspired to take a stand and speak up against US midwifery. We have dangerous, untrained homebirth providers who are peddling a dangerous fear of "medical care" and convincing women that doctors and hospitals are evil.

I will fully admit to you right here and now that I was duped for a time by it. And that I was very, very selfish. That's hard to admit!  But I was sucked into the homebirth thing for a year or so (obviously the time during which I had a homebirth.)

I wanted that special "birth experience." I didn't like my hospital experience especially because I'm very shy. My ideal birth would be me giving birth completely ALONE! I convinced myself that it was safe enough because I'd had my first just fine, I was healthy, the midwife said it was safe, they quoted some study (which actually doesn't show homebirth is safe, but how was I to know at the time?) etc. I think I even got sucked into the spiritual superiority of it all. Oh, I was obviously "so much closer to God by choosing homebirth and I was going to be so spiritual because I would feel every ounce of pain." I think for a small time I did get sucked into that thinking. Boy what a prideful fool I was. I'm sorry for anyone who conversed with me about birth during this time.

But thankfully I kept reading, and thinking, and praying and trying to learn what I could on both sides of the homebirth story and I finally realized that I was being selfish. I was more worried about MY experience how superior and spiritual it all was. I didn't want a bunch of strangers around when I gave birth- I just wanted to be alone to bask in the gory of it all or some such nonsense.

Now I have realized that the midwifes who are doing homebirths do not have enough training, they are doing dangerous things even when they say they won't, they lie, they spend a lot of time brainwashing you to believe everything they do, etc. And I've realized that once you actually look at the studies of homebirth here in the US- the rates are horrible!!! I'm shocked at the tricks these midwives and proponents of homebirth play. They find every way they can to schmooze their numbers so that the studies "show" homebirth is safe when that's really not what the studies show. And what's your average layperson (like me) supposed to do. How am I supposed to understand what all those numbers and statistics actually mean?

But from looking at both sides of the story through MANY different blogs and websites I can now see through the antics of these homebirth proponents. I can also see through the antics of the LDS women who push so hard for homebirth and it's spiritual superiority. Who make you feel like you and your birth are lesser if it didn't go a certain way.

Baloney. One of my most spiritual births was the one where I didn't even leave the hospital with my baby in my arms. He flew away overhead in a helicopter to a hospital a few hours away. But in that birth I learned a great deal about relying on the Lord and His love for me and his watchful care over my family. I was shown a great deal of love and service by many people, including total strangers. It was a lovely, beautiful thing despite having a sick baby, trying to nurse in a room full of 30 strangers, having to practically live at the hospital, etc. None of that matters. My baby came home to me safe and sound and no thanks to anything a midwife could even possibly do.

I love hearing about the early history of my church in which LDS women were brave and faithful enough to leave their families and friends and travel back east to gain a better education in midwifery so they could save women and babies. It's so inspiring to me. It was right for that time when the knowledge they were gaining was the best available to them.

But, today we have different times. We have MORE knowledge, MORE training, MORE options, MORE technology, and we save SO MANY MANY lives now. Just take a look at the horrible death rates of women and babies 100 years ago. Why are we trying to go back in time and have that again? I believe God has given us the gift of technology and wants to bless our lives with it. Why are we trying to throw all that away in order to brag that "I had the baby at home with no drugs!"

It's like the guy who is stuck in a flooded area and needs to be rescued. He prays and prays for God to save him. Someone comes by in a boat and he says he's fine- God will save him. Someone comes by in a helicopter and tried to help him- but he says no again. God will save him. When he eventually drowns and gets to God he asks why he wasn't saved. God tells him, "Well, I sent you that boat and that helicopter!"

Obviously that just a silly story, but I love the point it illustrates. I think many women think that they are doing something God wants and it is spiritually superior and that God will protect them in it. But I just can't feel right about expecting God to just miraculously save use when we are purposefully avoiding the life-saving treatments he's already given us! I absolutely believe he CAN save us in a miraculous way. I have absolutely no doubt that He could choose to do that. But if He's already given us so many miraculous things to help us, why not just use those first?

It's like me saying, "God, I know I should just go and get chemotherapy for my very curable cancer, but how about I just show you I am super-duper faithful and you just give me an extra-special miracle and make my cancer go away without treatment. I really don't want to have to be sick, have my hair fall out or any of those other nasty things, so how about giving this special daughter of yours a bit of a miracle and let me go on my way rejoicing?"

I know God could do that. I believe there probably are some special cases in life where because of someone's faith and circumstances they DO get to avoid something miserable through a miracle of God. But this movement to eschew medical care in favor of poorly trained and educated midwives who are bent on brainwashing people into believing that if you "trust birth" it will all come out OK? I just can't get behind it.

So, I'm really truly sorry if I've hurt your feelings by saying this. I may lose some of the very few readers I even have because of this. Maybe I'll lose a friendship or damage a family relationship. (Cuz' I actually know and love a lot of people who are into homebirth.)

But my heart tells me I need to come clean about how I feel about this and be a voice of warning.

If you are "on the fence" about a decision to try homebirth, YOU are the person I am most trying to reach with this. If you want to chat with me about homebirth I'd be happy to do so- even if you disagree with me. You can email me at holly the homemaker at gmail dot com   (I'd advise you to leave a comment that you are emailing me because I rarely check that email.)

I also want anyone who reads this to know that I honestly wish you the best whether you give birth at home or at the hospital or anywhere in between. I also really love and respect those I know of who are midwives or who love homebirth and midwifery. I completely disagree about homebirth, but I still love and respect you.

**Edited to add: I just found two really awesome posts that make good reading on the subject for anyone interested. This lady is concise and explains many of the issues surrounding homebirth quite well.**

The Home Birth, "Natural" Child Birth, and U.S. Hospital Birth Debate Part I: Hospital Safety, C-Section Rates, and Paternalism 


The Home Birth, "Natural" Child Birth, and U.S. Hospital Birth Debate Part II: What I Would Want to Know About Out-Of-Hospital (OOH) Birth.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Healthy Recipe: Gnocchi with Summer Vegetables

Several months ago I found a new recipe I just LOVE! Sadly, my husband and kids don't like it, but I make them eat it once in a while anyway. ( :

This recipe is from Martha Stewart and you can find it here. I just wanted to share a few pictures and recommend it to you.

Sorry, I don't take amazing food photos, but I think this still looks yummy anyway.

You get to use lots of yummy veggies- grape tomatoes, summer squash, zucchini, and I added mushrooms. (Mushrooms are not in the original recipe.)

Good luck finding gnocchi. I had to scour every store in my vicinity. But these little potato dumplings are delicious and that's the part I can get the kids to eat. ( :
 A little fresh basil really makes this dish special.
 I finally discovered the joy of jarred garlic. Why did I not learn this before? My garlic was always going bad or sprouting before I could use it up. Now I always have some on hand and I don't have to try to mince it (difficult) or use the garlic press (difficult to clean.) I thought I wouldn't like the taste of the jarred stuff but I've found it's just fine!
 Top it off with a bit of Parmesan and you have a delicious, healthy meal! It's even pretty! Look at all that color!
One last tip- I try to saute the zucchini and summer squash on high heat until they are nice and browned on both sides and then pull them out quickly. I heat up the other stuff, then toss the squashes back in and serve immediately. That way the squash isn't overcooked and mushy. Which makes me gag and most definitely makes The Professor and the kids gag.

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