Friday, August 27, 2010

Eye in the Sky

This blimp was released above FOB Shank, in Afghanistan, at the beginning of August. It constantly surveys the area for "bad guys". All incoming has virtually stopped. I can breathe a little easier, just a little, knowing this.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wardrobe Wednesday

Princess went through a period where she wanted me to choose her clothes for the day. Things are beginning to shift now that her skin is so much better. She is excited about choosing her clothes again. This of course gives me some interesting ensembles for Wardrobe Wednesday. She's usually pretty good about somewhat matching things, but this time...hmmmm...I'm not sure what she's going for here. It is definitely interesting!!

Head on over to Heathen Family Revival, our Wardrobe Wednesday sponsor, to see what they're up to.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Liquid Gold

You guessed it! We call chicken stock liquid gold. It makes the most amazing soups, stews and sauces. I used to buy chicken stock in the store because I thought it was very complicated to make and that I would have to waste a whole chicken to make it. Not true! Believe it or not, it's practically free! If I had known this sooner, I would have saved myself a lot of money.

This amazingly rich stock is made from things you likely throw in the garbage. In my freezer I keep a Ziploc bag filled with onion, celery, carrot and other veggie ends. You know what I mean, right? The stuff you toss when prepping dinner. Yup! Take these and toss them into a Ziploc bag and store them in your freezer.

Every so often I make a whole chicken in the oven. After dinner, I pick all the meat off the bones. I take the bones and put them in a pot, add some of the veggie ends from the freezer, fill the pot with water and a good splash of raw organic apple cider vinegar. Bring it to a simmer and when foam starts to form on top, skim that off. Let it simmer at a very low temperature for about 24 hours. Strain through a colander, cool in the fridge and jar up in some freezable (make sure they say they are freezable) jars.

This highly nutritious liquid will amaze you! Yes, from kitchen scraps you have something useful, healthful and yummy! Give it a try!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Poor Puppy!

It's been a rough time over the last few days, with three vet visits in three days. We still don't know what happened. On Monday the Puppy Princess had a very swollen face. We took her to the vet where they told us that she likely got stung by a bee. After a shot of an antihistamine, they sent us home.

The next day the swelling in her face was reduced, but her neck was swollen and she displayed other icky symptoms. We took her back to the vet where they gave her another antihistamine shot and sent us home with more antihistamines. That night she wouldn't eat dinner. The next morning she wouldn't eat breakfast. She seemed much worse. Oh...and her ear developed an infection. Back to the vet!

They kept her for observation and blood work. They were able to get her to eat some canned food eventually. The blood work showed nothing. : /  They started her on an antibiotic, told us to continue the antihistamine and keep her quiet for the day.

We still don't know what happened for sure. Our best guess is that she was eating some sort of poisonous plant and got stung by a bee. Last night she slept well. This morning she ate and took all her meds. She looks like she is returning to normal!

What a relief!!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wardrobe Wednesday

Going for the preppy look? Princess sure can pull it off! This is one of the few outfits that still fits her. Looks like we'll be hitting the summer clearance sales. As it turns out, we'll need summer clothes in October because...

...we're going to Disney World! Again!

Head on over to Heathen Family Revival, our Wardrobe Wednesday sponsor, to see what they're wearing.

Monday, July 19, 2010

It's Not Autumn

"Mommy, the leaves are changing colors!" The only problem is that it's the middle of July, I told Princess. The leaves should not be changing colors.

Yeah, the grass is changing colors, too. :-/

Yes, you are experiencing my brown thumb in all its glory. These are the times that I have that extra wish that the Lizard King was around. After talking with a friend, I learned that new lawns and trees need a much longer watering time than established ones. The sprinkler times are adjusted and we're keeping our fingers crossed that the grass and trees become green and vibrant again. Wish us luck!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Unschooling Royalty

Okay...I'm a little nervous to click "Publish Post" on this one. After all, I disappeared for a month and a half and then I drop this bit of information! I mean, I haven't done a very good job of maintaining this blog lately. But really, part of that was this inner bloggy turmoil. Oh well, deep breath, here goes!

You may have noticed that recently I've mentioned unschooling once or twice. Again and again the thought of starting a separate unschooling blog popped into my head. Well, I finally took the leap. What does this mean for My World Behind Big Shades? Well, I'm not exactly sure. At some point, I may switch over to the other blog completely or I may just keep things separate. I supposed we'll have to see how things play out.

I hope you'll join me over at Unschooling Royalty. Although we are royalty, (after all we've got The Lizard King and Princess, so I may as well be Queen Shady Lady, right?) you all know we're not formal. So stop by anytime, no formal invitation necessary!

Royally Yours,
Queen Shady Lady ;)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Home Sweet Home

I know, I know. I sort of fell off the face of the earth, well, the bloggy earth anyway. I just haven't been in much of a bloggy place. I haven't been posting or reading. It's not like there hasn't been anything going on around here. A LOT has happened and I have so much to share and I really want to get back to regular posting. Maybe today can be the start?

Let's catch up! What have I been doing for the last month and a half?

We packed the house over a period of months. My sister was amazingly helpful, coming over weekly to help. She totally rocks! The Lizard King came home on leave on Thursday, June 24th and the whirlwind began. He got to see the house for the first time, which was so exciting! The next day, play structure construction began.

Here is the house, well, some of it anyway.

You will have to wait to see the rest of the house another time. There is still so much more to do! We moved on the 26th of June and spent every day LK was home working on the house. Before we knew it, it was time for him to head back to Afghanistan. That was an adventure as well! LK was on the KLM flight that turned around over the Atlantic. He did make it safely back to Afghanistan...eventually.

Now I need to rewind just a bit. Before LK came home, before we even closed on the house, we hired an attorney. We tried to handle things on our own with Needy Evie, the evil ex-wife. I told you about her here and here. I did all the work and gathered all the information, copied it and mailed it to the attorney. Needy Evie was served. She had until June 29th to respond. On June 28th she called the attorney's office and said that she wanted to come in and sign the papers stating that we were done paying her alimony. We were stunned. Could it really be that simple? After all these years and all the grief she has given us, would she really go down without a fight. We had a hard time believing it, but it was true. She signed!! The attorney overnighted the papers for LK to sign. This week the judge signed the papers, too. It is done. It is over. After 10 long years, Needy Evie is out of our lives for good.

Now I am working on unpacking and making a home for us. The Lizard King will be home on September 18th, Princess' birthday. We have so much to look forward to, but more than anything we are looking forward to being together as a family.

So, what's up with all of you?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

LIFE is Good!

Princess and I spent the weekend (Thursday through Sunday) at the LIFE is Good Unschooling Conference and we had an amazing time! If was fun and fabulous and I can't wait until next year! I told the Lizard King that I really want him to join us next year and even though it is just across the bridge in Vancouver, WA, I want to stay in the hotel next time. It was such an incredible experience and I kept wishing that I didn't have to head all the way home each day. Princess is excited at the idea of staying there next time, too.

The energy was amazing. Having so many unschoolers gathered together was just incredible. I hear there were 600 people there. Wow! I don't even know how to describe how cool it was. We talked about unschooling and celebrated it. We learned more about it and shared what we know. We met new friends and friends from the bloggy world. It was so cool meeting Colleen, The New Unschooler (who isn't so new at it anymore) and Mandy from Second to the Right. I sat in on presentations and circle chats while Princess had a blast in the funshops playing her Nintendo DS, learning about Pokemon, making a variety of crafts, blowing bubbles and so much more.

I also discovered that there are quite a few unschoolers at Village Home. Who knew?! After talking with a few of them, I was inspired to propose a support group activity to the program committee at Village. They are working hard to put together the schedule for next year. If you are a VH unschooling family, look for Unschooling Rocks! Roundtable when the schedule is published...assuming it is approved... ;) fingers crossed!!

And for all you unschoolers out there, I can't encourage you enough to attend LIFE is Good. You will have an amazing time.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Little Whine?

I don't even know how to start this post. That's probably why I haven't posted in so long. I am feeling overwhelmed and stressed. Building a new house is really awesome and incredibly challenging when I am the one who has to stay on top of everything. There have been so many mistakes that I caught and at least one that I missed.

The one that I missed will cause LK a lot of work and I'm kicking myself for missing it. Of course he doesn't think it's a big deal, but I feel frustrated about it. He is so darn easy going. Thank goodness electrical work comes easy to him. The electrician who wired our house didn't seem to have much of a plan. A few light switches were placed in the strangest and most inconvenient of places. The Lizard King will be relocating three of them.

The house is so close. It looks like we should be closing on time and moving at the end of June. I've been packing for weeks and there is still a lot to do. We're getting down to the wire so I feel the need to step things up a bit. My sister is coming over tomorrow to help...again.

On top of all the house stuff we are dealing with Needy remember her, the evil ex-wife. Well, after 8 long years of alimony it is coming to an end. Did you think she would go down quietly?! Absolutely not!! That's not her style. Now we have to prove that we have paid her everything. In my naive hope that she would be reasonable, I didn't save all the proof and have spent the last month on the phone with the bank (and other sources) gathering all the proof. After a little trip to Kinko's I have copies of everything which I will highlight and send off to our new attorney. Yes, we had to hire an attorney to handle all of this. Fun times.

On top of all this, I'm just missing LK. It's been nearly 13 weeks now and we've got another 3 weeks 3 days to go. Princess is missing her daddy so much. This time being so long has been so much harder on all of us.

Well, I think I've reached the end of my whine. If you made it this far, thanks for listening. I hope to be back again soon!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Lizard King and Unschooling

A long time ago I made a list of all the qualities that I was looking for in a man. I had been through so many bad relationships. I was going to find the perfect man for me or I had no interest in having a man. I came across that list no too long ago and was reminded that the Lizard King met each and every requirement on my list.

I feel so blessed (yes, I still use that word;) to have such a supportive husband. It seems that no matter what I decide to do, he is always behind me 100%. He is amazing. Always has been.

As I sat reading The Unschooling Handbook two or three years ago, I would randomly share eye opening ideas with LK as I encountered them. It all made so much sense to both of us. The more we read the more we were fascinated and knew that this was our path. When I decided to try doing more schoolwork, a slightly more traditional style of homeschooling...slightly...LK was supportive. And when I realized that it wasn't working for us and dropped the schoolwork, LK was behind me all the way.

There are two reasons he is so supportive of our unschooling choice. 1. He sees that it works and not only that, it works well. 2. LK was a bit radical in his day (as was I), a little rebellious and liked doing things his way. Unschooling is his last little bit of rebellion.

Whatever his reasons, I am grateful to have such an amazing if I could just have him at home, life would be simply grand.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Bloggers Without Makeup

I'm following this meme from Kelly over at Heathen Family Revival. This is something that poses a bit of a challenge for me. I grew up wearing makeup. I started at 12 or 13 and wore makeup practically every day of my life up until about a year ago when the influence of my non-makeup friends got me to stop wearing makeup. I was makeup free for a long time, maybe 6 months or more. Then one day we got dressed up for a night out and I put on the makeup and thought that I looked so much better. Now I'm back to wearing makeup again.

The day before I read Kelly's post, Princess and I had a conversation about makeup and I pointed out that a lot of our friends don't wear makeup. Princess suggested that I try not wearing any, too. I skipped it the next day and Prnicess told me that I looked beautiful.

I don't want her to think that she needs to wear makeup. The point of this meme is to show our kids that we are beautiful just as we are. Can I find a way to see myself as beautiful without?

I was going to take a new picture of me without makeup, but I've been wanting to post this and just haven't taken a new picture. I found this one and looking at it, huh, I think I look pretty good.

Friday, May 14, 2010

MIA but I had to share

Yeah, I know, I've been missing for a while. We are dealing with the psycho the evil one Needy Evie some personal issues and I just haven't been in a very bloggy place. Still, I had to stop in here and share the latest in Princess news. Most of you know that we are unschoolers (after taking a short detour last year). This time around I have truly embraced this life and I love when little things happen to remind me how beautifully this all works.
At Village Home, our amazing homeschool resource center, they are doing the Great American Spell Check fundraiser. When they first announced it, I asked Princess if she wanted to participate. She told me she would think about it. Yesterday the email reminder of the deadline arrived in my inbox. I asked Princess if she had made a decision and told her that she needed to make a decision now because the Spell Check event is next week. She decided that she wanted to give it a try!

I printed out the word list and read her each word so that she could write them on a piece of paper. We have never done a spelling lesson or anything like this before. Princess got 33 out of 50 words correct, including the words more, floor, coat and steep. We have 17 words that we will work on when she decides she wants to. We talked about what she missed and I think she will likely spell more words correctly on Tuesday. I just think it is so cool that she is doing this and that her spelling is so good!

I know I've said it before, but I just have to say it again...unschooling rocks!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Happy Un-Birthday Princess

We were invited to a birthday party. I asked Princess if she wanted me to make a gluten free cake to bring with us. She's not much of a cake eater so I wasn't surprised when she said no. That was all fine and good until the cake came out. I messed up big time. I should have just made the cake...but I didn't and Princess cried and she cried.

I told her that we would make a cake when we got home. We baked it and frosted it and I was ready to cut it and eat it, but Princess had other plans. How can you make a cake and not decorate it?!

And of course if there's a candle it has to be lit. I sang a beautiful Happy Un-Birthday to Princess and she was ecstatic. You're probably wondering how she liked the cake. Uhm...yeah...she didn't. I'm still baking a cake for the next party we attend.

Monday, April 26, 2010

My Sister, My Friend

We have had lots of ups and lots of downs, but when it comes down to it my sister is always there for me. She is coming over every week to help me pack the house. Last week she even came over and packed while I had an evening out with friends. She does so much for me and I don't think she knows how much I appreciate her. I wish that I could do more for her.

She has asked me to be maid of honor in her wedding next March. We went dress shopping for my dress and to get some ideas for Princess' flower girl dress. I hope that I can do as good a job as she did when she was my maid of honor. She was amazing!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Helping My Child Heal

Some of you may remember an earlier post My Child's Pain from the end of last year. We tried so many things and nothing worked...until we tried something called NAET. There are many who think this is a scam, but the woman providing the treatment is a member of our Village Home community and I decided to trust her. She was certain she could help Princess to heal. Within weeks, Princess' skin began to improve. Within two months her skin was almost completely healed. She continues to have some minor skin issues and we haven't been able to eliminate the itching, but the difference is incredible.

The NAET practitioner also suspected that Princess had Celiac Disease. We had her tested and confirmed that this was true. Princess has been off gluten for a couple of months now. This may have helped further her improvement, but I do want to say that the gluten avoidance started after we witnessed improvement from the NAET. I am sold on NAET with our practitioner, Shelley Lowrie. Are you local? Contact her here! We are still working with Shelley to completely eliminate all of Princess' skin issues. I love when I find an alternative that really works!!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wardrobe Wednesday

Back in September I showed you the rain boots that Princess and I were getting. I've worn mine on rainy days or to muddy locations. Princess, however, has worn her boots EVERYWHERE she goes. No matter what she wears, no matter what she does, you will find her in those boots.

Monday, April 19, 2010


What do you do with a pile of boxes? Why you play of course! After all they are not just boxes...they can be a bounce house and a slide and a fort and anything you can imagine...

...even a stage.

Friday, April 16, 2010

It's a Jungle Out There

But it's no match for me! I took down a zebra and a lion. Check me out. I rock.
Happy Friday and have a beautiful weekend!!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wardrobe Wednesday

It appears that this little pink princess ensemble is traditional knight-wear. Princess convinced me to let her wear this same outfit two days in a row because she needed it for the knight game she is creating. On day three I regretfully informed her that after living in this outfit day and night (yes she slept in it, too) she would have to wait for it to be washed to wear it again. Somehow she has survived.

Head on over to Heathen Family Revival to see what they're NOT wearing today.

Monday, April 12, 2010

On the Sweeter Side

Back in January, I posted the way I make real salad dressing. I told you that you can change up the spices and herbs for a variety of tastes. The other day I wanted something a bit sweeter. I took the base of olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper and sour cream and added dijon mustard and honey. I tossed the dressing with lettuce, pumpkin seeds, raisins and feta. OMG it was yummy!!

Give it a try!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Finding Myself

Since this post I have been working very hard on being the mom I used to be and I am thrilled to share that things are improving. I am speaking kindly to Princess and we are playing together more. We are laughing more and having fun. I have to work hard to stay on this path. I am still not perfect, but I am not striving for perfection. I asked Princess how I was doing and she told me that I "get all check marks", that it's all good now. It still isn't easy and I must remember to fill my cup so that I can continue to be the best mom I can be. Thank you all for your support and encouragement.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wardrobe Wednesday

Don't you just love a man in a toolbelt?

I do. :)

Head on over to Heathen Family Revival to see what they're wearing.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Jump Rope

Three years ago, Princess wanted to buy this jump rope.

I didn't hesitate, but I did wonder how things would go. Princess was perfectly happy to flip the rope over her head, let in land in front of her, and jump over it. She was jumping rope and she was ecstatic. Then the rope made its way into a drawer and there it sat for quite some time...until recently.

Princess is a determined little girl.

I love the determination. So is this unschooling phys. ed.? ;)