Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Creating a library

One of the big things we want to bring back with us to Singapore is our books. I love to read, fiction, non-fiction, books about farms, books about simple living. Love them all. And, I have a lot of them back home that I saved. I want them back.

What this means is we will need a bookshelf...one alone for the cookbooks, but I feel like I will be surrounded by the things I love again.

We will also stop at the bookstore when we are in the states. Here is what is on my wish list...

Lorna Sass, the Complete Vegetarian Cookbook
Square Food Gardening
Encyclopedia of Country Living
Mother Earth News back issue CDs

I also want to create a virtual library with snippets, posts and articles gleaned from the great resource the internet. Dreams of a self-sufficient life on 10 acres...

Step One. Formulate your dream and research.



Monday, June 20, 2005

Of Poop and Pottys

we hit a break through.

Viewer discression notice... the following post discusses, poop, potties and the training of children....

Kiera, the most amazing 2 year old, you know the one who was potty trained at 20 months (with a few set backs but....hey) is always proud of her ability to tell us, Mommy, "Kiera wants to pooopo". Declan, on the other hand, has been potty trained for pee for almost a year, but the poop thing has been a struggle. He has been able to tell us for about 6 months that he wants a "poopoo diaper", but breaking through to poop on the potty has been like pulling teeth. No, I take that back, pulling teeth (again an experience Declan knows all too well) maybe easier.

So, for the last week, we made the great stride of sitting for extended periods of time on the potty. Reading books. But when the urge to poop came. Declan held it in, refused to go.... Really uncomfortable. I go out on a walk with the dog, come back to find Declan has convinced his father to put on the diaper.... ARGH, I can't leave for 15 minutes......but, I digress.

Last night, HUGE progress. I sat with Declan for about 40 minutes. Nadda. Lots of holding it. Put him in the tub for his bath, Nancy comes to finish up, and she puts him back on the potty for another 30 minutes... while I put Kiera to bed. All of the sudden Declan comes running in the room, waiving his flashlight, acting all proud of himself. Nancy reports a very small, but still nonetheless, an actual poop hit the potty... and it came out of Declan's butt!

Nancy, still sleeps in the same room as the kids. I think it is in part cause she prefers the room with the aircon, I don't blame her. Anyway... around 1:30 or 2... Declan wakes up, goes over to Nancy and says "Nancy wake up, wake up, Declan pee pee now!" So they get up and successfully go to the potty together. Yippee...

This morning, Delcan however, woke up with cramps, had a small accident in bed with pee (I am sure it was the cramps....) But screaming, yelling and crying aside, we went back to the potty for the biggest POOP I have ever seen from an almost 4 year old. It must have been a really tough couple of days, but I would not let him have a diaper. So, he got a special breakfast of pancakes and M&Ms. We will see if the trend continues. But today we are walking around singing and high fives are slappin'

It is a good kid day!



Wednesday, June 15, 2005

You can take the girl off the farm

But you can't take the farm out of the girl. Just thought I would share a fun little book I bought here in Singapore of all places. There is a funky little antique and book store that finds what they believe to be funky books. Well sure enough they had a book on rare breeds of livestock in England.

The book published by Shire Publications (here is the link ) covered rare breeds of cattle, and included the TRADITIONAL Hereford, the non-milking Shorthorn, Suffolk horses, a bunch of rare sheep, but also the traditional Southdown. All breeds that are native to England and the islands, but have been threatened due to crossbreeding, changes in the type of animal style and exctiction.

I read the little book cover to cover in about 30 minutes and loved every minute. All along saying, oh we should get this kind of sheep when we get back, think of all the great wool I could spin... or look at this cow, we could use her for milk and beef..... or look at this pig... look at that snout, great for digging grubs I am sure.

I think my husband, who shares a dream of returning to Oregon and getting our property, still thought I had lost my freakin' mind! Best read in a long time!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Consumerisim runs rampid in this home

We are coming home in 2 weeks. We can't wait. What I love about going home is just being with friends and family. What I also love are trips to Nature's the organic grocery store (nka Wild Oat's), the mecca of all bookstores POWELL'S, a trip to the outlet mall for undies for Jeff and I, as well as some stuff for the kids. We will also hit Nordstrom for shoes and work clothes for Jeff and I. Finally a trip to Rich's cigar in downtown for a fix of magazines.

I love this about going home. Buying things from our favorite stores. Visiting our favorite bookstore.

I also HATE THIS about going home. It always feels like the whole purpose is shopping. That is not the case, but it does feel that way. I guess the fact that we only buy clothes for Jeff and I once a year back in the states does help, and the fact that we stock up on enough stuff that generally we feel like we bring a touch of home back to Asia. But, shopping, spending money, lost wages on trinkets and the like. Baubles, gewgaws and beads for trade.

Consumerism runs wild in this house, once a year.



Thursday, June 09, 2005

Finances and Dollar Strecher

I forget what a great resource the The Dollar Stretcher is. I always find an article or two of interest.

This weeks Story is excellent and bears repeating...

If you want to live within your means and live with little or no debt... here are some good tips (as adapted by me for my personal goals)

1. Credit Cards: Jeff and I have two. One in the US, to maintain US credit ratings and for use when in the US. Paid off every month. One American Express issued in Singapore, for use for Travel only. EVERYTHING else is cash only.

2. Pay off debts before incurring new ones. Good goal, have not gotten there yet. With our student loan debt, this is not realistic (SHORT TERM) but as a long term goal it is very good.

3. Mortgage payment can be covered by one salary. We only have the mortgage on our rental property, so our goal is to make sure rent pays for mortgage and taxes.

4. Living Expenses. We do really well here in Singapore, our food budget, for the most part, even though the kids are older and eat more and we have an additional adult to feed (Nancy) we do alright. I am trying to buy more in bulk and store it. May buy a big freezer to assit with this and cut down on grocery costs even more buying in bulk and freezing.

5. Eating out... well we gotta work on that. Don't spend much otherwise on entertainment, maybe one movie a month...

6. Buy as much as possible used (Books etc). In Asia this is more difficult, but we try to get as many books as possible from used bookstores and we are big dumpster divers(ok... curbside shoppers is more appropriate.

The rest of the article is more personal to the author, but still gives valid points. I recomend checking out the website for more great ideas on living frugally.



Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Porch Garden and Dumpster Diving

As a few of you will recall, I planted (ok the kids planted) a few seeds on Earth Day. We planted catnip (which all sprouted and then was promptly eaten by said cat); lettuce (a total washout); and Eggplant which has grown like crazy. even with trimming and selecting the best and brightest, I still have 6 healthy plants... so I need more pots!

Also, I love living in Asia, please people don't ever get into the habit of donations of used goods, continue to throw perfectly good items away so that I can take them home and make them my own.

Jeff and I found two perfectly good wooden drawer/file cabinets with marble tops. The bottom drawers had been taken apart, but all the wood was still there. If I get a digital camera I can show you all how excellent the condition is and how this was a steal!



Thursday, June 02, 2005


This picture will be used in an advertisment for our preschool and will run in the local Singapore paper.

How handsome is he?

Moved my blog

Oh, I will send this out in an email, to those of you... I have moved the blog to host off my own website.

the blog can now be read at




Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Waldorf Education in Singapore

We are on the waiting list to put Declan in the Waldorf School in January 2006. Once I pay the deposit, I think we are locked in for his spot. I am really excited about this as I believe in the method of education, and I think it would be good for Declan. Downside... the money.

Why is it that good quality education costs lots of money? I am happy to support the local Waldorf school as 90% of the school is still run on the blood sweat and tears of its volunteers. The teachers do get paid, but the dollar figure, really is quite small. The classes are small, about 6-10 kids, so if one kid drops out for the year, you are either obiligated to pay the whole year, or find a child to fill the spot. Now, see, I can get behind that. We really are supporting the school.

But, it just kills me. How can we justify paying additional money when the school on our Condo is about half the cost? I want it all I guess, I want a FREE school, public education, that is based on child centered learning, that takes into account the individual child's needs, that is balanced in arts and sceince, that does not forget to bring beauty and creativity into the classroom, that has a small size and teaches the kids respect for themselves, nature and each other.

I guess I am a dreamer.

Who links to me?