Monthly Archives: March 2011

Love Covers All

As I shared yesterday we are trying to focus on relationships and character development. While I intend to make this a perpetual focus, Tuesdays and Wednesdays will be days of more concentrated focus. I picked these days because these are our most normal days. Let’s not even start on Mondays and Thursdays and Fridays we tend to be preparing for a busy weekend.

Honestly things have not gone swimmingly these 2 days but that’s the good thing about changing a lifestyle, it takes time so if you fail one day just say, “Oh well” and try a little harder the next day.

One area that I particularly struggle with is patience. Oh I have gotten much better but it is still and issue. I notice I tend to get more frustrated the more rushed I feel. With four children, a budding farm business, writing work and homeschooling to fit in well that can be pretty often. So I either need to change my schedule or attitude or both.

I discovered a new blog that has been such a blessing to show me areas I can focus on my attitude. (Note the rest of this post will contain Bliblical content). Doorposts of Your Home recently wrote about how to develop patience towards others. It takes patience to develop patience but we are working on it. Honestly mommy is still really working on it so I can share it with the children.

We started as recommended with the Bible verse Proverbs 17:9, “Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.”  We read it and talked about it, I am still working on memorizing it with the children but we get the jist.

Then I had the children make their own hearts.

We used construction paper and I had some clear contact paper I used to laminate them. When an “offense” happens in the house the children are supposed to come to me. We will write the offense on a piece of paper and use our hearts to cover them. Of course you also must monitor the offenses to make sure there isn’t something more serious going on but you know how most things go, “Mom she’s looking at me,” type stuff.

Even though I didn’t make a heart this is a wonderful exercise for mommy too. I have found that my temper often can be tempered by thoughts of love for my children. It’s a great exercise.

A Budding New Obsession

A few years ago I was introduced to the idea of good, better, best. In a world with a finite amount of time we need to be really conscious how we spend our time. In all honestly each person probably only has time to spend on the best things–not to mention better and good. But lately i find I have been spending my time on not even good things.

Yes I have a confession, a budding new obsession–computer time. I have admitted before that I have a TV addiction, luckily I am in the process of kicking it, but I am afraid I haven’t been vigilant in guarding my computer time so carefully.

Proeun and I have talked of leaving the TV behind when we move to the farm, but because of the nature of our business, communicating with customers, researching and ordering products, blogging and connecting with markets, then there is my writing career we will most likely never have a computer free house.

I had planned on Tuesday and Wednesday being TV free days so that we can really focus on the best things but I hadn’t planned on cutting computer time as well. But you know how it is, you walk by transitioning from one task to the other, see the computer and think, I’ll just check my email real quick, I wonder what is happening on facebook, has Blue Collar Daughter posted anything today? I have about 3 blogs I try to read every day. Now I have added another 3 I love and am following regularly and I can’t get behind because then I would have to get caught up right?

Anyway you know how it goes. So beginning tomorrow we are going to start our practice TV and computer free days. By computer free I mean I will devote 1/2 hour to necessary computer work, then turn it off.

For us the best things to spend time on are character development for me and the children–yes you are truly never too old to grow and change and become a better person. One of my favorite authors Ellen White says that if you are not growing [as a person] you are dying. So character development and relationship development will be our focus, and I hope to make these a worthwhile obsession.

Mud Season=Flus, colds and tired mommas

With the arrival of warmer weather, melting snow, flooding rivers and the like comes the days of battles over the coats or sweaters question. While the children are decidedly in favor of sweaters I on the other hand prefer coats–at least for them.

Even with all the motherly precautions the flu has arrived at our home. This marks the first real illness for Effie, who started the cycle. I am not going on my 2nd straight night of about 3 hours of sleep captured over several 45 minute napping sessions. Effie is doing better, and the other 3 have it all at the same time now.

So today is a low key day. No pictures, minimal content, while I sip my tea and dream of chicken soup that someone else made. Actually it is kind of nice to have an excuse to slow down at the beginning of the busy season.

Traditional Cambodian Dance at Intermedia Arts

One of the reasons we wanted to homeschool was knowing that our children are bi-racial we wanted them to have a really strong sense of who they are and where they come from. This means a fair amount of instrucition in Cambodian art, culture, history, language and music. Proeun and I are learning a lot along the way as well.

This weekend the Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans hosted one of their monthly cultural events. This time focusing on dance at Intermedia Arts in Minneapolis. When we discovered that Cambodian dance would be included we jumped at the chance to go.

Proeun’s mother used to dance traditional Cambodian style (ap’ saraa). We have often thought about putting Avril in it but the nearest class is 45 minutes away and every weekend. It is a huge time commitment so for now we will just enjoy cultural events.

Avril posing with the dancers before the show.

The children were very into the dancing. Two was sitting nexted to me and wanted to know where each of the dancers were from. The dance program also included Chinese, Indonesian, Indian, Tibetan and pan-Asian modern dance. They were very excited to see the Cambodian dancers.

Mavis was way more into it then I would have thought. But there were pretty dancers, costumes and music so I guess I shouldn’t have been so surprised. She was even trying to copy some of the movements.

Dancers from CAAM Chinese dance theater.

Indian modern dance.

Polar Plunge

Now that our temps are no longer plunging, we have gone for a walk 3 days in a row and we can finally see some grass mixed in with the mud it is easier to talk about what feels like a perpetual winter. This year my sister did the “Polar Plunge” for those of you who do not know this plunge involves hacking a hole in the ice of an otherwise frozen lake and jumping in.

Some of you not from Minnesota might wonder Why? as my children did. For charity of course. The proceeds from this years plunge goes to special olympics

I have never known anyone who has done this before and in support and curiosity we made it a priority to go support her.

Here’s what the scene looks like at Lake Calhoun on a semi-warm day in March, though the ice was still solid.

We don’t have many pictures because our task was to take the video.

She’s the one on the end. She said her head went all the way under.

Chilling in the hot tub afterwards. That’s where the children got their interest in hottubs. Thank goodness winter is over.

Again with the boxes

Not be be redunant or anything but I have to say I really really love the fact that my children are still able to really really enjoy boxes. Whenever I am down about my constant battle with “screen time” I discover a good box or a couple of them really can do wonders for children’s creative play.

Over the past couple of weeks we got a  couple good sized boxes that became things like a hottub (I’ll explain on Friday),

A cute little writing loft

A cave

A playmate of sorts and more.

Just when I thought it was about as raggedy as it could get I asked, “don’t you think it’s about time we recycle this?” Two “No the more raggedy and broken it gets the more fun.”

Who knows what this is?

Even the cat loves boxes.

Traditional Chinese Medicine–Cupping

When refugees from Southeast Asian started coming to this country in the 1970s they brought many traditional healing techniques with them. Many are still practiced. In our home we have recently started incorporating one technique–cupping.

Proeun was frequently treated with this technique for aches and pains and unexplained illnesses. Recently my father experienced his own unexplained illness. My mother-in-law suggested cupping and my father was willing to try. But first we had to test it.

Not knowing exactly where to begin we started with baby food


I needed smallish glass jars and purchased 20 4 oz jars for around $18. We dumped out the contents and soaked and scrubbed the bottles.

Then lit a candle and placed the jars over the candle one by one.

When the air inside the jar was sufficiently heated (10 seconds or less) the jar is placed on the back.

As the air cools it forms a natural suction.

The idea is that it moves the chi throughout the body, stimulating circulation. 

It worked fairly well. but the suction was not super tight so we decided to buy an actual kit at the local Asian grocery.

It cost about $48. The cups are plastic and have valves at the top that attach to the gun. Notice the monkey balm in the box. This is a key step. Put a small amount of monkey balm on the back. Then attach the cups to the gun.

Position on the back (avoid the spin) and pump a couple times then gently detach the cups. Notice the suction is much stronger.

To be really effective you want to see bruises when you are done, this proves the blood is moving.

Proeun said that he wanted me to learn how to apply the cups so he could be cupped again. My father said he slept the best he had in probably a year after having it done. I liked the gentle cupping of the baby food jars as a nice massage.

Irish/Cambodian Giveaway for St. Patrick’s Day

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day we are doing our first ever giveaway to honor our joint heritage. When Proeun and I were getting married I was interested in purchasing traditional Irish wedding rings (called claddagh rings). I went to a local irish store and put one on hold, when asked the name I said Doeun (pronounced Do-un) and they said, “Good Irish name.”

After we were married we were at a community event with former St. Paul mayor Randy Kelly. I introduced myself and he said again, “good Irish name.” Then I introduced Proeun. The mayor was unfazed and said, “He’s still Irish.”

So that has been our joke–that we are an irish family. Well at least 5 of us are Irish.

But to honor our joint heritage we are giving away–a green sarong.

This is a traditional Cambodian sarong from my stash. Each culture in Southeast Asia has their own patterns and designs.My sister-in-law can easily tell the difference.

It is sewn into a tube and can be worn a variety of ways. I literally live in my sarongs during the summer. You can wrap them and tie them, add elastic or wear with a belt. Here are examples of how they can be worn from the internet.

To enter leave a comment sharing either a favorite St. Patrick’s Day memory or something about your heritage. Share this giveaway on your blog and get a 2nd chance to win. Comments will close on Friday March 11th and the winner announced Sunday, March 13.

Congratulations Christine, you are our winner!

Rhythm of the Home, Spring 2011 edition

I am so excited about a find I just made–Rhythm of the Home online magazine. I have been reading their blog on and off again for awhile and really enjoyed the tips and crafting ideas, but the actual magazine is so so good. Here are just a few of the things covered in it  how to make violet jelly, knit wrist warmers, set up a sewing box for your child, make a wooden travel playset, needle felt some adorable rabbits, raise free range rabbits, water color, sew a great playdress and so much more. 

For my very first project I picked New Baby Crocheted Spring Dress.


Since the pattern is for size 0-3 months and Effie, though officially 3 months is the size of a 9 month old I had to make a few changes. You can see my changes on my ravelry page, Effie’s Spring. For a baby born at the beginning of the snowyest winter any of us can remember I felt a spring dress was completely worth it, even though is will probably be another month or so before she can wear it without a long sleeved onesie and tights.

So maybe red and black doesn’t scream spring, but I like to think lady bug. She’s an original anyway.

Did I mention that they are having an awesome giveaway so check them out before Friday.

This gave me an idea. So stop back here Friday afternoon for information about the first ever Crazy Boy Farm giveaway. In honor of St. Patty we will have a very special item to celebrate your Irish/Cambodian self, and an interesting story I promise.