Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Have You Ever Wondered...

Have you ever wondered what your life would be like if you were living 100 years ago? I have been doing that a lot lately. Right now, hubby would be out working the animals or tending to the farm in some way instead of stuck in the office where he only gets to see his farm through the window most of the time. I imagine my daily life would look a lot like it does now...minus all the "conveniences". I would be in the kitchen cooking the meals and getting ahead on baking for the week (hmmm, that sounds familiar). While things were cooking I would probably be doing some laundry-on the washboard instead of the washing machine. I think about what I wouldn't miss about life right now-TV,phones, computers, etc. I really think I could go back and *gasp* enjoy myself. Oh sure, I wouldn't want to do it during the summer when it was blistering hot and there is no A/C. I would also have to time it between potty breaks because I can't use a port-a-potty much less an outhouse! No, if there could be a moment in time that I would like to experience from back then, it would be in the winter at night after dinner and chores, when everyone is gathered around the fire. I would be in my rocking chair doing some kind of sewing or knitting. Hubby would be sitting in his rocker. Unfortunately, he would probably be chewing his tobacco, but this is my dream so he is sitting in his rocking chair whittling a piece of wood. The twins would be lying on the floor drawing a picture. There would also be more babies...at least 3 or 4.  Shhhh, don't tell hubby. He thinks I am finished with babies :) It would be quiet except for the winter wind blowing outside. Ahhh, that sounds like pure heaven to me.

Hope everyone had a wonderful, joyful Christmas. Ours was very simple, again. The twins each got only a few gifts from us but both of them have said that this Christmas was the BEST by far. They were so thankful to us, saying it and showing it. It just proves what I have been thinking for awhile-kids don't need a lot of STUFF! I think when parents and families buy tons of toys for kids, it just overwhelms them. Then they begin to think that they should ALWAYS get that much stuff, that they DESERVE it. That just leads to a lot of disappointment for little Johnny and little Susie when they grow up and realize that they are not the center of the universe and that the world doesn't really care what they want. Better to learn these lessons now, while they are young. Spoiled, entitled children grow up to be spoiled, entitled adults and we all know a few of those!!! ANYWAY.....

New Years Resolutions anyone???? Me neither! I no longer make them because I NEVER keep them. It's like being on a diet that's too restrictive. Sooner or later (we all know it will be sooner) you cheat. Then you cheat some more. Soon, it's January 2nd and your resolutions have long been forgotten. To stick with the diet analogy, we always say we will start our diet on Monday. What is wrong with today, right now? Same with resolutions, we wait until January 1st to "improve"our life. Why? I say if you see a need for change right now then make the change right now. Don't wait. What if January 1st never comes??????

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Finished...

I am finished. Done. Finito. Finished with what you ask??? Finished with all Christmas dress rehearsals, programs and parties! We had our final program Sunday night and I have been basking in the finished afterglow ever since. I am ALMOST finished with Christmas shopping, too, which leaves me only the homemade gifts to put together. I cannot believe it! Usually I am running around, last minute, going here and there right up until Christmas Eve. Not this year. I think I could get used to this. I may even, dare I say, enjoy the holidays. Wow!

This afternoon, I will be taking a nice leisurely trip to town with my daughter so she can do her Christmas shopping. We will go have lunch together and hit a few local stores. Tomorrow I will do the same with my son. Geez, how did I rate 2 lunches out in one week???

My husband had asked me about a month ago to make some curtains for his office because one of the guys was being blinded from 10 am to 3pm and the other from 3pm to whenever. Well, I am NOT a sewer person who sews (it isn't really a sewer is it??)so it took me about a week to do one curtain. It didn't come out too bad. No pics of it cuz I just forgot but it was green with camo trim. Not bad for my first curtain. I will take a pic of the second one when I get a chance to finish it. WHICH should be this week because I HAVE NO OTHER OBLIGATIONS OUTSIDE OF MY HOME!!!!! I am really happy about that!!!

We are in the final stages of pecan picking. And by picking, I mean, bending over and picking those infernal nuts up from under all the doggone leaves that have fallen on them. We have a choice. Use the rolling thing that picks up ALL the nuts (good, bad, hulls attached) then sit and sort through each nut and picking off any attached hulls OR picking them up by hand, inspecting them, tossing any bad ones and putting them in the going-to-market bin. Really, there is no easy way to do it unless you pay someone ELSE to pick them up but then where is the adventure in that? One of our trees dropped a REALLY BIG limb about 2 months ago. It was LOADED with immature nuts and I was heartsick that they would all go bad. However, enough of the limb was holding on to the tree that it was still getting some nutrients and ALL the nuts matured. I go out there and pick them off the limb every couple of days. It is so nice to stand up straight and harvest :) Soon hubby will go out and cut the branch down and chop it up for firewood. I LOVE the smell of pecan wood. I would totally buy cologne that smells like it. One of our cats likes to sleep in the pecan trees and she always smells soooooo good. I have been known to pick her up and just sniff away. Yeah, she really doesn't like that much but dang she smells good!

I guess I really should go get ready for my shopping trip today. My completely optional only because I want to shopping trip....

Friday, December 9, 2011

My twins performed in their Christmas musical at church the other night. It was so sweet. It was done by the children's choir (1st to 4th grade) and the Edge (5th and 6th grade). I just love watching the kids sing their hearts out for the Lord.

My daughter is wearing her "Dear Santa, Define Good" t-shirt. It's cute. That's her brother next to her in the red and black stripes. To the left is a girl they have known since kindergarten. Until 4 months ago, my daughter was quite a bit taller than Jacey. She has really shot up in the last couple of months and now she towers over both my kids! Of course, both of her parents are nice and tall. My kids got jipped in that dept. My husband is 6' but I am only 5'2". Tallness (is that even a word???) does NOT run in my family AT ALL! My mom is only 5' 1". Yep....we're shrimps! Shorties unite!!!!!

I FINALLY got an egg from one of my Americauna's. I was so happy to open the laying box and find this little blue gem:
Isn't it lovely???? My hens are REALLY taking their time laying eggs. Must be the decreased sunlight this season. Hoping things pick up in the spring because I DESPISE buying eggs at the grocery store.
Speaking of the grocery store, just have to give a little shout out to my very favorite store right now-Kroger. They are a 45 minute drive from my house but they are so worth it. A few months ago, I explained how I came to shop at Kroger and I am still very happy with them. I actually cringe whenever I have to walk into our local Walmart. Thank goodness it isn't very often! Yesterday was shopping day and it was a bit chilly. Our Kroger has a Starbucks in it so I got me a Caramel Brulee latte and sipped it while I shopped. Next time I will get the very BIGGEST cup they have. It was sooooooooo good!

I am still in the process of planning out what direction I would like to take with this blog in the coming year. There are so many wonderful blogs out there that I read daily and I learn so much from that I would like to be a bit more like them. I have learned a lot in 42 years and if someone can benefit from it then it's worth the work. Lori over at Always Learning is always talking about how the older should be teaching the younger so I think I would like to do something along those lines.  Still planning, still thinking....

I think I will finally get some ALONE time to do my Christmas shopping this afternoon. I have made my list and checked out different sites to find the best deals for the few things I am buying. I will be making quite a bit of stuff on my own for some of my older kids and my parents/in-laws. I have just started sewing again so I am thinking I will make some things for my grandkids along with buying some books. I am not a big fan of toys for kids just for the sake of occupying their time. A lot of toys out there are nothing but junk. I like for them to learn something when they play. Two of my grandkids have birthdays right after Christmas so I need to come up with double ideas for them!Decisions, Decisions.....

Thursday, December 8, 2011

I just heard the news that Michelle Duggar suffered a miscarriage with her 20th child. I know what people are saying. "They have no business having 20 kids", "A woman's body isn't meant to do that", blah blah blah. I, for one, applaud their conviction to have as many children as the Lord blesses them with. I mean He designed the woman's body and I believe that He knows exactly what it is capable of. Who are we to judge ANYONE???? They lost a child and I feel very badly for them. I feel a bit of a bond with her. No, I only have 5 kids and I have never miscarried but my twins were born 3 months premature just like her little Josie was. I know EXACTLY what it feels like to see this extremely tiny human being struggling for survival and knowing that the only thing you can do is pray. We were very lucky in that our twins were only in the NICU for 70 days and not for the 4 or 5 months Josie was and ours didn't have any major health dramas other than being too small to breathe and eat on their own. I am very blessed to have them all healthy and my heart aches for the Duggar family. I cannot even fathom losing a child. Yet even in the midst of their heartbreak, their response is that they know God gives out the blessings and He can surely take them at any time He chooses. May the Lord continue to bless this family as they are a true lights in what can be a very dark world.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

What the heck?????

I know Black Friday is all a memory now but for some reason I just can't get it out of my mind. I, personally, don't shop on Black Friday mainly because I hate crowds but I do have family and friends that love the adventure. After watching the news reports and talking to some of those friends, I am really wondering WHY they do this each year. I saw so many instances of people behaving not only badly, but criminally. Shoppers were assaulted both inside and outside the stores. There were so many robberies and thefts, so much ill will and discontent that I cannot reconcile that with what I think the Christmas season should be about. Christmas is purely a celebration of the birth of our saviour (and if you don't believe that then you really can't call what you celebrate "Christmas"). I really don't know what mowing down your fellow man to get to the last Xbox or pepper spraying your neighbor to get a cheap flat screen tv has to do with celebrating the birth of the Messiah! It really makes me sick to see all of this commercialism and consumerism. People are complaining about how they can't afford to pay their bills yet they go out and blow thousands of dollars on gifts. Do they really think that the recipients NEED those gifts? Do they think that somehow they will be better people if they go deeper into debt buying gifts for EVERYONE they know? I actually know a person who thinks that if she doesn't spend thousands of dollars on her 2 kids ALONE then they will suffer...Suffer from what???? No, they will suffer when the bank forecloses on their house. They will suffer when there is no longer any food in the house to eat. They will suffer when they don't have a winter coat and it is snowing outside. They WILL NOT suffer because they didn't get every single new toy that is out there. They WILL NOT suffer if they receive LESS THINGS for Christmas. People need to get their priorities straight! Now I am in no way criticizing ANYONE for buying their loved ones gifts for the holidays. I just want people to re-examine WHY they feel the NEED to overspend and overextend.  Now, I have a little confession to make....I used to be a lot like those people. I thought that I had to buy more and more each year to "out do" the previous year. Then we lost almost everything. We had to close our business, we were months behind on all of our bills, there wasn't much in the pantry to eat, we had $36 in our checking account and it would be 2 weeks before my husband would receive his first paycheck from his new job. I have never been so scared in all my life. How in the world were we going to feed 5 children and 2 adults for 2 weeks on $36???? To make matters worse, hubby needed most of that money for gas to get to work for those 2 weeks. It was a VERY dark time and I questioned a lot of the decisions we made up to that point. That was 8 years ago and while we are NOT rolling in the dough, we are making ends meet (even if we have to pull those ends a little hard sometimes). Know what else? Not one of us can remember any of the Christmas gifts we had those "good" years! Nothing! Our Christmas's have been pretty lean since then (a little out of necessity but mostly because of choice) but we remember all the details of those celebrations. My 2 youngest kids have loved our "simple" Christmas celebrations. They get the one or two things that they truly want with nothing that will simply be put in a closet to be forgotten about. We all get to spend TIME together because we are not out running around trying to get a deal on something. If truth be told, your kids really don't want ALL those gifts. The greatest gift you can give them is time with you. It doesn't cost anything and you don't have to take your life into your own hands at the mall to get it. It's a WIN-WIN for everyone!

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Day After....

Whoever invented elastic, I love you oh so very much! I am using your invention right now and probably for the next couple of weeks. Yes, I did what 99% of all Americans did yesterday-EAT TOO MUCH! It was soooooo good though:) We had the big feast here at our house. The last couple of years I have gone to Florida for Thanksgiving at my grandparents house but my husband could never come because he had to work on the Friday after. Last year I decided that I don't ever want to spend another holiday away from him so I promised him I would host it at our house from now on. Wish I could convince the Florida bunch to come here but that probably won't happen so we had our family that lives here over. We ate, then we ate and when we were done eating, we ate again. When everyone left, we ate again. This afternoon, guess what I did? Yep, I ate again. Therefore, I love the inventor of elastic. For if it were not for this invention I would be wrapped in a bedsheet stuffing myself with the remnants of pecan pie. Come to think of it, that isn't exactly a bad thing, is it?
Anyway, yesterday was a blessing as I got to spend time with my family whom I love very much. Lots of laughs were shared and I just have to give a big shout out to my husband and my twins. I could not have pulled off this dinner without them! Hubby made sure we had a cooler full of ice, my thanksgiving newspaper (for reading after dinner on the couch while I looked like a stuffed tick!) the leaf in the table and so on. My son did ANYTHING I asked him without so much as a whimper. My daughter really shined yesterday. She made all the appetizers by herself and helped me so much with the prep work and cooking. She is going to be quite the catch for some lucky man....MANY YEARS FROM NOW! We prepared all the food except for mashed potatoes provided by my inlaws and my mom brought her cranberry salad that I adore!!! Only one hiccup with the cooking really though. My turkey was a 24 lb'er. Yeah it was HUGE!!!!But it was on sale and I just couldn't pass it up. I was figuring it would take about 8 hours to cook so we got up at 3am to put it in the oven. My husband woke back up at 5:30 to go hunting and came in and woke me telling me that he thought the turkey was almost done! There was no way I was leaving that warm bed again until at least 7 so I told him he was mistaken and I rolled over and went back to sleep. I checked on the turkey at 7:30 after I did the morning chores and ....the stupid thing was done!!! How in the heck does a 24 lb turkey cook in 4 1/2 hours???? My son kept calling it the miracle turkey. I told him the miracle would be keeping the thing warm until 3pm (dinner time) without it being as dry as sawdust! I thought about calling everyone and telling them to come over at noon but there was no way I could get my homemade rolls done and get the house straightened up by then so 3pm we waited. About noon, hubby carved it up (wasn't too hard, pulled on the bones and the entire turkey fell apart!)and buried the meat in the juices. Needless to say, it wasn't piping hot but it was good regardless. The best part was just having so many people that I love, sitting around the table just being together. My little granddaughter was there and she just brightens up everything. Unfortunately, I never even once brought out my camera. That's typical me, too busy enjoying the moment that I forget to capture it. Oh well! Last night I told my family that I am taking today off. No cooking, no cleaning (okay I did vaccum) and I am going to sit and read blogs as long as I want....Mission accomplished!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Peanut Butter Marshmallow Crackers

This is one of my (and my kids) all time favorite snacks.

Take some ritz crackers (however many you want to eat) and place them on a cookie sheet.
Smear a little (or a whole lot!) peanut butter on them.
Place a ginormous marshmallow on top of each peanut butter slathered cracker.
Put them under the broiler for just a few minutes. Watch them carefully! You just want the marshmallow to get a little brown and crusty.
Remove from broiler and let cool for just a few seconds. This step is VERY important because biting into a hot marshmallow is not the kind of thing you want to ruin this yummy snack!
Enjoy the gooey, peanut buttery, salty, crunchy snack! I just did :)

Occupy Wall Street....

I have just watched yet another news report about the Occupy Wall Street movement. If you are a protestor or sympathetic to this movement, you may want to quit reading this post right about now. I am all for peaceful demonstration, standing up for your beliefs, trying to "right" wrongs, but this occupy thing is really just an excuse for lazy people who want to blame everyone else for their failings. Most of the protestors are very young (college age) so I really doubt that they were greatly effected by anything Wall Street has done other than the fact that they are having a hard time finding jobs in their chosen fields after college.(Boo freaking-hoo) Oh wait...if they are camped out how are they attending classes? How are they getting to work? That's right, they aren't. They actually showed a guy who said into the camera, "I quit my job so I could be here full time." What a moron! These people are using this "movement" to avoid growing up and being a responsible adult. Yeah, life is difficult right now, but life will always be difficult. Better to learn to handle it when you are younger and can get by with some big failures. Everytime I see them I want to scream, "pack up your crap, get off other peoples' property, get a job and stop acting like a child who really needs some discipline". I am really at the end of my rope with all of this nonsense. Why on earth does the media seem to think that these people should have their 15 minutes of fame? Are we really that far gone as whole that everything that everyone does needs to be televised and reported about? I don't care that you think Wall Street is evil. I don't care that you can remain camped out for months with bathing. My concerns are more along the lines of how can I save a few extra bucks this month so I can buy a few Christmas gifts, how can I squeeze a little more out of my grocery budget to make up for other bills that I can't pay, how can I keep doing the things that need to be done more efficiently? Evil is ALWAYS going to be around, it doesn't need to televised 24/7!
Stepping off my soapbox now....
I must make a confession. I have an addiction. I crave it when I get up in the morning. I think about it during the day. The only thing that curbs the urge is to just give in. My addiction? Peanut Butter Banana Smoothies! I just can't help myself. As a matter of fact, I am sipping on one now. It is smooth (duh, SMOOTHIE), creamy, peanut buttery and banana-y and oh so satisfying. I kind of stumbled onto it from Pioneer Woman. She made Pumpkin Smoothies and I just had to try them out. While they were yummy, I got to thinking about other ones that would really blow my skirt up. I just adore peanut butter and I had frozen bananas in the freezer (it would be stupid to store frozen bananas in the fridge!) So I just started throwing stuff in the food processor. Let me just warn you. Don't make a whole lot if you are using a food processor instead of a blender, which I do not have. (I own one but I have NO IDEA where I may have stored it) Ask me why...Glad you asked. I was making the pumpkin smoothie recipe and was following it to the letter. The processor was pretty full and when I turned it on, smoothie was running out the sides all over the counter. Not a pretty sight! Anyway, my recipe is not exact because, well, I didn't measure anything but it will give you the general idea.

PEANUT BUTTER BANANA SMOOTHIE

The night before, freeze a couple of ripe bananas. The next morning, throw the bananas in the food processor along with a big scoop of peanut butter, a scoop of greek vanilla yogurt, a nice pour of honey and a couple of cups of whole milk. Blend it all up until it is mostly smooth. Taste and add anything you may think it needs. Sometimes I add a little more peanut butter because I like to live on the edge. Then pour into a glass and enjoy.

 If you do this before anyone else wakes up, then you don't have to share with anyone, you can drink it all by yourself! Unfortunately, my kids knew I was making it and I had to share it with them. I do plan on trying different things in my future smoothies but I just can't imagine anything else being as good as peanut butter and banana!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Courageous

We just went and saw the movie Courageous last night. Yeah, I know. We are a little behind the times as this movie has been out for a few months now. I love all the movies by the Kendrick brothers but I think this one has convicted me the most. If you don't know about it, it is about a man who loses his little girl in an accident and the aftermath teaches him that he wasn't being the father/husband that God called him to be and he makes a resolution to be that man. I spent most of this movie in tears. Some of it was the emotion of the tragedy but more of it was being confronted with my shortcomings as a wife/mother. There were a couple of scenes where this man's children just wanted to spend time with him but he was too busy. All that kept running through my mind was how many times my kids would ask me to play a game with them and I would tell them I was too busy. Too busy cooking or baking or cleaning or WHATEVER. I was choosing to spend time working at busy work instead of just spending a few minutes with my kids making memories. It is amazing how God can use a movie to show us what we are doing wrong. Anyway, if you haven't seen this movie, I strongly urge you to seek it out. Let God speak to you the way He has spoken to me. Let Him teach you, lead you.

I took a little break from blogging but it lasted a little longer than I had expected. Throughout the day I would get all kinds of ideas to write about but, when I had time to sit and write, nothing would come out. I think part of my problem is I just haven't been very organized with this blog. I just assumed that the ideas would flow as soon as I sat down. NOT! So I think that I may start writing ideas down and setting up a kind of schedule of topics. I love schedules! I am a huge planner. I like to have a clear direction of where I am going and how I am going to get there. I am not much of a "winger". My husband has learned that I cannot just "wing" something on the spur of the moment so he makes sure he gives me plenty of time to plan. I wish I could be a little more spontaneous but I just don't think God made me that way so I am going to stop trying to fight it. I have been reading tons  a few blogs and I like how, on certain days, they have a certain topic so I am thinking of doing a variation of that. We'll see.

One blog that I am LOVING right now is Always Learning. Lori tells it like it is whether or not you want to hear it. I think God nudged me to her because I was under the mistaken impression that I may be in charge. Deep down I knew that wasn't true but I wasn't really interested in admitting it. Well, after reading her blog posts I have come to the conclusion that I have something to say: My husband is the head of our house, I was NOT created to be his equal but his helpmeet, I CANNOT do everything my husband does because God didn't plan it that way, I have a bit to learn about the meek and mild spirit (I can be loud and bold a bit more than I like) and if I think that there is something she posts that I think is wrong, she can back it up with scripture (You can't fight that!) Like I said, God uses all sorts of ways to convict, teach and lead. Are you paying attention????

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Whew...

After celebrating the twins birthday twice and Halloween 3 times, I am glad I am done celebrating til Thanksgiving! I am also glad to be done with Halloween candy! That stuff is EVIL!!!!
The twins had a little party with the grandparents and their older brother on Saturday.
                                                  
                                                               The Birthday Duo

My parents and my father in law. Mother in law is hidden by hubby's very cute head!

Honestly, I have VERY few pics of this kid doing anything NORMAL!

                                                                           The Cake (made by me!!!!)
Dontcha just love this cake???? I was so proud of myself. It turned out great and was soooooo yummy! There is ganache dripped over the top and when the birthday boy took a bite, he said "Oh my ganache, that's good!" He's so clever:)
Since their party was a few days before their actual b-day, we took them to dinner and a movie on their special day.
As for Halloween....We started out with a celebration in September when we went to Disney. We went to the Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party. It has sort of become a tradition for the twins b-day, but this year we went in September instead of October. Then we had the Fall Festival at church on Sunday. It was a hoot! They kids loved it, our granddaughter loved it, our friends loved it.

This is our sweet lil Ella. She was so sick and I was ticked that her mama drug her out in the cold but at least she had fun.

This is our friend, Jason and his daughter Karley.

This was for the Trunk or Treat at the end of the festival. A great time for everyone! And MORE EVIL CANDY!!!!
You would think that Halloween was celebrated enough but nooooooooo. We had to do it AGAIN on the 31st. I had no plans to take the twins trick or treating because we live out in the country and would have to drive to town and go to one of the neighborhoods to do it so I just planned to stay home. Then I get an email from the "youth guys" at church and they wanted to take the kids to Haunted Davisboro.(It's a tiny little town down the road from us that had a haunted house and the main street stores-there's just 2-gave out candy)so I trekked them the 10 miles to meet up with the kids from church. All in all, they had a great time but I am glad it's over!
Of course no Halloween would be complete without some jack o lanterns!

 I think my boy's face says it all!!! Pumpkin inerds are gross!


The finished product! And yes, my daughter wears her tiara EVERYWHERE!!!!
I love Fall out in the country!!! ALMOST as much as I love Winter!!!! Our leaves are changing (and falling!) ,the air is cooler and crisper. This is such a change for a girl who grew up in SW Florida. The only changing of the seasons were hot and hotter. Palm trees and pine trees don't change whether it's spring or fall. While we don't live where we get a lot of snow, we have had some in the last couple of years. Here is our house after the first snow last year.


This is the entrance to our hunting lease. I have yet to see anything quite so beautiful.
I hope we get some snow this winter. Last winter we got an ice storm. NOT the same thing as snow!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

12 years ago today, I remember EXACTLY what I was doing. I was 6 months pregnant with twins and I was at the office having a little problem with what I thought were gas pains. My back was killing me and I was getting more and more uncomfortable as time went on. I couldn't leave though. I worked for my Dad and he and my Mom had just left the day before to go on a cruise and I had to take care of getting the bank deposit done.  Once I finished, I called my doctor and told her nurse what was going on. You know what she asked me? "How long have you been in labor?"! LABOR??? I was only 26 weeks along and this didn't feel like what I thought labor would feel like. She told me to come to her office so they could see what was going on. I went to my husband's office (he worked with my Dad too) and before I could tell him what was going on, he tells me that our brand new tractor-trailer (we owned a trucking company) that we hadn't even made the first payment on had been stolen over night. LOVELY! Poor guy had a lot on his plate running my Dad's business while he was out of town and running our own trucks and here I am telling him that I may or may not be in labor! Long story short, I was in labor and at 8:38 that evening our daughter was born weighing 1 lb. 9 1/2 oz, 13 1/4 in. long and at 8:39 our son was born weighing 1 lb. 14 oz and 13 3/4 in. long. I had never seen anything so small! They had their ups and downs (mostly ups, Praise God!) and after 70 days in the NICU, they came home. Fast forward 12 years, our twins are thriving, healthy, happy, normal almost teenagers. I am not sure where the time went but I am so grateful to God that he gave these kids to us and has been by our side every step of the way in raising them. Clayton and Vanessa, you came along and perfectly completed our family. We love you more than words can ever say!!!

Friday, October 28, 2011

A long line of strange....

We had family stop in and spend the night with us last night on their way home from seeing their Marine daughter off on her deployment to Africa. Since I was a little girl, it has been drilled into my head by my grandma and my mom that you NEVER allow guests to see your house dirty. I can honestly say I have NEVER seen dust in my grandma's house (she's gone now but grandpa keeps up very nicely!) or my parent's house. It just isn't done. I can remember when I was a little girl and my daddy was a truck driver back then and when mom found out he was coming home, she would stay up all night cleaning house. Many times I would wake up in the middle of the night to the strangely comforting sound of the vacuum cleaner. I loved living in a clean home (I didn't really take part in the cleaning of it but I sure made up for it by messing it up!) but I had always just assumed that the "clean gene" had somehow missed me. I was not filthy but a big mess never bothered me much. However, the older I get, the more that "clean gene" makes it's presence known...in a weird way. Normally people will straighten things up, clear off the counter and hide any clutter so their guests will be comfortable. Me? I clean the most obscure things that no one will EVER notice...but me. Take yesterday for example. Yes I did the usuals, made the bed, swept, mopped, cleaned bathrooms, etc., but my main focus was on 2 areas that, for the life of me, I do not know why I focused on them. First up was the bottom shelf of my pantry. I am blessed to have a very large U-shaped pantry next to the kitchen. Unfortunately, it tends to be the catch-all for everything that doesn't have a permanent home. For some reason the entire bottom shelf was bugging me so I pulled everything off, vacuumed, purged and reorganized. Found quite a few things I forgot I had in the process. This whole thing took at least an hour. Now, I had no idea what time my family would arrive only that it would be after lunch. It was 10:30 when I finished. Now the second place that was bothering me was my kitchen drawers. Not the junk one-there is just no hope for that one. It was the silverware drawer, the cooking utensil drawer and the drawer that holds my towels and hotpads. What guest is going to be looking in there????? For whatever reason, I felt the overwhelming need to clean out the little crumbs that collect in them and to reorganize the storage (seeing as how I had just rediscovered a lot of stuff). This I completed around 11:30. A quick PBJ and I was back at it, sweeping and mopping. Then I get the call that they are less than an hour away. WHAT????? I have at least 2 hours of proper cleaning left to do and I still had to shower and blowdry my hair because you always should be neat and clean for guests right? ANYWAY, everything managed to get done, I smelled good and we all had a great time. AND my pantry and drawers ROCK!!!!!

On the cooking front, I am just trying to make it to the end of the month! Nothing special is planned except for my twins birthday party tomorrow. I will be making a chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting tinted orange and a chocolate ganache poured over the top. No idea what we will eat for dinner but dessert is HANDLED! Then on Nov. 1st (their actual birthday) we are taking them out to dinner and to a movie so no cooking for mama!!!! Ohhhhhh.......they will be turning 12. TWELVE??!! I cannot believe how fast it has gone by. My babies....WILL BE TEENAGERS IN A YEAR! Oh please say a prayer for me and hubby because we have gone through the whole teenanger teenager thing 3 times already and know what to expect. Oh well, I will try not to worry too much, they are really great kids and I am just going to cherish them everyday the Lord gives me with them.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Just read some interesting stuff about Aquaculture. I am very interested in raising fish as we are a fish loving family! We have a pond with catfish and some bass but my favorite is tilapia. It is so easy to cook and tastes great, especially to people who don't really like fish. However, buying it in the grocery store can be a little dicey and pricey. A lot of the tilapia sold around here comes from China. Um, I really don't care to eat nuclear fish thank you very much! Plus the cost has gone through the roof in the last 6 months. When we went to Disney World last month, we took a Greenhouse tour at Epcot and got to take a close up look at their fish farming. It really looks like something the average Joe could do. Mother Earth News put out an article with some general info about aquaculture and I think I will definitely check into it soon.

This morning I made, hands down, the best waffles I have ever eaten and I have eated A LOT of waffles! They were Pumpkin Waffles with Honey Cinnamon Butter. Oh they were TO DIE FOR!!!! I posted the recipe earlier this morning so please make yourself some. You won't regret it! Lunch today is an old favorite, Garlic Roast Beef Sandwiches. It is supposed to be on store bought garlic bread but I am making my own with the leftover French Bread I made yesterday. Since I have choir practice tonight, dinner has to be early and easy to fix. I am thinking Bacon Cheeseburgers on homemade buns (having them on homemade buns cancels out any bad stuff from the bacon and cheese!), baked sweet potato fries and corn. Maybe green beans. No, corn...I think. Since I am out of sugar AND sweetner, there will be no dessert :( I really need to make a run to the store!

Best Waffles EVER!!!!!

I just have to share with you this recipe for the BEST WAFFLES YOU WILL EVER HAVE!!!!

Pumpkin Waffles

In a large bowl sift together the following:
2 C. Whole Wheat Flour
2 Tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 Tsp. Salt
1/4 Tsp EACH of the following cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger

In another bowl mix together the following:
2 eggs
1 3/4 C. Milk
3/4 C. Pumpkin (can be pureed pumpkin from a can or cooked and mashed fresh pumpkin)
1/2 C. Canola Oil
1/2 C. Chopped Nuts (optional)

Add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture and combine. Pour 1/4 to 1/3 C. batter onto hot waffle iron and cook as directed. These waffles are so yummy! Since I am out of Maple Syrup, I mixed some butter, honey and cinnamon together and spread it over the waffles. This is now my FAVORITE way to eat waffles! Enjoy!!!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

"Use it up, wear it out, make do or do without." The more I hear this old Depression Era motto, the more I can relate to it. Let's face it, times are rough and they aren't looking to get much better any time in the near future so we have to make whatever we have last as long as possible. I have really been trying to do this, trying to see just how frugal I can be. You know what? I can be pretty doggone frugal when I have to be! I have so many great ideas that I have gleaned from different blogs that I am eager to put into use. What are they? So glad you asked!!! I was amazed at how many "common sense" ideas there are that I never really thought about before like using rags instead of paper towels for cleaning, using cloth napkins (cheap ones that don't need to be ironed!) instead of paper ones and using hard plates instead of paper. Oh, I can hear you now, "But Tracy, isn't that just increasing your work elsewhere like laundry and dish washing?" I thought of that and, really, I have to do laundry and wash dishes ANYWAY so a little more is NOT going to kill me. My son is all for this because we won't be creating as much garbage and it means he won't be having to take it out as often! I don't have the heart to tell him that it will just free him up to do other chores for me :) Some other money saving, skin saving and Earth saving ideas have to do with making my own dish soap, laundry soap, hand/body wash and shampoo/conditioner, even body lotion! Apparently, Castile Soap is going to be my new best friend! Google Castile Soap and you will see the many uses of it. I can't wait to get started.

I am happy to announce I FINALLY got some eggs out of my chickens. After 6 L-O-N-G months I went to check yesterday and there were 2 perfect brown eggs just waiting for me to collect them. I am willing to bet that I was much more excited about that then the hens that laid them. Can't wait to check today, I am running VERY LOW on eggs right now. The other 12 hens better get a move on!

On the cooking front, I have been doing a lot of it AS USUAL! I am almost all the way through the meals I put up in the freezer at the beginning of the month. I have just about enough dinners to make it to the end of the month...I think. Lunches are what throw me for a loop. I am not much of a sandwich person but if school takes longer than I have planned then I may not have time to cook anything and it's PB&J to the rescue. Dinners, on the other hand have been pretty well thought out. I also have a collection of recipes for next months' meals so, hopefully, the planning, shopping and cooking will go much easier. Today's meals consisted of the following: Oatmeal with raisins, apples and walnuts (oh my goodness it was yummy!) for breakfast. Lunch for me was slices of homemade french bread with slices of hard cheese and sliced tomatoes ( I must have been in a slice kind of mood). The twins fought over last nights leftovers and I made hubby a couple of sandwiches with the french bread. Dinner is spaghetti and I am using the french bread to make garlic-cheese toast! Dessert is pumpkin bread. I will be in Carb Heaven by the time I pass out in bed tonight! Doncha just have weeks days where you just want bread...ALL THE TIME! Today is that for me. I don't know what it is but once I got started on the french bread this afternoon I almost couldn't stop. You know how it is. You have to cut the ends off cuz no one wants to eat them and, since I can't waste it, I ate it. Then my tomatoes were about to be unusable so I HAD to do something with them, so I ate them AND the bread. Then, when hubby wanted sandwiches, I had to take some of the bread innerds (not even sure that's a word) out so he could bite into the sandwich so I ate the innerds too. THEN, I wanted something sweet and since I used the last of the sugar up in the pumpkin bread, my only option was....pumpkin BREAD! Whew, I feel better getting that out :) Now I think I will go eat some marshmallows...Hey at least they aren't bread!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Amy over at homesteadrevival.blogspot.com, posted a wonderful piece about the importance of raising manly men. As a mother of 2 boys and 3 girls, I could not agree with her more. There is a huge difference in the men of today and the men of 100 years ago. Years ago, men could build homes with their own hands, hunt for food and grow food to feed their family. They knew how to protect their family. They taught their sons to do these things and raised them to be tough enough to defend their family if needed, but to be meek enough to know when a softer approach was necessary. Today, too many young men can't even figure out how to feed themselves if mama hasn't gone to the grocery store. It is a real shame that our boys are not being taught to be men, rather they are left to figure it out for themselves because they are either being raised by single mothers who don't have a manly figure to help them or their own fathers have never figured out what being a man means. I am so blessed to be married to a real man. He was taught by his father, another real man, to hunt, build, fix, work, love and respect. My husband takes his job as husband and father very seriously. Is he perfect? Nope. However, he treats me with love and respect and he takes time for his children. He teaches them things they don't want to learn because he knows that one day they will appreciate it. He doesn't try to be their best friend because he knows that what they need most from him is for him to be their father. They need him to lead so they can learn to lead. They need him to teach them all the things that I can't. They need him to make the hard decisions so that they will learn to do that for their families. Raising boys to be men is a very hard job but what a wonderful gift it will be to the women they will marry and the children they will raise.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Gift season...

My twins have a birthday coming up the day after Halloween. They suspect that I have ordered their gifts online and have started scrutinizing the mail. It truly is hilarious. I got a box in the mail this afternoon and they have searched my room trying to find out what was in it. Silly children. Like I am not smart enough to keep any gift out of their reach until I am ready to give it to them. I am no amateur when it comes to hiding gifts. Since they day I got married, almost 18 years ago, and became an instant mom to 3 kids I have learned just about every trick in the book to keeping gifts a secret. I can remember one year when I was about 12, I searched my parents room and found where my mom was hiding my Christmas gifts. I saw each and every gift I was getting. Totally ruined Christmas morning that year. However, I learned a very important lesson that year and since then I have made sure that I NEVER accidentally stumbled onto ANY gift stash ever again. I know my kids think they want to find the gifts before it is time but I know better than to let that happen.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Thank GOD Saturday is gone...

Saturday had to be, hands down, one of the most painful days of my life. Not emotionally painful mind you but physically painful. It all started early in the morning when I had to get up long before I wanted to because I was supposed to have a choir rehearsal. I got ready and was heading to rehearsal when I turned on my cell phone and got a text that rehearsal was cancelled. No big deal. I had to go to church anyway to set up for Sunday's communion. I get to church and was walking to the chapel loaded down with the communion implements when, out of no where...I fall down. Not just a little trip either. Down on my knees and elbows on the marble floor! If that wasn't bad enough, when I fell, I tried to keep the chalice full of grape juice from crashing to the floor and I accomplished that. Unfortunately, all the grape juice came down on my head!. So here I am sopping up grape juice and trying not to say very bad words in the Lord's house. There was no one at church so I couldn't get to where the bathrooms were to clean myself up so I had to finish setting everything up and try not to drip all over the beautiful white table cloths! I would have been alright if I had been able to go straight home but I promised hubby I would fill up his diesel tanks so he could finish the planting. So now I have to go out in public with grape juice all over me and my hair still damp and oh so sticky. I get over that humiliation (honestly you should see how OTHER people go out in public on a Saturday morning!) only to suffer more at home. I was in the shower because I had grape juice hair and I bent down and whacked my head on the tile bench in the shower! It wasn't enough to have skinned up my knee and elbow, strained my ankle and hurt my shoulders, NOW I try to give myself a concussion! Oh wait, it gets better. I decide I want applesauce with dinner so I fill a pot with lemon juice and water to put the peeled apples in and as I was carrying it to the table, the water shifts and sloshes over me and the floor. It is at that time I said "Ok God. You have my attention! What the heck are you trying to tell me???" I still haven't figured out what He wanted but I am starting to think He just needed a laugh....

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Vanilla Pudding

I have never been a fan of vanilla pudding until I tried this one. It is oh so good!

2 1/2 C. Milk (any kind)
3 Egg Yolks
1/2 C. Maple Syrup or Honey
4 T. Corn Starch
1/4 Tsp. Salt
1 Tbsp. Butter
1 Tsp. Vanilla

In a medium saucepan, whisk together milk, egg yolks, maple syrup or honey, corn starch and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring CONSTANTLY until pudding begins to thicken. Add butter and vanilla and stir to combine. Remove from heat and keep stirring until butter is melted. Serve right away or refrigerate until later. (If refrigerating, place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding to prevent the skin from forming)

Chocolate Pudding

Try this and you will NEVER buy pudding at the grocery store again!
2 1/2 C. Milk (any kind, I use skim)
3 Egg Yolks
2/3 C. Sugar or 1/2 C. Maple Syrup ( I prefer the sugar)
1/4 C. Cocoa Powder
4 Tbsp. Corn Starch
1/4 Tsp. Salt
3 Tbsp. Butter
1 Tsp. Vanilla

In a medium saucepan, whisk together milk, egg yolks, sugar or syrup, cocoa, corn starch and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring CONSTANTLY until pudding begins to thicken. Once it begins to thicken, add the butter and vanilla and stir until combined. Remove from heat and continue to stir until butter is melted. This pudding can be served warm (awesome) or you can put it in the fridge to chill for a few hours. Just remember, if putting it in the fridge, put a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding to keep it from forming a "skin".

Cooking Frenzy!!!!

To say that I have done a little cooking is putting things VERY mildly! Last week, I did the whole month shopping trip and the last few days I have been cooking and freezing it all. So far I have put the following into the freezer: 2 batches Tortilla Lime Chicken, Chicken Almondine, Chicken Enchilada Lasagna, Mexican Stuffed Shells, Tomato Soup, Taco Soup, 2 batches Spaghetti Sauce, 1 batch Lasagna Sauce, Sloppy Joes, Stuffed Turkey Burgers and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ON TOP of cooking 3 meals a day that went directly into our bellies! I am just a bit pooped! I still have more to go, though. Kroger had a big sale on apples so I bought 15 lbs of them to make applesauce. I haven't gotten up the energy to actually peel and chop them yet :) I also still have all the baking to do: Hamburger buns, tortillas, cinnamon bread, dinner rolls, etc. I serioulsy don't know how the pioneer women did all of this. They had to start over each and every day from scratch. My hat is off to them....

I have been doing quite a bit of research on the Internet about whole foods and making everything from scratch so that you know what is in it and I am just amazed at the CRAP that gets into our food and no one seems to think it is a problem. I was munching on a handful of peanut butter chips and chocolate chips (hey, I needed it for energy!) and just happened to look at the ingredient list. BIG mistake! Not much real food there and way more chemicals than there needs to be. I know that commercial food is loaded with preservatives to keep them fresh on the store shelves but, what bothers me is that those chemicals are added to keep the food from breaking down so what is it doing inside your digestive tract? It has to break down to pass through but where are all those chemicals going???? There are so many people posting all kinds of recipes to make your own stuff. I have tried a couple of them and have been pleasantly surprised. There are quite a few items that I will no longer buy from the store but will be making them at home. It does take a lot of time initially but I figure if I take 3-4 days a month and do all the cooking and baking, then I will have homemade, yummy, HEALTHY stuff for the entire month! I can handle that! I will post some of these wonderful recipes soon!

On the farm front, we just finished planting 6 fields of oats. 4 of the fields are for food plots for hunting but the other 2 are going to be harvested and sold. Hubby is chomping at the bit to do more farming. He loves it! Wonder if he'll love it as much when it is our only source of income??? Actually, he will probably always do what he does now, just not to the degree he does now. He will probably turn over day to day operations to the boys in the office in the next 5 years and then he can farm full time. Well, as long as farming doesn't interfere with hunting! Hey, I'm not complaining-all that hunting fills up my freezer and lowers my grocery  bill!

Well, my friends, the time has come to sign off for now. My soup needs to go in the freezer and there's chocolate chip cookies to bake!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Another beautiful day outside my window. I love fall! Growing up in southwest Florida we only had 2 seasons, hot and hotter. I never saw leaves changing color except in pictures. I never saw yards covered in freshly fallen leaves. Heck I hardly ever had to wear a sweater in the winter! That reminds me of a picture my husband took of me last winter. It was snowing (very lightly) and I was wearing a pair of shorts, a t-shirt, a jacket, socks and flip flops. Okay, not the most fashionable choice but sometimes there are just "Florida" things you cannot take out of the girl!
Yeah, I rock the socks and flip flops!!! Those socks are actually MADE for flip flops. They have a separate compartment for the big toe. I bought them at Little MissMatched for the express purpose of wearing them with said flip flops! Sometimes my feet get cold (actually almost never) but I hate having them cramped up in "real" shoes.

MOVING ON....
I said yesterday that I was going to go back to monthly grocery shopping. I sat down and made a master list of meals, side dishes and desserts. This took FOREVAH!!! But, now that it is done, the next months lists should go a bit easier. I say "should" but anyone who knows me knows that I rarely do things the easy way! After I got all the meals together and written down, know what I did? I went and searched for MORE recipes. I am such a glutton for punishment! Anyway, the list is done and now comes the really hard part...making the shopping list. Aaahhhhh! I dread that part. Shopping for the month (correctly) means that I take a complete inventory of what I have on hand in the pantry and take each ingredient list and see what I need to buy and how much of it I need to buy. I really haven't found an effective way of doing that . I do think that maybe I will do a spread sheet kind of thing and then tally up how much of each ingredient is needed... We'll see.

On the food front, yesterday I made up some beef and bean burritos with homemade tortilla shells and put them in the freezer for later. I really think I will ask for a tortilla press for Christmas because I haven't figured out how to keep the dough from shrinking so much. I also made a batch of Pancake-Sausage muffins for the freezer.(MOST of them made it to the freezer!) YUM! This morning, I made 2 big batches of waffles and pancakes for the freezer. It makes me very happy to have stuff ready in the freezer for anytime I may need or want it. Once I shop Thursday, I will spend Friday and Saturday cooking stuff and freezing it. That accomplishes 2 things. One, I have a freezer full of meals and, two (this is the important one), it keeps me too busy to have to help the boys build the hunting houses. Not that I am opposed to helping but I really cannot stand the nail gun. That thing terrifies me and makes me incredibly anxious. My father in law shot a nail that ended up going through his hand and ever since then, I am NOT going near that thing.

Menu for today:

Breakfast
Waffle for me
Cheese toast for the munchkins

Lunch
Chicken Almondine
Carrots

Dinner
Pork Chops w/Apricot Sauce
Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Green Beans
Applesauce

Enjoy the day!!!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Had a very nice weekend. Beautiful weather, the people I love most right next to me. What more could I ask for. Sunday in church, we had a guest deliver the message as our pastor is out of town. The guest wasn't really a guest, he's a member of the congregation and he did such a great job. He is also a member of our choir and has the most soothing, bass voice you could ever want to hear. His voice is the kind that should be recorded reading books or something. Anyway, he delivered such a wonderful message that it was easy to forget that he isn't a preacher by trade. He joked that he didn't feel worthy to be occupying the pulpit but he "owned" it yesterday. His message was on the Walls of Jericho and it got the twins attention because we just studied that in our Bible class. They listened very closely to hear the facts that they had already learned, no doubt to make sure he got it right :) At the end, he made a statement that really stuck with me. He said, "Life is better lived if we let God do His work, His way." How many times have we tried to impose our own will on God? What happens? We are left sorely disapointed as our ways are not His ways. Isn't it true that His ways are ALWAYS better? We may not think so at first but soon we all come to the realization that He does know best.

This is something I did over the weekend:

And this:



Aren't they cute??? I really love the Disney family one. Next time we go, the twins want to get 2 dogs for our 2 dogs. Then we decided to tell Disney to make chicken ones so we could put them all over the back window. Yeah, we get a little carried away sometimes.

Today, in the kitchen, we are having the following:

Breakfast
Whole Wheat Waffles with homemade applesauce

Lunch
Leftover Taco Casserole from last night
Fruit

Dinner
Tortilla Lime Chicken
Roasted Parmesan Potatoes
Green Beans
Homemade Applesauce

Going to make a master menu for the month and go back to once a month shopping. I used to do it right after my husband's company went to once a month pay but it was a pain getting that much stuff at one time so I stopped. Now that I am no longer buying processed food & mixes, I am hoping that my cart won't be nearly as full. Of course, I will still have to go periodically and get milk and fresh fruits/veg but that should be it. In a very weird way, I am looking forward to it. I strongly dislike grocery shopping and doing it less will be nice. However, this is going to force me to REALLY plan out all meals and do a VERY detailed shopping list so I am not constantly running into town to get things I forgot. And believe me, I forget A LOT!

Best Ever Chocolate Cake

This is my go to recipe for chocolate cake. Since it doesn't use any eggs, I don't have to get mad at the fact that my hens are STILL not laying!

Best Ever Chocolate Cake
1 ½ c. Flour (all purpose or bread)
1 c. Sugar
¼ c. Cocoa
1 tsp. Baking Soda
½ tsp. Salt
1 c. Water
¼ c. + 2 tbsp. Oil
1 tbsp. Vinegar
1 tsp. Vanilla
Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl. Combine wet ingredients and stir into dry until all incorporated. Pour in an 8x8 pan and bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with only a few crumbs.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Such a nice day...

I have had such a nice day!! It started with the weather outside this morning. Nice and cool 60 degrees and we are only warming up to 73...YAY!!! So, of course, all the windows are open and there is such a nice breeze in the house. Then I did some cooking with the twins. They helped me make applesauce and pizza and they did such an awesome job! Then I made cookies for church tomorrow and put some taco soup in the crockpot for dinner tonight. We had a great talk about what we would do if life, as we know it, changed. How would we live if we had no electricity? My daughter and I think of it as an adventure. My son? Well he said life just wouldn't be worth living. Okay, I need to work on his sense of adventure. My hubby watched some video on the internet that got him thinking about this same subject. He could live as a pioneer man very easily. He was raised to hunt and fish. He can build ANYTHING and fix ANYTHING. His greatest thrill, other than being in his hunting condo, is simply living off the land. Me? Well, I could do it if I had to. I would probably complain at first but I think I  could get used to it. The only requirement I would have is A/C and indoor plumbing. Those are 2 things I absolutely cannot live without. I already cook from scratch and I am learning how to do more and more the "old fashioned" way every single day. Soon, I will be making my own buttermilk and cream cheese because I go through a ton of that stuff! I think it is pretty funny that for all of our modern conveniences that were supposed to free up time for us, they do nothing but waste our time. (Hello sitting in front of the laptop wasting my time!) Sometimes I think technology has robbed us of life. I mean, I know there have been great strides in things like medicine and we can cure or prevent lots of diseases but what has that cost us? We work so much so that we can have "things". How many of those "things" are really needs and how many are wants? We need a roof over our head but we want a really nice one that looks better than anybody else's. We need clothing but we want designer stuff and we want a lot of it. We need food but we want prime rib. Our wants and needs have gotten all mixed up so we work to buy stuff and when we don't make enough money to buy what we want, we get it on credit or we get a second job. Then we are mad because we are so busy working to pay for our stuff that we have no time to enjoy the stuff so we buy more and more and more. It goes on and on. Here's an example. I have a friend who, along with her husband, has a full time job. They have 2 kids in private school. (Public school here is AWFUL!) They have a house and 2 cars (new). She tells me that she wishes she could stay home with her kids but they can't make it on one paycheck. Let's do the math: if she were to quit her job and homeschool her children, the tuition savings alone would almost replace her income. Plus she wouldn't need to pay for gas running around town each day going to school, going to work, going back to school to bring the kids home and she wouldn't be eating lunch out everyday. Now, if she's at home, she has the time to plan meals and cook so it cuts down on the eating dinners out. After taking all of that into consideration, she actually makes money by staying home! Not to mention, all the great time she will be spending with her kids. They will only be young for a very short time so why would you want to ship them off for most of that time? I am happy to do without a lot of the stuff I thought I couldn't do without because it means that I can be here and take care of my family the way God had intended me to. Not making a sexist remark or anything but it is the wife and mother's responsibility to care for the home and children. Don't believe me? Read the Bible. It spells it out very clearly. As a matter of fact, the Bible gives you complete instructions for life. We parents always joke that our kids didn't come with instruction manuals. They did. However, like most instruction manuals, we didn't read it. I am currently reading it from front to back and have been amazed (and humbled and brought to my knees!) by what I have learned. I guess I just want to say, what is it that you are working so hard for? What will you do when it gets taken away (or lost or stolen)? I heard a song the other day and it goes like this " I don't wanna gain the whole world and lose my soul". I don't need a million dollar house or a brand new truck. My only needs are completely fulfilled through Jesus. How about you?

Friday, September 30, 2011

Another big cooking day on tap. Not as big as I would like it-I want to do more monthly cooking but my finances are more the day to day type! But still, this is what I plan to do today: Applesauce, french bread, more cookie dough (for church Sunday), Cinnamon bread, taco soup for the freezer and anything else I can find to make. I REALLY need to get some stuff put up in the freezer. It is looking mighty bare in there! General gun season is almost here and it can't come soon enough. I have been coveting the 2 remaining packs of ground venison. I bought some ground beef at the store to supplement and, lo and behold, I would rather have the venison! I couldn't believe all the fat piling up at the bottom of the pan. So gross!!!! I told Bryan as soon as he can, get me some deer in the freezer! I am sure he is all too happy to comply :)

This is what our menu will look like today, just in case you are so fascinated by what we are eating:)
Breakfast
Homemade Whole Wheat Waffles w/homegrown blueberry sauce

Lunch
"Healthier" homemade pigs in a blanket
carrot sticks
golden kiwi (the boys didn't like it yesterday but us girls loved it)

Dinner
This is the stumper. Normally our date night but too broke to date so I have to come up with something. Maybe hamburgers????

Last night I told you about the Mexican Stuffed Shells I made but I neglected to tell you about the most wonderful broccoli we had.  I know, how wonderful can broccoli be? I will tell you. I cut up fresh broccoli into large-ish chunks and put it on a cookie sheet. Then I drizzled olive oil over it and added salt, pepper and garlic powder. I put it in a 425 degree oven for 25 minutes and, although broccoli has the distinctive "fart" smell when it's cooking, the taste was out of this world! So light a very strong candle and roast up some broccoli. You will NOT be disappointed!


The weather is getting so nice out. Our highs have been in the mid 80's and lows in the lower 60's to upper 50's. Tonight, the low will be 48 !!!! I am sooooooo happy. Next week they are calling for low 40's!!! I cannot contain my joy! Fall, winter and spring are our reward for toughing out the summer. I think today I may even open the windows for awhile. Fresh air AND a reduction in electric bill!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

I am sitting in the parking lot of the local coffee den using up their free wi-fi. Very unethical, I know but the twins are at a 4H meeting and I have nothing to do for the next hour so here I am. I have spent most of the day cooking. This morning I made big batches of waffles and pancakes and put enough leftovers in the freezer for at least 3 meals out of each. I love having something like that to just pull out and stick in the toaster oven. Nice quick and healthy breakfast without having to spend money at the store on the frozen versions that have nothing but junk in them. Anyway, I also made homemade chocolate pudding for dessrt tonight. Heavenlyhomemakers.com has awesome recipes for pudding and they only take about 15 minutes to make FROM SCRATCH!!!! The taste is nothing like instant pudding. It is infinitely better! Since we won't be home until about 5:30 tonight, I also premade a batch of Mexican Stuffed Shells for dinner. All I gotta do is pop it in the oven and make a vegetable. I am also toying with the idea of making applesauce when I get home but not sure if I will have time as it cooks for about 45-55 minutes and I take f o r e v e r peeling and chopping all of those apples!!!
Lunch today was a little experiment that turned out pretty tasty. I bought some croissants. Now I NEVERbuy croissants because they are sooooooo bad for you (but they taste sooooooo good!) but this week I did. I swear Satan was just whispering in my ear ***buy croissants****no one will care**** Then I took a little cream cheese and whipped it with some apricot preserves and spread it on the bottom of the croissant. Then I put some ham slices in a skillet and crisped them up a bit and put them on top of the cream cheese and, viola! Delish!!!! I ate 2...I am so ashamed :( I guess I will need to get some good exercise cuz I also ate fast food (YUCK) yesterday afternoon on the way to the grocery store. Couldn't risk being hungry and then trying to shop. That would have been more horrendous than it was! I REALLY

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Looooong day today...Dropped off clothes at the Salvation Army, hit the bank and CVS, stopped at Walmart for some pet food and then finished off my trek at Kroger where I FINALLY got some food!
We were so out of EVERYTHING that I ran out of money before I ran out of grocery list!!! Oh well, at least I can throw together something to eat that doesn't consist of stale cheerios and a stray cracker found under the couch.  I am helping to provide the supper for our church Youth and Edge groups Sunday night and with everything I bought, I feel like I am feeding an army! We're doing 6 taco casseroles, chips and salsa, cookies and soda for 35. Ok it IS a small army!!! I don't mind though, I'm doing it with a buddy that I haven't seen in awhile so it will give us a chance to catch up.

Gonna do the final mowing of the season soon. Kinda sad-I love mowing grass. It's my ME time. No one bugs me and I can just zone out or think through all the problems of the world. Our pecan trees have started dropping pecans early so we'll be out picking those for the next few months. They usually don't start falling until mid to late October so I don't know if this is good or bad. I'm gonna go with good cuz that's just how I roll!!!

Chickens STILL have not laid any eggs. I don't know what their problem is but they need to get over it quick. They have it pretty good in the chicken condo. Plenty of food, water, grass, bugs, attention from everyone...I had to buy eggs today and everytime I do, I wanna bring out the stew pot!

I have been doing a lot of reading about sugar and artificial sweetners. Everyone has a different opinion about which should be used. It kinda makes my head spin. What I have gathered so far is white sugar is to be avoided. Ok, I get that. I only bake with white sugar. My question is, what do I put in my coffee and tea??? We use Splenda right now. I have tried Truvia because I was told it was better than sugar but I don't really like it. I like the taste of Splenda but it is a chemical and I want to avoid that. I looked into raw sugar and it is a step above white sugar but still not perfect. A blogger I follow uses Sucanat which is dehydrated cane juice. I don't know how that is different from regular sugar but apparently it is. I really cannot handle all of these options. Way too many. Would someone just please tell me what to eat??? Or not to eat!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Seriously????

We have been home for a little over a week now and in that week's time, we have all been sick (still trying to quit coughing!), our lab, Lilly, got a UTI while being boarded and diarrhea AND my little Bichon, Baby, got really sick. Lilly got some meds and has healed up quite nicely but poor Baby has been struggling. She is 14 years old and not really into her routine changing. She was fine when we picked her up but the next day, she stopped eating and started having diarrhea. Then she started REALLY having diarrhea, like all over the place. We called the vet one night and he had us check her for some other problems and she was fine on those fronts so he said he was pretty sure she was stressed from being boarded. STRESSED! So he told us if she wasn't better in the morning to bring her in and he would check her out. Next morning, she perked up a little bit. She begged for a treat (she hasn't done that in a looooong time) so I figured she was  "relaxing" a little bit. I took her out to go potty and, dang it, she had blood in her diarrhea!!!! So, a trip to the vet later, we find that not only was she stressed out BUT she ALSO had a bleeding stress ulcer!!! Geez!!! The only thing that made it any better was the fact that the "hottie" vet took care of her :) At least I got a thrill for all my trouble. So apparently, my dog needs Xanax if I even think of going out of town again. Hottie Doc said I could always take her with me on vacation....then I would need the Xanax! So anyway, we get her home, give her meds and just let her basically do whatever she wanted (pretty much what she does on a regular basis anyway minus the meds). Now, Baby is not the easiest dog to give pills to. She only weighs 11 lbs. but she is mighty in spirit when she doesn't want something done to her. So we were on the floor and I was trying to POLITELY give her a pill. Each time, she spit it back out. Put it in food you say??? Still no money for groceries so lunch meat has been wiped out for awhile. We had to stick to the ole put it as far back in her mouth as possible and hold her snout shut till she swallows routine. Each and every time she spit that doggone pill out. So I put it in again and waited...and waited...still waiting...was that a swallow I felt???? I let her snout go, she spits out the pill AND A TOOTH! She has always been a little drama queen but this takes the cake! I finally did get that pill down and hid away a little hunk of cheese to hide the future pills in. As for the teeth, well not much I can do about that. She won't allow brushing and she's too old for cleaning them at the vet. Trust me, she still has quite a bit of "bite" left!

I have been reading a bunch of other blogs lately. I am very interested in the ones concerning getting back to the basics. We have been s l o w l y changing our diet to exclude processed foods, fast foods, white flour/rice/sugar foods and include only whole foods. It hasn't really been very hard (just a bit time consuming) and we have lost a couple of pounds without even trying...YAY!!!!! I have found some great recipes that are completely cooked from scratch. It has been going so well that, this morning, I received the biggest compliment I could get from an 11 year old boy. My son told me that he thinks it's cool that I make all my own stuff. How sweet is that ?:) It could also be the fact that I found recipes for homemade versions of pizza rolls, donuts, pop tarts, etc. and he is REALLY happy about that! But I will just happily believe that it is because he is proud of me! AND I am cool!

Well I think hubby has found a little money for some grocery shopping so I will trek to my favorite Kroger tomorrow morning and get some very much needed food. They have a Starbucks there. It's a good thing. I guess I need to make my menu and list, get my coupons ready and prepare my checkbook for the grocerypalooza. Hope I have enough gas to get there because I want to gas up at Kroger and use my Kroger points to lower my price/per/gallon on gas. I LOVE saving money!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

I'm baaaaaaack....

We are home from our glorious, wonderful vacation!!! YAY!!! I love vacations but after awhile I am ready to be back in my own, familiar surroundings. PLUS, we ALL came home sick! Next time we get the bright idea to bring our grandkids on vacation with us, we will just stay home! I love my granchkins but, honestly, they are little petri dishes brimming with germs. All 3 were sick even though their moms ASSURED us they weren't. Hello, green snot does NOT freely flow from the noses of healthy children! Anywho we are home and back to our routine...sort of. Both of my dogs are sick too. I swear, we need to just stay home from now on because traveling is not good for any of us apparently!
Since I wwwaaaayyyyyy over spent for and on our vacation, we have no money for grocery shopping. We also have no food because we ate it all before we left so I have been very ingenius with our meals. I absolutely LOVE the recipes from the Heavenly Homemaker. I have been making a couple of the recipes that I had the ingredients for and they have been outstanding. Last night I impressed myself with our very first "whole food" only meal. I made pork chops, real hand grated hash browns (I got the scrape on my finger to prove it!) roasted carrots and homemade applesauce. If you have never made your own applesauce and rely on the gunk they sell in the store, you have not lived! It was so good and so yummy that I could not stop myself from eating it! So easy too-Peel, core and chop 3 lbs of apples (I used Gala because they are my favorite apple). Put them in a pot over med-low heat. Add 1/2 c. brown sugar and 1 tsp. cinnamon. Cover and cook for about 35-45 minutes, stirring occasionally. The smell filling your house will cause you feelings of euphoria....just go with it....Once the apples are soft, mash them up a little and add 1/2 tsp. of vanilla. I forgot that step and my applesauce was totally divine without it. You now hold in your hands the secret to happiness...You're welcome :)
This morning I made pancake-sausage muffins and they were unbelievable. Then for lunch I made Taco Corn Fritters. Oh the yumminess!!! Only problem is that I have no idea what to make for dinner! I am down to a little ground venison, which will be lunch tomorrow, and a little salmon, which will be dinner tomorrow for me and hubby. Oh lordy, I need some groceries!!!
In other news (dontcha love the segue???) hubby got him a new truck today. Not exactly brand new but new for him. He has been struggling to do the farm chores with his itty bitty Toyota Tacoma but, since we aren't taking on new debt and have NO cash saved up AND his lease was running out in February, we had to do something pretty soon. He has been scouring the internet for a couple of months, searching for the best deal he could get. In our neck of the woods, people hold on to their pickups until there is nothing left to hold on to so finding a decent used one was going to be rough. He found one that seemed really good and he prayed about it until he thought he had his answer. He called the dealership and the salesman told him he was watching that truck drive off the lot as they spoke with its new owner. Not meant to be. However, hubby don't give up easily. He called another dealership on a whim and they had an even better deal on the "truck of his dreams". We went to the bank, got a cashiers check and the dealership delivered the truck this afternoon. They drove that thing 75 miles one way to make a sale. Now THAT is service! Our son pointed out to his dad that we weren't taking on new debt, so why did he borrow money for that truck (He actually paid attention to the financial seminars we are making him and his sister watch with us!!!)Hubby explained to him that he actually lowered his debt because the new truck cost less than the buyout of his leased truck, so, even though we borrowed money, we lowered our debt overall. I wish we could have paid cash for it but that just wasn't possible right now. Remember, I'm broke, no money, no food....but we got a kick butt truck that will do anything on the farm we need it to do!
My chickens seemed to have survived our absence pretty well but the little boogers still aren't laying any eggs. They should have started the week we were gone but nothing. I am about to resort to chickie massage to get them eggs flowing! Every time I have to buy them at the store it makes me want to put the chickens in a stew pot! Ok, not really. I did do that once with a mass killing of roosters (who knew they were so territorial??)It was the most disgusting thing I have ever eaten. Yuck! But the girls really need to start earning their keep! Or no more goodies...I found they LOVE peaches and watermelon. yeah, I will withhold peaches until I see some egg production!
Alright, now I must go and forage for food for dinner. I am so full that even thinking about more food is gross but, alas, the family likes being fed on a continual basis so I'm off to the freezer!!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

2 More Days....

In 48 hours, from this moment right now, I will be officially on vacation at my destination. I REALLY cannot wait!!! I just found out that we will be having another little one tagging along. I had asked my middle daughter MONTHS ago if I could take her little girl to Disney with us and was basically told "no". Not a problem. I planned the whole vacation around what the 4 of us wanted to do and hubby and I decided to ask our oldest daughter if we could take her 2 little ones with us for a few days. She said yes right away! So our plan was to do all the park stuff we wanted the first 5 days we were there, pick up our grandkids, spend a couple days with them and drop them off on our way back home. Everything was all fine and dandy, all plans had been made and finalized. Then I get a call a couple of days ago, "Mom, do you still want to take Ella to Disney?" Guess who talked to her sister and found out the other 2 kids were going???? Oh well. Now we will be taking two 11 year olds, one 33 month old, one 2 year old (just turned 2 today :))and one 20 month old to Disney....Oh boy, what have I gotten us in to???? At least we will be in a 2 bedroom condo (we are DVC members) and we have a full kitchen, 2 bathrooms and a full size laundry room. I have been running around the last 2 days trying to get all the things we will need for the little ones. I am so not used to doing that on a grand scale! Between strollers, clothes, shoes, sippy cups, diaper bag, DIAPERS(!!!!) I have completely blown our spending money! I told hubby to NEVER complain that the twins are expensive! Little ones have a lot of STUFF! Thank goodness I have a Suburban. Every seat will either have a rear end or a car seat occupying it. The cargo area will be stuffed to the gills with a suitcase, gear for the babies, gear for the not-babies-anymore, pillows, blankets, groceries and a cooler. Gotta have the cooler. May even need to bring the big one. I hate having to grocery shop out of town so I tend to pack stuff and bring it with me. I have a bunch of stuff going. Probably too much... Nah. We got the Dining Plan so I don't have to worry about meals except for breakfast and we are an easy bunch to please for breakfast. AND we will be taking the Keurig!!! I absolutely will NOT vacation without my coffee maker!!! The condo has a coffee pot but I adore my Keurig coffee maker! It is an addiction for me!!!
I hate all the work that I talk myself into doing before a vacation. I hate coming home to a dirty house so I have to clean RIGHT before we leave! For some reason, I even decided that all the throw rugs, shower curtains, dog bowls and cat bowls have to be cleaned before we leave. Who the heck needs to do that????   ME! Plus the truck has to  be washed and cleaned out even though it will be trashed 5 minutes into the drive! I think I have a sickness...Man I hope there is a cure because my butt is tired!!! My crazy cooking session last week has been a real blessing though. I really haven't had to cook anything other than thawing something and sticking it in the oven or crockpot to reheat. Everything has been REALLY good too! Especially the Taco Soup last night. Sometime I will post the recipe because it is a keeper! Tonight is lasagna. I only premade the sauce so I had to layer everything and cheese it up but I just pulled out a loaf of French Bread that I made and froze and that is our side dish. Does that count? There are veggies in the sauce and fruit in the oatmeal raisin cookies I made for dessert so I think I have all the food groups covered:)
My oven beeper will be going off soon so, until next time.....Oh yeah, funny little thing my son said the other night. We were in the truck and I turned the radio down so hubby and I could talk, twins were watching a movie in the back anyway. So a few minutes go by and my son says "Hey, did you hear that?" I said "What". Smart aleck son says "My point exactly. Turn the radio back up".

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Aftermath....

It is 4:45 pm and I am too pooped to peep! In the last 24 hours I have put the following in the freezer: Tortilla Lime Chicken, Beef Stew, Bean soup, Mexican Stuffed Shells, Chicken Almondine, Taco Soup and Sweet Potato and Sausage casserole, and a big helping of peanut butter chocolate chip cookie dough and baked the following: 4 loaves of french bread, one loaf whole wheat bread, 1 loaf cinnamon raisin bread and a dozen chocolate peanut butter cups. I am honestly sick of my kitchen right at the moment! I am glad though that I won't be having to cook anymore til after we get back from vacation. Oh vacation....how I long to be enjoying you...soon...very soon....
This morning got off to a weird start. I got up to *ahem* use the facilities about 4:30. I couldn't fall back asleep so I decided to check on my stew that was cooking in the crockpot. It is a little disorienting to wake so early and smell food cooking! So I walk to the kitchen in total darkness because, honestly, who wants lights at 5 am???? I check on my crockpot and glance out the kitchen window and notice that my son's lawnmower headlights are on in our garage. My oldest keeps his mower here (he lives across the road) because he doesn't have a garage. He doesn't have a car OR a drivers license either but that is ANOTHER story! Anyway, I knew he wouldn't be up at that hour and, since it was dark when we got home last night, I knew we didn't leave them on accidentally. So I wake up hubby and tell him about it. He gets up and we go outside to investigate. Then he tells me to get the pistol out of my truck and I am thinking " It's 5 am! What could he possibly want to shoot?" (in my defense, it was early and I never even thought of someone actually being in our garage) but not wanting to argue when he so obviously did NOT want be up, I got it. He searched all over the property and even went driving in his truck down the road. Now, where we live is out in the middle of nowhere, way in the country. He didn't see anything but some thing got the dogs around us all riled up (except for the Lab sleeping on my bedroom floor who was completely unaware that ANYTHING was going on! Nice guard dog). He tried to make the lights on the mower come on without using the key (it was still in the office and hadn't been taken) and nothing made them come on so he is convinced someone was out there. Nothing is missing but it really gives me an uneasy feeling. We have sort of been lulled into a false sense of security out here in the woods. We have never had a problem nor has anyone around us. I would hate to think that that is changing. Hubby has been working on the barn to get it enclosed so we can secure it but it will be awhile before that gets done and we leave for vacation next week. Glad my in laws live across the road. I know they will keep an eye on things for us but they never would have seen the mower lights on at 5 in the morning. I am still surprised I did-I NEVER get up that early but for some reason I just could not go back to sleep. So long story short, I have been up for more than 12 hours and I am E*X*H*A*U*S*T*E*D!!! I still have another 4-5 hours to go before I can go to bed...WWWWAAAAAAAAAAA!!! But, hey, I don't have to cook ;-)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Marathon Cooking Day....

I am rubbing my aching feet as I try to type this. I got the "bright" idea to cook a weeks worth of dinners all in one day and put them in the freezer. It really isn't my fault, though. I found a couple of blogs that I just love and they were talking about once a month cooking. I wasn't quite ready to tackle that job just yet so I figured, hey, I could manage a week right? Well, I did it. Five meals in the freezer, one cooling on the counter enough to pack it up and put into the freezer and the last one will go in the crockpot tonight to be put in the freezer tomorrow morning. Wanna know what we are having for dinner???? PIZZA!! I told hubby I didn't want to see my kitchen for at least 12 hours! It wasn't really that bad. I did learn a few tricks that I will incorporate into my next weekly (maybe longer) cooking session. It is all about organization. Pre-chop, thaw, organize anything you can before you take this on. I didn't do much of that and it slowed me down quite a bit. However, the smells of the food while it was cooking was simply amazing! The twins, who normally spend Friday night with grandma and grandpa informed me they were staying put and we were going to be eating one of the recipes I cooked, Mexican stuffed shells.My mouth is watering just thinking about it! Tomorrow is going to be bread making day. French bread, artisan bread, whole wheat bread, and maybe, just maybe, a loaf of cinnamon raisin bread. I LOVE the smell of fresh bread baking in the oven. There is truly NOTHING in this world like it. Unfortunately, I am equally fond of eating all of that wonderful bread...Spandex really is an amazing fabric dontcha think????? Anyway, if you want to check out some of my favorite blogs, they are heavenlyhomemakers.com and onceamonthmom.com. At heavenly homemakers, check out the soaked pancakes. I made them this morning and they are out of this world. Try them, even if you think you don't like whole wheat. These could change your mind....

We have some friends who live in Iowa that are down here for a visit with their sweet lil angel, Grace. Her mommy once told us that she wasn't getting married for a VERY long time, if ever, and that she wasn't having kids...She gave birth last December and got married in May (or June, I can't remember!) Funny how God has absolutely no use for "our" plans! I am trying to nudge hubby out the door to go visit but work seems to be getting in the way...AGAIN!!!! I really wish we could just win the lottery and be done with work but they tell me that you actually have to PLAY the lottery to win...Who knew....Hopefully we can get out of here soon.

I'll try and post some pics tomorrow of the bread making, BEFORE I eat it all!!!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Such a busy day today. I was reading one of my favorite blogs and she talked about how she does cooking once a month (or at least tries to) and it inspired me. So I pulled stuff out of the freezer and went to work. I made Spaghetti Sauce, lasagna sauce, 3 tubs of taco meat and 2 loaves of banana bread. I would still be cooking if it weren't for the fact that I REALLY need to go to the grocery store! Last hunting season, hubby and I put 3 or 4 deer in the freezer and we are down to only about 4 lbs. I hate the thought of having to buy meat at the store but gun season doesn't start until October here and I can't stretch that 4 lbs. out that long! We are wanting to get some cows but they will have to wait until we can get some fencing done. Hubby still can't decide how he wants to separate the pastures yet so fencing will have to wait until he does. Oh yeah, and we have to figure out how to pay for it!!! We had a friend offer us a wild piglet that he caught but, again, no place to put it. So for now I am stuck with venison. That's not such a bad thing, it kind of grows on you. I did do some canning last week, not much as I was running low on sugar and it takes A LOT of sugar to make jam. I made 6 jars of muscadine jam. Not sure if I like how the recipe is though. Muscadines have a very tough skin and this recipe calls for softening them then adding them back into the pulp. I didn't like how it looked so I put it in the food processor. It was better but I haven't tasted the finished product yet so I may have some texture issues!
My garden is officially kaput for the season. I am a little sad about that but I was getting a little tired of the constant grass eradicating. If I was actually trying to grow grass, my garden would have been beautiful! I packed up the tripod sprinkler and hose and moved it to the house. My yard is so brown and crunchy. Not exactly what it should be at this time of the year but look at the gas/diesel I am saving by not having to mow! I have been moving that sprinkler around ALL DAY LONG and now I think hubby and I are seriously going to have to talk about a sprinkler system!
We are very much anticipating our vacation which will start in exactly 11 days!!! We are so excited! Hubby hasn't had anything more than a couple of long weekends in over 2 years!!! My father in law is going to take care of my chickens and the cats so we won't have any worries. Poor doggies will be going to the vet while we are gone :( They like our vet, but just don't like having to spend the night. A few years ago, we were on vacation and the vet called us and asked what kind of dog food our Bichon was used to eating. Apparently, she refused to eat ANYTHING they gave her. They actually had to go to the store to buy her a bag of HER dog food. I guess I forgot to tell them that she is a LITTLE picky! She's 14 years old now so I guess she has earned that right. I mean her 2 main activities are eating and sleeping and I think she would give up eating if she had to choose between the two. She likes her naps. Every once in awhile I have the kids wake her up just to make sure she's still alive.
Tomorrow my hubby is going on a sleepover...yes 42 year old men have sleepovers! A friend of his has a lake house about an hour from our house so he is going to go fishing with him tomorrow night and come home the next day. I wonder if they will do each other's hair???? I hate when he is gone though. Every little noise in the house freaks me out and I can't be freaked out with the kids here. I did get him to agree to a brilliant idea I had though. Since he will be out all night and I need to get some groceries, I thought it would be nice to follow him to the town where his friend is and get some dinner. Then he can go fishing and the kids and I can do our grocery shopping. There is a newer store there that I would LOVE to check out and, if dinner is involved, I am all for it!
Speaking of dinner, it is about time to start making mine (as if I haven't been in the kitchen enough today!). We are having some venison cube steaks, mashed potatoes and gravy and something else. I just haven't figured out what that something else is. Pioneer Woman made this same dinner and had a marinated tomato salad to go with it. Would LOVE that but I only have 1 tomato left....dang I need to go shopping!