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!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

I have learned that the farther away I get from typical city life, the more I enjoy the simple pleasures of life. I grew up in a little town that grew into a big town. I never thought that much about it while living there because I didn't know any other way. When I got married and had kids, my thinking started to change, ever so slowly. One day, out of the blue, my husband told me he wanted to move to Georgia. You know when you get prompted like that, it is usually God talking to you, prodding you to do something. For the first time in our lives, we listened...and obeyed. Flash forward 6 years and I am ever so grateful we did what we were being led to do. Our lives have changed, most assuredly for the better. Our problems and trials didn't magically disappear but our way of dealing with them changed and I don't think that would have happened if we had stayed where we were. This kind of life isn't for everyone but God knew it was what we needed and I am so glad we listened. My kids are able to be just They can be carefree and explore the world around them without being "of that world". They get to focus on what they can do for someone else instead of what someone is going to do for them. Homeschooling has been a very large part of that transformation. Again, had we not listened and obeyed to what God was prompting us to do, we might have missed this experience. I get to spend all day, everyday with my children. Not just teaching them school knowledge but life knowledge, a skill that is almost completely lacking in traditional education. They get to see first hand how a household is run because they are involved with everything it takes to run the house. They see us working out budgets, figuring out meals, saving money where we can. They see us paying bills and making choices to bring our family to where God wants us to be. They help in the cleaning and caring for our home as well as learning, right along with us, how to farm and care for animals. They see how the circle of life works when we plant crops and supply food and water to the wildlife and then how that wildlife is harvested to feed our family. They work right along beside us in working the land to provide for our family. I didn't grow up that way and to be honest, up until about 4 years ago, if the grocery store was out of something I needed, I had no idea what to do. Imagine if there was some kind of disaster where food trucks couldn't get to the stores and we had to do without for a long period of time?  Traditionally raised city folk would have no idea what to do. I am not condemning them, I was one until recently. But think about it...what would you do? Because we listened and obeyed we know that there are fish in our pond and we can catch them and eat them. We know that there are deer, turkey and pigs in the woods and we can shoot them, clean them (ok hubby does that, I can't stomach it...yet) and eat them. We have chickens that provide us with the best eggs ever and, if needed, we could eat the chickens. My point is what is God prompting you to do? Are you listening? Will you obey? What are you missing out on by not paying attention?
Now back to those simple pleasures. My lunch today consisted of cornbread and beans. The beans were dried beans when I started and over the course of the day, they turned into a luscious combination of smooshy and yummy. Tucked into those beans was a nice ham hock. No fancy steak or 30 ingredient salad. Just wholesome beans and homemade cornbread.
Yesterday I walked out to what is left of the vegetable garden. The intense heat and lack of rain has taken its toll on it but there amidst the drooping leaves and yellowing vines, I saw some of the last grape tomatoes ripening. I plucked them off the vine and ate them right there in the grass. There is nothing better than a fruit or vegetable taken right off the vine and eaten where it was grown. I wish everyone could feel the joy you get from eating something you grew.
I glanced off the porch yesterday because I heard a ruckus by the chicken coop. Turns out it was just one of the cats chasing a dragonfly. She was only giving it a halfhearted attempt almost like they both knew they were only there to entertain each other. You haven't lived if you haven't watched a cat chasing a bug whether in the air or on the ground.
Pulling a fresh loaf of bread out of the oven. You cannot even imagine what that smells like. If your only source of bread comes from a store, you are missing out on one of THE simplest pleasures of life.
Simple things that only a few years ago, I took for granted. I just assumed people lived this way because they didn't have the money to live in the city. I mean, the city is where all the action is, it's where the fancy restaurants are and that is where the shopping malls are located. All those things I used to love and thought I could never live without. Now, only a tad bit older and a whole lot wiser, I realize the people who live this way do it because they wouldn't want to live any other way. They aren't backwards. I think they just realize that we can learn so much by the past and that the old ways just might still be the best ways. I found my Mayberry and this is where my life truly began.

The Store That Shall Not Be Named...

I can honestly say that yesterday was not my most enjoyable day. It started out just fine but things went very wrong during our grocery shopping. To begin with, let me just say that our small town only has 3 shopping opportunites-IGA (very dirty), Harvey's (great deals on meat but everything else is overpriced and the store has a funky smell) and Walmart (now known as the store that shall not be named) so we don't have a lot of choices. We have been going to Wally World since moving here 6 years ago and have never had a real problem other than the lack of product diversity (common in a small town) and a general laziness with some of the employees. So we went to do our grocery shopping and I couldn't find the price of some spinach so I sent my son to scan it. While he was gone, I found the price, $3.14. He came back and told me it scanned at $3.34. Ok, $.20 is not going to kill me and I understand that sometimes prices don't get changed in the computer. I bought a different brand and we finished our shopping. My son found a dvd he wanted to buy so he went to the self checkout and the dvd had a price sticker of $4.88 but the computer charged him $7.50. I told him to go to customer service and show them the receipt and the price sticker and get his money back.  Now it was my turn to checkout. When I shop I keep track of exactly how much money I am spending as I sometimes only carry enough cash to cover what is on my list. Now sometimes I am off by $5-$7 for whatever reason but never any more than that. Well the cashier rung up my groceries and the total was more than $20 MORE than what I had figured. I gave her my coupons and was trying to figure out what happened when she told me I couldn't use one of my coupons. I am no extreme couponer by any stretch of the imagination but I use every single one I can and I know which ones I can use in which situations. She was confused because I was using 3 identical coupons for 3 identical products. She kept telling me I could only use one per purchase and I very nicely informed her that I was using only one per purchase, however I was making 3 purchases and the coupon did NOT say one per visit. She refused to let me use them so I told her to take off 2 of the products and just keep going. By now a lot of people were in line behind me (because of course they can only have 3 of the 24 lanes open at any one time!!!) Then we came to another 2 identical coupons for free products. I was getting 2 of the products and nowhere on the coupon was any restriction. She refused to let me use both of them even though another cashier questioned her on that. Then, the other cashier starts going thru my bags and digging out my stuff. I lost it. I told them to keep all of their groceries and I would never step foot in their store again. Okay, a little drama queen-ish but, for whatever reason, it just ticked me off more than anything has in a while. I mean, how much are the little "computer mistakes" actually costing me? So we walked out of the store with no groceries. I was so upset walking out because I have been a very good customer and that cashier wouldn't even bring over a manager to settle the dispute. As a matter of fact, she called someone over to clear out the order on the register and then she just left! Unfortunately, a lot of the cashiers at this store lack the skills needed to deal with the public. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am very polite to everyone...until they push me too far. Even then, I never get abusive or anything like that. I guess I just expect more out of the workers in this store than the store manager does. Anyway, I called my husband to let him know not to expect food when we get home because I didn't get any. He's so sweet. He knew how angry I was so he tells me that he isn't too busy at the office so when he gets done, he will take me and the kids to another town (45 mins. away), get us dinner and take us to a new grocery store. That was exactly what I needed to hear. We went to Longhorn for dinner and wouldn't you know, we had the WORST waitress! She made us repeat our drink order several times until she could remember it (honestly, what is so hard about 2 unsweet teas and 2 diet cokes???). Then she got my husband's salad wrong (he ordered a cesaer salad and she brought a tossed salad covered in Ranch). Then she brought our meals and just left. Now, anyone who works in a restaurant like that knows to ask anyone who orders a steak to cut into it and see if it is cooked correctly. So my husband looks at it and asks if they brought me a mushroom instead of a steak. I ordered the steak cooked medium well and thing was like shoe leather. No juice whatsoever and it looked as though it had been sitting under the warming lights all afternoon. So when the waitress finally came back, I told her the steak needed to be changed (again very politely) and she tells me to put it on another plate and she'll see what she can do...WHAT SHE CAN DO???? How about doing her JOB? When she got her tip, she saw what I could do or NOT do!!!
After these 2 events, I was not looking forward to grocery shopping for a 2nd time in one day but I knew we didn't have much at the house and I don't like to have to come into this town a couple of times each week (Love the town, it's just far away and with gas prices and a suburban....)We finally found the store and, may I just say, I was very pleasantly surprised with this Kroger. I have never shopped at a Kroger before so I didn't know what to expect. The people were friendly, they stock EVERYTHING and several different varieties of everything!!! Did I mention they have EVERYTHING?! Yes, the prices were a teensy bit more than "that other place" but it was well worth it. They didn't have one problem taking my coupons, they even DOUBLE coupons EVERY DAY!!!! Oh I was in savings heaven! Not only do I save money on groceries but I can also save money on gas there. AND the gas is cheaper in this town then where we live!!! Talk about a happy girl. And to top it all off....they are open 24 hours a day!!! Oh a joyful ending to what I thought was going to be an awful day. Thank you Kroger...I love you...and I will be back soon!
Boy that felt good to get that whole thing off my chest. My husband works very hard for our dollars and it is my job to make sure they go as far as they can possibly go. I was feeling like quite a failure and he swooped in and saved the day. Him and Kroger.... Geez I really love him :) And Kroger...but him much more!

Friday, August 19, 2011

I LOVE living in the country!!!! You never know what you will see from day to day. Take today for instance. I was walking across the driveway to my husband's office and I saw THIS in the yard:
Please excuse the blurry nature of this photo. I have a really crappy camera. Anyway, this little spikey thing was wandering around the ground. What IS that you ask? Well, I really don't know exactly. Some type of catapiller (thank you Capt. Obvious, aka my hubby) This thing was a little more than freaky looking...and it could haul butt across the yard too! Of course we ALL had to go outside and look at the little alien thingy. Even the office guys had to come check him out. Or her out...I'm not really sure. Wasn't gonna flip it over and find out.

We also have very different entertainment out here in the country. A few weeks ago, my husband's aunt came up for a visit and she brought her granddaughter who is about the same age as the twins. I was making a cake that afternoon and they wanted to lick the icing bowl. Well, they were licking away when I happened to look up and saw this:

 My handsome boy....

My beautiful girl...

These lovely children decided to put the icing all over their faces and let the dog lick it off! How many city kids do you see doing that??? Of course you probably don't see that anywhere as it is a little unnerving to see a dog eating the faces of your family!! Ah yes, fun times :)

Living in the country means that Walmart is your only source for EVERYTHING! I went there last week for an eye exam so I could get a new prescription for contacts. The dr. gave me a trial pair but not the same brand I had been using. He told me to just try them, they were on sale. Well, I did. I mean who doesn't like a sale price, right??? UGH!!!! I went back for my week checkup and told him that I really didn't like them much. They were uncomfortable and my eyes dried out pretty quick and I wanted to go with another brand. He looks at my eyes and says to me that the lenses weren't fitting perfectly but they were on sale...Again I told him that I wanted to use my old brand. He says "Oh yes, that is a great brand. Very comfortable. They will fit much better, but they are twice as much." Hello!!!! When you are wearing something on your EYEBALL is NOT the time to go with whatever is on sale! Now I really like to save money but I think I can splurge a little on something that doesn't make my eyes feel like I am trying to look through sandpaper! Now if you will excuse me, I have to go peel these "sale" lenses off my eyeballs!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Since the new tv viewing season has yet to start, my hubby has been finding, shall we say, interesting shows for us to watch at night. He started off with the Nat Geo channel and we learned all kinds of interesting things about weird animals, weird places and weird people. But NOTHING can compare to what he found on the Animal Planet channel. There is a show called Hillbilly Handfishing and if you have never seen it, you are truly missing out on one of lifes guilty pleasures! I had heard of handfishing, also called noodling, before and was really not interested in watching people do it until I actually saw them do it. The gist is you get into some really murky water and you search around until you find a hole underwater. Then you stick an appendage (arm, leg, hand, thigh whatever will fit) into it and feel around for a catfish. Once you feel him, now here's the interesting part, you stick your hand (or foot) into its mouth and grab him when he bites down and yank him out. Trust me, my description CANNOT do it justice! People actually will pay to have a fish try and eat them. Some of the fish are what I would call "regular" sized-7 to 15 lbs, but on one of the episodes, the guy pulled out a 70 lb catfish! It was huge!!! And don't think for one second that these fish don't bite-HARD. One of the girls pulled her hand out of the fish's mouth and her knuckles were all bloody. Another had a fish take a chunk out of her finger.  I like to think of myself as someone who really isn't afraid of much but I just cannot fathom sticking my hand into a hole that I cannot see and feeling around for a fish. With my luck, I would probably find the hole with the alligator just waiting for some dumb redneck to stick her hand in its mouth!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Fun Days on the Farm

Sometimes you mean well but things don't always go as planned. Take today for instance. My husband finally wrangled the tractor away from me and decided to do a little bush hogging. Once he was done, he very sweetly decided to give the chickens some of the fresh grass clippings. The thought was nice but the execution was very ill conceived. Instead of bringing it in through the gate where the coop is, he flung it over the top of the 8 ft. fence. Chickens went flying everywhere and one actually went over the fence! Now, trying to convince a freaked out chicken to come back through the gate is not the easiest job in the world. She ended up in the bushes where a very large family of poison ivy live. A family I try VERY hard to stay away from. So we finally got her out of that and worked her ever so slowly to the gate where she went in like she knew that was exactly what we wanted her to do. As soon as she did, another chicken made a run for it. Now the outside temps were in the mid 90's but honestly, it felt like Hell's plantation outside. The last thing I wanted to do was chase another hen around. Thankfully, my sweet little chickie realized that they lady that feeds her was really not in the mood to chase her and she went in the gate to her little home sweet home. Well, hubby decided chickens didn't need anymore grass clippings so we went about our other farm chores. Since I am very possessive of my tractor, Big Green, I drive her around any chance I get. We had to sharpen the blades on the finish mower so my husband told me to drive it around to the barn and back it in to the empty stall. Let me just say, in my defense, I always pull it in to the very first stall, never into any of the others so just keep that very important tidbit of info in your head as I finish this story. So I was backing it up so expertly into the 2nd to the last stall when BAM! I hit the roof of the barn with the roof of the tractor. I couldn't figure out how in the heck that happened because the tractor fits just fine in the first stall. Then it dawned on me that the other end of the barn isn't as tall because the yard slopes. Ooops. My bad. Thankfully, tractor was just fine (Hubby NEVER would have let me live it down if it wasn't). Trim around the barn roof....well it needed to be replaced anyway:)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Every Friday night, the twins go to my parents house to spend the night with them. That leaves a very much appreciated date night for their dad and me. Last night was no exception. When they left I told them they needed to be home by noon Saturday because we had some work to do outside. Saturday at 11:45, my mom calls and tells my husband that our son made her call to check out exactly what kind of work we were going to be doing because "he had to get into the right frame of mind for work". This kid cracks me up. It's not like we are slave drivers or anything but when you have barns and equipment and the such, there is certain work that has to be done and he is usually not too happy about being outside doing anything that might actually be called work. Right frame of mind...what exactly is the right frame of mind to be outside in 100 degree heat, swatting away the gnats and biting flies, and doing a little required heavy lifting??? I haven't figured that one out yet, but at least I am now sitting in the air conditioned, bug free comfort of my house so pondering that won't be too painful.

Completely unrelated topic but my granddaughter was in a pagent today and I didn't go. Does that make me an awful nana? A little background info-she is not quite 2 years old and my relationship with her mother is ...ummmm....strained at best. I also REALLY hate the idea of beauty pagents. Why on earth do we need to enter our daughters into a competition to see who is the prettiest? My granddaughter is beautiful but was a runner up. Does that mean the winner was MORE beautiful? How is the beauty judged? What if the child is 5 or 6 and is old enough to know that someone thinks someone else is prettier or better??? WHY WHY WHY? Then you have the shows on tv like Toddlers and Tiaras and it just makes me question what is going through these parents minds when they do this? Things that make you go hmmmmm for sure!  So back to my original question, am I bad for not going? I did already have other things planned for today but I probably could have put them off. I just really hate the idea that someone might not think my grandbaby is the most beautiful creature in the world. Because she is :)

Getting close to dinner time and I have no clue what to make. My hubby is trying to bring his blood pressure down and adopt a more healthy lifestyle so I have to make something healthy, tasty, fast (I'm starving) AND I have to have all the ingredients right here. Nearest grocery store is 15 miles away. This would be so much easier if I was a better planner. I do well during the week but it all falls apart on the weekends! Well, time to search the pantry...Au revoir for now.....

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The first day...

When I woke up this morning, I hadn't planned on starting a blog. However, I just recently gave up my Facebook addiction and I needed some kind of outlet to get all my thoughts and ideas out of my here I am....and I can't think of one interesting thing to say. That happens when you reach your 40's. No one tells you that "mommy brain" never truly goes away. It just gets re-termed as CRS, Can't Remember S**t! My kids don't mind at all when I tell them they are grounded because they know in an hour or so I will forget all about it! Speaking of my kids , I have 11 year old twins still living at home. Boy and a girl. Complete opposites. The only thing they ever willingly shared was a womb and that was only because they couldn't voice their protest yet. They are great kids though so I think I may let them stick around a little while longer. I have 3 older kids, a son and 2 daughters, who are all grown up and living on their own. They drive me crazy sometimes. It is weird having grown children while still having young ones at home. I haven't been able to strike that balance between telling them what to do and letting them live their own life. You can never turn off that "mothering" instinct. It is always there ready to deal with any situation that they can get themselves into and at 23, 22 and 20, they get into ALL kinds of situations. I look at my adult kids and I still see "my babies". Wonder if that ever goes away???? Hmmmm, think I'll ponder on that one a little while...