Friday, December 28, 2012

The Carnage

I hope that everyone had a Merry, SAFE, healthy Christmas! We had a wonderful time with family but as much as I love having a big shindig here, I really love getting back to my routine.

Christmas Eve brought our middle daughter and her family, a friend of theirs that is living with them, and my parents to our house. My father in law was sick so they couldn't make it :(

After a beautiful Christmas Eve service at church, tons of food and way too much wrapping paper, my living room looked like a warzone.
This was AFTER we picked up the paper!

There was much help in making the mess, especially by this little cutie!

Someone was a little grumpy:)
She was helping everyone open their presents and when my son opened one of his by himself, she looked at him, started clapping and said," You did it! Good job! High five!" Three is such a sweet age!

Hubby and I stayed up a little late because I still had one more gift to wrap for Christmas morning. Then we sat on the couch and talked for awhile. You know those kinds of talks. The ones where you have to wait until the kids are asleep to start them. Those deep conversations where you remember the year and all that you accomplished (and didn't). Anyway, we got to bed about 1 am and at 7am, my daughter was in our room shaking my arm yelling PRESENTS! PRESENTS!
So, presents it was (and lots of coffee).
This was the present that had to wrapped the night before. Pretty much, the only thing she asked for was a guitar. We were happy to oblige.

The only thing this guy asked for was a new Nintendo because his old one was completely worn out. And yes, his shirt is on inside out and backwards. It's kind of his signature!
And the warzone returned....
No, all those presents in the background weren't theirs. We did very good buying gifts this year. Each of them got the one thing they really wanted and couple things to go with it. Then they each got some books. We have found that the fewer the presents, the more joy is experienced. I felt kind of bad because my daughter ended up with a couple more presents than my son but I felt better when he said this, "Whoa, you got me exactly what I wanted. I don't feel slighted at all." Oh I LOVE this kid!

The rest of the day was spent relaxing and eating. Way too much of both! I was up all night with the most horrendous stomach ache ever. NEVER NEVER NEVER again! I could not believe all the junk that was eaten. Stuff I would NEVER eat, I stuffed myself on. Lesson learned!

Our best present wasn't under the tree, though. Even though we didn't have a party or a cake, we celebrated the birth of our Savior. We read devotionals and prayed and thanked God for sending us His son. THAT was the greatest gift ever! Everything else was just fluff. Nice fluff, but fluff none the less!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

If You Don't Have Anything Nice To Say.....

I was hoping that I could avoid writing this post but, alas, I cannot. Awhile back, I wrote a post on MY OPINION of a kid's movie called ParaNorman. You can find that post here. You see, the purpose of this blog, MY blog, is simply to share what is in my head. The things I am learning, stuff I have already learned, what happens on a farm and what happens while raising kids. At no time have I ever stated that the way I do things and the way I think is the ONLY way. There are so many people with so many different views and opinions that no one view is correct. That being said, if you don't like what you read here...leave. This blog isn't meant for you. Find another blog that is more to your liking. DO NOT leave nasty remarks calling me names. You don't know me. There are a few blogs that I have read for quite some time and enjoyed them. Sometimes they say things that I don't necessarily agree with. Sometimes I quit reading them. Never have I left a nasty comment on them. Even on the one where the author stated that infertility is God's way of punishing bad women. Total hogwash but it was HER blog. Our views are a little too different so I don't read her blog anymore. Simple. No one's feelings had to be hurt. I would not have changed her views by telling her what I thought of her comment so I didn't comment.

People can disagree on things and be polite and respectful when pointing it out. The 2 people who commented on my blog weren't either of those things. They were mean. They were under the belief that because I thought differently from them, I was automatically wrong. No, I just have a different view and because it is MY BLOG I get to share MY view.

I love when people comment. I have had some great people share different points of view and I really like that. The difference is, they shared them respectfully without attacking me.

I realize that I am raising my kids differently than most of society. I am trying to raise them according to what the Bible says, not what society says. If that makes me a target so be it. If you disagree with what I say, by all means, let me know. R-E-S-P-E-C-T-F-U-L-L-Y!! If you can't be respectful, your comment will be deleted. So no 15 minutes of fame for you!

Really, of all the posts I have done, THIS one is getting the attention? Go figure. It was a less than stellar movie and I gave my view of it. Some may have loved the movie and thought it was appropriate for their kids. That is fine. I didn't. That is fine, too. Really, though, if this post angered you to the point of attacking me, what does that say about you? Maybe a bit too much time on your hands? I happen to have a farm here that could use some extra hands and I could fill up that free time you have.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Merry Christmas

With Christmas Eve right around the corner, things are pretty busy here. Lots of cooking, cleaning and repairing going on. A few more gifts to wrap and I will be set.

I will be taking a few days off to be with family and get some much needed rest. Well, as much rest as anyone can get in this mad house!

I did want to get in one last post to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas. Thank you for reading and commenting this past year or so. I love to open my email and see some comments left by a complete stranger who feels the same way or has experienced the same thing. Or maybe someone who just gets a chuckle over my lessons in farm life! Whatever the case, I am so grateful to all of you.

From our family to yours....

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Christmas Gift

Oh my goodness gracious! My husband just received the best (and cutest) early Christmas present from our middle daughter. She called him this afternoon and said that she needed to bring his present out to him that day because their dogs were trying to eat it. Since she is not known for her cooking abilities, he was afraid she was giving him cookies. Oh, this present was much better than cookies.

Say hello to Babe. She's 3/4 Ossabaw Island Hog and 1/4 European. This breed was brought to Ossabaw Island, Georgia in the 16th century by the Spaniards. (yay wikipedia!)

Our daughter said that she was trying to figure out what to get her daddy for Christmas and she knew he loves hunting but that he already has every hunting implement known to man. She knew he didn't have a live pig. She was correct.

It seems her boyfriend's boss got a bunch of them from the University of Georgia and agreed to sell him one.

I love this pig!!!!

We aren't eating her. I already asked. Didn't want to love something that I would be eating in the future. She will be used as breeding stock. We will get another female and a male and use them to breed all the pork we could ever need.

Right now, she is asleep in a dog pen in the garage. Hubby is leaving the light on for her so she doesn't get scared...Ain't that sweet?!!! Tomorrow we will be taking a trip to town to get a pen for her. And a doghouse. Yes, Babe will be a pig in a doghouse. Next to the chicken coop. You just can't beat country life! She already has made a friend. A few weeks ago, this showed up on our porch:

His name is Desi.(I wanted to call him Kitty GaGa because he looks like he is wearing weird eyeliner but my son put his foot down on that one). And I love him. Anyway, he was nosing around Babe's cage and the two of them seemed to click. Weird, huh? Two foreigners in a strange land. A strange land that provides plenty of food, water and love but strange none the less.

Phase 2 of farm animals has begun. I always thought phase 2 would be a dairy cow but I can adapt!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Creamy Orzo with Asparagus and Parmesan

Sometimes I find some really cool recipes on Pinterest. This is definitely one of them.


  • 1 C. Orzo pasta
  • 1C. Asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 Tbsp. Butter
  • 1/4 to 1/2 C. Cream
  • 1/4 C. Grated Parmesan
  • Salt & Pepper to Taste


Bring approximately 4 cups of water to a boil over medium heat. (You do not have to be precise about the water amount as you will be straining the pasta and veggies once cooked.) Once water is boiling, dump in pasta and set timer for 5 minutes. Once pasta has cooked for 5 minutes, add the veggies to the pot and cook veggies and pasta for 5 more minutes. Once the pasta and asparagus are cooked, strain out water and add them back to the empty pot. Add the parmesan and butter and stir until thoroughly combined and butter and cheese have melted. Slowly add the cream, stirring constantly. You may find that you like your pasta more or less creamy so only add enough cream to get your desired consistency. Add in salt and pepper and enjoy.

We had this as a side dish with salmon and it was lovely. This goes with just about anything: steak, seafood, chicken. You could also change up the veggies. Peas would be divine. Adding in some bacon would just push this over the top of the ecstasy meter!

(original recipe posted by

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Home Remedies for the Cough, Cold and Flu Season

'Tis the season to share ge-rms. Fa la la la la la la la la....Icky, nasty, make you sick ge-rms...Okay, you get the picture. Germs are nasty. They make your nose run, your throat hurt, make you cough all night and pile on the blankets. Yeah, those germs. The other night, I was at choir practice sitting between 2 people that are just getting over the flu. Not the best place to be! So, when I got home, I started with a simple home remedy to help fight off any viruses or bacteria that could have made it into my body. I tried not to touch my face with my hands but my nose was itchy!

Remedy 1:
Simply mix a teaspoon of raw honey and a tsp. of cinnamon and swallow it down. If it is too sweet to take like that, add a bit of warm water and make a sort of tea out of it. Raw honey and cinnamon are wonderful, all natural germ fighters. This you can take as often as needed for coughing. I suggested it to everyone in my church choir as we have a concert Sunday and most everyone was coughing up a storm.

Remedy 2:
This one has a few more ingredients but is wonderful for a cough and/or sore throat.
  • 1 Tbsp. Raw Apple Cider Vinegar (I use Bragg's)
  • 1 Tbsp. Water
  • 1/4 Tsp. Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 Tsp. Freshly Grated Ginger Root (or 1/4 tsp. ground ginger)
  • 1/4 Tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 Clove Garlic, minced very finely (or 1/4 Tsp. Powdered Garlic)
  • 1 Tbsp. Raw honey, melted if solid.
Mix all ingredients in a small jar with a tight fitting lid and shake the dickens out of it.
Take 1-2 Tbsp. as needed. No need to refrigerate unless you won't use it up in 2-3 days. Also, don't sniff it. I say this because this stuff smells a little...umm...stinky. Raw apple cider vinegar has a much stronger smell than the processed stuff I was used to so this, to me, does not have the most pleasant smell. The taste isn't bad but, whew, that smell will get you!

Here is a little testimony to the effectiveness of Remedy 2. While I was typing up this post, my mom called me to ask if I would refill the jar I gave her with some more. She has been plagued with massive coughing fits lately and regular cough syrup wasn't doing a thing for her. Even the prescriptions from her doctor weren't cutting the mustard. I had mixed this up that day and sent it home to her. She took 1 dose and didn't cough but once or twice the whole night. That hasn't happened in a while. Now she wants a refill in case it starts again. I love home remedies that work better than pharmaceuticals!

Remedy 3

I have not personally tried this one but it comes from a blogger I trust.
Elderberry Syrup
She suggests taking this daily to boost immune system. I will try it once I get some elderberries.

It would benefit everyone to research what a wonder raw honey, cinnamon, raw ACV and garlic are. Antibacterial, antiviral, antimicrobial....the list goes on and on. Every pantry should be stocked with them.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Cash Wallet-Product Review

So, any Dave Ramsey fans out there? Then this is the system for you. I haven't followed Mr. Ramsey but I have read lots of blogs from people who do. I do, however, love to pay cash for as much as possible. We don't use credit cards so we have only a choice of cash or debit card. Cash is much safer for me because I have been known to "forget" to enter debit card transactions into my accounting software which leads to less money than I think or the dreaded overdraft fee. So cash it is. Now, if you were to look at my wallet a few days ago you would have seen numerous bank envelopes spilling out. I had a different envelope, filled with cash, for the various things I pay with cash. My wallet had a hard time closing sometimes and, once when I was in the grocery store checkout line, I reached for my wallet and every thing spilled out onto the floor. Not cool.

A few months back, I was perusing a blog and she had a link to an Etsy shop for a cash wallet
system. I clicked on it and instantly fell in love with what was offered.

This lady uses laminated cloth to make her wallets so you can just wipe them off if they get grungy. The fabrics she uses are so cute, too. Inside the zippered wallet is a set of plastic tabbed dividers. You can put any category you want on them. They are roomy enough to carry not only your divided cash but I also have room for my driver's license, debit card, store discount cards, gift cards AND the matching change purse that you can buy separately! I.Love.It!!!!
I like that I no longer have to carry my regular wallet with me which was a bit bulky for my taste. This is streamlined and I only carry what I need.

The price was really good, too. $18 for the wallet and $7 for the change purse. I think I had them in my possession in about 10 days from when I ordered them so she ships them out pretty quickly. Remember, these are handmade, one of a kind items. It may be too late to order any for Christmas gifts but, really you could gift (or keep) these at any time of the year! Here is the link to her shop.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Oatmeal...So Good When it's Cold Outside!

I don't ever remember my mom making me oatmeal for breakfast when I was growing up. I was always a cereal kind of girl. As a matter of fact, I don't think I ever even had oatmeal packets until my late teens or early 20's. Shoot, they probably didn't even invent them until then!! Unfortunately, I bought into the whole "all food at the grocery store is good for you" notion for many, many years and always had a box of Quaker oatmeal packets on hand for a quick breakfast.

Oh how things have changed. I was never a huge fan of those packets. My kids liked them well enough but I could take them or leave them.

Enter real food. I started making my own oatmeal and, lo and behold, I liked it. I liked it a lot. For me, there is nothing quite so tummy warming on a cold morning than a nice bowl of oatmeal. Now this isn't simply oats and liquid. No, I like to add stuff. Sometimes, lots of stuff. Right now, I have become fixated on the following combo; oats, milk, raisins, white choc. chips (yeah, I know they aren't real food) and nuts.

The process for making oatmeal is really simple.

Here's what I do:
  • Pour some milk into a saucepan. How much completely depends on how much you want to make. I usually use somewhere around 2-2 1/2 cups (could be more, I don't measure) for 3 of us.
  • Add in old fashioned oats. I guess you could use quick oats but I like the old fashioned ones better.
  • Stir in your add ins like raisins, maple syrup, whatever you are in the mood for.
  • Always add in a pinch of salt. Why? I don't know but it just should be done.
  • Stir over medium to medium low heat until the oatmeal thickens.
  • Enjoy!
Until you have made it once or twice, you will probably need to add a little more milk or a few more oats until you get it just the way you want it. There are no rules with oatmeal. Well, maybe don't burn it 'cause that's just nasty. But other than that, make it how you want. If I have leftovers (which isn't very often) I feed them to the chickens. They absolutely love it!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Budget Time

Geez, I can hear the groans through my computer!!! Why is it that every time someone mentions the word budget, people get all fidgety and try to get as far away from you as possible? Actually, I used to be one of those people. My husband would say that we needed to work on the budget and my eyes would glaze over and I would go into a trance. I hated that word. It meant limitations and accountability. I like limitations and accountability except when it comes to my cash. I want to spend what I want, when I want. Yeah, I'm such a grown up!

Nowadays, the "b" word doesn't bother me as much. Why? Because I have finally learned what works for our family and what doesn't. I also like knowing where the money is going and exactly how much I have to work with (i.e. spend like a mad woman!) Our budget system isn't anything fancy. It is actually a Works Spreadsheet with all of our bills listed according to date due. I have a column for budgeted amount and another one for actual amount. This helps me to see if we are getting carried away in a certain category or if I can reduce the budgeted amount to reflect the current amount due of a particular bill. I can plug in irregular bills whenever the need arises, say a doctor bill or repair. Because hubby gets paid once a month, I pay all bills at once. If a bill comes in after the day I have paid bills, it gets added to next month's budget. When he first started getting paid like this, I panicked! That tends to be my first response to change. Now that we have done this for a year, I kind of like it. I like the fact that everything is paid at once and I don't have to keep sending off payments all throughout the month. I scheduled all the payments I could to be automatically paid so, each month, I just go to my checkbook (Quicken) and plug in all debits. I keep track of any changes to amounts through email notices from creditors.

I also like the fact that I have to be diligent about the budget. If I get lazy and don't keep up with it, I know that I will run out of money before the end of the month and I will have no way of getting anymore. I don't like the feeling of being broke mid-month so I keep up with it as best I can. Nothing like a cash shortage to tighten you up!

If any of you read Stacy Makes Scents, then you probably already know this but Stacy's husband, Barry, is a financial planner and he did a post about budgeting. He even included a sample budget for you to add your info and design your own personal budget. Click here for that post.

The end of the year is the perfect time to get your budget done for the coming year, or at least the next few months. For me, this simply means printing out a report from Quicken showing how much I have spent in all categories for the year. From there I can see where we need to cut back and where we are right on track. Then I simply start separating what money goes where. For the coming year, I have some new categories that I will be contributing to such as bulk food purchases, vacation and hunting lease renewal.

Budgeting isn't horrible or scary. The state of your finances may be scary but the only way to get rid of the fear is to just dive in, see where you are at and create a budget. Oh yeah, and STICK TO IT!!!! I'm still working on that aspect!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Redmond Earthpaste-Product Review

Awhile back, I ordered the Healthy Living ebook bundle. Along with the ebooks, I also got some free samples of some products. One of those products is Redmond's Earthpaste. This toothpaste is quite different from what you would find at the grocery store.

First of all, the ingredients aren't all chemically sounding. They are: Purified water, food grade Redmond clay, xylitol, peppermint essential oil (in the peppermint flavored one), menthol, redmond RealSalt, tea tree oil. That's it. I like that. I can pronounce and spell every ingredient! Notice there is no flouride. There has been a lot of research done about the need for flouride in toothpaste and, those in the health world, have raised real questions about its need and safety.
Another (big) difference is the fact that this toothpaste does not produce foam. I will tell you right now, that's the biggest thing I am trying to get past. I have had foaming toothpaste for many years. This stuff does not foam. It is also clay colored so, when you spit, it is brown. That takes a little getting used to.

All in all, I think I like the stuff. My teeth feel clean, my breath is fresh and I don't have any toothpaste stains on my shirt. Please tell me I am not the only one who constantly dribbles foamy toothpaste all over my chin and shirt. Please?

The taste is very mild. No, it doesn't feel gritty or anything. It comes in 3 flavors; peppermint, cinnamon and wintergreen. I have only tried the cinnamon one so far and it is tasty. Oh yeah, you can swallow this stuff without having to call poison control. Not that you would want to but it is nice to know that there is nothing in it that can hurt you. Bonus if you have small kids. You don't have to buy children's toothpaste and adult toothpaste. Everyone can use this.

I use Redmond RealSalt in the kitchen and I like the quality of their products. I give this one a thumbs up.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Pizza Burgers

Okay, I know, summer is gone and so should be the grill. But temps around here have been in the upper 70's so I think the grill can stay for a little while longer.

The other night, we had Pioneer Woman's Pizza Burgers. Holy cow, were they good. A few weeks ago, I made up the patties along with regular hamburger patties, salisbury steaks and meatballs. I love getting a bunch of meals out of only a little bit of work!

Anyway, the flavor of these burgers was outstanding. Like a dummy, I forgot to make up some marinara sauce so we used ketchup and they were still very pizza-flavored. I use these uncured pepperoni by Hormel. Not perfect, but a little better than the other stuff.

These burgers are just a bit different than the standard burger. PW also does a Supreme Pizza Burger by adding all kinds of veggies. There are numerous ways you can make these your own. Make 'em. You'll be happy you did. Plus, your family will love you just a smidge more!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas...NOT!

I do believe Mother Nature has a mental problem. Or a really bad memory. It is December 6th and our highs the last few days have been close to 80. What the heck? It is hard to get into "the spirit" when I am sweating and turning on the A/C. THEN, in the morning when it is 60 degrees in my house, I have to turn on the heat because the popsicle twins are cold. If you look outside, it looks like it should be cold. All dark and gloomy. Bare trees and dead grass. 40 bazillion pecans laying under a foot of fallen leaves. Yep, it should be cold. But, alas, it is not. It has put a damper on my Christmas decorating. At least that is what I am blaming it on. "Sorry honey, can't decorate because it is too hot outside."

Hubs came up with a way to get me to get off my rear end and get the house and porches decorated, though. He decided Tuesday to throw a Christmas Party here Saturday. Yes, hubby is a "last minute" kind of person. I have learned to live with it. So, decorate I must! At least with the warm weather, we can have the party out on the pool deck so I don't have to super clean the house. Score!!!!

What is it about this time of year that puts time in a vacuum? Of course Christmas preparations take a lot of time but...I really haven't done any of that yet. It feels like someone has cut the hours in my days in half and, no matter how hard I try, I am woefully behind. I doesn't help that I haven't been home much this past week. Between church activities, UMW activities, monthly grocery shopping, being almost a week behind on school work and trying to balance my checkbook so I can begin Christmas shopping, I haven't had time to do hardly ANY prep work. Could the fact that I have become highly unorganized the past several months have anything to do with it????

I do have some things coming up to share with you. I haven't forgotten about that Taffy Apple Salad recipe. I was hoping to make it so I could take a picture to post with it but I am not sure that will happen. And, honestly, my photography skills are seriously lacking. Of course, you all are too nice to say anything;-) I am also going to try out this menu planning site called Plan To Eat. I got a free 3 month subscription when I bought an ebook bundle last month. I will try it out and let you know what I think. I love the idea of having my meals planned. Unfortunately, I stink at the execution of that plan! I have heard wonderful things about this site so, stay tuned.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Here it is folks. You want to get paid to do your shopping online? Just click this link and sign up for an Ebates account. Ebates is an online shopping site where you can access coupons, discounts and cash back for 100's of popular stores. Once you pick the store you want to shop at, say Bass Pro Shops, you simple click on that store and you are taken to their website. You make your purchase and Ebates will rebate you a certain amount of money depending on what the agreement with that particular store is. It doesn't cost you any money and you aren't charged any more making your purchases this way as if you had just gone to the website directly. AND THEY PAY YOU!!!!! Some stores have bigger rebates than others, some offer better coupons than others but you still spend the same amount you normally would and then every 3-4 months, Ebates sends you a "Big Fat Check". I just got my latest one the other day. I do a lot of my shopping online because of where we live.

The stores that are on Ebates are all stores you have heard of like Walmart, Macy's, Dell, Verizon. Check it out.  I will get $5 for every person who signs up after they make their first purchase. Then you can refer your friends and make $5 for each of them and they can refer their friends....You get the picture. I have belonged to Ebates since 2008 and have never once had a problem or issue. Getting paid to shop. Me likey!