Monday, December 31, 2007

Where Have I Been

I have been here and there and every where and no where in between. How about this, busy. Or maybe you want to hear me say that I've been relaxing. I'm tellin ya - I have done it all and I'm still not done.

Last year in the fall, I'm not sure of the month, we had a buyer for our house and land. But the deal fell through. Of course that was after we had packed up our house and put it in storage. Everything - well almost everything. This past weekend we started toting boxes in the house to unpack. My books are finally back on the book shelves where they belong.

I was going to unpack everything after I painted the whole house. Forget that, I'm tired of the house being so bare with no pictures and no paintings and such. I'm tired of not have my corning ware to cook in. I'm still going to paint the whole house and we will eventually put in new carpet. But I just can't wait any longer.

So before the New Year hits us and we call it 2008, here's what I have for you.

HAPPY NEW YEAR

Saturday, December 22, 2007

It's Almost Here

Christmas is almost here! We are counting the days down. I'm not sure who is more anxious about Tuesday more...Superman, the boys or me. Me - I'm not really anxious, I'm just thinking in my head of how the boys are going to be, how they are going to act and how their little faces will look when they see everything under the tree. Superman - well this is his time of year. All he can do is call me into any room that there isn't a child in and whisper to me about this gift or that gift and what we should do and blah-blah-blah. LOL

The boys - well that is a different story altogether. They stare with complete bliss on their faces as we tote in packages wrapped in beautiful paper. It's almost like they become zombies. I know that Christmas morning is going to be extremely eventful around here.

Now I just have to wonder...What time will they wake me up on Christmas day?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas Sharing

Here are some delicious Holiday Recipes for you to enjoy.

Be sure to check out all of the Christmas Stories. There are stories to read alone or to share with your family and friends.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Homemade Christmas Crafts

I horde things...Imagine that! I don't mean that I am a pack rat. I just mean that I keep some scraps of material, frozen juice lids, yarn, and, well you know. You're a crafter so you do the same thing. Today these little treasures paid off.

Here are a couple of things that the boys and I did for the holidays.

Card stock paper folded in half. I drew little stockings on the wrong side of some jeans material that I had left over. I wrote the boy's names on each stocking. I cut a tiny rectangle for the tap or stocking holder. I glued all of the material (stocking) pieces onto one half of the paper. I used an Elegant Writer pen (from Michaels craft store) and wrote "Merry Christmas", Twas The Night Before Christmas" and "Jesus is the reason" on the cards.


I cut little triangles out of left over jeans material and glued it to the inside of each card. I used the little triangles to hold the pictures inside the cards. It gives the card a little photo album or scrapbook look to the cards.

On the frozen juice lids I glued the stockings on one side of the lids. On the back side of the frozen juice lids, I glued a long scrap of jeans material. The loop on the back is made to hang these little ornaments on our tree.


Sketch's

At the yard sale Saturday, there was a man that set up near us. He had a few things for sale and honestly, I don't remember what he had for sale. What really amazed me was what he was doing. He is a sketch artist. He did sketch's of all of the kids that would sit still enough. Get this - the sketch's were free. Yeah - FREE!

Here are sketch's that he did of the boys. The sketch's actually make the boys look way older than they really are. I just like the fact that the boys were interested in this.

Busy Again

Yeppers, I've been busy again. Imagine that! LOL

Friday night we had a Boy Scout Yard Sale Organization Party. There was a bon fire with hot dogs and smores. The Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts had planned a yard sale for Saturday and so many items were donated. All of the kids were wonderful with organizing everything. Once everything was organized it was all put into bags or boxes and loaded into all of our vehicles.

Saturday was the big day! We had stuff everywhere. Oh yeah - the forecast was RAIN. We started setting up at 6am. Only 2 of the boys actually got up at 5:30 with me. JD had to get his beauty sleep. That's what MJ had to say about JD sleeping in. I wasn't really surprised when WW and MJ got up that early with me. They are pretty good about getting out of bed.
MJ was wonderful with the customers at the yard sale, he walked around with them and would tell them the price of items. Sometimes he would tell them way too much but the customers would just kinda giggle at him (not to hurt his feeling, but in an understanding way). We were going to have the yard sale between 8am and 12pm, but we decided to keep it going as long as the kids could mind their manners and the customers kept coming in.
Around 2pm things started getting really slow and the kids started getting board. Time to wrap it all up and head for home. And that's exactly what we all did. We made a total of $110 and that's after we bought pizza for all of the kids for lunch. Not a bad day at all!

Sunday we all slept in. Oh how wonderful it felt! A lazy day for us all to recoup from our busy couple of days.

Friday, December 14, 2007

A Fun Day

We started our day out early. Into the big city to take my mom to her doctor's appointment. Traffic wasn't too bad. At one point the boys ask if we were the only one on the roads. I guess for about a mile we didn't see any other vehicles. It was actually kind of spooky. The boys and I sat in the waiting room with my mom for a few minutes. I'm not one that can sit long without something really interesting in front of me. So outside we went.

The boys wanted to play on the bike parking area but I had plans. We walked in the parking lot and I explained how the drainage system worked. The parking lot has big grates in it where the water runs to the sewer. We looked at lots of plants and talked a little about each one. We found some pine cones and we talked about the pine cones. Of course we brought a few pine cones home with us. Right now they are under our Christmas tree. And of course the cats have been playing with them. But that's ok, I'm glad the cats are enjoying them.

On to hopscotch...I won, I won!!! We found a rock and I drew a hopscotch right there in the parking lot in an empty parking space. We each got a piece of bark out of the mulch from around the plants and we started our game. It was really fun! No - not because I won...Silly. It was fun because we played together. It was fun because we laughed and made fun of each other. Ok, because I won!

We made it home by 12:30. Not bad for a trip to the city. And I was able to get one errand done. The boys ate lunch while I checked my emails. JD had a little bit of History and Geography to finish. It just takes him forever (or so it seems) to get a task completed.

I finally managed to get all 15 windows cleaned, but only on the outside. That's a great accomplishment too. I had to move the step ladder from window to window on the back side of the house. On both ends and the front of the house, I had to use the extension ladder. I also started scrubbing our front steps. They get a lot of fungus from the oak tree that's close to the front door. WW and MJ managed to get our big farm truck washed. Actually WW had to wash it twice because he was responsible for the washing and the first washing really lacked. A valuable lesson learned for him.

Now I have to tackle the windows on the inside but that won't be too bad. I want to take down all the ugly blinds and either hang curtains or put up new blinds. Not sure what I'm gonna do with the windows. But I'll keep on thinking on it until I figure it out.

Friday, Superman is planning on taking the boys over to his dad's house to use the wood splitter. I'm supposed to get a few me things done. I'm really considering not doing the me things and just go with them to split wood. I might better sleep on that one and make the decision when I can think a little clearer. I'll let you know what I decide.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Here Lately

Here lately I've been busy. I know - Imagine that! I've been trying to figure out what has me so busy.
Could it be that I homeschool 3 boys or maybe we have 3 horses, 4 cats, 2 dogs? Maybe it's the bike riding we've been doing lately or the window cleaning that I started a couple of days ago. Maybe it's our Boy Scout Troop or running errands here and there. Maybe it's all the time spent in the kitchen. Oh who knows. LOL It's ok though, it's just that time of year.

I do know that my laundry is not even close to what it used to be. I discovered GoodNites. Yes, we have a bed wetter and it's not the end of the world. I sure thought it was the end of the world when I was washing his sheets and blankets every day of the week. Since we have discovered GoodNites all of that has stopped. Now our youngest child has his special pajamas and he is so proud. You can find out more by going to the GoodNites website.

Five to seven million kids in the United States wet the bed.
20% of 4- to 12-year-olds wet the bed.
Bedwetting is more common among boys than girls–about 2/3 of kids who wet the bed are boys. 72% of kids who wet the bed will outgrow it by the time they're 11–99% by age 15.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Things to Share

I have saved a bunch of stuff in my email favorites and today I had a minute to clean out some of those folders. Yeppers - I'm gonna share them with you. I don't really care for mass emails, so I thought I would just tell you some of those things here.

Those Born 1930-1979
Read to the bottom for the quote of the month by Jay Leno. If you don't read anything else, just read the quote - very well stated.

TO ALL THE KIDS WHO SURVIVED the 1930s, 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's!!

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they were pregnant.
They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes. Then after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-based paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking.
As infants & children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, booster seats, seat belts or air bags.
Riding in the back of a pick up on a warm day was always a special treat.
We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle.
We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NONE actually died from this.

We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter and drank Kool-aid made with sugar, but we weren't overweight because,
WE WERE ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING!

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.
No one was able to reach us all day. And we were O.K.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo's, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 150 channels on cable, no video movies or DVD's, no surround-sound or CD's, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet or chat rooms........
WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.
We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.

We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls and, although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them!
Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!!

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law! These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever!

The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.
We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned HOW TO DEAL WITH IT ALL!
If YOU are one of them, CONGRATULATIONS!

You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated so much of our lives for our own good.
While you are at it, forward it to your kids so they will know how brave (and lucky) their parents were.

Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn't it?!

The quote of the month is by Jay Leno: "With hurricanes, tornado's, fires out of control, mud slides, flooding, severe thunderstorms tearing up the country from one end to another, and with the threat of bird flu and terrorist attacks, are we sure this is a good time to take God out of the Pledge of Allegiance?"

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Bike Riding

Oh yeah! I've done it 3 days now! WOOHOOO! Yes, bike riding.

Saturday, we rode 2.5 miles. Me and all 3 boys. Explored a huge hole that was dug years ago.
Sunday, 5 miles. Round trip it was a total of 5 miles. Saw a beautiful green worm.
Tuesday, 2 miles today. We saw the largest hawk that I think I had ever seen.

I'm not sure why, but I think I may be thinking a little healthier. Maybe it's because I spend so much time inside now that I homeschool the boys. I am such an out side person that it almost drives me insane to stay inside so much. Bike riding gives me more exercise than sitting in my office chair and trying to read my emails while the boys do whatever it is they are supposed to be doing.

We'll see how long we keep doing this. We do have a lot of things coming up with the Boy Scouts, but they shouldn't create any issues with our bike riding.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Free Craft Patterns

Lion Brand Yarn has some wonderful crafts. They are for all crafters, from beginner to expert.

Free Quilt Patterns has over 1000 free patterns.

Cross Stitch patterns galore.

Bella online has lots and lots of places to find free crochet patterns.

My personal favorite is AOK Corral.

Hop on over and check out the many craft links and free patterns.

Support Our Troops

My family Supports Our Troops! We support them because they allow us to keep our freedom. We support them because they are our security blanket that we sleep under every night.

If you would like to do something to show your support to our troops, then go over to Let's Say Thanks.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Contact Your Representatives

We all have to work together and get something done. That something is clean solar energy. It's not something that can be put on the back burner. It's not something that we can put off any longer. We must stand together and demand our elected officials to vote for clean solar energy.
Stand with me by contacting your Representatives now!

Please contact your Representative and senators and urge them to vote for a clean solar energy future!


Saturday, December 08, 2007

Helping the Wildlife

Have you ever helped the wildlife? We do. We go about out daily chores and we think of the effect we have on wildlife. Today is a good example...

I brought out my bike today. Yeah - you should have seen the boys. They stood in amazement as my bike rolled down the back steps. It was funny to hear their aws and see their faces. Ok - back to what I was saying. On the way home, I spotted a huge green worm. I felt like the boys when they saw my bike rolling down the steps. I was amazed at how large he was and how beautiful green he was. Nope - no pictures, I didn't take the camera with us. I like to travel light.
We watched the worm for about 5 minutes and then we let him continue to his destination. We left him alone to do his thing. That's what wildlife does.

I have a few tips that you may or may not have thought about, that you can do for wildlife.

1. You can sting popcorn, cranberries, grapes, crackers and other things that you can think of on cotton thread. Hang it outside for the critters to enjoy. Make sure your thread is 100% cotton and the popcorn is 100% natural with no salt or butter.

2. Fill net material with any kind of bird seed, tie a ribbon around the top and hang it for the birds to enjoy. You can add crushed egg shells, orange slices, orange peels, crackers and other things that you think of.

3. String raw peanuts on 100% cotton thread and hang them for the critters to enjoy.

4. A pine cone can be a wonderful treat. Mix peanut butter and oatmeal for a think paste, coat the pine cone with the mixture (make sure to get it in the pine cone), roll it in bird seed, hang it and the birds will flock to it.

5. Suet. Melt beef fat or bacon grease and let it cool. Add bird seed, peanut butter, fruit or granola. Hang it in a net bag and the birds will love it.

6. Don't throw away your table scraps, put them in a net bag and hang outside.

Onion mesh bags are great to use for the netting material in most of the ideas.
I'm sure you can come up with a few other ideas too.
Hang some of these on your Christmas tree inside. When the time comes to take down the tree, just remove your ornaments and leave the natural ones on the tree. Set your tree outside and let the critters enjoy all the treats.

Don't just throw your Christmas tree out for the trash collector to take it to the land fill. Let the critters use your tree to protect them, they make great places for bunnies and other critters to hide in.

Friday, December 07, 2007

The 3 R's

You know what the 3 R's are. I know you do. It amazes me how many ways the 3 R's are used. I remember them as Reading, Writing and Arithmetic. Those are the 3 basic things we need to get through life. How about this.

Reduce - Recycle - Reuse

I like those too. And I am gonna give you a few little hints, ideas or whatever you wanna call them.

Reduce -
So easy, just use less. I bet you are thinking, "Now how can I do that?". Well there are several ways. So you just have to use disposable plates, ok, use paper instead of Styrofoam. Paper breaks down so much faster than Styrofoam. How about getting yourself some cloth bags to use when you go shopping. You can use those bags over and over again, creating less plastic bags being used. The drive thru - what a waste. The drive thru waste gas, and that's a fact. Park your car and walk inside. Not only are you reducing the fuel that you are using, but you are getting more exercise.

Recycle -
Some people just hate the idea of recycling. No, I have no clue why they hate it. Unless it just takes up way to much of their time to separate plastic from cans or what not. Maybe it takes too much of their time to haul an extra container out to the curb for pick up.

ReUse -
Tacky! Not! To reuse something is not tacky. I mean you reuse the same pair of shoes and the same purse. So what's the big deal?! ReUse is one of the most simple things. Find ways that you can be creative in what you reuse. Every one's doing it. Ok, maybe not everyone, but you know what I meant.

As for me and my family, we will use the 3 R's. Reading, writing, arithmetic. Reduce, recycle, reuse.
Today we loaded our aluminum cans on the back of the truck. We strapped them all down and off down the road we went. The back of the truck was full to the point of splitting at the seams. Darn good thing I know how to strap things down - we didn't loose the first can. The total weight of our cans was 248 pounds. The total of our cash for the cans was $151.20. Not only did we do something for the earth, we put some cash in our pockets. I don't think that the boys will throw away another can.

We try our best not to buy things that come in plastic containers. However, I am really impressed that plastic is being recycled more and more. Did you know that the carpet in your home could be made from recycled milk cartons. Yes - it's true.

We are also using some old pallets to make things. The boys get the experience of using a hammer, saw, nails and a few other really cool tools. We try to be creative with our 3 R's.
I want to make homemade paper. I'm gonna do it. The one thing that I am missing from already making homemade paper is the blender. I have never, ever owned a blender. Hmm...I think my mom may have one, I know she used to have one. Mental note to self - call mom, ask if she still has her blender. And I have a couple of idea with dryer lint.

I'm off to bed for now, gotta go and dream up ways to use my 3 R's.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Recession or Depression

What is going to happen? Will there be a recession or a depression? The gas prices around our area are horrible. On the low side, you can get regular unleaded with an 87% octane for $3.21 per gallon. On the high side you can get super unleaded with a 93% octane for $3.58 per gallon.

Now let's think about this a minute.

The average price of gas per gallon is $3.395.
Let's say that the average vehicle gets 20 miles to the gallon.
The average person has to drive 20 miles one way to work. And drives to work 5 days a week.

With me so far? Good!

In one week, the average person drives 200 miles round trip for work.
In one week, the average person uses 10 gallons of gas per week just driving round trip for work.
In one week, the average person has spent $33.95 on gas.

Now let's examine this a little more.

While the average person drives to work and back home, there are stops along the way. Stops meaning, stop signs, traffic lights, errands, waiting in traffic. All of these burn extra fuel. Just for kicks and giggles, let's throw in an extra 10 gallons of gas. I know it may sound like a lot, but when you think about it, it really isn't. Another 10 gallons of gas is gonna cost another $33.95.

I know some people don't drive, they take the bus. Yes the bus that gets right about 6 miles to the gallon. And you can get a bunch of people on one bus. What about the times you see the bus go by and there are only 3 on it. Hmmm...

What about all the semi trucks that are averaging 6 miles to the gallon? Diesel averages $3.60 per gallon. Figure that the average semi will travel an average of 1000 miles. Large fuel bill!
What about the fire departments, ambulance service, law enforcement. Ok - so they get their fuel at a discounted price. Darn good thing they do. Our local Sheriffs Office used over 16,000 gallons of fuel last month. Try paying that fuel bill.

I haven't even touched the price of a gallon of milk. On average, we pay $4.50 for a gallon of milk. Our family goes through 6 or 7 gallons of milk in one week. 6 gallons times $4.50 = $27.00 just for milk.

So many things that I have not even calculated. Really, I just touched base on 2 things, fuel and milk. Those are 2 of the most important things that I can think of besides water. And just you wait, with the higher usage of water and the less availability of it, I'm sure it will be on the list very soon.

Are the wages going up enough to keep up with the rising prices? I don't think so. What's going to happen? There are a lot of foreclosures going on right now too. Where will people live? Will the crime rate increase? Are we all in danger?

Only time will tell...

Our Outting Today

No kids today! I mean it, they stayed with Granny Karen today while Superman and I went and picked up one of their Christmas gifts. We are getting all 3 of the boys 4 wheelers for Christmas. We have told them over and over again that when they turn 15 that we will get them their very own 4 wheeler. Shoot, we had to tell them that or they wouldn't leave us alone about it. They have no clue! It was a long drive to go and pick them up and then to take them to my father in laws house. I was able to catch a little cat nap while Superman drove. I love napping when I am riding. Once we dropped off the 4 wheelers, we stopped by Toys R Us.

I think I may have told you that I am not much of a shopper. Put me in the grocery store or the craft store and I know just what I want and what the price should be. Put me in the mall or the toy store and I start with the panic attacks. Sometimes I really do want to scream. Prices and people - horrible. Darn good thing that Superman is good at this. I just kinda follow along and when he finds something that he thinks the boys will like we discuss it. And that's what we did today.
I am shocked that 8 boxes of toys was $225.

Oh the price increase is because of the increase of fuel. And them more excuses. Regardless of the reason for the price of things, it's horrible.

Monday, December 03, 2007

What's a Mom to Do

Today was a short day of school. I think in public school they call it early release. However, in all reality, homeschool is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Very few breaks. Homeschool is tough but let me tell you what, the lessons they learn are priceless.

Tonight was our 2nd Boy Scout meeting. I gotta say it sure was more organized tonight than last week. Thank goodness! Oh yeah - I have created a blog for our Troop! Troop 472

We have a couple of events planned for this month. On the 15th we will be having a yard sale. On the 16th we are going to Devils Millhopper.

Tonight we finished the voting for Quarter Master and Scribe. I am proud to say that WW was voted at Scribe. I think he will really be good at this too. And of course JD not to be out done had to run for Grub Master. I was wanting him to run for Historian, but he preferred the Grub Master side. LOL Next week we will be doing the voting on that.

And last but not least. And this is where I say "What's a mom to do?" MJ was caught cheating today. I gave them all short lessons today because we needed to work on some of the Christmas crafts for gifts. MJ finished his school work first, so I thought it would be a good idea to give him a Christmas activity book to work in for about 30 minutes. I heard "Mom, MJ's cheating!". I thought I would loose my cool. I mean really - last week JD cheated and couldn't go to the Boy Scout meeting and now this week MJ had to follow his brother. Why? He knew what would happen if he got caught. I'm just not gonna put up with it, no way, no how. Ain't happen Captain!

Ok, now for my time. I'm off of here to stick my head in the pillow and scream!

Easy Sugar Cookies



Sugar Cookie Cutouts

1 pkg. (8 oz.) Cream Cheese, softened
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2-1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
4 rolls ring-shaped hard candies (44 candies), crushed
PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Beat cream cheese, butter, sugar and vanilla in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended.
Add flour and baking soda; mix well.
Cover. Refrigerate 30 min.
ROLL dough to 1/8-inch thickness on lightly floured surface.
Cut into assorted shapes, using 3-inch cookie cutters.
Place on greased baking sheets.
BAKE 10 to 12 min. or until edges begin to brown.
Transfer to wire racks; immediately press about 1/2 tsp. of the crushed candies into top of each hot cookie.
Cool completely.
How to Crush Ring-Shaped Hard CandiesSeparate candies by color. Place one color in resealable plastic bag and crush using rolling pin or meat mallet. Repeat with remaining colors.

Cats and Trees

I thought by now that I would have some really funny things to tell you about our cats and our Christmas tree. Unfortunately, I don't have anything about our cats and our tree. I just knew that I would wake up Sunday morning with our tree laid over on it's side. I went to bed all prepared for the catastrophe. We had all talked about the possibility of finding Tigger at the top of the tree or even getting to the top and knocking the Angel off and somehow wearing the Angel. I suppose Tigger and the other cats have decided to leave the tree alone for now. I wonder if any of them will find themselves in the tree before Christmas is over?

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Our Christmas Tree

We are in the process of decorating for Christmas. I'm not much in the mood, but that's a long story. Regardless of my mood, Christmas is on it's way. The boys are so excited about the whole Christmas thing. For them to have done without for so long, they deserve every happy moment that they have.

Friday - All 5 of us went out to eat and then off to buy Christmas decorations. I'm not sure who wanted the most decorations, Superman or the Boys. I think it may have been a tie. We didn't go over board at all, but we did get some really nice things. The decorations that we got are mostly for the tree, we did get a few for inside the house. We also bought a few presents, some of them are for the boys to make for their grandparents. The boys and I will be doing a few crafts for school work. We will all color a few pictures that we can hang up and of course the crafts for gifts.

Saturday - Time to get a tree. We went to a Christmas Tree Farm to find the perfect tree for us. Why a tree farm? I am more an artificial tree person myself, but Superman is all for the real thing. Superman likes the smell, he is the one that does most of the work with cutting it and hauling it, so I am ok with that. What really amazed me about our tree is that it only cost $25. A 7 foot Christmas tree for $25. Now I like that. Especially when the places around town are asking $75 and more.

We walked and walked, looking for the perfect tree. You could tell that most people didn't walk very far from the little shed where you picked up a saw and a cart to carry your tree. I guess the walking and smelling the fresh air was just way too much for them. Not for us! We walked some more. Then we turned around and went back to the front of the property. Then we turned around and walked back down the rows of trees. They were all so beautiful and it was a tough decision.






Finally, we decided on which tree to take home. It had an aroma that was so strong, it smelled of the outdoors and of the tree itself. This is it we all said - this is our special tree. So we start the process of cutting it down. Everyone had the chance to saw a little bit. Once it was cut, we loaded it on a cart and took it to the shed. Once we got to the shed, the tree was put on a shaker machine - this shakes all the dead nettles out of it, then it was wrapped with some type of net material - this is to hold it together for the drive home. We loaded it on the car and off down the road we went.






Once we got home we took the tree off of the top of the car, carried it to the front door and then started getting it into the stand. Once it was inside we had to adjust it. We all worked together to make everything come together nicely.






We set up the video camera and that's when the fun began. Shoot, we haven't even watched the video yet, but I can tell you right now, it's gonna be fall-on-the-floor-split-your-sides-laughing-funny. No doubt about it.
Here we all are in front of the tree. What tree? Next year we may all have to sit in front of the tree, just to be able to see it.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Amish Furniture

I love the look and feel of home made and hand made items. One of my favorite is Amish furniture. Amish furniture if strong, beautiful, useful and earth friendly. Yes - earth friendly. The Amish construct the furniture by hand, one piece at a time. Imagine furniture made so well that it can stand the test of time. Imagine being able to pass down a beautiful Hope Chest or a Mission Tiffany Lamp.

If you love the look and feel of Amish Furniture, then check out the awesome products at Barn Furniture Mart. You will not be disappointed!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Do Something

Have you seen the website "Do Something"? I just found it the other day when I was searching for fundraisers for our Boy Scout troop. I was really surprised to see that they have a Grant List. I will get organized soon (yeah right) and apply for one of the grants for the troop.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Talk of Worst Recession

I have feared a Recession and a Depression for years. There is proof that history does repeat itself. It has been prooven over and over again. Recently I came across a blog that I just couldn't repeat sharing with you.

"The global economy appears set up for a serious crash." You can and will believe what you want to. And yes, I have my beliefs too. To put it mildly - I'm extremely concerned. I don't dwell on it - why? - because it would depress me beyond belief.

Christmas Boxes

About 2 weeks ago we went in search of some of our Christmas boxes. And as luck would have it - we found them. They aren't anything special or so I thought. We put the boxes in our little classroom. The boys wanted to open them then (2 weeks ago). Of course we didn't have time then but tonight was a different story. I gave each one of them a task. MJ had to get some paper and a pen. WW and JD had to fetch the boxes. Oh when I said get the Christmas boxes, I thought there was going to be a train wreck right there in the den. They all scattered as fast as they could to retrieve their task. Within about 5 seconds (or so it seemed) they were back.

Buried treasure! That's exactly how they acted - when the lids were taken off the boxes, they were like little octopuses with arms reaching in the boxes after the Christmas treasures. Teddy bears, handmade ornaments, a camouflage stocking (oh my), a beautiful crystal reindeer with silver glitter antlers, a tree skirt, a stocking cap, reindeer antlers to wear and a few more precious items. The ohhhhsss and awwwsss were something to hear. MJ found the angel for the top of the tree. They would have it no other way but for us to use her for our tree. We were going to buy whatever they wanted for the top of the tree, but I guess now that they have seen her, she will be on the tip top of our tree.

We are going to get a real tree this year. We are planning on taking the boys to a Christmas tree lot, walk through all of the trees and pick the one that is perfect for us. Then we will use a hand saw to cut down the tree, put it on top of the car and bring it home.

Within the next couple of days we will all go shopping for Christmas ornaments and decorations. I am also planning on getting the boys to make some decorations to hang up in the house. Something to get us all in the Christmas mood.

Some Free Stuff

The Values-Driven Family has some really neat downloads that can really help you around the house with the kids. Did I mention they are free!

Free Homeschooling Resources from NotebookingPages.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I have (and still am).

The Taste of Soap

I bet you know what I am about to say. Yeppers - your right. The taste of soap is bad. I have tried and tried to stop the sassy mouths of the boys. JD is the one that has the worst mouth when it comes to sassing. On Monday, I sat a bar of soap on the kitchen counter and I gathered all 3 boys around and explained exactly what the bar of soap was for. They have had to taste soap before, just not with me.

Today, Mr. JD had the sassy mouth to die for. Ok - that's it, let's go taste the soap. More sassing from him. Every time he sassed was one good lick of the soap. He got the bright idea to just barely touch the soap to his tongue. Didn't work!
"I'm not doing it!" Lick #1.
"But mom!" Lick #2.
"I hate school!" Lick #3.
Yeah - it went on. Lick #4. Sass! Lick #5.
A total of 5 licks. After 5 licks he had nothing else to say. Three minutes later, his words were as kind as can be.

For now it is working. I don't know what will happen next time. Only time will tell. I have got to get control now. The longer I wait and the longer I let it go will only make it worse. JD is 12 years old, 10 pounds lighter than me and as tall as me. In a year or 2 he will loom over me. I will look like a little drill sergeant, looking up at him, trying to get him under control. What if he gets it in his head then to challenge me? Somebodies gonna get hurt.

If it takes the taste of soap to get your child under control, then do it. Take time now to get control of what could later become a very bad situation.

Monday, November 26, 2007

School After Thanksgiving

Give em 4 days off for Thanksgiving and they forget how to read. What's up with that? I fear the summer if this is how it's gonna be. Speaking of summer - I think I will homeschool them through the summer, just not as many hours in the day. I'll think on it and figure it all out. Maybe! LOL

So now that the holiday is over, we are back to our normal routine of school work.

I am so thankful that Superman has returned to his line of work. Now he has more time off during the week to help with homeschool. It's not that he helps with the school work so much as helping with JD's attitude. I need help with that more than anything else.

JD can come up answers that are so out in left field. Example: How do humans get their energy? His answer was, "They get their energy from drinking soda". There is no way that was in his Science book. He just wrote something down to get to go outside. He just writes things down without reading or looking back in his lesson.
Because of answers like that, he must write the page number where he found his answer. We have tried taking all of his privileges away from him and giving him a few of them back at a time. He whines and complains and just sasses me so darn bad. Since Superman is home today and there were some issues, we have decided that JD will be sitting on his bed when he is not doing his lessons. That will remain in affect until he gets it in his head that he must read the lesson, answer the questions correctly and write the page number where he found the answer.
That is all I know to do right now. I really am about to pull my hair out when it comes to him getting his lessons done.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Stop Working So Darn Hard

If you run an online business, you know what it’s like to be busy, busy, busy...sometimes with no end in sight. We all have our own reasons to start a business, but most of us didn't start for the opportunity to work around the clock. Yet somehow, that's exactly what happened.
The good news is, there is definitely a way out and you may have heard of "outsourcing" before. Outsourcing allows you to find virtual helpers from around the country or around the world to simplify and reduce the day-to-day tasks in your business.
BUT...
How do you make that happen without sacrificing the quality you and your clients expect from your business?
How do you find reliable and qualified help?
What if you're on a budget?
What if you just don't have TIME to train people to help?

Thankfully, it's all easier than you think and Alice Seba, the "Outsourcing Sweetie" can show you exactly how. As a busy mom of 2 young boys, she knew it was do or die when it came to keeping everything in her life and business afloat. Now, she's sharing how she went from overworked business mama to thriving business woman enjoy family and life.

To share her experience and time-tested strategies, Alice has created a unique opportunity to receive ongoing training and personal help with your business. If you act now, you can get in on a FULL sneak peak for WAY LESS than morning cup of gourmet coffee.
Grab your spot at Step-by-Step Success Guide

If it's time to stop slaving endlessly for your business, I'll see you on the inside.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Black Friday

Were you out shopping on Black Friday? I wasn't! No way - no how! I refuse to subject myself to all the pushing and shoving, crowds and waiting in line. I generally don't even leave my property on Black Friday. However, there were a few things that we preplanned and we attended. Ha - and I didn't have to spend any money. With the exception of gas that was already in my car.

We went to the Hart Springs Pow Wow. It was free to get in. This was our first Pow Wow and it was my scouts first adventure. It was fun and a learning adventure. I am impressed that the scout leader arranged this for his troop.
After the Pow Wow we went to a birthday party for one of our friends from our homeschool group. We really enjoyed that too. Wow - our friendship is growing in our homeschool group.

Now...the reason I don't usually leave my property on Black Friday is because people seem to act stupider than they usually act. They pay absolutely no attention to stop signs, traffic lights, people walking or any darn thing else. It's dangerous enough to be out on the roads when everything is pretty much normal - but darn - throw in stores opening early, sales and gotta get it before anyone else does - and then it's just one big circus.
One thing about it - I am certainly not part of anyone's circus.

Country at heart

Are you country at heart? I am. I live the country life. I love it and wouldn't have it any other way. Ok - that's country by heart and choice. LOL


I mean are you really country in your heart. You can live in the city and be country at heart.

Would you like to join the "Country at heart" blogroll?


To add a badge to your site, save the image to your computer, upload the image to your blog or website, cut and paste the corresponding html code to link to this page.

Once you've added the image to your site, comment on this post or email me altak9ATgmailDOTcom to be added to the blogroll below.

Amazing Art

This mural was forwarded to me in an email. I found it so amazing that I thought I would send it on to you.

For those not living in the WEST, Cochrane is NW of Calgary and east of Banff, in the foothills of the Rockies. This mural was unveiled last week at the Cochrane Ranche House.

Each tile is 1 foot square, is it's own individual picture and each is by a different artist. All of them together form this huge mural. You can click on each of the tiles to see them in detail.

Check out the horse's eye.

Cochrane Mural

Thankful For Eggs

A few days before Thanksgiving I made up some little slips of paper for all of us to write what we are thankful for on. On Thanksgiving day Superman, the 3 boys and myself sat around our empty dinning table. Yes, empty. It was empty because we were going to my father in law's house for our Thanksgiving feast. Superman started the conversation about being thankful and the meaning of Thanksgiving.

Then came the slips of paper that we had all wrote on. Here are a few things that we all wrote.

I am thankful for...my wife, my husband who is my best friend, Christmas, God, my outlaws inlaws, my mom, food, the soldiers that protect my family and friends, communication, my family, my 3 wonderful boys, the morals that my parents taught me, my parents, the way my parents raised me, eggs.

Eggs? Yes eggs. I fixed breakfast for everyone because I knew it would be late when we ate. While the boys were eating breakfast, I gave them their slip of paper to fill out. JD couldn't think of anything else to say so he wrote that he is thankful for eggs. When that slip of paper was read, WW and MJ broke out into laughter. It kinda embarrassed JD. It is fine to be thankful for eggs. There is nothing wrong with that at all. Without eggs we couldn't have scrambled eggs, fried eggs, chicken, bbq chicken, chicken and dumplings, chicken and rice and the list goes on. I think it is wonderful that JD is thankful for eggs.

If you are thankful that is wonderful. No matter what you are thankful for - yes, even if you are thankful for eggs.

The afternoon was spent with family and we are all thankful for that.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

In The News Again

Remember I told you that there was a reporter at our last home school meeting. The newspaper is published once a week. I waited and waited and hoped and hoped that our story would be there. Finally, I saw it last night. Not just our story - yes - pictures too.

Our picture is on the front page! That's where the article starts. You can read the article here.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Scouts

Yesterday afternoon I finally had a few minutes that I could actually make a phone call without any interruption. Imagine that! The phone call was to a Boy Scout leader. Yes - my boys are gonna join the scouts. Actually WW and JD are in the process of signing up right now. I am really excited about them joining the scouts. MJ will join the Cub Scouts.

WW and JD were handed their scout handbook this morning. They had their heads stuck in the books on the drive back home. WoooHooo on the heads stuck in the books! The scout leader told them that they would be learning all kinds of really neat things. He showed them how to tie a square knot. He gave them a piece of rope and told them that they could work on the square knot over the weekend. They will meet every Monday evening for about 2 hours. He told them that they would be learning gun safety and how to use a rifle and a shotgun. Archery, camping, skiing, and fishing were mentioned too.

This Friday they will go to their first Pow Wow. Now how cool is that?!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Why Mothers Eat Their Young

I figured out today why mothers eat their young. I mean the animal mothers of course. And of course this is a funny and not a serious.

Today my kids have driven me slap up the wall. I think that my head may have actually spun around and flew off.

This is what I have heard today...

Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?Mom?

I tried to pretend I didn't hear them. But it only got worse.
I tried listening to them. But it only got worse.
I tried talking to them. But it only got worse.
I tried and I tried. But it only got worse.

I finally hid escaped in my bedroom. I think they know that when I hide disappear into my bedroom that I need some momma time. They were quiet at little mice for the rest of the afternoon. How come I couldn't figure it out before I climbed the wall and my head spun around and flew off? I don't know. I think moms are supposed to do that every now and then. That way they don't eat their young.

Peed My Pants

Oh MY! I did! I really peed my pants when I read some of the stories from Fun Monday. If you want to read some of them, go over to Karisma and Kids Fun Monday .
I read about one lady that ate a Roly Poly when she was a kid. Another one buttered her dad while he was sleeping. And the list goes on and on!

Go on over and check some of them out.

Monday, November 19, 2007

I'm In The News

Yep - that's right! I'm in the news. I talked to a reporter on Sunday when me and the boys were at the Family Fun Day. And today - my words are there.

I'm In The News

Some Dangers I've Met

I've always been a tom boy. That's just the way I am. I've always been that way and I have no intention of changing. I think because I have been and always will be a tom boy that I have learned many things from it.

I said in the Fun Monday that I was always a daddy's girl. I was! I hung out with my dad from as far back as I can remember. As a matter of fact it was my dad that taught me my first words. I would stand up in my crib when I heard my dad's work truck pull in the yard. I waited for him to walk into the house. He would walk into the house and say "Hey there". Yes, those were my first words.

Because I was a tom boy, I played outside the majority of the time. When we moved into the house that my dad (and us) built in 1970, I discovered thousands of acres that I could play in. And play in I did. I came home with cuts and scrapes, sand spurs and bug bites. I didn't care. I was building character. Back then I didn't know that's what it was called. To me, it was just plain fun.
In those thousands of acres of woods were cows. They never bothered me and I never bothered them. As a matter of fact - it was my woods and my cows. There was a beautiful Brahma bull that I loved. He was much taller than me and out weighed me by a bunch. He became my pet - no joke, he really did. He and I were like 2 peas in a pod. I rode him. I was brave that one day and while he was laying down, I just had this bright idea that I would sit on him. It was as if he knew something about me. As if he knew that I would never hurt him. That's how I started riding him. I named him Junior, after my dad.

Ok, I'll get to the point. The point is...

STOP!!! Hold on a minute. If you get scared and can't handle the issue of serial killers, then stop now.

I have met many dangers in my life. Not the first one, but one that I remember to this day. The one that could have cost me my life. The one that gives me chills every time I think about or talk about it. It terrifies me to think how close I came.

I was walking with my aunt from her house to our house. We used to do this all the time. It was about a 1/4 mile through my grandfathers pasture between our houses. It was about a 1/2 mile if we walked the road. This one day, we decided to walk on the road. Not a good idea!
We were about 1/8 mile from our house. A white van pulled over. A man with a cast on his arm ask us if we needed a ride. We both looked at each other...
And ran!!!
We both jumped my grandfathers 4 foot cattle fence. We were scared. Why? In our minds, we had seen him somewhere before and our brains had alarmed us.
We ran all the way to our house. For years we kept this a secret. We didn't tell anyone. I don't know why. Maybe because we were scared. Maybe because we knew what we had just dealt with and we were lucky to be alive. I don't know how my aunt felt afterwards, because we didn't talk about it much.

Years later...We started talking about this incident. We knew what and why! We knew that we had avoided being the victims of a serial killer, Ted Bundy.

I can't tell you anymore at this point. I am extremely sick to my stomach!

Fun Monday? LOL

Ok, I'm supposed to be participating in something called Fun Monday. I haven't done anything like this before and I'm kinda stumped. But I'm gonna give it a try. Here goes my attempt. HaHaHahahaha

Today I am so frazzled, I just can't remember my name. Karisma is hosting the Fun Monday this week. Her theme is "A trip down memory lane."

I have thought and thought about one thing that really sticks out from my past. I have so darn many that I can't remember just one. I think it just came to me.

I was always daddy's little girl. I remember so many wonderful things that happened when I hung out with dad. And I hung out with dad A LOT.

There were the times when we walked in the garden that my dad was so extremely proud of.
This one year (I was about 4 years old), he had planted green onions (scallions) and I loved green onions. I walked in every footstep that daddy made. About every 5th or 6th foot step, I would reach down and crop off the green onions and eat them. Now if daddy hadn't of looked back and saw me doing it, he would have certainly thought that the rabbits had gnawed them off even with the ground. It's all daddy's fault for introducing them to me.

Cuss! Oh I could cuss with the best of them. Com'on, I hung out with my dad. ps - and i still can!

I'm tellin you, I used to walk right in his foot steps. Or...his lawn mower tracks. Oh yeah, he was mowing my grannies grass one day (out of many days) and of course I was walking behind the lawn mower. Not close of course but I was there. I was walking and watching...A part fell off of the mower, I reached down and picked it up. I remember the thoughts in my head at the time. I was going to take it to daddy. Oh it was hot, so, so very hot. Hot enough that it stuck to my hands and I couldn't throw it down. I didn't know it then but I certainly know it now - A muffler off of a mower is hot. Yes indeed I screamed. I screamed loud enough that my dad heard me over the noise of the mower. I remember him jumping off of the mower and coming to my rescue. I don't remember if he stopped the mower, I'm sure he did, but I just don't remember that part. As far as I know that darn mower is still driving around somewhere. LOL

When I was 3 years old, my sister was born. I sure didn't like her very much. I remember sitting on my brand new swing set, just a swinging away and having the time of my life. The garbage men came to collect the garbage and I politely ask them to take my sister with them. Of course, they declined. Sometimes, I almost wish they would have taken her instead of the garbage. Hahahahahahaha

I don't have any real old photos of myself. Certainly not from when I was 3 years old. My mom has all of those pictures. However, I do have the photos below. The one on the right is my mom and dad on their wedding day. My mom was and is beautiful. My dad was handsome. Because he is only with us in our hearts I won't say that he is handsome. However, he was always my hero.


Back row - Mom and Dad
Front row - My sister that the garbage man
wouldn't take, Aunt Rosie, Granny Eddie, my
cousin Shirley, and last but not least - Me at
10 years old.















My handsome dad and my beautiful mom in August of 1960.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Superman's Career

Yes your right. Superman's career is being faster than a locomotive, leaping tall buildings in a single bound and so on.
Well, I have a little different view on his career. He really isn't the mild mannered reporter. He doesn't step into a telephone booth or a janitors closet to slip into his tights.

Here is the truth.

He recently retired from Law Enforcement. He worked as a mechanic for almost a year and decided that Law Enforcement is what he wants to do. As of tomorrow he will be back in full uniform and on patrol. I generally keep this to myself because of society.

Because of his job, we have to be extra careful in public. We will only visit certain places to eat, we sit in a certain spot, we go to some places in separate vehicles. I bet you think this is really silly. You have to remember that his job is serious. You have to remember that there are people that want to hurt him. They could follow us home and you can only imagine the rest. It happens. It isn't easy but most of it is common sense.

And now you know the real Superman's career.

Family Fun Day

I think that every day should be family fun day. I bet you think the same thing. And then again, being moms, we're both saying..."How in the world can it be family fun day when there are piles mountains of laundry." And what about the dishes that someone left? And the muddy tracks in the laundry room? Yeah - family fun day isn't so fun when you think about all those things. I know, I'm a mom too.

Whoa! Hold the phone! Everyday can be family fun day. I promise. Yes, even with the little stacks of laundry and the muddy footprints, the dishes and the rooms that haven't been cleaned since who knows when.
How? Focus on the little things. Whisper in one of your children's ears that you love them. Call your mom or your dad on the phone and say something like this..."I was just thinking about how much I love you". What about your spouse...Put a note in their lunch box or pin it to their shirt. Family fun doesn't have to be going to Disney World and spending thousands of dollars.

Relax and relieve the stress. I did that today for the Family Fun Day at Partnership For Strong Families. The boys had a blast - as usual. I think they may even be in our local newspaper. We left Superman at home because he needed some time to prepare for his new job starting tomorrow. I'll update you on that in a little bit.

We have told the boys that the closer we get to all of these holidays, that the parties will be many. I love all the kids parties! Even us old fogies get to be kids! Isn't that wonderful?

Some Free Stuff

I found some really neat free stuff that you may want to take a look at. All of these are really neat and well worth your time to check them out.

The Mayflower: Journey to a New Life

Learning Through the Holiday Series: Thanksgiving Day

In Living Color: Fall Leaves

FlyLady's Holiday Control Journal

Saturday, November 17, 2007

News Sickens Me

Please read with caution. If you have a squeamish stomach, please stop here.

I almost want to stop reading the news online. Why? Because the news sickens me. How and why people do things so horrible and think that they can get away with it? Where do they get these wild outlandish ideas that they can do the things they do?

In our local newspaper today, I opened an article about an abuse case. No big deal, abuse happens every day. That's not what I was thinking. But some of you may be thinking that. It's ok and your right, abuse does happen every day. I have an abuse history, I was the abused. Never, ever again!
Family charged in bizarre abuse case
More than bizarre! A horrible story!

Woman Dead In Despicable Home. Another horrible story!

Former sheriff sentenced in corruption case. What in the heck could he be thinking? Did he think that he was smart enough not to get caught? If anyone should know better, it should be a former sheriff.

36 Million Drivers Would Flunk Drivers Tests. I've been saying this all along. And I think I have to drive with about 50% of them every time we have to go into the city. Even if you think you are a safe driver, please take a look at National Road Safety Foundation. They are offering free programs to the public. What have you got to loose by not looking? Nothing but your life!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Some of Our Upcoming Events

It's always busy time around here. One of our wonderful homeschool group members just posted some local events and I am ready to sign up the boys for all of them. Hmmm...and just where will I find the time? Oh yeah - I know. The time tree grows right next to the money tree.

Funny thing is, I sit here planning all this while the family is in dream land. I love it like this.


Taylor Fit For Kids will be having a Reindeer Run a Tot Trot and a Diaper Dash. Now to me, this sounds like an absolute blast.

November is National Adoption Month and National Family Week is November 18-24, 2007



On December 1st I have a trip planned for all of us to Dudley Farm. I thought the boys would really enjoy seeing how things were done way back when.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this park demonstrates the evolution of Florida farming from the 1850s to the mid-1940s-through three generations of the Dudley family. An authentic working farm, the homestead consists of eighteen buildings, including the family farmhouse with original furnishings, an 1880s kitchen outbuilding, a general store and post office, and a functional cane syrup complex. Park staff in period clothing perform daily chores, raising crops, and tending to livestock. The farm features seasonal cane grindings, corn shuckings, and heritage varieties of livestock and plants. Deer, wild turkeys, gopher tortoises, and bluebirds are still seen in the fields.

I think it would be an awesome experience for the boys to see some of these things actually happening. When I was growing up we still made cane syrup, canned and butchered our own beef and pork. I spent many of my days during the summer vacation shelling peas and shucking corn.

There are lots and lots of events happening at Dudley Farm.
Fall Harvest Days, Heirloom Livestock Auction, Farm Plow Days.
We will certainly be checking them out in the near future.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Look Out Cause We're Back

Our HomeSchool Group

Back at the homeschool group meetings again. It seems like forever since we have been to one of our homeschool group meetings. With all the surgeries (grannies, boys, cats) we were not able to go to our meetings every week. Everyone is finally on the mended side, so we are finally getting back in the groove of things. You really don't appreciate something until it's gone.

Today at our meeting there was a reporter from one of our local newspapers, the High Springs Herald. She was pretty darn cool too. Just about all of the kids in the group were able to ask her questions. She also tagged along with us as we walked up river collecting Apple Snails, Shrimp, Snails and many more wonders. We catch, talk about, look at and release.
And once again my camera sat at the house - as usual. Oh but hold on! Our fearless group leader emailed me some pictures.
















There is no doubt that we play as hard as we learn and learn as hard as we play. We love every minute of it too!

Slash Your Grocery Bills

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If you are looking for an awesome way to save on your grocery bills, check out a menu planning service.
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Dine Without Whine is a great menu planning service for active families.


Dine Without Whine - Menu Planning

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Junk Mail

I get so much junk mail it isn't even funny. Today I was going through the mail and sorting it out between the 5 of us. I open some of the stuff to see if it is important. Most of it isn't important at all. Today I opened a credit card offer. I was just curious. There is no way I want any more credit cards. We are finally getting things paid off and getting rid of so many of our bills. Debt free one day for me!

Ok, back to the credit card offer that I opened. I read a cute little note that said something about how wonderful the credit card is and you would get 0% interest until 2008. Sounds good but darn 2008 is less than 50 days away. Now if they would have said 0% interest until 2013 or 2050, I might have changed my mind and applied for it right then and there.
I knew that it was something I would shred right after I opened it. I went to throw it in my shred pile and I saw the back of it. Oh yeah - the fine print on the back. 23.97% interest! I cannot honestly belief that I used to fall for that. I have no idea how people fall for such a wonderful crappy offer.

In today's society, with a gallon of milk almost $5, why haven't others seen the light when it comes to credit cards.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Carnivals, Fairs and More

Last week I took the boys to our local fair. The local fair hasn't been in town for...Well for a lot of years. I just don't wanna tell my age right now. LOL It was fun but really not very organized. It'll all come together if they keep having it.

This week we are all going to the adoption celebration. I'm not sure all that happens there, because I have never been to one. But I bet I'll be able to tell you in a couple of days.

22nd Annual Hoggetowne Medieval Faire is coming to town at the end of January. I have been to this once and I really enjoyed it. It will be wonderful for the boys. They get to step back in time a little bit.

My favorite is the mounted knights jousting in full plate armor. I loved that part!

Here's a bit of info on the Faire:
Join the crowd and cheer for your favorite contender as mounted knights joust in full plate armor on the tournament field. Applaud street performers who dance, juggle and jest for your amusement. Listen to minstrels playing period music and enjoy continuous live entertainment on eight stages. Browse through the bustling medieval marketplace for that perfect gift or trinket.
Watch and enjoy as warriors and magicians battle one another in a living chess match, or test your own skills in games of chance, strength and skill. Watch and learn as more than 150 artisans demonstrate their skills in blacksmithing, weaving, leather working, woodcarving, pottery and much more. Indulge in a fare fit for a king in our food court, where you can find sweet potato fries, bloomin onions and our famous giant turkey legs.

Are Bloggers Way To Serious

I think bloggers are getting way to serious. I know when I had websites I was serious about it. I was serious because I had a product to sell. I had to get my Google page rank as high as I could get it. Every day I was adding links and doing back links and creating a chain that would eventually go somewhere. I bought domain names and I paid for hosting. I did this and I did that. What it all led up to was me selling my business. Why? I was inside way to much. I wanted to be outside with Mother Nature.

Now I have a blog. Am I serious about it? You better believe I am! I want my Google page rank. I want my cake and eat it too. Am I way to serious? I don't think so. I'm doing more offline than I am doing online. I am able to go outside. I'm also able to home school my 3 boys. Ok, so maybe you are able to be a super blogger, while on the other hand am just a blogger. That's ok with me. I'm happy. You're happy. That's what counts.

For you way to serious bloggers, here is some info that I have been researching.

Do follow blogs:
What does this mean to you? You can visit the "do follow" blogs, and leave comments on any posts you choose. The search engines count every comment as a link to your website. When the search engines count your comments as a link to your website, then you get more traffic. That sounds pretty simple. However, (you knew there was a catch) there are a few rules that apply.

You can find the "do follow" blogs by doing a search on "do follow blogs" in any search engine. Or you can cruise right on over to Happy Nutritionist Nuggets and find a very long list of "do follow" blogs.

You can also find back links to your blog. How? I just knew you were gonna ask me that.
Here's how: Type the following link in your web browser address bar.
http://www.google.com/search?q=link:Your Blog Here.blogspot.com&hl=en
Replace the red capital letters with your blog name. For example - http://www.google.com/search?q=link:lovecountryliving.blogspot.com&hl=en

Patience

About 2 weeks ago, the boys and I were running an errand. I was driving in the parking lot of Walmart in search of a parking space. I was driving down one of the parking aisles and driving slow because that's what is proper to do and there were people walking to their cars or walking toward the store. I generally park pretty far away from the building because I think we all need just a little more exercise. I passed up about 4 or 5 empty spaces and started to pull into the parking space. The space was on my right side. I looked in my right mirror (as I always do) and out the window at the same time. I stopped quickly. There was a car that was about to pass me on the right side, in the parking spaces. I guess I just wasn't driving fast enough for the driver and they wanted to go around me.
Let me think for a minute here...
It's a parking lot, not a race track.
You don't pass on the right.
It's illegal and dangerous to drive through the parking spaces.
There were people walking around.

In my personal opinion, it just isn't worth it. It took the driver longer to almost hit me than it would have to just wait patiently behind me.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

A Soldiers Wife

A wonderful friend of mine forwards me emails that she knows that I have an interest in. This is an email that she forwarded to me that I certainly have an interest in. I have no idea where this story originated from. I do know that I am proud of her for speaking up.

In honor of our Veterans.

I was sitting alone in one of those loud, casual steak houses that you find all over the country. You know the type--a bucket of peanuts on every table, shells littering the floor, and a bunch of perky college kids racing around with long neck beers and sizzling platters. Taking a sip of my iced tea, I studied the crowd over the rim of my glass. My gaze lingered on a group enjoying their meal. They wore no uniform to identify their branch of service, but they were definitely "military:" clean shaven, cropped haircut, and that "squared away" look that comes with pride. Smiling sadly, I glanced across my table to the empty seat where my husband usually sat. It had only been a few months since we sat in this very booth, talking about his upcoming deployment to the Middle East. That was when he made me promise to get a sitter for the kids, come back to this restaurant once a month and treat myself to a nice steak. In turn he would treasure the thought of me being here, thinking about him until he returned home.

I fingered the little flag pin I constantly wear and wondered where he was at this very moment. Was he safe and warm? Was his cold any better? Were my letters getting through to him? As I pondered these thoughts, high pitched female voices from the next booth broke into my thoughts.
"I don't know what Bush is thinking about. Invading Iraq. You'd think that man would learn from his old man's mistakes. Good lord. What an idiot! I can't believe he is even in office. You do know, he stole the election."
I cut into my steak and tried to ignore them, as they began an endless tirade running down our president. I thought about the last night I spent with my husband, as he prepared to deploy. He had just returned from getting his smallpox and anthrax shots. The image of him standing in our kitchen packing his gas mask still gives me chills.

Once again the women's voices invaded my thoughts.
"It is all about oil, you know. Our soldiers will go in and rape and steal all the oil they can in the name of 'freedom'. Hmmm! I wonder how many innocent people they'll kill without giving it a thought? It's pure greed, you know."
My chest tightened as I stared at my wedding ring. I could still see how handsome my husband looked in his "mess dress" the day he slipped it on my finger. I wondered what he was wearing now. Probably his desert uniform, affectionately dubbed "coffee stains" with a heavy bulletproof vest over it.
"You know, we should just leave Iraq alone. I don't think they are hiding any weapons. In fact, I bet it's all a big act just to increase the president's popularity. That's all it is, padding the military budget at the expense of our social security and education. And, you know what else? We're just asking for another 9-11. I can't say when it happens again that we didn't deserve it."

Their words brought to mind the war protesters I had watched gathering outside our base. Did no one appreciate the sacrifice of brave men and women, who leave their homes and family to ensure our freedom? Do they even know what "freedom" is? I glanced at the table where the young men were sitting, and saw their courageous faces change. They had stopped eating and looked at each other dejectedly, listening to the women talking.
"Well, I, for one, think it's just deplorable to invade Iraq, and I am certainly sick of our tax dollars going to train professional baby-killers we call a military." Professional baby-killers? I thought about what a wonderful father my husband is, and of how long it would be before he would see our children again.

That's it! Indignation rose up inside me. Normally reserved, pride in my husband gave me a brassy boldness I never realized I had. Tonight one voice will answer on behalf of our military, and let her pride in our troops be known.

Sliding out of my booth, I walked around to the adjoining booth and placed my hands flat on their table. Lowering myself to eye level with them, smilingly said, "I couldn't help overhearing your conversation. You see, I'm sitting here trying to enjoy my dinner alone. And, do you know why? Because my husband, whom I love with all my heart, is halfway around the world defending your right to say rotten things about him."
"Yes, you have the right to your opinion, and what you think is none of my business. However, what you say in public is something else, and I will not sit by and listen to you ridicule MY country, MY president, MY husband, and all the other fine American men and women who put their lives on the line, just so you can have the "freedom" to complain. Freedom is an expensive commodity, ladies. Don't let your actions cheapen it."
I must have been louder that I meant to be, because the manager came over to inquire if everything was all right. "Yes, thank you," I replied. Then, turning back to the women, I said, "Enjoy the rest of your meal."

As I returned to my booth applause broke out. I was embarrassed for making a scene, and went back to my half eaten steak. The women picked up their check and scurried away.
After finishing my meal, and while waiting for my check, the manager returned with a huge apple cobbler ala mode. "Compliments of those soldiers," he said. He also smiled and said the ladies tried to pay for my dinner, but that another couple had beaten them to it. When I asked who, the manager said they had already left, but that the gentleman was a veteran, and wanted to take care of the wife of "one of our boys."
With a lump in my throat, I gratefully turned to the soldiers and thanked them for the cobbler. Grinning from ear to ear, they came over and surrounded the booth. "We just wanted to thank you, ma'am. You know we can't get into confrontations with civilians, so we appreciate what you did."

As I drove home, for the first time since my husband's deployment, I didn't feel quite so alone. My heart was filled with the warmth of the other diners who stopped by my table, to relate how they, too, were proud of my husband, and would keep him in their prayers.
I knew their flags would fly a little higher the next day. Perhaps they would look for more tangible ways to show their pride in our country, and the military who protect her. And maybe, just maybe, the two women who were railing against our country, would pause for a minute to appreciate all the freedom America offers, and the price it pays to maintain it's freedom.

As for me, I have learned that one voice CAN make a difference. Maybe the next time protesters gather outside the gates of the base where I live, I will proudly stand on the opposite side with a sign of my own. It will simply say, "Thank You!"

To those who fought for our Nation: Freedom has a flavor the protected will never know.
GOD BLESS AMERICA!

Just Rambling

I think all of our surgeries and doctor appointments are over for at least a week. I know I sure hope so. So many days I just wanna stay home. I want to have our little school time, get our chores done and then all of us run off and play. Today JD was supposed to be doing his chores but I busted him playing with a few of his cars. I said to him that I wanted to play too. He commented back that I was an adult and I didn't have toys. It was really cute. I explained to him that even grown ups have toys. I have my painting, sewing, reading, gardening, horses and a few other things. He just kinda looked at me and you could tell by the look on his face that he never thought of those things as toys. Yes, even adults have toys.

Today I managed to get a little more organization inside. It certainly isn't anywhere near how I like it to be, but I guess I have to find a happy medium. If I can't find a happy medium, then I would have to have a dumpster back up to the door and just start throwing things out.

About a year ago, we had our place up for sale. We had a buyer (or so we thought). He jerked us around and kept us tied up for a little over 3 months. Superman and I had finally had enough and put our feet down (so to say). We had a beautiful little 40 acres with an awesome house on it, all picked out and we had started the paperwork. The sale of our new place was pending and waiting for the sale of our place here. It all fell through because the buyer couldn't come up with the money. As it turned out, it worked best in our interest. That doesn't mean that we weren't upset about it then, but now is a different story. We look back at it now an know that it really was a blessing in disguise.
We had packed everything, with the exception of a few clothes and a few dishes. Everything that we had packed, we put in a semi trailer. Instead of spending over $5000 for a storage shed, we bought a semi trailer for $1500.
Yesterday, Superman and I were in the semi trailer for about 2 hours doing a little organizing and figuring out what boxes we could use in the house. We brought about 6 boxes in the house and today I unpacked them. I made sure to bring in my paintings. This afternoon I managed to get them all hung up. I wanted to paint before I did that, but it's ok. I like the pictures and the painting is gonna have to wait a little bit longer.

Speaking of painting. I joined a couple of online points type websites. I joined them with the idea of getting enough points to get my paint for free or almost free. I have been members for about 6 months now and I figure that before a year goes by I will be able to get most of my paint for free. One of my favorites is Gather. Come on - join me. What have you got to loose.
Keep informed on Gather.com! Content ranges from politics to cooking, and we earn Gather Points™ or cash for using the site!View my content here: brighteyesk9
brighteyesk9.gather.com


Another one is My Points. I get 1 or 2 emails a day and I earn at least 5 points per email. I'm just waiting until I get a lot of points before I spend them.



I'm also doing the coke rewards. The only draw back on it, is I have dial up and it takes forever to load.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Tis The Season

There is no doubt that the season is upon us. The season for fairs, carnivals, festivals and just about anything to get one to spend money. It's inevitable. Everywhere you go throughout the year there are places offering to trade all kinds of stuff for your money.

Tis The Season to spend money. LOL Now that we have children, we can spend more than I ever could have imagined. Groceries for preteen and teen boys is something else. I either have a football team or an Army. And there's only 3 of them.

I generally take the boys grocery shopping with me. They love to make the grocery list and even the errand list. They love to put the items in the cart and they enjoy putting them on the counter at check out time. They compete for the shopping cart. I made that easy by setting the rule of who sits up front has to open and close the gate and push the cart. It's almost like it is their grown up day. We keep a little notepad in the car and we write down their names when they sit up front. We stick by that list no matter what.

Speaking of carnivals and fairs and such. Today we had doctor appointments for Granny (my mom) and Granny Karen, in the city. After the doctor appointments we had planned on getting horse feed and then head to the fair. While I was placing my order for the horse feed, I found a flier for the fair. Opens at 4 pm! Oh NO! I talked to the boys about the opening time and we came to an agreement. Since we had already had to run all over the place and still take the horse feed home, maybe we should just wait until tomorrow for the fair. They agreed! Not only did they agree but all 3 of them agreed to do one school lesson this afternoon. Ok - who switched my kids! LOL

I wasn't feeling well yesterday so I decided to give the boys half the day off. Oh they were all for that. One thing I have noticed about them - if I just don't feel really well, they tell me it's ok if I go and take a nap. They are always so good when I nap. They either play outside or they sit and watch a movie quietly.

Since all the carnivals, fairs and festivals are up and running, I'm off to do some planning. Fun time agenda is on the way.

$25,000 Dessert

What the heck is a $25,000 Dessert for? Who the heck would pay that price for a Dessert? Just one more thing that is absolutely ridiculous. Well to me it is anyway.
You can find out more about this pricey dessert.
What could you buy if you had $25,000? Certainly not dessert! I could buy a really nice used SUV. I could buy a brand new SUV with that for a down payment. In Florida, I could buy anywhere from 1 to 5 acres of land. In Missouri, I could buy 20 to 25 acres of land. I could remodel our home from top to bottom and put on an addition. I could build a huge barn and a huge workshop. I could buy 4 wheelers for all 5 of us and have money left over to buy a huge trailer to put them on. I could start a heck of a savings account for all 3 of our boys. And my list could go on and on.

Local School Lockdown

I am so thankful today that we made the decision to home school. Why? Because our 3 boys were not involved in the school lockdown.
Lockdown at Bronson schools ends. This is what I saw on the headlines of our local newspaper when I started reading it today. What was the first few words I saw? Lockdown at Bronson schools.
"Officials had received reports that a 15-year-old had run away from home and may have taken three guns with him."
I got nervous when I saw it. I was scared and concerned and I wondered if everyone was safe. I don't want to hear from anyone who says this can't happen in their schools or their neighborhood. Because it can! Two of the schools are about 1/4 of a mile from the Sheriff's Office. Yes - that close.
I read the article to the boys and they were concerned. All 3 of them ask me to please not send them back to public school. This is something that children should not be concerned about. If it's not one thing in public school, it's another.