Around the FarmHouse

My New Favorite Snack, the Toothfairy and These Small Hours

My New Favorite Snack – Helping meet my 3 dairy a day goal!

About a month or so ago my mom introduced me to The Laughing Cow Swiss

L-O-V-E I-T-!!!!! Be sure to eat your 3 servings of dairy a day! Please excuse the quality of this picture..I used my phone.

Cheese wedges.  Being the Swiss Cheese lover that I am, I had to give it a try.  I’ve been on a bit of a “Made In the USA,” kick which means looking at every label…well, due to Willis’ nut allergies I do that anyway but I’m now also checking for where the product was made.  So as I read the label I noticed that the cheese is imported.  It didn’t come as much of a surprise considering the true, original Swiss Cheese is only produced in Switzerland and actually is not called Swiss Cheese but Emmental.  (from reading The Laughing Cow’s website I believe this particular cheese comes from France)  Imported or not, I was in LOVE!

 

Your tidbit for the day: In modern-day, the words ‘Swiss Cheese’ describe cheeses with have holes.  There are various types.  The holes are caused by carbon dioxide which is trapped during the fermentation process. One of which is Lorraine cheese, a household favorite around the farm.

Back to my wedges…so I have gotten hooked on these wedges.  Yesterday we made a trip to town for groceries and I spent more time looking into the wedges.  I left the store with the plain Swiss Cheese wedges and their close cousin, The Laughing Cow swiss cheese wedges in French Onion flavor.  Yummo!  I actually had a wedge with a serving of Wheat Thins for breakfast.  And, for my morning snack.  And, probably for my afternoon snack.  Oh, who am I kidding?  I’ll have to make another run for town for more.  Side note: The French Onion flavor is not imported.  :o)  So I’ve had one of my 3 -a day! Have you had your 3 dairy a day?

In other news….

The ToothFairy

The tooth fairy is going to go broke around here.  Pickle lost another tooth; number eight if you’re wondering.  His left eye tooth.  Willis is close to losing another…I know, at his age most kids haven’t even lost one.  He’s lost three.  The each receive a $2 dollar bill for their teeth.  So that’s, uh, 1+5, minus 2, plus 5, add another then times 2…that’s $16 bucks.  Yes, you are correct I missed two.  That is because the first tooth is a doozy.  We were conned on Pickle’s first tooth.  He told us his best friend got $5 for his first tooth.  After the fact, I learned his best friend hadn’t even lost his first tooth yet.  Suckers!  So that would be a total of $26 so far.

Anyway, the $2 are special and its money they will save because of the uniqueness as well as potential for being worth much more in the future.  Most importantly, no worries about adding extra sweets to their diet.  I can be so smart sometimes! The only hiccup is that I’m running out of $2 bills.  Better add that to my ‘to-do’ list….which is a great way to transition to These Small Hours….

These Small Hours

Speaking of to-do lists…go check out Laci Tatum at Tatum Tales.  She has been making some awesome mini-scrapbooks for a long time and I’ve admired her work since the beginning.  Overall, she’s an inspiring mom making small moments with her girls a high priority.  She is one of those bloggers who I wait (not-so-patiently) to see her name in my email box.  So, I about fell off my seat when I read she was making her mini-books and more for US! She has now decided to open her own store on Etsy.com!!  So exciting!

Her latest item is a home-made clipboard covered in black chalkboard to be used as a To-Do list.  On the clip board she has listed the numbers 1-4 to help you keep the day’s goals in sight.  It’s a great idea for those like me, who need to be kept in check…I never feel like I accomplish much in a day.  I overwhelm myself with 20 million to-do’s.  Anyway, go check out her new store….These Small Hours on Etsy. I just ordered two of her mini-books and can not wait for them to arrive!

Don’t forget (because I will! Ha!) to spring ahead an hour!!!  Or, you might just miss church tomorrow morning…it’s never happened to me.  REALLY!  Ok, maybe once.  Ssshhh!

Have a fantastic weekend!!

***I have not been paid by The Laughing Cow, Wheat Thins (I’m sure these companies have NEVER heard of me) or These Small Hours.  These are my own opinions about items I wanted to share with you, my readership.***

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Manic Monday News

Where can you be under a Winter Weather Advisory, a Flash Flood Warning AND a Severe Thunderstorm warning…all at the same time?  And, in the middle of that there was a special weather statement to be alert for tornado sirens.  So there was ice, hail, lightening, thunder, thunder snow, rain and high winds at the same time or within a few minutes.  The only thing missing was a rainbow.

Where can you find such wonderful weather you ask?

Central Illinois, of course!



Robins in a Blizzard??? Changing Seasons Give-away!!

The first report came in last week…my girlfriend who lives about 2 miles away – as the crow flys – said that she saw some robins in her back yard.  This was just before the blizzard hit.  I thought “No way, she must be mistaken.”

Yesterday we were driving through a nearby town and turned a corner to find 10-20 Robins!!!!  I was shocked.  Each year one of my absolute favorite spring time activities is watching for the Robins to arrive.  In my mind, the arrival of a Robin has always been correlated with spring.  I was so pumped!!

As I was ready a post on Facebook a friend said she had seen 50 that morning.  Well, this prompted an extensive conversation from numerous people who had also been seeing robins.  The earliest was around Christmas!  With all of the talk about climate change and the planet growing warmer every year, the Robin sightings have prompted me to be a bit concerned.

So what gives?  Has the cold streak in the south chased them back up north?  I’ll be very interested to hear more about these sightings and the reasoning behind a spring event that’s occurring during winter.  It just doesn’t make sense…I must research, research and research even more as I get to the bottom of this unusual behavior.

Speaking of spring…Don’t miss out on a fantastic Changing of Seasons give-away over at The Beginner Farmer’s Wife.  While you are there read about their journey which involves naturally raised heritage meats and true free-range poultry.

Watch soon for a post on my blog which will discuss true free-range poultry.

Welcome to the week-end!!


Adventures in our *Magical* Blizzardland 2011: Before and After Pics

The Groundhog Blizzard, as it’s being dubbed, has passed.  The mess is still being cleaned up.   School was still out today, as there are many roads in our rural district which haven’t been cleared.  I’m hoping the kids are able to return tomorrow…although we’ve heard there are people who are still unable to leave.  I’m sure all of the kids are enjoying the snow.  Due to the temperatures I resisted allowing the boys to play outdoors.  I know it’s hard to believe, living in the Midwest and all, but we now have  ‘Mount Snownomore’ in the middle of our circle drive.  Yesterday, as the kids were enjoying the fun and the parents were trying to figure out how to get running water.

If you currently live or have lived in the country, you know that if you lose power, you also lose water.  Oddly enough, we had no water but the lights continued to glow.  I’m not complaining, there are many without power now, two days later.  Instead of losing power completely, we had a few brown outs….which just happened to burn the well pump.  Or, at least that was the theory.  Without pulling the pump up the 140 ft., it was hard to make an accurate decision as to the cause.  In the 10 years we’ve lived here we’ve had to pull it other two times.  On the previous occasions we’ve had 6-7 men pulling the pump up.  Instead there were three men, two kids and myself.

Thankfully, it turned out that part of the wire which runs the pump, had burnt completely through.  In turn, we saved $350! Yay!  And, after two days I was able to take a bath again, the livestock had their heated water restored which was relief since the water we would carry to them was freezing quickly and although egg production was down, today the girls were back to normal.

Here are some photos of our adventures…

Water for the livestock and toilets rapidly became a necessity. I began gathering snow in water jugs (cut open at the top) and then melted it in pots. This process took forEVER!

Once it was melted we would store it in two 5 gallon containers...it was used quickly.

Just before the worst hit we decided we may need extra gas on hand to run the BobCat. I needed a break and chocolate so my hubby granted me a run in the snow...I resisted hard, kind of...I actually LOVE to play in the snow with my trusted 4x4. Don't most girls?! Here is a pic from my trip. When I took this picture my skepticism had cracked and I decided that we might just receive the 16-20 inches of snow which was in the forecast.

On my way back I found this poor guy...unfortunately my chains had *magically* disappeared from the truck and I couldn't pull him out. I did offer blankets and he assured me that someone was on their way to get him.

The truck, front yard and drive before the blizzard...

Truck after...

Our porch stairs before The Groundhog Storm...

After...there really are stairs under there!

This how Mt. Snownomore looked on the first evening...long before the worst was to hit.

Mt. Snownomore after an hour of digging to the end of our lane.

Today it is no longer called a mountain but a **MAGICAL** Castle.

Complete with secret tunnels. This is behind the scenes of the *Magical Snow Fort's* secret tunnels...

Finally, a little guy who is ready to drive around the moat in his boat. Hope everyone is safe and sound after this historical storm!


Tuesday’s Top Ten: 10 Tips for Women Deer Hunters

Introducing “Tuesday’s Top Ten!” echo, echo, echo.   I’m going to give this a try for a couple of weeks and see how it goes.  The top ten could be any number of things…top ten quilting tips, top ten vegetables and fruits you should grow, top ten deer recipes, top ten ways to potty train…it could go on and on…so let’s get started.

If you are a guy I’d love for you to read this post but I just heard there are some great deals over at The BassPro Shop.  Several pages of clearance items.  AND, the new 2011 Catalog is out! So, skip on over and check out their website.  Don’t forget to come back another day and check out my hubby’s grilling magic!

Ladies, we’re friends right?  Now that it’s just us, I know I can trust you to keep these tips and tricks in your pocket, right?  Shake your head yes.  Very good.   You have to pinky promise, you won’t share or tell guys about these Top 10 Hunting Tips. Now that we’ve gotten that taken care of we are all sister for life.  Let’s get down to work….

In our family, to be taken seriously as a female hunter you have to be able to do two things.  1. Clock as many hours in as the guys.  2. Shoot and hit.  The shooting takes practice and patience but you will get it.  Now, why is the time clock such a problem?  Well, A. We don’t like the cold. B. We get bored easily.  C. We can’t hold our pee.

So for my first “Tuesday’s Top Ten,” series, I’m going to share some top secret hunting tips for us girls….some you might be familiar with, others you might think are crazy…either way I hope you can take something from the list and prove to the boys that girls rock!! The secret to this is making sure they don’t find out about your tips & tricks.  What they don’t know won’t hurt them and in the process you’ll earn their respect while havin’ a little fun.

1. Invest in hand, foot and body warmers.

1a. Send your hubby to McDonald’s Playland with the kids for ice cream or out to the barn while you get ready.

1b. To keep the menfolk from cacklin’ about how you couldn’t stay out there because it was too cold (and to keep you out there)….the first step is to grab one of your microwaveable warming pouches used for keeping food warm at potlucks.  Warm it up as warm as your microwave allows.  Stuff it nonchalantly into your hand muff warmer thingy.  Cute, huh?

2. I hate to suggest spending money but I highly recommend these shirts and pants called Cuddle Buddies.  Great for keeping warm in a drafty, 120 year old home and perfect for your first layer of hunting clothing…double layers of long-underwear will work too.

3. Layer, layer, layer, baby!  Start with a turtle neck (I think they still make them) then the Cuddle Buddies followed by long-underwear, fleece lounge pants, overalls**, followed by a hooded sweatshirt – this is your back up warmth pouch, winter coat***, orange sweatshirt with hood.  Before zipping your coat tie on the hand muff, see #7, then cover the muff with coat.  The coat will help preserve the heat.

4. Toe Warmers!! This is a pretty common one.  I like to use three pairs at a time.  Used correctly and with ample coverage your toes will be nice and toasty for hours.  First, begin with a regular pair of boot socks.  Remove the adhesive from the bottoms and stick them to the bottom of your feet.  Next, put on a good pair of insulated outdoor socks – the guys won’t have a clue you’ve got extra warmth going on.  Next, prepare your boots.  Take the second pair of toe warmers and adhere them inside, on the top of your boot, above your toes.  Finally, place the third pair on the bottom as intended.  Depending on your warmth level you could leave out the first pair.  It just depends on how well your toes handle the cold.  Mine do not fair well…thus, the three pairs of warmers.

5.  Body Ache Warmers – I can think of the brand name but they advertise there products for relieving pain.  You can adhere the patch right to your Cuddle Buddies, near your lower back.  This will also help to keep you calm and relaxed while waiting for your harvest.

6.  Your Head – Another area that cries, “let’s go in, please, please!!”  Begin with a fleece headband/ear cover.  Use a hand warmer and place it in the top of a regular stocking cap.  Then cover with your blaze orange stocking hat.  If you get too warm you can always take the first one off.

7. Your neck – For your neck we will use a multi-use tool.  Find some scrap fabric or go to the clearance area of your local fabric store.  You’ll only need 1/4 of a yard.  Fold the fabric in half and cut 5 inches wide.  If you sew, sew each side, reinforce the bottom which should still be a fold, leave the top open.  Measure 20 inches and cut the remaining off of the open end.  If you do not sew, have no fear.  You can use a hot glue gun or purchase the no-sew products from Walmart, Target or sewing store.  Find yourself about 5-6 cups of corn or enough to fill your sack.  Fold the open ends in and sew or glue shut.  Reinforce with a second stitch.  Now you have your own neck warmer.  Just microwave for 30 sec. until you find your desired temp.  Try to preserve the heat by placing the warmer under your hooded sweatshirt, use your bibs to keep it in place and then coat.

**Side note:  Use 1/2 yd. and make two.  On your second one place small droplets of lavender oil or a citrus oil to help relax or revitalized your body.

8. Your fingers – for me this is the worst part.  Once my finger was so cold I couldn’t even tell if I had it on the trigger or not.  First, find a pair of those cheap, thin gloves the sell for $1 at Walmart.  Put those on along with a hand warmer in the palm of your hand.  If you are a Droid user, you will want to cut a very small hole in the pointer finger.  (If your a lefty then cut the whole in the right mitten)  If you do not do this you can forget about #9 because the phones respond to body heat rather than pressure.  The mittens which open up to gloves with the finger tips cut-off are next.  Place a pair of warmers on the inside of the mittens as far to the top as possible.  Then another on the other side of the mitten.   part to keep the top of your hands/fingers warm.   a cloth pair of gloves then put the mitten/gloves on top.  Don’t forget that your food pack is also there to help keep your hands warm.

9. Boredom – If you have one, take your smart phone along.  If not, find something similar that you can silence.  I have learned so much about my Droid X just from sitting out in the bales.  And, have gotten some amazing photos.  Even a phone that is textable can keep you entertained.  My pesky good-hearted, brother-in-law likes to take goofy pics of himself and send them to us all.  And, don’t worry, as long as you remember to keep scanning the area you won’t miss any deer.

10. Buy some depends.  Just remember to stash a plastic sack in the bathroom before you leave and some newspapers in the garage next to the garbage can.  Run right in claiming you have to pee and remove your business, place in the sack put inside your hooded sweatshirt and head for the garage where you will drop it into the garbage can.

And, presto you just had yourself a relaxing time with God and nature without kids screaming, fighting or asking you to do 10 different things at once.  It helps you re-center and re-focus.

If you have any ideas for future Top Ten’s, by all means share!

Have a great day!!

P.S.  I’m joking about number 10 but I had you going didn’t I??  Come on, admit it, you were falling for it and thought I was crazy.  Right?  Love it! Gotcha!

P.S.S You might be a tiny bit correct about the being crazy part…but just a bit!

Smiles and hugs to you all!

Remember to live each day as though it’s your last and take not for granted what you’ve been given. Let those positives flush free your desires for things you have not been given, or this will only create negativity from within.


A Day In the Life – Realizing Self-Worth

****I did it!! My DITL is finished…finally!! Yay!  I’ve even had time to proof and make corrections. :0) ****

When I saw the DITL exercise Lacy at Tatum Tales proposed, I was a bit hesitant.  Is my life really busy or exciting enough to journal and capture on film from minute to minute?  Will anyone really read it?  Forcing past my skepticism I decided to go for it…what did I have to lose?  So here it goes…

Tuesday, November 16th

6:15am:  I look at my alarm clock and realize Pickle is standing at the bed.  I jump up “Wake-up! We’re late!”.  In general, it’s unusual for the boys to ride the bus everyday at 6:50am.  As hard as we try it’s almost impossible to get to bed on time at 7:30 pm.  So I give in and allow them to sleep for as long as possible.  In the long run it saves me grief.  Unfortunately, on this morning, driving to school isn’t an option.  Our crew cab truck broke down yesterday while my hubby was returning from a trip to Iowa.  My brother is unable to look at it until later this week.  So my only mode of transportation is our bench seat 1994 Ford which will only seat Pudder and one of the older boys.

6:25am: Willis FINALLY gets up and out of bed.  Pickle has eaten, brushed his teeth and is working on feeding the dogs.

6:40am: Willis FINALLY (are you seeing a trend?) has a portion of his clothes on and brushed his teeth (I think).   Still hasn’t made it down the stairs.  Pudder is awake and adding to the madness.  Pickle has finished feeding the dogs but realizes he is missing part of his homework.

6:45am: Time to go down to the end of our lane and meet the bus.  Willis has yet to eat.  At this point I’m dressing him – something I strongly encourage he takes ownership and do himself.  While I’m helping him get his pants on followed by socks (which he’s not doing willingly) and then his shoes; he’s eating his yogurt. Pickle is helping Pudder get his coat and shoes on.  In the end, the shoes never really make it on his feet.  Oh, well…pick your battles.

6:48am:  We must go down or we will miss the bus because our driver will not see us heading down.

6:50am:  A call to 911 comes in about some crazy woman who’s wearing her house coat and slippers with a scarf wrapped around her waist and neck.  She’s running in circles, yelling and screaming and running around some more, yelling at her oldest son “run down to the bus…no wait jump in the truck…no, stop, go…run boy, run!” (he followed those directions to a T, poor kid).  In the same breath she’s telling her middle son to get in the truck while carrying her toddler by his bibs.  Luckily, the 911 call didn’t really happen but the rest is pretty darn close to being true.

6:51am:  The bus is here.  Pickle is walking across the highway to get on the bus.  Willis and I are turning in circles trying to get his backpack on the right arm while he frantically eats his toast and puts on his gloves.  By now, the bus driver is rolling out of the door she’s laughing so hard.  Ok, so she stayed in her seat but from what I could see,  she was near tears.  I really think we would have had a strong chance at winning America’s Funniest Videos.

6:52am:   There goes the bus…the boys are on their way to school.  And, no I have ZERO pictures from this part of our morning.

6:55am:  I collapse from exhaustion.  Then Pudder asks for milk.  Which reminds me that we’re almost out and it’s grocery day! And, I haven’t finished my list yet.  I check the reusable refrigerator list.

Hmmm, not much on the list...1/2 of the items are things I buy online. Ugh! Shopping is seriously a task I dread!

After the shopping list I bath, put on my face, dress to shoes and make our bed.

Yes, that's a lump in my bed and yes, it's alive. You know it's cold out when the dogs stay under the covers even as the bed is made. It'll be a mess before 8am. BUT, let it be known that I tried!!

In the meantime, Pudder eats his breakfast.  Need, coffee, now!!

Kind of funny that I couldn’t get WordPress to edit this photo and flip it correctly because this is what life looks like until I drink my coffee! LOL!

7:30am:  Reboot laundry and dishwasher.  Pudder decides to start becoming fussy and won’t let go of my leg.

I decide to give him a little pain reliever…he seems to be chewing on a lot of things and still hasn’t had his 2 yr molars peek through.

7:45am:  He’s calmed down a bit so I continue with my planned routine.  Over the weekend, I vacuumed upstairs in preparation for  carpet cleaning today.   Our room isn’t that bad.  The boys ‘ room is BAD.

 

Pudder dumped a glass of Willis’ Gatorade all over the floor.  He also go a hold of a marker last week and while giving Willis his nighttime allergy medicine we dumped the spoon, leaving a large portion on the floor.  Nice and sticky, just the way I like it!

****UPDATE!!****

I forgot to add that during this time I also swished and swiped the upstairs bathroom and played a game of peek-a-boo behind the shower curtain.  See below…

 

A little swish and swipe. Excuse the painters tape...still renovating!

Peek-a-boo!

8:30am:  With the carpet finished, we pack the truck with our re-usable grocery sacks, plastic sacks which need to be taken to recycling and empty water jugs to be filled at my in-laws.

8:45:  We leave and head for the farm to fill up on water.  On our way we see this enormous cloud of black smoke.

9am: We arrive at the farm to fill the water jugs and catch up on what’s been going on…who’s calved, not calved, family Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc… I picked up some nuts that fell off their Walnut tree.  We’ll take them to my grandpa so he can feed his squirrels.

9:30am:  We’ve spent too much time chatting away and there isn’t enough time for shopping and driving back and forth to town.  Curiosity gets the best of me and I decide to locate the fire which continues to bellow black smoke into the eastern sky.  At the same time Pudder takes his morning nap.

10:00am: I finally find the fire.  The source is/was a beautiful horse barn/stables.  I was told all of the horses escaped but that at first the fire was so hot they couldn’t get close to it.   They anticipated a total loss.  I later spoke to my mom and she had been there before.  She said it was a beautiful, one-of-a-kind facility with an air-conditioned and heater arena.  So sad!

Before the fire, the barn had been visible from this viewpoint.

10:20am:  Time to head home and pick up Willis from the bus.

10:35am: Picked-up the mail and unload the Cub Scout popcorn we loaded the day before.  It needs to be sorted and delivered.  Checked on the livestock, let the dogs out, grabbed some snacks, drinks and pottytime.

10:56: The bus arrives and drops Willis off & away we go on our shopping trip.  A mile down the road we see this…

We stayed and watched this doe and buck for a few minutes then moved on…very nice rack.

11:40am:  Arrive at Aldi’s for the first half of our shopping.  I had two fantastic little helpers!

12:05pm:  We drive thru Mickey D’s and grab some lunch.

Willis shows off his new Happy Meal toy!

12:15pm:  Arrive at Wally World for some quick mega-shopping.  I threw the boys into a cart with their food and away we went.

While at Walmart…

I'm going bananas!! My kid is obsessed with them. Even though we had just purchased a bunch at Aldi's he had to have more. They each are given the change to pick one small item. Pudder chose a "banabala."

Look mama! Opples! Can I have one? Oopps, I dropped it!

Your welcome brother! Good thing Willis was there to play 'catcher.' I was beginning to see images of apples everywhere.

They just HAD to have their picture taken in front of the tree.

Willis' item was chap stick...I was glad he made that choice...his lips have been so dry lately.

Tough lesson, not yet learned. We keep telling Willis that these machines are designed to NOT pick up an animal and that it's a scam. He just keeps on trying and trying and trying. At least this machine is only 50 cents and its HIS money.

The boys have three envelopes for their money. Spend, save and give. Willis chose to give to the Salvation Army this week. I'm a proud mama!!

And finally,

See ya next week! Such good helpers!!

1:45pm:  Time to head home…I’m exhausted.  Might have to stop by McD’s again for a hot Mocha coffee.

2: 30pm:  We arrive home, unload the groceries, get ready for snack time and the arrival of Pickle who gets off the bus around 3pm.  We also try on Laci’s new coat.

"Does it make my butt look too big mama?"

3:15pm: Time for Pickle to do homework.

He is working on using more emotion as he tells the story.

With a 50 min. bus ride home he usually is able to complete his math. Then it's my job to check for corrections.

Once his homework was done Pickle turned in 10 buttons to play on the Wii.

Then it was time to sort the Cub Scout popcorn.

Everything is accounted for, now we need to label and organize by town.

Next we did chores. Our female duck laid 15 eggs however, some are turning black and are more than likely are rotten. Since this is our first experience with hatching ducklings, we took one egg out to the middle of the pasture and broke it open. It was the worst thing I've ever smelled. We ended up with 6 eggs left after throwing out the black ones.

Cracking open one of the black/grey eggs...Yuck!! DO NOT do this at home!

Next, we fed the steers, chickens, ducks and goats, then it was time to collect eggs. Only 7 tonight. Then we gave a couple hay cakes to the steers. With the cold weather here they are relying more and more on the hay.

4:40pm:  We had a little downtime.  I did a little work on a website and logo while the boys played and my hubby browsed through his cookbooks.

6pm:   Mama/Son night for Pickle and I!!  We started the evening by attending a fund raiser called Community Claus.  It’s a spaghetti supper held at a local church…homemade spaghetti sauce and garlic bread…yum, yum, yum!!  The monies raised are given to members of our communities, who are in need this holiday season.  Following the supper we went across the street to the grade school for our annual Family Reading Night program.

I forgot to take pics while at the Spaghetti Supper so before we ran to the school I had him “pose” in front of the Christmas tree. He ended up winning one of the door prizes!!

6:45pm:  Family Reading Night begins! It was an interesting an entertaining program which began with a unique Laser Show promoting literacy.  Here are a couple of pictures I was able to snap…

Pickle was picked from the audience to help explain what the word laser means. Who know, LASER is actual an acronym! You learn something new everyday!

Promoting AVID readers through asking questions, visualizing, interpreting and deciding. Throughout the presentation there were laser shows choreographed to popular songs. Our neighbor girl who sat behind us was really rockin' it out...especially to the Taylor Swift song! Too cute! Too bad it was dark and I couldn't get her pic. She was adorable!

This is Sponge Bob!!

7:30pm:  I LOVE our school because all of the teachers and staff are so dedicated.  This year our PTO teamed up with the village library and everyone received a free book and goodie bag as they left.  It was a nice touch to a great evening!

8:10pm:  Arrive home…Can I pretty please change into my jammies and relax??  The other two boys weren’t asleep yet so there was some tucking in that was warranted before I could change.  We did “Don’t Let the Bedbugs Bite,” said our ‘love yous’ and to sleep my precious boys went.  Pickle in his new room, Willis back in his old bed which leaves Pudder in….our bed!  Something I swore I’d never let happen again.  Pickle slept with us for his first 3  1/4 years.  It’s so hard to move him back to his own bed…you never want them to grow up, but grow up they do.

9pm:  Time to change and go to sleep…NOT!  Actually 8pm on is usually my work time.  So I’m late for work!  Hope the boss isn’t too hard on me. LOL!  I’m working with two new clients and one of my longtime clients.  She sells retail so this is the busiest time of the year.  There is much preparation to do before Black Friday.  At the same time I try to get a little laundry done so we aren’t running around in our birthday suits tomorrow!  I’m not sure if I have enough energy to climb Mount Washmore but I’ll give it my best!

Midnight:  I’ve had enough and can’t keep my eyes open…off to dreamland!

I LOVED doing this activity!  I only wish I would have had enough time to write all in one sitting, work comes first.  I’m blessed to have work at this time of year, especially when it is slowing down for my hubby.  So I can’t complain, and I appreciate everyone for being patient.  I hope there was something during that famous November day that has helped you or enlightened or made you giggle!

The most important lesson I learned is that I’m important…very, very IMPORTANT.  It cracks me up that I thought I wouldn’t have enough to write about and with the exception of our night out, it was actually a slow day in comparison to most.  I also learned that I’m not doing enough playing with my kids.  I’m thankful for Lacy who forced me upon my will, kicking and screaming (no, not really) to participate.  It truly has forced me to realize my self-worth.  If you didn’t have a chance to participate I encourage you to post your own DITL…oh, and be sure to leave a comment if you do…then I can come take a peak into your world!

Happy Monday!


Dirt Boy World

You might have read on our  Fall To-do list that one of our projects is running water and electricity down to our sheds.  Although we had hoped to do it two weekends ago the trencher we needed wasn’t available until last weekend.   It was like having a very expensive babysitter.  With the soft dirt and deep trenches, there were some great adventures to be had.  As you can see below, the boys had a blast with the dirt…

My hubby sat there like he was someone important or something...well, I guess he is...I sure as heck couldn't trench and pull the wire. I helped feed the wire but my wimpy little arms aren't strong enough for pulling wire!

Willis made himself a seat on the hill...reminded me of my childhood when my brother & I would try to dig to China.

"We're not eating the dirt mama....really, just the worms!"

Pickle is searching for more "treasures".

Happy Diggin’ Boys!!  And, I’m NOT frying any worms!! LOL!


There she blows!

On Monday night/Tuesday morning, I went to sleepy land knowing we were under a Tornado watch.  And, being a naughty girl, I disregarded my October resolution to be in bed by 10:30pm and instead hit the sack around 3am.  At some point I received a text message alerting us of a Severe Thunderstorm Warning.   I was so tired I couldn’t get my butt out of bed and go get my computer to see what was going on (we do not have local stations & The Weather Channel was no help at all).  The next thing I remember was that the entire upstairs of  The Magic Farmhouse was shaking like an earthquake.  I grabbed Pudder who was sleeping right next to me, started shouting at Willis to get out of the bed, took Pudder downstairs to Pickle who also already awake, ran back upstairs grabbed Willis and as I went passed the front door I heard it.

The most horrific sound.  I saw some of our trees blowing wildly. I really thought, “This is it.  This is what it’s like.  The house is going and we’re going with it.”  There was no time to get into the basement.  It lasted for what seemed like forever while we quickly grabbed some blankets and started to sit down in front of the basement door.  Just as we sat down, it was over.  The wind was still blowing but nothing like moments before.  We waited a few minutes, then we all headed back upstairs to mama and daddy’s bed.  Thoughts changed to “I over reacted, it wasn’t that bad, my hands really aren’t shaking, etc…”  The phone started ringing, it was ours neighbors checking to see if we made it through.  That’s when I knew it wasn’t just me.

One of the neighbors lost a large portion of their shed roof.  The other neighbor found it in the road.  I did not overreact…clearly something as strong as a tornado or straight-line winds had passed over our little cluster of homes.   Four of us sustained some damaged.  Luckily, our damage was small compared to two of our neighbors.  We are missing some shingles, a shutter, have damage to our garage from the camper being blown into it and other minor things.  The important part is that we are all safe and most things are repairable.  Here is a small collection of pics that I took….

Things like this just give me the creepies!

We never did find what went through this hole.

This is our neighbors shed. The roof was thrown all the way over in the other neighbor's yard, took out 3 trees and landed in the road.

This is part of the roof along side one of the trees.

Our camper was lifted and pushed 3 ft. into the side of our garage.

Our empty water tank that the goats play on was tossed halfway across the pasture.

Our neighbor girl is just distraught over the play set! Poor thing!

This is very minor but this was my apple bushel basket. It's been torn into shreds.

More pieces of the bushel basket.

Another part of the basket.

This experience is a reminder that we should not take Mother Nature for granted.  And, that making a disaster preparedness kit that will stay in our dirt floor basement should be added to my fall to-do list.

Too close for comfort!!

Have a great day!:)


Homework from PE?? This was a first.

How many of you have ever had your child arrive home with homework from their physical education class?  It was a first at The MagicFarmHouse.  I also didn’t know they gave out homework to Pre-K students but last year Willis did have homework on a regular basis.  At first I was stunned but I believe the intentions were well served.  It provided a solid foundation for continuing education in the home, away from school.

So when I picked Pickle up from school following Art Club, I was confused because he was carrying a new bag.  My first reaction was that he traded his beloved and expensive Cardinals Baseball bag with another child.  I was relieved to find that the new bag was related to his homework.

Here’s how it works.  Each week the PE teacher selects a student who will take home a bag of PE equipment and a camera.  I know, Right? A camera! For a rural school I was impressed but not too surprised knowing how much our PTO supports the school and how each of the teachers are wonderful! The assignment: Use the camera and a writing log to journal about using the equipment at home with your family.  Sort of like, PE but at home.

We didn’t do a lot with the jump ropes but the scoop thingies that you use to toss a ball from person to person were super fun!  My favorite though was the soccer ball.  Using the two trucks as one goal…I know, I know an insurance accident waiting to happen but I’m not responsible for choosing the goal posts…I just went with it.  And then the trees were used as our other goal.  It was Pickle & I (and sometimes Pudder) against daddy.  I played soccer for a couple of years as a child so I knew a few moves that through the opposing team for a loop.  In the end, the score was 6 to 4, with the Giant Oger bragging as the champion. :0(  That’s alright, we’ll get him next time!! Wait ’till it’s three boys against him…

Homeschooling Physical Education Assignment

Homeschooling Physical Education Assignment

It initiated some great family time and memories!! Now all of the pictures we took are being printed out and put on a poster in the gym for all to see.

Impressive concept!!  So that’s my cool idea for the day…share with your PE teacher and I guarantee it’ll get the kids off the couch and the Wii turned off.

Stay tuned by subscribing to my email list…the rest of the week will be a bit of a food theme…Dutch oven cooking recipes for chili and breakfast casserole.  Finally, a review of The Pioneer Woman’s Cinnamon Rolls, with a little twist using a bread maker.  Hey, I’ve been busy alright?  It’s ok to take a short cut here and there.  And, close your mouth…saliva tends to be a little tricky to clean up off the keyboard.  Not that I would know or anything.

Happy Tuesday!!


A Gone-Fish tournament, an addition with a lesson learned, a blind, demolition and finally, a serial biter…

I normally stick to one topic per post.  Today, I have a few topics to cover.  Feel free to jump in at anytime.  I’m starting to get a complex about my low or even non-existent readership.  :0)  Is anyone out there??

Gone-Fish: Willis & I attended an annual youth fishing tournament on Sat.  Last year he walked away with a trophy for largest fish caught.  He has always been a patient and dedicated fisherboy.  For example, the Sunday before we had Pickle & Willis’ ‘friend’ birthday party at the same pond.  Some of the kids choose to fish.  He was constantly whispering “SHSHSHSH, the fish won’t bite because you are all too loud.”  Not bad for a 4-year-old huh?  They never did catch anything.  My hubby saw this as a precursor for the tournament & decided to stay at home to build a mobile deer blind.  *Stay tuned for an update on the blind.* We probably should have followed his advice because we came home empty-handed as far as fish is concerned.  Our Fire Department sponsors the event and every kids leaves with some type of gift.  Even though there weren’t any fish, it was some good bonding time for myself & Mr. Willis who suffers from a severe case of Middlechild Syndrome.

The tournament took place at the this pond.

An Addition: A week & a half ago we found ourselves unable to keep up with egg demand.  Without a product, you can’t make the sale.  So a decision was made to purchase 5 new chickens which should begin laying in 2-4 wks.  This brought our hen total up to 20…For two days.

One of our New Hampshires...a.k.a. Orington?

A day after the chickens arrived I went down early for evening chores. I wanted to see how everyone was adjusting.  My main concern was how the pecking order was coming along…especially since the chickens arrived de-pecked.  Once I finally opened the door to the ‘coop’ side of the shed I saw one of the New Hampshires (who I’m beginning to think are really Opingtons but that’s another story) hanging upside down from the roost.  With our goal of re-using & becoming innovative with what we already have, we’ve always used a piece of fencing for the roast.  My first thought was that she was dead.  I ran to her rescue to find her leg weaved in between the metal wires.  Once I had her up she wasn’t able to stand.  I took her up to the house & got her some water.  Long story short….I didn’t check her over well enough & overlooked several large scratches around her bottom area.  She stayed in the garage for the night & then I moved her outside.  Eventually she was limping around & looking great.  By the afternoon I noticed the flies & gnats which wouldn’t leave her alone.  That’s when I checked her over completely.  I found maggots in the lesions.  Several times I attempted to clean all of them out, sanitize her & cover her with triple antibiotic.  To no avail, I was unable to save her.  Not having a sick or injured chicken before I did the best I could.  I’ve assisted in a prolapse surgery on a cow before, I’ve castrated piglets…but when it comes to chickens I’m pretty green.  For two days we had 20 chickens and now we are down to 19.  Lesson learned…we are re-building the roost.

The blind: My genius hubby is always thinking & creating.  His newest creative idea is to build a mobile deer blind that can be pulled with the 4 wheeler out to the middle of one of our hunting fields.  I can only post one picture…otherwise I’d have to hunt you down & make sure you don’t try & replicate his TM idea.  Just kidding…maybe.

Invention no. 1,230,890...in progress!

The Demolition: It’s been a while since we made any major changes to the Magic FarmHouse.  That changed yesterday.  One of the best advantages to my hubby’s job is ‘dumpster diving.’  Well, not really.  He works on commercial projects which in my opinion are many times unnecessary renovations – but I’m thankful they are renovating to get him busy working!  Last week the job site where he was working was trashing some perfectly nice cabinets and plywood.  He took all of it before they could hit the dumpster.  The cabinets have been a lifesaver in our new smaller storage room/office.  And, the plywood has allowed us to begin gutting & refinishing our downstairs  bedroom (old storage room/office)…

The beginning of our newest demolition!!

My VERY favorite part about gutting a room is finding the magical treasures.  So far, there’s one wall left and we haven’t found anything!  Bummer!

The Seriel Biter:  Finally, my precious little boy who was calm & who loves to cuddle is missing.  Instead I have a little maniac who’s running around trying to bite everyone!  Where did I go wrong??  He is seriously chasing Willis around the rooms with his mouth open wide trying to bite.  This is the first time we’ve encountered this problem…any suggestions??  Oh, wait, I forgot, no one reads my blog!

‘Til tomorrow!    :o)