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Tuesday’s Top Ten…What to do on a snow day?

I’m sure we all have visions of green, lush grass, the sweet songs of robins, laying on the front porch glider reading a book, sipping lemonade and sweet tea, the smell of freshly cut hay, watching the kids chase fireflies and building forts…oh, I could go on and on and on.  I have the worst case of Cabin Fever.  Judging by the amount of arguing, tv watching that’s been going on I would say I’ve spread my *fever* to the kids.

Time for some Cabin Fever tips!  Some of these are tried and true, some I have in a folder I keep from magazines and some are just activities I’ve been wanting to try.

#1 Brown Sugar Sand Castles: My boys LOVE playing with brown sugar in place of sand.  All you need is extra brown sugar, containers (think *outside the sandbox on this one…could be Tupperware, plastic milk jugs cut in two, empty and clean cans who are waiting to be recycled or reused,  measuring cups, cleaned OJ boxes…the sky is the limit!)  Instead of sticks use spoons, straws or paintbrushes for flags and decorations.  I’ve tried doing this on our activity table-cloth or on cookie pans.  I would recommend using both and line the cookie pan with foil which can replicate water for the moat.  WARNING:  This is not a good activity if you are a high maintainance mom who does not like big messes.  It’s similar to Moon Sand whereas it can get everywhere with an added bonus of stickiness.  With that said, the kids LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this activity!

#2 Mini-Me Scrapbook: Gather up any group of photos per child – at least 35…alphabetized based on the activity. Using typical scrapbooking supplies mount the pictures on a piece of acid free, lignin free cardstock or heavy scrapbook paper.  Using a patterned pieces of scrap book paper have your child draw or trace the letters of the alphabet (make sure they will fit on the scrap book page).  Then if age appropriate have them cut the letters out (adult supervision advised).  Pair up an activity which begins with the letter “A” and place the cut-out A on the page, then decorate.  Stickers, acid-free pens and other embellishments will finish the page up nicely.  Continue until you have a page for each letter.  There are a few options for assembling the book.  Using a 3-hole puncher, you could prepare the pages and place in a binder.  Or, you could only punch one hole in each paper and attach with yarn, ribbon or string.  If you’re needing a day out of the house, run to Staples, FedEx/Kinkos or your nearest office store and have it professionally bound…this can increase the cost of this project.  You can also use my favorite method and place each page in a scrap book, covered in plastic…you have a homemade book to help your child learn the alphabet and a family treasure.

#3  Ice Skating in your kitchen (this idea comes from “The FlyLady” website under the Camp Gonna Wanna Fly section) – We use this in conjunction with our weekly cleaning chores.  Begin by digging out the swimming suits!  And, maybe turning up the heat a degree or two.  Next, make sure everyone keeps or puts socks on.  On the Flylady’s website they suggest using a tub for the kids to get their socks soapy and wet.  We save a dish and just spray down the floor (and sometimes the kids) with the kitchen sink sprayer.  Using your regular dish soap draw the kids’ initials in the floor or pictures, lines, whatever makes them giggle.  Begin skating!!  Once I can tell they are starting to become bored I bring out six towels.  I spray the floor again and give each child a towel.  Sitting on their knees, they pull themselves around in their “boats.”  This is the rinse and dry cycle.  Finally, once the floor has had a good scrub down provide each child with their own towel and presto, you have exhausted, exercised, giggly children and a sparkling floor.  All you have to do is remember to take pics!

#4 Trip to Barnes & Noble…One of our favorite winter and summer outings is taking a trip to Barnes & Noble.  Our nearest store has a table for the older kids to sit and read.  The real highlight is the Thomas the Train table that’s complete with all of the engines.  Most of the time I can quickly grab a book of my choice, stop at the Starbucks counter for a coffee and then go relax in the children’s section while the kids play Thomas the Train.  For this reason only (besides the fact we live in a little old farm house), I have never thought twice about not buying a set.  Some days we even tie this in with a McDonald’s lunch date.

#5 Family Film Making: I’ve always wanted to try making a large puppet show theater, complemented by sock puppets.  I keep the old socks and then we never get around to doing the activity.   I recently found a new type of puppet which will allow you to reuse those mix/matched gloves.  Sit down and go through magazines or photos with your kids.  Have each child pick out the face they would like to be.   Paste the picture or photo onto card stock and cut around the face.  Grab those gloves which are missing their partners and cut the fingers off.  Using craft glue or a glue gun (adult supervision recommended), glue the face to the front of each finger.  You could also put a little dazzle into each character by using some sparkly, puffy paint.  Draw dots or lines or whatever your kids dream up.  The large set that I’ve always dream of ends up being overwhelming to build.  So I found an idea using cardboard or a shoe box.  Cut-out a large rectangle in the lid of the box.  Cover with inexpensive felt from Walmart or your local craft store.  Add ribbon or other embellishments for decorations.  Set up the box, pop some popcorn and you have your own home theater!

***School has already been canceled for tomorrow and mostly likely Wed. due to the impending Blizzard.  I think we might give this a try and then I’ll have pics to share!***

#6  Horizontal snowman: As long as the temps are too low and you have snow on the ground…make use of it!  Of course you can stick with the traditional snowman where you roll the three balls but last year we ended up with quite a few cold snows where the snow just would not pack.  Instead we would make three hills of snow, one small, one medium, and the bottom would be the largest.  It sure did help turn some frustrated frowns upside down!

Mr. Laidback...The Horizontal Snowman

#7 Snow Fort: If you live out in the country and have access to a tractor or Bobcat you’ve got the beginnings of a fun, filled fort.  Now, even if you live in town or do not have access to a tractor look for nearby ditches where the snowplows will sometimes live a nice mound of snow.  Even if these aren’t options, you are not out of luck!  As long as the snow packs you can roll three or four enormous snowballs.  Set them each next to each other and find a sheet of plywood for the roof.  My kids love to use their hills of snow for sledding and when they grow tired of that they begin to dig tunnels.   Our hills can get so big that tunnel digging is only allow with an adult nearby, just case something would cave.   My favorite is when they build slides that go down into their fort!!

This is a pic from our last major snow storm.

***My hubby is stoked about tomorrow’s snow storm.  He is already planning where he’ll place the pile.***

#8 Fort building without snow: When there isn’t snow on the ground (which hasn’t been very common this year) the kids will head down to our storage shed for a ‘roll’ in the hay.  Willis must be adequately medicated prior to doing this but they are never disappointed with the fun.  So you don’t have a hay shed or barn?  That’s alright!  Grab as many blankets as you can and get ready to move some furniture.  Your family room can quickly be transformed into the coolest fort on the block!

#9  Search and Find/Name Game Decorating: Long name, tons of fun!  A really neat way to decorate your home is by creating a unique picture frame which contains every letter in your last name.  The letters are found around town, in the country, house or where ever.  As you find each letter, stop and take a picture.  Edit using your favorite software (Photoshop Elements is inexpensive compared to the full version, or go to piknic.com for free software.)  Print the pics and frame each individual letter.  Display on the wall and wade through all of the compliments you’ll receive!  I might work on this one tomorrow!

#10 Library Day, with a twist:  Going to the library is another great way to spend quality time with your kids.  Many offer wonderful children programs, story time, etc…  If you are like us and only have a small library to your disposal you can play library at home.  Don’t get me wrong, I love going to our one room library that’s about the size of my dining room and kitchen combined.  It reiderates the fact that we live near one of America’s all-time true Mayberry’s.  And, I LOVE it!  However, there aren’t the programs you find at larger libraries.

At home you can play library, killing three birds with one stone…it can be done!  Pretend you are librarians going through all of the on-hand books.  As you go through them keep your favorites but make a stack for a local child care center or crisis pregnancy center.  Make sure you give the kids a little fun by “checking” out a couple of their books!  Entertainment, organization and giving.  I like it.

I had originally planned to post this last week but wasn’t ready.  Boy am I glad it wasn’t!  I hope these tips help those of us who will be stuck a home with three little boys…two of which want to wrestle, constantly.

Happy Snow Day to those receiving all of this wonderful snow!!

The Making of a Cookbook

**Special note…Tuesday’s Top Ten Tips will be about combating Cabin Fever in your children.  Check back tomorrow!!***

Last week, as the co-chairperson, I was part of a group of women who completed the making of our first school cookbook.  Although it was a relief to have it complete, I did enjoy the process and would do it again.  We worked with Morris Press on the project and look forward to seeing the final product.

It was a fairly simple process to enter recipes however, their system works best with Internet Explorer.  As a Firefox user I ran into a few hiccups such as making changes to recipes to then find the changes weren’t saved.  I bit frustrating after spending a great deal of time entering recipe after recipe.  Another disadvantage I found was the inability to submit our class recipes.  Each class was given a task of creating a special recipe: A recipe for Love, a recipe for building a snowman, a recipe for a scarecrow, a recipe for learning, etc…  Due to the lack of food ingredients they would not accept these unique recipes.

We were impressed with the pricing and selection of free designs.  There are various layout choices, font choices, divider choices, a free list of kitchen tips and a free list of contributors.

We saved $0.25 per book by typing the recipes ourselves.  It was simple to do.  We found many mistakes or blips from contributors…issues that someone at Morris Press would not know how to deal with doing.

Tips for making a successful cookbook for your organization or school:

  • Use TypNSave software to enter recipes
  • Designate groups specific types of recipes.  For instance, our pre-K classes brought in appetizers, Kindergartens brought in Soups and Salads, 1st Side dishes, and so on.
  • Set guidelines ahead of time…such as measurement abbreviations.  They provide suggestions on each page for abbreviations.
  • Have a typing party!  Get a group of gals together with their laptops and type away.

It is rewarding to know that the proceeds from the cookbook sales will be given to our school’s playground equipment fund…our equipment desperately needs replacement.  Next, we begin our marketing plan….

Have a Happy Monday and great week!!

Snow is on its way, ugh, a neighbor just had robins in her yard.  That’s early for us…but doesn’t that mean spring is right around the corner??  Why are we getting 10 inches of snow?

 

What you need to know about my teeth…

Something I guess I don’t tell many people is that I’m obsessed with my teeth.  Two other things to note is that I am a terrible teeth grinder during sleep and I have receding gums.  One of my life-time goals was to not have a cavity before I was 30.  I reached that goal then decided I would change it to 35.  Then it happened.  A year and about 9 months ago I chipped a tooth while eating and it had to be fixed.  My dentist, who is well aware of my crazy business, said it would not count as a cavity.  SCORE!  It was broken off after all and I had gotten in there soon enough that a cavity had not started.  Most likely it had originally cracked due to the grinding and then the buffalo meat I was eating was the last straw (another story for another time).  I know this might sound like useless information and it probably is but stick around to the end of my story…that’s where it gets real fun!

A few months following this tragic moment in my life, I happen to notice that #6 (see what I mean) had something on it.  That’s the tooth right behind your eye tooth on the right-hand side.   Right now you are either thinking this chic is wacko or hmmm, interesting information.  Am I right?  Unfortunately, #6 showed his bad side right before fair time and it was about a month before I was able to get into my dentist.  It was a sad, sad day.  My first cavity at age 32.  For days, I agonized over having a needle stuck into my gums.  I asked several people about what to expect.  Not a one told me that they numb your gum with an ointment BEFORE they stick the needle in…joke was on me.  It took me a while to get over the whole situation…I mean come on, I’ve worked very hard to get this far…ask my mom, she knows better than anyone.

Life’s been going along and I had no other complaints.  I have my 6 month routine check-up in about two weeks.  When baaam!  Something was up with #13 or #14.  I couldn’t tell which.  My gums were a little swollen and it was very tender to chew.  My initial thought was there was something stuck in between.  I began flossing when something resembling tooth came flying out.  You might want to stop here if you get grossed out over things like this.  I decided just to be safe I’d check again.  I was amazed at how much was stuck between the two teeth.  I didn’t think too much more of it, except that it was odd.  I didn’t put two and two together…are you saying “duh!”  Although the first piece resembled tooth, I honestly didn’t believe it really could be.  Plus, the pain went away the day after I flossed.  I passed the cold and hot sensitivity test with flying colors and it only hurt when eating.  I thought I was in the clear.

Fast forward a week…pain is back, flossing is causing bleeding, severe pain when chewing and sharp pains shooting up towards my head when not eating.  Not a good signs.  I got right in to the dentist.  The moment I opened my mouth he said, this is bad, something is broken.  I relayed the information above and said when the part which looked like tooth came out I thought “NO WAY!”  My fairly conservative and serious dentist says “WAY!”  I thought I was talking to a surfer.  After that, the news just kept on getting worse.  I was sent away to a specialist.

Yesterday was the day and I can say that I survived my first root canal.  The x-ray showed that 1/2 of the inside part of the tooth was gone.  The “endo whatever his title is” specialist opened it up and said this is an extremely bad cavity.  He couldn’t get over how much stuff was stuck into this open pocket.  What started as a cavity in between the two teeth grew into a hole which was then packed with food, bacteria, etc…GROSS!!!

Today, I have a temporary filling, about 1/4 of my tooth left (on the inside), and can only chew on my right-side for the next 6-9 days.  I’ll need to go back to the dentist have the temp filling removed and a permanent one put in, crowned and then covered with porcelain (is that really safe).

Here is the funny part….So I’m without children and in the big city.  I need to renew my driver’s license.  I pay, they put a sticker on the back of it and I’m out the door.  Why not kill two birds with one stone?  So I went in and passed the vision test, answered the questions about whether I drink and drive, do drugs and drive  (I do not do either, I don’t even drink more than once a year, if that, but seriously, who is going to answer yes to those questions).  I paid my money and was told to sit down next to the testing area.  I was kind of nervous because I’ve never had to take a test at a driver’s license facility.  In high school, if you had an A+ in the class you automatically received your license and did not have to test at the facility.  So I was due.  A few minutes went by and they call my number.  I’m escorted to the testing area, passed the testing area, started getting confused, turned a corner leading right into the photographer’s area.   Say what??!!  Unless they change the design of our state’s licenses you don’t have to have your picture taken.

***Note to self, check to see if a new picture is required before renewing your license, especially if you plan to go right after a root canal.***

The guy at the cameras was super nice and understanding.  He wasn’t sure if I’d like the way it looked.  From his description, I was imagining my face looking like the joker.  He asked the nearest gal, sitting in another area, for her opinion.  A younger girl mid-20’s.  She thought I looked just fine and said, let me quote, “who cares anyway, I don’t care how I look on my license, it doesn’t matter.”  I thought, alright let’s go for it.  How did it turn out?  Um, I look a little out of it but what’s done is done…who cares after all.  Right?

Then the guy calls for the next number…it was the same girl and here’s how it went down…

Guy: “Ok, have a seat.”

Girl: “Huh? For what?

Guy: “Um, your picture.”

Girl: “WHAT?!?!?!?! I have to get my picture taken???!!!! I wasn’t prepared for this at all.  Like, seriously?  I haven’t even done my hair, wait I have to put on some lip stick, OMG WHERE IS MY LIPSTICK!”

Guy:  Tries so hard not to laugh, bless his little heart!

At least I could bite my tongue and not feel it!!  :0)  Happy Friday!!

 

Become a better dairy shopper…here’s how…

Submitted by Susan Anglin – My first Guest Blogger!!!! I’m so excited…can you tell??

I’m delighted to introduce Susan Anglin of Anglin Farms and The Spotted Cow Review.  She is such an inspiration and motivator in the dairy industry.  These are trying times for dairy farmers and Susan works hard to keep everyone going.  My favorite quote from her blog:

“Faith, family, farm–my life is full of truth, treasures, and transitions.”  So true.  And without further ado…

Dairy Shopping Tips

American consumers are enjoying the safest and most available food supply in the world, but it does come with increasing cost. As a dairy farmer and a consumer, I am concerned with the rising price of oil and what it is costing us on the farm and at the grocery store. It would be logical to think when the price of milk goes up at the grocery store that dairy farmers are making more money. Unfortunately, the dairy farmers are not putting more money in their pockets. The final price that we pay at the grocery store includes the increased fuel costs in transportation, packaging, and distribution of the product. Here are a few tips to remember when stretching your food dollars and shopping for dairy foods:

  • All packaged milk is safe and antibiotic free
  • Generic or store brands are usually cheapest but have same nutritional value as name brands
  • Check the date when purchasing; the date on the package is the last date for the store to sell it; milk stays fresh 5-7 days after being opened
  • Store milk at 36-40 degrees
  • Buy milk by the gallon
  • Buy low-fat, plain yogurt by the quart, flavor it yourself and use it as an ingredient for healthier recipes
  • Buy cheese in block form and shred it yourself

You can find more information about dairy nutrition and the added value of dairy to your diet at http://www.dairymakessense.com/ and http://www.midwestdairy.com/.  Do you have any other dairy shopping tips to share?

Thank you very much Susan!!  Please follow Susan at her Blog “The Spotted Cow Review” at www.anglindairy.net.   I met Susan at the iBlog conference this past fall and had a ball sharing stories with her and the other gals.  I even overlooked the fact that she doesn’t milk Jerseys…the very best breed!!  That’s hard for me to do! ;0)

Extra-curricular or Farmopoly?

I’ve always said I wouldn’t be that parent who pushes my kids into too many extra-curricular activities.  “They will only have the option to be in 2 or maybe 3 activities,” said The Magic Mama, 10 years ago.

But here we are juggling two activities which could each be considered 3 activities on their own – Cub Scouts and 4-H.  Additionally, Pickle’s baseball practice begins in mid-March (the older kids started practicing a week ago – it’s JANUARY and a summer league.)  In the summer will be juggling Pickle’s baseball games, Willis’ t-ball games, getting animals broke to lead, 4-H projects ready for the 4-H fair, swim lessons and let’s not forget Cub Scout camp.  That’s not to mention baling hay and all of the other tasks that come with farming.  The summer will come to an end with showing at fairs and football practice.  Then school starts, a new year of Cub Scouts begins along with football games and a new year of 4-H.  And, we made Pickle give up playing basketball and Willis playing soccer this winter.  Let’s not forget there’s a third child being shuffled in the middle of all of this.

Look at how serious he is...at age 6 he won a radio interview, family tickets and opportunity to throw the first pitch out during a minor league baseball game. All because he said he wanted to be Albert Pujols when he grows up.

They LOVED swim lessons...too bad we didn't have enough time to take a second session.

Recently, I’ve been feeling burnt out.  It might be that I’m anemic again or the continuous loss of friends and family members.  In the last two years we’ve lost three of our own grandparents, my step-dad, both of my sister-in-law’s moms (both from cancer and at young ages), my mom’s neighbor who watched me grow up, a friend from high school and a friend who lost her 4 month old baby.  Between Dec. 23rd and Jan. 2nd of this past year, my younger sister-in-law’s mom lost her battle to pancreatic cancer, our next door neighbor lost his mom and a friend who was just married on Dec. 11th, lost his 47 yr old mother-in-law to a massive heart attack. Then three days ago an old friend/acquaintance was killed in an accident.  After all of that you start you realize you’re getting old and time is precious.  You start to question, is this REALLY suppose to be happening at age 33?

We spend so much time running around, fighting because we’re late and can’t find this or that.  I’m questioning if it’s worth it and what is the point?  It’s kind of like my favorite line in the Cars movie…”instead of driving for a good time, we drive to make good time.”  Where’s the enjoyment and family time?

The irony behind it all is we can only be faulted for saying no.  Not for pushing, persuading or even offering these activities.  So I wonder are our children in these activities because they really want to be involved?  Or, is there a new-age version of peer pressure among kids these days?  In which case we really can’t complain.

While reading a blog the other day I was enlightened.  It was another mom who had recently made the choice to home school.  She had all of these dreamy expectations which I’ve had myself.  Those expectations were quickly thrown out the door and replaced with meeting new children.  She began to learn things about them that she never knew existed….she was able to spend more quality time with them as a teacher and they had more time for traditional play.

So besides their extra-curricular schedule, what do I truly know about my children?  As I try to answer that question I will continue to reassess how we spend our individual time and more importantly, how we should be spending our family time….in extra-curricular activities or at home playing Farmopoly?

This was one of the best Christmas gifts ever! We've spent more quality time together and the kids are learning to watch their money...otherwise, Big Daddy's gonna take it and your farm too!

Yes, I choose to be the cow, what else would I choose, the pig?  I'm stuck in the drought (instead of jail).  Such a fun game!

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.

Deer or No Deer? Or, dear?

Tonight at 5:26pm, deer hunting came to end until next fall.  We have 5 different weekends from mid-November until mid-January.  Before first season I said, “This is going to be my year!”  And, it probably would have been if I didn’t have what my pesky, goodhearted,  brother-in-law calls “deer fever.”

My first mistake really is out of my control.  BUT I have and will continue to practice.  I stink…I mean really stink at estimating distances.  I thought my target was at approx. 170 yards.  Knowing that my firearm was shooting a little lower than where it was sited in, I took my shot a tad bit higher.   After it was over we took the range finder out and determined the target was actually closer to 150 which would have been right on had I not added that “tad bit.”  First lesson re-learned, always carry your range finder!!

On my next attempt things were really slow and there was nothing in sight.  I continued to check in between the bales but was keeping from standing up completely.  I had reached the point of peeing through my long-underwear, jeans and camo, insulated, Cabela’s bibs.  No, thanks.  I got up to leave the blind and there he was.  Right on the other side of the main bale.  Urgh!  He was spooked and jumped over the fence to the neighbors ground.  That gave me the motivation to stay.  Just 10 more min. I could do it!! I think I can, I think I can.  Well, I couldn’t and got up to leave.  As I began walking away I realized the buck had jumped the fence and laid down just on the other side. URGH!!

At my third opportunity was a romantic date night in the blind…romantic for us.  We had a babysitter and went hunting together.  I was trying not to put a damper on the mood but I was irritated with myself after prior attempts.  With that said, I had really gotten myself pumped up for this go around…maybe too much.  I wanted to get one so bad that I stirred up every ounce of anxiety in my body.  Although it was controlled as we patiently waited for supper to appear, my nerves went out of control when my prey came into sight.  My biggest fear was spooking the deer before I was able to get myself into a steady position.  Unfortunately, I was on the wrong side of the blind and it’s not easy maneuvering two people in a small space with two firearms.  I got over to the other side with my hubby instructing me to brace my body against the corn bale before I took the shot.  As any good wife would do, I didn’t listen.  The barrel was making circles and I missed all three shots. Ugh!  Hence, “deer fever”.

So my “deer fever” has continued over the last two months and sadly tonight was my last chance.  In order to get a deer, you have to see a deer.  And, I did not.

Squirrel and Turkey seasons are next! And, next fall is another season.  The best part is my dearest hubby has taken on a lot of the cooking and cleaning so that I can have time to hunt.

So even though I didn’t get a deer, I have a wonderful dear!

Forget-me-not Flower Arranging at 4-H

So last night was Pickle’s monthly 4-H meeting and I left the evening yearning to be a young 4-H’er again.  Pickle choose his club because it was his daddy’s…which I think is pretty sweet.  The club meets in a nearby town, out of our school district, where my hubby grew up.  I lived there for 2 years but have lost touch with many friends.  We are both meeting new people and I’m re-connecting with old acquaintances.  Last night, while riding in the fanciest semi-tractor he’s even seen, he finally got to know his first two ‘friends.’   Yay!

The meeting was called to order, treasurer’s report, minutes, etc…then came the demonstrations.  The boys went first since they were headed out to see the semi.  The first little guy made electricity from a potato…way neat!  The next demonstration was the ice breaker to one of Pickle’s new friendships.  A demonstration about firearms.  I’ve never seen the boy so focused and attentive.  (At the last meeting his other new friend did a demonstration about trapping…a rapport was immediately built.)  Then the guys took off and the girls stayed behind to hear one more demonstration from a little gal who was making brownies.  My mind began wandering and reminiscing.  The club to which I belonged was all girls.  Lots of demonstrations on baking, quilting, sewing, knitting, arts and crafts, etc…  One of the best ever that I think about often as I bake, giggling as I go, was a how NOT to do a demonstration on baking cookies.

Two girls worked together…one demonstrating the proper way to bake – hair tied back, hands washed, ingredients prepared, recipe in hand, correct measuring utensils, etc…  The next demonstrator had dirty hands, hair dangling in the batter, chomping on some gum which was then accidentally dropped it in the batter.  The gum was picked up followed by digging a dirty finger into the batter for a taste test.  Yum-no!  The final scene had the audience rolling when she ‘borrowed’ (without asking) baking soda from the other gal.   As they fought over the box, it opened sending soda flying everywhere, some landing in the bowl, a puff in the air and an unrehearsed covering of the ‘not-so-proper’ baker’s face.  I was hilarious!  (If I don’t say so myself.)   We had a blast doing that demonstration!  I had a blast in 4-H and credit those years for the person I am today.

Now, back to reality…the brownie demonstration came to a close and it was announced that a local florist would be teaching the girls about flower arranging…my heart went pitter-patter.  I had forgotten how much I love to arrange flowers.  A little known fact you probably don’t know about me is that in college I took a semester course on flower arranging.  It came in very handy for our wedding.  I did the arrangements for the reception.  If only I could master growing the flowers.

I’m no green thumb…in fact, I’m more of your purple, black and pink thumb variety that’s been hit by a hammer.  I pretend to be a gardener who designs beautiful landscaping around my matching wrap around porch and home.  If you’ve talked to my neighbors, you’ll understand why I should just stick to arranging the flowers and not growing them.

So many choices of colors and textures.

After watching the florist make up a couple different arrangements, each girl made their own.  As I watched the girls go crazy over the flowers it made REALLY want to have a little girl.  It was so much fun to see them squealing with delight.  Unfortunately, the meeting did need to come to an end.  What better way to conclude the workshop with the throwing of a wedding bouquet!  What fun we had!  The girls left with smiles on their faces and an arrangement in their hands.

I left running for the truck so I could get home and look online for open floral assistant positions.  You, know, in my free time.

Oh, and the boys had a great time too.  :0)

The Flu during Christmas

One month ago, I was brewing with ideas but lacked motivation as I juggled an increased workload, the house, volunteer responsibilities, outside chores, etc…  The day before my last post, my mojo began cranking and I was ready to unleash my ‘special’ Christmas plans.

Christmas Day was the one year anniversary of my step-dad’s fatal, construction accident.  It was important that I make the day a happy, unemotional day for all.  My side of the family is strongly dedicated to honoring long-time traditions.  One of which is to celebrate Christmas at mom’s house with the same type of Christmas tree every year.  After the opening of gifts we would always had a brunch with our traditional, doughy, Swedish Christmas bread called Jule Kage.  Every year my mom would attempt to achieve an evenly, baked bread.  Each year we would eat only the outsides of each loaf due to the center of raw dough.

This year would be significantly different as we invited everyone to begin a new tradition of Christmas at our home.  I was pumped as I was given the chance to bake the coveted Jule Kage and to have the freedom to try some new foods.

 

Using a clothes pin and twine we decorated the kitchen with Christmas cards.

I also wanted to have the house nicely decorated but not overboard with respect to my mom.  For a couple of years now I’ve been wanting to try a new way of displaying our Christmas cards.  Using twine and clothes pins, we hung each card from the twine and draped the top of our kitchen walls with the twine.  Not only did it bring the mood of Christmas into our home, it also became a game.  Everyday I would get the mail, grab the cards and quickly hang them.  In the evening, everyone would try to guess which cards were new and then we’d enjoy looking at the pictures of our friends.  Everything was going smoothly as we approached Christmas day.

 

Although I try to purchase gifts throughout the year, there were several I still needed to mark off my list.  So one night after my hubby arrived home from work I took off on what turned out to be a very long night.  My mom was doing the same but in different towns.  We would call each other, looking for ideas, checking for duplication, comparing prices, etc…  At the first phone call I noticed a bit of a tickle in my throat.  As the phone calls went back and forth the tickle grew to a cough.  I went to bed very late that night and took a nap the next day.  When I awoke my voice was gone but in it’s place was a horrible sore throat.  During the next 24 hrs. my cold symptoms continued to increase.  Then the fever started.  I patiently waited for my hubby to arrive home with cold medicine since I had run out earlier in the day.  Before I knew what was happening or what to do I was running a fever of 104.8.  I was calling him for help but he couldn’t understand what I was trying to tell him.  I tried calling my doctor but called the pediatrician’s number.  Thankfully, the nurse helped me.  From the symptoms he felt it was probably influenza and suggested I get the fever down immediately or go directly to the ER.   Had I known how dangerous it is for an adult to run a fever that high, I would have found someone to take the kids and take me to the ER.  Instead I waited for the cold meds.  It took a couple of hours and standing outside but eventually we got it below 104.   By the next day it was safely running around 102.

Needless to say, my plans didn’t go according to plan.  Looking back, it was probably a blessing in disguise because it gave my mom something to take care of on Christmas Eve and Day.  I wasn’t able to make the Jule Kage but the

The boys making Christmas bread...a.k.a. Jule Kage.

kids helped her make it.  I continue to be tired and still have a cough that just won’t go away.  Everyday it seems to be better.  Luckily, Pudder was the only one who ended up with the flu and it was a smaller version.  All three kids did get their flu vaccines.

 

I still have big plans for my new blog…I’ve just been set back a bit.  I also hope to be back working on Monday morning.  Lesson learned…I do not plan on skipping out on the flu shot again.

Where, oh, where have I been??

I’ve been very, very busy laying in bed, visiting the bathroom, taking baths, sitting in front of our toilet, which I’ve decided needs a major overhaul, going back to the bed, looking into a pan, playing with the thermometer and using a heating pad.  Can you guess what I’ve been doing??

Yes, I’ve been living with the horrible stomach bug that’s rapidly flying around these parts.  It was the worst stomach virus I’ve had in a long, long time and I have no plans to repeat.  I only hope no one else in the fam gets it.  It rates right up there with a really bad Crohn’s flare-up.

This will sound a bit like a Jeff Foxworthyism “You might be a redneck if…” BUT…you know I’m sick when I don’t touch my computer for over 24 hours and I was off of it for almost 3 whole days.  I haven’t eaten a meal yet and am still living on crackers, Gatorade and water however, I feel so much better.  Baby steps!

SO, I apologize for not updating sooner and promise an exciting few weeks of posts.  Tomorrow I plan to “release” something new coming to The Magic FarmHouse.  In the days that follow I also hope to share some magical Christmas thoughts and traditions with you all.  I do have some great Christmas ideas floating through my head at this time, but for now go visit Lacy over at Tatum Tales…she has some incredible memory making ideas!!

Stay tuned!!  You should be waiting in anticipation…shaking with excitement just like a child whose to see the Rudolph special on ABC!