Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas 2013

Oh Christmas 2013, you have come and gone and I haven't wrote about you yet. I've been too busy doing nothing. I'm a little sad to see it over. All the lights, festivities and overly excitable children. Santa was good to us all this year. The kids got what they wanted, and it is all still spread over the living room. I haven't cleaned it up yet and I'm ok with that. Our elf Christopher did make an appearance this year even though I was pondering "forgetting" him. He came in from the North Pole on the night of the 20th which meant I only had to reposition him 5 whole nights before he returned to the North Pole on Christmas eve. Guess what? Three of those five nights I sat bolt upright in bed at 5 am because I just remembered I didn't put him in a new hiding place. Over half of the nights I forgot. Parent of the year here. Ugh. Oh well, they never were disappointed in the hiding places and Christopher is safely back at the North Pole now....away from my absent mindedness.

All Wesley wanted this year was a remote controlled R2D2. This was something that the school offered as the top prize in this years fundraiser. He really wanted me to buy enough fundraiser items so he could win it but I didn't want to spend the thousands of dollars needed to do so (I'm not even kidding). Instead I told him to ask Santa and maybe he could get it for him. That at least gave me a few more months to locate such an item. A big thanks goes out to Amazon for carrying every bizarre item ever created. The result was one super excited kid.

R2D2 has already played a few card games and board games with us and even shared a meal. Right this moment he's upstairs sleeping next to Wesley too. Silly kid!

Greta kept it simple this year just wanting a Mermaid Ariel doll and a couple of other little things. She's easy! Randi went all out this year making awesome animal hats for us. They were a big hit and I'm sure they'll continue to bring joy to all that see them (they sure make me smile!).

I got a special gift this year from the kids. Pink eye. What a gross experience. I've never had it before and just had the pleasure of dealing with it from the kids. Now I get to see it first hand, all the goop and crusties. Eye drops every three hours and no contact lenses (boo). A full week of glasses now and I'm ready to be done with it all. But, of all weeks for it to happen, this is a great one. I haven't needed to step foot out of this house in a full week. Pure lazy bliss. Another full week of the same coming up.

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and have a great New Year!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Burning Lungs

A few weeks ago the local evening news put together a piece about snow pictures and how nearly all the viewer submitted pictures of snow accumulation are taken of their deck, or patio furniture or grill covered with inches upon inches of snow. Then they started showing picture upon picture of viewer submitted photographs to prove their point. It was really quite hilarious. Apparently after a snow storm every human likes to take their camera and, from the warmth of their house, take a picture out the back window.

I have to admit I was always so jealous. People with snow piled up on their decks and patio furniture. I so wish I had a deck full of snow to take a picture of.

Oh wait! I do now.  (insert giddy laughter)

I should submit it to my local news station.....just. because. I. can.

We got maybe an inch or more of snow, it wasn't much. A nice layer of ice under it. Not nearly what they had forecasted. Which is good I suppose. Hubby took the kids out to enjoy it yesterday. I think he got quite the workout. After seeing this video you'll understand why his lungs burned for hours afterward. This video is after he'd already pulled Greta once. He's superman, I would have collapsed after about 50 feet.

My folks came over last night to feast on a lovely ham and all the fixings and then we finished it up with some really tasty (if I do say so myself) triple berry cobbler. They are going to be visiting my sister for Christmas so we exchanged gifts last night after the kids went to bed. They were very generous and we can't wait to try out our new present.

Friday, December 20, 2013


I'm done. Finished. Completed everything. There is no more Christmas shopping, grocery shopping, no kids to take to school or pick up, no more sculptures to ship out, no parties to help out with, no more programs and no more errands. The animals all have hay and feed piled up, stock tanks topped off. It feels so good! Technically I don't have to look presentable for the next 18 days. What a gloriously lazy feeling that is.

I hit the library with Greta this morning and we stocked up on books, DVD's and games. It should be enough to keep two little kids entertained until Christmas arrives and the presents take over. We used to buy all the new release movie rentals off of Amazon but have found the library to be a wonderful way to keep up on all the newest movies. You just go put them on hold and when they are available they notify you and you get to watch all the newest movies for free. I love free stuff! It's been a nice way to keep our entertainment budget on track.

Oh and I thought I'd share this. I was at the grocery store this morning as well, getting enough food for the next week. As usual I stocked up on lettuce. All types of lettuce: red, romaine, endive, and baby greens. I get to the check out line and the cashier gave me a strange look while ringing up seven heads of lettuce and a giant tub of baby greens. She asked "You got a bunch of rabbits to feed or what?" I informed her that it wasn't rabbits but rather tortoises that all the greens were going to. In the summer those tortoises graze outside or I bring weeds inside and that makes up 100% of their diet. In the winter I have to buy them food. Even with buying seven heads of lettuce a week they are the cheapest animals I own.  

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Tiny singing humans

One of my favorite parts of the Christmas season is the holiday programs. Last night was Greta's program and it was too cute. Little tiny people up on stage belting out Jingle Bells at the top of their lungs, not much beats that. She's got a wonderful teacher that puts a lot of time and energy into these programs and I'm thankful we found her.

I know, I know....this is probably something only a parent or grandparent would enjoy so I'm posting this for her out of town grandparents. Plus the kids love watching videos of themselves.

Her teacher always asks the parents to bring some cookies for after the program. This year I wanted to do something like a whoopie pie but with chocolate chip cookies. So that's what I did. They were (and are) sinful and unfortunately I didn't send them all with her last night, I kept a few for, you know, the kids. Yeah right. I want them for me but I'm trying not to think of them in the kitchen right now. I'm probably going to have to throw them away to keep them from padding my hips (and then pour dish soap on them to keep myself from digging them out of the trash can).

This is the filling (talk about a heart attack waiting to happen):


-1½ cups marshmallow crème
-1 cup vegetable shortening
-1 cup confectioners' sugar
-¼ tsp salt
-1 Tbsp water
-1½ tsp vanilla extract

Monday, December 16, 2013

A birthday weekend

Man, I feel like superwoman after a big cup of coffee. I have gotten so much done this morning it's crazy! I have the big kid home today with pink eye. He's missed so many days of school this year, it's not good. I told Sean we are going to just stock pile the eye drop medicine since it's so common in our house. Poor kid.

We had a lovely weekend. Got quite a few fun Christmas projects with the kids accomplished. They love making gingerbread houses so this year I got the gingerbread village kit instead of the house kit (four little houses vs one big house). This was a good decision, each person got a house to decorate as they wish. It was fun and then they got to eat them after I got a picture. 

 Luckily we were all healthy this weekend. It was the Hubby's birthday and we celebrated in style. We asked oh so nicely if Rich would be willing to watch the youngin's so that we could go have another relaxing weekend at the casino. If you remember we did that for my birthday and had a blast. Well this one was even more awesome. We waited until the last moment to reserve the hotel (since I wasn't sure we'd all be healthy, or if some freak snowstorm would appear and our babysitter wouldn't be able to make it), there were no more normal rooms available so all that was left was this massive king suite. It was at least the size of two normal rooms. We watched movies and soaked in their salt water hot tub. Very cool and very relaxing. It was much needed and much appreciated. We stuffed ourselves at the attached fancy restaurant and finished the meal off with the most gigantic chunk of carrot cake we'd ever seen in our lives (it was at least 18" tall, not even kidding). It was so nice to have some adult conversation and time alone. Happy birthday to my awesome husband, I'm one lucky gal.

We celebrated Thursday evening with my folks and a cake. I even added 35 candles this year, almost burnt the house down (kidding). A big thank you to Rich for watching the kids overnight and allowing us to do this, probably the best birthday present you can give parents.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Happy Friday

If you are like me then you are excited that this week is nearly over. Only one more week until I get to pick the kids up from their last day of school and have them home for a very lazy and well deserved two week Christmas vacation. I'm so looking forward to lounging around in sweats, not waking up at 6:30 and doing all the last minute fun Christmas traditions. We've got a gingerbread village to assemble, the big Christmas lights show to see and at least one movie to go see in the theater (I'm thinking Frozen). One more week, I can do this! Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Thursday's Thoughts

-Wesley was super excited about this morning. You see, this morning is Donuts with Dad at the school. It's pretty self explanatory, Sean takes Wesley to school and they have donuts together. Taking the kids to school is my job so this morning I'm lounging around in my pj's, drinking tea and thoroughly enjoying the morning off. Wesley is pumped to get to ride in the corvette for the very first time. I'm not a huge fan of him riding in the front seat but there really isn't an option with that car. Have fun boys!

-I have a new routine every morning that I'm loving. I take out my little blender and blend together a handful of baby spinach, blueberries, a few teaspoons of chia seeds, a scoop of almond butter and some coconut milk. It might not sound appetizing but it's quite good and it jump starts my day.....even if it looks like mud.

-Ok, I know this is the time of year when our creepy little elf is supposed to make an appearance, but I can't seem to muster up the energy to go down and retrieve him from his box. The kids really enjoyed Christopher last year. They loved waking up each morning and finding him and seeing what he was up to. That made me smile. BUT, I'm tired this year. I'm stressed. I do not need something else to do every single day. I don't feel creative enough to think up some new and exciting place for the elf to be each morning for the next 13 mornings. So I'm thinking Christopher is going to stay in his box up until the 20th (or so) and then I only have to think of five creative ways to display him. Lazy? Heck yea. But I know my limits. See you in about a week Christopher.

-I was at Cabela's doing the last of our Christmas shopping yesterday. I have a confession, I don't love that store. I know that every male on the planet adores that store. Heck, some women even like it. It's an outdoor lovers paradise. Perhaps if I was a hunter, or a fisher, or loved to kayak or ski or camp I would like the place. But there is seemingly nothing in that store that can hold my interest. Or so I thought! Here I am wandering around and ran into a whole display on conceal carry. It had nice leather purses (I'll admit the only reason I was drawn to the display) with hidden compartments built in to hold your gun. How cool! It made me realize I really want to get my conceal carry license. Not because I want to carry a cool purse with a gun compartment, but because I want to have my license so that if I wanted to carry a cool purse with a gun compartment (and a gun in it) I legally could. So that's now on the short list of items to do.

Monday, December 9, 2013


We had a very low key weekend. No big plans, nothing big accomplished. It's very cold so nobody wants to do anything but stay warm inside. I did get out and get the grocery shopping done which is so nice to do without my little mini me in tow. She does pretty good most weeks but lately it's been a bit stressful so a nice alone trip is lovely. I got a little more Christmas shopping done while I was in town too. I thought I could get 100% of the shopping done on Amazon this year, I planned on that. Then I started comparing prices and found that for the most part Amazon is a better deal, but on a few selective presents I had to actually haul my rear end into a store. Greta is set on this Ariel doll that turns from a fish into a human (and sings songs too!) and it was $15 cheaper at Target than online. That's worth it to me. Plus with Amazon Prime (which we now can't seem to live without) we get all the presents in two days. Love that Prime! So I'm about 90% done with Christmas shopping with just a few people left to shop for.

Yesterday was exciting for the kids. Every year the library gets decorated up for Santa's big arrival. They have crafts for the kids to do, write letters to Santa and have a room full of toy trains. We went last year and the kids loved it so I knew we'd be going again this year. They have a professional photographer and this year they gave you a thumb drive full of pictures instead of emailing them (which took weeks to receive, but it's free so beggars can't be choosers right?). I thought they turned out super cute. This year they weren't shy around the big guy and chimed right in on what they want for Christmas. Wesley wants an R2D2 toy (it's some big remote controlled thing....good thing I found one!) and Greta wants a stuffed jelly fish she saw at Target a few months ago.

Friday, December 6, 2013


I think I've successfully taught compassion to my children. Every time they find a bug in the house they gently scoop it up and let it go outside. Well it's bitterly cold outside. Not the kind of temperatures to be releasing innocent little insects into. After all, they took refuge in our house to get away from the deadly cold. So when Wesley came up to me with a ladybug on his hand asking to let it go outside I told him we'll have to keep it inside until it warms up. So he placed it on the table and I covered it up with the measuring cup from a children's Tylenol container. We decided it needed water so every day we go over and lift the lid and deposit a little drop of water on the table. The ladybug goes over and drinks the water. So it's been this way for about a week now. Now our little ladybug gets a drop of honey water or a chunk of banana every day. Then today it gained some company. Three more ladybugs appeared inside. We might have to invest in a bug house to get them through the Winter, especially if they keep multiplying.

I'm starting to think I've also instilled a love of plants and planting in the kids. A few weeks ago they were outside playing on the raised strawberry bed when they came running in talking about the seed pods hanging off the trellis. Sure enough after all the pole beans died off there were some bean pods there that I failed to harvest. I showed them that if you break open the dried pod you can gather the seeds inside. The seeds were dried and at the perfect point to harvest. They were so excited! They each got a plastic bag and started collecting seeds. I explained that we can keep those seeds to plant in the spring. Greta was far too excited to wait until spring so I filled one little Dixie cup with soil and let her push one seed into the soil. A week later five sprouts emerged from that little Dixie cup. Greta must have returned later and planted more on her own. This weekend I planted the seedlings in a large pot by the south windows in the living room and added a tomato cage in the off chance they thrive in this environment and decide to twine their way up the cage. Greta loves to watch them grow and I told her perhaps we'll have some green beans to eat in January. Wouldn't that be a fun learning experience?

Thursday, December 5, 2013


We are all finally feeling better around here. Which is good because it is back to being bitterly cold outside and our furnace decided it didn't want to work this morning. Actually it's not as bad as it could be. Sean pinpointed the problem to the blower motor so now he's on the phone looking for a new one.  It's only down to 67 degree in the house but with it being 20 degrees outside it will keep decreasing rapidly. We have a couple of space heaters running which takes the edge off. Here's to hoping the hubby can successfully get it back up and running before tonight's low of 16 degrees and tomorrow nights low of 8 arrives. Brrrrr.

Yesterday Miss Greta and I needed to get out of the house so we hit the library and then went and got our hair cut. It was Greta's first professional hair cut. I say "professional" because she cut her own hair a few months ago and it was time to get all of that mess evened up. I walked in the kitchen that morning to find little golden curls all over the kitchen floor. I stood there racking my brains trying to figure out which dog had caused such a mess. It took me nearly a minute to decide we didn't own any golden haired dogs, but we did have a golden haired little girl. With her mass of curls it was hard to even notice she'd cut her hair. The hair stylist yesterday got it all cut and adorable and she was a champ in the chair. We got back to back chairs so we got to make funny faces at each other the whole time. I'm trying to grow my hair back out after chopping it all off back in 2011. Slow going but it's nice to have all the split ends taken off.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Nurse Mom

I do believe everyone, including the dog, is currently on some form of medication. I can hardly keep it all straight every day. It's exhausting. I caught Strep from Wesley on Thanksgiving and that wasn't too pleasant of an evening. I've never had a sore throat come on so quickly before. Since my doctor office was closed Thursday through Sunday I decided to visit the ER for a strep check. We hit our family deductible way back in July with the whole Wesley seizure incident, so I thought "Hey free trip to the ER!". Just what I wanted to be doing on black Friday. So this would mark our third ER visit this year (four if you count Rich and the ladder incident). Busy year!

The quick strep test came back negative but the ER doc thought my throat looked like strep especially since I'd been exposed. Apparently the quick test only tests for strep group B, doctor said I could have Group A which takes a three hour test. He treated me with antibiotics as a precaution. Looks like Sean now has it (imagine that).

Greta's pink eye is slowly clearing up. She gets drops every three hours. Wesley gets antibiotics twice a day. I get antibiotics three times a day. The dog gets Prednizone every other day. And Sean? I'm sure he'll be on antibiotics very soon. Will we ever be all healthy again?

On a positive note, the kids are happy and crazier than ever. The drugs are working.  Today we had the most beautiful weather. 62 degrees, sunny and downright warm.....and the first day of December! We got outside and enjoyed it. The kids found boxes and turned them into space ships. They ran around outside in their boxes while whacking each other with the giant remains of the dried up sunflowers. Good times!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Thanksgiving is tomorrow and this year we are celebrating it at home with my family. It will be quiet and low key, I'm looking forward to relaxing a bit. But today is pie making day. I've been making pie's since 8 this morning. Already got the pecan pie made, the pumpkin cheesecake is in the oven and the caramel apple is going in next. Yum! Pecan is my all time favorite though, hands down. I didn't want to make it with corn syrup this year so I searched for a recipe that excludes. Found one and we'll see how it turns out.

This year I'm thankful for so many things. The first thing that comes to mind is antibiotics. I'm so grateful for antibiotics this week. Wesley came home from school last week with Strep throat. So he's been on antibiotics since Thursday. Then Greta woke up yesterday with goop all over her eyes. The goop got bigger and red veins started streaking across her eyes. Yup, pinkeye. Oh goody! So the pediatrician called in some eye drops for me yesterday. Apparently they are the only antibiotic that can be called in directly to the pharmacist without a doctor visit. Good to know.

I figure anytime now I'll catch both the Strep and pinkeye. Please let my immune system keep up.

I was talking to my mom about all the nasties floating around our house and she mentioned reading an article about probiotics and kids. They did a study where kids were given a probiotic supplement for 6 months and they had 70% fewer colds and coughs than the control group. So I sat myself down at the computer and researched probiotics on Amazon. Boy howdy are there a lot of probiotic supplements on Amazon! I finally decided on Buddy Bear Probiotic for kids. It's $12 for 60 chewables (that's $12 a month for us with two kids). I figure it's worth a try. I'll keep them on this for a year and see it helps with the illnesses. Here's hoping! I got Sean and I on Pearls Probiotics as well. These were highly rated, can't hurt right?

Another thing I'm thankful for, that my father-in-law didn't get hurt worse than he did when he fell off the ladder.  He's back to his normal active self. I firmly believe that's part of the reason he didn't hurt himself more, because he rides his bike, kayaks and walks a lot. When he fell he hit the back of his head on the deck boards, rather hard. It was bleeding and bruised pretty badly. He wanted to see what it looked like so Sean took a picture with his cell phone to show him. The odd part about this photo is the diagonal line across the wound. We couldn't figure out why there was a line of unhurt skin going across it until we discovered it was the spacing between the deck boards on the deck, a perfect 3/8" spacing. Yikes. I'm glad he's home in New Mexico relaxing and recuperating with Randi.

I am very thankful for my husband for many reasons. For one, without him we would be spending a whole lot of money at the car mechanic shop. He took the week off and has been out in the shop working on the Range Rover. You name it and he's replaced it, water pump, distributor cap, flushed the cooling system, new spark plugs and wires, belts, thermostat, and all the rodent chewed wires had to be fixed. He's been a busy little bee. Today he finished and decided to see if it would start and it did! It ran beautifully and idled smoothly. Woo hoo! He's sure handy to have around.

I will always be thankful for my sweet, little family. I hope you have a very nice Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 22, 2013


It's 26 degrees outside, there is sleet all over the ground. We are getting ready for our first real storm of the season. I like these kind of mornings. I get layered up, pull coveralls on, hat, scarf, gloves and boots and head outside. The animals really love seeing me on these bitterly cold mornings. I bring a bowl of warm soaked beet pulp for Dym, a head of lettuce for the chickens and lots of yummy hay for all. Stock tank heaters are on and there is no ice to chip. I sit down in the straw in the goat house and enjoy watching the goats tuck into their pile of alfalfa, brome and prairie hay. The minions surround me, their warm little cat bodies curling into my lap. This is one of my favorite places.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

White lights

Last Saturday I read that there were 37 days until Christmas and immediately thought "time to decorate!!". I LOVE Christmas decorations. If it was acceptable I would leave them up all year long. They add a warm and coziness to the house and I especially love having them up for Thanksgiving. This year the kids had a blast decorating the tree and they did a smashing job. It is packed with ornaments!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Gates Gates Everywhere

I'm so excited that this winter the goats have a nice large house that they can go in to stay warm and escape the bitter weather we will soon be having. They had a little area they could crowd into in the past years but it was definitely tight. With the extension we added on to the horse shed we were able to install a gate over the front of the old shed. This will allow the goats (the lowest members of the totem pole) to have shelter and not be bullied out into the rain and snow. I've put down pine shavings and straw and it's nice in there. Rich put the gate up and got the latch installed last weekend as well as making me three more hay racks to install inside the shelters so the hay is kept off the ground. Thanks so much Rich! The goats sure like their new enclosed house.


The goat house wasn't the only house that got a gate installed. We installed a gate inside our house as well last weekend. We've come to the realization that we will have baby gates in our house forever. We had baby gates before we had children, they are for the dogs. The dogs are banished to the hard wood floors and are never on the new carpet. They are muddy creatures prone to random urination, so baby gates are a necessity. The problem with baby gates? You have to climb over them countless times a day. It is a hassle. So when we were at my sisters house a couple of weeks ago and were offered their old hinged gate we jumped at the chance.  I stained it the same time as I stained the deck and it was installed on Saturday. I think it's quite lovely (at least compared to the old baby gate that was there). We all love it! Thanks Betsy and Blake!

Monday, November 18, 2013

A tumble

What a weekend.

Sunday was beautiful, sunny with no wind in the morning. Perfect weather to climb back up on the roof to install the last boot over the remaining leaking vent. Sean climbed up the ladder and then his dad climbed up the ladder. Rich got to the top of the ladder and the ladder slipped out from under him. I was outside playing with the kids and heard the ladder go and watched Rich fall down to the deck. He landed on his back and his head hit the deck pretty hard. It was very frightening. Luckily he didn't break anything but was bleeding pretty good from a wound on the back of his head.

It was agreed upon that he needed to go to the emergency room, so off he and Sean went. Luckily there is a new emergency room just north of us that can usually get you in fairly quickly. They did a CAT scan and found a small brain bleed even though he wasn't showing symptoms. The doctors decided to transfer him to the large major hospital in town (via ambulance) for 24 hour observation. That's where he is now. We are hoping he's able to get out of there today as long as everything is ok. I'm praying everything is ok.

We decided the ladder slipped because of the recent staining job to the deck. Last Saturday, when they were up on the roof installing the other boots, the deck hadn't been stained yet. It's just slippery now with the stain and polyurethane applied. I'm now a firm believer in holding ladders.

Update: I'm happy to say Rich is out of the hospital and back at our house for a little R&R before he heads home for Thanksgiving. I'm grateful he's on the mend, it could have been much worse.

Thursday, November 14, 2013


I'm stressed, tired and ready for the Halloween candy to be gone from my house. The stress is because it's November. November is my busy month for sculpting. Everyone and their mother likes to order sculptures for Christmas presents. This is great for business but bad for my sanity. Plus I don't have the ability to say no. I take on way too many orders and then run around like a crazy person trying to make everyone happy. Last year I didn't take any orders, it was pure bliss. I might do that again next year. I do enjoy all the happiness that my little creations bring to customers, especially those who have lost a pet. 

Other stress inducing things: our little terrier Chance is having "issues". I think I mentioned that he did something to his back a few weeks ago. Well the week on anti-inflammatory meds made him revert to his normal bouncy self. The medicine ended on Monday. Tuesday he started his random yelping and back hunching. Wednesday he was worse, barely moving. So he and I went back into the vet clinic. This time instead of anti-inflammatory medication they put him on Prednisone. It's a steroid and the vet thinks it might help reduce the swelling in his disks in his back. This will be a 15 day trial and then we'll go from there. The next step would be taking him into the larger clinic in town for an MRI to scan his back and I'm afraid we won't be traveling down that path. He's nearly 11 years old. I'm hopeful this will work and we won't have to think about other options. So far a day on Prednisone and he's back to his crazy self. It's amazing how fast medicine can work its wonders.

The time change seems to have me dragging my feet around this house. I'm constantly tired. I tend to get the winter blues and I'm hoping the treadmill will help that. I've been slacking on my exercise lately and I'm missing the many perks of it. Time to get back at it, especially since my children have been thoughtful enough to share their buckets of Halloween candy with dear old mom. Ugh. Darn candy.

On a random note, I was out walking the dog in the front yard and was looking at the koi pond. It looks like it does every fall, full of leaves and nasty brown water. This year we had a bumper crop of baby goldfish born in it and I knew they'd all freeze to death about now. It's sad but it's not deep enough to support fish through the winter and with all the trees around it gets filled with leaves that then decompose and make the water filthy. I wish I had the means to bring all 482 goldfish into my house to overwinter them, but alas I don't (even though I did try that one winter, it involved a stock tank, an unused bathroom and a huge mess). Anyways, I glance into the pond and see a giant fish gulping air at the top of the water. I don't know how the poor thing was still alive. The night lows have been in the low 20's all week. So I ran in the garage and got the net and bucket and scooped the poor thing out. I then checked the filter box (where many fish get trapped) and found three more slightly smaller fish. Now I have a bucket o' fish thawing out on my kitchen counter. I hope the 30 gallon aquarium in the basement can support them through the winter.

Monday, November 11, 2013

A Home Improvement Weekend

Boy howdy am I stiff today. My back aches, my neck is sore and my legs are killing me. Guess what I did yesterday to cause me to be so whiny (at least more than normal)? I stained the deck! I had one day to do it. Yesterday was the one perfect day that I'd been searching for. It had to be above 50 degrees for 24 hours and no rain forecasted.  I'm so happy to get it over with, it wasn't a task I was entirely looking forward to.
Didn't it turn out nice?

Sean did a lovey job is designing and building it. It's incredibly sturdy and will hold up to anything I'm sure. He promises me we'll have stairs coming off of it, but not until Spring. He hung up his tool belt for the season.

Sean and his Dad were busy doing the repairs to the roof that the insurance adjuster told us about. The seals around the vent pipes were cracking and he thought that's were the leaks were coming from. Sean found an interesting way to fix them at the store. It's a fixture that fits entirely over the old pipe and keeps water out. I believe it's called a Perma-Boot.  He put them on all 3 or 4 of the pipes. Old pipe on the left, new boot on the right.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Other uses for pumpkin seeds

I was at the grocery store last Friday and noticed a sign out front next to their huge pile of pumpkins. They were all marked down to a buck. Apparently people only buy pumpkins before Halloween? What happened to all the Thanksgiving pumpkins for pies and decorating? I bought four since that's all that would fit in my car with the load of groceries, dog food and Greta. What am I going to do with four big pumpkins? Collect seeds of course! Did you know that raw pumpkin seeds are a fairly effective means of worm control in livestock?

They are! Raw pumpkin seeds contain an amino acid called cucurbitacin, a compound used to expel tapeworms and roundworms in livestock for years. They are also very nutritious containing fiber, iron, copper, phosphorus and magnesium, calcium, zinc, potassium, folic acid and niacin along with a lot of protein. All of this make them wonderful little things to feed to goats in particular. Heading into another winter I'm trying to make the worm load as light as possible for our older goat Dym. Of course these seeds don't replace chemical wormers but I'm all for trying natural dewormers to lengthen the time between chemical doses.

Greta helped me collect seeds from one of the pumpkins yesterday. We then sliced up the pumpkin meat. The goats were more than happy to eat the seeds and pulp (is there anything they won't eat?). They munched on a little of the pumpkin meat but most of that went to the chickens. Three pumpkins left for the next few months. We'll slice up a new one every couple of weeks and see if it helps their worm load this winter.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Dog Gone Day

What a day yesterday was. It was one of those days were you crawl into bed at night and are so thankful it's over. We had a pretty nasty storm come through last week with high winds and hail. That night we got water dripping on our bed. Now combine that with the water dripping on the spare bedroom bed and some mysterious leak near the dining room that has some sheet rock rippling, we decided it was time to look into getting a new roof. This roof was 5 years old when we moved in nine years ago. I have no idea how long roofs last, perhaps 14 years? So I called our insurance company and submitted a claim. Yesterday they sent out an adjuster to look at the roof and determine how much it would cost to replace it.

I had to take Chance to the vet because he started randomly yelping. He was in pain. The vet gave him a thorough work up and determined him to have a pinched nerve in his back. Probably from jumping off the couch. He sent me home with some anti-inflammatory meds and strict orders to keep him on "bedrest". Which means no jumping on or off the couch, no stairs and so forth. Yeah right! I'm trying to keep him from over doing it but he's back to his old self on the anti-inflammatory medicine.

Anyways, while I was at the vet clinic, Sean was home to talk to the insurance adjuster who informed us that the leaks were just "maintenance issues" and did not warrant a new roof. Apparently the shingles are in good shape, we just have to seal up some cracked seals around the pipes and satellite dishes. Bummer. I was kind of excited about a new roof. The adjuster came around 10 in the morning.

Around 5 last night I noticed the gate to the dog pen was wide open. No dogs anywhere.

Let's just say I said some choice swear words and mentally (and audibly) cursed the insurance adjuster whom I think left the gate open. Sean thinks the dogs opened it. Who knows. Cody (the black lab) and Sophie (the retarded irish setter) had a seven hour head start and I had no idea where they could be. I jumped in my car and started canvasing the area. I was worried about the half an hour of daylight I had left and the pretty busy paved road two miles away from our house. I was just picturing them getting hit on that road at night. I drove around for about 20 minutes and circled back around in front of the house. There I saw a flash of black and found them out in the walnut grove in front of the house. I was so excited! I've never seen wetter, more happy dogs than those two. I have no idea what they did for seven hours but I know they were so sore last night, they hobbled around. They dried off inside lounging on the couches while pulling burs from their fur.

It was one crazy dog day.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Catch Up

This is a catch up blog. A moment to catch up on all the little day to day items that I don't want to forget about. And lets face it, this blog is created so that I don't forget about all the cute everyday things that happen around here. First things first. Halloween. I like Halloween. The kids are still young enough to get a real kick out of trick or treating. This is the first year when Sean and I were able to stand back by the road and watch them scamper up to the door to ring the bell all by themselves. This year Wesley was a ninja and Greta was a fairy. Fun times were had by all.

Wesley had his very first lose tooth a few weeks back. The new tooth was coming in quickly and the baby tooth just wouldn't come out. He was very open to people trying to get it out (everyone except both grandpa's who kept trying to use pliers, he wasn't going for that). I kept using the dental floss method where you make a loop of floss, slip it down over the tooth and then yank. It would get it further out but never completely out. So last week before school I asked him if he'd let me try one more time. He agreed and sat on the couch. I placed the dental floss around the tooth and gave a good pull. Out came the tooth and then it promptly disappeared. I looked everywhere. We assumed he swallowed it. Poor kid was more than a little worried the tooth fairy wouldn't come so he wrote a note to her that he placed under his pillow. She visited that night and left a nice note and a couple bucks. He was excited.

Wesley has decided that he needs money. We've addressed the whole allowance issue and think it's about time he starts earning an allowance. The problem is he's not keeping up on his weekly chores to earn his allowance. He has to do simple chores to earn the money. Things like picking up his dirty clothes and placing them in the laundry bin, picking up toys in the evening and so forth. The other day he proudly declared that he had come up with a new idea to earn money. I come into the kitchen to find this:

He had taken a mixing bowl and measuring cup and taped them to the pantry door and the door leading out to the garage. He said every time Dad and I came in we had to pay a toll. That's how he'll earn more money. I had to give him credit for his ingenious idea. Funny kid.

We spent the weekend at my sister's house celebrating my nephews fourth birthday. We had a nice time catching up with family and feeding our faces on good food. Happy Birthday Emery!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Winter Confidence

Hubby and I have been having a reoccurring conversation lately. It goes something like this:

Me: "Winter is coming up soon and we need to reconsider our current car choices."

Hubby: "Yes, I can't drive the corvette in snow and ice....we need something or I'm going to have problems getting to work."

That is pretty much where we leave it off because neither of us know what to do about it. We have other vehicles but they are just as worthless on snow and ice as his corvette. We sold the one car that was awesome in crappy weather, the Vibe. Why did we sell it? Because it was the back up for the back up car (the conversion van). Which is silly. Perhaps not the smartest move. So that's where we were.

I always said I don't want any more vehicles around here until we get rid of one. It's starting to look like a used car dealership. So we got rid of the Focus yesterday. The Focus was a lost cause. Hubby put a bit of money and time into getting it running, which he succeeded in. It ran. It just didn't run well. So he lost interest and gave the project to his Dad. Perhaps Rich could get it running well and use it as a commuter vehicle back and forth from his travel trailer to our house every weekend (a two hour+ drive). He worked on it and put another chunk of money and time into it and finally decided he was beating a dead horse. So yesterday we loaded it up on the car hauler and dropped it off to be sent through a local car auction. Hopefully someone else will have better luck. I'm just excited that it's gone!

So now enters our solution to the snow and ice issue. We needed a four wheel drive vehicle and low and behold my father has yet another project that Sean was interested in. So we bought it from him. It's a 1995 Range Rover. It had been sitting at his place for several  years so last Saturday Rich, Sean and my Dad went to work tinkering on it. Rodents had decided to chew through many electrical lines so it was a challenge. But after a couple of hours and some true MacGyver fixes, they got it started. Now Sean has his newest project in the shop and he's like a kid in a candy store. Can he turn it into a reliable winter vehicle before the snow arrives? Something tells me yes.