Monday, December 17, 2012

22.6#

Yep.  22.6#

I wish I could say that is how much weight I have lost. Ha!

Nope, this is the amount of meat that is currently curing and brining in my basement in a cooler, because it won't fit in my refrigerator.  This is the amount of pork that I am praying will turn into lovely, delicious, melt-in-your-mouth ham.  This is the amount of pork that I am praying I don't mess up and that it turns out edible, so I don't have to throw it away.

Yes.  You read that right.

I am making my own ham.  And it needs to be ready for Christmas, otherwise, we're going to be eating brats  from the freezer.

Now, this isn't my first curing attempt.  I actually am very good at Canadian bacon and sausage and discovered that the last scary endeavor of bacon, wasn't that scary.  After all, a week and a half ago, I smoked up 11# of Canadian bacon and 14# of bacon, and they all turned out.  I was scared the whole time that the first attempt at bacon wasn't going to work, but it did.

The ham is scaring me, though.  That is a HUGE chunk of meat that I am messing with.

Well, taking a deep breath and carrying on.  After all, the only thing left to do is wait, turn it over in the brine, and hope, before I smoke it this next weekend.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

It Feels Good to be Random

Random could mean a jumble of things thrown together, like when a conversation makes sense to me and my husband is giving me that blank, confused stare.

Random could mean moving from topic to topic without a clear connection.

Random can also be Random Acts of Kindness, which I did today.

I had to go to town for my physical therapy appointment and decided to combine all my running in to one trip.  Stopped at the church office for some scrip.  Dropped off 5 or 6 bags of donate stuff - several bags of toys from when I cleaned the girls' room, at least one of things the girls decided to donate, and some clothes into the St. Vincent de Paul drop site at church. Then, to treat myself, I stopped at the local coffee shop and used part of my gift card.

Since I was given the gift card, I decided to share some of my good fortune.  I left a large tip in the tip jar and I also gave the gal behind the counter $20 and told her to use it until it was gone to pay for other people's coffees.  She gave me the most shocked look.  As I was leaving the store, I heard her telling two ladies that they didn't have to pay for their drinks, that they had already been taken care of.

I left the store with a light feeling in my heart and a big smile on my face.

Sometimes, the littlest things can change someone's day.  It sure did for me.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Trying to Say "YES"

If you think about it, really think about it, it is harder to say "Yes" than it is to say "No."

To say "Yes" is to give something of yourself and we are reluctant to do that.  It should be my time, my money, my gifts, mine, mine, mine.  After all, we're all 2-year-olds at heart with the toddler mentality of mine, mine, mine.

It is much harder to give that Yes.

How difficult was it for Mary, all those years ago, to give GOD her Yes?  Her Yes changed the world and gave us our salvation.

I need to remember that my little yeses might change someone's world, at least a little bit.  It might give a memory, a happy thought, immediate gratification, happiness, it might help buy someone's supper or help give them a warm place to stay.

I'm working on my own YES - because nothing I do is going to give us our salvation, but it might change someone's world.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

No Ordinary Picture

As you can plainly see THIS is no ordinary picture.

In fact, "This is no ordinary pisher.  I made it with LOTS and LOTS uv Love."


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

I Love You

I am loved.

I have proof.

Bug told me, "I love you more than pirates and popsicles."

What Mom needs more proof that that?


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Fixit is Thankful for....

Fixit's teacher sent home an email to all the parents that they had talked about what Thanksgiving was about and what being thankful meant. Then, she asked each of the kids what they were thankful for.  (Remember, these guys are only 4 & 5)

Here are some of the answers:

My toys - James
My house - Conner
My Dad and my four-wheeler - Macey
My moms dinner - Katie
My Mama and Daddy - Fixit  (awwww)

So, we talked about it at home and her answer got longer.

Ready?

Take a deep breath and say this all in one breath:

I'm thankful for Mom and Dad and K and Bug and Marley and superheroes and Grandma and Grandpa and God and superheroes 

I did get first mention, but superheroes got double mention, but I was still first! :)


Sunday, November 18, 2012

HUGE Etsy order

This is what I have been doing for the past week - in between school work, being sick, taking care of the kids, letting housework slide, doing some Ebay shipping and updating... No wonder I'm tired.

I got an order for 50 Christmas puppet kits!

Oh my, of course I can get those done for you.

Umm - call out the troops, go buy more felt, get more google eyes, cut, cut cut, and then sew!

Today, we reached final destination of assembly, bagging, and tagging.  They are counted (no, I've counted them 3 times. I am not going to count them again...) and boxed.  I just have to print out the postage and then get them in the mail tomorrow.

WOOHOO!!!!!

She needs them by the 30th and they will be in the mail on the 19th - okay, we are coming up to a holiday and they are going to New York, New York - so getting them in the mail 11 days early is a must!

Phew!

Pile of bagged puppet kits

Nice, neat rows of bagged & tagged puppet kits.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

I did my part...

Well,

I was #55 to vote in my township today.  My husband was #350.  Half an hour after my husband, my neighbor was #420.

So, I did my part and voted.  My stomach is sick and I have butterflies about this election.

I voted my conscience and voted for my family's future - their moral future.

Dear Lord,
Please let this turn out in a better way than we are currently at.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

300 Milein Dolrs

I came in the house last night from doing chores and a piece of paper was on the table.

It read:  300 Milein Dolrs Sid By S.  (Translation 300 million dollars signed by S. (Bug))

"Hey, Bug!  What's this for?"

"The Betty Book!"

The 'Betty Book' is my Betty Crocker cookbook that I have scribbled in, written extra recipes in, crossed things out or added, dribbled various foodstuffs on....a.k.a. THE Cookbook.

My children have been laying claim to MY cookbook ever since we told them that you can leave certain people certain things in your will.  (We are going through an estate settlement after my Aunt and Uncle passing away.)

Now, her quick, happy response of "The Betty Book!" had me a bit worried.  Was she holding MY cookbook ransom for 300 Milein Dolrs?

So, very tentatively, I asked her, "What is this for?"

Her response, accompanied by her extremely evil, movie-quality witch cackle, was, "I paid you for the Betty Book, so now it's mine. mwa ha ha!"  (To make this even more funny, when she does her witch cackle, it is embellished with her hands held out and curled into gnarled witch hands.)

You know, for 300 Milein Dolrs - that book is hers!


I called my Dad to tell him that I was now RICH!!!!!!  He was laughing and told me to ask Bug (6) if she could make the recipes in there.

Her reply was priceless, "Probably, if not, I'll just wing it!"

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Yarn Along - Oct 17, 2012 First Spinning & I Can't Count!

Ok, it has been a LONG time since I participated in a Yarn Along but I actually got my butt in gear and did it.

Here is the back of the first item that I have ever attempted to make myself, besides hats.
I love the yarn.  It swtiches from the cottony peach and white to a satiny copper and bronze.  I got a great deal on enough of it on Ebay to make myself something.  The decreases worked great, I had the stitch count I was supposed to.  I just added a few rows to it, just so it's a couple of inches longer. 

This, THIS, is the start of the second half:

Yep, that totally uninspiring two rows that I have RIPPED OUT at least 5 times.  WHY CAN'T I count to 97?

Seriously, I do the chain row, do the foundation row of singles, think I'm fine.  I do that first row of double crochet and I've lost a stitch or two.

And that lovely book (er - grumble) is my school book, which is all I have been reading right now.  I working on some accounting classes, but at the tech school, I have to take Microsoft Word & Excel.  I'm really good in those programs, or used to be, but I had never worked anywhere that used the 2010 version, so I have to do the classes.  ugh.

This is what I did last night:

It's terrible, it's uneven, I felt like swearing the entire time I was watching YouTube and trying to figure out how to use the drop spindle to spin.  I had to give it a try, because my husband made me the drop spindle. (Isn't he sweet!)

I don't know if my issues came from the fact that I was using predyed roving that I got a couple of years ago for my needle felting and it really seemed to stick together and I couldn't get it to draft.. I don't know if I'm just a complete idiot and will never figure it out.  It just frustrated me.  I don't know if I like it.  Now that I have it on the drop spindle, I don't know what to do with it.  Right now, it is not giving me the feeling of satisfaction that I imagined. In fact, it's making me rather cranky.

Guess that means it is a perfect time to do schoolwork, grumble.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

God has a Sense of Humor

This is the only possible explanation that I can find for why he made male goats act the way they do.

A divine sense of humor is the only thing that can explain why a female goat would think that:

1. Blowing raspberries
2. Curling back your top lip and going, "na na na na na"
3. Peeing on your own face

is any way attractive, let alone, remotely sexy.

Hey, big fella.  I really like the way you stutter when you get excited.  And man, those little raspberries you blow in my ear....But, the most attractive thing you do, it's gotta be showing us how you pee on your face.  It just gets me in the mood.

Yeah, right!

Seriously, my little brother (who isn't little anymore) peed on his face one time when he sneezed and was going to the bathroom at the same time, and we thought it was HI-LAR-I-OUS!  So, I cannot see why girl goats think that this behavior, more akin to middle school, is attractive, but they do.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

WHY?

Why am I going back to school?  Why am I doing this to myself?  Why am I doing homework at 9:45 p.m. on a Saturday? 

WHY?  WHY?  WHY?

Ok, if you haven't guessed, this is going to be a whiny post, and since I'm pretty much writing to an audience of one, a.k.a. myself, I get to be as whiny as I want.

AM going back to school for a very good reason, even if that reason escapes me.  But honestly, that reason is so that I will be eligible to bid for my own government contracts, instead of having to subcontract through my father.  WHY is this a big deal?  If I can get my own contracts, I can set my own rates. If my father decides to truly retire, then I don't have to make sure that my Dad has a contract that I can work from.  And to be eligible to bid on my own contracts, I need to have experience (which I have) and accounting classes (which I don't have.) 

Hard to believe that after 11 1/2 years of corporate credit experience, that I have never - and I'm pretty sure that includes High School - I have never had a single accounting class.

So, obtaining my Accounting Assistant certificate, and possibly my Associate's Degree in Accounting, from the local Tech College does have a very realistic end purpose.

Why am I complaining then?

Well, you see, even thought I already have a Bachelor's Degree, the local TC has their own requirements.  This involved having to take bullsh.. reading and math placement tests - oh yeah, passed those with flying colors and higher than they had seen recently.  The benefit of passing these classes is that the Accounting Assistant certificate at 30 credits dropped to about 16 credits.  Unfortunately, 3 of my credits STILL had to be Microsoft Office 2010 Word 1, MS Office 2010 Excel 1, and MS Office 2010 Excel 2.  Technically, I could have tested out of these classes.  However, since no place I have ever worked was technologically advanced to be on the latest version of Microsoft Office and I had no experience with any of it, that wouldn't have been pretty.

So, that is why at 9:45 on a Saturday night, I am working on homework.  The kids have gone to sleep. The husband is in the kitchen watching a movie on his computer, that might have been a side benefit - not sure if he went in there to avoid me or annoy me.  Not going to question, because I could work on a 50-page lesson.

All three of this semester's classes are self-paced.  This means that I have to motivate myself to do these stupid assignments before the deadlines.  And to throw another wrench in the works, I won't be able to go in to the testing centers on any Saturdays, since I start teaching CCD next week.  So, the only day I can go to turn in my homework and take the stupid tests, are now Monday nights.

I need to finish 3 more lessons to be able to take the final in Word 1.  That still means I have to finish Excel 1 and Excel 2 by December 10th and take the finals in those classes by December 15th.

I didn't do squat on these lessons until the beginning of October, even though school started August 15th.  WHY did I procrastinate?

It wasn't even procrastinating, ok, some of it was, but I was still working for Dad during August and September.  Most of my work was in Excel 93-97.  I didn't want to install the new Office software on my computer and it change my formatting on my work documents - that would have been a nightmare.

It is now 10 o'clock and I think I'm done whining.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Ugh - Back Hurts

I've been dealing with a sore back for over a week.  The kind where your neck and shoulders are so tight that you have a constant headache and the muscles in your back tighten and spasm.

I'll stretch.  It'll get better.  nope

I'll ice it.  It'll get better.  nope

I'll go to the chiropractor.  It'll get better.  nope

I'll have my husband give me a backrub.  It'll get better.  nope

I'll smell like a BenGay factory.  It'll get better.  nope

I've even tried to lie on a tennis ball to try and focus on the point.  nope, didn't get better

I think I'm to the point where I HAVE to go to the doctor and get a muscle relaxer and real pain pills.  If I could sleep decent for even one night, I bet I would feel better.

And, NOPE, I'm not sure what I did to it.  I first messed it up about 9 years ago, when I tripped over a footstool and instead of landing on my butt, which would have only hurt my pride, I twisted to try and save myself.  Ended up in the ER for that, because I couldn't move I was in so much pain.  Then, about 3 years later, I was stressing out while my husband was deployed and ended up back in the ER.  So, really it's about a 3 year cycle, because it happened 3 years ago, too.  I don't like this cycle. 

This cycle is when I get so stressed over life, put on a little weight (on top of the too much I already have), and move just wrong.  The moving just wrong was probably picking up our new sheep on Sunday to bring it home.

Yeah, I have to go to Insta-care and pray they will give me the good drugs, so I can sleep and things will finally ease out of there.

I haven't been able to do schoolwork, because more than 20 minutes at the computer hurts.  No crafting, because that hurts.  ugh

Friday, October 5, 2012

Seasonal Determination

This is how windy it was yesterday (today, too, but definitely not as warm today.)


This is the pile of leaves that my children managed to rake up and play in.  We live where it is pretty open, so we never rake leaves because we have to.  They usually blow away.


It might look like a pretty sizeable pile, until you realize that Fixit who is now 4 and a peewee is covering the entire pile and it's about 2 leaves thick.


That's why it is seasonal determination, because they were determined to have a leaf pile, on a windy day, when we don't have many leaves.

This is the raker.  She tried so hard.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

What to do with Picky Kids????

Picky kids.

Wait, that is not exactly true, as I only have one PICKY kid.

That would be Bug, my middle child, my sweet child, my "don't-let-my-food-touch" child.

She likes Daddy's homemade bread, but not mine.  (His is better, but it's almost the same.)

She doesn't like weird vegetables like brussel sprouts - wait, neither do I.

She doesn't like homemade stuff, unless she helps homemake it.

I was making homemade goat's milk ricotta last week, which actually turned out very well. I was offering everyone a taste of it and this is the conversation that I had with Bug:

"Try this."

"Nope."

"But I made it."

"Nope."

"Why not?"

"Because I know where that milk came from.  It came from the 'gutter' on our goat.  I'm not eating it. I only eat stuff from the store."

"Where do you think the milk from the store comes from?"

"The store."

"Milk from the store comes from cows.

"I don't see the cow or it's 'gutter,' so the milk from the store comes from the store."

(I didn't tell her that the lasagna we had used most of the ricotta I made from goat's milk.)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Chickens

Chickens.  Chickens???

Why would anyone care about chickens? 

If you don't have them, chicken is a meat often found frozen at your local store, already taken care of and in it's respective pieces - not much thought needed, except for what else you need at the store to cook said chicken.

If you have them, the birds, that is, chickens are a whole topic on to itself.

Really??? you might ask. 

Really.

We were lucky enough to get 9 hens and 2 roosters from our neighbor, who is the process of slowly getting rid of all his animals.  So, beggars (us) can't be choosers.  You take what you can get (for free!) and make it work.

This, of course, was another situation of us getting animals and then building fence, and it is pretty sorry fence. (Good thing the birds were used to being in fence and respect our chicken wire that doesn't always hit the ground and is tied to the fence posts with baler twine!)

And because it's Autumn, greatest time in the world to worry about how you're going to get water someplace all winter.  Not!  Of course we were happy to get free chickens, even if some of them look older than dirt.

When we got the chickens, we were getting about 3 eggs a day - which with older birds, heading into the darkest time of the year, was not too shabby.

Then, life changed.  Another neighbor had too many chickens and didn't want to butcher any of her birds, so asked if we wanted some.

Sure!  More (free) chickens.  Of course, we'll take them!

These 5 hens have proven to be much more trouble than they are worth, especially as skinny, egg-laying chickens.  Thes little bas...... buggers are EGG EATERS!  We went from 3 lovely brown-shelled eggs a day, down to maybe 1.

The nice neighbor neglected to tell us that she THOUGHT she had some egg eaters.  There should be some sort of recourse for knowingly giving away...wait, there is that little matter of free and giving away...  Sigh.

The only recourse we have is to butcher those little buggers before they teach this HORRIBLE habit to any of the other birds.

So, we butchered two birds the weekend before this one.  Hoping that we had managed to catch the culprits.

Alas.  It was not to be true.  So, this next weekend, we're going to have to take care of the other three.

To top it off, these darn birds are not meant for meat, so had very little to give up.  I gave one to the neighbor for him to make soup and I roasted the other one, pulled all the meat and cut it up fine - it was tough!, and cooked the carcass with veggies for a great stock.

I guess even miserable little egg-eating chickens have a place.  The smile I get when I think about it, is when I realize that the best place for them is my freezer!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Toothless

Guess we're going to start calling Bug - Toothless.  The first baby tooth came out today!  (and with only a little nudge from Mom)

And since someone seemed to use the camera for multiple self portraits the other day, I have plenty of options to choose from for the before shots.

oh wait, no teeth in this one
Lots of teeth in this one
ALL teeth in this one, and her cute nose
And then, the great reveal of the toothless wonder:

see, it's that hole on her front lower right
She is sooooo excited!  We've already called Grandpa to let him know.  We've already shown the neighbors.

Luckily, there was only root left on one side of the tooth, and luckily it was on the back, so when we pushed it forward, it actually moved and came out.  I had a horrible time when I was little with my roots not dissolving, so had to have the dentist pull a bunch of my baby teeth.  Keeping my fingers crossed that this won't happen for my girls.

Friday, August 31, 2012

The Freezer Wars

The setting:  A 95 degree day in Northeast Wisconsin.  The house was at a comfortable 73 degrees with the air conditioning.

The people involved: K, the neighbor girl, and me (the "littles" were outside - and that was a good place for them)

The situation: It was snack time.  A normal time in this quiet, rural Wisconsin home.  Something that happens at least twice a day during the summer, while this mom tries to keep the ravaging hordes settled.

K headed to the upright freezer to get the last five popsicles, which I considered almost perfect timing - only one day left of all five kids being here for summer vacation.

This is when we went from having a normal day to having the intensity ramp up A LOT!

"Mom, the popsicles are melted!" 

She showed me this popsicle that was liquid. I raced to the freezer (yes, this fat lady can move when she needs to.)  Extension cord still turned on. Freezer lights come on, but things definitely starting to thaw and melt.

Oh, Crap!  We just bought a pig and ALL that meat (to the tune of 200+ lbs) was in this freezer!

Thus started the frantic afternoon. 

I rushed to the phone to call Dad to see if he could run over his big coolers (and maybe take some meat home to his house).  While we were waiting for Dad, it was the mad dash to put as much into the chest freezer as could possibly fit.  Then, race to the refrigerator's freezer and clear out as much stuff from in there as possible.  All the cheese and hotdogs in the house are now in the fridge.  All the buns from the freezer are on the counter. The myster containers of frozen soup and extra sloppy joe meat came flying out of the freezer, so as much meat as possible could go in that freezer. 

There was still a bunch of stuff left in upright freezer.

Brain goes into overdrive.  If Dad can't come over, I need to call the neighbors to get in to there house and hope they have room in their freezer.  If they don't have room, I'm going to have to fire up the grill and the smoker and cook this meat, because there IS NO WAY that I'm losing any of this meat.

Luckily, it didn't come to that.  Dad came over with a truck full of coolers.  We loaded the meat into the big one.  The rest of the veggies and oddball stuff went into another cooler, along with the ice packs from the fridge's freezer.

It was our fault that this happened.  The frost had really built up, but when you have 200 lbs of meat coming home from the butcher, you need a place to put it.  The thermostat wire was completely coated in ice and didn't register that it wasn't cooling.

Lessons learned:  If you have meat coming home, YOU have the time to defrost the freezer.  YOU have the responsibility to defrost the freezer.  Plus, Dads are still there when you call them, even when you are an adult, even in 95 degree weather when he gets heat exhaustion very easily.

Freezer thoroughly defrosted. Ice cubes froze overnight. Put cooler of veggies and oddball stuff back in there this morning and heading over to make sure those are solidly frozen again.

Before I have Dad bring anything back over to put in the freezer, I think I'm going to rearrange things from the chest freezer and work on defrosting that one, too. Plus, as a bonus, I might find things at the bottom of the pit of despair that I forgot we had.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Crafting Geek Speak

I'm going to join over at Ginny's Yarn Along ... not because I've been doing anything crafty or been doing any reading, but because everyone needs some humor and when it comes in the form of crafting humor, everyone here should enjoy...


I'm not sure if I should be proud or scared that I've helped create such a crafting geek.

To set the stage, my 9-year-old, K, LOVES crafts, especially fiber crafts.  For the past 3 years, for every birthday and Christmas, all she requests is CRAFTS!!!!

This morning, my husband and I were talking about how his request for time off in December started a chain at work of people requesting the same days off.

Out of the blue, K says, "So, Daddy was a slip stitch."

I sat there and stared at her, shook my head to clear it, and asked her, "What?"

I'm ashamed to say that my husband got the obscure reference before I did.  I had to have him explain it to me.

"Slip stitch?"

"Yep, you know a slip stitch starts a chain in crochet, so Daddy was the slip stitch in the chain at work."

Gaahhhh - I've created a monster, but at least she's a crafting monster - I like that one, it's the 9-year-old pain in the butt monster that I don't like.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Monday Musing August 20, 2012



Right now... it is 6:50 a.m. and I just got done wrapping my ankle in an Ace bandage.  I did too much this weekend and I can't find my structured ankle wrap.  SOmeone helped me take it off late last week, and it's been missing ever since.  It would be really sore if I hadn't been wearing a pair of Bob's military boots.  They are about 1 size too big for me, but really work around the ankles.  K is being helpful and making Fixit some breakfast.  Bug and Bob are still sleeping.  Bob has the day off, so I'll let him enjoy it.

This weekend... was busy!  Saturday, Bob and I put in another 100 feet of fence and built the gate for the new pen.  This was a first, building a pen before we had a critter to occupy it. (smile) My Dad has a twist-style post hole digger that I can actually help use, after the hole is started.  It's a heavy son-of-a-gun, but it really works much better than the pinch kind. 

Saturday afternoon, we headed over to Mom and Dad's to pick up the trailer for use on Sunday.  Saturday evening, Bob and I enjoyed a date night.  It was the first time in a LONG time for us to go out with just us.  We started our evening at Fleet Farm and picked up the rest of the stuff we needed for the gate.  Then we headed to Barnes & Noble to look around and picked up a few books.  Our next stop was to Margarita's for dinner - it was so good, but we were so full.  Finally, we didn't want the evening to end, and we were too full to go out to a coffee shop, so we parked in the local Woodman's grocery store parking lot and read our books for 1/2 hour. 

Sunday, we were going to go to church, but I had found fence panels for sale on Craigslist and the lady was going to be gone after 10, so we had to go get them.  Loaded up the kids and drove with Bob and the trailer to a town about 40 minutes away to pick up 9 fence panels.  They are going to work great to build the sides of our animal shelters.  We're not putting in the fence posts for those, yet. For the tops of the shelters, we bought some heavy duty tarps - they used to be billboards, so should last for a long time.  Still working out the exact logistics of it, but it'll work.

Sunday afternoon, we went to pick up our new buckling from a neighbor.  They also let us buy a little doeling.  We built the new pen with 4' sides for the buckling.  They weren't high enough.  When we went back outside to check on them, he was in with all the girls.  Yes, we're going to have to put him in there eventually, but we really didn't want December babies, so we're hoping nothing happened and that we can initiate goat date night more for March or April babies.  I don't think anything happened, because Bell, our milking doe kept slamming into him, showing him who is boss.  Trying to catch him was a whole 'nother rodeo.  We didn't have a collar on him, yet, and that bugger can jump. (Obviously, since he jumped a 4' fence). 

So, now, the buck is back in his pen, with a lot less opportunity to join the girls.  We put Carmel's collar on him, after we finally cornered and caught him, and used the dog tie out to tie him in the far corner of his pen away from the girls.

This episode helped provide the names for the new goats.  The buckling is Knuckles, as in Knucklehead, which was a much nicer name than we were tempted to call him.  The new doeling we got is just a little thing - she was never aggressive enough to shove in to get feed.  I'm hoping only have two other goats to deal with, that she'll grow.  We're going to call her Bitty, as in Itty Bitty.

They are both "used" to humans, but are also used to being in with several hundred other goats, so no petting or snuggling.  Don't think we're going to get "snuggly" with the buckling, since I've had a few choice words for him, but K said she got Bitty to actually come up to her this morning and could pet her.

Some plans for this week...  Today, we're taking a family trip into Green Bay to go to Sam's to stock up. We might take the kids to McDonald's for lunch.  I need to get a batch of refrigerator pickles going with some cucumbers that Dad gave me.  I need to dehydrate some more zucchini and shred more for the freezer.  We also need to help K finish her fair projects and pick up the tags for the fair.  I have a Catechist meeting tonight at church to get ready for teaching 7th grade religion again this fall. 

I have to call on the rest of my appointments for work and try and get them all scheduled this week.  I also have to go in to the Tech College center to pick up my student ID and download the assignments onto my flash drive.

Wednesday evening, at least one of us needs to go school for the Kindergarten meeting.  There is a different teacher this year for Bug, otherwise, we probably wouldn't go. 

We're probably going to try and put in some fence panels for a shelter this week, if I can convince Bob to help me after work.

Saturday, Bob and K have to go to pre-fair judging for her Visual Arts and Woodworking projects. 

If I find some time for myself, I would like to... straighten out the crafting room and uncover some completed projects that I need to list on Etsy.  I would also like to stop at the library and pick up the books that I have on hold.

I am grateful for... my super husband and his indulging me and getting more animals and building more fence.  I am grateful that K's fair projects are almost done and that we've started on the fair book - ugh.  For super-hero-loving girls with great imaginations.

Some prayer intentions for this week... That my Aunt Fran continues to improve from serious pneumonia that was caused by MERSA bacteria. She's been in the hospital for 2 weeks, and will be there for at least another week.  She is finally out of the ICU, the drainage tube has been removed, and they got her up and walking again.  I also need to do some praying to get excited about teaching Catechism again.

Something that makes me smile...  Fixit wearing a superhero shirt from her Aunt Vikki, a sweater from Grandma, the toolbelt from her cousin, and holding a superhero figurine and dinosaurs.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Overheard

"Grrr"

"Roar"

"I'm going to kill you, roar!"

My interjected, "WHAT did you say?"

"I didn't mean kill.  We're playing a monster game.  I meant DESTROY you!"


Without the appropriate context, hmm, oh well, they are playing nicely together... Let's just leave it at that.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Canning, Fencing, and Sunburn

It was a very busy weekend around here.

I knew it was going to be a busy weekend when I bought two 5-gallon pails of cucumbers.  This was probably a bushel and a quarter of cucumbers. 

So, 52 quarts of garlic dill pickles later - the cucumbers are finally gone.  We only had one jar not seal and one jar cracked after going through the canner.  The unsealed jar is in the fridge pickling and the broken jar and contents have been thrown away for safety's sake.

I also canned 6 pints of pickled garlic.  You'd think the 4 cloves of garlic that I have to put into each jar of pickles would be enough for my family when they are going after it.  Nope.  Have to make pickled garlic, too.  Then, went to work on the bucket of beets that Dad gave me and that yielded another 5 pints of beets.  I didn't even have to make the brine for that one - Mom had extra after doing her beets and gave me the brine.

We blanched some beans and added another 3 quarts of green beans to the freezer.  Dehydrated 9 racks of sliced zucchini and need to do some more.  That is so good in soup.  It adds a taste of summer during winter.

I had been (kind of) joking with my "little" 6'2" 300-lb brother on Facebook the other day. He was going to be at my parents' house and he wanted to do some strongman workout.  I asked if strongman workout included building fence.  Luckily for me, he decided that it did.  He dug at least 11 fence post holes, 3 1/2 feet deep each.  Then, he helped us put the posts in and put up the fence.  Not only did we put up about 250' of new fence, we undid some of the existing fence and spread that out further.  The goat pen is at least 6 times the size it was.  Even though my ankle is killing me today and Bob's wrist is spasming on him.

The goats didn't know what to do with all that space.  Carmel zoomed back and forth and then panted.  She did this several times.  What a goofball!

Which leads us to the sunburn.  We built fence for about 4 hours yesterday, and my shoulders and the back of my neck are burned.  The back of Bob's neck is RED!  Luckily, I've seen lots of sun doing stuff outside this summer, so the sunburn just needed some aloe.

Ugh, my body is sore, especially down the entire right side of my body.  That is the side with the sore ankle.  So, walking over all that uneven ground yesterday messed me up.  Woke up with a charlie horse in my calf. My hip hurts. The right side of my back has already been iced this morning. My shoulder is tight and it hurts down into my upper arm and elbow.  I think I have a pinched nerve in my shoulder, because I can trace the nerve path into my arm.  I'm hoping to get to the chiropractor tomorrow morning.

Ok, back to real life and trying to get work appointments for Tuesday and Wednesday.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Quick Takes - the Sunday Version

For blog writing ideas, there is a group that does "Quick Takes," which is 7 quick thoughts of what has been going on in life or what they are thinking about.  I'm too lazy to find it right now, but it's done on Fridays.  So, you can see what life has been like, when I'm doing one, my way, on a Sunday morning.

So, here goes:

1. Had a campfire with the neighbors last night.  It was the perfect night for it, even if it was a little too warm to enjoy the fire.  So, we hauled the chairs back a little and braved the heat to make campfire food.  We made pizza pudgy pies with the great homemade Italian turkey sausage they made. We made reuben pies with my Mom's homemade sauerkraut, their sausage, and thousand island dressing. Then, we made cherry cheesecake ones for dessert with some of the smores chocolate in there - cherry pie filling, a slather of cream cheese, and chocolate.  Might have had a few too many drinks, but just enough to feel good, and it was in our back yard.  Took a shower last night, but still have the campfire scratchy throat and stuffed up head this morning.

2. I've made the decision to take some classes at the local technical college. However, it's amazing how many hoops they make you jump through, even with a college degree.  Ok, most of it is me not deciding to do this until last week, when fall classes start on August 16.  But really? I have to get my high school to send them a copy of my transcript and have to go in for placement tests.  The program I want is either all online or self-paced, where I would only have to go in to the local center a couple of times.

3. Gack, I'm rethinking the program when I looked at how much books cost.  For this semester, courses for the 15 credits cost $2400, the darn books would cost $1006.  Seriously, that's how much books cost!  I realize that most people wouldn't even think twice about that, but I was lucky enough to attend college for my bachelor's degree at a school that rented us our textbooks for $100 total a semester, and you could buy them at the end of the semester, if you wanted to.  So, I was suffering some serious sticker shock.  And it would figure that the only books I could find online at Chegg.com to rent, are the ones that say I need them for future classes, so I would need to buy them.

4. Why, oh why, have I decided to do this, after 15 years of being out of school?  Well, I really love working for my Dad doing the farm audits.  However, to get my own contracts with the government, I have to have an accounting background.  It helps that I've done credit for 13 years and that I've been working with Dad doing the actual work for two years, but to get my own contracts, I need the classes.  I thought about University of Phoenix, but they irritated me.  I just wanted to go for the Accounting Certificate program, and they kept pushing me towards the Masters in Accounting.  That might be something I consider in the future, IF I like the Accounting classes.  So, the local Tech college it is.

5.  I've been reading The Hobbit aloud to the kids all summer.  We will probably finish it this week.  We haven't read it every night and sometimes it is only a couple of pages.  All three girls (usually) stop to listen to what happens to Bilgo Baggins and the dwarves.  I've read it before, but reading it to them is like reading it for the first time, since they just experiencing the magic.

6. December 14th, for Bob's birthday, we ARE going to opening day of the movie THE HOBBIT.  I even have been putting it in people's brains as an idea that they are going to babysit the girls that night.  I don't care that it's a Wednesday.  As soon as tickets are available, I will be online to get them.  We went to opening day for each installment of The Lord of The Rings, and we will do it for this movie.  Ditto for the 2nd half that opens December 13, 2013, right on Bob's 39th birthday.

7.  It's going to be a busy week for farm appointments.  Right now, I have one on Tuesday, one on Wednesday, and three on Thursday.  After supper tonight, I will try and call for at least one for Monday and one more for Tuesday.

There, I've been crazy busy and it's not going to slow down.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Huge Sigh of Relief

Carmel, the goat, is okay.

Why, you might ask, is this important?

Because we had a very scary early evening yesterday.

We have yet to build a bigger fenced in area for the goats to eat more browse, so have been tying them out on dog tie outs in a different part of the overgrown yard for the past week or so and putting them in their pen at night.

Last night, I was just getting ready to go milk her, when the kids accidentally let our dog, Marley, out.  Now, Marley is pretty much a moron, a sweetheart, but a moron, as in her brain stops working as soon as she's off the leash.  Last night was one of these nights.  She realized she was loose and made a break for it.

The neighbor's dog, Mason - a BIG BLACK Lab, saw her running and dashed across our yard.  He is usually very good and stays in their yard.  However, the opportunity to chase Marley was more than he could handle.  (It's worked to my advantage before, because he has caught Marley and kept her in one spot until I could get the leash back on her.)

Last night, this was not a simple game of chase and hold.  Last night, it turned scary.

Carmel, our little doeling, is an escape artist.  She gets out of the pen and she can get her self unhooked from the tie out.  Has never been an issue, because she hangs out around mom and comes right to us.

Well, last night, with Mason (95lbs+) chasing Marley, Carmel freaked and ran.  She was off her tie out, so she headed for the hills, or in this case, the back wall of their fenced-in pen.  Mason couldn't resist this tempting little morsel dashing away from him and screaming.

It only was a minute tops for us, but I'm sure Carmel thought it was a lifetime.  The kids were screaming and crying that Mason was killing Carmel.  I RAN (even with a sprained ankle) to get the poor baby away from Mason.  I was screaming at the BLEEP dog, yelling at the kids to get Marley on the BLEEP leash, and trying to carry Carmel away from it all to check her out.

I was crying. The kids were crying.  I thought Carmel was a goner.  When I had picked her up, she gave the mose piteous bleat ever and I thought for sure I was carrying a dead goat.  The dog had only broken the skin in one spot, and I think it was just a tooth.  Her neck was worked over and so was her belly.  When I was feeling her neck, I just about screamed when I felt something hanging out of her neck. I forced myself to look and thank God it was just one of her wattles.  God, that was scary.

I was really worried about her, because my poor baby had no spunk and was just shaking like crazy.  I spent over an hour outside with her and she just wanted to snuggle with me. 

I was SOOOO worried that I was going to go outside this morning to a dead goat.  Luckily, that didn't happen.

She still doesn't have her normal nutsiness and spunk, but she actually jumped into the window sill in their pen this morning and was trying to steal Mom's grain, so I think she will be just fine.

Mason was lucky that I had to carry Carmel, otherwise I would have beaten that dog.

The neighbors felt horrible and the dog is grounded. 

So, the darn goat has worked it's way into our hearts and we'd be really sad if she wasn't okay.  Extra treats for the next couple of days and extra snuggles for the poor goat.

Monday, July 23, 2012

It Started Out as a Normal Day

Surely, "normal day" was already a misnomer, so that's where we headed from there.

Woke up early to take care of the goats.  First thing that I noticed, was that Carmel had gotten herself out of the pen and couldn't get back in.  Obviously time to wean little miss greedy guss, because most mornings I've only been getting about 1/2 cup of milk.  This morning, I got almost a full QUART of milk.

Then, I took them out to their tie outs for the day.

Came in the house, strained the milk, and went to wash my hands.  This is where the day went down hill.

No Water.  NOT EVEN A DROP came from the faucet.

Hmm.  Bob had just gotten water for his coffee and had taken a shower this morning.

So, now we are waiting for the plumber to come.  No breakers were flipped, but there was a buzzing by the pressure tank, so the over-the-phone diagnosis was the switch on the pressure tank is kapput.

Good thing, just got a call from the plumber and he's on his way over.  Yeah, hopefully on our way back to water.

edited to add:  Plumber was here and gone already.  The relay and the capacitor on the pressure tank had gone kaplow, but they are fixed now.  Now, waiting until we get the bill....  but, we have water.  And he also told me that the amps on the well pump were running a bit high.   which means?  that sometime, might be soon, might be 5 years, we'll have to replace the well pump - which means digging into the well.  Guess it's better to know about it now, so I can start squirreling some money away for it.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Ugh - It's going to be hot and then hotter

We're back into the 90's for the weekend with high humidity.  There is the possibility of storms this afternoon and tomorrow.  We need the rain, but not the storms.

According to the local weather, we've already had 16 days of 90+ weather this summer.  Today through Sunday are supposed to hit 90-92 and then it's showing 95 for Monday and Tuesday with high humidity for the whole time.

Ugh.

We've watched more TV this summer when it's too hot to go outside than any other time, otherwise, we've basically been on a TV hiatus.

To beat the heat, we've had water hose fights, wet sponge throwing, and had the kids drink lots of water and koolaid.

I've also raised the temperature of the AC (still going to go broke with this electric bill) and have a fan running besides the ceiling fans.

I hate being hot.  I don't do well in it and then I feel sick.

Here's hoping the heat breaks and I can kick the kids outside, so I stay sane.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Hard Lesson Learned

or Water and a Crust of Bread.

Since that is was K got to eat Saturday night after lying to me.

I asked if she had watered the goats.  "Yes, their water is full!"

Fifteen minutes later, I had to go outside for something else, so went to talk to my goats.  Their water was completely empty.

I'm hoping that the dinner of a half cup of water and the heel of plain bread (more than I WAS going to give her) made an impression on her that our animals DEPEND on us.  If we don't take care of them, they don't live!  They don't have any way to turn on the hose to get a drink or a way to get the hay, unless we give it to them.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Weaver's Friend 45" Floor Loom

My husband is awesome!

After 2+ hours of tinkering with the pieces of the loom, we HE figured out how it went together and I can picture it working.

Not many people would have let me get this thing, let along let me set it up in the living room, of all places.

And, to top it off, we could only find 4 pictures of this loom on the internet, so a lot of putting it together was conjecture and guessing and seeing where the pieces were worn and try and put things together that way.

Now, I need a threading hook to run the warping thread through the reed - the part that you pull forward to make sure that your rows are tight and even.  The correct term for this is sleying the reed. 

Not only do I have to figure out how to do this stuff, I need to figure out what this whole new language means.

So, I have to sley the reed, thread the heddles, and warp the beam.  Yep, I don't know what any of that means, either!  Guess I have a lot to learn.

on the plus side, since having it in the living room meant clearing a space for it, the hated exercise bike that has been a jungle gym and clothes hanger for the past three years, is now moved to the deck. I plan on putting a Craigslist ad for someone to come and get it for free, possibly for scrap.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

A Day of Firsts and Did I Really Do That?

It was a day of firsts around here.

Weather finally calmed down to below 90, so we had to give the goats their CDT booster.  It was due to be given about a week ago, but I refuse to stress animals when it is that hot outside. 

So, today, we gave them their CDT booster shots.  No biggie, except when I was pinching the skin on Bell's neck, I accidentally shoved the needle through both sides, so we lost some of the medicine.  oops.

Another first was that Bell's hooves NEEDED to be trimmed again.  They were trimmed last time, as far as they could be, but she had to be worked on again.  I wish I had someone who really knew what they were doing coaching me on that part.  The internet is great, but this is when I would prefer a live person with hands-on know-how.  I really worked on them and they look better, still wouldn't be ready for a show, but we're not showing her, so just need to get them decent.  Guess I can work on that once a month or so and keep them in shape.

Carmel also got her first hoof trimming today.

p.s. The end of the brand new hoof trimming shears are really sharp, but as the girls say, "I'm okay."

Then, on to the Did I Really Do That portion of the day.

It's a really good thing that I have an extremely tolerant husband.  I really love him and he MUST REALLY love me, because he puts up with an amazing amoung of garbage and weird ideas from me.

So, when I went to the local Amish store a few weeks ago, someone was trying to sell their floor loom.  K loves to weave and we had been looking at loom for her, but even the small table looms start around $800.  When I saw this, I wrote down the information and hemmed and hawed about it for at least 2 weeks.  I wasn't going to do it, of course it's gone already, etc...

Bob is actually the one who told me to call.  So, I called on it last night.  Yes, they still had it and the husband knew nothing about it.  The wife called me this morning and I got her to knock $50 off what she wanted for it.  Should have started lower!  I should have backed away from it when I asked if she could help me get is set up and started.  Her answer was, "My first husband bought this for me 30 years ago, and it's been in the basement ever since."  Gulp. 

I didn't back away.  I am now the proud owner of a Weaver's Friend 45 inch floor loom, that we can't get up the stairs to the spot that would be perfect for it, because it won't fit up the stairs.  It has definitely been loved.  It's from at least from 1930.

That led to another first today. I learned what the heddles are and how to put them back on the frame.  Now, instead of 501 pieces, the loom is only in 10. Gulp.  Gotta go help try and figure it out. 

Wish me luck!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Monday Musings - July 2, 2012


Right now... 7:09 p.m. and we're watching an interesting show on the history channel on Modern Marvels about rice.  Lots we didn't know about rice.  Bug is trying to read a book and Fixit is "bugging her", so we had to avert a fistfight.

This weekend... was hot and sticky.  We had temperatures in the middle 90s with high humidity.  Yuck!  Saturday, we had the memorial service for my Aunt Anita and my Uncle Dan that passed away in February and March.  It was at least 90 degrees at the cemetery.  After the ceremony (thank you Father John for the short ceremony), we all headed back to my house for the meal.  We got a nice pit ham sliced at the deli along with sliced cheese.  We also had some of my Mom's homemade sauerkraut and some locally made polish sausage.  Not the way you want family to get together, but it was still a good celebration of their lives.

Some plans for the week...  It's supposed to be in the mid to upper 90s all week.  Ick.  Today, I had 2 farm visits for work.  One ended up a little more forceful than I like, when I have to leave a message and tell them that I was showing up at a certain time, but it worked out well.

Tuesday, I have 2 more farm visits, trying for a third, but no one is answering me. 

Wednesday, is 4th of July, but the only thing special is that Bob doesn't have to work.  We have been so dry for the last couple of months, that we have a total burning ban in effect, so no fireworks or fire in the backyard.

I can't schedule anything for Thursday and Friday, because neither of the girls that I get to babysit are available.

If I can find some time for myself, I will . . . Try to get to the library and exchange some books.  I've recently finished two good series Ranger's Apprentice by John Flanagan and Children of the Djinn by P.B. Kerr.  So, I need to find something else to read.  I've been reading The Hobbit at Bug and K are really enjoying it.

I am grateful for . . .  my Dad providing me with a job that I enjoy, but is also funding 3 major things this year:  propane contract that is already paid for, school for the girls at the local Catholic school which the money is in the bank for, and property taxes - which are also in the bank.  Everything beyond that is to sit in savings and hopefully give us a little for next year.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Plumber's Crack

In an effort to be self-effacing, I will tell you a story (not of a man named Jed) from the mouth of babe.  To make it even better, it has the chance to be incredibly embarrassing for me, but I'm choosing to not let it be.

So, here it is:

As a bit of background:  I'm a plus-sized gal with a plus-sized chest.  As a stay-at-home-mom, I can wear whatever I'm comfortable in, which during the summer, is pretty much all tank tops all the time.

Now that you have the background.

We were sitting at the table after enjoying supper about a week ago.  Bug looks at me, turns away, and switches back to look at me again.

"Mom, I see plumber's crack!"

"No, you don't!"

"Yes, I do!  It's in the front!"

So, my darling daughter saw my cleavage and referred to it as frontal plumber's crack.

I guess it's better than being called "Boulder Boobs" like I was in 6th grade.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Goat Pictures

Here are some pictures of the new goats.

Snowbell  is the mother and Carmel is the baby.  They are both sable Saanens - according to Eileen Lamm, one of Shawano County's 4-H goat superintendents.  She was so great.  I emailed the extension to find someone to help trim Snowbell's hooves and disbud Carmel.  The 4-H agent sent back a couple of names and I lucked out when I called her and she told me that she could come over.  So, Snowbell's hooves are now much better - and I learned how to trim them, so I can keep working on them.  Carmel's horns are gone and her scabs will be gone in a couple of weeks.  Plus, she brought along the CDT (tetanus) vaccine and gave both of them shots and left the bottle with us, so I can give them their boosters in a couple of weeks.


These are what happens when you are the only one in the goat pen and trying to take pictures.

Snowbell - see the dusting of gold on her back?

It's really hard to take a picture of a bouncing goat kid

Carmel, the goat kid, and Fixit, my kid

Monday, June 4, 2012

We've got GOATS!!!!

Pictures to come later - since that would require I remember to take the camera out when I go to stare at my critters.

Saturday, the neighbor (wonderful man who managed to find a small cattle trailer for me to use for the price of a 12-pack of beer and his truck!) and I headed north in search of the elusive Capra aegagrus hircus. 

Ok, nothing really elusive about a good ole domesticated dairy goat, except finding one in our price range and just doing it, rather than hearing, "But I've got to build fence."

We still have to build fence, we still need to clean out the old milkhouse, but we managed to borrow dog kennel panels from my brother and managed to set up a nice (for now) area for them outside with a tarp across the back and part of the top for some shelter.

Now, we HAVE to be motivated to build fence!

So, wehave  maybe a Saanen cross yearling doe and her doeling kid.  Snowbell (formerly Snowball is about 14 months old - she is now Snowbell because Bug said she could be Snowball if she was all white, but since she looks like she was dusted with gold she has to be Snowbell) is a friendly girl.  Unfortunately, her hooves are in pretty rough shape, so that will have to be a first order of business is getting them taken care of.

Her daughter, who came to us without a name, through Mommy-arbitration and with Mommy-veto power, is now Carmel, which is much better than the suggested Goat-Goat and Sheepie.  She's about 3 weeks old, a really cute light carmel color, and full of bounce - quite literally, since she has been running and bouncing off the walls.  She's too old to use the disbudding caustic paste (disbudding in goats - not dehorning, because you are trying to get rid of the horn buds), so now I have to find someone to help burn them off.  Craigslist, here I come.

And now, here I go, because I have a momma goat to go milk, that is if Carmel left me anything this morning.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Just Another Day

Managed to sweep the floor this morning (ok, should this be noteworthy, NO, was it - not really, but I'm getting there)  to which Fixit responded by looking at the apple she was halfway through, looking at the floor and dropping her apple on the floor.

She picked up her apple, examined it, and gave me the thumbs up.  Then, I was told that I did a good job, because she could still eat her apple - no dog hair.

She did this on PURPOSE.

Hmmmm - small children confuse me at times.


At lunch, Bug gives me this entirely serious look.  Not just a pay attention to me look, this was you better pay attention to what I'm going to say to you look.  She proceeded to say, "This, this, is just not typical."  But this wasn't said in my 5 yo's sweet voice, it was said in a quite impressive British accent.  I'm still not sure what wasn't "typical." but as I sat trying to figure her out, she cracked up and told me that it was hilarious.

Yep, middlish children confuse me, too.

Monday, May 14, 2012

We're been outside

Like a large percentage of the blogs I follow, there hasn't been much time to be on the computer lately.  A lot of time is being spent on the final weeks of school for 2 of the girls and doing things outside.

We'be had quite a list of things to cross off the "To Do" list:

First Communion & party
May Crowning at church
Spring Concert at school
getting garden tilled (for the first time)
get old chicken coop pulled down
get through a bunch of farm audit appointments
buy more summer clothes for K
find the summer clothes for Bug and Fixit
clean out toyboxes
Spray the fruit trees
Spray Roundup around the house, deck, playhouse, etc
clean out cookbook shelves (this one ended in clean shelves (gasp!) and a full brown paper bag of cookbooks to donate

Now, there is still a ton of stuff to do:

Fix roof on old milk house to serve as new chicken coop
Build fence for chickens
Get chickens from neighbor who wants to get rid of his
Tear apart some of the barn roof that still has tin pieces on, so we can build a shed for the cattle we want to get
Build fence for said cattle
Get cattle
Possibly get a movable fence and get a couple of sheep to have them cut the darn grass
Possibly a milking goat
Finish staining the towers of the playset
Get stain for the deck and start working on that

I've even got the money set aside for at least 1/2 the animals we want, now just need someplace to put them

Fixit and I spent a good couple of hours outside this morning weeding around bushes

Now, if the kids would take a nap, this Mom might be able to sneak one in.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Yarn Along - May 9, 2012

Joining Ginny for another Yarn Along .

The bane of my existence - the blasted blanket from the Bernat Mystery Crochet Along - added another row of completed motifs on to the finished blanket.  I was seriously hoping that 4 rows of motifs would be enough and I could finish it.  It's not, I need at least another row - drat!!!

It was driving me nuts.  So, I started a scrap afghan.  Didn't use anywhere near all of my scraps, but I think it turned out nice as a great big Granny square - no piecing together!  It's the perfect size for a lap blanket.

I'm going to give it to my Aunt Janet who just lost her husband, because it's full of my prayers for her.  I was praying the Rosary the entire time I was crocheting it for her.

As for what I'm reading, I'm just starting Children of the Lamp: The Cobra King of Kathmandu.  I've really been on a fantasy kick and the young adult section of the library is the best place to get the ones that are fantasy and not smutty.

Hope everyone has a great day!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Library

I'm in between appts and using the wonderful wi-fi at my public library and some of their electricity (shh) to charge the batteries on my computer and printer.

I'm all by myself in the little back room and let me tell you, it's wonderful to have some peace and quiet.  No kids screaming and not taking naps. No chores to do RIGHT now.  Nothing to do but spend some time by myself and recharge my batteries.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A Blog??? Really? I Have One of Those???

It's been pretty sparse around here lately, at least in blogdom, because real life has been full of it's own trials and tribulations.

I'm not even going to make excuses, just a list of things that have been going on.

Everyone in the house has been super sniffly - first from blasted spring allergies and now from the cold that resulted from being sniffy ALL the time.  You know it's bad, when you go to the pharmacy and tell them to give you as much Sudafed as they can legally sell you, because you have 3 people at home with colds that can take it.  Plus, I stocked up on cold medicine for Bug and Fixit.

Then, last Saturday was my last Catechism class until next October.  I like teaching - don't always like the attitude from my 7th graders, but I'm glad for the break.

Sunday, K received her First Communion - which is totally blogworthy and will receive it's own post when I download the pictures.  (Totally noteworthy - my Mom gave her my Grandma's rosary - it's beautiful and amazing that she is entrusting my 9-year-old with this incredible gift!)

I've also been busy working for my Dad, so doing lots of farm visits, which thankfully is continuing.

Then, sadly, my Uncle Bob passed away yesterday.  He has been in hospice for the past month and couldn't go any further.  He had been diagnosed with brain cancer and they found that it had actually spread through his entire body.  Please say a prayer for my Aunt Janet for her to continue on without her best friend and caregiver.  So, now we are waiting to find out when the funeral will be.

So, I'm hoping to accomplish something today, preferably enough on the goofy afghan that I've been quietly swearing at for the past month, to post something for yarn along tomorrow.  I'm still hoping to get it done by Mother's Day - means I need to get my butt in gear.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Yarn Along - April 25, 2012

Jeepers!  It's been forever since I participated in one of Ginny's Yarn Along's . 

So, here is what I've been working on - when I'm not working and not getting ready for K's First Communion.

First, this afghan and it's parts have been the bane of my existence for the past two months. 

The different motifs
Sure, fun concept - get a clue every week, then put it together.  Clues, not so bad, actually learned how to follow a pattern a little better and learned how to kind of follow a diagram (not too bad when I work on them together)  Putting the bugger together has been horrible. WHY would anyone make something to be joined. Gack!  Plus, the design at Bernat.com is horrible, so coming up with my own layout.



Well, I'm halfway through assembly and I better get my butt in gear to get it finished for my Mom for Mother's Day.

So, why aren't I done, yet?  Well, I've been crazy busy with working for my Dad, and this is the other reason:   my beautiful new niece.  So, of course I've been making stuff for her.



I had to make her a hat:



which is too big after a certain 5-year-old JAMMED it on her head. (The 3yo didn't even try!)


Here's a better picture of just the now too big hat:

Then, I had to make another hat, which did fit, and should work nicely, since it's in a nice cotton.

Isn't she sweet!  I love those cheeks!
And, I have been doing some thing with yarn, that are just fun.  I'm in the process of making unicorn tails for my girls, based on this tutorial from The Juise.  I didn't follow the instructions, exactly, mainly because my internet was down.  So, I've made this one and I've got one more ready to finish.

Hope everyone has a great day. I'll check out the posts AFTER I get home from the doctor and some farm appointments.  Happy Wednesday!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Delicate Feminine Sensibilites

(follow that corny statement with a snort of disbelief from this Mom)

Ok, we are talking about my husband's girls.

This was a conversion I overheard the other day between Bug, my 5-year-old, and K, my 9-year-old:

"K, did you know that if you fart with tights on, it feels funny?"

To which her sister responded, without hesitation:

"Of course it feels funny, the fart gets stuck by your toes."

Another proud Mommy moment that has to written down and saved, to be used to bring absolute horror upon them later in life.  (evil grin)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Back to "Normal"

or as normal as it gets in my house. 

Ok, normal will commence tomorrow, after the rest of the kids go back to school. 

The "rest of the kids" you say.  Well, actually, yes.  On any given day, I watch Fixit during the mornings while Bug and K are at school.  K goes to the local Catholic Elementary. Bug goes to the public 4K program.  The neighbor kids that I watch after school, also go to the public school.  They are in a different school district than K.  So, I have things color-coded on my calendar by district and kid.  I literally have a bus stopping at my house 5 times a day. 

6:30 a.m. K gets picked up for school
7:00 a.m. Bug gets on the bus
11:20ish Bug and the neighbor boy get off bus from 4K
3:30 p.m. K gets off bus
4:00 p.m. neighbor girl gets off bus

So, tomorrow, Bug and the neighbor kids will be back to school.

Then, my husband has to take a half day, so I can take Bug, Fixit, and myself in for our cleanings at the dentist.

Oh, wait - my very pregnant sister-in-law and my nephew have moved in with us during the week, because my brother just got a VERY good job 4 hours away and is staying with one of our sisters during the week.

SURRRRRRREEEEEEE, life is back to normal.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Nothing To Lose

I participated in a Catechist Training class last night.  It was the last of our intermediate classes on the Sacraments, particulary on Holy Orders.

We were talking about Holy Orders leaving an indelible mark on your soul that can never be removed.  So, even if a priest leaves the priesthood, he's still a priest.  This led us to the other indelible Sacraments: Baptism and Confirmation.

Father Finian had an interesting way of describing indelible to us that really worked as a visual.

Picture this: when you are born, you are born with the stain of original sin on your soul.  When you are Baptized, it wipes that stain from your soul.  That clear spot can NEVER be removed.  You cannot be unbaptized!  This is why a valid Christian Baptism from any recognized denomination is considered a valid Baptism in the Catholic church.  Until the Reformation, there was no Catholic and no Lutheran, it was all Christian - from which the rites were based upon.

As usual, when you have a group of questing adults trying to further educate themselves, we strayed from the direct topic.

We moved to family members that have left the Church, but were Baptized Catholic.  What did that make them?  Father told us that they might not be practicing Catholics, but they would always be Catholics.

But, she's Lutheran/Methodist/etc...

No, She's Catholic.  If she was Baptized a Catholic and Confirmed a Catholic, she's a Catholic.

Hmmm...

But, what happens if someone was Baptized Lutheran and becomes a Catholic?  Then, what are they?  They are Catholic.

But, you just said...

So, he used another interesting analogy.  Do we ever move from having more to less or do we always move from less to more?

We always try to move from having less to having more.  You'd switch banks if you could get 6% interest vs 2% interest, simple economics. 

But, how does this pertain to Catholic and Lutheran/Methodist, etc?

How many sacraments do Lutherans get?  None of us were really sure, but it's 2 - Baptism and Marriage.  So, if a Lutheran decides to become Catholic, they aren't losing anything they already have - they are GAINING 5 MORE SACRAMENTS!!!!!!

Wow! Never thought about it that way! 

So, why would anyone go from being Catholic to being Lutheran?

If they realized what they were losing, they would never decide to make that switch.  But, if they don't realize what they are losing, they could be convinced that they would be gaining by making that switch.  If they had been taught the value of what we have, no one would ever leave.

That's pretty heavy, especially to a room of catechism teachers.  Um, that makes us even more responsible for what we teach them, so they realize what to value about the church.  gulp.   

The first teachers are absolutely supposed to be the parents, but unfortunately that isn't often the case.

Dear Lord,

I am here and I am listening.  Please let the Holy Spirit guide me in what I teach and let my students retain those values that would never want to make them leave the Church.

Amen.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Vegas?!

I'm really hoping that this little getup doesn't mean that I have a Vegas Showgirl in my future.


Actually, she'd be a pretty sedate showgirl in her hoodie and flowery dress.  It's just the feathery headdress that has me a tad worried.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

All the GOOD Super Hero Names are Taken

I'm watching my 3-year-old nephew today.  He and Fixit are only 4 months apart and we jokingly call them the twins from different parents.

Well, my nephew is a HUGE Super Hero fan.  I'm talking owns lots of masks, and capes, and he knows ALL their double names, like Peter Parker is Spiderman and Bruce Wayne is Batman.  He even knows obscure ones like Steve Rogers is Captain America.

So, this morning, he and Fixit were rapidly switching between a long list of Super Heroes.  I had at least the following in my living room:

Spiderman
Wolverine
Storm
Captain America
Incredible Hulk
JubiLee
Batman

So, they tried to get me involved.  I thought Captain Mom was the perfect Super Hero moniker.

However, the kids DID NOT AGREE.

They decided that I should be "Captain Thunderpants."

sigh 

All the good Super Hero names are taken...and mine is not one of them.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Teaching Religion

I still feel that I must be the world's least qualified Catechism teacher.  I was really dreading having to teach 7th grade CCD again this spring. 

"I've got other stuff to do." 

"I really don't wanna." 

Let the litany of whining commence.

Poof!  I must have been listening to God this morning, or more likely, He hit me over the head with it! because I came back in the house after walking the dog with a new attitude.

STAND BACK, SATAN!

Quit messing with me!

I decided that if I'm going to feel this undecided, apprehensive, etc about going back to teaching, then maybe it's not because I'm a bad teacher, but maybe it's because I've been letting those hints of doubt enter in.

I've got something to pass on to these kids!  I'm not exactly sure what that is, yet, but I'm going to do my job and do it to the best of my ability so they remember something from my class.

Off to prepare my lesson plan for tomorrow's class.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Put That Down as the Longest Weekend of My Life

About 5 Friday night, I got a tearful call from my Dad.  (The tearful part was enough to get my attention.)  The hospital had called and it didn't look like my Aunt Anita (my Mom's only sibling) was going to make it through the night.  Could I please take Mom to Madison, which is about a 2 1/2 hour drive, to the hospital.

Of course. Let me throw my stuff together, call the school I was supposed to judge forensics for on Saturday, and wait for my husband to get home to tell him what was going on and leave.

We left my Mom's place about 6.  We stopped on the way down for gas in the car and finally for me to eat.  We got to Madison and thank goodness for my GPS to get us through downtown Madison to the hospital by 9:00.  (Madison is built around 3 lakes and lots of hills - so we had to loop around two of the lakes and around the hill that the Capitol sits on to get to the hospital.)

My Aunt looked horrible.  Admittedly, she had been in the hospital since the previous Friday from a fall and not being responsive and was taken to the hospital and had emergency surgery for a perforated bowel, plus she had 3 broken ribs and a broken collar bone.  One of the ribs had punctured a long and the other one was collapsed.  But, lots of years of hard living with alcohol abuse and cigarettes were not helping the situation, at all.

We stayed at the hospital for almost 2 hours and then headed to her house to spend the night.  We were both surprised that we didn't get a call over night that she had passed. 

Back to the hospital by 7:30 on Saturday.  Somehow, she rallied during the night, was off the oxygen mask, was just back to the nasal oxygen. She knew who we were. She was able to talk to us. She remembered things that had happened the day before. She knew where she was and what month it was.  Friends came and saw her.  She talked to the doctors and nurses.  At one point, she looked straight at my Mom and told her "I'm withering away."  Oh, Jeez!  We left the hospital about 2:30 that afternoon.

Sunday morning, we were back at the hospital by 8:30.  She had a horrible night. They couldn't stabilize her oxygen levels, they couldn't do anything with her blood pressure that kept dropping, her breathing was low.  We talked to her wonderful nurse, Debbie, and we were told that it didn't look good.  We thought we had mentioned the "withering" comment to her the day prior, but we had told the doctor.  To his credit, he was still in "fix" mode vs "let go" mode.  As soon as we told Debbie about the withering comment, she gave us this huge smile and told us that Anita had taken the decision out of our hands, she had made it for us.

At that time, we made the decision to put Anita on Comfort Care, which is removing IVs, except one port to administer pain medication; removing tubes, removing the oxygen mask.  The goal was to make her as comfortable as possible until she passed.  They decided to not remove the tubes in her lungs, because the fluid draining was giving her comfort. My Mom didn't want her to get dehydrated and wanted an IV kept in, which they talked us out of administering IV fluid, because Anita was retaining so much fluid, dehydration was the opposite of what she was suffering from.

They started her on the Comfort Care about 10:30. We sat with her for a little while, then we went and got some lunch and some sanity.  We went back to her room about noon.  We held her hands, prayed over her, blessed her, and she was gone about 12:40.

I'm glad that I was there for my Mom and for my Aunt, but I never want to go through that again.

May Anita Rest In Peace and my Mom have some closure.