"Enjoy the LITTLE THINGS in life for one day you will look back and realize they were the big things."

Friday, January 16, 2015

Muddin' Introduction

Long ago in a time far away in the most distant recesses of my mind there was a time when Cody and I used to get muddy on four wheelers.  It could be warm or cold. It simply did not matter.  If we had a chance, we would go muddin'.  That stopped when I was pregnant the first time and the doctor told me I should not be on a four wheeler while pregnant. Somehow with a baby we never got back into it since the four wheelers were my parents.  

Now that we live in the country my parents decided to give us one of their four wheelers since they don't use them much anymore.  Cody's parents had another that they gave us that has been sitting up unused for three years.  It would need a new battery and some tinkering with but it is working now, also!!! What a gift to receive!!! Of course, there have to be tight rules for safety for the kids on the four wheelers.  The first couple of weeks we really reinforced the importance of safety and taking it slow.  They are only allowed to ride in 2nd gear and take the curves extra slow, etc.. But those rules are for the kids.  You can imagine their surprised faces when we got behind the wheel!!! We showed them what it is all about!  

They were just starting to get a little mud in them in this picture, so they were smearing a little in each others faces.  

Sahara soon found out what mud was all about!  That WAS a white shirt!  

She really liked it afterall. 

Savannah and Sierra were all about to trying to "share" their mud with each other.  

Caden decided to just get IN the mud hole.  Yuk!  

That's pretty nasty really.  

Having fun! 

And. Then.... Daddy got a little bit of payback!!! 

Let's Talk Turkey!

I feel the need to play a bit of catchup on what has gone on during my break in posting.  This little adventure happened just before Thanksgiving.  This gives new meaning to "bringing home the turkey".  Only this turkey is NOT for Thanksgiving dinner.  We just needed to get our Tom and his lady moved to our current home. What better way than to just put them in the car with us?!  

Yeah.  It was weird.  The turkeys thought so, too.  I need to point out that turkeys aren't really cuddly creatures.  I mean, they do not want to be caught and they certainly don't want to be held.  And, they are very strong.  Once you have them they do settle down but that does not mean they like it.  Somewhere along the road trip Savannah mentioned a warm feeling on the side of her leg.  Hmmmm... It seems that nervous lady she was holding had to poo.  Fun times!  Memories being made folks!!! Great memories!  

So, we got them home and put them in the temporary housing with the chickens.  All was well until it kept raining... and raining.... and raining.  We soon discovered that our temporary housing location was a bad choice.  It's a good thing it was temporary.  These birds were wading in water an inch deep part of the time.  Over Christmas break we surveyed the land a bit and moved them to higher ground.  That is what we got to spend our precious Saturday doing.  It was good that we did it then because more ran came... and more rain... and more.  Those birds would have been in water three inches deep!  They have been enjoying the higher ground.  We moved the rabbits nearby, also to get them away from the water.  

Now, to fast toward to current days....
All has been well.  All of the chickens, turkeys, and rabbits have been working well in their new location.  Suddenly, our dogs have taken an extra interest in them this past week, though. It stems from a couple of the neighbor dogs coming over and discovering all these interesting caged creatures.  One if our dogs, Sugar, decided to show off her skills to the others and somehow got our Tom through the cyclone fence dog kennel (the temporary housing).  Honestly, I don't know how Tom is still alive.  I told Cody he needed to kill him shortly after the incident but we are all quite attached to Tom and Cody would not kill the poor thing.  

It's bad!  Interestingly, I did not realize until posting this picture that Sugar is in the background.  She is awfully proud of herself.  Bad dog!!  The first night I locked Tom up in the chicken coop and kept him locked up the next day.  I was seriously surprised to find him alive the next day.  In all honesty I was kind of thinking if he died and he was locked up in the coop we could salvage the bird for meat.  Nope!  He made it.  And, the next day he was still alive.  And, the next... Still hanging on.  I can not imagine that wound healing but it is just the skin torn back.  The parts are all in tact otherwise. Sierra keeps asking if he is dead yet because she wants some turkey.  The rest of us are quite happy he is still hanging in.  He's our Tom-Tom!!! I honestly think he may pull through.  I hope so because we really need him to breed with his lady and give us some little turkey poults to raise and eat.  

One Burning Cooking Adventures: It Must End

While my "one burner cooking adventures" were a good learning experience all "good things" (insert sarcasm) MUST come to an end.  Honestly, I wanted to hold out until our other house sells but I just could not take it any longer.  Don't get me wrong... there are way worse things to go through in life and I have been through a few, but I was starting to get depressed by the whole situation.  Every meal had to be cooked differently and in stages... or eliminated completely.  I went five months without cooking spaghetti separately from the sauce.  It was time.

Still, I did not run out and buy an expensive stove.  I have some plans for this little kitchen that could very well include major changes.  I shopped around and a "cooktop" in the size we needed varied in price from $450 - $1,000+.  I just did not want to spend that.  Seriously, I don't even really like to cook!  I don't enjoy spending money on a stove.  

I truly stressed about this.  I was afraid to order this cooktop and not be certain it would fit properly or hook up properly since this stove is made for installation in other countries.  The savings was amazing, though!  I decided to take the risk.  I made my first ever appliance purchase through eBay!  Kind of scary!  I mean, who has ever heard of WindMax anyway?!!  Yikes!  But, here's the deal... yes, "the deal"... That SIX burner stove was $245 and that included insured shipping!!!!!!!  I was really sold on the glass top since I know it will be easier to maintain than an enamel top.  Most of the lower end stoves sold locally are enamel.  I am not wild about the stainless but I am liking it.  This is not a top of the line stove, but I did not pay a top of the line price so I am pretty happy about that.  It is well made, though.  There are a few negatives I would give it in a product review.  
     1.  The burners light weird and it does not come with instructions that tell about that.  That information can be found online, though.  
     2.  The front middle burner is too close to the knobs really.
     3.  It is obvious that the print in the stainless is going to wear off.  That won't affect the use of the stove, though.  

Overall, I think it was a great choice for my needs.  And, the best part....

I cooked with more than ONE burner!!!!  That means we had pasta that was cooked separately!!! Oh, how I have missed such a simple thing!  In all honesty I struggled with trying to cook because my mind is still in "one burner mode".  I still only used two burners!  Ha!  The mixed veggies were leftover from the night before, so I just heated them in the microwave.  The bread was store bought and I heated it in the oven.  I cooked the pasta on one burner and the chicken and sauce together on another burner.  Pardon the disposable styrofoam plate.  We had to remove the dishwasher due to it leaking.... Sigh... Hmmmm... I wonder if I can find a bargain dishwasher on eBay... 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Operation Hide The Scissors Was a Total Fail

As a mother sometimes we want to make everything happen right.  Sometimes no matter how hard we try we can not save the day, though.  I have a story to tell of an adventurous three year old and a pair of scissors.  Now, the first reaction of many is, "It is just hair and it will grow back" or "This should make you thankful that she is not dying of cancer".  These are not the responses I care to hear at the moment.  With that said, here's the story:

As I was sitting with Sienna one day about a week ago she was happily cutting on some paper with her scissors. When I looked up she had given herself a new set of bangs.  My eyes almost popped out of my head as I snapped, "What have you done!?"  She and her little scissors took off running... But in this small house I caught up with her quickly in the next room.  She was proud of herself... And, really she did not do too bad giving herself bangs.  I was not happy but this would be fixable.  

I headed off to town while the hubby watched the kids.  Bad move!  I am so very thankful that I did not get the message that Savannah (13) tried to send me to let me know that Sienna had cut her hair, again.  I seriously would have wrecked the car or hyperventilated in public... And, that is not something I want others to see.  

I had no idea what to do with that version of her hairdo.  I was trying to let some time pass while I figured it out.  A couple of days later I was in the kitchen cleaning up breakfast and Sahara said, "Momma, I can't find Sienna!"  Those two are like white on rice so we quickly searched for her.  The kids were leading the way with me following and as they turned the corner into the master bathroom they all gasped.  They were gasping at the hair ALL over the floor.  Sienna was hiding behind a closet curtain.  I completely lost it.  

That tiny little braid is the remaing amount of long hair she has.  The rest is a really bad boy cut so, paired with her haphazard lock of hair trailing down her back she now has an 80s style mullet.  I cried uncontrollably in the bathroom for 20 minutes.  That was a few weeks ago now.  I am dealing with it.  I  learning to work the mullet into the best hairdos I can.  I evened some of the bad spots out and some spits are just too bad to even out.  I have e perimented with various headbands that are wide enough to hide alot but they end up making her have really messy looking fair when she plays hard... and, she ALWAYS plays hard.  I have found that a simple small headband does the best.  

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Secondhand Living and Loving It

We buy so many things secondhand.  It is a necessity for us since we live on a meager income for our family size. Ultimately, God has always provided for us because the numbers would never make sense otherwise.  God has given me wisdom in the area of finances and I have seen through the years how he blesses my family.  I have learned that waiting is a blessing.  Sometimes it is not always a joy to wait when the item seems needed but many times I have seen The Lord bless me more for the sacrifice.  Sometimes we want to run out and buy an item when we feel we "need" it.  We grow impatient with our wanting.  When we stop and ponder if it something we really need or not most of the time it can wait.  

My most recent example of this is our "new to us" refrigerator. Being that our other home was a turn of the century home we had to have a certain refrigerator to fit.  The good news was it was the cheapest type refrigerator you can buy!  The bad news is that there were really no frills.  But seriously, do we need frills?  No, we needed a working fridge that did it's job.  And, that is exactly what we had.  Years ago my first fridge was one I purchased from a co-worker for $50 and it served me well for several years. When it went out we purchased a truly new one.  It lasted many years but when it was time to replace it I bought secondhand.  I think I paid $150 for one exactly like I had!  This was a huge blessing because ad I said before I had to have a certain size for my space.  Meanwhile, I dreamed about one of those with the freezer in the bottom... not at all something I "needed" but I wondered if it might make life easier if my little ones could reach the ice.  Well, now we have moved and even though it is a much smaller house we have a little more flexibility on the type of refrigerator we can have since there are not built in cabinets above the fridge area.  I began once again to dream if one if those freezer-in-the-bottom style fridges, again.  For a little while I was diligently searching for one secondhand but it truly was not a "need" so I decided that waiting was a better option... I certainly would not be buying a used one and paying $1,300 for it. I knew if I waited that God would work it out... and part if that is accepting that the way He works it out sometimes means not getting it at all.  Fast forward to now.  We have lived in our "new to us" home for three months now and I really had settled into not changing the refrigerator... even though every time you open the door of the fridge it bangs into the kitchen island and creates huge traffic flow issues in the kitchen.  Meanwhile, my husband keeps browsing these local for sale by owner Facebook groups and a few nights ago he came across a side by side fridge for $350.  I was leery.  First of all, I did not want to spend the money I had poked back.  Secondly, I needed to take measurements to make sure it would even fit (which I suspected it would not).  And lastly, I did not know if it would even solve or help with our traffic flow problem or if the doors would still hit the island.  The lady immediately dropped her price to $300 without us even asking her to.  We started measuring and thinking it through and decided to buy it.  

And, it has all worked out!!!! I should not be so surprised... God always works this stuff out. I did spend that money that was poked back.  The fridge did fit (even though it was a challenge to get it in and through doorways).  And, it did solve our traffic flow problem and does not hit the island when you open doors.  Not only did all that work out I realized that the freezer-in-the-bottom style I had been dreaming of would have had the same problems with the doors hitting the island.  God worked us out a much better one.  I have found when I sacrifice that he has always blessed me exceedingly above what my desires are.  This one allows more fridge space and more freezer space.  It has the ice and water in the door and is even filtered water.  The water reservoir is in the fridge portion so the water is even chilled when you dispense it! My littles will be able to serve themselves when they are thirsty... and, there is a child lock feature to keep them from serving themselves too often (aka playing with the "magic" water/ice dispensers).  This thing is the cadillac of refrigerators. It has a button to "power freeze" when you bring in not so chilled groceries.  And, it beeps when the door is open too long.  Interestingly, like that fridge I was "dreaming" about it retails for about $1,300.  So, waiting got us a better item and saved us $1,000.

Many people will never understand it (and that is okay), but we are secondhand living and loving it.  

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

One Burner Cooking Adventures: Breakfast for Dinner

Last night I was doing a "decide as your cooking" kind of thing for dinner.  I do this way too often.  I am not much much of a planner so I do way to many things flying by the seat of my pants.  Meal plans work amazingly well but some of us never learn... And therefore, must decide on a whim almost every night.  

So, as I was standing there in my kitchen with my one burner I grabbed a pot and put it on the stove and was about to place a pound of frozen hamburger meat in it and start "something" going.  See, there is some planning for you... FROZEN hamburger...  BUT I have mastered the art of cooking that way... LOL.  I was thinking a quick pasta soup... BUT then I opened the fridge and saw a couple of pounds of pan sausage that was in need of being used.  And... I totally changed the dinner direction. 

Plan B:  I put the pot away and grabbed an iron skillet (one if my fav things) and fired up my one burner.  Did I mention that my one burner is a gas burner?  I grew up with a gas stove but I have not had a gas stove in thirteen years.  I am loving it... even if it is only one burner.  Anyway, I made my little sausage patties and had them cooking.  Meanwhile, I ground my wheat in my electric grinder (and there is another story completely about that... Sigh!) and starting mixing up the ingredients for pancakes.  I also got another bowl out and broke up a bunch of eggs for scrambling so these things would be ready when the time came.  I set my extra large pancake griddle on the counter (and I only use this griddle for pancakes and grilled cheese).  

After all the sausage was cooked I moved my pan to one of my non-working burners (because I have plenty of those... Ha!) and got out another iron skillet (I have a lovely assortment) for my scrambled eggs.  I oiled it and started on cooking the pancakes.  About halfway through cooking the pancakes I cooked the scrambled the eggs on my one burner.  Shortly after, breakfast for dinner was DONE!  

My husband walked around the corner and said...
"You are really mastering this one burner cooking thing!"


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Making It Our Own: My Bargain Address Marker

We were doing a little rummage sale searching in hopes of finding a secondhand VCR.  We did not find that VCR that day but we did find some other goodies.  I will have to post pictures of the doors we acquired on another post (major bargain... $10 each), but for now I want to show you my address marker we got for the driveway.  I really should try to remember to take before pics, but imagine the stake slightly bent and the paint faded and rusty.  This cost me $3 (no tax) and we spruced it up a bit with less than a dollars worth of spray paint.  I beat it straight with a hammer, did a bit more paint touch up, and stuck it in the ground.  

We found the reflective house number out in our pasture when we were bush hogging. Who would have ever guessed it was laying out in the pasture.  It has a little damage and required a little bit of straightening from past hits with mower blades.  It's not perfect but it's perfect for the country life!  God blesses me in little ways only I know about.  You see, I wanted one of these.  I did not want to buy one, though.., or, at least, not right now after so many moving expenses. I am guessing that they were provided by the county as 911 address markers since almost every house around here has one.  Anyway, I wanted one... for the ease of others locating the house... for clarification for the number on our mailbox... and, for safety reasons for the 911 address.  I am always trying to be a good steward of the finances God provides even in the little things.  I try to make wise financial choices and often times have to skip out on things I "want". Amazingly, God seems to reward me more often than I could ever tell you.  This marker was FREE!!! Do you know how exciting that is?!  And, this marker holder was ONLY $3 !!! God loves me and He knows the desires of my heart.  Now, that does not mean I always get what I want.  I assure you I don't but I know when I don't it is for my own good. He does bless me in many little ways I could never count, though.