Monday, August 30, 2010

Home Remodel 2010 in the final stretch! least for now, lol :)

We have been flying along at a frightening pace! Well, not really...but its getting done! The kitchen is so close to being done I can taste it. And it is....GORGEOUS! The counter and the sink with the backsplash...I am giddy :) The entry way is wonderful, the new paint colors are so earthy and warm...we have FINALLY made this house our home! Even more exciting to me? Hubby likes the idea of RED for our greatroom! Anyone who knows me knows how much I LOVE rooms that are red! I had a red kitchen in our old house and though my hubby and brother wanted to string me up by my feet for picking such a color, it was amazing when it was done. I am SO excited to get that color! We also decided on a warm brown for the downstairs office, which I also love. Then I will be DONE with all the major projects for this year. There are still some smaller projects like the playroom/schoolroom floor, bathroom floor upstairs and down and replacing the office carpet and Lilly's carpet with something...not carpet but those things need to be budgeted in so it will have to wait. Actually we have the flooring for the bathrooms thanks to my friend Char who gave us her leftover tile and laminate! :)

Oh, did I say the major projects were done? Yeah...the INSIDE projects are done. This week the wood comes for the deck, we have numerous HUGE trees that need to come down and be split before the snow flies, plus other yard clearing...sigh. :)

I ended up shampooing all the rugs in the house yesterday (have I ever mentioned how much love capet and I do NOT share?) and they were nasty! I am embarassed! Even with my Dyson, the rugs were bad. Part of it is we heat with wood and pellets and soot is bound to get everywhere. Guess this should be a once a year thing until the rugs are gone. Haven't done it in 3 years so I shouldn't be surprised. But, they look great now! I just wish there was a less chemically way to clean them...the chemical smell KILLZ me. Oh, the headache, the nausea...even today, despite leaving fans running, I can still smell it. Blech. But, they are clean and look great.

Today is a major cleaning day, as my SIL will be here Wednesday! I need to set up her room, as well as put away some of our remodeling things we no longer need. Hubby is going to finish up the kitchen tonite, as he still needs to grout the tile. It should be cured and ready to use by the time she gets here. I promise I will post a virtual tour once things are put back together :)

If cleaning goes well, I am going out to get my fall planting in the garden. Saturday I mowed the lawn and did all my major weeding that was overdue, so now I can get the last round of seeds in. I have a ton of laundry to do so I will have plenty of water to tend to them for their first week or so. I have some tomatoes that need to be picked and I ended up having to pull up about half of my potatoes as the plants got attacked by those damn orange little beetles. Potato Kugul on the menu tonite and mashed potatos later in the week, some of which I will probably freeze. Unfortunately, I have no way to store the spuds long term, as we have a moisture problem in the basement, so my cold storage plan is out...for now.

Later this week I am hoping to take my SIL apple picking with the kids then it will be all about apple preservation! I need to head to Agway to get a canner, as I picked up some more pint jars for a steal to make apple and peach preserves, apple and pumpkin butter and I have some quart jars for sauce, though I will need to get more toms than I have to do that. Need to hit the Farmer's MArket this week!

In chicken news...the chicken *goddesses* say that 2 roos are not a problem! If they are fine now, they will be fine. Yay! I did not want to part with beautiful Mr MM aka fancypants. They are all coexisting beautifully and I am thrilled. Plus, they are darn quiet roosters! Mr MM is SUCH a good roo also, he takes wonderful care of his posse, something mean ol' Mr Roo never did. Sam is great with his little posse as well, and really looks out for sweet, (slow) Angel Cookie.

We start school this plan is to do a month of reviewing, and gradually increase our work load. We took the summer off for camp, so they hae been out of practice. The kids are excited to start, and my plan is to do 2 hours or so a day then go up to our normal 4. That's 4 hours of structured happens all the time 'round here :) Sent my LOI's in this morning...oops. Way to drop the ball on that one! They are still young enough that not much changes year to year except their activities. What we study is pretty much the same, just different variations thereof.

Well, once again my to-do list is a mile long so off I go to tackle it!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Zuichinni bread in the oven with a HUGE spaghetti squash that noone but me will eat :) I had grandiose plans for baking this morning until I realized I was out of sugar, baking powder and a few other necessities. Ah, well. I pureed some tomatoes to freeze until I can get to sauce making, and also stocked the freezer with rediculous amounts of zuichinni! After a short stuff-my-face-fest (with...wait for it...zuichinni, lol) I am off to paint the hall upstairs.

But first a few things to share...

We made a window seat space by the HUGE windows in our living room and I LOVE IT! It is my new space.

Its cold out and I have eleventy billion candles lit. I also love this.

Home Depot, which is the bane of my existance, carries these GREAT mop thingies. They are those mop-plus-cleaner-in-one deals...without the cleaner! I have always loved those mop/cleaner in one things, but don't like the cleaner. With a housefull of chemical sensitives, store cleaner is NOT made of win. So, I used to bust those old ones and put my own cleaner in. Well, now I don't have to, it COMES EMPTY!!! WooHoo! It also has velcro, perfect for using my own pads as to not have to purchase more. I use old rags, which work both for dust AND cleaning! Yay :)

ok, my spaghetti squash is done...maybe I need to eat a little to test it before I paint... ;)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Home improvements...

Want to see what we've been doing? :)
This was my project today. I ran out of tiles, but I got the area done that I needed to in order to move the second fridge into the pantry...sorry its so blurry. I have decided that I don't love to tile. Its frustrating and sticky, but it does look better than the 70's linoleum that was there! Ignore the mess...

Here is the foyer/staircase. I absolutely LOVE this green! It looks good with the brick floor too. The basebords are not put up yet so you'll have to just visualize...

Here is the livingroom...this color is *spiced gingerbread* and I love this too. The room isn't totally put back together yet, but you can get the feel...

Here is JD helping line up the tile for the front entry. Hubby has wanted to tile this since we moved in 3 years ago. Today, he is a happy man :)

Another view of the brick...I am pretty much loving this as I absolutely abhor carpet and this got rid of a big area of carpet. Again, ignore the mess...(who lives here and why don't they clean?)

I also gave a little shelf thing and our old kitchen table a facelift by repainting them. I am going to sand the tabletop and restain it this week. I am also going to recover the cushions for the 'bistro' table chairs I have so I can put the set outside. We will need more seating for out there once the deck is finished and the corner it is in now inside is going to house a small couch :)
My happy chickens gave me 5 eggs today, which is great. Considering that we have 7 hens and 1 is broody, plus the 3 that are too young to lay...I will take 5 eggs! Picked a bunch of tomatoes, and may head back out to get some greens. Now, laundry is calling...

Rainy Day Alert

I don't remember rain in the forcast for today but rain we've got. Makes for a good indoor project day :) Glad it didn't rain yesterday as some friends of ours throw this HUGE bash on their farm and though it has rained in the past, its alot more fun if it doesn't. Got to see some friends and talk (and talk, and, it was AWESOME!) and the kids got to run themselves into the ground. Good food, good music and a good time :) I also learned some amazing things about gardening that I can't WAIT to try! Watch out next year's garden...

With the floor and walls being done in the LR, we have mostly put things back together. I am moving on to the pantry, and Hubby is moving into the entryway. He is tiling the entry, and I am pseudo tiling the pantry :) The kitchen is an all weekend project and since we didn't have all weekend, it will have to wait until NEXT weekend. I am getting anxious, to say the least. It is going to be so gorgeous I just can't wait!

So, I will have pantry tiling duty, followed by finish-painting-the-pantry duty. Some time this evening, I have 4 zuichinni's the size of my CALF to process and freeze for later useage. Then I am going to rewire an old lamp (hopefully) move a couch or 2 and be MOSTLY done with the least until after the deck project is done. :)

This week my plans are to paint the upstairs hall, and shampoo the carpets. I am VERY hopefull I will get out into the garden for a bit as well, to get my fall greens in. I can also see TONS of tomatoes that need picking and freezing until I can get ot canning them. I may do the same with the peaches I am getting and maybe can while my SIL is here with her baby :) SQUEEE! I am going to get me some baby-head-sniffing love that week! Sewing shoudl occur at some point as well...or maybe I will wait until my Grandma's machine gets here...a Bernina...oh yeah, you know it! Its an older model but who cares! It will be so much better than anything I have used thus far. It will surely get put to good use.

Hopefully I will squeeze in a run this afternoon too...I love to run in the rain...and it is certianly raining right now!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Fall is in the air...

I love it. Fall is my favorite season and I look forward to it every year. Cool, crisp air...amazing colors, the rustling of the leaves...Squeee!!!

But for now, there are other things on the agenda. :)

The brick floor project is juuuuust about done. LR and DR have been painted. Hopefully Hubby can start on the kitchen tomorrow...counter, sink and range hood plus moving up our old but new dishwasher. I need to do some major cleaning up this morning and touch ups in the paint dept.

Spent a little time in the garden yesterday...weeded, and admired our compost tomatoes :) I love that I have several glorious looking tomato plants growing out of our piles! More tomaotes to can! I also stopped and met one of our neighbors up the street on my run yesterday. A nice man with awesome fruit trees in his yard. We are bartering...a dozen eggs for a bucket of peaches :) I will get more peaches from my next-door neighbor, but I am happy to get some more before then as hers won't be due to pick until Sept. Now, if I could just get my girls to lay some eggs! Really, 11 hens and 3-5 eggs a day ain't workin' for me. Granted, 3 of those hens are too young to lay, but the other 8 aren't! For a while it was the heat, and now...I don't know. They aren't laying anywhere else as we check the yard, I don't know. They sure make a heck of alot of racket out there ACTING like they are laying eggs...I guess I am going to have to have a chat with the girls when I am out there today... :)

Speaking of chickens...we are still living with 2 roosters. Not sure what to do. Mr MM doesn't crow much, is quite timid and the girls chase him! Sam is more *manly* and he is a peanut, lol. I will have to check with those in the know and see if its possible to keep them together. I hate to let him go...

Well...time to get at it. We have a party to go to this afternoon so I need to get my *work* done this morning. :)

CHeck back for the agenda for the week tomorrow!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Fabulous World of Canning

I am IN. IT.
I have finally canned and I am wanting to now can everything in sight! What a blast, and how awesome to know that I have made food for my family to enjoy for months to come! I made 3qts of tomato sauce which I could not can per se, as I do not have a deep enough pot. It was a bit strong, as I misjudged the amount of spices I would need not having a good recipe. It does, however make FANTASTIC pizza sauce! I have it in the fridge for now, and I may just freeze the extra. I do want to can some sauce though. I also made 16 pints of blueberry preserves which I did can and they came out awesome! I even got the kid and husband seal of approval. I am hoping to go pick more blueberries and various other fruits for preserves and pie fillings. I am planning on making apple butter, peach preserves, as well as peach and apple pie fillings for pies during the winter. I may make some pumpkin butter come fall as well, and I am DEFINITELY making a bunch of chutneys as I LOVE chutney! I intend on deticating one whole day this weekend to yard work as my gardens need some TLC and I want to get my greens seeds in for the fall. The Wheel needs another weeding before fall too, and I should really harvest some of the herbs that are growing in my various herb gardens and take stock so I can decide what I want for next year.

Home Remodel 2010 is coming along....the floor in the dining room will be finished today and the foyer/LR has its first coat of paint. It is an awesome earthy green and I LOVE IT! I expect that whole area will be complete by the weekend and I will be able to put it back together and begin the decorating process. I have a bunch of frames to be painted for the family picture wall, then I can print out the pics, a couch cover to sew, and my stick-staircase project which I am SUPER excited about :) that will have to be seen as I have no way to describe it. I am getting down to the wire here as I need to be *done* by 9/1! I think I can do it...I just have to pace myself...

The Lyme is sort of kicking my butt...or actually, the treatment of it. I am on a pretty heavy duty herbal protocol and it is just wiping me out. I am pushing forward as I know I have to keep working but oy...I am heading into the Herx, which for those of you not familiar with Lyme et al this is when you are on a treatment and you actually get WORSE. You get worse because you are having bacteria die-off, which releases toxins into your system which then increases your symptoms, or the perception thereof. Yeah, its not fun but it means the treatment is working and that is a good thing. I am doing plenty of detox protocols and drinking lots of green smoothies and green drinks to 'sop' up the toxins and flush them out.

Our chicken family is reaching a crossroad...with 2 Roo's we have to make a decision soon. We have not had any issues thus far and both Roo's are so sweet I hesitate to do anything until I see an issue...I hate to part with Mr. Mary-Margaret as he is simply beautiful and so friendly ( he lets JD hold him...yeah, he is THAT sweet) We are getting 5 eggs a day now, which is an improvement. 13 chickens and 5 eggs a day though...I need to have a chat with them! I was hoping to have them laying well again before it gets cold. We haven't figured out how we are going to heat/light the coop for the winter yet. I am thinking of putting in a window and then using a solar light as it would be silly to run a cord for a light WAY out to the coop. Well, I think we have some time....:)

Well, the walls aren't painting themselves! I better get to it. Pics to come, I promise!

Monday, August 16, 2010

On the To-Do list for today...

Rain. That pretty much eliminates my painting for today. Can't open the windows to let the fumes out and with 2 asthmatics in the house...yeah, no. :)

Instead, I am going to do some cooking and canning. Oh, and henna my hair. Being frugal does not equal being frumpy, I had some left under the sink ;)

My plan for today is to make some pear muffins (for now and to freeze) and freeze the rest of the pears for future use. I am also going to make my first batch of tomato sauce, and possibly some blueberry jam. Oh, and start some yogurt cheese and make some nut butters. I have wanted to make yogurt cheese forever and I FINALLY found my cheesecloth. Also, I do not usually use nuts but I have some nuts left in the fridge that need a use so I figure I will make some pecan/almond/pumpkin seed butter. The kids can use it on crackers and such.

Also on the agenda is making dog food and laundry detergent. Want recipes? I started making dog food in an effortto save money and feed Becky better quality food. Making her food not only saves me about $20 a month (from the $45 I was spending on the really good quality food I was giving her) but now I *know* that she is getting really good food. Basically, I make a 4 day mix that includes: brown rice or barley, oatmeal, sweet potaotes and/or squash, greens, broccoli or green beans or some other veggies. I cook the grain, roast the veggies in the oven and mix everything all together in a big tupperware and add: nutritional yeast, salmon (in a can, bones and all) olive oil, and a few squirts of fish oil from some caps I pierce. She LOVES it. Once we are getting more eggs, I will give her some of those as well. She can also get a dollop of yogurt on occasion, as well as other goodies, plus we feed her table scraps (healthy stuff) so her diet is pretty varied and healthy! She gets fruit as a treat, according to what she likes, and once her store bought dog cookies are gone I will be making some cookies for her as well. I tried doing something similar for the cats, but they were NOT having it. I am going to try and add some stuff to their diet as they ONLY eat the cheap, crappy cat food. That is what they like and while its great for my wallet, I can't think it is good for them. I'll have to make them some sort of special treat or something. I have seen a few recipes that I may try in the future.

I am also making another batch of laundry detergent today. Here is the recipe I use:
2c grated hard soap(Fels Naptha-sp- or Ivory work, I use my own homemade soap)
1c washing soda
1c Borax
1c baking soda(optional)
Few drops essential oils(optional, I don't as I have kids with *smell* issues)
1/4c of OxyClean

I basically make a HUGE 3 gallon containers worth and that lasts me MONTHS. I am down to about 1/2 gal. worth so I am making more. For about $18 I make probably 4-5mo worth of laundry detergent. That is $3/mo! Pretty darn good. My laundry is clean, and since we divert our grey water for watering, I don't have to worry about 'chemicals' going into the yard. I use about 1/8 to 1/4 cup per large load. This cleans and de-stinks even my running clothes, which says alot! :)

I will make a separate recipe post later, so I can file it under Good Eats :)

For anyone who is in the market for becoming more frugal and self sufficient (and, I highly recommend you at least think about it...if you watch the news at all you know that things are going to get worse 'round here before they get better...*if* they get better...) I would HIGHLY recommend 2 books- The Backyard Homesteader and The Encyclopedia of Country Living. Book 1 tells you how to be self sufficient on a small plot of land which I think it fantastic. We used their plan to map out our orchard, and I will be using their 'map' for my next gardens (herb) next year. Book 2 is everything you want to know about being a farm gal, lol. The language in the book is humerous and it is a bit heavy on the religious mentionings for me but it will walk you through just about anything you need to know as far as doing things 'old school'. I am canning old school as I cannot afford a pressure canner and they walk you through everything you need to know. Awesome refrence books and well worth their cost. Don't know if they have them at the libraries, but worth checking out.

Also, check out some of the blogs I follow...these people are doing some pretty cool things a la living the simple life. :)

Recipes and pics to come!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Living Green

What does 'Living Green' mean to you?

To me, it is far more than simply bringing your own bags ot the grocery store and recycling. It is truly a way of life. It is being concious of what you use, how you use it...what you buy and where you buy it. Sadly, on my green path I have noticed that Living Green can be expensive at times. To me, it shouldn't be...Living Green is synonymous with being frugal. Spending less, buying less, using less.

We recycle everything we can. We reuse everything we can also. Its not that hard to do, really :) if its still good, don't toss it! We are a big fan of hand-me-downs, and pretty much always shop at thrift stores. The only thing I buy new is socks and underwear and occasionally shoes. I find more quality clothing in thrift stores in super condition that if I went and bought at the store, I couldn't afford! Plus, why not reuse clothes that are in good condition? We recycle clothes through the kids, and when they are no longer wearable they get donated(if they are still useable) or as of late they go in the rag pile. I am also saving shirts to make cloth napkins out of...but that is another post! :) Even the Hubby gets hand-me-downs from a woman he works with! Her hubby is a bit of a clothes freak and gives Hubby his *old* (barely even WORN) clothes from major name brand stores. Hubby looks like a million bucks! ;)

We do the usual bringing of our own bags to stores, and I used to not take plastic bags for produce(I have cloth produce bags that I forget to bring...) but my grocery store started using compostable bags so I take them now. I save them and use them for bread bags when I make bread. We have chickens for eggs, grow what we can, and if we can get local, or as local as possible...we do. We try to be conciencious do the best you can with what you have :)

We are also as green as possible around our house. All our lights are CFL, all major appliances are Energy Star, and things like computers, TV's, etc are on power strips that are shut off when not in use. Anything not used regularly is unplugged, we don't use air conditioners, space heaters, etc. We are in the process of removing old (nasty) carpet and linoleum and replacing it with greener options, wool or cotton area rugs, etc.

Being self sufficient has become more important to me over the last few years. After the *Ice Storm* which left us without power for a week, I took a good look at how we managed. We did ok, though we did need to rely on a generator for some things. It was an interesting experience and showed me that though we are pretty basic here, we still rely on many modern conveniences. It also drove home my desire to live even more simply and frugally. There is so much wasted in our society and it KILLS me to see it.

Being frugal...this is a tough one. Though I would love to always support local businesses and avoid warehouse stores et al, how sad is it that you must have money to live green and local! Not always, but sometimes. We support local businesses as much as possible, even if it costs a little more, when we can. But there are times we can't and we head to warehouse hell. I am working on trying to make it so I do not have to do that (oh the day when I never have to enter a warehouse/walmart store again...sigh.) but sometimes what needs to be done for the good of my family will outweigh avoiding hell-stores. But, at least it is on my mind and I teach my children about it. In these times when money is pretty much an issue for most people I know, being frugal is becoming much more popular. Even if it is simply giving pause before you make a purchase and see if you are purchasing out of need or want...this has been a big lesson for me. I only purchase out of need at this point. There are no want-purchases. I will say, it has been incredbly freeing! Not only am I not supporting BigBusiness by buying unnecessary crap, but I have less of that *crap* around my house! :) Plus, a penny saved is a penny earned... :)

Bartering is a lost art that really should make a comeback. I think bartering is the best and will do so whenever I can. I have one neighbor that trades me cereal for the kids for some of our eggs. My other neighbor gets eggs and extra veggies from our garden, and she is going to give us all the peaches we can pick off her tree come Sept. I have another neighbor up the strees who has apples that I am going to ask to pick as I know they let alot go to compost. A friend of ours with huge gardens always sends me greens, and he gave us 20+lbs of blueberries and 25lbs of pears, in return for us helping him pick veggies, work in the yard, etc. I LOVE THIS!!!

I am going to try my hand at canning this year. I have always frozen, but after the ice storm I realize that I need to do both as canning will keep, ice or no ice. My plan is to make some tomato sauce as we are inundated with tomatoes, as well as apple butter and blueberry jam. I am going to can peaches, pears and apples for pies and muffins, etc and possily make some salsas and chutneys. Doing it the old fashioned way as I do not own a pressure cooker. I have about 30lbs of tomatoes to make sauce with (this, after freezing about 5qts already) I am also considering canning some stews and chowders if this goes well. Again, I normally freeze but...I am trying new things this year! To be able to open up a jar of stew and heat it up on the wood stove...mmmm...

Speaking of which....I am DEFINITELY going to start cooking on the wood stove again. I love it and found you can make all sorts of things inside the stove as well as on top. :) Saves electricity and feels very rustic. My dream stove is one of those big Vermont Castings wood cook stoves...I can't seem to convince Hubby that is the way to go though... :)

Well, this post has taken me DAYS to write so now its time to post it, lol :)

Monday, August 9, 2010

What's on the Horizon...

Home Improvements:
So, the latest project on the to-do list involves killing many brain cells in a rapid fashion. :) Oil based Killz is made of evil...but dayum, it works. Spray paint is equally brain-cell-reducing so I figure when the floor is done I will have an IQ of 14. Ah, well. The floor will look great! I am pretty happy with the brick stencil process so far, it looks great and will do us well for some time until we have the funds to lay a floor. In the mean time, the subfloor is sealed nicely, removing the possibility of any water/kid-spillage/cat piss damage. I am liking this. I am taking a break from frying my brain as my stencil is quite gummy and I tend to forget to eat when I am heavily involved in projects. So, breathing fresh air and drinking a HUGE pineapple, blueberry, banana, mango smoothie...and eatin' some dates.

I am going to go right into painting the walls in the dining/living room/foyer area since we have everything moved out of there will just make it easier. The pantry has moved up the list since we are going to put the second fridge in there we decided to do the floor first, then I will paint the walls. We are just going to continue the tile from the kitchen into the pantry/laundry. We also have enough laminate flooring (free score from a friend!) to do the bathroom floor! That will be painted as well. Right now it is a neon baby-puke green. Eh, I don't love it. Since it is the *guest bath* I am thinking something more neutral, actually. There will be plenty of color throughout the house so I am thinging of an off-white with some sort of border/stencil/ wallies type thing.

Creative Endeavors:
I seriously get giddy every time I pass my *office* knowing that all my crafty stuff is in there just WAITING for me to come in and get my groove on. I will be making Spirit Jewelry, Woodland Creatures and their Homes, doing some Energy Painting, maybe some glass work...I am percolating for sure. I am formulating a plan for a website, and I have looked into Etsy but Etsy is so HUGE that I feel I will get lost there. I did not find ANYONE doing Woodland Creatures, or the paintings I do so that is a plus! I am going to most likely do the RootsFest at the health food store in September, as I am still hoping to pursue my health/raw food passion as well...

Good golly, I love my kiddos :) As much as some days they make me batty, they are SO amazing. I am so proud of them and thrilled at the way they take care of each other at Camp. Even the counselors have told me they will get together at 'critical' times of changing activities, etc. Yay :). JD has done REALLY well, he has told me he has made friends, tells me about his friends and seems really happy. Happy! He still has his moments, but I love to see him excited and HAPPY. He has been very passionate about his bike riding, and so far has done several rides with Hubby and the Bike Shop group. He is loving it, and I am so proud of him for hanging in there and doing the training!

Lilly did Karate at camp, and it has renewed her desire to do Karate. We are going to check into the local place. I was all set to be done with Karate, btu she is SO good at it and she loves it so...Karate it is :). She is also playing soccer this fall which she is SUPER excited about! She is just such an amazing little girl. She has empathy beyond her years. She seems to be getting less and less dramatic, and more and more insightful. She can be a stinker for sure, but she melts my heart with her love and empathy for other people and animals...and Max...omg, she is SO motherly and protective of him! If he is upset, she will start crying too and hug him and get all his 'comfort items'...She is something special...I can feel that *something* in her that I had as a child. Course, I had to hide it...she does not :)

Max is still my monkey boy. He is freaking unbelievably smart. Its scarey sometimes! He wants to do soccer as well, and is all excited too. He is amazingly in touch with his emotions. It blows me away as a)he is 5 and b) he is a boy. Not tht boys can't be emo, but for a 5yo boy to be able to say EXACTLY what he feels and if he doesn't know what he is feeling be able to articulate that as well...pretty darn cool. Beyond that, he is All.Boy. He is really coming into who he is. I love it. I also love that he is still my snuggle buddy...:)

Also on the kid front...we have found not one, but TWO babysitters! 2 high school kids who are currently camp counselors where the kids go to camp. GREAT kids from a big family that live 5 minutes from our house. JOY! Even better? They are brother and sister :) We have tried them both out and they are both super. I can't wait to use them once in a while to, oh, I don't know...go out with my Hubby! :) Not often, but it would be really nice to take a motorcycle ride, or go out on his/my B-day or something...Just to have someone I could call if I need to go to Miss R's and Hubby is going to be late, or to go see some music that may run later than we would want to bring the kids...Mostly we LIKE to bring the kids with us, we rather enjoy our kiddos. But, once in a would be nice to go somewhere alone and know they are having fun and the kids LOVE both of these teens. They have 5 kids in their family and are very active which is good as my kids do.not.stop. :) Sweet.

School starts for us next week as this is the last week of camp. We are going to hit the new coop we joined (finally) which I have very high hopes for. I have had numerous personal emails from moms in the group, plus they seem very normal and drama free on their site which is FANFREAKINGTASTIC!!! There are lots of kids my kiddos ages and slightly older which is perfect, and there seems to be a good mix of boys AND girls. Plus we already know one family that may be there so its not as if we are newbies knowing no one :) I will post my Letters of Intent over on the Homeschool page once I get them revised and map out what I want to do this year.

Well...I think that about covers it. I will get more sorted out here in this ol' blog as things settle in for the fall so stay tuned for all the goodies to come!!!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Update from the Mountain

Tomatoes are starting to ripen, much to my glee :) I have been waiting very patiently to have my own tomatoes and they are finally coming along. We are getting a few cukes here and there still, zuichinnis, and multiple squash-family plants with lots of flowers and not much else. The potatoes are amazing, and I am still getting plenty of greens, and will be planting a fall crop as well, possibly this week. Blackberries and wild blueberries are still around, and if we get them before the chickens... :)

Speaking of chickens...
I think everyone should own chickens. A thought shared by most of my neighbors as I am noticing more and more people in my 'neighborhood' are getting them. 2 more neighbors now have some chickens roaming around their yard. I love it. Many people have gardens, and now the chickens...I am happy to see it knowing people are doing what they can to support themselves...regardless on how small a scale. Makes me rethink goats for milk, thinking I could sell the extra in the neighborhood... :) Not this year, lol...

So, back to the chickens...We had a little scare with Angel Cookie yesterday. She is...hmmm...sort of slow. Developmentally delayed, if you will. Fragile. So, yesterday morning she was acting less than herself. She wouldn't come out of the coop, and when she did she would take a few steps and sit down. Not normal chicken behavior, but even for her this was odd. Of course, she is my favorite (its all about the saving for me...sigh) and Lilly's as well, so this was NOT good. I searched the chicken forums and found nothing to speak of. Luckily for me, she did perk up as the day went on, and today she is back to her normal, albeit slow, self. I have been spending a lot of time watching the chickens and I must say...they are hilarious. Now that they are all living in the same house, they run in a chicken posse...except for the 'babies', who aren't ACTUALLY babies, lol. Sam the Roo is crowing...if you'd call it that. He isn't loud(thankfully) and he doesn't crow like an insane chicken the way Mr. Roo did. He and Angel Cookie are SO sweet together...if she doesn't see him she calls for him and he comes. They are incredibly cute together. Now that they are a posse, when I come outside into the yard and call I have 13 chickens running at me and following me around until they determine whether or not I have some treats. :) They are a funny bunch. I always thought the people who said they would sit and watch their birds were a little tapped, but really is very soothing and really almost meditative. :)

Hubby and JD are off on a bike ride this morning and then Hubby is off to do some yard work at the old house. My plan is to get some painting done today and then tomorrow afternoon I will be doing some woods clearing. My to-do list is dwindling which is good as the super-sekrit-squirrel projects are percolating somethin' fierce and every time I pass my almost-set-up office I get giddy! There will be creative endeavors, spiritual projects, writing projects and a website...I can't wait! :)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Y'all know how I feel about them. There is NO love shared. I spent an ungodly amount of money on root canals earlier this year. After which, I was supposed to go have 'post build-ups' done, which I told them would not happen as I was completely out of dollars, and insurance. My original dentist refused to work with me on a procedure by procedure basis, as he wanted me to agree to a treatment 'plan' to the tune of 14K which I had to start paying upon agreeing to it. Uh, yeah. So, nothing has been done. Well, one of my temporary fillings wore out...the ones that are only good for 6 weeks...I was told by my root canal peep that I needed to get these dealt with or I was risking not only the teeth, but all the money I spent. I explained my tale of woe and se refered me to a new dentist.

Let me tell you...this guy and his gals are AWESOME. Not only is he about 5 minutes from my house, he was totally willing to work with me, not over treat, works FAST so my nervous insanity does not get me in a twist(they don't do nitrous, though they will do oral sedation). So, I go in and he tells me the root canals are not going to hold up as my teeth are so bad...he said he would just do the worst teeth, I could pay what I could(excuse me???) and work out something to pay the rest when I could(insert faint here) Not only than, but since he is a preferred dentist through my insurance, I get a reduced rate! So, I was able to get 3 teeth done yesterday, and I will get the other 2 done on tuesday. He said I did NOT need to get crowns right away and to not worry about it. When my inurance comes up again in January, he said we could figure out what was the most important to do and go from there as the 'build-up' was what was crucial, not the crowns, etc. Did I mention I LOVE this guy? (and he isn't too hard on the eyes, either) Absolutely awesome. He even gave me novicaine before he started, despite the fact there are NO nerves in my teeth anyways, lol, just so I would feel ok about it. So, now I will actually be able to CHEW with my back teeth. Nice.

In other news...
We are in the final stretch of camp. The kids have LOVED it and I am so glad we sent them. They have had some great social experiences, made some friends and had some positive away-from-mommy time. AND, we found a local babysitter! One of the camp councelors is now our new teen babysitter. The kids really like her, and LILLY likes her, which is really what its all about. Lilly is very fussy about who stays with her when Hubby and I are not here. She really loves M, and I am quite happy with her as well. Her first time here was yesterday while I went to the dentist and it went well. She is going to watch the kids on Sunday as well, while Hubby and I go work for Miss R. Though, Hubby and I typically do not go on dates, I suggested that maybe we should now that we have a sitter ;) Its not that we don't like each other, lol, its just that we do like our kids and typically do things as a family or individually. I said even to go for a motorcycle ride would be pretty nice... :)

Blueberry Hill is DONE! Oy, what an ordeal that is. There is still plenty of yard to deal with, trees that need to come down, etc but at least the hill is done and the blueberries are MUCH easier to get to :)

I am in the process of prepping Max's room to paint. Poor kid has had a half done room forever now, and I decided to finish it before my downstairs projects get underway. I am hoping to finish painting today. Then I move on to the foyer and LR. Then...the floors. Oh, the floors. We ripped up our fun shag carpet(barf) and were left with subfloor. We had thought of doing some sort of laminate flooring but...$$$ we started thinking of options. I said lets paint the floor. So, Hubby is sealing the wood, then painting a coat of grey deck paint(I think) Then, I am going to stencil the floor. Originally, I was going to faux paint it to look like marble, and on a whim I stenciled a patch of brick and Hubby was totally in love with it. So, brick it is! I think it will look amazing and am SO excited to see it finished. So instead of thousands of dollars for a floor, we will spend $150 tops. NICE. We are going to do a faux finish in the school room, and continue the tile from the kitchen into the pantry. We will possibly do a laminate floor in Lilly's room and the office if we see a good sale, and hopefully that will carry us through for a while. Originally, our plan was to do flooring next year, but since we are painting we may hold off for a few years and do all the electrical stuff next year(lighting, also stuck in the 70's...sigh) We still have to deal with the roof...and Hubby has started getting ready to attack the deck. By fall, I am hoping I will have a *new* kitchen, pantry, floors and walls :) Should look pretty darn good!

My sewing room and office are plans in my mind for now, lol, but oh the plans I have. I am excited to get started, but know I need to wait until I get these other projects done. I have quite the list for fall though...should be a very interesting time!

Well, kiddos have eaten and are ready for camp so off I go.... :)