Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Our snow bank is heating our house!!

Well kind of lol. Actually our Geo-Thermal is now up and running. It's been running all day, and our house is warm, so IT'S WORKING YAY!!! That means, our home has stayed 70 degrees all day, and it's only been in the 20's outside. We haven't used ANY gas...

(Ok that was suppose to wave, but maybe it won't)

So now our home is all green. Well after I get a better washer machine, that's NEW and saves water and all. (It's making a strange noise, not sounding so healthy right now. I hope it makes it.) So as of Jan 1, 2009 we are running without gas to heat our home. Our range and water heater are gas, but that's it!! I want one of those sign for my front yard that say

"This home is heated and cooled by the EARTH"

I'll keep track of our bill and be sure to report the difference. I will also get some pictures up of our project. I have some sorting to do.. I took a TON..

Hope you all have a Happy New Year!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Snow pictures!!

Our bird feeders in the back yard are always full of birds, unless of course, I open the door to take a picture LOL.
Note the glimpse of the bottom step you see. The snow is above it by a ways.

Abigail found an Oreo. Goodness did she like it LOL.





This was in a shallow spot between the house and camper. But still plenty deep.



The bird feeders and houses on our front porch attract lots of birds. It's so nice to sit and watch them while we do our school This one has a really pretty black and white one on it. They move so fast I had a hard time getting a good picture of them.









Friday, December 19, 2008

Dec. 23,2008

Well a little update, Yes a sugar free day or two is possible and YES you feel like crap (thanks for the warning Mandi). But I feel much better now. After you get over the hump of the de-tox of sorts I feel much, much better. The fog in my brain went away. Now staying that way, isn't so easy. It's so hard to not grab a cookie or two as a quick snack. So we went shopping and stocked up on some fresh fruits and vegi's. When your on the run and need to grab on the go, even harder. Fast food just doesn't offer much in the way of healthy food, but we all knew that right???

The pancakes where awesome. I've made them a few times since, I'm getting some strawberries to try in them. The possibilities are endless. I think that's why I love cooking so much. The possibilities go as far as you can imagine. I never take a recipe and follow it exact, why be normal???

Have any of you been stuck in this snow? I measured a minute ago and we have 13" of snow on the ground, most of it came down in one day. It's been snowing daily for the last week and we are expecting another 5-10" in the next day.. We've already got over 3 times more snow by this date last year. WOW, it's going to be a white winter. I'm hoping hubby gets that Geo-Thermal done soon... He's almost there. It's been sooo cold outside, he was welding and cutting in my backroom. I had to put up a blanket so the smells didn't get not the rest of the house. Hopefully by the first of the year it will be up and running. Doing it in his spare time, really makes it take longer. Can't wait, when that's done we will have a "green home". Between the Low-E windows, blown insulation (made from newspaper) and the Geo-thermal we are there!! YAY..



Here's another "green" idea.



What are they you ask?? Well we come from a family of hunters. Although hubby wasn't able to hunt this year (he had time, but opted for family time instead..) Many Uncles hunt and when they have as many as they want in there freezer, they offer them to family to process. Soo this year we got a deer from his uncle, cut it up and froze as much of the meat as possible. We use it just like beef. It's healthier since it's free range. On top of the meat we got, i boiled the bones and hard to clean pieces for broth. I buy it all the time, why not make my own. So we brought home the bones, neck and ribs and put them in a pan with some onion, celery, garlic and salt and pepper. I put it in the oven on 350 for, oh I don't even know how long, all day.. Used some cloth to strain it and pick the bigger chunks of meat from it. I than froze the broth. Well aside from alllll of that, I also kept the suet from the deer as we cut it. The fat is what they make those nice square chunks with bird seed you can buy at the store (they usually use cow, but pig and deer work as well). So I made my own. They have alll kinds of varieties, the citrus one caught my eye. Since we have a box of grapefruit, we saved the skins from them. After I melted the suet in the oven, mixed birdseed in it, I stuffed the peelings with the mix. I set them outside and froze them. I now have home made bird feeders. We love watching the birds on our front porch. Now with the cold weather it's even more important to feed them. So Suet bird feeders.... I put the rest in my large rectangular pan and later cut them into squares, I store them in the freeze and fill my wire mesh holders as needed.

This post is getting quite long. I guess I should post more often. So I'll add some pictures to the next post.

Here's a link to a previous post I wrote about the Christmas Holiday. If you are interested in seeing our point of view, you can find the post here.

To check out my blog on living healthy and green click here. I am trying to post a new green tip weekly. I will try harder to keep up with it. I have all these ideas, but they are getting left in my head LOL.

TTYL, I'll post some winter pictures for you in my next post.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A sugar free day??

Is that really possible?? Well I'm going to try, but I already failed for today. You see I had a brownie before I decided to try. Yes, I know it's still early, but well they were really good, and left over from last night. Soooo....

Anyhow, that was my last bit of sugar for the day. I need to find out if going sugar free makes me feel better. I really think I am having issues with it being high. I've had issuse with it my whole life, but up until I got pregnant with our last and 4th child, it was always LOW sugar I struggled with. All thru the pregnancy I really had a hard time. Everything I've done my whole life is now the opposite of what I need to do. Usually after you have the baby the gestational diabetes goes away, and for a while I thought it was all good, but now i'm just not so sure. I wasn't actually diabetic while pg, but I was VERY close. I think I was just having a good day when we did the test, i had some scary days in there.

So since diabetes runs on both sides of my family, I am on a quest to get more information. I don't have time to read a ton of books on it, or the option of going to the doctor right now, so a little research online I hope will clear things up. What I need is a list of do's and don'ts to post on my wall. I've talked to my mom and MIL about it, but can't remember what they said. It's so opposite of everything I've done my whole life.

So i'm starting with taking out refined sugars, I think that's what there called. Cookies, BROWNIES [wahaha], sugar in my tea that kind of thing. I'll use honey and more fresh fruits and vegis. I can do this, I love fresh and use it as much as possible. Having 4 kids, makes it difficult, I have to drag them everywhere, either to the sitter or the store. I rarely can just leave alone. But I can do this..

For breakfast I am having some pancakes. I can't have the cereal and milk anyhow. Instead of using syrup, i added some fresh cut apples and some cinnamon to the mix. Well see how it goes.
The other thing I really have to work on, is eating enough. As a mom, I tend to push off feeding myself, i've got to much else going on and, well eating actually annoys me. I love cooking and baking and feeding others, but I just don't like to take the time to eat. That's probably how i've stayed thin my whole life, not always a healthy thin, I should add.

So here's to a sugar free day. I'll let you know how the pancakes taste and if you have any sites that are a good reference or info site, I'd be happy to see it.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

cold days!

Well you know me, i can't follow a recipe for nothing. Not because I can't read, or understand what it says, but rather, well because I merely use it for a suggestion LOL.



So I made some hot cocoa mix. You see, we ran out of the store kind and with it being very snowy and all, we need some around here. Nothing else is better than hot cocoa to warm up the kids after they play outside. Nothing goes as well with some home made banana bread (tea comes in a close second). So I had to do something.



I stopped at Sav-A-Lot today while I was out. I didn't really want to venture all the way to Walmart with the snow coming down like it is. So I grabbed some chocolate milk powder, nesquik off brand kinda thing. It says to use milk, since there is none in the mix, it's only a mixture of cocoa, sugar, but no milk. Well I used this recipe as a guide and improvised the rest since I didn't have ALL of the right ingredients.




6 1/2 cups powdered milk
1 (5 ounce) package non-instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup powdered chocolate drink mix
1/2 cup powdered non-dairy creamer
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder



I'm sure this recipe is a great recipe, but what if you only have 3 c. of powdered milk?? what if you don't have chocolate pudding mix???



YOU IMPROVISE LOL!!!



Here's what I ended up doing



3 c. powdered milk

1 3.4 oz box of Vanilla instant pudding mix

1 c. powdered chocolate drink mix

1/4 c. creamer

1/4 c reg. sugar

1 c. cocoa (to make up for the vanilla pudding)





I put it in the blender and mix it up really good. Than we tried it and oh my was it good. Add some marshmallows and Peanut butter chips to it, or mint, or chocolate, YUM!! We all have our favorites. I have a container that holds all our our hot cocoa mix stuff. I found some Andres' mint chips for baking which works really well too.



So that's our solution to warm up.


Another result of the storm is the SNOW!! AHH I'm not to fond of snow myself. My kids love it, but I just don't like being cold, really. Our tree in the back fell down some more too. It missed the camper and shed, which is good. It is mostly rotten anyhow. We're planning on cutting it down eventually, this way it's coming down in pieces, at this rate we won't have to cut it LOL. We lost part of it last year as well. The roads here are pretty slick, there's been several accidents. 2 being in our family, not a good deal. Thankfully one of them just totaled the truck, the driver was fine. The other not so good.

Our prayers are with you Rob. He's in the hospital in Maryland. He will end up fine, but has alot of recovery to do. You just never know when it can happen.

So here we sit staying warm, hoping we don't get snowed in tomorrow. We'd like to go to church, but it all depends on the roads.

I better get this laundry folded, before it overtakes my backroom.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Cornbread stuffing casserole

Since we've been sick around here, I'm looking for quick and easy recipes. Well starring into my cupboards I seen I had a box of stuffing mix, cornbread, Meijer brand stuffing mix. On the side was a recipe for "mexican cornbread casserole" It looked pretty good, but I'm not much for spicy and I don't have nacho cheese soup on hand, so I changed it to fit what I did have. This is what I came up with and it turned out pretty good. I can see how this would work with leftover turkey or chicken really easy too.l

1 lb, cooked ground beef (or sausage or both)
1 can (10 oz-ish) cream of mush soup
1 c. sour cream
8 - 16 oz shredded cheddar cheese
1 c. water
1 6oz box of stuffing mix.

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9x13 casserole dish
Place browned ground beef in bottom.
In bowl mix soup, sour cream, water and about 1 c. of cheese.
Sprinkle all but 1/2 c of stuffing mix evenly over ground beef.
Pour soup mixture over stuffing.
Sprinkle remaining stuffing over soup.
Top with remaining cheese.

Bake uncovered for 30-40 mins. Till all is hot and bubbly.

You can very easily mix it up with different cheese, different stuffing flavor and even different soups. If you make your own stuffing I don't see why it wouldn't work with that either. Even use leftover and don't use as much water. Everything is already cooked, so it's only warming it up and melting the cheese.

The original recipe used nacho cheese soup and added a can of green chilies.

Friday, November 21, 2008

ear infections

With all the colds going around here, we've not been doing so great. It's been a week and we are all still fighting this nasty cold. The symptoms keep changing a little, so I assume that means were getting better?? I Hope.

Well early this morning my oldest daugter woke me up in pain. Her ear hurt, and she was really crying, so I know it really hurt. Well we've had alot of chest congestion and runny nose, so I can't say I'm to surprised. I gave her some tylenol and she crawled in bed with me. She was asleep within 15 minutes, the tylenol kicked in. It made me think about ear infections though. What is really the cause, and some of the myths I've heard, are they true?

For example, antibiotics don't really do anything for an ear infection, the wait and see method with some pain meds is the only real help. Is pressure on the eardrum from a sinus infection called an ear infection? What really helps them. I've seen some q-tip type things, a natural approach to healing for them, is that necessary? Well I got up and did some research.

The article does a really good job, I think, explaining it.

http://kidshealth.org/parent/infections/ear/otitis_media.html

Most ear infections (middle ear infections) only last 2-4 days, BUT a 10 day antibiotic is given. So no it's not really necessary. Fluid on in the ear drum, causes the pain.

Now there are some exceptions or course and they have to suggest that you always go to the doctor to be sure. I think we'll take the wait and see approach.

Here's an excerpt from the article
"The eustachian tube also allows for drainage of mucus from the middle ear into the throat.
Sometimes, the eustachian tube may malfunction. For example, when someone has a cold or an allergy affecting the nasal passages, the eustachian tube may become blocked by congestion in its lining or by mucus within the tube. This blockage will allow fluid to build up within the normally air-filled middle ear. Bacteria or viruses that have entered the middle ear through the eustachian tube can also get trapped in this way. These germs can breed in the trapped fluid, eventually leading to an ear infection."

So what do you do? With 4 kids to drag with me, I tend to wait it out. If they have a fever too I will take them in if it's still there after 24-48 hrs. I am happy to say, my children hardly ever go to the doctor, they just don't need to. We are blessed with being healthy. Our youngest is almost 10 months old, and has yet to have an ear infection. We usually only need to go for our normal visits. I am very thankful for that.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

My baby girl is walking!

I wanted to share this short video. My baby girl is walking at 9 months old! It is silent, since it was taken on my digital camera. I still can't figure out how to get my video camera to load onto any sites.

I have 2 sick kids here today, so I don't have much time. Hope they get better soon, I'm tired LOL.

Enjoy!
video

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Free credit reports!

I've mentioned before that I get a almost daily email from "Everyday Cheapskate". It really has good information, here is some I received today. This is something many ppl wonder about, so I thought I would share. BE sure to check out her site, there is even more great info on it, and you to can subscribe to her free newsletter!



A recent rash of mail from readers complaining that they are unable to get their thrice-yearly free credit report tells me I have not done a good job of teaching you the tricks of the trade.Credit bureaus gather credit information on individuals like you from a plethora of sources. There is nothing that makes this process illegal. Your creditors willingly submit all kinds of personal information about you, including how much you spend with them and how you pay your bills.The content of your credit file constitutes your credit report. Think of it as a rap sheet. It's all the things that others are saying about you and your behavior with credit and money and it is estimated that 70 percent of all credit reports contain factual errors.There are three major credit bureaus that gather information on individuals (
Experian, Equifax and TransUnion), plus another, Innovus, that mostly gathers information on businesses.Until a few years ago, these credit bureaus were allowed to charge a fee for an individual to see his own credit file. Law now requires that these credit bureaus furnish individuals one free report per year. Legislation required that the bureaus set up a method by which consumers could easily access their free reports.The credit bureaus were not too thrilled about this, as the law dried up a good portion of their income stream. It appears that in complying with the law, they came up with ways to keep that income stream flowing, even to the point of tricking consumers into paying for credit reports anyway.The bureaus did comply with making reports accessible by creating AnnualCreditReport.com. Think of it as a doorway through which you must pass if you wish to get your free reports. Once through, consumers are taken to their selected bureau's website. If you do not enter through AnnualCreditReport.com, you will end up paying for your free report.Being transported to any one of the bureau's websites is going to present a bit of a minefield experience. If you are not diligent in turning down all the offers to get something more than your one free credit report, you could find yourself at check-out giving your credit card number. Keep saying "no" to all offers until you get what you came for. You don't want credit monitoring and you don't want your credit score. There is always a charge for your credit score. Only your credit report is free once annually.Don't get nervous when you are required to give personal information including your address and Social Security number in the report-requesting process. They have this information already. Without it, they have no idea which report to deliver out of the hundreds of millions they have on file. They need this to match you to your file. They may also ask a few questions to make sure you are not a thief looking to break into a credit file in order to commit fraud.So how can you get your free credit report once every four months and not just once a year? Remember, there are three big credit bureaus. Don't get all three at the same time. Stagger each request by four months.AnnualCreditReport.com is the only official website to help consumers obtain their free credit report. You can also call (877) 322-8228 or write to Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA, 30348-5281.
Other related articles by Mary Hunt:"Get Your Free Credit Report""How to Build a Great Credit Score"

Monday, November 10, 2008

Brr it's cold outside!!

Well we are back home safe and sound. The camper is mostly unpacked, only some cleaning left to do in it. It has been winterized already too. It's been cold up here, so that was a must as soon as we got home. So now we are on to other things here.

As some of you know, we have been putting in Geo-Thermal heating in our house. Mark has work several of his weekends at home to put in the loops and now, this week we will be getting the duct work all done. We can't wait. I will be sure to let you all know the gas cost difference, can't wait for that. In case your wondering, it only uses a little electric to run the pump. It is a closed loop, so it's not running water thought it, just a anti-freeze type solution. I've got lots of picture of the progress. We are very excited to be able to say, we are LIVING GREEN! Well as soon as it's all up and running, we are almost there!!!

Another thing we've been doing is getting ready for this cold weather, BRRR. I think I'll go back down south for a while, it's only 35 out right now up here. We had SNOW yesterday. I know, it's November and it's normal, but man I don't miss it when it's here. As I like to say, "I prefer the warm side of the window". The kids are very excited however, they are already looking forward to building some snowmen.

So here are a few recipe tips for the cold weather.

I like to make my own hot chocolate. It's cheaper and well, it's cheaper lol. But if you've ever used home made mix, it just doesn't seem to dissolve well. I figured out a way last year, after you mix it all together (the recipe I use is below), put it in your food processor, it will pulverize it to a powder, just like in the store. It will dissolve much easier. You can do all kinds of creative things with it too. We like to add peppermint sticks to it, and of course marshmallows. But do you like peanut butter cups?? Well add some peanut butter chips to it, mmmm, or the mint ones they come out with for the holidays. Vanilla if you want vanilla-chocolate, chocolate kisses for super chocolate, the possibilities are endless really.

Or here's a cool thing we did last year, we made "snowman soup" The kids loved it and it was easy. We passed them out to some family. Here's the basic Idea

A cup, (kids love to decorate Styrofoam, or get a glass one from the second hand stores)
In a baggie put one serving of powder, some mini-marshmallows and what ever else you want.
close the bag with a ribbon and place in the cup
Add one candy cane to the cup

Attach a poem and directions, here are some examples I found last year and saved.


Was told you've been real good this year
Always glad to hear it
With freezing weather drawing near
You'll need to warm the spirit
So here's a little Snowman Soup
Complete with stirring stick
Add hot water, sip it slow
It's sure to do the trick!


When the weather outside is frightful,
Snowman Soup can be delightful.
May it warm your spirit and your soul.
Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!

When you feel a chill or 'burrrrrr',
Use the peppermint stick to stir.
Add hot water and sip it slow.
Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow.


When it's so cold that
you holler and whoop,
It's time to bring out
the Snowman Soup!

Pour the packet in a mug.
Add marshmallows too.
And throw in these kisses
that are special just for you.

Now add some hot water
and use the cane to stir it.
Sip slowly and soon you'll
feel the warm winter spirit!

And lastly my recipe. I got it off of my powder milk bag I think. I've seen it several place and different combinations, play with it to get it just right. There are tons of them online if you do a search as well.


1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 cup powdered non-dairy creamer
1 cup dry milk powder
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder


In a blender or food processor, combine sugar, powdered creamer, milk powder and cocoa powder. Mix well, and store in an airtight container.
To serve, put 2 to 3 tablespoons of powder in a mug, fill with hot water, and enjoy!

Here's one I think I'll try this year. They have really added alot of new ideas to them. Pudding, who-da thought.

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Hot-Cocoa-Mix-in-a-Jar/Detail.aspx

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Our yard is backed up to some woods, this time of year we see deer and pheasants and turkeys in our yard. Yesterday we had 7 or 8. They came right up to our patio. I was actually able to get some pictures from the door. They are checking out my flowers in the first one and heading towards the neigbors.





Friday, October 17, 2008

YUMMY Brownies

Have you ever got a recipe started and realized you were missing an important ingredient? Ugh I seem to be doing that alot lately. You see most of my baking and cooking ingredients are still 12 hrs away at the camper, so I don't have them at the house. I know I have some, but there not HERE! LOL. Well I did it again.

Last weekend I was making some cheesecake and realized I didn't have any brown sugar for the crust. I ALLWAYS have brown sugar, no mind you I'd already went to the store TWICE to get missing ingredients. I alwasy have to buy Cream cheese, cherry topping and sweetened condensed milk for it, but I usually have Lemon Juice, so back to the store I went. I than realized I didn't have brown sugar, so I borrowed some for our neighbor.

Well yesterday I was making some bisquits and realized I didn't have any salt, soda or baking powder. I ran down to our dollar store here in town and grabbed some salt and soda. We got back home, the kids went back out to play in the dirt pile and I went inside and got back to business and.... sigh realized I need powder NOT soda, so yup I loaded everyone back up and headed down there again. Thankfully the store is only a 1 mile round trip. Hardly worth the gas, I know. So I finally got some bisquits.

So today, i decide I really need, err want some brownies to go with ice cream. I got the butter in the pan and you guessed it, i didn't have enough cocoa. I tell ya, i wasn't going to the store, it was late. Sooo I dug some chocolate chips out of the freezer. I had about 3/4 of the cocoa I needed, so I added chips to replace it. About double what I needed in cocoa. Well since they were semi-sweet I cut back on the sugar as well. I only used about 3/4 the sugar I needed. I figure, how bad can it be, it's chocolate. It will be fine. It did turn out good. Not as yummy as the true recipe, but still good. To me, I think it tasted like the boxed brownie mix you buy. So if you want some really gooooooodddd brownies, here is a good recipe to try.


Fudgie Brownies from Jennifer Dugan’s kitchen
½ c. marg
½ c. cocoa
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla
½ c. flour
¼ t. salt
½ c. chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 and grease 8x8x2 pan.
In a saucepan melt the marg. Removed from heat and add cocoa, stir until well blended. Add sugar & mix well. Add eggs, slowly one at a time and beat well. Add vanilla, flour and salt. DO NOT OVERBEAT. Fold in the nuts.

Bake 325 for 25-30 min, till knife comes out clean. Doubles well into a 9x13 pan.

Alternate options: use peanut butter or vanilla chips when you add the nuts. These are really fudge brownies and super good!

Enjoy!

Some Election info!

I don't want to get to political on here, but I wanted to share these sites. They outline the different options that will be on the ballet. If your looking for one local to you, I suggest checking out your local TV and Radio stations websites.

here is the voters guide for Michigan by HSLDA. Once you click on it, scroll down to your county and click on that. From there you can read about the candidates and proposals.
http://www.michiganfamily.org/votersguide.htm

Here again is one for Michigan Counties:
http://www.woodtv.com/Global/category.asp?C=150102&nav=menu44_13

And MSN even offers some info, here is a link to all the states and each ballot:
http://election.msn.com/YourState.aspx

And a comparison of each candidates stand on various subjects. Including the tax one that's been all over the news lately.
http://election.msn.com/WhereTheyStand.aspx

Get out and vote, and give a ride to someone else who otherwise may not be able to.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Scenery pics

The other side of the swamp. The view we had directly in front of our site.
These 2 are taken at Giant City State Park. Very beautiful

Here's a few more pictures. I'll post more on myspace page. The State park was very nice, had lots of scenery!

So we are back!

And as I said before we had a great time. I've kinda kept a little diary while we were gone. Here are a few of the little notes I thought we'd like to remember.





Advantages of camping in the boon docks
1. No one cares if the dog barks, no one else is there.
2. You have the outhouse to yourself. We washed it and it stayed that way.
The outhouses don't smell as bad, since no one else uses it.
3. No one cares that you have kids there all day. We do school in peace with no one asking why they aren't in school.
4. You have an unlimited supply of free firewood. It's not picked thru.
5. It's quiet, except for the noises your already used to, since it's your kids and animals making it LOL.



Things we've learned while camping
1. Frogs play dead when David touches them. They will hop all over while the others are holding them, but give it do a 3 yr old, and out comes the tongue.
2. Dry pine needles make great fire starter.
3. It's really quiet at night!
4. Chocolate flavored marshmallows taste better in Rice Crispy treats than on S'mores.
5. Bring your own toilet paper. If no one is around, you may run out and be out of luck!!!!
6. Don't EVER leave your laundry un attended for even 5 minutes. YUP we got ours stolen. Thankfully only our white clothes, but it was the whole triple loaded washer full. So we all got new undies and learned a lesson!!





While we were gone I of course took pictures. I said our campground reminded me of the movie Shrek, and here's why!!





Enjoy!!

Giant City State Park


A very rainy day.


Our campsite from the outhouse!

Our dinner cooking by the fire. I LOVE my dutch oven!!

Friday, October 10, 2008

We're home!!

As of 2 am this morning. I'm off to get some breakfast, since we have nothing here!!

I'll post some pictures later today if I can. We still have to unpack the car. I had to vaccuum the floors and spray this musty house down. Locked up for 3 weeks with 3 cats doesn't do it well. We had someone coming everyday to let the cats in and out and such, but still. You should've seen the couch. Yikes!! Next time, I'm covering it with sheets. Wish I'd thought of that before.

We had fun and are happy to be home!!

Later!!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Update from the south!







Yes we are still here, and having fun! We are camping down south, I won't give a exact location untill we return, but we are having a great time. We've been cooking over the fire, in our awsome dutch oven. They are sooo nice and stews taste sooo much better in them. We've made pork chops, corn bread, stew, chicken soup, baked apples, BBQ chicken and of course hot dogs, all on the fire. Sooo yummy!




Here are a few pictures to share, we have tons more. We've gotten to see some really great parks, with natural wonders made of rock, shale and slate. The campground we are at, is literally between a swamp and a corn field, but it's EMPTY, so it's also quiet. The area is, well no one lives there hehe, it's a very unpopulated area, but still very nice. I feel at home!




I will post morewhen I can. We have no internet service at the campground and have to find a Wifi spot to get on here. SOo until next time, here's a glimpse.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Is it possible??

It is with great sadness I announce today that........................

My baby girl, the little bittie one, is eating cereal. Not just the applesauce and cereal flakes, but real live cheerios. I'm sad. I just couldn't resist her cuteness asking for something. She smacks her lips and pleads with her eyes when you eat. I had given her applesauce and a few other soft things, but was really trying to not admit she was ready for the older baby stuff. Welll.......... I had to and SHE LOVED IT! Of course. I seen her following her big brother around, who had some dry fruit loops and watching him. She managed to get one he dropped and boy did she go to town. So... My 7 1/2 month baby, is doing just exactly what she should be doing, breaking her mama's heart and growing up!!

If I could put tears on here I would!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

School has begun!



Well we had a wonderful weekend. We packed up and went to Ohio to welcome home my brothers. We left Friday morning and got back very late on Sunday. It was a very full but very fun weekend. Of course we had to take lots of pictures. I've posted some on here, but for more, you can go to my myspace page. If your not a friend and want to be, send me an email.


In addition to the party, we camped at my SIL's parents home. Her mom is awsome!! We got together and had a hot dog roast, and breakfast together. Of course since we were all there (except for a last minute car trouble cancellation) we had to get family photos. The last time this will happen I should add, way to much trouble in getting us all in the same spot at once. It still didn't happen since one sibling couldn't make it. But anywho we got what we could. Some of us went to Dawes and got some really great photos. School pictures for us, much cheaper than professional and still look great (better I think)



So now we are back home, mostly unpacked and today is our first day of school. First order of business is downloading our homeschool tracker program. I know, I'm not very prepared but I have good reason. I switched computers and it was on the old one. So I downloaded it onto my laptop. For those who have no clue what I'm talking about, if you homeschool it's a HUGE help. It's a scheduler and helps you keep track of lessons, grades and reminds you what your suppose to be doing. Best of all, It's free!




There is a plus edition that offers more valuable features, for I believe $49. I've found the free edition to have enough for me, but many have found the plus edition to be even better. Check it out if you homeschool.



This year we are getting on a schedule to help us keep on track. I am attempting to turn us into morning people. Hubby used to be on a night time job, so now matter how hard I tried during the week, we stayed up late, so I gave up. Now he's back to a morning job, so we are finally going to adjust. We are using A Beka for math, Rod and Staff for Phonics, English, Reading and Spelling, Discover Science by Scott-Foresman for Science and the kids get music as well. This is the first year I've actually bought a curriculum, so we are pretty excited to use it.


So here are a few pictures from our weekend, with more on myspace.



Getting everyone to look at the same camera at the same time was quite a feat. I don't think we actually got a perfect one, but oh well.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

A quick hello!


I wanted to send a quick hello before our super busy and exciting weekend. I will tell you all about it when we return, but for now I'm preparing our trailer and truck and hopefully leaving the house clean. It's much nicer coming home to a clean house after a busy weekend.


So we're off for a few days and I'll tell you more about it next week!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

My Hibiscus

I wanted to post some pictures really quick. This is my Hibiscus plant on our patio. Oh how I love Hibiscus, they are sooo pretty. This is one of my favorite colors, (cause it's on my patio lol). The flowers are so big. I have a white one in the front as well, I'll have to get some pictures of that one too. Just wanted to share. It's doing so well this year, we just planted it last year.





I also wanted to share my new shirt. I went to Vista Print and designed it, and only paid for shipping. I LOVE it. It's my new theme!!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Flour!

I found this link on another site I check out. It's very interesting for those of us who use flour. It explains the uses and the differences between the many types of flour there are.



http://whatscookingamerica.net/Bread/FlourTypes.htm





This photo makes me cry, she looks sooo adorable. I took the picture on my patio yesterday and emailed it to my SIL to play with. I LOVE it!!! She's 6 months old today!

I'm here! Really!


Our peaceful retreat in our back yard.


So a friend reminded me that people really are looking at this and I should post something (uh um, you know who you are!). So here's an update on us! Oh and a few cute pictures.



Well we have been on a quest lately to "go green". I'm not turning into a fanatic or anything, but it's amazing the way to you can find to help out the environment if you only look.



For started, pay $1 and get a cloth bag. I've been collecting one each week when I do my shopping, I'm up to 4. Walmarts are black and seem to be the strongest, but I don't shop there much. I feel kinda funny taking a Walmart bag into say Meijer, soo I noticed that our local Spartan store has green ones. They don't say a store name, just "green bag" LOL. They aren't as heavy, but do just as well. They hold way more too, I'd say 2-3 plastic bags worth of groceries. So now I have the bags, the trick is to remember to use them lol, with 4 kids to drag in, they are usually left in the truck. So I put them in the front seat with my purse and am more likely to take them.



Another way is recycling. Start small. When we we're doing a newspaper route we started recycling the extras at Grangers. After we quit the route we realized it really wasn't that difficult. I now have a tote in our kitchen to collect our plastic, cans and such. I printed a list for our fridge from the website on what they take. The hard part for most is, out here we don't even have a place to recycle. The closest places I know of are 45 miles away,not a very earth friend area. So we collect them until we are making a trip to somewhere that is.



In my attempt to declutter I've had lots of papers to throw out. Instead of just tossing them and filling my plastic trash bag, I shred them and make more room, OR burn them in our fire pit. Just a little less trash to go out to the landfill.



Collect rain water in buckets to water the flowers. This one is tricky thou. Leaves and stuff gets in the bucket. I've been thinking of maybe making a screen to go over it. We'll see if that gets done.



Well here are some pictures of my cuties. We are getting family photos done in a few weeks, can't wait for that. Our baby is 6 months old TODAY eyie, yie yie. She's trying to crawl, not quite there yet, but she gets around for sure. She loves being on the floor, the play pen is just to small for her, as far as she's concerned. So our office is dog free, and has a rug on the floor, perfect for her. Until she discovers under the desk.



I've got to get a picture of my Hibiscus too, oh it's soo pretty, Huge flowers on it. Our tomatoes are green but growing. And we got a HUGE zucchini from the garden. The animals are getting the rest. Sneaky buggers, even with the live trap right there, they eat the fresh ones on the plant instead. hmm gotta try something else.



Well gotta run, got lots to do.


This is my precious yesterday, my favorite picture so far.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Thankful!

What are you thankful for? No I'm not going to go into some long message about being thankful, really. But I am going to tell you what I'm thankful for. I'm sure you all know of all the troops away from there families over seas. Well I am thankful that my brothers have both returned safe and sound. Yesterday they both arrived back home. They had been gone since May and June of last year. So now there deployment is over and they have come home. I'm very thankful to all those who serve our country and sacrifice limb, sanity, family and sometimes there lives for our freedoms, and I'm thankful most of them come home safe.



SO Thanks to all who serve!!


The thing left is to celebrate!! Can't wait to see you all soon!





Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Grilled pizza

YES it is delicious!! MMmmmmm.

I've been wanting to try some, but hadn't yet. Now my hubby he could eat pizza every DAY, but not me. Soooo I spread it out and manage to stretch it to a few times a month. Usually we do the same old oven route, the crust is getting thinner and thinner each time. Sooo I decided yesterday I was going to do it on the grill. I'd gotten an email about grilling and decided it was time. Here's what I did YUM!!

I made our basic bread dough and added some pizza seasoning to the mix for crust. I leave it a little wet so the dough can be rolled thinner. I think I have a previous post on making bread, I'll come back and link it if I can.

Anywho, I turned on my grill, warmed it up so it was about 400 degrees. I use a cloth BBQ brush to rub oil on the hot grill. Inside I rolled out some dough, not to big of a piece, but any size will work. I covered one side with melted garlic butter (just some marg and some crushed garlic). I than put it on the grill butter side down and left it for a few minutes with the lid closed. after it was brown with grill marks and mostly cooked I manuverd a cookie sheet and spatulas under it to flip it over. My first attempt was to large, so it was quite a site I'm sure.

Once it was flipped, I decorated it, rather quickly. Sauce, fresh sliced mushrooms, ham and pinapple than cheese. Closed the lid and walked away. I checked it about 10 minutes later and it was almost done. Once the cheese was melted in the middle of the pizza, the dough was done on the bottom. Than i slid it onto a cookie sheet and took it inside.

It was really good. My hubby, who frequents Chicago pizza joints, said so!!
After almost 11 yrs of marriage, he tells me if its not! LOL

So today I am enjoying left over grilled pizza. i didn't get a picture, cause we were to anxious to eat!! But you should try it, it is a keeper.

One thing I would change, not make so much dough. It starts raising to much and makes the crust thicker. Usually we get 2 huge cookie sheets of pizza and a 9x13 of bread sticks. It's better the first time, so I'll half the dough next time. But it was still yummy!

Using your grill like an over opens a whole new ballgame for baking. Hmmm homemade bread on the grill, now that's an idea, in the pan of course

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Bee Stings

A friend sent this to me, if you've tried this, let me know. I'll be keeping this in mind for sure.

Subject: Bee Stings

This information may be something to remember, as this season will soon be here again. It might be wise to carry a penny in your pocket while working in the yard. A couple of weeks ago, I was stung by both a bee and hornet while working in the garden. My arm swelled up, so I went to the doctor. The clinic gaveme cream and an antihistamine. The next day the swelling was getting progressively worse, so I went to my regular doctor. The arm was Infected and needed an antibiotic. The doctor told me - 'The next time you get stung, put a penny on the bite for 15 minutes'.

That night, my niece was stung by two bees. I looked at the bite and it had already started to swell. So, I taped a penny to her arm for 15 minutes.The next morning, there was no sign of a bite. We decided that she just wasn't allergic to the sting. Soon, I was gardening outside. I got stung again, twice by a hornet on my left hand. I thought, here I go again to the doctor for another antibiotic. I promptly got my money out and taped two pennies to my bites, then sat and sulked for 15 minutes. The penny took the string out of the bite immediately. In the meantime the hornets were attacking, and my friend was stung on the thumb. Again the penny

The next morning I could only see the spot where the hornet had stung me. No redness, no swelling. My friend's sting was the same; couldn't even tell where she had been stung. She got stung again a few days later upon her back---cutting the grass! And the penny worked once again.

Wanted to share this marvelous information in case you experience the same problem. We need to keep a stock of pennies on hand . The doctor said that the copper in the penny counteracts the bite. It definitely works!

Please remember and pass this information on to your friends, children,grandchildren, etc.

Charles and Linda Simpson

If you have children take time to view the following video:http://www.cbc.ca/consumers/market/files/home/cleaners/index.html

Monday, June 30, 2008

Woo Hoo!

David just came in from outside playing to run to the potty. ALL ON IS OWN! YAY!! WOOHOO! PROGRESS! I am seeing the end to diapers for one child in sight, it's getting closer. He's stayed dry pretty well in underpants, but would need to be reminded. If he can get away with it, he will get a diaper on, but we've had to keep convincing him underpants are better.


But he came in all on his own, ran thru the house to the bathroom. YAY!!!

Just had to share a mom moment with you all!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Well I got it done!

The lawn that is. I got it all mowed and trimmed today. I'm sure my neighbors must get a kick out of watching me. I'm NOT the one who mowed our customers lawns and NO I don't do all those designs on purpose. I do so many circles and back over where I already mowed it's not funny. Well it may be for those watching. But it's done, and it's now raining so the lawn can get nice and green and full again, just in time for MARK to mow it next time. He bought me a cordless, rechargeable trimmer, it's SOOO nice. It starts super easy and it's lighter than a gas one. It doesn't stay charged for really long, but long enough for me to get done and my arm to be done too. I have to use it around the pond and by the green house. The mower doesn't fit around it.

Well I hear thunder, so I think I'll get this turned off, and check the windows. A nice rain will do us some good. Sorry for those who have to much, glad it's coming a little this way. They are projecting some severe thunderstorms so we will see!

I'm going to go check our brownies, my niece helped make them. And check the windows, ta ta for now!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Home made remedies for Poison Oak and Ivy

I just found this on a favorite site of mine.

You can get the green clay from the Frontier Co-op...

NaturalNews.com printable articleOriginally published June 25 2008

Natural Remedies for Poison Ivy and Poison Oakby Tony Isaacs (see all articles by this author)(NaturalNews)

Spring has sprung and summer seems to be barreling along too -- at least here in the south Texas hill country I call home these days. Besides the abundance of human friendly flora bursting upon our landscape, there are also some that are less than pleasant if we happen to stumble onto and into them. Two of the most bothersome are poison ivy and poison oak.Should you have the misfortune of brushing against either of those two, the good news is that you can stop the itching, spread and blisters with these home and natural remedies:

* Stop the itch of a poison ivy rash and prevent it from spreading with the following homemade paste: Mix one tablespoon of salt and 1/8 teaspoon of peppermint essential oil (Mentha piperita) with 1 to 2 cups green clay, and add enough water to form a paste. Apply the paste liberally to the rash and leave it on for 20 to 30 minutes. Store leftover paste in a tightly sealed jar and reapply as needed. The remedy soothes the itch by absorbing the irritating plant oils and drying the rash. It also works for poison oak.

* Hot water and a banana. Take as hot a shower as you can stand for as long as you can. It will feel good and help relieve the itching. Then take a banana peel and rub it on the infected area. The itch should be gone for eight to twelve hours.

* Watermelon. Take watermelon (the rind and the meat) and glide it over the rash. Let it dry naturally. Within a day, the condition should improve greatly.

* Baking soda and coffee. First put about a half a cup baking soda in a bowl and slowly add cool coffee to make a thick paste. Then apply the paste liberally to the affected area and allow to dry. The poison will flow out of the blisters like water.

* Turmeric and lime or lemon juice. Mix one tablespoon of turmeric spice with roughly equal parts of lime or lemon juice to form a thick paste. Carefully apply to the afflicted skin. This remedy stains, and stings ever so slightly, but works miraculously. For avoiding stains on clothes, furniture or carpet, use it in the bathtub, so the bright yellow stuff doesn't fall down and make a mess. Let it sit on your skin for fifteen minutes, then wipe off excess. Some stains will likely remain. By the next day you will be astonished at how the ivy has dried up and nearly vanished.

* Poke salad root. Boil the root of a poke salad plant until it turns into a paste form. It will have a strong odor. Then, once it has cooled enough not to scald, rub it on the infected area until you can feel it "burn or sting". It should neutralize the poison ivy overnight.

* Dishwashing liquid. Rub dishwashing liquid onto skin area and within 15 to 20 minutes the itch should disappear. Do not wash off until the next morning and then reapply. Within a couple of days the skin area should clear. This is also good for mosquito bites. I would use this with caution, most dishwashing liquids contain irritants to your skin. Unless you use somelike more natural like Melaleuca I don't know about this one.

* Burdock roots. Make a strong tea with burdock roots and apply to the skin. Let it dry and re-apply as often as needed. It relieves the itching immediately.

* Potato. Blend a potato in a blender until it becomes a rough pasty blob. Put it on some plastic wrap and wrap it around the affected area. Plastic wrap works better than towels. If you are treating your face, poke two holes for nostrils so you can breathe. Leave it on for an hour or so, and the next day the bubbles should be gone and the skin should turn yellowish and start flaking off. It will probably still itch but should itch much less, and the itching should soon go away. Rub the affected areas to remove excess, but do not rub too hard or pick at the affected areas. Use vitamin E or lotion to help the new skin look and feel better.

* Peachtree leaves. Get some leaves from a peach tree, boil them and then let the water cool. Take a cotton ball and apply the liquid to the affected areas. Works almost overnight and should be almost completely clear within two-three days.

* Oatmeal. Run a warm bath and fill an old sock with oatmeal. While soaking in the tub, take the sock of oatmeal and gently rub it all over the affected areas.
* Epsom Salts. Make a paste and rub it on the affected area or just soak the area. Either way is good.

* Help stop the spread of infection from inadvertent scratching by washing the hands with a colloidal silver product, such as a colloidal silver soap or just regular colloidal silver. Pay particular attention to the areas underneath the fingernails and use a fingernail scrub brush on those areas.

* Colloidal silver and aloe vera make a good soothing, healing and disinfecting combo.

A couple of other home, but not exactly "natural" remedies that are effective are:
* Hemorrhoid ointment or liquid Blistex. Smear it on the areas affected to relieve itching and clear up the infection within 24 hours or so.
* Clear fingernail polish. This can be used to coat the affected areas to prevent spreading and lessen itching.

About the authorTony Isaacs, is a natural health advocate and researcher and the author of books and articles about natural health including "Cancer's Natural Enemy" and "Collected Remedies"as well as song lyrics and humorous anecdotal stories. Mr. Isaacs also has The Best Years in Life website for baby boomers and others wishing to avoid prescription drugs and mainstream managed illness and live longer, healthier and happier lives naturally. He is currently residing in the scenic Texas hill country near Utopia, Texas where he serves as a consultant to the Utopia Silver colloidal silver and supplement company and where he is working on a major book project due for publication later this year. Mr. Isaacs also hosts the CureZone "Ask Tony Isaacs" forum as well as the Yahoo Health Group "Oleander Soup"

All content posted on this site is commentary or opinion and is protected under Free Speech. Truth Publishing LLC takes sole responsibility for all content. Truth Publishing sells no hard products and earns no money from the recommendation of products. NaturalNews.com is presented for educational and commentary purposes only and should not be construed as professional advice from any licensed practitioner. Truth Publishing assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material. For the full terms of usage of this material, visit http://www.NaturalNews.com/terms.shtml

Thursday, June 19, 2008

more photos

KCCI news 8 is the local station in Des Moines. I thought I would share this link to some photos on their site of the flooding. This high school was in the middle of the flood area.

This is a picture of the flood waters over I-80 on Friday 6/13/08. This is from the IDOT site


And here are some I took on our way home. You can see how close the water is to the road still.

Des Moines, IA


We were in Des Moines when that lovely storm hit last week. We were staying on the south side of town, so we were fine. In down town is where it was the worse. Here are a few pictures of the downtown area after the fact. When they were letting people back in. You can see the sandbags everywhere and lots of places were still closed. I have more photos on my video camera and my phone to put on here.




I drove past here almost everyday we were there, and thought there was at least a river thru there, but on our last day thru, I realized it was all farmland.



Here are some pictures of the capital building, such a pretty building. No water damage as far as I know though.

From the building across the road, made such a pretty reflection.

I'll post more when I get them on my PC.