Tuesday, March 31, 2009

My new favorite site.

I have no idea how I came upon Tipnut. But I sure am glad that I did!

Need instruction on making an inexpensive garden trellis? Go to Tipnut.

I will SO be using this idea for my garden. I'm buying welded wire mesh this weekend! It will be perfect!

Need to know how to fold anything? Go to Tipnut.

In the mood to make some "Neat-o" crafts? Oh yeah...Tipnut, Baby.

This site has SO much information on SO many different things. It's amazing. And a wealth of great information. I visit it at least once every other day...sometimes more.

This is one of the best sites ever. And whoever thought of it is a genius. And I love them. A lot.

Go take a look around...have fun...maybe I'll see you there!

Monday, March 30, 2009

It's like having my own wife!

Can you say, "Pulled pork with slaw on hamburger buns"?

I can. Because that is what's simmering away in my kitchen right now. My Crock Pot is cooking my dinner as we speak. And this, my friends, makes me happy. Very, very happy.

Can I just say, I ♥ my Crock Pot.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Gourmet lunch with make-do items..

The other day I was home doing things around the house...laundry, dusting, vacuuming...the usual. I lost track of time. Eventually, I realized that I was pretty hungry. I looked in the fridge. It was looking pretty sad. But we are on such a tight budget that I wasn't about to go grab any fast food...convenient as it may be.
I decided to dig through the crisper drawer and the freezer to see what I could come up with. I took it on as a challenge...to feed myself well with whatever I had lying around.
I found the last of the frozen pot stickers I'd bought at a GREAT price at the Grocery Outlet. Hmm...sounds good! I got those going and continued to dig. I found a half of a container of chicken broth, one carrot, the last little bit of bagged, shredded cabbage and some green onion.
Hey...this could work! And it did! I ended up with an Asian style cabbage slaw, pot stickers with homemade dipping sauce and an Asian style soup.
And it was GOOD. Not bad for having "nothing" to eat.
How often do we say this? "There's nothing to eat!" Or better yet...how often does my family say it? Well, it's all about creativity...and I definitely got creative!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Wednesday in the Word

The LORD replied, "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest." Exodus 33:14
(Better late than never...)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Coop.

I am finding myself with a bit of extra time this morning. I had a meeting scheduled this morning but she called and cancelled.
There were many things I thought of doing: laundry...mop the kitchen floor...vacuum...change the chickens' "litter"...make the boys' beds since they conveniently "forgot" to do it...wipe down the inside of the fridge...scrub the tub...or...BLOG!
You can see what won...ahem.
I thought I'd take a few minutes to show you the chicken coop progress. This is how it started a couple of weeks ago. I came home from helping my mom and my aunt with funeral stuff for my grandmother and walked into the backyard to find my husband and son working on this:
The chicken coop. The hen house. A tiny bit of my dream come true.
It's made, at this stage, from all recycled materials that we had in the yard. Except for the Mitsubishi sign of course. I don't have those lying around my yard. I mean, there's a lot lying around the yard...don't get me wrong...it's a mess! But not Mitsubishi signs. No, my husband found this in the dump pile at our shop. The funny thing is...I had seen it earlier in the day, and considered it, prior to him calling me and telling me about it! We decided to give it a try. It's free...it's sturdy...it'll work until we can afford to buy proper roofing material.
Last weekend found us with some nice weather...and a bit of time. So my husband and son headed out back and began to peck away (get it? get it? peck? What? I couldn't resist!) at finishing the chicken coop.
They were able to get most of the chicken wire installed...all except one little area, frustratingly enough, because my husband ran out of the staples! I KNOW he was frustrated...
I know I would have been!
Ian is such a good helper. He's just like his dad...loves to tinker and figure out how things fit together...how they work. It's impressive. And enviable.
I'm not like that. I just want it to work. That's all. I don't care how...I just want it to do what I need it to do...whatever "it" may be.

See all those grass clippings lying on the concrete? There were more...and they made it into my raised beds. It wasn't much...but every little bit helps!
Know what else you can see? My neighbors house. See it? Just over the roof of the coop, beyond the fence? Yep. That's Bob's house. That's how close we are to our neighbors here in lovely California. Luckily Bob is down for the chickens...excited even. He came in and oohed and aahed at them on Sunday. I'll have to give him some eggs.

Oh look. There's our other neighbor on the street behind us. I didn't talk to them about the chickens. And I probably won't. We're not neighborly. The only time I've ever spoken to them is when Ian dropped his shoe out of the tree house and into their yard. We had to walk around the block and ask if he could go and retrieve his shoe. Luckily they thought it was as funny as we did!
I am really going for the whole urban homesteading thing. No acreage. No sprawling ranches. Just a little city plot with bad soil and really close neighbors. This is going to be interesting. I think I may be a little bit crazy.
But some of you knew that already...no comment!

Snug as a...chicken?.

Oh my goodness...I am loving this whole chicken thing. They are so sweet. And they seem to get along quite well. I still can't tell the two blondes apart..but the Rocks have different beaks so we know who's who. This picture was actually taken a few days ago...so by now they're a bit bigger, they're wings are more developed...they grow very fast. I'll share more pictures later today if time permits.

Off to begin my day!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Out with the new, in with the old.

You know...the more this world turns to "convenience" and ease the more I want to turn back to the old way of doing things. I just think we are becoming far too reliant on "quick and easy" or "convenient". While it may save time, in my opinion it isn't always the best way to do things.

Take juicing, for example. Now, I don't have an electric juicer...nor have I ever used one. I know Ina Garten uses one...and I've actually admired it on occasion. And I imagine it's quite nice to use...quick, easy, convenient. But for some reason I just have never thought, "Man! I NEED one of those!!" I always just figured a nice, old-fashioned juicer would work just as well. (And would be easier to clean up, I think, too!)

Well, a few months back I was at my favorite thrfit shop and came across a glass juicer. It was cute...but it had a small chip so I passed it up. Wouldn't you know, a week or so later, my aunt and uncle give me a big bag of Meyer lemons from their tree. I mean, a BIG bag. Immediately I wished I'd purchased that glass juicer...chip and all. Seems to be my story...a day late and a dollar short.
Well, I ended up blogging about it...the missed opportunities of thrifting and getting things while the getting is good. And as it turns out my aunt had been reading my blog, unbeknownst to me. One day she calls me and tells me to stop by her office...she has "a little something" for me.
Really? For me? Wow...I wonder what it could be!? It's got to be something good...my aunt always gives good "little somethings".

I quickly finish my errands...because I'm not a patient person and there's "a little something" waiting for me...and head over to her office. I walk in...greet her and her co-workers as I usually do...and then she coyly points to something with a little smile on her face that tells me, "You are SO gonna love this..". I look down on her desk and what do I see?
A glass juicer.
A vintage glass juicer...similar to the one I saw at the thrift store.
But better.
You know why?
It's not just because it was a bit bigger. Or even because it wasn't chipped. It's better because it was my Noni's. It belonged to my grandmother. And my aunt, knowing it was there and after reading my blog, went to my grandfather's, dug it out of whatever cabinet it may have been being stored in all these years, and gifted it to me.
I was SO surprised. I had no idea what "the little something" could have been and I NEVER would have imagined it would be Noni's glass juicer. But I am so glad it was...now whenever I look at it I think of Noni, my grandmother who is now dancing with Jesus in Heaven. And I think of my aunt and her kindness and how blessed I am to be surrounded by such incredible women in my life.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

I can respect this...

Plans for the White House garden...

I am a Republican. I haven't always been. But the more I learn about God...and our country...and politics...and the more I see what my children are going to inherit...the more conservative my thinking becomes. BUT, I'm not here to talk about politics as I don't really like politics all that much. However, I DO like gardening. I also like hearing about people making a difference. And while I don't agree with her husband's thinking...or feel he was the best choice for our country...I do like what Michelle O'bama is doing here. Even if I can't help but wonder if she really is the ONE doing it...or if her advisor's thought it would be a "good idea"... but regardless of my cynicism, she's put her name on it. And I respect that she is doing something, too...other than just being "the president's wife".
I think it looks like a lovely plan...although I don't see any tomatoes or beans? Cucumbers? Squash? Lots of lettuce and greens...and fennel? Oh well...to each his own. I can't have EVERYTHING my way...! We each see "victory" in our own way, I suppose.
Here's a link to the article I happened upon...read for yourself!

The newest addition.

I can hardly stand how stinkin' CUTE she is! I couldn't resist...I went and got just one more chick yesterday. I had to. The two black chicks were pairing up and leaving the one little yellow chick out...it was a little sad. Plus, when Chris got home and immediately fell for them, he was fine with me getting just one more. Ahem.

Isn't she CUTE?! Oh my goodness... And so sweet...such a gentle disposition.

Here they are all together...I LOVE them...

See this little girl laying in the food? SHE'S the feisty one. I can't wait to see her personality as a full grown chicken. Can you see her little leg hanging over the edge of the box? It's kind of hard to see because the picture is a bit over exposed...but if you look close you can see it. She climbed into the box, stretched her leg out behind her and then nodded off!
It's a good thing I am just doing this in my backyard. Space is limited, if you know what I mean. But one day I will have some country property...and space for a hen house proper...and then? Oh yeah...look out. I just MIGHT be The Chicken Lady!

Friday, March 20, 2009

For my peeps...

Huh? What's that? Could it be? Did I actually...?

Oh yes I did.
Look how her leg is stretched out to get warm. Isn't that the sweetest thing ever?!!

No names yet. I got three today...but I'm going back tomorrow to get one more Buff Orpington (the little yellow gal). Because I can. And because she's so darn cute. And because I want lots and lots of eggs. I'm so glad I finally worked up the nerve to get chickens...

The Chicken Project.

Heat lamp?
Chick feeder?
Chick waterer?
Box with high sides?
Newspaper to line the box?
Wood shavings to line the paper?
There's only one thing missing...chicks.
I'll be taking care of that later this morning. Look out feed store, here I come!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Homestead by proxy.

This is the year that several of my ideas to become a bit less dependent are coming to fruition. I've got half of a chicken coop in my backyard (the rest to be built this weekend!), I've got several plans for a larger garden area in the backyard. It won't be magazine page worthy...but it will provide us with fresh vegetables this summer...and maybe even a few to freeze or can for the winter.

The idea was to be doing this on several acres...but at this point that is just not an option. So, we'll just get started in THIS house smack in the middle of a middle-class neighborhood and see what happens!

I spoke to my neighbor yesterday...asking if he was OK with us having chickens. I just didn't want to surpirse anyone...just in case anyone had an issue. Because if someone DOES have an issue I want to know before I get all set up and have adorable, live chickens relying on me. He was totally fine with it...excited even...saying that we needed some life and excitement around here. I agree. Our neighborhood has become a bit stale. I told him I'd share eggs...he asked if he could call me "The Chicken Lady". Uh. No. Thanks anyway, Bob.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wednesday in the Word.

I read this at my grandmother's funeral...it was chosen by pastor and family friend, Dave Foster, who facilitated the ceremony.

Revelation 21:1-7

1Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."

5He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."

6He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. 7He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Fam.

My family...from left...Ian; 11, me; 41, my husband, Chris; 37 and Seth; 13.
We took this on Thanksgiving to send out with Christmas cards. I am really bad about having family portraits taken...but being dressed and cleaned up for Thanksgiving made it really easy to snap a family photo! This just may become an annual thing...

Monday, March 16, 2009

Getting back to normal.

This has been a bit of a crazy month. Not crazy so much as unexpected. I got a call from my mom on Wednesday the 4th saying that Noni, my grandmother, wasn't doing well. And that I should probably come to the hospital. She'd been in the hospital for a week or so but we all thought she'd pull through like she always did. She's one tough cookie. But it turned out that she got a "super bug" and her poor, 91 year-old body just couldn't fight it any longer.
I spent the next 4 days at the hospital with my mom and my aunts and my cousins and my brother and the rest of the family that trickled in and out to see Noni during her last days. On Friday she was given morphine. The doctors called it "comfort care". I didn't like the idea, but at that point it was all that could be done. Any other procedures would have been just too much for her body to handle. So..we all gathered around and told her how much we loved her...how wonderful she was...how we will always love her and never forget her. I was also able to give her one last chance to accept Jesus as her Lord and Savior...she nodded in agreement...moments before the morphine took effect. Thank you God for the words and the time to hand her over to You.
Friday and Saturday were spent at the hospital comforting Noni...comforting each other...and telling stories. While it was a sad time, it was also fun and joyous. The love in that hospital room was tangible. There's nothing like family...nothing.
Calmly and peacefully, Noni went home to be with the Lord on Sunday the 8th.
The following week was filled with funeral preparations and helping my mom and aunts a bit here and there with what I could. Life was going on, after all, and we had baseball games and youth group and homework and laundry. Isn't it funny how even though your world comes to a screeching halt...and you lose a loved one...you look out the window and the world just continues to bustle by? So strange...life.
Now here we are a week later...services over, Noni in Heaven, life carrying on. I've been in a fog...finding it hard to pick myself up and move forward. But I'm coming around. And in the midst of the sadness there was good everywhere. It was a blessing to be able to spend so much time with my family...I'll never forget those precious days we all spent together. I'll cherish them...forever. And if any of you are reading...I love you.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Getting motivated to dig in the dirt.

Life has been crazy the last couple of weeks. But the time is coming to get out in the sunshine and dig in the dirt. I'm ready...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wednesday in the Word

Sometimes it's OK to be a follower....

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
John 10:27

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


This is a snapshot from our wedding. My husband and I did things kind of backwards. We met, had our sons, bought our house, bought cars and got a dog. We lived like this for 8 years...until one day we went to church. The pastor gave a sermon on marriage..and the importance of it..and that it's more than just a piece of paper. As the pastor talked on and on my husband and I slid further and further into our seats... After church we took our boys to the park. While they played we sat on the bench and talked about the sermon. My husband said, "We need to do this...we need to get married and make this right with God." I agreed. And we got married a year later.
Why did we wait a year, you ask? Well, even though I'd done things all backwards...I still had a desire for a beautiful wedding. And it just sort of ended up that it would be almost a year later. My mom and I planned away...bought the dress...ordered the flowers...set up for the caterer...rented linens and dishes and tuxes...it was a lot of fun. We decided not to have any bridesmaids or groomsmen...instead we chose to have our sons, then 6 and 4, stand up for us. They wore mini tuxes and looked SO handsome. It was perfect.
Our wedding was like a giant family gathering. And there were lots of kids! Some people don't like to have children at their weddings...however, since we had two of our own, we thought it would be fun for others to bring theirs! To make it fun for them we had a basket full of toys from the dollar store....bubbles, paddle balls, beach balls, color books and crayons...it was great and the parent's really appreciated it. Nobody complained about being bored!
To this day my husband and I still agree that our wedding was the most fun, the most beautiful and the best day ever.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Two peas in a pod.

I love this picture. It's a photo of my son, Ian, on the right and my nephew, Quintin, on the left. My sister in law and I were pregnant at the same time. Quintin was four months old when Ian was born. Things were fine until they turned two. That's when they realized that they both wanted the same things...the same ball, the same toy truck, the same Lego...if one had it, the other wanted it. And trust me...it got ugly.
This tension in their relationship lasted until they were about 4 or so. And all of a sudden they realized that they could actually have a LOT of fun with each other if they would just share the toys and play together. Once they figured that out the future looked brighter...for them AND for the rest of us! And now? Now, they truly are two peas in a pod.
The imagination these two share is amazing. They create the most elaborate Lego scenes...and Bionicle scenes...their imaginations are impressive. And they are exactly alike. They can play for hours upon hours with these little worlds they've created out of Legos and shoe boxes and Rubbermaid lids...Legos all over Ian's room and down the hall and into my room and his brother's room...an entire Lego city that only the two of them know about. And they agree on all of it...and see it all the same. It's unbelievable...
Don't get me wrong...there are disagreements from time to time. But for the most part, these little guys are like two peas in a pod. They're lucky to have each other...friend and family all in one. Can't beat that...

Sunday, March 8, 2009

I miss you already...

Noni, I am going to miss you so much...this world won't be the same without you. January 20, 1918 - March 8, 2009

Thursday, March 5, 2009

It's Thursday...

Have a good day.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Wednesday in the Word.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Come to Mama...

French toast made with Texas Toast.
This is a great "Breakfast Dinner"...fast, easy and cheap.
Add some real butter and powdered sugar...come on. Are you KIDDING me?

Monday, March 2, 2009

It's not saving unless you actually USE it.

It's Monday again and I'm actually off to a good start! I'm showered and dressed, I've got a load of laundry going and a chuck roast with potatoes and carrots in the crock pot. Nice. Dinner is going to be ready and waiting for me tonight. It's almost like having a wife of my own!

As I was preparing the potatoes and carrots for dinner I thought again that just because I get something on sale...or get it FREE because of a rebate...if I don't actually USE "it", whatever "it" may be; food, soap, shampoo, etc...then it's NOT a savings. It's a waste. I think what made me think about this was deciding how many carrots to cut up to add in to the pot roast. I know it seems silly...and maybe even a little obsessive (ahem)...but this is how my mind works. (Still wanna be my friend..?)

So I'm peeling carrots...and realistically, I'm the only one that really LIKES carrots with roast. The guys just eat a few to humor me...and I let them. So I cut enough carrots for the meal and had ONE carrot left. I was tempted to just chop it up and throw it in. But then I knew that it would more than likely not get eaten at dinner...and so after dinner I would put it in a container in the fridge as a leftover...and then it would NOT get eaten again. I decided to put the lonely carrot back in the crisper and reminded myself that I was going to make stir fry later in the week to use up the rest of that broccoli and I could toss the carrot in with that. Perfect! And no waste!

Would you believe that this is the type of thing that satisfies me to no end? And people think I'm hard to please....I think not!

These items represent the reason why I like the 99 Cent Store (which is a bit misleading as it's actually the 99.9 Cent Store....but...whatever). All of these items were purchased there last week. These are all items that I would buy at the regular grocery store...and trust me, they would NOT be a dollar. Sometimes...maybe. But not on a regular basis. I got Swanson chicken broth, Snow's minced clams, Palmolive dish washing liquid and Gatorade for the boys to take to baseball practice(these were actually $.59 each).
The 99 Cent Store is a great place to find major bargains! Stick with brand names and you should be fine...as long as the expiration date is good!

I will admit that when I shop these types of stores I am very careful. I'm diligent with expiration dates and snobby about name brands. It's got to be name brand...anything unheard of freaks me out. So what I do is I begin my shopping at the dollar stores, make the rounds, get what I can there, and then move on to the grocery outlet. I get what I can there which is usually quite a bit! Then I go to the regular grocery store for the rest. Yes, it's my last resort. However, I made an exception the other night so that I could use a $10 off coupon $50 or more, a $5 off when you buy (4) frozen food items (that I would use occasionally anyway...I'm still not totally dedicated to the whole 100 mile diet. I try. But sometimes savings wins.) and then I had another $2.50 in manufacturer coupons I used as well. My bill tallied close to $130. I saved $71 and some-odd change. I walked out of the major chain grocery store with 8 bags of groceries and a few loose items (like a 10 lb. bag of potatoes for $1.79) for $58. Not bad, eh?

I came home and bragged to the family as they helped haul it all into the house...they humored me. Again.

And again, I let them.

Now...to figure out a way to use up all of those potatoes before they start sprouting! I made mashed potatoes last night. I added potatoes to the pot roast today. Hmmm..potato soup? Shepherd's Pie? Any recipes you'd care to share with me? I'm always open to a new recipe!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

a quote.

"The rain is always welcome to me."
-Ian, my 11 year old son.
I agree, Buddy, I agree.