Saturday, August 31, 2013


I've been slowly working on this project all summer. Now it's finally time for paint!!!

This past week has been filled with hauling, covering, and cleaning. It seems as though every nook and cranny in the rest of the house is filled with stuff. It's a good thing I had another garage sale earlier this summer. It has also been the hottest week of the summer, and it slowly dawned on me that we would have to turn off the AC and open the entire house for ventilation. Oh crap!

While I tried to problem solve this with My Vet, I could hear in his voice that he was getting quit angry. I told him I didn't want to fight and was going to bed. His parting words were questioning the point of this project. Uh Oh! I usually do these big projects when My Vet is out of town, but this time it just wasn't going to work out. I went to bed thinking I needed to pull the plug, then I ran across this, and knew I just needed to stick it out.

The next day as I was slowly making more forward progress on the final prep. My Vet brought home a full body suit for me to use while spraying the paint. Yep even though he doesn't understand my vision yet, he is still supportive. Now I just hope that when this is all finished, it turns out as well as I see it in my head!

Monday, August 26, 2013

6 days, 4 years

I don't know about you, but with school, work and snow we don't leave home much in the winter. So summer is when we get to see our extended family. It's good for the girls to know that they are a part of something much bigger, and to see other people with similar idiosyncrasies. Lots of people are weird, but only family is weird like us.

This summer we were able to travel more than we have in a long time. Our family is at a stage where we don't have lots of graduations, weddings, or baby showers every summer. So we can go long times without seeing any one. So reunions need to be planned, it's been great to catch up with cousins that I can't remember the last time I saw them, we also found some time for visiting some of their homes.

Since My Vet can't always get away from work, me and the girls do stuff on our own, and it's becoming a annual tradition to visit my sister in the Black Hills. It's about 11 road hours between my house and hers. We get stops along the way to see my other sisters and pick up mom. We also spend a lot of time in the car once we get there getting from one attraction to the next. All this car time means we have lots of time to visit. It gave my 4 year old lots of time to think and ask questions.

The first question came about 45 minutes into the trip and repeated itself in various ways throughout the entire trip.

*How long until we get to Grandma's?
*We'll be there when the 9 is a 12?
*It still says 9?
*Are we in Tom's town?
*I can't wait anymore.
*It's the big head with horns!
*Is that Grandma's town?

That was just the first 5 hour stretch so you get the idea. Amidst the constant location updates, she sprinkled a variety of random questions.

When we drive Santa around next time can I ask him for a Barbie Mermaidia Movie?
Can we watch Barbie Princess and the Pauper?
What's a pauper?
What is poor?
Do you think that (Semi) looks like Octopus Prime?
Is Octopus-Optimus Prime a good guy?
What is Megatron?
What is a Decepticon?
Is Bumble Bee an Autobot?
Why is it foggy?
What is fog?
How does it burn off?
The sun is out now, why isn't it melted?
How long 'till we pick up Henry?
Why are there so many sunflowers?
What's a crop duster?
Why does it go back and forth?
What is pesticide?
What is fertilizer?
Why does it fly so low?
I lost a rock, can you help me find it?
How does hamburger come from cows?
How do they kill the cow?
What if it has babies?
I lost another rock, can you help me find it?
Where do the babies go to live?
Does it hurt?
What about chicken strips?
I lost another rock, can you help me find it?
Why can't I take my rocks in the car any more?
What's that?
Not the mini golf that?
Why is there a shark?
What is that guy(mannequin) doing?
Can we go there some time?
Why does mini golf have a waterfall?
I lost a penny, can you help me find it?
Does that place have a penny smashing machine?
I know we are waiting for a table for lunch, can I buy a bag of chips to eat while we wait?
Why are the deer always on her side?
Why don't I ever get to see any?
I saw one! did you see it?
Why are there so many deer?
Why haven't you ever taken me there?
What is a reptile?
I don't like reptiles. I don't ever want to go there.
Is that a crescent moon?

I lost a quarter, can you help me find it?
When will it be a circle moon?
What's a zip line?
Can I go on a ride?
Can I play a game?
Can I have cotton candy?
Can I have ice cream?
Can I have a balloon animal?
Can I ride the train?
What is a cash scramble?
Where are my coins?
Why did you take my $.90 in change and give me just a dollar bill?
Why are there so many clowns?
What is a Llama?
Can we play in the fountain and see the cement guys?
Can we go to dinosaur park?
Can we do both?
Can you take my picture?
Can I take your picture?
Why is the land bad?
What is barren?
Can I climb?
What is a rattle snake?
Do they bite super hard?
Why do you need to go to the hospital?
Anti venom?
Why don't they like people?
Why don't people like rattle snakes?
Can you tell me the entire story of Adam and Eve?
Are deer afraid of rattle snakes?
Why don't snakes have feet?
Why did Eve eat the fruit?
What is a prairie dog?
Can you help me find my penny?
Why do prairie dogs live in little hills?
When will we be done in the badlands?
Are prairie dogs afraid of rattle snakes?
Can I take a picture of the prairie dogs?
Why is the badlands so long?
Are horses afraid of rattle snakes?
Did God make me from some boy's rib?
Why do people die?
Why is this town so big?
Do people have to die before they go to heaven?
I miss grandpa, do you grandma?
Why does she have a bow in her hair in this picture, she doesn't in the movie?
What's a pauper?
What's a princess?
Why would she dress up for the cover photo?
Why does she have a bow in her hair in this picture, she doesn't in the movie?
She doesn't have a mom to tell her to dress up.
She doesn't have a friend to tell her to dress up.
Why does she have a bow in her hair in this picture, she doesn't in the movie?
I can't wait any more, when will the badlands be done?
Why don't we see rattle snakes on the road?
Why do rattle snakes like to lay in the sun?
Are rattle snakes super fast?
We are out of the badlands! Now can we watch a movie?
How long to the Swanson's?
I always turn this way. Are we close?
What is that on the water?
What is a pelican?
Where is my rock?
Why isn't Henry coming with us?
Why does he want to stay with his mom?
Why can't Ellie come?
Why can't Gracie come?
Why can't Jack come?
Why can't Henry come?
Why is he afraid to stay overnight without his mom?
Why is the sun red?
Why does the sun set?
It goes to the other side of the world right?
Why is it getting dark?
Are those lights grandma's town?
Why are we washing the car?
Why are dry bugs harder to wash off?
Why do you hit the bugs?
Why is it foggy again?
Where does the fog come from?
Can we take our picture with that?
Why are we stopping at this rest stop?

You made it to the end! By this point in the car, there was no radio, just a quiet movie, and enforced silence. After arriving home further questions came about why we're not going to drive anywhere for at least 24 hours.

Thursday, August 22, 2013


It's time, it's time! Now boss "da plane, da plane!" isn't here, I'm talking basil man. That's right all that stuff that was planted in the garden is finally ready to harvest! The best thing about gardening is sharing, trading, and getting excess bounty.

A friend gave be a large bag of fresh Basil. I decided to use some to make Tomato Basil Soup with some of the tomatoes I've been harvesting.

The rest I dried to use later. There are lots of ways to dry herbs. The first time I tried I went with the old school method of tying them in bundles and hanging them to dry. That didn't work so well for me. I'm not exactly sure how I could mess up such easy instructions, but I did. This time I got complicated. Well not really, more like I went the more power, *grunt*,*grunt* route.

Spread the harvested leaves onto a cookie sheet/jelly roll pan. Place in the oven at 200F for about 2 hours. Your house will smell fantastic! After 2 hours I turned off the heat left the pan in the oven and went to bed. Complicated right?

In the morning crumble up the dried leaves and stored them in a labeled, airtight container.

Sorry for all the 80's-90's TV references, I watched a lot of TV as a child. So many fabulous shows in the 80's.

Monday, August 19, 2013

I Don't See Anthing, Do You?

I can't believe that we are just a few short weeks from Labor Day and School starting back up. Summer has gone so fast. We've been busy doing fun summer stuff, but I've also managed to slowly upgrade the basement.

It seems like I've been talking about it for months, that's because I have. I am in the home stretch now though. I have My father-in-law scheduled to come help with the final push. That means I need to finish up all of my prep to the ceiling and walls, and get as much stuff out of there as I can.

Here is the most exciting mini-project to date. The recessed lights are installed! And hold your breath there is more... they are wired to the switch at the top of the stairs! That's right, we now are fancy shmancy. No more will I burn my fingertips unscrewing a light bulb to 'turn it off', no more ducking to avoid conking my head on a light bulb. Like I said fancy shmancy.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Ogres are Like Onions

Besides just having layers, onions are a staple in my pantry. Since I use so many, I grow them in my garden. Since we can't eat them as fast as they are ready, I've had to learn how to properly preserve them, so that we can enjoy them all winter.

If the weather is dry and there’s no danger of frost, the plants can be gently pulled from the soil and laid right in the garden for a day or two. If the weather is wet or frost is possible, move the onions immediately into a protected spot. The floor of the garage or a covered porch works well.

Spread the onions out in a single layer, taking care not to bump or bruise them.

Mild onions should be used up within a few weeks. Pungent onions that will be stored for the winter need to be cured for two to four weeks. Leave them spread out in a single layer. Warm (75-80 degrees F), dry and breezy is ideal. As the onions are curing, their necks will gradually wither and the papery skins will tighten around the bulbs. Once the necks are completely tight and dry, and the stems contain no moisture, you can use scissors to trim the roots off the bottom of each bulb. The leaves can also be trimmed to within 1″ of the bulb. Cull any onions that still have green necks, or have bruised or damaged bulbs. Bring the onions indoors and store them in mesh bags, a bushel basket, or a flat cardboard box with some holes punched in it. Keep the onions as cool as possible (35 to 40 degrees F.) and away from light. A good storage onion kept in a cold, dark place will retain its eating quality for 10 to 12 months.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Plank Challenge Week 3

My motivation.
Last week I made it to 5 minutes. My form was a bit off, but that wasn't much of a surprise. The hard part now has been to stay motivated. I made it to what seemed like a huge goal, now where is that 6 pack? Why do I still have that big ole' mommy tummy? Why can't I just sit around eating cupcakes?

I'm still planking, but I've gone back to my standby "8 Minutes in the Morning" for the long term health plan. I don't ever need to be stick thin, I like food. I do want to have the energy and strength to keep up with my kids, and do the work around the house. Even if I do eat to many cupcakes.

In the last week I have talked to a few people who tried and were under 10 seconds for their first try. Good for you! Be proud, most of the people reading this haven't even tried that long. Here is a great workout schedule to help you improve.

I'm not going to bore you with a 5 minute video this week. Since I made it last week. I'm also being a bit lazy since I have a lot to get done in the next 2 days. I'll update you on Thursday about some of those tasks.

Monday, August 12, 2013

When I Grow Up

Yep that's me
So many people I know, have a clear understanding of who they are and have a passion that defines them. I have longed to understand my passion and how it could be used by God. My Vet and I recently finished a Sunday School class that focused on Spiritual Gifting. It has created a hunger in me to finally figure out what I am suppose to do with my life when I grow up.

I have often felt as though I am blowing with the wind. I once did a small group on The Purpose Driven Life where I had hoped to find my purpose. (If I had found it I wouldn't still be looking would I?) This time around I am finally starting to see God's plan for me. Not only has God been allowing me to hear His plan through multiple voices, He is showing me how I've been using those gifts all along.

We are all made different so what is right for me, doesn't need to be right for you. Whether you were made to be a tiny artists brush, an angle trim brush, a roller, a paint sprayer, or anything in between you will struggle to do the tasks better suited for a different tool. That doesn't make any of us incompetent, just different and that's OK.

My primary gift is leadership. That was actually hard for me to determine. You see I don't have any desire to lead enormous groups, or to accomplish huge things, I don't need to take charge of every situation, I'm happy to let someone else take the lead, as long as they are leading correctly. However, if no one will step up, or I witness chaos, I must step in. As God was revealing this to me, I was reminded how often I've been put in positions of leadership. In grammar school I attended my first ever 4H meeting, I was elected Vice-President that day and I automatically became President the following year. It has happened many times since then. Leadership can be a wow that's awesome gift, but true leadership is not about the wow, it is a huge responsibility. That's why good leaders are happy to delegate authority, and recognize the efforts of others. They realize the weight that is lifted by those efforts. I still don't desire to be the big guy in charge, but I am happy to know that I've been called to help out where I can.

My secondary gift is in administration. I've shared a bit about my OCD to you. It comes from this gift. You see I like things to be organized and efficient. Have any of you received a Christmas Card from me? If so, you may have noticed that I started using Mailmerge to print addresses on envelopes in 2001. Instead of an address book, I have used an Excel Spreadsheet for years. My Tupperware is stored with lids on so that I don't have to search for them. My Vet can call me looking for an item and I can tell him which corner of the drawer the item is. Things have a spot, and when they don't and my house is a mess, so is my mind.

Finding my gifts has been great, but that still didn't give me a grand purpose or passion. For that I decided to fast and pray. I'm grateful that it only took a day, and the message came in loud and clear I'm a wife and mom. That's it, I don't need to be jealous of my friends who are called to be that and an engineer/ teacher/ nurse/ salesman/ doctor/ chef/ author/ congresswoman/ farmer/ coach. That will probably change as my children grow, but for right now I get to enjoy raising my kids. God also told me that even without the exciting careers my friends have, I bring something to the table. I have experiences and expertise that is important too.

So I am going to continue using my gifts to take care of my family and my home to the best of my ability. I also get to work alongside the talented women I get to call friends, without satan telling me I am inferior to them.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

I did it, I did it, I did it yeah!

Last night I was watching Get out Alive with Bear, and they were crossing a ravine on a rope. As they were grunting and screaming that it hurt so bad, their teammates were cheering them on. I was sitting in my easy chair and every time I started to think "just get on with it" I remembered how hard it has been for me to plank for a measly 5 minutes. Those are some tough cookies, You are not going to catch me on that show.

After the show I set my alarm to get up early to get mine in this morning. Partly because of that rope challenge, and partly because I promised Tuesday morning updates, and I am not going to fall behind again.

Again it is just me, and I noticed that I am mostly out of frame, I guess I haven't gotten that great at asking for all that help yet! No music since I don't want to be targeted for pirating, but feel free to hum along to the tunes playing in my head. A combination of "I Will Survive" and "Eye of the Tiger".

Monday, August 5, 2013

What I learned in July

I was reading a blog post in June, and was inspired to chronicle what I learn in the month of July.

I don't look like a supermodel and that's OK. I wore a bathing suit in public, in my hometown! Since becoming pregnant almost 7 years ago, I have not had enough confidence in myself to put on a swimsuit around anyone except close family. We always go to a friends house for the 4th of July where they set up a huge waterslide. My Vet always goes down with the girls, but this year his back was hurting so it was my turn. **Gulp** My girls were so excited, I couldn't disappoint them, after stalling as long as possible I went into the house and got changed. I came out into the yard and not a single person pointed at me and snickered, laughed, or vomited! Oh yeah I'm hot. OK well I wasn't down there long, and my kids didn't want to go down with me anymore, so I quickly covered back up, but I did it!

I'm not completely over my body issues, I still need to workout more and eat better, but I like who I am and want my girls to like themselves as they grow too.

How to can cherries. A local grocery store had a phenomenal sale on Bing cherries, so I bought a bunch and grabbed by canning cookbook. I made Cherry Preserves and Cherry Pie Filling. I then made notes in the cookbook for future reference. For example I should have added Fruit Pectin to thicken it. I will just have to fix each jar as I open it with corn starch or something.

It's OK to be spontaneous. I like to plan. Life is good when I am organized and prepared. Often times, I say, we'll have to plan that for next year/time. Part of that knee jerk reaction is budget related, often it is because I like to have time to be prepared mentally. I think that is OK even good most of the time, sometimes it means we miss out. I woke up to a Facebook post about the circus being in town for one day. Just a couple hours later we got to see the elephants and even an acrobat! Later in the day I was so busy, working on my planned garden project, I didn't feel up to going to the actual performance, and we missed out. I will still take them some time, but I doubt it will be as convenient. A last minute decision also gave us the opportunity to listen to bagpipes and run across this.

I concurred my fear. I learned how to post a video to Youtube. No, I have never done it. Yes, I realize how old that probably makes me. I recorded myself exercising and posted it on Youtube for all the world too see. I'd say that was pretty fearless.

I need help. I know how to do a lot of things, I'm even pretty capable but that doesn't mean I need to do everything by myself. When I don't ask for help I take on too much and get forgetful. I can also get bitter, about having do to so much while other's watch TV, sleep, or even get mad about what I miss. I still don't come to the conclusion that I need help quickly, but when I muster up the courage to ask, I really need it.

We should be constantly learning life lessons. What have you learned this month?

Thursday, August 1, 2013

One Ingredient Caramel Sauce

I love caramel, I love simple, I love easy so what isn't to love about this recipe?


Caramel Dulce
1 can sweetened condensed milk (label removed)

Yep that's it, Place can on a small plate or in a jar in the crockpot. (The plate will prevent rust stains from the can on the bottom of your crockpot.) Cover with water and place lid on crock pot. Cook on low for 8-10 hours. Cool and open can to serve. (8 hours for a thinner sauce, 10 for thicker like in top photo)

Depending on the size of your crock pot you can do as many cans at one time as you'd like.

My favorite way to serve is over ice cream or apples, but you could also make these:

Caramel Bars
1 recipe of brownie mix
1/2 a package of chocolate chips
1 can of Caramel

Mix brownies as directed. Bake for 12 minutes and remove from oven. Spread caramel over hot, partially baked brownies, and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Return to oven for remaining bake time. Cool cut and serve.