Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Note to Self

Children + Goats + Wind + Picnic does not equal a good time.  What was I thinking?  Apparently I wasn't.  We did manage to eat without giving the goats anything besides banana peels though.  'Nuff said.

What's Your Story?

I found this blog thru a blog of a blog that I found thru another blog.  Confused yet?  I am!  I am discovering soooo many blogs I want to read and keep up with, but there are only so many hours in a day.  KWIM? 

Anyway, I do want to share this particular story with you and encourage you to really think about your story.
Inspired to Action

Then there's this one that just relaunched that I also found thru a blog of a blog...oh you get the picture!
Ladies Against Feminism
They are trying to get the word out about their new look/site and are offering a free MP3 dowload of "A Wise Woman's Guide to Blessing Her Husband's Vision".  Since I think feminism is a big fat lie, I'm more than happy to help spread the word!  Hope you are blessed by it!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Learning About Passover at a Seder Dinner

Tonight we went to a Seder dinner at our church to learn the symbolism of the items used in the Passover celebration.  It was quite interesting and I wish I could say that I clearly remembered each item, but I don't.  There were OT remembrances as well as NT and the presenter gave an interesting perspective on that that I might go into on another post.

  • It started with eating parsley dipped in salt water.  The green herb representing spring, the time of Passover and the salty water representing the tears of the Hebrew slaves and the water in the Red Sea.
  • Then there was a big to do over lighting the candles-but now that I think about it that was probably first-yes it was.  The mother lights the candles to illustrate the mother of Jesus bringing Light into the world.
  • After the parsley there was a big to do over taking matzah bread from the center of the Unity Bag and hiding half of it after it's wrapped in a special linen bag.  The remaining half is distributed to each family member-3 pieces each. 
  • The first piece is eaten with horseradish to represent the pain of the slaves, immediately follwed by the other two pieces topped with an apple mixture, the sweetness of God taking that pain away.
  • Somewhere during this we have taken 2 sips of our "wine" after a prayer is read.
  • There are roasted eggs on the table to eat, but I can't recall their purpose.
  • We stopped at this point to share in a pot luck meal.
  • After the meal, a child is sent to find the piece of hidden matzah, and is rewarded for finding it.  The linen bag it was tucked into has a saying on it that is Greek for "The I Am that has come".  Greek?  I thought the slaves were Hebrew.  This practice came AFTER Jesus, proving that many Jews in that day became believers.
  • One thing we did at the beginning was to dip our right index finger into the "wine" 10 times, shaking the drop off onto our plate-1 for each plague.
  • The newly found matzah is shared communion style with another sip of "wine".
There was a bit of hostory taught, as well as some other customs.  It was an interesting lesson and I'm glad we went!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Food, Inc

We just finished watching it and it has renewed our desire to grow/raise as much of our own food as possible!  God did not create livestock to be crammed into space barely larger than its body, eating food engineered to maximize growth and ignore basic health!  The consequences of these actions are being played out in each and every life of the persons eating these animals, and it wasn't even our direct choice to let this happen.

We do vote with our dollars though and we are going to focus our votes on healthy food.  It's not going to be easy though.  Or cheap.  I just agreed to buy half a pig at a cost of twice (maybe even more) of what we pay on average for pork at the grocery store.  One segment in this documentary dealt with Wal-Mart buyers and they stated they purchase what the consumer is willing to buy-and they're getting a large demand for organic food and hormone free milk.  The producer of the documentaty said that because of WM's size they can have a large, POSITIVE impact on what dairy producers do with their cattle. 

I also learned that the calf our cow just had in January won't be ready for the freezer for at least 18 months when feeding on grass.  That's longer than I thought, so we may be looking for grass fed beef to purchase too.  We've got a lot of work to do, but renewed intent and desire.  May God lead us to the best way to reduce and/or eliminate the industrialized stream of food entering our bodies!

Here are links to the resources we've learned the most from. 
Future of Food
Food, Inc
Eat Fat, Lose Fat
The Untold Story of Milk
Most of them link to to show the image of the movie or book cover.  I'm not an affiliate though.

On a silly, unrelated note-I was thinking of organizing a group of seamstresses to make pj's and sell them online.  I'd call it  What do you think?  ;-)

Sunday, March 28, 2010


This is a resource site I joined a few months ago.  I never know how long a free resource will be available, but as of late Sunday night this one was still good.  Based on the title I thought some of you might be interested.  I've saved it, but not viewed it.  Let me know what you think!

Making Time Work for You

Saturday, March 27, 2010

About that Blogging Bee...I hope I'm doing it right!  The instructions said to highlight something I've learned at another blog.  Right now I'm excited to have been able to follow the directions to do this, and to have found one of the sites.  I'll start small and work my way up.  I hope you'll try it out!

One post I enjoyed was found at PJ Academy meets PJ Acres.  I appreciated the photo-story in both its simplicity and the way it flowed from one picture to the next.  Now, if someone can help her remember the password to get in and change her playlist, she'd be grateful!

I was also grateful to discover A Wise Woman Builds Her Home thru an online friend at Homesteading and Homekeeping at Whisper Wind Farm.  Every time I read that verse in Proverbs 14 I ask myself if my actions and behavior are building my home.  [Side note-want to learn the Proverbs and be able to apply the lessons to your life?  Try reading one chapter per day each month.  There are 31 chapters, no month has more.  ;-)]  I digress-the Wise Woman site is new to me this week, and there are so many links there that I want to explore and just haven't made time.  Maybe after this post I'll make myself a cup of tea and READ! 

Over at Whisper Wind, I admire Kat's detailed writing about her journey as a homesteader and what her daily life looks like.  She works hard all day AND has time to write about it!  I seem to just read, need to get better at the "do" part!

Reading vs Doing

I love to read.  I have a stack of books from the library that probably exceeds my ability to read in the amount of time I have them, and that's with using a bit of restraint while at the library!  I also have a number of blogs I follow and each one has SO much that I want to explore-and THEIR list of blogs THEY like, and on it goes.  I've been reading blog posts for over an hour now and it causes me to think, "when do I stop reading and start doing?"  There's a lot to be said for research-learn the ins and outs before doing it, but at some point I just have to do it, right?  One of the blogs I just started following had a post about a Blogging Bee that sounds like fun.  I just need to read it again to understand how to do it correctly!  More reading before doing, haha!  ;-)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

News This Week

  • Elsie went to Charm School.  Or is it Finishing School?  Her previous owner offered to take her and see if she can train her to be a good milk cow.  We jumped at the chance! 
  • Our son now enjoys playing in the pen with the goats because Elsie isn't there to trample him!
  • My weekly plan seems to be working.  I feel a sense of purpose AND freedom.  Nice combination.
  • Car trouble abounds.  We returned home from small group last night to discover a nearly flat tire on the minivan.  Tony took it to be repaired today and the guy broke the brake line!  It's just a little shop-I doubt the guy's gonna be able to pay for the repair, but we're gonna ask anyway.  Need a spare for the truck before we head to Flagstaff tomorrow.  Good news is we have an awesome mobile lube guy that comes to our house to change the oil.  How perfect is that?
  • Male readers be forewarned-the next statement is totally feminine and might not be suitable for you to read.  I did more research on washable, cloth pads for use during my period.  I think I'm going to order them.
I'm tired today.  Maybe because it was cloudy AND it's paperwork day, so I was focused and intent on my work.  Think I'll go to bed early tonight!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A Song for Mommies

This song has great lyrics to touch a mama's heart, just wanted to share...

Out of Africa

There's a wildlife park in our town called Out of Africa.  They used to be located outside of Fountain Hills, a suburb (sorta?) of Phoenix and I went a lot the first few years they were open.  I haven't been since they moved here, and probably for 10 years now.  My bil gave us tickets for a Christmas gift a couple of years ago and we just went today!  Our son loved it-he was running ahead, eager to see each new lion or animal.  Towards the end he even made a friend who was visiting with his family from southern Mexico.  He can't whistle, but he can sure immitate the sound and he'd get ahead of us and "whistle" for us to catch up to him.  We got to "feed a tiger" and follow along with the feed truck as they tossed chunks of meat to all the carnivores.  Now we know why hyenas are called laughing hyenas-it was a funny sound!  Not sure why I didn't take a picture, but there was a small leopard/cheetah/some type of cat that was missing its front right leg.  She did alright without it!  Tony got some great shots of the giraffe.  It was a great Sunday outting!  Enjoy the pictures.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spring 2010

I love reading other people's blogs, especially those who have common interests, and many have been writing about Spring. I think living in central AZ I take spring for granted, but I do love this time of year! It's warm enough to be outside in shorts during the day, but still cool enough to need a jacket and long pants at night. We don't get snow here, so it's not a matter of being glad it's gone, it's just a welcome change of season. I decided to take some pictures of what spring looks like around here, because I have some friends in the midwest and east coast that are still dealing with snow. Hop on a plane and come visit!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Day Two of My New Plan

Yesterday I started a new approach to my many and varied tasks.  Mondays are focused on food-meal planning, grocery shopping, food prep.  I had a longish list yesterday and rather than feel bad for not completing it, I readjusted my expectations to a more realistic level and had a full day.

Tuesdays are for paperwork.  Personal financial stuff, the never ending "To Do" things, support for Tony's business, foster care requirements-anything like that.  Today's list was even more unrealistic, but I did accomplish two very mundane, time intensive, tasks.  I think if I stick with it I will chip away at the mound of stuff to be done.

Wednesdays are child focused.  He goes to preschool in the morning and then we'll probably have lunch at the park, play for a while and go to the library.  I'll spend the day focusing mostly on my son.

Thursdays are housecleaning day.  Ugh.  It's a small house though, so I should be able to clean it all in a few hours.  That means I can have some unplanned time too!

Friday is for outdoors-either hiking, enjoying the weather, or working on projects.  Another one of those seemingly unending lists, but the time spent working outside will be fun, right?

Now I just pray for perseverance!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Weather and Moods

I've never officially studied what science calls "seasonal affective disorder", sometimes called cabin fever, but I know enough to say "duh"!  Does it really take scientific research to confirm how seasons and weather affect mood?  For those living in cold winter climates, I'm guessing you can attest to the need to get outside ASAP once the snow starts melting and the sun starts shining.  For my local friends, I think it can happen even in summer-you know-when it's over 100 degrees for days or months at a time and you're stuck inside.  Personally, I need sunlight (or is that SONlight) regularly and the feeling of freedom that I get from being outside regularly.  We've had about 3 days of perfect weather now and I notice that I'm in a better mood, able to adjust better to things that might have triggered stress last week as a result of spending time outside.  I'm indoors writing this right now because I got too warm while sitting outside.  I do feel fresh and rejuvinated though!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

It helps to be low to the ground...

Last week we bought a dozen 10 month old laying hens.  The next day we had a dozen eggs (we already had 3 hens).  The day after that, 9, and one of the new ones drowned in the goat/cow water trough.  We've been getting 8-10 a day since.  Today we could only find 2.  They've been using a nesting box inside the hen house and sometimes just laying on the lawn.  We decided to check a spot that some hens we no longer have used last summer.  Jackpot!  However, I couldn't see them, even bent over.  My 4 year old son was all excited and I thought he was just being silly until I leaned in for a closer look:

There are 10 eggs there, so we got another dozen today.  We're finally getting more than we use!

Last summer a similar thing happened, but we thought they had stopped laying because of the heat.  We'd find one or two every couple of days (I think we had about 7 hens) and I had searched all the usual places, near the usual places and places we've never thought to look.  Once again, my son was swinging a stick like a sword and pushed aside some vines that grow up around a tree and found their hiding spot.  There were 29 eggs there! 

More had been laid, as there was evidence of broken egg.  I was told that you could put a egg in water and if it floats, it's starting to go bad, so we did that as we used them and only 3 were bad!  By the way, did you know that if you have hens you shouldn't wash their eggs until you are ready to them?  There's an invisible protective layer called the bloom that keeps air out.  If you wash the egg you remove that protective layer.  Just FYI.

The Marvelous Multitasker

Several things have happened recently to cause me to look at a few things from a different perspective.  One of the online groups I belong to had a post recently about various approaches to housecleaning. My reply to that post stated that I've tried various approaches and just can't seem to make any of them stick/work for me. I've tried cleaning the whole house in one day, I've tried breaking it into smaller chunks to do on a daily basis. Neither keeps my home clean!

A series of events last week led me to the conclusion that I am not the marvelous multitasker that I thought. I've always kinda known that when I get busy doing something, I forget about the other things that need to be done.  My most notable issue is spending too much time at the computer.  Not all of it is for fun, there are work/business/family tasks that need to be completed here too, but it's with the fun stuff that I lose track of the day. 

About 10 days ago my hard drive gave out completely.  While waiting for HP to send a new one, I used Tony's computer, but it's not the same as using my own.  It's not "mine" and it's S.L.O.W.!  So I did the bare necessities and walked away.  During those few days, my son and I were getting along marvelously.  I associated that with the fact that he doesn't have to see his bio parents anymore and hadn't seen them since the end of January, something I had predicted would happen.  Tony noticed that I was more relaxed, not so high strung, and able to roll with things better.  Again, I attributed that to son and I getting along better as a result of severance.  The next day, a Family Support Specialist was here visiting and made almost identical comments.  We agreed that it was likely a result of him not seeing bio parents anymore.

About the same time these comments were being made, my new hard drive arrived and I installed it.  The next day I spent hours installing all the programs I have and personalizing everything, so my focus was on getting that done.  Guess what?  My son started irritating me again.  Uh-oh.  Is the cause my lack of attention to him?  Were we getting along so well because I spent more time (click to read about another mom's solution) with him?  Ugh!  Not easy to contemplate. 

As I look back I see that I was enjoying our time together too, so why not continue that way?  Because that was more like a vacation and this is more like real life.  Can't there be some middle ground though?  I already feel overwhelemed with the quantity and variety of tasks that I need to do on a regular basis, how can I carve out more time to spend with my son, so that we are both happier (and possibly healthier)?  Here's what I've come up with, noting that I am not the Marvelous Multitasker:

I can do several things within the SAME category at once, but my focus stays on that category. For instance-I love to chat with my friends at said group, but while I'm doing that I'm updating posts, researching something on another site, checking email, stuff like that. All those tasks are centered around the computer. What I'm NOT doing while chatting is housework, outside chores, or playing with my son. So with this new(er) revelation I've decided to give each day a major focus. What I can't decide is if each day should also have a minor focus. That might look like this: Monday is grocery shopping/meal planning/basic food prep day-Major Focus. Should it also have a Minor Focus of tidying our weekend mess? (or whatever) The reason I can't make up my mind is that each day also has to have its Daily Tasks. Those things that have to get done every day, regardless of whether they fit the Major Focus. Like eating, meal prep, feeding animals, milking animals, collecting eggs; and the fun things like checking up on my online friends. Is having a Minor Focus defeating the point of having a separate goal each day?  I might just need to try both ways and see how it works out.


Monday, March 8, 2010

Income Tax Prep

Ugh!  If the Founding Fathers knew what our current government requires of us in regards to taxes especially, they'd start another revolution!  I used to prepare my own taxes using TurboTax before I married Tony.  Now we are in a situation that is beyond my ability and that of TT.  I do MORE work to prepare the taxes for the CPA than I used to have to do to prepare my own!  I would love to be able to simplify this situation, but even trying that is complicated.  I even finished of a carton of mint Dibs and don't feel any better.  :-)

Friday, March 5, 2010

Budget Cuts

Interesting visual aid:


I have so many tings I want to blog about, but haven't been able to for time limitations, laptop problems, or sleepiness.  My eyes are burning right now I'm so sleepy, but it's only 9 o'clock.  It's been a full week of all kinds of things and one day I might get around to blogging about it all!  We got new chickens, had one drown, learned some stuff about our family dynamics, learned more about a new many things.

Keep writing your new blogs cuz I like reading them!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Disaster Turned to Play Time

So this normally "no fun" mom finally just let go and enjoyed the moment for what it was-a chance to play with my son and have a good time. 

I've been having problems with a hard water residue being deposited on my dishes while in the dishwasher and wondered if it might be my homemade dish powder, so I put a little liquid (not meant for dishwasher) soap in the dispenser and ran it.  We started noticing the bubbles shortly after and just used it as an opportunity to clean the floor.  Once the load was done I opened the door to asses the damage and the bottom had about a six inch layer of suds!  I took the bottom rack out and grabbed a big load of bubbles and blew them at my son, who decided it was like snow and we had a "snowball" fight in the kitchen!  He loved it and I didn't mind that we were making a mess!  Afterwards he helped me clean up without even being asked!  I'll have to try that approach again...  I was going to take some pictures, but that would have ended the moment.