Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Spring is finally here...I think

It's been a while since I sat down to write in the blog.  We've been quite busy in the last few weeks and I just haven't made time.  So I thought I would just catch you all up to speed. 


 
The weather is finally starting to be more spring like and we are getting more and more nice days.  With that said everyone at home has been feeling the need to clean things up and shake the winter mess.  (thank goodness)

 The hens have finally seen things my way (or I just stopped worrying so much about it) but they have started laying quite well.  We have 10 hens and are getting 9 eggs a day.  So someone is being lazy just about every day but I will let it slide as it isn't 10 hens being lazy every day. I am grateful because my Britt loves eggs and was beginning to get cranky about having to eat store bought eggs.  They do taste different.  Weird I know but they do.

Mike and Nanny celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary as well as Nikki turning 21.  With all the excitement of my girl showing her pig at OYE we were quite pressed for time and I am just now getting around to finishing up Mike and Nanny's gift.  Gave it to them (not quite finished) a week and a half ago at their anniversary dinner.  I think they liked it.  I just need to finish it and return it.
I love when the weather is nice because we get to take the bike out.  I love the wind in my face.  It is relaxing and I don't have to reply to calls or texts while out on the bike.  FREEDOM!
Last week Stephen and I celebrated our 19th anniversary.  I can not believe we have been married this long.  Not that it hasn't been good, but for a girl who never really wanted to get married 19 years is pretty damn good.  We didn't really do anything awesome to celebrate mostly because we are going to be going on a cruise in a few weeks and I had to work that night .  I made him a nice steak dinner with all the extras and when I woke to get ready for work these wonderful flowers were waiting for me.  They still look great too.  ♥
April is my Britt's birth month and since we are taking the cruise as Val's 18th birthday celebration I agreed that Britt deserved a gift every day until her birthday.  It has been so fun for both of us.  I am not spending a ton of money on the gifts as you can see in the photo above but she has been so excited to see what waits for her each day.  It may not be a big deal or a fancy gift but you know when you get to the end of your road and look back it really was the small things that meant the most right?
 Artichokes!  I have never purchased these myself and the only time I have ever eaten them is in a dip at a restaurant.  But because I have gotten back into buying fruits and vegetables from bountifulbaskets.org I have been getting items I wouldn't normally buy.  It's a good thing, makes us as a family try new things and everyone should try something new every day.  So this week we are having grilled artichokes.  We'll see how they turn out.  ☺
 Oh this sweet face.  He is growing so fast, he changes every time I see him.  I love getting time to hold and snuggle him.  His mommy and daddy are doing so well as new parents. So grateful that we get to share this sweet guys life. 
 
 Oh and prom...I am having a hard time with the fact that Val is going to be turning 18 and that she got to go to her first prom.  She is almost an adult (kinda) and I hate that she is going to be leaving our little nest sooner than I'd like.  Thank goodness she has one more year of high school left. 
She looked absolutely stunning all dress up with her hair and make up done.  We rarely see her in anything other than her jeans, t-shirts and chucks so to get to see her in all her prom get up was amazing.  I have always known she was a princess and to see her dress the part at least for the evening made me the happiest mom around.  I ♥ you Valorie Michelle!  ☺
  


Well this about sums up the last couple of weeks or so.  This week isn't looking quite as busy but I am sure we will have some stories to tell and some memories to make.  We will be celebrating Brittnie's birthday Saturday with a bit of cake and ice cream.  Cant wait to see the family.  I am hoping to get to the lake soon and visit with family.  I know my momma gets mad that I don't come see her often but shees...it's an hour and a half there and back (3 hours round trip).  I next to never have that much extra time to drive anywhere.  Maybe they should move back over to our area so I can see them more  (hint hint)
Anyway.  Make some memories (even the little ones count) and have some fun.


Thanks for reading

Have a great week

always
tammyc

Monday, March 24, 2014

A bit of fiction

I like writing.  I know that I have said that here before.  Because I like to write is why I have this blog.  Well that and it is a great way to share what is going on with my family with the rest of my extended family that I don't get to see on a regular basis.  I have posted in the past that I have this incredibly crazy desire to write a book.  Now I don't know what I want to write a book about or when it would even happen but what I do know is that I have been trying to write something (even a little bit) every day.  I have an app that gives you an idea to write about.  A writing prompt, one sentence and I have to come up with a story and characters for the story on my own.  Today I just thought I would share a little.  The prompt was "you're at Woodstock"  Are you kidding me?  That was 5 years before I was even born and I have little to no knowledge about it.  But anyway, here is what I have.  It isn't much and it may not be great but it is something and it makes my brain work towards a future goal.  And it's fun. 

Enjoy.



It always brings a smile to her face to think about the way she had met Billy and it amazes her that they have lived this life together. 
     It was a time when things were changing in Lizzy’s world so quickly.  At just 18 she was taking time to do what she wanted and learn by doing things on her own.
     Just a few days ago she stood outside a storefront watching the first man step foot on the moon.  And here she was in the middle of a field on a farm in New York with her girlfriends at a concert.  She was no longer that sweet little girl in the perfect pink skirts.  She never felt like she fit in the cookie cutter life that she had been raised in.  She left home after high school to find out why she was here.  To find out what else was out there?  Her Brother had been killed in the war and her parents never seemed to notice her anymore and here now in this crowd of thousands listening to this man play his guitar she felt connected and a part of something bigger than she had known in that quiet little suburb.
      The music drifted through the air along with the smell of smoke, she had never been into trying the things her friends were in to and just being surrounded by it was having a crazy effect on her.  She felt strange and relaxed but at the same time her heart was racing and she was breathing way to heavy she needed to find a place to sit and soon if she was going to be able to find her way back to the van.
     She had gotten separated from her friends when Billy had grabbed her hand and took off through the crowd to get a better view of Hendrix.  Ah Billy, she had only met him yesterday at the diner not far from here, they had stopped to get a bite to eat and recharge from their drive.  He had the most amazing green eyes, you could see he was a hardworking man by looking at his strong arms; his hair was much longer than any of the boys back home. He had a messy look about him that she instantly fell for.  They had discussed their plans of attending this crazy concert on a farm but she never thought she would see him again.  The out of nowhere he was standing in front of her leaning in to give the most amazing kiss she had ever had.  He said all the things a girl wants to hear, how he could not stop thinking about her.  That all he wanted was to find her again to get to know her more.  She felt herself getting lost in his words and feeling every inch of him pressed against her, his arms pulling her in as he all but enveloped her.  And as quickly as the kiss started it was finished and he had pulled her through all these people to where they were dancing and swaying and she felt completely intoxicated by the whole experience and hoped it would never end.  How could she feel so much changing in only a few short days, but then that is how it happens, you decide one day that you need adventure and instead of staying put in the same rut you have been in your whole life you take a step and go after whatever it is that is waiting for you.  Because you never know what you will find when you start looking for yourself.


Like I said it isn't much.  But I do enjoy just writing no matter how short or how long the story. 

Thanks for reading

Have a great week.

always

tammyc


 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

A bunny farm

No, not that kind of bunny farm.  This is after all Oklahoma not Nevada.


Peter (daddy)
Paula (momma)
So weird story but then again this is my life and 9 times out of 10 it is a weird story.
I was sitting at work one day and a coworker said "I want a snickers"  I replied with "I want a bunny"  there was a second of awkward silence and then he replied "well that's out there"  I had been  looking at pinterest that day and there happened to be lots of pictures of rabbits.  We live on a farm so why not right.  Only I had no idea where to get rabbits or any real place to keep them.  I know where Britt gets the constant need to bring animals home that's for sure.  Later that day I was on facebook and a friend I use to work with had posted to my timeline that she had a mating pair of rabbits for sale and wanted to know if I wanted them.  Her story is she is raising New Zealand white rabbits for sale as meat rabbits.  My first response was...I would love to have some rabbits but I am not sure the hubs would be willing to kill and clean them.  She informed me that she sells them alive and the purchaser has to do the killing. Or keep them as pets whatever they choose to do with them.  And that she can't keep up with the demand with what she has.  So I talked to the hubs and he says it's ok for me to buy the pair.
I made arrangements to pick up the pair from dear friend but we only took one cage and had to place both rabbits in together.  It was quite funny when we put the male in the cage with the female...they are both about the same size and white with red eyes.  They look identical.  It was dark outside and my sweet Britt pipes up "oh no, how are we going to know which one is which" at that moment she pointed the flashlight to the cage and well the male was doing what male rabbits do and we all burst out laughing at the same time a very quiet "never mind" came from Britt.

Laughing and jokes aside, we got our rabbits home and only had one large cage for a while but we were informed that they didn't think our female rabbit was old enough to be a momma just yet.  It was just a couple of weeks that they were in the same cage together and after being separated for a while Paula started pulling fur from under her chin and  piling it up in a corner.
No we're not rabbit farmers so I had to do a bit of research and learned that this was indication that she was indeed old enough to be a mom and that within a few days we would have bunnies.  About a month after buying them  ☺

only hours old
Our babies were born 2 days before Valentines day.  (5 of them)  We had never really seen newborn bunnies and they look like little rats or something.  they appear to have no hair but in fact are covered in the finest fur that is the softest thing I have ever felt. The following are a few pictures we have gotten of our baby rabbits.  We will be selling them.  All except the mom and the dad at about 6-8 weeks old.  Those that do not get sold will be harvested and put in the freezer.  Someone jokingly asked if it was illegal to eat the Easter bunny, but since this breed of rabbits have been used as meat rabbits long before I bought some I think we'll be ok.  I am curious to see how many sell and how many go in the freezer.


My girls still have a bit of a hard time with this idea, but they knew when we bought them that dinner would be in the future.  But they are learning that is just how life is when you have farm animals.
One week



1 week & 4 days. 
3 weeks and already weaned



I will be posting them on craigslist and other social media sites soon.  They would make fantastic Easter gifts if you had room for one. You can even litter train them.  But who has that kind of time.  
That's just a little of the craziness going on at the farm these days.  Check back to see what other shenanigans we have going on.
5 weeks almost ready for new homes

Thanks for reading

always
tammyc

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Ten cents to wash a load of laundry...WHAT?

I know it sounds crazy and if you are like I was you have your favorite leading brand laundry soap and you are pretty hesitant to switch to some home made version that might not get your clothes as clean as you would like.  Well throw those thoughts out of your head.  It works.  I didn't believe it until I tried it and well it is kind of a risk to see if you like it or not after all it does cost about $30 to make it up.  But I can tell you I was spending about that same amount twice a month with the amount of laundry we go through at our house (2 teenage daughters...ugh!)  Anyway the photo above is what you will need.

4lb 2oz box of Borax
3lb 7 oz box of Arm & Hammer washing soda
3lb tub of Oxyclean
2 bars of Fels-naptha stain remover
4lb box of Arm & Hammer baking soda
55oz bottle of Purex Crystals fabric softener

I have included a picture of my receipt from this trip to buy supplies.  Yes it was $30.31  Seems like a lot but keep reading.  This isn't as bad as it seems.


 








This photo (on the left) although the date is pretty light is the date of when I last made my laundry soap.  If you can't see it well it says 7-12-13.  That's right July 12th of last year.  I am posting this post 2 days after actually making it so the date was 3-6-14  If my counting is correct (and I know it is) that is 7 and a half months of laundry soap for a teeny bit over $30.  Yes.  And yes in our house we do laundry every single day and if we don't it is defiantly every other day.  It amazes me every time I make this stuff.  The photo on the right is what was left in the bottom of our bucket when I went to the store to buy more soap making supplies.  I poured it into the jar below.  (note that there is about enough to do a few more loads of laundry. I just hate getting this low.)  Yes a few more loads.  That is because it only takes 2 tablespoons per normal size load of laundry.  I have kids & a hubs and they never measure the right amount and yet we still managed to make this soap last 7 and a half months...AMAZING!!!

 Here is how you mix it up.  
Everything is pretty easy to mix together.  The bar soap is what seems to be the most time consuming.  The first time I made it I use a hand cheese grater (I was begging for help before I was finished...got no volunteers)  It worked but the grated pieces were a bit big.  The second time I made it I thought there had to be a better way.  So I got my trusty blender out and chopped up the bars like the picture below.  Placed a chunk at a time in the blender.  It started to gunk up in the bottom so I tossed in a half a scoop of oxyclean and that helped to keep it from sticking to the blades.  I like the size resulting from this method.  Bad thing is after making this soap in my old (got it for a wedding gift 19 years ago) blender after 4 batches the blender died.  I have not replaced it yet.  Didn't remember that until I was ready to make soap this last time.  Well poop!  Now what?
 I remembered reading that a lady online(http://www.howdoesshe.com/cheaper-and-better-diy-laundry-detergent/) had placed her soap in the microwave for a minute and it puffs up and when it cools it dries and it crumbles in your hand with just a little pressure.  Please note she uses Zote bar soap and the Fels Naptha takes a little longer than 1 minute but not much I kept adding 30 seconds.  I think it was ready about 2-2.5 minutes.  Place soap in a glass dish and be careful as it can burn and you don't want that smell in your kitchen (trust me)  I had a few pieces I had to take out because they did start to burn and the smell was awful.  Just trust me on this one.  Before next time I will purchase a new blender (cheap one) just for making soap.  I can use it until it dies.  It helps to save me money so I think it'll be OK.   :)


Mixing it all up after you have your bar soap prepared.  I have tried this a couple different ways too...trial and error.  That's how I do. 
Anyway. This method works best in my opinion.  I have a large bowl and I add a scoop of everything and a few chunks of the puffed up bar soap I mix it with my hands while crumbling the bar soap.  It works well.  If I had used a blender I would just add a small scoop of the blended soap.  Anyway.  I then dump the mixed soap into the bucket I use for storing my laundry soap.  I have a spoon because after each time of adding a small amount I give it all a good stir that way everything is really good and mixed. 


This seems a little time consuming, but in the end it is worth it to me to save the crazy amounts of money by using home made laundry soap rather than buying the leading brand.  I liked to buy tide pods and just an example of how much you save.  A bag of 72 pods (72 loads) is about $18 that is 25 cents per load.  I can not believe I was spending that much on laundry.  And don't forget the fabric softener.  A box of 120 Bounce dryer sheets is about $5.50 Yeah only around 5 cents per load but now your total cost per load is up to 30 cents.  I did the math and this awesome homemade soap is 299 ounces total and you use 2 Tablespoons per load.  Google how many ounces in 2Tablespoons...I'll wait here for you......Yep that's right 2 Tablespoons is 1 ounce.  ONE OUNCE!  OK so look again.  299 loads of laundry soap with fabric softener and stain remover included and it only costs $30.31 to make.  That makes this soap 10 cents per load of laundry.  
That is why I love this soap.






I re-purposed this bucket this last summer from the pool tablets.  It is the perfect size for one full batch of soap and it has a flip top lid that latches closed.  I have a 2 tablespoon scoop that I used a magnet to keep it attached to the dryer right next to the shelf were the bucket of soap is kept in my laundry room. 




I have heard it said that the clothes don't smell fresh as if you're using store bought stuff, I myself haven't had this problem.  I use it daily and can smell it in my closet.  I made some quilts and washed them before giving them as gifts and a comment was made about how fresh and clean the quilts smelled.  So maybe it isn't as strong as if you had a dryer sheet or store bought tide but everything in it is safe for sensitive skin and we have no issues with any kind of skin reaction from this soap.

Another question you might have is "Is it safe for high efficiency appliances?"  Yes.  It makes less suds and there for works well for these types of washers. I've been using this for about 2 years now and I have an HE washer and dryer, with no problems.  The less suds part took a bit of getting use to but the clothes come out clean so I'm happy.

I have handed out lots of jars to family and friends for them to try it before they make it them selves.  So if you would like to try it give me a shout.

Thanks for taking time to read today.

Have a great day

Always
tammyc