Saturday, October 30, 2010

7 Random Things

...because some days my brain can't focus on just one thing.

1. I bought new pillows last week because our old ones had lost their fluffiness, and now it feels like I'm sleeping on the side of Mt. Everest.  Do you know what I mean? I've had a neck ache every morning this week.  I think new pillows need about a one month break in period to compact to the perfect level of comfort.

2. My son's new favorite phrase is "golly heavens".  Example: "Golly heavens that was a nice pass!"  I don't think he's ever seen Leave it to Beaver, but I'm pretty sure he could hang out with Wally and the Beav' and they could all be best friends with a vocabulary like that.

3. As a result of watching far too many design shows from the years 2001-2003 while nursing infant children, I came up with the brilliant idea of placing our bed at an angle in the corner of our bedroom with fake little pine trees placed behind our headboard in the empty corner.  Last night my husband and I decided to move the bed to a traditional wall placement, and now our room feels GIGANTIC! Why did the show "Trading Spaces" inspire me to do something so ridiculous?  I never liked how the rooms on the show turned out in the end, so what made me think I should try the stuff at my own home? I'm glad I've seen the light.

4. This week my children broke out into spontaneous dancing in the pencil sharpener aisle of Office Max to the music over the loudspeaker.  Do other children do this?  I quickly looked around to make sure that no one was watching them, but I can't help but imagine that some guy in the security camera room saw them bust a move, and now the tape is going to go viral on YouTube.  Then some guy in Singapore or Antarctica will be laughing at my kids' Napoleon Dynamite dance routine.

5. My son's football season is over for the year, and it feels bitter-sweet. His team was undefeated! WooHoo! I loved watching my son play, but I was getting tired of being on the football field 4 days a week.  Now that we have our evenings and Saturdays back, I look forward to eating together at the dinner table again every night.  I really missed having the time to prepare big meals. 

6. I rented a carpet cleaner today so that I could complete my semi- annual carpet/ upholstery cleaning. For the low, low price of $19.99 plus 10 hours of sweat labor I made the carpets in the house, and the interiors of the trucks look pretty again.  Call me crazy, but there's something I kind of like about steam cleaning carpets.  I love to dump the dirty water out of the top of the cleaner.  It gives me a real sense of accomplishment.  I love to see results!  For this same reason, I love to vacuum every day.  I love to watch the canister in my Hoover Wind Tunnel fill up with dirt because it's tangible and measurable.  I can stand back and say, "wow! Look at all of the dirt I got out of that carpet!"

7.  My beloved went shooting today to gear up for his upcoming deer hunt.  When he got back and started to clean his rifle, I could smell the old familiar scent of Hoppes gun cleaner.  It happens to be one of my favorite smells.  Do you ever attach a smell to a memory?  Well whenever I smell Hoppes, it reminds me of my Dad.  When I was growing up he would often go hunting or shooting  and then sit down in the evening to clean his guns.  I would hover nearby to watch him meticulously clean each piece.  He would dip a clean cloth into Hoppes and thread it through the cleaning rod.  Then he would slide it down the barrel several times until it was free of debris.  The whole area would smell like Hoppes. I loved the aroma back then, and I love it now. It's funny how the most unusual things take you back in time.

I'm off to enjoy the evening with my family!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Whiskey Row

Alright, here's one last history lesson about Prescott's colorful beginnings. Prescott was chosen by Abraham Lincoln to be the capitol of the Arizona Territory. It was originally supposed to be in Tucson, but Lincoln thought that there were too many Confederate sympathizers in the southern part of the state. Prescott happened to be much farther north, and also was experiencing a gold rush at the time. Couple it's location with it's new found wealth to support the Union and you have two convincing reasons that Prescott became the capitol of the territory.

Here is a picture of Prescott's court house today. It served an important role in Arizona's territorial days.

The statue in front is of a man named "Bucky" O'Neill.  He was one of Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders, and this sculpture was created by Solon Borglum to commemorate the "Wild West".  Interesting side note: The sculptor's brother created the  images that are carved into Mt. Rushmore today.

Right across the street from the Courthouse square lies the infamous "Whiskey Row".

This man is headed there for a drink....maybe.
Here is a picture of Whiskey Row today. 

It originally consisted of 18 Saloons. Legend has it that men would start on one end of Whiskey Row, and work their way down to the other end, having one drink in each bar.  However, every one of the original saloons burned to the ground in a massive fire that destroyed much of the city in 1900.  The town quickly rebuilt it's shops and saloons using brick and mortar.  Those buildings are still standing today, and very much alive with bars and booming hotels and restaurants.

A walk around the court square gives you a feeling of stepping back in time, and the shops around town are unique and eclectic.  Pictures of some of the old mercantiles and drug stores of the 1800's grace the walls of the Sharlot Hall Museum.  The 1800's drug store carried hundreds of elixirs and tonics that promised to cure virtually anything that ailed you.  However, the vast majority of the so-called "medicines" were nothing more than alcohol and opium mixed.  For this reason, the Federal Government outlawed  them for being fraudulent and dishonest.  Addiction to these fake medicines was a huge problem back then.

I've never been more glad to live in the era of modern medicine.

The real history of Whiskey Row embodies the spirit of the Wild West that Hollywood has spent decades trying to recreate on the cinema screen.  A visit to the museum transports you back to a time when the "West" was  untamed.  Pioneers, Indians, and Cowboys make the true story of Prescott much more exciting than anything I've ever seen on the big screen.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Museum Highlights

Recently I took my kids on a little field trip to a wonderful Museum in Prescott, AZ that focused on the Arizona Territory in the late 1800's and early 1900's. The Sharlot Hall Museum is located on 3 1/2 acres in downtown Prescott, and consists of 9 restored buildings from the turn of the century that can all be toured. It was AWESOME...and free for kids! The picture above is of the Governor's Mansion. It's 2000 sq. feet, and because of the gold rush during the late 1800's, they had to pay the laborers $10.00/ hour just to build it. That was a whole lot of money during those days. They also had to keep armed guards on duty to fight the Indians during construction.

Below are just a few pictures of the things that I found amusing.

Above is a metal trophy belt worn by the winning team in a fire hose contest.  Fires were quite a problem in Prescott's territorial days.  The funniest part is that this "belt" was burned in a fire in 1900. Today, cowboys get a bad rap for the size of their trophy buckles, but I have to say that they've really improved in form and function over the last 100 years.  That's one ugly belt.

The kids had a scavenger hunt that went along with the museum, and in each building there was a mouse hidden for them to search for. After answering all of the questions, and finding all of the mice, they were rewarded in the gift shop with an old fashioned candy stick.  The kids had a ball finding the mice!

Here was a one room school house from the mid 1800's.  School only lasted for 3-5 months each year, and met in the winter time. The kids sat on benches and wrote on slates.
Here is an 1800's vacuum cleaner.  They've come along way, haven't they?

A covered wagon was one of many forms of transportation in the museum. 

This was by far the grossest thing on the tour.  It's a wreath hanging above the fireplace in a Victorian style house from the 5th governor of the territory.  What's  so gross about it?  It's made with human hair.  All of it.  Evidently women used to brush their hair in the evening and save the hair from their brush in a box so they could make things with it.  This wreath has many types of hair in it. Below is a closer look.

Makes you lose your appetite doesn't it?  Who knew that women were so crafty?  Ladies, you need to get to brushing if you want to have a pile of hair big enough to create a wreath with by Christmas.  There might be a resurgence of hair wreath popularity in the near future. Get ready. It's gonna be BIG!

Stay tuned for Part II....The History of Whiskey Row.  I know you're dying with anticipation!


My husband had to be out of town for work on his birthday, so we packed up the whole family and made a little vacation out of it.  After all.... we didn't want him to celebrate all by himself on his special day. And I never like to pass up on a good opportunity to go shopping.

The problem is that whenever I go to a big town with a mall, I never have a lot of spending money. Here's the breakdown:
Nell at the Mall - $$$$= NO FUN.
Nell Shopping with no money = finding EVERYTHING she's been looking for, AND stuff that she can't live without but didn't even know it existed until she went shopping and found it....and then had to leave it there on the shelf, all alone and wanting a new home. (I'm aware that was a run-on sentence, but I don't's the way I feel.)

Whenever I go shopping with a wad of cash and a list, they are out of everything, nothing is the right size or color, and I feel uninspired. Life's just not fair.

But I digress...

Yesterday, I was able to find some great gifts for the birthday boy, and a few other things too.  Among the things I'm most excited about are the following items:

I know, I're saying to yourself, "what's so special about a pencil sharpener?"
Well, when you go through three or four inferior pencil sharpeners a year with your three homeschooled kids, you decide to drop a Jackson on a heavy duty metal version that has 8, yes "8",different sized holes for every pencil in your arsenal.  We've broken pencil sharpeners by dropping them, using them too much, shoving crayons in them, getting pieces of colored pencil lead lodged in there, and one attempted marker sharpening by my littlest when she was 3. 

But this thing of beauty is fully metal, heavy duty, and comes with a 2 year manufacturer's warranty.  I fully intend to hang on to that information too.

I saved the best for last.  What you're looking at is the GREATEST iced tea on the planet.  You can get it fresh brewed at any Wildflower Bread Company Restaurant, or at Pita Jungle and pay a hefty price for it.  As an Iced Tea connoisseur, I consider it my personal duty to gorge myself on this tea whenever I'm in the restaurant, which results in less room for the good food.  In fact, I'm a binge tea drinker when I go to either of these two places.  Because I must drive 3-4 hours to get to the tea, I drink it as if it were a life sustaining beverage. 

But I own the stuff!  One of these boxes has enough loose leafed tea to make 18 gallons of tea, or 96 servings.  MWAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAAHA!!!!( That's my sinister evil laugh.)

I shall drink iced tea whenever I want it!  I shall not pay $2.75 for a clear plastic 12 oz glass of it, and I shall not be forced to ask for 7 refills in one meal. It's brilliant, and it's all mine at a fraction of the cost.

All other shopping purchases seem insignificant compared to my two best finds.

  I'm off to take my children on an adventure, so have a fabulous day, everyone!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Tea Party Treats

This semester my kids have been doing a Medieval Times unit study during our weekly homeschool co-op.  For the last two weeks we've been learning about Kings and Queens and today the girls had a "Queen's Tea" Party. 

My daughter has been anticipating this event for weeks, so we decided to make something extra special to bring to it.  We  made two recipes, and here are the final results.

These are called Oreo Balls, and they are REALLY delicious, and decadent.
The recipe was so easy that my daughter did most of the work.

I highly recommend trying them at least once.  Click here for the recipe from the Tasty Kitchen website.

 Next we made these Mini Pumpkin Whoopi Pies because they make the most perfect little finger desserts. They are a little more involved, but are a fun choice for any fall occasion.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Day I Donated $10,000,000

I was just reading a blog that was talking about the disappointment a kid has when they find one of those fake million dollar bills on the ground, and the fact that Christians should stop trying to use those type of tracts to witness with.  I mean, would you want to learn about Jesus from some guy who tricked you into picking up fake money?

Anyway, this whole incident reminded me of my own little million dollar debacle.

I was eight years old.  My best friend, Melissa, spent the night, and we were headed to church together the next morning.  We thought that it would be cool to sit away from the grown-ups, so we asked begged my parents to allow us to sit alone up in the front.  By some sort of miracle, they allowed it.

We were young and dumb and didn't know that we were going against the grain by sitting in the front.  The phrase "Back Seat Baptists"  was still a foreign concept to us.  We just thought it would be fun to goof off. 

Twenty minutes later we had drawn on every tithing envelope in our pew, and I decided to fill out a "Faith Promise" card.  For those of you who aren't familiar with a faith promise card...let me enlighten you.  A Faith Promise Missions Giving" card is a form you fill out promising to give a sum of money over the course of the next year to support the missionaries of the church.  You are supposed to pray for direction from the Lord, and then fill out the card for the amount that you feel led to give.  Being the cool eight year old that I was, I thought it would be funny to fill out the entire card....just like a grown up....and I filled in the dollar amount with a one followed by as many zeros as would fit in the box.  Melissa and I had a good chuckle over it, and when the offering plate passed by, I made an impulsive, last minute decision to put the card in the offering plate.  We could hardly contain our giggles.  I had just upped my cool factor exponentially!  We then decided to settle down and try to fill in the sermon more funny business.  The rest of the day passed without any incident.

Now, fast-forward to Monday evening. It felt like an eternity had passed from the events of the previous morning so I had completely forgotten about my generous giving  commitment.  My parents called me in the room and told me to sit down on the couch.  "Yikes...this can't be good" I thought.  Having a "talk" with the parents could only mean one thing...I was in trouble.  But for what?  I couldn't think of a single thing I had done.

(Side note: There is one detail that is critical to this story, that I must share with you, the reader.  It's a bit of a smoking gun, if you will.  My Mom just so happened to be the church secretary during the time of impulsive decision to drop the fake card into the offering.  Imagine her surprise on Monday morning when she was going through the cards from the offering plate and  happened to find out that her daughter promised to pay a whopping ten million dollars to the church.)

My parents asked me if there was anything I wanted to confess.  I thought hard and couldn't think of a single thing.  Then my mother informed me that she was "made aware" of my generous giving commitment.  The sirens started going off in my head.  It was all flooding back to my memory now.  At that instant I was  kicking myself for not thinking about the fact that my mother was going to find out about my little stunt.

I admitted my guilt immediately.  Then my parents proceeded to scare the guts out of me when they told me that when you fill out one of those cards the church is depending on you for that money.  Then they looked me straight in the eye and said, "How are you going to come up with $10,000,000 in the next year?"  WHAT???? Were they out of their minds?  I was just a kid.  I never had more than $1.37 at any given moment of my young life.  I needed a loan from the folks.  Money this huge was out of my realm of understanding.  I couldn't pull it off.  I saw my whole life flash before my eyes.  Then they dropped a bigger bomb.  They said that if we were going to start paying it off then our family wouldn't be able to afford to go to Disneyland this year.  I started to cry.  My life was ruined, and I was only eight.  The only thing I was thinking was "Why did I have to go and put that stupid card in the plate?"  I was a real dummy.

Then, through the tears, I saw my mom pull something out of her was the "Faith Promise" card.  Relief flooded over me as I realized that there may be some hope after all.  She asked me if I still wanted to give ten million dollars to missions, and I shook my head. The next hour was a blur of a lesson about the importance of taking my commitments to God very seriously.

I can assure you that I always pray fervently now before I make any type of financial commitments at church.  I learned a valuable lesson that day about reverent behavior, lies, and the punishment for being silly.  I also learned that if you goof off in church, and your mom is the secretary....your sins will be brought to light very soon.  Church secretaries know EVERYTHING!

P.S.- The funniest part is that my mother has no recollection of this incident which tells me that I did a whole lot of worse things when I was a kid. ;)

Tag, I'm it.

Here's the deal.  My blogging friend, Lindsay, over at A Small Town Kind of Life, has tagged me to answer a few questions on my blog.  She also happens to be Canadian, and my cousin's good friend and neighbor. So Lindsay, this blog's for you.

1. If you were stuck on a desert island, what 4 items would you bring with you?
Alright, I'm assuming that my family or my favorite dog won't qualify as "items", so I'd have to pick my Bible, a picture of my family, my mascara, and a lifetime supply of gum.

2. What is your favorite thing to do when you have nothing to do?

My absolute favorite thing to do is to read really good books in my rocking chair next to the wood stove.  My second favorite thing would be to do something crafty at my kitchen table.

3. What is your best asset?
My best asset is my whole heartedness.  When I choose to get involved in something, I dive in all the way.  It's also one of my worst attributes because I get really disappointed and frustrated when other people do things half- hearted.  I feel like if I'm putting in the effort, then everyone else should be too.

4. What is your favorite restaurant and why?
My favorite restaurant is anything Mexican that sells my beloved pinto beans.  If you haven't read about my love affair with the lowly frijole, then you really need to.

5. What do you prefer, fancy night out on the town or movie/chips at home?
I'm definitely neither of these.  We've never had a fancy night out, and I'm not a huge movie watcher.

My favorite dates are spent hiking, going for a drive, playing a round of golf together (which rarely happens) or working side by side.

6. If you could go anywhere in the world where would it be?

Hmmmm.  I've always wanted to make my way through Glacier National Park, up through western Canada, and on to Alaska.  I'd love to stay in a big old lodge with plush bedding, a fireplace in the room, and lots of places to explore around the area.

7. What is the number 1 thing on your Christmas list this year?

I'd love to have a new lens for my Nikon. Pretty please.

8. What is your favorite holiday (which holiday and why) activity?

My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving.  I love everything about it.  I love counting my blessings.  I love getting up very early with my mom to start the turkey and rolls, and watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade while we prepare the big feast in the kitchen.  I love that everyone congregates there. I love the hard-core competitions my family has in the backyard, and the oodles and oodles of dessert choices.  I also love scouring the newspaper ads and deciding which amazing deals I'm going to wake up early to shop for the next morning on Black Friday.  Then I love eating leftover pumpkin pie for breakfast at 5am, followed by a turkey sandwich for lunch after a full morning of hardcore shopping. Oh, yes....I can imagine it right now.  I can't wait!

I do believe that this concludes my question and answer session.  Thanks for the tag!

Monday, October 18, 2010

If a Tree Falls...

"If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?"....more importantly....will your wood hoarding, chainsaw cutting, manly husband come along and cut it up for firewood? You can bet your hard earned dollar he would!

We went to cut a load of wood yesterday, when we saw this up ahead. My husband pulled over to take a closer look.  The tree was pretty big, and I was slightly nervous that he would somehow attempt to cut it up and want me to load the thing into the back of the pick-up, but then I saw it from the side view and I breathed a sigh of relief. I knew I was was a pine tree, and he doesn't like to cut pine.  It was also green, so I knew he'd pass it by.  Then, and only then could I get out of the truck and enjoy looking at it.

But mark my words, if this had been a Blue Spruce or Douglas Fir, and if it had been sitting there for a year, he would have fired the chainsaw up immediately and attempted to harvest it, piece by piece. It's like he plays some silly little man game where he's always in search of the "perfect log". 

We got off the hook this time....but there's always another monster log lurking deep in the forest.  It makes grown men giddy with anticipation to conquer the log, and it makes grown women want to cry.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Saturday Wrap-up

This gal would "kill" for a manicure.
This weekend my brother and his lovely wife came for a visit, and we've been having a great time together, but yesterday we parted ways for the day so they could take in the beauty of the mountain in it's fall splendor with a hike and lunch while we drove over an hour to a town covered in tumbleweeds and rocks for my son's football game.  The picture above is one of that town's main attractions.

Imagine my surprise, if you will, when we drove up to the football stadium and I found it to be quite lovely and built right into the rocks.  I'm certain that it's the prettiest thing that town has ever built.

Here's my boy waiting for the play in the huddle.  He played tight-end and middle linebacker yesterday, and we smoked the other team, 28-0.

Here's a picture of another tight-end.  This one belongs to my husband.  It's hard to concentrate on the game when he's out there posing like that.

Below is a picture of this town's scenery in a nutshell.

Rocks, rocks, and more rocks.

Afterward, we headed back so we could fix the fence from the many attempted escapes of some of our weaned calves.  Here's a picture of the ring leader, and her accomplices.

These three little rascals are the naughty bunch.  We decided to put in a babysitter for them, so now they are under the watchful eye of an old, dried up Angus Mammy cow who will keep them in line if they try to hop the fence.  The second she arrived on the scene, they instantly bonded with her.

It just goes to show you  that what kids really want is discipline, supervision, and a good set of matter what they say!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Buying Calves

Yesterday we loaded up the family and headed to a stocker/ heifer sale so that we could buy some calves for beef and to eat down the plethora of grass we have in the fields.  The sale ring was loaded with buyers and sellers alike, and  being that my kids aren't wealthy and in the market to buy cattle, I stayed outside with them to free up seats for "serious" my husband.   We walked the pens ahead of time making note of what we wanted to bid on, and then the kids and I just had an adventure outside while Dad did the bidding inside.

Here we are just kickin' rocks while we waited.

The kids were wild with anticipation while they waited to see what we were going to bring home.
I was just enjoying the beautiful fall day.  It was a perfect day for buying cattle. 

If you've ever been to a stocker sale then you are well aware of the enormous volume of the stockyard.  If this concept is new to you then let me enlighten you.

1.  Imagine 10,000 head of calves taken away from their nursing mothers and shipped to the sale.
2. Now imagine all of them screaming for Momma simultaneously, and not being able to find her.
3. Some are hoarse, some are high pitched, but the overwhelming majority of them sound like they're throwing a tantrum.

Weaning is the noisiest time of year on most outfits, and it takes a while to learn to tune out the sounds of bawling calves, and  tight bagged cows, but it dies down after a few days.

While we were at the sale my kids saw the grossest bug I have ever seen in my life.  Thank the Good Lord that it was dead or I would have freaked out when my son touched it.

Here are a few awful pics of some of the calves.  I wanted to take some good pictures for your viewing pleasure, but my husband informed me that we were beyond late so I shot these as I was making a bee-line for the truck and trailer. 

In closing, I would just like the world to know that freshly weaned calves are some of the stupidest creatures on earth.
1. They're like one minute, gone the next.
2. They're like the 3 Stooges... no one knows what's going on.
3. They're little escape artists that must be kept in an Alcatraz style corral so they don't wander down the road looking for Momma.
4. They don't respect fences.
5. They're like the blind leading the blind.

It took less than 24 hours after releasing them into their lush oasis of a pasture for them to make their first jail break to go looking for milk.  It's sad, really.  Poor little guys.  They just miss their mommas so much.  And their little tummies are just craving that milky goodness something awful! 

This too shall pass, little guys, this too shall pass.

Monday, October 11, 2010

"Wallpaper is from the devil"...and other things you should know.

I'm redecorating my bathroom.  I bought the towels and accessories in June, but because of what I wrote about in yesterday's post, those items have been sitting in a Kohl's bag next to my bed for 4 1/2 months. But now I'm really going to do it!

What you must know is that bathroom makeovers are in my blood.  When I was growing up, my mom redecorated the bathroom at least every other year. It's like a joke with our childhood friends.  Everyone knows that there are like 17 coats of paint on the walls of the bathroom in my parent's house.  Friends asked to use the bathroom just to see what the new theme was for the year.  We've seen every "cool at the moment" painting technique on those walls....white washing, sponging, ragging, and I believe the current technique in there involves speckling with a feather duster.  You name it....Mom's tried it.  Why the bathroom, you ask?
1. It's inexpensive.  New towels, rugs, a can of paint, and bingo.....instant face lift for the house.
2. It's fast. 
3. It doesn't tear up the house for weeks or months like other remodeling projects.
4. It can be accomplished while Dad is working out of town.

I haven't updated my own bathroom in 7 years.  When I first moved into the house, we went with a woodsy theme in the bathroom and I found these little wallpaper decals of bears, moose, and pine trees. "Oh, these are darling!" I said.  "These will look perfect in the bathroom." 

I was flat out of my mind.

I knew that wallpaper was inherently bad.  I was determined not to make the decorating mistakes of my mother's generation.....but what could 27 little woodsy decals possibly do?

It's not like I was buying rolls of powder blue textured wallpaper with a floral pattern that must be matched perfectly.  These were just wallpaper stickers.

I bought them....and broke a major rule of home decorating.

Flash forward 7 years.

My son is now nine, and a wildlife smartypants.  He has often pointed out the fact that we do not have moose where we live, we have elk.  We do not have grizzly bears in our state, we have black bears, and I'm certain that the pine tree stickers I've had on the wall are not native to our area either.  I have only one thing to say to him. "Listen mister, I'm your mother and I can still bend you over my knee!"  Leave my stickers alone.

About the same time that he was old enough to identify the wildlife in the bathroom, he also decided that it would be fun to see if he could do chin-ups using the towel bar as a jungle gym.  After he bent it and pulled it out of the dry wall, he realized that the idea was impulsive and probably not a good choice.  I've suffered with the after effects of this monkey business for years now.  My towel bar was barely hanging on by a thread.

Its high time all of it was demolished.  Out with the old, and in with the new!

The problem is those !#$%+^&;* stickers.  It took me hours to remove all 27 of them.  I think they were fused on to my wall with the same stuff used to keep the space shuttle together.  I peeled little tiny bits of paper until my finger nubs were numb and practically bloody.  All the while I was kicking myself for ever buying them and wondering how I managed to cave into peer pressure 7 years ago.  Every little branch, hoof, and bear's ear had to be taken off millimeter by millimeter, and then thoroughly coated in a solution of fabric softener and hot water to get the rest of the paper and glue off.  It was a nightmare.  It was like trying to milk a cat.

Here's what I know now.

The next time I sit on the couch with my girls to have a mother daughter chat about serious stuff like the dangers of drugs and alcohol....I'm going to carefully bring this into the conversation.  It's going to go something like this:

" One day you girls will have houses of your own, and you will walk into Home Depot and see little wallpaper borders, and decals, and I just want you to know that wallpaper is from the devil.  Do not fall into the temptation of buying it, because you will suffer the consequences of your poor choice for years to come.  Even if you just buy a little.  Learn from my mistakes, and don't do the same decorating things that Mommy has done in the past.  It will haunt you.  Stick with paint.  It's much safer."

My new theme....cowboy with a John Wayne twist!  It's going to be brilliant! And it's also never going to be finished if I keep typing.

Goodbye for now.


P.S.  "Friends don't let friends buy wallpaper."

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Are You Busy?

Busy-1. full of activity
         2. cluttered with detail to the point of being distracted.

Yikes!  Is your life cluttered with detail to the point of being distracted?  I'm ashamed to tell you that lately my life has been a string of one activity after the next. Football, ballet, AWANA, volunteering, nursery, college classes, homeschool co-op, blah, blah, blah.  Every single thing on my list is a GOOD thing, but when we put them all together it's a disaster!!!

If you adhere to the Fly Lady method of cleaning your home, then you know that "clutter" is a curse word.  In fact, you're supposed to spend 15 minutes a day getting rid of clutter in your life.  That's easy to do when the clutter is junk mail piles, old magazines, and shoes in the entry way, but what if the clutter happens to be in the form of activities?  What if you have allowed too many "good" things into your life, instead of saving your time for the "great" things?

Tonight my husband was playing his guitar in our living room for the first time in months.  I love this man, and I love the way he plays his guitar.  In fact, the sound of my husband softly singing while strumming his guitar is one of the most soothing and calming activities in our home.  The fact that he's been too busy to play lately makes me want to scratch every nightly activity off of our schedule so that we can go back to evenings spent  playing boardgames with the kids, reading, and listening to my husband play his guitar.

As a family, we are constantly forced to re-evaluate our priorities, and remind ourselves of what our goals are.  We must be vigilant to say NO to anything that doesn't further our vision for our family.  A dear wise woman in our church just told me this week, that when asked to do something in the church, a "no" is just as spiritual as a "yes"!  I love that!

The thing that bothers me the most about being "busy" is that my life is cluttered to the point of being distracted from God....the one who matters most.  When I'm busy, my prayer life slips, my bible reading slips, family devotions start to slip, and then life starts spinning out of control.  Then I cry out to God for help only to realize that He's been waiting patiently while I'm running around like a chicken with my head cut off, wondering why I don't feel close to Him. I try every solution except for making Him a priority in my life again...the one thing that will calm the craziness.

Finally, the lightbulb goes off in my head and  I realize that I must turn back to my savior, apologize for neglecting my relationship with Him, and pick up right where we left off....meeting together in the quietness of the early morning in my favorite chair next to the woodstove with my glass of tea and my sword of the Bible.

 "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." Matthew 6:33

The sky above me at sunset last week.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wordy Wednesday

....because sometimes "wordless" is just no fun.

I have a list of things that I must confess:

1. I made a 9x13" pan of pumpkin cake with delicious pumpkin pie filling on the bottom and sweet cobbler and walnuts on the top, and I intend to eat the ENTIRE thing.  My husband is a pumpkin hater.  I'm a lover.  I will finish it all even if I must eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the next week.  Amen.

2. I have rough, ugly, boy hands. They are chapped, unmanicured, calloused and wrinkled.  I have the hands of a 65 year old cowboy. The only thing pretty on them is my wedding ring. My husband dated me despite the fact that my hands were as rough as his were.  I grew my nails out once for my wedding 10 years ago because I had a suspicion that the photographer would want to take a picture of our hands with the rings on them.  But it was all a big fake.  It felt like those glamour shots women used to get when they were so made up that they didn't even look like themselves. I hardly recognized my own hands. I think the photographer photoshopped the pictures. The very first day of my honeymoon I cut my nails off and I started to feel alive again. In the past I've tried everything from olive oil to udder balm to improve them, and I've even tried exfoliation, but the results are short lived.  I'm doomed to have hands that snag panty hose every time I wear them....which is almost never. I'm contemplating painting them, but I'm worried that they will look like John Wayne hands with nail polish. You know what...I don't really care about my hands.

3. What I do care about is my hair.  I'm a believer in the saying, "The bigger the hair, the closer to Jesus."  My hair has been in various stages of bigness since I was old enough to use a curling iron.  Some of my old Jr. High and high school pictures make people laugh, but I thought I was soooooo cool.  It takes a whole lot of hairspray to make hair a work of art.  I must make a hair appointment soon to maintain my volume before my big hair goes flat.

4. My blog has an identity crisis. One day it's spiritual, one day it's culinary, one day it's dumb, one day it's photographic, one day it's crafty, and one day it's about livestock.  Most people just stick with one topic in their blogs.  I can't seem to focus in like that. It's more of surprise when you click on my blog.  You just never know what you're gonna get!

5. I'm in love with iced tea.  Even in the winter.  I hate coffee.  I disguise my iced tea by pouring it in a travel coffee mug in the cold months when I'm at church so people don't think I'm a lunatic.  After all, who drinks iced tea when it's 15 degrees outside? Me.

6. I've been worrying a lot lately about my old dog.  I can't help it.  I just love him to pieces. He's been my faithful companion since long before I even knew my husband, and he's not getting around very well. He sleeps most of the day now.  The kids just have to step over him because he doesn't want to budge.  Seeing him grow old is just killing me inside.  I can't talk about it anymore because I don't want to have to reapply my mascara today.

7. Do you know that Miranda Lambert song, "The House that Built Me"?  Well I've heard it a billion times on the radio but I still want to cry every time it comes on.  The part about her favorite dog being buried under the oak tree in the yard just gets me in the gut.  I guess that's the mark of a good country song. Maybe it's because my favorite dog is getting old.  I don't know.

I'm aware that my confessions were rambling today and might not make sense to anyone but me, but I had to get them off my chest.  I'm going to end here because seven is the number of completion and all good Christians make lists with seven things on them. Totally kidding.   ;)


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Autumn on our Mountain

Parts of the mountain are starting to come alive with the gorgeous colors of fall!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Pickin' Pumpkins

This Weekend was loaded with fabulous fall activities.  After an awesome football game, we made a trip to our favorite pumpkin patch to carefully select our favorite fall decorations.

Here are the punkin' pickers!

We told the kids that if they could lift the pumpkin, they could have it!  My baby gave this one a valiant effort but when it wouldn't budge, she decided to sit on it instead.

We selected an entire wheel barrow full of the most beautiful and unusual decorative gourds, Indian corn and a variety of pumpkins including the traditional orange, white, light green, and a dark green/orange mix.  I love the variety!

My pumpkin princess is ready for her close up.

Goofing around.

I love, love, love the beautiful colors in Indian corn. Each ear that we pick is like a little surprise because you never know what color you'll get when you pull back the husk.

By the time we left, the sky turned an ominous color, and it was such a beautiful backdrop for the corn field.  We had some great quality time spent with the family, and now we're loaded up with fall decorations.