Sunday, April 29, 2012

Bacon in our Future?

Well, It looks like we're in the pig biz for the next 5 months.  We picked up the kids' 4-H piggies this weekend and they are cute as a button!

Meet "Hank", named after the infamous and ever popular "Hank the Cowdog".  He's our son's 4-H pig.  And below is the lovely"Miss Beulah".  She belongs to our oldest daughter.  Beulah is the Collie that Hank the Cow dog is madly in love with.

There's also a pretty old hymn called "Beulah Land" that we sing in church on occasion, but my guess is that no-one's ever heard of it.

Bad picture of the kids, I know, but it was the only one where the pigs weren't on the go.

We spent the  next day building a temporary pen for the little cuties, and I think they're diggin' their new pad.

Today, we hauled Jake up near the house for the summer, and that old man has clearly never seen anything of the swine variety in all of his days.  First, he trotted back and forth in front of their pen with ears  in full alert.  

Then his curiosity got the best of him and he went over to investigate the creatures that were making those weird noises.

Here they are making formal introductions.  A sniff from Jake, a grunt from Miss Beulah, and the two became fast friends.

Jake is saying, "I've got my eye on you peculiar little creatures."

This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Kids in Training

Sometimes I'm short-sided in the teaching of my children. I lead them in morning prayer and Bible reading before school and think nothing more than that we are starting the day off on the right foot.  I help them memorize chunks of Scripture and listen to them recite them to me as I cook dinner in the evenings, wondering if they will forget the verse in a few weeks when they've moved on to another one.

I forget that they are actually hiding God's Word in their hearts.  And then I catch a small glimpse of them using their knowledge in life and I'm reminded that they are, indeed, learning and understanding their Bible more and more each year.

Last week, my husband was writing a paper and needed to cite a Biblical reference about money.  I suggested that he write about the Parable of the Talents.

Spontaneously, our daughter piped up and said, "The Parable of the Talents is found in Matthew Chapter 25." Then she proceeded to quote a verse from the chapter.

Of course, when my husband flipped open his Bible to confirm that she was right, he was grinning from ear to ear. 

On the down side, the kids also use their Biblical knowledge for argumentative purposes.  In the heat of a fight, I'll hear them hollering, "Lying lips are an abomination unto the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight. (Proverbs 12:22) " or "Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted."(Matthew 23:12).

LOL! I really wish they wouldn't fight, but I can't help but chuckle when I hear them banter back in forth down the hallway. I always wonder how some kid on the playground would react if my kid told them a Bible verse in the middle of a dispute over being cut in the line for the slide. What would they say if my kid yelled, "But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.(Matthew 19:30)"?

That's not exactly how I would prefer them to use their knowledge, but I guess it's a very primitive form of Proverbs 27:17 "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another."

Hopefully, when they are older, they'll use their knowledge of Scripture in context, and for good reasons. 

Last night the kids were rewarded for their hard work in memorization. All three of them attend an AWANA club at church where they gather together to memorize and understand Scripture.  They were rewarded for their diligence with certificates, medals, trophies, pins, and ribbons. Those things will one day be lost or broken, but the verses they learn and the knowledge they gain will stick with them for years.  One day, when they're grown and gone, those words they memorized as a child will come back to them in time of need, and will be a comfort to them in times of trouble.  It will be a reminder to them of how they should live their lives.

As parents, we need to remember that our teaching is not in vain. God will honor our feeble attempts to train up our children, and He will make something beautiful of it.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Trying to Teach Kids Who Would Rather Climb Trees

Here's where I found my girls at 6:30 this morning. High up in a My boy was practicing roping a bucket. No breakfast consumed. No teeth brushed, no hair combed. They threw on clothes and ran straight outside to soak up the gorgeous weather before the dreaded school day began. 

Do you know what this means? It means that we've officially started the toughest teaching days of the year. The ones where I torture my children by making them stay seated inside to do school work while they longingly gaze out the window to the sunny world outside.  Who am I fooling? This mama is just as ready to soak up the sun as my kids are. After the morning seat-work is complete, we eagerly move the classroom to the great outdoors. The kids read to me on the back porch. The girls practice spelling words while hoola-hooping in the grass, and my son recites history facts while swinging a rope in the air.  And I....well, I conduct this three-ring- circus while sitting in a chair in the sunshine.

Ahhhh the perks of homeschooling!

The days and weeks are all starting to run together this time of year, and if it weren't for my iPhone calendar reminding me where I have to be at all times, I'd be wandering around aimlessly. The weekend flew by in a flash with baseball practices, and 4-H horse meetings.  The kids worked on their riding events in our local rodeo arena.  The bleachers are so high and steep that it turns my stomach to go to the top.

After Sunday morning worship, I spent the whole day painting the eaves of the house, and one of the bathrooms. Not exactly exciting blogging material, but it was finally warm enough to paint with the windows open.

Today, my mother-in-law spoiled me by taking me for a spring pedicure. Thanks MIL!!! The salon lady even painted a flower on my toes. This means that flip flop season has arrived! I kept the picture small for my readers who hate toe pics, but for those of you with giant computer screens, sorry for the extreme close-up.

Have a fabulous week, everyone!


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Around Here...

Feel free to fill in the blanks on your own blog or in the comments section of mine. Let me know if you posted so I can hop over and read your thoughts.  I'd love to know what my readers have been up to on this lovely spring day!

1. I know it's spring because...  The calves are growing like weeds!

It must be that liquid gold they're drinking!

 Also, Miss Kitty now spends her mornings sun bathing on the back porch for the first time in 7 months.

2. A new recipe I'm loving....

Sopapilla Cheesecake.  It's made with crescent rolls, cheesecake filling and lots of butter and cinnamon sugar. SO TASTY!(Not authentic in the "sopapilla" department, but I'm willing to overlook the name because of the recipe's greatness.)

Here's the recipe link if you'd like to try it: Sopapilla Cheesecake

3. The weather has been..... ALL OVER THE MAP!  Spring on the mountain is the toughest time of year.  This weekend, we had 6-8 inches of snow and highs in the low 30's.
My son and his buddy made a giant snowman on Saturday. (Bad phone pic.)
 Today, the high will be 73 degrees F and here's what's left of it.

4. I've been listening to..... a fabulous website full of short 30 minute recorded radio segments for Christian women. It's called and it's loaded with great biblical talks on subjects for women of all stages of life. I've been downloading them on my iPhone and listening to them as I excercise and do laundry over the past month, and I feel like I've discovered a gold mine of knowledge! Listening to them takes my mind off of the mundane and makes the time fly by!!! The programs are broadcast on 700 radio stations, but I don't get them in my little town.  Many of the programs are series about different topics women face.

I've linked to the radio archives, but the whole website is worth checking out!

5. Here's what's growing in my garden.... Not much at all! We have chives, thyme, mint, and oregano coming back from previous years.  We've planted sweet and red onions, and I've planted a few tomato plants in the ground surrounded by walls of water.  They act like little greenhouses for them.  This weekend we had snow and the walls of water froze, but the plants stayed insulated and are still alive today! 

During the day, the sun heats up the water, and at night the walls of water give off heat to keep the plant and the soil around it warm. They also protect the young plants from the crazy spring wind.  I'll continue to plant some more varieties over the next few weeks. I'm waiting for pepper plants and heirloom tomato plants to start coming in at our local nursery.

We have such a short growing season at 7000ft elevation that we have to cheat if we want tomatoes.  We can't plant seed directly in the ground or we wouldn't have enough warm days to get a harvest.

6. In the craft department.... I've been sewing a simple grocery sack holder in preparation for the beginning sewing class I teach for 4-H. They'll be making them as gifts for Mother's Day.  We've needed one of these things for years!

7. Our latest fun purchase.... A small roping saddle for the girls.  It's always nice to be in the right place at the right time to find bargain basement deals on tack.

8. A good quote to ponder:
"So it is with minds. Unless you keep them busy with some definite subject that will bridle and control them, they throw themselves in disorder hither and yon in the vague field of imagination... And there is no mad or idle fancy that they do not bring forth in the agitation." -Michel de Montaigne 

9. What's blooming around here:

Ok, eggs don't "bloom"....but we're being overloaded with them lately.

10. I'm keeping busy with... The start of baseball season for all three kids, 4-H, homeschooling, spring cleaning, co-op, AWANA, and Bible Study.

That's what's happening in my neck of the woods.  What's happening in yours?


Friday, April 13, 2012

Feel the Burn!

I did the dumbest thing on Wednesday and I'm still paying for it.

The kids wanted to go swimming, but I didn't because it was only 50 degrees outside; hardly bathing suit weather.  Not wanting to be one of those party-pooper moms, I countered with another suggestion....

"Hey guys, let's ride our bikes to the library and get books!"

The kids thought it was a brilliant idea, and I thought it was pretty magnificent, myself.  After all, we could kill two birds with one stone by completing the subjects of  P.E. and Reading in the same trip. Not to mention that I needed to gather some more books for the Arizona Unit Study that I'm teaching at co-op this semester.

The only challenge was that the library was relatively far (4 mile trip) on the other side of the lake, and I knew my littlest girl couldn't peddle that distance on her own. It's rough terrain: some dirt roads, lots of hills, and no sidewalks. We hadn't been riding much in the long, cold winter months, but I wasn't about to let that stop me.

Not one to shirk from a challenge, I chose to adapt and overcome. In my infinite wisdom, I devised a plan to ride my husband's mountain bike with the old baby bike-seat attached to the back.  I put a helmet on my six year old, maneuvered her into the little seat with her legs dangling off the sides, and had a little test drive to see if the whole contraption was sea-worthy.  We had a 1/2" clearance from the seat to the back tire, so we were good to go. I gathered up the troops, bikes, helmets, and backpacks.

"Tally-Ho".  We were on our way!

Although I looked ridiculous, my girl thought it was the coolest ride EVER.  At some point in my motherhood, I lost all semblance of pride.  It was no longer shameful to be rollin' down the dirt road with a kid in a princess helmet chillin' in the baby seat on the back of my bike. Both of us were cracking up the whole way there because it was so funny.  I felt like a rickshaw cart driver in China.

My girl would chant  "Go mama, go!" up the big hills. I was definitely feeling the burn in my legs.  At the time I remember thinking that people in those spinning classes at the gym should just adapt my method of exercise. After all, if Luke Skywalker did his training with Yoda on his back, then peddling with a six year old behind me had to be on par with the superior Jedi- Knight training methods.

As my little clan of cyclists rode down the road, I quickly waved to one of my good friends as she drove by. When she didn't acknowledge us, I knew that we had achieved Ultra-Nerd status. Either that or she was texting someone and didn't see us.

After we arrived home safely, my legs felt a little wobbly and noodle-like, but I was no worse for the wear.  In fact, I thought about doing it again in a day or two because it was a great change of pace from my regular jogging routine.

6:00pm- My legs felt a little fatigued.

8:00pm- I walked a little stiffly to kiss the kids goodnight.

10:00pm- Asleep.

11:00pm- Jolted awake by EXCRUCIATING pain in my legs.

11:03pm- Tossing and turning from the intense cramping in my lower limbs.

11:05pm- I'm convinced my thighs are bleeding internally.

11:07pm- My quadriceps feel as though they've been put through a meat grinder....twice.

11:08pm- My hamstrings are burning with the flames of hell.

11:09pm- I cannot tolerate the cramping any longer. I must take action.

11:10pm- I'm thinking I need to get up and eat a banana for the potassium, but then remember that the bananas are black and ready for banana bread.  I don't eat black bananas. Back to square one.

11:11pm- I decided to hobble to the bathroom and rummage through the cabinet looking for the Icy-Hot muscle cream.  I apply it liberally to my legs.

11:13pm- I'm back in bed and my legs still feel excruciatingly painful, but now they are freezing cold too...or burning hot...I can't decide which sensation I'm feeling. All I know is that it has added insult to injury. The Icy-Hot does nothing to soothe the pain.

11:15pm- Crawl back out of bed so I don't wake up my husband while I'm moaning in intense agony.

11:16pm- Rummage back through the bathroom cabinet to retrieve two Aleve for the pain. I head to the hall closet to grab the heating pad and a blanket and limp to the couch like an invalid.

11:17-12:05am- Suffer in silence on the couch with a heating pad, waiting for the Aleve to kick in.

6:48am- I'm awakened by my husband who wonders why on earth I'm sleeping on the couch.

6:49am- I relive the torturous middle-of-the-night crisis for my husband who can't stop laughing at my misfortune.

6:52am- Still under the influence of Aleve, I'm feeling great and decide that yesterday might have been the best work-out I've ever had.

12:30pm- Pain medication wears off, and I decide that yesterday may have been the worst work-out I've ever had.

1:15pm- I make a vow NEVER to do anything stupid like that again!

48 hours have passed from my moment of temporary insanity, and I've decided that plain old jogging isn't such a bad gig after all. Why switch things up? Perhaps I'll get on a bike again one day, but not while toting a six year old...unless I'm training for the Iron Man Triatholon...or to be a Jedi Knight...neither of which will be any time soon....if ever.

Still Suffering in Silence,


Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter Festivities

We had a busy Easter weekend filled with fun and family!  On Saturday, my dad drove up for a visit and came bearing gifts of hand-made Easter baskets overflowing with candy for each of us.  He also brought us a  whole pallet of hay pellets for Jake.  We were so blessed to spend the day with him.  First, we loaded up some of the guns and went to the cinder pits for a morning of shooting sports.

I am still deeply in love with our new Remington 1100.  It shoots like a dream!  My dad threw a box of clay pigeons for us and we had a great little competition.  Our boy shot his new 20 gauge, and we brought the .22 for our middle girl, and our Red Rider BB gun for our littlest shooter.

Then on Easter morning, the kids woke up bright and early to open up their Easter presents.  We give gifts on Easter because Christ gave us the ultimate gift of salvation.  The kids get plenty of delicious candy from their grandparents, so we try to go in a different direction.

This year, our boy got a new ranch rope.

And our girls each got a new pair of spurs.

They were excited to trade out their old plain ones for something a little more feminine and fancy.  They were heart broken when we wouldn't let them wear them to church with their pretty Easter dresses.  Could you just imagine the heads that would turn if they came jingle-jangling into the sanctuary? HA!

I got some beautiful tulips to add some Easter color to the dinner table!

Those kiddos sure clean up nice! They're wearing their new Easter outfits from their grandparents.

Here's our annual Easter picture. It was taken in front of the chicken coop this year. I don't know why we chose this location other than the fact that all of the trees are still bare, and the grass isn't quite green yet, so we didn't have many options.

My husband's folks came over for a relaxing afternoon of feasting and fun. In the midst of cooking and playing games, I forgot to take pictures.  My mother-in-law brought over the most delightful spinach and strawberry salad with sliced almonds! I've never had anything like it, but it was sweet, refreshing, and fabulous!

Here's the link to the recipe if you'd like to try it:  SPINACH AND STRAWBERRY SALAD

Today, I took advantage of the Easter clearances and bought some solid chocolate bunnies at deeply discounted prices to chop up and put into my infamous "Bunny Cookies".  I just use a good chocolate chip cookie recipe but add chopped up chocolate bunnies instead of regular chocolate chips. They are sooooooo extra amazing with good quality chocolate.  

Last year my husband brought some to work so he could share them but couldn't remember their name.  He said, "Here, try a rabbit cookie." After one bite, someone replied, "These are amazing! I can't believe there's rabbit in them! I guess your wife can make anything taste good!"  We still chuckle over that one.

Indulging in copious amounts of chocolate this week,


Thursday, April 5, 2012

New Life, New Growth, New Attitude

Spring is bursting forth with new life on the mountain.  Yesterday we took the kids to pick out their 4-H pigs.  They won't be weaned for two more weeks, but we had to put a deposit down on ours so that we got pick of the litter. The kids can't wait to bring their little piglets home! 

Just when I thought I knew our son, he went and did something mature beyond his years. While at the grocery store the other day,  he approached me about wanting to buy some flowers for his sisters.  I nearly fainted!!! He spent his own money and picked the flowers out all by himself! When he brought them home for his sisters, they squealed with delight! This is a huge deal for him because he's been saving his money to buy an air rifle.  It was just a random act of kindness that made his sisters feel extra special.

Now that spring is here, my kids beg to ride their horse daily, and no matter how much grooming takes place, the horse hair is still coming off in piles. That winter coat has got to go!

I've got a picture of this lake during every season.  The good news is that even though the Aspen trees are still bare, the lake is no longer a giant block of ice... a sure sign that spring is here!

Below are some gorgeous blossoms from the trees at our church.

Enjoy the day!


Monday, April 2, 2012

A Sudden Change of Plans and the 1st Fruits of my Proverbs 31 Investment

We had been waiting for one last heifer to calve out, and had been keeping her up close to the barn.  We had plans to treat the kids to dinner and a movie last evening and decided to check on the heifer on our way to dinner.  Lo and behold, there were two legs sticking out of her hind end...plans canceled.  The kids were great sports about it though, and always enjoy watching a calf be born.  We had a sneaking suspicion that she might calve yesterday because there was a storm rolling in and the barometer dropped. After a valiant effort on the heifer's part with no progress, we needed to pull the calf. She was laying down in the corner, and we decided to just go ahead and pull it where she was laying even though we didn't have much wiggle room.

I helped until the head was out, and then I grabbed my iPhone out of my pocket and told my girl to take pictures with it.  Now my phone has dried placenta juice on it. Nice.

After the calf was out, my husband dragged it around to the new mama's head.  She got right up and started licking and loving on her baby.

He's a good sized bull calf and our boy is considering showing him next year as his 4-H project.  We'll see how he looks next fall. Since he was born on April Fools Day, the kids named him "Trick".  

He has a good mama who cleaned him up nice.  In no time at all, he was up nursing and trying to buck around... that good as he could buck for only having used his new legs for an hour or so.  That colostrum must be like rocket fuel!

Do you remember my Proverbs 31 heifers that I bought over a year ago at the Arizona National Livestock Show?  You can read the story by clicking HERE.  I love all of our cattle, but those three heifers are extra- special to me because I got a little side job over Christmas break one year and took all of the proceeds to buy 3 nine- month old heifer calves as investments.  Anyway, this bull calf was out of one of those heifers!

And so is this bull calf... who I captured in the act of being frisky with his tail up....

and so is this pretty little heifer.

I'm so excited to see the first fruits of  my little investment!  I can't wait until they grow!

As I left the pasture to drive home this morning, the storm clouds were beginning to break up and the sky looked so big and beautiful that I just had to share it with you. Big skies make me feel small. They also make me think about the Greatness of God. I'm so thankful that he cares deeply about each of us and all creatures great and small.

Hope you have a great week!