Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Duggar Book Opinion

I can't believe it's been so long since I've posted!  What a crummy blogger I am!  I'll have newsworthy information to share someday after I use the camera...

I read this book a while back, The Duggars: 20 and Counting!

And thought I should be very put-together and informative by writing about it here.

Overall, I really enjoyed the book.  It really is the nuts-and-bolts of not only how they manage their lives, but how they got to this point.  It begins with each of the parents' childhoods, and chronicles their lives until the present.  They include helpful ideas about child training (including a good description of blanket training, potty training, etc), teenage-mentoring, homeschooling, organization (and moving!), etc.  I found some of their testimonies of God's provision very inspirational, and that is a big one for me.

I sometimes find myself the opposite of inspired when I hear of God's dealings with others.  I'm not sure why.  I used to know a lovely, godly woman who was literally FULL of incredible, amazing stories of God's moving and direction.  I'm talking about showing up at an airport because she felt like God told her to "go" - and she had NO money.  It would be handed to her, or otherwise miraculously show up before departure.  She'd be diverted to a different city, and stuck a while, and while walking along somewhere a man would come up and say, "You are so-n-so" (which was accurate) and give her some special "word" from God -- there, in a place she was never 'supposed' to be.  She could stop a stranger on the street (under direction from God) and read her life story, and prophesy to the tiny life inside that was about to be aborted.  The woman lived like this daily, I think.

And while her stories and messages were intended to inspire and encourage, I frequently came away with the opposite.  Feeling either that something was wrong with *my* relationship with God, or I wasn't listening to Him, because things sure didn't happen that way with me!  OR, that I was somehow not 'chosen' to be used by Him in that way, and that made me feel (again), like I was unworthy.

The Duggars' stories were somewhat incredible, but I was encouraged by them.  Whether because I could at least relate on the premise of making ends meet for the home and kids, or something else, I enjoyed seeing God move mountains in their lives.

The one drawback, for me, was their many recipes (except the laundry detergent - that one looks worthwhile).  I'm somewhat surprised at just how many convenience foods they buy and consume, though obviously I don't know what it's like to manage mealtimes for such a number!  But for me, nearly all were unuseable.  I just don't use cream-of soups, frozen tater-tots, pre-made sauces, Velveeta, or the like.  Canned vegetables, canned beans, these things just aren't in my arsenal of a pantry. :)  A few recipes could be altered obviously, using pre-cooked frozen beans, frozen or fresh veggies, homemade pie crusts, white sauces, etc, but I haven't been moved to try my hand at them thus far.  I don't know if it was from the book, or an interview I saw online, but I think they mentioned spending about $3000/mo for groceries.  I'm not sure if that includes other household items, but I wonder if or whether that could be pared down if they did away with some of the 'spendier' foodstuffs.  With their commercial kitchen, I bet they could cook up a year's worth of beans in one batch, and save a few hundred dollars too!  But I don't know if there's a natural/healthy/homemade counterpart to velveeta....

Again, though, I must say I enjoyed the book for the most part.  I find myself rereading tidbits here and there before bed some nights -- ok, and drooling over their laundry/closet organization and the general floorplan of their home. :)

Have you read it?  What did you think?  Do you want to?  

Monday, March 23, 2009

No Sense a'Tall

That's what Gi-gi says, often.

Today it definitely applies.

But first; my Saturday.

Saturday was nice.  I had the house (downstairs, anyway) fairly presentable before Saturday began, and we were expecting a houseful for dinner.  Our cousins and their 2 boys - 'best friends' pretty much, but they hadn't been over for a year!  Life has been busy for them - and then the wife's sister and her two kids, and the grandma to those kids...  All had converged upon our cousins for the weekend, and we were happy and excited to have them all over.  Total count was 6 adults and 7 kids.  Awesome.

In any case, I spent the day straightening up those kitchen counters (I think they have a chronic clutter condition) and getting dinner ready.. I browned up 2 lbs of young beef (1 year old) - very tender, maybe not the best option for spaghetti sauce, but oh well - adding organic tomato paste, (not organic) tomato sauce, homegrown (of course organic!) tomatoes, organic italian seasoning, etc etc, and FILLED a 6-qt crockpot to simmer all day.  I mixed up some msg-free ranch dressing mix (that actually tastes good), and minced garlic for the garlic bread.

The kids were on the edge of their seat all day... FINALLY they were on their way, and the girls staked out the driveway in anticipation.  After their arrival, it was an outdoor free-for-all of chasing poultry and running from the dog, piling on the all-safety-features-removed trampoline, and other fun kidstuff.

It was so nice to have everyone over, and though they left shortly after 8, it was really just right.  I headed to bed about 9, and let me tell you:  I didn't notice until just then, but I think I overdid it.  My whole body was hollering, "hey!  Don't you know there's gestation going on here?!?  It takes effort!  It takes energy!  Slow it down, wouldya?"  Of course, at that point, the only option was full-stop, and thankyouJesus for my bed.

That was 2 days ago.  You'd think I'd have learned something.

Apparently not.

Today I got up to my soaking-bread-dough and my soaking-breakfast-cookie-dough (don't know what soaking is about?  That's cause I'm a crummy blogger.  It's awesome, and good for you).  I added the last of the breakfast cookie ingredients, and baked them.  I warmed the bread dough, and finished that recipe, and over the course of a few hours baked 4 loaves of bread, plus one lower-gluten loaf for Organique, plus let the girls each make a 'bread bear' for tomorrow's breakfast.  That was all a lot of work.  But then I decided to try out some casserole recipes and freeze a few things 'for later.'  So I browned 5 pounds of beef, and defrosted a package of organic genoa salami that I got on clearance (no nitrates!).  I've had a 5 lb bag of mozzarella languishing in the spare fridge for too long, and thought that would be good to use.  I made a batch of pizza pockets.  Interesting, but tedious.  We had a couple for lunch, and they were delicious.  Oh, yes, I made pizza sauce, obviously.  Then I boiled some noodles and made a 'pizza casserole' with the sauce, some noodles, some beef, some of that salami, mozzarella... I think that's it.  Then I boiled more noodles and made a 'lasagna casserole.'  It looks tasty.  Then I broke out another giant can of tomato sauce and some corn tortillas and made an 'enchilada casserole.'  With mozzarella, of course, not cheddar.

I thought I could quit then.  But I couldn't.  I had to wrap the casseroles in plastic, label them, and put the rest of the mozzarella, tomato sauce, enchilada sauce, and ground beef into ziploc bags to freeze for later use.

And then I threw it all into a box for Hubby to lug to a freezer when he comes home, because I can't.

I think I'm dead.


Friday, March 20, 2009

Budget Questions

I've been rereading a favorite book:

And I still can't make things work right.  Don't get me wrong; I think the plan is stupendous.  I wish the sense he writes was followed by everyone.  I even got a few people this book for Christmas, I like it so much.

I'm not reading it for the 'get out of debt' stuff, though that's great.  We were pretty much out of most debt (not the house) before I first read it, and by the grace of God we all remain healthy, but I still think we have much to learn about budgeting and stuff.

My major problems are:

  • How do you budget for seasonal stuff?  And I don't mean 'clothes' that you buy occasionally, I'm thinking here of... baby chicks.  Chicken feed.  And are these expenses part of our food budget?  Do you know how varied the critter feed prices are, year to year?  I'm a little afraid to add this stuff up anyways, so maybe I'm just undisciplined in it?  Too, we buy beef less than once a year, but I'll be darned if I can look at that chest freezer and know when we're going to run out.  And I certainly can't know what the prices for a decent beef will be at that point!
  • I am completely, utterly, and tremendously overwhelmed by the legal/financial stuff.  We still have (very little, now!) money in a 401(k) (I think that's what it is, anyway...) in the company that USED TO own Hubby's workplace.  Like, 4 years ago.  We certainly don't save 15% of our income for retirement (yikes!  That's a lot!), and need to have a better system for that.  Which I say every year.  I tried doing a will a few years ago, and ran into a glitch when I couldn't come up with primary and secondary preferences for guardianship of our kids.  The website wouldn't complete it without all blanks filled in, so I gave up.  I did go onto Dave Ramsey's website and submitted a form for a financial guru who is an "Endorsed Local Provider."  And then discovered that anywhere within 700 miles is "local" and that scares me.  Moreso when their website features BIG, TALL, SHINY buildings that are very... big.  Wow I'm a country hick, huh?  Sheesh.  They called the next day, but I was elbow-deep in cinnamon rolls and didn't recognize the caller id.  They emailed too, so maybe I'll call them back.  Maybe.  I just feel so... small, short, and rustic.  *sigh*
  • I have a hard time with the food budget (aside from buying live animals).  Dave loves to quote "beans and rice" and intellectually I agree, but in practice it is something else.  Not that I can't handle beans and rice, but Hubby's diet must be rotational (and let's not discuss the price of his supplements.  Are those food?).  Beans and rice will work one day out of four.  Well, perhaps I could switch from pintos to black beans to garbanzos (but not kidney or navy!), and that would work (well, except he'd divorce me before the week was out. :) the man just loves meat.), but I'm just NOT at the place where I would buy every msg-laden, genetically modified box of macaroni and cheese (tasty though it may be) for money's sake.  What's a reasonable food budget for frugal-but-not-junk household of 5-going-on-6 people?
  • What is meant by 'cash,' anyway?  Like, "Man, if you're walking in there to buy that [whatever] with cash, they'll listen to you."  Does he mean actual, green bills?  I ask because we're looking for a van (duh), and plan to buy with cash.  We *might* have to drive out of town or out of state to find the one we want, however, and if we do, how does that work?  I doubt I can write an out-of-state check, right?  But the thought of emptying my bank account and walking around with $12-15,000 in my wallet seems insane.  We'd haggle, and then do the deal, and then what?  They call the cops thinking they just found the local bank robber?  I could use my debit card, I suppose, but how many car dealerships can run a visa card?  Too, is it better to deal in 'cash' upfront, or would you get a worse deal, because they're counting on getting the financing charges out of you?  Maybe I should call Dave Ramsey's show and ask...?
 What do you think?  Is there any budgeting wizard reading this who can show me the way, the truth (and the light?)? :)  I promise, if I figure it out on my own, I'll post all my garnered wisdom here.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Hubby Explores

This is NOT what you will find in YouTube's "urban exploration" stuff.  I don't think we have any of that available out here.

Call this Rural Exploration, I suppose.  Not far from here, just near a fish hatchery and a country club, is this little gem tucked back in a hollow.  Hubby always wanted to check it out, and one afternoon he did.

Once upon a time I'd have looked upon something like this and dreamed of 'fixing it up' and living pioneer-style in it.  Pioneer-style is right, but I appreciate my dishwasher and ... floor too much, now that I have little 'uns.
But hey, it has a basement!

And I suppose you could drag this back indoors and bake up a loaf of bread?

Maybe not...

THIS, though, could be redone into a root cellar, no?  Of course, it looks like it has plenty of 'roots' in it as is...
Amazing what people once accomplished with their own two hands, digging and piling rocks, felling trees, things like that.
And of course, a handy lack of building codes, permits, zoning, regulations and other government annoyances. :)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


While back and hip pain continue to be a ... pain, I've been able to make some progress in this house, and I'm SOOOOOO grateful for that.  

A couple weeks ago I REALLY cleaned/organized the laundry room/pantry.  That's not amazing in and of itself, but get this:  It's STILL in good shape.  THAT'S pretty incredible.

I decluttered 5 sets of lower cupboards in the kitchen.  I have pictures which I'll post in... say, six months, once I hook the camera up to the computer again. :)  Some of them are so empty the kids hide in them, and now my baking stuff is a little more central to where I need it.

I still have at least one upper cabinet which is a shambles; the one with the really long lasagna in it.  It's the only one I've taken a 'before' picture of... Well, it's not really a 'before' photo, it's more of a 'currently' photo.  Hopefully it'll become 'before.'

I've managed to keep the hallway clear (thank you laundry-organization!) and swept each day, also the kitchen and dining room.  Organique takes to pitching handfuls of rice or whatever when she gets antsy in her booster seat. Sometimes I sweep more often in that area.

I found some great recipes online (I'll share, eventually!), printed them out, and updated my recipe index for my personalized cookbook.  Maybe I should share about that someday, too?

It's not all cleanliness and organization around here.  The family room is in need of serious attention by someone over the age of 7 (it's obviously had too much attention from those 7 and under!), and the girls' bedroom is utterly dangerous.  It looks like a SWAT team had to complete a mission there, and I'm not sure who won.

How are you doing?  Are you 'spring cleaning'? Or, like me, are you cleaning to keep the spring fever at bay? :)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Now They Want To Track Your Veggies

Remember how Congress has been pushing to tag and track every single farm-type animal on your property via NAIS (link in sidebar)?  They're still trying.  And what's more, they are pursuing the same ideal for family farms and the like.

Connecticut Democrat Rosa DeLauro has introduced the "Food Safety and Modernization Act of 2009 (H.R. 875). Her bill will create a new food Safety Administration and give its administrator the authority to "conduct monitoring and surveillance of animals, plants, products or the environment" on every family farm, ranch, vineyard and fishing hole in the country. Moreover, the administrator can visit and inspect the property and demand that the owner present "papers and effects," and all records relating to food production.

There is nothing in this bill that requires the administrator show probable cause or that evidence be presented to a judge to secure a warrant for entry into the property. The Fourth Amendment explicitly prohibits government from entering private property without a warrant, "describing the place to be searched, and the persons or thing to be seized."

...Section 405 of the bill says that "the validity and appropriateness of the order of the Administrator assessing the civil penalty shall not be subject to judicial review."

Wow, I had no idea that they could (and would) pass laws contrary to the Constitution, and then state that the person in charge would be above any authority of the Judicial Branch of Government.  Amazing.

Is it wrong for me to think that a total destruction of our current system would be an improvement?  Maybe we could start over in a generation or so with people who have read and agree with the plan and intent of the authors of this great nation.


Thanksgiving Cookin'

Who's tired of my fall-themed photos?  Who thinks I should get with the program and transfer pictures a little more often?  I know, I know.  I'm sorry.  I haven't been running on all cylinders (or neurons) this winter.

But I just really enjoy those late-fall, early-winter festivities (by March, obviously, the cold and dreariness is a little old), and if I don't share them here, they won't be shared at all.  So there you go.

I did some baking for Thanksgiving, some pies to auction at church, some to share at the in-laws, and some to keep at home.

Defrosting peaches for a pie... or ten.

I made a huge batch of pie crust, and baked them all wrongly:See?
The chickens didn't mind.
And I think I made enough stuffing...

Nothin' like a 'feathered' friend for dinner:

After packing up some pies for the church auction, these were still hanging around.  Pumpkin, peach, and pecan.  Mmmm...

Pies and ponies.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Apricot Tree Afire

Another lovely remembrance of greener, more colorful times.

I realize there is no end to the problems with this photo (not the least of which is the turkey gallows in the background), but I like it anyway.

Friday, March 13, 2009


This was taken last fall.  Hubby found some dried gourds in the old shed, and made the girls a birdhouse.  Big Sister promptly climbed the apricot tree and hung it up.  To my knowledge there have been no tenants.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Found It

I just took a brief, rare walk outdoors and scattered some grain to the chickens, with Organique in one arm helping toss the corn.  It's barely 40 degrees, but direct sunlight makes all the difference in the world.

As I walked along the edge of the grass, near what was once a wood pile (is currently where we grow thistles and toss the 'chicken bucket'), I happened to notice within the chicken-scratchings something dull and silvery.  I looked again and was thrilled to find my favorite vegetable peeler!  Which, no doubt, took the outdoor journey with carrot or potato peelings many, many months ago.  Perhaps a year or more.

I haven't tried it out, so I don't know if it's sabbatical did any damage to it or not, but I'm very excited.  Perhaps I'll make mashed potatoes tonight.

You can't buy this one.  I've tried; twice.  The 'new' versions take about a quarter inch of 'good stuff' along with the peel, and that irks me to no end.  I don't mind them if I'm working with a particularly huge and warty tater or something, but generally speaking I'd like to have some carrot left after peeling it.  Too, I peel forwards, which makes my mom as crazy as her backwards-version makes me (at least I'm excused from peeling potatoes while visiting).  Which, in fact, is how I acquired this great peeler; I grew up using it and she never cared for it, so I nabbed it a few years back.  In the interim, I was forced to steal from the motor home a very antique version, which, while not very sharp or forward-friendly, was at least better than the obnoxious new kind.

Should I attach it to a retractable cable in it's drawer, so this doesn't happen again?  I really don't know if I could bear it.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I'm Feelin' It!

Woo-Hoo!  I am very excited.

Just now, as I deal with local government abuses (what else do I do for quiet computer time? :)), I am feeling my baby move, for the first time.

I was getting worried.  I had a prenatal appointment yesterday, and again had to answer my midwife that I hadn't really felt any certain movements.  I am 18 weeks along, and apparently it's normal to feel something around 15 weeks.  You'd think by Round Four I'd have some of this figured out, but apparently not.

I've come up with two possible excuses reasons:  First, Round Four suffers from the, ahem, added insulation that came with Rounds One, Two, and Three.  My nerve endings are closer to the surface - the FAR side of that insulation from where Round Four currently resides.  Therefore, since I'm fat well-insulated, 'feeling' is somewhat diminished.

Secondly, I find that I'm noticing now (aside from little movements!) that Organique is having nap time (well, so far it's been "undress-yourself-and-remove-your-diaper-repeatedly" time, but I think a backwards button-up shirt and backwards diaper have curtailed that.. I hope), and her sisters are outdoors hunting eggs and enjoying the sunshine.  As long as it's sunny and not windy, they don't mind (apparently) that it's 33 degrees out.  So... no kids running around nearby, no one to shush, no bickering to referee.  And Hubby tore apart the little clock radio that I used to use in here to listen to the radio (Big Sister made a 'robot' from it), so it's really quite... quiet.  I'm seated at the computer - not sweeping or mopping or vacuuming or bustling around the kitchen or switching laundry or cleaning toilets (yet), so *I* am fairly quiet too.  Maybe that's the trick. 

Quiet.  Still.  Hear the Littlest Messages.

Thank You, Lord.

Have You Done This Yet?

Remember the Parental Rights Amendment?  I got this email from Michael Harris today, and contacted the pertinent Congressman for my area.  Would you do the same?

Today we invite you to make history.

Representative Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) is as passionate as we are about the Parental Rights Amendment, and he has committed to introducing the bill in the House again this year. Unlike last year, though, we are introducing it this year with the intent to get it passed. (Rep. Hoekstra introduced the bill last year with the intention of beginning discussion on parental rights issues.) Therefore, Rep. Hoekstra wants to have 50 co-sponsors by the time he presents the amendment bill in the House. Fifty is not a requirement, nor a magic number. But it is a significant number. Enough, we hope, to communicate to the committee and to the entire House that we are serious about this bill.

As of today, we have 31 co-sponsors committed to joining Rep. Hoekstra. We need 19 more to reach our goal and introduce this bill in the House of Representatives.

Today, we need your help to reach that goal. Please check our list of sponsors and take the appropriate action:

1)  If you live in the district of a representative who is already on our list of co-sponsors, consider sending them a brief note expressing appreciation to them for standing for this vital cause.

2)  If your Representative is not already on our list, we need you to call your Congressman's Washington office and urge your Representative to contact Pete Hoekstra's office (it's pronounced "HOKE-struh") and become a co-sponsor of the Parental Rights Amendment.

In either event, you can find your Representative's (Washington office) contact information by typing your zip code into the box at Congress.org.

Thank you so much for participating in this vital push to get the Parental Rights Amendment introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. When we have succeeded with every step, and the Parental Rights Amendment is added to the Constitution, the day of its introduction in the House, with 50 or more co-sponsors, will be a significant day in American history. Today is your chance to bring that day about! 

Gratefully yours,

Michael P. Farris

Monday, March 09, 2009

Monday Monday

Today I got up late, though it felt like early (darn time change).  Shortly after 8.  I hurriedly got dressed, grabbed a different skirt that needed washed, and went downstairs to straighten up, make breakfast, and ready for the arrival of a gal to sew up my couch tear (no, I"m not fancy enough to hire upholsteres, but I did make a claim on my 'furniture protection plan' when a cushion began to separate at the seam).  The girls slept until nearly 9:30 (blessed time change) after a late-ish night with the in-laws last night, and they ate their oatmeal and got back into yesterday's church clothes.

After the couch-sewing-lady left, I brushed hair, hollered about shoes and coats, and eventually we all made it into the car.  Not before Little Artist stepped in a big pile of chicken poop, and Big Sister couldn't find her other shoe though.  My best-laid-plans were turning into 'late-arriving-at-the-funeral' and I wasn't really excited about that.  It was a 40 minute drive, and my clock already said 10:22.

I zoomed across the potholes in the driveway, and got on the road, finally.  There's a section of road that dips into a low canyon, and then winds up "the grade" to the other side.  I dropped it into fourth gear and made good time up the hill.  The cop coming down the hill was making good time, too, as was his radar, apparently, because just after I passed him, he hit his brakes, turned on some pretty lights, and did a u-ey.  Argh.  I instructed the girls to stay quiet and buckled as the officer approached the driver's side with his hand on his gun (I just love guns).  I carefully kept both hands in full view on the steering wheel, until reaching to lower my window.

"I pulled you over because of your speed," he said.

"Yeah, I was coming up the grade pretty quickly," I said, or something like that.

"You were going 12 over.  Can I get you to hold your speed down for me?"

"Absolutely.  Is it 50 or 60 coming up here?"


"Ah, yeah.  Oops."

"Have a nice day, just keep it down."

Well, certainly!  He didn't ask for my license, registration, or anything.  I am so grateful that it didn't take longer than about a minute for the entire 'pull over' routine.  Ticket or no, I REALLY didn't want to walk in with 3 kids LATE for a funeral.  We moms (ok, well, *I*) so often look harried and hurried to the world, and I hate that.

The funeral was nice, if you can say that about funerals.  It was the first traditional, open-casket type service I've been to since my great-grandma died when I was 8.  Everyone since then has been cremated.  The service was handled mostly by the deceased's sons, who were so sincere and obviously put a lot of thought into the kind of service that would honor their dad.  The girls did fairly well, though I had to take Organique out a few times.  Right as it was ending, so was the grace for keeping kiddos (well, that one, anyway) in line, and we left before the reception began (much to Big Sister's dismay!).  It's amazing how difficult it is to keep an 18-month-old acting rightly with only 2 arms!  Times like this definitely require Daddy Help.  I remember why I don't go to church without him, ever!

After we returned home, we had lunch, did some schoolwork, and I managed to not only vacuum the living room, but also mop the kitchen, dining, hall/laundry as well.  THAT is truly amazing, in this house, for a single day.  The sheets are washed (but not back on the bed yet) and I'm praying my back/hip improve enough to go back down and make dinner for the Hubby!  I'm *really* looking forward to his being able to reintroduce some of the foodstuffs he's had to avoid for so long (tomatoes and potatoes, to start!).  He has a dr. appointment tomorrow, so hopefully that will give us the go-ahead...

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Oh Look!

Lindsay had a boy!

Of Granny's six great-grandkids, all of them are girls (ok, well there's one boy, but he's my step-brother's boy and not, you know, genetically Granny's.  I'm pondering the likelihood of genetics here.).  Three more babies are expected this summer.  Do you think it will be a crop of boys, or are we all just destined for pink and ruffles eternally? :)

Friday, March 06, 2009

Note To Self

I'm sorry; I have to write this where it won't be lost, like, in my house.  Hopefully I'll remember I placed it here:

Nephew S and Bro-in-law S birthdays are March 8.

Papa's birthday is March 12.

Sis-in-law S birthday is March 14.

I can remember my power bill account number, and the account and routing numbers for my bank accounts.  I know the phone number I had when I was 3, and all the phone numbers and addresses I ever had.  I remember my box # in college.  I still know the phone number of the people who were our next door neighbors from the time I was 3 until I was 6 or 7.  For SOME REASON the first couple weeks of March paralyze me and I can never remember whose birthday is on which day, and Lord Help Me if I forget to remind Hubby to call his dad, etc etc etc.

So, unless Google totally sinks (unlikely with the 'too big to fail' mentality these days), or the world goes to heck in a handbasket and I can't access my blog, I won't have to freak out any more.  


Seed Order

I just ordered this year's seeds.  I probably ordered too many, especially considering my abbreviated plans for gardening this year, but seeds last longer than their stamps claim. :)  This, my only order, is from Territorial Seed.

Here it is, in all it's.. um... non-glory:

Qty Item # Description Price
1 LT452/P 30 Year Celebration Lettuce Blend - 3 grams 
I'm certainly overboard on the lettuce (which I NEVER
plant, up til now), but this looked so great.
1 HR1054/L Basil-Sweet
Conventional & Organic - 1/2 gram Organic
Always wanted to grow basil.  And I *have* tried.  But
that was a long time ago...
1 HR1127/S Coriander-Santo (Cilantro)
Conventional & Organic - 1 gram
Another herb I occasionally REALLY wish I had.  Time
to plan for fresh salsa
1 LT439/L Mascara Lettuce
Organic - 1/2 gram Organic
I love the oak-leaf shape of this. 
1 CR280/S Purple Haze Carrots - 1 gram
The girls loved these when we grew them.  Tasted good
and were fun in potluck-salads
1 ON556/S Red Beard Onion - 1 gram
This was another pretty-it-up item in a dish.
1 LT382/L Revolution Lettuce
Organic - 1/2 gram Organic
Another pretty lettuce, slow to bolt.
1 XP718/A Russian Banana Fingerling Potatoes
Organic - Shipped in April 1 lb
I wanted these last year, and when I got around to order-
ing, every potato outlet was out of everything
1 CN217/S Serendipity Corn - 1 oz
Hubby's request.  Oughta be interesting in a square-foot 
garden, no?
1 LT390/S Slobolt Lettuce - 1 gram
The name says it all.  I hope I'll be in the mood for salad..
1 PU716/S Small Sugar Pumpkin
Conventional & Organic - 3 grams
Gotta have a pumpkin, right?
1 FL3256/S Strawflower-Tall Choice Double Mix - 1/2 gram
I encountered these as a child, and always wanted to grow
some myself.
1 LT402/S Valmaine Lettuce
Conventional & Pelleted - 1 gram
Another heat-tolerant variety.
1 FL3411/S Viola-Johnny Jump Up - 1/4 gram
Gramps had this in his lawn, and hated it as weeds.  Later,
he planted cactii all about the lawn... go figure.
1 CR278/S White Satin Carrots - 1 gram
These look fascinating.
1 CR283/S Yaya Carrots - 1 gram
These look normal, but should fit in a regular square-foot 

Of course, I'll be doing tomatoes and peppers and perhaps some squash/cucumber/etc, but I don't want to start things from seeds this year (well, I kinda want to, but I won't), so I'll just buy those at the local greenhouse when planting time is nigh.  We've bought the lumber for two 4'x8' boxes - one 12" deep for the 'taters and carrots -- and yes, two large plywood pieces to make floors so the Evil Weed won't have access.  Just how far will I go to have a garden without it?  I guess we'll find out.

Thursday, March 05, 2009


It's been an interesting time, lately.  Seems many people I'm acquainted with are passing away.  Surprisingly, Granny isn't one of them at this time.

In fact, while visiting Granny, Gi-gi's next-older brother sat down to watch the Super Bowl, had a massive heart attack, and died.  He was going to root for Arizona, anyway, so it's likely the game itself would've done him in anyway (I jest!).

Last week, my Grandpa's (who died early Nov.) youngest brother ended up in the hospital with some diabetes complications (he's also an alcoholic, I think), but signed himself out, went home AMA, and was gone within a few days.

Also last week, the husband/father/grandfather of a family I'm associated with on several levels was told he had diabetes (he'd been quite ill, suddenly, though losing weight for a year).  That didn't answer all the questions, and he ended up in the hospital for the weekend (this family is quite into alternative therapies, herbs, organic stuff... I can imagine the decision to go to the hospital was no small one).  Before his hospital stay was over, he was told he had inoperable pancreatic cancer.  He went home, was surrounded by family for a few days, and passed away yesterday morning.

The other day I was told that my nearest neighbor up the drive also had pancreatic cancer (is this stuff contagious?  crazy!).  This man is much older (I think) than the other man, and has a younger (though still of-retired-age) stepdaughter (I think??) who caretakes him.  I haven't seen much of them all winter.  I stopped by yesterday and met the gal's sister who was there while my neighbor was out.  She said they were "losing him."

Too, I'm sure you heard that Paul Harvey died last week.

I wonder if it's just my turn to witness the passing of a generation this year, or if I just happen to know a lot of older people.  The families of these men (all men, too) are grieving, and I just wish I could do more for them.  Of course there's not much anyone can do to ease that kind of pain. I pray for them all, of course.  I spent a few days prepping (NT style) for homemade bread (the first I've made in months!) and chili (I just pre-cooked about 15 lbs of pintos last week), and took a gallon and loaf of each to each nearby family, along with a dozen cookies or so.  The family who just lost their husband/dad/grandpa isn't likely to notice much by way of all that; they have 8 children, some of whom are married and have handfuls of kids of their own. :)  One gallon of chili and a loaf of bread would need a bit of 'loaves and fishes' miracle to make much difference there!  I was in and out quickly, as I didn't want to intrude on such an important and meaningful time for their family, though I'm not sure that was the best action, either (I had already planned to drop the items by a day earlier, not knowing that he would pass away that morning).  As I delivered my goods, a man in a suit (who I assumed to be a funeral director or somesuch) and another man were bringing a stretcher into the home.

....Oh wow.... as I write this at 5:15 p.m., I just glanced out my window here, from the upstairs...  A covered stretcher was just taken from the front door of my neighbors' home and loaded into a van.  I'm just speechless.  It's not like I'm in the medical field and see this every day.  Mortality is all around me, it seems.

Oh, Lord, help me to minister your love and comfort where you wish it.  May I be a willing tool in your hand for any of these who sorrow...

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Riddle Solved

Kudos to our fine sleuths, Rachel, Annie, and Benny!  You are all terribly good guessers (and/or I'm  terribly poor at subtlety)!

Yes, we are expecting our fourth baby.  *gasp* That's almost hard to type!  We're thrilled, of course, and it has been fun 'revealing' it to the family (I'll explain in a moment).

Did you find all the clues?  First, of course, there has been the sporadic and poor posting these last couple months.  Many times I sat down and typed out a long rant of one kind or another, and it just tangled itself within itself and went nowhere, really, and I never published it.

Oh, you want specific clues?  Let's see if I can remember them...

I mentioned *most* (4 of 5) of Granny's grandkids were expecting here.  That surprised me, as my 2 distant-er (geographically) cousins never completely struck me as the 'make a family' type.  The graduate-degreed, majored-in-liberalism, live sometimes in communist countries, yes, but not so much the motherly/fatherly types. :)

I mentioned "looming expenses" a time or two  as well as lowering my gardening expectations for the year (which Sariah caught on to).

Then of course there was the 'different vehicle' reference, and then the post on the different vehicle.

And the childbirth articles, of course.

So, this little tidbit of news has been slow in it's reveal, not just to all you dear ones.  In fact, *I* knew about it around the first of December or so, but determined that it might be construed as obnoxious to announce it to the family while my brother and his wife awaited their first baby's arrival.  So I decided to hold off until sometime in January after their little girl was born.  Within a couple weeks I learned that my young sister-in-law was expecting her first baby.  Considering that her original due date was one day after mine, I thought it probably wouldn't work to keep mine a secret long enough for her baby to arrive.  So, through the holidays I enjoyed (immensely) everyone's joy over her exciting news, happy to keep my own news hidden for the time.

Eventually, of course, my brother's baby was born in mid-January, and I think I told him right away (he was pondering how close Mackenzie might be in age to any cousins).  However, that was a week-and-a-half before a scheduled weekend at Gi-gi's.  Now, I have kind of determined to avoid negativity regarding this blessing, and while I'm sure she *means well*, Gi-gi's first words when I told her I was expecting Organique were, "Oooooh honey.  Well, I hope you have the good sense to get your tubes tied after this.  And congratulations."  Of course, my kids are probably close to the top of her 'favorite people' list, but of course, until birth, they mustn't be 'actual persons' or something.  In any case, I didn't want to inform her before having to see her right away, so I kept it secret a while longer.  I did call my folks  just prior to that, and then went to Gi-gi's.  When I returned home, I had a couple small items to ship back to her, so I included a letter informing her, and assuring her that we were thrilled, though gun-shy to tell her about it because of the concerns she has about affordability, and the state of this world, etc. etc. etc.  And included "I think you know all my rebuttals to these things, but if not, just ask. :) "  Then I ended up leaving town suddenly (and conveniently, don't you think?), and later got a voicemail assuring me that she "wouldn't chew me out, except maybe for having another summertime baby."  I told her later that I must have a subconscious effort to be a lazy gardener (I have 2 kids born in September, one in May).  My husband told his parents around that time, and it was tough keeping the news (which everyone in my folks' neighborhood had heard by then) from our kids, whom we wanted to tell together, but hadn't had the chance.  FINALLY, sometime in February, we told our kids.  The rest of the world has just heard via the grapevine, I think. :)  But now it's your turn.  Now you know.

And s/he's due August 8th.

Riddle Update Soon

I am swamped this morning.  Oatmeal cake to bake, bread to finish and bake, possibly cookies, and much of that to deliver (along with a couple gallons of chili) to some families dealing with pancreatic cancer.  I think I did myself in yesterday with the bread prep, cake prep, and the chili, but I *should* do such things, I suppose.

I have an appointment to get my hip "worked on" this afternoon, and several errands to attend to in conjunction, so I must get to work!

If I can carve out a few moments later on, I'll reveal the riddle clues and the answer!

My New Dishes

These are my new dishes:

Ok, so like my "new" sewing machine, the adjective is relative.  They are a (fairly old) set of Corelle plates (several), bowls (lots of bowls!), tiny bowls (a few), tiny plates, medium plates (a few), and I think I gave away a few mugs.  These were my grandpa's, and he died in early November.  Technically, they were his late wife's, I think, and she passed away over 10 years ago.  I'm not sure how 'new' these are after all. :)

But I love them.  They sit so snugly on the shelf, with such a nice, low profile.  There is no gold edging to entertain the kids when Daddy puts them in the microwave.  We *have* broken one already (in many, many tiny and oddly-shaped pieces!), but there are plenty left.  We are blessed to have these.  Plus, the price was right. :)

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Bloggy Riddle

Have you figured it out?

Did you even know there WAS a riddle?

Don't feel bad.  I'll let you in on it:  There IS a mystery.

I've alluded to it in occasional posts lately, and *maybe* you noticed it.  Do you think you can figure it out?  I'll withhold publishing comments while you guess.  Or maybe not.  Depending on your guesses, perhaps we'll unravel it as we go... 

Happy guessing!

Monday, March 02, 2009

Giant Lasagna

Here's another treasure from my long-ignored memory card..

I ordered five pounds of spinach lasagna from Azure last fall, and was... surprised to get the noodles lashed together like this... and even more surprised to find that they were two feet long!

I used my foot to show the relative size of these things, and had to put them in a cupboard wherein they can be found behind the left-hand door and also the right-hand door.  They just keep going, and going...

And then, of course, Hubby's diet test came back with spinach as reactive.  Of course, so too were black pepper, cheese, tomatoes, egg and most other lasagna-ingredients, so it's not like that was the clincher.

He misses his lasagna, spinach or otherwise.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Ack, Help!

Ok, experts, I need you.

I'll even take the amateurs' educated guesses. :)  This is a potty issue for one of my little darlings, so if you'd rather not, please don't read on.

Organique has a problem these many days, weeks.  It is getting to the point where I'm quite worried.  She is hardly digesting her food at all.  Some days she has more 'dirty' diapers than not, and requires hosing-off in the bathtub to ready her for a clean diaper.  What I rinse out of the diapers looks QUITE like what was in her bowl at mealtime.  Bits of wilted lettuce, skins of refried pinto beans, bits of apple (and apple seeds), you name it, it's identifiable.

I have severely restricted her diet to 'good' things; plain yogurt and banana for breakfast, scrambled egg at lunchtime, plain rye crackers occasionally, grains and beans according to the phytate-reducing techniques of Nourishing Traditions, etc.  I thought the pro-biotic action of yogurt (kefir sometimes, in smoothies) would help, but so far no real changes.  Otherwise she seems fine; not sickly, or lethargic, or anything like that.

So, Wise Ones, do you have any recommendations?  Any further ideas to try out?