Monday, March 31, 2008

Another year older and wiser too! Happy Birthday to You!

Jared had a birthday! He requested cheesecake for his cake, so we made a Jello cheesecake; cheating, I know.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Filling the Freezer

Overheard this morning: "You fell on your wrist, that's how you got your concussion." (Matt talking to Emily)

I bought some meat chickens yesterday at IFA. I wasn't going to buy meat chickens this year, but they lowered the price to $1 apiece and I couldn't pass up the deal! Our goal for the year is to get some meat tucked away in our freezer and vegies from our garden bottled and in the pantry, so I figured it would help us with our goal. Steve loves the idea of eating the chicken, it is just the in between stuff he is unsure of; I, on the other hand, am looking forward to the beautiful bottles of fruit in my pantry, but am not looking forward to bottling!

The chicks that I bought yesterday are about 2 weeks old and have their wing feathers and most of the feathers on their bodies. My ducklings are now about a month old. I am thinking of rigging a light to a chicken tractor that Steve and I made a few years ago (look at some pics of chicken tractors at That would keep the mess and smell out of my house.

My meat chickens never taste like store bought, which is a little sad too. They are tougher. I was talking to Jared last night and he wondered if I let them free range too much, and so they get too muscle-y. That might explain it. He suggested putting them in a smaller encloser so that they can still walk around, but not run around and strengthen their muscles. Maybe we'll try it.

I also need to build/buy some nesting boxes and build a hen house. We have had a goat shed to protect them from the weather, but I could put nesting boxes in a hen house and keep them in the house overnight to protect them from critters and maybe redirect their egg laying to a nesting box instead of bushes and behind trees. Every day is like an Easter egg hunt at our house.

I'm also thinking of a way to make a small pond for the ducks without taking away space from our garden and without it getting stagnant and smelly. I am still looking into it.

Today, though, I have to take my mom to the doctor and have him check/rebandage her incision site from her surgery on Wednesday. She is getting ready for dialisis and had a fistula created. Here is a site explaining fistulas if you are intereste:

I also am feeling a little under the weather, so aside from necessary tasks I plan on taking the day off.

Have a great day!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Following the Rambling Roads in My Mind

Oh so many thoughts have come to me in the past couple of days!

Due to need, I am trying to figure out fencing information: how much fencing material do I already have, how much more do I need, who will dig my fence posts (Steve has offered to pay someone for me, but doesn't want to do it), do I have enough confidence to try to put one up myself. One *is* going around the perimeter of my lot this year! I can cross fence later to make all the yards link together (i.e. putting up a cinderblock fence on the driveway, creating a patio to bar-b-que on and link front yard to side yard.) It must be done to give Michael more freedom, yet containing him safely, and for my dogs. My neighbors will love me for it.

I have decided to go back to college. Ok, I never decided not to go back to college, just the "when" has always been an issue. I think I am almost to the "when". I have also decided how to go about it. I am going to get a one year certificate in Early Childhood Education, since it has all of the "extra" requirements for the Early Childhood Education Associates Degree; all that I would be lacking is the GE's for the Associates, so I will get the Associates after the Certificate. Then I want to have a preschool in my home M-F, having two sessions going: a younger class for late 3 early 4 year olds on T & Th and one for older 4 and 5 year olds on M W & F. All sessions would be finished by noon, leaving the rest of the day for the family. I am also thinking of getting my, I'm not sure what it is called, but a certificate or license or whatever to cut hair, and convert the existing "garage" (which might hold a teeny weeny mini couper, but that's it!) into a beauty/barber shop. I would cut hair by appt. only and around my schedule. And I can sell Brite Music on the side! (It is something I've always wanted to do! Look at the music on Brite music is sold at "parties" like Tupperware is. I may just do pieces and parts to my goal, but I'd really like to make a little extra money to pay down debts and also to be prepared in case anything should happen to Steve. I certainly wouldn't want to work minimum wage and go to college while raising children again!

Oh! And I've decided that with Steve's blessing I *will* get a border collie when Madam (our current border collie) dies. I'll name her a name similar to Madam, since she will be her successor. Since "Madam" is a married lady, I was thinking of "Mademoiselle" (an unwed lady - she'll be spayed), but since it is too much of a mouthful, I think I'll go with Ella or Ellie. Cute huh!? So if I can talk Steve into it....

All of these goals on top of repainting and remodeling when needed, gardening, taking care of my myriads of animals, mothering my children, and tending to the meals and housekeeping, I think I should stay plenty busy!

The future is an exciting place!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Balance. It is what I am currently working on. Trying to keep balance while raising six children and having a husband is sometimes a tightrope walk of the hardest kind.

I was talking to my dad a couple of days ago. After asking how everyone in my family was he ask how I was. I replied that I was o.k. He asked what that really meant and I told him that all of my children were being polite and not belligerent, so for that moment I was great. I also stated that when they change and become disobedient and had bad behavior I would be terrible. It was true, but I don't like that that is my reality. I am on a quest to change. I don't like the precarious feeling that my emotional well being lies in the choices of immature (no offense intended kids) young people.

So I am seeking balance and harmony within myself that will carry me through the hard times when others with raging hormones (namely my three teens and one 'tween whose emotions are out of balance very often due to puberty and pms) become unbalanced themselves.

It makes me think of the Ten Virgins and their oil filled lamps. I need to have enough emotional oil in my lamp that when the dark times come, and they do, I will have enough oil to get me through.

I remember my mom's morning routine when I was growing up. Every morning she plugged in the radio and drank a cup of coffee. I think that was her form of oil in her lamp and the kind of balance that I'm looking for. I'm not a coffee drinker, and I don't like noise in the morning, so her routine wouldn't bring me into balance. But I'm looking for my own morning routine. So far I have come up with eating fruit, reading my bookmarked blogs, and adding to my own blog occasionally. It seems to work. Yesterday I had no "my time" at all, and when I woke up this morning I was feeling out of sorts. As I am going through my morning routine this morning I am feeling better.

I have thought about taking a once a week Tai Chi class, just to see if that helps bring me into harmony. Maybe I'll have to try it.

One thing that definitely helps to fill my emotional lamp is being outside. It doesn't matter what I'm doing, the sunshine just seems to fill and heal my soul. I love gardening and taking care of my farm animals, so those are helpful too.

My quest is to be emotionally filled enough to hold my own even when those around me are losing it.

My day has officially started since my kids have woken up now. Wish me luck...or maybe just peace.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter Bunny Cake (with directions)

Tonight I made an Easter Bunny cake. It didn't turn out quite as cute as the one I made for Jared's birthday a few years ago, so I'll post a pic of that one:

To make the cake you bake one cake mix (or homemade cake) in two round cake pans.

(Helpful hint: grease your cake pan, trace the cake pan bottom on waxed paper and cut it out, put the waxed paper on top of the greased pan bottom and pour the cake batter in the pan. Cook the cake as directed. After fully cool, use a butter knife to loosen the sides of the cake and gently loosen the cake from the bottom. The waxed paper will just peel right off of the cake bottom.)

After it is fully cool and the cake is out of the cake pans, put the two cakes on a large cookie sheet or make a tray by wrapping tinfoil around a piece of cardboard.

One cake will be the face, and the other will make the ears and bow tie. Cut one ear and then place the ear on the other side of the cake and cut an equal sized ear. Place them above the head and the bow tie below the face.

(Helpful hint: Place the whole thing in the freezer for about a 1/2 hour. This will freeze the crumbs to the cake so that when you frost the cut edges the crumbs won't come loose in the frosting.)

Frost the entire cake with white frosting. Then, using black frosting, outline the eyes (and put a jellybean for the eye color), use a jellybean for the nose and draw a line from the nose down to the mouth, make a smiling mouth (put a red jellybean for the tongue/lips). Outline the inside of the ears and fill with pink jellybeans. Outline the center of the bow tie and make polka dots with the jellybeans.

Our Weekend Visitor

This weekend we had a visitor. His name was White, though we didn't know that at the time. White, come to find out, lives in a small, rural town and is a pure bred Border Collie.

When I met White, he was on the Interstate merge lane and was sniffing at something on the road. I pulled over and got out of the car. I looked around for any person that might be his owner and saw no one. I couldn't see a house nearby. I had seen him and another dog a couple of days before, so I figured he'd been dumped off. I called to him and he came over to me and immediately went onto his back in the submissive position. I petted him and tried to get him to follow me into the car. He was afraid and ran away. I called to him again and he came; this time I hefted him into the car. I thought about calling animal control, but decided to take him home over the weekend and post signs come Monday.

On the drive home he put his head on my lap and I stroked his fur. About five miles down the road he decided to sit on my lap. Now this was not a small dog, but he rode the rest of the way home on my lap. I realized that there was no way I was going to turn this dog in to the animal shelter. Rarely are dogs this lovey. What an adorable pooch!

When we got home the kids were so excited to pet him and see him. Now dogs at my house are an everyday occurrance, not a novelty item, but the kids love to get to know new animals and people, so this was a treat for them. I tied him outside on a tie out chain I have for our dogs, gave him a doghouse, water, and food. I wanted to know more about this dog: whether it was a him or her and find out how old it is. I checked and found that he was an unneutered male and checked his teeth and found that he was young, my guess was about 1 year.

During the night he slipped off of his collar and went into the doghouse to sleep. When my brother went out for a cigarette in the wee hours of the morning, White came out of the doghouse and wanted to sit with Bill and keep him company and also be petted. When Bill came inside the dog came too. The dog stayed inside most of the day on Sunday. He was calm and obedient, spending most of his time napping on the floor between the coffee table and sofa. He really impressed me because he never wet inside. I was wishing, as my dogs were bouncing off the walls and constantly underfoot, that they would be influenced by the goodness of this new dog.

When I brought the dog home I knew Steve was a little concerned at what would happen if we didn't find the owner, but Sunday afternoon even he was talking about keeping the dog. That was saying a lot for the stray pup!

When Steve & I took my mom home after Easter dinner, we decided to take the dog with us and see if we could figure out where he belonged. We got off on the same freeway exit we were at before and set off to find the closest farm to the freeway. As we drove by one farm with him in the car we heard people shouting joyously (they had seen him in the car with us). As we looked closer we saw a couple of other Border Collies running in the yard, so we knew that this was the place.

We met his people who told us his name and confirmed that he was about 1 year old (I am getting good!). They had been so worried about him and thought he'd been hit. The younger sister hugged me and the older sister asked how they could repay us; she offered a new puppy after they bred White. I took the offer. I don't know if our Madam (also a black and white border collie) will still be alive when the puppies are ready, or if we'll be in a great position to get one, but after having spent time with White, I've found that he and Madam are my favorite dog breed and I couldn't pass up the offer.

It is rare to find such a good natured, obedient, wonderful dog; I hope his puppies will be just like him.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Hope for the Future

I am planning for spring! I planted some broccoli, parsley, and cabbage seeds about a month ago, and then last week I planted some cauliflower and onion seeds.

I am sooooo looking forward to gardening! I love to see things that I have planted grow! I have some volunteer spinach growing in my garden as we speak!

As I was turning over the soil in preparation for planting asparagus and rhubarb today I noticed a bazzillion earthworms. My soil is finally getting good! When we moved here five years ago, the area that is now my garden was covered in garbage: tin cans, plastic wrappers, old broken up kitchen chairs and pieces of fence slats. I cleaned up the garbage the first year, fenced it off and gardened in it the second year, had goats and chickens living in it the third year, left it bare the fourth year, had a garden with a lot of volunteer pumpkin plants last year (from storing left over never sold Halloween pumpkins from our feed store in the garden over the winter to feed to our animals - many pumpkins never got fed and melted into the soil in the spring), and lots of dark soil with tons of earthworms this year! Sweet!

Presenting: The Four Cute French Lops

Here are my four new additions:
Mr. Nibbles II




Thursday, March 20, 2008

Following the Bunny Trail to Peter's (ok, really it's Pam's) Bunny Farm

Well it's done. The bunnies are sold. All of the thought and planning I've done since January is finished. Today is my day-after-Christmas anti-climax like day. And it's snowing. Today has kind of a blah feel to it. I've even toyed with the idea of staying in my pajamas all day. It is days like today that make me miss my old Kentucky home, because on days like today, instead of snowing it would be raining and the creek that typically lay like a welcome mat to my land would be instead overflowing its banks and giving me a day free of all responsibilities to the world since no one could cross it. Ah, for a day like that again.

Too bad Amber, my personal baker, isn't home. She loves to bake and keeps the house in good smells of warm pastries and breads.

One funny thing did happen last night as I took my four bunnies to be sold. The lady buying my bunnies gave me four older, unsellable bunnies for free. They are French Lops, and I'd love to show you a picture of them but with it snowing and raining outside you'll have to settle for a link to someone else's French Lop as an example of the breed:

If you have any interest in rabbits, this website is awesome for explaining and showing the different breeds:

The farm that I went to last night to sell my bunnies has my favorite setup for rabbits.

She has one outbuilding that is smaller with sheets of plywood as the inner walls and what looks like railroad ties for the outer walls. It has windows and a door along with a screen door. There is an opening in one wall that lets the rabbits into a fenced pen outside. She has her rabbits in cages right now, but on many occasions she's had rabbits that she lets run loose in the building.

She has a barn that is well insulated against drafts, which is a great need when raising rabbits. Inside of the barn is a dirt floor covered with straw. There are two large pens that would/could hold a horse in each. The rest of the building is open, with a few big windows, wide doors, and a people sized door on one side. She lets her rabbits that she doesn't show or aren't expecting run around inside. She has had flemish giants that lived in the barn running around loose in the past, but she got rid of them last year when she was trying to get ready to move.

She invited me into her house last night, and I *loved* her kitchen! It was an ENORMOUS farmhouse kitchen WITH A PLACE FOR A WOOD COOKSTOVE! She will be putting her house up for sale later on in the spring and how I envy whoever buys it!

This makes the third Easter that I've visited her farm. She is a wonderful lady who is full of rabbit husbandry knowledge; I always enjoy visiting with her. My Easter visits have been a great tradition that I will sorely miss when she moves.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Hanging Out With Mom

I went downstairs to check on my babies and found two babies resting their heads on their mommy. It was very sweet, so I wanted to share it.

I finally finished up remodeling the basement bedroom so that my oldest son can have his own space. All of the kids pitched in to help, and it was a lot of fun to work with all of them.

I took my mom to WalMart on Saturday to shop. She always enjoys getting out of the house. I cheated though and dropped her off and Steve picked her up when she was finished. I needed extra time to get the bedroom painted and new trim put up.

It has been a great weekend for just hanging out with the moms.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Merrie Melody's Menagerie

I went to the IFA feed store today and got some DUCKLINGS and a BUNNY! I am so excited!

One store nearby was sold out of ducks, so we went to another and they had five beautiful, fluffy ducklings! There are three Indian Runner Ducks and two Pekin. Here are a couple of pictures:

I'm not sure if they are female or male; hopefully we'll get at least a couple of females out of the group so that we can have duck eggs for food and for more ducklings next year.

And look at this way cute mini lop bunny! He will make a great pet and next year he will help our mommy mini lop make beautiful Easter bunnies.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Bunny Update

The bunnies are doing well and will make their debut at IFA in Spanish Fork the week of Easter.

Here is a look at the fluffy little guys:

Sunday, March 9, 2008


On Saturday night, we had a family game night. It was great fun! We played Balderdash.

If you've never played Balderdash before, you are missing out! On each Balderdash card there are five categories: words, people, initials, movies, and dates. One player has the real answer and everyone else writes their idea of what the answer is and tries to buffalo the other opponents into believing their definition is the real one.

During our game on Saturday night there was one answer in particular that was hilarious! The title of the move was: "Ladies Should Listen". The funniest plot summary was written by Amber, my oldest daughter. She wrote that the movie was "about a lady who was in a restroom when all of a sudden she heard another person farting frequently, but randomly. The first lady decided to get out of there before her nose exploded. Then the next day in the newspaper a woman was found dead in the bathroom. Turns out the 2nd lady was farting in morse code. LADIES SHOULD LISTEN" Too funny!


Another funny happened today in my son's 3 year old church class. The teacher had taught the children that Heavenly Father and Jesus made everything on the earth for them: seeds, apple trees, apples, flowers, and water that lets everything grow. Later, as a review, she went around the table and asked each child a question. (Names changed to protect the innocent)
"Sarah, who made the apples?" "Jesus." "That's right!"
"Sam, who made the beautiful flowers?" "Heavenly Father!" "Right!"
"Tommy, who gave us water to drink and to water the flowers?" "Sponge Bob!"


A new family was asked to speak in Sacrament Meeting today. It is a blended family, so all seven children, ranging in age from four to fourteen (with 3 ten year olds!)spoke, along with the mom and dad. They came in just as the opening song was finishing, and the person asking the invocation waited for them to sit down before he prayed. The mom was the first to speak and apologized for being late. She also told us that they realized too late that one of the kids forgot their talk at home. When the fourteen year old stood up to give his talk he said that he was the lucky person who forgot his talk. Poor kid tried to wing it, but forgot most of what he was supposed to say. The dad's turn came 10 minutes before the close of the meeting and said that this was one of the times that he really appreciated having such a big family (since he didn't have to talk for long). They are great people and they did a great job....and it was very entertaining too.

It has been a good weekend!