life on the funny farm

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Rosie's Turn

This house now has three teenagers that drive.

One with his license, one scheduled to get his license this weekend (fingers crossed)....

....and one with a brand new permit.

That would be my Rosie.

She took her permit test this past Saturday, and walked away with permit in hand. She said it was the scariest test she's ever taken.





She's been practicing in parking lots here and there for a while now, and I felt she was ready, so I let her drive home. For those of you city-slickers out there, I should tell you that means a bit more than just driving a couple blocks. None of the exam centers are nearby, with the closest being about 45 minutes away.

So with snow on the ground and salt on the roads from the storm the day before, she got behind the wheel, buckled up, adjusted her mirrors, and away she went.

"Oh God", she muttered as the car rolled over the asphalt. "Jesus take the wheel".





She did great. Her first time driving on the roads she drove all the way home from Lancaster. She dealt with twisty-turny roads, hills, little towns, speed changes, and last but not least, buggies galore. She learned the fine art of Amish buggy passing.

Not one horse spooked. Not one middle finger was raised in salute.




She's driven every day this week, and I have to say, she's a natural. She's already driven at night, on the highway, on back roads, and in busy traffic. I barely have to give her any corrections. Bigger than that, I actually feel comfortable when she's driving. Anyone who's ever done driver training with a teen knows that is huge. Those first 5 - 10 hours can be sheer hell, and I've got the scorch marks to prove it.

So I look forward to teaching this one to drive.

More than that, I look forward to handing over my grocery list in six months when she gets her license!








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Sunday, December 1, 2013

Advent Stockings

Since today is December 1st, I am reposting my Advent Stockings post. We have started ours today. Are any of you doing any kind of Advent activity?



A number of years ago I came across an idea somewhere (Family Fun, maybe?) of a fun way to count down the days till Christmas.

We had done the advent chains, where you start with 24 paper chains and you rip one off each day so the kids (the little ones, especially) can see how many days are left till the big day. Some people write a bible verse on each chain, or an idea of an activity to do, some just leave them blank.

We also do advent calendars, as this is something I remember from my childhood. Somehow, my kids seem to get just as much thrill out of something as simple as looking for the daily number and opening the flap as I did when I was little.

But my favorite Christmas countdown, and it seems to be my kids' favorite as well, is our advent stockings.

















I'm still planning on throwing a length of Christmas greenery along the hooks to dress it up a bit, but you get the idea.


Pretty simple to do, and the kids get soooo excited to find out what's in each stocking.

I just went out and bought 12 pairs of red and white socks from Wal-Mart, but you could do this for free just by using socks from your unmatched socks basket.

What? Doesn't everybody have a basket full of scores of unmatched socks???

Find some wallspace where you can hang this. I happen to have a long mirror with hooks on it that I use, but you can get some of those 3M hooks that come off the wall when you're done. Those things are all kinds of awesome.

Run a string through the holes of 24 clothespins, and mark the clothespins from 24 down to 1, with 24 to the left and 1 all the way at the end on the right.


















Then have some fun figuring out what to fill the stockings with. If you haven't figured it out yet, this works just like an old-fashioned advent calendar: on Dec 1st, your kids get to see what's in the stocking hung by the "24" clothespin. Dec 2nd they open the "23" stocking and so on down the line till they've opened the "1" stocking on Christmas Eve.

The beauty of this is that you can go really cheap or really elaborate, whatever floats your boat (and your budget).

A few ideas along the range of free to pricey:

*print out some Christmas activity pages, such as word-searches, crosswords, coloring pages,
*cut out strips of red and green construction paper and put those in the stocking for the kids to make a Christmas chain,
*cut out a little Christmas tree from green paper and write "Today we find (or decorate) our Christmas tree!",
*put a Christmas cookie cutter in the stocking to let them know today's the day they'll get to help make Christmas cookies,
*put a little baggie of birdseed in the stocking with a note that instructs them how to make peanut-butter-and-birdseed-pinecone-feeders for the birds,
*candy canes,
*Christmas pencils,
*gum,
*Christmassy hair accessories,
*jingle bells and some ribbon for the kids to make necklaces with,
*surprise them with breakfast out on the way to school one day (perhaps you could write it out on a star cut-out),
*cute Christmas socks.

You're only limited by your imagination.

Each day, another sock comes down, so they'll have the visual before them of how many days remain till Christmas.

If you can't trust the kids to not peek (and really, if you can, I don't like you very much), then just fill one at a time before you go on to bed each night.

The kids have been asking me for weeks when we can start the advent stockings.

Maybe I'll need to make advent stockings leading up to the advent stockings.





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Monday, November 25, 2013

Sweet 16. Sweet.

I threw a surprise sweet 16 party for Rosie last Friday.

She had been asking me for a surprise party since she was about 10, and had really been ramping up those requests in the last year.

I kept telling her, "I can't throw you a surprise party if you ASK me to throw you a surprise party. It kind of defeats the purpose."

Regardless, on and on she kept going about wanting one.

Little did she know I had been planning one.

And let me just tell you, in this day and age, surprising a teenager is no easy feat. What with all the tweeting and skyping and texting they do, it's hard to keep anything under wraps.

But I managed to pull it off.

We held it at the fire hall, because it ended up being pretty cheap, and no WAY was I going to have dozens of teenagers at my house eating and drinking and dancing and what not.

So friends and family helped me with...


Setting up a gift table,




Putting together dozens of pretty little candy jars




setting up the room with blue, silver, black and white decorations
(there were lots of balloons in those colors floating on the ceiling after this picture was taken)




Creating a "candy bar"




And taking lots of fun pictures.





As for Rosie?  All she had to do was have lots of fun....
















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Friday, November 15, 2013

You Had Me At Russell Crowe.

I just got word of a movie coming out called Noah.

It's about, well, Noah.

And it's starring my man Russell Crowe!

So, yeah....

Anyway, here's the word.

And a trailer.

Enjoy!!!


NOAH
Synopsis: After visions of an apocalyptic deluge, Noah, the world’s only righteous man, is chosen to undertake a divine mission to build a massive ark to save his family and all of creation before the impending rains fall and the flood waters rise.

Cast: Russell Crowe, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Jennifer Connelly and Emma Watson

Director: Darren Aronofsky

Trailer:


Remember, you saw it here FIRST, ladies and gents.



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Sunday, November 10, 2013

Perfect Fall Day

Bella helped me in the barn with feeding, sweeping, adding bedding, cutting mats, shooing hens out of places they're not supposed to be.

The kids all marched out into the field, buckets in hand, to gather twigs from a fallen tree to add to our kindling box.

I start a fire in the wood stove, and get that sense of accomplishment that comes with watching the paper catch the kindling and the kindling catch the logs.

James is at work at the grocery store.

Rosie is at a college fair in Philly with some of her bff's, all dreaming about life after high school.

I'm making beef stew. My Mom's recipe. The smell fills the kitchen.

I look out the window at the blustery fall day, orange leaves blowing against the grey sky. I see Julie working with her horse Genevieve and Daniel working with his pony Pippin.

I stir some more.

I chop.

I watch.

I smile....




Monday, October 28, 2013

It's Not You, It's Me....

It's been a while since my last post.

For all the reasons I've been giving you for why my schedule has cut back, it's now grinding to a halt.

It's not that I don't enjoy blogging.
It's not that I don't have fun putting up pictures and writing about the goings-on of my fambly.
It's not that I don't enjoy hearing from you all, and interacting with you through comments and email.

It's not you, it's me.

Work.
6 kids.
Some fluid number that I keep losing track of number of animals.
RAD.
PTSD.
Teenagers.
Cooking.
Cleaning.
Broken appliances.
Broken gates.
Runaway ponies.
Vets.
Farriers.
Doctors.
Dentists.
Orthodontists.
Medicine.
After-school activities.
And more....
      and more......
          and more.......

Sigh.

Anyway, I can't keep up with it anymore. I admit it.

I've got to let the blogging thing go, as much as I hate to.

I won't give it up completely, but I will no longer keep any kind of regular schedule.

It won't be forever. I hope to get back to blogging regularly again someday.

But today is not that day.




Thanks for always being there for me, and for all the support you've always given me! I have the best readers.

You guys really do rock.

Love ya'!





Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Weight Loss Wednesday

The Weight Loss Wednesday that wasn't.

I didn't go to my meeting last night.

I didn't have it in me. I couldn't do one more trip out; I had met my quota.

Here's how my day went:

Get Bella on the bus.
Take Daniel to school.
Back home.
Take Julie to her day program an hour away.
Back home.
Out to pick up Daniel.
Back home.
Out to pick up Bella.
Back home.
Out to WalMart.
Back home.
Out to drop off Rosie and pick up Julie's friend.
Back home.
Out with Fred to an appointment.
Back home.

I was done. Just done.


You ever have one of those days?







Anyway, that's it for this week. For any of you also on the weight loss path, hope you're doing well. Let me know how things are going for you!

And for anyone just joining in, you can read what I've written on this subject previously right here:


Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Week 5
Week 6
Week 7
Week 8
Week 9
Week 10



Till next week, happy weight loss!!






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Monday, October 14, 2013

Captain Phillips

I went with some of the kids to see Captain Phillips last night.

I was very disappointed.

I did not see Phil Phillips ONCE in the whole movie.

There wasn't even any singing.




Image source


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Saturday, October 12, 2013

Motivating Kids to be Active

I have a wonderful guest post for you today from the lovely and talented Caitlin Hudson.  Take it away, Caitlin!


Motivating Kids to be Active
A post from Caitlin Hudson

With all the electronic distractions, it seems my kids could be happy never leaving their rooms some days. Just give them an iPad, and they’re good to go. But it’s not good for them to live like that. It’s important that they stay fit and exercise regularly, especially as they get older. Once they become teenagers, their natural resistance will make it even harder to get them to try new routines. Starting while kids are young is the wisest move. But if older kids and teenagers need to get in shape, there are still some good ideas to get them moving.

Monkey see monkey do
An important thing to remember, especially with younger children, is that they learn by example. If you want your kids to lead an active life, you also need to practice what you preach. I try to show my kids that exercising is fun and enjoyable. I make it a fabric of my own life and that rubs off on my family too. On the weekends my husband and I try to make it a family affair. Quality time, family bonding and little sibling rivalry can go a long way. Some of my fondest memories growing up involve playing games outside with my siblings, and I hope to provide my children with the same.

Outdoor activities
When the weather’s reasonable, it’s great to get the kids outside. During the summer and fall, my kids never seem to want to go inside. They will run and play for hours. We love to patronize splash pads and water parks. In the spring and fall, we go hiking. I have found that motivation can go a really long way. A kid who ordinarily would think a walk or a hike is really boring might be more excited with a scavenger hunt of items to find on the trail. You can find great ideas for scavenger hunt ideas. Sports are also a great idea. Not only does it also teach them the importance of teamwork, but being around other kids their age is great for socializing and many times, this is where they make great friends. A little competition plus vigorous exercise can really encourage healthy development.






Screen-time
Motivation can work just as well at home. It just takes the right approach. Kids and teens watch an appalling amount of television, despite expert recommendations that they have no more than two hours of screen time per day. So, I try to maximize that time. Balance balls are fun and work several muscle groups. I incorporate them into my own workouts, but my kids really enjoy bouncing on them while they watch TV.  Otherwise, competition at home is just as good as competition on the field. There are numerous pieces of equipment such as the Wii and Wii Fit that are designed to get families up and moving. The games are fun and improve balance and coordination while burning calories. For a lower-tech approach, I like to have a family calisthenics competition during commercial breaks. The person who does the most pushups, stomach crunches or squats gets to pick a healthy snack for all of us to share.

Let’s face it–we all could do with a little less sitting on the couch and a little more getting up and moving. The best thing I can do for my kids’ health is for me to set a good example. If I stay active and help them understand that exercising is important to me, it will be more important to them. And the work we do as a family to improve our fitness will last them into adulthood.



Author Bio:
Hi all, I'm Caitlin Hudson, a full-time SAHM, nature lover, writer, and health nut! I am in the process of starting my own blog, but in the meantime, Anne has been generous enough to let me contribute to her awesome blog. Today, I'd like to share with you some of my favorite tricks to get younger kids to exercise and be active! If you have any questions feel free to email me at Caitlin.hudson1@gmail.com!




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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Weight Loss Wednesday

Yay!

Yay-yay!

That weight I was a little behind on? Got it off this week.

I was down another 2.8 last night, for a total of 31.2.

I attribute it to getting back to my walking. Not only did I not walk when I was sick, I didn't walk much the week after that, either. But I walked 5 or 6 miles on Sunday when I was waiting around for my kids at their jobs, and I'm back to my weekday walks in the park with my friend (Hi Debbie!).

Plus, of course, watching what I eat helps.

It's a bore, but hey, it works.


Anyway, that's it for this week. For any of you also on the weight loss path, hope you're doing well. Let me know how things are going for you!

And for anyone just joining in, you can read what I've written on this subject previously right here:


Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Week 5
Week 6
Week 7
Week 8
Week 9
Week 10



Till next week, happy weight loss!!






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Monday, October 7, 2013

New Job

First day on a new job for Rosie yesterday. She's a ref for the local recreational soccer league. She reffed three games for U5 and U7 teams, so some of the kids were as young as four years old.

Adorable.

Rosie has a whistle and a t-shirt and a giant wrist watch/timer. She feels very special, in a helmet-wearing kind of way.




She loved the little tikes, but already got her first taste of the wrath of the Soccer Mom. There were a couple of shots on goal that the defenders were able to kick out before they crossed that invisible line that represents a score. So Rosie told them to play on, but apparently the parents were none too pleased that little Brandon's and Austin's goals weren't counted.

They'll live.

It was such a drastic change to watch some of the games. Were my kids ever that little? In these games, the coaches were right on the field with the kids. There were no goalies, no off-sides, no throw-ins.

The "language" I hear from my daughter's U17 teammates sounds something like this:

Let it.
Here, here!
Man.
Time, time!
Yeah, yeah!
Cross!
Keeper!

The "language" on these teams comes all from the coaches, and it goes:

Stand up, honey.
Run!
Go the other way!
Where's the ball?
Kick the ball.
No, the other goal.

You know when you're training a puppy, and you want it to learn to come, so you kind of run away from it just to get it to run in your direction? I saw a coach use that method with a five year old yesterday.





Rock on, Rosie!





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Friday, October 4, 2013

Hot Flash

I experienced a bit of a hot flash yesterday, though I haven't had any of those in awhile.

Could it be that the orthopaedist I took James to bore more than a passing resemblance to Denzel Washington??



Image source


Image source


Humminahumminahummina.

Sorry, I guess I should have led with that other part.

The part about James needing to see an orthopaedic surgeon.

See, he broke his hand.  Third metacarpal of his left hand, to be exact.

He was out doing some stupid teenaged boy thing, namely riding dirt bikes with friends, when a tree jumped out in front of him.

When Fred and I saw it last night, we were like, "Yeah, that looks broken. It'll keep till tomorrow morning."

We have been parents of teenagers wayyyyy too long at this point.

Someone needs to remove us from the home.

So anyway, James went in with Fred to the hospital this morning, and got him an xray. Then I picked him up later and took him to see the orthopaedist which Fred had so nice and neatly arranged.

And the guy walks in and starts looking at films and pressing on James' hand and talking about metacarpals, all the while with that sly Denzel grin goin' on.

And every now and then he would look ever at me and ask me a question about the whole thing, and I would just answer,

"Flibberty fork."

And he would say,

"Excuse me?"

And I would be all like,

"Hvzkamenoff."

And he would say something about inflammation and alignment and I would politely nod and say,

"Incandescant" just to sound smart.

Then he kind of chuckled and told me something I'm sure I was supposed to remember about pain meds and ice and elevation and follow-ups, but it's all kind of a blur.


I'm sure James will be just fine.  I don't even think it was his dominant hand or anything.


Meanwhile, I think I'll just go lie down for a bit so I can swoon without fear of falling.


Although maybe if I fell and broke my hand.....



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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Weight Loss Wednesday

I had to skip my Weight Watcher's meeting last week due to the minor inconvenience of having my body ravaged by an ungodly flu-like illness.



Image source


So I went last night with dread. I knew I'd gained. After all, I had gone from walking 20 - 25 miles per week to walking 20 - 25 steps a week. My appetite had diminished, true, but when I did feel like eating, gone was the resolve to put together something healthy, like a nice salad. Instead, I grabbed what was quick and easy. Cereal. Some toast. A bagel. Carbs and I became reacquainted. We were like long lost chums sitting down to catch up over a cup of coffee.

I was afraid, very afraid, to step on that scale.

But happy day, happy day, I lost another two pounds!

Total to date: 28.4 pounds down.

I had hoped to lose 30 pounds by the end of September, but I guess I'll have to settle for a week late.

And I can share a lesson learned here: if you're trying to lose some weight, be prepared for illness. Keep some healthy and easy-to-stomach foods on hand such as soup, crackers, and ..... oh I don't even know what else. I'm still thinking of my carbs. I miss them so.



Anyway, that's it for this week. For any of you also on the weight loss path, hope you're doing well. Let me know how things are going for you!

And for anyone just joining in, you can read what I've written on this subject previously right here:


Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Week 5
Week 6
Week 7
Week 8
Week 9



Till next week, happy weight loss!!



And PS: Don't forget to keep checking out my son's blog. He'll be writing it for one month!




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Monday, September 30, 2013

D is for Apple.

Apple doesn't fall far from the tree, as they say.

My son Daniel (above, holding chicken) is writing a blog now.

Check it out!


That means you.


Click on over to his blog.
Leave him a comment!


Then come back here and vote for me on Top Mommy Blogs, why dontcha?


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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Friend of Mine....

I have this friend who's going through a bit of a rough patch lately.

Poor thing.

She's dealing with two family members who are experiencing their own personal One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest moments.

On Saturday she was out weeding with her kids when she stepped on a nail that popped right through her shoe and into the arch of her foot.

And as it turned out, some of those weeds? Poison Ivy.  Yeah, she's got that.

Later that night, she was returning home from taking her kids somewhere when she got the call that her dog had been hit by a car. This particular dog NEVER leaves the yard, but for some reason he left it on a dark and rainy night and ran right out in front of a car. So my friend took him to the emergency vet clinic and didn't get home till three in the morning. It's touch and go for the poor old dog, who seems to have damaged his spinal cord. Time will tell. She's praying to St. Francis and all his heavenly buddies that he'll be able to walk again.


But the Calendar Gods must be pleased, still, so the next morning she was up at the break of dawn to take a couple kids to their job, and then later another kid to a soccer game. It was while she was at the game she felt it coming on. That achiness. When she got home she was able to confirm with a swipe across the temple: fever.

Went to the doctor on Tuesday, and he did a culture, so it's not confirmed yet, but she has all the earmarks of having the flu. 102.6 degree fever, cough, fatigue, feeling like she'd been run over by a truck. Doc says she's an "index case", meaning the first in the area. Asked her all kinds of questions about people she might have been in contact with that had travelled. Said the officials would have to be notified.

Made her feel very special.

Like Gwyneth Paltrow from Contagion.



Image source

Except she died, so let's think of someone else.

But special or not, she still had to contend with kids who needed rides, kids who needed to eat, a dog that needed meds three times a day and to be walked in a towel-turned sling, and a house that was falling into disarray faster than you could say influenza.

Not that she was doing much of anything to hold the disarray at bay. She would bleakly mumble, "Do your chores" from beneath the pile of blankets under the sofa, without any kind of follow-up or threat of consequences. She'd sweet talk the oldest into sling-walking the handicapped dog into the yard and giving him his meds. She would point a finger in the general direction of staples like cereal and eggs when asked "What's for dinner?".

Hopefully she'll be OK, this friend of mine.

Say a prayer for her, would you?


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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Weight Loss Wednesday

I am nothing if not consistently inconsistent.

As per usual, I lost only about 1/2 pound this week, following a bigger weight loss last week. The good news is that I'm slated for another significant reduction when I weigh in next week. And I can still proudly lay claim to having a loss each and every week so far, so that's good.

My caseload at work picked up, so I wasn't able to walk quite as much. I had to cut back from four or five miles in the morning to three. Still, I got in over 20 miles through the course of the week, so not too shabby.

Plus, I started adding in some very lame, slow jogging in pathetically short stretches. Just enough to make me wish I were dead. But what started as 50 yards here, 30 yards there, has ramped up to where I can now run move slightly faster than your Granny's walk for an entire lap, which is 1/2 mile. I am hereby setting a goal OUT LOUD that this time next week I will be able to get through a full mile. Now there's no going back.

I take it back, I take it back, I'll never be able to do it!

Breathe....

I can do it.

Right???

Anyway, I have a recipe to share with you. One of my fellow WW cronies shared it with us last week and I tried it and I thought it was the bomb. Perfect when you want something sweet and yummy and comfort-foody.

What you do is you take a 6" tortilla, and you spread some cream cheese on it. Then you slice up 1/2 of an apple and put that on it, sprinkle some cinnamon on it, and roll it up. Nuke it for about 30 seconds and enjoy. It's like a little slice of apple pie. It tastes like you're doing something dreadfully wrong, but it's only about 3 points.



Image source



Anyway, that's it for this week. For any of you also on the weight loss path, hope you're doing well. Let me know how things are going for you!

And for anyone just joining in, you can read what I've written on this subject previously right here:


Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Week 5
Week 6
Week 7
Week 8



Till next week, happy weight loss!!




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Monday, September 16, 2013

To-Do Bin

Show of hands, who has a "slush pile" on their desk?

A "get-to" pile?

You Moms know what I'm talking about. The birthday party invitations, the lunch order forms, the community service forms, grocery store flyer, the coupons, the appointment cards, the reading logs to be signed, the permission slips.

Yeah. THAT stuff.

I had a sizable slush pile, myself. As in, I needed mountain climbing gear to tackle it. And I was always forgetting what was in it, and handing things in late. Bulletin boards, side of the fridge, they haven't helped much because things still have a way of getting hidden behind other papers.

Well the other day, I did something about it. I had an old file box that I used to use for keeping recipes, but I changed the recipes over to a different spot, so it was sitting empty. It's made out of that plastic that you can write on with dry erase markers, and it holds hanging files.

So I stared at it for a few minutes.
I scratched my head.
I stared some more.
I squinted my eyes and I pondered.

Then I said "Ding ding ding!" and all the kids looked at me like I was off my rocker again.

I quickly made up a few file folder tabs, then drew a list are on the front of the bin in Sharpie, with several categories such as School, Medical, Critters, and a couple others.

I thought the words needed a little more contrast to be viewed clearly, so I taped a piece of plain printer paper to the inside of the bin. That helped.

Then I put papers from my slush pile into the appropriate folders, and wrote each task on the front of the bin, using dry erase markers.

I threw a calendar into the front of it, so as dates come up, I can add them to that pretty quickly.

Now all I have to do is glance at the front of the bin to know what my to-do list is, and I can just reach into the folder to retrieve the item, rather than shuffling through a slippery stack of papers.

For instance, lunch order forms? They're in the school folder. The dog license renewal forms? In the critter folder. And those items are written on the front of the bin so I have a visual reminder of what-all's in there. No more "mystery pile".








Since I originally made it, I added another file for coupons and flyers, because I realized that was something else I tended to find all over my desk or kitchen counters. So now when I get them, I stick them in that folder and then pull them out to look them over when I get the chance.



And you know what? I love this. I REALLY love this. And once again, I did not have to buy a thing, but just repurposed something I already had lying around.



How about you? What do you find works well to keep you organized?


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Friday, September 13, 2013

Farm Friday: Traffic Jam

Took my meat birds in for processing last weekend. They were inconsistent in size since I had ordered straight-run instead of pullets only like last time. Still, they ended up getting to a nice size for the most part.





They had NO idea what they were in for. But I maintain that raising my own birds for meat is not cruel, because they had a MUCH better life (and death, for that matter) than their factory-farm cousins.

If you'd like to read about my thoughts and experiences raising birds for meat the first time around, you can check these out:

Meat-n-Greet
Time To Say Goodbye.
I Lost It. Yes, IT.
The Cost of Sustainability



On the drive out to the farm, I hit a bit of a traffic jam.



Those Amish think that just because they're harvesting corn they OWN the road. Sheesh.




Happy weekend, my people!



****************


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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Weight Loss Wednesday

Woohoo!

Finally got to one of my goals, which was getting 25 pounds off. I'm actually down 26 pounds now, which is 1/3 of my total goal.

Thought I could have accomplished that a little earlier than I did (like end of August), but oh well. Day late and a dollar short.

One thing that certainly helped move me forward was that I was able to begin walking again. I used to walk in the mornings with my friend Debbie, but once I started working in Wilmington that became increasingly harder to do.

But I've just switched to a closer office, so I no longer have to drive 45 minutes or an hour to get to my first patient (I'm an Occupational Therapist working in home care). So when the kids started back to school last week, Debbie and I began walking again.

And I had forgotten what a great weight loss/fitness tool walking can be. I mean, what's not to love? It's free, it can be as challenging or easy as you want it to be depending on your pace and location (hills vs flat), and you can almost always find time to fit at least a little bit of walking in.

For instance, while I did laps in the park for the bulk of my miles, I also walked around soccer fields during practices.

By the end of the week, I had logged just shy of 35 miles.

82,000 steps.

My caseload is beginning to pick up, so I'll have to curtail my walking a bit, but I should still be able to get three miles in most days.

Walking off the rest of the considerable weight that needs to come off.

One foot in front of the other.





Booyaa.



Anyway, that's it for this week.  For any of you also on the weight loss path, hope you're doing well. Let me know how things are going for you!

And for anyone just joining in, you can read what I've written on this subject previously right here:


Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Week 5
Week 6
Week 7



Till next week, happy weight loss!!




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Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Times, They are A-Changin'

I can't get used to the sight.

The sight of only two kids getting on the bus.

Not so long ago, I watched six kids climbing onto the bus in the early morning hours:





But now? Often it's just two.

Patrick graduated. James gets a ride with a friend.

Rosie often hitches a ride with them.

I drive Daniel in to his school.

Most days it's just Julie and Bella.



I'm feeling very old.



I would share first day of school pictures with you all, but James was having none of it. Nor was Daniel. Julie's and Bella's pictures came out nice, but Rosie looks like a globally delayed deer in the headlights. So then I couldn't post pictures of the other girls but not her, so now I'm caught in this dilemma. I thought of having them all put on their first day outfits again and just staging the whole thing, but I have reason to believe that would not go over so well.

Sigh....







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Friday, September 6, 2013

Farm Friday: Musical Chickens

Musical Chairs Chickens


Last week I played musical chickens.

I had moved the meat birds in with the layer hens, but they didn't really grasp the concept of roosting at night.

Not known for their smarts, those meat birds.

As a result, a few of them fell victim to the night life.

Meaning they got eaten by someone thing other than our family members.

By the time I had lost three of my dozen birds, I wised up
I'm not known for my smarts, either
and penned them up in the rabbit run.

Then I decided it was high time my new layers, five sweet little Buff Orpingtons, be released into the gen. pop.

So it all went something like this:

Meat birds in with the layers.

Meat birds in with the rabbits.

New layers in with the old layers.

Ducks still penned in the nursery.

And later this morning:

Meat birds taken in to be "processed".

Ducks in with the layers.

Repeat next summer.







Clear as mud....







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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Weight Loss Wednesday

Shoot. I had my meeting last night, but I didn't do so well.

I still had a loss, and that's the main thing, because I've had a loss every single week so far.

But it was only about a half pound.

In looking at my booklet, I noticed a pattern. It seems I tend to lose a pretty small amount, like under a pound, and then the next week I'll lose a more significant amount, like two or three pounds.

So if history means anything, I'm looking at a bigger loss next week, which will put me past that 25 pound mark I've been anticipating.

Also, I started back up with walking with my friend. We used to walk once or twice a week in the mornings. We did two laps around the park, and she had to go. But I didn't, so I continued on my own and did another five laps! We're walking again today and then tomorrow. Hopefully we'll be able to keep up with walking together at least three times a week. Walk that weight right off.


Anyway, that's it for this week. Nothing earth shattering in terms of tips, just keep at it and don't get discouraged when progress slows. For any of you also on the weight loss path, hope you're doing well. Let me know how things are going for you!

And for anyone just joining in, you can read what I've written on this subject previously right here:


Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Week 5
Week 6



Till next week, happy weight loss!!




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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Repurposing for Reorganizing

I've been doing some reorganizing lately.

I've been kind of a crazy person going through my house room by room to empty, clean, toss, donate, and organize.

I should be done in roughly 12 years.

When I was working in the kitchen, I looked with new eyes at my old Hoosier cabinet. It had become a catch-all for everything that didn't have a proper home. It stored the pens, pencils, scrap paper, receipts, phone numbers, files, phone books, dog medicine, tooth fairy bags, you name it.

What would Martha say???

I decided it should be used for what is was designed for: a piece of kitchen furniture. So I took everything off the surface and out of its cabinets and drawers. I cleaned it. Then, instead of putting back the flotsam it had previously housed, I placed canisters of sugar and flour in the flour mill. In the upper cabinets I put all my spices.




Yes, Hershey's cocoa powder is a spice in my book.

It was a great place to put my cook books, so in they went, as well as table cloths in the drawers and oversized kitchen implements like grill forks and tongs.




I stood back, wiped my hands on my proverbial apron, and smiled. I was pleased.

But then I turned around and saw all the junk I had removed. Insert curse word of choice here.

I wanted a way to keep it all handy, and yet look nice. I started looking around. I found the old tool box I had picked up for about ten bucks to corral the charger cords by the sofa. It hadn't worked out as I had hoped, and it was sitting empty and forlorn, looking for a new job.

And I had one for it.

I went to the store and bought some larger mason jars. We have plenty of the smaller kind for drinking and other purposes, but I needed the next size up.

I arranged the jars in the toolbox and started filling them up.

Colored pencils, Sharpies, chalk, rulers and magnifying glasses, scissors, highlighters, pens and pencils. I even have a separate jar for unsharpened pencils in the back, so if someone picks up a pencil with no point, they can at least put it in that jar instead of back in with the good ones. The pencil sharpener is tucked in there, as well.




Along with the toolbox, there is also a phone charger caddy and the homework basket.  On the wall above is a year calendar and a dry erase/bulletin board for messages and to-do lists.  




In the cabinets below, I have a drawer organizer with paper clips, tape, glue, etc. There is space for the phone books, the receipts, loose pictures, photo albums, yearbooks, and lots of etc.






Happy sigh. I feel fresher. I feel lighter. I feel better.

And all I paid was a few dollars for the mason jars. Everything else was already on hand.

Sometimes you've just got to look around and think.








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