Friday, June 24, 2011

Homemaker - The best occupation in the world

In 2002 when I was part of a company-wide lay off, most people we know thought we were crazy for the decision we made that I would stay home and not return to work outside the home. I had worked for 18 years, since I was 18 years old.

Over the next eight years, I ran a registered day care in our home, started and grew several online retail businesses to include designing and manufacturing a product line of cloth diapering accessories. I kept adding on more and more for me to do. I was bored and the more I piled on myself, the happier I was. Or so I thought.

Finally, I realized that I was not helping our family at all. I was stretched so thin and stressed all the time. Not to mention I wasn't *there* for my husband and kids. So I officially retired to be an official homemaker.

I read a wonderful post over at Raising Homemakers that I want to share with you.
I finally realize that I am where I should be. Where I should have been starting in 2002. I love being a homemaker, although sometimes I am not quite up to the par I would like to be. Having our family grow is helping me, though. It seems the more I have depending on me, the better I do and focus on the goal at hand.

All my life, even through high school, all I ever *wanted to be* was a wife and mother. I'm finally there.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

It's a beautiful morning

We have had many rough mornings around here for the past week. Timothy obviously isn't a morning person and throwing in an additional person to our morning mix has been a bit difficult.

Today. Today has been amazing, though! Everyone woke in a good mood. Breakfast was eaten with no issues. Mike and Gregory got out the door five minutes early! That's what I call a beautiful morning! I won't say that things have gone completely swimmingly since Timothy arrived. Of course, we are all going through an adjustment stage. There were a few really rough days the end of last week and the weekend. Yesterday, though, seemed to be a bit of a turning point. At least I hope so.

Felicity and Gregory love having Timothy here. Felicity tends to want to play the third parent in correcting Timothy, so we have to watch that and remind her that he only needs two parents. Otherwise, as usual with other kids, Felicity is wonderful with Timothy. Gregory likes having a friend around his own age, though Timothy is intellectually much closer to the correct age of 7 than is Gregory. They still do well together.  Timothy gets frustrated with Gregory because Gregory cannot pronounce Timothy's *real* name correctly yet. We continually explain to Timothy that Gregory's mouth just doesn't work exactly right and he does the best he can. Some days with that are better than others.

So we continue on. We are looking forward to our meeting with the new prospective foster-to-adopt son next week and the July 4th weekend.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Chickens come a'running

My serama chickens lived their entire life (about 15 months total) indoors at our old house. They lived in large rabbit cages in our family room. They are incredibly spoiled.

Now that we have moved to our farm and are outside the city limits, they live in the barn and free range on our acre + of land.

During the day, most any time I go out the back door, either Roosevelt or Travis (or both) come running across the yard to see me. They hope I will finally let them live indoors again. LOL

Enjoy this video I took yesterday of my fellows.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

All is well and a cow

While it does take adjustment having another child in the house, we are all adjusting well.  Each of us has our *moments*, but things are much better with Timothy than we anticipated, and that's a great thing!

It's so hot and dry here in Amarillo. The flower above is Lantana. It's a native Texas plant and loves the hot, dry climate. This is by far the worst summer since we  moved here five years ago.  During the heat of the day, we are stuck indoors watching TV or playing games. I just read this morning, the La Nina has moved (or dissolved?) and that leaves us open with the possibility of record rains in July and August. I'm sure there's not a person up here that would complain about record rainfall.

The chickens and goats are all doing well. The goats are absolutely wonderful to have as pets! Although it's almost like having two more children, but that live outdoors. Buddy even comes up to the back door and *knocks* with his hooves. It's really funny.  Eleanor hatched two more Serama babies last week and I'm so excited. I am working on growing a pretty large Serama flock because we love them oh so much!

We've discovered that Timothy fits right in with our family and his love of milk. We have been discussing buying a milk goat or a milk cow in the past. Now we are REALLY considering it.  While a goat is smaller than a cow and easier to handle, I can't make all of the products from goat milk that I can from cow milk. That's our big issue with making a decision. So soon, we may own one of these beauties! We are looking only at Jersey cows for milk and I've found some for sale locally.
I'm pretty excited. It's been a joke in our home for years that "we need to buy a cow" because, to begin with, Katie and I drank LOTS of milk. Then, after Mike and I married and had Felicity, she followed in our tracks and LOVES milk. So we often times have commented that we needed to buy a cow. Now toss Timothy in the mix. It looks as if we just might own a milk cow soon.

We are going in a week and a half to meet and visit with another prospective foster-to-adopt son. So exciting! I will post how it goes afterward. If it goes well, he will come and spend the 4th of July weekend with our family as a trial. I never imagined myself surrounded by male children before. It must be what God had intended for us, though.

Have a great day!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The first few days

It's been a crazy busy couple of days since Timothy arrived. It was late on Thursday evening when the case workers arrived with him. By the time we got all the paperwork done, got him bathed and in bed, it was nearly 11:00pm. Friday was a nice day. His initial doctor's visit went just fine, although he has a sinus infection. Thankfully nothing serious.

Saturday we spent the day car shopping and buying. We now are the owners of my first "Mommy-mobile". We bought a 2009 Dodge Caravan and are loving all the space! After that was all said and done, we took the kids to the park, then home for dinner that had been cooking in the crock pot all day. After baths, stories and prayers, another late night, bed at 10:00pm. We had one issue/melt-down Saturday, but it wasn't anything that we weren't prepared for and were able to handle.

Church this morning was perfect! Timothy was a perfect little guy. He did keep asking when we would be done, but he accepted "in a few minutes" and was fine. BUT after church was another story. I've learned very quickly that when Timothy is tired, he is determined to make life a living he**. He gets very irritable, fussy and nearly inconsolable. Mike and Felicity are working today at the new performing arts theater, so I am alone with Gregory and Timothy. Before Mike and Felicity were to leave, we realized quickly that I would have a miserable day at home all day with both boys. Timothy was getting very grumpy and argumentative. We decided I would go into town, too, and do something with the boys. I took them to McDonalds and that helped Timothy's demeanor a bit. I decided we would take a "Sunday drive" and I pretty much thought he would go to sleep. It worked! After an hour in the car, driving to Vega, TX and back to our house, he had taken a nap nearly an hour long and has been fine since.

We are thrilled so far, at how things are going with Timothy. Mike and I both expected far worse than we have seen with him. After reading his files and reports, we expected a child similar to Gregory, with little speech and very picky eater. He speaks very well, eats anything I put in front of him and reads far better than we anticipated. It was almost not worth reading all the reports from all the different people in his past, as it seems they are more personal opinions than facts, which stinks.

Everyone have a wonderful rest of the day!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The big day has finally arrived!

We are all so excited! Today is the day that our first foster son arrives! If all goes well (as hoped for, of course), we will adopt him in six months.

Due to privacy laws, we cannot post photos or mention his real name on the internet until the adoption is complete. Please understand this is for his protection.

For the past several days, I have felt like a mother waiting on the arrival of a baby once again. This time, no pregnancy, no hospital stay, no midnight feedings.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Staples in your kitchen

In my pursuit to get further and further away from processed foods and eating out too much, I am making a list of the staples I feel I need to keep in my kitchen. These are items to do as much *scratch* cooking and baking as I can.

After reading through my list, please feel free to comment with any items you include on your staples list that I haven't listed. Any tips are so welcomed, too!

all-purpose flour
whole wheat flour
granulated sugar
brown sugar
powdered sugar
white vinegar
apple cider vinegar
baking soda
baking powder
olive oil
lard (and/or shortening)
evaporated milk
powdered milk
pepper corns
corn starch
pasta (we use vermicelli and egg noodles the most)
yellow mustard
salad dressing (miracle whip)
bread crumbs
saltine crackers (yes, they are staples at our house)

So what have I missed?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Homemade Yogurt

On one of my favorite websites (Backyard Chickens), I found a fantastic and EASY PEASY way to make homemade yogurt! No machines required! I love mine with just a drizzle of honey on it. YUM!

Easy Homemade Yogurt Recipe

I am not posting the actual recipe because, if you read through the thread, there are so many tips and suggestions for this yogurt.

It's one of the easiest recipes I've found to make yogurt and uses no machines.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Why use paper towels?

Do you use paper towels? Here's a tidbit of information you might find interesting.

As I was reading Diana's blog, she posted this:

"The following facts have been floating around in the twittering/blogging world. Check them out.

Fact: About 900,000,000 trees are required to feed America's paper consumption each year, according to the Clean Air council.

Fact: With over 90% of US households taking the advantage of the convenience of paper towels, we produce over 3,000 tons of waste each day."

PAPER TOWELS! Good grief! That's insane! We've used cloth napkins in our house for over 10 years, just because I prefer cloth to paper. I even try to use re-usable wipes for cleaning up messes, etc. I do buy paper towels, but only for the messiest of messes. One roll of paper towels can last us a month or more. I'd love to give them up for good, eventually.

I make my own re-usable (un)paper towels by cutting 12x12 inch pieces of flannel and just serging around the edges. That's it. They last forever! I keep a stack by my kitchen sink and use them as I used to use paper towels. The only time I use paper towels is for really yucky messes, such as draining greasy foods. I just toss them in the wash with the towels. I buy flannel when it is on sale really cheap, or when I can find remnants.

Do you use paper towels? Do these statistics surprise you? I wonder if there will be any tree left on our Earth for my grand-children or great grand-children?

Take a look around on this link, you just may be surprised.

Ten Things You Should Never Buy

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Be that kind of woman

I just read this on The Harwards blog this morning!

"Be the kind of WOMAN who, when your feet hit the floor in the morning, the Devil says 'OH NO! SHE'S UP!' " as quoted from Sheri Dew.

Loved it so  much, I just wanted to share.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Steakhouse Salad

This is a re-post, in part, from my old blog.

Twice, my ex-husband and I have ate at a certain steakhouse restaurant. Twice he ordered this particular salad. Twice he raved insanely about this salad.

I finally asked about the only component I could not identify; it was Balsamic Glaze.

A week or two later I made the salad and NAILED IT! He raved insanely about MY salad.

I found a tutorial for the balsamic glaze online, here.

My observations of what I call Steakhouse Salad:
  • I DO NOT like blue cheese dressing.
  • I will try this salad with other dressings to see if I like it. (Ranch, Thousand Island, Italian)
  • Balsamic glaze can be used in many, many dishes.
  • Balsamic glaze can be purchased ready made, but from what I’ve read, it’s not nearly as good as making it yourself.
You can find the complete recipe on my recipe/food blog; Recipe Roundup. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Everything's done

After today, everything will finally be complete for our foster-to-adopt licensing. Whew! It's been so crazy trying to get it all done, while at the same time getting unpacked and things put away from our move.

We are so excited! Our first prospective new son arrives in one week!

Baby Girl and Buddy are doing wonderfully! Mike and I are researching breeds and are considering going into breeding. Dairy goats are our main focus. Kinders (Nubian and Pygmy cross) are a new and upcoming dual purpose breed, but we keep leaning more toward the Nigerian Dwarf. Baby Girl and Buddy are Boer goats, and although they seem to be a good breed to invest in, we really want to stay with dairy breeds. We'll see.