Thursday, July 26, 2012

The "Farm"

When we got chickens a couple months ago, Liyah looked at me and said, "We are farmers now aren't we?" I said, "Sure, if you want to call it that."

Her response? "Yep, I like being a farmer."

Well, she took my phone out for a little spin the other day. She narrated and took a video of our "farm"...

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Can I Can...

depending on wether you place any punctuation in that title it could mean a couple of things...Can I can? Can, I can...

Well, this past Saturday was the day I found out!

I grew up with my mom canning produce from our garden & my grandma canning from her garden. I guess I helped when needed (I do remember cutting corn off the cob to be frozen). Yet, I didn't learn the process of canning my own food or produce.
this year we planted: corn, peas, beets, pickles, cucumbers, zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, spinach, beans & onions (there may be a couple potato hills in there too)

The last couple of years my mom & I have planted and harvested quite a large garden. It supplied veggies for our two households and two of my sisters. It was eaten, and what wasn't eaten before expiring was just thrown on the compost pile...until this year!

The many homesteading blog and sites I like to read, talk over and over again about canning, freezing, preserving in some form or another fresh produce for winter eating and use. It made me dreamy and starry eyed (I know even my mom thinks I'm weird & she used to do it all the time). What about doing a better job at stewarding our riches? My mom is still healthy and wise (not that she shouldn't be at her young age) and able to teach me the ins and outs of canning/freezing etc.

So, since the pickles are coming on strong this week, we decided it was time to tackle the first canning class! We had almost two 3 gal. buckets full of pickles and my mom already had about 5 bags in the fridge....we were on a roll.

Thanks to the Pinterest phenomenon, I had some pickle recipes right at my fingertips. They looked simple and non-pressure cooker scary! So we printed 'em off and got our ingredients and proceeded to have fun (yes, I said, "FUN")
Li didn't exactly come dressed for the occasion, but it works for her! Sunday dress & barefoot!

Lauryn was exited she found the first pickles that morning! She also picked some of these peppers to go in the bread and butter pickles.

two little girls left their footprints...
not only is she a good pickle picker...she washes them well!

a little fancy cutting and some grinding in my mom's old grinder, makes for some nice looking pickles!

pouring the hot "pickle juice" over the bread and butters....

Dilled...recipe link here: just like Clausen

bread n buttah recipe here: ready in 24 hours 

dill relish recipe googled here: had to go dill, cause I'm sweet enough!

I'm slightly surprised at how easy it all was! There was no "canning" in the hot time over the old stove tonight style. Just some yummy smells and some tasty pickles...I think I ate one pickle for every 5 I cut, chopped or ground!

Monday, July 23, 2012

On Dreams and Things...

It's been quite some time since I've really let myself sit and dream of what "could" be. What I "could" be doing with my life...

When I was a younger version, I thought the best thing in life would be to write and illustrate children's books. To be able to do something fun, that I could make a living at...not bagging or working in a grocery store my whole life (true story, I went to college 3 years out of high school because I didn't want to work the "dead end" jobs the rest of my life. Hmmmm...don't ask how that's working for me).

So, I started college and picked those majors; writing and art. I was still young and thought I had my life all planned out and was going to be the next Dr. Suess, the next Madeliene L'Engle...oh, I was going to be famous! I was going to travel, do book shows, signings, have lunch or tea with other famous authors!

Ummm...not so!

I ended up stressing out too much about what other people said about my art and my writing. Felt I wasn't good enough. Felt that there would be no way that I could make it in the literary world (even at the kid's table per se) I changed my major my sophomore year and took up with a Christian Education major.

Why? #1 the curriculum list looked easy. #2 the curriculum looked interesting and #3 I could still graduate with in my 4 year college plan. Yep, truth.

Long story short...graduated, got a job in VA, worked 2 years and decided it wasn't for me. I went home and took a job (hahaha you guessed it, at a grocery store). Between then and now I have worked as a house parent at a children's home, a nanny (for 2 wonderful families and 2 not so wonderful), and then after marriage and one child as a "family teacher" with MR clients and as a home health aide. Now, at 40eh hem years of age I'm looking back and thinking what if? What if? Would I be happier? Would I feel more fulfilled with who I am outside of being a wife and mother (you mom's who read this probably know how easy it is to lose "yourself" while you are mothering young children).

I don't feel like I live my life believing the grass is always greener on the other side. Altho' my mom would probably beg to differ with me.  I think I'm just a natural born adventurer who has let her wings be clipped by others instead of believing that I could fly to any destination I dreamed of....

So, I'm working on taking back a flight pattern...pretty much any flight pattern that is of my making. Wether it is setting aside time to write, draw, read, color, paint, or dream. I am looking forward to making some new flight patterns...possibly sewing, knitting, crocheting, canning (I actually did that for the first time this weekend, more on that later)....working out a 5 year plan on our little 1/4 acre or moving on to a better job, bigger city...who knows?! Me and my God, we are working it all out!

How about you folks? Have you met with a mid-life crisis? Have you second guessed the paths your life has taken? or are you content with the choices you've made?  Have you made BIG changes later in life, & lived to tell about it (& been happy with them)? I would never trade my family for another. I would never trade my friends for anyone else. Most everything else in that's negotiable!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Well, my, my, my....

slap me silly and call me happy late to the party! I have been so busy; keeping things moving along here in the Frumpy House! I've been working my butt off (not really, but a woman can wish, can't she?!?!). Trying to keep everyone "happy, happy, happy" as Phil Robertson would say... (not familiar with "Duck Dynasty" on A&E? Shameful!)

G had the stitches out & a boot put on his foot last week on the 5th. He was happy to see that heavy cast go. The Dr. said everything was looking good and felt good. There was still a lot of swelling and bruising (which G never likes to see). We've been soaking his foot each night in Epsom Salts and the swelling and bruising have gone down measurably!

Then the man goes and tries to get a throw out of the basket this morning, using only one crutch....yeah, he starts to fall and natural reaction is to put his foot down. Youch!! I heard a holler and rushed out...I think it's the first time he's cried about the pain. But, it settled down quickly. We iced it, I bathed it and I went on with my morning routine...deep breathing and craziness!!

The girls haven't been as pleased, with daddy home all day, as much as I thought they would...hahaha!  Because I'm working the 5/10 hour days for Mr. P, they are having to take on WAAAY more responsibilities than they think is "fair".

Thankfully, I found this wonderful "Responsibility Chart" at a Goodwill a few months ago. It was $3.99....not bad for a hand crafted "Melissa and Doug"!!
Obviously, I'm not the only one that likes to write on the  board!! Lauryn wanted everyone to know they hadn't earned their Friday night "sleepover"

So, I whipped that thing out, thought up a few chores that the girls could do (at their level of ability) that would help keep things a little bit less hellish hectic around the house!
Yeah, L want's everyone to know that they didn't get sleepover last week....also, I know how to spell wip(e), someone's little finger did that!!

Lauryn, is 8 and a typical whiner. She has learned to procrastinate with the best of us...much to the man's chagrin (he's the type of guy who will wake up at 6 am, have a load of laundry going, the floor swept and the dishes done by 7 am...(I know it's rough, but I still love him *sigh*)).

She gets the daily chores of feeding and watering the dog, dishes, and wiping down their sink and toilet in the hall bathroom (#'s 1, 2, & 3). Then on Wednesday she runs the vacuum through the living room and down the hall. The vacuum brings out much moaning (hers), wailing (hers) and gnashing of teeth (mine).

Liyah, is 6 and an even better procrastinator than her sister (somehow she does it without drawing attention to the fact that she is indeed procrastinating...hmmm). She has the responsibility of feeding and watering the cat, clearing the table after lunch and supper & sweeping the dining room and kitchen floors after supper each night (#'s 1, 2 & 3). Then on Wednesday she is required to dust the tables and surface area's in the living room (now that is a chore she really enjoys).

Sundays are F(ree) days for the girls...yep, I'm that nice of a mom!!

These daily chores are not required on Sundays, whatever needs to be done on that day I do. Each day their chores are completed without any too much back-talk, whining or procrastination they each earn an hour of t.v. or x-box or games on the iPhone/computer. They also get to call and invite over or talk to friends on the phone when they are done (obviously Li's responsibilities are late in the day so they would not all count against her privileges, mostly how she did the day before counts).

At the end of the week, if the chart is all full (M-F) they earn a "sleepover" in the living room. Complete with pizza, snacks and goodies!! Yeah!!! (Obviously, from the above picture they didn't earn the sleepover last week, we are really working hard to get that sleepover this week!!)

On Saturdays it's been a family affair. We all pitch in to tighten up the ship-shape and work on bedrooms and laundry! The girls both know how to do their laundry so they are quite responsible to do that with some supervision. Then we do some yard work, feed the chickens (yes, I do that daily) special treats from the fridge clean out, and then we have some family fun.

I kinda hate that the girl's summer has turned into more of a "responsible" time than a fun time for them. That is real life isn't it...I always try to tell myself, I'm not raising kids--I'm raising adults. They will need to know compassion, responsibility, serving/giving & group therapy effort!!

The Frumpy House is learning that whatever comes our way we can meet it head on with poise, dignity and a happy least, after my first cup of coffee!

How about you other moms, have you met challenging situations head on with the help of your family (wether they enlist or are drafted)? How has that gone? Did they (or you) live to tell about it?

***All three photos were supplied by family members @ The Frumpy I was at work when I decided I should get motivated and write a blog post!!! Thank you....Greg and Lauryn!