Monday, January 31, 2011

feeding the fire...

That's what I'll be doing today...

I woke to a thick glaze of frost on everything...



...it was beautiful.



It's supposed to get bitter cold over the next few days (high tomorrow below zero), and 5-10" of snow before the sun comes back again.

So the kids and I carried in plenty of firewood, and I'll keep a roaring fire going to take the chill off this drafty old house.

The snow's started now... such a beautiful morning.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Indescribable sweetness

My two tiny grandsons tangled up in sleep...

That's all.

I just had to share...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

the sock of shame*

Cody isn't having his best day ever.

He has a tiny sore on the top of his paw and he won't leave it alone...

... so I had to cover it.



We keep single, and slightly holey socks just for this purpose... large ones work great to cover hooves, or with the toes cut off they make dandy little equine leg coverings (to cover dressings, ointments, small sores etc.)... small socks work well for dog's legs and feet.

Cody is awfully small, so even a small sock is very big on him.

I think he's embarrassed.

Today might be a looooooooong day for him.



`

Note to Steve: No, I haven't replaced my camera yet. I'm using my other camera, the one that has problems with it's focus and only takes decent pictures when I have it set on close-up. I can take great pictures of tiny details, but forget about a picture taken from more than a few feet away... One of these days I'll have to start shopping around to replace my "good" camera.

*a DIY adaptation of the "cone of shame"

Monday, January 24, 2011

*~*daybook*~*

simple-woman-daybook-small
FOR TODAY

January 24, 2011

Outside my window... the sun is up and the clouds are burning off, and we had the tiniest dusting of snow last night... I was surprised when I went out this morning to feed and found everything lighty sprinked with snow.




I am thinking... about what to do with R's hair. The lady who was supposed to put R's sisterlocks in says now that she doesn't have time to do them. R is so disappointed! I'm not sure what to do next...

I am thankful for... this day.

From the learning rooms... school is going well. M is stable enough to get through school time without problems (such a blessing!) and we are making good progress.

From the kitchen... broccoli cheese soup in the crockpot... Mmmm.

I am going... to try to find an hour or so to spend out at the barn today. The pen needs cleaning, and so does the barn. Hopefully I'll be able to get out there...

I am reading... I just finished Unbroken by , it was an excellent book!


I am hearing... Quin restlessly pacing, M laughing at the TV..

Around the house... we're still waiting for the estimate to finish the basement. I'm anxious to hear what the estimate comes in at... I'd love to have the work done.

One of my favorite things... the walk back from the barn after a late night feeding, with the stars so brilliant above me.


Visit Peggy's blog for more about The Simple Woman's Daybook

powdered sugar snow

I woke up to a light dusting of snow this morning...

It looked like everything had been sprinkled lightly with powdered sugar.

Stay warm :)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

shopping day

Yesterday seemed to be "food day" around here... The kids (and Joe) are still loving the homemade waffles I've been making with my new waffle iron, so I made a triple batch of waffles this morning... that should be enough to last them several days.

Then the kids and I headed out to do the monthly shopping. Because we are on a limited budget (I don't work outside the home, and our income has done down a bit over the past couple of years... even though expenses keep going up), but the kids just keep getting bigger and eating more... and M needs more "expensive" foods now because of his GI problems, I've had to carefully plan for our food expenses.

So I do a "BIG" shopping trip once a month. Before I go, I plan a month's worth of meals, adding any ingredients I don't already have to my shopping list, and look through the Costco ad for any coupons for things on my list. I mostly just shop the warehouse stores... I start at Sam's Club and get all I can there, then Costco for anything I can't get at Sam's, and finally stop at the super Wal-Mart for the few things I can't buy at Sam's or Costco, or things I just need a little of.

I try to keep my pantries well stocked with the basics... I buy very little prepared foods, instead I stock up on the raw ingredients I need to make, from scratch, whatever we want. The kids love macaroni and cheese so I always have elbow noodles and cheese around to make some for a quick lunch, and I keep turkey pepperoni and mozzarella cheese in the freezer for pizza  (it only takes a minute to mix up some bread dough and set it to rise for the crust). They love frozen burritos, so I keep a big bag of pinto beans in the basement and make my own... I use the pressure cooker to cook the beans,  sometimes I add meat to the burritos, and sometimes they are just beans, cheese, peppers and rice (it's a great way to use up leftover spanish rice). The kids love them... and they are so much healthier for them than the frozen ones.  Burritos are another thing I make a BIG batch of, then freeze to heat up later for a quick easy lunch.

I don't buy much beef or pork, this month I bought 5 lbs of hamburger for the month, and a small package of pork...but we do eat a lot of chicken breasts, and I plan at least one or two meatless meals each week.

I buy LOTS of produce... We can go through 30 lbs of potatoes in a month, and I stock up on carrots, celery, peppers, lettuce, and fruit. I also stock up on frozen veggies and fruits... for the end of the month, when the fresh produce is gone. I still have a lot of home canned and frozen food the I put up last summer, and I almost never buy tomatoes, pickles, green beans, or anything that I grow... instead I try to put up enough to last us through the year.

Usually, about half way through the month, I'll have to stop at Sam's or Costco and pick up milk, or fruit, and sometimes bread... but I try stop as seldom as possible.  The more I run in for "just one thing" the more I come out with a half dozen things! ;)

So yesterday was shopping day... We got ALL the shopping done (filling the back end of the car twice!) and got everything home and unloaded. I still have a lot to put away, but the freezers are full, and the kids are loving having so many choices again. (By the end of the month, eating is getting pretty boring... since all the "good" stuff gets eaten fairly quickly!)

Shopping day ended with a simple dinner of hamburgers, a big salad and green beans. We totally decked out the burgers with all the fixin's (all that fresh produce.. you know) and even added some guacamole on top just because it sounded sooooo good.

I love having the pantries full... it can snow all it wants, or M can have one of those miserable rough spells, and I don't have to stress about not being able to get to the store. It's a good feeling... kind of the same feeling I get when I buy the year's worth of hay each summer and have it stacked in the barn. The feeling that everything we need is here...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

weather and rambling

It feels strange to write a post without any photos to add to it... My camera never did turn up after I lost it at the Special Olympics basketball camp, and I haven't taken the time (or spent the money) to replace it yet. So... no photos for awhile.

After several warm days the weather turned cold again yesterday and we got a little more snow. I doubt we got more than a few inches, but I'm glad for it... It was so dry for so long that every little bit of moisture is appreciated.

After a busy couple of days (going to the stock show, the stable for PT, the courthouse over at the county seat to drop off (another!) guardianship report, a homeschool group get-together, and Goodwill to drop off a load), we will be home all day today... hopefully getting lots of work done in school, and maybe a little sledding in, if there's enough snow.

I talked to B (dd#2) last night, and after four months of living and working in Kansas City, it looks like she'll be heading to Boston to work for a few months. I miss her not living close enough to home to visit, and worry about her bouncing from place to place... but I'm also enjoying living vicariously through her travels. She loved Philadelphia, wasn't crazy about Kansas City, Denver is special because it's home... I'll be curious to see how she likes living in Boston.

It's still dark outside.. the sun has not even started to come up... but Brighty is already braying for his breakfast. He must be cold... time to head out to the barn.

(Note to Steve about donkeys and coats: I do sometimes blanket Brighty because he won't go into the barn and when it's below 0 (F) it's just SO bitter cold and hard for him to keep his temperature up... but generally people here don't blanket their donkeys. The feeling here is, as long as they have shelter and plenty of hay they should be fine. All of our donkeys so far are either feral (rounded up with wild mustangs) or one generation away from feral (Tucker) and pretty tough. But thanks for the thought... it made me wonder how different my American feral donkeys are from your Irish donkeys.

Monday, January 17, 2011

*~*daybook*~*

simple-woman-daybook-small
FOR TODAY

January 17, 2011

Outside my window... the sun is almost up... it's that hazy, just-past-dawn time of day.

I am thinking... of a friend of a friend who is in need of prayers.

I am thankful for... today.

From the learning rooms...we had a great schooling week last week, and got so much done. I love weeks like that! I hope this week follows the same pattern...

From the kitchen... I've been having fun with the waffle maker E (dd#1) got me for Christmas. M and R love waffles so I've been making big batches of waffles on the weekend for them to heat up and eat during the week.

I am wearing...blue jeans, dark green long sleeved t-shirt, denim button down shirt.

I am creating... I'm still possessed by cleaning things out and getting rid of stuff, so I guess I'm creating order. I've also learned a couple new tunes on the banjo and have been stealing as much time as I can to practice them.

I am going...up to Denver this morning to restock some homeschool supplies.

I am reading... I just finished reading The Immortal Life of Henriette Lacks, it was an amazing book! I'm starting Unbroken now, and it seems like it's going to be another really good read.

I am hoping... for a calm, peaceful day.

I am hearing... a show M's watching about Midway Island.

Around the house... we are moving ahead with plans to finish the basement. I don't have the estimate yet... I hope it's a project that we can afford.

One of my favorite things... watching the deer graze right outside the window. They are in the back pasture right now...

A few plans for the rest of the week... we're going to the Stock Show tomorrow evening, later in the week we'll be meeting with friends from the homeschool group, heading to the stable for M's PT, and celebrating E's birthday with lunch and some shopping. :)

A picture I'm sharing...

waffles for breakfast....Mmmmm




Visit Peggy's blog for more about The Simple Woman's Daybook

Saturday, January 15, 2011

starting fresh

As years go...  2010 really kind of stunk.

At least for us.

I was extremely happy to kiss it good-bye and start fresh with a new year.

I think that feeling of a new year/a new start has been driving my mood lately.

I've been possessed by cleaning out-throwing out-giving away. I've gone through the basement and it's gone from a place you could barely walk through, to a place that's so cleaned out that I'm going to start gathering estimates for (finally!) having it finished. When we bought this house, six years ago, finishing the basement was the first thing we were going to do... But then we discovered the rest of the house was in dire need of major repairs and the basement project was put on long term hold.  It's a small space, but I've had fun playing around with ideas of how to do it...

I went through every box and shelf in the storeroom... getting rid of everything we don't need or use, and keeping only those things that are really important.  I love the process of cleaning out like that... It makes me feel lighter somehow to let go of "things".

I've taken one large load to the Goodwill, and have another ready to go.

I've gone through all the old photos and organized them and boxed them up... Then I went through 25 years of school papers (the older kids papers, they went to public school) and pulled out what I wanted to save for myself, and then organized the rest into a keepsake box for each girl, holding school papers, report cards, school pictures from each year, award certificates, etc.  It was a fun project and I think the girls will like them.

Like my sister, I love new beginnings, and I love starting off having everything cleaned out and pared down.

I'm not spending much time at the computer. I just don't have the patience for sitting at it right now...

We're getting lots of school done, and (unfortunately!) still spending plenty of time on insurance and medical stuff connected to the accident. We're also just relaxing and enjoying what is turning out to be one of those lovely calm spells we have from time to time.

The kids had a great time on Wednesday at the Special Olympics basketball camp with the Denver Nuggets. I was very impressed with the players... They seemed to be truly enjoying spending time with the kids, and it looked as though most of the team was there. I took some great pictures of the day, but unfortunately lost my camera somewhere between leaving the arena and getting home... so no pictures. If I don't find my camera soon I'm going to have to get another one... I don't mind buying a new camera (the other one was needing to be replaced) but I am sad about losing those photos. For now, I'm using my extracamera (the one I use for close-ups), and it's ok... but not the best for quick snapshots.

Well.... this has turned into a long rambling post so I'll close now with a picture I took this morning of the sunrise.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

We love snow...

I didn't realize how much we loved it until it didn't snow for almost the entire autumn. As the dry, warm, days that were our autumn continued, I felt unsettled... as though something wasn't right somehow. We needed snow...

We got about 10" of snow with the storm, and it's been so bitter cold that it's all still around. I love looking outside and seeing the back pasture blanketed with white... with only the tips of the yucca plants and tall prairie grasses poking through the snow.

I love that the kids can grab their sleds and head out back and sled until they are covered with snow, hands and noses red with cold... and they come back in laughing and ready for hot chocolate.

It's been a good week so far... we're back on track in our school work, the insurance stuff from the accident is mostly done, and life seems to be getting back to normal.

R, taking advantage of the snow...
`



`


`



We're off to Denver today... The kids are going to a basketball clinic, through Special Olympics, with the Denver Nuggets. It should be fun...

Sunday, January 9, 2011

This is more like it...

... it finally feels like winter.



It's been snowing since early this morning, and we're getting a pretty good covering of white. We may have as much as 8 - 10" by the time the snow stops tomorrow.


Brighty... snow covered because he refuses to go into the barn!

`  


Things are slowly getting back to normal after the accident. R and I are still achy, and our backs are very touchy, but I think it will just take time for the soreness to go away...

We bought a car to replace our old Sedona on Friday. After looking at everything within 100 miles of us that was in our price range, we finally found a car about 90 miles north of us. It's another Sedona, same year as the old one, but red this time instead of green. It doesn't have all the bells and whistles our old car had, but it seems to be a decent car, has low miles, and was in our price range. I'm so glad we found it and got it home before the snow started!

  (it looks better without the snow! ;)

Today was a nice quiet day. I cleaned house this morning, and this afternoon we played Monopoly (the Irish edition :) ) and made necessity bags for the homeless to restock the car so we'll be ready the next time to go to Denver.

(We no longer make the huge number of bags we used to... We started changing the contents slightly depending on the season, so now we just make a dozen or so at a time so they don't last too long.)

It looks like we'll be snowed in for awhile, but that's fine... in fact, that's wonderful. I can think of nothing I'd like better than to be snowed in, get lots of school done, and enjoy just being home and together...

Stay warm!

Tucker

Thursday, January 6, 2011

totaled!

My awesome little Kia Sedona I got such a good deal on back in March has been totalled by the insurance company handling the claim (who insures the guy that hit me).

USAA has given me three days to find and buy a new car, and return the rental car they've been paying for.

They don't seem able to acknowledge the complications that having children with disabilities can bring to something like finding and buying a car...

I'm not sure how it's going to get done before they take the rental car back (especially with the extra doctor's appointments we have during that same time frame, for problems related to the accident), but I'm trusting that it will all work out somehow.

I'm off now to Craigslist to look for a Sedona that might have been listed since the last time I checked...

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Finally!

... some snow.

`

We didn't get a lot of snow, but it was enough to feel like winter has finally arrived.



`

We spent New Years Eve at home and did get a little sledding in (R even found a good new sledding spot!), but spent most of the day inside... staying warm in front of the fire.



`

It was an altogether wonderful way to spend the day.

`

Happy New Year... and all the best in 2011.