My family's journey down the road less traveled....

Friday, December 30, 2011

Come on 2012!!!

Well, I survived the 2011 Christmas season.  I feel horribly guilty that I didn't enjoy the holiday and the time with family like I wanted.  I just didn't feel it.  I wanted to...really I did.  I watched Christmas movies, listened to Christmas music and replied with a very hearty, "Merry Christmas" to everyone who wished me a, Happy Holidays."  Yet, it never came. 

I even witnessed a Christmas miracle!  My family gathered at my brother and sister-in-law's house on Christmas Eve to be merry and exchange gifts.  For the first time, well, ever, my Dad and Step-dad were there at the same time.  Most of you won't get the significance of this but it's truly a miracle for our family.  There has been some serious animosity going on for the past 31 years!!  On a smaller scale, I was able to spend several hours in the company of my sister and we got along famously!!  No tension, no mumbling under our breath about each other, no drama.  

Santa was good to us as well.  Kids were ecstatic about their gioodies, Mr. Awesome© surprised me with a gift I've been wanting for several years.  Yet the Christmas spirit was elusive.  Maybe it was the warmer weather and lack of snow.  Maybe it was residual stress from a really crappy 2011.  Maybe my chakras were out of alignment!!  Who knows?  All I can say is that I'm looking to out it behind me and embrace 2012 with open arms. 

I'm resisting the urge to make flighty resolutions that I know I won't keep past January 15th.  I know I need to lose weight and eat healthy.  I know I need to get out of debt and reduce clutter in my home.  I look at these as works in progress and have set a deadline of my 65th birthday to have them all checked off my to-do list!!  Don't want to pressure myself.  All I resolve to accomplish this year is to relax and enjoy my life, my family and to try my best to not take for granted what God has blessed me with. 

See ya next year!!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

That Old Time Feeling....

Anyone else having trouble finding where they packed their Christmas spirit?  I could have sworn I put it in the box next to the stockings!!  I'm kinda feeling Charlie Brownish over here.  I've lost the true meaning of Christmas somewhere along the way. 

It's been a tense couple of weeks, with not knowing if Mr. Awesome© will work the week between Christmas and New Years.   Our dilemma is that he's only a contract employee which means no benefits and no vacation or holiday pay.  If the plant shuts down, he doesn't get paid and while we have a little in savings the cost of Christmas has eaten into it a little and making that ever important mortgage payment needs to be a priority.  Thankfully, he was told they were going to work at least a couple of days that week. 

I've also been wrestling with our lack of a home church.  Littlest Oompa has been asking every Sunday to go to church and I feel awful that we haven't gone.  The church we love is such a long drive, about 50 miles away.  Neither of our two cars is all that reliable and dumping 100 extra miles on them each week was rough on the cars and our wallets for gas.  I've "shopped around" a few other churches but haven't quite found the right fit.  We are Charismatic Christians and want to find a church with a Holy Spirit invoking praise and worship team, a pastor who teaches and makes you think and a congregation that is open and welcoming.  Throw in an active youth group and I'll be on cloud nine.

I think what this icky feeling really boils down to is that I need to feel connected, in some small way to making the next few weeks a little better for someone...anyone.  I feel this overwhelming need to do something, but I don't know what.  I read a blog post by a woman who made soup and bread to pass out from her car to the homeless.  I've read stories about individuals and groups taking up collections of food to give to families in need.  I guess, I want to find a family who is in the same position we were in last year and give them a glimmer of hope.  Hope.  I know I can't fix what ails them but hope is what got us through last winter and hope is something I can give.

Now I just need to figure out how.....Deborah


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Giving Thanks....

I forget sometimes that I have it good.  It's easily done these days.  We all get so wrapped up in the day-to-day, mundane aspects of life that we don't take the time to reflect on where we are and what it took to get there.  The journey is often a front runner in our minds when we're struggling uphill but once we hit that plateau it slips to the back, out of out the line of sight.  As you well know...out of sight, out of mind.

My journey was brought to mind today when I learned that my brother-in-law (Mr. Awesome's youngest brother) was facing a tough time in his marriage.  His wife of 7 years has asked for a divorce.  It breaks my heart to see them both suffering.  We're not as close with them as I would have hoped or liked us to be.  There were and are several differences between us and them that have gotten in the way of a really close relationship.  We're considerably older than they are, have a much different interpretation of God's word, and we live an entirely foreign lifestyle to what they know and are comfortable with.  These past few, heart-wrenching weeks have brought us closer to his brother and we were able to enjoy some time with their children too.

It's also reminded me that while I don't have all of the "stuff" I want, I don't take exciting vacations, I can't fit into a size 4 and I'll never make it on American Idol.....I am blessed.  My cupboards are full, I have a house that's warm and bright, my children are healthy and when  life gets scary, I have someone's hand to hold while we walk thru the valley.

Gratefully Yours........Deborah 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Things we do for Love...

Today is Mr. Awesome and my 12th wedding anniversary.  Google tells me that a traditional 12th anniversary gift is one made of either silk or linen.  Thankfully, I'm not a traditional kinda girl!!  I have been thinking back lately over the past 12 years....well really 15 years, that I've known Mr. Awesome.  Some of those years have been rough, of those rough ones a few were nasty but on the whole....we've been lucky. 

We've been fortunate to raise 3 healthy, loving, non-psychopathic children.  We've been able to purchase a house and even save it from foreclosure.  We've loved, laughed, yelled and cried.  We've flung insults, pillows and the occasional piece of food.  Kinda makes it sound like a frat party!! 

I couldn't ask for a better husband and father to the Oompas.  I have made it my mission to fulfill one of his biggest dreams this year.  To join a band.  Mr. Awesome's brother is in a band and they want him to join.  Problem is, he doesn't have a guitar of his own.  He's been playing our 8 year old's mini-Strat guitar!!  I've decided to make that my mission.  I'm taking inventory of all unnecessary things in my house that have any value and putting them up for sale.  I've even reached out to perfect strangers via Ebay in an attempt to raise money for this venture!! 

This past year was one of those nasty, rough ones I mentioned.  We did a lot of things we wished we hadn't had to do just to keep the family afloat.  We sacrificed, scrimped and humbled ourselves more than I thought possible.  It's time to show Mr. Awesome that it was appreciated!!  

Oh, the things we do for Love!!!!

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Therapy...Redneck Style

Feeling tense, keyed up and stressed??  Take a cue from me and my all natural, medication-free stress relieving therapy methods.  Whooo boy...I sure do feel better!!!!!

While your kids might not appreciate the destruction therapeutic effects, you'll instantly feel like your old self again!!

Peacefully yours.........Deborah

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Society Needs a Wake-Up Call.....

I recently saw a front page, headline stunner..............Kim K was filing for divorce.  Really?  Really?? 

How, or should I say WHY, is this news??  The economy is in great despair, we still have troops deployed in foreign countries where they have no business being,  joblessness and homelessness are on the steady rise, we're headed into an election with candidates who have nothing but their agendas on the brain, protesters are voicing their disgust on Wall Street, chemicals are being sprayed overhead creating toxic soil and our country is being sold out from under us. Despite all of these news worthy headlines,  folks are gloaming on to this half-wit socialite who's only "somebody" because her daddy was rich, momma married an Olympic star, and she made one hell of a sex tape.

I can hear the argument now....."we need something to take our minds off the bleakness of our current situation."  I wholeheartedly agree. However, there are thousands of other, heartwarming, mood-lifting stories taking place around the country to be reported on.  Stories of people doing good and making the lives of those around them better.  People acting like decent, moral, giving, upstanding human beings. I for one, don't find solace in watching uber rich people who lack the common sense God gave a squirrel, blowing millions of dollars on a spectacle of a wedding for the sole purpose of showing off how much money they have to spend and how important they think they are to the world.  Throw in marrying a person you hardly know and you get one, or in this case, a whole family of truly ignorant, vapid souls.

I pulled out my trusty abacus and did a little ciphering.....for 10 Million dollars:
  • you could feed 1538 families for 1 year
  • you could save 80 homes in foreclosure
  • you could run 20 homeless shelters for 1 year
  • you could run 35 animal shelters for 1 year
  • you could invest in several small businesses which would hire jobless folks and stimulate the economy 
  • you could pay for 120 children to receive 30 days outpatient treatment at St. Jude Research Hospital
 I'm sure there are thousands of other worthy causes who would have benefited from a 10 million dollar donation and I know there are thousands of people in the world who would have benefited from never hearing about Kim K and her her useless clan. 

Disgusted at society.....Deborah

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Spreading the Word....

Every great once in a while, a product or service comes along that really gets my attention.  I'm kinda picky, so it's rare that I get super excited over ideas.  I like things to be useful, attractive and quirky.  I love the quirky!!  So when I saw this, I knew it was something I wanted and in this case, wanted to be promote.

I, like many, am a avid user of Mason jars.  They have umpteen million uses and no nasty chemicals to leech into your food.  They hold pens, flowers, soup, beans, chicken, tea, name it.  I am excited to invest a little seed money into this product, this idea, this woman.  It brightens and lifts my spirit to see good ol' American ingenuity at it's finest.  It's a beautiful thing to see the Made in America sticker on a product. 

Kickstarter is a wonderful idea as well. For any small start up business it's a novel way to reach investors and spread the word about your idea.  I had fun perusing the interesting and sometimes odd products and services out there.  Many are not for me but at least the creative juices of the American public are flowing and we have a glimmer of hope in restoring our once prosperous and productive nation.

I encourage all 3 of you readers to look over the reCap proposal and if it speaks to you...invest and spread the word.

Entrepreneurialy yours.......Deborah

Disclaimer: reCap and Kickstarter have never heard of me and my endorsement gets me a big ol' heap of nothing, except the knowledge I did good for today!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

New Kids on the Block....

"Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh. The right stuff."  While back in 1987 my pre-teen heart would have flipped at the mere mention of the New Kids.....I'm not referring to those boy band, pelvic thrusting, ballad crooning New Kids.  I would like to introduce my new kids............
World, meet Lucy and Ethel, the hens, who have already lived up to their names with bizarre antics (top) and the male, Mosher (bottom) named after our neighbor who used to raise guineas and inspired us to get a few.  Their job here on the farmstead is to warn us, the hens and anyone within a quarter mile radius of impending doom.  They are also kind enough to alert us, loudly I might add, when an airplane flies overhead, or when a truck is coming down the road or when the winds blows.  They're helpful like that. 

On alert....Deborah

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Fun was Number One on my List...

I've put all that nasty list making behind me, at least publicly.  I'm chalking it up to stage fright that I wasn't able to complete most of my lists last week.  You see, I'm very shy.  I get nervous performing in front of crowds.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it!!

This weekend was a nice change from our ordinary routine of the ordinary.  The Oompas and I took a road trip with my brother and dad to the Ohio Renaissance Festival.  My brother's girlfriend, who will be here after referred to as "the other sister", is a belly dancer at the festival.  This was my first chance to see her dance live and wow, wow, wow...she's amazing.  It's such a powerful, fluid, graceful style of dancing.  The woman she dances with was phenomenal as well. 

"Arianna" aka the other sister
Despite the weather being a nasty cold, windy and at times a little rainy, we had a blast.  I picked up several nice loose tea blends, way too many incense sticks and a couple drams of essential oils. Oldest Oompa has already decided she's going again next costume!!  
Off with his head!!!

I'll clean my room....promise!!!

Good Morrow to You All.....Lady Deborah of the Awesome Clan

Friday, September 30, 2011

To Quote Mr. Brown, "AARRGGHH"....

When I tried this list experiment over on the forum it worked like a charm.  Not so much now.  Despite my best planning and intentions it's been falling apart lately (and yes I know all about intentions and their pet mice and how they work on a paving crew building a road).  It's all good though...I'm going with the flow.  See how flowy I am? Like liquid butter.

Here's a recap of yesterday:
  • Paperwork not faxed...despite my repeated reminders, Mr. Awesome neglected to sign them!!  Got it done late last night after work but missed the deadline.  Hopefully it won't cause any problems.
  • No grocery list made however I did peruse the ads so it should come together fairly quickly.
  • I did call the music store to decline the $200 in clarinet repairs.  Middle Oompa chose to rent a trombone from the school instead.  Oh joy, can't wait to hear her practicing!!!
  • Here's where my careful planning would have paid off beautifully...I had all the necessary components for Baked Chicken Nachos.  There was seasoned pre-cooked meat, chips, beans and a plethora of cheese all waiting for Mr. Awesome to assemble for dinner when he got home from work since I was working the dinner shift at the camp.  Now throw in a few hours of unexpected overtime for him and you get three hungry kids calling me at 7pm wondering where the heck dear ol' dad was and can they just have cereal for dinner!! 
  • So glad I left number 5 blank.  Makes me feel better that there is one less task I wasn't able to accomplish.

Not that I'm keeping score but here's today's hit list...
  • Boy Oompa's online conference with his charter school at 10am
  • Grocery shopping
  • At least a partial day of school lessons with boy Oompa
  • Have oldest girl Oompa at the high school at the correct time(she's supposed to let me know this afternoon).  The 7th grade band will be marching in the halftime parade with the alumni band.  Mr. Awesome told her we'd all be there in the stands, in the cold watching. Of course his plans change at the last minute and he'll be here in our cozy home with a friend who's coming to stay for the weekend.  Nice...real nice!!
  • Go to bed early!  This should be by far the easiest.  I need my rest to Saturday's excursion with the Oompas and my brother to the Ohio Renaissance Festival.  His gal, my "other" sister is in a belly dancing troupe that performs daily at the fair.  I've never seen her dance live and the ren fair is a perfect place to start my holiday shopping!!!
I'm considering this experiment completed...and sadly failed.  The concept was interesting but factoring in our ever changing world, it's set me up for frustration.  I can flow with the changes much better without a list.
Flowingly yours....Deborah  

Thursday, September 29, 2011

5 Things for Thursday...

In the spirit of, "if at first you don't succeed, try, try again", I'm back at it with my list!  Tuesday and Wednesday were not as I had planned but then again, when does life ever go as we plan?  As a self-proclaimed control freak that's a hard lesson for me to learn.  I'm not all that good at just going with the flow.  I don't flow well.  However, I've heard that practice makes perfect so again, I make a list in a hopeful kinda way and vow to just see where the day takes me!

5 Things for Thursday:
  • Fax paperwork to Mr. Awesome's employer.  He was supposed to do it last night but forgot and of course it's needed today.
  • Write up my grocery list for tomorrow's shopping trip.
  • Return call to Sweetman Music regarding middle Oompa's clarinet.  Their repair estimate is $207....we found a complete set of replacement pads for $13.20.  Mr. Awesome is gonna take care of the repair himself!!
  • Have dinner made or at least mostly assembled before I leave for work at 2:30pm.   As much as I would like to leave dinner plans up to Mr. Awesome I am a realist.  He doesn't cook nor has any desire to learn to cook.  On those rare occasions when he's called upon to provide a meal we end up eating take-out or chili or worst of all....take-out chili.
  • My number 5 has stumped me.  Having to go to work this afternoon leaves me with a shortened day here at home.  I really don't know if I can commit to a 5th task on top of homeschooling the boy Oompa, laundry and those already on my list.  Thinking I'll leave this one blank for today!!

Productively Yours,

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

She shoots and scores...not!!

Sigh, yesterday was not my most productive day.  I had to make a few last minute revisions to my list and while I did accomplish a few things, there were not those on my list.  Here's how it went...
  • Layout pattern and get material cut to make girl Oompas' jammies I looked at the wrong material yardage when I was at the store and didn't have enough material to make the not even close!!  I'll be stopping by the fabric store this weekend and as long as they still have the print in stock I'll get the extra I need.
  • Make up and mail a care package to my wonderful in-laws who ran away to Florida I got out all the things I wanted to send to them but failed to find a box.  I'll rummage thru the recycle bin a t work to find a box and will ship it later this week. 
  • Post a large bag of clothes and shoes I never wear to Freecycle-if you've never heard of it, check it out.  It's an amazing resource to receive and get rid of items that you are done with but not quite ready for the landfill. This was by far the easiest task on my list.  I posted the ad early in the day, had a response by noon and the bag was picked up around 7pm!!
  • Research (that's what I'm calling net surfing) podcasts on iTunes.  A friend keeps raving about them and I really need to get with the times!!  Learned I can only search for podcasts thru iTunes which is installed on Mr. Awesome's computer.  I would have just jumped over 3 feet and booted his up except it's slower than molasses on a cold day so it seemed a huge waste of time.  I'll need a few hours dedicated to my search and therefore will postpone to a rainy, cold weekend. 
  • Tear my computer room apart in search of the CD-ROM with the driver for our webcam.  It's a Microsoft product which means I can't download the driver from their website.  I'd like to take this moment to say I want an iMac.  I can't explain, well at least in words that are appropriate for public use, how much I dislike most Microsoft products.  The suck....I'll leave it at that.  I think the scary hairball monster stole the disc.  I'm gonna get ahold of a few techie friends to see if they can help me as a last resort.  Otherwise I'm putting the webcam on the shooting wall and working on my target shooting!!
Today hasn't fared very well either.  Wednesday mornings are dedicated for work at the camp.  I have the order I placed earlier in the week arriving and I have to meet with my favorite food rep to place an order from her company.  Not to mention the weekly staff meeting.   Normally, I'm in and out in a few hours but with the upcoming festival and subsequent HUGE order to deal with I ended up putting in a 6 hour day.  No school work was done, no laundry washed, no chore lists wonderfully checked off.  Nothing. 

I'm taking an hour to unwind mentally then will try and do something productive around here. A list would just be a waste of time today so I'm skipping it.  Maybe I'll make up for it by creating a longer list for tomorrow.  Or not!!!

totally unproductive......Deborah

Monday, September 26, 2011

5 things...

As promised, here's an update to my 5 Things post.  I know you all were waiting with bated breath to see if I was able to accomplish it all.  So here goes...
My 5 things for Monday, in no particular order:
  • Work with Littlest Oompa on finishing his writing sample for school -We didn't just knock this out we tackled an entire day of school work.
  • Make a batch of crock pot apple butter- This is still cooking away in the crock pot, it may not actually be done till tomorrow.  
  • Wash and dry 1 load of laundry and fold the load that's sitting in a basket on the kitchen table-Didn't get to the folding part till late this afternoon, but it's all ready for the Oopmas and Mr. Awesome to put away!!
  • Run into work to inventory and place this week's food order (1 hour maximum)- Unfortunately, this took more like 2 hours.  We are getting ready for one of our huge fundraising festivals and planning food for 800 or so is a little daunting.  I spent a little more time double checking than usual, but it got done.
  • Sweep and vacuum floors...there is a serious hairball growing in the bathroom that looking like at any moment it's gonna spring up and attack someone....seriously.  It's totally grody. -I banished the hairball monster!!
I think my little experiment of broadcasting my to-do list to the world make me a little more accountable and less likely to dork off completely.  I have been know to dork off...I majored in dorking off in school.  I have a gift. 

My quandary (noun-state of perplexity or doubt and totally cool word) is this: Laundry is an everyday, never ending, life sucking, mind-numbing, face melting, dream haunting chore around these here parts.  Since running a load of laundry is a given during the course of my day should it take up valuable space on my daily list?   For the rest of the week I will not include laundry on my list and see how it goes. 

Let's see if I can keep it rolling!!  
My 5 things I really, really, really, really want to accomplish on Tuesday:
  • Layout pattern and get material cut to make girl Oompas' jammies
  • Make up and mail a care package to my wonderful in-laws who ran away to Florida
  • Post a large bag of clothes and shoes I never wear to Freecycle-if you've never heard of it, check it out.  It's an amazing resource to receive and get rid of items that you are done with but not quite ready for the landfill.
  • Research (that's what I'm calling net surfing) podcasts on iTunes.  A friend keeps raving about them and I really need to get with the times!!
  • Tear my computer room apart in search of the CD-ROM with the driver for our webcam.  It's a Microsoft product which means I can't download the driver from their website.  I'd like to take this moment to say I want an iMac.  I can't explain, well at least in words that are appropriate for public use, how much I dislike most Microsoft products.  The suck....I'll leave it at that.

Well, wish me luck!!  I'd love to hear what's on your daily list!!



Sunday, September 25, 2011

5 things...

I am a serial lurker over on and recently read and actually participated in a post titled "5 things". 

The idea was that if you posted, for the world to see, a 5 item long to-do list, you'd be more inclined to accomplish it.  It works, at least for me.  I didn't want to post a follow-up announcing my failure to the world.  I'm vain like that! 
I'll be the first to own up to my Super Woman complex and have at time set ridiculously high standards for myself.  I want to be a mix of Martha Stewart, P. Allen Smith, Rachel Ray, Dr. Oz and that freaky witch of a trainer from the Biggest Loser.  Um, can we say deluded??  I'm working on it.....really.  The biggest problem, for me at least, is when I fail at being all these amazing people wrapped into one, I get frustrated and shut down.  Thereby accomplishing nothing.  This would qualify as not a Good Thing.

That's kinda why the 5 things list appealed to me.  Accomplishing 5 things over the course of one day is easy.  
I'm gonna give it a try for the next week to see if I can actually be productive.

So...drum roll please....

My 5 things for Monday, in no particular order:
  • Work with Littlest Oompa on finishing his writing sample for school
  • Make a batch of crock pot apple butter
  • Wash and dry 1 load of laundry and fold the load that's sitting in a basket on the kitchen table
  • Run into work to inventory and place this week's food order (1 hour maximum)
  • Sweep and vacuum floors...there is a serious hairball growing in the bathroom that looking like at any moment it's gonna spring up and attack someone....seriously.  It's totally grody.  

I'll post an update tomorrow night...once I've kicked this list's hiney!!

Happy 5ing...Deborah

90 days...11 hours...7 minutes and counting....

What am I counting down to??  Christmas, of course!!  The first day of fall came and went, the weather has cooled off, the ground is lightly littered with yellow and orange leaves and I'm in the Christmas mood!!  Does this mean I've decked my halls or strung festive lights off my gutters??  Uh, no.  I'm not that crazy.  I am however, rediscovering my love of sewing.  I enjoy making gifts for family at Christmas.  Now, don't get me wrong....a nice store bought gift that fulfills someone's wish list is usually what goes around here.  I just like to supplement with unexpected, homemade, love-filled gifts.

Problem is, I rarely can restrain myself into holding on to those early works until the special day.  Case and point: 

These flannel jammies were intended to be a nice extra under the tree.  You can see how easily I caved and gave them to littlest Oompa early!!!  "Uh,, Thanksgiving, Halloween, gah!!  Happy first day of fall...yeah, yeah that's it!! Happy first day of fall!"  Littlest Oompa just looked at me like I had suddenly sprouted horns.  Then he obligingly modeled them for this photo.  Isn't he cute???

The material is a amazingly soft flannel I picked up on sale for $2.99 a yard.  These snazzy, rocker jammies cost a total of $5.25 which includes the elastic for the waist.  Not a bad price even if you include my two hours of labor.  I used this Simplicity pattern which is great because it includes several sizes in one.

I will be able to use this pattern for many more years to come.  It's simple and the only modification I'll need to make in the future is a slightly larger neck opening.  Unfortunately, Little Oompa inherited my "big fat round Irish head".  Poor kid....if he ever goes bald he'll look like Charlie Brown!!!

I have several more pieces of flannel that I will use to make the girl Oompas some much needed jammies too. Do I have the will power to hold out till Chirstmas??  Probably not.  That just means I'll have to make several for for later!!

Happy  uh, first day of fall??

Saturday, August 27, 2011

For Posterity's Sake...

My baby girl's first television appearance!!!

from stage left.....Deborah

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I didn't feel the Earth move under my feet....

In case you've missed the news lately, there was an earthquake registering 5.9 in Virginia this afternoon.  Shock waves were felt all the way over here in Ohio.  Apparently by everyone but me!!  I recounted my whereabouts at the time everyone was freaking out and was outside, on my deck, teaching the littlest Oompa about the Beaufort scale for wind speed.  To quote Morales from A Chorus Line, "Nothing, I'm feeling nothing". 

I was totally bummed too!!  It's not like California where earthquakes are a common occurrence.  It would be an experience to be able to say I felt the Earth move.  Really move!!  When you think about what has to happen to create those tremors, large or small, it's really something amazing.  The tectonic plates have been a source of wonder and awe for me since grade school.  The crust of Earth is like one giant, shifting puzzle.  Yea, I'm a geek like that.

Now to make a left at Albuquerque....2 more of my precious hens are laying!!  I collected a grand total of 4 eggs from my coop today!!  I know the 2 Barred Rocks are laying and based on egg color I am certain that 2 of the Buff Orpingtons are now laying too!!  That leaves 1 Buff Orp and the 5 Americanas to get their acts together!! 

Ella-3 year old Barred Rock

Tiffany and Heather-2 Buff Orps
Amber-the 3rd Buff Orp
Americanas-Selma, Cylence and Victoria (not pictured is Cylence's twin-Noise)
Samantha-young Barred Rock
Victoria-the my opinion
On solid ground....Deborah

Friday, August 19, 2011

Melancholy and other fancy feelings....

Today is the last day of our "Week of Relaxation".  Yes, I named a week...I'm a little odd like that.  Summer camp was finally over which left me with one full week with no responsibilities outside our house before the Oompas re-started school.  One full week to sleep in and dork around...which I'm an expert at!!

We spent the week being lazy.  The kids played, we read and even spent an entire day swimming at the beach.  It was glorious.  But, sadly,  it has come to an end.  Today we are ending our fun week on a high!!  A shopping high!!  We'll be heading to the fabric store to buy materials to make new, insulated lunch bags.  We'll be clothes shopping for a few accessories and new bling, bling to start of the school year right.  We'll all be getting haircuts...I for one and am looking forward to this as I have come to resemble Cousin It lately.  Littlest boy Oompa's outlook on this task is bleak...he hates getting his hair cut!

We'll end out evening with a night out on the town, eating at a new Mexican food restaurant and watching movies.  Tomorrow we head to my brother's house for a mass August birthday party.  Seems December was a busy month for all our parents to "get busy"!!  We will be celebrating 5 August birthdays!!  I can hear the music now...bow chicka wow wow.  

After that party we head north to one of Mr. Awesome's friends house for another party.  Yea...we're just cool like that!!  Hopefully, I won't be too partied out to enjoy.  Not sure how the kids will do at this one....they will be the only kids in attendance save another couple's baby.  Note to self....pack a bag with toys and books!!  Sunday will be spent...hopefully, working around the house.  Thus ending my week of relaxation and fun. 

It seems that summer came and went so fast!  I have enjoyed having more time with my girls and seeing them off to school is bittersweet.  They are looking forward to seeing their friends again and getting back in the swing of sports and band but I'm gonna miss them!!   Maybe I should record one of their fights...that way when I get all misty-eyed about them being gone I'll have a reminder of how nice the quiet is!!!


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Made in America Challenge

I'll openly admit I'm a little behind the times and news...I just heard about an ABC News special from February titled, "Made in America".  Over the course of 2 shows Diane Sawyer and a crew eradicate a family's home of all items not made in America.  The result?  They have NOTHING left!!  Crazy!!

The second part of the show revolves around the replacement or attempt to replace the items tossed out.  It was shocking how much of our daily goods are not produced stateside.  We wonder why America is in a recession/depression and our economy is tanking!!  We make nothing.  Mr. Awesome and I try to live my the creed that you can't consume more than you produce....if only the spendaholic powers that be would follow suit.

I have been watching videos submitted by like-minded individuals across out great but floundering nation in which they showcase items and brands still made in America.   While we don't have the money to throw out all our non-American made goods, I will shop more conscientiously.  Mr. Awesome and I have begun window shopping for a new living room suite and my eyes are peeled for that glorious Made in America sticker!

We the people made America what it was and I believe we the people can restore it!

Patriotically Yours, 
Deborah (Made in America)

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

A Good Day...

Life has been a bit of a struggle around these here parts lately.  I've been over-worked, tired, grumpy, had a stint with a stomach virus from hell and all while enduring  90+ degree days.  But today my friends is a good day!!  The weather has mellowed out a bit and my skin doesn't melt off after a few mere seconds outside.  In fact, we turned off our air conditioners a few days ago...crazy huh? 

Work is settling into a nice, even pace for me.  My newest cook is back after a death in the family had her on leave for a week.  We are half-way thru with the second to last week of summer camp.  I have everyone fully trained or at least close enough and will be enjoying a few more days off in the near future.

Tomorrow is a BIG day for our family.  The biggest Oompa will be competing at the state fair for her clothing project.  She's very excited and I couldn't be more proud of her.  Tomorrow is also my 35th birthday!!  My history with my birthday is a bit rocky.  It all started with my Mom forgot!   That was a bad year for her and looking back I can understand how life's little distractions got in the way.  They did pull a last minute dinner out of thin air...complete with an over-the-hill cake that was special ordered but not picked up at the local grocery store.  Nothing says happy 17th like black and gray icing.  Other memorable birthdays have included attending a funeral, having my car break down and being stranded and having it COMPLETELY forgotten by Mr. Awesome!!

This year, my expectations are low...really low.  As much as I'd love the treatment April over on Coal Creek Farms got....a day of meals, shopping and long lost friends just isn't in Mr. Awesome's repertoire.  Due to us having to be at the fair all day, we will be celebrating the blessed day I arrived in this world over the weekend.  I just want the kids to get along, the lawn mowed and my chicken coop finished.  Of course, presents, cake, a massage, flowers, and all kinds of loving adoration would be appreciated too.  Snort...ha, ha, ha, ha....whew!  It's good to laugh!!

Peace and good tidings.....

Monday, July 18, 2011

One down....4 to go!

For my family, mid-summer marks the end of the 4-H season.  The kids have attended meetings all year, diligently worked on projects and this weekend will finish their club's float and booth presentation design.  Our fair is over labor day weekend but in order to know who goes to state fair we have to have everything wrapped up before then. 

This afternoon was our first of 5 projects to be judged.  Biggest Oompa took the Clothing for Middle School project.  She was required to make a top with sleeves or pants and a top with/without sleeves.  She opted for a really cute peasant blouse/tunic.  It is a stretch outside her normal, overly casual t-shirt and ragged cutoffs but really does suit her personality.  I allowed her to raid my jewelry box and I have to say she did an amazing job accessorizing!!  Better than I would have done!!

I can't get over how grown up she is!!  I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that I am the mother to a teenager!!  I don't like teenagers...they're surly, smelly, lazy and always broke.  I wish there was a pause button on kids. 

 At any rate...we'll know tonight at the style review if she'll go to state fair.  Her second project , Creative Writing, isn't state fair eligible.  She would have smoked the other kids on that one!!  Middle Oompa will be showing her dog project tomorrow and the boy Oompa is still a Clubberbud (Cloverbud) so they have special judging.  Lastly, their entire club took on the project of Life Skills.  It taught many thing we take for granted like how to write a check, properly answer a phone, introducing a new person to others and so on. Very interesting and eyeopening on where the kids lack manners and sometimes common sense!!  Fingers crossed they all do well!!

My name is Deborah and I'm a 2nd year member of the Buckeye Brigade 4-H Club and I thank you for reading my blog!!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Time Flies.....

I would have finished that with, "when you're having fun",  but it hasn't exactly been all fun lately.  I preface this whining with the admission that I was warned.  K, my former boss, warned me that taking over as manager would come with headaches, frustration, a ton more hours and lots, I mean lots of phone calls and texts.  I heard her but it really didn't sink in.  You see, I have this deluded notion that I am Super Woman.   I get wild ideas that I can perfectly juggle as many roles as I want and it'll never come crashing down on my head!  I can be a dedicated homeschooling teacher, a gardener extraordinaire, an immaculate housekeeper, a devoted wife and mother and the most efficient food service manager.  To quote Dr. Phil, "How's that workin' for ya?".

Well Dr.'s not.  You see I learned this week that I don't have super powers.  Shocking right!!  Maybe if I get me a pair of them snazzy gold boots everything will work itself out.  No?  Oh, you think I shouldn't bite off more than I can chew.  What about a cape?  Capes ooze super powers.  No? Really?  You think I need to relax.  Well, well,'re a dumbass. 

I just completed my first full week as the manager and have never been so exhausted or frustrated.  Making the transition has been a little lot harder than I anticipated.  I'm a whiz at planning a menu and chopping for food for my family but making sure I don't run out of food for 100 ravenous campers is daunting.  I know that aspect will come in time but I've already had to make 2 runs to the local market to get extra items we've run out of.

The worst part for me is the actual manager role.  I am responsible for what comes out of the kitchen even when I'm not there.  I have 4 employees that I have to lead and encourage and at time correct.  Being a bit on the callous side I have caught myself several times from making harsh (yet correct) comments on their behavior and work ethics.  For those of you who ever watched That 70's Show,  I'm channeling Red Foreman.  Everyone's a "dumbass".  I know I lack a sensitivity in that department and am making it my goal to be more sensitive to my staff when they need help or have questions. 

It's all so exhausting.  I can't just leave after my shift...there's administrative work to be done.  I have gone in early almost every day to work on menus or ordering.  The only thing that's getting me thru is the knowledge that we only have 4 more weeks of camp left!!  It should slow down a little in September and October which will give me time to settle in properly.  Until then, I'll be curbing the urge to call everyone a dumbass and praying for happy hour!!

Because it's 5 o'clock somewhere....Super Woman

Thursday, June 23, 2011

It's Official...

Today it was officially announced that I am,  or will be on July 1st, the new Food Service Manager at work.  This new position means I get to do things my way...mwhahahaha!!!  Okay, so I will get to change things up but not in an evil overlord kinda way.  After lengthy talks with the camp director we both are looking at taking the food quality in a better direction.  While it is camp, we shouldn't be limited to camp food.  We both want people to walk away saying, "Wow, that was a great meal" instead of , "Wow, that was great.....for camp food."

 I will slowly be incorporating fresher, less processed foods into the menu and am really excited about adding new foods to the repertoire. I've been paying attention to the types of foods and particular dished that are hits and misses.  I have a ton of notes and ideas that I can't wait to implement.  There are a few dishes in particular that I'm looking forward to "taking to the next level".

I haven't had a challenge like this in a long time and cooking and organization is one area where I can shine.  Fingers crossed the "management" aspect doesn't outweigh the creative outlet of the position!!

Bon Appetit....Deborah

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Bureaucracy at it's finest

The events of today's travels tested my patience to their limits and I'm proud to day  I held it together!  In the words of Inigo Montoya, "Let me 'splain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up."  Mr Awesome and I were in need of a car.  Not a new car, just a beater that can better handle his new commute of 80 miles daily. His current car or as I call it, "his mid-life crisis car" was never meant to be driven on gravel roads or to have the wear and tear that those 80 miles daily can cause.  Our good friends Terri and Larry P. run a towing company and impound lost out near our in-laws place and happen to have a decent 95 Honda Accord for $350.  Um...hells yeah!!

Fast forward to today's hair pulling events which entail getting a salvage title and inspection.  Never again!!  We started off at the BMV over near the in-laws house to secure the permit to have the car inspected.  The permit, which allowed me to drive the car without tags for the day cost $53.50.  We then had to drive 75 miles north, past my home to the only inspection site with appointments open.  The site that was closest couldn't get me in until end of July!! 

I then had to get the old salvage title transferred into my name, an additional $29.50.  Back to the inspection office, car was approved, back to the title agency to have a "clean" title issues for another $16.  Then on to the BMV to get license plates costing $57.75.  Since my birthday is in August I was able to get 14 month tags and am good till 2012.

Throw in $20 in gas and our cheap little beater cost a whopping $510.75!!  Not too shabby for a solid, well running little car.  However, I will never, never, never go through that again.  The running back and forth between offices, the sitting and waiting....argh!!!  The BMV needs to take lessons from Walmart and offer one-stop shopping!!!

 greeting from the line @ the BMV....Deborah

Sunday, June 19, 2011

What I learned from my Dads....

Yes, I intentionality wrote Dads...plural.  You see, I am blessed to have not only a biological dad, but the most amazing and loving step-dad, plus the sweetest and most fun father-in-law.  I drew the long straw in this scenario!!

The three men couldn't be more different.  We'll start with Ken, my biological dad.  I don't have any memories of him and my mom together as they divorced when I was 4 years old but my memories of our weekend visits will stay with me forever.  He used to sing silly songs to me all the time.  I was the only kid who knew the lyrics to the Pabst Blue Ribbon song and my favorite was this poem:
One dark day, in the middle of the night
Two dead boys began to fight.
Back to back they faced each other, 
drew their swords and shot each other.
Now a deaf policeman heard this noise, 
and came and killed those two dead boys.
If you don't believe my words are true, 
ask the blind man, he saw it too!!
Pops, as we have grown to call him, is a crotchety old man in every sense of the word. He's gruff, has little to say that is nice about the world and generally thinks everyone is a dumbass....but I love him.  Thanks Pops for teaching me tolerance by watching your actions and for giving me a love of silly songs!!

Jim, my beloved step-dad is a saint.  He married my mom and took on 3 more kids all under the age of 12.  At the time they married, he already had raised a family and his 5 kids were adults with kids of their own!!  Throw into the mix my sister, who challenged authority and was a parent's worst nightmare, and the man has earned his sainthood!!  Jim was a hardworking man and continued to work even after heart surgery and retirement.  He didn't want to sit still.  Up until a fall that left him with a fractured hip at the rip old age of 79, we worked full time at a local department store.  He was supposed to work in housewares but he ended up the official baby greeter.  Kids and babies love him and he loves them!!  From him, I gained my atrocious work ethic, my love of the University of Michigan (Go BLUE), the ability to use a jig saw and most importantly, a feeling of security and unconditional love. 

Lastly, but not at all least in importance is my amazing father-in-law, Chuck.  Or Ralphie, as I call him when I want to ruffle feathers!!  Chuck is another stand up man who married a woman with kids from a previous relationship.  Chuck jumped in to parenthood with both feet and an enthusiasm to be the best Dad he could.  Chuck is boisterous and animated and full of love.  I don't think he's ever met a stranger.  Chuck is able to converse with anyone and instantly make them feel comfortable and welcomed.  I think I love that the most about him.  I thank him for opening the doors for my relationship with God and for always being positive no matter how dark the situation.  He is most certainly a beacon of hope in my world.
On this Father's Day, I wanted to salute the Dad's in my life and I couldn't sign off before thanking Mr. Awesome too.  He's a wonderful dad and husband too.  I thank him for being active and engaged in the lives of the Oompas.  He's a teacher, disciplinarian, cheerleader, chauffeur, and someone who will love and accept them no matter what.  Thank you Mr. Awesome!!!

Off to hug a Dad.....Deborah

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Whooo-Hooo...I get to pay the bills again!!!

Yes, I am excited about paying the bills and NO, I'm not crazy.  Well, actually I am a little crazy but it's not because I am looking forward to cutting checks to pay off debt!!

Yesterday marked the end of an era full of frustration and doubt.  Yesterday, Mr. Awesome received his first paycheck after a little over 8 months of unemployment!!  During that time we put all the medical bills and non-essential debt on "hold".  We were able to keep the utilities and house current but had to let our credit scores take a little hit by stopping payments to the various and numerous medical institutions we've graced with our presence.  I hated doing it but knowing I could put food on the table and keep the kids warm over this long and cold winter was more important.

Thanks to the miracle that is direct deposit, Mr. Awesome's first check arrived in our checking account before I even awoke yesterday.  What a great way to wake up!!  On my agenda today is writing up a budget and breaking back out our trusty envelope system.  Thank you Dave Ramsey!!  If you haven't heard of him...take a moment to check out his message and debt reduction system. 

For the first time in my life I am looking forward to writing checks and paying bills.  I quickly ran numbers in my head , which was a huge feat since I suck at math, and if my calculations are correct we're looking at making our debt free (except for the mortgage) yell in about 18 months.  It'll be sooner than that if I get the promotion to Food Service Manager at work. 

I know budgeting and money management are of great interest to a lot of folks right now so once I'm finished with my budget I'll post it up here for show and tell.  I will also be making frequent updates on how I do sticking to the new schedule.  Publicizing it will hopefully keep me on track and one or two steps closer to being debt free!!

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

So I got on my bike and rode....

Yes, I am a "fat bottomed girl".   I was waif-ish as a child due in large part to extensive, bone-breaking orthodontics.   Once those nasty suckers were outta my mouth and I was able eat...I ate.  Along comes the babies and well...I now bear a closer likeness to the Stay Puff marshmallow man than a supermodel.  I openly admit to stress eating.  I learned early on that I can't freak out and scream or cry or throw tantrums when upset but I can quietly eat the stress away.  Well, if I'm being honest it doesn't take the stress away it just stuffs it down to a place where I don't have to deal with it.  I think a lot of overweight folks can relate.  It's very common from what I read. 

Today was one of those crappy, eat an entire bag of Doritos and sit on the couch all day,  kinda day.  My car, which we thought was fixed and running is not.  I had to call off work yesterday which I hate doing.  Even though Mr. Awesome got a new job making good money we still need my income (tiny as it is) to get caught up.  It's been a frustrating ride for us.  We have struggled since day one.  When we first married I'll admit we were both stupid with money and got caught up in the joys of eating out and shopping and golfing (Mr. Awesome's guilty pleasure).  Things only got worse with the addition of our second Oompa, followed shortly by the tragic events of September 11th which led to a lay-off from an awesome job in manufacturing.  It took almost a year to recover then along came Oompa number 3!! 

We struggled greatly for the next 3 years.  When we moved from the city to a little house in the country things turned around.  We were able to do more and go places and afford things.  The savings account grew a little but there always seemed to be a hiccup that would drain it or at least come close.  We were able to buy a nice "forever" house with a little land.  We had begun to relax and feel like we'd finally made it.  Then, last October when Mr. Awesome lost his job we thought we were done for.  I had lost all hope.  Our battle was the largest we had faced to date and we had no weapons at our disposal.  Thankfully, Mr. Awesome landed a good job and started work this week.  I know it was Pollyanna-ish of me to think that this great new job at Honda would magically slay all the demons we are facing.  I'm just so tired of fighting.  I'm plain wore out.  However, with three children who depend on me, quitting is not an option.  Which leads me to the title of this post.

My childhood was good, probably better than most when you block out all the crap my sister inflicted upon the family and some of my fondest memories are of riding my bike all over the neighborhood.  My first bike was a pink and white Huffy with a huge pink banana seat.  It was tres cool!!  I so desperately needed to shed these awful feelings and shrug this terrible weight off my shoulders, even if only for an hour.  So tonight, I dug my bike out of the shed, oiled up the chain, dusted off the seat and rode.  I rode with my kids, laughing and feeling the wind in my face and enjoying the freedom. I rode with no destination in mind, no check list to complete.  I rode for me and for my sanity which is ever so slowly slipping way!!

I rode.....because Fat-Bottomed Girls,  we make the rockin' world go round!!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Hoarding or Emergengy Preparedness??

My deep freezer has been a health hazard for some time now due to the Oompas just throwing food in it after grocery shopping.  None of them have yet to show signs of my OC tendencies  organizational skills.  Don't judge me because all CDs and spices are in alphabetical order!! 

I decided to tackle the job to cleaning out old foods, organizing and making an inventory list.  In theory, when an item is removed from the freezer it'll be marked off, thus making grocery list planning easier and more efficient.  Yeah right!!  I know it'll only work for a few weeks tops but gave me something to do on this stormy, windy day.

Now I ask you, is is hoarding or just good planning that has me with 9lbs of ground beef, 10lbs of boneless chicken breasts and 8lbs of ground ham??  I won't even mention the dozens of frozen vegetable bags I found lurking in the bottom of the freezer.  It's a little embarrassing!!  

I've challenged myself to cook from the freezer for the next few weeks.  Of course I say that then see the local big chain store has chicken breasts for only $1.87/lb. 

What's a hoarder   survivalist  freak  gal to do??

(Sorry for the excessive use of the strike's just so darn cool!!)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Plodding along...sigh...

Today is Tuesday and this week is already proving to be difficult. 

We were looking over schedules and realize that the girl Oopma-Loompas only have 3 more weeks of school while boy Oompa has at least 8-10 weeks left.  Due in large part to us switching charter schools during the first week of November.  Don't get me started on what a turd the old school's curriculum proved to be.  No math lessons!!  None, nada, zero, zip, zilch.  They kept saying they were developing a new, improved math curriculum that would knock our socks off but in the meantime, no math.  Grrrr, I got started...sorry.  Rant over!!

Boy Oompa offered to double up on Science, History and Math lessons plus complete an extra lesson or two on Saturdays in order to have a decent summer break.  Bless his pointed little head!!   His goal is to have all lessons finished by the first week in July so he'll be ready for summer camp.  He's really excited about camp.  It'll be his first experience sleeping away from home without his sisters and without the luxury of staying at MeeMaw and Papa's house.  I'm a little worried about this because he's a bit of a Momma's Boy.  I made him that way...he can't ever leave me!  Will add "toughen up boy" to my to-do list.

Let's add to this week's stress by having a full work schedule, middle Oompa's 4th grade recorder concert (yah!! :-?)  and Mr. Awesome just called me to report 2 growing cracks in his windshield.  UGH.  He was headed to the scrapyard when the car in front of him threw a rock up.  Looks like we will need a new windshield.  Deductible is $100.  Not exactly what I wanted to spend money on but it happens. 

On the brighter side, not that one can see it through these dang rain clouds,  I got a lead on a good job.  My sister-in-law works for a steel supplier and they are in desperate need of inside sales people.  I like being inside and I know how to sell things!!  I polished up my resume and sent it off so fingers crossed.  It pays amazingly well, offers bonuses and insurance.  Downside is the full-time hours and long drive.  I'm looking at it as a temporary solution to our financial problems.  We should hopefully hear back this week about the job at Honda for Mr. Awesome .  It pays amazingly well too and would mean a huge weight would be lifted.  Praying big time for this opportunity!!

...wishing everyone a calm week

Monday, May 09, 2011

Mother's Day Happiness...

Hope all you moms had a great day, pampered by your hubbies and kiddles.  I have been celebrating Mother's Day for 12 years now and this is the first year Mr. Awesome© and the Oompas went all out making it a great day for me!!  The Oompas' band Thunder Monkeys played a show at a friend's school on Saturday evening so I slept in a little.  My Mom was up visiting and we enjoyed a nice cuppa joe whileMr. Awesome© made eggs, bacon and toast!!  I had to assist a little as he's not well versed on how to make eggs but my input was minimal!

My Mom and I got to hang out, enjoying the peace and quiet during the afternoon.  Mr. Awesome© and the Oompas went into town to procure gifts for us!  The work boots I wanted were being a tad illusive so I have to hunt for those myself but the kids did get me several pairs of new earrings!  Littlest Oompa gave my his present last, since it "was the best"!  Love that kid!!

My day of rest and being adored is over.  Monday had arrived with a large list of chores but I'm not complaining.  The sun is shining, the air is warm and I look hot with my new earrings in!!!

Happy Mothering to all....

Friday, May 06, 2011

Yard Sale Loot

The weather here in Flood-Hio has abated and the sun shone in a beautiful blue sky today.  It was also the annual yard sale weekend in the little burg where my in-laws live.  Uhhh...yee-haw!!!  Winning!!

Littlest Oompa and I ditched school work for the afternoon and headed over for a day of hardcore yard sailing!

I got the girl Oompas 5 skirts, 1 corduroy jacket and 2 tops; a stainless steel potato masher and cookie scoop; large vintage mixing bowl; mason jar oil lamp; half gallon mason jug; Rival food saver and a wooden crate....all for $23!

.....confessions of a Yard Sale Queen!!

Wednesday, May 04, 2011 that really you???

That big glowing thing in the sky that heats and lights the Earth was out again a little while ago.  At first I was frightened and ran back into my cave, grabbed my club and prepared for battle.  It had been so long since I had seen the glowing orb, I forgot if it was friend or foe.  I ventured out into it's rays, ready to throw down but was pleasantly rewarded as a feeling of warmth and peace came over me.  It was then I remembered that the orb in the sky was my friend and without it I couldn't make the things grow that give me food.  I quickly went back in my cave, changed into my work bearskins and began carving a hoe from my spare club.  I've got a lot of work to do before the white coldness falls from the sky again!!
Red Raspberry
Apple Blossoms

...signed She Who Clubs Dinner of the Soggy Feet Clan

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Little Boys are Grody...Part II

Boy Oopma is a strange creature.  May I present my first piece of evidence.

As if camo boy wasn't odd enough, he's currently learning about Vikings and has taken to wearing a "coyote" fur vest, coon skin cap and seen going A-Viking.  He's turned their playset into a viking longship and was recently kicked off  by his mutinous crew members. I'll say it again, the kid's weird!!  It seems too, that he's embracing the viking culture in other ways.  Hollywood romanticizes the Middle Ages, but I'm betting money those people stank.  My little guy sure does!!

This is after his shower.  He then proceeded to wash them off in the sink.  Grody.

signed, Deborah the Red......Viking Warrior

Chicken Tractor...

The new and improved Hen's Pen chicken tractor is completed!!  For those of you not familiar with the term, it does not mean a hopped up John Deere sized for a chicken's a temporary, portable chicken shelter.

Two years ago I ventured into the realm of raising chickens and per usual I jumped in blindfolded with both feet.   I bought these cute, fuzzy, little chicks.  I had a brooder set up and what more would I need.  They are so little, I'll have plenty of time to think about the next step.  Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, whew!!  Them little, fuzzy suckers grew fast and within a few weeks were using their little feathered wings to escape the brooder and poop all over my computer room.  Not cool man.  The weather was warm enough so I constructed this pathetically sad,  PVC, 4x4 frame and used zip ties to cover it with chicken wire. 

While it served it's purpose, it didn't come without a few headaches.  Namely wind.  Anytime the wind blew over 5mph the little hennys relived the Wizard of Oz and would go flying in their tractor across the yard!!
Guess they know what lies over the rainbow.    

Last year's hatchlings were treated to a much larger brooder and had the luxury of staying in the garage until they were big enough to introduce to the existing flock.  Sadly, they were all eaten over the course of the summer my damn varmints.  Think I'll join Yosemite Sam in the varmint hater's club.  This year's chicks are a different story however. 

Mr. Awesome© and I designed a right nifty tractor for the babies this year.  It's created from 5 separate panels connected by hinges that will allow us to fold it flat for storage when the little ones are ready for the big move to The Poop Coop.  The hardware cloth is painstakingly stapled to the inside and it is completely predator proof.  We even boxed in one end to provide shelter from the wind and rain.  Seeing as it hasn't stopped raining here in Ohio for the past 4 weeks, it was more than necessary. 

Presenting....The Hen's Pen

I know it's crazy to say the chicks were smiling at us when we moved them into their new digs....but really they were!!!

Big grin!!

Tidings from the land of smiling chickens.....

Monday, April 18, 2011

Unlucky Day...

Sunday's are supposed to be a day of rest.  A day spent in worship and to recharge our internal batteries for the upcoming work week.
Nooooo, not for me. This past Sunday was a most unlucky and stressful day...

It begins with an unruly 8 year old boy, refusing to get his sad, sorry, stayed up too late the night before watching movies, butt outta bed.  Needless to say he fiddle-farted (one of my Mom's amazing words) around and dawdled any chance he could.  I found him in his bedroom just sitting on the bed looking at his clothes like he was trying to use Jedi mind tricks to get them on.  The Force is NOT strong with this one.  Needless to say we were late getting out the door and seeing as we needed to arrive at church a whole half-hour earlier than usual for the kids to have a final rehearsal of their dance number, I was a little more stressed than normal.
Sad too, I was hoping to stop for an eye-opening cappuccino.

I barreled onto the freeway and was grateful traffic was flowing around 70 mile per hour.   Or was until I saw the two state troopers sitting in the median.  I, like everyone else backed my speed down to 65 and kept on going.  I watched in my rear view mirror and didn't see either car pull out with lights flashing so I figured I was safe.  After all there were other cars who were cruising faster then me when we drove by.   My luck had just run out.  About a mile down the road I see the cruisers (notice I used the plural) approaching fast in my lane so I get over into the slow lane.  So did the troopers, then the enevitable happened, they turned on their lights.

This was a new experience for me.  In all my 18 years of driving, I have only been pulled over once.  7 years ago and I had back-up in the form of Mr. Awesome and 2 friends in the car with me.  This time, I was alone, save the Oompas and what experience did they have talking their way out of a ticket??  Thankfully, the trooper was very kind and informed me that I didn't have a  front license plate.  After a little looking around we found it on the floor of the car and I was sent on my way with a warning to get it on the front bumper by the end of the day.  Whew!!  I felt like a hardened criminal with both of the cruisers sitting behind me, lights flashing and all the officer's shiny patent leather gleaming in the morning sun.  I was sure I'd be calling my in-laws to come bail me outta jail!!

We made it to church only 10 minutes late.  Hallelujah!!  Worst part of the day over!!

Yeah, not quite.

Kids were surly and nasty the entire drive home after church.  Mother Nature was definitely PMSing and throwing 30 mile an hour winds at us.  My house was a mess and my plans of working in the garden gone.  So, I did the grown-up thing and took a nap!!  Mr. Awesome woke me with promises of finishing the new chicken tractor and fixing that pesky license plate issue so I willingly hopped in the car and ran into town to the hardware store to pick up supplies.  But not before we were pulled over, again!!
This time it was a wet behind the ears, rookie cop, serving and protecting here in Podunk, OH.  He informed us, again, that there was no front license plate and after explaining that I had already been warned about it  and that we were on a mission to the store to pick up parts to remedy the situation, we set off again with another warning and comment that it just wasn't my lucky day.

Thanks Officer, ya think so??

....a tale of warning from your law-breaking friend

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Spring is the season for birth and new growth and well, friskiness!!  At the camp where I work as a cook, the majority of the staff are college-aged kids.  Well, I guess technically, they're adults but to me in my advanced stage of life they're kids.  We recently had a new hire appear on the scene, a 24 year old Army reserve kid who has the girls all a twitter!  Love, or more appropriately, Lust is in the air.  The past two weeks I have been witness to all kinds of eyelash batting, giggling and have been forced to watch otherwise strong, independent girls act all......girlie.  Blech!!

I'll be so happy when the new kid's novelty wears off and the hormonal fog that's hovering dissipates.  I'm gagging on estrogen and pheromones.  I know I acted like that when I was a mere pup and in the courting stages with Mr. Awesome©.  I can say with authority that I am thankful that part of my life is behind me.  Yes, it was exciting during the "getting to know me" stage but as I watch these girls preen and fluff their feathers I am reminded of how utterly exhausting it was too.  I enjoy the level of comfort Mr. Awesome© and I have attained.  Over the past 16 years I've stopped wearing makeup everyday and putting on a skirt requires an event.  Mr. Awesome© hasn't worn cologne in years except for a handful of special occasions and the only flowers I get anymore are on Mother's Day in the form potted plants.  But I still wouldn't change it or have any desire to relive those days.  

Case and point:
I came home from work the other night and was recounting a few of their antics to Mr. Awesome© while we both typed away at our computers and were supervising the kids' evening chores and were generally busy taking care of the necessary tasks at hand.    I looked down at the desk to find that while we were talking, he had pulled all the red Spree candies from the package he was eating and set them out for me....he knows they are my favorite.  Sure am glad I twittered and fluffed my feathers!  I guess stand watching the girls do the same, after all, they're just looking for their own Mr. Awesome©.

.....twittering and preening, Deborah 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Site worth checking out...

I stumbled across as product called Taste Book a few months back.  Through their website you can create and professionally print your own cookbook.  As an amateur chef, this appeals to me...greatly!  I have a sad, old, taped together, 3-ring binder bursting at the seams with old cookbook pages, recipes printed from the web, and a few of Mom's old handwritten index cards.  All crumpled and stained with various ingredients from years of use and abuse.  Every once and again, I'll sit down and weed out the recipes that didn't quite make muster and attempt to reorganize the recipes back into their proper categories.  It lasts a few months then chaos returns!!

I plan on taking the next few months and compiling all my family's favorite recipes into my own Taste Book and then having 1 or 2 printed.  I love the idea that I can have multiple copies of the same recipes to pass on to each of the Oompas.  I remember my sister and I fighting it out for certain recipe cards from my mother's old tin recipe box.  While the professionally bound and printed book won't have the added sentimental value of  handwritten notes and copious stains, it will convey the love and dedication I put into each recipe and into my family.  I'm a big believer in the concept that actions speak louder than words and even though I shout it from the rooftops that I love my family, this helps them to see that as well. My dedication to preparing healthy, delicious food is just another way I can show them I care. 

Here is my book in progress...I hope you enjoy!!

.....good eats and good night.

12 days and counting...

For the first time in my life I have chosen to participate in season of fasting.  I'm not of a faith that partakes in the rites and traditions of a typical Lent fast.  No meat on Friday, no way!!!  However, as my very wise pastor said last week, "Fasting brings out the inner-man".  I believe fasting rids one's mind and spirit of the trappings and obstacles that get between you and God.   I think that any willing sacrifice of something from your life in order to draw your focus back to God is a good thing.  Following the rules and procedures of a traditional Catholic Lent out of compulsion defeats the purpose and negates any blessing you could receive.  Whether you fast 4 or 40 days doesn't matter, it's how you use the time that matters.  Personally, I like the symbolism of a 40 day fast. Call is what you will, it's working for me. 

My fast is far from the traditional no meat on Fridays that my Mom, a childhood Catholic church attendee, had to follow.  I chose to fast social media outlets.  Facebook, blogs and forums that I realized I was wasting countless hours perusing to no end.  I found myself reading blog post after blog post authored my people I didn't know who were, in my eyes, leading way more interesting lives than I was.  I started getting upset that they had things and were going places and doing things that I wasn't.  My conversations with Mr. Awesome© were peppered with," well so-and-so just got 2 dairy goats and a brand new barn and now I want that".  Despite the fact that so-and-so's hubby was a building contractor and was able to recycle the lumber to build the barn for next to nothing and the goats were part of a swap deal.  I couldn't or wouldn't see that.  All I saw was someone had the life I wanted and I was mad.  I was coveting.  Covet (verb)-to desire wrongfully, inordinately, or without due regard for the rights of others.  I think God clearly stated that coveting was bad.  Um, help!!

Hello, My name is Deborah and I'm an addict...

I've been Facebook, blog and forum free since Ash Wednesday on March 9th.   I refrained from posting here until I had myself in check because I didn't want to substitute my addiction to the other sites with this one.  I'll admit that it was harder that I thought it would be.  I never in a million years thought I would crave the updates I got or excitement from reading other folk's doings.  I came very close to cheating a few times too!! 

I do have plans to return to the social network of those site after Easter but I know I'll use them in moderation.  I won't be posting updates as frequently as before and I will be happy for the lady on the forum who is finally able to build the barn of her dreams and stock it with the creature of her choice.  I'll see the happy faces in vacation photos instead of the misinterpreted boasting I was perceiving when my I viewed my step-cousin's niece's daughter's trip to Hawaii.   Not that I have a step-cousin with a niece with a daughter. 

Over the last month I've used my newly found free time to read the Bible, pray, spend more one-on-one with the Oompa-Loompas and Mr. Awesome©.  I've cooked more from scratch and found it wasn't as time consuming as it had been in the past.  I made my hobbies more of a priority and set up a permanent sewing nook.  I even took an afternoon to clean out the shed...yuck!  But most importantly, I spent time reflecting on how amazing my life is and how blessed I am to have such wonderful people around me.  We have friends who would wipe our butts and once even offered to do so (it's a long story and involved  Mr. Awesome© being incapacitated), we have family who loves us just as we are and prays for us to excel and become prosperous in this world.  We have beautiful, healthy, talented children who know God, respect their parents and elders and are on the right path for a bright future.  Doesn't get much better than that... (hopefully) inspiring message from my newly free and easy spirit