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

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Little Boys are Grody...

When the littlest Oompa was a mere babe, I began kissing his little temple every time I would pick him up or set him down or really, whenever I felt the urge.  Over the years we dubbed it "the spot".  Now that's he's older and it's not all that cool to get slobbered on my mom, I just ask for the spot and he tilts his head for a quick peck.  During this weird and clingy act, I would also give his head a quick sniff.  For all you moms out there, you know the intoxicating scent of your baby's head is one no master perfumer can rival.  I could probably pick my Oompas scent during a blind test. 

Fast forward a few years and um.....Houston, we have a problem.  I learned last night that 8 year old boys are grody.  Like, seriously, grody to the max!  Gag me with a spoon.

I checked in on my little guy before going to bed and saw "the spot" was in prime reach for a kiss.  However, the stench coming off that little snot about knocked me out.  He smelled like my brother's room did when we were teenagers.  Ew.  Really, ew.  I guess it was to be expected.  He belly crawls across the ground stalking me, his sisters, the chickens any chance he gets.  He climbs dirt mounds for fun and thinks mud puddles are the best thing going.  I got a little spoiled too with my girls.  They like to smell  fruity and pride themselves in clean shiny hair.  They even wear perfume. 

Sigh...looks like my head sniffin' days are over.  I love my littlest Oompa but fear my nose will go on strike if I expose it to that putrid vapor again. 

From behind the gas mask.......Deborah

Monday, March 21, 2011

A Little Vernal Equinox Fun...

My mother instilled in us a love of wives tales at an early age.  She grew up in rural southern Ohio on a dairy farm with her 9 siblings.  She uses says warsh instead of wash, crick instead of creek, used an outhouse up until the age of 8, and knows that they'll be three more snows after the forsythia blooms. 

Every year on the Vernal Equinox we'd sit around the dinner table a little longer and watch patiently as Mom would balance eggs on end.   For those who don't know, during an equinox the Earth's axis is inclined neither towards or away from the sun...a day of balance if you will.  The wives tale states that only during this moment of perfect balance can the egg stand on end.  Myth:BUSTED.  Yes, eggs can be balances on their ends any ol' day of the year but we never tried or cared.

I remember the table littered with dirty dishes, no one in a rush to remedy it either.  We would just sit and talk and watch Mom balance one, two and one year up to 4 eggs on end.  We'd talk about school, the garden, the family, just life in general.  It brought balance to our lives for one night.  

Last night at 7:21pm, marked the Vernal Equinox of 2011.  As I sat trying to balance eggs, I listened to my kids running and playing outside and had a wonderful conversation with Mr. Awesome©. 
Last night, I was in balance.
Vernal Equinox 2011

Now slightly off balance....Deborah

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Rainy Days and Wednesdays...

We are once again the land of gray skies and rain...............sigh.  I had high hopes of getting the garden tilled up and my plant babies in the ground.  They're doing great by the way, except for the cukes......I kinda dropped the light on them the other day when I was watering and well, they're not looking so hot!!  I plan on removing them this Sunday (my only day off this week) and replanting.  At the rate we're going, I'm not gonna be able to get to my garden till late April anyway!

The little fuzz butts are growing at such a rapid rate they'll be ready for their garage brooder in another 2 weeks and if if ever warms up and stops raining Mr. Awesome© and I will start building their chicken tractor.  I learned last year that introducing the newbies to the older girls too early results in a chicken riot with lots of squawking and flying feathers!!   I'm not sure how Indian the Amorous Roo will react to them either.  My backyard could turn into a hippie love-fest!!  I just hope that with more ladies to um..."service", he'll mellow out a bit.  He's become so protective of  Ella, our only hen, that he attacks if she gets within 5 feet of us.  Little does he know I have a delicious recipe just a waitin' if he doesn't change his attitude. 

In other news, I did accept the second job and started work on Monday.   However, there seems to be a gigantic lack of communication going on and I was given the wrong start time and the department supervisor didn't seem too happy to see me.  It seems while I was hired in to work part-time weekdays that department only needs coverage every other weekend!!  I'm hoping to get it all straightened out and fingers crossed the other department I was going to work in actually has available hours during the week.  As is, my weekends are booked cooking at the camp and it's 8 mile drive and slightly higher pay is a huge trump card in this game.  Why can't I find an employer who's willing to pay me $50 an hour to work from home in my jammies???  I have cute jammies too!

Oh well...can't win em' all!!

From the land of gray skies and polka dot jammies.....

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Disgustingly Productive

Lemme start off by sayin' that I don't like it when my kiddos are sick but Lord if I haven't been productive because they were!!!  Must have a little of Charlie Sheen's Tiger Blood in me!!  Winning!!

My littlest Oompa-Loompa has been sick for the past two days.  Fever, yucking up, cough, sore throat, basic crud.  Needless to say, he's parked on the couch, sipping fluids, munchin' crackers, watching movies and napping the day away.  This also means, no school work...for him or teacher!!!

I am finding myself with whole days of "free" time since we're not trying to complete lessons.  It's odd.  It's refreshing.  It's wonderful!!!  Mostly, because I know this break won't last.  Lil' squirt was feeling better this afternoon so it looks like it's back to mean ol' schoolmarm for tomorrow.

But today's not over yet!!!  I have been so productive that I'm starting to make myself sick (not in a virus way but a you annoy the crap outta me way).  I have washed, dried and folded 3 loads of laundry; downloaded and watched last Sunday's church service (didn't make it due to flooding and ice); grated 5 bars of soap to make a batch of laundry detergent; made 8 mini homemade pizzas; chatted with Weird Neighbor; feed the baby chickies; cleaned out my freezer (inside one); and designed a logo and label for my products that I hope to sell at the community market.

Have I annoyed you yet?  Has my perky attitude and zealousness for projects and chores made you want to stab me in the neck with a spork?  I understand, really I do...I can get a little carried away at times.  Mr. Awesome© knows to run and hid when I get like this or I'm liable to have him serving as a dress form or taste testing all sorts of weird concoctions that spew forth from my oven!!

Alas, the day is drawing to a close.  The sun, what little we can see through the gray impending rain clouds, is setting.  I need to get dinner started before running out to pick up the Girl Scout cookies my daughters sold.  Then it's back home to hang with the kiddles, watch American Idol (love me some Paul McDonald) and oversee bedtime routines.  Tomorrow is another day!

...tidings from a total frickin' rock star from Mars!!!

Monday, March 07, 2011

Homemade Liquid/Gel Laundry Detergent

Don't works!!

1 Five Gallon Bucket
1/2 cup Measuring Cup
Ivory Soap (or Fels Naptha-I'm not fond of the smell...but to each his own)
Washing Soda (NOT Baking Soda)

Grate 1 bar of Ivory soap in a pot with 6 cups of water.  Heat to melt, stirring frequently.

Remove from heat and add 1/2 Cup of Washing Soda and 1/2 Cup of Borax. Stir until dissolved.

Pour 4 Cups of HOT water into your bucket, add the soap mixture and stir well.  The add an additional 1 Gallon and 6 Cups of water.  Stir to combine.

Let mixture sit overnight.  Depending on humidity and a few other factors yet to be determined the mixture will gel.  If yours has some liquid in it, that's works no matter the state.

Use 1/2 Cup of detergent per load more for heavily soiled..  It is a low suds formula and is safe for the new front load machines

Best Chicken Sammich....EVER!!!

Ask anyone and they know someone, who knows someone, who's brother's uncle's best friend's roommate makes a really awesome chicken sandwich.  When asked what's on it, they never know.  Apparently, the best friend's roommate is guarding his recipe like the Crown Jewels!  Well, I have an easy recipe that'll make you cry out and worship the ground I walk on (okay so maybe in my mind you'll be worshiping!!).

The ingredient list couldn't be simpler either:
1 Whole or 2 half Boneless Chicken Breasts (Makes 4 servings)
1 pound bacon
2 cups Shredded Monterrey Jack Cheese
Kaiser Rolls

Cook bacon in skillet.  Transfer to paper towel lined plate.  Reserve approximately 1 Tablespoon of yummy goodness, otherwise know as bacon grease, for cooking the chicken.  Shhhh, what your doctor doesn't know won't hurt you!!

While the bacon is popping and making your house smell divine, place each half  of the chicken breast between wax paper and pound thin.  Refrain from using UFC style blow to the meat...we're looking to keep it intact.  Once you have both pieces thinned out, cut in half so you end up with 4 even sized portions. 

Liberally, dust the chicken with coriander and pepper.  Interesting note, coriander is the crushed seed for cilantro and have a wonderful, mild lemony flavor.  Cook in the pan of bacon grease for 15 minutes or so, depending on the thickness of your pieces. Make sure to flip the chicken after about 7-8 minutes to ensure both side get that beautiful golden color.  Once the juices run clear and your chicken is thoroughly cooked, remove from heat and heap as many pieces of bacon you can and as your arteries will allow plus 1/4 cup of cheese per chicken cutlet.  Put a lid on the pan and wait for the cheese to melt!

I serve my sandwiches on toasted kaiser rolls with a little mayo, lettuce and tomato.  A dash of honey mustard probably would be a sin either!!

Sweet sounds...

My Top 5 Favorite Sounds:

1. That snuffling sound a newborn baby makes
2. Baby chick peeps
3. Belly laughs
4. That lip smacking sound a baby makes while nursing
5. Doves cooing

I have a thing for newborn babies sounds...they are so stinkin' precious!! I even love their little toots!  Since I don't have a newborn to record, I gave you a sample of my next favorite.  Hope you enjoy!!

Turning those lemons into lemonade...

Today could have sucked rocks...but I refused to let it!!  Boy Oompa-Loompa finally came down with the plague his sisters have been dealing with for the last two weeks.  He spent the night vomiting, coughing and tossing and turning with fever.  My poor wittle baby!!  I hate it when my kids are sick...seeing them so miserable and not being able to make them better sucks. Rocks. 

Needless to say, I was draggin' this morning.  Thanks to a relaxed homeschool schedule we were able to skip today's lessons and I parked the boy on the couch with Sierra Mist, crackers and PBS.  I decided to use this new found free time to clean my scurvy house!!  I swept up enough dog hair to make an entire new mutt and was able to evict the swamp monster living in my bathroom.  I also caught the dirty clothes breeding like rabbits in the laundry room.  Leaving the boy in the capable hands of Mr. Awesome©, I was even able to run into town to do a little grocery shopping so Mother Hubbard's Cupboards are overflowing once again. Picked up some cheesecloth so I could get a batch of apple cider vinegar brewing and in a few weeks I will hopefully have a gallon of the good stuff to sell.

The girl Oompas are home from school and finishing a few chores before I tackle dinner.  Need to decide what to do with the chicken breasts I picked up at the store. We're also gonna whip up a batch of chocolate cherry almond granola bars for breakfast this week.  It's a new recipe so fingers crossed it goes well!!

From the land of swamp monsters and ever multiplying laundry....Deborah

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Back to the Grind

Finances have been tight here at the ol' homestead since Mr. Awesome© lost his job back in October.  I've been working, when work was available, at the camp but struggling to pull 10 hours a week.  It will get progressively busier as the weather breaks and we resume a steady stream of school groups plus with the summer camp sessions beginning in mid-June I'll be busier than a one legged man at a butt kickin' contest!  Unfortunately, June is a ways off and we've got bills that need to be paid, like now!

In the meantime, I've accepted a job at a local assisted living facility in their housekeeping and dietary departments.  Cookin' and cleaning.  Two things I can do well!  Pay is a little lower than the camp and it's a 20 mile hike versus the 8 mile trip to the camp.  The selling point is more hours and longer shifts. With both jobs being part-time I'm hoping I can balance them without difficulty.  My boss at the camp is amazing and she understands that I need to support my family. I'll deal with any scheduling conflicts as they arrive and pray I can balance both jobs, the house, garden, kids and Mr. Awesome©!!

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Spring...yeah baby!!

We're finally thawing out here in snOh-io which is unfortunately causing massive flooding.  In two days we went from 6 inches of snow and ice to 12 inches of standing water!  The creek running behind the house is normally a slight trickle of about 1 foot....but was up to about 8 feet yesterday.  I'm feeling a little Huck Finnish today!!  Who's up for rafting??  Anyone?? No one??  Bueller?  Bueller?

Anywho, the first signs of spring are starting to show...

So stinkin' cute
 I pick up these little ladies from the feed store on Tuesday.  We've got 5 Americana, 3 Buff Orpington and 1 Barred Rock.  I love the sound of their little peeps and how they hop around the brooder!  I want to look at the breeds TSC is offering and may pick up a few more layers to help rebuild the flock.  We've got plans to make the coop into Fort Knox to prevent anymore varmit attacks.  Plus I'm stocked on ammo and have been target shooting!!  I need to post a sign, "Raccoons Beware".

Grow baby, grow
I also repurposed a 20 gallon aquarium given to us by a friend into a mini-greenhouse.  The florescent lights work well to simulate sunlight and these sprouts are 4 days old.  I spent a lot of time pondering which veggies to grow this year based on supermarket costs and availability.  While it was fun growing black beans last year, I would have needed to quadruple the amount of plants to make it really cost effective.

I've started seeds for Roma and Yellow Pear tomatoes, pickling cukes, snap peas, and broccoli.  I will direct sow my spinach and lettuce and am planning on doing another planting of broccoli later in the season for a fall harvest.  I am looking into container gardening for carrots.  Research has led me to re-think my potato set-up.  I will continue to use the stacked tire method but instead of filling each subsequent layer with dirt I'll use straw.  Folks are suggesting ti works...we'll see.  I've got big plans for this year!!

Last but not least, spring is returning because......

My one and only hen, Ella,  started laying again!!!! She's been a trooper over the winter with just the nasty roo, Indian,  for company.  I guess he's a little bored only having one hen to look out for because he has gotten a little testy with Mr. Awesome© and the Oompa-Loompas.   Challenging them and rushing like he's ready to throw down.  He may just fancy himself an MMA superstar.  It's not like there's much thinking going on in their tiny little brains!  Once the little ones are big enough to move to the coop he may very well find himself in freezer camp!   He'd make a nice plate of fried chicken.

Happy early spring everyone!!