Friday, September 28, 2012

You NEVER Scream Snake!!

I grew up playing out in the country.  My grandparents lived wayyyyyy out in the country, and we always knew that while we were playing, we had to watch closely for snakes.

Anytime we went out to play, my grandpa would give us a hoe, tell us to watch for snakes, and if we found one, to chop his head off with with the hoe!  It wasn't odd for us to see snakes either, but it was no joking matter.  If we screamed "SNAKE!!!!" then by gosh, there had better be a snake, because Grandpa was going to be running our to kill it with a gun.  He was taking care of us, and didn't think it was a funny joke if we screamed it as a joke.

So, I am not scared of snakes at all.  If I come across one, I know exactly what to do.  However, I hate snakes.  I wish they were all dead.  And really, the only thing I enjoy about living in town is that there are no snakes.

So we thought.

Flower and Little Man were out playing in our backyard.  I was painting (of course) and Barb Wire Man was painting (of course).  Little man came running inside.  "Mama!!  Ders a shnake in your garden! A big one Mom!  Come git it!!"

I looked him square in the eyes and said "We do NOT joke about such things!  Snakes could be dangerous, and you do not tell mommy there is a snake when there really isn't!  Now go back outside and play...don't touch the paint!!"

Not 10 seconds later, Flower comes in.  "MOM!  He isn't joking OR lying!  There really is a snake in your garden!"

Barb Wire Man and I both dropped what we were doing and ran outside.  Here in Texas, it could be a small little garden snake.  Then again, it could have been a giant bull snake.  Or, it could have been a dangerous rattle snake.

Thankfully, it was just a garden snake.  But, it was the biggest garden snake any of us had every seen. After Barb Wire Man let the kids look at it and touch it, he, ahem, beheaded it.

Because I live in town, dangit.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Little Business Thursday

I have had two Etsy orders this month!  I know for some Etsy sellers, that's nothing.  They get that many orders in an hour.  But not this girl!  Its the most sales (online) that I have had in a single month, and I'm excited! Since opening my Etsy shop, I have had 24 sales.  They say that 50 seems to be the "magical" number; that once you hit 50, your sales really start taking off and you are "established".

Good grief, after 2 years of having this Etsy shop, I'm ready to be established!!!

Now, I have 23 items listed in my shop.  If I sold everything, I would almost  be at that "magical" mark!

What's a girl to do?   Beg for sales, of course!

I'm asking all of my friends, readers, and fans to help share my blog, and my business.  Christmas is around the corner, and the good news is I do usually get really busy this time of year.

Know someone with a baby?  I can make them a beautiful, heirloom quality blanket!

Everyone needs scarves, hats, shawls, wristwarmers, neck cowls, and other things to keep them nice and warm when it gets cold outside.  I have plenty of those, and if they aren't in the colors you like, I can make them for you!

It would sure mean a lot to me if you told your friends, or shared my blog!  Or, just got check out 13 Plum and get yourself something!!

Twitter: Mommabobo
13 Plum Plum on Etsy
13 Plum on Facebook

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Getting Closer!!!

Well, over the weekend, Barb Wire Man and I certainly had our work cut out for us, and I am so grateful for his help!

This whole kitchen remodel was my idea, and I fully intended on doing all of it myself, except for the things I needed a good strong man for.  Well, friends, it turns out I bit of more than I could chew!  Very rarely do I underestimate myself.  I make a plan, and I move heaven and earth to make sure I get what I want accomplished in the time I set for myself.  Not only am I not finished with my kitchen, I would still be disgustingly behind on my schedule without Barb Wire Man's help.
My red dining room!  All that is left in this room is glazing that walls and touching up the red paint where the tape peeled it off!

Saturday morning, I started painting about 9:00 in the morning.  I got the base white on the tops of all the walls, all the cabinet doors removed, and all the cabinets painted white.  Our friends came over to see the progress, and hang out to keep us company.  Our boys decided to go to the store, buy hamburgers and brats and take them back to their house to cook.  I'm so thankful for kitchen was so torn apart that there was no way I could cook supper.  While they were gone, I was able to get one of my walls painted red, finished up in the kitchen, cleaned up the mess a bit, and took a shower.    The guys brought supper back over to the house, and we realized there wasn't even a place for us all to sit!  All my kitchen drawers and utensils were in various places around the house!  So, we headed back to their house to eat.  Again, I'm so thankful for good friends who let us invade their home because we don't have a place to eat!

Sunday morning, Little Man came into our room at 7:00 and informed me that the sun had woken up, and it was time for Mama to wake up to.  After I fed him and had my first cup of coffee (the only appliance still available at this point!), I started painting.  I still had to put a third coat of red on in the kitchen, plus three coats on the dining room walls.  This was about 8:00 AM when I started.
Kitchen, needs glazing and another coat of white

Barb Wire Man woke up, had a bite to eat, and started taking the cabinet doors out to the garage.  We have a TV in the garage, so at least he was able to watch football and smoke his cigars as he was sanding, priming and painting!  Around 6, I finally had finished with all the coats of red, plus the molding and baseboards.  It took forever, and by the time I was finished, it seriously looked like I had massacred an entire village.  I was covered in red paint!  Barb Wire Man had all the cabinets primed, and we were able to paint them up pretty quickly.  I ran to pick up some take out for supper finally, around 7:15 PM.  The kids were starving, and Little Man didn't take a nap, so he was a really grouch!

At 10:30, Barb Wire Man and I were hanging cabinet back in the kitchen, and cleaning up the garage.  I even managed to get my kitchen clean and the utensils and my crystal put back away.  It is usable again!  We cleaned up the garage, and at 11:00 PM, we both sat on the couch, exhausted!

I think we make a pretty darn good team!  We both are loving the was the kitchen is looking, even though we are finished yet.  We haven't had a single argument about how to do things.  Without his help, the cabinets wouldn't even be half-way finished yet.

I still have a few things left: I need to glaze the top halves of the walls, and I am considering glazing the white cabinets too.  I'm waiting to see what they look like without it, first.  I still need to paint the drawers as well.  After that, we have to pull out the refrigerator and do all the work behind that.  Once those things are finished, I will only have to decorate, hang curtains, and reorganize.
Kitchen...also needs the drawers painted!

I'm so thankful we are almost finished.  I'm thankful I have such a sweet husband who will stay home to help me, even though he really wanted to go play golf.  And smoke cigars.  Or shoot himself in the head.  Frankly, he would have rather done anything then help me paint.  I'm thankful for our friends who have given us a place to eat.  I'm thankful for Flower helping me keep track of Little Man, and be such a big girl around the house while I'm paint covered.  I'm thankful that I have the opportunity to fix our home up.  I'm thankful we have a home to fix up.

Be blessed today!  I know I am, without a doubt, an incredibly blessed woman!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

I'm a Model...Sorta....

I'm so terrible.

A few weekends ago, my friend took pictures of me modeling some of the things I have for sale.  I meant to get a post up, and totally forget.  I feel awful about it!  So, today, I'm going to share with you!
Scarf @ 13 Plum Knitting

Stefany says she has always loved photography, but she is just starting her career as a photographer.  She is expecting her first baby in December (yay!!).

Shawl @ 13 Plum Knitting

Scarflette @ 13 Plum Knitting

I love her photography.  She has an amazing eye for placement!  The photo shoot was so fast, but we got so many amazing photos.  Seriously...when I got on the computer to put them up on my Etsy shop (13 Plum Knitting), I had a terrible time trying to chose which ones to use!

Do me a favor?  Check out her facebook page, Stef Kaye Photography!  She is just starting out, and we all know that spreading the word is the hardest part.  Take a look at all the beautiful pictures she has taken, and "like" her page!
Shawl @ 13 Plum Knitting 

Stefany, thank you for taking these pictures, and making them so wonderful!  I can't wait to do it again!
Shawl @ 13 Plum Knitting 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Back to the Kitchen!

I've been fast a furiously working on my kitchen and dining room!  So far, I have textured the walls, primed all the paneling, taken all the cabinet doors off, and primed all my cabinets.

This is quite an undertaking, and I don't think I realized quite how intensive this was going to be. I always underestimate things like this!   But, I started this whole project on Monday, and I'm about halfway from being finished.  I think.
Dining room, ready to paint!  (notice that huge old computer!? NOW you know why I needed a new one!!)

Looking into dining room from kitchen: ready to paint!

At any rate, I'm elbows deep in this project now, and there is no turning back!  I'm so excited to see the finished project!  What all do I have left to do?!

On Friday I will be buying the paint.  On Saturday, I'll paint with color one, which is a light cream color.  It will be the base of all the textured walls, and the paneling in the kitchen.  I will also be painting the cabinets cream.  Once that is finished, I will glaze the textured walls to make them a little darker.  Now that I'm a little nervous about, since I've never actually done it myself.  I have seen it done, though, so I have a general idea of what to do.  Next, I will paint the paneling in the dining room red.

Once I'm finished there and all the cabinet doors are painted and back up, I will paint the back splash.  I'm painting that red, too!  (This secretary desk is the same color of red.)
This is my lovely new secretary, made by my neighbor! It will have a some decorative pieces on the top, once I find what I'm looking for!

So I still have quite a bit left to do.  But, I can do it, right!?

Here are some pictures of my discombobulated kitchen and dining room.  (It seems like no matter how organized and clean I try to keep this project, it just takes over and goes to you know where in a heart beat!)

I'm also doing this project as inexpensively as possible.  I really don't care for spending money!  Here is a quick recap of the project and cost so far:

Looking into kitchen from dining room: ready to paint!


  • Textured all walls
  • primed all walls
  • primed cabinets
  • ready to paint!
Total dollar amount spent:
  • $10 on an enormous bucket of joint compound for texture
  • $36.14 on 1 paint roller, 5 plastic paint holders, 1 foam brush to get into corners, a gallon of primer, and 2 washable sanding blocks.  (The total here would have been $46.14, but I found a printable coupon for $10 off!)
  • Total comes to $46.14 on entire project so far!
Be blessed today!!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Dear Makers of Wallpaper, Part 2....

Awhile back, I wrote about my disdain for wall paper and border.  I hate it.  Truly, truly hate wall paper and border.

It started when I  had to remove border from my hallway and entry way.  It took forever, but I finally got it all down, and got the two areas painted.

Now, I'm tackling my kitchen area.  We have lived in this house for 6 years, and it is high time I get it looking like I want it!  Fortunately, it was just border, and the entire walls weren't covered with this hideously ugly paper.  Unfortunately, it was applied directly to the sheet rock.  It tore the sheet rock up pretty bad as I took it off, and no amount of steam, wall paper remover solution, or gentleness would keep it from happening.  Fortunately, I will be texturing the hell out of the walls, so I don't think it is going to be a big problem.  Unfortunately, I still have at least one more room that is covered top to bottom in even uglier, pink flowered wall paper. (Hey, the 80's were great...I am a 80's product, but really, its time to move on...)

Hopefully I will be able to post pictures frequently, and it won't take too long for me to accomplish the look I am going for.  I'm going pretty bold with one part of the wall...I am painting the tiles on the backsplash a bright red!!  A little bold and daring?  Yeah, but that is me!  I will also be painting my cabinets, and replacing the hardware!

I can't wait to see the finished product, and the entire kitchen and dining room pulled together.  And, like always, I'm doing this as inexpensively as possible.  I'm not even buying all the things I need until next weekend, when the store has their 40% off sale!  $40,000 kitchen redo?  Yeah, right.  I hate owing people money, and refuse to take a loan out just to redo a room.  I will keep a running tab of how much it costs!  At this point, I have only spent $5 bucks on joint compound and a spackle knife, and that was spent back in the Spring when I redid the entry way, but I also know I will be needing a new stove, and possibly new counter tops (maybe just laminate?!).

I started tearing off the wall paper before I remembered to take a picture!  See how ugly!?

Border gone, texture up!!  (Sorry about the mess!)
Stay tuned...hopefully I will be able to post lots of updates, and keep it super cheap! How have you inexpensively redecorated your home?

One view of the dining room, which also had border.  Texture is already up!

Dining room entry into the living room.

In summary:
Day 1 accomplishments - border removed, glue sanded off, holes patched
Day 1 cost - $5

Be blessed!!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Happy Birthday from...Israel!?

My parents came to visit my family on Sunday!  We live pretty close to each other, only an hour away, so we see each other quite frequently.  Still, if I go more than a couple weeks without seeing my Mama, I get a little antsy.

My aunt, who lives about 2 hours away from me, picked a whole bunch of prickly pear fruit for me to make jelly from.  She gave it to my mom, who brought it to me.

My mom was also carrying a birthday present for me!  Now, my birthday isn't for a little bit more (in October), but she has had this for awhile.  She has been dying to give it to me, and has almost given it away a few times.  She just could wait no more!

I pulled a padded envelope out of the bag, and she told me to look closely at it.  It came from Jerusalem!

Immediately, I was excited!  Anyone who has read this blog much knows I have an intense love of Israel and Judaism.

 My hands literally started shaking.

Then, I pull out this little piece of paper:

Well, again, if you read this then you know I have always had a deep love for archaeology.

I felt my eyes begin to tear up and though, "Holy moly, this is going to be good!"

Then, I saw this:

When I opened it up, I immediately teared up.  I was so touched!  My Mama knows me so well!  The necklace encompasses almost everything I hold dear to my heart.

I love Yahweh.  I love Jesus the Messiah.  I love how archaeology and history can line up so beautifully with scripture when one knows what to look for.  (Yes, and I also love simple, silver jewelry.)

Now, like I said, it doesn't cover all the things about me that I hold dear to my heart.  That is where these two charms come into play (and, both were also given to me by my mother!):

One, well, no one will really understand that one unless you are apart of my family, but it reminds  me each day of my mom, dad, and sister.  The other I think is quite self explanatory!

I never change my jewelry.  I wear the exact same pieces every single day, literally.  I don't change my jewelry to match my clothing.  I wear the necklaces pictured.  I wear my wedding rings on my left hand.  I wear a simple pearl ring from my parents and a Harley Davidson ring from Barb Wire Man on the right hand.  I wear the earrings that belonged to my great-grandmother.  That's all.

I guess jewelry isn't so much a fashion statement for is a wearable reminder of who I am, where I have been, and where I am going.

My new necklace is now apart of my every day ensemble. I also think it is neat that mom gave it to me on Yom Teruah (Rosh Hashanah as most people know it).  And it is also pretty cool that, thanks to Facebook, I was actually able to have a conversation with the man from whom my mom got the Jerusalem.  Very, very cool.

What is the most meaningful piece of jewelry do you have?

Be blessed, and have a marvelous day!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

My Hope

So, I had a post scheduled today regarding some of the current goings on in this crazy world of ours.  Then, the kids and I ran to get a coke, and one of my favorite songs came on.  I've heard it a million times.  But today, particularly, it stuck out to me:

I decided to take that scheduled post down, and delete it.

Thank God.  My hope is in Him...Yahweh, God Almighty.  It does not lie in our president.  It does not lie in our Government, or the governments of other nations.

I pray.  I pray for our country, our leaders, and those of other nations.  But ultimately, it isn't in their hands.

"And the peace of God, which trancends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds through Yeshua the Messiah".  Phillipians 4:7

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Jesus Loves the Little Children!

A few weekends ago, Barb Wire Man and I packed our bags, loaded up our kiddos, and headed up to Colorado to visit my Aunt and Uncle.
My uncle with my mom.

Uncle, my mom's brother, has always been one of my favorite people.  I used to do a lot of stuff with him when I was the only little one in the family, and I looked up to him so much!  My aunt and I text constantly throughout the day.  We have an awful lot in common, and are always sharing ideas and asking each other questions.  I truly consider her a friend, not just my aunt.  Their children are the same age as mine, and it is just wonderful to see them forming friendships with each other.

These family friendships go back further than just my aunt, uncle and I.  My aunt's mom was actually best friends with my maternal great-grandmother!  Aunt and I really think God must have some pretty big plans for our family, as there are now three generations of great friendships.

Flower, Little Man and me in our hotel room before church.

Anyhow, back to the story. We put everyone in the car, and set off for Colorado.  It was a 5 hour drive, and surprisingly, went really well!  The absolute best part of the whole trip was watching the kids' eyes light up when the mountains began to come into view.  The mountains are, by far, my most favorite place in the world.  I'd love nothing more than to live in a house way up in the mountains, cut off from the rest of the world.  Sounds insane, but really is my dream.  It was such a wonderful time to talk to my children about the beauty of creation.  We talked on and on about what an amazing God we have, who would create such beauty for us to look at.

The entire purpose of our trip was because Aunt and Uncle asked Barb Wire Man and I to be sponsors for my little cousin's baptism!  It was such an honor to be asked!  During the church service, Uncle, Aunt, Barb Wire Man and I recited words committing ourselves to teaching the Little Ones about God.  They were so much more than words to me.

The banner that hung in the front of the church announcing his baptism

The world is going to take every chance they have to teach our children that there is no God; to teach our children that they are the author's of their own destiny.  

As Christians, we have such a huge responsibility to teach our children about the things we believe.  Every moment with our children is a teachable moment.  As we drove into the mountains of Colorado, our family was able to discuss creation.  We were able to discuss how great God is, for providing us with not only a world full of the things we need, but also beauty everywhere we look.  Let's make sure our children know that we serve an amazing, powerful, almighty God.

The whole family!  (Notice my little cousin is still holding her knitting?!)

What are your favorite times to teach your children about God?

"Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it."  Proverbs 22:6

Monday, September 17, 2012

Easter in.....August?!

Easter around in our family is a pretty big deal.  It is the celebration of new beginnings.  A great excuse to invite people over for fun and food. The celebration of our risen Savior, Jesus.  And, of course, fun times dyeing eggs, hiding them, and hunting them!

Our family always hides real and plastic eggs.  We usually keep a great tab on how many eggs we hide, so we can ensure that no egg will be left to rot in my mom's front yard.

Normally, it is just Flower and Little Man who hunt eggs, so keeping count is no big issue.  This year, we invited my friend and her family over to hunt eggs as well, so there were five little ones running around, gathering eggs.

We thought we had the eggs completely counted and recovered.

Until a few weeks ago.

We had gone to my parents house, just for a visit.  My sister's fiance, Chris, had taken Little Man out into the front yard to help burn off some energy.  Little Man came running in, and right behind him was Chris, laughing hysterically.

They found an egg.  A real egg.  In August.

No one dared to open the egg,   Everyone was afraid the egg would break.  Chris carefully discarded the egg, and thankfully, no one had to smell the egg.

Next year, we count better.  AND will graph each egg's exact location!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Captchas are a Pain!

I read a long time ago that captchas (the funny shaped words and numbers that are required on some blogger's comments, to make sure comments aren't coming from a computer) was the best way to not get comments on your blog.  They take time that many bloggers just don't have the time for.  We read, we comment, we move on to the next blog.

At the time, they really didn't bother me that much.  It didn't seem to take that much more time to type them in quickly, but, I still chose not to have them on my blog.  I might not be too busy, but many bloggers are.  I wanted them to still comment on my blog!  (We all know, getting comments is super important to the blogging world.)

Now, I got this new laptop, you know.  So I'm getting to read a lot more blogs than I was able to before, and I love it.  But from some reason, I cannot comment on any blog with a captcha.  I can type my comment, but no matter how many times I type in the captcha, I am told it is wrong.  I haven't ever had this trouble before, and I know I am typing them in correctly.

Does anyone know if this might be a setting on my computer?  There are a lot of blogs I read on a regular basis, that I can no longer comment on!  It is super frustrating!

So, if you are one of my blogger friends, and I have suddenly stopped commenting on your blog, I apologize!  I am reading, but cannot seem to comment on any blog requiring a captcha!

Ideas, anyone?!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Goodbye, Santa Claus

My parents always played Santa for my sister and I.  My Pawpaw dressed up and played Santa for the whole town.  It was always a special thing growing up for me!

My Pawpaw, dressed as Santa.  And yes, that WAS his real beard, real hair, real glasses, and real belly!

I was in the third grade when I found out that Santa wasn't "real".  A friend, who's parents were Mormon and did not celebrate, told me.  I wouldn't say I was disappointed, and I certainly never felt lied to by my parents.  They continued playing Santa up until the year I was married and moved out of their home!

I was so excited to get to "play Santa" for my children.  For Flower's first Christmas, I went all out.  I couldn't wait to surprise her each year with the excitement of what Santa would bring!  Every year, it has been a joy to surprise my children with the one gift they couldn't live without.  I love setting out Santa's favorite snack, which, ahem, happens to be Kringla made by Grandma Mary and a nice cup of hot jasmine green tea.

Christmas 2010...setting out kringla and hot tea for Santa!
Well, a few weeks ago, Flower learned from a friend that the Tooth Fairy wasn't real.  Sure, I was a little sad, but it wasn't the end of the world.  Flower laughed, said she had suspected it was us, and thought it was a fun game parents play to make their kiddos feel special.  My only thought was "Oh, thank goodness it was just the Tooth Fairy and not Santa!"  But, I knew that it wouldn't be long before my 9 year old began putting all the little pieces together.

Sure enough, last night, Flower came up to me and informed me that she knew that Mama and Daddy were actually Santa Claus.  I would be lying if I said I was just a little disappointed.  I did explain to her that yes, Mama and Daddy were the ones who played Santa each year, but that we did it to make it a special time she would remember.  I asked if she was disappointed, or if she felt sad that we had hidden the truth from her.

Flower with her new Harley Davidson Helmet from Santa,  so she could ride with Daddy!

Her response was great!  "Oh no, Mama!  I think it was so much fun!  You did a good job every year, and it was always special!  But, I do feel bad for telling you that I always asked Santa for the most expensive gifts!"  (Yes, just a few short weeks ago she told me she was asking Santa for a new iPod, since Santa must be the richest man in the world!)

Daddy assured her that Santa would continue "visiting" our house, as long as she made certain not to spoil the surprise for Little Man, and that we didn't need to talk about it, so as not spoil it for our friends who don't already know.  Santa also informed her she must continue setting out kringla and hot tea!  She promised, and even asked if she could help with Little Man's Santa gifts!

So, I am a little disappointed that this year won't be quite the same when Flower goes running in to see what Santa brought her.  But, on the flip side, it is about time to get a little credit!

Do you do Santa for your children?  I know there are many parents who don't think it is a wise idea, because it can be so misleading.  Personally, its always been something fun and special.  I don't know anyone who felt mislead because their parents tried to surprise them with special gifts each year!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Doomsday Preppers

I don't care for watching TV much, but, after a day of deep cleaning my house, I decided to sit down and watch a little TV.

I got sucked in.  I ended up watching four episodes of a show called "Doomsday Preppers".  I have to say, it was super interesting!  Some of these people have thought of absolutely everything, from food to ventilation systems to protect them in case of nuclear fallout.

While I don't consider myself a doomsday prepper, I am most certainly a person who is prepared, and I have a nice little stockpile of things.

I like to stockpile things like dry beans, rice, flour, sugar, cornmeal, coffee (yes, coffee, because if the world shuts down, I am going to need an ample supply of caffeine to survive), and pasta.  I also have made sure that I have appliances and pans that can be used should we ever have to go long periods without electricity!

I would love to have a good supply of firewood, though I haven't really pursued that yet.  Being that it is coming up on fall, I may start looking for a good place to get wood.

Water, well, I don't have a good stockpile of that at all.  Barb Wire Man drinks only bottled water, so it is gone nearly as fast as I can purchase it.  Although, I stumbled across a blog recently which I completely enjoy called "The Diary of a Cajun Mama".  She had an incredibly interesting post on bottling your own water!  I am considering giving this a try!

Nor do I go to extremes of having ventilation systems...that isn't something that I am able to spend money on now, and I don't really think I would if I could.

Security.  That is definitely something our family has under control because shooting guns is one of our biggest family hobbies.  Then again, we live in Texas, so I am not sure if that makes us prepared or just like nearly other family in the area!

I haven't decided if I do all this as a way to prepare for a major, life changing event, or, if I do it to keep from having to go to the store constantly.  I think perhaps it is a little of both, actually.  I think if I had the room, and extra money, I could easily be a "doomsday prepper".  Barb Wire Man already thinks I am just this side of crazy because I stockpile like I do. I do know many people who stockpile as a way to ensure that their family will have food in an emergency.  I also know people who have taken major, major steps in preparing for an event that could change life as we know it.  Frankly, none of them would even entertain the thought of being on a show like Doomsday Preppers.  That is an incredibly secretive lifestyle.  And I hardly blame them, because they have gone to such amazing lengths to care for their families.

Are you a prepper?  Do you stockpile to ensure your family's safety, or, just as a way to keep from having to go to the store often?  If you do, what things to you set aside, and what do you do to make sure food doesn't spoil?

Be blessed!

Monday, September 10, 2012

winter stuff

A couple of weekends ago, I decided to tackle my "winter prep".  It really isn't much, but it sure is time consuming!!

You see, winters in this part of Texas are very unpredictable.  I have seen winters where it was unbearable cold, but we never had any snow.  I've seen winters that where it snowed so much, we couldn't leave the house.  Either way, our winters are usually come with wretched north winds.  I'm not talking 5-10 mile per hour winds either.  Nope...we get 30+ mile an hour winds, straight out of the north.

Regardless of conditions, I hate getting out in the cold. Once it gets below 65 or 70 degrees, I keep my butt inside, with 3 sweaters on, covered up by an afghan.  No joke.  I hate being cold.  And it always seems that I run out of every day foods when the weather is the worst.  And because it always happens right before or during a storm, the grocery stores are running low on the items I usually need.

I'm trying to avoid this situation this year.
I started by making 28 jars of grape jelly.  Yes, twenty-eight jars.  Barb Wire Man eats a peanut butter and jelly sandwich every single day for lunch...poor man.  Hopefully, 28 jars will be enough to last us through the winter.

Next, I canned some pinto beans.  When we have beans and rice for supper, I start with plain dry beans and cook them in the crockpot.  But, I also like to add cooked pintos to my hamburger meat.  Sometimes, I will mash them up and add them to casseroles and other things.  Sometimes I add the whole beans to things like taco meat.  It helps stretch the meat a little further, and adds extra protein.  Dry beans are so cheap, so this helps stretch our grocery budget a lot!

I once canned beans.  I cooked them up, then canned them.  The beans were super mushy, and it just didn't work very well.  They weren't bad, but they weren't very good, either.  Then my dear friend introduced  me to the most awesome blog:  The way she cans beans is unbelievably easy.

Not counting washing and sterilizing the jars and the actual pressure canning part, it took me a whole 15 minutes.  I want to hug this woman around the neck and tell her thank you for writing that post.  If she reads this:  THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!

Next, I will be making the bread.  I have been holding off on this part, just because using the oven that much heats the house up so.  I'm waiting for a nice cool day, so we don't all get heat stroke while I cook!  My goal is to make 15-20 loaves of bread, then I will freeze them.

Can you think of other things that are great to make ahead and either freeze or can?  I would love any ideas you might have!

Music in the Soul

"Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent."  Victor Hugo 

I know it is like this in most of the country, but here in Texas, sports reign supreme...particularly football.  I know there are many parents who put their children in sports when they are just little things to encourage an active lifestyle, introduce them to sports, and encourage them to have fun.  But I have seen many lately who put them in sports early to start grooming them to be athletes, whether the children enjoy it or not.

I don't think there is anything wrong with encouraging your child to play sports.  I do have issues with parents who push their children in sports to the point that the children no longer have fun.  

Flower has played many sports in her 9 years; volleyball, soccer, basketball, and swimming.  She has excelled at some, and at others, well, not so much.  Flower and any sport that involves a ball hurling at her face don't usually go well together!  She and I talked about it not long ago, and I asked her how she felt about sports.  She said they were fun, but if she never played another sport again, she wouldn't be sad.  I asked her what her favorite thing about life was and her response was "Music, mom.  I love music.  I always have music in my head, and it will never go away."

A nickel on Flower's wrist, to encourage her to hold her hands correctly.

Our family is incredibly musical, so hearing that thrilled me to no end!

She is right, though.  The music is in us.  It isn't something our family plays.  It isn't something we listen to in the car.  It isn't something we sing.  It is something that is so embedded in our souls that we cannot live without it.

Flower's Papa, my dad, bought her a guitar for Christmas last year.  She was thrilled beyond belief, and spends many hours a week sitting in her room practicing.  It works out nicely that her Papa, grandpa, and 3 uncles also play, so if there is ever a question, it can quickly be answered.

Recently, I have found her sitting at the piano, pen and paper in hand.  Not only has she been composing small pieces of music, but also writing words to go along with her compositions.  Not that I am biased, but the words to some of her songs are better written and more clearly thought out than 90% of the music being played today!

I decided it was time for lessons.  I didn't want to push her too early, too much.  I was worried that if I did, she would become burned out, and would no longer enjoy it.  We have her scheduled to begin next week, with a sweet, old lady, who is also excited to begin working with her on not only piano, but also organ!  I also purchased some piano lesson books, and am working with her alone at home.  She is picking up so quickly, and I am so proud of her!  

(As I am writing this, I can hear her in the other room, singing and playing her own musical piece!)

The Mennonites say that teaching a child to sing and play music is as important as teaching them reading and Math, for no matter their path in life, a child will use music to praise God.  Music is in the soul.

What is your family's forte?  (No pun intended!)  How do you encourage your children to be the best at what they do, without causing them to become stressed and lose interest?
Little Man trying his hand at the piano when he was about 2 years old.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

First Day of Fourth Grade!

Oh, school, why must you always start again!?

My sweet girl, Flower, started back to school on August 27th.  It made me quite sad!  Sure, we all joke that we are so ready for school to start.  But, Flower was my little buddy during the summer!  When the little ones took their naps, she and I stayed up chatting, reading our Bibles, praying, playing games, or knitting.  It is a little lonely here without her.

But, a child must be educated!  Thankfully, we got the teacher we were praying she would get.  The kids we wanted in her class are, and the ones we didn't, aren't.  We are really blessed this year!

It is so hard to believe that I have a child in the 4th grade.  I remember 4th grade so clearly.  It was the first year we began to home school, and probably the year I was pushed to "dig deep" the most.

Flower on the first day of fourth grade

Isn't she just beautiful?!  And look how much she has changed:

Flower on the first day of third grade
She looks so grown up.  So mature.  Such a young lady she is becoming!

God has truly blessed me with some amazing children.  

"Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.  Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth.  Blessed is the man who's quiver is full of them."  Psalm 127 3-5

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Past Comes to Life

Most everyone who has read my blog a time or two knows that my family history is incredibly important to me.  So when my mom invited the family over to her house to look through several boxes of old, almost forgotten photos, I was elated!  Some of these pictures were some I had never even seen, and of people I had only heard stories about.  Some were of people I dearly loved that have been gone for many years. 

I enjoyed hearing my mom, my aunt, and my great-uncle tell stories about these people that I had never heard before.  I learned things about my grandparents, great-grandparents and beyond that I never knew. 

This is a photo of my grandparents and my mom, when she was just a tiny little thing!  I think my grandmother was just gorgeous.  And my Pawpaw?  Quite the looker!  You can't tell from these pictures, but he had bright red hair, and my grandma always said that red hair is what made her fall in love with him!  I love these pictures of them, because it shows that there were very much in love.  When I was young, my Pawpaw had a pretty hard shell.  He was a tough ol' cowboy, and feelings were not something he expressed..unless he was angry!  He didn't come around hugging and loving on you, and he didn't often say "I love you".  I always wondered if he was really in love with my Grandma, or if he just kinda hung around.  I think these pictures show that they really did love each other.  (That and my great-uncle informed me that they were quite in love!)

I love this picture.  I don't even think there are any words necessary!
This is a picture of my grandparents more the way I remember them.  Grandma's smile never changed!

My great-grandmother, Helen, was a super classy woman.  I had never seen this picture of her before, but she totally looks like the kind of woman I would have been had I been her age back then!  She and I shared the same middle name, Lorraine.  My mom was very close to her. The young boy in the picture is my Pawpaw!
This was my grandmother in her later years, every bit as classy and pretty as she was when she was a young lady!
There were so many, many more pictures I could have shared!  But, I will leave it at this for today!

Be blessed!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Smiling Green Apples Giveaway Winner!!

I know, I know, I know, it has taken forever to announce.  But, here it is!!  The winner, chosen at random by Flower picking a name out of a hat is....

Bethany from Blessed Beyond Measure!!

WOOHOO!  Bethany, if you will send me your address, I will get those shipped out to you ASAP!

I have been using my clothespins from Smiling Green Apples every laundry day, and I love them!  I think you will enjoy them as much as I do!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Welcome to the 21st Century!

I am so excited.  I have finally advanced into the 21st century.  I am typing this while sitting in a lounge chair in my front yard, watching my children play.

My dear, sweet, wonderful husband bought me a laptop over the long weekend! 

That may not seem like such a big deal to some, but for me, it is huge! 

I had been doing all my 13 Plum Creations stuff, as well as my blogging and tweeting on a super old, super big desk top computer.  It is around 10 years old, and slow as Christmas.  It liked to lock up on me constantly, and it took an eternity to get anything accomplished (which is the main reason I have not been writing recently).  It was torturous trying to get anything done on that old dinosaur!

I think now that I have much greater flexibilty and a more reliable computer, I will be able to get so much more accomplished.

Like announcing the winner of the giveaway I was holding!  I will be doing that tomorrow!  And I am SO sorry it has taken this long, but seriously, that computer isn't good for much more than using as target practice.

Which will happen as soon as I get everything transferred over to this new computer!

Barb Wire Man  also got himself a tablet.  He hasn't really decided whether he likes it or not.  At the moment, he hates it...but he says that about everything new he gets.  After awhile, he gets used to it and wonders how he ever lived without it.  But, I suppose if he doesn't end up liking it, then I wind up with a new laptop and a new tablet!

I do apologize to my devoted readers (ahem, my mom) for not writing as often as I ought.  Hopefully, that will all change now that I have joined the rest of the civilized world when it comes to technology!