February 21, 2007

Ever Been "WOWWED" By Your Child's Talent?!

Travis has spent the last 6 months or so working on the interior finish of a log cabin with my father. It has been a 'building trades' or 'life skills' type of class for school credit as well as a wonderful, priceless opportunity for both of them to treasure forever in terms of the "deeper relationship building"! The exterior walls and roof were done by someone else, but they built all the interior walls, interior doors, closets, window & door trims etc....

Off and on over the last few months, Travis has come home telling
us how his day has gone and what projects he has been working on! I would smile and listen and relish the time he has had to learn ... but it never really 'sunk in' just what caliber of work he was TRULY doing!! I'm not sure if you can really tell in this picture or not... but the ceiling over the shower & toilet area are dropped lower then the rest of the ceiling area. This was one of Travis's ideas and he was allowed to implement it! (The reason was to hide the pipes from view!) He also did all the trim work around the tiles and the window and laundry shoot... not to mention fitting all the horizontal pine boards in for the walls floor to ceiling!!

Last Sunday, the couple who had hired them, held a 'House Blessing"
ceremony and invited us to attend and to check it out! Needless to say... my mouth dropped open even at entering their home!! We were given the 'grand tour' and Travis added a few comments here and there. I have to honestly admit that I UNDER ESTIMATED HIS GIFTS & TALENTS IN THIS AREA!! Check out the rail going upstairs!! My dad had the idea and he had Travis do the cutting and together they built these beautiful pine tree images!! WOW, WOW, WOW was about all I could say as I was walking around!! Can you tell I'm a proud Mama and Daughter!?! It is truly awesome to see such craftsmanship.... and especially awesome when the craftsmen are people that you love!!

February 20, 2007

Cupboards Half Full and Checkbook Almost Empty??

Ok, is it JUST ME or is everyone spending MORE at the grocery store and coming home with LESS! It use to take me a few trips from the van to the house carrying the big paper bags and now with the smaller plastic bags... it doesn't seem to take as long!! AND... after I put everything away the kids are still asking "Don't we have anything to eat?" (obviously popcorn or carrot sticks w/Ranch dressing don't count!!) LOL :)

I thought I'd share the cost of a few items. Just out of curiosity (if you are willing to share) are we all paying similar prices for our 'regular' purchases? (not necessarily the organic or specialty foods... sadly, they are always higher in price.)

whole milk at $2.59 per gallon (store brand)
1% milk at $2.49 per gallon (store brand)
3 lb. bag of baby carrots $4.99
1 lb. of unsalted butter quarters $2.29
11.5 oz. coffee $3.99 (Melitta Hazelnut Creme)
12 oz. coffee $3.69 (Harmony Bay French Vanilla)
8 oz. Pepto Bismol Max. (Liquid) $4.99
Broccoli Crowns (fresh) $1.49 lb.
12 oz. pkg. white mushrooms (fresh) $1.79
Dannon 12 pack of yogurts $3.56 (Light & Fit 4 oz. cups)

Why is it that heading in for a few things 'never' happens!! It is always after a minimum of $100 later that I can see my van again and head for the hills! Is there something in the lighting or a subliminal message being spoken over the loudspeaker "Hey you in aisle 5, you forgot the cereal... and now that I have your attention, check out the sale in the next aisle!" LOL :) Am I the ONLY crazy one out there that is wondering 'who is upping the prices' at the registers? And why I don't see the 'grocery store fairy' that keeps adding food into my cart that WAS NOT on my list!? LOL :)

Hmmm, I wonder if the grocery stores did away with shopping & delivering groceries to homes because we'd all spend LESS?! :) Not to mention the savings at the pumps!! (MAYBE they are working together!) LOL!! Last Wednesday I paid $2.17 (low grade) and then on Saturday it was up to $2.21(low grade) OUCH! Would this be because of the public school vacations this week and next?? :(

I'll step down from my soap box for now! Obviously, you can hear my sarcasm, but please believe me when I say, I do count my blessings!!! We are blessed in our country to have many, many groceries on the shelves to choose from!!! (MOST 3rd world countries do not!) I am thankful that my husband is employed, I am thankful that we can raise vegetables and chickens for eggs and chickens and turkeys for meat! I am SOOOO thankful for the blessings and freedoms that we do have... Ok, I'm down and off the box now. I truly hope that your grocery store prices are healthier for your checkbook then ours are for us!! :) New goal......??? STICK TO WHAT IS ON THE LIST OR SEND SOMEONE ELSE WITH MY LIST AND CASH!!

Have a blessed week!!

February 14, 2007

Fun In The *S*N*O*W* (3 days before the Nor' Easter!)

Last Sunday some of the kids went out on the back fields to make jumps and to snowboard & sled. Here are a couple of quick pictures that Audrey took! If you look to the right you can see a few 'teeny tiny' rooftops in the distance.... that's where we live! (plus the small barn roof, the garage roof etc.) As you can imagine, they had quite a hike to even begin all of their outdoor 'fun'!!

Audrey went out to take pictures and I'm not sure if she actually tried the run or not, but if I know her ... she did, or she will next time when she has mittens!! :) Don't her hands look frozen!! Where are your mittens!?! (Mom, I can't take pictures with mittens on besides, it wasn't that cold out!) :) :)

Here is TJ taking the jump........ It is really fun to watch them literally FLY over the jumps and bumps!! (Can you feel the pain in your knees after landing this baby?) For sure I'd NEEEED a nice hot bath or even better a hot tub! Why is 'youthful energy' wasted on the young!? LOL

Happy Valentine's Day!

As you may already know, it is a blustery, **Nor'Easter** type of Valentine*s Day here in NH, with a predicted 15-30 inches! I say bring it on, it's about time! We need it for a good sugaring season and the spring thaw for the wells! This means there will be NO dinner dates for us.... but, that 's ok!! I think I will spend the day baking and prepare a nice dinner 'in' for everyone instead! Thankfully, I have a turkey all ready to go...... just need to make the stuffing and peel the veggies and by dinnertime......... we SHOULD have the yummy aroma of baked turkey & home made bread filling the house!

I started to post my bread baking & recipe last Thursday, but I was sidetracked (which is NO great surprise around here!) LOL :) I'll share a picture for you anyways and post the recipe in another day or two, Lord willing! I HOPE to make some more bread today (ALONG WITH A BATCH OF PETE'S FAVORITE, but seldomly made, OATMEAL COOKIES!) I'll let you know how it all comes out... and IF I really am able to get it together, I'll take more pictures and post them!

Like I've said before, life with 4 teens is bound to be an adventure in itself! ANY achieved goals is the icing on the cake of life during these years!! If you have teens you'll appreciate this quote; "Raising teenagers is like trying to nail jello to a tree." It's a great visual huh!! :)

Have a WONDERFUL Valentine's Day..... remember to let those you love know how much they have blessed & touched your life! God Bless You All...

Update #2, #3 and #4 for The New 'Houseguest'

One Monday afternoon about a week after the duck's arrival, I was out feeding & watering the chickens & goats.... I had the door open to the 'milking room' which was now doubling for grain storage and Miss Ducky's nesting area. While I was filling the chicken feeder Miss Ducky took flight over my head and right out the door! TJ was within two inches of grabbing her in flight as she took off but she was just too high! She flew down towards the mailbox and then turned direction and headed towards the Sugar House.... We knew being a duck that this was a possibility and bid her farewell and safe travel! :( I don't understand why she would choose the COLDEST day of winter to take off since she was at least protected from the wind & elements... but, since I am not a duck, I am not suppose to understand!!

It was a day or two after that when Travis went outside to water & feed the goats & chickens. He was sooo funny when he came in mimmicking the barn sounds as he was telling his story... "Mom, I put the feed down for the goats and they came right over baaaing and talking and then the chickens with their baaalk, baaaking as I gave them food and put the bucket of water inside... then, coming from the back of the room I heard a 'quack'!! The duck flew back and took up residency in with the rest of the animals!!" He told us that after the goats had their drink of water, he set the duck on the edge of the bucket (a 5 gallon bucket) so she could drink too.... evidently, she took her drink then dove right in for a bath!! It was REALLY funny!!

The next day Travis came walking inside with Miss Ducky in his arms! I asked what was going on... he said well, now that she is in the other side of the barn she is able to fly out and over the fencing. She was under the kitchen window sitting on the bulkhead so I thought I'd bring her in and give her some crackers! OH MY... what did we get started!! Audrey and I took off for Driver's Ed mid-day and when I called home to 'check on the boys'... Austin told me that he could hear quacking. He opened the door and there she was... standing on the front doorstep! She waddled in and drank from Toby's water bowl!! She must have thought she had a good thing going, but the boys brought her back to 'her' section of the barn and replenished her bedding & food & water!!

We'll see what happens next....... You just never know what adventures will come our way on the 'funny farm'!! (2 'adults', 4 teens, 3 cats, 3 goats, 1 dog, 27 chickens and a duck....) As my dad says, "When you don't know what to say.... 'just smile and nod'."

February 2, 2007


Pete called me on his way home from work the other night to tell me that he had a houseguest coming home with him. I knew enough to ask him immediately if it were a 2-legged or a 4-legged houseguest!! He laughed at me and said 2-legged..... so I asked if it was a human and the answer was no. Hmmm, now I was curious so I continued playing 100 questions to discover that our visitor and probable newest family member was a 'duck'!

Yup, you read that correctly! Somehow this little duckie found her way to Pete's work site and had followed the guys around all afternoon. After eating Cheese Nips and 'quacking' with all the guys it was decided that Pete 'NEEDED' to bring her home. They looked around for her home (her people family or duck family... ) and found nothing. Since we already have chickens & goats, 3 cats & 1 dog the guys at work decided that adding a duck shouldn't be too difficult!

I have to admit when Pete walked in with her perched on his arm... she was kinda cute! After ooohing and ahhhing over her, she was put on the kitchen floor and went right over to Toby's water bowl to drink! He looked at me as if to say "It's bad enough I have to share my water with Yoda, Twinkie & Zoe (the 3 cats) but a duck too??!!"

We set up an area in the milking room for her complete with hay for nesting, a water bowl and some cracked corn & chicken feed..... (It is nice that 2 of the kids work in a feed store so they knew the grain was compatible for the duck!) and she made herself right at home in the barn!

In the morning the kids brought "Margaret" (maybe?) back inside to check her out better since we didn't have much time to get aquainted the night before! Soon
the duck was swimming in my largest bowl.... and enjoying spattering water all over! My teens became children again right before my eyes!! It was sooo much fun to watch them be as excited as preschoolers as they went down the hall to "FILL THE BATHTUB"! :) Oh my, what a homeschooling family won't do in the name of science!! Believe me, it was fun..... she quacked and swam around as if in her own private little pond!! (We were only lacking pond plants & feeder fish!) When Pete got home that night, he laughed as we told him about the day's adventures... he said he assumed the duck was going to end up in the tub!! Did you know that a duck can twist its head around kind of like an owl, just not as far?! The duck's bill has quite a few colors in it... not just orange! And, they hiss like a snake when they are trying to scare something (like a dog or cat) away!! She is very friendly and comes over to say hello when approached by people! Stop in for a visit..... we'll introduce you!!