Friday, December 31, 2010

Top 10 List

Year's End

I love New Year''s a great big way to wipe the slate clean and go at it once again. Like Mondays, only a lot more fun and with great snacks! I got to go to lunch with BFF today, cleaned my stalls this morning and wear my way-cool purple shiny silk shirt from GW again. So it's already been a good New Year's Eve afternoon.

But to succinctly wrap it up, I'll give you my Top 10 Lists for 2010.

Top 10 Things for which I Am Grateful:

1. A personal relationship with the one, true God, through the person of His only Son, Jesus Christ. This has to come first, not because it should but because it is the filter through which I try to live, really. That doesn't make me better than anyone, or smarter or more spiritual. I am the chief among sinners, but thankfully, I am "on the line" and appreciate each time the Lord reels me in for a little one-on-one with the Holy Spirit, reminding me of the stupidity of "going it alone". I tell my children, the only hope we have is through Jesus. Hope for the future of our country, hope for our lives, hope for the dreams that are in each of us.

2. Loving, kind, well-mannered, funny parents. Yep, they're all that and more. I am thankful for their raising of me and their continued relationship which has evolved into a wonderful friendship, where I get all their best stuff! As I have posted here many times, my poor dad is still barn-building for me after all these years! And my mother will soon begin sleeping more peacefully, knowing that my kitchen/laundry/dog kennel/storage room will soon be completely demolished and replaced with something akin to!

3. Of course, HANDYMAN! I am what I yam because of him. Really. My parents got the first couple decades, but I grew up a lot when I met Handyman, because I wanted him to like me. I paid attention to what was important to him and I morphed! I gave up some of the goofy, girly nonsense and got serious about being a grown-up. I also read Debi Pearl's "Created to be a Help Meet" and learned how Biblical truths will always, always, always work--duh! And then of course, I read 17 years worth of This Old House magazine, so I can converse intelligently about moulding, spray-on insulation foam, underlayment, fiber cement siding and drip edge. ;)

4. My Bratinellas--all three of 'em. Because, well because I like them better than I like anyone else's bratinellas! They know me. They know my bark is worse than my bite and they know that I am trying to teach them things it took me awhile too long to picking up after oneself. They know Mommy loves Daddy the most and she's gonna do what he wants first. And they forgive me...thank heavens!

5. My awesome estate. Some might disagree with me, but it's wonderful in the summer, and terrific on dark, starry nights and pretty in the fall and wonderful in spring and even pretty in winter. It continues to evolve into something more terrific each year. And this year will be the biggie: New kitchen, back room stops being a storage unit and will become living space, with NEW back staircase, new laundry room, new mudroom. And I'm gonna make Handyman build a riding ring, pour concrete on the barn porch and frame up the tack room, so I can really ride horses again. (My dad better get back soon. There's work afoot.)

6. My critters. Goes without saying. Even on the most bitter winter mornings, IN THE DARK, once I get out there, I am so glad to be with them and feed them and rub their long, shiny winter coats. They give me something to get out of bed for...durn it! And the ones in the house are even better with that non-stop flow of love. Poor Handyman, didn't know what he was getting into. I promised him, once the kids left, I would be a crazy cat lady, who cleans the litter boxes. Next up, baby goats and bees!

7. I have this amazing, small circle of friends who are as faithful and loyal as anything I could have hoped for. When you're in high school, you think your friends are so deep and true and life-long and nothing could be further from the truth! You don't even know what life is about or what hard really is. When your friendships aren't about what any of you are wearing or doing, but about slogging on through devastating personal crisis or illness or significant loss and you keep linking your arms together and pulling forward and laughing whenever possible and taking care and not calling as much as you should...this is friendship. And I have been the beneficiary of some beautiful friends over the last decade or so. Women who I should get together with MUCH more than I do...who have been the sisters that I never had to grow up with!

8. In-Laws--I sure lucked out in this department. When I hear the stories from others, I almost can't believe the grief other women suffer. My in-laws have given me about 2 hours total of trouble in 20 years. Maybe less. In return, I have eaten at their table and opened their gifts and dumped off the bratinellas many, many times. My FIL is gone now, but I remember that a long time ago he told Handyman to get on with marrying me or he would do it himself!

9. My health. Of course there is no order to the things on this list. They're all about equal for me. But this would fall pretty high. Having walked through cancer, I feel stronger and surer and much, much more focused and I am glad for that experience. I recognize moments now and am more willing to sit and soak them up. I can just enjoy time for what it is. I regained a sense of wonder about much that was being swallowed up in the inanity of everyday American existence.

I am THANKFUL for the "broken" American healthcare system that allowed me to pick my doctors, and organize my treatment program according to what I wanted and needed. I didn't require the approval of anyone or anything. We pay our own health insurance, and for the majority of our medical needs, we pay for those too. My insurance company didn't give me one minute's trouble about anything I needed and I was NOT booted out. I didn't ask anyone else to pay for me and I'll be the first to join the group of "folks who don't want to pay for others' healthcare".

10. I'll be a little flippant and just say, that I love the internet. I love shopping on it. I love reading other blogs. I love reading the news on it. I love emailing my kids' teachers. I love skyping with my parents. I love watching old tv shows and movies, INSTANTLY. I love watching horse-for-sale ads on youtube. Okay, I love the White Knuckles dog video on YouTube. I even like Facebook, a little. The internet is awesome, and I hope the government keeps its grimy, greedy big paws off of it!

Leave me your list, if you wish!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Could we all just agree... not dress our daughters like hookers?! Or not allow them the dress themselves that way? Or at least give them a good look-over before they head out the door?!

Due to my new career as a lunch-lady, I see about 16 million high school students each day. Only 3 of them use the phrase "May I have blah blah blah?" The remainder grunt, point or say "Can I have mine without gravy?" To which I reply, "Yes, you may. YOU'RE WELCOME." and smile.

But I digress...I also see more bra straps and black lace than Tom Brady and Harry Connick Jr. (They married Victoria's Secret models.) And then there are the painted-on "skinny jeans". Boy do these look awful, especially on boys. And there's pajamas, yep, cleavage that makes me blush and T-I-G-H-T shirts, short skirts and those sweats with words across the bum.

And I don't buy the whole "that's all there is out there," or "she won't wear anything else" baloney...I keep wanting to pull these girls aside and say, "Do you realize what message you're sending??"

C'mon moms, do young women really need more complications in their lives nowadays? And do you really want them to be "wanted" or treated like harlots? Remember their sweet little voices and faces? Don't sell them out and don't let them give themselves away...

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Life in the Remodeling Trenches

I am giving thanks today for rigid-foam insulation board--why? you might ask...

Well, it will allow the toilet nearest my bedroom to remain above 50 degrees this evening. Many of you have gone a long time since you've used a privy...let me tell you there's a lot of positive things going on with indoor, heated plumbing.

Here's an actual conversation with Handyman, from earlier this summer:

"Well, now that I've ripped out the oil tank by the front door AND the sidewalk; and we've enjoyed that gravel sidewalk all winter, I need about $500 for materials to re-do the sidewalk in the bluestone that we picked out.

Me: Okay, I think I can come up with that...

Him: (Gazing over my head at the front of the house.) Well, before I put in the new sidewalk, I should tear off the roof because I could back the dump trailer right up to the front door and you wouldn't want to do that with a new sidewalk...

Me: (Mouth falling open--for once, speechless)

Him: (continuing on)...and if we're going to tear off the roof, WHILE WE'RE AT IT*, we should put in those dormers that we have been saying we would be silly not to do that at the same time...

* The most expensive four words in remodeling

Me: (Mouth still open) gaaaaa...I guess so.

So, the dudes who tear off roofs for a living, came and only one of them fell off, outside #1's bedroom window, breaking the deck, but not his arm. And then the contractor came and added two wonderful dormers, one in the master bath and one over the front door. Now we can see out to the driveway from the landing at the top of the stairs. How it should've been all along, I think.

Handyman, being the can-do guy that he is, decided to go against one of his earliest statements upon moving here: "That roof is too steep for me. I'll pay someone to put a new roof on it."

And so with the money we saved from the roof, we went to a building materials auction and bought kitchen cabinets, for my birthday! Handyman and I met at an auction, so it is always enjoyable to return to our roots.

We spent all day in a giant, filthy warehouse, but got a terrific bargain for our efforts. Everyone around us agreed! 28 brand new kitchen cabinets, no particle board, some with beveled glass in the doors, for $2100!! Woo hoo!

And just to keep the entertainment level at peak, we brought them all home in a horse trailer! The Clampitts get a kitchen!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

As the worm turns...

And man, has it ever turned! We are a changed family. We decided back in the spring to put #2 into school this year, since she was ready for 6th grade. We wanted her to have the chance to get started with band and sports and things that #1 really missed out on, when we stuck her into 8th grade, mid-year. (Not the best timing, we realized, but it was what it was.)

Well, #3 wasn't too interested in staying home alone, so we visited a teeny-weeny private Christian school that was absolutely darling, but didn't have a teeny-weeny tuition; and we visited our local public school. #3 said, "Mommy, it looks like the Children's Museum!" And it does.

So as summer was waning, both girls were signed up for public school, and I started looking in earnest for a part-time job. And I got one, at a local high school cafeteria.

So I spend my days making cold sandwiches, viewing the juvenile public up-close and personal and throwing away hundreds of pounds of food each and every day. (More on that later.) I've joined a team of ladies who work hard and strive each day for efficiency and overall pleasant-ness. It's really enjoyable.

The best thing about it? Each day, I complete something. Not like at home, where nothing is EVER done. I can totally see how women would come to rely on the separateness of going to work and shutting the door on home for awhile.

Oh, the other best thing is that the pay is very good and I am home every afternoon, evening, weekend and holiday AND summer! The tools of my trade: a hairnet and some plastic gloves...yee ha!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Summer in full swing

It is with great relief and a fist full of benadryl, that I announce "the first cutting is in the barn!" Yee ha--what a summer it has already been.

You may remember that last summer, the very kind firefighter around the corner, GAVE me his 3 acre field of grass/alfalfa hay. It was my first time to be master of my own destiny and what a lot did I learn! I learned head knowledge about hay and made contacts. I learned to be obsessed with the weather forecast and then to not trust anything I heard. I learned that no matter how well my plans were laid, I really had no control over anything. And I learned not to cry, because trusting the Lord is much more rewarding, even in matters of animal fodder.

So this year, I have that same field and I called my "Hay Guy" from last year. He was glad to hear from me and tipped me off that he would be fishing in Canada the first week of June. I could/should call him whenever I thought the weather was ripe for cutting...dum dum dum...heavy hangs the head that wears the hay crown.

Now last year, the month of June was NINE INCHES over for precipitation. Last year I didn't get the hay cut until JULY 3--AND THEN IT RAINED ON CUT HAY FOR TWELVE HOURS on the fourth of July. Do you see the ulcers forming in my duodenum? I get a twitch over my eye just typing "rain on hay for twelve hours". I prayed for a new learning experience this year...learned the whole rain lesson, Lord, TYVM.

So this year, I called the Hay Guy the Sunday, a week before Memorial Day and by golly, we got her done! And the absolute most wonderful thing happened to me--I got to drive the tractor with the baler attached. It was one of the highlights of my life--I know I could not stop smiling. I almost cried. I will never forget how wonderful it was. There was just something about the perfect weather, bright sunshine, the great smell of the hay and the process that just charmed me.

And then, Handyman actually got off work at a reasonable hour and he showed up at the field while I was driving the tractor. Could it get better?? There was a small crimp in the happiness when Handyman tried to back the hay wagon up to our barn. You may be nodding your head right now, thinking "You CANNOT back a hay wagon." And you'd be right in saying just that.

I was in the hayloft at that time, sweeping vigorously in order to keep my lips together. #1 was down below, yelling directions at her father, and then yelling up at me to call my neighbor to come over to back the wagon FOR her father. I explained to her that I would do no such thing and that she should keep her lips zipped.

45 minutes later, we settled for having the haywagon in the same field as the barn and cursed our complete lack of foresight in how we laid this whole place out. It is completely unhandy, in every possible way--But it looks nice from the driveway. Fortunately we had hired two teenage boys to loft the bales from the trailer across the three-foot gap to the barn loft door. We kept the teenage girls in the loft, catching the bales.

No elevator this time--Handyman thinks elevators are for wimps--okay, not really. But we were in a hurry, what with all that time spent trying to back towards the barn, from the north, from the west and then the north again. The rain has been pretty frequent since then and I see lots of hay still in fields all around here, almost falling over.

And I'm SO completely thankful to have my first cutting successfully put up! I'm looking forward to getting at least one more cutting and HOPING I get to drive the baler again. I'd be willing to pay more just for the chance to do it. Call me crazy!

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Art Museum

Took the kiddos on a field trip to the Art Museum last week. It's been awhile since I've been to the Art Museum, thought we were about due for a trip, since we no longer need strollers and wipes, etc. I did remember my last trip to the Art Museum, where we encountered the GIANT piles of painted, knotted, piled nylon rope in the entry. These are piles bigger than furniture, some bigger than automobiles, uniformly knotted and coiled and stacked into massive structures, with little signs that say "Please Do Not Touch".

You're kidding me, right?! These things are indestructible and randomly placed in the ENTRYWAY, so that you have to walk around and through them, but we can't touch them?! They are made of rope, like from Lowes rope, and coated with seriously heavy coats of shellac..."Kids, don't touch the giant piles of painted rope. It's delicate."

But I digress. This time the entry was still in a state of un-pack, we thought. We were wrong. There were these frames, the size of patio doors, that had unfinished strips of plywood on the vertical sides and between the plywood there were different types of curtains sticking out. The frames were at all random angles and there was a second tier on top, that had shards of mirror sticking out of the edges. We could walk through them, and OF COURSE, not touch them. It was stupid and unattractive.

Of course, the descriptive card off to the side went on about how the different curtains and positions made the viewer feel different things, blah, blah, blah. Since my friends are just as shallow as I am, we could only feel endangered by the big shards of mirror sticking out of the edges of the unfinished plywood. Actually, the unfinished plywood made me think of my kitchen, but mostly all I could think about was that someone was actually able to get paid for such a piece of rubbish.

And then I remembered my favorite exhibit ever at the Art Museum...the unravelling cacti. I think that's when I realized how very shallow and uncultured I am. A man had paid some South American women to knit coverings for plastic cacti. These cacti were set up in a large diorama. Each knitted cacti had a yarn coming off it, running up to a powered spindle on the ceiling and at random times, the spindles would spring to life and unravel some yarn from the pieces. The "art" of this exhibit, was that it was always "changing" because it would be unravelled at random times, making it different. Huh? I've got stuff at my house that changes every time I look at it--the ring in the toilet, the stacks of laundry, even the litter boxes--perhaps I need to market myself more...

The "artist" didn't even do the knitting. Head banging on desk* Still don't get it.

We found our way to the clothing area, where we last saw women's outfits from each decade since the turn of the century, only to be disappointed--and shocked--at the display of coture from the 60's on, that included a swimsuit that was a brief attached to two suspenders that joined at the navel area AND NOTHING ELSE. The mannequin had other parts that weren't covered, fortunately the one boy with us was busy with the "artwork" that was simply a poorly-lit HOLE IN THE WALL, that you viewed from across the room.

I'm sure this description does little to explain the circumstances. There were some terrific things there and I am, for the most part, glad to take the kids. I just wish I could go without the whole Emperor's New Clothes feeling.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Yeah, yeah, yeah. My one fan (ccw) told me to my face the other night, that he was bummed that I wasn't blogging. Frankly, I'm bummed that I'm not blogging. I think about blogging every day. Then I think I must be pretty vain to think that my life is so entirely interesting that I qualify for daily blogger status. I mean how many times can you blog about where you have found socks? Or how many types of manure you handle in one day? (Bet I'd win.)

But really, the world is turning here at Netherfield. On Valentine's Day, Handyman's dad went into the hospital, and stayed for a long time. They tried to send him to a rehab a couple of times, but he got bounced back and then after yelling in my face that he wanted to die, he up and did just that.

It was my first up-close experience with death of a close loved one. I got to experience every single step of it, even the final end. I don't know how people go through this stuff without knowing Christ personally. What a bulwark it was for me to have God to rely on in all the various stages, with all the people I needed to help, in all the ways I was called upon to help.

All these decades of reading Dear Ann Landers and Carolyn Hax, and Billy Graham and all those columns in the magazines about life, have really helped. I was able to walk through those weeks without regret, saying what I needed to say and thanks to my dad, peeking during an altar call, I was able to reassure a lot of people that Grandpa knew Christ. And that was the ultimate peace for me and Handyman. We could say goodbye.

It was the first funeral I went to as a representative, rather than an attendee. And our friends came out of the woodwork--and what a blessing that was. You know how you never want to go to a funeral and you wonder if it's even worth your time...well it is. We were so blessed by the friends who toiled through an insane traffic jam to see us, just briefly--who bought us food because the stupid funeral home didn't even have a coffee pot that worked, who put on lunches for a huge entourage after the way-out-of-town burial--who colored with our kids in the funeral home kitchen so we could keep shaking hands. Note to self: remember how many ways you can be the body of Christ.

I actually stood at someone's bedside as they passed into eternity and I had absolutely no fear in my heart because I had said goodbye, days before, face to face, when he knew what I was saying AND because I knew he had asked Christ into his heart. Honestly, I always wondered if he remembered that he did that, and I probably should have talked more about it with him, but "that peace that passes all understanding" thing? It's real.

I could walk my kids through this first major loss of their lives with confidence in God and offer them peace for their broken little hearts.

Spring is coming now, I think. We have chicks in our attic room, with their mothers. We have contractors bidding on some alterations to our roof that are LONG overdue. My new horse is in training and I also have the opportunity to ride some other nice horses, to get legged up. #1 thinks she might get her drivers license this summer and #2 and #3 are going to school in the fall. Should be an interesting summer.

I have about 295 blogs in my head regarding the switch from homeschooling to public school, that I will be happy to unload at some point, but we're wrapping up some strep throat, orthodontia and raccoon attacks, so I really have to get out of this chair. Oh, and I didn't get pictures of the big crawdad I caught in the pasture this morning, complete with tail full of caviar, I mean eggs. I did release her into the creek and boy was she happy...

Thursday, March 4, 2010

I haven't been posting because..........

because I gave up complaining about the weather for Lent! It's true. One of my daughters gave up wearing pants (which is wearing a little thin with her at this point.) I couldn't really think of anything I relished that I could possible give up, without harming someone else..."I won't clean the chicken house for Lent".

Then it dawned on me. I love to complain about the weather. It is the one thing I allow myself to complain about. I complain heartily. I complain about the weather with regularity. It is the outlet for the sarcasm I try to banish from the rest of my speaking day. I had to admit; I LOVE complaining about the weather.

And this state gives me so much material to work with. So, I gave up complaining abou the weather for Lent. It is a big sacrifice this year, because of the ridiculous statistics we are racking up here. But, I shan't go into them now.

Our life is roller-coastering right now as Handyman's father has been in the hospital since Valentine's Day. Two times he was sent out to rehab (after having a feeding tube put into his stomach). And two times he has been rushed back to the hospital. Today he is being moved to hospice. It is not going to be a long stay.

I am confident that he answered the call of Christ in the recent past and can rest assured that he will be free from his failing physical body soon.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Menu Plan Monday--AGAIN!

Well, I'll keep it short...I did find the world's best Mac'n Cheese recipe, from Fine Cooking, and have made it twice. Not so hard and so rewarding to make something everyone ooh's over.

But today was Pancakes and Bacon! Costco has a new mix from Krusteze that is whole grain, with flax seeds. They were pretty darn good. Made a big batch and put some in the freezer.

Tuesday: I'm thinking Baked Potato Soup with Salad.

Wednesday: It is pizza night at Awana this week, so we'll be eating there! Yea.

Thursday: Salmon Patties and french fries

Friday: Chicken Parmigiana or Fettucini Alfredo from Pioneer Woman. Depends on whether I can find chicken in the freezer or not.

Gotta go watch the weather now, but at least I have a basic menu plan down for the week. What about you??

Winter blues

Well, the firefighter came and plowed out our driveway for us--first time ever to have that done. And it is appreciated. The piano teacher came zooming up the driveway in her little sedan, lamenting about customers cancelling. She said this is nothin' compared to northern Illinois. We must have gotten about 8" last week. It is pretty, I'll say that. And a ton more coming in tonight.

But I'm done with it. And now the Colts have lost. And Handyman is in Connecticut, via truck, not plane. And then there's my chair, in my office, this morning...and on the floor. (Okay--I took the picture on my phone to send it to Handyman and then I cleaned it up and I don't know how to send it to my computer.) IT was a mouse, in a couple of pieces on the floor next to my chair and IN my chair, was barfed up more mouse with a big wet spot and a pile of erp. Aren't you glad I don't know how to send it from my phone. I'll be happy to send it to your phone if you like...

This never happens when he's home. Either the vermin sense his missing presence and they stridently march in, or the cats are just lazy when he's here, thinking he'll cover for them. Either way--it NEVER happens during the day. And that means, mice are running around here at night!

Where's my Lysol? Where's the sun? It's 8 degrees this morning and I have the Superbowl Blues. My favorite commercial--probably the Google ad, followed by the Underwear in the Office people. The Who (who I never liked, never listened to and was shocked that they were chosen), was undoubtedly the WORST halftime show EVER. They should have gotten Garth Brooks or Tim McGraw AND Faith Hill or Billy Joel and Elton John or someone who could sing! And what's a pinball wizard? That was the only song I had even heard of.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Do Something Good for Yourself

Just want to say I am really getting a lot out of the Darren Hardy, Success Magazine e-workshop Designing the Best 10 Years of Your Life. I heard about this through I'm an Organizing Junkie, and although I am behind the schedule, I am doing the worksheets and watching the videos and I have learned a lot about myself.

One of the first installments talked about whether you want the next 10 years of your life to be just same-old stuff or something more significant...and I'm wanting to really achieve things in a lot of areas of my life.

If you want to turn up the heat on your plans, goals or just get some heat going under your kettle, I urge you to sign up and catch up. It's never too late to make a success of yourself.

Do Hard Things!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Annual NFL Wacky Name Call-Out

I have blogged about this previously, but in honor of the Superbowl coming up, I will revisit the amazing variety of wacky NFL names...this year, we in the name-appreciation field pay homage to the NFL's missing: Plaxico Burress (currently serving time in federal prison for shooting himself in the leg with an unlicensed handgun, at a nightclub.)

Let's begin with the AFC East:

The Buffalo Bills have: Gibran Hamdan, Justise Hairston, Marshawn Lynch, Richie Incognito, Kawika Mitchell, Jairus Byrd, Drayton Florence, Leodis McKelvin and Ashton Youboty!

The Boring Old Patriots are the least represented in the Name-Bowl with: BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Tully Banta-Cain and Adalius Thomas.

The Dolphins have: Lousaka Polite (sounds like a greek restaurant entree), Ikaika Alama-Francis, Akin Ayodele, Channing Crowder, Vontae Davis, Yeremiah Bell, and Gibril Wilson.

And the Jets--who I will not disparage here, even though their coach tried to trash-talk the Colts before he was handed his season-ender...but I digress. The Jets have: Jerricho Cotchery, the infamous D'Brickashaw Ferguson (whose mother liked the movie the Thorn Birds, so much that she butchered a character's name and gave it to her son), Ropati Pitoitua, Sione Pouha, Lito Shepherd, Kenwin Cummings, James Ihedigbo, 2 Marques and 1 Marquice.

The NFC East Cowboys (how they got in the "East" is beyond me), have: Tashard Choice, Martellus Bennett, Montrae Holland, Flozell Adams, Igor Olshansky, Junior Siavii (which reminds me of Junior Seau of the Patriots, whom I didn't even mention because it seemed boring in comparison to all the others), DeMarcus Ware, Cletis Gordon, Orlando Scandrick and Shaun Suisham. Those last two have pretty ordinary first names, but combined with their last names, I felt the rhythm of the two names together warranted mention. Just my own personal choices, of course.

The New York Giants are a veritable gold mine for name aficionados like me: Rhett Bomar (wonder what movie his mom liked?), Gartrell Johnson (need a standout first name when your last name is Johnson), Madison Hedgecock, Ramses Barden (might as well go for early history ruling figure, all-powerful Pharaoh considered a god by his people), Domenik Hixon, Sincorice Moss, Hakeem Nicks, Darcy Johnson (an Austen fan, like me, I'm sure), Bear Pascoe (really?), Guy Whimper, Sha'reff Rashad, Mathias Kiwanuka and Osi Umenyiora. Wow.

The Philadelphia Eagles are no slouches with: Eldra Buckley, King Dunlap, Fenuki Tupou, Juqua Parker, Brodrick Bunkley, Moise Fokou, Omar Gaither, Chris Gocong, Joselio Hanson, Macho Harris, Asante Samuel (although I have heard this name so often during games, it seems very "normal" to me), Quintin Demps AND Quintin Mikell (what are the odds of that?) and Sav Rocca.

I'll wrap up today with the Washington Redskins: Colt Brennan, Ladell Betts, Rock Cartwright (must be Hoss' cousin), Quinton Ganther, Santana Moss (mom loved the guitarist, I bet), Brian Orakpo, Kedric Golston, London Fletcher, LaRon Landry, Graham Gano and my personal favorite, Antwaan Randle El!!

The highlight of my Christmas this year was an Antwaan Randle El bobblehead, in his IU uniform. (Only I thought it was going to be a Droid phone). I love Randle El trick plays--and I probably have three of the only girls in the US who could tell you who Antwaan Randle El is!

I'd love to go on and on with the NFL Name Bowl--we haven't even mentioned OchoCinco yet, but chickens need let out. Handyman is home from his Superbowl Tour and has a great picture of himself with the Lombardi trophy. But I don't think I can post it--he might get in trouble or something.

Happy Superbowl Week!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Handy Household Tips

THESE REALLY WORK!! I checked this out on Snopes and it's for









Monday, January 18, 2010

Menu Plan Monday--AGAIN!

In trying to upgrade my organization level this year, I am trying to stay on the wagon with Menu Plan Monday at the very helpful blog I'm An Organizing Junkie. She has product reviews, challenges, giveaways, ideas and encouragement. And I pretty much need all of it. Her links are pretty great as well.

I used a menu for the last two weeks and both of them were very modest--just little scraps of paper with two-word titles of recipes. But it made a big difference, no only in my stress level, but my demeanor throughout each day. Since I wasn't stressing about feeding my family at the end of each day, I had more energy to take on the big things, like chicken bathing and 47 doggie trips outside and shoveling horse manure!

Here's my plan for this week--gratefully, mostly stolen from OrgJunkie and her links:

Today, Monday: Pasta Fagioli soup with breadsticks--this is a very good Olive Garden knock-off recipe, pretty simple, great results.

Tuesday: Crock Pot Thai Chicken Never tried it, but it sounds good and my mom left me a bunch of frozen chicken legs when she left for FL last week.

Wednesday: Beef and Vegetable Noodle Bowl This is a link from Orgjunkie's Family Favorites list. Pasta makes the world go 'round, doesn't it? It helps a lot here. And I love the yellow box Barilla pasta, although my friend DF can't use it due to nut allergies, so beware.

Thursday: Mexican Lasagna My recipe came from the Saving Dinner cookbook by Leanne, at FlyLady. I do add some add'l stuff, like hominy or corn, if I have those. This makes a FULL lasagna, so be prepared for leftovers. There are a zillion variations, so you can make it however your family likes it. Just google Mexican Lasagna if you've never made one before...

Friday: Crockpot 40 Clove Garlic Chicken Once again, taken from Orgjunkie's family faves list. Worth a try--can't be worse than fish sticks and tater tots. And I got a new super dooper crockpot for Christmas! Thanks Mom and Dad!

Do yourself a favor, and put something down on paper, just a teeny step forward on the organizing path, and let me know how it works for you!

I had a wonderful weekend scrapbooking and being away from the grind for 48+ hours. Being away for even a little while always perks me up to dive back into the fray. I was sad to see Kurt Warner and the Cards go down in such an ugly way, but New Orleans is a worthy opponent to lose to. Won't surprise me if Kurt retires now.

I'm looking forward to seeing the Colts get their revenge on the Jets--who are only in it because they got a big fat gift on a silver platter, from the Colts!! Guess what?? We're taking it back! :)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Horses--the gift that keeps on taking!

That is a quote from my Uncle Rick--equine benefactor! Here's a funny list I found at a new horse blog: Always There Are The Horses...

Since I am in the horse-shopping mode, determined to get my batootie back into the show ring, after twenty-odd years, I need all the advice I can get:

Check out this humorous list of 10 simple exercises that will help you become a better equestrian.

10. Drop a heavy steel object on your foot. Don't pick it up right away. Shout, "Get off, Stupid, GET OFF!"

9. Leap out of a moving vehicle and practice "relaxing into the fall." Roll tightly into a ball and spring to your feet.

8. Learn to grab your checkbook out of your purse and write out a $200 check without even looking down.

7. Jog long distances carrying a halter and a carrot. Go ahead and tell the neighbors what you are doing - they might as well know now.

6. Affix a pair of reins to a moving freight train and practice pulling to a halt. Smile as if you are having fun.

5. Hone your fibbing skills: "See hon, moving hay bales is FUN!" and "No, really, I'm glad your lucky performance and multimillion dollar horse won the blue ribbon. I am just thankful that my hard work and actual ability won me second place."

4. Practice dialing your chiropractor' s number with both arms paralyzed to the shoulder and one foot anchoring the lead rope of a frisky horse.

3. Borrow the US Army's slogan: Be All That You Can Be -- bitten, thrown, kicked, slimed, trampled, frozen...

2. Lie face down in a puddle of mud in your most expensive riding clothes and repeat to yourself, "This is a learning experience, this is a learning experience, this is ..."


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Didn't remember how truly terrific this is...

I don't remember how we found this--I'm sure #1 could tell me. All my girls LOVE this video and after re-watching it today, I know why--it's GREAT!

Hope you enjoy it!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

My New Year is just getting started...

Due to family illness and the glorious weather, our holiday season dragged out for quite awhile. Which isn't always a bad thing. It was fun, there was lots of food and I got a boot dryer!

What woman doesn't want/need a boot dryer?! Any woman, like me, who treks to her barn and henhouse four or more times a day, needs a boot dryer. I also had to pull out the YakTrax I got last year. These are stretchy traction devices for the bottoms of my boots. My chickens are envious, but I think their little toenails would get in the way.

It wouldn't be winter here at Netherfield/Neverdone if we didn't have a chicken in the kitchen and this year is no exception. One day last week, I was setting out the little banty hen who has decided to go broody (it's winter you moron!)and I discovered she had been sitting on/in a broken egg. Ugh. It's way too cold for that. At first I set her outside to get some water, thinking I had pulled out all the egg bits. But a Rhode Island Red came over immediately and started pecking at the little gal, so it was off to the kitchen for a grooming session.

Keep in mind that we do have a slop-sink bathroom off our kitchen, so I am not talking about bathing a chicken in my kitchen sink! And what morning would be complete with bathing a chicken. Chickens are not big on bathing, even when they need it and this little gal was no exception. She was fortunate to get a warm water bath and I discovered her entire belly is completely bald! She has made a big brood patch on her belly to keep the eggs warm!

So then I got started blow-drying. Other than becoming alarmed when she could see herself in the full-length mirror, she LOVED being blow-dryed on low. She almost sprawled out on my lap to help! And there's no better smell for your kitchen than a boot-dryer on high with a little blow-dried chicken on the side!

Every day is another mind-numbing routine of busting and refilling water bowls for chickens, barn cats and horses. There is a heater in the horse water tank that runs on a timer and this week I have been shoveling clean snow into the tank. If it would ever get warm enough to melt just a little, the snow on the steel barn roof will melt and channel into the tank. But for now, it's easier to shovel powdery snow than to haul water out there.

The barn cats sit faithfully on their little heating mats and eat their canned food quickly. Whatever freezes in their dish, I give over to the dogs to remove! Keeps them busy and entertained.

Then there's the never-ending process of emptying the muck tubs of their frozen loads. The colder it is, the more the horses stand in the barn and fill their stalls. I got in a little bit of trouble last year for breaking too many muck tubs by dropping them on their sides to dump them. Cold and plastic don't always work well. So my solution this year--always have Handyman dump the muck tubs. It's worked great so far.