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Saturday, January 23, 2010


Funny Elle story...
We still haven't gotten an additional mail box for our new house and just use the old mailing address for the house we rent (that's right next door), so we have to go down to that house and pick up mail a couple times a week... I asked Michael to go and get it yesturday evening. He said "sure"! Elle and I were playing together... Michael just kept doing other things and I kept asking him when/if he was going to go get the mail... (Okay, nagging...but with just enough smile and laughter to justify it as "jokingly harping"!) He kept telling me he was going, but continued to sort of walk around doing something....well, really nothing. About 15 minutes past and I smiled and said "are you going?!" He was right near the door and playfully shook his finger at me to say "I'm going, I'm going, don't ask again..." and left. I looked at Elle and laughed and said "dada's a funny guy!" She curled her forehead and got real serious, then looking straight at me said, "Dada's not a "guy", dada's a MAAAAANNNNN and he put YOU in time OUT!" =0) What a cutie!


Michael took down the pine tree today! (Yey for firewood next year!) He has been itchen to do this since last summer. He was cutting up some fallen branches one moment and the next I heard the chainsaw in the front yard, and went out to see and he apparently decided it was time for that ugly pine to come down! There was a plastic pot in the field that he aimed to hit. The tree was leaning pretty good down the hill and he wanted to fall it along the hill. This is only the third tree he has ever fallen and he did it perfectly! The trunk was about a foot from the plastic pot target!

PERFECT wedge!
What a guy! ;)

Crockpot with whatcha got! =)

I did a crock pot meal I thought I'd share. We are trying a new food budget thing this year (this being the first month) and let's just say that I only had $21 left on the 14th to get us until the end of the month! =) I am now (as of the 21st) completely out and having to get creative with what we've got, which I actually really enjoy having to do. So yesturday for dinner I threw in the crock pot quartered small potatoes, carrot chunks and frozen hamburger patties on top (so the juices drip down over everything else to give them more flavor). We have a lot of apple trees on our property and last summer I was trying to use all that I could to not waste any and I made pie filling (sliced apples, cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar shook together in a ziplock bag) and froze it in ziplock bags so all i'd have to do is make a crust and throw it in.... anyway, so I used some of that ON TOP of the hamburger... cooked it in the crockpot for 4 hours on high, it was SO GOOD! No salt or anything added, it smelled really good and apples really make beef taste amazing!

Friday, January 22, 2010


I used to be a Creative Memories Consultant so I have EVERYTHING one could imagine they need to scrapbook... and yet just NOW I am trying to get my soon to be three year old's pictures into albums! The best advise I can give, is just GET OVER IT AND DO IT!!! I was draggin my feet because the task of going through all the pictures, getting them in chronilogical order and all was just too much. So I got over needing it all in order. She is so young that she changes so much season to season that it is pretty obvious how old she is in the pictures and I just grouped events together. I can up on "super fancy" pages long ago and just go for speed and layout. I went through about 1000 (yes, one-thousand!) photo's and have entered about 125 into the album so far in about three days. It looks like a Creative Memory tornado blew through our dining room, but I am determined to get the remainder of the pictures in before Elle's birthday (13 days away). So maybe now that I have blogged about it, I will HAVE to do it! =) Megan (My sister in law-brother's wife) and my neice, Elena came over today to do some work on hers as well. Elena is starting to pull herself up now and loves to be standing. What a fun girl!

Real Estate Tips PRIOR to listing your home

When PREPARING to sell your home (before it is on the market):
1. Less is more! De-clutter, remove items you don't HAVE to have. Rent a storage space, use a friends garage, whatever, just get it out! If you think you are "doing your part" by just cramming it all away in YOUR garage or closets, you are doing yourself a disservice- presenting that your home does not have enough storage.
2. Lights... Clean them, replace any burned out light bulbs, if your fixtures are really dated, consider replaceing them- this is often very inexpensive and can "update" a rooms appearance significantly.
3. Deep Clean.... Go through each room with an extremely critical eye...
Does trim work need to be touched up with paint/stain?
Does tile need to be re-grouted?
Shampoo carpets (rental of a commercial sampooer is about $25 for 4 hours- well worth it)
Wash windows
Dust/wash/Iron Window treatments
Clean appliances thoroughly
Touch up paint on walls- fill in any nail holes first
Clean heater vents- whether wall "Cadet" type heaters or just the vents. take covers off (turn off power first if wall heaters) and clean thoroughly.
Pay special attention to sinks, toilets, tubs and showers... put some muscle into it! Baking Soda works great to really scrub the grit out of there. Wash shower curtain if it's cloth. Replace shower liner if it is the least bit mildewy or gross.
4. Spruce up the yard/exterior... First impression is extremely important.
Pressure wash or at least sweep driveway. If it is rock, consider bringing in fresh rock and spreading it to fill in any pot holes/give clean look.
Plant planters full of plants that are available in color depending on the season... Be sure you take care of them, or don't plant them at all! I have seen so many "well intended" planters that end up looking worse than nothing at all because they don't get watered, weeded, etc...
Clean off roof (or have someone else if it's not safe for you) Baking soda along the ridgeline works great for moss. Don't do this on a windy day or it will just blow away.. Try to do it when rain is expected so the water will wash it down and kill the moss. Once it has died it will just blow away.
CLEAN SIDING! Especially near the front door or entry ways! Spray it, scrub it, touch up paint if needed. Touch up chaulking where needed.
Clean any decks or patios. Consider pressure washing, staining or sealing if necessary
Wash exterior of the windows
Clean up flower beds/landscapeing
Patch or re-seed any areas of the lawn that need it.

ALL of these things would cost probably a total of $100 (to rent the carpet shampooer and pressure washer if needed) and it is amazing how many people do not do these things! Buyers today are looking for TOTALLY move in ready. I have seen people walk away from homes that met EVERY check of their "must have" and "would like to have" lists, simply because it "needs too much work" and the only work was items from this list! It takes time, yes, but the more time you put into these sort of things, the less time your home will sit on the market. Many buyers right now are first time buyers taking advantage of the tax credit. For the most part they do not understand the demands of owning a home and can be intimidated by them.... make your house look EASY! Provide them a "fresh slate" --the idea of getting to get settled in without having to do the "little stuff".

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Willow curtain

I have been wanting to try this project for a while and the sun today just lured me to finally do it! I had planned to do it with black ribbon, but didn't have any...next time...

It was super easy... We have willow growing out by the creek. I went and tried to cut the straightest ones. Cut them all to the same length and then weaved the twine at top and bottom.
I tried to tighten them pretty well, but didn't put too much effort into it. Took about an hour to do (In that time I also changed a diaper-and clothes, since he peed all over in the process! And Elle "helped" for a little while too... could have been done in about 40 minutes without kid-o's! =) ) Probably cost about 2 cents worth of twine!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Homemade Counter Spray

My friend Cindy gave me this recipe. I love it! Cleans counters, microwave, table tops, etc...

Combine and put into a spray bottle

2 Tbl white vinegar
1 tsp Borax
2 Cups hot water
¼ Cup dishwashing detergent ( I used and highly reccomend scented Castile Soap..Dr Brenner’s peppermint is my favorite- leaves the house smelling like peppermint.)
30ish drops essential oil (don’t need if use scented soap)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Elle calling my "bluff"

Another Elle sleep story... She was fighting it particularly hard one night, it was a 2 hour full on battle trying to get her to stay in her room. I wasn't even requiring that she sleep, just play quietly in her room until she was ready to sleep... anyway, it was a NIGHTMARE... She escalates when we ask her to be quiet for "baby Christian" who is trying to sleep in the neighboring room... finally she gave up and slept... the next night, Michael is giving it a go as it is off to the same start. He has been in there with her for about 20 minutes and she is starting to pull out "the big guns" I can hear that she is starting to wake up Christian and have had enough. She HATES being alone, so I go in there ready to threaten her with the worst..here's how well that played out...

I went into the room, told Elle "that is enough, if you don't get in your bed and stay there right now, you can go sleep downstairs by YOURSELF!"
She had just been wailing and crying like it was the end of the world and as I "threatened her" she zipped up, stood up and said, in just the sweetest, softest voice ever, "Oh, thank you mama!" Michael and I looked at each other in disbelief, thinking WHAT? There is no way she is going to be fine with being left there by herself... But now that I had threatened it (FYI, be careful what you threaten!!! =) ) I had to follow through. I took her down stairs and told her to lay down on the floor (there was no way she was getting the couch, this was suppose to be punishment not her winning) It was cold down there, I gave her NO pillow and just about the least cozy blanket that I could find. I sternly said "good night" and walking away. I held my breath KNOWING that I would quickly hear "or maybe I don't want to sleep down here". But there was NOTHING. Michael and I walked back up the stairs to our room. We were in shock! 5 minutes past... we kept looking at each other asking "do you think she's alright?". After about 10 minutes, Michael went down to check on her and she was totally asleep! He put a blanket on her, turn the heat up and placed a pillow by her. What a little STINKER! She slept there until 4am! (which for her, is incredible!) Michael and I must have laid there for over an hour, laughing at ourselves, me kicking myself for thinking I could "out smart" the little sugar...


I am horrible! I have hardly taken any photo's of the little guy... I failed to do Christmas cards this year (hardly got the tree up in time, and even then it was just stuck in a bucket of sand because I couldn't find the stand for it!) in which I was going to have a photo of him... so here's one! He LOVES smiling! Just the one dimple on the left cheak. What a hair-do!

Story Time with Chloe

Victoria (my sister in law) and her family came to stay with us after christmas for a night. They have three kids that Elle just ADORES to play with. Chloe is the oldest.... SUPER smart! They did a little story time before going to bed on their pallet in the playroom.

Funny story... for those of you who I have not complained and cried to about this yet... Elle is a HORRIBLE sleeper... she will be 3 years old in less than a month and STILL does not sleep through the night. She fights it with all she's got (which is apparently more than I've got, because it has drained me dry!) to not have to sleep... On this particular night, at about 2am Jake (Victoria's husband) got up to use the bathroom, went out into the playroom and there was Elle sitting STRAIGHT up on her knees, just staring straight ahead..... CREEPY! She didn't even aknowledge him at all! And then 20 minutes later she was up for good asking for me. What a weird-o! =)

Monday, January 18, 2010

TRX workouts

Just got back from my TRX workout class.... INCREDIBLE. I HIGHLY reccomend this workout. Just thought I'd share! See http://www.fitnessanywhere.com/ for more details.

farm animals

These are our two cows (Blackberry and Supper)we bought with our friends Niki and Ryan. This is when they were babies. We hope to be butchering them this month for some yummy meat!

Elle with our chickens, feeding them scratch.
Before we built our new house, we had some friends keep their three horses and goat here. It was so fun to see them run out in the field. One was a mama and a baby, Elle loved it!

Elle Pictures



Elle at Priest Point Park
Elle in dada's work boots

NERD!!! =) Our little helper!

house building process


I ordered seeds today from seedsavers.org. My parents bought me the membership for Christmas. What a wonderful organization, preserving heirloom seeds. I got everything from Amish peas to rare flowers, lettuces, tomatoes, carrots, etc. Can't wait to get them planted!


I ordered 25 chicks today from Murray McMurray for Elle's birthday! I got Araucana/Americana's and Road Island Red's... both really good layers. The Araucana's lay "Easter eggs". (they are colored) How fun- they arrive Feb 8th!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Cayenne Pepper

Here is some INCREDIBLE info on Cayenne pepper! What remarkable info to know! I have also read that it can be sprinkled on your socks before putting your boots on and it will slowly absorb into your skin and keep your feet warm!
I am a TOTAL baby when it comes to spicy things, but this information has inspired me to "get over it!" I am going to try and build up my tolerance by having just a little in water or on my dinner each day.
This info was pulled from www.bulkherbstore.com.

"Excerpts from The ABC Herbal
This is an excellent herb to have on hand in an extract form because it is one of the most powerful of all herbs for stimulating the body’s energies for healing. We would never be without capsicum (cayenne pepper) in our home because of its value in stopping bleeding and treating shock. Even if you do not use it internally with children, it is an excellent remedy to have on hand for external use. As we will discuss later, it is especially powerful when combined with lobelia and used as an external massage for relieving pain.
For sore throats, I generally apply a mixture of capsicum (cayenne pepper) extract and Lobelia extract directly to the throat. (These are alcohol based extracts as they work best for external applications…glycerites are too sticky.) Then, I gently massage the throat from the top down. This is a very gentle, slow process. Never apply so much pressure that the child feels uncomfortable. Work the sides and the back of the neck as well. You will feel the swollen lymph nodes. The idea is to gently "milk" them until they are no longer swollen. The capsicum and Lobelia help to relax the tissues and encourage the flow of blood and lymph.
Excerpts from Left for Dead
One of the most effective stimulants, cayenne targets the digestive and the circulatory system primarily. Cayenne regulates blood pressure, strengthens the pulse, feeds the heart, lowers cholesterol, thins the blood, cleanses the circulatory system, heals ulcers, stops hemorrhaging, speeds healing of wounds, rebuilds damaged tissue, eases congestion, aids digestions, regulates elimination, relieves arthritis and rheumatism, prevents the spread of infection and numbs pain.
Cayenne stimulates every system and cell of the body. Cayenne has been valued around the world for its uses as a stimulant, astringent, antispasmodic, circulatory tonic, anti-depressant and antibacterial agent. In addition, cayenne acts as a diaphoretic to induce sweating, a rubefacient to increase circulation at the skin’s surface and a carminative to help prevent and eliminate gas.
As a condiment, cayenne aids digestions and soothes intestinal ailments by stimulating the stomach to produce mucous.
In the circulatory system, it helps the arteries, veins and capillaries regain the elasticity of youth by feeding the cell structure. It helps equalize circulation by regulating the flow of blood from the head to the feet. Cayenne strengthens the pulse by increasing the power, not the frequency. In addition to helping prevent the build-up of cholesterol which can narrow the veins and arteries, cayenne also helps thin the blood and prevent blood clots that can clog the arteries and cause heart attack and stroke.
In more ways than any other herb, cayenne gets the blood moving. Touted as “the purest and most certain stimulant known to man,” cayenne is considered to be one of the best crisis herbs. By helping the circulatory system operate more efficiently, the snappy red pepper boost the energy level and eases the damaging effects of stress on the body.
By increasing the circulation of the blood to peripheral tissues throughout the body, cayenne helps deliver necessary nutrients to inflamed and infected areas. Studies show that the nutrients in food ingested with cayenne are assimilated faster and more easily.
The herb itself contains many nutrients essential to the health of the circulatory system including alpha-tocopherols, vitamin C and minerals. Cayenne also contains a high amount of vitamin A (beta-carotene) which aids in healing ulcers. Cayenne’s high mineral content, including sulphur, iron, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus, makes it an effective treatment for diabetes, gas, arthritis, pancreatic and throat disorders.
One of the most remarkable qualities of cayenne is its ability to act as a catalyst. Cayenne intensifies the beneficial effects of other herbs by ensuring speedy and thorough distribution of the herb’s active components to the important functional centers of the body such as those responsible for metabolism, data transmission, cellular respiration and neural hormonal activity.
Just a small quantity of cayenne can dramatically increase the efficiency of most herbs, this catalyst herb is added to nearly every herbal combination available. Added to garlic, for example, cayenne speeds up the antibiotic action of the other herb. Cayenne boosts the power of garlic so much it’s akin to taking liquid penicillin. Together, garlic and cayenne lower blood pressure safely and rapidly.
Cayenne is used in formulas for pain relief, infection, respiratory ailments, female problems, thyroid balance and heart treatments. Cayenne is an ingredient in laxatives, diuretics and ulcer medication. Added to ginger, cayenne helps clean out the bronchial tubes. This powerful stimulant can also be used as a relaxant to soothe gas, diarrhea, asthma and toothaches.
Externally, the aromatic herb makes a very effective pain killer or anesthetic. Cayenne has been used in poultices for centuries as an irritant or counter-irritant. Exposure to the pungent herb can cause pain but prolonged exposure deadens the nerves to pain.
Folk medicine prescribes cayenne powder, plaster, poultice, tincture and ointment for a variety of aches and pains including arthritis, rheumatism and bursitis. Cayenne has also been touted as one of the most powerful cures for hemorrhoids. Application of cayenne ointment brings relief from hemorrhoids but it is also recommended that the patient be warned of the pungent herb’s potency. Mexican folklore also refers to the use of cayenne as a pain killer and it has been applied dry on wounds.
With the advent of the gelatin capsule, people who could not tolerate the bite of the red pepper can take it with ease. It is important to remember that a little cayenne goes a long way. Nature made the red pepper hot for a reason so if you can’t swallow too much outside the capsule, don’t try to swallow to much inside the capsule. People who don’t usually eat hot spicy food should build tolerance slowly.
Excerpts from The How to Herb Book
Cayenne or capsicum, one of the most important herbs, is a wonderful healer. References to it have even been found on plaques in the Egyptian tombs. It is an herb many herbalists would choose if they could only have one herb. It is found in many combinations with other herbs because it acts as a catalyst.
Nutritional as well as medicinal.
Builds up the body’s resistance. High in vitamin C, good to take at the beginning of a cold.
One of the best general stimulants. Stimulation is the key to healing. When the body and its organs are properly stimulated, they will heal, cleanse and begin to function normally. If taken regularly it will reach every part of the body.
Improves entire circulatory system; feeds the cell structures of arteries, veins, and capillaries so they will regain elasticity.
Regulates the flow of blood so it influences the heart immediately – the frequency of the pulse is not increased but is given more power.
Normalizes blood pressure; used for both high and low blood pressure.
Taken internally for an injury to stop internal or external bleeding. The powder can be poured directly on an external wound to stop bleeding, fight infection and promote healing. It may feel warm but it will never cause a blister.
Used to treat shock or to keep someone from going into shock.
Used with lobelia for tetanus.
Used for a gargle for sore throats and pyorrhea.
The tincture is excellent for first-aid kits. It is an herb to keep on hand.
Has been used in the following:
Appetite stimulant
Elasticity in the veins, Heart
High blood pressure
Low blood pressure
Sore throat
Varicose veins
Excerpts from Practical Herbalism
Capsicum (cayenne) has benefits for both the young and old, but is particularly useful in the elderly and the debilitated, when the body-heat is low, vitality depressed, and reaction sluggish.
This medicine possesses an extraordinary power in removing congestion by its action upon the nerves and circulation.
Tired, painful muscles, stiffened joints, poor circulation, and relaxation of any part are common conditions in the elderly that can be improved by capsicum (cayenne).
Externally, the infusion and tincture have been found valuable as a stimulating astringent gargle for sore throat.
Powdered capsicum (cayenne), sprinkled inside the stockings, was a favorite prescription of the Eclectics for cold feet, a practical use no doubt derived from an old folk remedy.
Indicated Usages - Internal:
Cold Extremities
Delirium Tremens
Dry Mouth
Heart Attack
Heart Disease (prevention)
Herpes, shingles
Stroke, CVA
Hemorrhage, Heavy Menstruation
Indicated Usages - External:
Arthritis, muscle pain
Bleeding wounds (styptic)
Cold Extremities
Sore throat, Tonsillitis
Pleurisy, Lung Congestion"

Cleaning out the greenhouse

My mom came over yesturday and helped me clean out the green house! What a HUGE joy that was! It has been about 2 weeks of sick, grumpy, clingy kids and sleepless (and I MEAN sleepless) nights. It felt so good to do something and that green house has been calling my name since we bought this place 3 years ago. There was stuff in there the previous owners left that I didn't even know we had! My mom was great, such a thorough organizer and cleaner. We sprayed it out, scrubbed it down with bleach water, organized all the planters, tools and plant food. It went from a moldy, mouse infested mess to a total God-send. I can not wait to get my seedlings started! I am going to order seeds tomorrow.

Toe info!

Helpful little tid-bits for people who get in-grown toenails...or get their feet squished and get that blood pressure build up under the toenail... this came up at soccer the other night, so I thought I'd post the "cures" here for anyone else who might find them helpful!
Ingrown toe: take a blob of lotion and put it on the toe, wrap the toe with plastic wrap and put a sock on. If you can, sleep with it on over night, or just leave it on for a couple hours. Your toe will turn pruney (is that a word!?) and the skin will be soft and easy to pull back to allow the toenail to come up without going into the skin...may need to be repeated a few times to continue to make room for the nail... it depends on how quickly you catch it.
Purple toenail: This is super common for contact sport athletes, hikers, bikers, farmers that work closely with large animals how have an eye for feet stomping! All you need is a needle and a candle. Light the candel. Hold the sharp end of the needle over the flame until it is super hot then poke the needle into the center of the toe nail. This will start to actually melt through your toenail. If you are having to push too hard, your needle isn't hot enough. Keep re-heating it in the flame and keep putting it in the toenail until you have gone through the nail and the blood is being released through the hole. BE CAREFUL... again, you shouldn't have to push hard, BELEIVE ME it is super painful to have it break through the last layer of nail and then into that sensative part UNDER your nail! If you do it correctly this shouldn't happen. Also, expect your nail to eventually fall off if you do this method. (which it may do regardless if you got stomped real hard)