Saturday, August 27, 2011

Garden, saving money, cuteness (I'd say random)

The summer has gone by so fast! Looking back I have realized that I didn't really keep up with things like I normally do. I have weeds in my garden (not many) and some of my flower beds became overrun with them. I also didn't hang out in my own yard as much as normal. I usually sit on the front porch, back deck, or in our gazebo every chance I get. This year was different. Maybe that is why things haven't been as upkept as normal.

We did spend most of the summer being active. We went on many nature hikes and bike rides. We would ride around and go on short day trips. Had many family get-togethers. I guess I still haven't figured out how to balance everything that needs to be done. When I was having my panic attacks and wasn't leaving the comfort of my own home and yard, things were kept very clean, inside and out. Now that we are an "on-the-go" family, I can't quite balance keeping yard/house/everything neat and tidy. Maybe some of you out in blog land could give me some pointers.


 I wanted to share this close up of the fabric I will be lining Lucy bag #3 with. I saw this fabric and absolutely fell in love with it. The colors of yarn I am using in my current bag are cream, light blue, brown, and black. I think it will work well. Not to mention the fabric has a little saying on it; "Oh what tangled threads we leave when first we practice to stitch and weave". Isn't that so cute and so true?


 Our kitties are doing well together. They love when I am doing laundry because they try to take over the laundry basket. This picture is of Daisy (striped one) and Wicket (the grey/white one) looking through the handle of my laundry basket.

 Our kitties from another angle. They were lucky the day I took this picture. I was multitasking and didn't get to fold these clothes right away. They enjoyed a nice little siesta on the warm clothes.

 Another of our little Daisy. This is my exercise machine thing. (Kind of like a Total Gym). It folds pretty upright for storage. Daisy loves climbing it and sleeping at the top. I thought she had choked herself on this day. Her neck was firmly pressed on that bar. I am happy to say she is alive and well.


Friends you may well remember that I have a goal with our meager little residence here in our small town.  I would like to be able to have an edible landscape. I would love to grow enough veggies, fruit, and herbs to enjoy fresh foods while they are in season AND to freeze and can the food so we can use it in the off season. We are bigger than the "normal" family of 4 and we are living off of a single meager income. We live with mostly the basic necessities. To explain further (and maybe help others) we do the following things. #1 since we do get a decent amount of money back from income taxes at the beginning of the year, we put an entire years worth of house payments, house insurance payments, and property tax payments in an interest bearing account. Basically it is close to $4000 dollars so we put $4000 in an interest bearing account. The good thing about this is we don't have to worry about making the payments as the money is there AND the account makes us money every quarter. As far as bills go we have our basic utilities: water/sewer, natural gas, and electricity. We practice energy/water saving techniques in order to make these typically expensive bills less so. We have a phone/internet/and cable bundle package. Our cable is just basic channels, our phone is a call anywhere anytime deal, and our internet is cable and cheaper as bundled. Our car insurance is cheap because quite frankly we own 2 junky older cars. We do plan on upgrading at least one of them to a minivan within the next year. We also have to pay our own trash pickup and we have a cell phone plan for my hubby and I. Our oldest daughter uses a "pay as you go" plan. We use our phones far more than she does and I wanted her to learn minute/texting responsibility before putting her on our plan to avoid overages. Our household income covers our bills/groceries/gas every month with a tiny bit left over. We save as much as we can but most of the time there are things that need to be addressed such as medication for illness, house/car repairs, ect.

This explains my desire to save as much money as possible. I use coupons (learning as I go), we shop at thrift stores a lot, I grow a garden every year. I would have animals for milk, eggs, meat as well but we live in a city limits and those types of animals are prohibited not to mention our tiny yard doesn't have room. I thrive to be as self-sustaining and cost efficient (frugal) as possible. I have found a great website The Morris Tribe put together of a mother of 9 here in Ohio. They practice many of the same things I do. She has tons of recipes and helpful hints. Please check it out. She has a free e-book called "Just get em Fed" that has wonderful tips on grocery shopping, stockpiling, organizing food. Sure makes things a lot easier.


My garden has been doing pretty good this year considering the drought and my forgetfulness about watering. I had to pull out all of my squash and zucchini plants because the dreaded vine borers found them. My corn and my beans didn't produce very well for reasons unknown but the rest has been bountiful. 

 It seemed to have taken FOREVER for my wonderful tomatoes to grow and ripen. I love tomatoes and I wanted them to be ready so badly. These are better boy tomatoes. They have done pretty well this year. I gently tied the stalks to the trellis I had built as they grew. They have been wonderful. Oh. These tomatoes I grew indoors from seed and transplanted the little seedlings into my garden. It is so rewarding.
 These cherry tomatoes I bought from Lowes. They have produced so many little tomatoes I am overjoyed with them. Three of my children just love these little beauties as a snack. My other child hates all things veggie *sigh*
 I planted the mixed colored bell peppers this year and this is the first one to actually be another color but green. The red is absolutely gorgeous and I will thoroughly enjoy eating this one when it is ready.
 A green bell pepper. This one is probably ready to pick but I'm not ready to eat it yet.

 My poor dying corn. I stopped watering it so it would dry out. I plan on re-purposing it as a nice fall decoration for my porch.
 Okra was an experiment for me this year. My hubby loves fried okra and gumbo so I thought I would try my hand at growing some. I had no idea how it grew and was pleasantly surprised with it. It was a little stunted due to the enormous squash bushes around it. Once those were out of the garden beds, the okra took off.

 Another of my favorites. Cucumbers! We have enjoyed so many cucumbers out of my garden. I even tried to make refrigerator pickles (unsuccessfully...long story) I have thoroughly enjoyed eating the cucumbers this year.
 I have planted mellons several times and have had bad results due to bugs and rotting. This year I planted them and trained them to grow up the trellis I built. This is the third cantaloupe we have had this season. They are so sweet and delicious. We have had only 2 sweet juicy little watermelons this year though. Not sure why the plant was abandoning fruit.
 My broccoli has produced itself to death. So much so that our pet rabbit is so fat and sassy. She loves the broccoli from the garden. I have enjoyed it as well. I am not much for cooked broccoli but eating it raw dipped in whatever I feel like dipping it in has been a real treat.
 Here in this jumbled mess of plants, growing up the trellis are my watermelon plants and my cantaloupe plants.
 My poor gladiolus plants. Our lab enjoyed chewing on these plants every chance she got! I planted a mixed bulb pack that was supposed to have red, white, and blue flowering bulbs. I had a white one a while back ago and this survivor is going to be red. I am so excited. And you can see one of my favorite little annuals growing there too. Snapdragons. I always dead-head them and save the seeds to grow next time.
 Do you remember this post when I talked about the fern my mom left to die and I rescued it. (if you scroll to the very bottom of the linked post you will see the poor fern after I cut away the dead fronds. Well it has came back to life. It has absolutely loved all of the humidity we have had this year. I left it on the porch and watered it every once in a while and it is spectacular. A great fighter this plant is and a wonderful achievement for me.
 Just a shot of my lovely green basket full of wonderful goodies from my garden. I have several cucumbers, a watermelon and a cantaloupe (and a few store bought onions) for my family to enjoy.
 Here is what is left  from my latest pepper and tomato harvest. I just love the taste of vine ripened tomatoes. Their taste and texture is so much different than store bought.

Lastly here I am being quite cheesy posting a picture of myself sending a kind hello to all who reads this post. Many blessings to you all!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Yay it's finished and some random pics

Hello again friends. I hope things are going well on your end. Things have been a bit crazy here per usual. The kiddos are back to school and we have been back into scheduled days, homework, early bedtimes. I have also had a sinus cold. My hunny caught it from a co-worker and has shared it with me. I haven't felt like doing much except lounge around. Lounging is nice as I can kick my couch back (we have a reclining couch) and hold my crochet up so the pressure in my head is less. However, lounging isn't very good when you have the weekend mess to clean up. I will be glad to be able to breathe through my nose again and have the energy to get the house back in tip shape.

I have managed to finish a crochet project. I began working on my son Eddie's granny stripe blanket in March. I would work on it for a while and then it would hibernate. I love the ease of the pattern but I felt the blanket wasn't making good headway. I would do a few color changes and put it down. I finally just wanted to get it done. Of course, my son asked me a zillion times if it was finished. He was so happy when I surprised him with it one evening.

 Ta-duh. The colors on this doesn't look right. But it is made from Red Heart Super Saver Solids. I have a cherry red, burgundy, sage green, yellow, off white, navy blue, orange, and a grey in there. My son's favorite color is red so I made sure the border was red.

 The colors look a little more true in this picture. He is absolutely in love with it! The blanket is a twin bed size with a little hangover all around the mattress. I hope it will be a treasured keepsake for the rest of his life. 

Now I am working on finishing up some projects. I have a 3rd lucy bag with lining I am working on now. I also have a hearts baby blanket and a granny square blanket in the works. I also have many projects picked out for certain stash yarns AND I still need to make the giant granny rectangle blankets for my 2 daughters. We will have a mommy/daughter date to pick out their yarn colors.

I also want to share with you some random pictures from the past week or two. I honestly forget to take pictures a lot of the time. I hope you enjoy.
 This is one of my favorite places to crochet. This is the seating on my front porch. I really want to get a porch swing and some rocking chairs one day but for now this will do.

 Here is my youngest son. He was giving poor Daisy a ride in the laundry basket. Lucky for her there were mismatched socks in the bottom so she didn't slide around too much in her crazy ride.

 My youngest son again. He will not let me cut off his mohawk AND I have to spike it up all the time. Luckily, he did let me trim it up because it was twice as long as this picture.

 A friend my daughter found. This is actually the 2nd one we have had here. The other was iddy bitty. My daughter is very much a tom boy and finds many good friends to play with and investigate.

Another shot of our friend. After everyone holding it, the praying mantis was placed in my vegetable garden to live out it's days. Mantises are wonderful for keeping pests at bay in the garden. They are pretty awesome to find and watch as well.

Well that is all for today my friends. It is nearly noon thirty (12:30 pm) and as soon as the news goes off I will be putting on the radio and cleaning. Hopefully this good energy will hold out for me to get it done!

Until we meet again, Please, Please Be blessed.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Our Summer...A random Photo journey

Hi again friends. I have some pictures to show you of some of our journeys from the summer. Our schools start back this Thursday . I am not sure how I feel. I love having my kids home, no schedules, being able to go and do whatever without worrying about anything. On the other hand while they are in school I have "me" time. I will be able to get my chores finished and then do whatever I wish. I guess that is a perk of being a stay at home mom. Also while they are in school my hubby and I can enjoy day dates on his days off that occur during the week. I will also be glad that my house will stay cleaner while they are in school.

We did many things this summer but I didn't take my camera to most. I have a Nikon D40 camera and it is big and bulky and not practical for many of the things we did. I really want to get a little Nikon Cool Pix point and shoot camera to keep in my purse. Maybe when our finances balance out from school shopping I will be able to get one.

Are you ready for our journey?

Our little town has a little festival every year called the "Greene Countrie Festival". It is a small affair with a few games and activities, local businesses and churches have booths, we have very few rides (6 this year), and the usual fair foods. There is also a parade that involves the emergency vehicles, Queens from many of the local area pagents/fairs, and a parade of tractors.

 I just love this firetruck from the parade. The lady waving is a super nice lady.

 I also love the Shriners. I have some family members who have benefited from their work and they should be recognized.
 This Queen's float stopped right in front of where we were standing and she started talking to my youngest son. His face turned as red as the leaf behind me. She thought he was the cutest boy she had ever seen.
 Here are the big dudes on little bikes..These men and women are too funny for words.
 Don't you just love this car?
 Here are some of our local girl scouts. The little girl in the middle is one of my girl's best friends. She only lives a hop, skip, and a jump from our house. She is at my home so much I call her one of my kids. 

The next stop is the Horsley family reunion. My mom's mom is our Horsley relative. It was held at the Deer Creek State Park Campgrounds. If you ever get a chance, Deer Creek is absolutely beautiful.
 The crazy lady in this picture is my mom. I love her just the way she is. :P
 This is my step-dad.
 Part of the Horsley crew. It is sad to say but I don't know most of the people in this picture.
 Here is a picture of us standing around talking. The girl in purple is my daughter, the guy with the hat hanging is a cousin, I am in the blue shirt, my mom in the white, my step-dad in the ball cap, and my hubby in stripes.

We haven't spent the whole time on the road. I did manage to do some home things.
 Here is 16 of the squares I have crocheted for Share a Square. 

 I have also began couponing. Above is my binder filled to the brim with coupons.
 I love the dual binder. It is so convenient.
 Every week (usually on Sunday or Monday) I add the new coupons to my list and take out the ones I have used or have expired. This list is a quick reference to what I have. Oh and the expired coupons I send to military families. They are allowed to use coupons up to 6 months after they expire at the military shops.
 Here is a shot of the open binder. I have been able to group sales with coupons and have saved nearly 75 dollars in just 3 shopping trips. I have gotten toothbrushes and toothpaste for free. I also have paid as little as $1.00 for 4 packs of hot dogs. I am loving saving money.
 I am still gardening. We have enjoyed plenty of foods from the garden. Sadly I only had a few zucchini and squash because the squash bugs got to them. Everything else has done super well. I have even had a watermelon already. My favorite part is the tomatoes. I eat them with cottage cheese, on bread, salads, just all the time.
 We have enjoyed grilling this summer too. Chicken, burgers, hot dogs, corn on the cob, I love summer grilling.

We had a nice 4th of July. We went to a family get-together for my paternal grandmother. She unfortunately has been diagnosed with terminal cancer at the age of 87.  Also unfortunately, I forgot my camera sitting by the door. I kicked myself many times over it.

Later that night we drove to Wilmington, Oh and parked in the Lowe's parking lot to wait for the fireworks. We got there super early and I am really glad we did because the parking lot filled up very quickly. One of the local pizza shops was selling pizza in the lot so the kiddos filled up on pizza, chatted, and played while we waited for the show to begin.
 Here they are sitting in the grass. The fireworks were let off in the park across the road from the parking lot in front of us. We pretty much had front row seats.
 I love the ones that make shapes. This one is a star inside a circle.
 I just love fireworks. They are so beautiful. I love the big booms. I just love everything about it.

We also made sure to stay cool this summer. 

 The kids really enjoyed having a pool this year. I think I have had to wash towels every day and let me tell you , we have lots of towels.
 We also went to the creek. This spot is a short bike ride from our house. See my kiddos across the rapids. I chanced it for this photo op.
 See those rocks? That is where I took the previous picture from. It was really fun getting wet BUT right after I got back across the creek we saw a baby water moccasin in the water. YIKES
 We didn't have much rain but we did see a rainbow over the summer.
 We hiked this loop of the bike trail at Paint Creek State Park. It was super hot and it was 3 miles long. It took us about 2.5 hours to complete it. Luckily I was smart enough to pack a backpack with snacks and water.
 I am a frog nut so when my daughter caught this little guy on our hike I was sure to take a pic. I wanted to brink it home but I was afraid he would die. We let him loose where we found him.

Finally we are to the end. I wanted to show you a picture of a tattoo I want to get. This is not me and I don't remember where I found the pic.
I don't want the yellow dandelion but the poofy one blowing. I want it on my lower back on the left and have the seeds blowing up my back. I think it would be too neat.

Anywho that is part of our summer. I hope you have enjoyed all the pictures and can forgive the complete randomness.
Be Blessed y'all