Tuesday, February 28, 2012


The weather is beautiful and we are getting school done in a jiffy so we can play outside!

Of course, I am always looking for new recipes to try and thought I would share a few I found on the ever so addictive Pinterest. (sigh)

First is Bourbon Street Chicken. Looks simple with ingredients that I always have around.

This recipe gives me a great reason to shop around for some cute little ramekin dishes.

I have a thing for pies. I love them, the way they look and the way they taste. This one looks beautiful and yummy!

Finally, the Oreo pudding cake! The girls are making this one today! Who can resist anything with Oreos?

Hope you are enjoying lovely spring weather too!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Sweet Moo

This week, like almost every week here, was a busy one.

It started with a couple of men hired to build a deck around the swimming pool. Yes, our sweet summer spot will be graced with a wooden deck large enough to accomodate our family and a grill and a table and chairs.

To say that we are all excited would be an under statement. We know how bloomin' hot and humid Georgia gets in the summer and we also remember how much we enjoyed the pool for the last few weeks of last summer. Bet we spend a hefty amount of time out there this summer.


We had one day this week that topped into the 70s outside. It was a perfect day to move some blueberry bushes I needed moved and also to clean out the sand box. After that we just sat outside on a quilt and played.


Today we drove south towards Atlanta to visit a wonderful farm. Our purpose was to visit and see how they manage their farm but to also look at their Jersey milking cows. They have a couple coming up for sale and we were interested in maybe purchasing one.

It's a big investment of time and money, but I think we are seriously considering "going for it!"
We still have some management issues to figure out, but we are discussing different possibilities and ideas.

Call me an eternal optimist, but the week was a good one, despite my constant exhaustion from caring for restless little boys.
Our pool is looking very inviting for the summer, my blueberry bushes survived winter and look great, my garden seeds have been started, my hens are laying lots of eggs,  and our investigation of a family milk cow was positive. It makes me wanna say "Bring It On!!!!!!"

But first, here's my Friday Phone Dump:

Enjoy Your Beautiful Weekend!!!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Favorite and a Bird Nest Supplier

What a surprise to find that one of my bloggie friends in England handed me this award:

Liebster is a German word that means dearest or favorite, and I am so happy to be one of those!

You know how the rules go: I gotta share my favorite blogs with you and introduce you to the sweet gal who passed this torch to me.

1. Alexandra, Overflowing Laundry Basket, lives in England with her five, soon to be six, children. She home schools, bakes, knits and raises a few hens as well. Thank you for sending me some love, Alexandra! Now you all really should hop over there and pay her a visit!

2. Christy, Paper Hearts and Fairy Houses, is one fantastic lady! She is the mother of one sweet little boy and spends time knitting, baking, and running! Go see her now and I bet you will find a fabulous recipe for Bacon and Cheddar with Chives Scones.

3. Michelle, The Story of the Sparkmans, is actually married to a high school classmate of mine. Let me tell you right now that this is one amazing family...they have 2 sets of twins! Yes, you heard me correctly, and somehow she manages to keep everyone and everything running in an orderly fashion! Go visit her, especially if you are at all interested in fixing up the interior of your house. She has a talent for decorating!

4. Anne, Bringing Borya Home, is a blogger I admire because not only does she farm but they also adopt!! You will find funny farm musings and quite a bit of adoption info over there. Drop by and pay her a visit!
Today was another warm day outside and so the kids took advantage of it by playing in the woods for hours! I think they are building a fortress out there and they cannot wait to go back out tomorrow.

This morning while sipping coffee and catching up on Pinterest and FB, I came across some mighty inspiration.
It was a bird nest materials station, a place for the birds to gather materials for their nests this spring.
Well, I decided that we would it a school project, because that's what home schoolers do!

We looked up a reference site by Cornell University, and it gave us some dos and don'ts for this project such as keep string and yarn under 8 inches long. Use natural materials such as wool and keep wool stuffing pieces small, under an inch wide. I did not use dryer lint because chemicals in fabric softener might not be safe and synthetic material lint shrivels up in the rain.

 First we cut an old orange juice carton into 2 boxes and gathered an orange mesh bag for another. Many people like to use bird suet containers, the wire box kind. I use florist wire to create a "weaved" cage for one of the boxes, similar to a wire suet box.

 Next we gathered hay, grass, wool stuffing I had in my sewing stash, and scraps of wool yarn.
The girls also gathered fine downy feathers from chicken lot and a few goats hairs that were caught on the fence.
After we "stuffed" our three containers we ventured outside to find the best spots to hang them. We chose near the tree house because it sets back into the woods plus it will make it easier to keep an eye on the containers.

 Indiana hammered the mesh bag one onto the tree and we pulled a few of the items through the bag some so that it would be easier to get started!
 Willow decided to take some leftovers and place them on a piece of bark and set it on a branch. Good thinking!

Gotta love a nice productive day!...and the girls are still reading bird books this evening, looking at different types of nests!

I am also happy to share that after months of no eggs....we are back in the eggs!
The hens were all sick last summer. After we cured them, we were unable to successfully get any weight back on them, therefore no eggs still. The last few weeks I was able to tweak my feed mixtures and also add some other new management details. Well, they have put on weight and Rose was able to gather 15 this afternoon!
Even the ducks are happy! My lady mallard has been giving us an egg each morning too!

Here's to inspiring blogs, new friends, inspiration, and a warm spring day!

Monday, February 20, 2012

It Was That Kind of Week

It was fun, for starters! Devin worked Valentine's day, so we decided to bump the holiday up to Monday because 1) We NEVER celebrate Valentine's so it was no big deal to children who really don't do the whole card giving thing.
2) We wanted to surprise the kids. and 3) We tend to be a little rebellious:-)

 We pulled out goodies and candy that we purchased and bought tons of construction paper to make hearts.

 We stayed up late, after the kids' bedtime, to bake cupcakes, blow up balloons, string some crepe paper and tape hearts to every surface in the room.

 We made it look like it had rained hearts.  You know what?

The kids woke up early with bed heads and were so happy to see the Valentine's surprise! Later that afternoon we treated them all to a lunch out at a restaurant. They behaved beautifully and loved going to a Hibachi grill and seeing the chef cook their food in front of them. It was a fantastic day!

Then there was Wednesday.

 It was BEAUTIFUL outside! Oh my how we loved every second of it too! After spending the afternoon cleaning chicken coops, we decided to throw ourselves an impromptu back yard party!
 We lit the back yard fire pit and threw some dogs on  sticks to cook for dinner. I even splurged on some of those yummy and yet disgusting onion ring type chips...the fun kind:-)  talk about some happy kiddos!

 Some of us didn't even make it out PJs  that day. We just hung out and played and enjoyed the weather for as long as we possibly could!

Oh how much I love these days!

Then came Thursday night.......

Slowly, one by one, the kids started getting sick. It started with the youngest and so I carried him around in a sling most of the afternoon and evening thinking it would be better by morning.

Well, we rarely get ill in this house but when we do...it's a whopper and we ALL get it.

Needless to say, by Friday everyone was sick, including me. Gotta love the ol' GI bug in a large family!

We spent the rest of the weekend recovering, eating solid food again, and catching up on laundry while disinfecting the house.


Oh it was another beautiful day! We were busy all morning and then spent the afternoon outside soaking up some body healing rays.

It feels great to be back! This week I have to catch ya'll up on the farm visit coming up and how I really think a milking cow will be on our farm soon. I can't wait! Until then......

Have a glorious Monday!!!!

Monday, February 13, 2012

You Think You Are Pro Life?

Over the weekend we kept 3 foster children (ages 4,4 and 18 mos) to offer respite to the foster parents of these kids.
This means I had my children plus three more. This gave me 6 children ages 6 and under to care for, but I am happy to announce we survived.

 *My two biggest helpers goofing off!*

It also gave me perspective, as in 7 kids are easy to care for in comparison to 10! It literally took both me and Devin to keep track of everyone. These kids were very bright and well behaved. I credit this to their foster parents who seem to be doing a great job.  Here are some challenges we discovered with foster children.

1. These kids were hyper focused on food! Because they were basically starved by their biological parents, food is something they like to always have around. If ANYONE in the house had a food or drink item, then these kids felt they had to have it also. We went through a few dozen bananas keeping little hands filled with something portable to eat! This was something I have read about in many fotser/adoption books but had never seen it first hand.

2. Sharing was difficult and there was a good amount of sibling rivalry. I am again not used to this behavior. Sure my kids have moments when they don't want to share, but not consistently. I do not know if this behavior is a result of a hard childhood or daycare. Maybe both? At any rate, we had to remove some toys completely if the children fought and refused to take turns. It seemed to help.

3. These kids liked to yell to get their point across or to just fuss at us. They had to reminded on many occasions that ugly talk and yelling was against the rules of the house.

By Sunday evening we were all exhausted! This weekend required all of the energy from every single member of the family! We were happy we did it but it did bring to my attention how disruptive fostering is to your entire household. I really hold foster parents in high esteem. They sacrifice much for the care of these children.

*One day, when I have spare time, I am going to up-cycle these coffee bags. What to make?*

This experience also brings to mind the idea of being pro life.

Here are some statistics from 2010:
Number of children in foster care: 254,375
Average age: 9.5
Avg length in system: 25 months
Waiting for adoption: 107,011
 (with avg time in system of 37.3 months)
48% of foster children reside with non-relative foster caretakers

Average number of abortions per year in the US: 1.3 million

  Now I like to think of myself as pro-life. I believe life begins at conception. I do not like abortions, they kill living babies. I know many, many people preach the pro-life stance.

Consider this. Doesn't pro-life go beyond saving an unborn child? You can rejoice all day that a young, un-wed mother decided to not abort and to instead keep her baby. Pat yourself on the back too, if you wish. Consider it a noble thing done.
But WHO will be there 3 or even 10 years later when that same mother can't care for her child. When that child goes into the foster system. Who's pro-life then?

Where are all of the Chrsitian Pro Lifers who demand abortions stop? What if they did stop? Will these churches and these pro-life fanatics care for an extra 1.3 million children when there are so many in need of care now? 107,011 kids are WAITING to be adopted!
I am not suggesting that abortion is right, I am merely suggesting that the term pro-life shouldn't be tossed around so lightly. Foster families around the nation know what is means to be pro-life.
After this weekend I too know what it means to be pro-life. To really be pro-life.
It's exhausting. It's disruptive. It's challenging. It's wonderful.

Some lessons are truly learned through experience.
To those who really are pro-life, I think you are a hero.

Thank you!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

I Can Punch Harder

Okay, so sometimes running a family is stressful. Sometimes you need a break, a day off, a glass of wine...or even a cheap wine cooler and a chick flick will do.
Having a large family is usually great but let's get real. Let's be truthful.
Some days stink.
Some days the baby fusses all day or the kids nit-pick at their food or the dogs bark way too much or maybe NOTHING is going smoothly.

*The baby literally clinging to my legs and fussing*

Some days you just want to throw on the pajamas, lock the doors, turn on the TV and sit and stare.
The blank stare. The "What in the hell is going on today?" stare.

Well, my "what the hell" question was answered this week when DFCS called and asked us to do respite care for another foster family.

* Me and Rosie practice our sad faces*

"...but we didn't sign up for respite!" I exclaimed!

We were hoping for a call about a possible foster-adopt situation but you know what? We are needed NOW. A foster family who has given their all to these kids for the last YEAR needs a much deserved break.

We can do it. We will do it.

*Sometimes the only quiet place to read a book is in the laundry room!*

Back to my "what the hell" moment.
It is a well known and well documented fact (you adoptive families can back this up) that things usually fall apart just about the time an orphan or foster child needs help. It's true.

You have to fight back and say, "Throw your best punch mean devil 'cause I can punch harder!"

Then you must stand back and take notice at all the wonderful good things happening.

 *Willow made a grape vine wreath after I trimmed the muscadines*

Yes, you have 20 loads of laundry but thank goodness there is a machine in the room that washes those 20 loads.
Yep, you are exhausted from yard work and now must cook dinner, but aren't you glad that you have a yard for the kids to play in and food sitting in the fridge and pantry to cook?

Maybe you are ticked off at the less than intelligent and not so prudent social worker at DFCS that you had to deal with, but it is a wonderful opportunity to care for some kids who need a lot of love.

And if there is one thing in abundance with a large family like mine, it's love.

*Me and Rosie practicing our happy faces!*

I will be busy, busy starting tomorrow with three little additions (all under age 5) so I will be back Monday.
In the meantime, go see Katie Davis and read her latest post. I promise you will be happy you did!

Friday Phone Dump (on Thursday!):

Hope your weekend is void of "what the hell" moments!!!!!
Have a GREAT Friday!!!!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Monday, the Day I Gorged on Sugar

It was a crazy, busy day. The weekend started with activities for my teens and ended yesterday with my oldest in Arkansas to visit my sister for a long visit....several weeks.
She is working temporarily in my sister's bicycle shop, helping her out and earning some money. It was too good an opportunity to pass PLUS she gets to hang out with her favorite cousin. Sweet deal for a 16 year old.
*Rose likes to torture the barbies. Yes, she is wearing a tank top in Feb!*
This means, of course, that everyone else here and myself has more to do as far as chores. I fully intend to pass the chicken feeding chore along to my middle daughters but I have enjoyed being outside....so we will see.

Because it feels like spring outside, all of the trees and grass are starting to bud and turn green. I took the time yesterday to prune back the peach trees in the orchard. Tomorrow I tackle the apple trees, after the blisters heal on my hand. * Mental note: Use work gloves!*
See how green the bermuda hay is turning?
Today we had school and art lessons and piano. It was a  packed day with a fussy baby. In fact, today was a crazy day for a large family.
Most days I can handle very easily, but today I feel run down and so everything felt like a heavy weight. School, laundry, meals, toys, books, baths....everything. I must also mention that the baby can now open kitchen drawers and reach inside for items. CRAZY! Some days are like that.

I was in the kitchen cooking dinner when Zeb came inside crying and the baby literally hung on my pant leg screaming. It was like a really pathetic scene from a movie. I did what any mother in my position would do.

I baked cup cakes.
From a box mix.
With can frosting that was hiding in the pantry.
I added pretty sprinkles.

You want to know what the baby did when I gave him a batter spoon to lick?
Yep, he was happy again!
Want to know what he did when I gave him a cupcake to eat?
Life was all good again. Everything in the universe was balanced.

Sometimes you have grasp outside the box in a stressful situation.

Now, I am not going to mention how many I ate. Okay, I only ate one...so far. You know I must wait until everyone is in bed before I gorge on eat more.

In the meantime, Let me share my new source of laughter for the day. I have these "Hey, girl Ryan Gosling" snippets pinned on my pinterest board. Seriously these have been a great reason to chuckle today so I will leave you with one...since I can't pass a cup cake to you, of course:-)


Hope your day has been sweet as sugar!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Ewwwwww, That's Nasty

There's nothing quite like a three year old to name call your dinner.

I threw caution to the wind and tried a new recipe by PW. They were steak sandwiches and they were delicious, even if the three year old shoved his off his plate and said, "Ewww, that's nasty!" (sigh)

But dessert? It was an old stand by, a favorite. It was gobbled up quickly and the kids adorned me with praises as if I were a Queen.

The three year old got his dessert. The rule is " Eat a lot of dinner and get a lot of dessert. Eat a little dinner and get a little dessert. "

He got a smidgen of dessert.
 **Bumpit is still trying to decide what she thinks of the hens who grace the back deck every afternoon.**

 **Fletcher, like most toddlers, loves an empty box more than any toy on the planet.**

Last night was the annual banquet for the local squadron of the Civil Air Patrol, a group both of my teen daughters are involved in.
We had to dress up nice and cook some pot luck food to share.

 I must say we looked good and we had a great time, despite the lack of carrot cake cupcakes. This is an inside reference, top secret. Classified. I am sure Journee is giggling right now:-)

My honey bees were also out yesterday. I placed pollen patties on the hives and decided to raise some queens from the stock I have. All my new packages I purchased last year have died. I think it's time to keep making increases from survival hives.

That dessert? Here it is. Truly it is simple and quick to whip up. I usually bake it while I am finishing dinner. I always have the ingredients in my pantry and the kids LOVE it. ENJOY!

Here you go:

Fudge Spoon Pie

½ C butter
1 ounce square unsweetened chocolate
1 C sugar
½ C flour
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs, slightly beaten
Ice Cream

Melt butter and chocolate in saucepan over low heat. Stir often. Remove from heat. Stir in sugar, flour, eggs, and vanilla. Pour batter into greased 8” baker or pie dish. Bake at 325 for 22 minutes (do not over bake). Serve warm with ice cream.

Ya'll have a great day!!!!!!

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