Saturday, March 31, 2012

Bushel and a Peck  is hosting a challenge that we have chosen to participate in.  For more info click on her site link above and she has all the details.  Last September we joined Christie and others in the 30 days of Nothing Challenge  to not buy anything other than your necessary budgeted items. It was a great way to not spend and well worth the effort it took to stick to our goal.

Since as we said in our New Years post we don't really make resolutions, but lay out some goals for what we'd like to see ourselves accomplish or to have a set of family guidelines that we want to bring about in the year ahead.  Okay, maybe this is just a resolution with a different name to it : ) .   This year we really wanted to Clean Up and Clear Out. To declutter and get rid of items we don't use that are taking space. To use those we can, or to give away or sell good items that we just don't need anymore.  Initially we were off to a nice start, but as with so many good intentions it's easy to lose momentum.   So when I saw this challenge it seemed a great way to have a bit of accountability to stay on track with our families goals.   So we're in!! We will post our progress along with our regular blog posts and see how we do by the end of our 30 days.

Thursday, March 29, 2012


It's official she's a "snaggletooth".  Hannah's had two teeth coming in behind her bottom teeth for months now. Our dentist assured us not to worry, she might need braces but it would be fine. He said to just let them come out on their own. So we waited and waited.  Two months ago one finally let go and came out and the already waiting new tooth quickly filled the gap.  Then the second bottom one began to come loose and has been hanging by a "thread"  - yuch - for all this time.  Hannah would have nothing to do with our helping the tooth out.  In the meantime a gap began to appear up top as her teeth shifted to prepare for new ones.   FINALLY, yesterday morning the "thread" let go and the bottom tooth fell out.  Then at dinner a panicked Hannah yelled, "Oh no my good tooth fell out".  Her top front tooth dropped into her plate. We assured her it was fine it was only a baby tooth and needed to come out.  You can already see the permanent one wanting to appear.  For now though, she's sporting that "snaggletooth look".   Call me biased, but I think she wears it well  : )

Monday, March 26, 2012


photo credit

It's been raining again with a bit more forecasted.  I love this!!! The cooler temperatures, rain with reasonable amounts that have come down, an inch or more per storm has been great. Then we've had a few days to dry out before the next storm has come through.

In dry Southern California this is a real blessing. We've had our rain barrels fill up and then transferred the water to our larger storage tanks in between storms. Currently we have a 200 gallon tank and 500 gallon tank to store the rainwater.  We want to significantly increase this as we are on a well so in the hot dry seasons we use a lot of water.  This not only uses the water in our household 2000 gallon tank, but it takes a lot of electricity to keep the flow going.

500 gallon tank
200 gallon tank

So this year after watching the Back to Eden video  I have been adding a lot of compost and mulch around the trees and plants throughout our property to offset the amount of water we will have to use when we get our hot summer weather. It's all an effort to conserve resources, finances and still have the best results for our properties plantlife as possible.

Took a quick walk around this morning breathing in the crisp air and loving the glistening rain drops on garden, trees and plants.
Mushroom from all the moisture
Raindrops on a plum branch

Nasturtium in garden

Then there was this:

God's promise in the midst of provision.  Have a blessed day.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Resident "Chicken Whisperer & Snake Charmer"

One of Cameron's many talents is his ability to handle a variety of animals, he always seems to be the one to get any dog, cat, bird, snake, or insect to be at ease around him - he is a regular "Dr. Dolittle".

Yesterday he taught the girls (Hannah & Lauren) how he can feed the chickens from his hand, he has them now trained that they will be standing at the side door to the barn waiting for food once they hear someone inside.

The hen's waiting near the door,
Lynda took this looking through the glass.

Cameron showing how it's done.
Letting the girls have a try.

The "Chicken Whisperer" at work!

Jail Birds! 

That's Cam's name for the two roosters who have been placed in the "cooler" a small pen with a small coop that keeps them from chasing the hens.  You can see from the pictures that some of the hens are missing quite a few feathers from their backs - thanks to these two.  We have them separated as the girls are not ready yet to see them on our plate!  : ) 

The hens must be loving their freedom in their pen, as we are getting 4 to 5 eggs a day and yesterday were blessed with 7!!!


With the warmer weather we have been having the snakes have been coming out, we have already seen a racer, gopher snake, and several California King snakes.  Today, Cameron caught a baby King snake and put it on a bamboo stick to show all of us, even though he was small he was feisty and wanted nothing to do with us.  Cameron released him in the orchard area, as King snakes help keep the rattlers away.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Natural Cleaner

In an effort to not use harsh chemical cleaners, still have effective cleaning and to be frugal in the process I have been researching different sources and keep coming across the benefits of white vinegar.
The problem for me - the smell!!   I have a strong sense of smell. My family might say too sensitive!!
So how do I get the benefits of this cleaner without the negative side effects of my house smelling like vinegar?

Ta da!!!  Infuse it with orange peel.  I've made flavored vinegars for cooking in the past, so why didn't I just think of this before?   I have no idea, and in truth it wasn't until I saw an article that it even ocurred to me to try this out.

To get started you need distilled white vinegar, the peel from one or two oranges, a jar with lid and time to let it sit.  The article stated it should sit at least two days. From my experience, I did a sniff test after two days and that wasn't long enough.  So mine sat for a week.  For future use I'd let it go for two weeks.

Then using a strainer I drained off the orange peels and poured the contents into a spray bottle.  You can then dilute the cleaner in a two to one ratio. Of water to vinegar.  And you're set.  I used the scented vinegar straight before adding the water to clean my messy stove. Then added the water to the spray bottle and moved on to other surfaces.

Results - well I was pretty satisfied. I had chicken broth that had spilled on my stove yesterday, and I cooked bacon that spattered grease so it was all set for my test. Here are the before and after shots. 

 Not too bad. With a bit of elbow grease even the last of the cooked on spots should come off.  And the cost is just pennies considering I have the vinegar around as I use it in the dishwasher as a rinse agent.    Or if a drain is clogged I pour baking soda and vinegar down to clear it, so now that I can stand the smell I have a useful, healthier and cheap cleaner. Yay, it's a win, win situation for me. : )

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Came across this poem and it just touched my heart, so thought I'd share it here:

Some Would

Some would gather money
Along the path of life,
Some would gather roses,
And rest from worldly strife.
But I would gather children
From among the thorns of sin,
I would seek a golden curl,
And a freckled, toothless grin.
For money cannot enter
In that land of endless day,
And roses that are gathered
Soon will wilt along the way.
But oh, the laughing children,
As I cross the sunset sea,
And the gates swing wide to heaven
I can take them in with me!

Author Unknown

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Venturing Out

Yesterday Amber and I attended a women's luncheon hosted by a group of local women associated with a longtime ministry, but one I confess I hadn't heard of until this meeting. It's a women's outreach called Stonecroft Ministries.  I learned of the luncheon from a piece in the local section of the paper. 

The outlet mall in the area provided a cute little gift bag with fun items and gave a short presentation on how to find further savings when outlet shopping and a short fashion show of day to evening dress ideas.

Then a former news anchor Kevin and I used to watch regularly when we lived in the San Diego area spoke. Carol Lebeau was a wonderfully entertaining and gifted speaker who made the event quite special. It was a nice meal and a chance to meet new people. Well worth venturing out into the very windy, wet weather we have been experiencing.
Today we've been hunkering down inside with a nice fire and for the most part watching the cold, wet weather from inside the warmth of the house.  Then when we had a bit of a break in the storm we headed outside to assess the amount of damage done by the much needed rain, but not so desired high winds accompanying them here in So Cal.  Yesterday, several panels were blown off of the greenhouse and the temporary cover we had put over the chicken area was blown off with the metal poles badly bent.  So I was pleasantly surprised as I walked around today to see things pretty well intact.

Wish I could incorporate smell in these posts, as the star jasmine and lavender are incredibly fragrant!! Lots of pretty colors as more begins to bloom in the yard.

I will have to get busy to clean up many quite overgrown plants and debris that has blown off the trees and are making my yard vignettes look a bit messy. All work to be done on a  dryer and warmer day.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Happy St. Patick's Day to everyone.  I have the corned beef for our dinner of corned beef, cabbage, carrots and potatoes in the crock pot.  With a husband of Irish descent it's tradition. And since I'm heading out to my ladies luncheon today with Amber, I'm getting organized so I don't have to watch the cooking all day.  Love my crockpot!!
It's a rainy day here in So Cal, so it's perfect for a hearty hot meal for dinner and the opportunity to have a fire in the fireplace.

Have a wonderful day, and from our family to yours, we wish you all the very best.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Lauren's 7th Birthday

Okay as promised yesterday, the highlights of Lauren's 7th birthday celebration will be shown here.
We began the day with school.  Had the girls do some extra pages over the past week in preparation for the day so we could cut down on the amount that needed to be done, and have more time for "fun" activities.

After school Cameron showed the girls some games on his IPad, then Hannah set up her computer for a Peter Rabbit movie time event.

After lunch we pulled out the magic marker coloring set that allows the hidden backgrounds and once invisible colors and patterns to come through on the pages.  Lauren is always amazed and thrilled with what pops out!!

Next it was time to make the crowns to be used for the party.  Bought some sparkly foam crowns and some stick on jewels for them to add their creative touches to.

After Amber and Eddie arrived we first gave them their anniversary basket. Made a copy of the video we posted here on the blog, to add to their basket.

Then after dinner of roast - MEAT!!  Lauren opened presents and had her birthday cake. Andes Chocolate Mint Ice Cream Cake - YUMMM.   I think she has a new favorite cake.

  It was a nice day and she seemed quite pleased as she headed off to bed.