Thursday, February 26, 2009

Happy chirping

Well, a lot has happened since my last post. Yesterday morning, the first chick hatched. We were sitting right next to the incubator, when we heard a much louder crack than any of the previous ones. We peeked in, and there was a chick! He looked pretty pathetic, because he was all wet. He was flopping around, and started climbing over top of all the other eggs. Only about an hour later, the second chick was born. For this one, I sat there with my camera, recording its every more. (for 20 minutes, with a sore back! Just for your viewing pleasure) Look:More kept hatching, and as of this morning 12 out of 30 eggs have hatched. Likely, not all the eggs will hatch, and I have to say I'm amazed by the results so far. The thermometer we used was cheap and crappy, and the fan broke. So some areas of the incubator might have been too warm, while others too cold. The purpose behind the fan is to even out the heat. Next time, with the fan, we'll see I we can get an even better success rate. I'm pretty sure there's at least one more chick, ready to come out, so that would make a success rate of 43%

The born chicks were creating quite a ruckus, climbing over each other and the other eggs. I was also worried about them hurting each other in such a small space, so I got my chick brooder set up. I had to clean it out, fix the chicken wire on the top, haul hay from the upper pasture, buy food, clean the water can, drag the box into the garage, and buy a heat light bulb. Now the chicks are happily situated in their box. We were going to sell them, but we have a special bond with them, because these are the first chicks we have had at the farm that came from our own chickens!

When I gathered the eggs, I found this cute egg

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

First signs of life

This is the night the chicks from the incubator are supposed to hatch. Honestly, I had given up any hope, because, I mean, wouldn't it be crazy if putting eggs in a warm little box for 3 weeks would actually make living chicks!! My faith has been restored. I don't understand how this miracle can work, but it does.

Joe was the first one to hear chirping. Sure enough, if you sit really quietly, you will eventually hear some chirps. The other exciting development are cracks in some of the eggs. Obviously the chicks are pecking at it, trying to get out. Oh how I wish I could just open the box, take the eggs out, and break them for them. But we all know the chicks need to get out by themselves. I tried to get a picture of one of the cracked eggs, and this is the best I could come up with (remember, this picture is taken through a dirty, plastic window, with a flashlight as the only light source). Next time I put my eggs in the incubator, remind me to wash the windows first!

Rare Monopoly Pieces

I learned from my new Statcounter program, that there are many people on the internet, who are looking for a list of rare game ticket pieces for the Albertson's Monopoly Game. Good news: I know what they are, and am willing to share. The big prizes require 2 rare pieces. I currently don't have any of those, but if/when I do, I will make sure to post them on my blog, so we can maybe combine our tickets and split the winnings.

Here are the rare pieces:
A01 A04
B08 B10
C12 C13
D17 D20
E22 E25

If you want to see whether I have any tickets you need, or if you have any that I need, please go to my other post, where I have an updated list of what I have and need.

Happy trading, and good luck!

Monday, February 23, 2009

What to do?

So ever since Ginger has been pulling her hair out, I have been tempted to just cut it off. Today, I got the scissors out. After assessing the situation, I decided I would have to cut a bob to get everything even. I just didn't have the guts to do it. Instead, I cut a little bit of bangs (to even out the broken parts in the front), and cut about 3" off the back.

Before:After:What I would like to do, is put a poll on my blog. I want all of my awesome readers to vote, whether I should keep it the way I cut it today OR if I should even everything out, and cut a bob (everything the same length as in this picture) The Poll is embedded on my blog, so please visit it, and cast your vote!
I will do whatever gets the most votes! I will count all votes cast before midnight on March 1st

New Addition

We had a new addition to our little farm today. One of our angora goats had her kid. Of course it's another boy, because that's all we ever get! When Joe found him, he had wandered out of his mom's stall, and was hanging out with one of the Jersey Cows. The mom's teats were really swollen, and the kids was acting really hungry. This goat was the only one Joe didn't shear in the fall, so we think he wasn't able to access the milk very well. So we went up there, and sheared her belly and backside. Now she looks really funny with long hair in the front, and a shaved behind. Then, we helped the little kid drink milk, while holding the momma down, because she didn't seem to want to do it. Hopefully they'll figure out how to do it, so we won't have to hold her down several times a day.This seems like a good time to do an animal count update
5 cows
7 goats
1 pig
1 dog
3 cats
20 chickens
1 semi-wild bunny

Winter's bunny that she got from her birthday, was hanging out with the chickens for a while. But then he found some bunny friends, and has been running loose ever since. He's turned half wild. We used to be able to walk right up to him and pick him up, but now he won't let us come within 6 feet of him. The cool thing is that he does still hang out in our yard.


Saturday night we had the pleasure of having Joe's 85-year old grandma over for the night. Grandma B lives with Grandma A (she's her mother). For some reason this was the first time she had stayed over at our house. I made a special dinner of biscuits and gravy, because I knew she loves Southern food. Then, grandma and I played a game of Hand and Foot. This is a card game that isn't sold in stores, but that she and her deceased husband played all the time.Sunday morning we hoisted grandma in the truck and headed to church. Church was great, and she loved our ward. The people in our ward are super friendly, and we had a great lesson in RS about finding Joy in the Journey of Life. There's this quote that I love:
“You pile up enough tomorrows, and you’ll find you’ve collected a lot of empty yesterdays.” -The Music Man

I realized that too many times I forget to look at all the blessings in my life, and instead hope for other/more things. After this lesson I made a commitment to myself to truly enjoy my life, AS-IS. Sure, it's okay to want more, but we can still be happy without it.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Golden Locks

This can't be what I think it is! Joe caught Ginger holding this big hairball last night. When he asked her about it, she was evasive and finally said she found it in her car seat. The problem is, that I have been noticing a LOT of broken hair on her head, and chunks missing. I knew it wasn't scissors, because there's no definite cut line. Blaming her hair elastics, I decided to stop using the little rubber/plastic kind, and only use fabric. Well, after this "little" discovery, I changed my diagnosis, and decided Ginger has picked up the nasty habit of pulling her own hair. My friend Challis has a daughter that twists her hair to the point of it breaking/ripping. I don't know how to stop it! Part of the problem is that I have never caught her doing it. When I asked her about it though, I could tell she knew that she did something wrong, and told me sorry. Joe won't let me cut her hair shorter, so for now I'll just make sure to put it up in pony tails each day. Hopefully that'll stop her

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Keep your cool

My sister-in-law, wrote a great post on how it feels to get a call about a foster child. Read it here. I just got a call about 3 year-old twin girls. These girls are still with their mother, but will probably be removed soon. The way it works, is that when something like that happens, the agencies call their families, who might be interested in taking in the children. Then, they submit their names to CPU (Child Placement Unit), who then decides where the children go. I have only gotten one such call before, and started totally freaking out. I was so excited. I started running around, cleaning the house, and getting ready. In the end however, we weren't chosen by CPU. So this time around, I am trying not to freak out, and just wait to hear back. Then, if we do get chosen, I can really start freaking out, figuring out where to put 2 more beds, and rearranging furniture, childproofing, and making sure our house is up to CPS standards. Oh, and did I mention that we would have 3, 3-year old girls?

Update: The girls were placed in a different home

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Riding in the country

The weather has been fantastic today, and I really wanted to get out of the house, so I decided to jump on my bike. The kids and I went on a little ride on Monday when they were home from school, but obviously we that wasn't much of a challenge. The nice thing was that got the trailer down from the shelf, and pumped up my tires, so I was ready to go. Ginger is so good in the trailer. For the most part she just sits quietly and looks around.There aren't really any good loops around here, because all the roads are spread out more, so I decided to ride to my friend Teresa's house and back. Ginger played with Van and Parker, while I watched Teresa plant her garden. Tomorrow night, we're having a relief society night about gardening, so hopefully that will get me all pumped up to get started. After last year's disaster, I haven't been feeling the drive to do a garden again. But, it would be awesome to have some fresh veggies, so this year I'm going to scale it down quite a bit, and try again.

When you first start riding with a trailer, it seems like there's not much of a difference. It's not until you have ridden up 5 steep hills, that the extra 30 pounds really start pulling on you. I figured that I only rode like 7 miles/hour, but hey, that's equals an hour of exercise, so that's good enough for me. Maybe once I get in better shape, I can start adding extra weights to the trailer (okay, maybe not!)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Eggs and Eierkoeken

It has become my ongoing quest to make good use of our new blessing of a dozen eggs per day. So far I have come up with the following solutions:

  • If the church has a potluck, I automatically make an eggs dish. One month it was deviled eggs, this month it was an egg casserole
  • We ate quiche for dinner last night
  • I plan to freeze some eggs, so we'll have plenty in the lean months
  • Anyone that lives closeby, gets eggs for their birthday
  • I even sold some to my grandma's friends
  • We eat "juicy eggs" for lunch almost every day. Juicy eggs are simply overeasy eggs, but the kids came up with this word, and that's what we use around here
This morning, still having 6 dozen eggs in my fridge, got me to thinking what else I could do with them. Since I think it's wrong to "egg" other people's cars (which, by the way, I got egged a few weeks ago at Joe's parents house!), I turned to the internet for more recipes, that use lots of eggs. Just in case you are blessed with many, many eggs as well, here's a few ideas:
  • Mayonnaise: who knew you could make your own mayo? It's really easy too. There's only 4 ingredients: Eggs, Oil, salt, and mustard. I made some yesterday to go into our quiche
  • Quiche (see above)
  • Egg salad
  • deviled eggs
  • Flan - I might make this for desert some evening this week
  • Creme Brulee
  • custard
  • angel food cake
  • souffles
  • eggs benedict
  • madellines
  • breakfast casserole
  • eggnog
  • omelets
  • egg noodles
  • hollandaise sauce
  • eierkoeken-A Dutch type of cake/cookie that are scrumptious - I have one batch of those in the oven right now - recipe to follow
Eierkoeken (makes 16-20)
1.5 cups Sugar
8 Eggs
3.25 cups Flour
8 tsp Baking Powder
  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Whip egg whites and sugar with a handmixer, until fluffy
  3. Add egg yolks, one by one.
  4. In separate bowl, mix flour and baking powder
  5. Sift flour into eggs mixture, a little bit at a time. Use a wooden spoon to mix instead of mixture, to keep the air in the dough
  6. Let the dough rest for about 5 minutes
  7. Using a tablespoon, place heaps of dough on pre-greased cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart
  8. Bake at 350 for 13-15 minutes, or until golden brown
Serve cold with some butter. These are a great snack, or can be part of a sandwich lunch.
Verdict: I cooked mine a little too long, and they turned out a little bit crunchy (they're supposed to be soft). But the taste is fantastic!

Credit: I found the recipe Here

Friday, February 13, 2009

Our House

My sister has been asking me for pictures of our house. She still lives in Idaho, and has never seen it. I haven't wanted to post pictures before, because the house isn't done. But I guess it might be years before it's done, so this is for you Wendy (I didn't take pictures of all the rooms, as some were too messy, or too unfinished to publicly display on my blog)

Standing at the front door looking down the hall towards the living room. Please excuse the train table, it's currently on craigslist. Any takers? Oh, also, that wood that's on the floor, is part of the remaining wood floor that we installed. We still have about 100 SF left, anyone interested in that? Anyways, if you would look to your left from this spot, you would see our study. This is my computer/music room, and is ALWAYS a mess
When you walk down the hall a bit, you see the formal dining room on your left. We eat dinner her most nights. I personally think a formal dining room is a waist of space, and wish our breakfast nook was just large enough to accommodate our large tableAt the end of the front hallway, is our family room. This is the center hub of our home, and where we spend the most time.The is a different angle of our family room, standing at the entrance to the back hallway that leads to the kids' bedrooms. As you can see, the family room and kitchen are connected, and that's one of the many things I love about this house. This is the view of the family room, looking back toward the front hall and dining roomThis is the view of the kitchen, when you enter it from the left side. After we moved in, we painted the cabinets, and put a new dishwasher in. We still want to replace the countertops and backsplash.Standing in the kitchen, looking towards the breakfast nookStanding in the nook, looking towards the kitchen. As you can see we still have the white oven and microwave. It's hard to justify spending $3000 on new stainless steel ones, when the ones we have work perfectly.Master Bedroom
Joe's office/guest room.


The World Wide Web is an interesting thing!

In 1998, when I moved into my dorm room at BYU, I had only heard of the internet, but had never actually used it. My parents had a computer, but back then, internet was a new and rare thing. I can't recall the first time I ever used the internet, but I can distinctly remember the times I sent emails in my dorm building -Kimball Hall -. See, the computers were located in the basement, at the end of a hallway going passed all the storage units. I would sit there, and email my family back home, or send silly messages to my boyfriends. The best thing: I still have all those emails. Since the internet, and email was so new to me, I printed out ALL of my emails for the first year! These were the days, back before google, and unlimited storage. My hotmail account could only take so much storage, and there was no such things as Archiving, so you just deleted them. Once in a while I'll pull out my email/letter scrapbook, and go on memory lane. I just wish I had printed emails from my second year as well (which is when I met Joe)

In the beginning all I used the internet for was email and college registration. I guess I might have used it here and there to do some research for a paper, but I still relied heavily on books. This has all changed completely. Any time I have a question about anything, I just jump on google, and hit search. My search topics vary so much, some of my recent searches include: ABC Bachelor blog, Bull Run Park Virginia, chicken incubator, cost of living calculator, delta, disney etc. You get the idea.

The idea for this post really came from when I looked at followers of my blog. There are several people on that list, whom I would have never known, if not for the Internet. There's Kaitlyn and Kezia, who both found my blog somehow, and have been faithful readers/commenters (thanks girls!). It also works the other way around. There are blogs that I found, whether it be through my friend's blogs, or a simple blog search, which I follow religiously. I read about their lives so much, that it's almost as if we are friends in real life. Of course, not all of these people read my blog as well, so it's more like a celebrity syndrome (I know them, but they don't know me).

As with all new technological advances, we get so dependant on them, that we can't live without them. I can't imagine having to find information on campgrounds in Colorado, or find out flight schedules, without the help of the internet. You could say I have gone a bit overboard, and use the internet too much, but I am just so happy to have found some new friends along the way.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


I have a question for you guys. Lurkers please come out and comment too!

Would you spend $25 to take a class on learning how to use coupons, to save more than 65% on your grocery bill every month?

I am toying with the idea to become an Educator for a coupon blog. It's a similar business idea as Mary Kay, Pampered Chef, or Tupperware. However, instead of selling stuff, I would be teaching coupon classes.

I just don't know if people would be interested in something like this, and/or be willing to pay for it.

Input please!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Growing up, Valentines Day was for teenagers/adults only. I had never heard of children giving valentines cards to their classmates, or friends. Or grandparents giving valentines to their grandchildren. Valentines cards were for lovers. Well, I guess there's another cultural difference. My kids' school, as most other schools in the US, has the practice of exchanging valentines among students. Each student is expected to make a valentines card for each of their classmates. It doesn't matter that they might not get along, or far from love each other.

I think last year I didn't even realize Winter should participate in this, and totally spaced it. This year, both the kids' teachers sent notes home to remind the parents they the kids needed to make these valentines. I had seen a fun idea on a blog, to attach 2 hearts together, with a piece of candy in the middle. I still have a bunch of Halloween candy from clearance, so that was easy. First, we cut open a few paper grocery bags. Then I had to trace 70 hearts. They colored, and decorated them with stamps, stickers, and markers, complaining all the while. As I reminded them this was funner than going to bed, they finally stopped whining and enjoyed themselves a little more.The craziest part was assembling the hearts. The blog told me to punch holes along the edges, and use yarn to sew the 2 pieces together, but the fact that I had 35 hearts to complete, made me look for different solutions. I grabbed the stapler, and start hitting away. 350 staples later, my shoulder is sore, and I am grateful that metal is cheap! As the project was almost complete, I could tell Sterling was so excited by the outcome. He kept counting his hearts over and over again, to make sure he had enough. Also, he just kept giggling. I hope that this project made the kids realize that the person that loves them the most this valentine's day is not their classmates who give them candy, but their mother, who spent hours crafting, and now has a sore shoulder.

Quit the Church

This was an awesome editorial in the Provo newspaper that everyone should read!

Quit the Church

In a local newspaper in Provo, Utah, there had been an ongoing series of articles written by individuals who wanted to persuade LDS Church members to leave the Church. In response to the highly critical and spirited remarks, a local member wrote this rebuttal:


I have been thinking of quitting the Mormon Church. Yes, if I can, I am going to get even with that church. As soon as I can find another church that teaches about the Gathering of the House of Israel; the return of the Ten Tribes and their mission; the return of the Jews to Palestine and why, and how they are going to build the temple; the building of temples and what to do with them; the mission of Elias, the prophet, as predicted by Malachi; the method for the salvation of the people that died at the time of Noah in the flood; the origin of the American Indian; the complete explanation of why Jesus of Nazareth had to have a mortal mother but not a mortal father; the explanation of the three degrees of glory (three heavens) as mentioned by Paul; the complete explanation of why Elias and Moses did not die but had to be translated (since they both lived before the resurrection was introduced by Christ); the restoration of the gospel by modern revelation as promised by Peter and Paul and Jesus himself; the belief in eternal marriage and the family, and the knowledge and the place to seal for eternity; that teaches abstinence

from all harmful drugs and foods ; and that sells the best fire insurance policy on earth, for the last days, for only a 10th of my income.

Yes sir, as soon as I can find another church that teaches all that, or even half as much, I will say good-bye to this Mormon Church. The church that I am looking for must also be able to motivate 50,000+ youth, and adults, for the first, second or third time, to leave their homes for two years at their own expense and go to far-away places to teach and preach without salary. It must be able to call, on a frosty day, some 5 or 6 thousand professors, students, lawyers, doctors, judges, policemen, businessmen, housewives and children to go and pick apples at 6 a.m. It must be able to call meetings and get the attention for two hours of more than 150,000 men. Yes, it must also teach and show why

salvation is assured for children who die before eight years of age.

Mr. Editor, could you help me find a church that teaches all that and more than hundreds of other doctrines and principles, which I have no room to mention here, and which brings solace and comfort to the soul; peace, hope, and salvation to mankind, and above all, that answers the key questions that all the great philosophers have asked; questions and answers that explain the meaning of life, the purpose of death, suffering and pain; the absolute need for a Redeemer and the marvelous plan conceived and executed by Jesus Christ the Savior? Yes, as soon as I find another church that teaches that, and also that has the organization and the powers to make that teaching effective, I am going to quit the Mormon Church. For I should not tolerate that "they" should

change a few words in the Book of Mormon-even if those changes simply improve the grammar and the syntax of the verses-for, after all, don't you think the Divine Church should employ angels as bookmakers, and clerks, to do all the chores on earth? Don't you think, Mr. Editor, that the Divine Church should also have prophets that don't get sick and don't get old and die, and certainly, that don't make a goof here and there. No, sir! A Divine Church should be so divine that only perfect people should belong to it, and only perfect people should run it. As a matter of fact, the Church should be so perfect that it should not even be here on earth!

So, I repeat, if any one of the kind readers of this imperfect letter knows about another church that teaches and does as much for mankind as the Mormon Church, please let me know. And please do it soon, because my turn to go to the cannery is coming up. Also, "they" want my last son (the fifth one) to go away for two years and again, I have to pay for all that. And I also know that they expect me to go to the farm to prune trees, and I have heard that our ward is going to be divided again, and it is our side that must build the new chapel. And also, someone the other day had the gall of suggesting that my wife and I get ready to go on a second mission, and when you come back, they said, you can volunteer as a temple worker.

Boy, these Mormons don't leave you alone for a minute. And what do I get for all that, I asked? "Well," they said, "for one, you can look forward to a funeral service at no charge!"... Do you think you can help me to find another church?

Thomas D. Clark

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Update, and cute surprise

Well, I finally did it! I put the 4th and final coat on my new front door. As soon as it dries, and I have a chance to convince Joe to hang it for me, I'll make sure to post some before and after picture. Until then, enjoy this:As I came back to my computer to blog about the door success, I found this cute cut out paper man on my keyboard. It can only have come from Sterling, because Winter is staying the weekend at grandma's house. When I asked him what it is for he said: "It's a present for Valentine's day". Isn't that sweet?


When you have a to-do list from here to China, it's easy to get overwhelmed and just do nothing at all. We have slowly been chipping away at all of the projects in our house, but not nearly fast enough. Joe and I set the goal yesterday to get some stuff done today. I resolved to finally get that final coat on our new front door, so we can hang it next week. Also, I said I would get the paint out, and finish painting the breakfast nook. I guess I am writing this on my blog, so I'll be more accountable.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Sleep is good

It's hard for me to go to bed on time. Weekdays it's very important, because I have to get up at 6.15am. If I don't go to bed until midnight, that's only 6 hours of sleep. That's just not enough! I guess it's been catching up with me in the last few weeks, and I've been so tired, all the time. This morning, after sending the kids off to school, I got back in bed. Joe's out of town on business, so Ginger got in with me, and we slept until 11.15!! It was so nice. The only bummer was that half the day was gone by the time I did get up. If only I could have some discipline and get to bed by 10.30 each night, I wouldn't have to do these major sleep-in sessions.

Also, I want to tell you about my new adventure I am pursuing. Ever since we have been getting about a dozen eggs a day, I just don't quite know what to do with them all. It turns out that a member of our church has an egg incubator which he was willing to lend to us. I am excited to try it out, and see if we can grow some chickens. I will keep you updated. The eggs need to be incubated for about 21 days. There is precise temperature, moisture, and turning involved.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Sad Site

This Texas weather is really driving me crazy! 22 one day, 80 the next. It's not that I don't like 22 degrees, or 80, but when they are on consecutive days, I just never know what to expect.

Saturday we had a nice, sunny 80 degree day. I was kind of glad that at least the warm days were saved for the weekend. Joe had a few farm implements to get, and wiring harnesses for the geo, and convinced me to come with him. We had fun driving on new roads, through new country. We were amazed by the little towns, and the mixture of nice homes and ramshackled shacks. Some towns were nicer than others, and some had hills, while others were as flat as a pancake. At one point we passed this cool graveyard. We noticed that a lot of the graves were those of babies and young children. Our kids had a hard time understanding why kids would die so young. So we tried to explain that people used to get sick a lot more often, especially kidsThis graveyard got me to thinking about the way I would like my body to be disposed of after I die. These poor people's families bought nice headstones, and gave them a nice service. However, only 100 years later, the graveyard is in disarray. Many of the headstones have either fallen, or been kicked over. Texas ground is so soft, that the other half is half sunken into the ground. All of this made me realize I just want to be cremated. I mean, I don't need my body to rot away in the ground, and have other people take care of the site. Or, if I end up in one of the above graveyards, it's just a sad sight.Here Joe re-assembled one of the headstones

We have some new friends in our ward that just moved down from Utah. They are a really nice family with 2 little girls. Renee (the mom) is a great inspiration to me for all things pertaining to natural childbirth, cloth diapers, and natural remedies. Our ward bounderies are quite large, and they just happen to be buying a house at the opposite end of the bounderies: 45 minutes from here, in Honey Grove. I tried to convince her to buy a house here in Leonard, but alas, they would rather live close to his work. Anyways, after Joe got the wiring harness out of a spare metro at our other friends' house in Honey Grove, we were able to hang out with Renee and her family. We went to the local park in downtown Honey Grove, and the kids had a blast.All of a sudden we noticed Ginger bolting toward the opposite side of the playground. Then, we saw something you will only see in a town like Honey Grove. 2- 12 year old boys who were riding their horses right through town. They had been riding all morning (5 hours at least), and were just on their way home. No adults, no nothing. They were really cute, and had an even cuter accent. They let our kids take turns to ride on the horses, and soon enough my kids started asking me when they can go on horseback rides all by themselves. I tried to explain to them that they first need to learn to ride, and then they have to be about 10 years older!!See those original death trap slides? I haven't had such an adrenaline rush going off a slide since I was 8!The sweater Winter is wearing, is one that I got for my 9th birthday! I was always a big fan of horses.I was trying to get a new profile picture for my blog, and realized I don't have any decent pictures of just me. This was my attempt for Joe to take one for me. I guess this one will have to do for now.

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