Sunday, July 29, 2012

Am I a hippie?

I've been doing a bunch of research on ways to save money, and to be healthier. With my job, I see so many negative things that happen. If there is something within my power to control, manipulate, decrease exposure to, or change, I want to. Thus, this idea emerged....

Homemade laundry detergent. For years now I have used a brand with no fragrance, no perfumes or dyes, due to allergies. But I sure don't like the price.

Yesterday, I conviced Kelby we should try to make our own detergent. He is not convinced, but went along for now. He believes the clothes will come out dirty. I said we could try it on towels and sheets first. As we walked through the store, he said that I am now a hippie....what do you think?

But the process was so easy! I grated a specific kind of soap (Fels Naptha) , and then melted it in water. In a large bucket, added 3 gallons of hot water, the melted soap, Borax (1/2 cup) and Washing Soda (1 cup)  (NOT baking soda). Mixed everything together, let it sit overnight, and now we have a huge tub of laundry detergent. The best part - Kelby even helped me with the mixing. He wanted to ensure that I wasn't doing anything (too) funky.

Price, including the bucket, was $12, for around 3.5 gallons of laundry detergent. The boxes of Borax and Baking Soap are still mostly full. If, I mean when, we know this works, to make a future batch all I will need to buy is the bar of soap, less than $2.

I'm excited. Will let you know the results... have to wait for some dirty towels. haha

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Geneology

I finally signed up (and paid) for Ancestry.com, and have spent hours and hours on there researching my dad's and mom's side of the family. At times, it is super exciting to find information. Other times, it becomes frustrating and confusing, with multiple people with the same name. If you care to find my tree, it's called Western Family Tree.

Along with the Ancestry website, Google searches have also revealed pertinent information. I was able to find information that was transcribed onto the internet from an old bible. That bible now resides in Herkimer County Historical Society for safekeeping. But here is the information, and it fully matches information I already had discovered. It's almost 3 hundred years of geneology. Awesome!

Western Family Bible

Original owner of the bible: Samuel Whidden


Samuel Whidden  born 9/22/1738, died 3/17/1813 from epidemic fever

                Wife: Sarah Skellions  born 8/19/1738,  died 3/28/1813 from epidemic fever

Children: John Whidden  born 10/7/1766

                  Charles Whidden  born 8/5/1769

*  Sarah Whidden  born 3/6/1772,  died 12/23/1860 (buried in Old Barnes Cemetery, on   Jerseyfield Rd in Western Lot)



*  Sarah Whidden married Deacon Samuel Western (born around 1770, died 9/27/1836)

Children: Jeremiah Western  born 4/27/1795

                  # Joseph Western  born 2/17/1797, died 8/2/1873

                  Melie Western  born 5/15/1799

                  Elias Western  born 7/18/1801, died 6/7/1827

                  “my son” Western  born 10/15/1803, died 10/20/1803

                  Charles Western  born 3/15/1805

                  Joshua Western  born 6/20/1807

                  Eunice Western  born 11/18/1810



# Joseph Western married Hannah Hall

Children: Jason Western  born 1822, married Malida R. Comstock

                  Lydia Western married William Smalley

                  Sylvina Western (died 3/7/1887 Norway, NY) married David Bly

                  Mary Western married George Case

                  Samuel Western married Ann Comstock

                  Benjamin Western  married Sarah Wood on 11/22/1865

Monday, July 9, 2012

A Great Snack

Soft Pretzels
4 1/2 c. flour
1 1/2 c. warm water
2 t. kosher salt
1 T. sugar
1 package yeast (2 1/4 t.)
2 oz. melted butter

Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in a bowl or stand mixer and sprinkle yeast on top. Let sit 5 minutes until it begins to foam. Add flour and butter and knead 4-5 minutes. Oil a bowl and put dough in when done. Cover and let rise 45-55 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bring 10 c. water to a boil with 2/3 c. baking soda. Break off small amounts of dough and roll into a snake-like coil. Shape it into a pretzel form and place into boiling water for about 30 seconds each. Remove and place on greased baking sheets. Beat 1 egg mixed with 1 T. water and brush on the pretzels. Sprinkle kosher salt on and bake for 10-12 minutes. When they are lightly browned, they are done.

I have loved soft pretzels for years and years. But haven't bought them recently because I'm trying to stay away from processed foods. But then I came across this recipe, and just had to try it. And they worked. I have cooked for long enough that I should no longer be surprised when a recipe works as planned, but I was still surprised.

I am super excited that these worked. YUMMMMYYY!!! It was a large batch, so I froze some of them. Kelby wasn’t as excited as I was, but that’s ok. It will be a great snack for me J

Friday, June 22, 2012

I was able to put my camera to good use the past few weeks. The Pastor (who married us last year) finally finished his Doctorate of Divinity. I had the pleasure of going to the (long) ceremony. I felt a little pressure to capture the important moments of the day. I think they urned out pretty well! Congratulations to Doctor Reverend Dwight Nash. Awesome accomplishment.


Look at that program. It was like a book!



For the ceremony, the largest church I have ever been it.

Dwight's walk across the stage. I was on the right side of the stage initially, and when his portion of the ceremony started, we realized I needed to switch sides. I sprinted, and made it, so I could get his face and not back of the head.


Proud family.

Favorite picture of the day :)



On another note, one of my girls in my Youth Group, had her final singing concert of he year, and final Middle School concert. I cannot believe that she will be in High School next year. I had such difficulty getting clear pictures during the concert. The kids kept moving in and out of the lighting, and add in dancing movies,and I was challenged! She had a solo in this song... great job!!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Productive Reading


I’ve been reading books, but haven’t spent the extra time to write about them here. I was in Half Price Books (they are only in 16 states) the other day, and was walking by a display, and saw this book. It must have been my intuition on seeing the picture, of a boy sitting on a horse, being held by dad, and it touched me. I picked it up, and couldn’t put it down, so The Horse Boy came home with me.

I enjoyed reading about a family’s struggle knowing that their son was not developing typically. It documents their journey to find help and relief for their son. It was very informative and interesting from a family’s perspective, and improves my ability to do my job.

The author had one of the best explanations of tantrums/meltdowns that I have read, on a basic level. Here is a quote from pg. 19 “Through our cyberspace trawling we did discover the likely cause of these strange, overwhelming tantrums – that they were probably neurological in origin; his nervous system was almost certainly overactive. Autistic brains, it turns out, have a much greater number of nerve cells than “neuro-typical” brains. The result can be extreme sensory overload. A breath of wind on Rowan’s cheek could feel like fire from a flame-thrower. The fluorescent lights of a supermarket or daycare facility could look like lights being strobed at one million times a second. His clothes or bedcovers could suddenly, if the wrong neurological switch was thrown, feel like lead weights or burning napalm. Not that this helped to console him when the firestorms went raging through his brain and body.”

I would definitely recommend this book!

Just FYI... there is a lot of time spent on the family's travel to Mongolia and meeting with shaman's... which isn't a type of therapy I would recommend for a child with Autism.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Laura's birthday present

I thoroughly enjoyed making Laura's birthday present. However, I didn't get it mailed until around 5 weeks after her birthday. And here it is another month after that, where I am finally showing you what I made for her. I made the same letter for my front door, except with an "R" of course. The "F" is her future last name. It's a cardboard letter wrapped in twine. I came across the idea of making your own pot-holders, and really liked the fabric. Hopefully Laura will use them.

Better late than never, I guess????


Monday, June 18, 2012

Stay tuned for blog catch-up!


I unexpectly took a break from writing on here. I couldn't believe that I was sick with strep throat and ear infections but I am finally recovering. So on this note, here I am.

Sophie fell asleep before Kelby the other night. He prefers for Sophie to cuddle rather than sleep in the cage. This night I didn't have the energy to persuay Kelby otherwise. Sophie picked the soft spot, and then Kelby lay down. I told him that Sophie is now dominate over him... what do you think?


Monday, May 28, 2012

My Good Deed

Day: thursday
Location: Frisco, TX
Time: morning
Details: I was driving in a neighborhood for work, and noticed two dogs running on the sidewalk. I pulled over and called them to me. Unexpectedly they both came! I found my waterbottle, and one of them started to drink. At this time, I noticed they were both panting and neither had a collar. After contemplating the situation for a minute, I decided on a plan of action. I opened the back door and the yellow lab jumped in. The chocolate spanial took a little coaxing, but made it. I blasted the air conditioning, and drove around the neighborhood. No one was out looking for a dog. I saw a mom playing outside, and asked her if she knew where the dogs belonged, but she did not know. I called Kelby, and he looked up shelter information or me. I realized Plano was closer, but on the phone they refused to take the dogs. At this point, I noticed the time and didn't have time to drive them to the shelter that would accept them. I called a few friends, but could not drop the dogs in their back yards. Finally, a friend said yes! I went to my next couple work appts, then drove back and picked up the dogs. It was sad leaving them at the shelter. But good news, the spanial had a microchip, so hopefully the shelter was able to contact their owners.

Having two large dogs in my car, reminded me how having little dogs can be easier. The  dog slobbered on the window, and my car now smells like hot dog. Ewwwwww.....

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Tortured by Bugs

Two days ago, Kelby convinced me to go fishing with him. We packed up his fishig pole and the dogs and drove to the nearest state park. It was evening, but the bugs didn't seem bad. Boy, was I mistaken. I watched the dogs, took burrs off of Sophie, and read a book. Kelby had a few bites on his line, but was not able to reel in a fish. I knew I had a few bites around my ankles, but they were not bad. That turned out to be a HUGE understatement!

All of yesterday more and more bites showed themselves. By last night, I was in tears, as they hurt excessively. Kelby stopped at the store on his way home from work. Then we spent an hour trying to come up with a solution to stop the itching. NOTHING has helped. Today I have not been able to focus my mind, except to try and  prevent myself from itching. It's hard to count all the bites, but I think I have around 40. Yes, 40 large red splotches.

We think they are chiggers (which we do not have in the Northeast). They are between my knees and shoulders, and concentrated on my butt. We believe they can last over a week. This will be a looooong week. Kelby has a couple, but my body seems to react much stronger than his. Skipper also has some on his legs and feet,  and he keeps licking and scratching. So I am not alone in my misery. I have not had this type of reaction since I found out that I am allergic to Tylenoll. But this experience helps me to understand what my kids go through when they fight different allergies.

Currently I am sitting in the bathtub, with the coldest water that I can tolerate. Pray that God takes away the itching, and heals my skin.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Woohoo


Kelby's celebration dinner, for nailing a mechanical engineering internship this summer. And it is even paid. It is a huge answer to prayer. We are super excited to be able to spend evenings and weekends together.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Picture of Sophie

Here is Sophie in her old cone. A few days after we took this picture, she was wearing her cone (while in her cage). Kelby came home and noticed she chewed out three of her stitches. He took her into the vet, and the vet put in staples. OUCH! They also gave her a larger cone. We had her wear it for another week, and now it is off. Sophie is running around and is enjoying playing without plastic inhibiting her movements. She is also enjoying scratching her ears. hehe

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Sewing time

With Kelby in finals this week... I've recently increased time with my sewing machine. I can't show one project yet, as the recipients have not received their gifts. But here is another project. I wanted to make a gift for our niece, and I wanted Kelby to have a part of it. So, Kelby helped pick out the fabric, and I sewed up our little project.

It's a child-sized apron. I think it turned out super cute, what do you think?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Me... a cooking mistake?

We received an ice cream/sherbet maker for our wedding. I had yet to use it, but a few days ago I finally found a recipe that I wanted to try. Many recipes require egg whites, which I wasn't interested in using. Many ice cream recipes have lots and lots of sugar and fat, and I try to have us eat healthier than that. The recipe I found called for fresh strawberries, fat-free sweetened condensed milk, low-fat vanilla yogurt, and milk. Not bad!

I bought the ingredients and the next day I made up the recipe. And then I went to the box with the ice cream maker, pulled it out and read the directions.  Uhoh.... I totally did not even think to put the container in the freezer. I don't know what I was thinking... how else would this machine work? I guess I didn't think this one through all the way. So the mixture went into the fridge, the canister went into the freezer, and my enjoyment of ice cream was delayed for a day.

Though my patience was tested, it turned out delicious. It only took around 30 minutes of mixing per batch, and then went back into the freezer. Yummy, delicious, and semi-healthy. Not bad.... now next time, the trick is to have the canister already frozen... haha... we'll see.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Sophie is home

Kelby picked up Sophie from the vet this afternoon. When I arrived home after work, she was in a cage, and was standing, wagging her tail. I would definitely say that she is on the road to recovery. Her right hind leg and hip is shaved, and there is a row of stitches along her knee, heading upwards. She has a cone around her head to prevent her from scratching or biting at her leg. There is no bandage or cast on her leg, so we will have to be extremely careful.

Skipper has been very careful. He went up to her and sniffed for a minute, and went back to his spot on the couch to sleep. Sophie ate a little food, and tried to walk around. She hobbled on three legs. When she tried to turn to the right, she fell over as she is not yet putting weight on that leg. She is on 2 pain medications, and sleeping often.

The vet was pleased with the surgery. It will take her a few weeks to a few months to fully recovery. But so far, so good! :)

Thank you all for your prayers and phone calls.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Our sweet Sophie

Sophie is scheduled for surgery this Tuesday. We drop her off at the vet in the morning, and not sure if we can pick her up the same day, or wait until the next day. Her right hind leg, the knee keeps popping out of joint.  The first time, we couldn't get it back in place, so off we rushed to the emergency vet (expensive bill!). That night, even without much activity, it popped out a few more times. The next day Kelby dropped her at our vet, and they did lots of tests, bloodwork, and x-rays (expensive bill #2). Sophie is now taking a pain/anti-inflamation pill, and Kelby would like to wrap our apartment in bubblewrap to try and keep Sophie safe. It's been hard trying to keep her from running and jumping. She is wanting to be close to us, more so than in the past.

We will keep you updated. Prayers are appreciated.

Monday, April 9, 2012

What I ate for dinner tonight

I was on the unmotivated side of the spectrum tonight, and didn't feel like going to the grocery store to buy ingredients and then come home and cook. So to our freezer and pantry I went. I started with a frozen pound of ground beef. I also found half an onion, a red pepper, and a slightly squishy green pepper in the fridge. And there was rice in the pantry. I cooked the rice according to directions.

Next step, I placed my frozen meat in a pan, and cooked until done. Partway through, I added a few shakes of Lantana (one of Kelby's favorite seasonings). While the meat finished cooking, I chopped into large pieces the peppers and onion. The meat came out of the pan, and I left the fat drippings in the pan. The peppers and onions were added, along with a few more shakes of Lantanas. Sautee until semi-soft, and added the meat back in. All done!

And it was delicious. And easy. And yummy... especially for an unplanned meal.

I haven't been as good taking pictures, a it is more effort to get the pictures on the blog since I have started using my Asus Tablet.... so tonight I finally made the connection that I can take low quality pictures with my tablet. cool! 

Monday, April 2, 2012

Favorite Italian recipe

My mom is 100% Italian, so from her side of the family many delicious recipes have been passed down. My favorite one is homemade (of course) tomato sauce with meatballs and spaghetti. When Grandma makes this, she uses three types of meat. I need to be money conscious, so usually only make meatballs. But if company is around, we would add pork and hot/sweet Italian sausage. yummmmmm. I have yet to make homemade pasta, but want to try soon. I have watched this being made, and have made it numerous times myself, that I don't use a recipe. I guess it comes naturally. Hopefully I remembered enough to write it down somewhat accurately.

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Meatballs
- equal parts ground pork and beef (around 3 pounds total)
- eggs (maybe 2)
- shredded Parmesan cheese (maybe 1/2 cup)
- spices: basil, parsley, oregano
- bread crumbs (4-5 slices of bread, soaked in water, then squeezed and broken into little pieces)
Place all into a large bowl, and mix together - yes use your hands, much more effective! Roll into balls, however large you want. Preheat oven to 375. Place meatballs on cookie sheets, bake until fully cooked (20 to 30 minutes, depending on the size)

Sauce
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2-3 Tablespoons minced garlic
- spices: salt, ground pepper, parsley, oregano, basil (more than you think)
- canned tomato sauce, pureed tomatoes, whole tomatoes (cut by you)

Place a little oil in a large saucepan and heat. Add onion and garlic. Saute until soft but NOT browned. Add in all tomato sauces, spices, and a little water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for at least 4 hours. Periodically stir to prevent burning. The longer it cooks, the more flavorful the sauce becomes. Add in the cooked meatballs at any point in time.

Serve over cooked spaghetti, with Parmesan cheese grated on top. Wonderfulness all on a plate.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Shell Scarf Pattern - Crochet

Years ago, Grandma made me a crocheted blanket, using a shell pattern. I've always loved using it, and especially loved the pattern. So I decided to convert the pattern to fit a scarf. I guess I could have looked up a pattern on the internet, but instead I looked at the blanket and tried to copy it. It took me trial-and-error, and lots of stitch ripping, before coming up with a good approximation. So.... here is my first pattern! :)

- this is not detailed in terms of which type of yarn to use, or size of the crochet hook. Use what you like, and the larger the hook, the easier and faster you will go.


Shell Scarf - crochet

1st row: chain 35 stiches, turn

2nd row: slip stitch 1, single crochet in each stitch (you should have 35 total), turn

3rd row: slip stitch 1, double crochet in each of next 4 stitches (stitches 1-4)
             - slip stitch 3 (not hooking into anything) (5-7)
             - count three stitches on your 2nd row, and in the 4th stitch, double crochet 1 (8)
             - slip stitch 3 (not hooking into anything) (9-11)
             - double crochet in each of next 3 stitches (12-14)
             - slip stitch 3 (not hooking into anything) (15-17)
             - count three stitches on your 2nd row, and in the 4th stitch, double crochet 1 (18)
             - slip stitch 3 (not hooking into anything) (19-21)
             - double crochet in each of next 3 stitches (22-24)
             - slip stitch 3 (not hooking into anything) (25-27)
             - count three stitches on your 2nd row, and in the 4th stitch, double crochet 1 (28)
             - slip stitch 3 (not hooking into anything) (29-31)
             - double crochet in each of next 4 stitches (32-35)

4th row: slip stitch 1, double crochet in each of next 4 stitches (stitches 1-4)
             - skip next three stitches (5-7), and in stitch 8, double crochet 6 stitches
                (you will see a fan shape forming)
             - skip next thee stitches (9-11), double crochet 1 in each of next 3 stitches (stitches 12-14)
             - skip next three stitches (15-17), and in stitch 18, double crochet 6 stitches
             - skip next thee stitches (19-21), double crochet 1 in each of next 3 stitches (22-24)
             - skip next thee stitches (25-27), and in stitch 28, double crochet 6 stitches
             - skip next thee stitches (29-31) 
             - double crochet in each of next 4 stitches (stitches 32-35)

5th row: slip stitch 1, double crochet in each of next 4 stitches
             - slip stitch 3 (not hooking into anything)
             - count three stitches on your previous row (this is part of the fan, therefore fan stitch 1-3),
                     BETWEEN fan stitch 3 and 4, single crochet 1
             - slip stitch 3 (not hooking into anything)
             - double crochet 1 in each of next 3 stitches
             - slip stitch 3 (not hooking into anything)
             - count three stitches in the fan, BETWEEN fan stitch 3 and 4, single crochet 1
             - slip stitch 3 (not hooking into anything)
             - double crochet 1 in each of next 3 stitches
             - slip stitch 3 (not hooking into anything)
             - count three stitches in the fan, BETWEEN fan stitch 3 and 4, single crochet 1
             - slip stitch 3 (not hooking into anything)
             - double crochet 1 in each of next 4 stitches
             - (you should have 35 stitches on this row)

row 6: repeat row 4

row 7: repeat row 5

keep repeating rows 4 and 5 until the scarf is as long as you want it to be. To finish, end of a "row 5", then turn and single crochet across. You are now finished, tassels are desired!!!!! exciting!!!!

In this picture, this pattern is in the middle scarf and the scarf on the right. Can you see the shell/fan pattern?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

A little of this, a little of that

I have been hearing about a popular website for awhile now. It's called Pinterest, where one can post and save different ideas about anything. Now, I haven't joined because I have lots of fun ideas already, and do not need more. But by using links from facebook, I have found a couple new websites for recipes. But then poking around, I found the follwing idea and wanted to try it. Grandma is always needing more magnets to keep all her pictures on the fridge. I liked this idea as I could customize each one. Here is what I have come up with. What do you think? The first set are snowflakes, and the second bunch are fall leaves.


I have found a few blogs which describe home life raising large families. And by large, I mean 10 kids, some biological and some adopted. It is neat reading their struggles and joys, and how they rely on God. Not that I want that many kids, but I feel as though God is leading me to help kids even more in-depth than I am through work. Time will tell as to Gods plans, Kelby's ideas, and where life leads us.

I had to say goodbye to a family whom I had worked with for awhile. This boy captured my heart, and I will always think about him. I'm not sure why I become closer to some kids over others. I wonder if at some point I will feel less, but then my heart continues to open and love. I always try to enjoy my visits and have fun; because if I am not having fun, than neither is the child and they are less motivated to learn. J, you have a piece of my heart. Now, my heart is growing to love new kids.

Here is Sophie tired after lots of playtime. Kelby thought she looked cute panting. I'm not sure about that deer skull in the background...

 Sophie and Skipper are fun to watch together. Sophie follows Skipper on walks, and where he smells, she smells. Sometimes she is in Skippers way, and he uses his body to push her over. Sophie watches Skipper as he chews on a bone, and the second he stops, she runs in to get the bone, and runs away carrying it. Skipper has learned that sometimes Sophie leaves food behind in her cage, and when she gets out, he goes in looking for food. Once in awhile, we let the puppies in bed to cuddle. Here I am going to sleep, and I called Kelby in to take a picture. They are both in their preferred positions, Skipper under the blanket next to me, and Sophie on top of the blanket but still getting body heat from my legs. hehe

Sophie loves to try and play with more than one toy at a time. Here she is, unable to decide if she wants to chew on the monkey, or the ring. 

And I couldn't end a post without a picture of Skipper. Typically, he has a scared expression on his face when he hears the shutter on the camera, but not this day!

Monday, March 5, 2012

A Park with the puppies

One advantage to my job is that I have some flexibiliy in my schedule. I try on friday afternoons to use my flex time in order to leave early. I had driven by this park for my job, and I knew I wanted the puppies to go with me. It was a beautiful day, with lot of space for Skipper and Sophie to play.



I tried to get a few nice pictures, and it reminded me how hard it is to focus two dogs at the same time.




















I received my first fixed lens from Mom and Dad for Christmas, and was able to try it out. I wanted a picture of a butterfly, and wow I had to work to get it. I have a stronger appreciation for all animal and nature pictures after this. It took me around 45 minutes to get a remotely ok picture. Every time I moved closer to the butterfly, thet flew away. Can you believe that! I next tried sitting next to a flower, but now I was at the total mercy of the butterfly. And then one time, instead of a butterfly, I captured a fly. Cool!
  

On our way home, I took a detour to see if I could find a house that I had driven by years ago. I found it, and I love this house. I love older homes, especially in this style. Sorry for the crooked picture, I was driving and didn't want to stop and become that creepy person. But I would love to live in a house like this one day... hopefully sooner rather than later.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Random thoughts

I was at walmart the other night to buy a few groceries. As I was checking out, an elderly gentleman started talking to me. After a couple of pleasantries, he asked it I was a movie star. Now to put this question into perspective - I was wearing workout pants and a baggy sweatshirt. I smiled back at him and said no, I'm not. Hehe

Sophie loves to eat Skipper's food. Typically, she will stand next to him and watch. If he leaves a piece behind, she is quick to eat it. If she finds his food bowl on the floor before I pick it up, she will grab a few pieces. When I notice this happening, I tell her "no. Drop it"  and take the food out of her mouh. Since this has happened numerous times, now I primarily just have to look at her and she will drop the food and run off. She knows, but I guess the food tastes too good.

I leave my dog-walking sneakers outside our front door. I only use this pair when walking on the grass with the puppies, as there are lots of owners who don't pick up after their dog. So when these sneakers get dirty or muddy, I dont become (too) frustrated. But this weeken, I opened the door, and my sneakers were not there. Some of Kelby's shoes were, but not my sneakers. Someone took them! I'm not sure who would want dirty sneakers, but someone did. Oh so frustrating and annoying.


I've had an image in my mind of what I was hoping this blog would turn into. Over this past year, the image has shifted and changed. I have read one blog where a couple both quit their jobs to run the blog full-time, and make enough money to support their family. They also have a book on the way! You can find them HERE. That is such a neat concept, to write in this manner, get paid, and reach millions of people. I am NOT saying I want this blog to go that far, but as someone who never liked to write, and never thought I was good at writing, it is neat to have this possibility. 


Writing without pressure, to pass information or thoughts on to others is encouraging. As I write, something an english teacher once said comes to mind. He said that every phrase we write should not be a cliche or popular saying. I think about this, but then still write how I want to. I wonder what teachers or professors think about this style of writing. And not just the common sayings/slang, but the conversational aspect. But on the other hand, it does not matter. What does matter is God's approval.  :)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Southern Food

These past years living in Texas, have expanded my taste buds far beyond what I ate back up North. Especially since Kelby has grown up in the South, and being a Southern guy, I have broadened eating options. Close friends from Louisiana cook Red Beans and Rice, so when my parents came to visit, it was time to try my hand at cooking this recipe.

Again, lots of internet research, and reading TONS of comments. I found a recipe, and made a few alternations (yes, I am that kind of cook - read a recipe and make my own changes the first time cooking it).

Red Beans and Rice - Louisiana style

1.25 pounds dried red beans(kidney beans)
10 cups water
1 pound Andouille sausage
1 large onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 tablespoons diced garlic (8 cloves)
1 tsp ground black pepper
4 tbps tony chachere's Cajun spice (creole seasonings) (also to taste)
2 tsp dried basil (or 6 fresh basil leaves/2 dried leaves)
1 bone-in center slice of ham, or ham hock

Cooked rice

1. The night before, place beans into the 10 cups of water, and soak overnight
2. The next day, brown sausage in a pan, and cut into rounds
3. Into the pot with the beans and water, add sausage, onion, pepper, celery, garlic, ground pepper, basil, Cajun spices, ham.
4. Cook on low 6- 8 hours. While cooking, mash some of the beans in order to thicken the sauce
5. Serve over cooked rice. Deliciousness!!!

Can be cooked in a crock pot. If too soupy at the end, cook on stove without a lid to thicken.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

6 months of Marriage

Wow.... we have been married for 6 months! When I reflect back on these months, in some ways time has flown by, and other ways time has seemed slow. (that sounds clique, but it's true.) I now can't imagine being in my apartment without Kelby. We have figured out how to share a bed... haha. Kelby now rarely kicks me while sleeping. Yay, I'm thankful for the small changes! We found places for all our things. And the storage unit has been such a blessing.

It sounds funny now... but we figured out how to manage laundry. And we are able to fold each others laundry, and even put it all away!

We have the living room set up so there is a lot of room for the dogs to run and play. This is the third arrangement of the furniture, and by far the best one :-) 

We are still working on the balance of our marriage, work, school, homework, puppies, friends, family, and church (not in any particular order).

To my husband, may we have years and years left to grow closer, reach our dreams, and share life together.

I Love You, and Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Sophie


I watched Sophie play last night. She was interested in a towel on the floor that we use to wipe dirty and muddy paws. Sophie grabbed the towel in her mouth and pulled it across the floor. The towel is larger than herself and almost as heavy. It was fun watching her, but it also brought to mind an activity I use at work with kids who have sensory issues and need more input into their bodies. Sometimes we recommend the child do "heavy work" activities which involves pulling/moving/carrying heavy objects. This gives the child an appropriate release for their energy. It also gives the child information as to where their body is in space. Sophie needed to release energy, which she did!

And on another note, I finally gave Sophie a much needed haircut. After talking with others who have Schnausers, we did not Sophie to be shaved, as it makes their hair stiffer and not as soft. Also, as you can guess, I didn't want to pay for a true grooming session. So one night this past week, I took my embroidery scissors (they are the sharpest ones I own) and we sat on the floor and I cut and cut and cut. And when I thought I was done, I cut and cut and cut some more. Over an hour later, Sophie no longer looked straggled and disorganized, and I had a huge pile of hair on the floor. I decided to keep her beard long under her chin, and primarily gave her a puppy cut everywhere else. Now she is even cuter... if that is possible.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Goals

I have never liked the term "New Year Resolutions" as they seem too formal, and when they are not followed through, it is a yucky feeling.

So instead, this year I have some "Goals" for 2012. They are pretty basic, but important nonetheless.

1. Read the bible this year. My church is doing a plan this year, to read the entire bible. Their plan has us reading the Old Testament, New Testament, a Psalm, and Proverb each day. When I have tried this in the past, it confused me and I didn't get a good sense of flow between the books. This year, I am going to read the bible chronologically, and I picked an easier translation to read: New Living Translation (NLT). This bible has each day planned out in the order of history, and I am looking forward to learning more about the Bible.

2. Post on my blog more frequently.

3. Go walking with the dogs more frequently.

4. Exercise on a consistent basis. And no, that doesn't mean once a month! Ha

5. Continue learning new crafts.

6. Learn and make new recipes.

7. Pray more often.

8. Stick to a chore schedule, and follow through.


This sounds like a great year!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Picture time

A Picture post for you. I've already discussed these activities, so there will be fewer words than sometimes. Picture quality isn't the greatest, as I focused more on capturing events than making great pictures. 

Craft time:
Here I am frantically working on another scarf, with both
dogs. Notice Sophie's collar, it was a happy day when she
no longer had to wear it!

For the DIY Christmas, here are 4 of the scarves
I made. From left to right, Me, Mom, Grandma,
Aunt Ann. I used two different patterns, a
Basket Weave for mine and Ann's, and a
revised Shell Stitch for mom and Grandma!


 Buying our Christmas tree:


Christmas Lights:
Our outside Christmas display, thanks to Kelby.

 Christmas Morning:
Christmas morning with TWO puppies.
They loved their new toys and treats.




Here is Sophie with her head down her Christmas
stocking, looking for more yummy treats!











Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Smart Sophie

Last night I was home from Bible Study, and on the computer checking emails. Kelby was nearby reading. A little background: we had rearranged the living room to fit the Christmas tree. Once we removed the tree, we liked the arrangement as there was more floor space. This places the large couch along a half-wall. Back to present time: we, along with Skipper are in the second bedroom. Sophie was playing with toys in the living room. I heard her chewing food, and I thought it was just a few random pieces of food from the floor. A few minutes later, it registered that Sophie was still chewing food. There couldn’t have been that much food on the floor, so I got up and peeked around the corner. And I found Sophie on the back on the couch, eating Skipper’s food. We had placed the bowls of food on the half wall, thinking they were out of reach. Instead, Sophie figured out that she could climb on the back of the couch and then reach the food bowls from there! We laughed, but had to scold her anyways. And then we moved the food bowls. Now, no more smart Sophie sneaking food!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Wedding Pictures Part 2

I don't like pictures of myself kissing, so you get to see this one instead.

I enjoy how food smells, so I thought I should smell the most important food item of the day - my cake! And it smelled, and tasted delicious.

The "classic" cutting of the cake picture.


"My girls"

One of my favorite pictures of the day. I love you Kaylie!!!



Look at that dress!!!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Finally - Wedding Pictures (part 1)


Here are some of our wedding pictures. I cannot believe it was almost 5 months ago. Some of these are the "standard" pictures that you expect to see at a wedding, with the different family members.





Marriage ceremony, with Dwigh Nash, our pastor.



My parents added a son-in-law!



Kelby's dad, step-mom, and mom.

Us, with the sisters.

Us, with my Grandma, Gene, and Kelby's "Pawpaw" and "Mum"


My Grandma, nothing else needed.

Here is the classic picture, of Laura sitting on my lap.


Don't I look elegent in this picture? I think I do....