Psalm 27:4 "One thing have I desired; that will I seek after. That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life."

Though I do think my previous reflection is very worth pursuing, at this time, Hubby and I are content to just do some belt tightening.  Much, much easier now that we have over 500 lbs. of our own farm-raised beef in the freezer.

So, I’ve been back in the craft room and being my creative and goofy self. It’s been so fun to do little things again.  I’m knitting up a flurry, but those are all Christmas gifts; so, no sharing just now.

I’m sure that many other people have those little, plastic, 3-drawer, rolling bins floating around their house. I had one that was re-purposed from Kristen’s room to the sewing room. Unfortunately, it came from her former purple life. What’s a Mom to do when the purple box just doesn’t go? Spray paint!! I still had the LEGO color paint that we are no longer using in Kurt’s bedroom redo, so I shot that purple puppy a nice happy, shiny, GREEN!  I transferred my patterns into the drawers (freeing up old pattern boxes for another makeover) and slapped on some chalkboard stickers for labeling. Voila!

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It turned out much better than I was expecting it would.  The white one beside it is holding lots of different glues and miscellaneous craft supplies. I haven’t decided if I’ll paint it or not. My other spray paint options right now are yellow and blue.  Maybe I’ll chalk paint it. Hmmm?

On to those empty pattern boxes. I had 6 all together and Kristen swiped 3 of them for putting her kitchen supplies in – stored in the schoolroom of course because it’s closer to the kitchen. At least her things are out of my hutch.  That left me with 3 boxes, one ugly, really old, blue one, and two, newer, black and white boxes.

I started by gluing the box sides together.

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I totally messed up on the lids, and they were too wide, so I had to break it apart and try again. The seam was really, REALLY well done the first time. The second time not so good, so I covered it with a couple layers of washi tape.  I had a coloring page from a box of Krispy Kreme donuts that I had kept because it had one little bee on it. I thought it would make a really nice front for the new box.

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I had way more fun than expected coloring that thing. I had to trim the border and then re-apply it to make it fit the box, but I think it turned out really well. It now houses all of my soap making supplies in two convenient spaces! (Sorry, I didn’t take an inside picture – I’m bad).

That last box needed a big makeover. It was faded and sad. So, I painted it a nice, bright, happy, yellow.

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The bottom still needs its makeover, but it is, after all, the bottom of the box.

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You can see around the edges of the box and inside the lid, what the old blue color looked like.  I had a sudden burst of inspiration for this little box and gathered some supplies together.

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Aren’t those papers pretty? They were in an old package of origami papers that Karra gave me when she cleaned out all of her craft things to move on with her adult life. The papers are in three different colors and I can’t wait for inspiration to hit with the green ones!.

This project is still in progress, so you’ll have to wait for the finish.

I also have one more crafty thing going on.

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I found this cute idea on pinterest. It’s a ring of canning jar rings. Instead of spray painting, I found a bottle of acrylic paint in a pretty orange and I’m painting it on in thin coats. When I have it just right, I’ll lightly spray the pumpkin with gold spray paint. I haven’t quite decided how to finish it off, stem and leaf wise.  I did glue the rings in place so that they don’t slide all over every time I pick it up. I started with hot glue, but have ended up finishing with tacky glue. It’s turning out really cute.

In other news, we found happy homes for all of the terror kittens in my basement. Mozart, of course, moved upstairs and has taught Catnip that having a buddy isn’t such a bad thing.

Boston, Pepper and Zoe Grace are all out in our barn. The boys are getting their thick, fluffy hair quite dusty. All three are as lovable as ever and Uncle Sage is so chill with them. Old Man Johnny doesn’t like Sage, but he seems fine with the kittens.

Timmy and Tommy went to the horse barn last Monday. By Friday they had been re-named Wrangler and Cinch. I guess I’ll adjust. Wrangler Tommy is everyone’s favorite little love bug. Timmy Cinch is much shyer. He does NOT like it when the horses whinny!

And That’s What I Did by Myself Successfully!

 

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Reflecting

I have actually been waxing reflective lately. I’ve also been waxing nostalgic for the days of leisure in which to reflect and to write.  I think of dear Caitlin over at the Coffee Comrade and remember fondly those days of having one little one to tend to. All of the quiet time during naps and early bed times. Ah.

Not that those memories have anything to do with what I’ve been reflecting about – just to have time.

I was hurrying out of Meijer on Monday feeling kind off out-of-body for some reason I haven’t been able to identify. Anyway, I was passing those full shelves and displays of fruit and vegetables and thought, “oh my gosh. I refuse to ever FEEL poor again.”  Maybe it was the scrounging together $5 to buy milk and bananas on a short week, but I was feeling a little empty-pocketed. Just looking at all of those delicious foods made me feel so rich. So blessed.

I was trucking along on my walk this morning still thinking about the full groceries. I started to wonder if I could get my family to go for a “Third World Hunger Challenge”, eating only what’s in the house and not going to the store when we ran out of something.  The first things to run out would be the milk and the bananas, followed by the bottled water (that one would hurt ME the most).  What do you do in a third world country – or a refugee camp – when the milk and the water and the fruit run out? There’s no market. There’s no money.

I think the saddest thing I thought of today is that I probably can’t get my family to go along for just two weeks.  How would we live when the Pepsi and chicken nuggets ran out? What could I feed Kurt when the milk and cheese were gone? How could I survive drinking tap water and putting powdered milk in my coffee? How sadly spoiled we Americans are.

Today was it. The first day of the 12th year of homeschool. Where in tarnation did all of the years GO???

But before school, there was the end of summer vacation – and canning.

We had a wonderful time in Michigan: no salt, no sharks, no problems. Sigh.  Before we left Kristen & Kurt cleaned my van. The interior looked just as bad as the exterior (translate: I forgot to take before pictures)

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When I went to the car wash, the water jets pushed my new driver magnet right off the van. I walked behind the van at the cheese store and about freaked out. Kristen was planning to drive to Michigan and we needed the magnet. I went back to the car wash and looked everywhere – of course there was a car in the bay that I had used so I’m standing on my head trying to see in while they got their car washed. I can only imagine what they were thinking! I couldn’t see it anywhere, so I called the phone number and a really nice man told me to wait until the other car left and I would find it on the floor – and sure enough there it was, getting the magnet side washed, too. Huge sigh of relief.

When the kids were finished, the interior looked amazing!

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They pulled it into the garage where I couldn’t get really good pictures, but I assure you, my van was a night and day transformation!

While we were chilling at Grandma and Grandpa’s the kids did a lot of reading of “Calvin and Hobbes” books. It keeps them occupied and they have a great time laughing at our family favorite comic strip. Even Present got in on the fun.
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Of course, Present also got her nose into Kristen’s cereal bowl and fresh blueberries – I’m not sure where the picture is. We both got yelled at for that one 😀

Once we were back home, we had to deal with the garden. There are no pictures of the bounty because the task before us was extremely daunting. 88 tomatoes on the first picking. For 3 days straight (Thursday, Friday and Saturday) Kristen and I chopped, diced, peeled, sliced, stirred and canned. She brought up all of the frozen broth from the freezers so that we could pressure can that and get it out of the freezer to make room for the beef next month. We put up tomato paste, sauce, and diced tomatoes; more pickle relish, peaches and peach jam. Plus lamb and chicken broth. AND Kristen thawed and ground about 12 lbs. of lamb to make sausage. The corn we blanched and froze, but it was past its prime and will probably end up in chicken feed over the winter. I came home to 5 club sized zucchini in the garden and promptly pulled the plants. I also pulled the cucumbers because we have 6 on the counter from before vacation and an overflowing 1/2 bushel since we came home. NO ONE wants that much pickle relish for Christmas!  We still have salsa on the list and that will use some cukes as well.

By the end of the canning session it was obvious that our leaking kitchen faucet had to go; okay, it was obvious before we left on vacation, but Hubby got a real dose of it while we were gone and that was enough! So,late on Saturday, Kristen and I decided the time had come and we would go get the new faucet. Before that could happen, while she was trying to heat water to put in the diced tomatoes – the microwave died! 5 minutes on high, for tap water temperature. Not good. So, we were looking for a microwave as well. I found one I liked at Home Depot.

Off to the store, to find out that they don’t stock their microwaves at Home Depot. They didn’t have the one I found on line, but Kristen found one she liked better. We went to order that. Guess what, that will be $15 to remove the old one and $60 to have the new one delivered-to the store! Are you kidding me? Sorry, fella, that’s too much added on to the price. Lowe’s had absolutely nothing, so I checked Menard’s on my handy dandy smart phone. Well, soil my britches and call me a Gronkel’s auntie, there was my Maytag microwave in stock! Oh, wait, in stock with a stainless steel handle. I just bought a bronze finish faucet for the kitchen, don’t really want stainless steel right there. Ah, here’s the all black option – two weeks to get it in. But, hold the presses! -ships to store for FREE!!! Oh, how I love that word!!  FREE  FREE FREE!!  Order that puppy up and we’ll live with out a microwave for 2 weeks. It will.not.kill.us.

Sunday rolls around and we’re at Menard’s to get a piece of steel that Joel needs for the trailer. I showed him the new microwave with the nice metal handle – no plastic! – he was impressed.  Back home we came to nap and relax and then Kristen decided that she could install that faucet by herself. You Go Girl!!

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Daddy was blown away when he got up from his nap. And you know what the hardest part of the whole process was? Figuring out how to turn the dump thing on!!! We rolled the lever back and forth and back and forth and checked all of the connections twice. No water. Kristen had pulled the hose out and was looking into it when she bumped the handle away from the faucet and got sprayed in the face!! Apparently, it turns on by pushing the lever away from the faucet and then adjust for hot and cold by rolling front or back. I’m telling you, folks, I’m not going gray, I’m going blonde!

Which brings us to today. The first day of school.

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I can’t tell you how precious these pictures are and how much my kids have grown up every year. To see all of the pictures together on Karra’s board for graduation, was something else.

We had a couple of firsts on this first day of school – Kristen threw up, never had that happen before. I recommended that she NOT take her vitamins on an empty stomach in the future. We started at 8 (another first) and both kids were done at 12:00. ALL done, not just sort of done. And I sat in the school room and worked on stuff right along with them. Amazing.

One of the things we noticed with the leaky kitchen faucet and all of the canning was a funny smell in the laundry room and kitchen. We thought it was under the sink, or something from the canning. Turns out it’s the washing machine. THAT is all I need right now. But, Kristen and I did look at them at Home Depot and decided I’d like a stacking set, to maximize room in my laundry. That will be a post for another day and another time (I have a baby blanket to make today!)

And That’s What’s Happening on the Hobby Farm.

We are finally getting some much needed rain tonight. Things have been so very dry here. Despite the dryness, or maybe because of it, my jalapeno peppers have been quite prolific. We’ve been drying them in batches to reconstitute when the the tomatoes finally ripen and we can make salsa. My cucumbers are also ready way ahead of salsa making. We did do a couple of batches of zucchini relish and a batch of hamburger dills for Joel. I’m really pleased with how well the garden is doing. I need to pull the zucchini plants before they bless me with more bounty to go with the more bounty I already don’t know WHAT to do with! Need to plant peas and broccoli soon, too.

The little kittens have been growing and growing. The runt, Tommy, was the first to figure out how to get out of the table cage (3 tables on their sides against a basement wall). Once they all figured out how to get out, we moved one of the tables, but left the cage mostly intact (to keep Luke from eating their food every morning – the same Luke that got upstairs and opened the tub with Catnip’s special food and ate half the tub!!!!. That dog will eat ANYTHING.

Now I have 6 half-pint-sized fur bombs terrorizing my basement. Oy, vey, the mess they have made in my sewing room. Not to mention the attack of fleas that went from the basement to the upstairs and the dear, fat Catnip. Countless bottles of flea & tick spray and many, many kitten baths later, I do believe we have them under control. And every time the dogs scratch I tell them to “Stop it!! Scratching makes me nervous.”  After every bath the kittens go into the powder room to dry off and stay clean. Upon opening the door the other day we discovered that the kittens had trashed it like a little rock’n’roll band! They played in the dogs’ water dish, got into the trash and tossed toilet paper rolls everywhere – apparently those are some particularly joyful toys to play with. I could not believe the mess those clean little bodies had left on the floor.

We are still trying to find homes for 3 of them before they’ll have to go to a rescue. Tommy Trouble and his look-alike sister, Tonya, are going to the horse barn to charm people and chase little mouses. Mozart (formerly, Matt’s Cat) is going to stay right here with us (so much for NOT KEEPING ANY OF THEM!).  The kids have pooled their money and are going to pay to vet and feed him. Sweet, fluffy, little thing with a contagious face, is going to compete with Luke, Lexi and Catnip.

Joel and Kurt made it to Tennessee and back with our new tractor – and the manure pile is gone!! And Joel cleaned out the cow stalls, too. Last night he went and bought a trailer so that the tractor can go traveling to make hay! After we buy hay equipment, of course.

We are headed off to The Mitten soon for a long weekend and a family wedding. It will be nice to get away for a bit before school starts back up (on the 22nd!!!!!AAAAUUUUGGHGHGH). It’s supposed to rain the day we’re planning to go to St. Joe and shop and stare at the beach. Y’know how that really translates? IT’S GOING TO BE HOT AND MUGGIER THAN BLAZES, FLETCHER, SO DON’T EVEN BOTHER TO PUT ON MAKE-UP AND TRY TO LOOK NICE. YOU’RE GOING TO LOOK LIKE A SWEAT SOAKED FRUMP!! But I’m going anyway – it’s the rebel in me. And Grandma always buys Kilwin’s ice cream for us.

And That’s What’s Been Happening on the Hobby Farm!

Good Things

Life just keeps scurrying along. This past week Kurt had LEGO Robotics camp. He LOVED it. The kids spoke his language and they were all creative geniuses. Kurt got glowing reviews from his teachers and at the end of the week, he was 1st place champion is his age group!!!!

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Please pardon the goofy grin. He used to smile so well when he was a toddler. And he looks so cute with his braces too. At his elbow is the trophy he won and beside the trophy is their team robot. His team was 4th overall in the final robot challenge.

Also this past week, we finished the baby changing table!

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I took the close up of the fabric liner so no  one would think I put flowered fabric in a little boy’s dresser! The Mom and Dad are so happy with it. Unfortunately, it was too wide to go through the bedroom door!! We never thought to ask about that before she made it. So, the chest and one of the drawers came back home for a shrinking event.  I got to hold their sweet new baby. He slept the whole time that Kristen and I passed him back and forth.

On Friday night Kristen treated us to a delicious dessert.

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I had found a homemade chocolate syrup recipe and she wanted to try it. What better way to try chocolate syrup than with strawberries and ice cream? Oh, it was so good!

Kristen tried to sneak off to church this morning like this:

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This was supposed to be her friend, Matt’s, cat. Matt’s Mom decided that this is not the right time to welcome a new cat into their family. Even though the little guy is litter trained, she stayed firm. So, we rechristened the kitten from Matt’s Cat to Mozart. Matt is a musician and Kristen was so excited for the little guy to be a musician’s cat – she even played music for him – aw.  This guy’s little face is contagious.

And That’s What’s Been Happening on the Hobby Farm.

Who was the little guy on “Fantasy Island” that always said “The Plane! The Plane!”? That’s what I keep hearing in my head – The Island! The Island! It is finished!!!!  Yeah; Happy Dance!

Once Kristen started pushing me (and her friend, A, did most of the sanding), well, I had no excuse not to get painting. After a 3 hour session standing on my head to paint the inside, I wasn’t terribly eager to get back to it, but I persevered. One coat of paint on the inside, 2 coats on the outside and on the top and shelves and one coat of 3x Polyurethane later, it is finished. Bumble bees, spice racks and all!

Here’s where I started:

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It’s lying on it’s back because reaching in was the best way to paint the very back slats. If I had a paint sprayer this would have been a MUCH easier and faster job. But I don’t. So it wasn’t. I came away with very few painted gray hairs, so I’m happy.

Here she is right side up with one coat of paint:

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Two coats of paint and the bumble bees soaring away:

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The poly is supposed to cure for 24 hours and thoroughly  harden in 7 days. Kristen is very impatient and I let her talk me into moving the island upstairs while Dad and Kurt are gone fetching the tractor (more posts this weekend!!!). So, we brought it upstairs and the admonition that we wait a few days before we pile everything on it lasted for about 2 minutes!

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Finally, a place to store my wheat bucket where it is out of the way but accessible! Apples, potatoes, coconut oil tub and the box with the meat grinder – all on one shelf! Upper shelf has a cool metal tray that I found on clearance at Meijer to hold all of the “extra” knives that don’t go in the knife block, onion basket, and the acrylic and plastic cutting boards (that I dearly want to leave my kitchen forever). And the freshly oiled wooden cutting boards on the top. But it gets better

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When we went to IKEA, I bought spice racks (the $3.99 one), but I bought NINE! Well, I have a LOT of spices and seasonings, what can I say? We decided that two of them on the back of the island top would be a great place to put our most frequently used spices. There was even room between them for the olive oil bottles and Kristen’s jar of kosher salt.

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There is still an amazing amount of workspace on this island. And what became of the other 7 IKEA spice racks? After some hissy fits because one of the boards on the back of the island would not accept nails or screws, and even ATE a drill bit in the process, we got those racks mounted to the back of the island just as planned. Of course, everyone that I did needed most of the screws moved over 1/4″ or less because I’m not the DIY Queen, but she was having the hissy fits and someone had to do the job.

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I told you I have a lot of spices. What’s really funny is that I still have more in the cupboard – all things that we actually use! I ran out of jelly jars and the fancy spice lids, so somethings are still in whatever they were in before. I have room for one more jar on the bottom rack on the right – I just need a jar. All of that after I told my Mom that I have plenty of jelly jars and that I would bring her some. Well, I have plenty of 4 oz. jelly jars! I’ll be making a lot of tomato paste, applesauce, and canned chilies this year.

I made my lunch salad on the island and Kristen mixed up pancakes (yeah, for lunch. She’s a teenager) and the island has been christened. We are so excited. I’m especially excited to see my future cabinet color in the kitchen everyday. I’m hoping it will motivate me to get painting on those cupboards!

And That’s What’s Happening on the Hobby Farm!

 

After a brief scare in which Joel thought the cordless drill was DEAD, he decided to buy another one and let Kristen have the old one. The old drill has built the barn, drywalled the workshop, fixed up the business venture, worked on the bonus room, and done all of Kristen’s recent pallet projects.

Joel mentioned that the drills needed to be marked so that they weren’t confused. Each drill has two batteries and it’s own charging station. I don’t think there will be any confusion between Dad’s drill and Daughter’s drill

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What do you think?

That’s What’s Happening on the Hobby Farm.

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