Monday, November 25, 2013

The Lazy Days of Winter ~

First of all, I know it's not officially winter yet, but there are a few kids, two dogs and 14 pigs around here that would argue with you. We've spent the past two days in the coziness of our home with a fire crackling in the wood burning stove and it's been wonderful. I was thinking about how nice it's been and how lazy we've been and started to wonder where the saying "lazy days of summer" came from. I don't know about you but our summers are packed with fun and very rarely do we sit around being "lazy" but give us a few days of snow on the ground and ice on the roads and we do lazy really well.

This was Jack's first snow and from what I could tell, he loved it. Don't let the sad puppy dog eyes fool you, he looks like this all the time. :)

I'm pretty sure if they could talk they would be complaining about the cold. The one on the right is named Thor (we also have a Hulk and an Ironman.) I found Thor in his pin buried under hay; all you could see was a little of his pig. I woke him up, that 's when he went to discuss the frigid temps with his neighbor, Chester. 

The rest of the day included a snowball fight, being pulled behind the four-wheeler on a disk, frozen fingers, hot chocolate and roasted marshmallows. Here's a little secret...I can't resist a roasted marshmallow and for the next week I'll be detoxing from all the sugar. 

After supper we played several hands of spoons (the Farmer won them all) and a mean game of Farmopoly. K won  and ended the game with over $3000!

Friday, November 22, 2013

New Friends and Tailless Pigs ~

Holy mother of icicles it's cold outside. I knew it was going to be cold today but are you ever really ready for that wind chill factor to slap you in the face? I'm not! We left about five minutes early this morning just in case the roads were bad, they weren't but it was still nice getting to school and knowing my kids wouldn't be racing to beat the tardy bell.  

This morning it was my job to feed our show pigs...14 pigs to be exact. Why was it my job you ask? Because my farmer is on a "pig trip." I was very quick to remind him before he left that our pig hotel is full. Our pig quota has been met. We need zero more pigs. Did I mention it's sub-zero outside. Oh I did? Ok. So I pull up to the pig barn and sit in my car for a few minutes wondering if I was going to survive. I took a deep breath and went for it. I honestly think if it weren't for the gloves my fingers would have fallen off. 

Speaking of "falling off," the nice man who carried my groceries out this morning asked me how my morning was going and after I apologized for buying groceries today in turn creating a reason for him to have to be in this frigid weather, I told him my sob story of having to feed 14 pigs. He asked me if I put Vaseline on their tails. Excuse me what? Yes, he says, if a pigs tail gets too cold it will fall off. I'm sorry, but this is where I draw the line. If my kids enter the show ring with tailless pigs, you will know why. :)

I have to share a picture that as of yesterday is one of my favorites...

I was standing at the kitchen sink watching K and our new friend M jumping on the trampoline and had a strong urge to grab my camera, not my iPhone camera but the big one that rarely, if ever, gets used anymore. I knew I had to capture this moment. I've been trying to put my finger on why I thought this moment was so important and as of right now I still can't explain it in words that can make you understand why at this very moment my heart was so happy.   

M is new at our school. She's in R's class. I love it when we get new kids at school. I try to force myself out of my shell, meet the new people and make them feel welcome; so when I saw M and her family the night of "Meet the Teacher" I just walked right up and introduced myself. Of course K was right there announcing to the world that it looks like her brother might have a new girlfriend. Yes, embarrassing, but what are little sisters for right? Fast forward a couple of months and I would adopt this girl if I could. She's super sweet to K which goes a long way in my book. She's helped feed and walk our pigs the last two days and helped me make gluten free cornbread...then, get this, she said it was good! I told her mom she is welcome at our house anytime! As far as the whole R has a new girlfriend thing goes...they act more like brother and sister which is just fine. :)  

Back to this picture and that moment...I think it's the smiles. :)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Wellness Wednesday ~ Chia Seed Pudding

I want to share a super easy, extra yummy treat with you today that just happens to also be good for you. Chia Seed Pudding is one of those things that when I made it, I honestly wondered why I had lived all these years on this earth and never had it before. :) From as far back as I can remember one of the simple pleasures in my life has been tapioca pudding. Funny thing is the only time I would eat it was when we went to eat at Furr's Cafeteria. I'm pretty positive I've never made tapioca pudding at home. So when I heard you could make a tapioca-like pudding out of chia seeds and a few more simple ingredients, I though, "Why not."

All you need to create this bowl of yumminess is 4 ingredients:

1 1/2 cup Milk (I use raw milk my sister gets for me from a dairy in Dublin, Tx. This milk is heaven in a glass, but that's another post.)
4 Tbsp Chia Seeds
2 Tbsp Xylitol
1 Tbsp Vanilla

I reuse a 14 fl oz coconut oil jar every time I make this pudding. It's the perfect size for this amount. Once you have all your ingredients in your container give it a good stir and stick it in the fridge; an hour or two later stir it again. The chia seeds will clump together, so the more you stir, the better. 

That's it. After the pudding sits for several hours and the seeds have had a chance to soak up the milk, you'll have a snack or dessert or breakfast you can feel good about feeding your family. 

K loves this pudding. The last batch I made she said, "This is the best chia seed pudding ever!" as if we've been eating it forever when in reality we've only been eating it for about a month. I also have to say I did not create this recipe. I saw it for the first time either on Pinterest or heard about it on a podcast, and have since lost where I found it. I also should tell you the first few times I made this I used chocolate almond milk and made a chocolate pudding. It was good, but the almond milk was burning my stomach so I quit making the pudding until I got my hands on raw dairy and now we're back in the pudding business. :)

I feel good about K eating this, even for breakfast! It's full of good healthy fats, vitamins and fiber. I sent her a cup of this in her lunch the other day with a slight worry that some of the kids in her class would see it and say know like "that looks gross." Once again I worried for nothing because her pudding totally flew under the radar. :) 

Speaking of kids at school...apparently there's a nasty stomach bug going around and I am in constant prayer mode that my kids don't get it. Here's the prayer I've been repeating in my head for the last 24 hours...Dear Lord, please be with my children and protect them from this nasty stomach bug and forgive me for being selfish and wanting to spend a day with my friends shopping at Holiday Happening. In Jesus' name, Amen. Seriously, Holiday Happening has become a tradition and I will throw the biggest pity party if I don't get to go. Ok, enough of that.

If you decide to try this recipe, I would love to hear what you think. Also if you have any questions, don't hesitate to leave a comment below. If you know someone who might like this recipe you are welcome to  share on Facebook. :) 

Monday, November 18, 2013

A Tail of Two Kitties ~

If you've been reading my blog for long, you know all about Socks. I've shared some pretty funny stories about this cat. You can read those stories here and here. This past Spring Break, after spending the week away, we came home to find him missing. For several days we called his name and hoped and prayed he would turn up but he never did. It's been hard to wonder what happened and to not be able to put closure on our feelings. I miss that cat.

He was a sweet kitten. We got him when the kids were just 2 and 5. It must have been hard on him being so little with a couple of "lovable" children to play with, but he stuck with us.

Look at that sweet little face would ya! She has so much love for her animals and Socks was so patient with her.

This was the last picture I took of Socks. It was taken right before Spring Break on a beautiful winter day. We sat outside under the tree and read books. I got up to go inside for a minute and when I came back Socks had taken my seat. 

Socks was a part of our family for 6 years. He loved us and we loved him. We will always remember our sweet Socks. 

We waited 3 months to get another kitten. Three months doesn't seem like very long when you think about it, but when you live in the country and start seeing mice in your garage you start thinking about getting another cat. A friend of mine who is a physical therapist had a patient with a litter of pretty little calico kittens. I've always wanted a calico. I think they're so pretty. So the same day I saw the mouse, we got a kitten. We named her Patches.

She was the sweetest little thing and so very pretty. 

She was absolutely NOT going to be a house cat...yeah, ok. Here she is reading a bedtime story. That night we were convinced she was reading along. Every time K would turn the page, Patches would look at the pictures and them rest her eyes on the words. 

When she was about 6 months old I started worrying she might be going to have kittens. She would stay outside during the day and come in at night, so there was that possibility. I started really worrying when I learned young cats sometimes do not make good mothers. The thought of having to get up every two hours to bottle feed kittens did not sound fun nor would it fit into my schedule. So the days went by and Patches kept getting bigger. Finally I decided it was time to announce the wonderful news to the kids, especially K since her dream in life has been to have a cat that has kittens. She was ecstatic to say the least and immediately started playing mother hen to Patches. K didn't want to go to school the next day because she was afraid she would miss the kittens being born. We compromised and I promised her we would take Patches to the vet and have her checked the next day to see if the doc could tell us when the babies would be here. Another reason I wanted to take her to the vet was because she had stopped eating. Her food bowl had not been touched in about 4 days. I was getting worried.

After school we took Patches to be checked out. The vet took one look at her and told us she was very sick. After taking an x-ray to see if she was going to have kittens we were told the very bad news; there were no kittens just a lot of fluid in her abdomen. He told us more than likely, from all the signs, she had FIP (Feline Infectious Peritonitis) an incurable and fatal disease that affects approximately 1 in 5000 cats. At this time, there is no vaccine or cure for this disease. If you're interested, you can read more about this disease here. 

Our vet told us our only option was to put her down. Ok, so here I was in the vet's office with my 8 year old daughter who thought her cat was going to have kittens only to find her cat was going to die. This was not a pretty picture. I called Big R to tell him the bad news and through the tears decided we would take her home and love on her for just a little bit longer. 

K was very sad, we all were. We shed more tears over this kitten we only had for 4 months than any of the pets we have lost in the past. Somewhere between the expectation of new life and the fact this kitten was only 7 months old lies the unfairness of it all. I wish you could have witnessed the love and care my daughter gave this cat in her last days with us. And when K questioned what was happening and why, I explained to her (and I truly believe this) that God placed Patches in our family because He knew she would need a little girl to take care of her because He knew Patches was very sick. 

Two days later we knew it was time. I couldn't stand to see her suffer any more. K chose to spend the night with her grandparents. She is a strong little girl, but couldn't bear the thought of putting her precious kitten down. The next day she asked quickly and matter-of-factly about Patches. I told her and that was that. A few weeks later we got the sweetest condolence letter from our vet's office. I read it to Kinley and we both cried again. 

We love our animals and miss them when they are gone. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

A Crazy Busy Week and a Cute Little Ornament ~

For the past several weeks the kids have been working super hard getting ready for UIL contest. This whole UIL thing was new to me when 6 years ago R tried out and made the Story Telling Team. In 3rd grade he made the Music Memory team. This was our first experience with Music Memory and definitely his first time listening to and having to memorize classical pieces; all this at the ripe old age of 8. Pretty awesome. What is even more awesome is that he won that event two years in a row. This year he competed in Music Memory and Listening Skills. He didn't place in Music Memory, but I told him someday he's going to be able to impress a girl with his knowledge of classical music. This is where I got the eye roll and the "Whatever Mom,"  :) He placed 3rd in listening skills which makes me very happy to know he CAN hear.

K placed 6th in Music Memory and competed in Oral Reading for the third time in four years. She won her kinder year with "Our Mother's At A Meeting," a wonderful poem by Kenn Nesbitt. It was a really long poem for a 5 year old and she did a great job with it. Last year she got 2nd place with "Lemonade Stand" by Dave Crawley and on Thursday she won 1st place with "Princess Polly and the Pea" by Laurie Young. She read the poem in a British accent with several different voices throughout. It amazes me that she can stand in front of judges and do this; not only judges but the entire elementary school. The oral readers have been practicing in front of all the different classes for the last few weeks; needless to say she's sick of this poem. All the grandparents want to hear her read it...I'm thinking there's going to have to be money involved to get her to do it again. :)

So yesterday I attended a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) meeting. Several weeks ago a friend of mine asked if I might be interested in being a mentor mom at their MOPS group. I was very honored to be asked and only for a second allowed this to make me feel old. I remember what it's like to have preschool age children. I remember thinking K would never start school now all of a sudden she's a 3rd grader. It's so hard to realize it when you're in the middle of messes and diapers and nap time, but time does fly by. I hope I can be there for a tired mommy, if just to listen and then pray.

We made a super cute craft yesterday. I'm sure this is one that has been floating around Pinterest for a while but it was totally new to me.


The mom in charge of getting all the supplies together for this precious ornament created the buttons, coal eyes and carrot noses out of Sculpey clay ahead of time. How cute is that teeny little carrot nose? You can't see it but the buttons actually have tiny little button holes. So cute! The snow is salt with a little sprinkle of glitter to add just the right amount of sparkle. The scarf is a little strip of felt. I love this and can't wait to get my tree up so I can place this little melted snowman in just the right spot. 

A little funny ~ the night before this meeting K touched my stomach and asked me if I could still have a baby if I wanted to. I told her I guess I could. She said she wanted me to have a baby (this is a recurring conversation btw) and then told me I could still have one because she was only 8 and she was still young enough to have a baby brother or sister. The next morning as I sat across the table from a mommy with a precious 7 week old baby boy. I felt that familiar tug at my heart. If you're a mom you know. That feeling of knowing what it is to hold a new life and also realizing that your turn is over and for a split second wondering if maybe, just maybe it isn't too late...

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Paleo Pumpkin Bread ~

I wonder how many bloggers out there take a year long break...

I've gone from making this blog private to public to private and back to public again.

I struggle with sharing my thoughts with the world as opposed to locking them up tight.

My Dad likes to tell this joke..."I'm a wigwam, I'm a tepee, I'm a wigwam, I'm a tepee. Relax man you're too tense (two tents.)" That's me. Too tense and wishy washy about my blog, but lately I have felt a real pull back to the words and the pictures and the thoughts. I've sat down several times and read old posts and have been so glad I got it all down. So many things I've written about would have been forgotten if not for this blog. So, for now, I'm back. I think. No seriously, I'm back...really I am.

Ready for an amazing Paleo Pumpkin Bread recipe? I posted a picture of this on my FB page the other day and several people asked for the recipe so I thought what better way to bring my blog out of hibernation than with this scrumptious treat.

1 Cup blanched Almond Flour (I use the Honeyville Farms brand)
1/4 tsp Sea Salt
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1 Tbsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Pumpkin Spice
1/2 tsp Cloves
1/2 Cup Canned Pumpkin
1 tsp Vanilla (I use the Danncy brand, it's so good!)
4 Tbsp Honey
3 Lg Eggs

In a food processor combine almond flour, salt, baking soda, and spices.
Add pumpkin, vanilla, honey and eggs and pulse for 2 minutes.
Spray pans with nonstick spray (I use coconut oil spray)
Scoop batter in to two mini loaf pans (mine measure 3 1/2" x 6")
Bake at 350 for 35 - 45 minutes
Cool for 1 hour

K and I  were wanting to bake something the other day and with it being "pumpkin everything" season we decided we would try to find a gluten free recipe for pumpkin bread. Ok, I decided we would find a gluten free pumpkin bread recipe. She just wanted to make something. :) So I came across Elana's Pantry a site with too many wonderful gluten free recipes to count. We didn't follow the directions (I never do ~ maybe that's why I've had some messes in the kitchen...hmmm?) Anyway, the above recipe is how I made the bread. You can find the original recipe here

Let me know if you try this bread and what you think.


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