Monday, August 6, 2012

God Is SO GOOD!

I know... it's been a while.  I was thinking of what to post and work got crazy!!  LOL  I've settled on counting my MANY blessings.

In this crazy thing called life I've been trudging through over the last 3 years a LOT has happened.  My husband wanted a divorce, he cashed out his retirement, he bought a new car, he bought a new house, he didn't want a divorce, found out my child is bordering on having aspergers disorder, ex lost his great paying job, he got a decent job but far away, he lost his mental capacity, he quit his job, I got a job, I lost my house (the one I didn't like).

I feel sure that is not all but it's enough for you to understand why I feel so blessed!  It's not?  Well let me just tell you some of the most recent.
     *     I may be loosing this house I didn't get to help choose but I get a check for      
           moving out of it.
     *     I have our old house to move back into.
     *     I have yet to run out of money!  (No this doesn't mean I have thousands at my    
            disposal)  In fact I rarely have anything worth talking about just sitting in my
            checking account but I have not had to skip a bill yet (well minus the house).
     *     My last minute yard sale brought in exactly the amount of $ I needed to pay the
            bills that were due the next week.
     *     My children are still able to be in there extra curricular activities (not so cheap
            ones at that).
     *     My daughter has received baby sitting jobs towards her horse shows.
     *     I received a check in the mail the night before I had to put gas in my truck that  
            covered me to get some gas the next morning and left me a few dollars for me  
            (did I mention that I had $4.32 in my account when I opened that mail box?).

This is not even close to the extreme blessings I've received over these last few years but these are just a handful that make me bubble with joy that God takes care of me even though my circumstances seem dim.  I pray that I do not take the credit for any of these things.  I hope only to point towards God and his power to bless and give miracles even now in 2012.

With all the Chick-fil-a vs gay rights I really clammed up.  Not because I am ashamed of God or what he does for me but because I did not want to bring shame to him by snapping off.  I do not know how to share my views in a way that would make sense to others.  I figure tonight when I am so happy would be the best time to share.

Tonight I packed up 4 boxes.  It is very bitter sweet.  On one hand they were the hardest boxes to pack emotionally but will by far be the easiest to pack physically.  I know that God will provide and in his time.  Comically to me He doesn't give me much notice so I may very well pack up this entire house think I'm headed to my old house and get the house of my dreams.

If your struggling look to God.  He is the answer and He will provide.
(Sorry no pics for this one)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Homecook'n

Homecook'n, there is NOTHING like it.  You can pin a hundred recipes on quick or crock pot chicken and dumplings but the fact of the matter is that its just not the same. There is a way to have homemade from the freezer.  Not quite a freezer meal but close.  I make the 3 main ingredients of Chicken n Dumplings and freeze each individually.  Two of these ingredients come in handy for other meals too.

First off I keep homemade chicken broth in my freezer at all times.  Here is the original  from Alton Brown.  I eventually tweek every recipe, this is how I make it now (so simple):
     one whole chicken carcass (skin & bones) neck and giblets if available (amplifies the taste)
          **another note - this can be done with turkey.  I usually get 16-20 2 cup packages off a turkey.
     onion - fresh or dried
     garlic - fresh or powdered
     whole pepper corn
     course ground salt or sea salt
     2-4 ribs of celery (If no celery on hand I use celery powder)



Directions:
Cover chicken carcass with water in a large stock pot, make sure the lid fits well.  If to much steam is allowed out it will boil dry.  Place your stock pot on stove and bring it to a roaring boil.  Once I get it on the stove and get the temp set I begin to shake my seasonings on top.  I don't have measurements because I'm a by feel cook.  I would say about 2tbs of dried onion, 1tbs of garlic powder, 1 1/2 tsp of whole pepper corn and honestly you can't measure the salt.  I feel like I always put the same amount of salt and it comes out different every time.  Now hang out while it comes to a boil.
Once your water is at a roaring boil turn it down to a simmer and let it simmer for at least 6 hours.  I simmer mine from 8-10.  Then I allow it to cool for several hours.  "How do you do this in a day?"  I simmer it overnight, turn it off when I get up and if you have to leave you can just put the whole thing bone and all in the fridge for up to a couple of days before you skim it. (Note original  says to cool immediately in sink - I may have to start doing this part, I'd forgotten about it.  Note 2: If you put it in refrigerator for more then a few hours it will become gel like.  Just pop it back on the stove top for about 10 minutes and it's not to hot to work with but it begins to break that gel down.)
Ok now you want to strain or dip out all of your bone, skin, and seasonings.  I do this several times to get mine very clean.  At this point you are ready to separate and store.  You can store however you choose, I suggest 2 cup increments.  This is usually how much you need to cook with.  I use my food saver.  I lay them flat in the freezer for a few hours then  you can store them in a manner that fits your freezer.

Now how to make sure you have the ingredients on hand to just whip out a batch of dumplings.

Put a whole chicken in a stock pot and boil for 1-2 hours.  Or until it's done and the juices come out clear.  I season mine just about like the stock.  Now this also provides you with bone and seasoning for more stock to put up.

While that chicken is boiling on the stove make up several batches of dumpling dough.  I don't have my recipe handy, but I believe this one is close enough.  I do not leave it set for 8 hours to dry.  I mix the dough and with my hands make a big circle, wrap it in wax paper and put it in a food saver bag.  So how many is up to you.  I do anywhere from three batches on up.  This puts one on my table for dinner and two up in the freezer for that day your REALLY want chicken and dumplings but don't have the time or energy to do all this prep work.

Ok by now your chicken should be done (ok maybe not but work with me).  As soon as you can separate you chicken do so.  I try to split my chicken in half.  I try to go ahead and shred it if I know I'm cooking it for chicken and dumplings.  Again I use my food saver (miracle product as far as I'm concerned).  Now I toss all skin and bones back into the stock pot and make more stock.



Yes it's really not fast the first time but take my word for it.  That first time you come in and the chicken is shredded, the broth is made and the dough is mixed you'll thank me.

I put mine together something like this.  I put 2-3 cups stock and 2-3 cups water in a stock pot (the less water you put the creamier it will be), bring this to a boil.  While this is coming to a boil I roll out and cut my dumplings from my dough.  



At the roaring boil I drop dumplings in just a few at a time and swirl (I take the handle of my pot and twist it) the pot.  DO NOT STIR they will rip.  These need about 30-40 minutes to cook.  Make sure you knock that boil down to a simmer after all dumplings are added and make sure to swirl often.  Now at about 5 minutes to go I add my chicken.  All it needs is a warm up and your done!  From Scratch Chicken and Dumplings on the table in 30-45 minutes.  Can't beat it.


The above came about when I tried to cook two weeks worth of meals on a weekend.  I realized I didn't like all that cooking in one weekend but I did however discover having cooked chicken on hand helped me whip up lots of last minute recipes.  I keep some just pulled off the bone and some shredded.  It has been a life saver on SO many occasions.


Oops I forgot about those tomatoes!

**Photo's are not mine.  Random photo's found on the internet.  The last photo of the cut dumplings is mine.

Monday, July 23, 2012

How we got "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs"

Well posting everyday will just take time.  At least it has not been a year!

I have had a very busy weekend trying to clean out a few extra items from my home, but that's not really what I am going to bore you with.

No I want to tell you about our little hobby farm.  I affectionately named "Two Chicks Farm"  When my husband told me he was leaving back in late 2009 I began to think about what I wanted for myself and my children.  This is how our farm began.  My daughter LOVES horses (don't know where she got that from) so I decided that I was going to look for her a horse and allow her to start her show career.  It so happened that my Aunt needed to get rid of some of her horses and this was her opportunity to send her favorite horse, Charly, to good hands.

She made me a deal I couldn't refuse, for the price of the appaloosa I would receive one horse free.  A HUGE Paint named Cloud.  (I love paints)  This would afford me the ability to ride with her if she wanted to leave property so I took him.  That seemed to spur it all!

About..., well now that I'm trying to think I can't remember not having them so, some amount of time later due to an abundance of grass we took on two more of my aunts horses.  Just for the summer (so I though).  Well my daughter had been whispering in there ear about a horse that she could run the barrels with.  They listened!  Another beautiful appaloosa girl.  At the end of summer they came to pick up the 4th horse leaving us with 3.  However, the amount of work that new appaloosa was going to require was unknown to us at that time.  She's come a LONG way in a short time with just love, time and discipline.
The photo may be too bright but she's sticking her tongue out at us!  LOL I love this horse.  She has a wonderful personality.  So now that I have rambled on I've decided where I'm going with this post :)

Training by non horse girls.  Don't get me wrong with that comment.  I can ride a little, saddle, brush and pick feet.  What I'm getting at is my daughter and I have never owned or had to care for horses.  These three are our first experience.  Our boys were pretty easy.  Already trained just needed exercise to keep them in check.  Well our girl "Meatball" (named due to her colors) had never had a rider to our knowledge.  Were not sure she had ever had a saddle but it is possible as she came from a prison rescue.

Now I had been asked to ride her before she came to live with us and I got on her and she tried to do what I ask but I could tell that she was very new to commands from a rider.  By some miracle she didn't throw me or act up and seemed to just want to please, as I was told when I dismounted that she'd never had a rider on her back!  LOL (I can do that now)!

Well we rode her as much as possible inside our round pen.  My daughter and she butted heads so I was tossed into doing a lot of the work in the beginning.  I honestly took the same approach I take with my dogs.  Calm and repetitive.  (Shh don't tell anyone that I also used techniques I'd heard from the Horse Whisperer, the Dog Whisperer & my daughters riding instructor)  Stopping when she accomplished a task was a HUGE thing for her.  After a month or so, once I had her walking well and responding to the reigns I wanted to begin the trot.  Here is where my daughter decided that she had figured her out and was going to step in and all I can say is THANK YOU GOD!

Before I tell you the rest I have to back up just a bit.  Once she warmed up to us and realized that we were friendly and the providers of food, she became like a dog.  Following us and wanting our attention.  That is what let me know she was ready for training.  The first step in her training was getting a halter or a bridle on her.  This was the task that took the longest and probably where my daughter decided to step back.  Meatball would not tolerate her ears to be touched.  She would swing her head, shake or what ever it took to keep you out of reach of those ears.  The halter was the easy part as it can be unhooked and wrapped around behind her ears.  That bridle was ANOTHER story!  It has to slide over those ears.  I'm not going to drag this on as to how long and how many battles we had over it.  My plan is to just fill you in on that last one.  

The battle that won the war was a warm afternoon.  I tried to relax and envision the final product.  Guess I should have shown her the picture too!  After 30 minutes of trying to slip that bridle on, using every angle I could think of, and loosing my temper (here is where I lost my horse whisperer status).  I reached over to take the saddle off.  I was done - quite - finished. Until I saw that her body/mind thought I had given up.  I quickly finished getting the saddle off and slung it to the side and took advantage of her relaxed state and slipped that bridle up and over those ears!  Moral to this story?  Don't be afraid to try something so different that it makes them change their thinking.


First try at a trot went spectacularly!  It was beauty in motion.  My daughter and Meatball gracefully made their way round the pen.  Day two - not so much.  That crazy horse got a bug up her butt and started bucking.  Not large buck and they were very controllable if you could gather the reigns back up and take her head away from her.  After a few of them we figured out how to spot them and stop her from bucking at all.  If she began to lower her head at all just gather the reigns.  This is something that had to be stopped so it didn't become a bad habit.  

Next was the canter - went about like above and was becoming controllable in just a matter of a couple of days.  The next step for us was getting her off property for a ride.  My daughter and I decided to take her favorite Cloud (my paint) to make her more comfortable.  We were a little nervous because she  had ran away from my aunt and plowed down some fencing on the way when they tried to take her with them on a trail ride (no rider).  She did fantastic.  That horse loved looking around and smelling new scents and pleasing us.  It was and still is great to take her out.  Meatball might even make a good cattle horse.  Our neighbor keeps a small herd of cows and she seems to try to gravitate their direction.

video

Meatball is now a consistent low 20's in the barrels at just a good open run.  We've not yet let her have her head since she still has some control issues.  As you can see we have to break that bad habit of shaking her head in the turns.  This horse will make an amazing barrel horse and my daughter and I will be able to beam with joy that we've done this ourselves from scratch!  And I just love from scratch work.

Maybe I'll tell y'all about tomatoes tomorrow!  Later


Thursday, July 19, 2012

And another year passes

How exactly does so much time go by?  I really do mean to get better about posting.  My scrappers journey is pretty well at a stand still currently.  So much of my life has turned upside down and my journey has become one of finding myself and retraining myself to be a single working mother.


I guess I decided last night that this blog will not be specific for scrapbooking even though I REALLY want to get back to scrapbooking and sharing.  I want it to be about a strong women and I hope that I can inspire other strong women along the way.


For the last two years I have been attempting to get my weight and body size back.  I had gained 20-30 unwelcomed lbs and I didn't like that number on the scale nor did I like the pants size I was fixing to have to graduate into.  I had done it once before surely I could just melt it off - right?  NOT  I have never struggled so much as I have since I turned 28.  My friends all said "Oh you look fine" but they didn't see the mirror on the way to the shower.  I didn't like where the weight was and how it looked.  
Well I'm going to give a little run down of what I did.  I started walking 2.5 miles every morning with my friend.  Then we would go to the gym and work out for about an hour.  I tried very hard to do 50/50 weight/cardio.  Think that worked?  NOPE!  After a few months and not seeing that scale move one single inch my ex suggested I measure and keep a record, because he could see a difference.  So I did this.  It was SUCH a GREAT idea!  I saw results.  (That scale didn't move for over a YEAR by the way)  I was taking it off half inch by half inch and it was amazing.  I dropped two pants sizes after 7 or 8 months.  


Now I know there are faster ways to get weight off but I'm not a dieter.  If you tell me no that is exactly what I will do.  So I instead counted every single calorie and made sure that each night I went to bed having burned 300-500 more then I ate.  This didn't help me loose weight but it did help me to notice where my waisted calories were coming in.  When you sit down on the couch with those pizza rolls you just had to have for dinner and type them in your tracker and have to run up and down your stairs during every commercial break to have enough space to go to bed your start seeing when you can and can't incorporate junk in your life.  See I'm not telling myself no I'm just telling myself "tonights not a good night".


Well back in late March I had to got back to work and I was SO afraid that I was going to go backwards, there would be no more gym in the afternoon.  Not being able to go to the gym scared me to death.  I just knew I'd blow up bigger then I was.  Well guess what!  Because I'm working I eat all day :)  "Why is that crazy women smiling on her blog about eating to much and sitting behind a desk?"  Well you see - I east small meals or snacks every couple hours.  I'm so full from snacks that I don't need as much lunch either.  See I forgot the last time I melted the weight off I was copy catting the Nutra System Diet.  I made sure I ate small portions every couple hours and did fruit for breakfast, green at lunch and a salad with dinner.  Now I haven't been able to fully incorporate all of this in but the small meals alone were enough to trigger some speedy weight loss.  Now it is my opinion that the more you have to loose the faster if comes off so my rapid may not be yours.  I've lost 10lbs in the 4 months I've been working as compared to the 5lbs I lost the year and a half I was walking and going to the gym.  I also find that my weight doesn't fluctuate as much during the day as it did before.  


Did I mention I'm a huge soda drinker and I have at least 3 a day?  Lol I hope that you find some inspiration in here somewhere.  Be it to keep on keeping on even when the light is so far away, or to keep trying things until you find the one that works for your body or anything else you read between the lines.  Good Luck!  
(I don't know if the pictures really show much since they are by no means the same style photo but I can see also I don't have one handy of me before the decision to get it under control)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

All I Can Do Is Laugh!

Wow really? I hop on my blog just to see what my last post was and it was 9 months (excuse me I have to fish a phone out of the toilet) ago. Wow what a long time. It's all pretty and ready for Christmas.

Well the phone seems to have gone completely down the toilet! I can't imagine why it's been 9 months since I've been on my blog or why I can't seem to find my way back to my craft. Between finances keeping me from printing my photographs and life's challenges I'm just going to have to fight that much harder to return. I will succeed. I will not be defeated!

How am I working on this? Well I have been working on notebooks for all of us living in the house. They are based heavily on the Fly Lady system. You can find her at www.flylady.net We are all three working hard to clean her way and stay tidy. I enlisted the help of my best girlfriend to come and get me back in the scraproom that scared me so. Tonight in fact I was in there making a big mess and moving some more furniture to fit my needs in that room. Lastly I am working on a yardsale that I hope will benefit our house financially and provide me with some money to print some photo's. Well ONE more lastly. I have my name on the email list for a scrapbooking retreat! (At least I'll get a little done)

I didn't read my last post but a quick run down of the new life situation: My husband got a job and is living in Augusta Ga. (well sort of, some little town next to it that I can't spell or even say). He commutes home when he can but keeping up two house holds in hopes that he can work closer to home is very expensive. My step daughter is a teen and well nough said. So that leaves me and my 2 kiddo's making this house run. We are doing pretty good if I do say so myself. With the help of my parents and some great friends and a perfect God we will come out on the other side of this situation stronger.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

To Do List Keeping Me Down!


Wow oh WOW. So I sit down to make up a To DO List yesterday because I have been finding myself very scattered. List usually help me to focus. I make out a page worth of things that need doing and I get to work. I set out with the broom to sweep the house. My OCD personality kicked in and I began to move things and really get at it with the broom. Then I decided that I needed to wash dog beds, air them out. Wash rugs and pillows and throws (as if I didn't have enough laundry already!) So hours into just sweeping I realize it's time to go back out and put up the horses for the night.

Of course I didn't just get to put them up, I had to help push a hay bale (HUGE ONE) around under the lean to, we ended up getting fast food for dinner because I'd forgotten to go to the store and get the meat. On the way to get the kids dinner I get a phone call about a delivery I have to make - so we detoured by the house got the product and headed to the meeting place. I made it short as it was COLD! I ran in to look for my old dog a coat and since they didn't have one off we headed. Finally rolling in at 6:45 we finish up what we didn't eat on the drive home and I begin to work more around the house.

I cleaned of the table by my seat in the living room to the tune of an hour or more. This event just ended up making another pile though - on the love seat of bills to be paid tonight then filed (YUCK!) I decided I'd done enough of the productive on my list and made bows for the garland trimming my blinds - AW how beautiful they turned out. I got up and I hung them on each piece of garland and then felt the need to tell all my Facebook friends just how wonderful it was that I'd just save upwards of $20 bucks to decorate my home.

Well that task took well over an house because of course I had to answer emails, reply back to responses on previous comments and read what everyone else had been doing while I had been cleaning and running errands. When I looked up at the clock it was 20 after 10. I'm normally crawling in bed before this time of night. I glanced at my to do list and wanted more accomplished so I plunged ahead.

I finally crawled into bed at midnight last night with just a handful of things to transfer to todays list. I really need to figure out what to let go of but I don't see anything I can drop :( Life -

Can you guess what on that list got ignored? Scrapbooking you might say - but no it cleaning my space. My room is not usable at this time so first things first I must find the time to get in there and make it mine! Well here's to another day in the journey back to my craft. (A clean house is a little closer though).

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

This Scrappers Journey Back To Her Craft!

Well, as you may have notice the last post was QUITE a while ago. I've been a busy little beaver. First the store kept me away from my craft more than I liked and now it seams that my child and her dreams are keeping me away from it. This however is going to be my journey back to what I love.

How I got where I am and how I plan to get out-


First I must say my heart was broken when I took in my dslr and was told that it wasn't worth fixing. It had only worked for 2 years and this angered me beyond description. Not having a camera has really taken a tole on me. I have almost stopped taking pictures in general. It's very sad. I do have a digital that takes very good pics and I still have my film camera but the discouragement really took it's tole on me. I have pulled out my smaller digi camera and my film camera and have in the last month really made a much better effort to take photos. Now I just need to get them to the developer!

I thought I had all the mojo I needed to get on being super women when my husband and I moved. I was going to have an office/scraproom attached to the living-room (enabling me to speak to my family & watch tv with them). I thought this would allow me my evenings to scrap and work on the business and give my days to my kids. Ah until we discovered that the dining room I was going to take was going to actually have to be used for a dining room. The kitchen was to small to hold a table - ah how sad I was.



Well after this disappointment I pulled up my big girl panties and I moved it down the hall, having to share a larger room with the kids tv was going to work. I saw that I wouldn't get as much time in my room as I hoped but it was still going to be mine! Now that I had my mind wrapped around a different location I found the perfect furniture and everything! Ah I can see it all coming together in my mind. Color choice - Black & Hot Pink with a Paris/Hollywood theme.




And then my husband lost his job. What does this have to do with a scrapbooking room? We were only moving across town and taking our time, so now we have gone from casually moving items from the old to the new house we had to get out of the old house and get it sold or rented. For my scraproom it meant that things just began to get dumped in there and currently you can barely walk in it. It is embarrassing to say the least.

So where am I now? Well hubby found a job - It's not ideal as he is living out of town but we will make it. Everything Scrapp'n has closed it's doors and I am figuring out this horse ownership thing. The horses are still taking a lot of my day but I'm beginning to see a pattern.



So how long will it take this scrapper to get back at it? I don't know, follow along with me on my journey and we will find out together.