Friday, January 28, 2011

Email Address

I was asked for an email address today to reach me at. So if you wish to email me directly you can at LifesSmallBlessings@hotmail.com

I look forward to hearing from you!
Cher

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Looking back on last year......

I've been looking back through picture's and things from last year. And realized that at the time we didn't feel like we accomplished a lot, and yet we accomplished so much more then we thought.

Last year we made the can bin
Can bin made from a blue barrel and a roofing boot :) 



We made  and installed a rain Barel
Rain catcher :)  
Put in the porch and walkway
All the bricks were on sale and the black lining it was reused from the flower garden.



The bathroom was torn out and is almost done.
The bathroom torn apart.



Lined the Rose Beds with brick recycled from under the house.




Started putting in raise beds. We are now using old pieces of privacy fencing for the next sets of beds. We are trying to compete with the crab grass. We have lined around the beds and the walk with woodchips from the city of Champaign that we recived free. Thanks to a friend with a dump truck!

We started worm composting. Left over worms from fishing have increased to over 200 worms! And lot's of compost

We put in a new floor that was found on sale and of course we did it ourselves. This got rid of the last of the downstairs carpeting that was making us all sick. 


We had a bunch of new experiences. Like Corey going over the road and returning home. Now he's driving local.


 We had fun with some great extra helpers :) SO thankful for my family when Corey was gone! Josh wasn't afraid to wear PINK :)



We had our first big Onion harvest over 100 total this year!

 My Rose's took off in full bloom this year! I learned that covering them is not always a good idea.
 Great Grandma's Rose
 This year I started old fashioned soap making. There's a huge learning curve and you have to be really carful since your using lye. But so rewarding! We had enough soap to give away at Christmas and for us to get through the year!
 Another special helper! My brother is not afraid to wear his helmet around here :) It means so much to the kids to have these times with everyone!
 Our biggest Tomato ever 2lbs! I couldn't belive it and it was so juicy!

 This was our first harvest of the year.. There was so much more afterward! Tomatoes, Green Peppers, Bannana Peppers, and Cucumbers.
 Colty after we finished muclching the front bed with woodchips. These are his fav. Daisies. He helped save sees so we can plant more this year.
 Though Corey is still trucking he's local now Yeah!! I am so proud of him!
 Another of Colty's fav flower!



 We started growing Pumpkins in an old tractor tire. Thanks to a local produce farmer we now know that we planted our sweet corn when we should have planted our pumpkins :)

Sweet Corn.. We had a 6 point buck that would jump our little fence and bed down in here at night.

Though I can't find the picture we also made a 4x3 foot compost out of privacy fence wood. Just in time for the leaves and pumpkins to go in. Though we didn't know it, were not only composting but feeding the deer through the winter. They have been coming up and eating out of compost. 

So even though we feel like we haven't done a lot this last year I guess we have.
 Now to start on 2011 what new things will we do this year.....

Well so far I've been making Origami Pot's to start seeds in...

We also have more beds to put in.
Were growing some new plants and even trying out some new growing ideas. After looking back on 2010 I am really looking forward to the rest of 2011...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Excited

Lol with a title like that your probably thinking it's something major... it's not for most people but for me it is.

Tomorrow night I get to ride with my husband as he drives his route... okay, most people think, yeah riding in the snow, in a Semi that hasn't been taken care of well (his place of employment believes in total break down instead of upkeep) and a seat with no air ride .....that's fun?

For me it is. Tomorrow night there will be no ADHD, there will be no Alzheimer's, No Asthma, no Overactive Immune System and no hug and kiss and saying "boy do I miss you". I won't have to call and talk to Corey on the phone at 11 so we can touch base and make sure were on the same page for the next day and for the weekend.  Trying to plan a garden over the phone is sooo not easy!

Tomorrow night it's the two of us :) We get to talk, catch up and enjoy the open road and the sights around us. I get to meet a few of Corey's Fav. warehouse guys for this run and well relax...  Tomorrow night I get to just be me.. and what's even better is I don't have to talk.. if I need quiet there will be quiet if I need to talk we'll talk.. and if we stop at a rest area to run in and get a pop or something, I get to hold my husbands hand with out a little person getting mad :)



It may not sound like much but I sooo look forward to these nights. They don't come often but when they do I cherish them! 

Second big excitement was a day with Gma like no other!
I have not had a day as good as Monday was with my grandmother in so long. She was still lost... but she wasn't.. I know that doesn't make sense but she was Happy.. joking in a good way :)

We played 3 games of Spite and Malice and she "won 2 games :) I never thought I'd cheat at cards so my grandmother would win, but it made her day. After cards I was folding Newspaper pots and she asked if I would show her. She was so into it and even understood most of the directions. She only had an issue with one part but even my 9 year old had issues with it. :) We made 22 pots! together!   Then when my mom txted me gma told me I should have said "gma put those bottles away mom's almost home "  She was joking.. and as I came out of the bathroom at one point I could hear her saying "Colty quit climbing the ceiling" :) These were funny, not mean jokes.. I had a piece of Gma I hadn't had in over a year.   And we talked.. It was nice, it was calm and except for a few minor things that were off.. we had a good day!

Third .. My husband and the support he has been showing me. Over the past few years he's worked on being and showing his support. During the good and the bad.  Tuesday there was bad.. and when my stomach clenched and I was worried.. he told me go! You have to go, I'll take care of the stuff here and have the kids watch a movie while I take my afternoon nap... What a Blessing to me that he's supportive..  I was able to help and was relived at the outcome instead of worrying all day/night.


My other big excitement this week  was a huge weight lifted and Blessing was a family discussion. My Parents, Grandparents and my brother and myself had a family dissucion. I've been praying that this would happen and that it go well. There are so many personalities, generations and ideals that it was hard telling how it would go, but everyone talked, everyone shared their feelings, and we are working toward a more freezable schedule and way of working together. :) There were moments with Gma that were very hard, but things I had dreaded saying turned out okay. I'm so praying everything works out. I know it's no where near perfect, but if we can give peace to our family and take some weight off those who are over weighted it would be awesome!   And my dad wants to take the kids camping! All of them :)

My big smile for the day was "puppy" asking pa for a hug and pa giving "puppy" and Colty the biggest hug and smile I'd seen in forever :)   

and to add to all this a nice night with the kids :) Bit and I picked out pictures because she's the "Star of the Week"  She had to take the big picture from the wedding with everyone in it :) She has pictures of the Great Grandparent's, my parents and our family along with a few from here and there when she was little....

So this week so far hasn't been a bad week. I've been truly blessed with a week worth thinking about and Small Blessings every where. Sometimes it just takes picking out the good moments for me to realize why I do the things I do :)

Night all!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Rosy ~ Posy: Maple Snow Candy ~ Recipe

I think were going to have to try this over the weekend since we are expecting 3 to 5 inches again :) rose has been reading little house on the prarie also!

Rosy ~ Posy: Maple Snow Candy ~ Recipe: "Every winter I make a special batch of Maple Snow Candy for the kids. A delicious little treat of candied maple syrup that nobody can resist..."

Thursday, January 13, 2011

My Crazy wacky way of looking at things.

So I've really begun to realize how different I am. I think it really hit home today when our portable Ping Pong table net and Paddles arrived. I laughed and said "well, this is one way to get junk to quit piling up on my Dinning room table"  And in less then 10 minutes my table was cleaned off and the playing began.. (should I mention the 75 Ping Pong Balls flying through my dining room?)

I really wish I had a video camera! The balls were flying every where and all the kids and myself were laughing and diving for balls... 

One would say, but there's dirty dishes in the sink, laundry that needs done and dusting to do, not to mention I've had the paint for the dinning room ceiling for over 9 months sitting there...

I guess my wacky way of looking at things says... there is a chance to laugh and spend time with my kids. To see them laugh, talk about school in  a non threatening way and get them to interact with each other in a positive way... the other stuff can wait. (these moments are not always easy to find with a child who has ADHD with some other issues rolled in)

I can say my house isn't "dirty" but it's defiantly lived in.  I clean my floors everyother week, sweep them every other day (unless they are horrible). We try and wash dishes daily, and well there's always laundry (I have 3 kids and a hubby LOL). It used to bother me until I did some really hard thinking.

You see growing up for me wasn't hard per say, but there were a lot of things that shaped how I look at things now. Then after Rose was born I ended up in a situation iI would never wish on anyone.

I learned that any day things can and will change.. I 've continued to see it as I have grown up these years.
I've learned that having "things' isn't as important as having time and love.
Hugs and kisses and I loves you are a must a million times a day (Colty has taught me this repeatedly.. and reminds me when I forget)
Being frugal and saving money can be fun.
Almost everything has a secondary use, you just have to think on it.
Share your knowledge
Everything can be gone tomorrow, would you rather loose dirty dishes or the smiles and laughter?
Family and Friends are very important in your life, make them that way.
A good relationship with your husband is worth your weight and his in Gold.
Something home grown or homemade is worth more then store bought (and will usually last longer and work better)
You can get through anything as long as you have your family.
God things are real.. they happen, you never know when, you never know how, but they do.
There are blessings every where around you.. don't be so worried about how the world perseaves you but about how you and your family feel about themselves.
Laughter is truly the best medicine.
Try when you can to be there for the older  memeber's in your family.
And when all else fail's turn on some music, crank it up loud and just dance :)


So I've come to my crazy wacky way of looking at things, and thankfully my husband likes and even gets a kick out of them. He's definatly impressed with the portable Ping Pong Table Idea and I belive there will be a battle this weekend to see who's the family Ping Pong Table Champ :)

So I guess I'll embrace my crazy wacky way of life. I wouldn't change it for the wordl. Now to go make some News Paper Pot's and watch a movie with Colty. Night All!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Yea! Seeds are here!!

I can honestly say this time of year makes me so excited. I'm like a little kid  I look at seed Catalogs and start seeing Seeds out at my favorite stores :) I'm like a kid in a candy store.  We buys seeds in a different way. We can't afford to buy them all at one time so we do it in sections. (I tried some seed saving last year and am doing research on it for Tomato's and Peppers this year )

The first section is Tomato's and Pepper's. These are one's that have to be started in the house any where from 10 to 6 weeks before the last frost. This year I found a website with decent prices that had a variety of Seeds that I couldn't find any where else. One is for a Tomato that will produce fruit until it's 38 degrees outside... This could be a real winner for winter sustained Tomato's under a hoop house :) Yummy!

Our second round is normally must have crops. Onions, Carrots, Peas, Squash, Corn and Pop Corn. These are have to haves in our book.

Third is our new upstarts. Like eggplant, loofah, cabbage ect.

Last year I did a bit of seed scrounging and one of the local retailers had all their seed packets for 20 for a dollar... Oh yeah I was all over that sale. 38 packages of Green onions (A must in our diet) 12 packages of Carrots, my squash and zucchini, and even pumpkins. It was pretty much picked over but I was really happy with my seed haul!

Then our very last is if we have a failure and have to buy plants. I hate doing this, but last year when all of my seeds failed (I used peat pellets and nothing grew bigger then a tiny blade of grass) we had to buy plants and move around some very welcomed volunteer plants.

Last year one of my Aunt's had a big success with homemade Newspaper Pots.. Wow what an idea! So this year that's what Corey and I are doing. Nope we don't subscribe to any newspapers. We get our local for free, but it's tiny. So I'm thankful my Parents and Grandparents get the big paper and have been saving them for me.

I found a few videos on You Tube, bought a few Foil pans (instead of black trays. This way I can use them on the grill when it's time to can and cook my tomato sauce and won't ruin my other pans. it was only a few cents more for them and double usage :) and I did spend 84 cents on a hard plastic cup. (We have no glass cups and all our $1.00 for 4 cups from wall mart are weird shaped and squishy)

So after some playing around working on the pots I have found  I can get between 12 and 15 pots on a tray :) so for the 100 to 150 seeds I need to start it won't be to bad and we've seriously cut our growing budget from the $50 for pot's and dirt and all down to $10.00 or so :) What a way to start out the growing season! So the extra $2.00 I spent on loofah seeds didn't make me cringe :)

Good luck to all my seed starting friends and if you know of any good ways to save seeds or a great blog with info please let me know! It would be wonderful not to have to buy seeds anymore!

I have been so blessed with all the ideas and things given to help us in our gardening efforts.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Garden Itches

This week we had a day that was 58 degrees!!! Now of course were back to the 30's. But it brought about thoughts of our Garden. I can tell you I'm just itching to get in there and get my hands dirty. I have planty of homemade soap with scrubbies in it to take care of the dirt :)

Colton my 4 year old is also feeling the itch. He's been talking non stop about the Garden. What he wants to plant and filling up buckets with woodchips and getting the Gaden Cart back out.

Most people look at me and tell me I'm nuts, it's only January!
But honestly my first crop will go in the last week in March and will continue to plant until the end of May. The thing most people who do not Garden on an at Home large scale don't realize how much work is envolved.

This year we are esablishing raised beds in our garden to try and compete with the overzealouse crab grass and hay. These all need to be screwed together, filled and fertalized.

I have been growing my worm composting over the winter and now we've added cricket compost to the mix. Our outside compost has been reduced by over half and we have tons of Newspapers to add to it. We are trying to get some manure in there also. This all needs to be mixed up and then eventually spread out.

We need to finish spreading wood chips as our walk ways so that the weeds don't grow and the garden cart can get through.

There is debate on putting in 2 to 4 beds in the front yard for Herb Gardens that would be dedecated to herbs and onions. (because of our fencing and Rose beds this area is hard to get a mower into and only Corey can use the push mower...  this would mean less work for Corey and less worry for me if he were to have to go back over the road.

Our list of things to plant has grown again.....
This year we are planting

Luffa (new to us will be used for Christmas gifts)

Eggplant (new to us.. neither of us have ever eaten this but have heard it's great on the grill)

Sweet Corn (still kinda new planting wise.. Thanks to Bob Kliese's advise we hope to plant at the right time this year!)

Pumpkins (new last year .. again Bob Kliese gave us advise about when to plant and how to keep the squash bugs at bay)

Head Lettuce  (New to us. We have shied away from this to do the chance of magor bug damadge giving it a try this year)

Cabbage (New to us. Same as lettuce)

Leaf lettuce (Always does good for us)

Carrots (last year we lost them all to the Jungle)

Garlic (first harvest last year was really tasty!)

Onions (at least 4 diffrent kinds! I have 38 packages of green onion seeds!!!)

Leeks (also new to us but I have been reassured it's just as easy as Onions)

Cucumbers (at leas 6 packages of seeds (We hope to can enough pickles this year to have them around for snacks all winter and give a few to family at Christmas) Estimating 50 Quarts )

Tomatos ( At least 4 types.. Heirloom, BeefSteak and grape and one I want to try called speckled Romans these look almost like Peppers) Total pants will be about 50. (Need at least 130 Quarts of my Salsa/sauce to get us through a winter)

Peppers  (At Leat 40 Plants mainly Green and Red Bell Peppers. 4 Bannana Pepper Plants and 2 Jalepeno Plants) This will give me enough Peppers for the Sauce and at least 10 Jars of Hotter Salsa for Corey and Tommy

Peas (Probably 2 to 4 beds of these. We love to eat these as we work in the Garden and on Fresh Salads as something crunchy)

Pole Beans (Have yet to have a succseful harvest of these. Will try 1 more time.)

Caulaflour (Debating on this one we may try this next year. I hate trying to many new thing sin one year. If they all fail it feels like a lot of wasted space where we could have grown a guarenteed Crop.)

Potatos (looking forward to trying these in the 5 Gal buckets my father inlaw was able to get for us. I belive we have 20 of them. Will probably also plant a small bed of them and see which gives us a better harvest)

Strawberries (We have already started the move last fall into the new beds but will have to finish the move this spring.) Am going to try my hand at either a Strawberry Brandy or Cordial this year and Strawberry Jam. And of course one Strawberry Pie for my Grandmother.

Yellow Squash (only2 plants this produces way more then we and our neighbors can eat)

Zucchini ( Only 2 here also, these just produce like crazy and we can't give them away.. but I can make a ton of Bread :)

Pop Corn (Two diffrent varieties the normal popcorn with the yellow curnels and Strawberry Pop Corn that produces small red curnals that have a really nutty taste when popped)

Asperagus (We had planted a bed but only saw shoots the first year. Am going to plant a raised bed in hopes this will stay weed free and they will grow okay)

Black Berries (We planted a store bought one last year only to have it die. Am hoping to get one or two starts of wild ones from my Aunt and Uncle)

Rasberries (Planting another one this year. The one we planted last year had 1 piece of fruit. Hoping this year it will grow bigger)

Grapes (At Least 2 Vines. We planted 1 last year and it did great... unitl it had to be moved to make room for the new bigger compost bin)

Watermelon (something ate the seeds last year so trying again this year)

Herb Garden.  Chives, Garlic Chives, horseradish, dill, oregano, 3 diffrent types of basil, Mint, Apple Mint, Spearamint and Choclate Mint just to name a few.

Looking into Elderberries, Peach tree, apple tree, pear trees, and a few more. Corey wants me to look into Hops fo making Wheat Beer.

I know I probably forgot a few LOL

So there is much planning to be done and not as much time as one would think to do it. My goal this year is to plant on time unstead of late May. And to get as much as possiable canned and dried instead of it going to waste.

Things still needed.
More wood for frames
Pitch Fork
Manure
Seeds and plants
Dehydrator
Food Processor (mine died while grinding soap for a rebatch)
Blue or White Barrles for water system
Hose's
More Worm's
Good Weather :)

So I'll say Goodnight as I start going through my first seed catolog of 2011 :)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

We are celebrating the New Year with Kyera and Colty.. Sparking cider for them and Jack and Cokes for us (Thanks to an old bottle from Dad's house)  Colty does not want to go to bed now LOL.. Loved the kisses and hugs after the Ball dropped! This was by far one of our nicest New Years.. except of course the one where I remet Corey 6 years ago! Wow does time fly by!

I still can't thank Heather and Krissy and Mike enough for that night!


I hope this year is filled with all the joy and blessings you can manage to count and then some. 
I also hope everyone does something special for someone else this year!
May this year be wonderful for everyone Loves to all!!!

Cher