One Flourishing, Frugal and Fun Family!

One mother making ends meet and surviving today's recession by writing. One family learning to live off the land, cut back on expenses, and to live a simpler and a more self-sufficient lifestyle.

Adopted Motto

"Eat it up,
Wear it out,
Make it do,
Or go without."
~A Pioneer Sampler, by Barbara Greenwood~

Friday, February 26, 2010

Medical bills, exercise and weight loss

The kids accident has put everlasting memories on all of us.  After we regained our sanity, we can now have a conversation without tears,.  However, I am drowning in medical bills.  Aftern numerous phone calls, calling and calling and sitting on hold, I am now a firm believer of getting everyone in shape and staying that way. 

Keeping the doctors visits down to a bare minimum will save us money, and we will live healthier and longer lives.  Although the medical bills are from an accident, I am seriously looking at my health, and everyone else's health (kids, husband) differently.  Now, don't get me wrong.  That doesn't mean I am running out and getting a physical, mammogram and everything else that's required at my age.  It means I am faithfully exercising daily, watching what we eat more than ever, and drinking more water than juice and pop.

Then, just maybe, after I lose weight and get in shape, will I consider getting my physical.  Maybe.

After I challenged myself to 30 days of walking for at least 10 minutes a day, I lost 2 pounds.  I missed one day and the other days were anywhere up to 20 minutes of walking.  Now, I am up to 30 minutes and some days, I walk 1 hour.  I feel better, but I have a loooooong ways to go.

I'm getting a lot of reading done on the treadmill these days, but I should have invested in a Large Print Bible.  I could be reading my daily reading while walking too.  I've influenced the kids too.  I know have to fight for the treadmill.  They come toting books and invade my room for hours.  At least they are staying fit.

Now....if I could just stop eating Milk Duds while I sit and read my Bible.....and whoever said prunes were tasty must have been sleep deprived. 

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Holy Cow! An Earthquake and we didn't even know it!

I took my laptop to the library to observe people while the two younger ones were in a program.  About a half hour of typing "boring" and "no juicy action" there was a huge rumble.  My 13 year old was sitting at a table with me and we both looked up at each other.

"What was that?"

"I don't know?" she answered with raised shoulders.

"Sounded like the roof was coming down!"

I continued to type, and after getting frustrated with no one to "observe" I put the computer away.  I read a bit of my Bible and soon we had to leave.

After we arrived home, I got a text from Mom.  There was an earthquake in a town 10 miles from our house and further from where we were at the library.  An earthquake.  I couldn't believe it.

My son was home, and after sharing the news, he said that the dogs went crazy about that time.  I guess they started barking when it happened.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Are on-line surveys that pay money worth the time?

Well, I gave it a try anyway.  I figured what do I have to lose?  Well, time is what I really lost.  I registered with www.toluna.com and found it to be a disappointment.  For the first seven surveys that were e-mailed to me, that I did complete, only one earned me points.  These points go towards cash pay out or shopping.  Either way, each survery I received stated that it rewarded so many points when completed.  After I completed them, it stated that I did not qualify and I received one entry into a drawing.  After earning about 16,000 points, and needing 60,000 for my first pay check, I lost my survey mojo.  I'd rather be throwing snowballs with my kids.  There are better ways to spend my time.

How to Find Your Inner Child While Parenting in Your 40's | eHow.com

How to Find Your Inner Child While Parenting in Your 40's eHow.com

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Jasper the Naughty Cat ~ The Missing Tissue Paper Flowers

Oh I wish I had a camera that video taped constantly around here.  Not that I would want my life on the Internet, but these cats of ours are hilarious!  I wish I could have gotten a picture of video clip of Jasper running through the house carrying a tissue paper flower attached to a chenille stem. 

The girls made tissue paper flowers over the weekend, and I fell in love with them.  Immediately I stole two of them, and the vases they crafted, and placed them in two kitchen windows.  It was like bringing spring into the house early.

However....yep there is a however in the story.  The flowers disappeared during the night.  Vases were toppled and we soon found out what happened.

"JASPER!"  Or could Tiger have helped?

The girls removed the flowers to a safer place, or so they thought.  Ha ha ha!

Just minutes ago, Jasper, tailed by Tiger, went flying through the kitchen with his prized possession - the chenille stem with the tissue paper flower!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Day 53 ~ Reading the Bible in 90 days Challenge

Although, my daily e-mails from the challenge stopped showing up in my inbox, I am still reading my Bible.  Can you believe it's day 53 already?  I had to catch up on it yesterday, but I am staying on task with this.  Even with laundry, floors to clean, dishes to wash, library books to return, bills to pay, straightening to do, chickens to feed, dogs to play with . . . I am still on task.  Pretty amazing I would say.

My Freezer Garden ~ Homemade Zucchini bread

Sunday was a hoot!  The kids ran back to my bedroom, where I was eating my breakfast in bed (made by my husband), and asked "Is it really true today is Pajama Day?"

"Yes, it's true!"

After eating my delicious farm fresh egg omelet, I decided to make my mother's homemade zucchini bread.  I had frozen shredded zucchini last summer (from our garden) and used farm fresh eggs again.  Yum.  I decided to make mini-muffins so the kids could take them in their school lunches today.  I love baking, and if the garden is involved I love it even more.

 

This morning the kids had a school delay, and some of the kids wanted to eat these for breakfast.  They also asked me to make more!  They are not low fat or low calorie, but I did use my bountiful garden, even during the winter.
I cannot wait to get the spring garden growing again.  There is so much to appreciate and be thankful for.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Pajama Day!

In my quest to keep myself from working on Sunday, I have announced to the kids that today is Pajama Day!

"Hang out all day in your pj's and do whatever you want!"

Of course there are limitations regarding the use of electronics around here.  Those are really limited anyway.

I do have the urge to write an article, what writer doesn't?  I have to restrain myself and rejuvinate for one day.  It's going to be a challenge, but as a mother of six kids, I need to do this for myself.  If I don't, what good will I be for anyone else?

The snow is not packing, so building another snowman is not going to happen today.  I woke up with my 8 year-old poking at my face.  I told her she ruined my good dream.  I was dreaming that I was ramping snow banks with a motor bike, and having a blast!

"That ain't gonna happen" laughs my husband.

We all remember what happened when I went rollerblading with the kids.  With a crushed wrist, I had to have him hold our youngest, at the time, so that I could still nurse with a broken wrist.  Well, at least I tried it and I did spend time with the kids.  And I made memories that we can laugh at now.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Making Homemade Detergents

 

Yesterday I made homemade dishwasher detergent and it worked great.  Today I made laundry detergent and detergent to hand wash dishes.  I used the recipe that makes the liquid form due to our well water.  So far, after 2 loads it has cleaned the laundry well.  I could not find Zote soap.  If I do, I may try it as well.  It will save us so much money, and require us to use less chemicals with our cleaning.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Sunshine Today! Cats, cats, and cats

The sun is shining on the wintery February day.  The snow is so bright, bringing in more light.  It's a good day to get outside and soak up and store up.  The barn cats are loving it too.  God is gracious today!  I love watching the cats stretching themselves out in the bright sunlight.  They look so happy.  The inside cats will most likely be searching the house for the best sun spot, so they too, can stretch out.

Speaking of barn cats, we have not see the stray gray cat today.  He/she sits on our wood pile and waits to sneak up to the house to eat.  I wonder if it will stick around or move on?

It's amazing how different our cats are.  We adopted our first cat over eleven years ago.  That's a long time to get to know your cat huh?  Now, not including the stray, we have six cats now.  I never thought I would even have more than one animal.  Now, here we are, considering raising goats too.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Snowmen and Snow and Getting Caught


Here is a photo of the two snowmen we built.  When we built them, the sun was shining brightly.  This is from yesterday morning, when we had a frosting of sorts. Can you see the evergreen hair on the larger snowman!  My kids keep telling me he looks "evil" so I have to build another one this year.  I was just working with nature to build my snowmen -sticks, evergreen sprigs, and a carrot.  If you look at the bottom of the smaller one, my youngest 8 year-old daughter made a baby snowman. 

Today, these snowmen are decorated with yellow spots.  One of our dogs decided they needed to mark their spot - on both of them!   I'm sure the kids will laugh about it when the get home from school.

As for me getting caught, well this is funny.  Last night as I was getting ready for bed, I hear my 13 year-old daughter yell "Mother!  I object" as she walked briskly to my bedroom.  Raising my eyebrows, I asked her what in the world was she talking about.  Trailing her footsteps, was my 8 year-old daughter.

"What's this I hear that you write her (pointing to my 8 year-old) notes and give her a piece of candy every day - in her lunch?!" she loudly demanded.

"uh..." was all I could say.

So, I was caught.  I was asked to write notes in their lunches and give them a surprise piece of candy.  Just after that, my 8 year-old daughter asked if I "notered her."  As I sit here, I just realized I wrote one for the other kids, and had planned to write out one for my 8 year-old, but forgot.  Ugh!  I'm going to be in big trouble when she gets home.  How could I have forgot?!  I better make sure she gets "notered" tomorrow with an extra piece of candy.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Building Snowmen ~ Winter Highlight Moment

Well, I did it.  I built 2 snowmen, and the kids think I have lost my mind.  In their opinion, what mother of my age goes out to build a snowman, without her children?  He he he!  The caught me.  As I was rolling the giant snow balls around the yard to pack on more, they were gawking at me from the upstairs window.

A few minutes later, my son came out laughing and helping build one too.  Not soon after that, my oldest daughter was peeking around the side of the house - with the video camera!  They were so  shocked at my "childlike" behavior that they had to out it on tape.

I can now sit in my work space, and view the snowmen as I write today.  I need two more on the other side so my view is all about fun, fun, fun!  You should see them this morning.  I put sprigs of evergreen on the top of the larger one for hair.  We had a bit of freezing rain or drizzle, so everything this morning has a beautiful coat of white.  Just gorgeous.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Finding my muse when the sun is not shining

The winter time is more difficult for me to stay positive and focused when it comes to my writing.  I have realized that it is very easy to fall into the sweatpants and t-shirt syndrome.  Years ago, I saved Fridays for my "T-shirt" days, and dressed casual for the other days.  By casual I used to wear nice summer or winter skirts with sweaters or jeans and a nice top.  I guess after this last move, I landed in the t-shirt zone on a daily basis. 

Today I dressed in an Indian top that flows past the knees.   It came from India and is decorated with sequins.  Immediately, this kids who are home for another snow day, sent me their "ews" and "ahs" as I walked into the kitchen.  I realized that after writing, I did find my "muse" and that is to dress for "work" and to accessorize with my the style I prefer. 

Today, however, I did not work at the built in desk in the kitchen.  I moved a table to my bedroom, and faced it towards the glass doors, so that I could view the outdoors.  I burned a candle, sipped ginger ale, and got a lot of work done.  In fact, some of the kids are now interested in what I did write for the day.  Could it be that I did not "hog" the family computer and they had more freedom?  I have not idea, but for some reason they are respecting my "work" time a little bit more today.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Blizzard of 2010 ~ Snow Day!

 
This photo does not even compare to those who got more snow than us.
The snow bank on the right of the photo is over 6 feet tall.  Just after we dug the mailbox out, the snow plow came back through.  Grrr!  The predicted amount of snow here today is 10 inches by tomorrow morning.  We shovel by hand and we need to keep at least one portion of the large drive clear.  Snow or not, my husband still has to go to work.  He will need to be able to get back in the drive after work.

After a nice warm cup of hot chocolate, and a nice long hot shower, I have articles to write and articles to edit and articles to submit.  Although I wanted a snow day pretty bad, it is very difficult to work when all of the kids are home.

While we were outside working, I glanced up at the snow mound from the snow that arrived the day before.  My 8 year old daughter was trying to ride her big wheel down the snow bank! Ha, ha ha!  Of course I had to be the bad guy and put a stop to it.  I have had enough visits to the emergency room to last a lifetime.

We've already split wood, shoveled, put out a small fire on the stove top, cleaned up a broken plate that one dropped a mug on, and just had lunch so we can start on the house work.  

"Still want to live like a pioneer Mom?" asked my seventeen year old son after we stacked the wood and could not feel our noses or hands.

"Yep!" I replied with enthusiasm.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Snow and Wind

I had to laugh yesterday.  I was ranting at the kids for "breaking my computer" and all the while, the wind, snow and bad weather, had taken out the cable/Internet lines.  They are up and running, however I try not to write on Sunday now.

We did not get an extreme amount of snow.  The wind caused terrible drifting, and a driver went off the road out in front of our house.  She was able to get her truck back on, but that's how bad the roads were.

The kids are loving it.  The drifts are very tall, and they are sledding down them.  I see that the snow is coming down again this morning.  I'm sure they will be praying for a snow day tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Frog Spit

I was tickled to come across Frog Spit (frozen treats) for an after school snack.  When I brought them home last night, one daughter said, "Mooooooommm!  They sell those at school" in the whiniest voice I have ever heard.  That just deflated my excitement.  Either way, that's today's after school snack. 

Now I have to come up with another, off of the wall, treat for after school.  I may have to bake something this time.  Hmmm? 

Monday, February 1, 2010

Sunday Family Games

I have been pretty good at keeping my writing to "work days" and keeping Sunday as Sabbath.  In my attempt to read for pleasure yesterday, I failed.  The kids begged and begged me to play a game with them.  They kept saying, "Come on Mom....you aren't like other Mom's." When I asked what they meant they replied with words such as "boring" and "not fun" and a few others.  How could I not play.

So I did.  They took all of the cards, with nouns, from a game we have called Whoonu.  They shuffled the cards, and each player took one, but could not look at it.  Then another player would tape the card to your forehead, so that everyone else could read it.  Each player was allowed to ask one question each time around, until someone guessed what their card said correctly.  It takes time to play this game, so my reading didn't happen.  Was I sorry I played with the kids instead?  Nope.  It was kind of fun actually.