Home Gardening Center

Home Gardening Center

I know it was snowing outside today but I can’t help but get really, really excited about the promise of spring and GARDENS!

A few years ago we bought this cabinet from a family member who was moving. For the past two years I’ve been trying to sell it to recoup our money and buy a china hutch that will work for our living space and needs. Sadly the most I’ve been offered for it is about 1/6th of what we paid for it. NOT GOOD ENOUGH!

After our less than wonderful yard sale on Saturday I gave up. I decided to make this cabinet and hutch work for me and act as something beautiful. I’ve been wishing for a bench or a space to plant all of my seedlings and to allow them to germinate. Viola!

This week I applied a clear coat finish to the raw wood. This made it very, very shiny and WATERPROOF! It will stay in our garage and store all of my gardening stuff and be a workspace for planting this spring! I’m so excited!

Is anyone else getting ready to start their gardens? What are you doing to prepare?

Halloween

Halloween

My brother in law found this adorable penguin costume at Goodwill and we hoped that Lulu would be wearing it. No such luck. My mother in law tried to put her in it on Wednesday last week and Lulu threw the biggest fit ever! I knew she was okay, just angry, so I giggled at took photos. My mother in law is not super happy that I was laughing instead of helping her. Hey, I knew she didn’t want to be in there and she was just telling everyone else within a 2 mile radius. It’s too bad because it’s an adorable outfit.

Plan B was that my husband Jay would cut open a football and make openings for arms and legs and a head and put the baby in there and he would wear his Colts jersey. I don’t think he knows how big our baby is! She is NOT going to fit into a football. And we ran out of time to create our own.

So, on to plan C. Our good friend, Uncle Bob got Lulu a Wonder Woman onsie. It’s way to big but with layers we made it fit. The only problem we ran into all night was when people wondered what “this little guy was for Halloween?” or what “his costume” was supposed to be. Poor Lulu – she has all that curly hair and people still think she’s a boy…

That was the evolution of a Halloween costume for Saturday. Tonight, Lulu wore her fun carrot/pumpkin hat and played in her exersaucer as we tried to keep her warm for the night. Cutest pumpkin in the patch.

And this my friends was the sweetest Halloween costume EVER! I call dibs for next year!

Pumpkin Patch: Waterman’s Farm Market

Pumpkin Patch: Waterman’s Farm Market

Last weekend we went on an outing with our friends Katie, Will and their daughter Lilli. One of my best friends was visiting from California and we wanted to do some Midwest fall-type things so we went to a pumpkin patch called Waterman’s. Waterman’s is a farm market that is open 7 days a week May through October. They have two locations and we went to the Raymond Street location.

At Waterman’s there is an admission charge that covers a hayride to the pumpkin patch to pick out your pumpkin. The pumpkins are well priced at 35 cents per pound. We got THREE pumpkins for $8! Lulu posed for some amazing photos in the pumpkin patch and then on the hayride. We also went to the little petting zoo and watched a pumpkin eating dinosaur. There were so many things to do and some wonderful food vendors that made Waterman’s a wonderful place to take the whole family for a great day!

Something else that I really want to point out about Waterman’s. They have a portion of their farm set aside for refugee families to grow their own food. The particular refugees that they farm with at this time are the Karen from Burma. This grabbed my attention because beginning this year, I have been working with Karen refugees at “The Non-Profit”.

If you are looking for something fun to do with your family, check out Waterman’s through Halloween day and then go back for the Pumpkin Sling Shot on November 6th. All proceeds from the Pumpkin SlingShot benefit the Julian Center.

http://www.watermansfarmmarket.com/

Smoothie of the Day: Yellow Fruit Smash

Smoothie of the Day: Yellow Fruit Smash

1/2 -3/4 cup of Pineapple Juice

1/2 Banana

1 cup of frozen mangos

5 slices of frozen peaches

2-3 tablespoons of vanilla yogurt, chilled OR frozen

Blend all together in a blender until smooth or desired consistency. To avoid a blender catastrophe I generally add all items that are not frozen and then blend in one frozen ingredient at a time.

1-2 servings.

Chicken and Dumplings in the CrockPot

Chicken and Dumplings in the CrockPot

Makes 5-7 servings.

8 frozen or refrigerated chicken tenders OR 4 chicken breasts

3 cans of cream of chicken

2 cans of chicken broth

1 or 2 onions peeled and sliced as desired

2 packages of refrigerated bisquit dough (10 oz. each)

A handful of carrots (depends on your taste)

Salt & Pepper to taste

Water

Other options: celery, peas, broccoli

Spray Crockpot with nonstick spray. Place chicken in crock pot, pour cream of chicken over chicken. Add onions, carrots pepper and any other vegetables desired. Add chicken broth. Salt and pepper to taste. Add enough water to be sure all ingredients are underwater. Cook on low for 4-6 hours.

Shred the cooked chicken with two forks. Cut up or tear up the dough from both packages of biscuits into quarter size pieces and put them into the crock pot. Stir and put Crockpot on high for 45-60 minutes. It will look like there is too much dough but don’t worry and definitely use BOTH packages of dough. The biscuits will puff up and then shrink. Stir once or twice during the final hour.  Allow to cool to an edible temperature and serve! Yum!

Milk Chocolate Rum Mousse

Milk Chocolate Rum Mousse

¼ cup of Rum

¼ cup of Sugar

1 ½ cups of Chocolate Chips (dark or milk chocolate)

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons Whipping Cream

3 egg whites from medium sized eggs

In a small saucepan, mix the sugar and the rum until the sugar has dissolved. In another saucepan, heat the chocolate chips and stir in 2 tablespoons of whipping cream. Do not let it burn. To do this, I filled a pan with water and then set the sauce pan in it and melted the chocolate with the heat from the boiling water. OR, if you have a double boiler, use that. I do not. Stir until smooth.

Remove the chocolate from heat and stir in the dissolved sugar/rum mixture. Set aside to cool. Once it is cool, whip the egg whites until they are stiff. I prefer to use my hand mixer or my KitchenAid.

Once the chocolate mixture has cooled, mix it in with the stiff egg whites. In another bowl, whip the two cups of cream. When whipped, stir into the chocolate/egg whites mixture.

Place into serving dishes and then let them set in the fridge for at least 2 hours. Eat within 24 hours. Yum!

Sell Everything

Sell Everything

Last year I led the Dave Ramsey course at our church (meaning, I pressed “play” on the DVD player) and the year before Jay and I were participants in the course. One of the things that Dave teaches is that to get out of debt you should sell so much stuff that the kids and dog think they are next.

Well puppy dog, your number is up.

I swore that I wouldn’t be the type of person who has a baby and then gets rid of their dogs. The truth is, we never should have gotten a second dog but we did. We got Jolly so that Pixy, our first dog would have a companion. Pixy has been such a wonderful addition to our life the past five years and so we figured that a second pup would double that joy. Sadly, Pixy isn’t very fond of Jolly and having a rambunctious puppy around has made Pixy miserable.

We brought Jolly home the last week of August. Our first month together was fun and joyful. In September, Jay slipped a few discs in his neck and had to have surgery. A few weeks later, I found out I was pregnant. During this time, Jay was recovering from this surgery and traveling for weeks at a time for work. In the winter, I was placed on bed rest for the remainder of my pregnancy.

Suffice to say, Jolly suffered. She was not given the attention, physical exercise, training or the play that she so badly needed and deserved. Then came baby.

With all of the cutbacks and changes we’ve had to make in our life, the financial responsibility of two dogs is just too much. We thought long and hard about it and we even changed our minds once a few months ago (which means Jolly missed out on getting a really good home) and now we just know that she has to go.

We’re waiting for the right family to come along for her. She’s a purebred golden retriever with a lot of love and joy so we just know that we’ll find a family soon. Our hope is that she goes to someone that we only have two degrees of separation with.

Although, Jay says we can take her straight to Kevin Bacon if he wants her.

The No Car Experiment

The No Car Experiment

Yes, we are crazy. Yes, we are desperate.

Within the past 18 months, my salary was cut in half or worse when I switched jobs. When I was on bed rest while I was pregnant, I only was able to work part time and so that salary was also cut. Also within the past year or two, my husband’s salary was cut in order to save jobs. Add to that our majorly HUGE medical bills and the additional cost for adding Lulu on to our insurance. Oh yeah, AND there isn’t the overtime available that there was a year ago. So, I would say that we have been living on about a third or less of what we had two years ago.

It has come to our attention that we haven’t been living as if we were cut. So, it’s time for some REALLY deep cuts. The biggest one is my car. Jay suggested this about a year ago but I threw a fit and refused. Yesterday I got to the point that when I looked at the bills and I thought I’d rather die than figure out a way to pay them. Then I decided that we should be irresponsible and file for bankruptcy. Then I decided that we HAD to get rid of my car. So instead of dying or filing for bankruptcy I’ve decided to sell my car to pay it off.

Being rid of my car would eliminate my car payment, gas, maintenance, taxes, registration and insurance. I know that other transportation costs will surface now but this is the best plan I can come up with. With this we will recoup almost one entire paycheck each month.

How is this going to work? Not easily. But I’m committing to going without a car for three months. And hopefully at that time I will be able to pay cash for a smaller, older, used car. Until then, we will pay off as many bills as possible and I will rely on friends, family and taxis. This won’t start until February or March but we’re working out all of the logistics now.

So, can you give me ride? I’ll pay for gas…

About Working

About Working

 

In my line of work I have met a lot of really kind, loving, wonderful people. I’ve been so blessed that the majority of the people I’ve come across fit that description. However, yesterday I found myself talking to Lulu about my vocation. I begged her to never do the kind of work that I do. It was so strange for me to hear myself saying this for several reasons but the biggest one is that I love what I do!

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my job and I know that my job is ONE of the reasons that God put me on this planet. There are so many joyous and beautiful moments in my line of work but there are also seasons of terrible sadness and downright cruelty. It’s not that the bad times outweigh the good times, it’s just that the low moments are so lonely and so soul wrenching that I wouldn’t wish them upon anyone, especially someone that I love so deeply.
The emotions that I’ve felt in the past 10 years of working in this area, are emotions that no one should ever have to feel. The actions that I’ve suffered should never have to be endured. The sadness that I’ve felt shouldn’t even exist.
Again, I love my profession; I just wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.