Tuesday, December 23, 2008


I know it's almost a crime to admit it but I've been so bored! I really dislike this time of year, all activities are canceled and everyone is so busy nothing is going on. Of course with all the holidays the library deliveries are few and really slow so I'm just about out of books (our library is only open 2 days a week).

I'm going to make myself put up the Christmas tree tomorrow, it takes about 10 minutes to decorate since it's about 2 feet tall. I'm debating whether or not to wrap the presents, it seems like a huge waste of paper and doesn't exactly fit with my desire to use less resources. Our plans for going to church on Thursday aren't looking good, we're pretty reigned to the fact that we aren't going because of the weather. In one way I'm really disappointed but not having to get up at 4:30 in the morning so we can be there by 9 is really nice. I have to admit that I rarely look forward to going for that reason, it makes for a long and exhausting day.

On the up side I've gotten lots of reading done and I've cleaned the kitchen from top to bottom. Since there isn't much of anything going on for the rest of the week I figure I should be able to deep clean the rest of the house.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas Gifts and more

I've finally finished all the Christmas gifts I was making. I think this is a record since it isn't even Christmas day yet!

I made these place mats for a gift exchange for our gymkhana club.

I thought they turned out really cute. Unfortunately both sets ended up with men who didn't seem all that thrilled. I don't know how common it is but both parties we went to play a game with the exchange gifts. The gifts are all placed in a pile and everyone gets a number. When it is your turn you can either pick a gift from the pile or you can steal a gift from someone else who has one. If you steal a gift then that person has to either pick from the pile or can steal from someone who has a gift. The game can go on for quite awhile. Once the last gift is taken from the pile the game is over and you are stuck with whatever gift you have at that time. It's a lot of fun.

I also finished two other gifts but I can't post pictures of those until after Christmas.

Lorna finished her sampler this evening. This is a project she has been working on for an entire year. When we were studying the 1800s we talked about how girls at that time would do a sampler to practice their embroidery skills. Lorna was interested in trying one for herself so I checked out a few books from the library and made up a pattern using her confirmation verse. It's finally done and looks wonderful. I can't wait to get it framed and hung on her wall.

Monday, December 15, 2008


We woke up to this.

I think it's just beautiful. Since we've lived here we've had a few storms that dropped an inch or so but nothing like this. When we got up the snow was about a foot deep, the snow has continued to fall and the weather service is reporting the possibility of up to 20 inches by tomorrow morning. An acquaintance who called this morning said she's lived here for 9 years and never seen anything like it. Since it is so unusual the area wasn't prepared. The power has been off and on all morning and the entire valley is basically shut down. The lake level and the towns are at about 1500 feet and they got almost as much snow as we did. We are at about 4000 feet up a one lane road which doesn't get plowed so our community will be stuck until the snow melts off the road. We aren't really all that concerned so we are really enjoying being unable to go anywhere.

Malachi has been having a blast playing in the snow. Although he was a bit disappointed that it's too deep to sled in since all he does is sink.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


It's times like today that I wish we had never gotten involved in activities.

Gymkhana was canceled for the third month in a row. The October and November shows were canceled due to pigeon fever at the facility we normally use. Today's show was canceled due to wind (which is really ridiculous since our valley is always windy). The problem is that Lorna got up in the dark to get the horses ready, we all ran around yesterday cooking extra food and getting everything prepared for today's show. I should feel lucky that we got a call as we were getting ready to load the horses but it's difficult not to be angry and frustrated.

Last week I found out that we could have been using the rodeo grounds for shows all along. When the first show was canceled I asked about using the grounds and was told that there wasn't a tractor available, which I found out isn't correct. It seems there was a falling out between our club and the rodeo grounds people a few years ago. The people who caused the mess are long gone but no one could put the hard feelings aside long enough to find that out the actual details. Small town politics are really frustrating!

Ultimately my kids are the ones who are hurt by all this which makes me really angry. Our club really only has a handful of children who ride and I think the adults who make the decisions forget what it's like to have an activity you love be so inconsistent. Lorna has stopped planning for future shows and won't even put the dates on her calendar anymore. At this point she is of the opinion that no one outside our family keeps their word and I really can't blame her. I put out over $100 for year end awards, the money cannot be refunded. In order for her to actually qualify for those awards we are going to have to travel 50+ miles to shows in other districts. This means more money for fuel and more planning since we will be gone longer. All of this could have been avoided if the people who run our club had been just a little more forgiving and proactive.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


I'm still struggling with cooking with our weekly produce delivery. So far I've found that I absolutely loath yams and I really like braeburn apples. There are just a lot of things that I don't know what to do with: kale, long choy, turnips, radishes, and such.

We tried a few recipes over the last week that worked well and a few that I won't be trying again. Radish top soup, also known as snot booger soup in this house, was a failure.

Not only is the color unappealing but it was too salty with the chicken broth. I didn't like the texture either.

The huge success was stuffed chard leaves with homemade marinara. Oh I can't even begin to tell you how good this was, we will be having it again over the weekend.

Roasted vegetable tarts were just okay. Part of the problem was that I added yams and turnips to the mix of vegetables (I found I didn't like either). The tarts were also a bit too dry for my liking. I will be trying this recipe again omitting the stuff I hate and adding a bit more liquid to the recipe.

We also had Greek style spaghetti squash and a veggie casserole with cheese. Both of these were good and will be made again when the ingredients are available. Poor Malachi thinks the world is ending since he hates the idea of all fresh veggies. I'm struggling with all the extra cooking this requires. Cooking with so much fresh produce means a lot more work and many more dishes. Where dinner used to take me 30 minutes or so to get on the table that time has at least doubled. I rarely served anything but a main dish but I've found I need to have a side dish for most of our new dinners. I'm also having difficulties using up the box of produce before the next one arrives. So far I've been choosing recipes with ingredients we have on hand or are able to get cheap. Part of the deal I made with Paul was that we would try this service as long as we can keep within our grocery budget. This means that many of our dinners have no meat. The most difficult meal of the day is lunch which is nothing new since we've always struggled with what to have for lunch. So far we've been eating a lot of pasta.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


This is just about dead on, especially the part about scaring people away with bluntness!

Your result for Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz...

You Are a Bette!


You are a Bette -- "I must be strong"

Bettes are direct, self-reliant, self-confident, and protective.

How to Get Along with Me

  • * Stand up for yourself... and me.

  • * Be confident, strong, and direct.

  • * Don't gossip about me or betray my trust.

  • * Be vulnerable and share your feelings. See and acknowledge my tender, vulnerable side.

  • * Give me space to be alone.

  • * Acknowledge the contributions I make, but don't flatter me.

  • * I often speak in an assertive way. Don't automatically assume it's a personal attack.

  • * When I scream, curse, and stomp around, try to remember that's just the way I am.

What I Like About Being a Bette

  • * being independent and self-reliant

  • * being able to take charge and meet challenges head on

  • * being courageous, straightforward, and honest

  • * getting all the enjoyment I can out of life

  • * supporting, empowering, and protecting those close to me

  • * upholding just causes

What's Hard About Being a Bette

  • * overwhelming people with my bluntness; scaring them away when I don't intend to

  • * being restless and impatient with others' incompetence

  • * sticking my neck out for people and receiving no appreciation for it

  • * never forgetting injuries or injustices

  • * putting too much pressure on myself

  • * getting high blood pressure when people don't obey the rules or when things don't go right

Bettes as Children Often

  • * are independent; have an inner strength and a fighting spirit

  • * are sometimes loners

  • * seize control so they won't be controlled

  • * figure out others' weaknesses

  • * attack verbally or physically when provoked

  • * take charge in the family because they perceive themselves as the strongest, or grow up in difficult or abusive surroundings

Bettes as Parents

  • * are often loyal, caring, involved, and devoted

  • * are sometimes overprotective

  • * can be demanding, controlling, and rigid

Take Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz
at HelloQuizzy

Sunday, December 07, 2008


Lorna was given the opportunity to assist her riding instructor in breaking one of her horses. This particular horse is a Chincoteague gelding who is around 4 years old. The instructor has done the groundwork with him, getting him used to a halter, being tied, having a saddle on his back, etc. Before yesterday no one had actually been up on him.

She started out with just lifting herself up in one stirrup and petting the horse and then getting down. It progressed from there to actually swinging on completely and then getting off again. At the end of the time she rode him while being "ponied" by the older horse and her instructor. It was a really great thing to watch. Lorna had this huge smile on her face the entire time, which is a rare occurrence for her. Her instructor was very pleased with the way Lorna worked and listened so she will continue helping with the training of the horse.

Lorna is hoping to make this her career when she grows up so this opportunity is just incredible. Weather permitting Lorna will be going back tomorrow to work with the horse some more. This is what I had envisioned for her during her later years of homeschooling, the opportunity to learn skills from others in the community.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Christmas Presents and Whatnot

Here is a picture of the first of the presents I'm making this year.

We need a few gifts for parties and events and this is one such gift. I started with a pattern I purchased from the local quilt shop that I love. I tweaked the pattern a little so there isn't a bottom seam in the lining (it is lined with waterproof material). I'm really excited because this is the first year I've gotten an early start on gifts.

I really started a few weeks ago when I made this apron for my mom's birthday. She actually got it before her birthday!

Life has obviously been going too well since the not so great things are starting to roll in. Paul's car was hit while parked at one of his accounts last Wednesday. It's drivable but it's missing the driver's side mirror and the door doesn't open all the way. It will get fixed but the insurance company that's handling the claim (it was hit by someone at the business he was visiting) doesn't seem to be in any hurry. We really didn't want him driving without a mirror so he took my truck this morning. On the way to his first stop today the check engine light came on. We have an appointment on Thursday to get it looked at. Paul will have to reattach the mirror on the car somehow and drive it until we find out what's wrong with the truck. Luckily Paul is on vacation on Thursday so he has time to drive the 60 miles to the dealership to have the truck looked at. I'm really glad we purchased the extended warranty when we bought the truck!