Thursday, December 30, 2010

Flooding and Mud

Many of you have heard of the flooding in California.

Our little valley is about an hour outside of a relatively large city. There are 4 ways into the valley. The main way is a canyon road that goes directly into the city, there is a small mountain road that is open intermittently in the winter, a road that goes through another valley and then hits a major highway, and the last route goes through a pass out into the desert. This last week has seen all ways in and out closed for short periods of time. The canyon road has been closed since the first storm hit. Many of the people in this valley rely on that road into the city to get to work. For the last week and a half many of these people have been driving hours out of their way to get to work. Today all roads were again closed. I keep wondering how much longer employers are going to be understanding. Will they give up and hire people who are having fewer troubles getting to work?

I was really lucky, although I missed 2 days of work I was able to make them up. Paul has been suffering in that he can't get into the city to sell anything. Since his salary was revoked as of last month he isn't making any money. This is the last straw, bankruptcy is looming.

The road into our property was washed out in the first storm. Once the flood waters receded we were able to walk across the creek. The creek used to flow under a bridge which allowed access to the properties in the area and the BLM road that goes into the forest. Now the creek flows about 50 feet in front of the bridge. A neighbor was able to get our truck across using his bulldozer to get it through the mud.

For the last week we have been walking a half mile to the truck which is parked across the creek. Last night the latest storm dumped enough water into the creek that it came up to our knees in some spots. During the day the crossing isn't too bad but in the dark it's daunting. Getting food and small supplies in has been relatively easy. Unfortunately we are just about out of hay so we will have to carry 100 lb hay bales in one at a time. A load of hay consists of 36 bales, it's going to be a huge workout for all of us!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Quick Update

We've moved the animals and ourselves and are still working on our junk.

We are currently living in an RV and Fifth Wheel and only have solar power. We are still adjusting to our new way of life but the kids and I are certainly enjoying all the space to ride!

We've been blessed by an outpouring of offers of help from friends and acquaintances. It's amazing the support we've been offered!

Once we have the internet moved and the generator up and running I should be able to post more frequent updates.

Sunday, November 07, 2010


Why is it that every time something seems to be going well we are thrown another curve ball?

We've been attending this wonderful church whenever possible but it's been frustrating because I'm scheduled to work almost every Sunday at the market. Last week the feed store offered me more hours, enough so I can quit the market! Since the feed store is closed on Sundays I was ecstatic. We've been making it on a severely reduced income, it hasn't been easy but it's been doable so everything seemed to be turning around for us.

Friday Paul got a call from his boss, it seems the company is doing away with his salary package and going to straight commission. Yes the commission and monthly residuals will be a lot better but there is now no guaranty of pay if he has a slow week or month. They gave the employees 1 week notice of the change. I'm optimistic that Paul can make this work but I'm terrified that we won't be able to make ends meet. I'm trusting that God has a plan because that's all I can do at this point. I'm praying for stronger faith to make it through this and I'm also throwing in that I'd really love to have a boring life in the near future :)

Friday, October 22, 2010


We got an offer on our house.

I'm trying not to get too excited because it's really up to the bank whether or not to except it. Since we still aren't in foreclosure even though we should be I hope it is a sign that they would rather have a small offer than nothing at all.

We have been working on getting the generator in the RV working. Paul has replaced a few things and has a few more ideas but we know very little about them so it's difficult. I'm going to be optimistic and say that once we get it working we can move. I do have a back-up plan if we can't get it working, it involves buying a small portable one so we can charge the battery and keep the refrigerator running!

I'm hoping that getting the offer will be the impetus we need to get moving a little faster. The rainy season has begun so we really do need to get everything moved sooner rather than later.

I'm still working 2 jobs because I have a serious problem with saying no. Every time I'm convinced that it's time to get rid of one I hear a rumor that hours are going to be cut, it makes me leery to change anything because I just might need both jobs to keep 20 hours a week. I'm contemplating looking for a better job in the city near us and just getting rid of the local jobs. If I can find somewhere that I can work during the week for 2-3 days I can carpool with Paul and have more free time. Since we've found a new church home I really want at least 2 Sundays off a month which doesn't look feasible at the local market.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Once in a while this is what I run across in the kids' education.

Last week the chorus had a coach come in from out of town. Lorna and I have a private voice lesson with her before rehearsal. During that lesson she asked Lorna to sing "You Are My Sunshine" which she didn't know. She then asked her to sing "Mary Had A Little Lamb" which was another thing Lorna didn't know. This happened a few months ago with "My Country Tis Of Thee". It seems I have forgotten to teach what I consider "cultural" songs. Things that everyone just seems to know.

Speaking of schooling I guess it's time I sit down and plan out our school year. I admit that I've really dropped the ball on formal schooling at the moment. The kids are still reading books and doing other school type things but no book work. This is yet another area that has suffered greatly since I started working. Not only has our diet rapidly deteriorated but time to do necessities like school planning and laundry has disappeared.

I told the feed store that I just couldn't work this week. I'm scheduled 5 days at the market and the little time I have off I need to keep my sanity. My working part time has morphed into full time, sometimes over 40 hours, because I have a problem saying, "No." When I work too many hours we don't actually see a monetary gain because we spend the money eating out due to not having enough time to cook. I'm still trying to strike a balance between working too much and not enough. Hopefully I'll get this straightened out soon.

On a really happy note we found a great church to attend! Right now we are averaging once a month because that seems to be how often I can get a Sunday off work but we are hoping to eventually make it twice a month. It's not as close as I could wish but it's a wonderfully solid church and the distance isn't so great that we can't manage it.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Too much!

That is what my life is filled with right now, too much of everything. Too much work, too many activities, too many responsibilities, etc. Something has got to give but I'm not sure what right now.

We continue to work on our new property with the hopes of moving out there sometime in the next week or so. The weekends have filled up with catch up projects for Paul and work outside the home for me.

We've found a new church we desperately want to try but I've been unable to get time off from the market where I'm scheduled to work every Sunday. I asked for this Sunday off but they just "couldn't make it work." They were annoyed and surprised when I just "couldn't make it work" on Wednesday when they called me into work early. To be fair I was working at the feed store but I don't know that I would have went in even if I didn't have prior commitments. So far I'm still working 35-40 hours outside the home between my 2 jobs. The strain is getting more difficult to handle. It's especially hard when I only bring home $260 a week for all that work. Yes the money is nice but I do feel my time is worth more, especially with everything that is not getting done at home. I need to figure out a balance of working enough hours to get by but not so many that our family suffers.

I'm considering dropping one of my major activities. As much as I hate the idea, it would free up a tremendous amount of time and save me lots of frustration. I have no idea if I will go through with it but it's been entering my mind more and more. I use up most of my patience at the market where I have to watch the tax money I pay being spent on junk. Maybe our area is the exception but watching people use their food stamp cards on soda, candy, ice cream, cigarettes, and alcohol just makes me angry. For most of the people who come into our store this is just their normal way of life, this isn't temporary. They have learned how to work the system and so they live comfortably. Yes, I'm jaded and frustrated! All of this is to say that I just don't have any patience to waste on outside activities anymore.

Okay on to the positives going on. I'm excited about our upcoming move and I've been riding! I can't remember if I mentioned the horse that we got a number of months ago. She is an older retired show horse who has a "been there done that" kind of attitude. Very little seems to bother her so I've been building my confidence on her. We've gone out on a number of hour long trail rides and we will be doing our first gymkhana tomorrow. I'm really excited even though we will only be walking through the events. I know it's not all that impressive but I'm no longer terrified to get on her so I feel like I've achieved something huge :)

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Out of control

That's what has happened to our eating habits.

I knew that since I'm averaging 30-35 hours of work outside the home our food expenditures were getting a little out of hand but I didn't realize how bad it had become. As I was balancing the checkbook I found more receipts from eating out than I remembered. I also noticed that popping into the market for convenience foods becomes expensive really quickly. All of the money from my extra hours is being eaten up, literally.

I'm going to be making a better effort to plan out dinners so there is no question of what there is to cook. In the beginning, dinner was ready by the time I got home from work. The current tendency is to wait until after I get home and ask me what should be made. By that time, around 9 pm, I'm not in the mood to help people with dinner prep. All I want to do when I'm not working is to sleep or veg out so making sure dinner prep is done before I go to work is going to take some effort on my part.

Monday, August 30, 2010


That's how I feel!

I've picked up a few shifts at the local feed store to make up for the fact that I wasn't getting many hours at the market. Of course as soon as I did that my hours at the market picked up. I'm thankful for the money but life at home is seriously suffering.

I've always maintained that when you work outside the home something suffers whether it's your work or your family. For me it's always my family because I want to do my best and I want to keep my job. You wouldn't think that working at a small market would be exhausting but it is. The work itself isn't bad but the environment is exhausting. For a small market there is enough drama going on behind the scene to fill 2 daytime soap operas with story lines forever. It's impossible to just go to work and do your job since all of the drama is brought into the workplace. People complain, gossip, and are just generally difficult to work with. Unlike a big market where you are tied to your register, we are expected to keep busy but stay in the front of the store. The summer season is winding down so business is slow making it difficult to keep busy. There are only so many times you can wipe down the same set of shelves during a shift. There is also a lot of interaction between the employees because we are so slow, this exacerbates problems that are brewing under the surface...

Lorna had a breakdown this past week, telling me that she feels like she has too much on her plate. When we talked about what was going on I found that it isn't her activities that are the problem but that she has too many responsibilities at home. She has picked up 95% of the jobs I can no longer do because I'm gone. She also tearfully told me that she misses me so much and just wants me to be home! How many mothers of teenagers hear that? After the pleasure of hearing that she wants me to be around I feel guilty because I have to work!

We are looking at solutions and I think we may have something worked out. If everything comes together in 2-3 weeks things will slow down for all of us.

Due to my busy schedule we haven't been able to work on our new property. We had planned to be moved out there by now but we still have some work to do before that can happen. Hopefully we can get things moving this week so that we can actually set a move date.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Catching up

I seem to do a lot of "catching up" posts lately.

Paul's new job seems to be going well. The company has provided lots of training and help so far and he has even made a few sales. Given his previous jobs, I'm still a bit skeptical but they are paying him so I'm mostly happy.

My job is going, I can't say well or pleasantly but it's a job. Too much drama and favoritism for me to actually enjoy it anymore.

We continue to work on the new property but working has kept us so busy we aren't as far along as we hoped to be at this point. Unrelated and unexpected expenses means everything has been downsized. We hope to move into the RV sometime in the next few weeks.

Lorna and I just had our Ice Cream Social for the local Sweet Adelines Chorus. We were both asked to sing in the double quartet which made for some extra excitement. The evening was fun, made our chorus lots of money, and we had extended family actually come watch.

During the evening we also hold an auction. I always donate something I've made. This year the items didn't do so well.

I made these baskets and filled them with bath salts, a bandana, mini-wipes (for removing make up and such), a wetbag (for keeping wet items contained), and a cooling neck tie (one of those things filled with crystals that hydrate and keep you cool). Even though they didn't make much money for the chorus, it gave me time to perfect a few patterns.

We have had one showing on our house so far. It seemed promising but nothing has come of it. It's frustrating because the house is priced at less than half of what we paid for it 4 years ago and we have made many improvements in those 4 years. We would love to sell it so we can just move on but it's looking more and more like we are going to end up foreclosing. The only benefit of foreclosing is that we can leave our stuff here for a number of months and pack as we have time. Hopefully we will be able to save enough for a shipping container to be dropped on the new property so we won't have to rent a storage unit. There is also a lot we can take from the property that we would leave if we sell the house. On the whole it's just really stressful!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

More adjustments

I'm having a really difficult time getting myself motivated to do anything on my days off from work. I get the house stuff done, I get the errands done, but nothing else. I'm really behind in my sewing. I have stuff that's been hanging over my head for weeks and I really need to restock my stores!

I'm starting to have more adjustment problems at work as well. I know rationally that my morals and values do not coincide with everyone else. It's really difficult to keep that perspective when you are faced not only with customers but fellow employees who flaunt things that I would be ashamed off. I'm learning to keep my mouth shut and not comment when things are said. The last thing I need is to make trouble! I keep telling myself it's a learning opportunity :)

The house has finally been put back on the market as a short sale. The weather has been so hot (100+) that it's been difficult to get any work done on the new property. We have to move the dog run and two sheds and then we can move out there. The RV is as ready as it's going to get so my goal is to be out there within a month. We will leave the rest of our belongings here and pack and move them as time allows. The money we had saved for a container to store our stuff in has been used to live and pay bills so I'm hoping that we can save enough to get one before we have to get everything out of the house. If not, we may end up renting a storage unit short term.

Overall things have gotten better. Between Paul's 2 jobs and my job we are at the point where we can once again survive and even slowly pay off some bills. It's nice to have a little breathing room but it's difficult not to go out and spend everything we bring in replacing things that are wearing out. I'm relearning how to be extremely frugal and it's been interesting!

Monday, July 05, 2010


So I'm still adapting to working.

I'm a little frustrated, the schedule for this week (which started today) wasn't up until today. I asked for Saturday morning off and didn't get it even though no one else had a request in, I guess this is something I'll have to become accustom to.

I'm enjoying the actual work but I'm still coming home very sore. This could be because I've been working 8 hour shifts. Since I've been home for so long there have been some adjustments that have been difficult. Rules are not clearly laid out so there have been instances where I've broken a rule unknowingly. I find out about the rule because I broken it :( I'm a very black and white person so it's been difficult for me not to have things clearly spelled out. I'm looking at these experiences and difficulties as growth opportunities, I figure I'm becoming more flexible.

Overall things are going well just really, really busy!

Friday, June 25, 2010

I'm tired!

I've forgotten how much it takes out of you to go to work outside the home.

I've worked two 4 hour shifts and I'm tired. On top of starting my new job I've also been running around like crazy doing other things. Paul was gone for most of the week for training with his new job so there have been extra errands for me to run.

As most of you know I hurt my back a year ago. I thought I was healed but standing on my feet for 4 straight hours is killing me! I bought insoles for my shoes which is helping but I can tell I really need to work on strengthening my back muscles so I can be more comfortable while I work.

Next week I'll be working double what I did this week and I have at least one 8 hour shift so it'll be interesting to see how many things are left undone around the house. Already I can see how easy it would be to slide into the habit of grabbing fast food when I need something to eat quickly, I admit I've already done it. I had Paul pick up bread so I don't have to make it this weekend (it's been close to 100 during the day so the last thing I want to do is turn on the oven) so I should be able to throw together sandwiches to curtail the eating out.

Paul's new job should go really well. He is really impressed with the training and support he has received so far. The few sales calls he has made have been very promising. We hope he will be more successful in this industry! He's very excited and that goes a long way toward being successful.

The kids are adjusting to having me work. I came home from my first day to find the living room and deck spotless! It was so nice not to have to navigate the obstacle course that those areas had become. I really appreciate the help they are giving during this transition period. Hopefully things will calm down a bit and I can get some sewing done!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

New Life

I know, 3 posts in just a couple of days is really unusual but I had to share.

We allowed one of our broody chickens to sit on 3 eggs and this was the sight that met me when I was checking under her.

I know I shouldn't be surprised that the whole hatching chick process works but I am. One of the other eggs has a few cracks so hopefully that one will hatch as well. I have no idea if the rooster gets around to all the hens daily so we weren't even sure that these eggs were really fertile.

More Good News

I received a call back from the market yesterday, I start next week!

I'm really excited because the job is in the valley and I don't have to join the union like I would if I worked at the big chain market in town. By working close to home I can work part-time and make the same amount of money as if I was driving into the city and paying for all that gas.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Great News!

Paul had a number of interviews last week and on Friday he was offered a job!

He will be working for a company selling payroll and payment solutions. The company has good ratings from it's employees and seems to have good training and compensation plans. The interesting thing is that Paul had no intention of even considering a job with this company but went to the interview because the company is rated the #1 place to work in the service industry. Paul was extremely impressed with the company and what they had to offer so that is why he decided that it would be a good fit for him.

Paul also received another offer of employment yesterday which he had to turn down. The manager wanted him enough that he said to please give him a call if the new position doesn't work out :)

I received a call from the market asking if I was still interested in employment. I went in to talk to the hiring manager as she requested but was told I would receive a call today to further discuss the opportunity. I'm a little frustrated with the hurry up and wait but it would be nice to get a job in town. I do have a position lined up as a back up driver for Meals On Wheels but that isn't something that is consistent.

I had an interview at Starbucks last week. During the interview the manager spent his time avoiding eye contact and then talking to his friends at the tables next to us in between questions. At the end of the interview he just stood up and walked over to their table. I was shocked at the lack of professionalism from this guy. Other than that I haven't received any other calls for interviews. I seem to be too educated for anything that doesn't require much experience and I don't have enough experience for jobs that require education. At this point I don't absolutely have to have a job but it would be nice to enough breathing room to start saving again.

Our land closed, we have had much of the sagebrush scraped off, and the RV has been moved onto it. We've been going out there and working on getting the RV in a livable condition and planning out where things will be going. I'm getting excited about the upcoming adventure and am looking forward to moving out there. The neighbors have all been really nice and helpful so I think it will be a great place for us. Things are progressing with our current mortgage company so hopefully the house will go on the market soon as a short sale. It's the perfect time to list the property since it's summer and this is the time of year people look for vacation homes. Overall most of our goings on have been really positive for a change!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Positive news

Since I've been so negative I thought I'd post some positive news.

Paul has finally had some calls back on applications he sent out so there is at least one interview in the works.

I went to the county job agency yesterday and was actually pleasantly surprised with the results. They had me do up a few more resumes, tailoring them to a few different situations. I went back with those this morning and they found 3 jobs for me to apply for. The jobs sound way too good to be true, not in the compensation, but in the fit for my qualifications. The jobs just opened and will be filled within 2 weeks so I won't have to wait very long to find out if I am chosen to interview. If you are the type of person to pray, please pray for us. My immediate response is to pray that God would give me one of these jobs but I'm praying for His will to be done and the strength and faith to deal with whatever the outcome is.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

More negativity

I been avoiding updating my blog because I've been so very negative but I just couldn't help it, I had to blog about today's happenings.

I've spent countless hours applying for jobs over the past few weeks. I finally decided to try AppleOne, an employment service. In order to get an appointment you have to fill out lots of paperwork online. I spent about 2 hours filling out all their online stuff and was scheduled for an appointment tomorrow at 10:30. I just received a call from them to "verify" my appointment. They wanted to see why I had no recent job experience. I explained that I have been a homemaker for the past 9 years but that I have done some volunteer work during the last 2 years. The office canceled my appointment, according to them I'm not the kind of person they can help. You have to have a stable work history and I don't have it.

I asked the woman who called to please explain who could help, she suggested the county work agency. I explained that I had attempted to get a job working for minimum wage but that I was turned down due to being overqualified. She was surprised but said an education without any recent experience was pretty much useless. I'm still wondering how I'm supposed to get that experience if no one will even talk to me. I called the county agency but the person I spoke with was unsure how they could help. I'm going in tomorrow to fill out more paperwork in the hopes that they can help me find a job but the person didn't sound very hopeful.

So here I am with a BA in Math and no way to get a job. I looked into substitute teaching but the high school district isn't even accepting any more applications for next year, there are just too many teachers out of work. I could start being less than truthful on applications saying I have no education beyond high school but I highly doubt employers want a liar working for them. I am so out of ideas!

I'm trying to have faith that things will work out but I seem to be running into one stumbling block after another, I could really use a break and some good luck!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


I have lots of them but I have to say at the moment that one of my biggest regrets was ever going to college.

I have another 10+ years left on my loan and I can't find a job.

It seems that having a degree is keeping the local employers from calling me back. I could lie and say I only finished high school but then I would have to lie about my work history. I'm sure employers don't want to hire liars but most won't even give me the time of day.

I had an interview yesterday at another local market. Once again I was told that I would hear back within a few days. I thought the interview went well but now I'm wondering if that's just wishful thinking. I know that if I haven't heard anything by tomorrow afternoon I didn't get the job since the hiring manager won't be in on Thursday and she is in a rush to hire 2 people.

The frustrating thing is that I've even been applying in the big city near us. I'm over-qualified for some things and under-qualified for everything else. I just don't fit in anywhere. I'm sure some of the companies have looked at where I live and just skipped my application but since there are a number of people in our area who drive into the city that can't be the only reason I'm not getting any calls back.

Paul hasn't had any calls back and he has probably sent off close to 50 resumes and applications. He's gotten a couple of emails from companies telling him that they are pursuing other candidates, at least that's something, but the vast majority of places don't bother giving you any information. It's really frustrating! He still has a job at the moment but what he's receiving isn't even paying for his gas to go back and forth to work, the only reason he is still going to work is for the medical insurance. I'm sure that something good will come out of all of this, I just hope it's soon!

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Catching up again

I wish I could say that time flies when I'm having fun but for me time just flies.

Paul's job has taken another turn for the worst. He's actively searching for something to fill in the gaps and I'm actively searching for anything. One thing I've learned is that a degree and no experience will get you nowhere. I had an interview at the local market, they were concerned about my degree and my advanced age (I never thought 35 was all that old). I guess you need to be young and uneducated to bag groceries... I've applied at numerous places but haven't received any calls back, contrary to promises made when I dropped off some of the applications. I've applied for jobs that require a degree and no experience but I have yet to hear back from any of those either. I'm feeling really useless right now.

We need to get out from under our mortgage so we are planning a move to a bare piece of land. It's flat, easily accessible, and the owners' are willing to carry. Of course you can't get electricity around here without an address or a well. You can't get phone service without an address, and you can't get an address without a permanent livable structure. So we are going to be doing without all of that once again. We purchased an old RV that will be towed to its new home once the land closes and we will be moving onto the property sometime in the next few months. The kids are ecstatic, their parents are just tired. From our last experience off-grid we have a pretty good idea of what to expect. We've made plans to buy water from someone local and we have a backup in case that falls through. There is a generator in the RV and we are looking at setting up a small solar system for power. We are building a composting toilet to handle waste and we have someone lined up to scrape the sage brush off of most of the land. The biggest hurdle we've run up against is the lack of phone service. There is no cell reception within 12 miles of this area. VOIP might be an option but since we are on satellite internet that's kind of iffy. We are looking into a satellite phone but the equipment is really pricey, I know we will come up with a solution eventually. I'm sure there will be other little bumps along the way but at least the basic are planned for.

So we are in the beginning stages of another adventure. Right now it's kind of difficult to get too excited but at least we have a plan...

Sunday, April 18, 2010

April Gymkhana

No pictures yet but I just had to share.

This was our club's first ever 3 day show. Although the kids didn't win any of the overall awards they received lots of medals for placing in the individual events. In order to have an idea of what I'm talking about I'm going to explain about divisions. There are a number of divisions in gymkhana. The FC riders are the slowest, you can go anywhere from a walk to a slow lope and be in this division. The next is A, then AA, then AAA, and finally AAA+. We had a number of fast riders this weekend from out of town and we still only had 2 AAA+ times total, so that gives you an idea how difficult it is to run those kind of times.

Malachi started out the season as an A rider. This show showed he has progressed and he is a solid AA rider at this point. He rode very cleanly and only had a few mistakes, mostly due to his horse. It's nice that he rode most of the events in AA, showing how consistent he can be.

Lorna was at a disadvantage because this was only her third show on her horse. Unbelievably she ran a number of AA times. Most surprising was the fact that she ran 3 AAA times! Her fastest time had her only 2 tenths of a second from AAA+. I couldn't help myself from jumping up and down. She was so excited I thought she was going to leap off her horse. Since there was room for improvement on her run it means that she has the potential to eventually run some AAA+ times. This weekend she not only had people cheering for her but she received many compliments on her riding.

Lorna's tack sales progressed nicely and she has orders to deliver next show. She also put one of her horses up for sale on Tuesday and ended up selling him on Friday.

The one low point to the weekend was that Lorna's cat died sometime last night. He was acting strangely the last 2 days so it wasn't a complete shock, but since he was only 7 and an indoor cat we weren't prepared to lose him so soon. With all the excitement over the weekend I don't think the loss has really sunk in yet. She really doesn't remember a time without her cat so I know she has to be grieving. In a way all the other stuff going on has been a good thing since it has taken her mind off of her loss.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

New project

Along with all of the other sewing projects I'm continually working on I've been working on more horse related items. The braided tack is going well enough that we have decided to add helmet covers and splint boot covers to our product line. I made Lorna a helmet cover for Christmas and have since perfected the pattern and made a helmet cover for Malachi.

I'm still perfecting my splint boot cover pattern but here was my first attempt. In case you are wondering, splint boots protect a horse's leg muscles. They come in all sorts of colors but can be pricey. The covers would not only protect the boots but would allow you to change their look relatively inexpensively. I want the covers to be easy to put on but also fit tight enough that they don't slide around. The ones you can buy through the catalogs have velcro down the side. There are two problems with that, one the price of velcro and two the velcro can easily snag the lycra. Also velcro becomes dirty really easily around horses making it a high maintenance kind of thing. As of right now I have thin elastic at the top and bottom of the cover, it should keep the cover from sliding up or down the boot. Unfortunately the weather is too bad for Lorna to try them out extensively today.

I found an online store that sells some really great patterned lycra. I haven't purchased from them yet but their prices seem really good. I need to sew through the stuff I bought at a local discount warehouse first then I can justify getting more :)

Friday, March 26, 2010


I rarely post anything about homeschooling because it's not just an educational choice but a way of life. Our life seems normal for us so I don't really think about it much.

A couple of weeks ago Lorna was out riding with a woman that pays her to ride one of her horses. Her employer had a guest riding along with them. This guest is someone we are slightly acquainted with through our gymkhana club, she has told us numerous times how wonderful our kids are. I guess this guest didn't know that we homeschool and when she found out decided to grill Lorna about our choices. This woman really doesn't like homeschooling, not because she has any experience with it or knows anyone personally who does it, but because of some stuff she's heard second or third hand. She said it was okay that I homeschooled because I was "qualified" but that most parents are not. I guess I'm qualified because I have a degree and spent 2 years in a classroom even though I've had no formal teacher's training. The arrogance of this woman to think she can say who is and isn't qualified to teach their own children was amazing.

Of course the discussion morphed into the socialization issue. Our kids are not around a lot of kids their own age. Those they are around are not really interested in making friends so the kids have filled their social circle with adults. I personally think that this is just fine since in the real world they will have to interact with people of all ages. Lorna, especially, has made friends based on common interests instead of age. This woman thought this was okay but insisted that Lorna needed to have friends her own age. Lorna tried to explain that she has tried but that since she isn't concerned with boys, clothes, and make-up this hasn't worked out. She also told the woman that she is happy with the friends she has, regardless of their age. Of course, all of Lorna's opinions fell of deaf ears.

Since this occurred while Lorna was out riding we didn't hear about it until later. I was proud of Lorna for attempting to engage this woman in discussion and not just agreeing with her to get out of the discussion. Lorna told me how she tried to steer the conversation away from these topics and how she tried to politely disagree with the woman. I'm so proud of her for sticking up for herself. A few years ago she wouldn't have done this but with all of her activities she has gained enough confidence to realize that her opinions matter. I can't say we were pleased to hear that she was attacked for her parents' choices, and there really is no other way to describe it. I couldn't believe the audacity of this woman! It's probably a good thing I haven't seen her since I found out about what she said. I'm still extremely angry and do not want to be put into a position where I will have to interact with this individual.

I watched Lorna talking with her fellow chorus members last night at rehearsal. I watched as the adults around her not only listened to what she had to say but asked her opinion on a few things. They don't treat her like an inferior child but as a fellow member with valuable ideas. She has made a couple of good friends within the chorus and they don't seem to value her any less because of her age.

Monday, March 22, 2010


This was the first time we had conflicting activities and ended up splitting up for the weekend. Malachi had gymkhana, where he had an absolutely spectacular day, and Lorna and I had our annual regional contest for Sweet Adeline's.

Due to splitting up I don't have pictures of either event to share. Paul took the camera and videoed most of Malachi's runs so that we could see them when we got home. I was really glad since Malachi had such great runs which culminated with him winning high points in his division!

We had a great contest weekend. I know Lorna had been getting burned out with singing and was really unhappy with not being able to attend gymkhana, but this weekend helped her remember why she does Sweet Adeline's. Our chorus placed 3rd in our division and won the Audience Choice award again this year. We improved our score over last year so we met our goals. The best part of the weekend is always Saturday night after contest when we go around and listen to all the region quartets perform in the various hospitality rooms. There were a couple of quartets made up of young women that were spectacular, Lorna was really happy and inspired. It can be difficult for someone her age to feel like she fits in when most of the women that are a part of our region are her grandparents age.

Paul not only spent the day watching Malachi but he also had some of Lorna's braided tack for sale. We had 4 halters pre-ordered and were hoping to sell a few other things. He was swamped with interest from the people in our club and ended up selling a bunch of saddle crosses, halters, and 3 pairs of reins! Lorna is going to be a busy beaver this month making up the custom orders that were ordered and braiding a bunch more things for the big 2-day show next month. Lorna was exceedingly pleased with the interest especially since the tack store in town wants to talk to us about carrying a few of her items.

Friday, March 12, 2010


I finally got pictures of the costumes I did for our chorus.

I did the corsets, hip wraps, and head scarves. Obviously the corsets were the most time intensive thing. I made up my own pattern based on an Halloween costume and just kind of tweaked it until it worked. There are a few things I would have changed about the pattern if I hadn't been doing so many corsets for many different shapes and sizes. All of the trim had to put on by hand since the inside of the corsets are lined. Everyone is really pleased with how the costumes turned out, I just hope the judges like them next Saturday!

Of course I think Lorna looks the best in hers!

Friday, March 05, 2010


That is what we have planned for this weekend.

No horse activities, no Sweet Adeline's commitments, nothing. It's a wonderful thing and I'm so excited. I'm thinking it's time to get a handle on the house, it needs to be cleaned. With 4 of us home and working on it we should be able to get everything done in a short amount of time.

There has been lots of stress around here so I think we all need some down time. Paul was on the way to a meeting last Saturday and hit a large rock in the canyon. It was hit the rock or go into the river so I think he chose the better option. That little incident cost us a $600 repair bill. Car repairs are a never ending thing for us. With his job going so very poorly this was not a welcome expense but I am glad we had the money from the tax return to pay for it. Commission sales and the bad economy do not go well together.

On a positive note, we are all healthy and we haven't had any more animal emergencies!

Friday, February 26, 2010

February Gymkhana

We had a show last Saturday and it went well. Lorna succeeded in beating her brother in all but 1 event. This has given him the impetus to practice more in hopes of beating her in April.

Lorna is really bummed that she will be missing the March show while her brother will get to ride. Her and I will be in Bakersfield at the regional contest for Sweet Adeline's. Personally I'm hoping the gymkhana show gets rained out so that she won't miss anything :) She is very happy that she has 5 halters pre-ordered for next month though. Paul will deliver them at the show and collect the money and any more orders before our club's big 2 day show. Lorna will be busy braiding halters, reins, hobbles, saddle crosses, and neck collars in preparation for selling at that show.

Other than that we've been exceedingly busy. I've been sewing, the kids have been catching up on school, and Paul has been busy with work. We have plans to go away for a weekend at the end of April when my mom is visiting. Our plans have morphed from a romantic getaway to a little coastal town to a visit to Las Vegas. The rooms at the little town would have cost us more than the entire weekend in Vegas. Since we are night people it also makes more sense to go somewhere that has stuff to do at night. I'm really looking forward to getting away no matter where it is!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


It's been a busy week.

The costume project seems never ending, every time I think I'm finished something else comes up. I had to make an extra top for someone who gained a good amount of weight since I measured and now I have to make another one for a member who hasn't been attending rehearsal. She won't be going to contest with the chorus but she will need a costume for other performances. If I do this again I will be more careful about stipulating things before I start.

Here is a couple of the tops (corsets).

Hopefully I can remember to take the camera to rehearsal on Thursday so I can post pictures of all the pieces together.

This last weekend was the annual Whiskey Flat Days festival that attracts 50,000+ people to our valley. We had absolutely beautiful weather so we ended up attending 3 full days. Saturday the kids rode in the parade and Sunday Malachi dressed Jasper up and won first place for the theme in the pet parade.

A little over a week ago Lorna's gymkhana horse tried to kill herself. She sliced open her neck. We have no idea what she hurt herself on but if the wound had been any further in either direction she wouldn't be with us anymore. We can take the stithes out on Friday just in time for the next gymkhana.

About a month ago Lorna took some of her Christmas money and purchased a tack braiding kit off of Craigslist. She's spent the last few weeks perfecting her braiding skills and finally finished a couple of pieces. I showed one of her halters to a couple of people in our gymkhana club and she already has a few orders. She will be spending the next few months braiding in preparation for the large 2 day show our club is holding in April. We are hoping she sells most of what she makes so we can buy more supplies and she can actually start recouping some of the start-up costs. This mixed with the jewelry designing she and I do together and the sewing I do will be the focus of the booth we plan on hosting at the various craft shows around our valley. Walking around and looking at all the items available this past weekend further strengthened our resolve to start selling more in person. It will be a great way for Lorna to earn a bit more money and to get us more exposure in the local community. Some things just sell better in person where the customer can handle the items and see the quality for themselves.

I just got a call that my serger is finally fixed. Is it a bad sign that they couldn't give me a total yet? I'm just hoping the cost comes in under the quote since it sounds like they didn't have to replace the board. I'll be glad to get my own machine back, the loaner seemed like it was really cheaply made and I miss all the bells and whistles my machine has!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Brocoflower revisited

We finally got around to eating the weird looking veggie last Saturday. I really liked it. It had the consistency of cauliflower but a mild broccoli taste. The rest of the family didn't care for it, too much like cauliflower for their taste. I ended up broiling it with a mix of other veggies so we didn't do anything fancy with it. Broiling is my favorite way to cook most veggies. I can mix a bunch of different types with a little olive oil and garlic and then throw them in the oven until they are done. You get to actually taste the veggies and it's easy.

We received brussel sprouts about 2 weeks ago and at first everyone complained. Neither one of the kids had ever tasted one but they had heard all kinds of horrible things about them. I stir-fried them with some onion and garlic and added a little soy sauce when they were finished. Paul and Lorna fought over the leftovers they liked them so much. We have just enough for one more dinner and they keep asking when we can have them again!

Friday, February 05, 2010

Bad News

My serger is dead :(

After talking with the repair place yesterday I expected Paul to be bringing home my machine today. Instead I was told that the machine has either a burned out motor or board or both. Estimates to repair it are high, not as high as buying a new one but still way more than I wanted to spend. The repairman thinks it's a manufacturer's defect. I don't have the receipt anymore since it's out of warranty but we contacted the place I purchased it from to see if they have any paperwork. Even if they do, there is no guarantee that the repairs will be covered.

I was just praising my machine to someone a few weeks ago. Knowing this isn't something I did makes me rethink whether this is such a great machine. The repair shop has sent home a loaner while they work on fixing my machine. Supposedly I'm going to love the loaner, but when I looked it up online I was not impressed with the machine's functions. At least I'll have something to work with while I wait. I have a whole bunch of stuff I need to get finished this weekend so I'm really happy they offered the loaner.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010


I finished our taxes last night and e-filed them! If we didn't have a huge refund coming there is no way I would have started them the day we got our last tax document (Monday). Now we just have to wait a little over a week for the Federal refund. I already have most of it spent, refilling emergency funds and paying some bills. Unlike last year there is no way I can pay all of the bills off but I can get a huge chunk taken care of. Those darn medical bills from my fall last July just keep getting in the way.

I'm still waiting to hear about my serger but most of my work for the chorus is finished. We've started cleaning the house but got sidetracked by an emergency fix to the horse pen. Two of the horses got bored one night and ate one of the the wood posts that was holding up their shelter. By the time they were done it was the thickness of a pencil in one spot so we had to disassemble it. We bought metal posts this time but with Paul working so late, the kids and I are having to put it up ourselves. Hopefully we will get the rest of it up today. I need another 6 hours in the day to get everything finished that I need to get accomplished!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Weird Veggie

Every once in awhile we get a really weird vegetable in our organic veggie delivery. This weekend it was a broccoflower. I had to post pictures because it looks so weird!

Monday, January 25, 2010

January Gymkhana and stuff

I can't believe it's been almost a month since I last posted!

I'll start with the gymkhana show for this month.

Lorna picked up her new gymkhana horse a few days before the date of the December show but we were rained out. That gave her over a month to work with Sequoia before the next gymkhana. All that worked showed at this month's show. I haven't seen smiles this big since before her pinto mare died last year.

Lorna and Sequoia are still getting used to each other but they did very well in their first show. The rode some A times and even a AA time. Once Lorna keeps her from ducking into the obstacles they are going to be very fast together.

Malachi and Amigo are still doing great together. At this point Malachi needs to focus on keeping his riding clean as he goes faster. He has a bit more incentive now that Lorna and Sequoia are riding so well. They actually beat Malachi and Amigo in 2 events :)

At the beginning of December I took on a project making costumes for our Sweet Adeline's chorus. What should have taken me 3 weeks has taken 2 months. It's one of those projects where whatever could go wrong has gone wrong. The problems culminated in my serger breaking over the weekend, right before I finished the last 2 pieces. I'm so sick of these costumes right now. With the exception of these last 2 pieces, one of which is mine so it's really not the end of the world, I will have the main costumes done today. I still have head scarves left to do but I figure those can wait. The costumes turned out fantastic though, especially considering I made up the patterns to fit our needs.

Since all of my time has been taken up with sewing, the house is an absolute disaster. I kept expecting to finish this project so I put off all the cleaning. The rain and snow of last week haven't helped the house at all with the mud everyone has been tracking in and I'm really behind on laundry. At least I can't complain that I'm bored :)