If you're curious about the random ramblings of a redheaded mom whose goal is to take over the world by producing a bunch of redheaded minions, then stop and by and take a read!
Heck, if I actually get enough people reading and commenting here
I might throw out some Merit Badges, Awardicons, or GPs.
|Wow. It has been a long time since I've been here. Seems the summer got away with me. I probably would have stayed away permanently except that "a very Wodehouse challenge" has lured me back with an enticing treat, if I complete this blog post. So here goes:
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.
Hmmm. No. Scratch that.
Once upon a time...
Nope. That's not it either.
Two-ish years ago I found a website called mylot. It was a place where I could get paid a few pennies, here and there, for sharing my random thoughts and ideas. I happened upon a conversation a man had started about his daughter, and how she had won a big contest at a writing site. I asked what the site was and, lo and behold! It was WDC!
I lurked for a bit at WDC, I must admit. And then I submitted my first story. That story is no longer alive in my portfolio. When I first joined here I refused to pay anything for a membership. I saved money, but I couldn't save that story since I was only allowed a certain number of portfolio items. That is, until some kind soul took pity on me. Perhaps that anonymous donor liked my writing style. Perhaps I was a random name chosen from a hat. At any rate, I ended up with a FREE upgrade. That meant more more portfolio space! Yay!
Every day I spent a ridiculous amount of time at WDC. I immediately fell in love with the "Daily Flash Fiction Challenge" and "The Writer's Cramp" . In all honesty, I didn't understand how to search for other contests at the at time. I didn't understand how to work with the ML or how to add favorites to my list. I had no clue how auctions or raffles worked. Gps, merit badges, and Awardicons didn't have any meaning. But I loved the people. Loved how I could get an honest review on how to improve my writing. And I loved having a place to write my stories.
However, I tend to get a little, um, impatient when writing. I found myself snapping at both my husband, Mathman and our redheaded minions kids when my muse hit. So I took a long break from WDC to focus on the family. That is, until I was lured back by my daughter.
When my eldest turned 13, she asked if she could join WDC. After she created an account, I found myself creeping back on to my own. At that point, I actually started learning how things worked because, well, my daughter taught me!
How do teens learn techy stuff so fast?!
At any rate, I was a fairly fast learner. My daughter taught me how to search for and enter other contests and how raffles/auctions worked. Eventually I started a few of my own contests (some have failed, others have thrived). Eventually I put in some of my own cash and upgraded my account. Shortly after, Schnujo kindly upgraded me again, giving me the ability to have TONS more port space and cool pictures and soooo much more!
When I first got to WDC, commas were my kryptonite. They still cause me to stumble, on occasion, but with the help of more knowledgeable writers here, I've been able to figure out how and why and when they work. That has been the biggest way I've grown as a writer, though I doubt it will be the last.
And she lived happily ever after...
|Tomorrow morning I will become less wise and it's all the dentist's fault. He's planning on yanking out my last two wisdom teeth.
I've been struggling with these two teeth for quite a few years now. They would grow a bit and then stop, grow and stop, grow and stop...I dealt with the pain and periodic annoyance of biting my cheek as the teeth begged for attention. My previous dentist said he wouldn't touch the two teeth, as the roots were "too long". He suggested I could go to an oral surgeon, but I didn't wanna.
And then we moved and I finally got in to see my new dentist and I knew he was going to want my teeth. This guy isn't at all worried about causing nerve damage, etc. and, apparently, has a bit of oral surgery under his belt.
I'm still nervous, though. It seems "things" never go as easily as I want them to. I keep worrying that I will be the one that dies from this surgery. Or that I'll have a paralyzed face for the rest of my life.
The extractions are only supposed to take 30 minutes (well, depending on how long it takes for the numbing shots to kick in...as a redhead, it usually takes more to numb my mouth. sigh.) and Mathman is going with me but those 30 minutes are going to feel like an eternity.
Fun fact: I'm a bit of a hypochondriac.
So, hey. If you don't hear from me after tomorrow, it might very well be because my dentist killed me. And if I seem a little more, well, "dimwitted", y'all will know why!
Seriously, folks. Pray for me. This thing has me a bit freaked out...
I had the apple pie baked, frozen, and ready to go to the county fair and a plate full of cranberry muffins wrapped and ready to go. Mathman was camping with the older redheaded minions kids at our annual church campout so I had to take the three youngest with me to drop off my entry. Easy, peasy, right?
Firstly, I'm horrible at directions. So I use my handy phone app, complete with voice directions, to find the fairgrounds (same county as mine, different town).
Halfway into the 40 minute drive, my 1-year-old starts crying. And. she. won't. stop! She's not hungry or poopy or thirsty or hot. She just doesn't want to be strapped into her carseat.
I grit my teeth and drive on until we make it to "the town" I needed to be in.
Turns out, even my smart phone didn't know how to get to the fairgrounds. It had me circling 'round and 'round on a gravel road, looking for a 4th Street that flat-out didn't exist!
About this time my 3-year-old tells me he needs to poop.
Why don't kids ever listen to their mothers and go to the bathroom before heading out on a long drive?
I circle around for the third time, find a parking spot, and drag all three of the littles into a hardware store. Thankfully, they have a toilet he can use. I hold on to the baby while the 3-year-old takes his sweet time, chatting to me and his sisters and generally enjoying his "bathroom vacation".
Finally he finishes. I take the opportunity to ask the cashier if she knows where the fair is.
"Turn right and follow the road on down. You'll bump right into it!" she says with a smile.
Stupid phone had me turning instead of going straight!
Load the kids up again. The baby sets to crying as soon as she's strapped down. I stubbornly continue on and discover...there isn't a single, blasted place to park my boat-sized van. The area in front of the fair is a beehive of activity with people and cars coming and going. I take one look at the crazy going on outside my window, cast a glance at my three passengers, and immediately turn around and head off toward the campground where Mathman and the older kids are waiting for me.
Sometimes, you just gotta know when to give up, right? I mean, I just couldn't imagine pushing a double stroller with a baby and 3-year-old while juggling a frozen pie and a plate full of muffins and keeping the 5-year-old from getting distracted and wandering off, all while trying to find the building accepting food entries. No, this drop-off either required another qualified adult marching at my side or I needed to go alone.
So I get to the campground and Mathman is pleased as punch to scarf down the cranberry muffins for me. The pie? Well, that was set next to the fire pit to warm up and shared with all our friends at the campout.
This was just another reminder that life is NO FAIR!
Yesterday I caught the baking bug. We had a bunch of Granny apples that needed to be transformed, 3.5 bananas on the verge of turning into mush, and a bucket of blackberries my boys had picked the day before.
I attacked the bananas, first.
It didn't take long to beat them into submission.
As a new life form, they're waiting for their final demise at breakfast in the morning.
Next were the apples.
They put up a fight but in the end, I got'em!
Not only was I able to get a pie from their remains, but I got a tasty little turnover, as well! I never got a picture of the turnover actually baked
Last but certainly not least were the blackberries!
Found on the bushes right next to our house, we've enjoyed eating them by the handful until I had the idea to bake'em!
I took 2 cups and made a double batch of blackberry muffins.
The rest of the berries are waiting to be cobbled. That is, turned into blackberry cobbler!
What a yummy day!!
The warrior said nothing, for his mouth was full. Then he swallowed, and then he spoke...
I never realized before how Kung Fu Panda could be so helpful in teaching table manners!
Several of my redheaded minions children have a problem with talking with their mouths full. Ew. Lately I've started quoting Po whenever I catch them chewing with their maws wide open. They find it a humorous reminder to be polite at the table.
Now if I could only find a quote that encourages them to clean their rooms, not fight with their siblings, and go to bed when told!
My eldest daughter and I have been watching Sugar Rush on Netflix. She and I love the competitive cooking shows.
One of my personal favorites was Zumbo's Just Desserts. They had some crazy-awesome treats to make!
Worst show? Nailed It! We never made it past the first episode as it was waaaay too heavy with the sexual innuendo.
Sugar Rush has been a fun, wholesome show. There are 4 teams and 3 rounds: cupcakes, confections, and cakes. Of course, with pause button on hand, it's easy for us to come up with ideas for each episode's theme.
Well, after days of watching, my daughter decided she wanted to make cupcakes. The chocolate batter was a little lumpy and she underestimated the amount of frosting needed but they tasted AMAZING!
With a little more practice, this girl could start her own cupcake business! My redheaded underlings will soon be ready to take over the world...one sweet bite at a time!
The only times I go to the doctor is when I feel something is seriously wrong or I'm pregnant. Though in that latter case, I go to a homebirth midwife rather than an OBGYN.
However, for the last 15 years I haven't had a primary care physician that's done diddly squat for me.
Every time I've gone in my symptoms perplex the doctor. She usually ends up admitting she doesn't know what's wrong and then I go home and fix it myself. i.e. the excruciating sore throat (that wasn't strep) that I fixed by temporarily going off wheat.
Well, we moved to a new town last year. I now have a new doctor. And since I've been struggling with nerve issues in my right foot since my last sciatica flare in December, I thought I'd go in and see if there was anything that could be done before the damage became permanent.
First visit: I explain how I had a horrible case of sciatica during my last pregnant, mere months before. I could hardly walk to the bathroom. I couldn't lie down to sleep for 2 months because the pain was so bad. I had gone to the E.R. 3 times (twice for pain, once to rule out blood clots).
Doc nods, looks at my foot, and then proceeds to tell me that I've "gained a lot of weight recently".
Uh, yes. Yes I have. Because I just had a baby 9 months earlier and my sciatica flare up kept me in bed for 4 weeks and I'm afraid of hurting my back and causing another flare so I haven't exercised like I usually do after baby is born so...what can I do, doc?
Lose weight. Come see me again in 3 months. Because you've really gained a lot of weight this last year.
I think I told her 3 times the weight gain was from pregnancy but she didn't seem to be listening.
Second visit—3 months later:
Doc asks how many kids I have. She mentions my weight again and again I tell her that I had a baby and that I also had a BAD case of sciatica while pregnant. This time she acknowledges the reason for the weight. I tell her (again) about my sciatica flare up in December and how since then, my right foot (pinky toe to heel) has been slightly numb. Should I be worried? Will the damage be permanent?
1. People with diabetes often can't feel their feet.
But I don't have diabetes so how is this relevant??
2. The sciatica isn't affecting your foot. Sciatica would be on the other side of your foot (big toe to heel).
Bull snot! When this first hit my foot it made ALL my toes tingle and go numb. Everything I've read says or shows sciatica CAN affect the foot on the side I'm dealing with. Now if we were talking about the L5 nerve, doc would be correct. But since I'm feeling the issue in my little toe, the S1 nerve would be aggravated. It didn't take much Googling to figure that out. So why is my doctor oblivious?
3. I'll order a nerve test for your foot...oh, you've had anxiety issues in the past? Well, I'm less inclined to order the test now...
Implying this numbness and lingering sciatic pain is all in my head, right? Despite having 3 E.R. doctors, a myriad of nurses, my midwife, and a chiropractor all confirm I have sciatica? Despite all research showing sciatica "can travel from the lower back, through the buttocks, down the leg and into the foot"? Of course! You're right, doc! All this pain this last year has all been a symptom of my anxiety issues. Riiiiight.
5. Take vitamin b. It might help your nerve issues...
Finally, some helpful advice!
6. And you should lose weight because you've really gained a lot this past year...
Wow? Really? Imagine gaining weight while PREGNANT!
7. Come back in 3 months and we'll see how you're doing.
No thanks. I'll probably be just as fat and "anxious" next time. I think I'll just stay home and pay the minions kids to tell me I'm overweight thankyouverymuch!
Have you noticed a growing trend in unhelpful doctors or do I just keep ending up with the incompetent ones?
I've been longing for Oregon strawberries for two years. Last year I was laid up, pregnant and suffering with sciatica. I could hardly walk to the bathroom much less go to the farmer's market. Mathman had his hands full, at that time, being both mom and dad and taking care of me. I didn't want to put more on his plate by badgering him to find strawberries.
I wasn't going to miss out this year! Today I took two of the redheaded minions younglings to the farmer's market and snagged a flat of Oregon strawberries.
The guy I bought them from asked if I was going to make jam.
One flat of berries in a family of nine gets eaten in two days. To make jam, as I've learned from past experience, I would need 5-10 flats. And our budget just doesn't allow for that this year.
I was, however, able to make strawberry shortcake this evening. Homemade sweet bread, chopped up sweetened berries, and massive spoonfulls of cool whip? Ahhh! Heaven on a spoon!
I disguised myself as a man and joined the army. Hopping on to the truck with the rest of the guys, I happened to notice a group of kids playing on the green grass. One child — a toddler — caught my attention. It was my youngest, G, running towards me. My heart caught in my throat as I realized the mistake I was making. I couldn't leave my baby for weeks on end! She needed me! I jumped from the truck and scooped my little girl into my arms...
It wasn't until yesterday afternoon that I realized the meaning behind my dream. See, I've been stressing about money lately and had started entertaining the idea of getting a part time job. Bus drivers in my area are allowed to take school aged kids with them while they drive so I could take 3 of the redheaded minions kids with me, if I took the job. My 2 eldest could babysit the youngest 2 for the 3.5 hours I'd be away.
But...I wasn't sure if working outside the home was right for me or the family.
I know there are many parents that either both prefer to or HAVE to work for an income. I've felt blessed that our situation isn't like that. Mathman works outside the home and "brings home the bacon" while I live my dream of being a stay-at-home homeschooling mom that cooks said bacon. I didn't really want to get an outside job but...that extra income was tempting!
I read Titus 2:5 where it says women are to be "...keepers of the home..." and it hit me that I was contemplating ditching my role and taking up my husband's mantle. I realized the dream was showing me that my kids still needed me at home.
So I'm taking this dream as a nudge from Yahweh and shelving the idea of a part time job for now. Perhaps, if needed, I'll reevaluate when baby G is 10+ years old...
Have you had a dream that "told" you something?
A dream that made you change your life plans?
Last month I kept my goals simple because once summer hits, it seems I lose some of my get-up-and-go when it comes to writing. My brain feels like all my ideas have been shaked (shooken? shooked?) loose.
Add that to a computer that's on its last legs and moves extremely sloooooooooooooooooooow and you've got a writer who's not really writing.
Okay. I managed to do some writing. I wanted to write a story for the Holiday Short Story contest. I had a great idea about a pixie/fairy named Samhradh (aka Summer) but the words just wouldn't come out right. After trying two or three times, I gave up.
I wrote a horrible story for the Daily Flash Fiction — and promptly deleted it. I wasn't able to convey my meaning well in that story. blah.
I wrote an outline for "Invalid Item" and if I'm remembering correctly, I entered "WDC Photo Contest" . I also entered my blog into "The Bard's Hall Contest" .
The latter totally had me motivated to blog more. Loved it!
So now we're into July! What do we have going on this month?
Write a story for "Invalid Item"
Enter "I Write in 2018" once a week.
Read and report on at least 4 books at "52 in 52"
Pick a contest at "The Contest Challenge" and enter!
Still need an origin story for the Masked Momster at "WdC SuperPower Reviewers Group Stories " !!
"The Dialogue 500" sounds fun this month...
I want to set sail on the Mayflower at "Historical Fiction Short Story Contest"
That should keep me busy!!
I've put The Weekly Echo on hold for the month of July. I'm not sure if I'll keep it going. I'm not as excited about it as I am Character Flaws or the Daily Snapshot.
Actually, I'm thinking of adding to the Daily Snapshot by creating a monthly prompt, based off some of my favorite captions. I'm thinking, too, of commissioning an exclusive Merit Badge for the Daily Snapshot and using that as a prize for the monthly portion of that contest. Eventually, I might even drop Character Flaws and just stick with the Daily Snapshot. I'm still mulling that over. At any rate, I've been feeling thin, keeping track of 3 different contests/activities. Sort of stretched...like too much butter scraped over bread.
I had a wild idea to host a big WDC Fair this summer but...I got lazy and every time I tried to work out the plans in my mind or on paper, I got tired just thinking about all the work involved. So that got ditched.
Maybe next year I'll feel more inclined.
— In Real Life —
Basically got our old, crappy chicken house torn down. There are about 4 posts that need to be removed and that's it. My plan is to reuse the posts for a fence in our backyard.
A couple of the redheaded minions kids had birthdays. They're growing up so fast!!
I haven't lost a lick of weight. Every night I plan on eating right and exercising. And then morning comes and I eat ice cream for breakfast. Grrr! I've never had such a hard time losing weight before!
My eldest got her first babysitting gig. She's so excited to have a real job! I'm excited, too. Now that she's earning her own cash, I don't have to pay her an allowance anymore. Mwahahahaha!
Seriously, though, she still gets paid to babysit her siblings when it's needed...
Still working on lesson plans for next year. I always forget how much homeschooling materials cost. Yikes! Sometimes I wish homeschooling was tax deductible!
I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.
— Genesis 9:13-15 (NIV)
Two days ago Lilli, Coffee Elf ☕ shared an interesting recipe with me: Rainbow Bread!! What a fun reminder of Yahweh's promise! My 7-year-old, D, and I were intrigued and decided to try it out.
We gathered our ingredients:
1 cup milk + 1 egg yolk
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 and 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 and 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast
1 and 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons salt
Red, yellow, green, and blue food coloring
I used brown sugar because I was out of white.
Step 1: In a small, microwave safe bowl, whisk milk and eggs yolk together. Microwave 30 seconds. Set aside.
Step 2: In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, and yeast.
This is where I messed up. I was trying to soften frozen butter in our nukerwave and, spacing out, told D to add the flour into the milk/yolk mixture BEFORE warming it. Arg! I ended up activating the yeast in 1/4 cup warm water and adding that to the flour/milk yolk.
Step 3: Add milk mixture, butter, and salt and stir to combine. Knead dough until it comes together and is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.
Step 4: Divide dough into 5 equal pieces; place each piece in a small bowl and cover with tea towel.
Step 5: Remove one piece and place it on plastic cutting board (or any surface you're willing to cover with food coloring). Add several drops of food coloring. Use gloves to keep dye off your hands and knead food coloring into dough. (This takes time — be patient and it will come together!)
The "few drops" turned into about 50. And instead of kneading on a board, we kneaded each piece in its small bowl.
Step 6: Shape dough into bowl. Repeat with remaining pieces of dough, dying each a different color (red + blue = purple), being sure to wash your gloves/hands and your work surface between each color.
Step 7: Cover bowls with tea towel and let rise until doubled, about 1 and 1/2 - 2 hours.
Step 8: When dough is risen, punch it down. Remove red dough and roll it out on lightly floured surface into an 8" x 4" rectangle.
Roll out yellow piece, same as red. Place it on top of red piece. Repeat with green, then blue, then purple until you have a stack.
Step 9: Roll dough tightly from short end into loaf. Place loaf into lightly greased 9" x 5" loaf pan. Cover with tea towel and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
Step 10: Heat oven to 375°F. Uncover dough and bake until browned on top, about 30 minutes.
Step 11: Remove loaf from pan, butter the top, and let it cool on cooling rack before slicing.
You can tell I didn't make the red layer big enough as all the other colors "broke" through on one side. Next time I would roll the red out bigger than the other colors.
This bread tasted like normal bread. We thought about making French Toast with it but I got lazy. Instead, the minions kids jammed up their pieces and et'em up!
WARNING: Be careful when kneading the food coloring into the dough. I accidentally squirted blue/red dye out of the dough and onto my foot! We also ended up with red on the floor (and the bottom of my foot...sigh) when D dropped the food coloring lid! Thankfully it was wiped up from the floor easily. My foot, on the other hand, is horribly stained!
Although it was a slightly messy procedure, this bread truly was fun to make. We're thinking of tweaking the design for St. Paddy's Day next year...
If you try this recipe out, let me know how it turns out. And thanks again for the recipe link, Lilli!
A couple days ago I received an interesting piece of mail. It was a survey. But not just any ole survey, it was a 2018 Voter Registration Confirmation Survey & Pledge to Vote of 10,000,000 Christian Americans (Whew! That's a mouthful!)
I'm not sure if I should feel flattered that my light is shining brightly enough out in the world that the government knows I'm a follower of Christ, or if I should be afraid that I'm listed as a Christian on some government list. How does Dr. Ralph Reed, Founder and Chairman of the Faith & Freedom Coalition, know how to find me and 9,999,999 other believers?
Anyway, Dr. Reed wants to, Register 2.5 million brand new conservative Christian voters in the 14 key Senate race states and the 42 key swing House race districts that they're targeting. He wants us Christians to "pledge to vote" so Trump can't be impeached, which seems to be a big worry for a lot of folks.
First of all, Matthew 7:16-18 says, Ye shall know them [Christians] by their fruits. Do men gather grapes or thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit...
(Yeah, I like the KJV, though we also own a NKJV, an NIV, and a Greek/Hebrew Interlinear.)
A relationship with Christ is a personal thing and I don't claim to know the heart of a man. However, Trump's "fruits" don't show him to be a true follower of Jesus. (Yeah, I know everyone likes to yell that the Bible says, "Don't judge!" However, the verses that talk about judging are often misquoted and twisted out of context — more on that in another blog post!)
There's another verse that says, No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. (Psssst! Mammon is money!)
From what I've witnessed, Trump is a lover of money. His "master" is mammon and not Jesus Christ. So knowing that his "fruit" is rotten and his master is money, why would this Dr. Reed fellow think that a Christian would support such a man?
At any rate, I digress.
There was a portion of this survey that offended me. In fact, I called the "Coalition" to tell them so!
(Though a fat lotta good that'll probably do)
Question #6 on the survey asks if I will donate money to their cause and then gives me these options:
YES, because I share your view that the 2018 mid-term Congressional Elections are absolutely critical to the success of Donald Trump's Presidency and because we cannot afford to hand control of our government back to the radical anti-Christian, anti-America Left.
NO, because I oppose President Trump. I want the Left in control of our government; I want "open borders" for America; and I want Christianity erased from American public life.
Um. Excuse me?
So if I send my "best donation" (as they put it) then I'm supporting Christianity and if I don't, I basically want "Christianity erased from American public life"?! Are you kidding me?
NO! I won't support Trump financially! However, refusing to fork over the cash that supports my family doesn't mean I'm not a follower of Jesus! Right now he (Trump) is our President. Romans 13:1 says, Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exists have been established by God. Fine. I can grit my teeth and deal with him being America's authority for 2.5 more years. But don't ask me for extra money! I pay my taxes and Trump has more than enough already!
I don't know Yahweh's plan. Perhaps he has allowed Trump to be President for a reason, just as he allowed Hadassah to become queen for a reason. (Read the book of Esther) And it doesn't have to be a reason that brings about good. God has allowed evil men to come into power throughout all history. Often, their rule points people toward Himself. I don't like it but I understand that ...his ways are not our ways...(Isaaiah 55:8-9)
My personal opinion is that God has allowed Trump in this position because the "End is Near!" and He is using Trump (as he used Pharaoh in the book of Exodus) to herald in the beginning of the End (Spoken of in Matthew 24; Luke 21:11; 1 Timothy 4:1; 2 Timothy 3:1-5; Joel 2:28-32; Revelation 13:16-17...)
I might not like that Trump is President but I accept that he is who God put in this leadership role and, as 1 Timothy 2:1-2 says I will pray and intercede for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions...
But don't you DARE say my heart is not for Jesus just because I won't donate money to a political cause!!
Money does NOT = Christian!
Have patience, have patience
Don't be in such a hurry
When you get impatient, you only start to worry
Remember, remember that God is patient, too
And think of all the times when others have to wait for you
— Herbert the Snail
Mathman often tells the redheaded minions kiddos, "You don't have to be patient but you do have to wait."
I'm currently waiting and struggling to be patient in saving for backyard goats. Part of me thinks I should apply for an animal permit as soon as I save the required $50 and get a yard inspection ASAP. That way I'll know if I can even have the cute little weed eaters. The other part of me says to wait...wait and save! Because even if I'm approved this year I won't be able to actually buy the goats until next year and then I'll have to pay another $50 fee (it's a yearly fee) and that first $50 will basically be flushed down the toilet.
But I really, really, really want to find out if my dreaming is all for naught.
sigh. I suppose if the city says no, next year, at least I'll have a few hundred bucks saved up to replace our van's tires, pay taxes, or use for some other "responsible" thing.
Sometimes being an adult is no fun!!
It's been about two years since I last baked bread. Apparently I've forgotten how much yeast to use!
The loaves rose super fast on the counter and then had a growth spurt in the oven.
Yikes! I've created monster bread!
These suckers were over 5" tall!
I've actually been thinking of making, baking, and selling bread. My daughter is planning on getting a business license (only $25) and our state's Cottage Food Law says we can bake goodies in a home kitchen. We both have a food handlers card, as well.
So legally, we'll be set.
My daughter is planning on selling cookies. I figure I'll be her "employee" and bake muffins, mini-pies, and bread for her to hawk to our neighborhood. I just need to practice my bread baking skills before presenting my creations to the neighbors!
Do you like to bake? The first two folks that comment to tell me their favorite sweet treat to bake will earn a Food/Cooking Merit Badge!
EDIT: The 2 MB have been claimed by Lilli, Coffee Elf ☕ and Bob'n Along!
|I used to like cats. And then, 6 years ago, we moved into a rental on a street that was patrolled by a gang of feral thugs. Eventually, we moved into an R.V. and traveled 150 miles away. We camped on friend's land for awhile and, sure enough, found ourselves on the radar of another stray cat. Thankfully, we sold the R.V. rather quickly (never again will I dream of living in a "tiny home" with a family of 9!) and bought our first house.
I thought we were free from the feral menaces. I thought we had escaped! But then, a couple days ago, I noticed a black cat snooping in our wood shed. Yesterday, it was curled up next to the shed, soaking in the sun. I went out to see if it was friendly. I thought that it might be our neighbor's cat (they have cat paraphernalia on their porch). As soon as I got a few feet from the black beast, it scurried under the wood shed. So. It wasn't looking for love.
The feral gangsters that took over our old street drove me nuts. So much so, that I once seriously debated writing a letter to our local paper to complain. Mathman and I even called the city, at one point, to see what could be done. Turns out, the ferals were "protected" and our rights as human beings meant diddly-squat.
At any rate, I came across an old "rant" I wrote about the cats and thought I'd share it here. Because who doesn't love rants?
It's mating season and they're yowling outside our windows. When they birth their young they either turn into maniac monsters, ready to claw us to death if we so much as look as their kits; or they abandon the babies under our porch to die and rot, conveniently out of reach.
Holding no ground sacred, they defecate everywhere. Our barefooted children find their feces in our lawn as they jump through the sprinklers; we find their "cigars" in the middle of our driveway, almost as if they are giving us the finger for daring to exist in "their" space. They vilify our garden and, let me tell you, their poo is not something that will enhance the quality of our strawberries or tomatoes! We have to go through expensive extremes to grow anything edible.
For four years my family and I have lived here, subject to the whims of the feral cat community. And I've been wondering:
Why is a howling dog considered a neighborhood nuisance, but squalling cats get a free pass? Why are dogs required to be on leash, licensed, and controlled; yet cats are free to roam the neighborhood, scratching and marking territory?
There is a double standard here that needs to be addressed. Either cats need to be subject to the same laws as dogs or my rights as a human need to be upheld, allowing me to humanely deal with these pests. Yes, I mean being allowed to send these critters to that Great Litter Box in the Sky.
I can't own a rooster in town because of the noise. I can't have a pig because of the smell. But my street can reek of cat urine and I am forced to listen to serenading felines at 3am because the feral cat community "have their rights".
So, you tell me: Why are dogs put on a short leash but cats are given freedom to disdainfully destroy public property? What is the difference between these races of animal? And how in the world can I make my world — or at least my street — a better place when our city allows the "pursuit of happiness" to a wild cat, but denies that right to a human being?
Death to all weeds!
I love natural stuff.
Natural cures, herbal fixes, nontoxic cleaning supplies...all that junk fascinates me.
A couple days ago I was able to try a new natural "fix" in an attempt to fight the weeds that take over our front porch: salt!
I bought several containers of plain salt for fifty cents each and spent roughly 20 minutes sprinkling it in the cracks and crevices and over all the unwanted greenery.
Already, the weeds are turning yellow. Soon they'll become brown and crispy and eventually, they'll crumble away and disappear.
From what I've read salt will keep plants from growing so, eventually, our porch will remain weed free forEVER.
Last Saturday Mathman and I took the redheaded minions kids cherry picking! It was a first for all of us.
Took about an hour-ish for the nine of us to pick 40# of cherries. I now better understand the phrase, "Many hands make light work!"
I managed to de-pit and can 6 quarts before bed. I've canned things before: peaches, pinto beans, cranberry juice...but it had been awhile since I'd drug out the ole canner. I was afraid of "mashing" the cherries so I didn't pack them as tightly as they should've been. When I stuck them in my hot water canner, the cans floated. First time I've ever seen'em do that! After processing, the cherries all shrank down to about 1/2 a quart. So, technically, I only canned roughly 4 quarts worth of cherries!
Yesterday I got after the rest of the cherries. I froze three ziplock gallon bags of fruit for future use and de-pitted and canned another eight quarts. This time I crammed those suckers into their jars. No floating in the water bath and there wasn't nearly as much head space after processing!
Today I made Cream Cheese Cran-Cherry Muffins. Soooooo yummy! In fact, I'm thinking of using this "secret" recipe and entering it a batch of muffins at our county fair next month. First place prize is $100. That's half of a goat right there!
I am so very glad to be done putting up these cherries. My hands are stained red, there are pits and seeds and juice all over the redheaded minions kids and counters and floors...but there's also a contentment and pride in looking at those sparklin' jars of cherries lined up in the cupboard.
Next up? Strawberries!
For years I've dreamed of owning a couple of goats. Of breeding does and raising little kids. Of learning to milk and using that milk for the benefit of my family. In the past, it wasn't feasible. But now...now it could be possible. Sure, I'll have to jump through a few legal hoops that my city has dangling, but once that's done my goat dreams can come true!
Okay. It's not that simple. I have to get approval from the city and pay a fee. I also have to have our backyard ready for goats. We have a shed on our property that would be perfect for some 4-legged critters, but it needs some work. We also have an old chicken coop that's mostly taken down. I need to clear out all the junk it created. Aaaaand we might need a fence to divide the yard. I figure in one year's time I can save enough to actually buy the goats and a good supply of hay, pay that city fee, and clear the backyard.
Until then, I'm still dreaming. And reading about goats as much as possible. One of my favorite animal sites is backyardherds.com. Lots of good information there about breeding goats, diseases and sicknesses, feeding...In fact, I've been binge-reading several goat blogs there. It's gotten so bad that I've started dreaming about goats!
Woke up this morning, groggy from a bad night's sleep, thinking, "I've forgotten to milk the goats!"
Took a moment to remember that the only goats I own are in my dreams!
My favorite breeds are Nigerian Dwarfs (small animals but higher milk fat than their bigger kin) and Lamanchas (they look earless) and Saanens (one of the best dairy breeds). I'm leaning towards Nigerians since they can be bred year-round (the others come into a heat cycle once or twice a year) and often have 3-4 kids. Not to mention that smaller goats fit in a city backyard better than larger goats!
So my goal is to have goats 1 year from now. Unless, of course, I win a contest —
Fun Fact: I to enter contests! Both my eldest daughter and I have won some pretty decent prizes in the past, so I'm always hopeful I'll win again!
— in which case I'll get them sooner!
On a different note:
Got the results of my boys' state tests today!
B, who took the 5th grade test, got a Total Battery of 99%. He totally aced the math portion of the test (32/32). Only missed 2 answers in Language and 1 in reading. Woohoo!
C took the 3rd grade test. It was his first year testing. Looks like he missed 4 answers in each test (Reading, Language, Math) giving him a Total Battery of 75%. Better than most public school scores but a little lower than the average homeschooler. Given that C has always been my slow learner and is more interested in crafts and playing rather than sit-down work, he did a pretty good job on these tests.
Sheesh. I think I'm at the point, now, where at least one of the redheaded minions kids will have a state test for the next 4 years!
|...No More Teacher's Dirty Looks!!
The redheaded minions kiddos are done with lessons for the 2017/18 school year. Woohoo!! Sons B and C took their mandatory state test last week with a certified test-giver. We'll get the results by the end of the month.
I was told that public school kids usually average around the 50th percentile in these tests. Homeschooled kids usually average around the 80th percentile. From what I've experienced with my two oldest they, personally, hit the 95th percentile. Since the minions kids are often grade levels ahead of where the public school would place them, it makes sense that they'd test out so high. I'm assuming this year's results will be much like years gone by. At any rate, as soon as those results get in, I'll need to send copies to ESD as "proof" that we've legally done our duty.
School may be out for these redheads but I'm not done! I'm slowly but surely working on 2018/2019 lesson plans. Next year I'll have 5 minions kids "officially" homeschooling: An 8th grader (who is more at a 10-11 grade level), a 6th grader, a 4th grader, a 2nd grader, and a cute little K. Granted, the 5-year-old will have it pretty easy as I don't push them that hard at that age. She'll mostly be concentrating on learning to read.
Thankfully, the two eldest and the 2nd grader are fairly independent when it comes to lessons. They ask for help as needed but basically work alone. Now my 4th grader, on the other hand? He's a whole 'nother story!
On a similar note, here is one of my favorite Tim Hawkins music videos about...homeschooling!
|I hesitate to say anything...in fact, I had to think long and hard before deciding to come here and rant...but there is a certain contest here at WDC that aggravates me.
Now, I know everyone does contests differently. I know we each like what we like and judge accordingly. But this contest — which shall remain nameless to protect the innocent — seems to play favorites.
I get it. Some writers here are pretty awesome and can easily hog the limelight with every contest round. Heck, there have been a few times at the "Daily Snapshot" that a writer will express such hysterical wit day after day, that I deem that one particular person the winner for a couple days in a row. So I get how one could fall in that trap.
I find myself irked when I read over past entries in The Contest That Shall Not Be Named, see several wonderful entries, and find "Author X" has won for the third day in a row... again. For the most part, "Author X" writes well. Interesting stories, good twists. However, I've spotted more than one time where, in my opinion, there was a better story. And I'm not talking about mine!
Out of curiosity (and because I obviously have nothing better to do with my time) I went through this unnamed contest to see how many times "Author X" won in the past 30 prompts. Turns out, it was 19 out of 30! S/he wins 63% of the time!
Part of me wants to ask if "Author X" is the judge's alter ego or best friend's sister's brother twice removed. The other part of me hisses to shut up and accept it or I'll never have a chance at winning there again!
I guess it wouldn't bother me so much if it wasn't so obvious that "Author X" is teacher's pet. If I knew everyone who entered had an equal chance at winning. As it stands, I know if I enter, the odds will never be in my favor.
Now that that's out of my system, perhaps I can: