Friday, February 26, 2010

Fess Up Friday

Kendra at New Life On A Homestead has started a fun little carnival called Fess Up Friday that I decided to participate in.

I try really hard to keep a clean(ish) house while doing everything required of me during the day.  But, I have a room upstairs where very few enter (BWAHAHAHAHAA! - add eerie music) that is supposed to meet multiple functions for our family.  It's our school room/craft room.  At one point it was very organized and functional.  Now-a-days it usually looks something like this;

The computer/printer/copy machine table.  Notice the over-flowing trash can. 

Sewing and school work in one big mangled mess.

The vacuum, papers waiting to be filed and a tote filled with God-only-knows-what.

I cleaned it all up.  But it only looks slightly better than this right now.  I swear I think the junk in there is breeding like rabbits.  It couldn't be my fault, after all!

So, there you have it!  I fessed up.  Aren't I supposed to feel better now?  Hmmm...

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Open Mouth, Insert Foot...Again

I have this uncanny ability of being able to precisely the wrong thing at the most inopportune times.  I'm gifted that way.  All I can say is, "Ooops, I did it again!"  You're totally singing that in your head, aren't you?  Moving on...

I always buy local raw honey from this cute little old man at the Farmer's Market every summer.  I bought my last quart on the final day of the market for the season and he told me that he sold it from his house all Winter as well.  Normally, a quart of honey is going to last me all winter long.  However, since I've been baking all of our bread - I ran out.  So, I looked his number up, gave him a call and insulted him just because that's what I do.  Oh, not intentionally.  It's never intentionally.

I was trying to be all polite and respectful and stuff like that and said, "Yes, Ma'am."

"It's Sir."


"I'm so sorry."

Then it started thinking along the lines of, "Gee, I sure hope he doesn't spit in my honey."  Am I the only person whose mind goes there?

When I got to his house and knocked on the door I was surprised to hear him call me by name.  Boy, I must have made some impression.  But, upon talking to him I think he remembered my name more because of the fact that he is a remarkable person than because I'm an idiot savant.

In the 20 minutes I was there (to grab a quick quart of honey) he shared with me how his wife had passed away a month and a half ago, how he had been a school teacher for 31 years, that he had been organically growing vegetables for as long as my mom has been alive, that he wrote gardening articles for 4 magazines, was a record holder in 3 different states for the fruit of his vines, shared with me tips and things to help me with my garden this year that I've never read before (I could learn so much from this man.) and offered to give me math curriculum, and some different varieties of bean seeds to try if I come back before planting season.  Oh, and he sent me home with a magazine full of artisan bread recipes.  I'd say he doesn't hold a grudge.

The more I thought about that whole scenario as the day went on - the more emotional I got.  Here was a man who had really lived his life and lived it well.  He was an 84 and a half year old bundle of joy, generosity and warmth.  I'm sure he had never heard my name until our brief phone conversation shortly before where I inadvertantly called him a woman.  Yet, he opened his home to me.  More than that, he opened his life to me - a complete stranger - and offered to give me more than just a share of his possessions and knowledge.  That day he offered to give me a piece of his heart. 

The world would be a much nicer place if it were full of Honey Bear Millers.  There is definitely a lot more that's sweet about this man than just his honey.  He is a role model for the kind of person I want to be.

Oh, yeah...I checked and there were no loogies in my honey - just in case you were wondering!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Springtime Everyday

I must say, I have thoroughly enjoyed this winter - but, I'm beginning to look forward to Spring.  I was having a conversation with my mailman, Mike, yesterday where he was talking about his garden.  Then he said, "What I'm really looking forward to is your tulips coming up."  Me too, Mike.  Me too.

Our first Spring in this house we were delighted to find a few tulip plants come up in the front yard.  Then, my husband was horrified to come home from work one day and find that I had cut them to bring in the house.  I told him that I couldn't enjoy them out there under the window, so I brought them inside where I could enjoy them.  After all, why should I have something that I'm not able to enjoy?

That Fall we planted 50 gazillion tulip bulbs which lit up the whole front of the house and walk-way last Spring.  Evidently, we weren't the only ones who enjoyed them. 

My sunflowers were another example of this.  I had so many neighbors tell me how much they enjoyed watching my sunflowers grow summer before last.  I didn't get them planted last year.  But this year I plan on planting three different varieties.

It was that conversation with Mike-the-mailman yesterday that made me realize that the beauty we create for our own enjoyment just seems to spill over onto everyone else.  I think this principle applies to a lot more than flowers, too.  I believe that when we take the time to create a place, a life that we love - it not only touches us, but it touches others in a positive way, too.  So, I'm thinking that maybe, just maybe I don't just have to look forward to Spring - but I can create it today, everyday, by just choosing to spread a little sunshine.  Wouldn't that be nice?

Monday, February 15, 2010

I am married to a manly man.  He loves football, NASCAR, MMA fighting, building things, fixing things.  Any Clint Eastwood shoot 'em up will cause him to make grunting sounds like Tim Taylor did in 'Home Improvement'.  He' know, a man's man.

Imagine my surprise last night when I came downstairs to find him watching this - all by himself...

I grinned when I saw him. 

He says, "This is a good movie."

"Yeah, it is.  I just didn't expect to come downstairs and find you watching a chick flick all by yourself."

"Well, I like it."

So, I snuggled in next to him to watch the remainder of it.  We were on a roll, so we followed up with 'How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days'.  Good times, gooood times...

I'm glad my manly man isn't afraid to get in touch with his feminine side at times.  It's just one more reason why I love him...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

Mark Twain said, "To get the full value of joy, you must have someone to divide it with."  So, in honor of  Valentine's Day, I want to share some pictures with you of scenes from the weekend that brought me joy.  I wish that I could show you the full effect of what I saw - it was magical.

On a very few mornings in deep Winter it will be foggy.  The air is full of enough moisture and the temperatures are cold enough to turn our little world into a Winter Wonderland for a few brief hours.

Ice crystals form on everything.

Whole trees, even forests become completely covered in ice that mimics fuzzy flocking...

...until the suns rises high in the sky, gently warming it until it begins to drop like falling snow.

The sun is warm enough to begin to melt the snow.  The temperatures are cold enough to turn that melting snow into every child's (and child at heart's) favorite treat - icicles.

These are perfect Winter days.  She sighs...  Life is good.

Happy Valentines's day!

P.S.  Tonight marks the 2 year anniversary for the first night we slept in this house.  Sometimes it doesn't feel like it's been that long at all.  Sometimes it seems like it's been much longer than that.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Have You Heard Of Swagbucks?

I would think that most people have by now.  But, I'm not going to actually assume anything 'cause you know what they say about that don't you?  No.  Get your head out of the gutter!  Assumption is the lowest form of knowledge!

For those of you that may not know - you can earn points (or Swagbucks) by using the Swagbucks search engine instead of google, yahoo, or whatever.  You can also earn Swagbucks if your friends sign up under you whenever they search.  Of course, you can earn Swagbucks other ways too.  But, it doesn't change your life at all to earn them this way.  I'm guessing you already use some sort of search engine, anyway.

You can install the search engine right on your toolbar to make it stupid easy to use.  If you like, you can also make it your homepage.

You see this book?  It came for me in the mail today. Yay!  I cashed in my Swagbucks for $20 worth of gift cards and bought it with that.  After shipping and handling it came to $20.69 - so I only had to pay the 69 cent difference.  I can handle that!  If I had wanted to wait longer to buy it I could have saved more Swagbucks for it.  But, I'm just a little impatient like that.

So, anyway, if you like free stuff (who doesn't) you should really sign up to start receiving Swagbucks when you do an internet search.  I'm just sayin'...

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Gift of a Family

I just wanted to share a new website with you today called, The Gift of a Family.  It was started by the Burgess family here in Indiana in conjunction with Lamplighter Publishing and Just Love Coffee Roasters to help them and other families raise money for international adoptions.

When you make a purchase from Just Love Coffee Roasters or Lamplighter Publishing, they will donate a portion of the sale to the Burgess family.  Lamplighter Publishing also offers a 15% discount.  You must order through The Gift of a Family website, though.  You can bookmark the site for quick and easy access.

The Burgess family will keep a portion of the funds raised to help finance the adoption of their little girl in China.  Then they will donate the rest to other families trying to adopt children internationally.

I think this is a beautiful cause and an easy way to help a family, especially if it's something that you already order online.  I hope that you'll pop over to their site and take a look around.

Have a great day!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Snow Ice Cream - II

We got some of the white stuff yesterday and all last night.  And I ain't talkin' crack, either!  We ended up with about 8" worth of snow.  But, the blowing and drifting has left some mounds that are much deeper.

I always look forward to the first really good snowfall of the year.  It's become a tradition to make snow ice cream on that day.  Today happenend to be that day. 

I've always made my grandmother's recipe, but wanted to try something different this year.  I know my sister uses sweetened condensed milk.  Since I couldn't get a hold of her to get her recipe - I did an online search and combined the best and simplest ways I saw.  This is what I came up with.

Get a big bowl of fresh, clean snow.

You'll need these, too.

Put 8 cups of snow into another bowl.

Pour on 1 can of sweetened condensed milk and 2 tsp. of vanilla extract.

Stir it all together, adding more snow until you get it to the desired consistency.

Enjoy! (Somehow, I've managed to lose the picture of the finished ice cream.)  It's really yummy, though.