Wednesday, September 30, 2009


My 19 year old daughter is having a baby. I am not happy about the circumstances and it hurts me to the core that she has given up her hopes and dreams by getting pregnant, on purpose. She was not raised like that but she is her own person, responsible for her own descisions. This parenting racket is not easy.

So I put off making this baby a quilt because I was angry and hurt. I finally decided I was going to spend a few days really processing the whole thing. So I did. I made her baby, who is going to be named Peyton, a quilt out of bright colors like my daughter likes. Three days later, I feel better. I feel at ease that I did the best job I could with her for the 6 years we raised her. I taught her as much as I could about how to live life as a good person and to have respect for yourself. That was all I could do, the rest is free will. I have let go and told myself, there is nothing I could have done. She made a choice and I need to accept it.

So baby Peyton, I will love you and be the best 33 year old Grandma ever. I will be kind to my daughter and let her live her life and learn things on her on. I might even buy you every super fun but totally annoying toy they make, because I am just that kinda chick!

Sunday, September 27, 2009


"Take your pants off and stay awhile" -My 92 year old patient last night.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Git on outta here...

I can't wait to mail these quilt blocks off. Then I can brush off my hands and get myself into another mess. That's just how I roll. One woman requested pink for a quilt she is making for her granddaughter. She gets this:

Another lady when asked what she would like said surprise me. I bet this will surprise her. I have never made a wonky log cabin before. I hope she doesn't get upset with me for making such a non-traditional block.

Lastly, my other swap partner is making a fall themed quilt so I tried my hand at these maple leaf blocks. I was surprised how quickly they are put together.

The flip side of sending out all these blocks, I have received. I love that part, I'm not going to lie. I got this little number in the mail yesterday:

I plan to make pot holder like pads for the hot dished I put on the dining room table. I love Friday's. I'm off to the post office and to the orthodontist! Have a great day!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Christmas Block Swap

I, being the type of person who likes to throw myself into stressful situations signed up for a Christmas quilt block swap on my favorite chicken site, Backyard Chickens. Most of the women are doing detailed embellished applique blocks. I quickly realized after I signed up I was playing with the big dogs! These women do amazing work. I have only appliqued a few things in my life so instead of sending them a pathetic applique block I opted for a regular stocking block.

The next problem was it was a 7.5 inch block. I have never made a 7.5 inch block and none of the patterns I found that I could do were for 7.5 inch blocks. Aggghhhhh!!! Can you say way over my head? Calm down Debbie, use your brain and get yourself together.

A few days ago I remembered reading a post by Angie at Home Grown where she designed her own block with graph paper. Heeeey, I can do that. I expected to have to make some small changes but I knew I could do it.

The only change I had to make was to trim a 1/4 inch off the top off the stocking.

Considering the panic I had over this I am quite happy with the result.

This is a test

I don't have a good track record, in fact if my victims were people I would be doing life in prison right now. I don't have a green thumb, I would be grateful for a brown thumb but, mine is black. I have a longing deep down to have a garden, to have plants around the the dirt franch but I am scared. So I came up with this. For $4 I bought two house plants. These little guys are gunna wish the old lady in the muumuu bought them instead of me, the black thumb.

If I can keep these alive for any amount of time there is hope. Things aren't looking good though. See the leaves on the bottom of the pictures? I did that. I kilt (kilt is a hillbilly word we use at the franch) those leaves and that is only the beginning. Maybe if I talk to them, or play Bach for them, they will have a will to live (unlike my Turkies).

I'm still holding out hope, not a lot of hope though. To be continued...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

This sucks

I now know how those guys who were convicted of rape and spend years in jail, then are cleared my DNA evidence feel (Ok, it's not that extreme). They know in their heart they are innocent but no one believes them. I got a call Monday morning from my ingrate of a manager asking me if I scraped our brand new ambulance along the retaining wall.

Um, no. Not even close. But because I didn't wash my spotless ambulance and inspect all of it, I am to blame. The crews that used it before us said they didn't do it and the crew that used it afterward did not report it, so in my managers little mind it was me. If I hit a wall, I would either feel it or hear it. I did not do it. They don't believe me. It's a horrible feeling.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Gone Country

My friend Angie over at one of my favorite blogs, Home Grown has asked us her loyal readers (I am so loyal I almost feel the need for medication when she goes a couple days without posting) why we went country. Bahahaha! It's so funny how my life has changed since my teen years. I don't know why it makes me laugh so much, maybe because it's so extreme. Have you ever seen one of those Beverly Hills 90210 or OC shows about the people who live in coastal southern California? Well, that's how I was raised. The wealth (not necessarily in my family) the status and how you looked were the only important things in life. The pressure to be beautiful, have name brand clothes and to drive a nice car were overwhelming, even in High School. I was miserable. I remember longing for my Mom while she was at work. I would cry because I missed her while she was gone. She was a very nurturing, kind, patient woman who was always my safe person. Both my parents grow up poor, so they like most people felt it was important to give their children what they never had. I would have given up the big house in a heartbeat to have my Mom home when I came home from school.

When I had brace face as a 19 year old I was very torn between the pressure to provide for her and wanting to make something of myself and my desire to not be dependent on government aid. I was a single parent and knew it was all up to me to take care of her. As expected many people gave up on my being anything when I had her. I had to prove them wrong. I went to school during the week and worked as a bartender or cocktail waitress on Friday and Saturday nights while she was asleep. I lived with my parents who took a very involved role in raising her with me. She thought she had two moms for the longest time. I met Sarge when she was still in diapers and he has been there for her ever since.

The man cub came a long a year after we were married. School was almost done but put on hold because when I went in for my ultrasound the measurements of his head were conducive with Downs Syndrome and the fluid on his kidneys and brain were very obvious to the naked eye on the screen. I was devastated. They told me everything from there could be a miracle and he could survive to he could die shortly after birth and everything in between. He could need a shunt, a kidney transplant then came the abortion talk. Sarge and I would hear nothing of it. Not an option for us. So I as hooked up to monitors every other day, I felt horrible and I was depressed. We stuck it out, and he was born and came through the ordeal ok. No Down's, no brain or kidney problems. I just tell myself that massive melon holds all the answers. He is the next Steven Spielburg, his imagination is amazing. The only thing he has had to deal with is asthma and really bad allergies. He hates the nebulizer but takes meds without any problems. We do just fine.

When the man cub started school I went to EMT school and finally found my calling in life. I wanted to be a nurse. I thought about it back in the high school but then got distracted with having babies. Once I was on that ambulance dealing with patients I felt content that I had found my calling. I would go to nursing school, make great money, be financially independent. Life would be wonderful. I went back to school to finish my bachelors and do my nursing prerequisites. I hit it hard. Taking 5 classes at a time and pooring my heart and soul into my school work. I was finally calm enough and could focus. I have a tendency to be a very black and white, all or nothing kind of person. I was all school. Sarge was slowly becoming angry that I was gone all the time and the kids were acting up and my house was not functioning. I was determined and I was not going to give up on my dreams. My marriage was falling apart. My kids were acting out. Life was a mess.

One day the man cub looked at me and said I wish I had a mom that was around more. Thinking back to when I was a kid I fell apart. I bawled my eyes out. I cried for days. I was sitting in microbiology, the class from hell and my teacher said if you aren't focused you aren't going to make it through this class. If you don't get the totally involved concept you aren't going to make it. If you can't spend everyday reading this book and doing the work, you need to leave now. Those two sentences (the man cubs and the teachers) collided in my head cause an amazing chain reaction. I picked up my stuff and left, walked out of the class half way through the semester while everyone looked at me shocked. It was a class some tried years to get into, you begged and stood against the wall for weeks hoping someone would drop to get into this class and I just walked out. I cried the whole way home. I cried because I felt like I was giving up on my dream, I cried because I felt so guilty for neglecting my family. I cried for all the times I missed because I was gone. I cried for 3 days. I sat across the dining room table and had a conversation with Sarge for the first time in 2 years. I apologized to my kids and my family for not being there for them. Luckily I only had a few minor requirements to finish my BS.

So now, here I am. My priorities are my family and creating a happy healthy home for my kids and my husband. I don't have the big job, we don't have a lot of money but I know exactly how many pairs of clean underwear are in the man cubs drawer and I know that Brace face got a D on her Geometry test which made her cry. I know that Sarge will eat at the table with us if I make food that doesn't upset his delicate stomach. I know all this because I am home. Since I have been home and in tuned to my family I have quit clothes shopping weekly, I have taken the texting and Internet off my phone and I have adjusted to having less and needing less. In reality I have much more.

Since being home I have really focused on living off less. I raise chickens because they are simple and I feed my family with the eggs and we watch them and enjoy that they are simple creatures who make us laugh. I quilt because it's my way for showing my children I love them and I want to keep them warm. It also makes me work with my hands and lets me be creative. I can because I want my children to eat food that is not bathing in high fructose corn syrup. I make our laundry detergent because it is one thing I can do to keep our expenses down, and keep me home. I dream of a garden, of goats and of a raspberry patch and it will all come in time. I have a lot of reading to, I wasn't born into country-ness! In reality I have gone country to give my family the very best.

PS. I apologize for the novel this post has become :)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

This is WAR!!

We have a problem. These little boogers are infesting the franch. They are biting my dogs, living in the chicken pen and all together just making me angry. I have tried boiling water.

What to do? I know it's not smart but I keep spraying them with the hose just so I don't have to look at them but I came back and there they are. I have tried DE to no avail. Hmmm, time to google "annoying creepy mean little suckers who are trying to take over the franch".

On a parental side note do you ever have those weeks where you wonder how ridiculous it can get? The hot headed, high strung little man cub keeps getting angry and in his frustration (almost bratty-ness) he spills large quantities of sticky drinks. For the love of all things holy, stop already!!!! I have cleaned up grape juice, orange kool-aid, COKE and lemonade all in the last few days. No matter how much I wipe my shoes are sticking to the floor. My mop is begging for mercy and to top it off since I have been typing this I now have 32 oz of coke on my kitchen floor. The joys of motherhood. Errr.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The end...and the begining

Everytime I get done canning a bunch of stuff I swear I'm never going to can again. It's not that I hate it it is just a ton of work. I finished the pears and peaches today which is why I am still in my PJs at 6 pm. It's so pretty, the counter full of jars. I am always glad I do it. I just read about some bread you bake in the canning jar and just put the lid on as soon as you get it out of the oven and it seals and is yummmmmy. That's my new little project one day next week I think.

Lookie what I got in the mail today. I bet you'll never guess what's in the box...

Not a new book, or purse or kitchen gadget. Not the butter bell I have been talking about for 3 months. Nope!

Hatching eggs. Maran hatching eggs. They produce chocolate colored eggs that are just beautiful and HUGE!

The egg on the left is one of the big ones I collect from my flock. I would consider it a x-large egg. The Maran egg is considered gynormous (to me at least).

These babies will be headed for the incubator tonight and our three week wait will begin. There are 6 eggs, which have lower than normal hatch rates because they are shipped and bounced around. My concern is I don't want any singletons. Can't have just one baby chick he will be lonely and sad.

Then I will have to go get a bunch of friends for it and Sarge will get mad at me.

Good luck little chickies!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Bust a move-- Indian style

I was gone most of today. It was horrible. Luckily I had some nut buckets with me to entertain me. You know those kids with killer imaginations that just have no idea the whole store is watching their jedi battle? Yup, that's my kid. Everyone seems to enjoy him and they all smile, so I let him.

So there is this new farmers market by my house. There were about 10 booths, 2 of them were produce. The others weren't very farmers market-ish. So the people there had their produce marked to rediculous prices. 2 tomatoes for $1.50. 2 peaches for a $1.50. I just couldn't believe the prices. Would you pay those prices? Am I horribly cheap?

They had a bunch of Indian dancers there which was pretty cool. They did different styles of dance and had different costumes, ones from local Indians and a separate group from the north.

For some reason this little girl who looked about 3 was fascinating to me. She rocked with the music and stood there so calm and patiently. My kids would have never behaved like that at that age.

She was stinky cute and she always looked concerned. When she saw me taking her picture she wasn't shy, she never looked away. I told Sarge I wanted one of those and he said no. Even when I pointed out her gargantuant chubby cheeks he still said no.

So tomorrow I will finish canning the peaches and pears and hopefully not come down off the hill until I go to work Saturday.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Don't tell anyone but I kind of miss working. Yes, I have lost my mind. Where else can you get paid to act like this:

I finished my training today. I go back to work Saturday for a 24 hour shift then I'll think back to this post and wonder what the heck I was thinking.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Cinnamon Rolls #78

Number 78 on my list of things I want to do in my lifetime is learn how to make cinnamon rolls. You know the ones that make your eyeballs roll into the back of your head? So today while I should have had my face in that big ole binder, or when I should have been canning the 40 pounds of fruit on my dinning room table I made cinnamon rolls instead.

I don't have any experience with yeast so I was a bit concerned when the dough didn't double in size like it said it would. Even with my yeast concern, they turned out yummmmmy. I was so into them after I iced them, we all started eating them and I didn't take a picture. The man cub tried to eat 3. Like I wouldn't notice. HA!

I have made a bit of a list of what I want to do to be more self-sufficient and I have decided I want to hold off talking about it until I can really go into depth about my ideas.

Tomorrow I will spend most of my day in training for work. Last time I did training the young punks I work with strapped me down to a backboard and propped me up against the wall upside down until I told them they were my Daddy. Wish me luck!

So embarrassing

I want a do over. When I woke up this morning to my little mop-of-a-dog curled up in my neck like she often does I started talking to her and kissed her like I do a lot of mornings. When I opened my eyes I realized her head was on the other end. It can only go up from here, right?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Monday, Monday

So I have been off work for almost a month because all of my certifications expired and I am not allowed to work in the county until I take a big long stupid class and do a bunch of expensive time consuming things. So today I went and got the binder for my 24 hours of continuing education. Boring.

Hundreds of boring pages, yuck. There aren't even any pictures in the big ole binder (sigh).

On a very exciting note, got my Ball Blue Book in the mail today. It was like Christmas! I have a ton of peaches and pears to can within the next day or they will start to rot.

Do you see these black charcoal briquettes that were supposed to be my lunch. This is what happens when you are peacefully making some yummy grilled cheese and you notice a coyote by your chicken pen. I thought coyotes are supposed to be nocturnal-- Go to bed!

And I will leave you with this. The person in the truck ahead of me today is memorializing their dog that has been dead since 2004 on the back of their car. Why do people do this? Since when have our cars become rolling tombstones? Unless my dog did my dishes and made me millions in the stock market, you don't get the whole back window of my truck!

Tomorrow I want to outline some of my goals to become more self-sufficient.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

I need simplicity

Ok, I admit it, I am a total type A personality. I get all worked up, freak out, spaz out and cry when life is tough. That's just what I do. Life has been testing me a bit lately and today I struggled. The only comfort I could think of was to go be product in my kitchen. I peeled apples for a very long time and thought through things and physically wore myself out because I needed to. I even cried, I felt much better afterward. It's funny to me how being productive is therapeutic.

I have come to the conclusion. I need simplicity, hence the title of my blog. Life is much more tolerable and enjoyable when I am doing what I feel is the basic things in life-- cooking for my family, sewing things that make my home more homey and most of all being here for my kids and Sarge. No money from a high status job can compare.

I'm right where I need to be, in the kitchen letting the man cub give him self a reverse mohawk. He looks like a middle aged balding man.

Down the street from our house a few miles is a street I have always wanted to turn down. On the corner is a skeleton of a little mud hut. It just fascinates me. I always say I'm going to stop and take a picture but never do.... until yesterday. I turned down that road and found this fabulous barn. OMG I want it! I looooove barns and to have such a work of art by my house is amazing.

This washtub was right out in front of the mud hut skeleton. I always say I'm going to steal it because I love it so much. I also say I'm going to steal the balsamic vinegar from Macaroni Grill but I never do. I thought maybe the tub was cemented in but its not. Even better, the bottom is rusted out. It would be a disservice to remove the tub, even though I looooove it. It belongs there. It tells part of the story.

I wish this little mud hut could talk. We live by a lot of Indian reservations. I wonder if this was made by Indians. I wonder how old is it? It just blows my mind. I love the weeds that grow out of the top.

So there you go, now you know what fascinates me. I let my mind wander when I drive past this house. Sarge never even thinks twice about it. I'm still thinking about it when we get to town.

Is there anything in your area that fascinates you this much? Maybe something simplistic like an old mud hut?

Friday, September 11, 2009

I Remember

Let me stop and tell you a little story. Thinking back to September 11th, I like most Americans can remember that day like it was yesterday. I was prego with the man cub (horrible pregnancy) and I woke up at 10:00 with 43 messages on my answering machine. I knew something was wrong. It was one of those days I will never forget. I'm going to put a little spin on this story, take it in a different direction. You see, Sarge had 3 kids from a previous marriage. Less than a year later I went from one having one kid to having 5 very kneedy children.

I had no idea how to raise these kids who had come from a bad place. Life was hard for them, the hoarded food, they were mean and beat on each other and you can tell no one had invested the time to teach them right from wrong. But we adjusted. We were poor, we were tired and we were at a loss on how to help these kids grow up to be functional. They were a victim of their parents divorce. No Dad around and a Mom who couldn't be bothered.

But look, some how we all made it. They have grown up to protect this country. To give back. To put their life in danger for the good of mankind. Sometimes I look at them and these pictures and it blows my mind that they pulled themselves together. I am so proud of these kids.

So today while I think back and remember those who lost their lives so tragically both in the twin towers and the pentagon I am also going to take a moment and remember those who have lost their lives in this war and those who are still giving.