Thursday, February 28, 2013

6588 days!!!

     Well today was another momentous occasion.  Aaron I have been married for 17 years!  (Sorta...our wedding date is actually 2/29/96).  We did not get to spend it together, but my heart is with him no matter he is.  I can't believe I have loved him every day for over 18 years!!  That's 6588 days!!!
     I started today off by getting up early and taking Oreo to get spayed.  According to my iPad AND my iPhone I went to the correct location, well the humane society was NOT there.  Finally found it over by the stake center.  :p  Maggie cried so hard when we dropped her kitty off.  It was very sad to watch her.  We stopped and I got the girls a donut from Dunkin' Donuts.  We filled up with gas and headed home.
     I got the rest of the kids out and we headed out to work on the fence.  We actually made a good dent in it.  Alley chose to work in the house after she felt how cold it was outside.  It really wasn't cold unless the wind was blowing, which it pretty much did non-stop. We got a good size section of the wire put up for the fence.  I'm hoping to have it done in the next couple of days.  We can work on it tomorrow, but Saturday I have to take the kids to help my mom move.  Saturday evening is adult session of stake conference, with regular session from 10-12 on Sunday morning.
     Zane came over for a visit.  While he was over Luke texted me to see if he could come over and get some wood since the temp is dropping tonight.  I sent Zack out to the woods with a chainsaw, with Zane for support.  When they finished cutting they headed to Zane's to pick up his 4 hens and a rooster.  His family said no more chickens.  :(
     While they were gone Kay, Maggie, Bug and I worked on flipping my chicken coop.  The way I have it set now it has much more room for the birds.  Our temps are supposed to get down to 33 degrees tonight.  Kay gave fresh hay to the pigs and goats to snuggle down in.  While we were outside getting the animals taken care of, Alley put the spaghetti on to cook.  I had homemade marinara sauce cooking in the crock pot for several hours.
     Aaron called before he was going to sleep to talk to me.  I love him so much!  Sometimes it still feels just like it did when it was brand new.  Those times when you are realizing you DO love him and your heart wants to burst with happiness.  I still get that!  I don't know what would happen if I looked at him, or thought about him and didn't get that heart tickle.
     I've been reading a very interesting book on my iPad.  It's The Forgotten Skills of Self-Sufficiency Used by the Mormon Pioneers.  It makes me think about what life was like back then; how people got married and STAYED married.  Commitment was not a phobia it was a way of life.  You were committed to your wife, family, home, and job.  During those times relationships mattered, your word was your bond!
     I see people everyday that have no desire to commit to anything.  Life has become as disposable as a SOLO cup.  Friends, family, work, houses are all so easily shed and it has become the norm.  My children were the odd kids out in elementary school.  They came home and asked when were they going to get a new mom and/or dad?  All their friends had step-parents, why didn't they?  How sad is it that they were picked on because their parents were STILL together??
     I'm not saying my marriage was all roses and rainbows.  There were several times in it that even I thought it was over.  The difference is that Aaron and I truly love each other.  With love you can work through the growing pains.  The end result was me trying to imagine waking up every morning without him.  I couldn't face that.  He made the choice that I was that important to him.  What our families thought, what our friends said became irrelevant.  It would have been EASY to just call it quits and be one more statistical American family; to be normal.  I've been called a lot of things in my life and "normal" is NOT one of them!  ;)  So I am now looking forward to the next 6500+ days and on into eternity with the love of my life!!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Telling Tuesday...

     Well I took my midterms yesterday.  I felt pretty good about my psyc test, but not so great about my Spanish.  I know I would have done better if I had spent the last week studying instead of spending every waking moment with the love of my life.  I don't regret a single second!  If I died tomorrow I would NOT say, "I wish I had studied for that test!"  Instead I will say, "I'm so glad we had that time together!"
     I got home and Mack really wanted me to run him to Hobby Lobby to get para-cord.  I do NOT like to drive in the dark, but I did it for him.  Alley made hash brown nests for dinner, she got them off Pinterest. :)  Right after dinner I got horribly sick to my stomach.  I hurried and jumped into the bath tub.  In my family, the tub cures EVERYTHING!!  I stayed in for over an hour and still felt horrible.  I ended up being up until about 2:30 am feeling almost seasick.  (The one good thing about it was I read an entire Jude Devereaux book, cover to cover!)  I was finally able to relax and go to sleep after I moved to the foot of the bed.  I had Alley and Bug in Aaron's spot, and I felt almost claustrophobic!
     I got up and needed to run to TSC for goat feed, and grab some milk (can't WAIT for my cow!!), OJ and Ginger-Ale.  It was one of my quickest trips in Wal-mart.  LOL  I needed to get home and write my midterm essay for World Lit and have it submitted by 5:00 pm today.  Of course while I'm writing it the kids need 9,000+ things from me.  I did get it done before 4:30.  I do not like to wait that long to do it, and I had planned on doing it last night...but the universe had other plans for me.
     Tomorrow I have my psyc class.  We will go over the test. YAY!!!  Then it's the start of Spring Break for me!!  ;)  You would think I was packed and ready to head to Daytona, but's just no mandatory assignments in a hover pattern above my head.  My plans are to finish the fence, clean and organize the house and finally get my cow!!
     Oh my gosh!!  Speaking of the farm animals, I watched a horrifying hidden video report today on the start of a battery chicken's life.  I knew they sexed chicks in hatcheries   What I did NOT know is what happens to the males on their hatch day, when the company sells females to commercial egg farms. had hidden cameras in this business for 2 wks.  The worst part is this stuff is acceptable across the board for these hatcheries.  I have NO intention of becoming a vegetarian let alone a vegan as the end of this video suggests, but I am paying more attention to where our food comes from and how it is created AND processed.  The video states 150,000 males chickies are KILLED a day in their facility!!  Their only crime...hatching as a male!  There is no value in chickens that can't lay eggs, or so they say!
     I thought the hens had it rough in the conditions they live in at the egg farms, then these little tiny, fuzzy-butts don't make it past a few hours!  I do not buy commercial eggs anymore.  I may not be able to STOP these massive companies and their practices, but I will not condone them or HELP them buy purchasing their products.  I have 6 hens in my backyard, and 6 more in the brooder.  I feed them, love them and take care of them.  My reward is an egg a day, and I am GRATEFUL!!  This is the way it is supposed to be.  We love them, care for them and in return they provide for us, not mass producing and squeezing every last drop out of them.

Sundays are not always "normal"

     Well it's Sunday morning and on any normal Sunday I would be sitting in Sunday school class.  This is not your normal Sunday.  I went to bed last night about 11:30.  Alley made our first batch of crock pot soap.  It's lavender/oatmeal/cream.  It smells just lovely.  I think we let it get a little too cool before putting it into the mold, it didn't settle well.  So it's back in the crock this morning after we cut it up into pieces.  :0)  Back to my Sunday...I watched some more soaping videos last night and went to sleep close to 1:00am.  Bug and Maggie were in my bed, and it was ok.  When I woke up this morning, Bug got up right behind me.  He said his tummy was hurting.  His face was very flushed, and when I touched his cheeks he was burning up.  I got the thermometer and his temp was 101.  Not a good way to start off any day!
     Bug just laid on the floor in my bedroom doorway until all the kids were ready to go to church.  I carried him out and buckled him in hid car seat. I dropped all the other kids off at church with 5 minutes to spare. :0D  Bug fell asleep in the car on our way home.  I put him on the couch and started cooking some navy beans and ham.  I don't know if we are going to have it for dinner or if I want to try to can it.  I told the girls last night that we could have breakfast for dinner tonight, so we'll see what everyone else wants.
     I also plan on cooking up a pot of spaghetti sauce.  I have it down for dinner tomorrow, but I might try to can that too or instead.  LOL  I still have 2 psychology quizzes that need to get done and studying for my Spanish midterm tomorrow.
     Slight change of plans.  I just checked on Bug.  His fever went up to 103.6!  So I got him some acetaminophen and cold Kool-aid.  Then I put on Spongebob Squarepants for him.  It's so sad because last night he was so excited to NOT be sick, and get to go to church!  Then this morning he's sick and can't go.
     I just took his temp again and we are 101.  Yay!!  Anything over 102 makes me very nervous.  Now he's comfy watching "Kung Fu Panda".  I am continuing my research into soap.  Right now I'm looking into the all natural versions of transparent/glycerin soap.  I keep finding recipes and they contain my arch nemesis, propylene glycol.  I have finally found a page or two that describes how to make it with alcohol and sugar instead of the chemicalized propylene glycol.  :)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Heart, mind and soul

     It's been a few days since my last post.  My wonderful other half has been home since Sunday.  My heart has missed him so much.  I know people talk about soul mates and how silly, childish and even corny it sounds.  To me, it's just what he is.  Aaron is my other half; the other half of my heart, my mind and even my soul.
     When I get angry, and boy can I get angry, I tell him that I don't need him.  I tell him he's only here because I want him to be here.  It's so far from the truth it's scary.  I don't know what I would do if he weren't to be in days and nights.
     Maybe it's because our anniversary is this month, that my heart feels the need of him so much.  I don't know, maybe it's because he's been gone for so long this time.  I'm used to him being gone for hours, maybe a day or two thanks to work, but a whole month, is almost unbearable.  I say "almost" because I have survived it.  Surviving is what it feels like.  I can't say "lived" because I get through one day with only the knowledge that tomorrow is a fresh new day.  New days are full of hope and promises yet to be fulfilled.
     Having him home is bittersweet.  I am so very happy to look over and see his face, to touch his hair, or smell his skin.  It's almost been like a honeymoon, again.  That's the sweet of it.  The bitter is knowing he'll be leaving again.  Leaving for who knows how long.  My heart is just hovering, waiting for the call.  I know it's what needs to be, and logically it makes all the sense it needs too.
     People thought we would never make it as long as we have.  I was one of them.  Of course when my mother asked me if I could see myself waking up next to him for the rest of my life, I answered yes.  Simply said, "Yes".  I looked forward in my vivid imagination and imagined us in bed, rolling over over to look at each other with wrinkles and grey hair, and I could really see it.  Now looking back at the last 17 years of marriage and the single year we were together first, makes it seem like it has already been the "rest of my life".  It almost feels like I have gotten more than I should have hoped for, and more than most.  I still have hope for my love for my husband and a hope filled destiny.
     In our world, today, love and especially marriage is completely disposable.  It's become a rarity for marriages to last a few years, several years and especially a lifetime.  Life long marriages are definitely part of our endangered lifestyle.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Hearts & Chickies

     February 15, 2013

     So I decided today was going to be a busy day...AT HOME!  I wasn't going to go anywhere, run errands or buy anything.  I always seem to be on the road.  I know I have things to do at home, but I'm also the only one who can run the errands or pick up and drop off kids.  The going is exhausting.  :(
     I actually got up and got out of bed at 7:00 am without my alarm.  I watered our new little peeps in my bathroom.  I threw my farmer's uniform (Aaron's jeans, a long sleeved shirt, and my waterproof boots) on and took out the dogs.  Then I fed the goats, the pigs, the chickens and the ducks.  I brought the dogs in and Kay made their food.  I cleaned up the kitchen, swept and Swiffered the floors.  I vacuumed the classroom, dining room and living room.  Finally I made a list of all the things I wanted to get done today.
     I tried on Wednesday to make mozzarella and it didn't seem right.  Well after today, I know it was right on!  Hamlet got to reap the benefits and that makes it all worth it.  He was kinda sick or just cold and wouldn't eat or stand up or anything.  So we brought him into my bathroom and put him in the tub.  After about 30 mins he was standing and eating pelleted feed and looking more like himself.  We gave him the curds and whey and he just slopped it up!!  I let him stay inside overnight, in my tub.  Yesterday morning, he was all his usual self.  I carried him out and reunited him with his Ophelia.  <3

February 16, 2013

     I didn't get to finish my previous post because I started watching the girls' show with them.  Alley wanted to watch a couple of episodes of "Teen Mom" and Kay wanted to get caught up on "Grey's Anatomy".  SO we had a girlie tv night.  Zack played "Borderlands" with Brandi and Dean while Mack went to the movies with Zane and Zach Fossum to see "Warm Bodies".
     So on Thursday Kay and I headed to Tractor Supply for hay.  All I needed was hay.  I told her that before we got there and as we were walking in.  Well an elderly gentleman came out of the store and stopped.  On his buggy was 6 boxes of chicks.  I totally freaked out and ran into the store.  Sure enough "Chick Days" had started like 2 weeks early!!  Kay and I went around and checked them all out.  I was only going to get 10 Cornish Rock crosses or what we call "Dinner Chicks".  Kay decided we needed 2 more mallards too.  I ended up getting the 2 mallards, 2 black pullets, 2 red pullets, a black giant pullet and 5 Cornish Rocks.  
     We came home and had to move the dog food into a smaller bucket so we could use the larger one as a brooder.  I finally got it all set up with about 10 minutes to spare before taking Alley and heading to pick up my mom for our Valentine movie date.  We went to a matinee and saw "Safe Haven".  I then dropped my Mom off and then Alley at her boyfriend's house.  His parents invited her for dinner.  I picked up Mackenzie from ROTC Raider practice and we headed home for dinner.  His girlfriend Brittany was over.
     Brittany and the girls made a sugar cookie heart cake for dessert.  It was quite yummy!  Her mom came to pick her up at 9:00 and that's when I left to get Alley.  It took a few extra minutes because on the drive I found a spider crawling on the INSIDE of my windshield!  I managed to get off the road and park the car BEFORE jumping out this time.  Maggie had to climb up front with her shoe and squish it!!  *shivers*
     That's pretty much how my Valentine's day went.  LOL

     Well yesterday afternoon I called TSC to see if the assorted bantams came in, and they had.  I took Kay and we went to see if any of them were her precious Silkies.  Sure enough we found one!!  It was a buff.  Well they have a minimum you have to purchase and it's 6, so I had to pick out 5 more chicks just to get the one she wanted.  We picked out 4 more bantams and I got another black giant.  We brought them home and got them acquainted with the other chicks.  
     After having them last year, I was pretty confident in taking care of them this year.  Well, confidence bit my butter beans!  Last night, just a few hours after we brought them home, the one they named Turtle died in my hands.  :(  Bug was quite upset.  He kept checking to see if it was breathing.  When it did die, he tried to give it his gift card so it could come back to life!
     Well this morning, my little white died, then this afternoon Kay's Silkie died while I was holding it.  I had gotten them "Sav-a-Chick" Electrolytes and fed it to them with a syringe.  So far I have 2 of the original 5 left, Bug's and Maggie's.  I have another round of waterings to do with them before I go to bed.  I sure hope they are still ok in the morning.  The girl at TSC said to let them know how everything goes because they seem to be having trouble with all of their bantams.  I sure will!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Counting my eggs AND chicks ;)

     So I got up and started looking at fertile eggs from hatcheries.  Oh my gosh!!  They actually cost MORE than ordering live chicks!  I went to and put 7 eggs in my cart.  The cost of those eggs were $42.  I worked on it and thought, yeah, I could do this for the breeds I really wanted.  Then the shipping and handling came up and it was $39!!  There is NO way I'm paying $12 an egg for eggs that are NOT guaranteed in way!  Craigslist here I come!  I found Black Copper Maran eggs, 19 miles from my house for $2 an egg!  Oh yeah!!  Maggie, Kay and Bug loaded up in the van and we headed out.
     I got back and THEN started reading the incubator instructions.  LOL  I was sad that it had to run for several hours to stabilize before I could put my eggs in.  :(  Well I set it up and plugged it in.  I was going to the Atlanta temple for Branch Temple Night.  This was a fabulous way to distract me from the time going by until I could put in the eggs.  <3  I spent the evening with Cindy, Luke and Mandi.
     When I got home at 11:00 I didn't even take my shoes off!!  I checked the incubator and it was running just fine.  I put in the 6 Black Copper Maran eggs and my one Easter Egger egg.  It was amazing to look at it and know that in just 3 weeks little chicks should be pipping out!
     Then it was time to get settled down.  I was on the phone with my dad.  He wanted to know if I would be interested in admin'ing his facebook page for his mystery business.  I told him I would probably be able to do THAT!  LOL  Now I had to get Bug and Maggie to settle down and go to sleep, so I could do the same!  It was a blessed day!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Eggs and Soap :)

     Today started out with me being VERY tired.  Zackary came in late last nigh and told me that he knocked my side mirror by hitting a tree.  Bug had a rough night.  I was tired!
     It was pouring when I got up.  It's supposed to rain for the next 2 days!  I was tired.  I didn't see anything spectacular coming out of this day.  I left school early after a successful psyc class.  The kids texted to let me know that UPS dropped off not 1, not 2, but 3 packages for me!  I knew my incubator was scheduled to come in today, but the others were a surprise.  I had been shopping on this weekend, but I did NOT expect anything yet.  It was like a mini birthday party!!
     This is my first and BEST present of the day, week, month even the year!  (Ok, so we are only 5+ weeks into the year, and it leaves lots of room for improvement...but YAY!!!)  I tried to win one on the companies webpage in January, but that was a no go.  Then I knew it was on sale for $20 off the regular price, but I figured I would just wait because that was still a chunk of money!  Then, on Thursday, I was checking facebook and a post from their company popped up in front of me.  They were selling their demo models.  None of them had actually been used, just had pictures taken with them AND they were $60 off the regular price!!  I knew another deal like this was NOT going to happen any time soon, so I wrote them back immediately!!  They only had 2 and it was first come, first serve.  There was plenty of people that commented on the post that they had written them an email or message to buy it, but no reply from the company.  :(  Finally, while I was at Hobby Lobby on Friday morning I got a message that said I could call and place the order AND I was the FIRST one to respond!  LOL  I immediately called and ordered it and they shipped it out that day!!  Ta-da!!!
     Now I can order fertile eggs of different breeds that I wanted and it is MUCH cheaper to hatch the eggs than to buy the chickens; even one-3 day olds.  I want Silkies and Cochins and Black Copper Marans and Golden Sebrights!!  Thanks to this wonderful, fabulous machine and it's amazing company I can do this!  You just set the info in the top with the egg type and it sets the countdown to hatch day and automatically turns the eggs over at preset intervals.  It is AMAZING!!
     The other 2 packages were molds for my soap making.  They were the 3D jewels and music notes.  I wanted them to use them as inserts for bars of soap.  I got what I think is the last of soap making supplies today.  Well of the reusable stuff anyways.  I will need more Essential Oils (EO's), especially a different assortment of scents!  I do have more "gadgets coming, but at least I have the basics to practice with.
     I'm trying to be organized.  I really want to be able to do this and do it right.  For me there is a lot weighing on this.  My aunt has a condition that requires her to limit her contact with chemicals to bare necessities.  No one stops to think about the amount of chemicals they come in contact with on a daily basis. She has to be conscious of soap, shampoo, cleansers, air fresheners, deodorants and perfumes.  So I really want to make sweet smelling, yummy things she can use with little worry or fear.  Our family is very big on taking a bath.  We take one for a headache, stomach issues, muscle pain, or just to relieve stress.  The only thing better than a nice hot bath is a yummy/sweet/fun smelling bath!  I now know this can be achieved using no harsh chemicals that can be absorbed by the skin and has to be processed by the liver.  I don't want my kids to have to get to the point where the dr's are checking your bloodwork and levels to make them HAVE to pay attention to what is in the world around them.  I want them to KNOW now and make the best informed decision they can!  I don't want them to be an ostrich, nowadays the sand can be toxic!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Day 41 of 2013

     Today has been interesting.  I dropped off the four bigger kids at church.  Baby and Maggie stayed home sick.  I cleaned up the kitchen and started beans for dinner while working on my Spanish homework.  Soon enough it was time to go pick them up.  I got all the details about church.  Zackary gave his talk.  Mackenzie wanted his girl to come over after church, but due to a miscommunication that didn't happen.  Zane did come over and played Halo Risk with the boys.
     On the way home I shared a thought I had.  I told the kids that I would be willing to pay the winner of a race to see who could clean their room the fastest.  They didn't have to start at the same time, but I would keep track of the amount of time.  The room that fished fastest would split $20, the second place room would split $10 and the third place room would each get $1.  It was GREAT!  No fighting, no arguing, no postponing.  All three room were done before bedtime!  I can see the carpet AND furniture in each room!  :-D  Maggie and Bug won with a time of 53 mins.  Mackenzie and Zane came in second by 4 minutes.  Alley and Kay took 1 hr and 47 mins.
     I let Zackary drive Zane and Mackenzie to Zane's house to sleep because it is pouring rain.  When he returned he had to tell me that he knocked off the side mirror on my van.  He said that my van just slid down their muddy driveway.  I have to admit I totally freaked out!!  He felt really bad.  I finally explained that I wasn't actually angry, I was just in shock.  I'll check it out in the morning, before school...
     So, I finished my homework for the night with Alley laying by me.  I love my kids and I can only pray that I say it often enough that they KNOW it.
     I got to talk to Aaron twice today.  I miss him and he misses us.  It's hard for him.  He's lonely.  I hoped that his visit home would make things easier for him, but I just don't know.  I know that there are other families doing this and are ok with it.  Aaron and I have always been at our best when we are together.  Most couples want one or both to work, just so they have a break.  Aaron and I are good 24/7.  This month we will be together for 18 years!!  Married for 17!!  Holy Cow!!  He still makes my heart flutter <3

Friday, February 8, 2013

Bittersweet day :/

     Well today started off pretty bad for me.  I got up this morning to find that my second son had not done his one and only chore, cleaning up the kitchen after dinner.  Now, he's 16 years old.  I completely understand that this is NOT on his list of "likes", but it is his responsibility.  Each child has one chore a day and it rotates.  Zack has the "classroom"; which means he cleans up and vacuums as needed.  Mack has the kitchen, but since he's in school all day he just has it after dinner.  Alley had dining room, which means she clears the table and vacuums.  Kay has the living room, so she makes sure the DVD's and games do not overrun the room, folds any laundry done, and vacuums.  Yes, I am somewhat OCD about the floors.  Maggie just keeps their bathroom cleaned up and stocked on toilet paper.  Bug, he's a pinch hitter.  He kicks in and helps with any little thing I find.  Now at the end of the week, on Saturday, it's PAYDAY!!  They 4 oldest get $25 a week, Maggie gets $5 and Bug gets 4 quarters for his bank!  This is if all chores were done by the time I go to bed.  If, upon my waking the day's previous chores were NOT accomplished, that day's money is forfeit.
     Soooo, Mack decided to load everything into the sink, a mile high...and then go to bed!  I had great plans for today and they did NOT include starting it off cleaning up the kitchen.  The Sister missionaries were coming to help with the electrical fence and  my posts came in at Lowes, so I could actually finish setting them. As it was, I cleaned the kitchen with the other kids' help, did a load of laundry, swept and Swiffered the laundry room and hall, all before the Sisters arrived.
     I took them out to meet our furry family members, and explain how the fence was supposed to go.  They put on the insulators while Zack and I got the wire out and ready.  After a while we had lunch!  Yummy homemade subs :D  Then we went back out and cleaned up the rest of the yard, rearranged pallets and crates, overall making a huge difference in the appearance of our yard.
     However, just before they got here, my husband called.  he was trying out his new BlueTooth headset.  In the US, commercial drivers cannot talk on the phone unless it is wireless, and 10 out of the 50 states do NOT allow phone usage at all while operating a commercial vehicle.  This greatly limited the times and duration of our phone calls.  Well he called to let me know his trainer had reworked their driving route and he could come home for a couple of hours tonight!!  I managed to keep it a surprise for the kids, but I was over the moon!!  It changed my mood and attitude instantly!  This WAS a great day!
     So I managed to help all the kids get their chores done, run to the store for dinner and get back.  Then I had to hurry back to town and pick him up!  His trainer held him for wanted a sackful of Krystal burgers or he wasn't going to let him get out!  I happily obliged and got my husband!!
     The kids were so happy and surprised!!  Squeals and giggles filled the air!  While dinner cooked in the oven, we grabbed a shower and had some quality time.  Then it was a full table for dinner and everyone talking and laughing and sharing things they seen, heard and done.  Kay made a German Chocolate for dessert.  Aaron and I went in our room and climbed in the bed.  It was time to just cuddle and chat.  He dozed off quickly, poor guy.  All clean, at home, his own comfy bed with a heated mattress pad, snuggled up next to was destined to happen!  Hahaha!  I just laid there, enjoying his presence and listening to him breathe.
     All to soon it was time for him to get his stuff ready and head back to the truck stop.  The kids all came out for hugs and good-byes.  Some had very sad faces, and even a tear or two.  We chatted on our way to town.  I had a few last minute questions, and basically I just wanted to hear his voice.  Now, I'm home.  I'm in our bed, and Bug just came in.  He told me that when he grows up, he's getting married, having kids so I can be the grandma and he can be the mommy, just like me!  So my night ends on a giggle and heart full of love!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Propylene Glycol is EVERYWHERE!!

     I have been obsessed with soap making lately.  It was a fascinating interest over the last several years.  However, my usually stable, guiding force (my husband) is not around to distract me!  (I love you, honey!!)  It started as another creative experience I have yet to try and recently became more about what's IN the soap we all you use regularly.
     I have to admit that the girly-girly side of me LOVES all things that smell pretty!!  Sometimes, my greatest dilemma is WHICH smell to use!  LOL  I can get frustrated when I realize I can't mix them, or wear them ALL and STILL smell good!  I love the smell of my shampoo, but then there's the yummy body wash.  Don't forget the amazing smell of the deodorant, the funky-busy smell of hair products, finished off with perfume or body mist!  I'm amazed our noses haven't gone ADHD themselves, maybe twitching, sneezing, or even "running" off our faces!
     Then there's the news.  The never pleasant, always negative flood of information on topics we did NOT ask to hear about.  If you're like me and do NOT watch TV for the news or anything else, there's the Internet and more specifically, Facebook.  This is where kindhearted/sadistic people share the horror stories over and over and over and over again.  You literally cannot hide from information.  This is where I first heard of "Propylene Glycol" as anything other than anti-freeze.
     I typed "Propylene Glycol" into my best friend/worst enemy, GOOGLE and this is what it told me...
 So I clicked on the link that had a .gov ending since attending college taught me they are one of the few reliable sites for information.  This is what our government has to say about this common ingredient...

     Instead of trying to rephrase it or interpret it for you, I cut the entire page out and shared it; including their contact information. This is the link to the actual webpage (Here) This gets scary here.  It's used as a deicing solution (anti-freeze) which are we are warned regularly NOT to ingest, yet at the same time the Food & Drug Admin (FDA) has classified it as "generally recognized as safe" for use in food!  So which is it???
     It is used as a solvent in food, paint and plastics.  Now there's a set of groups I never thought I would see sharing ingredients!  You see from the top of the page the body systems negatively affected by this compound.  Let's look at a list of FOOD items that contain propylene glycol.  There are 15,339 products that we have access to that contain this compound.  I'll copy and paste the list and then add the link so you can actually click on each category to see if you personally recognize any of the products.  I'll warn you, the list is LONG.......

Here's the link for your own investigation (Here).
     Now I have seen a lot of the products listed on here, but I have not personally checked every one out.  I know my cake mixes, ice cream, and salad dressings have it.  I check labels like no tomorrow, now.  My kids do too.  
     I can understand how the government says it's "safe" in small amounts.  The companies generally use small amounts.  What is slipping right past everyone is the compilation of products we use in a day that has this compound.  As women, look at your regular day.  It's in your soap, shampoo, moisturizer, foundation, blush, sunscreen and lotion.  Then it's off to breakfast; muffins and even milk can contain it.  After you eat, it's in your toothpaste, mouthwash, deodorant and lip balm.  You haven't even left the house yet, and look how much your body has to process!!
     I'm not saying for us all to go psycho and ban/banish propylene glycol from the planet.  I'm just saying that we as consumers, not just customers that purchase it, but as people who CONSUME it, need to be aware.  Try to limit it.  Our livers and kidney are fantastic filters for foreign compounds that can harm us, but how much, over how long, can they do this??  Your car needs a new oil filter every 3000 miles or 3 months!! Your vehicle cost anywhere from $500-$150,000 and you make sure you don't put things into the engine that can harm it...your life is PRICELESS, isn't it worth even the minimal amount of consideration we give our cars??

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Working Together!

     Now a days, it's not very common to see a family working together.  By a family, I mean a group of kids from preschool to high school, and maybe a parent.  Today was a good day!  I home school 4 out of 5 of my school age kids.  (My second son vehemently requested to attend the local high school). This requires much less of their time for study/academics than a traditional brick-and-mortar school.

     Today we needed to work on getting the fence put up so we can let the goats free range, and be able to go pick up our cow and calves.  We have already placed and set 45 six feet tall steel T-posts.  I am waiting for Lowes to get the rest of them in (30 more) on Friday.  Next we had to put on the insulators, because we are using electrical fence.  I chose this because barbed wire scares the life out of me.  This is not just for animal safety, but for my family as well!  The thought of one of the kids running and tripping/falling/rolling into barbed wire leaves me with mental images fit for a horror film or nightmare!  The electric fence will give them a zing, but they have all bumped into it at one time or another with the pigs, and the worst ending was a severe case of giggles while they were rolling on the ground!

      So above we have Mack and Kay trying to put wire insulators into one of the trees.  To the left is my oldest son, Zack using a junior machete to clear the brush and vines where the wire will run.  Right now, just the area that will be our "Spring" garden is wired in.  The two pigs have been in there since October, rooting it up, eating any form of vegetation and bringing ALL the rocks to the surface.  I was planning on taking my garden wagon in the pen tomorrow to start removing all the debris but we have a 90% chance of rain for the next 24 hours!
     Also, our sister missionaries were planning on coming over to help run the wire for the fence.  Yet another task that will have to wait, (hopefully just until Friday!!).

So here are some photos with the reasons behind all this work!

 The pigs are a joy!  The black and white (Oreo looking) pig is our male (boar) named, "Ham"let!  The pretty pink pig with Cleopatra eyes is his wife, Ophelia!  In the middle picture, she was sleeping in their feeding trough!  Sometimes they really freak us out because when they sleep, they look DEAD! Hahahaha!
Kay is our biggest animal lover!  She willingly feeds, waters, plays with and loves on every one that will hold still long enough!  Here she is holding our newest addition, Peanut!  He is a male (buck) Pygmy goat.  He is only 3 months old, but will be a "daddy" next year ;)  The picture below them is our "herd".  We have Caramel, our wether (neutered male) & his twin Cinnamon our female, both 1/2 Nigerian Dwarf & 1/2 Pygmy, Pepper and her twins Shiva and Callie (Agoutis), .

 The picture below is some of our chickens.  They love to follow the goats around.  It's like a bunch of little kids following the "cool" big guys around, hoping to find something worth the effort!  I'm just tickled that they eat all the BUGS!

Days like this leave very little time for the TV, XBox or computer.  Days like this make me smile and make me very happy with my choices!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

What is acceptable??

     I have been bothered greatly by a vast number of things lately.  It seems the more I learn, the less I know.  I truly do love to learn things, any things.  The problem is once I learn something, I cannot "unlearn" it.  The more I learn about our food and the acceptable "things" and methods involved in producing or procuring it, the less I want to leave my own yard!
     At any given time of the day in our home you can hear me exclaim one of two things.  "God bless GOOGLE!" or "GOOGLE is the devil!".  Hahaha!!  The old saying, "Curiosity killed the cat" holds very true when you have a question and GOOGLE has the answer!
     I have searched about the duration animals are pregnant, starting with dogs, then cats, goats, pigs, and cows.  I'm sure I probably checked on other animals along the way, just for curiosity's sake.  I have watched how chickens hatch, different baby delivery techniques, and even how to slaughter and butcher chickens, rabbits, pigs, goats and cows.  I have learned how to make cheese, butter, soap, candles, sock monkeys, laundry detergent and household cleaners.  While some of these things are sadly imprinted upon my memory for all time, the reason I went looking in the first place is much worse!
     My best friend knows I have been bothered by what our society finds not only acceptable to eat, but preferable in many cases.  On Facebook the other day, she posted this for me...

I literally almost gagged!  We have not eaten a fast food burger in over a year.  I had watched "Food Inc." and then had my kids watch it.  Not only did they have to watch it, they had to do a PowerPoint of their own making on the points they found to be the most important.  At the time, my children were 15, 15, 13, and 12; my 7 year old and 3 year old just had to listen as their siblings gave us their presentation.  After they each had shared their work, they ALL agreed that they were NEVER going to eat that stuff again.
     As a mother, I could have simply told them it was bad for them and they were "not allowed" to eat at those places.  The result of that would have been them sneaking off with friends to have the "forbidden fruit". By allowing them to do the research themselves, at their level, they were able to make educated decisions about the health of their bodies and what is "acceptable" to help sustain them.  They tell their friends and their parents trying to educate them.  What my kids have learned is that people do NOT want to know!  They want to be led around by the government and multimedia.  They WANT to believe whatever they are told by those in places of authority.  I am NOT one of those people!
     I WANT to know what I am putting in my body, and especially in the growing bodies of my children.  I don't care if I am called a "hippie" or "liberal"!  What I am is CONCERNED and trying to be EDUCATED! I get laughed at by people when they hear I have a husband of 17 years, 6 kids, 12 chickens (soon to be more), 4 ducks , 4 goats, 2 pigs, 2 cats and 3 dogs.   We are adding more chickens, rabbits, a few dairy goats, and 2-3 beef calves.  We also have our garden being prepared for the pigs!  By the end of this year my family hopes to not have to "purchase" any of the major foods that people consume.  (I don't have the room to grow wheat, so we will still by flour and oats).  Our meats, dairy, fruits and vegetables will not travel hundred or thousands of miles to get to our table; they will come in from the yard!
     My ultimate goal is to limit or eliminate the external chemicals added to our bodies and lives on a daily basis.  I do NOT believe Alzheimer's, Autism, and the multitudes of cancers that are devastating our world are some freak of nature or chance occurance! Pesticides, GMO's and petroleum based "everything" are the keys.
     A few generations ago, when people actually still worked the land for food and not for corporate dividends, there was no such thing as Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADD or ADHD, OCD, or any of those easy to spit out letters.  People had problems, but NOTHING like today!  Our society's answer to any issue that arises is to chemically alter it!  Not me!!  Not this time!!  Not ever!!