Thursday, January 29, 2009

We Had a Rough Beginning . . .

. . . to this week! On Monday afternoon Cora was a mess - she vomited off and on all afternoon for about 6 hours! Poor baby - luckily she was able to sleep through the night and after that showed no further symptoms.

Then Tuesday evening I started feeling nauseous and after going to bed was up every hour or every half hour going to the bathroom, starting at 10pm lasting til 3:30am - talk about a rough night!!

Before the alarm went off Wednesday morning (pre-5:30am!) Matt had to get up and was having the same thing - stomach flu nasty stuff.

We both were very pitiful all day Wednesday, slept for most of it.

Did I mention the snow storm? Oh yes, we also had a LOT of snow and ice and then more snow, making it necessary to plow our driveway Tuesday (should've done it Wednesday, but were way to sick to do more than just the necessary chores). Doing chores was no picnic between having to brave the precipitation as it was still snowing at the time and feeling so sick (Thank you, Matt - you're so brave and tough!).

You might say it was bad timing to have the snow and sickness at the same time, but I say our God was watching out for us. If it hadn't have been for the snow, Matt's mom would've been at work and wouldn't have been able to take Cora for us on Wednesday - that was a huge help - we were able to rest and puke all day without having to worry about caring for Cora too!

So this week has started out rough - but over Tuesday night I couldn't help but be grateful that while I felt TERRIBLE at the time, at least I wasn't a cancer patient dealing with chemo that got sick with every treatment (or some other health problem that is way worse than short term stomach flu!). What I was dealing with was just temporary, but a great reminder (thanks, God?!) to be thankful for the good health I do have most of the time.

After a good night's rest, Matt's back at work, and Cora and I are doing fine at home today.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Cinnamon Pear Sheet Cake

So I made this cake last night. It is deliciously moist, and fruity. Try it out! So far as I know, it is a unique and one-of-a-kind original recipe :-)

  • 1 boxed white cake mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 29 oz can Pear Pieces in Light Syrup
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven, grease bottom only of a 9 x 13 pan. Drain pears, reserve liquid. Use liquid from can of pears in place of the water called for on cake mix box, add cinnamon: otherwise, prepare as directed. Add the drained pairs, stir in by hand.

Pour cake mix into prepared pan and bake as directed on box. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. While waiting for cake to cool, prepare frosting

  • about 2 cups powdered sugar
  • about 1/3 cup shortening
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • remaining reserved liquid from pears

Beat together shortening, powdered sugar, and cinnamon. Gradually beat in pear liquid, a few tablespoons at a time until frosting is the desired consistency. When cake is cool, spread frosting on cake and enjoy!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Last weekend my family attended the Indiana Young Farmer Conference. This is a great experience for anyone interested in Agriculture (who lives in Indiana, who is a Farm Bureau member, who is 18-35 years old). Farm Bureau covers the hotel (one night) and all your meals and snacks, and provides great entertainment as well as educational and networking opportunities. There is actually now a website network for Indiana Young Farmers, which is great!

I found this link on there, which shows some interesting 2-4 minute videos on YouTube about the pork industry in Ohio. Very informative. Be sure to check it out. There is a lot of false information put out there by various groups (PETA in particular) that is simply not true and is sadly tarnishing the reputation of animal agriculture without cause. The videos in the link help show the facts about what really goes on with people who raise livestock for a living. Raising animals is hard work, and if someone didn't like the animals and enjoy being around them, they wouldn't have them in the first place.

If you have considered donating money to an organization that claims it stands for animal welfare, please be sure you know to what cause you are really donating. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is largely a political action group that lobbies towards the goal of vegan lifestyles for all. Nothing wrong with being vegan if that is a choice you have made, but that certainly isn't a choice I want forced upon me by legistlature! PETA even states on their website that they want to eradicate the use of animals for human gain, which even includes (according to them) keeping pet dogs and cats - they want to stop people from having pets! Many animal welfare charities claim they stand for animal welfare, but in reality they are pushing to have laws made based on wrong information, or misinformation.

I myself very much love animals! I have two horses, one of which is 29 years old and can no longer be ridden, he is retired but he will have a home with me as long as he lives. We have adopted a Great Pyrenees from Indy Great Pyrenees Rescue, and currently are fostering 4 of their other livestock guardian dogs until they are able to find forever homes for them as well. But, I firmly believe that donating money to the HSUS or PETA does not help animals, it just lines the pockets of those at the top of those organizations. If you are interested in helping animals, consider donating to a breed rescue, such as IGPR, or your favorite dog or cat breed. These people (often volunteers) really do seek out animals who are in bad situations and help them, whereas HSUS pretty much just lobbies Washington and never actually helps individual animals in need of rescue.

Want to learn more about where I stand on animal welfare? Ask me! I'd love to talk about it.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Save me!

Check out this link with suggestions for saving money!



Anyone else have any simple suggestions for ways to cut costs???? Post your comments here!!

Friday, January 23, 2009

God Bless America!

So our country is facing some tough times! Anyone noticed? Lots of companies are losing money, cutting back production, firing/laying off employees, closing their doors.

Our country (Americans) is (are) doing a lot of things that are just plain wrong, no matter how you look at it. Going off the assumption that the Bible is the only truth and that following God's ways brings life and hope, is it any wonder that our country is dealing with the economic downturn and the things that go with it?

Now, I don't mean to judge. I am a sinner saved by grace, and I am by no means perfect. I AM trying my best to allow God to work in my life to make me more and more Christlike, but I make mistakes all the time. I may not have actually killed anyone, but it says somewhere in the Bible that if you have angry words towards someone you have murdered him! God's Word says that one sin is equally bad in His eyes as the next. Lying, stealing, murder, adultery (so much as looking at another lustfully!), homosexuality....the list goes on - no one is worse than the other, each is EQUALLY wrong and condemning.

In fact, some of these "acceptable" sins are quite commonplace even in churches: coveting, concealing the truth, spreading rumors. Some that aren't as readily accepted by church members are extremely commonplace in the TV shows we watch "religiously" - a variety of sexual sins, overt drinking or drug abuse, murders (CSI, etc), jealousy, and so on. Think back to the shows you watched last week - can you think of even one example where the people portrayed did things that were truly God-pleasing? I firmly believe that the stuff you watch (and laugh at, and are entertained by) is more ingrained in you than you want to admit. If you can get a big kick out of a nasty joke...ask yourself why you weren't repulsed by it. Where are our hearts and minds? Read Amos 6:1-7, "Woe to you who are complacent . . ." Why aren't we taking a stand in our own households to begin diligently trying to follow God's loving commandments? He gives us these things for our own good, not our harm, not to spoil our fun! Check out this post I wrote a while back on a verse in Phillippians: http://adayinthelifeofnicoleblog.blogspot.com/2008/11/idols-or-whats-really-important.html

If you've ever had a chance to read parts of the Old Testament, you know that REPEATEDLY the children of isreal fall away from God - they start worshipping other gods and doing what all the other godless nations around them were doing. God would send prophets to warn them that he was going to overtake them if they didn't turn away from their evil thoughts and actions. They almost never listened, God would send some army in to take them over, and then after they'd lost everything they would come back to God.

I am going to suggest that America is EXACTLY LIKE the people of isreal right now - we have fallen away, and we are beginning to lose everything! America has been so accustomed to prosperity that we have "forgotten" that we need God because we think our food comes from the Grocery store and that the money that buys that food comes from the companies we work for. Everyone was so concerned when the stock market crashed. Folks, the stock market does not know how many hairs are on our head! The stock market did not lovingly create you! Every good and perfect thing comes from God! No where else! We must keep bringing this to the forefront of our minds. Let's not become complacent and say "it doesn't matter if we sin, God still loves us" Yes, He does, but He wants us to be faithful to him.

The good news is that while people generally are known for making mistakes and it is easy to lean towards doing wrong (what is it about some sins that make them so attractive, make them seem like the easy way?)...the good news is that no matter where we are in our walk in life, God DID create us, he is our Father, the one who made us and wants a close relationship with us. Even if we have a nasty past, God loves us where we are. Now, that's not an excuse to keep on sinning, but our Heavenly Father loves us, he wants us to come to him and let him clean us up and allow him to gently mold us into the people he wants us to be. God wants us to be close to Him, to pray with him, to read his Word - that's how we learn about who He is, and how we learn to be truly our happiest. At least that's the way it's been for me....I can look back in my life and say that the times when I was TRULY happiest was when I have been closest to Him, and the opposite is also true (the worst times have been when I have been farthest from Him).

I am writing this post as a sort of introduction to you before you read the link to this though-provoking writing by the author of one of the blogs I follow.

Here is a quote that I especially like:

"I believe that we are about to go through a time of "pruning" that will be painful in the short term, but glorious when it is over."

God gives us painful times in order to bring us closer to Him. Don't push Him away, but allow him to make us "glorious" as we become more and more Christlike!

Check the rest of it out:

http://generationcedar.blogspot.com/2009/01/our-culture-of-death-makes-way-for-life.html

Pray for our nation, pray for Christians, pray for those who don't yet know Christ, pray for yourselves and your family that God uses these tough times for his glory.

(thanks for reading....I apologize if I got too bold!)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Cute, Cute, Cute - a sewing project!

Check out this link:




It is a link to a 'tutorial' for sewing a "Crayon Roll." My Cora is going to have to have one of these once she learns to color!


A side note: The other day I bought her some big fat crayons (way too big for the crayon roll) even though they say 18 months +. She isn't too impressed with them yet. I will show them to her again in a couple of weeks. Eventually she'll be ready for them, and make some pretty pictures for everyone!

They're supposed to be ergonomically designed for her chubby little hands. If nothing else, they're cute and colorful! Kind of like a weeble-wobble; they don't fall down!

Turkey

After Christmas, I bought a 14.5 lb. turkey on sale at the grocery store. I put it in the freezer, knowing I had cheap meat in there that we could prepare later, eat, and then freeze the cooked meat for yummy things such as turkey pot pie, any number of casseroles (turkey and chicken can be interchangeable) and a yummy recipe called Turkey Cranberry Wreath (a turkey filling inside a crescent roll crust).

It had been VERY COLD last week, so as I was thinking of ways we could help keep the house feeling warm, I took out the turkey Thursday morning to thaw. Running the oven for the several hours it takes to bake a turkey, plus cooking the rest of the fixins' ought to make for a warm house! We had it on Sunday, my parents were here to visit. It was fun preparing lunch with my family around! It turned out great!

I put the big pieces of meat on one large plate, to be eaten as leftovers and to be broken up into smaller pieces and frozen in the next couple of days. Last night, Matt, Cora and I had turkey dinner again, and again, it was yummy!

Here's the VERY BAD NEWS: We all FORGOT to put the big plate FULL of leftover turkey BACK into the refridgerator!!! It sat out overnight, uncovered.............I am so sad/mad we both forgot to check the kitchen to make sure that didn't happen. What a disappointment!

At least we got two very good meals out of this turkey. And, it won't go completely to waste, as we now have 5 great pyrenees dogs living at our place that will be happy to help us dispose of the turkey. But, what could have been wonderful turned out to be a disappointing waste, mostly. Oh well, hopefully now we will be more careful.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

I don't like exercising!

I don't like exercising.....

....but I love tossing my 1 year old up in the air shouting, "Wheeee!!" almost as much as she loves me to do it.


I don't like exercising....

....but I don't mind hauling hay, feed, and water to the goats, dogs, and horses during chores every morning and night.


I don't like exercising....
....but when my daughter is sleeping peacefully in my arms, somehow I don't seem to notice (too much!) how much my arms are burning from trying to hold her up.

I don't like to exercise....

....but I had a great time helping my dad and my husband load up a pickup truck bed full of firewood this afternoon.


I don't like to exercise....

....but it sure it fun to jog alongside my mare Arabee to condition her and walk her through the woods up and down hills to get her used to the new trails.


I don't like exercising....
....but it sure is fun following my daughter up the stairs as she's learning to go up, and now back down safely - she's getting quick!


*******
What is it about exercise "in disguise" that keeps it from seeming so much like "work?"

Friday, January 16, 2009

Elimination Communication

Elimination Communication, or ‘EC’ for short, is a great parenting tool that involves helping your young baby go potty in an appropriate place other than their diapers. I learned about it by accident when researching different types of baby carriers at this website: http://www.wearyourbaby.com/Default.aspx?tabid=306 Here is another source for learning about EC: http://www.tribalbaby.org/ECindex.html

Now for our story of why it makes sense to try EC, and how we practice it:

We’ve had our daughter in cloth diapers since we ran out of the newborn sizes we got from the hospital and from baby showers (it didn’t take very long!). She was a very good natured newborn, but sometimes got upset, for no apparent reason. Dry, wasn’t hungry…..but then moments later upon checking the diaper again, it was wet. I believe she was trying to tell us she had to pee! Some sources claim that babies have a desire not to “soil the nest” which makes a lot of sense; even some animals seem to have this desire. However, through diaper use, we “train” our babies to potty in their diapers, since we don’t usually help them go anywhere else with traditional diaper use.

They say it’s best to start EC with newborns, so they never get used to the idea of going into their diapers. Barring that, they also say there’s a “window of opportunity” at 4-6 months when babies are more developmentally ready to communicate their need. Before that age it’s more or less “timing and guessing” than actual elimination “communication!”

By the time we decided to try EC with Cora, she was 7 months old, so she was pretty used to peeing and pooping in her diapers. We started by offering her the chance to potty right away every time she woke up, either from naps or in the morning. We did this by taking off the diaper, holding her with her back to our tummy and supporting her under her thighs over the bathroom sink, and making a “pssssssssss” noise. If she started peeing, I would say “Look! You’re peeing!” so she’d know what was going on, and keep making the “psssssss” noise to associate the noise with the action. For pooping, if she had been doing a lot of farting or straining, I’d offer her a chance to do that too, holding her in the same way, but clenching up my tummy muscles so she would get the idea that she needed to “puuuusssssshh those poopies out!” Again, saying “look! You’re pooping!” so she’d know what was going on. We use more of a “shhhhhh” sound (drawn out after saying “push”) for pooping if we know that she has to #2, and the “psssssss” sound for #1 (sounds sort of like running water).

If she got fussy for no apparent reason, we would try offering a chance to go potty. Often, she had needed to pee or poop and would go right away. Sometimes, we were wrong and she would just fuss and squirm. If she fussed we’d right away stop trying and put the diaper back on, since we’d assume she just didn’t have to go. Eventually she got to where she would come to us when she needed to go, or start crawling towards the bathroom. When she was good enough at sitting up by herself, we bought a little potty seat that sits on the toilet and transitioned from us holding her over the sink to potty to her sitting on the potty seat to potty. Sometimes she had a preference for being held, sometimes the potty. Now she almost always wants to sit on the potty seat. She understands what the toilet paper is for (and can sort of wipe for herself), and really enjoys watching the toilet flush.

You may be wondering….If baby is peeing or pooping in the sink…..THEN WHAT?! Well, I actually have found that I much preferred simply wiping out the sink after a poop with a double layer of folded toilet paper and dropping it in the toilet to flush over trying to wipe off a diapered baby’s bottom after liquidy poop had made it’s way into every crevice. It was MUCH cleaner for both of us. Urine was easy to rinse the sink out and “flush” that way. Baby urine isn’t very “potent” so no real smells associated with that (at least not worse than the diapers!)

Many EC’ers have “diaper free” time. They say it will help you learn baby’s subtle cues right before they eliminate, but we didn’t do that. We chose to keep Cora in her diapers so that there wouldn’t be so much pressure to communicate – if we “missed” and she went in her diaper, it wasn’t too big of a deal. It has been important that EC is pressure-free, so we aren’t pushing her too fast. It isn’t “toilet training” but just a time where we offer a place to go potty when our child hints at the need to go. She’s gotten better and better at telling us, from going 100% in diapers, and gradually now 6 months later she is probably peeing on the potty around 30% of the time, and pooping on the potty 75% of the time. This saves us on diaper washing, saves from the worry of a urinary tract infection from that poop getting where it shouldn’t be, and hopefully will save us time when it comes to toilet training later on down the road!

So, if you have a baby, give EC a try! What have you got to lose? Be sure to check out the links at the top of this page for better, more detailed information.

Cloth Diaper Update

Some things have changed since I first wrote about cloth diapers here on this blog.

  • I’ve discovered that the Kushies diapers WEAR OUT pretty fast. The waterproof outer part of the diaper begins to shred after a while. This is even on brand new diapers that we bought and used only with Cora. The hand-me-downs we have are all but shredded to bits!
  • Even though they’re more expensive, the Bumkins All-in-Ones have held up well! I have several of them that diapered two children before we got them, so they are on child number three! They are holding up well. I will suggest that the extra wear you get out of these makes them worth the higher initial investment, especially if God blesses you with more than one child!
  • Once your child starts eating solids, their poops begin to change. They are smellier, chunkier, and way nastier to wash. Don’t lose heart and give up cloth! They sell things called “Diaper Showers” that are easy to install (all you do is just ask your husband!) and are (almost) life changing! Lift the toilet seat, turn on the diaper shower, MAKE SURE ITS POINTING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION, and spray the poops off of the diaper. Have your diaper pail handy (right next to the toilet) and use the pail’s lid to catch any drips. Sometimes you’ll get lucky and a poop will just shake/fall off the diaper into the toilet, but usually they stick – and with the diaper shower this is no longer a nasty problem.

    Spraying off the diaper with the diaper shower pretty much removes the need to soak dirty diapers, so they can go into the dry pail for wet diapers. When the 5 gallon bucket is full, we now dump all the diapers into the washer, run a cold water wash first with about ½ cup vinegar, ½ cup baking soda, and a cold water rinse. When this is done, wash with as hot of water as you can make it with the small amount of detergent. When wash and rinse is done, run an extra spin cycle to remove more water, and dry diapers as usual after checking for freshness.
  • We’ve tried out a BumGenius all-size diaper. It’s a pocket diaper, which I do not prefer (stuffing the inserts takes too long and is annoying) but it has other really great qualities. The lining keeps the wetness away from baby’s skin, the Velcro tabs have elastic for a better fit, and it supposedly can adjust to fit all ages of babies. Haven’t had it for very long, but I do like it, all except for the fact that it is a pocket diaper. I will be interested to learn how long it compares to others as far as being long-lasting.

I will keep updating info on using cloth diapers as I learn more! Hope these tips help!

If you missed my post “Cloth Diaper 101,” here is a link: http://adayinthelifeofnicoleblog.blogspot.com/2008/11/cloth-diapers-101.html

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Hot Morning Coffee

Every morning I treat myself to a hot latte, and usually it comes with a yummy treat, like the one shown in this photo. I found a recipe online for latte mix (it's really good!) and recently tried a new coffee cake recipe, as shown. If I tried this at a coffee shop, the latte would be $3.50, and the treat $3.00....making the weekly total well over $50!! So I am saving big money here!

Okay, so I must confess that usually I don't light candles and have the nice place setting when I drink my coffee in the morning, but really, how relaxing would that be? aahhhhh :-)



I wanted to share the recipes I used. The latte is a Pumpkin Spice Latte, and it ends up kind of frothy after you stir it up, and the cake is a Coffee Coffee Cake, which recipe I found in "Better Homes and Gardens" issued in April 2006. I put off trying the cake, because it calls for strong brewed coffee, and Matt REALLY doesn't like coffee, but it turned out that even HE likes it! So it must be good!
Pumpkin Spice Latte Mix
  • 1/2 cup instant coffee (slightly heaping)
  • 2/3 cup sugar (slightly less than full)
  • 1/2 cup instant nonfat dry milk powder
  • 1/4 cup powdered coffee creamer
  • 1 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice

Add all of the ingredients into a dry bowl. Use a fork to combine everything evenly. Put into a resealable container. To enjoy a latte: Add two heaping tablespoons latte mix into your favorite coffee mug (this is assuming it is a large mug!) or to taste. Pour hot water into the cup. Stir, and enjoy!

**NOTE: I generally double this recipe since I pretty much drink it every day, and use 1/2 regular and 1/2 decaf coffee granules.

Coffee Coffee Cake

Heat oven to 350 degrees, grease and lightly flour 10" fluted tube pan (bundt pan)

Whisk together in a bowl:

  • 1 1/2 cups strong brewed coffee
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup cooking oil
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Add 2 eggs, slightly beaten - whisk until combined.

In another bowl stir together:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Whisk dry ingredients into coffee mixture until combined. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake in preheated oven 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool on wire rack 20 minutes, remove from pan to serving platter.

**NOTE: the recipe in the magazine called for a "coffee-hazelnut syrup" to be poured on top of this cake, which I did not prepare because it sounded sickenly sweet and sticky. I was going to shake powdered sugar on top, but never got around to it. This cake is good heated in the microwave with butter on top.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

New Gadget!

So I added this new feature to my blog, called "Reactions" What you do is after you read a post, you can put a checkmark by your "reaction". Easy!

Do you Agree?
Do you think you will Try It?
Do you think it's Neat?
Are you left asking What?!

Wanna add this feature to your blog? I learned how by reading the 11/6/08 post on http://buzz.blogger.com/

Interesting Reading

I found this linked in one of the blogs I am following:

http://hindsfeet.blogspot.com/2008/08/allow-allow-god-who-am-i-to-allow-god.html

I thought it was well-written and it also made me think.

What about you?? Any opinions?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Look Who's Walking Now!

Check out this video of some of Cora's first steps! I took this video this morning. The quality isn't great since I took it on our camera, but it'll have to do!


video

Here's the story:
Sunday night, Mommy was sitting on the couch and Daddy was sitting on the floor about 5 feet away, leaning against the loveseat. Cora has a tiny stuffed Pooh bear and a tiny stuffed turtle, and she was chewing on the turtle, then crawled to Mommy and handed it off to her. On a whim, I handed her Pooh and turtle, and said "go hand those to Daddy!"
Who would have guessed it, she teetered off, a toy in each hand, and walked all the way to Matt! She did this several times, going back and forth, bringing those toys, first to daddy, then to mommy. :-) Little, tiny baby steps, but our little girl can walk now!

How exciting! It's a little sad, because I was holding on to her being my little baby as long as she wasn't walking, but I am very happy to see how she's growing up! She's so special to us, and soon she'll be walking EVERYWHERE! For now though, it is still faster for her to crawl :-)

Sorry for holding out so long to tell you all, but I really wanted to make sure I got video footage of her doing this for "proof" Hope you can view it! It took a really, really, really long time to upload!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Helper

One of my goals lately has been to make a conscious effort to have Cora (my 1 year old daughter) help me around the house.

How can a 1 year old help her mother?? Well, it's not so much that she is ACTUALLY helping, but by her doing the things that I know she can do, that I have asked her to do, perhaps she believes she is.

  • When I am carrying her when I leave a room, I ask her to please turn out the light (then I quickly walk away so she doesn't get a chance to flip the lights on and off a whole bunch!). This actually takes a very long time, because she hasn't quite figured out the "physics" of the way a light switch works 100%. But Mommy asks her to please turn out the light, eventually she does, and I thank her for doing it
  • When I sweep the floor in the dining room, I have her help by moving the chairs out of the way. She loves doing this. She doesn't always (ever!) put them where I would have put them, and she needs guidance to put them back where they belong, but Mommy asked her to move them, and when she complied she got an enthusiastic thank you.
  • Over the weekend, Matt and I treated ourselves to a cup of ice cream, and I had dropped my spoon. I asked her, "Please hand Mommy the spoon, so you can have some Ice cream with us" And she VERY QUICKLY did just that! So she proved that she is able to follow simple instructions (especially for a little ice cream!)

Cora really enjoys picking things up and handing them to people, or emptying containers (or drawers!) On rare instances, she will re-fill the containers that she just emptied, but generally not fully. I will try asking her to please put all the kitchen towels back in the drawer she just totally emptied. oh, and to fold them back up first! Do you think it will work?! :-)

Anyway, this may seem all silly, and it may in time prove not to work. I am hoping that by really fostering her will to help me, that she will continue to want to do so after she actually CAN help me. Soon she will have the ability to empty the dishwasher, sweep the floor, and so on, but will she still desire to help me if I prevent her from "helping" me now?

My hope is that while it is taking me longer to do things now by having Cora "help" that I will foster in her a desire to serve that her mother didn't have. I clearly remember being a stubborn, ungrateful child who REFUSED to help on cleaning Saturdays (sorry mom and dad!) I am really hoping to be able to avoid at least some of that kind of selfish attitude in my daughter. It may or may not work, but it can't hurt to try, right?

Does anyone have any other ideas for how I can have Cora help me around the house?? I'd love to hear your suggestions!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Three Blogs?!?

Am I nuts?

well, probably, but the reason behind me writing three blogs is because I just have too much variation. I don't want to bore people with stuff they don't want to read about, so I will need to be more specific in each blog.

This one, A Day in the Life http://adayinthelifeofnicoleblog.blogspot.com/, will mostly focus on family and home-related stuff.

Then there's Adventures on Arabee http://www.adventuresonarabee.blogspot.com/ which covers all things horse-related. Read about my venture into Endurance Riding, my dream for driving carriage, training, riding bitless and barefoot, and other horse things.

My newest venture into blogland is My Indiana Home http://www.formyindianahome.blogspot.com/ No "real" posts yet, but I plan to use it to talk about farm-related things. Raising livestock, why I think it is totally moral thing to eat meat, and why farmers (in my opinion) both crop and livestock are some of the more misunderstood people in our country, and probably worldwide.

Of course, each blog will likely include things from the other two, because really it is all so intrinsically related in my life that I won't be able to help but have some drift.

Just FYI

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Getting Brave-r!





Check out Cora the cutie! She's GREAT at standing up by herself, but just hasn't *quite* got the guts to take more than 2 or so leaning/reaching steps of walking. I love this picture - doesn't she look like she just is seriously considering walking to her daddy?



But, I was there. Right after the picture was taken, she dropped to her knees, and CRAWLED.


She's still my little baby for a little while longer...

Camping Stuff

I posted previously about how my family went camping for the first time over Labor day weekend in 2008. We enjoyed that, and being as Matt's hobby (jeeping) is easier to do on a camping weekend, as well as my hobby (endurance riding?) also requires camping (but with the horse!), we figured we'll be doing lots more of it.

For Christmas I had requested some camping stuff - dishes, utensils, some Lodge cast iron cookware, and got it, and was scratching my head as to how in the world to store and transport it.

Then, I remembered one of the wedding gifts we had received (july 2005). It's a "picnic cooler/caddy" and it came with 4 plates, cups, spoons, forks, knives, a cutting board, a "cheese" knife, salt and pepper shakers, and a wine bottle opener. All the utensils have special straps to secure them with, and there is a nice-sized insulated zipper pocket. Would all the new camping stuff we got fit inside???

Yes! It does, it is perfect :-)

**This is the picnic caddy filled up, with enough plates, cups, and silverware for 8 people! Plus some handy utensils for dinner prep! The thing on the left side is an insulated wine bottle holder! What a fancy picnic that would be :-) hehe. I'm guessing we won't be using it for the purpose it was intended for!


**This picture shows it mostly zipped, with a view of the insulated cooler section, which is holding 4 bowls and 4 cups. There is still room for more, if needed. Another view of the wine holder, and the back shows that it's intended for use as a backpack, but I have stuck a tablecloth in the straps instead. There's another carrying strap on the top I can use.
Not bad for a once-forgotton wedding present, hey? :-)


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

customization in progress...

You can expect to see some aesthetic changes in my blog in the next while.

I've already changed a bit, but it isn't "perfect" yet.

More changes to come!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2009

Happy New Year everyone!


Well, my family certainly didn't stay up to see the new year in....we were all in bed by 9! Between Cora's teeth coming in (all of them at once, it seems...she is miserable) and me just coming up from being sick, and Matt running around taking care of the both of us, we were all so tired!


I don't usually make New Year's resolutions, but I think this year calls for at least one.


A little background first: There's a place called Stream Cliff Farm nearby our home, that I love to visit with friends and family (mostly women....it's almost too girly for the guys, but not quite). Everyone always says it's so relaxing to come there and dine in the tea room, and wander through the gardens, check out the gift shops, and it IS lovely place. I try to go as often as I can, they are only open in the gardening months, and I usually make it three or four times per year. A visit to Stream Cliff leaves a refreshing feeling.

My little family lives on the farm that was built by my husband's great-great-grandparents, on top of a hill, with a beautiful view all around of pastures with the charolais/angus beef herd, the goats and horses, the pond, and the river. There's a creek that runs through one of the pastures at the bottom of the hill, and when it's not too dry you can hear the water running peacefully into it. Since I started staying at home (and after we had done quite a bit of landscaping work around the house) my Dad began marveling each time my parents would come for a visit how nice it is to be at our home, that it's a peaceful place. (below is a photo Matt's uncle took from his paraplane of our homeplace)

Anyway, at a recent visit to Stream Cliff, a friend of mine remarked that she'd love to be able to come there all the time, it was so relaxing, and what was it about the place that made it that way? It got me thinking, and I can't really think of a good reason why our homes can't be that place. Can't we make our homes peaceful havens of rest from a busy and hectic world? I think we can, and that is part of my New Year's Resolution for 2009.

This has been a goal of mine for quite some time, but I think that now with things in our world being so crazy it seems, that 2009 is a great time to pounce on that opportunity. I actually wrote out a list of 6 goals I had (on january 31, 2007) and it's posted on my bulletin board by the computer, it's full of good stuff, and I may share the entirety of it some day, but here is #3 and 4 on that list:

  • Make our home a pleasant place to be. Keep it clean and tidy, decorate it so that our surroundings are pleasing to the eye, all without spending too much money.
  • Grow a flower garden around our home and landscape it in a pleasing way, so that we can enjoy our yard and feel proud of it, and eat produce from our vegetable garden.

I've already got a good start on some of these things, but there is always more that could be done. I think this is something that really starts in the heart. Somewhere in Proverbs it says that it is better to live on the corner of the rooftop than to live in a house with a quarrelsome wife. (imo the same is true of the rest of the family members, but I know it seems women can be more.....irritable, and mouthy!) So, I will start with attitudes, then work from the inside of the home out.

What ideas do you have for creating a "homey" "peaceful" "resting" feeling at home?

What New Year's Resolutions are you working on in 2009?

looking forward to your comments :-)