Tuesday, December 25, 2012


 From the S family to yours have a Very Merry Christmas this year!

      For me Christmas tastes like my grandma's Christmas Date Nut Roll! When I was growing up we all looked forward to grandma's care package of Christmas candy. 10 years ago she quit making it as it was quite a chore for all she made from scratch.  I am overjoyed that this year with my help she passed on her knowledge of Date Nut Roll. It has made our Christmas holiday so special. Now I can continue to make it yearly!
      Christmas means good food with family, games together, and decorating cookies with my children.We have never been big on Christmas shopping.  We do a little but truly we are a service oriented family.  We cook extra special meals and help loved one's tackle honey do lists that are never ending. (We miss you Grandpa & Dad!)
       Our traditions were a little different this year but we did what we could and have loved time with family. First in Tulsa and then back home.  It's like two Christmases!
     So mom's get out of the kitchen, dad's put down the work, kids turn off the TV and enjoy each other today, you never know when tomorrow may be taken away. Give someone a hug today!
   May you cherish your time with family and friends. May you be thankful for gifts from God and blessings you have received. I lift those hurting up in prayer today. May you know you are not alone.

What's Christmas to you?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Our Winter Wonderland

I miss snow.  If it is going to be below freezing it should be snowing. In my opinion :) So since we can't make it snow outside we settled for snow inside.
Sugar Bug cut out snowflakes to decorate and we put up twinkly lights for Christmas.  We have no room for a tree so this is our next best.  Plus I could only access two of the Christmas decoration boxes. 
Doesn't this look cozy?  Super D is warming is feet as it was a super cold morning! I just loved sitting at the table looking in at my family two sweethearts and doggies buried in covers sleeping and the sound of a crackling fire.  How much more country can you get? :)
Hope where ever you are you are enjoying your family and friends this Christmas Season!
I'll add our annual Christmas Pictures soon! (after I take them) 

Monday, December 17, 2012


So please do not feel neglected.  I haven't even touched the computer in a week!  I've been busy living life.  I have been reflecting how much my life has changed in our move.  So to give you an idea in Colorado my typical day would have gone like this:
  ~ Get up between 5:30-6:30
  ~ Make my tea and get on computer, to check e-mail, plan school, fill in work info, ect.
  ~  Greet my first child by 7:00 at the latest..I did childcare from home for years and my charges started arriving between 6-7.
  ~ Finish my computer work while charges play quietly and others arrive. 
  ~ 9:00  make breakfast and by now my children are waking up
  ~ feed everyone and clean kitchen
  ~ get my kids school going
  ~ Clean something, start laundry, teach someone
 ~ 12:00 make and clean up lunch
~ 1:00 Naps!  My favorite time of day.. I eat now and help my kids with school
~ See children off by 6:00
~ somewhere in there I've made dinner and we eat about 6:00
~ Clean kitchen again
So if you have kids you know that in this mess of a schedule you are changing diapers, feeding, teaching, preventing disasters, cleaning spit up and worse, rocking, and loving children all day. Dishes didn't get done everyday, but usually by Friday I managed to vacuum, clean 2 bathrooms, and keep us all from killing ourselves on stray toys.
I had conveniences of a dishwasher, washer and dryer, microwave, refrigerator, freezer, and a grocery store 5 blocks away.
I had 10 years of diapers, feeding, and love from 20 plus children (not all at the same time:) I usually had 6 kids daily. My days were pretty much the same day to day and yet always new.  Kids make life interesting!

Now fast forward to now and I haven't figured out what a typical day is but here's what has to get done daily.
~ Bring in firewood (sometimes requiring splitting first)
~ Get water jugs filled
~ Dump grey water
~ Feed and water Chickens
~ Get the fire started or keep it going
~ Cook meals and Dishes.
~ Sweep trailer
~ Kids School
Of course dishes are a constant.   Cooking requires more planning as I have no microwave to quickly thaw meat and no oven for baking (yet). 
I am in the best shape of my life.  Ever wonder why when you read books like Little house on the Prairie they never mention exercise as a to do? They didn't need it.  While I could lift a 40 lb kid they hang on when you get them up. Lifting 40+ lbs of dead weight is very different! I can lift a feed sack although I prefer Super D to do it.  I have to carry wood and move a 5 gallon bucket of grey water daily.  That 5 gallon bucket of water has gotten easier.  At the beginning of summer I had to use a cup to scoop almost half the water out into my water can before I could lift the bucket.  Now I can move the bucket but I still have to stop half way to my destination  for  rest.  But eventually I'm sure it will be no problem. 
I walk at least a mile daily just going to the outhouse, carrying wood, or water.
Now I'm not doing this all on my own, everyone has their jobs to do. 
Super D has been working pretty consistently away from home the last several weeks which left me to get firewood.  We had used all the smaller stuff from our stock so we were having to split the logs.  Well for fun Sassafras got some pictures of my attempts!
 Opps That's not right!

Ok that's better! Hitting these logs just right is trickier that it looks and no I didn't split this log but for the record I have succeed some.  Thankfully we don't have to rely on my log splitting skills or we might be a little cold! Super D bought a rick of wood (a rick I learned is 4ft long and 8ft wide area of wood) so we have enough on hand now.  
That box in the background is where our chickens are living right now.  I'll post more about that soon! 

For now I am enjoying what I call the simple life.  It's not easy just simple as I don't have the stress of worrying about getting paid, what bill I need to pay first, and what kid is screaming bloody murder and why.  I love not having to look at the clock everyday as I have no schedule to keep.  We sleep until were rested and work until the necessities are done. Everyone does their part to keep things running.  I have my family close and everyone is content as long as the fire is stocked and dinner makes it to the table.  I can look out side at any moment and enjoy what God created, not just the side of the house next door blocking any view of nature.
This is my life now and I am thrilled to have it. Not that I didn't have a great life before but just feel like we've finally made it home.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


  Peep, peep, peep, That's what we wake up to every morning for the last couple weeks.  I kind of enjoy it.  Our little chickies are growing fast like all children and almost have all their feathers. Super D is going to be building them an outside home in the next week or so!
But to break this up a bit I thought I'd give you all a little info on chickens.  Since I am by NO means a chicken expert I am linking to helpful sites I've found.  If your wanting to raise chickens these may get you started. 
Let's start with some basic terms. These are words I had to learn what they meant...
Bantam- These are smaller breeds than the "standard" chickens.
Broody - Broody hens can be recognized by their behaviour. They sit firmly over the eggs, and when people approach or try to remove the eggs, threaten the person by erecting their feathers, emitting a characteristic sound like clo-clo-clo and will peck aggressively. When broody, hens often temporarily cease eating or reduce their feed consumption is when a hen is wanting to mother a brood or group of chicks.  A broody hen will lay more eggs but want to sit on the nest to hatch them.  Some breeds have a higher tendency to go broody than others. Sometimes you want them to go broody so they will raise chicks for you.

We ordered our chicks from Murray McMurray.  We picked Buff Orpingtons which will lay brown eggs and are good layers in the winter.  They also make good meat birds.  I highly suggest researching the breed you want as there are so many and they have so many different traits.  Some are better layers than others, some are raised primarily for meat, and some are pretty good for both.  Buff Orpingtons are a popular classic. Murray McMurray also includes a rare chick in orders from them (see them for details). I believe our uniquely colored one is an Ameraucana. This site has a chart that tells of 60 different breeds of chickens. Chicken breeds Chart

I really liked this site for a very general overview on keeping chickens Urban Chickens
Although all these sites recommend against using newspaper as flooring that is what we did.  It is what we had available that was easily changeable.  We kept our chicks warm by setting up space for them next to the woodstove.  While it has cooled off some at night we have been diligent in keeping the fire stocked so it rarely dropped below 75. That only at night.  This may have contributed to us losing some of our chicks as they can't handle cold when they are very young.  But we have done our best with what we have and are happy with the 15 chicks we have.  Get a chick feeder as they go through feed and water so fast.  We fill ours at least twice a day. They must always have water.  We noticed that when one goes empty they make more noise just like children.

Now that your getting chickens you will need a coop. Or a place to keep them outside.  From my research I have learned there are 100 ways to raise chickens.  Even Super D and I have different ideas on how to keep our chickens.  Alas, Super D has more experience than I do so I have to go with his judgment and we will work towards new ideas as we get the hang of it.  Right now we bought a big bag of feed for our chickens but eventually we would like to make our own feed and have our chickens scavenging for much of their food themselves.  We would like free range chickens for the most part but at the same time we don't want chickens all over our porch, picnic table, chairs, ect.  So we will set up some boundaries for them.  As where the chickens go you will have chicken poop.   I hope this gets you started in information on chickens if your wanting to keep them and I will continue to update as I learn. 
If you have questions about chickens or any thing else we are doing please don't hesitate to ask.  I will try to answer them or at least point you in the right direction :) 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

 Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.  ~ Philippians 4:6 NKJV

  I tend to be an anxious person.  I tend to worry about things I have no reason to worry about. I get flustered and short tempered when I'm running late to go somewhere.  Instead I should be thankful!  I am spoiled rotten.  I have a home, good food, heat, a warm bed, a loving family, and all my NEEDS are met.  I love there verse above as it reminds us to give thanks while making our requests.  There are many times I've started to pray to ask for something but after giving thanks for what I have realized what I was asking for wasn't a big deal! 
I hope this finds you all had a great Thanksgiving and are enjoying the long weekend, if you got it! I forgot the camera yesterday so I don't have any pictures but wanted to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving and remind you to be thankful everyday!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Mountians ?

  Until 7 months ago I lived somewhere in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.  I keep being told that I am in the Ozark Mountains here in Missouri.  I keep looking for the mountains.  These mountains are big hills compared to the Rockies.  While they have there own beauty they are not the peaks I am used to seeing.  I miss the view of mountains.  So while I may not be able to look out and see the snow capped mountains everyday, we did find a place here that has what I would call real mountains.  They may not reach above treeline and get much snow but they were close and these views were wonderful!
     And being I love fall the trees were out in all their splendor. I'm sure it was just for me, *wink, wink*
 We had the cousins with us, Of course pictures just don't do these scenes justice.
 See the peaks?  Wait let me get the kids out of the way.
 That's better :)  And you can see for miles!  I love it.  At least we're getting closer to the mountains I grew up with.
This was a gorgeous Blue Heron we saw by the river.  It was on our way to the mountains above but too cool not to show you.  Plus he posed for us. :)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Upgrades and new arrivals

   I have a new appreciation for bloggers! Some of the blogs I read have a new post everyday. After just 7 months of keeping this blog and trying to at least post once a week and failing I am amazed at the wonderful loyal bloggers I read.  I have ideas for posts quite often but getting on the computer to put them to type is another matter entirely.
   Our new life is quite busy but laid back at the same time if you can believe the two can go together. Maybe it's just a matter of perspective. :)  The fall weather here has been nice a mild.  We have had a couple good freezes so the garden is done and all but one kind of mushroom is done for the season.  The garden didn't fare well this year as I only got the tomato plants in and the armadillos kept digging them up.  We did have some good fried green tomatoes but that was about it.
    Now we will be on to hunting season.  Super D has been getting ready and the girls are itching to go.  We also added on to the trailer to make room for a wood stove.
 Super D hard at work again!  He is awesome!
Ok, here's a shot from inside you can see the stove pipe behind the silly hillbilly, dark fairy, and leprechaun. Well, I don't think he was going for leprechaun but I think it fits :) We still have some work on this room as you can see the exposed insulation.  I am loving the wood stove but am learning it's a bit of an art to know just how much and when to add wood so you don't cook yourself out.
  Our family is also growing.  We moved here with our two dogs, remember Grandma holding them in Colorado vacation post, and we have had a variety of reptiles move through our doors since being here. Well, now I have to introduce Simba.                                               
 Simba has adopted us as his family. He has made himself at home and is super sweet.

He has no problem with
Sugarbug smothering him with love.

It took Simba two day's to break us all down and let him into the house one freezing night. I don't think the dogs like his presence!
 Simba has been regulated back to the outdoors for the time being and we've given him a bed next to the batteries for the solar system to get out of the weather because we added baby chicks this week.
 Who knew you could get chicks mailed to you!  Super D picked them up at the Post Office.  They are super cute.
  This little one is our rare chick.  Not sure what kind he/she is but the rest are buff orpingtions. I'll have a post about their care later :)
Our only other big news is we have a well coming!  I can't wait till we have our own well and pump.  Running water is on the way :) We're moving up in the world. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Fall! Whoo Hooo!

 Fall has arrived to our neck of the woods. I love fall!  This is what it is supposed to look like in October.

Not snow on the ground which was quite likely when we lived in Colorado. :)  October here also means a birthday.  Sassafras turned 14 this week!  We got to have a great party outside in the beautiful weather with a great game of kickball in the field and of course cake. I think she had fun!
   The cake says "Sing your heart out"  My girl loves to sing! 

Mr. R gave Sassafras a bar of soap. He said he liked to give kids something they can use.  But give him credit there was $ hidden inside :)
Sweet ma and her girls!  They are growing way too fast!
We partied late into the night.  My poor little niece just couldn't stay awake any longer.  Sassafras enjoyed her party with new friends and family!
  Along with fall means we spend more time outside in the woods.  Well hiking through the woods means poison ivy we've learned.  Poor Sugarbug got a really bad case a week ago.
My girl was miserable!  This was just her face and arm but she had a rash over her belly and legs too.  We're not sure how she got it so bad.  We've been careful to watch for it and when we've had to walk through it we wash quickly but it is really a silent attacker.  You can't see the oil or smell it if you get it on you it is easy to spread all over and the rash doesn't show up for almost two days.  Nasty stuff that we are learning to deal with.  So far we've all had a spot or two of it.  Sugarbug had the worst case so far though.
The pay off to walks in the woods- Mushrooms! 
Yes that is a massive mushroom!  We believe it is a Hen of the Woods.  And it is edible and good.  I made mushroom soup with that and still had a gallon bag full to freeze and some for our lunch meal the next day! We have gotten good a identifying several edible mushrooms that a good eating to add to our meals.
Soon we'll have chickens to add to our homestead.  Enjoy your fall weather!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Crazy Mushroom People

A friend dubbed us the Crazy Mushroom People.

I think I'm beginning to see why.

We went mushroom hunting again!  I think we are slightly addicted and love tramping through the woods.  We are getting better about spotting them and knowing what we want to look for. 
Beefsteak Mushroom- Super D tried said it tasted acidy.  (AGAIN DO NOT TRY A MUSHROOM THAT YOU ARE NOT 100% SURE IT IS WHAT YOU THINK IT IS! PICTURES ARE NOT ENOUGH FOR IDENTIFICATION. Local names of mushrooms are different in different areas most use the Latin names to identify. Don't use my pictures alone to identify a mushroom do your research.  I can not be responsible for you getting sick or worse!)

These are our pear shaped puffballs.  We got a whole basket full.  They were wonderful.  A light mushroom flavor.  We sauteed them in butter and onions flavored with a little garlic and added cheese.  Yum!

These are our Giant Puffballs.  These were almost the size of a soccer ball.  They are edible when fresh but these where a little too old.  When we cut them open they were yellow and green on the inside, when young they are pure white.  We'll keep our eyes peeled for more of these!
  We saw these monsters on the road while going 50mph down the highway!  Of course we had to stop.  No idea what they are we couldn't identify them but they were cool looking.
Mushrooms come in more colors and shapes than I ever could have imagined!  The red one is small but so cool looking.  It was a very delicate mushroom and slimy feeling. Below is a coral mushroom.  Edible and good.  This is what we were on the hunt to collect. 

We were successful!  That mountain of coral will feed 3 families!  The purple ones are  Purple-Gilled Laccaria and they are absolutely delicious.  We really like them.  They taste like your classic mushroom only better.  I'm sure our mushroom adventures aren't over anytime soon.  I only shared a couple of our 100 pictures we have already.  Glad you could join us.  :)

Family Time = Fun, Fun, Fun

          Family is important to us.  Sadly not all of our family is close by but we do have a good chunk here.  We tend to get together as often as we all can.  Give us any reason to have a party and we will. :)  We had a blast this weekend hanging out with family and friends.  We made it to a church meeting that was by a beautiful lake and got a great family picture.
Then home to let the Party begin.

A party at our place means a big fire will be involved.  Above you have the Aunt and Uncle and kiddos.
Mother and kids hanging out. Some how I caught both Grandma S and Aunt S with thier eyes closed.
Of course we have to have target practice.  You'll notice kids in the background playing ball. 
We had a blast with shooting of all guns and bows, games of kickball, volleyball, and tag.  Everyone had a great time and we will miss being able to do these much more as the weather really starts to cool off. 
Our next big party is yet to come though, Sassafras has a birthday next week so we will have at least one more big brawl.  :) 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Hunting Mushrooms

      There is nothing better than walking through the woods on a cloudy, misty day.  No heat to deal with and the bugs aren't usually out yet if you've had a good rain.  But that doesn't mean the animal aren't busy and tracks show up better in the muddy areas.  The best part is mushrooms are popping up everywhere.  I never knew there was such a variety of mushrooms in the world. We had two days of mushroom hunting and collected probably over 150 mushrooms most of which we couldn't identify but some we did. 
   Again as with anything from the wild please do your own research before you eat anything!!  Mushrooms can be especially dangerous as you must be very careful to know what you are eating making a mistake can be fatal.  We used books, pictures, and internet to identify our mushrooms and did not even taste anything we were not 100% sure about. Pictures will not do it alone as so many of the mushrooms look alike and may look like a poisonous counterpart.  You have to study descriptions and often take spore prints of the mushrooms to determine what they are. I can not be responsible for someone eating a poisonous mushroom.
  That said we have had alot of fun exploring and learning about what the earth has to offer us. 

The Mother Lode of Mushrooms!

                                                       In the end all our mushrooms filled that 5 gallon bucket.

Here is our prize mushroom.  Super D found this while hunting.  No deer but I think this was better.
                           This is called a Bearded tooth mushroom and it was good to eat!  These are rare to find and this provided enough for six people.  It was meaty and super yummy fried up.
                             These are a honey mushroom but there are several varieties and we were not successful in figuring out which one these were.  Some are edible and some aren't so we didn't chance eating these.
       These are a Pale Jelly Roll. They are not edible but pretty cool to look at.  They wiggle like jello.
     Ever see a blue mushroom?   These are the Indigo Milky.  They leak a blue milk like liquid when damaged.  They are edible but we didn't get the chance to eat these yet.  I'll report on taste next time.
    How about a purple one?  We never did figure out what this was.  But it was a cool looking! 
Can't wait to go hunting again!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Lessons Learned and Challenges

                 We went on a great vacation to Colorado to visit family and friends.  We had a blast and I learned some things.  There are things about city life that I miss...  I miss being able to run outside barefoot in the manicured grass lawns.  Our field is just not the same. I miss being able to run to the store and to a friends house to visit.   But I also learned what I love about our country life. 
        While away I missed Stars!  The stars outside my front door are amazingly bright and plentiful.  In the city you just can not see them because of all the lights.   
I missed the quiet.  Now understand me, the country is not quiet but the noises are different.  I enjoy the sounds of nature including the annoying cow and early rising roosters to cars and people.
I missed wide open spaces.  I was surprised how much I missed being able to see for miles and not just across the street.  I love looking out and seeing space and trees.  I got sad looking out and just seeing the neighbors house and felt cramped.   
             It is safe to say I have fallen in love with our life here!  Even though we are still living with no running water, no oven, and no store around the corner I am happier here than I was in town.  I am living my dream and am so thankful.  No running water but we now have internet. :)
             Even with the challenges of country living we are going strong and it is really starting to feel like home.  

        Now besides the challenges of hauling water and going to town to do laundry here are some other obtstacles we have faced.....
         Deer!  There are tons of deer and in a heroic effort to save one Super D swerved missed the deer but lost contol of the car and rolled it.   So we are one car down now.

Only Super D and I were in the car and thankfully we only suffered a couple scrapes nothing serious.

Poison Ivy!  Yuck.  I was the first of our family to have a major entaglement with this stuff.  We've been very careful about watching out for the stuff and have been able to avoid it.  Well we were working out side one day and I must have run into it around my ankles and didn't realize it and then managed to spread it all the way up my leg and even on me wrists a little. 

Here's what I've learned about Poison Ivy. It iches like crazy! What is super bad is that if you give in and itch it then it stings bad.  It causes red swollen areas where it is bad and once you have a good case of it it takes 14-20 days to clear up. Thankfully after a week the iching has lessened a little but it amazes me how it will start to itch terribly out of nowhere. 
Other than this it's little pests like the armidillos that keep digging up my garden and the mice that want to find their way into the trailer.  But overall these are little things that we are learning to live with.  Most the critters we find we still fasinating!  Next I'll tell you about our mushroom hunts and new pets. :) 
I'd love to hear from you if your reading these and have any questions!