Sunday, May 31, 2009

Are women really the paranoid ones?

I don't think so. My Mom and I recently were discussing carry conceal and gun ownership and she had some pretty valid concerns. She referenced a camping trip a chunk of family went on where the manly men seemed to kind of blow up the situation and become a bit more paranoid and how easy it could be to freak yourself out and overreact to a situation. Something I realized though is that all of the over reactions I have encountered where guns are in play has to do with men.

Now I am not man bashing. Heck I am a happily married woman to a very responsible gun owning manly man. I also realize men are programmed to protect the roost whether that is a campsite, a car, or our homes. What gets me is how normally sane smart men can take a situation and all of the sudden we are facing a raid by armed militants in the wilds of Wyoming rather than the dumb kids shooting at signs that were actually present. When in protection mode I think guys see all the possibilities of danger and react to those possibilities rather than taking the time to truly assess a situation. Men are hardwired to see the worst possible scenario and it seems the men I know lose the ability to trust their instincts in situations where it just might help to listen to the female contingent.

Granted there were small children on the trip I mentioned above and I would have absolutely pulled out and loaded the .40 that travels with me at the first sound of gun shots but I also would have remained in my campsite, placed the children in the most protected area and stayed right there to protect the little ones rather than running off to investigate. Curiosity after all did kill the cat.

Yes I know a few men will be able to argue that women are the less logical in tense situations, and I know that can be true, but in my world the men tend to jump to conclusions rather than actually take the time to think things through.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Ninja Pre-schooler: Tale of the Locked Door

The Boy is a ninja. Seriously, I have no idea how such a small person can cause so much havoc. It's beyond my level of reasoning. Just about every entry/exit point in my house (including windows) is jimmy-rigged in some way to prevent escape. My house is more secure then some prisons, I'd guess. But anyway, I'm off subject.

Friday night, it was just about bedtime and I told the Boy if he picked up his room he could watch Bolt with me for half an hour. If he didn't pick up the toys, it was straight to bed. I heard him shuffling around for about 5 mins, then he comes out of the room, shuts the door and proclaims it clean. I told him I'd go check and then we'd start the movie. I reach for the door and he starts yelling "No, no! Don't look Mom!". As you can guess, this is not usually a good sign. I reach for the handle, and turn. Nothing. Jiggle jiggle... JIGGLE JIGGLE.

He locked the door. From the inside. Then shut the door, locking he and I out.

I check out the knob and it's one of those types with the little hole. Stick in a bobby pin or something and it pops open. Not a problem. I find a couple different things that should work and start poking. Nothing is budging this door.

I call David (the neighbor) and ask if there's a trick to the doors. He says "Is it the one with the hole in it?" "Yes" "Just stick a nail or something in and it'll pop right open". I get off the phone with him and call BD (his brother, who used to be a neighbor) and have virtually the same conversation. Nothing is opening this damn door. BD offers to try his luck when he gets back into town Saturday night, and we hang up.

No big deal, right? One night. The Boy can just sleep with me. Then I look at him and realize I hadn't put him in a pull up yet. He still wets the bed, and I just got a brand new queen size pillow top. He had 3 glasses of milk with dinner. There is no way in heck he's sleeping in my bed with no pull up. Pull ups are his room, behind the unlock-able door.

I take a deep breath, scavenge through my garage and get some screwdrivers and things. Slowly but surely I managed to take off the knob. I poke around at the mechanism and it still won't unlock. I continue removing parts and eventually get the door unlocked (which was honestly a bit anti-climatic after all that work). I replaced the knob, and put the boy to bed.

It took me quite a chunk of time, but at least now I know what to do with the stupid door the next time the Boy locks it (Notice, I didn't say *if* he locks it).

A wandering soul!

So I grew up in a big construction family. I don't mean big as in family size but big as in bridges, dams, tunnels and the like. I was born in a tiny town in a small hospital and over the next 26 years I lived in 5 states. I have moved 14 times. I went to 3 elementary schools, 1 middle school, 2 junior high schools, and 2 high schools. I have seen and loved the western states close-up. I fell in love with Utah's mountains, Oregon's beaches, Washington's forrest, Texas' history and California's sunshine. I look forward to adding a new state and move to my list. Call me crazy but getting the chance to absorb the richness of a new place and discovering the beauty and wonder just gives me such a happy tingle. I feel fortunate that my husband chose this type of work because I grew up with it through my father. Each job you make new friends but keep old ones. It is a huge family of men and women who work hard and can play harder, who put their lives in danger to improve our lives. It can be a tunnel to clean a river, a damn to increase water storage, a bridge to span a canyon. They deserve so much gratitude from us and I am happy to be a part of it!

(Late) Friday Funny

Friday, May 29, 2009

Quote of the Day

Maggy: Girls have cooties, huh?
The Boy: Nope, girls have cute butts.

He's 3. I am so screwed when he's a teenager

Spagetti Sauce Cooktastophy

I attempted to make spagetti sauce last night. In a bold (albeit ill concieved) move, I started with what seemed like an easy recipe. It was also a large recipe, calling for nearly 30 tomatoes. I'm not sure what exactly I did wrong. I think its because I didn't seed and hull the tomatoes, but Gracie disagrees.

Either way, no good come of it. Scraping the recipe and starting over sometime today.

Of all the families in all the towns in all the world.....

mine has to end up with a case of potential swine flu. Now luckily it is not in my immediate family but family I was hoping to see this weekend has potentially been exposed. My nephew has tested positive for Influenza A but the strain won't be determined until Monday. I am not sure I could in good conscious take Squeak over there even though the household we would be visiting is not the household the flu is present in. She is just about 5 months old and unable to really battle an illness like that yet. I would absolutely loose it if i did go over and she ended up sick and died and I could have avoided them. I know the incubation is short so I plan to give them until Sunday to display symptoms and then go from there but I am pretty sure that Hubs will still prefer that I not go over there. I really don't want to risk my baby.

Could be good or could be bad news!

So I am on my pilgrimage to the desert and have not been in contact with the world much except for phone calls to Gracie and Maggy. Anyway so last night I got to my Mom's house and we were talking about this lauded blog. (Yes may be only lauded by the 3 of us but a girl can dream!) I was talking about how I tend to be the hot topic blogger of the group. That led to talking about Drew Peterson which led to my mom telling me that the body they found was ruled to not be either Stacey or Lisa. I am undecided on if this is good news or bad news. It is good because that leaves the chances open that either woman is safe but bad because still we have no answers and with Drew Peterson up for murder charges the fact that Stacey is missing is not a very hopeful thing. I just hope that when the body is identified it will bring closure to another family that is in desperate need.

Mini-Gardening Successes

My little garden(ing pots) have taken off pretty well, although some are doing better then others. My herbs are sort of struggling along, but my onions, lettuce and carrots are doing just peachy.

Now here's the really funny part. I'm scared to eat my lettuce. Gracie keeps telling me I need to or it's going to go to seed, but I just can't make myself. I don't know why. It's very intimidating for some off reason.

On an odd note: anyone have any idea when to harvest onions or carrots?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Extreme Home Makeover: Chicken Coop Edition

As of Memorial Day, I no longer have chickens in my garage! Hooray!

Brett the Logger lives on a couple acres in a part of town fondly called "the valley" by the locals because that's exactly what it is. A long, narrow river valley that is still mostly small family farms, owned and operated by what are now the third and fourth generations to do so. Brett lives in a house that was built by his granddad back in the 20's. Also on the property is a good size shed complete with large root cellar, and a chicken coop that dates back just as far as the house.

Until we started our little chicken farm, it had fallen into a sort of disrepair, and was being used mostly to store random junk. But the coop was large enough for what we'd need, and was already semi-equipped to handle the chickens. It also has several little handmade gadgets and jimmy-rigs that we probably never would have thought of (like a detachable roost board). Sean the Crabber is currently staying with Brett and they together had come up with a pretty decent scheme of how to fix up the coop.

Memorial Day morning I went out to the Valley to help the Boys with the last of the renovations. Now, Sean has a lot of grand ideas, but Brett seems to be the one who ends up actually making it work. They had already partially framed out and fenced a large yard for them to run in, but that was about it. The Boys got to work on the yard and I sent about cleaning out the coop.

Inside I luckily found about 50 different handmade garden stakes that are who knows how old, but in perfect shape. We set those aside for use in the garden (which will probably get sent out tonight or tomorrow). I cleaned and swept it out, laid down some shavings, then set up the new water fount and feeder.

We doubled the chicken wire (in preparedness for ninja raccoons) and buried the edges about 12 inches deep in the soil for weight. We grabbed the chicks and threw them in. They seemed pretty timid at first, but head out into the yard and started in on the bugs. I went out to see them this morning, and boy did they fatten up fast! I'm not sure if it's the bugs, the more or less unlimited feed, or a combination thereof, but gosh are they getting big.

Hopefully come September or so we'll start getting eggs. Ryan the 3L's aunt gave me some tips on how they keep they're chickens laying year round, and I found some great nesting boxes that we are going to hammer or in the next month or so.

Cross your fingers!


This has nothing to do with preps or survival (well maybe) or anything like that. It's just me ranting about my husbands ability to send me into the sketchiest places he can possibly find. I don't know if he thinks this is funny or if he honestly doesn't realize that I would stand no chance if someone decided to rob the convenience store with no lighting and bars on the windows. We traveled to a large city for medical reasons a few years ago and of course got lost. Being a man, hubby refused to ask directions, sending me to do his dirty work for him instead. I gathered myself and walked all 5'2" of myself up to the counter and asked directions. The man behind the steel grate couldn't understand a word of English and simply pointed to someone else wandering the dark parking lot. I took a few deep breaths to calm my thumping heart and walked over to this other random stranger. He had no idea where the hospital was but did know one street on the directions I had printed off from the worthless yahoo maps. We finally made it to the hospital and our hotel in one piece.
So a few weeks ago we decided to take a road trip with the boys. Hubby decided he needed a drink and pulled into a nice, clean, well lit convenience store. Not sketchy at all, right? Wrong. I of course am the one who gets to go in and buy beverages for the whole family. I walk in and half the store is nothing but waist high shelves of booze. Nothing too scary about that, right? Until you notice that displayed on the top of each shelf are knives and SWORDS! Thank goodness the boys were still in the car, we never would have made it out of there without them cutting off at least once finger. As I make my way through all the alcohol and daggers I pass a small stand that was covered by a sheet. They sheet was placed so you could just see past the edge to view all of the DVD's that were there to rent. You guessed it, porn. Now what more could this nice, clean well lit family store have to offer you ask. Why not a guy in a turban sitting behind the counter? Yeah it had that guy too. Actually he was the least scary thing in the room. Very nice and quite polite. But still, could a place be any creepier while still giving the illusion of safety from the street? I think not.
Next time, hubby goes in by himself.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Laptop and Blogging Fail

So I apologize for being MIA. The early part of this week was insanely hectic (apparently Karma thought it should make up for my weekend), not to mention that my laptop has kicked the bucket yet again. So it's going back to Geek Squad, and I'm stuck blogging more or less from my cell phone (which is helpful, but not actually all that handy).

So while I scheme on how to circumvent this issue, enjoy this picture (and I forgot the Friday Funny, sorry about that!).

My new hero

I saw this on a forum this morning. Check out the expression on the shop owners face at the end.
American Veteran removes US flag from beneath Mexican flag.

Veterans response on Fox news

Quote of the day

This is what my 6 yr old said last night over dinner:

"I am never getting married, no matter how hot she is!"

That made for a fun evening.

weird weather

Weird weather is not uncommon here. We have snow in June and warm weather right up to November. But what we don't get much of is rain. We have had rain every single day for 5-6 days! My lawn is nice and green...and too wet to mow. My flower gardens are beautiful...but overgrown with weeds. I am not complaining, really I'm not. I love the rain. The lawn can get long and the wet soil will make pulling the weeds a breeze. I love the way the rain water makes my plants GROW, culinary water just can't compare. I love to walk in the rain. I love the smell and the way it makes my hair feel. I think I live in the wrong place. I could totally live in a place where it rains at least once a week. Each time we get a rainbow we run for the camera, they are quite rare around here.

There is only one drawback to all this rain. We are going to pay dearly for it during fire season. Spring rain makes all of the grass grow tall in the hills. Then the desert climate returns and it dries out making tinder for out of control wild fires. We get fires every year and we come to expect it. We have wonderful firefighters who have not lost a house yet in all the years I have lived here. We have had some close calls where I was worried we would be evacuated but luckily it never happened. This year I am going to be ready. Last time it happened I was in a panic trying to find all of our important paperwork and trying to gather all of our photo albums in case we had to get out fast. We were already packed for a week long trip so most of what we would need was all ready. Just as I was about to have a full blown panic attack, the rain started and the fire was extinguished. This year we have a safe that houses all of our important papers. I can quickly open it and just gather them all up. My photos are kept in one photo box, easy to grab. The rest are in albums or on my computer. I am working on 72 hour kits for each of us so they will also be easy to grab and go. I WILL be ready this time.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Quote of the day

Coming from my sons room:
"Don't worry, it will be ok. I will hold your legs"
No worries, I intervened before Bruiser could be dropped on his head from the top bunk!

Topsey turvey tomato update #2

I have a tomato! It's small and so far only one, but the bigger plant is getting lots of blossoms. The bigger plant is doing fantastic. For some reason the smaller plant is not doing so well. I noticed yesterday that despite all the water it has been getting (five days worth of rain running off from the roof and straight into the planters) it is wilting. I am thinking after looking inside the planter today that it is needing more soil. All of the water has packed down and the planter is now probably less than half full. So when I am running errands today I will pick up another bag and hope that helps.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


So I read TMZ. I know it is gossipy smut but it is dang fine gossip, lol. Anyway I spied this lovely story and just had to cringe. Ummmm..... Can you say yuck? Seriously he was 12 when they got together. That is soooo gross. If the story was girl meets boy, they fall in love, they have 2 kids, fate seperates them for 7 years, they reunite and marry to live in wedded bliss sounds great. Too bad boy was 12 and it was a prison term to seperate them. I just find this wrong on so many levels!

Desert Prep!

So we are moving from the rainy country to the desert. Yay! (Not really but what can you do?) This move is fabulous for the Hub's career so it is worth it. Anyway he is already there and he called me to say that I need to go shopping. My capri pants are not cool enough I need shorts. Buy a cooler for the drive so you have cold water to drink. Buy baby sun screens for the car windows even though I have tint to reduce the impacct of the sun. Get lots of sunblock for the girls and I. He even bought himself shorts which is a miracle. I have been trying to get him into shorts for years. He bought sandals too. It is a whole new hubs lol. Who knew so much went into moving to the desert?

(Sort of) Lazy Weekend

Seems like everyone has checked out (physically or mentally) for the weekend, myself included. My dad had to head out of town for the fam-bam buisness so I'm chilling with my grandpa and watching bad re-runs. Really I have about 85 blogs in my head I need to get out, but I just can't get together enough motivation to do anything.

The Boy and I hit the farms market, and I picked up some apples (even though I have too many already) some asparagus, and some meat from the local butcher. I grabbed 2 london broils, a pound of stew meat, and a pound of ground buffalo. I haven't tried to cook buffalo before, but I've heard it's amazing. Maybe I'll track down an interesting recipe this weekend or I could always just smack out some burgers. Actually, I take it back. No burgers because Ryan the 3L broke my Weber last week.

I'm taking a crack at Monkey Bread today, so expect a post on that soon.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Has Stacey Peterson or Lisa Stebic been found?

I find it rather ironic that a week after Drew Peterson was arrested on murder charges pertaining to his third wife the body of his missing fourth wife may have been found. While 2 women have disappeared from the area the fact that a blue barrel was found near this body makes me lean more towards Stacey than Lisa. Either way at least one family will get the closure they deserve. I honestly have always doubted either woman of just walking away. What reportedly good, loving. devoted mother walks away from her children? While these bones lead to a hard answer to a sad question at least a family will get an answer.

Melissa Huckaby just won't give up.

Found a new story on this trash. I am guessing more kids will continue to pop up from this woman's past. Obviously she had been working up the nerve to do what she did to sweet Sandra Cantu for a while. It strikes me as incredibly sad that her behavior was not noticed before a life was lost. I wish people were more aware of what goes on around them. Maybe a senseless death could have been stopped!

Life in a Small Town

As I've mentioned before (but some of you may not have read back that far) I live in the same small town that I spent my formidable years of my childhood in. I spent most of those years bitching and planning to get out as fast as humanely possible. And I did. First to Norway, then to New Orleans, then L.A. for a while, and lastly to a town a bit to the North (but really not far away) after I got married. After I got divorced, and suddenly became a single mom on a limited income, I couldn't really think of anywhere I'd rather have gone.

I feel like this year is the first year I've looked at my hometown. I mean really looked. As a teen I was so busy looking at it's shortcomings that I was too busy to notice what it had to offer. When I go in the grocery store, it isn't just for food, it's social networking. I can't remember the last time I walked through and didn't have a 10 min conversation with someone. You walk in the door and you're welcomed by name. The bag boys tease the Boy about his mohawk and try to teach him to make crude hand signals while I'm not looking.

This morning when I got coffee, it was made by someone I've known 10 years and who offered to give me her peach jam recipe if I promised to use it. I stopped at the post office, and got lecture by a friend's mom for getting too skinny. She went on and on about how big the Boy was getting and asked me to come pick out any cook books of hers I wanted since 'she has them all memorized'. You just can't replace that.

When I was 17, I couldn't imagine being tied down here. Now I'm not sure I'd ever live anywhere else (unless of course I win the lottery and buy a vacation house in Figi). I've been a lot of places and met a lot of people. But the best friend's I have in my life are the ones I used to chase around the playground and play tether ball with.

I only hope that someday the Boy will feel about this town the way that I do now. I want to make it better, not bigger. My roots are pretty damn dug in here, and I think finally I'm happy that they are.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Disgusting excuse for a person.

I am so sick of reading stories like this. Yet another POS mother that I would happily flip the switch for. What really gets me upset isd that she killed him twice. WTF? I can not imagine the suffering of this poor little guy.

I do not get women like this. How do you carry a child for 9 months, feed and nurture them for the first hardest years and then decide to end that small precious life? I can't even bring myself to spank my girls because I have such a hard time with them hurting. I hope this woman gets a chance to suffer like her child did.

Southern-Style Picnic ala Maggy Style

As I said before, Ryan the 3L came up for the weekend and brought along his lady friend. We had a little BBQ on Saturday night, and I decided to make potato salad. Now, one thing I'm horrible about when it comes to cooking/baking is time management. Seems like more often then not I'm nodding off on the couch at 1am waiting for my latest invention to set/bake/cool. I figured the potato salad would take about an hour. I was wrong, and once again I managed to finish it off at 1 am (which seems to be my magic hour). I had planned to send a large chunk of it home with them, but Sunday morning ended up being quite rushed and we all managed to forget.

So I now have a ginormous amount of potato salad in my fridge. I'm guessing about 5 pounds, which may not sound like much but the Boy doesn't seem interested, and I can't humanely eat that much without exploding. I wanted to make a good meal to compliment the potato salad to get rid of some of it without eating only potato salad. Nothing in my usual repertoire sounded very good, so I was struggling along through recipes when my mom called. I mentioned my dilemma and she said simply "Picnic Food". I was a tad confused and she said "What do you take on a picnic in the summer? Potato salad and chicken".

I started thinking and decided that sounded amazing. But I want to do one better and go back to my Louisiana days. Fried Chicken, potato salad and lemon meringue. The funniest part of this is, I've never fried chicken or made a meringue. Ever. I looked up a couple recipes online and found Paula Deen's Fried Chicken and one for a lemon meringue pie. Shockingly I had most the ingredients, I really just needed the chicken and some hot sauce.

I decided to make the meringue first, which was good since it takes hours to set. The filling itself was fairly simple, and I got the done with relative ease. Now comes the topping. Ironically the only time I remember seeing anyone attempt meringue was a good friend of mine's father. That good friend lives in Norway, and so that year was 2000 maybe 2001. In other word's I'm very much lacking in the examples department.

My egg whites just didn't want to puff up. In fact, I pretty much ended up declaring war. Happily, just when I was about to pitch the whole thing and curl up and cry in a corner, it started to peak. I gave it a couple more twirls, then called it good for a 1st attempt. I threw it in the oven, and when I pulled it out I was pleasantly surprised.

I put in the fridge to chill and went to work on my chicken. I had bought both wings and breasts, but since I couldn't con anyone to come over for dinner, I ended up just cutting down the breasts into strips. I figured they would make a good test run, and being white meat they'd cook up a bit faster and I'd have a lesser chance of burning them. I used grapeseed oil (which is pricey but soooo much better for you then other oils) and made sure I had it about 350 degrees. I doused the strips with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Dipped them into an egg and hot sauce mixture, then dredged them with flour, baking soda and a pinch of salt. I tossed them in the oil, and gave them 4-5 minutes a side. They turned out great and I was very proud of myself.

So there it is! Southern-Style picnic food ala Maggy.

Look at what I have.

I just picked this little girl up. She had been found as a stray and no one ever claimed her. She snuggles with my youngest son and is terrified of my cat. Anyone want to guess how long I will have her before she gets adopted? I don't plan on having her long term, thats for sure. She's way too cute and sweet to remain homeless.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

World's Best Breadsticks

Ryan the 3L (of TSLRF fame and whom I've known since I was knee high to a duck) came into town to visit family and crashed at my place this weekend. As far as I'm concerned any excuse to cook is a good excuse to cook, and old friends are one of the best excuses. We did a ton of stuff and I'm sure I'll do a couple posts about it, but I think the best of the cooking was a new recipe I found for bread sticks.

The dough was pretty simple (compared to double-rise bread dough anyway) and they only had to rise for 15 minutes (more if you had more time). Even with proofing the yeast, you can make these in 30-35 minutes no problem. Once they came out of the oven, I brushed them with garlic salt and Italian herb mix and they were just awesome.

One trick I have learned is placing a small oven safe pan with water into the oven as soon as you start to preheat, and keeping it in clear through your cooking. This technique is used with baguettes generally, and gives the bread sticks a nice crisp crust without drying out the middle.

1 cup warm water (between 110-115 degrees)
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2.5 teaspoons of yeast
1/4 cup oil
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups of bread flour

Mix brown sugar and warm water until sugar is dissolved, add yeast and allow to proof at least 5 minutes or until foamy (I like to say it should look like the foam on a latte). Add salt and oil and mix in flour, adding 1 cup at a time. Roll out on floured surface until it's about 10x12. Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut into approx. 3/4 inch strips (I like them about 5-6 inches long, but it's personal preference). Give each stick a twist and place on a baking sheet to rise in a warm place for at least 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 while dough is rising, for crispy crust place half-full oven safe pan unto oven rock below or even with where bread sticks will bake.

Once bread sticks have risen (15-25 minutes) place in oven for 10-12 minutes. When done, remove from oven and baste with melted butter. Sprinkle sticks liberally with garlic salt and your choice of Italian herbs. Serve hot with your choice of dipping sauce!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Quote of the Day

"As you grow you'll realize your definition of success changes. Right now, your definition of success is being able to hold down 20 shots of tequila. But for me the most important thing in your life is to live your life with integrity."

Ellen DeGeneres giving the Commencement Speech at Tulane University in New Orleans, LA.


So my yahoo headlines had this story up. I read a few of the earlier stories and while I would treat my children medically, especially with the odds being so good with treatment I am not sure I could decide for someone else. Plus the trauma of forcing a child to undergo a treatment they don't want. I just have vivid images in my head of this boy being tied down as the chemo is forced. Not a pretty picture. I though don't agree with the mother fleeing. Add that they are claiming 2 religions as their reasoning and it seems a little hokey. I don't know, what do you guys think? Is it okay to force a medical treatment on a child to save the child's life regardless of the parents and child's wishes?

Moving is not for the weak minded!

So we will close on our new house in a few weeks. Hubs has gone ahead as he starts work with his new company tomorrow. So I am alone here with our girls trying to get everything ready for the moving company. I can not believe the amount of things on my "To Do" list. Things that have surprised me. You know to pack, to change schools, to fill out change of address but there is so much more. There is insurance switches and utility shut off and turn on, doctors to find, prescriptions to move and fill, Goodwill donations to gather. I am hating doing this alone. Hubs was good enough to help me by packing his tools and personal stuff and he took all my books with him in the truck so that helps with moving expenses but still it sucks. I hate not having him here to help with the dumb stuff. I will be so glad when we are settled in our new place!

10 Unusual Uses for Salt

1. Do you love the smell of roses? Now you can have that scent year round without using artificial air fresheners. To make a rose air freshener try layering rose petals and salt in a glass jar with a tightly fitting lid. Then just remove the lid to freshen the air.

2. Keep ants out of your home, just sprinkle salt across their path and the ants will be discouraged from going any further and you didn't have to resort to using harmful pesticides.

3. Shell hard boiled eggs easily, just add a teaspoon of salt to the water before boiling and you'll have perfect eggs every time.

4. Test an eggs freshness, add 1 teaspoon of salt to one cup of water and then float the egg in the water. A fresh egg will sink but an old one will float.

5. Keep your salad crisp. After preparing your salad lightly salt it, and your salad will remain crisp for several hours afterwards.

6. Keep your milk fresh, just add a pinch of salt to your jug of milk or cream for it to keep longer.

7. Set the color in new towels, just add a cup of salt to the wash water the first couple of times that you wash them. This keep your towels bright much longer.

8. Weed killer, boil one cup of salt to two cups of water and pour over the weeds to kill them.

9. Revive wrinkled apples, add the apples to mildly salted water and watch the wrinkles disappear. It's to bad that doesn't work for people!

10. Restore a sponge, just soak overnight in a solution of 1/4 cup of salt to one qt. of water to restore them to like new condition.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Don't touch!

So this weekend we came home to find a scorpion with its tail pinched in the joints of my garage door. My sons of course want to catch it. I agree because I want to flush it, I don't want it running around the house or yard. So my oldest son gets a container to catch it in but instead of coming back around to the outside of the garage, he opens the door from the inside. The door goes up, releasing the scorpion's tail and it falls ONTO my middle sons head. Talk about excitement! No one was injured, not even the scorpion (at least not until I flushed it) but it certainly made for a frightening few minutes. Oh yeah, did you know scorpions glow in the dark? Yeah, that makes them just that much creepier. I would love to have some info on what to do if you were stung or bitten by some poisonous insect or spider?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Good news and blessings!

I was doing the daily news wandering when this headline caught my eye. It was hugely uplifting to read something positive in the news. CNN usually does okay at putting some good topics up but still it is so easy to get mired in the negativity. Today we are surrounded by violence and tragedy in our media. Newspapers, television, radio, and yes even us bloggers can get so consumed with the bad that we forget the good. We forget to mention the miracles, the joyous reunions, the beautiful laughter of a child because hate and greed and fear are much more potent feelings. So today I wanted to think happy thoughts and of blessings. I am healthy and happy in love. My children are growing and beautiful. My husband has a career he is proud of and a heart of gold. I have two women who are more sisters to me than my own family at times. We never want for anything. We bought a beautiful home! Those are only a fraction of the richness that fills my life. What are your blessings? What is your good news for today? What drives your laughter and lifts your soul? Remember always that even in moments of tragedy and pain blessings surround us. They filter through our lives by the touch of a friend, the kindness of a stranger and the love of a child returned to waiting arms. Hug your blessings close today and always.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Quote of the Day

"A Women is like a teabag - You never know how strong she is until you get her in hot water"

-Eleanor Roosevelt

Friday Funny

Food Storage Cooking: Part 1

Wednesday night, I didn't feel well and was in no mood to cook. Or do anything other then lay on my couch and watch sappy romantic comedies under the thickest quilt I could find. Alas, we have to eat. I really was craving French Dip Sandwiches, but that had several roadblocks. The Boy had lost his shoes somewhere so I couldn't really take him to the butcher (I mean, I could have but it was about 45 degrees out and he kept taking his socks off and I refuse to be that mom). I have a roast in the freezer, but it's BIG and there was no way it would de-thaw even part way before the weekend. I had plenty of onions, and I've been dying to try out french onion soup, but as I said before I had no motivation.

So with my first choice out the window I finally decided on making Taco Soup. I usually make this soup with at least a pound of ground beef, but seeing as I had none and the butcher was a no-fly zone I was pretty much SOL on that part. Luckily during Lent I had fooled about with this as veggie recipe so I had a decent idea of what I wanted to do.

I didn't have time to mess around with any of my dried beans, so I wandered out to the food storage and stole a mess of things I had canned. This recipe is great because you can leave out what you don't like/don't want/don't have and it generally doesn't muss things up too much. I grabbed black beans, chili beans, red beans, whole kernel corn, kidney beans, and pinto beans. I grabbed my 5 qt dutch oven and popped open the cans and dumped them (liquid included!) into the pot**. I realized at this point I was out of taco seasoning (wth?) because I've been meaning to make my own dry taco seasoning so I hadn't purchased any pre-made packs (lack of supplies is my best motivator). I did however have a pack of fajita seasoning, so I went ahead and added that. (**If you are adding ground beef to this recipe, cook the meat in the pot and add seasoning as directed before adding beans and simmering)

I let this simmer for about 30 mins, then mixed up some Krustez Honey Corn Bread Mix (my favorite) and put that in the oven according to directions (30 mins at 400). When that had about 5 mins left I checked on the soup and found that it didn't have quite the 'stew' consistency I like. This was easily solved by adding a dab of corn starch to the mix, and I pulled the corn bread out of the oven to cool.

To serve I simply cut a good chunk of the corn bread and placed it in a bowl and topped with the Taco (or I guess Fajita) Soup and a pinch of shredded cheese. This is my personal preference way to serve it, but because it makes it a bit more hearty with the cornbread. The way I originally had this was with crushed up corn chips and a bit of cheese and sour cream. Both ways are excellent, easy and cheap. And the leftovers refrigerate or freeze great, and even taste better then next time around.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Soldier's Health: Why I hate War

I'm sure most of you have heard about the recent tragedy in Iraq, were a soldier shot and killed 5 of his fellow soldiers. The soldier was being treated at a Stress Clinic at Camp Liberty in Baghdad. He'd been involved in a altercation earlier in the day, was relieved of his weapon and sent back to his housing. He returned later that day with another weapon, and shot 8 people, killing 5.

This subject is very hard for me to talk about. And let me get some straight right away. I'm not in the armed services, and I have never been in the armed services. I've never been to war, and I can't imagine how I would handle it if I was.

That being said, I was married to a service member who saw more then his share of war. I housed, feed and comforted countless soldiers during our marriage; some of whom came and went quickly, and many who became like family. We had a core group of boys (and I say boys because that's exactly what they were) who came to our house for various reason and never really left. I jokingly called them my Lost Boys, because I felt a lot like Wendy in Peter Pan. I was suddenly playing mother to a handful of kids, when I wasn't much older then them to start with.

With my ex's last deployment in 2006, my felt like my heart broke into tiny pieces and each of "My Boys" took a bit with them. They really were my family. At the end of a 16 month deployment, I had attended funerals, held crying wives, mothers and girlfriends. Not all of the pieces of my heart came home, and they never will.

Even the ones who returned were different. It's like they left as puppies; excited, not quite grown, but willing to do what they should. They came home scared, scrappy pound dogs. Some did well, continued in army and got over the things they had seen and done. Some never did.

One of 'my boys' was one that never got better. While on patrol in August of 2007 (2 months after they should have returned home, but they were extended for the "Surge") he and his units were clearing homes, and upon entering one of the houses, and trip wire was hit. The house was demolished, and 5 amazing men lost their lives. My friend never could come to terms with what happened. He struggled constantly with the fact that his friend Kareem, a Muslim from New Jersey who dreamed off being a doctor, had taken his place at the last second when my friend's show has come untied. He had good days and bad days, and not long after his return home was quoted by a newspaper as saying "I know they would want me to get on with my life," he said. "Just like I'd want them to get on with their lives if it had happened to me."

In the end he couldn't and on August 6th of last year, the 1 year anniversary of that fateful day, he killed himself at his home.

My ex-husband had already done 2 deployments, the last in 2006 was his third total, his second to Iraq. When he came home he was moody, depressed and very aggressive. I won't go into the horror stories, but it wasn't pretty. The constant mood swings, anger and fear took an incredible toll on our marriage. Our marriage wasn't on super solid ground to start with, and after an incident involving our son, I left him.

I went to his unit, talked to every doctor I could, and even after some extreme behavior by him, no one did anything more for him then the barest of minimums. They were happier to shove every incident under the rug and call it a day.

Obviously these are both fairly extreme cases, but I've seen some amount of these symptoms in pretty much every service member I know. I'm terrified for my friends and family in the service, and I wish there was something more to be done. It seems they are being used like racehorses, run and run and run and when they show signs of fatigue they are sent to the glue factory. The same unit of boys I know is being deployed again this summer. For many of them, this is now their second and third deployments.

I've seen so many people, lives and families torn to pieces from the inside out that it kills me a little everyday.

I don't know if this will even mean anything to anyone, but I had to get it off my chest.

priorities and unfinished projects

I have been told I am a very crafty person. I certainly have my share of unfinished crafty type projects laying around so I suppose that is true. My problem is, I have a strong sense of priorities. (at least when it comes to projects. Cleaning my house, not so much)

I make dog sweaters for our local rescue. I have gotten to where I pump out a few of those in a day. I finally got enough that I was satisfied that no poor little dog was going to go without a sweater if his owners were willing to buy him one.

I then started making hats thinking I could have one for every member of my extended family, including all 34 nieces and nephews. Well I got three of those made before I realized I had 2 afghans to make for nephews' weddings. They of course too priority since both weddings were in June and I didn't have to have the hats until sometime this winter. So I now have one afghan half finished and bought the supplies for the other

I then realized I needed to make something for my sons birthday which was yesterday so that took priority. We had ordered him some coyote calls in the shape of baseball bats so I wanted to make him a lanyard to hold them.

Before I could make the lanyard, I had to learn how to tie one, so I bought some cord and learned how to tie it by making a leash. Which of course isn't done because I had to work on the lanyard for the boy.

Somewhere in all the middle of this, (I have no idea at exactly what point in this time line) I agreed to make some dishcloths for Maggy. I also started making a bag for my mother out of old grocery bags. And I believe somewhere in between dog sweaters and hats, I started to knit a sweater for myself. (I wanted to learn to make something that could actually be helpful if the SHTF. I could keep your dog and your head warm but that was about it)

So now I have all my projects here in front of me, I am even more overwhelmed. But at least I know now where to start and which projects need to be finished first. The lanyard is done (whew), the first afghan is half finished. Next will be the other afghan. After that will be Maggy's dishcloths and my mothers bag. The rest I will do when I feel like it. So if I don't post or comment for a while, chances are I am in hiding until I finish something!

Homemade Spice Mixes

When I was going through my preps I realized that if SHTF a lot of my cooking would go to hell in a hand basket. Why? Well I'm lazy (I can't believe I have to say that again) and so in some of my recipes I use those stupid little 4 oz packages of pre-mixed spices. Now, I'm not entirely inept so I'm sure I could work around it. But it wouldn't be the same. But really coughing up a buck and some change for insane amounts of little teeny packages isn't realistic or reasonable.

So I ran and found comfort online. I managed to find recipes for many of the things I already use; Montreal Steak Seasoning, Taco Seasoning, Italian Dressing Mix, and Dry Rub for Barbecue. All of these mixes can be easy stored if kept sealed and dry, for at least 6 months if not longer. Some require refrigeration, but it wouldn't be hard to throw a quart can of it on the condiment rack and call it a day.

I'm sure I can get most, if not all, of these spices in bulk, and I am willing to bet dollars to donuts that it'll be a heap cheaper to do it this way also. I mean for $1.00+ for 4 oz of mixed spices, it's hard to get more expensive.

Apple Pie Bread

My mother can bake pies like no other person I know. She doesn't do it nearly so often anymore, mostly just for holidays, but the fact still stands. Not only does she make the pie crust from scratch (which perpetually amazes me), but her pies seem to have a depth of flavor to them that I've just never been able to find anywhere else. Pecan Fudge Pie, Pumpkin Pie, Apple Pie, you name it. Maybe it's just because they're my Mamas but yeah, I'm partial to them.

My (by far) favorite of her pies is her Apple Pie. She makes a Amish-style apple pie, which if you don't know basically means you add a sort of crumble to the top instead of regular pie crust. Until I was about 10 I didn't know most families made pie with a crust on top. I still see crust on an apple pie as a sort of abomination, it just doesn't seem right.

Saturday at the Market I picked up some beautiful Jazz Apples mostly just for the boy to munch on. But turns out he's not a fan, so they've basically been sitting on my counter taking up space. Last night I had the baking bug (and I needed bread so, yeah) but none of the recipes I've had floating around in my head sounded good. I was really craving something savory sweet, but not super rich.

I ended up kicking around the thought of Apple Pie Bread (after all, I had apples) and went for it. I diced the apples, gave them a hot cider bath for a bit so they didn't toughen up in the oven and prepped my Wifey bread. After the first rise, I folded in the apples by doing my fold and flatten method. Next time I think I'm going to also add a sprinkle of cinnamon to each fold. I like swirls, but this recipe is pretty 'rough' and a swirl seemed so... uniform.

After the second rise, I added a chilled crumble mixture (sugar, butter, flour and cinnamon) and tossed them in the oven for the regular 30 mins. The finished result smelled exactly like Apple Pie, the steam wafting off of them was heavenly. This morning, I cut pieces for the Boy and I for breakfast and it was just amazing. Light and moist, with wonderful little pockets of apple happiness. This recipe is sticking around for sure.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Do they really think this will stop prostitution?

Craigslist has got to be beyond dense. They are changing their "erotic" section to an "adult" section. I get the thought. After the whole assault and murder thing was linked to them they are soooo out to cover their butts. Do they not think people will still lie about ages or intentions. This is going to do nothing but make this a craftier trade. Sure "legal adult service providers" will use the new and improved service but the illegal will find a way around and monitoring. Just like a gun ban only hurts legal gun owners all this does is provide a hiccup for the men and women trolling for a quick buck for that drug fix who really care less about rules and regulations. Prostitution is going to happen. Sex is a commodity in pretty much every society and little bumps in that road will not deter those desperate enough to sell themselves illegally. There needs to be legislation in place that really addresses this issue not lawmakers expecting companies to police it for them.

Margarita Scones

One of the recipes I'd been bouncing to Lila and Gracie the last few days were scones that we're quickly dubbed "margarita scones". I'm very picky about what I eat for breakfast. I want a full breakfast (bacon, biscuits, gravy, eggs, bacon, pancakes and bacon), or I want something super light like yogurt. If I eat one of those over-sized muffins or something, I feel like I have a brick in my stomach until after lunchtime.

I really love the combo of salt, sweet and citrus that comes from a lime margarita. It just tastes so clean and refreshing. So I decided to duplicate the taste in baked goods form. I made my basic sweet scone recipe, and added finely grated lime zest to the dry mixture. I cut them into biscuit sized rounds instead of wedges, and baked them just like normal. I let them cool completly, then dipped in a lime royal icing and topped with rough sugar to duplicate the margarita texture.

I'm very pleased with how they came out, and they've given me a ton more ideas for scones! I love scones because they are so easy (a little labor intensive compared to say, cereal) and worth every single bite!

(no Tequila was intentionally harmed in the scone making process)

Tax deductions

We bought a book called a deduct it book that lets you track your tax deductions for the year. It is really cool but I had no idea what you need for documentation. It recommends that you write down the value and number of each item you are donating, (there is a place in the book for that) take pictures of all of the items, bag them, take another picture, deliver them to the thrift store, (or wherever), take another picture of the goods being accepted, and get a receipt. Oh, and you will need initials of the person recieving the goods in the book. CRAZY! I also got a really nifty brochure size sheet that helps me track my milage to and from scouts and all of the running around I do for the rescue. We got SCREWED on our taxes this year and it was our fault for not keeping track of deductions. This year will be different.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Prepping the Preps: Part 2

I finally finished up with organizing my cabinets, and separating Shelf Stuff vs Preps. I am honestly amazed at just how much canned food I have, and more then that how much canned food I have that I know I've had since early in my marriage, so almost 6 years. Anything I could identify as over 2 years old I herded together and took into my local food bank. Frankly, the fact that I haven't eaten it in the last 5 years tells me chances are I'm not eating it in the next 5.

I'm not a super picky eater, but well... okay, I'm a picky eater. There I said it. So, it's silly for me to have things in my pantry that I KNOW I wouldn't even feed to the dog. I don't eat sauerkraut. I don't like sauerkraut. I don't need a gallon mason jar of it.

One thing I did do in the cleaning crusade was to make a list of every thing that went into my preps storage. I'm going to edit the list a bit (so it doesn't read Crm chkn Sp lrg) and place one copy on the inside of my cupboard door, and probably another in the storage itself. That way instead of buying more (insert canned veggie here) I can snag some out of the food storage, mark the list, and replenish that every other week. Using what I have stored, and saving myself some in the process as I can stock up a bit more on things I need should they be on sale.

Quote of the Day

“If you want government food, go to the supermarket and buy government food. But for those who want to have a relationship with their food, and the accountability that inherently comes with voluntarily and informatively opting out of the supermarket to go ask around, smell around, sniff around, look around and opt out of the government food system, they ought to have that right.”

-Joel Salatin, owner and operator of PolyFace Farms

Cooking with food storage

So at our "Survivor" night at church, we learned that you can substitute beans for oil in any baking recipe. You use black beans in chocolate recipes, pinto beans in chocolate chip cookies, white beans for white or yellow cake mixes. Just match the color of the beans to the color of the baked goods you are making. If the SHTF, cooking oil is going to be scarce as it doesn't store well. I bought a case of canned butter that has a 15 yr shelf life, but it is kind of expensive to use in baking. We will save that for special occasions where butter will make the difference in a dish. Beans are a staple in any food storage so they would be plentiful. Who says you can't eat yummy things with food storage? You cannot taste the difference in the cakes or cookies AT ALL. These cookies turned out "cake like" ie: puffy. If you like your cookies more like, well, cookies; use half beans and half oil. Same goes for brownies. Experiment and have fun.

Monday, May 11, 2009

3 Generation Households.

So TOR at our brother blog wrote a great blog on this subject. We are a 3gen household. My MIL has fibromyalgia and has had a rough time working. When her room mates moved away and her job was due to end we invited her to live with us. We do have many of the benefits TOR mentioned like another adult to help around the house, someone to enrich our lives and the girls lives with her experiences and knowledge. Both our girls adore my MIL and she and I get along very well. We have some bumps sometimes because my MIL is a very emotional woman (recently diagnosed PTSD after a very bad marriage and even worse divorce) and so am I (bi-polar, lol) so we can have our moods clash.

One thing that I recommend is that the boundaries as to reprimanding the kids be set right away. Hubs and I are very hands on parents and we have a hard time with others doing our job and we had to make that very clear. Also we had to enter this expecting to be the caretaker to someone else. If you start this journey relying on the elder generation to perform certain taskes it can often cause tention if those tasks aren't done. We knew going in that Mom was very limited in what she could physically do and emotionally handle so it made the transition easier because we did not have unrealistic ideas of how she would contribute to the house. It has been a wonderful blessing to have someone to safely leave the baby with so I can take a bath or go pick up Bug from school. I also know that if I am ill she will help with cooking.

We also have my BIL, nephew, and my brother living in the same complex and I regularly cook to feed everyone. It saves them money and time and ensures they are eating real meals which makes Hubs and I feel better. This move will actually be seperating us from all of them and in some ways I am excited for the return of privacy in others I am heart broken. I have become used to this whole big family thing. Mom follows us down in a little while and a huge part of why we bought the house we did is that it will be a very good living arraingment for us as a 3gen house. We also hope to have my BIL and nephew with us as soon as they are able.

I recommend this to anyone with the patience for it. My girls have so many added blessing as they are surrounded by so many who love them. Plus if SHTF we have the capabilities to take care of our safety with so many adults and that is a huge comfort.

And I thought American men had sex on the brain.

I found this story rather interesting. If a 7 day lack of relations hurt his marriage I can only imagine how the 6 weeks following a baby would affect him. I am a firm believer in granting my guy whatever 'relief' he needs. He works hard and deserves some release and hey I get happy time too but if there is something going on that requires a bit of space between togetherness then we will survive. Our house is usually full of people. People who require attention and have a hard time respecting a locked door. We are lucky to find time once a week at the moment. Suing over a 7 day dry spell just strikes me as ridiculous and so completely disrespectful to his wife. I mean seriously how tortured to wait 7 days and over a cause his wife obviously believes in. If the Hubs sued over something like this the week wait would be extended for the foreseeable future.

RIP Poachy - A Chicken Update

Firstly, I'd like to say Poachy was a good little chicken. Fairly quiet, minded her own business and wasn't one of my master's of escape (which kept her on my good side). Sadly, Poachy passed away from unknown causes (although I expect a scuffle with Yoko was to blame) early on Mother's Day morning. I was a little upset in the morning, but I know she's in happier hen coops somewhere in the great farm in the sky.

The chicks are getting huge. They are going through an amazing amount of feed and water (well, compared to two weeks ago anyway) and I'm cleaning out their pool every other day as their pooping habits are equal to their eating habits. I did have some issues with chicken ninjas (or at least that's what I'd call them) who habitually hopped out of the pool and ran around my garage. I was not a fan of chicken ninja'ing, so I snagged a roll of chicken wire and wrapped the pool. They still managed to fall out as they kept trying to roost on the edge of the pool in the one damn exposed corner, which of course was next to impossible to reach once they fell in. I dropped a water filled old milk carton into the corner and wa-la, problem solved. They fight over who stand on the top of the bottle and I'm not fishing them out nearly so often.

I did however learn this morning though that chickens under duress can squeeze themselves into a rolled-up bale of chicken wire, which they then can't get out of. That was an interesting experience, that's for sure.

Now that they are getting a bit bigger and losing their feathers it's become a bit of a game to guess what breeds they are (I never did ask the people at the feed store, I keep forgetting). Gracie thinks that Chicken is a Barred Rock, and after seeing some pictures I think I agree.

Noodle, Poopbutt, LouAnne, Turtle, Drumstick, Yoko, Benedict and Scramble are the larger white chicks. Gracie thinks they might be Araucana's, but after looking around at pictures I'm thinking they are probably Leghorns. And just a note, I don't care how good tempered people say chickens can be. All the above named chickens are assholes. Yoko is the leader, and if she keeps up this attitude, she'll be the first to go to the happy hunting grounds.

McNugget, Huevo, Shelly, Omelet, and Dark Meat we think are Rhode Island Reds. I wish the pictures I took of them could really do them justice. They are turning a beautiful reddish-rust tone now from the creamy yellow they were when I picked them out. They are super sweet, a little skittish but not one of these 5 (and formerly Poachy as well) has EVER pecked me. The asshole chickens take care of that part.

All and all, my little suburban chicken thing seems to be going well. Probably this weekend the chicks will be moving out to the Logger's ranch to their newly-refurbished chicken coop, and I'm going to hose the hell out of my garage.

Are these cool or what?

So I found these in the store a few days ago and thought they would be perfect for a 72 hour kit. The little colored dot in the middle is toothpaste and there is a toothpick thingy at the other end. They are only about as long as my index finger. They have 4 in each package. I hope I can find more eventually. These would be great to keep in the car in case of a dental visit for the kids with no way to brush before hand. Or just after eating out or whatever. Really cool little invention.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

My (little) Garden Update

My little garden has really taken off! Minus my 2.5 dead lettuce plants (one is sort of coming back) it's all growing with a venegance. I had almost called my chives a goner, but they seem to have sprouted up overnight! My carrots seem to be doing great, and my onions are doing well also. I picked up 2 cilantro plants to replace the dead lettuce starts at the Farmer's Market yesterday, so we will see how they do now.


SALEM, Ore. – A father was accused of using a dog shock collar on his four children. Salem Police Lt. Dave Okada said the 41-year-old man was jailed Tuesday on charges of criminal mistreatment. He said the father acknowledged putting the electronic dog collar on his four children and shocking all of them at least once.
According to Okada, the father didn't do it as a punishment. Rather, he thought it was funny.
The children, all younger than 10, are in the custody of their mother.
The case has been referred to state Department of Human Services

Holy Cow! I joke about doing this sometimes but, seriously, you don't actually DO it! Really funny, dude, really funny. I hope his cell mate has a similar sense of humor.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Topsey turvey tomato update

So my tomatoes have taken a sharp U turn. Literally. The tops are growing up. Makes sense, but I just wasn't expecting it. You know for that infomercial they took full grown plants and put them in that planter. I hope that when the tomatoes start growing, they don't break the top of the plant off. I guess we shall see. I will also need to put more potting soil in now that its all settled. Will update when there are new developments.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Any Good Recipes?

So, by some insane fluke I managed to get a "tasting" (aka interview) for a local coffee shop to make their pastries and breakfast stuffs. I have some things floating around my head (I've seriously been driving Lila and Gracie insane because I won't shut up about recipes) but I really really want to try out as many things as I can!

Anyone have any tried and true or interesting recipes they'd like to share?

Friday Funny

Outplan, Outprepare, Outsurvive

So Tuesday at church we ladies had a Survivor night. It was all about how to be prepared in case of emergency. We all sat down at tables and started talking when all of a sudden the lights go out and we hear the emergency broadcast system screaching. A voice came on saying "This is only a test. If this were a real emergency, you would have to rely on the skills you already posess to survive." (Hokey, I know, but we are mormons, thats just part of our DNA.) So everyone immediatly turned on the flashlights that were sitting on the table.

Our first challenge was to find our "tribe", identified by different colored armbands, in the dark. We then had a first aid quiz. Things sure have changed since I took a first aid course. (Did you know that the only scientifically based cure for hiccups was to breathe into a paper bag?) We then had to list as many things as we could to put into a 72 hour kit. Then all three tribes had to race to put up a tent. Ours of course had no poles. The next challenge was a taste test. A member of our tribe had to try and tell the difference between dried eggs and fresh eggs. Everyone got that right but was surprised how difficult it was. They then had to tell the difference between freeze dried lasagne and store bought. That was no one was really able to tell the difference. Then the one that blew us all away. The taster had to tell the difference between baked goods that were baked with oil and the ones that had beans substituted for the oil. SERIOUSLY!? BEANS!? I kid you not, NO ONE could tell the difference. You use the same ratio between oil and beans (ie 1 c or oil = 1 c of beans). Use black beans for chocolate cake or brownies, pinto beans for chocolate chip cookies and white beans for white or yellow cake mix. Just match the color of the beans as closely as possible to the color of the goodies you are baking. You can also substitute applesauce or bananas for oil. Very cool.

We then found out that we can use a canner that the church has. For $1 per can we can use the supply of cans, lids and oxygen pouches. Then all we have to do is buy the stuff we want to put in the cans. It was soooo easy!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Quote of the Day

This afternoon the Boy recieved a lengthy time out for smacking my arm when he got frustrated. At the end of the time out, I sat with him so we could go over what he had learned.

**note: the answer I'm looking for is "tell them why I'm mad"**

Maggy: If you are upset and mad with someone what can you do about it?

The Boy: You don't hit?

Maggy: No, you don't hit, that's right. What else?

The Boy: .... You say you're sorry?

Maggy: Yes, that would be nice. What else could you do?

The Boy: ....... You ask them to go ride bikes?

Maybe we should all think like 3 year olds more often...

About dang time!

So good news all you crime watchers. Drew Peterson has been indicted on murder charges in the homicidal death of his 3rd wife.

Now when Stacy first disappeared I was willing to believe she had just ran off. I would never leave my kids but other women do it every day. When I learned she was his 4th wife I figured there was a reason these women divorced him.

The it came out that his 3rd wife died in a weird way. When her body was exhumed and a new autopsy was performed it was ruled a homicide. Then my imagination picked it up more. Murdered 3rd wife, missing 4th. Something is hokey here.

Then he has this girlfriend who is younger and moves in. Weird but good for him, just hope she is the "one" and not in danger. THEN it comes out that his "engagement" is basically a lie. OMG

How much more can the man do before he gets arrested? Thank Heavens some cops finally saw reason and arrested him!

In Case of Natural Disaster: Volcano Style

Lucky me, I have chosen to make my home in volcano country. And I don't mean "I live within the possible disaster zone", I mean I can see one from my house, and I could see another if there wasn't a small range of hills in the way. Volcanoes aren't a possible danger around here, they are a constant danger. Granted, thanks to Mt. St. Helen's erupting in 1980, area preparation for an eruption is fairly well planned out. However, there is still much about volcano eruptions that is a big unknown.

Ryan the 3L and I were discussing the republican retort to Obama's unofficial Budget Speech made by Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, in which he criticized democratic funding for "volcanic monitoring" as a frivolous expense, saying "Instead of monitoring volcanoes, what Congress should be monitoring is the eruption of spending in Washington". First off, that's pretty rich coming from the Governor of a state who received $1.5 billion in the year after Katrina and Rita alone. Secondly, as Ryan the 3L pointed out our area is called the Ring of Fire. Volcanic Eruption isn't an if, it's a when.

Preparing for something like an eruption is different then say, a snow storm or a hurricane. Not only are you worried about the eruption itself, but you have to worry about all it's little buddies; Mudflows (nasty stuff), flash floods, landslides, rockfalls, earthquakes (that's a whole 'nother post), tsunamis, ash fall and acid rain.

Obviously you need the usual survival suspects; Water, food, Flashlights and batteries, essential medicines, blankets, candles, emergency radio, etc, etc. With volcano's one of the biggest concerns (and people killers) is the fallout of ash and noxious gases. To combat this particular issue; you should add dust masks (or preferably some sort of air purifying respirator), and eye goggles for each member of your family.

Be sure to store large sheets of plastic (these can be bought cheaply at any paint or hardware store) and rolls of masking tape. Use this to cover all windows and doors, and place wet towels or cloth along the bottoms to prevent ash and gases from entering the home. Turn off all heating and cooling systems, and if you have a fireplace flue, make sure to close it and make as airtight as possible. Also, if possible clear any roofs of ash cover, as ash is rock and therefore very heavy, and the last thing you want is the roof falling in on your head.

If there is sort of emergency and you are forced to drive, the ash can quickly clog even the best of car air filters. And old DNR trick my dad used was to wrap the filter in women's pantie hose. The hose allowed in the air, but not the ash. You still have to clean off the hose frequently, but at least you can travel if you need to. You should listen to any news reports for air quality, danger area and water quality reports.

If there's an eruption there is no way of knowing how long things will be nasty. I figure that in case of a super eruption, we will need at least a month of basic supplies, possibly longer. This is including food, water, medicine and power. Well, that ended up sounding a bit like a science report, but I hope it made you think. Every area is in danger of some sort of natural disaster, are you prepared?

3 yr old survivor

This 3 yr old boy slipped away from his parents and wandered alone in the forest for 2 days. Searchers didn't think they would find him alive. What a tough little boy. Kids are so resiliant they almost scare me at times. He said he was on his way to see Grandma.

Scrumptious French Toast

When I'm lazy, and I don't want to really cook, I make breakfast for dinner. Pancakes were my mom's standby, and mine is usually some sort of egg dish. Last night I didn't have time to pull out any meat to de-thaw, and after chasing down 6 rogue chickens in the garage I didn't feel like being super creative. Enter my Wifey Bread cinnamon concoction.

Ever since I made the Yet Un-named Cinnamon Version of Wifey Bread, I've been stealing little bits off of it to sooth my cinnamon roll cravings. Since that craving was in high gear, I decided to use the YUNCV to make French Toast. I whipped up 4 eggs, and a 1/2 cup of milk and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract in a shallow bowl, dipped the bread and threw it in a frying pan. I flipped each piece after about 2 minutes, re-flipping if it wasn't to my liking color wise. Once I pulled them from the pan I threw on some whipped butter, powdered sugar, and topped it with some maple syrup.

Viola, breakfast for dinner is served!

Scavenging 101

So we were coyote hunting (driving around in the rain) this last weekend and happened upon a refrigerator that someone had thrown out and shot. Not really uncommon where we live. We drove a little further and found more parts of the fridge. We realized it was the exact same as ours! Hubby and I both grinned and jumped out to scavenge parts. Our fridge has these weird shelf type of things that the kids have broken from hanging on and standing on them.

The ones on the broken fridge would fit ours perfectly. So we brought home everything that was salvagable and threw it in the dishwasher. Viola! Just like new!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Another Thing to Add to the List of Amazing Crap I Can't Do

These girls are amazing. It's just insane. Watch the whole thing, because you might think you've seen the best, but you probably haven't!


So we also now have a twitter! Follow us and see what's going on!

Total Survivalist Libertarian Bitch Fest on twitter!

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You can now email us girls with any questions you have at! We love to hear from you with any question, concerns or suggestions!

P.S.> If you want an answer from one of us specifically, please say so. Otherwise, we'll just answer the best we can!

No-Retreat AKA Castle Doctrine and Murder vs. Manslaughter

So after my last post on this and the discussion that followed I decided I wanted to know more. I did some research and was able to find some good info through my digging. Keep in mind this is not me going state by state to look at info but looking in net sources and finding consensus type stuff. (Info repeated in multiple places so most likely accurate.)

What I learned was interesting. I found a great source for info here. This type of self-defense law varies by state, some states count your property line as your castle boundaries while others limit you to the house itself and still others count your car as part of your castle. I found 36 states have a type of law falling into this "Castle Doctrine" category. Each is a little different from the next. Some require a moderate retreat attempt while others are of the No-Retreat variety.

I assumed going into this that probably all of the western states would have a form of this just because they tend toward gun rights a bit more heavenly than some. I was wrong. California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico , and Oregon actually have no such laws. I found one site that actually had a map that I found very helpful.

I also discovered that not all of the states with a "castle doctrine" law protect the property owner/resident from a civil case so while the SUV driver in our earlier mentioned case will not be criminally charged in some states a civil case for wrongful death would be allowed. I find that just ridiculous. If a state is going to allow you to shoot someone you feel is threatening your "castle" without fear of prosecution then letting the perpetrator sue them is a bit stupid in my book.

I also decided to look into murder vs. manslaughter. Ryan the 3L over at our brother blog brought up felony murder so I wanted more details. He also wrote a blog about "bad laws" that I found fascinating. Anyway the core of a murder charge seems to be malice coupled with intent. The length of intent does not matter. If you walk into a bar and some dude takes your drink and you think "I am going to kill this guy" and then stab him with your pool cue you have shown intent. Sucks huh? If you walk in on your husband in bed with your nanny and you beat them both to death with your shoe in a fit of rage then you have voluntary manslaughter or "a crime of passion". I personally think felony murder is kind of a nutty rule. I mean it makes sense that someone committing a crime that results in a death be punished but murder? Not sure how I like that. They will get the felony charge as it is, probably a couple of them, to tack on murder seems a bit much. Manslaughter absolutely but murder is over the top.

I am glad you all provoked the researcher in me. Knowing what I know now I would still defend my home and family with deadly force but at least I know I might get sued over it! ;)