Wednesday, July 4, 2012

For Our 13th Anniversary

Thirteen years ago we wrote vows for our wedding on the 4th of July.  I thought we had "it" all together. Surely, we knew everything we needed to know.

Ha, ha!  We learned a lot in the first decade of marriage.  Ten Years later, we had a renewal ceremony, with new vows.

I admit, I am still learning to be a Biblical Bride.  I find falling into my old habits and thoughts, not learned from the Bible, or the truly wonderful examples in my own family. For our Thirteenth Anniversary, I have some new vows for my husband.

Thomas, I vow to be sober, to love you, to love our children, to be discreet, chaste, a keeper at home, good, obedient to you, so that the word of God be not blasphemed (from Titus 2:3-5).

Now, Hubby, I have to warn you, I am still human and I may slip up sometimes, but we have an awesome God who is working on me.  I want our marriage to be an example of a Heavenly marriage.  Something that our children, and Lord willing, our grandchildren can learn from.

I love you!  Happy 13th Anniversary!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Our "new" Pony

This post is only 3 months overdue. On St. Patrick's Day this year, we got a pony.  My Uncle (one of my Mom's brothers) called my Mom to see if we would be interested his youngest pony (he couldn't find our phone number).  I really didn't think my husband would be at all interested, but I told him anyway.  I figured he would say "not happening", without another thought.  But he didn't.  He was concerned about cost, but my Uncle told us she really wouldn't cost  us much.  He was also concerned about our daughter, because we had previously thought she was allergic to horses.  Well, she is not allergic to this one.  Ellie had ridden on this little one's Mother at my grandparents farm and had an allergic reaction twice.  We have two theories... one is the allergies were actually seasonal; the other is that all the fermented cod liver oil she's been taking is helping her allergies.

The pony was born on my Mom's birthday, three years ago (she turned three the month, after we got her).  My uncle had told my Mom that she looked like the Shetland pony that she had when they were kids.  My Mom's pony was named Toy.  So, my Mom asked if he would name the new pony Toy... and he did.  What a good big brother. 

So, this is Toy when we first got her.  The big horses behind her are our neighbor's horses.  She is smaller than both her mother and father.  She had a thick winter coat and looked very shaggy, not very cute.  Until my son and I got on the internet for information on Shetland ponies, I did not realize they were from the Shetland Isle in Scotland, in a cold area, where they grow a thick winter coat.  The kids wanted her, especially Wyatt.  So, we brought her home in my Uncle's stock trailer.

This is the day that she "escaped" under the portion of electric fence which is around our field.  Thomas thought he had the fence at just the right height for Toy.  The rest of us were concerned that the line of wire was a bit too high.  She was grazing away and walked right under the fence! Luckily, Wyatt and I were home eating lunch and he saw her out the patio door.  I took this picture while he was getting the lead rope for me.  Thanks to some leftover fence and gate from the previous owners, I cornered her between that and the neighbor's fence.  We got the rope on and led her back to the barn, so that Thomas could fix the fence.  He put a lower line of fence wire, so she cannot just walk under the fence.

You can see in this picture, with Wyatt, how shaggy she was.  Everyone thought the pony was going to be for Ellie.  Well, a Shetland pony is supposed to be able to ride 130 lb person.  Ellie has made it to 5 ft 1 inch and 100 lbs.  I think she and I are both nervous about putting that much weight on our little pony. She may be able to handle it, but she is the smallest Shetland pony we have ever encountered.  Even the man who cuts her hooves for us said that he had only ever encountered one pony as small as Toy.  Wyatt, on the hand, is 67 lbs, and he was hoping to ride her from day one.  No one had ever ridden her though.

So, here is our pony about a month later.  This is a lot of brushing later!  We had some families from church over, shortly after we got her.  Then we had one of them over after we had brushed much of her winter coat away.  The Dad thought we had shaved her!  Funny, funny.

I wanted a better picture to show how little Toy looks next to a full size horse.

Poor baby, the flies really like her.  I was trying to get a picture that showed her pretty blue eyes.  I just realized her mane is in a mo-hawk in the front.  I sometimes do that to her when I comb out her mane.

This picture is from last month when my friend and her kids visited.  Wyatt had gotten on Toy a couple of times.  I don't remember if I led her one of the times, or not.  I believe the kids would  have liked to go for a ride on her, but she really wasn't ready yet.  You can see the winter coat is gone and her boy is with her.  She's so pretty when she runs through the field!  Wyatt was, and sometimes is, a bit afraid of her when she runs.  He is learning to stand still and not run behind the cattle gates that close up our pole barn so that she doesn't get into something and hurt herself.

Wyatt and I have done really good lately being consistent about him riding her and me leading her with a rope every night. Toy seemed to be doing really good.  We would say how friendly and playful she is.  And she didn't seem to mind taking Wyatt for a ride.  Lately though, she has been as stubborn as the first couple times that someone tried to lead her with a rider (not me, but someone from church and the guy who clips her hooves... though the hoof clipper guy did better with her).  She definitely has personality and I was calling her a "turkey" (my affectionate term for generally being a stinker).  She was breathing hard and even purposely collapsed two different nights.  At first I thought she was dehydrated and we had worked her too hard.  But when Wyatt got off, she got right up and was ready to go to the barn for Pony Chow (feed, but that's what we've taken to calling it).  Miraculous little actress pony!  The heavy breathing ends, too, when she realizes we're headed for her stall and the Pony Chow.  She'll even break into a trot when we are near the barn!

We had lots of people tell us how tough you have to be with horses (and ponies, because they are basically little horses).  So, we tried to be.  Then, last night I stopped trying to keep Toy's head straight and make her keep walking and let her stop and rub her face against my leg (I knew she should keep her head straight ahead while we were leading her, and I was afraid she might be trying to nip at me (a warning from another friend about horses).  But Toy just nuzzled me.  So, I rubbed her face and neck and talked to her.  Then, she was ready to go again, no heavy breathing, or collapsing, or pitching any sort of mule fit (she would stop and not want to go, and even tried to buck once or twice... thankfully, I am pretty strong and can handle her).  We stopped a couple more times to love on each other.  Then I realized, when we first got her, and no one was riding her (the temperature was not so hot then either), we would go out to the field and visit her, brush her and pet and talk to her multiple times a day.  The horses next door are obviously her friends.  They run together and graze near each other, we have seen them nuzzle her face leaning over the fence.  But we think she is lonely for us. Wyatt and I spent, and now spend, the most time with her.  I am sure she misses the attention.  We are going to do better with just giving her attention.

Some things I learned about horses and ponies:
They only sleep about 4 hours a day.
When they are not sleeping, they are eating... unless you are riding or working them.
Ponies are especially easy to founder (heard that from at least four people, including my Uncle).  Thomas compares foundering to gout in a human.  Ponies get it from eating too much fresh (green) grass and clover.  So, we put Toy in her stall each night, so that she doesn't eat all night and get sick.  Her neck muscles would tighten up and her hooves would get soft and yucky.
They are animals of prey.  That confused me, I was thinking that meant they hunt other things... but for me, I guess it is like some other confusing terminology.  Horses and ponies do not hunt!  They are the hunted.  So, an animal of prey is not one that prey's on others, but one that is prey to others.  Anyway, that means they are scared of things.  You don't want make a snake sound (unless you want her to buck and try to run off), or make sudden movements.  Poor Toy, like many horses (I've heard) is also afraid of the sound of a spray bottle.  Which makes putting on her fly or tick spray a harder job.  I have to wear rubber gloves, and use a rag or sponge.  The first time I put the spray on with a rag, I got the liquid all over the stall... even in her water bucket.  I had to get things away from her so I could clean them off, because the fly spray would have made her sick if she swallowed the liquid.
I learned not to go to the vet for a $12 tetanus shot for a pony.  Tetanus shots for animals are only $6 at Tractor Supply Company!  I know this because our Pony caught the skin above her hoof (and got her hoof stuck) in fencing the first month we had her... which is why we waited to ride her for so long.
Dogs and ponies do not get along the best, but cats and ponies are okay together.  I learned from others that goats are good with ponies, too.  My Grandpa told my Dad, when he was growing up, that cows and horses don't mix well together.  I'm not sure about that one though.  I have seen many fields with cows and horses together.
Hooves on big horses need to be trimmed every three months... little ponies hooves need to be trimmed between three to six months.
If you have horse that nips, you have to break them of nipping.  Otherwise, they can take a chuck out of a person!  Our pony cannot eat an apple unless the apple is cut into pieces.  Her mouth is so small.  I still don't want her to nip though.
We put up electric fence around the garden to keep Toy out.  Wyatt called her with Pony Chow one day, and we didn't have the yellow flags on the electric fence wire yet.  Toy will do most anything for Pony Chow.    She didn't notice the fence and busted right through!  She picked the shortest path to Pony Chow, and she did not slow down.
Shetland ponies can live up to 25 years!
This has been quite a learning experience.  I'm sure there will be more in the days ahead.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Crayon Art

Ellie and I both liked the idea of Crayon Art that we found on Pinterest.  Then Ellie watched some youtube videos of Crayon Art.  After we showed Wyatt, he decided he would do a project, too.

So, here's how you do it:

We started by clearing out our crayon container.  All the broken crayons got pulled out and unwrapped. (We now all need manicures!)  Next we sorted the crayons into color piles. We could have used new crayons and left them wrapped for some of the art ideas, but we wanted to do something different.. and recycle!
These are actually our leftovers.  We do not need any crayons when I buy school supplies for this year.

Most of the tutorials will tell you to use a canvas.  I know that would be the most beautiful, artistic look, but I am cheap.  Ellie said that someone else who didn't want to spend a lot of money used card stock.  I had the idea to use some leftover poster size foam board and cut the foam board into two pieces with a utility knife; worked great!
This is our leftover "canvas".

Next, you use a hot glue gun to glue the crayons to foam board, or canvas, or card stock.
Here is Wyatt, crayons glued and starting to melt them with my hair dryer (which will never be the same!).

Last, you take a hair dryer, or heat gun, to the crayons and melt them until you have the look you are going for. Here are our before and afters:
This is the kind of stuff that I love to do!
I hope that we find the time to do much more like this in the years to come, Lord willing, of our homeschooling.

Mine is "Sun on the Water".

My art loving girl.

Her's is "Daisies in a Field".

My creative boy.

He calls his "Mask".

Tuesday was "Backwards Day" for our Homeschool Spirit Week.  We decided dressing backwards was uncomfortable... and we went all out for Crazy Hair Day.  Backwards talk and meals eat decided we.  Yoda like sounds us made that decided also we.

Ice Cream Date With My Sister

My sister was having a bad week, so I decided to take her out for ice cream.  I thought these pictures were neat because they show how much we all look alike.  There is the edge of my sister's youngest baby's car seat in the picture.  She is the only one of her four girls that we took with us; her three older girls stayed home with their Daddy.  I thought Ellie was going to go to the Car Show with her Dad and brother, but she thought ice cream with her Mom and Aunt sounded like more fun.  Dairy Queen had buy one get one free blizzards!  Yum!
Ellie and my sister at Dairy Queen.

Me and my sister at Dairy Queen.

Crazy Hair Day (School Spirit Week)


Our new church (as of August 2011) started a once a month homeschool get together this year.  For this month, my friend, and the spearhead behind the get togethers, decided to have School Spirit Week.  They had already done Spirit Week as a family, and thought it would be fun to do as a group.  So, last month, we discussed what each day should be.  We kicked off the week as a group with a Pizza Party.

Monday was Crazy Hair Day.

Since Wyatt's most recent, extra short, haircut, he has not been able to do anything to his hair, so he put a piece of duck tape in his hair.  Ellie put a bunch of pony tails on one side of her hair, and I crimped them for her. The other side of her head had a bow barrette and three braids, curled on each end, and held together with a pink pony tailer.  I had three high pony tails, going all different directions, each with a different hot iron... one crimped, one spiraled, and one flat ironed (like a spiral), and then I still had some straight hair in the back.  Thomas had a wig and a headband.  

I got the job of both making and handing out filers for this event, since the Mom who usually does it was out of town on Sunday.  I reminded them of the days we had picked:

Monday:  Crazy Hair Day
Tuesday:  Backwards Day
Wednesday:  Hat Day or Crazy Hat Day
Thursday:  Acts of Kindness and/or Pajama Day
Friday:  School Color Day

I encouraged them to use this week:

"All this, leading up to Friday's School Color Day.  If you don't want to do school colors, you could make it red/white/blue/ (patriotic day).  BUT I would strongly encourage you to use this week to talk to your kids and let them vote and decide on school colors.  If your homeschool doesn't have a name, come up with one... let everyone contribute, discuss what your school stands for... combine names... take a vote.  Another fun thing to do is to have a school verse, school song, mascot (we have a school crest), motto (we don't have one of these, but might by the end of the week!).  Take pride in your Home School.  Help your kids to own their Home School.  It's great fun to have a name for your school!"

I was pretty excited that one family took my advice and already came up with a school mascot... the scrappy chicken, aka Mrs. Whitey.  They even brought her to the party.  My kids decided that our new pony should be our mascot.  So, we are the Shetland Ponys.  I told them that was a good pick, since she will probably still be alive when they graduate and our dog and cat probably won't be.

P.S.- I forgot to add that Ellie and I tried chalking our hair.  Using wet sidewalk chalk and then heating it with the crimper.  The pink chalk worked the best.  Ellie had quite a bit of blue... and it turned out like little old lady hair color.  

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Biscuits and Sausage Gravy

Biscuits and Gravy is one of my favorite meals ever.  I will eat sausage gravy with bread, but my family likes biscuits.  My hubby grew up in Iowa, and didn't know what biscuits and gravy was until he went to a Hardee's in Missouri.

My kids are biscuit snobs now.  I grew up with biscuits out of a package (I'm sure Mom made them from scratch sometime, but I always remember popping open a package).  When I started reading labels, I stopped by package biscuits so often and started making them from scratch. Now my kids only like package biscuits for Monkey Bread and Empty Tomb Biscuits.

The biscuit recipe I like to use is from my Better Homes and Garden's cookbook.  That is the cookbook that I think every new wife needs... it has everything in it.  I bought my sister one when she got married, and I don't think she uses any other cookbook.

The sausage gravy is made just like my grandma or great-grandma probably made it... without a recipe, but I can put the basic instruction on here.

Sausage Gravy

1 lb sausage (our is mild, I believe... we usually get a half or whole hog processed each year from someone we know who raises them.)
Milk (probably 1 to 2 cups)
Flour (1/4 to 1/2 cup)
Pepper to taste... or see (I sprinkle until I can see it all over, even when I stir everything up)

Cook sausage into crumbles until fully cooked.
Our local sausage is usually pretty lean, so I don't have to pour any fat off... you will want just a little bity bit to make the gravy.  If it is swimming in fat (like hamburger is many times), then do drain the fat off.
Next, sprinkle flour over the sausage, start with about 1/4 of a cup, but usually not more than 1/2 a cup.  You can go ahead and stir the flour in with the sausage.  It will kind of coat the sausage like when you bread chicken.  Then add milk to cover the sausage and keep heating on med to high while stirring until thick and bubbly.  While heating the milk and flour, add pepper.  The more the better in my book.  I just keep adding pepper and stirring till it looks like a picture of country gravy.  Move off the burner and serve over biscuits.  

Monday, April 9, 2012


One of my nieces calls it "matchy-matchy" when people dress alike... hence the title for the story of my daughter and my's matching Easter outfits. Ellie had the idea for her Daddy to take a picture of us from the back.  I think it turned out cute.  I like the way you can see our pony tails and the flower I made for them. Also, I thought my hair was lighter than hers, but in this picture it looks like the exact same color.  Lately we have had quite a few people say how much she is looking like me.  I think it's fun to dress alike.  Actually, I still like to dress like my mother.
When we realized how cold it was going to be on Easter/Resurrection Sunday, we decided we would wear our brown leggings under our skirts.  The Saturday  before, I was at work and had the idea to add our cowboy boots and denim jackets to make the outfit warmer.  I had a stonewashed denim jacket, but Ellie didn't have one, and I knew her little brother's jackets were getting too small for him.  I decided to stop by the thrift store on the way home and see what I could find.  There is one less than a block away from my work.  I had about 45 minutes till the store closed when I got there.  The sign on the door said that blue tags were half off.  I spun down the blazer and jacket isles and found two, almost identical, dark denim jackets... with blue tags!!  I got both our jackets for a total of $4.70!  I really felt like God gave me the idea and provided the jackets.  Ellie picked the one that was a little bigger, even though she is smaller than me (though she will grow into it, I'm sure she will out grow me soon).

I got our t-shirts a Walmart.  Mine is from the ladies department, and has a v-neck, nice and high, which is the style of neck I like the best.  Ellie's is from the girls department, and has a high scoop neck, which is the style she likes the best.  The brown on the bottom of the skirt was a note from the author of the Angry Chicken blog on a repin on Pinterest on making a 5 minute skirt.  She has this great tutorial on how to hem with bias tape.  I believe it was real time saver and also added a nice little extra to the skirt.

This is the pattern I used.  I loved that the skirt has hidden pockets on both sides.  Ellie loved that the pattern had pleats. I added length beyond the pattern for my skirt and left the pattern length for Ellie's skirt.  Really, though, I added length to both skirts, because I hemmed with the bias tape, I didn't have to fold under any length of the skirt.  The pattern was only 97 cents!

These are the cute Walmart sandals that Ellie picked out to go with  her original  outfit.  Her Daddy talked her out of the other outfit because it had white leggings underneath it, which you could pretty much see through.  Then I remembered the material I had bought on clearance to make us skirts last year, but things happened... and I didn't get skirts made last year.

I made our flower pony tale holders and these flower pins the same way I did our flower headbands.
The difference was that I used a smaller pattern for the circles.  This time, I used the mouth of a shot glass (I don't drink alcohol, never have, but I have this cute little collection of shot glasses from different trips we've taken.  I like the pictures and how small and inexpensive they are as souvenirs.).  I used a lid of some sort at my friend's house to make the other pattern.

I stitched a safety pin on the back before I added the "petals".

I made us both matching "purses".  When I bought the material on clearance, I also bought the Hobo Tote Kits below for $2 a piece... I think that's actually what I paid for each piece of material, although the tag you can see on the package says five dollars.

I've already told Ellie I want to wear these again for Mother's Day, and hopefully the weather will be warm enough for us to wear our sandals.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Resurrection Sunday 2012

Matthew 28: 5,6 "The angel said to the woman, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here. He has risen, just as he said.  Come and see the place where he lay."

The good news! Jesus Christ conquered death and we have the hope of our own resurrection!  I don't remember if I've said here, but we changed churches in the last year, so we have a different pastor than in my previous "my pastor said" comments.  This Sunday, part of our pastors sermon was why we can believe that Jesus really died on the cross and came back to life in bodily form...and one of those reasons is that his followers risked their lives on a daily basis to tell others about Jesus.  If Jesus resurrection was a hoax, they would not have risked being killed themselves to share about Jesus.

Resurrection Sunday is probably my favorite's close with Christmas though, because if not for Christ's birth, then there would be no Resurrection.

This is our family pic for this year's holiday:

Ellie said I was "too excited" this year.  Well, I was excited because I finally got our matching skirts made (I was going to make them last year).  When I was growing up, my Mom made us matching dresses many years for Easter (Resurrection Sunday) and Christmas, and my little sister, too.  This is the first year that I have made Ellie and I matching anything.  She had picked out sandals to wear, but the day turned out too cold, so we decided to wear leggings... then I got the idea to wear our cowboy boots and jean jackets (which is a whole other story... for another post).

Anyway, I hope you all had a great holiday with your family and friends!

Sunday, April 1, 2012


My hair has grown quite a bit since the last time I got it cute.  Many times when my hair gets long I just put it up in my African Butterfly... or the boring old pony tail.  I decided that this year, I was going to do something with my long hair.  I recently discovered Pinterest and there were so many cute hairdos on there.  I would try some new things.  So, here are some of my new dos.
Pictures don't really do this hair do justice... or maybe I didn't.
It is two braids twisted together like a pretzel and pinned with bobby pins.

This was an outfit experiment inspired by Pinterest.
HERE is the website for the hair style.

I saw THIS cool double braid, but I couldn't manage to make it work with my hair.

I just braided from one ear to the other, across the top of my head, and ended with a regular braid from my other ear on.

This is actually how I wanted to fix my hair at my wedding... and go talked out of it.
It is NOT inspired by Pinterest, but by the movie Ever After.

This is just a small braid on each side, hooked in the back with a pony tailer.
I have done this starting out with a french  braid, too.

This is also NOT from Pinterest.  I had this crazy idea to braid my hair before I curled it.
Crazy, because the result was not much different than just curling it, but doing that took me twice as long as normal to curl my hair!

Here you can see the little braided curls I had to separate after taking out the curlers.
Which made the end job twice long, or more!

The result... curly, fluffy hair.  When I was in high school, I washed, dried, and  curled my hair every night.
I slept in foam rollers, just to have curls at the bottom of my hair, which was about down to my waist.

This style is from Pinterest.  It's called a Boho Braid.
It's two inside-out braids later secured as a pony tail.

I did this one with the inside out braid and with just regular braids...
I can't tell for sure whether this was the inside-out braid or not.

This is funny!  This is my "Breakfast at Tiffany's" inspired hair.
It is Audrey Hepburns hair style at the end of the movie.
I had not seen Breakfast at Tiffany's until this year.
I really wouldn't recommend the movie, but her hair and clothes are really cute.

I love the way she changes her hair and clothes really fast in the movie.
So, the front hair is pulled up and back in one barrette.
Then you separate the hair into two pony  tails.

It's so easy!  And I really like the result.  I can do this with my hair even if it is being non-cooperative.
My hair is often non-cooperative.

This is another good "non-cooperative" day hairstyle.
I got the idea from THIS, off of Pinterest, but I didn't go to so much work to get the look.

This is at the end of the day and my hair is kind of falling out and drooping.
So, it was a medium to high pony tail.
I did the upside down "topsy tail"... not up and down through the middle of the pony tail,
but under and through the middle underneath the pony tail.
Then I added an elastic headband and took the end of my topsy tail
and fluffed some hair up in front of the headband and behind.

This is the 2nd time of three times that I have worn this style.
I found it works really good when my hair is wet, and make it look like I care...
not like I left the house with a mass of wet hair stringing.
The original style can be found HERE, I found this link...  from Pinterest.

The front, just looks like my hair is in a bun.
Actually, my hair is divided in thirds, then the middle braid is left in a pony tail and braided.
The other two are supposed to be pony tailed and braided, but the top elastic for the pony tail is to be removed.
I decided it was easier just to braid it without the top pony tail on the outer two braids...
and worked just as well with wet hair.
Then each braid is twisted into a little bun and secured with bobby pins.
With dry hair, I could use ten bobby pins on each tiny bun and they would still give me trouble,
but with wet hair, I only need three bobby pins on each one... and they stay ALL DAY!!!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Flower Headbands inspired by Pinterest

A friend invited us over and the boys were going to play video games and the girls were going to craft.  We were both wanting to make fabric flowers that we found instructions for on Pinterest.  These are the two I made that night.  You can find the instructions HERE.