Tuesday, December 27, 2016

No Treadmill Workout for Me Today ...

... Nope, I've been getting plenty of exercise clearing paths in the snow.  We were blessed with a blizzard on Christmas Day that brought in quite a bit of snow.  Some of the drifts in our yard are up to 4ft. deep.  Yesterday morning we found our bucks buried inside their shed under nearly a 10ft. drift.  Their snow buried shed became an igloo for them and it was toasty warm inside!

Mr. B removed snow from our parking area as we had drifts nearly 3ft. high behind all our vehicles ... the snow piles are higher than the beds of the pick-ups.

The snow plow made it down our county road late this morning removing three huge snow drifts between our driveway and the highway.  Two of the drifts were over 6ft. deep and one was more than 13ft. deep!  I know it will be hard for my southern family and friends to believe it but, this storm wasn't even considered a "bad" one.  I always make sure our winter stocks are supplied well before late autumn sets in. The last time a "bad one" hit - the power was out and it was more than 2 weeks before the plows arrived bringing access for power line repairs and an exit route to the highway.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Butter Pecan Cookies

OH MY, OH MY!  I've found a new favorite cookie.  Since I'm a chocoholic, you know these are fabulous if they are my new favorite.

These cookies are embarrassingly easy to make:

1 store bought butter pecan cake mix
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/3 c. vegetable oil
finely chopped pecans

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium bowl combine cake mix, beaten eggs, and vegetable oil.  Use a teaspoon sized scoop to measure out dough.  Roll dough into a ball and roll in chopped pecans.  Place dough balls on a parchment lined cookie sheet 2 inches apart.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.  Cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

Makes 2 dozen

Snowman Cupcakes

I was feeling creative and decided that plain cupcakes would never do for this afternoon's 4-H bake sale.  I decided to make snowman cupcakes.

Here's how I did it:

1.  After baking and frosting the cupcakes I rolled them in flaked coconut. 
2. Cut strips of fruit leather worked great for the scarves.  Dampening the ends of the fruit leather with a tiny drop of water, ever so slightly, is the method used to "glue" the fruit leather together. Wrap the fruit leather around a marshmallow.
3.  Assorted Ju Ju candies serve as the hats and a cut up black licorice Ju Ju works for the eyes.
4.  Attach the "eyes" by firmly pressing them into the marshmallow.
5.  Skewer the "hat, marshmallow and cupcake together with a toothpick.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

How Did You Pay For Christmas This Year?


Only two days ago I read This Short Article regarding household credit card debt in the United States.  I was shocked to find the average at a whopping $16,061 per household.  That's nearly 27.9% of the 2016 median household income of $57,616!  We must keep in mind that amount does not include any other debts such as  mortgage, auto, student loans, etc.  I find this mind-blowing, especially since the cost of living in the United States has increased approximately 30% in the past 15 years, while household incomes fall short with an increase of only 28%.  How does a family cope with that kind of financial stress during an expensive Christmas season?

Anyone who has regularly read my blog knows that I've seen some excessively lean financial times during my life.   With 5 children, we have a larger than average sized family, so it would be very easy to face financial disaster in January if we weren't disciplined with our spending and gift giving during the Christmas season.  That is why, when the children were only babies, we chose to bless each of them with only 3 gifts each Christmas - 1 homemade, 1 book, 1 store bought - a tradition we continue to this day.  During the leanest years we could only afford $5 or less per child for our entire Christmas budget.  How did we do it?

 "CASH ONLY" Christmas

1.  We DO NOT use credit cards, or any other type of loan, for gifts.

2.  Christmas is on Dec. 25th each and every year.  This date never changes, allowing us an entire year to PLAN and SHOP or CREATE for Christmas gift giving.

3.  Homemade / Handmade gifts have included a wide variety of items:  Christmas ornaments, homemade cookies or candies, crocheted hats, scarfs & wool socks, crocheted afghans, Christmas stockings & other Christmas "trimmings",  aprons, shirts, stationary, jams & jellies, qt. jars of Mom's pasta sauce aka "the sauce", zucchini or banana bread and/or muffins, quilts, neckerchiefs aka wild rags, calendars, handkerchiefs, cocoa mix,  ... Many of our homemade / handmade gifts are created with left over scraps or a surplus of pantry items.  I rarely purchase new supplies for "crafting".

4.  A book as a gift.  30 years ago my finances were so lean, I borrowed the Christmas gift books from the local library on Dec. 23rd, wrapped them and made sure the children read the books before their due dates so I would avoid the 5 cents late fine.  Although our household income has improved substantially since that Christmas 30 years ago, last year I hit a gold mine at our local thrift store - 7 "new" books with topics suited for each person,  for less than $8.00.

5.  ONE store bought gift.  When the children were little, I tried very, very hard to get them a toy, game, puzzle, etc..  Unfortunately, some years did dictate underwear and socks.  (My young in's were actually very happy to have underwear or socks that actually fit and didn't have any holes in them, until they went back to school and had to listen to all their mates brag about all the new toys they had received.)  Our store bought gifts have been as small as a matchbox car or a pair of socks to as luxurious as heated towel warmers and heated shaving cream dispensers.  The BUDGET and NEED have always dictated our store bought gift purchases.  During our financially leanest years, I became a master at finding excellent treasures at thrift stores throughout the year, or picking up a nice toy, game or puzzle deeply discounted in the after Christmas sales.  Now days, most of our children are grown, so I've been known to send them gift cards for local activities such as bowling, movies, plays, put-put golf, go carts, arcades, symphonies, ballets, dining out, etc..  "Trip Advisor.com" is a terrific resource for finding local attractions if your loved ones live in another city or state.  This is also a very budget friendly option as one can often purchase gift cards for as little as $5 each.  One year, it was painfully obvious that our children didn't need anything and all their wants were above our budget.  So, we donated a goat to Heifer International in each of our children's names and wrapped a little farm animal goat for each child to open. 

6.  Gifts for extended family, close friends, teachers, pastors, etc..  Now, here is an area that can quickly destroy a gift budget - especially if one is generous by nature.  Homemade / Handmade gifts are generally very budget friendly.  However, my personal favorite budget friendly gift for extended family and friends:  a donation to a loved one's favorite charity in the loved one's name (a donation can cost as little as $1 or be as generous as $1,000,000 or more), the amount donated will always align with ANY budget.

7.  Gift Wrap ... another expense for those who are working with a small budget.  I, of course, save and re-use gift bags.  However, my favorite gift wrap is FREE packing paper.  I iron it, fold it and store it away on my gift wrap shelf.  Depending on my supply, I also pick up ribbon throughout the year from our local thrift shop for about twenty-five cents per roll.  Most of the time very little has been removed from the rolls and often I find it brand new and  inside the original cellophane wrapping. 

8.  Hostess gifts, did we forget about these?  Two of my favorite hostess gifts costs less than seventy-five cents each.  I fill small Christmas themed boxes, containers, or coffee mugs, always found at the thrift store, with hard candies or mixed nuts purchased on sale throughout the year.  I keep a few at the end of my kitchen counter to give to departing guests or to grab as I go out the door when going for a visit to someone's home during the Christmas season.  A lovely homemade gift is an inspiring Christmas prayer handwritten or printed in an elegant font on paper (plain, fancy or embellished) - roll the paper up like a scroll and tie it with ribbon.

I hope some of these tips and techniques that I've used for decades will help inspire you to be creative when looking for ways to stay on budget or reduce your expenses this Christmas season.   And .... If you are one of the few who have already finished your Christmas list, then you are ready to write out next year's list and begin planning a "CASH ONLY" Christmas 2017!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Pies, Pies, Pies ...

Yesterday, I baked a couple pies for today's church social.  I decided that since I was baking pies, I'd go ahead and bake & freeze for Thanksgiving and Christmas. 

I baked 3 pumpkin, a pecan, an apple and a blackberry crumble.  After placing 4 pies in the freezer for Thanksgiving and  Christmas, I began feeling foolish for actually believing that Farmer Boy would stay out of them.  The moment I leave the house ...Teenage boys ... endless appetites.

Have Gun, Will Travel ...

... A hot glue gun, that is.  I so enjoyed creating our autumn wreath , I decided to make some more for the upcoming Christmas season.  A few are for our home (we have 5 exterior doors on our house) and a few are for gifts.


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Election 2016: The Christian's Dilemma ...

Laura Lane,  over at Harvest Lane Cottage, has posted a very sobering letter written by Dutch Sheets to the American Christian church regarding Christian's election choices in our upcoming 2016 Presidential election.  Although the letter is a tad bit lengthy it is most defiantly worth the read. 

I hope you will take a 5 minute break, pour yourself a cup of hot tea and read, "Election 2016: The Christian's Dilemma - A Message From Dutch Sheets About The Election And America's Future ".

My Bible study group is meeting on Friday's and we are taking a specific amount of time to pray for our nation.   I have personally committed to fasting on Fridays for this election and the future of our nation and the Christian church.  Will you consider joining me in prayer and fasting for our nation?

Finally, I pray you will do everything within your power to get out and VOTE on Tuesday, November 8, 2016.  If you know, or suspect, beforehand that you will not be able to VOTE on November 8th, please contact your local county clerk regarding early voting. ( I am proud to report that our Mr.B is unsure of his work schedule the week of Nov. 8th and consequently casted his early vote yesterday.)

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Do You Know Who's Running for President?

I was recently surprised by an individual who sincerely thought there are only two political parties in the United States.  They did not believe me when I shared the following list of 2016 Presidential Candidates and their party affiliation - and my list is not exhaustive.  Yes, with further research I am sure you could find more candidates and / or political parties.

Note:  I have listed the parties in alphabetical order and the individual independent candidates in alphabetical order.  I have not included any Vice Presidential Candidates in this list.

Constitution Party:
Darrell Castle

Constitutionalist Party:
James "JD" Criveau

Democrat Party:
Hillary Clinton

Green Party:
Jill Stein

Libertarian Party:
Gary Johnson

Reform Party:
Ken Cross

Republican Party:
Donald Trump

Trans-humanist Party:
Zoltan Istvan

Veterans Party of America:
Chris Keniston

Independent Candidates:
Ed Baker, Management & Market Research
Michael Bloomberg, Businessman, philanthropist, former mayor of New York City
David Boarman, Software Engineer
Brian Briggs, Music Lover
Paul Chehade, Businessman & Human Rights Activist
Robert Dionisio, Businessman
Art Drew, Veteran & Electrical Servicing Business Owner
David Holcomb, Christian & 2012 Presidential Candidate
John Fitzgeral Johnson, The Real Grandmaster Jay
Lynn Sandra Kahn, Executive Consultant
Bishop Julian Lewis, Jr., Bishop & God Frist Man of Faith
Even McMullin, Former CIA Operative, Businessman, House Chief Policy Director
James C. Mitchell, Jr., Retired Water Treatment Operator
Perry Morcom, Middle-class Working Person
Mark Pendleton, Educator & Man of Faith
Jeremiah Pent, Entrepreneur
Scott Smith, Wall Street Finance Expert & Serial Entrepreneur
Samm Tittle, Citizen, Entrepreneur, Advocate for Equal Treatment for All
Benjamin Weigel, Bus Driver
Terry W. Wheelock, Veteran & Former Gymnast

Friday, October 14, 2016

2016 Election Cycle ... Oath of Office

Article II, Section One, Clause 8 of the United States Constitution states,  "Before he enter on the Execution of this Office, he shall take the following oath or affirmation:

"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

The United States citizen is blessed beyond measure to live in the nation that has the most superior constitution for protecting it's citizens from governing tyranny in all of the world's history.

Without an intact U.S. Constitution, ALL will eventually see the limits on our government erode and the basic rights of our citizens removed.  When casting a vote for the office of President of the United States, it is our duty to set our emotions aside and sober mindedly cast a vote for whom we believe will best PRESERVE, PROTECT AND DEFEND the Constitution of the United States.  In these United States, the United States Constitution is, and has always been, the only thing that stands between the common citizen and governing tyranny.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

2016 Election Cycle ...

... Yes, I'm going there ...

It may be hard for some to believe, but when I was young, I was a very beautiful girl.  I say girl, but in all reality I was a young twenty something woman.  My physical beauty opened a door that allowed me a glimpse into a world of wealth, power and fame that average citizens never see.  For nearly three years in my early twenties, I worked as a waitress for a high end, somewhat exclusive, establishment.  In my role as a waitress, I frequently served actors/actresses, professional athletes, musicians, politicians, and multi-millionaires.  My employer required the staff to sign confidentially agreements and we were never to appear "star struck" in the presence of any guest or while on company property.

The sad reality of this demographic is that many, not all, but many, are not the same people their adoring fans, their press agents, or the propaganda filled media would have all of us to believe they are.  They are very wealthy, very powerful and genuinely believe they are above "regular" folks like me.  They do anything they want to do, whenever they want to do it.  They indulge in anything they want to indulge in.  They buy anything they want to buy - including people.  They lie and embellish without anyone questioning their inaccuracies.  They have press agents to cover up their faults and security to intervene if, or when, their behavior gets out of line.  They are surrounded by entourages of people who never tell them "No".   Poor manners and rude behaviors are, most often, overlooked because of their fame, fortune and/or power.  All too often, it is mutually understood that the very large financial tips bestowed upon their "servants" is, in all reality, "hush" money. 

Because of my personal past experiences with many famous, wealthy, and powerful individuals I am not shocked or surprised by the negative media reports produced about Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump.  Based upon my personal experiences, these types of behaviors reported by the media are, unfortunately, "normal", within this particular demographic.  At the same time, I am not impressed by any positive media reports of either Presidential candidate.  I, personally, do not believe either candidate is a worthy representation of the United States citizen.

Since I do not find either candidate to be a worthy representation, and the third party candidates do not have any sort of chance in being elected, how will I ever choose for whom I shall cast my vote?  I am all to familiar with the negative behaviors of wealthy, famous and powerful people, thus, I will not allow the media's propaganda of either candidate's appalling character, regardless of what sort of "proof" they have, to influence my decision.  All this propaganda is a ploy to get the U.S. citizen to cast a vote based upon an emotional reaction; not a carefully measured and thought out decision.

I will not allow the media to emotionally manipulate me into voting for, or against, any specific candidate.  I shall only cast a vote based upon specific issues facing our nation.  Issues such as Supreme Court Justice nominees, protection of our Bill of Rights, the economy, tax burdens, our health care system, child care and education, job availability, the national rise in poverty, safety and security of U.S. citizens, etc.  The only criteria I can base my vote upon is the platform which most closely aligns with my personal convictions.  To cast a vote for any governing representative based upon emotion is, in my opinion, very foolish.  (By the way, voting for any governing representative based upon their age, race, gender, religion, etc. is an act of bigotry and the simplest form of emotional manipulation.)

I hope others will follow my lead and stay focused on specific issues during this election cycle.  I hope they will not allow the candidates and our propaganda filled media to emotionally sway them one way or the other.  As a nation, we must sort the propaganda from the issues and  return to making decisions based upon logic, not feelings.

DISCLAIMER: 1.)  I have never met, nor served, any of the 2016 presidential candidates.  2.) There are some wealthy, powerful and famous people who are very humble, kind and polite.  As a matter of fact, one of the most kind and polite customers I have EVER served, regardless of life station,  happened to be a very famous professional athlete.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Victoria Woodhull ...

... was the first female candidate to run for President of the United States.  Ms. Woodhull was the nominee of the Equal Rights Party in 1872. 

What was the political platform of the Equal Rights Party in 1872?  Do you agree with the Equal Rights Party of 1872's platform?  Why do you agree or disagree?  What type of societal mores do you think contributed to the voter's acceptance or rejection of the Equal Rights Party of 1872's platform?

Who were the other presidential candidates in 1872, and which political parties did they represent?

Who won the presidential election of 1872?  The election of 1872 was filled with scandal and strife.  Please explain some of that scandal and strife.

If you were a voting citizen in 1872, who do you think you would have cast your presidential vote for and why?

We've been home educating our children since 2002.  Often folks ask, "How do you do that?"  The past three posts and today's post is a very small example of how home education often works. My questions in the last three posts just happen to be about U.S. election history.  But, the questions can be about anything - current events , both domestic and abroad, language arts, science, short term goals and long range dreams, ...  I personally think that once you've garnished a student's interest in a topic, asking the student "why they agree or disagree", "what caused a certain outcome",  "how something works", etc., is, not only important, but one of the easiest methods of developing critical thinking, reasoning and analytical skills.  These sorts of questions require a student to think about, process and communicate various facts to support his /  her conclusions which is vital to learning critical thinking, reasoning and analytical skills.

We've used a plethora of home school curriculum but I must confess three of my favorites are Progeny Press literature curriculum for grades 4-12,  Bob Jones University Press history curriculums for grades 9-12 and Apologia Sciences grades elementary through high school.  These curriculums consistently ask the "How?', "Why?" and "What do you think?" questions that I think are vital to developing critical thinking, reasoning and analytical skills.

Regardless of a family's educational choices, I believe  it is important for all families to regularly engage their children with "Why?" and "How?" questions.  In doing so, our children will develop strong critical thinking, reasoning and analytical skills that will ultimately assist them in becoming successful and productive adults.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Grover Cleveland ...

... was the candidate who was elected to the office of President of the United States in 1884.  He was the first Democrat elected to the presidency since the election of 1856.

Now, again without consulting historical references; since we currently have a female presidential candidate, can anyone tell me who the first female presidential candidate was, the year she ran for office and which party she was affiliated with?

Monday, September 19, 2016


noun; a Republican, who in the presidential election of 1884, refused to support the Republican candidate, James G. Blaine; hence, a person who is not committed to any side, especially in politics.

Now, without consulting reference materials, can anyone tell who won the presidential election of 1884 and which political party was he affiliated with?

Friday, September 16, 2016

A What?

We are only 53 days out from the 2016 Presidential Election.  Without consulting a dictionary, can anyone tell me what a MUGWUMP is?

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Sometimes ...

... I wake up at 3:30 or 4:00 in the morning with an overwhelming urge to bake.  Fortunately, the zucchini bread turned out much better than my photography.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Sometimes ...

... I just absolutely must stop whatever I am doing, or needing to do, and create.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Best Birthday Gift - Ever !!!

Musician and his lovely Bride's gift outshined all the others this year ...


Wednesday, September 7, 2016

An Addition to the Dining Table Decor

When writing about meal planning, grocery budgets or posting recipes, I've often included my opinion regarding the importance of regular family meal times.  I've also mentioned that numerous studies on family health and relationships tout the positive benefits of consistent family meal times. 

However, there is an ugly truth regarding my own family's meal times.  Although we regularly and consistently eat together around our dining table, often times 3 meals per day, embarrassingly,  our conversations are lacking, at best.  The awful reality is that sometimes our entire family eats in silence except for the occasional, "please pass ________", or, most awful, "Thank you, that was good", before one excuses themselves while others are still eating!  On the occasions when conversation is present at meal time, it is often an overview of our family's "to do" lists or a lecture of correction given by dad.  These topics do not evoke a pleasurable environment.  And, to have family members hurriedly gobbling up their food and quickly exiting the dining table while others are still eating is a horrendous breach of etiquette - at least where I come from.

Instead of espousing the reasons and pointing fingers at others who, from my own perspective, have set a very poor example of this negative meal time environment; I am choosing to take some steps in an attempt to change this and bring pleasant, encouraging, thought provoking, interesting and inquisitive conversation to our family dining table.   Which brings the focus to the new addition in our dining table décor.

Although I'd like my home's décor to be creative, warm and inviting, it usually turns out being more clean and functional.  Our daily dining table centerpiece is a simple stainless steel lazy Susan that holds the salt & pepper mills, a bottle of hot sauce and a small container of toothpicks.  Today, I added a pint sized, decorated mason jar filled with strips of paper.  The paper strips contain various conversation starters, such as, "What was the best part of your day?", "If you had the attention of the entire world for 30 seconds, what would you say?" or "What do you think you could have done better today?".  These are only a very small sampling of the many conversation starters I found scattered across the internet today.

With Mr.B out of town and the littles at church activities and rodeo practice, I will be alone this evening but I look forward to each of my family members taking turns drawing a conversation topic from the jar.  I hope the conversations will be funny, interesting, encouraging.  Most of all, I hope those who rush through their meal in an effort to return to the television or other vices, will linger for a short while and enjoy some time with their family.

Does your family eat meals together on a consistent basis?  Have you ever used conversation starters?  If so, how did they work out for your family?  I would love for you to share your experiences in the comments section.  I could really use all the help I can get.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Hello ...

... although I'm still on my blogging "break", I wanted to take a few moments to check in.  Our summer has been ridiculously busy, but also fun and exciting.  The Littles have been going to a few local rodeos and barrel races, I've been trying to tend my garden which is only 1/2 the size as usual and I've had to make a quick 680 mile (one-way) trip out to my dad's, but I will share about all that in a later post.

Today, I have a few photos from when the Bigs were out for a visit in July.  We undertook a huge project while they were visiting.  I must tell you, I am one of the most fortunate mothers in the world.  My boys always bring work boots and work clothes when they visit and are always eager to help out around the house and farm.  We are truly blessed and honored to have these wonderful youngin's as our children.

Although our project took up more time than I anticipated, we still found an afternoon to enjoy Montana's Makoshika Park.  I am having trouble with internet connection and Blogger today thus, my photos are out of order.  But I hope you can decipher the intended order and enjoy them ...

This view is about 1/2 way down the canyon

This view is from the top looking across and down into the canyon

 The sandstone formations at the bottom of the canyon are amazing.

The natural rock bridge is always a fun and spectacular sight to see and walk across.

My Girls:   Miss N, Songbird and Musician's Bride

Two of the big boys, the Middle Child and Musician, working on our house project with Grandpa attempting to "photo bomb" the photo.

View 1 of our finished project - a new dining room.  This room used house our washer & dryer, refrigerator & freezer and 10 cabinets.  The washer/dryer and some of the cabinetry has been moved into the mud room and the fridge/freezer and remaining cabinetry moved into the kitchen.

View 2 of our new dining room.  We kept 4 of the ten cabinets and they will now serve as a coffee & tea bar and dessert buffet during family gatherings.  Granny's china hutch fits perfectly between them.

Our eat-in kitchen is no longer an "eat-in".  I now have SOOOO much room and my refrigerator / freezer unit and pantry are now located in a perfect working triangle in the kitchen.  The new dining area is much more spacious and being moved to the end of the kitchen is the perfect location for serving formal or buffet style meals.

Here's a 2nd view of the kitchen.  Our dining area and Granny's china hutch used to be located where the fridge/freezer and flanking pantry cabinets are now located.  Can you imagine squeezing 10 people around a table in that small space?   I love having a working triangle vs. the old "runway" in my kitchen.  Also, have I mentioned how much more spacious our new dining area is?

I have wanted to rearrange this kitchen since the day we first viewed this house.  Words can not express my gratitude to my family for all their hard work in making my vision for this kitchen a reality.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

I Suppose By Now ...

... you've surmised that I'm currently in the midst of a blogging break.  Mind you, it is not a break that I've planned, but one of necessity.  My "to do" list is simply too long.  I hope to be back soon and I pray you and yours are enjoying a most blessed and memorable summer!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

In Addition to Rodeo & Baseball ...

... we recently enjoyed a wonderful visit with extended family. I had not seen one of my aunts and cousin in 25 years.  I can not express how blessed we all were to have them visit.  I've prayed for restoration in my family for more than a decade and I am confident our Lord is working that out.

I am so glad we have finished kidding.  It was a tough season for us.  We lost 5 babies, one doe, 3 of our does had miscarriages, and we had to pull one kid that was stillborn.  I am glad it is over.  We ended up with two bottle kids, Tuffy and Cotton.  Tuffy, the little black kid was a preemie and could not push up on his front legs for more than two weeks after birth.  Cotton, the little blonde kid was born to a doe who was having some health issues and was not producing any milk.

As you can see from the photo, both Tuffy and Cotton are now doing well.  They follow me around and were a big hit with younger children at the rodeos.  Yes, I had to take these two with us because I am still bottle feeding them every 6 hours.

We have 5 kittens (baby bunnies).  Three are gray, one is black and one is white with gray spots.  I've sold three of them to a 4-Her and they are ready to go to their new home this week.  I am excited to see how they will place at this year's county fair.

It appears all the goings on have made Farmer Boy as tired as I am. Yesterday I caught Farmer Boy "walking" his 4-H lamb, Chuckles - hee! hee!  I had a good laugh when I saw this and I hope it brings some laughter to your day as well.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Mom's Brag Book

The high school graduation announcements have been arriving in the mail.  We are excited and proud of all the 2016 graduates.

The B house doesn't have any graduates this year, but we are just as proud of our youngin's.  I mentioned in an earlier post that baseball and spring rodeo season had begun.  I've remembered to take my camera to some of the recent outings and here's a few photos of Songbird and Farmer Boy.

Although not the fastest in the arena, Songbird continues to enjoy barrel racing.  In each competition, her times improve by a few hundredth seconds.  Consistent improvement paves the way to the winner's circle.

This spring Songbird decided eliminate pole bending and add girls goat tying to her rodeo competitions.

She will be practicing with our goats in our pasture throughout the summer and hopes to give the current winner's circle leader a run for her money next fall.

Since her tenure as a Montana 4-H State Ambassador will come to an end in July, Songbird decided to serve as District 1's 2016-2017 High School Rodeo Event Director for pole bending and goat tying. Service is a cornerstone of 4-H and it pleases me to see that Songbird is carrying those service values into other areas of her life.

My favorite season, baseball season, is in full swing and Farmer Boy continues to be an excellent athlete.

This season his coach decided to play Farmer Boy at home plate.  He is always very engaged in the game and loves the catcher's position.  He's one of the best in the league.

Last week he hit the ball out of the park!  Not only did he score a home run but also gave his team 2 RBI's.

As he took his jog around the bases his big smile says it all.

This spring rodeo season found Farmer Boy participating in Jr. Boys' flag racing, break-away roping and goat tying.

After a few weeks of over shooting the 1st barrel on Songbird's Quatro in the flag race, Farmer Boy seems to have finally got the timing down and had a perfect run in Forsyth last week.

Although Farmer Boy missed this calf, I got a terrific photo!  Upon review of this photograph, Farmer Boy recognized that he need to drop 1-2 more coils off his rope for this throw.

I couldn't resist the above photo.  If Farmer Boy had not tripped during his dismount, he would have taken 1st in goat tying last week.  But we are still proud as he won 2nd, even with a face plant in the mud.

Three weeks ago Farmer Boy not only won the goat tying event in Jordan, MT, but also set an arena record for his age group on Saturday and then broke his own record on Sunday.   His prize was this lovely set of spurs.  Last week in Forsyth, MT, he won 2nd in goat tying and took home a paycheck covering 1/2 his entry fees.

Well, that's all for this brag session.  What have all your youngin's been up to?  I'd love to hear about it.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Winter Project(s) ... Completed

Each winter I have high hopes of getting all sorts of indoor projects done.  You know, things like quilts, numerous homemade Christmas gifts, remodeling projects, the list goes on and on.

This past winter wasn't any different.  I started a cowboy quilt for Farmer Boy and I began helping Songbird with a nine patch quilt for a 4-H project; neither of which is completed ... yet.  However, in addition to completing a few homemade Christmas gifts, and my sewing alcove and closet, I wanted to update our basement "den".  I am happy to report that, aside from hanging some artwork on the walls, I did get it finished.

Here's the before and after:

BEFORE:  We had a daybed and a full size bed in the basement den. I tried using bolsters and throw pillows to make for comfortable "sofa" type seating, but they remained very uncomfortable when sitting on them. Also, they never looked very nice as the covers, pillows and such were always a mess, especially after the kiddos finished watching a movie or playing a board game.

BEFORE:  In addition to watching movies, this room is often used as a "play room" for little visitors. The cupboards store our camping supplies, a few boxes of keepsakes, window fans and non-electric heaters. More than 4 years ago Grandpa and Mr.B told me they would convert the plywood panels that are leaning against the cupboards into doors. This winter, I found myself still waiting.

AFTER:  I donated the daybed and full sized bed to a family in need and replaced them with a sleeper sofa. With a sleeper sofa, we can still use this room for extra guests if all the upstairs beds are taken. I changed the window coverings, added a prettier throw rug and "purged" many of the toys, books and movies. The storage ottoman keeps bedding for the sleeper sofa convenient and out of sight. Unfortunately, Mr.B's unsightly treadmill still takes up a lot of space in this room. But it is frequently used during the winter months and I certainly do not want it in my living room or bedroom.

AFTER:  The plywood panels are gone and have been replaced with fabric panels. The draping fabric panels look so much nicer than plywood leaning against the cupboards. Also, since we no longer have to move a 4 ft. by 4 ft. sheet of plywood our storage is easier to access.

What sort of projects did you work on this winter?

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Yes, We're Still Around ...

Since my last post, spring has sprung on the Montana prairie.  Recent rains have brought forth green grass, budding trees and mud.  Spring on the Montana prairie is often referred to as "mud season". Twice daily we slosh feed buckets in mud and muck and my entry and mud room are a constant mess.  Although our temperatures have warmed up, it is too muddy to begin gardening ... but I'm confident it will begin soon.

As we've waited for spring and warmer temperatures to arrive we have kept ourselves busy with the following:


Several weeks ago a dear friend of mine, Mrs.P, phoned to inform me that she was in Butte, MT, helping her family with a project.  After talking with Mr.B, we decided that I had to make a quick trip to Butte because it had been nearly 5 years since Mrs.P and I had had a face to face visit and we weren't certain when another opportunity might arise.

One of the many things Mrs.P and I have in common is genuine enjoyment of history and historical architecture.  Butte, MT is rich in both.  We had a fabulous time on our walking tour of Montana's Copper City.

Did you know the entire city of Butte, MT is on the national historic register?  More than a billion dollars worth of copper was hauled out of the mines between the late 1800's and the 1940's.  The grand turn of the century architecture stands as a historical monument to the great wealth that this city once held.

Many of the doors, window casings, roof shingles, etc. are molded out of copper.  The craftsmanship and attention to detail is stunning.  It is a rare find to encounter a craftsman of this caliber in today's culture.

Even the interior of the hotels, bank buildings, markets,etc. is laden with exquisite detail and glamour.

Mrs.P and her lovely mom.
It was truly a blessing to have an opportunity to catch up with my dear friend.  Enjoying a little bit of Butte's history together is a memory I will treasure.


Songbird and Farmer Boy joined our church youth in Great Falls, MT, at the district Fine Arts Festival.  Songbird sang a solo and a duet.  
Pastor's son & Songbird
Songbird's voice has matured and her control, pitch and range has developed beautifully.  I am amazed that my baby girl has such a beautiful voice.

Songbird on guitar, Pastor's son on kahone & Farmer Boy on harmonica
Farmer Boy and Songbird joined our pastor's son in an instrumental ensemble.  They ministered a self arranged bluegrass rendition of "Come Thou Fount".  They had everyone tapping their toes and introduced a classic hymn to today's younger generation.

Our entire church community is exceptionally proud of our youth and their desire to use their talents to minister to the church body.


Spring rodeo season has begun.

Farmer Boy - goat tying
I think Farmer Boy considers this to be his "lucky" shirt.  It seems that most rodeo photos I have of him, he is wearing this same plaid shirt.

Farmer Boy overshooting his bucket in the flag race.
Farmer Boy's mare, Blondie, is out for breeding.  So he and Songbird are "sharing" her gelding, Quatro. Quatro is performing well in barrel races, pole bending, flag race and goat tying.  He's turned out to be a good investment for the littles.


Prom season arrived and our pastor's son invited Songbird to our local high school prom.  Since her "boyfriend's" high school prom (in another town)  was held on a weekend that conflicted with Songbird's 4-H state officer duties, she was not available to attend his prom.  But the timing was perfect for her to enjoy an evening of fancy glamour at our local high school's prom.

Songbird and Pastor's Son
Songbird may be a tough farm girl that works like a man and plays like a boy ... but, she's still a girl at heart and enjoys getting dressed "to the nine's" and being pampered and treated like a lady.


Baseball season has also arrived.  I was hesitant about allowing Farmer Boy to play ball this season because it can conflict with the rodeo schedule.  However, Mr.B thought we could do one more year on the diamond.

Being home schooled in Montana shuts the littles out of many sports opportunities.  Little league, rodeo, and 4-H are open to all youth regardless of a student's educational choices.

The next several weeks will find us in high gear as we juggle all the littles activities, gardening season, and kidding season.  I hope your spring is off to a great beginning and the Lord is blessing you and yours in all your adventures.