Sunday, August 30, 2009

Our New Friends

For those of you who haven't heard, Buddy has a new home. It was a tough decision, but we think it was the right one. After the initial sadness, Kelsi immediately started letting us know that she'd like a new pet...preferably a bird, hamster or hairless rat. Well, we had already been planning on getting her a pet for her birthday, but now would be a good time to get something as well. So we (and we means "I") decided a bird would be a good choice for now. After all, we wouldn't have to buy any supplies =) So, we headed over to Duncan's yesterday and took a look around. I had planned on getting two parakeets (one for me, one for Kelsi) but then we saw these guys:

They are zebra finches and cost almost half the price! So after about 15 min, Kelsi picked out one. It was quite the decision for her. There were only 4 at the store, but three of them (the females) had no feathers on the back of their necks because their brother (the only male) had been picking on them. So Kelsi had to thoroughly examine them to see who had the least amount of feathers pulled out. She of course wouldn't listen to the lady who worked there who told her the feathers would grow back quickly. So, we finally picked out our two, they boxed them up and we brought them home. This is when the fun began.

We got the cage all set up and ready for them, and since they are really small and were in a box, I thought I could kind of "pour" them in. Well, they didn't tell us at the store that their wings weren't clipped. So, out comes the first bird, she landed in the cage and immediately shot out and flew across the room. Fortunately, before we had a chance to react, she flew right back into the cage. Then it was time for the next one. Not so easy. She flew off as well, and we had to spend several minutes chasing her around. And by "we" I mean "I", Daniel just kinda stood aside and laughed. He claims no ownership of the birds, and therefore has no responsibility. Convenient. Oddly, he didn't think to take pictures so he could share the amusement with others. Since we were in the dining room, there was a nice big sliding glass door that the bird kept trying to get out through. So, I finally caught her and got her in the cage. I don't think she's forgiven me.

Naming then was also quite the process. Kelsi was determined that they should both be named after Avatar characters (thanks, Robyn!) but I managed to deter her from that. She got to pick a name, and I got to pick a name. Matthias thought they should both be named "Bird". Yep, he's imaginative.

This one is names Swiftfeather. She got this name because she's the one that we had to chase around to catch! Kelsi picked this name since it's the kind of name they would use in the Warrior books.

This one is Lady Polgara. She is named after a character in one of my favorite book series, a magician who can talk to birds and turn into one as well.

So, those are our new birds. They are pretty fun so far, and they are very active! They also don't "tweet" like you would expect a bird to, they kinda sound like a squeak toy. We like them though =)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ten Things Tuesday

Ten Things on Kelsi's School Supply List (aka: Rant about public schools)

1. Backpack without wheels (Yay! One good thing on the list at least)

2. Dry erase low odor markers - 1 set of 4, Expo (What? Is Kelsi going to be using the white board at school? Nope. Why am I supplying the teacher's dry erase markers? Shouldn't the school be doing that?)

3. Glue stick (They are in 4th grade, can't they upgrade to real glue at this point?)

4. Kleenex-1 box (kids must be using their sleeves these days, when I was a kid it was two boxes)

5. Pencils - 20 #2 sharpened American wooden (So, if I bring pencils made in China will they throw them away? What if they're not sharpened, will they send them home with Kelsi and make her sharpen them?)

6. Pens - 2 red (When I was in school, only teachers could use red pens. Oh, wait...these must be for the teacher too.)

7. Ruler - One metric and standard (You know, every year we send Kelsi to school with a ruler, and she never gets it back at the end of the year. What do they do with them? You'd think they'd have a closet full of them at this point since the kids have to bring a new one every year.)

8. Scissors - 1 pointed Fiskar (See notes on "ruler" above. They must have a closet full of these too. Unless the kids are eating them...maybe that's it.)

9. Erasers - 1 large pink pearl or pencil tops (Apparently not all American, wooden pencils come with erasers on them.)

10. Copy paper - 1 ream of white 8 1/2" x 11" (This is a new one this year. "Hey parents, remember how your child brought home 30 pages of random crap every day last year? Well, we can't afford to do that this year, so instead of cutting back on the Kwanzaa coloring sheets, we've decided to make you guys buy the paper.")

Every year I look at the school supply list and it makes me mad. I am totally fine with buying stuff like know "supplies" that my daughter will actually be using. But dry erase markers and copy paper? Red pens? Shouldn't the school provide that stuff? There was one year where they had paper towels on the list too. I've seen the school district's budget, and most of it goes into salaries. Hardly any is left for curriculum, teaching supplies, or building maintenance. I think teachers should get paid fair wages, but I wonder how much of that is going to the teachers, and how much is going to the principals and others "high up". How is it that the schools can't afford things anymore? We're not paying any less in taxes...if anything, we're paying more. The more students they have, the more money they get, so that's not the issue. And the teachers usually end up paying for most of their own teaching supplies, so it's certainly not going there. Maybe the superintendent needs a salary cut?
I am obviously one of those horrible people who don't think the solution is to give the schools more money. Not that I don't want them to have more money for things like art, music or computers. No, I just think they need to show some financial responsibility first.
Ok, that's the end of my ranting.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

My Dilemma

Back when we had that week of cold/rainy weather, I got the strange ambition to get started on Christmas gifts. Although it also may have just been an excuse to buy new yarn. I am oddly obsessed with buying yarn. Anyway, I got started on an item and got about half way through and realized that it was kinda small. So I tried it on and it was too small on me. So I assume it's probably to small for the intended recipient. So, the question is do I take apart 3-4 hours worth of work and remake it bigger? Or do I finish it and hope I can find someone else to give it to?

Speaking of Christmas gifts, I am currently taking requests =)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Ten Things Thursday

Ten reasons why I have no motivation to do anything today but play around online:

1. I had to clean up poop by 9 am
2. We're going to the park to play today
3. Daniel has the day off tomorrow
4. We're having lunch with family tomorrow
5. We're going to our family reunion this weekend
6. Everyone else has cute little widgets on their blog...therefore I need one
7. The kids are siting so nice and quiet in front of the TV
8. Lord of the Beans teaches them good values...right?
9. The sun woke me up too early today
10. I'm going to be cleaning up poop at least twice more today

Basically, I've already shut down for the week.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Pasta Fun

To continue in my crazy cooking adventures, I decided to make pasta. Yep, pasta. Why you may ask? Because I can eat it that way. I recently learned that if wheat is soaked 12-24 hours before cooking, then it's easier to digest. So people who have a gluten allergy/intolerance (like me) can actually eat it without getting sick! Yay! So far I've made bread and tortillas, so I decided to try pasta. It's really not that hard, and it was kinda like playing with play-dough. Bonus! Of course, I had my faithful sous chef, Matthias, to help me.

He thought it was a lot like playing with play-dough too!

See that chin? He decided he'd try the flour. He didn't like it much.

This was about the time when he was mesmerized by the flash.

Still mesmerized...

Back to work.

Can you guess which one Matthias made? I totally need a pasta attachment for my KitchenAid. Or maybe just one of those play-dough things that you squeeze the dough through into spaghetti "noodles".

I was going to take pictures of the finished product, but Daniel says it looks like someone threw up. Tastes great, but looks freaky. The pasta grew a bit during cooking, but it's the sauce that really did the damage. I decided to make a cheese sauce to go with it. And when you make a cheese sauce using whole wheat flour for thickening, it really doesn't look very nice. In fact it looks like someone threw up. Tasty throw up though.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Shhh....he's sleeping.

Here is Matthias taking a nap:

Here is Zach taking a nap:

Isn't that the cutest thing?

This is how I found them when I went to go check on him. He apparently needed to make sure Zach was comfortable before he could sleep. Awww...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Ten Things Tuesday

Ten Things I've Had to Tell Matthias Recently:

1. No, you may not clean the toilet

2. Do not ride Buddy

3. Do not put grass in your ears

4. Do not put grass in my ears

5. Do not pour cinnamon on the table

6. Do not eat the bread dough

7. vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn (a.k.a. do not touch the keyboard. Pretty good timing, eh?)

8. No, you may not stir the soup

9. We don't wear underwear on our heads

10. Do not throw you underwear

Monday, August 10, 2009

Pride and Prejudice and...

...Zombies. This is the title of my new book. I mean really, what could be better? Take one of my favorite books and throw zombies in the mix. Gotta love it. I just finished reading about the zombie attack during the assembly ball where Darcy proved he's not a real gentleman because he didn't take part in the fighting. This book is hilarious so far. It basically takes the original text and changes or adds things every now and then to add in the zombie aspect, but still leaves much of it intact. After this, I'm totally going to read Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters. Yes, I know I'm a nerd.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Are You Ready... be grossed out?

I mean really grossed out.

If you're not, leave now.

This is not for the faint of heart...

...or stomach.

Or those with heart problems.

Or pregnant, or nursing.

Last chance...

Don't say I didn't warn you. Yep, those are chicken feet. They are supposedly very beneficial when made into a stock. They are supposedly good for arthritis. Personally, I'd be ok without them. I've survived thus far. Daniel however is falling apart. His joints are getting bad again, and he still hasn't been able to walk up the stairs normally since his last arthritic episode. So, we bought chicken feet.

Look at that price! What a steal!

This is about the point when I left the kitchen gagging. Daniel made me come back in. I guess since I made him chop off the claws, I could stand a few minutes in the kitchen with him. He said I obviously don't love him enough since I wouldn't hack up the chicken feet with a dull knife. I said I obviously love him because I didn't run out of the kitchen screaming.

Don't those things look deadly? Good thing I stayed away from them, eh?

Ok, I won't force you to look at any more pictures of chicken feet. I refrained from taking a picture of them in the crock-pot taking a bath with the Cornish Game Hen carcasses. They turned grey and nasty looking after a while in that hot water. Furthermore, I won't make you look at pictures of the chicken feet after they've been cooking for 24 hours. Yep, I'm thoughtful like that.

Friday, August 7, 2009


Swaddle Babies give away hosted by

HotSlings give-away hosted by is giving away a bunch of cloth diapers

Fairy Godmother Tutus give away hosted by

Sweetie Pie Bakery Felt Cake GUEST GIVEAWAY!!!!

Sweetie Pie Bakery Felt Cake GUEST GIVEAWAY!!!!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

"Thrifty" Plans

After my last post, Lani directed me to the USDA's cost of food chart. This was kinda fun =) This is basically a chart that shows the average amount people spend on food based on income (thrifty, low-cost, moderate and liberal). So according to this chart, our family would be spending the following amounts per week..."thrifty" of course:

Daniel: $40.00
Jessy: $35.50
Kelsi: $33.90
Matthias: $22.10

Total: $131.50/ week or $526/month

How much do we really spend? Well, not that much! Our grocery budget is $75/week or $300/month. That is a $56.50/week or $226/month difference. And we want to keep lowering it! Maybe they need to make a "poverty" plan next time.

That was way too much math for this time of night.

Hide N Seek Woodland Frock GIVEAWAY!!!!

Hide N Seek Woodland Frock GIVEAWAY!!!!

The Pod Swaddler Pattern GUEST GIVEAWAY!!!!

The Pod Swaddler Pattern GUEST GIVEAWAY!!!!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Grocery Budget & Meal Planning

We've recently decided to drop our grocery budget down. According to Dave Ramsey, your grocery budget should be about 5-15% of your income. Ours was at 15% so we decided to drop it down to 10%, which is a decent chunk of money. It's been an interesting couple of weeks for me, as I am horrible at meal planning. It's worked out pretty well so far though. Last week we bought a whole chicken and a beef roast. I cooked the chicken in the crock-pot (yay, crock-pots!) and we had some for dinner. The carcass got used for making stock, and the leftover meat got used for chicken salad sandwiches and chicken soup (with the stock I made). Three meals out of one $7 chicken (which by the way was "organic" and "cage free" and all that goodness)! The roast I made in the crock-pot (did I mention I love cooking in the crock-pot?) and we had some for dinner with lots of tasty gravy...yum. The leftovers got used for French dip sandwiches and fajitas. How tasty is that? So we got 6 meals out of two cuts of meat, and I hardly had to do any cooking! Tossed some stuff in the crock-pot a couple of times, but that's about it =)
This week, we've used up some meat that was given to us (thanks for giving us your castaways, Mom and Dad!). We had ribs last night then I made a stock out of the bones which I used today to make a beef stew. I even managed to eat it without thinking of bones! Again, all made in the crock-pot ;) We have lots of leftover rib meat, which I plan on using for some kind of Mexican dish, and lots of stew leftover for Daniel's lunches.
These last couple of weeks have certainly been a good way to learning the benefit of meal planning and how to make foods stretch. One of the best parts about it though, is that we've been doing all our shopping at Pilgrim's. So not only are we spending less on groceries, but we are supporting local business and purchasing organic produce and organic/free range/pastured meats. In case you haven't figured it out by now, I'm rather proud of our progress (thanks for reading my blabbing). Hopefully we can continue to lower our grocery budget!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

David, David, David

I decided to make my first guest post a little soapbox moment about what I've been thinking about lately. I hope you enjoy! If you don't, please don't ignore the poor children on my account.

Those of you that go to RLM know we just finished up the Life of David series called Chosen. which I guess is most of you... :) Entertainly enough about halfway through Kelsi got engrossed in her Bible reading 1 and 2 Samuel - again, the life of David. She stopped just short of the end, so we picked up 2 Samuel during our before bedtime Bible reading. And, struck with the "coincidence" of so much David I figured I'd start reading 1 Samuel during my morning "quiet time" on the bus. So yeah, a whole lot of David!

Anyway, poing being, I'm struck by the culture of Israel in those days. There was so much national pride. When the king or the people fell into sin and God stepped in, godly men were agonized that their people had fallen so far - and the consquences so steep.

I don't feel that way. I look at where our country is and I'm angry. I'm sick of bail-outs, I'm sick of health care reform. I'm tired of watching our government stray further from God's ways. I want to yell and complain.

But lately, I've been reading about David. I've been reminded of the prophets. When was the last time I've wept for my fellow Americans? The victims of the system. Or even the people who are responsible? People who make bad decisions, and chase stuff rather than the God that made them. I don't weep for my neighbor... and I should. After all, I bet our loving God does.

Anyway, that's what I have on my mind today. Thanks for reading. :)