Wednesday, September 8, 2010

WTH? Wednesday

Okay, so this is new to me but after what I just experienced I felt the need. First, let me say, I didn't go out looking for something to bitch about, it just kinda happened.
The kids and I decided that a trip to the farmer's market would do us some good, so off we went. First stop, the new ice cream stand. Everything was going great, the girls were being good eating their ice cream, Baby Boy was crawling around the table. All's well. Then I go to throw their cups away...
There in the trash can is about 6 pounds of peaches, looking and smelling oh so great (I'm not being sarcastic, these were absolutely ready for eating!). So, I asked the girl working what was wrong with them that they would throw them away. She told me they had bruises or small nicks in them and the nats were on them. Fine, I guess. Throw them away. If she had offered them to me, I'd have brought them home. I almost dug them out of the trash. There wasn't anything around them, in fact I think the only other things in there were boxes. But alas, I paid for my peaches. Didn't seem like the right day to introduce the kids to dumpster diving...maybe when they get older.
So, this incident lead me to my next stop, a local food bank at the farmer's market. Why, I wondered as I carried my box inside, did they not just bring the "bad" peaches over here and let them give them to people who couldn't care less about a little bruise on the peach. Then I got my answer.
I walked up the steps into the warehouse, where about a dozen people were mingling about, not really doing anything, just talking amongst themselves. As I stood there, holding my large-enough-to-be-awkwardly-heavy box, I waited for someone to come take it from me, or at least tell me where to put it. Well, nobody could be bothered to stop their conversation long enough to help me. I actually ended up walking away from one of the workers, who was too busy talking to even notice me standing there. So, to the office I went, still carrying my box. In the office was a woman who had been standing with the first woman when I walked in. She had walked away too, without finding out what I needed. Nobody came out of the office. Finally, I just raised my voice enough to ask through the glass where they wanted the box. Then a lady came out and told me to just set it down. She was kind enough to ask if I wanted my box back, or if I'd like a receipt. No thanks, my kids just might melt in the car if I have to stand here any longer. WTH??

Have you had any WTheck moments today? Feel free to leave a comment letting me know what makes you gripe. Also be sure to check out another pertinent post for today, at MomFiles.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Kid Friendly Veggie Dish - Tomato & Potato Bake

This is my spin on a dish served at so many family get together's growing up that I had sworn to myself to never eat it again. But, when you really don't feel like cooking, a simple all veggie dish is quick, easy to prep, and easy to clean up.

So, all I did was add some spice and color to the tradition dish (at least in my family) of Potatoes, Mushrooms, and Onions. It is super easy to make, and you can feed a lot of people without a lot of input, either physically or monetarily.

My version goes like this:

4 medium all purpose yellow potatoes (any kind will do), diced to bite sized pieces
1 large beefsteak tomato (any variety with good flavor), diced
1 large vidalia onion, rough chopped
1 large handful baby bella mushrooms, rough chopped
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
olive oil

Very simple. Once everything is diced, throw it in a casserole dish. Top with about a tablespoon of olive oil and a couple pats of butter, salt, pepper, little bit of natural sugar/molasses (whatever you have), and any spices you would like. You could try fennel, or rosemary. Personally, I did not add a whole lot of extra spice to this dish. It is so simple and so good by itself.

Toss everything together again and place in a 350F oven. Once the potatoes get a good crisp top to them, cover the pan with foil and finish baking until everything is tender.

I served this topped with shredded Parmesan cheese. The kids just gobbled it up. Even my dear hubby didn't complain about a vegetarian dinner. Must have been filling. :)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Garden Glam

 I got to spend a lovely few hours recently out in town by myself. Usually I have all three kids in tow, so this was especially wonderful. Listening to nothing but quiet, and a few passing radios.

I ended up stopping at one of my favorite places. A small, inconspicuous shop on a corner of a busy road in Florence. You can not walk in this place without brushing up against something green and usually good smelling. I am talking about Savanna's Garden Treasure, on Irby Street.

 I love going into Savanna's. If I've been lacking in the creativity department, a trip to see Carolyn and all her wonderful creations always gives me a boost. Not to mention all the lovely plants.

The craziest thing I saw on this last trip wasn't something I would usually be excited about. I had been there walking around for a few minutes, and hadn't really paid much attention to this massive grouping of plants to the left of the main walkway. As I made my second circle around the front, I happened to notice a very round, very buzzy bee flying by. I watched him, and realized he wasn't the only ones keeping us company.

The mountain mint plants Carolyn is growing are pollinator magnets! I have never seen anything like that, and all the bugs were just as docile as a puppy. Not one was paying me, or my camera any attention. And I had brushed against these plants a few times.

Needless to say, I took a small specimen of the mountain mint home with me on this trip.  I love home grown veggies. And if my pollinators love a plant, I by default also love that plant.

So if your garden is in need of some love, either human, insect, or art, stop by and see Carolyn at Savanna's Garden treasure on Irby St. She will surely have something to make your garden smile.

You can also check out Savanna's Garden Treasure's Facebook page and Carolyn's etsy shop for more great information and local treasures.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Yes, I'm Still Here

Wow, it's been forever since I posted anything. It has been one crazy thing after another here recently, but we are starting to get back to normal. DH got a new tank in the Jeep, so it's back on the road. The brakes finally died in my brother's car, so I'm now riding on new brakes (I know everybody's happy about that one).

Our new sweet little puppy has become a bigger destructive force than our three kids all rolled into one. I had a pair of flip flops for less than 24 hours thanks to her. Luckily, they were free. (Thank you CVS ExtraCare Bucks!!)

Little man celebrated his first birthday! Congrats to him! We're so proud! He's saying a little more and acting like he wants to walk...but he would sure rather be carried at this point.=)

We're trying to reorganize the house and get on some kind of schedule before our oldest starts school in the fall. But for some reason, our usually slow lazy summer never showed up and instead we got this crazy whirlwind adolescent acting summer in its place. Oh well, there's always next year.

Hope you all are enjoying your summer. I know I am. My favorite surprise from this summer? Apparently my dad, best bar-b-quer in the state, has become a wine maker too. Two thumbs up from the peanut gallery!! :) (:

What has been your favorite part of Summer 2010?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Kitchen Confidential (confidentially, its a mess!)

One thing nobody ever bothers to mention (at least, they didn't to me) is how messy kids can be. Maybe I'm in the minority here, because I never hear people talk about it. Well here it is, in all its glory. Kids Are Messy! They will color on your walls (freshly painted), eat the cake out of the fridge (the one for the dinner party) while in their nicest clothes, they will find the deepest squishiest mud puddle and go play in it (while loading up, and running late, for a birthday party).

They will dump that basket of clean clothes on to the floor with all the puppy hair (again), they will unload your washing machine when you aren't looking (there was a lady bug in there!), they will scavenge all the candy you stockpiled for Halloween (in less than a week), eat all the Ben & Jerry's in the house (before you  get out of bed and make breakfast).

Yep, kids are messy. You might as well wrap your kitchen in plastic, and put those covers on your furniture (we don't have them, but we bought/buy all our furniture used...this is why). If you have anything nice that you like, pack it up. Don't put it up high, it will get knocked down. Don't put it in your room, they will play in there while you think they're sleeping. I know, lots of people are going to disagree with me. Well, you never met my kids. They are just like their momma, they are constantly questioning, always curious, and furious little plunderers. Worse than a raccoon when it comes to shiny stuff.

Hope you enjoyed this. Pass it on to any new parents you may know. They really deserve the kindness of being clued in. As for me, I'm off to scrub my kitchen chairs, again. Have a great day.

For more information on cleaning, and kids, check out the links below.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Crown Royal Facebook Contest and Prize Giveaway

If you like Crown Royal, or know someone who does, then head on over to their facebook page. You will have to allow the application to access your information and sign up for their "society" with an email address. It's easy and it doesn't take long. This week's prize is a SNUGGY made entirely from Crown Royal Bags. Pretty Neat!! They are doing one giveaway a week, not sure for how long. Next weeks prize is a Crown Royal Duffle Bag. Only one entry per person. 
Also going on right now with Crown Royal is the book they are putting together. You can submit pictures/ideas of things you have done, made, want to do or make with crown royal bags. Other fans of the site have the option to vote. Winners will get published in the book. There may be other prizes, but I didn't see anything listed. I will keep you posted. 
So, once again, head over and become a fan of Crown Royal on Facebook and enter to win lots of neat and unique prizes. Also, check out the awesome stuff others have made.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I Love Free Stuff!

First, I have to give credit where credit is due. I wouldn't have gotten these freebies without Shelley's Swag wonderful posts I Love My Mailman.  (Sorry Shelley, I couldn't get that cute little heart to show up ;)

So, here's my take for this week. 

1 Full Day Sample of Parents Choice Infant Formula (walmart sample)
1 small Pedometer and Coupons from Nature's Bounty
1 Huggies Booklet with Coupons and Info (sign up @
1 3pack of John Frieda Root Awakenings Collection and Coupon
1 Dove for Men+care Body & Face Wash 1.8 fl.oz (walmart sample)
1 2pack of eb5 creams (facial creme and eye cream)
1 Eucerin Lotion pack and Coupon
1 Reusable Grocery Bag and Coupons from Earthbound Farms
1 2pack Prevacid OTC (not pictured, hubby already took them)

So you see, you can get something out of all that time on the computer. :) Even if you can't use something, order it and donate it to a local charity of your choice. That way someone who does need it can get it. And if you get in early enough on the good ones, you can get some freebies that are gift-worthy, thereby saving you some cash, which is a good thing in any economy.

Hope you enjoyed this. 
And be sure to check out Shelley's Swag for her list of latest freebies (with links!)
Look for the "Freebies In My Mail" link a little ways down on the left side of the page.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Mingle Monday - Happy Memorial Day!!

Hello again. Just wanted to let everyone know that I am taking part in Mingle Monday, proudly brought to us today by (can you tell I watch a lot of Sesame Street?) Our Homeschool Home.
Thanks for checking out my page. Click the banner above to see who else is participating this week. You never know, there might be blogger just around your corner (or peeking in your window...we have to get our dirt somehow. just kidding!) 
Hope to see you on the next go 'round. And if you enjoy my blog, use the link at the right to share it with your friends, either through Facebook or Twitter.Thanks for stopping by! 



New Site Design & Button!

I'm so excited! Finally got a new site design I truly like. Took long enough (I can be picky, but who isn't). I have a few thank you's to dish out, since I couldn't have done this without help. Okay, maybe I could have, but it was so much easier just asking (and searching).
So, my thank you's go out to the following: Shelley, from Shelley's Swag, who recommended the site I used to find my template (yes, it's a freebie), Jill, from Sneaky Momma Blog Design, who has some excellent how to pages up for bloggers, both beginning and advanced. Another thank you goes out to Karen. Karen, I cannot remember the name of your site right now, but I will get a link up as soon as I do (sorry for the inconvenience). Karen's site was the source for my button image.
So, if you have a blog, please grab my button and if I don't have yours already, let me know and I'll get it up.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Pur Minerals Giveaway! by Allison from You Have HOW Many Kids?

If you like mineral make-up, then you should definitely check out this giveaway. Have to hurry though, it ends tonight at 9pm Eastern Time.

Allison, from You Have HOW Many Kids? is being so generous as to give away a Starter Kit from Pur Minerals Makeup. You can check them out on Facebook by clicking the link.

The starter kit includes :
4-in-1 Pressed Mineral Makeup (.15oz)
Mineral Glow (.12oz)
Universal Marble Powder (.10oz/3g)
The Chisel Makeup Brush

This is an awesome give away with so many ways to enter. Go check out Allison's site at You Have HOW Many Kids? for more details and all the different (oh so easy!!) ways to enter. And Good Luck!!!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

It's Not Bribery, Is It?

Bribery, as defined by Webster's Online Dictionary, is the act of giving or taking a bribe. Okay, next word. Bribe, as defined by Webster's Online Dictionary, is order to influence the judgment or conduct of a person in a position of trust; something that serves to induce or influence.

So technically, what I am doing with my girls is bribery, maybe. It could be considered an allowance, who's amount is based upon the amount of chores completed and how well they were done. Chores can included watching little brother for 5 minutes while I take a shower (the 1st in 4 days), taking diapers to the trash (so I can get the new diaper on baby boy before he sprays me, and to save me a trip), picking up toys (there really is no other way to get them to do this. they've told me they'd rather me throw them away before we started this).

So what's the payout. Well, that depends. Never more than $1 each, unless it's something funny, like sending them to dog-pile on hubby when he just layed down, thinking I didn't see him sneak into our bedroom. Most time's it's a few pennies to a quarter. Whatever I find in the wash. They aren't getting rich from this, I can assure you.

They also lose money. Our middle child, Waterbaby, likes to play with stuff. Doesn't matter what it is, as long as it isn't a toy, she wants it. And apparently watching stuff flow down the drain in the bathroom sink is more entertaining than an hours worth of cartoons because I emptied that jar and couldn't replace everything she dumped in a course of 2 days. They also lose money for bad behavior, like back talk or not sharing.

So, what are your thoughts? Do you give your kids an allowance? How much? When did you start (forgot to add, my girls are 4 and 3), do they have to do anything to get it?

Thanks for weighing in on this. Its always nice to know what others in the parenting bubble are doing.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Garden Update

Finally! The garden party has begun. I've been out twice a day for 3 days (couldn't yesterday because of the blisters on my hand) and I finally got one bed done. I know what you're thinking. One bed? Yep, one. With a baby, it's really hard to find the time.

So, our first bed in the big garden this year. We have about 8-10 short rows of Black Aztec corn, and 3 Seminole Pumpkin hills. Once the corn gets big enough, I may plant some pole beans down the south side of that bed. Give the three sisters a try and see how it works.

So, the vine growing out of the compost bin is not a loufa gourd vine. Not quite sure yet. The leaves look like squash leaves, so I'm thinking it's an 8-ball squash. They are dark green and get about the size of a kids head. They are excellent stuffed or cut into chunks and sauteed in butter.

Next step is planting the onions up front and putting in okra, green and yellow squash, water melon, orange melon (can't remember the variety right now), lemon balm (to go in with the squash), wild strawberries going I don't know where, and some more butter beans.

That's about it for now. I harvested some rosemary a while back and it's almost dry. I'm so excited. We've never dried any before, so I hope it turns out okay. I tried my hand at drying mint, but I must have left it up there too long. We'll see if the second time's the charm.

I'll post some photos as soon as the stuff starts to sprout and get pretty. Grow something this year. It'll be one of the most rewarding things you do, I promise. :)

Monday, May 24, 2010

There's a Sucker...I Mean, Customer, Born Every Minute

"There's a sucker born every minute." attributed to P.T. Barnum (by one of his competitors in the circus business). He stated his actual quote was "There's a customer born every minute." Well, the situation that went down today fits better into the first scenario. And guess who the sucker was ladies and gents. That's right, yours truly. 

It all started with a simple trip to the flea market. One of mine and hubby's favorite activities when we are childless for a few hours on the weekend. Started off normal, found some really cool stuff that hubby wouldn't look at, so I didn't buy. Really kicking myself for it now...but that's getting ahead. Let me continue...

So, we continue on our stroll, not seeing anything really out of the ordinary. Then someone (a lady, with long blonde hair and sunglasses) walks up and hands me and hubby each a ticket for our "free" chance to win cash and prizes. (Hint #1 that this was a scam....The first one's always free!) So, we go over, take our rolls, and low and behold, we're pretty darn close to winning (Hint #2 that it's a scam, the guy will add up your numbers really fast and all of sudden, you're soooo close to winning...all you need is *x* number of points)

. So, I pay a couple bucks to get another roll and see what luck will bring must have been her day off. A couple bucks and 1 roll (toss actually, some sort of balls in the hole, add up the numbers, get to 100, win a prize type deal. in plain english - The Odds Are On the House!)...anyway, 1 roll turned into more and yada yada yada, I now own a very expensive stuffed bunny rabbit. Now, being that this not an 'anonymous' blog, as in, my family reads this, I will not disclose how much I got taken for. Let's just say I should have known better. 

And what was hubby doing during all of this, you ask? Standing back and watching. You see, he knows, the odds are always on the house. He let me learn the hard way, like normal. If he had been paying a little more attention, I think he would have stopped me sooner, but that's how it goes. Guess we both learned a lesson today. 

So, remember kiddies, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. The odds are always on the house. The first one's always free. And the most important rule of all, because it's printed somewhere, just so tiny you can't see it...NO REFUNDS. 

Well, I hope some of you learned something from my experience today. I know I did. A lesson I will never forget. And I have a large gray stuffed rabbit next to my computer to remind me, just in case. 

I added a couple links through amazon, some good financial sense books (just from what I've heard. I have not read these books, but I've seen the author speak and trust her to give sound advice).

Enjoy your week, and don't let Monday get you down. 

love from the swamps

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Getting to Know YOU

I am joining up with Mann Land 5 today in her blog carnival. Get to know me, get to know others, and let others get to know you. 
Check her site for the link up list. It's super easy to link up. And you never know, you might make some new friends along the way. :)

The questions..

1. The most expensive thing hanging in my closet is.....?
One of 2 things, depending on how you look at it. The thing I paid the most for is a Bob Marley Hoodie from Soul-Flower which was on clearance (FINALLY) for $38, so $45 with shipping. The other one that might qualify is a designer black wool dress that I bought at Rugged Wearhouse for $2. The original price tag was still on it...for $198! Gotta love a bargain. So, take your pick. :)

2. Have you ever played a team sport?
1 year of softball, 1 year of basketball, 1 year track&field, 1 year soccer (wasn't really a sportsy kid)

3. If you were a bug, what kind would you be?
A gigantic spider. The ultimate predator of insects (and yes, I know, they aren't actually insects...)

4. Where on your body is the worst place to get sunburned? (thanks Ian)
either on the back or bottoms of feet

5. Are you happy?
I'm not sad. :)

6. People are always abbreviating..are there any abbreviations that make your skin crawl when people use them?
FTW, unless they are using the newer connotation "For the Win"

7. Do you love where you live..or could you live anywhere?
I love the area, because it's my home. But do I love our neighborhood...not so much. I want to be a little further out in the country. Gotta have some breathing room.

8. What, if any, extreme measures do you go to to keep yourself from overeating when you're full?
 I don't. When I get full, I stop eating. Unless it's molten chocolate cake, then I just overeat and pay the price later. Because it's so worth it. :)

Well, that's it. Random information about the productive nonconformist. Hope you at least found it amusing. Don't forget to check out MannLand5 to see other answers and add your own. 

Thursday, May 13, 2010

(Almost) Wordless Thursday

Lunch today, as requested by my 2 little girls.

Sausage patties from last night, half a pear each, and 1 cherry. Milk to drink. 

My kids make me so proud.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Faithful Provisions Personalized Notecard Giveaway

Faithful Provisions is giving away a set of 24 personalized note cards from On Your Time on Etsy.
A set of these cards normally runs about $25, so this is a wonderful chance to win some super cute cards to send those thank you notes for the wonderful gifts you get for Mother's Day (or for sending a gentle reminder that Mother's Day has passed and you haven't heard from whoever...) :)
Check them out by clicking the title of this blog. It will redirect you to their post on the giveaway and ways to enter.
Good Luck!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Are You Sure Your Floor's Are Clean?

How do you clean your kitchen floor? Do you use a sponge mop, an old fashion cotton mop, or maybe you have one of those new-fangled electronic do-hickies that you have to keep buying those expensive cleaning pads for. If you are using any of the above methods, your floors are not as clean as you think they are.

When you mop with either version of the standard mom, not long after starting, you will be "cleaning" with dirty water. When you use those gadgets, you might get a little better job done, but they are expensive, and you still aren't going to get up the tough stuff, unless you are using a super harsh cleaner.

What cleaning agent you chose is up to you. I prefer non-toxic, preferably plant based, cleaners because I have 3 young children running around, and I am sensitive to many chemicals. But that isn't what this is about. This is about the "how" of cleaning laminate floors.

Let me start by saying, I didn't come up with this. I was taught this by someone I know, we shall call her *E*. She use to clean houses with one of her friends. This is how they always cleaned the floors, how *E* cleaned her floor, and now, how I clean mine. ~~The instructions I provide are simply that, mine. This is how I clean my kitchen floor. Probably not exactly like *E* taught me, but it works.~~

You will need:
broom/dust pan
hot water
old clothes

Instructions for a sparkling truly clean floor:
1. sweep really well.
2. spray cleaner onto the really dirty spots on the floor
3. put hot hot water on the rag, get on your hands and knees, and attack the dirty spots. rinse rag as soon as it gets dirty (you can use a bucket, but this goes back to cleaning with dirty water...)
4. once you have all the tough spots done, lightly spray the rest of the floor. you don't need to over spray, or your floor will end up slippery
5. more hot water, back on your knees, and scrub the rest of the floor. rinse rag as necessary.
6. (optional) you can either let your floor air dry, or for an even better clean, you can take a dry rag and dry it as you go.

End result: floors you could eat off of (not that you would, but you could...)

Again, this is how I do it. I just wanted to pass this tip along. And it really doesn't take any longer than regular mopping, if you are mopping to get your floor absolutely clean. Give it a try and see what you think. And, thanks *E* for teaching me this method.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Learning Can Be Fun....And Tastey!

My girls love fruit, so we go through a lot of it. But for some reason, the bag of oranges I bought just sat in a bowl on the counter getting bad.
So, this morning, when my youngest came to me and said she wanted to make juice with her (toy) juicer, I decided, why not?

our oldest, C-belle, taking her turn with the juicer.

our middle one, water baby, taking her turn (notice the Sharpie red 'nail polish')

Finished product (approx 2 cups, from 5 oranges and 1 lemon) and supplies. I wasn't kidding when I said a toy juicer.

The girls had a blast helping, and especially drinking, our homemade creation (it was really good). As I can't stand peeling oranges, I think this might be the next big thing at our house. Guess that means I should spring for a real juicer.

Do something fun, and educational, with your kids TODAY! They will remember it for a long long time.

from the swamplands

Friday, April 30, 2010

Why Holiday's Make Me Cranky (and a Mother's Day wish for YOU!)

Some of you may not know that my husband works at a wholesale florist. It was started in 1955 by my granddaddy. I am very proud of him and all the work he did so that the business could still be around today. However, that does not mean I am without complaint, or at least, without comment, because there's no point in complaining about something you can't change, but it helps to get it off your chest.
So here's my gripe. For every holiday when it is "an accepted social convention" to give flowers, the preceding weeks are a living hell for me (and others in this industry). Valentine's Day, my husband was at work. Easter Sunday, my husband was at work. Mother's Day (and our anniversary) are a week away, and where's my hubby gonna be? Probably at work. (I left out my birthday, since it's not a flower giving holiday that screws it, it's the company's open house that they have that weekend every year. BAH!)
Now, you say, who am I to be complaining. After all, the job market sucks, I don't have to get up and leave the house everyday, all I have to do is take care of the kids and keep the house clean. Well really? Is that all I do? Is that all any stay at home mom does? "Take care of the kids and keep the house clean." Sounds simple enough, right? (for those of you who are not SAHM's, the rest of us are rolling on the floor laughing our a$$'s off at this. Mainly because it's damn near impossible to do both by yourself.)
These holiday's force me to attempt to do it all myself (or just let it pile up, like it has lately) because when my husband gets home, he goes to sleep. Many times, right in the middle of the living room floor. So, not only am I taking care of the kids and "keeping the house clean" I am stepping over someone every time I want to go into our bedroom (until I piss him off by waking him up enough times and telling him to move), I am taking care of our animals, keeping track of birthdays, appointments (okay, so I'm not so great at those two either), outside time every day (insisted upon by the Mr. in the house) shopping, inventory, meals, bottles, diapers, baths, etc. I am washing clothes and cooking food for someone who doesn't even notice. A zombie. For two weeks (up to 3), every damned flower giving holiday, I live with a grumpy, underfed (not my fault), ill-rested, foul-mouthed (he's a truck driver) slob. I love him, I just sometimes wish they had cots where he worked....
But, by all means, buy some flowers this Mother's Day. I'm sure they will be well received (just don't bring me any, unless I can plant them or eat them). And make sure to be nice to your florist, because if you piss them off, they will ruin everyone else's day that they come in contact with, and if you're in my area, then that probably means my hubby.
Hope everyone has a Happy Mother's Day. And if you get flowers, enjoy them. (said with the most sincerity I can muster right now.) Wishing all moms, mommies, mama's, grandma's, maggies, meema's, grawmy's, granny's, abuela's, and anyone I forgot, a wonderful Mother's day. May you get shown all the love you deserve. Without mothers, we would have no future, for our children are our future.

with (one)Love,
from the swamplands

Monday, April 26, 2010

Packrats Unite. Keep Your Stuff and Make It Useful.

Okay, let me start by saying that you will not find me riffling through your garbage at 3 o'clock in the morning. I'm not looking for some random piece of mail or credit card app. The trash that I like is simpler stuff. And most of it is my own (or at least, from someone in my family).
Jars, old ratty shirts, fabric scraps, old furniture, old buckets or bowls. There are so many uses for these things...there just aren't enough hours in the day to do them all (unless, of course, you forgo all meals and household duties on a 4 day craft binge, but hey, that's your problem).
If you are planning on a craft binge, you will have to get the rest of your ideas elsewhere. Today, I am only offering one, and you may have seen it before. Here it is: Using your old t-shirts to make re-usable grocery/market/shopping bags.
There are many sites with many good step by step instructions on how to do this. Here are the bare bones basics.
Pick the shirt you want to make into a bag. Wash and iron it per tag instructions (or however works for you, it's not my business how you iron your shorts).
Figure how tall you want you bag, and mark a line across the bottom of the shirt (a straight line, please). This is your cut line. Cut this line, and cut the sleeves off. You may also want to cut the neck down the front and back in a semi-circular way, so the opening for your bag is bigger.
Turn the shirt inside out. If you have pins, pin the bottom of the shirt, so it doesn't shift when you are sewing. If you are sewing the seems around the opening and arms, fold them over and pin them too (you may also want to bring the iron out again to help get a good crease, but again, to each his own).
While the shirt is inside out, sew your seams. Back stitch at the beginning and end of each stitch for extra strength. You can also you back across for extra strength. (TIP: remove the pins as you are sewing, right before they are to go under the needle. If you leave them in, you risk damaging your needle. You can do this without stopping the machine, just sew slowly. This will also help prevent crooked seams and tangled threads.)
Turn the shirt-now-bag right side out and enjoy your new creation, knowing you got to hold onto something you loved, and you kept something out of the dump.
Hope you like this idea. If you have any up-cyclying ideas of your own, please feel free to leave them in the comments or on my facebook page.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Duplicate Followings

This is my fault. Apparently I created 2 Google accounts with the same email address (not sure how that got through the cracks, but that's not my problem). My point is, if you have me twice on your followers list, I apologize. I am trying hard to get it worked out. I thought I had deleted the old account, but apparently I didn't.
I will get this worked out as soon as possible. Sorry for any confusion or inconvenience.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Welcome to Motherhood!

A friend said this to me earlier today. It struck me as odd. After all, I've been a mom for 4+ years now. But then I thought about it. What it boiled down to was something out of the ordinary came up and I didn't get the response I was looking for.
This must be a situation stay at home mothers ( and working moms too), go through alot. I haven't had to. Like I said, this was out of the ordinary. It hurt my feelings and pissed me off all at the same time (the situation). But when she said that, and I got over the shock, I realized, she was completely right.
That is a fact of being a mother. You have to put aside your own discomforts, wants, and sometimes needs, whatever they may be, and do what needs to be done. Don't rely on, but be thankful for, help. And most of all, give your children the best you can with what you have.
Thanks for the good advice friend. :)

Updates - Plants, Books, Writing, Sickness, and Goodbyes

First, I apologize to those who are (im)patiently waiting for the plant blogs to start. Between sickness and getting the garden going, I just have not felt like writing.

Second, I will no longer be doing book reviews. I have only done one and it sucked. (the review, not the book). I haven't done a review/report since high school and even then I wasn't very good at it. So, my apologies go out this time specifically to Robert Frasier. My review did not do his book justice. Sorry Rob! If you get a chance, check out his works. He's an excellent, not so much.

Third, I feel crappy. When I feel crappy I do not write as much.

Fourth, I am very scatterbrained, I have OCD, and I have a very short attention span. The first plant blog is already written, minus the pictures and the medical information. All that needs to be done is to add those and the 1st plant blog will be up. I will not give a time frame, because I do not know when I will feel like finishing it.

Well, that's about all the updates for now. Saying a late "see you later" to a friend who has currently gone off grid and has not given specifics as to when he will be back. We miss you on the boards, and I will miss your comments and insights on my posts.

I will get some new posts up soon. Got the pics taken, just need to get them sorted and get in the mood (for writing!....geez, get your minds out of the gutter!)

That's all for now. And remember, I'm pulling for ya. We're all in this together.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Stockpiling Mom's 2000 Fan Giveaway Celebration #2

Stockpiling Mom's has reached 2000 fans on Facebook! Know what that means? Free stuff!! They are doing 7 days of give-aways. Today is the second day, and the give-away for today is.....2000 COUPONS!!!

Seriously, 2000 coupons? Yep!

Just starting out? This is your chance to catch up to everyone else. Already a coupon-clipping diva? Trump your friends with your awesome coupon collection (if you win)!

Visit Stockpiling Mom's to find out more about the give-aways. Also check them out on Facebook.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

One Experience With Coupons

This list is just a fraction of one trip to my local Harris Teeter. I am posting this to show that coupon-clipping (a.k.a. couponing) is NOT a waste of time. I am also going to clue you in on some new rules for couponing at Harris Teeter that I found out from my cashier and another coupon buddy at the register.

This is only a partial list because I picked up some other things too, so my savings kind of disappeared with the purchase of those extra items. These are the best deals from my trip to Harris Teeter that I just got back from not an hour ago (the groceries are still sitting on my kitchen counter).

Harris Teeter is running a Triple Coupon Special this week only!*
*according to their add
They will double all coupons up to .99 cents. (In other words, if you have a coupon for .99 cents off, you end up getting 2.97 off)
You are limited to 20 Tripled coupons per day. You can use other coupons too (like ones over .99 cents, and they don't count towards your 20) You can stack a store coupon with a manufacture's or printed coupon.

Okay, now on to the Best Deals of the Day. I got these items using the list at Southern Savers. I will be making another trip either Friday Night or Saturday using my list from The Grocery Game. I will post the results from that trip as well. (posted on the Facebook page)

On to the Deals

1) 1 small bottle Franks RedHot Sauce regular price - $1.25 Final Price - FREE with 25 cents overage*
*this was the only bottle left on the shelf in this size. I am definitely NOT the only coupon clipper in my town!

2) 2 large bottles Franks RedHot& Sweet Sauce reg. price for 2 $5.78 Final Price $1.39 each ($2.78/2)

3) 1 small container McCormick Whole Cloves reg. price 6.19 sale price $2.99 Final Price .74 cents

4) 1 small container McCormick Ground Mustard reg. price $2.95 Final Price .7o cents

5) 1 small container McCormick Paprika reg. price $2.19 Final Price
FREE with .06 cents overage

6) 1 regular size container McCormick Ground Cinnamon reg. price $2.95 sale price $1.47 Final Price FREE with .78 cents overage

7) McCormick Garlic Powder reg price $2.99 Final Price .74 cents

8) 4 Crest 6.4 oz Toothpaste reg. price $2.99 Final Price .74 cents each ($2.96 for 4)

9) 3 Oral-B Advantage Plus Adult Toothbrushes reg. price for 3 $9.57 sale price for 3 $8.07 Final Price for 3 $1.32 (.44 cents each)

10) Zantac 75, 10 Tablet package. reg price $5.49 clearance markdown price - $1.87 Final Price .37 cents!!**
** I did not have a coupon for this on me, but there was a $1.50 off coupon stuck to the front of the package! Talk about luck! (the really funny part...I NEVER use to get heartburn, until my DH got me hooked on Monster Energy Drinks. I love the original ones, but they double me over with heart-burn. Not anymore!)

I bought more items than this, but these were the best deals. The true idea behind stockpiling is to only buy what's on sale for rock-bottom prices and wait for the other stuff, but when you need something, you need something.
If you are new to couponing and/or stockpiling , I urge you to check out the following websites:

These are just a few. There are many many good ones out there. There are a few listed in my favorites on the Facebook page. For those of you who think coupons is a waste of time here's the breakdown on the purchases listed above.
Total Price - $51.32 (without tax)
Final Price - $ 8.52 (without tax)

Total Savings is $42.80, which translates to 83%. I will get better at this. You will too if you are just getting started. Once you have a stockpile built up, you won't have to buy those extra items because you will have gotten them in large amounts when they were at their cheapest (or pretty darn close).

*New rules at Harris Teeter - per my cashier and a highlighted note taped to the checkout counter
The coupon must match the item EXACTLY!
Example: I was buying Crest Toothpaste. I had 5 of them, but only 4 of 1 kind of coupon, and 1 of another. The 1 that was different had a picture on it of Crest Pro-Health. The coupon specifically said "Good for 75 cents off ANY ONE Crest Toothpaste 4.0 oz or larger. But because it had the picture on their of Crest Pro-Health, and I was buying Crest Tarter Control/Whitening, they would not let me use it. I told her just to take it off. Keep this in mind when shopping here.

*Another new rule - Maybe. I was told that Harris Teeter is now only allowing 3 coupons for a like product. That being said, I bought 4 of the same kind of toothpaste today, and was able to use all 4 coupons to go with them. (I was going to buy 5, but, well, see above.)
**This is, in fact, a new rule. Limit to 3 like items with coupons, and 2 for internet coupons**

Friday, March 19, 2010

Do You Suffer from SFMS?

SFMS is hard to deal with it, for everyone involved. It is irritating and heartbreaking all at the same time. It can ruin a trip, disrupt a dinner, kill a romantic evening like the smallest tiniest bug. So what is SFMS?

Screaming For Mommy Syndrome.

There, I've got it out. Acceptance is the first step. We are suffering, in our house, from a bad case of Screaming For Mommy Syndrome. I can't go to the grocery store, the mailbox, even the kitchen for coffee without my son throwing a fit. Sometimes to the point of turning blue**. I feel bad leaving him (even to get coffee, which is only 10 ft away). The look on his cute little face says "why are your leaving me?" and I just melt.

But I have to get stuff done (and I have to have my coffee in the morning, or I am not able to muster up my usual cheerful disposition). So what's a mom to do? Sometime I break down and just pick him up. I carry him while making coffee (YES, I am careful). I have taken him shopping with me and left the girls to take care of Ryan, I mean, left the girls with Ryan...

All of my kids have gone through this stage, and the length of it has always been different. I don't really remember our oldest having a hard time with this. Maybe for a month or two. Our middle child was like this from the time she was born almost until she turned 2. She's still very much a Mommy and Daddy's Girl (they both are, actually).

I should have expected this. I know that. This is my third round in this rodeo, after all. But it doesn't matter how many times you've done it. It's still a new experience because every child is different.

If you are going through this same thing, know that you are not alone. There are many mothers (and fathers, grandparents, etc) around the world who themselves are also trying to cook dinner, find crayons, drink coffee, feed the dogs, check the laundry, and soothe a baby all at the same time. That is the only consolation I can offer.

**a child screaming until they turn funny shades of pink, purple, and yes sometimes a tinge of blue, is perfectly normally. the worst thing that can happen is they pass out and then wake back up. this is a quote from my children's doctor.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Overcoming the Black Thumb

That time of year has rolled around again. Time to dust off the shovels, sharpen the spades, dig the gloves out from the bottom of whatever drawer they got tossed into. Spring is finally here and I am ready. I know what some of you are thinking. Spring?!? It's still snowing! Well, not where I live. It was in the 70's today, but for the last few nights, we've had frost on the ground. Go figure. That's SC weather for you.
This will be our third summer in this house. We have done a garden every year since we moved in. Not very successfully, but we have tried.

The first summer we went all out. Spending hour upon hour out in the back yard digging beds and planting seeds. Spreading compost, kelp, bone meal, blood meal, just about anything we could get our hands on that we knew would help the plants. Even with all that work, we still didn't get a lot of return. We have had a few crops that do well here (or that we do well with, I guess I should say). Garlic, rosemary, mint, and chives. Not saying we didn't harvest anything from our previous ventures, but it wasn't near enough to compensate for all the money we spent and time we put in.

This year we are doing things a little differently. First of all, I am in charge of the garden this year. In the past, it has been a joint effort, but this year it is up to me. I do the seed ordering, read the books, work the beds; hubby and the kids help out (sometimes it more like hubby is helping out with the kids while I work on the garden).

We finally got the first seeds in the ground today. I have been wanting to do this for a while. I got the itch the day I opened the mailbox to find my yearly catalog from Baker Creek Seed Co. I absolutely love their catalogs, and their seeds are excellent quality (plus they always throw in at least 1 free pack). If you are looking for rare and/or heirloom seeds, they are the people to go to. There are other companies you could order from, some are good, some are not. For reviews of garden suppliers, check out Dave's Garden.

As I was saying, we got some seeds in the ground today. But I am getting ahead of myself. I started thinking about the garden when I was ordering my seeds. The first thing I did was go through and see what seeds I had left from previous years. Boy that was a surprise. I could not believe how many packets of seeds we had left. I felt good and guilty at the same time. Good because I knew we hadn't wasted all the money from previous years because we had seed left over, and guilty because we had spent all that money on seeds/supplies and not used them. So I thinned out my order from Baker Creek (actually managed to cut it in half, just by deleting duplicates of stuff I already had), and I waited. Then the seeds arrived...followed by what seemed like an eternity of rain. Our front yard was one giant mud hole for weeks. But, like the movie said, it can't rain all the time.

It finally started to dry out this weekend, so outside we went. The previous years garden spot is so overgrown there are plants taller than me, the blueberries are being choked out by grass, and the old bed by the fence was nothing but bare spots and some random weeds. The latter is where I decided to start. It would be easy (I thought) to just turn over that bed, turn in some compost, and get things a'growin'. Well, it wasn't as easy as I remembered.

I haven't picked up a shovel since last summer, and the ground was still technically too wet to be worked. But, that's not going to stop me. I have so much stubborn in my blood I could win an argument with a hurricane. So I spent WAY more time that would have been necessary prepping that bed. Had I waited a couple more days, I probably could have gotten it done in half the time, but who wants to wait (and besides, I could use the exercise). First things first. Turn over the bed. I started with removing the big pieces of sod and patches of weeds. That stuff got tossed into the "in use" compost bin. Next, turning the bed. This is the part that would have been much easier had I waited a few days. Wet dirt is heavy dirt, hence it requires more energy to move it (or flip it over). I spent about an hour working the bed. It was low 60's outside, and by the time I was done I was sweating.

Day 2, go back out. The ground is a little dryer than before, so another round of turning is in order. Also, it's time to add the amendments. We live in swamp land, so the soil here is a (bad) combination of sand, heavy clay, and gumbo. My choice this year, since this bed has been used in the past and has had multiple applications of natural amendments already added to it, was to do something simple. The only 2 things I added were bio-char and compost. Bio-char is partially burned organic matter. This adds carbon to the soil, helping to keep things in balance. We made this by partially burning some small pieces of seasoned wood and a huge wheel-barrow load of brush from the old garden. The compost came from the "finished" bin. (we have 2 compost bins, 1 "in use' bin and 1 "cooking/finished" bin). I added about a wheel-barrow full of that as well. These were turned into the bed and left to sit (and dry) for another night.

Day 3, finally time to plant! I get so excited when it's time to plant. So much work goes into prepping the beds, this is one of my favorite steps (my most favorite is the harvesting part). I decided to try peas, which we have never grown before. Those went along the fence all the way down. I think I counted 35 plants. In front of the peas, in perpendicular rows went lettuce, radishes, carrots, and beets. I will sow successive plantings of the peas, lettuce, radishes, and carrots. Not sure on the beets, because I have never grown them before and I have no idea how long they take to mature or really what kind of weather they need. This is a beginner's mistake, but you can't always get everything right. :)

That's about it for now. I will keep everyone posted on this little project. Hopefully the third time will be the charm. Also to come, some posts on gardening with children. The girls and I are going to start our (my) medicinal herb garden in pots on the porch, so I will definitely make note of how that turns out.
Happy gardening everyone.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Wonders From Wal-Mart

I braved the cold today and took all 3 kids to Wal-Mart with me. I normally avoid this at all costs, but we needed stuff and I had coupons that were going to expire, so I went for it. First I got lucky and found a cart with the 2 seats for the girls, so I could put Archer in the buggy (or shopping cart, I know, depending on where you live, buggy has a whole different meaning).
Then the first wonder happened. I was standing in the back of the make-up section, trying not to block half the aisle, and this woman walks up to me. As a mom, I am used to this. Old ladies come up and ooh and ahh over the baby and "such pretty little girls". This woman, however, was not one of those ladies. She came up and asked me, with a rather haughy tone, if all three of "those kids" were mine. I said "yes ma'am they are"'s the kicker...she said "and you're pregnant again, good lord". Here's where the Wonder comes in. I actually said "no ma'am, we're not having anymore" instead of what I really wanted to say, and you can use your imaginations on that one.
The second Wonder is one of a different sort. Over the last few years I have experienced this a few times. At first I found it rather awkward, but now, I just go with it.
As I was walking towards the cleaning section, this woman came up behind me and asked me to stop. She said she had been trying to catch me since I left the medicine section. I thought maybe she was going to say something about what had just happened. Instead, she pulled out 3 gold dollars. She apologized that they weren't the new shiny ones. Then she gave me the gold dollars and told me, and the kids, that they were for their piggy bank, and that they needed to save their money. She then told me how she had grown up in the depression and how her mother had lost everything by putting her money in the bank. I have heard this story almost every time this has happened. Other times it was just that whoever it was grew up poor. They know the value of saving, and they want to teach to the younger generation.
I think it is great when knowledge and traditions are passed down. I, and my children especially, are very grateful for this generosity. These people, out of nowhere, for no reason other than their own will, have trusted their hard earned money into the hands of children. This puts into the hearts of the parents the will to teach their children well, in hopes of doing the deed justice. That's my theory anyway. And that's what I plan to do with it. In the past, I have let the kids get candy or whatever with their gift. But from this day forward, those dollars (or quarters, or whatever) will go straight into a piggy bank, so when it gets full the kids can decide what to do with it (with a little help from mom and dad).

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Tips on Living with Children

Some of you know me, and know that my husband and I have 3 kids, ages 4, 3, and almost 8 months. Things are chaotic around our house at best. Very seldom is there a quiet moment when nobody needs or wants anything.
If you are lucky enough to have (or smart enough to have planned) a generous age gap between your kids, then things may go a little more smoothly than they do for us.
With all the kids so close in age, things are constantly in motion at our house. There are always clothes on the laundry room floor to be washed, always clothes on the bed (or bedroom floor) to be folded. If the dishes are clean in the dishwasher, that's just as good as being clean in the cabinet.
Some of you may think this slack. That's fine. We all have different visions of what we want our homes to be like. I'm less concerned with how our home looks as I am with the Happiness content. As long as everyone is happy (within "no, you can't put applesauce on the dog, no you can't have ice cream while you're taking a bath, no you can't put mud on your baby brother...") then I'm happy. Even if we are never actually caught up, close enough is good enough for me.

Other things that have helped save our sanity these last 5 years are:

~never buying new furniture - it's gonna get drawn on, stuff spilled on it, possibly broken by someone jumping on it...don't waste your money and wait til the kids get older before you invest in this. in the mean time, hit the thrift stores,yard sales, freecycle, and craigslist; you'll save money and your sanity when you kids are eating their popsicles on the couch you just brought home.

~making the kids eat breakfast - trust me, if you want to find out exactly how long and how loud a toddler can scream, get up late for an appointment and have them "eat" in the car. (a pop tart is not breakfast, I don't care what the commercials say, and yes I am guilty of passing these awful sugar coated sugar pastries off as breakfast) kids need to sit at the table in the morning and eat a well balanced breakfast. They need protein to start the day. I have done little experiments with this and have noticed that my kids behavior greatly improves when they eat something like yogurt or oatmeal and fruit for breakfast as opposed to cold sugary cereal or poptarts.

~setting a routine/finding your current routine (I hate this one) - this is, quite possibly, the worst one for me. I am random. I can admit this. It is really hard for me to go by a written routine. I just can't bring myself to do it. I always get distracted and sidetracked. But then I thought about it. We do have a routine. We get up, eat breakfast, watch some cartoons, run errands, we have meals at roughly the same time every day, we have play time, we have "daddy days" when my husband is off (those days are normally spent outside). We don't have a set bedtime for the kids. They go to bed when they are tired. I have yet to see forcing them to their rooms make them go to sleep any faster. Find your routine and try to stick to it as much as possible. If your kids are comfortable in their everyday, then they'll be less likely to pitch a fit when things are a little off.

~(almost) never buying new clothes - I'm not saying you can't go shopping, I'm saying, change where you shop. Get up early on a Saturday morning and grab a paper. Go to every yard sale advertising children's products (and a couple for yourself). If you take $75 with you, you could theoretically stock up on clothes for the next year or two (I will buy stuff that is 2-4 sizes too big if the price is right. It doesn't take up much space at the top of the closet). Kids grow up fast. Some stuff you buy, they will never wear. Other stuff (usually the nice stuff) they will decide is the best play outfit in the world and will ruin with marker/mud/crayon/soap/food coloring. Do your wallet and your mind a favor and buy some gently loved clothing for your gently loved bundle of joy (no matter how old they are).

Hope these tips/thoughts helped you. If you have any you would like to add, leave them in a comment or on the Facebook page.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Book Review - Poems for the Short-Term Memory

I know I promised this review last week, but that's how life goes with kids.
Poems for the Short-Term Memory is a book of poetry by Robert Fraser. It is a good read, if not always an easy one. But I don't like easy reads. If that was what I wanted, I have a hundred kids books in the playroom I could go to. This book is deeper than that. And I am glad of it.
Works like "Antique Pocket Watch, Part 2" , "Rhyme of Reason", and "Poem in Blues Major" are wake-up calls and reflections on the world around us. The whole book is like that.
If you have done anything in your life more exciting than pumping gas, then you will find something in this book to relate to. It is an interesting read, even more so after a couple Kahlua snow cones. I'll admit, I had to read some of them through a few times before they sank in, but that's what good poetry is about. It makes you think. Brings you out of your shell to, if not experience, then at least notice the world around you. Robert has done just that.
I am looking forward to reading his second book, "Mountains the Size of my Fist".

If you would like to purchase a copy of "Poems for the Short-Term Memory", just click the title, it will take you to amazon. Please purchase this product new, so Mr. Fraser will receive the royalties he deserves.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Thoughts and Prayers

This is sort of a forward from a friend. She lost her father recently, so I am asking all of you to send some prayers her way. She posted this collection of quotes, and I was so moved by the ones she chose, I had to share them with you.

When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced.
Live your life so that when you die,
the world cries and you rejoice.

-Cherokee Expression

"I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time."

-Jack London

Love the earth and sun and animals,
Despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks,
Stand up for the stupid and crazy,
Devote your income and labor to others...
And your very flesh shall be a great poem.

-Walt Whitman

"This is the beginning of a new day. You have been given this day to use as you will. You can waste it or use it for good. What you do today is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it. When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever; in its place is something that you have left behind...let it be something good."


You must be the change that you wish to see in the world.

-Mahatma Gandhi

Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is beauty, admire it.
Life is bliss, taste it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a tragedy, confront it.
Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.
Life is too precious, do not destroy it.
Life is life, fight for it.

-Mother Teresa

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

(almost) Wordless Wednesday

I don't normally do these kinds of posts, but I thought today it fit.


(2 days later)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Vinegar. Don't Cheap Out!!

Okay, I have noticed this recently, and it is starting to bug me. The grocery stores in my area are getting pretty slack in stocking brand name vinegar. I know, they want to sell their store brand, to make a little more money, but is that little bit of extra money really worth forgoing the slotting fees companies pay to have their products on the shelves, and cost to our environment?
How does this affect our environment? Simple, most (if not all) store brand vinegars are made from petroleum. Yep, the same stuff they use to make gas for your car, Vaseline, plastics, and many additives in the food you eat and the medicine you take. Pretty gross, huh?
When buying vinegar (or anything, for that matter) check to make sure it's a natural product. Natural vinegar is made from grains (or apples, in the case of apple cider vinegar). This is the stuff you want. Yes, it can be a little more expensive, especially when all the grocery store will carry are the super small bottles of the natural stuff (for $3.98) and then the gallon size in the store brand only (for $2.00).
I know times are hard, people are out of work, and money is tight all around. But think about what you are really paying for. When you buy synthetic products, you are saving money, but the Earth suffers in return.
Do you want the planet to still be habitable when your grandkids are growing up? If you do, then buy vinegar made from grains (or apples) and when buying ANYTHING, check the label. Do your part (even if it's a small one) and buy natural products!

Peace and love,
from the swamps of the PeeDee

Canned Peaches, 5 months later...

Some of you may have seen my post on my first canning experience. I canned peaches and okra. The okra was an epic fail. I ended up having to call my cousin and tell him to toss the jar I gave him, because I didn't think I did it right, and didn't want him (or his little girl) to get sick. This was so embarrassing. And that got me wondering...did I do the peaches right?
Fruit, and tomatoes, are easier to can, because they are high acid produce. Low acid fruits and veggie's require a little more work. If you are just starting out, I would suggest starting easy, do tomatoes, or fruit. Be careful with these too, though. Some of the newer, hybrid tomatoes do not have the acid content that the older varieties have, so you may need to add vinegar to the mix to bring the acidity up. (Please check you books on this, because I am no expert, and these are not intended to be exact directions.)
Now, on to the peaches. I was a little concerned about it, so they sat in our pantry. Until this past week. Money was a little short, so we were eating from the pantry instead to going to the store once a week for fresh stuff. My girls are fruit addicts. So they kept bugging me about fruit, fruit, and more fruit. So, out came the peaches.
My husband was the guinea pig for this experiment. He knew I was a little concerned, so he did the first test taste. And he didn't get sick! I DID IT RIGHT!! Yay!
One thing I noticed with the peaches is that the ones at the top of the jar started to discolor a little. Not sure if it's because I didn't use a heavy syrup, or maybe I just didn't put enough syrup in the jars. But, discolored or not, the peaches have been a life saver (by reducing tantrums, and saving us some money) and a welcome comfort. Warm spiced peaches on warm bread (either warmed up, or homemade) is a wonderful treat on a cold winter day (which we have had many of this year).
So, my canning advice for beginners is: start with something easy. Do your homework before you begin. And, if you suspect a problem, just toss the stuff. It may seem like a big loss, what with all the produce and the time involved, but it would be a much bigger loss if you or someone you loved got sick from something you canned.
Here is a link explaining the main risk in canned foods.
One of the most powerful natural toxins is botulism. This is the bacteria that can grow in honey (hence, not giving honey to kids under the age 1, a rule we have broken and never had problems with, but we use local honey from a trusted supplier) and in improperly canned food. Read up on it. Educate yourself. And then, start getting your equipment together, because canning season isn't that far away!
Happy Gardening!

Monday, February 1, 2010

I got an award! :) Paying it Forward Feels So Good!

**The Splash Award!**

First, I must apologize, because I received this award a few days ago, and have not said anything about it. Want to say a BIG thank you to I am NOT a VOLCANO for this award.
I am a new recipient of the Splash Award! Go me!
I am so grateful to receive this, to know that my blog is being noticed, and more so to be able to pass it on to other blogger's out there.

The Rules:
Put the logo on your blog/post.
-Nominate up to 9 blogs which allure, amuse, bewitch, impress or inspire you.
-Let them know that they have been splashed by commenting on their blog.
-Remember to link to the person from whom you received your Splash Award.

This took some work, because there are some great blogs out there. It was hard to pick, but here it is.

My nominees for the Splash Award are:

Modern Mom of How to Survive Life in the Suburbs

Tamara of The (UN)Experienced Mom

Shelley of Shelley's Swag

StockpilingMom and Stockpiling4US of Stockpiling Moms

Neva of Mostly Flummoxed

These women have put together some great blogs. I am a stay at home mom, I love coffee, and I love to save money, so that is why I chose the ones I did.
When you get a chance, check out their blogs, and you'll see why I love reading them.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Knives for Women...Suggestions Please!

Ok, so I used a BK7 today for the first time. Can't say I liked it. It worked fine, but the handle is huge! Way to big for my hands. Used a RAT3 too, and it is great! I love it! But don't think it would be my tool of choice for chopping. Looking for a good machete type knife, long heavy blade, full tang, but with a small handle. Any suggestions?? Maybe a RAT5 or 6. Anybody got experience with these? How big are the handles? Are there any bushcrafting women reading this? Would love to hear from you!
Thanks in advance.

Favorite Quotations

Since my facebook favorite quotes is getting kind of long, I decided to do a blog post on it. I will be doing these occasionally. Feel free to add your own favorites on my Facebook page. :)
**note - I cannot guarantee the authors on all of these. Some are status updates from friends on Facebook, others, just stuff I like**

There Are Eyes That See But Say Nothing At All..There Are Ears That Hear But They Don't Recall..In This City Of Ours. So We Followed Your Man Back To Your Front Door And We're Waiting For You Outside, 'cos Not Everybody Here Is Scared Of You. Not Everybody Passes On The Other Side. No Police, No Summons, No Courts Of Law.. And We Could Spent Our Whole Lives Waiting For Some Justice To Be Done.Unless We Make Our Own. - via Jeff G.

talk is cheap because supply exceeds demand - Jen G.

“Stay committed to your decisions, but stay flexible in your approach" - Tom Robbins
(via - Jen G.)

Luck favors the prepared. - The Incredibles

“Cleaning and scrubbing can wait for tomorrow,
For babies grow up, I’ve learned, to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust, go to sleep.
I’m rocking my baby, and babies don’t keep.”
Author Unknown (via Tabitha D.)

its not a cry that you hear at night, its not somebody who's seen the light. its a cold and its a broken hallelujah. - Leonard Cohen

more to come. hope you enjoyed these. leave your favorite quotes on my facebook page! I would love to hear from you.

Peace and Love,
from and swamps of the PeeDee

Friday, January 22, 2010

Got Gear?

I've been doing the happy dance all afternoon. A good friend dropped off a couple presents for me and my husband today. We each got a misch metal ferro rod with antler handle and a key chain pill case with cotton balls saturated with Vaseline already inside.
Some of you are not familiar with bushcraft. I know I mentioned gear in "Me and My Multitool". Well, as it turns out, women (at least, this one) like gear too. I love the art of bushcraft, but I am not very good at it, yet. I can build a shelter, I know a few wild edibles where I live, and can start a fire with a Bic, but that's about it.
Not anymore. I have now started my gear collection, and will continue to put together my kits.
Kits, you say. Why do you need more than one? Well, most bushcrafter's have their EDC (every day carry) kit, and then a bigger kit for when they go out into the woods (or into the bush, hence the name, bushcraft). This is not just camping. You don't carry a cooler, you (most of the time) don't carry a tent. You definitely aren't sleeping in an RV. Bushcraft is more along the lines of "tribal knowledge". Old ways of doing things. This is not ultralight backpacking, it's not normal camping.
So far, the only gear I have is a small multi-tool, my new ferro rod, and my vaseline/cotton ball filled pill case. I do not, as of yet, have a pack or a decent knife. I will continue to post as my gear collection and my knowledge base grows. When I learn something new, I will share it (failures and all).
I'm know some of you are wondering why I made this post. Honestly, I just wanted to brag a little. I'm so happy to finally have some gear to call my own, and will be much happier when I have mastered it...though, I'm sure, that is a long time coming.
I plan on getting my pack at the flea market. Just going to start with a used alice pack. Got my eye on a couple different knives. One I am definitely getting for my EDC is the Blind Horse Knives Patch Knife. Got to find an ankle sheath for it. If any of you out there know where I might find one of these, please let me know. Also, looking for suggestions on a good knife for my pack (I am looking to get a big chopper, and a smaller fixed blade utility knife {think RAT3 - the old style, before it was RC-3}). I like the RAT3 because the handle is short, and fits my hand well, and it is good quality. I would like to find a chopper with a smaller handle, but still good quality, full tang, carbon steel, etc.
Please share your comments/suggestions here or on my Facebook page.
Peace and Love!
from the swamps of the PeeDee

PS - I would not know any of this information if my husband had not become obsessed with Mr. Dave Canterbury 2 years ago, when he started watching the Pathfinder videos on YouTube. So, a big thanks go out to my husband, Ryan, and to Mr. Dave, for sharing his knowledge, and helping us all learn together. Also, a big thank you goes out to Ken for my new gear, and to all the other Pathfinders who have become friends and have shared their knowledge with us all.
*Two is one, one is none.* -Dave Canterbury.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Midwives for Haiti

Had to share this. Found it on Facebook. Here's a quote from the Facebook page:

Haiti has the worst maternal mortality rate in the Western Hemisphere. Midwives for Haiti is a non-profit that is changing that by training skilled birth attendants in Haiti to save the lives of mothers and babies.
Company Overview:
American nurse-midwives and other health professionals donate time in Haiti (and fund-raise in the US) to support the program. We train Haitian midwives in basic skills in 6-12 months. M4H now has Haitian staff, textbooks in Creole, and collaborates with other Haitian organizations. We are a baby non-profit, but we are growing!
Board members include Terrie Glass, Stephen Eads, Ken Heatwole, Jessica Jordan, Brenda Burgess, Stephanie Shareck Werner
Reduce maternal mortality and improve the health of women and infants in Haiti by training skilled birth attendants.
Our vision: All Haitian women will have access to prenatal care and deliver with the assistance of a skilled birth attendant.
If you are able to donate, please do so. With the recent tragedies in Haiti, this is needed more than ever. Click the link above for more information, and/or to donate.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Pet Product Review: Arm & Hammer Essentials Corn Fiber Cat Litter

I know some of you probably aren't cat people. My husband isn't really a cat person either. The only cat he ever liked was his cat, Slater, who unfortunately passed away shortly after we got married. Since that time, we have not had an inside cat...until now.
One of my hubby's childhood friends (still a current friend) and his fiance (congrats J. and A.) so generously gave us a cat. When we got her, I went out and bought some normal dollar store cat litter. That was the worst idea ever! The cheap stuff is just that, CHEAP. No clumping, no odor control, no nothing. Worst dollar I ever spent. So, while at Wal-Mart earlier this week, I looked for some good quality litter.
Why spend good money on something that your pet is just going to poop in? Well, I wanted quality stuff, that would be easy to use, wouldn't smell, and did not cost a fortune. I found it.
Arm & Hammer has a line of products called Arm & Hammer Essentials. The cat litter is corn fiber. It is a super-clumping formula, controls odor so well that you wouldn't know we had a cat, and isn't too expensive. An 11lb bag is around $8, which is about the same as a 20lb bag of regular clay litter. Seems pricey, but it's supposed to work so well, that you don't have to completely change the litter as often. So far, it has lived up to it's claims. And our cat seems to like it; no adjustment period or problems at all. I know cats can be a little finicky...they were once worshiped as Gods...and they have never forgotten this. :)
I am very impressed with this product and would recommend it to anyone with a cat. For the tree-hugger's out there (no offense to anyone...I consider myself a tree-hugger!) it is biodegradable. I would not recommend putting it in your compost pile or anything (as cats can carry some pretty nasty diseases) but if you have a field or some woods near your house, then you could just dump the leftovers out. They will break down.
Hope you found this review helpful. If you know of anymore eco-friendly pet products, let me and my readers know in a comment here or on my Facebook Page.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Me and My Multitool (or...the inner workings of the male brain, from the female perspective)

If you are married, I'm sure you've seen some crazy stuff. I know I have. Here's a short list of some of the weird things I've seen, heard, or just noticed (repeatedly) after 6 years...

1)Men like tools. Multiple tools, many of which perform the same function. However, they will only use a few of these on a regular basis. There will be 1 favorite (in my experience, it will be a multi-tool or a knife)

2)A man will use said favorite tool for everything, from working on his vehicle, to cleaning under his fingernails (or, as I have personally witnessed...multiple times...pulling off a dead toenail/fingernail that was damaged due to improper tool safety)

3)Men have a different definition of clean than women. To a woman, clean means clean, freshly laundered, hung up or folded and put away. To a man, clean is the equivalent of warm...hence the putting of dirty clothes in the dryer for ten minutes before wearing (for the 4th day in a row).

4)Men hate doctors. To avoid going to the doctor, a man will go to any lengths. This includes, but is not limited to: duct tape, lighters/hot knife, super glue, fishing line, or animal fat. Yes, I said animal fat. I have a friend, who, when he gets a deep bad splinter (read: large shard of wood - he's a carpenter), he will take raw fat back and rub into the wound. This causes an infection, which in turn, pushes the "splinter" closer to the skin surface making it easier to remove. Once removed, one of the above methods will be used to close the wound. Band-Aids are very seldom employed for such an injury, and antibiotics are out of the question (because that would require a trip to the doctor).

5)Men like gear. Gear is different from tools. Gear refers to tents, tarps, packs, cordage, knives (knives fall into both categories of tools and gear), canteens, old metal coffee cans, scrap pieces of wire (for modifications to gear), and anything else that a sane female would probably consider trash. The gear does not have to be in good condition.

6) Men like modifications. This is why gear does not have to be in good condition. Even if it's brand new, a man will always find a way to make something "better". They will take a perfectly good pair of pants and cut the bottoms off to make shorts, and then cut the pockets off the bottoms to attach to another piece of gear.

7)Boots and Cars. These two would normally require a whole blog to go over, but I wanted to provide a brief overview. Boot are expensive, and when they get the ones they have drooled over for months/years, they will not be quite right...ever. Cars are not expensive. The modifications made to these cars, however, will be. The key to cars (so to speak) are: big motors, big tires, negative gas mileage, and loudness.

This is just a random sampling of stuff that I have noticed. If you know of something that should be on this list and isn't, PLEASE leave a comment here, or on my Facebook page. I like to know in advance what I am getting into. :)

Hope you enjoyed this.

Peace and Love,
from the swamps of the PeeDee

Saturday, January 9, 2010

How to Boil an Egg

I know what some of you are hard is it to boil an egg. Well, trust me, it's harder than you think. But after years of watching the cooking shows on PBS, I finally got it down. So here it is...How to Boil an Egg (the Jaque Pepin way).

Place your eggs in a pan with cold water. Make sure the eggs are completely covered. Salt the water if you wish.
Put the pot on the stove and turn it to High.
Wait for the water to start boiling good.
Put a lid on the pot, and turn the eye off. Set your timer for 8-9 minutes.
When the timer goes off, immediately take the eggs off the stove and submerge them in ice water. This will stop the cooking process.
Keep them in the ice water until completely cool (of course, you can eat them while they are still warm, but do not let them sit and stay warm, as they will over cook.)
Once they are cool, store in the fridge. I don't let boiled eggs sit in the fridge for more than about 3 days. I've had food poisoning more than once, and do not take chances. If you find some info on exactly how long it is safe to keep boiled eggs in the fridge, please let me know.
If, when you peel the eggs, there is a green line around the yolk, then the eggs are overcooked, and will have a slightly off smell. You can still eat them, but they will not be as good.
Hope this helps.

Peace and Love,
from the swamps of the PeeDee

Monday, January 4, 2010

Got Kids??

Well, the holiday's are over. Presents unwrapped, decorations put up (if you're lucky), and things are starting to get back to normal. My question is, what to do with all this stuff?
We have 3 kids, our oldest just turned 4, our middle child will be 3 in February, and our youngest is almost 6 months old. So we got A LOT of stuff for Christmas.
We hosted Christmas Eve at our house this year, for the first time. For about 3 days, our house (at least the visible parts) were cleaner than ever before. Now, 2 weeks after Christmas, we are living in C.H.A.O.S. all over again (for the non-Flybabies reading this, CHAOS is Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome). So what to do.
I am interested in all ideas. How do you find time to clean, cook, spend quality time with the kids, quality time with your significant other, run errands, keep up with laundry, and all the other things that come with being a mom. Please, I am begging!! I love the FlyLady site, but it just is not working for me (or maybe I am not working hard enough...because the site makes it seem so simple). Our house is constantly a wreck, I am constantly behind on laundry, dishes, general cleaning....
Any and all advice will be more than welcomed.
Thanks in advance.

with love,
from the swamps of the PeeDee