Wednesday, Dectember 14, 2021

Balancing Boards for Children

A balance board is a must for every toddler. It trains not only balance but also coordination, concentration, and fine motor skills. Since, among other things, the muscles of the legs and back are involved, this equipment is used on the one hand in therapy, but children can also greatly benefit from regular exercise with a balance board.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Jeans the Correct Length Can Make a Girl So Happy!!!

I found the best "life hack" the other day.  I recently bought a new pair of jeans to wear with boots.  When I tried them on at the store (without shoes) they were long, but I figured they would be fine once I had my boots on.  Wrong!  When I got home and tried the jeans and boots together, the jeans were still way too long.  This was a bit frustrating because my only choices were:  1. return the jeans (that I really liked)
2. hem them up Finding jeans has always been an issue for me (see link) Dear Jeans, I am Leaving You for Yoga Pants.  So the thought of returning a pair that actual fit everywhere but the length is not something I wanted to do. I am not great with sewing, especially on a machine.  In fact, I sent my sewing machine to live with my mom because our relationship (the machine and myself) is so bad.  LOL!  Seriously, any time I try to sew on a machine it is a complete joke.  I just can't seem to get along with it.  I am pretty good with a needle and thread after sewing countless Cub Scout / Boy Scout badges onto uniforms, but dreadful with an actual sewing machine.

My other dilemma was that I wanted the look of the original hem.  I don't like just cuffing them under and then hemming, because you don't get that original seam effect.  I decided Pinterest was the place to go to figure out how to keep my jeans, but not drag two inches of fabric on the ground as I walked.  I specifically searched, "how to hem jeans with the original seam".  Pinterest delivered, as always!!!  I had tutorials with descriptions and tutorials with step by step pictures.  I read a couple of the blog posts and picked two that made the most sense to me.  Then I tried out the process on an old pair of jeans in case the experience was awful and the jeans ended up ruined.  It seemed pretty easy on the old pair of jeans, so I cheered myself on to try it out on the new jeans.  Voila!!! It took me about an hour and I was super careful with my measurements and pinning.  It really was very simple and worked like a charm.  

The idea is that you cuff the jeans up (not under), sew directly next to the original seem, then cut off the extra fabric (the cuff).  Here is a picture of my finished product.  Although, I still haven't cut off the extra fabric.  It seems too permanent!  Not that my legs will be growing in length any time soon.  Ha!!!

(Both legs are done in this picture.  You can't tell at all from the outside of the jean.)

If you look closely, you can see the "cuff" or extra fabric.  That is the part you should cut off.  I can't seem to part with it yet, so I ironed it down and you can't even tell from the outside.  Also, if you zoom in you can see my navy blue stitch directly under the original hem.  Since it is so close to the seam, you cannot see it from the outside of the jeans. Can you use the words seam and hem interchangeably???  I have no idea...
Seriously, I wish I could give each of these bloggers a big hug!  I feel like I just learned the best tip, practically life changing! LOL

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Supposedly South Texas

Oh my goodness, I have the winter doldrums!  I mean seriously, it needs to be Spring ASAP.  Living in South Texas we don't experience much winter, but this year has been a different story.  We have had more COLD weather (like even cold to other parts of the country) than I can ever remember. 

I'm done with cold.  

I am done with layering clothes, coats, gloves, all the things.  

I am over an electric bill that made me cuss like a sailor.  

I'm tired of not wanting to go to the restroom because the toilet seat is so cold...(yes, this is a problem due to the electric bill - insert eye rolling because I am cheap).

I find myself questioning if feeding the chickens is really a necessity because the walk out to the coop feels like a hike through the frozen tundra.  Unfortunately, feed is crucial for their survival...FINE!

AND....I am SO done with our sheets on our bed feeling like some type of cryotherapy session.  Every night I stand on my side of the bed trying to convince myself that the sheets aren't really as cold as they seem.  I become my own cheerleader, convincing myself that I am strong and courageous.  I CAN DO THIS, I CAN GET INTO THE BED.  Only for the same outcome....more un-lady like words.  You would think that a husband the size of mine would be warm...he works in a cold room 12 hours a day.  I think the room he is in is an average 32 degrees.  On days when he is in the freezer it is something below zero, but at this point, the numbers really don't matter.  The man is frigid! He is an iceberg.  The night usually ends up with one of us yelling, "Stop flapping the covers!"  So romatical this winter of ours... LOL

I need the sun.

I need to feel sunshine.

I need to sit on the porch.

I need to run errands without a coat.  Coats make me feel like a three year old on the verge of a tantrum.  You know, that feeling when you forget to hold the bottom of your sleeve before sliding your arm into the coat sleeve.  There is no returning from that, you must surrender to the coat and start over.  OR just forget the coat, run to the car, and then the entire time you are out question if at some point you moved to Alaska because there is no way this is South Texas.

Also, my kids' moods have been off.  I am blaming this on the lack of Vitamin D.  If their moods are off, my mood is off, then their mood is off, then get the picture.  We are just plain moody!  We need SUN.

I can't even remember the last day we had blue skies and sunshine.  I found a picture on my phone from Super Bowl Sunday of the sunset.  I don't remember the sun shining during that particular day, but at least I have proof the sun does exist.

Until we meet again, dear sun....

Monday, July 10, 2017

1940 Mix Master and Cherry Limeade

Last week a dear friend of mine gave me a few vintage treasures that she no longer had a need for.  One of the items was a 1940 Sunbeam Mix Master.  The name makes me giggle because I can only imagine the number of brides in 1940 that had their eyes on the latest and greatest mixer called the "Mix Master".  It seems like oo's and aw's should follow after saying the name.  :)

When she gave it to us it was in pretty bad shape (I think she had found it at a flea market), but she told us it still worked.  Well of course the boys in our family had to take it all apart to see exactly how it worked.  Which only made me hope they could remember how to put it back together.  They also had a great time figuring out how each accessory fit and functioned.  We don't exactly have the instruction manual. :)  After all pieces were put back in together, I cleaned it up with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.  

This mixer can be used as a hand-held or a stand mixer, which I am sure was a huge feature 77 years ago.  The feature I got the most excited over was the ceramic juicer.  We love lemon bars, key lime pie, and other uses for citrus.  I don't currently have any type of juice squeezer thingy, so I was thrilled that this was something I could actually use (no more squeezing by hand).  We decided to make the Pioneer Woman Cherry Limeade.  Let me just say, IT WAS SO GOOD!  We definitely gave Sonic a run for their money!!!

You press one half of the lime on the ceramic head that spins super fast.  I have never seen something get so much juice out of one tiny lime.  All of us commented on how fast the head spun, creating a crazy vibration on your hand.

The kids had a ball.  I think they also have a love for old things.

This picture just cracks me up.  The vibration was getting to be too much and I think the lime flew off!  His face says it all - that Mix Master really packs a punch! :)

Everyone took multiple turns.  In the end it took 8 limes to get 8oz. of lime juice.  If we had done it by hand, we would have squeezed at least twice that amount.  

The mixture is lime juice, sugar, 7-Up, maraschino cherries with juice, lime slices.


The perfect summer drink!  We decided it was best over ice and served right away.  When we tried it again several hours later it was a bit too tart.

I tried to find the link on The Pioneer Woman website, but I was unable to locate it.  It is from her second cookbook, .

We will definitely make this recipe again.  I love it when we find a keeper!!!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Update From the Farm, Homestead, Ranchette...

Good morning!!!
I haven't blogged in almost two months, which seems like an eternity.  I have missed writing and sharing our little adventures with everyone.  We have been super busy (like all families during the month of May).  BUT, the last 48 hours have felt like a complete downward spiral, then upward spiral, then down, then up...let me explain. :) In the middle of the night Sunday/Monday, we woke up to a horrible storm.  It started around 12:41am and lasted until 5:30am.  I have NEVER seen lightning like this storm was displaying.  It basically felt like someone had a strobe light going for 5 hours.  Lightning in the country seems so different than in town.  I realize it is the same lightning, but when you don't have city lights, building, neighborhoods, etc.  the sky seems wide open.  It is cool and creepy all at the same time. I don't remember the exact time on the clock, but we had all three kids in our bed while my husband and I walked around gathering flashlights (the power had already gone out), checking the radar on our phones, and reassuring our middle child that things were fine.  Oh, and muzzling Ginger because she completely looses it during storms (insert sigh and eye roll).  While my husband was upstairs and I was downstairs we both saw a huge flash of red, orange, and yellow followed by a horrible crack/pop/boom type sound, then a burnt electrical smell.  It pretty much startled the living daylights out of all of us.  The search for a fire began and thankfully we did not find anything.  We were without power for a few more hours as the storm continued.  Everyone ended up falling asleep, the kids in our bed and us on the couch. The next morning (Memorial Day), we began to inspect the damage.  The following items were completely fried from the lightning strike: Both TV's
DVD player
Direct TV DVR Box
Cell phone chargers
Garbage disposal
Washing machine
A/C relay switch (no A/C, but thankfully the technician was able to fix it quickly the next day)
I am pretty sure I am missing something, but you get the idea. We are so thankful the house did not catch on fire and no one was injured.  This list is annoying, but it is just stuff. We have an electrician coming out tomorrow to look over the entire house and make sure we don't have any electrical shorts.  A huge bonus is the new modem is so much better and our Internet is actually fast.  That is why I sat down to blog this morning, the hamster no longer has to spin the wheel to make the Internet run! We are also in the middle of  renovating our kitchen and laundry/mud room, so you can imagine how the inside of my house looks.  Yesterday, while we had a revolving door of repair people and technicians coming and going, I sanded, primed, and painted 22 drawers and 10 cabinet doors.  We have 59 drawers/cabinet doors when you add up the kitchen and laundry room.  It's amazing how productive one can be when there isn't a TV - LOL!  New counter tops and backsplash will be installed in a couple of weeks.  After that we will start to tackle the floors, add new lighting, and shiplap the large wall behind the kitchen table.  I hoping we are finished by 2025!

Just keep sanding, just keep sanding, just keep sanding...

The kitchen was originally all oak.  I will have to post some before and after pictures at some point.  This is our buffet that looks into the living room.  The counter tops have already been removed and the doors and drawers have been painted.  We will also add hardware to everything.  I will have to stand on my head to sand and paint that bottom piece!

In other news, the chicks are huge and look like miniature chickens.  We have 5 baby barn swallows in a nest over our backdoor.  They are adorable, but the momma barn swallow will give you a serious fly by if you get to close.  The kids watch them safely by standing on the toilet and looking out the window in our downstairs bathroom.  :)
Baby Barn Swallows!!!  There are actually 5 babies stuffed into that nest!  

We have started working on the pond.  It was in such bad shape.  Eventually we hope to have a small dock, picnic table, and hammock out there.  Plus we would love to hang some white lights in the trees.  You know this would go a lot faster if I didn't have to teach and Charlie didn't have to work...hahahaha!  It's a good thing we like projects! Elizabeth :)

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

New Tractor Equals Big Work Day

We have a new addition to our homestead...THE TRACTOR!!!  It arrived last Thursday and everyone was excited.  Charlie and I would wink at one another and say, "It's Tractor Day!"  We may have said it 20 plus times before he even left for work. :) A new tractor meant we could actually take care of the grass and brush on the back portion of the property and around the pond.  We decided to skip church Sunday morning (shame on us :)) to make sure we could spend a entire day mowing and shredding.  And it was literally the entire day!  I think Charlie and I put in a solid 11 hours and the kids helped for at least 9.  They were such troopers and super helpful.  It is so nice that they are at an age where they can really help lighten the load.
 Getting his first tractor lesson

There are many perks to being the size of a 12 year old when you are only 9!!  He was a bit disappointed that his legs aren't quite long enough for the big tractor, but still enjoyed driving the riding lawn mower.

She put in her time by riding the big tractor with Daddy, the riding lawn mower with me, and raking big piles of sticks.  I also drove the big tractor (insert me clapping and feeling very proud of myself)! :)

We have several mesquite trees around the pond that are all over grown.  He was determined to move this huge branch on his own.  It was so heavy!

Following after her big brother's example.

The kids were super excited to climb the tree once it was cleared out.

So what do you get for your treat after 9 hours of yard work?  A ride in the bucket of course!  Just to clarify, they were at a much lower level while the tractor was moving.  This was the end of the ride after it was parked.  :)

Who's having more fun? :)

We are no where near finished.  It is going to take months of clearing everything out, but we definitely made a small dent.  PROGRESS!

Chicken Update!!! We now have two chickens laying eggs.  The third chicken sits in her box but hasn't done anything.  I am not sure what her issue is, but there's hope!  :)  We also have two coyotes stalking our barn and chicken coop.  I'll keep you posted!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Fence Lines and Walking with Dixie

If there is one rule that I have heard over and over since we have moved out here it is to keep our fence lines mowed and clear.  The main reason...SNAKES!  Well, when it comes to anything reptilian, I only have to be told once.  Mark my word, our fence lines will stay mowed and clear! In order to keep an eye on these fence lines, I have started walking the perimeter of the property.  Well, I walk the front 1/3 of the property.  The front 1/3 has already been mowed and cleared...the back 2/3 has not, therefore, I am not walking that part. :)  At a brisk pace, I can walk around the front 1/3 in about 7-8 minutes.  So, I have decided to kill two birds with one stone - check fence lines and get in a good walk.  I can make 4 rounds in about 30 minutes. A nice surprise has been my walking companion.  Dixie has decided that I should not walk alone. :)  She trots out in front of me, constantly monitoring the area at all times.  It really is adorable; she's my protector. 
Always out in front :)

Standing at attention from a strange sound.

Now this is just random but I have to share.  The below picture is the trophy left from a Loggerhead Shrike.  Shrikes are the cutest little birds, but what they do to their prey is downright wrong!  My sister-in-law posted a picture on FB about a month ago.  Her kids had found a small snake impaled on a tree branch.  Apparently, it was the placed there by a Loggerhead Shrike.  I knew if she had them we were sure to see one on our property, since they live about 15 minutes from us.  These adorable birds impale their prey on fences, trees, etc.  Then bring female birds to view the said trophy.  If she likes what she sees then we get baby shrikes.  Oh brother!!!!  Needless to say, we now have two Shrikes that fly around together.
You can see where the barb is coming right through the middle of the bug - YUCK!  The kids and I actually witnessed a shrike push a spider onto a barb.  It was rather violent.  We just stood and watched from a good distance.  Once it left we rushed out to see and sure enough...

Dixie sticks with me until she gets too hot.  Then she paces the porch until my walk is finished; never letting me out of her sight. :)

Our oldest definitely pitched in with the fence line clearing.  He sprayed weeds with the backpack sprayer.  Let me just say, this thing is HEAVY!  It is 32 pounds of liquid weed killer and then the weight of the pack.  I was super proud of him for working so hard and not falling over backwards! :)

Our tractor arrives on Thursday!!!  We are all super excited! :)  I guess that means we will be clearing and mowing the back 2/3's.

Monday, March 20, 2017

I Basically Drove to Austin on a Tiny Tractor

Ummmm, okay so that title may be a bit of an exaggeration, but let me explain.  This past Thursday my husband and I completed our first round of yard work at our new home.  When we purchased the home, the previous owner left the riding lawn mower.  This is what I refer to as my tiny tractor.  It's even a John Deere! Lol We really need a real tractor for much of the back portion of the property, but as of right now, we only have smaller lawn equipment.  I braced myself, knowing full well that this was going to be a long process.  I dressed in a long, white sleeved t-shirt, black sweat pants, my trusty, camo boots (pants tucked in of course), and a ball cap.  I wanted to make sure those mosquitos knew who was boss!  I immediately jumped on my "tiny tractor" while my husband ran between the regular push mower, line trimmer (that is a really big weed eater), small weed eater, and backpack sprayer for weeds. AND..... we got it done in record time... 5 hours 41 minutes....(yes, that one minute matters). OH. MY. WORD! WHAT IN THE WORLD?! GOOD GRAVY! That wasn't even all 7.85 acres!  WHAAAAAAAAA!!!!! Now if you have never been on a tiny tractor while mowing uneven ground, you may not realize what type of ride I endured.  Here are some of the thoughts that ran through my mind as I dramatically bumpity bumped all over the place. 1.  It started with, "Oh goodness, this isn't has smooth and easy as I originally thought." 2.  "OH MY WORD!  My bladder is going to sustain permanent damage!" 3.  "It sure is a good thing I am done having babies!" 4.  "Chapstick is not a good idea."  I cannot even begin to tell you how much dirt and grime I had stuck to my gross! 5.  "I'M. NEVER. GETTING. OFF.  EVER. - This is some type of life sentence!" 6.  "I'll just wave to the kids as they leave for college..." 7.  "I want my mommy." 8.  "What did I do to deserve this?" 9.  "Is it even possible to hold your abs in on this thing?" 10.  "This is not making me feel attractive." 11.  "Oh crap! I just ran into the barn..."  I looked around to see if anyone witnessed that "little bump", and decided to play it off and just keep going.  I did fess up to it later, only to hear laughter from my husband.  Thankfully, things like that don't ruffle his feathers.  Speaking of feathers, the defective chickens still haven't laid eggs. At the end of the 5 hours and 41 minutes (that minute still matters), my  behind was completely numb.  The muscles in my back were on fire and waving the white flag of surrender.  We both looked at each other and laughed in complete disbelief of the events that played out during our little yard sessions. It was after 8 o'clock, we still had not made dinner, we were beyond dirty.  The kids were starting the circle us waiting for some type of meal.  When they began to grow a bit impatient, my husband came to my defense with, "Look at your mother, have you ever seen her look like this?"  I think he was beginning to think he broke me, that the country shook me violently for 5 hours and 41 minutes and then spit me out...into the dirt. We showered, ate delicious steak and potatoes (thank you, Honey) and then fell asleep on the couch. But those sunsets...totally worth it! Oh!!! So my point about driving to Austin on a tiny tractor.  I was on the riding lawn mower longer than it would take to drive from here to Austin.  :)  AND I received a honk and wave from two men in a pick up...LOL