Sunday, February 25, 2007

Random Ramblings

We have privacy in our dining room! We haven't had window treatments in the dining room since we moved in. The lighting in this picture isn't the greatest, but you get the idea. Hubby and I had a date yesterday. We really didn't have anything exciting planned except hanging out together. The house is a little chilly as the furnace isn't working, so we opted to just get out and spend our time shopping around. We really didn't have much of a budget, but we found these bamboo blinds at Ikea for a really good price. We like them and it makes us feel like our travels were purposeful.
In other ideas floating around my head this morning... I was watching tv this morning - cooking shows are my favorite. I have decided that I'd like to visit The Lady & Son's restaurant when we go on vacation. It's amazing what you have to do to get a reservation there. I have heard that she makes the best southern fried chicken. There is just something about southern food that is appealing. Anyway, Savannah is only about an hours drive from where we will be staying. I think that is a doable distance to travel for a day of enjoyment in a landmark southern spot.
We rented FOUR movies last night:
  • Napoleon Dynomite
  • Sybil
  • Spanglish
  • Young Frankenstein

We watched Spanglish last night. I thought it was supposed to be a funny movie. It had some funny parts and actually I was surprised that the story was better than I expected, but I didn't think it was all that funny. Next we popped in Napoleon Dynomite. I saw until shortly after the dude shoots a cow infront of the schoolbus full of kids. After a little chuckle, I closed my eyes and missed the rest. Oh well, we have 7 days to try again.

Brrr... how about this ice storm? I'm disappointed that I did not think to pick up some rock salt yesterday when we were out. Hopefully it warms up outside so we won't need it so much. On days like today, I am quite grateful for having a garage. Now that's a luxury that I never thought I'd want. I was used to life without it. The sad thing is that once you have a garage, there's no turning back! You HAVE TO HAVE one from that point on or your life is just too frustrating!!!! Now I wish that we had one for K's car too. Someday...

I really want to put a bird feeder outside our front window. Crystal so loves chirping at the birds. She deserves to have something to draw them nearer to her perch. In KY, we had a full length glass screen door. She would hunker down in front of it and chirp at the birds and squirrels. She LOVED it and she misses that special treat here in PA. Again... someday...

I made a coffee cake this morning for Keith. Baking something helps take the edge of the chill in our house. We understand that the landlord has made arrangements for a new furnace to be installed on Monday. I understand that it is supposed to be a "high-efficiency" model, which is fantastic. I guess we aren't getting central air, but we can't have it all. We are quite thankful for this provision.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Dark Clouds

I feel as though a storm has rolled into our lives. It seems that we are welling up with prayer requests. God sure will be busy this week!

Just to sum it up in short order:

  • Dad has been having health problems

  • Aunt Joy is in the hospital

  • Jim cut his pinkie finger completely off this week

  • Uncle Ken (K's uncle) had quadruple bypass surgery this week

  • David hurt his wrist pretty bad

  • The Farmer's Market where I used to work burned down this week

  • Our furnace quit working again today

  • I've been on the edge of my seat all week as the Hospital's state licensure survey was in process

Uh... if you are either related to me or a very close friend, you might want to just take some extra precautions in all areas of your life. It seems that the bad news is raining down on us... How crazy that it comes all at once.

Regardless, God is good and will see us through each of these. Just to give you some updates -

  • Uncle Ken is reportedly recovering well.

  • Jim gave the nurse 'the finger', (he he he) and he had surgery but they could not save it. He's home now and must be well as he is joking as usual. Maybe our prayers should be for Mom Hudson putting up with him? LOL Keith says "It's a good thing he has health insurance. It could have cost him an arm and a leg too!" (That's my hubby... Mr. Funny)

  • David's wrist is not supposedly broken, but he's in bad shape. It's really swollen and he cannot use it. He has to go for an MRI. Chrissy and Jamie and I have been helping out with milking the cows. This takes me back to days gone by. I love it, but brrrrr... so cold this time of year. But hey - I'll take this over the heat of the summer any day.

  • I understand that the Market's farmers (at least some of them) will be making arrangements to somehow accommodate their customers despite their lack of a building.

  • Wow, our furnace just came on for the first time all day. I wonder how long that will last? I think maybe our landlord might be looking to replace the ol' dinosaur for us. Hopefully soon.

  • I haven't heard the final say on the result of our licensure survey for work, but... when it was our turn for scrutiny, they sure did knit-pick on some things. Of course our files were in perfect order, but they found little this's and that's to pick on. I suppose if they did not, then it would look like they were not doing their jobs.

So that's what's happening in my neck of the woods. I should also report a few delightful things...

  • Our niece Annabelle will be baptised this weekend!

  • Our friends, the Barnetts, had a baby boy last week. They were our bestest neighbors ever - people who lived next door to us in Wilmore.

  • Another family friend is preparing to travel abroad to pick up their new daughter from Guatemala. I cannot wait to hold her!!!!

See... it can't all be bad. I just feel badly for those who are in predicaments.

Falling Temperatures

In our house... Hubby called to inform me that the furnace has gone kaput. Our landlord is assessing replacement. I really hope that it's done very soon!!! Thank the Lord for the space heater.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Spare Room... It's All Country

Just wanted to share some pictures of the progress made in the spare room. We are not huge fans of "borders" but decided that the spare room would benefit from such decor. We put up the border this past weekend. So now this room has been painted, has new outlets, and a new plain curtain. We still have much to do, but it is actually an inviting room now. See for yourself.
This room is all about the country life. This is where I shall display my love of horses, cows, and farm life (notice pictures of Penny on the wall) my Mailpouch barns, and I'm hoping to have a shelf for some of my collectibles one day. The picture over the bed reminds me of my childhood. Keith bought it for me years ago and I was so impressed with his thoughtfulness.
There is still much to do. The trim needs painted, carpet needs replaced, the closet doors need replaced, and the closet shelving needs replaced. We actually have the shelving, we just haven't had the time to mount it yet. Additional wishes for this room include new country curtains, perhaps a white picket fence headboard for the bed, and new linens - pillows - etc. for the bed. I need to find a lamp that fits the decor and a stool for my vanity. I have some treasures in the basement that will also eventually accent this room -- milk cans from Grampy's dairy!!! Aunt Jane saved them all these years. One day a while back I asked her if I could have them and she said YES!!!! Oh glory days!!!! Perfect for this room, but even more so due to their origin. I shall display them proudly.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Slim Pickins From Valentine's Treat

The cats have really tested my patience when it comes to flowers. It's not often that I am treated with such pleasures, but it's becoming more and more aparent that I must build a special shelf for displaying things of this nature.

Yes, they chewed almost a whole dozen roses. I sat this morning and carefully picked the petals apart for a bowl full of lovelys. I'm not sure how fragrant it might be, but alas I shall enjoy them to the bitter end.

Bad Cats!!!!

This morning I caught the mischievous kitties in action! There is a reason why we have a special container to keep their food in.

Snippets of Today

I'm still under the weather. I'm up and down. Trying to make the most of my time since I'm staying in for the day. Puffs Plus is my new best friend. The humidifier is a close second to that. Ugh!

Despite, I have attempted to be somewhat productive.
  • I washed the dishes. There weren't many, but to have them all done makes me feel good. I even scrubbed the coffee pot, which was well overdue.
  • I baked a batch of blueberry muffins. I bought a packet of muffin mix yesterday and much to my surprise, it was only enough for 6 muffins. Not acceptable as my muffin pan happens to hold a dozen. So I pride myself in mixing up my own, with a little help from Bisquick. It did not have a recipe for muffins, only biscuits. So I added some sugar and the end of some frozen blueberries from the freezer and poof! There you have it... enough to make another 6 muffins. This idea was inspired Keith's most recent tasting.
  • I am in a clothes washing frenzy! I've probably washed 5 loads already. I can't get too crazy because I have to wait for them to dry as well. It seems that Keith should have enough work clothes for all week long.
  • I'm thinking about making pecan chicken for dinner with an apricot glaze, served with smashed potatoes -- maybe Parmesan or garlic -- not sure. I will find another vegetable to serve as well. This should make hubby feel loved. (He loves pecans)

Homemaking Research

I'm not the most talented when it comes to homemaking. I can do what I need to do and maybe just a little bit more, but sometimes I like to look for new tips... things I did not know before.

In my quest I have happened upon another ladies blog, who often has recipes and interesting homemaking tips. Here I learned the right way to crack an egg. I also stumbled upon a link to a website with all sorts of tips and other stuff. I could spend all day digging into it.

I had to chuckle a little this morning when I stumbled upon this link. I thought to myself... Is this for real!?! I don't think I shall be embarking upon such a project myself anytime soon. But I couldn't help but think... this would cure any husband's issue with picking up "things" at the grocery when he shops for his wife. LOL

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Keeping Warm

Keith was off Friday and again today. Good for me because I have hardly seen him these last couple of weeks. We had a nice dinner with Amanda and John last night. Aside from that, we had no plans despite the desire to make some. I'm sick again, so my level of enjoyment is of little significance. So we rented a couple of movies and stayed in.

As luck would have it, the furnace is not working this morning. We've been wondering how long it would hold out. It's pretty old. We hate to call the landlord, but this being a potential large ticket item, we must. Ugh. One good thing for us, if we do actually buy this place, it just may come with a new furnace. So here we sit, surrounded by cuddly blankets. We have a space heater that does a good job. Sitting around the space heater is like sitting by the campfire, only inside and there is no flame. It's not THAT cold in here, but enough to know that the furnace isn't working.

I'm going to bake something. Maybe cookies... or a cake... who knows? This is something I learned from my Granny. She baked all winter long to help keep her home roasty toasty. She was so smart... using her gas to its fullest potential. It won't warm us up to par, but will probably take the edge off. More peanut butter cookies are Keith's request.... so more peanut butter cookies I will bake.

Ok - I suppose I must get to it already. I also have some errands to run, but maybe later as we are awaiting the furnace guy's visit.

Keep warm everybody!!!!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Pastor Dave's Handy Tips for A Happy Marriage

Our pastor made us write these down... we have lived by these and can report that they are very beneficial. I'm also adding some of my own comments to eleborate on what we've learned. (in red)

  1. Include God. And Pray together. As each grows closer to God you will grow closer to one another.
  2. Have daily small-talk. And practice listening.
  3. Have a game-plan for fighting. And a plan for making up.
  4. Have a confidante. Someone who respects you both.
  5. Dream & talk about the future. Record cherished memories, milestones, answered prayers, etc.
  6. Have a maintenance plan including a yearly review and assessment of accomplishments. And be deliberate about it.
  7. This one is our own... never depart one another's company without a kiss and an "I love you."

Cherished Memories

Celebrate Marriage

Found this invitation here.
I'm taking this time and space to tell you about my marriage, our wedding, and how great my valentine is.
We met after years of corresponding on-line. We had no intention of meeting up when it began, but as years rolled by... we decided to do so only to prove a point to Keith's family -- That he can get a date that won't stand him up or cancel! As the story goes, he could never keep a date. His cousin was getting married and he was to be in the wedding. He explained his woes to me and asked me if I would be his date that weekend. I humbly accepted and thought - nothing ventured, nothing gained.
So I drove 5 hours to meet my soldier in Cincinatti. His Dad graciously allowed me to stay at his place and I had my own guest room and everything. I met some of Keith's friends and his family - some of which I had also met online before I arrived. The next morning, Saturday, I was plagued with my very first kidney stone. I wasn't sure what was killing me, but whatever it was, was horrific. Eventually I asked Keith to take me to the hospital, where I would become disgustingly sick and rather irritable. The registration clerks were not the least bit helpful and I had to wait an awful long time. After what seemed like a decade of waiting, I was poked, prodded, and examined with a diagnosis of kidney stones. I had to go for more testing. Wait wait wait. He sat beside me, held my hand, and wiped my face. After hours of waiting he left the room to call home. I overheard his conversation "I can't just leave her here! She's 500 miles from home and knows nobody! What am I gonna do?!" You see, he needed to get to the wedding because he was IN IT. So I told him to go. He kissed me in that hospital room before he left - even in the midst of what a wreck I was. (I will spare you the gorey details) His Dad picked me up hours later and took me to the reception. He was so happy to see me. He hugged me close as if I was his long lost friend! Upon introducing me to his sisters, one proclaimed "She's for real!" while the other backed it up with "And she's pretty too." And thus... he actually did have a date. It looked like he might have been stood up, but he wasn't.
This was the beginning of our relationship...
On September 2, 2000, we married in our local church. We wanted to choose a day beyond the heat of the summer, but while the summer daisies were still available. None the less, it was the hottest day of the year. The church was filled, and the attendants were dressed to a T. His sister Tammy sang for us. His sister Denise and my brother Paul read scripture for us. It was a beautiful ceremony. Our reception was probably the best party we have ever been to. It wasn't the food or the drinks or the music... it was because all of our most precious friends and family were in attendance. We danced the night away as did most everybody there. At the end of the night I sat down to write the check for the DJ and my feet cramped like a charlie horse!
My husband is smart, handsome, patient, kind, and supportive. I cannot say enough lovely things about him. Despite the fact that we are from very different worlds, he loves me just the way I am. He holds me up when I am down. He holds my hand when I am afraid. He wipes my tears when I cry. He hugs me close when I need held. He motivates me when I am lazy. He makes me relax when I am crazy. He is delighted when I cook for him and says I'm a good baker. He rubs my feet whenever I ask. When I feel ugly, he tells me I'm beautiful. Sometimes he tucks me in at night, even though I'm just going to untuck myself when he leaves the room. He takes out the garbage so I don't have to. He hauls the laundry up and down the steps. He's handy with remodeling and construction. He left his military career to be with me because he did not want me to have to leave my family. He is a romantic at heart. He never leaves home without first kissing me and telling me that he loves me. There is so much love to share... I cannot even begin to summarize it all here.
I love him so very much!

Valentine Exclusive

Get your own here.

"V" is for Valentine


And what a wonderful surprise to awaken to fresh flowers in my dining room... He is so sweet! On a day like today... who doesn't want to snuggle?!


Today I'm making a pot of vegetable soup that my Granny would have been proud of. She used to make it for me often as it was and is one of my very favorite kinds of soup. When she made it, it was even more special. But now I must carry on the tradition and make my own... YUMM-O

This past weekend I made another item that Granny made often, although they didn't seem to come out quite the same. She always had that criss-cross on top, but mine just flattened when I tried that. I'm certain that our recipes are not the same. Her's were way more peanut-buttery than mine. These happen to be one of Keith's favorite... Peanut Butter Cookies!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Household Tip

I keep my honey jar on the stove. The heat from cooking keeps it from turning to sugar.

Have you got a household tip to share?

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Play Time

Favorite Treats!
New Toy!
Catnip Rush!!!


We love to sit and watch the kitties play...

Date Night

Keith took me on a date last night. After work we both took a nap. Then we jumped in the Corolla for a scoot into Pittsburgh. I always forget how close we are to the city now. We can be in downtown Pittsburgh in less time that it would take to drive to Butler. To me it's odd. It's always been a big deal to go to the city. We need to explore more of the city now that we are closer.

Anyway, he has a friend who is a jewelry artist. Her artwork is created and displayed at Slaughterhouse Gallery and Studios in Lawrenceville. The building is an old slaughterhouse with real meat hooks and other memorabilia from those days. In a way its creepy, but rich in history. The website has links for the building's history and all the artists that exhibit there. Megan's Work is unique and elegant. We toured her studio and saw some of her inspirations. I am proud to have some of her custom work:

We also toured the woodshop there and spoke to a gentleman who is involved in the model railroad exhibit in Gibsonia. He actually makes the props, like the trees and buildings and accessories. We talked to him a while and he wow'd us with his knowledge and expertise. It was like having a behind the scenes look at how model railroad exhibits are created.

After hanging out at the gallery, we ventured across the street to a place that seemed like one of those "hole in the wall" type joints. The bars on the door and windows would have been an instant turn-off for me; however, dining with a friend who is familiar with this territory makes it all better. On the contrary, the food was fantabulous! Click here for a glimpse of the cuisine. I had a reuben with home made chips - YUMM-O. Keith had conch fritters (something I'm not so sure about) and a meatloaf dinner served along side a giant fancy salad and some other delights. If you ask me, this might be one of Pittsburgh's best spots for late-night people watching. The transvestite in the bar... the scary tatooed guy with all the piercings... ahhhh, not my kind of crowd, but again... fantastic food.

This Cracks Me Up

Each year around Valentine's day, I notice increasing number of ads for naming a star for your loved on. The Star Foundation offers various packages from $34.95 to $99.95 with different levels of perks to go along with your special star. This is only one of many similar ads. While some may think this is a unique and precious gift for a loved one, I personally think it is rather ridiculous, based especially on the fact that the stars are already named!!!

Psalm 147

Praise the Lord.

How good it is to sing praises to our God,

how pleasant and fitting to praise him!

The Lord builds up Jerusalem;

he gathers the exiles of Israel.

He heals the brokenhearted

and binds up their wounds.

He determines the number of the stars

and calls them each by name.

Great is our Lord and mighty in power;

his understanding has no limit.

The Lord sustains the humble

but casts the wicked to the ground.

Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;

make music to our God on the harp.

He covers the sky with clouds;

he supplies the earth with rain

and makes grass grow on the hills.

He provides food for the cattle

and for the young ravens when they call.

His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse,

nor his delight in the legs of a man;

the Lord delights in those who fear him,

who put their hope in his unfailing love.

Extol the Lord, O Jerusalem;

praise your God, O Zion,

for he strengthens the bars of your gates

and blesses your people within you.

He grants peace to your borders

and satisfies you with the finest of wheat.

He sends his command to the earth;

his word runs swiftly.

He spreads the snow like wool

and scatters the frost like ashes.

He hurls down his hail like pebbles.

Who can withstand his icy blast?

He sends his word and melts them;

he stirs up his breezes, and the waters flow.

He has revealed his word to Jacob,

his laws and decrees to Israel.

He has done this for no other nation;

they do not know his laws.

Praise the Lord.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Tuesday Morning

Good morning. Gotta get this day on its way. I have tonz to do at work. I just don't like to go in too early anymore. I realized that I was getting to work really early and then after everyone went home... I actually was able to get into the meat of my job. It was wearing me out, so... I put a stop to it. Now I mosey into work a little later than everyone else. This way I get a couple good hours of "me time" at work after everyone else clocks out and goes home. Is it fair? Hmmm... not hardly, but it's working for now and I guess that's what matters.

Yahoo tells me that it is -6 degrees outside right now. Can that be right? Oh my... I don't like this one bit!!!! These are the days I am glad to have a desk job in a nice warm spot. Although there are many days that I dream of doing other things. If you could have a job doing ANYTHING and have the funds to be content... what would it be?

Hmmm... I would milk cows, drive a dump truck, plow some snow, and have a few horses. Ahhhhhhhh.... that would be the life!

Or... how about having an equine youth center... A farm with lots of sane horses where kids can come and ride, but also have a recreation hall for other entertainment. Hmmm...

Ok... wake up! Got to get back to reality - you know - the real job!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Retreat Weekend Comes To An End

This morning began bright and early. The temperature was ZERO when I got up to let the dogs out. The little dogs wanted no parts of it - too early and too cold. The big doggies were happy to get out and were even somewhat reluctant to come back in. Never the less, I called until they all came in, then I snuggled back into bed for another hour or two of sleep.

I put coffee on to brew while I went out to feed the birds. The dogs all accompanied me, even the little ones. Brrr... honkin brrrr... by this time it was about 15 degrees maybe. After returning for a cup of joe with Keith, I bundled up and headed for the barn.

The horses were delighted to see me and the kitties scampered frantically in sweet anticipation of having some warm water with their breakfast. I put one flake of hay out for each of the horses and let them out to frolic while I cleaned their stalls. Frozen water buckets and frozen terds... Ahhh... winter at its finest! I cleaned all of the stalls, filled their buckets with fresh water, and put 2 more generous flakes of hay in each stall. After fussing with this and that, tossing some fresh hay down, and sweeping the floor, I let them all back into the barn and closed it up for the day. It's just way too cold to have them out in it and the goat cannot bear the winter wind if we leave the door open.

I checked them again at about 3pm. Their water had started to freeze and they had drank most of it anyway. I re-filled their buckets and picked their stalls once again. I wanted everything to be fresh, clean, and ahead of the game when Rene'e and Lee got back.

They made it back safe and sound. Shortly thereafter Keith and I set out for home. Mmmmm.... what a lovely weekend it was. I had some quiet time. I wrote in my journal. I snuggled and watched movies. I needed that kind of weekend. I love being there. I don't do that enough. Thanks Rene'e.

So... this concludes my retreat weekend. I think I'll snuggle with my hubby a little more and get a good nights sleep before I have to brave the real world tomorrow.


R&R Where Its Warm

An interesting friend...

Moe Moe keeps me company, but I don't think he likes it! The doggies sleep... Moe Moe

and Speedy.

I just realized that I did not get pictures of all the big doggies. Hmm... there were some pretty funny shots too. CJ went out this morning, layed belly up in the snow, and wiggled back and forth. He LOVED it! And it was like 10 degrees! I think that's why I didn't take any more pictures... too cold!

I watched a few movies while snuggled into the recliner with a throw blanket and a hot beverage. Movies included:
  • Walk The Line
  • Harry Potter
  • Brokeback Mountain (didn't like it)
  • The Guardian

Just a Few More Mouths To Feed

I went to feed the guinea hens and Casey felt like he HAD to be part of it.

Hay For The Big Mules: Matilda and Merlin

Oh sweet anticipation...

Uh oh... :(


Never fear... there is always a pitch fork near.


Merlin likes the attention.

Happy Hungry Horses... and Mules

What can I say? I think maybe Duke and Riley are the most photogenic of all of them. As soon as he picked his pile of hay, he turned his back to the wind.

Riley. Big. Black. Beautiful!

Murdock preferred to stay inside.

Brrrrr... Stinkin Brrrrr....


Dressed for the occassion.

Fresh, cold, crisp, work of art.

Hmm... getting deeper!

You can see your breath even inside the barn.

Duke is anxious to get outside!

Blaze demands FOOD!