Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Chickens, My New Shoes, A Tree, and the Sunset...Of Course

 Well, we have been here almost 1 month.  It feels completely like home.  Just about every box is unpacked, walls are mostly decorated, and our list of projects has begun. :)  However, more than the gate discussion, pictures of sunsets, loss of water pressure and septic upset, the main topic of conversation has been THE CHICKENS.

We inherited three chickens and who knows how many fish with our little piece of the country.  We had no idea the chickens were going to be left, but here we are and here they are so.... I am now a lady with chickens.  I really never saw that title coming!

But here is the deal.  These chickens won't do what chickens should be doing.  It doesn't seem to matter what I read, discuss with friends who own chickens, or try these chickens will not lay eggs!  I am feeding them the right food, changing their water, laying golf balls in their boxes to show them where to put their eggs (yes this is a legit technique), and greeting them in the morning with, "Good morning, Girls"!  And what do I get...NOTHING!  In fact, the one chicken that actually laid on her golf ball liked it so much that she wouldn't get off.  Apparently, she was trying to hatch it!  Oh come on!  If I do the above then they should produce - this should be simple.


Sunny - she does nothing but walk around

Popcorn - this is a rare site that she is out.  She is always hiding up high.

Drumstick - yes, we named our hen with a male name.  Why?  Because I was insistent that she was a rooster because she has the red flappy thing on her face...  But after the name had stuck we figured out he was actually a she with a he-name.  Oh well!  She is actually my favorite and shows the most promise for laying eggs.  In this picture she was trying to hatch her golf ball.  We raise'em smart around here!


In other news my footwear has changed drastically.  What was once cute flip flops and sandals (10 months out of the year) has been replaced with these rubber camo boots.  I have them on most anytime I am outside.  Totally fashion forward, completely time-less, and very much all weather. :)


This is one of the trees that surrounds the pond.  My husband nick-named it the "Love Mesquite".  The reference makes me want to sing "Love Machine" every time I walk passed it.


Here is a super cool cloud that I saw Monday night when we were leaving for Scouts.  Oh yes, we drove all the way into to town only to realize there wasn't a scout meeting...  Mental note:  Check calendar EVERY. SINGLE. WEEK. REGARDLESS.  This pretty much made me stare at my gas gauge and morn the unnecessary loss of go-go juice.  May it rest in peace...sniff, sniff, sigh...


I can't seem to write a post, make a status update, or send a text without including a sunset picture.  It is my new love language.



Well, I will keep you updated on the chickens.  Hopefully, one of them will figure out how to lay an egg!




Monday, February 13, 2017

Welcome to the Country...Consider Us Initiated

Oh my word!  Our weekend.... I'm not even sure where I should begin.  We knew it was going to be a hectic weekend.  Charlie works Saturday's so we really do not like having plans other than church on Sunday.  But this Sunday was filled with kid commitments.  It actually started Saturday night with our youngest son's Cub Scout Blue and Gold Banquet, then Sunday morning for Scout Sunday, followed by a long meeting for our oldest now that he is quarter master for his patrol in his Boy Scout troop.  As a parent, you are excited for you kiddos and support them in their activities.  But as an adult who wants a break, you silently morn the loss of your lazy weekend.  :)

Our Saturday morning started pretty much like every other morning since we have moved...coffee on the porch.  It is truly wonderful.

Before I go any farther, I should mention that when I took my shower just moments before our coffee, I mentioned to Charlie how low our water pressure seemed.  We knew they had been working on a water problem earlier in the week, so we just assumed this may be another set back.  I told him I would call the water company when he left for work. 

We quickly jumped back into our routine of coffee, the porch, and watching the sunrise, when suddenly we were interrupted by the most awful sound of an alarm.  We both bolted out of our chairs, not sure where the alarm was coming from.  Then we noticed to the right of our property the light on top of our septic system was glowing bright red.  Yep...that was also the source of the alarm.  Let me tell you, that sound accompanied with that red light...not something you ever want to hear.  My stomach immediately started to flip (my stomach is always sensitive to stress or the unknown...lol...which is not funny...but is...but is so not!).  Anyway, it was as if the sound of the alarm and the color of the light sent my tummy right into panic mode.  Within the next few minutes we silenced the alarm and had the septic company on the phone.  Charlie and the gentleman on the phone started to troubleshoot.  Unfortunately they weren't able to fix anything without being there in person.  It was at this moment that Charlie looked at me and very seriously said, "Only flush the toilets in an emergency..." I am standing there with a stunned look on my face, thinking, "You mean the whole day!"

Oh no...my stomach...it was so confused...  I tried to ignore my tummy.  I tried to convince myself that it was just a knee jerk reaction.  The same as when you have to stand still but instantly you have an itch on your nose.

From here, Charlie had to leave for work, mentioning that he would call often to check the status of the red light, if the alarm re-triggered, and the lack of water pressure.  I had myself pumped that this would be okay.  After all, we are from Corpus Christi...we are very equipped to have water issues (that part may only make sense if you are aware of our unfortunate city water issues).  The rest of the day carried out as normal.  The kids and I did a good job of NOT flushing the toilets.  One of my children was absolutely, beyond excited to have full permission to pee (sorry) outdoors - he was literally giddy (insert boy mom eye roll).  We went to the Blue and Gold banquet that evening and then drove back out to our wonderful little peace of the country.  When we went to bed I mentioned that the water pressure seemed even lower...

By morning, the water pressure was basically a trickle.  Ugh!!!  We had church and not our church.  We were asked to attend the church of our Cub Scout pack for Scout Sunday.  I was already a bit nervous because, lets face it, unfamiliar churches are a bit intimidating.  I know they shouldn't be and that should not be my focus when I am at church, but...  Now we were going to a church we weren't familiar with and we weren't even going to be clean, showered people! 

As we were getting ready, Charlie sprang into full water emergency mode (remember, from Corpus).  With our slight trickle, he began filling the tanks in one of the three toilets.  Because we had all forgotten our no flush rule, the toilets were all flushed first thing in the morning.  It took him 10 trips outside, to the spickett (it had the best flow), filling up a 1/2 gallon pitcher, back inside, through the house to the bathroom, to the tank on the toilet.  10 TIMES FOR 1 FLUSH!!!  I don't think I have to tell you, but there went my stomach.  Complete panic.  I looked at my husband on trip number nine, and with a sheepish smile said, "Ummmm, Hun....my tummy doesn't feel too good."  And in that moment, he said one of the sweetest most romantic things, "Okay, you can take this tank and I will wait to re-fill for myself."  In that very moment I fell in love with him a thousand times over.  It truly is the little things, like taking 10 trips to fill the tank with the intentions of the flush being for you only to give the flush to your spouse.  :) :) Thankfully, my tummy had performance anxiety and there was nothing to worry about.  Hehehe....false alarm.  Sorry, my sense of TMI (too much info) has pretty much gone out the window.

Fast forward, we packed everything we would need to take showers at our parents' while we were in town.  We made it to the church service which was lovely and everyone was super friendly.  Also, the church bathroom had amazing water pressure!  I've never enjoyed washing my hands as much as I did in that moment.  After church we went out to lunch.  We had taken separate cars into to town, because we knew we would eventually be going in two different directions.  Charlie and our oldest took off in his truck for errands and the meeting, while myself and the other two kiddos left in my car for our own errands and then showers at my parents'.  Once we finished with our showers we headed back out of town.  When we got home we were thrilled to turn on the sink and have full pressure back!!!  I called Charlie and told him not to worry about showering in town and to get home!!!

So...the water was fixed but the septic was still on the fritz.  But hey, I will take washing hands over flushing the toilet any day.  At 7pm we noticed someone at our gate.  It was the septic company ready to take a look-see at our little issue.  I was shocked that we actually had people out on a Sunday evening at 7pm.  They realized that the brand new sump pump had burned up, went to the shop to pick up a new pump, came back out and began replacing everything (at no cost).  Now, just when things were starting to turn around, we were told one more time to absolutely NOT flush the toilets.  You know what happened next...

Our youngest got hit with a stomach bug...no lie!!!!  After about two hours of the bug we were finally able to flush all toilets.  She proceeded to be sick until about midnight but at least the last couple of hours our plumbing was working at top notch speed. 

So there you have it...that was our weekend.  At one point my dad chuckled and asked, "So, why did you move to the country?"  My response, "For the sunsets!"

I am concluding that this was our little initiation.  We made it through without water, septic, and a stomach bug.


Friday, February 3, 2017

The Gate and a Few Other Tidbits

Well, it has been 1 week since we moved to "the country".  We are about 25 miles and roughly 30 minutes outside of town.  However, there are a couple of smaller towns that we are closer to.  Either way you look at, we are definitely not in the city. 

As many of you know, our first week has been consumed with the transition (or lack thereof) of our dogs.  They are having a VERY difficult and stressful time trying to adjust to our new home, land, territory, whatever you want to call it.  After multiple and very violent fights between our three dogs, the new protocol is muzzles and kennels.  It is definitely not what we want for them, but it is the only way we can keep everyone safe and allow the injured dog to heal.  We are praying this works out.  Our family would be devastated it we had to get rid of one or more.

Now in other news, we have had a few new things to get used to.  The main one being the gate.  It is actually quite comical because this gate has been involved in most conversations this week. 

We have a large gate leading into the property.  The previous owner used a heavy duty pad lock to secure the gate when he wasn't home.  Since that was his method, we just continued because well...we have been too busy wrestling dogs to question something as "simple" as the gate.  Here are a few tidbits about this gate of ours.

1.  Everyone that comes over has an opinion about the gate.  Such as, but not limited to:
  • Why are y'all using a pad lock?
  • I can't believe you are actually locking your gate?
  • Why don't you just dummy lock it....(ummmm, that was new vocabulary for me)
  • You should get hooks....(ummmm, hooks....puzzled look comes across my face)
2.  All technicians and service people who have been out this week seem to understand the rules of the gate.  They pull up to the gate, get out, undo the "dummy lock", pull through, get out, re-do the dummy lock, proceed onto property.  Then repeat as they  leave.  This gate gives one lots of exercise getting in and out of the vehicle.

I should restate that...all technicians and service people but one...  The Direct TV guy must not service this area because he pulled up to the gate and stared at it.  Then he got out and the second I saw his shorts long enough to touch his ankles, yet belted under his butt, it was quite clear he was not use to "the country". 

Our Internet technician was actually dressed in camo....

3.  The kids and I seem to have a gate deficiency when trying to enter or exit the property.  The main problem is that my gate keys are on my normal key ring.  I really need to put them on a different ring but I am too afraid to loose the darn things.  So, this means I have to drive to the gate, TURN THE CAR OFF, get out, walk up to the gate, wrestle with the ridiculous pad lock, then walk back to the car, get in, turn it back on and then pull forward....

Did you notice what I missed?

Re-read and see if you can find the very crucial step that I keep forgetting.

The kids have to patiently remind me.

"Mom, you have to open the gate..."

Ugh!  Right!  Open the gate, pull through the gate, get of the car, walk back to the gate, CLOSE the gate, walk back to the car, get in the car, situate all my clothes for the 10th time, turn the car on, all while trying to look cool, collected, and country-fied!

So, my goal for the weekend is to find a really large key chain, one that cannot be misplaced.  I am going to put the gate keys on the huge key chain, leave them in my car, and have the kids run the gate.  It's obvious they have a better handle on it.

And finally, a few other tidbits after our first week.
1.  I thought I would cry with happiness when I saw the UPS truck drive down our road!!!  My friends!
2.  Knocking daddy long legs down off the ceiling has been added to my list of evening duties.
3.  I learned what a bait box was and what it holds.
4.  I am learning how to take care of the three chickens that were left by the previous owner.  Poor chickens, I am sure they pretty much hate their lives right now.
5.  I freaked out when my interent wouldn't open after the 3 hour installation.  I ran out the door flagging the technician down.  He asked what the problem was, so I showed him.  My voice was panicked when I explained to him that the Internet was not opening on my phone.  He looked at my phone for what seemed like forever and handed it over when Google appeared.  Charlie looked at me and said, "Hun, it was like 10 seconds...." 
6.  I will end with the best one.  I have never seen a more beautiful sunrise or sunset.  God's beauty and grace right out our door.

No filter!!!

That is all for now.  I have to go make sure the gate is closed. :)





Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Moving On

We sign on our new house in about 36 hours and then move-in the following day.  We are filled with excitement and beyond tired of living out of boxes.  :)  We have lived in our current home for 10 years.  Our oldest son (now 12) turned two the day we moved in.  It is crazy to me just how much "life" has occurred in this house.  Some our highest highs and lowest lows have happened within these walls.  I continue to consider this house a true blessing.  When we became a one-income family a few years ago, we thought for sure we would have to sell this house and move somewhere else.  But God had us in His hands and kept us right here, all along.

We have completed countless projects in this home.  We have basically changed every room except the two upstairs bathrooms.  Capet and tile ripped out, walls and cabinets painted, back splash added, downstairs bathroom gutted, ship lapped a wall, designed a built-in classroom, added a large pergola, extended the driveway and back patio, ripped out and re-built every step of the staircase, and lets not forget the pool!  This house has been a labor of love and really a canvas for us to find our style.  The funny thing is I won't really miss the house, but I will miss the memories we made and the hours of work we did as a family.  When I stop and think about it there is only one tiny part of this house that really pulls at my heart strings.

This...


We placed this at the very top of the extension to our driveway.  Lauren was so tiny, just three months old.  The boys were 5 and 2.  Oh!  This just melts my heart every time I pass it.  We tried to figure out a way to remove it, so we could take it with us.  However, we are too afraid of causing damage to the extension or even breaking the prints into pieces.  I decided to take a picture of it and have it blown up.  It will hang in the new house.  

I've been told the new owners are starting their family.  I hope this house is a much a blessing to them as it has been to us.  It's a great house, with a lot of wonderful features.  It has also been lived in by 2 adults, 3 children and many pets.  There are too many scratches, dents, chipped paint spots, etc. to count.  But it has also been loved and taken care of.  We just love hard, that is all. :)

I wonder which home my kids will consider their "childhood home"?  I bet it is the new one.  My parents moved into their house when I was 9 years old.  To me, that is my childhood home.  Isn't it funny that something which has been such a huge part of our marriage may actually not be such a huge part of my kids' childhood?  I love watching God works things out.  I thought it was going to be heart wrenching to leave this home.  But He has allowed my heart to slowly disconnect.  Well, to everything but this little piece of cement... :)

You know the picture will last a lot longer than the actual  piece, anyway...

And let me just say, it feels so good to write again!

Elizabeth

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Thanksgiving Take-Home Treats

Wow!  I just looked back and the last post I wrote was in September!!!  Where did October and the first half of November go? The last few weeks have been a super, fast paced race and I am so thankful to slow down for a few days.

My husband and I host Thanksgiving every year.  We welcome anyone who wants to come just as long as we don't have to go anywhere. :)  I just love Thanksgiving.  I love having family and friends together in our home.  I love planning, baking, and eating.  I love discussing the menu with my mom, mother-in-law, grandmothers, and anyone else who wishes to bring something.  Most of all, my husband and I share a huge love for cooking and feeding the people in our lives.  I also love that our Thanksgiving is so laid back that everyone knows to bring their own Tupperware for leftovers.  :)

For the last several years, I have made sure that everyone has a little something special to take home in addition to their leftovers.  This year I chose Baked French Toast.  This is a Pioneer Woman recipe that I have used as our Christmas breakfast for a long time.  Recently our sons had a joint birthday brunch and we had Baked French Toast as one of the breakfast items.  It seemed to go over well with everyone so I figured it would be a great take-home gift.

I needed to triple the batch in order to fill 9 small pans.  That means 24 eggs!  

My little assembly line. :)



This will make you house smell a-mazing!!

I made nine pans but as you can see, there are only eight.  The kids and I agreed that we should "taste test" one for lunch. Quality control is very important...:)


So now our guests will have breakfast for Friday morning!  This recipe goes really well with whipped cream, syrup, and blueberries.  YUM!

In years past I have sent home Pumpkin Spice GranolaStove Top Potpourri, and homemade bread.  I hope everyone has a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving!!!





















Thursday, September 29, 2016

Pantry Essentials List with Printable

Hello everyone!  After posting the Facebook Live video on Monday (Taco Soup Recipe), I was asked exactly how to stock a pantry.  I come from a long line of women who keep a well stocked pantry... okay, maybe we just over-by and have full pantries...  But either way, if we need it most likely we will have it. :)  I do believe that if you have a well stocked pantry you are less likely to run out for fast food which over time also effects your budget.  Also, I re-stock on a regular basis.  If I use something then I put it on the grocery list to be purchased.  That way, I am never without an ingredient.





I hope this is helpful.  My hubby noticed that I listed both marinara and spaghetti sauce.  What I was meaning to type was marinara and pizza sauce. :)  I didn't have a chance to correct it.  The kids were excited to catch up on some science experiments involving dry ice.  I had told them we could not do the experiments until Daddy got home.  Needless to say, they were not interested in my confusion between marinara, spaghetti sauce, and pizza sauce. :)





Monday, September 26, 2016

Quick and Easy Taco Soup

Hello everyone!!!  I was recently asked about my "go to" meals.  In particular, what meals do I make when we are on a tight schedule.  I have found through lots of trial and error that it really isn't about a fast recipe, as much as, it is having ingredients on hand and preparing a head of time.

I thought Taco Soup would be a great recipe to share.  We live in Texas so I just assumed everyone already had their own version of this soup but then a friend of mine encouraged me to share it anyway.  There is nothing fancy about this recipe but it is super good and very EASY!  I also think it is extremely versatile.  You can serve it by itself, over Spanish rice, with tortilla chips or Fritos, tortillas, and also cornbread.  As leftover, you can strain the liquid but use the meat and all the other goodies over tortilla chips with lots of cheese - makes great nachos!

Here is the ingredient list.  I try to have all fo the canned goods on hand at all times.

1-2 lbs. hamburger (browned) - you decide how much you want to use
1 packet ranch seasoning
1 packet taco seasoning
1 can hominy
1 can pinto beans
1 can black beans
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can Rotel
water (add until it is the consistency you like)

After browning and draining the meat add all other ingredients.  Bring to a boil and then down to a simmer.  Eat right away or allow to simmer for how ever long you have. :)  This is really great the next day.  If you are in a huge rush, make it the day before, keep in fridge, and then reheat.

When serving, I like to top the soup with sour cream, jarred jalapenos, and Monterrey jack cheese.

This recipe is so forgiving, you can pretty much use whatever you have on hand.  If you want less beans omit one can, if you want more spice use the spicy Rotel.  You decide...it is impossible to mess this one up! :)

I will add a picture as soon as ours is finished! :)