Saturday, October 31, 2009

Jack-O-Lantern 09 Edition




I am a crafty kind of girl but not when it comes to carving pumpkins. My creative carvings haven't evolved past second grade. The traditional triangle eyes, upside down triangle nose and crooked mouth are funky as I get with these orange orbs. However, the children in our house are not to be pitied. Their father posses a rare and unique talent.........he can make just about any design just by looking at a picture (I am so in awe and so jealous of this talent!) He's carved bats, wolves, spiders and a cat face.

It is know in our house that if you want a cool pumpkin you do not ask mom to help you. (She takes care of the clean up and seed cooking) If you want a cool carving you have two options 1.) wait until dad comes in the house, which could be late or

I am happy to report Parker and Pryce took the later choice (which I fully supported!) Parker's artistic talents have surpassed my own; he's 8. He carved the word boo in his pumpkin and mine! I did go a little wild this year and totally varied from tradition, I made a J; tough, I know! Pryce's pumpkin got a little help from the Carving Master, she requested and received a kitty face.

We are just about ready to put on our costumes now. We have snow on the ground and in some places 4 ft. drifts. I remember cold Halloweens before but not ones with mud soup in front of our barn and drifts beside the house. I love those warm fall nights when the kids and parents don't have to bundle up and wear coats over their costumes! We won't have that this year though it is a balmy 42 degrees presently.

We'll be taking Iron Man, a Pirate and an adorable, fire-breathing dragon to glean treats soon. The excitement is about to begin. Oh the joys of being a mother!!!!

How creative do you get with pumpkin carving? I'd love to hear and/or see fabulous creative designs! Feel free to post below, email me at or friend request me on facebook! We'll be posting the rest of the pumpkin carving pictures and trick-or-treating pics there! Happy Haunting!

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Friday, October 30, 2009

Enjoy It Now!


These used to be my dishes. I was so careful, I didn’t want to break them. The other day, as I got them down from the top shelf for my little daughter, I had “break through”. I’ve saved these dishes all these years and protected them but I never really got to enjoy them, even when I was a child!

Yesterday as Pryce and I were having a delightful tea party I realized that I wanted her to have a different experience; I want her to use and enjoy everything!

I’ve recently discovered a great blog, The Non-Consumer Advocate, written by Kate Wolk-Stanley, . Her motto,“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.” Those words were certainly ringing in my ear as I joined Po and Jag at the tea party table. It made me think how many times, we as adults “save something for later” and then we never really get around to enjoying it? I've saved things becuase I thought they too good to use for everyday and by the time I got around to using the item is was past the expiration date, out of style or not longer any good.

I hope to share this invitation with my daughter. Granted she is only four and right now, she could care less about any of my concepts. Her goal is to see how much she can get into, what all she can drag out from the treasure trove of mommy’s cupboard and the wonderful delights that await her. I really should thank her because her sleuthing has excavated jewelry I had forgotten that I had, shoes and bags that were tossed in the back of my closet, candles, kitchen gadgets and other items too numerous to mention. (yes, I kept the can opener from my great-grandmother's house, it was just too cool to let go of!) I continue to take steps to reduce clutter to repurpose and recycle whenever I can. I am good at getting rid of most junk but this day I realized I am not so good at using things up and enjoying them.

Although I've teased my mom about keeping so much stuff, this experience also made me appreciate my mother’s hoarding skills. Although I don’t advocate saving everything, I am really glad that she saved this precious little tea set. It does affirm my belief that older items are just as good as brand-spakin’ shiny new ones. (I am hoping to steer the males in our family to seeing this way as well. This could be an interesting journey.)

How many times do we save something "for good" when we miss the opportunity to get the good out of it right now? What is something that you've been saving for later or saving for a special event? Why not let today be that special day? Celebrate the ordinary simplicity that is here, right now.

And most importantly.........what words do we save for later? Maybe there is someone that really needs to hear how much you love, adore and appreciate them? Maybe there is an old grudge that is ready to be released or old an would that wants to be healed? Say what needs to be said, wear those clothes that you've been saving for "good", splash on that expensive perfume, use those tantalizing lotions, wear your grandmother's wedding ring, play with your kids, give out hugs and lots of smiles. Find your passion and share it with others. Live the life that you have always wanted, no excuses! We get one shot, let's use it!
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Friday, October 23, 2009

Notes about my tattoo

The image that I see

The image that others see

The close up!

For Paige, Lenna and anyone else who is interested!!!

I’ve always wanted a tattoo. I have a bit of a different view when it comes to this form of "art". I waited until I was in my 30’s to have something so permanent and wanted to make sure it was an image that I would love and want, not something that I came home after the bar with, looked in the mirror and went “Oh shit, what have I done?” I’ve had those oh shit moments, it’s just that most of the time it wasn’t something as permanent as a tattoo!!!

This isn't my first tatoo, but is the most prominent one. The first tat came in celebration of my 35th birthday. It is an ancient symbol that depicts the moon phases. It represents emotions, feminine energies, water and my three children. I have two small yellow stars just above the moon symbol to represent Chad and myself.

The tat of the dolphin was a celebration of my Accreditation as a Journey Practitioner. It is an intensive training in self-discovery, cellular healing, and really getting to the core of issues so that you can really live the life you want. After one goes through the training or experiences the powerful sessions there’s a lot of realizations. It becomes hard to hide behind walls, descriptions, labels, and games and old patterns that have kept us locked in place. We go through the training to become a facilitator, to assist others but really we work on ourselves first. I knew that I wanted to do something to commemorate the accomplishment. After the intense training we are required to do 45 case studies with documentation and follow up. I completed my training and case studies in less than a year. Throughout that time, several images kept coming to me. The first was a dolphin. I’ve always loved them and whenever I am around a living one, I seem to be transported into another realm, one of sheer peace. It’s hard to describe because it is so not what I experience in my daily vibrations! I was also listening to a recording of dolphin sounds (Jon Goldman’s Dolphin Dreams CD) when I had my first breakthrough, one that really opened those inner doors of my being!)

In the Journey we work with wonderfully relaxing music. I absolutely fell in love with the voice of Deva Premal. She has an amazing collection of songs, chants from Sanskrit. My favorite was Om Shanti. Om is the ancient primordial sound and the symbol includes the levels for physical, mental, spiritual and enlightenment, which is in integration of everything. Shanti means peace.

The realization that has emerged with me is that everything I need to be happy, free, confident and fulfilled is already within my being, everything. Everything I seek on the outside is simply a reflection. When I shared this with my friend Todd (best damn tattoo artist ever!) he showed me an image that he drew a number of years ago, which is the image that you see on my foot. Notice the Dolphin is jumping INTO my own skin, into my inner paradise (yes, my version of paradise is a warm sunny island, sparkling blue water, waves, beaches and palm trees, a.k.a heaven!!!)
Interestingly, he originally drew the image for my friend Alicia, who at the time, happened to be Parker’s 1st teacher!

The tattoo was done in two settings. The first was the dolphin and water scene. The second was the Om and Shanti. Though the foot is supposed to be painful, this one didn’t hurt all that badly and healed very, very quickly. The moon tattoo was deeply painful. IT is on the inside of my left ankle. We used purple ink and I had a reaction to it that caused a nasty infection. It took a long, long time for it to heal. I will eventually change colors and add to it someday but even after two years, it is still quite sensitive! Compared to the ankle tat, the foot was a walk in the part (no pun intended, but on reread and edit, it works!)

I knew that I wanted it to be on my foot because when I am stressed, angry, etc. I noticed I have a tendency to look down and I am usually holding my breath~ now, as soon as I look down, I breathe, relax and go within to my inner paradise.

There is not a day that goes by that I don’t look at it and love it. I have no regrets, despite the reaction/upset that it caused in my marriage. Chad isn’t wired this way at all. He’s not a fan, nor will he be and that is another part of the realization and freedom that I have experienced. Though I don’t purposely wish to make anyone angry, displeased, mad or upset, I am also no longer willing to compromise my truth and not do something, just because it will upset someone else. And I know that his love for me goes deeper than the ink in my skin………….

Tattoos are not for everyone and everyone seems to have an opinion! Chad didn’t think it was a very good example for our children and in some ways he may be right. I wouldn’t want my high school child to get one that he or she wouldn’t love later in life, or an image that they would “grow out of”. I explained this to my three kids after I got the first one. I wanted them to know my reasons and why I did what I did. I never told them they could or could not get a tattoo, I just requested that if they decided they wanted one, to come to me and I would help them choose an image that they would want to have………forever. When I mentioned the word forever, Parker totally backed off! We’ll see who is the first one to get one?

So there’s the tattoo story for anyone who wondered, anyone who might care and anyone who was curious or bored enough to read this!
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Monday, October 19, 2009

I wouldn't look like this if I had an office job!


Though you can't tell clearly by looking at this picture, my jeans are a mess. I look like I've been in a food fight with tomatoes, my hair was falling out of its pony tail and I was covered in dirt and leftover corn shucks. I need to look at this picture often though. On days like today when I have a lot of things to do, (how could I think I got caught up on Friday????!) and I don't know which project to start first. I need to remember that the only person who can signal a time out is ME. This is the life that I've always wanted, one where I can make up my own schedule and work hours. Oh I'm not making three firgures but I am making five figures (myself included) very happy. Yes, I get to play in the dirt, grow things, organize, shuffle, prepare, conference, schedule, type, consult, design, create, craft and communicate for a living. I have the luxury of doing the majority of my paid hours via phone and computer. The rest of my work is done right here at home too, with my family and my animals.

I've long ago given up on the latest fashion trends, I don't try to keep up with the times or styles. In fact, I'm quite fond the quirky, strange and outdated. I love finding a new purpose for an old something. I realize that it would be very hard for me to work consistently in a traditional career. I'm glad I made the transition when I did. It wouldn't be proper to show up in bare feet and dirty blue jeans to teach a class, (unless it was one on organic gardening!) I chuckled when I sat down to this view yesterday and realized how far I've fallen from my formerly "dressed up and professional self"!

This was taken on the bench beside my garden shed. I'll be posting pictures of it too, with the idea of repurposing in mind~an excellent practice for practical decorating and upcoming holiday seasons. The garden spot is where I love to hang out, catch my breath and air my thoughts. The world seems a lot more peaceful when I am sitting here, gazing at the beautiful landscape, the rolling hills and amber waves of grain. Though my garden work is at a standstill with the harvest season, I'll still visit this location throughout the fall and winter. It is a good place to relax, to dream and to escape to when the "real world" becomes constricted.

Finding time for ourselves can be tricky. We have to be especially creative with our time these days as there is so much to do and seemingly no time to do it all in. I think the greatest gift we can give ourselves each day is a bit of solitude and tranquility. Quiet moments, even those we have to steal away, are where we reconnect to our truth. Nothing on the outside can give us peace, everything we need, everything we search for, everything we want is already, right here, within............
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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Fashions Boots of Southwest Nebraska


Who knew my favorite new fall apparel item would be boots, as in Muck Boots!? I’ve seen these wonderful creations before, in fact, they were carefully wrapped in Christmas packages for Chad and my mom last year. “What a boring gift,” I thought to myself! I’d rather have a shop vac or a camping light, anything but mud boots!

Well, that has all changed now. I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of it before, maybe because because we haven’t had this much moisture in YEARS! Whatever the reason, I’ve been hoping like crazy to find Muck Boots in my size……. and to get them before Christmas.

We live on a beautiful piece of ground. Beautiful though when it rains or snows I find myself cursing a bit more than usual. Then the hard-as-cement land turns into a vast of grey-chocolate soup, slick as snot and not nearly as much fun as ice skating. It’s always been this way, I just forget in between the soakings. I forget until my tennis shoes sink into a hole and a come up with one foot looking like I’ve stepped into some kind of evil death trap. And if it is not hosed off, it solidifies into a cement crust that does eventually break off with wear in time. Some famous artist would probably be able to make quite a sculpture if he/she wanted to come play around in my driveway. I wouldn’t charge for it either.

As of last Saturday morning, I was full up. I had gracefully maneuvered the mud holes only to find in the next step buried my Nikes. Grrr! My search for Muck Boots began in earnets. I didn’t care if it was Christmas or Easter or July Fourth; the only way to survive in this slick, unforgiving, vehicle sucking muck is with boots of the same name…………I actually can’t believe I’ve survived this long without them. Guess I just resisted the "fashion statement"! Could also be because I live close to the tightwad side.The darn boots cost nearly $90 and that is without any “bling” whatsoever!!!!(I’ll be posting some informational, inspirational ideas soon to live on less, save $ and reexamine spending habits, stay tuned!)

My early present came on Monday. We were on our way to go check out a potential chickens, goats and buildings. Though most of the offerings won’t work for my site (still debating about the animals), I did come home with a smashing pair of black MUCK BOOTS. ooooo! They seem to look best with the worn out, faded blue jeans and sweatshirt, though I suppose in dire circumstances, they could be thrown on under a skirt to get through the mud to the car,(like I did this morning!) though that may test the limits of any fashion-ista (which I am not, so that doesn’t apply.)

I am brilliantly happy that I no longer have soggy feet when I take the dog for a p & p and when I haul things out to the compost pile. I noticed that it was a breeze to fetch Pryce from the bus yesterday. I can’t say the same for our dear bus driver lady. She’s a “safety driver” as Pryce tells me and I was witness to it as I watched her maneuver through the trenches. It'll be dry in days and then we'll forget all about it, until the next time........but then.....I will be ready!

Never have I had this much to say about a pair of boots before, then again, I haven’t need mud boots as bad as I have this week! Sure glad Christmas came early this year!

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Ultimate in Comfort Food



We are back home today after a quick trip up north to visit my mom and dad. My dad's birthday was yesterday, his present was US! We return to find snow still here and more snow. Neither of us can recall a time that it has snowed here before Pake's birthday, which is the 19th. Stange. Makes us wonder what is to come............while I am not a fan of cold and only love snow at Christmas, I am a fan of being in a warm, cozy house, cooking delicious foods and snuggling up with Myah, a good book and my blanket! What I love about winter, is found INSIDE! And I know, winter doesn't officially arrive for months. Tell that to Mother Nature I guess........

I wanted to share one of my all-time favorite, savory, sweet comfort foods.....Mexican Chicken Chowder. My friend and coooking guru Teri, shared this with me. Its a funny story. She invited Pryce and I over one snowy December day to have lunch and celebrate her dauther's day of birth. She said we've be having MCC. Upon hearing this, I gobbled down a turkey sandwich! I didn't want to be rude but it just didn't sound good. Teri dished me up a big bowl full and from the first bite.....I was hooked. Words cannot adequately describe the smooth, creamy comfort found in that bowl. So I was hooked and miserably full, but I just couldn't stop eating it! I left with the recipe that day.

This was our New Year's Day feature. The kids balk at having to eat soup. On this one, I do not mind. More for me! In fact, over the coarse of a day, I can have it for lunch, afternoon snack, supper and before bed snack! It is the best. I am happy to share with the rest of the family and I am just as happy to make them something else, I know it won't go to waste.

So, on this cold fall day, I happily present to you, Mexican Chicken Corn Chowder

1 1/2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 c. chopped onion
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1 c. hot water
1/2 to 1 tsp. ground cumin
2 c. half and half cream
2 c. 8 oz shredded montery jack cheese
1 can 16 oz. cream style corn (or frozen corn from you garden!)
1 can 4 oz. chopped green chillies, undrained
1/4 to 1 tsp. hot pepper sauce
1 medium tomato chopped
fresh cilantro or parsley, optional

Cut chicken into bite sized pieces. In a Dutch oven, brown chicken onion and garlic in butter until chicken is no longer pink. Dissolve the bouillon in hot water. Add to pan along with cumin, bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 5 minutes. Add cream, cheese, corn chillies and hot pepper sauce. Cook and stir over low heat until the cheese is melted. Stir in tomato. Serve immediately. 6-8 serving.

Use your creativity and experiment with herbs from your garden! Basil is excellent to add.
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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Before the wind


I snapped this out of the pickup window on the way back from working cows. We were headed down the trail, I spied the tree ahead and stuck my hand out the window to grap the shot. Thought it turned out pretty well. Maybe I should fire from the hip a bit more often!
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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Betcha Didn't Know This!


Today I busted out the tuque. It is cold and windy and totally worthy of the phrase “Attache ta tuque!” which means get ready for action, according to Bill Casselman. As I typed the words it dawned on me that I should spell check the word. I’m not Canadian ya know, so I did a quick search to find the proper spelling. What I found was this very cool website: Casselman provides a wonderful explanation and background for this new favorite item of mine!

Maybe you will enjoy it just as much as I did. It could offer you a wonderful distraction from the gusty winds (if they are a blowin’ in your neck of the woods). It could also motivate you to go buy or better yet, knit a tuque of your own, as we prepare full on for the change of weather.

So, however you are celebrating the weather, or cursing it tonight, it is my belief that a tuque will make it all better!

Keep Warm!
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