Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Bible Study Before School

Is your child's attitude founded in the Bible?
Almost every morning Matthew reads Proverbs for that day. This morning he is reading the 27th chapter as today is November 27th. After he reads we discuss the chapter. Today he told me, "if your friend is a thief, you have to tell." good lesson learned!
Next we do the daily Bible study lesson from 'Bible Express' by Lifeway for preteens. This morning his bus pulled up just as he pulled out the Bible Express, so we'll have to read that tonight.
i can honestly say that Matt's attitude is directly related to his morning Bible study... Or lack there of when we're having a bad morning.
Try morning Bible study with your own preteen child and see the difference making Him a priority can make!

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Free Firestarters!

So, you've finally broken down and bought a wood stove... I'm so glad... Now you can watch your heating bill take a nose-dive like mine did!
Now you need free fire-starters...
My fire-starters are super easy to make.
First, you need and empty paper roll from toilet paper, ect.
Second, fold in one end, as shown in the photo.
Thiird, stuff with all that free dryer lint!
Forth, fold in open end to keep lint in until ready to light.
Free Fire-Starters!

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Monday, November 28, 2011

A New Bath Mat

Good Morning! Welcome back to my humble homestead. Looks like today is shaping up to be a red-letter day!
What do you think of the bath mat I'm knitting? Last winter a 'sweet' little country mouse decided to make a nest in my bath mats, chewing some up in the process. No amount of hot water and laundry soap can fix that! So... I'm knitting new bath mats.
This is the first of the new set. I'm knitting with a double strand so as to make each thicker and more absorbent... And cushier under our feet as we step out of the tub. I have chosen blue as the primary color for each room in my house. For the bathroom the accent colors are greens and sand, so the border for each bath mat will be crocheted on in Peaches & Cream brand cotton yarn in the color Blue Lagoon.
i got very lucky in that someone gave me a lot of the blue (a lot!) and I found the blue lagoon at the Walmart on Jefferson St in Joliet for around $2/ skein! So... My new set of bath mats will cost about $7.50!!!

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Sunday, November 27, 2011

I'll Lay My Eggs Where I Want!!!

Sometimes, even though it's aggravating, we just have to admit we really can't control anyone but ourselves....
Such would be the case with Farmer Fred's crazy harem! Yesterday I set up a "new" nesting box using an abandoned milk crate... Just like the other five nesting boxes scattered across their coop floor (on the floor as I still need to insulate properly before I hang each box)...
So, imagine my surprise this morning when I found the girls had tipped over the box, dumping the soft shredded paper bedding, in order to lay their eggs on and under the pokey, prickly straw...
regardless of how pleasing we may try to make the right way to do things, others are simply going to do what they're going to do...
you can only control yourself...
you must change your attitude...
change your perspective...
It is what it is...
Even if you're a crazy chicken!

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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Dehydrating Thanksgiving Dinner

Hello! Happy Thanksgiving to you! So glad you could stop by our humble homestead. Take off your shoes and come sit by the fire with a hot cup of coffee~ now doesn't that feel better?
How was your dinner? Are you stuffed and sleepy? Any leftovers? We had my friend, Jessie, over and we all ate too much!
After dinner we still had a lot left so I pulled out my dehydrator trays and began to load them with yummy food. The first tray was the cilantro. The second was mashed potatoes as my sister told me it's a good way to make instant potatoes. The last two are turkey.
This won't begin to make a dent in our prepping, but it sure will be nice to know there is a bit of survival food in our meager pantry!

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Going Up!

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Un-preserved Beauty!

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What a mess!

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I find I must explain the picture... this pile of tires is at the bottom on a hill in a public park across from Dick's Towing, located on Broadway St in Joliet, IL... to see so many tires disposed of in this manner in what could be a truly remarkable park is beyond distressing!
People this is Our Park! Yours and mine! This is/ could be a location to take the kids exploring... 

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A Homestead?

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Joliet Central High School Community Service

Heading north on Bluff St. I see community service hours for Boy Scouts and Joliet Central High students!

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Hiking w/ Friends!

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Garbage Everywhere!

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Please help clean up!

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2nd skin~ Poaching Deer?


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Broadway Greenway!

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Potatoes with Onions & Garlic Ready to Mash!!!

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011


I took a cheap boxed stuffing and doctored it up by adding the turkey's organs (cut up) and Adobo as well as chopped cilantro and red bell pepper. Then I stuffed the turkey.
What's your favorite stuffing recipe?

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Fire as a Sense of Security

As we head into another ferocious winter, I am reminded why I have a wood stove~ to keep truly warm! Yes, I have a furnace...
I wander out back and wonder how long my firewood will last... And, I must admit, I wonder what those without a wood stove will do if the gas and electric go out? One good storm/ bad accident/ digging miscalculation would leave most people shivering.
so, as Io haul in firewood in the dark, I am so grateful for the firewood and those who provided it.
Thank You, Dear Friends!

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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Weekend Already?!

Good Morning friends!!! Welcome back to my little world... I have to tell you straight off that I was a bit panicked yesterday morning...I mean, it wasn't like I didn't see it coming... BUT... I didn't see it coming as a Huge Glaring Error! Seriously... when 'they' came out to do lead-abatement on my house 'they' painted it white in some areas (because it would liiok normal and consistent if it was all one color!)... so... as i pulled out of the drive yesterday morning, after noticing that ALL the leaves from the huge tree out front are now on the drive, my house is no longer invisible!!!  All summer I was hidden behind vegitation... my tree, rose bushes, asparagus, hibiscus... now I must re-evaluate my situation... how to be invisible in winter?
I am at http://lewrockwell.com/orig12/akers-j1.1.1.html reading their article, "Occupy a Garden". Makes me think about where I was going with my property and what I simply haven't gotten done... amazing that the more I get done, the more I see that I've missed... sometimes it seems like the simplest fixes are the ones not getting done~ LOL...
why aren't fence posts up to expand the chicken run?
why isn't screening stapled around front fence?
why isn't the whole front 'yard' mulched with 'paver' paths between plantings? why hasn't the bench we bought on clearance summer before last been put together?
why isn't the chicken coop insulated when the insulation is sitting at the house?
why didn't all the (evil) poison ivy get burried under tarps and lots of straw?
well, it's Saturday... and I am at work... until 4:30pm... first thing every morning I disinfect my desk... many hours are spent here every (almost0 day and I can't afford any extra germs... LOL!!! then a quick disinfectant wipe to the bathroom... and on to actual work... set up laptop (so I can listen to 104.7 WBGL)... and begin to balance rent books...
today Matt has emptied the back seat of the Jeep for me... I am of the opinion, at least for today, that my Jeep should NOT look like a landfill is in the back seat!!! Yes, I know I am disoriented, but I still hold out hope...
After listening to the furnace kick on/ off last night, like a freight train rumbling through my house,  I realized I have forgotten all the simple things I did last winter to prevent that... the wood stove is great, but I have to tend it off and on all night... SO... tonight I am going to get my food dehydrator up and running again... I have a fresh pineapple in the fridge (a gift from a friend)... I can cut it up for a snack tonight and put more than half in the dehydrator... it'll make a nice snack for the snack box in the Jeep!  and the dehydrator running all night and part of tomorrow at about 115*F will provide gentle warmth for us... not enough to make us want to run wild in shorts, but enough to take the nip out of the air...
then there is the simple idea of baking... hmmm... I could bake in the oven... but... I would really Love to learn to bake on/ under my wood stove... I started to experiment with different ideas I read about last winter... then spring hit and practice was postponed... but who can complain about spring?!?! SO... I really need to practice more... just Absolutely Hate hearing the furnace kick on... not just because it is so loud... but because every time it kicks on it is Needlessly Sucking Up MY Money $$$!!!


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Today... I am not Awake... Am I?

Morning! Welcome back!!!
I must warn you in advance of my current mental state... half asleep, but with a lot to say... LOL... and warn you of the format~ stream of conscience.... this is by far the best way to write as thoughts flow uninterrupted by mundane things like grammar and punctuation... :)
So much going on... at work... need to go through rent books, but, first, Steven has got to have change to work with as he collects rent... ... now he's set and I don't have to climb over people to give him change  :)

Quote I saved from an article... I almost threw this away!
"My advice: Do not give up, and stand up for what you believe in. Only the weak throw in the towel. Once they find you are weak, you're done."
Wish I knew where I got that! Looks like I tore it out of a magazine... it was tucked into the outside pocket of my computer bag... it's ripped... I will trim it neatly and put a nice colorful back on it... maybe frame it (if I can find a free frame that small) or cover it with clear contact paper...

Ok... so this quote is so much my thought process today... funny how things work that way... fits in with things that are going on that I am struggling with... isn't it funny how the struggles come more from interactions than dealing with personal goals and following God's will?!

For me, personally, my living situation is awesome... Matt and I are in our own house... yes, it is very small... only 1200 sq ft... and heated primarily with a wood stove... simple eclectic furnishings...  cozy... homey.... safe... loving... nothing pretentious here... I used to try to have everything neat, clean and organized all the time... then I was married to a jerk who beat me every night because the house was never clean enough... my health suffered... my self-esteem was in the tank... after three long years I was able to convince him, with the help of a great Toledo Police Officer, that he would go to jail if he hit me again... that changed our relationship... the marriage changed to more of a friendship... and I began to find myself again... now I get as much done each day as I can... then I take time for myself~ to knit take a long bath, play on the Internet, write...
ok... so I am still rambling... yup! All over the place with my thoughts today... let's just say it's a sign of brilliance! LOL... but, seriously, I have so many ideas to get on paper/ started... been thinking about self-sufficiency issues... yes, I have a job... full time~ Mon-Sat, 8:30am- 4:30pm... very full time... plus I've been selling Avon... it's adding a bit of extra income~ proportionate to my effort~ LOL... Sell a few extra eggs... sometimes Farmer Fred's harem gives a bountiful supply and we have enough to sell... $.25/each... $3.00/dozen... this little bit of extra money pays for their feed... so... they are self-supporting... most of the time... if they are happy  :)    am going to go back to selling the hats I knit... I donated them to the homeless for about two years... the only way a 'homed' person could get one was to buy it/ trade for new yarn... I am no longer donating... the donating was a request from God... what a fulfilling request... I grew so much from that one!!! Now I am going to accumulate hats to sell... not going to take orders for hats... I just don't enjoy the knitting 'under the gun'... but I'll have a bag of all sorts of pretty hats to sell... I'm thinking $20/each... that'll cover the yarn and some of my time... each hat takes at least eight hours to knit... plus $6 in yarn... $20-6= 14... 14/8=  $1.75/hr for my time... but I would be knitting regardless as it is very relaxing... So... I am getting a stipend for each hat... LOL...
I have been reading a lot about not spending for a month... it has really peaked my imagination... I am seriously considering posting my income vs bills as well as my spending on my blog... too much personal info... maybe... unless you assume that not everyone realizes you pay Com Ed, Nicor, mortgage... seriously! we all pay bills... and we all buy some groceries... all hit fast food places periodically... making myself post it will help me to see better where the money goes... (mostly to bills)... and will help me to realize the little things I buy that could be bought more cautiously... for instance~ I bought a gallon of milk at the little Mexican store by my house the other day and put it on my debit card... then realized I had paid $6.49 for a gallon of milk! that was wasteful and made me realize that I need to weigh out driving across town to Aldi's vs the extra cost of the neighborhood store... Crazy!!!
on to new thoughts... planning Thanksgiving dinner... just need to buy a gallon of milk, bags of potatoes and onions and a couple blocks of Monterrey Jack cheese... getting hungry thinking about it! LOL ... 
I am off to think through our Thanksgiving plans... food... hiking and love...
Happy Tuesday all...
God Bless!!!!!!!!!!

10 Things Every Child With Autism Wishes You Knew


Monday, November 14, 2011

Hiking with a Friend....

Do you remember your last hike with a good friend? The simple act of exploring a new trail and all it holds is so much more when done with a close friend!
This was taken on the Hadley Valley trail off Bruce Road. Matt, Brandon and I stopped so the boys could explore the crick. If you've ever spent a lazy afternoon playing in a crick, you know what I mean. Words cannot describe the utter joy of building a dam then catching crayfish and fish and placing them in the new reservoir!

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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Stepping Out in Faith

This last week I took a mini unofficial survey/ poll on what each person would say I should do far as stepping out in faith or taking a giant leap of faith... the answers were interesting and revealing of how each person views me, my circumstances and, above all, God!
I do have to say, though, that, as soon as I began to ask for ideas, the holy Spirit revealed to me what I should do... that's where I really needed the answer from after all!
But, I continued asking as the answers were showing me who people are:

1. Turn in the keys/ quit your job w/out notice

2. Move back to Toledo~ relocating long distance is always your leap

3. Get your house ready to sell

4. Two said to "follow your heart and ignore opposition"

5. Have Faith in God

I now know way more about those around me than before and that info is useful. It was also not what I thought it would be as some who I am quite distant from were very kind and positive in their replies! And one I was close to gave an answer that revealed that I should advance with much caution in her presence...
So... as I move toward my calling, I am focused on where He is sending me... getting my physical and spiritual houses in order... it really is an ongoing process... re cleaning one room at a time at home and piling everything that needs to be sorted through in the family room, then scheduling a few evenings to watch DVDs and just sort it with the mindset of~ have I used it in the last year/ do I need it for records/ will I use it in the next year/ would I take it with if I had to bug-out? ...keeping up (or trying to) with Sunday school Bible study, allowing my self to grow though Sunday sermons and both connect groups, and lots of prayer with occasional fasting as the Spirit moves me...
What is my giant leap of faith? In a nutshell it is living my life as if what is promised has already happened/ is about to happen within days!  I know He will provide what He has promised, but I must follow through in faith... "He honors what we do..." ... in other words, He sees my response to His answers to my prayers and He fullfills promises as I act in faith...
God is Always Good!!!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Prepping vs Surviving...

Blowing my nose for, what seems like, the 400th time, I wonder if anyone else looks at their used tissues as a resource? Okay, maybe it sounds a bit odd at first... but... stuff those tissues into discarded toilet paper rolls and you have the ultimate fire starter.. surpassed only by the same rolls stuffed with dryer lint... ahhh... inventions born out of necessity!
as I sit here blowing my nose I am grateful for my coffee, the bottle of tea waiting in the fridge, my bottle of Tylenol (2 every 4 hours kills most colds) and my chili covered sucker from La Loma's Supermercardo...
In looking at my favorite blogs on survival I am painfully aware of how long it has been since I've checked in with each... funny, though, that I don't feel to incredibly behind on my prepping... nice... I have done some different preps than they did... or did a similar prep in a different way... but, overall, I still feel pretty good about where I am compared to where I was at the beginning of this last summer... it's all about perspective, I guess...
my one failing has been in stocking firewood and securing a solid second income that does not interfere with any of my other responsibilities... Avon sales were supposed to be that 2nd income, but I haven't followed through the way I should... some campaigns I get out dozens of catalogs... some campaigns I follow up with people I have given catalogs to... it's not that I don't want the orders... more that I get overextended on my personal obligations... the campaigns where I actually follow up I do quite well! If you'd like to see the diverse items Avon offers now, go to www.youravon.com/karenjoyce ...
It seems to me that having quite a few small venues of income is far better than one large, supposedly solid venue... I used to think my job would be sufficient... then I stepped back and took a long hard look at the situation... I am just one vicious rumor away from being unemployed... so it is far better to have several sources of income... Avon, fresh produce and eggs (when I have extra)... maybe even a bit of overnight childcare once the rehab is more complete on my house?
Things I really need to do yet... finish re-arranging/ deep cleaning house, brush back up on baking from scratch (why did I stop doing that?), redo my budget using the new household budget calculator I bought on clearance at the Office Max on Plainfield Road with my max perks dollars, stack firewood inside (once the rack inside is full there will little wood stacked outside), get firewood stocked up for this winter (it's late in the game for this, but it is Critical for our survival), stock up on any meat on sale then dehydrate/ can it, set up front porch for winter (lawn chairs in shed, bag of salt out), check and fill oil lamps, buy good sewing scissors, stock up ammo, bring home that old rusty roll of barbed wire...
I found an adage that really rang true... "two equals one and one equals none"... this rings true to me... if I have only one of something, I might as well not have it at all as when it runs out/ breaks, I'm done!
Maybe that explains that pile of blankets in my living room? Actually, my goal with the blankets is to have twice as many as I need for each bed, allow for that extra person's blankets and still have enough to hang as 'wall coverings' on the inside of all outside walls when/if we drop into a mini-ice age... if nothing else, last winter's Snowpocalypse should have proven to all of us that we can not count on the weather to do anything we expect! Be prepared to not freeze to death!!!
As Matt and I were headed to work this morning, we passed a young man folding his blanket as he left a park... knowing that someone is sleeping out in the open in this cold (32*F last night), sure makes me appreciate my humble little homestead and my wood stove... it could be way worse!
This also spurred a conversation about how blessed we are and that we need to think about what we can do for the homeless this winter... it will be interesting to hear Matt's thoughts!
As I continue to read through the better prep blogs I am more and more aware of where I really stand... or don't stand... I don't have a level of panic... too far into prepping for that... just a new realization of where I stand and what I need to do...
Happy Prepping!!!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Cooking for Grandma...

My grandson, Aiden, comes to my office and cooks me elaborate meals regularly and with great love. I am always so excited when he comes running in as any visit could, and usually does, mean I will have a very handsome young man cooking for me! As he runs in I wait on the edge of my seat~ will Aiden stay and cook?
Yes! He grabs the cup and spoon and sets these on the floor! I will get a royal feast today.
Then he sets all the needed spice jars on the floor around him. The mixing may now begin! Aiden carefully chooses spices one by one and shakes the (unopened) bottles into the cup. After stirring rigorously I am offered a taste! It is always a yummy feast!
I am so blessed to have a grandson like my Aiden who cooks for me!!!

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