Tuesday, March 22, 2011

153.8 & 32.8

That is my weight and my body fat percentage as of yesterday! I think I might be seriously losing my mind to publish that information. I am doing it in hopes that it will motivate me. You see, my pain-in-the-butt friend challenged me to do the 30-Day Shred with her. I already had the workout DVD (I actually purchased this set of 3 of Jillian’s videos and love them all), but I hadn’t been doing it on a regular basis. I was asking Kristel if there was a diet that went along with the 30-Day program or if it was just doing the workout every day for 30 days. It is just working out. I am now doing it every day. If I don’t, I have to pay Kristel $5 for every day I skip. And vice-versa. That should be motivating.

Also, I am revisiting the book, The Diet Alternative by Diane Hampton. I have a love/hate relationship with this book. I hate the way she replaces words in scripture with her own words (replacing ‘sin’ with ‘binge’ for example) to get her point across. I get why she does it but tweaking scripture rubs me the wrong way. But I love the principles. The description of the book is not very accurate; you can eat whatever you want but not ‘whenever’ – only when you’re hungry; as in your stomach is growling; and only until you are ‘satisfied’. It is a quick read and easy to follow… here is an excerpt…

In gluttony, rather than loving God with the whole mind, a person begins to eat when he is bored or worried. Rather than loving God with all his soul, a person begins to eat when he is frustrated or angry. Rather than loving God with all his heart, he begins to eat when he is lonely, depressed, or defeated…

Okay, that’s me. I eat when I am stressed, frustrated, or bored… Instead of eating during those times, I need to pray when I am stressed or frustrated and dive into God’s word when I am bored!

So anyway, hopefully in 27 days (today is day 3) I will be back with two slightly smaller numbers for my post title. =)

Friday, March 18, 2011

chicken coop tour numero uno

Fyi, for those of you who use a blog reader, check out this post on the blog - I made a new banner and it is oh so spring!!!

So we have two chickens. They live in a pathetic little tiny “chicken tractor” that is about 3 feet by 6 feet and 3 feet high. I would like a huge flock and would like to convert our unused horse stall into a chicken coop, but the Logger wants to just get two more hens and cram them all in the tiny ‘apartment’. This is a regular debate for us, resulting in “moments of intense fellowship” as we like to call them. ;) So, the Logger finally said that if I do some research and visit three coops and “report back to him” on the pros and cons of each one, and come up with a design based on my research, he will let me build it. How nice of him, right?

I’ve had this assignment for some time now, and had not gotten it done. The Logger keeps commenting that chickens are “obviously so important” to me. Finally I decided, hey, the laundry’s not done, the sink is full of dishes and I don’t know what’s for dinner, but I won’t have him telling me the chickens don’t matter to me! Ha!

My first visit was right down the road, to see Dee Dee’s coop. I love Dee Dee. She is a BFFs mom and she’s a nurse and she lets me bug her with medical questions all the time. And her coop should be a good comparison because it is about the same size as the horse stall that I want to convert into a chicken stall.


So above is the general layout. The run is about twice as long as it is wide, and still, I see it is dirt… been thinking about this. I wonder if I could create four runs as big as the one Dee Dee has, and rotate the chickens around, using one run at a time, and keep the grass from dying… Or maybe not have a run at all and just let them out every day and pray the the rouge neighborhood dog doesn’t like chicken. =)

Inside the coop, I was pleased to see pretty much the same floor plan I was envisioning for my chicken stall…


So we have 3 nesting boxes, a hanging feeder, wood shavings for the floor, feed handy in a bucket and a heat lamp for warmth.

If memory serves me, you only need 1 nest box per 4 hens, since they don’t all lay their eggs at the same moment. Dee Dee built this coop for 12 hens, so the ladies have enough room, though she says they all prefer one certain nest! She used old milk crates for nesting boxes, and I have thought about doing the same.

The big feeder is great – hanging is a must to keep shavings from covering the food tray (which results in the chickens scratching all the feed out and wasting it) and I like this style because you just keep adding food by dumping it in the top and it dispenses down to the tray. Dee Dee has a bucket out in the run for water… this is what I always wanted to do but I heard they would drown themselves if their water was too deep. Dee Dee says none of hers have died from drowning, so I am totally using a bucket from now on.

Keeping Chickens, by Ashley English, is my favorite chicken book: tells you what you need to know, doesn’t tell you what you don’t need to know. In the book she recommends 4-6 inches of wood shavings for bedding on the floor. She says if you rake it around every day the chicken poo won’t stay on top and get matted and the bedding will only have to be switched out about once a month. Dee Dee confirms that is what she does and it works great. The dirty chicken poo/shavings make a great addition to your compost heap!

The ladies obviously approve of their situation…


On my way back to the house I noticed this which prompted me to add one more thing to my to-do list…


I really need to get a fence around my garden before I plant! The ladies annihilated my corn sprouts last year! This fence actually might be to keep the dog’s paws out of the garden, but I need a fence around mine, just the same.


So that was Dee Dee’s coop. Thanks Dee Dee for letting me tour it, and for watching the kiddos while I ran back home to get my SD card. =)

I will have the Logger read this report and see if it is sufficient or if I need to continue my “research”. I will keep you informed of my progress.

I know it is not spring for a couple more days but the kids enjoyed a dose of (filtered) sunshine and some fresh air today…

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Mark took his Cars out for some racing action and Susie watched from the open slider door. She still doesn’t cross thresholds. I know it is a little strange, but convenient for now. =)


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

thrift junky chronicles

Does that even make sense? Like thrift “addict”. That is what I meant. Seriously, though, I am addicted. Mom arrived today and we have thrifting on our to-do list, too, so I just keep fueling the fire.

Recent finds…

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Some neat white photo boxes ($3.99 for set) to replace my mismatched ones. One of the tags said “1930’s and 1940’s” and had negatives in it! The checker took them out! I should’ve been bold and asked if I could keep them… though I don’t think they were that old – I imagine negatives were a bit different back then.

By the way, don’t be afraid to heckle a little bit at thrift stores. The photo boxes, for example – one had a busted lid, but there was another one that was not taped together with the set so I asked if I could swap out the broken one for the non-broken one and the checker said, “I don’t see why not!”. I also saved 33% on my tripod for my lamp, just by making an offer and pointing out that one screw was missing. I have also compared frames before, i.e. “This frame is $4.99 and this frame is smaller but it is $6.99… will you lower the smaller one to $4.99, please?” That one worked, too! It never hurts to ask!


Mom was coveting my cheese cloche like this so when I saw this one, I snagged it for her.


Random little green plate. Will make a great catchall… I think I will put it near my jewelry.



Ikea stuff is usually pretty affordable to begin with… scoring it at the thrift store is like a double-bonus! I love these pitchers – I already had the smaller one that matches it.

That was the bulk of my thrift store treasures as of late. A couple other ideas to share…

I have a little window at the top of a 1.5 story wall in our ‘great room’ (it is not big, trust me, but it is a kitchen/dining/living room with cathedral ceilings). There wasn’t really a way to do window treatments for this weird little window, so I came up with my own way of dressing it up…


I saved my centerpiece bottles, stole some more from friends and family (we don’t drink wine), and kept a few sparkling cider bottles, and put the whole group of them up in the window. I love the way the light shines through them! And they all looked about the same until the light shone through; there are actually several different shades. I am a little concerned that we might look like winos from the road but we’re not, so I guess I won’t worry about it!

Then I stole/modified an idea from Young House Love. They send themselves postcards from every vacation and then display them in a vase.



I had a leftover fish tank (is it just me or does it take a long time for Bettas to die?), so I rounded up our postcards while reorganizing my photos and putting them in the new boxes. I think it is so cute to have them out and so fun to read the old ones as I found them. We had actually sent ourselves one postcard and my mom had kept one or two we sent her from our honeymoon and given them back to me at some point. We also had one from when our friends went to Florida! Definitely a new tradition that I plan on keeping around!

Well that’s all I got for today… except for this little dose of Susie in the sunshine…


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

dinner and a movie


In need of an at-home date-night?  I have just the thing for you.

First, make this.


It’s Pioneer Woman’s Chicken Piccata.  I love me some fettuccini alfredo, but the Michelin where my waistline is supposed to be does not.  This dish is still a creamy sauce, but the lemon makes it less heavy.  It is light and fresh and tangy sounds a little weird, even to me, but it is oh. so. good.

And, I don’t know about you, but are at a point with Netflix where we have exhausted all available titles with three or more stars.   A while back, Pioneer Woman blogged about Shining Through.  I put it on the queue and forgot about it.  Then it arrived and I started it.  Then it was really good and I stopped watching it so the Logger and I could watch it together.  It was such a nice break from the lame stuff we had been settling for!  PW was right, it should have won some awards!  After we watched it, we were talking about the movie in bed and I cheesily said, “I just need you to hold me!” and the Logger says, “…and get shot in the knee and in the head for you?” and I replied, “Yeah!  Why don’t you ever do anything like that for me?!”   Yeah, it was that kind of movie. 

So now you have a new recipe and a new flick and no excuse not to go forth and have a nice date night.


Monday, March 14, 2011

adaptable art


I was working on getting a framed photo collage up in my bedroom and I thought I had finished it, but it just kept bugging me.  Does that ever happen to you, where you say, “I’m so happy that I got that finished… it looks good…” and realize you are cringing while saying it looks good?  My mismatched thrift store frames weren’t doing it for me in this case.  I was discouraged because it took me forever to collect them and I did like them… but not together. 

When I figured that out, I decided to do my own version of the way art is displayed in Emily Anderson’s playroom


The collage centers around Ty and I and our journey together.  These are lifetime favorite pictures; I’ll share the best of the best…

The ice-encased lookout on a hike we did while dating, and a favorite verse – Matthew 7:24-27

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More art from my friend – I asked her for a pen and ink dandelion which I always meant to do myself and never got around to (I love dandelions in seed but don’t tell my husb – they are evil weeds which he labors endlessly to annihilate in the summer).  Her work of art turned out amazing, as always…



A kiss at our wedding and the lake we camped at on our honeymoon…



A beautiful spot in a wilderness area on another hike on our honeymoon…



So what do you think?  I love the fact that I can swap things out as I get bored of these / or get new pictures.

Making it was a breeze… here is a pic from early on when I was still playing with it…


Nails.  String.  Clothespins.  Pictures.  It really is that easy…


I had my photos reprinted with white edges, because I really love the way they pop that way, and I think it made a big difference. 

PS- sorry the color is so wonky on the different pics… I was playing with settings and I am wayyy too lazy to go back and retake them all on the same setting!  I assure you though, my bedroom is not painted teal.  =)   If it was, I would fire myself.

Friday, March 11, 2011

cali {part three}

{ UM, just found this on my editor. Apparently I forgot to click that crucial Publish button. I think it is worth posting late, though… it entails the whole reason for our trip to Cali! }

And now, I will finish the California vacation post that you probably don’t care about by now… { truly! }

So after the mammoth trees and the beach, we had a little more driving through the beautiful forest…


One more tourist attraction…


It has a door (those two squares at the bottom are the window in the top of the door) and a room in the trunk of the tree, but it is all roped off and closed now. The Logger (that’s husb’s blog name of the moment) thought this may have been the biggest one we saw during the whole trip. The picture doesn’t do it justice. It was a superbeast.

We also went to one of the dozens of “drive-through” trees where there is a hole in the trunk and you drive your car through it and take a picture but it was all fenced in so you couldn’t see it from the outside and it was $6 and we were too cheap.

Then we emerged into the wine country, and the vineyards were so beautiful…


Those tall trees are so much bigger and better than the cypress we have in the PNW. I might need two flanking my driveway now. With the lavender at their base of course!


The vineyards seemed to go on forever! I meant to ask if people had to harvest all those grapes by hand or if it was mechanized somehow.


My strapping young man waiting for his Great-Great-Grandma’s arrival. The real reason for our California vacation was to celebrate a very important birthday with a lovely lady. She turned one-hundred! Isn’t that amazing?!

Here she is with her two sons (the one on the left is my dad’s dad)…


By the way, she is holding the book she wrote a few years ago, Growing Up With the West!

And here are all of us who gathered for the celebration…


After lunch and cake, each family got a chance to visit with Grandma at her home. We got to see old pictures and Dad got to reminisce about all the trouble he caused when visiting his Grandma and Grandpa…


And we got a five-- yes, FIVE generation picture!


It was great to see the family from California, and most of all Grandma, but there just wasn’t enough time! Before we knew it, we had to pack up and hightail it home the next morning.


Those were the oak trees outside our hotel. I LOVE the oak trees. Especially oak trees in mysterious foggy mist. (More on oaks later.)

The road to the freeway was so crazy I had to take a picture of it on the GPS to show you…


It was a little winding country road slash/ mountain pass. There were a few inches of snow and people were driving out here to go sledding, it was hilarious.


Some boring out-the-window scenery pics… the oak forests were so amazing to me. In the PNW we have so much underbrush… these rolling, grassy hills with oak tree forests were calling me to build a little farmhouse on them.



The hill country soon flattened out and turned into serious farming country. We saw crop dusting helicopters and airplanes in action, spreading cancer (as I like to call it) on America’s produce…



There were fruit trees forever, all trimmed up and starting to bloom…


And megafarm after megafarm…




Spring was hitting the lowlands, making the grass vibrant green…


But we’d go up a little mountain pass and everything was brown again…


It is hard to tell it apart from the clouds but the tip of that mountain is where the arrow is! Look how far it towers above the little farms! Brings to mind the word Majesty for some reason… God’s Majesty.

Okay, so about the oak trees. Here is a little random information you never knew you never knew.

I noticed little “poofs” up in the oak trees which did not have leaves yet. Turns out, The Logger noticed them last time he went through Cali and asked a park ranger what they were. It became a game for us to find the most infested tree, as some areas were worse than others…


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That last one on the right was so bad! Does anyone know what it was? It is a parasite, known as Mistletoe. Confused? Parasites are not exactly icky worms, they are by definition a creature that obtains some or all it’s nutrients from another creature. In this case, the Mistletoe roots penetrate the oak tree, or ‘host’, and steal the oak’s hard-earned nutrients. Interesting, huh?

One last scenery shot – a little plateau all by itself…


I almost wanted to drive to the top!

And a little fixer-upper…


How sweet is that little house and how sad is it all boarded up? It just needs someone to love it a little!

So that is more than you ever wanted to know about our California road trip. I give you my word – I am finished now!