Monday, November 30, 2009

Why I love my 2 year old

Today, Jack (my 2 year old) was in the bedroom with me when I hopped on the scale. I stepped off a moment later, feeling triumphant after the Thanksgiving weekend. Jack wondered about the number on the scale and, being his thoughtful self, asks 'Was is $4, Mom?' Classic. I love my toddler. :)


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Random thankfulness

The kids slept in their own beds last night. It was a rare and celebratory occassion. My husband has a few days off surrounding Thanksgiving. Not only can he take time off, he still has a job to take time off from. (i realize i am using poor grammar) In the state with the highest unemployment, I am very thankful to be so fortunate.

My children are happy, healthy, and fed and loved. (1 in 5 American children go hungry, 1 in 3 in some Midwest states.) They are growing in kindness, generosity, imagination, knowledge and faith.

I hauled in a load of wood in our lawn cart (one of my favorite pieces of yard equipment we've borrowed from my in-laws). I stacked it on the porch so it'll stay when the rain and snow hit later this week. Our home is safe and warm. Heated with wood from a large, dying oak tree cut down by a friend.

I'm drying apples I bought at the farmer's market with money I made from selling homemade soaps. The peels will be make news jars of vinegar. The home preserved food and fresh made vinegar is beginning to outnumber the store-bought items in our pantry. This one of the neatest things.

I gave the chickens fresh straw and collected their eggs, sure to thank them for their contribution to the household. They like the straw and seem to think it a fair trade. The eggs are boiling on the stove. The shells will be baked and crushed for the chickens to suppliment their calcium intake. Cyclical, always cyclical. :)

My homemade soap business is doing well and continues to increase in sales. Much to my amazement. I am thankful and humbled by the response to my soaps and salves.

Our amazing family, church family, and savior Jesus the Son of God.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The big 3-0

Yep. That's right. I turned 30 yesterday. It was a great time. The virtual facebook birthday wishes began Saturday night and continued on into Monday. Wonderful cards from my husband and kids, the coolest travel tea cup I've ever seen (plus the promise to order some bulk herbal tea), a painted chair from my mom for my soap/work room with the kids' handprints on it (I was in tears), a super fuzzy and warm blanket of my own from my in-laws and more. We had a dinner at church and then a bonfire with family in the evening. It was a little strange to have a party just for me. My sister-in-law Amanda's birthday is the day after mine so we usually celebrate them together. We love that we get to share birthdays! This year we both have big birthdays (30 for me and 16 for her) so we each get a day to ourselves. My really awesome little brother baked my cake and Carlie frosted it. It was nice to spend time with family and just chat and hang out and not have to work or build or clean or do anything. I think my 30s are off to a nice start. :)

Sitting in my new chair enjoying some birthday cake...

~jill (who is still stuffed from overeating yesterday)

The Chicken Condo

It's been finished for a week now and the girls love it. We're getting 1-2 eggs a day and are so thankful. I'm amazed each time I go out and find another one...
The pictures I promised:


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans Day

This year, I hope people realize it's Veterans Day before they notice flags lining the street or the fact that the post office is closed today. Take the time to honor a veteran, thank him or her for his or her service to our country. Without the courage, strength and self-sacrifice of generations of patriots - the United States of America would not even exist. Shake hands, give hugs, send a card or an email. Say 'Thank you' and really mean it.

Thomas Jefferson said, "Patriotism is not a short frenzied burst of emotion, but the long and steady dedication of a lifetime."

Or, "Once a Marine, always a Marine." :)

Semper Fi, Ooh Rah, Thank you and God Bless.


Monday, November 09, 2009


Our first egg! As you can tell, we're pretty excited. We've had the girls since May (they were itty bitty fluff balls back then) and we've been patiently waiting. Okay, well, mostly patient. I gave them a stern talking to about earning their keep and laying some eggs a few weeks back. At least someone took it to heart. :)

Pictures of the new coop coming soon!

Saturday, November 07, 2009


We were blessed with a bushel basket full of apples from some church friends. Bruce, the kids and I had the chance to go to their house one Sunday evening and get some old wood to use for our new chicken coop. Our wonderful friends gave us a tour of the house and property, showed up their garden and trees. I was thrilled when I saw the apples hanging from the trees and covering the ground. Her father had planted the trees years ago, she doesn't even know what kind they are. We ended up with wood, apples, a few grapes, a wagon and a few more gifts. Such kind people!

The apples were very tart and not the best for eating fresh. I dried about half the apples in the dehydrator. The rest were used to make apple sauce. I canned some and we ate some right away. I gave a bunch to Mary since she was generous enough to share her apple crop with us. The kids and I eat the dried fruit for snacks and I use it when I make granola. I gave my mom some of the apple sauce.

We have some of the apple peels and cores to the chickens. The girls love anything fresh and I prefer not ot give them chicken feed if I can. I used the rest of the apple peels to make vinegar. It was a lot easier than I thought. Put the peels and cores in a jar. Fill it water. Cover with a cloth. (I used a canning band and a wash cloth.) Don't use a canning lid. The microorganisms need the oxygen to work their magic. Otherwise, you'll end up with a foul smelling mess. That's what I made on my first try. :) Let it sit for 2 weeks and voila! Vinegar. I use the vinegar as a rinse for my hair. It takes out any residue from soap or styling products. I don't use shampoo, I use my homemade bar soap on my hair. We have hard well water and sometimes it doesn't rinse really clean. Commercial apple cider vinegars were a little harsh on my hair and left it feeling yucky. My homemade version is much more mild (and fruity smelling) and seems to work better for me.

We're thankful for what we have and are given and try not to waste an ounce.