Archive for the ‘Just Life’ Category

4th at the Ranch

July 4, 2014

It’s that time of year again when we go out to visit the ranch for the 4th of July. Yesterday we pulled in early afternoon. After settling in, I grabbed my camera and went out to the pasture to see what new arrivals made an appearance since our last visit in December. I met this adorable thing hiding behind momma.

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“I will venture out a bit to say hi.”

DSC_9389“I’m going to taste this flower over here.”

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“You can take my picture, but remember, my momma’s right over there.”

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Then I got a couple of pictures of this lovely lady.

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Before the light disappeared, got some shots of some of the plants.

DSC_9471DSC_9463I should try to go out some during the day today before we head out to the rodeo later tonight. I’m hoping to get some good shots at the rodeo. Wish me luck!

 

December at the ranch

December 23, 2013

We’re not even going to talk about how bad I am at blogging here, so let’s just skip to the pictures of December at the ranch!

So Em is taking care of Theodore while she’s here. He’s got to eat 3 times a day, and I think he has taken a shine to her. Or maybe it’s just because she has the bottle.

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And here we have the poor, very much pregnant momma goat. Yes, that’s only one goat lying on that spot peeps. There’s not another one hiding behind her. That’s her bulging sides. If we’re lucky, we may get to see some Christmas babies! Cross your fingers!

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And of course, I have to entertain all of you with my beautiful surroundings so that you will be uber jealy. (is that how you spell it or is it like jelly for jam?) Anywayzzzzzz….

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I’m sure I’ll be putting up more pictures during the week. Hopefully of cute, baby, goaty goodness. As always, comments are welcome.

To Do Lists

January 21, 2012

So it’s a new year, but is it really a new me? Not really. I guess I’m not one to make resolutions at the new year. I think if you’re going to change, you can do it at any time, and should do it at any time. It may not be a sudden change. It may just be small to-dos that make you change in slight ways. A work in progress, if you will. I have several to-dos that make me a work in progress.

I did have one to-do that I have failed at horribly (other than frequently updating my blog). I mean like UBER FAIL. The failiest of fails. I signed up for an account on 750words.com. Basically, it’s a site that you sign up and you can write 750 words per day on whatever your heart desires. You get a daily email reminder to help you remember to go and type. Well, those reminders just went right into my trash bin. I know, I know. I consciously made the decision to move them there. I had to click that little trash icon. Now, I’ve always been one to keep a journal, but only sporadically. I’ll have periods where I will journal often and then go YEARS with not one entry. It seems like I have to have some life altering things happen or just be motivated in some way. 750words motivates you with a points system. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good idea. And your writings are private, and can be about whatever you choose. So you can just pour your heart out, but I don’t know why I didn’t continue with it. I think I made it through 3 or 4 days and then it just lost it’s glitter for me. I think my stoppage may be rooted in my unattained goal to write something of significance. A story or book, or something that people will want  to read over and over. Something that touches hearts and souls and provokes the mind to think. I used to write good stories, but over time, the ideas just aren’t there. I guess the passion is, but you may say it’s not because if it were, why wouldn’t I just sit down and write, write, write and write. (Were there enough commas in that sentence?) Maybe it’s a desire instead of a passion. LOL.

One of my other to-dos is to accumulate a list of dinner ideas that I can make when Hubster is out of town on his training in a few weeks. Yes, that’s right, I’m going to attempt to cook. My seester has already asked when we’re going out to dinner. But I will cook something, and it will be edible. That is my goal! So any suggestions for kid-friendly recipes is welcome, as it will just be me and Munchkin. No seafood or mushrooms as she won’t eat those.

Another to-do is to make my first tweet on Twitter this year. Yes, I said this year. This task takes a lot of thought for me. I don’t want to be one of those people that tweets stupid things that are irrelevant. “I threw away my trash today.” or “I didn’t wear socks and now my feet stink.” I know that my tweets won’t be mind-blowing, but I don’t want them to be mundane or cause a rash of Unfollowing. My first tweet should be a good one, right? But what if it’s not? What if I can’t ever think of the right thing? What if I reach the end of the year and still haven’t taken that leap? Ugh, why am I putting so much thought into this! It’s not like it will be immortalized on the web 4-Ev-R!

Another check box on my to-do is to work on developing marketing for my photography and other stuff. For those who don’t know, I’ve started making soap, sugar scrubs, fascinators and other crocheted items. I started making the soap in a fit of boredom and it’s led to a pretty fulfilling hobby. The sugar scrubs smell great and it’s fun trying new fragrances and recipes at the request of others. My top hat fascinators are the first crochet pattern that I have used that is my own! I am very proud of this as this has been something on my to-do list for quite some time. Growing up, I drew a lot, but had the issue of not being able to draw anything without looking at something else. I couldn’t close my eyes and draw my own creation and be happy with the result. Then when I began knitting and crocheting, it was the same story. I always had to use patterns to make things. Granted, I did look at several patterns for the mini top hats, but I did work out my own pattern. I was happy with it, but recently tweaked it even more and now am more pleased with the results. I am looking into creating fascinators other than top hats, too, so keep an eye out for that. I’ve got to think of ideas to get the word out there about my hobby/talents/creativity. Any suggestions on this, too?

I’m sure I have more to-dos and will make more to-dos, so the list will become very lengthy. I think the ones I have listed are enough to keep me busy for a while. Do you have your own to-do lists or goals for making you a new you? Have you checked any off? Has this post prompted you to want to create some?

Cleaning

January 2, 2012

So we got back from the ranch yesterday. I did have a splitting headache, but I am a mom, so I pushed on through the day. I took down the tree and stockings and put away the ornaments. I stashed them out in the garage, but haven’t made it to putting them in the attic yet. I didn’t even get that accomplished last year either.

I spent today cleaning out my RSS feed. Any blogs that didn’t have anything posted in the last year were definitely booted. All of the others I reviewed and kept if I read them or they held my interest.

I know this is a time of resolutions. Hubster is resolving to stop his yucky tobacco habit that he’s had since he was around 15. So if any of you come in contact with him and he seems a little testy, let this be your word of warning. What have I resolved? Well I’m not that into resolutions because I never really adhere to them. I know I should set goals. So, if I was the goal setting type, what would I do? Hmmmm…I think I’d like to do more with my photography business. Eventually, I would like to clean up a space in the garage for a little makeshift studio. But I’ve been telling myself I wanted to do that since we moved in, and my garage is still a tangled mess of tools, books, old toys, and boxes full of the unknown. I’d also like to get some more programs up and off the ground. I’d like to see my senior business grow because I love to shoot seniors. I’d also like to look into working with some hair and makeup artists for some sessions for men and women who are going through changes or need self esteem boosts. So, if you know of any hair or makeup artists who would trade work for building their portfolio, have them contact me.

I’d also like to work on getting more crafty with soaps or fascinators or something. Find my niche you know. Out at the ranch, I saw the in-laws working on their passions, and now have an inkling to find mine. I can’t sew, but I can knit and crochet. I can also learn to do stuff, so I can teach myself whatever I want to learn.

I also like tossing ideas around with other people, either about their businesses, their websites, their marketing, or just their dreams. It’s always good to get perspective from someone else. Maybe I should look into consulting? Does anybody need a consultant? If you just want to toss around ideas, let me know and we’ll meet for coffee or something.

I thought about doing what Ali Edwards does each year. One Word. She chooses one word and that becomes her focus on everything. I think my word would be Discovery. My year would be discovering about myself both at my job and my personal life. Obviously what I’ve already mentioned about my business and my hobbies. At work, I would like to finally define my path. Find a career goal and begin heading in that direction. I want to work on discovering new connections and networking. If you want to be one of those connections, let me know!

What would your word be?

Oh…and as I do every year, I would like to blog more. Guess you’ll just have to stay tuned to see if that happens.

Last day of 2011

January 1, 2012

So today is the last day of 2011, and also our last full day of vacation out at the ranch. Yes, sadly, we’ll be heading home tomorrow. But not so sadly we’ll get to see our pups and be in our home!

We spent our last day relaxing. The boys finished up some wood projects. Then we hunted for some rocks. While Munchkin and Gi-Gi puttered with rocks in the garden, I whipped up another fascinator. Didn’t take me very long, as I’m getting much faster at them. I managed to scrawl out the pattern as I went today, but I need to review it because I know I threw in some stitches that were not in my original write up.

After I was finished with it, Gi-Gi directed Munchkin and I on where to hunt for a bobby pin to hold it in place. Well, in our quest we found something even better than a silly old bobby pin. We found a loooooong alligator clip! We clipped it to Munchkin’s hair and it was like Frosty’s magic hat. She turned D-I-V-A. She actually wanted me to take her picture. Yes, you read that right. WANTED me to. So we headed outside, and I let her pick the spots.

Her first spot was an old rocker in the front yard.

For this one she told me that she liked looking off somewhere else instead of straight to the camera. Whatever lets me get a picture, right?

Here she was thinking about what spot she wanted next. With so many choices, what’s a girl to choose?

She decided to head over to the hammock. So up she got and went that way. We did snap some pics in the hammock, but due to this Mommy being vertically challenged and not having anything to stand on, they just didn’t turn out the way we hoped. Well, that’s what you get when you do an impromptu shoot.

After much failure and laughing at the hammock, she decided on the cabin. Up the stairs she went. She wanted some shots of her on the second floor, but me on the ground. The sun was terrible, so those were also not the best, but we did get some.

From the cabin we snapped our way to the barn and the hay. Boy are hay bales fun.

She then wanted a picture of her kissing the horses. Miss Dolly in particular. She loves Stormy, but she also loves giving Miss Dolly kisses. (I think it’s because Stormy has a snotty nose right now. Really, he’s blowing snot rockets up to 2 feet away. So it’s best to steer clear of the kisses for him and stick to petting and loving him.) Well, Coco wasn’t really wanting Dolly to get all the pictures, so she was staying in a spot that was completely detrimental to my angles for shooting Munchkin and Miss Dolly. You an see here that Miss Dolly seemed to just want to kiss the tank. Also, it is very apparent how Coco feels about getting the least amount of kisses. LOL.

Well I wasn’t too disappointed because I had snapped some good pictures of Munchkin smoochin on the horses earlier in the week. So we headed back to the hay bales, this time without the fascinator.

I can’t believe how big my baby has grown. She’s no longer a baby and won’t be a little girl much longer either. Sometimes I wish she would stop growing up, but I know she’s going to grow into the best young woman she can be. I love her no matter what. Thank you, Snickles, for letting me spend time with you and capture you at this moment. Mommy loves you!

 

Did you know?

December 29, 2011

This is going to be educational Thursday today. We were outside and I told Munchkin that cows did not have upper teeth. She didn’t believe me. So we went out to the pasture and up came our longhorn buddy. I told him that I wanted to show her that he didn’t have any upper teeth. Well he obliged with a smile. Cross my heart he did! I promise you! Yes huh! OK, ok. I probably wouldn’t believe that he did either without photographic evidence. So here you go people.

CHEESE!

See! No top teeth. If you didn’t know, I’m glad I could be of service. If you knew, just smile along with him.

Christmas at the ranch

December 26, 2011

We can’t go out to the ranch and NOT have a ranch post.

So we arrived yesterday, but it was too cold to go outside and enjoy doing anything. After opening presents, I spent most of the night setting up Munchkin’s new iPod from her Pa-Pa and Gi-Gi. I got most of what she wanted on it. Now she just needs to learn how it functions. And, yes, I did disable iTunes, and adding and deleting apps so she has to come to a parent to change anything.

This morning we awoke to the sun and stayed indoors to avoid the cold until the sun warmed up the ground and air all around. We browsed the Internet, munched on some snacks, read some interesting materials, and checked out our Apple products. Then I decided it was time to go out and grab some pictures as we do every time we visit.

Munchkin wanted to come out with me, so we just walked around snapping pictures and visiting with the animals. They love her, and she loves them. She bundled up, but I think it was more for avoiding Mom’s camera than trying to keep warm because it wasn’t uber cold.

We started with the cows and goats. Two of the goats are very much pregnant. Hopefully, there will be little goaty hooves trotting around soon. The goats and cows licked us a few times, but when they discovered we had not come to feed them, they lost interest in us.

We decided to head on over and give a hello to the horses. Of course, our main man Romeo was the first to see if we had anything for him. (yes, that’s the way Romeo’s ear rolls. It’s part of his swagger tat he uses to attract Senorita Pippi.

Munchkin loves the horses. She gave her horse, Stormy, his kisses for today.

And she couldn’t forget Miss Dolly (who loves kisses, but still isn’t broke).

Coco was busy being a Little Miss Meany who wanted all the attention, so she didn’t get any kisses. After kisses and attention, we walked around some more and got some more pictures.

Then Pa-Pa said it was time to feed the animules, so he and Munchkin headed off to the barn. Someone is a little vertically challenged, and had issues with getting the feed, but she made the best of it.

She actually did the work, too. Didn’t let Pa-Pa do it all himself.

She even drove like a pro and hopped out when she was needed.

She’s getting to be a real ranch hand. I told Pa-Pa that soon he won’t have to help. He’ll just have to tell her when it’s time to feed them.

 

Elf on the Shelf

December 2, 2011

So this year was the first year we adopted our Elf on the Shelf to help maintain our best behavior this Christmas. Munchkin named him Elliott. Boy, is Elliott a handful, and this is only his second day in the house.

When Munchkin got home from school, she found a box from the North Pole on the front step.

But, wait! The box was opened! Had our dear new friend been abducted? Were we not going to see our elf? Would Santa never know of Munchkin’s behavior? NOOOOOOOOO.

We searched high and low, and high and low, and high…

Oh, Hi, Elliott. (Notice that he has a picture so that he knows which child is in his new family. We do have several kids from the neighborhood who visit regularly, so he’s got to make sure he gets them right.Some of the other children have elves of their own, so maybe Elliott can find a friend in the neighborhood, too.)

So last night Elliott traveled back to the North Pole to update Santa and came back. He didn’t hesitate to begin elfish antics. Munchkin woke up to this -

Not wanting to damage anything before her friends could see what Elliott was up to, this is how she exited her room.

Are we sure it was the work of our sweet, new family member, Elliott? Well, you view the evidence and make your own judgement. In the bathroom, we found this -

And looking up, we saw this -

BUSTED!!!!!! Throughout the day, I guess Elliott didn’t want to hang there, so he took up the toilet paper, and made himself comfy until when he has to jaunt back off to the North Pole to update Santa later tonight.

I wonder what other hi-jinx Elliott will perform during his stay with us this holiday season. Have you adopted your own elf this year? If so, I’d love to hear about your adventures. If you have a blog, please post a link in the comments, or just simply share your story.

 

 

Soaping Adventure

October 20, 2011

So while we were out at the ranch during our July vacation, I saw some handmade soap that my mother-in-law had in the bathroom. The curiosity bug hit me, and I began to research. I checked out websites and blogs. I watched videos. I was determined to pick up a new hobby. I started cold processing soap. So I’ve soaped a bit, but I think I’m ready to blog about it. :-)

A castille soap is a soap made purely of olive oil, lye and liquid such as water. This is a simple recipe, but I have never attempted one, that is, until now. And I must say, I LOVE the way it feels just sitting on the curing rack. Of course I photographed the process as I went.

First, I mixed my lye and water so that it would have a chance to cool down while I got my oil ready. When I took the temperature, the mixture was about 125 degrees F. And, no, I didn’t stick my head over the pitcher. I avoided the fumes and only held the camera over it.

Here is my olive oil just waiting for the lye water to cool down to be ready to mix. There wasn’t much prepping to do for the oils since there was only 1.

Since the temperature of the lye water was so high, I helped speed up the cooling process by an ice bath.

When the lye water was around 100 degrees F, I slowly added it to the olive oil.

Now I use my trusty stick blender to mix the oil and water. We want emulsification, people!

After enough stirring, it’s all emulsified and looks like butter. I did not mix it to thick trace as in the past my batters have thickened too much.

Now into the mold we go. Since this was a small test batch, I decided to put it into the silicone medium cupcake pan. Hand-sized that way. Could be used as guest bars.

Now to just put Saran Wrap over the top and wrap in a towel to set.

A little after 24 hours – no peeking! – I unmolded them and set them on the rack to cure. They feel as smooth and silky as they look. Now jut to wait 4-6 weeks longer to reach perfection.

Here’s a peppermint loaf I unmolded on the same day.

And here’s the peppermint cut and curing on the rack. Unfortunately, the peppermint scent is not as strong now as when I unmolded it a few days ago.

I also soaped my lovely milk and oatmeal soap this day, too. This time using buttermilk instead of goat’s milk. Maybe pictures of that tomorrow. Stay tuned to find out. And as always, comments are welcome!

So today, at my day job, my real job, the work I do during the week, whatever we want to call it, we had an offsite at a local movie theater. We got to choose the movie we wanted to see from their limited selection. Now I say limited, but there were about 8 movies from which to choose. I’m used to having about 12 selections at larger theaters or unlimited selections from Amazon.

Anyway…in finding out that we did not have to return to work when our movie was over, most of us so brilliantly opted for the earliest show so as to be able to go home early. The earliest show was Straw Dogs. Now it was not the best movie I have ever seen, but was neither the worst movie. I do not suggest it if you are offended by graphic sexual encounters & violence (including,but not limited to bludgeoning).

As we watched the movie, the theater offered the service off having food and drink delivered to your seat. Not just normal movie food like popcorn & candy, but burgers, pizza, salad, desserts. We’re talking a full menu, folks. While the concept is nice, and some may like it, I did not enjoy it. Don’t get me wrong. The food was good, the drink was cold, and the service was satisfactory.

What I didn’t like was eating my food without being able to see what it was. Sure, there was a tray and a small under-cabinet light system by the tray, but it was not enough to distinguish what was on my plate. I ordered a burger and fries. Fumbling among the fries, my stealth fingers detected a pickle spear alongside them. I cut my burger in half in an attempt to avoid any spillage of fillings into my lap (which I can proudly report was a success!) Something tentacle-like dangled from the cut edges. I poked at them, and ran my finger over them. I pinched them between my fingers. It was like that game at Halloween where you put your hand in the box to guess what was inside. I’m assuming the danglies were onions, but since my burger and I never shared the light of day, or any light in which my eyes could adjust for proper visability, I cannot be certain. We can only hope that everything on my plate was edible. (I wonder if they have any rules that they can’t put anything inedible on the plate because no one would see it.)

As I said before, there are some people who enjoy the experience; who have no qualms of not being able to distinguish tentacles from fries or a burger before sending them on a journey into the pit of their stomach. As for me, I like to see my food in its plated glory before gobbling it down. I think I’ll stick with dinner and a movie separately.