7 Quick Takes Friday #39

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We have had our chickens for one week now. It has been going really well, except for the day that I spent 30 minutes one morning chasing a chicken around the back yard, wearing a dress, while my children wailed inside the house because we were supposed to leave for a blogging-related shopping event. Since then I have been advised to squirt them with the garden hose to get them back into the coup. Duly noted.
Chickens!

— 2 —

This weekend is Earth Day! If you’re looking for activities to celebrate with your children, Dallas is hosting an Earth Day event and here’s another handy list of Earth Day activities for kids, even if your city isn’t hosting an event.

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Ironically, I have a ton of cloth diaper related posts coming up even though this week was Real Diaper Week. Better late than never, I guess. You can also find me blogging this week on CottonBabies blog about using cloth diapers at daycare.

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I continue to do poorly at saving money. Here is another reason our family sucks at this: no one in our family will touch leftovers. At all. Ever. Well, except me. But I get pretty sick of whatever it is after eating it 3 times in a row and it inevitably gets thrown away. And yes, I have tried freezing things. The kids and the husband will not eat anything leftover, whether it is thawed or refrigerated. The fact that it is not fresh makes no one interested in eating it. Therefore, I have to constantly cook brand new things and the portion sizes have to be exactly what we will eat in one sitting or else it’s wasted. Anybody have any solutions for me there?

— 5 —

I hope to do a garden update this weekend, but our peas were getting eaten by some sort of pest so I bought a container of ladybugs to take care if it. We released them last night at dusk.

Ladybug release

OUR CHICKENS WERE WAITING
Chickens nabbing ladybugs

Many ladybugs perished in the chickens’ stomachs, but hopefully some of them survived.

— 6 —

In case you were wondering whether the $3.99 bottles of wine that Whole Foods has come out with are as good as Trader Joe’s “Two Buck Chuck”, the answer is NO. WF $3.99 wine is TERRIBLE. I do not recommend it. What ingredients do I need to make this into sangria or something?

— 7 —

Have a Happy Earth Day on Saturday!

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Well that’s all for this week, be sure to visit Conversion Diary for links to more 7 Quick Takes Fridays.

My garden: all the little sproutlings!

The storms we had last week were really great for our little garden! We have quite a few little sproutlings coming up, and I bought a few more plants on sale that were already started. Here’s a long shot, the wooden teepee aparatus is for the the peas – SproutRobot told me to do that so they could climb up it. I do whatever SproutRobot tells me to do!

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Here are the peas again:

The peas

The tomatoes and one bell pepper plant

Tomatoes and bell pepper

Two beet plants and then one random plant that popped up – there at the bottom. I am not sure what it is, but I didn’t plant it there – I think the seed must have washed over there during the deluge and planted itself. It is possible that it is spinach. I thought we had lost all the spinach. So it would be great if it is!

Beets and something random

My main question now is whether I have enough room in the garden for more plants? I’d like to plant arugula and something else but I don’t want to crowd everybody in there. I assume all the present sproutlings are going to expand as they turn into full size plants. Will I have any space left? Anybody know?

7 Quick Takes Friday #38

— 1 —

You might have seen me mention on my Facebook page that Ashleigh found me a bread machine for $5 last weekend from a garage sale. I have made 2 loaves of bread already this week! It’s totally amazing. The first was a small loaf using the recipe in the book that came with the machine. I did not take a picture of it, and I ate it all within 48 hours (Christian helped).

The second loaf I made from Ashleigh’s recipe:

First large loaf of bread!

This was a larger loaf and the bread is almost exactly like store-bought. I had a sandwich made from it today!

— 2 —

In other making-my-own-food news, some kind of animal has gained access to our back yard despite our 6 foot wooden fence enclosing the entire yard. When I went to check the plants after this week’s storms, all of the sproutlings previously in this picture were gone completely. Even some of the larger plants looked like this:

Something is clearly EATING the plants in my #garden!!! Help!! #dfw @adellstevens

I actually suspect our very own cat, who likes to roam a bit outside when the kids are out there playing. She enjoys eating green things and then barfing them up in unexpected places in the house. But, she is also very fat and sedentary. I can’t see her climbing up into the raised bed just to chew on green things when she is typically perfectly content chewing on grass, which is more on her level.

What is eating my plants?!! I will kill it!!

— 3—

If you are going to BlogHer 2012, I am SUPER EXCITED that my friend Jill from BabyRabies and Gina, TheFeministBreeder whom I cyber stalk will be leading a panel called “Pro Tips: Branding and Blogging Professionally”. See all the Room Of Your Own topics here. I hope that I get to mic-wrangle at this session!

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I am also excited (although not AS excited) about the session called “Celebrate Your Small Blog”. I went to one similarly named at BlogHer 2010 and it was very encouraging. As wonderful as I truly believe my readers are, you guys are a small bunch compared to what most bloggers can report. I am very thankful for each and every one of you!

— 5 —

We are now on track to get two chickens and a chicken coup from some friends of my parents a week from Saturday! Little Sir is going to be so excited when he sees the chickens. We have talked about the chickens we are going to get a lot in the last few weeks. He just loves farm animals. I am excited to have fresh eggs from our back yard! Not as excited about chicken poop, but it kind of just comes with the territory.

— 6 —

The Schwann’s man just knocked on my door and I didn’t answer it. I am out of grocery money AGAIN. I always feel bad telling him “no” because he doesn’t take it well. He isn’t mean, he just seems so genuinely crushed.

— 7 —

I have heard that it is going to get up into the 90’s later next week. I guess that means we missed our window for camping AGAIN. Our children are not going to know anything about camping until we drag them on trips as teenagers and they complain the whole time. Or was that just me as a teenager?!

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Well that’s all for this week, be sure to visit Conversion Diary for links to more 7 Quick Takes Fridays.

7 Quick Takes Friday #37

— 1 —

I have had a stomach bug or something this week. I had one exactly this time last womanly cycle. It really made me paranoid about Toxic Shock Syndrome since I had the fever, headaches, and nausea both times. I even went to urgent care to have tests run, but they blew me off. I am not sure they even did the tests for TSS. That did not stop them from prescribing me antibiotics (which isn’t a treatment for TSS) even though the doctor freely admitted she couldn’t find anything wrong with me even after doing flu swabbing and blood tests. I guess the good news is that I don’t have mono, because they tested me for that too.

Don’t forget that if you have any TSS symptoms at all, you can always visit You ARE Loved and download their pamphlet to bring to your doctor. You can also @ them on Twitter @youAREloved . I believe Suzan is the one who runs their Twitter and she is AMAZING. She talked me through the whole experience via DM. A big Thank You to my YAL friends!

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I think my conclusion might be that apparently my immune system is taking a bit of a dive around the beginning of my period each month (TMI? you’re welcome.), which results in me catching whatever stomach bug is going around. I am planning on treating myself with Thieves Oil and taking extra probiotics during the first few days of my next cycle and we’ll see how that goes.

— 3—

I am trying out a new product this month – NingXia Red. It’s a supplement that’s supposed to have tons of vitamins and antioxidants. I will do a post about it as soon as I see how it’s going! (post and link has been deleted due to FDA guidelines)

— 4 —

I failed to do a garden update post this week, so I’ll try to do that this weekend. However, here are a few shots of the sprouts that are coming up from the seeds I planted!! Some of the seeds were possibly washed away last weekend in the rain, so they aren’t all coming up and not in the places I originally planted them, but that’s OK. I think?
Peas
I think this is beets?

On the other hand, the seeds I was supposed to start inside the house have done nothing at all after 3 weeks. Pretty sure they’re dead. Which sucks since I was really hoping for lots of nice organic bell peppers. Those things are stinking expensive at the store!

Ah well, maybe I can trade beets or peas to someone for bell peppers.

— 5 —

This week we also got to visit my friend Ashleigh‘s chickens so that Little Sir could see what they were like. He was very excited the whole few blocks to her house and kept saying how we were “going to see the chickens!”. I asked him if he wanted to get some chickens of his own and he said yes!

Seeing the chickens
— 6 —

I was all excited to dye Easter eggs with Little Sir using natural foods for dyes, even though I only had 3 truly white eggs (the rest are brown or bluish or whatever comes out of the free ranging hens). I tried using red lettuce and beet juice for red and this is what I got:

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Exactly the same color as the brown hen eggs.
Great.
It also took more than 30 minutes to do this terrible dye job.
I am not trying any more natural dyes, forget it. I will go use the toxic stuff. Christian and I are the only ones who will actually eat the eggs anyway, neither of the kids will eat hard boiled. We’ve spent more than 30 years eating dyed Easter eggs and it hasn’t killed us yet.

— 7 —

One of my next goals is to acquire a bread machine. I am determined to stop having to buy gourmet bread from the grocery bakery, even if it is only $2 a loaf. I just have to figure out how to get one for little to no money. If you have an extra one lying around, let me know!

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Well that’s all for this week, be sure to visit Conversion Diary for links to more 7 Quick Takes Fridays.

My Garden: soil and seeds!

I mentioned in 7 Quick Takes Friday that we filled the garden bed with soil from Texas Pure Products soil mix this week.

Helping mommy plant (eating dirt)!
The cute baby in the picture is showing me the stick she was chewing on. YUM.

I used the last of my cash grocery money on Saturday to buy 4 packets of organic Seeds Of Change seeds, which I planted exactly like SproutRobot.com told me to. This included building some kind of weird 4 legged thingy around which I planted peas.

First seeds planted!
The peas are supposed to climb this thing?! Eh?

The final step in this planting was supposed to be to water enough that at least 1-2 inches of the soil are soaked. As you may not know, we are under water restriction in our area. We still have not built or acquired a rain barrel (I KNOW, right?). There was rain in the forecast when I completed this planting.

Rain, baby, rain!! It’s my garden’s only hope!

P.S. I had no idea gardening was so back-breaking. I am in so much pain in muscles that I had forgotten I had! Don’t forget, there are essential oils for sore muscles!