Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Down on the Farm: Stuck!

Last week, my husband delivered our cows to their mountain summer ground.  Every year, due to snow, elk, cows, people, etc., the fences need fixed in places; stretched tight there, restrung here, new post over yonder, and the list goes on.  If you have been a follower for some time, you may remember my post about my husband's fencing fetish.  He likes his fences neat and straight. Anyway, this is a very labor intensive job as the whole 700 acres surrounded by fence must be checked.

Shaylie, age 10, and Jentry, age 4, both decided they were going to help Dad this particular day.  (Just a quick note:  anybody who knows kids knows that their idea of help may be a little different than yours!)  Dad, knowing kids like he does, was fine with this and welcomed them.

Apparently, Richard was walking the fence, while the girls decided to walk the marshy spring area where the cattle drink.  This is where the best frog-hunting is and they were bound and determined to bring a few of the hopping little creatures home.  (Another quick note:  if you'll check out my son's blog, "a Dog, a Frog, and Maybe a Horse or Two," you'll see how long that fun lasts!)

Well, there they were with their cute little irrigation boots on, wading in the sticky mud in search of frogs when it happened. They both, at the same time, sunk up to the top of those boots, and no amount of pulling could get them out.  They were stuck good.  If you have ever had the misfortune of experiencing this, you will know that when you try to start jerking your foot out and it won't move, you lose your balance.  Well, that is what happened to both girls and they both fell backward in that black, stinky mud.

After shouting for help for a while, the girls concluded their Dad was out of ear shot, and even though they both pulled and tugged, they could not get their boots out of that mud. With one crying and one laughing,  they ended up pulling their feet out of the boots which allowed them the angle they needed to get those pesky shoes out.

They hobbled barefoot back to the truck, soaking from the shoulders down, mud in their hair, on their faces, up their arms, and caked on from their waist down.  They could have been mistaken for the swamp monster.

Needless to say, my tips on cleaning remedies came in particularly handy after this unfortunate event.  Luckily, the girls have recovered charmingly.  Shaylie assured me that the worst part of the whole day was the two frogs they had, sitting in a small cup while they were stuck to their knees in mud, tipped the cup over and hopped away.

 I guess some things are blessings in disguise for Mom!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Let the Games Begin!!

As many of you already know, I have started up a new game. It's called Blogger-dash and is kind of similar to the game "Balderdash."  Since it's Monday, it's time to submit your entries.

What you do is go to the "Blogger-dash" tab at the top of this page, read the rules, and click on the link in the text. Choose up to 3 verification words you have recently found and make up a definition for them. Fill these into the form you come to. On Thursday, we will begin voting for our favorite entries.

Voting will go through Friday and the winner will be announced on Saturday. The winner will get a feature for their blog site on "Livin' the Dream" with an interview so we can all get to know you. That feature will be on my blog for one week.

Go find your favorite verification words and start playing!  If you have entered great words in the past and they haven't won, go ahead and re-submit them, if you want.

Friday, May 27, 2011


I am so excited to be offering such a great giveaway for my followers.  Because I have had the honor of reaching 100, I am thanking you with this fabulous giveaway.  There will be 6 winners and so your odds of winning will probably be pretty good.  

This great product, Color it by Numbers, was sent to me a little while ago for me to review.  (They probably saw how many kids I have and knew they could get a bunch of reviews in one household!) 

 My first concern was that this computer program would be easy enough for my youngest children to experience.  My concerns were quickly laid to rest as my four-year old sat down, and within 1 minute, was using her own colors to create beautiful artwork.  She was so proud of herself, and so was I.  This program was so easy to use that she immediately felt success.  The music and sounds that accompanied the coloring were an added bonus, very catchy!

Even my older kids loved Color it by Numbers because they could change the preset colors to any shade they wanted to invent.  They could then paint a beautiful, original picture with their own colors.  This is definitely a program that grows with your child with the three different coloring modes and fun pictures to color.

Check out the video below to get all of the details:

If you want to try this program out, click on the this link and there are sample pages you or your kids can color.  To be able to color all of the pictures, you will need to purchase the program, or better yet, win it here!

Tell all of your friends about this awesome computerized coloring book that your kids will love.

To enter this giveaway, put a separate comment for everything that you complete. Make sure you include your email address with each entry.  I will leave this giveaway open for 2 weeks to give you plenty of time to submit as many entries as you can.  The first entry is mandatory, and all others that follow are extra.

1 entry for following me on GFC
1 entry for following me on Twitter
1 entry for following me on Facebook
1 entries for sharing this giveaway on fb or Twitter
2 entries for posting or re-posting this giveaway on your blog
3 entries for finding one of your favorite posts from my archives and commenting on it
8 entries for sending another product my way to review

Good luck.  You will not be disappointed with this product.

** I was sent the above products from Color it by Numbers for the purpose of this review.  I was not compensated in any other manner.  The opinions expressed above are my own and any claims should be verified on the sponsor's site.  Thank you to Color it by Numbers for allowing me to review their product and also hold a giveaway!

Crowning Moments! 100 Followers!

I really didn't think I'd see this day, (and in actuality, I haven't,) but I am so close.  What an exciting accomplishment to think that I have almost 100 followers: a true "crowning moment!"  I have loved the support and comments I have received from so many of you and have tried to return the love.

To let you know how grateful I am for you, I have a great giveaway!  There will actually be 6 winners, so the odds of winning are pretty good.  As soon as I receive my 100th follower, I will post this exciting prize.  I will give you a hint:  those of you who have children or grandchildren will be very interested in this.

Stay tuned!  I might be reaching this awesome goal this weekend!!!  Thanks again for experiencing life with me as I am "Livin' the Dream".

This morning my follower count is 99!!

Also, click HERE to go vote for your favorite Blogger-dash entry!  Today is the last day and I will be announcing this week's Blogger-dash winner tomorrow!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Everything I Learned, I Learned in Kindergarten... and Then Re-learned as a Mom

Careers 105:  When I was little and asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, the answer was always a veterinarian, a news anchorwoman, or the President of the United States.  For reasons made up in my little head, I thought these would be my dream jobs.

My kids have their own ideas of what they want to be when they grow up.  Their thoughts have evolved as they have grown, thank goodness.  I don't know how they would have grown up to be a dinosaur, cheetah, or a monkey and am pretty sure I wouldn't want them bringing their children to Thanksgiving dinner if that was the case.

My older kid's dream jobs have now taken on real human forms such as veterinarian, nurse, teacher, restaurant owner, policeman, rancher, and clown that paints butterflies on people's faces.  There is one very special occupation that has been popping up for some time that I am especially excited about.  I have to admit that I never really thought of it as a real job until I got much older, but I love that my kids are so much smarter than me!

The job that I speak of is that of Motherhood.  Although I always wanted to have children, I never really considered that my career choice.  I am so proud of my girls for choosing this most sought-after position among women as their dream occupation, even above a veterinarian, a news anchorwoman, and President of the United States.

So although I don't carry the official title, I am still the one that my kids bring all of their sick stuffed animals to so that I can patch them up; I am constantly sharing the news, be it the weather or current events, my family comes to me to find it out; and finally, although I may not live in Washington D.C., I do live in a white house, make, enforce, and veto the laws, decide on the budget, and figure out our healthcare system.  They call me Mom, and even though the title is different, I have become what I always dreamed of becoming.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Also, remember to click on the Blogger-dash Voting tab above and go vote for your favorite word/definition.  Whether you've submitted and entry or not, I hope to see you there!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Tip of the Day: Baking Soda Does it All

This is the supposed to be the final segment in this series of how to live cheaper and better using substitutions or home remedies.  In my first post on this topic, I focused on substitutions for beauty aids.  The second segment focused on medicinal substitutions, and the third post talked about substitutions for pricey cleaning supplies. Today I am focusing on the many uses of baking soda.  Because there are so many uses, I am dividing this topic into two separate posts.  I will finish up in next week's "Tip of the Day."

Before I get into that, I want to thank those readers that commented on this segment and/or shared their own home remedies or tricks for better living.

Joeh at Cranky Old Man mentioned that vinegar will clean hard water mineral deposits off anything.

And now, onto the baking soda.  I love baking soda.  My family will tell you that I use it for everything.  From cooking to cleaning to brushing my teeth, this product really does it all.  Although I don't have enough time to mention everything here, there are literally hundreds of different ways to use baking soda.  I have chosen some of the more unknown uses to list here.  Many of the uses come from a book put out by Arm & Hammer that lists over "100 Helpful Household Hints."

Remove black shoe marks on kitchen or bathroom floors with a damp sponge dipped in baking soda.

Sprinkle baking soda on a damp sponge and scrub your fruits and vegetables.  This removes dirt, wax, or pesticide residue.  Rinse well.

Remove crayon marks on walls with damp sponge dipped in baking soda.

Wax from dripped candles can be removed from most hard surfaces with a baking soda paste.  Scrub with a nylon scrubber.

Remove water spots on wood floors with a sponge dampened in baking soda solution.

A fresh stain of oily or greasy food on a cloth chair can be absorbed with equal parts baking soda and salt.  Sprinkle, rub lightly, leave on for a few hours, then vacuum.

Use baking soda to simulate snow on your Christmas tree.

A permanent filler for nail holes on white walls is a mixture of baking soda and white glue formed into paste.

To remove tarnish from silver, boil water and 1/2 tsp. salt with 1 to 2 tsp. baking soda.  Place tarnished silverware in pan with boiled mixture and a piece of aluminum foil.  Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes.  Rinse the silverware well, then use a soft cloth to buff dry.

Use baking soda instead of fabric softener.  Add 1/2 cup at the rinse cycle.

If you've washed a crayon in with a load of clothes, rewash the load with the hottest water possible, adding 1/2 to 1 full box of baking soda.  Repeat if necessary.

If you've stained your white clothes by washing them with colored ones, undo the damage by soaking them in warm water to which you have added baking soda, salt, and detergent.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

One More Day!

Tomorrow, Wednesday, is the last day to submit your entries to Blogger-dash!  Click on the "Blogger-dash" tab above and it will take you to the entry form.  If you win, you will be featured on my blog, "Livin;' the Dream" next week!

Down on the Farm: Tarzan Calls

After sharing some love a few posts back, I happened to mention a certain talent I have for performing Tarzan calls. Because I was asked about this, and I was going to eventually write a post about it anyway, I decided it might as well be now.

Back when I was a kid, I remember on television, they had a Tarzan marathon. Although it was in black and white, (no kids, there was color t.v. before I was born,) our family gathered around the television set. For one whole day straight, and late into the night, they played Tarzan episode after Tarzan episode. The show must have been a big deal, although all I remember about it was I had a headache from watching t.v. all day.

Back up, even before then, I remember my Dad and his particular talent he had at doing Tarzan calls. He was so good at them. He could make the sound echo off the hills. While we were watching the Tarzan marathon, I was struck with how familiar the Tarzan call sounded because I had been hearing Dad do that my whole life.

One of the talents I got from my Dad was that ability to do an awesome Tarzan call. I can carry it out so it echoes off the mountains that surround our little ranch. In fact, I have used this call many times to find my kids when we have all separated to look for elk antlers, when I needed to round everybody up for something, and most often, to call the troops, Richard included, in to dinner.

One night in particular, I had dinner all ready and had everybody gathered except Richard. I knew he was going to help the neighbor down the road and figured he probably got to visiting. I walked out on our front porch and sent out a Tarzan call that echoed around the canyon. It made me light-headed, I put so much into that call.

I stood there watching, not sure if Richard was still at the nieghbor's or not, and even if he was, not sure that he could hear me. And then, all of a sudden, his little green truck flew up over the hill and hurried up our driveway. As Richard stepped out, a big smile on his lips, he asked, "You called?"

I returned the smile and answered, "Dinner's ready."

Monday, May 23, 2011

Blogger-dash Winner Announced!

And, now a drumroll...

The winner of the first ever Blogger-dash game is Jen at A Book, A Girl, A Journey. I love her fun personality and creativity that goes into everything she writes.

Right now, I know Jen's shouting at her screen, "Pardare! Pardare! I really didn't mean for you to publish THAT picture!"

Her fabulous Blogger-dash entry was this captcha and definition: Pardare - This word should be used only if you are sorry for issuing a dare. Say you dare your spouse to work late and they actually do. You should then give them a call and say, "Pardare, please come home." Say you dare your child to put something non-edible in their mouth. If they do, immediately shout, "Pardare! Pardare! Pardare!" They will understand that you did not really mean this ridiculous thing. Pardare - it can be a life saver!

Jen, that is so funny. In honor of you, let's all see how many posts we can use the word "pardare" in. (I just used my first one today!) Be sure to let me know so that we can all check it out.

Jen will be my featured blogger all this week. She is hosting her "MONDAY BEST" BLOG HOP today.

She just started this blog hop last week so if you head over there today, you can be one of the founding posters. Grab her blog hop button and get her post numbers up there.

Although I have all sorts of juicy news to share with you all of this week about Jen, I just want to share one of my favorite posts of Jen's, today. It's just the epitome of that crazy journey of motherhood. Thanks so much for deciding to share THIS BEAUTIFUL MEMORY with us.

Join me tomorrow for another look into Jen's blogging world and remember, a new Blogger-dash game is starting today, so find you a great captcha, click on the above BLOGGER-DASH TAB for instructions, and have fun. Entries will be accepted through Wednesday. You could be my featured blogger next!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Crowning Moments! Passing Around More Love

I was just given a blogger award!

When I got the email from Jen over at A Book, a Girl, a Journey that she was passing on an award to me, I was astounded. I admire Jen a ton and love her writing. She is so talented and I was so honored that she would think of me.

So, thank you so much for making it all worth it.

Seven little-known facts about me include:
1. I do an awesome impersonation of Tarzan and use that call to call Richard in to dinner when he's out and about.
2. When I was a kid, my dad got 7 coyote pups and we raised them. That is where I learned to howl and I love to "talk" to the coyotes behind our house.
3. The meadowlark song is the prettiest sound of spring to me.
4. I would love to own a little cookie shop where people come in and sit in my darlingly-decorated little shop and have milk and cookies.
5. I know three different languages.
6. Rainy nights and coyotes howling sing me to sleep faster than anything.
7. I still dream of being a rodeo queen. Since I'm a little past the prime rodeo queen age, I am going to vicariously live through my little girls.

And for the grand finale, I am passing this award on to:

You all work so hard at providing such lovely blogs. Thank you!

Just a reminder... today is the last day to vote for your favorite Blogger-dash word/definition. Head over to THIS FORM to vote.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Katelyn's new blog, "Fashion is Definitely Me." Come check it out HERE.

Everything I Learned, I Learned in Kindergarten... and Then Re-learned as a Mom

History 201: Ahhh, the good ol' days!

Mom used to say she remembered when a gallon of gas was a quarter. She used to go to the "showhouse" and watch a movie plus get popcorn and a drink for a nickel. She remembers the first person on her block that got a color television.

My Dad used to like to ride his horse everywhere he went. His old stomping grounds are now filled in with apartment buildings, convenience stores, fast food joints, and malls.

As I pulled into the gas station the other day to fill up and watched the numbers beside the dollar sign jumping at an alarming rate, I looked forlornly at the sign showing $3.75 per gallon for unleaded.

I got back in the car and told my kids, "I remember when gas was 99 cents a gallon, a big candybar was 25 cents and you could buy a gumball for a penny! But now that's history."

The kids looked at me with varying degrees of astonishment on their faces. "You lived that long ago?"

I began defensively explaining that it wasn't THAT long ago, but their questions were coming faster than I could answer. "Did you used to ride in a covered wagon?" "Did you have color t.v.?" "Did they have electricity when you were little?" "Were you here when Jesus was born?"

I said "history," not ancient history!

It's Blogger-dash Voting Time!

All of those who submitted entries in the Blogger-dash game, thank you so much. It is now time to vote. Click HERE to pull up a voting form. Vote for your one favorite, (not your own,) word/definition. The winner will be notified on Saturday and featured all next week, starting on Monday.

Those who didn't submit entries, that's no reason not to come on over and vote. There are some very funny and very technical definitions. I can't wait to see who the winner is!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Hurry and Play!

Tomorrow is the last day to enter your captchas, or verification words, and definitions in this week's Blogger-dash game for a chance to be featured on "Livin' the Dream." If you haven't entered, join in the fun by clicking HERE. Just fill out the form and submit.
Thank you so much for playing!

Tip of the Day: Cleaning Substitutions that Save Money

This is the third segment in a series about saving money by using homemade remedies and substitutions for more expensive products used in beauty, health and cleaning supplies. My first post on this topic covered various beauty aids. If you missed it, you can check it out HERE.

The second post about using home remedies to save money on medications and ointments can be seen HERE, if you missed out on this part.

Today, I'm going to focus on cleaning supplies, but not before I mention just a few substitutions that my savvy readers were aware of. Thank you so much for contributing!

Raeshell, at 3 Maples said that if you have ants, put out cornmeal. They will eat it and can't digest it, so they die. It may take longer than using chemicals, but it works.

Dusti, at Where's Dusti has a list of homemade household products and beauty products on her blog. She also let me know the organic coconut oil, unrefined, is the best product in the universe. Check out her site to find out what it is used for.

Joeh at Cranky Old Man has a remedy for depression. If you want to find out what it is, check out the comment section of last week's post on medical substitutions.

A sure-proof way to remove any stain including blood, grass stains, juice stains, etc. is found by combining 1/3 part water with 1/3 parts ammonia, and 1/3 parts dishwashing soap. Spray this mixture on just like you would Spray 'n Wash. Let it soak in, and then wash. A sprayer-full will last forever!

To clean drains, put the following down in order, (DO NOT MIX TOGETHER): 1/2 cup salt, then 1/2 cup baking soda, then 1/2 cup vinegar. Follow with hot water.

To clean grease of of hands, (those who work on cars,) use shaving cream in one hand and sugar in the other. Rub your hands together and rinse in warm water.

Gum can be dissolved and removed from hair and clothing by rubbing with butter or peanut butter if you don't have Thoro. You can also put articles in freezer and let freeze; then chip off the gum.

For general household cleaning, mix 1 Tbsp. ammonia with 1 Tbsp. liquid detergent and 2 cups water. Can use all at once or put in spray bottle for touch-ups.

To clean a yellow ring from your toilet bowl, drain the bowl by pouring a gallon of water into it, (this will make the water go down below the ring.) Then pour a can of Coke, not diet, on the ring and brush, then rinse.

Coke can also be used to clean the grease stains in your driveway. Just pour the Coke onto the grease and brush with a broom.

To clean burned-on stains on cookie sheets, cover them with baking soda, then with a small amount of hot water. Let soak for 10 minutes, then scour with baking soda and a scrubber. This also works with baked-on or dried-on food in a casserole dish or pan. If food is very hard, let sit an hour before sponging clean.

To deodorize and freshen carpets, combine 1 cup of crushed, dried herbs, (rosemary, lavender, etc. ) 1 tsp. ground cloves, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. baking soda. Sprinkle over carpet. Allow to sit for a few minutes, then vacuum.

Clean gold and silver jewelry with 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water. Rub on gently, then rinse. Buff with a soft cloth. Shine platinum jewelry with dry baking soda buffed on with a soft cloth.

Baking soda can be used for 1000's of things. To finish up my segment of using substitutions in order to save money on household supplies, I will mention some interesting uses for this incredible substance next week. Tune in!

In the meantime, if you know of, or come across, any home remedies or substitutions that will help us all save money, look and feel better, and live cleaner, please email me or comment here.

Down on the Farm: Rush Valley Daze

My Dad loved riding horses. Any event that had horses involved was a good time. One year, he planned a trail ride/wagon train event to go along with our town's summer celebration, Rush Valley Days. There was always food, games, and entertainment, and this year, the added bonus of the trail ride/wagon train. The group would ride for two days, camping along the trail until they reached a designated camp spot in Rush Valley where we would all eat a catered dutch-oven dinner and have a dirt dance with a live band.
As you can imagine, the turnout was quite large; not only did most of the citizens of Rush Valley attend, but also many relatives of those who lived in the small community, past and present, and some who had just heard about the event. Space was limited, but the cars, horses, people, and food wagon all pushed in together. It was a very successful activity with fun had by all.
Of course, the horses that the trail riders came riding into camp on would be tied to trees around the campground and those who would only be coming to the dinner and dance would be parking around the crowded outskirts of the campground, as well.
One particular couple showed up in their fancy new Cadillac. It was a very nice ride, to say the least! They parked in the dusty make-shift parking lot alongside the horses.
Just some foreshadowing: because it was so warm, most all the vehicles left their windows down.
The night went on uneventful. There was laughing, dancing, singing, eating: everything to insure a good time. And then the fun ended, at least for the visiting couple with the Cadillac. Apparently, they had parked next to a tree that one of the horses had been tied to. The horse had pivoted around the tree until the back of the horse was up against the car.
(A lesson in animal physiology: when you feed a horse, the forage moves through the intestine and back out as a digested substance called manure.)
Well, this particular horse followed the lesson of animal physiology and when its tail was raised, the only place for the manure to fall was right into the open car window onto the fine upholstered front seat of that Caddy.
You can probably imagine what went through the couple's head as they went home that night!

A Tribute to Dad...

Thanks to Dave Fackrell for sharing the memories...

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Blogger-dash: Fun for the Whole Family!!!

I just wanted to give you all a heads-up that I'm starting a fun new game for all of us bloggers out there that love the verification words. You have to admit there are some classics.

Keep track of your favorites, (you can enter up to three a week,) make up a definition for them and enter them in the form on my blog, (there's a separate tab for "Blogger-dash" at the top,) between Monday and Wednesday. They will be available to vote for on Thurs. and Fri., (please don't vote for your own,) and then I'll post the winner on Saturday. The winner will be featured on my blog for the next week.

Good luck! Hope to see you there!

(This is the first time I've branched out into a 'form-page' thing, so if you have any comments or helps to make this successful, fun, and just plain better, let me know.)

Friday, May 13, 2011

Crowning Moments! Last the Best of All the Game

For my Crowning Moments! post today, I had all sorts of choices to choose from. Should I write about how serious my 12-year-old took his stock show competition? He worked on his lamb and went out into that arena and shone! My 10-year-old worked so hard to get her lamb just right. And, my 9-year-old smiled throughout the whole Fitting and Showmanship competition and definitely won in my book!
Should I write about how my 7-year-old played goalie for soccer and stopped two major plays by the other team to help his team come away victors?
Should I write about my 4-year-old participating in the mini class for the 4-H lamb competition, and despite the fact that the lamb was leading her, she came out of the arena knowing that she won because they handed out trophies to everyone?
Should I write about my 1-year-old who has learned to put on her own coat, get off her own pajamas, and throw away her own garbage, all by herself?

Although I consider all of these worthy and “crowning,” I chose to write about two kids that I saw at the Hershey track meet that were in the 800-meter-race. There were two children who came in very last in their races and they were struggling! My heart went out to the little boy who, as he was almost finished, fell to his knees, got his breath back, slowly stood, and stumbled to the finish line. The fifth grade students in the bleachers all got to their feet and cheered, encouraging him on, supporting him the only way they could, and showing a compassion that fifth-graders normally try to hide.

The girl’s situation was different, only in that she didn’t go to her knees. She was pushing herself as hard as she could, and although she came in at least a lap behind everyone else, she was the one that got the standing ovation, the one that everyone stood and cheered for.

These two situations brought on a flood of emotions and tears to witness. Not only was it touching that those two kids would push themselves and struggle so hard to finish, but the response of the other kids was almost too much.

As a mother, the pride of your child showing so much compassion and love to a stranger-in-need is a “crowning moment” worth a hundred trophies, a hundred first-places, a hundred wins.

Being able to see other’s needs and reach out a hand of service will allow them to overlook their own possible heartbreaks or misfortunes in life, and support someone else in theirs. These opportunities will help them see the blessings in their own lives and be grateful for what they have. That gratitude makes for a happy life, no matter how much money you may have, what size of house you may own, or what kind of car you may drive.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Everything I Learned, I Learned in Kindergarten... and Then Re-learned as a Mom

Religion 101: In the scriptures, we read, "and a little child shall lead them...." Isn't it so true about the faith of a child. Children believe so easily and so completely.

We irrigate our hayfields with a ditch that runs along one end of them. My kids love to go out with Richard and fix the dams. They love chasing the voles that pop out of their holes as the water slowly spreads across the field. They love racing sticks down the swift moving water. They love dragging the shovel for Dad as they chat about their day. They love everything about it.

Last year, while the water in the ditches was high, Justin, my 7-year-old, was walking alongside his Dad with his own irrigation boots on when he stepped into the ditch. With Richard holding onto his hand to keep him from washing away, he exclaimed, "Look Dad! I'm walking on water, just like Jesus!"

As we try to teach our kids the importance of prayer in our lives, we have been so blessed to have choice opportunities to pray when a toy or a shoe gets lost, and at these critical moments that test ones faith, the item is found and we can once again pray to thank our Heavenly Father for the help.

Just a couple of days ago, Jentry, my 4-year-old was giving those in the minivan a lesson on being good. She informed us that Heavenly Father does give spankings if we are really bad and they hurt because He is strong and magic.

Well, so maybe our lessons on religion are missing the mark a little, but I am happy that she knows Heavenly Father is there and that He wants us to be good.

As we become mothers, I believe that the child-like faith comes back as we must put our trust in something greater than we are. The incredible responsibility that we are given to raise these precious spirits is humbling, and only by asking in faith for help in raising them to be happy, healthy, and loving people can we succeed in our role.

Tip of the Day: Cheap Medical Remedies

Thank you so much for the comments and feedback I got last week. We are continuing our three-part series of substitutes and home remedies. Admittedly, I haven't tried a number of them, so I hope they will work great. It's nice to have options that help us all save money while at the same time, helping us to look beautiful or, in this week's case, feel healthier. First of all, I wanted to share some of the extra tips that people added to last week's Tip of the Day.

Shanimal's Crackers shared that putting toothpaste on your pimples gets rid of them overnight.

Tracy T. recommended keeping a container of sugar in your shower and mix it with your body wash or soap to act as a body scrub. You'll be amazed at how soft, (and delicious) your skin will be.

joeh started us right in on our medical remedies with this instant cure for heartburn: combine 2 tsp. baking soda with 1/4 c. water.

For dandruff problems, pour vinegar into the hair, massage into scalp, and leave to dry for a few minutes. Wash hair. Repeat this process daily for a few days, until dandruff disappears.

Olive oil can be used on baby's dry skin. It also can be used to help with diaper rash.

Use cornstarch instead of baby powder. It's better for baby's lungs and skin - and cheaper, too.

For blisters on your feet, instead of putting the bandaid where it will come off as your feet sweat, put the bandaid inside the shoe where it is rubbing. The fabric will hold the bandaid in place and prevent future blisters.

To relieve headache pain almost immediately, drink two glasses of Gatorade.

Colgate toothpaste makes an excellent salve for burns.

Mix 1 Tbsp. horseradish in 1 cup of olive oil. Let mixture sit for 30 minutes, and then apply it as a massage oil for instant relief for aching muscles.

For a sore throat, mix 1/4 cup vinegar with 1/4 cup honey and take 1 Tbsp. six times a day. The vinegar kills the bacteria, and the honey soothes the throat.

Cure urinary tract infections with Alka-Seltzer. Just dissolve two tablets in a glass of water and drink it at the onset of the symptoms.

Get rid of toenail fungus by soaking your toes in Listerine mouthwash.

If you suffer from boils, cover the boil with Hunt's tomato paste as a compress. The acids from the tomatoes soothe the pain and bring the boil to a head.

To disinfect a broken blister, dab on a few drops of Listerine.

To speed up the healing process and reduce the blueness of bruises, soak a cotton ball in white vinegar and apply it to the bruise for 1 hour.

For arthritis pain, mix 2 cups of Quaker Oats and 1 cup of water in a bowl and warm in the microwave for 1 minute. Cool slightly and apply the mixture to your hands, or wherever the pain may be.

Save on costly veterinary bills with the following home remedies:

Eliminate ear mites by applying a few drops of Wesson corn oil in your cat's or dog's ear. Massage it in, then clean with a cotton ball. Repeat daily for 3 days.

To kill fleas instantly, add a few drops of Dawn dishwashing liquid to your dog's bath and shampoo the animal thoroughly. Rinse well to avoid skin irritations.

For dog odor caused by your dog getting wet, wipe down your pet with a dryer sheet, instanly making your dog smell springtime fresh.

If you have any remedies for making us feel better, look better, live healthier, or just save money, let me know!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Down on the Farm: Grateful Dead

Cathartes aura, turkey vulture. They soar over our house and around our fields from early spring through the summer. We counted up to nine at one time, balancing on the rising thermals to stay aloft, just lazily circling, circling.

There's something a little bit disturbing about vultures; especially when so many gather on your fence posts, or circle your yard. It almost seems like a bad omen.

Their yearly vigil takes place usually after the mares foal. (The birds like the afterbirth.) We also have quite a number of things get hit down on the highway and a large number of small animals getting caught by the coyotes behind our house.

Although I understand that they have to eat, the manner in which they do so tends to send a shiver up my spine.

Their large wingspan, however makes them almost majestic in the sky. I have always been in awe at large birds and the turkey vulture is no different. It's almost scary how low they will fly, using their sense of smell to find their next decaying meal.

My children also observe this large bird with a kind of awe and alarm, wonder and curiosity. Apparently, this curiosity got the best of them a couple of years ago. We had seen a large number circling for a few days in a row.

I can usually hear my kids through the open windows as the weather warms up. This particular day, the troops went unusually quiet for quite some time. I went to the window, and laying prone in awkward positions all over the back lawn, were five kids surrounded by seemingly "dead" stuffed animals.

It turns out, they wanted to trap a vulture as it swooped down to investigate the supposed "carrion." (I can only imagine their horror if that really did happen.)

I decided I really liked that game and anytime my "tribe" seems a little too rowdy, I suggest they try to catch a vulture!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Above and Beyond: Mother's Day Tribute

Because I take the weekends off from writing blogs, I'm going to extend Mother's Day and give a tribute to my Mother-in-law. If you have been following for a while you'll remember my tribute to my own Mom a month ago. (If you're new, you can check HERE and read about what I gave my Mom for an early Mother's Day gift.)

I was actually very glad it worked out this way, so I could honor both of the wonderful Moms in my life.

The stereotypical mother-in-law has never applied in my case. Since I have known Ann, ahe has always been an inspiration to me. She is a very hard-working, accepting, spiritual, and charitable lady.

I have never seen Ann idle. If her hands aren't working, she's working her mind. Her house is always clean and she has taught me so much about organizing and maintaining a home.

From the time I walked through her door after my first date with Richard, Ann welcomed me. I never felt uncomfortable becuse Ann made me feel like I was her own daughter, and she still does today.

Her love for all those she comes in contact with is admirable and noteworthy. As a missionary for the LDS church, she works the twelve-step program for those striving to overcome drug, (or any other substance,) addiction. For more information on this program, click here. She comes to love these people she serves so much and I know it helps them conquer whatever they may be going through.

Ann is a spiritual giant who puts her trust in our Heavenly Father and works hard to be able to live with Him again. That Spirit is felt in her home and anywhere else she may be.

Ann, I love you so much and feel so blessed to have you in my life. Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Crowning Moments! Passing on the Love

I'd like to thank my family for all of their love and support, Five Foot Mama, and my fans. It has been an amazing journey and...

Oh, sorry. I got carrried away, and if it sounded like a night at the Oscars, that is how I felt to find out I had just received two blogging awards! "The Versatile Blogger" and the "Blog on Fire Award" were awarded to me by my little friend, Five Foot Mama. Check her out HERE. She shares some cute pictures and great stories.

Thanks again! How exciting!

Here are the rules that go along:

1. Thank and link to the person who nominated you.
2. Share seven random facts about yourself.
3. Pass the award along to 5 new-found blogging buddies.
4. Contact those buddies to congratulate them.

I'm giving away the "Versatile Blogger" award to the following:

Gifts of Serendipity
Shanimals Crackers
Life in a Pink Fibro
My Sweet Potato 3
Maxabella Loves...

And, the "Blog on Fire Award" goes to:

Saving Cent by Cent
Life...Just Saying
Ah, the Possibilities
Heartfelt Balance Handmade Life
Mom of 2 Little Misters

Check out these blogs. It will be worth your time.

Seven random facts about me are:
1. I published a children's book entitled "No Dinosaurs at Church" a few years ago.

2. I have dial-up internet.

3. I'm addicted to checking out the stats page on my Blogger dashboard.

4. I love to learn and would like to go to nursing scool after my kids are grown.

5. I received my bachelor's degree in Pre-Veterinary Medicine with an emphasis in Reproductive Physiology.

6. I love to play the piano and teach piano lessons. See THIS

7. I cry at every school program my kids put on, especially the Mother's Day ones.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Everything I Learned, I Learned in Kindergarten...and Then Re-learned as a Mom!

Summer Vacation:

wading pool in the front yard
lazy days in the warm sun
reading, just for fun
riding bikes with friends
picnics in the park
the buzzing of bees
the song of the meadowlark
sun tanning in the back yard
smelling the fresh cut grass
hot dog roasts along the creek
warm nights on the porch
spitting watermelon seeds
riding horses through the aspens
soft night breezes blowing the curtains
garden tomatoes and corn on the cob
crickets singing me to sleep

Now as a Mom... I still can't wait for summer vacation!!!

What did you love about summer vacation? What does your kids love?

I'm' Going Blog Hopping!!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Tip of the Day: Saving Money Using Substitutions

This post is the first in a series of at least three, (depending on how much info I find to share,) about substitutions for various things around the house.  Today, I will focus on skin care and beauty products.  Some of these homemade remedies I've tried and others, I'm just holding onto, waiting for the day I need to use them.  If you try them out, report back and let us know how they work.  Here goes...

Instead of expensive shaving cream for your legs, I use cheap hair conditioner.  It works great!  I never get razor burn and my legs feel soft and smooth when I'm done.

To get rid of dark under-eye circles, (which probably pertains to most of us late-night bloggers,) run one potato through your food processor and stuff the raw mashed potato into a piece of cheesecloth.  Apply to the area directly beneath your eye.  Be careful not to let the potato juice come in contact with the eye itself.  Leave on for 10 to 15 minutes.  This works because potatoes contain an enzume called catecholase which is used in cosmetics as a human skin lightener.

If you suffer from puffy eyes, soak a cotton ball in cold milk.  Place the cotton balls on your closed eyes and relax for 10 to 15 minutes.

If you want to get rid of age spots, rub a small slice of lemon on them daily.  You will notice them lighten within a month.  This works because the acidity from the lemon is a natural skin lightener.

Not only do you get a ton of benefits from eating bananas, but they are also great as an anti-wrinkle treatment because they contain a natural antioxidant.  Mash 1/4 banana until very creamy.  Spread all over face and leave for 15 to 20 minutes.  Rinse off with warm water followed by a splash of cold.  Gently pat dry.

For skin blemishes, (I assume we're talking acne here,) cover the blemish with a dab of honey and place a bandaid over it.  Honey kills the bacteria, keeps the skin sterile, and speeds healing.  This claims to work overnight!  (Just in time for that big date!)

To get your lips free from dry skin, apply the following lip exfoliation treatment before applying lipstick or gloss.  Mix 1/2 cup sugar (natural exfoliant) and 2 Tbsp. yogurt (hydrating milk protein) together.  Rub in small circles all over lips.  You can lick it off or rinse it off.  (This homemade remedy doesn't specify what type of yogurt, but I wonder if you use banana, maybe it will keep your lips from wrinkling, as well!)

To get incredibly soft feet, mix 1/2 cup sugar with 2 Tbsp. lotion.  Massage this scrub mixture into your feet to exfoliate.  Rinse with clear water and pat dry.  Apply some additional lotion to your soft feet.

Join me next week for my tips on medical home remedies.  Some of these are incredible and cost pennies, instead of dollars.

If you have any tried-and-true, (or not,) home remedies that will help save us money while at the same time make us look and feel good, let us know by emailing me or commenting below.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Down on the Farm: Sometimes Life Stinks

 There I was, sixth grade, having quite the successful elementary school experience, when IT happened.  My family had some chickens, (once again, it all starts with chickens -[for more eggs-asperating stories from my life that might cause a cackle, click HERE or HERE].) 

Some pesky varmint was breaking into the chicken coop at nights and by morning, where once sat a hen, only a pile of feathers remained.

My Dad suspected a raccoon or a skunk.  Both of these pests were common in Rush Valley where I grew up.  A .22 rifle stood by the sliding glass door in our kitchen ready to be grabbed if the intruder was spotted.

One night, I had finished doing my homework at the kitchen table, loaded my backpack for school the next day, laid it by the sliding glass door, hung my jacket beside it and went to bed.

That night, Mom and Dad hadn't yet turned in when they heard the chickens making a ruckus.  Dad grabbed the gun and ended up shooting a skunk.

For those not familiar with skunks, when one is shot, it releases its scent glands.  Luckily, Dad was not in range of the spray.

When I got up in the morning, I heard the story of the night before which explained the slight skunk smell that could be detected in the house.  When it was time to catch the bus, you could definitely smell what remained of that skunk outside, but the scent didn't seem all that strong.  It turns out that I was wrong.

In the hour it took me to get to school on the bus, the skunk smell grew.  I guess with my backpack and jacket sitting by the window, the smell had just gradually permeated them throughout the night.  In addition to my bag and coat, my hair was giving off the same stink.  The strange thing was, even though my brother and sister walked through the same air as me to go down to the bus, it was only my hair that had soaked up that stench and become saturated with the unpleasant odor.

Because we lived a half hour away from the school, (which seemed like a bigger deal then than it does now,) my Mom couldn't come and pick me up. I was on my own.

I ended up stashing my coat and backpack behind the bushes of one of the school's outbuildings for the day.  The school librarian was kind enough to take me to her house across town and wash my hair.  Even though she washed it several times with a couple different shampoos, that stubborn smell refused to leave completely.  We decided it was tolerable and I spent the rest of the school day with an invisible aura of skunk smell following me around.

Since that time, it's as if me and skunks have this strange connection.  Just as Spiderman has his spider sense, I have this strong sense where I can detect a skunk from miles away.  I'm not sure that a keen sense of smell can be considered a super power or not.  If so, I have it.

If anyone can think what good this power may be, (besides the obvious of beating anyone to the changing table when my little one needs a clean diaper,) please let me know.  

Monday, May 2, 2011

Above and Beyond: Life's a Dance

Shaylie, Jentry, and Katelyn with our beloved dance teacher, Sara Bingham.
I have always admired someone who loves everyone they come in contact with.  My sister-in-law, Sara, is one of those amazing people.  She doesn't judge those who may be different, but instead, helps them feel welcome and valued.

Saturday night, my girls had their dance recital for the year.  We have the privilege of having Sara as their dance teacher.  It was an amazing night.  Sara's genuine love for each girl was felt by not only the girls themselves, but also the parents. 

I have read numerous messages on Facebook to Sara since Saturday, thanking her for the great job she does and ending with how much their little dancers love her.  May I echo these sentiments.  Sara, my girls love you.   Not only are you amazingly talented, (how do you choreograph and remember all of those dances?!?), but you have such a big heart.

A lot can be said about the way a child feels about someone.  If they love that person, it is probably because they have felt that same love and acceptance from them.  At the end of the recital, tears sprung to my eyes as Sara got up and thanked the audience for allowing her to be a part of their kid's lives.

Sara, please know, that our children are better for knowing you.  In a world where there is so much hate and so much unkindness, it is a little piece of heaven to have a place your kids can go where they feel as much love for them as they do at home.  We are  the ones truly blessed to have you in our lives.

Thank you for going "Above and Beyond" in order to not only teach our girls and boys to dance, but also to love.

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