Friday, March 6, 2015

Out of The Blue

Yes, I know I have been absent from my blog for far too long.  Rest assured that all is well with me and my family.  We've been flying by the seat of our pants right now and at the end of the day, I don't usually have the time to sit and blog about life.  Isn't that the way it always works? When I have all the time in the world, there's nothing to write about, but when my life is full of adventure, I don't have the time to jot it all down for posterity.

Rewind to last summer.

My husband and I decided it would be spectacular to buy a good sized camp trailer for the family because we had been traveling a bit for horse shows, roping, and the county fair. We love to camp and hunt, too. We knew that we would use the heck out of a trailer if we could find one big enough to fit the whole family on a meager budget.

So one night during my prayer time I said something to the effect of, "Lord, if it would be your will, I'd love to have a tiny little side job to make a little bit of fun money so that my family could buy a trailer. I don't want it to take away from my homeschooling. I don't want to be away in the evenings when I would have to miss my kids' sports or horse activities, and I don't want to be away from my family during the weekend.  I know this is a lot to ask but all things are possible with you."

I kid you not, one day later I received an unexpected answer to prayer.  Out of the blue, the principal of our local Christian school called me to see if I was interested in teaching a junior high science class for only one hour a day, four days a week.  It was one week before the school year started and the previous teacher decided not to return.  Several people had thrown out my name as a possible replacement because they knew I had a science degree.  I was flabbergasted!  I have taught my own children for eight years, and have taught numerous science courses for homeschool co-ops, but had never taught in a traditional classroom. Plus, I never saw myself as a junior high teacher of any kind.  In fact, I could still remember vividly the awkwardness of my own junior high years, and vowed to never go back.  

As usual, the Lord works in mysterious ways.  I could not deny that this job met every single one of my criteria: I would only be away from home 4 hours a week.  The hour that I would teach was after my kids were done with their homeschooling for the day, I would have every Friday off, plus weekends, holiday breaks, spring break, and the summer months.  I would be home in the evenings, and wouldn't have to miss a minute of my kids' activities.  I could still feed the cows, irrigate, and come home for a quick change before class, if necessary.

So we prayed about it for two days, and I took the job without even asking what the salary was.  With only a week to put together a teaching plan, read through the textbook, and set up my class structure, I had to get busy.  At first I thought I might be crazy to accept this job out of the blue, but I knew that since God sent me the job from out of nowhere, I could trust that he would take care of the rest of it. And he has.

It turns out that I adore teaching this group of slightly awkward fledgling teenagers. With two of our own kids in the throes of adolescent changes, I certainly understand their stage of life.  One minute they say something profoundly wise, and the next minute they are giggling uncontrollably when I mention the planet "Uranus". I have the privilege to share the wonders of God's creation with my class every day, and occasionally to parents as well.

As for the camp trailer... One day after I accepted the teaching job, a camp trailer that met all of our needs came up for sale on Craigslist.  The owners were wealthy, used it a few times for vacations to San Diego, and wanted to buy a new one.  It was immaculate inside, had new tires, had never been off of a paved road, and was priced thousands of dollars below what it was worth. Woo Hoo! We bought it immediately, and have been enjoying it ever since. Isn't God amazing?

So in the late evenings after the kids have gone to bed, instead of sitting down to blog about my day, I have been preparing physics lessons, and grading papers for both my class and my own kids.

As if that weren't enough to keep me busy, I was elected as secretary of our county's Jr. Livestock association, and our committee has the responsibility of organizing the show and sale of all the livestock in our county fair.  It's a huge undertaking that takes a full year to prepare for.  The mountain of paperwork I receive in my mailbox for the job is daunting.  But it's important to volunteer for programs that benefit the next generation of agricultural leaders.

Did I mention that I'm also teaching two 4-H sewing classes, as well?  Being a sewing instructor requires a large amount of patience, and a seam ripper in hand at all times.  I love to see young girls develop a love for sewing! I also love to see their mothers learning how to sew right along side their daughters. I feel like we are keeping a dying tradition alive. I'm always on the lookout for new projects to teach in my class.

Yes, there have been a few changes for me this year that have taken me away from blogging, but I have been immersed in things that I love to do.

There is much more to share, but this will do for today.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Branding Time

Over the years we have branded calves any and every way possible just to get the job done.  Our kids were so little that they weren't much of a help, and the bulk of the work fell on my husband and me.  I remember being frustrated as I held toddlers on my hip thinking that the diapering days would never be over, and the work would never get easier.

Well, time went by in a FLASH!  Now we've got 3 kids that totally pull their weight around here, and are real hands when it comes to working cattle. I am a typical mother, in that I stare at my babies who are growing up right before my eyes, and I want to go straight back to diapers and make it all last longer. Women can be so wishy-washy.  

This weekend we got together with good friends and we gathered up odds and ends that needed branding. We only had about 30 calves to brand so we decided to take our time and let the kids do most of the work. Our boy finally got to rope and drag calves to the fire.  He LOVED it!

Our oldest daughter prefers to grab calves by the back leg and drag them over for branding.  Behind that pretty smile is one tough cowgirl!

Our littlest girl prepped ear tags and brought the castration bucket over to us.  She's also a big help to her dad while gathering.

Next up, weaning and selling our bulls.  We're soaking up the last few weeks of  temperatures in the 60's before we prepare for the long winter ahead.

Time moves so quickly these days,


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Summer Spent the Right Way!

We spent our entire summer outside, the way all summers should be spent.  We unplugged from all but the most basic of technology and had an absolute ball with our family.

We did a LOT of roping. 
The kids are getting better every week.

The kids competed in rodeos,  horse shows,  ranch events, and trail classes.

They had a saddle on their horses nearly every day this summer...

except when they rode bareback.

We rode through the most gorgeous countryside around...our mountain backyard.

And when we could pry the kids off their horses, we hiked mountains.

And when we weren't hiking mountains, the kids were showing their steers.

And when they weren't showing steers, hiking mountains, riding trails, going to shows and rodeos, or learning to rope, they were checking cows, irrigating, and filling stock tanks.... you know.... the "mundane" stuff.

It's going to be hard to drag the kids back inside after an epic summer like this, but it's once again time to start another year of homeschooling.  We still have many things to look forward to including the county fair and a few more shows, but those things will have to be pushed to the weekends as we crack open our new school books and begin a different type of learning than what is offered to a kid on the back of a horse in summertime.  Instead of creating their own adventures, they will have to read about someone else's in the pages of books during the week days.

Soaking up the last few moments of summer,


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Yes, we bought a car.

We finally did it.  For the first time in our marriage, we bought a car.  Yep, we sold my big beast with the 8" lift and bought a car that we could nearly drive under it.  We went from owning 2 diesel trucks to having 1 truck and 1 car.

We put some serious miles on our vehicles, and our fuel bill was larger than our mortgage.  To some people, the solution is a no-brainer, but we have a lifestyle that necessitates having trucks. We haul cattle, horses, feed, dogs, etc. and we live on a mountain with lots of snow, and have lots of dirt roads.

Reluctantly, we decided to try owning a car, purely for the fuel savings, and I'm happy to report that after a mere 3 weeks of ownership, we have saved $440.  At this rate, we'll be saving at least $550 a month in fuel.We juggle the car and truck between us and whoever needs to pull a trailer or get feed that day drives the truck, and the other person drives the car.

Here's what I'm loving so far:

  • We can park something in the garage for the first time ever.
  • I get rock-star parking at Walmart
  • I don't have to turn the engine off to give my order in the drive-thru.
  • I can fit in the drive-thru lane without running over curbs.
  • I can sync my phone to the car
  • My mother-in-law can hop into the passenger seat without needing a step stool
  • My groceries don't get hay on them or blow out the back anymore
  • I can take it through the automatic car wash
  • I can fill the tank for less than half the cost of filling the truck
  • I can go 3 times farther on a gallon of gas
Here's what I'm hating so far:

  • I have to take it to irrigate and check the cows and it seems too nice to drive down a 2 track road.
  • I feel too close to the ground.
  • I feel vulnerable and frail in this little thing.
I'm not sure if car ownership is going to work out for us or not, but a projected savings of nearly $7,000 a year in fuel makes me want to at least give it a shot.  Lots of our friends and family are skeptical that this is going to last, but for now, I'm pleased as pie about our savings.

Laughing all the way to the bank,


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

3 Skincare Recipes for You

I am not a hippie.

That's what I tell myself every time I make these recipes.  I am the world's biggest skeptic of all home remedies, but I was desperate to find something that helped my family after years of dropping big bucks on products that weren't helping.

First up is a recipe for a body butter that has completely eliminated the dry, bumpy skin in our family, and subdued the eczema flair-ups that a few of our family members with sensitive skin are prone to having.  I love this stuff!!! A little goes a long way, and if you use too much, you might feel a bit greasy.

Whipped Peppermint Body Butter

1 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup almond oil
1/4 cup  pure 100% shea butter
2 tsp. Vitamin E oil
10-15 drops of peppermint essential oil *

Heat the coconut oil, almond oil and shea butter in a small pot until just melted.  Remove from heat and add the vitamin E oil and peppermint oil.  Cool in the refrigerator until it's starting to thicken to a pudding consistency and then whip it with a mixer. Place it in a jar, and keep it in the bathroom.  I have never had any problems with it melting, but if you live in a really hot place, you may have to refrigerate it.

* We use peppermint oil for its soothing qualities for eczema, but a few drops of lavender would be a nice substitute.


Next up is a recipe for deodorant. I was a TOTAL skeptic on this one, but my husband begged me to try to make something for him.  He works so hard outside everyday, and sweats like crazy!  We have been buying him prescription strength deodorant for years, and it was really expensive...not to mention that it didn't work all that great.  After seeing a few recipes online, I decided that we really had nothing to lose by trying it, and....IT WORKS! It's really cheap to make, lasts a long time, and did I mention that IT WORKS?!? I can't believe it, but my husband has been using it for 5 months, and his sweating has decreased exponentially. Plus, he comes home from a long day of hard work, and does not smell bad.  This deodorant doesn't really smell like anything.  It has peppermint oil in it because of its anti-bacterial properties, but after an hour or so, you can't even smell that.  It just has a complete lack of smell. It doesn't take much, but should ideally be applied after showering, and once a day.  The beeswax in the recipe will stain the armpits of tight fitting shirts over time, so I'd use something else if you have a tight fitting shirt on.  My husband's old deodorant did the same thing, so he's used to wearing an undershirt under his nice shirts anyway.

I wear the deodorant, too, and after an hour long aerobics class, I had my best friends give me the sniff test. I passed with flying colors!!! It's a miracle.  I was really used to wearing deodorants that smelled girly, but after reading about the junk in them and how it could be bad for my body, I decided that it wouldn't hurt to switch over, myself. Plus, I always got a bumpy razor rash when applying them after my shower.  Not anymore. My underarms are smooth just in time for tank-top season.

Here's the recipe:

1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup  pure 100% shea butter
2 Tablespoons beeswax pellets
2 Tablespoons arrowroot powder
2 Tablespoons baking soda
5 drops of peppermint essential oil

heat coconut oil, shea butter, and beeswax in a small pot. Once melted, remove from heat and stir in the remaining ingredients. Cool until it starts to thicken and pour into empty deodorant containers. (It will harden quickly, so be sure that you are watching it carefully and don't walk away.)

1 recipe fills about 1.5 deodorant containers, if they are big, or 2 small containers.  I just kept our old containers when the deodorant was gone, and I wash and re-use them.  It makes application so much easier than making it into bars.


Here's a lovely sugar scrub recipe that I adore. I use it once a week to exfoliate in the shower, and always come out feeling like I've been to the spa.  It makes my skin soooo smooth.  I use a Doterra essential oil mix in it called "Serenity" and it's like having an aroma therapy session in the shower with the hot water.  It's very relaxing.

Serenity Sugar Scrub
1/2 cup of sugar
1 TBS olive oil
8 drops of Serenity essential oil, or any other oil that you enjoy the smell of.

Just mix and put into a small plastic container. Apply it to skin and scrub away, then rinse.  Beware, your shower floor may get a little slippery with the olive oil.

Hope you enjoy these recipes!  My skin has never felt so amazing!


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Top 10 Things That Kept Me From Blogging

Hello friends! After taking an un-planned 2 month blogging hiatus, I'm back at the keyboard.  Thank you all so much for your kind emails. We are all doing well, and I'm sorry to scare you with my abrupt pause in writing.  It seems like when I have all the time in the world, there's nothing to write about, and when my life is full of adventures, I don't have a free minute to write it all down.

I had to put my Super Woman cape on for a few months to help my family get through our busiest season, and I had to let some things slide so I could focus on the important stuff.

Here's a peek at the fun and chaos that has kept me from the computer the last few months:

(Note: Many of these pics are straight off of my camera phone, but it's better than no pics at all, right!?!)

1. Calving Season! I have written so many times about this over the years that you know the drill. I love the babies, but hate the stress.  Thankfully we had lots of help from my in-laws and had a smooth season this year.

2. Homeschooling 3 children... (Just 1 week until summer break. WoooHoooo!!!)

3. Supporting my husband as he took 2 very tough and demanding senior level college courses in addition to his full time job. I helped him study, and edited 8 papers that he had to write... yes EIGHT of them in 2 months. YUCK.  By the way, I learned a wealth of information about Classical Economics, and I never knew that such a seemingly dry subject could be so intriguing and relevant in today's world.

4. All three kids started baseball/ softball on three different teams, at three different fields, in three different locations, at 3 different times. Ugh.

5. Working with our show steers, attending livestock meetings, and going to showmanship clinics

6. 4-H Horse Meetings, presentations, and riding, riding, riding.

7. Violin Lessons - Hard on the ears, but they sound a little better every week.

8. Church Women's Retreat at a beautiful ranch in Southern AZ- What a much needed break from my hectic schedule!

9. A trip to the big city with my husband for a date night at a Lady Antebellum Concert.  We were front and center for part of the concert and it was amazing!

10. A gorgeous weekend get-away to Sedona to celebrate my mother-in-law's birthday.  We hiked, ate good food, and celebrated with the whole family.

10.5.  Training a puppy. (Does that count?) With all of Tater's antics, teaching him to obey seems like a full- time job. Hahahaha. It's a good thing that he's cute, because he's also a handful.

I have left out so many things, but this is a small glimpse into our busy season.  I'm hoping that with the end of our school year, I will have much more time for writing and reflecting on life.  I have so much more I want to share with you.

Living in the Moment,


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Photo Challenge Days 28-30

I just realized that I never posted the last 3 days of the photo challenge on my blog. I promise I did them all very promptly on instagram!

Day 28: Oldie But A Goodie- Taken 16 years ago when my old dog was just a pup, and all the two of us needed were wide open spaces.  Since then, I've added a husband and three kids, and lost my mom. I've had a lot of adventures with that old dog!

Day 29: Tails- I love piggie tails!

Day 30: Sunset