Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Use Those KB Gift Cards - Now!

Hey, everybody - just a quick note to alert you that there's a very good chance your KB Toys gift cards won't be any good starting tomorrow, so if a child in your life got a KB Toys gift card for Christmas, you might want to go shopping today.

Here's the link: KB Toys Gift Cards No Good in January. Now, certainly, this could be a hoax, so use your own judgement. Still, with the economy in the state that it is, the safest thing might be to hit the mall today.


Monday, December 29, 2008

A Good Weekend & A Recipe Request

Well, my long weekend was a good one. I rested, and visited with family (we were lucky enough to have people over two nights in a row!), and did some studying (although I am really struggling with motivation for that!).

I also cleaned the chicken coop, and put out new bedding - those birds sure can make a mess quickly! They're still laying pretty solidly, though, so I guess they can be as messy as they like. And I cleaned out a bit of the garden and turned the compost pile. I know, I know - it doesn't sound like much, but I did get something accomplished this weekend.

Now to the request - Hannah's Mom is working on a fundraising cookbook and is looking for recipes. Do you have an extra special dish you make that you'd be willing to share instructions for? If so, would you send it along? Here's the e-mail:

My mom and dad are putting together a cookbook as a fundraiser for my new room. They would love for you to help out by sending them a recipe or two or three or more that you really like. Maybe it’s a heirloom recipe that you HAVE to bring to a family gathering or they won’t even let you in… maybe it’s your favorite comfort food… or maybe it’s your favorite decadent indulgence.

There are really no real “rules” but when submitting more than one recipe please make sure they are different kinds of dishes! Although it would be fun they don’t want to end up with 300 dessert recipes and one casserole. Please proofread your recipes. Mom and Dad might be able to figure out that “ground beff” should really be “ground BEEF” but they won’t know if you typed 1 teaspoon and really meant 1 tablespoon. If you can, please do not use abbreviations. Abbreviations might end up in the cookbook but if you don’t use them in your submissions it will make it easier to get your recipe printed correctly in the cookbook. If you can, submit each in a separate e-mail with the category you see the recipe fitting and the
recipe name listed as the subject. Example: Side dish – Baked Mac n’ Cheese

Some category suggestions: Appetizers, Soups, Salads, Beverages, Vegetables, Side Dishes, Main Dishes and Casseroles, Breads and Rolls, Cakes, Candies, Cookies, Desserts, and the much loved, “Other.”

We are all really excited about this project and appreciate your help in getting the recipes together! Please send your recipes to to make it easier for Mom and Dad to keep them all together and not miss one. Thanks!

Hannah and her family

I know we have some extraordinary cooks out there, so if you've got a great recipe just waiting to burst forth onto the cooking scene, this is your chance! :) And thanks for taking time to read this - you guys are the best!


Friday, December 26, 2008

A Long Weekend

I don't have to go back to the hospital until Monday! And then, I am there Monday and Tuesday, and I get Wednesday and Thursday off! So, after a truly awful Christmas schedule, I get a nice New Year's schedule. It all balances out.

Yesterday was a rough day. I kept reminding myself that at least five people are getting a brand new life, thanks to the generosity of a family whose life is in shambles. Things like this give me a great deal of faith in the basic goodness of people in general.

And, if you've never known someone with heart failure, or kidney failure, or severe liver disease it's hard to imagine that level of illness. Imagine the worst illness of your life, and then imagine that it doesn't go away. You don't get better - you feel that sick all the time. That's what it's like living with organ failure. A transplant literally gives someone their life back - as you can see here:

Thank you to all of you who added your prayers to mine, and please continue to pray that the family will find the strength to rebuild their lives. And I am going to rest this weekend - I am more tired than I think I have ever been and I need to recharge my batteries. Have a great weekend, everybody!


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Hug Your Kids

Well, I'm here at the hospital getting ready to start what will probably be my only case today, although I have to be here until 7 p.m. because you just never know what might come in. And it's gut-wrenching, and heartbreaking and awful. It's so bad I can barely talk about it, so I'll just tell you that it involves a child, and organs. So, go hug the kids in your life, as soon as you can. And then hug them again for me. And, if you are praying people, say a little prayer for a family in Tennessee. Thanks. And Merry Christmas.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Busy Christmas Schedule

Well, some poor soul is having open-heart surgery tomorrow, and it looks like I'll be the one doing his anesthesia - along with an anesthesiologist, or course! So, that means a busy day tomorrow, but I think this is one case where it's better to give than receive. Once the surgery is over, I'll clean and re-set the room and probably go home - he'll begin the long, slow process of recovery, and will spend Christmas Day in intensive care, unless he is lucky.

Christmas Day, it's back to the hospital for a 12-hour trauma call - 7a.m. to 7 p.m., and I hope and pray I'm not busy, because if I am, somebody is having a really bad holiday. We've decided we won't open gifts until I get home (around 8 p.m. Christmas Day).

I'll come home and there will be a fire, and hot food, and two of my three boys, and gifts - it will be very pleasant, I think! And, unlike our men and women serving overseas, I'll at least get to spend time with my family on Christmas Day. My thoughts and prayers are with all of them, and with one young man in South Korea in particular.

Merry Christmas, everybody - here's hoping you all have a happy, safe day at home with your loved ones!


Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Giveaway You'll "Flip" Over!

You know, I love blog giveaways. Your odds of actually winning something are generally better than any other contest you enter, and bloggers are creative people - we come up with really cool items to give away!

That said, I knew I had to share this giveaway with my blogging buddies - it's the cutest little camcorder you ever saw! It would fit right in your handbag, or backpack. Wouldn't that be great for capturing memories of your babies (or grandbabies) and nieces and nephews, and dogs and cats and horses and CHICKENS??? Hey, chickens need love, too - don't be a hater! :)

Anyway, head on over to I Never Grew Up and sign up, and if you win that cute little camera post a video on your blog so we can all share in the fun!


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Craigslist Ad of the Month

I promise I did not make this up! :)

Wooden Computer Desk-Corner - $15
Date: 2008-12-20, 6:54PM EST
Wooden Computer Desk For Sale Corner Fit Wooden Top with Black Metal Legs Desk is not in perfect condition-has some water marks on the top & scratches but it is sturdy Heavy & Big $15 cash- I need it out of my carport! Email if interested You will need to pick up - I can't deliver!

I know, I know - they uploaded the wrong picture, but this strikes me as funny! Maybe it's because I'm chronically sleep-deprived right now!


Dead Microwave

The microwave oven gave up the ghost this week. I was melting chocolate and it started smelling like something burning. I thought I had burnt the chocolate, but when I brought it out it was clear that the source of the smell was the microwave. Now it won't run at all for more than 2 seconds, so it is toast, I am afraid.

The microwave is something I have taken for granted, recently - we haven't been without one in at least ten years. I use it all the time - I rewarm coffee, warm hot water for tea, heat my breakfast muffin on the way out the door in the morning (hot coffee and a warm muffin really boost your mood at 4 a.m. in the winter!), reheat leftovers, cook vegetables... the list is almost endless.

Now I am back to heating water in the tea kettle, rewarming leftovers in the oven (horribly inefficient!), and I've replaced my cold muffin with a less nutritious (but at least warm!) toaster pastry in the mornings. We'll replace the microwave next month (when it fits into the budget), so I can be creative for another two weeks or so.

On a happier note, I have one week remaining of my cardiovascular surgery rotation. I've survived three weeks of it, and it hasn't really been all that bad. Busy, certainly, and I don't really like getting up an hour earlier every day, but the cases themselves are really fascinating. I love big, busy cases - just not every single day! I am so behind on my thesis right now that I shouldnt even be posting this, but you have to something fun and frivolous once in awhile, right?

Have fun with your Christmas preparations, everybody!


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Homemade Christmas

We're having a (mostly) homemade Christmas here at Thistledew (and Clay Hill). Primarily this is due to budgetary concerns, but there's also the issue of the over-commercialization of Christmas. I know it's often said, but we've lost touch to some degree with the true meaning of Christmas. One way to move back toward a real Christmas, I think, is to put thought and time into the gifts that you give.

I can't post what I'm making here (family and friends read this blog, too!) but I can share some links. If you have any last-minute gifts to come up with, consider making them instead of buying them. You'll save money and you'll be giving something personal and thoughtful.

So, there are lots of good ideas here to get you started! There are ideas here that work even for the craft-challenged (read: me!). So get thee hence and find some inspiration, and take a few minutes sometime this weekend to think about what Christmas really means. Then go hug somebody you love!


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Gratitude, Revisited

I am surviving my cardiac surgery rotation, barely. I have to get out of bed by 3:10 a.m. in order to get to the hospital at 4:30. I get home, most nights, at 6 p.m. (or later); needless to say, I'm ready for bed by 8 p.m.! So, I am struggling a bit with my resolve to be mindful of the things I have to be thankful for. What's there to be thankful for about getting up at 3???

Well, a lot, as it turns out. For one, I am healthy enough to get up and get out of the house. For another, my friends and family (and you all know who you are, and I'm including my online friends in this one!) are being extraordinarily patient with me this month. Then, too, there's very little traffic on the road at 3:45 a.m., and none of it interferes with my drive in. Parking is easy to find, as well. Finally, (and the best thing!) - I only have to do this for two more weeks after tomorrow!

Oh, and finals are over!!! Over, over, over! I have no idea what my grade is, but I am so grateful that another semester is over. I don't get time off, per se, but I don't have to attend class after my clinical day again until the middle of January. That's a break, in itself.

Okay, I'm going to lay out my things for tomorrow, pack a lunch and hit the hay. Take care, everybody, and I'll post more later!


Monday, December 8, 2008

Human Again

Well, I thought that was never going to end. Yuck! But, I'm feeling better tonight - albeit a bit drained! Thanks to everyone for the kind wishes and prayers - you guys are fabulous! On a positive note, I think I may have lost a couple of pounds - although that is NOT a diet I recommend!

Yes, Melissa, I know I need to do something about the stress! I'm letting myself get run down and I think it's made me susceptible to every bug that comes along. For the moment, though, I have to soldier on and I can't possibly miss another day. So, it's back to the grind in the morning!

Hannah's family has set up a blog for her here: - and, as requested, they've included a Paypal donation link. Thanks to all who have expressed an interest in helping - she really is a great kid. Mildred, I haven't delivered your card yet because I didn't want to expose the baby to what might have been something contagious and risk another hospitalization; I'll deliver it as soon as I can!

Thanks again for your patience, everyone. I'm back in the land of the living - I think! :)


Sunday, December 7, 2008

Stomach Bug

I have a nasty stomach bug. I have three thoracic surgery cases scheduled tomorrow and I have finals on Tuesday. I felt fine this morning; getting ready for company (Hannah's parents were coming to visit!), and then - WHAM! I will spare you the details; we'll just say that I'm very thankful that there's a trash can in the bathroom. I am completely miserable. :( I'm going back to bed - hope everyone had a great weekend.


Saturday, December 6, 2008

Busy week!

When I first wrote the title to this post, my finger slipped and I accidentally hit the "t" key, so the title read, "Busty Week" - this is not Melissa's blog, though, so that can't be right! :) It has been a busy week around here - and now I'm in the middle of the weekend and I feel more behind than ever!

This, too, shall pass, right? Thanks to all who responded to my post about Hannah - her parents are working really hard to fund the new room, and every bit of help is greatly appreciated! Hannah's mom is working on getting a Paypal link set up, so as soon as she does that I'll post the link.

Melissa and I went to an open house this afternoon at Honey Rock Herb Farm, which is a charming little place not too far from us. I always come away from there inspired - the cottage was the scene of activities today and, as usual, they had some fabulous items! We're on a tight budget but Melissa found an adorable garlic basket and I got some herbs - specifically stuff that we didn't grow (or didn't take time to dry) this year, and (of course!) some honey.

And I have finals on Tuesday so it's time to hit the books - thanks for your patience, everyone and I promise I'll be a good blogger again in January!


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Hannah's Wish

Okay, I know I wasn't going to post much this week, but it turns out that there (so far) aren't many heart surgeries scheduled, so the early part of the week has been a bit easier than I belived it would be. In fact, I worked late yesterday (until almost 7:30 p.m.) on a trauma (gunshot wound), and in return they let me stay home this morning. I have to go in later today, but for the moment I have a break!

So, I thought I would share the story of my friends Janet and Donn King, who are raising several children, one of whom (Hannah) is disabled due to a chromosomal disorder. You can read more about Hannah here:

Hannah is a beautiful child. She has big blue eyes, and gorgeous eyelashes, and thick curly hair. When I talk to her, she seems to understand what I am saying. Hannah also has special needs. She needs continuous care, and this takes a very great toll on her parents. Recently, they were approved for in-home nursing care, and this has eased the burden somewhat, but it hasn't solved everything.

The biggest issue the family faces right now is that Hannah is doing what every other child does - she is growing. Unfortunately, she has neuromuscular disabilities that mean she must be lifted from her bed into a chair, and back again, in order to participate in daily life. This was a simple matter when she was tiny, but as she grows it has become more difficult.

The answer, of course, is some sort of lift. Janet and Donn have such a lift, along with a chair that is the perfect size for Hannah.

The problem? The lift and chair won't fit in Hannah's current room. Her medical equipment, bed and supplies take up just about every speck of space, and the family and her nurses have to move equipment during Hannah's care. Still, the Kings have done a remarkable job of rearranging things in order to keep Hannah at home, and I admire them for that.

But now they need more help. Hannah needs a new room. Moving the entire family to a bigger house would be great, but it just isn't practical! Building a room onto their current home, though, would do the trick. Hannah simply needs more space, and the family has found a contractor who is willing to donate some labor. They need building materials, though. I'll bet they need to raise at least $10,000. Which, when you think about the advantages (Hannah stays home, as opposed to getting moved to some institution for care, her family members don't further hurt themselves trying to carry her back and forth), is a bargain.

Janet is an avid crafter and has created some items that she is trying to sell to raise money for the room. The blankets you see here are among those items. They sell bracelets on the website, and a percentage of those funds goes to Hannah. The local ROTC group is trying to help raise funds. Janet can take Paypal, I believe, so I'll encourage her to set up a donation link. And I thought that perhaps we could mobilize some of the blogging community on their behalf.

So, what do you say? Would you be willing to blog about Hannah? Post a link to Hannah's site on your blog? A donation link? Perhaps post a few of Janet's sale items? Make a donation or purchase a scarf or a blanket? Make something and offer it for sale to support Hannah's room fund? Any or all of the above would be so much appreciated. If you feel you can help, please contact me via e-mail at trp100329 (at) (replace the (at) with @) and I'll forward your information to Janet and Donn. You'd be helping a great kid!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Quilt Raffle

Just a quick note to tell everyone that Wolfie is having a quilt raffle over at Cherish Yesterday. The quilt looks so soft and warm, doesn't it? And there are chances to win two other prizes, as well. You could win a warm, raggedy quilt to snuggle under, or a cool table runner OR a sunbonnet!! :) Check it out!


Sunday, November 30, 2008

November's End & A Little Break

Can you believe we're at the end of November? Another year, coming to a close. It's been a good year, overall, for us here at Thistledew - one house built, the second house well on the way, a small but productive garden. The chickens have done remarkably well, especially considering most of them were housed in a pen in our master bath just under a year ago.

The horses are suffering from benign neglect (they get fed and watered, and the occasional snippet of attention, but there's no working right now) as there's so much going on. I've actually considered finding another home for my mare, as she won't be worked for another year if she stays here. But, that's another post!

I start my cardiovascular surgery rotation on Monday, so out of necessity I will take a small break from blogging. I will try to catch up once or twice a week, and I will be reading your blogs, but you won't see much of me for the next month. Actually, nobody (including the folks who share the farm here) will be seeing much of me for the next month. I'll pop in on the weekends, so I'm not abandoning the blog entirely!

In January, I'll be finished with cardiovascular surgery and only have an obstetrics rotation and about 8 months and then I'll graduate. It seems so far off at the moment, but everyone says that once you finish "hearts" you're on the downhill slope. I'll cling to that next month when the water gets rough! In the meantime, have fun with your Christmas preparations and I'll talk to you sometime next weekend!


Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Ugly Gift Competition

Every year, Melissa and I have a little competition. We strive to find one another the UGLIEST gift possible. The loser of the competition has to display the gift in her home for the next year.

We're not looking for Spencer's-style gag gifts, either. Nor are we looking for homemade items that might not meet somebody's ridiculous idea of perfection - we love our handcrafters! We're really looking for serious items that paid designers designed ON PURPOSE for home decor, that just miss the mark. Or funny decor designed to be ugly. Or novelty items (like dead bugs in acrylic) that we can't imagine anyone over the age of ten actually wanting.

We have a budget of $10, because we have found over the years that it's relatively easy to find expensive "art" pieces that many of us would consider ugly, but it is somewhat more challenging to find a good contender on a budget. The item may be on sale or clearance, as long as you don't pay more than $10. This has always been a source of great fun and hilarity, and we use shopping trips together as opportunities to threaten one another with various items. We've even had coworkers get involved in the hunt before, so the fun isn't just for us.

The gifts are unveiled at our annual get-together (or mailed if we're not in close enough proximity for a get-together, as when we were both serving in the military) and famly members vote. The majority rules - the item voted ugliest is the winner, and the person who has been given that item has to display it.

We'll have to see how we handle the competition this year. The budget is really tight, so we may have to put it off by a year. I hate to do that, because it was always a much-anticipated part of the annual get-together, but we'll see. Maybe we can find an alternative solution!


Friday, November 28, 2008


This post doesn't really have a topic - I'm just writing random thoughts. I hope all of you had a great Thanksgiving! We had a good meal but when we sat down to eat I realized I had forgotten to make mashed potatoes! Who forgets the mashed potatoes? But I did. There was plenty of food, and we had stuffing and sweet potatoes, but how on earth did I forget mashed potatoes?

The weather here is really weird sometimes. Last week it was icy and bitter and we had to bundle up in sweaters and such even in the house, and this week it is as calm and balmy as spring. Which stinks, because I can't enjoy the weather today - I have overnight call tonight so I have to go get some sleep. :(

Did anyone find any good Black Friday deals? We didn't go shopping. First, we're doing mostly handmade stuff this year, and second, I hate dealing with crowds. Third, I have to be up all night tonight so I wanted to sleep in, and then take a midmorning nap. I did look at the Amazon website but there wasn't anything I couldn't live without.

Okay, I'm off to take a nap (yes, it's a hard life!) - have a great day, everyone, no matter how you choose to spend it!


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Have a great holiday, everyone! Here's hoping that you have plenty of food and the company of your families and friends! For those of you with family members overseas, remember that we're thinking of you. My oldest son is in Korea and won't be home for the holidays this year, either. We miss him!

I'll take tomorrow off but should be back on Friday. See you then!


Tuesday, November 25, 2008



What do these words have in common? They're from all of your blogs - the word verifications! Sometimes they just strike me as funny, so I thought I'd write a few down. I know, silly, but sometimes you just need to be a little silly!


Monday, November 24, 2008

My New Favorite Blonde Joke

My uncle sent this one:

A blonde walks into a bank in New York City and asks for the loan officer. She says she's going to Europe on business for two weeks and needs to borrow $5,000. The bank officer says the bank will need some kind of security for the loan, so the blonde hands over the keys to a new Mercedes Benz SL 500.

The car is parked on the street in front of the bank. She has the title, and everything checks out. The bank agrees to accept the car collateral for the loan. The bank's president and its officers all enjoy a good laugh at the blonde for using a $110,000 Benz as collateral against a $5,000 Loan.

An employee of the bank then proceeds to drive the Benz into the bank's underground garage and parks it there. Two weeks later, the blonde returns. She repays the $5,000 and the interest, which comes to $15.41.

The loan officer says, 'Miss, we are very happy to have had your business, and this transaction has worked out very nicely, but we are a little puzzled. While you were away, we checked you out and found that you are a millionaire. What puzzles us is, why would you bother to borrow $5,000?' The blonde replies, 'Where else in New York City can I park my car for two weeks for only $15.41 and expect it to be there when I return?'



Sunday, November 23, 2008

Tending Fire

It has been very cold here all week. Yesterday the low temperature was 21 degrees. Brrr! Perfect fire weather, though, so I've built a fire in the fireplace every morning as soon as I get up.

And the fire needs to be watched until it's established. I have to sit and tend the fire. It isn't an unpleasant way to spend the first half-hour of a morning, sitting by the gradually warming fireplace with a cup of coffee, coaxing it to keep burning.

For us, though, the fire is a luxury and not a necessity. We have central heat which will make the house as warm as we like it (I try to exercise some self-discipline and keep it on 64 degrees F). We have an oven, and so we don't need the fire for cooking. In fact, if the fire simply refused to burn, I could give up and the only consequence would be that somebody would eventually have to clean the charred wood out of the fireplace.

Imagine getting up at 5 a.m. on a bitterly cold morning, and starting a fire to heat the house and cook breakfast. Imagine shivering in the cold as you wait for the temperamental logs to finally catch, and imagine having no firestarting accessories like we have today. You might have matches, or even (perhaps) a flint. Or, if you're lucky, there might be some coals left over from the night before, if you've banked the fire well enough. And if the fire doesn't start, you'll just be cold, and eat cold food. Or, if the cold is severe enough, you might die. Our forefathers (and foremothers) had a great deal of intestinal fortitude, I think!

Now I will admit that I have never started a fire out of coal, and coal was a popular fuel for at least part of our history. But I know that wood is temperamental, and I know that it takes a good hour for me to get an established fire that can just sit and burn without tending every few minutes. And I am very thankful for my modern conveniences - here's to heat and modern kitchens and firestarters! :)

If you're interested, the author of this article Build a Better Fire claims to have invented a more efficient way to use your fireplace. And now Melissa is here and we are going to enjoy the fire, so I will close this. Stay warm, everybody!


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Mayonnaise on my Head

Yes, you read that right. I put a condiment on my head. On purpose. And I really loved the results! Let me explain.

This past week was my vacation. We couldn't afford to actually go anywhere because the budget's just too tight right now (and, yes, as Ron constantly reminds me, I CHOSE to go two years with no income, so it's my own fault) to make it work. So, I decided to use the week to get back to some basic self-care I'd been neglecting.

I've been exercising all week, eating healthy foods and giving myself home spa treatments - sugar scrubs, soaks, masks, etc... and every evening I relax by the fire with a small glass of red wine. Who needs a spa? :)

Anyway, I knew I wanted to do a hair treatment. My hair has a real tendency to be dry; it is also pretty thick, so I need a heavy-duty conditioner. That's where the mayonnaise comes in, and I found the idea here: Make a Condiment into a Conditioner. I used about 1/4 cup of mayonnaise and combed it through my hair. Then I wrapped my head in plastic wrap and then a warm towel. And I sat down to catch up on some blogs.

Forty minutes later (hey, you guys are an engaging read - what can I say?) I realized how much time had passed and decided that perhaps the mayo shouldn't become a permanent part of my hair. So, I showered and washed it off. It came out of my hair easily - I didn't have to use extra shampoo. I did use my normal hair conditioner after rinsing, just in case. But I shouldn't have worried. My hair - oh, my - it feels like silk and has a soft shine that looks like I had a salon treatment.

I was skeptical about trying it, but I am so pleased with the results that I may just make it a weekly thing! Mayonnaise is less expensive than even the drug store deep conditioners, and, trust me - I've tried almost all of those. So, if your hair is already suffering from winter dryness, the cure may be a few steps away - in your refrigerator!

Before I close this, let me tell you about yet another great giveaway - and this one's full of surprises! Check out Susie's blog here: Digging in the Dirt and sign up to win!


Friday, November 21, 2008

Giveaways and Pay it Forward Slots

Okay, I'm leaving two slots for Pay it Forward open, and if you are interested in that scroll down and post a comment - I've found a couple of neat crafts that are actually not outside of my ability levels, so you might be pleasantly surprised! And I found more cool giveaways - check it out!

First up is Jenny at Wonders of Whimsy - she has an altered art kit to give away. If you've ever wanted to try a new craft but NOT wanted to spend the money for the initial supplies, here's your chance! The little tool kit alone has applications for multiple crafts and projects around the house. While you're there, signing up to win, take a minute and look around - it's a great blog!

Second up is Trudy at Crows in the Attic Primitives - the name of this blog alone made me want to stop by and I wasn't disappointed! She's giving away a book from her Christmas reading collection, and who doesn't love a good holiday read? She'll let you pick as many titles as you like, and if you're the winner, one of those titles will be on its way to you in the mail!

Third - a stocking filler giveaway at From a Creative Heart - this blogger is from my neck of the woods - we're practically neighbors! The stocking fillers she's giving away include a candle, a cute little recipe box, a prayer journal, some melters, a rice bag, and some gift tags... really, a nice little assortment! Her post about gratitude is really inspiring, and she has some great things going on over there, so stop by, enter the giveaway and check it out!

There's not much going on on the farm front right now - just lots of little maintenance things until spring comes. I do need to clear out another garden bed - may get to that this weekend if the weather warms up a bit, but then again, I might just put it off. It isn't going anywhere!

Stay warm, everyone!


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Pay it Forward

I love the concept of paying it forward. So, when I visited Threads of Friendship and saw the post about bloggers paying it forward, I knew I had to get involved. I was lucky enough to be one of the first 3 people to sign up there and now its my turn to do the same!

So, how does this work? Well, for the first 3 people who post a comment to this post, I will make you a handmade gift each. The rules are that you have to have a blog yourself, and be willing to pass the 'Pay It Forward' concept on. So you will then have to put it on your blog and make three gifts for other people. Let's spread some happiness and have some fun! The rules state that we have 365 days (ample time!) to make a gift in. I'm more than happy to send something internationally - so everyone can be involved!!

Won't this be fun? Although, here's my disclaimer, BEFORE you commit: I am not the most crafty person on the planet. In fact, I may be the least crafty person on the planet! I can promise you, though, that I won't send you anything I wouldn't be willing to give as a gift to a friend or family member, or willing to use myself. Fair enough?

Let the posting begin!


Blog - Jack - Austin Fun

This is hilarious! I took the Jane Austin Quiz on behalf of Terri to see how I read her.....I couldn't believe the result.....

I am Anne Elliot!

Take the Quiz here!

I almost took the test again, changing the answers because I'm not sure that's her....
Then my conscience kicked in and I decided I must be fair or I'll feel guilty. Does this happen to you???? You really want to adjust reality to suit you, but your integrity gets in the way? I really envy people who can disregard their conscience and not even worry about it...

Anyway, I get to her site and what do my wondering eyes should appear???? I read Terri exactly the way she read herself. And even more amazing is that Terri read me the way I wanted to see myself, not the way I do....before taking the Quiz, I wanted to be Elizabeth Bennett, but my answers revealed I thought of myself as Elinor Dashwood of Sense and Sensibility.....Terri thinks of me as Elizabeth Bennet of Pride and Prejudice - perfect....I suppose that is really Elizabeth after all, she doesn't see herself as others do.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Command Performance

Okay, Melissa is playing today, and she said I had to go take the Jane Austen Quiz. So I did.

I am Anne Elliot!

Take the Quiz here!

I'm Anne Elliot, and I'm ashamed to admit that I've never read "Persuausion" but I suppose I will have to do so now. Here's the description of Anne Elliot:

"You are Anne Elliot of Persuasion! Let's face it; you're easily persuaded, particularly when friends and relatives try to use "the Elliot way" against you. But this doesn't mean that you don't have conviction. Actually, your sense of duty is overwhelming. And though you won't stick your neck out too often, you have learned to speak up when it counts. To boot, you know how to handle sticky situations. You love deeply and constantly."

Now Melissa is going to take the quiz for me and post who she thinks I am. And I guess I am easily persuaded, because Melissa said to do this and I did it! :)


Gratitude And a Great Giveaway!!

I listen to a morning talk radio show on the way in to work, and the host encourages you to think of three things for which you are grateful every morning. It's good for me, because I am generally grumpy in the morning. Don't get me wrong - I love mornings. I just don't love them quite as much when I have to get out in the cold and dark and drive to school, where I work all day for free. So, his suggestion every morning puts me off thinking how grumpy I am, and puts me onto thinking about how fortunate I am.

And I am fortunate. I am healthy. I have a husband who loves me, and really dotes on me. I have children who are happy and healthy. I have a very good friend and sister-in-law next door. I have healthy pets. I live in a beautiful area of the country - I can see the Smokey Mountains off in the distance whenever I leave the house. Right now it is particularly beautiful because of the fall colors. I have the ability to further my education, and am not persecuted for doing so.

The great thing about it is that once you get started, the list expands - you find all sorts of things to be thankful for! So, can you list at least three things you're thankful for? I'll bet you can!

PS - Head on over to The Robin's Nest for a truly spectacular stocking giveaway filled with handmade goodies - you won't want to miss this one!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Five Things Terri Would Never Say

Hello Blog Friends,

Terri is on vacation today, most people on vacation do things for themselves, but Terri is up to her tricks and acting very clever....she hijacked my blog and said some pretty ridiculous things about me.... I am therefore, compelled to return the favor....Terri is often reluctant to talk about herself, so I will educate you on things she would never say...

1. Is that rigor mortis or algor mortis?

Terri would never say this because she is familiar with all types of mortis including brick....she's in love with nursing but also with rocks. I once jogged with Terri for over an hour discussing the properties of mortis to assist her with an upcoming test. She also sent me a book about making a mud house....see the two have nothing in common - you just have to follow along - nod and smile....

2. Do these colors go together?

Terri would never ask this because for some reason she thinks she has no color sense - but we all know better....her color combinations always seem to work - remember her color combination of peach and dark green?, which made my mother laugh and a customer take out their checkbook????

3. That looks way to hard, lets just buy one already made.
Terri is convinced we can not only do a project better but more economical - while sometimes this is the case it has not always been so. We once spent $50 on materials to make a $25 ornament ----we still have a ton of stuff and none of them turned out like the one the artist had for sale (the artist probably hated us for saying we could duplicate it....when I hear someone say this about my art - I just smile!)

4. Does this make me look fat?

Terri would never say this because she's tiny and cute and she knows I would hit her.

5. Let me throw that away.
Terri is the queen of recycle - not only her stuff - table scraps into chicken eggs, but other peoples hand offs. She has found the coolest stuff on Craigs List!

Have a great vacation Terri, you never have enough to do!!!!!!

It's a Wonderful Life Giveaway

I have a confession to make. I have never watched It's a Wonderful Life in its entirety. I know, I know... it's un-American, right? I've caught parts of it here and there, on television, but I've never sat and watched it through. And I know it's a classic, and it isn't like there aren't ample opportunities to watch it EVERY single year! I really don't have a good excuse, you know? And one of my goals this year is to rectify the situation, which is why this giveaway at Primitives by the Light of the Moon is perfect.

Ginger (and I love the name Ginger. If I had a daughter, one of her names would be Ginger. And Sarah - I love the name Sarah. And Nell... none of those names go together, do they? I guess it's a good thing I don't have a daughter!) is also giving away a pair of Santa pajamas (and I have a serious pajama fetish - almost as bad as my bath habit) AND a coffee (or hot cocoa) mug.

Do you see the connection? If you win, you could put on the Santa PJ's, put coffee or cocoa or mulled cider in your mug, and curl up on the couch with some dogs and maybe a cat and watch It's a Wonderful Life! You know you want to do that!

Entering is simple - visit Ginger's blog and post a comment about a blessing in your life. And we all need to take time to focus on our blessings, so this is an excellent exercise to get you started. While you're there, take a minute to read the comments - they really are heartwarming! Then leave your own comment and you could win and that could be YOU on that couch, with that cocoa and those pajamas and those dogs... okay, the dogs can stay at my house... unless you need a couple of strays. Then, we should talk!


Monday, November 17, 2008

Timely Giveaway

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and Christmas is hot on its heels! That's why Mercedes from Common Sense With Money has perfect timing. She is giving away Campbell's Holiday baskets -FIVE of them! This means that I could win, and you could win, and three more people could win... how cool is that?

All you have to do is visit her blog and leave a comment describing how you use Campbell's soup to create meals other than soup. Personally, I love it for quick recipes, although I know the gourmet cooks frown on this. But the gourmet cooks don't get up at 4:30 a.m. and head to the hospital, either, and then come home 12+ hours later and try to study while doing a little cleaning and dealing with the dogs and the chickens and the kids... so I'll take all the help I can get, thank you!

While you're there (entering to win one of those fab baskets), check out the blog. This chickadee has some great ideas, and I love the fact that she's a CPA. She understands all those murky financial details that make me want to go bury my head in a pillow while curling in a fetal position! Hey, we can all use a little more financial sense, right?


A Productive Weekend & Vacation!!

I had a very productive weekend. I did some cleaning, and got oatmeal and sugar cookie dough made and frozen, and made some cupcake things (which were good but not good enough to warrant the work that went into them) and gave the chickens new bedding, and started a few Christmas gifts and did a little schoolwork.

Something about not having the specter of back to school on Monday hanging over my head made me more productive, I guess. Or maybe it's just that prepping everything for a seamless week at school takes so much time that I don't seem to get much else done.

So, this week I am on vacation!!! An entire week! I can't just completely ignore schoolwork, of course, but I am definitely spacing it out with other activities so that it isn't overwhelming. Last night Melissa and her crew came over and we sat by the fire and crocheted and chatted, and had mulled wine and cider. She is going to post later this week about all the work she got done this weekend, and has promised pictures. Her short scarves are adorable, and wait 'til you see the fingerless gloves!

In the meantime, here's a recipe for mulled cider that was a big hit with the younger crew:

Mulled Cider

2 quarts apple cider
1/2 c brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamom
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 whole orange
1 whole apple

Wash fruit and slice. Pour apple cider into a large pot. Add brown sugar, spices and fruit, squeezing juice from the orange into the pot before placing the orange slices in. Heat just to boiling and then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Serve warm - you may need to turn the cider off for several minutes to allow it to cool before serving.

I made the mulled wine with the exact same recipe, substituting wine for the cider. I let the wine boil for a minute or so (by accident) but the taste was fine. This probably reduced the alcohol content somewhat but, to me, that would be a good thing. Both made great drinks for a cold evening!

My teenagers loved the cider - they gave it two thumbs up and said it's definitely a drink they'd like to have again. Even the picky eater loved it. Success! Have a great Monday, everybody!


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Five Things You'll Never Hear Me Say

I got this idea from Daisy (two posts in a row inspired by Miss Daisy, hmmmm!), who evidently shares my love of dance (but I lack any sort of actual skill to accompany that love, alas!). Stop by her blog to read five things she'll never say!

Five Things You'll Never Hear Me Say

1. Let me drive!

I hate driving - mostly because I have no depth perception!
2. Stay off the furniture!

My dogs think they own the furniture!

3. This cake has too much chocolate.

I am convinced that there is no such thing as too much chocolate!
4. Let's move to an apartment in the city!

This is the lower pasture, where (someday!) our barn will live.
5. I don't need any coffee this morning!
I think this one speaks for itself!
So, anybody else want to play? It's kind of fun - just list five things you'll never say!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

An Award, and an Early Morning

Well, I guess I've trained myself to wake up early, because this morning at 5 a.m. I was wide awake. I tried to lie there and go back to sleep, but it didn't work. So, here I am, blogging! It's really sad that sleeping 'til 5 feels like I've slept in! :)

Deb at Brandyanne's Candles & Prims is doing a sale to try to help a fellow in their area who is struggling with some medical problems - check out her blog to find out more. Her candles and soaps really are wonderful, so if you have some Christmas shopping to do, consider her store.

I had a pleasant surprise this morning when I looked at my comments - Daisy gave me an award! The "Marie Antoinette: A Real Person, A Real Award" blog award! I have to confess that I have no idea what that means, but, hey, as Daisy says on her delightful blog, I like cake! Thank you very much, Daisy! It was very kind of you to think of me!

Here are the rules that accompany this award:
1. Please put the logo on your blog
2. Place a link to the person from whom you received the award
3. Nominate at least 7 or more blogs
4. Put the links of those blogs on your blog
5. Leave a message on their blogs to tell them

Here are my nominees:

Cherish Yesterday
Life in New Hampshire
Simple Needs
Life in Pink Hi-Tops
Pilgrims & Pioneers

I am going to break the rules and nominate just 5 - I really think 7 is a bit greedy. We need to leave some blogs for other people to nominate, right? So, to the real women I'm nominating - accept if you want to play, and ignore it if you don't. Just know that I think you're all pretty darned awesome!


Friday, November 14, 2008

Our Barn

We have a great barn here at Thistledew. A fabulous, beautiful barn. A barn with horse stalls, and hay storage, and a tack room, and an upstairs room the length of the barn that is perfect for crafting. The problem? It only exists in our imagination. We can picture it in our minds without any difficulty, but we haven't ever actually seen a barn like it. Until now.

We found our dream barn at Barn Pros. Isn't it gorgeous? It is exactly as I had pictured it in my mind - I keep telling all my friends that our barn will be nicer than our house, and if this is our barn, that will be the truth! I think that we can have it within a year of my graduation. It might take two years. But we are learning a lot about patience on this journey, and we can wait.

In the meantime, the driveway needs a load of gravel, we need some serious landscaping (and I don't mean the kind you see on HGTV - I mean the kind you pay a guy with a big earthmover to come and do) and the horses could really use more hay. Sigh.

Here's to dreams, and to the patience to see them through!


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Fall Colors

Today was a rainy day, but my drive home was gorgeous. The trees are in full, riotous color but it is all too obvious that the color is fleeting - there are leaves all over the ground. Still, this is one of my favorite times of year - even when it's raining!
The only bad thing about this fall is that I don't have time to really enjoy it - there's just too much going on! Still, I can enjoy the colors on my scenic drive home, and that's something to be thankful for, isn't it? I have to remember to enjoy the little things!
Here's hoping that your fall display is as fabulous as ours is - no matter where you are right now!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Hardworking Girls

My hens are still laying eggs - here we are, close to halfway through November, and I'm still getting 6-8 eggs a day. One of the older hens is in moult, so I know she's not laying. Poor thing - she really looks pathetic - big patches of naked chicken skin showing everywhere. I need to post a pic. But that leaves ten hens not in moult, and most of them are still laying.

I gave away several dozen eggs last week, because we were beginning to be overrun. I know we'll use quite a few up during the Christmas baking season, and that's just when the girls will be slowing more, so I'm not complaining, by any means. I guess what I'm doing is bragging - bragging on my happy, hardworking girls!


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

More Quilts to Win!!!!!!

If you read this blog at all, you know I'm a quilt-o-phile (and a bath-o-phile, and a wool-o-phile, and a prim-o-phile, but I digress...). And my blogging buddies continually feed my addictions, by offering fabulous giveaways that I just can't resist. And I have to share my addictions with all of you, just to keep the cycle going!

So, Dana at Old Red Barn Co. has offered up THREE quilts. Yes, she's throwing down the quilting gauntlet and making it absolutely impossible for me to EVER beat her, because I will be lucky to finish and give away ONE quilt, and she's coolly doing THREE in ONE BLOW. Like it's nothing. Thanks, Dana. Way to make the rest of us look like slackers! :)

I'm kidding, of course - I think it is totally wonderful that Dana is a generous soul who likes to share her considerable talents, and I think all of you will be totally missing the boat if you don't head over to her blog and sign up. So what are you waiting for??? Get on over there and sign up to WIN!!!


Goodies! And a Thank You...

I love getting packages in the mail. So, last night I was pleasantly surprised to get home and find a package from Brandyanne's Candles & Prims! The candles really smell marvelous. We got Christmas Splendor and Balsam & Spice... the Balsam and Spice smells just like those gummie candies from Christmases past, and the Christmas Splendor - well, I can't even describe it, but suffice it to say it is marvelous.

Deb also included a sample of her Prairie Prim Soap, and I think I'm in love. The scent was Lavendar Vanilla and it was light and fresh and the soap made my skin feel marvelous in the shower this morning. You simply have to try it - I really don't think there's a better soap available for the price, and, trust me - I'm a bath junkie. I've tried LOTS of soaps! Plus, I love the primitive look of the bar - and the soap balls would look great in a primitive bathroom. Do yourself a favor - stop by Brandyanne's Candles & Prims and check it out!

Finally, I want to close this with a thank you to all the veterans and their familes who have served, are currently serving or will serve. Happy Veteran's Day, everyone. We owe all of you a debt of gratitude, and I'm extending this to the families who wait at home while their loved one is in harm's way. The men and women serving our country now need our support, no matter what you think of the current conflict. Hug a veteran today!


Sunday, November 9, 2008


Found this on an online forum:

Two Wolves
One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, “My son, the battle is between two ‘wolves’ inside us all.

One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego.

The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather,
“Which wolf wins?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

So, how do you plan to feed the "good" wolf today? :)


Quilt Giveaway

Okay, I know I already blogged today, but you know my love of all things quilt, so when I find a good quilt giveaway I HAVE to share! And this, my friends, is a GREAT quilt giveaway. You have to check it out.

Although, it won't do you any good, because I have decided to start a winning streak! Yep, I'm going to win everything I enter for the next two weeks, and don't bother to protest because my mind's made up. Sorry, but there it is. But, hey, you could decide to start your own winning streak, right? But don't do that, because it might interfere with mine! :)

Seriously, folks - get thee hence and win a butterfly quilt! It's getting cold out there!


I WON!!!!

I woke up this morning, and decided to do a blog post about staining my bookshelves (more on that later) when I noticed a new comment. Lo and behold, it was Kylie from Threads of Friendship telling me I won the bag giveaway!!! I never win anything, so I am incredibly excited. And Kylie has a princess at HER house that seems to love butterflies, much like our own princess - thanks and kisses to the butterfly princess who drew my name!

I am (as Melissa will attest) truly dreadful with colors. Picking colors for anything is torture - you know how the rest of you see something, and then see something else in a different shade and know instantly if the two things go together or not? Well, I can't do that - I didn't get that gene. Unless it's patently (and boringly) obvious, I can't pick coordinating colors. That's what I have Melissa for! Now you know the secret to our friendship. :)

So, I cheated a bit on this bag - I picked the main fabric (the pomegranate one) and asked Kylie & Janelle to coordinate a top. Clearly, from looking at their blog, these ladies know a little something about color, so I can't wait to see what they choose! Thank you both once again for hosting such a great giveawy - I adore handmade items and I just know I'm going to love this bag!


Saturday, November 8, 2008

I Got It! Plus, Ornie Swap & Giveaway

My Christmas spirit, that is! Last night, we were in the operating room, working on a patient who, based on his behavior before the operation, will almost certainly NOT appreciate all the effort that went into fixing his fractured neck. And we often play music, to pass the time, and make the setting a little more pleasant.

The surgeon wanted seasonal music. There was a debate over what that meant, and finally the group consensus was that we really don't have Thanksgiving music, so Christmas music it was. And I was tired, and the room was cold, and I was trying to come up with an appropriate cocktail of pain medication, nausea medication and sedatives to ensure that Mr. Unpleasant would wake up breathing and comfortable and NOT trying to fight the staff with his newly repaired neck.

Suddenly - I don't know where it came from, but suddenly I had a rush of joy. I was happy - happy to be right where I was, with all the hardworking folks I see every day, happy to be working the trauma shift, even happpy to be trying to outsmart Mr. Unpleasant's personality. And happy that Christmas is a mere 40-something days away. I guess Somebody up there knew I needed a boost, and sent me my Christmas spirit a little early. Thank You!

So, when my buddy Lisa suggested a blogger ornament swap, my first thought was, "Count me in!" And then I remembered - I can't craft my way out of a paper bag. Bummer. But, hey, you know the ornaments you put toward the bottom of the tree so if a kitty has to bat one or a puppy chews one, you won't really care? I am all over those! So if you join in this ornie swap, you will have two ornaments that won't upset you if they get chewed up. Or batted about. Or squashed! Lisa assures me that I can play, too, even if I'm not crafty, so please consider signing up so that there are actually some GOOD ornies in this swap. Because the front of the tree needs something pretty!

And, the giveaway - bloggers are such generous people that you could almost do a "Giveaway of the Day" post, couldn't you? So, for today's giveaway, visit Sandy at For the Love of Prims - she's celebrating 100 posts with a really great primitive gift pack, and you don't want to miss out on the chance to win it!


Friday, November 7, 2008

Lazy Morning

I'm having a lazy morning. Since I'm on overnight call tonight, I have the morning free. I slept until 7:30 this morning - that's a full THREE hours past my normal wake time - it felt wonderful! Now I am catching up on studying, updating the blog and watching HGTV. Yes, at the same time - my husband hates that I multitask in this fashion. I think he hates it because he can't do it! Ha!

I love HGTV and the DIY Network. I am truly addicted, so anytime I have a morning off one of those channels is playing in the background. I particularly love shows where they show ideas for decorating on the cheap. I get inspiration for all sorts of projects. Now, if I only had some time!

Now I'm going to take a little nap. Yes, more SLEEP, but remember - I'll likely be up and running cases for a full 16 hours tonight. Some nights are good, and some are very, very bad! Sometimes we don't even get time to eat, so I devote the morning before call to rest & relaxation. If I start the shift rested and relaxed, things tend to go well. If I go in tired and cranky, things only go downhill.

So, here's hoping all of you have a wonderful day today - and stay safe! I have enough work as it is! :)


Thursday, November 6, 2008

A Hot Bath

I am tired. It's been a long week, and I've worked hard. I finish my week with a 16 hour call shift tomorrow night, so tonight I have to stay up as late as possible. I think I'm going to take a hot bath and curl up with a book. Yes, it will be an anesthesia text (have to stay caught up!) but at least I'll be relaxing!

I am a bath product junkie - I love bubble bath and bath bombs and bath gel and lotion... I've always got new products. I even have rubber bath ducks that light up when they hit the water! The princess sometimes comes to my house just to take a bath because she knows I'll have fun bath stuff. So, a hot bath can be quite the ritual here - I can easily spend an hour in the bath!

The thing is, lately I've been a little worried about the number of chemicals in some of my favorite products, and I'm on the lookout for natural products that I can use to replace them. I want products that smell good and that make my skin feel good. And I am on a budget, so I can't go with any of the really pricey organic stuff the Hollywood crowd goes for. Finally, I'd like to go with an entrepreneur, and would love to support a fellow blogger. So, any suggestions?


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Another Giveaway!

This one is for a cute little bag, custom made. It's a really adorable pleated shoulder bag. You simply have to check it out, at Threads of Friendship. Here's a shot of the pattern:
You know how cute that would be on your shoulder, don't you? Or on mine - it would be really cute on my shoulder, in great fall colors - or maybe in denim, with yellow trim... hmm.
And, here's an idea - win the bag, and go over to Thistledew and win a hat, and have them made in coordinating colors! How cute would that be?? Since I can't win at Thistledew, if I win the bag I'll simply have to browbeat or bribe Melissa into making me a matching hat!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


So, last spring I had YABI (yet another brilliant idea) that we should begin vermicomposting. I got the idea from a special on the DIY network that showed (among other things) the versatility of vermicomposting as a way to reduce solid wastes and produce organic compost for your garden.

I did a little research, and found that vermicompost (unlike, say, painting or rockwork) is actually as easy as they make it look on television. You simply create a bin and fill it with bedding and organic material, wet it, and leave the worms alone. You can add waste to it periodically, but not too much or you'll get undesirable pests in there.

So, how is this different from the compost pile? Well, it really isn't much different. My compost pile attracts lots of earthworms, anyway. But, vermicomposting produces a concentrated amount of earthworm castings to use as a top-dressing, or to start seedlings. I felt that we could make use of both regular compost (for the chicken coop debris, horse manure, grass clippings, old hay, etc...) and vermicompost (for paper and kitchen waste). Plus, the vermicompost looked cool. There's something to be said for looking cool, as my sons will tell you!

This brings us to last spring, where I ordered the worms, built the bin and then filled it with paper and bedding and kitchen debris. And I wet it down a bit, and then periodically threw kitchen waste in. And I otherwise ignored it. And then, I got busy and kind of forgot about the worms, for sometimes a couple of weeks. Once or twice a month I'd look in the bin, but it really didn't look like much was happening. The bin got infested with fruit flies, which made me even more reluctant to open it.

The princess asked me once or twice how the worms were doing, and I told her I was pretty sure they were dead. In fact, I was waiting for cooler weather to throw in the towel and add the vermicompost bin to the regular compost. I was afraid it would smell, and in the bin you really didn't notice a smell. So I waited.

This weekend, I went to do the deed (toss the worms) only to find that they had composted down the entire bin, and that they needed more food because they were climbing up the sides of the bin. So, I added more kitchen waste and more paper, and wet them again, and separated out some of the compost - which was lovely and dark and moist, by the way, and we're back in business! Hooray for worms!

If you want to build your own vermicompost system, here are some good sites:

That's it for now and if you haven't already, remember to get out and VOTE today!!!


Monday, November 3, 2008

Quilt Giveaway

Wow - two giveaways in one day, and both are fabulous handmade products! And you know how we love handmade around here! So, first, a reminder about the Thistledew giveaway - be sure and enter, because Melissa needs the inspiration! :)

And, second - a quilt. I love, love, love me some quilts.... :) So, hurry on over and enter this giveaway and read the inspiring story that started it all. Okay? And thank me when you win that fabulous quilt!!!


Worms and Another Giveaway!

Melissa , besides being one of my best friends and a great sister-in-law, is quite the fiber artist. Her work is some of the best I have ever seen. She crochets and felts, and I have never seen anybody as talented with a crochet hook as she is. Yes, our Melissa's quite the hook... um, I mean....well... never mind! :)

So, anyway, when she told me about her idea for a giveaway, I knew all of you would love it. Here's the deal - go to Thistledew Farm. Tell her what kind of hat you want and the colors, and if you win, she'll make it for you. This is really a big deal, because her work is amazing. She forgot to list a deadline, so hurry and enter before she remembers! :)

Oh, and let me tell you about my worms! We are very into recycling and organic gardening here at Thistledew Farm, so this spring I started vermicomposting. I'll go into more detail tomorrow, but for now let me just say I had given up all hope and written it off as a failure and those sneaky little worms went behind my back and successfully composted a bin full of material! Hooray for worms! Tune in tomorrow if you want to know how to build your own worm composting system for practically nothing!


Sunday, November 2, 2008

We Have A Winner!!

When Melissa and I decided to do this giveaway, I was kind of worried that nobody would show up. Well, all of our wonderful fellow bloggers made sure that didn't happen, and we have a winner!! The winner of our first giveaway is Angela!

Congratulations, Angela - if you'll email with your address and specify which of your scents should be the candle and which the melters, we'll get your package out in the mail! To everybody else - thanks so much for entering and please visit again - this was lots of fun so we're definitely doing it again!

Along with Angela's candles, I am ordering a couple of different scents, so we'll be sure to review them and tell you which are our favorites! In the meantime, stay tuned for a very "vermi" post tomorrow!


Saturday, November 1, 2008

Diddle Daddle Designs Giveaway!

You know, with all the good giveaways going on, with a little luck, a girl could get ALL her Christmas shopping done this way, and then her friends and family wouldn't have to get just a cookie. I'm just saying!

So, I have to tell you about the giveaway at Diddle Daddle Designs - she is picking TWO winners and each winner gets to select two items from her Etsy shop. How cool is that? Seriously, folks, the iron-on butterfly appliques would make one happy princess around these parts! Check her out, if you have a minute!


Giveaway ends today!

Our giveaway ends today - at the end of the contest, we'll tally all the entries, put them in a basket and get the princess to draw a name! If you're the winner, the candle and melters you requested will be on your way! If your entry is ambiguous, we'll contact you for clarification so we don't send you something you don't want, okay?

The staining party went well - Melissa had a few more feet of siding to stain, and I needed a break from the endless studying I seem to be doing these days, so I went over and we chatted and stained. Melissa did most of the staining of her siding on her own, but I helped just enough to be able to say I did. Now (when the siding is forty feet in the air) we can brag and say we did that!

I also cleaned the chicken coop today, and gave the girls some fresh bedding. They love fresh bedding - its something new to scratch around in! They are such good girls - they are still laying well even though it's November. We get 3-7 dozen eggs a week! I really need to start keeping better records regarding the food we buy - I'm not even sure how long a bag of poultry crumble lasts, so I'm not sure what the final cost of those eggs is. Still, they're fresh and good, and the chickens are happy, and they make me happy, so that's really what counts, isn't it?

Finally, I pulled all the dead plants out of the flowerbeds around the house - I still need to weed the flowerbeds and put down fresh mulch, and clean out the raised garden bed, but that's a chore for next weekend, I think! So, it's back to the books now. Hope all of you are having a good, productive weekend!


Friday, October 31, 2008


Happy Halloween, everyone! Have fun and be safe - remember light-colored clothes and lights and dress warmly and inspect your candy BEFORE you let the little ones have it! I know, I know - quit being a Mama Hen, right? :)

I hope you have a fabulous night - as for me, I am joining in on a staining party - I'll tell you all about it tomorrow!


Thursday, October 30, 2008


I get the craziest spam, these days. And, no, I'm not talking about the canned ham product made by Hormel. I'm talking about the junk that clutters your e-mail inbox. It seems to get weirder and weirder.

This week alone, I've gotten an invitation to take four or five jobs (oh, good - if there's one thing I don't do, it's work enough!!!), an invitation to invest in a great stock I've never heard of (with WHAT money???), an invitation to (I'm not making this one up) study nursing online in my spare time. What??? I guess that means I wasted those four undergraduate years - I could have just studied online, in my spare time. Does anyone ever actually fall for this stuff?

The best, though, is from a "wealthy" Nigerian investor, who wants me to help him donate his fortune to charity. All $18 of it. And he's offered me 10% if I give him my bank account number... hmm, think of what I could do with $1.80!


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Fifty posts!

If I'm counting correctly, this will be my 50th post. How cool is that? I can't believe I've managed to stay the course... especially right now, when I'm out-of-my-mind busy! I'll try to keep it up - I've made a commitment to keep blogging. And, of course, we have our giveaway -
if you haven't signed up yet, please do so. Who doesn't love a warm scented candle in the fall?

Char over at Pickled Pepper Patch happened to mention on her blog today that there are 57 days until Christmas. Yikes! 57 days?? I am never, never, never going to be ready. Everybody is getting a cookie for Christmas this year - one cookie, from a batch of cookies. That's it. One cookie. I'll wrap it in pretty cellophane and put a bow on it, though, because nothing's too good for my friends and family!!!

Have a good evening, everybody - I'm hitting the books and then hitting the bed!


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Craigslist Ad of the Week

I think we need this for the farm.

Reproduction Pirate Cannon-Stainless Steel - $1000

Date: 2008-10-26, 4:34PM EDT

All Stainless Steel cannon with Black Walnut carriage. Barrel is 25 3/8" long with a 1 inch bore. Barrel with trunnions weighs about 40 lbs and the carriage is about 70 lbs. The wheels cost $40 each and have bearings and grease fittings. The 3 1/4" piece of stainless cost $360. The fuse hole is drilled 2/3rds through and will just need to be poked through with a 1/8" drill bit if you want to make it functional. The welding on the trunnions could be redone with a TIG was welded with a MIG. Selling due to layoff. Local pickup only...$1000 FIRM.

Pesky coyotes and skunks? Not anymore! Stray cats? A thing of the past. Noisy neighbors? I don't think so - not with a CANNON staring them down! Bwahahahaha - we could overtake the neighborhood! Aargh, mateys!

But, then, I can just see it. "It all started, officer, when the cannon went off..." Perhaps it isn't such a good idea, after all. Still, who else has a cannon on their farm? Not very many people, I'll bet! It's probably a good thing I don't have an extra $1000 hanging around!


Monday, October 27, 2008

A Warm Fire and Another Giveaway!

It was so chilly out this afternoon! I wore a light jacket in to the hospital, because it wasn't that cold this morning. By this afternoon, though, the temperature had dropped at least 15 degrees and the sky was gray... it was cold! I got home and Ron had a hot bowl of chili waiting, and he built a fire, and I had a glass of wine, and Melissa and her crew joined us. Nearly a perfect evening.

The princess is taking her social studies project to the next level, so we had that to talk about, and Melissa has an upcoming craft fair, so we had that to talk about, and I had a very good day at school today, so I had to share. Plus, we had some great jokes: "What's invisible and smells like worms? Bird farts, of course!" If you are eight, that joke is hilarious!

And then I log on to find that one of my favorite bloggers hit 100 posts and is hosting her own giveaway - of course, it's Kim at Simple Needs! Stop on over and sign up, and send me the teapot when you win... and the snowman... oh, and the melters... oh, and I think I know just the place for the stitchery, too. Really, you know you have no place to put it, so I'll just do you a favor and take it off your hands. Okay?? No? Well, alright then, but it won't matter because I'm going to win!!


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Recruiting dinner

We had a recruiting dinner Friday night. A recruiting dinner is where an anesthesia group that is looking for new blood comes in, caters a meal, and invites you to get to know them.

So, I went. I wasn't going to go - I'm already pretty sure of where I want to work, and I don't want to move. But when I talked to my classmates, it seemed that most of them weren't going, and I felt like the group was good enough to come down and invite us out, some of us should actually go and make nice. Because if we don't, they may choose not to come out again, and that limits the options for those coming up behind us. Plus, I can't afford a nice night out on the town right now, so this was our chance to go out and have fun without wrecking the budget. Win-win, right?

They chose an Asian-fusion place in Knoxville, and catered a meal and offered an open bar. So, I had some merlot, and ate sushi and then had a nice sea bass meal. Some of the service was a bit odd - there was a maraschino cherry inexplicably on the plates, for instance. Not sure why, but there it was. Still, the food was good.

It was good to talk to other people who've recently finished school, and they were all very encouraging. Most of all, to a person, they said it was ABSOLUTELY worth all the stuff we're going through right now. And that's good to hear, because I'll admit that sometimes I wonder!

The problem? The package this group offers is VERY attractive. As in, ~20% more base pay, more vacation and the opportunity make significantly more in overtime than I could make here. Now I'm really torn. We'd never get rid of this place, certainly, but I could afford to support two places on that income, particularly if we just did a little house in town up there.

There's a lot to think about. The group invited us up for a weekend to see the town and the hospital and get a feel for the place. I think we're going to take them up on it, just so we're exploring all our options. Then, too, it's a weekend away and our budget absolutely won't support any kind of getaway this year. I'll post again after I go see what the place is like in person.

Meanwhile, don't forget our giveaway! Name your candle fragrance and we just might send it to you!


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Meyer Lemon Glaze

Earlier this summer, I was at our favorite store (Lowe's), browsing through the garden department (which is one of my favorite things to do on a spring day), when I spotted some dwarf Meyer lemon trees for sale. Our budget wasn't quite as tight then as it is now, so I bought one, and brought it home, and traded out the ugly plastic pot for a much prettier one.

So, all summer long, the lemon tree sat on the front steps. It flowered, and the flowers smelled heavenly. It fruited, and about six of the fruits matured - not bad for a tree that's barely three feet tall! So, what do you do with a few tiny lemons? Make lemon glaze, of course!

Meyer Lemon Glaze
1 Meyer Lemon
2/3 c powdered sugar
Select a clean, ripe lemon. Grate the zest off of the outside of the lemon into a small bowl. Slice the lemon, and squeeze the juice into the bowl. Remove any seed escapees that have made their way into your lemon juice.
Stir powdered sugar into lemon juice by tablespoonsful until completely blended. Use more or less powdered sugar, depending on desired consistency.

That's it - it's that easy. This glaze has a bright, lemony flavor that combines well with almost anything. This morning we served it on hot blueberry muffins and it was to die for. The little lemon tree has one lemon remaining on it, growing and ripening. I see more lemon glaze in my future!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Craigslist Ad of the Week

I know, I know - I wasn't going to blog today. But last night I came across this ad:

Black Lab Sculpture
Sculpture of two black lab pups. 15" high. $7
Is it just me, or does this look like some sort of dog serial-killer trophy? Because I love dogs, but I am not loving the whole beheaded dog thing. At all.

It looks like their heads have been ripped off - check out the tattered bits of flesh below the collar. I don't know what these dogs did to tick this guy off, but if somebody finds out, let me know, okay? Because I do NOT want to end up like that!
By the way, Melissa gave me an award - check it out! :)