Building Our Hobby Farm One Step At A Time

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I love living in the country. It makes me swell with gratitude at the beauty I see each day. I marvel at God’s goodness and how He answered our prayer to have land for a hobby farm.

We recently bought a John Deere garden tractor, which will come in handy for the lawn, once it’s planted, and various odds and ends. In June, we’re going to plant our garden. I have a long list of veggies!

Currently, I own 36 birds: Meat chickens, Egg laying hens, and two ducks. It is a blast, although, my garage and basement stink because of the chickens in their brooder boxes! But soon enough, all the birds will be outdoors since we’re finally getting spring weather.

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Hens Free-Ranging
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Ginger, On the Far Right

The last few days, I’ve been opening the outdoor chicken run for my full-grown hens to free range. They think they’ve entered heaven, which means getting them back into their run isn’t so easy.  Yesterday, Ginger was being as stubborn as my three-year-old daughter. I chased her fuzzy butt around in circles for a good ten minutes!  I told her if she didn’t get in the coop, I was going to let the coyotes eat her. Soon after, she saw reason and went inside.

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Girls in the Basement

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My new pride and joy are my ducks. I never raised ducks before, but I’m loving it. They are Rouen males and will look quite similar to Mallards when they are full grown. I like to take walks around the yard with my two side-kicks. They follow me everywhere since I’m mamma duck. It’s amazing.

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Country life suits me well!

 

Flapper Day

Teaching my child about the 1920’s…dress up as flappers and dance to Jazz!

This is my kind of play.

How can you inspire your children through creative learning opportunities? Think about it today!

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Hunting for Our Family Dog

We are ready for a family dog. It is truly a big decision. We’ve been researching breeds, checking craigslist for puppies, browsing pet shops, and searching pet rescue websites.

And one thing we know for sure…we have no idea what dog to buy.

We do have a checklist of desires: A medium sized dog, Low shedding, Easy to train, Great with children, Will watch out for the family, and Can be friendly with our two cats.

Two dog breeds we like are the Welsh Terrier and Labrador Retriever. However, we are still searching.

We have 3 and a half acres, so our new dog will have plenty of land to run! Please, all you dogs experts, give me some words of advice! What dog do you recommend?

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WELSH TERRIER
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LABRADOR RETRIEVER

Our New Home: All Built and Getting Settled

Every morning I wake up, I’m thankful for God’s great blessings.  When we began house hunting over a year ago, I never dreamed we would build, but Beard Construction made our dream a reality. A big thank you to Wendell and Lance Beard, an amazing father-son duo.

Here is our home that the Lord has blessed us with. I’ve included pictures of the rooms we have been able to decorate so far.

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The Kitchen
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Living Room and Dining Room
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Guest Bathroom
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Garden Theme Guest Bath
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My Son’s John Deere Bedroom
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The Chicken Coop and Enclosed Run
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Backyard and Woods

No! Not Resolutions!

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Resolutions. The word alone can trigger a gag reflex.

Let’s try a different word.

Goals. That word triggers my curiosity.

What can be accomplished? What can be obtained? The answer is: MORE THAN YOU KNOW…if you some move into your groove.

I have many dreams and the only way I can pursue them is to make a plan and develop REAL goals.

Here is my GOAL LIST for YEAR 2014, perhaps my list can trigger thoughts for your own:

1. MENTAL – Read a book a month

2. PHYSICAL – Eat 2 servings of veggies a day, Eat 2 servings of fruits a day, do at least 10-15 minutes of exercise 3X a week (If this seems silly, you don’t know my dread for exercise)

3. SPIRITUAL – Memorize a Bible verse a month (Put in 4 x 6 frame on writing desk), do short devotion daily, and create teaching moments with Bella and Gabe about God.

4. CAREER – Write at least 3 chapters a month.

1920’s Holiday Photos

Around this time of year, I get Holiday Fever. I feel the compulsion to bedazzle everything in holly, bulbs, and Christmas lights. Since our house isn’t complete yet, I cannot unleash my many Christmas decorations. Thus, I have decided to live vicariously through these great 1920 holiday photos I found on the internet.

Join me in the fun:

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Hey, they didn’t have Meijer or Walmart to purchase the turkey.
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Barbara Kent seems especially eager to start carving in this Universal studios photo from the late 1920s.
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Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. These balloon characters are slightly scary to me.
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Louis Armstrong’s Hot Five: (from left) Louis Armstrong, Johnny St. Cyr, Johnny Dodds, Kid Ory, and Lil Hardin Armstrong

I have a collection of old holiday music and boy, you know when Louis starts to sing! You can’t mistake his awesome gritty tone and when he plays the trumpet, woo-wee, that’s good stuff!

And let’s not forget the amazing, Ella Fitzgerald. She is beautiful in every way.

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Ella Jane Fitzgerald (April 25, 1917– June 15, 1996), also known as Lady Ella (the First Lady of Song). She was one of the most influential jazz singers of the 20th Century.

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F. Scott Fitzgerald and Family Dancing
F. Scott Fitzgerald, wife Zelda, and child. F. Scott was a pivotal author in the 1920’s.
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Martha Sleeper was a silent film star in the 1920’s.
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Fun group photo of Flapper friends.
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The sign in the window says you can buy a doll that walks and talks for $2.98. What a deal!
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Dickey family photo, 1922. They sure look cheerful at Christmas time. It must be the contagious holiday spirit in the room.
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Another happy family photo.
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Movie Star: Clara Bow

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That chair might be a little too small.

Enjoy the Season!

Picture References:

http://blogs.indiewire.com/leonardmaltin/turkey-time-hollywood-style.
http://mentalfloss.com/article/26458/quick-10-10-unfamiliar-macys-thanksgiving-day-parade-balloons
http://blog.lib.uiowa.edu/drp/2011/11/16/wishing-you-a-safe-thanksgiving-break
http://myauctionfinds.com/2009/08/31/black-music/
http://www.dieselpunks.org/profiles/blogs/family-christmas-photo-1922

http://www.inherited-values.com/2010/12/merry-martha-sleeper-jewelry-fashions/
http://www.kitschy-kitschy-coo.com/blog/2010/12/have-yourself-a-clara-bow-christmas/
http://en.paperblog.com/christmas-time-in-the-1920s-30s-378079/
http://www.reminisce.com/1900s-1920s/stocking-hung-on-christmas-eve/attachment/rm10137c28a/

http://www.cardboardchristmas.com/papateds/Christmas1920s.html

Port-O-Captive: Embarrassing Moments

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A good conversation starter is the question: “What is your most embarrassing moment?”

My trouble, when asked this question, is narrowing it down to one. I have had numerous humiliating moments over the last 29 years. Some are due to klutzy phases and others are well…just me. Ranking in my top five would be the traumatic Friday night, junior year of high school.

I was a cheerleader for Hamilton High, and we were at an “away” football game. Fourth quarter came to a close with our boys taking the win. It was time to pack up and load the buses for home. I knew it was a distance and should use the restroom before we left. But they didn’t have proper toilet facilities.

They had Port-O-Johns.

Stepping inside, two things automatically greeted me. Stench and Darkness. Only a little ray of moonlight peeked inside through a vent at the top. Nevertheless, I sucked it up and got the job done. I wanted to get out as quick as possible. Turning the lever to unlock, I pushed the door. It didn’t open. I shoved harder. Still, it didn’t budge.

My heart rate increased. I turned the lock the other way, wondering if I had done it wrong. Giving the door the old heave ho, I slammed my weight into it. It didn’t open…not even a crack.

Sweat formed on my brow. I listened to see if anyone was around. I didn’t hear voices. My mind speed-dialed panic. I’m trapped! Everyone is getting on the bus, and they won’t notice me missing. Between the horrid smell and the bitter taste of dread, a wire tripped inside my brain and the craziness kicked in. At the top of my lungs, I yelled, “Help! Help Me! I’m stuck in here! Please, help me!” I didn’t hear anyone coming. My heart chugged like a locomotive. Tears edged to the surface. Merciful heavens, no one is coming. I’m stuck in this disgusting hole and nobody is coming to my rescue! I kicked the door, pounded it with my fists, and screamed for help.

My eyes darted around the John, looking for another way out. I studied the vent. It was small, but maybe I could push it out and stick my head through it. Then, I could see if anyone was still here. Standing on the toilet lid, I prepared to punch the screen when the door clicked and swung open.

There stood Angie, a fellow cheerleader, and the other members of my cheer squad.

I scrambled out of the Port-O-Prison. “Oh Angie, thank you for getting the door open.”

“It wasn’t hard.” She crossed her arms and grinned. “How did you manage to lock yourself in there?”

My eyes were wide from the horror. “I don’t know. It wouldn’t budge and I thought you guys were going to leave me.”

The girls broke out into heaps of laughter. “No, we didn’t leave. Everyone heard you screaming.”

…That was the day I became known as…the “Port-O-Captive.”

Only 3 Weeks Until Our Home Is Done: Update on the Building Project

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Front of Home

Our home is nearly done!!! Thank you for joining us and cheering with us as we have traveled the road of building. It is truly an adventure.

All the siding is complete, the pavement is poured, the walls are finished and are ready to be painted. We have chosen all our appliances, light fixtures, and purchased a mailbox. Here are some photos to catch you up:

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Back View of Siding
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Garage with Brick Panels
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The Driveway is Poured!
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At the side entrance, we put our hand prints into the wet cement. My baby boy wasn’t so sure about the experience.
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Kitchen and Hall
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Living Room
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Appliance Shopping
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The Creek Behind the House
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Jonathan Bow Hunting in the Tree Stand on Our Property

My 6 Strategies for Successful Writing

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With a preschooler and four-month old baby, I have plenty to occupy my day. So when those blessed moments of writing time arrive, I need to make the most of them.

Here are six strategies that help me and hopefully might help you as well:

#6. Coffee- For me, coffee and writing go hand in hand. Try brewing a cup, maybe two. Double your pleasure, double your fun.

#5. Personal Music Playlist- I like to listen to music that inspires me while I write, which usually boils down to well-written music. Among my iTunes line-up are: Counting Crows, Coldplay, Alison Krauss, Phil Collins, Mumford & Sons and a dash of awesome 80’s hits for kicks!

#4. Character Storyboard- With each novel, I print pictures of people that mirror the characters I envision inside my mind. Then I pin the characters with their name tags on a cork-board beside my computer. It is a constant visual.

#3. Recheck My Chapter Timeline- Before I even begin writing a book, a detailed outline is formed. I design concise chapter by chapter timelines that layout my novels from beginning to end. There is always room for creative tangents and turns, but I prefer to have direction instead of writing blind. Therefore, when I sit down to write, my time is used more efficiently. I know where I left off and where to pick up simply by reviewing the timeline.

#2. Free-write- Get it out, then clean it up. I hate getting hung up on a scene and then forgetting the great idea I had for another. Get your thoughts down first. You can always go back.

#1. Prayer- I’m not so creative that I can do it on my own. My best ideas come from the Lord, every time. He is my faithful writing consultant, editor, inventor, teacher, and motivator.

Happy Writing!

I think I’ll go brew a cup of Meijer Organics Breakfast Blend. It’s sensational.

Release the Cat…my new motto

Sometimes, claws are a good thing.

Recently, I dressed like Catwoman for a costume party. And I quite enjoyed being a cat for the night. It was empowering. I felt like Anne Hathaway all in black ready for the attack. Yes, I was all fired up.

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But the next day arrived, my costume was put away, and I went back to my daily apparel: t-shirt and yoga pants. Wasn’t quite as empowering. But a thought occurred to me…just because I don’t have on the costume doesn’t mean the cat is gone. She just needs to rise up to the occasion.

Life can get tough, or boring, or frustrating, or many things. It can disappoint and bring self-doubt. The mind can race with anxiety or critical, self-deprecating words.

And it in those moments, the claws need to come out and fight against the doldrums. Fight against the depression. Fight against lies Satan is whispering in your ear. It’s then that you need to: RELEASE THE CAT.

Get a little mad. Release the cat!

HA! I love this new motto. It’s completely silly and kind of stupid, but let me tell you, it does work. It helps put you in a mental place to fight.

Today, I had some internal battles and just thinking to myself: “Catie, it’s time to release the cat,” made me feel better.

Try it out. RELEASE THE CAT.

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Picture References:

http://www.hollywood.com/news/movies/34622682/the-dark-knight-rises-why-anne-hathaway-s-catwoman-is-the-best-one-yet

http://www.bubblews.com/news/1219997

http://stuffpoint.com/home-pets/image/75449/angry-cat-ready-for-fight-wallpaper

http://www.2funnycats.com/super-cats/silly-cats

http://www.hahastop.com/pictures/An_Attack_Cat