Friday, April 30, 2010

The joys of dealing with insurance

I have to say that I completely hate dealing with insurance agencies.
Our middle daughter has asthma issues and needs to have a nebulizer. With needing this having one that was portable was something that we felt was important. So we talked with insurance and a company that we could purchase one from. Got everything worked out and were able to get one. Well this has been over 6 weeks ago and we have been waiting to get the money that we paid out of pocket back from our health savings account and have made several phone calls. Well in finally getting ahold of people today we found out that they didn't bill it as a purchase, but as a rental instead. This makes it so that we are not getting the money back out of our savings account.
Well after many phone calls back and forth our insurance company has said that they were supposed to bill it as a purchase, the company says our insurance company is saying they it has to be a rental. So now we sit, in limbo waiting on phone calls. What a mess. And there are people saying we don't need Health Reform...UGH

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Cow vs Sick Mommy

Now who would you think the winner would be in this fight? The milk cow or the mom? Well honestly being I have not yet gotten to milk the cow I am saying that the cow has so far won the battle.
Tonight I have no energy, it takes about all I have to take care of my kids but I know that the cow needs milked as well. So out we go to milk the cow. First off I need to get the baby cows out of the stall, either back into their pasture or into their pen, one of the two. Ok got them back in the pasture, shut that door.
Next step is getting the cow into her stall so that I can milk her, easy enough right....wrong. I forgot to open the door to her pen and she walked right out the end of the alley way into the rest of the barn. Ya know that part where the baby is sitting in his stroller, the feed is houses, the milker parts are sitting, dads truck is parked along with a tractor, bales of hay and the corn stalk bales. Ya that part. Oh and don't let it be missed the the BIG door to the outdoors, the entire yard is wide open. So mom runs to that door, pulls a fence panel over and block the door. The cow is now at least contained to the barn. She really is just curious about this area that she has seen so much but never been able to sniff out. Ok now how do we get her back in the pen. Get some corn, cows love corn right. Well that was great but she has to sniff the baby first. He loves the cows, at least when they are on the other side of the fence he does. Not so loving them when they put their nose right to his.
So I finally get her back into the pen, only she decides that the calf's feed looks so much better than hers. Of course it does because it is sweet feed rather than just corn and protein. So she makes herself seem small and sneaks in there, not an easy task being the top rail of the fence that stays there is taller than her back.
So she is currently in the calf pen, with the door open. I am hoping she will decide to go back to her pen so that I can at least get her milked or hubby can when he gets home at midnight, one of the two.

So we shall see how it goes next time, but for today the battle has been won by the cow. Not the war, only the battle.

Little Wall Lake

Yesterday after picking the oldest up from school I decided that we would go try to look for some of the elusive Morel Mushrooms. It didn't matter that I felt terrible and should have really been sleeping rather than hiking. I wanted out of the house and the kids enjoy getting out and doing something fun as well.
So we went to Little Wall Lake and had a walk. It was a lot of fun, didn't turn up any of those silly mushrooms since the trees and land was not right but that didn't matter. Watching my kids explore and the excitement on their faces totally made up for it.
Araya found a big pinecone that she was really excited about and Nevaeh needed one as well. The sweet kind hearted soul wasn't about to leave her brother out and emerged from under the tree with one for her and one for her brother.
The enjoyed picking the dandelions and watching the water. Running ahead to see how far they could get before mom yelled for them to stop. For them everything is an adventure and it is so fun to watch them explore and learn about new things. The birds flying overhead even caught their attentions. What better way to spend an hour than water then grow and learn about nature!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Mommy's Sick

Why when mom is sick is there no one there to take care of her? That is the question of the day. This mommy doesn't feel well at all and really could just climb into bed and try again tomorrow but that just doesn't work.
The littles don't seem to understand that and their list of demands is longer than they are tall. Get me juice, Im hungry, can we go outside, put this apron on me, will you read me a book, can we have a bath.....and it goes on and on.
Plus the farm doesn't seem to care either. I had to milk the cow and thankfully the cow was cooperative. She didn't fight, she let down her milk nicely and stood well. The chickens needed fed and their eggs picked up. They knew I felt terrible as well because today they stayed away from the door. It really was surprising.
Now its time for dinner and while I prefer to cook from scratch, I decided that frozen pizza was better than Mcdonalds, both for those of us eating it but also on the pocket book, so that is what we are having.
It will be an early night tonight. I have decided that since the baby doesn't want to sleep well right now due to him not feeling well either, that mom is going to bed when they do. It will be 7:30 at the latest when we all climb into bed and I am hoping for a decent nights sleep and to be feeling so much better tomorrow. There is tons to do.
But that list will still be there tomorrow, no matter if it is longer than it was today. If I feel better maybe I will be able to conquer it all!!!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Apple Blossoms and Honey Bees

I love apple blossoms. They are so delicate, and sweet. So pretty and speak so many things to our lives.
They are food for the wonderful bees that then bring us honey to enjoy. They create a sight that is like no other. The color they provide after the cold and long winters is always welcome. Then as the year progress's they turn to apples. A fruit when preserved properly can help to feed us the rest of the year.
Our tree is in full bloom right now and with it being right next to my clothes line I get to enjoy it every time I am outside. I am sad right now tho as I have not seem many bees on it to pollinate them. Without those hard working bees we will have no apples and the honey this year will be limited.
This is very saddening to me on so many levels. Our bee population has been hurt so badly in the last few years and I hope that we are able to bring them back. Without them our food supply will be in such jeopardy. We try to eat as much locally as we can when it is available and that isn't possible when we are unable to care for the trees and plants that available.
I have to say that I am really hoping that I am just not seeing them because it is going to hugely affect what I have for my family this year not only with the apples, but also the strawberries, blackberries and raspberries. Plus the garden will be going in soon and we need them there as well. It has made me realize that in the next couple years I need to learn more about bees and do my part in helping to preserve them.
We also need to get the word out that pesticides are killing them off. I really don't want to see my poor apple blossoms left to be lonely this year or any year there after.
Oh and lets all hope for no late frosts this year because that will be horrible for our crop as well. We lost all of our apples last year to the hail storm and I am greatly looking forward to enjoying these apples this year.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A taste of Freedom!

My chickens normally do not get to free-range unfortunately, however we are in the process of building them their own chicken tractor so that they have access to more of the farm. The choice to not free range them is not one that I have made lightly. It would be my preference, they would be so much happier and it really is better for them....NORMALLY. However my 9 lb Miniature Dachshund thinks that they are toys and is very detremental to them.
Today tho they decided to get out of their coop. Ya see there is not any lights in there so when we go in to feed then or get eggs you have to leave the door open to be able to see. So they decided to make a break for it. Really it was pretty funny to see as they must have been planning it because while the door was open a pair made the run for it. So out I go to chase them and silly me I didn't shut the door behind me and by the time I had caught the first one, there were 3 or 4 more out. So I gave up and let them have their fun.
And boy were they having fun. In fact they didn't go back in until right before dark at which time they were all back in the coop perched up for the night.
This has given me the incentive to get our act together and get their chicken tractor ready for them. They need to have the time to get out in the grass, eat the bugs and enjoy themselves.

Earth Day

On this beautiful Earth Day it has me thinking of what we do to help the Earth on a daily basis. And while we have a long ways to go to be complete at our house, in the last 10 years we have came a very long way.
For us we use Cloth Diapers, and tho we have times that we do use disposables, I can proudly say that through 3 kids we have not used what most people use in the lifetime of 1.
We use cloth toilet paper, reusable menstrual pads, cloth napkins, and no paper plates or cups to speak of.
We buy 99% of our clothing and other items used thus reducing the impact on the landfills with waste. And when things wear out and are no longer usable or sellable, we will recycle them into something else.
We buy locally whenever possible, grow what we can with fruits, veggies and meats. And do what we can to support small business's and work at home moms when purchasing new.
We plant trees and flowers that will help to take pollutants out of the air.
I am sure that there is more but those are the ones that I can think of right now. So what do you do that helps our earth?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

With Age comes......INJURY

That's right, they say its wisdom, but I totally disagree! We think we can still do the things we did when we were younger but that is just not so. When we try, we end up hurt. As an example, cartwheels! Do I need to say more?
But in all reality, tonight I took the kids for some fun at the park. The oldest has been asking to go to the park and have a picnic. So the weather was absolutely beautiful and it just seemed like a good idea. What better way to be able to forget about all the work that is needing done on the farm and spend some time playing with the kids.
So away we went, and it was so much fun. However, that slide is not made for adults. While it wasn't built too small for an adult to go down, when you smash your elbow into the slide holding hands with your little man, well its not something that you recover from nearly as fast as they do!!!
But all in all we had a great time. We ate our dinner at the picnic table, playing on the swings, the slides and spent lots of time giggling!!!

Baby Kittys

Yet another sign that spring is upon us. Yesterday one of our farm cats had her kittens. Not that we were in need of more kittens but it is also something that we have little control over.
They are so incredibly cute and mama is doing so wonderful. We did try to move her and her kittens to a "safer" location because otherwise one of our dogs likes to go find kittys, but she was having no part in that and as soon as we left the barn, promptly moved them back to where she deemed a nice location. SO we have added another fence panel to stop the dogs, and young children from entering the barn uninvited.
So our patch had 5 beautiful babys, first was an adorable yellow/orange, then came a all black baby, we then added one that was black and white, followed by another all black and finished up with the most beautiful calico just like mommy.
They will be a wonderful addition to our mousers on the farm and the kids will enjoy playing with them through the summer.
Here is mommy with her babies (doesn't she look annoyed with the camera!)
Next is a couple shots with mama out of the picture.

Monday, April 19, 2010


T terrific
U Unique
L Luminating
I Intriguing
P Perfect
S Stunning

That is what I think of when I see these beautiful flowers at the start of each spring!



Cheese Making and more

So this milkmaid is not sure if cheese making is a science, an art of just a pain in my behind, but it is certainly one of the 3. I have made cottage cheese 3 times now and none of them have turned out. The first 2 the flavor was just not what we were wanting and this last time, the flavor was great but it was totally over cooked. Very chewy and not at all yummy.
Plus I have made a batch of mozzerella and while that didn't taste bad, it wasn't what I was hoping for either. It was possibly overcooked as well and was more of a stringy cheese than what I was wanting.
Now the good of this was that I figured out how to make sour cream that has wonderful flavor and will save us when we are needing sour cream for meals. It also let me get 2 gallons of milk out of my fridge and make room for something more.
The sad thing is that in the time it took me to make these two batches of cheese I could have gotten my entire house cleaned rather than making an even bigger mess for myself. Plus it is really discouraging to invest 4 to 6 hours of your day into something just to throw it away and start over.
But I am determined to at very least perfect the cottage cheese so that we can have that for the family. We all like to eat it and the large container from the store is not enough for the entire family to have what they want with a meal. So this is something that I really have to figure out!
And on a side note, another sign of spring....kittens are being born! More on that probably tomorrow!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Things I love

After a very long, very cold winter, the signs of spring come with wide open welcome arms. Every day it seems that we walk around the yard only to discover that something else is emerging from the ground, a new tree is getting leaves or a new flower is starting to bloom.
Two things really caught my eye and made me smile. The first was the dandelions. While I know that they are technically a weed they are still very pretty. Bright yellow flowers that emerge so early in the year. There is something about that cheery yellow that you can't help but smile the first time you see it each year.

The next is the strawberries starting to bloom. I found the first blooms of the year while walking around. This is something that made me especially excited being it means that soon there will be fruit on the plants that are so wonderful to eat in so many ways, from fresh off the vine to jam to pies. There is nothing better than a freshly picked strawberry!
So what are your favorite things about spring?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Whats for dinner

As a mom to 3 kiddos it is very important to me to not only feed my kids in a healthy manner but also in a way that is rather frugal. So I am always looking for things that can stretch. And if it can be a fix it and forget it type recipe that is even better!
Today I am talking about chicken and it fits into all of the above catagories.

Crockpot Salsa Sour Cream Chicken

4 chicken breasts
1 pkg taco seasoning
1 jar salsa
1/4 cup sour cream

Place chicken in crockpot
sprinkle taco seasoning over top
Add salsa
Cook 4-6 hours til done

Remove chicken, add sour cream and heat up.

I then shred the chicken and add it back in.

My favorite way to serve this is in tortillas with cheese served with spanish rice and refried beans. However it is very good to have it as a meat served with rice or potatoes as well.


Thursday, April 8, 2010

How do you use it up?

For Easter we served a turkey for lunch. It was very good but as I am sure you know there is always lots of leftovers when you have a turkey. A goal of mine is to use as much as possible and waste as little as possible. So with the turkey so far we have boiled the carcus and made broth that is going to be made into noodles. We had turkey sandwiches and left over sides and I made Chicken Salad with some of the meat.
Now have you ever tried to find a recipe for Chicken Salad? I have been searching for one that we like the way it tastes for nearly 10 years and have yet to find one, so I just started putting things together and figured it out on my own. So I thought I would share that with you in hopes that it saves someone 10 years of their life.

Chicken Salad:
3-4 cups chicken or turkey chopped or cubbed
1.5 cups Mayo
1 cup Miracle whip
2 to 3 T mustard
2-4 T ranch dressing
1/8 cup chopped onion
1/8 cup chopped celery
1/4 t celery seed
1/4 t pepper
1/4 t salt
1/2 t garlic powder

Mix well, chill and serve on your favorite bread.

This was very easy to make and tastes just wonderful!!!

So how do you use up your leftovers??

So they asked me why

So I was recently asked why we choose to live the life that we live and the answer I gave was so simple. Because we want the very best for our children. However the full answer is so much more and much deeper as well. It isn't a question that is simple if you think about it.
So lets discuss this.
Why do we choose to own a cow that is then milked twice a day? Well we want to be able to provide fresh, raw milk for our family. Because is having the cow that we then milk we are able to save a substantial amount each month on what we spend in milk and butter and hopefully more as we become more accustom to making things. On top of that the experience that it teaches out children is that tho it is not always easy and we don't always want to get up and go out to the barn to milk the cow, it is something that needs to be done and so we do it.
Why do we raise our own meat and eggs on our farm? Again we want to be able to know where our food is coming from and what its been fed and how its been treated. And again the responsibility that it will teach the children is very important to us as is the cost savings.
Why do we choose to use cloth products rather than disposable? Well for starters they are much softer for use. They also don't create the trash for the landfill which is a huge eco benefit for me as well. Plus it again has teaching value for the kids. While it is not always the easiest way out it is the most responsible way.
So many of our choices are done for many reasons but in the end they come back to wanting the very best for our kids and to teach them responsibility with their choices.