Sunday, January 22, 2012

Goodbye Tree

Today I noticed that a tree had been cut down that was behind our house. It's not any tree, it held a special place in my heart. I often included it in my landscape and sunset photograph's, or with an incoming thunderstorm rolling across the western sky. I would sit in my backyard and admire it's beauty, often wondering how long it had been there or what stories it had to tell, if  for one day it could. I did venture across the field one summer evening and stood underneath it. It was far more majestic and and strong up close. We had a family of owls that called it home, and from what I am told they lived there for a really long time. I am in a way superstitious in regards to owls, but as long as they stayed out there I enjoyed watching them swoop down looking for prey. It was this tree that my husband and I walked towards on our wedding day for pictures.This was my tree to watch for the changing of the season's, I would closely watch it for buds as Spring approached. On a summer's night you could count the stars as far as the eye can see and here the gentle rustling of the leaves. As the days grew shorter it would glisten like golden glitter when the sun struck it's brightly hued leaves. When winter arrived it sparkled like diamonds covered in frost and many mornings you could see deer standing under it looking for food. I will miss this tree, I will miss the serenity it brought to my mind.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Adventures in Couponing

Coupons. What are they to you? Something you get in the Sunday paper? Useless? I used to think that, until the show Extreme Couponing. It caught my attention, who doesn't like to spend money and save it as well? I will be the first to admit that I got caught up in the outrageous savings that this show displayed, made by average families and homemakers. I was hooked, and then reality struck when I discovered that I had no area stores that doubled coupons and a loose couponing policy and we only get 1 Sunday paper, yes I am that far removed from society. I decided to not participate at all....I went right back to the they are useless mindset. Then I discovered the website Hip2Save. I found several people who were saving decent amounts of money and my faith in the whole system was restored. I started off with online shopping and learning how to stack codes to get better deals and I was hooked. Then I started asking questions, watching this site closely, all the tricks and tools needed to save SOME money, not a month's wages in one trip. I was a little mad at myself for even thinking that was possible, but you live-learn-and move on. I now clip coupons and save what I can, in fact last weeks total savings was $224. My husband was a skeptic, but admitted I definitely earned my scissors....LOL. I have learned that most businesses are getting strict and even removing produts from the shelf because of a coupon that came out. Walmart was ridiculous with that, maybe they thought their "discontinued" story would work with me, but it didn't. In fact, I called them out on social media sites. Dollar General is another store that is not in my good graces when I use coupons. Both stores act like you are shoplifting, when in fact they get reimbursed for the retail price of the product plus money for accepting the coupon. I am going to be laid back on this until I get a printer, then I will be that customer in the checkout lane holding it up, because I will have a coupon policy in my hand. I am not trying to act like an entitled diva, just making those aware that I will stand up for what is right and maybe somebody else won't have that problem in the future. I am nowhere near an extreme couponer, nor do I plan to be. But if I can save my family a little money, then the few hours a week devoted to clipping and organizing is worth it. Don't be discouraged, save and be happy that you did. In this economy, a penny saved is a victory.

Saturday, July 9, 2011


Peeking at our baby cucumbers

Summer Gardening 2011

This gardening season has proven to be the most challenging yet! We are in a severe drought here and several days of record setting heat. Lets not forget the wind, I have heard from several locals that this is the worst they have seen the weather here in a long time. Mother nature is "schooling" me on not having a perfect growing season, which in all honesty has brought me to tears. Our tomato plants suffered 2 weeks of transplant shock, very little rain, lots of intense wind and heat. The leaves are curled up, some plants look stunted in growth, and the tomato production is slow. We suspect some herbicide damage has occured, but what can you do when you live in an area where farming is the way of life.  Our 13 yr old son, Jacob, planted sweetcorn this year and it close to being chopped down...but he is WAY too much like his mama and is holding out hope for a few ears of delicious corn. Jayden planted sunflowers, he has one that has survived the weather extreme's and grasshoppers ( I hate those things!!!). Damion has two grape-tomato plants, one is definitely doing better then the other; they are loaded with tomatoes though! My greenbeans are a bust, but I can't bring myself to giving up on them just yet. Yesterday the boys were peeking around the garden and discovered we finally have several cucumbers, and I discovered we have 20 plants. So if they produce well we will be making freezer pickles to enjoy. We have sat in our backyard several nights praying for rain, watching storms build in the evening sky only to have them move right around us. I have discovered that city water just doesn't give the garden all its nutrients, makes you wonder why humans drink the stuff!!! I have also added in some butterfly gardens, butterfly bushes and a waterlily in my rockgarden pond, they are struggling too. I have found that 'agastache' grows fairly well in my yard, it is also known as hummingbird mint. If you gently touch it you get a "minty" smell, so maybe next Spring I will add in some more varieties of it.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

From City Mouse to Country Mouse

I  finally have some time to share this story on my blog, so here it goes! We recently took a mini vacay over Spring Break and celebrated our youngest son's 6th birthday in the city. I was uber excited to get out of the small town where there is nothing to do and is often referred to as hickville in my house. We loaded up our suburban with overnight bags and hit the road. Our first stop was the Cosmosphere in Hutchinson,Ks...Damion's birthday surprise from mom and dad. We had a lot of fun viewing the museum and of course taking lots of pictures, a hobby I am sure my guys wish I would get rid of!!!!! After the museum we decided to go ahead and drive into Wichita and find a motel room, so we could get to the Sedgwick county Zoo early in the morning...this was the surprise for all the boys. We got to Wichita and quickly was overwhelmed by the traffic....and realized we had no clue where we were even at! My husband kept up with the traffic pretty good, while I sat in the passenger seat shaking and holding my breath everytime somebody whizzed out in front of us. After two rounds of driving on Kellogg and a few near accidents I was honestly ready to click my heels three times and start saying "there is no place like home!" I decided to text Becky and get directions, her and Danny both saved the day by giving us directions to the zoo. We then decided after over 2 hours of  lost driving we better get a motel room. Of course we forgot that the NCAA women's tournament was in town and the nicer motels were full. We were directed to the Best Western Airport Inn and got a room. As we were unloading bags to our room we noticed security guards patrolling our hallway, my husband asked the guards what was going on and we were informed that they had rooms with individuals being deported back to Mexico. In all honesty my husband shouldn't of told me that!!!!!! After over an hour of reassuring I settled down and decided we can do this! We ordered pizza from Pizza Hut and started having some fun by going downstairs to the conference room where the game room was and the pool. This place was packed with softball tournament groups! I reminded my boys to use their manners and to be polite, but with every "please","thank you", "excuse me", and smile I began to think we were speaking a foreign language. The next morning we went to the zoo and had an amazing time, despite the rain and chilly temps. This experience in the city put many things into perspective, you see for quite awhile I just didn't feel like I belonged. After being thrusted out of my comfort zone on several levels I now can say this is MY HOME. I love laid back lifestyle, sitting on my bench and drinking my morning coffee, enjoying the quiet evenings and embracing all the sounds of nature, watching sunsets that take your breath away, random conversations with neighbors or people walking by, my kids riding their bikes and letting their creativity flow on a warm summer's day. Yes, I AM a country mouse, the city mouse has been long gone for quite awhile and that is OK with me!