Goal Setting

Goal Setting

I don’t do resolutions, revolutions, or revelations. Well, maybe someday #2 or 3, but not today my friends, not today. – My life is just not that interesting.

However, I have an overall “bucket list” we’ll say, and each year I try to make sure I get a few checked off, and a few new added. Keep life interesting and such. Now I will admit, on my grand list I have a few odd things, the things I have no real purpose for doing or knowing, I’ve just always thought it would be cool to know I could.

One is spinning yarn. Now, no real purpose for this, but it seems like a really cool old world skill to have and maybe pass down generations. Here’s hoping for a granddaughter in future years – pretty sure my boys will skip out on this skill learning session. I’ve found a place with a few goats for sale, and hubby wants goats anyway. They have 3, and at first I thought, lets get one and try it out, but if you get one it needs a friend right? And for the cost of the two, I can get the  third for not much more….. I think we may be getting three harry goats – Angora Goats! But look at these guys, how cool and they should fit in great with sheep.

Sounds like I’ll have to learn to use a drop spindle, because after looking at prices for spinning wheels, I’ll hold off until I know I wont resell the goats for being too much to handle.

Another is making my goal list this year. How to hot wire a car. Now I feel a little late to the party, I’m well past the point of even using this for a good prank, but hey, it’s on my list – and I feel like I need to do this at least once before cars really get driving themselves and you can’t find anything to hot wire. On my larger list I also have “become proficient at lock picking”, again, no real use, and I probably watched too much MacGyver as a kid, but knowing I have these odd ball skills in my back pocket make me feel a little bad A.

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FYI click the picture to read a short blog that’s pretty dang funny. 

Maybe one day my kid will lock something and I’ll be able to show off my super talent and leave him thinking I used to be a secret spy or something haha, I don’t know. Ooooo maybe for April Fools day I’ll pick a door lock hot wire a car and have my kid freaking out that I went crazy! Hahaha – maybe not, I don’t have being arrested or CPS on my list and I don’t want them added ahahaha. Welcome to my brain friends.

On my short list for this year I also have my boring stuff. Here is my short list:

  1. Yarn Spinning
  2. Learn to hot wire a car
  3. Make it through some Spanish levels for Rosetta Stone
  4. Try new veggies so I can decide on adding them to the garden – How the heck do you say kohlrabi – I’ll have to ask Google
  5. Take the kids to the pool once a week while its open – pray the oldest learns to swim
  6. Go camping 3 times – NOT for a hunting season reason
  7. Become proficient at lock picking – just talked myself into adding for this year – super secret non-spy mom – Watch out! (do you hear the James Bond music?)

spy mom

Super spy mom signing off. HAHAHAHAHA

PS – I’ll keep you posted on the hot wiring – I may be borrowing a dump truck from my hubby to try it out on.

 

 

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Getting Organized

Getting Organized

Living in a log house, we have minimal storage space. Some log homes have a fairly “normal” interior, with sheet rock or dry wall interior walls, closets, the standard home features. Our home does not. We have log walls throughout, I can count the number of walls that are not log on 1 hand – it’s 5 between upstairs and down. As such, we have to do the best we can to utilize space. We have some great built in cabinets in the bathroom and hall, but that is it. Everything for our home needs to have purpose.

Our pantry area is one of the only places we have intentionally purchased new items for to make it functional, everything else has been carry over from our last home while we decide what would work best. We have 1 shelf in our hall area designated as pantry, and then we have cupboards in the kitchen.

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According to Google maps we live 39 minutes (31 miles) from Albertson’s, and 62 miles from Costco.   We have a mercantile in town for “get you by” supplies, and Blue Mountain Station is an artisan food mart / coop that we belong to. I love Blue Mountain station for fresh veggies, honey, and odd and end items, but we still need a stock of staples. On top of zero storage space, I have zero time not accounted for, so I  have to be organized. Once a month we try to do a bulk shopping trip and hit up Costco and Winco for the month’s needs. When we can’t do that, I order supplies and groceries from Costco, 2 day shipping on most grocery items, and free shipping after a certain price point is reached.

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Being a Tupperware consultant really helped with the pantry organization because I didn’t really know where to start until I saw the system they have. A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. I may sound bias, but I am in love with the modular mates.

If you have a local consultant they generally will come in for free and help you plan ( I do anyway). If you are more of a DIY person, it’s really quite easy: 1. Measure the depth and height of your space, 2. determine what you would store and how much, 3. match it to the appropriate container.

how naming works

I go through a lot of flour, so for me I wanted the largest container possible. My storage area is mainly baking supplies and pasta. I also buy a fair amount of blueberry muffin mix bulk from costco, so I wanted a large container for that, from there, I matched what I had in stock with the containers of similar size.  I have a lazy sussan cupboard that we keep snacks in and  is next on my list for attacking with modular mates.

what fits 2

Actually, I’m working on it this month as there is a huge sale (30-40% off) on the modular mates!! Check it out HERE  sales flyer is good till Jan 26th.

flyer cover

I use these great labels I found for mine, some I don’t label because I change the contents periodically.

labels

Do you have tips or tricks for saving space? I would love to hear your ideas, I can use all the help I can get! Two boys, two dogs, and a husband, we have a lot of “stuff” inside the home to keep tucked away.

Shop: kelleywolther.my.tupperware.com

Freezer Waffles

Freezer Waffles

I love frozen waffles. They are great for mornings that i’m running behind, or fend for yourself breakfast days. Breakfast is my favorite meal, but some days the kids just like to have yogurt or cereal.

Our grocery store in town is okay, but for budgeting purposes we try to do one big shopping trip a month and use the local store for odd and ends the rest of the month.

Recently I bought a KitchenAid mixer, I bought a larger model with a 6qt bowl and the head raises and lowers rather than tips back. We wanted a stronger motor to allow for meat grinding and anything else that may come up over the years. I was so excited I bought flour at Costco, it seemed like overkill at the time, but I didn’t care. I had a list: white bread, wheat bread, cinnamon rolls, waffles, pizza dough, I was ready to use the heck out of this thing! FYI, i go thorough one of these bags every two weeks now.

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Turns out, my 9 year old who claimed to not like sandwiches just didn’t like store bought bread. I tell him all the time he needs to learn how to cook or he will starve when he moves out on his own. He doesn’t like anything from a box: hamburger helper, instant potatoes,  rice a roni, nothing!

 

I make a large batch of waffles every weekend and toss them in the freezer. I found a small 4″ waffle iron that is the perfect size for freezer waffles. I have a few learned lessons though, always set it on a plate for when you accidentally overflow it not paying close attention, and have a couple extras for the measuring cup you use for scoop/pouring, and one for the waffles your going to end up eating.

Waffles:

1 cup Milk

1 egg

1 cup flour

1/4 tsp salt

2 tsp baking powder

1 tbsp sugar

2 tbsp oil

I add the milk and egg first into the mixer so it mixes better, but if you use a hand mixer it doesn’t matter what order you mix ingredients. 

 

Stir crazy with kids

Stir crazy with kids

I have this mental picture of myself as a mom and its a little Mary Poppins like. The reality isn’t as pretty. I tend to be the yelling mom. I find that I have 2 settings, easy going laid back mom, and yelling mom. Yelling is directly related to my 2 year old terrorist toddler. He’s a brute, 45 pounds of handful. Nothing is childproof in our home, and not from lack of trying.

This is what I’ve resulted to for our kitchen sick.

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Baby gates act as door bells to let us know he’s trying to go somewhere he may need supervision, and don’t get me started on how many cabinet and fridge latches I’ve gone through. I could go on for hours. Our 9 year is awesome with his brother, though he seems to forget he’s only 2 and plays with him like he’s 6 or 7. This can be great and allow me to clean the house, or horrible and have me looking for an escape window. Yesterday I broke up multiple fights, keep in mind, my 9 year old is 50 pounds, its a crap shoot who will win, and given the older one feels bad if he’s mean, he usually looses. I looked over at one point and the toddler had pinned big brother down and was sitting on him, all I hear is “I can’t breathe!”. UUHHHH, get off your brother!

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So now, in a town of 2500, what do you do when you need some sanity during Christmas vacation? Kick the kids outside to play in the snow and do some chores I guess.

Our home is set up weird to say the least. Don’t get me wrong, I love it, but it’s not conventional. As such, we have a wood stove in the basement that has ventilation set up to move heat up into the upper levels of the home. On the main level is a propane stove for added comfort and convenience. In the upper loft there is electric ductless heating and cooling. We heat mainly off wood heat. With a landscaper husband, you need a way to dispose of wood from trimmings or trees that come down during storms. Our area also has firewood harvesting really close by, so why not…

wood stack

Firewood is one of my favorite chores. Crazy I know, but when you get done stacking wood or cutting kindling, you have something to show for it – plus its a good workout.

Look at our before and after – it was a great feeling of accomplishment to get this cleaned up.

before and after

Try that with doing dishes, or laundry – talk about Merlin’s bag chore. There’s always more and more. I have a perpetual pile of laundry, its like a monster in the corner. I do not understand how little people go through so many clothes, and theirs are half the size of ours!!! – Sorry, got distracted.

When cutting firewood or kindling we end up with scrap pieces, usually bark or big slivers that are too small to be good kindling, I pile these up and fill paper grocery bags, they make great fire starters. Plus, it’s a good way to use up grocery bags. Don’t get me started on plastic grocery bags – I have no idea why, but it’s like I turn into a depression era woman, hording bags because I may need one…. Ya, not logical I know, but if I get plastic bags I save them. What I have learned though with my fire starter bags is that you need to have a good mix of wood shards – and light from the bottom. If you get all bark it has a harder time getting going – which is the opposite of a fire starter and your husband looks at you like “thanks, I have to clean out the ash and mess”, He may also bring in a propane torch to get it to burn. Haha that entertained me!  I have to give my man credit, he humors me, and never calls out my bad choices. I sometimes think he’s afraid if he discourages my trying, I may quit.

Side note – clean stove glass with water – you can buy special cleaners, but they are a bit expensive for what they are, and if you use cleaner not designed for the stove glass, it tends to cause stippling. Doesn’t hurt the integrity according to our inspector, but looks bad.

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Log Christmas

Log Christmas

When we started our relocation journey, I never considered a log home. For one, there just aren’t that many and none were on the market, and above that, I had pictures of a traditional Gone with the Wind type farm home in mind.

However, where God leads, I try to follow, and our log home was a gift from God. In a market where a 6-7 day old listing had either started a bidding war or had major problems, we were watching our standards drop drastically, and options still not get any better. One day a local contractor told us of a couple considering moving, the home had everything we were looking for and wasn’t officially on the market. My husband is braver than I and literally knocked on the door. Turns out it was a perfect fit and the couple were looking to sell their landscape business to boot! Well, we were in the market for a home and planning to start a landscape business, so the rest is history.

Now I love Pinterest like many do. I had a “home” board where I pinned all kinds of lovely farm home décor ideas. Well now those have all mostly all been “unpinned” and it’s been replaced by “cabin”. A log home has a different group of challenges, you’re not painting walls, and you’re not hanging nice wood art pieces… It’s been a slow process to decorate. I have lots of art work and yet, can’t seem to find a way to hang them that doesn’t look out of place. So with Christmas, I took to Pinterest again, and became a bit more excited about the prospects. Turns out, log homes look quite festive with no real effort! However, my decorations in my boxes are still more targeted toward sheet rock walls, so I will now slowly start trading pieces out.

 

If you ever think of buying or building a log home, here are some things I didn’t know:

  1. I now have to dust my walls – regularly. The Swiffer things on the pole work pretty good, but I got cheap given I have serious square footage to dust when we’re talking walls. The off brand left puffs of white anywhere there was a rough spot. Did I mention I am dusting logs!!
  2. I had to google chinking. I’m still not real sure our log home is the style that has that. It’s on my spring list to figure out – a.k.a. Honey do list
  3. We need to stain our home regularly – I think that means every year or every other year – either way, our house is TALL
  4. We have a tin roof – the storms sound 100 times worse and on an extra windy rainy day you’d think you’ve entered Wizard of Oz.
  5. Large-ish open areas in a log home swallow sound. We used to keep our TV volume at around 18 – its now regularly in the 30s-40s depending on the show. I’m pretty sure it’s not yet age related. Ha-ha

Seasoning Blends

Tupperware quit selling seasoning blends, which was disappointing. But they gave us recipes to make up for it, and they are easy ones too!

Each yield approximately 2 cups.

 DIY Seasoning Blends

DIY Cinnamon-Vanilla Seasoning

Forget vanilla extract. This all-natural seasoning tastes scrumptious when sprinkled over sugar cookies right before popping them into the oven.

1¼ cups granulated sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
½ cup ground cinnamon
1 tsp. coarse kosher salt
1 vanilla bean, cut in half lengthwise*

1. Combine ingredients in Counterscaping Dry Container, insert vanilla bean halves, shake to combine and seal.
2. Store up to 6 months.

*Or substitute 3 tbsp. vanilla powder.

 

DIY Cilantro-Mojo Seasoning

Punch up a pork roast or chicken breast with a Cuban-inspired seasoning blend.

Zest of 6 limes
Zest of 2 lemons
2 tbsp. coarse kosher salt
3 tbsp. garlic powder
3 tbsp. onion powder
3 tbsp. dried oregano
¼ cup dried cilantro leaves
2 tbsp. ground thyme
1 tbsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. ground black pepper

1. In the base of the Power Chef® System fitted with the blade attachment, combine zest and salt until well blended. Let stand 10 minutes.
2. Add garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, cilantro, thyme, cumin, cayenne and black pepper. Pull cord 10 to 12 times to combine.
3. Transfer mixture to a Counterscaping Dry Container and seal. Store up to 3 months.

 

DIY Steak & Chop Seasoning

Before reaching for that store-bought dry rub, try this herby, aromatic blend instead.

½ cup black pepper
¾ cup dried minced onion
6 tbsp. garlic powder
3 tbsp. caraway seeds
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
¼ cup coarse kosher salt

1. Combine ingredients in Counterscaping Dry Container, shake to combine and seal.
2. Store up to 6 months.

 

DIY Southwest Chipotle Seasoning

The ideal smoky seasoning blend for fajitas or tacos.

2½ tbsp. smoked paprika
9 tbsp. ground cumin
1 ½ tbsp. garlic powder
2 ½ tbsp. chipotle powder*
2 ½ tbsp. dried cilantro
5 tbsp. onion powder
2½ tbsp. granulated sugar
4 tbsp. coarse kosher salt

1. Combine ingredients in Counterscaping Dry Container, shake to combine and seal.
2. Store up to 6 months.

*Or substitute chili powder for chipotle powder.

 

DIY Italian Herb Seasoning

This Italian blend is just begging to be sprinkled into marinara sauce.

Prep time: 5 minutes

10 tbsp. dried oregano
5 tbsp. dried basil
5 tbsp. dried parsley
7½ tbsp. onion powder
4 tbsp. garlic powder
5 tsp. coarse kosher salt
5 tsp. crushed red pepper

1. Combine ingredients in Counterscaping Dry Container, shake to combine and seal.
2. Store up to 6 months.

 

DIY Chocolate Seasoning

Ditch the salt and butter and season your popcorn with this luscious blend made with cocoa and espresso powder.

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
¾ cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 tbsp. instant espresso powder (optional)
1/2 tsp. kosher salt (optional)
1 vanilla bean, cut in half lengthwise*

1. Combine ingredients in Counterscaping Dry Container, insert vanilla bean halves, shake to combine and seal.
2. Store up to 6 months.

*Or substitute 3 tbsp. vanilla powder.

A Hallmark Christmas

A Hallmark Christmas

You know how every year Hallmark channel has a string of cheesy Christmas movies? Well I will admit, usually I love watching them, cheese and all. Now the maid marrying a prince is a bit far-fetched, but I’ve always felt like there has to be a place somewhere that actually has those cheesy Holiday seasons. I’ve thought, maybe it’s a mindset. If your anything like me, Christmas always looks magical in October or November when you still have time and no real plans made yet. As the actual day gets closer, you go from counting days until that magical family time, to counting days until it’s over.

FYI I found the town from the Hallmark movie, and yes, a good portion is the mindset. I’m new to town so for me, it’s Hallmark, for those that have been here 20 years……maybe not.

Let me tell you my Christmas story.

With moving from one small town to another, we knew one thing, to become part of the community you have to try to become part of the community: Join groups, attend activities, do things. This small town DOES THINGS – If you want something to do, you need only to be open to a busy schedule. The town has bingo every Friday night at the Eagles (yup we even became members), around Easter is Ham Bingo, Thanksgiving has Turkey Bingo, there is a dinner auction for this historical society, a social & auction for one of the city auxiliary groups, more and more, but this story starts with Christmas Kickoff.

The town has an event called Christmas Kickoff – the town that still believes.

xmas kickoff

It starts on Friday after thanksgiving, and the town turns into a Christmas wonderland.  Hayrides, reindeer, Santa, bazaars, shops are all open, historical sites are open and decorated, and families are out together. Once the sun goes down it just gets better! There was a living nativity, camel and all. The story of Christmas for all to see – no politics, no drama, just some wise men, a camel, and the most famous new mom in history (yes the others were all there too – Joseph, angels, sheep, etc.). After watching the living nativity, we ducked into the Eagles to warm up and snack; we had about 30 minutes until the parade. It was an added bonus, the place was packed, and we found a table with some friends for a few minutes of socializing and snacks. Even some fun conversation on famous crushes that are a bit older than our spouses – I believe there was Sam Elliot, Reba, Tom Selleck, and I forget the other women’s names thrown out – haha.

The parade started and that’s where the real magic and the Hallmark movie peaked – Oh there were lit tractors, and firetrucks, teams, and 4H. With every new lit entry my toddler would literally say “oooo – ahhhh” and then cheer as loud as he could. My older son’s face was lit up like the kids on the sandlot during the fireworks scene. That’s where the magic was. As the last entries in the parade came by they held big signs saying “follow us!” and the town filed into the street to follow the parade to the town tree decorated by the grade school. Once everyone had gathered there was the countdown 3.2.1… and the tree lights up. You hear kids all around pointing and squealing with delight to show the ornaments they made and the ones of their friends and siblings. We filed back into the Elks for a few warm up minutes and then made it back out just in time to gather around the court house for the fireworks.

So, yes, I have found my Hallmark town, I’m not trading it for anything of this world. It has helped give me happy children who sparkle in the magic of a small farm town, and we are blessed to have been welcomed in with open arms just like a Hallmark Christmas movie. Maybe next year I’ll remember to take pictures (or better pictures ha-ha)- this year I was too preoccupied and in the moment.

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