Monday, January 31, 2011

Preparing for the Snow to End All Snows!

Right now if you are in the midwest you have probably heard nothing but 'THE SNOW IS COMING!  THE ICE IS COMING!  TAKE COVER!!'

You would think people have never had snow or ice before.  You would think we've never had winter before.  It's January people!  This is Illinois and this is what it does in Illinois.

I'm not getting all panicked but I'm also not stupid.  There is no reason to be ill prepared.  I'm not one to go around thinking someone else is going to take care of me...or rescue me so....

  • I have a wood stove and we have plenty of wood.  The Hunter brought a load in the house and there is wood outside the door so we are all good for awhile.  
  • Just in case the electricity does go out I'm running the dishwasher, washer/dryer and breakmaker one last time.  
  • The cars are full of gas.
  • All phones are on their respective chargers.
  • Computer and Ipod are also being charged (cause I might need to listen to music and block people out).  
  • I'm also charging the camera battery cause if we get the ice and snow everyone is talking about I will need to record it for posterity.  
  • I've bathed, put on make-up and straightened my hair cause I do not want to be caught looking all skanky.  
  • The pantry and freezer are stocked and ready to go.  
Now the big question some might be asking me is: 'Will I share in a time of emergency?'  The answer:  Did you make fun of me this summer for canning and chopping wood (The Hunter chopped the wood I canned) while you were headed on vacations and to the mall?  Well, that's your answer.  Besides....your lack of 4 wheel drive will never get you out here to my house.  ;)

Chicken Tractor, Weasels & The Hunter Blogs

MONTHS ago I was asked about our newly-made babysitter chicken tractor.  To be honest I don't know much about the chickens....they are The Hunter's deal.   So I asked The Hunter to write something up.  He did.... then began bugging me every day as to why I had not blogged about it yet.  I kept trying to tell him that I wasn't in a chicken tractor kind of blogging mood but he didn't understand that.  I told him if he wants it done NOW then he should get his own blog....then I grabbed my Coke all cocky-like and walked away quickly.  As you can see by the pictures it has been awhile cause everything is still pretty green looking.  

The Hunter Blogs:  I have wanted to raise my own meat chickens for a while now but I didn’t want to have them in the coop with my egg layers. We free-range our egg layers but we do lock them up in the coop at night. I also needed to get more egg layers started since we have lost 11 hens since Oct 27, 2009.

I liked the plans I saw for a small greenhouse in The Big Book of Self-Reliant Living but I tweaked them to my liking for the chicken tractor.

Items needed for this design include:
4- 12 ft 2x4’s
1- 8 ft 2X4
2- 8 ft 1x4’s
3- 10 ft ¾” PVC
2- sheets plywood
6- ¾” conduit straps
1- 4 ft roll of chicken wire
2- Door latches
2- Door hinges
Assortment of zip ties
Assortment of screws and staples
Length of plastic for covering

I built this on a level surface even though it will never see another level surface in the yard. I cut one of the 12 ft 2X4’s in half to use at the ends on the bottom. As you can see below, I attached the ends about 12” from the ends of the runners. I did that because I was thinking that by cutting a small wedge off of the bottom on both ends of the runners, it would make it a little easier to pull around the yard. It also allowed me to attach a length of rope to aid in pulling it around.

I attached one of the PVC pipes to the runners using conduit straps and traced the dome shape onto the plywood ends. After I attached the ends and the remaining PVC pipes, I figured I better find a way to strengthen the structure or it would be too flimsy to pull around. I attached to the top a 2x4 and I notched a space for each of the PVC pipes so it would be flush with the top of the ends. I then cut some 1x4’s to brace the end uprights to the runners and finally, I tied the runners and the end bottoms together to keep the structure square.

In order to get inside the chicken tractor, I cut a door in one of the ends. Having learned from past mistakes, I remembered to cut a couple of inches off of the bottom of the door. This allows you to open the door without it hitting the ground. So I don’t have to hunt for the snap that keeps the door locked, I attached a length of chain to the end. It also keeps the kids from running off with it whenever they get inside to play with the chicks. To keep the door closed when you are working inside, I attached a latch inside so you don’t have to worry about escapees.

Once all of the wood work was completed, I stretched chicken wire over the outside and used staples to secure the wire to the wood. I used zip ties to attach the wire to the PVC and where the wire overlapped.

Meat birds eat a lot of feed and I didn’t want to have to get inside to fill feeders. Instead, I made some feeders out of thin wall 3” PVC. Each feeder needs 2 caps and a 90 along with the pipe. For the bottom section I cut about 1/3 of the pipe off and put a cap on one end. I attach the other end to a 90 and to that gets attached a length of pipe. I made these long enough to stick out the top of the chicken tractor so I don’t have to get inside to feed them. In order for young birds to reach the feed, I attached a board to the bottom for a perch. This board can be removed if needed.

For watering the chickens, I am just using 1 gal chick waterers for now. These I do have to open the door to clean and refill.

For a cover, I used clear plastic and stretched it over the outside. I was still rolling the sides up during the daytime when this picture was taken however, due to moisture buildup and to help with ventilation, I cut vents in the plastic. For warm weather use, I will use dark plastic for shade and only have plastic over the ½ with the food.

My next project is to get an automatic watering system figured out.

*Last Wednesday we had a massacre.  The Pullets were large enough to finally move into the hen house inside their own pen.  We wanted to get them used to being in the hen house but wanted to keep them separated from the larger hens.  Something got into the pen INSIDE the pen and killed all our pullets.  We are thinking its a weasel and The Hunter is hunting it right now.  So....I'm sorry to have to tell you ya'll this but the pullets you see in these pictures are all gone.  But don't worry!  25 more have been ordered and are on their way!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Peaceful Snowday

We had yet another snow day last week.  The kids are getting real used to a schedule of 2 days on and 2 days off it seems.  I'm getting tired of them taking over the TV and wrestling and fighting all day.  In other words...I'm not allowed to watch TV and they are noisy.  So, I declared last Thursday and Friday official no TV and cookie day.  

They played outside most of the morning and then came in to a little hot chocolate.  I told them no TV and all by themselves they sat down and started reading books by the fire.  It was SO peaceful!  Maybe we should have no TV day more often.  

We cut out some yummy heart shaped cookies.  Cause this is what I do on a snow day...bake. 

It was a pleasant peaceful day around here.  I'm not going to say there was no wrestling and fighting but since they were outside most of the morning I didn't hear it.

And since they were out most of the morning they were exhausted right after lunch and took a nice long nap.  I got to watch a movie in peace.  It was a good snow day.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Baby It's Cold Outside

Every morning I see the sun rise and I would have to say most mornings it's pretty spectacular...even though I'm really not a morning person.

It was -4 when I got up this morning.   This picture pretty much LOOKS -4 doesn't it?

On mornings like this I'm thankful we only have chickens to take care of and not a farm full of livestock.  I'm thankful my hubby takes care of the chickens in the mornings.  I'm thankful he brought me in a load of wood this morning to keep us warm enough.  I'm also VERY thankful for wool socks and fleece PJ pants.  Hope you are keeping warm.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Holiday Wall Art

I don't think I've showed you a picture of my Keep Calm poster before.  I love it!  You can find yours HERE on Etsy.  

Looking around this fall I found lot's more printables just like it!  I found a couple at random blogs but I can't remember the addresses.....(this one was for my sister)

but the best printables I found at Craftily Ever After.

She created fun Halloween, fall, Christmas & New Year's printables.  Jessica makes it super easy to copy and print your own wall art in any size you need.  Frame it up and you have festive wall art for every holiday!

I apologize I don't have any pics of my framed art but I guess I didn't take pics of them while they were hanging on the wall.

Photo courtesy of Craftily Ever After 

 I just put away my New Years print and have been waiting ever so patiently for the Valentines print.  Finally she has it up on her site!!  Woohoo!!

Photo courtesy of Craftily Ever After
Jessica has some really fun and cute ideas....I check her blog every day!  I'm working on making the Pottery Barn Inspired LOVE wall art but I'm waiting for the letters to get a bit cheaper.

Check her out and print out your own fun cheap  wall art.

Kisses Card

I saw this cute little stamp while at Archiver's and could not resist!  Such a cute little couple!!  I restamped the umbrella on Valentine's paper and cut it out by hand.  Such a pain but oh so cute!!  

The Kisses stamp I found at Michaels in the Dollar Spot.

So cute in pink or red.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Difference Between Old Men & Old Women

This morning I knew I would have about an hour and a half to kill in town so I brought along my laptop.  I decided to stop in at the place that sells my local addiction to blog and edit some photos. 

 I made myself all comfy (and no I did not get a Coke...I got a hot chocolate) with my laptop and Ipod when I noticed there were 2 older woman sitting across the aisle from me having coffee and talking.  To honest I didn't know them and I was not listening to them.  After awhile I just happened to look up at the same time one of them did and that's when I noticed they got all secretive so that, of course, is when I started listening to what they had to say.  

The one lady chastised the other for talking too loud.  They assumed I was listening and shot me a couple of dirty looks.  They went on talking about everyone and their daughter.  This one was pregnant, this one was divorced, and this one was just plain mean.  What I thought was ironic is all the while trashing their neighbors and shooting me dirty looks they were both drinking coffee out of their favorite local christian radio mugs.  

I'm not going to point fingers and say I don't gossip but I have learned to do it in the privacy of my friend's kitchen without drinking from a Jesus mug.

While these women were talking in front of me (literally) a couple of older gentleman were talking behind me....loudly.  I didn't have to turn down my Ipod to hear them.

The 2 men greeted each other.

1st man:  So, has Bob left yet?
2nd man:  Yes, he went back to Arizona.  Boy he sure enjoyed that game the other night.  
1st man:  You mean the Bears game?
2nd man:  No....the Packers game.
Long pause.....
1st man:  You mean the Bears game?
2nd man:  Packers....Bob really likes those Packers.
Long pause......
1st man:  Hmmmm.....that's interesting.  I didn't know that about him.

The man said it like Bob was an ax-murderer.  I was cracking up!  I pretty much think this gentleman is done with poor Bob if he ever come back to Illinois.

Now don't send me hate mail cause I could care less about the Packers or the Bears.  We are not a sports family.  We used to live up on the Illinois/Wisconsin line so all week I've been seeing a lot of talk back and forth on Facebook about the Packers, Bears and Jets...otherwise I would have never known they played.

I thought it was amusing this morning that these 2 old woman were concerned about EVERY aspect of their friend's lives and all this guy cared about is that his friend wasn't a Bears fan.

Paint Sample Valentines

I saw this cute idea for making valentines using paint samples in a magazine somewhere. (I get so many from the library that I can't remember now which magazine it was.)  

How cute and easy are these??!  

I found the stamps in the Dollar Spot at Michaels.  They had whole little packages full of vinyl letter stamps for only $1....i.e. Dollar Spot.  I wanted XOX stamps but couldn't find those.

The envelopes I made using my Cricut.  They fit the paint samples PERFECTLY!  

I'll be posting more Valentine card ideas soon.  Looks like we will probably have ANOTHER snow day tomorrow so I'll have lot's of time to be crafty.

Disclaimer:  Paint samples are FREE.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Stir-Crazy Bargains

The week before Christmas break Bubby was sick most of the week.  One day there was a water main break in town so there was no school and then there were 2 snow we didn't get out much and the kids where home all but one day that week.  Then we had 2 weeks off for Christmas and the kids where home.  Last week Sissy was sick most of the week so we didn't go anywhere and now this week Bubby is sick.  Today we awoke to fresh snow and no school.  So, I have one home stir crazy and the other home sick and I'm not feeling the best.  It's been a LONG say the least.....

Sunday afternoon I decided I needed some retail therapy and some Valentine goodies.  Michael's was having a big afternoon sale so I drove to the city BY MYSELF to do a little shopping.  I returned a couple things at 2 different stores and then I hit the craft store.  Since I didn't have any kids with me I sat down in front of the Michael's dollar bins and went through EVERY little stamp.  Boy did I find some fun ones!

I walked away with 16 stamps that only cost me $.80 a piece, some pretty Valentine's paper and markers.  I would have never been able to find them all if the kids had been with me.  Wait till you see what I've made since Sunday afternoon......wait for it....wait for it....

Monday, January 10, 2011

Knitting, Starbucks & No Pattern

I really haven't been knitting all that much this year.  I think I only knitted 4 things for Christmas.  I have just been out of the mood.  The paper crafts are calling me more and more.  To be honest I think I'm better at paper crafts.  They give me more pleasure.  It comes more naturally for me.  Knitting and sewing take a bit of work for me...(ok...they take a bit of math for me and we all know that I have issues with that).  I like the knitting cause I can take it places with me and keep my hands busy but while I've been at home I've been card making and scrapbooking more. 

Today my friend Meagan sent me 2 great pics.  One of herself wearing her favorite fingerless gloves holding her most favorite drink in the world.  (ok....It's probably not her favorite but it's still early in the day.)  I knitted her these gloves last year for Christmas.  They are from a pattern we shall not mention and that I have not knitted from since nor will I ever knit from again.  


These fingers are her mom, Suzanne's.  Meagan told me how her mom's fingers get so cold at work and we thought she needed some gloves to keep warm but she could still type.  I love this pattern!  Way easier than the aforementioned pattern and the designer hasn't yet tried to sue me so that's a plus.

I knitted a couple of pairs of these fingerless gloves for people during Christmas break and they went very easy.  The thumb gusset is a lot easier to figure out than previous patterns.  Also, the same pattern seems to fit everyone from my daughter's hands to mine without any alternation. math calculations.  

Disclaimer:  Both pairs of gloves were a gift.  No money was exchanged.  There was some exchanging of  chips, salsa and Starbucks but that's a whole other post.  Oh and there was this one time I just showed up at Suzanne's pool to swim but I think we are even now.  

The second pattern came from a friend and I have no clue where she got don't ask.  

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Teachabella Notebooks

Who doesn't like a cute little notebook?  You don't?  Well then, honey, you are on the wrong blog cause I'm all about a cute notebook.

I found this super cute teacher stamp over at Stamping Bella while trying to find another stamp.   I used it to make some little notebooks for the kid's teachers.  I hope they like them...cause I had fun making them.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Holiday Cards

I am going to call these my Holiday cards this year instead of my Christmas cards cause I JUST mailed them yesterday.  So, if you are thinking you might have been slighted this year and didn't get a card....don't worry....they are coming.  Or maybe you have already forgot about Christmas and moved on and to those people I say, 'Stop getting your Valentine's stuff out!!  We were just eating turkey LAST week!!'

This purple snowflake card has been made since October.  There really is NO excuse as to why they didn't get mailed on time.  Well...I guess the excuse is I only made 25 at a Stampin' Up! workshop I hosted and needed at least 25 more.  I was all about the purple this fall and wanted to make everything purple and green.  We used the Serene Snowflakes and Heard from the Heart stamp sets.  We also got to use the SU shimmer paints and sponge daubers.  Some of us got it all over us but it was so much fun.  I was going to do something similar for the rest of my cards and then I discovered this stamp set.....

I saw the Scenic Season stamp set used on a blog and I knew I HAD to have it!  Not only did it look so beautiful and simple it was...well...simple.  One stamp.  That's it....ONE stamp.  I did use a red marker on the red bird but that was easy.  I then used crystal effects and the dazzling diamonds to make some sparkly snow.  I was really happy with them.  

So, go ahead and make fun of me for just now getting my cards out.  Go ahead and make comments like....'she's a SAHM and has nothing to do why couldn't she get her cards out before Christmas'.  Go ahead...I don't care.  To those people I saw, 'Where your cards handmade??'  That's what I thought.  

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Gifts for my Fashionista Cousins

What do you get for two twenty something cousins with crazy cool fashion sense?  Cute little notebooks made with the Stampin' Up! Humor in High Heels stamp set of course.  

Give a girl the correct footwear and she can conquer the world.  --Bette Midler

When I got this stamp set I immediately thought of my cousin Jennifer.  She REALLY does change women's lives with a change of a dress.

Whether you're a good witch or a bad witch, it's all about the shoes!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Christmas Notebooks

I made a lot of notebooks and cards for Christmas presents this year.  It went way better than last years idea of knitting gifts.  I have discovered I can make paper crafts a lot faster than knitted gifts.  I also think it's a lot more fun.  

Once again I used the Songbird Cricut cartridge for the front of the notebooks.  Love 'em!!

These little magnetic notepads are so easy and fun to make.  Who can't use a notepad for the front of their fridge?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

My New Year Without Oprah

Happy New Year!

Today is the is the day the Oprah show is gone.  This is a big deal for me!  I am very sad.  I have been VCRing and DVRing Oprah for YEARS.

Like I have said before she and Ellen are my major sources of news and entertainment.  Where else can I learn about celebrities, health issues, and the ALL edge brownie pan in ONE show??  (the all edge brownie pan is pretty cool by the way).  On any given day I could probably work something I saw on the Oprah show into any phone conversation (much to my sister's dismay).  My friend Stephanie is also obsessed with her show.  Once her husband joked (I think he was joking) that if Oprah told us to jump off a bridge we would do it.  I told him 'noooo....that would be silly but we sure would watch the show where she would have Dr. Oz on to tell us it was dangerous and Nate Berkus on to tell us how to decorate the bridge.'

I got very excited when I found out Oprah was going to have her OWN network and then this week I found out she was going to have one whole show dedicated to behind the scene stuff from the last season.  This is PERFECT for me!  When watching a DVD I always watch the director's commentary and all the extra and deleted scenes.  You find out such fun exciting stuff that way.  Make fun of me all you want....I don't care.  After years of doing this I am a wealth of useless information.

Well....I called DISH to ask them if I was going to be getting her channel and they said no.  I would have to upgrade.  We'll take a moment of silence here.......  I will not be getting a programming upgrade.  The Hunter is refusing to pay the extra money a month to upgrade our programming.  I tried to temp him with 'we'll get the Outdoor Network too!'  but it didn't work.  I do have agree's silly to pay extra just cause I want one more channel.  Right?  It's silly, right?

Oprah if you are reading this I really would love to watch your OWN network.  I would really like to have it be part of my minimum DISH programming package.  You have Suze Orman on your show to tell me to cut back and I do and then you temp me with a new channel that I REALLY want and have to pay extra for.  It's so not fair.  Maybe if enough people write in and ask her to put her network on the Basic DISH package she will change it.  Maybe.....  Until then I will just be satisfied with the O Magazine.

Have a Happy New Year!  I'm off to take down the Christmas tree and get my house back together.