Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Good Stuff 2013: Day 30

To us, family means putting your arms around each other and being there.
Barbara Bush

It is hard to believe November has drawn to an end already.  Thirty days have come and gone since I started this year's look at all the blessings in my life.  There have been good days and bad days along the way, but through it all i sought to see the gifts I have been given.  

Today was a day of highs and lows.  The Geek treated me to an early Christmas present --- a new phone.  I spent much of the day trying to figure out my new "toy" --- not too sure you can teach an old hen new tricks!  Thank goodness for Boy Wonder or I would never have made the progress I did.

The day ended on a sad note when we discovered the Munchkin's pet rabbit had died.  She was heartbroken --- especially since earlier this week a favorite pet chicken died.  Losing two pets in one week has cast a bit of a shadow of sadness on the farm.  I am so grateful the thrill of the holiday season may work its magic and lighten my chicklets' mood in the days to come.

the good stuff --- having a family to hold close in the good times and the bad

The Good Stuff 2013: Day 29

There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort.
Jane Austen

Today when so much of America was out braving the crowds trying to get the best deals and a good start on their Christmas shopping, I decided to just chill-lax at home with my peeps.


the good stuff --- the little prince's very first drawing of me

Friday, November 29, 2013

The Good Stuff 2013: Day 28

Thanksgiving, man.  Not a good day to be my pants.
Kevin James

Today is the the first time the Geek and I hosted Thanksgiving dinner in 20 years.  It was a small crowd --- just the six residents of the ol' farmhouse plus the Geek's mom and stepfather.  The guest list may have been short, but there was no shortage of food, laughter or memories made.  

My favorite part?  It would have to be an idea I borrowed from somewhere online (sorry I can't remember where exactly.)  The chicklets decorated a paper bag with a hand drawn turkey.  We then wrote down things we were thankful for on slips of paper and "stuffed the turkey."  I challenged the family to come up with at least fifty things --- we surpassed that goal and found well over 100!  The chicklets loved doing so much, they asked if we could do it again sometime.

Hope you and yours had a wonderful Thanksgiving --- I know I did!

the good stuff --- so much to be thankful for

The Good Stuff 2013: Day 27

Cinderella is living proof that a pair of shoes can change your life.
author unknown

The Munchkin and I got to go on a little shopping date today.  Mama Hen needed a new pair of jeans.  I despise clothes shopping,  but my darling chicklet adores it so I brought her along to lighten the mood. 

According to my little fashionista, Mama also needed a new pair of shoes ... well boots, actually.  I'm still not sure how I let her talk me into them, but she assured me the totally suit my style and are the latest thing.  (She should know --- she is 8 years old after all!)  

the good stuff --- loving my chicklets fashion sense 
and rocking my new boots

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Good Stuff 2013: Day 26

Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.
from  a headstone in Ireland

I don't know exactly what triggered it --- a song on the radio, something on TV or just a random thought --- but something reminded me of my dad today.  This happens often, but most times I smile or get a little misty-eyed for a few moments.  Today, however, the memory put me in a bit of a funk.  In fact my blue mood lasted much of the day.
Even now at bedtime, I am missing him more than I usually do.  But even through the hurt, I am so very blessed with the years of memories I hold within my heart of always being my daddy's little girl --- even when I grew to be a wife and mother.  His hugs were the best and his heart was full of love.

the good stuff --- memories of my daddy's love

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Good Stuff 2013: Day 25

Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.
Berthold Auerbach

Today I was blessed to be able to lie down on my bed, close my eyes and listen to music without the interruptions of everyday life.  It was divine! Music has the power to soothe the weary soul.
Complete quiet doesn't happen very often around here, but even in the chaos I love how a song can make a difference.  Sometimes music brings back a memory and sometimes it just fills me with a sense of comfort that's hard to explain.  Whatever it does, I know I could never live without it in my life.

the good stuff --- music that soothes

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Good Stuff 2013: Day 24

Siblings are the people we practice on, the people who teach us about fairness and cooperation and kindness and caring, quite often the hard way.
Pamela Dugdale

There are days where the chicklets can't seem to get along.  The get on each other's last nerve from the time they get up.  In the past, the bickering has gone on right up until their last goodnight.  It is enough to send this Mama Hen cockle-doodle-crazy!

The past month, however, we've been coming together every evening for devotion, prayer and sharing of our high and low points of the day.  At first it was kind of awkward.  Our faith plays a big part in our lives, but we never did anything so "official" before.  It has been a big change in our bedtime routine, but it isn't the only change that has happened around here.  There has been a change in how the chicklets get along.  Oh, they still torment one another, but it seems to be less intense.  Even better, they are quicker to forgive one another and move on.  

It's far from utopia here on the farm, but it is so much more peaceful and that's an answer to a few hundred prayers!
the good stuff --- chicklets learning to get along

Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Good Stuff 2013: Day 23

Cherish your family for they are your treasure, a storehouse of riches, wealth beyond measure.
Author Unknown 

The Geek and I were able to "sneak" out of the house alone today to run some errands.  It is always a treat to break away if even only for a few minutes to talk with another grown up without little ears hearing every word.  Our "date" to the local feed store may have been good stuff, but an unexpected call from my brother-in-law brought something else worth being grateful for into my world today.

The Geek and I have been struggling with coming up with cost effective storage solutions as we work to simplify the chaos around the ol' farmhouse.  We were hesitant to purchase something new right now with the holiday season fast approaching.  My brother-in-law's gift was the perfect fit.

a picture of my "new" cabinet will go here tomorrow 
the good stuff --- being blessed with just what was needed 

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Good Stuff 2013: Day 22

You can give without loving, but you can never love without giving.
Author Unknown

I had a few free moments all to myself today.  I decided to spend the browsing at the local thrift store.    I was tickled to find a couple of perfect gifts for The Munchkin.  I didn't think I was going to be able to get her any of the things on her wish list this year.  They weren't extravagant wishes, but were not within our budget this holiday season.  I know she would have hidden her disappointment on Christmas morning, but now she won't have too.

the good stuff --- finding the perfect gift at a price that doesn't break the bank

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Good Stuff 2013: Day 21

While we try to teach our children all about life,

Our children teach us what life is all about.
Angela Schwindt

I mentioned the Little Prince's hugs a few days ago, but they are so delicious I had to acknowledge them once again.  My little man is the most affectionate of my three littles.  He can sense when I need a warm embrace.  He wraps his little arms around me and to top it off, gently pats my back and tells me he loves me. It is one of the sweetest things on earth.
It is not just his hugs I am loving most right now, though --- it is his whole personality.  I am having a ball watching him grow out of his toddler stage.  His sense of humor and take on life seem wise beyond his years.  He has a mischievous side, but his halo is never far from sight.

the good stuff --- watching this little guy grow
(the hugs and kisses he gives me daily,  just make life sweeter)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Good Stuff 2013: Day 20

A daughter is the happy memories of the past, the joyful moments of the present, and the hope and promise of the future.
Author Unknown
I hate to have my picture taken --- always have.  Despised it even when I was a skinny bean-pole.  Now that my "horizon" has (ahem) broadened, I am even more reluctant to do so.  I read somewhere once that it is important to try and be in pictures every now and then so your kids know you were present in their childhood.  For that reason alone I reluctantly make sure my mug gets immortalized in film every now and then, but I have never really been happy with the result until this picture.

The Munchkin is everything I am not.  She is outgoing and the life of whatever party she shows up at.  No party? No problem she'll turn an everyday event into a celebration.  I know God chose me to be her mother, but I have often wondered why.  I think I am finally getting at least part of  it.  She makes me be the me God intends me to be.  To get out there and live life to it's fullest.  She gets me to get off the sidelines and challenges me to share smiles and my faith with wild abandon like she does.  She is a handful and a blessing beyond my wildest imagination.

See that smile on my face? She put it there.

the good stuff --- the blessing of being the munchkin's mama

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Good Stuff 2013: Day 19

I dream of a better world where a chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Author Unknown 

I am not the only Mama Hen on this farm.  I share the title with some very productive "ladies" that provide us with the most beautiful eggs I have ever seen.  Some people say there is no difference between farm fresh eggs and those bought from the local supermarket.  There may be some truth to that, but there's one thing I know for sure --- nothing beats walking just outside your backdoor to gather your breakfast.

the good stuff --- farm fresh eggs at my fingertips

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Good Stuff 2013: Day 18

Peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. Peace means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart.
Author Unknown 

I don't know how it happened --- today wasn't any different than any other crazy day here on the farm.  I don't know why it happened --- I was so use to living in the chaos I hadn't even thought to pray for relief.  All I know is that right smack in the middle of any ordinary day this Mama Hen was blessed with a sense of peace that surpasses all understanding. And that my friends, is some pretty good stuff.

the good stuff --- answers to prayers I forgot to pray

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Good Stuff 2013: Day 17

The older I get, the less time I want to spend with the part of the human race that didn't marry me.
Robert Brault

The wind are howling outside my back door.  The old farmhouse is shaking, but inside it's toasty and warm.  Toasty, warm and smelling oh so yummy. The Geek spent the day being domestic and making enough homemade applesauce that will hopefully last until next fall.
the good stuff --- being married to a man who shows
his love for me in so many wonderful ways

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Good Stuff 2013: Day 16

However long a hug lasts,
 it doesn't last long enough.
Kyle Schmalenberg

The sickies continue to wreck havoc on my brood and I.  Fevers, runny noses and crankiness abound.  It is hard to find a bright spot on days like this, but I did.

The Little Prince often wraps his little arms around me and declares that I am the best mama.  Today he told me this just when I needed to hear it most.  He is definitely one of my biggest blessings and quite possibly THE world's best hugger.

the good stuff --- a hug from this guy

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Good Stuff 2013: Day 15

The most indispensable ingredient of all home cooking:  love for those you are cooking for.
Sophia Loren

The Geek is off on a work trip so I'm flying solo here.  Everyone except Grandma is feeling a little under the weather.  I felt a little home-baked goodness would lift our spirits and it did the trick.  The littles didn't even notice it was from a (gasp!) mix.  It was warm and baked with love and that seemed to be all that mattered.

the good stuff --- a little lovin' from the oven

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Good Stuff 2013: Day 14

A day without a nap is like a cupcake without frosting.
Terri Guillemets

I had a lot to do this afternoon.  Laundry, dishes and several other chores begged to be done.  Instead I chose to ignore their demands and join the Little Prince in something much more beneficial to my well being.
the good stuff ... taking a nap with my favorite little man

The Good Stuff 2013: Day 13

To the outside world we all grow old. But not to brothers and sisters. We know each other as we always were. We know each other's hearts. We share private family jokes. We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys. We live outside the touch of time.
Clara Ortega

I am the baby of my family.  My brothers and sisters were all out of the house by the time I was born.  Well most of them anyway.  One of my big brothers was seven when I made my grand debut.  I have always loved  the story that when he was told a new baby was coming home from the hospital he was asked do you want a sister?" His response? " I'd rather have a puppy!"

He lives far away from me now, so I don't get to see him all that often.  We had hoped to spend Turkey Day with him and his family like we did last year.  Unfortunately, my mother isn't up to a two day car trip this year.  He surprised us instead with an impromptu visit today.  It was fun catching up and reminiscing with him.  I will hate to see him go in a few days, but for now I will enjoy the fun while it lasts.

the good stuff --- having a big brother who  loves you
even if you're not the puppy he wanted 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Good Stuff 2013: Day 12

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 22:6 (ESV)

The Geek and I recently attended a Bible study at our church that encouraged us to meet nightly for a "family huddle" ---  a time connect and grow as a family.  We decided it sounded like a great idea and have been coming together every night at bedtime to share the high and low points of our day with each other.  We also read a Bible story and talk about how it applies to our lives.

The little chicklets love it just as we thought they would.  We hoped Boy Wonder would participate too, but he is a teenager, so we had a little dash of doubt.  We have been pleasantly surprised.  There has been no resistance at all.  He hasn't always had a lot to share and we've respected his silence, praying that someday he would open up more.  Tonight we were witness to something that nearly brought tears of joy to our eyes.

We were rushed to call a quick family huddle so the littles could get to bed at a decent hour.  The Geek was about to nix the reading for the night.  Highs and lows were shared and he was about to  head right to bedtime prayers.  All of a sudden Boy Wonder grabs the Bible story book and asks if he could read this evening.  "Of course," we said.  He smiled and began to read.  He didn't just read though --- he told a story.  He used different voices for each character, he asked questions to ensure the story was being comprehended and he shared his own knowledge.  

Sometimes I wonder if what I do is making a difference in my kiddos lives.  I long to see if the things I am teaching them are being remembered or just going in one ear and out the other.  Tonight I was blessed to see that they are listening and watching.  I was rewarded for my patience and can only imagine what I will get to see in the days, months and years to come.

the good stuff --- having a front row seat to my son's faith in action

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Good Stuff 2013: Day 11

Silently, like thoughts that come and go, the snowflakes fall, each one a gem.
William Hamilton Gibson

Today was a much better day than yesterday.  Oh the weather outside was frightful, but that just made the fire in the fireplace all the more delightful.  The cold moods most of the farmhouse's occupants had yesterday were definitely warmer too.  Laughter replaced angry words and smiles took the place of frowns.  

I had to venture out in the cold November rain to grocery shop.  This task is not a favorite of mine and the poor weather made it even less inviting.  Thanks to my quest to make an extra effort to look for the good stuff this month, I mustered up a somewhat positive attitude and saw the time away as a chance to enjoy an hour of mostly uninterrupted thought.  To my delight, I was blessed when the rain changed to softly falling snow as I made my way back home from my errand.  

the good stuff ... watching the first snowflakes of the season fall 
while sitting inside by a warm fire

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Good Stuff 2013: Day 10

Today the littles and I made the trek home from our weekend adventure.  Egos were still bruised due to not doing as well as hoped in competition.  Tempers flared as the long car ride home added to the tension.  By the time we pulled into the driveway we were all a bit testy.  Sadly the day came to a close with harsh words being spoken by all.  

Bedtime prayers included pleas for forgiveness and help in taming our tongues.  Tentative steps towards meeting halfway have been made by all and I am sure complete forgiveness from one another will come with a new day. Goodnight hugs and kisses were the first step in helping hurting hearts begin to heal.

the good stuff --- feeling loved even when you are unlovable

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Good Stuff 2013: Day 9

If you cannot see the bright side of life ... Polish the dull side.
Christina Dodd

I could look at today and be disappointed.  None of my chicklets brought home trophies at the poultry show.  Oh they came close. All three of them being called back for tiebreakers in the age groups for poultry showmanship, but neither they nor their birds are bringing home any metal this trip. 

Yep, it might be easy to feel a bit down in the dumps, but I think the Little Prince has the right idea.   
"Check out my ribbon, Mama! " he squealed with delight.  It may have just been a "participant" ribbon, but to him it signified something to celebrate. Right on little man!

the good stuff ... celebrating the bright side of things

The Good Stuff 2013: Day 8

Travel, in the younger sort, is part of education; in the elder, a part of experience. 
Francis Bacon, Sr.

The littles and I are on a bit of an adventure.  We have gone on a road trip to a poultry show out of  state.  All three of them will be showing off their poultry knowledge at a national competition.  The Geek couldn't take time off work, so I am doing this parenting gig solo.  My mom thinks I am courageous to trek with the chicklets alone, but I disagree.  I have experience at this sort of thing and while crazy might better describe it, I don't think I am all that courageous.  I am just a Mama Hen seeking out teachable moments for my kiddos and trips like this are full of 'em!

Here's a look at Boy Wonder when he started showing chickens.  He's grown so much as a result of his participation in both 4H and other poultry shows.  Too many trophies and ribbons to count line shelves in his bedroom.  The Munchkin has quite a few of her own now and the Little Prince is hoping to earn some honors this weekend too.

the good stuff --- teachable moments along the way

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Good Stuff 2013: Day 7

Even before Christmas has said Hello, it's saying 'Buy Buy'.
Robert Paul

The holiday season has begun.  At least that is what retailers want us to believe.  Decorations are on store shelves.  The mailbox is filling with holiday catalogs.  One of our local radio stations has even begun to play only Christmas music, can you believe it?  I mean we just went trick or treating last week people!

We need to just slow down. Stop rushing things.  Get through Turkey Day and then pour on the Christmas spirit.  It's way too early for all the holiday hoopla.

I might make an exception for the occasional Christmas carol.  In fact I tend to like Christmas music so much, I have been known to listen to it all year long.  It make me smile:). But even I draw the line for Christmas music 24/7 before the Thanksgiving turkey is even being digested!

the good stuff --- singing Christmas carols with your  littles
even if it's rushing things a bit

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Good Stuff 2013: Day 6

“Too often we give children answers to remember rather than problems to solve.” 
Roger Lewin

Today was another fun filled day with the chicklets.  We all piled into the family truckster for a day of adventure.  The Munchkin took an orienteering class at a local nature center.  Learning to use the compass was a bit tough at first, but she didn't give up.  it wasn't long until I saw  "the lightbulb go on" and she soon was orienteering like she had been doing it for years.  It is times like this that make me especially glad we chose to homeschool.  Having a front row seat to these special moments of discovery are priceless.
the good stuff --- being there for my little's "Aha!" Moments

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Good Stuff 2013: Day 5

To be in your children's memories tomorrow, you have to be in their lives today.
Barbara Johnson

Tuesdays are very busy days for us. (Oh, who am I kidding --- every day is busy!)  Today was extra jam-packed with lots of driving.  This evening Boy Wonder and I had to make a 50 Mile each way trip to his weekly robotics club meeting. I love these drives with my man-child. He opens up with me and talks freely about things that are on his mind. Even though most of it is technical and way above my head, I love the fact that he is so willing to talk. I want him to know that he matters to me and what he has to say matters to me because it matters to him. I know that he will be off and on his own in the blink of an eye and that makes our "Tuesday Talks" all the more precious to me. I will treasure the memories forever and I hope he does too.

It seems like only yesterday Boy Wonder wasn't 6 feet tall --- he was just my little sweet peanut.

the good stuff --- spending time with my firstborn

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Good Stuff 2013: Day 4

Grown don't mean a thing to a mother. A child is a child. They get bigger, older, but grown? What's that suppose to mean? In my heart it don't mean a thing.
Toni Morrison

I am blessed to have the opportunity to have my mother living with us.  It has its less than perfect moments as  many mother/daughter relationships often do, but I realize the gift it is to be able to give back a portion of what she's done for me.  It's not always easy as I step into more of a "parent" role with her a little more each day, but God gives me strength to meet the challenge. And even though our relationship has changed and I am a grown woman, there are still times I still need my mama. 

Today was one of those days.  I was feeling a bit under the weather.  When I saw my mother this morning, she took one look at me and made me sit in one of her chairs.  She had me recline and covered me with a nice warm blanket.  It felt so good to feel cared for.

the good stuff --- a mother's love no matter how old you are

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Good Stuff 2013: Day 3

Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.
Albert Einstein

The Geek and I are in the middle of a massive purge of the mountains of stuff that seem to have overtaken the ol' farmhouse.  The office has been the catch-all place for stuff that didn't have a "home" elsewhere but seemed too good/important/you name it to get rid of quite yet.  We both have come to the same conclusion --- it is now time to reclaim the space and eliminate the chaos in our humble abode. It is not the easiest thing to do --- letting go of stuff does not come naturally to us --- but with each garbage bag taken out and each box filled for the thrift store, we see progress.  It has already begun to feel a little more peaceful.  We have a long way to go, but we have made a start and that is some serious good stuff.
the good stuff ---making room for peacefulness

Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Good Stuff 2013: Day 2

One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.
Virginia Woolf
In an attempt to give Boy Wonder some valuable life skills and lessen my load a tad, I have been having him be responsible for dinner once a week.  It is his responsibility to plan and prepare the entire meal.  He reads recipes and makes a grocery list for needed items.  Last week he made eggplant parmesan.  It was good, but there was some room for improvement.  Tonite he gave it a second try and the results were delish!  My tummy is blissfully full and I am quite sure his future wife may one day thank me.

the good stuff --- a delicious meal i didn't have to cook myself!

Friday, November 1, 2013

The Good Stuff 2013: Day 1

If you are looking for the bad things in life, then you will find it.  if you search for the good things then that is what you find.
Ann Marie Aguilar

I have been doing this for a few years now --- taking time each day during the month of November to post about something I am grateful for.  It has helped me to make an effort to always try an have an "attitude of gratitude"  not just in November, but all year long.  Some days I miss the mark, but more days than not, I am blessed to be able to spot the "good stuff" --- those bright spots that exist in each and every day if I just take time to look for them.

Today I am grateful for the opportunity to steal away in the middle of the day for a lunch date alone with my husband.  It doesn't happen as often as we might like, but when it does it brings a smile to my soul.

the good stuff --- a date with my sweetie