Friday, December 31, 2010

Our Christmas Adventure

On the 23rd Grandmoma called me and said she needed to run something by me.

She was leaving on another trip on the day after Christmas.  She was suppose to fly out of Atlanta at 9 am on the 26th.  Hubby and I said we would take her, meaning we would have to leave the house at around 5 am so that she would be there in plenty of time.

With the in coming weather, she was worried about getting to the airport.  She wanted to go down on Christmas Day and spend the night at a hotel close to the airport.  The hotel would be able to shuttle her to the airport and we wouldn't have to worry about driving the next morning.  (The temperatures were suppose to be in the low 20s the next morning.)

I told her that sounded like a good idea and that we could drive her to her hotel Christmas Day.

So Christmas Day, after the boys had found Santa's presents, played a while, and we had eaten brunch, we loaded everybody in the car and set off for Atlanta!

We got Grandmoma to the airport and made it back in time to eat supper with Nanny.  After supper it started snowing!  We played in the snow and headed home before the snow got any deeper.

We stayed up late playing with the new Wii and watching it snow.

Grandmoma called before 8 am in a panic!

Her flight had been cancelled and the airline had rescheduled her flight.  Great, I thought until she said the new flight was for 7 pm!  She had to be on her ship by 3:30 pm!

Now I understood her panic!

How was she going to make her ship if she couldn't leave Atlanta until after the boat has left the port?

I hung up the phone with Grandmoma and looked at my Hubby and asked if he was up to a drive to Charleston!

So we packed up the boys, threw in some drinks and snacks, made sure we had extra blankets, took pictures of the snow (because we knew it would be gone by the time we got back), and headed to Atlanta!

Hubby and I decided to take the interstates.  And that turned out being a wise decision!  For the most part, we were able to go the speed limit (or faster) and made it to Atlanta just a little longer than we did the day before.

It snowed pretty much the whole way to Charleston.  The roads were clear but it would go from raining to snowing most of the way.

Grandmoma had called the cruise line and they were waiting on her and some other passengers.  The boat had rescheduled to leave port at 7 pm.  This gave us a little more time to get there.

We made it to Grandmoma's dock before 4 pm!

There was a nice young man waiting on her at the dock.  We all said good-bye and set off on our ways.  She was on the boat before we made it back to the main road!

We headed back to Toccoa.

With lots of coffee and hot chocolate, we made it home by 11 pm and our great Christmas adventure ended!

The irony of this story is that when Grandmoma was first planning this trip, I told her that Hubby and I should drive her to Charleston.  We had never been there.  We could do a little sight seeing, then we could take our time getting home after she got on her boat.

Grandmoma didn't think that was a good idea.

Well, Grandmoma realized on the drive to Charleston, that my idea wasn't too bad!

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Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Christmas Pictures

I know I am a little late with these, but I have been having bloggers block!  It's been really weird, but I have not wanted to sit at my computer and blog.

I think I have bloggers Christmas withdrawals...

Any way...

We had a great Christmas!  Christmas Eve we had supper with Grandmoma, opened Grandmoma's presents and our gifts to the kids.

Grandmoma and Hamp waiting to open presents!

All the presents under the tree!  Notice the bridge of presents made over the train track...

Grandmoma opening her present that Knox made for her!

Then Santa came...

Hamp showing off what Santa brought him in his stocking!

Hubby and Knox trying to figure out how to put together the switch that Santa brought.

Knox eating breakfast between trying to put together his lego train.
Then we ate supper with Nanny and opened presents again...

Cousin Christopher helping Hamp and Remie open thier presents.

Knox opening his new fishing pole from Anut Gail and Uncle Daryl.

Nanny opening her presnet from the boys while Uncle Daryl is trying to watch the kids.

Then the kids played in the snow...

Hamp playing in the snow with his new loader.

Hubby showing Cousin Remie how to make a snowball.

It was a fun, exciting Christmas!

But this isn't all that happened during our Christmas break...

Stay tuned for the rest of the Christmas story...

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It REALLY Happened!!

It happened...

It REALLY happened...

I still can't believe that it happened, but it did!

We got to have a White Christmas!

It started Christmas night and was a winter wonderland the next morning!

The kids had a blast!

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

I'm Dreaming of a.......

I'm afraid to sing the song...

I'm afraid to even listen to Bing sing it!

The weatherman has all our hopes up...

Could it be...

The last time this happened was in 1993, but that was only a trace.

The last time there was enough to measure was 1882!

I have watched and listened to just about every weather station around and they are all saying the same thing!

Will it really happen??

It NEVER happens here in the South...

But maybe this year...

Could we...

Will we...

Have our first...

White Christmas

They say it is REALLY going to happen!  It's all I can do to control myself from dancing around the house and acting like a gitty school girl!!

This would be soooo exciting!!  Especially for us who don't get a lot of snow, if any snow, every year.  It's all people can talk about right now!  Yesterday it was almost 60 degrees.  I was outside working in short sleeve.  And in two days we're suppose to have snow!!

Trust me, I'll keep you up to date on if it really does snow are not!

Don't get too excited, the weatherman has been known to lie!!!

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wordless Wednesday...2010 Christmas Card

Today is the debut of this year's Christmas Card...

Thanks to Tony, Randy, and Michelle at Rudeseal's Photography for another awesome job with putting together this year's Christmas Card!  These folks do the BEST job...

See for yourself...

Here's hoping you find Santa this year!

Merry Christmas!

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Getting Ready for Spring...

This arctic cold wave has got me to thinking...

Thinking about spring...

Thinking about planting my spring garden!

Yep!  I'm freezing my butt off and think about spring!  Go figure...

Last week, I gave you a few winter chores that you need to do to get your garden and plants ready for winter.  Today I want to share a few more tips that you need to be thinking about before the New Year gets here.

Prep your soil:
Spread manure, rotted sawdust and leaves over the garden and plow them under; you'll be surprised at the difference this organic matter will make in the fertility, physical structure and water-holding capacity of the soil.

Test the soil:
Take a soil sample to allow plenty of time to get the report back. In the South, acidic soil can be a problem.  Lime applied now will be of more benefit next year than if it is applied in the spring before planting. Always apply Dolomitic limestone in order to get both calcium and magnesium.  A soil sample will also give you a good idea how much you will need to add organic matter too.  The more you can add now, the better start your garden will have this spring.

Take an "inventory":
Maybe you had too much of some vegetables and not enough of others - or maybe there were some unnecessary "skips" in the supply. Perhaps some insect, disease or nematode problem got the upper hand. You may have noticed that one variety bloomed longer than another or vice-versa.  Make a note about your favorite varieties. Start planning next year's garden now!

Plan your garden:
Draw a map of the garden area. Decide the direction and length of the rows, how much row spacing is needed for each vegetable, whether or not to plant on raised beds, and other details.  Also, it's really smart to not plant your vegetables in the same spot in your garden every year.  A lot of diseases for certain vegetables can overwinter in the soil.  If you move your veggies around each year, you can stop the spread of many different types of diseases.  This is especially true in Southern climates where the winters are milder.

Take a seed inventory:
You may have seeds left over from last year. Check their viability by placing some in damp paper towels and observing the germination percentage. If the percentage is low, order new ones.  This way, you won't order too many seeds. This same advice applies to the flower seeds to test their viablity.

Order seeds now:
You're wise to order flower and vegetable seeds in December or January, while the supply is plentiful. Review the results of last year's garden and order the more successful varieties.  Try new cultivars, add more color, change the color scheme, layer the colors by having taller and shorter plants - don't do it the same way year after year.

Make a "wish list":
Look around for tools you do not have and put these on your Christmas list!  Also check out your local garden centers.  This time of year they are really downsizing because they will be shuting down for the winter.  You might get the chance to find some real bargains!

Remember, spring is just around the corner....

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Monday, December 20, 2010

Redneck Christmas Parade

In the South, we do this a little different.  Christmas is no different!  Especially when it comes to Christmas parades!

Around here one of the most Southern (and just plain Redneck) parade is Bullsnort or Monte Video or the Parade!  There's not one name for it and there is nothing else like it!!  This is a parade that you must experience to believe...and trust me when I say that New York City and the Macy's Thanksgiving's Day Parade has nothing on this one!

The parade starts in a little community called Monte Video in Hart County.  You find Monte Video when you get to 5 roads that intersect and you find the Monte Video General Store.
This the "downtown" Monte Video.  It's the only way you know you are in the right place!
The parade is the Sunday before Christmas and usually starts at 2 pm.  It is in the middle of Nowhere--literally!

Now what makes this a really different parade is that there are
no city streets...
the only buildings are barns and houses...
 no applications to fill out...
no entry fees...
no rules...
EVERYTHING that can be drove or rode is welcomed!

You never know what you are going to see....

I think this just speaks for itself...

I said you could drive or ride anything...

This was just too cute!

This John Deere was broke down on the side of the road.  I think that he just had to "go"...

Shelby had the funniest hat!  Notice that her dad and husband were staying back as far as they could!

I think the poor guy either ran out of beer or needed to use the "woods".

If you look real close you can see that the old ambulance says "Santa 911".  We couldn't figure out how the Grinch was able to hitch a ride!

Now it's not just the parade that is interesting...

It is just as interesting to watch the spectators!  The parade meanders through the countryside by lots of open pastures and fields.  It goes by places you would never think people would be set up to watch a parade...

Notice the crowds. This is at the start.  It was the pretty much the same crowd for the next 5 miles.

It is also like a festival!

As you go down the parade route, you will see people sitting in their lawn chairs watching the parade. 

These folks got out of their seats to bring us a funnel cake!  Scary part, we KNOW them!!

When you get to people's homes, you see that families and friends have set up folding tables filled with food on the front lawn or driveway!  They are socializing, eating, and enjoying the parade!

It was hard to get a picture of the pinicking, but these folks had four tables set up behind them filled with food!  They weren't the only ones...

The Monte Video, Bullsnort, Redneck Christmas parade is probably the most enjoying Christmas parade that we do!  It's one that we end up talking about with friends more than any other parade...

This was made by our friend Sandy from her seat at the front of the parade.  It's Hubby driving me and the boys "down the lane".

This is how we know that Christmas is just around the corner!!

Merry Christmas!!

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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sunday Spotlight: Our Microwave Popper

I told your earlier about our popcorn that we grew this year.

Well, just about every night we have microwave popcorn with our home grown popcorn.

Yes, I said microwave popcorn!

I found a wonderful popcorn popper that you use in the microwave!  It is probably the coolest kitchen gadget that I have seen in a long time!

I can not remember where I found it, but I am really glad I did...

Presto PowerPop Microwave Multi-Popper

It is so easy, that even my husband can use it! (We're talking about a man that can't even boil water.)

Add your popcorn...

All you do is add your oil or butter...

And put it in the microwave to pop!

With our homegrown popcorn, just about all of the kernels pop.  And the taste is just amazing!

We like to add spray butter but no salt.  I think that's the reason we like using the Presto PowerPop Microwave Multi-Popper. 

Regular microwave popcorn is always so oily and salty, not the mention the fact that it costs so much more.  But with the PowerPop Microwave Multi-Popper, you control the amount of salt and butter.  This allows you to eat healthier while not spending so much money!

This is a great gift idea for that popcorn lover in your life!  Not only is it a frugal idea but a healthy idea for the midnight microwave popper on your Christmas list!

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Friday, December 17, 2010

My New Lanudry Detregent

For the longest time I have been wanting to start making my own laundry detregent.

I hate having to buy it!  It's so expensive and I hated looking for coupons and finding it on sale.  Once I found one I liked, I had to keep changing to get the best deals!  It was driving my crazy...

I was convinced to make my own detergent after talking with my friend Amy.  She has been making her own for a while now and said she wouldn't go back!

As I started doing my research I found tons of recipes, but many of them pretty much the same.  They all contain bar soap, Borax and Washing Soda.  I use Ivory bar soap.  Many recipes call for Fels-Naptha, but just about any bar soap on sale will do.

Borax is usually found around the clorax on the laundry asile.  Washing Soda is usually close to the Borax.  I have found it is easier to find these two in the grocery stores.  I usually find them in Ingles and Wal-Mart.  My favorite Sav-a-Lot doesn't carry these.

1 quart Water (boiling)
2 cups Bar soap (grated)
2 cups Borax
2 cups Washing Soda
■Add finely grated bar soap to the boiling water and stir until soap is melted. You can keep on low heat until soap is melted.

■Pour the soap water into a large, clean pail and add the Borax and Washing Soda. Stir well until all is dissolved.

■Add 2 gallons of water, stir until well mixed.

■Cover pail and use 1/4 cup for each load of laundry. Stir the soap each time you use it (will gel).

This has been working great for us!  I might even try the powdered detergent when we finish this last batch of liquid deteregent.  I don't think I will be buying laundry detergent any more...
Have you tried making your own detergent? 
Share your comments....
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Thursday, December 16, 2010

It's Up!!

Ok, Christmas can begin...

We've got our tree up!!

If you have been a groupie to this blog long enough, you know that we love our RED tractors!  We are an International Havester (IH) family through and through!

So it should come has no surprise that we also have an IH decorated Christmas tree! 

Yes we do!!

Do you have any idea how hard it is to find red tractor ornaments??

I buy everyone I find, whenever I find them.

There is a reason that we wait to put the tree up.  The reason is under the tree.

The train!

Santa started a tradition when Knox was seven.  He brought him a train.  Knox is only allowed to bring out the train once the tree is up and it goes back in its boxes when the tree comes down.

Every year, Santa brings more parts to the train. 

This is a big deal in our house!

For the next few weeks, our house is a train yard!  There are tracks everywhere and trains moving around at all times of the day and night. 

It is also an obstical course!  You are constantly stepping over tracks and trains.

This is why we try to wait before our tree goes up!

But now it's up and I just have to remember to watch out for tracks when I get up in the morning!!

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wordless Wednesday...Cracking Up Santa

The other week, I took the boys to get to see Santa and have their pictures made with him.  My dear friends at Rudeseal Photography have been making pictures of my children since Knox was 18 months old.  This is the only Santa Knox has never known!

Tony, who has taken the boys pictures since they were little, has always told me that kids are unpredictable.  We just take what you can get!

Knox was like that and his little brother is following right behind him!

As Hamp sat on Santa's knee, he started playing with his tractor...

As we started laughing, well, Santa lost it...

Sometimes you just have to laugh!!

But Santa was able to gain his composer back and listen to Hamp tell him he wanted as many tractors as Santa's sleigh could hold--but they had to be RED!!

Check out Rudeseal Photography and try them out!  They do an excellent job capturing those really special moments of your children!! 

Be checking back soon...I'll be sharing with you the wonderful Christmas card they put together for me this year!

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Making My Own Chili Seasoning Mix

My family wanted chili the other night when it was really cold.  One problem, I didn't have any chili seasoning packets.

So off to the internet...

I found a few that looked promising on a web site called

 I tried this one:

Best Chili Seasoning Mix
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons chili powder
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon dried minced onion
1 tablespoon dried, minced garlic
2 teaspoons white sugar
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried parsley
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

In a bowl, stir together flour, chili powder, red pepper, onion, garlic, sugar, cumin, parsley, salt, basil and pepper. Store in an airtight container.

Use 2 T of mix for 1 pound of ground beef, 1 can of tomato sauce, 1 can of diced tomatoes and/or one can of kidney beans. (double this for 2 pounds of meat).

The boys loved it!  I think this is a keeper!  I have been finding more things that I can make instead of buying them.  I am working on not only reducing my families grocery budget, but our dependency on buying what we can make, grow, or do ourselves! 

I'll be adding more things that we are doing to be more self sufficient and budget minded!!

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Monday, December 13, 2010

My Little Fixer-Upper

Last week I shared with you where Hubby had painted our Farmall M.  Click here to read it again.

Well, after Hubby had finished painting, Knox kept going to the shop.  We weren't sure what he was doing.  He wouldn't tell us what he was working on.  All we knew was that he wasn't tearing up anything, so we just let him work. 

After three days, he brought to the house what he had been working on...

He had found an old scale and had painted it!

He sanded it down, put on the base paint and also added the IH symbol on each side!

He even tried to add the numbers, which have disintegrated with time.  But little brother got to them and decided that he needed to rearrange them!

I just had to share with you what my little fixer-upper did this week!

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Thursday, December 9, 2010

How I Am Getting Free Diapers

I have been getting free diapers!

Yes, free diapers!

Search & Win
First off, I have been Swagbucking!  If you have not discovered Swagbucks, you need to get started!  Swagbucks is a search engine that you use everytime you use your computer.  My trick is that I NEVER type in a websites address in the box at the top of my internet explorer.  I go to my Swagbucks homepage or use my Swagbucks tool bar and type in where I want to go.  Then I click on the page I want go to.

This may seem to take longer, but I may get the chance to win some Swagbucks!  I can also win Swagbucks by doing the daily poll, watching Swagbuck TV, and using coupons.

Welcome to Amazon Mom
Once I get enough Swagbucks (which doesn't take long if you Swagbuck every time you use the computer), I buy a Amazon gift card.  I have gotten enough gift cards that have helped me get free diapers through the Amazon Mom's Club.  Once you join the club and get your diapers delivered on a monthly or weekly basis, you will qualify for a discount.

Using this discount and some coupons along with my great Swagbucks, I have been able to get FREE diapers!

Try Swagbucks by linking clicking here.  If you use My Points, I have found that Swagbuck is quicker.  You don't have to have as many points to get a gift card!  I still use My Points, but I have been able to get so many more Swagbucks in the same amount of time!

Don't wait!  Get Swagbucking today!

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wordless Wednesday...Christmas Faces

What can you say...

This picture just makes me laugh everytime I see it!  I took it at the Christmas parade this weekend.  I have no idea what either of the boys was looking at and thinking.  They were not into getting their picture made...

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I Want a Nutrimill Grain Mill!

I want a Nutrimill Grain Mill!  I want to mill my own flour!
So I found this giveaway from a friend on Facebook.

If you have never heard of or seen one of these beauties in action, you need to check out Happily Domestic!  She has a great review of this amazing machine!
Happily Domestic
The thing that makes this machine so amazing to me is that you can take 4 cups of wheat berries and it will make it into 8 cups of flour without getting your whole kitchen or house dusty.

I love to use fresh ground flour and corn meal.  We have friends that have grist mills and they are VERY messy.  You also need to constantly monitor how the mill is grinding.  The thing that makes mills like these hard to use is that you have to hook them to some type of power source:  i.e. a tractor or water wheel.

With a Nutrimill Grain Mill, all you have to do is put in your grain and plug it in!  You don't have to do a large batch at a time.  You can do only what you need to cook with at that time!

Fresh milled flour is so much healthier for your family!  And the cost is much less!  Most wheat berries are less than a dollar a pound while 1 cup of berries can produce around 2 cups of flour.  That is a huge cost savings.

The Nutrimill Grain Mill is a steep investment.  So I am writing this post to help me try to win one!!

Please visit Heavenly Domestic and check out her awesome review!

Also check out Kitchen Specialties and Granary who is sponoring this giveaway.   They have some more wonderful products that I wish I could review myself!!  And they have a really neat story on how they got started selling bakery supplies.

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