Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Great Switchup

ok y'all.
I'm back. I know I'm been a major slacker keeping y'all updated on things, but I'm going to do better for 2014.

In my defense, there's only enough time in the day to get dressed, get the kids fed, change their dirty clothes 4-6 times, feed the husband, wash the laundry feed the animals, clean the house, workout, do crafts, homeschool, tend the garden, etc.

Let me run you through a quick update on the KP homestead.

I made soap. It turned out...well, soap. I'll try again soon.

The garden was sad. I had tomatoes growing in november. Yes! November. But the early freeze killed them along with my ginormous basil plant bush.

I have 3 broccoli, a patch of greens and 2 cabbages still growing pretty decent. The turnips are fantastic. I've picked a mess yesterday for the neighbor and a mess tonight for us. The turnips are the size of baseballs, some even bigger!

The rabbits...Papa could get Mama pregnant. And now Mama is grumpy and growls and everyone and Papa can't romance her. BUT...Jett got the job done with Dinner, so Dinner should be having some bunnies around January 15th. Papa escaped a few days ago, and Scott was out playing with his BB gun. He couldn't believe his luck that a big plump rabbit was just sitting there in our yard...and then he remembered it was mine the mini me on his shoulder reminded him I'd shoot him with the BB gun if he killed my rabbit.

We are now the owners of a miniature jack russell, Sasha. Yes, our dogs are Sasha and Greta. I'm not really sure why we don't rename them with American names. We could give them hipster names like Lola and Millie. 

The hubs is probably the best person in the world at what he does. Ok, I exaggerate a bit. A lot. I can't tell you about it, really, though, because it's some top secret stuffs.

We're working on our garden plots right now for a Back to Eden Garden. It's going well. We'll have a full sun garden, a partial sun/shade garden and an herb/berry garden.

Maddy is wild. She can speak English now. She's potty trained. She loves princesses and riding her fourwheeler.

Lillee is wilder. She can walk. She can speak almost English words. She can sing and do the motions to itsy bitsy spider. She can also ride Maddy's fourwheeler, all by herself. She can eat. And eat. And eat. She also loves princesses!

I've learned to sew. I'll be working on more sewing projects in 2014.

And last but not least, my new year's resolution. It's actually a large list, and I'm calling it the Great Switchup of 2014. I'm making a commitment to switching our entire life to either more natural/organic options or more environmentally friendly options. So far I've made and started using cloth napkins to save money and landfill space on paper towels. I've switched to baking soda shampoo and ACV conditioner. I made my own toothpaste and whitening gel. And we're eating about 75% gluten free right now. Also, I'm on day 5 on Insanity, so I'll be do that for 55 more days.

Some of my other projects I'll be working on and sharing about this year:
  • unpaper towels like these
  • DIY essential oils
  • homemade soaps
  • all natural make up including blush, mascara, bronzer and lip tints/balms
  • altering all of the girls old clothes so that they can continue to wear the ones they've outgrown
  • raising and butchering rabbits (and hopefully anything Scott is able to kill throughout the year)
  • My gardens. I'm going all out. Planting everything I can possibly get in the ground. Hopefully this whole Back to Eden mulch thing pans out
  • making castille soap and all the cleaning/hygiene products it can be used for
  • beeswax candles
  • lots of sewing and crocheting including projects like making myself a dress, reusable swiffer socks, boot cuffs, dish cloths and sponges, a quilting project, camo curtains at the Hubby's request etc, etc.
Check back soon for pictures. I'll do my best to post at least one good blog each week full of pictures and witty comments. 

What are your projects/resolutions for 2014?

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Awesome Husband and Crazy Panda

Have you ever had some goal or skill that you've always wanted to accomplish, but just didn't see it happening?
Well, I have a bunch of those.
I've always wanted to have a self-sufficient family farm. Now more than ever, with the economy spiraling in and out of control, crime rates sky rocketing and government micromanaging peoples' lives, I'd love to have Scott at home instead of riding the streets looking for thugs.

There are so many skills that I have wanted to learn for a while. Handcrafting, old fashioned, almost forgotten skills that might disappear within my lifetime. Sewing, crocheting, preserving homegrown food, organic gardening, making butter, raising your own meat, making soap, herbal remedies, etc.

Scott and I have so many drams that we're working toward, if God blesses us with the years to achieve them. We have two girls to teach the gospel to, a corrupt society to escape from, a million doors opening and opportunities presenting themselves that we have to choose to follow or turn down.

Life is crazy, exciting, and full of wonder!

That being said, I'd like to share some of the things we've been working on lately.

We live in a rental house on a pecan orchard.
Typically, pecans being falling just after the leaves start falling, so here lately we've experience the beginning of pecan season.
My neighbor, Reba, the girls and I have been wandering around the neighborhood picking up pecans almost everyday.
We have almost 40 pounds so far and Reba has over 50!!!
So I put my baking skills to the test and made a pecan pie:)

As far as teaching the girls about the bible, I'm no scholar so I've had to do some reading on early childhood development and the basic truths that I need to start teaching them to give them a foundation for when they begin to understand more.
Our first "lesson" (it was a pretty relaxed, unstructured thing, so really it was just fun time) was all about "God made me". We read the creation story, talked about some bible verses that describe God's creative powers, and looked at some crocheted items I made to see how God knit things together from nothing!
Then we did a handprint craft that was all about Maddy and Lillee. They were supposed to just stamp handprints, but it pretty much turned into "wipe the paper down with the paint".

Over the last week or so I've been learning to crochet. I've wanted to do it since sometime in high school and always thought it was too complicated. I finally bought a beginners book for $5 at walmart, and let me tell you, it's the best thing I've done for myself in a while!
I've made quite a few successful projects already:)
And I'd like to get some products made up to try to sell, so stay tuned for some of the cutest baby items EVER!
This next picture...this is a funny.
I am in the middle of making a panda set for infants and I have everything done except the panda face/ears. Basically I had to crochet all the separate pieces and then sew them onto the hat.
Well, to make it easy on myself, I turned the hat inside out and proceeded to sew from the hat side, rather than from the eye-patch side.
Unfortunately, when I flipped the hat back around, this is what I had done...
 Luckily, it comes back apart easily and can be restitched.

The next thing is something I am SUPER happy with.
Our dream of a self-sufficient family farm is going to take quite a bit of planning, saving, preparing, moving, etc, but I discovered the concept of urban homesteading, where, with just a small patch of land and things around your home, you can easily raise your own meats, veggies, fruits, etc.
So our initial thought was chickens.
Two problems: loud and smelly.

I put that dream on the backburner, thinking I'd just have to wait til we could buy a farm in a billion years. THen one day I came across an article about rabbits!
They're super easy, breed like crazy, and grow into eating-size VERY quickly with very little financial obligation.

Scott and I discussed it, he thought I was crazy, and I thought I was having to give that dream up too, until a few days later, Scott presents me with his wonderful idea: let's get rabbits.
You see, Scott tends to be incredibly inspired by my ideas:)

So two months later, here we are with two males and two females, a wonderful homemade cage setup, and the prospect of babies in the next 30-45 days!
Top left:Dinner Dinner. We got her for free and she's very malnourished. We're getting her healthy so she can have babies next summer! Top right: haven't named him yet. He's about 5 months old and not ready to breed, but will be soon! Bottom left: Big Papa. He's our buck. He'll be making all the sweet little rabbits babies that will hopefully get fat and taste delicious (sorry). and the bottom right is Mama Breakfast.
I'd like to point out this beautifully constructed rabbit cage.
First of all, just a basic, dinky metal cage at the pet store is $50.
Second, everything on craigslist was either too old, too far, or too extravagant for our space.
So, with no plans, we hopped in the car and headed to tractor supply. That was a bust so we drove over to the home depot. 
After about an hour, lots of arguing, almost giving up, and being inspired by simply walking around looking at things, we headed home with our supplies.
Scott spent all afternoon putting things together, cutting, bending, tying, twisting, etc.
And by the end of the next day, we had a wonderful cage and 4 beautiful rabbits!

The cage may seem simple, but to me it's awesome. Each cage has a wire mesh floor to allow droppings to fall through, a metal tray below to catch the droppings, is completely surrounded by wire, has a simple to use front door, a water dispenser, a food bowl, and is rabbit friendly. There's even storage above the top cage!

So there you have it. I've been working on quite a few things lately, and next up, I'm experimenting with a back to eden garden for next spring. For more info on that, check out backtoedenfilm.com and watch the documentary!

What are some goals/skills you've always wanted to accomplish? Have you achieved any of them lately?

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Ant Mountains

We took the girlies to Uncle Bob's Pumpkin Patch.
This is the best picture I could get. The pumpkin patch was under huge trees so there was no good lightning...

But i still got some really cute pictures. Lillee thought the pumpkins were pretty neat.
Maddy wanted to run around and touch all of them.
I tried getting a picture with both of them but Maddy wasn't into sitting still.
See Maddy in the background pushing the stroller?
Lillee is just so stinkin cute with all her fat rolls.
Uncle Bob's is not just pumpkins though. They have tons of fun stuff.
They had geese that would honk whenever you talked to them.
They had ducks that seemed a little confused.
And they had this massive turkey.
It's hard to tell just how big he is from this photo, but that thing was so big they had to keep the female turkey in a separate barn so he wouldn't crush her.

They also had a little petting zoo with goats and sheep and a pig.
Maddy LOVED it.
She is really good with animals.
She just naturally knows how to approach them and she loves their fur.
She really loves it when they lick her hand.
She's also very curious (that's the PC word for nosy), and almost got into trouble.
They had a little piggy too.
He was about Lillee's size, just a little babe.
They said he like to nibble baby fingers though so the girls didn't pet him.
Lillee got some good independent time watching the goats. 
She really enjoyed that too.
I think she even talked to them a little.

There's the piggy again.
Lillee was thinking "mmm, bacon".
That child would eat all day if you kept food in front of her.
So sweet.

They also shear their animals once a year and then make thread/yarn on the property. Maddy was mesmerized by the process. 
The little wheel just above her head is powered by two foot pedals that make it spins and the girl sitting there had a huge clump of wool that she was slowly feeding onto the wheel.
As it spun, it also rolled itself onto a huge spool.
It was super cool to watch.
After carrying their chubby butts around all day, we discovered this wagon, which they both loved.
Too bad my arm had already cramped up.

The whole day was super fun and the girls really loved seeing everything. They even had a little mini corn maze that we took the girls through. They didn't really care so much about that, and there were ant mountains all over the place.


Ant MOUNTAINS. Like as tall as my knees.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


 over the weekend, we got to feed the ducks with Pawpaw and Nanny. They fill a bucket up with corn and head down to their lake/pond.
 After shaking the bucket for a few seconds, our little feathery friends started to pile up on the bank.
 maddy was super excited!
 Lillee wasn't too sure. And my finger got in the way
 There were nearly 20 of those things!

 As long as we kept throwing out corn, they stayed close!

 We even got to touch them!

Toys and Such

Last week, Granny (Pitty Patti) took us to lunch.

Then we went to work with her and played on the gokarts. Thank goodness they're all too big for the girls.

Then Maddy got ready to cut the grass. But she wouldn't wear ear protection so she had to get off:(

Riding a Horsey

While I was visiting my parents, I took the girls by the good ole BS Ranch, where I basically grew up. We visited Bobby Lee and Sherry Lee (the inspiration for my girls names) and Maddy got to ride a horse. She rode ole Doc-a-roo, who I rode countless times over the years.
She learned how to brush him.

She rode around in the barn since it was so yucky and wet out.
And to be honest, I don't think it really phased her at all. It was like she had done it a million times!
Then afterwards we had a little mini photo shoot.
These photos are awesome! I can't take any credit for them...
My bestest, oldest friend Lindsay took them. She is great! She went to school for this stuff and really knows what she's doing.
Some of them she even took while hauling Chunk around for me, so that's super impressive.
If you're interested, check out her other work at http://hartmannphotography.wordpress.com/sports/.