Saturday, December 27, 2008

Gift giving

After Christmas I wanted to take a few moments to reflect on gifts. I think we all have alot of angst over gifts and their meanings and MONEY!

I know I LOVE to buy a gift for someone I know well. I have even enjoyed the years when I got a name in the family drawing that was a challenge. Even if I don't know the person well, I can search my mind for that little thing they have said or mentioned. I still remember the gifts I bought 11 Christmases ago when Jay and I were about to be married. I bought for his whole family. I do not remember EACH gift, but most. I worked hard to learn a few thins about each person and use those thoughts. I do not have alot of money to spend so I have to be creative.

I feel we often get so caught up in 'equality', my dollar equalling your dollar or having to give and receive. A gift should be a GIFT, no strings. If we are all just randomly spending 20 dollars per person and buying stuff we may or may not like, why not just go out to dinner together or spend our money elsewhere and just BE together?

I spent MORE this year on Jay than ever, but it wasn't about the money. We got the new farm and I wanted him to have the 'stuff', so he got boots, a chainsaw and a few little other things. That is him above letting Duncan do the ripping while he cheeses about the chainsaw.

I gave the 'cheapest' gift EVER to my best gal pal, Daryl. I bought it this summer at a YARD SALE. It was something she would LOVE, though and I love having a friend who loves inexpensive gifts as much as expensive ones. One day I may be wealthy and buy things that are expensive AND meaningful, for now meaninful and thoughtful are what I strive for.
I bartered a dog grooming for riding lessons for my friend Shelly. She loved it and I honestly admit it was less than altruistic. None of my local friends are riders and Shelly loves horses and wants to ride, but MORE I want her to ride so she can come ride with me and enjoy the woods. So my real gift to he is trail riding with ME! How selfish???

Duncan got the wagon he wanted from "Santa" and he has been putting it to good use on the farm. I think this gift will endure many years and bring fond memories each one.

I know of people who sacrifice paying bills and even mortgage payments to buy gifts. This mortifies me. If I love you enough to exchange gifts with you I love you enough to NOT get one for you to keep your things/home. A gift given b/c we HAVE to is no gift AT ALL. I say this because at my dad's family gathering there was sum hub-bub about a portion of the family potentially losing their home. With 20 some family members I counted they could have easily paid a payment. What sort of family would we be if we wanted gifts more than security for them?

I think this is the BEST time to plan for next years gift season. Make your rough list, make a budget and start saving. Also put on the list things you KNOW about that person. You may find the perfect gift at a thrift shop or yard sale.

For me it is as simple as being PERSONAL! I hate the 'office exchange' where you don't know for whom you buy. It puts MORE stress on the giver, IMO. Now, be sure to say thanks for all your gifts this year and maybe even get yourself some Thank you notes out.

Happy New Year to you all!

Friday, December 26, 2008

After Christmas Greetings

From our Non-traditional Christmas supperTo our 'skirt needing tree' We wish you all well!

We hope you got all you needed and counted your blessings.
Santa brought the wagon Duncan requested and he was happy for it!

May your new year be bright!

Monday, December 22, 2008

A little silly in my life

My friend Kathy came by today with a broken ornament. It was an applesauce/cinn. ornament her kid made in school. Her kiddo didn't know it had been 'mortally wounded' so she brought it to me for 'fixing'. I glued her head back on, but alas it was an obvious fix. How does one cover a glued on head? With clothes of course!

Now we noticed after making her lovely 'baby doll' dress that she just was a bit 'too shear' for our liking so I made her little cotton panties should she come upon a heater vent when walking about.
The lovely red satin choker and 'diamond' broach cover her decapitation scars. I made a little round piece of paper for Katlyn to color and put her 'face' on. I hope it turns out as fun as her dress. I left the dress plain hoping she would 'bedazzle' it as a third grader should!

So, that was my silly kindergarten fun for the day! I kind of like it!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Here they are!

The eggs my girls (or girl?) have given me this first week of laying, one more tomorrow and that is a good half dozen in a first week. Impressive ladies!
Here is the D-bear getting ready to go out in the cold. He got this warm overalls for Christmas last year. He LOVES them, he loves getting in them and loves playing outside in them.
Last but not least, here is the new addition to our family! Duncan named her Google-dot-com, which sounds like Boogledotcom (all one word). :-D Google was dumped on a pal and she asked if I wanted a barn kitty. Well, I was gonna get one in spring, but how could I resist THAT! She already loves my boy....little worried about how scared she was of the horse!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

And the winner is!

Donna at An Enchanted Cottage! Go have a look at her beautiful blog!

I, personally believe the REAL winner here is Friends of Ferdinand, the charity that Donna chose in my giveaway! Check out their site in a few days and see if Donna gets a shout out on the front page!

If you are still searching for 'last minute' gift for that person who has it all, donate to a charity in your friends name. I like charities like FFI for this purpose, because you can put a 'face' with the gift.

Thanks to all my readers who were so supportive of this kind of giveaway. I was a little worried people wouldn't apreciate it as much as 'goodies'. I love to be wrong on something like this!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Last day to enter!

Today by 3pm (EST) is your last chance to enter my Giveaway. Please sign up now if you still want a chance.

Here is a random picture of the farm a few weeks ago when it was snowy. Now it is just ICE covered! I hope the ice melts and we can walk and drive safely soon.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Coop of dreams?

If you build it....

They will lay?

I got home after dark last night (5:30pm) and went to tuck in the girls. I went in and heard them happily clucking away. I always flip open my cell phone so I can see them to say "g'night ladies". As I was closing my phone my mind registered a 'weirdness' in the nest box. I didn't think they would be laying a week after I built their house (to the day), but my brain said "they have knocked a big section out of their nest or something'. I flip open the phone again and see IT! A perfect little egg. It is perfect and about half the size of a Large Egg. I am almost positive the 'layer' is Paris. She just looks a little more grown than the other gals. I almost want to skip my workout tonight to go home and be the one to see if there are MORE! :-D

The girls are earning their keep now. This morning I gave them the crumbles out of Duncan's Shredded wheat bag as a 'reward'. Tomorrow I might even buy them some crickets!

I am about to be independent of Grocery store eggs! WOO HOO!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Too proud?

Well, I won't win any builders awards, but on Monday I got fed up with my hens living in a dog crate during the night. My hubby works retail so his help was unlikely if not laughably impossible. I built a hen-hut, by myself. I used two FOUND doors, scrap lumber and all different size nails/screws as I found them in my still unpacked 'tools'.

First I put this lovely roadside door and attatched it to the beam in the old barn lean-to, then affixed this strange left behind green wood to that and fixed the 'hole' where there is a step down in the lean to.

At this point I ran out of nails and went for my screws and came back to the girls checking the place over.
After they had approved the plan and reccomended some upgrades (heat, plumbing) I called my union rep, they called their lawyer..... I was able to get back to work.

I added a nest box put the top half of the side on...added a hinged door on the other end, I called it quits for the night.

They happily slept there the first night, but Tuesday night I found them in their crate. I dragged them out and put them to bed. Paris lived up to her namesake and was as dramatic as could be. Lucy took it like a lady and Pearl fairly enjoyed me holding her, even letting Duncan pat her while I had her.

Here they are on thier roost below their nest box. They are wondering what kind of sick paparazi takes flash photos at eight pm, they threatened a call to the lawyer, but I tricked them. No phone in their new house!

I still need to put a 'predator' roof on. I am going to use an old storm door so they get maximum light. I am also going to put a 'lip' on that cabinet (trash) turned nest box, so they don't roll their eggs out on the floor (Thanks Daryl for reminding me)
I hate to admit how proud I am of myself. It isn't perfect, it isn't going to win any design competitions, but I did it MYSELF!

What have you done to be proud of this week?

Hopefully, I will get to enjoy the last little warm snap this weekend and take my horse out for a gallop.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

100th post giveaway

Alright, I have actually been NOT posting because I couldn't decide how to do my 100th post. Well, I made a decision! My giveaway is going to take the 'road not taken' route.

I am giving away:

A donation to charity!

Please don't run away. You will not get a goody in the mail but I will make a $20 donation in YOUR name to one of the following charities:
An organization that provides livestock to third world communities so they can be self-sufficient.
A race horse rescue whose motto is "Retired from Racing not from Life"
American Cancer Society
An child sponsorship organization. Donations here will be put towards unsponsored children.

There are alot of other good charities out there, but I chose these because they are varied and betwen the four there has to be one you would like to choose.

Please leave a comment and I will use choose randomly. I know this is not typical and we all love to get a little something in the mail, but I hope you will leave a comment and we can do some good together! PS-if you win and want the gift given in someone elses name (child) or in memory or honor of someone go for it!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Are you getting what you want?

Or Loving what you have?

I think the actual quote is "The key to happiness is NOT having what you want, but wanting what you have"

Really, If you gave me a bundle of money I could go online and in real life and buy a bunch of STUFF and I would enjoy the trip and the decorating, but unless I LOVE those things and not always want more what would it matter.

I try to remember this when I am coveting my neighbors pool or a friends car. I remember how it felt to pay off my truck and how I stared at that final statement that said ZERO. I remember that it did not get 'old' by accident it got worn by use. my use, it has carried my family safely many miles. The sofa I am sitting on is over 40 years old and still going strong. It needs a bit of an 'update', but my grandmother held me as a sleeping infant on this very sofa. My father and his sister bought it with LOVE, it was worn by love and reupholstered in the late eighties with love. I am still wondering what my father was thinking when he chose THIS fabric, but there is more LOVE in this sofa than I could get out of a brand new one. When we moved it decidely heavy self into the new house I was momentarily wishing for a new 'lighter' sofa, but then I reminded myself WOOD, real wood is heavy!

So today love the things you have. It doesn't mean give up on having something you dream of, but loving the moment. Go for it. Be grateful today for all you have, instead of bemoaning all you do not.
The photo is of my now deceased dog, Benny Wenny Super Poodle, cradling a friends kiddo in grandma's chair! We still call that chair "ben's chair". He was a rescue, too!

Monday, December 1, 2008

A big Thank you

Mary sent me a housewarming package. Lots of goodies were inside!
Even the box was very sweetly done!Included were these cute little blue lovebirds who just cried to go in my china cabinet.

Mary remembered my pink and blue addiction when she added this plate.

The cutest little birdhouse. I must admit I have already put a little Christmassy bird in there perched on some holly. :-D Shhhh...I had to do some 'creative construction' to pull this off.

A lovely set of mismatched silverware. I put it right in my drawer as is. I warned my hubby STRONGLY against using them for now. I like to savor the 'giftiness' of things beribboned.

Underneath all the things you see are two very pretty floral prints. I can' wait to find the perfect frames for them and hang them after Christmas decorating season wanes.
A few months ago when I began blogging it was to make myself focus a little more on my inner creative self and I did just that. What I did not expect is the friends I am making. You made my day Mary and am glad to have made you as a blog friend.