Thursday, December 31, 2009

One Sweet Week

I know it's not the end of the week yet, I suppose it feels like it, cause it's the end of the year.
I just wanted to share with you today what I've been up to this week.
After being set straight by dear Helen earlier this week, things have really been wonderful.

I've been enjoying watching the girls get used to the snow. They don't like it so much. Me, I'm loving it. It blankets the earth in a stillness.

See that black chicken? Her, yes, her identity has finally been shown.
She layed an egg.
'She' didn't crow.

I've been waiting six months to find out what was going to happen.
I introduce to you -
Aunt Jemima.
Aaron wanted to name her LaQuisha.

The seed catalogs have arrived, and none to soon. Every day I look out the kitchen window and dream of the garden. Heirloom veggies, sunflowers, zinnias, and other delectables. Is there anything sweeter than growing your own food? Please remind me of this in August.

Oh dear. I've neglected my scarecrow.
Next trip to Salvay's (Salvation Army) I'll get her some proper winter clothing.

I've not left the house since Saturday. I'm loving it. I do have to go out today, and I'm actually looking forward to it, instead of dreading it. I'm loving this simple and quiet life.

I've been so busy stitching this week as well. Back in the summer I picked up this plain hat for $2 at the Tractor Supply Company. When I saw it, I just thought 'I can embroider that hat!"

This is what I did.

Does the bee hive look like a wedding cake to you?

Does the chicken look like it's floating?

I've never embroidered with pliers before, but that's what it took to get that hat done!

I managed to clean out my mending basket as well. I mended a bra that was ready for the trash, but now it's as good as new.

I hemmed Glenco's jeans. I hate hemming jeans, but look at this cool trick I learned this week.

You can preserve the hems on jeans, so they don't look so....what would you call it....umm..dorky?

I love notions. Love them. Ache for notions. I love sewing.

What you need to do to hem jeans is to measure what needs to be cut off.
Fold it, and measure again.

Then add about a half inch to that, and cut.

Now, trim your cut off piece to about a half inch as well, and pin it back on the jean bottom, right sides together.

Using your zipper foot attachment, sew as close as you can to the seam edge.

Presto chango! Lookie here. Up really close you can see that you hemmed it, but when you have the jeans on, you'd never guess it. I hope you 'get' this from my instructions. It took me a bit to wrap my head around it at first. Just look at the photos closely.

I've been a knittin' fool. A scarf for Aaron, dishcloths galore, and an iPod cozy.

Last, but not in the least, least...
Did you ever notice how Dr. Oz is always telling you to examine your poop? I took that vein of thought and decided to examine my in what I'm throwing away.

It's a lot.
Not good.

I decided to put these cans to use instead of in the trash.
It made the cutest little loaves of bread, and the cutest little sandwiches.

I used Chickens in the Road's Grandmother Bread.

I think it's a great recipe for anyone starting out making bread, or for anyone that falls into the category 'I fear yeast'.

Using the 'one loaf' recipe, I separated the dough into three balls after the first rise,
greased the can and plopped them in there.

An hour later, I had this:

After baking and brushing with butter, I had this:

You have to shake the cans a bit to get the bread out.
Just too stinking cute.

I wish you all a wonderful, happy, safe New Year!
I hope you are looking as forward to 2010 as I am.
God Bless.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wed - Part Two

Healthy Pizza - Fast

Still can't believe I made the goal. I seriously drug my heels to the scale this morning.

I really hate the way the scale can dictate your day.
I'm working on it not being that way.

As Helen so wisely pointed out, an all or nothing attitude will sabotage you.

So it is with 'diets'.

It's a word I won't be using here. I won't tell you the 'diet' I'm following, but I will tell you what I'm incorporating into my life.

If you want me to.

I figure I'd spill the whole beans next Wednesday.

Promise me this.
You aren't going to 'start your diet' on January 1st.

You aren't going to 'start' on Monday.

You won't have 'your last supper' before you do 'start'.

Has that EVER worked?

Now, please, if you've left me a comment about 'starting' or 'dieting', please don't feel bad!

What I wanted to talk about today is 'why'.

Why do you want to lose weight/make life changes/etc?

As you've come to know me on the blog here (or if you do in real life) you will realize that I'm kinda a 'tell it all' kinda girl.

I'm going to share my 'Why' with you.

It's very personal, but here it goes:

It's now time to put in elusive words the feeling in my heart and spirit about my body transformation. Why do I want to do it? The reasons are many, some pure vanity, some you could say are almost 'spiritual' reasons. Many are based on the knowledge of being at a 'healthy' weight and eating good whole foods will prolong my days, and the life in those days. Some of the reasons are to make a few people jealous! There I said it. :-)

I want to wear my Banana Republic Green Corduroy Pants! When I look at those pants, that fit me so well a couple of short years ago, there are many emotional ties to those pants. I bought those pants in Branson MO. ME in a Banana Republic? It felt so good to be 'normal' and to shop and find clothes that fit. I have so many happy memories of those pants. I know I looked good in them! I loved how my stomach looked. I remember that trip to MO, when my aunt was so proud of my accomplishments, and beamed with pride for me. When my cousin Jim was able to pick me up and carry me around. I'd never been picked up by ANYONE since I was a child. That was a crazy good feeling! I felt light on the inside as well. Lightened from the burden of failure and shame and self loathing, old friends that have come to visit again in the last year. I have those pants hanging in the bedroom now, with that little orange shirt that I used to wear with it, that I swear would fit a preteen girl now. It seems so far away, so long ago in the past, yet I KNOW in less than a year, I could be wearing my Banana Republic Pants AGAIN. :-) That thought makes me smile. I associate being happy and carefree when I see those pants.

I want to lose weight so I can move around the garden again and not feel old and sore and stiff and achy. I want to dream of the gardens I can plant and tend, and not think 'oh, I just couldn't handle that'. I want my vegetable garden to brim with organic veggies, and all the while, there I am, in my tanned toned glory, beaming in the garden, working the soil, working my soul.

I want to lose weight so I don't see the looks on my friends faces, almost apologetic that I've gained the weight back 'again'. It seems like the same looks those friends give to other friends whose husband has left them, or some other 'unmentionable' tragedy has befallen them.

I want to lose weight so that I will see my beloved nephew grow to be the man that he is, and to bear children, and I want to see his children's children. I want to be there for him, and be a blessing to him and his children, not the sick 'old Marmie' that they need to take care of, because I was never able to tame the demons that plague me, my addictions to food, be they for emotional reasons, or purely because I'm a spoiled brat that wants her cake and to eat it to. LITERALLY!

I want to lose weight so that I feel that the outside that the world sees will reflect what I feel inside. Strong, beautiful, caring, compassionate, funny, intelligent. I don't want to 'hide' anymore behind this curtain of fat.

I want to lose weight so that my example will hopefully encourage my sisters to start a path towards a healthier and happier lifestyle.

I want to live. To the fullest. I want to be full and fat on life, and joy, and friendship, and all that life has to offer.

To think that my fork and my hand are keeping me from experiencing all the above, quite frankly angers me, saddens me, and puts a fire in my belly that right now seems that it won't ever be quenched, but history has proven that it is quenched, and at times often.

My goal now, to learn to keep that fire burning.

I do believe if you will think about 'your why', it will help you to make the daily choices you need to make. It helps me, most oftentimes. Sometimes I'm beyond help!

The pizza pictured above is one of my favorite lunches. It's not gourmet, or anything fancy, but it tastes good and it's good for you! I take a whole wheat pita bread and slice it half, so I have two whole rounds. Then I 'smear' (proper culinary term) some canned pizza sauce on that pita (my favorite brand is Pastorelli). I put on about 4 oz. of cooked chicken (I like sauteing it the least bit of olive oil you can manage, and adding some italian seasonings.) Then I top it with a half of a cup of fat free mozzarella plastic cheese. :-) Bake it until it resembles a pizza. This is also delicious when fresh tomatoes and basil are available from the garden. I sometimes load it up with veggies too.

This is getting to be an incredibly loooong post.....

Here's Aaron's review of 'Pioneer Woman's Marmalade Muffins'

I just loved how he had all the ingredients ready to go. My little chef.

So Aaron? Thumbs up or down? Did you like them? Would you make them again?
Ease of instructions?

"Thumbs up. I would make them again. I still can't get used to the directions (pictures) going up and down (vertically) instead of side to side (horizontally). The glaze was slightly grainy, but I'm not sure if it was my error or not."

Wednesday Weigh-In

It's a Christmas miracle! My weight stayed the same.....I surely thought with the holidays, the hormones....

Sorry I'm late posting this, I'm having some computer issues, and I had company this morning.

I'll be back later this morning with more on the Wed. weigh in, and Aaron's review of 'Marmalade Muffins' by the Pioneer Woman...

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Chicken Chat

How can I possibly thank you all for the wonderful comments yesterday!? I read them. Re-read them. Thought about them, and read them some more. You are all wonderful!

If you are still here today, reading this, after yesterdays hormonal roller coaster post, I thank you even more!

This morning when I went to the coop to let the girls out, Helen pulled me to the side.

As I was filling up the waterer, she said "Jayme, you've not been yourself lately, what's going on?"

Scarlett chimed in saying "You'd feel better if you'd do something with your hair".

Fifi offered me a cigarette.
That darn Fifi.
She'd better give up that nasty habit in the New Year.

"Ahh Helen, nothing, you wouldn't understand, it's human stuff", I said, trying to brush it off.

If there's anything I've learned about Helen, she's pretty tenacious when it comes to doling out advice, and I quickly realized she wasn't going to give up so easily.

"Human life isn't so different from life out here in the coop Jayme, it's all about survival and finding your place".

I looked down at that little bird and scooped her up. "Want some tea?"

She smiled.
You didn't think chickens could smile did you?

She opted for the green tea. I had a cup of Nutcracker Sweet.

"All right, spill it" she said, wasting no time getting to the heart of the matter.

"Well Helen, it's like this",
I started, going on and on, telling her how I was sick of consumerism, and 'stuff' and I just wanted to backpack out in the country, and live off the land and wash my clothes in a creek and stop all the noise in my head. I told her how I was sick of plastic and chemicals and waste and I wanted to live a simple, authentic life.

She sat silent for a few moments.

"See, I told you that you wouldn't understand Helen"

"Jayme, your all or nothing attitude is sabotaging you"


"You are too intense. You need to seriously relax. How long has it been since you've had any sugar?"

"Well, I ended up having a couple of Christmas cookies on Christmas Eve", I sheepishly admitted.

"How did that make you feel?" she queried.

"Horribly guilty" I said.

"Why?" she asked.

"Well, cause I said I was never eating sugar again. I failed. Again. Why do I always do what I don't want to do?"

"Jayme, do you realize you could have thought 'wow, this cookie is delicious' and been proud of the fact that you've drastically cut back on your sugar consumption and left it at that?"

"Well, I..."

"Do you realize that you could feel good about all the little choices that you make on a daily basis that promotes a simple, authentic life? Do you realize how much you do already? You are just setting yourself up to fail with your rigidity. If you aren't enjoying the journey, then, what's the point, my dear?"

I sat and just looked at that little chicken for a moment.

"Want a muffin?" I smiled.

"Are they sugar-free?" she cackled.

We spent the better part of the morning, talking and laughing and drinking tea.

I took her back out to the coop. I apologized for the cold and told her spring was right around the corner.

As I was shutting the coop door, she stuck her wing in to stop me,
"I just want to remind you again...."

"Relax already".

God I love that chicken.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

My Quest for a Simple Life - Part Two

photo from

It's come to my attention that my blogger account has been hacked! Apparently some crazy lady posted here yesterday about giving up plastic and Ziploc bags of all things!


Ok, I admit it. It was me. I'm feeling more confident about the plastic wrap, but the Ziploc? I use them, re-use them. Isn't that good enough?

I don't know.

I'm going to be all over the board here tonight, cause I'm PMSn' big time.
I feel a $50 card a comin' on Wednesday.
I just ate a small bowl of pretzels.
I didn't work out today.
I'm quite discombulated.
Aaron asked me if I will start making my own 'feminine products'.
Smart alec!

Right now my mind is on overload.
Should I become a vegetarian?
Should I just buy local meat?
Should I just go get a job and forget this whole thing?
It's not the time of the month for any type of decision!

I took down all the Christmas decorations.
Just inside.
I'm sorry.
I tried to keep them up.

I know I've got a lot on my mind when I start dreaming things like this:

About 20 people were here to commit mass suicide. They were going to drink some cough syrup looking liquid. They were all excited about it. I kept trying to talk them out of it, and when they wouldn't listen, I became very angry and began to say things like:
"Who's gonna clean up all these bodies?"
"Heck if it's gonna be me!"
"I'm calling the police!"

The other night, well, let me start by saying the other day...I found.....
'old lady skin'

In my cleavage.
It's only when I move a certain way, but it's there. Oh it's there.
I keep seeing tans, gold chains and acrylic fingernails smoking cigarettes.
I keep thinking about old ladies that live in Florida.

I'm convinced that it's from sleeping on my side. Since finding the aforementioned old lady skin, I've been trying to sleep, unsuccessfully, on my back.
I end up on my side, stuffing blankets between my breasts to keep them apart.

I dreamt that I invented a bra that you sleep in that keeps your breasts apart, with a soft lump. It was scented like lavender to help you sleep.
I called it:
The Bosom Buddy
I'm not kidding.
I was on QVC.

I got six books out of the library yesterday and read them all.
The Pleasure of Keeping Chickens, and some other fowl care book.
Martha Stewart's Cupcake Book (why do I insist on torturing myself?)
Two books on making rag rugs. I think it's akin to building a flux capacitor.
But this is the book that shined, that fed my soul:

Made from Scratch, Discovering the Pleasures of a Handmade Life
by Jenna Woginrich

What I wanted to say tonight was this: I need to quiet 'myself' as much as I need to quiet my 'life'. Perhaps a quiet life is BORN of a quiet soul. If that's the case, then I'm screwed.

I've already thought of flaws in my plans.

Buying nothing new?
I desperately wanted a new hoe. Not just any hoe..but the Amish hoe from Lehmans. Sigh.

I'm going to begin keeping bees this spring. I'll need bee keepin' stuff.

I really wanted to get Photoshop Elements.

I'll cross those bridges when I get there.

My plans of not leaving the house but once a week?

What about Garden Club meetings once a month? What about the fact that we have some six inches of snow out there and Aaron and I will want to cross country ski or go sledding tomorrow? What about the days I just want to go thrifting?

Am I being to rigid?

It's not going to be easy.

It's going to change everything.

I'm sticking with my plan though.

I'm seeing clearly that 'things' are 'time'.
How long does it take you to earn the money to buy that 'thing'?
Start looking at things in terms of hours instead of dollars.

I'm going to stop here for the night...I don't think I'll make much sense

Monday morning amendment: Well, I'm feeling much better this morning! Note to self: do not post anything when your a hot mess of hormones. I just wanted to add that I'm not doing this 'without plastic wrap' thing because of the's really because I want to be LESS of a consumer.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

My Quest for a Simple Life

Thank you all so much for your sweet comments yesterday. It meant a lot to me. My heart did feel bittersweet yesterday. We had a lovely Christmas, and I hope you did too.

You'll be relieved to know that all the Christmas decorations are in fact, intact.

They will remain that way for another week or so.
Maybe. I can't make any promises.

Now that the holidays are over, I can address what my heart has been mulling over for the last few months.

Do you remember when I was 'let go' (that sounds so much better than fired) a few months ago?

Three months and two weeks to be exact.

I do not want to return to gainful employment.

I feel that if I live a simple, frugal life, I won't have to.

A simple, frugal, self-sufficient life is my hearts desire.

I've been reading Thoreau's "Walden Pond"
and I'm fascinated.

The thought of living simply, quietly, and frugally strikes a chord deep in my heart.

I do not feel impoverished.

I feel extremely wealthy.

I feel a little scared.

It's new territory for me.

I've always been so busy.

These are the things I'm beginning today. They will seem random and crazy to you, but bear with me for a week or two, or year or two, and let's see if we can't figure this out.

I will only go to town once a week.
All of this running has to stop. I will take Aaron to the math tutor and on that day will do all my shopping and errands. When it looks like this outside, who wants to go out anyway? It's five miles to the closest store here.

View from Office Window

I will not buy plastic wrap or Ziploc bags anymore.
I have no idea if there is life without plastic wrap or Ziploc bags, but I aim to find out.
I'm afraid.

I will not buy anything new in the next year.
Yes, you read that right. Did you know that the first blog I ever read was 'No Impact Man'. I was so enthralled by it. I want to do it. If I can't find it through FreeCycle, GoodWill or Salvation Army, I shan't own it. For some reason, this doesn't scare me as much as the plastic wrap withdrawal. I do want to put the disclaimer here that I will be buying yarn and fabric, and I hope you won't hold that against me.

I'm anxious to know your thoughts on this. Could you do this? Do you do this? Am I crazy?

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Memories

Christmas 1965

This picture embodies all my Christmas memories.

Me and two of my sisters, Glenda and Cindy (I'm the one on the top)

More dolls than we knew what to do with.

Lots of baby supplies too. Cradles, buggies, bottles, etc.

How I grew up without having kids, I don't know. (Well, I do know...LONG post)

Santa always, always came to our house on Christmas Eve. I figured it was because our last name started with an "A", and we must have been first on his list.

We would be in the living room watching TV, there would be a knock at the door.

We'd answer it, and there would be a huge sack of presents.

Moments after the screaming subsided, mom would come in from the kitchen, out of breath, to see what the commotion was about.

She pulled that off until I was about 10. The same year I learned there was no Santa Claus, I also learned where babies came from, thanks to my older sister Glenda.

I walked around for months shocked, dismayed and disgusted.

I shared a bedroom with all three of my sisters. I learned a lot. Sometimes before my tender mind was ready to learn it.

Remember Viv, my mentally handicapped sister?

OH my goodness, we'd all be so mad at her on Christmas.

She would tell my mom and dad everything they were getting right before they would open it.

"It's a toaster!" She'd exclaim.

"It's Old Spice cologne!"

A fight then ensued.

My poor parents.

As I type this now it's snowing here.

It's just me and Glenco.

I've been reading Martha Stewart's Homekeeping book, drinking coffee and contemplating taking all the decorations down today. Time to get a move on...that's how I feel. I'm excited and ready to start a new year. So many plans, schemes and ideas. I want to seal grout and wash baseboards, organize recipes and plant production gardens. I can't wait to make rag rugs on the old rug loom Glen got me for Christmas, and clean the basement. I could go on and on, but I'll stop here, before you think I'm completely mad.

We'll go the to movies and out for Chinese with Cindy and Aaron soon.

I miss my family very much today. I wish I could give my dad that bottle of Old Spice that he got every stinking year, and seemed surprised to get.

I wish I could hand a gift to my mom and hear Viv exclaim "It's a new iron!" just one more time.

Wishing you a Christmas Day filled with hope, good memories, new memories, and exciting plans for a New Year (that may or may not involve cleaning basements).

If you are one of the lucky ones that got to 'go home' for Christmas, I do hope in my heart of hearts, you realize that alone is the greatest gift you'll get this year.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

'Twas the Night Before Christmas, and All Through the Coop....

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the coop,
not a chicken was stirring, except to go poop;

The stockings were hung by the roost box with care,
in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The chickens were nestled all snug in their beds,
while visions of mealyworms danced in their heads;

Glenco in his boxers, and I in my cap,
had just settled down for a long winters nap;

When out in the coop there rose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter;

Away to the window I flew like a flash,
tore open the shutters and threw up the sash;

The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow,
gave a luster of midday to objects below;

When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
but a stinkin' raccoon and a whole lotta fear;

With my double barreled shot gun so lively and quick,
I thought for a moment, "I'm gonna be sick";

More rapid than eagles to the coop I came,
whistling and shouting and calling them by name;

Now Helen, Now Fifi, Now Scarlett , now Stubs, now Scooter,
now Pittypat, now Puffington and Plums!

To the top of the coop to the top of the wall!
Now dash away, dash away, dash away all!

So up to the coop top and roost box they flew,
I stood there and pondered, 'Oh my, what to do';

And just as I put the gun to my eye,
I heard from that coon a soft little sigh;

"I've come to make peace and say that we're sorry,
since the attack this past summer, we've done nothing but worry";

"You see we've repented and make an oath to you,
to not harm your chickens...this we promise you."

I peered at the coon with my gun still half cocked, could this be true?
Oh my, what a shock;

When down from the roost box limped poor little Helen,
what she was up to ...there's just no tellin';

With her one good eye, she looked square at that coon,
and said "I forgive you, God bless you real soon";

In all my born days, I've seen nothing like this -
that dear little Helen gave the raccoon a sweet kiss;

Back to her roost pole she flew without haste,
and said 'True repentance is a sad thing to waste";

"Please tell all your readers this most important part -
Christ was born, so we all could have a fresh start";

For a moment we stood there in the soft glow of moonlight,
I marveled at Helen and said 'You're so right';

I bent over and patted the coons little head,
"Mr Coon" I said, without any dread;

"It's been quite a day, and a miraculous night,
coons visiting chickens without as much as one bite."

I heard him exclaim as he scampered out of sight,
"Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!"