Whose that crazy Chicken Lady?

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Thank you for stopping in! I am Christian married to Mr. Awesome, who is my Helpmeet and cheerleader. We are a blended family of 5 kiddos and 2 beautiful Grandbabies! I am Domestic Abuse survivor/DV Advocate, Lyme Disease Warrior, avid crafter, blogger, vlogging, budding Herbalist,Birth Junkie, growing our own food, lover of dusty treasures and all around goofball.

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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Pinterest

Facebook? What's that?
Stumbleupon? Who?

I have a confession I am totally addicted. I need a fix daily of pins! I adore pinterest with all of it's lovely pictures, blogs, crafts and ideas!

I manage to get lost on here for hours! I search for so many random things that I feel so energized and excited to try or do new things! Such as, a pin I found to continue to grow green onions or Mouthwatering Sunday buns, or for the information on vinegar. Oh,my! I'm all twitterpatted just thinking about logging back on!

My mind is a whirl of things I want to try, can't believe I didn't think of and day dreams of what could be.

Oh pinterest you wicked site! Stealing my time away with the lure of luscious goodies, fit women, fun crafts and far away places!

What's that? I hear someone calling me... It's pinterest awaiting for my return! SQUEAL! I have have farm porn (not what you think!) to look at and garden journal ideas to pin! I'm coming my sweet...

You can find me there! Melinda Campos See ya soon!

Friday, January 27, 2012

What are your dreams?

I had a lovely visit with a neighbor from our old neighborhood stop in to visit us yesterday. She brought us lunch, which could feed an army and left overs are plenty! YUM!

We got to talking about life and situations.

Which of course had me thinking about my own decisions. I shared with her a bit about my own life and how I couldn't see staying in a marriage where my love and joy was gone. I had been beaten down physically, emotionally and mentally. I couldn't remember a real happy time between us. Oh, there were moments of bliss but they became far and few between. When they happened I languished in the thought that maybe my husband had changed or that it was a turning point.

They were always short lived.

A few events occurred and the thought that "This was it? Lord there has to be more! There has to be some happiness for us (the kids and I)." I made a choice after much thought and talking with my family and a few friends. So I left... Still not the easiest decision I made, but it was the best one for me, for the kids and my sanity.

This is honestly the best time of my life (short of being at home with Mom and Dad).

I feel free!

I have traveled more then ever!

I can share my thoughts and dreams with my partner openly.

I laugh more now.

Oh, I could go on and on! I found an email from Na-Da Farm Life which reminded me of some sage advice I had gotten from a friend, Kristy Robinett (www.tangledwishes.com). She is a life coach as well as a great listener! As a Survivor of Domestic Abuse we related to one another quickly and she inspired me in more ways then one. You can find many youtube videos from her about Vision Boards and other cool videos.

Here is a snippet of the email from Na-Da Farm Life:
Dreams are essential to a happy life........

I'm not telling you to go and forget your obligations...believe me when I tell you that my first priority is my vocation as wife...then mother.

but that doesn't make me stop dreaming

who doesn't like that exhilarating feeling of a new idea!! or reading something and saying almost out loud "yes!! I want to do that!!!" 

being a dreamer doesn't mean you have your head in the clouds with  your rose colored glasses on...

No one can escape the hardships of life........no one

but why do you see some people succeed? and you don't??
why is it that you work so hard and then your efforts don't get noticed??? 

First of all know this......
every single thing you do effects others

If you have to lock yourself in your room with that bar of sea-salted chocolate and warm cup of milk at night so you can read your new Joel Salatin book to escape the stress of the day...you are effecting others

When you pick your elderly neighbors apples and share your making of homemade jelly and delicious pie...you are effecting others

As you sit here are read this and wonder what you can do to help others while pursuing your dreams...you are effecting others

Here's a start:
  1. Get a piece of paper (or print out what I have below)
  2. Write down one dream you have always wanted to do
  3. Look at what you wrote
  4. Study what you wrote
  5. Say what you wrote out loud
  6. Start telling other people your dream
  7. Stop any negativity that comes into your thoughts in doubt pursuing that dream
Every action you perform is working toward that dream.

The people who achieve their dreams do not talk negatively or sarcastic, and ruin everyone else's lives in the process...think of what your priorities are, make sure you are fulfilling those...but do not forget your dream.

I may not be an Environmental Scientist like I thought or am a Sierra Club guide in the mountains, but my dream of changing the world is happening....with every word....every thought....every action I do.

here's something for you to print out and use in your pursuit of your dream:

Instead of guiding others in the mountains, I guide at least six others daily to acheive their dreams too

and as far as my husband?? ..he still has dreams...big dreams actually

but together, we are helping persue one another's dreams

peace + blessings,

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Ramblings and late recipes

I posted a few weeks ago about my misadventures learning to cook from scratch and kind of blew off posting the recipes...


Sorry!

Fresh Tomato sauce

4 lbs of ripe fresh tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped or 1 small onion chopped
2 sprigs fresh sweet basil chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste

Cut tomatoes into small wedges and cook in stainless steel or enamel pan for 10 mins over medium fire until tomatoes are soft (I scored the bottoms to make the skin easier to come off). Cool and rub through a strainer. Brown garlic in hot oil until golden brown. And add tomato puree and seasonings. Cook uncovered until thick about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. Enough for 1 lb of pasta. Serves 6.

I had much left over! I think it came out a little too salty for my taste. I also like a sweeter sauce but the gang seemed to like it. I had dried basil and did add an onion for good measure. It went well as our pizza sauce as well! Pretty easy peasy. The hardest part was that I don't have a metal colander anymore. I have one of those fold-able plastic ones. And I did break out our smoothie maker, I don't have a blender, pitiful I know but it did the job!

A few days back I was puzzled at what to do with my spinach, cherry tomatoes, green peppers and pineapple and I found this on here: http://www.yummly.com/recipe/Stir_fry-Spinach-Salad-Allrecipes
I will definitely go back to this website!


Stir-Fry Spinach Salad
Ingredients         Serves 6 servings            
8 ozs pineapple chunks
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast halves (julienned)
2 tbsps cooking oil
1 green pepper (julienned)
3 tbsps brown sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch            
14 cup ketchup
3 tbsps soy sauce
6 cups spinach (torn fresh)
1 cup cherry tomato (halves)
Drain pineapple, reserving 3 tablespoons juice in a small bowl; set pineapple aside. (Discard remaining juice or save for another use.)
 In a skillet or wok, stir-fry chicken in oil for 5 minutes or until no longer pink. Add green pepper; stir-fry for 2-4 minutes or until crisp-tender.
Meanwhile, add brown sugar and cornstarch to pineapple juice; mix well. Stir in ketchup, vinegar and soy sauce until smooth; add to skillet and cook until thickened.
On a large serving platter, arrange spinach, pineapple and tomatoes. Top with chicken and green pepper; serve immediately.

IT WAS SUPER YUMMY! I wish I took a picture! Oh my goodness! The girls are picky and sadly didn't want to try it, but Terry and I made much it all gone... 

Then I was on the search for the recipe for those wonderful Biscoff cookies. I figure it may take me a bit to find a good recipe and sadly the first one I tried is not quite them. BUT! They are still good!
 http://www.cupcakeproject.com/2010/07/biscoff-cookies-from-scratch-recipe.html
 
The Biscoff Cookie Recipe
Here is my reprinted version of Matzo & Rice's Biscoff (speculoos) cookie recipe with a few notes.  The only change I made was to omit sprinkling sugar on top of the cookies.  I didn't think that was necessary.
  • 2 C all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 C unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1/4 C firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, mix together flour, spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, and cloves), baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a separate large bowl, cream together butter, sugar, and brown sugar with an electric mixer on low speed. Mix in the vanilla extract.
  4. Gradually blend the flour mixture into the butter mixture until it is well combined.
  5. Roll out dough to 1/4 inch thickness. From here, you can either bake it as a large sheet of cookies to cut later, or, you can use cookie cutters to make cookie shapes. (I used my awesome Williams-Sonoma cookie cutters!  I had a bit of trouble rolling the dough and found that if I chilled it for a bit, rolling was easier.)
  6. If you choose to bake it as a large sheet, bake for 20-25 minutes. Cut out cookies to shape as desired.
  7. If you choose to bake it as shapes, place dough shapes onto parchment paper and bake for 12-15 minutes.
  8. Cool on cooling rack before serving. These are best once they have cooled.

BISCOFF COOKIES OR LOTUS SPEDULOOS
(Belgian cookies)

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups (packed) dark brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg

Combine flour, spices, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl; set aside.

Using electric mixer, beat brown sugar and butter in large bowl until light.Add egg and beat until fluffy. Gradually add dry ingredients and beat just until combined. Divide dough in half. Flatten each half into rectangle. Wrap with plastic; chill 1 hour.

WHEN READY TO BAKE:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter 2 large baking sheets.

Remove one dough piece from the refrigerator and roll on lightly floured work surface to 13x9-inch rectangle. Trim edges to form 12x8-inch rectangle. Cut into 24 (4x1-inch) rectangles. Lightly press miniature cookie cutter into each rectangle to make imprints (do not cut through dough). Arrange cookies on prepared baking sheets, spacing 1 inch apart.

Bake until edges begin to darken, about 8 minutes. Transfer cookies to rack and cool. Repeat with remaining dough piece.

Gotta run have visitors!


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

BIG CHEESY GRIN!

 Mini man is growing up so FAST! At this time whenever the camera comes out there goes a huge cheesy grin! Where does the time go? He reminds me so much of Alex when she was his age.

Great news many of my seeds are now seedlings! HOORAY!  Now if I can get them passed this stage I think I will be good.
We have a rabbit hutch that Terry is fixing up, so we should have a rabbit joining our family soon. I found this really neat idea for placing your hutch over your compost pile for warmth and to add to the pile. I shared this with Terry and the next hutch he makes he will make it so this can be done. I have so overgrown my compost pile which in some ways is kind of sad. It reminds me of how much waste from my kitchen scraps and paper towels we use. And yes I am still dashing in the garbage can for a eggshell or banana peel because someone forgot to put it in the compost container.

The family has decided I have a problem and they are talking intervention. I told Terry I was looking at porn... Farm stuff that is. GIGGLE! I find chicken coops, garden plans, bee blogs, farm blogs and I catergorized them as porn. My addiction with blogs and now Pinterest is so crazy. I have well over 100 blogs I subscribe to... Actually the total is slightly higher then that... roughly about 700 blogs. I know I have a problem!

Perhaps it is not only for the need to educate myself about things but the need to find normalcy or read about someone elses drama filled life for a change. I find that if I read other Domestic Abuse blogs I sort of sink into a funk, due to the similarity to my own past. There are times when even my own blogs have just taken a back seat to everything lately.

I pray Spring comes soon! I feel I have so much to look forward to and I feel rewarded in my life right now. Even when I am blue I feel very happy to be where I am. So happy that I have found a spark of love I hadn't ever known imaginable. Oh we have our issues but nothing like what I had before. Thank you Lord for everything I am and all you provide for me!

I found this on pinterest today and it is a subtle reminder to let things go. God's got it!






Monday, January 9, 2012

To crochet or not to crochet...

that is the question!

In all seriousness something went terribly wrong with my "Blanket" (Afghan) of course I'm not working a pattern, heck I don't need no stinkin instructions! I just doodled through this with practicing various stitches, single, double, triple crochet. I was so gleeful! I felt so proud and thrilled to about my creation! My Mom and Middle Sister (Mandy) are so talented when it comes to crafting and Mandy with her talented knitting needles that I felt that I could tackle this, right?

I did take a few days off and did I mention in those few days when I was sick I forgot the stitches and so I made up what I thought was right? So I'm stitching and stitching tonight so proud that I am zooming through my rows so quickly. After the fourth time around I realize something is off. I hold up my creation and...



I find...



Now what?

Go on chuckle!

I know what I need to do, I just feel a bit sad in doing so. Of course there has been some adult joking between Terry and I what to use this for, and Jess thought it would make a great doily or sippy cozy. Back to the drawing board for me! I have been youtubing how to crochet and found some really great videos!

Bethinx1 has some really good easy to understand tutorials. I like that she goes slowly enough and talks about what she is stitching. In the meantime I was checking out Toothbrush rugs that my gal pal Peggy was telling me about. Then pinterest, oh my I can get lost on there! Check my boards out, Melinda Campos.

Well back to rolling up the yarn! SIGH!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Make food from scratch!

I want to greatly reduce the garbage output from the house. I have so much cardboard from the boxes from rice, mac n cheese or random snacks that it is frustrating. In my hopes of reducing this I decided to make more meals from scratch. My new found adventures in cooking has been interesting! The joke around here is if the smoke detector goes off dinner's done! I made up my very first batch of Spaghetti sauce with nothing but natural veggies! Well I didn't have garlic cloves so I used the jar of minced cloves. I felt like I cheated! I used the sauce as the base for Pizza nite and oh my was it YUMMERS! And a big hit! Of course the girls asked why it was orange and not red like normal, but I explained this is what the sauce is supposed to look like. I plan on making more of this one! I found the recipe in my Grandma's old Italian cooking cookbook.


Decided to try at least 2 new recipes a week, from dessert to main course. I had kicked around a monthly menu for us, which Terry bought Mastercook for me to incorporate my recipes that have been floating around in cookbooks or randomly on the fridge. Mini Man is in the "Can't hold me down or back stage" so chairs end up next to the counter or sink so he can reach anything and everything! So back to the Monthly Menu planning! I made out 9 1/2 days for January. I hit a brick wall! Terry suggested I make a list of things I already make to help nudge me along. I made a Excel spreadsheet of Main courses, Desserts, Appetizers and Sides, which I came up with over 30+ items! I was surprised, though I am not sure why this surprised me but it did! After that ephiany I told myself to work on it more, but I got distracted as usual (there goes my undiagnosed Adult ADD again. I still promise to ask the Dr. if this is try or maybe it's just my age.)

Yesterday out the blue I grabbed the calendar, pen and wrote out the menu. It goes like this:

Sunday- Roast something (chicken or beef or port)
Monday- Anything in from a Box
Tuesday- Something in a Bun
Wednesday- Prince Spaghetti nite! (OK maybe not Prince, showing my age for this advertised jingle in the 70's) This could also be Italian Nite.
Thursday- Mexican Nite
Friday- Pizza Nite ( Found this good pizza crust in my Pillsbury cookbook!)
Saturday- Anything goes from leftovers

Less aggravation for me and I can do fancy food recipes for lunch for Terry and I during the week! YEA! Alex is a picker eater so this will work for us. Nothing like having to argue about if the kids will eat what's comin from the kitchen! But she has been good about trying new things lately. OH! I made a Greek lasagna that was WONDERFUL! I should have let it set up longer after cooking but the next day it was so yummy! Much better then the first day!

We did have the Flu bug run through, seems as I am the last to get it. I've felt run down, sick to my stomach and achy over the past few days. I don't have time to get sick! Too many things to do! Terry snuck this picture of Mini Man and I napping yesterday! The Booger Face!

I couldn't sleep any longer yesterday afternoon, so I ended up painting the cabinets over and under the kitchen sink that I had put off doing. I also tackled my future "Butler's pantry cabinets". Today Jess helped me plant about 50 cups with veggie seeds to start us. I have a HUGE list of other herbs and veggies I would like to have.

I started composting! Oh my gosh I can not tell you how excited I am about that. I'm thinking I need to have more excitement in my life. (Not crazy STBX excitement) Just maybe a night out. LOL!
I also know that I have to hold my composure when someone throws out eggshells or the coffee grounds. You would think I had lost gold in the garbage can!

I trimmed Terry's hair the other night. I have a phobia about this only because of STBX. So cutting anyone's hair makes me break out in sweat and shake, seriously. I was so proud that I didn't do that this time, but in my haste I ended up trimming Terry's prized "Sideburns"! After I was done and looking pleased with myself that everything seemed equally and not too butchered I told him to go look in the mirror to check it out. He came back from looking with a big grin on his face and he said, I'm missing something... Remember my sideburns?!

UGH!

Luckily he is good natured about it. We have laughed, giggled and are still making jokes about that one! Anyway his hair and sideburns made it into my small compost can.

I found a Herb garden plan I adore and a veggie garden plan too! I can't wait for SPRING!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Organization!

Yes me! Actually!

Terry added more shelves to the pantry to accommodate the need for space for bath towels. I'm lovin it! So is Mini Man! I have found potatoes and random onions all over the house.

We have a new shelf downstairs for other needs besides food stuff. Such as camping, misc. kitchen and of course bulk items. I'm really digging stocking up. I sort of went nuts in Aldi a few days back. I spent more then the $20 I had initially set for us to spend. Well, it had been almost 2 months since I have done any decent shopping, lately I have been spending $25 here or $100. I really need to set a budget for us since we have limited funds for now. I am trying to dig inside my memory for ways to make money.

I do Craigslist, Etsy, eBay and have been thinking about everything under the sun for extra cash. Legal that is! Growing herbs, flowers, veggies, crafting with herbs and so on. Selling eggs, goats milk/cheese/soap, beekeeping for honey/pollen/wax. I really want to be able to stay home with Mini Man. I was hoping my Doula business would take off. I have had one lead and sadly I missed out due to the move and having no internet to find out about her interest. GRRFACE!

I have been still kicking around the idea of going to Libraries to do speaking or craft demo's as well. I have plenty of experience with that or even maybe something informational about childbirth.

OK, so I got to thinking what in this short time on this earth do I have had experience doing? Besides Secretarial, Receptionist, Super Mom with awesome cape and everything!

MOMS Club charter starter/President
Sunday school teacher
Craft seller and later demo at library
Avon
Christmas around the world
Cub/Girl scout leader
Master Gardener Program
Doula program
Antique/Vintage Dealer
Cleaned houses/businesses

As with all things there has been great success and failures. Or what seems as failures. I have found I am not good with MLM or Sales such as Avon. But I can sell my own things! We have been discussing have a Barn sale in the Spring, perhaps it will not only lead to $$ but also to leads on antiques or items that are needed to be taken off someone's hands. It's a thought! I did enjoy cleaning out houses (taking items soon to be discarded).

Since I do have the Medical Assisting and Doula (Birth Assistant) recently under my belt to my ever growing list I am really hoping to find perhaps a Caregiver situation where I can bring Mini Man with me. But of course if the farm takes off then I will be super busy with that! Oh, thank God that I have so many choices and thank God for providing all I need at this time.



 In the meantime I will keep leaving all in God's hands. Enough rambling I sound very whiny today.



Wednesday, January 4, 2012

GREAT NEWS!


 If you have been following my other blog you know of the hopeless feeling I was having due to not having a divorce atty. Well! I got one!




YIPEE! He is a volunteer atty! I'm so relieved and hope this well help speed things along.












AND

We have 2 new additions to our home! PUPPIES! 2 adorable puppies! Lab/Australian Shepard, 3 months old outdoor dogs. We are pretty excited and hyped up! Can you tell from the exclamation points?










I am in the process of teaching myself how to crochet. I showed Jess my progress on my first future afghan and she was not as excited as I was. She made a face and said "Really good Mom." She didn't pat my head but I was feeling it coming. The girl towers over me now. I feel as though I am shrinking. I'm 5'5 and she is 5'7. Alex is on her way too, she's 5'6. SIGH! At least I will be taller then the baby for now. BIG SMILE!

I have a garden plan and a handful of seeds to start! I am very excited for Spring as well as chickens, maybe a goat and possibly bee's this year. Oh, Spring come soon! I hope to pick brains of anyone that knows a bit about these.

Things are coming along inside the farm house. I found my doily's and lace tablecloths. Hope to start staging rooms soon. Pictures of improvements soon!