Shabby blogs

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


When McGyver got back from the ranch last week, our car was looking mighty odd.....the horses are staying at the ranch all winter this year and becuase of the snow, Brad couldn't get the car to an area where the horses couldn't get to it. When Brad arrived at the ranch, the car was a filthy brown from all of the snow, sludge and salt on the roads through the pass. Well, the horses not only cribbed the front hood (but we won't talk about that) but they also LICKED the entire car. You can't really tell by the photos - you can see parts of the car (I took these a few days after it had been driven around and sludged off) that look like there are weird brownish smudges all over. The entire car - really - entire car - bumpers, rear view mirrors, windows; were thoroughly licked by the horses. We figure it is from the salt they put on the roads ( I'm thinking they need some salt and minerals out there maybe?). I couldn't even see out the rear window to drive. I would love to have seen that taking place and loved even more to get a photo - or video!!! MONTANA CAR WASH!! HA! America's Funniest Videos here we come.

Family Photos 2010....our favorites

This year's photos were taken in front of a great, old barn on some friends', John (Doc) and Marylane Heine's, property. Doc Heine (pronounced Hiney) was an OB/GYN in the valley for 30-something years....true story. We went with the Rickels and Millers to take photos, so our photos all look strikingly similar. Well, you know, except that all of the people are different of course.
We are all laughing, because my hubby had just turned around and acted like he was going to moon everyone.....thank heavens he did not!!!

Josiah - 14

Elisha - 13

Isaiah - newly turned 12
Elias - turned 10 on October 31st

Micah - 7, but will be 8 in a mere 2 months....shocking.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

the Quest for the Tree

Our good friends, the Meulis, have a very large cattle ranch here in the valley. We went to their ranch to get our Christmas tree this year. On the way, Brad announced to us all "Let's get this straight. We are not looking for the perfect tree today - I am not going to carry this chain saw around in the wilderness for hours. We are going to find a mediocre tree - it is a Charlie Brown Christmas tree for us, everybody got it? " Now that we had that straight, we headed out with the Meuli's truck (ranch truck with chains which is the only way we were getting out to where we needed to go). The kids were all in the back of the truck (brrrrrrr!) and my former race car driver husband was having the time of his life sliding all over the place and trying to keep it between the trees while I, imagining smashing into trees and kids flying all over tarnation, rode white knuckled and wide eyed up to Skaggs lake - the official Christmas Tree grounds. The snow was at least 2 feet deep, but we only had to trudge around for about 30 minutes to find the tree. It was cold crisp and beautiful out. It is such fun cutting down your own tree - I really do love it. HOWEVER, I would be even happier if we cut down a tree, for the "cutting your own tree" experience, and then ditched it in the bushes to go home and plug in a pre-lit fake. Not very politically correct or environmentally friendly of me, huh? But way easier than stringing all those lights. Ugh.

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Scale

Elisha just ran in super excited because she stepped on the scale and she is FINALLY a whole 99 pounds! WOO HOO!! Hm. That's not generally the response I have when I step on the scale. ahem.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Raw Honey

We have added raw honey to our product line - not just any raw honey, but the best honey we have ever tasted. I would never have dreamed of licking the honey spoon in the past - ugh. But, things have changed. Until we moved here, we'd never tasted anything like it. Everyone who tries it agrees. Not only is it delicious, but there are many health benefits to raw honey. It contains a complex assortment of enzymes, organic acids, trace minerals, proteins, carbohydrates, and antimicrobial compounds, vitamin C, vitamin A, beta carotene, the complete complex of B vitamins, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin K, magnesium, sulfur, chlorine, potassium, iodine, sodium, copper, manganese, high concentrations of hydrogen peroxide, and formic acid (to name a few!). Honey contains more than 75 different compounds! Many of the remaining substances in honey are so complex (4-7 percent of the honey) that they have yet to be identified.

Because of the high sugar content, honey absorbs moisture in wounds, making it hard for bacteria to survive. Honey can contain large amounts of hydrogen peroxide which is regularly used to disinfect cuts and scrapes. In laboratory tests, raw honey applied to seven types of bacteria killed all seven.

About a year ago, Josiah (a.k.a. Adventure Boy), was riding his bike with a wrench in his pocket (who knows – don’t ask!). He crashed and got a cut where the wrench broke through his pants. A few days after the crash, he came to me and told me that his cut was hurting. I found a red, inflamed, angry looking wound. I immediately covered it in goldenseal and bandaged it up. It felt and looked much better the next day, but one evening a few days later (I should have been more attentive to it), it was back to its painful, swollen status, except this time, the redness was growing and there were small bumps further down the leg; tell-tale signs of a developing staph infection. First, I freaked out, then I slathered the cut with raw honey and bandaged it up. By the next morning it looked totally different: the redness was gone, it was no longer swollen, and the bumps had disappeared. It had begun healing and we didn’t have to attend to it again. I have also taken raw honey in a bit of warm water for food poisoning with dramatic results. Raw honey is amazing. And it is nice when it tastes unbelievable on your biscuits too! ;)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Hello Chia

Goodbye flax seeds, hello chia. Remember chia pets? Those crazy porcelain animals that grew "hair" in just a few days? That is all I knew about chia seeds until reading about them recently, so I was thrilled to receive some chia seed to try from More Than Alive. I had previously taken flax seeds for fiber, Omega 3 fatty acids and the detoxification benefits. Unfortunately, in order to get the benefits out of flax you have to eat them freshly ground, so I did not take them as often as I should have - lazy me. I was thrilled to read that with chia seeds you do not have to grind them to receive their benefits. Not only do they contain a great amount of fiber, but they also contain both Omega 3 & Omega 6 fatty acids at a 3 to 4 ratio and provide great detoxification properties. Here are some other great benefits of chia seeds: high in protein, high in calcium and boron (which helps your body absorb calcium), help detox your body from intestinal yuck, high in vitamins E, C, and B, and regulate your blood sugar. AND they are so easy to take. You can add them to all sorts of foods you already eat including salads, cereals, smoothies and soups. Just last night, I was halfway through making cornbread before I realized that I was out of eggs. I had read that chia seeds and water will substitue as an egg when baking. I tried it and it worked great. It seemed a little flakier than usual, but the cornbread tasted great. Chia seeds actually taste good by themselves - they have that oily crunchy taste that flax seeds do. Just be prepared to spend the next fifteen minutes picking htem out of your teeth if you chew them up. I just take 1-2 teaspoons and wash them down with water. What an easy and healthy addition to your daily routine. For more information about chia seeds, check out the More Than Alive website.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

No More Laundry

There is at least one good thing about being without a washer and dryer for two weeks.....I don't have to do laundry. It's nice having all that extra time every day and not digging my way out from under Mt. Laundry. of course, there is that issue of running out of undies and kitchen towels and all......but I am trying to think on the positive side. Until MY underwear run out.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Relocated Californian

I had an interesting experience today. Maybe it was because I was alone shopping at Costco without my 5 kids distracting me or maybe I would have noticed anyway. As I was walking out, I saw a guy walking in wearing an Encinitas Surf Shop hoodie. I had to suppress the urge to jump up and down and run over saying "Hey, we're from San Diego!!"; overcrowded San Diego with it's really clean cars (no kidding), beautiful hip people who look like movie stars, busy freeways, and lots of craziness - all things that I am glad we got away from. I realized at that moment, that although I am glad that I don't live there, I am happy to be FROM San Diego. It seems odd that it was somehow important that I was from that place that his shirt was advertising. It wasn't that there was anything interesting about him, in fact, it had nothing to do with him at all - I have no idea what he even looked like. Maybe it is because we spent so many years there or that all of my kids were born there or that I'm still on auto pilot when I drive out there or that we love visiting or that there are many people we love there. Or maybe I just had too much coffee yesterday. At any rate, I am truly glad that I am a relocated Californian living now - and forever (God willing) in Montana.

Monday, August 30, 2010

2 moms, 9 kids, 342 pounds of apples and 120 quarts of apple sauce

And an all day into-the-night experience. When I told my kids "just keep picking" until all the 5 gallon buckets, laundry baskets, boxes and bags in the Expedition were full, I proved just how truly terrible my spacial reasoning /eye balling measurement skills are. I was just hoping that I had enough to make the applesauce experience worthwhile like it was last year - how could I be expected to remember what the 215 pounds of apples we had last year looked like? Well, I can tell you that it couldn't have looked anything like that pile of apples I hauled in, because we had 342 pounds....hello!! We pulled in the Rickel's driveway at 10 am and left at 2am; 120 quarts of applesauce later.

The kids pared apples for 8 hours!!

NO wonder they look psychopathic here.

At 6pm, when it looked like this, I knew it was trouble - we had two ovens and 2 roasters baking apples so that we could run them through the mill; 2 large pots of cooking applesauce on the stove; 2 cannisters of canned applesauce processing (with 7 quarts in each); and all those apples UNcooked on the counter - still needing to be cooked in the roasters/oven. It was bad - very bad. About that time, I started apologizing for my over-zealous, apple picking episode.

The really crazy thing is - I don't even like applesauce, in fact, it grosses me out. BUT 4 people in my family do LOVE it and that makes up for it, I guess. And that's just the kind of self-sacrificing mother that I am. It had nothing to do with the fact that I am just a little bit social and spending all day with some of my favorite people sounded like a party to me, and I can't stand to miss a party - no, it had nothing to do with that - it was all a sacrificial, giving kind of thing on my part.
I don't think anyone will let me pick the apples next year (or any year after) without some very strict guidelines and supervision.

Friday, August 13, 2010

socialization and patience - the two biggies

This post appeared on Pioneer Woman this week from a contributor. I love her explanation of the questions that all we homeschoolers get asked on a regular basis - I think that her answers are the best I have heard. The one that really gets me is the patience one. I am certain that when my kids are supposed to be doing math and I enter the room and they are ALL doing anything BUT math and my head spins around and sub-human noises spew from my mouth, that no one in the world would confuse that with patience. We are not born with it, nor do any of us just have it - well, Jessica Mallery I think might and Rebekah Tolopilo, but the rest of us got stuck with a little more of that sin nature than they did. I do believe that, although tough days make us wonder, that we learn patience through homeschooling - we just don't have any other choice. Anyone considering homeschooling their children should not determine they ought to do so based on their level of is a much larger decision than that. As the above blogger so wisely mentions, it is a family conviction put into action - don't let the reason you don't homeschool be your lack of patience. And forgive that previous double negative, grammar no-no!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Hobo Point

Our friends, the Meulis, have a great 40 acres on the shore of Lake Mary Ronan - a perfect, lovely place where there are not many boats and almost NO people around. They affectionately call it Hobo Point. Every year (well, this was the second, but it has been tagged a yearly event now) we all get together (the Millers, Meulis, Rickels, Sibelruds and Dunhams) and camp for three days on the water. We waterski, tube, swim, canoe, float, eat, play airsoft, and get really dirty. We decided to start taking a group photo each year so that we can see everyone growing up as the summers go by - but maybe next year we ought to do it at the beginning instead at the height of our grubby-ness.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Grinnell Glacier

It was our hope to hike once a week this summer, but that hasn't been the case. We did, however, hike to Grinnell Glacier. BEAUTIFUL 10.4 miles. There's nothing like Glacier National Park....gotta love it.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Hiker Boy

Hiker boy after a three day backpacking trip in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. You should have seen his hair up close. He wore a bandana for three days - wet hair, dry hair - and slept in the woods with no shelter. His hair stood on end when the bandana came off. Even with high winds, cold weather, and a little rain, they had a great time. This mom prayed a lot in those three days - the wind we had at the ranch had me thinking that trees were blwoing down all over them, that he got swept away in the river and that he was suffering from hypothermia - silly mom. Nothing scary happened - except the hair. And all the dirt.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Bridge Jumping

Here in Montana, you do crazy things and they are bridge jumping. Well, I am not actually certain that it IS legal, but I am fairly hopeful.....considering our pastor was with us - it wouldn't look good for the pastor to go to jail for such things, eh? Josiah left church the other Sunday with a couple of older young men to go bridge jumping. I thought they were going to jump the Bigfork Bridge (which I jumped myself appx. 18 years ago - yikes. About 40 feet into super cold, fast moving water - not the smartest thing I'd ever done. BUT, I did wear a life jacket), but they ended up jumping the Swan - about 15 feet max (I'd say 10 more likely). They returned to a friends' house where we were having a party. Then, we all went back together so they could do it again on the way home. Had it not been 9:30pm and cold I probably would have jumped myself! We laughed hard at them all freezing their patooties off - the water here isn't even warm in August in the daytime.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Burke Resort

I wasn't looking forward to our San Diego trip this June. Our dear friends, the Curles had just moved and we just knew things wouldn't be the same. I don't know why I was so grumpy about it all. We love San Diego and have great friends there, and without those greedy Curles around vying for our time, maybe we'd get to see other friends too! ;) Our trip ended up being amazing in so many ways. First, the weather fully co-operated. It was PERFECT; 72 - 76 and sunny every single day - no typical June gloom for us. AND, we stayed with our friends, The Burkes, at what we fondly call The Burke Resort. Can you see why??

The kids had to decide every day whether they should swim before breakfast or after breakfast or maybe after lunch or after we got home from the beach or wherever we were going that afternoon. Or maybe after dinner.....or maybe all of the above. Poor, sad, deprived children.

The Burkes are amazingly hospitable and just plain great folks. Brad is the expert architect that built that place. Honey Burke, among her many talents, is that of incredible cook. She makes those "fabulous homemade pies" they advertise at the Park Cafe here in Montana taste like pre-packaged Hostess items. Honey and I have been friends for years (the year before Josiah started Kindergarten). The Burke kids are older than ours so, although we were in the same homeschool group, we didn't end up in the same circle of activities. I used to weasel my way in to hang out at the resort every once in a while. That was the pre-pool era when they had lots of dirt, animals, a stocked pond for swimming and an outside shower (They still have all of the above except for the dirt. It was just as much fun then.). I loved every minute of being at their house.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

On the Road to San Diego

On the road to San Diego again to deliver bison. We always stop at this place near Beaver, Utah, and take a photo. This trip we had more time than usual. Our trailer had a bum tire - two actually - and we had to have them replaced. Glad we noticed when we did instead of later after a crash with packages of frozen bison strewn about the roadway.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

We Love Lucy

I am doing some work here at my computer and my kids are totally howling in the background.....they have discovered I Love Lucy. Right now they are watching the episode in which Ethel and Lucy take a job, in order to earn $500 each, doing a publicity stunt for a new movie "Girls From Mars"....hilarious. I had forgotten how funny these shows really are. Lucille Ball rivals Dick Van Dyke in the physical comedy arena. She and Vivian Vance are so fabulous together - they just don't make them like they used to.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Morning Commute

This morning, Elisha and I had to drive to Valier to pick up the animal we had processed for individual cuts for this San Diego delivery. I guess if you have to drive 3 1/2 hours out and then back to where you started from in one day, it isn't a bad commute.

You Know you Live in Montana When.....

There's been so much rain that the butcher can't get his truck into the pasture where the animals are and so your harvest date has to be postponed a week; which means that your animals have to hang later than you thought I am pretty sure these are things they don't deal with in Los Angeles.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Ranch in Spring

Spring has arrived at the ranch. Things are greening up and we finally have a bit of sun. It has been a wet spring following a very not-wet winter. We were out on the east side checking things out before leaving for our San Diego delivery. Beautiful day.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


That's a good name for it. Micah is fiesty....totally. She is also really funny - sometimes because she is a kid and other times because she has a great sense of humor. She has cracked us up this week because of her fiestiness. First, we were in the car the other day and Isaiah was saying that he wanted to be either a writer, an engineer, or a chef (well-rounded individual with high expectations - nice.). Micah yells out "I'm going to be a sky diver". Hm. Nice occupation. Today, Brad and I were bantering about the fact that he only gets his birthday dinner once (I reminded him that I did make it twice last year) a year on his birthday. It is tuna noodle casserole - anyone need to know WHY he only gets it once a year?? Didn't think so. I responded, that I haven't had MY favorite dinner, lobster and artichokes, in over 15 years . Well, I HAVE had the artichoke part a number of times (not so much since leaving CA), but not the lobster part. Micah calls out, "I'd try the artichoke, but I don't know about the hamster". Brad pipes up and says, "Yeah, Micah, I wouldn't eat the hamster either". Then Elias walks through the kitchen and says, "I don't think I'd like the hamster OR the lobster". So, there you go. Hamster anyone?? I also got a story today about something that happened this weekend in Plains. The kids were playing in the barn loft (see photos in last post where Josiah is using a rope to climb up to a window!). They were capturing each other and tying each other up. They got Micah once, but they couldn't get her again. At one point, Josiah was trying to grab her; she kicked him in the shin (not so very lady-like!) and took off running through the loft with Josiah hot on her trail. As she was running, she pushed the doors open and LEAPED out the window and kept on running!!! The kids couldn't believe it - no big deal for a sky-diver-to-be, I guess! Crazy girl. Another thing....Micah LOVES Switchfoot - she has very specific musical tastes. She thinks Josh Groban sounds like a goat along with Mac Powell. She cannot stand Michael Buble' - how can one NOT like Michael Buble'....she makes groaning, dying noises when he comes on. Today she came waltzing in talking about the Switchfoot podcast she had just finished watching on the iPod - "...the one where John almost threw up when they gave him that gross egg/bird thing (balut) to eat onstage at a concert in Asia somewhere". She loves that one....she watches their podcasts all the time. I want to know why she isn't watching something like Veggie Tales. She is a little odd for a 7 year old.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Spring in Plains

This past weekend, we went to see our friends, the Olsens, at their river house in Plains. We have not seen them for an entire year - shame on us. Well, Brad spent 35 days in Minot, North Dakota working with Shawn, but our families have not been together a full year.

We met their new little addition, River, who is a 7 month old cutie pie.

The weather wasn't great, but it was good enough to get in one short hike and for the kids to play outside between rain showers. We always have such fun in Plains, or anytime we see the Olsens. It has been way too long between visits this past year. Wish we lived closer.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Are you Swagbuck-ing yet?

Search & Win
If not, you should be - you can earn free stuff by doing nothing more than you already do on the internet each day. It took me a while to sign up for Swagbucks, mostly becuase I just didn't understand what it was or how it worked. I didn't see how I could just search on the internet and earn prizes by doing it. But that is exactly what you do. You can take a super quick tour to see what Swagbucks is all about. Just go to the Swagbucks website and click Take a Tour on the top right hand side of the page. After you create your free account, then download the Swagbucks toolbar (on the home page, go to the toolbars menu) and every time you go to the internet, do it through the Swagbucks search engine (instead of Google or whatever you use). By doing that, you can earn Swagbucks which you can then redeem for all sorts of prizes and gift cards. It really is that simple. So far, I have earned enough points for $35 of Amazon gift cards. So, what are you waiting for??? I LOVE SWAGBUCKS!!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Crock Pot Bison with Mushrooms

Here is a something I tried last week that was a great hit.
Thickly slice a large pack of fresh mushrooms (about 1/2- 3/4 a large carton from Costco) and put them in the bottom of the crock pot.
Cover them with two packs (appx. 2 pounds) of round steak.
Make a roux (2T fat, 2T flour, 1c liquid - I doubled this and used bison broth as the liquid) and poured it over the meat/mushrooms. You can use cream of mushroom soup if you want, but making your own roux is really easy and so much healthier.
Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 2-3 hours or until the meat is falling apart and tender. It makes a delicious gravy. I served the meat, mushrooms, and gravy over brown rice. YUM!!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The New Him

Ta-Da!!! What a cute kid - odd....but cute! ;)

Friday, February 26, 2010

Say "Goodbye hair"

Today is the day - the long hair is going bye bye - give it a wave!!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Micah - the baby - turns 7!!

Oh, how did it happen?? Our little Micah turned 7 on Wednesday. Micah is a pistol and is always up for fun - she cracks us up. It isn't because she is little and says funny little kid stuff....Micah is witty and sarcastic and just plain funny.....and crazy.....and sarcastic (at 6! -yikes) She is also a big snuggler - she always wants to be sitting on a lap or smashed right up against someone. Micah is smart as a whip and is doing really well in school. She is also a girl that knows what she wants. Many times I have walked into a room to find her standing on a chair, hands on hips, bossing around her older brothers and sisters. They aren't the only one she tries to boss - "I am the mother, and you are not" is one of my most repeated lines.
Micah loves: reading, being read to, PINK, outfits that match, gum, listening to Jungle Jam and Friends, Remedy Drive, Switchfoot, her dolls, back scratches, and snacks.
She does NOT like: Isaiah scaring her, being alone, oatmeal (she'd rather die!), Michael Buble', Josh Groban (she says he sounds like a goat), Bono, and waking up in the morning.

She has been talking about her birthday for weeks and asking me each day how many more days she had to wait. On her special day we had homemade cinnamon rolls for breakfast (she did NOT hate getting up on this morning), went bowling during the day and then had bison burgers for dinner (per her request). She had a great day and loves being 7 already (well, actually, I think she sees it as a necessary stepping stool for becoming 20!) We love our little Bubby Girl and look forward to seeing what God has in store for her life. She is a blessing to us.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Spring in Winter

Look like what you'd expect winter in Montana to look like? Not to me either. Our winter was mild and pathetic. BUT, semi green grass in February is nice!!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Homemade Yogurt

We own a share in a friend's cow and so we pick up raw milk each week. Sometimes we get surplus milk (extra that won't last long) and if we aren't going to finish it all before it goes bad, I make things with it; buttermilk, kefir. Last week, Paige gave me some packaged powder starter and I used the recipe on the back and the package. I made 1/2 gallon and it turned out great - nice and thick just like store bought. This week, I decided to try it again using a Sue Greggs' recipe and 4 T from last week's yogurt batch as my starter. It turned out just as thick as the batch with the commercial starter. Woo-hoo! It was so easy winter, you can just set the 1/2 gallon jar next to the wood stove to culture overnight - perfect. Not sure what I'll do in summer.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Good Friends

We had the great privilege of getting together with some dear friends of mine recently. Terry and Nancy Clark were here in Whitefish at Potter's Field Ranch where Terry was teaching for the week. The Clarks and I got to be great friends traveling around the country together years ago (pre- marriage!) for a Horizon Christian Fellowship radio rally. We had all sorts of adventures - our plane we were traveling in broke down, we were stuck in a snow storm in Buffalo, NY, we played a lot of Hearts, and laughed a ton. It has been years since we have been together, and it was a precious treat for me to hang out with them and let my kids get to know Terry and Nancy too. In all these years, they haven't changed at all - neither of them have aged!!! Terry has a very dry, witty sense of humor - one of those people that can say things and keep a completely straight face so that less descerning individuals (ahem) aren't sure if he is kidding or not. Terry's amazing voice and incredible piano playing make worshipping with him something you long for. Nancy and Terry's voices blend together so beautifully. Nancy is one of the most gracious women I have met. She truly cares about people and has the gift of making everyone feel special and loved. She has never met a stranger. I love the Clarks - they befriended me at a time when I needed a surrogate mom and dad nearby. Aren't dear friends a blessing??