My New Flooring

A couple weeks ago, while in my living room,  I looked down at my ugly carpet…..and I decided I couldn’t stand my carpet any longer.   

Before I go any further with this post, I feel  I need to explain why I chose that ugly, green-checked carpet.   I visited a good friend  many years ago when I was thinking about getting new carpet.   She is an excellent interior decorator.   She had a beautiful print  Berber carpet in her house.   The print on her carpet coordinated with her décor perfectly.   Anyway, when I left her house…print  Berber carpet was what I wanted.    Right after the visit to my friends house, I chose this carpet because of it’s earth-tone colors.    I was certain I made the right choice.    We spent around $2000 to have this carpet put in every room except the kitchen, dining room, and mud room.     I was happy with my carpet choice….until the carpet guys starting putting in my house.   I hated it from day one.    And that was many  years ago. 

Ok, back to present day…

I asked my oldest son if he would be willing to  install the new flooring since his Dad is too busy for this type of project right now.   He graciously said yes.   He’s awesome like that.  

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I didn’t think about getting a look-how-ugly-this-carpet-is-picture before he got started.    But, if you look at where Clay is in the room, you can still see the carpet’s atrocious ugliness. 

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This carpet has been down since my kids were  young.   There was stuff under that carpet pad that would make you shudder in fear.   How do LEGOs get under a carpet pad?   Anyway….nasty carpet gone.  

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My new laminate wood flooring!!!!!    Love.    Smile

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With my new rug purchased from Garden Ridge.   I got it at 50% off!!!!  

 

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Oh yeah…I forgot this picture.   It shows the ugly of that carpet.   This picture was taken on a Sunday.   My hubby pulled up carpet in our bedroom on his only day off.   Of course this was after he moved all the furniture. 

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See the sack and trash bag?   Let me tell you….I can stuff every nook and cranny in my house full of JUNK.   I didn’t realize how much stuff I had acquired until I needed to move it.   I have since hauled about 10 lawn bags full of stuff out of this house.    And I’m not talking about little trash bags like the one in the picture.   I’m talking about the bags that a six-foot-tall man can stand up in.    Gee whiz…I’ve got to do a better job  keeping stuff cleared away.    Smile

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Clay is installing the flooring in my bedroom.     (I think I used a filter when I took this picture.  The color looks distorted)

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Here’s a view of the hall. 

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We decided to go with a vinyl flooring in the kitchen, dining room, pantry,  and mud room.    The above picture is my pantry after Clay pulled out the carpet.  

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Same pantry with new organization and flooring!!!!!    One bin has soups, one has canned tomatoes, and the other is canned beans.      Getting the floors done has caused me to re-organize.    My floors are new, but my house  is more pleasant to be in because it’s clean, organized, and free of clutter.

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This is my mud room with the old flooring.   We had a ridge in the floor that had to be repaired.   After we repaired and leveled the ridge, we put the vinyl tile on top of the old flooring.  

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Same room with new floor. 

In a couple weeks, we are painting and remodeling my kitchen.   This color of this flooring doesn’t match my white cabinets at all.   

If you can’t keep a secret…don’t read any further in this post.    I don’t want the next part  to get back to my husband.   Ok? 

I mean it, this is top secret.  

I’m getting new stainless steel appliances.   Hehehehehe.. 

Actually…I already mentioned the new appliances to my Hubby.   He didn’t exactly jump for joy…but he didn’t say no either.   Smile

I can’t decide if I should stay with an electric stove or go back to gas.   If I had a gas range, I could cook with cast iron.   I can’t decide. 

There will be an updated kitchen post coming in the near future.   Smile

Whatcha think of my new flooring????

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Family Update

I’ve neglected my blog lately for various reasons, but the main reason has been personal and business taxes.   I’m happy to report that my taxes are done.    Now… don’t read over that too quickly.   Did you catch what I said?  My taxes are done!!!    As I typed that sentence I felt like doing a butt-naked happy dance.    Now don’t worry, I’m not dancing naked, but I’m sporting a silly grin much like a third-grader on picture day. 

I’ve got some things I want to share.  I will list them in random order.   Ok?

*In about a week, we are putting new flooring throughout our house.  We are going with laminate wood floors.   We have some minor issues with our foundation, so we are going with laminate because it is a “floating” floor.   That means the flooring sits on a thin padding.   The padding helps camouflage the imperfections with our foundation.    Clay has volunteered to do most of the work.  Michael is simply too busy to help.     Clay likes doing home remodel projects, so I will let him do it.    We plan to tackle one room at a time.   We will move the furniture out of the room we are working on and move it back in when the floor is down.   I’m pumped about new flooring.   It’s going to be a lot of work, but I don’t care.     I will post before and after pictures here on the ol’ blog page.

*My boys just had their 23rd and 18th birthdays.   They are like adults or something.     The silly grin is gone as I think about how fast the last 23 years has passed.    While I’m only in my early 40s, I can see how fast 20 years flies by.   It’s sort of depressing.   They are good boys, and I’m excited to see what the next 20 something years will bring them.  

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*I’ve been reading every opportunity I get.   I do most of my reading while waiting at soccer practice.    I’ve decided that Lynn Austin is my new favorite author.   Let me tell you, its quite an accomplishment for Lynn Austin to kick Francine Rivers off my pedestal,  but she did it.    I recently finished the book titled “All Things New” by Austin.  Now I’m reading another book by her called “Hidden Places”.   It will be one of my top five favorite books ever.     If you know me at all, you know how much I like books, so this is big news.  Smile

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*My daughter is playing soccer.   Soccer seems to have consumed what was left of my life after taxes and sleeping, but don’t let my tone fool you, I’m loving every minute of it.   I will never, ever, never like soccer as much as softball, but I’m starting to enjoy it.  It’s an exciting sport.     She plays Goalie and Defender on both of her teams.  She’s doing an amazing job at both positions and improving every day. 

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*Cristin is also playing spring softball.   You might be thinking that playing for 2 soccer teams and 1 softball team sounds like a big commitment.   Well I’m thinking the same thing.   I will give you a few hints as to my reasons for the multiple commitments. 

1.  A few months ago, during a stressful time,  I realized that Cristin had too much time on her hands.   That’s all I have to say about that.   :-/

2.  Cristin is a social creature and she thrives in the team sports setting.  So, for now, we will live on crock pot food and I will read books in parking lots.   And that’s ok.     I know how fast times flies and I also know this crazy time in my life won’t last forever. 

3.  The reason for softball in addition to soccer…is because her and I both love it.    She started pitching practice yesterday.  YAHOO for softball!!!!!!

*And…I have HUGE news!!!   We found out yesterday that Chance was selected for the Remember the Removal bike ride.   This is the same trip that Clay went on two years ago.   One of my post about Clay’s journey came be found here.    We are so excited that Chance will get to have an experience equally awesome to Clay’s.    We go for our first rider’s meeting Saturday morning. 

I think that covers the highlights.   Below is a short video I took of Cristin playing Goalie on her indoor soccer team.   She made two saves during this short video. 

And that’s all for now…

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Soccer Mom

A few years back there seemed to be a brand applied to any woman driving a mini-van with a load of kids and sports gear in the back.      She was termed a “soccer mom”.     Any time I hear the words “soccer mom”, I envision a woman on the sidelines at a soccer game screaming with a belligerent  tone.   She is usually the one screaming at the refs and embarrassing anyone in their  vicinity. 

For the next  few months, guess what I will be….a “soccer mom”.   Except,  I don’t scream at  refs.   I might make faces at them, but I don’t scream.      I only use a “tone” when someone on the field deserves it.    That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.    Smile

Cristin is currently playing on two soccer teams.   One is an indoor Rec league.     “Rec” means recreation.  It’s  fun soccer.   The other is a competition league with a homeschool team in Tulsa.  They do  serious soccer.   No messing around on this team.   Cristin is LOVING the homeschool team and learning a lot at the practices. 

Between January 25th and the middle of April, Cristin will play  30  to 40 soccer games.   This doesn’t count tournaments.  

Because the homeschool team is competitive, they practice a lot.    Four nights a week in Tulsa to be exact.   

I do a lot of driving and waiting.     Driving and waiting.    I don’t mind really, I get to read and take pictures while I wait. 

But you know what ….this is not about me. 

This is about Cristin and her love of team sports.   The  camaraderie  with girls her age is equally fun for her.      

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She really likes her coach.   She is in the black shorts and red socks in the above picture.   She’s second from left. 

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Now she’s in pink shorts and black socks.  

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They do a lot of conditioning.   ‘Conditioning’ is a fancy word for running their butt off. 

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These pictures aren’t great.   I’m quite a distance away.    I had my zoom lens stretched all the way out to get these pictures. 

 

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There is a flock of Canadian geese that makes their home on the soccer fields.   They fly away while the girls practice.  

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This is the first of many soccer post that I will be doing.   The first indoor game is set for this Saturday.   However, it may be cancelled because some of the girls are committed to an event at school.  

If she plays Saturday, I will post pictures.

That’s all for now,

The Soccer Mom

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Mayday

Most people think the term “Mayday” originated from ships on the ocean who were in distress.   I believe this to be false.  

I think the term began when new small business owners realized what was involved in doing their first year of taxes. 

Let me tell you thing or two…

We are running a small machine shop  in northeastern Oklahoma…not a business on Wall Street. 

We are not on the Forbes 500 list. 

We are not involved in any way with the Mob.    

We are not a multi-million dollar business. 

We don’t have criminal backgrounds.

We are not laundering money here.   We don’t even have a washer and dryer.   Smile

So why is the IRS  concerned with our phone bills, bank statements, dental records, and blood types. 

Until today, I felt like I was doing a pretty good job with my record keeping. 

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The CPA I just met with convinced me (unintentionally) that I don’t know the first thing about record keeping.   I’ve been keeping about 15 different kinds of record when I should’ve been keeping 50. 

He gave a me a journal.     Filling this thing out is not what scares me.    It’s the emails I should’ve printed and didn’t.    It’s the combined bank deposits I made that should have been separated.    It’s the credit card payments I made without getting receipts.     I’m overwhelmed by all of the backtracking I have to do.  

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Notice one book is for Income and one is for Payments.   Yeah….there’s actually two books. 

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“Mayday” doesn’t even begin to describe the tax related melt-down I’m having right now. 

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If you would like a job sorting through all of the records that I DIDN’T keep but should have AND if you want fill out these fun little books……you can have this spot.     I need to mention that this job doesn’t pay anything.    Let me know if this is a problem.     Smile

Happy Tax Time!!

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Christmas Highlights

After a month of anticipation, Christmas is now behind us.   While I’m glad it’s over, I feel a bit sad.  

I’m going to show you some of my highlights of the day. 

 

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It’s tradition for Grandma to come Christmas morning and watch my kids open their gifts.   This past May, Grandma had her gall bladder removed.   I didn’t realize how many problems her gall bladder caused until AFTER it was removed.   Here she is looking pretty in pink and feeling good at 85 years old.     I know these traditional Christmas mornings won’t last forever, so I’m happy she was able to come.    Grandma being at my house on Christmas morning was a highlight for me.

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My kids are THE highlight and being able to give them gifts is a bonus.      Grandma even got a few things.   Smile

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Naptime was Punkin’s highlight of the morning. 

 

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Cristin likes her new bed set. 

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At two o’clock other “highlights” showed up.    And we ate food.   We alternate every Christmas between having a meal or finger foods.   This year we combined the two.   We had turkey, ham, little smokies, rolls, potato puffs, enchilada lasagna, tortilla roll-ups,  chips, dill dip,  and cheese and crackers.     (Note: I didn’t eat the ham or little smokies)

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This little guy is a major highlight in my life.   I’m very fond of him.   His personality is larger than life.  

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Danielle is our family friend.   I completely adore her.   She is a highlight.  

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Clay is giving his Grandpa a technology lesson.

Below are pictures of our Dirty Santa gift exchange.   This exchange is becoming a tradition.   I guess we’ve been doing this for 7-8 years now.    We have lots of laughs.    

The laughs and smiles are a highlight for me.

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I got a new Brother-in-law-handmade-pen at the exchange.   This is number 6 for me.    My mother-in-law saw Morgan’s pens, and she is having him make 3. 

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And this is the desserts my sister brought.   Holy cow!    I don’t know what the dessert on the left is called, but it taste even better than it looks in the picture.    The dessert on the right was heavenly as well.   I think it’s called Marshmallow Cheesecake. 

The day ended with a crazy card game of…dare I say it…BullShit.    I wasn’t keeping score or anything, but I considered myself the champion of last night’s game.   Poor Danielle never understood that she needed to get rid of cards instead of collect them.   Smile   It must be really hard to have me as an opponent in the game.  Smile

When I went to bed last night, I felt tired, but also a true sense of blessing.   I have a the most wonderful family, a warm house and comfortable bed,  health for all my family, and all needs are provided for.

And then I thought about my truest most blessed Gift.   

Luke 2:11 says this:

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. 

Praise God…for He loves us. 

That is all.   I hope you had a Merry Christmas wherever you are. 

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Ice Storm

I left my toasty warm house this afternoon to get a few pictures of the beautiful ice sculptures left by Mother Nature.  Most of the ice should melt tomorrow, so I didn’t want to miss my opportunity.     It didn’t take very long for me to do my business and get back home.   It’s frigid out there. 

As I walked through the nature conservation, the trees were loud with their creaking and groaning, but even with all the noise, the woods were very peaceful.    It felt good to breathe some fresh air.  

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The evergreens were especially pretty covered in ice.  

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The bird feeders at the conservation were the place to be today.   Unfortunately,  the birds there are WILD and they didn’t like my presence around their feeders.    Bright red Cardinals were flitting all around, but these two little guys were the best I could do.  

 

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This is a common sight right now.   Trees everywhere are breaking under the strain of the added weight.   We have friends who are STILL without power because of fallen trees on power lines.  

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Deer Processing

This is an anticipated time of the year because we get to re-stock our freezer with fresh deer meat.     This is our first year to make our own breakfast sausage.    I feel a little frustrated that we haven’t made sausage before because it is so good.   

Anyway, I thought I would show you the steps we go through to process a deer.   

 

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Of course, the first step is the deer harvest.   Chance lives for archery season.    He’s my little hunter.  

Chance will quarter this deer and the sections will be packed in an extra large ice chest for a day or two so the meat can cool down and bleed out a bit.     We leave the ice chest drain plug open so any melted ice can drain.     We learned this ice-packing method from my sister and brother-in-law.    It works like a charm.  

 

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After the deer stays in the ice chest for a day or two, the next step is to de-bone each piece.  

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Michael usually helps Chance with the de-boning process, but he’s been so busy at our shop that Chance had to work solo this time.  

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The de-boned meat is refrigerated in these large stainless steel pans so it can cool down again.   We usually grind the meat the next day. 

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I purchased this meat grinder at a garage sale.   I paid a 1/3 of the price of a new one.    The grinder is an indispensable deer processing tool. 

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I purchase these freezer bags for the ground meat.   I like these bags because the meat thaws quickly when I’m ready to use it or it can be defrosted in the microwave.  

 

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When we make sausage, we run it through the grinder two times.    As the meat comes through, I sprinkle  on the  sausage seasoning periodically to help disperse the seasoning.     We add a small amount of beef fat to the mix because deer is so lean.   Sausage needs a little fat so it will brown when you cook it. 

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I purchased this seasoning packet from our local butcher shop.   I got the beef fat from the same butcher.  

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When we are ready to grind the sausage a second time, we add this attachment to the grinder.   This attachment makes it easy to fill the freezer bags.  

 

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As Michael runs the meat through, I hold the bag over the spout.   As the sausage comes out, it fills the bag.   I don’t even get it on my hands. 

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Here’s another picture of our grinder.

 

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One bag of fresh breakfast sausage stuffed and ready for the freezer.  

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After we finished, we had roughly 70 pounds of sausage.  

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And this is the finished product.    When you buy breakfast sausage, it has so many preservatives added to help it stay fresh on the shelf.   If you’re accustomed to the flavor of the preservatives, you don’t taste them.   When you taste this sausage that is free of preservatives and additives, you can certainly taste the lack of preservatives.    All you taste if the freshly ground meat and the spices.   It’s hard to explain the taste difference. 

Here’s another thought for you…a few people that we know are paying $90.00 per deer to have them professionally processed.     Once you have a grinder, you can process your own deer.   Just get your own system  for handling the fresh meat and processing yourself becomes quick and easy.

I hope this post was useful to anyone who is thinking of processing you own deer.    If you do decide to process yourself…make sausage.  You won’t be sorry. 

And that’s all folks…. Smile

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