Sunday, August 28, 2011

Today.... is just one of those days...

Today, was one of those days. I missed my garden, the trailer, Nanny El and Aunt Van,coupon shopping at Harris Teeter (lol), working on building the next project, flat land, our South Ga friends... yep, today was one of those days...

While we were staying at "McCall Plantation" this summer, I realized I really want a small farm. I don't mean I want a house and a "pretend" farm around it. I want a farmhouse, and land, and a bigger garden, that needs a tractor to plow it, and a cow(just one, though!) and chickens, and a pig, sheep.... So, I talked to Mr. Decision Maker, Lander, and he agreed that it wasn't a bad idea at all. There is a little more to the idea than just this, but hey, why give away the whole farm??!! (as the saying goes!)

I was thinkin of the day that we headed back north. The car was P.A.C.K.E.D. so much, that Myles and Diesel couldn't look across and see eachother-and they were only a foot and a half apart! I had everything I could fit into the car, some how crammed and poked and prodded into every available space possible. I really didn't want to leave. It felt so much like home. Like more so in ways than Ellijay has in a long time. (Ellijay is not the same as it used to be.) It was quiet, friendly, small, and INconvienent in such a good way. There is not even a McDonald's in the whole county. Just Dairy Queen and 2 small restaurants (closed on Sundays!) We even started going to a church we loved and hated to leave!!! And besides, Myles, Nanny El, and Ms. Pam had started the ritual of watching America's Got Talent, so much that I started watching too, and Hee-Haw was getting the shaft. Nanny El kept us up to speed on what days and what times it came on.. through the TV Guide.......But she has Directv. We all immediately agreed the pole-dancing man was only a temporary, and the glow in the dark costumes would have to win it in the end (that was amazing!)

A new favorite of Myles and Diesel was thier love of  Band-Aids Yes. Band-Aids. There was nothing that didn't need a Band-Aid. You have a bump? Band-Aid. A boo-boo, scratch, or blister?  Band-Aid. Torn paper, chip off the refrigerator, or just dirty?  Band-Aid it!!! (or as Diesel says, Man-Dade!) It really was a cure all. And besides, Nanny El says, "A dollar a box? Why, that's cheap entertainment!"

And don't forget, Diesel constantly volunteered Nanny El and Aunt Van to ride him around the yard in any of thier vehicles! Myles caught on to the secret fun of this, and jumped in to hitch a ride; around the yard!
Two weeks before we left, I built the boys a playhouse. It was great! I will add on to it next summer........
I think of all we did this summer, and I miss looking forward to it when none of it had even happened yet, When we hadn't been yet. I have learned so much. Realized so much, appreciate so much. And need so much less of the unecessary. I cannot wait till we pack up to stay for next summer at the "McCall Plantation". I cannot wait till I am counting down the days to go back for those hot summer days, ice cream making evenings, and planting my garden (which I can do at the end of January because of the warmth that never really fades). The other day,when we called Nanny El and Aunt Van, they reminded the boys that they can't wait to watch them run in circles around the coffee table, and spin in circles until dizziness brings them down!
What a way to spend our summer.

Today was one of those days... thinking about  the best summer of my whole life.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I hear.....Ice Cream a churnin'...

We started off the evening with a low-country boil, Lander style. Hands down, best one ever. Not too spicy, and SO. MUCH. FOOD. If anyone knows Lander, then you know when we have a get together or a party that he shops for, it would be a shock if we ran out of food. And "hole caw" was it so good! Lander can cook! Then, the suprise birthday cake was served, that Nanny El made and Lil Lander decorated for Myles, Diesel and my little brother Kristopher, who had came down to stay for a week. It was delicious, just as it was pretty! It looked like a motorcycle track, complete with 3 motorcycles :) Then, we decided to make some good ole' homemade ice cream..

This is that old hand crank ice cream maker from when Lander was a child.
(the one he says, and I quote,"wore my arm slap out")

The other ice cream churn from when Lander was young, the electric upgrade!

Now, let me say, this was the best ice cream. Nanny El took out a cookbook she said was from 1960 I believe, and modified the recipe to her own likeness, and it was fabulous. This ended up being one of the most memorable times I've had.

Myles cranking right along!

Myles holding the churn, and my brother Kristopher taking his turn!

Sweet lil Diesel. Now look at this photo.... in the background is Lander. If you look back and forth from one to the other, it's like seeing the past, present, past, present.... They look so much alike.

Diesel's turn!

Lil Lander putting the spin on it.. while I add the ice! All the while, the electric one (after a small shove at the beginning!) is just rolling right along... freezing and a' spinnin!

ohhh, and the work was worth it..

cause it was juuuusssttttt. right, yummmmmm. Myles ate one cone of ice cream and one cup of ice cream, too!

Nanny El's special recipe Vanilla Homemade Ice Cream

Good to the very last bite.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A Few Coupon Shopping Tips...

Some Basic Info...

1. Buy Saturday and Sunday papers that come out  from larger cities, like the AJC.

2. In those newspapers, there are weekly ad sale papers. For example, CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens, etc. have weekly sale papers that contain the items they have on sale for that week. If there is a store that you didn't get a sale paper for, be sure to check their website for sale items. (I do this for Family Dollar and Dollar General if there isn't a sale paper, and other stores).

3.Southern Savers, RedPlum, and ShopatHome are some GREAT websites to visit for printable coupons, and couponing information. (websites for these are listed below)  (create account and download toolbar to print!)

4. If you have a favorite item, then visit the website. Chances are you may find a coupon for that item there. If not, then contact the maker by phone or email to request coupons for it.

5.Look up the couponing/store policies on the websites of the stores you shop at, and get familiar with them. Print them and have them on hand in case you may need them..Not all cashiers are willing to help you.

Combine that Information with these simple steps for some efficient coupon shopping...

1. You can combine a manufacture's coupon with a store coupon for one item. You can multiply this combination if you plan on buying more than 1 of that item (up to the limit, if there is a limit, that is usually found on the coupon).

2. Most places will NOT combine 2 manufacture's coupons on 1 item, or 2 store coupons on 1 item.

3. Remember those sale papers? And checking store websites? Find where the items you want are on sale, and pair that with your coupons, and you can save even more money.

4. two words: PRICE MATCH. This is a secret in coupon shopping at Wal-Mart. They will price match. And it doesn't have to appear in an ad to be price matched. As quoted to me, "take a photo(on your phone is ok!) of the item, and its price. The item has to be identical size and brand to be price matched, and Wal-Mart will price match it" Yes, EVEN the Dollar Tree!!!!

6.Some stores will double coupons (up to certain face values, specified by each store. Some stores, like Harris Teeter periodically does Super Double Coupons, and in their program they will double any coupon up to $1.98 face value!). Publix and Kroger also doubles coupons(check their policies for doubling information). There are other places that do, too.

7. Some stores will accept competitor store coupons. (Kroger does, but check their policies for information and amounts).

8.If a store is running a "Buy One, Get One Free" special, you can: Example- if the buy1 at $2.99/get 1 free is on Lysol disinfectant spray, and I have two coupons for $1 off Lysol disinfectant spray, I can use TWO coupons, because there are TWO products, and end up paying 99CENTS for the two Lysols!!!!!AWESOME deal!

9. Also, check stores "coupon stacking" policies.  Example- If a store has Bleach on sale for $1.99, and I have a buy one/get one free coupon for that item, AND two $.50 coupons, I could get TWO Bleaches for $1.00. Again, Check Store Policies!

Store Reward Programs...
OKAY. This part is where so many get confused, but I am going to do my best to simplify it!

~~Rite Aid- "+up rewards".You buy something that says it will give back $XX amount in +up rewards to use on the next purchase. How it can work- If there is a razor on sale for $9.00 and you have a coupon for $4.00 off, you pay $5.00 AND you get $3.00+up rewards (printed on your receipt) to go towards your next purchase.  This is where the store ad may say, "it's like getting it for $2.00!" Personally, I think that's a form of false advertising. But you can combine those rewards or not, and deduct a substantial amount from your next purchase total.

~~Walgreens- "RegisterRewards". Works like +up rewards.

~~CVS- "Extra Care Bucks" rewards program.
Earn 2% back with every purchase in-store and online at CVS/pharmacy. Earn 1 Extra Buck for every 2 prescriptions purchased in-store and online at CVS/pharmacy.Every 3 months your Extra Bucks will print on your store register receipt, or visit CVS/pharmacy online to print your Extra Bucks. Spend your Extra Bucks at any CVS/pharmacy location or online the next time you shop.

NO rewards at any of these stores can be used to purchase prescription pharmacy medicines.
Most of the products we all use have coupons. Just visit the product/manufacturer's website.

Thanks to my sister in law, Aunt Van and Ms. Pam for teaching me all these couponing tips :) 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

July 4th.. South Ga edition

We grilled, ate watermelon, played football, basketball, rode the go-cart, rode the go-cart through the mud puddle made using the water hose.. and then we loaded up in Uncle Danny's truck and took off with our feet hanging down from the open tailgate where we were sitting... down a dirt road..
to the river...


and profilin...

MY sweetheart

Dean and his sweet, sweet gal Leasa

Lander and his sweet, sweet gal.. Me!

yours truly!

Daddy, Mommy, Deisel, Myles and Lil Lander 
all of the above plus my brother

Danny and his clan Alli,CJ, and Daniel

and we gave thanks for our Freedom.. God bless America! Hope you had a Happy 4th!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

What Summer Brings..

Summer Brings...
toes in flops
water in the pool
a break too short,
before we go back to school

long hot days,
warm summer eves
bugs in the air
green on the leaves.

secretly growing up,
my baby now a boy
this is hard on my heart
but still brings my heart joy.

making memories and new friends,
visiting new places to and fro
 traveling and taking road trips
so we can
go where Daddy goes.

I cannot figure out why time
 has to pass so fast
I will close my eyes
And pretend ... it will always last.
~s. mccall

I look at this little picture of my lil baby Diesel (who is nicknamed my little Miney because I told him one day he was my little "mighty, tiny" baby. He looked at me and said, "Miney?" He was crossing mighty and tiny and came up with Miney. I loved it and call him that in so many ways...Diesel "Miney", D-"miney" and my favorite, "Sugar Miney"!.. Anyway, he is growing up at an insanely fast pace and I feel like I have just had a conversation with a scholar the past few nights. He is not even 2 years old yet, and can talk like a brainiac. All of a sudden he counts to 10. And repeats EV-ER-EE-thing.. in his own way.
doggy= gawggy
Daddys Rhino=buggy
ring around the rosie= woe-see
orange= onn-denge
croutons= shruthons
coupons= hee-honns
grits= wittssth
helmet= hemm-ett
what I call Lander when I am joking, Pappy=  happy
what the kids call my Dad, Pop= hopp
computer= pooter
spiderman= spize-ann
batman= batpan
anything that doesn't work is dead
you get "kee-iw'd"(killed) if you run in front of a car or this can happen in water, of any size in any place.

The list goes on and on. Then I remember , Myles used to be like that. He's getting older and yes it is hard for me. Sometimes, Myles still has words he says are sooo cute. Like fifth=thrifth, forget and regret= forgret, south carolina= core-foline-uh. and so on... They are so precious. So sweet and innocent. Such little monsters  that argue  I sometimes question if my sanity is street legal. They are my little guys. My sweet bambinos, and I am so proud of them. They both KNOW God lives in heaven. Myles knows that, and I quote,  "Jesus died on the cross so we can be saved so we dont go live with the devil in hell. You WILL burn there forever. Jesus is God's son." And thats just a small part.. When I asked Diesel the other night (while we are watching a cable Christian channel show about Jesus's resurrection, that I explained in the best 2 year old detail I could)  "where did Jesus go after he died on the cross?" (again, this is basic 2 year old conversation) I thought he kept saying, "wha happen?!" I finally got he was saying, "to hebben!" -to heaven! What a reward, as a parent, to know that with all the mistakes I make, and boy I make them, my boys know something that is REAL. That will not change. And that is a start to the best thing they will ever know!

"For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him: Therefore also I have lent him to the LORD; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the LORD. And he worshipped the LORD there."   ~1 Samuel 1:27-28 (KJV)

"Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck."
(Proverbs 1:8-9)

And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.
(Mark 10:13-16)


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Goings On...

I haven't been able to check in, in a while because there have been a lot of, "Goings On"... For me to say what all we have been doing would take me until daylight tomorrow. But I can sum it up with one statement. We are having a lot of fun.

The first week after we were in South Ga, we made a trip to Nanny El's favorite produce place, The Red Barn in Manor, Ga. When we arrived, me and the kids headed out to the strawberry patch. This was more like a strawberry heaven.. row after row of red, ripe berries mixed with those that were yet to turn color and some just blooming.
Myles, Diesel, Lil Lander and Little Sarah (Lil Lander's sister on his mom's side) had a funtime picking 13 POUNDS of fresh strawberries. Which were later made into homemade Strawberry Jelly by yours truly. After staining our hands red with pickin', we headed inside the air conditioned barn to meet up with Nanny El, Aunt Van, Ms. Pam and Ms. Mary who journeyed with us, and chose to soak up the AC instead. Myles and Diesel must have been really thirsty, well these photos say it all...

I made a half gallon of sweet tea (because I do make the best. It's true- ask anyone.) and packed up some jars and this is what happened to the last of  it between two McCall brothers..

Then we were on to picking corn. I think we came home with around 100 ears, or a "bushel and a half" that cost $12. And I made creamed corn to die for out of it. In the words of my Diesel who tried to imitate my Myles, "HOLE CAW!" which is holy cow! It was delicious! And boy did we ever eat it like it was the last there was ever going to be..

So we fared away with A LOT of fruits and veggies from this garden.. But you may be wondering, How about the garden I planted... Well it is doing great. Either I am picking it, or it is blooming. I have had radishes, squash, okra(ok, just one piece of okra, but thats because it has only started coming in!!!!) banana peppers, and my watermelons, that stared in Ellijay in those Jiffy pots, are almost 2 pounds. HOLE CAW! Not to mention the corn, grean beans, egg plant, bell peppers, canteloupe.... its only a matter of time...
The Trailerhood as we call it, is finished for the most part! I have really never been so proud of something like this before. Just amazing every time I walk through the place.. I will think, "I like that color of paint!" and answer myself, "Oh, I chose that!" "I like how that looks- wait I built that!" "Love those curtains in the kitchen, how old fashioned! HEY, I made those!!!!" I am constantly reminded of the talent God has given me, and that am blessed to use it. And how much I enjoy what all I have been doing. Relying more on us than the store is wonderful. Even though thats just in the babysteps phase, I can tell a difference. And our checkbook hasnt seen many trips to walmart. Like 3 in the past almost 2 months...And we dont really have TV in the trailer. Myles brought his playstation 2, which he hasn't been allowed to play in a month for unnamed reasons, but has played 3-4 movies in that same time frame. If we want to watch the tube, we go across the yard to Nanny El's and usually she is watching The Grand Ole Opry reruns or Hee-Haw.

I have picked up on a lot of sayings while we've been down here..
One of my favorites, maybe my very favorite is when talking of someone who has passed away.."SoandSo was sick.. and come well, Tuesday morning it was over..." "Ooooh, he/she has done and checked on outta here."
Myles and Diesel have enjoyed playing thier newest game,"Jailcopper." For some reason, Myles is always the cop...hmmmmmm. And the other day while waiting on Daddy to finish up the last touches on the go kart, Myles convinced Lil Lander to ride him around the yard. ON THE LAWNMOWER. I have never laughed like I did at those 2 riding around the yard on the Cub Cadet, mowing deck up, at full speed. And full dust storm. And dont foget, we have 3 kids. So while 2 are blazing around the yard on the riding lawnmower, Ohhhhhhhhh yes. Diesel will not be left out. He convinced Aunt Van to ride him around the yard. IN HER CAR!!!!!!!! HOLE CAW! I cannot figure out how he has learned to talk so good, much yet how did he get her to ride him around with the radio up, in her car. IN THE YARD???!!! That took the cake. Thats really what he wanted. And then while Myles and Lil lander are riding the go kart this past weekend, Diesel looked to the bigger picture, again. Nanny El rode him around the yard in her car. Thats really what he wanted, and she even gave him the choice of her car or truck!!!! This is what its all about... sitting in the swing, with Daddy Bear, watching Myles and Lil Lander on the go kart, riding through mud puddles just made using the water hose(who says you have to wait on rain to make a puddle???) and Diesel riding shotgun in Nanny El's car pushing, pressing, and turning every electronic device in it he can reach. All in the fenced in yard..

after picking strawberries

eating corn right after he picked it

Look Momma! He picked it himself.

Monday, May 2, 2011

A New Summer Home, and then some...

Several weeks ago, after about the fifth trip down to South Ga only two months into 2011, my husband Lander and I decided we would spend our summer a little differently...
On the way home after that trip, I had been thinking about how much fun our family had been having going to see Nanny El, Aunt Van (Lander's mom and sister) and Ms. Pam (who is the couponing queen!!) and our chosen family "Uncle" Danny, CJ, Alli, and Daniel (I say this because Danny is Lander's best friend and one of his business parteners, but people swear they have to be brothers!) and all the Herrin extended family, and other family and friends and so on and so forth!!
And I tell you this, there is no place like home for me. NONE. I have left, I have been away and came back. Ellijay is my earthly home. But I realized something on that trip home... I want to build an old fashioned style large farmhouse when we build a house. I already collect and savage all things antique. I have a vast collection of my favorite: mason jars. I enjoy all things old fashioned. Sewing clothes. Home-made this. Hand made that... I have an "old soul". I have an "old soul". That's what it is. That is why, when I mentioned my idea to my sweetheart, I knew again, he is my "old soul-mate" :)

That night,I tell Lander I asked his mother about the empty trailer that is on the same property as the house she lives in (that Poppa Tiny built like 40 something years ago), could we do some fixing up on it and stay in it the whole summer, and whenever else we can come down, which I hope and Lander assures me, will be o-f-t-e-n. I want a kitchen with wooden countertops, and no cabinet doors but curtains, and shelves, and a garden full of everything we, and his mom and sister like... and about a million other details we discussed that night... He wanted to "make homemade ice cream with all 3 of my boys like I did when I was a young 'un. With the hand crank maker that wears your arm slap out.." I wanted 2 things: to live simple, and off our land for the summer. Also, I want my boys to really get to know Nanny El and Aunt Van.

So we asked Nanny El, and got the go ahead. And I started packing and gathering. And thrift store searching for this. And that. And this. And some of this .... all on a small budget we set just to see what little we could spend on SO MUCH we got... and WOW at the stuff we had that we took that was in our basement not being used, like it had been there the whole time waiting to be called on a mission..
It was something like this for 2 weeks before we left...
"LANDER! we can take these chairs and use them at that 8 foot long table I am going to build! All 5 are already painted!"
"LANDER!! Mom says I can have the bunkbeds we had when I was a kid and take those too!! I can paint those when we get there! BECAUSE, I have 14,824 cans of leftover paint (really like 10!) that I can use!"
"LANNNDERRRR!!!! Oh my goodness, I had to wake you up to tell you that all 5 trays and 30 POTS with over 350 jiffy pots I spent 10 hours planting seeds that day, are SPROUTING!!!!!"

So, the past few weeks we have had THE BEST time preparing for this. And the WHOLE MONTH of April was spent working in that South Ga trailer that now suits not only my vision, but coincidentally what Nanny El had a page ripped out of Country Living magazine, for her vision for that place long before this came about. Lander and I convoyed out of Ellijay, with his truck, my suv, one closed in travel trailer, and one open trailer ALL fully packed with everything YOU CAN THINK OF. From tools and saws for the renovation, enough clothes for a community, to a steam cleaned thrift store sofa, the Rhino and Myles' little Rhino, to 350 sprouting plants!!!! I must add here that (my mom)Nanny Jo's heart went with us! She reminded us everyday we were gone how much she missed and loves us!

The trailer is done. I do have to say, Lander did NOT partake in any of the renovation process (he works!!) Nothing but 3 Home Depot trips, 1 full week and 3 solid weekends of taking care of Myles and Diesel while I was M.I.A. (I was working in the trailer!) calling us for dinner and steady rounds of complementing and seeing the progress I, along with those who did help me during thier spring breaks, were making. CJ and Alli and lil Sarah, all I can say is thank you from the bottom of my heart. CJ, that was "The house that built US" :) Lil Lander and Daniel, thank you guys for all you were able to do, and the demolition of the prior kitchen and bathroom interiors. And thank you Nanny El and Aunt Van for helping with Myles and Diesel. Lander and I finished our garden(thank you Randy and Deanne for bringing the tractor to till for it!), and blooms were peeking here and there before we had to leave out for Ellijay for a 3 week "get some stuff done" trip before our full-on summer return to the McCall Plantation.

ps- MANY photos coming :)