Friday, June 29, 2018

Farm Living Friday

Recently, Miss Priss and I went to visit my Dad.  While we were there we went to Wade's Mill.  If you want information about it, you can find it here. 

Wade's Mill has been producing stone ground grains since 1750.  That's longer than we have been a country!  The kind gentleman who runs the mill gave us an amazing tour and Miss Priss was able to see how grains were processed when Laura Ingalls (her current obsession) was a little girl.

Miss Priss watching the water wheel start turning.
Pulling the belt to get the machines running.

Learning about the different grains produced by the mill.
This little mill taught us so much!  We enjoyed learning about the different grains that grow in Virginia and how previous generations obtained their flower, cornmeal, and grits.  We purchased some flour and pancake mixes to enjoy and to remember such a wonderful day!

You never know what little places you might find in your state or neighborhood.  I encourage you to seek out some little known places where you live.  You never know what treasures you may uncover!

Until next time!

Friday, June 22, 2018

Farm Living Friday

While we live on two acres, we do not live on a farm.  That doesn't mean we don't embrace farm living.  We reside in a rural community and the hubs has spent more than half of his life working in the field of agriculture.

Each summer we spend a lot of our time involved in agricultural ventures.  Agritourism, gardening, canning, and county fairs are all a part of our life in the summer months.  I know not everyone is able to experience farm life, and because of this I am beginning the "Farm Life Friday" series to run during the summer months.  It is my hope to share some of the joys of rural living through this series.

So sit back, grab a cup of coffee and enjoy some of the adventures we experience with Farm Living.

Miss Priss and I ended school Memorial Day weekend.  The following Monday we were out enjoying our new found freedom from our school year schedule when Hubs called me on my cell phone.  Since he teaches in a neighboring county, he was still in school.  His students were hatching chickens as part of a class project and the hatching had begun in earnest that day.  He called to let me know that he would be bringing home five chicks - four were doing well and one was not.  He asked me to get some things ready so that he could bring them home.

So Miss Priss and I headed to our local Tractor Supply to get what we needed.  I am an educated woman, but I have no idea what to do to help a sick chicken.  So I asked the folks there and they set me up with what I needed for the short term.  Then we headed home.  I prepared Miss Priss for the likelihood that not all of the chicks would live, and that it was part of farm living.

When we got home, the Hubs arrived shortly after us with the chicks.

Sick chick. :-(

One of the folks at Tractor Supply suggested that we keep the sick chick separate from the others in order to prevent the spread of any illness it may have.  So Hubs put him in a small box within the makeshift brooder we threw together.  S/he looked so pitiful curled up without moving.  I couldn't just watch the little thing suffer so I grabbed a medicine dropper from the hall closet and started giving it chicken electrolytes (yes, this is a real thing!) and held it close to my heart so it would stay warm and know that someone cared.  Then Miss Priss and I said a prayer for the little guy/girl.

Eventually, s/he perked up and we were able to put him/her back in with the rest of the flock (upon the recommendation of a friend who raises chickens).

Sick chick (the gray one in front) with a member of the flock

All five chicks

As the week progressed more eggs hatched.  Miss Priss was even able to assist in helping one of the chicks who had been struggling all day to come out of its shell.  I was gagging at at the grossness associated with chicken birth, but she love every minute of it.  She even got to cuddle it after we got him cleaned up.
Miss Priss with her patient

When all was said and done, sixteen of the eighteen eggs hatched and ALL of the chickens survived. Now y'all, I love animals.  But I was in no way prepared to have sixteen chickens.  Fortunately, Hubs' students were able to take most of them, but Miss Priss had decided she wanted to raise chickens.  So those sweet kids let her have four of them to raise.

So our adventures in raising chickens has begun. 

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Long Overdue Update!

Time has flown by here at Wilted Acres!  Miss Priss and I went back to school the first week in August and it has not slowed down one bit!

First Day of First Grade!

Despite the early start to the school year, we still managed to squeeze in some summer fun.  We spend a lot of time outdoors in the summer and this past summer was no exception.  Miss Priss LOVES carrying around our little dog, Ruby.  She is a mixed breed pup that we got from a friend two years ago when her dog didn't get along with this sweet thing.  (Can you imagine??)  I'm so glad she contacted me when she had to rehome her because she has been such a welcome addition to our little family!

Miss Priss with Ruby

We also had a garden this past summer.  We weren't able to have one in the Summer of 2016 because we ended up having the foundation of the house repaired and I ended up with pneumonia at the start of the summer.  So this bowlful of goodness was appreciated this year!

After a good summer came an unseasonably warm fall.  So warm, that I was afraid the long sleeved Halloween costume I made for Miss Priss was going to be too hot for her to wear!  She wanted to go as her favorite superhero...

Miss Priss decided early on that she wanted to be Wonder Woman for Halloween. Unlike her mother other children her age, when she decides on a costume, her mind is made up!  So I thrifted the red shirt from Goodwill and purchased the iron-on decal for her shirt.  The skirt was the most difficult part, not because of the sewing, but I couldn't find the "right" fabric.  I settled on this and she loved it!  I was able to purchase the elastic for her skirt for $0.25 at a yard sale, and the tights she already had.  I believe the "Lasso of Truth" was purchased at Target for around $3.00.  The headband and wrist cuffs were the most expensive item, at around $15.  I could have made them, but I was running out of energy time so I just purchased them at a Halloween store.  She loved it, and I'm glad I was able to do it, but I think next year I will buy it off of Amazon and save myself a ton of time and money!  

For Thanksgiving, we went to my sister's house for dinner.  It was so nice to get together and my brother-in-law did an amazing job with the turkey!  Spending the day with our girls playing and enjoying our time together was such a blessing!

Me and my "baby" sister! 

 To kick off the holiday season, Miss Priss and I went to our town's annual Christmas Parade.  It was so cold, but we enjoyed every minute of it!  The Hubs was home catching up on some reading for a class he was taking so we made it a girls night on the town!
Small town living means enjoying local parades and seeing loads of folks you know!

We even got Ruby into the spirit with a new bandana and bows for her hair.  I don't like leaving the bows in because I am afraid she will pull them out and eat the rubber bands.  So I try and get a picture before I take them out.  We have a wonderful groomer who is local, and I try to support local small businesses when I can.

Ruby is all ready for Christmas!
 One thing I forgot to mention was Miss Priss' first organized activity outside of school - soccer!  She had a great coach and we enjoyed watching her play.  She did struggle with going to practices and near the end she didn't want to go to her games, but she stuck out the season.  I don't think she wants to play again, but I am glad she tried something new.

While soccer appears to be a bust, she is currently taking piano lessons and loving them.  We have the piano that was in my grandparents house for as far back as I could remember.  I don't know how to play and it was only serving as a dust collector, so I was giving serious consideration to getting rid of it.  When I suggested this to the Hubs, Miss Priss was adamant that we keep it.  I told her if we were going to keep it that she would need to start taking lessons.  She agreed.  I contacted her music teacher at school for recommendations and he suggested a lovely woman who lives about ten minutes from Miss Priss' school.  We met her for an initial consultation to see if Miss P was ready for lessons and the rest is history!
So each week, while Miss Priss practices, I sit in this lovely room with her teacher's two Yorkshire Terriers and a sweet little kitty called Pippi Longstocking, and knit.  It's a lovely 30 minutes listening to my sweet girl play music and cuddling some furbabies.  I think this might be what Heaven is like!

My view during piano lessons. 

Until next time!

Monday, August 28, 2017

Money Saving Monday: Life After a Terminal Degree

I was so blessed to have gone through my undergraduate and graduate degrees without the need for student loans and the accompanying debt.  However, I was not as fortunate when it came to my Ed.D. I took out loans to finance my degree and now it's time to pay up. The amount of debt incurred to make my dream a reality is sobering.  I could buy a small house with the amount of student loan money I owe.  Or go on a really amazing vacation.  Regardless of the amount, I need to pay it back.  The sooner the better.

I come from a long line of thrifty folks.  I enjoy finding a bargain and saving money.  I also LOVE thrift stores.  I'm not going to lie - some of the stuff that people donate belongs in a trash pile.  But a lot of good, usable stuff goes to thrift stores and I am happy to give some of those items a new home. My favorite day to shop at our local Goodwill is on Sunday.  That's when their clothes and sundries are $.99 for a certain "string" color.  On my most recent trip the items with blue strings were on sale.  I shopped ONLY for items with that color.  This allowed me to focus on what I was buying instead of being overwhelmed.  I was able to purchase all of the items below for less than $15.00!

Cleo did not want to get off the unmade bed for this very high end photo shoot.  Since she's cute, I let her stay. ;-)
Clothing was the big item of the day.  I have been using a lot of black and white in my wardrobe since returning to work a couple of weeks ago and I have been loving it!  It requires minimal effort on my part when it comes to deciding what to wear and I can use accessories to dress up a look.  The first item I purchased was this Jones New York blouse.  It was a bit large on me but I thought it would look nice as a jacket over a tank with a pair of black or white jeans.
Jones New York blouse $0.99!
The next item I went back and forth on before finally making the decision to buy it. It's a polyester jersey fabric and I wasn't sure how the fabric would look on my middle aged body but I'm glad I bought it!  I can't remember the brand (and I'm too lazy to go look at the tag) but I know it is a Walmart brand.  I loved the red mixed in with the black, white, and gray so I put it in my cart.

I think the brand is George. Again, $0.99!

While the first two items I purchased are for fall, this one is perfect for the heat of August and September in Virginia.  And it has polka dots.  I love polka dots.

White blouse with black polka dots Venezia brand $0.99!
The sweater I purchased will not win any fashion awards, but when I tried it on in the store I knew I had to have it.  I could see myself curled up with a hot cup of coffee on a cold day all snuggly in this dark green sweater from L.L. Bean.  This is one of my favorite brands because of the classic pieces and durability.  So when I found this with a $0.99 tag on it I snatched it right up!

L.L. Bean Cardigan $0.99

The last clothing item I purchased for myself was a pair of pajamas. I am trying to wear actual pajamas instead of a 25 year old college t-shirt with holes in it and threadbare leggings so that The Hubs still finds me somewhat attractive.  Granted these pjs won't get his blood pumping but I figured they are better that the holey t-shirt. Right? They are also really thick so they will be nice and warm this winter.

Jockey Pajamas BOTH pieces $0.99 (that's less than $0.50 for each piece!)
Now I simply cannot go thrifting without looking at cute stuff for Babycakes and my recent trip did not go without something cute for her closet too.  My first find was her Christmas dress.  This is the time of year that I start looking because no one else is even thinking about those cute pictures of their littles with Santa in August.  Except me.  I love and treasure our visits to Santa each year.  And I love searching for "the dress" that will grace our picture for years to come.  I also realize I have a six-year-old daughter and that life is messy. So I don't want to spend $50 on a dress that she spills paint on and is ruined.  Nor do I want her constantly worrying that mommy and/or daddy will be mad if she ruins an outfit.  So when I found this little red corduroy jumper from Ralph Lauren (with the tags still on it!!!) into my shopping cart it went!

Ralph Lauren jumper $0.99
The other dress I purchased for Babycakes was one I debated on for a while.  It's a black velvet jumper with a sequin swirl pattern.  I couldn't decide if black was appropriate for a little girl.  Then I pictured her in it with a white turtleneck, white tights and black patent leather Mary Janes and into the cart it went!
The Children's Place $0.99
The last piece of clothing I purchased was a pair of capri pants.  I wasn't sure Babycakes would like them, but I have a niece who is two years younger and could grow into them.  Babycakes tried them on and into the basket for her cousin they went.  They were cute pants, but they didn't "feel good."  I am not fighting that battle.  But here they are in all of their cuteness.
Kid's Capri's $0.99
The last few things were not included in the $0.99 sale but were things that I wanted needed.  I have been searching for a set of speakers for my computer at work.  I didn't want to spend a ton of money on them, but I really needed them to show videos to my students (Kid President anyone?).  I finally found this set, still in the box for $2.59. I tested them out this week and they work perfectly!

Picture frames are some of the best things you can buy at thrift stores.  My mom had gotten Babycakes a horse picture for her room, but I had yet to find a frame.  I found this oak beauty for $0.59 and it looks great in her room!

The last thing I picked up was this caddy.  I have plans for it, so hopefully I can get myself together and get my craft on one night.  I loved the setup of this little caddy for outgoing bills and mail.

Mail Caddy $1.99
And that, my friends is a thrift haul! As you can see from the receipt below all of this was less than $15.00!
I will say that I was shopping by myself this day.  I could never do this with The Hubs or Babycakes along.  They are both waaay to impatient to wait on me while I dig through the racks.  I enjoy the process so it's more like a hobby than a chore.  How about you? Do you enjoy thrifting?  Leave me a message in the comments about your favorite thrift store find!

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Wilted Acres Update

The other day I sat down and did a massive Brain Dump at work.  I had what felt like a million thoughts racing around in my brain and I could not focus on all of the things that I needed to finish. So I sat down and made two lists - one for work and one for home.  The one for work was massive - but not shocking.  The one for home surprised me. In dumping out my thoughts I realized how much I miss blogging.  It's my journal. It's my outlet, and I miss writing.  I don't know if anyone reads what I write, but I enjoy looking back at my old posts.  I wrote a post back in February that I honestly have no memory of writing.

In my defense, I have had a terrible time uploading pictures from my iPhone to my computer.  And who wants to read a blogpost with no pictures?  It wasn't until The Hubs took Babycakes out for a couple of hours this morning that I took the time to figure out the problem (user error).  So here I am.

Babycakes isn't a baby anymore.  She is now a big bad FIRST GRADER!!!

I am in the midst of year 20 as a proud public school teacher!

I have finished the requirements that I needed to add school administration to my state teaching license.  All I need to do now is submit the necessary paperwork.  I plan on looking seriously for administrative positions for the 2018-2019 school year.  But for now, I am enjoying my work in the classroom as I teach my sweet group of 6th graders!

The Hubs has also joined the Dark Side  middle school education.  He is in a neighboring county on the other side of the mountain teaching agriculture.  This will be year 24 for him!

On July 4th of this year, Hubs and I celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary!  It was the first time we had been out to celebrate in several years so we lived it up by enjoying a dinner at Red Lobster. That's fancy eating here in rural America! (LOL!)

So between being a wife, a mom, a student, and a teacher things have been a little crazy around here. Now that I have figured out my phone (Praise the Lord for Google!) it is my hope that I can begin a regular blogging "schedule."  

Until next time! 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

I'm Not Dead!

One Year, Six Months, and Nineteen Days.
81 Weeks and Two Days.
569 Days.
13,656 hours (give or take).

Regardless of how you break it down, I have been absent from my blog for a REALLY long time.

I didn't plan it.

I don't have an excuse, but I do have an explanation.

After I completed the requirements for my doctorate I was in a funk.  Nothing felt quite right.  I felt like an overeducated, underpaid, special education teacher. I started to pursue my endorsement in school administration.  Then I quit.

Then I realized I couldn't apply for any of the jobs I was interested in without an endorsement in school administration. So I took the rest of the classes. I continued my learning - reading, writing papers - the exhaustion continued.

It wasn't until I contacted the graduate librarian at my university about an unrelated question that I realized what was wrong with me. Postdoc Depression.  I doubt that you'll find that in the DSM-V, but for me it has been very real.  I achieved something that I have wanted since I was about 10 years old. I should be happy. Proud.  And I am, but (you knew there would be a but) what do I do now?

I celebrate this...
At my Hooding Ceremony with my younger brother and sister. (Yep, I'm the oldest!)
And I remember the important things...

My AMAZING Family!
Yes, I am a Doctor of Education. But the most important titles I hold are Wife and Mommy.  I can't forget that.  Being a woman is tough business.  It hasn't even been 100 years since we have been given the right to vote.  Women with families have only entered the workforce during my lifetime.  There are no instructions.  There are no rules.  We have to make it up as we go along.

So right now, I am working everyday to be the best mom, special education teacher, and wife that I can be.  Sometimes  Often, my role as wife takes a back seat to my other roles, and that is not something I am proud of.  But it's true.  

I often think of my now 95 year old grandmother and the choices she had at my age.  By this point she had six children who ranged in age from (around) 20 years old to an infant.  My grandfather had a good job as an accountant, but what options did grandma have?  I'm not sure daycare centers were even available in the early 1960s.  I try and remember that I am doing things many women have not done before.  There are no instructions, no hard and fast guidelines on how to "have it all."  

I have what I want.  

And this, for now, is enough.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Where I've Been and Where This Blog Is Heading

Wow. Three months since my last post. I shouldn't be surprised as that seems to be normal for me, but I don't like my sporadic posting schedule. (If you can even call it a schedule!)  I'll get to my ideas for this blog in a minute, but first, I want to update you all on where I've been.

As most of you know I am a full time special education teacher in addition to being a wife, a mom, and a doctoral candidate. With all of the budget cuts education has faced in recent years, my workload increased significantly this past school year. From April through June I struggled to keep my head above water. Add to that the pressure to finish my dissertation and prepare for my defense on July 1 and I wasn't sure I was going to get everything finished. I will admit that I was not the ideal wife or mother. Of all the hats I wear, wife is the one that seems to be the one that has taken a back seat. The Hubs has been amazing and really patient with me as I struggle with all that needs to be done. I truly don't know where I would be without that man.

I seriously don't know where I would be without this amazing man.  I feel blessed to call him my husband!

 On July 1st I (successfully) defended my dissertation and became Dr. Wilt! Despite that brief victory I had a massive amount of corrections and revisions to make to my work so that I could resubmit for my committee's review. I can't begin to tell you how sick I am of looking at that blessed research paper. I hope to be on the tail end of finishing so that I can have my life back!

What's up doc?  Me with my amazing (and very patient) committee.

Of course, now that I have finished, I have decided that maybe school administration is where I want to be so I start more classes in the fall to add that endorsement onto my license. I'm pretty sure I've lost my mind, but I really believe this is the path I am meant to follow.

Babycakes is no longer a baby. This independent-minded little girl is now FOUR!!! I seriously feel it has gone by so quickly. She gives us a run for our money but I love spending time with this little lady.

I can't believe this kid is FOUR!!!
Now that I am wrapping up my doctoral work I want to spend more time on my blog. I've been thinking about what I should blog about (other than my awesome little family). I picked up Emily Matchar's book, Homeward Bound: Why Women Are Embracing the New Domesticity at my public library and found that I am really enjoying it. (A lot more than I expected too, actually.) I have always enjoyed what folks these days call the "domestic arts." Ever since I can remember I have enjoyed things like sewing, cooking, organizing and crafting. Some things have come with time (canning and gardening) while others have never appealed to me (spring cleaning anyone?).

Over the past couple of months years I have really let my house go. I mean, the cat actually runs from her own furballs! Not really, but it's pretty gross. I can't stand living in chaos. I feel like everything I am responsible for is in a constant state of disorganization. Oh who are we kidding? I am in a constant state of disorganization. I mean, look at this...

In my defense, I had dumped the tub to go through all of the stuff.
That dumped tub has been under my desk, waiting for me to go through the contents for at least 18 months. I can't claim time because I have plenty of time to sit on my patootie and watch YouTubers clean and organize their spaces, but heaven forbid I do anything like that here!

I also have a terrible habit of buying planners. I think I currently have 5 different "systems" I keep juggling between in an effort to get myself organized. Clearly it's not working. I miss stuff because it's written in another planner and I clearly need to focus on one and get on with it. But my planning woes are for another post.

Back to Matchar's book (blogger ADD anyone???). One chapter is about blogs that are dedicated to what the author coins, "the new domesticity" and their increasing popularity. One quote that resonated with me was this, "blogs can give emotional value to housework." Maybe that's what I need to get myself together, some sort of value on what I need to do. So I started thinking, maybe I can blog my disorganized self into a more organized life.

There are certain blogs I started following and enjoyed until they got to the point where it seemed more like a magazine than someone's actual house. While they are fun for getting ideas, I prefer blogs that are written by folks who live in REAL houses with REAL messes. I don't discredit those folks who have beautiful homes that appear to be professionally decorated. I might have a home like that too if circumstances were different. But I have different goals, dreams and a much tighter budget than some. I love me some Restoration Hardware but I don't live anywhere close to one and couldn't pay for that stuff even if I did.

So here are some of my goals for this blog...

1. Post weekly about my journey to reclaim my house from all of the junk I have accrued.
2. Admit my mistakes and failures so that you can see I am human and will (hopefully) make you feel better about making your own mistakes and helping you to move past them.
3. Provide budget friendly ideas for cleaning/organizing your homes.
4. Have FUN!

I hope you will stick around as I begin this new phase in my blog.