Saturday, January 26, 2013

A Day In The Life... 1/26

 We had some leftover potatoes piling up from several meals and on this cold, wintry Saturday morning, Andrew cooked them up for breakfast. We tag-team big breakfasts, with him making the potatoes and me coming from behind and making the eggs and toast.  I was in the mood for biscuits this morning, so made that, while Andrew went out to get the newspaper for me.

I like to use a flower cookie cutter to cut out the biscuits. I think the edges bake up nice and crispy that way. Plus, I like flowers!

Yum! A double-batch ensures everyone gets seconds and there's leftovers for snacking. Since no one snacked on these today, I'm thinking sausage gravy over these biscuits for breakfast tomorrow! 

Chicken thawing in the background for dinner tonight.  Usually when making one meal, there's components for other meals happening at the same time. 

 Peter was being a pesky little brother while his sisters were trying to build a Lego town, so I brought out the plain wooden birdhouse he got for Christmas from an Aunt for him to paint. Kept him out of their hair for awhile, and then we settled on the couch to watch his choice of movie-- Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom! Quality time with the kiddo! Besides the Indiana Jones movies, Peter also loves watching the original King Kong black and white movie! I was surprised at how much he likes that movie! So whenever he asks for the "monkey movie", he's talking about King Kong, not Curious George! 

 It has been so cold, I don't think the temperature has risen above 25 this week. We got snow yesterday and a little bit today, so here's the man of the house shoveling the white stuff. Looking nice and toasty in the hat I made him last Christmas. As a matter of fact, it's so cold, he wears the hat indoors, too!

Ever so grateful for the new roof! How wonderful it is not to worry about leaks anymore. There were two really bad sections that leaked and we had to keep a bucket underneath them, and it's such a load off our shoulders not to fret and worry about that now. Especially with the snow sticking around up there!

At this point, the only thing I like about the snow right now, is it makes the evenings seem not so dark, with it reflecting off the light. The chickens are usually in bed by 4 pm, but on these nights, with the evening a little brighter, they were still out and about at 5 pm.

Dinner has been made-- that chicken that was thawing was turned into breaded chicken, baked in the oven, with wild rice and broccoli on the side. The kids are cleaning up their messes, jammies on, and soon, it'll be Andrew and I snuggled on the couch watching a movie. Not a bad day at all! 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Over It!

I've moved on and I'm over the loss of my old coupon binder.

 I got a new binder and pages and set up shop the other day.  I cut out all the coupons I had at home and, like a madwoman, I also printed out a ton of coupons off the internet. I spent several hours cutting and organizing and making divider pages. It's filling up nicely!

It occurred to me the other day, that while I may have lost my coupon binder, I did not lose my knowledge on how to get more coupons and how to use them to their maximum potential. Upon realizing this, I instantly felt better about losing the old coupon binder. While it still hurts, financially, to have lost all the store credit and gift cards, I can easily start over and eventually, I'll build up my store credit and gift cards again. It took me several months to learn how to coupon to the extent that I do-- the tricks and the secret of using store and manufacturer's coupons at the same time. Now that I have that knowledge, I can never lose it. What a difference that made, in helping me get past the loss.

The other good thing is the papers have coupons every week so it's comforting knowing that. Speaking of newspapers, this Sunday's paper is supposed to be loaded with coupons, so if there are any couponers that read this, plan on getting at least two papers. I'll probably get two of each paper for a total of four. We have a local paper that only gets about half of the coupons the big paper gets, but the value of the coupons are often different. It's a regional issue, but sometimes the values in the smaller, cheaper paper are better than the bigger, more costly paper. I have been known to buy up to 8 copies of the smaller paper, just for a certain coupon!

In any case, this will be the last post I write about my lost binder. It's not the only thing I think about anymore and I'm moving on to other things. Like, snow! And the cold! Brrr! 18 degrees today with about 3 inches of snow so far out there! The way it's coming down, I wouldn't be surprised if we get at least 5 inches or more. Stay warm!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Starting Over...

I had a very upsetting thing happen to me the other day. I lost my big coupon binder. I am a big coupon user, often getting my purchases down to very low or free and it has been the biggest way we have managed to live on our small income. We can make $100 stretch with me using my coupons the way I do, and so I organized all my coupons into a big 3-ring zippered binder.  It was my shopping bible.  I am devastated that I lost it!

 I have no explanation for why I lost it except I wasn't feeling well, I had all the family with me, and I was in a hurry-- a big triple combination for disaster, I suppose. I never even realized I had lost it until we received a phone call late at night asking if I had lost my WIC folder (a supplement program for low income families for children's health for up to the age of 5).  What?  No, it's in my coupon book!  I go and look for it and it's not where I usually put it! Maybe I left it in the car, nope, nothing! Panic sets in!! I lost my book?!? We arrange a meeting with the caller and Andrew comes back home with just a few papers that were inside my coupon binder. No coupons, no binder, nothing, just a few pieces of scrap paper, my WIC folder, and some random items I had in there.

I cried. I felt disgusted with myself for losing it in the first place. I was horrified thinking about someone pawing through it and finding such a valuable money-saving tool. I got upset when I did the math and realized I had over $100 in store gift cards and credit in there, all gone! All my hard work cutting out and organizing those coupons! Then I started to think about what else I had in there with personal information on it! Oh no! Do I have to worry about identity theft now? Do I need to call the bank? Will someone do harm to my family now that they have my address? What a roller coaster of emotions!

After a night of tossing and turning, I woke up with a very stiff neck. We called the bank to see if there was anything to be concerned about and they put a notice up on our account for any suspicious activity, just in case. We called the store where I lost it to see if anyone turned in a big binder-- nothing. When Andrew met with the person that found some of my papers, he went back to the parking lot to look around, check the trash bins, but didn't find anything.

What can I do? I did my crying.  I vented my grief and frustration to friends and on Facebook. And now?  I just have to start over. I'm pretty sure I'll never get it back. No amount of tears and anger at the person that found it and kept it will not bring it back. Kicking myself in the butt will not bring it back and just leave me with a sore behind. So, I'll start again.

I need to buy a new binder. I'll need to get new baseball card pages. And then I'll start cutting out coupons again. No use crying over the good ones I had, I'll get more good ones. Losing all those gift cards and store credit slips really hurts, though. I had been saving some of them to buy a big ticket item, and the others were being saved for different gifts I planned to buy when I had enough credit saved up. Nothing else to do but move on. Get past losing the old one and start working on making the new one better.

I'll definitely find a new spot for the receipts I had in there--next time I'll pull them out and save them in a folder I leave at home. The gift cards will be kept somewhere else, too, not in my wallet because it's tiny and cannot hold 20 gift cards. Not sure where I'll keep them, but I will figure something out.

My children were so sweet, they all came and hugged me and tried their best to console me after they saw me crying and found out I lost my coupon book.  Evelyn made me a small paper folder and wrote, "My Mom's Coupon Folder" on it and then in small print below it, "Don't lose it now!" She also included a hand made coupon for a FREE HUG that never expires. Bless their hearts. I told them that it was sad that I lost my book, but the more important thing is that we have each other and that we are all alright and full of love for each other. I'm trying to keep my chin up for them, to let them see that it's ok to be sad about something and then it's time to move past it and keep going.

I'm not 100% over it, but I will be. Once I get my new binder, I'll have something to do with the new coupons I'll get in tomorrow's Sunday paper. The possibilities will open up and I'll find new deals and bargains. Starting over...

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Gretchen is 9

It never gets easier whenever your child has another birthday.
Today Gretchen turned 9. She'll never be 8 again, except in my memories and photos.

 We took her and her siblings to the toy store today, so they could spend birthday money that was burning a hole in their pockets. The girls all picked out new Monster High dolls and Peter was just happy with a free balloon! If we could all just be content with simple pleasures like he is!

 Her birthday menu was omelets for breakfast, and since we were out for the day, Taco Bell for lunch, and then French-style food for dinner, which consisted of french bread, grapes, cheese, deli meats and a special request of Mama's deviled eggs. Yum!

 Instead of a cake, she opted for brownies with ice cream, caramel sauce and sprinkles! 
She blew out those candles so fast, I never got a chance to get a picture of her blowing them out!  A good set of lungs on her!

Happy Birthday my beautiful, funny, smart girl. 
Don't grow up too fast!!
We love you!!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Leggo my Lego!

We love us some Legos in this house so when I found this set at the thrift shop for a mere .59 cents, I did the happy dance!

Both sets were in pieces and are from the Life on Mars series back in 2001. They were both inside of one box, the Alien's Red Planet Cruiser, and still had the instruction booklet. I had no idea, before I finished putting together the cruiser, that there was a second set which is the astronaut and his Mono Jet. Thanks to the instruction booklet's last page, which had pictures of other Life on Mars sets, I realized that the pieces leftover looked just like the Mono Jet! No instructions to follow, but a quick search online found me some instructions to put this together. Only 3 pieces total from both sets were missing, which were easily replaced with pieces we had at home, and I'm happy to say that the mini-figures were both there and complete.

Sorry, I must sound totally geeky, but I'm just nuts over this set and happy that whoever donated it, kept it in the original box and none of the pieces were lost once set on the shelves. It wasn't even taped shut!! I'm always on the look-out for more Lego pieces at the thrift stores, since buying new sets are pricey and between 4 kids (and me!) it can get expensive real quick! There are so many really awesome Lego sets out there and if I could, I buy each and every one of them!! Have you seen the Monster sets?? Love!!  But until I strike oil or find gold, I like the luck I've been having at the yard sales and thrift shops lately. It's even cooler when the sets are vintage and not available to buy in the stores anymore. 

By the way, do you think I'll get in trouble for that title??  :o)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Problem With Free-Ranging Chickens

 Chickens are fun.
It's interesting to see how they relate to each other and watching them grow from baby chicks to full-grown, egg-laying hens. Roosters are another story. Seeing their battles to determine who gets to be head rooster is something to behold. I sure am glad I'm not a chicken.

I built a coop from pallets, then two years later, I finally put up a fence around the coop to keep chickens out of the garden during the summertime. After the harvest is over, I open the gate and they're free to roam. They seem like happy chickens-- they forage in the yard and the garden, they come to the back door looking for handouts, they lay eggs.

Chickens in the yard please me.  No more bare feet, but that's alright, I think it's a fair trade-off.

The problem with free-ranging chickens is that to find the eggs, it's a full-on Easter egg hunt, but without the bright colors to tip you off! Ever try to look for brown eggs nestled among brown dirt and leaves? Not easy.

The girls hit pay-dirt while out playing in the snow today. Ten eggs hidden by the woodpile! A good cleaning and they're good to go. The temperatures outdoors where we are have been a steady 40, so I'm not worried about these eggs being rotten, but nevertheless, I will inspect each egg as I crack them into a separate bowl before using them in any meals. 

I'm sure there are more piles of eggs hidden somewhere, but haven't found them yet. Sure am looking forward to gardening season and I'll have a reason to pen the chickens in again.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Miss Kitty

It's been 9 days since Miss Kitty has shown up and made herself at home.
We've kept an eye out for Lost Cat ads, but I'm pretty sure she is a stray.
She is putting on weight and filling out quite nicely, I'm happy to say.

 It feels like all she really wants is a place to call home, food in her belly, and a lap to sleep on.
She's not trying to take charge or fight with the other cats. There's been none of that, except for a few wary growls around the food bowls.

We still haven't decided if we're going to keep her, and we haven't given her a name, but we do call her Miss Kitty and she does seem to come when we call her that. She's a charmer, this one.
I like how she's on our laps and she weaves herself around my legs. I don't get that from the other cats, they're more Andrews' cats than mine-- probably because he's the one that feeds them.
Hm, time will tell if Miss Kitty ends up being a part of the family.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Sylvia Turns Seven!

I don't know how it happened, but my baby girl has turned seven! That big little girl you see signing the number '7' is Sylvia!!  So hard to believe that seven years ago, I gave birth to her in the bedroom, my one and only home-birthed baby. 

 As I do for all my babies, I let them plan out a birthday menu for the whole day and then we go shopping together to get what we don't have. Sylvia wanted waffles for breakfast, tacos for lunch, sloppy joes and onion potatoes for dinner. She wanted a cherry cake with vanilla frosting and cherries on top and neapolitan ice cream to go with it. 

 Since this is an odd-numbered year and all the kids turn odd-numbered ages, we won't have any birthday parties this year. Andrew and I have agreed that kids don't need a party for every birthday and this is how we can easily keep track of who had a party and who didn't. It's pure luck that we had all four kids on even numbered years.

We keep it simple with birthdays and besides the special birthday menu, I hang up the birthday banner for each kid. We give two gifts-- something to wear and something to play with. In this case, a pretty dress for a pretty girl and a baby doll to play with. Grandma gave pajamas and a Lego set. A phone call from Grandma and Grandaddy made her day, too!

Sylvia is such a sweetheart, always thinking of others and perfectly happy to play on her own.  She doesn't care much for movies and usually, while everyone else is watching a movie, she'll wander off and find something else to do. She's sensitive, easy to cry and gets upset when she does something wrong. We always say that she has an old soul, she seems so content with life and it's not often she'll complain about things, but just keeps going, life goes on.

We love that girl-- our one and only born in West Virginia baby. 
Happy Birthday Sylvia!
We love you so very much!!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Post-Holiday Memories

I took the Christmas tree down today.  I'm happy to see it go, but I will miss the twinkly lights at night. We still watched movies by the lights of the tree and it made it feel all nice and cozy. I have some decorative lights I might have to put up somewhere so we can keep that cozy feeling. There is a string of lights with big bulbs (think outdoor party lights) up in the window, but they're pretty bright and not as cozy as I'd like it to be. I have some lights with tin shades, I'll try those out and see what those do.

All the Christmas stuff is put away, except for the collection of Santas and snowmen on top of the cabinet in the dining room. They go in a locked cabinet separate from all the other holiday decorations that go in the attic. Many of these were carved and painted by my Dad and Step-Mom and I love looking at them. I just want to look at them a little longer before it's time to put them away again for another year.

It was hard to decorate the tree when I first set it up. Last year was a banner year for broken ornaments and they all went into a box to be repaired, but I never found the time and put them away with the other ornaments. This year, opening the ornament box, the first thing I saw was the box of broken ornaments sitting on top and it just broke my heart. I pulled a few out-- the broken 'starfish' which was a fish dressed as Marilyn Monroe ("star" fish, get it?) and we got her before we had the kids; the cute turtle with dangly legs that had the felt flowers ripped out of the flower pot in its' arms; the roly-poly paper mache' cat that got squished... I shoved the box back into the big box and closed the lid, I couldn't bear to look at it anymore. It reminded me too much of how upset I was and how mad I got when they broke.

For a week, the tree stood there, only the lights kept it from being bare. After much pestering from the kids, I finally brought out the box of ornaments again, this time pulling out the box of broken ones and not looking at it, putting it out of sight. I was picky with decorating the tree with only certain ornaments this time... none of the old and fragile ones; none of the precious hand-made ones; none of the cheap gaudy ones that I never liked but the kids loved. Slowly, the tree started to look pretty, simple and light. I have no pictures of the tree, I'm sad to say, but you can take my word for it that it turned out mighty nice.

When I took down the ornaments, I finally went through the box of broken ones.  I discovered my heart was healing and it wasn't so hard to pick out the lost causes and throw them away. I didn't fix any of them, but put them back into the box, much lighter now and, honestly, I'll probably throw away the rest of them next Christmas. Just not ready to say good-bye.

2012 was a very good Christmas, our memories tucked away and put into the mental attic, just as I put away the Christmas decorations. Next Christmas, I will remember 2012 as the year zero ornaments broke. But more importantly, I'll remember that my children are more precious than a broken ornament.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Handy-Woman: Replacing The Faucet

As with any home, especially older ones, there's always something the previous owners did that isn't liked by the current owners.  In our case, it's the bathrooms and the kitchen. They're functional, so we aren't in any hurry to do anything, but we are hoping to re-do the hall bathroom little by little this year.

The hall bath had one of those pull-on, push-off faucets. This one was real stiff so the kids usually had to use all their strength to try and pull it on. When they were younger, their Dad and I had to do it for them. Eventually, all that pulling cracked the seal under the faucet and broke the clamp underneath the sink that holds the faucet tight against the sink. Children that like to use the sink as a bathtub for toys proved no match for a cracked seal and broken clamp and a leak developed. Now here's my chance to replace the faucet with something prettier and easier for little hands to turn off and on.

 Here's the old sink. I never did like those kinds of faucets, did you? After shutting off the water and struggling with rusted bolts and getting beaned in the head with a falling clamp, I finally got the old faucet out. Dropping in the new faucet was nice and easy, clamped it in, then started to attach the old water supply line only to discover it's about 2 inches too short, because the new faucet has a shorter pipe compared to the old one. The very basic hardware store inside the General Store down the road from us didn't carry what I needed, so I had to wait 4 days until the next time one of us went into the big town before I could get longer supply lines. 

Now that the water supply line is installed, it's time to connect the drainpipe. Arggggh!!  The new drainpipe is  too short! It barely sits inside the old J-bend pipe. If you turn on the water it slightly bubbles out. Can't have that. So Andrew goes to the big hardware store after work and finds a J-bend with a higher inlet, and as soon as he comes home, I snatch it out of his hands so I can install it. Ugh, the opening is too big!! Perfect higher inlet, but too big!! Oh the joys of trying to make new parts fit on old parts!!  Enough is enough! I grab the old J-bend and bring it to the small hardware store in the small town and find an extension pipe that will fit perfectly, but I might have to cut it down a little bit... It works!!  *happy dance*

Here's the pretty new faucet, all shiny and easy to turn off and on.
Leak-free, too!!  

I love that the kids are seeing Mama do handy-man stuff around the house and that Andrew doesn't mind that I'm doing it, either.  Someday, when they grow up, I hope they'll think they can do it themselves without having to rely on a man to do it for them, and Peter, if he finds a wife that wants to do things, he won't mind letting her! 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Saving Money At The Grocery Store

I fell off the coupon wagon a few months ago, somewhere in the middle of the garden harvest when we were enjoying meals of fresh fruits and vegetables and had no desire for anything store-bought.  Then I kind of got sick of couponing, the weekly sit-down of cutting out coupons and organizing them and pulling out expired ones. Going online to check for deals and sales and printing online coupons were starting to annoy me. I was experiencing coupon burn-out!

Of course, falling off the coupon wagon means money isn't being saved.  Not that I stopped shopping the sales, but I wasn't searching out the best deals and my coupon inserts were piling up, waiting to be cut. Couponing is a lot of work, equivalent to a part-time job, at least, when you factor in all the time it takes to cut, sort, organize, search, find, and match up deals to coupons.

After awhile, I got tired of my grocery budget not going as far as it could be and sometime around November, I hopped back on the wagon. A break was just what I needed, to come back refreshed and eager to start making my dollars stretch again! Just in time, too, because I found a lot of deals for Christmas gifts and other items, and I'm pretty pleased to say that the majority of the gifts under the tree this year were bargains. I think there were only a few things we paid full price for and I'm happy with what we were able to give to others and not feel like we came out broke at the end of it all.

Now that a new year has begun, I've started off on the right foot and really stretched the food budget today while I was out shopping.  I try not to buy too much processed foods, but sometimes, and especially with a big family, buying a box or two of macaroni and cheese really helps stretch the budget and the meals. In this case, I bought 18 boxes of Kraft macaroni and cheese!!  Here's why: The local store advertised it as being on sale 3 for $1.25.  That's a cheap price for a brand name!  An added bonus is that I have 6 coupons for $1 off 3, which combined with the sale makes it 25 cents for 3 boxes!! No doubt, that's a stock-up price!! After sales, coupons, and taxes, I paid $1.75 for 18 boxes of macaroni and cheese!!

I can now take a box and then add to it to make a meal-- I might add a pound of ground beef, a jar of my home-canned tomatoes, a chopped onion and green pepper, some spices, and I've just made a home version of hamburger helper.  Add a side of vegetables and a salad and it's enough for the seven of us to get filled up on. It's a little bit processed, but in general, it's a healthy meal, I'm not complaining.

Here's where going online helps to make a sale become a better deal: Target's ad states that when you buy 2 boxes of Digiorno pizza for $5 each, you get a free box of Edy's fruit bars. Pretty good.  But going online to coupon websites, I discover there's an online coupon you can print to get 1 Digiorno pizza free when you buy 2.  Even better!  Now here's the best deal, print -2- of those coupons, buy 6 pizzas for $5 each, get 3 free boxes of fruit bars for $30 total before coupons. The coupon states it will give you a free pizza up to $7.01 and some stores will let you get the full value of the coupon, even if the pizza only cost $5.  I was able to get the full value of the coupon twice, which means, after coupons, I paid $16 for 6 pizzas and 3 boxes of fruit bars!

Frozen pizza is not as good as eating out, but with this large family of mine, eating out often is not an option. Not as good as home made pizza, but that requires planning ahead and I usually come up with dinner ideas on the fly, meaning something gets whipped up at the last minute. I'll be saving those pizzas for those really crazy days, when we're all frazzled and tired and hungry and too pooped to cook.

I keep telling myself to keep track of how much I spent versus how much I should have spent, but after a week or two, I lose stamina and receipts get scattered. The easier way for me to know I'm saving money is when we continually stay under the grocery budget.  I've been running out before the end of the month and that's a truly awful feeling to know I've spent the entire budget already. It's nice to get back on track again and I'm looking forward to seeing our budget carry over to the next month!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Handmade Christmas 2012

Before it's too late and while I still remember, 
I wanted to share what I made for Christmas 2012.

I found some new flour sack dish towels and I knew they'd be fun to embroider something on them and give as gifts. I went back and forth as to what I wanted to embroider but considering how much time I had left, simplicity won out. I made two kinds of snowflakes modifying different designs I found online. The nice thing about these is that the back is exactly the same as the front, and except for the knot, you'd probably not be able to tell which side was which. I made just enough to give away, working on the last couple of dishtowels on Christmas Eve!  Now I need to make a couple for me!

My yearly handmade ornament was these spirograph designs I mentioned back in December. I made somewhere around 30 of these, and they were really quick to come together. The back is colored felt that matches the color of the stitching and a nice blanket-stitch to keep it all together. Coordinating ribbon for hanging and then I made a holly leaf and the year I made it on shrinky-dink paper and a little red bell to represent a holly berry. These were well-received and I even made extra to sell. 

That's it! I already have ideas for next Christmas, and hopefully I won't wait until Christmas Eve to finish it!!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

First Day!

I'm going to get the New Year started on the right foot and post on the very first day!
Whether or not I'll be able to post daily is a whole 'nother question!

It was a quiet day, the last day of 2012. No plans to go anywhere, no wild and crazy celebration, just a another day at home with the family. Andrew heard some meowing, thought it was one of our cats locked in the office next to the dining room. Looked in, no cat. Maybe it's the basement. Open the door, no cat. He listened and pinpointed a cat meowing outside the sliding door in the dining room. Oh, maybe one of our cats accidentally got out? Slide open the door and a cat starts to come in. Whoa, whoa, whoa! That's not one of ours! He got the cat back outside and all the kids immediately run to the door to check out the "new" cat.

Friendly little thing! All full of loud meows and bumps and leg rubs. I go out and check it over, doesn't seem sick. Just real hungry. Thick coat, which tells me it's been outdoors for awhile, but you could feel bony ribs and spine and hip bones underneath that fur. Brought out a bowl of food and it was all over it. Not going to do anything now, at this late hour, and we left the cat outside with a bowl of food and a bowl of water.

From my experience, most cats are wary of new people. Most is the key word here. There are exceptions to the rule and some cats are absolute pushovers. This cat here, is just so friendly, even with the dog sniffing at her and the other cats outside eating right next to her. And yes, she let me check "down there" and it's a female cat. I pick her up and she just sits in my arms, content to be there. The kids have each picked her up and she stays there. Looks like a 'lap' cat has come to adopt us!

The kids have begged and pleaded to keep her. Names are being thrown out. Promises are being made to take care of her and feed her. Sure reminds me of myself when I'd bring home a stray cat and beg to keep it. 

I've let them bring her in, after I gave her a thorough look over this morning and made sure she visited the litter box first thing. She promptly peed in it. So far so good. It's been a few hours since she's been in the house and nearly the entire time, it has been in the arms or a lap of a child. I'm betting she'll be resting a lot, catching up on all the energy she spent trying to survive in the cold and snow with no food and shivering herself to sleep. Let's see what happens when she is warmed up, food in her belly and she starts getting comfortable.

I don't know what we'll call her, names from Camilla to Sugar, Britney to Socks have been tossed out, but I'm trying not to settle on a name just yet, in case we decide not to keep her after all. We already have 7 cats, 1 dog and 15 chickens, and we'll have to get her spayed if we keep her... but she sure is a sweetheart, and I've been looking for a lap cat... oh dear. It's looking like we're leaning pretty heavy in the 'keep her' direction, doesn't it?

What a start to the New Year! :o)
Here's hoping 2013 brings out the best in us all!