Archives for category: Parenting

Managing the influx of baby stuff – this is my new challenge.

One of my friends has a baby that is going to be a year old this month.

She has offered us a bunch of baby things.

I am reluctant to take it.

Except that I know that a bouncy seat can be a life saver when I need to take a shower and no one else is home.

A changing pad is very handy when the baby is tiny.

And seat so baby doesn’t fall over while having a bath is handy.

We are trying for a minimalist baby from the start this time.

I still have a lot of baby clothes from Trace and I think we will not need to buy any clothes for a long time unless it is a girl – in which case I will sell some of the boy clothes and buy some pink and purple.

How much stuff will we really use and how much will we be able to do without and how do we keep people from giving us gifts that will not be used?

The challenge has begun – does anyone have any suggestions?


We are growing a baby!

Hence the lack of posts lately, I have been falling asleep when Trace went to bed and not being able to do much else. I am feeling so much better at this point that I think I will be able to post on a more regular basis, at least until the little one arrives!

Yeah for babies! We can’t wait to meet this new person and show them the world!

Yep we did ’em in.

It wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. River hunts so I have seen him process game before, but I have never been there for the whole process. You know – the actual killing part.

We had talked to Trace about the process and he knows that we do not kill animals unless we are going to eat them. It would be disrespectful of the animal to not use as much of it as we can once we do kill them. We thanked each of the chickens for feeding us and talked about how we should always be thankful to any animal that we eat. Trace’s dad did not want Trace to see that actual slitting of the throat so I had him turn around for that part. Trace hung out with us for part of the time and did his own thing part of the time. He was interested in the internal organs -is that the heart and are those the intestines, etc. It was like a science class in his own backyard, kind of neat for him to see and know that he has similar parts in his body that look and function in much the same way.

Here is how we did it – processing four at a time:

River caught the chickens and put them in the killing cone (yes that is what they really call them – kind of gross isn’t it) and did the deed. Then he hung the chickens up by their feet while he did the next one.

River dipped the bird in water that was between 150 and 180 degrees for about 30 seconds to loosen up the feathers then he de-feathered them.

I got the bird next and took the pin feathers out – much more challenging on some birds then on others.

River then gutted and processed the chicken, we only left six of them whole, the rest we cut up and separated into dark, breast and soup categories. I bagged the chicken, vacuum packed it and brought it to the freezers.

It took us five and a half hours for 20 chicken’s not bad for newbies. It would have gone faster with one more person to do the cutting up I think.

Overall I would do it again – I wasn’t sure how I would feel about it, but it wasn’t so bad and I feel good about the food that my family will be eating – always a bonus!

I have not figured out how much it cost us per chicken yet, but I am sure it is less than the $4.75 a pound that it would cost for free range chicken’s at the local farm. I spoke to a woman at the local feed store and she said it costs her about $11.00 a bird and they bring them to a facility to be processed.

We would have to figure in the cost of the chicken coop and the feed and water trays that we had to buy for  this batch of chickens but I would say our cost should still be less than the $4.75 a pound as all of our chickens seemed quite large.

Now what should I make first – a whole roasted chicken with all the fixen’s? Sounds pretty good!




Trace loves oatmeal – but he can not eat it right now because it has been irritating his stomach. I found a solution this morning.

Brown rice cereal.

I put cooked brown rice, milk, cinnamon, cut up dried apricots and honey in a little pot on the stove, brought it to a boil, then simmered it for about 10 minutes. The cereal was creamy and sweet – I added a little brown sugar to it and presto – breakfast!

Trace loved it, except for the dried apricots. Go figure. He will eat them plain, but not cooked.

Kiddos can be so unpredictable.

At least I have found a solution to breakfast in addition to pancakes and toast.

Trace and I made spring rolls for dinner last night – delicious! I love making spring rolls for several reasons:

1. Trace loves to eat them

2. Trace loves to help me make them – I like to involve him in making our food when I can and this is an easy one to have him help with

3. It is a different and delicious way to serve root vegetables

For last nights dinner I used carrots, sweet potato, kale, duck, brown rice that had been cooked in turkey  broth and chives. The carrots and sweet potato were from the grocery store, the Kale was from Dig Deep Farm, the wood duck was one that River had gotten during duck hunting season and the turkey broth for the rice was from the turkey River got last week during turkey season. I like to use local food as much as possible!

Sometimes I add parsnips to the carrots and sweet potato for a sweet flavor and if I have cabbage I will use that too.

First I julianed the carrots and sweet potato – it doesn’t have to be perfect – but it works best because it cooks quickly and if the pieces are about an inch or so long and nice and skinny it is easier to eat. I saute them in a little olive oil and let them soften up a bit – after they have cooked about five minutes I move them all over to half of my large cast iron skillet and put in the kale – it always looks like so much till it is all cooked down – add some water and put the cover on the pan so the kale can steam away for a couple of minutes.

I took the kale out and put in the rice and the duck that I had cut up into small pieces – in the pan to warm up.

Trace and his little buddy picked a handful of chives from our yard and I chopped it up.

So we set it up – kale in a bowl – the skillet of veggies, rice and meat and the chives.

In front of that we put our cake pan full of warm water to soften the spring roll wrapper which are available at most grocery stores – and two plates – one for fabricating the spring rolls and one for the finished product.

Trace only likes the meat and the carrots and sweet potato mixture and the chives in his – and he likes to make them first (of course).

River and I like ours with sweet & sour sauce and soy sauce – Trace eats his straight up – no condiments necessary!

A yummy, fun dinner was enjoyed by all and I had fun putting it together with Trace.

I had made pumpkin bars earlier in the day but had not had time to make the frosting so after dinner River and Trace made cream cheese frosting for it – yum, yum, yum – a delicious end to a delicious meal!

I wish I had thought to take photos at the time because dinner was so pretty – but I didn’t think to – hopefully next time.

I just don’t like them. I don’t like pretending to be them – I don’t like the shows, cartoons, books or movies – I can not seem to get into them at all.

My son loves them.

He pretends to be them he wants me to pretend to be them, to have zowards or what ever it is that they have and run around out side like a crazy person fighting the bad guys.

I can’t do it.

I have tried and it is horrible.

I last about two minutes.

It makes me want to cry.

I feel like an inadequate parent.

One of my friends will actually wear a pink power ranger costume and chase the bad guys for hours, Trace’s dad will do the same thing (minus the pink costume).

I willingly play games, read books, bake cookies, cook, play basketball, color, paint and set up train tracks (although running the train along the track and pretending to be Thomas the Tank Engine is beyond my play capabilities).

Am I the only one that feels that I am depriving my son of this interaction with my lack of interest in certain play genres?

Should I try to peek my interest or should I concentrate on what I am good at – snuggles and books – and let Trace play the other things by himself?

Why does it make me feel so lonely to see him playing alone?

It is good for children to entertain themselves right?

I know I married a good man because he cleaned diarrhea off Trace’s carpet at 11:00 last night while I was cleaning up my son (and trying not to throw up).

It is the little things that make a difference.

Every morning my son makes his bed.

On his own.

I have never asked him to do this.


He also picks out his clothes the night before.

By himself.

I have never asked him to do this either.

I do not remember doing this when I was six.

Did you?

We have a small cabin in the woods, no power, no water, I think it is 12′ x 12′ plus a sleeping loft, one time Trace said he wished we lived at the cabin. I asked him why, he said “Because everything has a place here”. There is not a lot of STUFF here. It is simple, we have some pots and a cast iron skillet, some cooking utensils, a few books and games, a bed, a small table, a futon and a cooler. That is pretty much it.

Trace’s playground is the surrounding woods – he stays where he can see the cabin and hides behind trees or swings on the porch swing. He does not miss Netflix when we are here or ask to watch it – he never says he is bored and what can he play or say he has nothing to do (as I must have heard at least three times on Sunday) – and yet he has less at the cabin. Perhaps that is the answer.


Less distraction from finishing a task or a game, less of the modern conveniences that make our lives easier.

A simpler time, food, peace and appreciating the moment. Not worrying what we are missing on TV or who we should visit or the errands and tasks that need to be done to keep the house running.


Less of everything except each other and the moment.

I am not always sure how Trace feels about having a step father – but I gained some insight a couple of months ago.

Trace and his buddy Keith were playing, Trace was the little boy and Keith was the Dad.

K – “I want to be someone else now.”

T – “Who do you want to be?”

K – “I’ll be your step-dad.”

T – “But my step-dad is my dad.”

K – “No he isn’t.”

T – “Yes he is – he is just like my dad – I have two dads.”

K – “Fine – I guess I’ll be your Grandpapa.”

Be still my heart – the little guy is so accepting. Makes me a little teary just thinking about it.

Trace does not call River Dad, we have talked about the name Papa – he looks more like a Papa to me and it would avoid confusion since Trace calls his father Dad. Trace wasn’t sure about it, he said “But then I wouldn’t have my River anymore!”

Apparently River is a special name for Dad.

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