October 31, 2008

Ye' Halloween...

A Big Black Cat

By the Pumpkin Sat

With Candle a Gleam


Spooky was the perfect model for this poem, sitting so distinguisehd and spookily by the pumpkin and all....Until I broke out the camera. The shot I ended up getting, as you can see, is more of an Spooky apparition. But, you get the point. Happy Halloween!

And STRETCH and two and three and four...

You said it sister! Can I get a Woot-Woot?!?! I could not have described this throb in my head any better....of course, the throbbing in my neck, shoulders, knees and every other inch of my body I can blame on nobody but myself....things like THIS should not be happenening...and we are ready to do something about it!
So, WE DID IT! We broke down and joined our local Sport & Health Fitness Club this week. We have a few, fairly reasonable, slightly intimidating, yet highly encouraging goals in mind....We plan on attending the Pilates type classes offered in the evenings and on the weekend three times per week. The gym has a pretty elaborate kiddie zone for the Little Brat to enjoy while we do our thang too...I took her with me to tour the place and she has asking to go back ever since we left!

Benefits of Exercise to keep in mind....and to remind us that this is for our own good:

  1. It will make us feel better. Honestly, and I am the first to admit this, the gym is a daunting place. But it will get easier. And eventually it really will make us feel better.
  2. Daily exercise improves stamina. (No elaboration necessary. We aren't kids anymore!)
  3. Being in shape (and round is not the shape I'm talking about) is sexy.
  4. Exercise helps control weight. (We hope to be reintroduced to our toes again)
  5. Exercise improves flexibility. (We hope to be able to TOUCH our toes again too)
  6. Competing with yourself (or your spouse) is healthy. May the best man (or woman) win!

Our simple Goals to keep us honest:

  1. Attend stretching and/or core strengthening classes 2-3 times per week.
  2. Increase our flexibility thru monthly assessments.
  3. Increase our core strength thru monthly assessments.
  4. Loose that pesky joint and muscle soreness.
  5. Set a good example of healthy fun & fitness for our family!!!

So, HERE WE GO! Wish us luck...we'll keep you updated on our trials and tribulations...we can't be the only goobers out there trying to regain some of that youthful elasticity to our bodies we once took so stupidly for granted!

Happy Trails,


October 30, 2008

Just another day at the office.....

Our office had a Halloween Potluck today (I brought some Banana Pudding)....a few of us got into the moment and came all decked out in our Halloween best! I even picked up the Little Brat from her Daycare to join in the fun...she's the precious little pumpkin sitting on the 1st place horseback riders knee (yes, that's me....and yes, I can hear you laughing at me, so be quiet! I did not have time to buy or make a costume, so I grabbed my horse show garb out of the closet...what more do you want from me?!?!) The rest of these shady characters share my office space....it's a good bunch of people and a real fun place to work....

No, I don't really think my brain bucket is supposed to sit THAT high on the peak of my noggin'....I really never paid that much attention to it before I guess....good thing the little darling in the picture with me distracts your eye away from the bulbous eye sore that is my head. Isn't she precious????...OK, seriously, stop staring at it...you are going to give me a complex!

After we stuffed our pie holes full, I took LB back to my desk to hang out while our traumatized bellies settled...I think she got more work done today than I did! Look at her go! Multi-tasking on dual screens....

Answering calls and taking notes....

And just having a grand ole' time as mommy took a much needed and deserved nap in the corner of my office.....What? She had things under control!

Note the "Baby Art" in my window....those are some of my favorite masterpieces the LB has created for me at school...they make me happy.....they make work a jolly place to be, even if my baby is not there.....her handy-work keeps her close at heart....

Gotta Love a good kid with a good work ethic....I DO!

Happy Trails,

October 29, 2008

Barn Kids are SCARY...

I don't have any cute way to say this...no gentle way to describe the way I felt this morning when my dearest little brat appeared out of the darkness to greet me half-way through my regular feeding ritual....surprise maybe? shock? terror? all of the above?????

You see, Daddy is out of town this week, so I am on my own when it comes to the chores around here until he returns....I can handle it, really, I can....Until my precious punk pulls one of these moves on me, then I realize that single parenthood is SCARY!!!! And I want Daddy home...like YESTERDAY....cuz I can't handle it!!!!!

Let me back up a little bit so you get the full picture here....I woke up at 515am....rolled out of bed and out the door at about 530am....all is well...all on schedule.....one difference tho, the Little Brat was sleeping with me....that's the norm when Daddy is away....the girls cuddle up and keep each other company.....it's really nice.....then when Daddy gets home, it's back to her big girl bed....no fuss no muss.....it works for us! NORMALLY, it does anyways....What happened THIS morning, is that I must have disturbed the punk out of deep sleep as I left the bed and headed outside to feed the horses....she has ALWAYS slept soundly until I wake her to get ready.....however, about half way thru my rituals, I see the Little Brat come strolling in the barn...out of the dark night, STILL in her footy pajamas!!!!!! My heart skipped a beat...wait, make that 23847289745293 beats! You see, the barn is a couple hundred yards away from the house....and the thought of my precious little pumpkin bum, babe of my loins, daughter of my dreams, and love of my life strolling down the drive all by herself and surrounded by darkness and who knows what other baby hatin' forces....Lordsy Mercy......the words for such a feeling escape me!!!!! i think THIS picture may capture the gist of it tho....

I have been trying to bury this lingering fear all day now...it has taken me over tho! I am on the edge of my seat, holding myself back from going to her daycare right this minute, picking her up, and hugging her tight...just to be SURE she is OK....cuz anything could have happened!!! Am I over reacting??? I'm still freaked out here...

The Mom.

October 27, 2008

One of my favorite things....

From time to time we stumble upon special little things that make our life more wonderful and complete.....before these special little things come into our lives, we are just plowing thru life, oblivious to their wonders and beauty.....and once we have found a special little thing, our lives are never the same again....

Case in point: LEMON OIL!

I was introduced to lemon oil by Kate, and am a happier, glad, more fruitful person today because of it! (Get it? Fruitful? hehe) She used it on our wood floors and bricks around our fireplace when she performed our living room re-design. I haven't been able to get this stuff out of my head since!

Lemon Oil cleans, nourishes, and pleases those things that clean, nourish and please us! Just look at just a few examples of uses for this handy little solution:

  • Lemon Oil on furniture does an excellent job of nourishing & protecting your low luster furniture. The oil leaves a beautiful shine, and prevents fine wood finishes from drying out. Lemon oil replaces lost moisture in older wood surfaces and penetrates worn finishes.

  • On heavily soiled surfaces such as painted wood, plastic-laminated surfaces, fiberglass shower stalls and glass shower doors spray a small amount of lemon oil on the surface before spraying with the all purpose cleaner of choice. The lemon oil penetrates deeper and loosens the dirt. The combination of oil with your cleaner will result in a cleaner surface in half the time.

  • An oil treated cloth will quickly wipe away the beginning signs of tarnish on silver and brass knickknacks. This served to extend the length of time between thorough cleanings.

  • The face of the microwaves which get so greasy from fingerprints will wipe to a clean and brilliant shine with a magical lemon oiled cloth.

  • One more use is the cleaning of scuff marks on floors. On wood floors use a very minimal amount on a soft cloth or sponge and rub ever so gently to remove stubborn scuff marks. On other floors you can use a little more and rub a little harder. The oil lifts the scuff marks like magic and then mop as usual.

  • You could also salvage many hard covered books by wipe the outside with a cloth that had been pre-treated in lemon oil. It would help to remove any water stains. The oil did darken the color of the book cover a little. The key factor is to use just a little and not to put the oil on the book but on the cloth.

  • The important thing to remember when using the lemon oil is ‘less is best’.

Isn't this just terrific stuff??? Maybe I am just late to the game here, but I sure wish I had known about this liquid gold ages ago! I have about 23847327430218419841 surfaces and items in my house that are going to be benefiting from this new found knowledge! For the first time in a LONG time, I am actually a little enthusiastic about cleaning the house! Don't get all silly on me tho, I said a LITTLE....it's just that it smells so lovely! Makes me want to wipe it all over the place and bask in it's sweet aroma....

Please try it out and let me know what YOU think! Enjoy!

UPDATE: The brand Kate used in my home was Weiman's Natural Lemon Oil!

Happy Trails,


October 26, 2008

Our newest addition: FANCY

We have welcomed a new family member over the weekend!

"Fancy" is a 2 year old registered Quarter Horse. She is bred to be a great reining prospect, and we look forward with hopeful anticipation of seeing her reach her full potential! She has had minimal handling to date, so we are starting from the ground up with her....I'll spend the next couple months getting her basically trained, then pass her off to a professional for the finishing touches in the spring...that's the plan anyways! We all know how plans can change, and there are a lot of unpredictable factors when you are dealing with horses!

Here are some pics I took of Fancy this morning hanging out in her new paddock....Enjoy!

Happy Trails,

October 24, 2008

Living Room Remodel: IT'S DONE!!!




Words cannot express the jubilee I experienced when I walked into my once forsaken and pathetic excuse of a living room and found this oasis of country livin'!!!! It is PERFECT...It is WARM...It is everything I wanted and MORE...to catchup on the whatsup, start reading HERE and HERE.

Let's take a little walk down memory lane, shall we? Here is our living room when we bought Westwood... Here is our living room with our own possessions in it...

And finally, here is our living room after a relaxing walk down a warm sandy beach, breeze off the bright blue surf gently blowing thru its' silky hair...Seriously people, IS this the same house? I am pinching myself...it is so cozy and inviting now! Keep in mind that with the exception of the couches and bookshelves, almost every other item in this room Kate 'permanently borrowed' from another area of the house....she did an amazing job of reusing my own goodies in ways I would have never considered! And it WORKS!

Here's another view of the room when we bought the house...

And here is the same view post-Kate...I am speechless! Kate hand made that hanging picture frame doo-hicky...with her OWN hands even!

Here is a view into the living room from the foyer...we'll refer to the foyer hereunto and fortwith as #4 on Kate's ever growing to-do list...
Here is the same view after Kate worked her magic!
Here is an angle of the living room looking out towards the front of the home and out the window. That floral arrangement at the right end of the sofa was also "kustom by kate"...I LOVE it! Notice the window treatment?

You guessed it! "kustom by kate" too! This woman is a walking talking design genius...

Last, but not least....one of the grandest improvements in a sea of remarkable candidates....remember that tired ole mantel? If not, see below...don't look for too long tho, it may burn your retinas out your poor little eyeballs!

Well, here it is NOW....go ahead...drool....you can't have it...Kate made it pretty just for ME!!! MINE MINE MINE MINE!!!!!! *bwahahahahaa*
Thanks again to Kate, aka Simply Beautiful Spaces....you have created a monster now, and I can't wait to continue working with you on the rest of the house!!!!!
Lots of love, respect, and appreciation,

Yummy in my Tummy: BANANA PUDDING

Time to share another family favorite! We get ready for the weekend by throwing together this sweet and scrumptious treat every Thursday eve....since we like it to 'marinade' for a day or two, it offers us a tasty treat for the weekend!

Here is our simple cast of characters....don't scrimp on the generic stuff! Many a people have been unduly, unwittingly and unknowingly turned off to the awesome dessert because they had it in a cafeteria or somewhere else where they used generic ingredients....in this case, generic does NOT taste the same! It's not like you are going to break the bank on getting the REAL Nilla Wafers, so don't cheat yourself out of a good thing!

1 Box Nilla Wafers
6 cups Milk
2 Large Boxes Jell-O Instant Vanilla Pudding
6 Ripe Bananas

First, add 6 cups of milk to a medium mixing bowl...Little Brat is going to help us out here...look at the great care she takes, not spilling a single drop! Pretty good for being knee-high to a grasshopper!

Next, empty 2 packages of Jell-O Instant Vanilla Pudding into the milk....look at how clean Little Brats nails are...she must have a wonderful mommy taking care of her health and hygiene...

Then, mix the milk and instant pudding together for 2 full minutes...you will notice the pudding starting to thicken up...TWO hands Little Brat! Don't let'er get the best of ya! Hang in there!

While Little Brat was strong arming the mix, Mommy was cutting up the bananas....Once you are done mixing, add those baby's right in!

Now, mix those bananas into the pudding real good...

Finally, pour your pudding and banana mixture into your serving dish, layering pudding then Nilla Wafers then pudding then Nilla Wafers then pudding then Nilla Wafers then pudding then Nilla Wafers then pudding then Nilla Wafers then pudding then Nilla Wafers then pudding...you get the point! Till it's ALLLL gone.

Here is what our creation looks like all prissed up and ready to eat....like I mentioned above, our family likes day+ old banana pudding best...after the Nilla Wafers have gotten all mushy....so we put some plastic wrap over the top and stick it in the fridge like this.....and wait....and wait...and wait...and wait.....the WAITING is unbearable! But a necessary evil....All good things come to those that wait....if it's anything good, it's worth waiting for...so on and so forth...

So whether you like to immediately devour this creamy masterpiece, or wait a few and mash it all into a yellow, mushy, delectable mess....Enjoy!

Happy Trails,
Leah & Little Brat

October 22, 2008

Pygmy Kisses...

Our goats are getting so big and proud! Here is Fiddle greeting me at feeding time tonight....showing me much love and appreciation with a big fat Fiddle Kiss!

Not be be outdone, here is Banjo sharing some love....he is half the man he used to be though....he was 'fixed' this month....we like our SMALL pygmy family...poor Banjo!

Happy Trails,


Gates, Gates, Gates, Gates, GATES!

Here is a little update on what Gpa Craig has been up to over the past week....I can some it up in ONE word.....GATES!

He took down the old gate and put up this new gate on the livestock pen...

He took down the old gate, moved the posts, and put up this new gate on the large horse pasture...
He took Down the 8 foot gate, put in new posts and rails, and hung this 6 foot gate at the cottage...
He pulled up a post, added shorter rails, and put up this 6 foot gate on the other side of the cottage....if you squint, twirl two times to the left and stand on one foot you can just make out the new posts and rails in the background that will comprise the 3rd paddock off the cottage Gpa Craig is also working on..OR, you can just look below this pic...

He put up new posts, rails, and THIS 8 foot gate on the paddock beside the cottage...

Did I miss any? I don't think so....What can I say, the man is a gate hanging machine!!!

Thanks Gpa Craig! They look FABULOUS!!!

Happy Trails,

October 20, 2008

Monster Eyeballs!!!!!

Littlest Brat is no scaredy cat...she loves the scary movies and has no fears of the dark...there are times, however, when even the bravest of dear little pumpkin bums gets a fright.....this was one of those times...

Exhibit #1. Monster Eyeballs...

Little Brat had to go potty one dark and dreary night....she asked if I would go turn on the light for her...If I were sleeping, she would not have asked, but since I wasn't I got up and helped a girlfriend out...

Little brat led the way...as we entered the bathroom, she hesitated, looking up to the top of the Armoire, but not saying a word....I would not have even noticed her pause the next day had it not been for the following conversation...

  • Me: Here's the light baby girl.....now go potty.

  • LB: Thank you mommy (pause, looking up at armoire)

  • Me: What are you looking at baby?

  • LB: Nothing mommy...(walking to the potty)

  • Me: Yes you were, what was it? (hint of desperation...the house IS almost 200 yrs old....and kids DO seem to be more capable of seeing ghosts and all)

  • LB: I thought those were monster eyeballs, mommy...but it's just toilet paper.
I guess in the dark of the night and before I turned on the light, she could very well have imagined they belonged to a big scary baby eating bathroom troll! Here's a shot from her perspective...now picture it in the dead of night.....ooohhhhhhhhhh, SCARY!!!!

That's good for a giggle every time I look at that stack of toilet paper now....

Happy Trails,

October 19, 2008

Beautiful Horses: RAVEN

Raven got all dolled up for her photo shoot today, so I got lots of pics to share! She is just one of the many beautiful horses boarded here at Westwood....these are the kinds of wonderful animals I get to feast my eyes on each and every day...no, you can't have my life...I LOVE it!

Raven is a TB mare, about 6 yrs old. She is trained to ride English, and has started jumping over small jumps. She is a sweet mare, with lots of personality! I really enjoyed working with her today....her owners are interested in purchasing a registered Paint horse and showing on the Paint horse circuit, so Raven needs to find a new home with a family looking to bring her to her full potential. I took these pics today for her sale ads... For more information, please contact her owner: julie.skamangas@yahoo.com


Candid shots show so much more personality...

Happy Trails,