Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Looking Back at 2008 & New Year's Resolutions!

Looking Back at 2008

The Kids and Family Life
Well my two oldest children are in a local community college. One is taking Auto Mechanics and one is taking Motorcycle Mechanics. That was a huge feat getting the funding for college. Luckily it was covered and they are enjoying it. My youngest son is a freshman in high school with all A's. I am happy with this. He wants to get a four year degree, while talking with his career counselor at school he should not have any problems getting scholarships and endowments from several great colleges. I cannot believe that my little men are growing up so fast. My oldest son Michael is 19 now, David is 18 and Anthony is 14. Mike works at a local Dollar General as well as going to college and David does some construction work on the weekends. His college schedule is more detailed than Mikes. During the summer break David and Anthony will be picking up more construction jobs. David actually likes the field and might change his mind about the motorcycle mechanics thing. I told him he only has one more semester to go. They are all doing great and I am very proud of them!

My Fiance and I have been together for over a year. We moved to this new place together in February and things are great for us. We think along the same path and we want the same things. I could not have done half the things around here without him. We rely on each other and support each other. I think things will only get better for us.

Farm Life and Homesteading
Looking back now the year did not go so badly. We got moved to a good place, a nice house with ten acres of land. We have settled in well and now we have a pair of Pekin Ducks (Daisy & Donald) as well as 14 chicks. Looking forward to seeing how they grow. The garden last year sucked! We have a huge black walnut tree right beside of the garden area. For anyone who does not know, black walnuts are not good for tomatoes, potatoes, apples, blackberries and a few flowers. Lesson learned on this note! It is not all the black walnut trees fault though... needless to say the ground was not very fertile and we somewhat gave up on it! So for my canning and freezing of veggies I had to rely on buying items from the farmers market as well as various grocery store sales. I canned some tomatoes, blueberries and peaches. I froze some butterbeans and peas. The tomatoes, peas and butterbeans are all gone now. We did have several wild blackberry bushes that produced lots of berries. I did can and freeze any of those that did not get ate fresh. Definately not enough put away in general. I wanted to cook more from scratch this year and I have done that. I have never bought spaghetti sauce from a jar, I have always made it on my own, I expanded this to include my own pizza sauce and of course lasagna sauce. We love Mexican food here at the house and I have conqured my own taco seasoning mix as well as refried beans. The refried bean recipe is here on the blog and I can put the taco mix on the blog as well if anyone is interested. My baking habits have improved, cakes, brownies, cookies and such are all from scratch, no mixes. I bake more bread now but I have had problems with my biscuits. They are no longer as good as they use to be. This is a crime! My nickname among my closest friends is "Biscuit" because of my biscuit making abilities. I am not sure what exactly is going on with me currently. The last batch of biscuits that I made that were any good were cinnamon raisin biscuits that I made a batch of and froze.

House Keeping & Laundry
We moved to the place of my dreams this year. I love it! I love the land and I love my huge kitchen! Most of the time I enjoy cooking so I like a big kitchen that flows in the right direction! This house has it! I have lots of problems keeping up with the dust and the mounds of laundry that I do. I want to have a better idea of organizing and getting things done. In the past I would always have one weekend a month for KPing the house with special attention to the kitchen and bathrooms. The kids always hated this. The entire kitchen would be cleaned from top to bottom. Fridge, freezers, stove, behind all of these items and of cours the laundry room as well. The bathrooms would be cleaned spotless and cloroxed thoroughly. After the huge garden tub was cleaned well I would take all of the blinds in the house and soak them in the tub full of clorox water. All of the drapes would be washed and hung back up. So this tradition has fallen along the wayside these days. Need to fix this problem!

Working at home and ways to make money!

Ok I lucked out and found jobs at home. So far I have found two. One was customer service for a VOIP company. This was a temp job and did not last long but it was a good job. The second is customer service online. I am very fortunate to have this job. I can work from home, set my own schedule and make as much money as I want to (well within reason). It is not the income that I had when out in the real world but the expenses are way down, no lunch "meetings", no traveling, no business clothes. Even though some of these things I got credit for on my taxes the costs were always a pain. I have found 3 good ways to make extra money as well. Sendearnings, Inboxdollars, OpinionsOutpost and of course MyLot. I have a button on here for Sendearnings and Inboxdollars, feel free to sign up under me. I have links for opinionoutposts and MyLot if you are interested. Just let me know. These are not going to make you enough money to quit your job but they will pay for a new book or a magazine subscription or even a night at the movies.

Resolutions for 2009

The Kids and Family Life

Michael & David are doing well. I want to continue this. David is not as interested in Motorcycle Mechanics as he was, so its possible he might change his major. He is really good at working construction, metal framing and sheet rock work. I want him to take courses along those lines, we are looking at them. Mike has all A's in his classes at the moment. They go back in January for the Spring Semester. Anthony is doing great. His new 4 block starts in January. Currently he has straight A's in his current classes. Both David and Mike are still working and Anthony should get a summer job when school gets out. David has a great girlfriend and they are very close. I am thinking that their relationship might lead to much more in the future. All in all the kids are doing well.
My Fiance and I are also doing well. We are starting a new business. He has lots of experience in construction, metal framing and sheet rock hanging. He works his normal job and then takes on side jobs as well. We are hoping that the side jobs will lead to a business. Things are going well in that department. We are working toward doing more here at the homestead and learning new skills. We look forward to 2009.

Farm Life and Homesteading

Our current livestock include two Pekin Ducks and 14 chicks. That has been a great accomplishment for us in 2008. Our ducks are fat and happy and the chicks are growing like weeds. They are getting all of thier feathers in now. I am dropping off film at CVS to be developed today. I will post all of the pics here soon!
I am going to list the things we want to accomplish in 2009.
1.) Raise rabbits for meat production. I hope we can get rabbits by the end of January 2009. I have contacted a local person on a homesteading forum I belong to. I think it will work out well. Now to get those cages built!
2.) Garden, Garden & More Garden- we have created the smaller Lasagna garden for the items that cannot be placed near the black walnut tree. It is turning out really well. It is placed behind the chicken coop and on the side of the duck pen. That makes hauling the coop wastes and the duck poop soup much easier for me! Seed selection, special attention to the garden and companion planting is going to give us lots of veggies in 2009 I hope!
3.) New ways to store, can, freeze, dehydrate our crops. I want to learn to make onion salt, garlic salt as well as begin canning more products such as my spaghetti sauce, lasagna sauce, pizza sauce and the beans for my refried beans. We would love to build a root cellar here on the property to store our root veggies, potatoes, carrots and onions. This might not be possible since it is rented however, there are other smaller options that we will check into as well.
4.) Honey Bee Hive- this is one of my pet projects. I would really like to learn about bees and purchase the equipment for the bees as well as the bees. I love honey and I do like to even cook with it, however honey is very expensive. If I had access to my own honey that would make things much better.
5.) Feeder Pigs- We would love to get a couple of feeder pigs in the spring. Nothing better than fresh pork. I remember growing up with my aunt, uncle and my mama killing hogs. I was very young but it was very exciting. I hope we can do that ourselves.
6.) Nigerian Dwarf Goats- This is also a project that I want to tackle. I would love to have goats, they have such personality and I have done quite a bit of research on them. I want milk from these goats. Nigerian Dwarf Goats produce quite a bit of milk for their smaller packages. The milk would be used to make soaps, butters, sour cream and such. In the past my mama and I went on a venture with goats, it was a hard learned lesson. We purchased a Nubian Lamacha mix, 3 does. They were too large for us to handle and grown when we purchased them. None of them had any sort of bottle feeding or special attention. They were quite human shy as well as the oldest one being very honary! We kept them for about 6 months before we decided that we would not be able to do with them what we wanted. We sold them someone that had more land and more time to devote to them. I do not want to make that same mistake again. However, having learned such lessons the hard way, I now know that research is called for, and also hands on experience is best if you can find someone that will let you come and learn and work at their place for free just for the knowledge. I am working on that aspect. Wish me luck on it!
Whew that list was long, I hope we can accomplish it all!

House Keeping & Laundry

I have to get more organized. All of our homesteading projects take priority on the weekends when my Fiance is at home. He is the builder between the two of us and I am just the lacky. Anything that needs building or fixing in that manner he does it. So, on the weekends while I am being the lacky it seems that the chores pile up and on Monday I am swamped with work. I also want to get back into the habit of KPing the house again. This has fallen through the cracks in the past years. I need to have a schedule to keep things running smoothly. My house will never be picture perfect. Sometimes circumstances such as injured ducks or newly delivered chicks take up residence in the house. I don't think Martha would be impressed! I can only try to make things better.

Working from Home and Making Money Online

In 2008 I was fortunate to find 2 work at home jobs. One of these jobs I still have. I want to improve my hours and set goals for myself on a daily basis. This will mean rearranging my schedule to work at different peak business hours and sticking to my daily goal. Of course I will still work on my other methods of generating income. No more PTC websites though. Those are tedious and not worthwhile for me, not to mention they love to send you viruses and spyware! All in all, it comes down to me being more organized all the way around.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Exhausting Day

Well today was long and exhausting! My parents recently got a new Heating/AC unit in their home. Along with this unit they needed to reinsulate the house. Anyone who has looked at insulation these days knows that it is very expensive. My Fiance works in construction. One of the places he is working is being turned into a bowling alley. It was a grocery store with 2 or 3 shops on the sides of it. Now the guy who bought the place is cleaning out all of the old construction, insulation, wiring, everything. This is fortunate for my folks because we were able to salvage the insulation. This insulation was stacked, tied up and hauled by myself and my dad yesterday. Now today, my fiance and two older boys will install it in my folks house. This is our Christmas Present to them for the year. I am very sore and basically itchy all over still. It is well worth it though.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Daisy & Donald

Well everyone, the quarantine is over and we finally put Daisy and Donald together. I cleaned out the pool and both of their pens on Saturday. I added the "duck poop soup" to the lasagna garden along with all of their bedding and poop. Then I wrangled up Donald and put him in the pen with Daisy. Daisy was happy. Donald was happy as well but in a much more refined way. After they got to know each other and I finally got the pool cleaned and filled back up, I put both of them in the pool together. Daisy went about her normal splashing water all over the place, washing and just enjoying it. Donald did not quite understand the concept. (Donald was purchased from someone who had him for eating purposes, he was kept with two other ducks in a very small pen and fed corn daily but didn't really have any luxaries.) It did not take long for Daisy to convince Donald that the pool was great and was made just for ducks! Pretty soon he had his water legs and they both began to have fun. After the romp in the pool, Donald followed Daisy around like an old man the rest of the day. It was rather sweet to watch. He was very unsure of how things worked around the place and he would follow her lead. I enjoyed seeing them together. No babies in the making as of yet. They are still getting accustomed to each other and Donald is being a gentlemanly duck! At night they are tucked into different pens until they become more accustomed to each other. We did not want Daisy to think that we were giving her bed to some new duck on the scene!

Last Week

Last week was a bummer. I was called upon for Jury Duty. I, along with 49 others, sat throught the process for several days until they finally decided that I was not the one they wanted on the Jury. I was rather shocked at how personal they got with each potential Juror. Questions about your job, where you live, your personal experiences with he law, your immediate family (children, husband) their jobs and what they do, if anyone has ever been arrested that you know, family, friends, etc, if they got a fair trial, if you were ever a victim of a crime and if you were, did the local law enforcement handle it to a satisfactory degree, etc. It was a long process. All twelve people on the initial panel were asked these questions by the DA first. After everyone answered if he was unsatisfied he would dismiss whom ever he did not agree with then for the people he dismissed. Then more people would be called from the panel. After the DA was satisfied then it was the Defense Attorney's turn and of course they come up with several different questions as well. It took quite a long time to figure out who would be on the Jury. I was finally cut loose but I had to call in to make sure that they did not change their minds. It was tedious but it gave me insight on how the legal system works. I did miss almost an entire week of work and of course I was rushed with the chores and such around the house. I am thankful that it is all over and that they cannot call me again for at least 2 years!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Getting Ahead of Myself

We now have the two ducks and 14 baby chicks. I enjoy looking after all of them. Daisy the duck is laying faithfully an egg every day. Donald is still in quarintine right now. He is scheduled to be introduced officially to Daisy on Wednesday. That will be the nine day mark for him. The baby chicks are growing steadily. Two died but the rest seem to be ok. Now I want to work on getting rabbits and hopefully feeder pigs in the spring. I am trying to pace myself so that I don't get too overwhelmed. I also saw bee hives for sale on CraigsList. I would love to get into bees as well! LOL yes, I know, slow down!!! That is what my Fiance keeps telling me over and over. Since he is the mastermind behind all of the building projects and does the supervising for all of the fencing projects, I have to keep what he says in mind at all times! Anyone else trying to get in over their heads?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Chicks Arrived!

On November 11th our chicks arrived. We ordered 16 chicks from Ideal Hatchery. The order was for 5 Rhode Island Reds (4 females, 1 male), 5 Araucana's, (4 females, 1 male) and 3 Golden Sebright Bantums Straight Run (which means we get what they send), 3 Mille Fleur Bantums, Straight Run. They were shipped on the 10th and arrived bright and early on the 11th. I went to the post office and picked them up and brought them home. Unfortunately 2 of the bantums died. One was a Mille Fleur and one was a Golden Sebright. I have taken pics of them all, I just have to go and get them developed. The rest of the little chicks are doing well. They are all growing well and are very much full of energy!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Garden Spot

I have decided that I want a Lasagna Garden. A lasagna garden is comprised of cardboard boxes, as the bottom layer, just laid upon the ground then it is covered with yard wastes, we used leaves and grass clippings. After that came the compost from the house, onion peelings, potato peelings, egg shells and such. Added to that was also some shredded up newspaper and junk mail that I get frequently here at the house. I am hoping that this will all deteroiate this winter and leave very fertile soil this spring! Our garden has got to be better than it was last season.

Daisy has a Boyfriend!

Today we went to get my duck Daisy a boyfriend. I found a guy here in Lillington that had a Super Pekin Duck that would make a great mate for my Daisy. We picked him up and brought him home. We have him quartined in the Industrial Chicken Condo for the next 9 days (to make sure he has no illnesses) and after that we will put him in with Daisy. They saw each other through the door today and of course feathers were raised and beaks flew! LOL but hopefully it will get better and they will at least like each other. He is much bigger than her. He does not make as much noise as she does. She quacks and honks all of the time. He is fairly quiet. We have named him Donald, so now we have Donald and Daisy Duck!! Pictures will follow soon I hope!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Industrial Chicken Condo Complete!

We have been working on a chicken coop for quite some time now. We are building it from free and or salvaged materials that my fiance Keith is given from construction jobs. It started off back in the summer with 16 gauge metal framing and some sheets of plywood. We put those together and made the basic frame. Then we purchased a roll of chicken wire to put around the sides. The project has been sitting dormant for most of the summer and into the fall until recently when we had a windfall of industrial tin that his boss just gave him. We also went today and picked up some scrap lumber from one of the job sites that was given to him. So today out in the rain and cold we completed the top for the chicken coop. I do so wish I had a camera so that I could show off the nice new coop! That is what I am asking Santa Clause for Christmas! I have placed an order with Ideal Hatchery and we will receive our first chicks on December 17th. Wish us all luck. This will be my first time raising chicks!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Its Whats Cooking Tonight!

Tonight I am making homemade tacos and burritos for supper. I have pinto beans cooking for the refried beans at the moment. I also have some red kidney beans cooking to add to the hamburger meat for the tacos. I am feeding 3 growing young men and one grown man with hungry appetites. I thought I might include my recipe for Refried Beans here so that you can make your own if you have a mind to. I think they are great and I use them often for a quick burrito lunch or for these nights when I am making Mexican dishes. Enjoy the recipe:

Pinto Beans
4cups water
1lb dried pinto or black beans (about 2 cups)
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cloves of garlic
1 slice of bacon
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cumin seed

Mix water, beans and onion in 4 qt. dutch oven. Cover and heat to boiling for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, let stand for 1 hour. Add just enough water to beans to cover. Stir in remaining ingredients. Heat to boiling, reduce heat. Cover and boil gently, stirring occasionally, until beans are very tender, about 2 hours. (Add water during cooking if necessary). Drain, reserve broth for recipes calling for bean broth. Use the beans and the broth within 10 days.

Refried Beans
1/2 cup vegetable oil or lard
2 cups cooked Pinto Beans (recipe above)
2 Tbsp. Chili powder
1 Tbsp. ground cumin (I always use 3 to 4 Tbsp of cumin, we love the taste of it!)
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper

Heat oil or lard in 10 inch skillet over medium heat until hot. Add beans, cook stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Mash beans, stir in chili powder, cumin, salt & pepper. Add more oil to skillet if necessary. Cook and stir until smooth paste forms, about 5 minutes. Garnish with shredded cheese if desired.

I always take these refried beans and put a few spoonfuls into a tortilla with some shredded cheese on top, heat in oven at 350 for 10 to 15 minutes, instant burritos!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

On November 3rd my first payment of $28.40 will be processed at SendEarnings! I can refer everyone to this site with my assurances that you can be paid by it! If you feel like joining, please click on my link below! I am so happy! Yah!

I have also requested my payout from Opinion Outpost. If you would like a referral from them, please let me know your email and I will send you a link. I am getting $11.00 from them. November is turning out to be a great month!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Scavenger Cash

I joined another paid to post forum called ScavengerCash. It pays 20 cents per referal and 1.2 cents per post. Here is the link for it. I hope you join and enjoy. I have posted several times and when I reach payout I will post proof of pay.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Paid to Post Forums

Alright everyone here is more ways that I make money. You will never get rich doing this but it is extra cash on the side! Everyone can use extra cash! It is also very easy and something I like to do anyway so why not make $ doing it? I have recently joined two forums that pay to post. Here isthe links to one site:
09-14-2008 until 10-15-2008
$0.25 Per Every Referral. $10 Bonus for 100 Referrals

New Contest to Every Member. Bring your each friend and earn $0.25 for free.

$10 Bonus for every 100 members.

$0.04 per every thread,
$0.03 per every post

$5 Minimum Payout

Payouts via Liberty Reserve and Paypal.

Here is the link for MyLot which is my fav!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Time with Family

Yesterday my cousin needed our help. Her babysitter had a family emergency and could not watch her kids. So we babysat Hunter (7), Aiyana (4) and Taylor (13 months). It was a very exciting day. Keith helped me out so very much! We had lots of fun. We took the duck on a walk and chased grasshoppers to feed it. All of the kids enjoyed walking around the yard and even feeding the duck the bugs! Taylor even joined in on the fun. She has not been walking very long but she was so cute toddling along! We had quite a bit of fun. Hunter, Aiyana and I baked a chocolate cake together. Hunter was really good at reading the directions and both he and Aiyana helped whip up the batter. My cousin Joni was very impressed with the cake. I enjoyed having them here. They sure did wear us out though. I told Joni that if they did not sleep good last night that it would be a surprise. We certainly slept good! It was a very fun day and I am so glad we could help her out!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Paid to read sites!

I have signed up for pay to read sites and these two really work for me. Click on the link and enjoy!

Try them out!

Feeling Sexy

One thing that always makes me feel more feminine is painting my finger nails and my toe nails. I try to paint them at least once a week (more for my finger nails) to assure that they look decent. I am rough on my finger nails! I type constantly during work and gathering eggs, feeding the duck and washing dishes and such are horrible on polish. My nails are always trimmed and they are not what you would consider long by any standards. I honestly, find long nails cumbersome and I can't take it! I keep them polished in a clear coat. Now, my toe nails I go crazy with color on. I always try to change up the color weekly. Even more frequently if I am going to dress up and wear open toed shoes. If that is the case I try to match the polish to the color of my clothing. Does anyone else paint their nails?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Great Ice Cream with 50% less fat!

I started taking surveys earlier this year to add some income. One survey site sent me a survey for Breyer's Ice Cream. They have a new line out called Breyers Smooth & Dreamy. It is real all natural light ice cream with 1/2 the fat and 20% less calories than regular ice cream. Now, I am a big Breyers fan from the start. I like the fact that they use natural ingredients. I was sent a box of the new ice cream for a survey and let me tell you it was just like the name said "Smooth & Dreamy"! I really enjoyed it. I was sent the strawberry cheesecake version but they have 13 flavors available. I am giving this ice cream a big Thumbs Up! It was great. My fiance and my oldest son like it as well. I need to lose some weight and I am trying to eat healthier, this new ice cream by Breyers will certainly help me out with that! I hope everyone looking to eat healthier but still enjoy some delights will try the Breyers Smooth & Dreamy Ice Cream!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Introducing Myself

My name is Shellyann and I have three different aspects of my life happening. First and foremost I am the mother of 3 wonderful teenage boys. They are Michael (19), David (17) and Anthony(14). Secondly, I am engaged to a wonderful man (Keith) who makes my hectic life much better. Thirdly, I am a woman who works from home. Let me introduce you to these aspects of my life:

My kids are growing up so fast! The two older boys are enrolled in a local community college. Michael is taking Automotive Mechanics and David is taking Motorcycle Mechanics. Both of them are doing really well with their chosen paths in life. My youngest son Anthony, is a freshman in high school this year. He is focusing on some sort of Law Enforcement career when he graduates. Of course he has changed his mind several times so far. He started out wanting to be a Lawyer, then and Engineer, now a career in Law Enforcement. We shall see where he ends up! I am extremely proud of all three of them.

Keith and I have been together for exactly one year now. Our first date was a local county fair and concert. We had tickets to see a local North Carolina singer Jason Michael Carroll (Alyssa Lies & Livin Our Love Song) as the opening act and then the main attraction was Emerson Drive (Moments, A Good Man) on their Countrified cd tour! We have been through several things over this past year and we are still going strong. I hate to think of what my life would be like without him!

My work at home job is based around customer service and I am always looking for new things to do. We call the work at home jobs "eggs" and one can never have too many "eggs" in their basket. I do not make as much money as I would out in the real world but I do not have to worry about expenses such as GAS (a huge expense right now) and professional clothing and of course lunches out, parking fees and everything in between! Yah!!

I have started this blog to document my every day experiences with everyone on the net. Enjoy.