Saturday, July 14, 2018


If people would just spend half of the amount of their time praying for the president as they do complaining about him on social media......

Friday, July 13, 2018

Do you know any Foster Families?

Almost everyone knows of at least one family who foster children.  There is a huge need in most parts of the United States for foster parents. The main goal of foster parenting is to provide the child love, safety and everything a normal healthy family has until their own family can be reunited.

If you are wanting to help a foster family out, I have some suggestions and ideas.

First off, foster families do NOT make money or earn their living fostering children.  You have to be able to prove to the state that you can support the children without the state payments.  In my area  the payments depend on the age of the child, but are mostly in the $200s per month.  Here, they also qualify for free insurance, childcare, and free school breakfasts and lunch.  Foster parents get a once a year allowance of $250 for their clothing.  Some children are not with you for a year.

During the time foster kids are in a foster family home they are kids.  Just kids.  They are not labeled as "foster kids".  It is not your business to know the kids background, parents or why they are in foster care.  Respect that.  During this time, they are to be treated as normal kids.  If you invite them over for Christmas, have a gift for them as you would for any other child.  Some of these kids may have severe behavior issues.  Respect how the foster parents address that.  Yes, you may do differently with your own children, but many of these kids have been thru various types of trauma and so discipline is very different.  Don't loudly announce what you would do or intervene unless asked to do so.

Foster kids usually arrive in care with nothing, or just a few things in a trash bag.  So, the family must get everything for them, usually at their own expense--underwear, socks, shoes, clothing, bedding (for each child placement you have you need either generic bedding or a boy set and a girl set, and extra of each for sicknesses and accidents) What has been given to that child becomes theirs.  So, when they move back home, their clothes and toys are theirs to take.

Foster families could use gift cards to take the family out to dinner once in awhile, even if only to McDonalds.   Movie gift cards are also nice.  Also, they could use gift cards to places such as Walmart, grocery stores, perhaps a family pool pass, give them gifts of coloring books and crayons, play dough, age appropriate toys, gas cards as the family will be taking the child to counseling, therapy and such quite often.

Pick and date with the mom and provide a meal for them after asking about food allergies.

When around foster children.  Set a good example, use a clean mouth, don't get angry or upset.

If you notice the family has a new placement, ask if there is anything they need.

Offer to pay the way for a child to go to camp.

Donate music lessons, voice or dance lessons......Buy their scout uniform, help the family at Christmas.

See if your church has a foster ministry.  If not, set one up with a clothing closet, baby equipment, new shoes, new socks and new underwear, good luggage.  Start a fund at your church  to help foster families with expenses, such as needing to repair walls or repaint between placements, or clothing, band instruments, yearbooks, class rings, letter jackets, school supplies and backpacks....

Make it known to the foster mom that if they get a late night placement, you are more than willing to run to the store to her to get what she may be lacking (such as formula, change of clothing for an older child.)   Then, if you do so, don't announce it to everyone.


Navy daughter is back home.  She returned home the end of May.  Since she is in the reserves, she will be drilling once a month while she finished college and at that point she will be going active duty.

Army daughter was able to come and visit for the 4th of July.  The weekend after we had all 5 of the girls home.  It has been several years I think since all 5 have been together.  One daughter is married to an Air Force man, and they have received orders for Korea.  So, the times that all are here are good.  It hasn't been that long ago that we had one living in Ireland and one in Germany.  All are back but not for long it seems.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Sunday, April 15, 2018

My Classroom????

I think the kids in our classroom have spring fever.....This video, pretty much sums up how their attention span has been lately at carpet time......

Greenhouse Update

The greenhouse building is NOT going as planned.  It has either rained or snowed every single day that I have been off work to work on it.  Today, April 15, it snowed.  April 15!!!  So, we wait.  Although the tractor has a cab on it, and I could still dig holes to set the posts, I don't want to leave ruts in the ground, or have the holes filling up with water as I dig.  So, we wait.....and wait....

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Greenhouse Finally Started

Exactly 1 year after when we originally going to start building the greenhouse, it has finally happened.

This isn't going to be a fast build, but the target date to have it finished is May 1. That is 6 weeks out so if the weather is good, we should make it.

Today, I got the first post set.  All my other posts will square up to this one.  It may be the only post set his week as we are supposed to get storms and rain the next 2 to 3 days, but its a start.  I have 9 more to go.

So, in a nutshell, I am building this pretty  much by myself at this point.  I have some days off this week and my husband doesn't.  But, since the post hole digger is on the back of the tractor and the front loader is on the front, I can get it started.

 There is a knack to using a bale spike to get it upright.  It took me a few minutes to figure it out.  As I raised the post the end of the post over the hole wanted to shift, so I had to slowly move the tractor forward as I raised the loader.  Now that I got that figured out, the rest will go much quicker.

The posts I am using are 6x6 posts and very heavy.  These are the posts that were used to build our barn that the tornado hit.  When the builder rebuilt it, he knew I was wanting to build the greenhouse and set the ones that could be salvaged aside.  He also set some tin aside as well, to use for the bottom 36 inches all the way around.  I am doing the bottom in tin, so that if the mower throws a rock, it won't break out the clear panels, and also, to help offset the cost.  That will save me from having to buy 6 of the clear panels. 

Most are of the posts are way too long for this project and they are all different lengths.  After I get the poles set, and start on the roof, we will trim them off with the chain saw.  That way, when I am off work I can still work on this.  If I wait for my husband to cut them down first, I will have to wait for his next day off when it is not raining. and since the forecast is scheduling rain on his next day off, it would be another 10 days before I could start.  So, that part I am doing somewhat backwards.  Since they are different lengths, we will wait until the final post is set to determine the height.  The front will be taller than the back, and I want at least a 30 degree rise in the roof.  The back side will have guttering which will divert the rain into a rain barrel that I bought several years ago.

This is the basic plan I am using.  The tall side will face the front.  I am not putting the roof vents on.  Instead, each short side will have a small window to open for cross ventilation.  The front (taller side) will have 2 doors centered (double doors).  They have a glass front and came out of an old store front in downtown Lawson.  They are antique doors.

I opted to use the clear panels from Lowe's rather than recycling glass windows.  We get a lot of wind here, and the glass just would not last.  Also, I have been using mypoints and swagbucks for earning Lowe's gift cards, so I won't have to pay in full for the panels.

I also want a deck on the front side and a clear panel roof (awning) over the deck.  That may have to be stage 2 as I would like to build the deck out of pallets and I will first need to get those.

Stage 3 will be to get electric and a hydrant put in the greenhouse.  That will probably be a project for next year.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Signs of Spring

The temperatures have been warming up.  Canadian geese have arrive and as every year, they stay for about a week to rest up before flying on north.  They stay on our ponds and like to glean last years corn fields.

But, the best sign our trees are starting to bud.  These are the same trees that 2 weeks ago were covered in a quarter inch of ice.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Product Review: Westinghouse Tankless Water Heater

In the past 12 months, we have had to replace several appliances (on top of the tornado damages.)  New refrigerator, new clothes dryer (not really necessary normally, but the husband and I both had major surgery last fall, and for about a 5 month period, neither of us could lift.  Replacing the dryer made it much easier on us than hanging the laundry.)

The last disaster, was our hot water heater.  We found a small leak shortly before we left for a trip.  So, my husband turned it off.  This was during a very cold snap.  When we came back, a week later, he went downstairs to relight it.  Instead he found a flood.  It was the original hot water tank from when my husband built the house, back in the early 90's.  So, it lasted well beyond its expected life span.  It went out with a fight however.  Evidently when she went, she sent water sprays every direction, including up along the vent through the wall.  That water, then ran back down, and onto the office ceiling.  So, now we will need to replace sheet rock in the office and repaint.

We started doing our research on hot water heaters and decided to go tankless.  We settled on a Westinghouse 11.5 gpm propane unit.  So far, we love it.  It hangs on the wall, takes up much less space than the old monster tank did.  We had a local plumber install it for us.  According to the information provided by Westinghouse and our propane dealer , it is an energy saver unit and should cut our operating costs in about in half.  It was slightly more expensive, in the $900 range before taxes and shipping. It went on sale, bringing it down to $800.  The Missouri Propane Association has a rebate plan and we will get $200 back on that.  After all that is said and done, the price came out to the same price as buying another tank.

It would take the water less time to reach the faucets if we had put it on the main floor (we are in a 3 story house), but we decided to put it in the basement.  Per code, it has to be mounted against an exterior wall.  It was a lot less work to put it in this unfinished part of the basement than it would be had we put it elsewhere.  We chose an area right below the path of the gas line and waterlines.

It takes the hot water about 90 seconds to reach the main floor, and around 2 minutes to reach the top floor.  But, once you use it the first time of the day, it seems to take less time thereafter.  It is louder, but we only noticed the noise the first couple of weeks.  Now, we don't.  We are planning on building a cabinet around it, and we will insulate the cabinet, then the noise will not be noticeable.  The noise only runs when the burners are on, and the burners only kick on when we run more than 3/4 of a gallon of water from the hot faucet.

It has a digital display screen on it, and is easy to change the temperature on--with the old one, we had to get on the floor and turn a hard to read knob. 

It will need to be flushed once a year.  Some people complain about that--but if you read on a regular tank hot water heater, they are also supposed to be flushed once a year.  Our plumber said next year, he will come flush it and teach us how.  After that, we can do it.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Ice Storm 2018

Monday night we were hit with sleet and  ice.  It  kept coming down for about 10 hours.  As a result, there was no school yesterday.  Last Friday we  had no school due to teachers workday and Monday was  Presidents Day.  On Wednesdays, my building doesn't have class so my kiddos won't be back to school until hopefully tomorrow (Thursday) IF we don't get more ice, which the weatherman says we might.....

As a result of the ice, many were without power, phones, and such.  There were also many auto accidents.

We had no phones or internet, as our internet comes in through satellite, and our satellite dish was filled with ice, and our phones run of of our internet because AT&T has bad service in our area, as well as most of the other carriers we have tried.  Thats one of the joys of living in the country.

These are some pictures I took yesterday and this morning.

This last picture makes it look very gloomy and hazy outside.  It was actually like this for a few hours.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

New Gates

This winter we did have a few (very few) warmer days.  We had an area where we had 2 fence panels up separating 2 pastures.  For 2 years we have been saying we were going to put a couple of gates up in that spot.  The cows have constantly knocked it down, and we keep wiring it back up.  I finally had enough of it, and we had a warm day so we went and got 2 gates.  It took us a couple hours to get them up.

I knew as soon as the cows figured out what we were doing they would be upset....I was right.  It is very thick with clover on that side and they like to get over there.  One by one they had to come inspect what we were doing.
 This bull (Junior) was the first to inspect.  Almost in disbelief as he just stood and stared at the project for the longest time.  Cows are actually a very intelligent animal, and it did not take him long to figure out what was happening.

 Soon a few more came to inspect.  For awhile we wondered if they were plotting to overtake us...

The finished product.  The tractor, mower, baler and trailer will still be able to fit through this gate.  Later in the spring we will put a blade on  the tractor and come down to level out the ground under the gate. The right side of the gate is further off the ground due to how the ground has washed away.  A few passes with the blade on the tractor will take care of that.  Cows can not get through it, but a preemie calf might be able to.  The gate is securely latched to keep it closed.  Cattle are pretty good at opening gates and also at lifting up the handle on hydrants to turn the water on.