Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Energy Audit


While reading the monthly Rural Missouri catalog we get from Laclede Electric Coop, Bryon saw that for $60 they would send someone out to do an energy audit of your home. Since one of our goals has been to drive our electric bill down each month (especially in the winter) this seemed like a good idea.

Our home is around 4,000 square feet with the upstairs and ground level and it's all electric heat pump and cooling so after years of leaving every light in the house and three televisions on (sorry Dad) I finally see the benefit of turning that stuff off. Now I'm the one going around turning lights off behind Grace.

My Dad and Bryon had been trying to get me to do that for years but old habits die hard. Since we are on level pay, our bill for the entire house runs $170-$180 a month and each month when I get the statement I like to see our consumption at least less than that month the previous year.

Last week, Laclede Electric sent out a guy to do our energy audit. Frankly we were feeling pretty smug because we actually thought we had things pretty efficient. We changed over to almost all compact light bulbs last year upstairs and down and it made a noticeable difference in our bill. We also use our pellet stove all winter. The pellet stove takes about a bag a day at $3.99 a bag so we pretty much know cold weather is going to cost us $4 a day just for heat. We had also wrapped our two hot water heaters before cold weather got here.

For the last year or so, we have been powering down our computers when we aren't using them and I think that has made a difference too. Even though the per kilowatt price has gone up our usage and monthly average has still gone down. We have curtains over all of our downstairs windows and close them at night to retain the heat. I've even been covering the upstairs windows with blankets this winter and we keep the temp around 55 degrees because we just aren't up there much during the week. We crank it up on the weekends if we are up there watching movies or entertaining.

So when the guy got here to put the giant vacuum on the house, we didn't figure he was going to discover much. Boy were we wrong about that. He put a plastic door seal over the front door and put a barrel fan in the hole and cranked it up and our house started leaking air like a sieve. We felt cold air being pulled in around most of our windows and through the car siding on the north side of our house, around every can light and through our outlets. We built this house and we know how much insulation is in it... a lot... but that didn't stop all the gaps and cracks we didn't even know we had. Our back deck french doors were leaking cold air in like crazy all around the seal of the glass. And upstairs... well, let's just say there were a lot of problems and it was like air conditioning up there with all the breezes blowing through the house.

And all that cold air was being pulled in by a regular old barrel fan, not some high powered super sucker of some sort. So you can extrapolate and imagine what a nice stiff north wind was doing to our house.

He wrote up a report for us and made several suggestions of how to close some of those leaks and make our house more effiicient. The good news is that Laclede Electric will reimburse half of your expenditures for making your home more energy efficient up to $500. (I would say most electric companies likely have a similar plan). Well Bryon went to Lowe's that afternoon and came home with $300 worth of supplies.

He took the trim off the french doors and caulked the daylight out of them (yes, you could literally see daylight all around the glass when the trim came off. He's caulked can lights, cracks, wrapped the hot water pipes under the house (which has made an immediate difference in getting hot water to our faucets faster and hotter). I put little outlet insulator pads behind all the outlet and light face plates (let me tell you, you'll be surprised how many of those you have) and he's been busy sealing up all the holes and cracks and leaks in some of the most unlikely of places.

We didn't know when we scheduled the audit, but they actually gave us a big box of materials to help with some of the usual energy sucking suspects. There was actually probably close to $60 worth of stuff there.

So while it cost us some money upfront, I think it will be well worth it in the future.

I can't wait to see next month's bill.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Year in Review


This has been one crazy year.

Those of you who know us well, also know some of the personal employment turmoil we've had this year with Bryon's job. Well, all of that continues and promises to offer us some unique opportunities for adventure in the coming year. Prayers are welcome ;)

Of course it hasn't all been turmoil. We've accomplished a lot this year and had many, many wonderful experiences as a family and on our ever changing little farm. Here are the high lights and the low lights.

1. Grace has now lost SEVEN teeth. Yes, the Tooth Fairy is broke but has a direct trail of fairy dust (ie pink glitter) to help her find her way now.
2. I read 64 books this year (yes half of them were paranormal romances) and I am burned out. This year I plan to read at a more leisurely pace.
3. Bryon had surgery on his shoulder and is now fully healed and has nearly all of his motion back and much less pain.
4. We raised two more pigs and will be enjoying them in several tasty dishes sometime next week.
5. We found a new home for Ruger (our insane Brittany Spaniel) and are now on the search for a female, yellow lab puppy to join the Medley farm.
6. We had a wonderful vacation on Sanibel Island in Florida with my Mom at a condo on the beach and Grace asks almost every week when we can go back. She says she wants to live there.
7. Grace played spring and fall soccer and did great! Here's hoping for some soccer scholarship dollars one day.
8. Our two "female" bunnies made babies. Four of them survived and I found them all new homes last week.
9. I started raising some new Buckeye heirloom breed chickens and hope to breed and sell them this spring. They have been no end of anxiety for me. Raising fancy chickens it turns out is stressful!
10.Grace started Kindergarten this year, got her ears pierced and turned six.
11. I canned, preserved and froze lots of garden and farmer's market food this year, and I am hoping to do even more in the coming year with the help of our new greenhouse.
12 Grace learned to swim this summer and Bryon and Grace spent lots of evenings after school at the Marshfield pool.
13. Grace has $500 saved up for her red convertible VW bug. Yeah, a real one.
14. Bryon and I celebrated our 20th Wedding Anniversary.
15. I ate more salads and lettuce this year than I had in the past 42 years. (Mostly from our garden)
16. Bryon used his time off this year to build an awesome trail system through our woods and completed every possible honey do job I could think of ... and then some.
17. Grace had two slumber parties at our house and is having a little girl over to play and maybe to spend the night again tomorrow night.
18. We went to Silver Dollar City three times and St. Louis once with friends.
19. I finally got all our bills paperless... now if I can just remember to pay them!
20. Bryon is currently in the process of finding a new job.


So how about last year's resolutions? Well some yes, some not so much.

* Eat more organic and clean food - yes but this will be more of a challenge as far as the organic part this year as we work to save money. We are budgeting no money for eating out this year so we will definitely be eating more and more home cooked meals.
* Eat more local and US foods - yes. This year we will have an even better garden and being doing as much locally as we can.
* Take my lunch more when I work & eat less fast food - I have only eaten out one lunch this month and plan to continue to take my lunches.
* Drink NO soda, at all, anymore - I didn't have even one sip of soda this year. I didn't miss it at all.
* Do more long term meal planning - I will have to do this better this year and I look forward to finally succeeding at it.

* Lose 20 pounds...again. - Yeah, the always present resolution. I am 7 pounds down. No more eating out should help with that.
* Buy more things Made in the USA when we have to make new purchases - still doing this every chance we get.
* Pray daily - a lot lately, definitely not daily though last year
* Do more bible studies - I did not.
* Finish the Old Testament (I only have 4 or 5 little books left) - I did not, still need to complete this
* Read ALL the book club books this year. - I did great until the last few and then I fizzled out.
* Learn to play my guitar - not so much, I am still not a rock star
* Have a kick ass garden - we did have a kick ass garden this year and look forward to an even better one next year.
* Finish the last 12 mile section of the OHT - still not completed. Someday...
* Have more PEACE and QUIET in 2010 - still hoping for this one, ha! With new Wii games and a DSi, it's not looking too likely, but I am still hopeful.


This year, I am not making resolutions. I am going to go with the flow and just try to deal with and complete whatever challenges present themselves. This is going to be the year of living frugally I suspect. That should be challenge enough for all of us I think.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

These little piggies went to market


Or more accurately, to our freezer in about two weeks. We finally got the pigs coaxed into the borrowed trailer and to Spring Valley for processing. Bryon said the small male weighed 240 and the big red female weighed 316!

They were good pigs even though I sure was cussing them this last cold week.

They'll be even better pigs in my belly :)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Big Bookish Year

I read the most books ever this year; sixty four books. Granted, half of them were paranormal romances but still... it was a lot of books.

I wasn't trying to break my record but it's cool that I did. Who knows what will happen this year but I am definitely taking a break from the paranormal for a while. All the stories were starting to sound the same. Apparently there are only so many ways vampires and werewolves can fall in love with mortals, have lots of sex and kill bad guys... who knew?

I have read a significant sampling of the genre and managed to write half a novel (35,000 words!). I decided that hobby is just going to have to wait until Grace is in college because there is just not enough time for one more thing added these days it seems. Maybe my golden years career will be writing. Maybe not.

I boxed up my paranormal surplus and sent them to my Aunt to read. I'm sure I'll be in the mood for them again sometime but for now, I am satiated. Of course I'll have to read the next JR Ward, Black Dagger Brotherhood installment and Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse books. I'm not totally off my rocker.

I am still reading the last two books on the list above; The End of Overeating by David Kessler, MD about the food industry's conspiracy to make us crave and eat more and more crap and The Not So Big Life which is my anti new years resolution solution for this year.

My plan now is to clear my book shelves of some of the stragglers that have been gathering dust due to my paranormal obsession and plunge ahead into another year of reading insanity one page at a time.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Bunnies, Pigs, Family, Work et al

The Great Medley Hunters and Bryon's 8 pt. buck rack. He shot it opening morning.
Regardless of my lack of blogging lately, life has been rolling along out here in Niangua. Surprising I know. Last week I spent four days in Rolla for the Missouri S&T blood drive which is both a blessing and a curse to me. Those kids really turnout and roll up their sleeves to give blood which is wonderful but staying up there four days in a row, four times a year is brutal. Driving home and back each day is worse. So there you go... rock... hard place.

I came home once again to an immaculately clean house, all my animals and family members still alive and kicking and flowers on the table. I have a pretty swell family.

This week I decided to get my flu shot on Monday at Walgreens. I almost got it last week when I was up in Rolla but just didn't have time to schlep over there. Boy am I glad now I didn't because I spent Tuesday of this week nauseous, Wednesday in bed with with chills, aches, nausea and a killer headache and Thursday recovering. Let's just say I'm real glad I got that flu shot now.

Grace is supposed to get hers Nov. 30. I hope she fares better.

One night this week the chickens didn't get locked up so they spent an entire night exposed to potential predators. Thankfully, nothing got them and they are all still fine. I still have two roosters which is not really going all that well. I'd like to find one of them a new home but I'm afraid one of them, let's just call him Mr. Red Eye, is about to meet the crock pot. He's flogged everyone in the family now except for me. I don't know why he hasn't taken into me but he's knocked Grace down (of course she was running by him and then just flailed on the ground while he flew at her). I told her she was going to have to be tougher than a chicken. Was she tougher than a chicken? She said yes, but she's still scared of him now.

Mr. Red Eye pretty much attacks Bryon every time they meet.

Yes, Mr. Red Eye's days are numbered.

I still have no eggs from the little moochers. Every morning I have a little chat with them about that but so far no progress. They were born May 17 so it is time! I may have to put a timer on the light out in the coop to get them kickstarted. Apparently they need about 14 hours of daylight a day to produce. Well don't we all? I hate daylight savings time. Pick a time and let's stay there. Seriously.


All four of the baby bunnies are still alive and kickin' which is actually pretty surprising to me. They are getting really cute. Now the next thing is going to be finding them all new homes soon. If you are interested in a very cute Christmas bunny... I'm your girl.

The little charcoal ones are my favorite... just like Mama Bunny, Cocoa. Of course how can you deny the cuteness of any of them really?

I was shocked when I went out to inspect the pigs. Bryon has pretty much been seeing to them lately and when I went out there, they (especially the red one) were huge! Her little eyes just keep getting beadier and beadier because her head is so big. She's actually sort of comical. I wish I could get a good face shot of her. We need to get a date with destiny set so they can get in our belly soon. 
 We got the gardens all put to bed for the year last month and Bryon planted rye grass in them which is supposed to be a good green manure. We'll see how that turns out.
Bryon found some Nebraska Red Spotted historic turkeys in my Backyard Poultry magazine he would like to try to raise. So if I can find some for the spring, we'll build another pen for them. 

I'm going to go help my friend Lynsey butcher 24 turkeys Sunday for her Thanksgiving customers. 

Bryon is still off work until Dec. 1 recuperating from his shoulder surgery and bicep reattachment. He's been off since August 20 but was limited to only a five pound weight limit until two weeks ago. Now he's up to a whopping 25 pounds and the Doc said he could hunt if he didn't lift or drag on a deer. He has to be released to lift 50 pounds to return to work. We hope he can go back to work by Dec. 6. 

Right now I'm content not to start any new projects for a while.  I'm feeling better though because I have the urge to clean, straighten and throw out clutter again.

Another blessing and curse.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Who's That Girl?

Walmart had lots of leftover Halloween stuff on sale half price and I knew Grace would have fun with another wig. Yep, she had herself made up in no time...

Yep, Bean is a Boy.


So when we got our bunnies back in March, the teenage kids who sold them to us PROMISED me they were both girls. Not so much it turns out. I fill the box up with pine bedding and clean it out every week but the rabbits just kick it all out of there and pee and poop right in the box like it's their personal litter box instead of OUTSIDE the box where it would fall right onto the ground and could easily be raked up and taken to the compost pile. 
Two weekends ago I finally decided to try to do something about that problem and cut a board and nailed it up in the hole so it would be harder to kick it all out but the bunnies could still get in there. The IDEA was that that they would use it for added warmth and shelter and to get off of the screened bottom from time to time and give their little feet a rest. 

Still a litter box.

Except within a few hours of filling up the newly remodeled box, Cocoa started pulling out her hair and building a nest in there. Uh oh. 

Bean had been exhibiting boy like behavior (ie humping her like crazy) for a long time but nothing had come of it. I looked in there last Saturday morning and one of the rabbits had filled up the nest with poop and pee and I planned to just clean it all out Sunday except when I went feed the animals Sunday morning before church.. yep... baby bunnies. 

I sort of freaked out because we've had two litters in the dead of winter before and they died almost immediately. So I got the big tub I use for a chicken brooder out and planned to keep Cocoa and the bunnies in the garage. I scooped out the nest (bunnies and all in tact) and put it on top of a bunch of clean bedding in the tub and had Bryon catch Cocoa and I moved the whole lot of them to the garage.

I didn't know if that would mess everything up or not but I figured they were probably going to die anyway so I didn't have much to lose. When I got home from church I already had a different plan and that was to separate those rabbits. We had a left over piece of hardware cloth that had come off of the bottom of the hutch at one point and Bryon helped me to measure and cut it to fit. (I don't measure, I eyeball it and hack at it until I get the thing done).

We got them separated and I already had another feeder and water bowl so I scooped them all back up again and took them back to the hutch and figured it would just have to be survival of the fittest. I didn't know if messing with them so much would make her reject them or freak her out or what but she took them all back and now they are four days old. 

I did end up killing one of them inadvertently because I didn't realize it was still out in the hutch when I scooped them all up the first time and it died while we were at church. 

She still has four out there though and it's been cold at night. Poor Mama is almost bald from pulling out her hair but she's being a good Mama and now doesn't have to contend with Bean's attentions anymore. 

It's going to be crazy cold the next few nights so we'll see what happens but today, there are four little bunnies out there.


When we go

Falling into Fun


One night last week Grace raked up a big pile of leaves and played in them for a long time. That night the wind blew like CRAZY and now that pile is toast but it was good while it lasted.

Getting My Craft On




I had a super crafty weekend and managed to finish several little projects I had started and complete two new ones. It felt great to actually get something accomplished! I bought a new sewing machine and some transparent nylon thread (which is just awful to use but looked great) and went to town.

I had been saving up all my poly feed sacks for the chickens and bunnies and this month the Layena I feed the chickens came in a pink breast cancer awareness bag. I send Bryon out for two more bags of it so I could use them later.

They make neat totes. Mine certainly aren't perfect and they take me forever to make because apparently I was born with out any abstract thinking brain cells and I have take things apart and redo them over and over. This is the same handicap that makes me have to move pages all around the copier at work over and over until the think comes out how I want it!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Paranormal Problem?

I'm not sure what this says about me but I walked by my night stand and recognized a theme. No wonder I can't lose weight.. Mmmmm ... Yummy.

The Big Six!







Grace had yet another fabulous birthday party on Saturday. We sort of cheated and had her birthday party at the Imagination Station in Marshfield instead of the house this year. It was great! We did minimal house before and after and there weren't twenty screaming kids in my house, ha! We just had a Halloween theme this year and the kids all wore their costumes. They had a blast.

I made a Devil's Food pumpkin shaped cake and strawberry cupcakes for the non chocolate lover set (nuts that they are). 

Grace was pretty excited to be six.

After the party, three of the girls came home with us for another sleepover. The were the same three that stayed in the summer. They all made it through the night but I had to divide them up to get them to sleep. Two in Grace's room and two in our room on the floor.

They were all really good. You can see that Bryon got wrestled down and had a makeover done on him. That my friend is about every color of eye shadow in the case and a whole lot of lip gloss covering his head and face. He's such a good sport and the girls just loved it.

The first memory I have of Bryon is of him in the Junior High hallway surrounded by girls...hmmm...I guess some things never change :)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend






Grace has been asking for a real bow and Bryon got her one a couple of weeks ago. It was expensive. It is a pink camo Bowtech Diamond. She loves it. The good news about it is that it will grow with her and when she's a teen and stronger we can send the bow back to the manufacturer and they will replace the limbs with longer ones making it an adult sized bow. She still needs help holding it while she pulls it back, but the more she practices the stronger she'll get.

She loves shooting it and Bryon loves being out there with her. She usually hits the target so they are both pretty excited about the possibilities.

I hadn't had my bow out in about SEVEN years. In fact, the case was covered in sawdust and cobwebs when we finally tracked it down out in the barn. It's an old Bear bow and Bryon about laughed his ass off when he saw it come out of the case. I had an old flipper arrow rest on it and he was appalled! He's gone through three or four bows since we first bought my Bear and his first bow years ago.

I knocked some arrows and shot a nice tight group at 10 and 20 yards thank you very much. I was actually sort of surprised and it did short of give me the bug to want to shoot some more. There used to be an archery shop with a range in Nixa when we lived in Highlandville and they had a shooting league one year. We participated and we both got 1st place trophies that year in the competition. It was fun.

He thinks I'm crazy to not want to hunt and complains that he used to have a wife that hunted with him. I tell him, I have put in more hunting time through the years than any other wife he knows. He's still disgruntled. Turns out now I'd just rather sleep in, stay warm and enjoy some peace and quiet while they are out chasing things around the woods.

Who's crazy now my friend.

You Might Still Be a Redneck...

My friend Lynsey has been competing in lawn tractor pulls around the area and we finally made it to one of her pulls a couple of weeks ago at the Marshfield Saddle Club. It was pretty fun and some of the kids got longer pulls than the adults. They had all sorts of crazy modified lawn tractors and some stock ones too. Lynsey's is pretty stock but she still one a 3rd place trophy that night.

I guess we are just ensuring our redneck status doesn't fall to the wayside.

Looks like we are pretty safe.

Happy Halloween

I dug out all of our fall stuff and Grace put her interior decorating skills to good use. She even made the little Happy Halloween banner across the front. Pretty good job I think!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Friday, September 17, 2010

Pig Heaven


We finally got the hot wire fence up and working for the pigs. Now they have a nice luxurious place to root around. They have already eaten every acorn and hickory nut that had fallen onto the ground and just wait around hopefully for more manna from heaven. Lucky for them the trees in the pen are loaded this year.

They rooted around the entire perimeter of the fence as close as the could without getting shocked the first day and now the entire area is rooted up. They will have been in there a week tomorrow and haven't escaped so far. We stayed out there and waited until they had both gotten shocked a few times to make sure they wouldn't just bolt out of the thing, then Ruger came over to greet them and got the same treatment but on the other side of the fence.

So far it all seems to be working out. I finally dragged the trough and water bucket out from the dog pen they had been staying in the other day and now feeding and watering them is sooooooo much nicer. I don't have to schlep through the boot sucking muck anymore! Love that!

You can see the boy pig is significantly smaller than the girl pig. She's a HOSS. She is mean to that boy pig. She roots him around and rides him and bites his ears but we hope now that they have more space that he'll start catching up to her.

The last time we had pigs (which was also the FIRST time we had pigs) we had two boys and Bryon and Chris castrated them. This time we got a boy and a girl and Chris had the vet castrate him. Next time we think we just need two girls!

All I know is I am so ready for some sausage but it will probably be January again before we can butcher them. We'll take them to a local packing plant for the job. We can handle chickens and a deer from time to time if we HAVE to but that is such a big messy job. Until we have an outdoor kitchen of some sort (which we might someday) I saw take it to the packing plant.

Although I always worry as to whether after all our hard work with the animals that we are actually getting what we take in there. I just don't want to think about that too much.

On another note, my broilers are coming along nicely, this is week three for them. I should be ready to butcher them mid Oct. And my Buckeyes should start laying eggs in a couple more weeks. I am ready! I've only had to buy three dozen eggs so far but still, even the organic store bought eggs aren't the same. Bryon said the other day he wasn't eating another egg sandwich until we had our own eggs again.

I still have two roosters. One is dominant and crows a lot but I never can catch it crowing so I can't figure out which one it is. I want to keep the most dominant one, but until I can determine which one it is for sure, I guess I'll keep them both a while longer. One has a much redder head than the other so I THINK that might be the dominant one. I know turkey's get real red headed when they are "excited" and I figure these two guys are probably starting to feel sort of warm and tingly about things ;)

I've been letting them out in the evenings and unlike my previous laying hens, these guys, so far, will come running when I call and go right into the chicken yard so I can lock them back up. When I need to leave early, that is a big help. I hope they never wise up that they could hold out if they wanted to and I couldn't do a thing about it except wait until they go in. In this case, dumb birds are a blessing I think.

We got the garden all cleaned out last weekend and have planted some late lettuce and carrots. Some cantaloupes came up volunteer. I don't think they'll ever ripen before frost but we are just letting them grow just in case.

We also planted some winter wheat in our old garden plot out by the kennel. It's growing so fast though we are worried it will be done too early and we won't have a harvest off of it. We really have no idea what we are doing with it but hope to be able to harvest it and get enough flour from it to make some bread. We'll see. It's an experiment and it won't be easy to be successful at it but we figured it was worth a try.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Dolphin Diving

So, Wednesday I get a call from the school nurse about 10 am saying that Grace is fine but she told her teacher that she had a dolphin up her nose.

Nurse Cheryl took a look and sure enough, there it was. Grace is almost 6 so I figured we were pretty much home free on the whole, let's stick objects into our orifices thing. Turns out not so much.

I was in Springfield so Bryon went and picked her up and took her to the doctor's office for a dolphin extraction.

We still aren't sure we have the entire story but she wore a dolphin bracelet on Friday that broke so I'm pretty sure she stuck it up her nose then sometime.

We asked her if someone told her to do it or if it was her own idea. She claims it was her own idea. We've made so much fun of her, I don't think she'll do it again. Bryon has been calling her Fish Stick.

I told her that was almost as ridiculous as shooting a flare into the trampoline and burning a big hole in it (her Daddy) and if anyone in this family does something that ridiculous there will be ridicule.

Of course, then I had to explain what ridicule means.

Still.

Even the dolphin was laughing.

Armed and Dangerous



Bryon had his shoulder surgery a couple of weeks ago and is doing well with his rehab so far. He's not had much pain (so he says) and he only took his pain meds for the first two days and stopped because he didn't like feeling loopy.

He's by no means back to full capacity but he doesn't have to wear his sling all the time and can finally sleep for most of the night in bed again.

The bad news is he still snores and now I can't kick him and make him roll over because he can only sleep on one side. Oh the humanity!

He has found a few fringe benefits to his incapacity and talked Grace into buffing his nasty man feet. She actually got this for us for Christmas last year. I don't know whether to appreciate it as a thoughtful gift or as a condemnation on the appearance of our feet.

Bryon's the one with the grody hooves, just for the record.

Isn't it great to have willing slaves?

Date Night

I spent all last week in Rolla for one of four FOUR day blood drives this year at Missouri S&T. It was grueling but worthwhile since we saw 880 donors and collected 763 units of blood, thanks to the Student Council and the Greeks, right before the Labor Day weekend.

Bryon and Grace spent the week together at home and Thursday night he decided to take her out for a Date Night to The Cave, a restaurant in Richland that is actually inside a cave. They got all dressed up and had a fun night together. Apparently the restaurant staff had caught a bat right before they got there.

You don't see THAT everyday.

I, in the meantime, ate five meals in four days at Subway and read two trashy books about naughty Argonauts when I wasn't at the blood drive.

I came home late Friday night to a completely clean and tidy home, all the laundry caught up and fresh flowers in a vase on the table.

I have a nice family.

Pierced!

Grace has been asking to pierce her ears for a while. She wants to wear dangly earrings.

Who doesn't?

So a couple of weeks ago after church we were at Walmart and she asked if this was the place she could get them pierced. I told her it was. She asked if she could do it today!

We tracked down her Daddy and he agreed so she did it. There was only one lady working the jewelry counter that day so she had to do one at a time instead of simultaneous piercings.

Grace did great and she didn't even tear up.

I remember how much it hurt but she was determined to have them pierced.

She chose the "sparkly" earrings (no surprise) and hasn't had any problems with them. She's been cleaning them herself and taking good care of them so far.

I think she's home free and should be able to wear some dangly earrings by Christmas.

Maybe this year Santa will bring her earrings instead of so many socks.

I'm sure that would make her a lot happier.