Thursday, April 30, 2009

Introducing the Goose

Oh, my, where do I start? Goose turned two years old on St. Paddy's Day six weeks ago. She's chattering up a storm these days and she's starting to make connections with things. We've been saying "splish-splash" when she's in the tub for a while now - today while we were out for a walk, she pointed at a puddle and said "splish-splash!" So of course we had to go through it! (We cut across a corner, anyway.)

One of her first words was "Nap" - not as in sleep, but as in one of our kitties who is named Nappy. She can name half a dozen of the barn cats on sight . . . I'm not sure Hubs can do that.

I'm really looking forward to this summer - I think we're going to have a lot of fun. For her first two summers, she and I both struggled (more to come on that when I sort through a post on the baby blues). We've been spending more time outside, whether going for a walk, hanging laundry, doing a bit of yardwork or gardening - and it has been great!

She's popped two new teeth in the past couple of weeks. I've been amazed at what a slow teether she has been; she didn't get her first tooth until she was 13 months old, and they've come slowly but usually in pairs since then. She was also a late walker, preferring to crawl and scoot until she was 15 months old. She's more than made up for it since then with running and now jumping. Lately her love has been the swing she got for her birthday, or as she says, "fwing!" I love the way her hair floofs as she flies through the air.

I'm extremely thankful that Hubs has provided us with the opportunity for me to stay home with Goose. I know different things work for different people, but I have never wanted to have kids and then hand them over to someone else to basically raise. Hopefully I'll be able to homeschool, too - I can't think of a better place to learn than on a farm.

We're looking forward to your getting to know us better!

This Week's Small Successes

1) Of course, my first success was actually launching my blog. I've been thinking about it (and over-thinking it) for far too long.

2) I finished planting the garden, except for pepper and tomato plants (which are toughening up during the day and spending nights in the garage for a few more days yet) and potatoes, since I've not yet found good seed potatoes yet. I have a few left over from last year that I'm about ready to cut up and use, but I'm not sure how well they'll work.

2a) Two related successes are that Goose just sat and played in the dirt while I planted. The first is that she didn't run off to where I couldn't see her (at all, let alone constantly - which happens sometimes) and the second is that I let her get good and dirty. I'd rather just keep her clean, but that's no fun for her!

3) I re-organized Goose's closet, bagging up all her 12-month clothes, and getting out the rest of her 24 month/2T/3T clothes. With her big, fluffy, cloth-diapered bottom, I'm finding the 24 month/2T stuff doesn't fit. And some of it is even too small with a disposable diaper! She's in the 10th percentile for weight at 23 pounds, for heaven's sake.

You can see more moms' small successes here.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Keeping Sink Drains Clear

Thanks for joining me for Kitchen Tip Tuesday! I am a long time reader but a first time poster and a brand-new blogger. I just started this week, but I've already blogged about my garden, frugal finds, and I'm having a giveaway.

This kitchen tip comes to you courtesy of my mother. In order to keep the drains running smoothly on her kitchen sinks, she simply uses hot water.

Run your water until it gets hot (you can use an old milk jug or pitcher to catch it and use it to water plants if you'd like!), then plug your sink or both sides, if you have a double sink. Once they are both full, either don a rubber glove to protect your hand or use a long handled spoon to pull the stoppers. You might also tie a string to your stopper to pull it with, if you prefer. Regardless, don't burn yourself, the water is hot!

If you have a garbage disposal, go ahead and run it as the sinks empty to help pull the water down even faster. Now that your pipes are warmed up, you can repeat it a few times if you wish.

There are two factors at work here; one is the heat from the water softens any grease in your pipes and pushes it on through. The second is the full sinks on both sides (or just the full sink, if you have one) creates more pressure and suction to make it move quickly.

While this does use quite a bit of water, I prefer it to using extremely caustic drain-opening chemicals and I certainly prefer it to paying a professional! The same concept will of course work on your bathroom sinks, and even the tub, although you don't need to fill it all the way full. If you find you run short of hot water, you can put some pots of water on the stove ahead of time to boil and pour those in the sinks to give yourself a head start.

Another tip that has helped me keep my drains clear is that I use the garbage disposal side for wash water when doing dishes and I rinse in the other side. That way, any food particles go through the disposal. Also, when I drain my dish water, I turn on the disposal as sort of a mini-version of the sinkful of hot water tip. Every bit helps, I think.

For more kitchen tips, visit Kitchen Tip Tuesday here at Tammy's Recipes.

This Week's Frugal Finds

While the only businesses in the tiny town where we live are the post office and feed store, the next town over is a bit bigger and has a thrift store. It's small, a bit disorganized (they all are, right?), and there isn't a whole lot of turnover, but it is CHEAP! Most of the books, clothing, and kitchen things I've bought have been ten cents each. That, my friends, is a steal! Here's what I picked up this week:

My favorite items are the Sandra Boynton board book Doggies and the sewing book. I have begun collecting these older how-to books for sewing, embroidery, etc. and have found them to be quite helpful in my fledgling crafting. The rest are workbooks that I didn't go through thoroughly, but at a dime apiece, even if I only get one idea out of each, I think they're worth the money. I'm also working on building up our crafting supplies on the cheap, and the chenille stems are in my favorite autumn colors.

Other recent treasures added to our household are two toddler sized chairs and a little house.

My mom bought the house at Goodwill for $1.50 - it didn't come with anything and at this point, it's OK because Goose is having fun with it as-is. My mother-in-law is an avid auction-goer, and I'll admit that is something I don't have much patience for. What happened to estate sales??? Anyway, I had my eye on these two chairs, and MIL thought she got them $25 for the two, not a terrible price in my mind. But when she went to pay for them, it was $15 for the two. It's tough to find plastic chairs for that price! They need a bit of tightening, something I hope my dad can do.

Have you scored any good finds lately? I'd love to hear about them!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Springtime Giveaway Carnaval

The giveaway is now closed and the winner is Sharmista! Thank you to everyone for participating.

Since the spring Bloggy Giveaway is apparently no more, my friend Laura picked up the ball and is RUNNING with it. She is holding a Springtime Giveaway Carnival at her site, and I am very excited to participate in it!

I picked up this book at a thrift store and while nothing it in struck my fancy, perhaps it will for you -

The projects in it include dresses, jumpers, skirts, a pinafore, aprons, accessories, and a few baby ideas plus more. In the interest of full disclosure, you can tell from the photo on the front that this book was published in 1971. But with a bit of creativity, I think many of these projects could be easily updated - and if you think a little girl wouldn't look cute in a pinafore today . . . well, I'm not sure what to tell you! Here is a link to the book on Sewing without a pattern (Little craft book series)

Further disclosure, this book is used, and as such there is some marring on the cover and someone's little one thought the last few pages weren't quite colorful enough and added their own impressions with crayon. The book is still perfectly useable, though - and in great shape for being so vintage (that's a nice way of saying "kinda old").

If you'd like to be entered in this giveaway, please leave a comment. Make sure I have a way to contact you (either e-mail or via your blog), and please note that I am only able to ship to US addresses. You may notice that I am a very new blogger, so if you decide to take a chance and follow me and/or subscribe to my blog via a reader, please leave another comment(s) telling me so for another chance(s) to win!!

And, finally, because I'm a tiny bit worried that no one will sign up, you can get an extra chance to win if you leave another comment giving me a tip you wish you'd known when you started blogging. It can be anything! I'll draw a winner Friday evening.

And make sure to head over to Heavenly Homemakers for not only this carnival, but tons of information on frugal living, healthy eating, homeschooling, and so much more. Thanks for participating!

Inaugural Sunday Garden Update

Last summer, I thought it would be interesting to chronicle the growth and changes in my garden weekly. It's funny; I could have just taken pictures and done it for my own purposes but apparently it isn't as fun if you're not sharing it with the world in a blog post, so I just filed the idea away for later.

This year, later has arrived. Allow me to introduce my garden!

We purchased the rest of our plants this afternoon, and hubs watched the little one while I planted two rows of peas and two rows of carrots. I plan to get more done tomorrow, and I surely will have it all planted by the time I update with another picture next Sunday. I suppose the only real changes will be more stakes along the edge and perhaps my neighbors will be doing something different and exciting. I'm sure you won't mind humoring me until things start sprouting, though!

Gardening is one area where being married to a farmer has significant advantages. We have easy access to cow, sheep, and chicken manure, for one. (Exciting, I know. Actually we could get pig manure, too, but I don't think we've ever put that on the garden.) Last week, hubs plowed the garden, and today he followed it up with rototilling it. The dirt is so light and fluffy, I feel like I could grow anything!

We have a nice-sized garden for our needs, I think. We haven't measured it, but I think it's somewhere around 15' by 45'. We may also plant a few things over at hubs's grandmother's garden - she has been in the rest home for the past few months recovering from a fall.

Up until now, I have mostly preserved our bounty by freezing it. I'm hoping this summer will be the one where I actually learn how to can! Stay tuned and feel free to provide any encouragement or tips. I can assure you that I will pretty much stay glued to blogs belonging to my friends Laura and Kim and try to do the amazing things that they do.

Why Nettacow?

One of the things that kept me from starting a blog was determining a name for it. I thought and thought about how to sum up what I wanted to write about in just a few short words. Catholic. Farm. Sewing/Crafting. Homeschool (well, not yet, but hopefully). Cats. None of them seemed just right, and picking one would mean leaving out the others.

Several years ago when I lived in Colorado Springs, I needed a computer user name. I tried various combinations of my unusual first name with my common last name, numbers, etc. and everything was already taken. My frustration mounted as each combination was rejected.

At the time, I was driving a black VW Jetta. My first VW was a Rabbit, and it had been named Thumper. Continuing the trend, a sweet cousin named my Jetta "Angus". In desperation, I combined my nickname of "Netta" with the "cow" from my car and it was accepted.

Not long after that, I had to get new licence plates for Angus. In the midst of my homesickness, it was difficult enough for me to give up my Nebraska plates. Nebraska and Colorado have a football rivalry and it seemed extra wrong that I was becoming a "greenie" (back then, that's what we called people from Colorado because of their green license plates). Having to write a bigger-than-I-was-used-to check for the license was insult to injury. I didn't even look at the plates they handed me and I headed out the door. Once I got home, I took off the plastic wrap to affix the stickers and put them on my car and that's when I noticed what I had been assigned.

Little did I know that only a few short years later, I'd find myself married to a cow farmer and living out my happily ever after.

Do you have a story behind your screen name?

Welcome to Nettacow!

This blog is actually kind of a birthday present to myself, as I just turned 33. Here are some random things about me:

I am a farm wife, and have been married five and a half years.

I have one daughter, who just turned two. We call her Goose or Honker because she used to make a honking noise when she was a baby. It was kind of a sigh, I think.

I love cats! So does my daughter.

We live in a very small town (less than 100 people, only businesses are the post office and a feed store) and our farm is a mile away.

We'll get to live on the farm across the road from hubs's parents someday.

When that happens, there will be cattle in my backyard and chickens in my garden. And my barn cats will be right outside the door!

I love using cloth diapers on my daughter.

I am Catholic, my hubs is Lutheran (MO Synod).

I love to make things - whether it's cooking, crafting, etc.

I have learned to let go of perfection on much of my crafting (wait till you see the ABC fabric book I made!) but it will take some time to get there with blogging. I seem to want everything to be perfect.

After my daughter was born, I went through a pretty tough time with the baby blues. I still suffer from insomnia.

My daughter still nurses a couple of times a day.

I think that's enough in the way of introduction for now. I have lots of post ideas - many based on the topics mentioned here - and look forward to sharing them with you soon!