Little Wife On the Prairie

When you are everything to everyone, well, you had better act like you have it all together.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Matt and the Bataan

Most of you who read my blog probably know that recently, Matt took on the challenge of running a marathon.  He found out about the Bataan Memorial Death March from a few guys at work who were planning on running it.  This marathon is not run on typical terrain.  Instead of flat asphalt, it is sometimes rocky, sometimes sandy with lots of up and down on the hills.  So it was a rough choice for a first marathon.  But he was dedicated.  Throughout his training he kept in mind the two men he intended to honor with his march..  The first is John Vernon Mullins.  He fought with the Marine Corps at Okinawa and Peleliu in WW2. Matt also honored his cousin Luther Ragsdale who was a Bataan survivor. He passed away in 1995. Having these two men in mind along with all of the others who have served our country made this race so much more meaningful for him. 

Matt was nervous for weeks before the march.  I was nervous too.  When the march weekend came around, we made a big trip of it.  We got to visit some NM family and got to see so many beautiful places across the state.  The morning of the march Matt left us in the hotel at 4:00 in the morning to drive out to White Sands Missile Range where the march was set to start at 6:30am.  He texted me at 7:15am to tell me that he was finally running.  I felt nauseous. 

The kids and I slept in, had breakfast, packed up the car and prayed continuously for our daddy.  We had a relaxing morning and left at 11:00 to meet Matt at the march.  While we were on the road Matt called to say he was done with mile 20!  I couldn't believe he could still talk!  He told me that he was running along the road that we would be driving in on so we should look for him.  We were driving behind Matt's dad and grandparents so I called them and told them to watch for him!  We drove slowly past the long line of marchers and never saw Matt.  As my eyes followed the crowd up the trail I saw a dot way up on the top of the hill.  The dot started waving.  It was Matt!!!  I stuck my arm out of the window and waved like a crazy person.  We pulled over to watch him and realized that he was not running away from us with the rest of the crowd but he was running towards us!  

Matt's grandmother was upset.  She said, "No Matt!  You little dummy!  Keep going!"  I laughed and told the kids to run.  As we ran to meet our daddy, I started snapping pictures.   

Can you see Matt?  He is running to his kids.  Beautiful. 

Zaddok made it first.

We were so happy to see him!
He later told me that he was getting very tired at that point.  He said that seeing us gave him renewed energy to push through.

His dad Rod, came over to hug him before he ran off to join the others.

Bye honey!  You're almost there!  We are praying!
The next time we saw him was here, at the finish line.  He is running with his buddy Byron.  We were yelling for him and he was looking for us.

They crossed with cheers from the crowd!  I know the people in the background don't look very excited but the atmosphere was awesome.  Everyone was cheering for the marchers coming across the line.

Here, he is so happy to be done!

He immediately grabbed up his baby boy. 

Zaddok stuck by his daddy's side.

These were a few of Matt's work buddies that ran the race.

This was right after Grandmother told Matt what a little dummy he was for running back down to us.  She is so funny.  She couldn't stand that he had done that.  I think she was worried about him.  I love that lady.

This is a tear-jerker.  Matt ran his heart out to honor this man. He is John Vernon Mullins to the world but Popper to us. 

He gave Matt his thumbs-up seal of approval.  Aren't they handsome?  We were all so proud of Matt.  It was an inspiring day.

He deserves so much more honor than one race can give. He started out life working hard and struggling to make it. He
was fixing cars by the time he was 6. He fought for his country and saw many friends fall. He can tell stories of horror and stories of life. He married Grandmother and had a strong family. He served the country again as a NM State Policeman and later as a Sheriff. We all wish we could download his mind so that we will know the things he knows. We still call him anytime we need advice on anything mechanical. Most of the time, he can tell us exactly what to do. He holds the respect and admiration of everyone who knows him. Not because he demands it but because he loves us and we all know it. We love you Popper. They just don't make 'em like you anymore.

Add caption

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Our thanks to the following sponsors...Our husbands!

In continuing with our weekend's activities, during Friday night's dinner my MIL pulled out a letter from SIL Sara's husband, Brad.  When she read it we found that Brad had planned a little something special for us but that we would not know what it was until the next morning.  We were told to be ready by 9:30am with more instructions to follow.  We, being girls, were very taken with the romance of it all.  It was quite exciting to talk about what it could be and what he had planned.  We went from horseback riding to professional portraits.  We had no idea.
This is us on Saturday morning having no idea. 
Rachelle: Hmmmm, I really hope it involves some type of chocolate.
Sara: Did I eat fondue twice yesterday?
Molly: What is that flashy thing?!
Amanda:  Like totally, what?

As we followed our second set of directions, we were taken to a massage studio!  See how excited the girls are!  (Thanks Brad.)  Now my history with massage is not good.  I have only had it done twice and I was preggo both times.  It's hard to be comfortable when you are preggo.  I will say that this massage has changed my mind about the whole industry.  It was so relaxing that I was afraid I might drool.

After the massage the lady at the front desk handed us a third envelope!  More surprises! 

Brad had purchased cupcakes and coffee for four at this wonderful shop down the street from the massage studio.

This is us before the cupcake coma set in.

Can we have a moment of silence please?


We had to shake it off quickly because IKEA was our next adventure!!!

We had to survey the damage.  It was not pretty.

We are hoping our husbands think this is cute.  We love you husbands!

And while NOBODY will think this is cute, my MIL insisted we get a going away pic of the end of our weekend.  This is reality people.  We still did our paparazzi stance just in case.  If you could see a bit further down, we all had one foot in front of the other to create an elongated line of the leg.  What's that you say?  Our legs are the least of our troubles in that picture?  Well you know what?  We had a wonderful time and we are not about to let a bad picture spoil it!

Here's to us ladies!  And here's to next year!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Mamas need road trips too!

This past weekend I had the wonderful opportunity to spend true girl's time with my mother-in-law and my sister's-in-law.  My SIL Amanda and I got to take a road trip from our little town to DFW where my MIL and other SIL live.  Our husbands were kind enough to take on kid duty for the weekend so that we could have a break.  It was much needed and a ton of fun!  Here are the pics.

We started the weekend by having a pedicure.  I would like to say it was relaxing but it was kinda tickley and a bit awkward.  Let's just say that if the guy who did Amanda's feet had his way, she would be Mrs. Pedicure Guy!  Also, my feet needed some work.  I NEVER wear shoes so I tend to develop calluses.  My gal used some kind of acid and what looked like a cheese grater.  It was a bit of a white-knuckle experience.  But thanks to sweet Molly Jo we all got treated to our cute new toes.  Thanks Molly!

We had to do the prop up the camera and put it on timer thing all weekend.  So most of our group pics are of a strange composition.  But this was us headed for downtown Ft. Worth to have dinner.

Me and Amanda all fancy.  (Trust me, this is fancy for us)

Simply Fondue was simply AWESOME!  Our first course was everything you can imagine dipped in yummy, melty cheese.  This was the plate for our second course.  It was all different sauces we could put on the meat that we got to cook up at our table..

Molly Jo and Amanda before we started feeling ill from cheese consumption.

The meat and veggie plate!!!  It was delish!

When we were done we were really too full to think about dessert.  Then they brought the bowls of chocolate and plates of goodies like rice crispy treats, fresh fruit, and bits of brownies and cake.  Then she did a flambe with the chocolate and we got to roast marshmallows!  We just had to stuff a few things down.

Yep, it's a ball of cookie dough that you dip in melted chocolate.  I think they were trying to kill us.

After the fondue we walked a few blocks to a really neat piano bar.  I will say that going to a bar is not my usual Friday night activity.  I think the last time I was in a bar was almost 11 years ago at my friend's bachelorette party.  Having said that, it was totally worth sitting in the smoke to hear the talent behind the piano.  These guys were amazing.  They could play and sing anything!  We had such a great time singing along.  And while it was a typical smokey bar, the music was anything but typical!
 (PS, we may have done a few 80's dance moves while we were there.)

That was our Friday away and we still had a day full of plans for Saturday!  I will post about Saturday later on in the week!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Prepare your pits!!

I know it sounds crazy and difficult but making your own deodorant is possible!  Now I am talking deodorant, for the smell factor.  This is not anti-persperant which keeps you from sweating, in theory.  I am not the type of person to see a monster around every corner but I have been concerned for awhile about slathering my armpits with aluminum.  For you sweet friends who don't know, that is the active ingredient in antiperspirant.  This has been connected with risk for breast cancer, Alzheimer's and is not safe for people with kidney disease.

Now this homemade deodorant will not keep you from sweating.  It is simply meant to keep you from stinking.  Our bodies were meant to sweat.  It's part of how we thermoregulate and release toxins.  Sweat is not the enemy.  Bacterial growth in the warm moisture of your armpit is.  So this homemade product is great for controlling BO. 

I do notice a bit of dampness but nothing extreme.  I  LOVE my new stuff!  And there is no stink.  Even the next day.  I think this would be great for those of us who have children who are starting to wear deodorant.  They surely don't need the yucky stuff and can start off right using a product that is healthy for them. 

Are you ready?  These are all of the ingredients.  I am not kidding.  That's it.  Coconut oil, corn starch, baking soda and essential oil.  I got the recipe from Homestead Revival!  Love that blog!

5-6 tablespoons of coconut oil.

1/4 cup of baking soda and cornstarch.  I used my mixer to blend it all together until it was smooth. 

Homestead called for optional tea tree oil.  I opted for this oil blend.  It's great because I need a chill pill at least 3 to 600 times a day.  Now I carry one with me wherever I go!  I used about 7-10 drops of this yummy stuff.

I had a empty Toms container that I packed the blended product into.  It works great!  I did have to stick it in the fridge for a few minutes to let it set.  Now I keep it in my bathroom cabinet.  I put it on like regular deodorant.  I am converted.  And I feel good about the fact that it is so natural that you could eat it!  Not that I would, but I could.  I have seen many antiperspirant alternatives but this one beats any I have tried.  I know it's a strange concept but if you can get past the idea of sweating a little, it's worth it!

It's pink, good smelling and hard working...

Can you guess what it is?  I bet you can't!  I read many frugal, natural, homesteader blogs.  I have seen this made several times and always thought about trying it.  I went so far as to buy the ingredients a couple of weeks ago but I just put them on a shelf in the utility room. 

This week my kids are home for spring break and we have been in need of entertainment. So imagine their joy when I said, "Hey, lets make some laundry soap!" Maybe joy is not the right word. They were a bit confused but were happy to have a project.

We started with a bar of Zote soap.  We got ours from the laundry section at Walmart for less than a dollar.  It is a mild soap with a clean fragrance.

We followed a recipe from Homestead Revival that said we should grate the soap.  Zaddok is demonstrating here.

Jolie put some muscle into it.  It is a very soft soap so it's not hard to do.  The kids kind of enjoyed it!

We then mixed the grated soap with 1 and 1/2 cups Borax and 1 and 1/2 cups washing soda.  You have to make sure you get the washing soda not baking soda!  We found ours in the laundry section of our local grocery store.  Our Walmart did not carry it. 

We had to half the batch to put it through the food processor.  Don't worry.  We washed it thoroughly after we were done.  But don't kid yourself.  The dishwasher soap we use in our dishwasher is probably far more corrosive and toxic than this stuff.  We still would not want to eat it or to have it flavor our next batch of salsa.  So we wash.

I have come to really love essential oils.  Fragrance usually makes me sick.  I can't stand candles and air fresheners.  But these oils smell wonderful and don't make me feel like I am breathing chemicals.  I used this grapefruit to enhance half of this batch of soap.  Matt is weird about smells too so I did not want to do the entire batch in case he didn't like it.

I use my canning jars to store just about everything.  They are good for that.

Here they sit in the utility room.  I have done this weeks washing with our new soap and it seems to do great.  I use a tablespoon in wach load!  I might use a bit more if I had seriously dirty stuff but so far the TBS has done fine.  I peeked during the washing cycle and the water was nasty and brown.  That's a good sign.  I prefer the scented detergent.  It just adds a little something.  Bottom line, this was easy and cheap.  The store-bought natural detergent I was using was 15 dollars for about 90 loads.  This stuff is about 3.  I can handle that! (If you add essential oils that will raise the price a bit but you don't have to have them.  The Zote smells quite nice on it's own.)

A little update.  My seeds are now sweet little seedlings.  All of my tomatoes are sprouted.  The peppers are taking FOREVER.  I always start to panic.  But God is the grower of things so I will not worry.

Tomorrow, homemade deodorant!  Yes it's true!