Sunday, July 29, 2012

Droughts and Upcoming High Prices

By now I am sure that everyone is aware of the horrendous droughts that are effecting a good part of the nation.  Corn crops have been hit especially hard and that means higher prices for anything corn related.  I was amazed when I started looking at all the things that either had corn in them or was "corn related".

Have you ever looked at how many foods, besides the obvious, have corn in them?  All of these "ingredients" are derived from corn. 
Baking Powder
Corn Flour
Corn Oil
Corn Syrup
Ethyl acetate
Fumaric Acid
High-Fructose Corn Syrup
Invert Sugar
Sorbic Acid
Xanthan Gum

If you read the labels on most processed food you will find at least one of these "ingredients" listed.  Just off the top of my head I can think of crackers, cereals, juices, soda, baked goods, canned fruits and veggies.  All of these things will be rising in cost.

Have you ever considered that meat prices will also be affected?  Many feedlots use corn to help feed their livestock.  The price of feed is going to go way up and farmers will not be able to afford to feed all their livestock.  This means that they will be selling them off cheap creating a deal to be had soon on pork, poultry and beef.  It will be short lived however when there will be less livestock later and prices will be high.  Stock up while the prices are low and freeze your meat to avoid the high prices we will surely be seeing in a couple of months. 

Corn us used for fuel.  If there is little corn available then the cost of other fuel goes up.  That means transportation costs go up which in turn means prices go up in the stores to cover that cost.  Prices at the gas pump are predicted to rise as are overall costs of goods.  Everything will be affected from food to paper products.

My plan is to stock up while the prices are still low so that I will not have to pay the high prices later.  This is a necessity for us since my paychecks are delayed a month when I am working.  I have a check coming in at the end of this month for the hours I worked in June but will not see another paycheck until the end of October for hours worked in September.  I usually do stock up ahead of time for the months when I have no income (Jeff still has a regular paycheck) but will be doing even more to "hedge my bets" on the upcoming higher prices.  I would advise everyone to do the same.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Belated Birthday Thoughts and Changes

   I recently celebrated my 49th birthday.  Yes, only 1 more year until I hit the big 50. ;)  I think birthdays give us all time to pause and think about where our lives have been, where they are now and where they are going.  For me, it also made me think about what is and what is not working in my life and how I need to make some changes to make the lives of my husband and I better.
   My husband and I are grandparents now and we want to be around for a good long time to see our grandchildren grow up, get married and have grandchildren of their own.  In order to do that, we have to take better care of ourselves.  First order of business is our health, both physically and emotionally.
   I recently went into the doctor to have some routine blood tests done and found out that I need to make some changes in my diet to keep my heart healthy.  My cholesterol levels were a bit elevated where they should not be and I was deficient in Vitamin D.  Since my husband eats even more cholesterol laden foods than I do, it is time to make some changes in that area. ;)   I have been trying to get more veggies and fruits into our diets along with whole grains and limit the bad fats.  The other thing that I was advised to do was to walk, walk, walk.  That should also help lower the bad numbers, help prevent some other problems from popping up and help keep the stress levels down.
   Our family has been and still is dealing with some stressful situations, as I'm sure many other families are also doing.  Stress is a part of life and we can't totally escape it.  Not all stress is bad either.  Sometimes it motivates us to make needed changes in our lives.  Some things are beyond our control like the health of a loved one, the economy, and the every day things that just happen in life like unexpected bills, car repairs, etc..  Other things though are in our control.  There are steps we can take to make our lives less stressful.  I think every one of us can think of a few things that are in our control that we can do to make our lives easier.  For me those changes include focusing more on the people in my life that I love and enjoy being with.  I'd much rather spend my time and energy on them and enjoy my life than be bogged down by the negativity of a few others.  I'm also going to take some practical steps to stock up on a few things here at home to avoid the upcoming high prices that we will surely being seeing with the droughts that are hitting our nation.  Living out in a small town away from any stores can become stressful if one runs out of toilet paper! ;)  Time to stock up!  And yes, my family that reads this will think that is funny because they all know that I practically have a panic attack if there is not a new at least 8 pack of toilet paper in my stockpile at all times..blame it on a traumatic childhood experience that involved living on an island and a longshoremen strike.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Relationships Are What Make You Rich

My husband and I are not rich in material things but when it comes to relationships we are blessed beyond measure.  Yesterday we had a spur of the moment gathering of young people in our home once again.  One of our hanai children showed up here looking for another of our hanai kids.  He finally found her at her home and they both came walking back up here.  My own children were not here mind you and yet these wonderful young people came "home" to us.  I quickly called my own kids who packed it up and drove out here (a half an hour drive away for them) just to spend some time together with everyone.  Then, last night, one of my closest friends who I love like a sister, came up to visit and we (my husband, her and I) laughed into the late hours of the night.  She was here on a visit and it just felt so good to be together again. :)  I felt so rich!  Not the lots of money in the bank, fancy cars and vacations that can all be gone in a second rich, but the kind of richness that can only be found in close relationships with others where there is a mutual love and respect.  

This Spring and Summer have been a wonderful time of "riches" for us because we have been able to spend so much time with friends and family and celebrate some of life's biggest and most special moments.  We have had the birth of our sweet grandson, our son Josh marrying our newest daughter-in-law Jessica and our family and friends coming from near and far to celebrate these events.  Our home has been filled with young people playing games, eating and just enjoying being together.  There have been water fights with the rubber duckies that I got to go in the hot tub not knowing that they squirted water out of their beaks. ;)  I have had young children to teens picking raspberries here at my home.  When we lost our beloved Sasha dog to illness, the outpouring of love we were shown touched us to our core.  

The things that really matter in life are not "things" at all.  They are relationships.  We share a close relationship with our now grown children, and our new grandson that many people cannot understand and I find that sad.  We enjoy being together, encourage one another, and are there for each other.  We have amazing friends that we love like family and would do anything for and they would and have done the same for us.  I would not trade my "riches" in relationships for any amount of monetary gain.  I know where my true riches my relationships and they mean the world to me.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Family and Garden Randomness

My baby (Chris) taking his baby and my grandson Bradley for his first swim.  Bradley liked it!  Bradley is such a chunk...I love all his little fat rolls.  His daddy was the same way at that age. :)

My baby brother Eric with his youngest son Eli Kekoa...I love this picture of them!  Kekoa is a ball of energy and fun. :)

My oldest son Jaysn with his buddy and cousin Cade.  Cade is my baby brother Eric's oldest son.  Cade is an amazing young man who builds these incredible models...his latest was a huge one of the Eiffle  Tower.

Bradley modeling his "Thing 1" outfit that his Auntie Mollie got him.  So cute!

These thunderheads are what we have been seeing almost every afternoon and they lead to a light show at night.  I have not had to water the garden for about a week now.  The plants are loving it but then so are the weeds.  Oh the many weeds!

A very happy Daisy cat!  She loves being held like this by my wonderful hubby Jeff and she will groom her feet in this position.  Funny little thing!

Summer time is salad time!  I have been enjoying harvesting lettuce from the garden and adding homemade croutons, assorted cheeses, berries from the garden and dried cranberries to make wonderful salads.  I just came back in from the garden with another huge bowl full of assorted lettuces and washed it so it will be ready to use tonight and tomorrow night.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Summer Storms

Summer storms can come on suddenly and what was a gorgeous blue sky just half an hour ago turns to a menacing monster.

I used  to joke with my husband that I am like a human barometer because I can feel the air pressure change and the electric charge in the air right before the sky is ripped by lightening.

The scariest times though are when the sky turns a strange color and you look up to see a sight like this.  Yes, there is indeed cloud rotation going on there and you just pray that it does not form a funnel cloud.  We have had those come through here in the past and cause all kind of damage and I never want to go through that again.  

Earlier this evening we had a horrible storm come through that lasted for a couple of hours.  There were ground to cloud lightening strikes, high winds, heavy downpours and deafening thunder.  I watched as my garden was blasted by rain and wind and am praying the plants will recover.  I also prayed as I saw branches coming down out of trees in some of my neighbors yards.  We are expecting more storms to continue to roll through the area tonight and throughout the next few days and I hope that the farmers fields will not be flattened by the winds and rain.  Praying God's protection over us all.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Bradley is 4 Months Old!

Our Bradley is 4 months old now!  Time has gone so quickly and he has changed so much. :)  I am loving that since I have the summers off I can spend more time with my Chunky Monkey!  There are no words to describe just how much G-pa and Grammie love their boy. :)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

My Small Garden is Producing Well!

Day Lily that greets you on your way up the stairs to the front door.

A feast for the eyes...I love this color combination!

Red roses in bloom.

One of my favorite rose bushes in the front yard.

More roses that have gone back to their wild root pretty and fragrant.  Their perfume greets you as you walk up the pathway to our home's from door.

Today's harvest from the garden.

Assorted organic lettuces all washed and ready for a nice cool salad on a hot day.

Juicy and sweet raspberries and strawberries...the taste of Summer in a single bite.

Four bags of rhubarb (2 cups each) all cut up and ready to freeze for future use in tasty treats.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Daisy Loves Her Daddy

   Our Daisy cat loves her Daddy!  She hugs him and can't wait for her cuddle time each day.  She is never happier than when she is in his lap. :)  Should I be jealous?  LOL! :)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Once a Mom, Always a Mom

My sons and daughters, Chris and Heather, Jess and Josh and Jaysn (kneeling).

    These young adults are my kiddos.  The boys are mine through birth and the girls are my much prayed for and loved daughter-in-loves (laws).  Anyone who knows me also knows that I am fiercely protective of my kids.  I have done my best to raise good and kind hearted people and when my boys chose their wives, they also chose women with those qualities.  I am blessed!
   One of the things that I find hardest about being a mom is seeing our kids hurting.  I would lay down my life for any of my kids.  I know that they are all going to make mistakes in life (we all do) and that they will learn from those mistakes, but it is hard as a parent to see them have to go through it.  My kids are all in a very good spot right now and I am so proud of the choices they are making. :)  The most difficult thing for me though is seeing people hurt my kids through unkind deeds or words that are totally unwarranted and undeserved (if my kids have done something to bring it on then they have to suffer the consequences but it's the totally undeserved and unfair stuff that makes my blood boil).  My first reaction is to go into Momma Bear mode and want to protect my kids and take out the threat. ;)  I think all good moms and dads feel this way.  God made us this way for a protect the next generation!   While I realize that my kids are all adults now, that instinct to protect them never leaves me.   So be warned...if you mess with my kids, you also have Momma Bear to deal with! ;)  Once a mom, always a mom!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Ohana Means Family

Auntie Mollie, Bradley and Auntie Erica

My husband and I are blessed to have many "hanai" or adopted by love kids in our lives.  We adore these kids, many of which have been a part of our lives since they were just little things, and have watched them grow up into fine young men and women.  Our three sons consider them as their sisters and brothers. That also means that Bradley has many uncles and aunties to love him!

Uncle Lee and Bradley having a staring contest.

Our Ohana (family) has grown over the years through marriages, births and through love.  Our hanai children are so special to us and we could not love them any more than if they had been born into our family.  I have just shared pictures of 3 of our "kids" here with Bradley and hope to share many more in the near future of Bradley with some of his other wonderful aunties and uncles.  We are so blessed to have such a wonderful group of young adults as part of our family and I know that Bradley will always have many people who look out for and love him.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Harvest Time!

   With Josh and Jessica's wedding in Boise, travel, Jess and I getting sick and then having a reception for them up here, my poor garden got a bit neglected.  Yesterday I looked out to see the spinach and bok choi going to bolt and knew I needed to get them harvested before it was too late.  This morning, after a night full of thunder, lightening, wind, rain and dime sized hail, I salvaged what I could.  I was able to get a colander full of spinach, a huge bowl full of bok choi and some strawberries.

    After washing all the produce I set it aside to dry off a bit and fixed myself a nice lunch of bagels spread with whipped cream cheese topped with smoked salmon and had some sweet and juicy strawberries from the garden to go with it.  YUM!

   Tonight I will use some of the spinach along with some lettuce from the garden to make a big salad topped with homemade garlic croutons as part of our dinner.  I love being able to grow such wonderful fruits and veggies in the garden and use them in our meals.  It saves us so much money, provides wonderful variety to our menu and is much healthier for us.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Four Generations of our Family

Left to Right: Tutu and Grandpa (my parents), Heather and Chris (DIL and son), Jessica and Josh (DIL and son), Jaysn who is kneeling down in front(son), myself and my husband Jeff who is holding our grandson Bradley.