Photo Op of the Century... Oz Girl Rustles Longhorn!

And I thought LadyRider and I would have a run-of-the-mill day in the big city today. I'll be sure to remember in future that LadyRider doesn't do run-of-the-mill, especially with her camera in hand!

There's no spoiler alert here... if you want the whole story and the incriminating photos to go along with the {ahem} fictional tale, you'll just have to head on over to LadyRider's blog to find out exactly what happened on Friday's sunny yet very, very WINDY Wichita afternoon.

But ...don't believe a word of LadyRider's ridiculous western tale... it's quite apparent she has aspirations of being the next Louis L'Amour.

P.S.  Leave nice comments for LadyRider, snarky comments here.  Hey I can't blame you on THIS one!  :-)

My Marlboro Man

No, I'm not stealing Ree Drummond's affectionate term for her husband here... I just happen to think that every single one of us married women has a "Marlboro Man"... you know, the guy who fixes things around the house, keeps the yard all mowed and looking nice, and keeps your car tires all full of air... he slings the hay bales from the trailer to the barn/shop (oh sure, I could do it if I HAD to), repairs the chicken coop so you can finally purchase your first flock of babies, starts a compost pile for the garden that he's going to till for you... and on and on and on I could rant.

{If you don't know who Ree Drummond is, and I would hazard a guess to say that almost all my readers do know who she is.... then you need to go here to read more about the Pioneer Woman, and right here to find out about her Marlboro Man.}

Let's face it... my Marlboro Man is my go-to guy. Not just because I love him and I have so much fun with him, but because he's good at everything he does, and his mind is chock-full of knowledge and wisdom. He's one of the smartest guys I've met, and just the best when it comes to problem-solving.  Sometimes I feel like such a duh when he comes up with solutions that should have been obvious to me!  He's so good at making stuff out of stuff... he's a green kind of guy and probably doesn't even realize it.  He's uber-patient with the animals (and me!), and he's the epitome of calm in a panic situation... call me melodramatic and DON'T come to me in a panic situation!  I can calm down (eventually) but calm is not my normal operating system. I have utter respect for the way he handles our horses... he's mega-matter-of-fact and down to earth and REAL.  Yep, he knows how to keep everything real on the ranch.

Maybe those are some of the reasons we work so well together.

Our 2nd anniversary was March 14.  Since we don't eat out much... I mean, there's no restaurants within a 15 mile radius of our house... we splurged and went to PF Chang's in Wichita.  He loves Chinese, me not so much, but I can stomach Chang's.  He was the only cowboy in the restaurant that day.  He remarked that no one else wore their cowboy hat to lunch at Chang's... I replied that the other cowboys could be found across town at the local barbeque.  How many REAL cowboys eat Chinese?!

Trust me, he looked good in his cowboy hat in that Chinese restaurant.

If you haven't read "our story", you'll just have to click here and find out how we met.  Sometimes life does hand us something better than just lemons... we don't always have to make lemonade. 

But it's always good to know HOW to make lemonade, just in case... 

I won't lie.  I can honestly say that from the summer of 2004 to February of 2007 when I finally met my husband, the guys I met were the worst, the scariest, the most devious and scheming, disgusting ... need I go on?  After the guy who was a compulsive dating site lurker and king of chat with zillions of girls (I dated THAT one for a year, shame on me) to the suicide-threatening goob who stalked me by watching my house and questioning my every move (I went to the grocery store for tea, ass-wipe...I wish all my girls coulda been there when I practically THREW him out my front door after that ludicrous scene), I had decided that the online dating game was no longer for me.

Am I ever glad I gave one more website one more chance, else I would never be where I am today.  Jobless or not, I still believe that I am in the best place I've ever been in my life, and I'm truly thankful and grateful for my Marlboro Man.

How about you?  Is your hubby your Marlboro Man?  :-)

Blogs and Giveaways ...Peas in a Pod? Or Not?

I've been thinking about blogs and giveaways for some time now... let's face it, there are tons of giveaways out there in bloggy land. So I got to wondering... how many people really like blog giveaways? Y'all know that I've had giveaways. The bottom line for me... I really enjoy GIVING, so I love sending something to someone when they win one of my giveaways. The flip side for me is that I feel sooooo bad for all the people who enter my giveaways and don't win. I mean, seriously, it makes me feel rotten. It just doesn't seem fair to me, and my heart really wants to make everyone a winner!

Some of the giveaways are easy - leave a comment and you're entered. Others have all kinds of rules and stipulations, and additional ways to get extra entries.

So, I'm curious... do you like blog giveaways? 

Vote in my poll on the right sidebar.
Voting will close on 3/31/10. 

Leave a comment on this post if you'd like to provide more detail as to why you do or don't like blog giveaways.

And don't worry... I'm not offended if you DON'T like'em! I'm on the fence myself when it comes to entering giveaways. Sometimes I like'em, other times I don't want to be bothered!  

*gasp* ... did I just say that?!

The First Day of Spring Brings... Snow??!!

Yesterday, sunny and 67 degrees. Today, SNOW, and lots of it! So much for the first day of spring... it would appear to be winter's last hurrah, eh?  I think I can't complain too much, as winter seemed to hit other parts of the U.S. this season, and not so much here in Kansas.  I will play blog catch-up with a cup of hazelnut coffee on our belated snow day.

 Paint horse is waiting patiently for his grain and hay

Hard to see unless you click on the photo above to enlarge it, but Stormy was tossing her head around as hubby got closer with the grain.  She gets pretty darn excited at feed time.

Another pic to enlarge... you can just see Barack's eyes as he hides from the snow under a piece of wood.  Both Barack and his mom, Fluff, spent the night on our enclosed back porch.  This has never happened before, but since we had 40 mph winds last night, I think they were quite cozy indoors.  Being the outside cats that they are however, Barack fled to the outdoors this morning, in spite of all the blowing snow!

Ringo reluctantly helps us with morning chores

Quite the snowy day, huh?

Enjoy your Saturday, wherever you may be and whatever your weather might bring you...  it's all good when it's Saturday, isn't it?  I have two apples in the fridge... perhaps I will make some apple dumplings this afternoon!

Perhaps next weekend will finally be the "get-out-and-dig-the-new-garden" day!

A side note:  Thanks for all your votes in the baby name poll.  The poll is closed now, but it looks like Molly was the clear-cut winner!  Yay!!

What's in a {Baby's} Name?

So some of you know that I'm finally going to be a grammy. My goodness how time flies... before you know it, I'll have dementia... oh wait a minute, I already am demented....

Ok, I'm goofy today. And no, I haven't had anything to drink...... yet. 

But I digress...

My son and his wife started a blog a few weeks ago to document the progress of their first pregnancy. Earlier this week, she put up a poll in her sidebar so that everyone can vote on the baby's name.

So what the hey? I think everyone should head on over and cast your vote.

My favorite is Molly, but, please... don't let MY choice influence YOUR choice.

Stormy Kansas Nights

Click on the SkyWatch Friday image to see other great skies!

We're in for another stormy night, maybe even some possible tornado warnings thrown into the mix for good measure.  As I heard the thunder get nearer, I decided to take my camera outside and snap a few photos of our stormy skies.

I will never, ever tire of these immense, beautiful, yet angry spring skies.  They evoke a speechless kind of awe from me... not that I stand around outside talking to myself anyway.  But I do love walking around our property, snapping pics while it thunders overhead and lightning pierces the clouds every few minutes.

I can hear the rain now, as it begins to lightly tap on our metal roof.  Our weather radio does automatic tests every Wednesday at noon, and I was glad to hear it fire up today at noon, right on schedule.  This way we know it's in proper order, and the batteries are still good.  'Tis the season for a well-maintained and very necessary weather radio!

Oh, and that black bean soup we had last night?  

Let's just say I'm trying to redeem myself tonight with chicken kiev, a time tested and proven favorite from days gone by... it was one of my son's favorite dishes when he was little, and as I racked my brain today trying to think of something really deelish to make tonight, that's what finally creeped into my brain membrane.

Hubby choked down his bowl of soup last night, while I regret to say I didn't even patronize myself enough to do the same.  I topped our soup with a lil bit of sour cream, green onion and shredded cheddar cheese.  It smelled delicious, honestly it did... the whole house smelled good, so I had high hopes for it.  But it did NOT make the grade.  The rest of it went right into the trash this morning.

I have a feeling the recipe was good, but the bottom line is that hubby and I just don't like black bean soup.  I have always had an aversion to the pastiness of beans.  I would like to change that, since as I mentioned yesterday, I realize that beans are very healthy and good for you.

So maybe next time we are in a restaurant that features black bean soup, I will give their version a try and see if it's better than my version.

Until then, we'll eat some deep fried butter-laden chicken kiev tonight, so that we can continue to clog up our arteries even more.  *sigh*

An Early Kansas Spring and Black Bean Soup

After a week of temps hovering in the 50s and 60s, we had our first spring storms last night. The line that came through our neck of the woods was the same system that had produced the first spring tornado near Hammon, Oklahoma earlier in the day. At one point, I was awakened by extremely high, (possibly straight-line winds?), with the rain blowing sideways and making much noise on the sides of our house. This morning, I noticed the winds knocked a huge branch out of one of the trees surrounding the house. Luckily, it was far enough away there was no damage to the house!

This morning began with beautiful blue skies and white fluffy clouds.  But there is more rain and storms in our forecast, and it appears that the sky is beginning to darken this afternoon again!  I was hoping the ground might have a longer respite, in order to dry up some of the large puddles and mud from last night's storm, but this is not to be.

Far be it from me to complain, however, as I am thrilled that spring is finally here.  How well I realize that Mother Nature could still throw a curve ball... last year we had a humongous ice storm on March 31!  I am thankful for our warm temperatures and beautiful skies.  And of course, I'm ever hopeful that I might get even more spectacular stormy sky photos this spring, who knows, maybe even a funnel cloud.  Off in the distance, of course. Passing by our house. Um-hm, yep.

If you enlarge this pic, you can see green winter wheat in the distance!
With the warm weather comes the urge to clean house.  Just a wee bit, nothing over the top of course.  I was going through some of my books this past weekend, trying to weed out a few more yet again.  (I got rid of a TON of books when I moved from Ohio to Kansas in '08.)  I discovered a book that my father had given to me back in '03 I think...  Spontaneous Healing, one of the many books written by Andrew Weil M.D.

I decided to read the first few chapters to see if it had any merit... and I've been reading it ever since Saturday night!  I'm fascinated and want to research more of Dr. Weil's philosophies and start applying them in my life.  Sadly, I have always struggled with eating the right foods, but his book is reminding me and reinforcing how important our diet is in maintaining our bodies.

Dr. Weil not only explains how our body's healing system is capable of spontaneous healing, but how we as individuals can optimize our healing systems - foods, environmental factors, exercise, stress reduction, vitamins, supplements and herbs all aid the body in maintaining its well-being.  There are also plenty of case histories which present irrefutable and inspiring evidence of spontaneous healing.  I personally like his approach as it embraces natural and noninvasive modalities; I've always been a rebel when it comes to taking very many drugs.  {The latest controversy surrounding Fosomax just serves to reinforce my convictions when it comes to avoiding drugs as much as is feasibly possible.}

I'm currently reading Chapter 13, Mind and Spirit - the book has 19 chapters, so I'm 3/4 of the way through it.  It's revelationary for me, and if you're interested in health and wellness, you will most likely find this book as fascinating a read as I am.  I highly recommend it.

One of his newest books is Why Our Health Matters: A Vision of Medicine That Can Transform Our Future.  It concerns the great healthcare debate and sounds like another great read so it's next on my list!  Click on the Amazon link to the right to find out more of this book's content.

I went to Dr. Weil's website the other day, and found his simple recipe for black bean soup ... I'm making up a batch this afternoon, and it smells delicious!  I researched different black bean soup recipes, so I've modified Dr. Weil's recipe just a tad by adding a few spices. I have always said "I don't like black bean soup", but you know what?  I honestly don't think I have ever tried it.  Since beans are so good for you, I've decided that I need to try more bean dishes, and today is my first effort to start eating a little better.

I'll give y'all a black bean soup update/recipe tomorrow,
with some photos.  

I'm hoping that I will find out how delicious it is, and realize what I've been missing out on all this time!

New Blogger Friends

I'd like to introduce two new blogger friends to y'all.... one is a new friend to me, but an old pro at blogging. The other is an old friend, but a new blogger. You're going to find both of them immensely interesting people.

Kayla of The Eclectic Element is the old pro at blogging, while at the same time just a 20-something kid. {I say that with immense fondness, as I would love to be in my 20s again!!} She's in her element when making beautiful jewelry, which she sells at her Etsy store. Since Kayla contracted Lyme's disease quite a few years ago, one of her specialty jewelry items is what she calls the healing bracelet. My sister purchased two of Kayla's healing bracelets, one for herself and her best friend, and then decided to send Kayla some of my I Heart You cookies as a thank you. And so my friendship with Kayla was begun.

Kayla is so sweet that she decided she wanted to do a review of my I Heart You cookies and offer a dozen to one of her readers.  How sweet is that?!  But then she went above and beyond just a cookie review... I could not believe when I read her post yesterday, she also promoted my Wheatgrass Designs store on Zazzle in addition to the Lazy G Ranch! Kayla, you're the best ... I'm blushing and I'm speechless!!

And so my dear readers, if you'd like another opportunity to win a dozen I Heart You cookies, the cookies that simply won't allow you to eat just one and will even promote selfishness as you find yourself compelled to hide them and keep them all to yourself.... then head on over to Kayla's blog right here and enter her giveaway.  The giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. mainland through Friday, March 19th, noon Central time.  You can just leave a comment and become one of Kayla's followers for one entry, or she has posted many other ways you can earn additional entries.  Be sure to leave a separate comment for each extra option you complete.

My next blogger friend is new at blogging, but she's already a good friend of mine, one I met last year here in Kansas.  Ladyrider lives a half hour north of me with roughly 10 or more horses at any given time, 3 you're-our-new-friend-forever dogs (which just means they love to shower newcomers with LOTS of attention), several cats inside and outside, and a small flock of adorable and fascinating guineas.  She has been wanting to start a blog for awhile, and it's finally here, Treasures on the Trail Ride Home.  

She's a professional horse person through and through.... I'd so love it if all my horse lovin' friends would head on over to check out her blog.  I know she'll be growing in leaps and bound with her blogging skills, so let's all say hello and hang around to help her on her road to blogging fun! She's been building a trail obstacle course on her property this past week (I need to learn some circular saw tips and tricks from her!), and has a few friends coming by today with their horses to inaugurate the trail.  So head on over to read her first few posts and say hi, and be sure to return later to see the pics of today's fun.

My goodness, don't we all remember our first days in the blogging world?  How tentative and unsure of ourselves we were then, and almost every single one of us started blogging to stay in touch with family and friends.  We had no idea whatsoever that blogging was going to open our eyes to a whole new world of special and wonderful friendships!

One more new blog...  my son and his wife have also started a blog of their own, so they can document their journey to parenthood.  I'm so excited for them and for me too, as this lil girl is going to be my first grandchild.  How cool is that?!

A Vintage Alternative to Bedbugs

Many of you are aware of my bedbug horror story. If you haven't read about my adventures with bedbugs, click here.

Now I'd like to let y'all in on a lil secret.... a certain blogger friend of mine renovates tiny, older, cute lil trailers and I'm here to tell ya, these adorable lil vintage trailers would certainly be the best preventive against a bedbug situation!  I would love to buy one of these cute lil trailers someday... that way, I can BMOB when I travel...  bring my own bed!!

Here's a '73 10-foot Bell trailer, which sold on Ebay for $4900.  Sheryl's objective when gutting her trailers is to have a place to make the coffee when it's raining outside, a full-time permanent bed (no taking the table down!) and LOTS of storage. No running water (so have some bottled water on hand) or bathroom... these trailers have the basics, baby!

Before pics...


Here's that same trailer after Sheryl and her hubby have worked their magic ....


Can you just get over how danged cute this lil trailer is?!  I adore it.  What I really love is that Sheryl and her husband are breathing new life into something old.  Instead of adding to our landfill heaps, this trailer is now living a wonderful and productive second life.  

If you're interested in learning more about Sheryl's growing enterprise, please head on over to her blog, Ain't for City Gals.  Send her a message and let her know you'd like to know more about her wonderful trailers.