Sunday, December 10, 2017

Happy December

Happy December! I can’t believe it’s already almost halfway through December and 2017 is almost over! This year has absolutely flown by!

I’m not really sure if I’m going to do a traditional year in review this year.  If I do, I’ll post it on January 1st, but let me just say, that while this year hasn’t had a lot of milestones, per se, I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot. 

Darryl and I have worked pretty hard to get more work done on our house.  When it comes to manual labor, it’s mainly him, and he’s pretty awesome at tackling things.  I help more with the brainstorming and planning parts of things, and I do a lot of designing how our rooms are set up/decorated. 

You’d think that this long after buying the house (we’re at a year and 8 months already!) we’d have everything just so, but that’s soooooo not the case. Most of the big furniture stays pretty stationary, but we tinker with moving other stuff around all the time. I think I’ve rearranged my half of our home office 3 times this year. I think I’ve FINALLY (literally, today) got it the way it’s going to stay.  The only room that really needs work now is our spare bedroom.  It’s usable but also is kind of our catch all room for things until we get around to find permanent places for them.  Out of sight, out of mind!

I’ve worked pretty hard this year to cut down on our money spent eating out. I’ve really worked on meal planning for the pay period and making sure we get everything for those meals and whatever household or pet items we need on one big shopping trip after we get paid, so we’re at the store less and therefore less likely to buy a bunch of little things that we don’t really need. 

I made it one of my goals for 2017 to cook more and try to save money by cooking at home, and I try to focus on simple things that don’t have a ton of ingredients (less money spent and more likely to be eaten by Darryl, who is the absolute pickiest eater I’ve ever met!).  I’ve started using my crockpot a little more, and I actually ended up using ALL of them (I went from having one to having 3 when I asked for another one at Christmas last year, then we won a tiny one at Darryl’s family reunion a few months ago) during Forest Festival this year.  

All in all, the meal planning and limited shopping trips plan has seemed to work pretty well.  I know after we go to the store that I have enough food to cook for us for two weeks (I just freeze whatever won’t keep in the fridge for that long). We don’t always follow the meal plan exactly, but the stuff is there whether we make it in the right order or not, and if we don’t use it all, it’s less we have to buy next time!

So, some, this stuff might not seem like much, but honestly, it’s been kind of huge for us. We were wasting so much money ordering in or going out to eat, and doing it this way, we split our shopping total down the middle, he pays for half and I pay for half, and we usually don’t pay more than around $65 each (and that would be on a big trip when we need more stuff than usual!). Do that twice a month and compare the numbers to what we spend on restaurants and it’s a big deal, especially on a limited budget. 

I’m thinking of writing a bit more about it later, because my whole method is slightly more complex and could probably be fodder for its own post!

How has everyone else been doing with their 2017 goals?

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Autumn is Almost Here!

Is anyone else excited for fall yet? I've been loving this cooler weather in the mornings and being able to wear my pull overs a little bit now. I was really excited when the weather warmed up earlier this year, and while I'm not excited for the later prospect of snow, I'm SUPER excited for some cooler weather! (Don't ask Darryl's opinion on this or you'll likely get a 10-minute rant on how cold is evil.)

In light of cooler weather, I've also started making some cold weather stuff when I'm crocheting. I started on a pair of wrist warmers last weekend, and while this pair is going to be for my mom (late part of her birthday present), they're super easy to make, and I plan to make a few more of them that will hopefully sell.

Last year, hats were my big thing at the very end of the year. This year, I really haven't sold all that much. Granted, I've been focused on a lot of other things, so I haven't been "marketing" on social media very much, and that obviously doesn't help. Instead, when crocheting, I've been trying new things, new patterns, new types of products, so I can maybe expand and get a little more variety going. 

I was asked at a family reunion in August if I could make a trivet (basically a hot pad, for those like me who didn't know what a trivet was) for a teapot. I tried a few different patterns before finally finding one I really liked that was suitable for what she wanted, and this was the result:

Isn't it cool? It's called wiggly crochet, and I got the pattern from this blog:

I'm going to sell them for $10. They're super thick, and a lot of yarn goes into them, so $10 is right on point for money spent on materials x3 (the commonly used formula I use to price all of my products - and actually, that's rounded down a little from what the product of that formula actually is, so it's a good deal!)

I also have a few scarves and hats left from last year that I can sell right now if anyone is interested. Messy bun beanies, criss cross hats, my scarves (pattern entirely my own, which I'm really proud of!)....and I'll be adding to those collections over the next month or two. I have a bunch of Red Heart yarn I need to use up and get out of my office so I can sell the products made from it and make money to buy more yarn! I try not to buy much unless I've been selling too (tight budget over here), and as previously mentioned, selling hasn't been a big priority this year up until this fall.

I'll post more as I get more done and take updated pictures of what I have here! Happy almost fall, everyone!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Happy Birthday, Darryl!

Those of you who only read the blog probably don't know much about Darryl yet. I know I mentioned last year that we bought our first house, but since I got busy with said house and didn't keep writing, you didn't get a whole lot more insight. And even if you follow on Facebook, we don't post a lot of selfies and pictures together because we're usually too busy actually doing things ( plus neither of us is good at taking selfies and he doesn't like his picture taken in general!).

But to give a little insight into our relationship for a second:

Darryl is one of the most amazing people I've met, though he would most likely tell me I'm insane for thinking that. He's like two sides of a coin. Kind and considerate and caring (he will deny that too), while also stubborn, headstrong, and not at all afraid to speak his mind. We complement each other pretty well! Lol

While I am all of those things too (at least I think), it's never boring.  We butt heads occasionally over stuff, but most of the time we are in agreement about what matters. And the things that we don't agree on...we either find a middle ground or we agree to disagree and move on. It's the kind of relationship that I always knew I wanted, but I really didn't think I'd ever find a person that would really be that way. It's not petty, there's no drama, and he actually really cares.

By the time we found each other, I was done dating for a while, and had been for a couple of years, and though it didn't start immediately, once we spent more time together, I knew that this could be something serious. I dug my heels in for a while, but he eventually got me to come around. And I'm so incredibly happy that he did, because I don't know what I would do without him now.

But enough with the mushy stuff. He's not all about big gestures and parties, so I went sentimental this year and got him some pictures printed and framed and we're going to Morgantown today to eat at Chili’s (his favorite) and do some shopping.

(His only gift request was that he wanted an 8x10 picture of our two cats, Bo and Leo, sitting together like they actually like each other, printed and framed. -_-) I went a little further than just that though. And the one I thought he'd like the most was this one, which I actually gave to him on Thursday because I couldn't wait for him to see it:

The left side is his dad. He passed away in 2009. Darryl was extremely close to him. The right is Darryl (a picture I got from his Facebook). He doesn't have a lot of nicely framed photos of his dad, so I wanted to do something special with it. He hung it on the wall above his recliner. :)

And here is the photo he requested:

So, if you read this, happy birthday, chief!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Horse Massages

Yes.  You read that right.  I said horse massages.

Last night, I took the evening to go hang out with Orion.  All I did was groom him and massage him.  And let me tell you, he was loving it.  There were multiple times he almost fell asleep, and the rest of the time, he stood quietly with his head hanging low, just enjoying the attention.

I also took some essential oils out with me to see if he'd be interested in any of them.  In the past he's usually chosen lavender or eucalyptus.  I couldn't find any eucalyptus anywhere.  I'll have to order some of it.  He turned the lavender and everything else I offered him away, so we didn't end up using any oils.

After a pretty thorough grooming session and seeing if he wanted any of the oils, I started his massage.  I basically just started working at his poll, his forehead, around his eyes and ears, and worked my way back from there, really putting pressure on the larger muscles and working down his spine.  After working his topline, I worked down the underside of his neck and chest and then focused on his front legs.  Due to his confirmation and DSLD, his front legs take on a lot more strain than a lot of horses' would.  By the time I finished the last leg, he was standing quietly with one hind foot cocked.  He had hay in the manger in front of him, but he'd stopped eating and was just enjoying his massage.  I finished up the session by brushing him with long strokes of his soft brush and trading him some treats for kisses (he doesn't always feel like doing it, but he will raise his nose to your face when you smooch at him).

I really felt like it helped me get back in tune with him a little bit better.  By the time I was done (the whole session lasted about an hour and a half), he was content to just hang out in the barn with Darryl and I, no halter or lead on anymore, while I was putting everything away.

If you're interested in the methods I used to do his massage tonight, read here about massaging while grooming and here about acupressure in horses.  I didn't focus as much on the acupressure as the massage, and I groomed him before I really started in on the massage (it's been pretty muddy here, so he was definitely dirty!).  I did use some of the acupressure points though, especially PC6, GV 24, and Yin Tang.  He really seemed to enjoy the ones on his head.  He was a little indifferent to PC6, but I'm still going to continue using it.

More to come later!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Orion - Going Back to Basics

You haven't heard about my boy for a while, and that's because he's been literally out to pasture for over a year now. Life has just been so crazy busy that I haven't had time to do anything other than occasionally run out to where I board him to love on him, and I can ashamedly admit that even that has not been as often as it should. All of his basic needs are being met, but I haven't been able to dedicate the time to him that I've been wanting to.

That stops now.

I've actually had this post written for a while, but now that I'm actually getting ready to dive into this, it requires an update. I was thinking of doing some light riding with him again. I've flip flopped back and forth on the idea a million times. As of right now, that's not going to happen. There's too much else we need to work on and too much concern in my mind that riding will make his DSLD worse. (Just an FYI, the vet who diagnosed him did not say not to ride him. She actually told me that light riding on a level surface shouldn't hurt him and just to keep an eye on it if I do. He's not been ridden for 2 years and only had a couple of flare ups that lasted only a day or two. He's been fine. Others say they think riding him should be out of the question, some don't think it would hurt him at all, but for right now, I'm just not willing to risk it.)
The following story is actually kind of hard for me to write, because it brought to the forefront, in a painfully public way, just how much I need to do to fix my relationship with Orion and get his training and overall attitude back on track.

I took him, along with some of his barn mates and some of the other owners where I kboard him to the annual 4-H Hoof and Health Clinic to get his vaccines and Coggins updated and have an annual exam done over the weekend, and it was BAD.  He's been doing fine with me on the sporadic times I've worked with him. We've had one bad groundwork session, and the rest have been pretty good. But holy CRAP. He was a train wreck when it came time for his exam. He was a spazzy mess every time I took away from his barn mates, and when I took him into the vetting area, he wouldn't let the vet look in his mouth (a new vet we hadn't met before - she was super nice and knew what she was doing, but my horse was being a complete jerk). He clamped shut and wouldn't let her in, then tried to kick her when she tried to take his temp. (Just another FYI, he had a mouth abscess about 2 months ago, and he let us take his temp without problem then…)

That was bad enough, but then when she went to do his blood draw, he swung his head at her and tried to bite her. I couldn't hold him steady because he was dragging me with him. They ended up giving him a break. I took him back to his barn buddies outside the vetting area, because that was the only place he was calm and not whinnying up a storm and looking frantically around for them. I did some groundwork near them, just stuff that we could do in a small space, just basically trying to get him to pay attention and not have his mind everywhere else. Usually if he's nervous or tense, that stuff gets him thinking productively and listening in better to what he’s being asked to do, and it seemed to be working. 

However, as soon as I took him back to the vet and they tried to take blood again, he started lunging sideways trying to get away from them. He was being completely out of control, and they ended up having to put a stud chain on him. The way he was acting seemed to make them think he was always like this, and I kept being asked how he does with a stud chain and all this other stuff they might use on a difficult horse. The thing is, I have NEVER had to use anything like that on him before. Never, in the nearly six years I've had him, had he acted like that. 

Finally his original vet showed up, and I think it took her a second to realize which horse she was watching (he was still acting like an idiot). Then she saw me, and her eyes got big, and she asked, “Wait, is this Orion??!” Her disbelief was something I almost latched onto, like Yes, thank God, someone else here who knows he is not normally like this!!!! And I suddenly didn't feel like this crazy fool anymore, just concerned and really freaked out, and honestly ashamed of myself because regardless of what other underlying reasons there may have been, this is in large part my fault.

She immediately walked up to him and took charge, and while he still acted like an ass for a minute or two, he finally calmed down and let her give him the shots and do the blood draw. She made him back up and come forward a couple of times to reinforce who was in charge and then handed him back to me, and we talked a little bit about his legs (after both puzzling over why the heck he was acting like a psycho after having a relatively normal morning).

I took him out to the gravel (we were in a sandy arena) and trotted and walked him for her, and she said that she didn't think his legs looked any worse than they had before, noted that he's standing with his front legs under him to make it more comfortable to stand, but that she thinks he looks good. She said that since he's not having flare ups often at all, to keep on with the trim schedule we've been doing and not change anything in regards to the care for his legs, which at this point is basically just maintaining his feet so that it takes as much pressure off his suspensories as possible. She recommended maybe taking his heels down a little shorter, but other than that, she thinks he looks good. She said she also thinks his natural confirmation is also just wonky and lends to how his legs look and how he stands to make up for it. 

All in all, it was the day from hell from the time I took him in to the arena until I got him back on the trailer. Once he started acting up, I was able to remain calm for him, but inside, I was also a nervous wreck that someone was going to get hurt or he was going to hurt himself. That was the worst feeling in the world.

The only thing I can chalk it up to, in a very oversimplified explanation, is that I need to work with him more. I'd already planned to start that before all of this happened. With bigger house projects out of the way and the days being longer, I can actually start getting out there more, but this really opened my eyes to just how much more he needs it than even I thought. We've been pretty good when I've worked him. He wasn't like that with his other vet when she was out in mid-February for his mouth abscess, and at that point, I would’ve expected him to be a pain more than now because he felt like crap at the time.

But I can't make excuses. I had already decided to take our relationship back to square one and start to rebuild and figure out something for him to do that doesn't require riding, so that we can work toward something and he feels like he has a purpose again. Clearly, being out to pasture has been good for his physical health, but his overall attitude and training need to be reworked. And that's my fault. 

There are obviously some very serious ground manner issues that we need to fix, pronto, but I decided that I'm going to go back even further than that for the first couple sessions, starting with this evening. 

I went out to just spend time with him. I used to do massage and essential oils and just spend a lot of time hanging out with him the first year or so that I had him.  At first I couldn't ride him because he was injured, so I had to find other things to do to bond with him and not put strain on him. Then that just sort of became our thing when we weren't doing other things. The past few years or so we have completely gotten away from just “hanging out”, and for the past year, I have had to drastically cut my time with him because so many other things were going on. It's not been fair to him, and I think going back to where we started might put us both on the right foot to start addressing everything else.

I'll let you know how that went.  We have a lot of work ahead of us, but I hope this puts a new beginning on things so that we can get back to how it should be.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Back to Normal

Hey all!

I have been hard at work the last couple of weeks drafting new blog posts and coming up with some ongoing series of posts. I've really felt the need to write lately, and I'm finally enthused and have some things I'm working on that I can easily write about!

Most of our big projects for the house are done for now, and I have some more time to dedicate to stuff I want to do rather than only the stuff I need to do (and some of the stuff I had previously only wanted has majorly turned into stuff that is now needed - you'll see in an upcoming post, one that will probably turn into a series.)

I hope all of you are doing well, and I hope you enjoy what I have to say! I'm looking forward to getting back into this and a lot of other things I've been back-burnering for the past couple years.

Have a great day, and happy reading!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Messy Bun Beanie!

Hey guys! Remember that messy bun beanie I mentioned I was working on?  Well, I finished one!

They are only $10, and you can order one here.

Also, I've added a button at the top left column of the blog that you can click on to easily navigate to my Etsy shoppe and a page that has a widget for my shoppe, showing many of my items for sale. I hope you check it out - you might find something you like!  There are lots of cool things that I have available that would make great gifts!

Have a wonderful day! :)

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

New Etsy Release - Purses!

Hey guys! I have a new creation in my Etsy store.  I came up with the design for a purse about a month ago and have been working to streamline it a bit, and I finally have it to where I am happy with it.  I actually had a few sold before it was officially listed on my store!

I'm making them to order, so all you have to do is choose your color and whether you want handles or a shoulder strap.  The set is $20 and includes the purse, a medium-sized pouch and small-sized pouch for storage within the purse.

What do you think?  Comment your thoughts below!  I look forward to hearing your opinions and maybe making you a purse!