Saturday, August 30, 2008


I guess I never reported on the results of my Debt Proof Living Olympic challenge. I did pretty well. Maybe not a gold medal, but I think a silver one. The only craft supply I purchased during the Olympic time frame was one stamp pad. I did better on the food. I did stick to only purchasing perishables. The freezer was looking pretty empty after the two weeks, but it is full again. I will be working it back down again. I've decided I like shopping only twice a month for the non-perishable products; stocking up on a big trip than working it down over the next few weeks.

Where I fell down was on items not listed on my no spending challenge. I did find several pairs of shoes on sale that I got for the fall. I hadn't gotten any new shoes in about a year and a half and it was time, but that did involve spending money. So that is why I'm only giving myself a silver. I probably could have done without them, but they are walking shoes and they sure are comfortable. My feet are enjoying them.

So what will be my next challenge???? I will think of something. Any suggestions?

Saturday, August 23, 2008


I haven't spent much time thinking about my word for the year in quite some time. That word was contentment. This morning when I read my devotional though which I get by e-mail evey day this is what it said:

may I know
that contentment is not found
in the place we live
but in the person we are.

- Richard Morgan
Settling In: My First Year in a Retirement Community

From p. 164 of Settling In by Richard Morgan. Copyright © 2006 by the author. Published by Upper Room Books.

So this made me stop and evaluate how I am doing with contentment in 2008. For the most part I think I am doing pretty good....much better than in the past. I am very happy and content where I am in my life at this time and I think this is because I am becoming more content with who I am. I am not perfect. I don't have and can't do everything I would like. But I am content. I still dream about being better, doing better and maybe even having a few of the special things or going a few of the special places that are currently beyond by reach, but I am content with them being dreams for now and see all these things as exciting future possibilities. Whether or not they actually come into being is at the moment not important. That they are still dreams and possibilities is. I don't have to give up dreaming of the future to be content with the moment. That is a lesson I have learned so far this year.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Just a little break from the pictures and news of the fair....though I do have more. I thought I would report on how I am doing with the DPL Olympic Challenge. There are only a few days left. Fortunately I have been so busy with first the fair and then catching up with everything at home and work that I didn't get done while at the fair that I haven't really had time to do much shopping. Using food from the freezer and pantry has been pretty easy. I have both a big freezer and a big pantry. I have been to the store but only for perishables like bread, fruit and dairy products. I am really liking this way of shopping. I may just try doing one major shopping trip a month where I stock up on meats, fish and chicken and canned and frozen foods. Being sure to get a good selection and then throughout the month I can just shop out of my own freezer. Though I don't get to take advantage of all the sales doing this I think I still will save money because I am not good at shopping sales anyway and I always buy more than I need each trip if I am in store too long. If I only go in to get two or three things when I get the perishables it would be a quick in and out! I'll have to think on this. I actually think I can go another week before I begin scraping the bottom of the barrel on choices.

As for my craft purchases. I have only gotten a spectrum ink pad for this weekends VSN challenges. That's it since August 8 and I am working hard to actually go till September. Then I have a few things I've really been wanting from Papertrey Ink and that will be my September purchases till the end of the month when I go to my ffirst stamp show....all bets are off then, but I will work to be good. I just don't know what to expect anfd I don't want to make promises I can't keep.

So that is how my Olympic challenges have been going. Not totally spending free but pretty darn close.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


What county fair would be complete without animals? We have all kinds at our fair. Some are there to be in competition. Some are there to help their handlers as they compete with others in how they have trained their animals. And some are there simply to be displayed so people can learn about them.

A great deal of care is taken with all the animals that are at the fair. Some are there all week long and others, like the pets come in just for their specific competition day.

Here are some pictures of what can be seen at our fair. It is a very small representation as I don't want to bore anyone to death here and I would like you to come back and visit again.

We have lots of cows and cattle at our fair. They are among my favorite animals to visit with. I love their eyes. Last year it was decided that we should have a milking parlor where fair goers could come and learn where the milk they drink comes from. Yes you would be amazed how many people don't stop to think that milk is not simply produced at a bottling plant and then shipped to their local store. this picture shows the use of milking machines, but several times during the day they bring in a couple of cows and let the public attempt to milk them the old fashioned way. That is alway fun to watch. You just don't want to sit too close....if you know what I mean.

I think the goats are my favorite animal at the fair. Of course I am somewhat biased as when my kids, no pun intended for those who know about goats, were in 4-H they worked with goats. No we did not keep any in our suburban backyard, but friends from 4-H who had small farms let our kids work and learn with theirs. They are amazingly smart animals and very very friendly. When you go down to the goat barn all you have to do is look into their pen and they will come right over to you wanting to nuzzle. When we worked with goats they were all dairy goats. Now however they have branched out and there are meat goat clubs. I am happy to have been only with dairy goats.

When you visit the "livestock" barns there will be animals belonging to 4-Her's as well as regular adult farmers. But the pet shows are limited to 4-Her's. There isa regular pet show for all types of pets and then also special handling and agility shows for dogs and their owners. I love watching the dogs go through their paces with their handlers on the agility course. Some are amazing and very focused on the task at hand. Others....well lets just say to the chagrin of their handlers they get caught up in just being dogs and getting sidetracked when an interesting scent in the straw catches their attention. That would have been Mr. Snuggles, our dog. But then he was a beagle and I don't remember seeing any beagles in this competition. If there was a smell he just had to follow it.....

Right outside the 4-H building the department of natural resources from MD and a private animal rescue group had a display of various raptors and birds of prey. They had various types of hawks, falcons and owls. I fell in love with a cute little screech owl. He was only about 6 inches tall, but the lighting was not good where they had him and so I had to settle for picture of this barn owl. There was a lot of information here not only on the birds themselves but also what needed to be done to protect them.

This is only a small selection of the animals at our fair. Of course there were chickens, ducks, roosters, sheep, pigs, horses and bunnies. All those things that go into making a fair a fair.

Monday, August 18, 2008


Time for a bit of bragging.....I did very well with my entries at the fair this year. Here are a few of the items I entered. I won't bore anyone with all 34 items I entered. Of course I'm showing you the ones the judges liked and chose to give first or second place ribbons to. Yes there were items that got lower placings. A few only received Honorable Mentioned or nothing at all.

All of these projects were entered in the Home Arts building. I entered in five of the departments there. I forget how many departments there are in the whole building I think around 12 and thats with not breaking down the Baked Goods area into its various areas like cakes, cookies, breads, etc.

The first picture though of a quilt was actually entered in the Dolls, Toys and Miniatures department. It is a doll house scale quilt for a twin size bed. Doll house scale means that 1 inch on the quilt equates to 1 foot in real life. The quilt measures approximately 5 inches wide by 7 inches tall. I entered three other items in this department and received a second blue ribbon and two red ones (2nd place).

The second picture is probably the item and ribbon I was most proud of. I have never been able to get the hang of crocheting. I've tried multiple times and it just has never worked for me. I decided three weeks ago it was time I just hunkered down and figured it out. So with the help of Crocheting for Dummies from the library I kept at it till I came up with this table mat. Eventually it will be one of four and be renamed a placemat. I decided to enter it and see what happened and low and behold I got a blue ribbon. It was in the beginner project category, but hey a blue is a blue! I think the fact that I used a yarn called Peaches and Cream (or is it Sugar and Cream???) helped. It's a very firm yarn and so when crocheted there is no give and it doesn't stretch. While sitting at the information booth in the 4-H building during the week I did get two more completed except for the fringe so one more to go and I have placemats!

The third picture here is of one of my baby quilts. The ribbon doesn't show in the picture since the quilt was lying flat on a table, but it was a blue. This blue totally blew me away! I never dreamed I would get any ribbon at all on a baby quilt since that is the category where about 30 people enter. They are just so easy and quick to make. The judges wrote a comment on the back of the tag that they really liked the fabric color choices and placements. I've done a lot of baby quilts using the Winnie the Pooh fabric that is the focal point of the quilt. I will be so sad when the fabric is gone. IT is one of the few fabrics that I purchased a lot of when I found it cause I loved it! And I'm really glad I did.

My final picture is of two items a baby bib and a Christmas stocking that I entered in the Accessories Department. Notice the white ribbon on the stocking this is one of my Honorable Mentioned ribbons. The interesting thing about this is that I entered the same type of Christmas Stocking in the Arts and Crafts Building. The only difference was that I used green pre-quilted fabric for that one and it received a blue ribbon! Just goes to show that judging is not an exact science and everything depend on what items you are competing against and what the judges like! Does that bother me? Heck no! It's just a county fair and really all the ribbon gives me as a warm fuzzy feeling and some bragging rights.

As for those bragging rights I am done for now! Aren't you glad????? Tomorrow come back to see some animals! What is a fair without animals?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Sunday afternoon we had fun at the fair. No volunteering or work that day just plain fun! It was a beautiful day outside and we decided to enjoy it by watching the J Bar W Ranch's Battle of the Beast. It was basically an afternoon of bull riding and barrel racing with a little additional fun in the form of Bull Hockey and Ram Busting.

I have a few pictures here to share with you. The first is one of the gals in the barrel riding competition. There were 6 or 7 competing for the fasted time riding their horse in a clover leaf pattern around three barrels. These were some tight turns they had to make on their horses. I think the winner ran the course in 13.75 seconds. You can see here the horse really hugging the barrel as he went around it. They are allowed to bump the barrel, but can not knock it over. Also they must go around the barrels in the correct direction for it to count.

Next are a few of the cowboys riding the bulls. They needed to stay on the bull for 8 seconds to score any points and also they are holding on with one hand. The other hand must remain free and cannot touch anything in those 8 seconds. All this while the bull is letting them know they are not very happy about having someone on their back. There was one bull however who didn't seem to care one way or the other. His rider stayed on for 8 secs with no problems whatsoever, but it was not a good thing. Since the bull was so calm the rider did not score many points. Rider is scored based on his ride and bull is scored based on his bucking and causing the rider problems.

So those were the professional competitions. You may ask what Bull Hockey is???? I could just say it is not something you would ever find me wanting to play!!!!! Basically barrels are put up at the two ends of the arena. These are the goals. There are two teams of two players each. These teams are competing against each other and score points by getting the puck through the goal line between the barrels. The catch is the puck is a bull. The players are on foot and need to entice the bull to go though their respective goals. Things got pretty interesting at times and there was a fair amount of climbing of fences when the players themselves were chased by the bull.

Now this last event that I have pictures of is something I might consider doing. Unfortunately it is for children only. Ram busting is sort of like bronco busting except as the name says the kids are riding a ram rather than a horse. It was a really cute event. The kids had to stay on the back of the ram for 4 seconds I think it was. The ram just troted around, but because of its wool I think it is a pretty slippery ride and several of the kids just slid right off as soon as the ram began to move. A few however hung on for dear life seemingly having the time of their life. This little boy was only three years old and is the son of one of the rodeo cowboys. Evidently this event is considered to be the first training event for future cowboys. It looked like even at three he already had had a lot of practice. The other kids who rode were just ordinary kids. The tended to lie down across the length of the rams back and with their arms tightly wrapped around it's neck. To cute! They also had helmets on for safety.

Well tomorrow I will have some more fair pictures to show you. It really is a fun week.


So far so good....having this challenge has saved me from making unthoughtout purchases multiple times already. Grocery shopping as planned has only been for perishables such as dairy, bread and produce items. All main entree items are coming from freezer and or pantry. Of course after 17 days of eating out of the freezer there probably will be a major restocking trip necessary, but that is good as it will mean that I will have new stuff in my freezer and maybe I can just plan to do this once a month. I think I spend more wisely when doing one major trip rather than multiple smaller ones.

Also, though I have been tempted in the area of craft spending (Creative Memories has a wonderfully tempting booth at the county fair) I remind myself to flex my saving muscles and have been able to resist. Of course I have been drooling over the new SU catalog that is out, but I have not and will not place an order till sometime in September and hopefully by then some of the "I really need that set!" will have worn off.......

So with this have I saved and money for the savings account...I do have two checks that will make there way there on Friday. That feels real good. So on to the next few days....and hopefully keeping up the good work...........

Saturday, August 09, 2008


It's been two days of the DPL Olympics and for me anyway so far so good. Of course being at our county fair two days has really helped the food purchase temptations. We haven't been home to eat and have been eating courtesy of the county fair, or at least I have. One of the benifits of working with 4-H; they feed you. What DH has done for food while at the fair has been up to him.

As for the craft spending temptations tonight I had to throw away a Michael's add which included a 40 % off coupon, a JoAnn's ad which not only had a 40% off coupon but advertisings for all sorts of great craft items, and a Keepsake Quilting Catalog which had more goodies shown than one can dream of. But throw them all away (actually recycle) I did. Even at 40% off I will not succumb. There will be more coupons and more goodies when I need them, not when I Would be temped to use them just because they are there.

So though day 2 I am a winner! Only 15 days to go..........

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

I am starting a new line of thought here for the next few weeks. Mary Hunt, the author of Everyday Cheapskate which is a daily e-mail I receive that gives hints and help on living a debt free life, is having a DPL or Debt Proof Living Olympics beginning on Aug 8. It will run during the Olympic games in Beijing. I have signed on for this challenge of stretching my fiscal muscles and will be chronicling my efforts here.

If you are interested in learning how to live within your financial means and/or receive help on getting out of debt check out Mary's Blog.

Here are my goals as written when I signed up for the DPL:
"Count me in….I commit to now craft spending for 17 days, Lord help me!, and no groceries except for perishables. Everything else comes out of pantry. I will use this time to take stock of what I already have and use it. I will also journal my endeavors on my BLOG Life Out My Window. I am also going to resist the urge to run out and stock up now. If I find I need it I can still get it till Friday, but no stocking up in advance. I think that would defeat the purpose. At least for me."

So I guess on Friday I will be saying with new meaning.....Let the games begin!