"The real winners in life are people who look at every situation with an expectation that they can make it work or make it better." - Barbara Pletcher

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Ryleigh's Village

::  this girl  ::

::  her village  ::

::  our day in pictures  ::

Thank you so much for a perfect day, Team Sallinger.  We love you for supporting our girl!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Because, there's not really much going on around here...but so much going on at the same time. Etc.: additional odds and ends; extras.

Rowen taught himself to ride his bike with NO training wheels this weekend.  He's going to be hitting up the BMX track with his brother before we know it!  Maeson is working really hard, determined not to be left behind!

Reise has wanted glasses for a long time.  She wanted them so badly, she bought fake frames with her birthday money this summer.  Within the last month or so she started complaining that her eyes hurt, they were foggy, her head hurt all because of her eyes, she couldn't see...on and on and on.  She's such a drama queen we really paid almost no attention to it.  Then, once she started school, I could actually see her straining by the end of the afternoon.  Mitch took her to see The Baby's dad who happens to own his own eye care clinic...next thing you know we've ordered up a pair of glasses!

You could say she's quite delighted. 

The Baby's mom: "of course she picked Juicy Couture!!"  We wouldn't expect anything less!  This girl was born with good taste; I'm pretty sure it isn't a learned behavior.  Poor thing has the queen of yoga pants for a mother ;)  The Baby's mom is super trendy, so she gets her daily fashion fix that way.  I'm fine with it!

Rugger also had his first eye exam, but doesn't need glasses which he was thrilled about.  It turns out he has some trouble seeing red and green, which didn't really shock us.  It's such a hard concept for me to understand, and I wish I could see what he sees for a minute to get an idea of how everything looks to him!  All I know is, sometimes he accidentally grabs Ryleigh's socks which have a pink/purple bottom and thinks it's grey.  She isn't as amused by it as I am ;) 

So, in his color-blinded defense, he probably thinks that camo shirt is black and grey so it matches the blue shorts.  Or something.  He's such a nice brother, his siblings are lucky and they don't even know it.

Our dentist has assured us that all of our children will need orthodontics at some point.  Yay!  We didn't want to save that much money for retirement, anyway.  Ryleigh's mouth is small and her baby teeth are hanging on for dear life.  She went in last week and had two baby teeth pulled to make room for some permanent teeth that were trying to come in next to them.  It's been a while since I've seen anything quite so disturbing.  Here is a depiction.  I will spare you a photo of the actual teeth including the entire root (which she kept and brought home).

Dentist Greenville, pediatric dentist Greer, Mary Okuley, Greer Pediatric Dental Care - baby teeth

Interesting, huh?  So the root of the baby tooth absorbs and when you lose that tooth naturally, all that's left is the portion you can see at the bottom.  Since she had hers pulled before they were ready, the entire root was still intact.  It was definitely a "learn something new every day" moment for me after I was done being totally grossed out.  The Tooth Fairy left her $10 which seemed fair due to the amount of pain and suffering those teeth caused.  Yeesh, I still shudder thinking about it.  She was a champ!

We had our chimney cleaned last week, which was a huge hit with the kids.  We learned that it only takes 1/6" of creosote to cause a chimney fire and it takes about 4 pickup truck loads of dry wood to build up that much.  Less if you burn wet wood or large logs that don't burn very hot.  Consider this a public service announcement :)  

We are pumped to have a fireplace this winter!

We haven't gotten bored with the pond and all the different things we see out there!  We've got ducks right now, a couple big ones and a bunch of babies.  They are so adorable, and I cannot get over how fun it is to hear them quacking from my bedroom.  It's the best!  It must be getting too cold for bullfrogs?  Anyone know?  That has been my favorite wildlife noise by far but I haven't heard them for a few weeks.  

The other day I was extracting a fairly large sliver from the bottom of Rowen's foot and he was not doing so well staying calm or still...suddenly he yells "MOM, DUCKS!!!" and sure enough, a little duck family swimming in a line.  Too cute.

I'm back in the kitchen more now that it's not hotter than blazes outside, which makes me pretty happy.  I'm also trying to get back on the no-pop bandwagon if there is such a thing.  I love diet Mountain Dew.  I know it doesn't love me back.  I'm working on it.  

I started making iced green tea with tangerine slices and a bit of honey as a replacement beverage.  If I make it the night before and have it all ready, I am less tempted to crack a DMD first thing in the morning.  I need something ice cold and quick first thing.  Need. 

I've also taken us off cow's milk, for the most part.  After reading so much terrible stuff about dairy and soy, I decided to pull the plug on milk.  We still do yogurt, ice cream, cheese, (oh my word I love cheese), and I bake with it...but the kids aren't guzzling it by the glassful anymore.  It's pricey, but I figure if they get 50% more calcium with Almond or Coconut milk, they can drink less per day and the cost will even out.  They're also drinking a lot more water now that we have the ice/water in the fridge door.  I am a big fan of that invention!!  The biggest thing I've noticed after switching?  The kids have virtually no ear wax.  I'm not saying the ear wax was an issue before, but I do think it's weird that there's significantly less now.  Anyone have any thoughts? :)

I'm getting completely bored with our breakfast routine and our homemade snack selections, here recently.  Good thing this boredom has come at a time that I'm ready to be in the kitchen ;) Or, maybe it happened the other way around...the boredom increased my desire to be there. Ha!  I found this refrigerator oatmeal recipe that piqued my interest.  I experimented a bit, and here's mine:

1/2 cup Old Fashioned Oats
1/2 cup Almond/Coconut Milk
3oz. Greek yogurt
1T. honey
1/2 cup fruit (I used frozen, sliced peaches)

Combine all in a pint sized mason jar to soak overnight.  Mix well in the morning, and that's it!  I haven't made my own yogurt since we moved.  I found this great post on making your own greek yogurt, so I'm all motivated to get going again on mass yogurt production ;)

My sister-in-law sent me a recipe for baked oatmeal a few weeks ago, which I forgot about, and then remembered when I stumbled upon a different but similar recipe on Pinterest over the weekend.  Is anyone else just completely overwhelmed by Pinterest?  I never log in there because I get sucked in for hours and come out not knowing what is happening around me.  It's dangerous.  

Anyway, I made these today and they are awesome!  The ingredients are: eggs, old fashioned oats, milk, honey, applesauce, flax seed, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, vanilla (I skipped the mashed banana)...no sugar, no flour, no butter, no junk...and they taste really good.  I topped mine with mini chocolate chips and dried cranberries. 

We hit up a different park than usual for lunch the other day, which makes everyone pretty excited.  It doesn't take much to make these kids happy, which is pretty fun.

Crazy that the JDRF walk is this weekend!  There's still time to donate on behalf of Ryleigh, if you'd like to.  We are soooo looking forward to seeing Team Sallinger on Sunday :) 

Happy Tuesday!


Monday, September 17, 2012

Science Class

Adventures With Backyard Wildlife...

We built our chicken run knowing it wouldn't keep out anything really motivated to eat our birds.  Chicken wire is really not meant to protect the hens from predators, it's just to keep them from running loose while they exercise during the day.  The original plan was to close up the coop (which was built to keep everything out) after they went to "bed" for the night...but that hasn't turned out to be super practical.  We aren't always home right at dusk, it's been really hot and I feel like they need the door open to increase the airflow in there, um...we forget...  Nevertheless, it hasn't been an issue at all.  We've got neighbors' cats and dogs in our yard every single day and night, and haven't had any problems. 

Then, Wednesday night last week in the middle of the night in the rain my handsome husband and I found ourselves saving our extremely agitated and quite ungrateful hens from a 'possum.  It had chewed right through the chicken wire, just like everyone on the entire Internet had said it likely would.  How DARE anything try to eat those chickens!!!  I would not make a good farmer.  I feel personally offended about this recent attempt on my hens' lives.

The next night, it came back.  This time we were ready.  Suckahhhh.

In case you ever need it, a tutorial:

Step 1: Trap. In Lincoln, people are permitted to use their own humane traps, or rent one from the city for $10 (plus a $30 refundable deposit).

Step 2: Relocate. Again, in Lincoln you're allowed to do this on your own, or Animal Control will pick up trapped animals for a $40 fee. They will not catch the animals for you; they must already be caged.  The general "rule" is the animal must be a threat to humans or destroying personal property. Chewing through fencing is considered destructive. ;)

If you're home with 7 kids and aren't sure how you're going to get the cage from your deck to your van without causing a scene in front of the Chimney Sweep you forgot was coming, maybe your cousin will happen to stop by and offer to help you!  Thanks again, Tam-Tam! 

Step 3: Release.

Having a brother-in-law who lives in the country and who needs clothes mended is really handy in this situation.  Yes, please allow me to replace a button for you as long as I don't have to touch that thing.

Pretty interesting to watch it "come to" after "playing 'possum".  It looked fairly scary with it's mouth frozen open (for the love of the land, those teeth!!!) but moved in slow-motion, like a very rusty robot.  It finally picked up a little speed and eventually walked normally toward the trees.  We are excited to do some more research on these (ugly) creatures!

Trenton and Rowen, always so helpful ;)

Step 4: Repeat.  This is not going to be the "solution" to our problem, because we'd be doing this every night until Jesus returns.  In three consecutive nights we caught two opossums and a skunk.  That's right, a skunk.  Mitch earned double punches on his man card for handling that situation before 8am on Sunday morning. 

We spent Sunday afternoon making some adjustments to our enclosure, and took the opportunity to clean everything out and set up lights and heat lamps for winter.  The days are getting shorter, and hens need 12-14 hours of light to keep up egg production.  They'll also need some heat when the nights get super cold (below zero).

After a week of hen drama, hassle and more money spent on these birds, it was soooooooo fun to find our very first EGG Sunday afternoon while we were cleaning the coop!!  Rugger spotted it first, and dug it out.  What a big moment, after months of hard work keeping those chickens fed and watered, clean and dry, and alive.  This was definitely a lesson in patience and delayed gratification for all of us ;)

The egg was large with a nice thick shell, and a nice big bright yellow yolk.  Hooray!  They're really doing it!  :)

Until the newness of eggs wears off, I will be looking forward to children who are eager to do chicken chores ;)  That should last, what, a week?  At least!!!