Secrets from Stumps

23 Jan

You will find this to be an abnormal blog post from me. It’s one I actually had to dig deep on, racking my brain and pondering over for days.  Still, I hope you enjoy as I was challenged to do this and couldn’t possibility resist the call.

I am oftentimes intrigued with how families do things. What secrets do they hold?  What tips are they using to make things run a bit smoother in their homes? With all these kids rumbling about, I felt I had nothing to offer, nothing to give in this department. I feel most days I’m just surviving, throwing animal crackers at them in hopes of quenching their hunger and somehow their thirst all at once.

A mom can dream, right?

As I got thinking on our simple little lives up here in these cold woody mountains, my brain had to go way outside the box of recipe tricks, cleaning tips and childhood crafts. Honestly, the reason I had to venture outside that box is because I carry none of those ‘tricks’ anyway.

Maybe you can take just one of mine though and put it to your own use…maybe.


::  Traveling anywhere for us is a BIG deal. Church. Wal-mart.  It all causes quite a stir, the kids loving any sort of adventure. My husband’s family is from Indiana, a stout 800 miles from my upper New York roots.  We make the journey about once a year and have done this for years.  I am prepared now. A veteran of sorts as I pack and arrange and sort through the things to go and the things to stay. As the kids have come along I don’t leave home without this baby.


I recommend a screw lid for a secure hold and to fill the container 1/3 of the way with water to squelch smells and such. Labeling the container helps with any confusion of homemade lemonade brought on the trip and we carry only one simple rule: no #2 in the port-a-potty—for that we will make a stop.

In extreme emergencies such as traffic jams or Graham’s lead foot, I have even succumbed and found myself balancing in the back of the minivan praying I’m not scarring my children for life.

Think what you will, but it has saved our lives many times.

::  The undiagnosed ezecyma, the heavy static electricity in the house, the raised hair from the children passing by, were all tell-tale signs I had to do something about our extremely dry house during the winter months—it all can last a while here.

We invested in one of these from the Home Depot and it’s been one of the best things we’ve done.  No more dry skin, no more static electricity and when I see the raised hair I know it’s simply time to fill the tank once more.  Everyone is happy again, including my houseplants!

::  I received this as a gift for the boys and it’s been a great read for them.  I highly recommend it if you have children that love those Bible stories, but want more action mixed in with it all. My boys love the pictures. Also, we LOVE this guy and read lots of his poems. We do lots of giggling and snorting and talking about how ingenious the workings of his mind are.

::  We are horse people. And part of having horses is feeding them, watering them, trimming their hooves, the whole nine yards.  With living in the extreme cold it can be a hassle to keep waters unfrozen and working the way they should.  It also costs extra to heat their water as most systems use electricity.  We bit the bullet and bought one of these quite a few years ago and have never regretted it.  When properly installed this thing never freezes and uses no power to work.  Each time the horses get a drink, it’s fresh and clean and cold—just how they like it. Even with temps topping out in the -20’s, this thing works like a charm.

::  We have chickens.  During the summer we raise meat chickens and all year we have laying hens.  The meat chickens, while extra work have proved to be well worth it for us.  I love how they taste and there’s just something about growing something yourself that just feels better.  I get anywhere from 8-11 eggs a day and while I realize most can’t have chickens or just plain don’t want them it’s worth knowing how good their eggs and meat truly taste. Graham has mastered the art of slaughtering and plucking and with my smaller hands I have become quite fast at gutting and cleaning.  We make a great team.

::  I give these to my dogs instead of the nylabones.  Nylabones have been shown to crack and chip teeth, while these are softer and easier to chew, yet still take them awhile to work through. By awhile I mean maybe 10 minutes. So if you have a real chewer, this probably won’t work for your dog. I give them more as treats.

::  Graham uses this batman gear every. single. day.  IMG_0891

He feels naked without each piece.  About once a year he breaks his Leatherman using it on something he probably shouldn’t be. However, the company graciously replaces it every time. That is a pack of gum you’re seeing there. He’s addicted.

:: When I’m not pregnant I use this work out video. I usually want to die, but something keeps me going. I think it’s Jillian’s encouragement to me that I can do it!  I will be joining her once again sometime this summer after baby #4 has arrived.

::  We turn our TV off.  That’s right.  We usually do it during the summer months, but I have it off now because I was getting sick of it.  It’s actually very refreshing.  And real.  And just better for our family at times.  I’ll turn it back on eventually. The Winter Olympics being the biggest pull on my interests as of late.  But the news, the reality shows, the song shows, the game shows, even those ‘good’ shows are no match for time I need with Graham or more importantly, the Lord. The kid shows are mostly ridiculous and I was finding they were picking up ‘bad’ habits from the characters.  The whole TV watching thing can be so numbing.  For awhile, it’s nice to get a break.

::  Lastly, when I really want to unwind, relax or just unplug. I go here.


Ok that’s a lie. I usually make a milkshake and talk with Graham or read or work on this eternal blog post, or most recently, go to bed by 9pm.

Hope you enjoyed some secrets from the Stumps.

3 Responses to “Secrets from Stumps”

  1. Sarah Birtch January 23, 2014 at 3:44 am #

    Oh dear friend!! I love your secrets 🙂

  2. Uncle Paul January 23, 2014 at 1:24 pm #

    You forgot the big white 5 gallon bucket that comes out in the spring.

  3. Dara January 31, 2014 at 1:42 am #

    Thanks for sharing some of your secrets! I found them to be engaging, amusing and highly practical! 😀

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