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I am a very normal 30-ish year old who loves DIY projects and peanut butter. Have a suggestion for a post? Please let me know! You can find items to purchase on Etsy at

Thursday, December 29

Reflect on 2011

Before I start getting crazy and thinking about the new year and all the resolutions that come with it, I  wanted to take a moment to share some wonderful things that happened in 2011.

In January we broke out of our comfort zone and had date night at the National Professional Bull Riding competition at Conseco Fieldhouse. I made Tom wear Wranglers. It was a year of adventure.

Last February I started my online Etsy shop, Briggle Sticks, and have made over $1400 in revenue. There have been over 160 sales and over 250 cards sold. It was a year of success.

In June, I lost my job, which sounds like something you wouldn't celebrate but it allowed me to take a step back and evaluate. I am able to make careful, planned steps towards the future. It also gave me time to work on that deck! It was a year of new opportunity.

In July I turned 32, and my boyfriend kidnapped me and took us on a huge surprise vacation to Biltmore in North Carolina where he proposed. It was a year of love.

In September we finished our massive back yard overhaul where we built a new deck, and I re-landscaped...including doubling the size of our food garden.  It was a year of hard work that paid off.

Just in case you are not convinced on how much hard work that was, here is a before.

In October, our little puppy Barney Bumblebee turned ONE and we all know he had an exciting year. Perhaps a new couch is in the cards for 2012? It was a year of growth.

Time flies by so quickly that it is difficult to stop and realize what all you have to be grateful for. 2012 gives us a chance to revisit all those resolutions that got lost somewhere around last April. A New Year gives us all a chance to become that person we want to be, to accomplish the things we dream of. Don't forget to remember and be thankful for all the things that went right in 2011. Before you start listing out your 2012 to do list.....give yourself a pat on the back for 2011.

Love and Joy!

Tuesday, October 25

Put a Bird on It

Here are some new Holiday gifts tags I made this week. You can see them for sale in the shop here:

...and this is the rough timeline of events that has lead me to always have birds and bugs on my mind.

Our house was in dire need of landscaping, and I pretty much had a blank canvas to work with....just as soon as I removed the 4"-6" of river rock the previous owner put under the grass in the ENTIRE yard. But talking about those rocks justs raises my blood pressure. Back to more beautiful things.....FLOWERS! So I was getting ready to plant lots of pretty stuff.....

And I wanted to plant things that attracted butterflies and honeybees.

One day I came across a book by a man named Doug Tallamy called, Bringing Nature Home. It changed my life, and I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in learning about Mother Earth and how you can "help sustain wildlife with native plants."

After reading his book, I realized that I didn't need to provide a sanctuary for only butterflies and honeybees, but ALL bugs (even hairy spiders).

If you can provide food and shelter for all the little bugs, then they provide a food source for animals like birds. Birds love bugs, especially juicy ones who just ate a giant plant.

And so birds eat the bugs, and then some larger animal eats the bird, and something larger eats that animal....and you know the deal. There are two types of food chains, and plants are the foundation for both of them.


But what ELSE do they need?

That's RIGHT! Pollination! And who pollinates plants? Right again! Birds and bugs! So if there were no bugs, there would be no birds....and that means there is no pollination. And if there is no pollination, that means you don't get fruits and vegetables. I bet you are starting to care about that hairy spider now.

They are small and sometimes pesky, but they sure do a lot for us. Without bugs, we would have a huge gap in our food chains.

This is why I have spent a lot of time researching what plants and flowers to put in our yard. It is important that you plant NATIVE species, because that is what the bugs like to eat, and what will do the most good. If you were the bug, it would be like planting creamy mac 'n' cheese and not burnt beets. You can find out what plants are native to your area here. You don't even have to make big changes, or rip out your exisiting gardens. Just implement a few plants here and there.

I have added 2 bird feeders to the backyard. The birds love them, and the squirrels love them....and the dogs like to stalk out the squirrels, so its pleasing for everyone. I am also taking a class this January on how to be a beekeeper and have an apiary because I would like to help out all those poor honeybees that are disappearing.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how I have become the kind of person who makes my fiance capture the spider and put it outside...not step on it. And this is why I spend $30 a month on bird seed, and why I gather walnuts and acorns on my walks with Barney to bring home to the squirrels. This is why I don't use any pesticides in my gardens, and why I throw out rotting fruit for the ants to devour.

.....and this is why I want to put a bird on everything.

Monday, October 10

I'm a juicing machine

I randomly caught a great documentary on Netflix a couple months ago, called:

It was about a man who wanted to become more healthy and loose weight. His solution was juicing. I didn't want to go to the extreme that he did, but I thought it would be a great way to get more fruits and vegetables (vitamins and nutrients). So the next day I jumped in my car and rushed out to buy a juicer!

The first store I went to had some bad news.

So I tried another.

This is getting ridiculous.

I  gave up and went home to sit and pout and dream about juicing.

Later on I found out that right around the time I randomly watched this documentary, Dr. Oz did a segment and promoted juicing.

Ugh. No wonder. Dr. Oz I love you, but your timing is impeccable. Everyone in the nation was rushing out to get a juicer.

I ended up ordering one on line through a store, saying they would ship it directly to my house. The wait time was a little disappointing, though.

(Lucky for me, it showed up closer to the 2 weeks).

I immediately ran out to the store to buy 5 billion pounds of fruits and vegetables, and set up the juicer

This is what it looks like:

I popped in some carrots and apples and made my first glass of juice!!

And it was disgusting.

No, I'm kidding!! It was AMAZING!

Behold! The Juice!

It has been one week since I got my juicer, and I love it. It really doesn't take too much time, but the extra effort to cut up some produce is well worth it. Ever had fresh peach juice? Oh man,  you are missing out. The pulp that is discarded makes an excellent additive to the compost bin out back, so I am healing myself and the Earth!

Here are a few of  my favorite recipes so far. If you have a favorite you would like to share, I would love to hear about it!

Thursday, September 15

What's purple and red, and black all over?

Before we start on this blog post, make a guess at what this is. Don't scroll down! If you do, none of your wishes will come true and bad luck will plague your family. Just kidding about all that, but try not to cheat. Okay, what do you think this is?

Got your answer? one day, like every day, I was walking Barney.

You're right, I don't walk him in a dress. So, one day I was walking Barney...

And it was a typical walk. Barney scouted out every squirrel in the neighborhood. He managed to check the yards where he has at one time or another seen a dog. He pooped.

He seriously considered eating the poop...

And as we were walking we saw a large dog out in its front yard. If I see a loose dog I try to steer Barney in the other direction, just because he is a puppy and still gets really excited about other dogs. But this one had on a leash, so we kept walking.

As we were walking by, this dog ran and lunged almost choking itself on its leash. Geeze, settle down dog. Barney was fairly calm...paying attention but not barking or running towards the dog. Then the dog lunged again.

And before I could blink.....

The dog broke its leash and came running towards us

I don't know how I ever had a thought cross my mind, I guess it was all in slow motion. I picked up Barney knowing if this dog (who outweighed Barney by about 70 lbs) attacked him, Barney would be in big trouble. So I grabbed him and turned my back towards the oncoming dog.

The dog ran up to us, and set its sights on my left upper thigh.

This dog BIT ME! Are you kidding? I was so stunned and startled I didn't know what to do. My leg felt like it was on fire, and the owners were running out to call the dog away. I started crying and feeling around to see if there was a huge chunk of leg missing.

I mean, I'd love my thighs to be smaller, but this was a radical way to go about it. Barney and I were actually walking to the vet, so I stumbled to their office and talked to the vet about it. They mentioned Rabies, and making sure the dog had all its shots current. Have you ever seen the movie Quarentine? Am I going to turn into some neck ripping rabies monster? I don't even have insurance!

I went back to talk to the owners after the vet appointment and settled everything. By that time I was calmed down and I had actually seen the bite in the mirror.

So, did you guess what the picture was correctly? If you said "I can spot a bruise from a dog bite from a mile away!" you were right! I ended up with a bruise about 5" in diameter, with a couple puncture marks and skin blacker than a crow. This is just about actual size.

Of course, this blog makes it slightly funny and it's supposed to. You have to try and laugh at the miserable things. But on a serious note, if you have a dog, please be a responsible owner. We can't all have perfectly behaved dogs, in fact we have a Yorkie that will try to bite your toes off. But we know that about him and try to keep him out of situations that he cannot handle. If you are not sure if your dog will attack someone, don't take the chance. You can't blame the dog for not being trained/having a bad life/being subject to abuse....or whatever its reasons are for behaving badly. I don't blame the dog for biting me, I blame the owners. So cowboy up and take responsibilty of your pets, and don't put them in situations where they cannot control their behavior.

Remember, knowing is half the battle!

*note: I did not sue these people, nor did I ask for the dog to be put down.