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Time4Learning Review for On The Road Moms!!!

1 Oct

Over the next 30 days, I will be reviewing Time4Learning’s online education program. It can be used as a homeschool curriculum, an afterschool tutorial or forsummer learning. My opinion will be entirely my own, so be sure to come back and read about my experience. You can write your own curriculum review, too!


As pretty as her mommy…

15 Dec

She did this herself at her very first slumber party.

She thinks she looks beautiful.

“Look Mommy, I look just like you now.”

Maybe I should look in the mirror before I leave the house from now on.

Shutterfly did an awesome job, but I might have mispelled something…

14 Dec

Because when I have dealt with kiddos, horses and all the disasters (I mean surprises…) that happen around here on a daily basis….then sit down at midnight to finish a project…there may be a typo.

Never professionally. If you are one of my clients and are reading this, I never include have tpyos in my professional work. I promise.

Okay. Well, they happen to all of us.

We all make mistakes and mess up.

But Shutterfly made my photobook look so amazing that I hope that it will dazzle everyone to the point that  they don’t even see the typo.

I had never seen a Shutterfly photobook in person before, so I really didn’t know what to expect. I was thrilled with how my prints turned out (and that they were here in just a few days), so I spent about an hour and a half one evening crafting photobooks for our family for Christmas.


That’s all I have to say.


Let’s just say I worked for a publishing company for a few years. These books are top quality. The cover rocks. Partly due to my excellent models who were well rewarded with all the grass they can eat.

The worst thing about creating my Shutterfly photobook was narrowing down my millions of pictures into 50 pages. Now, you can have as many pages as you want. But I am known for way overdoing things. So I set myself a limit of 50. And promised myself I could do another book later with no limits!

So inside we have….


Some pictures of the Cowboy. Actually, there are about three spreads of the Cowboy in this book. Including one of his tush in his chaps, just like Ree is always posting about her Marlboro Man. However, the Cowboy has put his foot down. There will be no internet pictures of his tush.

That he knows of anyway….

The majority of the book focuses on….


The kiddos. I was thrilled how true the colors are and how great the large photos look. They are 8.5 x 11 inches. I was nervous about them….but I didn’t need to be.

Some of my other favorites include…




I even included one picture of myself! Just one, but I may have made myself a book of pictures of just me. But let’s just keep that between us.

The back cover features one of my favorite pictures I’ve taken this year…


And a barcode. Not sure what that’s about, but if you see my book for sale anywhere, just let me know.

So this evening, I will finally finish my Christmas photocards and mail them out to everyone I know.

I may become addicted.

Since we homeschool, why not have our own kindergarten graduation for Dally and make graduation cards to announce her achievement!

Birthday party invites could be fun. I’m thinking of taking pictures of where the party will be to announce a scavenger hunt birthday party!

Other photo cards could announce all the special events in our life….the new foals in the spring, our anniversary, Mommy getting to go to the bathroom for the first time in six years all by herself.

Though I’m thinking that one would be a picture of the kiddos on the outside of the bathroom door.

Well, you get the drift. The options are endless.

So check out Shutterfly. I’ll be ordering tons of products from them and featuring them on here, so if you have a question, just ask.

And in all fairness and disclosure, I receive products for my thoughts on Shutterfly products. But I promise you that I will always be honest about my feelings.

Oh, the typo you ask?

We are now officially changing the spelling of the word Cocklebur. (Bet you didn’t know I have that kind of influence…) The dang word comes up on spell check no matter how you spell it. So Cockelbur or Cocklebur. Who cares? They are prickly no matter how you spell it.

A man with a sense of humor….

10 Dec

Apparently, Bailey already knows what she wants in a future husband.

He has to have a sense of humor.

Big red shoes and a big red nose.

Great hair and the ability to sit on a bench and just chill all day.


Even he looks surprised by the turn of events on this quiet Wednesday afternoon.

I had to peel her off of him. She cried and waved goodbye to her first boyfriend.

I think he even winked at her before I got her out the door. We are now avoiding McDonald’s for a while.

She needs time to get over him.

A little vacation math….

2 Dec

Number of times we were patted down in the airport: 0

And that’s even after I discovered that Bailey went through the metal detector with two pockets full of change. Because of that and several other reasons, I don’t think they turned the metal detector on that morning. Not complaining though, no one was cute enough to pat me down anyway…

Number of days we planned on being in Nevada: 10

Number of days we were in Nevada: 15

Number of times I had to call United: 3

Number of pounds our luggage was overweight: 2

Number of dollars that costs you: 100

Number of times I thanked the airport baggage guy for just letting me throw 2 pounds of clothes in with the carseats that check for free: 100

Number of times people asked if I needed help with two carseats, two children, three carryons and my purse: 3

Number of people who said I did a great job keeping my kiddos happy and quiet on the plane: 14

Shocking isn’t it.

Number of moms I told not to worry about their screaming baby, mine used to scream and who cares anyway: 3

Poor moms. I’ve been there. Don’t worry. You’ll get off the plane and never again see any of those huffy people again.

But I’m so glad mine didn’t scream.

Dally just quietly cried a bit when I couldn’t find her bubble gum in my carry-on. She settled for seven tootsie rolls and a package of gummies.

Number of manicures I went through in two weeks: 1

Seriously. Apparently the number on enemy to a manicure is washing dishes, doing laundry and feeding horses.

Number of days that manicure lasted when I got home: 1/2

Number of people it took to jump my dead battery in my truck at the airport at 9 pm: 3

Seriously, I love my roadside assistance, but I told them several times that my truck is a 1-ton. This apparently meant nothing to them. So they sent a guy with a vehicle that could fit INSIDE the CAB of my truck to try and jump my truck. He tried. He really did. But his Barbie-size car battery just didn’t have a chance. We bonded. He has ten children. TEN. He looked like he was just in his twenties. He said he’s budgeting $100 a piece for them for Christmas. My kiddos want to go live with him now. That is a lot of stuff. I hope they paid him extra for being out there with me for over an hour. The airport maintenance people ended up jumping my truck. Apparently, this happens a lot.

Number of inches of snow on the ground when we left: up to 18 in the higher passes.

Number of degrees BELOW zero when we left: 14

Number of times I’ve looked out the window and THANKED GOD that this is what I see:


I hate the snow…

1 Dec

But I so love the Cowboy in the snow. It’s just romantic. Until he stuffs snow down the back of your pants.

Which happens almost every time we are in the snow.

Let me also say that while I enjoyed our trip to the mountains of Northeastern Nevada, I have now spent 4 days straight on my couch repeating over and over:

Thank God I’m home, Thank God I’m home. I’ll never leave you again.

Because I realized that there are much windier, colder and treeless places in the world.

Did I mention colder? Like below zero colder?

Then this morning, I got an email about cheap flights. I got to thinking, maybe just for a quick weekend.

Like I didn’t go out there for a week, get snowed in by a blizzard and spend TWO weeks instead. In a hotel room. With two small kiddos. And the stomach flu.

That’s what a good Cowboy will do to you.

Cause when you see him like this….

The snow literally melts around your feet.

And then, he’s going to turn around and wait for you to come join him.

And the snow will literally melt off the mountain.

The education of a Cowboy’s wife….

9 Oct

I get the basic appeal of a cowboy. The boots, chaps, hat, jeans and attitude all add up to be a heart-stopping combination. From just plain cocky to a quiet confidence, the cowboy is a very attractive creature. Believe me, I understand.

I married one after all. And after all these years, we are still like teenagers in love. It’s nice. I’m a total advocate for it.

However, marrying a cowboy is not anything like it is portrayed in a romance novel.

So, with the help of an email I received years ago, I figured I’d fashion you a Cowboy Wife Survival Guide, just in case you decide to go marry a Cowboy. There’s a lot to learn about surviving the cowboy lifestyle.

1. Never believe it when a cowboy tells you he will “be right back” or “this will only take a little while.” I have waited for over an hour in the truck at the feed store waiting for him. I have waited over an hour with screaming children in the truck outside the auto parts store. I have followed him into the store and spent an hour following my children around the welding supply store putting things back on shelves. Nothing ever takes a “little while.” If you see the auto parts guy pull out a thick parts book, find a way to get the keys from the cowboy. It is going to be a “little while.”

2. If the Cowboy asks you to ride anywhere with him, he isn’t really wanting to spend time with you. He just wants someone to get out and open the gates. If you are short like I am, this will involve getting in and out of a 4X4 feed truck enough times to qualify for all of your exercise for the month. If there isn’t that much distance between the gates, I just walk along side the truck. Half the time, he drives on and leaves me…

3. You should always be able to tell the difference between all five identically colored horses from distances up to one mile. If you ever call a horse by the wrong name, he will never let you live it down. He will tell everyone that you have no idea which horse is which. Yet, you can cut five inches off your hair and dye it three shades lighter, and he will never notice.

4. He will expect you to find that one little stray cow in a dense thicket, but he won’t be able to find the tv remote sitting in the middle of the coffee table.

5. Learn to rope. It’s the only way you won’t get stuck running the chute for the rest of your life. This was a tip from my Mother-in-law. In my case, the learning to rope was more punishing than the running the chute. The Cowboy would almost stroke out everytime we had a lesson. So I had kiddos instead. I’m so busy managing them, I can’t run the chute.

6. Count everything. Everything that moves. Horses, cattle, deer, turkey, even the lightening bugs. A cowboy can glance over an area and within seconds tell you how many cows are there. The one time you don’t count, he’s going to ask you how many were out there. If you don’t know, you are bound to have to go back and count them, while he mummers under his breath about women in general.

7. Try to never drive the pickup truck or ride a horse in front of a cowboy. If you are driving to the horse barn, chances are he’s going to ask you to back up to something. And then he’s going to try and direct you. And then he’s going to ask you how you’ve survived all these years. Which is going to make you want to back right over him. He’s always going to have a problem with the way you sit in the saddle, how you reign your horse, the things you run over when you are driving, the speed in which you drive and the way you shift his precious truck. And you are always going to want to back over him.

8. When he yells “Don’t let go” or “Hold ’em, hold ’em,” brace yourself. You are about to get hurt. Ideally, never get yourself in a position to where you are holding the end of a rope or standing in an alleyway while he’s moving cattle around. I know this from experience. I reached up to stop a gate from slamming into me when the cattle hit and spent weeks with both wrists in braces. There is this one secret passed down from ranch wife to ranch wife that I’ll share with you now — you always have the option to walk back to the house.

9. Always close every single gate you come through. But don’t expect him to close the lid on the ketchup. His reasoning: animals get out, food will not.

10. Always praise him for doing the littlest thing around the house. The same way he praises you for helping out on the ranch…er, but a lot nicer.

11. Understand that when you leave the house you are no longer his wife. You are now a ranch hand. And better yet, you are a free ranch hand. You can’t quit and there is more work for you than you can imagine. He may call you the “best hand he has” but that is cowboy talk for “the only hand I have.”

I know I’m a Cowboy’s wife when I have spent more time driving from lease land to lease land checking cattle than cleaning house. I can change the flat on my truck, but the spare is on the trailer. My second vehicle is another truck and the vet’s number is on speed dial. My rock garden was hand picked from the horse pasture.

I can fix the rip in his pants and the fence that ripped them in no time flat. My current shopping list includes spark plugs and 20 gauge shells. My kiddos swim in a stock tank, the directions to my house include “miles, tall silo and feedlot pens.” My holiday decorations are stored in the horse barn. I’ve stood in the bucket of the front-end loader to repair things around here. I’ve fallen asleep in bed with my boots still on my feet.

All of that because when the Cowboy looks at me with those green eyes and smiles, I melt. And I’ll hurry to open and close every gate for him for the rest of our lives.