So I am getting ready to go on a super awesome snowboarding hiatus.....and I have like 0 blogs written, so I throw up my hands I'll be on hiatus from blogging for a bit, but I'll be back.....someday.



It's here!  Merry Christmas! I'll be spending the day getting packed up to go home for a week of snowboarding, Little Sister's bridal shower and bachelorette party, family time and my house going on the market, plus Tylie and I will be sneaking in a steak dinner to celebrate! The car is packed, the house is clean....one more day of work and I'm outta here!

I didn't get around to getting a real Christmas card in the mail today, but I did get this fancy one done that I shared on Facebook. Let's be honest, more people will get to enjoy it on Facebook! And as my Aunt said "This is the best card because it doesn't clutter up my table". I love that lady!


Since it's a little tough to read on my card, I'll translate. 2013 kept me busy and the 2014 outlook is busier. What did 2013 hold for me? I made it through my very first government shutdown, where I caught my supper. I golfed 4 new courses and had my best round ever! Tylie and I hiked 9 miles and lived to tell about it. I visited friends in CA. I painted a Van Gogh. I made a 3,000 mile, 6 state road trip by myself and I learned to wakeboard.

I hope that this blog finds each and everyone of you having a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!




I got asked to write a guest blog, so that pretty much means blogland superstardom in my mind.....legend of my own mind or something like that. Venture over to Figuring Out the Plot to read what I've got to say on this years Christmas decorations.

Thanks Football Fan for inviting me to write for your readers and if you don't follow Football Fan.....get on it! She's got some good things to say!
They say catchy titles is one of the most important parts of blogging, so even though I do not even begin to pretend that my little large sewing project is anywhere near the same ballpark as Betsy Ross's accomplishment, it is still pretty darn good for this non-sewer. Catchy title? or no? Did you want to find out what in the heck I did to think I might be Betsy Ross? Do you know who Betsy Ross is?

Colorado Transplant Friend has two of the most adorable kiddos ever, Little Boy and Miller Baby. Oh and those cute Bronco outfits, yeah I picked those out.

Little Boy and Miller Baby
Colorado Transplant Friend wanted to make them quiet books for quite a while. She decided that she just didn't have time to spend on sewing so I got this great idea that I would make quiet books  for Christmas. Luckily, I started in plenty of time because even though I have a sewing machine, I'm a sewing disaster and this project is way out of my league. I figure they are kids, they won't know I'm awful at sewing right (even though their mom will probably know)?!

I'm sometimes creative, but I'll be honest, for this project I spent some heavy duty time on Pinterest. Follow me if you want to rip off others creativeness for quiet books. Lots of the pinners have patterns which make it even easier. The more pages I got done, the less I relied on patterns and just winged (is that even a word? it sounds funny to me)it....that goes along with not sewing in straight lines. Don't worry about it.

I'm not going to lie, I'm pretty proud of these books, not because they are that great, but because they are finished and I did them all by myself. And I only had to call my mom once!




Merry Christmas Little Boy and Miller Baby!

And for the record.....Ranger loved the car page and Landry....well she loved the box her book came in. Ya can't win 'em all.

Although I've claimed nearly all the bedrooms in this house "mine" at one time or another, this one I think wins the official title. Its not the biggest, but I love the mattress on this bed, plus I have flannel sheets for the winter and that is just awesome when its below 0 outside!


And the final product


Have I ever said how nice it is to have matching carpet throughout the house instead of a different carpet in each room?


I'm not a big Ellen watcher, but this video had tears rolling down my cheeks. Enjoy!

I love Christmas. I love the reason for Christmas, I love coming up with great presents that the receipient will just LOVE, I love the snowy weather and warm comfort food, I love decorations and lights. But this year, I’m a Grinch and I really don’t know why. I’m just having a hard time getting into the annoying, happy, smiling, not-a-care-in-the-world spirit.

I don’t have any decorations up because I’m selling my house, I’m going to be working on some final projects on Christmas Day, my shopping is done, but I don’t feel as I got any earth-shattering awesome presents for anyone this year. Stuff they will like? Yes. Stuff they need/want? Yes. Earth-shattering awesome? No.

So for these final days before the big hoo-rah, my mission is Christmas spirit……I’m going to hang some lights right now, maybe that will help.

The grinch

by on 5:00 AM
I love Christmas. I love the reason for Christmas, I love coming up with great presents that the receipient will just LOVE, I love the sn...
First off, a huge thank you to all who participated in our 2013 Virtual Turkey Trot. Football Fan and I promised a donation to the Salvation Army if we had participants in at least 10 states.....and you guys delivered, and we will too!


To read all about (and look at pictures) from everyone's run click here, and here, and here.

Like Football Fan I had a couple fashionably late reporters, but we like 'em so we count 'em.

California - I will say I'm jealous of California Girl. She got to run in 75 degree weather. She knows she has it good so she ran a few 5Ks over the weekend. She's got a cute little husky pack that runs with her. She runs to be healthy and beat stress. She runs for those who are unable to run. California Girl is so thankful that she is able to run!



And on other end of the world Alaska - Alaskan Mom completed her 5K on the elliptical because it was a whopping -5 degrees in Alaska. Her son Tate also wanted to participate. I made the executive decision that playing 5 hockey games in one day counted for at least a 5K. Thank you for staying active even in the negative degrees!

And with the awesome participation from all over the U.S., my check is in the mail (really I just used my credit card online but that isn't as fun to say) to the Salvation Army, which is one of my favorite charities. 96% of donations go to the cause, while the Commissioner of the 2 billion dollar organization receives a salary of $13,000 + housing. Kudos to Salvation Army for truly being dedicated to helping others.

Not my real check, so don't try breaking into my bank account! :)



I am in awe of range sheep operations here. I just love them and I always have so many questions that I'm sure that my guys hate love taking me with them because I probably ask stupid questions, but they humor me and answer without laughing at me too much.

Q: How many times are your sheep ran through "corrals" in a year?
A: 6; shearing, docking, mouthing, before they go up to the forest for summer, coming off the forest and when we take the bucks out.

Q: How do you protect your sheep against predators?
A: We use herders and guard dogs.

Great Pyrenees - Guard Dog


Q: Are your dogs aggressive towards people, like people they don't know, like me!?
A: Ours aren't, but some people have more aggressive guard dogs.

Q: How often do herders get groceries delivered? Do they get to pick what they want to eat? Do they change it up?
A: Groceries are delivered every 2 weeks, herders make their own list and anything goes as long as they don't eat better than I do. They usually don't change it up too much, grocery lists are very similar among weeks as well as camps.

Q: Where are your herders from?
A: Peru

Refuge on a bitter cold winter day, it was nice and cozy inside though

 Who else has some questions that they would like answered? Let me know and I'll do my best to find out the dirt for you!


Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is charged with managing public lands for multiple use which includes the management of "wild" horse herds. When I wrote my original post in response to a news story that was ran by NBC News, I decided that in order to further educate myself, as I encouraged all my readers to do, I needed to attend a wild horse gather. And I did just that.

Last week I attended the Salt Wells Herd Management Area (HMA) gather, where BLM estimated that approximately 150 head would be removed from the range. Throughout the entire month of gather, an expected 700 head would be removed. This sounds like alot right? Consider that this covers an area that is nearly 2.5 million acres and 700 head isn't all that much.

I'll be honest, the gather was pretty much what I expected and not all that exciting. We were a good mile away from the trap and we waited for a long time before horses started coming in. The ran pretty far from us and there were no incidents that have been cited in article after article of the horrid treatment and abuse to the horses. I just simply didn't see any of that.

I thought the most interesting thing about the gather is  that they use a "pilot horse" inside the trap. The trap is made of jute material and serves as a guide rather than an actual holding pen. If the horses hit the jute it simply lies down and the horses can escape. As the helicopters brings the herds close to the wings of the trap, they turn loose Judas and he runs towards the band being brought in by the chopper. Once he has their attention, he turns and leads the band into the catch pen where they can be loaded on a trailer to be transported to the holding facility where they are processed. Many of the horses that go to the Rock Springs holding facility are processed then sent out to prisons for mustang programs in Colorado and Nevada. The rest are held in the facility and BLM will have an adoption push to attempt to get people to adopt a mustang.


You are welcome for pointing out the interesting parts of this photo because we were so far away and I don't have one of those fancy smancy cameras....you wouldn't even know what you were looking at. Oh isn't that sage brush and blue Wyoming sky so beautiful. That is what you would say.



Now if I would have made friends with the animal rights activist.....well now she had a fancy smancy camera! So I will confess, I didn't actually meet her, but I overheard a conversation. That practically counts right? Said conversation included statements like "I've seen lots of horses with broken legs live and be perfectly fine, I think they just like to put them down and say its for the horse's own good" I bet that is why expensive racehorses are often put down when they break a leg....its because the quality of life and recovery rate is worth it. or "Its just so sad that they round them up and put them in holding facilities. They should just let them be wild" Yes, starving to death is much less sad. 


And let's be honest......are they even really wild?
Here is another guest bedroom and occasionally my guest bedrooms are clear full and I love those weekends! I use this room because of the wicked awesome big mirror on the dresser that I built in high school shop class. That is one good thing about having a big house and just me, I have plenty of room for all the furniture that I built in high school.


All ready for some company!


........but I tried to eat the whole crock pot by myself of this recipe! It is fackin' AMAZING and EASY! The crafty mom with scattered thoughts got it together on this one! I copied her recipe from here blog here to make it easy on you guys, but it might be a good idea to swing by her blog and check out some of her other stuff!

Slow Cooker Creamy Green Chile Enchilada Soup
Ingredients:

  • 32 oz chicken both
  • 24 oz chicken breasts
  • 2 cans of Green Chili enchilada sauce
  • 4 oz can of diced green chilies (I might have used more than 4oz. Ok I did, I used more than 4 oz)
  • 3/4 cup of water (As I'm editing this blog, I realized I didn't use any water)
  • 2 tbsp of ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp of chile powder
  • 1 tsp of onion powder
  • 1 tsp of garlic powder
  • 1 cup of frozen corn (defrosted) (I used canned, drained because I needed cans for a crafty project I'm getting ready to start)
  • 1 block of PHILADELPHIA cream cheese (cut up into a few pieces) (I used neufchatel cheese because its less fat)
  • 3/4 cup of instant rice (I used whole grain because it makes me feel like I'm being healthy)
  • salt and pepper to taste (depending on the sodium level of your broth, you may need more salt.) (skipped these on accident)
  • table spoon of corn starch (only if needed) (skipped this too)
**So other than changing alot of stuff or skipping stuff, I followed this recipe exactly!**

Instructions:

  1. In your slow cooker, mix together the broth, green enchilada sauce, green chilies, water, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder and cumin. (My spice measurements are to my taste, it is up to you if you like more or less...)
  2. Add the chicken breasts to the crock pot and cook on low for 7 hours.
  3. At the 7 hour mark, remove the chicken to another dish. Shred the chicken and put back in your slow cooker. Add the rice, corn and cream cheese to the soup mixture and replace the lid. Cook for another 30 minutes and stir the soup, making sure to get the cream cheese mixed in. You may need to cook just a bit longer to ensure the cream cheese is melted completely.
  4. At this point, you can judge to consistency of your soup. If you would like it thicker, mix a table spoon of corn starch with about 1/8 cup of water and then mix into the soup, after 10 to 20 minutes the soup should thicken considerably
Please, please, please make this soup. Its so delicious I want to share it with the whole world!
He had my job before I had my job so he knows what its like down here. He mentored me through learning how to run an office and how to manage FSA programs in a 2 person office that covers several million acres.

Even though we have had very little opportunity to hang out in person (because he moved clear to the catty corner side of the state after he left SW Wyoming), he is one of the people I trust the most and not just with work stuff. Plus let's just say when you work for the government you need to have someone who you know you can trust with anything because there are a handful of people you just can't trust.

And he likes to drink beer and his wife is nice and his kids are cute! Everyone knows I'm a sucker for cute kid stories!
I feel as a single person with a dog I shouldn't be able to even name a post bedroom #3....who has 3+ bedrooms and only a dog to share them with. Especially when said dog likes to curl up on the foot of the bed in bedroom #1 with her human.? whelp, I guess that would be me.

So because I don't need this third bedroom to actually house a bed, I turned it into an office....which I never use. My thought process was to have a place to sort all the bills and junk that big kids are now responsible for. I thought it would help me keep my counter clean. For the record, my counter is not clean. ever. ok, maybe for a couple hours a month.


All the bedrooms pretty much got the same treatment, fresh paint, new blinds, new carpet and new closet doors and a touch of my style with furniture and wall hangings.

When I bought my house I had no idea how expensive some of the small things would be. Case in point, blinds....buying blinds could break Donald Trump! Unless you order from here like I did! They custom cut my blinds and I was able to install blinds in my entire house for around $200 bucks! Because I have funky sized windows in my house, my initial search had me thinking that I wouldn't be able to do 1 room for $200 bucks so that is a steal! They of course aren't real wood or the best money can buy, but they do the job, they have held up well and they look great! In my unbiased opinion of course.




I really, really wanted to get into shape and be a healthier version of myself, the problem was I kept getting frustrated and quitting. I wasn't seeing the results that I wanted and so I would quit. Make sense? Absolutely not, but its what I did.

After seeing some pictures of myself on FB and giving a really long, hard look into the mirror it hit me that I was ready to commit. Please don't think that I'm perfect in this journey by any means. I still eat like crap, just not as often. I still sit on the couch, just not as much. I still drink beer, just not as many. And if you are wondering, I didn't hit my lofty goals, but I feel better, I look better and most importantly I'm still "on the wagon" as they say.

I did take 'before' pictures and measurements like they suggest in most Beachbody workout video systems, but I'm just not comfortable in sharing those with the internet world because they are flat out embarrassing and I'm still not where I feel like I can be proud of where I am now. What I will share with you are a few stats from my 3 month stint with Chalean Johnson.


Chalean Xtreme:
Phase 1: complete
Phase 2: complete
Phase 3:complete

Weight Loss:
10 lbs: 11/02/2013 (actual 11)
15 lbs:
20 lbs:
25 lbs:
30 lbs:

Inches Lost (thighs, hips, waist, chest, biceps):
10 inches: 11/02/2013 (actual 10.5)
15 inches:11/25/2013 (actual 17)
20 inches:

I've still got a ways to go obviously, but this is the first home workout program that I've actually completed! I'm going to skip the extra Lean for Life phase right now and head back into the Burn circuits for another round, I'll be adding in Turbo Fire workouts as well as Spin class to help accelerate weight loss.

Thank you Beachbody and Chalean Johnson for making a program that I can actually stick with and enjoy! I also want to give a shout-out to my Challenge Group that was set up through my Beachbody Coach, Farm Girl Fitness. If you are looking for a coach, pick her. She will get you set up with an awesome workout video series, some motivating friends and success!


Well, it happened, its December already, the season of giving, the celebration of the birth of Christ, so, tis the season. Ok, I know what you’re thinking, and no, I’m not going to play a bunch of Christmas songs that will annoy you all month. Instead, I’ll throw some totally awesome tunes your way, and maybe one Christmas tune just to make sure you stay in the mood. So, here goes….


Snowfall, Reckless Kelly
Fightin’ For, Cross Canadian Ragweed
Sing That Song Again, Glen Templeton (to remind you the summer is only 6 months away)
I Got a Car, George Strait (New George, always good)
And your Christmas song….. Merry Christmas from the Family, Robert Earl Keen


MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!

Its time to tell us all about your 5K Turkey Trot! Grab the button below and link up with Football Fan over at Figuring Out The Plot and here with me at Almost Gypsy Soul. Then visit the other link up and see how we celebrated Thanksgiving across the country! Don't forget, if we have link-ups from at least 10 states, both Football Fan and myself will be making generous donations to either the Salvation Army!

Almost Gypsy Soul

Wyoming - My Turkey Trot included a pack so I guess I'll go ahead and take credit for a 20K, although I think the small one might have ran more than a 5K, she went crazy running all over. Which is kinda scary because she is so small even with the drought stricken sagebrush....she can't be seen! Because I haven't been running, I looked for a flat place to run. I've come to the conclusion that there is not one that exists in this county and I'll be honest there was some walking in my turkey trot, but we got in just under 4 miles and made plenty of room for an awesome dinner! And I'm so thankful it was above 20 degrees by the time I rounded up my pack for a run.



Wyoming - FSA Dee, who ran her Turkey Trot in Star Valley didn't fare so well. She completed her 5K early in the morning (probably because she has 2 of the most adorable little girls ever) and when she remembered to take a picture, her phone had died because of the cold. Guys.....she ran her 5K in a high of 10 degrees! I think she might get the 'Cold Turkey' Award!



Wyoming - Music Man and Tig knocked out their 3 miles on Sunday morning. The weather report wasn't very good and I'll vouch for the awful 40 mph winds that were blowing when I made it home from Utah. Way to be dedicated!


Arkansas - Micca got in her 3 miles in Arkansas and it looks like she had some great scenery on her run. Plus I really like the screen shot of her run....why didn't I think of that?



Did you get in your Turkey Trot before chowing down on some Thanksgiving Turkey? Link up and tell us about it! Thank you everyone who participated!