Sunday, January 31, 2010

Happy My Blogiversary to You

I can't believe it's been a year!  MoonCat Farms meanderings is 1 year old today.  I've had so much fun and met so many wonderful people through this blog that I decided to give presents because I've received so much love and support from all of you!

So, here's the deal.  Email subscribers and followers can leave a comment on this post only and be entered for my blogiversary giveaway.  One entry per person please.  Even though you are all winners in my eyes, I will only have a few prizes to share.  Details later on what they are (yes, I like mystery drawings.)  So, you have until Friday, February 5th at 6pm PST to enter.  Tell me how much you love me, what your favorite pet is, or whatever you feel like saying! 

Good luck & Happy Blogiversary to Me!(us)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Howling at the Moon

Tonight is the first full moon of 2010 - also known as the Wolf Moon.  It can best be viewed about 10:18pm PST.  At 1:04am PST, the full moon will be at it's closest point to the Earth this year. 

This occurrance is called perigee,  when the moon is actually a bit over 31,000 miles closer to the Earth than at any other time of the twenty-nine and a half days of it's orbit.  The reason for this is that the orbit of the moon isn't an actual circle but an eliptical shape.  The opposite of perigee is apogee - when the moon is the farthest from the Earth. 

When the perigee occurs during a full moon such as the one tonight, the moon appears to be just under 15% larger than during the rest of the year.  It will also be approximately 30% brighter tonight as well.  While perigee happens every month, it will only happen once or possibly twice a year during a full moon.  Great photo ops to be had for those with clear skies...

The name Wolf Moon was given to the first full moon of the year by Native Americans in the North-Eastern parts of the United States.  Because the hungry wolves howled about the tribes' villages in cold, wet January the name Wolf Moon stuck.  They had various other names for the full moons during the rest of the year. 

Hope you get a chance to gaze at the moon tonight, wherever you are. 

Monday, January 25, 2010

OWOH One World One Heart Starts Today!


Winners will be announced shortly.

I can't believe it's finally here!  This was the event that started it all for me last year.  It kicked my rear into gear and got me blogging.  One World One Heart starts TODAY!

You too can be a ticket holder!  If you're new to this event, you're in for a real treat.  If you choose to take the magic carpet ride that is One World One Heart, you will be meeting lots of fabulous bloggers for the first time and possibly reconnecting with some you've met on previous occasions.  This ride will take you to far flung places that are only reachable for most of us via our magic carpet ticket. 

I have very warm feelings for this event as it did allow me to form some very lovely friendships with bloggers I met during the 2009 OWOH.  They have become important people to me, even though I have yet to meet them in person.  THIS is why the event was started.  To connect with bloggers that you might not have had the chance to at random.  I would love to know how many friendships hae been made because of one woman's desire and dream of a peaceful way for us to get to know others in our small little world.

By clicking on the picture at the top of the page or by clicking on this link: OWOH,  you will be taken to the site of The Whimisical Bohemian aka Lisa Swifka who started this event in 2007.  Her site tells more about the event and includes a running list of all the bloggers who are participating.

Before leaving here for the OWOH site and continuing on the ride to blogs in faraway places, I hope you'll take a minute to learn about us here at MoonCat Farms and then check out the giveaway below.  While this isn't why OWOH was created, each blog will be offering up a prize for their guests.  It's a way of saying thanks for stopping in & saying hi to me!

My Giveaway
Well, I will be once again giving away A SURPRISE!  I know of a couple of things that will be in the box - something one might wear while on a magic carpet ride and something jangly that has one of the elements from the title of the post in it.  There will be several other goodies added as I go, but who knows what they may be?

If you're up for the suspense of not knowing what you'll win, all you need to do is leave a comment.  You don't have to do anything extraordinary or acrobatic - just say Hi! or tell me something I'd like to hear!  It would be fun to know what part of the world you're visiting from.  You DO have to make sure that I have a way of contacting you if you are the winner. 

This giveaway is open to anywhere the magic carpet tour could possibly stop so all are welcome to enter.  Please...just one entry per person.  The drawing will close at midnight PST on February 14th and the winner will be announced here on February 15th. 

Just for fun:  I will have a second little drawing for those who can correctly tell me WHAT they think the first two goodies in the box of treasure might be!  Just leave your guess in your comment.  

(Please note:  I have comment moderation turned on.  One reason is to stop some of the spam comments that show up, but the MAIN reason is that I want to read each and every comment and not miss any!  I enjoy hearing what visitors have to say..)

Also...if you check back on January 31st....It's my 1 year Blogiversary ....presents .....followers ....presents

Thank you so much for stopping in to visit with us at MoonCat Farms today.  I hope you'll come back often, with or without a magic carpet!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sunday Selections

“A loving heart is the truest wisdom.”
-Charles Dickens

Friday, January 22, 2010

Tropical Traditions Organic Coconut Oil Review and Free Book Offer

Since Mom's health problems have escalated, we've been trying to find ways to eat even healthier but maintain good taste in our meals.  I had read a bit about Coconut Oil, but hadn't had a chance to try it until I was sent a jar by Tropical Traditions. One of the most interesting things I discovered is that it is a whole food, not just a cooking oil as I had previously thought. This was a major point for me as I am working on getting healthy ingredients into Mom's diet that she will actually eat and enjoy.

Upon doing further research, I've found that there are other brands out there, but Tropical Traditions was the first and original – and at the top for the right reasons. Founded by a couple - Brian and Marianita Shilhavy, this is truly a family business. Marianita is from the Philippines and was very familiar with the old ways of traditional hand-processing coconut oil versus the mechanical processes being used. When they returned to the area, Brian wanted to create a 100% natural and organic product for use in their own family. It evolved quickly from there into friends and family requesting it and then into a company they can be proud of.  Tropical Traditions has not only provided the public with outstanding products, but has also revitalized the rural area in the country as the ingredients are grown and processed by local residents. Know where your food comes from!

When I first received the jar of  Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil, I was surprised by the appearance. It was solid, it was very pretty in the jar, and I wasn't completely sure how easy this was going to be to use it.

Test 1:  Chimichangas. I substituted the coconut for olive oil when I made chimichangas. I don't deep fry them anyway, but I do like to crisp up the tortilla a bit once it is stuffed. I spooned a bit of the solid coconut oil from the jar & plopped it into the frying pan.  As it heated up it smelled heavenly and melted almost immediately. They were quite tasty and I noticed a lighter texture and just a touch of sweetness to the shell.  He said he couldn't put his finger on what was different, but he liked it better than the last time I'd made them (a few weeks ago). A check in the win column for the Virgin Coconut Oil from us both.

Test 2:  This was a take on a recipe I found on their site:  I've tweaked it a bit to fit Mr. MoonCat and I's palates, but another A+ experiment - Yummy!

Coconut Baked Potatoes
1 large baking potato
1 clove garlic
1 tsp Virgin Coconut Oil
Sea salt
1 tsp fat-free sour cream
1 tsp chopped chives

In a 250 degree oven, melt the oil in a baking dish. Chop up the garlic. Cut the potato into thick slices and mix with the garlic in the baking dish. Stir well, covering the mixture with the melted coconut oil. Salt and pepper to taste. Bake for approximately 15 minutes and stir. Bake an additional 15 minutes or until potatoes are crispy. Remove from oven & top with fat-free sour cream and chives. YUMMMM  (This recipe is per person, multiply all ingredients by number of diners.)

Test 3:  The last example I'll share for now is one getting back to improving Mom's diet. She has a very poor appetite now and getting her to eat anything at all is very difficult. I have been making her a type of smoothie/shake from her diabetic protein drink that the doctor recommended. They are strawberry, chocolate, & vanilla flavors. I add different things to try to build up her strength. I freeze the protein drinks in  ice cube trays. I place the frozen cubes in the blender and then add a couple teaspoons of Virgin Coconut Oil along with a mashed banana and a teaspoon of flax seed. I blend it all together and voila! A healthy “treat” that the doctor approves of.

I'm looking forward to trying this oil next in my oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe.  I continually tweak it as I find new ways to make it healthier. Once I complete that test, I'll let you know how it turns out. (Judging from my above experiments, I'm pretty sure it's going to be a good result..)

This oil seems to be beneficial on the outside as well as the inside. I have tried some coconut oil as a deep conditioner on my hair.  It left it soft and smelling fabulously tropical.  I also rubbed some on my elbows and found it to be very moisturizing. Many people have reported results such as shinier hair, more energy, dry skin reduction, and others including losing weight when adding coconut oil to a healthy diet and exercise regimen. There is a lot of research out there showing exactly how good this stuff is for you!

Free Book Offer
Tropical Traditions has a site full of natural and organic products. It is also packed with information, recipes, testimonials, and much more. A must-have resource and just plain useful information is "Virgin Coconut Oil" by Brian and Marianita Shilhavy. It is a valuable resource that shows how healthy coconut oil is and includes over 85 tasty recipes making it easy to incorporate coconut into your diet. You can receive a FREE copy with your first order if you are a new customer and you put my sponsor ID#5629275 in the “Referred by a Friend” field under the “How did you hear of us?” section when you make your first purchase. This is a $15.00 value, but worth far more in the loads of recipes and info! Those with additional questions about taking advantage of the referral program when creating their new account may email their question to the company using this link:

I hope you will take the time to learn some more about this all-around beneficial oil and Tropical Traditions. I'm really excited to have been able to introduce this company and product to my readers while also adding something so important to our household.  I am looking forward to checking out many of the other products they have to offer.


Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review in return for the free product. The opinions expressed here are 100% my own. 


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Herbs - A is for Agrimony

This will be the first post on herbs that I will be attempting to grow this year. I am putting them in alphabetical order from A-Z to make it easier. Some of them I am familiar with and have grown in the past while others are new to me and I am sharing my discovery of them with you. I hope you'll enjoy my little learning adventure as much as I am.
'If it be leyd under man's heed,
He shal sleepyn as he were deed;
He shal never drede ne wakyn
Til fro under his heed it be takyn.'


Latin Name: Agrimonia eupatoria of the family Rosaceae (Rose)

Alternate Name(s): Church Steeples, Cockeburr, Sticklewort, Philanthropos, Cockburr, Liverwort, Stickwort, Agrimonia, Harvest Lice, White Tansy, Rat's Tail

Description: Perennial herb that grows to about 3 or 4 feet high. The paired leaves are pretty with green topsides and silvery tones underneath. It has terminal spikes of small yellow star-shaped flowers. It is generally in bloom from early June until late September. Many have compared the pleasant scent to apricots while some liken it to lemons or citrus with the leaves retaining the scent even after being dried. The plant has seedpods that have little hooked ends that will grab onto anything that passes by (thus many of it's alternate names).

Habitat: Agrimony grows wild in Europe, Canada, and the United States. It prefers part to full sun, average soil, and regular watering. Will survive drier weather once established. It is shown to be hardy in Zones 5-9. Can be found in the wild.

Growing: Reported to be Moderately Easy to grow, Agrimony can be propagated from seed or from root cuttings. Root cuttings do well in the fall or spring, but if starting from seed Agrimony must be chilled for 4 to 6 weeks before germination. Seeds can then be sown once the ground temperature remains above 55 degrees. Organic blood or bone meal can be added to help the young plants start strong. The soil should be kept moist (not soggy) until the new seedlings emerge. To keep the roots moist and retain water, add mulch early in the growing stage. Once the plants have taken hold and are full-size, they can survive short dry spells.

Harvesting: Depends upon which part you're using and for what purpose. Gather the leaves and blossoms early on a dry, sunny day after the dew has evaporated. You will process and use the fresh material immediately. To dry Agrimony, harvest as above and then tie with string or use a rubber band to contain a small bunch. (It sometimes helps to strip the leaves near the base of the stem before tying the bunch together.) Hang the bunch upside-down, to dry in a dark, well-ventilated area. If using the root for dye, dig some (leave some if you wish to have a plant next year) up, wash off all soil and debris, then cut into small pieces and use immediately.

Uses: To stop bleeding/coagulent, for diarrhea, easing bed-wetting, clearing up infections – fungal and bacterial, skin astringent/toner, diuretic, jaundice and liver function ailments, wound dressing, yellow dye

Notes: Agrimony is a very astringent plant. Many use it for pimples and other facial complaints. While it is used for stopping diarrhea, it can go to the opposite extreme and intensify constipation – be warned. It is still used in modern Chinese medicine for heavy bleeding (menstrual or other) as it is a very effective coagulant. It is known there as Xian He Cao. Agrimony is also used in sleep pillows to aid in obtaining a deep rest (hence the little ditty at the start of the post which they believed in Medieval times). In Medieval times, Agrimony was used extensively by healers on the battlefields.

I am planning on growing it to experiment with it as a dye plant as it is reported to make a beautiful yellow gold color.  I understand that the deepness of the color varies with when you harvest the plant; the later in the growing season - the darker the dye.  This will be the first time I've tried to grow this plant.  We shall see how this plays out for my projects.

Agrimony Tea
Pour 1 cup boiling water over 1 tsp dried Agrimony (you can use any or all parts of the plant for infusing). Brew for about 10-15 minutes and then strain. Can be flavored with honey as the Agrimony by itself can be a little bitter. Not to be taken more than once a day.

Photos courtesy of:
Disclaimer: The information presented herein is intended for educational, informational, and recreational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent disease. It is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider before taking any supplements, herbs, or other substances.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Haiti Earthquake Relief

My heart breaks every time I see the devastation that these poor people have suffered.  I can just imagine the fear and pain they're feeling, especially not knowing the status of their familes and loved ones.  I know how scary it can be to be in the middle of a huge earthquake.  I was in San Francisco on Pier 39 when the Loma Prieta quake hit in 1989.  It was sheer terror as pieces of buildings were coming down and people were panicking.  Even though most of us recognized what was happening and had an idea of what we could do to save ourselves, there is sometimes just nothing you can do.

What we can do at this point is to help the survivors of this horrendous disaster.  The two organizations below are ones that I have donated to in the past as well as now.  They seem to be able to get the most relief directly to the people who need it - quickly.

To make it beyond easy to give, the American Red Cross has a program in place where all you need to do is send a text message and you will have given a $10.00 donation (that will appear on your next cell bill).  It's that simple.  As of now, these are the carriers that are participating:  Alltel, AT&T, Cellular South, Cellcom, Cincinnati Bell, Cricket, nTelos, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, Verizon Wireless, Virgin Mobile. 

Simply text the word HAITI to 90999 and you're done! 

Doctors Without Borders has also engineered a massive effort in support of the victims of this quake.  But, as noted on their site, "Needs continue to outstrip available resources" and "Patients who were not critical three days ago are now in critical phases".  They are in desperate need of more funds.

There is also a great group of caring crafters on Etsy that have a shop up right now with items donated by a lot of creative Etsy sellers. 100% of the proceeds are going to Doctors Without Borders.   Go to Craft Hope and see what lovely items are available now.

Please click on either or ALL of the icons below to go to their sites and do what you can in this time of great need.

International Response Fund

Support Doctors Without Borders in Haiti

Craft Hope for Haiti Shop Spreading seeds of hope one stitch at a time

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sunday Selections

“Love is a canvas furnished by nature and embroidered by imagination.”


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Golden Moon Tea Review

Over the last couple of weeks I've been enjoying, savoring, and yes - reviewing some teas from Golden Moon Tea.  It has been a lovely experience trying some new-to-me teas and revisiting some of my favorite types.  Below I've listed the five teas that I reviewed along with their description from the site.  My comments follow each in italics. And no, I am not a wine expert as my oh so lofty remarks might suggest... I just think of teas as one of those affordable luxuries that I can actually enjoy immensely.  If any of you have sampled these particular teas or some of the others from Golden Moon, I'd love to hear what you think as well.  I'm always on the hunt for a perfect cup of tea (or as my English Gramma called it "a cup of swipes").

Darjeeling - The land of the dancing mists gives birth to this most precious Indian loose leaf tea. The exquisite balance of fruit, nut and floral notes, with a unique muscatel bouquet make this truly one of the world's finest. Makes me think of it as a wine among teas.  I like to try to pick out the contributing factors in the taste, just like when sampling wines.  Very enjoyable drink with distinct but complimentary tastes involved.

Sinharaja - a special Ceylon tea offering from Golden Moon Tea. The flavor of the Ceylon tea leaf offers a rich, toasty caramel and molasses flavor with subtle notes of ripe berries. This popular black Ceylon tea is great as a breakfast tea or throughout the day for a rich mellow state. This one makes me not miss my coffee so much any more (caramel macchiatos...).  I definitely think it suits me for one of my breakfast teas.

Irish Breakfast Special Reserve - Combining ultra-premium estate teas, this blend far exceeds the typical Irish Breakfast. Beautiful golden tips highlighted against deep black leaves. The robust flavor is equally elegant and complex. Rich and malty character, with subtle notes of ripe cherries, dark prunes, and hints of hazelnuts and honey. Full bodied, dark in the cup, and further enhanced with a touch of milk or cream. A connoisseur's breakfast tea. Another tea that makes me forget why I had to have coffee in the first place.  I really enjoyed this with a splash of milk and dollop of honey.  Very satisfying cup o' swipes.

Pu-erh Chai - An exotic blend of rich, earthy notes enlivened by aromatic cinnamon bark and elegant green cardamom pods, highlighted with a smooth citrus bouquet. Sweet and full bodied. I liked this tea well enough, but I think the cinnamon was just a little overpowering for me.  I tried it straight first and then added some milk and honey for the second cup.  It was good, but it was my least favorite of the five.   I really like chai teas usually and this one is rated highly on the website, but I couldn't warm up to it.

Tippy Earl Grey - For the free spirit living in a proper society.  Traditionally taken in the morning or afternoon, but break free and enjoy anytime. Delightful with toast and strawberry preserves. An excellent afternoon tea to serve to guests with cream cheese sandwiches, scones, and fresh or dried fruit. The bergamot isn't too overpowering in this tea like it is in some and the lavender really adds to the total flavor.  Definitely right up there as one of my favorite Earl Greys. 

If you get a chance, be sure to go by and check out Golden Moon Tea.  They have many, many varieties of lovely teas to check out.  One of the really nice features is that they have samplers for 99 Cents!  It's a great way to sample several different teas before deciding on one or ten new favorites.  Their flat rate shipping is a good deal too.

Samples for this review were provided to me by Golden Moon Tea.  I was under no obligation to do a review in exchange for the product.  The opinions offered here are 100% my own.

Any typographical errors in this post are solely the responsibility of Porkchop as he is attacking my hands and the keys while I try to type this.  He enjoys putting his paw on the touchpad.  He takes full blame...

Friday, January 15, 2010

My Mama is Home!

FINALLY!   After about a 6 hour ordeal yesterday, I was finally allowed to bring Mom home.  She was so exhausted by the time we made it home that we just took her straight to her room so she could go to bed.

She's feeling a bit better today and much more settled.  She was pretty disoriented waking up in yet another strange room in the span of a month and a half.  She does like that we changed her to this room - sunnier and warmer.  We had a home health care nurse come in who was really sweet and very informative.  So we're going to try to move forward from here and do what we can to make Mom comfy and get her what she needs.

Thank you for all the heartfelt prayers, support, and well wishes.  We all appreciate it very, very much.  (Especially ME when you put up with my ranting and make me feel better with your lovely comments.)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Mom Update & A Rant

Sorry for the lack of posts, but we have been pretty busy with stuff  trying to get ready for Mom to come home - or not. She has now been stuck in the hospital since DECEMBER 2nd - is it no wonder she is going bonkers stir crazy?  We've spent the last couple of days rearranging the house so that Mom will now be in what was our guest bedroom.  We've found out in the last few months that it is much warmer and sunnier in that room than the one that Mom initially chose on the opposite side of the house.  I'm hoping she'll like the change (I did ask her about it before I did it, but you never know.)

Now for the rant:  I really am not bashing the medical profession again - as a whole, but I sure do wish this bunch of clowns here would get their act together. First they told us we would be bringing her home - you know, about a month ago? Then they say, nope - we are going to put her in a skilled nursing facility for a few weeks - 7 miles even further away for a total of 42 miles from our house one way. Well hmmmm, let's change that. Now we are going to send her home and have home health care come out to the house. Sounds great to me! Nope, let's hold off & we'll let you know. 

Fast forward to this week:  Monday, Jan 11th - we have a bed lined up for her at the nursing facility. Tuesday - well, why don't we just send her home with you tomorrow instead. OK. Wednesday - well, the nurses gave her a certain medication so she can't go anywhere today. Thursday TODAY - I am sitting here in her room trying to figure out if I am really taking her home like the discharge nurse who called me today says OR if it is like the nurses here in the room told Mom this morning and THEY ARE SENDING HER TO THE SKILLED NURSING FACILITY but NOT TODAY????

Please forgive my screaming in caps, but WTH? Can you feel my frustration? No one here writes anything down or fills anyone else in on what is happening. Who knows what they do at shift change? It's sure not briefing the oncoming shift about the patients.  The nurse in charge of Mom two days ago told me she likes this assignment because she only has two patients to care for. Whippy skippy! You have twelve hours to care for TWO whole patients and YOU CAN'T WRITE ANTHING ON THE CHART FOR THE NEXT SHIFT or fill in your relief??

Sorry again, but I don't want to wake up Mom - who knows if she will be travelling home with me or going 7 miles to the east to the facility or staying here or how about being moved from one private room to a different private room at 11:30 AT NIGHT?  I am so not happy right now.  And to top it off, I am trying to type this on my phone because I don't have anything to keep me busy while we she's asleep and we're waiting to hear which ring of the CIRCUS here she'll be starring in next...

If you stayed with me for the entire rant, thank you so much for listening.  If you didn't, can't blame ya for leaving.  I probably would too.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sunday Selections

“True love does not come by finding the perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly.”

-Jason Jordan

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Hello, My Name Is... 100th Post!

Trisha from Mom Blogs at MomDot wrote about how we, as bloggers all introduce ourselves when we first set up our "About Me" page. We then forget about it and start posting. That is all we really tell about ourselves other than our day-to-day posts on our day-t0-day lives. We then just associate other writers as the blogger known as MoonCat Farms, not a person named Julie behind the words.

Trisha set up an "Introduce Yourself to Your Neighbor" round-robin/Mr. Linky type of event in order for us all to learn a few things about the people that we're conversing with regularly. Important things such as my name is really Julie or Jules, not MoonCat Farms and the hubby is not legally named Mr. MoonCat, but Michael - although it does have a ring to it.

I thought it would be fun to join in and share some of my info as well since this also marks my 100th post! I was going to do a giveaway to celebrate, but I think I'll just give away some information - much more valuable. I will be doing an actual giveaway of something tangible that you can hold in your hot little hands in a couple of weeks. It will be my 1 year blogiversary and the beginning of OWOH or One World One Heart 2010. You can click the icon to the right or read my post about it here.

On to some valuable dirt on the MoonCat Farmers...ummm, Julie & Mike.

  • We are both firm believers of lazy weekend mornings, he likes Saturdays for the cartoons, I like Sunday just because I do.

  • My favorite author is Diana Gabaldon. After we got together, I made him read the first book "Outlander" because he is my "Red Jamie". He insisted we use a part from the book in our wedding vows....

  • We love being an auntie and uncle and are hoping to add a child to our life this year and finally become parents ourselves.

  • I like rock music and he likes country. I grew up on a ranch listening to country and he grew up as a city slicker listening to show tunes.

  • I rarely wear anything but pants and he regularly wears a skirt - I mean kilt...

  • We both enjoy fishing. I catch them, he cleans them.

  • I am the proud owner of a Fantasy Football team. I play with several guys I grew up with. Hubby watches a lot more NFL since meeting me.

  • We both have natural, very curly hair. My father once remarked that if we ever had a child, "that THING would have some WILD hair!" Thanks Daddy.

  • I am still extremely close to a group of friends that I have had since I was six years old.

  • Michael played the part of "Lord Gordon" in Renaissance Faire. I dubbed him "Lord Pompous-Assedness". I was a serving wench that he dallied with once or twice.

  • We met online!

  • He is ex-military and I am ex-law enforcement.

  • We both enjoy cooking and way too much eating.

Well, I think that takes care of some of the burning questions you've had about the MoonCats. I hope you can now rest easier knowing that I hate to gut and clean my own fish! This has been fun for me and I hope you'll go by Trisha's blog here to learn more about her and some of the great bloggers that are participating. It really is cool to be able to put more of a name and face to some of the fabulous writing out there.

Hey while you're still here...look at the poll I have posted to the top right. Do me a favor and click on a few of the things and let me know what you think. It's quick, easy & anonymous and it will help me out with knowing what you'd like more or less of. Thanks gang...

Hope you'll stay with me for the next 100...

Friday, January 8, 2010

Winners...You are Winners!

Well, at least two of you are according to my hubby.

I had planned on using the number generator to pick the winners. Mr. MoonCat decided that since he will be taking on a larger role in this blog, he would choose the lucky recipients of the Carolina Pad prize packages. This is the method he felt was appropriate:

Did I ever mention that he's a drama queen? After much ado, he pulled our two lucky ladies from the very, very large hat:

Congratulations mrsb and haveahoss. I'm sending both of you emails to get your shipping addresses for Carolina Pad.

I'd like to thank Carolina Pad for supplying me with the product for review and for sponsoring the giveaway for our two lucky readers. Be sure to go by their site as they have extended the date for the 20% off coupon BACK2SCHOOL until 1/31/10. They're also offering FREE SHIPPING on orders over $40. Go HERE to take advantage of this generous offer.

Carolina Pad Giveaway Ends Tonight!

Don't forget to enter to win 1 of the TWO prize packages that we're giving away from Carolina Pad tonight! Get your entries in and don't miss out on this great giveaway. Your chances are pretty good at this point. Click HERE to go to the contest page. GOOD LUCK!

Carolina Pad has extended the expiration date of the coupon code BACK2SCHOOL until 1/31/10. You can get a whopping 20% off items in their Online Store . They're also offering FREE SHIPPING on any orders over $40.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Stimulus, Influence, Drive

My post about my 2010 Intentions ended with the synonyms of the word MOTIVATION - stimulus, influence, and drive. I have been thinking quite a bit about what motivates people lately. In observing the nurses and nursing assistants taking care of Mom in the hospital, I got to wondering what their reasons or motivations were to enter the nursing field.

Since she has 2 nurses and 3 nurses' aides each 24 hour period, there are quite a few different people and personalities in the mix. Being the nosy person that I am, I started talking to many of them and flat out asked them what made them choose this type of work. The answers were very interesting:

  • Money

  • Helping people

  • Training to be a doctor, furthering education

  • To be useful

  • Social

  • To find a husband!

Money and helping people were definitely the top answers. Most of these people are really wonderful and caring. They have a gift and offer much of themselves to the patients. They go the extra miles to make sure the patient is taken care of and has everything they could need. I would gladly take many of these lovely people into my family. But then....

Some have no business being within 50 yards of people in need of tending. They are surly acting and prone to rough handling of the patients. (I complained btw, about a nurse's aide AND a so-called doctor). And yes, one actually answered that she was looking for a husband.

I would say I'm shocked, but I worked in law enforcement for many years and dealt with a few emergency room personnel (and some in my department) that were there for that purpose. They were not in the career field to care for the ill and injured or uphold the law. So sorry if this offends anyone but it's my observations, my experience, and frankly - my blog. And I wasn't surprised that this was an answer to my question, I was just amazed that she said it out loud - to a family member of one of her patients!

I didn't write this post to bash on nurses and aides. I am very grateful to the mostly fine & fabulous people that have been caring for Mom these past weeks (and weeks). I was just in a pondering mood and thought I'd explore a little about motivation including my own.

Money is NOT a major motivator for me. It never has been. When we first got together, Mr. MoonCat had a hard time believing that I really meant it when I said that I didn't care if he was rich. My attitude is that as long as we have what we NEED and we can make all or most of our ends meet, we're fine. Money DOES NOT equal Happiness.

I dated a couple of guys who were all about the almighty dollar. One was already a millionaire and the other one will inherit many, many more dollars than that. They are/were both miserable human beings. They were unhappy with themselves, with the people they were surrounded by, and with their STUFF. No amount of money could BUY what they were looking for. They had both grown up spoiled and had no idea what it meant to fend for themselves. They didn't get the true value of working for what you have or for knowing who or what is truly important to you. Money or lots of things DOES NOT equal Happiness.

Don't get me wrong, I would love to win the lottery and I sure as heck wouldn' t turn it down. I could ease a lot of financial stress for many of my loved ones. I could pay off ours & my family's bills as well as set up the niece & nephews' college funds. But I still wouldn't be driving a $100,000 car and I would still choose to live in the house we're in - we're HAPPY here. I would still grow my own veggies and try to can them - whole other story to come. (The decluttering kick I have been on falls into this line of thinking in that STUFF is just STUFF. If we don't NEED it, why get it?)

I know a lot of people say they wouldn't change if they won the lotto, but I think it would be inevitable to a point. But I really can't imagine what I would BUY? Maybe a horse trailer of my own since I always use Dad's? That is something we are planning on getting in the near future anyway, so it's not some big "Whoo Hoo, I'm a MILLIONAIRE, Look at me & my money" thing. It's a real life object/tool that we have a NEED for and to be honest, will probably buy used anyway - millionaire or not!

I'm glad to say that the hubby now gets that I really don't want a lot of the trappings that some people feel they can't survive without. It sounds corny, but as long as we have each other, our family/friends (furry and otherwise), and our health -we're good!

I would have to say that some of the things that DO motivate me are the well-being of my loved ones, for me to be allowed to be creative, to be acknowledged (thank you lovely blog readers - you really do hear me!), to make a positive difference in someone else's life, and to do what I can to make our world a better place. -and that concludes my acceptance speech for my Mrs. SuperDuperAmerica award...... Just kidding, I don't mean it to sound like one of those sickly-sweet diatribes. But I think these really are some of the things that make me tick.

So what drives you?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Wednesday Whinny - Cindy Three Sox

I haven't introduced you to any of the critters in quite a while. This is my girl - Cindy Three Sox. She also goes by Cinderelly and Blondie Bear (sometimes another word that starts with "B" but is not appropriate on a G-rated site!).

If you've been with me for a while, you might notice that she looks just like Dad's gelding, Cinderfella. They are full siblings from the same Palomino Quarter Horse mare (Cinderella Sox) and our Paint stallion - Sunday Sailor.

Does my butt look big?

Cinderelly is a very big, gorgeous girl. She loves to work cattle and enjoys going on mountain trial rides and now playing in the ocean. She and I really bonded when my friend invited me to the coast for a week a few summers ago. I took Cindy even though she hadn't been off the ranch very much. She is such a good-minded horse that I wasn't too worried about how she'd act (her brother Fella is a whole 'nother ballgame!).

Horses have a natural instinct for "fight or flight" that has been bred into them from antiquity. Fella is immediate "flight" - he'll spin around and just leave if he's frightened by something. This can make for some VERY interesting rides with him. Cindy on the other hand leans more towards the "fight" instinct. If she is startled, she will stop and quickly access the situation. She'll also take a cue from me to see if I'm scared. She may stand there and shake a bit, but she won't flee at super top speed like big bro does.

When Cindy saw (and heard) the ocean for the first time, she stopped dead in her tracks. We had rounded a bend between two cliffs that lead to the beach. The roar of the surf was almost deafening since it was sort of a tunnel we were walking towards. While a couple of the other horses freaked out and said "See Ya!", she just stood there shaking and taking it all in. When I gently urged her forward, she obliged and on we went to the sand.

The first day I could barely get her to put her feet on the wet sand at the edge of the water. She'd jump back and not let the water touch her hooves. By the end of the week my supergirl was jumping in the water and playing in the surf up to her chest with me on her back. We did a lot of running full-bore on the packed sand up and down the beach. It was magnificent! Just like my Blondie Bear. I love her dearly and enjoy my time with her immensely.

Cinderelly may be having a baby next year. We are discussing breeding her again as she had a magnificent foal two years ago. (I've promised Mr. MoonCat that we can keep this one and raise it, as we ended up selling "Hank the Tank" when he was weaned.) I will keep you updated on our plans for the Blondie Bear and possible Baby Bear..

Note: These photos are a not current. Blondie Bear is currently very shaggy with her winter coat and covered in lots of mud! She enjoys being a dirty, dirty girl....

Sunday, January 3, 2010

My 2010 Intentions

Resolution - something that is resolved or dealt with successfully

I don't really like the word "Resolution" when it comes to starting the New Year. It sounds so definite or absolute as in I WILL DO THIS, I AM RESOLUTE. Well, I'm not all that "resolute", I'm leaning more towards "gently inspired". In fact, I really like that term. Gently inspired!

I tend to like things that are similar to the "Pirate's Code" from the Disney Pirates of the Caribbean movies. When the Code didn't fit the situation to their liking, it suddenly became more of a "guideline" or a suggestion. As in, I'm going to try to resolve or deal with this according to the Code - but don't hold your breath! I like that a little better for my purposes. Flexibility. That way, I'm not beating myself up at the end of the year when I haven't kept my RESOLVE and finished the ridiculous list I set myself up with twelve months prior.

So I am leaning towards calling them my "suggestions" or "intentions". The definition I like best when it comes to suggestion is: the process by which one thought leads to another especially through association of ideas. That pretty much describes how my brain works: A thought comes into my head and before I can act upon it and complete whatever action is required, a new thought related somehow (or not) to the first one pops in and the whole thing repeats.

It's a vicious cycle as I don't seem to get things done even though I do have good intentions. Intention has a great definition of what one has in mind to do or bring about. Which leads us back to "resolve" which is a synonym of intent along with purpose, design, aim, objective, goal, etc. So, enough of the word wars with myself and enough driving you nuts. Below is a partial list of things I would like to work on this year and show some progress in. I am going to post it on my sidebar so I have to look at it regularly and encourage or inspire myself to take action towards crossing things off throughout the year.

Breaking things down into smaller, bite-size chunks is another thing I've learned recently. It works with eating, so it should work with everything else in life. I figure if I break some of my list down into weekly, monthly, or even quarterly sections, it might be easier to swallow. Putting them down for the world to see might just make me hold myself a little more accountable too?

Jules' 2010 Intentions

  • Get the website up and operational

  • Blog with more regularity

  • Allow more time for creativity

  • Be more flexible - physically and mentally/emotionally/socially/etc

  • Spend more time riding and exercising

  • Eat healthier

  • Keep a cleaner house

  • Spend more time with girlfriends

  • Work on my photography

  • Take my vitamins
  • Love more

This list is by no means complete or in order. I'm just adding things as I go and will probably update it on a fairly regular basis. It is one of the things that I am going to use as a motivation to help myself get organized and more focused this year.

motivation - stimulus, influence, drive

Sorry, couldn't resist one more! Have a great day....

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Carolina Pad Sasquatch Review plus Giveaway


For a great way to begin the New Year and just in time for the start of the second semester of school, I'd like to introduce you to Carolina Pad and their Sasquatch line of eco-friendly paper products.

One of the first things I noticed and immediately liked about Carolina Pad's "Sasquatch" line of notepads and supplies is the slogan "Leave Nothing But Tracks" and the statement "Eco-friendly products for those who treasure paper as much as they treasure trees" .

Both of these pretty much fit perfectly with my way of thinking, especially regarding paper products. I do try to "put my money where my mouth is" and buy/use recycled paper notepads or journals when I can find them. I was initially drawn to Carolina Pad because of their recycled products (60-100% recycled materials) and their eco-friendly business practices. (I was impressed that they shipped my products in a re-used, recycled box with no unnecessary packing materials such as the dreaded styrofoam peanut...) Once I actually got my hands on these beauties, it soon became about how great they are to write in, how cool they look, and how much they help me in my quest to be the organized woman that I'm striving to be. (I'm getting there, group! I really am.)

While it is helping the environment, it's usually not all that satisfying for my strange paper fetish to use recycled paper. I'm weird, but I love papers that look good as well as being nice feeling papers. I'm a very tactile person. So many times the recycled papers are coarse, bumpy, or just plain ugly. (Don't get me wrong, the coarseness or lack of smoothness is expected and desired in handmade, artisan paper.) This may not be important to a lot of people, but I enjoy having nice journals to carry around with me that I WANT to write in, that I like the feel of. I keep notebooks almost EVERYWHERE. In my purse, on my nightstand, in the bathroom(s), the kitchen, the pickup, the barn, EVERYWHERE! Whenever something pops into my brain, I need to be able to write it down before it flees.

With the kids going back to school in the next week or so, these Carolina Pad products would be a great way to get them off to a stylish and yet eco-friendly start to the second semester. I've included information about each of the products in the line that I have reviewed as well as direct links to each item. When you visit the website you can chck out the other really cute collections and accessories available as well. Carolina Pad has generously offered a 20% off discount code for MoonCat Farms readers (see below for the code).

A fun point besides the three really cute & colorful cover designs, is that some of the Sasquatch notebooks and folders include games and green living tips on the inside covers. The games are all about doing what you can to help the environment and living green. Sasquatch users can connect with other eco-minded students at where they can share tips and learn more about green living.

The Goodies:

Sasquatch Personal Book
100% recycled content ~ Durable cover ~ 1 interior pocket ~ 80 sheets ~ Snag-resistant coil ~ 7 x 5 inches - fits perfectly in my purse

Sasquatch 2-Pocket Folder
80% recycled content ~ Coordinating interior design ~ Fits 3-ring binders

Sasquatch Binder
100 percent recycled covers ~ PVC free ~ Turned edge ~ 11.5” x 10” - I've already got mine working along with the 2 pocket folder above.

Sasquatch Comp Book
100% recycled content ~ Teacher-approved ~ Grammar and spelling tips on inside cover ~ 9.75 x 7.5 inches ~ - 100 sheets - beats the heck out of the old black and white standbys

Sasquatch Ideal Book
60% recycled content ~ Durable cover ~ Coordinating colors inside ~ 100 page count ~ Twin wire coil ~ Inside pockets ~ Tab dividers - my favorite so far, I've been using this one daily

Sasquatch Journal
60% recycled content ~ Durable cover ~ Coordinating colors inside ~ 100 page count ~ Twin wire coil - Mr. MoonCat snagged this one away from me right away

PVC free ~ Zippered Nylon ~ Durable nylon - So cute and PVC free!

Now for the GIVEAWAY:

Two MoonCat Farms winners will each receive a set of Carolina Pad products in an assortment of the fashion collections. Sorry to my international readers, but this giveaway is only good in the US and Canada. The prizes will be shipped directly from Carolina Pad to the winners.

There are several ways to get entries to win one of these awesome prize packages:

1. Visit the website at and then come back here to leave a comment telling me what your favorite product (that is not listed above) is on their site.
While you are there, sign up for their Consumer Insights Panel where you can take surveys, be part of focus groups, and be some of the first to know when they have new products being released. (Signing up for the panel isn't required for the entry, just something that may be beneficial for you!)

2. Follow Carolina Pad on Twitter

3. Become a Facebook fan here

4. Follow MoonCat Farms blog, see sidebar on the right.

5. Subscribe to MoonCat Farms email newsletter.

After you do any or each of these items, be sure to leave a comment telling me what you've done. You have a total of FIVE entry possibilities. This contest will be open until 1/8/2010. On that date, I will use to draw the winners. Once the winners have been chosen, they will have 48 hours to get back to me with their shipping information. If I haven't heard from a winner, a new one will be drawn.

Be sure to take advantage of this great offer from Carolina Pad. The coupon code is BACK2SCHOOL . It is good for 20% off at the online store at until 1/31/2010. You can find the items shown above as well as all of their other great products.

They're also offering FREE SHIPPING on orders over $40.00. Check it out!

Disclaimer: I received samples for my review from Carolina Pad. I was under no obligation to post a positive review in return for the product samples. Carolina Pad provided prizes for two random winners. The opinions expressed here are 100% my own.

2010 Blog Resolutions

Happy New Year!

I hope all of you have started 2010 off happy and healthy. We're happy, just working on the healthy part now. I do want to take a moment to tell you that I am grateful to EACH of you for taking the time to visit me and offer such great support. 2009 was a bit of a downer year for us, but starting my blog and meeting so many of you was a definite highpoint. Thank you for being my blogland buddies!

I have been doing a lot of contemplating (and not of my navel) while hanging out at the hospital with Mom. A lot of this thinking has centered on what I'd like to do with my blog. I want to find out what YOU would like to hear about, learn about, or whatever is on your mind. It would be really interesting to know what keeps you coming back to visit me. Do you like the giveaways? The reviews? Too many photos, not enough? What about the blog hopping events? I'd love to get your honest feedback or any comments on where you'd like to see the blog go this year.

I have a few changes already in the works that I hope you'll enjoy. This list is just a partial one for now. I plan on making an "official" one this week sometime. Step 1: quit procrastinating...

  • Regular reviews/giveaways (starting with a stellar one later today from Carolina Pad.) Recently I have been introduced to some products that I really like and am working on sharing them with my readers. I plan to only do reviews on products that fit into our lifestyle here at MoonCat Farms and that I feel would be of benefit to you.
  • I'm also going to work on sharing more of my crafty and gardening projects with you. Since we'll have Mom home soon, we should be back on more of an even keel and I can concentrate more on matters around the house and yard. I have many, many unfinished projects that are just begging to be acknowledged.
  • Another feature I think I'd like to implement is to regularly introduce you to some of the blogs that I spend a lot of time visiting. I'm hoping to possibly do some interviews with a few of these fascinating people and let you get to know them too. There are so many great bloggers out there just waiting for us to find them.
  • Getting more people tuned into a greener lifestyle is also a goal of mine for this year. I'd like to use the blog to share many of the tips we've learned about and have introduced into our lives.

Dad has an annoying habit of saying that my sister and I both "open our mouths and let whatever is in our brains pop out". Lovely, huh? But, unfortunately true. There isn't always a filter in place and the TMI (too much information) occurs, more on my sister's part of course (ha). I've noticed this tendency with my blogging. I'm all over the place. I've been reading some great sites on improving your blog and most of them seem to say that you need a theme and need to stick to it. The reader needs to know what to expect. Is this true for you?

I'm a very "eclectic" person with a bajillion projects going at any given time. I get bored very easily and I'm afraid my blogging has shown that with the wide range of stuff I've blathered on about. I really don't know if this is good or bad, but it's pretty much me. I jump around a lot (not physically, bad knees) and I tend to write about whatever has popped into my little pea brain at the moment. Does this annoy you as a reader or does it interest you because it isn't the same thing every day? Mr. MoonCat says that's what keeps him stuck to me - he never knows what's next! Poor guy. Why do YOU stick around to hear about my navel gazing and tea-guzzling cats?

As Ed & Frank from the old Bartles & James commercials said, "Thank you for your support!"