Saturday, April 28, 2012

Baby food and homeschooling

Brooke is now 6 months and eating solids like a champ. It’s back to making home made baby food. I’ve always loved doing this. Cheaper, makes a lot, and healthier. I freeze the leftovers, pop the cubes into a bag, and take some out when I need it. It’s super! There’s some lovely carrots below.



I love, love, love, love that we live in a culdesac. Quiet street, huge biking area for the boys, and a fun place to do school activities. I decided to work on our numbers, and wrote with sidewalk chalk 1-10 in various areas. I called out a number, and had the boys run to it. Then, I had them ride their bikes over the number I called, and then I had Ethan trace the numbers with his own chalk. See, sometimes I have a brain and can think of some stuff on my own. I amaze myself:)


I went to an end of the year party for the homeschool group I belong to. There was an enormous amount of our kids having a blast at the park, while moms chatted. We ate pizza and cookies, and were in heaven. Pizza always makes me happy. At one moment, I looked around the park, and noticed it was pretty empty, with the exception of us homeschoolers. I loved seeing the boys play with the other kids of all ages. That always amazes me. 

Today’s goal; be more patient with the boys, and to spend better time with them. I can tell when they act up, it’s because they’re really saying “Mom, you need to get on the ground and play with me more. I miss you.” Sometimes, there’s so much to do in the house, so many people to take care of and I feel like I’m getting pulled in so many directions. I just need to sometimes let it go for the moment, and treasure the kiddos. I sure need to get reminded of this often, like every day! Yea for Saturdays:)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Gardening 2012

At last, gardening pics for this year! I had a few moments this morning to blog, so here’s a glimpse at what’s been going on in our lovely oasis in the middle of rockville, Desert land:)

Here’s the garden around November last year. I wanted to show you the size that broccoli plants can get, huge!! There’s two big ones in the front here, with an old tomato plant that was about done. Broccoli was the winner all through the winter, until the aphids got too horrendous. I pulled the broccoli out around February, and made way for tomato plants.


March 2012. The pepper plants in the tomato cages. You plant three pepper plants in one whole, and they will shade each other better. The lovely purple verbena, before the dang dogs decided it made a nice snack.


The tomato plants I got from Star Nursery, Heatwave and Hawaiin. Big ones. We’ll see how they do. If you notice the shiny tape hanging, it’s red reflective bird tape. Last year, I had a heck of time with the birds swooping into the beds, and eating the fruit. I’d see them from the table, and I’d get all wound up. It was funny. I heard that this tape really keeps the birds away, as it’s bright and shiny. So far, no birds have even flown near that area. Here’s hoping!


I went to a sweet lady’s house in my church, and seriously, her back yard really did look like a Better Homes and Garden magazine. She had all the right plants for the desert, and they were in full bloom and gorgeous. I was so amazed, and thought “ I gotta do this!” She had lantana plants all next to each other, in differing colors. So, I got three of those plants, and in time, they will big and bushy. So excited!


There’s always one plant that turns monstrous each year. This Italian Parsley plant decided to do that!


I went to Plant World to see the Tomato lady, Leslie Doyle, teach a gardening seminar. I get so excited over these opportunities. It always seems that I’m the youngest one there and the only one that brings my own camping chair for comfort. She talked about the local gardeners that have tried her methods, and asked if anyone was there. My hand shot up all excited, and I’m sure I looked like a dork, as I was the only one with my hand raised and super gung ho to be there.

Locals, if you haven’t been to Plant World, it’s good times for the kids. It’s practically a zoo, parrots, toucans, macaws, fish, turtles, and more birds squacking everywhere. Fun stuff!


Now, here’s the tomatoes from this morning. They are doing splendid in the big bed! Lots of straw for mulch. For the love, please mulch! Who really wants to weed? :)


The grapevine sure looks promising. Maybe we’ll get some grapes this year. Last year, I sprayed it with a not so good spray for bugs, and it was done for the year. Dang! This year, I’m being much more careful.



If you have plants that are doing crappy, don’t feel bad. Me too, as you can see below. I got this planter from my lovely neighbor, but the tomatoes have not grown an inch since I planted them. I think they might be getting too much sun all day, not sure. Sometimes, you just don’t know what’s going on.


Here’s our chicken coop so far. Exciting! Trying to get it done before the killer heat comes, which is coming fast. 98 degrees, and it’s not even May yet. Oh boy, hot summer this year. I feel like I’m trying to get stuff done before the summer gets here, because it’s hunkering down time then. We don’t get out of the house after 1pm. It’s just too darn hot, triple digits. I remember visiting CA last year, and being amazed to sit outside at 3pm. It was so pleasant, and simply could not be done back home here. Yet, I love the water play! Every day, we’ll get out to the water parks nearby, so the kids don’t get so much cabin fever. I’m usually the only parent that gets as wet as the kids. I’m so silly, I just love the water.


I’m so thankful for a back yard. I love that we have somewhere to escape too, to explore in the bushes, and for the trees that give us some shade. LOVE having trees! The chickens will be good times. Free, wonderful tasting eggs, oh joy!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Live each moment

Humbling things have happened that have reminded me to slow down even more, and savor each day. Recently, I was driving home and stopped at the light. I saw a dear mom on her bike, pulling a bike trailer with her sweet daughter. Last year, this mom lost her husband to cancer, an incredibly hard trial. I thought of her, observing that she was out trying to enjoy the world with her daughter, making the most of the day on their bikes. I thought about how very hard her days must be, missing her best friend, and yet she continues to come to church, and keeps pressing on. She is a pillar of strength to me. I came home, and tried better to tell Shaun one more time how much I love and appreciate him.

A kind and soft-spoken missionary I served around in Florida just lost his young wife to cancer, leaving him and his little daughters behind. My heart broke for him, and last week, completely out of nowhere, a friend of mine from church passed away in her sleep, leaving her husband and two sons. I simply was stunned. She was so kind to my family and I. When Shaun lost his job, she brought us free food each week. She brought us clothes for the boys, and she always smiled. She lifted me on days when the boys were being stinkers. She helped Kevin in his church nursery class. She was just a wonderful woman, and I don’t understand why she had to go home now.

I attended her funeral, and it was very special. I loved her husband’s remarks, to keep pressing forward, not backwards, and his humble testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Today, I will try to remember how very short life is, and that we just don’t know if that friend will be there tomorrow. Truly, to live each day to the most. I will try to be a little more patient with my boys, to hug and tickle them more, to get close to Brooke’s face so she can reach up and touch my hair, and to hug Shaun tighter.

Here’s us working on our chicken coop, my dear husband slaving away for me:)


Monday, April 9, 2012

A new day


“Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?” Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables.

Don’t you just love that quote? I think it’s lovely, and gives me a little smile.

What a week! Last Monday, Ethan had a bike accident and got a big gash in his chin. Shaun took him to the hospital and stayed with him to get stitches. Ethan was a trooper. I felt so bad for him, as it really hurt him, but he came home better. I guess that’s the first of many bumps and cuts for having rowdy boys.

We’ve been outside working in the garden like crazy, well, in the back part of the yard working on a chicken coop area. Yes, chickens, because we have the room for it, we want fresh and free eggs, and because I’m crazy! We’re only getting three hens of craigslist soon. It will be good times for the kids. Working on building a secure fence now. Pics to come soon.

Yesterday was Easter, and I was blessed to sing in the choir at church. Boys had to stay home with their colds, but we did churchy stuff. We attempted to dye Easter eggs. Kevin demolished his eggs shortly afterwards. Ethan enjoyed it.

This book! If you can, get it. I simply could not put it down. To read about her experience, her thoughts on motherhood and life, and the lessons she learned and is still learning was truly uplifting. Oh, such a good book.

One of the lines from this book was “Mothering them was an inexpressible joy” . I wrote that down on my white board to see each day. To be honest, some days don’t feel like an inexpressible joy, as we all know. Yet, I really want them to be. Sometimes, I just feel like I don’t have a clue on how to raise good, little boys. (Brooke is still in angel mode, but I’m sure will test us someday:)

So, on those rough days, I try to catch my breath, pray, and understand. I take the chance of asking questions on FB to dear friends, hoping I don’t sound whiny or negative. I don’t ever want to come across that way. I just know firmly that one can be blessed by sharing experiences and learning from feedback. I have seen this multiple times in my life, and I’m so thankful for it. I’m such an open book, it’s ridiculous, but I’m thankful for what I learn. Thanks, dear friends:)


Here’s some darling pictures I took of Brooke this last week:


Isn’t she a doll? It’s good to be a mom, even with the rough days, it’s still a blessing:)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Spiritual food

For the past few days, all of us except Shaun have been sick with colds. Well, I think Brooke might be teething. She’s been sucking on her fingers a lot and has a fever. Shaun has been a saint taking care of us all, having extra patience with the boys and their needs. We all oiled up with our Doterra oils, and have been couch potatoes watching General Conference on our laptop, the twice a year event where you can hear a prophet and apostles’s messages of hope, faith, and endurance through tough stuff. Check it out here:)

I’m so thankful for internet and iphones. Since we don’t have cable anymore, the laptop worked great for watching the talks. We did our best to eat popcorn with the boys, which held them still for about 10 minutes, and watch together as a family. It’s always tough to listen to conference with little kids. You’re not able to soak in any of the talks really, with all the racket going on. Yet, one talk was fun where we listened for words the boys knew like ‘scriptures, Jesus Christ, Nephi, the Book of Mormon’, and would repeat them as fast as we heard them. That was fun. After we put the kids down for bed last night, I dove for my phone and watched a talk without any interruption. Ah, it was great.

From what I could hear of the talks, I heard messages of strengthening the family, forgiving others, spiritual learning, and teaching moments with the kids. It felt wonderful to be fed.

Today, I was hit pretty bad with my cold. My head felt so heavy, and I could barely take care of the kids and function. Shaun made me go lay down in the bedroom, and took care of the boys. I propped my phone up on a pillow and watched some more conference talks. I love my phone!!

I zonked out somewhere during the talks, and woke up to see our beloved prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, closing the conference with his thoughts. The phone was so close to me that I could see his face so clearly. I saw the light in his eyes, and the kindness that just flows from him. A humble man who is being the Lord’s servant, has a jolly sense of humor, and has a burning testimony of Jesus Christ. I echo the words of the hymn ‘We thank thee oh God for a prophet’.

Barely had the strength to write this post, but I just felt the need to blog tonight. Hope everyone is feeling well, and enjoying each day they have on this earth.