Friday, December 18, 2009

Right Now

Right now...

I'm sitting at the computer, drinking coffee, listening to instrumental Christmas music on Pandora, enjoying my quiet morning house as the sun comes up on a snowy world.
Only one of my four children is awake...and he is quietly watching Little Bear while he drinks his morning milk.
Wait...a happy squeal from the little one's one year old daughter is now awake. I'll let her play in her crib for a couple of minutes.

There will be a Christmas, oops, I mean a Holiday party at school for my two oldest. Sending cranberry muffins and candy canes.
So, at home we will have our own little party with our little 3 year-old friend, who I care for during the day, my 2 1/2 year-old son, and my one year old daughter. I am cupcakes to sprinkle and a Christmas story...if I have the chance, maybe I'll whip up some sugar cookie dough for Christmas shapes and frosting and sprinkles...but as I write this I think the mini cupcakes will be much easier and just as fun.

A few minutes later...
Well, three out of four children are now up and our little friend is here. Little one year old miss is eating fist-fulls of scrambled eggs, two others are squabbling (as usual), and one is back to his milk and Little Bear...time for me to get us all going.

Friday, October 9, 2009


Playing around with fun blog designs. Maybe this will inspire me to post more. Part of my problem is TIME. Part of my problem is what to write about. I think I need to see my blog as my personal journal and not write for an audience. But I'm also considering focusing on food. We'll see .

Oh, my eleven-year-old daughter just started a blog for home school. She is going to post things she is learning about as well as creative writing stuff...and probably whatever she happens to think would be fun. She is such a sweet, fun-loving, happy girl. I'm so blessed to be able to be her mom.
Please stop by her blog and leave her a kind comment.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Course Correction

I haven't been motivated to blog this summer. Too discouraged by what I don't accomplish, don't finish, don't check off my list. And then, I've also been struggling with meeting the needs of all four of my children. I love being a mom, and longed for motherhood for most of my life, but it sure is hard!

Mommy-ing really takes it out of me. Maybe because I'm an introvert who needs quiet to think straight and alone time to function on normal level. I jumped into foster care as a starry-eyed single girl who wanted to make a difference, and then--boom--five years later I have four children--wonderful, beautiful, precious children--who all have a multitude of needs that I have to meet. The depend on ME. Yikes, kind of scary.

Anyway, what I'm trying to get to is this. I've spent five years trying really hard to be a good mommy. I've failed so many times. But this is a learning experience. Hopefully, I'm learning from my mistakes. What I've realized recently is that during all this struggling, I've been slowly veering off course.

Off course of what? Of my walk with God. I didn't jump off all of a sudden. It's been a slow meandering away from His best caused by little choices and mixed up priorities. I forgot that He doesn't expect me to figure it all out alone, to face each day of diapers, messes, tantrums, tears, piles of dishes, and four little lives on my own. Or, maybe I didn't actually forget this, I just stopped asking Him for help. Somehow I am finding myself frantically peering around, looking for that path I used to be on. The path where I was in daily communion with God. Where I spent time in His Word, building my self up to face any life could throw at me.

So, now I'm in the process of trying to get back on course. I'm realizing that I can't be a good wife and mother if I'm always running on empty. I'll try to post an update now and then as I work to get back where I should be--spiritually and physically; work on taking care of myself as well as my family.

Friday, August 14, 2009


We are home.

We were away for a whopping five weeks! It was a long time to be away, but it was nice to have time to see friends and family more than once and get some time to relax and enjoy the summer up in our old stomping grounds. We played at the lake, the park, various Grama's houses.
We visited with friends, cousins, aunts, uncles, Gramas, Grampas and Papas.
We met Smokey.

We boated, floated, picnic-ed, and barbecued. We went though lots of sunscreen and flip flops.

We got new teeth.
Not that you can see them in this photo...

And we experienced a few firsts.

We had a great time.

But it's so nice to be home.

Now the school year is just around the corner, but we are going to try to squeeze in a little more summer magic.

Side note:
I am in the process of assessing my purpose here on this blog. I'm contemplating different directions that I want to take. I want to be more consistent with posting. So, if anyone is out there, if anyone is reading, please don't give up on me. I will be back soon!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

...Checking In

Sorry, I've been absent lately...we've been adjusting to new schedules, celebrating birthday boys and daddies, enjoying the sun, being lazy, and getting ready for a long trip to see family. I've had lots of post ideas floating around in my head, but it's been hard to sit down and formulate actual words. The call of the sun and fresh air, the garden; not to mention the usual housewifely duties and the fact that there are four energetic, hungry children running around...well, only three can actually run...anyway, you get it! Blogging hasn't been on the top of my list.

And now the kids and I are about to head out on a month long visit to see my family back home. We are so excited. We've really missed them since we moved last August. There will be lots of cousin fun, swimming in the lake, boat rides, marshmallow roasting, mud pie making, grama hugs, long chats with my mom and sister, laying on the beach in the sun while your cold-from-swimming-too-long skin gets all tingly and warm...falling asleep to cricket song and lapping waves...

So, I won't be posting much for a while longer. I'm hoping to be able to devote some more time to this blog when I get back. We'll see.

I hope you are enjoying your summer!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

June Joys

... dapples of sunlight on dimples...

...shady hats...

...strawberry rhubarb pie... quail...

...and don't forget...

school's out




farmer's markets

days at the beach

lazy afternoons


cricket song

sleeping with open windows

~ah, so many things to love about June...

Then, we also have Father's Day and my son's second birthday...

Lots going on around here. Parties to plan, gardening to attempt, children to feed and occupy...I'm currently trying to map out a summer schedule and activities that will accommodate four children with a wide range of ages, interests, personalities, and capabilities; as well as a mommy who would really like everyone to be happy and sweet and peaceful all the time...I know, I'm dreaming here, but June is such a dreamy month, don't you think?

Come on, tell me what you love about June...I really want to know!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Something has been noshing on my baby broccoli and lettuce! I've also noticed that some marigold petals and a few nasturtium leaves have been nibbled.

What could be wrecking havoc in my little garden?

It's completely fenced in--so it can't be rabbits.

There are lots of birds in and out...quail, doves and others, but birds don't eat plants, do they?

Could it be some kind of bug? I've seen little black ants and those "roly-polies" as my kids call them. (I don't know what they really are called, but they roll up into a ball when touched.)

Oh, and so far, it's just one brick raised bed that's been affected. My herbs, tomatoes, and other marigolds are in different beds and are fine.

Any gardeners out there? Can you help? What should I do?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Garden Notebook

I've been away from here for too long. Enjoying trips to the mountains and the lake (Tahoe), working in my little courtyard garden, sitting in the shade of my peach tree with the scent of lilacs drifting on the breeze. As well as all the daily rhythm of laundry, cooking, cleaning, dishes, diapers, and child rearing--all more sweet and peaceful with the spring sunshine and breezes flowing through the house.

(Oh, and daughter turned eleven. Eleven! How can I have an eleven year old? When she first came into my life, she was scrawny, sweet and six. She was missing her four top teeth and looked like a kitten when she smiled, which was often. Due to a speech disability, I couldn't understand a word she said...she pantomimed fluently for the first three months until, finally, through the grace of God, I understood most of what she was saying. Now, she is tall, almost as tall as me (which isn't saying much, actually), beautiful, and full of life as

Anyway, I'm stopping in to record some notes for my Garden Notebook. I will try to keep up on this through the summer.
Garden Notebook
May 22, 2009
Back courtyard garden
Planted last week:
~Spanish lavender

Planted this week:

~Broccoli, butter crunch lettuce, and nasturtium seeds

Herb garden:

Four inch pots planted May 20: basil, thyme, dill, chocolate mint, and chives

Peach tree-lots of fuzzy green globes, getting bigger by the day!

Oh, I forgot to photograph my tomatoes. One Big Stripy heirloom and four Sweet 100's.

To do:

~seeds to plant: peas, swiss chard

~buy and plant: bell peppers, onions, potatoes, garlic, and green beans

~buy ladybugs for roses (covered in aphids!)


I know it isn't much; budget restraints are keeping me from going hog-wild at the garden center. But little by little, it's becoming my sweet little potager. Wasn't I blessed to inherit this little space already outfitted with brick raised beds, a peach tree, and two rose bushes? It gets a good amount of sun throughout the day, but gets nice and shady around five. It is all fenced in, so I can easily keep an eye on the little ones while I work. I've also been going out at nap time to sit under the peach tree to read. So peaceful!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


In my visions of my dream house there have always been doves, living in a dovecote, in a courtyard. You see, in a book I once read the family had a dovecote. For some reason, this resonated with me. This was peacefulness and serenity right in your own back yard. Later, I came across more imaginary homes with doves in the courtyard.
Well, sometimes dreams do come true. I don't actually have a dovecote, but I do have doves. Wild mourning doves. A pair of them are nesting somewhere around our property. As it happens they like to hang out in our courtyard! I've even seen two younger doves; offspring, I suppose. And I hear their cooing all the time. I love it. Especially when I am waking up in the morning, sunlight filtering through my peaceful. I love how God can surprise us with wonderful little blessings like that!
Someday, maybe I'll even have a dovecote, (like the one above!), for our doves.
I just realized that this post would work for Chatting at the Sky's Tuesdays Unwrapped! Head on over there for more simple gifts!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Menu Planning

Menu planning saves my sanity. It makes grocery shopping easier, faster and more economical. I am not normally a very organized person, but in certain areas of life, I need to be.

This is one. When feeding a family of six three meals a day, it takes a bit of planning. Over the last few months, I've made it easier and less time consuming by compiling a list of meals we like and a chart to plan each week's dinners.

I decided on these categories: Soup/Stew, Mexican, Pasta/Italian, Casserole/Roast, Asian, Take-Out @ Home, and Quick & Easy. I made myself a chart with different meals under each category. I try to plan one meal from each category for each week, but I don't assign a specific day for each--I like to be flexible so I can decide what to make on a daily basis. Some people like to decide what they are having each day, and sometimes I do that, but most of the time I wait to see how the day is going or what I feel like.

When deciding what to make for the week, I look through the grocery store ads to see what's on sale. I haven't ever been good at using coupons, but I try to find good deals. Also, if I know I'll have leftovers, I try to plan one of the meals around them. For example, this week chuck roast was on sale, so I'm planning on making roast beef in the crock pot one day, and then I'll shred the left over beef for quesadillas on another day.

So, here is our dinner menu for this week:

Asian~Beef Sate with peanut dipping sauce, rice and peas

Soup/Stew~Corn/Potato chowder with popovers

Mexican~Shredded beef quesadillas with corn casserole

Pasta~Fish sticks (the only fish my kids will eat, besides canned tuna) with pasta and sauteed zucchini and mushrooms

Casserole/Roast~Roast Beef with carrots, potatoes, and gravy

Take-Out @ Home~Sausage and Egg muffins, fruit

Quick & Easy~Tomato soup with grilled cheese sandwiches

Lately, my husband has to work on Friday and Saturday nights, so I usually plan our Take-Out and Quick & Easy for those nights with just the kids. Sometimes we'll just have leftovers or breakfast on those nights, too.

I don't actually plan out each breakfast and lunch, but I try to make sure I have general idea of what we can eat. For example, this week I am making pumpkin or applesauce muffins to have on hand for breakfast, along with fruit, yogurt, or smoothies. For lunches there will be possible leftovers from dinner, tuna fish sandwiches, pasta with butter and cheese, baked potatoes, and of course peanut butter and jelly. My kids also like flour tortillas with cheese or jelly or even a scrambled egg burrito. So we just make what sounds good that day.

Do you plan out your dinners for the week? What works for you?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Feeling the Sun

It's shaping up to be a warm weekend and even warmer week ahead! Hooray!

Here are some sunny fun plans for the next few days:

Make Ice necklaces with the kids...what a fun idea!

Garden, garden, garden...till, plant, weed...I feel so behind in this area, now is the time to catch up.

Make kites, blow bubbles, go on a hike...have a picnic or BBQ.

Maybe a little tree climbin'...

And I can't forget to just spend some time sitting, with my eyes closed, feeling the sun on my face.
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Our Easter

Our day was filled with sunshine, smiles, sweets and, of Hope yours was, too!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Easter Preparations

The shopping is complete.
The baskets are assembled.
The cookies and cupcakes are baked.
The coffee cake is rising.
The fridge is stocked for an Easter buffet.
The outfits are ironed and laid out.
The eggs are dyed.
The jelly beans are waiting...

Mommy is tired, and she prays she remembers to focus on Jesus even in the midst of all the hullabaloo...

Happy Easter everyone. May your day be blessed and full of the joy of the Resurrection!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


"There, everything

is order and

beauty, richness, quiet

and pleasure."

~Charles Baudelaire, L'Invitation au Voyage

What I wish my laundry room to be. The light! The order! The beauty! The fresh cut flowers!

What my laundry room really is:

Oh, the darkness, the clutter, the ugly brown paneling!

I know, the sad, plastic drawer thingy really doesn't measure up to that lovely green armoire, does it?

I found those wonderful laundry room photos in a Victoria magazine years ago. I've kept them in a binder, hoping for the day I could create the laundry room of my dreams.

So far, no dreamy laundry room. I will say that my current laundry room is better than any I've had previously. At least there is not a leaky sewage pipe in this one. AND it is right off the kitchen, on the main floor, not in a basement. AND it has a door that opens out to my courtyard where I will soon have a kitchen garden. So, it does have it's merits. What is doesn't have is richness, beauty, order or quiet. Hmmm...maybe someday!

Do you have a gruesome laundry room? Do you dream of a serene and lovely laundry room? Head over to Parisienne Farmgirl for an ugly laundry room contest!
Can I just say "laundry room" one more time. OK. Thanks.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Happy Spring!

Can't stay. Gotta get back outside!
Hope you are having a lovely first day of Spring!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Garden Dreams

This photo is from last May. I wish it was this year, but alas, I haven't even started any seeds. It is on my to-do list for this weekend. Well, "Plant Seeds" has been on my to-do list for a couple of weeks, so that doesn't really say anything.

I have big garden dreams for this year. I live in a new location with more land and planting possibilities, but I also have one more child this year. I picture myself with a baby in a backpack and a toddler at my knees, planting, weeding, and harvesting--just like Caroline Ingalls must have done. I can do it, right? I'm hoping to enlist the help of my big girls (ages 6 and 11), too.

I have a head start here. We have 5 apple and 2 plum trees, 1 cherry and 1 peach tree. I want to add raspberries and strawberries to the fruit list.

In our back field, my plan is to have a pumpkin patch and a sunflower house for the kids.

Someday, I would like to have big vegetable garden out there, but I am trying to be somewhat realistic!

For now, I am planning a small potager/kitchen garden in our back courtyard. There are already lots of brick planters and raised beds to work with--yippee!
Here I want to grow herbs, veggies and flowers. I want to start from seed as much as I can to save money.

I'll be sure to share my gardening adventures with you!

Now, children are calling...I'd better be off!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Winner... Sarah! Congratulations!

Thanks to Sally, Jessica, and Andrea for your comments and for reading. I really enjoy each of your blogs.

It's been a fun year of blogging. And I like being able to go back and see what the year was like for my family.

Here's to another year,


Thursday, March 5, 2009

One Year

Yup, a year ago today I finally did what I had wanted to do for quite a while. Start a blog. I'm not going to spend time reflecting here right now, because, well, I just don't have the time right now. Anyway, what I'm most excited about is doing a little giveaway in celebration of my one year blogging anniversary! So, I've been contemplating what to give. I wanted it to be meaningful and personal. I gathered a few items from around my house that fit my criteria.

First, a book that I love and have read many times:

It's funny, but this book (as well as a guest speaker at church one day) influenced me to do foster care. It got me thinking about creating a loving, wholesome home for whoever needed it. Fast-forward 5 years and I now have two beautiful adopted daughters as a result of that first little thought in my brain. Interesting how God works sometimes.

Next, one of my favorite places in the world, and one of my favorite hobbies all rolled into one watercolor painting:

The Beach and Painting. I painted this from a photo I took at the Washington Coast. I don't get to the beach often, but I'm just filled with the majesty of God every time I do get there. I love the weathered driftwood and all the shadows on the sand.

Finally, for my whimsical side, this vase I painted at a pottery shop:

I used my favorite colors, and I love the shape of the vase and the happy swirls.
O.k, if you are interested in the giveaway, just leave a comment. I'll draw a name Sunday night and post the winner.
Even if you don't want this random set of objects, I hope you'll leave a comment to help me celebrate. I'm hoping to meet some readers that don't make it a habit to comment, but are still out there somewhere.
Thanks for stopping by, and here's to another year!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Yesterday and Today



Late winter/early spring is always such a finicky time of year. Makes life interesting, I guess.
Oh, I have to express a little joy today. I feel very blessed lately. Last week I won Jessica's giveaway--a cheery bag that she sewed herself; and today I found out that I won Andrea's giveaway--a beautiful scarf that she knit!!! How cool is that! And so funny that I found Andrea's blog (and giveaway) because she found my blog after I won Jessica's giveaway! Uhh...does that make any sense? Well, very neat, no matter what.
Maybe I should get a babysitter and hit one of the casinos in town....
Ha! Just kidding...
Come back tomorrow for my 1 Year Blogaversary!! I'm cooking up some sort of's only fitting, I think.

Sunday, March 1, 2009


I've had so many thoughts or ideas that I've wanted to post about lately, but life has kept me from actually getting to sit down and formulate my thoughts into posts. It's hard to concentrate with a three month-old, a twenty month-old, and a 10 year old at home everyday. (I started homeschooling my daughter a couple of weeks ago.) Then add the fact that my six year-old has been having a hard time lately with behavior and such, well, blogging has been on the back burner. And that's o.k. This blog will be here when I do have the time. Like today.
So, in between feeding everyone and doing a load of laundry here and there, I've been able to spruce up my blog's look for spring. Yeah!

I feel like my life needs a little sprucing up as well. A spring cleaning. Just like my house. (In fact, a little house cleaning, or gutting, would probably help my mood as well.)

Hmm....please excuse the scatter-brained feel of this post. My thoughts are all over the place; it's hard to organize them neatly for some reason. I guess I'll just go with it!

Anyway, I was feeling the other day the need for a disengaging, a disconnecting, an unplugging from this crazy, swiftly tilting world. So, I came up with a list. I love lists. I wrote it in my journal. My journal that has three sections that I designated as Children, Household, and Life. I like having a place to jot down ideas, plans, and wishes--usually in the form of lists.

So, here is my list to help me Revitalize, Rejuvenate, and Reinvent my life this spring.

Watch less T.V. (Duh)

Less computer time

Get outside more: walks, play, garden, swing, run, explore, breathe

Read real books!

Read the Bible more

Write real letters to people


Make do with what I have as much as I can

Cook from scratch as much as possible without going totally Little House on the Prairie

Grow food:

I'm planning on growing a variety of veggies in this back courtyard:

Shop at thrift stores

Listen to music

Walk to church

Use less chemicals

Raise chickens

Get rid of clutter

Walk or ride bikes to the farmer's market

Create family traditions throughout the seasons of the year

Be charitable

Focus on the good

Live in the now

Cherish little moments

Enjoy my children

This is an abrupt ending, but it's been a few hours since I began this post. I had to leave it for awhile to feed the baby, make dinner, change diapers, put on jamies, sing night-night songs, kiss foreheads, feed the baby I'm going to go eat angel food cake with strawberry sauce from my lovely neighbor.

Hopefully, I'll be back soon with better formulated thoughts. Or I can give you my list for Ways to Like My House More Without Spending Big Money.

Oh! My one year blogging anniversary is coming up. I need to think of a way to celebrate. Stay tuned...

Have a great week!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Valentine's Day

Two sweet goof-balls

It's been a wild week around here with appliances breaking, mice running rampant, head-colds all around, and trying to decide on new schooling options for my big girls. But I don't want to let all of that dampen the fun of Valentine's Day for my kiddos. Especially the two big girls. They haven't had as much mommy attention lately, considering I also have a 19 month-old, a 3 month-old, and I've been feeling yucky all week. So, I really want to bless them this weekend.

So, The Plans:

Saturday morning~mini chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast.

During the day~craft time with the girls-decorations and gifts for their friends.

Saturday night~family V-day dinner:

~Curry coconut chicken with rice and pineapple on the side

~Grasshopper pie (my husband's and girls' favorite) for dessert

(I know, a strange combination, but that's what my husband requested!)

I'm planning on getting out my grandmother's china and making it a festive, fun night.

Then, on Monday there is no school, so we are having a Valentine's Day Tea Party for the big girls and six of their friends. I'm planning on making some sweet treats, serving cocoa in a tea pot, and doing a craft with them. Maybe, I'll remember to take pictures, and maybe I'll find my long lost USB cord, and maybe I'll post about it all next week!

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

One of Those Days

Yesterday: mice in the house, mommy with a bad cold, sisters fighting, baby crying, toddler fussing, dog poo tracked in, dogs fighting, blood all over dogs, girls worried, MICE IN OUR HOUSE, science fair project-already over due, dinner to be made, dishes to be done...aaahhhh, the chaos, the horror...mommy about to lose it, big time...

........cough, hacking, cough........

And then...

Daddy comes home...miraculously everything calms down, everyone is happy...and he brings mouse traps!

Hooray for Daddy!!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Food Thoughts and Taco Pie

So, I realize that most of my posts have been about food lately. I was contemplating this, and I think there are a couple of reasons for this. One, I'm nursing my two month old, actually, I've been pregnant and/or nursing for over two years now. What I'm trying to say is, it takes a lot of calories for my 5' 1", 105 lb. frame to keep up with all this baby growing and feeding, so food has been extra important to me. Second, I enjoy feeding my family. It is something that I can take pride in, and since it is something that has to be done, I try to have fun with it. Also, it is a chance for me to be creative. There isn't a whole lot of time for other creative pursuits right now...

Anyway, here is another recipe! I made this last night. My family loves tacos, and this is a little easier than assembling everyone's individual tacos.

Taco Pie
(or Taco Lasagna, if you will)
1 lb. ground beef
salt and pepper
about 1 T. cumin
about 1 T. chili powder
about 1 T. dried minced onion
1 8oz. can tomato sauce
6 flour tortillas, soft taco size
8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese, or Mexican mix shredded cheese
Season beef with salt and pepper, brown in a skillet and drain. Back in skillet mix cumin, chili powder, minced onion, and tomato sauce with beef. Heat through.
In a deep, round casserole dish layer a tortilla, spread about 1/3 cup meat mixture on top, and sprinkle on about 2 tablespoons cheese. Repeat about five times until you reach the top of the dish, ending with meat and cheese.
Bake in 350 degree oven for 20 min. Slice like a pie and serve with your favorite taco toppings.
Well, I hear my little miss waking up...time for another feeding...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Simple Things

It just takes a few simple things to feel contentment about my day:

~the sound of the washing machine churning away tells me: something is getting accomplished

~the aroma of Cowboy stew simmering in the crock pot says: your afternoon will be calm and easy

~the taste of Constant Comment tea implies: both little ones are asleep at the same time!

That is today. Ahhh...the bliss of it all.

(Sheesh, I guess I need to get out more. Common household items are starting to talk to me!)
Oh, that photo doesn't really pertain to this post. Just a cheery, springy sight for this cold January day.

Applesauce Muffins

Warm up your kitchen with this yummy snack.

Applesauce Muffins

1 cup flour + ¾ cup whole wheat flour (or 2 cups white flour)
¾ cup sugar
2 tsp. Baking powder
¼ tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Cinnamon

1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
½ cup butter, melted

12 apple slices
cinnamon and sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Combine dry ingredients and whisk to blend.
Add egg, applesauce and butter.
Stir until just blended.
Spoon into greased or lined muffin pan.
Top with slice of apple and sprinkle of cinnamon sugar.

Bake 18-20 minutes.
Makes 12 muffins.
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