Home, Again!

Two weeks away, and the changes that took place here are almost hard to believe.  For example, check out the explosion in our garden:

Tomatoes, bell peppers, zucchini, beans, peas, zinnias, and sunflowers about 10 feet tall!  Sadly, the beans and peas were overgrown and diseased, but the chickens LOVED them.  We ate the first of the tomatoes, as well as grilled zucchini.  Four bell peppers made it to the refrigerator, while three more got eaten by a rat last night.  (Ugh!)  I’ve been home just a couple days now, but spent lots of time in the garden and the pool.  Welcome, summer!

It will be hard to know where to begin with our mission trip to Thailand.  Unfortunately, I lost my camera in the airport on the way out so I have zero pictures.  However, several friends took pictures so I am hoping to get a fair amount from them somehow.  For now, all I can say is that it was a wonderful trip with lots of stories to share and lots of memories to treasure in my heart.  I loved every minute, but now I am so happy to be home!

Side note:  All the spending money I took to Thailand for food, offerings, and souvenirs came from our garden prize money.  Isn’t that cool?

Allison Turns 12

Though she turns 12 today, her party was about 10 days ago so we could celebrate together.  Sadly, I am in Thailand while my baby turns 12, but I’m happy we were able to celebrate before I left.  I have no doubt her daddy and siblings are spoiling her today!

Allison chose a “dog” themed party, which was a lot of fun.  It is getting a little trickier to come up with activities for these older girls, but a fun challenge, as well.  For our craft, we made dog tag necklaces…

The kids also each got colored dog paw bracelets and we played my version of steal the bacon — “steal the dog.”  (No pictures — oops!)  Then, we came back and played “Guess that dog.”  The kids worked in pairs to ask questions, eliminate characteristics, and guess which dog breed was correct.

Dinner:  hot dogs, (of course!)

After presents and cake, the kids headed outside where they made up their own games and pretend commercials.  Honestly, I think they had the most fun doing their own thing.  And, that’s ok.  After all, they are 12 now!  I am so happy my girl has such wonderful friends.

Happy birthday, Allison!  Miss you like crazy!  See you in 13 days!

On their own…

I still don’t remember how the topic came up… somehow, one of my kids asked me about the Amish and who they were.  When I explained the little bit that I know, their response actually shocked me.  “That’s cool… I wish we didn’t have all the technology and stuff.”  From there, they decided, (completely on their own), to give up screen time every Thursday.  This was our first week, and I LOVED it!  Not once was I asked for screen time.  There were times when the younger ones were bored, and we got to talk about the importance of being bored sometimes.  I sure do hope this lasts… we’ll see.

On another note, I spent some time out in the garden with my son, and we got to enjoy several peas, strawberries, and apricots.  I’m so thankful the apricots indeed ripened before I left for my trip!

Our New “Toy”

I am so grateful for a husband who sees a box with instructions as a fun challenge, rather than an overwhelming project like I see it!  We used our school funding to purchase this incredible telescope, and had the best time looking at the moon.  I was absolutely amazed by what we could see… craters and sand hills and a clear view of the moon.  The kids were quite fascinated, as well.   Looking forward to many more summer nights of star gazing!  (Malachi decided to draw the moon with chalk for us!)

Memorial Day 2017

This year, Memorial Day meant…

Blessing the chickens with a basket full of overripe peaches because I sadly have no time to make jam this year…

Sister sewing dates and staying in jammies until noon…

Papa coming home with pastries and sea salt coffee for a glorious morning snack…

An afternoon swim despite the chilly temps because whenever Papa gets in the pool, the temperature doesn’t matter because we’re having too much fun…

Staring longingly at the apricot tree… (just a few more days now, and they should all be ripe!)

Setting up the hammock for an afternoon nap… (or more like swing time!)

Thankfully, Memorial Day did not mean worrying about our safety or freedoms, thanks to those who sacrificed to give us this carefree day.  What a privilege to dwell in this beautiful country!

Agricultural Fair 2017

Last year, our friend told us about the L.A. Agricultural Fair and how to enter our school garden into the competition.  We gave it a shot, won first place, and had fun finding our poster at the Fair.  This year we tried once again, and entered both a vegetable garden as well as a flower garden.  We got a first place and a second place, but most of all we had fun… The Ag Fair is totally free, and you get to look at all the competitions as well as the petting zoo and a fun science show, which Natalie was chosen for as a volunteer.   Best of all, we got a cash prize, which we can use for even more gardening.  (They get you that way, don’t they?  🙂 )

Garden Update

What a week it has been… I have no time to blog, (or to garden for that matter), but something in me just has to get behind my camera to see God’s beautiful creation and bounty in a new light.  Let’s start with the peaches… they’re beautiful and delicious, but several are going to waste.  I’m praying I find time to jam this week!

We have lots of cucumber flowers and several green beans.  However, our green bean bush got blown down in the wind so we’ll see how it will do now.  (Can I still prop it up?) And, our first zinnia flower:

Let’s venture to the front yard.  See that… we have our first avocados!  Will they grow?  We’ll see…

I love our magnolia trees!  Can’t wait for apricots…

Still enjoying strawberries, and our gardenia and gerberas are loving the warmer weather.

That’s the update!

Mother’s Day 2017

As a firefighter’s wife, I never know if I’ll have my husband home for Mother’s Day or not.  When the kids were younger, (and I was often exhausted or overwhelmed), I remember feeling sorry for myself when I had to go at it single.  Of course, I tried not to be.  After all, I really do know how blessed I am!  In hindsight, how incredibly selfish and silly…

Anyway, this year my husband was home and honored me with incredible meals and flowers, doing the dishes and helping with the kids, granting me the most glorious nap and a late-night movie.  It really was awesome.  The funny thing is, I no longer feel so “entitled.”  In fact, I am quite humbled and really am happy just hanging out as a family.

(But, being spoiled rotten was fun for the day!)

Mega Memory Master!

For the third year in a row for Allison and the second year in a row for Natalie, we were able to celebrate the awesome accomplishment of being a Memory Master through our classical co-op.  Because Allison was a master for every cycle, she is considered a “Mega-Master!”  Our celebration dinner happened to fall on the night before Mother’s Day, which meant we had a weekend full of good eats!  I took a terrible picture of the food, but Daniel blessed us with prime steak, bacon wrapped asparagus, grilled corn, and sautéed onions and mushrooms… And, of course, we had m&m’s in honor of the Memory Masters.  I love how Malachi insisted on having his picture taken with the “Memory Masters,” as if they were celebrities.  Too sweet!

Congratulations, Allison and Natalie!  What an amazing accomplishment!

The Chair

We were on our way to Taekwando when I spotted it…  I may have squealed with delight.  I have had my eye on a basket chair for a couple years now, but they are just so expensive.  I had checked Craigslist off and on, but still… costly!  Now here it was a random Friday, and a garage sale was just starting.  I happily took it off their hands, and we have been swinging happy since…