Fall Cookies

Malachi’s prayer this week:  “God, please help time to go faster so our friends will be here sooner.”  All week long they have been counting down… their friends were coming for the entire weekend while their mom and dad had a conference.  For the most part, the kids completely entertained themselves.  They’ve had a blast!  But this afternoon I thought it’d be fun to make some Halloween cookies and decorate with them.  You can see their beautiful decorations above.  And below are the leftovers that I decorated:

They didn’t fall asleep until after 11pm, and the first one was up about 5:30am this morning.  After a day of play, play, play. they are now watching a movie, and I am expecting them to crash hard tonight… I know I will!

Feeling so blessed to be around such fun kids!

Garden Clean-up

Some years are just like this, I guess….

Weeds untouched.

Flowers left to brown.

Not a lot of TLC in the garden.

Early on this spring, right after the gardening contest, the rats consumed just about everything in our garden.  That’s when I gave up.  Thankfully, some zinnias still managed to  smile at us this summer.  The herbs thrived, as usual.  My one tomato plant provided 2 tomatoes for us, and a zillion for the rats.  Now the chickens are enjoying the plant and a few huge hornworms I found on it for them.

We never did manage to plant sunflowers, and this was the scarcest garden season, yet.  But, I will say that made the clean-up that much easier.  And, we found a few friends like the dragonfly and praying mantis.  (I don’t consider hornworms to be friends.)

It is now a season of rest for the garden.  I may try a few fall items, or I may just load it with herbs, which seem to like my garden.  There is always next spring, and we are considering an owl box to attract the owls I have seen in the neighborhood to eat our rats.  Did you know owls consume up to 16 rats a night?  That’d be so great… I’ll keep you updated!

Cozy Fall Day

For once, the forecast did not lie and the rain and chill really came. It was a gorgeous fall weekend.  Today the high is still a chilly 69, and the new school week is underway.

I wish I could say this cozy scene was from this morning, but in reality we’ve had a typical Monday morning with all the groggy fussiness that tries to suck the life out of me.  Thankfully, the kids are finally waking up and cheerfully enjoying a popcorn snack and doing school independently while I snuck in here to blog.

This scene was from last week’s Thankful Thursday tea party, where we’ve shifted from all things apple to all things pumpkin.  Let me just say… pumpkin butter on fresh, homemade biscuits is where it’s at!  You can find my simple, awesome biscuit recipe here.

Aaaaand, the fussiness is back, and I am being summoned, so off I go to school with my kids this beautiful Monday morning.  I think I’ll try lighting a pumpkin candle, first… that has to help the fussies!

Fall Hike

We’re lucky if fall in Southern California arrives by November.  So, imagine my joy when the forecast was actually correct and we woke to a cozy, rainy, chilly FALL day… in September!  After some apple coffee cake and a relaxed morning, we hit the trail for a late morning hike.  It was glorious.

She may not have my hair, eyes, nose, forehead, or skin… but I think she’s got my mouth!  So there’s that…

We met this adorable monster St. Bernhard dog, so I had to take a picture for Natalie who woke up with a sore back and decided to miss out on our beautiful hike.

These two did AMAZING!  Not a complaint the whole way up…. I think we’ve officially reached the age(s) where family hikes are not just moments of goodness, but actually very enjoyable!

Boba loved every second of the hike.  In fact, we decided I would “walk” her home so that she wouldn’t get mud in the car.  She pulled me so hard and so fast that I actually ran all the way down the mountain, past our car, and all the way home before the rest of the gang  got home.  Now to shower, put on a cozy sweater, and sip coffee the rest of this beautiful fall day!


It’s Fall!

We brought in Fall with an apple galette for breakfast and soup with fresh bread for dinner.  (Nevermind the fact that it was scorching hot outside, and we had to blast the fan to stop the sweat from dripping into our soup!)]  We also managed to decorate, but still haven’t finished cleaning up around here.

In other news, we swam the second day of fall when temperatures reached 102, but there is a chilly high of 68 and rain in the forecast for this weekend.  Could it really be??

I love fall!!

Apple Galette Thankful Thursday

Natalie claimed that I forgot to make an apple galette last year after Oak Glen.  I felt so bad that I decided I would make one right away.  The day after our Oak Glen trip was Thankful Thursday.  Since we always enjoy a treat with our tea, I decided it was the perfect time to make our apple galette.  It didn’t even make a dent in our apples.  But, it sure was delicious!!

Guess where I got the recipe for the galette?  From last year’s blog post featuring our apple galette.  I DID TOO MAKE ONE, NATALIE!!!!!!  🙂  You can find the recipe here!)


Gotcha Day!


Gotcha Day!

When I first read about someone celebrating their child’s adoption day, they called it “Gotcha Day.”  I loved the name and adopted it, too…

Our first Gotcha Day finally arrived, and we were so excited to celebrate with cheeseburgers, as it also happens to fall on National Cheeseburger Day.  Xavi was so thrilled with his special day.  Lately, he’s been asking me to tell the story of how he had to sleep on me when he first came… over and over and over!

I tried changing the name to Yeh Day since it’s the day our boy became a Yeh, but he was stuck on Gotcha Day.  So, Gotcha Day it is!!  We are so blessed to have such an amazing addition to our family.  He was destined to be a Yeh and we can’t imagine life with out him.

We love you, Xavi!!

Oak Glen 2019

Every year it’s awesome… but when God gives us a cooler-than-usual-for-Southern-California fall day… I just can’t stop smiling!!  We have our tradition down pat.  First stop: the park for apples and play time!

The kids were having so much fun, they were hardly ready to move on.  But, after the park comes our apple and jelly/ spread sampling, lunch, and then our hike!

They’re a little hard to see, but Natalie stole my camera to capture a few bird pictures.  This park is loaded with blue birds, blue jays, and woodpeckers!

(Above) Sampling cider, apples, and jellies.

(Below) Our traditional hot dog lunch.

Let the hike begin!

This year, we found a pile of rocks with words on them.  We had fun making sentences… (Especially if they included the words “bear” and “poop.”)

My arteeest!

SO many beautiful flowers, bugs, bees, and butterflies!!

This day was especially special for Xavi.  It marked the one year anniversary of his adoption.  We’re so blessed to have you in our family, dude!

Can you spy the baby duck???


We found this crazy tree and decided we would give the fruit a try.  I figured if the bears could eat it, (as evidenced by the many piles of bear skat), then we could try it, too.  The consensus was that it tasted like a mix of cherries and peaches.  chereaches???

I came upon this scene and yelled, “Don’t move!  I need a picture,”  After all, I don’t often get a chance to document the fact that they do like each other after all… 🙂

It was a lovely day.  We went home with a huge basket of apples, sun-kissed faces, dirty feet, and content hearts.

Great Wolf Lodge


Over the last 5 years, we have tried to find a time in the fall to pick up our kids from their co-op and surprise them with a mini vacation.  I don’t know who loves the surprise more.. the kids or us!

The last few times we did this, we went to San Diego.  This time we took the kids to their favorite hotel; Great Wolf Lodge.  Since the boys didn’t have an afternoon class, Daniel took them down early.  That meant the girls and I had our own special date before heading down, so we stopped for boba and snacks for the drive.

Water slides, restaurants, more water slides, ice cream, tv in the hotel, (a treat since we haven’t had tv in years!), water slides, and a stop at our special coffee spot, Roasting Waters, on the way home…. it was fabulous!

It is absolutely amazing that a one-night trip can feel so good.  Not-to-mention, we got our exercise in climbing all those steps for the water slides.  I drove home feeling beat… and blessed!