Berry Lemon Galette

When your daughter wants a baking date with you…

But, you’re busy and don’t have many ingredients on hand…

Say “Yes,” anyway.  Trust me!  This didn’t take us much time, but it was so delicious!  And the kitchen smelled amazing.  Plus, it brought such joy to my daughter’s face.  She honestly did most of it herself.  It got me all excited about the upcoming fall baking season.  Let’s hope we still have time for baking when school starts, (which is in just a few days now!)

Preaching to myself here… always say yes, always say yes!

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The boys aren’t the only ones enjoying their new rooms… the girls are loving theirs, too.

I don’t love this picture… I want to scream, “Pick up your room, girls!!  And, get off your i pads!”   But, that has been the reality this week.  Since school starts in a few days and we are busy trying to finish getting organized, we have let the kids do a little more screen time than usual.  Enjoy it while it lasts, kiddos!  School is coming, soon!

(Did I mention the cats are loving the girls’ new room, too?)

“Farm Life”

Today was a rare gift.  Overcast with a high of 79 Degrees in the middle of August.  (Yes, I had a second cup of coffee!)  It was glorious.  We left the windows and doors open all day.

In other news, check this out:  See our little Midnight to the far left of the picture?  Know what she is looking at?

Gotcha!

We finally caught one of our tomato/ pepper/ strawberry eating culprits.  Honestly, it is always a little sad: especially, when they are still alive and squealing.  Thankfully, my husband was home to take care of business.  All I had to do this time around was take pictures for this blog.  🙂

Life on our “farm.”

New Floors = New Inspiration

We are finally finished with our biggest summer project.  (Well, almost finished… we do have one last set of bookshelves to build.)  This summer we had all our carpet torn out, our old stair railing torn down, a room under our stairs built, as well as some faux brick mounted, a little new paint, and some room re-arranging.  Whew… seems like a lot when I type it all out!

The 2 boys now share a room, and have all their toys organized.  In their words, “It feels so much bigger and cleaner!”  I’d agree!  Clean-up seems so easy now that there is a place for everything.  The best part, though!  They spend hours playing in their rooms.  Happily.  It’s amazing!  I know it won’t last forever, but it sure has made for a peaceful end to the summer.  Check out this cool bridge Malachi made:

This rom was originally princess pink when we moved in.  We left it for the 2 oldest girls.  Then Sierra moved in, and we made it a surfer room for all the girls.  Now it has a new life as a woodland room for the boys.  I’d have to say, this is my favorite!

Hooray for new floors and new arrangements making old toys and old books seem new again!

626 and Bucket Lists

For the 4th year in a row, we made it to the 626 Night Market for our annual Asian yumminess.  Last year, my friend and I went solo.  (It is definitely a bit easier without kids.)  This year, we brought our entire families!

First things first, it was HOT!!  Finding yummy drinks is definitely a first stop.  (p.s.  When did my 7 year old start looking like a teenager?)

My friend said she had it on their summer bucket list to try boba.  I love the idea of a summer bucket list, but I’ve never been good at following through.  With all the responsibilities of homeschooling throughout the year, I tend to leave the summer open for absolutely no planning or preparing… even for something as simple and fun as a bucket list!

Two of our favorite treats:  pineapple slush in a lighted light bulb, and rainbow grilled cheese.

Next year, we will be bringing extra ice water and folding chairs in a wagon.  And, as fun as it is for the kiddos, I think they will have just as much fun at home with a sitter.  All we’ll have to do is remind them how hot it was, and they won’t want to come back.  Ha!

Back

Back home… back to gardening… back to school planning… back to meal planning… back to rhythm and routine.

I remember a few summers ago we had no plans for vacation, and my heart was aching for a getaway.  Our one trip that summer was suppose to be to a family camp, and that got cancelled due to a freak August flood.  It seemed “everyone” was going on vacation but us…

Now I’m on the other end of the spectrum… I feel like I was hardly home and able to accomplish any sort of school planning or anything for the school year, which starts next week!  I woke up this morning feeling anxious about school and overwhelmed.  How will I find time to fit it all in?  I now have a jr. high student, as well as a 2 year old and 3 more in between!  I walked out back to dispose of a chicken who had died during the night, and was once again overwhelmed by our garden jungle!  Aah!

But, God… He is so good and faithful!  I decided to fill my morning outside working a bit on the garden.  Every single time I work in the garden, God speaks to my heart!

While clearing all the diseased flowers and leaves and pruning galore, I couldn’t help but think of God’s Word, and how He calls us to cut-off any branch that does not bear fruit in our lives.  I really don’t need more time.  I need to cut out anything that is not bearing fruit in my life, which will in turn give me time for things that do produce fruit

It’s a simple truth.  It gave me joy and spoke to my heart.  But, most of all just being in God’s glorious creation and feeling thankful for my bounty changed my heart to the core.  The rest of my day, the worry was gone.

(Side note:  I loved my vacations and hope to blog about them soon!)  For now, I am grateful to be back and can say in all honesty that God turned my anxiety into excitement for what’s to come as we start a new school year.  Don’t be afraid to ask God for His peace!  He will gladly give it to you as you learn to trust Him and let go of worry.  Tomorrow is a new day, and if I feel the anxiety return, I will simply ask Him again and again to take it away!

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And, the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”  Phil. 4:6-7

Enjoying the Bounty

The other day I decided to take a peak at our cucumber plant, which I’ve completely ignored all summer.  I had to fight tomatoes, zinnia and sunflowers to get to it, but was pleasantly shocked/ surprised to find 5 beautiful cucumbers!  (And they tasted good!)

We are also loving zucchini, tomatoes, and bell peppers.  Isn’t that purple tomato pretty?  The solid red ones taste a little better, but the purple ones sure are gorgeous!  I remember walking past the plant at the store and thinking, “We really don’t need more tomato plants!”  But, I saw the little picture of the color and couldn’t resist.  It took me a week to plant it, in which time it almost died.  Thankfully it is thriving!

Yesterday I was able to create a salad for lunch using mostly items from our garden.  From the picture, it seems I was enjoying a wonderful home-grown salad while my kids played joyfully in the background and I skimmed a summer magazine… The reality is, I made the salad at 11am because I was hungry, but didn’t get to eat it until almost 1pm because of kid fights, an accident where my littlest cut his chin and I couldn’t take him to the urgent care because my car wouldn’t start and my husband, who was suppose to be home, was forced to work.  All this while there was loud construction going on in the background, (hence my absence from blogging!)

Life certainly isn’t a picture in a magazine.  But, I am so glad of that.  I love seeing beautiful images, but remembering the reality of the crazy broken world we live in, and smiling because our God is faithful.  I really did enjoy the salad by the time I put the little guy down and he stopped screaming.  His grace is sufficient for me!

4th of July 2017

Coming back to this little spot on the internet that I love so dearly almost feels like visiting a long lost friend… Between our recent adventure into fostering, going on our mission trip to Thailand, and losing my camera, it has been hard to find my blogging groove, again.  But, I had to take our annual 4th of July kid pics, as well as document the day.  As of yesterday, I have my camera back… hooray!  But, these pics were all taken with our “old” camera, which I don’t love.  It likes blurry pictures, or something!

Our morning started with our flag waffles and taking fun pictures.  I so wish I could show you the face of our new little guy, but I am not allowed to until we are able to adopt him.  I’m hoping to write a whole post on that, soon… stay tuned!

Our sweet friends came over in the afternoon for a swim and barbecue.  After dinner, we headed back over to their place for ice cream sundaes and fireworks since our city doesn’t allow them.

And that was our Independence Day celebration!

Zucchini

Grilled.

In Muffins.

No matter how we serve it, the kids love it!  We had our usual crop of zucchini this year…. a few big ones, and now a diseased plant.  Ugh.  Zucchini does NOT like me!  But, we love it so we will try again next year…. and I am thankful for what we had!

In other news, I am very busy doing nothing over here, which has been wonderful.  It’s hard to blog after I lost my camera on the way to Thailand… (or it was stolen!)  But, I’m going to try to get some more posts out, soon.  I miss this little space!

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?