A glimpse of what a sick mom, sick kids, rain outside, and a little boredom can do…


Mother’s Day 2019


No mother- kid pictures this year.  No dates with the kids.  Just a few pics to remember the effort made to make it a fabulous Mother’s Day, despite the nasty sickness afflicting us…

It’s been a long 11 days!  My poor husband and kids had planned such a special Mother’s day.  Quiche for breakfast – church – poke bowls for lunch – send me off to a massage while making ribs for dinner… Instead it was quiche – church for a few, while the sickies and I napped – Costco for extra boxes of Kleenex – poke bowl for me, which I couldn’t finish – massage where I couldn’t stop coughing and blowing my nose – no dinner and off to bed early.

It sounds sad, but really my heart was brimming with joy despite feeling like my body was run over by a truck.  From bed, I look at a picture of my kids 7 years ago… oh, how much harder it was to be sick back then!  Instead, I was home in a cozy bed — the kids let me sleep — Daniel took care of everything; what more could I ask for?  Oh, and did you see that beautiful cake he and Sierra designed for me?  Precious!  (And delicious!)

I am now finally 90% better, as noted by the fact that I had my first cup of coffee in 11 days this morning.  But, Daniel and some of the kiddos are still worse off.  This bug decided to hit the entire household.  The forecast says rain all week, so I think we are going to just stay cozy and recover and hopefully open ALL the windows and do some cleaning this weekend!

The Visitors… (Mario and Luigi?)

This morning as the girls and I were at the table doing school, these two handsome gentlemen came walking down the stairs.  We had already been interrupted a few times, so I was tempted to move on… but we couldn’t stop laughing, and ended up taking pictures and creating fun little old fashioned movies.  Homeschooling is a pretty cool gig… you never know who might show up!

Gracelaced Day

I’ve long been a fan of Ruth Chou Simons — artist, homeschooling mom of 6 boys, classical education. woman after God’s own heart.  She is full of wisdom, and always points to Christ.  When I first learned she would be in California, I immediately checked my calendar and signed up!  It was such a blessing to hear and meet her in person!  The day was lovely… the message of walking in our Christ-centered identity, the endless coffee and goodies, the beautiful flowers, the surrounding hills, and a day with my dear friend!  These days of refreshing are so wonderful and so necessary!

Ruth, you are a blessing to so many.  Keep pointing us to Christ in your beautiful, humble, sincere way!

Gold Rush!

It was the perfect way to finish up our year of studies on California history… a trip to one of our favorite places, Riley’s Farm, for their Gold Rush Tour.   (Do you see that beautiful bird we saw?)

From learning about the miners to the people who made the dynamite to the bankers and merchant and everything in-between, it was not only a good lesson in history, but lots of fun!  Once we finished visiting each station, the kids were sent off to earn as much money as they could.

There was even the job of keeping the Inn clean for the miners!

Carrying nitro glycerin to the mining cave turned out to be the most profitable venture.   The kids found gold, dealt with bank notes, were able to purchase tools, and had a blast.  At the end, they were served a miner’s ration of cheese, jerky, and corn bread and then they were able to use their profits to bid on little goodies using what they earned.

If you ever have the chance, I highly recommend the Gold Rush Tour!

Easter 2019

Aaaaannnd, for the millionth time, here is the simple and delicious edible mint play dough recipe:

2/3 c light corn syrup

1 stick butter

2 tsp peppermint extract

1 tsp salt

1 bag (2 lbs.) powdered sugar

food coloring

Mix in a Kitchen Aid.  Separate into desired number of balls, and add food coloring.  Mix using latex gloves to save your hands.  Enjoy!

What a week, what a week!!  It went something like this — Sunday; Xavi’s party. Monday; prepare our garden for garden judging, Tuesday; Xavi’s actual birthday, and a trip to the bounce house, Wednesday; Grandma and Grandpa arrive, Thursday; Garden judging and I fly out to Utah to meet Daniel for a fun getaway; Saturday; we fly back home, Sunday; Easter!  Whew — we made it!

How wonderful to end such a busy week with the celebration of Easter and the resurrection of our Savior!  We enjoyed church, Easter baskets, egg salad (of course!), egg hunt, watching Peter Rabbit, games, mint play dough, and a wonderful dinner cooked by Daniel, which I failed to snap a picture of.  In fact, Daniel and Grandpa somehow missed all the pictures, but let me reassure you they were there!

He is risen!

Utah Getaway!

It doesn’t seem like that long ago that I considered a drive to the grocery store alone with my husband to be a “getaway.”  When the kids were little, it was just that much harder.  In recent years, we have found a way to escape — just for a day or two – at the end of one of my husband’s business trips.  Though they are short, they are filled to the brim and feel amazing!

This week, I flew to Salt Lake City, UT to meet Daniel at the end of his trip.  (We’ve previously done this in Seattle, WA, Las Vegas, NV, and Naples, FL!)  I flew in Thursday evening, where he met me by train and we headed back to downtown for sushi and vegan ice cream.  (We were literally in line for the ice cream when we read, “anti-dairy;” huh?)  But, it was delicious!

The next day was our only “full day” together, and so we filled it!  We began by walking to the super cute underground coffee shop called “Cupla” and run by twin sisters.  My lavender latte and croissant sandwich were amazing.  Next, we headed an hour south of town in search of Fifth Water Hot Springs…

Armed with sandwiches and swimsuits, we headed up this 2.3 mile “hike,” which followed the river the entire way.  It was so beautiful, and the nicest day!

There were signs of spring mixed with patches of snow.  Creation is wonderful!

When we finally reached the hot springs, we were amazed… The water was a little too hot for me, yet right next to ice cold snow run-off.  If I sat in just the right spot between the two, the water was just right!

Daniel was more brave than I, and chose to indulge in the hottest spring of the bunch.  I decided taking a picture was more comfortable for me!

After a quick shower at the hotel, we headed back downtown and found a ramen place for dinner.  A super cool feature of SLC is their “Free Zone” for their downtown trains.  From the restaurant, we took the train to the concert hall, where we saw Troupe Vertigo perform with the symphony orchestra.   Fantastic show!  We again caught the train to a dessert spot, where I got to try rosemary honey ice cream.

The next day we flew home… and that was our getaway!  Just long enough to have some cool experiences and wonderful food, but not too long away from the kids.  Refreshing!

Xavi Shark, doo doo doo doo doo doo

We had SO much fun celebrating Xavi’s 4th birthday… (His second birthday with us!)  Since his first Halloween costume, this boy has loved sharks.  It just so happens that the most popular song out there right now for little dudes is “Baby Shark.”  We took the liberty of changing it to “Xavi Shark!”  From shark teeth to a shark watermelon bowl, it was pretty easy to find some shark-themed foods.

Natalie and Sierra set up the face painting and tattoo stations.  I like having big kids who help!

Game 1:  “Walk the Plank.”

Game 2:  Shark Bubbles.  (Bubbles are Xavi’s favorite!)

Game 3:  Shark Tag

Right after this shot, my camera died… and so that’s the party!  Good thing it made it most of the way.

Happy 4th birthday, my sweet boy!  We love you!

p.s.  Xavy looked at this banner with blue “x” tape, and exclaimed, “That tape is for me!  It says, ‘Xavi!'”

April Swim

It was a beautiful day… it was… Outside, it was a lovely 88 degrees.  It was our first warm day in quite some time.  While I’m definitely not ready for the heat of summer, the warmth after our cold winter felt so nice!  Still… you couldn’t pay me enough to jump into that frigid pool!  I agreed to let the boys swim, thinking they wouldn’t get past their tippy toes.  They more than proved me wrong!

Aaaaand, we found 3 ripe peaches among the many little green ones.  Amazingly, the boys got them before the rats.  I spent my time thinning out the peach tree while the boys swam and enjoyed their first peach.

I can’t believe summer is around the corner.  For now, I am just hoping to make it until Spring Break, (which begins after we finish school tomorrow.)  Hope I can survive!  🙂

Today after school, the kids sat and looked through all our old blog books for hours.  They had so much fun reminiscing and showing me pictures.  “Can you believe we did that?”  “Do you remember when… ?”  I tried downloading pictures a few weeks ago, but ran into some technical difficulties.  Their enthusiasm inspired me to troubleshoot and get these pictures up.  Thankfully, I was successful, so I hope to blog more regularly once again!

Hope you’re enjoying some warm spring weather where you are!

Camp Create!

A week ago today, this was the view outside my house… A symbol of hope and peace that God gave directly to me before I had to go inside to pack for my trip to the Craft House in Kansas… which also happens to be decorated in rainbows.  God is so good!

Imagine a 1903 Farmhouse… colorfully decorated, thoughtfully updated, but filled with vintage charm.  Throughout the house there are touches of color, whimsy, and craftiness; (and fresh flowers, too!)

Every room was filled with metal framed beds and vintage quilts.  Here was my bed!

We mingled, met ladies from across the country, and were served our first meal with our one and only rule; no clearing your plates!  We were served and pampered the entire weekend.  Our first craft was a simple rope rainbow.  I made two, though I should have made more — my girls all loved them!  Throughout the weekend, ladies would jump in and make more; some even made necklaces and earrings!

Did I mention the food was UH-MAZING!?  Every meal from scratch…

We headed to the antique store and barn our first morning since rain was in the forecast for the second day, (though it never came!)  I’d say the barn was more torture than anything, because I knew a huge, gorgeous old library catalog wasn’t going to fit into my bag to bring back to California.  (Bummer)  But, I am happy with the little things I did find, and can’t wait to plant succulents in my “new” bread pans!  Thanks for the fun red door pic with me, Kimberlee!  I am so blessed to have finally met you and enjoyed the cinnamon rolls that have tortured me through the screen for so many years.  They didn’t disappoint!

These two… God placed them in my room, and their love for Jesus touched my heart!  What a blessing to get to know them!

“Creative Carmella” was the sweetest, and had me wanting to move to Tennessee to be her neighbor!  (And, to learn all her jewelry making magic!)

We had a second full day of crafting, including jewelry making and painting.  I will never look at clouds the same, again!  Aaaand, French toast with raspberry butter is incredible!

Top Left: Meg, founder of Camp Create and owner of the Craft House,  Top Right: Abbey and Tanya,  Bottom Left:  Kina,   Bottom Right: Melinda

The “obligatory” picture on the rainbow stairs with sweet Leighanne fromTexas.

Top:  Kristi,  Bottom: Carmela,  Right:  “Honey,” our wonderful speaker for the weekend, sharing humor, God’s word, and goodies from her ‘happy bag’

Heart glasses courtesy of Honey’s Happy Bag!

Thank you, Lord, for the opportunity to be a part of this special group and to meet so many wonderful women.