Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Oh Christmas Tree

Every year I think that our tree turns out so pretty! This year I thought I would take a few pictures of our favourite ornaments. I still haven't figured out why blogspot turns pictures taken with a Cannon camera, so bear with the horizontal photos. :)
 This year we got a Scotch Pine. The branches are bare except for the ends, so you hang most of the ornaments in the tree.
 Glass ornaments are our favourites! This snowman seems so jolly and I love seeing him each year!
 Last year our tree fell over and we broke about half of our ornaments. This Santa is a new addition this year.
 I picked up this cute trolley car in San Francisco in Bloomingdale's on Black Friday a few years ago.
 I love this little reindeer. The snow in the bottom of the ornament moves around.
 Most of our ornaments seem to be Santas. Perhaps it's the red and white we like. There are so many depictions!
 I love the feathers on the mittens.
 This ornament used to hang on my Grandma Burdette's tree. Before LED lights you would put one of the tree lights under the ornament and the heat would make the fan turn. This is a very special ornament.
 Chandler made this in kindergarten. I love seeing him so tiny!
This year my sisters and I started a new tradition of sending each other ornaments to hang on our tree that remind us of each other. This is what I got this year for us. However, I forgot to send it on time! So dear sisters, this is what you will be getting in the mail in the next few weeks!
Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Stuffing vs. Dressing

Today I was sitting at my mom's table shredding ten loaves of bread to prepare, what I like to call stuffing, for Thanksgiving tomorrow. I was led to remember all the times I had seen my mother and my grandmother sitting in the same kitchen doing the same thing. I'm not sure where my grandma got her recipe from, but it's amazing. It will always be my favourite recipe for this particular dish. She never wrote the recipe down. My mother learned it from watching her and I learned it from watching my mother. I remember the first year that my grandma died and my mother and I frantically tried to remember how exactly to make what my grandmother called "dressing". I'm sure over the years my mom and I have developed our recipe, but every time I make it I will always think of my dear grandma and how much I love her and everything she passed down to us.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Smuggies

Today I took my children to a music lesson. We sang and hit sticks together and had a merry old time. One mother was breast feeding while we sang. "That's right!" I thought. "I can roll with the new wave hippie moms." I stay at home with my kids, we sing, we breastfeed in broad day light and we have a good time doing it! After the class Teacher Beth, who sported a yellow kerchief in her hair; a sure sign of the modern hippie mom, overheard me telling Ellis that we needed to get home so I could start sewing. She asked what I was sewing and I excitedly told her that I was sewing my daughter's Halloween costume. Ellis looked at her and said, "I'm going to be Princess Peach!" That's when I saw it. The smile and nod... "How nice." I couldn't help but to laugh. I could tell right there that she didn't approve. Rowan chimed in that he was going to be Luigi. I could feel her trying not to judge me, but she couldn't help it. After all, I'm breaking a cardinal rule of the new wave hippie mom. I let my kids watch T.V. and play video games! (gasp!)
Teacher Beth then explained how her daughter is going to be a Native American for Halloween. She's going to have braids and a head band and feathers coming out of her hair from their chickens! She sewed her costume last year too, she had been Laura Ingalls! Thank goodness I knew who that was. I would have loved to have told her that my children were also literary characters two years ago too. Ellis was Alice and Rowan was the Jabberwocky, but I could see "the smuggies" behind her eyes and I didn't want to spoil it for her. She really is a sweet lady and was very kind to us, but it made her feel good that she wasn't subjecting her children to the horrible things that I do. I could have really made her day and let her know that for snack today we were going to have fruit roll ups, they have high fructose corn syrup.
I try to be a good mom. We stay away from sugar for weeks at a time before we lapse back into lazy snacks. I  am my kids' preschool teacher and take them on plenty of outings. I take my kids to church every Sunday and try to teach them to be good people. We raise chickens and eat their eggs. We try to plant a garden every summer. I can fruit and make pies and make dinners from scratch. I'm well on the road to the new wave hippie mom that I would love to be. But, there are some things that I'm just not willing to give up and so I'll never be fully initiated into the club. And I'm okay with that. I have my own kind of joy that I get from watching other people delight in how much better they are than me!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

7 Year Itch?

    As of September 11th, Bobby and I have been married for 7 years. It feels like much longer, maybe because we dated for 3 years before we got married. It's been a wonderful 7 years and we were able to go away together this weekend and reflect on them together. Typically, the saying goes that every 7 years you yearn for some change in your life, but as we looked back we've had nothing but change! We decided that at this point now, we couldn't be happier! I feel like we have changed a lot in the last decade, and for the better. How nice that we could grow together as a couple and as a family. After this weekend, it was very clear to me how lucky I am and how much each of us have grown. Let me tell you a little about it.
    Saturday, the 10th was very busy. We had soccer in the first part of the day, and then I helped at a wedding in the late afternoon and evening. By the time I got home later that night, my hips were VERY sore. But I didn't want to complain to Bobby about it. We got up early on Sunday and I was already feeling emotional. I usually try to glaze over September 11th, try to focus on my anniversary, but this day was hard. I kept welling with tears. Chandler and I were both to speak in church and although I was excited, I was a little nervous too. Chandler spoke first and he was so amazing. I really cannot think of a prouder "mommy moment"! He wrote his own talk, and then spoke slowly and clearly. I ended up being very pleased with how I did with my talk, I was glad that I had practiced so much before hand, and I didn't even cry. Then Bobby and I ran home and packed bags for the children and for ourselves. I was feeling pretty emotional because I must have been more worried about the job on Saturday night and the talk Sunday morning more than I had thought. Now that those things were over I was ready for an emotional release, but instead I needed to focus on packing (fast) and sending the kids off for the next 3 days without tears. So I needed to hold it all in.
    We were finally on the road and I was worried about getting there on time because we had massages scheduled at 4. We would probably arrive around 3:30, I didn't want to be late. About an hour into our drive we got a phone call for our wonderful friend who was watching our children, she told us that we had not put the children's luggage in her car! I couldn't believe it! We had been so hurried and so worried about the kids being comfortable, that we completely forgot to move the bag! I felt my mood begin to take a rapid downward turn, but told myself that being upset about it wouldn't solve anything. I was determined to be in a good mood and not let "the natural man" take a hold of me!
    As we entered into the Sonora area my earlobes began to get a funny itching sensation, as we moved further towards Twain Heart and further up in elevation I began to feel the sensation moving to my cheeks as well. We arrived at our bed and breakfast just at 3:30, our room wasn't ready and we would have to wait. Although I was feeling uncomfortable and just wanted to relax, I assured them that we were fine sitting in the front room to read until it was ready. By the time we got to our room about 15 minutes later, my palms were itching and my whole face and neck were totally red. It was 4 o'clock and the massage therapists were not there. Our appointment must have been sent for 4:30 we thought. Our hostess provided me with an allergy pill and I knocked out on the bed. Waking up 45 minutes later extremely groggy, I realized that it was 5:15 and there was still no sign of the therapists. We called up front to find out that there had been some sort of mix up and the hostess was frantically on the phone trying to find people that would come in on short notice. Again, not her fault, no reason to be upset, right? At 6 o'clock we were fortunate enough to have 2 massage therapists arrive, or so we thought....
    Now maybe it's that Bobby and I are ruined. A few years back we had the most amazing massages EVER! So now, of course, everyone else is compared to these others. But in this case, I really think it just wasn't that great. For starters, whenever I have ever had a massage there is usually gentle, relaxing music playing. These two must have had a very different idea of what type of music should be played. I was laying down on my stomach with my face in that circle thing with my eyes wide open, thinking, "What the heck????" First it was like these romantic love songs, which I'm sorry, are just creepy when some stranger has their hands on you. It then moved to this like... new age world music? Imagine energetic, almost techno music with a man yodeling/singing over the top of it. It reminded me of some sort of thing I would hear in a  yurt full of hippies trying to find their inner energy or something. It was totally ridiculous for a massage and totally weird. Not to mention that I think I was being massaged by Darth Vader. This guy was breathing so hard through his nose, at first I thought he was wearing a mask or something because it was so loud! The massage was terrible and I really just couldn't wait to get off the table. By 8 o'clock I was starving and we left for dinner.
    It really took all my mental muscles to stave off the crankies by this point. We ate at an Italian restaurant with fantastic service, great atmosphere and horrible food. Thank goodness that Bobby had me laughing so hard at the table over our terrible massages that it didn't bother me too much. Unfortunately, it bothered my stomach and I felt sick the rest of the night.
    The next morning, Bobby and I left for Yosemite. My hips were still very sore and my lower back was stiff after the terrible massage the day before. I didn't want to complain to Bobby. I knew that he wanted to take a little day hike and I wanted to be accommodating. It was a beautiful day and Yosemite was PACKED! There were a million people there. I hadn't been able to find my shoes before we had left in such a rush and had only packed my Converse. I like them for when I need to wear them for short periods of time, but not for when we need to do a lot of walking. It was nearly lunch time and we didn't have any food with us, but I assured Bobby that I could do a quick 3 mile hike with him and then we could go to lunch. When we got near to where we were hiking we saw that the road was closed and that we needed to hike an extra .6 miles. No problem, just smile. We began our walk. I was fine when it was flat, but then we began our incline. My hips began to hurt immediately. Bobby started talking about how excited he was to do the John Muir Trail in two years and I snapped! I want to take that hike with him so badly and it was apparent that I was probably not going to be able to even finish this little one. My hips were screaming and my pride was hurt. I have an injury that most likely will never get all the way better. I took all the frustrations and emotions from the past 2 days and pushed them all into this. Then I let loose on my poor confused husband. When he tried to talk to me I told him that we weren't having a conversation in front of the bajillion people around us. Instead of getting angry, he asked me what I wanted to do. When I couldn't give him an answer he told me that he didn't feel like walking after all and led me back to the car. When we got to the car I finally explained how badly my body was hurting and how hard it was for me to admit that I couldn't do the things I used to do. He let me cry it all out. I told him how sorry I was that I had ruined our day. He said that I hadn't ruined the day at all and that we could still enjoy the park in so many ways. What should we do first?
    I sat there in that car and thought about a few things. 1. How selfish I was being. 2. How wonderful my husband is. 3. How this conversation might have gone 5 years ago. Let me tell you something I've learned about marriage. You make your own happiness. Even though the day before had been crazy, I still had a great time just being with Bobby, because I had decided to. Had I been totally honest with Bobby on that morning I wouldn't have put myself in a situation where it was harder for me to keep my control. I saw what I had done wrong, admitted it and asked for forgiveness, and then MOVED ON! We had a wonderful rest of the day. We enjoyed each other's company and had a great dinner. Bobby was so understanding and just so happy the whole weekend. He went through a lot of the same things I did and didn't get upset. I didn't need to either. We decide to be cranky, or we decide to be happy. We are at a point in our marriage that we decide to be happy together no matter what we come up against, even if it's each other! I'm so thankful that we have learned these lessons together and I look forward to another year of happiness.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Chandler and Ice Cream

Last night Chandler had his first school dance. I know, he's only 12, but he's in Leadership at school and they plan all the dances. I think it's nice for him to be able to go to the things he works so hard on, besides that, it's not like he's going to go anywhere near a girl!
Anyway... I was surprised last night when I asked him which of his friends were going and he said none. I said, "Oh really? Who are you going to hang out with?" He said he didn't know but that he was sure someone would be there. I thought that it was so cool that he wasn't going to give up having a good time just because his friends weren't going! I always worry about him "following the pack", but clearly he does what he wants to do. (Let's hope he continues to want to do good things!)

I dropped him off at the school at 6, but instead of driving back at 8:30 I decided to walk down to the school to get him. I met him out front and we went to Foster's Freeze. We sat outside, ate ice cream and talked for an hour! It was so wonderful! He told me all about the dance and how much fun he had. He said that he was actually kind of glad that none of his friends were there because it gave him the opportunity to get to know some other people a little better. He loves his friends, it was just fun to hang out with other people sometimes.

I had asked him before the school year started if he would make a promise to talk to me. If he would talk, I would listen. It was so great last night to see that actually happening. We walked home and I thought about how easy it would have been for me to have just taken the car to pick him up. The trip would have lasted 2 minutes and we probably would have only chatted for a second. But because I took the time, not only did I get some good exercise, but some real quality time with my son. I am always so worried about him becoming a teenager and being impossible to talk to, but I'm hoping that if I continue to keep the lines of communication open and I keep taking the time to allow him to talk that we may survive those years after all. I know it will be difficult, but last night gave me a big glimmer of hope. :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Summer Time

It's been a while since I've posted, but it's because we've been busy squeezing out every last drop of summer. :) 
Summer is a time for our family to be busy with simple pleasures. Sitting on a warm sidewalk at night trying to find Scorpio and his heart, Antares; eating home made ice cream with black berries, baking pies and making jam, canning peaches and green beans, finding yet another recipe for eggplant and zucchini, camping and boating, roasting marshmallows, riding on the knee board, swimming in the lake, going to the State Fair, and lazing around the house.
I've been heard to say things like, "People are coming over, put clothes on!" or "We aren't having ice cream for breakfast again!" Things are relaxed, easy going, and peaceful. It all goes by too quickly. However, by the time August rolls around we are ready to be back to a routine. We miss the easy going time of summer but feel well rested and ready for the school year.

This year Chandler is in 7th grade! I can't believe how the time has flown. Rowan and Ellis will be in "Mommy School". I've been busy this week cleaning out the playroom and getting it set up for school. I am optimistic that we will have a good time doing preschool at home. After all, it's my last year home all day with my little ones.

Soccer has also started and Chandler is playing really well. He seems to be on a good team and has a lot of friends he knows this year. Rowan also started soccer and loves the running. Ellis is very upset that she doesn't get to play, but luckily for her, Rowan's coach lets her practice with the team. It's been a great summer!

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Chick Experiment

Only one of our 8 eggs ended up hatching. I gave it until Monday morning, a full 5 more days, until I knew I had to make a change of plans! The kids and I went to the feed store and I purchased 3 of the youngest chicks I could find and brought them home. It was still pretty early in the day and Buttercup, as usual, was still trying to hatch her clutch. I reached under and took all her eggs and then one by one took each baby chick and placed it under her. I was so nervous. I wasn't sure what she would do with these new chicks.
 I stayed for about 30 minutes just observing her. The first time she saw each chick she would squwak and peck at it! The chick would run back under her to hide. I went inside for about 2 hours and then came to check on her again. Now we accepting of two of the chicks, but every time she saw the golden sexlink she would still peck at it. I wasn't sure if I was going to have to take that chick out, but I decided to give it a bit more time. By the end of the day Buttercup seemed much more at ease.
Today is Friday and she has had the chicks for 5 days now. All of the chicks are accepted and so cute. You can see Buttercup teaching them how scratch for food. She is up and moving around much more now. I feel like this way of "breaking her broody" was so much more fun than suspending her in a cage! It's really been such a learning process, but very rewarding. I never knew how much I enjoyed raising animals! I think I will let her raise them to about 6 weeks and then let my friend begin her own coop with the young ones. :)

Mottled Houdan and Golden Sexlink

Buttercup teaching her chicks how to scratch.

White Sultan and the chick Buttercup hatched. It's a mixed breed.

Friday, June 17, 2011

New Life!

23 days ago I put 8 fertilized eggs under Buttercup to help break her broodiness. Today one of the eggs hatched! They were supposed to hatch on day 21, but I decided to give it a few days just in case. This afternoon I went out to check and sure enough, there was a little chick under her mama! I was worried for the chick's safety in the big coop, so I fashioned a brooder for mommy and baby. I'm not sure if any more of the eggs will hatch, but I'll give it another 16 hours or so and see what happens. Here are some pictures I took of the brooder I made. It should keep the chicks in, but let mom out to go and forage for food as she needs it. I only hope that she will protect her chicks from predators, they are very exposed here. I may put the fire screen over the top at night, but we'll see. I'll talk to the feed store when I pick up some chick starter and see what they say.
 This is the brooder I used when we first got the chickens. I put a milk crate in the end with a towel over it so that Buttercup could feel like she's in a protected place.
 I wasn't sure if she would use it, but I put her eggs in the crate, then set her in the brooder and she went right over to them! She is such a good mommy!
Here is a glimpse of the new chick peeking his head out from under his mommy. I say "he" because I already suspect he's a rooster, but we won't know for sure for a few more weeks.

Our new baby chick! I'm so excited at my hen's first hatching!

Friday, June 10, 2011


It's 4am and I'm awake again for the second morning in a row. My mind just won't turn off. I dream about yesterday when I put soap on my grandpa's finger to work his ring off. I think of his hands, still warm, and how they won't hold mine anymore. My grandpa was my hero, the kindest, most gentle man I've ever known. I'll miss his jokes, I'll miss his black converse and his Alaska belt buckle. I'll miss the way he always took time for us grandkids when we came to visit. I'll miss the way he answered the phone. Even though I knew this day was coming, I couldn't ever be ready. I'm hoping that at some point I'll cry and let all this emotion out. His funeral will be in 5 days, maybe then. I guess part of me isn't quite ready to accept that he's gone and the crying might make that fact real. I'm not sure how to end my thoughts...I loved my grandpa...

Thursday, May 26, 2011

My knight in shining underpants!

Rowan is such an enjoyable child! One of his most endearing qualities is his imagination. At the present time he is obsessed with The Lord of the Rings. We have the old cartoons that he likes to watch. This is a picture of him charging around the kitchen chasing after Nazguls! 

Again, I'm not sure why the photos are being turned on their sides.. If anyone has any suggestions to this problem, I'd be glad to listen!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

We've got a broody!

Raising hens has been a truly educational experience for me. I'm now onto a new lesson. I have a hen that won't leave the nesting box! I'll poke her, push her, take all the eggs out from under her, but still, she won't move! In the mean time, she only eats about once a day so she's not getting the calcium that she needs. She's laying soft eggs that I can break if I poke them with my finger. She has decided they aren't good enough to sit on and kicks them out into the coop then finds other eggs to sit on! I've been reading to put her in a wire cage without bedding to cool her engines, but instead I think I'm going to try to find some fertile eggs for her to hatch. Wish me luck!

See how puffy she is? That's a face that says, "back off!" She kinda lays her wings out a bit too to keep the eggs warm. Poor thing wants some babies!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tea Party Time!

It's the perfect weather for tea parties and the wedding season is upon us! Why not combine them? I threw a tea party bridal shower for a girl friend of mine the last week of April. I love all the china and table settings. I had a lot of fun with this!
These are a few teapots of my mom's and mine. The yellow is an antique pot, the white and blue from Target.
This teapot is from my mom's china collection, British Castles.
This is my hand made teapot with the Scottish Thistle.
A piece of Lennox china I inherited from my Great Aunt Shum
My favourite tea cup!
Pretty antique china plates, the one on the right is Lamoge. They are holding rose shaped sugars.
 Choose your tea cup!

 I think it's fun to mix and match china. These are the three sets I have.

 I wish the picture hadn't turned vertical, but here is the spread of food! Quiche, puff pastry filled with cream cheese and jalapeno or artichoke, chicken salad and egg salad sandwiches.
 For dessert, my friend Diane made us delicious cake pops, chocolate covered strawberries, and white chocolate teacups filled with lemon curd! She is amazing!

And of course the pretty present table!

Spring has Sprung!

I love our yard in spring time and can't help but to take some pictures of the new blooms we have around the yard! I took these a few weeks ago. By now my red and yellow roses have finally come in and my hanging baskets are filling in nicely. I still wanted to show off some of the first blooms of the season!

Having only lived in our house for just under two years, I still get some new discoveries in the spring time! I found this iris growing on the ground underneath one of my camilia trees. I propped them up and they are doing well. Not sure why the blog turned the picture on it's side, but it is still beautiful!

These are wild onions that we have growing all over the side yard! I don't think that they are eatable, but the are very sweet.

Roses are such hard work, but the blooms make it all worth it! I love the fragrant blossoms and various colours! The front of our house looks barren without them!

I was also surprised to find wysteria growing on the front and back gate! If only the blooms lasted a bit longer. I think these were here for about 2 weeks.

 A few other pretty blooms found in the front yard.

This lilac tree only blooms for about 2 weeks as well. It has such a sweet fragrance! Sadly, once picked it only lasts about 3 hours in a vase.

 The pretty little things shade the chicken coop for a few weeks!