A Spring Harvest

The fruits of the season are upon us.  I was a little surprised to find our peaches ready before June!  They are quite small; more like an apricot.  But, they are very tasty and we have quite a few for such a twig of a tree.  Allison usually proudly walks in with a basket full of eggs and peaches.   (Ok, not full… but it is fun!)

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Green beans have also made their debut.  Now I know why they were the chosen veggie for Jack and the Beanstalk; they really do seem to grow straight-up overnight!  They are the only veggie we planted from seed this year.

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And, here is our first harvest:

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On another note, I can’t believe my girls’ plants are still alive… and thriving in their tiny little pots!  They were thrilled to discover flowers.  Most potted items die around here because, quite frankly, we are bad at remembering to water by hand.

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Speaking of potted items, our tomatoes are actually alive, as well.  And, I believe we have 2 ready to harvest.  I still think there’s something wrong with our plant.  It is far too small. But, I will take what we can get!

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I think basil loves Southern California.  And, I am glad because I love basil myself!  It is the only plant I can always boast of in our gardens past.  Pesto.  Caprese salads.  spaghetti sauce.  pizzas.  Even ordinary sandwiches are special with a touch of basil!

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I’m hoping the future will hold bigger and better gardening for us.  For now, we are having fun with our happy little garden, and “filling” our little harvest basket!

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Stray

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Normally at this time of night, the kids are asleep… the dishes need to be done…I usually choose to come to the computer instead… the house is finally quiet… and the cat is at the back door begging for some attention.  Sadly, that is not the case tonight.  It is quieter than usual.  And, it was this morning as well.  I won’t go into details, but I’ve been up since 3:45am after hearing what I now know was a coyote attacking our cat.  When the cat was not at the back door first thing this morning, I knew something was wrong.  I glanced out the window of our bedroom where I heard the eery growling earlier and saw our poor cat.  I will truly miss our Stray.  He was the sweetest cat, and followed us everywhere.  He just wanted to be loved.  Goodbye precious Stray!

Memorial Weekend

We had a wonderful Memorial weekend with 2 barbecues.  The first was at our house to celebrate our cousin’s graduation from high school.  (We let him clean the pool for his own party.  We’re nice like that.)

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Check out that yellow zucchini squash from our own garden!

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Chickens are always a hit with visiting kids.

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Dessert was awesome; kettle corn, ice cream, fresh fruit, and macaroons!

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18 months

Half birthdays don’t really count around here… unless it’s 1 1/2.  There is just such a huge transformation from a 12-month-old baby to a 18-month-old toddler!  Such a difference that it absolutely must be noted.  Just check out my little man:

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I love EVERYTHING about this picture E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G.  The diaper rolled over the jeans.  The toddler belly busting out.  The farmer tan sported.  The gun held out exactly as it should be.  The smile of pride knowing he is holding it exactly right.  The fact that I have NO pictures like this of my girls… because it simply wasn’t innate in them to do so.  Now if only it were a video so you could hear the sound effects.

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Yes, he is all boy.  110%.  He is still fondly nick-named “Cleaning Crew,” as he is still constantly running around with the broom.  He loves to dance and sing.  Every morning he wakes up saying “Mommy.”  If only it meant he loves and wants his mommy… in reality he is begging for a video entitled, “Mommy and Me.”  And when he sits down to watch, he gets SO excited and actually sings “Moooommmmy”  It’s pretty much the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.  He loves cars, balls, books and talking.  (At least he has one thing in common with his sisters!)

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Here you can kind of see how his mouth is making the sound effects.  Precious.

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And, this picture… more love.  Can’t you hear it?  “What, mom?”  Oh, my boy.  I am so thankful for you!

Piano Recital

School is done.  Projects have begun.  Memorial weekend was awesome.  Now our activities are coming to an end, as well.  The girls had their piano recital last week.  This was Allison’s second recital and Natalie’s first.

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As usual, I think I was more nervous than they were.  I’m so glad they get excited about it!  I certainly was not like that as a kid… at all!

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The camera malfunctioned for Natalie, so we took this shot post-recital.  (Pretend you can’t tell!)

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And, the curtsy:

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Great job, my sweet girls!

Keep up the good work!

My New “Plant Stand”

I know Memorial weekend is the “unofficial” start to summer, but this year I’m officially declaring it the Yeh start to summer!  This morning my husband got home after a 72 hour work shift, and whisked the kids away for a couple of hours of errands.  “Hmmm… my first day of summer break,” I thought.  “How shall I spend it?”  (Don’t worry… I also thought, “What an awesome husband I have!”)  I decided to turn on the radio and work on my first summer fun project!

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It all began when I spotted this plant stand at Homegoods just a few days ago.  Somehow that morning I had been pondering how to organize some of our outdoor stuff for the kids.  With that fresh on my mind, I headed to Homegoods for a dog pillow.  (Completely unrelated, I know).  But, as soon as I saw this beauty (on sale for $15), I knew it would be perfect!  I was so excited, in fact, that I even shared my idea with the cash register… who, bless her heart, kindly told me it was a creative idea.  (In reality, I think she thought I was nuts!)

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So first I pulled out my Cricut and cut a few stencils.  At first, I couldn’t think of the specific 3 items I wanted to write on each of the 3 stands. Finally, I decided on 5 items — some buckets would have to share!

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Did I mention it was just me and my chai latte?  Oh, how I needed a morning like this.  I did mention that I had the radio on.  Actually, it was the computer.  I went back and listened to a few Focus on the Family broadcasts I had been wanting to hear.  If you’re a mom of girls, I highly recommend this broadcast.

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I finished just as the kids walked in the door.  For now it sits just outside our new yellow door.  (Oh, how I can’t wait to finish organizing and decorating our new office!)

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Funny how when things are organized, they are more appealing.  The kids rarely ask for sunglasses, paint with water, or use the sidewalk chalk.  Today… I’ll let the pictures tell the story!

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Hooray for summer projects!

Back 2 Blogging…

It’s funny how taking an unintentional break from blogging makes it that much tougher to start again.  It’s kind of like exercising, I guess.  When you’re not in “the zone,” it’s tough to get back in!  Anyway, it has only been a week, but it feels like it’s been forever.  (Dramatic, I know — I live with 3 girls; there’s a lot of drama around here!)

The break was due to a lot of tiredness mixed with busyness, as well as a bad habit of falling on the couch after the kids are in bed and turning the news on.  Up until a few weeks ago, I would say my husband and I rarely watched tv.  Now with all the scandals going on in Washington, I find myself “vegging” in front of the news far too often.   It’s got to stop; who has time for tv?

Anyhoo, let’s see what I’ve got in pictures:

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We tried another new “breakfast bar” recipe.  They were pretty.  But they weren’t good.  Perhaps it was my fault for making too many “substitutions.”  You can get the original recipe here.

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The girls are back to french knitting after I let them pick out some new yarn from Tuesday Morning.  Great summer activity!

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They also got these fun keychain laniards from their last Keepers of the Home meeting.  Apparently, I was suppose to fill out a form every time the girls memorized verses and read their Bibles.  I am so lazy like that.  Since they never asked me to fill out a form, I never did.  And, they never got prizes.  But, they never mentioned it either.  The last day as I watched the other kids collect their prizes, I felt guilty, so I finally just told the leader the girls had memorized 2 verses that week. Hence, the laniards.

(On a side note, the same thing seems to happen with summer reading programs.  The kids read like crazy, but I always forget to write it down and turn it in.  Not my gifting!)

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We got some new nail polish Sierra picked out.  I had her trace her hands and paint her nails on paper to give me a few extra minutes of prepping dinner before I actually had to paint her nails.

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We harvested our first yellow zucchini!  Time to bust out the zucchini recipes.  We also got a new egg basket to hang next to our new coop which is almost ready.  Thrilled.

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I love how Trader Joe’s calls their root beer “vintage.”  It’s so much cooler than old-fashioned, which is such an old-fashioned word!  I will warn you, though — if you search for “vintage” on Craig’s list, not everyone has the same idea of what that means; ha!

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Reading away…

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I got a new candle.  I can’t resist a mark-down from $16 to $2.  It is super strong and just screams summer.  The first thing I do in the morning now is light my new candle.

I think tomorrow is our last day of school.  I believe we technically have another week left, but we’re at the end of our books and I think we can fit it all in tomorrow.  If so, I’m calling it quits!  I am ready for swimming, lack of structure, organizing, projects, camping, s’mores, ice cream… bring on summer!  I’ll hopefully show you my first summer project later this week.

Another Breakfast Recipe

I probably have 12 favorite breakfast recipes that I rotate, and yet… I still get bored with them.  In fact, I think my favorite Pinterest board is my breakfast one. When in the mood for a change… check Pinterest.  Last night I came across a recipe for overnight apple oatmeal that claimed, “Perfect for a crisp fall day.”  It scared me a little that it’s only May with just a few hot days under our belt, and I am already dreaming of fall!  But anyway, if I had pinned it originally I think I would have said, “Perfect for Bible Study mornings when it’s impossible to get out of the house on time and the kids need a good filling breakfast so they don’t overkill on goldfish all morning at the Bible Study.”  That would sell anybody, right?   Oh, and I think I would have called it apple pie oatmeal.  Because, (at least for the kids), it’s all in the name, right?  Like last night when I got home from a 5 hour trip to the dentist and was still super numb and sore and made elbow pasta with marinara and cheese; the kids refused to touch it until I called it “mac n chizza;” then they gobbled it down!  (True story!)  But, I regress…  So, I made this apple pie oatmeal.  And, I was right; they were all excited to try it because of the name.

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Unfortunately, they didn’t love it.  They said they did — but didn’t eat that much.  I would have to concur; it was a little disappointing.  I will do it again.  But next time I am using granny smith apples for a little tartness, and perhaps upping the brown sugar to 1/2 cup.  And, I will be taking the lid off first thing in the morning to allow it to cool and permeate the house with the fresh apple pie smell!

Mother’s Day 2013

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I was resigned to the fact that my husband had to work on Mother’s Day.  It’s happened a few times before, and I find that it’s silly to whine about it when I am blessed beyond…BEYOND!  So, I was totally resigned to that fact, and totally ok in my heart.  Saturday night came, and I found out he was going to take the day off.  It was the best present ever!  The day was simple.  Flowers.  Pastries, iced coffee, and cake from my favorite bakery.  Church.  More swimming.  Dinner.  Family time goofing off with the kids.  Here’s the goofy picture:

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And, here’s the dinner:  (Don’t drool!):

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I truly felt blessed.  The dinner was awesome; the other goodies were great.  The homemade cards; lovely!  But, just all being together as a family was precious.

Beating the Heat

Whew… we have had some cuh-razy weather down here!  It all began about 10 days ago when we made a spontaneous decision to have the outside of our house painted.  Two days later we had painters washing down our house and prepping it for paint.  Once it was all taped-up with plastic sheets along all the windows, the wind came.  (Not just any wind, mind you; the torrential Santa Ana’s that made it sound like the house was about to blow to Oz!) So, the next day they came and took down all the torn plastic and said they’d be back once the wind stopped.

It stopped.  They returned.  They prepped again.  And finally, they painted.  I gasped.  I pride myself on choosing colors well.  I did not choose well.  It looked pink.  And our front door is chartreuse.  Pink and chartreuse; AAAH!  My husband came home from work and had the same reaction.  “It’s pink.”  So, we agreed to have the entire house re-painted.  (Ouch is right!)

But then the rains came.  And came.  The re-painting that was suppose to start on Monday had to be pushed to a Friday.

Finally Friday came.  And, so did the heat!  Hot, hot, hot!  But the painters pushed through, and as of right now it is officially done.  (I am THRILLED!)  I’ll show you pictures soon.

Anyway, summer literally came overnight and shocked us.  So, the girls jumped in the pool.  I am so happy that Sierra finally enjoys swimming!  And, I just love how the girls could be turning purple and through chattering lips exclaim, “I’m not cold.  This is so fun!”

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Little boy, on the other hand, had no trouble telling us he wasn’t happy.  Poor kid did not even enjoy a second of it, (which kind of shocks me since he asks to play with “wa-wa” all day!)

While the kids were out enjoying their first real swim of the season with their Papa, I decided to make some spring rolls for dinner.  Spring rolls are something I’ve always wanted to try, but always had a fear of doing.  But, the possibilities to stuff in them on a hot summer night when you don’t want to heat up the house are endless.  I tried this recipe for chicken and avocado spring rolls I got from Pinterest.

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The trick for me was not to overstuff them.  I was wishing I had larger rice paper to use, but this was the only size I found at our local Asian Market.  I set-up an assembly line and got to work.  I had two plates: one for the ones I was able to fold, and one for the ones that were sort of a disaster.

spring roll 2 CollageFinal score: Disaster: 6 Good: 9  And, the good won!  Hooray!! 🙂 (But the disasters were eaten, as well.)   Give these a try.  You can do all the prep in the afternoon and then stick them in the fridge until dinner!  They’re a fun hot day alternative to grilling or cold sandwiches.