Friday, May 30, 2008

Good reads

My good friend Challis introduced me to a cool new website
my 'read' shelf:
 my read shelf
On this website, you keep track of the books you have read, are reading, and want to read. In addition, you can track what you friends are reading. Pretty cool. The hardest thing for me is picking a new book. With this website, I can look what other people have read, and liked, and read it myself. That should lessen the amount of bad books I read.
What did we do without the internet? I do so much research, stay in touch, buy all kinds of consumables, and journal about my life. I guess we used to do it the hard way; at the library, with stamps and envelopes, high school reunions, shop at stores, and an actual journal. And then there's the phenomenon of the ability to keep in touch with "acquaintances" whom we would otherwise in no doubt loose contact with. The fun thing for me is to try and locate those who I knew in Holland and even college, so we can "stay in touch" through website such as Facebook. Of course, some of the people I find, will soon become "stale" friends. We talk a few times when we first find each other, but never speak to each other again from then on. But there's the option... anytime, you can just send a quick message.

Jumping fun

Grandma and grandpa Ashurst came to visit. Grandma had some fun with the kids on the trampoline.

Thursday, May 29, 2008


Winter's last day of Kindergarten is tomorrow. I can't believe how much she has learned this year. She learned most of her letters in preschool, but couldn't read at all. Now she is getting faster all the time, and often doesn't have to sound out the words at all.
Kindergarten has a bunch of tests. Spelling, math, problem solving etc. Anytime Winter does a test, she does really great. She sure is a smart girl! Whenever she had a spelling test coming up, I would practice the words from the test, and keep practicing other words that are closely related to those. Then I would go harder, and harder, until I was just amazed at how many she can spell out. Maybe she should participate in a spelling bee. :)


I am a total Lost Junkie. Ever since I saw it for the first time about a year ago, I am in love with it. Tonight is the 4th season finale. I can't hardly wait! But I have to admit that it's better to watch the whole season on DVD, than live on Tv. It kills me to have to wait a week each time.
Another one of my favorite TV shows just started again: So you think you can dance. There are so many amazing dancers on this show. The first couple of shows are fun, because you get the occasional really bad "dancers" on there. The judges are really cruel, even worse than Simon Cowell on "american idol". There are a bunch of really good dancers from Salt Lake this time, which doesn't surprise me, because that city has sooo many good teachers and dance programs. That's one reason I would love to live in Utah, ... so Winter could do ballroom dance. She might do gymnastics though.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


They have to be Somewhere! I just have no idea where. What you ask? My keys of course. I usually misplace them, and quickly find them again. But I would say they are officially lost, as I haven't been able to locate them for over a week now. The biggest problem: that keyring has the only key to our suburban. We haven't needed to use it, but still.... we need that key! The only thing I remember is that I set them down somewhere because I didn't have pockets. This kind of narrows the field a little bit. I think they are somewhere in either the shop, shed, or backyard, but it's hard to tell. I'll keep looking, and update you if (cross fingers) I find them. Oh, and I should totally have some kind of key chain that you can buzz/locate from a "base" that's in the house in a fixed spot. Do they even make that?

Quote of the day

Sterling: "Why do people put seeds in watermelon"?

Monday, May 26, 2008

Happy Memorial Day

So, after our little discovery, I'm having a hard time writing an upbeat story about our holiday weekend. However, we had a fabulous time, so I will muster all my will, and try to write about it.
On Saturday we had a blast with the people from Joe's work. The goat was great, and so was all the other food. The kids swam for about 4 hours straight and had fun making new friends.
Yesterday we headed down to Plano and had a nice dinner with mom, dad, and grandma. We were supposed to eat some pig that dad had on the spit, but it wasn't ready in time (although we did get to sample it and it was delicious) After the kids went to bed, we had fun watching Robin Hood: men in tights. That is such a funny movie! It had been at least 10 years since I last saw it, and every time before the next joke would come up, I would just start giggling, because I knew what was coming.
Today we got together with Katy and Matt Morphis and co. We went to the Plano nature preserve. Can I just say that you don't need to spend money to have a ton of fun? We first had a picnic in the trees on blankets. Then we headed to the creek, and explored all the way down the creek bed. There were sections of the creek that were deep enough for the kids to swim in. We also built a dam, and took lots of pictures. But those were all on Katy's camera, so we'll see if we can get a hold of those.
I finished off the day with a fun game of "hand and foot" with grandma Helen. She totally beat me! We had yet another yummy dinner, loaded the truck bed full with bio-diesel equipment, and got back to discover the disaster area. Now I'm eating chocolate and crackers to try to make myself feel a little better and forget about the misfortunes of our chickens.


We were gone for only 1 night!
Total death toll: 5
4 of our not so small chicks were killed. The dogs did it, one of them got caught red-handed with a half-eaten one in his mouth. Also, 1 of our new chicks.. probably from other causes.
I am furious! I wish I had access to a gun. There would be no more dogs. Joe won't let me.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Smells Good!

Our house smells delicious! We have 4 big pans of seasoned goat in our oven, and a big pan on the stove. An uncle of one of Joe's employees works as a chef in a restaurant, and is preparing really yummy goat. First he hacked the carcass into small pieces with his axe. Then he rinsed it with water and added a TON of lemon juice. (2-3 of the big costco bottles) Then there was garlic powder, fajita seasoning, and "Emeril's original essence" seasoning (condimento). Now, if I ever want to make goat in the future, I'll know what spices to buy. He put all the pieces, bone and all, in the oven (450) for about 2-3 hours. For the ribs, he cut them into small pieces too, and put them in the turkey roasted on the stove top (0n high). At first he just left it open, but after a while he covered it with aluminum foil. Now it just boiling/cooking away, and smelling great.
I have to say I am a little freaked out about the whole raw goat juices. They washed all of the meat outside on our patio, and the used water was just dumped on the floor. Then all the spice jars, and door handles were touches without any soap involved. I'm sure it'll be fine, but I'm just so used to being anal about it, that it's a little crazy to me. I think I've wiped the door handle about 5 times with clorox wipes.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Peaceful departure

Tonight Joe shot one of our goats. We've had this goat for a few months, and we always had the intention of shooting/eating it one day. Tomorrow Joe's crew from Dallas is coming over for a work party. One of the employee's uncles has experience with cooking goat, so we'll have a great hispanic feast. I am kind of weird. I wanted to watch the slaughter. First Joe shot him in the neck. Then he slit his throat to make sure he was really dead. The goat still did a lot of twitching, even after the sliced neck. The grossest part was watching Joe cut off the head. I won't get into too much of the details, because I don't want to gross anyone out. After the head was off, it was remarkably less gross. I guess you see dead animals all the time at the butcher, and it turns from animal to meat when the head is gone.
I also finally found a deep freezer on Craigslist. There's freezers for sale all the time, but they're always either too far away, or not the right kind. Our side-by-side freezer is just too small. Whenever I go to the store I have to consider whether the food will fit. No more. I may even start making freezer meals! It's kind of a small one, but I guess if we run out of room, we could trade up for a bigger one.


Winter started hear journey into speech with dual fluidity (speaking both english and dutch.) Jessica was determined that Winter would be able to speak to her great-grandparents. It worked, as Jessica spoke Dutch to Winter and Joe spoke english. All seemed fine until Winter started going over to friends houses to be babysat. She would ask politely for "mucka" and nobody would understand what she saying. She would talk about the "fokachas" and the response was the same. She would get frustrated and Jessica decided to let go of dutch (for a while.)
It appears that one of the consequences of Winter's early language proficiency was that she had a real ear for pronunciation and rapidly learned to pronounce things with remarkable clarity. She never had problems with her "R"s or "Y"s. Sterling and Ginger (on the other hand) who have never learned any dutch to speak of, show signs of being a bit slow to learn to pronounce things properly. Did the Dutch lessons early on help? Who knows.
One other little tidbit is that Sterlings tongue was "tied" and we actually took him in for surgery as a youngster to have it loosened. It is conceivable that that may have affected him as well, but Ginger seems to be following closely in Sterlings footsteps.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Fond Memories

I was looking through my "scrapbook" from when Joe and I were dating and found this gem.
When I took my bike into Outdoors Unlimited to get fixed, Joe was the one that helped me. We made eye contact, and had a little bit of love at first site. Apparently I left my copy of the receipt (this one) at the store, and Joe proceeded to take it home with him. Two months past. During that time we saw each other a couple of times at the shop, and once at stake conference. However, it wasn't until March 8th, 2000 that we had our first date. He had kept this receipt, but it was kicking around his bedroom (if you had seen his room you'd be surprised he was able to find it at all) He had been too busy dating another girl to ask me out earlier. She broke up with him, so he called me. Kind of funny, because 2 weeks after our first date (we were connected at the hip by then) she called Joe to get him back. The rest is history.

I think my tractor's sexy

We are the proud owners of a 17 HP John Deere riding lawnmower. Our yard is WAY to big to mow with a push mower. The grass had really gotten too long. So it took me a long time to mow, and in low gear. After about 1.5 hours, half of my lawn is done. I think once we start mowing regularly it should take about 2 hours to do the whole thing.
This mower was for sale in a "subdivision" that my friend Anja lives in. I had told her that we needed one, and she sawthis one was for sale. The guy we bought it from was really nice. They sold their house, and are moving back into suburbia, so they won't need it there. We should be able to get good use out of it, because it's only 2 years old.
While we were wheelin and dealin, the kids were playing with one of those cars for kids. They love those things. He let us take it home too. Winter and Sterling like to take turns pushing Ginger around.

I never thought it, but there it is

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Thanksgiving turkey

I know it's not that time of year yet for most people, but it was time for me to think ahead. This year I wanted to eat a home-grown turkey for Thanksgiving. So I went online and found a hatchery. I paid $6.20 for 1 turkey. I really think it would be cheaper to just buy a frozen turkey on sale right before Thanksgiving (since I have to feed mine for the next 5 months), but I also think this will be much more fun. I also wanted some more chicks, since the last batch got me a LOT of roosters and only 3 or 4 hens. So I ordered some more chicks in the mail, and they came a lot earlier than expected. They weren't supposed to arrive until June 15th, so imagine my surprise when they came almost a month earlier. This morning the phone rang, it was the post office. They told me they had a chirping box, and if I could please pick it up. See, the way it works is you order baby chicks online. When the chicks hatch, they eat part of the egg, and then they're good for about 2 days without any food. So they send them overnight. These chicks are just little puffs of fur.
I ordered enough for both me and Teresa, so she came over to get half of them. While she was here, I showed her our kittens. I jokingly asked her if she wanted to take one home (she has her own kittens already) and she did. So I'm down to 4 kittens. They are all different colors.I plan on keeping the white one that's in 2 of the pictures. The grey one is the one that Teresa took.
An update on the animals on our farm:
2 Dogs
6 Cats
34 Chickens
1 Turkey
6 Sheep (which we are going to sell)
6 Angora Goats
1 other kind of Goat - Which we'll enjoy on the BBQ this coming Saturday
2 Longhorns
1 milk Cow
a million Bunnies
I know it's hard to keep track of all the animals, especially since it's always changing. We are finally getting an idea of what kind of animals we want, and how many. Here's what I would like to get down to:
1 Dog (one of them is going on Craigslist today)
3 Cats
34 Chickens (maybe less, if we eat some of the Roosters)
1 Turkey -until Thanksgiving
6 Angora Goats (or more)
2 Longhorns (only for Joe, I would get rid of them if it were up to me)
1 milk cow
Zero bunnies

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


My friend Anja showed me how to save a bunch of money by using coupons. Lately it seems like our grocery bill has been through the roof, so I thought I would give it a try. Anja has a big binder with inserts to organize all of the coupons, and it works great that way. So I pretty much copied her idea
On Saturday, Anja and I went to the store and I started my savings. The trick is to wait until a product goes no sale, and then use a coupon on top of that. I got some amazing deals. For example: a jar of Ragu Spaghetti sauce = $0.25. A box of pasta = $0.25. A package of hot dogs = free. Of course not all of the food was that cheap, but I've had an average of 60% savings since I started. I might have to change our eating habits a little, but that's totally worth it to me!
I have had a nice quiet day today. Sterling is with Joe at his parents house. I highlighted my hair this morning, and now Ginger is taking a nap. This is good for my psyche. Oh yeah, and did I mention that I took pretty much the whole day off on Saturday? It was awesome. In the morning we cleaned the church and had a flower planting activity with the ward. Then there was a BBQ for lunch, also at the church. From there, I went with Anja to do fun girls stuff. We strolled around at the McKinney trade days, got a slirpee from 7-eleven, strolled around IKEA (where I found the fondue set I've wanted for a year for $2.99 on clearance), got a bite to eat for dinner, and finally went to several stores to do some discount grocery shopping. We didn't get back until 10.30pm, and I cut out more coupons until midnight. Understandably I was really a little tired in church on Sunday.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Hooked it

Today Ginger caught her first fish by herself. She caught this beautiful bass from our pond. Joe loves to do a quick 30-minutes fishing session right as the sun goes down, and the kids like to go out there with him. Tonight, Ginger was just kind of playing with her pole in the water, when it bit. She was slightly surprised that there was something pulling on her pole, but reeled it in all by herself. By the way, we let this fish go back into the pond, so that we can catch it again, and eat it when it's bigger.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Mosquito allergy

Sterling has a really bad allergy to insect bites. Whenever he gets stung, the bite swells up into a large bump. The first time he got stung on his face was in 2004, he was only 18 months old. We were on a little hike in the mountains, when Sterling wandered off and stepped on an underground wasp nest. He got stung right between the eyes.Then, in 2006 when we went to the mountains for a day, he got stung by a mosquito. This time right above his eye. This caused his tissue around his eye to swell up so much, that we took him to the doctor. The doctor made me think he had some kind of infection, and that he could go blind if we didn't go to the emergency room. All they gave him was benadryl! I was so mad. $700 later, I decided that if it ever happened again, I would start by giving him Benadryl myself. Then, if the swelling wouldn't go down, or got worse, I would take him to the doctor.2 days ago I noticed Sterling's eye was a little bit swollen. Upon further investigation, I found he indeed had a mosquito bite. Again, right above his eye, on the eye lid. I started a strict Benadryl program, every 4-6 hours, especially before bed. Yesterday it was the worst, but today it's practically gone. I guess I've learned a thing or two since I first became a mother.This allergy must have come from me. As a kid, when I lived in Holland, I got stung by mosquitoes literally thousands of times. It was never a problem. The minute I moved to the US, every bite swells up like a wasp sting. You can even see the poison that is deposited under the skin. I must have passed this allergy on to Sterling.. I don't know how American mosquitoes are different than Dutch mosquitoes, but when I went back to visit Holland, I didn't have the same adverse reaction.

Garden update

I just realized that I hadn't posted a picture of my new garden yet. In the picture above, you can see the rows I made with the rototiller. The one bellow is just kind of an overview of the whole thing. The only thing missing are the pumpkins, which I am practically standing on, and in the foreground you can barely see my watermelon plants in the grass.
Plants are actually growing in my garden. Some of my onions have started to seed. (Is this bad?) And I really need to do some weeding.
I also installed soaker hoses in the whole garden, except for my pumpkins. The beans I planted from seed (again) actually came up, as well as my pumpkin, and cucumber seeds. Now I just can't wait for veggies to start growing on my plants, so I can harvest, cook, and feed them for my family.


The kids always like to use their blankets as capes. Sterling will come to me with his blanket and one of those large black paper clips and beg me to make a cape. The paper clip really doesn't work! So today we were out of those big clips, and I had the genious idea to just use hair bands. Turns out, they are much easier to work with, and don't fall off! Sterling and Ginger have gotten to the point where they start dancing and posing as soon as I pull my camera out. I never ask them to say "cheese", but I guess it was ingrained in them early on in life so much that they say it anyways. At first I was taking pictures of Sterling. Then Ginger came and started posing while continuously saying "me, me, me"

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Speed test

This is kind of a fun thing I saw on someone's blog
63 words


I didn't learn to type until my second year in college. In Holland they don't teach typing in high school. When I got to BYU, I found that all the jobs I was interested in required typing skills. So I got a typing course from the library and started practicing. Although it was very hard at first, and very tempting to convert back to my old ways, I am so glad I stuck with it.
I remember that for my library job I needed to be able to type 42 words a minutes. I hadn't tested my speed since that, so it's fun to see I'm up to about 63 words/minute now.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Perfect Imitator

Today, as I was stretching after my workout, Ginger sat next to me and started imitating all the different poses. It was super cute. I wish I could have captured it on video. She would look at me, then at the tv, and make the pose. The would keep checking to make sure she was doing it right and make any corrections if necessary.
She and my other kids are funny though. When you try to make them do something, they flat-out refuse. Even if they really want to do it. If they want to do it, they'll do it a few minutes later when I'm not looking. For example, yesterday I though it would be fun to show Ginger how to play some harp. She threw a little fit, so I gave up. Then not 2 minutes later I heard her plucking away. This is why I could never home school my kids, or teach them to play a musical instrument. It must be my teaching methods..

Monday, May 12, 2008


Winter's school had a fund raiser last month. We sold outrageously expensive cookie dough to our family and friends. Winter's motivation were the prizes she would get when she got a certain amount of sales. She reached her goal of 25 orders, which qualified her for the "build-a-bear" workshop. Thanks for all of your support!
Today was the day she got to pick the animal she wanted to stuff and dress. Her pick: an alligator in a ballerina dress. Quite an inventive combination!

Back on Track

It's not easy to be consistent. At least not for me in respect to eating healthy and exercising. I'll do really good for a little while, and then slowly fall off the wagon. Then, one day, something sparks my interest. Whether it's seeing a photo of my sister looking foxy, or talking to my friend about our upcoming vacation that will include a lot of bathing suits. Yesterday I got back on the wagon, and am feeling the consequences today. It's really amazing how little 1600 calories a day is! I had a normal breakfast, a granola bar for snack, a sandwich and an egg for lunch, and craisins for my afternoon snack, and I'm already up to almost 1200 calories! I guess this is why I get on and off the wagon. I don't WANT to always eat that little. The trick for me is to find the balance between eating normal, and staying at the same weight.
Anyways, I know all of this is not that important, and I'm pretty happy with the way I look right now, but there's nothing wrong with wanting to look and feel better right? Plus, when I don't exercise I seem to be tired ALL the time.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Hay Fever

I have a real bad case of hay fever. Every May, since about 2005, I can't go outside without my allergies flaring up. I don't know exactly which plant bothers my nose the most, I always thought it was the pollen from the trees. A few minutes ago I thought it would be fun to take some pictures of the cows. After just a few minutes outside, I started have a full-on sneezing attack. My eyes were dripping, my nose was dripping; I was miserable.
I came inside and took some medicine. I washed my face. It is getting a little bit better, but the back of my throat, eyes, and nose still itch. It's bad enough that I am considering going to the doctor, and getting some stronger allergy medicine. It just doesn't work: living in the country, and being allergic to it.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

I love..

I love my husband
I love sleeping
I love Ginger's wet kisses
I love completing a project
I love a girls night out
I love getting compliments on my lesson in RS
I love taking photos
I love a foot massage
I love a dip in a cool pool on a hot summer day
I love my dad's jokes
I love my mom's talent for decorating
I love saving gas, driving my 14 year old geo metro
I love seeing other people in traffic jams, while I drive in the HOV lane at top speed (I know, bad!)
I love shoes, especially high heels
I love it when my husband tells me I look good
I love the feeling after a workout (should do that more often!)
I love a clean house
I love the pictures Winter draws for me
I love watching Sterling play on the swing set
I love living close to my in-laws
I love skiing
I love dancing
I love listening to music while cleaning, folding laundry, and other mundane tasks
I love my eyes
I love having great friends I can talk to
I love the internet
I love Lost - and I can watch it on the internet!
I love that my husband takes the kids fishing, camping, doing chores, and other such things
I love that my husband has a good job
I love fresh baked bread
I love having long hair
I love watching my chicken get onto their roosts at night
I love gathering eggs with Sterling
I love chocolate
I love hearing Winter read a book to her brother and sister
I love the Gospel
I love my home country The Netherlands
I love blogging

Saturday Night Live

Joe and I enjoy watching Saturday Night Live together. It's great when there's a new one on, which doesn't seem to happen as often as I think should. Tonight is a new episode, and the guy from the movie "holes" is on. He is pretty funny.
The one thing I don't like about SNL, is that a lot of the sketches seem to be about sex. SNL from the old days didn't seem to have this as much. I guess all television is headed that way. Makes it easier to not watch so much, and waste so much time...
By the time SNL is over, it's midnight. I wish there was a pill I could take so I wouldn't have to sleep. How much stuff I could get done! At least tomorrow is Mother's Day, so I can sleep a little bit longer.

Water fears

When Sterling was 2 years old he went to his first swim lesson. He didn't really like it, but didn't seem to hate it either. The next year we tried again. This time around though, he screamed every single day, for 2 weeks. He seemed genuinely scared of the water. It was frustrating for me to watch. Here I was at swimming lessons, I spent $50 for 2 weeks of swimming, and he just flat-out refused. So last year I gave it a brake. No swimming lessons. Although Winter had been asking for it, I just wasn't up to it.
Now we live in a house with a pool. I keep thinking that one day he'll just get used to the water and start swimming. So far it's either very slow-going, or not going at all. He'll get in the water, at the edge and play, but he will not put his face in the water. I don't know whether to push him, or leave it alone. On the one had I want him to have fun, but on the other hand I also realize how important it is for him to learn how to swim.
The funny thing is, that his problem with water isn't just restricted to the pool. He hates taking showers too. After I wash his hair, he just hates rinsing it out. When he washes his face, he uses minimal amounts of water.
Maybe I'm silly to even think about this as a problem. He'll probably just grow out of it, right?


Today it was nice and hot, about 90°. After having the house to myself all morning (Joe took the kids camping) and sleeping in until 8.30! we had some fresh eggs for lunch and a nap. After our nap, the kids and I got in the pool. First, I spent some time mowing the lawn, and doing some other general cleanup in the pool yard. The kids had fun splashing around. Winter is really the only one that does any kind of swimming. Sterling has never been a fan of swimming.
I also had a quick scare. I was sitting on the steps on one side of the pool when Ginger fell in at the other end. I shot up, ran over, and fished her out of the water. No harm done. It did remind me however, how scary the pool can be for a 2 year old that doesn't know how to swim.
For dinner I'm making Angela's home-made pizza. So overall this has been a great Saturday at the house.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Dutch Rosetta Stone

So here I am learning Spanish! It is really cool, and easy. I was just thinking that instead of letting my kids play a coloring game on the computer once in a while, I should let them do Rosetta Stone! Especially Winter should be able to do it, since she can read. Then I started wondering if there's a Rosetta Stone for Dutch. Right now I am trying to get the kids to learn a tiny bit of Dutch by making them watch Dutch movies, but mostly they just get frustrated because they can't understand what is being said. So I went to the website and checked out the Dutch course. OMG, it's over $200 dollars! I never knew! Thanks Grandma Helen, for letting me borrow your Spanish course. I would have never bought it myself, but I am VERY glad that I am learning.

My House

At home I play on my swing set, and my brother and sister play with me. When I play with my baby sister Ginger and my brother Sterling they are sort of nice.
I like my house because it makes it so I don't get rained on. Every morning I eat breakfast, and I go to school. I love mom's lunch. I love mom's dinner. I eat my favorite food that my mom cooks.
I love my family. I do Family Home Evening on Mondays. I watch movies sometimes, when mom is working on her computer.
We have fun together at our new house, and we are trying to make it good. (renovations) We invite people to our house sometimes. I like to play with my mom and dad. My mom teaches me how to be nice.
We have fun at this house playing with the goats and kittens. I hope my little tiny kittens will grow; some day they will be like their mother. We really like our animals a lot. Our dogs sometimes jump on us, then I smack them in the face.

A day at school

My favorite thing at school today was playing outside. I played with Heidi. We played hide and go seek. -Winter can read this as I type it. She has learned to read very well in her Kindergarten class.
My teacher's name is Ms Scott. "She bees nice to me every day". We have to do tests, and I don't like to do them. -but she is very good at them
I had fun talking to my friends on the bus. "I have to sit on the bus for 12 hours I think, I'm not sure" - her bus ride is quite long: 45 minutes
My friend Angelic and I played together outside at school, during recess. I also went to the gym. We played basketball. I won the first and third game, but lost the second one.
I saw a guinea pig in the nurse's office. It was in a little cage, running in his little wheel. Then I played with my bestest friends, Steven Key, Angel Luerda, Jacob Snotter, Heide Vibbort, and that's it.

Rosetta Stone

Great grandma Helen owns a cool program called Rosetta Stone- Spanish. It is a program to teach Spanish to English speakers. I am so excited that she let me borrow it, because I have wanted to learn Spanish for about 5 years now. Joe learned to Speak Spanish on his mission. It has come in handy many a time. Over our past 8 years of marriage, he has made many Hispanic friends. I always feel kind of left out, and can only understand an occasional word. This is about to change! I know,... I should spend my time doing other things such as the laundry and cleaning my house, but a clean house doesn't make friends (or does it just KEEP friends?)
My challenge will be to do this course with moderation. A little at a time. That is hard for me. I like to dive into a project and spend LOTS of time on it. The problem is that sometimes I have a hard time completing projects. for example:
-our wood floor
-my 72-hour kits
-a spring dress I started sewing a year ago
-wallpaper removal in our master bathroom
-installing knobs on cabinets
-all other house renovation projects
-fixing the chicken coop
-digging the hole for the trampoline
-finish my entertainment center that I bought 3 years ago
-etc etc
Maybe I should learn a lesson from all this?? Don't start so many projects! So much easier to say than do. I know I should just finish the gazillion project I currently have, but new and funner ones always seem to come up.

5 year old Sterling

Sterling has a lot of energy
He loves his collections; rocks, dirt, snails, keys, or any other small objects
He is a sensitive young boy
He loves to tease his sisters
He has beautiful blue eyes
I'm afraid he'll brake many girls' hearts
He loves bugs more than T-ball
He learned how to write his name
If you can get through to him, he is very loving and cuddly
He misses his duck (he accidentally killed it)
He loves to ride his bike
If he eats any sugar at all he instantly transforms into an energizer bunny.. keeps going, and going
Sterling loves his grandma Ashurst
He loves doing projects with his Grandpa Ashurst
He will play outside on the swings for more than 10 minutes!
His favorite activity is doing chores with his dad
His second favorite activity is checking for eggs with his mom
He loves his John Deere quillo and would take it everywhere if I let him
His dad lets him play with knives, his mother WON'T
He loves candy
He is as tall, or taller than his big sister Winter
He wears a size 6, and only just turned 5
He has learned to run with one hand on his pants.. to keep them from falling off
He asks for food all day long
He still puts his shoes on backwards 90% of the time
He is so excited to start kindergarten next fall
He challenges me as a mother on an hourly basis, but I love him like nothing else

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


Fast little Feet



2 year old Ginger

Ginger loves to wear dresses
She loves to sing
She squeezes her cats, chickens, dogs, and ducks (sometimes with bad consequences)
She loves her grandpa Ashurst
Her hair get curly when it gets wet, just like her daddy
She loves her blanky that grandma Ashurst made for her
She loves to play alone
She loves to dress up, especially with wings
She has been potty trained for about 2 months, but still insists I go with her every time
She tries to do everything the other kids do
Her and Sterling quarrel all day long
She gives good hugs and wet kisses
She is very tough, and wipes out a lot
She doesn't like mud on her shoes (which is a problem at our house)
She sucks her right thumb when she's tired
She love it when I do her hair
Every time I tell her "no" she says "why"
Her eyes are as blue as her moms
She calls her grandpa "tampaw"
She loves to play with dolls
She still cries when she has to go to nursery
We call her baby - she still is the baby of the family
She is growing up way too fast

The beginning of a Journal

My objective for this blog is to keep a sort of journal for my kids.
I found out today that a blog can be printed into a book, and decided that it would be cool to make books for my kids, so they can remember things that they won't otherwise. I will try to write a bit about each kid individually, as well as combination posts.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

72 hours

I have not been the best at being prepared, until now. At church we are often reminded that we should be prepared for emergencies and bad times. Something sparked in me these past few weeks, and I have been working on my long-term food storage. One day at costco I bought 50 lbs of flour, 50 lbs of rice, a bunch of olive oil, and some other stuff. I felt pretty good about it.
Then on Sunday, I looked at an ordering list for the cannery. I felt inclined to order some more food storage. This time dried milk, oats, and spagetti. Unfortunately some of those things are not available, as so many stakes are currently pushing preparedness. Anyways, that got me thinking about our 72-hour kit. Back in 2001, Joe parents gave us a 72-hour kit for Christmas. I really didn't have any idea what was in it, so today I pulled it from the shop. Besides the fact that all the food was 7 years old !!!, it was also very incomplete. Back in 2001, we only had 1 child. Now we have 3. Also, there were no clothes, and some other essentials were missing too. The nice thing was that I didn't have to buy any of the tools, or other accessories that belong in a kit.
I ordered some MRE (meals ready to eat) and then went to Wal-mart. I replaced all the food, and bought enough for our family of 5. The only thing I still need/want to get is some backpacks to put all the supplies in. I think this will be easier to grab in an emergency situation.
As I was thinking about food storage and preparedness, I also realized I really should have a grain mill. They sell a mill that you can use either by hand, or attach it to my Bosch mixer. I had looked at this mill like 4 years ago, but didn't want to fork over the money. But today.... well, I guess I realize that I would really like to be able to feed my family.
So I am feeling pretty good about our preparedness. If something were to happen we have
- meat ; we can slaughter our animals
-fresh eggs
-water from our lake
-bulk grains (although I still need to order the wheat and get more sugar)
-things like baking soda, baking powder, shortening, salt, powdered milk
-fresh veggies from our garden (hopefully)
By no means do I think I have it set. There are still some vital things missing, like a water filter, and buckets to store my wheat, flour, rice and other bulk foods in. More foods, and more money in the bank.

Monday, May 5, 2008

$7 Bread

According to Joe I made 2 loaves of $7 bread today. I had bought some fun grains and seeds a while back, and today I had the baking itch. So I made whole wheat bread with sunflower seeds and Bulghar Wheat. For lunch I had some of it, still warm, with Dutch Gouda cheese. Yummy!! It melted in my mouth.
The reason I don't bake more often, is that it just takes so long to rise! Tonight for dinner I wanted to make Angela's home made pizza, but then I realized it had to rise more than an hour. And well, I just don't usually plan that long in advanced! I am lucky to start thinking about dinner at 5pm. Of course there's the occasional special day when I know exactly what I will make by noon, but that is not the norm.
The norm is: 5pm rolls around. I look in the fridge and disappointedly realize no meat is ready to use, it's all frozen solid. Then I decide to just use chicken, because it's easy. Then I decide on rice, pasta, or potatoes. After those 2 selections are made, I look in my pantry to see if there's anything in there to make a complete meal.
Often I find myself looking on the "meal list" and not wanting to make any of the recipes. I like to try out new things. But the drawback for that is that you usually need ingredients for those, that are not used regularly. Sometimes I'll make a weekly menu, and that really works great. When it's time to cook, it's not so hard to decide which recipe to make, because there's just a few choices, and I know that I have all the ingredients. But then there are those days that just nothing sounds good.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

How NOT to grow a vegetable garden.

Ok, this is installment number 2 of how to grow a vegetable garden
Back in February I was very optimistic and naive about my great big vegetable garden plan. I bought a bunch of seed, and was delighted to see them sprout. Then, in March, I planted some of the supposedly "cold weather plants" outside. They all died. So I got discouraged and stopped my project all together. Somehow, last week I got a second wind, and decided that to be successful, I had to have the garden closer to the house. So I fortified the fence, and borrowed my neighbors rototiller. Those nice perfect little rows sat empty for 5 days while I contemplated what my next move would be. I read somewhere that you should put the plants outside several days before you plant them, so they can "harden". Well, I guess mine had been babied too much, and pretty much all of them wilted. This morning, after dropping off the kids at my friends house, I decided I had had enough. I caved, went to the store, and bought a bunch of -much larger- plants. Hopefully this time they won't just survive, but actually produce some veggies. No matter what you think, this is not really my favorite hobby. I just want some FRESH veggies, dag-nabbit.
Veggies I HOPE to harvest in a month or two:
Roma, Cherry, and Big Boy Tomatoes
Yellow Squash
Cauliflower (low hopes here)
Red, Yellow, and Jalapino Peppers


It seems that sometimes I get so wrapped up reading other people's blogs, that I forget to write my own. There are plenty of times when I read another blog, and I think I could write a lot of random important stuff on the subject. But then I somehow feel guilty. Would it be considered plagiarism? Of course not. But what if this person reads my blog, and thinks : "Can't they come up with their own ideas?". Honestly.. no. I have a hard time coming up with my own ideas. It is the same with my art. I love having some sort of assignment. I guess that's why I like contests and such. So I have considered joining some kind of group of artists that does just that. They have meetings and give assignments. Then you get back together and compare results. The only thing holding me back is the idea of having to meet all these new, strange people. What if they're freaky 40some year old men, with bad breath and no sense of personal space, have no social life, and are just waiting to become stalkers?? So there you go, those are some of my weaknesses. I am not very creative, and I'm scared of meeting new people.

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