Monday, June 29, 2009

Education Week

For my birthday, Joe is letting me go to education week at BYU. I am so excited to attend interesting, helpful seminars on all the important thing in life. Anything from emotional wellness, and family traditions, to church history, and gospel topics. It will be a great opportunity to rejuvenate my spiritual, and emotional self.

It will also be great opportunity to meet up with some old Boise friends. Maybe my sister will even drive down to see me??? Pretty please???

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Girls just wanna have fun

6, 7-year olds + pool + sleeping in the living room = a lot of fun

With Winter's Birthday being in the middle of Winter - ha, how's that for a "coincidence", and right after Christmas, she usually ends up without a kid party.

A few weeks ago, Winter and her friend Payton came up with the idea of a slumber party. Winter was super excited to make little invitations, and send them to her friends. Let me tell you though, living out here, made making that list very hard. Good thing 3 of our cousins are around Winter's age!

Since 7 is still a little young, the mom's were invited too. Added bonus: I get to hang out with some friends too!! We ended up with grandma, and Olivia Allred. Katy, with Grace and Lille. Amy Riggs, with Tyra, and Michelle Harrington with Payton. It was the perfect size group. Not too many screeching girls to make me totally deaf. And just the right amount of grownups too.

The party started after dinner. We all hit the pool, and everyone knew how to swim. That made it a lot less stressful for the moms. The girls chased each other, hung on each other, and did a lot of screeching. It was almost impossible to carry on a conversation! somehow I was able to yell loud enough to get their attention for long enough to take a group pictureFrom left to right: Grace, Lille, Olivia, Tyra, Winter, Payton

After almost 2 years in Texas, we finally convinced Liz to join us in the pool. Winter had fun racing her across the pool, and I was surprised at her speed.
After dark, we headed inside, but the girls were definitely not ready to sleep at 9.30pm! Amy came up with this fun M&M game. You try to roll a certain number with the dice, and once you do, you try to suck up as many M&M's with a straw into a cup.
Winter had a system downTyra bought Winter a fun movie, which we all enjoyed together. I just loved the sight of 6 girls lined up on the floor to watch a movie. Reminds me of a sleepover I had when I was about Winter's age!

Amazingly, the girls didn't wake up until 8ish. I was worried that after going to bed at midnight, they would be up bright and early at 6 or 7. I made some waffles, and we had a great breakfast, before everyone headed home again.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Romantic Fear Factor?

I was giddy from anticipation while changing my clothes. For the first time, I was going swimming all by myself, and it was dark! (no, Renee, I didn't go skinny dipping)
It sounds romantic. Swimming after dark, in a lit pool. Yes, it was, for about 30 seconds. 30 seconds is all it took for all bugs within a 10 mile radius to do a bomb dive into our pool. 30 seconds is all it took for me to swim in a bath of dead/half living bugs. Maybe this is the way to kill the 500 million mosquitoes and beatles and crickets on our farm? No, maybe not.... But at least 300 of them are dead now.

That didn't stop me from enjoying myself though! I went out for a little exercise, and got just that. My arms and shoulders are still a little sore from yesterdays race. I expected the pool to be about the same temperature as the late night Texas air. It sooo wasn't! It was as if I just stepped into a warm bath. I felt great. The bugs did remind me not to open my mouth too big, when coming up for air. I don't mind swimming with bugs, but eating them is a little past my comfort zone!

After Dark

When the sun is sweltering hot, beaming down, and the temperatures soar over 102, I tend to either enjoy the pool, or hide out in my air conditioned house. Sadly, heat doesn't make chores go away. The garden still needs watering, weeding, insect repelling, and of course harvesting. The lawn still needs to be mowed. My chickens still need food, and water. And eggs still need to be collected.My pool still needs to be balanced and treated, and skimmers cleaned.

My genius mind finally came up with the idea to do all of these things after 11pm, when it's "only" 80 degrees outside. A good headlamp and shop lights, make visibility a breeze. Sure, you are more likely to run over a glove while mowing, or miss an egg when collecting. But overall I would say, it's worth going to bed a little later. Just to stay out of that unforgiving sun. Not that darkness shielded me from sweating! 80 is still plenty hot enough for that.

I know one thing for sure; I sure as heck wouldn't live in Texas if Air Conditioning wasn't invented yet!!!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Pita Pockets

Another fun thing to make with fresh ground wheat flour: Peta pockets. Never having made them, I was very surprised to see them come out looking like balloons. Wish I had taking a picture.....

I used the bread machine method, so after dumping all the ingredients in the machine, I just let it do it's thing. 80 minutes later, I rolled the dough out, waited another 25 minutes, and cooked them for 4 minutes each. Not too complicated or hard.

Unfortunately Joe didn't know that you're supposed to stuff you toppings inside, and promptly ate 4 of my 16 pitas!!! Next time I make something new, I'll have to leave eating instructions for that man.

Gun power

Swimming is not ALL we do. Although it's the most comfortable thing to do in the 100+ degree weather...

Joe's uncle Bill decided that with our new US president Obama, he better stock up some guns, just in case he needs to defend his homestead. Bill and Earl went to a gun show last week, and Bill came away with a few different types of guns. But what good are guns you don't know how to use? Not much use at all. So uncle Bill and aunt Barbara came over for some guns instruction and target practice.My favorite gun to shoot, from last night, was Earl's "Saturday night special". A tiny little gun that would fit in my smallest purse. The shotgun was fun for the power, but I still prefer the littler guns. We really should get out there more often and shoot our own guns! It's so much fun.

Shade of brown.

All the practicing has paid off. Ginger can now swim! Yesterday she decided it was fun to practice, and kept swimming back and forth from me to the steps. Just a week ago, she fought me tooth and nails for her "swimming lessons". She isn't independent yet though, because she hasn't figured out how to come up for air. She can hold her breath for a while, but she is still limited by that. I guess she'll figure that out soon enough, with the amount of swimming she does.
Today, my friend Renee and her kids came over. Yeah! I love all these visitors! The pool water has warmed up so much from the sun, that it's almost not refreshing anymore. I'm not sure what to do about it. Aeration can work, but we don't have a fountain or anything. Piper is only 2, and it was so fun to see her going under water. At that age, kids aren't scared of the water yet. It's great.For the first time, I had a little race with a peer. It was fun to really give it my all, and try to beat her to the other side of the pool. I never really learned how to swim free stroke, only "froggy stroke". I have been practicing a little, but I always forget to kick my feet. It has also been fun to collect diving sticks all over the pool. We have 5, and when I spread them throughout the pool, it just enough to be a challenge (if I zig-zag).Winter is by far my best little swimmer. Today she swam the lenght of the pool under water, all the way! I am so proud of her. She is also learning how to dive, get diving sticks, make bombs, and flip from the side of the pool.

The sun has also made our skin a nice shade of brown. Winter seems to be the darkest, but Sterling and I are close runners up. (or is it runner ups?). It does make me nervous when I read my friend Amber's blog, that she has skin cancer. She's my age! We're too young for cancer! Just keep applying that sunscreen!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Swim party

I love it when friends come over! Tracy Sparks and her boys came over, with a Sam Allred addition. We swam, rode motorcycles, and the boys looked for trouble. We have an electric fence between our house and the lake, and those boys just loved testing it out. It didn't matter that each time they got shocked, they jumped back and hurt their arm... it was too tempting to leave alone. Joe has this little motorcycle that is just the right size for a 12 year old. It's all kinds of dangerous, but they seemed to do pretty good on it. I was sure glad to have a pool to cool off in though. I bet it's over 100 out there.My garden is doing great. I just harvested my first cucumber. The cucumber has done really well, climbing up the trellis. I'm glad I happened to plant my watermelon plants on the side of my garden, because it has taken over the world! 2 plants cover about a 12x10 SF area. I have had a few cherry tomatoes, but there are a ton of green tomatoes right now.My caseworker finally called me today, for a possible foster placement. Nothing will probably happen, but at least she thought of me when this child came through the broadcast. She submitted our names, and now we just wait and see if we're the family they pick.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Busy, Busy

I have had the busiest Saturday in a long time. Weekend for that matter. Yesterday, me and the kids made the trek down to Dallas to visit our Morphis cousins. It was Gracie's birthday, and Katy made the best ice cream pie. As soon as we horked it down, we had to make a mad-dash back up to Plano to drop the kids off and pick Joe up to make it to the 6.30 temple session. The temple was great, and we had some nice Tex-mex food afterwards. By the time I got to bed, it was after midnight.

Today, we had a lot of shopping to do. Of course tomorrow is Father's Day, so we had to go get something for the fabulous dad in our home (Joe). Then we hit several mob-infested grocery stores including Costco and Walmart. A quick nap, some cooking for tomorrow, and a dinner later, and it's almost 11pm again. I guess all that work will pay off tomorrow, when I (should theoretically) be able to take it easy.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


I actually feel like writing a post right now, but can't think of anything interesting to say. I was stuck at home today, when Joe took our only running car into town for sales. The kids have been bickering a lot. I am feeling depressed about the whole foster/adoption situation. We still aren't pregnant. My TV won't scan the 4 stations I like to watch. My house is an on-going mess. Hey.. this is sounding soo depressing! I need to get out of the house, and get my mind in a better place. Not all days can be good days, and today just wasn't one of them I guess.

Texas summer has officially taken hold. The AC seems to be running non-stop, and we only set the thermostat to 82 degrees. It funny how your body gets used to the temperature though. After first coming in from the 100 outside, 82 feels great. But only 5 minutes later that is feeling a little uncomfortable.

I am totally hooked on the bachelorette, again. I always get so into the "characters" on the show. I have my favorites, and of course some that I think are lame. I would like to think that if I was in a situation like that, that I would be able to make the smart decisions, and not end up with a bunch of losers. Just for the past 2 seasons I have started reading online spoilers, and have found that those influence my opinions on the guys. A guy that I might not have given a second thought, can become my favorite, after I find out he's one of the final 3.

Well, that's all I think of to write. I know, lame post.... but at least it's a post!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Don't throw it out yet

Don't throw your VCR out yet! If you, like me, are one of the few people out there that doesn't believe in paying for TV that you can get for free with an antenna, keep reading. Now that all television stations have switched to digital TV, are you stuck at home, waiting for your show? Are you bummed that you can't record shows, and watch them later? Be bummed no more! You can use that old VCR after all.

All you have to do, it have a converter box for the VCR. See, all that does, is convert the digital signal into analog signal. Voila, your VCR can now understand the incoming signal. Go to the FCC website to get a detailed instruction on how to hook it all up. I am excited that I'll still be able to watch one show, while recording another.

Unfortunately I don't have the converter box yet, so tonight when we have guests over, I will have to miss the Bachelorette. I'll have to watch it later, on the internet, while sitting on my very uncomfortable desk chair.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Out sick

I've been out sick this week. I came down with something NASTY. Tuesday night I was fine, and went to a Relief Society dutch oven cooking class, and the next morning it all started. At first I though it was food poisoning, but when it lasted 3 days, I'm wasn't so sure anymore. Anyways... the good news: I lost like 6 lbs. I know most of that was water weight, and will come back, but hey, even if only 1 lb stays off, that's great with me!

Now that I'm feeling a little better (still a little weak from all the lost fluids), I was finally able to go back outside. I hadn't checked on my chickens, garden, or pool for 3 full days, which is entirely too long. Joe had already collected the 3 days worth of eggs last night, none of which I dare to put in my fridge. With the temperature around the 90s, I just can't stand the idea of eating 3 day old eggs... yuck!

Yesterday the CPS lady came over for a home visit. The first thing she asked me, as soon as I introduced myself, was to see the backyard. I guess she had seen on google earth, that there was a pond next to the house. She wanted to check out the fence. We only have an electric fence between the house and the pond, which she highly disapproves of. She told me in no uncertain terms that she won't license us, until the play yard is fenced from the lake with a 4', no climbing fence. We don't have to fence the whole property, but enough to make a play "pen" for the kids. We're still debating on that one.

The switch to digital TV yesterday, did NOT make me happy! We have a digital tv, and antenna, but we still don't get ABC digitally. I have just been watching it through analog up till now, but now I've got nothing! I tried to research it online, to find out the cause, but can't figure it out. At first I thought it was because they send out a different type of digital signal (VHF), but then I found out that another station does the same thing, and I do get that one. What will I do without the Bachelorette, and Lost, and Dancing with the Stars? Plus, before the switch, I would watch one show, while recording another on my VHS recorder. "Who needs Tivo?" I would say. Well, now, anyone who wants to record does, apparently..... What if I need to work in the garden, or play with the kids in the pool? Should I just miss my show? Or ditch the kids/garden? Yeah, some shows are online, but my computer desk is still not as comfortable as my couch!

Update- I just rescanned my TV, with the hopes of getting ABC, hope against hope. The Force is with me! It loves me! I have ABC now!!!!!!!!!! I am so happy! On a slight down note, I did loose CBS during the same scan, but I'm not as sad about that, and think I can probably get it back with another scan. - as long as I don't loose ABC again...

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Hang it up

We finally had some people over to come swimming! Joe's cousin Katy and family came on Friday afternoon. The pool was perfect. A little chilly when you first get in, but comfortable after that. I did get sick of the sunshine after a while, and am really considering buying some kind of freestanding umbrella. Oh yeah, and some lounge chairs.We finished off the day with some grilled hotdogs, and fresh beans and zucchini from the garden. I did discover a few squash bugs on my plants.. and freaked out. Br Parten in the ward told me to go out there and rub the eggs off the plant, and manually kill all the bugs. Good thing I only have 7 squash plants!!!

After the kids retired/zonked out, we pulled out a good game of Settlers of Catan. It had to be cut short, because of disagreements about the rules, so that was a bummer. Also, I had been planning to go hot tubbing with the adults, but no one was in the mood for that..... so maybe next time.

Saturday the hubbies made wonderful fruit pancakes. Blueberries, strawberries, and chocolate chips... oh wait... those aren't fruit. Or are they? We headed back out to the pool, and the cool 9am breeze felt great.

After that, I suggested hanging the new front door that's been done for the past 3 months. With the extra manpower, it was a much easier job. It was so fun to see it go up. We're still having some issues with the door frame being crooked, but thanks to Earl, that might get fixed tomorrow. Yeah for a nice door. Of course having a nice looking door, points out the super ugly trim, and half-ripped off weather striping. I guess we need to fix that too.....

Ugly old door
Out with the Old
In with the New
Still a work in progress

School year

Another school year is over. The last week was fun, with parties and field day, and awards ceremonies. I signed up to help with field day, and might never do that again! I was in a classroom, helping with a game called "pass the pickle". It's kind of like "hot potato", with an annoying song that played millions of time over the hours. Luckily there was another lady in there with me, so we switched off and on, and went around with our kids the rest of the time.

Thursday was the awards ceremony. To me those are silly. It's not like any specific kids are especially rewarded for their hard work, because all the kids get an award. What's a good citizenship award anyways??

Winter with Mrs LokeySterling with Ms Watson

Monday, June 1, 2009


Another thing I will never buy from the store again: Bread crumbs. Duh! Why did it take me 10 years to figure out that it take some old stale bread and 5 minutes to make them? I just happened to have half a loaf of bread in my fridge that I wasn't too excited about eating. That batch had too much flour added, and the bread was honestly more like a brick than bread. So now the bread is all gone, and I have free breadcrumbs (that probably taste better too)

Farm Update

I thought I would do another quick update on the farm, because there has been some changes. Yesterday as I was waiting for Joe to get out of his church meeting, Aubrey Brooks walked in with 2 adorable little kittens. I am a sucker for those cute things! At first I kind of jokingly told them I wanted to take Ariel (the kitty) home. Then, after holding her, I was determined. After all, it has been at least 8 months since our last kittens got adopted! Aubrey told me I could keep it, so we took it home. Yeah! the other cats had some adjusting to do, and neither were very nice at first. They'll get used to each other though, no problem.

So for an animal update:

UpCows: 5
goats: 8
dog: 1
cats: 4
chickens: about 22 - it has been a while since I counted them
ducks: 3
geese: 2
pig: 1

I am loving my garden these days! The weeds aren't growing as fast, the plants are thriving from the heat, and there are even some veggies growing. I now also have a pepper growing! And my watermelon plant has flowers on it. That watermelon grows fast though! It's crazy. I had to move the black plastic over a few feet, so I can guide the shoots that direction. Oh yeah,.... a few days ago, I installed a trellis for the cucumber. See it in the picture? It's already starting to tightly wrap those little fingers around the trellis. The grass that's within the fence, next to the garden was really out of hand (3 feet tall), and with grasshoppers coming into season, I figured I better get rid of it. So I got the push mower out, and got to work. It didn't seem that hot when I first went outside, but man that changed quickly.
Totally non-farm related: I finally decided to take the steps necessary to switch from Pathways to CPS. I am really excited to see if this will actually get us a foster placement! Next week is our first home visit, so now I have to figure out what exactly she will be looking for. Is she just here to meet with us, or will she inspect the house for safety regulations. If that's the case, I better take my prescription drugs off the counter, and put them behind 2 locks!

Summer Plans

The last week of school just started. What a great school year it's been. Winter has completed first grade with flying colors. He reading skills have just kept growing, and she had gotten a lot better at math too. Sterling is finishing up kindergarten. He learned all his letters, learned to read, learned to count, and do easy math. At first I was a little worried, because he went into kindergarten without knowing any of his letters. He hadn't really attended preschool (except one that was super lame), so he was starting from behind. He caught up with the rest of the class, and even sprinted ahead of some of them. What a smart boy he is!

We are looking forward to more time at home to swim, play with the animals, and of course chores. For my sanity, I have also started to fill up our summer with fun with friends. We have a camping trip planned, Winter is going to horse camp, some cousins are coming over for a sleepover, etc. I plan to do weekly outings, so we won't get cabin fever. The kids WILL learn how to swim, and my planned one-on-one lessons will be great! (can you tell I'm trying to pump myself up)

Now if only we could plan like a 3 week long vacation, like the Dutch do. When I was a kid, each year we would go to a foreign country for at least 2 weeks, more like 3. Some of my favorite places were Switzerland (of course), and Italy. We would stay at a campsite, along with hundreds of other Dutch people. We would usually go to a different campground each week, so we could see various places. Man, what I would give for some good ol' European summer vacations!

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