Saturday, March 31, 2012


While James worked on the grow box for the garden, my contribution was to keep an eye (and camera) on Meredith.  That sweet little baby of our's can get into all sorts of trouble in a blink of an eye.

 This is the ritual meeting at Ms. Brenda and Mr. Joe's  fence.  And what happens next is this:  a good old fashion meeting of neighbors

 with lots of neighborly talk and of course a treat...I'm sure it's the great conversation that keeps her coming back.  I know that's what  draws me to the fence, of course an occasional treat just makes it a little sweeter. 

And speaking of sweet...Don't you just love that sweet, sticky, skittle covered face?  Some how, I think James got the worse end of the deal building the grow box.  But we'll keep that our little secret.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Gardens, Goats, and Chickens

When James and I got married almost 13 years ago, He wanted to live  in the northwest in the middle of nowhere surrounded by acres of land with a large garden, plenty of goats to milk and chickens so we could have fresh eggs everyday.

I wanted to live in the suburbs,  purchasing my vegetables and eggs from the grocery store.  And skip the goats and chickens altogether because I was pretty sure they didn't allow goats or chickens in subdivisions.  

13 years later:

 We live in the southeast in the middle of a city in a small 1940's rental house that needs lots of work with our five kids (who seriously would love to be living in the middle of no where with a large garden, some goats, and a lots of chickens).

A couple of months ago, I was chatting with James in the kitchen.  I was describing Sarah Richardson's latest farmhouse renovation project. It looks like this.  I heart it.  It's lovely. 

Okay maybe not so much on the outside but you should see the inside!  It's fabulous!  It's so fabulous that I started thinking I wouldn't mind living on a farm surrounded by acres of land with a garden and maybe some chickens, and goats.  I even perused through an old copy of  a Mother Earth News magazine we had lying around the house.

"I want a farmhouse."  I said as I chopped onions.  "Wouldn't it be great to live out in the country surrounded by acres of land?  If we had enough space, we could totally get some goats and maybe some chickens.  I was reading in Mother Earth News all about making goat and dill cheese and how delicious would fresh eggs be and we definitely have to have a garden.  I've been reading up on canning.  And did you know that it only takes 3 to 5 years to produce peaches if you grow them from seeds?  I could totally make home made jam and I just finished an article on how to make butter.  Glorious butter!  Can you imagine that?"

The whole time, I was spouting off, James hadn't said a word.  He just smiled as he listen to me ramble on and on about goats and chickens and then it hit me, as I tossed the onions in a pan.  I hadn't thought of that post proposal conversation in years and now here I was the one suggesting gardens, goats, and chickens, oh my.

So, guess what?  We are planting a garden.

And a friend told me that you can have 2 chickens in the city limits (except the bi-laws for her subdivision don't allow chickens.) 

And there might be a possibility of a goat when we buy our farm house ...sometime down the line after all there is that "no pet" policy ( 

So, last  Monday we pulled out the shovels and hoe. 

 And got to work.

 The kids had lots of fun.  They actually argued over who got to use the shovel.  And if you're wondering what  Jackson is doing?   He's pretending he's a rooster.  "Because every farm has a rooster, Mom." 

So, we are not living in the northwest (sigh) surrounded by acres of land in a newly renovated farmhouse (yet) but we are working on our garden and thinking about chickens and maybe a goat and making lots of self discoveries like maybe gardens, goats, and chickens aren't so bad after all.

Oh and we discovered there are lots of worms in our dirt and that our "dirt" isn't really dirt at all but clay...
Anyone want to come over and help build grow boxes?  Anyone?

Bookworm on the Block

Cardi's blog is called Bookworm on the Block.  You can find it at   She would love for everyone to stop and check out the latest story she is writing!  Pretty please!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Birthday Pictures

 Most of us having been sneezing up a storm around here because of allergies...which is why my sweet 11 year old looks less than thrilled to be posing for pictures...But help is on the way!

 We celebrated with the traditional waffles and ice cream for breakfast, although I'm pretty sure some of those kids just ate the ice cream! 

Then it was  off to school.  Some of her friends decorated her locker for her.  She was super thrilled, but probably not as thrilled as all the paper hearts I secretly placed in her text books the night before  fell out during class when she pulled her books out of her backpack.  Next year, I will probably just tape them to the front of the books!  She was still pulling them out of her math book last night! 

I brought her  favorite lunch (Subway) to school and ate lunch with her and her friends.   I don't have any pictures because (1) while it's okay for your mom to join you for lunch on your birthday when you're in middle school, (2) it is not okay to take cheesey photos or (3) pretend that you know each other in public.

But, I reserve the right to take photos of all those cool middle schoolers after school! 
Her best friend, Autumn, rode the bus home with her and after homework, they hung out.  It's an off year for friend birthday parties at our house.  And then we had cheesecake...glorious cheesecake!

Happy Birthday, Cardi!  We adore you!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

St. Patrick's Day

A few weeks ago, I had glorious plans for St. Patrick's Day complete with a St. Patty's Day neighborhood parade and festival.  I even bought green pistachio pudding (Does it come in any other color?) and I ordered "Celtic Feet" from netflix.

It was suppose to arrive Friday.  It hasn't arrived yet.

 I planned to cut out little 4 leaf clovers that said "Kiss me, I'm Irish" and secretly tape them to the kids beds.

But, ask me how far I got  on all those fun little projects I planned...If you know me well, you will not be too surprised when I say not far...not far at all...

I hadn't calculated in spring break, a super messy house, John gluing all his artwork on his door, a couple of headaches, stake conference, and a shortage of perfectly sane moments...

 But, I did manage to make these today.  I think it still counts as celebrating St. Patrick's Day, right?

  They  're called Irish Potato Candies.  They're quick and easy.  All you need is:

1/2 stick of butter
4 oz of cream cheese (light works just fine)
1 tsp of vanilla
4 cups of powder sugar
2 1/2 cups of sweetened coconut
Cinnamon or Cocoa Powder to roll the candy in

Cream the butter and cream cheese together.  Add the vanilla.  Then slowly add the powder sugar.  Blend together and then add the coconut.  Roll into small balls and then roll the balls into either cinnamon or cocoa powder.  The recipe calls for cinnamon but I prefer cocoa powder.  You don't need to make the balls too big because the candy is really sweet.

Here's the link to the blog I got the recipe from.  It's called Baked Bree.  She has lovely pictures of every step.

Here's  to a more productive St. Patrick's Day next year!

Friday, March 9, 2012

This week

Cardi had her Spring Orchestra Concert on Monday.  Fourth from the left, first row.  If you listen really, really hard, you will probably be able to hear her playing above everyone else...maybe...I think. 

On Wednesday the Activity Day girls had a father/daughter olympics.  The girls were so excited they made shirts.

They won Best Strategist...probably because they used this shirt to distract all the other teams who were too busy reading it to actually play in the games...That a girl!

Monday, March 5, 2012

"INCONCEIVABLE!" "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." ~ "The Princess Bride"

I love the Princess Bride.  It has so many memorable quotes like the one above when Vizzini has just cut the rope The Dread Pirate Roberts is climbing up.  He keeps using the word inconceivable  and Inigo Montoyo says, "You keep using that word.  I do not think it means what you think it means." 

It makes me laugh every time.  I  need to make time to make a yummy treat and watch it again. 

Lucky for us though, our kids are always willing to entertain us.  Last night, the girls came into our bedroom all excited.  They wanted to show us a commercial they had been working on. 

They dragged the new vaccum cleaner box they had been decorating for the last hour into our room and commanded our attention.   

"Are you tired of being sad and crying?"  Our little announcers began.  "You don't have to any more with the new Cardi and Bella outhouse!" 

"Yes, folks!  It comes with its own moon on the door!"

"And no outhouse would be complete without its own mail slot!"

"You can sit in it for hours!"  (Then our lovely 8 year old daughter climbs in to demonstrate as her older sister holds the door open.  "It has beautiful artwork for your enjoyment!"

"And a place for you to kick up your feet and just relax!"

"This is no ordinary outhouse!"

"It's your very own indoor outhouse!"

They seemed a little putout when I expressed that we already had an indoor outhouse.  It's called a bathroom.  "Mom, that's not what our outhouse is for."  And then I said...

"You keep using this word.  I do not think it means what you think it means."

Apparently, this outhouse is more like a vacation getaway from your siblings (or parents) when they are annoying you. 

Later after all the kids were in bed, I heard John telling Jackson all about "Johnny's Outhouse!" He had drawn a purple outhouse on a sheet of paper.  "You can go in the outhouse and play games in the outhouse."    "I wish I had an indoor outhouse."  Jackson said all glumly.

"We do!"  I yelled from my bedroom.  "It's called a bathroom."

"Mom, we don't think this word means what you think it means."