Tag Archives: Everyday life

This & That

Such beautiful weeks we have been having!  The days are getting longer, the weather is warming up, and everything is starting to bloom.  Not that March won’t still bring some chilly, rainy days but for now we are loving every moment of this perfect spring weather.  The kids have been staying outside until the last bit of sunlight disappears behind the hills.

A few weeks ago my sister-in-law and I took the kiddos to the annual Almond Blossom Festival.  Almond blossom season is a much anticipated time of the year and the Almond Blossom Festival is everything we have come to love about small town parades.   It was another gorgeous day (although a little on the windy side).
 
We arrived early to get prime main street seating, and pizza by the slice from our favorite local pizza store.  While we were waiting in line to get pizza, four of the Almond blossom princesses came in all decked out in their princess finery.  The princesses waved sweetly to our little girls who were too dumbstruck with sheer admiration to do anything but stare with mouths open.  It was so funny!

The stream of marching bands, fire trucks, police cars, and horses started at last.


The boys waving to the firemen up on the big red truck.


Lots of candy, pencils, and stickers were being passed out to bright-faced children who lined the edge of the street.  We waited until the very last car passed by and slowly made our way back to the van.

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Last week our school celebrated National Reading Day by coming to school in their pjs and spending the day reading books to each other.  They brought blankets, pillows and their favorite book to share.  Throughout the day the teachers arranged to have quest storybook readers come in and read the the classes.

Even Mrs. B came in her jammies :)   For lunch they ate a big pancake lunch (which my boys thought was the best thing EVER!).  It’s times like this that I am ever so thankful for the teachers we have been blessed with!

Miss E and I have fallen into a sweet routine at home while the boys are at school.  I really do love it.  After we drop them off, we come home and enjoy a leisurely breakfast.  Occasionally we even drink our coffee and hot coco out of fancy tea cups. 

The simplest things delight her!  She follows me around doing her best to mimic my every step, chatting happily (sometimes a little too endlessly) as we do the chores.

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Yesterday afternoon was just too beautiful to stay indoors, so we all piled into our little golf cart, and took a quick trip down the canal to the cousins’ house.

This is what the central valley looks like at this time of year.  I think it must be impossible to be unhappy during almond blossom time. 

When we arrived we found everyone outside and the boys practicing baseball.  They quickly rounded up some gear for J to play as well.

We moms sat and cheered and chatted while the kids did their best to play baseball.  Lots of chasing balls down :)


Mr. G injured his ankle while playing on the trampoline so he sat on the sidelines with me.


A fun spur-of-the-moment afternoon with the cousins turned into a “hey why don’t you come back to our house and eat pizza with us” evening!  Some of use rode back in the car.  The big boys wanted to ride their bikes back to our house so my husband followed them in the golf cart.  Such a fun perfect night!

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I’ve also done some sewing!!  It’s been a solid two in a half months since my sewing machine has seen any action, and I was aching to use my new patterns and material.

This pattern in the Geranium Dress from Made By Rae.  It’s a PDF pattern that you can purchase on Rae’s website.

I knew I wanted to buy the pattern the moment Rae introduced it, but I was fortunate enough to win it during her 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway!  My mom came over one Friday.  We worked on it together and by that evening the dress was done.

I’d like to make her at least one more dress and the tunic version as well.  Such a sweet and fun pattern!

Last but not least….

My tummy gets kissed by this girl at least a dozen times a day.  She is already so in love with this baby.

And that’s all the juicy news from our little corner of the world.  Hopefully I’ll be posting a lot more sewing projects soon!  I have an ever growing stack of fabric and patterns piling up to make for this little one.

The year of the flu

It really has been so hit or miss on my poor little blog lately!  I think this year will go down in the history book as “The Year of the Flu”.  Pregnancy has left my immune system basically worthless and for the last month we have all taken turns passing around a variety of illnesses.  Chills, fever, aches, sore throats, coughing, throwing up… you name it, we’ve had it!  I’ll admit that I’m a little weary and ragged around the edges but I think we are starting to see the end of this (knock on wood).

Valentine’s Day was sweet this year, not romantic, but sweet. 
The kiddos get so much enjoyment out of Valentine’s Day and the anticipation is half the fun!

On Wednesday morning I went to our local tulip farm Dutch Hollow and picked out a bunch of tulips for Valentine’s Day gifts.  Love going to Dutch Hollow!  Gorgeous tulips for amazing prices and it is run by the nicest family!  While we were there buying our flowers, Farmer John (the owner) went out to the field and came back with a pink tulip for Miss E.  She could not have been more pleased!  I also decided I could get used to having 70 tulips sitting in my kitchen!

I was sick with the flu just days before Valentine’s day, but Grammy came to the rescue and made homemade suckers with the boys so they could share them with their classmates.

I got up extra early and packed a special lunch for the boys, complete with a little love letter. 

This is a picture I took of the boys that morning, with the flowers for their teachers.  J wasn’t real keen on being seen holding flowers but I wouldn’t take no for an answer.  G on the other hand could hardly wait to walk into the classroom with his tulips for Mrs. Boone!

After I dropped the boys off at school Miss E and I went to my parents house for breakfast.  My dad had worked all morning to make a special Valentine’s Day breakfast for us!  We’re pretty spoiled girls.

Yes, that’s a little glimpse of my ever-growing belly.  

Later that afternoon, our little school, put on a sweet Valentine’s Day performance for the local rest home.  They did such a good job!  Afterwards they passed out handmade cards, cookies, and hugs.


Cutie cousins :)

That afternoon my husband came home early from work with the flu, so I spent Valentine’s Day evening curled up on the couch with some candy and watched the first two episodes of Downton Abby.  Yes, yes, I know!  I’m terribly behind on the whole Downton Abby obsession, but I’m catching up!

Lastly… it’s that time of year again. 

Hope you had a lovely Valentine’s Day!  ~April

Right now

Right now I am loving the white tulips that are sitting on my kitchen table. 

Right now I’m eating entirely too much of this amazing sun-dried tomato, pesto, and soft creamy cheese spread.  I just smear a generous amount of it on a slice of sourdough baguette, and repeat until I sigh a happy, pleasantly full sigh.

I am enjoying my new living room shelves.  My husband hung them up after the new year and I’ve been slowly adding things to them.


Right now I’m wearing my new yellow bicycle scarf.

Right now this stack of fabric is making me very happy!  It reminds me of spring.  It is sitting in my clean and freshly organized sewing room just waiting to be made into something fun.

It’s probably just the pregnancy cravings kicking into high gear, but I could eat this salad morning, noon, and night.  It’s a mixed green salad, with a sweet basil vinaigrette, feta cheese, dried cranberries, and candied pecans.  It is amazingly good and it’s the dressing that makes it perfect.
 
It’s a recipe that my husband’s aunt has brought to several family events.  I got the recipe from her but I have no idea what the original source is.  The original recipe called for croutons but I don’t think the salad needs them.

I start with baby spinach, chopped iceberg lettuce, and leaf lettuce torn into bite-sized pieces.

Then I make the dressing.  Sugar, vegetable oil, two cloves of garlic, apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper, and fresh basil, get tossed into the mixer.  I blend them together until everything is completely mixed and the dressing has taken on a lovely green color.


Isn’t that the prettiest dressing you’ve ever seen?

Then I drizzle the dressing over the mixed greens and top with the feta, pecans, and cranberries.  Don’t be stingy with the feta!  The creamy feta mixes so well with the sweet basil dressing. 

Really.  You should make this salad.  Your mouth will thank you.  And if you want to bring this to the next level, add some grilled chicken and a slice of sourdough bread, and you’ve got a lunch that would rival any bistro menu!

Sweet Basil Dressing

1/2 c. apple cider vinegar (don’t substitute this with another kind of vinegar.  It won’t taste as good)
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1/2 c. sugar
3/4 c. fresh basil leaves
2 cloves of garlic (roughly chopped)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

Blend in blender until well mixed.  Store in fridge making sure to shake well before using.

And now I’m going to go enjoy a big bowl of salad!

~April

Hi

 
Hi there.  Does it feel like I announced I was pregnant and then dropped off the face of the earth?  I guess that’s sort of how it happened.  I’ve written this post out in my head many times and always struggled to know how much to say about the last 2 months.  On one hand, this is the place were I write about our lives and record our memories, on the other hand I hate dwelling on the negative.  I think that some stories are best told with a little distance.  Not so much that you only remember them with fond rose-colored glasses but enough to gain some perspective.  So I think I will save any pregnancy stories I have for another day. 

Here are just a smattering of pictures I managed to take during the hustle and bustle of the holidays.  I hope you can bear with me, this will probably seem a little disjointed :)

Christmas decorations were a little sparse this year but we did manage to have a beautiful, tall, and lovingly decorated tree.

We are starting to establish some Christmas traditions that the children look forward to every year, and one of them is making paper snowflakes for our windows.

My mom made snowflakes with us when we were children.  My mom was an amazing woman who just knew how to do so many interesting things.  Her brain was (and still is) a treasure-house of creative wonderment!  Making candles, pressing flowers, brewing root beer,… I spent my childhood marveling at what she would come up with next.


I see the same wonderment on my children’s faces when I do things with them.


We must have made 3 dozen snowflakes but each and every time they unfolded one they would gasp in amazement!

We made Christmas cookies and I tried not to cringe too much when they piled candy and sprinkles on each cookie.  How many times did I tell them not to lick the frosting knife?!!  I planned on giving some of the cookies to the neighbors but decided that might not be wise ;)

Our Christmas picture to put in our Christmas photo album.

This was the one we ended up using

And here are some of the outtakes…

G being goofy in each one and E giving us her best cheesy smile


J was trying to be patient but quickly loosing interest in this photographic circus.

And he’s done…

A picture of my entire family.  My brother and sister-in-law, mom and dad, and all 9 (make that 10) grandchildren.

Her room is one of the coldest in the house.  Every night I go in and make sure she is all tucked in.  One morning I came in to rouse her for breakfast and all I saw where the soles of her little feet. 

Someone had his birthday over the holidays!

Mr. G turned six and we celebrated by having a movie and popcorn night at our house.  G is currently fascinated with the Disney movie Cars 2 so we watched that, opened presents, and sang “Happy Birthday”.

He’s such a happy guy.  So easy to please.  He was just delighted with every little part of his party celebration.  He is a good example to me.

Last but not least, I have these hanging on my fridge.  It’s been a long time since I had sonogram pictures on my fridge. 


 
It makes me happy.  It helps me to remember that there’s a child on the way and there’s a good reason I feel the way I do :)   Hopefully we will be finding out the baby’s gender soon.  The children have their hopes set on a little girl… we shall see!

This

This is what baking looks like at our house.

This is their favorite part.

This is what our living room looked like for the better part of a week.  Sheets to protect the couch, bowls for getting sick in, hand sanitizer, Gatorade and tissues on the coffee table.

This is the little town we made when I decided that, sick or not, the TV had to be turned off!!

This is how we like to spend Friday afternoons.

This is the adorable vintage play ironing board and iron set I found for her at an antique store.  She happily ironed, folded and re-ironed, and re-folded her blankets all day.  I know she’s never seen her own mother so enthusiastically ironing ;)

This is how he ate his cereal this morning

This is the month our baby is due

Yes, I am happily pregnant with baby number four!

In the Kitchen

In my kitchen~

* There is a small girl pushing her pink grocery cart and singing “I’m a little teapot short and stout…”

*Fall strawberries.  There is something so perfect about fall strawberries.  The last of summer sweetness right before the long cold spell.  Smaller than their summer cousins… bite sized… an unexpected treat.

* Fresh bread, now that our heat wave has finally relented.

*Cookies, chocolate chip of course.  A nice stack of crispy, golden cookies and the last pan that got forgotten and burned (happens a little too frequently).

*Piles of dirty dishes.

* Creamy sausage, kale and potato soup (recipe from The Pioneer Woman)

And my new favorite recipe, Creamy Avocado Yogurt Dip.  It is delightful.  I love guacamole but this dip is even better, smooth, creamy, tangy, with a little bit of heat.  Get yourself a bag of pita chips and you are set. 

This post inspired by Soulemama who has a lovely kitchen.

This

This is a post idea I shamelessly stole from my sister-in-law


This is how every summer Sunday afternoon should be spent


This is what happens when I get bored


This is what a sick little girl looks like


This is another project crossed off the to-do list


This is a long overdo project for my nephew


This is the cutest golf cart ever


This is the basket that was taken in the golf cart for a picnic down the lane.


This is what it looked like when it came back


This is my best friend, and when I’m with her I feel happy and young and carefree


This is one of my favorite things about summertime


This is what I told them, “Golf carts are not for horsing around!”  When I know that’s pretty much exactly what they are for ;)


This is a happy sight.

This is a happy momma who doesn’t have to make supper tonight.

And this is the end

Color

The colors of our little house and our everyday comings and goings

And the three little people who make my life very colorful (and I mean that in the best possible way)

We are winding down the week, and what a week it has been.  A trip out of town, new furniture, fun times with cousins, and the beginning of a new school year… but more on that later.  It is Friday night and for some reason Friday night always seems so full of potential.  Shaking of the dust and tiredness of the week, having a little fun, doing something simple but spontaneous.  Friday is always a nice thought.

Happy Friday friends!  ~April

Summer is in full swing.  It is here in all it’s nostalgic glory… ice cream cones, sunscreen, tan legs, dirty feet,  lemonade, comic books,  staying up late, sleeping in, county fair, fresh fruit, happy summer hum! 

Since all my friends are busy having summer babies I have been busy sewing baby things.  I do love sewing for babies!  So many tiny things all over the sewing room, more than I bothered to take pictures of but here are a few~

Our friends (who also happen to be family on my husband’s side) were expecting their first child this July.  They decide not to find out the baby’s gender, so I made some gender neutral onesies and burp clothes.  To be honest I’m not very good at making gender neutral things.  I’m constantly wondering if they are too feminine or too masculine. 

On a whim I made a little dress, just in case they had a little girl.  I used some vintage fabric my friend gave me for my birthday.  It was cream with a raised yellow swiss dot.  I added mint green baby buttons to the front.


Since the fabric was a bit sheer I did a double layer on the skirt, and added some sweet little trim.


Our friend ended up having a beautiful little girl!  So the dress will get some use after all :)

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I’ve been working hard to keep the kiddos busy this summer (not too busy, but trying to fight off the summer madness that can set in).  We’ve made many trips to the library and I am happy to report, we have only incurred one 25 cent late fee!!  I know.  I can hardly believe it myself.


Our friend Simeon, took this picture of E.  It is my favorite picture of her to date.  It just captures who she is so well! 

Lots of pool swimming

Water coloring

And missed naps.  Our busy summertime schedule sometimes spills over into nap time.  She was so tired one afternoon that she climbed in my laundry basket and fell asleep.

This is my garage sale find!  I plan on painting it a fun color and making new cushions for it, but first I must wait until the dog grows out of his chewing stage.

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We went away for 2 nights and 2 days for our anniversary.  Stayed in Carmel-by-the-Sea (yes that is the towns’ full name).   We slept in, eat amazingly good food, took hikes, sat on the beach, and window shopped.


He carved our name into the bench that overlooks Point Lobos.  Twelve years. 

“He is more myself than I am.  Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.” ~ Emily Bronte

PS~  my camera is not working right now.  I have my best tech guy working on it, but I’m not sure I will be posting pictures anytime real soon.  Hopefully it can be brought back to life!

A little catch up

Okay, this is more than just a little catch up to be truthful.

So many fun things have happened over the last month, too many to just brush over.  Special moments that needed to be chronicled. 

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We celebrated a birthday last month.  J turned seven… seven-years-old!   He has gotten to that age were being with his friends is what life is all about.  So his dad and I took this handsome group of boys to play putt-putt golf.


The teenager behind the counter handed me several score cards.  I very enthusiastically declared that I would be the official score keeper.  My husband just laughed at me.  Pretty soon I knew what he was laughing about.  Keeping score for 7 boys was a completely fruitless endeavor.  Before long we gave up all putt-putt protocol and let them hack away at their brightly colored golf balls. 


The birthday boy even managed to make a hole in one!

Then we made a little trip to B&R for ice cream.

After we dropped all the boys off we went home for his special birthday dinner.

As is the tradition in our house, the birthday boy gets to choose a special dinner and dessert.  For J that means birthday pie, not cake.

And his dad’s amazing slow cooked ribs with his famous mustard BBQ sauce.

This is a picture of J reading his birthday card from Grandma and Grandpa W.  Not only did he get a new  fishing pole but Grandpa promised to take him on a fishing trip the following week.  J was so thrilled!

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Look who discovered the joy that a blank piece of paper and a jar of markers can bring.  He spent an entire morning drawing little stick figures and loopy flowers.


I love this kid!

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My sweet peas were a little disappointing this spring.  Last fall I planted twice as many seeds as I did the fall before, and I got half as many blooms this year.  Last spring I was picking buckets full of sweet peas and this spring I barely had enough to fill a dozen small vases. 

Oh well, the ones that bloomed were still so beautiful and I love the way they smell!

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J finished up 1st grade.  On the last day of school Mrs. Boone and Mrs. Jolliff had a little ceremony for the students.   It was another wonderful school year!  Mrs. Jolliff was such an amazing teacher.  The energy and creativity she brought to the classroom made a real impact on J.  He loved everyday of school and was heart broken when he had to miss any school days.

This is a picture of the two of them as J almost knocked her over with a big hug!


And this is Mrs. Jolliff reading J’s certificate to him.


Our annual “last day of school” picture with Lizzy :)

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The very next day we headed to San Francisco for a weekend getaway with the children.  It seemed like a fun way to kick off the summer.

We started at the piers, wandered around pier 39.


We took in the sights, watched the boats coming in and out of the harbor, we ate tiny warm fresh doughnuts from a plastic bucket (so good!).


Miss E staring down a seagull

We stayed in a sky scraper hotel not far off Union Square.  The boys were so impressed with the tall buildings!

The kids were all spread out over the hotel room.


This was the view from our room.  I wish I would have taken a picture of it at night.  The lights of the city were so pretty!

The next morning we got up and went to The Maker Fair.  It’s a fun event filled with booths and exhibitions of all kinds of electronic and mechanical creations.  There were even booths where the children could make things for themselves.  They got to make their own rockets, and then launch them off an air compressed launch pad!  It was fun, but SUPER crowded and just a little over the kids heads, but I think they still enjoyed themselves.

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 We have a very busy summer, filled with a lot of projects and work that must be done, so we won’t be able to take a big vacation this summer.  I’m trying to come up with fun, local day trips that we can go on during the week.

We went blueberry picking at Jessup farm with the cousins

Afterward we took our lunches to the park and had fun playing in the water fountain.  The girls were cracking us up.  The water in the fountain turns off and on and sprays at different times.  When it would turn off the girls would slowly and cautiously approach the hole were the water comes out.  They would get closer and closer…. and them BAM… that water would gush out, and they would run away laughing and yelling!

Sometimes our day trips are as simple as a trip to the library, or lunches and bubble blowing at the park.

This is the first summer that J has really liked reading books.  This is a sight I love to see!  He got a stack of mysteries from the beginner reader section, and then spent the rest of the night sprawled out on my bed reading them.

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We also adopted an 8 month old puppy.  After a lot of suggestions and arguing, the children finally settled on the name Levi.   Everybody’s pretty excited about him.  My opinion of Levi varies greatly from day to day.  I’m sure he’ll be fine once we get him past his wild puppy stage (at least that’s what I keep telling myself)

He does have a pretty sweet face…

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The chickens have a new home!  A bright red roomy coop with plenty of room for roosting and scratching.


There are nine roosting boxes and easy access to the eggs.  I can’t wait until we start getting our own eggs!


“The Girls” as I call them, were very please with their new home :)


The children are fascinated with the chickens.  They drug a blanket out on the grass, and spent the whole morning chatting and watching the chicks peck and scratch.  I thought it was a little strange but hey… I’m not going to complain about anything that keeps them busy for a whole morning and doesn’t end in someone getting hurt!

So there it is, my catch up post!  I’m going to try to make posting more of a priority.  Reading my sister-in-law’s post the other night, reminded me of all the things I love about keeping a blog about our family.  These are wonderful times we are experiencing with the kids and I want to keep writing about our little adventures.

Hope your summer is off to a great start!  ~April