Thursday, December 15, 2011

Pots and Pans

Just now Ravenna came up to me carrying one of my smaller cast-iron skillets and in a very serious tone said:
"When I am very old I will have lots of pans with lids."
 Then she flipped her hair and stomped off.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Celebrating Advent

 Last year when we had our Super Frugal Christmas I made this Advent Calendar as a gift for my family using only what I had in my fabric stash and my somewhat limited sewing/embroidery skills. Now that Advent has rolled around again we are finally able to get to use it!

In our determination to try to keep Christ as the center of our Christmas celebrations we are doing family/spiritual activities for every day instead of candy or small toys. I typed up activities and put the folded slips of paper into each one of the stars. Luckily I had the good sense while making the calendar to color code the stars' numbers by weeks since I randomly strewed them about in the sky above the stable, otherwise it would be much less fun to try to find the correct number each day.

For the second Sunday of Advent we lit our second candle, read from Isaiah 9:6 and listened to Handel's Messiah Chorus. Ravenna was upset that we didn't light all four of the candles so we also talked with her about how Christ brings light to the world and lighting the candles one-by-one helps us to appreciate the increase of light as we get closer to celebrating Christ's birth (also the Return of the Sun!).

What I love about this calendar is how personalized I can make it. For example, during this last week we put up the Christmas lights and wreath one day, the next we set up our nature table and this coming week I have the Christmas parties we are attending as activities on the days that they will occur and on December 5, tomorrow, Ravenna will put out her shoes for Saint Nicholas.

To prepare for Saint Nicholas due to some "misconceptions" about who actually will be bringing her gifts on Christmas Eve/Day (we haven't decided yet) we have been spending some time at this lovely website that teaches all about the life of Saint Nicholas. Sometimes we forget to do the things listed on the scraps of paper and sometimes they just don't work out for various reasons but I love having the ideas of festive and enjoyable things to do every day.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Halloween 2011

 How many more years can I get away with throwing together a costume last-minute from the dress up box?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Progress of a Garden: Late September

The Brussels are getting HUGE!

On the Right a Brussel has fallen over. Basil is ready to be harvested and frozen before the first frost

Still getting a lot of tomatoes and peppers and the winter crops of peas and radishes are in.

If you are interested in seeing how much produce we picked from our two small gardens in September head on over here.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Ravenna's Photo Tour


Ode to Coloring Book and Crayon

Nothing like top-o-the-line crayons from Germany!

Early Morning View of the Living Room

A Wall

A Bookcase

A Door

(My Favorite) Atop the Piano

Way up There!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Summers End (Belated)

There is nothing like a great local fair and some crazy carnies to end the summer!

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Progress of a Garden: Early August

 I pulled out the tomato plant that wasn't producing and we have started putting in our winter crops. The trellis is covered in green apple cucumber and spaghetti squash vines.

The Tomatoes are Taking Over!!! (This is after I pruned them back)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Ravenna's Faces

Silly Girl. We love her so!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Life, Interrupted

Blogging isn't really happening anymore. I look out at my garden everyday and think: "Wow! I want to take a picture to put on my blog to show how awesome and productive gardening is," but then I am called back to the reality that I have a five week old baby and a three year old in my care. Yes! Life is lovely, I am living the dream and yet, chaos abounds. One of these days I will find a spare moment when nap times magically coincide and somehow, somehow I am able to catch up on all the housework I have been neglecting. I wish I could share pictures of our little foster baby, Joseph, but it will have to suffice to say that he brings a great deal of joy to us and our home.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Progress of a Garden: The End of May

From our gardens in May we harvested: strawberries (4 lbs!), radishes, lettuce, spinach, green onions, bok choi and swiss chard. It has been a really hot week so the spinach and bok choi are bolting. Next spring I plan on planting the bok choi MUCH earlier. I also read on a forum that spouting the seeds indoors on coffee filters and then planting the sprouts gives the seeds a head start on growing, so I may try that. The cold weather crops are definitely slowing down although I think we have a little while longer on the lettuce.

Everything is in the garden now! For our big summer producers we have a grand total of 6 tomato plants, 3 bush cucumbers, 1 vining cucumber, 2 zucchini, a rotation of 20 bush beans, and seven pepper plants.

Check out my peas on the trellis! They just started flowering

 The daikon radishes in the pot in the foreground are getting huge but no root development yet. I am afraid they will bolt before they do.

 In the front the bed is really full but I am still waiting on some green beans to germinate for the next rotation.

 The dill is flowering and it is beautiful. Behind it you can see the nearly ready Kohlrabi.

This is what green onions look like when they go to flower

Up for June: Kohlrabi, lettuce, carrots, chard, kale, green beans, zucchini, basil, snow peas, and maybe cucumbers at the end of the month.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Ravenna And The Twins

Nearly every week for most of the school year I babysat these cuties. Ravenna had mixed feelings at first but then grew to love their visits.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Garden(s) At The End of April

At the end of April, the first harvest: A dozen French Breakfast Radishes

The new backyard garden space: A 3X8 foot raised bed, pea trellis, a perennial herb bed and deep mulching to get rid of grass.

Currant and daikon radishes in pots. Plants being hardened off (they are now in the ground).

AND...the front garden: More strawberry plants; last years plants going crazy with berry production and a somewhat empty bed waiting for seedlings to grow.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


 Look who just turned three years old;

 With cake, clapping, singing...

Lots of lovely presents...

And TONS of love!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Today was our final homestudy and we are officially foster parents! We don't know when we will get our first placement yet but we are looking forward to the opportunity.

Ravenna asked me to take this picture of her. Such a goofball.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Full Disclosure

Okay, it is time to be honest. When I haven't posted in a long time it usually means I am up to something and I just don't want to tell anyone about it. Last night after book club my B.F.F. Christie and I sat up discussing many things and during that conversation I realized (after I was gently informed) that I have many irrational fears that keep me from being open with people and having hope. Generally I don't have this problem one-on-one but when it comes to making things public I only chose to do so when I feel that I am past the point of no return. With my pregnancy with Ravenna, Andrew and I announced it to our families at 20 weeks and many many people didn't learn until much later. It isn't that I like to hide things for the thrill of having a secret but more because I am afraid that if I share them openly, they won't happen.

Is this true for anyone else?

So, what is this big secret that Andrew and I have been hiding from friends, family and the general populace? Well, for the past few months we have been training to become certified foster parents. Yup, that is it. Nothing huge or horrible but I was so afraid of anyone finding out for fear that it wouldn't work out and then having to tell people that it didn't work out (Ack, heartbreak city!), or that people would automatically put a stigma of "messed up" on any child that came into our home (that still will probably happen), that people would label us as "quitters" for not making more of an effort to have another biological child etc. Oh my goodness that list could go on FOREVER! I can think of a million reasons to not tell people that we were becoming foster parents but after talking to Christie I realized that I needed to just let go...which for me is harder than it sounds.

My friend Jenni often talks about the benefits of "Letting go, and letting God" but I really REALLY want to control my universe and the whole not being able to plan my family thing? I really don't love that. I do have to try to accept that this is the direction that Heavenly Father wants us to go in for whatever reason. Part of that acceptance is a willingness to give up some of my "control" and that is why I am sharing.

Since many people know little to nothing about foster care I am going to use this next bit to answer some of Andrew and Carrie's Foster Parent FAQ:

Q: Which age group will you accept? At the moment we are open to a single child 0-3 or a sibling group 0-5 due to a desire to keep the ages closer to what we are used to and restrictions on rooming.

Q: Are you going to try to adopt the children you foster? The goal with foster care is almost always reunification with biological parents. Occasionally that isn't possible and parental rights are terminated, in which case it is preferable that the children remain with their foster family and be adopted. We are open to that but it is by no means guaranteed.

Q: If you want to adopt why do foster care at all? Adoption is very expensive and can take a very long time (yes, even through LDS Family Services) and we did not feel that a traditional adoption route was what we needed to consider.

Q: What kinds of special needs are you going accept? In the foster care terminology, every child that comes into care is a "special needs" child. We are getting additional certification so that we can foster medically fragile children, however.

Q: When will you get your first placement? We just completed our homestudy and our goal is to be certified in the next two weeks. After that, it all depends on the children that come into care and whether or not the county Child and Youth selects us to be foster parents. Most children coming into care are 6 years and older meaning that the chances that we will get a foster child are somewhat slimmer than foster parents of older children, but this age group is what we were comfortable with and so that is what we ended up doing. In the meantime we will be a respite and emergency foster care placement family.

Q: How much do you get paid? Sufficient for our needs. Nobody gets rich off of doing foster care, or they really shouldn't if the agency is doing their job.

Any other questions? I am sure there are others but the above are the questions that have come up most often amongst the people we have told. So far the majority of our friends and family have been very supportive. There is a lot of ignorance about foster care and foster parents, which is understandable because we certainly knew very little to begin with. I am open to questions and I will do my best to answer them. Andrew and I are very much looking forward to having more children in our home no matter what challenges may come with them.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Crafty DIY in 2011

I was thinking this morning of some things that I want to do make/do in 2011, especially around my house. Since we have lived here for over a year I want to go crazy, or maybe just get stuff done. Here is my "to do" list:

-Reupholster Chairs: I have a set of neat arm chairs that were given to us a year ago. I have one completely ripped apart and ready to go but I have to get over my fear of calling an upholsterer and asking if I can buy some foam. It sounds easy enough but I have a fear of getting phone-chewed out.

-Paint the Stairwells: The base paint that they use on the walls in new home also acts as a magnet for greasy fingerprints. Enough said.

-Make reusable produce bags: I posted about these bags before but I REALLY need to do this! They are awesome!

-Make reusable snack bags: The awesomeness is overwhelming!

-Build this desk for the bedroom nook: We have a distinct lack of furniture in our bedrooms. While I would like to call it minimalism it really is just lack of resources. So, off to the lumber yard! Maybe this can be Andrew's spring break project?

-Maybe if we get really ambitious we can make this headboard?

-Wallpaper the powder room: Does anyone have any suggestions for a place to get nice wallpaper that doesn't look frumpy? I am a huge fan of wallpapering small spaces.