Monday, October 10, 2011

Funny :)

I'm stealing this from my friend Missy @ It's Almost Naptime!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Pics of the 1st day of school, 2011

Alex is in the 6th grade, Morgann is a 3rd grader, and Ian is a 1st grader this year!

Ian standing in front of the 1st grade hallway

Morgann standing at her 3rd grade desk

Alex leaving on the bus for his 1st day of middle school!

Wow! Time really does fly....

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Unplugged: Day 5

Well, we've reached day 5, and I have to say, I've never had such a quiet house! Well, I mean, not this quiet with the kids home :) Everything is so PEACEFUL. There has been almost no fighting - and with 3 kids, that's a true miracle - and they are playing together willingly! The boys have discovered their long-lost remote controlled helicopters and have been playing with them daily. Morgann has rediscovered playing dress up and is constantly showing up in a new outfit. And they've even made time for playing with friends, being sure to notify them up-front that they cannot turn on any games or TV.

They haven't whined at me about not being able to watch TV or movies, and they haven't begged me to return their electronic devices. Honestly, I'm in shock over it all. I assumed this week would be no less than a battle of the wills, with a constant barrage of begging & deal making. But its actually been the exact opposite.

In a nut-shell, its been a wonderful, learning experience!! And I can see that moving forward, we will be making some changes to our "regular" lives.

P.S. And can I just say that while I've found not logging into FB a bit of a pain when I'm bored or waiting around on someone or something, I've survived just as well as the kids have. And I'm giving serious props to Michael who was the least in-favor of this change - I haven't seen him flip on his gaming computer once since Saturday! Honey, I'm proud of you and appreciate your "taking one for the team" for this week.

Monday, July 11, 2011


This is our week to "unplug" from the world of electronics - games, computers (unless work-related), TV's, movies, etc., etc., etc. Its something that I've been tossing around trying for a while, but just haven't had the guts to do it. But the constant bickering, whining, complaining, etc., had taken its toll on me as of last Friday, and by Friday night, the decision had been made. And while Michael wasn't too keen on the idea because I was asking him to unplug from his games too, he relented and agreed to try it out - at least while the kiddos are awake.

So, while I sit & type on my blog, we are officially unplugged - do you see the irony in this? Yes, we turned off the kid's access to the internet, took away all electronic devices, including phones, camera and iPods, and have disconnected from technology for the week. Welcome to the 1980's!!! Michael & I are only using our computers for work-related items, and email - since this is the way so many any of us communicate now. But I have logged off of Facebook which, I am sad to say, is my vice. I've already had several things that I've wanted to post as a status update, but I've resisted, and am instead making a mental list of things that I will need to update later ;) You know, because everyone is waiting to hear from me!!!

But I am amazed at the peace that has hit our home! REAL peace!!! There has been almost no fighting or arguing between the kids, and the lack of "I'm boreds" has decreased dramatically. They already know that they can't watch a movie, watch TV or play a video game, so they've just made due with good old-fashioned board games, old-timey books not on an electronic device, and toys they haven't played with in quite a while. They have all been reading more, and Alex has almost finished the 1st of the Harry Potter books in no less than 2 days!!!

We may unplug more often :)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Speaking of butterflies....

Our caterpillars arrived on 4/19!

They were small and not too gross.

And here they are on 4/21 - much bigger! Maybe double their original size already!

And their little container is full of gross-ness :(

But its a learning process for the kids - they check on them every day and are learning little tidbits about how caterpillars live. The brown in the bottom of the container is their food. They spin silk to help them get around, so that's what the "white" substance is you can see in the last picture. We aren't allowed to open the lid so that everything stays un-contaminated. They should eventually crawl to the top and form their chrysallis' and then we will be able to move them to their new home :) Once they emerge, we'll watch them for a day or so, then release them into the garden and hope they stick around and like our butterfly plants!

I'll post more pics in a day or 2!

The Front Flowerbed

Just thought I'd post a few pictures of our front flowerbeds. As of now, not many blooms, but I'm hoping for that to change in a few weeks, as most of the blooming shrubs are cyclical. We have encore azaleas, knock-out roses, verbena, pintas, a new little sago palm, small sprouts (from seeds) of what will be heavenly blue morning glories (that's what they are called, I'm not just saying they will be a heavenly blue color, LOL!), and a pretty little Jane Magnolia tree (only blooms in the Spring before the leaves sprout).

The big picture from the front of the house. The grass is a little thin near the driveway, but I'm working on that!

3 groupings of Pintas, morning glories (from seeds) and my little sago palm. You can also see what is left of the blooms from the hydrangeas I planted in the small beds on either side of the garage. They were so pretty! Now the blooms are dying, but the green plant is still thriving so hopefully they will re-bloom :)

Oh, and see that white flagstone walkway on the left side? I did that! I had to dig out a large portion of the flowerbed, place the stones and then fill in the gaps with crushed granite, but I am very happy with the result. Now people can park their cars in my driveway and not get out and step directly into the flowerbed! Oh, and the stones around the entire bed - yep, I did that too :) Its so much prettier with the stone border!

Encore azaleas on the back row, and knock-out roses in front - see the lone bloom?? Give these a year or 2 and we'll have a nice, thick hedge across the patio. I can't wait to see these in full-bloom in a few years!

My bargain Jane Magnolia tree (got it for $25 when everywhere else had the same sized tree for $145+), verbena, and behind the tree are a few of the encore azaleas.

On the right, Alex's aloe vera plant; middle, 2 of Morgann's Dahlia seeds have sprouted; left, Ian's Delphinium are slow growers, apparently. He has one single teeny-tiny sprout!

Can you see it? Its in the lower section of the pot.

Pretty pintas!

The pintas are in bloom, and a favorite of butterflies :) We find them out there all the time. Love it!!!

Monday, April 04, 2011


At this time, it looks as though we have:

8-10 tiny little cucumbers
3 or 4 blossoms on the sweet pea vine
3 growing tomatoes
1 huge head of cauliflower
3-4 tiny little sprouts of broccoli (Ian will be so relieved since we had to cut off what had originally grown when it sprouted flowers - my bad!)
1 little blossom on the jalapeno plant
1 crazy-growing pumpkin vine with allot of yellow blooms

And the rest of the plants are growing and looking good :)

I'm so excited!!!

For the kids

What better time than spring to learn about butterflies??? And since we have planted butterfly-friendly plants in both the front & back beds, this should prove to be a fun "experiment" for the entire family! The kids are going to be sooooooo excited :)

Sunday, April 03, 2011

New-found Interests

Who knew that our family was into gardens & flowers?!? Certainly not me!! Seriously had no idea that if I would just get out there and dig out the ugly, I would find such pleasure in planting the beautiful. It is something that I find myself doing at various times throughout the day & week. I have noticed that as I drift off to sleep, I'm thinking about what I need to do in the front flower bed, where I should put what, how I should have done this or that differently, etc., etc., etc. And I've also noticed that I find reason to go way out of my way to "happen by" my favorite nursery. Its an on-going fixation. And its one that I swore I didn't have! "No, I am not going to work in my flower bed, even though it is overrun with grass and tacky. I'll just pay someone else to clean it out". If only I had known then what I know now...

And did you know that not only have I found something that I enjoy, but my kiddos are starting to find a passion for "pretty" too! For instance, Alex had been begging me for weeks to go to Lowe's, which just happens to be right across the street from our subdivision entrance. Every time we drove past, he would plead with me to stop in. I've put off doing so because I had no need to stop in there - I really don't enjoy spending my "extra" time wandering the aisles of any home improvement store, but I really dislike Lowe's because of their customer service, or lack thereof. But I had need to drop in there last week for something, so I took Alex with me to look at whatever it was that was so important. So, while I browsed around the lawn & garden area looking at this & that, he disappeared for about 5 minutes. When he returned, he said that I had to follow him into the store so that he could "show me something". He took me inside the sliding doors and led me directly to the indoor plants. I'm guessing that there must have been a spotlight on the specific area he took me too, and there must have been angels singing "Handel's Messiah" because the begging and pleading and bartering that commenced was just over-the-top hilarious! He had his eye on a Venus FlyTrap (I guess pretty is in the eye of the beholder, huh?). I had to give in when he agreed to go 50/50 on the cost - his money is being saved to buy a new iPod Touch, and he refuses to spend a dime of it on anything else. He brought his precious purchase home and then begged to get it planted. But I made him wait for 2 whole days before allowing him to do so - he had school work to be finished first! But he has taken such pride in his dirty little terrarium, keeping it in the window that gets the most sun in the evenings, checking it for moisture, etc.

And then tonight as we were again roaming around Lowe's, Alex asked if we could purchase a new aloe vera plant, as ours bit the dust during the last freeze of the winter. Daddy quickly said "OK", which then led to the begging & pleading of the other 2 kiddos. They too wanted the opportunity to plant something. So, we took them over to the seed section and allowed them each to pick 1 perenial flower that they could grown in a pot inside of the house. You would have thought that we'd won the lottery! Everyone left the store happy, and we all left with something that will grow into something beautiful.

Well, we hope so anyway....stay tuned :)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Spring has sprung!

And so has our garden!! So far, we haven't killed anything, and are starting to see some fruit & veggies :) Strawberries have been going crazy - we get 2 or 3 a week from our 2 very small plants, I just spotted the very first tomato, and the rest of plants are starting to bloom, so fruit/veggies should be just around the corner!!!!

Our garden!

From back left, sweet peas, asparagus tree & cucumbers.
Middle left to right, jalapeno plant & cauliflower.
Bottom center, butterfly plant.

In the back is the cucumber bush, 2 tomato plants on the right, center is the cauliflower plant and the broccoli plant (that sprouted flowers so we had to cut it off and hope it grows again), and bottom center is the peanut plant with a few little flowers (marigolds in the corner).

Back left is the pumpkin vine, to the right is the sweet pea vine, in the middle are the 2 tiny little green bean plants that started as seedlings, the jalapeno plant to the right, then the 2 strawberry plants toward the bottom (marigolds in the corner).

And last but not least, more seedlings that have sprouted - yellow onions, carrots and red/green peppers!

I told Michael that we are going to need to build another box next to our existing garden as I don't have the space to plant the seed pots once they are ready. So, we'll be back at the building and buying dirt phase in just another few weeks if these continue to grow :)

Not bad for someone who had no clue what she was doing, huh???

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

A little plug for a very dear friend...

...and her new book! Go buy it :)

by: Dallas Louis

Monday, February 28, 2011

2 days outside...

Well, we are finished with the garden! And I am oh-so-excited to see whether we get any fruit/veggies in a few months :) Let's hope so because my body is KILLING me today. Altho, we did allot more than just work on the garden - we mowed, and edged, and cleared out the debris from the garage, and fertilized, and watered, and cleaned beds, and was a group effort mind you, but hopefully worth it all to have a pretty yard this year!

Here a few pics of the progress:

After we finished with the box, we dumped in our bags of soil and quickly discovered that I hadn't bought nearly enough, 4 bags of rose soil and 1 bag of compost. I returned to the nursery yesterday and picked up 9 more bags of rose soil (1 cu.) and 2 more bags of revitalizer/compost (1.5 cu). We used all but 1 bag of rose soil!

Next I placed the plants and moved them around about 100 times before I decided on their perfect "spot", then Ian, Michael & I dug the holes and placed them into their new homes. I left the sweet peas, cucumbers and the butterfly plant for Alex, which is why some are still in their pots in this picture.

Once all of the plants were buried, I added a bit of fruit/veggie food, we lightly watered, we put in the lattice for the climbing plants, and then added the plastic fencing around the garden to keep a nosey little poodle's nose out of it! The fencing is attached to the stakes around the garden, and can be easily removed & replaced when I need to work in there.

A final picture of the finished product, including a few of the herbs that I ended up potting for the time being. We may end up with a smaller "herb" garden next to this one, but I spent enough money this weekend and decided the pots would work fine for now. I actually now have 3 more pots of herbs, and a group of seed-pots waiting to sprout!

All-in-all we had a ton of fun! Here is the run-down of what I planted:
cucumbers, sweet peas, carving pumpkins, strawberries, jalapenos, peanuts, cauliflower, tomatoes, asparagus, (awaiting the broccoli plant), a butterfly plant & marigolds, and lots of herbs! The seed pots contain red/green sweet peppers, yellow onions, baby carrots, and green beans. Yummmmmm!!!!!!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Humble beginnings

This is our garden. Well, let me rephrase, this is the box that will be our garden. Michael & I spent an hour & half in Lowe's walking back & forth & back again buying the wood, weed barrier, brackets, nails, gardening hand tools, and various & sundry other items today. It was a looooooong hour & a half, let me tell ya! And expensive too! Altho we bought a new weed-eater/edger and a new drill, so that contributed to the expense. But still, you'd think we were made out of money or something!! I was so excited yesterday when I left the garden center with all of our new plants, seeds, soil, and "stuff" for only $138. Little did I know the 4 bags of soil and 1 bag of compost wouldn't even begin to make a dent in filling our 7'x4'x10" garden box. Yeah, its looking as tho I will be buying allot more soil tomorrow. And can I just say that organic soil isn't cheap!

Oh well, I'll just keep reminding the hubby that eventually, we'll start to save money on our fruits & veggies & herbs/seasonings - eventually....

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Spring 2011

Well, I've been away for a very, VERY long time, but have been trying to get back to my little blog. I just haven't had anything to write about here. I have another blog that I've kept updated, but it really doesn't correlate to this blog, so this one has fallen by the way-side.

However, I'm determined to begin blogging again :)

And what better time to begin something then in the spring time, right? For instance, we're going to start a garden - its something we've talked about doing for years, even bought supplies for last year, but just haven't ever done it. So this weekend, that's what we'll be up to - picking our spot, digging out the grass, and beginning to get the beds prepared. I've been chatting with a friend about organic seeds and plants and she recommended "Botanical Interest" seeds, which are an organic/non-GMO brand. I found a local garden shop nearby that sells them, along with organic soils and supplies, so I'm planning a trip there tomorrow. This should prove to be an interesting endeavor, but I am hoping that when its all said & done, we'll get some fresh organic veggies out of the deal!

I'll post pics & updates as we go. Wish me luck!!!!