Wednesday, July 30, 2008


My garden is doing well, which I am excited about! We have been eating fresh lettuce, swiss chard, green peppers and zucchini. I picked 4 large zucchini the other day. I chopped 2 of them up and froze them. One huge answer to prayer is that my freezer is working great! Hooray! It is loaded with fruit and veggies, and I am so thankful that it is working (and full!). My tomatoes are still green, but the plants are pretty loaded. I love being able to eat fresh produce right from the garden. There is nothing better! Evie wanted me to take her picture by the garden. I laughed later when I saw the lovely tennis ball by the tomato plants. Hmm, maybe it is from the rare tennis ball plant? My dog would love that plant :).

Since I took Evie's picture, she wanted to take mine. She actually did a pretty decent job! She has a play camera that she is always taking pretend pictures with. She thought it was way more fun to take real pictures. She figured out how to take pictures with my cell phone awhile back, so now I have to make sure she doesn't take off with it. Last time she did, she ended up taking about 20 pictures of everything from Sierra's nose to the toaster oven! Maybe she will be a photographer when she grows up :).

Monday, July 28, 2008

Fun At The Park

Yesterday afternoon, we went to a park not too far from us. It is such a beautiful, secluded park with lots of interesting things to see. There is a working mill there that you can go through. The mill still grinds grain and sells flour. Evie thought the mill was really fascinating. So did I! Near the mill is a beautiful flower garden.

We decided to dip our feet in the water, which Evie really loved. She wanted to jump right in! We had to be careful not to fall because the rocks in the water were really slippery.

There are also beautiful trails to hike. We hiked a trail and enjoyed the beauty. It wasn't too hot yesterday..only in the low 80's. It was great weather for being outside. It was a fun day!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Double Braided Bun

One of my favorite updos is a double braided bun. It looks very elegant, and also looks like you have A TON of hair, but it is sortof a long hair illusion :). I am posting this for my friend Jules (waving to Jules!). Sorry the pictures aren't the best. They were taken a few years ago with my old digital camera.

Here's how you do it....

Step 1: Pull front section of hair back and rope braid. Secure at the end with hair band.

Step 2: Wrap the rope braid into a bun, securing with hairpins as you wrap. If you don't secure with hairpins as you go, the bun won't stay well, and will eventually fall. I have had this happen before!

Step 3: Rope braid the remaining hair and secure with a hair band.

Step 4: Take the rope braid and wrap it around the bun. You may want to twist the braid at the base a bit before wrapping it around so there isn't a lump as you wrap. Secure with hairpins.

When finished wrapping around, tuck tail under bun, and finish securing with hairpins.

And here is what it looks like when it is done!

You can also dress it up with flowers. I used silk flowers for the updo when I renewed my wedding vows 6 years ago. It really dresses it up even more.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Beautiful Trees and Flowers

Sometimes I just have to sit and marvel at God's creation. I think it is such a nice thing of God to give us such beautiful things to look at. He didn't have to do that, and yet He did. We have this tree in our backyard that is the most amazing tree. It is so hard to get a picture of it that really does it justice. It is a huge sycamore tree, and it is like a giant canopy over part of my backyard. I sit on my deck and just marvel at it. There is so much beauty in this world to look at. It is said that Heaven is supposed to be even more beautiful. I read a book called "90 Minutes in Heaven" about a Baptist pastor who was killed in a car accident, and was declared dead for 90 minutes and miraculously came back to life. He spent 90 minutes in Heaven before coming back to life, and he tried to write about his experiences. He said that he got very frustrated at times trying to describe it because it was so hard to put into human words how absolutely beautiful it all looked. He said that the colors were so vivid that it was unlike anything he had ever seen before. He talked about people he saw, and how he was overwhelmed with a feeling of love. After I read that book, I was filled with such thankfulness for the gift of eternal life that God has provided for us through Jesus Christ. It is a free gift. We don't have to do anything but accept it. I am so thankful for the hope He gives us. Sometimes this world seems really chaotic, and can be pretty freaky. Things at times seem so uncertain. I am so thankful that God is the hope amidst the chaos.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Today Jeff's Mom, Evie and I went to the blueberry patch. We had planned on picking berries, but decided last week that we were going to buy them already picked. We knew we wanted a huge least 80 pounds each...and there is no way we could have come close to picking that many. The most I have ever picked before was about 25 pounds, and that took me hours. We had talked about picking more than once, but we live a good 1/2 hour from the place, so by the time we pay for gas to drive there and back several times, we might as well have bought them already picked. We also debated picking some (like 25 pounds), and then buying the rest already picked. We figured the costs. It would have saved us about $20. The more I thought about it, the less I liked the idea. The idea of standing in the hot sun for hours picking, then driving home and having to wash, dry and freeze 80 pounds of blueberries sounded exhausting. It just wasn't worth 20 bucks to me. If I had 10 kids to help me, maybe I could warm up to the idea. Since it is just me and Mom (and Evie of course, but she wouldn't really pick, she would just eat half the patch), we decided to buy them already picked. So we bought 80 pounds each today. They picked them right before we came, so they were super fresh. This stack is 80 pounds. One cool thing about these blueberries is that they are organic! The field we went to now grows all their berries organically, and we were thrilled about that! I would have been willing to pay more just for that! No yucky pesticides! The berries were beautiful. Sweet and large. Evie helped me wash half of them. She thought that was fun. I washed all of them and laid them out on towels to dry. I'm glad I have a lot of counter space! I ended up putting about 75 pounds in the freezer, and saved 5 pounds out for eating fresh. My freezer is now loaded with blueberries! I filled 50 quart bags. Now I am praying that my freezer keeps working. We have a chest freezer that is only a few years old, and we have a very old upright freezer. The upright
was Jeff's parents freezer, and they gave it to us years ago. I think the freezer is older than Jeff. I defrosted it last week, and since then it has been acting a little funky. I actually prayed over my freezer this afternoon! Hey, prayer can work for freezers too! I checked it a bit ago, and the berries were starting to freeze a little, so that is a good sign. It was a very productive day. I am pretty wiped out though.

Monday, July 21, 2008

4H Fair

Last night we went to our county's 4H fair. It is a huge fair, and I think everyone in the county was trying to get there! It took us over 1 1/2 hours just to get into the fair. It is one of the country's largest county fair's, and it is always a lot of fun. Evie loved it. We went and saw all the animals. I love the bunnies, cows and goats. They are my favorite. I love to see the horses, but we aren't able to pet them as easily because they shy away from the people. Evie still remembers something funny that happened last year with one of the cows. I asked a woman if I could pet her cow. He was a huge cow, and he was standing up. I went to pet him and he sneezed. He shot snot all over me. Evie thought it was the funniest thing she ever saw. It was really gross, but it was hilarious. I was a bit more careful this year :). I love the Jersey cows the best. They have such beautiful long eyelashes, and they look like they are wearing eyeliner. They are so sweet too.

There were some military trucks there, and Jeff was super excited to see that one of the trucks had hydraulic cylinders on them that he designed. That was really cool, and he took a bunch of pictures.

We ate the usual junky food. It is hard to eat very healthy at the fair! Evie had her first cotton candy ever. She loved it, and would have eaten the entire bag had I not been holding it!

We had planned to see a tiger show when we got there, but it took so long for us to get in that we missed the show. I was bummed about that. It was outside though, and about 95 degrees, so we would have roasted. The tigers were all outside in a cage. My in-laws saw the show, and said the owners treated them like big house cats and really loved on them. I love tigers. I would love to able to pet one someday. Maybe in heaven I will get to pet a tiger :). They are such beautiful animals. They had the orange with black striped tigers, and also the white ones. We left after seeing the tigers. It was a fun night at the fair!

Saturday, July 19, 2008


I have been motivated to start knitting again, thanks to a few of my online friends who knit. I have done several scarfs, some kitchen dishrags, a few scrunchies, and a few knitted purses. Other than that I haven't really advanced to anything harder. My online friend Schnauzermom knitted such a pretty sweater recently, and that is one thing I have wanted to knit the most. I decided that even though I am still a novice knitter, I was going to give it a try. When Jeff's great aunt passed away, the family gave me all of her knitting stuff. There was TONS of stuff. I feel very blessed to have it. She had several books, so I looked through them to see if I could find the sweater I wanted to make. I wanted something that was a solid color to try at first, since I am so new at this. I loved looking through the old books. I could tell
that most of them were from the 70's because of the styles
and hair. It made me a little nostalgic. I did find a sweater style I really
liked. I love the turtleneck sweaters because in the winter I am always so cold. They keep me nice and warm. The white sweater in the picture to the left is the one
I am making. I am making it in a woodsy green color. I just started, so hopefully I will progress well. Evie saw me knitting, and saw my 3 rows that I had done, and said, "Mommy, that doesn't look at all like a sweater." I had to laugh :).

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Therapy Stuff

Last Thursday we started Evie in a sensory therapy playgroup. It is every Thursday, and it is a group with 4 kids who have Sensory Processing Disorder. Two of them are sensory seekers, meaning they crave activity. Seekers tend to touch everything, spin in circles for minutes at a time without getting dizzy, crave deep pressure hugs, have no fear, feel very little pain, have a very hard time sitting still, and get very wired when there is any activity around. They are the movers and the shakers of the group. That is Evie. She is a seeker. The other two kids in the group are sensory defensive, meaning that they would rather sit on the floor and not speak to anyone, and not play. They can't stand loud noises. They get very upset with lots of activity and shut down or melt down. The goal of the group is to teach the kids how to play together. Sensory kids usually have poor social skills. For the seeker, they tend to scare some kids away because they play too rough (they don't realize their own strength). The sensory defensive kids have a hard time socially because they don't want to play or talk with the other kids. The parents are in a different room during the meeting, away from the kids. There are 2 occupational therapists working with the kids. When we went last week, I almost cried. As I sat in the room with the parents, we all were talking about our kids. To be able to hear such similar stories, and be able to talk to these parents without feeling judged was the most amazing feeling for me. I have found that many people refuse to understand sensory issues. They think it is bogus, and tell us we are bad parents, and that we aren't disciplining enough. Evie is not a defiant child. She is just very very active because her sensory nervous system is pretty much screaming at her every day. Last week was so refreshing for me. I can't even describe it. I felt validated. I felt like I was not the worlds worst mom, which is how I have been made to feel many times by other moms. I did a lot of thinking after going to the group. I realized that I need to avoid situations where I know I (and Evie) will be judged unfairly. That means not getting together with people who refuse to understand, and make their opinions known. I'm telling you, it does a real number to your self esteem after awhile when people say such horrible things. I have never ever told a mom before that she was a bad mom, and not doing her job. I wouldn't even dream of being that cruel. Being a mom is a tough job as it is. We all need support, not judgement. Being a mom of a special needs kids is tough. Most people don't have any clue as to how hard it is, or how their negative words can affect both the kids and the moms. All the moms in the group commented that people had said some really horrible things to them about their kids, and about their parenting. So I am not alone.

One awesome thing is that God keeps bringing amazing people into my life to help me. I have made a wonderful friend named Kate in my neighborhood, who just happens to be an occupational therapist. She has worked a lot with sensory kids, and her daughter Ella, who plays with Evie, is a sensory defensive kid. I can be myself around Kate, and know that she will not judge me. She loves Evie, and sees her as the wonderful little girl that she is. I am so thankful to God for bringing her into my life. Jeff and I have been getting together often with the couple who has the 5 girls (3 of them are triplets). They are super laid back, and are very familiar with sensory issues. Many multiples have sensory issues, so they had to have their girls tested for that. I don't have to worry at all about them judging me or Evie when we get together, which is wonderful. God has also led me to get Evie into some other therapies. I had been curious about Theraputic Riding for awhile. It is horseback riding for kids with special needs. For sensory seekers, it is very calming. After researching it, our occupational therapist mentioned it to us (before I had even said a word!) and said it would be extremely beneficial. Then at the playgroup we found out that 2 of the kids were in Theraputic Riding! The moms highly recommended it. I called the riding facility today, and we are going to start it in the fall! I am really excited. I know that Evie will love it. It is once a week, and it lasts for about an hour. It is cool to see how the Lord is leading us in different ways. It has been great to see how He just keeps opening doors.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Fun Weekend

We had a wonderful weekend as a family. Jeff actually had to do some business while we were there, and was basically having to just be there in case something goes wrong. Because of that, the trip was completely paid for by the company. You can't beat that! We stayed in a very nice motel. I have never been to one like it. Our room was on the main level, and it walked out into a courtyard where the pool was, and where tables were, and it was all inside with big glass windows. It was really pretty. The first day there, we let Evie swim in the pool quite a bit. She was like a little fish, and swam for hours. We were bummed to find out later that she broke out from neck to toe with a really bad rash from the pool. So she is now allergic to chlorine. We knew she was allergic to bromine, but thought she was okay with chlorine. Obviously not. Thankfully we were able to go to the beach on Saturday and Sunday, so she swam in the water. The waves were big on Sunday, and it was SO windy. Evie loved the waves, but we had to be careful not to let her go too far out because the undertow was pretty bad.

We tried to eat outside as much as possible, and were able to eat at several outdoor eateries. The
weather was too beautiful to be cooped up inside! We were surprised at how many dogs people had with them. Evie was constantly asking people is she could pet their dogs. It was fun! I love animals, so I was petting them right along with her :). There is even a doggie bed and breakfast in town, where people can come and stay with their dogs. Jeff and I would love to do that next time. Sierra would love that. We came home Sunday afternoon, and relaxed the rest of the day. It was a nice, and fun weekend!

Friday, July 11, 2008


We are leaving this morning to go on a mini-vacation. I am excited! I don't think I will be blogging while we are gone. We are going to a little beach town, and staying in a nice motel. Hopefully the weather will be great. There is a chance of rain, but I hope it holds off! We are just going for the weekend, but it should be a fun time! I gotta go pack!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


It has been a very productive last several weeks for us. I am so thankful to have a very handy husband! He has done so much to the house since we have moved here. One huge thing he did was put a window in the basement. Before we moved in, there was one tiny window in the laundry room and that was it. The basement was finished, but felt really closed in without a window. Jeff did everything himself, including digging the pit, cutting the concrete, and landscaping the wall. He just completely finished it tonight. He did an amazing job, and the basement looks so nice with it! I will have to take some other pictures later of before and afters. He redid almost everything in the basement, including the fireplace. When we first saw the house, we never noticed the fireplace. It was gas, and sortof just stuck on the wall. Jeff put tile around it and made it really stand out. There used to be a really ugly built-in entertainment center on the one wall, and he ripped that out and redid the wall. He made an area above the fireplace for our flatscreen tv, which fits perfect there. The flatscreen was Jeff's toy that he got with our tax money, and we love it. I need to take some new pictures soon. He also made us an exercise room off of the main room. Having it has motivated me to exercise. I have been using it almost every day.

I have also been getting a lot done lately. I have been trying to stock up our freezer by buying in bulk and making things. I made a huge batch of chicken broth and froze it in canning jars. I froze about 30 jars. We are getting ready to get blueberries this weekend, so I had to defrost my one huge upright freezer. I had to take all the stuff from that freezer and put it into our chest freezer. It was really crammed, but thankfully everything fit. Jeff and his dad hunt, so we have a lot of venison. We butcher the deer ourselves, so we get a lot more meat. I always feel so blessed after we get a deer. I know a lot of people are against hunting, but to us it helps us so much. We are able to have meat all year, and it saves us so much money. We also buy organic chickens in bulk every year from an amish farmer, and we get a big discount by doing that. We buy 10 chickens, which is about 70 pounds. We have to cut them up ourselves, but we save a lot, and the chickens taste so much better than the store bought ones. Plus we get to have the necks and backs to make broth with. I already had the freezer loaded with strawberries, apples and pears from last year that I haven't used up yet. I freeze pears and apples with the skins on, then thaw them when I need them for smoothies, pearsauce or applesauce. The Vita-Mix purees it so much that you can't even tell they had the skins on. I do that with peaches too. I want to buy a lot of peaches, pears and apples this fall. I hope I get a bumper crop from my garden too. I figure I may as well stock up during the seasons because food has become so much more expensive.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Busy Holiday Weekend

It has been a wonderful weekend. Jeff took Thursday off, so he had a really long weekend, which was great! On Thursday we went to a couple's house from church named Dan and Alita. We took Evie to Jeff's mom and dad's so they could watch her while we were gone. We had a wonderful visit with Dan and Alita. They live on the river, and have a beautiful view. They laid out quite the feast for us to eat! Dan made a fruit tray that was almost too pretty to eat. It was so yummy, and that was just our appetizer! We had steaks, corn on the cob, pasta salad, and homemade guacamole with chips. It was all so good! Evie had a great time with Grandma and Grandpa. The neighbors next to mom and dad's have a new horse named Jazzin, and she is such a pretty thing. Evie loves to go over and feed the horses. They have 4 over there now. Friday morning we spent the morning working on the house. Our one garage is Jeff's workshop, and the old owner has his name etched into the cement driveway. Jeff wanted to redo it, so he put some cement over it and had Evie put her hands in it. Evie thought that was the coolest thing ever :). She wrote her name in the cement, and it turned out so cute. I painted Evie's bedroom furniture white, and it looks really nice. It had been brown, and was too dark for her girly purple and pink room. The white looks bright and cheery. At night we went to see fireworks. Evie had never been to see fireworks before. When she was younger, she usually fell asleep before we could even go. This year she was tired, but stayed awake. She thought the fireworks were pretty cool :). We spent yesterday at the park
walking on the trails. It has been gorgeous weather here, and we have really enjoyed being outside. Today we went to church, and had a wonderful service. We are getting to know more people, and feeling at home there. Plus the preaching is awesome, and we are growing so much there. I am sad that the weekend is almost
over. It has been so fun having Jeff home for so many days.