Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter and gardening

Happy Easter a few days late! I hope all of you had a blessed one. We had a really wonderful day. The weather was supposed to be terrible, but it ended up being beautiful and in the 70's. We went to an Easter breakfast at church, and the food was SO good. It was pot-luck style, and everyone brought either an egg casserole or a fruit salad. They also had pancakes, sausage, and donuts (Of those 3 things, I only ate the sausage). Then we had a wonderful Easter service. After church, we went to Jeff's parents for lunch. Then we went outside and played softball in the yard with Evie. It was a lot of fun, and so nice to be outside in the beautiful weather. Here is a picture of us from Easter morning.

We are on day 135 of homeschooling (we go 180 days). It is going well, and I am still planning on homeschooling through the summer a few days a week to get our days all in. Evie loves to pretend to be Mary Ingalls (she can't be Laura, she informed me, because she is blonde). She dresses up like this a lot for homeschooling :). Here she is reading in her Mary outfit.

We have been learning about China and Tibet for the past 2 weeks in homeschooling. I got a huge laugh when I was showing Evie a palace that was built in Tibet in the 14th century for the Dalai Lama. The book explained that the people of Tibet looked at the Dalai Lama as a spiritual leader. Evie gave me this crazy look and said, "It isn't a real llama is it?" I could not stop laughing.

I'm getting really excited about planting my garden. I think I am the only person I know how plans out her garden on graph paper! Lol! See??

Over the weekend, Jeff dug out a large area against one of our fences. He put landscape bricks around it, and we are going to plant strawberries. We bought 50 plants. 25 of them are everbearing, and 25 are junebearing. I can't wait! We also bought asparagus, rhubarb, and grapes. We are going to put a grape arbor up against the garage wall. We are planning to plant dwarf apple and pear trees too, along with possibly a few peach or cherry trees. I figure if I can't live in the country, I will bring the country to me :).

My seedlings are doing well. They are growing faster as they get more established. Here is the setup Jeff made for me that we keep in the laundry room in the basement. The one grow light is raised up on one side because the seedlings are getting so tall! There are 4 trays total, with about 96 seedlings! One tray is nothing but herbs. I'm also growing a tray of herbs upstairs, along with some ground cherries. I'm going to be busy once planting season comes!

Here is one tray of my seedlings up close. These are mostly tomatoes, and broccoli. I can't wait to plant them all!! I'm believing God for an amazing garden this year! Last year I prayed that God would bless my garden with abundant produce, and He did more than I could ever hope for. I'm believing for the same thing or more this year!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Spring is here!

I sure have been neglecting my blog! Wow, has it really been almost 2 months? Today is Good Friday, a day to remember that Jesus died on the cross. I am so thankful for the gift of salvation that Christ gave us when He died on the cross for our sins! All we have to do is accept Him as our Savior, and accept His free gift of salvation. I'm so thankful for the cross!

I think this is going to be a record breaking blog post when it comes to pictures. After all, I have 2 months of catching up to do! We have our garden all ready, with the fabulous duck manure all tilled in. Here is a few pictures of the back yard garden sections.

I dug out several strange trees that were growing in the back section, along with some ornamental grass that was out of control. I am planning on growing my tomatoes in the back, along with ground cherries and lots of herbs. I heard about the ground cherries from the Baker Creek catalog. They grow like a green pepper, and from the reviews I have read, they grow like crazy!

Here is our main garden area in the side yard. It is twice as big as last year, and we fenced it in to keep the bunnies out. I can't wait to plant!!!

For spring break this year, we took a trip to Gatlinburg, Tennessee. We met Jeff's parents there, and we all stayed in a 4 bedroom cabin up in the mountains. We had so much fun! The last time we were in Gatlinburg was when Evie was a baby. Jeff's surprised me with a trip there to renew our wedding vows. I thought we would never be able to find the little wedding chapel that we renewed our wedding vows at, so imagine my surprise when we ended up driving right past it on the way to our cabin! We had to stop and take our picture before we left to head home (Evie took it actually).

We went hiking in the Smoky Mountains, and had a really beautiful hike. We hiked up to Laurel Falls. Last time we hiked this, Evie was in a stroller! The hike up is straight up for 1.3 miles, so the hike up is quite a challenge. I was amazed at Jeff's parents. They are going to be 70 this year, and they had absolutely no problems keeping up with us. In fact, they were barely winded!

Here are the falls. They were really pretty, and the water was nice and cool. Evie went down into the canyon with Jeff and played in the water.

Here we are resting before the hike back down.

The hike back down was all down hill. SO much easier! Isn't the background beautiful?

This sign cracked me up! "Dang! That sure is a steep cliff!"

So beautiful!

I love this picture of Evie and Jeff heading down the mountain holding hands :). They never knew I took it :).

The first few days in Gatlinburg were hot, and the rest of the time was in the 40's-50's. On the day it rained, we went to the aquarium. Evie loved it!

They had some great play areas for kids. Evie wanted to be a ham for the picture. Lol.

After the aquarium, we posed for some pictures :).

After the aquarium, we headed to an awesome mexican restaurant. Then the craziest thing happened! As we were sitting waiting for our food, Jeff happened to look over by the door. He said, "Jen, that looks like your cousin!" I look over, and said, "I think that is my cousin!" I walked over and stood in front of her, and she jumped up and hugged me. Then she ended up taking me outside where my huge family of cousins, (my aunt and uncle have 6 kids and 10 grandkids) were all outside! 15 of my family members just happened to show up at the same restaurant many hundreds of miles from where we all live!! I don't get to see them very often because they don't live near us, so it was pretty awesome to be able to see everyone.

We went to a mall in town, and had some fun.

Here is a picture of Jeff's dad and Evie on our porch at the cabin. Each level had a wrap around porch, and we were set into the side of a mountain. It was a looooong way down from those porches to the ground!

We stayed in Kentucky for a few days driving through on our way home, and we went to the Creation Museum. It was SO much fun, and it was so cool to be able to see God glorified at a museum.

The gardens there were stunning. I can't imagine how beautiful they are in the summer. The next few pictures were taken in the gardens at the museum.

They had a petting zoo there, and they had this huge camel that you could pet. I never have been so close to a camel before. He was such a sweet thing, but wouldn't let you pet him unless you had food!

Inside, we had fun walking around and seeing all the exhibits. The dinosaurs were pretty impressive! Evie was a little intimidated by the T-Rex.

She finally got over her fears, and decided to just ride one :). This one was the only one allowed to be ridden on, by the way.

It was a really fun trip, and I'm so glad we got to go!

As you can see by the pictures below, Daisy is doing fine and is back to her crazy self. She is still eating shoelaces and rope, so we have to hide everything we can. Daisy has a favorite chair, and I am constantly entertained by the way she lays on it! She tends to lay in the most hilarious positions, and not just on this chair! So I will end this montrously long blog post with some very funny pictures of Daisy and her wild sleeping positions.