April 27, 2011

Day #3

So much got done today! The excavator was just the thing for digging trenches and they already had pipes together and laid in the trenches by the time I got back.
I left with Ramon around 10 to go plant shopping. It hadn't sounded like a big deal. I asked if I should bring the kids or not and he said, "Oh, no. We'll need to take my truck." So, Matthew says," Cool, they can hang out while I dig right here."
Matthew had to dig from our main in the front of the house around to the back so that there will actually be water flowing through those pipes! Bonus, right!?
Neither of us realized what kind of excursion I was about to go on. We went to several large nurseries, the likes of which, I've never seen. It was like gardener heaven! I won't lie, by the end, some 6 hours later, I was draggin' and Matthew was repeatedly texting "where are you?" and "please hurry! The kids are going nuts!" I was pregnant, hungry, walking up and down dirt/ muddy hills, carrying plants from the rows to the back of the truck and man-o-man, sunburned! But it was a very successful shopping trip that produced 5 trees and 50ish bushes, edible plants including society garlic, blueberry bushes, a strawberry tree and the like, perennial flowers and ornamental grasses!
Obviously not everything is in this photo, but you get the idea! Hooray!

April 26, 2011

Day #2

Matthew, his friend Mitch and our landscape designer, Ramon (hiding behind the post), dug some irrigation trenches this morning before deciding to rent an excavator to finish the job tomorrow. Hahaha! They quickly moved on to digging the beds for our fire pit patio and the bbq island patio. We also discussed and marked with bright pink spray paint the placement of plants, trees, flower beds, garden boxes and the borders between sod, mulch and DG. Tomorrow is another big day but my brother, Mike and dad, Dennis, will be coming up to help out after work! So, that will be excellent! To be continued....

April 25, 2011

Day #1

Of the new backyard makeover! My work horse of a husband and his friend Tom tilled the entire backyard today. They dug out tree stumps, old french drains, stone paths and brick borders. Shoveled old rock garden beds (think arizona landscaping) into a pile near the gate and raked out all of the weeds. Tom was able to stay about 5 hours but Matthew worked from before the kids and I were up till supper time. He is heroic! Here's a sampling of the progress made today!
It looks like grass in the photo but that's carefully deceptive mowed weeds masquerading as grass.
"Hi ho, hi ho, home from work I go...." hahaha that's a pick axe, if you can't tell. So, it's funny.
Beautiful tilled soil ready for irrigation, new sod, garden beds, edible landscaping, a new patio and a fire pit! Yes, oh, yes! A ton of work ahead of us, but I cannot wait!

April 22, 2011

Happy Good Friday!!!!

Today is the day that our Lord Jesus Christ was hung on a cross and died for our sins. A sad but glorious day! We like to eat sweets and teaching our children about Jesus is super important in our house, so, here's what we do on Good Friday. We make:

Resurrection Rolls
* 1 package Crescent rolls
* melted butter
* large marshmallows
* cinnamon
* sugar

Read John 19 to the kids while you preheat the oven to 350 degrees. If you're really on top of things, spend the week before reading John 12-18 with your kids.
Give each child a triangle of crescent rolls.
The crescent roll represents the cloth that Jesus was wrapped in.

Give each child a marshmallow.
This represents Jesus and His purity.
Have the child dip the marshmallow in melted butter.
This represents the oils of embalming.
Dip the buttered marshmallow in the cinnamon and sugar.
This represents the spices used to annoint the body of Jesus.
Wrap the coated marshmallow tightly in the crescent roll
(not like a typical crescent roll up, but bring the points up and seal the marshmallow inside)
This represents the wrapping of Jesus' body after death. You can brush with more melted butter if you like, but it's not necessary.
Place in a 350 degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes or according to package directions.
The oven represents the tomb (pretend like it was 3 days and nights!)
While the rolls are baking, read John 20:1-18.

Open the tomb and remove the rolls. When the rolls have cooled slightly, the children can open their rolls (cloths) and discover that Jesus is no longer there,

The marshmallow melts and the crescent roll is puffed up,
but like the tomb - IT IS EMPTY!
While you enjoy the sweet treats you can read 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 for the sweet news that Jesus is coming again!

**A good friend since kindergarten (I kid you not) just sent me this recipe for Easter Cookies, made the night before. I've never made them before but they sound good and it came with lots of verse references to read with the kids, so we're planing to try them. I thought I'd include the recipe here for all of you, as well.

Read all the way through first before doing with the kids so you know what's coming up. This is meant to do on THE NIGHT BEFORE EASTER!

1 cup whole pecans
1 tsp vinegar
3 egg whites
pinch of salt
1 cup sugar
zip lock bag
wooden spoon

Preheat the oven to 300F

Place pecans in the ziplock bag and let children beat them with the wooden spoon to break into pieces. Explain that after Jesus was arrested, He was beaten by the Roman soldiers. Read John 19:1-3

Let each child smell the vinegar. Put 1 tsp vinegar into the mixing bowl. Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross, He was given vinegar to drink. Read John 19:28-30.

Add egg whites to vinegar. Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave His life to give us life. Read John 10:10-11.

Sprinkle a little salt into each child's hand. Let them taste it and brush the rest into the bowl. Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus' followers, and the bitterness of our own sin. Read Luke 23:27.

So far, the ingredients are not very appetizing. Add 1 cup sugar. Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to know and belong to Him. Read Ps. 34:8 and John 3:16

Beat with a mixer on high speed for 12-15 minutes until still peaks are formed. Explain that the color white represents the purity in God of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus. Read Isa. 1:18 and John 3:1-3

Fold in broken nuts. Drop by teaspoon onto wax paper covered cookie sheet. Explain that each mount represents the rocky tomb where Jesus' body was laid. Read Matt. 27:57-60.

Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and TURN THE OVEN OFF. Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door. Explain that Jesus' tomb was sealed. Read Matt. 27:65-66.

GO TO BED. Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus' followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed. Read John 16:20 and 22.

On Easter morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow! On the first Easter, Jesus' followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty. Read Matt. 28:1-9.

This came from my sweet friend, Jackie.

April 20, 2011

Wordy Wednesday!

I know, I know! The trend is "wordless Wednesday" but I decided that doesn't work for me. This is my blog after all, right? So, every Wednesday I'll be posting the Scripture that I studied during devos that morning. Ok? Ok!

Psalm 12
ThemeThe proud and lying words of people versus the true and pure words of God. A call for protection against those who try to manipulate us.

For the director of music. According to the sheminith. A psalm of David.
1 Help, Lord, for the godly are no more;
the faithful have vanished among men.
2 Everyone lies to his neighbor;
their flattering lips speak with deception.

3 May the Lord cut off all flattering lips
and every boastful tongue
4 that says, "We will triumph with our tongues;
we own our lips - who is our master?"

5 "Because of the oppression of the weak
and the groaning of the needy,
I will now arise," says the Lord.
"I will protect them from those who malign them."
6 And the words of the Lord are flawless,
like silver refined in a furnace of clay,
purified seven times.

7 O Lord, You will keep us safe
and protect us from such people forever.
8 The wicked freely strut about
when what is vile is honored among men.

This is from my NIV Life Application Study Bible that I use on a daily basis if you're wondering what translation this is. Although we study NKJV at worship services at our church which is a Calvary Chapel, I LOVE all of the notes and insights in my NIV. It really explains in depth how to apply the verses to modern life and other scriptures (of course) for further study.

April 18, 2011

A mish mash

Yesterday we got to go visit our precious new niece Austin at the hospital and she is simply to die for. I forgot how much I forgot about brand new babies. Does that make sense? Like, she is impossibly soft, smells like heaven, I instinctually wanted to nuzzle her or that 8lbs 4oz feels like holding air. Unfortunately, she has/ developed (hey, I'm no M.D.) bilirubin so she had to be under an intense light almost the entire time we were there. Gina explained that it's like having jaundice on the inside... And that there was some kind of reaction between Gina's and Austin's red blood cells. Shrug... We had to watch her get pricked for blood tests twice while we were there and while it was very sad, she has the sweetest little cry I've ever heard. How is it that baby girls are sooo enormously different than baby boys even at birth. It's wild to me. If we have a girl this time around, I will be on pins and needles to see what she looks like. Will she look like my nieces, who look so much like their dad (Matthew's brother?) Or will the look like my boys who are a decent mix of the two of us or would she look like me? So many possibilities! hahaha
Our day today has been pretty hum drum. School, yard work, Target and Trader Joes. Have I told you how much I love Trader Joes? I love Trader Joes. Only a few things we have to go to Target for. We can get like 99% of our stuff at TJ's. Just the usual running around, weekend stuff. In case you didn't know, Matthew's days off are Mon/Tues since he works at a church and thus Sat/ Sun are work days. Unfortunately, Matthew has a cold so that's been a bummer. Overall, A great day, though!

April 16, 2011

Welcoming a new Bennett!

The lovely Austin Jeanne Bennett joined our family today! She is absolutely perfect with the sweetest little nose and round cheeks, deliciously soft brown hair and, of course, blue eyes for now. She was born to my beautiful sister in law, Gina, and Matthew's brother, Mike. They sound quite sure that Austin completes their family of four, joining her sister, Brooklyn, who is not yet 2.
Happy Birthday, Sweet Girl!

Quiet time...

So, I just began Psalms again and everyday I'll read a chapter or two and a jot down notes or insights along the margins and, of course, pray. Well, the Lord is the Lord and He knew full well that beginning Psalms again was exactly where I needed to be. I cannot tell you how fortifying and encouraging His words are to my heart. And I've been blessed to share the Word fresh in my heart and mind during a time of need.
This week has been such a vivid example of how we are simply vessels made to be filled up so that we can pour into others.
I will just share a few short verses of what has been soo uplifting.

But You are a shield around me, O Lord;
you bestow glory on me and lift up my head.
To the Lord I cry aloud,
and He answers me from His holy hill.
Psalm 3:3,4

I will lie down and sleep in peace,
for You alone, O Lord,
make me dwell in safety.
Psalm 4:8

But let all who take refuge in You be glad;
let them ever sing for joy.
Spread Your protection over them,
that those who love Your name may rejoice in You.
For surely,O Lord, You bless the righteous;
You surround them with Your favor as with a shield.
Psalm 5:11,12

God is good all the time and all the time God is good.

April 15, 2011


I've recently realized as I've been researching cloth diapers that there are some serious cloth diaper giveaways on other blogs. This is not only FANTASTIC but educational as well. I've entered only 2 so far, including the following one. You still have till tomorrow to try for it. The prize includes:
* 2 bumGenius 4.0 diapers (snaps or velcro) (In winners choice of color and closure style)
* 1 package of six Thirsties Fab Wipes (In winners choice of color)
* 2 Sample Packets of Rockin Green Detergent
* 2 Sample Packets of Tiny Bubbles Detergent
* 2 Sample Packets of bumGenius Cloth Diaper Detergent
How cool is that? As a total novice cloth diaper-er (? hey, I claimed novice) to possibly win two cloth diapers some cloth wipes and samples of 3 different brands of cloth-diaper-specific detergents is pretty rad. What an excellent way to try different things out and see what works best!
So here's the link:

Please check them out, and good (wait, I don't believe in luck)...er...blessings!

April 13, 2011

New Curriculum!

Last year, I really wanted to use a Charlotte Mason method Christian curric. and found an excellent one called WinterPromise.
We homeschool through a local charter school and they will purchase up to $700of school stuff for you. They bought as much as they could but, being part of the public school system, they couldn't buy all of it because, of course, they can't buy "religious items." Although I initially planned to just buy the rest myself, time got away from me and it never happened. I either borrowed comparable items from the charter's resource center or had them buy acceptable items from Amazon. I loved everything that we got from WinterPromise and would highly recommend them to anyone. Here's just a small sample of what we got from WinterPromise.
However, through our process this year, I've learned so much about my boys and what they respond to best and how they most enjoy learning and we've decided to take a different route next year.
We will be using Calvert K for Autry and Calvert 1st for Milo. And honestly, I couldn't be more excited. It is a complete curriculum that our charter can purchase in full and it will make homeschooling the two big boys so much easier once I also have Fin plus a newborn. I had our EF (educational facilitator) order them today so we should have them before the summer and be ready to go next year. Woohoo!

April 12, 2011

Cloth Diapering

I have always wanted to try cloth diapers and with Milo I did for about a week and a half (I know, rockstar effort.) But with Milo I only had prefolds and no covers that fit correctly and simply gave up. I never tried again with Autry or Fin.
Well, after a lot of online research and a visit to a local baby boutique that has a cloth diaper sample station where you can try all of the different cloth diapers they sell on a baby doll and check them all out, I have come to a conclusion.
With this new baby, I plan to use gDiapers. I'm currently saving up for their gDiapers gBaby Bundle- small which contains 12 tiny gPants which are sized for newborns, 6 small Little gPants, 2 pkgs of small biodegradable gRefills (80 count) and a Swishstick. It's on sale at Target right now for $124 but I probably won't have enough before the sale is over so it'll likely cost me $150.
But I think it'll be worth it. If this is a girl and I have a shower, I'll register for the larger size and prefolds which I plan to use while at home. I think I'll only be using the gRefills when we're out and about.
Oh, and I discovered that there are also little liners that you can place on top of the prefolds to catch any "solids" and then you just throw that away and throw the wet prefold in the wash. Nice. These ones, are available at BabiesRUs @ $6.99 for 100 liners. Not bad!
Cloth diapers have come a long way since my Mom cloth diapered me. She never encouraged me to try it because she didn't have much fun. hahaha. I'm excited though.

April 10, 2011

Family birthdays

My cousin Dennis and his wife Olivia have two precious boys and their youngest, Luke, turned 1 yesterday! So, the boys and I piled in my Mom's Expedition for the drive up to Placentia, CA. It was sunny but VERY cold and breezy. There was a bouncy house that Milo and Autry took great advantage of but Fin avoided like the plague. And decorate-your-own cupcakes, and hot dogs and hamburgers and such. It was a really nice time and I'm glad we made it up there.
My clown-like "you did it" face and my cousin, Dennis with the Birthday boy, Luke, on the bouncy.
Autry and his cousin, Nathan.
Obviously, serious cupcake decorating going on.

April 8, 2011

Home improooovement

We bought our house almost a year ago, exactly. And of course, we've been fixing up a bunch of little (and a few big) things ever since. Well, Hubbs has recently gotten the itch again and in the last few weeks has finished painting the outside trim after painting the entire house last summer, tore down the old and built a brand new fence along the back of our property and tonight had a friend over to help replace a few of our oooold cheapy-cheap 1970's interior doors.
He bought 5 doors in all but they were only able to hang 3 tonight. Apparently as our house has "settled" over the years our door frames are no longer perfectly rectangular. So they've had to do a lot of cutting and sanding to make the doors fit into the frames.
But after all of their hard work we have 3 beautiful new doors and I couldn't be happier with the look of them.
I thanked them with carne asada tacos and all the sides they could eat and I hope that Harold can be persuaded to come again and help us out with more projects as they come up. He's such a nice and knowledgable, God fearing guy and we were blessed to fellowship with him tonight.
Yay!!! for home improvements!

April 6, 2011


So, truth be told, I haven't seen my natural hair color in at least a decade. I've been a red head for the last 5 years with varying shades from a mild strawberry blonde to a bold bright auburn but never straying too far from the realm of natural shades. The most unnatural colors I've had were blue-black and black cherry but not really all that rebellious.
Well, I've long envied the women who were bold enough to color their hair WHATEVER color they want, regardless of the social consequence.
So I decided to take the leap but keep it in my comfort zone with a bold red.
I picked this up at Walmart yesterday:
It was a two step process so first I bleached:
Then I colored:

And obviously the results were less than accurate....
However, I'm taking it in stride (despite feeling a lot like a My Little Pony) and I've decided to rock it for awhile.

April 3, 2011

Growing growing growing

Our current youngest, Finlay, turned 2 in February, is halfway potty trained (interpret however you like) and as of today is now in a big boy bed! He's gotten up a billion times simply because he can tonight but I know that will pass once the novelty wears off (we have done this before after all.) Oddly enough, he disappeared a little before lunch today and when I went looking for him, he was asleep in his bed! Wild! Spontaneous sleeping is considered WILD in our house. We'll see what tomorrow brings!

April 2, 2011

TV Free!

And FREE Indeed! We decided to unplug our tvs (and thus anything necessitating one) for lent because the kids tv/computer/video games habit had gotten very out of control during the last few months. I was a little nervous about how they'd react to be completely honest.
However, they have only asked to watch something once and since that one time have only asked every few days or so, "How many more days till Easter?" It's been like heaven. They're playing well together and reading more books and spending oodles of time outside where they belong, climbing and jumping and bug hunting, etc.
I'm ashamed to admit that there have been several times, though, that I have wished they'd just sit and watch a movie! Good grief! They are so fun and I am just a party pooper cause I'm so exhausted still and just can't keep up!
All in all, this has been the most wonderful experience and I'm praying about how to reintegrate small amounts of the activities that they've so readily given up if at all...
TV free.....?

April 1, 2011


I really enjoy reading my friends' blogs! And it makes me wish I could write as well or gather my thoughts and experiences in a way that is both fun and heartfelt. Or even that I could simply remember to blog about it all.
But that's where it gets wonky for me.
I am constantly struggling with guilt about getting online. If I want to get online I HAVE to do it while the kids are awake. I'm always careful to keep my time to no more than 15 minutes and to always know what my kids are doing and so on. I wish it were simpler to get on after the kids are asleep but it's just not. Because by then Matthew's home and I'm busy cleaning up the supper mess and other tornado stricken rooms before collapsing on the couch to try and spend a few meaningful moments with my husband each night.
Another thing I admire about my friends blogs are how comfortable they seem to be with putting their lives out there for the world to see. I on the other hand, am very uncomfortable with it. I'm not used to people knowing so much about me. But I'm working on opening up to people and I'm hopeful that finally committing to this blog that I've had for years will help with that.
So check back often, there will likely be something new to read!