I am wife to a magnificent man and mother to five wonderful children. Three of my children were born in the Northwest and two were born thousands of miles away in Liberia, West Africa. Birthplace is no matter, all of my children were born in my heart. This is our journey.

Monday, May 31, 2010


Today we went to the cemetery where my daughter and father-in-law are buried. It was decked out with flags along the perimeter and roadways. The cemetery is normally cleaned up and mowed the week before but the flags were a new and beautiful tribute this year.

This cemetery is outside of a little town we used to live in when our daughter was born. When Steve's dad passed away it made sense to the family that he would be buried next to her. A fact that comforted me when we moved from that little town. I know she's not really there but there was a part of me that felt like I was deserting her when we re-located.
It is so pretty up in the cemetery on the hill and the view is breath-taking in almost every direction.

We placed flowers and admired the flags that were placed next to each head stone of someone who had served in the military. Steve's dad served in the Korean War and had one of those flags. Someone had been there before us, presumably from the family, and added some flowers to our little girl's place as well as several small flags in front of Steve's dad's stone.

May we never forget.

Happy Birthday to You!

We celebrated Steve's birthday this last week.

I had a lot of fun working on some little surprises with the kids.

The kids decorated with streamers, chains and snowflakes. Not sure why the snowflakes other than they knew how to make them, but it worked.

I made one of his favorite cakes for dessert. White cake with whipped cream frosting and strawberries.

I think it's safe to say he really liked the cake.

I think we had as much fun celebrating him as he did enjoying his birthday. Happy Birthday, hon!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The calendar says it is spring...

...but the weather is looking otherwise. We got our garden in and now it is so saturated I can barely walk in it.

Since we can't be in the garden we have found plenty of other projects to keep ourselves busy.

Like splitting a huge pile of bark into two piles. We went in with our neighbors to order enough to avoid paying for delivery.

It's so nice having good friendly neighbors to do things like this with. We are grateful for such great neighbors in our neck of the woods.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Heart for Adoption

Do you have a heart for adoption? Are you looking for a way to care for the orphan? There are so many ways to do that other than the obvious of having adopted children in your home. Things such as walking along side another family emotionally, taking in meals in those first few tender months, committing to praying for adoptive families, giving respite to weary parents giving lots with little in return in those first days and sometimes for years, giving financially and the list goes on. Storing Up Treasures is doing something called 10K in 20 Days. They have selected 26 families working towards giving children families to call their own. You can donate a little or more than a little. It doesn't matter. Anything to get those kids in loving families helps. Someone came forward and paid 3/5 of our adoption nearly ten years ago. Those two kids have added so much to our lives so we are asking any of you who read this small blog if you are so led to go over to their blog and donate to this cause. Adoption is near and dear to my heart and I love to pay it forward in this way. Would you help us do that? Go to this page for more information.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


I have always really enjoyed having birds around. I love hearing them sing and watching them build their nests. Well, today they are wearing out their welcome. All of my lettuce that was coming up is gone as well as half of my cucumber plants and a few peppers. I have been able to turn over some planting containers over the remaining small plants until they get bigger to protect them but we are still working on a solution for the salad garden. Ugh. So annoying.

Monday, May 17, 2010

And so it begins...the four W's.

Watering, weeding, watching and waiting. I'll take you on a little tour of the food growing on our property from east to west. Our house faces the south. The back of the house faces north.
That's the salad raised bed above on the north/eastern side behind the house. It has radishes, spinach, lettuce greens, cilantro and green onions in it.
Moving west along the northern fence we have the strawberry bed that is looking very good this year. It is starting to fill in and each plant is loaded with blooms and berries. I can almost smell the jam.

Here on the western side of the property lies the main family garden. It is about 20' X 25'. Each of the kids have their own small plot. These three squares above are the plots for the youngest three in our family.

There are the tomatoes under their green house tent. First we lay down black plastic, then cut holes and plant the tomatoes. Next we place tomato cages over each plant and lay down a long soaker hose. We then cover it with a semi-transparent plastic and clothes pin it at the tops and bottoms of the cages. Our tomatoes will get a fantastic head start this way. You can see pictures step by step from a previous year here.

I took the picture above from the garden bench Steve built me last year on the side of the garden shed. It's a great vantage point to sit in the shade and watch my garden grow. Behind the tomato tent lies the two older kids' garden areas. They are older and have a little bigger area to work with than the younger ones. On the right side behind the tent is a small area for dill, rasberries and broccoli plants. The potato bed is on the western side of the garden running north to south. In front of the tomatoes you can see the two double rows of green beans. (Well you really can't see the beans yet but you can see the area.) Just south of the green beans are the two beds of carrots and to the right of that is the pepper bed. We have 18 pepper plants this year. Last year we had 8 and we had just enough for salsa and a little eating. We also love to make shish-ka-bobs and stir fry so decided to increase how many plants we have. Finally we have the cucumber mounds in the south end of the garden that run west to east. We hope to have 16 plants again this year to make all of the pickles from. You may notice the walk-ways between the veggies areas. They are just the right size for a small narrow tiller we have access to. We will use it every few weeks to till between the rows keeping the garden looking neat. There is something so nice about an attractive garden free of weeds. I am quite happy to have all of our plants in this early. Now on to the watering, weeding, watching and waiting. I love it!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

This man

This man...
...(while I was out grocery shopping and unaware) got all of the laundry caught up before he went on a business trip last week.
...helped me plant my salad garden, potatoes and Mother's Day flowers when he got back from said business trip.
...made me breakfast and lunch on Mother's Day.
...gives all that he has at work even when he doesn't feel like it.
...listens to me ramble on about nothing.
...isn't afraid to do "women's work" and in the process makes himself look like a real man.
...lives out the definition of team work in our marriage.
...shows the kids on a daily basis what a good husband looks like.
...in light of tight finances helped me plant flowers from seed for the yard this year.
...comes home after a long day and makes dinner when it looks like my day might have been just as long.
...loves me like no one else could.
And this woman is grateful.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

Wishing all of you mothers and those wishing to be mothers time with your loved ones today.

I will be hanging out with my blessings in the backyard today.

Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Fruit and my kids

It's really hard for me to keep fruit in the house around here. It is a great snack and the kids love it. Five kids eating fruit twice a day = 10 pieces of fruit per day. Of course, then Steve and I eat some as well. Being busy daily means I don't have time to run to the store all the time as well as the expense in the winter time means less fruit buying that time of year. About five years ago we came up with solution of canning fruit in the summer when it's fresh and less expensive.

Canning the fruit is really quite simple. Normally I don't can pears until summer but our local fruit guy got a shipment in and at $.37/lb who was I to argue?
The clincher for me was that doing it now means I won't need to do it while I am in the middle of green beans and pickling cucs.

We are often given pears that time of year and if we are I will still can them then. But this way, the pressure is off. Three hours with my two oldest and we put up 28 quarts of pears. I will still can some this summer if we get them but I won't feel like I need to process every last one for later. I have a head start!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Parenting is hard

Can I be honest? Even when I know the right thing to do parenting is still hard. Allowing my kids to experience things they need to really bites. Sometimes I want to swoop in and take the hit but that's not always what is best. I can't be God in their lives; I can only point the way. (That may or may not include uncomfortable circumstances. For instance, I now have a very clean back deck.)

Just today I explained to two of my children that I can bring discipline but the change of heart is up to them. What they choose to learn from the discipline isn't up to me. I know what I would like them to take away from the lesson but in the end it's they who have to either accept or reject my correction.

Having a teachable spirit is easier said than done, even for us adults. One minute I am explaining the concept and the next I am living it out. Or not. Ouch.

Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid. (Yikes!)Proverbs 12:1

Monday, May 3, 2010

How do you teach all five kids?

I get this question from time to time. It really can be a challenge at times but there are some things that work for me. For instance, I have two fifth graders and a fourth grader. I am able to teach them some subjects like science and history together making my job easier. I am even able to include my second grader in some of those activities.

I try to use my children's strengths when schooling. One example is that my second grader is a little mother. She was born believing that she has the answers. Wink, wink. This personality can be a challenge sometimes and there are occasions where I have to remind her that only one mother is needed in our house. On the flip side that personality can also be a valuable asset. When I have a subject or activity that I need to do with the older kids I will send her with a Science reader and her little brother to the family room. Here she will "teach" him from her reader. They do the activities together, she learns, gets her reading done and our youngest is read to. It's win-win. Sometimes getting it all done includes delegation. I am still the primary teacher but I try to use the strengths of my kids to all of our advantage.