Monday, August 26, 2013

Airport and The Park

Yesterday we took Matt to the airport for his 6 days in Southern Cali for training for his promotion.

Gabriella snuck a little stuffed monkey in Matt's suitcase when she was "helping" him pack. 

Morning snuggles with daddy!

At the airport after getting checked in. 

We spent the afternoon at my parents house and then headed to the church picnic at Indian Mary Park. 

Ariella tried out the kiddie swings

Cutest little man ever!!

Gabriella actually went down the "crazy noodle slide" for the first time ever! I took a picture so we could show it to daddy because he wouldn't believe she did it without a picture. 

Ariella came home with us and spent the night. Gabriella had lots of fun crawling all over her while she was trying to snooze on the couch....

Xander finally fell asleep in his bed!

Munch got to sleep on my floor since Ariella was in her room. It was a fun sleepover night!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Stuck and the Park

Matt is going to be leaving on Sunday for 5 days of training in Lake Forest for his new IT job!! (no, we aren't ready to spill the beans on specific details yet!). I am SO proud of him and how hard he has worked the last three years; working full time in Medford, commuting, having two kids, owning our own home and getting his bachelor's degree online!! Just can't brag about him enough!!

Anyways, Gabriella has been begging for days to go visit daddy at work and since he is going to be gone all next week I decided to run over today and surprise him!

We picked him up at lunch time and headed to the park to play. We ate in the car on the way over (leftovers from last night in Mason jars) and then were ready to play!!

Just hanging out with Daddy!
Xander is SO strong! He will hang onto bars for as long as you leave him there. 

Swinging with Daddy. I just love this picture! I love how Xander is so cuddled up to Matt and holding onto him so tight!

My sweet princess!!

Okay, so I tried to crawl into the kiddie swing (I had talked Chloe into getting into it last year) and thought it would be funny. It is made of hard plastic, not rubber like they usually are. I seriously got stuck and couldn't get out! I called for Matt to come help me get out and he took my phone out of my pocket and took a picture before helping me out. My knee got hurt SO bad from it! Ugh! Oh well, we had a good laugh over it and I will probably get stuck in another one again eventually....

Adventurous little man. He LOVES being outside!!

On our way to take Matt back to work I wanted to get a picture of us. He wanted to be silly, so I had to settle for this one. 

The kids and I ran to Natural Grocers and Trader Joe's after dropping Matt off (we hit Target on the way over. Hey, I gotta get some couponing in if we are going to Medford, lol!). We picked out a treat at TJ's. 

Xander LOVED his!
(I did not love cleaning up the mess!)

Sweet girlie! She talked Daddy into letting her wear his hat home when we dropped off his cupcake for him. I love how much my kids love their daddy!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Yesterday cousin James hung out with us all day. We all had a blast!

We picked James up at Auntie April's dental office and since it wasn't terribly hot out, I swung by the All Sports Park on our way home.

Gabriella was considerable more adventurous this trip. 

Boys on the slide

My beauty!

Little monkey!


Silly kids!

James managed to walk himself out that far on the bar with his arms. He was quite proud of himself. 

Xander wanted to hang too

Then he let go with one hand and hung on with just one for a good 20 seconds before I rescued him. 

Gabriella actually went down all the slides this time. 

After some crazy playing at home, the kids asked for a snack and all picked apples. 

James said, "Let's have a meeting." He was in the middle of telling everyone no hitting, no kicking, no punching, no smacking..." when both my kids started laughing. Gabriella started to kick him and Xander started punching, which led to lots of giggles and a repeat of the "meeting" several times over. 

Holding his apple like cousin James did. 

Triple bunk bed!

Time for some snuggles and rest while I cooked lunch. 

After about 45 minutes of "quiet time" we got out the wooden castle pieces. James built quite the tower. 

Gabriella is all packed and ready to move, lol!

Trying to pick up James when he was in the box. 

Xander had a short nap. He sat on the couch and ate some cheddar bunny crackers Uncle Jonathan had sent for a treat while he watched Gabriella and James play crazy with the boxes! 

They both managed to squeeze into the box together. 

It is always lots of fun when we get to spend time with cousin James!

Sunday, August 18, 2013


My parent's garden needed the tomatoes picked and no one wanted them. So I took them home and me and my "helpers" set to work dicing them up to can. 
The kids used butter knives to "cut" them. It mostly meant they smooshed them and then tossed big wads of them into the bowl of diced ones. 

Gabriella mostly eats everything she cuts up. She LOVES tomatoes!

Xander was very excited to get to help. This was his first time getting to use a knife. 

All done! We got 11 pints of fresh, organic, homegrown tomatoes canned up. They are so good to put in soups in the winter time!!

Tomatoes are SO easy to can! Dice them up, toss them in jars with 1 T of lemon juice (per pint) and then pressure cook at 11 pounds for 10 minutes (pressures vary by altitude so be sure to consult your pressure canner's book before you can them). Easy peasy! 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Fun at School and Gramma's House

Yesterday we ran a quick errand to Walmart and then out to the school to visit Gramma, Grampa and cousin James. 

My couponing trip. I made $.19 profit on $87 worth of products!!

Xander was helping Auntie Jill doing her computer work!

"We are just sitting together on the bench"

Mmmmmm, drinking fountain!
Xander loves to do things by himself now. After he got done getting himself a drink he got to run around shirtless because his shirt was soaked down to his belly-button!

James was making me a hamburger. Mmmmmm!

James had a runny nose and decided to be silly! 

James also made himself a new pair of shoes, lol!! Mom and I were laughing so hard watching him try and walk around in them! He is such a fun and silly kid! I'm so glad we have gotten to spend so much extra time with him this summer!!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

My Child is NOT a Monster!

I know that look well. The one that one parent gives another when my kid comes around to play. I've seen it too often. I've heard too many whispers about her behind my back, and heard too many comments about her behavior and the way I am raising her. I don't feel the need to "justify" myself or my children to others, but here is my response.

"She's so aggressive!"
She isn't aggressive, she knows what she wants and isn't afraid to do anything she wants to get it. She is going to be unstoppable when she gets older and learns how to control herself better. I see her as being determined, quick, and enthusiastic.

"What is up with all those emotional outbursts?"
Yes, all children have emotional outbursts. It's because they are children! When my child has an emotional outburst, I see it as being because she is so passionate and feels so strongly about something. I love encouraging her passions!

"Ugh, she is SO bossy!"
She isn't bossy, she has good leadership skills. The world needs leaders who are passionate, determined, who won't back down, who have a good foundation, and who have good morals and Godly character.

"She made my child start hitting."
My child is a leader. She is a trend-setter. She has a quality that makes others want to follow her. She is a teacher. She didn't "make" anyone do anything. I am raising children who know how to be leaders, not followers!

"Her words hurt my kid's feelings."
My child isn't perfect, no one's kid is, and no adult is. She is quick with her words and she is also quick with her apology. Her sensitive heart is quick to respond either one way or the other. Part of growing up is learning to respond first in love. She is still growing!

I have heard and seen a lot of negative words and treatment towards my "monster" child. It makes me sad. If we treated children the way we perceive them as behaving with our worldly eyes, they will never grow into the adults that God is calling them to be. We as parents HAVE to call out the gold in our children! We have to encourage their strong character qualities instead of always focusing on the negative side of their actions.

Next time you see someone's "monster child" on the playground or in Sunday School, take a moment and ask God what beneficial character quality they are expressing and then encourage their parent by saying that you saw their child acting that way, instead of whispering behind their backs about it. Raising an emotional, aggressive, bossy, hitting, quick worded kid is not easy.

 I am CHOOSING not to raise a monster, but to raise a Godly, passionate, unstoppable leader with a tender heart!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


Harry & David's has an annual Peach-a-palooza event where they sell about a million peaches for uber cheap by the pound. This year we decided to head over and give it a try!

Jonathan, April and I got up at 4:30 and headed over to Medford all squeezed into the front bench seat in my dad's tiny truck, lol!

(I got this picture from the Harry & David facebook page)

They rope part of the parking lot off, fill it with bins and bins of peaches. Then at 7 am they yell, "go!" and everyone runs (yes, runs) to the bins and starts loading like crazy into their boxes, bags, carts, etc. By 7:12 am we were standing in line with two shopping carts and a wagon completely filled! 396 pounds of peaches for just under $60!

Then we had the most hilarious drive home! I think it was partly due to the fact that we were half-asleep still, crammed into a tiny truck, and knew that we had just bought 400 pounds of peaches that we had to head home and do something with. We laughed the entire way home, complete with an impromptu song from Jonathan about the dangers of drinking alcohol. 

My kids were happy to see me (they had just gotten up and were still in jammies eating breakfast) and I immediately set to work on a batch of jam. 
My food processor was a life saver!! 

Gabriella helping me stir the peach puree that was going to be jam. As much as she makes messes when she is "helping" me with things, I would prefer to clean up the mess and explain to her what I am doing so that she is exposed to and grows up learning about these kinds of things. It's important to me to know that she is learning life skills. 

First batch of jam is on! 
(I make all my jams sugar-free with no sweetener. I use Ball Low Sugar/No Sugar Pectin. It works great!)
Here is my recipe for peach jam:
Per Pint you need
2 cups fruit (smooshed or pureed)
1/3 cup 100% fruit juice (I like to put orange with peach)
1/2 T lemon juice

Next it was Xander's turn to help mommy. He did a good job handing me peaches that were soaking in the sink when I needed one. 

Matt taste testing the giant bowl of peach sauce that I made. This bowl ended up making 17 pints of peach sauce (like apple sauce) sweetened with just a smidge of organic agave. 

A picture of the sliced peaches and peach jam that Jonathan and April made. 

All in all, after giving away 3 grocery bags full of peaches from my 200 pounds, I made 17 pints of peach sauce, 7 pints of peach rum sauce, 21 cups of peach jam, 6 quarts of sliced frozen peaches, and 14 quarts of sliced canned peaches. We are set on peach products for the year, lol! 

I am so thankful that my parents raised us being exposed to home survival/self-sustaining techniques. I love that making and canning jam is not a huge scary task to me. And I am super thankful for a husband who doesn't mind that I brought home 200 pounds of peaches!!