Week thirty-two of fun and crazy

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Another week to find the glory of the Lord everywhere!

As I personally know how hard it can be to conceive a child, and keep a child alive in your body, these precious ones are just that – precious gifts.

IMG_4726 My husband took the oldest to cub scout camp on Sunday through Tuesday.

Me and my little ones.This meant that I took care of the youngest two at home, along with my dad, their nanny while I’m at work.

This is my friend, SASSHOLES (on Instagram.) I don't make this stuff up.

This is my friend, SASSHOLES (on Instagram.) I don’t make this stuff up.

I had a secret meeting on Tuesday at work that I wasn’t looking forward too, so I invited my younger-than-me friend to come over for some drinks and a time to swoon over Chris Pratt in Guardians of the Galaxy.  She let me tell her all about my problem, and I was reminded how wonderful it was to even have this problem.  I am so thankful for her!  She blessed me when I needed it.

My love and my oldest boy came home on Tuesday, and I got to tell my husband the crazy news that I had to justify my position at my workplace.  We were given one week to respond to the Director of the Department.  After meetings with the fellow Resident Engineers who were going to be affected by the possible change, we agreed on a game plan and on Friday, I sent my letter to the Director to keep my position.  I have no worries at all about losing my job, just my arbitrary title (hence position) in the workplace.

At the end of this mess, I’ll still be an Engineer, I’ll still have a job, and I’ll still be the person the Lord meant for me to be, a mommy of three beautiful children which is way more important than working for a place that can’t see the value of their college-educated Resident Engineers.

But I digress from the crazy week….

peeling carrotsWe pulled about six carrots from the garden, three of which were my princess’s carrots she planted with her pumpkin plant.  I taught her how to use a peeler, and she reluctantly ate her carrots with a good helping of ranch.  I think I ate the majority of them in my salads throughout the week.

My beautiful table-ruined! My princess thought it would be good to stamp my white table on Wednesday.  MY WHITE TABLE! ARGH!

Thankfully though, Mr. Clean Magic Eraser does much of what it says – including get stamp ink off of painted white table tops.  A picture of the cleaned surface is below.

Many things happened on Friday and Saturday.

My oldest made Star Wars binoculars from Legos.

My oldest made Star Wars binoculars from Legos.

I placed my dried pepper seeds into packets to plant next year.

I placed my dried pepper & chile seeds into packets to plant next year.

Homemade pizza sauce using fresh roma tomatoes,  oregano & thyme from the garden was made for the zucchini crust pizza.

Homemade pizza sauce using fresh Roma tomatoes, oregano & thyme from the garden was made for the zucchini crust pizza.

A picture of our zucchini crust pizza.  Alas, I did not grow my own zucchini this year....

A picture of our zucchini crust pizza. Alas, I did not grow my own zucchini this year….

I had collected pepper seeds from store bought green and red peppers, jalapenos, and homegrown chilies given to us.  I let them dry for about a week on a paper towel, and printed out seed packets to keep them in until next year.

 I also used this recipe to make zucchini crust pizza and homemade pizza sauce.

I had to modify the recipe slightly because our oven doesn’t go up to 550-degrees as the recipe calls for, and I added almond flour instead of regular flour, due to my low-carb eating habits.

The real kicker to the recipe is the sauce.  Except for using small Roma tomatoes, I used all the other ingredients, including fresh thyme and oregano.  It-was-amazing.

Our oldest remembered that we saved a hot wheels track in the garage - so we pulled that out to play with this weekend.

Our oldest remembered that we saved a hot wheels track in the garage – so we pulled that out to play with this weekend.

I tried out a new crochet pattern to use up some yarn I have laying around....

I tried out a new crochet pattern to use up some yarn I have laying around….

We save many toys in boxes in the garage.  For some unknown reason, the oldest wanted to play with the hot wheels track set he got years and years ago.  It’s probably been in the garage for at least two years.

We took the box out on Saturday and it has been well used for the past couple days as I write this post.  I’m glad we saved it.

I also tried a new crochet pattern to use up some yarn I have laying around.  I was very grateful to find a pattern on Ravelry (become my friend there!)  The pattern itself is called The Wool Eater Blanket by Sarah London.  It works up pretty quickly and I’m using Sensations Beautiful yarn with a size K hook.  I don’t know what I’m going to do with it once I’m done, but that’s not why I crochet anyway.

The last exciting news I have to show you is my daughter’s pumpkin plant.

This is what it looked like last week, vs. this week.

Saturday, August 1, 2015 pumpkin

Saturday, August 1, 2015 pumpkin

Saturday, August 8, 2015 pumpkin.

Saturday, August 8, 2015 pumpkin.

I had no idea what to expect.  I have never grown pumpkins.  It’s getting big, it’s already beautiful, and I pray every day that one of the critters we’re fighting for our food won’t pull it out for itself.

Have a great week coming up friends!


Week thirty-one of fun & crazy

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Bo on the Go!

We start out with last Sunday, when we had the triplet cousins over the house for the weekend.

That day, I found out my brother’s suburban that he left me to take the triplets to the church LOCKED when all the doors were closed and the keys were in the ignition.  The car was ON, running with AC, so don’t think I’m a bad auntie, but it was a terrifying 20-minutes waiting for triple A to show up. The triplets seemed fine.  I almost vomited.

My brother picked up his kids, and let me know that he keeps a key hidden under the vehicle because he’s done it before too….

That would have been nice to know BEFORE SUNDAY!

Anyway, the entire weekend was great being with them, and they watched Bo on the Go from Netflix.  (How can one NOT have Netflix nowdays?)

My big one moved up in swim class!

My oldest moved up in swim class this week!

 Monday’s are swim class for my two oldest.  The biggest of the little people got moved up to another class, which also means I had to change the time.  Oh well, at least he knows how to swim.  They have this neat ritual where the swimmers who move up in their levels get a medal and ring big bells.  It’s all very exciting and a good way to celebrate in a 30-second time frame.

My shadow at one of my project sites.

My shadow at one of my project sites.

I took this photo on one of the roads we were chip sealing.  I put this photo on Instagram, where I go into detail about how my job is probably going to change.  It was hard at first to grasp this possibility, but as the week went on, people were praying for me, and I kept analyzing it and mulling over the possibilities, I’m ready for a big <secret> meeting next week that will be a change in my life, no matter what the powers that be tell us.

I am a realist you know.  This is as real as it gets.

To my children: Jobs don’t stay still.  You need to acknowledge that people who run businesses and are in management can do what they need to survive and thrive.

I just hope it’s the right thing to do.  That’s where I’m struggling.  I don’t trust the management where I’m at.  I don’t leave though because the job is a good one, and I don’t need the drama of changing things, unless I can’t handle the people that I work with.  So far, that’s been a blessing.  The people that surround me are reasonable and decent.  Management, eh, that’s just a different story all together.

 HWYQUEEN

I think one of the coolest things about working in the field is to meet very interesting people.  The owner of this license plate is a female traffic control person, who stands at the beginning or end of a project and helps direct traffic.  She stands almost all day in the hot sun, and I can’t even imagine the stories she would have to tell of her adventures as a female in a male dominated industry and she’s not even an Engineer!  At least I get to go home every night.  On this project, she and her fellow crew members live in hotels during the week, something I DO NOT ENVY at all.

It truly makes me feel blessed.

My oldest left us for the first time ever with his grandma to go see his cousins.  I only have the one photo that was sent to me from grandma.  These are the times though that I know he won’t forget.

Breakfast with the cousins away from mom & dad. =)

Breakfast with the cousins away from mom & dad. =)

Beautiful tomatoes from our garden!

Beautiful tomatoes from our garden!

These beauties came off our Roma tomato plant in our urban garden from our backyard.  I planted our seeds late for our San Marzano plants, but this was a purchased organic plant from the store.

We made my mom’s recipe of salsa, which I haven’t made in over a year, at least.

This is another one of those things I hope to post on the blog someday, but until then, here’s photos of some of the ingredients.

salsa ingredients

Opened up the new watermelon knife this week!

Opened up the new watermelon knife this week!

I finally opened up my new watermelon knife I received as a prize from Instructables for winning a contest last year.  (Don’t judge me for not opening it.)

 

Cutting the watermelon with a watermelon knife is incredibly easy.

Cutting the watermelon with a watermelon knife is incredibly easy.

I tried making watermelon jelly, again, and it still came out runny.  I will get this recipe right before the end of the summer!

I give props to the makers of watermelon knives.  You don’t know how nice it is to have one, until you have one.

As for the jelly, well, I’m still working on it.  The recipe seems so easy, yet I can’t get it to stay solid for the life of me and I think it’s all about the reduction of it.

The last thing we did for the week was go to my uncle’s house for a family get-together.  Like my husband reminded me, we will not regret spending time with family.  He’s so wise.  Even if there’s ten-million other things to do.

Family time fun.

Having fun with the family is time we will not regret.

Keep it real friends!


Week thirty of Fun & Crazy

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So week thirty started out in the Huntington Lake Campground (where we hope to stay again) and ended at home with a total of six-children in our house!

We had a fantastic Cub-Scout camp at Huntington Lake where the boys earned a couple badges and worked on a hiking requirement. My oldest also earned his credit for “making a fire.”

Kids on rock at Huntington CampgroundFrom Cub Scout camp, my husband and my oldest headed over to Yosemite Bible Camp (YBC) in Oakhurst, and I proceeded to take my two youngest home to drop off clothes and bedding.  I ended up being completely exhausted (of course) but felt like eating a good cheat-meal, so I took them to John’s Incredible Pizza.  Yes, this also means I was all by myself during the week taking care of my two little ones.

My kiddos on the Frog Hopper ride at the Pizza place.

My kiddos on the Frog Hopper ride at the Pizza place.

Before leaving the house, I made a small game plan of what I would prepare for dinner for myself.  My husband is the chef in the family so I use recipes from the internet, usually pinned ones from Pinterest because I can’t just throw things together to save my life.

I made a recipe from my Healthy Eats Board, called Avocado, Chicken and Walnut Salad from Kayotic Kitchen.  I didn’t buy the parsley, but other than that, the recipe was a TOTAL SUCCESS! Definitely a Pinterest win.

Avaocado Chicken Walnut SaladI think one of the best accomplishments of the week was completing the Instructable for my Darth Vader Purse.  I ended up finishing the purse in one night during the week and wanted to enter the Fandom Contest over at Instructables.  (Shameless plug: If you’re a member and have a minute, please vote for me!)

Watermarked purseOther awesome stuff that I learned about and that happened –

I made bacon in the oven for the first time.  I couldn’t believe that I had never made it that way before, even though I heard about it.

Oven bacon in ovenOven BaconI almost feel sheepish about writing it on the blog, because I know many people have always cooked bacon that way, but hey, this is reality and I just learned to do it this week.  You better bet I will only cook it this way from now on.  I got my recipe from Pinterest (of course) from the site: Today’s Mama.

I made watermelon jam (it looked more like jelly to me) this week to use up my frozen watermelon juice.  I got the recipe from Blondie’s Cakes.  It only took four ingredients and I’m all about simple jelly’s or jams. I’ll be making it again, basically because I love things that are both tangy and sweet and this watermelon jelly has a hard-to-describe flavor.

Watermarked Watermelon JellyI learned that there are auctions on Instagram where you can bid on things so people can raise money for certain causes.  I bid on one such auction a couple weeks ago and opened up one of my packages from Kiwi and Hope. The owner, Kiah, is one of my internet-friends that I met in a mutual group of bloggers & hustlers that get things done.  If you have time, stop on over at her shop to see some of her latest purses and clutches, as she donates a portion of her sales to orphan care and adoption causes.  I won this adorable pineapple purse and key-fob, as well as a delicious organic chocolate, that I confess I ate the entire bar in one evening.  Kiwi and Hope auction giftThank you for allowing me to give you some internet love Kiah!

Lastly, and keeping in mind that I was by myself on Friday and half of Saturday, I took on the task of helping my brother and sister-in-love out by taking their triplets for a few days for them to get away with their friends.

On Friday we had nachos as shown here, which no-one, including my own children, really enjoyed.  They all wanted chips with no sauce.  Ugh.

Triplets at our houseWe had them all the way through Sunday, and I was very glad when my brother and sister-in-law came to get them.  I love these children more than anything, but it’s a great reminder of how blessed I really was to be given three souls to take care of!

I leave you with a picture of my daughter’s pumpkin plant. Of all the things I’ve grown in gardens in my relatively short lifetime, I’ve never tried to grow pumpkins.  Here’s to the amazing world, and I pray this pumpkin grows big for her.  She’s worth it!

Princess Pumpkin072415


How We Made Our Fairy Garden

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DIY Fairy Garden for moms & daughtersOn my best days, I do crafts with my children.

Some crafts, as we all know, require patience, time, and a certain amount of creativity – but this is especially true when working with children.

My daughter is five years old as I write this blog post.  She and I spent some time together planning, finding pieces for and putting together the Fairy Garden pictured in this blog post.

As with most things, she had asked me weeks ago to create a fairy garden with her and in my kind-of “oh I hope she forgets about it” attitude, she continued to ask me to make one with her and in a slow work week, it finally happened.

My first stop (as with most projects) is Pinterest.

I think on a Wednesday evening, I sat her down at my computer and typed in “fairy garden.”

I ended up pinning a link from Homedit: Magical Fairy Garden Designs.

On Thursday we went to the craft store and picked out various odds and ends for the fairies to have as part of the little garden area.  The store I took her too had a huge clearance on Spring items, so the most expensive thing was the birdhouse she picked out for the fairies to live in.

She painted the birdhouse with her favorite colors and of course, “colors that the fairies like” as she told me.  I have glitter paint from a previous project, and she added that over the dried colors over the next couple days.

Painting the fairy house At some point in the week I took my daughter to the local garden/hardware store and purchased a small six-pack of Scottish Moss.  I re-used an 12-inch diameter pot that I had been keeping around and we already had the soil.

Moss & Pot

We started the process by adding the painted fairy house to the dirt area first.

place the large objects

Next we placed the moss around the house.

remove the mossplace moss

My daughter used her fingers to dig up a spot for the moss prior to placing it.

The next step was to place the odds and ends we found at the craft store.

The fence was placed first, around the house.

The fence was placed first, around the house.

My daughter placed the other accessories for the fairy garden in various places, including an ice chest (my favorite) and a lantern.

My daughter placed the other accessories for the fairy garden in various places, including an ice chest (my favorite) and a lantern.

I think the best thing about my daughter placing all the accessories was that her idea of what a home would look like came shining through.  She didn’t want bugs or butterflies per-Se, but she liked the ladybugs on the teeter-totter. She also liked the ice chest and picked out a ceramic fairy so that the “real fairies” know it’s safe to go in there.

I needed to do this with her.

~~~ I just didn’t know I needed to do this with her until after it was complete. ~~~

Fairy House Close-UpWe added the sign that fairies were welcome into the moss so it could stand up on it’s own.

I am so thankful that I took the time to create the garden with her.  She’s five.  It’s a hard thing for me to remember in my late 30’s what it’s like to be with my mom, let alone remember when I was five what it was like to be told “No, sorry honey. We can’t afford to do that” or “I don’t have the time.”

I made the time to do this with her and I’m so glad I did.

Blessings to those who read this.  I hope you can make your own. 😉


Sweet & Tangy Tomato Jam

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Sweet & Tangy Tomato JamSometimes having too many tomatoes is a good thing!

I have all the cheesy lines memorized for healthy living:

Nothing’s better for you than homemade!

With homemade, you know what’s in it!

and

Healthy eating starts with fresh ingredients.

The lines could go on and on for healthy eating.

You know what makes healthy eating difficult for me?  Spending time making it.

I’ve got three precious little ones to take care of, a husband, two dogs and aging parents.  It’s seemingly impossible to set three-to-four hours aside to make homemade-anything, let alone tomato jam.

But I did it. And I made it twice.  It was that good and totally worth it to use up the tomatoes growing in our backyard.

 June 25th - our first harvest of tomatoesOur first harvest of tomatoes

We were still thankfully harvesting tomatoes in July, and had a bowl full of them that weighed in at just over 5-lbs.

Five lbs of harvested, homegrown tomatoesThe recipe I whipped up this tomato jam from is here.

How do I describe tomato jam?  Well, it’s pretty much like ketchup, but 1000 times better.

This jam has a small kick to it so my children didn’t care for it much, but I couldn’t stop eating it because it’s just all the flavor’s I love – spicy from the chili flakes, sweet with honey, tangy with the ginger, and above all, it’s made out of tomatoes!  I love tomatoes.

These are of course, all my original photos and recipe card made for your use, based off of the link above.


The first thing you do is finely chop up the five pounds of tomatoes.  As I cut them by hand, this process alone took at least 30-minutes and with kids asking me for things throughout the entire process, I think it took me about an hour to cut them all up.

Finely chop tomatoesI cut the tomatoes in half and then in small slivers.  Most of the photos are from the first batch.  (The second batch was more chopped up in chunks, and that came out just as awesome.)

Next you place the chopped up tomatoes in a pan.  I used a stock pot because I was too lazy to clean my large wide pan.  (I’m not kidding.)

Add chopped tomatoes to pan

Add all ingredients togetherAdd all the other ingredients – 2-1/2 cups honey, 1/2 cup bottled lime juice, 1 tablespoon sea salt, 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger, 1 tablespoon red chili flakes, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves.

Mix everything up and begin the cooking. Mix prior to cooking thouroughly

After the mixture comes to a roiling boil, set it on medium low and simmer.  STIR IT about every 15 to 30 minutes.  I set a timer for 15-minutes every time I went to stir it.  All that work and I certainly wasn’t going to let it burn.

Mine took close to 2 and a half hours to finally look like the photo below.

Tomato Jam is ready to can!

The first batch I placed in 16 oz Ball Mason Jars to eventually give away to friends and family to test out.  I did not seal the jam and made that clear when I gave the samples out that it had to be refrigerated and eaten right away.

 Non-canned tomato jam

I canned the second batch and ended up with five –8 oz. Ball canning jars and one full pint to eat.The second batch of jam I made getting canned.I am in no way, shape or form familiar with canning food.  I used the internet to help me, specifically this site: Canning Tomatoes on Instructables.

Five are now sitting in the pantry waiting for Christmas to be given away and the sixth one was consumed over the course of a month.  Happy to say it was good to the last spread of it!

Canned tomato jam

Total time involved – After chopping all the tomatoes I would say it took me a good four hours to get this recipe down.  There’s almost no way to mess it up though, unless you burn it.

I used this spread for a substitute for ketchup in many recipes, specifically for a couple crock pot ones.  I also spread it on crackers for snacks with cream cheese, and took it to a potluck where it got a great response.

I was surprised that some people were reluctant to try it!  I just told them that it was like a tangy version of ketchup, and a few co-workers told me that hadn’t tasted anything like it.  That’s the kind of stuff I like to make – surprisingly good.  Tomato Jam Recipe Card

Let me know if you try it and as always, thanks for reading!

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10 Things to try to save those fresh garden tomatoes

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10Things to Save TomatoesI am so excited about our first crop of tomatoes grown in our tiny backyard garden.

We’ve had non-fruitful strawberry plants so far but the tomatoes…  I looked at these plants the other day and told myself “Yikes!” What are we going to do with all of those tomatoes?

Here’s our little progession of growth. Just planted tomatoes - March 15th

May 7th tomato growth

May 16th tomato growth May 23rd tomato growth

June 25th - our first harvest of tomatoes

The coolest thing about having home grown, backyard tomatoes is to eat them with the knowledge that they were untainted with pesticides and are as fresh as they could possibly be off the vine.

I don’t want them to go to waste!

We will be giving them away to family and friends, as well as sharing plenty of salsa at the summer time potlucks, but there’s just so many tomatoes coming off these six plants!

Here are the ten things I plan on doing with these tomatoes.

1.  Enjoying one with a salad or as a side EVERY DAY. 

The health benefits to eating a salad everyday are indescribable so I will choose to use those delicious fruits to get my salad into my daily diet.  But the days where I’m just lazy and cut it up and eat it straight are more likely.

2.  Cook with the fresh tomatoes where I can in “everyday meals.” 

You know the type – where you cook some chicken and veggies, and decide to throw in a cut up tomato – because you can.

Tomatoes are a power food.  Cooked tomatoes release lycopene and from what my trainer tells me and what I read around the net, it’s something my body can do amazing things with.

Instructables has a great resource for Easy Tomato Recipes that I will be checking out in the near future too.

3.  Make fresh salsa.

One of the blessings of having my mother around still is that she makes this terrific pico-de-gallo type of salsa, with hand chopped tomatoes, green onions, red onions, jalepenos, cilantro, lemon juice and salt.  Seven ingredients that can last about four-five days in the fridge and can be served on anything from eggs to tacos to eating straight from the bowl.  (Seriously, we’ve done it.)

4.  Learn to make dried tomatoes.

I found this set of instructions that not only look easy, but sun-dried tomatoes are one of my favorite things to eat.  Oh yeah, they can be used in recipes too.

5.  Make my own sauces.  For my house, I will probably learn how to make spaghetti sauce first.

An apparently time-consuming process, I found a great resource on Food.com to make my own spaghetti sauce that I want to try.  My guess is that I will have 12 cups of tomatoes at some point, and it will be worth the 2 to 3 hours to learn to make this sauce.

6.  Make and freeze tomato soup.

The resources are incredibly abundant on the subject but I found these recipes I am going to have to read more about later.

Pinterest Search Results for tomato soup

Tomato Soup Search on Instructables

7.  Make tomato jam.

I have never even heard of this until I started searching Pinterest.  The Garnish with Lemon blog has a recipe for Sweet and Tangy Tomato Jam that sounds so good, I may have to try to make it before anything else on this list.  Maybe.

8.  Buy some bacon.  Make BLT’s.

Bacon is one of those foods that everything goes with.  [EVERYTHING!]

If I knew it weren’t so bad for my health, I would eat it every day.  Along with my tomatoes.  (I’m not kidding.)

I have to do this at least once this summer, just to say I did it.  Oh and I skip the bread and use whole wheat tortillas.  It’s part of the life style change we’ve adopted now.

9.  Make some freezer meals to throw in the crock pot.

Why haven’t I done this already you ask?  Because I’m blessed to have the most amazing husband in the world that cooks as long as I clean.  (And I’m not very good at that anyway.)  It’s awesome.

But, he’s not always home and eating out shouldn’t really be an option when he’s gone.  I found this blog with recipes of meals the mom has tried and tested, straight from the freezer into the crockpot.  Sounds like a win-win to me.  I will be replacing all the “canned” tomatoes with my fresh version of course but the freezer part will stay the same.  I’m sure Pinterest will be a great resource as well.

10.  Learn to can tomatoes.

Do I need a new Presto 01781 23-Quart Pressure Canner and Cooker to can?  Maybe, but probably not.

Here are the resources I found:

Instructables Guide to Canning Tomatoes

How To Preserve Tomatoes by Mom Prepares

Plus, I get to learn a new life skill.  That’s a bonus right there.

Cheers and happy-full-bellies to you this summer!


Making Stick Crosses – Day 5 of Resurrection Crafts

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Resurrection Garden with CrossesThis is the fifth day of my 12 Days of Resurrection Crafts series.

Day five from the Resurrection Eggs Easter craft comes from Matthew 27:2, and is represented by rope.

For this craft, we tied the stick crosses together for our Empty Tomb Garden.

We found the sticks outside. found our sticks outsideWe used beading twine (similar to this: )to tie the sticks into crosses. beading twine and sticks

I first broke the sticks into smaller pieces to make the cross. broken sticks

My oldest child understood how to hold the sticks together so that we could tie them, but the 4-year old and 3-year old did not know how to do this.  Thankfully, I was able to tie them together myself.

img_0735

img_0737After wrapping the twine around the sticks about fifteen to twenty times total in the various directions, we tied a double knot to close it up.

finished crossI had my kiddos place the crosses where they wanted to in our little garden.  The whole project took less than fifteen minutes.

As always, I hope you’re having fun!

Bibles.com


Five fun things to Welcome Spring

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5 Fun Things to do to Welcome SpringWe have had a beautiful winter in the Central Valley of California.  There have been more days than not where it “felt” like Spring was already upon us, and I wanted to take full advantage of it when the time changed in early March.

Our families top five things to do to welcome Spring became more than five things, but there are so many lists of ten and twenty things to do, that I kept it simple.  If there was only five things, what would those be?

Here’s our list, and I hope you get to make your own list and check it off like we did.

Fly a KiteFly a Kite

Just one windy evening after work we stepped outside and flew our kites.  The one in the photo is a dollar store kite so this doesn’t have to be an expensive thing.  We did realize though that we were going to have some sibling rivalry because we only own two kites.  A trip to the dollar store took care of that for the next time we have a windy day.

Have a picnicHave a Picnic

Another after work thing for us, we made peanut butter sandwiches, had chips, chocolate milk and apple slices outside for dinner.  It’s amazing how fun these seemingly small differences of just to eat outside on a blanket can bring such joy to my husband’s and my hearts….

Plant Flowers from Seeds

Plant Flowers from Seeds

This visual lesson in growth can be used in so many ways.  We have so many things to be grateful for and planting a flower from a seed is so rewarding.  We used old plastic 2-liter bottles to plant the seedlings, and we want to replant them when they get big enough.  The 8-year old read the back of the seed packet and is learning how things grow, when to plant, how and when to water, etc.  The younger two (3 & 4 yrs) just enjoy watering the soil and watching it grow.  The sunflower seeds were $1 plus tax.  We had the soil from our garden project, and we placed a layer of rock about 2-inches thick on the bottom of the plastic “pot.”

img_1893 img_1894Plant a Garden Together 100_0205

We chose to plant two things our children happily eat – tomatoes and strawberries.

We planned a Saturday to spend to do this all day and the kids were involved from the purchase of the wood, to the compacting of the dirt.  The total cost for everything was probably close to $100, but if we planted the seedlings in the ground rather than in a raised bed, it would have been much cheaper.  We chose the raised bed garden so that our dog wouldn’t chew on the plants, and that the kids wouldn’t be tempted to step on them.  We’re excited to get our first batch.

Our oldest was able to help immensely, and our 4-year old some, but our youngest got bored.

In order to involve the youngest, we made strawberry “rocks.” Painting rocks as Strawberries Everyone loves to paint!  Painting rocks is no exception.  It took us several days to paint the rocks the different colors and both sides.  The “seeds” on the rocks were done by using a regular black permanent sharpie marker.  We placed the dried rocks around the strawberry plants to deter birds and mark where the strawberry plants were planted.100_0231

Our fifth and final fun Spring thing was Cleaning!

Have fun Spring Cleaning!

Spring Clean We chose to clean up my old jewelry box shown below to the system shown above.p1020270The most fun thing about this was going through the jewelry itself.  The kids hang out with me everywhere, even when I try to clean.  (Note I said try!  I’m still laughing on the inside.)

My daughter took some of the old necklaces, I was able to go through the earrings and toss the ones that didn’t have a pair, and everyone had a great time with me telling stories of some of the pieces of jewelry I inherited from family and that were important to me.  We talked about wedding rings and thier meaning, and had an overall good time just being together.  Free, meaningful fun.

There is so much more you could do.  We keep telling ourselves we’re going to take an evening walk together to a fast food restaurant for dinner, but that hasn’t gotten done yet.

We try to go outside every evening and play on our little swing set while they are still little, and my husband and I cherish the giggles and laughs while they are young. Play outside

Enjoy it all friends!  I know I am!