Wednesday, September 29, 2010


I have not updated much on the garden and I think now is a good time to do so. The children and I have had so much fun going and discovering what little treats our garden has left us each and every day.

The cucumbers have been plentiful and we have shared several from our crop with friends & family. I have loved making cucumber salad with these little delicacies, or simply slicing them up and adding them to sandwiches.
creative organic learners funny face

Harvested cucumbers

Here are some of our squash that we harvested recently.

And then we decided that our watermelon was taking over the whole garden area, It had exploded over the box, across the yard and into the other boxes. 

moon & stars watermelon

Heart of Gold Cantaloupe

For some reason one of the watermelon's (the bigger of the two) was not ripe yet even though it felt ripe. The cantaloupe was so soft, sweet and juicy. 

Having a garden has been more fun then I could have imagined it being. I believe we will be starting some winter crops soon, we LOVE broccoli, and cauliflower, and some of the other veggies that are grown in the late fall/early winter. It is nearly time to clear out the boxes once the fruit that is still growing is finished ripening. I am disappointed that my tomatoes never really ripened, we do have some green ones on the vine and maybe I will still get some but we are quickly coming to a point where we wont have the chance for them to get ripe. 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Dream Big

As the mother and teacher to my 4 growing kids I am always telling them to dream big. Nothing is to big for you to accomplish. This is not something they always believe when I tell them, its hard to believe when your a child that you really can accomplish anything if you put your mind, and passion to it.

That is what I am doing with my dreams, dreaming big! I want one day to own & run a B&B. Maybe it that does not seem like a grand thing to many people but for me it sounds like so much fun. I love the quaintness of a B&B for relaxing in, I have visited many over the years. Some are rather close to home, because as the mother of 4 children we don't like to go to far when they are to young. The first B&B we ever stayed in was in the town I live in, when my oldest two were 4 & 2, my husband and I needed some time alone and this provided a great place to just relax! The Harkey House has great local history and was so much fun to hear stories about the first sheriff of this town we live in. Since then we have stayed at several other B&B's usually for our anniversary. We make it a point to go away together at least once a year, it is so important to keeping a relationship healthy, getting time alone. Our latest trip was a fantastic voyage to Fort Bragg California. We went for 3 nights and enjoyed so much of our time together! We stayed in a lovely victorian home that was modified to a wonderful B&B blocks from the ocean, called Glass Beach Inn. Over the years we have stayed at The Grateful bed, The Riverside B&B in oroville, that seems to be closed now, as well as a wonderful one tucked into a wonderful little town known as Placerville called The Glen Morey house. Each of these visits has only taken my dreams to new heights.

 I want to put my personal touches on things and use my creative talents to allow others a peaceful place to relax in. I love to cook, bake and create. When I am doing those things I find that is when I am my most authentic self. I am Happy in the kitchen, I am happy having a place to create wonderful dishes that please other people. I love seeing people smile when my food hits their pallet and they are enticed by my creative spice choices. I love decorating the home, if I had the finances I would have different fabrics and patterns for each season in my home personally. So taking all these things I love and combining them into one big thing seems like the most logical thing in the world to me.

I dream at night that my B&B is just on the outskirts of some town, where I have a flower garden, and a food garden. I dream that my home will be a relaxing environment to come to and that I can add my homemade touches of crocheted afghans, baked breads, cookies, and cakes, and where there is a wonderful reading library for those who want to to sit and enjoy a good book snuggled under one of those crocheted afghans.

Here are a few of the pictures that I have taken over the years that have inspired me in my love of a B&B...
a flower bed 

 scrabble tiles that included our names

If you have never enjoyed the accommodations of a B&B I would like to encourage you to give it a shot. If you figure in the cost of a hotel room + your breakfast you really are not spending anymore for a cozy more home like feel. In fact I have found you are likely spending less. A good B&B offers week day rates that are less then weekend rates and if you can take advantage of that by getting a Thursday- Saturday stay or a Sunday-Tuesday stay you will spend less and get great service. You also will have a pleasant personal experience then a cold impersonal hotel room. One other thing to remember about B&B's is that they are all locally owned, when you support a local business over a large chain you help out your local economy, or the local economy of the location the B&B is located in. Supporting small businesses is so very important in this economy, but that is a blog for another day...

So remember to Dream BIG!

Monday, September 27, 2010


I am a part time college student, in my spare time ya know. I am taking 2 classes this semester and am working towards a degree in culinary arts. I love to cook! It truly is my passion. One day very soon I will post a blog that is ladened with pictures of all the culinary goodies I like to make, it will surely make your mouth water. In the mean time I have been a stay at home mom, and homeschool Organic Learning teacher for 16+ years. I have not held a job outside the home in that amount of time. Since my husband was laid off and we live in such a poor area it has been difficult to find work for him. We are waiting for active duty orders to come through so he can just finish out his active duty time and collect his retirement. So when I went looking for work that I had plenty of "home" experience in I was denied time and time again because there are just to many people out there who have "work" experience that can do the job. So I decided that it would be a good idea to get my degree in Culinary Arts so that in a few years I can then either get a part time job working in the field I love, or open my own business like I really want to do... The dream is to own a B&B (Bed & Breakfast), If you have never had the pleasure of staying in a B&B you should check it out sometime.

At any rate when Daughter M got sick 4 weeks ago my schooling was a bit derailed. The first week she was home and I stayed on top of things okay. It was when she went into the hospital and stayed in the ICU for 9 days that I slowly started slipping behind. My professors have been very understanding and even allowed me extra time to make up some of my work. You would not believe how much time it takes to make up work once your behind! As of Friday I had 6 history lectures to review and take notes on, 2 health lectures to review and take notes on, a test in health AND a 2 week food journal to type out and save. This food journal had to be started while I was taking shifts staying with my daughter in the ICU so it is not really a good example of my daily eating habits. It is frustrating to have to take notes on what your eating daily.

As of today I only have about 5 days of food journaling to finish typing up and then I am completely caught up with both my classes! I am sick of typing up food entries. It is rather tedious to type out all the different things you ate and drank in a day, but at least I can get it done quickly and be ALL caught up!

As for Daughter M, She got her staples out today and is recovering nicely after having her appendix rupture from the tip. The dr said that it rotted instead of truly rupturing. I am so amazed by the body! her body attempted to heal itself by wrapping the Omentum around the ruptured appendix to stop the leakage of bacteria. Simply amazing! Of course we are grateful that the dr was able to remove the offending appendage and clean out the infection, saving Daughter M's life. She was seriously ill for many weeks, but now she is almost healthy.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Going Green

As a homeschooling teacher we have spent a lot of our energy learning about current affairs in the world. The decline of the ice caps is a big concern for us as family and should be a global concern. This adventure started about 3 years ago for us. My son A who is a very hands on learner (don't know your learning style? find out for yourself here) also known as a tactile or kinesthetic learner, likes to build or do things in order to fully understand them.  

Our knowledge slowly grew from one thing to the next. We started by learning all about planned obsolescence when we watched The story of Stuff by Annie Leonard. We love all of Annie's videos, they tackle complex problems with a very clear understanding that even my youngest can understand. We as a family feel it is very important to cut back on the "stuff" in our life. Do we really have to have that latest gadget? We feel that if we don't step up and cut back on those things we don't need to have we are simply compounding a problem that was started decades ago and has just boomed to a point where we are all drowning in "stuff". 

So as I was saying we started this project because my son A wanted to get his hands on some projects. We started learning about solar power, & solar energy. Since we live in a rental we can not build solar panels and live with solar energy producing most of our electric needs, yet! We actually are discussing ways to build a portable solar panel system that can at least do part of the energy work for us. That is still in the works for now. A great book on solar is Power from the sun: a practical guide to solar energy.  We started simple though and built a small solar oven, kinda like this. The biggest problem we had with this was location. Our backyard is covered with a pergola and does not offer a lot of good sunlight locations. 

In the grand scheme of things we are working towards becoming more green, not because its cool or the 'in thing' to do but because it is the right thing to do. We carry our own water bottles when we can, we do not buy non essential items, we shop in thrift stores when we can, we do not shop in box stores if we can shop anywhere else first, we do try to fix what we can on our own first. Living green does not mean you can't have nice things, or that you have to give up modern convenience. It does mean that you have to be aware of the cost of those things. We are a small car, one car family right now. We do not do a lot of travel right now because we feel strongly that our dependency on oil is not healthy. If we could get a car that was diesel and then convert it to bio-diesel or veggie oil we would like to travel all over the united states on grand adventures, but for now we are doing our part. 

We all need to remember that this is our planet and if we keep polluting it with toxins all over the place then we eventually will have no where else to live. I personally want the beauty of this world to survive so I can take more pictures like these:

plum tree in bloom this spring
The Sutter Buttes California

sunset from my backyard

Canadian geese flying in front of moon

natures bird bath

ocean after a storm in Fort Bragg California

Saturday, September 25, 2010


There was a time long long ago when I remember Saturday meant getting up at 6am to start a cartoon marathon. Great cartoons too! Am I the only one who remembers this? Greats like Tom & Jerry and Loony Toons, an hour each. Interesting ones like the Smurfs & He-man (for my brother) or Care Bears (for my sister). Sitting on the floor in the living room in our pj's with our bowl of cereal dry so we didn't spill milk on the carpet! Hours of cartoons, usually until at least 10am maybe even 11 if there was a Saturday morning special on. Then Mom & Dad would get up and tell us to go play outside. Outside where we were left to our own devices to create mud pies, play in the trees, play in the play house, or dog house whichever was more entertaining at the moment, play with the dogs, eat oranges fresh out of the tree. Saturday used to be great!

I even remember about 10 - 12 years ago Saturdays were still good, not great but good. My oldest two kids would get up and watch cartoons allowing me to sleep in. I loved Saturday mornings as a parent! I loved them as a kid too but lets face it as a parent they were so nice to get that one reprieve in the morning. Sleeping in is such a rare gift for a parent, especially when you have more then one child.

Now on a Saturday morning you might get lucky to find some cartoon on some channel if you have those extra channels like Disney or Nick, but if you are a person who only has a few channels you are SOL. You wont even find cartoons on at all most of the time, and should you chance to find any child friendly programing it is likely to be old, reruns of mediocre shows that were not worth watching in the first place.

I would like to petition the major networks CBS, ABC, NBC to bring back our Saturday morning classics! Pink Panther, Loony Toons, Muppet Babies, Tom & Jerry, Smurfs, Care Bears and give back a tradition that is lost on this generation.

Who's with me?

Friday, September 24, 2010


Music is my heartbeat. I grew up with music and I know when I am really down and having a hard time that music is the only thing to sooth my soul. I often shock people with my wide range in music genre's and styles. I think I probably should have been a singer if I followed my passion better instead of getting so lost as a teen. I love to sing and if you see me driving down the road I am that crazy looking lady singing my head off. I do know how to carry a tune and can harmonize well, so at least I am not singing foolishly out of key. I tried my hand at instruments but it just never seemed to be my calling no matter how much I loved the Piano and the Flute. My grandfather was the most talented man I ever knew and I admired his ability to stroke the ivory keys at such an amazing pace.

My love for music started at such a young age I don't remember not ever loving it. I can remember being 2 years old and dancing around my living room in San Jose to Ray Charles or Frank Sinatra. I remember sitting on the floor with my grandpa Saenz looking through his albums, (yes actual records!) and picking out the next classical or jazz album to put on. I love Lena Horne , and Ella Fitzgerald there voices were so powerful and so elegant its hard to not love them. My grandfather taught me to love all types of music not just one, even though he played mostly Jazz music he acknowledged that talent and a good beat were what was most important.

Most of the time today you will find either one of these greats that I mentioned in my CD player or country. I love most of the new country singers but I love the old ones too. There is just something so powerful about Johnny Cash or George Strait singing in their deep ballad voices. A more recent edition to my love affair of country music is Josh Turner probably because his voice so closely resembles Johnny Cash that how could I not love him?

I am a child of the 70s so lets not leave out my love of that decade either. I was born smack dab in the middle of the 70s, and while my mom was mostly one to listen to country or classic stuff my dad was very into the 70s music. We listened to a lot of Fleetwood Mac and Heart which I still thoroughly enjoy today. There are times when some great soul music that came from the late 60s and into the 70s are in order.

I know that I have not covered all my favorites but this is a good start. Of course I didn't delve into my love affair with The King, Elvis or how instrumentals sooth my soul either, those will have to be their own blogs as I have so much to say on each subject it would take more room then I have time for here. What are your favorites? Do you tend to stick to one type of music or do you listen to a large variety too?

Thursday, September 23, 2010


I love the fall.

I love the crisp air and the anticipation of cooler weather.

I love the smell of rain on the earth.

I long for days spent quietly with a good book.

I am a crafter and I long for a craft room where I can lock the door behind me and just create.

inside of the diaper bag I made for my cousin.

                            The outside of the diaper bag.

A post stitch crocheted baby blanket for my cousins baby. Booties to match. 

The most colorful star ripple blanket made for a dear dear friend. I have made a couple of baby blankets that have the same pattern but I love this one with all the vibrant colors. 

Relaxation masks filled with a blend of lavender & rice. They make wonderful soothers for headaches and are good either hot or cold. 

I love to create wearable fun jewelery too

My favorite thing that I have made was made for myself for the first time in over 15 years. It is called the Wool Eater and I love this blanket. it reminds me of fall. It is lap blanket size and had I not run out of yarn I would have made it larger, but it is perfect for sitting under with that afore mentioned good book. 

I think the time has come for me to break out my crafting skills again, they always seem to take a back seat in the summer as I am usually busy doing so many other things. The fall is when the crafting bug starts to hit and I have miles of yarn that need to be used, yards of fabric that are calling for me, piles of beads that are screaming to be made into something beautiful to wear and lets not forget all the creations in the kitchen I am longing for. Apple pie, pear torts, fresh baked breads and soups and stews. I love to cook too... perhaps tomorrows blog will delve into that subject. Today I hope you enjoyed a glimpse into things I love & have created. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

In todays edition we are going to continue our camping trip to the return home. From there our blogs shall take on a more present day adventure with a little pop into the past now and again.

I left off yesterday with our trip into the forest where the Ewoks lived... Can't you just see their cute little faces poking out of this fern ladened forest? While we were here we decided to walk through the forest and down to the river where the little darlings took their socks & shoes off to splash in the edges of the water.
and of course to skip rocks into that peaceful looking water flow.

From here we stopped at a lovely little shop and wanted to go in only to discover they were closed. However we did get to view some wonderful sculptures carved out of redwood.

at camp we enjoyed a simple meal then set about building fairy houses on our last night at camp. We sent children off to gather natural items that were laying about on the ground; rocks, moss, leaves, sticks, pine cones, and anything else they found that they thought would make nice houses. Then we divided up the finds between them
Then we paired the kids up, each little one got a big one and they had to work together to build their fairy houses.

A & C fairy house ... was built right into the base of a tree log that was laying on the ground.

H & D fairy house ...I love that it so well blends into the nature around it that you can hardly tell its a fairy house. :)

M & K fairy house theirs was butted up against a living tree and was so cute with a little fence around the whole thing.

Each house really took on the personalities of each child working on it and we had so much fun watching them from our spots around the fire pit. They each went off into different directions and built out of the way of any human eyes. We had loads of fun pondering which types of fairies would love these homes.

The next morning we packed up camp and headed for home. We stopped in a sleepy little town known as Willits along Highway 101 to have lunch in a lovely park.
subway sandwiches chips and drinks for everyone before we hit the road again!

Then once the kids had played we had ate and drank our fill we got back on the road to travel another several hours home. We decided to make one more pit stop at the Buffalo farm.

Man o Man was that some GOOD Jerky!

why is it that mom is always the last in line for the bathroom? I tossed this one in just so yall would believe I was really there! :) O and those hides behind me are so luxurously soft i wish I had the money to buy one!

We got to see the herd of buffalo outside, they had the yearling's separated from the rest of the herd and up close to the farm. my daughter thought it would be a good idea to take a picture of us looking at the baby buffalo.

We also saw a bunch of bird nests on the side of the building that were pretty cool.
These birds build their nests out of mud and live in colonies together like a very large extended family. They are called mud swallows here. I am not sure what the actual name is.

This concluded our camping adventures for August, we wrapped up our month with a birthday bash for my youngest, D turned 6. I do not know where time went but he sure has been fun to watch grow!
September started off with my oldest getting severely ill and ending up in the ICU for 8 full days. So it has been nice to look back and remember this fond time that really was not so long ago even if it does feel like years ago already!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

What Fun We Had! part 2

Yesterday we covered all of July so in todays blog we will cover the wonderful adventures of August.

In august we had a visitor, My cousin came and stayed for several weeks and joined us on our camping adventures. I love camping! It is the best place to discover life in its simplistic form. It is easy to imagine what life was like out in the west when people came out with very little and had to make things work. It also lends itself to scientific discoveries very nicely.

So in the beginning of August we went to a little camp sight off of highway 101 in the north part of the state. We camped at a state park called Standish-Hickey. This land is beautiful. near the giant redwoods of California as well as near several wonderful natural attractions.

Here is our tent after we got to camp and set it up!
This tent is a giant 3 room tent and slept 8 people very comfortably! we could have fit 2 more easily. We had a boys room and a girls room and then us moms shared a room. My cousin had his own little tent, which he would probably die of mortification if I showed you the only shot I have of that one. :)

On our first evening there we walked around the camp site after we set up camp to get our bearings and enjoy the nature around us. We found lots of poison oak growing so stuck strictly to the trails. We did spot wild berries growing but they were not ripe yet. we had fun taking snap shots posing in the trees as well as of the trees.

Snap shot of the trees at dusk

When we were preparing to go camping we sat and discussed exactly what meals we wanted while we were there. It was a great idea as we were able to prep most of our food in advance and then just have it packed according to days in the ice chests and tupper container. On the first morning we had from scratch blueberry pancakes over the open fire, made on my cast iron griddle. Everyone swore they were the best pancakes they ever ate!
There just seems to be something so wonderful about fresh pancakes hot off a griddle that can make your mouth water! Later that day we went and discovered the drive through tree It is called the Chandelier tree because the top of it has many full size trees all growing off the one stump.

looking from the ground up very top of the chandelier tree

We took pictures standing inside the drive through tree.
Then we adventured into the gift shop to see what interesting discoveries we could find there. I saw this "logging truck" toy and thought it was cute.

We headed back to camp where we spotted interesting tree growth like this
as well as some beautiful shots like this

We headed back to camp had lunch and then decided for an afternoon hike. where we learned that the law of gravity is completely true. If you go down you have to go back up! We were completely deceived by this sign : .3 miles should not be far, however what the sign does not tell us is that nearly the whole trail is down a steep hill that we had to hike down, with 6 children! This picture is taken as we are coming back up the hill shortly after going down it. we also discovered what several insects while on our adventure hike into the woods, as well as markings left by the bugs. this wood has trails left by termites. And this is a dragon fly that matches the wood so well its almost hard to see him sitting there. Nature at its very best!

The next day of our camping adventure took us to discover a strange spot where gravity seems to be defied.

The kids are at the base of the totem pole that is carved out of one tree.

We spent several hours exploring the confusing area, as well as the beautiful tribute to 9/11

Once we left Confusion Hill we headed back towards camp with a quick lay over in the woods where they filmed part of Star Wars, home of the Ewoks.
and we discovered just how small on this planet we really are.