Saturday, May 31, 2008

Bees, glorious bees!

Going out to the garden in the last few days made my heart light. There are about 12 bees out there right now. Not as many as last year, but there are bees. Beautiful bees, and the evidence of bees, all over the place. Berries are not going be near as much of an issue as I thought they were. :)


Friday, May 30, 2008

An impromtu DITL. Ducks, pizza, and more!

Yes, I am a total dork... but my only attempt at a Day in the Life of post last year failed with a crazy day and some absolutely hilarious goings on... this year I made it all the way through the day without trying to really do it, so I thought I would put it together for ya'll. And am now so tired I can't spell... so I am going to bed, but before I do, I will share my impromptu day in the life of Val. :)

Much love my internet friends... time for me to go to bed.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Lady Cyan

I originally made this overdress for a winter party that Cyan went to. It went over another white dress and she had fairy wings to go with it. But with a few modifications, she was able to wear it yesterday to a very warm, but very fun, medieval birthday party for a little friend of ours.

The Lady Cyan.

There are times I just love having a girl.


Saturday, May 24, 2008

What an inspiring story!

I love that this family is getting news coverage. :) They are a bit more extreme than we are able to be, but I enjoy stories like these. It makes what I am doing seem worth it. :)

Pasadena City Homestead

A picture Cyan took of her bunny

I was impressed. :) This is Domino. Cyan's bunny. She is becoming a bit more affectionate, although she will still pee on the kids when she gets frightened. It is an effective 'don't scare the bunny' tactic. I have not been able to teach her how to use the large water bottle that hangs on the side of her hutch. But she still drinks out of a bowl, loves garden scraps, and enjoys the kids petting her, if not picking her up. She has been a nice addition already to our little homestead.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Butterflies! Stage 3

We released our Painted Lady Butterflies into our backyard today. It was so great! Last year, when we did this project, our butterflies were released in the afternoon. They went straight out of the butterfly house and up to the sun, never to be seen again. It was very anticlimactic for Cyan and I who had been caring for the five little buggers for 3 weeks. A friend gave us a tip, saying to release them on a cool morning, so they would be a bit sluggish and we would get some wonderful pictures... boy was she right!

I am not sure why I love this picture so much. But for some reason, the jeans pockets and the Purple Lilac and butterfly... well they just look great together. It may not make sense to anyone else, but this is probably my favorite out of the bunch.

Cyan wanted to smell the lilac the butterfly was on (it is one of the only ones she can reach... we have more of a lilac tree than a bush. lol...) I couldn't resist taking a picture. :)

One of them is still sitting right where it landed after it came out of the butterfly house. This is about 4 hours later folks! For a complete slide show: See here!


Monday, May 19, 2008


I was tagged at Cry if I Want To by my friend Kim and the subject is 'Ten Reasons Why I Blog'.

I have quite a few blogs and they all serve different purposes. This blog is my personal joy journal. I put down things I love, times I cherish, and things I am proud of on it. It relates to me in harder times (which thankfully have retreated to mostly in my mind and moods) that my life is good. Very good. I am very blessed and have created something with my family I am proud of and I cherish.

I have another blog to document homeschool doings. Homeschooling in the Rose Garden is my blog where I journal what I do with the kids. It isn't all happy-go-lucky, but is usually upbeat and with a bit of wit, even the bad days seem like a blur of field trips, funny kid sayings, and beautiful pictures of life. When I look back, I usually see optimism in my posts. And I am joyful in my learning journey with my children. And of course, I show off my pictures of my kids that way too.

My third blog (which is a Live Journal) is for personal thoughts. This one is less upbeat... more down to earth and sometimes down right angry. I don't write in it as much anymore, but for a while, it was invaluable to my mental wellbeing.
Ok, those are the ones I write on the most. The others are superficial but fun. (They are all listed in my side panel... lol!)

So my reasons:
#1: to document the things I cherish, love, find interesting, and dislike.

#2: to spend time writing, which I love.

#3: to show off good photographs. :) And avoid paying to print all but the best.

#4: to avoid scrapbooking. It takes ten times as much time, and a hundred times more cash.

#5: to keep in touch with friends without having to spell out every thing I am excited about in life when I see them.

#6: to meet new people. A couple of really wonderful friends I have met through the Internet.

#7: to learn. I love research. And this blog gives me reasons to do so in the form of questions, and photographs I feel I have to explain... and that doesn't even bring into it my friends and all of the wonderful topics they bring up!

#8: to show off my kids and their beautiful minds. I love their creativity, but you can't keep every thing on your fridge forever. Here I can scan, post, and toss. And whenever I want to see something... it is right there. :)

#9: to timeline. Being able to 'label' things really gives me a freedom to look at the timeline of a project in the right perspective. I can pull out 'recipes' or 'yard and chickens' and see when the first time was I cooked such and such, or how tiny the chicks were when we first got them. It keeps me in perspective.

#10: because I like it. :) I like sharing, but I like that blogger doesn't have a 'MySpace' traffic rate. I enjoy being able to have things that I post 'just for me', and then other things I post so I can get comments on them. It is all good for me. It is a scrapbook... one that others see without me pushing it on them, in their own time, and when they comment, it makes me happy. When they don't... well I usually wrote it for me anyhow. ;)

Now I tag:


Love you blogfriends!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

And back to hobbies.

I haven't posted my hobbies in a while. Sometimes I will post the garden, sometimes I will post food, but mostly, it has been my thoughts and cute pictures of my kids. Which is also all I have been doing. Hobbies have taken a backseat to homeschool and deep thoughts. lol...

Today I actually sat and played with paper. Making things out of paper is one of my favorite pastimes... it is also very messy and requires scissors, glue, and usually an X-acto Knife. All of which are not good around babies. Esp mine. lol... So I haven't done it in a while. But today, I sat there through nap time and made the kids calendars for next year and chore chart folders. These are both made out of half sized notebooks (which I love BTW, they always fit perfectly in a purse, but are still big enough to write in without trouble, and you can get all kinds of accessories for them from DayRunner). I paper crafted pretty much all afternoon... and it was so much fun!

Alex's actually started out rather different. It was red flames, with vines up one side and some off center lettering. But by the time I was done it looked really feminine. Not what I wanted at all and not quite right for a 12 year old boy... so the spider webs and dark cast papers took over in the end... and he loves it. :)

Cyan's turned out wonderfully the first time around. The paper I chose for the back set the theme for the front. The flowers were perfect models for me to cut simple, larger ones for the front, and of course, the tree and the butterfly came from the passions Cyan and I share. She hasn't seen it yet, but I hope she loves it as much as Alex does.

Inside is two divider pockets to hold their little stuff from field trips, etc and in the first section is their chore charts. A friend sent me a wonderful Word Doc to get me started with these chore charts that are simple, but oh so effective. After a little fill-in color in Paint, and some tweaking with what chores were who's, we have working chore charts that the kids both ACTUALLY USE! lol... Then the second section is a by week calendar for Alex, and a monthly calendar for Cyan. He needs to be able to write down assignments, appointments, etc... so needs more space. She isn't there yet, but she does use a calendar daily, and so I thought she would enjoy marking off days to favorite events (like birthdays or Christmas, etc) and keeping track of the dates that way.

The next one is for me.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Pizza friday, bird watching, mangled baby, and some planes

Beautiful day! It finally feels like summer may actually be coming. It was 90* today, and stunningly sunny! We spent the whole evening outside, except for the time I was making tonight's pizza: Onion, green pepper, olive, tomato, and basil. YUM! (Sorry Chan... no meat. ;) )

After dinner, Logan and I went to do some bird and plane watching, while the kids played with friends.

Yes... my sweet baby mangled his face. He fell off a gazebo at a train station field trip yesterday. He is doing much better today though, so I foresee quick healing. In these pictures he actually doesn't look as bad as it does in real life. He has a large knot on his head, a smaller knot in the middle of his forehead, his nose and lip are cut, while under his nose is scraped really badly... the scrape will be the most likely scar... poor sweet guy. Obviously, he is bouncing back alright. :)

"Ok mama... My turn!"

This mama robin we see around a bunch right now. She seems to be used to all the kid noise, beings that she showed up to watch us all while the kids were jumping up and down in the pool. lol! I think she is testing us for nesting compatibility... just like the blue jay did.

'Night blogland!


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Wet day and a new bunny...

A wet day... we went on a wonderful nature walk with friends... going nowhere. But it was fun anyway. :) Then we picked up our newest little friend. We really are starting a homestead here. I thought the chickens sort of gave us the name, but the bunny seems to have really cinched it. lol...

Her name is Domino.... Here she is in her spot in the back of the garden:

And more pictures of the Lupine with the beautifully stunning raindrops on it!

And the evidence of a good homeschool outing...

Muddy rainboots. :)

Sunday, May 11, 2008

A Weeks Worth of Eggs

This is a weeks worth of eggs from 6 chickens. 27 eggs. That is more than our weekly supply by nearly double.

With all this crisis in the food chain; bees dying, wheat plagues, typhoons in rice country... all of it. The price of food is going up fast. And the 'experts' don't see it stopping any time soon. Around here, it may mean that we have to import a lot of our produce this season, because we don't have the bees to pollinate our crops. Lets hope that isn't the case. But we may be happy to get CA produce this next season. I just don't know. What I do know, is that I am terribly happy to have these birds. I go back and forth, thinking they are not worth the trouble... but honestly? They are the perfect backyard animals. They are pretty quiet, and if you give them enough space, they don't smell (it took a while to figure out how much space that is.) They don't cost much of anything, and for two years, they give you a steady supply of organic, super healthy eggs from your kitchen scraps and $20 worth of food per month.

If you look at survival books, they talk a lot about 'reliable sources of protein' as one of the big things to worry about if something happens. I know, even though I dislike some of what the chickens are, they ARE that insurance for me. If all we ate was those eggs and what is already coming up out of the garden (spinach so far) we would be ok. For days. With no huge Tupperware of food, no tubs of grains, no nothing else. Just eggs and spinach. We wouldn't starve. It is strange to think about, but somehow very comforting. In three weeks I can add cilantro, pea flowers and greens (yes, you can eat those too, and they are good), dill, beet greens, kale, and swiss chard to that list, and we would live for a week with nothing that doesn't come from our backyard in the city.

Not to mention that chickens make surprisingly good pets. My daughter has so many pictures taken with these critters I can't even count. lol... sometimes I wonder if she is torturing them, but they really don't seem to mind her carrying them around, swinging on swings with them, etc... they still follow her around when ever she is out there. They can't be too traumatized, right?

I am in the process of trying to figure out a few small details in their coop to make it a nicer space for everyone, and get ready for our new bunny that is coming on Tuesday to eat whatever the worms and chickens do not of the garden scraps, but this Mother's Day, my little inner city homestead is doing well. Critters and all.


Visitors for Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day everyone!

We have several little mothers rushing around our house lately. We have nesting materials that we have laid out (some purposely and some not so purposely) that they have been collecting for about a month now. No one has come back to the blue nest since some critter jumped on it and set it askew. But they are nesting close by. :) So we see them a lot, getting their spaces ready and comfortable for their newly hatched broods.

Sweet chickadee mama, collecting the fluff next to her on the ground.

Blue Jay that is completely convinced that we are going to rob her nest of little ones. I don't even know where it is, but yesterday while I was walking, she followed me half a block to harass me about it. We also have a small flock of robbins that we watch collect all sorts of things from our backyard and take away. There must be babies close by. The chickens are even being broody... clucking LOUDLY whenever they lay an egg, laying on them... waiting for chicks that would only come if we had a rooster. Which we don't. So we collect them right out from under the upset bitties. They are getting used to it.

It has been a sweet, but very busy spring season so far. School is coming to a close for both my children, the days are still wet, but they are warm, so we have been spending a lot of time outside. Spring is in the air. I sure wish it was in the weather. But we have changed the world. I don't think it is going to go back from here unfortunetly.

Much love to my mama friends on Blogger! (My newest mama friend Katie just had her baby last week! Congratulations and happy BabyMoon Katie! Jack is an amazingly blessed baby!)


Sunday, May 4, 2008

Little Explorer

I spent last week doing nature things with Cyan. She drew pictures, planted seeds, watered her garden, talked about how tall they were, measured her seedlings with a ruler, spent tons of time outside playing in the unpredictable Spring days of early May.

Logan, as always, tagged along, getting the cuffs of his pants damp on the dew covered grass as he watched us do our 'work'.

Logan has spent the first months of his toddlerhood outside. He wakes up, and wants us to put his boots on so he can get out the back door. We have a fully privacy fenced backyard, and he is in view of the back door 90% of the time (which we can see out while we are doing schoolwork at the table), but it makes me feel strange to let my baby go out by himself. He loves it though... he wanders around, and then will come back to the door and babble at me to follow him. I do, and he will show me stuff... usually the tacks that are set up for making the garden graph, or a helicopter going by...

but last week he noticed the sunflowers and peas coming up,

and this morning, he figured out how to use the hose.

Those are sweet moments.

I keep thinking that I am neglecting him because he doesn't get the same kind of constant 1 on 1 attention that the other two got...

but I have to say, it looks like there are worse ways to spend your toddlerhood.


Friday, May 2, 2008

Pizza of the Week

Saute'd onions, fresh basil, olives, and feta cheese. YUM!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Garden Ornaments

I like little things in the garden. Usually I am VERY picky about them though. I like things that add to the look of the plants, not take away from them. So I have a lot of driftwood, a couple of glass pieces, and a couple pieces that I think are sweet that I got from dear people in my life. Well, yesterday, my husband bought these for me:

Aren't they cute?? Yeah. I love them. And they will just look better and better as my hardy perennial herbs grow up around it as the season wears on. I can't wait to take more pictures with them.

Here is the sunshine at the front of my garden pathway.

And my sweet garden snail that my best friend got me. I always think "Slowly, slowly, very slowly, creeps the garden snail...." when I see it.

A glass float from dh's 12 years as a glass blower. For somethings, I really miss the profession. Like garden ornaments. ;)

And of course, my own personal garden gnome. (Don't you just love his new "Cheese!" smile?)

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