Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Heidi's 7!

My little Heidi-hoo turned 7 years old! (Is she really that big all ready?) I would love to be nostalgic and post baby pictures of her- but it is all ready about midnight..... so how about just a few photos from her special day.

Heidi had her great friend Hannah over for the "party". Heidi requested they play in the snow for one of the "games". They played until it was too dark to see and we had to call them in.

Then they played with the doll house- a well used toy when little girls come to visit!

These tall candles are the best. They've lasted for numerous birthdays. Make a wish!

We love you Heidi Rose! Our family wouldn't be the same without you!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

We're Back!

We made the journey back from Phoenix this weekend! It is nice to be back. For those who may not have heard, our Grandma Pearson passed away Dec. 21st. We are very glad that we got to spend time that last week with her. Everyone will miss her so much. We are comforted knowing she is not in such terrible pain anymore and is in a better place. The boys and Joel helped as pall bearers. Can you see Taylor? He was getting a little help.

Here is a picture of the family taken afterwards. Hmmm..... I should have had the little ones take their coats off. I'll remember that next time.

Grandpa Pearson, I have to include this cute photo I took of you and the Torgerson girls that day. We love you!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Mesa Temple Lights and Nativity

All of us,(except Heidi who was at a cousin's house), went to Mesa to see the nativity and light display last week. Mesa was where Joel and I were married in 1995....oooh...that sounds so long ago! How time flies when we're having fun!

I never notice the silly faces my kids are making because I'm so busy trying to get my camera to work right and put the focus in the right spot. Then I get home and find out I don't have ANY photos with normal expressions! Aaaahh, kids!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas in Arizona

We had some unexpected events happen lately. Joel's mother took a turn for the worse in her fight with cancer. We decided to come down to Phoenix before Christmas instead of after, like originally planned, so that we could see her. After getting down here, we've decided to prolong our stay. So we'll probably wait to have "Christmas" on New Year's instead. It has been great to visit with family and help take care of Grandma Pearson- bittersweet, but very good.
When we first arrived it poured and poured-for almost 3 days- very unusual for Arizona! I don't think I've ever been here when it has even sprinkled. When the rain finally stopped, my sister-in-law and I decided to take the kids for a hike in the White Tanks to see a waterfall that usually only flows after a rain. It was so much fun! It was about 62 degrees and the desert was very green and lush. We could see all the way to the other side of the valley because the air was so clean and fresh. I love Arizona on days like that. By the way,I can't get my pictures to move around like I usually do- it's not my regular computer and I can't seem to figure it out. So all the photos of our hike are at the top of my post.
I can't check my email from here, so if you want to say hi just leave me a comment. We miss you all up in Idaho! Hope you have a great Christmas!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas Surprises

I have mentioned to some of you that I am doing a surprise every day this month with my kids. They have been just simple things to add a little fun and anticipation to our day and hopefully create some memories. Even Torsten is loving it, which makes my mother heart happy.

Most of the surprises I've done so far have involved some kind of riddle or "hunt". We always hide our stockings and Easter baskets too because the kids love the thrill of the hunt almost more than the catch.

Here is one of the riddles I made for them to find Christmas socks. (I knew Torsten wouldn't want Christmas socks so I got him some badly needed dress socks.)After decoding and unscrambling words, they ran to the Christmas tree where they found a baggie with the "se wi ng de sk" cards to be arranged in the proper order. Then in my sewing desk drawer, they found the socks.

We had a similar hunt involving yellow sticky notes with arrows and dialogue written from the perspective of a nutcracker on them. After following the sticky notes trail out to the deck, Taylor was the first to spot a new nutcracker to add to our collection, hiding on the hill next to our house.

Another day I had the kids leave the living room then come back a few minutes later. They had to study our Christmas tree very carefully and look for anything new or out of place. (They love those I Spy books so this was right in their element.) Nestled in the branches were 3 new red bird ornaments. The kids were so excited- isn't it fun when kids appreciate small things like that? Well, I told them to look again and this time their sharp eyes spotted the addition of 5 lifesaver candy canes to the tree. (The candy canes that were all ready on the tree were sour patch brand candy canes that look very similar.) I told them those 5 canes were for them to have as a treat. Yes, we eat a lot of candy canes this time of year. :-}

I have to admit I didn't do a surprise on Tuesday because I had a terrible headache/migraine that refused to go away, but I think the kids excused me for that. We have some fun outings planned as surprises too, but I won't reveal them yet because I know Hailey is a regular reader of my blog. Hi Hailey!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

All Work is Sacred Work

I know I've all ready posted twice today, but this was an amazing blog post called "A Mother's Work" that you have to read. It will give you a renewed sense of purpose. Be sure to turn your sound on because there is some beautiful music to accompany your reading.

Egg oddities

Well, I've been browsing the internet in search of what causes double yolks and I had to share this 1940's photo of a little girl washing eggs that I stumbled across.

I love this picture! Just click on it to see the full size version.

Well, anyways, back to my original topic. Wikipedia had this to say:
Double-yolked eggs occur rarely, only leading to observed successful hatchings under human intervention, as the unborn chickens would otherwise fight each other and die. (hmmm... wonder how they "intervened" in an unhatched egg?)

Then a chicken site I stumbled upon had these interesting tidbits:
Double yolks are a "mistake" in the chicken's reproductive system that sometimes happens when a hen just starts laying eggs and her system is still trying to figure out how to do it correctly. It may also be hereditary.

Occasionally, an egg contains more than two yolks. The greatest number of yolks found in one egg is NINE. Record breaking eggs are likely to be multiple yolkers. The Guinness Book of Records lists the world's largest [chicken] egg (with a diameter of 9 inches/22.5 cm) as having five yolks and the heaviest egg (1 pound/0.45 kg) as having a double yolk and a double shell.

The site that I found the information on had some pictures of really strange eggs. Like a spoon shaped egg or an egg within an egg! You can see for yourself by going to this link.

Why pay big bucks to a studio....?

All the beautiful family photos we receive this time of year from dear old friends were starting to make my kids a little worried. "Mom, aren't we going to get family photos taken to send in our Christmas cards?" Well, to be honest, I don't think I'm going to get a round to it because it is all ready Dec. 10th. Procrastination is one of my worst habits and so... my cards will probably be pictureless this year. *sigh*

But... for all my blogger friends and family, because you're special , I'm posting our Christmas 2008 "we-did-it-ourselves" photo! (done in our favorite "my pants are too short pose") Merry Christmas to you all!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Double Yolks

I like our current project of raising chickens for a couple reasons. First of all, because it gets us closer to the goal of learning more about how to raise our family's own source of healthy food. And second, I like that my kids have a responsibility beyond cleaning up their rooms. But sometimes, the joy of having your own egg supply (even if it is small) is in the daily suprise of "Is there going to be a brown one today?" or "Wow, look at this huge egg! - Mom, do you think it would have been twins?". And then when you are cooking, you never know when you are going to crack open a double yolker! My friend Heather, who raises chickens, told me her kids proclaim it a lucky day when she breaks open a double yolked egg. We just gather around and marvel at it and sometimes take a picture. Look at the color difference in the yolks. The other one is a store-bought egg.

Candy Cane Boxes

I bet you were wondering what to do with all your empty candy cane boxes that accumulate this time of year. Well, now you know.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Great Christmas Books to Share

I wanted to take a minute to share a few of our family's favorite Christmas books. Reading the kids Christmas stories is something I love and I know they love it too.
A book that has special memories for me is "The Shiniest Star". My grandmother read it to my mother when she was little, and then my mother read it to me and my siblings. That original book was pretty much worn out and fragile and I wouldn't have even wanted to ask to borrow it for fear of what my kids might to do it. So last year my Mom had the great idea to look it up online and see if "The Shiniest Star" was still available anywhere. (by the way, what did we do before the internet?) We were so excited to see there is now a reproduction of the original! So "The Shiniest Star" tradition is now being passed down to my own kids. :-) Here is a picture from inside the book.
Another favorite, and it too is one I loved as a child, (can you tell I'm big on nostalgia?), is a version of "The Night Before Christmas"
that is illustrated by Gyo Fujikawa. I like anything illustrated by Gyo Fujikawa, especially books she did through the 50's and 60's! I bought a reproduction of this at Barnes and Noble a few years ago and unfortunately the color isn't quite as saturated as the original, but it will have to do until I can buy an original 1961 version from ebay. My favorite picture in the book is of "the children were nestled all snug in their beds while visions of sugarplums danced in their heads" The picture looks like pure heaven. I couldn't find a picture to show you- sorry.

Well, my fingers are getting too cold to type since it is only 63 degrees in here. We didn't want to start a fire until morning since it's kind of a pain. Our goal is to try not to run our heater at all this winter to keep our bills from that evil Idaho Power from being so high ;-) We had a similar goal this summer and we only ran the AC a handful of times. In the meantime, I think I may be seeing my breath by morning!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Of popcorn chains and pre-lit trees

This weekend the kids and I worked on getting a popcorn chain made to put on the tree. Every year Heidi insists on doing it and every year I forget how time consuming it is and agree to the idea. Even Reagan helped us out this year! Hours later, after we had sewn and eaten as much popcorn as we could possibly stand, we tied every ones length into one continuous chain. This project was a great accompaniment to our other time consuming project of "let's clip all the original lights off our fake tree" project. That actually took about 6 hours with the combined efforts of Joel, Taylor and I. Taylor even has a blister! That's what we get for buying a fake pre-lit tree I guess. (Why did I expect the lights on that tree to last any better than the cheap lights you buy in a box, you ask? Good question.....) So what I've learned this weekend? Popcorn chains- a lot of work, but worth it. Pre-lit trees- not so much.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Free Baby Carrier Contest

I wanted to post this contest opportunity for any of my friends who have babies or want babies. :-) It's a contest to win a free "Organic Embroidered Baby Carrier" and backpack/diaper bag too. Who knows, maybe one of us could get lucky....

Monday, November 24, 2008

Collecting Sagebrush Seed

Our homeschool group met at Dierkes lake to do a sagebrush seed collection project with our friend Ed, the forest ranger. It was fun to get out in the desert and enjoy being outdoors for a couple hours. We love the rugged beauty of the canyon.

Here is Hailey and some of her friends with their seed collecting hoop.

Taylor and his buddies had a great time together.

Heidi found a seat just her size formed in the lava rock.
Towards the end of the outing the girls discovered the cattails going to seed and decided to help nature out.

Sewing Projects

I finally finished sewing some items that I started awhile ago. I wish I had thought of making this apron for Heidi's Christmas present, but it's too late now because she's been watching me work on it! I made it a little big so she could wear it for next 2 or 3 years.

Then I made an apron for Reagan because he's been begging for one of his own. (His is going to be a Christmas present.) The fire engine fabric is one I've been hanging onto since Torsten was 3 years old. I'm glad I finally found something to do with it!

I have enjoyed sewing more lately because I finally got my sewing table dejunked and thoroughly dusted. Yay!
Do you know what inspired my cleaning? The fact that my sewing closet now has shelves! Joel made them for me when I was gone last weekend. It was such a nice surprise. Here is my newly organized closet:

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sick Day

Heidi caught the stomach flu that Reagan had 2 days ago. Sadly, hers is lasting a lot longer and she is much more vocal about her pain than Reagan. Heidi decided she needed to wear a hat because she felt cold and I had to try hard not to laugh because the one she picked out made her look like a sick smurf.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Our Chicken Laid an Egg!

Finally, after what seems like months of waiting and anticipation, one of our chickens started laying eggs! Yesterday, Hailey went out to feed them and found 2 eggs in their nesting area, so at first we assumed they had both started laying. But then I was reading my "chicken manual" and read that chickens that are laying eggs will have white feet and non layers will still have yellow. I hurried out to the chicken coop to check my chickies feet and sure enough- Stinky Pete still had yellow feet! Do you think it is psychological? The kids named her Stinky along with a masculine name and now she is the one not laying eggs! Anyway, Abigail has all ready laid her 3rd egg so she truly is our golden child, I mean chicken.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Quick Lunch

Mmmmm....... I love lunches that are quick yet fresh and yummy. This idea worked great today. Cook a cup of couscous in a little chicken broth. (It only takes 3 or 4 minutes) Then add diced cherry tomatoes (Costco's are the best, of course) chopped fresh spinach, and toss with some good Ranch dressing and a little salt and pepper. Finished!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Why can't I sleep?

I am not sure what my problem is lately. I seem to have a sleepless night almost once a week and it's driving me crazy! I guess I might as well post some random thoughts while up in the wee hours of the morning.

First, take a look at this artichoke. This was taken in mid-September.
My dear friend, Hilarey, gave me some seedlings started in cups this spring and I have to say that I really didn't expect to harvest anything. But they surprised me and did great! Artichokes were a fun, exotic looking plant to have in my rather mundane potatoes, beans, corn, and squash garden. I plan to plant them again next year.

So then I decided to dry a few of those artichokes for decoration but now one of them is coming back to life! Take a look at the purple stuff growing out the top. It almost reminds me of a sea urchin or a very weird flower.
On to a different topic: I have another silly photo of a sleeping child that I took last night. He's in the laundry basket again! Posting photos of the kids in peaceful slumber may become my tradition on sleepless nights.......

Monday, November 10, 2008

Smoothies and Bread

Sometimes, when I know dinner is not going to be as complete or filling as I think it should be and I'm worried the kids will be hungry again in a half hour, I make a big smoothie to serve along with the main course. I always try to cram as many good things in it as possible. Saturday night's smoothie was particularly delicious. It included strawberries, 1/2 a banana, 2 handfuls of spinach, a small amount of kale, yogurt, frozen orange juice, a bit of lime juice, and little elderberry concentrate. My friend, Jenny, told me last year that you can add quite a bit of fresh spinach to smoothies without effecting the flavor at all. It's true!

And here's a simple bread idea that Joel always raves about. Take a loaf of the Idaho sourdough baguettes you can buy at Costco. Cut one in half, spread ranch dressing on each half and sprinkle grated cheddar or mozzarella on top. Then toast until bubbly. A nice variation on this is to add bacon bits before the cheese. And no, this recipe isn't lowfat or healthy!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Blue-eyed boy

Reagan has a pair of froggy PJ's that I love on him. They make his beautiful eyes even more blue, though this picture doesn't do them justice. Every morning he comes in and asks "Can I please snuggle you?" If he would just stay that sweet all day it would be perfect....

Thursday, November 6, 2008

At home....

I love Mondays and Wednesdays because we have no activities going on during the day and we are able to enjoy the luxury of staying home. Yesterday, we accomplished a great day of school and got all the chores done and the kids asked me to play a game of UNO with them. As we played cards at the kitchen table with the woodstove crackling cozily behind us and the cheery afternoon sun pouring in the window, my heart filled with gratitude for my family, a warm home to live in, and the freedom I have to educate my children at home.

Saturday, November 1, 2008


I found some pictures on the camara that I didn't take. Torsten informed me they were alphabet poses. Can you guess what letters they are?

Friday, October 31, 2008

Trying to sleep....

Last night I couldn't get back to sleep after waking in the middle of the night. After laying there for almost 2 hours I finally decided to get up and update my blog. Are you surprised the topic I've chosen is sleep? I thought I would post some pictures of the silly places the kids have slept. Sometimes I say yes to my kids requests to sleep in strange places. Here are Reagan, Heidi and Torsten in the basement linen closet after a night of slumber. Look closely, Reagan is in a laundry basket.Heidi made a little fort in the living room and inside of it she put her laundry basket and used a sweater for a pillow. It doesn't look too comfortable but she slept in it all night.....Speaking of comfortable, this spot doesn't look too great either. But during the long late hours spent remodeling at Grandma's house this spring, sometimes Heidi was forced to create a sleeping place amidst the clutter. This time she used a pink parasol to help define her little space (and maybe protect her from the dangling electric outlets over head- poor child!).