December 31, 2007

Christmas Tidbits

We tried making a gingerbread house from scratch this year and it turned out to be a bit of a bigger undertaking than I remember it being from when I made them as a child, but the kids loved it. We ran out of icing and ingredients to make more (I think I used too much trying to get it to stand up and stay!), so we didn't get to decorate it as much as the kids would have liked, but they were happy with it.
While we were making the cookie dough, Carson went downstairs to the garage to get a piece of cardboard for our base, and he decided to see what it would look like if he dumped a huge box of packaging peanuts all over floor of the garage! yikes....he didn't tell me about it when he came back upstairs, so imagine my surprise when I went down to get something else and saw this! He was a good sport about cleaning it up, although I admit, I was not happy to see this mess since the whole upstairs was chaos from our gingerbread making. Owell, it all cleaned up just fine.
Some snowflakes we made
Christmas Eve

December 20, 2007

Christmas Fun

We had a lot of fun trying to get a Christmas picture this year. We had to try it a couple different weekends to get one that would work. We went up to Mount Hermon Conference Center where it's really pretty and found a good spot with some pretty leaves in the background, and the kids were in great moods which helped. We had some fun playing along the way.

Mr. Carson Head

Carson came up with this fun game!


I didn't get a picture of this, but the other day I caught a glimpse forward of what Livi might be like in 10-12 more years. She LOVES to chew gum, and actually does pretty well with it, so the other day she had some bubble gum in her mouth, which is so cute to watch her chew, and she was sort of smacking it while she walked around with her purse on her arm and she was talking on her little cell cracked me up. And then a couple days ago she asked me to paint her little toenails and we did and she's so proud of it, and I have to say, it looks so cute on her. It's fun having a girl. :-)

On a totally different note, we rode our bikes to our favorite taqueria the other day, and as we were sitting outside waiting for our food, there was a guy at the table next to us waiting, too. He was a big, tough-looking guy, dressed in black with tats all up and down his arms, not too out of the ordinary, really, for around here, but he caught my attention because we were sitting close enough that I could hear him making a cell phone call to his "mama" and it truly brought tears to my eyes. He said, "Mama?! Hi! I just wanted to call to let you know that I'm really excited to see you tomorrow, and I also promise that I'll watch that whole movie with you. I love you so much, Mama, and I wanted to let you know I'm looking forward to seeing you tomorrow, I'll talk more to you then! I love you!!...." Now, I have no idea what their relationship is like, but it was precious just to hear those words coming from him. It was a little reminder for me also to not pass judgment for things on the outside, you never know what things are really like in anyone's lives until you get to know them (or till you eavesdrop on their conversations!!!) :-)

December 18, 2007

We live in California...

We were at Borders recently looking at some children's books and Carson came across a Curious George book he wanted me to read to him. It was all about numbers and items in various places like playgrounds, homes, etc. One was about the different kinds of weather. There was a box for the different seasons and Carson was saying what all of them were. So there was "Sunny", "Windy", "Rainy", and then "Angely".....I guess it's a sure sign Carson's not too familiar with snow. :-)

December 7, 2007

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!

Last weekend we went out to Johnson's Farm to get a Christmas tree and it was such a fun experience, I can tell why families make it a tradition. It started raining pretty hard when we got there, so we got out of the car and took shelter under the place where they netted the trees and then we went over to the little gift shop. This family farm is owned and operated by a gal who is in my Bible Study, along with her husband, Farmer Rob, and their sons. It's such a pretty place and there's a lot of history there.
Once the downpour ended, the sun broke out and it turned into a gorgeous day to be up there. We went out in the field to pick our tree and finally stumbled upon "Snowman". They name each of their trees and we decided that Snowman was a good fit for our family. :-)
After getting some hot cider and cookies, we took a tractor-led hayride around the farm and saw the horses and then up to the top of a hill where we each got to roll either a pumpkin or a circular cut of a tree down a really long steep hill to try to get it to roll thru an old tire. It was really fun, and the pumpkins really picked up some good speed going down. Out of all of us that did it (about 15 or so) Carson's came the closest, but none of us made it through. It was just such a fun and memorable experience, I think we might have to make it a tradition for our family, too.

November 29, 2007


My parents and my brother came out for Thanksgiving again this year, and we had such a great time with them. The kids relished all the attention they got all week from them. It was nice to have a change in our routine, although I am finding that I quickly get spoiled with all the help and it takes me several days to get back into the swing of things when they leave. Thanks Mom and Dad for coming out and for all the help you gave me and just for being here, I miss you tons and can't wait till we get to see you again.
My Aunt Ruth and Karl came down from Walnut Creek to join us for Thanksgiving day which has become a really nice tradition, we love their company.
We took my family to the Redwoods for a little walk which was refreshing and fun. The most amazingly huge leaves were falling to the ground, we considered using them as placemats for Thanksgiving!
The kids and I went to the park a couple weeks ago and gathered up a bunch of pretty leaves and berries, etc. and made a little fall garland out of them.

November 24, 2007

Monarch Migration

A couple weeks ago we went to see the Monarch Butterflies that are migrating south for the winter. They come to an area in Natural Bridges State Beach in Santa Cruz that is filled with Eucalyptus trees and milk weed, which they feed on. It was pretty cool to take the monarch trail back through the woods to the place where you look up and see hundreds of them all flitting around from tree to tree. I thought they'd be much closer up for us to see, and I think sometimes they are, but that day they were all up pretty high flying around. It still was really neat and I'm glad we got to see them. The kids had a great time hiking on the trail and finding cool sticks to play with.

November 12, 2007

Carson says...

Carson's been cracking us up lately.

I was eating my breakfast and reading my Real Simple magazine, and Carson came over and was looking at some of it with me, which didn't last long because he stated that "everything in this magazine is so girly!"....and off he ran.

Carson was putting one of Jason's old t-shirts on Livi as a paint shirt and he said, "Here Livi, put this on and you'll look like a princess." :-)

Last night I was reading the story of David and Goliath to him, and after we were done and had just read about how God had given David all the power he needed to slingshot that rock right at Goliath, Carson said, "I really want some of that power." So I told him that God will give us power if we ask him, like power to be patient and power to do the right thing when no one is looking, etc. So he wanted me to pray for some power for him, "cuz I'm a little embarrassed to ask for it," he said. Silly boy, I just love how honest he is and he's been so curious about spiritual things lately, it's been fun to have some really good conversations with him.

November 5, 2007

Chicken and White Bean Stew

I was going to email my friend this recipe, but I thought I may as well just put it on our blog so you all can try it if you want, too! It's a recipe from Rachael Ray's magazine, and it's warm, rich and hearty, a good fall dinner.

Chicken and White Bean Stew

4 slices bacon, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 lb. red potatoes, cut into cubes
32 oz. chicken broth
1 whole rotisserie chicken, pulled apart (I just boiled a couple chicken breasts and shredded them)
2 15.5-ounce cans small white beans, rinsed
5 oz. arugula (I used spinach)
Salt and pepper

In a lg. soup pot cook the bacon over medium heat until cooked but not crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the potatoes and chicken broth and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
Add the chicken and beans to the stew and cook until heated through. Just before serving, stir in the arugula (or spinach) and season to taste with s&p.

Bon Appetit!

November 3, 2007

Fall in the Redwoods

I took the kids over to the redwoods for a little fall walk and we had such a great time. We only had enough time to be there for an hour, but it was perfect and they both walked the whole time! It was so pretty and the smell...oh, the smell...we all kept taking deep breaths in through our noses to savor the delicious sweet earthy smell of the damp and changing foliage. We collected some kind of nutty things that kept falling from the trees, and we threw them into the river just before we got to our car; it was great incentive to keep them going till the end! I think we'll be going back real soon. I'm thankful to live in such an incredibly gorgeous part of God's creation.

I just love this picture of them both trying to smile really big!


We went over to our friend's camp and ate pizza out on the grass with a bunch of other families, and then we took the kids trick-or-treating to several different homes around there. Carson and Livi had a great time. Carson had been wearing the tail part of his costume a couple weeks before Halloween, he loves to dress up. I made his costume, which was fun, although he didn't end up liking the head part very much, I think it was itchy and hot. :-) Livi got a cheerleader's costume in a bag of hand-me-down clothes our neighbor gave her and it fit just right for this year. She had some little red pompoms and kept saying, "Go Team Go!" and "Go Dragon Go!" to cheer on Carson. And they've really been enjoying the candy from it all! So we've been brushing and flossing extra good this week. :-) Helps that Carson has to go get a cleaning at the dentist on Tuesday! Hope all's well in there.

We didn't get a very good picture of Carson's whole costume, but this is part of it. It looks cooler from behind. He really wanted fire-breath, and this is all I could come up with! He thought it was cool, though. :-)

October 28, 2007

Fall Fun

On Saturday we went to Wilder Ranch where they had an old-fashioned heritage fall festival. Jason road his bike from our house to the ranch and met us there, so he got in a great mountain bike ride and we had a fun time with the kids. We got to grind apples fresh off the tree to make cider that tasted SO delicious. We watched a blacksmith make some coat hooks in the old metal shop, that was really cool. They had great music (a banjo and a fiddle) and lots of other little harvesty things for the kids to do. I just love stuff like that, all the old-fashioned things, it's just so fun to experience a little bit of how people used to live.

Carson got to crank some dried corn through a little mill that took off all the kernels and then took a cup full of the kernels and put them through another grinder to make corn meal out of it that we fed to the cows. He loved turning the grinders.

We got some fresh ranch-made pumpkin ice cream that was delicious.

And Carson had a go at the stringed donut competition.....that was pretty funny. He had to try to eat the donut without any hands. It took him a while, but he was determined and ended up with a face full of powdered sugar and a donut in his mouth. :-)

October 25, 2007

Even nasty things are amazing!

I really don't like spiders. Jason really doesn't like spiders. But as much as I dislike them, I have to admit they really are amazing. And I don't understand at all how they do it, but the webs they spin are simply really cool! And to think that all that hard work only lasts for one night of meal-catching. I've tried to learn how spiders spin their webs, and I've learned a bit more in the process, but I still don't understand how they do it, and how they get those really long strands you see from a branch down to your house and then up again another long distance (those ones you walk thru, isn't it amazing how strong and sticky they are?!). Wouldn't you love to catch a spider in slow motion jumping from place to place casting out it's web along the way? It would freak me out, but I'd love to see how they do it.
Okay, I really didn't mean to write so much about spiders, but I saw these really cool webs the other morning on our deck on a day that was moist with dew and fog and they just stood out clearly against the green grass below. The pictures don't do justice, but I thought they were neat.
"All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small, all things wise and wonderful, the Lord God made them all."


A couple weekends ago, we went to the pumpkin patch we've gone to the last 3 years. It's so beautiful, great views of the ocean, lots of pumpkins and a pretty drive there and back. I think we may have gone a week too early, cuz we already had to throw away Livi's pumpkin, and I'm not too sure Carson's will last another week. Owell, we had fun getting them and carving them.

October 23, 2007

Gingerbread Pumpkin Pancakes

This is one of our favorite recipes. We got it from Trader Joe's on a day that they were sampling these and they are so good! They make a great breakfast, but they are also good if you make extras and put them in the fridge and then pop them in the toaster for a snack. It makes about 22ish thick, hearty pancakes, but you can easily halve the recipe. Enjoy!

Beat together 2/3 cup brown sugar and 4 eggs
Add 1 cup canned pumpkin
1 1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup butter, melted
Mix together.
Then add 3 cups flour
4 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. ginger
pinch salt
pinch nutmeg

Cook on your griddle and have a great breakfast!

October 20, 2007

Whose Child is This??

Oh boy, I had a horrifying moment today, and I'm still feeling the pangs of not responding the right way....I guess we all have to learn as we go, right? Sometimes I just don't respond in the most mature or proper way to takes me too long to think thru the right way to do things sometimes that I don't do it right when the opportunity presents itself, which always leaves me with an embarrasing/"oh,-I-wish-I-could-do-it-all-over-again" feeling.
So, today we were at a birthday party at the park (Skypark). It was a big party with lots of kids and they had a lots of yummy food and a pinata and a bounce house, it was pretty cool, until my child lost his. (cool, that is). I was standing off to the side talking to one of my neighbors who was at the party, too, and Carson was jumping in the bounce house. I knew he was in there, but I wasn't watching him very closely. He's such a good kid (usually!), so I had no concern for him misbehaving. It was near the end of the party and I was having a nice conversation with my friend when I heard Carson crying and screaming, and sure enough, another mom (who I don't know and who I hope I never run into again!) was carrying Carson away from the bounce house looking for his mom (me!)...I walked briskly over thinking for sure he had gotten hurt or trampled or something in the bounce house (there were lots of kids in there!), but as she quickly handed him over she said "he was hitting and kicking and not listening!!" and off she went......oh boy, was I ever mad and embarrassed and Carson was REALLY mad cuz he didn't like that the lady had to grab him out of the bounce house. So I quickly reached down to get his shoes and quickly said goodbye and thank you to the hostess and off we went to the car for a talk and then home.
I tried to sort it through with him, and basically it sounds like he just decided to hit everyone, and kick one boy, and not listen to the lady who was trying to get him to stop. I should have been over there watching him. I should have gone to the car for a talk and to calm down and then gone back to the party, not for him to enjoy it some more, but to see if everyone was okay and to make him apologize to those he hit and kicked and to apologize to the other mom for disrespecting her and not listening to her and kicking and screaming when she tried to get him out....and to get a better idea of what happened....gosh I feel so embarrassed that I wasn't watching him and that I didn't do those things I should have. I always get annoyed with other parents who aren't watching their kids, especially when they are being mean.
So when we got home we came up with some consequences for him. We made him throw away all the candy he had gathered from the pinata as well as the yo-yo party favor. We had him throw away his sticker chart that he had been working on for a long time (he was so close to earning a prize for all his hard work), and he isn't allowed to have stories before bed tonight and tomorrow night. Those are all things that are pretty dear to him, so I hope it helps him remember that there are consequences to the way he chooses to behave! And next time (not that I'm hoping there will be a next time, but I know there will be other things we'll have to deal with), I'll know better how I should respond. It's so hard sometimes to do the right thing on the spot!
So anyways....I just had to write it all down and get it off my chest. Thanks for reading, I feel a bit better.

October 12, 2007

My Name

This was on my friend Angie's blog and I thought it was fun...Thore, I mean Byranie, did it also, so check out her website.

(first pet & current car)
Alfie Volvo

2.YOUR GANGSTA NAME: (fave ice cream flavor, favorite cookie)
Coffee Chocolate Chip

3. YOUR "FLY Guy/Girl" NAME: (first initial of first name, first three letters of your last name)

4. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color, favorite animal)
Red Giraffe

5. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, city where you were born)
Olivia Boulder

6. YOUR STAR WARS NAME: (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first)

7. SUPERHERO NAME: (2nd favorite color, favorite drink put "The")
Green The Arnold Palmer

8. NASCAR NAME: (the first names of your grandfathers)
Vernon Howard

9.WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (mother's & father's middle names )

October 6, 2007


When Carson came upstairs yesterday morning he was so excited and he said, "I love birthdays, they're just the best! I love cake!"
Here he is with his new car transporter....he's been really into playing with his cars lately.

One thing he kept asking for was a robe and some slippers, so Grandma and Bumpa got that for him and he was SO happy. This morning I went down to get Livi so she wouldn't wake Carson up by calling out for me, but when I got down there, Carson's light was on and he was in Livi's room laying on the floor with his robe and slippers on, it was so cute.
I love the look in Carson's eye here, he's stoked about having some cake.
Here's everyone gathering their loot from the pinata that took forever to break.
We had a fun birthday party with Carson's friends on a super cold evening...but it didn't rain! Yay! Thanks everybody for making it such a special day for him....he's so happy to be 4 now.

Jason's 30th Birthday

Jason turned 30 on September 30th!
It ended up that our friends Amy and Derek, who moved to SoCal last winter, were in town for the weekend, and we really wanted to see them, so we had a little get-together at the park across from us with some other friends as well. It was a great time to see them and to celebrate Jason's birthday, too!

Gilroy Gardens

Livi at the Wheel

The boys on the carousel...Jason's horse looks mad!

Brother and Sister

September 25, 2007


I just love the way this one ends!!


The picture says it all. :-)

Children's Books

I've been interested in seeing if any of you fellow blog friends have any good children's book suggestions. Whenever we go to the library, there are so many choices and there are so many weird books out there (as well as really good ones, I'm sure, but I always love a recommendation). So I was wondering if you have a moment to comment on this post as to what your or your children's favorite books are, then maybe we could all benefit from a few new titles to add to our reading times. :-)
Some of our favorite and most often repeatedly read are:
Walter the Baker, by Eric Carle
Pancakes, Pancakes!, by Eric Carle
Watch out for the Chicken Feet in Your Soup, by Tomie de Paola
Any of the Curious George books or other books written by H.A. Rey or his wife, Margaret (Katy N0 Pocket is cute)
The Tomten & The Tomten and the Fox (can't remember the author's name, something Scandinavian)
Minnie and Moo go to the Moon
The Bear Snores On

September 21, 2007

Something to Ponder...

This quote was on my friend Byranie's blog, and I've been thinking about it so much. Lord, I need some more Charity!...

"We have not got far enough if we play a game of cards with the children "merely" to amuse them or to show that they are forgiven. If this is the best we can do, we are right to do it. But it would be better if a deeper, less conscious, Charity threw us into a frame of mind in which a little fun with the children was the thing we should at that moment like best."

C.S. Lewis in The Four Loves
There are so many things I've been thinking about during the last few weeks that I always think would be fun to put down in the blog, but by night time, I've been so tired I haven't been up for recalling the funny things Carson's said or the silly things Livi's done, or they ways in which they completely humble me (like this week when I got really frustrated at Carson and pulled him out of the car to make him go back inside to go potty before we left cuz we were in a hurry, and I sat outside the bathroom waiting for him so I could quickly direct him back to the car, when I hear him saying thru this teeth, "I hate it when my mom does that...I hate it when she talks to me like that..." I was all choked up hearing him talk to himself like that about me, and the bad way I treated him. So when he came out, I wrapped him up in my arms and told him 1. I'm sorry, 2. I shouldn't have spoken so harshly and pulled you out of the car so hard, & 3. will you please forgive me? He graciously forgave me and we went along our way, we weren't even Bible study!!!) I hate it when the nasty side of me comes out at my kids. No wonder Carson talks to me the way he does sometimes, they are little mirrors. God's working on ripening that fruit of self control in my life.

Here's a video from a few weeks ago, as you can see, it's a wonderful world for a boy at the beach!

August 29, 2007

Livi's 2!

Last Tuesday we celebrated our little girl's second birthday!!! Wow...I can't believe our baby is 2 now. I just love our little Livi, sometimes I just want to eat her up, she's so darn cute! We had a little birthday celebration in Colorado and then on her birthday morning we made blueberry muffins and she opened a few presents. We went to the beach for a few hours and then out for ice cream after dinner. It was a fun day. Then a couple days later we had a little playgroup party at the park with a few friends, so she really got an extended b-day celebration this year. We are so thankful God's given us this little girl to bring up, she's a treasure.