Sunday, June 29, 2014

Meet Blackberry

As you may have guessed, we now have a bunny.  Elijah and Lydia have been lobbying for a bunny for some time.  I guess I finally gave in.  Elijah bought her, and Nathaniel built a hutch for her outside.  Lydia contributed her only dollar.  Malachi and Lydia named her "Blackberry", which Elijah embraced.  And the only thing lacking was the bunny leash. 

Lydia saw a girl downtown with bunnies on leashes, and ever since she has been begging for a leash.  Nathaniel bought one for her, and she was able to try it out with her cousins this weekend.  Blackberry was not too fond of the leash at first, but now she seems pretty happy to hop around the yard on it. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Book Review - Lone Star Justice by Wayne M. Hoy

Lone Star Justice

I just finished my latest historical romance, and like the last one, this one is set in Texas.  This book involves a young woman, Hannah Lea Gibson, who has been falsely accused of murder.  The Texas Ranger who is sent to arrest her believes in her innocence, but they have to figure out how to prove it - and how to survive until then.

I liked how the young woman character had a lot of spunk.  Hannah was a fun and stubborn young woman, and Jack, the Ranger, was well-drawn also.  I really liked that there was more to the story than just the romance and the need to clear Hannah's name, although I won't give away any details here!  There was plenty of action.  It was also fun to read the historical expressions used throughout the book.  I always get a kick out of old-fashioned slang.

I really enjoyed this book.  I should probably mention that I am a bit biased, since the talented author is my uncle.  :)

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

First Tomato!

Today, Elijah and Lydia picked the first red tomato, which Lydia and I promptly ate.  So there is no picture.  But it was a Rutgers from a plant I bought from June.  The plants I planted from seed are still too small for ripe tomatoes, but I do have blooms on some and tiny green tomatoes on others.  Some are still really small, or deer-eaten, with no blooms.  Sigh.  But I will eventually enjoy more tomatoes.
The Sultan's Crescent beans are blooming, so hopefully we will get some beans soon.  My peas didn't do so well; I only have 3 or 4 plants, but there are some blooms there, too.  So maybe we'll get a handful of peas.  On a bright note, the cantaloupes and honeydews look great and are blooming.

Nathaniel worked really hard on the chicken coop Saturday, and we have had no more attacks since his new doors and latches were in place.  We only have 7 hens now, 3 reds and 4 barred rocks.  We do still have the rooster, but we're going to eat him soon.  He's a bit hard on the hens with so few of them, plus he's getting aggressive towards us.  And none of the hens has shown any sign of going broody, so he's pretty well unnecessary.  Next spring we will probably get new chicks.  (The kids are lobbying for some right now, but I plan to wait.)

Monday, June 23, 2014

Owl Dress

I've been doing some sewing for the kids lately.  I had made Elijah two shirts, and then Malachi a new one.  I finally got around to making Lydia's owl dress.  I first got the fabric for this about 2 years ago, and I made a cute outfit for my niece out of some, but I always planned on making Lydia something out of it, too.  Well, I just used a scientific seamstress pattern to make this super-cute dress:
Malachi is wearing the newest shirt I made him.  You'll recognize the wavy striped fabric from another shirt he has.  Elijah did have on the frog shirt I made him, but after church he changed for our trip to the Renaissance Festival.  He didn't want to get his nice shirt muddy at the festival.

Lydia enjoyed a bubble "hat" at one of the shows.

Malachi and his friend got to play a penny whistle.

Lydia enjoyed her new fairy wings.  She got a lot of attention because of her new dress, and although she acted shy, she really ate that up.

Side note, it took me so long to make Lydia something with this fabric that she now has this dress AND the little shorts and top that I originally made for my niece!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Garden Endeavors

This year, I am keeping a garden diary for the first time.  That's a fancy way of saying that I have a notebook that I use to write down everything I plant and whether it lives or dies.  I think it will be helpful as I decide which varieties to plant, and when, in future years.  

Here is my latest attempt:

Sweet Potatoes!  I got some organic sweet potato slips from June at the farmer's market last Saturday.  I planted 10 slips in 3 mounds.  I've never attempted sweet potatoes before, but they love heat, so this weather should agree with them.  I've bought June's sweet potatoes in the past, and they are delicious, so I have hopes that mine will turn out well.  I'll have to ask her when to dig them up; I'm not sure how long they grow.  

On the negative side, deer have been jumping the fence and eating my tomato plants.  They've eaten at least 12 plants in half, plus 2 broccoli.  I'm very disturbed by this, but if I can keep them from getting any more, I should still have tons of tomatoes because I planted more than 50 plants.  

Our garden is not the only one we are helping to care for this year.  Malachi's garden club planted a nice garden at school, and the families are taking turns weeding, watering, and harvesting.  Our first turn was this morning, and all three kids were eager to pitch in.  Malachi is very handy with a hoe.  Elijah and Lydia took care of watering.  I hand-weeded.  Plus, all of the kids got to pick a few vegetables that were ready: 1 nice head of lettuce, 2 banana peppers, 5 green onions, 1 small head of broccoli, and 1 small zucchini.  We're having salad tonight!  (Wilted lettuce for me - with bacon dressing!) 

As for our chickens, the raccoon has not been able to get into the coop since Nathaniel reinforced the door.  Although he set the trap two days ago, we haven't actually caught the raccoon, either.  This morning, there was a squirrel, who was very happy to be let go.  

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Raccoon, again

We've got another raccoon issue.  Yesterday, we discovered that one had killed Crest and a red.  I found the spot where it had gotten into the small yard: it actually yanked a board off and climbed through the bottom of the fence, then into the coop.  I fixed the fence hole and closed off the small yard entirely, but this morning I found 2 more dead chickens, including Super Chick.  So now we have to look at making the coop more secure and catching a raccoon.  Tonight.

We are down to 9 hens now, and the rooster.  It would have been nice if the raccoon had just killed the rooster, but Nooo, it had to kill our 2 favorite hens, Crest and Super Chick.  We still have 4 reds and 5 barred rocks.  I really didn't want to have to deal with raccoons again...

Monday, June 16, 2014


I haven't mentioned the adoption in a while, but I do get asked about it quite a bit so I thought I'd give a quick update.  We are still waiting on a referral.  Our dossier was logged into the country in September, and we hope to get a referral this year.  When we do get a referral, we will travel quickly.  They will give us travel dates, and those dates will probably be about a month after we get our referral.

I often get asked what a referral is.  Basically, it is a picture of a child and a brief health report.  After we get an official referral, our in-country staff will try to get more pictures, information, and videos if possible.  Then we have more paperwork to do (of course).  When we travel, we will meet with the child for about 5 days, and then we have more papers to sign.  Then we come home and wait for the day we can go back and get our child, which will likely be about 5 months later.  That's the part where we will be very stressed!  So although right now it's hard not knowing the when or who our child is, it will be so much harder once we have met our son or daughter and have to wait to get back to him/her.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Book Review - Stuck Together by Mary Connealy

Stuck Together (Trouble in Texas) (Volume 3)
My latest book to review is Stuck Together, by Mary Connealy.  It is an historical romance set in a small Texas town shortly after the Civil War.  The back of the book described Tina, the pastor's sister, as a crusader wanting to shut down Broken Wheel's saloon, and Vince, the town sheriff, as having a troubled family past.

When I picked this book, I thought it would be more about Tina's desire to shut down the saloon.  I think the back cover is a bit misleading in that, because although that is the start of the book, the majority of the book is not really about her crusade against drinking.  I was also a bit confused in the beginning because there are a lot of characters, and since I had not read the first two books in the series I had a hard time sorting out who was who.  That said, I did really enjoy the characters of Tina and Vince.  I liked the brotherhood between the main male characters as well, and I felt that their background as Civil War soliders and prisioners of war was interesting.  The author did a good job showing the depth of the men's bond and the reasoning behind it.  Honestly, I was more interested in that than the romance aspect of the story.  I do think that anyone interested in this book should probably read the other two books in the series first.

I received this book from the publishers, Bethany House, for the purpose of writing a review, but all opinions are my own.


The summer is now in full swing.  We just got back from a week at my parents' house, and it was a great trip.  We had a big family get-together, and I actually didn't take any pictures during that.  That is so unlike me!  But I do have pictures, including Elijah and the bass he caught at the lake:
And here are cousins having fun:

And lastly, I forgot to post this one from the last day of school.  After school, Malachi had garden club, and he got to harvest his own lettuce and some green onions.  He was so proud, and he even tried a green onion.  He said it was "spicy" and he needed to drink lots of milk with it, but I was thrilled that he'd even try it.  He's quite picky about foods lately.

Friday, June 6, 2014


Elijah graduated elementary school this week.  He wore his new shirt.  He had to wear a collared shirt, and he was mad that he had outgrown all of the ones I had made for him, so I made him 2 new shirts.  This one is his favorite.  It has frogs all over it.

Lydia was trying to be a bit of a diva and demanded that she get a picture "by myself!"  So I snapped the picture, but Malachi photo-bombed it!