21 October 2017

Morning at the Pumpkin Patch

My boys (and husband) don't just walk the corn maze, they play a pretty serious game of tag in the corn maze every year. 

This time the boys decided to go for some of the specialty pumpkins that come in different shapes & sizes. Those'll be fun to carve. 

09 October 2017

The Boys' Monthly "Chopped" Cooking Night

We've been working on sticking to a budget and saving money on small purchases lately, so we challenged the boys this month to do "Chopped" with ingredients we already had around the house. 

They decided to do a Halloween themed dinner with a snake-shaped pizza roll with fresh veggies inside, deviled eggs with olives on top cut in the shape of spiders, and Frankenstein marshmallow pops with marshmallow ghosts to go in the hot cocoa. So cute!

30 September 2017

General Conference

Twice a year our church has a General Conference, when people from all over the world can travel to attend the conference in person or tune in via the internet and hear uplifting talks by church leaders. Michael, Kolby, & Elijah are at the conference in person right now, on a trip with our church youth group. And the younger boys and I are watching from home.  It's kind of nice to relax and have church at home in our pajamas once in a while.  And this morning it's been pretty peaceful around here during the first session of conference. (There are 4 two-hour sessions, 2 sessions today and 2 more tomorrow). So we'll see how the boys are doing with their attention spans by the end of the sessions tomorrow. But we've got some pretty good boys.  :)

These two talks from this morning's session especially spoke to me. I'll definitely need to go back on lds.org and listen to them again in the future. 

Bonnie Oscarson, Young Women General President:
Talk about service -- specifically those who are closest to us: family, neighbors, church members 

Jeffrey Holland Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
"Be ye therefore perfect" -- Self improvement without getting down on yourself. Every one of us is a debtor deserving imprisonment, freed only by the gift of Jesus Christ's atonement.  Strive for steady improvement without obsessing for toxic perfectionism. 

27 September 2017

Biking with Mom & Matth

Matthew surprised us and came into town for the weekend. Mom, Matth, & I had fun doing a little mountain biking on Monday. We went up the switchbacks, and when we were going up the hill on Artesian Road my chain suddenly snapped in two while I was riding. Don't know what caused that to happen. Matth was sweet and towed me and my bike up a couple of hills, then he and Mom took off to get the car and come pick me up. I just kept chugging away, using my bike kind of like a scooter -- standing with one foot on one pedal, while using my other foot to push off along the edge of the curb, and occasionally being able to coast down hills. I made it to the local bike shop and got the chain repaired, before Mom & Matth came and met me for lunch. It was a good day. 

(Notice anything missing?)

And I'm starting to get excited about mountain biking again. I met a new friend in my neighborhood named Tami who invited me to help her out with a little neighborhood Facebook biking group she had created, and tomorrow we have our third weekly group bike ride so far. I've even started thinking about whether I can fit in more than one or two rides a week. We'll see. But it's fun to have several friends from the neighborhood & from my church who have signed up for the group and want to do it too. 

21 September 2017

Malabar Spinach

My mom and I had a day out together today, and we decided to check out City Farmer's Nursery in City Heights. I had read this little description of it online about a year ago, and thought it sounded fun:

"Looking for backyard chickens, and free classes on how to raise them? A sack of “worm poop”? Or a chance to see Georgette, the Shetland-Welsh pony? Find them all at City Farmers Nursery, a working farm inspiring garden lovers since 1972 that also offers live music, brunch, and cold beer next door at Nate’s Garden Grill.  4832 Home Avenue, City Heights."

It was a really fun little nursery to explore, with lots of different kinds of plants and trees, a store filled with seeds, all things gardening/bee keeping/chicken or goat raising/etc. mixed with a spattering of antique decorations. The outdoor portion of the nursery was larger than it looked from the street, and we noticed a few plants we'd never seen before. My mom got a little "wasabi mustard" plant to try out. I saw their turkeys and thought it could be cool to have a turkey (never going to happen, but they were rather pretty, and made a much more quiet, pleasant sound than chickens). And we saw a cool looking vine that had pretty green foliage, a purple stem, and large dark berries that looked something like blackberries, but not quite. We asked about it, and they said it's called Malabar Spinach. The leaves and stems are edible (I tried a berry too, but it was gross and I ended up spitting it out). But they were still very pretty plants, and we asked if they had any for sale, but they didn't. So the lady who worked there cut off a part of the vine for each of us and told us we're welcome to try to propagate it at home.  After watching a couple quick YouTube videos, it looks like you can get them to grow roots just by putting them in water. So Isaac and I tried it out. Then I decided to try it out with some cuttings from my lovely sweet potato vines that are potted in the front yard, to see if I can get some more of those so I can plant them in the back yard. Who knows? It's worth a try. 

20 September 2017

Oregon Trail card game

I thought this was funny when the boys came home from the store the other day with the "Oregon Trail card game" -- they have no idea it's based on a computer game that I used to play as a kid. 

Scout Camp

Here are Michael & our cute boys on the way to their most recent scout camp. They're getting big fast!

Mountain Biking: Lusardi Creek loop

Had a fun time last week on a little mountain bike ride through Lusardi Creek with a couple of new friends, Tami & Rachel, from my neighborhood & from my church.  It was fun, but I need to get back in shape -- I'm not too speedy on the uphillportions of the ride. And I was saddle sore afterwards, especially after having ridden to the beach the week before. Guess I just need to go riding more often.  So I planned another ride for later this week. 

Passion Fruit!

And one of our passion fruit Vines has really taken off -- I think it has really liked the recent warm months.  The flowers are so pretty when they bloom, and I can't believe how many passion fruits have grown on it so quickly in the last few weeks -- the last time I counted there were about 50 fruits on it!  I wish everything in our garden would produce as much as this vine.  (And our second passion vine that didn't seem to be growing much at all for the first several months has finally grown about a foot or two taller than when we first planted it, so we're hopeful that one will eventually catch up too).  I'm excited for the fruit to get ripe -- I was thinking passion fruit yogurt might be good. 

Snail Vines

I love these "snail vine" flowers we planted in our yard. They have unusual spiral buds that give them their name, which open into pretty purple flowers that have bloomed continuously since we planted them. They're quick growers (so we find ourselves needing the trim back the new growth on the ones around the garage door each month, otherwise it starts to feel more and more like the entrance to a secret garden ea h time we go in and out of the garage). And they do seem to attract lots of aphids, so I'm learning to deal with that too. (But we've started to go to Richard Wright's free classes at the Walter Anderson nursery in Poway when we can, so we're slowly learning about how to care for our flowers and fruit trees. The other day someone called Michael & I "aprhentice gardeners," and we thought that was a fitting title).