Thursday, May 31, 2012

A.M. Rituals

I'm an early morning person.  I love my quiet time with the Lord being up early. To be able to think without interuption, to enjoy a hot cup of coffee in the cool quiet before the day's busyness begins and to be able to organize my "to do list".

Recently we replaced our fading coffee maker with a Cuisinart grind and brew. For years we've ground our own blend of beans since we tend to like our coffee strong.  This new machine has been great once I got used to it sounding like it was going to launch itself through the kitchen ceiling with the noise of the super fast grinder.  It has a thermos carafe for Kevin's sake because when work doesn't require an early morning schedule, he is NOT a morning person.

So after my time of refreshing I am ready to face the day of school schedule, house and property tasks and just the general busyness a day brings.

Hope your day started off as nicely for you. Make it a good one.


Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day

For all who have served, are serving or those who have given their all that we might be the beneficiaries of their sacrifice, we humbly give thanks for the blessings we are able to enjoy.

With sincerest appreciation - The Carr Family

Saturday, May 26, 2012


As I was cleaning this morning I decided to dust the hanging pictures, paintings and drawings on the walls around the house.  As I did I was struck that among them were ones saved over the years of my attempts at learning to draw people.  Each of the images had been chosen from a magazine piece or newspaper article dating back to my first attempts in High School.  What struck me as interesting were that within these images was the makeup of my kids.

The first was of a little girl featured in a National Geographic article after Russia first opened to Western reporters in the 70's.  I was taken by this cute little Russian girl and did it as a study for my art class.  Reflected in my family now by my oldest, Amber who was born in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Then there was the little boy from a reprint of an old Life Magazine picture as he focused his attention on his game of marbles.  In our family Cameron is just as intent on his computer and Wii games.  This picture was also done in High School and I struggled a bit with correct shading and proportions.

This little Asian beauty was also done for that same art class. It wasn't quite complete with all the details as it was supposed to fade on the outside and give emphasis to the details you wanted to feature. Again it was from a National Geographic piece.  I'm struck with the character of faith reflected and I definately have in Hannah, my little prayer warrior and the incredible faith she moves in.

Finally, the last piece was taken from a newspaper shot and article done in the 80's of food being destributed to orphans.  Even the features of the little girl in the lower left corner remind me of Lauren and since dealing with malnutrition has been such a focus of our returning her to health the irony of this picture wasn't lost on me.

And just as an aside the shadow work of this leaf reminds me as we continually turn over new leaves in our families life and transitions it's an interesting study to look back on where we've been and how far we've come over the years.

It's not that there was any prophetic meaning to these drawings, just that of all the items I drew these are one's that I saved and put up around my walls that have remained after all these years.  So as the title says "interesting".

Friday, May 25, 2012

Found Money

I posted two weeks ago about having to replace the hot water heater when it went out.  So once removed we needed to dispose of the old unit.  Our local city big item dropoff was happening that weekend and initially we planned to take it there.  As we looked around the property we thought we'd take the opportunity to clean up and dispose of items that had managed to accumulate after projects done over the years.

Kevin decided as we gathered these to give a nearby recycling center a call to see if they might take old hot water units.  The woman said yes and they paid 9 cents a pound for them.  Now Kevin was motivated.  You'd be surprised at how much stuff can pile up over time, so he and Cameron spent several evenings gathering old wiring from projects, bent rebar pieces left from pool construction, old tent poles from camping tents and shade covers long past their useful days and a wide variety of metal scraps that had simply been collecting here and there.  Once loaded they took them to the recycler and were pleasantly surprised when our "garbage" netted them $72.00!!  Fulfills the old adage that "one man's trash, is another man's treasure".  Not bad for refuse, and it's great to keep cleaning up and clearing out.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Mom's New Toy


Have been absent for awhile as I play with, uh learn about, my new camera.  When asked what I wanted for Mother's Day I put in my request complete with adds for where such item was on sale just to help them along. Sadly my old reliable Sony Cybershot camera was on it's last pics. It had been freezing up and in general not functioning well. Can't complain this trusty little camera has lasted over 6 years, been to China twice, Florida for our DisneyWorld vacation, Hawaii, numerous Disney trips and countless daily as well as special occasions have been captured by this little gem.

Now I will admit that I am not the most tech savvy person, so point and click is just fine for me.  This new camera does have a lot of other features that I am determined to learn, so that means I have to actually read the instructions!!  Not something I'm good about doing. 

To start I have been really impressed with how much clearer my pictures are. 16 megapixels over my old camera's 6 really are great for more clarity.  This camera is more sensitive to my inadvertent movements so I will have to get better at being a bit steadier, especially when using the zoom. And the zoom is so superior.  Took these photos of the bunnies munching my plants (little stinkers)  from a good 10 feet away. Was surprised at what I was able to capture.

Still have a lot of features other than the basics that I will make a point to learn.  Managed to download these just fine, so there's progress. Didn't even have to ask the kids how to do this !!!!

Fig growing on my tree

Will be back in bloggy mode again here soon. Bye for now.


Saturday, May 12, 2012

It's Not Dark Out Yet

How I remember as a kid when daylight savings time kicked in the frustration of having to stop playing and go to bed when it wasn't dark yet.  Lauren still goes to bed by 7 p.m.  She's not needing to take naps any longer, but she just doesn't do as well without getting a good (and long) night's sleep.  So with the time change she made note of it still being light outside now when she goes to bed.  That sparked the memory for me of one of the poems I learned from my book A Child's Garden of Verses, by Robert Louis Stevenson that I loved as a kid.

We've been making the most of the extra light and getting things done.  I've partially painted the house, about 1/2 of it.  I've added some shots here:

Old color outside kitchen

New color
March 3rd, 2012
Planting the sunflowers

Today and the changes - it was a bit windy

Kevin and Cameron made a trip to pick up another load of compost for me as I prepare to expand my garden areas.

Yay, more garden soil!

My two-toned house in the back : )

The girls were out inspecting the progress today of the garden as a whole and particularly their sunflowers.  I included the original planting of their seeds on March 3rd, and today the size of the flowers.  Still a bit more growing before we get the flower heads to show.  The corn is really taking off and there's lots of small yellow squash and zucchini growing.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Our Prolific Artist

"When I grow up I'm going to be an artist", was the announcement Hannah made the other day as she held out her latest creation.  From the time she was little and used to take the recycled paper from Kevin's school work or projects and turn them into "notebooks" or loads of these:

Hannah's "Blues Clues" pawprints

Hannah at 4 with her little table, chair and supplies

We'd find "Blues Clues" all around the house.  In addition to her many works of art. Our refrigerator has always been her showcase.

Sample of her many creations
In time the numbers and quality of images, scrolls, notes and with her ability to write love notes and "books" would increase.  She's always loved getting craft kits for gifts and has lately been making loads of potholders with her weaving kit, so I never have a shortage in the kitchen.

Hannahs "Books"

3-D Puppets

Love Notes, Scrolls and Cards

A few potholders

And for goodness sakes don't ever let her catch you making a huge faux pas as when Cameron cleaned his room and disposed of some of her creations.  OHHHH the attitude he got when she announced "Cameron just threw my gifts away!!!".

Her creativity and boundless energy to pursue her craft gives us a constant supply of creations to enjoy. I do love her enthusiasm and will have to make more of an effort to provide various materials and means for her to continue to express this passion.
So we will continue to encourage our artist who has also announced in the past her desire to be a doctor, a mom, a chef, a teacher and a scientist.  Knowing Hannah she could be all and do a great job!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Change in Plans for "TO DO" List.

   1. - As our school year officially winds down we spend time getting through the last of our school books and lessons. I begin to review materials for getting grades done and making sure we've covered all that was on our lesson plans that I organize at the beginning of the year.  We still continue to school through the summer, but we make it more fun and really on a limited basis. It's more a time to review, cover areas that might need work or clarity and do more of our craft time to keep it lite. Mom needs the break even more than the kids!!!!

New Smoky Olive Color
   2. - This past weekend I started to paint the exterior of the barn and house.  This will be an ongoing project for some time due to the size of the project and with warmer afternoon temperatures, this worker bee limits her time outside!  Am liking the new color and feel beside the fact that the painting definately needed  to be done it will make a nice change to the exterior look and feel of our home. 

Old Yellow Exterior Color

Hannah Drawing with Sidewalk Chalk while the adults work

Lauren busy with her art and Bea keeping watch, and napping : )

   3.   -  Kevin and Cameron began the prep process for stuccoing the exterior of the back room by putting up wood trim around the windows.  Then they will put up the wire and begin the stucco process.

Oops, change of plans!!!
   4.  - Install new hot water heater.  This item jumped to the top of the list last night when our water heater began leaking.  We had purchased an instantaneous whole house water heater awhile back and had planned to have it done by this summer.  With the demise of our old heater this now became the priority activity. Kevin took a personal day today to work on replacing the unit so we can have our hot water back.  I'm very thankful we had a new one ready to go, he has the skills to install and he was able to take the time off to do this.

There are the usual activites still ongoing:
 Our garden is really taking off with the warmer temperatures. The chickens have been keeping us going with LOTS of eggs and one of our "girls" went  over and above the call of duty with this oversized beauty.  We are still in awe of the size of this one!!

Our Super Sized Egg on the Left vs. Normal Size on Right

Friday, May 4, 2012

A Very Disney Day

Yesterday was really special. In the little over a year since we were last at Disney the changes happening at the parks and then within the family were striking.

  The park known as California Adventure is getting a whole makeover with building facade changes, new rides and updates for older ones.  It makes for a bit of a mess winding your way around the temporary pathways, but I'm sure the results will be worth it.

Lauren was beside herself with excitement. Her newfound ability to participate in "big girl" rides kept a huge smile on her face all day.  We documented her 40" height achievement.

40" Tall!!!

Unfortunately the one ride "Soaring" that Hannah really wanted her to experience was shut down due to technical difficulties.  So that will be for another day. That is the benefit of annual passes, no real tragedy in not being able to participate this time, you'll save the adventure for the next outting.

Lauren sat on Kevin's lap to get a better view for the shooting gallery on the TOY STORY ride. She was so intent and animated when it came to getting the targets!!!

At Bug's Land watching all four on the Tuck'n'Roll bumper cars was a kick. Mom was quite content to pass on this one and play photographer.

Brought the strollers to handle the long distance walking. Lauren still doesn't last long with extended physical activities, and thankfully we brought the umbrella stroller  "just in case", for Hannah.  She wound up with an uncomfortable blister on her heel early in the day and would have been miserable walking all day long.

The updated STAR TOURS ride was a hit with the whole family.  Both Hannah and Lauren giggled, squealed and screamed their way through the whole adventure.  You wear 3-D glasses for a better effect, and when the ride ended Hannah got right  up to my face and said "that was SO COOL!!!!".  Lauren dittoed  the sentiments, so we made a point to go again later in the day.

Finding Nemo Sub Ride

We walked, rode and ate our way through a wonderful day.  Finishing at Downtown Disney with a delicious dinner at Tortilla Jo's, and take home bread pudding from the Jazz Cafe, before heading to the truck.  Both girl's jabbered away about all they did and how much fun they had, until it quickly grew silent and they both faded into LA LA Land fast asleep for the ride home.  Great day - thank you Lord for not just this blessing, but the joy of the little one's here to share it with!!!

Girl's With Jasmine and Aladdin

Big Bro and his little sister's