Friday, July 30, 2010


Jasper turned two on the 17th!  We had a fun day with friends and treats and presents.  My little old house was about 120 degrees, it was hot and miserable.  So... we got in the car, friends following behind us, and drove down the hill to a Mc Donalds with an air conditioned playground, it was cold and heavenly, we then romped around at a park with train tracks, a little creek, and great trees to climb, and finished up the birthday evening with a scoop of ice cream from thrifty's.

Monday, July 26, 2010

the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me....

Today I was having a blue day, and then I read my friend Aimee's latest blog post. Most days I have a pretty negative opinion of myself, I focus on my weaknesses, and the " I should have done this" or " I could have done that better" I can't tell you how much it lifted my spirits and brightened my day to hear my dear friend speak so lovingly and kindly of me and to see myself through her eyes.

Aimee's blog post....

Ashley and I met in church. My first Sunday in that ward, I didn't know why, but I just felt the second she walked into Relief Society, that we HAD to be friends. I smiled at her and waved. Probably several times. She thought I was some weird-o that wouldn't leave her alone! I was nervous about being in a new ward, town...State! A few weeks into my move, I got a job. But my job didn't pay regularly and I was barely making it. Ashley took my two littles in while I worked. And knowing I didn't have any money, she allowed me to pay her as I got paid. I feel horrible sometimes about it, she often would watch them for little to nothing, and she included their lunch and snacks. Our children learned to play together. And as I would hang out for hours after work, we seemed to bond really well. We had a lot in common. Our longing to be at home with our children, our creativity (even though we express our creativity through other outlets), our love of cooking/baking, our poverty, and our carlessness. Often, she would take me out with her foodstamps and buy my groceries, and I would take what little money I had earned from that week, and buy her diapers and wipes. Mind you, we walked to the grocery store or Kmart to purchase all of these things. We walked to WIC offices together, trying to tame our toddlers. Our 4 children (and her one on the way - Ollie) were naughty most of the time. I'm sure some wondered how we did it. We wondered how we did it. Burger King closed their playground. (I'm quite certain our toddlers had something to do with it's demise...)

Ashely is a wonderful friend. She is always kind, optimistic and positive. She's always baking something, even when it's 110 degrees outside and her children are driving her crazy.

She gardens and sows, even into the wee hours of the morning. She definitely deserves the crown of Domestic Goddess. She's the friend that I know I can call on anytime, even at 2am and know that she will listen, completely. She's the friend that came and flushed my dead goldfish, and cleaned out the cupboards that contained a mouse, because I was too chicken to do it. She's the friend who said, "Of course you can do it" When I said that I was done. She believed in me always, even when I couldn't see anything.

I believe that the kind of person you are is reflected in your children. Ashley's children (along with being normal little rambunctious boys) are very kind-hearted. Always wanting to be their best, even when it's hard for them to be. I miss sweet little Caillou's heart felt, "Can I come play at your house?", "Will you come with me", etc..

Just a few days before I had to leave, I stopped by to check on little Ollie real quick before I had to head to a family gathering. When I got inside, Caillou came running straight out of the tub to see me. Great big smile. And Jasper was calling me. "Aimee Aimee" I have never in my life felt so loved, besides my own children of course. These boys are such angels. And just like my children, their horns are holding up those halos. :-)

Every problem we have had has either been solved or been made into something severely comical. Several times we wished for a video camera to film all of our adventures. I'm pretty sure a major network would have picked up our reality show in an instant. We are worth it! There was never, ever a dull moment when we got together. I love our little stitched together family. Yes, in the end of my little Ramona adventure, that is what she became. Ashley was more than just a friend, she was a Godsend. She was a sister. Those boys are just like my nephews. They are a major part of my family. They always will be.

I still don't understand all the reasons God had me go to Ramona, but I will be happy even if it was just to learn, and grow and laugh and gain a sister in all the process.

You're the best, Ashley!

I am so lucky to have such wonderful friends in my life, and even more so to have quite a few of them.

"Yesterday brought the beginning, tomorrow brings the end, and somewhere in the middle we became the best of friends. ~Author Unknown"
Thank you Aimee!!! Thank you for brightenning my day, thank you for everything.  I love our little stitched together family and miss you guys so much. 

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Blueberries for Chrissy....

I love to can fresh fruits and garden goodness, preserves, salsa, jams.  In my last post, I shared a picture of blueberries in their jars ready to be processed.  My friend Chrissy over at asked if I might share how I canned my blueberries.
blueberries all ready in their jars to go into the canning pot!
I followed the Ball canning book's method for raw packing berries.  I used half pint jars, sterilizing them in super hot water and keeping them in hot water until ready for use.  While my canning pot was full of water boiling, I checked over all my blueberries and washed them clean. I then made a medium syrup on the stove top.... 3 1/4 sugar and 5 cups water, brought to a boil.  I took my hot jars out of the water and filled them with the blueberries and ladled hot syrup over each jar, leaving 1/4 head space in the jars.  I then adjusted the two piece caps, finger tip tight, and placed them in the canning rack, inside my canning pot, in which the water was at a full rolling boil.  I processed them for 25 minutes.  As with all canning, check to make sure each one seals, it is sealed when the lid no longer gives up and down when you push on it.  Usually you can hear the cans "pop" sealed.   The blueberries once processed have a lovely purplish color.  My kids enjoy them over cottage cheese, and our great used in baking.  Sorry there aren't tons of pictures, I am actually in the process of canning some salsa from what I have been growing in the garden!

What's been going on in our neck of the woods....

Well it has been a while.... I took a bit of a break from my blogging.  It has been a hard couple of weeks around here.  One of my dearest and truest of friends moved away.  This is Aimee.... we met a year ago when she moved into town with her two little kids.  We were sitting across from each other and she kept smiling at me.  I was in a hermit like, leave me alone sort of mood, and grouchily kept thinking, what on earth is this girl smiling about.  Well, from that day forward.... we were pretty much inseparable.  We both were pretty much car- less. So we began walking all through town together.  Somedays our outings would be nearly 10 hours long when we make the trek to K-mart.  We dined in many a fast food place, and terrorized all the grocery stores and playgrounds.  Chase bank might possibly have ran out of lollipops due to us, and I am almost without a doubt certain, that burger king dismantled their playground due to one of our late night visits.  I can only imagine that as we walked through town, in a grand procession of double strollers, screaming toddlers, and sticky things being flung by our less than mannerly brood, every business owner and employee shuddered and held their breath as we passed by, hoping we would not stop in for lunch or a bit of shopping.  We had many a good trip through town together and shared a lot.  We listened to each others woes and worries and hopes and ideas. We gave a shoulder to cry on when we had terrible days of toddler tantrums, bills unpaid, and fears of losing our homes. We shared groceries and diapers, and giggles and tears.  We strutted into a sleazy bar, ( I was 7 months pregnant) for a potty break.  We did loads and loads of laundry, and made soaps and lotions and choclate balls.  We battled bugs and mice and crazies, and even sent a chicken to heaven.  She was there the day Jasper took his first steps ( the same day I found out Ollie was on the way). I was there to flush a dead fish and save her from the scary granola eating mice.  We gave eachother confidence, and most of all understanding and friendship on the hardest of days.  She moved to Utah, and I am missing her tons.  I was very close to loading up my stuff in the U-haul with her and still just might venture out there one of these days.
But anywhoo, that is why I have been away from the blog. I am sulking and pouting and having a bit of a tough time. We became like family in this past year, and it is lonesome without her here.

Thank goodness I have my Mama and my bestie Sarah.  Now if only Sarah and I weren't 70 miles apart....
but that is a story for another day....
Other than being in a bit of a frump...
I have been enjoying snuggling my baby in our hammock
We have had painting
which of course the paint never gets painted on what it is supposed to be painted upon
we have enjoyed baby smiles.... Ollie gave me his first real smile on July 1st
we have been picking lots of goodies from our garden, I just adore that my boys love their garden and are having the experience of growing and gathering and eating such healthy yummies
we celebrated 4th of July
and canned apricot nectarine preserves and blueberries
we have picked oranges from the tree for marmalade
and of course played at the park
enjoying picnics
and naps
and playing
and doing our best to keep cool in the heat of summertime
We also have been enjoying free movies on Tuesdays. The kids have seen 4 movie theater movies this summer, and have been absolutely thrilled to do so!  Both my pairs of glasses were destroyed.  One pair finally crumbled after being patched up when I was hit in the head with a tennis ball, and then later snapped in two by Jasper.  So I went back to my old glasses, that were too weak and also broken, well... they fell off my face and I ran over them with the car.  So, I am a bit blind at the moment.  It has been a crazy past two weeks.  I have been tired, and grumpy, short tempered, and depressed. I feel like I do nothing and get nothing done, but I guess as I reflect on the weeks in pictures, I realize I do more than I think.  When I am in a funk it is hard for me to be positive and I struggle with my nerves, I guess all I can do is try my best each day.  I will try not to go so long before I blog again y'all.  Jasper will be two this Saturday, I am sure it will be a fun day with lots of pictures and tales to tell!