Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A few new hobbies

Every now and again, I get into a routine with life and unfortunately efficiency wins over balance. So naturally I feel the need to add creative outlets to weigh out the work. So I picked up a few hobbies, some new, some thrown by the wayside.

A couple of months ago I sewed a patchwork quilt (an old hobby) but I'm not quite finished because I'm priding myself on a $0 cost so far. I'm scouring the thrift stores for cheap batting, or an old or free twin blanket, to be used as batting and then....voila! A quilt will have been made with absolutely no money. I used free material I had on hand, some sheets and an old aloha shirt of Jeff's. I'll post pics when it's finished.

A few months ago, I listened to a book on CD called Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver and it inspired me to finally start my first vegetable garden. I've always wanted one, but we've never lived in a place for over a year, so I didn't want to commit to anything before. But we've broken the 2 year mark in our house now and so I thought, why not? So I began my project by attempting to recruit Jeff on board. Jeff is not easily recruit-able, and my questions and nagging did not help. He finally helped me gather up some free wood that we had and before he left to work he told me with full confidence that I could do it.

So I thought and thought and thought on where to begin. I knew I wanted a raised garden, but I didn't know how to make a frame or how to stake it in the ground. I had already chosen the sunniest spot on our yard, which happens to be in our front yard by the road. We live in the sticks, so curb appeal doesn't apply here. I was determined to build this garden right, and thankfully I found a step by step blog on exactly what I was doing. I measured, cut, screwed, leveled, and hammered my very first raised vegetable garden! I was so proud of myself. It isn't pretty by any means, but it was free, which I always say is the best price.

To top it all off, I filled my garden with two big garbage cans full of composted horse manure. A friend of mine, Lori, has horses and was more than willing to share the goods. Joshua and I planted green onions, zucchini, summer squash and sunflowers. So far only the sunflowers have started growing ans we are all so excited to watch our plants grow! 

Lori, happens to also be an old running buddy and she has helped me to consistently add miles to my weekly runs. I've been feeling great and with a little encouragement from her, I have signed up for my first half marathon. It's scheduled in a couple of weeks in Seattle and I feel really good about it. It's early in the morning, so I'll be going solo. I do wish though someday, that Jeff and the kids would be waiting at the finish line to cheer me on. But, for now, common sense and sanity are the names of the game.

Lastly, I tried photography for a single serving hobby. I was playing with my camera and took a few pics of some plants in my front yard.
This one with this bright pink flower emerging is my favorite.
My Mom donated some of this decorative grass for me and I just love how this plant looks. Behind it is a  glimpse of a huge wreath that Jeff made with branches found around the yard.One of Jeff's creative hobbies.

So that about sums up a few old and new hobbies that have helped balance out my life. Thank you Lori for the best nutrients for my plants. Thank you Joshua for your smiles and excitement in our garden. And thank you Jeff, for always believing in me and encouraging me to pursue my hobbies.
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Monday, February 22, 2010

For the love of reading

I know in my last post I weakly committed to sharing a little more depth of what is on my mind. Sure, I feel strongly about some political issues, religious issues and the need to learn truth, but with a month or two that has gone by with no interesting posts, I and whoever reads this blog knows that that was not on the top or anywhere near my priority list.

My priority list goes something like this: -feeding and caring for 4 little kids and a husband- cleaning the house, yard and van - going to work- exercising - grocery shopping and errand running - and last of all ...reading. Blogging is actually not even on here. So I thought I'd share one of my passions in life...Books!

I love books! I'm always reading something. I particularly love historical non-fiction, but I can appreciate all genres. I just finished reading Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I was already a fan of his from Angels & Demons and The DiVinci Code, but this book touched on some topics I just love. I'm not going to spoil the book though. It's a great read.

The book talks about Noetic Science which is, in simple terms, studying energy and the spirit. There is just so much we don't know about when it comes to energy and nature and people. We are all so connected. Energy flow is real and powerful. I'm sure most of us have heard about the monks that live in Tibet and the ability they have to raise their own body temperatures. That's only one aspect of harnessing energy. There are so many different directions one can go with that. I love reading about the healing forms of energy.

So after reading Dan Brown's book I happened on another book which I am just finishing up called Talking with Nature by Michael Roads. It's about this British man, who moves to Australia and starts farming and interestingly enough, is given this gift to communicate with nature. He is constantly being taught that there is a oneness that we as humans have with nature. I believe this wholeheartedly and there really is so much truth one can learn if we all take the time to just listen.

Jeff enjoys a good book too, but if he's not quick enough, I'll "borrow" whatever he checks out from the library, and read it too. He checked out The Scavenger's Manifesto and it is a humorous, light read. It's basic philosophy is to not be a part of our consumer driven society. The authors suggest we scavenge for things, whether they be for free or from a thrift store to get what we need. No need to tell me that.

Hopefully the kids will have a love of books like I do. Here are a few pics of the little ones.

I just love how cute and clean the kids look right after a bath. Brandon's hair is wild and I love it!
Leanna is our junior bookworm. She devours a chapter book in about 2 days! She's becoming a great writer too!
Taking a stroll down Joemma Beach.
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Monday, January 04, 2010

Christmas 2009

If I don't update this blog, no one will, so I better get to it. I was thinking about broadening my theme for this family blog. Instead of just repeatedly showing off my kids and activities, I thought I could start sharing some of my thoughts on life and issues and some of my many opinions to go with.

My blog has become "look how cute my kids are", "no. really. Look how cute they are!" And although nothing is wrong with parental pride, it has made my blogging site a little mundane. So without too much organization I will begin with the next post.
The holiday's went well. An enjoyable and delicious family day with my parents, my brother and his family. Then off we went down to California to spend the rest of the holiday's with Jeff's parents and the extended Neal family.

We walked through a neighborhood that went all out on Christmas lights and decorations. It was a little overrated but festive nonetheless. I took the kids to a trail to ride scooters, Grandpa Neal took the kids on a wagon & tractor ride in his back field, opened lots and lots of presents on Christmas Day, had an amazing prime rib roast that Jeff made for the family, worked out hard at the local YMCA and could barely walk for the next two days. We visited with all the in-laws on New Years Eve and I played tennis for the first time, which was fun, but humbling. Hung out on New Years Day and then said our goodbyes until we see them all again.

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Friday, October 30, 2009

The Airborne Toxic Event

Last night Jeff & I went to Seattle to see The Airborne Toxic Event and we were blown away by their sounds and performance! They put on a great show and they played with passion and energy. Listen to their music and you'll know what I'm talking about. I'm all about supporting bands with true musical talent, great lyrics, and amazing vocals. Oh, since I'm frugal to a fault, the tickets cost about the same as a movie ticket with popcorn. We had an awesome time minus all the calories.
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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I'm back...but not committed

Okay I know it's been a while. My camera died and then my computer died and within that time of a few months I lost all interest in blogging. I became a bookworm during that time and I thoroughly enjoyed that. But now I have a new camera, an updated computer and a brief interest in blogging again. So here goes.

As you can see, everyone is getting huge! Everyone had their birthdays this summer. So Leanna is 7, Joshua is 5, Brandon is 4 and Joseph is 2. We had a nice, relaxing summer. Jeff's parents came up from California to visit and spent Independance Day with us. We watched the BEST fireworks show I've ever seen off of Lake Union in Seattle. We had a great time! Leanna and Josh then went down to California with their grandparents for a week and then stayed with their Aunt Cindy and Uncle Danny, who took them to Disneyland and California Adventure for the first time. After spending some more time with Grandma and Grandpa and some more relatives, they flew back home all by themselves. They loved every minute of their vacation! They are so adventurous!
We filled our summer by going to Palmer Lake, Joemma Beach, Penrose State Park and our beach access down to Filucy Bay. I took the kids on lots of bike rides, walks, fishing trips and outings to Seattle with PoPo and Gong Gong.
These are first day of school pics at the bus stop. I love walking the kids to the bus stop every morning. I love the smell of mornings and the quietness. Leanna is in 2nd grade, Josh is in Kindergarten, and Brandon will be starting Preschool next week. It'll be just me and Jo Jo man cleaning house together. Lovin' it!
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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Hairdo Central

I've being feeling ultra creative lately, particularly in cooking and hairstyling. Yes, they are completely different things, but you wouldn't believe the Mexican meal I whipped up the other day. It included, homemade turkey enchiladas with a white cheese sauce, made with homemade tortillas (I've perfected them), homemade spanish rice (definitely one of my best pots) and homemade horchata (you know the rice water/cinnamon/milk drink). Let's just say, all our bellies were full and I recieved lots of dinner praises that night.
My camera needs to be replaced in a bad way, but it'll have to do for now. This is a hairdo I just made up. I call it the Naiobi inspired hairdo, from the Matrix. Since I always do Leanna's hair when it's wet it looks wild when we take out whatever style she has in. I should have taken a picture of her hair after I took these pigtail buns out. She had a tight curl afro. It was crazy cool!
So this one I did tonight. I looked online for some ideas and came across this. It was easy and fun. Sorry the picture doesn't do justice. I'm still a novice when it comes to braiding. I know the basics, but I still need to learn the difficult stuff. There are some great ideas online though. I'll be trying them out.
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Monday, January 05, 2009

The white, white Christmas of '08

Is BBQing only for the summer? Not in my family! A foot or two of snow does not and will not deter my family from firing up the grill. My brother Jeff is married to a wonderful Korean gal and they always spoil our family with oh, so yummy Korean BBQ. So here's my dad, brother Jeff and Josh cooking up some good eats at my parents house.

Cousin Connor and Jo-Jo playing together.

Cousin Macy, Leanna, Spence and Dad playing in the snow.
Here's my Brandon Boy looking especially cute, considering a few days prior to Christmas he fell on my Christmas present from Jeff, which were dumbells (just what I asked for), and split the bottom of his chin open, and recieved 7 stitches! He was very brave! No, I didn't get rid of the dumbells, but the kids know now to stay away from them. A trip to the hospital brings fear to my kids like no other.

So 2008 has come to a close and this when most people reflect and list all the wonderful things that happened throughout the year for each family member. But, since I'm not most people I'm just going to say that Heavenly Father has blessed our family in countless ways. Everyone is healthy and happy. We're thankful for each other and for all of the relationships we have with our family and friends.
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