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The Earth Laughs in Flowers (and Vegetables)

For my birthday, Mark promised that he would build me some garden beds for the side of our house.  See, we have so many places to garden in our yard, but only one area gets enough sun. The neighborhood (and I suspect a large portion of California) is infested with gophers, and the side yard is full of weeds.  Therefore, raised beds were our best option.  Not to mention I am guilty of being a “lazy gardener”  so not having to weed makes me very happy.

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So this is 3 of the garden beds.  Mark still hasn’t built my 4th one but it’s okay.  I don’t have any plants to put in there yet.  When we were discussing how big we wanted the beds to be it ended up into several arguments haha.  Mark wanted to build me 2 4×4 planters, one for veggies and one for herbs.  I told him that’s not big enough, I would need at least 3 (two for veggies, one for herbs).  I originally wanted three 4x6s. 

We (along with a friend of ours because we have no truck) go to home depot and get deep into conversation with an employee who also gardens in raised beds.  Our wood is 12 inches deep and we made our beds 2 feet wide instead of 4.  I am really happy we did 2ft because it is a lot easier reaching across.

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In this bed I have quite a few plants.  I probably have too many, honestly.  Once they’re full grown I think it’s going to be scary!  No seriously, it’s going to be like a jungle.

This one has peas, green beans, cucumber, Japanese eggplant,  bell peppers (red and green, but I really want some yellow too) and 2 different kinds of hot pepper (habanero and garden salsa)

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And these are all my tomatoes.  I planted 6 because that’s what came in the pack but I think we won’t eat this many tomatoes.  Once they grow more and we see how much We yield, I may give a plant or two away and have more room in this planter.  Then again I could make marinara sauce for days and learn how to can! 

I didn’t take a picture of the third one because it’s kind of sad.  I didn’t like any of the herbs at Home Depot because they were either not organic, or they were really unhealthy looking.  Most of the herbs I planted were from seed and not much has grown.  I’m considering ordering some seeds online that are organic as well. 

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Not planted in a raised bed are the more wild growing plants.  My rosemary and lavender are over on the patio.  I also have some mint, and an experimental grape plant. 

I have a lot of plans for my garden that I would love to follow through with.  Since we’re renting and have no idea how long we’ll be staying (ideally 5 years), who knows what we will accomplish.  First thing is getting all of the weeds demolished on the side.

Hopefully you will continue to follow me on this journey of my newbie gardening.

Any awesome, organic tips (especially for Southern California) would be much appreciated.  I’m not brave enough to try any leafy greens because of the bugs and heat here…but hopefully soon!

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Lone Tree

A poem I wrote about someone who I tried to save, but refused her savior:

A Lone Tree

A lone tree, within a forest of others
Confusion in the leaves that shelter you
Anger within the roots that hold you steady
Lies that keep you growing

Believing that the wind causes you to shake
But you tremble on your own
Believing that others cause the holes in your bark
But you rip them out of yourself

Nothing dares touch your quivering limbs
Or takes shelter under your sparse leaves
No trees grow within your reach
Or sway towards you in the wind

Love has tried to help you grow
To bring more leaves to your branches
To cut down the broken bark
And find the beautiful core underneath

Yet you resist the futile attempts
Your bark too rough
Your roots too deep
The leaves too sparse

So you will remain
A lone tree, in the forest of others
With anger in your roots
And the Lies that keep you growing

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The Happiest Place on Earth with The Savage Family

So a couple of days ago, on April 2nd and 3rd, my family got the great luxury of going to Disneyland and staying at the Disneyland Hotel.  When I say luxury, I really mean it.  I mean…have you seen the prices of the tickets.  I totally understand why they’re so expensive but we definitely wouldn’t have been able to go ourselves without my mother-in-law.  

Anyways we were SO excited and the day finally came. Our bags were packed (with way too much stuff) and I somehow managed to forget to bring water.  So we had to stop by a store and buy bottled water for the hotel.  My recommendation: Bring about a gallon or two for the hotel room, and bring refillable bottles for the park.  There are water fountains to refill your water.  Unless you’re like my husband and think that water fountains are the most disgusting thing on the planet *rolls eyes*.

The first place we went was The Rain Forest Cafe in Downtown Disney for breakfast.  Both Isaac and I had never eaten at a Rainforest Cafe before so we were both really excited to see the fish and the robotic animals.  The staff was really friendly, but they gave us a horrible table.  There were so many other tables that were larger but for whatever reason we ended up being jammed in a corner.  I got eggs benedict and it was alright.  The biscuits could hardly be cut through and the hollandaise seemed like it had a lot of lemon or something in it.  The experience was fun though.

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This silly boy ❤

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The elephants were his favorite

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My Mother-in-law and Father-in-law

We didn’t tell Isaac where we were until we got off the monorail at TomorrowLand.  For anyone that hasn’t stayed at Disneyland Hotel it’s really cool, because Downtown Disney is RIGHT THERE and you can hop right on to the monorail into the park.  

Isaac’s favorite ride was Buzz Lightyear but he went on almost every ride at Disneyland.  We even got him to go on Space Mountain and Thunder Mountain!  

Tip #2:  For all of those with babies like Kaelyn, there is such a thing called the “switch rider pass” on ALL rides that have a height requirement at Disneyland and California Adventure.  It’s really awesome.  One parent goes and waits in line, like Mark did with Isaac, and a cast member (the employees at Disneyland) either at the front of the line or at the entrance to the ride can give you a pass.  All you have to do is ask!  Then when the parent comes back, the parent waiting and up to two other people can go on the ride through the fast pass or exit gate.

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Mark and Isaac waiting in line for Mater’s Jamboree in Cars Land (California Adventure)

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Driving in Autopia

Tip #3: If you are planning on renting a stroller ($15 a day), I recommend bringing some kind of clip(s) for storage.  There is a basket on the bottom but it’s not very big.  I had to unbutton the basket to put my diaper bag in it.  There are also little velcro straps near the handle that you can hang bags on but they’re not very strong. The rental strollers can be taken to both Disneyland and California Adventure.  There is stroller parking for every ride, but know that it has happened where someone took a stroller from there.  The rentals can always be replaced for free (with a receipt) but your valuables cannot!

 

Meeting the characters was awesome.  Kaelyn didn’t freak out like I thought she would but she was more entranced than anything. We met a ridiculous amount of characters, I couldn’t believe it!  We also had the autograph book with the photo slots, so I’m excited to print out pictures and put them in there for the kids memories.  

Here’s a couple pictures of 2 that we met in California Adventure:

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Red: The firetruck in Cars Land (California Adventure)

 

 

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Donald Duck at Paradise Pier (right next to Ariel’s Grotto)

I have so many more pictures and we made so many amazing memories at Disneyland.  We went through Kaelyn screaming, Isaac whining and throwing fits, arguments between Mark and I about what ride we should go on, and it was all just part of this amazing adventure we had.  God blessed us with being able to do something that we originally would not have been able to do, and we are so thankful that Isaac was able to experience Disneyland.

Tip #4: Download an app for the wait times, know which rides are closed, and don’t try to make an over-organized plan on what rides you are going on.  There were so many rides that we wanted to go on but couldn’t, even having been there for 2 days!  With little ones, it’s just too hard to try to wait 30-45 minutes, sometimes 2 hours, for a ride.  So we stuck to all the rides with short waits, and would just go on them over and over.  Know that chances are (unless you’re lucky or get a fast pass) that you probably won’t go on all the new rides.  The wait time for the ride in Cars Land, the racing one, was a 2 hour wait, and the same with the Frozen Reception.  What he doesn’t know about, he won’t miss.  According to Isaac, he went on all the rides and he had a blast, and that’s all that matters.

Overall, just expect the worst and hope for the best.  It can be so hard to do Disneyland, especially with children younger than like 7 or 8.  It’s so hard for them to be patient and understand waiting in lines before that point.  If you just realize that you may have to sit down, relax, and give them the time to settle down and not try to rush through everything you’ll be fine.

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Homemade Lemonade

Homemade Lemonade

So in February we moved into a new rental home, and much to our surprise discovered an amazing lemon tree by the side of the house. There were so many lemons there was no way we could cook with them all, so when God gives you lemons what do you do? Make Lemonade.

I came across a recipe from The Pioneer Woman, a fellow blogger who seems to be a genius in anything culinary. So when I saw that she had a lemonade recipe, I knew I had to try it. I had to modify it a bit because my pitcher is a lot smaller than hers, but it still came out really good.

Recipe:
12 Lemons
2 Cups of Sugar
3 Cups of water
Ice
and a little bit of extra water

Directions:
1. In a medium sized saucepan bring the 3 cups of water to a boil and mix the sugar in until it dissolves completely. It’ll become a kind of syrup. Then let it cool, either overnight or at least until it is completely chilled through.
2. Cut the lemons in halves and juice them with your juicer. I also know someone who doesn’t have a juicer and she would just squeeze her lemons over a strainer to catch the seeds and pulp. So that is always an option!
3. I put a strainer over my pitcher and poured the lemon juice in to catch any extra pulp, then I put the pulp from my juicer in the strainer as well. Then I mushed it all with a spoon to make sure that I got as much juice as possible.
4. Fill the whole pitcher with ice.
5. Pour water over the ice, but make sure to leave room for the sugar water.
6. Put as much of the sugar water in as you want. Everyone has their own preference for how sweet they like their lemonade. The first batch I made I only put half in, and it was still a bit tart. The next one I put the whole thing in and it was MUCH too sweet for my taste. So I would say about 3/4 of the pan would be good.

I hope that you enjoy this and full credit goes to Ree Drummond and here is the original link to her recipe!
http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2013/05/homemade-lemonade/

I would love to hear anybody’s opinions or recommendations for lemonade as I’m sure I’ll be getting a whole lot more lemons soon!

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Jasmine’s Story

Image Today has been a hard day for our family.  Mostly for me, because Jasmine was my baby.  I may not have mentioned her here on the blog before, but Jasmine has been a part of our lives for about 2 years now.  She was a beautiful domestic tabby and had the most amazing personality.  If you’re wondering why I’m talking about her in past tense, it is because today I had to make one of the hardest decisions: We put Jasmine down.

 

When we got Jasmine she was this little tiny gray and white ball of fluff.  I’m pretty sure that she was taken from her mom too early and she attached onto me so fast.  Every night I had this little ball curled under my chin because she liked the beat of my pulse and it was reassuring to her.  Every night I had the little sound of her purring right next to my head.  Finally, Jasmine got too big to be sleeping like that, but every now and then she did crawl into my bed and cuddle up against my tummy in a ball.  

I’ve never had a cat as nice as her.  She would allow my kids to just pick her up and carry her around like it was nothing.  She never wanted to play and was content to just lay down next to you, or walk around outside for some fresh air.  If you called her, she came.  And all it took was a quick “pshhhh” to get her to stop doing whatever she was doing.

I may not have spoiled her the way that some people do their animals.  She didn’t have a pretty collar with tags, or fancy toys and a climber, or even a bed.  But she was loved, and deeply.  

My biggest mistake: Not getting her spayed

We kept talking about it. “Oh we will eventually…in due time”.  She would end up pregnant and we would give the kitten a new home.  Then we’d swear to get her spayed again and she’d end up pregnant again.  We didn’t realize you could get an animal spayed while pregnant.  

About a week and a half ago, Jasmine went into labor.  She was such a tiny cat and every time she got pregnant it was always with one kitten only.  This time it went horribly wrong.  The kitten got stuck and I had no idea what to do.  I didn’t even realize that the kitten was stuck until it was too late.  She stopped getting contractions and eventually started to fade.  After she had been in labor for a little over 2 days, I finally convinced hubby that I HAD to take her to the vet.  

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Unfortunately, our financial situation isn’t the best, so vet bills were a little hard for us.  I took her in and the vet said they could spay her and take out the kitten, just focusing on saving Jasmine’s life.  It was our cheapest bet.  So…I said yes.  I just wanted to help my poor baby and she was in so much pain.

That night they called me and said that after they had cut her open, they found out that her entire uterus was filled with pus.  It was beyond infected.  They said we could either put her down, or they would clean her out, give me antibiotics, and hope for the best.  She had a 50/50 chance of living.

So we gave her the chance.  For the past week we’ve been giving her antibiotics twice a day, cuddling her one the couch, showing her how much she’s loved.  Of course, it also involved me shooing the kids away from the poor injured kitty.  She hated the cone and would give me these dirty looks every time I had to put it back on her after eating.  She was doing so well, and actually started walking around, crawling into bed with me again, and looking out the back door with longing.

Until yesterday.  Yesterday she started acting out of it again.  She wouldn’t move from the couch, and I had to force her off the couch to get her to eat.  When she ate, she would eat with gusto, but she just couldn’t move.  I felt her and she was so warm I knew she was running a fever.  Hoping for the best I gave her the rest of the night.

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Today I called the vet and they told me to bring her in right away.  So I brought her in, knowing that the worst was about to happen.  I was already saying my silent goodbyes in the car, crying, knowing that something was so wrong with her.  I dropped her off and they called me back.

She was running another fever of 105.x degrees, and they couldn’t identify what was wrong with her without tests.  The bloodwork and diagnostics themselves would have cost me an arm and a leg (What I consider to be, and sure as heck was cheaper than anywhere else in the Inland Empire) and they could have found that she was septic and not been able to do anything.  So my options were to scrape up any money I had, get her the diagnostics which could lead to me not even being able to afford the surgery…or I could take her home with some antibiotics and hope that they would help and if they didn’t then I would have to bring her back to be put down anyways.

I thought this over long and hard with hubby.  Jasmine was in so much pain.  I could tell by the way she hardly lifted her head to look at me when I called her.  The way she barely squinted out of her eyes just to look at me.  She purred when I pet her, but that was the only reaction I was getting.  So we decided: No more pain.  She needed to be put down and out of her misery.

So tonight at 5:30 PM, Jasmine passed away right in front of me.  I cried and sobbed as I pet her.  She looked at me and purred loudly as I stroked her fur one last time, and I watched as she closed her eyes and put her paw over her head in defeat.  

Many people might not understand why I’m so distraught over losing her.  She was my baby.  

I also feel really guilty that she had to go through any of this.  Why didn’t I get her spayed earlier? Why didn’t I catch that she wasn’t feeling well and take her to the vet before any of this happened?  She could have had much less problems and it kills me to know that I played a part in her pain. 

So I will tell people now, and I will follow this myself: Get your animal spayed/neutered.  It could save a life, or many.

R.I.P Jasmine.  You were much loved and will be missed, my sweet little kitty ❤ ❤ ❤

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Kaelyn’s 1st Birthday Bonanza

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Cutest Little Girl Ever!

      Ok, so admittedly it wasn’t much of a “bonanza” per say.  It was more of a little get together that included a bounce house.  But considering our lack of funds I feel like we did quite well for her first birthday.  I’ll admit I totally didn’t take pictures of my amazing decorations (and I say amazing considering I got them from Wal Mart and The Dollar Tree).  

Image I completely scored on the outfit that she wore for her birthday.  The dress is a hand-me-down that I got from an amazing woman that I met from Freecycle.org.  If you’ve never heard of the website, it is a place where you can request or offer things for free.  When I got pregnant with Kaelyn I was so scared because we were already so lacking in financials, so I asked for any little girl clothes that someone could spare.  She gave me 3 trash bags! I still haven’t gone through all the clothes she gave me, since she gave me such a huge variety of sizes.  Really saved my butt in the clothing costs.  The hat I bought from babiesrus.com with a gift card that I got for Kaelyn as well.  She desperately needed a sun hat and I bought it without realizing that it perfectly matched the dress.  Go figure!

 

ImageImage Not wanting to get cake dye all over her beautiful dress, we improvised and did what we figured out on Isaac’s first birthday.  We took her clothes off, cut some holes in a trash bag, and let her go to town.  Now it may not be the most fashionable cake smash, but it was so easy to just run her back in the house and stick her in the bathtub after!  Then she looked just as beautiful after the cake smash as she did before.

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When I started planning Kaelyn’s birthday I had all these grand ideas and this amazing birthday cake in my mind, but the prices that they ask at bakeries really wasn’t good for us.  So I went to Stater Bros and designed a simple but cute cake.  I just told them her birthday colors and told them to put sprinkles on it.  Simple, but nice.  It was an amazing cake to eat too!  It was marble with bavarian cream filling, and with whipped frosting.  I usually hate cake and I had to take some leftovers home with me!

 

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She liked the dress as much as I did!

 Kaelyn really didn’t like opening presents.  I ended up having to open them for her and just having her in my lap. although by the time I was at the last present she had been tired of that too and ended up just walking off.  Apparently she’s not the type of baby to like ripping stuff or playing with tissue paper.  We got a lot of really cute clothes and miscellaneous other things for her.  Everyone kept asking what she needed, but Kaelyn is outrageously spoiled so she didn’t need anything.  I just told everyone to get her little things and not to get her any toys haha.

 

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Overall Kaelyn’s birthday was an amazing success.  It wouldn’t have been so if I hadn’t received as much help as I did from Mark’s amazing family.  They’ve always treated me as their own, and I’m truly blessed to have them in my lives, especially with a lot of my family not participating in much of anything.  I was able to have a place to throw a party, get the food, and have a bounce house because of them and they truly made the party what it was.  

 

And here’s a beautiful black and white version of the first picture. I need to get this one framed!

 

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Moving with Kids (again!)

Moving with Kids (again!)

As renters, and young at that, I feel like we are constantly moving for one thing or the other. Both the first and second apartment that we lived in we had to leave because the neighborhood was unsafe, and then we stayed in a condo for 2 years until the landlord passed away. We would have stayed but the deceased landlord’s family took over and they barely spoke any English. Not wanting to deal with any “miscommunication” we left. Then we went to the house we are currently living in and it has been a nightmare.

We didn’t notice when we moved in (because it’s brown carpet) but the floor is disgusting. During the summer when it’s humid, the house wreaks like dog. Most of the things are not to code, or safe, so we decided to just take our time and find a house that we really liked this time since we’re on a month-to-month agreement.

We found this gorgeous house that we are extremely excited to move into. For those of you with no kids, just know that moving with kids is terrible. I absolutely hate packing, but it’s even worse with kids. Luckily, I’ve been able to get Isaac to help me out. He’s been helping me tape the boxes, pack his toys, and putting things in the boxes.

Kaelyn is another story. At almost one years old, she is on the move! I’m pretty sure she skipped the walking stage and does more of a jog to her location of desire. And boy does she tell you when she isn’t getting her way! So boxing things has been an adventure, but the thought of moving boxes in and unpacking with the two of them gives me a headache.

Friend’s have offered to watch the kids for me, and I’m going to take one person up on her offer, so hopefully Kaelyn does well and doesn’t freak out. Crossing my fingers.

Hoping I have a good move this weekend! Yay!