Our Family

A day in our life (focus on cooking!)

Pumpkin Raisin Cookies recipe

I don't have a very good track record when it comes to cooking ahead.

Call it once-a-month or once-a-week, I have had grand failures and then to top it all off, Joshua and I are a little snobby when it comes to our food. (Joshua heard me say that and said "A little?! Face it, sweetie... we're really bad food snobs!")

We generally prefer most of our main dishes prepared right before eating, and most of my crock pot attempts ended with both Joshua and me saying "This could be so much better..."

However... I still wanted to join in with Crystal on her Baking Day/OAMC this week. In retrospect, today was mostly like any other day at our house, except I baked cookies instead of cleaning the bathroom.... so I guess "A day in our life" is more appropriate for a title! :)

Mixes for Homemade Mocha Frappuccino

One of the first things I did this morning was to make up some Mocha Frappuccino mixes. Joshua drinks these in the mornings, and we use unflavored whey protein in the mix to make them a little heartier.

Cooking oatmeal for breakfast

Yehoshua helped me cook a big pot of oatmeal for breakfast. We made about 5 quarts and that will last for several breakfasts. (I re-warm the leftovers in a pan with milk... fast and creamy!) We eat oatmeal for breakfast often, since I haven't been able to keep up with making homemade granola and quality cold cereal is expensive (even at Costco!). :)

Yehoshua, eating breakfast

Yehoshua asked for a picture of him eating the oatmeal he helped make. :)

We also had a mid-morning snack of apples, applesauce, and bananas (all spread out through several hours). :)

Yehoshua did his normal school work this morning (most of which I help him with), and we also did some laundry.

Watching the wheat...

Before I could do any baking, I needed to grind some flour. I milled hard white wheat (to use for homemade bread tomorrow) and soft white wheat (to use in cookies today).

Watching the grain mill is always a big attraction! :)

Ruth...

Ruth (22 months) couldn't fit on the stool with the boys, and I caught her getting into the bucket of wheat on the floor. ;)

Eliyahu unwrapped the butter...

Eliyahu (3) unwrapped all the butter for our cookies! :)

Pumpkin Raisin Cookies recipe

Eliyahu helped me make a double batch of Pumpkin Raisin Cookies, one of our favorite "healthy" cookies! :) This recipe makes a huge amount of cookies, so I was baking them for quite a while. I ended up with about 12 dozen (small) cookies: enough for Joshua to take some in to work, a few to eat fresh, and a few for the freezer. :)

Pintos and cheese -- yum!!!

Our lunch was Cooked Pinto Beans with mozzarella cheese, sour cream, and Tapatio. Yummy!! I had cooked 3 pounds of beans on Monday, so we still had some left in the fridge to warm up. :) It seems like every single week I cook 2-3 pounds of beans and they don't last long! Sometimes we take them to church for dinner, and sometimes we eat them all ourselves. :)

School work, dishes, baking lots of cookies... the day was passing quickly! :) I put a chicken in the oven, and then started a pot of potatoes.

Cooking potatoes for mashed potatoes

By the time dinner was ready, I had stopped taking pictures since it was dark outside. (Sunset is shortly after 4pm these days...)

But dinner was fabulous! Hot roasted chicken, creamy mashed potatoes, chicken gravy, cooked peas, and pumpkin raisin cookies for dessert! :)

Joshua loves roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, and gravy. :D

A clean kitchen...

...And the kitchen is even mostly cleaned up! :) All the dishes on the counter are washed... just sitting there to air dry. :)

My to-do list for today:

Make oatmeal
Grind wheat
Make cookies
Do school work
Make lunch & dinner
Vacuum
Wash and fold laundry (2 loads)
Read Bible w/kids

I was also planning to make bread today, but the oven was already in use from 11:30am to 4pm so I decided to make bread tomorrow instead. :)

So.... that's a pretty typical day at our house (when I'm feeling well!). :)

Family photos and news :)

Ruth at the window... :)

I haven't posted any personal updates here for quite a while, so I thought I'd share a few recent photos and happenings around our house! :)

My intention has always been to include bits of our life as I have time, but recent months have found me not feeling well and taking more time to relax and sleep!! :) I appreciate everyone's understanding as this blog has frequently had to take the "back burner" as I spend my time on more important things. :)

So for those interested, here are some pictures and family notes... :)

Yehoshua, making a race track/town
Yehoshua with some houses/roads he built

Yehoshua (5 1/2) is such a blessing! He is usually a cheerful helper and amazes me with his maturity at times (while at other times being a silly can't-stop-tackling-my-brother-and-giggling boy!). :)

Hopeschooling is going well; he enjoys math the most. We're plugging along with reading skills, and it's starting to get more fun for him although it's still not something that comes easily. :)

Yehoshua has lots of energy and is constantly bouncing, hopping, and skipping around the house! We get outside for exercise regularly (walking for me, running for the boys!) but it doesn't seem to make a bit of difference in the amount of bouncing both boys want to do indoors! :)

Eliyahu and the track I helped him make...
Eliyahu and the racetrack we made together

Eliyahu (almost 4) is a big strong boy -- almost as big as Yehoshua and probably just as strong! This means they're a good match for wrestling, tackling, running together, and all the other wild physical things boys like to do! :P :)

Eliyahu's most recent favorite activity has been using a scissors to cut out pictures and drawings. Neither of my boys have ever been into coloring books, but they love to use a blank sheet of paper to draw something (a shark, boat, airplane, train, helicopter, turtle, scuba diver, etc.) and then cut it out to play with. :)

Eliyahu is also informally learning things like colors and counting... and tonight we heard him trying to recite the ten commandments. Very cute! :) It's funny how he is pretty big and tough (and doesn't cry easily at all) and yet also so sweet! He calls Ruth "my Girl" and loves to randomly give his family members hugs and kisses! :)

Ruth Patience
Ruth Patience, in her cute (and warm!) flannel sheep nightgown

Ruth (22 months) is still a little sweetheart... nearly always cheerful and smiling! She is starting to talk more, saying things like "yeah", "baby", "bib", "banana", or whatever words she needs at the moment. :) She's really smart and aware of everything that's going on and certainly doesn't miss much! :)

One of Ruth's favorite "tools" is the bathroom stool, which she carries around to help her see what's happening in the kitchen or wherever else! This is a lesson in patience for me, for sure! ;)

Ruth has also been eating a lot of food lately. She must be doing some growing because she frequently eats more for breakfast than the boys do, and eats plenty at other meals as well! I'm glad she's a hearty eater, like the boys... it makes my job easier! :)

Pregnancy, ~6 months

I've been eating a lot lately too! ;) Well, at least I look that way. My appetite has actually decreased as my stomach has grown, though.

I'm close to entering the 3rd trimester of this pregnancy. Along with an extra lot of nausea and exhaustion, I have also had a lot of discomfort due to diastasis recti. Thankfully, just in the last couple weeks, my discomfort has greatly decreased (probably due to the size/position of my uterus now) and I am enjoying being pregnant MUCH more now than I had been. I'm very thankful to be feeling more normal!!

Yehoshua had fun with the camera last week, and took this picture of me "with the Berkey". (Not sure why he chose that! haha Actually, one of his jobs is to fill water bottles and sippy cups from the Berkey, and he doesn't usually like that job!) :)

Both boys are excited about their new sibling. Yehoshua recalls Ruth's birth, which occurred in our living room as he slept on the couch, just a few feet away. He's told me, "THIS time I am NOT going to be asleep." I just smile and say "We'll see. Babies like to come during the night, you know." ;) He feels a little short-changed at missing the birth (although even if he is awake, it's most likely that I won't want him right there as I give birth this time, either). ;)

No-Bake Chocolate Cookies

Yehoshua took this picture of some Chocolate No-Bake Cookies that we had made that evening. So yummy, but not even remotely healthy! :P :)

Yehoshua (5)

And then I asked Yehoshua if I could take a picture of him. :) The tassels (Numbers 15:37-40) are a recent event for Yehoshua. For a number of months he has wanted to wear tassels, but Joshua and I wanted him to have memorized the 10 Commandments first (since the purpose of the tassels is to remind us to obey God!). He worked very, very hard to memorize the commandments -- and of course we also had many good conversations about what they mean, why we want to obey God, etc. :) A couple weeks ago Yehoshua got his very own set of tassels to wear. It was an exciting time for him! :)

The beautiful view out our windows!

I took this photo in October, as the trees outside our windows were so beautiful!! :) We enjoyed 6 months of beautiful green trees (a perfect "privacy fence" from passing vehicles and other apartments!). Now the leaves have fallen... the days are short (and often rainy and dark as well!)... but we have so many things to be thankful for! :)

So... tired...

The past week has seemed a blur. On the verge of fully recovering from colds, we caught the flu last Friday. It seems that "catching up" on anything, blog or email included, just hasn't been visible on the radar these past few weeks... or months!
In all, we're really doing just fine. :) As much as I haven't been available to do as much blogging as I'd like, I have been making myself available to my family. :) We're getting into a good groove with homeschooling. Dinner is on the table (usually 20 minutes late! heehee) every night, and by 9pm we're all snuggly tucked into our beds (usually). :)

I'm still waiting for that second-trimester burst of energy to kick in. I haven't posted any pregnancy updates this time (though I really should get a picture!) but if I had, they'd all be along the lines of "Just plugging along... not feeling the greatest... I was planning to do x, y, and z, but I'm falling into bed instead!" :) Joshua has stepped up to the challenge and helped with lots of meals and after-meal clean-up, and given me plenty of naps while he watched the children. Such a blessing!

This honey ginger chicken stir fry was beautiful and I liked it, though it didn't get rave reviews from the rest of the family. ;) I did save my notes and maybe eventually I'll try again with some tweaks!
I love fresh ginger, but don't have enough recipes that use it. What are your favorite ways to use fresh ginger root?

Returning from Ohio (photo update!)

Ruth, waking from a nap

Ruth (20 months), waking from a nap

We had a great trip to visit family in Ohio! I really enjoyed not turning on a computer for 2+ weeks and I'll admit it's taking some nudging for me to get back into blogging. I am not quitting or anything, though -- so you WILL continue to hear from me regularly, once I figure out how to manage that! ;)

I wanted to give a little photo update (with Ruth-cuteness as requested -- of course!) before heading back to recipes and kitchen tips and all that. :)

So... a brief recap of what we did with 2 weeks in Ohio! Since our purpose was to spend time with my side of the family, most of our days were fairly relaxed and just lots of visiting/playing/working PEOPLE time. :)

Ruth wakes from camping out all night...

This is how Ruth looks in the morning after camping out in a tent all night. I wish I looked this cute in the morning!! ;) We camped at my brother Reuben's house for 2 nights, and it was a real highlight for Yehoshua (5) and Eliyahu (3). I loved the fresh cool air, and the sound of rain on the tent... :)

Reading Pooh stories

My sister Amy read Pooh stories to the boys...

Walking

We took lots of walks. Left to right: Reuben (brother), Yehoshua, Mariel (SIL), me, Ruth, Bonnie (sister), Eliyahu, Candy (future SIL). ALL of the kids wanted these RIDES! Phew! ;)

Eliyahu

Eliyahu, 3 1/2

We went to a lake/pond and the kids all had a blast getting as wet and sandy as they possibly could! We went with friends who brought more BOYS and TOYS! :)

Picking red raspberries

We ate lots of red raspberries from my mom's garden...

Bonnie and Ruth

Bonnie (sister) and Ruth

We did lots of swinging on the two porch swings...

Rich and Candy

We celebrated the announcement of the engagement of my brother Rich and my friend Candy, who had traveled out to Ohio with me and the kids. :) Woo hoo!! :)

...and we got about as close to a family picture as we'll get for a while. (Joshua was here in WA...)

Fresh salsa

We made fresh salsa with my mom's tomatoes...

Yehoshua sleeping!

...totally wore out the kids on multiple occasions...

Trailer ride!

...took a fun tractor trailer ride back to the woods to carve in a tree and find treasures (acorns, buckeyes, walnuts, etc.)...

Yehoshua

Yehoshua (5)

...played outside a lot...

Ruth and me

...did more walking... Do I look pregnant? Well, I am! Due in February. :)

Got surprise flowers in the mail from my sweet Joshua!!!! And chocolate too. And a 10-page love letter. Seriously!

Yehoshua and Grandma playing "War"

...played games... Yehoshua really got into this "War" card game with my mom!

...and came home tired but a little bigger, stronger, slightly more tan, and very happy! :)

Busy!

Almond Joy Hot Cocoa recipe

Almond Jot Hot Chocolate

I kept thinking I would have time to do some updates here, but time has slipped through my fingers and we're on the verge of leaving for a 2-week trip to visit family in Ohio. There will most likely be a few updates while I'm away, but unfortunately I won't be able to host Kitchen Tip Tuesdays or the In-Season Recipe Swap while I am gone (and internet-less!). :)

Thanks for your understanding! I'll be back the 2nd week of September and can't wait to empty my camera's memory card and brain into the pages of this site! ;)

Fun adventures in the Seattle area

This post has been on my "to do" list for several months!

After my brothers visited us in late January (see photos from that trip here!), they had so much fun they wanted to come back to Seattle! So 8 weeks later, they were back in our living room for a fun 7-day visit! We packed in lots more fun (and even frugal) adventures and here is a photo log from their trip. :)

Pike Place Market was one of their favorite places last time, and they wanted to go there again to see more of what we had missed last time. :) We got to the parking garage at 9:28am -- any time before 9:30am the parking is $8 for (I think?) 8 or more (10?) hours. Anyway, since parking can get pricey really quick in Seattle, we just left the car there all day and walked a lot. :) The bus is free downtown BUT we country-folk couldn't figure out the routes and how to use it. Haha!

Vital Tea Leaf Company store in Seattle

One of the shops in Pike Place Market is the Vital Tea Leaf company. As tea lovers, this place was super fun!

The Chinese ladies there sat us all down (3 adults and 3 kids!) and brewed tea for us. They brewed probably 5-6 different kinds and served them to us in thimble-sized cups. (Seriously, this is the size they use?!) They even brewed herbal infusions for the kids (no caffeine) and other kinds for us. It was fascinating to see just how they make their teas.

Vital Tea Leaf company
(L to R: Eliyahu, Tammy, Ruth, Rich, Phil, and Yehoshua)

They will do this for free for anyone interested, so if you love tea and have the time to sit and enjoy some, this is a great new cultural experience! My brothers and I enjoyed it so much, and ended up buying some teas (and a tea set) simply because we had such a blast! :)

Ruth

Just a tuckered-out Baby Roo. :)

The Seattle Space Needle

Joshua had to work during much of our fun, which is why he isn't in any of these photos! This is the children and me up in the Seattle Space Needle. Normally this is a more expensive tourist-y attraction, but my brother Phillip had gotten a good deal on a season pass package which for $30 allowed him and a guest unlimited trips, plus 4 more free tickets, free drinks, etc. So for $30 we all got to go up and it was fun!

But I personally would NOT pay the $16.50 per person it normally costs. It was somewhat crowded (even on a cool, somewhat-overcast March day!!) and considering the other "up high" options in Seattle like...

Looking up at the Columbia Center. It's tall!

The Columbia Center. Which, when you're standing next to it on the ground, is really difficult to photograph! ;)

A couple weeks before my brothers came, we were driving through Seattle and I said "I wonder what that tallest building is. Wouldn't it be cool to go up there?!" I looked online and found out that there was an observation deck on the 75th floor and from the reviews, it sounded like lots of fun!

Basically you go in the building and on the 4th or 5th floor there is a security desk and after taking your $5 per person (I don't remember being charged for Eliyahu-3 or Ruth-1) they escort you up to the top. There are 2 sets of elevators that whisk you up about 35 floors at a time, in just a few seconds. :)

Looking down on the little guys... haha!

This is what some of the other skyscrapers looked like when looking out of the Columbia Center. The cars looked like matchbox cars, and the people were so tiny! It was fascinating and a beautiful view of Mt. Ranier, Lake Washington, Puget Sound, and a good deal of downtown Seattle.

Rich in the Columbia Center!

My brother Rich, holding Eliyahu in front of one of the large viewing windows. It is all enclosed, and the view isn't 360 degrees, but the windows do go quite a ways around. I liked the view better than the Space Needle, personally. It was also MUCH more laid back and NOT so "tourist-y", which we loved! :)

Mount Ranier. So beautiful!

In March, truly clear days are kinda hit and miss... this was the most we could see of Mt. Rainier that day.

Pip and Ruthster

My brother Phillip, holding Ruth. :)

The Ballard Locks

Another fun free activity was visiting the Locks in Ballard. Since we had never seen locks before, it was interesting to us. The kids enjoyed it, too! The only cost was $2 for an hour of parking.

Eliyahu and his Doggie... :)

Eliyahu and his Doggie... always together. :)

Rich and Yehoshua

Richard and Yehoshua. :)

The floating bridge in Seattle

We drove across the I-90 floating bridge to head out east to visit friends in Moses Lake, Washington.

From Snoqualmie Pass

A view from a rest stop near the Snoqualmie Pass.

Hiking near Moses Lake, Wa

Out in desert land! Moses Lake is dry and sandy. We went hiking near Goose Lakes in the Columbia Basin wildlife area. It was a long hike (several hours?) but we had lots of fun! :)

Tammy and Candy

My long-time friend Candy, her dog Hercules, Ruth, and me. :)

Ruthster, looking cute as usual

Ruth isn't usually too shy. :) She had a good time on the farm!

Eliyahu rides a horse!!!!!

A highlight for Yehoshua and Eliyahu was getting to ride horses! Here is Eliyahu, beaming. :)

Yehoshua rides a horse!!!!!

Yehoshua loved every minute!!

Horseback riders...

My two brothers went out riding for a number of hours with Candy. Here they are in front of one of the many impressive rock formations. I also uploaded a short clip of the horses splashing in some water. :)

On horseback...

Yehoshua and Eliyahu rode horses again the next day (we stayed overnight). :)

And... those were most of the best pictures. :) We had a really fun time! Washington is a beautiful, diverse state and I loved getting to explore more of it! :)

Photo tour of our new home

I've had these photos for at least a month, but never found the time to post them. I guess part of the reason is that I didn't think anyone would really be interested in seeing our house. After all, it's just a standard apartment; nothing remarkable in my opinion although by now it does feel like "home" to us and that is enough! :)

So, due to the prompting of a few readers... here we go! :)

This is what you see as you enter our living room. (There is a fireplace on the left -- see top picture.) The bookshelves hold the majority of Joshua's library of Biblically-related books. :) I do have one shelf of my own books, and there are a couple of shelves that are empty right now, as Joshua is selling a few books that he already owns digitally.

The cedar chest holds extra blankets and sheets. :)

The futon doubles as a couch (day time) and a bed (night time). We put the air mattress under the futon mattress for sleeping; it's actually quite comfortable and was the most affordable solution we could come up with, since we already owned the futon and the air mattress.

Because, embarrassingly, we have too much stuff for our 2-bedroom apartment! One bedroom is used for the children's beds and clothes and toys, and the other bedroom, which should be our bedroom, is full... of other stuff. A dresser. Another bookshelf. Two desks. An exercise bike. A few buckets of grain and a few totes of stuff.

Ahhh, stuff. We didn't really keep that much stuff, but in an apartment, everything has to be stored indoors. The stroller. Tools. A fan. The infant car seat. Tennis equipment. My wedding dress. Board games. The box of stuff that needs to be dropped off at GoodWill. Everything.

So, we fit everything into our bedroom except for the bed. Oh well, a little camping out in the living room never hurt anyone. If only the children hadn't all discovered that they can come and camp out with us during the night, and we're too groggy to notice... ;)

The other side of the living room. That bookshelf holds school books, children's books, puzzles, crayons, etc. You can see the kitchen and dining room from here. (I already posted a photo tour of the kitchen here, in case you missed it!)

Standing in the dining room, you can see the entryway on the left side. The plastic dresser holds our coats, hats, gloves, flashlights, scarves, and the children's shoes. The adult shoes are in the two boxes beside the plastic dresser. This entry way is kinda tight so we're trying to stick to the basics to keep things under control. :) It is a constant job, though, whenever we go in or out! :)

In the picture above, the living room is on the right, and straight ahead is the children's bedroom. Let's head in there...

Yehoshua and Eliyahu share bunk beds. My parents actually bought these bunk beds second-hand when I was about 8 or 9 years old! When Ruth came along, Yehoshua and Eliyahu moved from their two cribs to these bunk beds. :)

Here is Ruth's crib, and the small dresser that holds Yehoshua's clothes. See Ruth reaching to try to touch her quilt? :)

The children's bedroom in our last house was a bit smaller and had no closet, so this room feels spacious! I wasn't accustomed to storing their clothes in a closet, so right now we're using the closet to store toys, clothes that don't fit the children right now, etc. I get out a few toys at a time for them to play with; the rest stays in the closet. :)

The top of Yehoshua's dresser has the children's story Bible (which we really like!), a little lamp, and a cd player. Having a cd played in their room has been fun! (The electrical outlets in their last bedroom didn't allow such. ;))

I usually keep two cds of classical music out at all times: a calming, soothing cd for at bedtime or during a "rest time" (which we take as needed, maybe once or twice a week; the boys don't usually sleep but the "time out" helps them re-adjust their attitudes if it's been a rough day!) and a more exciting, upbeat cd for during the day.

The Pooh quilt hanging on Ruth's bed was a baby gift for Yehoshua when he was born. :) I love quilts. :)

The other side of the bedroom has two dressers. The tall dresser holds Eliyahu's clothes, miscellaneous baby stuff (baby toys, hair stuff for Roo, etc.) and baby blankets/bedsheets.

The long dresser functions as a changing table and holds Ruth's clothes and some cloth diapering stuff. :)

On top of the changing table is a big stack of my homemade prefold cloth diapers. I love the various colors and designs... so cheerful! :) These diapers have gotten a lot of use from Ruth already. (I had some inexpensive store diapers which I used for Yehoshua and Eliyahu. By the time Ruth was born, those diapers were in shreds -- literally!)

And my newest cloth diapering love... wool soakers! I was given one as a baby gift when Ruth was born and LOVE IT!! Then, a kind blog reader sent me two more that her girls had outgrown. And just recently I bought two more for Ruth, since she was outgrowing the smaller one. I am blessed to have a friend who knits and loves to make soakers! ;)

Okay, enough about diapers! :) On to the bathroom...

This bathroom is really nice! It's bigger than our last bathroom, and has two towel racks, plus a big cabinet above the sink with a huge mirror! The light fixture is pretty, and there's an exhaust fan! We definitely upgraded in the bathroom department. ;)

I couldn't find a good place to display my wedding bouquet, so I hung it in the bathroom! :)

...and here's the rest of the bathroom. I pulled aside the shower curtain; otherwise, that's about all you'd see in this picture -- shower curtain and wall! ;)

I did find a trick to making our bathroom feel a little more spacious. I use a laundry basket as a laundry hamper in there, and putting the basket in the bath tub saves some floor space. We just have to take it out for baths/showers, and put it back in afterwards. :)

And... that's it! :) Hope you enjoyed the tour. :D

27 random facts about a now-27-year-old

This tea cup and saucer were a gift for my 17th birthday. This week, I sipped tea from the same cup as I turned 27! I had a quiet day at home, thinking about the passing years and setting a few goals for the coming year. :)

If you frequent places like FaceBook, you've probably seen the "random facts" everyone's been posting about themselves. I have so enjoyed reading those types of posts and learning more about my friends and acquaintances! :)

So in honor of turning 27, I decided to share 27 random things about 27-year-old-me. (Who is so very different from herself 10 years ago!) :)

1. I love pizza, and it's easy to make, so we have it about once a week. I've also found that guests usually really enjoy being served pizza.

2. I love variety. For that reason, I like to grow my hair really long and then get 10+ inches cut off all at once. Then I grow it really long again! :) I love trying new things and changing things up a little, just to keep life interesting. :)

3. I really like to empty things and use things up and throw things away. When the shampoo bottle gets low, I can hardly wait to finish it and set out a new one! :) This is partly why I enjoy using free sample sizes of things. I get the fun of throwing away a package after just one or two uses! I know, this isn't very "green" of me. In general I actually try to be frugal though. :)

4. All three of our children have been born at home.

5. Along those same lines, I have been changing cloth diapers for almost 5 years. I don't have any of my original diapers though, since they were very cheaply made and wore out! :)

6.  I read a blog written by a dentist. (AskDrEllie) She motivates me to be really consistent with dental hygiene! :) About a year ago, I was having tooth pain and went to a dentist (after 8 years of no dental visits at all!!). They wanted to do 5 fillings and a root canal. I spent the next few weeks reading anything and everything about dental care. I started using Dr. Ellie's recommendations for daily oral care (including using xylitol) and have had no pain or bleeding gums since. I'm optimistic about the future of my teeth and am actually excited about going to the dentist again soon. :)

7. I grew up without a tv or computer. When Joshua and I got married, he let me use his computer. Then one of my brothers very generously shared his computer with me for a few years. Last year I got my very own computer for the first time! :)

8.  I like Edgar Meyer's music. I also really like Elliott Park's songs and am anxiously awaiting his new album!

9. I have worn glasses since I was 10 or 11. I can't really remember now, actually. I'm near-sighted. I'm SO thankful for my glasses. I don't like to think about what life would be like without them!!

10. I love sunlight and open the shades every morning, before it's even light outside, even on days when the sun never does come out.

11. Despite the cloudy winters, I am loving living in western Washington. I just love this area. I can't really explain it, but I'm thankful, since this is where God led us! :)

12. I always think, "I should go to bed earlier." but I never really want to stop whatever I'm doing and actually go to bed. When my head finally hits the pillow, I calculate how many hours I have until the alarm goes off and wonder why in the world I stayed up so late. Bed feels so gooooood!! :)

13. For the past couple of years Joshua worked the midnight shift. That was a very challenging time for us in many ways, but I saw a lot of good come from it too. Now that Joshua works a more normal schedule, I do find it easier to get to bed at a reasonable time. Especially if I skip blogging... ;)

14. I love playing Boggle, but I beat Joshua at it a few too many times and now he convinces everyone that they don't really want to play with me!

15. Joshua and I have been married almost 7 years now. I had just turned 20 a month before our wedding. I love how the passing years has "seasoned" our love and relationship. :) We have a good marriage and with Yahweh's help, it keeps getting even better! :) I'm so thankful.

16. I like to keep things simple and have only the necessary things in life. However, I am a penny pincher and hold onto some things if I think they will save us money down the road. :)

17. I love garage sales.

18. I love browsing through the housewares and bath sections at stores, looking at all the beautiful towels, kitchen gadgets, decorations... but I rarely buy anything due to finances, space, and simply not really needing anything. :)

19. My parents were married 8 years before they were able to have children. Then they had 6! I'm the oldest. Joshua is also the oldest of 6 children.

20. My parents started homeschooling me in 5th grade. I was really excited and enjoyed it for the most part, even though it was more challenging than public school had been.

21. I am pretty good at math, but I try to avoid doing any more than necessary because it feels like it hurts my brain. My mom did Algebra, Geometry, and Chemistry with me in high school -- she likes math, which is a good thing since she's now going through Algebra for the 7th time in her life!!

22. When I walk through a cemetery, if I am close enough to read the dates on the stones I feel compelled to do the math and figure out how old the person was when they passed away. Since I don't really like doing the figuring, I try not to look at any numbers as I walk.

23. I am less talkative than Joshua is, but I can be quite silly, goofy, and talkative, especially late at night.

24. I love it that Joshua drives us everywhere. Riding is so much more relaxing! Plus, I get to play with the GPS while he drives. Ha, ha! :)

25. My alarm goes off at 4:55am on weekdays.

26. I almost always have laundry that is clean and waiting to be folded when Sabbath starts. So I hide the basket(s) out of sight and enjoy relaxing! :) Normally I have trouble relaxing when there is work waiting for me...

27. I have a dishwasher now for the first time in my life, and I love it! Especially when we have company and there's lots of dishes to put in it! :)

So, did you learn anything new? Did any of these make you say "Me too!!"?? :)


I got new socks for my birthday! :)

Pike Place Market, and a whole lot more!

Produce at Pike Place Market

Two of my brothers flew out to Seattle from Ohio and spent 5 days with us earlier this week. We had a very full and very fun time with them! We got out to see just a handful of the many things in this area, and still had time for quiet woodsy walks, relaxing evenings, and some sleeping-in. :)

I was especially excited about getting to go to Pike Place Market for the first time! It was full of interesting things and people.

Produce at Pike Place Market

The produce displays at Pike Place Market were so beautiful. I bought a few bananas and apples for us to snack on. :)

One of the many fish displays at Pike Place Market. The boys even got to see live crabs swimming in a tank!

I didn't buy any salmon, although Joshua makes fabulous grilled salmon... :)

We saw these beautiful blue roses! A little too pricey for me though. No wonder the blue roses at our wedding were made from silk! ;)

Vince Conoway

We got to see Vince Conaway performing at the market. It was beautiful! My brother Phillip bought two CDs from him and we enjoyed listening to them. :)

Some random cuteness spotted in the original Starbucks store in Seattle... For the record, I have never actually bought or drank anything from Starbucks!

After spending the morning in Seattle, we went for a walk in a park near our house. There is a long trail and little hills everywhere, and we all walked for about 1.5 hours! It was good exercise and fun. :)

The children and I got our picture taken by this huge tree stump. :)

We hiked to the top of a huge hill and were able to spot the Cascades through the trees. Okay, so, we're folks from FLAT NW Ohio and mountains make me feel all happy inside. Haha! :)

It was a long ways back down! Yehoshua (4, above) and Eliyahu (3) really got a workout! :)

Yehoshua and Eliyahu, looking up at their Uncle Rich. :) This park is huge and mostly wooded, with nice trails, but no real views.

Back at home...

The park explorers read some stories with their Uncle Phillip.

Ruth got lots of holding from both of her uncles.

On Saturday, Rich and Phillip drove out to Eastern Washington to visit a friend of ours there.

They were cowboys for an afternoon. Fun! :)

Traveling on I-5 through downtown Seattle... a bit of beauty even amidst layers of freeway.

Looking up, up, up! Skyscrapers are difficult to photograph. Especially in a moving vehicle.

We drove across the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. This one is really sturdy, don't worry. ;) We drive over this every week on our way to church, actually.

We arrived in Bremerton, WA and got to explore a battleship! It was a self-guided tour, and was quite fun. We spent almost 2 hours on and in the ship.

On one of the decks...

...and in the kitchen. I would not have wanted to live on a ship like this...

...even with a stainless steel kitchen! ;)

Rich tried his hand at navigating...

...while Phillip talked on the phone. :)

We took the ferry from Bremerton back to Seattle. Beautiful. :) It was a new experience for Rich, Phil, Yehoshua, Eliyahu, and Ruth. :) The hour ride passed quickly.

It was dusk when Seattle came into view.

Yehoshua and Eliyahu begged Rich to rough-house with them. What is it with little boys and rough-housing?! They frequently run circles in our living room. They also like to run around and around the kitchen table, driving cars along the edge... Like, the long hikes we'd been taking didn't do a thing for them! :)

On Tuesday we did some leisurely shopping and then stopped at Walnut Street Coffee for coffee and tea and scones. That was so fun! The experience made me totally want to use my fancy tea pot more often. :)

We walked around at Richmond Beach Park, just a few miles from our house. It was lovely!

Hilly terrain, lots of mountain views and lots of water!

I don't really get tired of looking at the mountains. :)

And now... it's late. We're coming down with colds or something. I need to get my teeth brushed and head to bed!! :)

Wishing she could join them

What fun it must be to be a "big kid"! Ruth watched out the window as Yehoshua and Eliyahu played in the 12+ inches of snow on our deck yesterday. The snow was great entertainment for them. :)

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