Saturday, June 28, 2008

by Robin

I don't care how many times I seen Part 1 or 2, I cry every single time. Does anybody else do this? Not a lot of tears, but I get choked up & my eyes get a bit blurry when I see their love for each other. Mom Baker (Bonnie Hunt) makes for the perfect mother of 12, using wit mixed in with many kisses for her kids. Having a sense of humor must be a pre-requisite for all parents of large families.

I am so blessed to know two large families of 13 (parents included). Here is one of them. The other family doesn't blog. I just love them all.

Thank you Lord for my fishermen and for blessing me with a heart for children. Thank you for the strength you give me each week to work with YOUR children at church. Give me a tender heart, open arms, an abundance of patience and a big funny bone to boot.
God's Girl

Thursday, June 26, 2008

by Robin
Here are some of the main players, although I have to say that I ended up not using the yellow onion and added a yellow sweet bell pepper to the salsa verde.

Here is the rough recipe:

1-2 c cut up tomatoes (peeled recommended but I didn't do it)
3/4 can tomato sauce
1/2 jalapeno
2 bunching onions (big size)
1 1/2 Hungarian wax pepper (like a banana pepper)
2 Tbl flat-leaf parsley (because my cilantro is reseeding itself & "out of season")
1 basil leaf (not necessary but it was next to the parsley)
2 cloves of garlic - more wouldn't hurt
2 Tbl of lemon juice, then added probably another 1/3 c later. It just needs this!
Several dashes of hot pepper sauce
Salt & pepper to taste.

Chop everything up and mix it. Refrigerate for 4 hrs if you think you can resist eating it before then. We couldn't.
Then, I made Salsa Verde because Jack is still at work and I was watching Giada & Paula on Food Network. (I was in the mood to chop.)

Pretty much it is everything from above, minus the tomatoes & tomato sauce, add a big yellow bell pepper for color. I could have done green but ........ the yellow one was screaming "Amarillo, Amarillo..." to me from the garden. I also added a whole jalapeno for more heat. We also added more Crystal's hot sauce too.

After tasting both, I have to say there is something addictive about the heat of the 2nd batch. I might have to back off on the tomato sauce on the red version.

I also had serrano chilis that I chickened out with using. I'm scared of my own peppers. I also have cayennes still drying on the string. I'm scared of them too.

*PLEASE NOTE* - use gloves when handling & deseeding your hot peppers!! I burned myself once very badly.

On a poultry side note, I let the chickens out this morning and totally forgot about them for HOURS. A big storm came up and it never dawned on me that they were out there in the back yard. Upon running out there, we could only find 2.
"Here Chickie" I called and then I heard a "bawk, bawk" from the gate. Simon Peter grabbed the key and we opened it up to find one very upset chicken. I hope she has learned her lesson to not fly over the fence. And hopefully I learned my lesson to not forget about chickens in the big yard.

How To Plant Your Garden

First, you Come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses....



1. Peace of mind

2. Peace of heart

3. Peace of soul


1. Squash gossip

2. Squash indifference

3. Squash grumbling

4. Squash selfishness


1. Lettuce be faithful

2. Lettuce be kind

3. Lettuce be patient

4. Lettuce really love one another


1. Turnip for meetings

2. Turnip for service

3. Turnip to help one another


1. Thyme for each other

2. Thyme for family

3. Thyme for friends


Sunday, June 22, 2008

GARDEN REPORT - Edited to add more hot pepper pics
by Robin

Where to start. First off, it's 90+ deg hot & the t-storms are coming at 2:30 every day. I could set the clock to them the past couple days. I am so thankful for the rain but probably not as thankful as the garden.
Secondly, let me say that things aren't working out like I expected. Of course, this is all a big experiment with trying to get stuff to live through this heat. See if you can follow this. My green bell pepper plant decided to go red last month. Not that I'm complaining...... it tasted pretty good red.

My colored sweet bell pepper garden (click to enlarge to see arrows) have only produced one barely white, 2 chocolates and 3 varieties of green. I'm being all I can to be patient to wait for color changes that don't want to seem to happen. Some plants are close to waist high. (I'm short)

(Unpictured) I have a yellow sweet bell pepper plant that produced green peppers all fall/winter and this week, it seems to be producing a yellow one. Does the heat vs water change the color of peppers? I wish I could ask God this question.

Here is a picture of my main garden. Those 3 trees on the right side are my cherry tomato plants. The green is great but many of the blooms die before I get tomatoes. Not good. I think they're affected by the heat.

My large tomatoes (big & better boys) don't want to produce anything either. I think I may have picked my last large tomato this week. FLmom, who is south of me in the same county has ton of tomatoes on the vine, so I'm thinking I have a bad variety for summer heat. I believe she has beefmasters & romas. (Correct me if I'm wrong)

My eggplants were growing well & blooming. I did the pollination for them but had no fruit. As you can see from the silvering on the plant, the red mites have decided to taken over. Actually, I'm not certain the mites cause the silvering but they're definitely all there at the same time. That with my neglect is going to kill this plant.

The smaller plant next to it is still green & unaffected. Must. spray. tomorrow.

The hot peppers are doing fantastic. I'm seeing Hungarian wax, Serrano chilis, Jalapenos, and Slim Red Cayenne. The latter is turning red and I strung some up last week for drying. More on those later in the week when I remember to take a pic of them. I catch myself salivating while waiting for my next hot pepper harvesting.

The herbs are still happy & growing. Carrots are maturing nicely with the rain, as are the onions. Lettuce is all gone and I'm only collecting seeds. Cucumbers don't love the heat but I'm still getting a few more from the remaining 6 or so plants out of the 12 I started with. My biggest issue is not having male blooms to fertilize the female fruit with. Yes, I'm still hand-pollinating w/ a q-tip. Summer squash is dead if you didn't catch that last report.

Then, last but not least, sometimes I see this in the garden. We don't let our 4H hens out daily but we do let them out when I clean their pen & reload feeders. They have quickly discovered the garden to be a smorgasboard of bugs. They also love to eat the lower cherry tomatoes and peck at my red pepper until I shoo them off of it.

Can you tell my meat chicken from the egg-layers? That's Lucky. She is a Light Brahma who should lay brown eggs in a few months. Her sisters are White Leghorns (pronounced Leggerns), famous for their large white eggs.
Here they are between carrots and thyme. I just love my chickens.
I'm looking for any suggestions of what to plant in the dead heat of summer. Should I just wait for August to plant for my fall garden?

There are Red Slim Cayenne peppers drying on a string. They turn red as they dry. I'm using to seeds to grind into a spice and the outside will be lightly fried and made into "crunchies".

I'm claiming these to be Hungarian Wax. They're not very hot at all. They're similar to a banana pepper.

Serrano Chili. 4-alarm hot. I have no idea what to do with these. I have so many coming!

I can't decide if these are serrano or jalapeno. The more they grow, the more I'm thinking serrano.
I also am suppose to have an Anaheim but not sure I've got any of those producing yet. I still have several plants that aren't producing but have flowers.
This is definitely a jalapeno. I have another half dozen or so about to be picked this week. I can see a bunch of poppers being made for the guys.
I can also make some vegan ones stuff with rice for me.
by Robin

It was not my intention to forget two great men in my life. I was asleep in bed with delarious with fever on Father's Day. So, today is belated-Father's Day.

To the man of my life, my soul-mate and who is the father to my awesome babies, I love you and thank you for being the best dad to your boys and husband to me. They love and adore you as much as I do. Thank you for blessing my life with so much laughter and happiness.

To my own father, I love you and am so thankful to have shared the first half of my life with you. You have instilled so many things in my life but I have to publically credit you with giving me the love for gardening, animals, fishing, and music. You have well-equipped me for being a mom of boys.

Happy Father's Day!

Saturday, June 21, 2008


I think I got this recipe off of Food Network website, but Angela & Angie, this is for you.

Use a nice type of bread, not cheap white bread. I actually cheated on the panini part. I toasted first to avoid grilling like a grilled cheese afterwards. (Mommy short-cut) One bread has Nutella (hazelnut/cocoa spread) & banana slides on it. The other side is Nutella and Marshmallows. Smoosh together, sprinkle some 10x sugar, then drizzle dark chocolate syrup on top.

Entirely messy, finger-licking goodness. S'mores for adults.
(PS: I feel a garden report brewing soon. Lots of things changing in the garden.)


Can boys give themselves Baby Shaken Syndrome?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Morning Thoughts
by Robin

All the cool news is over at Robin's Reports. We took a trip to St. Augustine, so the slideshow is over there.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I promise, this will move you to tears. Nobody escapes the trials of life, but Jesus can give us new life. A life of hope with a bright future.

2 Peter 1: 3 (CEV)

We have everything we need to live a life that pleases God. It was all given to us by God's own power, when we learned that he had invited us to share in his wonderful goodness.

I can't explain all that is in my heart today but I wanted to thank God for giving me a life where I could stay home and school my children. He has blessed Jack and Jack's job so that we can afford to do this year in and year out inspite of this crazy economy. We've made some sacrifices but in the big picture, they weren't sacrifices at all. It has been wonderful to be in His will and sharing His goodness for our lives.

We started our first day of school on Monday. (Our dry/erase board isn't hung yet, but the desks are clean enough to begin work.) We're going to do a light summer schedule.

Monday, June 16, 2008


Christmas 2002..... When you could still decorate the tree in your underoos.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

My Peeps is Gone!

Yes, I know I have a noun-verb disagreement. I'm trying to be cool.

It was time for the roosters to find a farm. They are at the local feed & seed store. Not a very nice Father's Day gift for the boys.

Don't you wonder what they were thinking as they rode in a dog crate in the back of a SUV?

(Thank you Jack for making Lucky lucky once more. She is blessed to have you as a soft-hearted chicken-Dad. ) We have 3 hens remaining. Two Wh Leghorns and 1 Lt. Brahma.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

by Robin

Great news!! The test results are in! Both boys have passed their grades and will be starting 7th and 3rd grades.

Technically, my youngest is between grades. He's already a few months into 3rd grade. So, we just stay on course for him. (He's like a held-back for age, accelerated learner - it's complicated.)

As for me, I passed my 1st mammogram. Yeah! It wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be. (Timing is everything! Thank you God.)
by Robin

My back has had me flat out of commission for a couple/few days so it was nice to walk outside and see what was new. God provided much rain yesterday. The garden looked healthy again.

My "chocolate" Sweet Bell Peppers have turned their color and I wanted to share that pic w/ you. I'm having the hardest time convincing my youngest that they will not taste like sugary treats.

My hot pepper garden is very happy between the heat & water & soil conditions. They are thriving! Click to enlarge this picture. You'll see all the jalepenos on the right and Anaheims in the center plants. Btw, there is no order in that section of garden. Plant species were not known at the time of planting.

I have a garden buddy at church and we've been sharing plants & seeds. Tonight, I hope to receive some rosemary and purple basil plants.

Here is my eggplant plant. It is filling up its cage but so far, no eggplants. I even tried pollinating it myself. It has a touch of something whitening the leaves. Must look that up.

The garden needs some serious weeding & TLC soon. I tried to do some Sunday and got stung by a wasp who thought I got too close to his nest in the ground. I'm so thankful that I am not allergic to bee stings. I've had my share at this house already.
Any prayers said for my back injury would be much appreciated. (Happened while painting the room, but further aggrevated by carrying books back to the room.)

Sunday, June 8, 2008

by Robin

Let's be honest..... the heat is here. The t-storms aren't. We're in a drought. If we don't use the sprinklers, everything dies quickly.

I normally don't water in the daytime but I felt so badly for the garden today that I left the sprinkler on in the daytime for a good 30-40 min. Grass is dying left and right.

I'm also picking iceberg lettuce seeds. Carrots are getting bigger. Cherry toms are producing much less.

Here is something else that heads right to the garden as soon as I go to clean out their pen. They love cherry tomatoes.

So, I have to call out my farmer son. Here he is in the classic farmer pose. Of course, in FL, we farm w/ Hawaiian shirts.

Here he is herding the chicks back to the pen with a rake. (No chickens were harmed in the making of this post.)

Two chicks (i.e. roosters) are leaving this week.

My Flat Leaf Parsley went to bloom and the flowers are teeny tiny and GORGEOUS. I had some macro-lens zoom going on to get this shot.

My yellow onions are finally picking up some speed. Bunching onions are still hanging in there.

I've been mentioning cukes the past couple reports. Well, here is the ugly side of cucumbers. Rot. Not sure what got this one. I lost all my summer squash to powdery mildew.

Here is another cuke problem. Cuke worms. It's not quite the pickleworm, but it's a moth larva that bores and eats out the fruit. I did take some 7-dust to the plants but didn't eradicate everything, I see. I don't want to use that much but felt it was my only choice to keep cultivating some fruit.

My first colored sweet bell pepper. This one is white, I think. It's very light colored green. I also have some chocolate ones that are growing. As for the various other (red, yellow, orange) colors, I'm waiting patiently as can be to see color changes. Patiently, as in a few months.

Here is my first harvest of hot peppers. Slim, (red) cayennes picked before they went red in the fall. The mild Anaheim (like a banana pepper) in the middle. Jalapeno on the right. These are my guinea pigs to see how I'm going to process them when they all are ready. It's going to be a variety of drying some, roasting others and pickling the rest.
If you've had experience jarring veggies, please let me know. I want to try it, but I'm scared.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

by Robin

Our school room is finished with the exception of hanging a couple more things on the walls. I just love it. I love the color. I love the cleanliness. I love the crisp contrast of white trim. I love how all the unused stuff was removed and new books put on the shelves.

Honestly, when we moved in this house, this was the room where everything that didn't fit somewhere else ended up. It was the Clutter Capitol of the house. I longed to have something from the pages of Pottery Barn, Coastal Living magazine or Rooms to Go. Something beautiful, new and different from the mess that began to grow and grow over the months.

Anyhow, it reminds me much of the stories in the Bible. I think how Moses built the tabernacle & altar and hung gates (Exo 40:33) I think how Huram finished all the work he had to do for King Solomon (1 King 7). He made pots, shovels and bowls (2Chron 4:11) too. Jesus said those famous words "It is finished" from upon the cross (John 17:4). The joy they must have felt from that sense of accomplishment of something that pleased God.

Homeschooling is a calling for our family. It is usually a joy to spend each day schooling the boys but by May, it was no longer fun to come into this room and accomplish God's will for our family. THIS..... yes, declutter and painting, THIS gives me joy and a renewed spirit to continue on with homeschooling again in mid-June.

I thank God for making all things fresh and new again. I love my little beach resort school room. (These pics were taken before I put the books in this morning.) Since I put my book shelf in the corner, I now have room to pull my electric piano back out and practice some. Maybe I'll even get around to teaching the fishermen how to play recorders.

Friday, June 6, 2008

by Robin

We moved into this house a little over a year ago and this was the one room we never got around to painting. Originally, it had patriotic puppy dogs border and 1 patriotic striped wall. Cute, but not what we were wanting in the long run. This room get next to no morning light which makes it hard to want to school in. (ignore my bad sentence structure) We had to brighten it up and add lighting.

In the collage below, you can see the first day of removing stripes. That paper came off ok, but it was the under-side paper w/ glue that was IMPOSSIBLE to remove. The ladies at the Homeschool Library were instrumental in suggesting vinegar & water soaked onto the wall.

On the 2nd day, all that paper was removed. Thanks ladies!!

Unfortunately, the boys and I did a lot of damage to the wall while removing the paper so vigorously with the scraper and Jack had to spackle many spots. I think he said something about "ruined" but we worked through some of that between spackling, sanding and 2 coats of primer.

Finally, the green got to go up in late afternoon. The bottom 2 pictures depict the actual color. Granny Smith Apple green. The bottom right picture shows you some inspirational pictures and fabric that led us to the wall color. My curtains are going to be striped cabana-type with green, pink, red & yellow (seen in picture).

Our goal is to put many, many white shelves against the green to hold all our school books and hopefully have space to hang some fantastic kid artwork. I think, though, that we're going to finish the trim up today and put everything back into the room because company comes in 4 days. I don't have a lot of time left for major construction projects.

Monday, June 2, 2008

by Robin

Honestly, I didn't follow the shuttle story much this week other than to know it needed a new toilet. I'm not even sure which craft went up. D'oh! BUT, I do know the weather was beautiful. We were in the driveway washing the boat when I heard that tell-tale sound of shuttle engines blasting off.
The kids came running out of the house to see this....
It's rising another couple seconds later.

Less than a minute later, it is many miles away and the big boosters have fallen off. It is but a mere dot in a blue sky.

Then, life resumes in our household. If we have time, we watch all the replays on NASA channel, but this time we didn't. I sure hope they get their toilet fixed with all those engineers on board.
Please pray for us. We're remodeling the school room. I didn't like these stripes for my beach idea and so we are stripping this wall today. We discovered a cute mural under the paper. It must have been a nursery room at one time. Ahhh..

My fishermen are getting an education on why never to wallpaper your home. LOL.