Saturday, April 30, 2011

yesterday & today

YESTERDAY: we went to busch gardens with becky & her girls. clay met us there for a few hours in the afternoon, but most of the day it was just becky & her 6 girls & all of my kids & me. here are just a few pictures from the big day! Rachel took her camera & these are a few pictures she took.

Ashley Dennys being silly! But having fun!

2 little peas in a pod!! they were riding the teacups with their oldest sisters which was sweet...both baby girls with both oldest girls.

Ashley corraling these wild ones on the teacups also. This morning when I asked Abigail what was her favorite part of the trip to Busch Gardens she said "seeing Lainey." She likes her friend. Asher was just ready to get the cup spinning!

Levi was very well behaved for most of the day. He wore his sunglasses & checked the place out & then rode the tram to the parking lot safe in his mama's arms.

TODAY: garden & yard work....lots of work!!!! i had to move our big 6 week old White Leghorns to a new brooder so i could move the smelly Amerucanas that are only 1 week old out of the garage into the main brooder with the 2 week old Sultans & Production Blacks. I know it might be considered "junky" by some or rather their husbands....but hey, it works & it's less work & not so smelly. clay found a couple of large dog kennels on the side of the road & he has picked them up. I have put them to good ues & never have they even held a dog at our house!! after i did all of this work making sure they couldnt squeeze through the bars, clay pointed out that i had another decent sized brooder....but i didnt know that because it was hidden under several stacks of shingles. go figure!

 this is all 18 of my 1 & 2 week old baby chicks. sooooo cute!!

 and you might not be able to see them but my plants are there. i'm so happy with how the garden is right now...but it's only been 4 days! those bags of pine straw are from a very dear friend (shout out to Ms. Robin). she let us have bags & bags of pine straw & we have mulched around all of our new trees & after this picture was taken we put it around our watermelon plants, cucumber plants & canteloupe plants. it keeps the viny plants moist & helps keep the weeds from choking them out......a lot of time when we weed our plants that grow out on a vine, i end up killing it from disrupting it so much to pull the weeds. hopefully this will stop it.

you can see my seeds have come up yet...i'm so impatient...i know...but it's fun watching them. clay said i would have to wait until maybe next friday to see any results...that's forever!!!!

this is just a shot of my backyard garden plot where the squash, zuccini & canteloupe are planted. you might not can see them either but there's about 40 plants back there!! so exciting!!

this is the tool i used to do most of my planting of plants. as helpful as it has been to me it also has almost become a pain to have around!!

this boy is why this particular tool has become a pain to have around. everytime i put it down he would pick it up & start whacking away at something. i would have to tell him over & over again to "STOP!" as he would start trying to whack the dirt where i had just planted. he was just keeping busy...but was consistent busy-ness with him......he never quite got it either that he was hurting my plants. but all he wanted to do was whack things.

abigail helped plant pumpkins today & then pretty much stayed on the zipline all day off of the tree house.

elizabeth was a huge help today. she is almost as tall as i am now!! that's insane. but she helped me with the chickens...carried water...checked for eggs...dragged bags of pine straw where i told her to...picked up trash...just basically helped all day.

and clay did all of the heavy lifting & took every opportunity to use his tractor. he planted my 2 hydrangeas finally & my 2 remaining blueberry bushes & 1 more grape plant. he was against me buying 3 more lemon boy tomato plants, 3 sweet white spanish onion plants & 3 pickling cucumber plants today...but well i felt we needed them....especially since 1 of the 2 lemon boy tomato plants i have got broke & died. he also told me - which i cant say i really appreciated since i planted all by myself - that my rows were crooked, the plants were too close to each other & i had planted too much. but other than that, he did basically do what i wanted him to do today in regards to the garden & my plants & my chickens so i shouldnt complain to loudly.

and what can i say about asher?! he is the biggest helper in the garden. he is my shadow. he is patiently waiting for his grapes, blackberries & canteloupe to grow. this boy stayed step for step out with me today & we were outside almost all day. he is a delight & a joy & i'm blessed to call him my son!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

spring days

today i had to decide whether i was going to make the trek to SC to attend my Aunt's funeral. My Aunt - by marriage - died on Monday. She had cancer. It's such a vicious disease and i despise it. Her children, Johhny, Kim, & Scott, now are parentless in their late 30's, early 40's. I cant imagine. It feels wrong to me. (Their dad, my Uncle J.W. Bryant died a while back from a heart attack. He was always so fun to be around.) Aunt Darniel was one of the best cooks of southern food ever. May she rest in peace. But i will not be attending the funeral as clay has a huge job that his company, United Restoration, ( ) is handling at Dominion Towers in Norfolk. the top 11 floors flooded last Friday the wee hours of the morning. Clay got a call at about 6:30AM on Friday & he got up & went to work. He made it home somewhere around 3AM Saturday morning only to leave around 9AM & worked until about 7:30PM. Then he had Easter Sunday off. But has been back & forth the last 3 days. The property management wanted the building up & running - dry by with that being said Clay & his company took the top 3 floors because they knew they couldnt handle all 11 floors in 2 days so they gave the rest of the work away to companies that will remain nameless. United has already pulled their equipment as they have dried their 3 floors. i know that 1 of the other companies - one that is nationally known  - had floors 22-20, was still drying today & probably Clay's company will have to take over. Clay's company had the worst flooded 3 floors. Anyway, it's a mess & the law firm out of London that resides on the top floor is very grateful to clay's company for fixing their offices.
but because he is busy with this job - everyone of their project managers & demo guys & helpers were working this job & still have been, he cant stop to watch the kids & keep their schedules. It would be difficult. i wasnt particularly close to this Aunt, but i would go out of respect for my cousins. She was their mom and it would wonderful to see my Mom & sisters. Plus i would take Levi & Esther with me & i love to show off my cute babies!!

anyway, today i went & bought some more chicks. these are Ameracana's. They lay green eggs. the girl at Southern States told me they were better for you because they had less cholestorol in their eggs. i'm not sure that is true, but they are pretty eggs. & the chicks look like little fluffy, fat chipmunks. i bought 10 - 5 for me & 5 for my friend Jenny. she is going to get me some polish chicks from the Amish in Maryland that live near her. i cant wait.

i also finished planting the whole garden - well except for the potatoes.
here is the full list:
6 watermelon plants (with about 8 more growing from seeds - not quite ready for the ground)
1 row of pinkeye purple eye peas - best cow pea you could ever eat (kind of like a black eyed pea)
1 row of cherry & patio tomatoes (14 plants)
4 rows of regular sized tomatoes - all heirloom, at least 1/2 grown from seeds by me!! 60+ plants
and i still have about 12 not quite big enoug to go in the ground.
2 rows of peppers - 1 being sweet, bell peppers. 1 being hot peppers (jalapeno, anaheim chili, long cayene, hungarian wax, pepperoncini, etc.)
2 rows of cucumbers (14 plants in all & then i have 9 mounds of seeds not sprouted yet since i just planted them) - Sumter cucumbers & Straight eights
5 rows of Silver Queen Corn
1 row of Kentucky Wonder pole green beans that will grow up the corn.
1 row of Kentucky Wonder Bush Green Bean
1 Row of Henderson Lima Bean
1 row of Okra
1 row of yellow onions
1 small row of basil
1 bulb of garlic
(that's all in the big garden)
Small Garden:
2 rows totally 8 yellow, crooked neck Squash plants
1 row of zucchini squash - 4 plants
at least 16 canteloupe plants (ambrosia & burpee hybrids + some home grown from seeds)
4 rows of indian corn
2 rows of sunflowers...
& now i am exhausted....but i did it....all by myself........i feel like i have been hit by a cement truck.
here are some of the books i use to help in my gardening endeavors:

now to plant my 2 hydrangeas & my 2 remaining blueberry bushes & a flat of red flowers Jenny gave me (sorry their name escapes me)....all that on Saturday.
also i'm waiting to buy the book "First Lessons in BeeKeeping" - the glossy version! my next venture is into keeping 2 hives of bees.
i'm also waiting on my books on parenting a child with attachment disorders as well as on parenting a defiant child. should be fun reads!

what are you up to these days?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Sunday (in pictures)

ok, for the record, i am cropped out of every picture. i am so HUGE these days & feel like a troll so i took myself it was 7:15AM.
Levi got sunglasses!

peeps on a stick. who knew?? i guess this easter bunny did! they were a big hit!

bionicles!! yay for boy toys!

abigail immediately ate her chocolate bunny...& i do mean immediately!

elizabeth counting her stash of eggs!

the following pictures were taken after church. i am in the back in some & then clay is in the back with me in some.....well he got cropped out because i cropped myself out. i really have got to get serious about weight watchers....and look into some plastic surgery....etc!!! i am not in a happy place right now. how often do you see a picture of yourself & say "do i really look like that?" well i had that moment today & it was not good. oh well. but the kids are way CUTE!!!! - actually B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L!!!!  i love the progression of pictures. the different looks.

esther getting a trip to space. (for the record it scares me to death when clay does that to the kids & i try my best to curb it...but she was squealing with glee the whole time!)

asher's grapes!!! little tiny grapes, but they are growing. thank you God!

my overgrown blackberry patch. i wonder if we every have a visit from brer rabbit! but bring on the blackberries!! so good! between asher & liberty, we dont get many. asher picks & eats as he goes & liberty just eats them off the vine since she cant pick them off with her paws!

from the back of our lot looking at the goat, pig, & duck pen!! just looks so summery! i love it!

my chicken coop! they are laying again! i'm so happy!!

oh look at my freshly plowed small garden plot!! i'm so excited!! i love it...the anticipation of what will grow. i am really becoming a lover of all vegetables!!

readen!! fun, sweet, pretty readen!! we love her already!

my duckies!!

 my beautiful big girl loving her dog after she watered her pig & goat for the 2nd time today.

all of my new baby chicks!! so cute!

well of course, readen again!

the large garden plot!! by this time next week the whole garden should be planted! i'm so excited! i can not wait for fresh vegetables!

i hope you had blessed Easter!

Friday, April 22, 2011


so i'm not big on couponing or even hitting sales...unless it's the harris teeter buy 2 containers of breyer's ice cream, get 3 free deal - which they do once or twice a year & every time i end up with about 20 containers of breyer's ice cream.
anyway, with the state of the economy, price of gas, inflation on the rise, & the size of my family i'm trying to cut my grocery cost.
now i am paying attention to the sales papers as well as clipping coupons. i think today i scored big - i'm sure not as good as some of you...but i was pleased!!

harris teeter had some buy 2 get 3 free deals going on (until Monday)the following:

12 pack can pepsi products - ended up paying $2.52 per 12 pack. That's pretty good for us.
Bag of Lay's potato chips - ended up paying $1.60 a bag.
I aso payed $.50 per Del Monte 15 oz cans of corn & green beans (where did the days of 4 cans for a dollar go??)
anyway, those were all limit i got 10 of all of those.
I got $.74 toothpaste with coupons today. (Colgate)
Oh & the generic store brand cereal at Farm Fresh was only $1.99 a box. That's good because now it's creeped up to $2.39 & $2.79 a box. I think I bought 12 boxes of cereal. Even if the kids dont eat it with milk they snack on it when we go to karate in little ziploc sandwich bags.

Whole milk is $3.54 a's gone up  A LOT!!! & that's at WalMart. Their milk isnt full of growth hormones so...we like their milk & the fat in the whole milk is good for the kids we go whole milk. And we go through about 4-6 gallons a adds up. I also think i'm going to start shopping at the bread store again & use my freezer.

i got other things today also, but not much....mostly on sale items. it felt good to know in the long run i was saving money.

have you run into any good deals lately??

Thursday, April 21, 2011

planting season

i'm very excited today new edition of southern living magazine came today - good reading for the weekend (besides reading Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy on the Nook Color)...and we are going to plant our garden this weekend. i am so excited.

what are your plans for the weekend?

abigail turns 6!!

yes my abigail has turned 6. i cant believe it. time has flown by. abigail is such a sweet girl. she keeps telling me she is going to go help feed the children in africa. i believe she will do it too. tonight i showed abigail this blog . this wonderful lady took a group of people to uganda. it's a long story that she explains on her blog....anyway, we sent some boy ties & a few dress shirts & a few girls dresses for a wedding there. anyway i was showing abigail one of the boys wearing one of the ties we sent - which was very exciting. but i was crying reading the blog.....(if you actually read the blog & read about Elianah Treasure you will understand why - actually i cried the whole time we were reading the blog). but abigail patted me as i talked her through the blog & said "mom, dont worry. one day i will go help feed them & you dont have to cry." she is an amazing kid with an amazing call starting to develop in her heart.

so here are some pictures of her birthday (and abigail doesnt like "regular" birthday cake. she likes cheesecake so we bought her a piece from olive garden & i made a cheesecake today because i couldnt make it yesterday because we took alyssa to meet her mom.)

abigail received a lot of barbie things... a new barbie, a barbie glam vacation house, convertible car & jet..all the glam vacation style! there were quite a few girly squeals as she opened the boxes. (and yes i was wrapping paper, just the shipping boxes they came in)
so here are a few pictures of abigail opening presents, blowing out candles, and eating cheesecake!! i threw in a few of the other kids too....just because.

ok before i get comments about how sad esther looks watching abigail eat the only piece of cheesecake, i made a delicious cheesecake today that everyone got a piece of. there are about 2 big pieces or 3 small pieces left....and either way 1 of the pieces is calling my name as i'm up's late...i'm fat & depressed...what's a piece of cheesecake to add to it right??! anyway, everyone got good cheesecake!

this is our friend alyssa, who stayed for a week,modeling her easter outfit. elizabeth is missing her today. please ignore the drying rack & messy cabinet behind her!