Monday, December 28, 2009


I get a sense of wonder with each change of a new season. Each is different and magical in it's own way. I love the cold winter months here in Hartland, but as these of weeks of frost and snow (yes, SNOW!) roll by I begin to long for warmer weather. There are promises of Spring around me, even in December. The blooming of my 7 year old, beautiful geranium plant, the little shoots of green from under a thick layer of straw in the garden (onions sets that were planted in the Fall), and a stackful of seed and garden magazines recently from the mail, teasing me!

Merry Christmas from Hartland!

And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all people. For unto you this day is born in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign to you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger". Luke 2: 9-12

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; And the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.
Isaiah 9: 6-7
And the angel answered her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; Therefore the child to be born will be called holy--The Son of God".
Luke 1: 35

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Romans 5: 1

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign; Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
Isaiah 7: 14

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 6: 23

From our family in Hartland, we wish you a very blessed Christmas!

Winter in Hartland

Happy December from our family in Hartland! We took our family heirloom, the Green Beast, out for a photo session not long ago. For fear of posting the wrong year (apologies to Tom and my Dad!) it's a 60's GMC truck that belonged to Tom's grandfather.
The acres of pecan orchard behind our house have lost their leaves, but at this time the trees were still heavy with pecans. When the big tractor-like shakers grab on to the trees, you can feel the ground vibrate many, many yards away at our at our house. Another season, come and gone. We are so blessed to live in such a rural area of our town--we have space to play and create adventures!


Our sweet big girl has had problems with enlarged tonsils for several years now. Especially over the last couple of years she's been prone to tonsillitis and strep throat. She was also a little 'nasal sounding' when she talked, snored when sleeping, and seemed liked she had a chronic runny nose! Poor girl! Z's elementary school was dismissed for Winter Break on December 18...And Zoey had a tonsillectomy/adenoidectomy on December 21. I felt completely guilty about it, but I know that she is going to be so much healthier for it in the future! We've had it with monthly antibiotics!!!

There is nothing worse than the feeling you have as you watch your semi-drugged 5 year old being wheeled away from you on a stretcher to the operating room. Horrible, HORRIBLE! Everything went smoothly and we were home with her later that morning, along with a mountain of popsicles, ice cream and gatorade. She had a pretty slow week, but was recovered enough to enjoy Christmas. We are a week post-op now, and other than some occasional referred ear pain, she is back on track. What a story she will have for the other Kindergartners when school starts again!

Last Soccer Game

Mid November was Zoey's last soccer game of the season--and it's quite possibly her last soccer game. The kids and families of the Badgers' soccer team have been wonderful, most of the kids on the team (as well as Z) started when they had just turned 4 years old. It's been fun seeing each of them grow over the past three seasons. Zoey, however, has decided that it's time to move on and try different things. Up next, we'll be giving ballet a try! I'm going to miss those fun little games and getting to know all the different families at the soccer practices. Camryn will be able to play in the Spring of 2011 (wow, that was weird to type...) so we'll see if that's what she's like to do. Thanks Badgers for three fun and memorable seasons!

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Over the last couple of years I have become an avid composter. Initially, my idea was to start composting to supplement the soil in my garden (and yes it's definitely a bonus for some healthy plants and beautiful veggies!) But composting kitchen scraps also lessens your household waste and keeps less junk out of landfills. You don't need anything fancy to compost. I usually collect my kitchen waste in a plastic container and empty it out at the end of the day into my compost bin. It's important to add 'brown waste' to the compost as well as the 'green waste' kitchen scraps. Brown waste are things like grass clippings and dried leaves. Keep your compost pile moist and it will break down into black gold for the garden! If you'd like to learn more about composting, visit composting fundamentals--a guide to composting at:

Monday, October 5, 2009

Maize Maze

Not long ago in Hartland we spent an afternoon at our local corn maze! A family farm grows a VERY large field of corn and in conjunction with our local university, the surveying department cuts a maze design through the field. This year the design was a honey bee with honey comb. Fun! They also have many different activities and educational booths set up so kids can learn about agriculture in our area. The girls had a blast (not to mention dad and mom...)

The farm also had tractor rides through pumpkin fields they had planted--they grew some monsters! Here you could guess the weight of these 5 pumpkins and if the weight we entered is correct then we win that pumpkin for Halloween! I don't think Zoey's guess of 7 pounds was right, but we'll see...

Out in one of the acres and acres of pumpkin patches--Camryn finds one just her size! She brought it home and named it Spooky. Spooky eats, sleeps and even takes baths with Cams. Hope it lasts until Halloween!

We had such a great day there!


Apple harvesting season has officially arrived! My Dad has a decent sized apple orchard and it was a pretty good year. My chef Zoey helped in the kitchen prep of washing, drying and coring apples to make apple butter! The house smells heavenly of a menagerie of apples, cinnamon, and allspice. One bucket down and 4 more to go! I let the cored apples cook down slowly in my crock-pot and then we canned them up. So delicious, Fall if officially here! Thanks Dad and Mom for the wonderful apples!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Hard at Work

Wanted to share some pictures of my firefighter, hard at work! Tom does 24 hour shifts at NASA and works with a great group of guys. They stay pretty busy, but as you can see there is the opportunity for downtime every now and then...Rock Band anyone?

School Days

We have a Kindergartner here in Hartland! Zoey officially started school on August 17 and now in the month following we have seen her blossom and grow! It has been wonderful to see her interact in her new social setting and make friends! There are 20 kids in her class--14 girls and 6 boys, so Z has plenty of potential princesses to recruit! Her school is probably the smallest elementary school in the city, which is near and dear to my heart (For those who don't know, I grew up in a VERY small, but great school!) I decided to become a volunteer in her classroom and had to have fingerprinting and a background check done (Nope, no tater salad here for you Ron White fans!!!) Zoey's teacher and classroom assistant are amazing and we are so grateful for them!

A little bit late.

As usual, our busy days here in Hartland have left me falling behind on my little blog. I was also a little down on myself about the blog, but after a bit of positive feedback from a loved one I've decided to have another go-round to keep you all updated in our lives. Thank you to my readers!
We have had a great summer--God has showered his blessings on us in so many ways! And now Fall is officially here, the changing of the seasons from Summer into Fall if my favorite time of year (especially since our horrid mosquitoes have almost disappeared!) Only the Catalpa tree in our front yard is beginning to turn golden, but soon our Pecans and the orchards surrounding us will start to put on an Autumn show! The days have been warm and sunny but in the mornings and evenings things cool down to sweater weather!
I was a bit disappointed in our overall garden harvest this year, so a few days ago I decided it was time to clean out and start some Fall veggies. It's always a little sad to see the garden go, but now I have a fresh, clean canvas for the lettuce (Black Krim, Red Romaine and Butternut Crunch varieties), carrots (Thumbelina), and beets (Red Detroit) that the girls and I planted. The carrots and beets I know that we can winter-over, but I'm hoping to get a nice crop of lettuce going before a good freeze hits! Guess it will be time to make some home-made garden bed covers!

Thursday, August 6, 2009


Our chicken experience has been a fun one! We have 5 very entertaining chickens--one rooster in the bunch (that we've discovered so far, at least...) and 4 hens. Each one of them has their own very distinct personality! Tom welded together a fantastic frame for our chicken pen and we covered it in chicken wire. We still have a bit of time before the hens start laying, so he's just begun to put together some nesting boxes. Can't wait for some fresh, homegrown eggs! These two are Romeo and Juliet, and the remaining 2 chickies that we hatched ourselves. They are the most inquisitive, funny things. We usually let the chickens roam around the backyard in the mornings and evenings when we're home and they follow us around like little, lost puppies.
The three other chickens we have are bantams, although I have figured out what kind yet. I bought them from a local feed store when they were hatchlings (to supplement our sad little flock when tragedy struck!) They have been dubbed Oreo, Coco and the littlest roo ever (but with a newly found mighty voice!) Clementine!

The girls love spend hours chasing them around and vice versa!

Falling behind

These summer months have kept us so busy and I've fallen behind in updating you all to the happenings of Hartland! I was surprised that my last post was still in June--where on earth did July go? I wanted to concentrate on the garden for this post, at least. The days have been HOT and dry but our garden has persevered! These are some of my San Marzano tomatoes--my garden pride and joy this year! This was my first experience with this variety and I'll definitely be saving seeds for next year. San Marzano's have an extra meaty flesh that is great for saucing. Whenever we harvest these I just bag them into the freezer. At the end of the tomato season, I'll make (hopefully) a winter's worth of yummy sauces and salsa!
Here's a snap of some of the gorgeous red peppers we have growing--they love our hot, sunny weather!

Carrots! This was the first year that we've had a nice looking carrot crop. I have no idea what I did differently this time around, but they are so tasty and beautiful--and we have a bumper crop of them! These carrots are probably the girl's favorite as a grab and go snack from the garden when we're working or playing outside. And most of the time, I can get Camryn to wash the dirt off of them (oh well, dirt has nutrients, right?)

A side shot of a row of our tomatoes and Zoey's sunflower.

The sunflower that Zoey planted from seed and has diligently taken care of! The birds have started eating the seeds produced from it and she likes the idea of taking care of them.

One of my heirloom Cherokee Purple tomato plants--another experiment for me this year. They're not quite as prolific as I'd hoped, but they sure are pretty!

Some climbing cucumbers and Tromboncino squash. We've trained the squash to climb the fencing of our dog run.

The Tromboncino squash has been really fun to watch grow. It has big, bright green leaves and giant yellow flowers. The fruit itself is a winter squash that has a long, narrow neck. My longest one so far is 29 inches! I'll have to get some better pictures for the full effect.

Can you tell that we love sunflowers here in Hartland? Here's another addition to brighten up our backyard.

Well, it's not really a garden picture, but I had to share my Cams checking on her chickies!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Happy Birthday Zoey!

My beautiful girl is 5 years old--so hard to believe! We had a great water party over the weekend with our slip n slide, sprinklers, water balloons and splash pools! The weather was nice and muggy, so cooling down was quite a treat. Really wasn't too much of a theme going on this year. She chose animal invitations, wanted a princess castle cake, and a Hannah Montana pinata. What a combo :)
Above is everyone gathered 'round the castle singing to the birthday girl! I love all of her relationships with her little friends--she is so sweet natured and her imagination is fantastic!

What do you think of the castle cake we made? It's rough that our girlie can't have a pink castle, but I think the yellow came out pretty good. Zoey was ecstatic about it, and that's an A in my book!

Water baby Cams playing in the yard for the party. What kid can resist running through the sprinklers?