Merry Christmas!

Good morning! At 5:20am, the normal waking hour in our household, I hear Trinity excitedly calling, "Mommy! Mommy! Come look! Mommy!" So our Christmas morning began. Angelina was still sleeping, but not for long. Here are pictures of our morning:

This is actually a shot I took before going to bed after getting everything set up. We got the big Barbie playset for free off of the Des Moines ReUseit group on yahoo. (formerly freecycle) What a blessing! We found the Muse Barbies on sale at Walmart for $5 each, so they are now in Barbie heaven. :)

Loving those Barbies!

David helped the girls open their stockings. They each got a little bear, a purse, some M&M's, and a pack of gum.

Here Angelina was very excited about something going on in the movie "Barbie and the Diamond Castle" which is one of their favorite movies and a gift from Grandma Barbara which IMMEDIATELY had to be put in to play.

Angelina is giving the horse bouncy ball a ride. This was a gift from Great Grandma and Grandpa last year, which we stored away until this year. Angelina was just a little too small last year - this year is working out perfectly. :)

Angelina is checking out the train set from Grandma Mary while not letting go of the stuffed bear that was waiting in her stocking.

I was able to buy a lot of 10 games off of craigslist for $6. Four of them they got now and the others will come as they get older. This year they got Franklin Goes to School, Alphabet Bingo, Bible Dominos, and The Memory Game.

A happy morning :)

 We Met Santa!

I took the girls to the mall today so they could burn off some energy in the play area. Then we went over to see if Santa was there....and he was. I was on the wrong side to get pictures, so I missed Trinity on Santa's lap. I just managed to catch this one of Angelina. She sat up on his lap and just started rambling away. Then he asked her what she wanted for Christmas and she said, "um...candy!" I wish the picture wasn't blurry, but at least I got a picture!

This is the same santa we went to see last year (and caught him going on break) that made me cry. He has Dad's eyes. I didn't cry this year, but still see Dad in his eyes.
The other day we made jewelry. We got an advert in the mail from a jewelers. Loads of great bling to create with. Here is Angelina in her earrings.

Here is bling girl herself, miss Trinity. She made earrings, a neclace, two bracelets, and two rings. I think I may be in trouble when she gets older! lol!

 Wind Chill Advisory tonight...

Winter is here in earnest!

"A Wind Chill Advisory Remains In Effect Until 12 PM CST Monday. Dangerous Wind Chills Will Develop This Evening As Winds 20 To 35 Mph Combine With Temperatures Falling Through The Single Digits On Their Way To Lows Of Near Zero To 5 Below Zero... Resulting In Wind Chill Values Of 20 To 25 Below Across Much Of The Region Through Noon Monday. A Wind Chill Advisory Means That Very Cold Air And Strong Winds Will Combine To Generate Low Wind Chills. This Will Result In Frost Bite And Lead To Hypothermia If Precautions Are Not Taken. If You Must Venture Outdoors...Make Sure You Wear A Hat And Gloves."

Right now we are at 3 degrees with wind chill temp of -21. They are calling for -3 for the overnight low. Wow! Really makes me wish we had our corn stove already hooked up. We are still waiting on the installation kit to arrive. So we will just use up a lot of our expensive propane to get through this cold snap. But, BOY AM I GLAD I AM NOT DELIVERING PAPERS!!! I had tried doing a paper route, but you couldn't just throw the papers from the car. You had to hand deliver the papers to the front step. (or back porch or anywhere else the customer designated) I knew that I was not going to be a happy camper when it was nasty weather to be trotting papers up to front steps at 4 in the morning. I can't even imagine doing it in -20 windchills....BRRRR! I will be praying for all those people who are out there in the wee hours of the morning trying to get the papers out... poor souls.

Here are pictures of the girls enjoying the first snow we had this year - I think this was the weekend after Thanksgiving.

 Election Day is finally here!

Note: Gas is at $1.84 today!

The girls were very excited to get their "I voted" stickers today.

At our voting place, Palmyra Township Hall, out in the country, no long lines for voting!
The church in the background is circa 1890.

Here are the girls enjoying the last rays of the day and sharing a yogurt after a long afternoon of playing in the leaves.

A series of my country girls in their favorite pickup.

 Beggars Night

Okay, grandparents. Finally some pics of the grandchildren! Here is Trinity going to preschool in her Barbie Island Princess costume. The girls are very big into the Barbie movies these days.
Here they are after the first candy stop this evening. It was a beautiful evening tonight - in the 60's and the wind had died down so it made for very pleasant "begging."

After dropping Trinity off at preschool, Angelina got to wear her costume to storytime at the library. We also made a stop at the bank where everyone thought she was adorable. We ended up getting candy from a lady we saw at the bank this morning. She remembered Angelina - but then who can easily forget a pink pegasus?! :)

We were working on teaching Trinity a joke, but most of the time they opted to sing about Bingo the dog for their candy. One lady said Trinity had a beautiful voice and asked her to sing it for her again. Then she told us that when she got to school to be sure to have Mrs. Hill listen to her sing because she has a real good singing voice. This is the second time I have been told she's a good singer just this month. Maybe it's true...

 An Update Via Pics

Okay, picture time. Here is Trinity with our new dog, Lucy. She was the accidental offspring by a breeder raising corgis and shelties and she is a mix of the two. She is a very sweet girl (as you can see by her licking Trinity's hand in the picture) and on the timid side. A good temperament for our young ones.

Here is a picture of Trinity and David when we were out in Santa Cruz in early August.

Again, in Santa Cruz, some pics from the boardwalk. Grandma treated everyone to ride tickets and the girls had great fun!

Poor Trinity was not feeling well, and you can see it in this picture. When we finally got home (finally b/c we missed a connecting flight and had an unexpected overnight in Memphis) and took her to the doctor, turns out she had strep throat. What a trooper she was going along with the family on all our outings.

 Garden pics and more

We had the most beautiful day in my memory the other day. It was 84 degrees, sunny, and a lovely breeze that blew almost continually. Did not feel at all humid. I broke out my clothesline and the girls got to have their first lesson in hanging clothes. Trinity did very well. Angelina did her best to help. Generally she went and stuck clothespins upside down over the clothes Trinity already hung!

Here is Trinity with a squash and a cucumber that she picked in the garden. This was the first day we were back from Maryland.

And speaking of the garden.... I am including pictures especially for Miss Synida who didn't understand the whole "plant a seed, it grows into food" concept. ;p Well, Synida, for the most part, we have achieved our goal. There are a few that didn't do so well, but this is my first garden, so I am feeling pretty good overall. Here is the whole garden. You can see our corn growing in the bed on the left. We planted 48 but not all of them are growing. Probably have 40-45 ears growing.

This is our broccoli plant. Seems to be doing well, although it is a cool weather plant. I had read the square foot gardening book back when I was pregnant with Trinity, so I know made some mistakes with my planning. I just ordered the book off of ebay so soon I will know what to do the rest of the growing season. The tiny little plants in the foreground are baby tomato plants. My first planting never produced anything. I replanted and now have several small plants coming up. It is still to be seen if they grow or not.
Here are the two squares of carrots I planted. There were 16 seeds in each square. Only 2 came up in the one on the right. I eventually replanted in the left square and you can see we are getting about half of them growing. I had reserved the 2 squares behind them for carrots too, but I am not wasting my time on them anymore. I think I am going to plant some more mesclun in those squares. My mesclun patch grew out of control while I was in Maryland. I am harvesting the plants that are there and using the lettuce for chicken treats. I am going to let the strawberry plants take over the back bed rather than try to keep them contained in one end.

Here is a shot of the cucumber plants in one bed. You can see the little cucumbers just starting on the plants. (click on pictures to make them larger)

This is in the other bed - a shot of a large cucumber and a zucchini growing. There are actually about 3 large cucumbers on that plant right now.

I love having the squash and zucchini growing up instead of traditional mound planting. The veggies stay nice and clean without discoloration from laying on the ground.

Here are the lima bean plants, just starting to produce pods. In the foreground is a nasturtium. I planted four of them and only one has come up. They are supposed to be a good natural insect repellant.
This is an "I spy" photo. Can you see the cantaloupe? It's there...about the size of a baseball.
Sigh...our sad little pea plants. I was expecting these to be tall vining plants. Just didn't happen that way. I don't know if they are just too crowded with the zucchini and cucumbers on either side or what. I planted more in the other bed so I will see if they do better than these. They are producing peas, just not much. :(

Here is my other sad little plant - this is a green pepper plant. This was planted at the same time as everything else and is only just starting to attain any significant growth. Verdict is out on this one. I am sad because I love peppers!
A lovely shot of the straightneck squash in bloom. I should have taken a picture of some of the leaves. They are getting a kind of mottled yellow coloration on them. I remember reading that just about the time your squash plants start really producing, the squash beetle can come along and kill them. I am a little worried that may be happening to this plant. I have another one, so all would not be lost, but I still don't want to lose this prolific provider.
Here is one of the tomato plants. Trinity knocked the largest tomato off last weekend, so we are still waiting to eat our first home grown tomatoes.
Can you guess what this is??? It is a watermelon! There are about 6 growing on the vines. I am using one of the girls old stockings to support the melon so as it grows bigger, it won't weigh the vines down.
This is a shot of the beautiful web spun overnight in the garden trellis. Really lovely in the morning fog.

PLEASE send any gardening tips you have!!! I know a lot of you have been successfully gardening for awhile. Thanks!