Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Mulch in the front yard

Since I've pretty much told you all about it in the previous post, I'll just let you take a look at our hard work.  The sad thing is that it hardly made a dent.  We have about a half acre to landscape. But the difference this made was astounding to me. ~ as long as it doesn't blow away today...
Front porch

Towards my office window.

View from my office.

I promise we didn't move it uphill the entire time, just this one little part.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Just a hint

I took plenty of before and after photos of this project.  Let's just say the 8 cubic yards of mulch covered the area by my office, the front flower garden, and the garden area along the edge of the driveway.  We think it will take 20 cubic yards to fill in the space in front between  the driveway and road.  And we haven't even touched the back or around the house.  
They say that garden beds use less water.  We shall see.  Did you know the number one mistake people make when applying mulch? Using too little.  You need 2 to 4 inches.  We get a lot of wind so we went with a mulch that kind of sticks to itself or intertwines somewhat and we put it down 4 to 6 inches deep.

Besides that, it looks amazing and coordinates with the house.  I didn't realize how gray our dirt was until we put this mulch down.  I spent my birthday money on it - I've been saving it since January.  Thanks to all of you who gave me birthday money!

I over did it in the yard last year with all the weeding - I was trying to be super mom, super gardener, etc.  I ended up with pneumonia.  So I am thinking this mulch will help improve my health this year.  Again, we shall see...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

4th Cancerversary today!

Most people that see me today wouldn't have a clue what I've been through and overcome in the past 4 years.  When people find out  I often hear, "But you're such a picture of health." The more I progress the more I find out how far I've come.  We have a code of health in our church - most people know that we don't drink, smoke, or drink tea or coffee.  I'm grateful I was born into a family that followed that code of health.  
Back in February when I was hit in the pool, I received several CTscans.  After they determined there was no bleeding in the brain and no broken bones the radiologist was most concerned about all the scar tissue in my lungs. When I breath in I often hear a deep wheezing sounds from way down inside my lungs. Now I know why my oncologist said he wouldn't treat me if I smoked and drank.  My tumors were so large that I needed stronger treatment than most and a 'boost' in my radiation treatment too.  I found out that a large tumor is the size of a quarter.  My tumor mass was 3 inches wide and went from below my ribs (down near my stomach) all the way up into the middle of my neck. 
As you can see from this photo, I've come a long way baby! And I'm looking forward to a bright future. My migraines are under control with a preventer medication.  My food allergies are okay as long as I stay away from the foods that bother me and the grocery stores carry a lot of new foods that I can eat. Mentally I feel more up to carrying on the daily demands of life.  Physically I am much stronger than I was 4 years ago and I am improving a little bit at a time every day.

So now I have one more year left until they set me free.  The 5 year survival rate for Hodgkins Lymphoma is pretty good.  I'm so close to that benchmark I can hardly believe it. So thank you to all of you who prayed for me, brought meals, scrubbed my dishes, cleaned my bathrooms, took care of my children, mowed our lawn, scrapbooked with me, were kind and thoughtful, hugged me when I was bald, got Tyler out of the house, and weren't scared to be around a person with cancer. Thank you!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Here's my big Announcement!

Photo First-Aid with Laura Vanderbeek
Photographic Enhancement & Retouching Solutions

We're pleased to welcome professional photographer Laura Vanderbeek to our roster of teachers at ReneePearson.com.

In Photo First-Aid, Laura shares professional techniques that will take ordinary photographs to a whole new level. You'll learn the same step-by-step process she uses to create artistic photographs for display in her clients' homes and albums. You'll also learn how to manipulate light and color and even save a few of those photos you thought were unusable. Laura also shares methods for retouching photographs of groups, including problem areas such as clothing, backgrounds, turned heads, and perspective.

After Photo First-Aid, you'll be able to turn your photographs into works of art you'll be proud to share and display.

Laura will answer your questions and talk about her class at 
ReneeTV on Thursday, April 22 and on Thursday, May 6 at 10:00pm Eastern Time.

Learn more...


Monday, April 12, 2010

Announcement - Tomorrow!

Come back tomorrow for my big announcement!

Here's a hint

Sewing Projects

Do you feel like a jack of all trade and master of none? I certainly do.  I dabble in a little bit of this and a little bit of that.  My attention span isn't great. Maybe that comes from moving so much as a kid, thanks to the US Army. Who knows? But whatever it is, I have to keep moving from one thing to another or I get bored.

No, this is not the baptism dress I spoke of. You'll just have to wait until after my daughter's baptism day to see it.  But this was a fast and easy project.  The fabric comes with the elastic already sewn into it.  I just had to sew down the back.

Then I used some of the excess fabric to make straps. My daughter's tiny fingers were perfect for flipping the straps right side out for me after I sewed the first seam.  

And here is the finished product.  I even found a cute black and white pattern for me.  I sewed the seem into the back but it's too big and I haven't had time to take another 4 inches out of it.  But it's cute, summery, and inexpensive. If you sign up for JoAnn's newsletters you'll get coupons.  So 40 or 50% off 35 cents and inch was nothing - about $5 for my daughter's dress. It was 45 cent and inch for mine and it's much longer.

Now I just need to find a nice white t-shirt for her to wear underneath and then I can wrap the whole thing up for her birthday party. I'll post a photo of mine when it's done!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Mayan, Gardening, Cold Stone Creamery, etc.

First of all, I have to tell you about my favorite place to get gardening information: Anderson's Seed and Garden in Logan, Utah.  Check out this Seed List and planting Guide. I also love their rooting hormone and their Myke.  I added Myke to the roots of all my trees and vines this year.  I add the rooting hormone once every week in a gallon of water.  Doing that little extra is just what I have to do to help my plants survive on this wind swept hillside.  It works and I love to see the plants grow.  It's great happiness therapy and it's helped me to deal with surviving cancer in a way no other hobby can.

Yesterday we went as a family to the Oquirrh Mountain Temple to photograph a family whose adoption of their son was finalized and ready for sealing to his parents.  Then we went to the Mayan for my daughter's birthday dinner.  We've never been before and we really enjoyed it. And yes, the food is better. We were able to see two diving shows.  In one of them, the divers jumped from the ceiling - gulp - and I though the top of the rocks was high.  We haven't been out to eat without someone else paying in a very long time. Maybe two or three times in the last year but part of that is due to food allergies. Sorry for the cell phone pic.  I didn't even think to bring my camera in.

After lunch, my parents called and told us they had some plant starts for us.  Couldn't have been better timing! They were working on their flower beds in the front of their home.  The bushes they have are beautiful.  And they had sent some runners out with plenty of roots.  So we pulled and clipped them - 18 of them and put them in a box.  They are vigorous growers so we should have full size bushes by the end of summer. I planted 11 on the back of the house and 7 up top near my new bare root apple tree from Anderson's Seed and Garden.

And then they had plenty of shasta daisies for us as well.  I think I counted 13 of those - and since that is my lucky number, I'm sure those things are going to grow into something amazing! And guess what? They hardly made a dent in that hillside.  I planted them where they would help control erosion in the steepest part near my rock wall.  At least there is plenty of room for echinacea and black eyed susans.  

You can tell from this photo where we ripped out the lemon thyme.  It smells so yummy and during the summer it's actually pretty with it's tiny delicate blossoms.  But it was taking over the stairs.  Don't be afraid to rip things out, move things around, etc. I know exactly what will go here.  It's growing out front and I LOVE it - it's sort of a succulent type plant and it has the prettiest pink blossoms all summer.  It's very hardy and fills in the cracks, but it doesn't take over.  I wish I knew the name of it.  I will either have to take a piece to the garden center to get a match or just transplant some.  It will transplant easily.

So we transplanted the lemon thyme to an area where it can be ground cover.  Eventually there will be trees in the area where we put it all, but for now, it just looks like we planted tumble weeds! BUT when it all starts to grow and fill in, it will be so much prettier than the weeds we had last year.

After planting we ate a light dinner and took our daughter to Cold Stone to redeem her coupon for free birthday kids creation!  Then it was off to bed. After such a long and busy day, I was ready for a good night's sleep. This week is going to be insane.  I'm going to need a vacation when it's all said and done.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Baby Animal Days - A Spring Tradition

We enjoyed an afternoon at Baby Animal Days this past week.  It was so much fun to hold the goslings and chicks.  The kids pet the goats, bunnies, and held baby turtles too!

I love how he held it right next to his face and they both closed their eyes at the same time.  The duck was amazingly soft and to quote Dr. Suess, "weighed minus one pound"!

Just a fun example of depth of field. And I LOVE her smile!
She was so pleased.

Don't be afraid to get close to the action.  We had to move fast. These little turtles were quick!

My daughter wanted a turtle but you could only buy them for educational purposes or for science.  And there was plenty of hand sanitizer to go around before and after handling these little guys.

Mutton Bustin'.  Uhm, yeah.  Well, it was hilarious. The sheep could hardly tell the kids were on there. They just wanted to be with their friends on the other side of the pen. I love this photo at the fence.

She was pretty curious about my camera so I took advantage of the moment.  I wish I had focused more on her eyes than her snout.

Herding the sheep back to their pen for more rounds of muttin bustin'.

Time to scrapbook!

Friday, April 09, 2010

I just didn't know...

I mean, how could I?  There are so many great things in our kitchens that we just throw away.  I learned to save my egg shells from this cute and very educational blog.  I think I'm going to have to switch my color to violet.  We are having a late spring - the bird on the mountain hasn't shown up and it's mid-April. My first year out here in the boonies meant the ground wasn't ready for a garden even though alfalfa did very well out here.  So most of my tomatoes had blossom end rot.  It's pretty gross looking.  Last year all of my tomatoes did well with just 2 tablespoons of egg shells in the ground around each transplant.  The one I forgot ended up with blossom end rot.  I've been saving these since last fall.  Who knew we used so many eggs.  My mother in law is saving egg shells for me too.  You can also use them on pepper plants too.  Hopefully this will help things.  I'm telling ya now - don't wait until you have to garden to start gardening - you will starve. Three years has made such a huge difference for me!

I also learned about Bone Meal yesterday.  My potatoes were kind of small last year and so the experts at Anderson's Seed and Garden told me to put a tablespoon of bone meal in the ground with each seed potato.  I also purchased a peach tree, an apple tree, and two red seedless grape vines yesterday.  I also planted bell pepper and jalapeno seeds in peat pots last night before Relief Society. We got so much done during our humanitarian night. There is so much to do in my flower gardens! I better get off the computer and go prune those trees just as I was instructed at Anderson's.  Oh, and does any one know of a site or know anything about building something to hold those grape vines up on? 

And one last question...how do you store carrots? Is there any easy way? please share!

Monday, April 05, 2010

Happy Easter and the Easter Bunny

Because we enjoy the Easter egg hunt on the town square on Saturday, we keep Sunday as a reserved sort of day where we attend church and talk about the Savior.  The Lions Club hosts this event - so we just show up bright and early.  I think it took the kids a whole 10 seconds to clear the entire field covered with thousands of eggs. Of course, the bright colored plastic eggs filled with candy and coupons for gifts and free stuff from local stores were extremely easy to see in the snow.

And it was nice for the kids to enjoy some time with the Easter Bunny.  Later that day we drove down to my parent's home for dinner.  It was delicious. My sister and her family, Epi and Manuel were there too, and my brother and one of his roommates along with my brother's girlfriend's dog. My children and my sister's children played quietly with each other for hours. It was so refreshing. My mom and I ran to Hobby Lobby and I found the pattern I needed for a dress for my daughter (I've got most of it cut out now - we'll see how it goes with the putting it together). If it looks okay then I will post a photo of it.  I bumped into my highschool home economics teacher from Dugway and she was wondering if I still sewed. She said I was the most talented of all her home ec students. I mostly just cross-stitch and crochet now.  So I decided to be daring and drag out the sewing machine to make my daughter's baptism dress.  If it doesn't work, there is always Jolene's in the mall, right?!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Cold Weather Vegetables

When I was in college, I majored in landscape architecture for a while.  In fact, I practically lived in the greenhouse at BYU-Idaho.  If you've ever been to Rexburg during the winter, maybe you'll understand why.  Someday I will have a greenhouse of my own.  Someday... for now I will be sprouting my veggies in south facing windows.

I just really like this photo - the drops of water on the leaves.  We've had a few cold days so I put the heating pad under the tray with the peat pots.  It worked - the black eyed susans finally sprouted! And having the dome over the tray, well, it almost feels like we have a mini rain forest in sitting on our breakfast table. I have to open them up once in a while to prevent mold build up. 
Click on it to see it larger.

These are lettuce sprouts.  Sad to know that several of those sprouts are going to get trimmed down, but only one per pot means bigger heads of lettuce. Besides I don't need that much. I've never grown lettuce before so this is all experimental to me, which I'm not afraid of at all. I do like romaine lettuce and so I do hope it grows into something edible. This is in my second tray that's hanging out in my living room window.

And here is tray # 1 - cold weather plants only.  8 - cabbage. 3 - kohlrabi. 2 pots of red onions.  1 pot of green onions. 6 - black eyed susans.  And I'm really glad that I went ahead and started the black eyed susans. It's been over 2 weeks and they are about a 1/4 inch tall. When should I start the zinnias for my daughter?

And can you see how much snow we got yesterday? Well, we received even more today.  In fact, my thoughtful husband left me the Jeep this morning so I could make sure and get back into the garage after driving to the bus stop.  We've got a very steep driveway.

Do you sprout your own veggies? I figured I could sprout 18 black eyed susans for $10 using the tray with the more expensive dome - although it's reusable all year, peat pots, soil, and seeds.  Or I could buy one pot from the garden center for $8.95.  To me it's worth the effort and challenge.  Especially when I have a 1/2 acre to landscape including my 15x40 foot garden.