Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Wild!

A couple weeks after bringing Charlie home we decided to let him out in the front yard to explore. Eventually we want him to become an indoor/outdoor cat so he needs to start getting comfortable being outside with the loud noises. 

He was curious about all the things on the front porch. 

Sniffing and checking things out! 

The main thing we learned is Charlie doesn't like to walk in either bark or the grass. He prefers the concrete. We also learned that he is an adventurous boy! He did end up running back inside once he heard the loud noise of the airplane flying overhead. 

A couple days later I let him out on the back deck. I didn't really want him out in the front yard without Michael being home. 

Thankfully we still have the plastic chicken wire all around the railings. Charlie can still be a bit uncoordinated when it comes to being high up on things. He still falls off the couch when he's chasing his tail so it's nice that he can't fall off the deck. 

He got to explore for quite a while and he even went up inside the base of the BBQ to check out where the propane tank goes. Then he wandered over to the stairs and started to go down them. I wasn't ready for him to be that adventurous just yet so it was time to come in after that. 

Charlie still needs to get his shots and be neutered before we are really going to let him go out exploring freely on his own. 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Ella's First Day Of Kindergarten 2.0!

 Ella's first day of kindergarten 2.0 was Monday September 12th. 

She was so ready to go to school. She was counting down the days and did not like that she had to wait until Monday....she wanted to go to school with Owen and Jack on the 7th!

Goofy Girl!!! 

She wanted to hold up 6 fingers since she's 6 years old! 

So big in her new graduation shirt! 

She's going to totally rock this year!!! 


My treasures! 

And these next two picture are what almost make the yelling and fighting fade away in my mind! 


They can be really sweet when they want to! 

Due to the parking lot being a complete zoo we were almost late for Ella's first day! Plus side was she didn't have to wait in line for the bell to ring. Sunflowers are my favorite flower so I was so excited to see that Ms. Davidson had a giant sunflower on the inside of her door! 

There were no assigned seats so the kids just walked in and found a place. Now that the kids have been in school for a bit they do have name cards on there desks. Ella is actually sitting at the table on the right that's just out of view of the camera. 

Later that day Zeke and I waited at the bus stop for all the big kids to come home. Zeke's first day without any siblings was pretty rough. I was worried that was going to be an indication of how our weekdays were going to be for the whole school year, but thankfully we've gotten into a good groove now. 

Here comes the bus! 

So far this year the bus route has just been all screwed up. At first they had our kids being the last stop in the morning....which is the way it should be since we are only 2 minutes from school. But then instead of doing the route backwards after school they had the route the same as the morning so our kids were the last stop instead of the first stop. Instead of the bus coming around 2:54 it wasn't coming until 3:15!!! The bus driver said she was trying to get it changed and thankfully it did get changed. Now our kids are the first stop in the afternoon so that's means they are only on the bus for 5 minutes or so, but they also decided to alter the morning route as well. So now instead the our kids being the last stop in the morning they are the first. Instead of being picked up at 7:54 they are getting picked up at 7:32!! We literally live 2 minutes from school and school does start until 8:10 so I could walk the kids all the way to school and back during the same amount of time they are on the bus. I have no idea why they decided to mess with something that has been working just fine for 4 years. You pick up the kids furthest away from the school and work your ways towards the school in the morning and then you drop the kids off that live closest to school and work your way out in the afternoon. Seems simple to me! Can you tell I'm a bit peeved! 

I have tried to talk to the lady in charge of this whole thing....I have left her two voicemails to which her message says that "your call is very important to me" and she has yet to return my call. I've stopped by the Federal Way Transportation building to see if I could speak with her in person...I know when it comes to maps and such it would be easier to actually be looking at the same thing together....but she wasn't in the office at that particular time. Finally I have talked to another person there that is going to hopefully get me a meeting with this person. I understand that my kids aren't the only ones on the route and there are other things to consider such as traffic and bus safety. I really just want to know why....why was the route changed when it seemed to be working fine for 4 years!


Ella had a great first day of school! 

She even came home with a note saying so! 

I'm so happy for my Ella girl! I'm so happy that she gets to have this extra year of kindergarten to really nail down all the basic educational information that's she's going to need in years to come. She is so excited to learn and honestly I think she's more socially ready to learn than she was last year. She already knows some of the things they are going to be covering especially right off the bat, but that's okay. I think that relearning those things will just cement them even more in her brain. I did tell her that she would be the only kid in the classroom that would know the rules for walking in the hallway and all the rules for recess. She said she would help her classmates by letting them know the rules like no running on the cement only on the track and no jumping off the wall. 

My sweet girl I'm so excited to see the wonderful growth you're going to have this year. You are truly an inspirations with how you never get discouraged and you never give up. I hope you carry those traits all throughout your life....they will serve you well! 

Here's to a fantastic school year!!! 

Saturday, September 10, 2016


This year it's been so fun to enjoy all the hard work we put into the garden. 

Sunflowers are my favorite and it was the first time I've been successful in growing them. I was always starting them inside and they really get too weak because they don't go through hardship....they are too pampered. They need the cold and the wind in order to grow a thick stalk to hold up that big sunflower. Next year I plan on planting tons more and just putting the seeds straight into the ground. 

It was so fun to see all the bulbs we planted come up. I love that they didn't all bloom at once. 

The dahlias are gorgeous! They were so funny because they were really slow growing and then all of the sudden this little plant just took off and had a ton of buds on it! It was nuts! 

I love how the dahlias coming in all different shapes and colors! 

We planted a ton of lilies and they were all gorgeous! Plus they made it smell SO good outside! 

All of my gladiolas came up and they were this lovely red color and there were also some yellow ones as well! 

My yucca plant grew two flower stalks this year!

My hostas have just taken over this whole bed. There is actually a blueberry bush back there and we need to transplant so it can have a change to grow! 

Out of all the bulbs we planted there were only two kinds that didn't come up. Honestly we were surprised any came up....we figured it would be plant this year and then they would bloom next year. Hopefully the two different kinds that didn't come up this year will make an appearance next year. Even if they don't we had great success and the fact that they are bulbs is just awesome. I love perennials! 

Friday, September 9, 2016

Meet And Greet & Back To School Bash!

On Tuesday September 6th the kids had their meet and great with their teachers. The kids had spent the night at Ga-Ga & Pa's so Ga-Ga brought them up so I could take them to school. I always try to take the kids in one at a time. It's just nice to get to focus on one kid their teacher rather than having 3 kids and 2 of them are bored since it's not their class and they are ready to go home. 

Jackson was up first and his teacher this year is Ms. Asselin!!!! I'm over the moon excited about this. Ms. Asselin changed from being a Kindergarten teacher to being a 3rd grade teacher this year. Jackson was sad that he didn't get Mr. Heintz, but Ms. Asselin is going to be awesome and he's going to have a great year! 

Next up was Owen, but I forgot to take his picture with his teacher! He has Mrs. East....which is who he wanted to have. YAY!!! The awesome thing is his class is right next to Jack's so they line up in the morning right next to each other and their classrooms even share a bathroom. I warned the boys if they ever run into each other in the bathroom that they need to not talk....just do your business and get back to school! 

Ella Bean was the last kiddo to go mainly because I need to talk with so many people that work with her. Of course I didn't take pictures with all of them....ugh! The first person she saw was Ms Alisa....she works with Ella on her handwriting and Ella was so happy to see her she even gave her a hug. Ella was given a writing folder and writing prompts to work on throughout summer and she finished the last one earlier that day. I had her tell Ms. Alisa that and she was so proud of Ella. When Ella starts school on the 12th she'll get to turn that folder in and get a prize! She's super excited about that prize! 

After that we went to see Ms Davidson! It's so fun because Jackson and Ella just switched teachers this year. Ella had Ms Asselin last year and Jackson had Ms Davidson last year. It's so fun to already have a relationship with your child's teacher! When I found out that Ms. Davidson was going to be Ella's teacher I literally screamed and then burst into tears. I hadn't realized how worried I had been about who was going to be her teacher until that moment and then I was filled with such relief the only way to let the emotions out was to cry! I'm not saying the other kindergarten teachers are not good teachers....not at all! We just really wanted Ella to have a teacher with a similar teaching style like Ms Asselin. The Neuropsycologist wanted Ella to remain with her same teacher, but that wasn't possible so this was the next best thing! Ms. Davidson is so happy to have Ella and we've already said that she has to have Zeke next year because she was both Owen and Jack's 2nd grade teachers so she has to teacher all the Martin children! 

We also checked in with Mrs. Burdsall...Ella's special education teacher, the school nurse to talk about Ella's care, the vice-principal Mrs. Lopez to set up another IEP meeting and then Ella wanted to see what Ms. Asselin's new classroom looked like. Needless to say it was a busy afternoon! 

After the meet and greet it was time to go to Red Robin for the Back To School Bash! 

Owen getting some snuggle time with Daddy before heading into the restaurant! 

It wasn't super busy, but they did have to move a couple tables together so while we waited for that the kids had fun drawing on the big chalkboard. 

Zeke Russell with his Ga-Ga! 

Once we got seated we had to take pictures again. My precious girl with her Ga-Ga! 

Pa with Jackson! 

Owen and Zeke! 

Me and my love! 

I was so proud of the kids and how they handled themselves at the restaurant. They were all so big and ordered there own food. I did have to let Jackson know that his drink choices were only chocolate or white milk as I really didn't want him drinking a Dr. Pepper the night before the first day of school. Owen was also so respectful and asked the server for a battery for the gaming system they had at the table. He waiting patiently and really behaved like a young sir as Michael calls him! 

After eating dinner I ordered a sundae with 4 cherries since I wanted each of the kids to have one. Our server Amanda was honestly the best server I think I've ever had at any restaurant. She was sweet and attentive. If you go to the Red Robin in Des Moines see if you can sit at one of her tables. We even talked to the manager and let her know how wonderful she was. After enjoying our sundae Ga-Ga paid the bill....Thanks Mom!!! Then each of the kids got a balloon and we headed home to start our nightly routine. We have been so relaxed during the summer it will take some time getting back in the habit of getting the kids to bed at a more decent hour. I think they were all in bed just a little after 8pm and asleep before 8:30. 

Brand new school year here we come!!! 

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Canning & Dehydrating!

The day after we got back from our road trip to Ritzville the kids and I spent the afternoon at Kim's house. The kids played and played while Kim and I worked and worked. We really wanted to get some tomatoes canned again this year. Unfortunately due to a mistake....tomatoes don't like bleach water so some of Kim's tomato plants didn't make it. Kim ended up having to buy some tomatoes. My tomato plants didn't do the best this year either, but I did have two bowls of tomatoes from my garden so in all we were able to fill 20 jars. 

Kim and I kind of have an unspoken system down. I wash the tomatoes, she blanches them, I peel them and dice them, she filled the jars and then processes them. It all works out really nicely. 

Yummy fresh diced tomatoes! Next year I hope we both have an amazing tomato year because I really want to make spaghetti sauce and salsa as well as diced tomatoes. 

Here's our lovely jars all ready! 

My neighbor gave us more plums this year so I had to figured out what to do with them all. I dehydrated one batch, but the kids don't really like them and I can only eat so many. I really wanted to figure out what to do with them where the kids would eat them. That's when I decided to make homemade fruit leather! 

I found a recipe on pinterest and followed it. After making a couple batches and reading other blogs I decided that I didn't like using parchment paper so I used my silicone mats instead. I was able to get the mixture much more level by doing that. 

I also realized that I needed to take them out of the oven sooner than the first recipe called for. The first couple batches are more like fruit crisps than fruit leather, but they still taste great! 

I ended up using my cutting mat that I use for sewing projects to cut the fruit leather into strips.  That strip above I cut into thirds. At first I was going to wrap them in parchment paper, but tape doesn't stick to parchment paper so they weren't staying wrapped. I decided to just put them in snack size baggies instead. I buy the baggies at The Dollar Tree and get 50 for a buck so it's really inexpensive. In addition to plum fruit leather I also made apple pear cinnamon and then peach. I ended up with a total of 88 fruit leathers. 

The plums, apples and pears were free from my neighbors yard and I used 5 peaches that cost $3.25 and then the baggies cost $1.50 since I didn't use two whole boxes. So for a total of $4.75 I got 88 fruit leathers. At Costco you get 48 for over $11! I love saving money!!! Our neighbor didn't tell us we could pick his apples until they were almost done for the year so next year we are going to get out there and pick tons! I'll get to make even more apple cinnamon fruit leather. It's so worth the time and effort if you can get the fruit for free!!! 

Speaking of peaches on our road trip back from Eastern Washington my mom and I stopped at 3 different fruit stands and then finally bought these peaches. They ended up being the most expensive at $24.99 a's a long story and was seriously the icing on the cake of the cursed road trip. They were awesome peaches though so totally worth it in the end! 

A friend of mine on FB had posted how she canned peaches and I thought that would be so much fun. I really hate that Costco doesn't sell peaches in the cans anymore. They sell them in the quart size jars, but there are only 6 jars and they are super expensive. I don't want quart size jars I want pints. So I decided to take matters into my own hands! 

On Friday September 2nd Michael took the kids out for the day so I could have the kitchen all to myself. I worked in batches of 10 peaches. I blanched them, cut them in half, peeled them, sliced them and 

soaked them in a lemon juice/water mixture. 

Then I put the peaches in the jars and processed them. In all I used 33 peaches and got 32 pint size jars full of yummy fresh peaches! 

When I started thinking about all the food I have prepared this summer that we get to enjoy later I was amazed! Here's the list...

13 jars of dice tomatoes
10 jars of blackberry syrup
88 fruit leathers
1 batch of dehydrated plums
4 quart size bags of frozen plums
10 cups of shredded zucchini
32 jars of peaches

And I still have 5 big zucchini's on my counter, a bowl full of plums and a few apples and pears lefts. I better get back to work stocking up our freezer!