a tale to tell, sans raven

Introducing: the toothless vampire, an angry townsman, and the witch with her little black cat :)

The story of our costumes follows thusly: Will did NOT want to be a carrot, or anything that other people would laugh at...  Without any prodding from his mother, he decided on being a vampire this Halloween.  I gladly accepted such a classic request, and then planned the rest of our costumes accordingly.  A day before Halloween, Will lost his top tooth.  On the night of Halloween, he lost the other one.  True story, with blood and all!  A Happy Halloween indeed.  *B



Yup, it really is true!  This guy of mine has passed the AZ Bar :)  Please, don't ask us what our plans are...  We're too busy celebrating this great culmination of the past five years to worry about the next five!  Yup, I'm mostly joking.  But seriously, don't ask.  Because we don't really know.  We're (still) just happy we've made it this far!  *B



14 weeks :)

Yes, we are absolutely thrilled!  Also, apprehensive.
But mostly, we're just thankful.  *B


an ode to order

Turns out another month has gone flown by.  Crazzzy!  So, I hardly know what to write nowadays...  It's like I've got serious writer's block.  Or else, my kids have destroyed my brain.  Both are entirely possible.  But, things are good :)  I've had homesteading on my mind lately.  A lot.  No, we haven't up and left our little condo for a huge plantation.  We're still here, and I'm still making my house my home.  It will never matter where we live, or what house we're in, because I'll make it mine just the same.  It's what I do.

So, I'm really into this homestead revival.  Yes, we really did have real live chicks in our house.  We now have an adolescent hen, who lives at my cousin's with her hens.  And hopefully one day we will have a few eggs from our then grown-up hen!  I may not have a farm, or a backyard, but I can still do my part to be more self sufficient.  Oh, how I dream of the day when we own a handful of chickens, a cow, a couple of pigs, and a few goats.  Bliss.  And don't even get me started on my dream garden!  Double bliss.  One day!  But for now, I do what I can.  Like pawn off fowl to my cousin, and mooch mulch from friends to start a small container garden on our back patio.  It's not a lot, but it's a start.

I've recently had the strong impression to "get my house in order" and to prepare.  Don't ask me what I'm preparing for, or when I'll need to be prepared, but I feel like I should be "anxiously engaged" and do what I can.  Yes, I am literally getting my house in order.  Every night I do a load of laundry, and every day I clean a designated zone.  But, it's more than that.  We're watching less TV, and we're playing less video games.  We're reading more scriptures, and we're listening to more hymns.  And I've finally started to think/plan about food storage, and emergency preparedness.  Whether or not something will happen, I feel that all of this preparing is mostly for my own good.

My life is in order, and my life is good.  *B


firstborn in the firstgrade

Let's pretend I'm not in the picture... or at least pretend that I look hot.  Where did my kids get all their good looks from???  They're so dang cute!  And big.  *B


partyin' fun fun, yeah

Can you believe school starts tomorrow?  Which means we survived the Summer!!!  A couple of weeks ago, the kids and I headed out to WA for some good ol' R&R with the Summers' clan, while Brad stayed behind and studied/took the Bar (no worries, he joined us for the family reunion after it was over).  We all had a blast!  It was nice to escape from the heat, and the kids were outdoor junkies.  Seriously, I barely saw them.  Will tagged alongside his cousins the entire time, doing who knows what... While Elsie got into just about everything (including dirt, fertilizer, baking soda, dog food and mud puddles).  There were animals to hug, fish to fish, weeds to pull, rivers to float, mountains to hike, wood to burn and rocks to climb.  And let's not forget the trampoline, zip line, pedal carts, tractor and water slide.  Those kids wore themselves silly!  As for the adults, we rafted, we hiked, we karaoked, we played games and we chatted.  I helped sew up some pillows and a window treatment, and was also able to squeeze in lots of water aerobics.  I even found an awesome yoga studio.  I have now "mastered" the crow pose!  Other fun included blind makeup artists, cardboard cars at the "drive" in, and a talent show-off.  And we all got super sick...  But we're better now, and we're home safe and sound.  And sweaty ;)

Bring on the Fall!  *B


public service announcement II

Just thought you should know that I am NOT pregnant.  I've gotten a few erroneous congratulatory emails...  they're mostly funny, and leave me wanting to both cry and do more sit-ups!  It's been a while (seven months), but still not nearly as long as some.  Who am I to complain?  I have so much to be grateful for!  And I am grateful.  But, my heart is ready for more.  My tummy begs for internal tickling and my arms ache for external wiggling.  It's all I can think about.  And still I wait.  *B


picture planning

Please tell me I'm not the only one who does this...

I'll try my best to show you the actual wall once the photos are edited, printed and hung!  *B


my lil' elder

My baby brother has been out serving the Lord for a few months now.  I kinda really miss him.  Sometimes I forget he's gone, until I think about calling/texting him something totally random/hilarious.  You see, he's my buddy.  But over these past few months, it's become apparent that he's so much more.  He is one amazing missionary, a faithful servant.  So many times I read his weekly emails in awe.  Where did my little brother go?  Who is this... man?

Most Sunday nights it's a rush to hurry and write something before I hop in bed.  Because if I don't, he ruthlessly chastises me the next day for forgetting him.  But every Monday, I'm blessed with yet another jewel and am once again surprised at his... wisdom.  And so many times while reading his letters, I get this feeling like everyone should have the privilege of reading his words.  So I'm going to stop being the selfish sister, and I'm going to share my brother with you.  Because we're all children of the same Father, and everyone needs a little brotherly correspondence ;)

Dear awesome family and pretty cool friends,

Another week has come and gone. Wow. How often do I say that?? [...]

Friday we helped a member move into her home over from England. It took a couple hours, but we finally got everything unloaded. Afterwards, the movers tried to give the three of us a 50 dollar bill in payment for doing their work. We turned it down and you could just see the confusement on their face. After all, how many teenage boys would turn that down? It goes to show that the world isn't the same as it use to be. Many people still provide service of course, but you see more and more of people expecting payment for their services now. I'm glad that I have these two years to serve anyone around me.

This goes on to something I was thinking about recently. King Benjamin spoke about how we are unprofitable servants.

Mosiah 2:21,23-24"...I say, if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants...And now, in the first place, he hath created you, and granted unto you your lives, for which ye are indebted unto him...And secondly, he doth require that ye should do as he hath commanded you; for which if ye do, he doth immediately bless you; and therefore he hath paid you. And ye are still indebted unto him, and are, and will be, forever and ever; therefore, of what have ye to boast?"

Some people think about going on a mission to repay the Lord, but in return, we just get more blessings. It is a great blessing to be in the service of our Lord, and no matter how much we do for Him, He always gives us more in return. We don't really have reason to boast because all we have has been given to us from Heavenly Father. We can't make up for everything, but we can do our best and thank Him for everything else.

We had a fireside last night that was for the youth in one of the wards. Unknowingly, we were called to go up and share what we did to prepare for our mission. I thought of two things. 1) Preparing to do things on my own. Like cooking (not just ramen and macaroni, but real food), cleaning and doing laundry. Being away from home for a few months before my mission really helped a lot. 2) Immersing myself in the scriptures and making the Book of Mormon a part of my everyday life. The Book of Mormon was the biggest thing that helped me. Even though I do not understand everything in the church, because of my testimony of the Book of Mormon, everything else falls in line. By reading it everyday, we can all be uplifted and guided.

One last thought before I have to go. This one comes from Elder Dallin H. Oaks

"[A person may have] a strong desire to be led by the spirit of the Lord but..unwisely extends that desire to the point of wanting to be led in all things. A desire to be led by the Lord is a strength, but it needs to be accompanied by an understanding that our Heavenly Father leaves many decisions for our personal choices. Personal decision making is one of the sources of the growth we are meant to experience in mortality. Persons who try to shift all decision making to the Lord and plead for revelation in every choice will soon find circumstances in which they pray for guidance and don't receive it.

"We should study things out in our minds, using the reasoning powers our Creator has placed within us. Then we should pray for guidance and act upon it if we receive it. If we do not receive guidance, we should act upon our best judgment. Persons who persist in seeking revelatory guidance on subjects on which the Lord has not chosen to direct us may concoct an answer out of their own fantasy or bias..."

D&C 6:23  "Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter? What greater witness can you have than from God?"

The Lord gave us common sense for a reason--we are to use it. The Spirit is there to help guide us in making decisions and will not allow us to continue in the wrong decisions without making it known unto us. It is up to us to listen to those promptings and act upon them. I know this church is true and that the Spirit with the Book of Mormon are the key to being converted to the gospel. It is the path to Eternal Happiness. The way back to our Father in Heaven. I love you all and hope you have an amazing week!!

Elder Borgia



On my mind lately:

  • I like to end my day in a house whose floors are picked up and whose dishes are done.  I realize it will not, and does not, stay in this "clean" state throughout the day.  But, I'm ok with that.  As long as it's "clean" when I go to bed, I'm good.
  • If/when we have another kid, I hope it's a girl.  Mostly because I want her to share a room with Elsie.  And because the family of Dick & Jane fame had an older brother with two younger sisters :)
  • It doesn't matter how short/long you've been trying for a baby.  If no baby comes, it hurts the same.
  • Husband is taking the Bar.  Again.  I am a single mother.  Again.
  • I'm getting the itch to move.  Mostly because we're used to moving every couple of years...
  • I'm getting ready to take the GRE.  Yikes.
  • It has been two years since we (yes, we) graduated from law school.  In another year, we will have been career-less for as long as we were in law school.
  • I have no idea how we make ends meet, but we do.  Thank God.
  • I love my son dearly.  But sometimes he reminds me of a little brother, and therefore drives me crazy!
  • I wish I was a cowgirl.
  • I sorta love Arizona now.  Weird.
  • I want to drown in fabric.  I want to have my bed sheets over my head, wear nothing but huge clothes and do nothing but sew quilts.
  • I really want a nice camera.  I think I'm the only one with a standard point-and-shoot.
  • Apparently I could get away with calling myself a nutritionist, at least in the state of AZ.  But, I've decided to call myself a lifestyle coach.
  • I feel broken, and punished.  I know I'm not, but that's how I feel.  Maybe if I didn't yell so much...
  • I wish I smiled/laughed more.
And I'm sure there's more where that came from!  *B


wannabe country chic

So, I have a confession to make.  I am no longer obsessed with craft blogs.  Crazy, right?  I know! But, it's true.  So very true.  First off, I don't have the time/money/space for crafting, let alone reading about it...  And secondly, I just don't care anymore.  I feel like I've entered a new chapter in my life.  Rather than flying high with all the craftistas, I'd rather be getting down and dirty.  As in, I want to plant a (potager) garden and live off of the land.  I want to get back to my roots...  Nowadays I am obsessed with the homestead revival.  I want to live on a farm, not in a boutique.  I want to make homemade yogurt and can peaches, not monster cookies or robot popsicles.  And I want to raise chickens, not divas.
Meet Ginger and Rosemary!  Such clever, cheeky names for such cute chickies ;)
"The Homestead Revival™ Mission: is a challenge for readers to get back to the basics of living closer to the land through homesteading, strengthening the family through homemaking, and building community through sharing [...] to inspire women to joyfully embrace being a keeper of the home and educate the next generation in homesteading skills while encouraging them to adopt these principles as their own."

Never has any other mission statement resonated with me so strongly. I can feel it deep within my bones, and I believe in it with all my soul.  It has shaken me to my core and I can feel of its influence in my every thought and action.  This is my home and I intend to keep it and make it what it should be.  And it is here where I find joy.  *B


picture perfect II

We went to Prescott, again.  It is always such a treat...  We just love them Nelsons!

And I just love my family!  And rustic red backdrops.  *B



For family and/or friends who want to see what we look (and sound) like in real life, early in the AM and sans showers (etc).

Happy Easter indeed.  *B


the birthday girl

My sweet stinker of a baby little girl turned two last month.  My, how time flies!  I'm sure it's because she's so fun :)  Miss Elsie Rae makes everyone, and I mean every single person who has ever had the pleasure of meeting her, smile.  And she has since day one.  *B

public service announcement

I am pregnant.  But, I am currently in the process of losing it (again).  I figured y'all should know, since my coworkers do (thanks Dad).  How do I feel?  Exhausted.  Fat.  Moody.  Achy.  Hungry.  Sick.  In a word: pregnant.  Yeah, lots of fun.  And in case you can't tell, that's me being sarcastic.  *B


my not-so-little leprechauns

Happy belated St. Paddy y'all :)  My kids have blue eyes, not green.  Festive irises, perhaps?  And can you believe this is the same girl?!  She's much cuter, and looks less like a baby bird and more like a "baby" girl.  She's also much louder, and a lot more fun/frustrating.  And she can still clear a room with her toots...  Anyway, I can't believe March is almost over!  Also, my babies are not really babies anymore.  *B


screenshot II

I was informed early this morning that this week will be a busy one...
I guess I'd better finish sanding that beadboard!  *B


moving mountains

I haven't wanted to say anything, in fear of jinxing it...  But I believe I have found the secret to successful laundering!!!  This is huge my friends, HUGE.  And on top of that, I've been making my bed E.V.E.R.Y. A.M.  Who is this person???  It's me :)  And it feels soooo good!

When my life feels out of control, I have two choices: let my life control me, or take control of my life.  While wallowing in self pity/loathing, I would despondently stare at my piles mountain of laundry.  I already felt like a failure, and here was proof: my dirty laundry, a metaphor on so many levels.  How ridiculous that my sense of self worth would be tied to a single chore!  But I couldn't do anything right, let alone laundry... When you're already down, everything gets you down.  Negativity breeds negativity.  I can't remember why, or how, but I decided that I had had enough; this dirty laundry needed some air!

I am happiest when my house is clean.  It does not sparkle.  It is not big.  It's quite small, actually.  But it is comfortable, and it is home.  And it's mine.  I am grateful for it.  I am blessed to have it.  And therefore, I should treat it as the blessing it is and do my part in making it "Heaven on Earth."  By keeping my home clean, I am not only inviting the Spirit in, but I am also making sure It's comfortable when It's here.  Because I don't want It to leave.

I am happiest when my house is organized.  It is not spotless.  And there is not a place for everything.  Everything is in THIS place.  My place.  And when my place is orderly on the outside, I feel orderly on the inside.  I love going to bed, feeling like I accomplished something great.   I am home-maker, hear me roar!  My house is my office.  My home is my job.

Sure, life is overwhelming at times.  And it's (real) easy to make mountains out of mole hills, especially when you've been trudging up the same mole hill for the past two years!  But, a chore doesn't have to be a chore.  Sure, laundry is a beast...  But eating that elephant a bite at a time can bring peace and JOY to my home and heart.

Basically, I've reached the summit and I'm not starving.  *B


joy in the journey

Thanks.  Thank you kind strangers.  Thank you loving friends.  And thank you supportive family.  Life is hard.  But it's pretty great, too.  For the most part, I'm an optimistic person...  However, this past month I had had enough.  I was bottling up all sorts of frustrations and I just had to let it all out.  I'm sorry you had to read it.  But I'm glad I wrote it.  I immediately felt better, and every day has been better since :)

I know I'm not alone, not the only one to ever struggle, especially now.  And I know none of us are alone.  Because we have each other.  And we have God.  We have Jesus Christ.  It is the wounded Christ who comes to our rescue.  He descended below all and ascended above all so that He can comprehend all.  I just need a little faith, and a lot of patience.  He has approved of and catered to my challenges so that I can work on both.  God help me; I am grateful.  *B


versatile me

Miss Katie from Katie's How To... found me through my feature on I ♥ Naptime, and she is SUPER sweet :)  Apparently, I'm versatile and worthy of an award!  Which means I should probably post more...

Here are the rules:

1. Thank and link back to the person who gave you the award
2. Answer 10 questions
3. Pass it along to 7 blogs you've recently discovered and enjoy
4. Leave your recipients a note, telling them about the award

And the 10 questions are:

1. Why did you create your blog?
Which one???  I started the Summers Camp blog to keep in touch with family and friends :)  Beth's Mess because I (really) love (good) food, and The Stitchy Niche because I adore any/all kinds of stitching.
2. What kind of blogs do you follow?
I follow the blogs of family and friends, and a lot of DIY/crafty blogs.
3. Favorite brand of make-up?
If/when I wear any, Bare Minerals
4. Favorite brand of clothing?
Whatever I can afford ;)  But if I were rich, I would buy clothes from Anthropologie, J. Crew and Banana Republic.  Yeah, I've got expensive taste...
5. Indispensable make-up product?
6. Favorite color?
7. Favorite perfume?
I like the scents from Gap: Pink, Dream and Grass
8. Favorite movie?
Anything fantasy, because I'm a total nerd...  I'd have to say some of my favorites include Stardust and Coraline.  And The Nightmare Before Christmas.  I like strange.
9. What country would you like to visit and why?
The British Isles.  It speaks to my soul.
10. Would you rather forget to put mascara on one eye or forget blush on one side of your face?
Blush, for sure.  Because, I don't need any.  My cheeks are naturally rosy.  True story.

The 7 blogs I'm passing this on to in no particular order:

Thanks again, Katie!  And thanks to (m)any who continue to read my silly wee blog(s)...  Sometimes it's nice to have a voice in the world, no matter how small that voice or part of the world might be.  *B



Sorry for being such a downer...  Hope your Vday is dreamy!  *B


poor me (a pity post)

We are struggling.  Big time.  And I'm tired exhausted.  And very frustrated.  In short, we are the poorest people I know.  Oh, I know there are those who are much poorer.  But, I don't know them personally...  I honestly don't know anyone poorer than us.  And it's hard.  Real hard.  I don't want to be rich.  I just want to stop worrying about tomorrow.  I want to be able to pay our bills (on time), and put food on our table.  And while I'm whining, let me just say that it's not fair that other people have real jobs/careers and get to live in real houses.  Or that only the successful breed success.  Why is it that behind every successful business woman there's a successful business man?  When is it our turn to be successful, at anything?

Then I start to feel super guilty.  Because we really are so blessed.  We're not living on the streets.  And thanks to our parents and/or the government, we have food on our table and clothes on our back.  But it's still not enough...  It never is.  And I am so very tired of asking.  Of wanting.  It gets worse: I start to wonder if God really answers our prayers, or if He ever will.  I know He hears us.  And I know He answers other people's prayers.  But lately I wonder why I even bother.  Because it's not getting better.  It's getting worse.  And so I'm tired.  I'm tired of the struggling.  And I'm tired of being selfish.  But I can't help but feel bitter.  I just wish it would stop.  Or at the very least, I wish I knew that it will stop.

If the only thing I can change is my attitude, then so be it.  It'll have to do.  *B


check it

My buddy Kali is having an awesome giveaway on her awesome site!  Need I mention she's an awesome photographer ;)  Check it out and enter to win!  *B



Cute, huh?  I think so :)  I love "blue" and red together!  Such a happy combo.  *B


and then

So, our beadboard is almost done!!!  Huzzah people, huzz.ahhhhhhh :)  And then half of our kitchen will be somewhat complete.  And I've brought back the "dine in, not out" challenge.  And I've restashed my Etsy shop!  And because I must be insane, I've started a NEW blog!  Where I've published my first pattern!  And I am now completely exhausted.  *B


the more the merrier

Behold, my other (glorious) Christmas present:

I don't think there's such a thing as too much beadboard...  Many (many) thanks to my mother :)
I can't wait 'til it's done!  *B


a little late

Like my new wood floors???  Best present EVER  :)

Yeah, we celebrated.  *B


washed clean

"His coming long had been foretold.
Signs would precede His birth.
A Son of God to woman born,
With power to cleanse the earth."
--Boyd K. Packer
Thanks to Elsie for reminding us the reason of the season.  *B