Hamma Hamma Oysters, Cheeseburgers and Fireworks!

In part of Celebrating Erick's big 32nd Birthday this year, thank goodness I'm still 29, we took off for a day of adventures just for dad! We didn't have any set plans when we left, but I'm pretty sure we made the day extra special for him!  We drove through Union, Wa...and up to Hoodsport. We stopped at the Indian Res. for some fireworks too.  We got Becca and Dad all loaded up with what they'll need for our upcoming 4th of July festivities! 

Erick loves oysters.  I think I just had a bad experience the first time I tried them, so I'm not a huge fan. Unless Aunt Judy is frying them. Then I can't get enough of them. Soooo good.  One of our favorite places to snag fresh oysters is right in Hamma Hamma.  

Yes, Cecile even came along for the trip today! I think she was a little overdressed though, don't you? 

We adore Hamma Hamma. The beaches are lined and piled high with oyster shells.  It's super pretty.

New to Hamma Hamma Oyster Co. is the Oyster Bar right on the beach. It was our first time, but won't be our last! It was great being able to sit out on the beach on such a beautiful day and let Erick enjoy his fresh oysters! 

I love this man. So much. How I ever was blessed to find such a wonderful guy is a miracle and blessing too great for me to comprehend. I hope he had a wonderful day with his family today.  We sure did enjoy him!

Erick ordered up a sampler of raw and grilled oysters.  He probably would have ordered two dozen if I would have given him "the go ahead"! 

We all just sat and watched him enjoy his "snack". After-all, this was his Birthday, and since Daddy wanted oysters, Daddy got oysters! 

It was such a beautiful day! The weather was perfect and we didn't mind sitting outside with the kids. Noahh watched the birds, and Becca walked through the trails of oyster shells. 

After Hamma Hamma, we continued our loop around Highway 101 and made it into Discovery Bay...for you guessed it....

Fat Smitty's! The girls and I were pretty hungry because we didn't eat at the Oyster Bar, so we couldn't wait to get our hands on some Fat Smitty's food. 

After we ate, we journeyed back home.  It was a 150 miles, round-trip today, and we couldn't have asked for a better adventure to honor Erick for his Birthday! 

A Farm Girl...

Neither Becca or myself would have imagined her being "a farm girl" several years back. My how things have changed!  Here's Becca with her favorite chicken, a polish chick whom she's named "Nugget". 

Everybody's favorite goat around here is Peppy. He's such a lover! 

Becca pulling weeds. Not only does she get them out of our garden beds, but also out of our lawn! She's such a hard worker! 

I think it's safe to say that this polish chick of ours is her favorite. She thinks this one loves her more than the rest because she can easily pick her up anytime she wants. I don't have the heart to tell her that I think she's more easily caught because her eyes are always covered by the feathers on her head and she can't see Becca swooping down to pick her up. lol

Regardless of how or why she can so easily pick up "Nugget", she's in love with her! 

A Foundation for the New Greenhouse!

Well, we're doing it again! This year, we've officially outgrown our existing 10x20 greenhouse so we decided we should probably put in a second one.  We made the purchase and before it arrived, we needed to get a foundation built for it.  

The area where our new greenhouse is going wasn't level at all. In fact, it was on a pretty decent slope, so Erick enlisted the help of a few of the Elders from our church and they all worked together on digging and then re-homing quite a bit of sod and dirt. 

In some areas, they dug 2 feet deep, and other areas they had to raise almost that much.  Getting this foundation level was no easy task. It defiantly took a couple of days. 

Once they got the frame of the foundation where it needed to be, they began leveling the whole area. 
They moved a TON of dirt around. 

A little weed fabric went down to keep the grass and weeds at bay, and down went more gravel. 3/4 minus is our favorite kind to use around the gardens. It drains well, but still compacts enough to where it doesn't move much.  It works great as a floor for the greenhouse too because the black rock helps to retain a little bit of heat, keeping the greenhouse warm. 

I'm not sure how many wheelbarrows of gravel it took to complete the foundation, but we ended up using all 5 yards we had delivered between the dog kennel and this project. That's a lot of hauling my lovely Erick did over the weekend. I can only imagine how sore he is. I'm sore from just helping him spread it around. 

Well we finished the foundation, and now we're just waiting on the delivery of the greenhouse itself! 

Building a New Dog Kennel

Ever since we moved into this house, the yard has been evolving. The second year we were here is when we really started building up our garden spaces and building our little urban homestead.  We've slowly been fencing off areas of the yard to keep the dogs out of the raised beds and since we've become chicken and goat owners...the dogs have lost even more of their backyard.  

The time is long overdue! We needed to make a space all for the dogs! One that they could know and love as just theirs! One that is safe, for them and one that would also keep the chickens and goats safe from the pups.  The problem we've had when trying to kennel the dogs, is that one of them is an escape artist and tougher than we'd ever imagined.   She chews through fencing. Literally. Not so much a digger, but can scale a 6 foot tall fence like it was nothing, and she's also not afraid to break her own teeth while she chews through metal chain-link. Literally. 

After many frustrations of trying electric fencing, pre-made kennels & destroyed doors we finally came up with a solution.  A kennel harder to break out of than San Quintin' and hopefully no more successful escapes.  Erick and I are getting too old and are way to out of shape to keep chasing this husky all over the neighborhood. 

So we came up with a plan. Use the large space underneath the girls playhouse that Erick is still working on, as their new dog kennel.  We bought super strong hog fencing panels and cut them to fit perfecting inside the already existing frame of the deck for the playhouse. 

We laid some weed fabric underneath, and Erick hauled wheel barrow after wheel barrow of 3/4 minus gravel into the new kennel for the flooring. Once this compacts, it's almost as strong as concrete so digging won't be a problem. 

He built a door that's super strong and locked together with a piece of re-bar. These pups aren't getting out no matter what! 

Noahh and I sat underneath the cherry tree, out of the sun, and watched papa work.  I was able to help him spread the gravel once it was brought down to the site, so at least I wasn't completely useless. 

Well, after a long hard day, the kennel is finished and looks beautiful. He did such a fantastic job! Now the dogs have a "home of their own", and a place where they can keep tabs on the neighbors dog, and socialize with us while we're outside without the fear of them getting into where the chickens and goats are.  Sobe's already realized she likes the taste of chicken, and we can't have that happen again! 

Here's a picture of Sobe, our escape husky. She's so strong, but even she can't break out of this new kennel. ...{knock on wood}!

"Just One of the Angels"...

After our trip to the American Girl Store yesterday, Becca wanted to get all of her dolls together for a picture.  When we heard that American Girl was going to be retiring 4 dolls, we knew we had to hurry and snag them up before they were gone. Yesterday we were able to find three out of the four that we wanted at the AG Store in Seattle. Ruthie was completely sold out, company wide, and our only hope of finding her is online through e-bay or on craigslist.  So here's the three dolls that she bought yesterday. She also was able to get each dolls' book and accessories. 

So here's the gang. 14 out of her 15 dolls are pictured here and somehow Erick, Noahh, Becca and I live inside of our tiny 800 square foot home, WITH ALL OF THESE DOLLS.  How do we do it? Still not sure.  One wonderful thing about our home being so small is that we're always close and we never run out of room for love.  We can all be doing different things, but usually are in the same room, and that keeps us close. Without any cable, our kids aren't watching television all in separate rooms and we always eat every meal together.  Now that we've been living this way for almost 5 years, I can't imagine having a bigger house at all. I'd never trade in this small house for a larger, more spacious home. 

I've heard people tell Becca that she's "spoiled" because of the dolls. Which I don't really see as being true.  Becca doesn't receive any allowances for her chores and never gets paid to babysit.  We always seem to work out a deal that she is able to EARN her dolls.  For example, I won't have a single pile of dog turd on my lawn all summer long. That's how she's earning her new doll, Marie-Grace.  Weeds? I don't have any weeds! She's agreed to pull 10 weeds EVERYDAY all summer long in order to earn one of her other newest dolls, Cecile. 

We love the fact that our 11 year old is still interested in, and loves her American Girl Dolls. In a world filled with a lot of evil and inappropriate things...the longer I can keep her entertained with dolls that provide some sort of wholesome activity, I'm going to do it.  It provides her with lots of time to be creative as she's always building them furniture or dressing them in the latest AG fashions. She's gotten really good at doing hair too! 

So do I think that spending $130 on a doll is worth it? Absolutely.  I love seeing Becca use her imagination when she's playing with these beautiful dolls.  I'd rather spend money on something that will last, than throw it away on a months subscription to cable television filled with inappropriate subject matter that we don't need to be watching.  Erick and I go without the latest fashions and toys so we spend money on our kids. When they EARN it.   

Ivy, (doll on the left), was one of the three that Becca got yesterday.  We promised Becca that she could pick out a doll for her Easter present and this is the one she chose.   I mean, by the time we would have bought a basket, filled it with a bunch of crap toys, that colored plastic hay that's such a nuisance, and a bunch of candy that's really bad for her... we would have spent a $100 bucks anyways so what's the difference? I mean, if I asked Becca what she got in her Christmas stocking 2 years ago she wouldn't be able to tell me, but I could pick up any one of her dolls or accessories, and she'd remember exactly when she received it, for what occasion, what she had to do to earn it or who bought it for her. 

I'm proud of her for everything she does. She's doing excellent with her schooling, always the top of her class...and she's incredibly helpful to her dad and I.  She's an amazing big sister, and she's not afraid of hard work.   So I guess you could say I'm "spoiling her", but not with dolls. With love perhaps.   When I see her collection of dolls, I don't think of her being spoiled, I think of all the hardwork she's done to earn her dolls. I see how well she takes care of them and how much she enjoys them. 

We're trying to teach her that hard work doesn't go unnoticed, and that's how you get what you want in life.  It's about setting priorities, goals, and doing what you can to achieve what you want. For her, as an 11 year old girl, she values time with her friends, sleepovers, and going places like the American Girl Store. She'll work hard and do just about anything to enjoy those types of things. 

...oh and last night I had a dream that I was with my grandmother. The avid (thought to be crazy), doll collector, Grandma Rogers.  I was in her house looking over the hundreds and hundreds of beautiful dolls she had made herself or purchased for her own collection.  It was magical.  When I woke up I started to cry and I told Erick that I would give ANYTHING in this entire world to have her around today so she could experience a place like the AG store with us and play with her great grand-daughters and their dolls. I can't imagine anything on earth making her more happy than that.   Erick just turned to me and said, "I'm sure she was with you yesterday. She's just one of the many angels that follow you around everyday". 

To read more about my Grandma Rogers and her dolls, you can visit an older blog post here. 
or...see all of our doll posts by going here. There's A LOT of them! 

A Girls Day Out!

"Girls Day Out" yesterday was so much fun!  Bright and early, I loaded up the girls and Becca's friend for a fun afternoon at the American Girl Store, Seattle.  Before leaving town we picked up the kids Auntie and we also stopped for a morning "treat" at Picadilly Bakery in Port Orchard. Cupcakes for breakfast? Meh, why not. You only live once. 

Becca wanted to treat Audrey to an American Girl Doll for her 12th birthday so that was the original reason why we made the trip.   Any excuse for Becca to spend a day shopping at the American Girl Store, is a good enough reason for her and Audrey was super excited about getting her first AG doll. 

After the girls did their shopping, and picked out what they wanted...we had appetizers and milkshakes inside the AG store Bistro. Some of the dolls even joined us!  They brought Audrey a cupcake and we all sang happy birthday to her! 

After we had "snacks" at the bistro, Auntie Karah and I were starving for some real "adult" food. Last time we were at the AG store, I happened to notice that Utah's famous CAFE RIO was opening up soon, and I was hoping they'd be open so I could introduce Karah to some really yummy Mexican food. 

Food was killer. Seriously, made me feel like I was home for just a second. Karah and I split the Sweet Pork Burrito as well as the Sweet Pork Salad.  The girls enjoyed a chicken quesadilla kids meal.

They are so silly sometimes. And I love them. I'm so thankful that Becca has a good friend like Audrey, right next door! Good friends are hard to find. 

So that's just a snip-it of our day at the AG store! The girls had a great time! 

On Instagram

© Virtuously Surrendered. Made with love by The Dutch Lady Designs.