five little monkeys

my family

my family

I like photography, and while I am not a pro or anything I like to take our family’s pictures, just for fun. Here are some. My monkey’s make is easy for them to turn out, they are so stinkin cute!

monkey 1

monkey 1

monkey 2

monkey 2

monkey 3

monkey 3

monkey 4

monkey 4

monkey 5

monkey 5

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pie, glorious pie

I, myself, am a lover of pie. I remember my mom making pies on our kitchen counter as a child and using some choice words trying to get that dough into to pie plate. Now a mother myself, having tempted to make pies for a number or years have thought those choice words myself as I try pie dough recipe after pie dough recipe. After years and years of trying new pie dough recipes I have finally found a pie dough that leaves those choose words out of my mind. So I thought I would share it. I use my cuisinart and it mixes like a dream (love my cuisinart).

Using the dough blade, and dough mode mix
2 cups flour
1 cup shortening
pulse together a few times then add

1T sugar
3/4 t. salt
1/2 beaten egg (if I have a small egg I just use the whole thing)
1/4 t. vinegar

pulse until mixed and ingredients come together into a ball, it will be bit sticky.
It makes enough for a top and bottom, so separate into two halves and refrigerate while you make your filling, about 10 to 15 min. Don’t refrigerate to long because the dough will be hard to work with.

Tip: After you roll it out, I use a big fillet knife back and forth in between dough and counter so the dough doesn’t stick to counter and makes it easy to fold in half.

My recent new pies have been fresh peach (as shown) and strawberry rhubarb! Heaven in your mouth!

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a gluten for punishment

happy halloween

It looks a bit like halloween at my house. I get to anxious to see my monkey’s faces when I get all the holiday decorations they have missed over the year out and displayed. Especially for halloween and christmas, which are my favorite to decorate for. It isn’t even Oct yet and I have them out so I can’t blame monkey #4 for asking “is halloween tomorrow?” He will be saying that for 35 more days.

I had a classic Stacie moment today. I am no good when it comes to adding, subtracting or fractions. Anything involving numbers, I pretty much have no clue. Like for instance, I mixed a huge amount of mortar in a five gallon bucket to do some tile work and Lumber Jake asked why I mixed so much, because the mortar reached to the top of the bucket (we did not need that much) and my response was, “well I mixed it 80/30.” I was dead serious and hadn’t a clue why he had a smile on his face. So today I was in a conversation about my halloween decorations and this person I was having this conversation with, knew how many kids I have and their ages. She is a newly wed and only has one monkey. I told her I put my decorations for halloween up and she said that she only had like two pumpkins to put out, and I explained to her when we were first married I had very little too but over the years I would just buy on clearance, decorations at TJ Maxx when halloween was over. I went on to say, “Now we have been married for about 10 years (with a questioning look on my face, then turned to a knowing face of yes 10 years) I have gotten an accumulation of stuff.
Fast forward to when I got home and cleaning the bathroom. I stopped and thought, huh I have a 14 year old daughter. I wonder if she thinks I was married before lumber jake or if we had her out of wed lock because dang it all if I can’t add!!

ps I had to sit and add twice, even involving my fingers to figure out the 35 days until halloween, having to change it because at first I put 33.

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and he turns…older.

birthday boy

Lumber Jake had a birthday this month, and this post is about him. Happy Birthday!!
We are so grateful for you! Your hard work, your dedication to family and church. I am jealous of our kids dad. I wish I had a dad that you are to our kids. Monkey #4 could not look up to a better person to model himself after than you. I love the question’s you get asked by them and wonder, how in the world you will answer it and then you pull out the, “Well, you see…” and then give this lengthy answer using big words I need to get a dictionary for and I am wondering how in thee world you knew that. When my response would have just been, “I don’t know.” Your brain amazes me! And I shouldn’t be sad that we are getting older, because your wisdom will just increase. I am looking forward to many years of the answers you will give our monkey’s
Love ya

lumber jake

We have, at our house in the trees, an one going joke about Lumber Jake texting me while I am in the house. I could be in the kitchen and he is in the next room and he will text me. Sometimes I will ignore it because, for real? I am just right here! He does it and I can just see him smiling a wicked smile cause he knows I am rolling my eyes. The other night this was the case, however, he texted me a picture. This picture. He cracks me up.

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our massive hills to conquer

Monkey #4 has been riding his bike since he was 2 1/2 and that is without training wheels. His training wheels came off after a month, he wanted nothing to do with them. He loves his bike. He is always thinking of what new tricks he can do, what jumps he can build to jump off. He loves to watch Danny Macaskill doing his awesome tricks on you tube (see the below pic).

thinking, “Hmmm how can I do that trick” watching danny macaskill

riding up the hill

When we first moved here I would take a bike ride with him up this hill but it was to tough for his little legs so he would get off his bike and walk it up. After a minute he would get back off and try again, but get back off frustrated. This year however he just recently rode with his dad up the hill, without getting off! Lumber Jake said he was so tired, but he kept pumping and pumping, his face about ready to cry. But he kept pumping. He finally made it all on his own and was so proud! He came back home with a big grin and after I was told the story and gave him my high five and “way to go” you’d never would have seen a more proud expression.
Time for bed arrived and Daddy did the story thing and tucking in thing and glass of water thing and finally night time prayer thing. Lumber Jake went to get up and turn out the lights when Monkey 4 said, “But dad you didn’t tell Heavenly Father how I made it up that big hill today!”
Such true words coming from a small boy! Heavenly Father does want to know our success, our failures, our sadness, our happiness, and He wants to show us how proud He is when we reach our massive hills we climb.

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peaches and pears and salsa….oh my!

Life in the trees has been very domestic these past few days. I must say canning, which I have never done myself, is very gratifying. Backing aching work but gratifying none the less.

Since I had never done any sort of thing such as this before and not really having any sense of amounts I ordered 2 bushels peaches and 2 bushels pears. Good gravy why didn’t anyone tell me how much that was!! We picked them up and had 4 wooden crates of peaches and 4 wooden crates of pears. I was going to have to put on my canning apron and get to work. So I did, along with my peach peeler helpers, Monkey 1-3 got to work and peeled and peeled. And hallelujah for blanching, I am a big fan of that.


Pears are sitting right next to the peaches, and they both look so pretty but I will say the pears that I juiced (oh yes did I mention that) are so good, it tastes so pure I love it! I will do more of that in the future.

frozen peaches and pears

I like protein smoothies in the morning after my run so I froze some peaches and pears for that, why not I had enough good heavens.

On my way home from the market I saw a sign for fresh corn for sale. Well shoot, might as well add that to my week. So I got 12 dozen. Fresh corn, although you might not see a lot of nourishment from it since ex sugar hood sis in law let us know what was left over in the sewer plant on a school visit (thanks for that visual sis), sure does taste good going down.

ahh salsa

A few days later I saw tomatoes for sale on the side of the road. Salsa! That sounds so good. I decided a was going to bottle some. I texted horse riding sis in law to get what I needed for salsa and the list said lots of things including pepper. Well the brain that I have wondered if I should get green bell peppers or red bell peppers. Well red peppers won, I bought 5.
I stopped by the side of the road after getting all my fresh ingredients. Talked for 15 minutes to the guy selling them, talking to me about how he made his first million by the time he was 15 years old, that is of coarse after he ran away from home. He made his other millions by living in a shack in another state, having no bills, no tax and starting and selling companies and keeping some green colored rag in his pocket. After asking, found out he has no one to share it with.
The guy was nice, just a little too personal. All I wanted was some tomatoes. He gave me the name of a book I need to buy, something about the best thing you will ever do, or the greatest blessing you will ever get? Not quite sure, like I said I just wanted some dang tomatoes. I got into my car thinking I was done with my life lesson, when he turned and came back over. I rolled down my window to get an ear full about red wheat, and how yeast is the devil. hmmm.
So I got home and all ready with my 6 timed batch recipe to make the salsa when the light bulb went off on the recipe that was texted to me earlier. Pepper!! Like salt and pepper. OH!
I had 5 red peppers, I was not going to waste them so I added those to recipe, and it actually turned out awesome! It added a little sweetness to the spicy jalapeño. I thought about going to get more tomatoes, to make more because hubby and I are eating it like crazy it is so good. Maybe I will just want until another vendor comes to sell them.

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dates you celebrate and dates you just don’t

We have many anniversary’s cancer in our family. The day of 1st diagnosis, when she was cancer free the first time, diagnosis the second time, 2nd time cancer free which meant she could start preparing for BMT. BMT birthday and engraftment day, just to name a few.
This last week, lumber jake said to me,” It’s September 11th” and rather sarcastically said,”should we celebrate?”
Not only is it a sad anniversary for the nation, now it is a sad anniversary in our life of cancer. Five years ago on this sept 11 was the day we were told monkey#2″s leukemia had returned and we were whipped into immediate whirl wind of chemo, radiation and bone marrow transplant. How ever before that, but after we were told, the doc left us to breath it in, in a dark hospital check up room, tears streaming down our faces. We thought we knew what was ahead because we had done 2 years of treatment before. We were wrong. However we looked at each other and I told Chloe, who had heart breaking tears in her eyes, that we were a team and we were going to fight this!

chemo round #2

Five years later, no, I don’t like to celebrate this day, but I do reflect on it. We had no idea what was up ahead, those treatments and radiation prior to transplant still brings tears to my eyes. I think back on it and sometimes think it was someone else’s story, not ours. This year my reflection was on how grateful I am for her life. The chemo, and other complications she had, made her loose 10 pounds. Pounds she needed. It broke my heart to undress her, change her dressings and have to help her walk into the bathroom to puke for the 5th time that day. She couldn’t keep anything down. One night it was just me and her in the darkness of her room. The light was spilling in from the hall outside her bedroom. We were waiting for her home care nurse to take CBC’s. I was on my knees quietly talking to her about this and that, when it got really quiet. I watched her take a breath and waited. I waited some more, then I whispered a quick prayer, “Chloe, breath.” I was rewarded with an intake of breath, and have never been so relieved.
Here CBC’s were drawn and the nurse left, however I received a call a half hour later of a panic nurse explaining to me, “Your daughter is so sick, her counts are so low I don’t know how she is breathing, you need to call her doctor now!!” In a panic I called the on call doc which happened to be on that we knew, I told him what happened and he said that he had had the same call from the nurse. He reassured me she was fine for a cancer patient, her numbers are what they expect from her treatment.

My reflection this Sept 11, five years later is on her life and that she breathed that night, and still does.

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school is in

Oh the good ol’ days on the first day of school, when the night before you lay out your new outfit, your shoes squeak because they are brand spanking new, your back pack is stocked with supplies and your mom gets to take a picture of you in your outfit, you had in mind days before, that may haunt you the rest of your days (as was the case in the 80′s and 90′s).

To my monkey’s, your welcome!

big high schooler

Monkey #1 love high school, the first day I was able to be in town to pick her up and the first thing she said was, “I saw so many hot guys!!” I am glad she knows what is important :) .

6th grader, ruler of the school

Monkey #2 in the oldest grade at the elementary, the high school started a week earlier than all the rest of the school so she was dying and couldn’t wait to go! My house must not be too fun because the elementary goers could not wait!

4th grader, moved to a different elementary

Monkey #4 moved to a different school. The K-3 grade goes in town while 4-6 goes in Osmond. She did great and I couldn’t believe it when this girls said she couldn’t wait to get homework. Weird.


I was a bit nervous out monkey #4, he tends to cling to me when surrounded by new people. However his new teacher made it easy and he went right in while I sat in the car. My mouth dropped!

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here kitty kitty

tina, ya fat lard

I am at war, with mice. We have them, lots of them, in the house, in the garage, in our car and nesting all along our house, and I am rather tired of them. So first of all I got some cats. Who knew I would have kitties, and actually like them. Then I got some peppermint oil. They don’t like the smell so I put it along the outside of the house where they have their nests and the places I think they are getting in. We got some insulation foam as for the big vent we suspect as well. Did you know that a mouse can get into a whole the size of a pencil. limber buggers. Another method I was not tempting to try, but rather funny, is getting a coke in a low cup so the mouse can drink it. Mice can’t pass gas. So no burps or toots, so once it drinks the coke it will bloat up and die. As funny as that concept is, I am not wanting to find a bloating mouse anywhere a mile from my house.
I have killed more than I would like to count, so when one run along my platform bed while I was reading, I got serious. I got the traps, sticky traps, bate traps decon food, and cats. The sticky traps I like best because then I could let the kitties at it, and then they knew what they could catch in a abundance.

This little kitty above, we named her Tina, went at it. She is feline at its best. She growled and hopped and smacked that thing around then tore into it like it had never had a meal.
This little kitty below, we named her bones she being white and plus we love the show, did not. She acted like a southern belle sniffing it and turning ever so casually away, not wanting any part of it. Too good for that little mouse.

bones….anthropologically speaking

I often the mice in my bath tub. They can’t get out so they run and run and run trying to get up the sides. It is rather funny. One morning I found one running and this great idea came to me, go get Tina, our vicious feline, let her loose in the tub and so what happens. Ok so this is classic me, I thought “oh this will be such a good idea, and then I won’t have to have hubby get another one out, again. So it all went fine, I put Tina in and it started to growl and play and toss the mouse, and I thought I am not going to watch, so I left. Curious a minute later, I came in to see my bath tub smeared with mouse blood all over and the kitty still playing around with it. A massacre happened and I was grossed out! I then went to tell hubby there was blood all over the tub. Now my tub is pretty deep and thought the kitty would be contained, but when I came back to see the progress the kitty was coming out of my bathroom with dead mouse in mouth. AUGH!!! I grabbed that kitty without thinking running it toward the outside, thinking why did we not have a door to the outside in our bedroom. Running down the hall up the few stairs, “holy poop” the kitty just dropped the mouse! Bent to have the kitty retrieve the mouse and ran through the dinning room down the family room having to touch an bit of the mouse so it wouldn’t drop again and finally out the door.
OH. MY. GOODNESS. What was I thinking.

Luckily we have not had any mice in our house since.

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What the well?

I admit it, I have blog laziness. I am not proud about it, and I need to face the fact of the matter. I need help.

well pump

We have been here in the trees full time for a year. Crazy I know. However it wouldn’t be a celebration of living in this house with out some sort of bad news (since building this house has been one bad news after the other). We have had some brick work done in the basement (pics to come) and have had masons in and out of our house for weeks. Last saturday we went to bear lake and came home to water sputtering out of our faucets, along with dirt. None of us could take a shower. Hubby went outside to see what was going on and found the masons had left the water hose on, for is must be two days or so. Long story short is we had our well tested after a couple of days dealing with dirty toilet water and drinking water. Our well only produces 3 gallons a minute. Bro-in-law down the road, his well, produces 30 gallons per minute.
“You need to dig a new well.” We were told.

Happy 1 year anniversary to us!

one year later

I woke up this morning on the first day of school (for the elementary) and was thankful how differently we were arranged in our house. We had a sink, we had a pantry with food in it. We had a stove to cook an egg sandwich the monkey #3 can’t get enough of. We didn’t all have to eat and get ready, while hubby tries to get a few more winks in, in one little room. What a welcomed change this morning was from last year and I am very grateful! Those are a bit of a nightmare flashback I don’t visit often.
It has been a struggle in more ways than one moving here, and while it has been a year, I do have more peace about it. It is hard to move anywhere. In this small town we moved to everyone knew we were coming. In laws talked about us coming, our neighbors talked about us coming and so a lot of the community new who we were before we even knew them. That made it hard, because we weren’t greeted as if we were new. If that makes sense.
My kids are loving it here and say they wouldn’t move back, if given the choice. It is a great place for kids. Where we were from I felt like my kids were a number, one among the crowd, where here the numbers are small and they are able to be leaders and have opportunities where they wouldn’t before.

It does make me happy driving up this driveway, seeing the trees, and the unique house among them. We moved here for our kids, but I think it will help all of us grow closer together as a family.

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