Friday, August 19, 2022

7 Quick Takes about Bargain Basement Gardening, Scampering Over Rocks Like Billy Goats, and Turning In the Exam

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?


I sometimes buy a hanging basket of flowers but this year I decided I was going to be budget-minded. With the best of intentions I bought a seed packet marked "Marigolds" at the dollar store in the spring.

True to form, I didn't get around to actually planting it until almost July, and I've been watching whatever it is that I grew with curiosity ever since.

I have no idea what it is, but I'm pretty sure it's not marigolds.


So the lesson here is maybe I shouldn't buy seeds at the dollar store next time?


This summer was so packed we were going to skip our annual family camping trip. But a few things rearranged themselves and we ended up deciding last-minute to go for just one night, and I'm so glad we did!

Our usual philosophy is that there are too many cool places in the world to visit one more than once, but this campground is so beautiful we can't stop going back. This time we tried one of their "remote sites," which was perfect for a bunch of hermits like us. It felt like we were the only ones there and this was at the edge of our site:

We were situated right next to a rocky slope the kids could climb down and spend hours jumping from rock to rock exploring and catching frogs in the shallow brook below. 

Something like this would have given me a heart attack with toddlers in tow but when your youngest is 6 it's pretty awesome.

The kids called this part "the sink," as in, it looked like a bathroom sink faucet.

If you walk on the rocks down the brook a little way, you come to this magical pool with a wooden bridge where you can sit and listen to the water burbling over the rocks and watch the kids playing and basically experience Nirvana.

Of course, the kids called this swirling pool at the bottom "the toilet." Kids are kids, I guess.

I'm so glad we didn't skip it this year. Next year we'll not only go to the same campground, we'll probably also stay at the exact same site. I can't believe this place.


The brook running by our campsite was fed by this lake, which was pretty but not great for swimming. We popped over there a few times a day just to look and my kids found wild blackberries growing around the edges.

And even though this is our third year coming to this campground, we keep finding new things. No one wanted to go on this hike and it turned out being an amazing discovery (I guess my family just really likes jumping around on rocks through shallow bodies of water, I don't know why.)

It was a perfect trip, except for the fact that we forgot the burger patties and the propane tank for our camping stove at home, which made for an interesting dinner.


My whole life, I've gotten cold sores on my lip whenever I get tired, stressed, or just for fun.

The other day I was realizing it's been a long time since I last had one and said to Phillip, "Hey, I never get cold sores anymore!"

Then I switched my lupus medication and immediately my lip blew up with two fresh cold sores. Duh, because the old one was an immunosuppresant. It all makes sense now.


Our family is going to visit a friend in Las Vegas soon.

"Did you know that a lot of yards in Las Vegas don't have grass?" I asked the kids, who've never been there before.

"They don't?"

"No, it's a desert so lots of people have decorative rocks and cactuses in their yards instead."

"It's so weird to think of a yard with no grass in it!" my 10-year-old exclaimed.

Eyeing the pathetic state of our weed-ridden yard, Phillip gestured outside and asked, "What about our yard?"

She bit her lip and said hesitantly, "Well... our yard has a little bit of grass."


It's the last week before my oldest goes out of state for college. It's not sad, but it is weird. Raising a child is sort of like frantically trying to do your best on a test that is really hard and really long, and when that kid leaves home it's the ultimate "pencils down" moment.

Every parent has things they're always working on, and when one of the kids is no longer going to be part of your day-to-day efforts at improvement it comes as kind of a shock. Like, "Okay, that's it, I guess. Time to turn in whatever I've got." 

Which is okay and how life is supposed to be. You do the best you can at the time and I'm a firm believer that God can make up the difference between potential and reality. Somehow, they turn into pretty cool adults, anyway.


I try not to idolize public figures, whether it's influential people in history or YouTube personalities I like, because I always end up finding out something unsavory about them or their personal life that feels like a personal betrayal if I've put them up on a pedestal.

But I really enjoy videos from Dude Dad. I know I shared one last week, but another one popped up on my YouTube feed that I liked so much I had to share:

Like I said, I'll try to remember that Dude Dad is just a regular guy who's not perfect, but let's just say I'm going to be very disappointed if I learn he has a secret underground torture chamber for puppies or something.

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Unremarkable Files


Kassie said...

After a quick google search those seeds *could* be marigolds: Compound, opposite, kinda toothed leaves. But those leaves mean business, that is for sure. Hopefully something will flower eventually (we have a tomato plant that hasn't done anything but grow leaves, too).

That campground looks ah-mazing. I have many kids who enjoy hopping from rock to rock in shallow pools as well. But mine almost always "fall in" somehow and get thoroughly drenched in the process. Those little waterfalls and pools look so peaceful.

And as far as idolizing media personalities, I understand because I try not to do it to you: Your kids are very responsible and competent, and I am sure you don't yell nearly as often as I do... Sorta weird being on the receiving end of it, huh?

Diana Dye said...

Ugghhh that video made me tear up. Love his smile at the last line.

Anonymous said...

They look like marigolds to me. Probably a giant variety, the kind that can get 2 ft high and have a 4 inch bloom. But between late sowing and not enough sun, they just havent bloomed for you yet.

Sarah Bartel said...

I also teared up! Awww, what a beautiful witness to the goodness of human life! We have 5 kids and are open to more, God willing (but I'm 45). Seeing the kids all playing with each other is the best. Love how he expressed that they will always have each other as siblings long after they, as parents, are gone.

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