The Drama In Our Backyard

We have been having quite a bit of drama in our backyard lately! We have been busy getting ready for my daughters graduation party, which will be outside. So there is this going on…

Graduation Tissue Balls

But I will tell you all about the party as it gets closer.

Here is the other story! I was walking through my front garden area when some mockingbirds starting calling and swooping around my cat. They had been at this for awhile, but I finally really took a look around. There is a smallish pomegranate tree right by my kitchen window, and sure enough, there was a nest! I stood and listened for a bit, but didn’t hear anything, so I thought there were just eggs. I pulled a chair closer, climbed up and suddenly there were little beaks poking up!

Daddy is watching!

Daddy is watching!



I was so surprised and excited! I was even able to get these great pictures! The momma and daddy kept chirping, but they let me snap away. It was just when the cat came by, that they got very upset, even pecking at her! I waited about a week and then took these pictures. They now have fuzzy heads and their eyes are open.

One week later

One week later

I told my husband we needed to get some temporary fencing to try and protect the babies from the cat. I had read online, they leave the nest after about 12 days, but then they are on the ground for another week or two. This was going to be quite an interesting couple of weeks once they were out of the nest! So we added some fencing on Friday night. Baby Mockingbirds-homeonthecorner

I woke up on Saturday morning, took a look out the window, and saw this!

Baby Mockingbirds-homeonthecorner

That wasn’t one of the babies was it! No way! I waited a bit, then saw another one on the ground-on the other side of the fence!! That wasn’t supposed to happen! This was only 2 days after taking the ‘week later’ picture and a day after the fence was put up!


Haley and I tried to decide the best way to get the one baby back inside the fence. We knew it would never survive in the yard with our ‘wild’ animals. But we didn’t want to be attacked by momma and daddy either!

Wrong side of the fence!

Wrong side of the fence!

Our solution was quite hysterical! I held up a big patio umbrella over our heads so we wouldn’t get divebombed and then Haley, with gloves on, picked up the baby and put it back in the fence. Whew! We did it!

Trying to look big!

Trying to look big!

So far, we have only seen two, but the other might be in the pomegranate tree. They are pretty hard to find in there.

Look at that face!

Look at that face!

Well, after awhile we couldn’t find the babies at all, but we still heard them. There is another tree overlapping the pomegranate tree, so we figured they were in that one. It has been another week, I still hear one of them chirping, but they are too high for me to find. I am just thankful we were able to protect them when they were on the ground. Now that they have flown the coop, we can get on to that graduation party!!

Sunshine and Blessings

The Power of Compassion

How often do we get a physical letter from someone?  Before the wonderful technology known as email came about, a handwritten letter was a common way of talking to someone and telling them what was happening in their life.  Some people still get a handwritten letter from a friend or family member who still likes the idea of putting down their thoughts on a piece of paper to send to a friend or family member.

For me, I get a physical letter about once a month.

Now, I will be 21 this summer, and I had pen pals when I was younger (I am actually friends with a former pen pal from British Columbia on Facebook).  But this pen pal is little different from ones I have had in the past.  There are many reasons why I enjoy writing to this pen pal and why I am going to tell you about her. But the biggest reason is that this pen pal has changed my life.

On March 11, 2012 I attended a concert called Rock and Worship Roadshow.  This is a Christian concert that features 5 to 8 bands that audience members pay $10 at the door.  There are no pre-sale tickets unless you buy backstage passes or VIP tickets.  I was attending the concert with my dad, my ex-boyfriend, and my ex-boyfriends dad (Note: I am on very good terms with my ex and his family because I play softball with them every week).  While at the concert, one of the sponsors of the concert got up and gave a short speech that left multiple people teary eyed.  I decided to help out this sponsor of the concert by going in on a monthly sponsorship together.

It wasn’t too easy for an 18 year old to take over a $38 a month payment plan by herself.  But, I worked hard to make sure that this payment was always paid because this sponsorship meant a lot to me.

And because of this determination, I am still a monthly sponsor with Compassion International.

What is Compassion International?  This organization was created in 1952 to help orphaned children from the Korean War by providing them with food, shelter, education, healthcare, and Christian training.  And to this day, over 60 years later, Compassion helps more than 1.5 million children in 26 different 3rd world countries.

On March 11, 2012, I became the official sponsor of Angèle Kouka Nakoulma.


This is Angèle

Angèle was 6 years old when I started sponsoring her.  She is from Burkina Faso, which is right in between Ghana, Niger, and Mali in Africa.  She is one of 5 kids, and she is the next sibling after a set of twins.  The name Kouka means “after twins” and is given to children who are born after twins in a family.  According to one of her last letters, she wants to be a teacher, but she has also said that she wanted to be a doctor.  This girl has big dreams!  At home, she runs errands, cleans, and helps in the kitchen.  Some of her hobbies include playing group games, jumping rope, and playing house.

burkina faso

Burkina Faso

Because of this sponsorship I feel like I am making a difference in the life of this little girl.  I am spending $38 a month to give Angèle food, clean water, healthcare, an education, and learning about God.  And I can tell by what she tells me in the letters I receive from her.  She talks a lot about her friends, and always asks me questions.  She wants to know as much about me as I want to know about her.

On March 20, 2015 I attended the Rock and Worship Roadshow yet again.  And as I was sitting there, I had the sudden realization that I had been sponsoring Angèle for 3 years.  Me, a 20 year old college student, has been making a difference in this 9 year old’s life for 3 years.  I have been giving her things that she couldn’t get without me helping out.

So, why have I decided to tell you all about Angèle?  I have a new appreciation for things that many people take for granted.  Things like clean water, healthcare, and a place to live.  I don’t have to travel a long distance to get water, and then do something to the water to make it clean.  I don’t have to sleep in the same room as my whole family.  I can go to a doctor when I am sick and not have to worry about how I will pay for it.  Too many people take this for granted because they don’t know what it is like to not have these things.

So what can you do?


You can got to Compassion International’s official website and find out more information.  You can get questions answered, find out more about the program, and look at children who need sponsors.  If you would like to visit Compassion’s website, please click here.

There are thousands of children who need someone to help them out.  This will change your life if your life if you decide to sponsor a child.  I have a biggest appreciation for a lot of things because of the things that others don’t have.  Angèle has taught me a lot of another culture, and I have learned a lot about myself along the way.

Do you sponsor a child, either through Compassion or another organization?  Have you thought about sponsoring a child, but didn’t know where to get started?  Let me know in the comments below what you think!


A Walk in the Park

Have you ever had a time where you were walking down the street and someone was being walked by there dog?  I don’t mean them walking with the dog walking next to them…I mean the dog pulling their owner to get to somewhere.  This is very common in our everyday world, where people buy a dog to be a guard dog or a house dog that is more spoiled than their kids.

But since when has this become okay?  When have we decided that our dogs can control our lives instead of us controlling our dogs?  Has society become afraid of trying to control their dog because they may be perceived as a mean owner?


This has become a common occurrence in our society

I have been training dogs in 4-H for 10 years and I train dogs at the place where I work.  And one of the biggest things that we work on is a dog walking properly on a leash.  Loose leash walking is something that is very important when you have a dog and are out on a walk.

First thing you need to do is find the right collar to use.  I do not recommend using a collar that your dog wears on a regular basis.  This is because these collars to do offer a lot of correction.  Here is a list of different collars and an explanation of how each one works.


1 and 2: These are a nylon and chain martingale.  These are the easiest collars to use.  They give correction when needed, but they aren’t something that will hurt your dog when corrected.  These are recommended or smaller dogs or dogs that are more gentle.

3: A gentle leader.  This is also known as a head collar.  This may not be real comfortable for your dog, but there is a way to desensitize your dog to a gentle leader so that they don’t cut up their face while wearing this around their nose.  This is not so much for training, but can be used for walking.

4: An easy walker.  This is used more for when a dog knows how to walk on a leash.  This doesn’t make a lot of corrections, but it does work.  An easy walker is also used for dogs that have problems in their neck and can’t wear collars.

5: A choke chain.  There isn’t another name for this, and this collar is the hardest to use.  The reason for this is because it only uses correction.  You as the trainer need to know how to use this collar properly before you use it.

6: A prong collar.  This collar should only be used for very strong dog.  Do not use this on a small dog.  This should only be used on strong breeds like Rottweilers, Pit Bulls, and some other big breeds.  This should only be used as a last resort if your dog isn’t responding to other training collars.


Now that we know our different collars, now how to we train them to walk next to us?  There are a few different techniques.  The first is a lot of correction.  Whenever the dog pulls ahead, you pull them back to walk next to you.  You can use a word like ‘heel’ for your dog to learn that that means they walk next to you.  Another technique is positive reinforcement.  This is a bit tricky, but it makes sense.  You praise the dog when it is walking next to you, giving it praise and maybe even a treat.  If the dog pulls ahead of you, you turn around to go the other way.  This is showing the dog that they aren’t getting to go where they want and that you are in control.  Make sure you praise your dog when you turn around so they know they are doing something right.

It may be hard to get your dog to walk next to you, but if you try hard enough, you will be able to achieve the goal of walking your dog on a loose leash.


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Princess Wall Hanger

We all know that little princess who has too many dress up clothes.  And they have too many boxes of dress up clothes, causing some of them to get wrinkled and ruined.  This is an easy project that will help to organize the dress up clothes and not cause them to get wrinkled and ruined.

I started with a piece of plywood that I cut 10 inches by 8 inches.  This is big enough to place two hooks on the board to hang more clothes.  I then primed the board so it was easier to paint later.


The dimensions of the wall hanger

I decided that since this hanger was going to be for little girls, it should be painted pink.  I chose a berry pink spray paint to use as the main coat of the hanger.  It is a vibrant pink that I could cover in other colors to make it colorful and cute.


The color is Berry Pink!

The design I decided to make on the wall hanger was circles of different sizes.  I found these two plastic lids to use as my two circles.  So I traced my design on the pink plywood before I started to paint the circles.

I used these lids for my circle design

I used these lids for my circle design

Here are my circles before the paint

Here are my circles before the paint

I wanted to go girly, so I went with black and white.  I did a little bit of a random black and white circles so it didn’t look like a real pattern.  I also took a small paint brush and added black and white dots on the plywood, putting white dots next to black circles and black dots next to white circles.  I wanted it to keep this fun and cute for the little girls.


Almost done! Just the hooks to go!

I then added two white hooks to the bottom of the board.  I placed them about 2.5 inches up from the bottom and about 1.5 inches from the edge of the board.  With the help of my dad, we were able to screw these two hooks on the front of the board.  We also placed a hanger on the back of the board so we could hang it on the wall.


The placement of the hooks on the board

And here is the finished product!


It’s all finished and ready to have clothes hung on it!

This project was really easy and really fun to work on.  It is something simple to help organize the dress up clothes and not have so many boxes to have clothes in.

Love, Lauren