Car Ride with a 3-year old.

blog Nola Mae Nola Mae and I have put on a lot of miles during the last five days, having fun visiting some of my family, even though Jack is having a blast with our boys on the vacation they are on. I have admired the photos Jack is sending me and I have wished I was a long for the trip he his on. I got to visit my Mom for two days,  biked with my mom, I had a short visit with my mother-in-law, lunch with my aunt and 24+ hours with my cousin and her three girls, including a little dye party and mulberry tree shaking with them.

 blog bike ride Henry  blog bike ride Nola Mae

Today, I ended my travels with the car ride from HELL. It was time to leave our cousins. Nola Mae referred to them as “my sisters”, so cute. I put a crabby, tired and almost crying three-year old in the car. She was sad to leave, so sad she was sobbing when the oldest cousin told her it was time to go. She didn’t want to give hugs or wave good-bye.

My fingers were crossed and I was hopeful that she would be sleeping within 10 minutes and I could enjoy my audio book for our 2.5 hour car ride. Within five minutes she was crying and screaming about everything.

Nola Mae: My eyes hurt!

Me: Wear my sunglasses.

Nola Mae: They still hurt! (sobbing)

Me: Close your eyes and rest.

Nola Mae: NOOOOO! Then me will miss seeing a train if we go past one.

I told her I didn’t think there was a train until we got closer to home. She insisted that she saw a train track by a bridge on the way to our cousins’ house.

Crying and screaming at me every time I tried to start my audio book – “NO MUSIC! NO STORIES!”

At the Madison exit…

Nola Mae: That looks like Aunt Danna’s house (she meant work because the buildings look a little like the university, but I wasn’t going to correct her).

Me: Yes, this is Aunt Danna’s town.

Nola Mae: I KNOW! I SAID HERS NAME!

More crying and screaming.

She broke my sunglasses (2nd pair this summer). I told her I was sad about that. I can’t remember what she said, but she sounded more like our 11-year-old, “They weren’t broken. They were twisted apart.” I wasn’t going to argue with her. I just told her that she could try to fix them for me when we got home.

Thirty minutes from home with non-stop screaming and crying up to this point, I remembered I had Smarties in my bag. It was a great distraction and turned her mood around.

Nola Mae fell asleep exactly five miles from home. I at least got five minutes of peace.

I came home to find this blog post from our cousin: http://behindthewillows.com/2015/07/22/the-sign-of-a-great-visit/

Birthday Treat for School

dirt cake in jelly jars 3

 

Charlie has a summer birthday, during the school year he gets to bring a birthday treat to school during the last weeks of school.

Charlie  was inspired by a classmate who brought dirt cake for his birthday treat.  He tells me everyone loves it, even the teacher.

The tricky thing about taking a special birthday treat to school is figuring out how to transport from home to school on the bus.

I want to save this recipe I used for future use, because it really is yummy!

This recipe was easy enough that Charlie did most of it.

Worm Dirt Cake
(Cooks.com modified for Charlie)

2 packages Oreo cookies, crushed

1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese
1/2 C butter, softened
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 C + a couple of T powder sugar

3 C milk
2 (3 1/2 oz.) packages of instant vanilla pudding (can use chocolate)

Gummy worms and gummy butterflies.
17 – 1/2 pint jelly jars with lids.

Directions:
1.  Crush Oreos, set aside.  Charlie used our food processor.

2.  Cream butter, cream cheese and vanilla. Slowly add the powder sugar. If it is getting too dry/thick, add a drop or two of milk.

3.  Combine milk and pudding mix.

4.  Fold Cool Whip into the pudding.

5.  Fold together the butter/cream cheese mixture and the pudding mixture.

6.  Add approximately 1-2 T of the Oreo crumbs into each jelly jar. Place one gummy worm on top of the crumbs.

7.  Add about 3-4 T of the pudding mixture to the jar, leaving about 1 – 1.5 inch space at the top of the jar.

dirt cake in jelly jars 2

We stopped here and put them in the fridge over night and finished the last steps in the morning.

8.  Cover the pudding with the rest of the Oreo crumbs and top with a gummy worm or butterfly.

 

dirt cake in jelly jars 4

Bee Morning

Charlie Bee Morning

To my dad for saving me from such an awful pain.

Bee Morning

I got up and said, “Dad can I go kayaking?”  It was in the morning before it was day when the moon was still up.  I went out of the tent very quietly.  I went to the lake.  I snapped on my tight blue life jacket and got in the cold wet kayak.

I paddled and paddled until I was close to the island.  I saw two turtles. I whispered, “Wow turtles!”  I got close and the tried to pick one up.  But I failed.

After that I continued on to the island.

I stepped on the island and I think I stepped on a huge active bee nest because they all swarmed up on me.  They stong me all over.   I dived straight into the water.  It was warm and there was lots of sea weed.  I stayed under water as long as I could.  I had to eventually come up for air.  They were still there!  I screamed, “Aaaaaaaa!”  They stong me several times again.  I swam back to the island.  I was screaming.

My dad heard me.  Then he ran to the nearest camp site and asked them if he could use their raft.  They said yes because they understud that he really needed it.  He frantically paddled out to me.  He picked me up and ran back to the raft.  He got stung lots of times too.  We went back to shore.  We gave back the raft.

Next we took off our wet shirts because there were bees in them.  They were so wet and stuck to us.  We went back to ower camp site.  My bee stings were still hurting a lot.

After that I wasn’t feeling very well so I went and layed in a hammock.  My cousin Sara read a book to me for a half hour.

Bee sting reading

My dad and I hiked to the showers and I soaked in the shower.  It felt so soothing!  I used cold water.  I had to use cold water because that would help my bee stings heal.

When we were done we drove to the hospital.  I had to go to the emergency room.  I was there for more than 3 hours.  When I was done they gave us some medicine to use for it if it happened again because they thought I might be allergic to bees.

(Charlie’s writing assignment in 3rd grade, 2015)

I wrote about this event shortly after it happened in 2012, click here for that post.

Spring is here!

Spring is here!

We celebrated two birthdays last week.

Henry birthday cake 6 birthday cake Nola Mae

dyed birthday shirts

Nola Mae loved her Peppa Pig.

peppa pig love

First paddle of the year, Lake Iola, on a very windy day, April 12th.

first paddle 2015

My paddle with three kids in the canoe didn’t last very long.

We paddled into the windy part of the lake and got blown to the shoreline.  My strategy of paddling in this wind was:  paddle really hard for as long as you can, get blown to a shoreline, aim the canoe to where you want to go, paddle really hard for as long as you can, get blown to a shoreline, aim the canoe to where you want to go.  Repeat until you get back to where you started!  Charlie and I aren’t ready to paddle to a campsite in the Turtle Flambeau Flowage this year.

Our first hike on the River Walk Trail in town.

spring first river walk

Snake Watching:

(There are NO snake pictures on this post!)

We have seen the first snakes of the year. One the other day by the garden woodpile and today by the deck. I try my hardest to not show fear and disgust when seeing snakes.  I have accepted the fact that we have to live on the same planet as each other and I still dislike them very much!   I must be doing well at this because Nola Mae has no fear of them. She is curious and knows to give them space. Today the sun is shining, it is warm outside with a slight breeze and the deck is a nice place to snake watch. snake watching 1

snake watching 2

I was amazed how long this kept Nola Mae occupied.

snake watching 3

Henry's letter

This doesn’t have much to do with springtime, just a cute photo I took of Nola Mae, who fell asleep in my room waiting for me.

Nola Mae – 3 years old!

Nola Mae black hat

Happy Birthday! Nola Mae – 3 years old!

I dyed this shirt for Nola Mae’s birthday. I found this shirt at a thrift store early this month and thought that it needed a little more rainbow to it. Nola Mae Birthday   Nola Mae wasn’t interested in getting interviewed, this is how our conversation went before I gave up:

Me:  I want to know what some of your favorite things are, like your favorite movie?

Silence!

Me:  Is it Peppa Pig?

Nola Mae:  NO, me not watch it. You take it back to the library.

Me:  How about your favorite color?

Nola Mae: Me not telling you.

Me:  How about your favorite snack?  What do you like to eat when you are hungry?

Nola Mae:  Me not telling you.

Me:  Where do you like to go?

Nola Mae:  ME NOT TELLING YOU!

Silence.

Nola Mae: Me want to go to that restaurant. Me want to go a playground. Me want to go to school. WAIT, NOT school, a playground!

Me:  What do you like to play outside?

Nola Mae:  Don’t know, something else.

Silence.

Nola Mae: What do you want to play?

Me: I want to play, “You tell me what you like.”

Me: So Henry, what do you think Nola Mae’s favorite food is?

Henry: I don’t know.

Nola Mae: CANDY! Nola Mae Ellevill wrap Me:  Henry, what do you think Nola Mae’s favorite game is?

Henry: Maybe hide-and-seek?

Nola Mae: YEP!

Me:  Henry, What do you think Nola Mae’s favorite color is?

Henry: Nola Mae, is your favorite color blue?

Nola Mae: NO, blue AND purple! AND RED!

Me:  Henry, what do you think Nola Mae likes to do outside?

Henry: What do you like to do outside, sledding?

Nola Mae: Yes.

Nola Mae:  Playing games. Sledding.  Games. Nola Mae's sled I have given up on her favorites, she loves to talk about what she wants to talk about.  And if I word my questions or statements differently I could get more answers from her.

I want to remember our 2-year-old Nola Mae…

Nola Mae called Henry “Henny” until two days before her birthday.  Now she is saying “Henree”.  Sometimes she would think I was calling her Henny when I would say Honey to her.  In my sleep deprived/fried brain sometimes I think I did call her Henny and she wasn’t very happy with me about that.

Henry and Nola Mae

Nola Mae isn’t keen on nicknames and is very vocal about that now that she knows they are out there.  The first time someone referred to her as a little peanut is when she learned this.  Later she asked me “what a peanut?”  After I explained to her what people sometimes say, she told me in a very clear and loud voice “ME NOT A PEANUT!”

Nola Mae is friendly and very talkative to everyone.  Every day at the ski hill we would see people getting ready to ski and she would want to know their name and sometimes tell them something about what happened that day.  I appreciated all the grown-ups who gave her a few minutes of their time.   And it was fun to see them again and they would talk to her (not me) and make sure she remembered their name from the last time.

Nola Mae has a friend, Lily.  She talks about her almost every day.  Lily is an imaginary friend.  Lily has been at Nola Mae’s school, rides Nola Mae’s bus, is nice and sometimes mean to Nola Mae.  Sometimes Lily is sick.  Sometimes Lily helps Nola Mae.  One day I was sick and accidentally fell asleep, while I was sleeping Lily came over to play.  I think Lily is avoiding me.  Recently, Nola Mae told us that Lily died.  I wasn’t sure if Lily dyed or died, since both words are talked about in our house.  I haven’t noticed much talk of Lily, lately.  So maybe she did die.

Nola Mae was an awesome skier this winter.  She loved the downhills and groomed trails.  At the end of the winter she was flying down the hills in the tracks all by herself.  After a nose-dive into the snow she wasn’t afraid to do it again!

Nola Mae skiing 1

Nola Mae skiing 2

The things I know Nola Mae loves…

  • to paint. “Painting with Pappa!”
  • to cross-country ski.
  • to play our memory game and her version of Blokus and Spot It.
  • to read books with someone and by herself.
  • candy but not enough to motivate her to use the potty.
  • to play outside.
  • to follow her brothers anywhere.
  • to push the kid sized shopping cart around the grocery store.
  • to help with any project.
  • to show any guest to our house her jumping on the bed tricks.

Nola  Mae Painting 2 I know she loves Peppa Pig, so I made this stuffed Peppa Pig out of fleece. peppa pig 1   Click here to read last year’s birthday post for Nola Mae.  

Henry – 6 years old!

  Happy Birthday!

Henry – 6 years old!

I dyed this shirt for Henry to wear on his birthday, unfortunately he is sick today and can’t wear it to school:

 Henry's rainbow shirt(Henry asked that I wash it tonight so he can wear it again tomorrow)

He picked brownies for his birthday treat to take to school.

We have been on spring break, Friday – Monday.  I made a big deal yesterday with Henry about his last day of being five years old.   There is something special to me about being five. You are only five once!  When you are five you are cute, innocent, funny, happy, full of energy, a philosopher, smart, polite, kind, honest and caring.  Henry has been all these things and more!

Henry smile

 

I learned at Henry’s parent teacher conference, that Henry does get grumpy, Mrs. Fechter share this with me:

Henry grumpy

 

When I interviewed him on his last day of being five years old he told me these things:

Favorite color:  Blue.

Favorite animal – Baby cub lion.

Favorite food – Fried chicken.

Favorite fruit – Pear.

Henry's missing teeth

Favorite restaurant – Hibachi Grill.

Favorite thing about school – Gym.

Henry skiing

Favorite movie:  Batman.

Favorite job:  NO JOB!

Favorite thing to do at home – Ride my bike outside and play on the tablet.

sledding Henry air

Friends at school – Alex H, Micheala, Sophie, Landan, Addy, Michael, Emmett, Lewis, Gwen & Jocelyn.

Favorite holiday:  Christmas and Halloween, cause there is candy.

Henry's kite

I asked him, “What do you want to do when you are six years old?

  1. “Just eat, so I can grow even more!” and
  2. “Play outside!”

cards Henry smile

 

Click here to see Henry’s favorites from last year.

 

December 2014

December 2014

Jack took our annual family photos:

Family Profile 2014

Family 2014

Aunt Carol brought us the trees behind us in the spring of 2000 (our first spring).  This batch of trees never got cut for a Christmas tree because they were too big when we started having a tree.

We had good snow and great skiing early in the month.  After our first night of skiing Henry wrote a note to his teacher.

Letter from Henry

We had good sledding in our field.   Henry would get a running start and get some serious air before hitting the snow!

sledding Henry air

Nola Mae ran up and down the hill many times.

Nola Mae

The best hats!

Henry black hat  Nola Mae black hat

Early in the month I had two more kinds of soaps that were ready for the holiday: 

  soap vanilla & patchouli soap lavender & lemon grass

The first photo is Lavender, Vanilla & Patchouli.  The second photo is Lavender & Lemon Grass with ground lemon powder.

Charlie dyed a pair of bamboo socks for his teacher.  We did a test pair last month because I wanted him to have a feel for the syringe and working with the dye.  He was easily frustrated with his own socks and it seemed like he hated the whole process.  So I figured we would have to find a different gift for his teacher.  About a week before the last day of school he asked, “When are we going to dye my teacher’s socks?”  I just assumed he hated it and would never want to do it again.  Charlie promised me he would have extra patience for this project.  And he did while he got help from Nola Mae.

dyeing Charlie 3

Mrs. Johnson’s socks:

dyed socks Charlie

The color in this photo is so off from the actual color.  He used a purple and a teal color called Kingfisher Blue.

Charlie and Nola Mae messing around with a backpack:

Charlie & Nola Mae babywearing

We cut our Christmas tree from our property:

I remember planting this tree very well, even what clothes I was wearing, and the pair of gloves I had on. It was one of the first days I accomplished something significant after feeling like crap for months with morning sickness (my pregnancy with Robbie).  I planted a total of 15 trees, only three trees made it this long.  I tried to imagine when we would be cutting this tree down for our Christmas tree.  I didn’t imagine we would have four children around this tree, 11 1/2 years later.

christmas tree 2014

Nola Mae strawberry hat

One of my sisters got engaged this month:

Becca & Ben

Here is some kind of Elemental Warrior equation Robbie made with  some calligraphy pens that I had.

Elemental warrior equation

Dyeing and sewing projects (I have a post all for my December dyeing projects, click here to see them):

My friend, Michelle, gave me some curtains she had in her daughter’s room.  I dyed them, because they were white!

dye ice curtain

Nola Mae and three of her cousins got pretty snow dyed skirts.

dyed ice curtain skirt

My first Maxi skirt for one of my sisters:

sewing maxi skirt becca

Two bags made of dyed fabrics:

bag dyed red mandala

Front of bag:

bag dyed & embrodiery

Back of bag:

bag dyed Aunt Karen

Robbie and I went Christmas shopping and he had the idea that I dye the kids matching shirts.

dyed family shirts 1 dyed family shirts 2

It was my idea to do a “V” for our last name.  Jack helped me with the colors.

dyed family shirts

Jack has been busy in his workshop:

A book shelf for Robbie.

Robbie's book shelf

A tool box for Henry.

Henry's tool box

A bench for Nola Mae.

Nola Mae's bench

We set up the ping-pong table for Christmas break, this could become a tradition I could get use to.

ping pong

More of my favorite photos from this month:

Trombone Robbie

   Robbie Runs

Nola Mae's sled

Monopoly Grandmas

Mama santa hat

Charlie computer

cards Henry

cards Henry smile

Dye Projects – December 2014

Dye Projects – December 2014

My dye projects this month were pretty exciting for me.  I tried new methods and work with different dye blanks.   Every wash out was like Christmas!

I made a few more scarves.

dye DNA scarf black & green 3 dye DNA scarf rainbow 2

dye scarf upcycle frozen theme 2  dye scarf upcylce rainbow 2

My favorite blue ombre linen scarf:

dye scarf linen ombre blues 2

I thought this was our Qwirkle game bag when I dyed it.  Can you imagine my surprised reaction when I found the original white cloth bag in the Qwirkle box when we opened it?

I love the results I got on this bag I wish I could repeat it on a shirt.

dye draw string bag

My towels in earth tones last month were very popular so I made another batch, here are a few of my favorites:

 dye earth tones 1 dye earth tones 6 dye earth tones 7 dye earth tones 9 dye earth tones clothes line 1

I also dyed more red towels to go with a table runner for one of my aunts.

     dye towel reds 2 dye towel reds 3 dye towel reds 6

These are the same shades of red, it is the difference in lighting.

dye table runner Mandalas Aunt Linda

A friend asked for blues, greens and purples.

dye towels blue muck

dye towels blue  dye towels blue (2)

I had a little fun with leftover dye.

dye towel dots  dye towel mandala Anita 1

dye towel rainbow heart

I dyed bamboo socks this month for the first time.  They are a lot of fun, but suck up a lot of dye!

dyed socks 1 dyed socks 2 dyed socks 3 dyed socks 6 dyed socks 7 dyed socks rainbow and purple blue  dyed sock variety

 

November 2014

I have been busy dyeing all the white things I can find.  I am beyond dyeing all the white things in our house, now.  Actually, the only undyed item in our house is my shower curtain in the upstairs bathroom.  It WILL get dyed, I am just waiting for a possible bathroom remodel and inspiration.   I have graduated to getting white things given to me by friends and family and buying really cheap white stuff at thrift stores and even buying dye blanks (flour sack towels, bamboo socks & fabric).  I often think about posting an “ISO” (In Search Of) request on the facebook resale sites that I follow for good conditioned white clothing that might have a stain.

You can check out my dye projects for this month, here.

Because I was dyeing this month I didn’t keep up on household chores, which is a common practice when I have more fun things to do than clean!   I was brave enough to post about “What Normal Looks Like…to Me”. (Click here to see that post).

Early in November Nola Mae and I made a day trip to see my sister, Emily.  While we were in town we got to meet our newest cousin, Derek, his sister Morgan and my cousin Cathy.  We met at a library, and found the coolest library story room in the whole world!

wauwatosa library story room

Inside was awesome!

wauwatosa library story room books

Every day Henry carries a huge load to kindergarten!  Agenda book, boots, snow pants, gloves, hat and winter coat (on the outside) and lunch box (on the outside).  It is too hot on the bus to wear his winter coat for the hour-long ride.  He also tells me his feet get too hot if he wears his boots.

Henry's load for school

The school allows children to leave winter clothes in their cubby. I have two pairs of snow pants in almost every size because Robbie and Charlie have left a pair at school and recently have worn the same size. Henry has rejected the 2nd pair I have in his size, because some silly thing about the straps. The day he forgot to pack his snow pants, it didn’t seem to bother him because his teacher had a pair for him to wear. I was secretly hoping he was freezing at recess so he would agree to leave a pair at school.

When Robbie was younger we would make a nest for him to sleep in.  I got the idea because he is a pheasant lover and when he was little falling asleep in a nest helped him go to sleep.  Now at 11 years old, he has a double bed all to himself, I often find him in a nest.

Robbie's nest

I look closer at this nest and it reminds me of the swaddling we HAD to do when he was a baby.

 

Cozy and under blankets close to the fire, ready for our 7 AM reading time!  I am not a morning person!  Once the boys get on the bus at 6:50, it takes a lot of effort for me to stay downstairs and not crawl in bed.  Reading is a good distraction!

Reading with Nola Mae

Reading Pile Nola Mae

We are slowly working on reading 1,000 books before Kindergarten.   My challenges have been taking the time to write in this pile of titles afterwards,  I lost the folder for about a week and am now out of the habit.  I know we will get there, but it will be fun to know when we do reach 1,000 books.

Nola Mae loves Henry’s “reading finger”. That thing was creepy to me when Robbie brought his reading bags home in kindergarten, I was a little better about it when Charlie brought his reading bags home and this time with Henry I was looking forward to it. I assume kids love them and it makes them point to the words.

Reading finger Nola Mae

I was inspired to try making carrot juice again when we scored some sweet flavored “seconds” at the winter farmer’s market.  Since then, Nola Mae often asks to make carrot juice.  Our five pounds of carrots didn’t last very long.

carrot apple juice Nola Mae

Too much dyeing and too little sewing this month!  I made two of these hats.

Hat fleece A Anita

My baby wearing days are numbered.  I will be taking and sharing more photos in the future.  Action shots help sell wraps, so when that time comes I will have the photos!

Baby wearing with my  Ellevill Zara Aubergin wrap.

wrap ellevill abergine