Week 21 – May 21 – 27, 2012

Week 21 – May 21 – 27, 2012

Monday, May 21st: I have been able to make a little progress on Nola Mae’s bear quilt.

Tuesday, May 22nd: Tonight was the last night of soccer.

Wednesday, May 23rd: Henry started riding his bike today.  He needs some help with steering and pedaling.  After 15 minutes with my help he showed a lot of improvement.  We were staying on the cement in and around the garage until he got a feel for the pedaling.  Then I took him on the gravel.  Going down the hill from the garage was a little scary for him and he almost wiped out, while I was right next to him.  Later in the morning when Aunt Susie came he showed her his biking.  He headed down the garage hill and screamed the whole way.  It was really scary all by himself!  Aunt Susie thought he was okay doing that by himself.

Thursday, May 24th: Henry and Nola Mae spent over an hour at a park with my friend, Kat, while I got a massage.  I was very nervous about leaving Nola Mae.  Only because I have never left any of my babies for any period of time with anyone, especially when they were 6 weeks old!  I really had no reason to worry.  Kat wore Nola Mae in the Mei Tai and she slept the entire time!

Friday, May 25th:  This is a frequent sight on our fence.

The story behind this is…the boys leave the house with their tooth-brushes at least 2-5 minutes before the bus arrives.  My plan is that they brush their teeth the whole time it takes to walk to the end of the drive-way and while waiting for the bus.  My thought is that if they had to do it in the house before leaving to meet the bus they wouldn’t brush their teeth for very long.  This way the tooth-brush is in their mouth for at least two minutes, hopefully being productive!  If I don’t make it out to end of the drive-way for one more hug and kiss they put the brushes on the fence for me to pick up later.

Saturday, May 26th:  Jack took this cute picture of Nola Mae.

Sunday, May 27th:  We went to our Moms’ for part of the weekend.  One stop was at Grandma Elma’s.  Robbie and Charlie went for a muddy walk in the woods with their cousin Michael.

Then we went to Grandma Helen’s where we all went for a walk.

Our last stop was Grandma Siggie’s.  Nola Mae spent most of her time on Grandma Siggie’s lap.  Nola Mae fussed just a little and Grandpa Neil teased Grandma about not knowing how to handle a girl (since she is a mother of four boys).  I think she did fine.  She has more granddaughters than grandsons, so she has had some practice!

Week 20 – May 14 – 20, 2012

Week 20 – May 14 – 20, 2012

Monday, May 14th: My friend Kristin wanted to decorate a cake for her daughters’ preschool graduation.  She wanted to learn a few tips on cake decorating.  We spent the morning together and I walked her through all the steps to decorate her first cake. Click here to see the finished cake.

I took the boys into the pasture tonight to get some cool photos of all the dandelion seed heads.  The wind the night before blew most of them off.

Tuesday, May 15th:   We put some eggs in our incubator within a day of Charlie’s kindergarten class in hopes that both of us would get a good hatch.  My plan was for it to be worth having the brooder plugged in.  Our first chick hatched.

My Mother’s Day gift arrived…a worm factory.  We got composting worms a week ago and I had been dreading the idea of putting them in the home-made bin that I made a few years ago when we had worms.   I was afraid that my worms died because it wasn’t a great design.

Wednesday, May 16th:  Henry’s request for breakfast was boiled eggs.  He helped with a few of the steps.

Thursday, May 17th:  My sisters Kayla and Emily came to visit.

Kayla wore Nola Mae while I planted beets and peas with Henry.

Friday, May 18th:  Charlie’s kindergarten class hatched some of our eggs.  We brought the chicks home today.  Before coming home the teacher let the kids hold the chicks.  One of Charlie’s classmates was so excited to kiss one of those cute little chicks.  Her mom wrote a sweet blog post about it.  Click here to see the photo and the short story.

After the chicks were put in their new home (our brooder in the garage) I noticed the ones that came from school were less skittish.  Our chicks haven’t had much handling or peeking at due to the dangerous grip of a three-year old.  Henry can be gentle with eggs.  He needs a little work with chicks!

Saturday, May 19th:  Nola Mae’s baby quilt has been started.  I am going to use the Tumbling Bears quilt design.  There will be 12 bears with 12 different prints of purple.

Sunday, May 20th:  Robbie has been reading Harry Potter.  It all started with his teacher reading it to the class, then Jack was reading it at bedtime, then Robbie was following along as his teacher read and now he reads it on the bus, after school and at bedtime.  He recently told me that he is done reading Junie B Jones books because, “that is all baby talk.”


Cake Decorating

Cake Decorating

I come from a family that cooks and bakes.  My mom always decorated a beautiful cake for our birthday.  I baked Jiffy box cakes with my Grandma (Nola) Fabian when I was a kid.  My hubby’s Aunt Mary always designed and decorated cakes from her kids’ request or interests at the time.  One memorable cake of Aunt Mary’s was of a pool with the swim lanes, starting blocks and flags for her daughter Jessie who was on the swim team.

Between my mom and Aunt Mary I was inspired to do the same thing for my children.  I took a Wilton Cake Decorating Class at my local craft store.  I learned a lot of different techniques and tricks using frosting.

I never have considered myself creative or artistic, since I started decorating cakes I have come to think that my frosting could be like paint.  And some day I could paint a master piece.  Until then I will make edible master pieces.

The baking part is very easy.  I am now admitting to the world that I use a box mix for most of my cakes.  I feel like I have more time to make each cake beautiful if I use a box mix.   I have made a few cakes from scratch and they aren’t as moist and yummy as the box mixes.  I recently needed to make a yellow cake from scratch and it was delicious and not too much extra work!

Once my frosting colors are decided I divide up my frosting.  And it sometimes looks like an artist’s work area.

Crumb coating is a time-saving technique and I use it with almost every cake.   Click here to see a demonstration on YouTube.


In second grade Robbie had a VIP day.  This is where the parents can come to the class to share something special about the family or talk about what they do for work.  Robbie and I decided that we would have his classmates decorate their own cupcake.  I made lots of frosting and put them in bags.

One of Robbie’s classmates loves volcanos and tornadoes.  He decorated his cupcake as if it was a volcano and it measured about 4 inches tall.

My Favorite Cakes:

I made this cake for my future sister-in-law, BJ’s, bridal shower.  My brother and BJ enjoy gardening and they had a little pond in the corner of their yard.

This was for Henry’s 2nd birthday.  He loves chickens and he loved our cow Vanilla.

I made this cake for our family reunion.

This is Henry’s 3rd birthday cake.  I spent so much time coloring and baking the insides I just couldn’t do anything special on the outside.

My Prettiest Cakes:

This cake was made in for the cake decorating class that I took.  My first time doing roses and a bow.

My Only Wedding Cake:

I decorated this cake for my brother’s wedding.  The mothers of the bride and groom baked the cake together.

Anniversary Cake:

My Ugliest Cakes:

Robbie’s request for his 6th birthday was for a chicken, chicks and a pumpkin.

This cake was made for an ice fishing weekend with Jack’s college friends.

My Baby Shower Cakes:

My Nightmare Cake:  I made this beautiful cake for a dear friend’s son and daughter-in-law’s baby shower (they knew they were having a boy).  The decorating went very well I didn’t stress too much about colors or the design.  Because this was my third time with the similar design.  The only challenge was to find time to decorate.  I worked on it after the boys went to bed and finished it during their nap time.  My plan was to deliver it the evening before the shower, approximately 10 miles away.  Here is the part that puts this cake into the “nightmare” category…as I was turning into the driveway of my friend’s house (thankfully her driveway is long and she didn’t see me pull in) the cake platter slipped off the seat and the cake tipped into the back of the seat.  Not falling on the floor (thankfully) but destroying my design and cracking the cake in half.  Believe me there was lots of tears and swearing and throwing frosting out of the car.   I went home called my friend to tell her that I was unable to deliver the cake that evening and hoped it would be okay if I took it directly to the church the next day.  I had another night of lost sleep making more frosting and redecorating the cake.   NEVER travel in a car with your decorated cake out of sight!!!  Since this cake, all the cakes I deliver ride on the front seat, I prefer to have all my cakes picked up, and I ALWAYS make sure a cake leaves my driveway in the front seat or on someone’s lap.


My Religious Cakes:  

My Birthday Cakes:

My Adventurous Cake:

I made this one for my cousin, Libby’s, birthday.  She is a very adventurous woman.   

My Hardest Cake:

Tricky was our first rooster.  Robbie loved him and when we would feed him worms through the fence Tricky would jump very high to get the worms and it looked like he was doing tricks for us.   I surprised Robbie for his 5th birthday with this cake.

My Easiest Cakes:

This is the picture on a t-shirt that our midwives give to each family they work with.  Some t-shirts say “born at home” and if the baby was born in the hospital, assisted by the midwives, the shirt says, “born into loving hands.”  I made this cake for an annual party our midwife has on her farm.

My Cupcakes:

I made this one for a bluebird party I had at my house.

These were for Robbie’s birthday treats at preschool and the week’s theme was “emotions”.

Week 19– May 7 – 13, 2012

Week 19 – May 7 – 13, 2012

Monday, May 7th:  Last week Sunday when I was working on the last details of my blog post Charlie asked to hold Nola Mae.  They were quiet and I looked over at them and found both of them sleeping.

Now onto our exciting Monday morning…we picked up red worms for a composting bin from Central WI Environmental Station.  The most exciting part was that they weren’t prepared for us to arrive on Monday morning so we were able to help pick out our worms from their composting bin.

Tuesday, May 8th:  Nola Mae is ready for the chicken chores.

My book club meeting was tonight.  We read (attempted to read) Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy.  Our host had the great idea to dress up as if we were going to a ball.  (I don’t have a breastfeeding friendly ball gown)

 Wednesday, May 9th:  Nola Mae made her first trip into the play house with the brothers.

My flowers and veggie plants that we purchased from our favorite greenhouse.

Thursday, May 10th:  Some exciting after school activities.

Friday, May 11th:  In the early morning hours I woke up freezing.  I thought it was cold in our house and asked Jack to cuddle with me to warm me up.  He told me I was burning hot, what a great husband!  I also had a head ache and aches throughout my body, these were clues to me that Jack wasn’t being sweet he was just telling it like it is.   Jack offered to get the boys ready for school and on the bus.  I declined because I didn’t feel too badly and I promised to drive them to school this morning.   I was able to get an extra hour of sleep by driving them.  It took all the energy I had to get them to school.  I was hoping to hit some rummage sales (our city-wide rummage sale) this morning after dropping them off at school, didn’t happen!   I dropped them off and went straight home and right to the couch in the living room.

  I felt like I would die on the couch it was so bad.  I was thankful that Henry is independent enough to make food for himself.  He made a bagel, ate some fruit from the counter and filled the rest of his belly with the candy that he could reach, like my last four caramels I had hidden in the pantry.  Jack called me around 9:00 to see how I was doing and offered to come home.  At that point I was feeling bad but not too badly.  I was up once and warmed up the chicken noodle soup that my mom sent home with Jack last Sunday.   Henry and I ate that before I got really sick.

  I called Jack back around 10:30 to tell him I was worse and that he should cancel our plans for the night and told him that I could still handle things with Henry until he got home.  Henry was staying close to me or playing nicely in the toy room.  After that I got worse and couldn’t think straight to call anyone, just thought about it and wished that my mom or mother-in-law or step-mom lived close.  I could hear everything Henry was doing/getting into, the only dangerous thing was the hatchet in the mudroom.  I was able to stop him from chopping firewood without getting off the couch, because I really couldn’t get up.

I asked Henry to bring me the camera because I wanted a picture of Nola Mae.  It was one of my tricks to get him to come see me and distract him from getting into whatever I thought he was doing at the time.  He snapped this horrible picture of me and this one of Nola Mae.


I was thankful and hated the fact that I have such an independent three-year old.  He brought me water, the Tylenol bottle, diapers and got into many things that wouldn’t happen if I was able to follow him around.  I was thankful I had a 5 week old baby that needed to nurse and sleep the day away.

When Jack came home he found a horrible mess everywhere.  I wish I had photos of all Henry’s messes.  They would show what I prevent every day from happening.  The first and only question Jack asked when he walked in the door, “Who was working on an art project in the kitchen?”  I think after that he realized that Henry was the one to blame for the rest of the messes.

Saturday, May 12th:  I was still sick today.  I was feeling well enough to walk around for short periods of time and was done with the chills but still had the sweats.

Sunday, May 13th:  I was feeling well by this morning.  I put Nola Mae on my back and we planted onions in the garden.  She slept for about two hours when I woke her up to nurse.

We went for a walk in the woods to get out of the sun.  Robbie made these leaf belts.

Jack made this shelf/frame that hangs on the wall.  The pictures are sitting on the shelf and can be changed easily.

Click here to see photos from our afternoon.

Mother’s Day 2012

This year’s Mother’s Day was the best so far. I think I say this every year.

I slept in and needed to because I was recovering from the flu that started early Friday morning and lasted into the night on Saturday. Nothing like having two days wasted that you can’t get back. I shouldn’t complain too much about this because I just learned that a friend has been recovering from pneumonia and after 5 weeks she was able to go for her daily run on Mother’s day for the first time.  Nola Mae is five weeks old already!  Some days it feels like just yesterday she was born and some days it seems much longer.

When I finally woke up I found a very clean house, pancakes, eggs and bacon for breakfast. Jack and the boys did all the cooking and cleaning for the whole day.

Henry helped me plant three rows of onions. Robbie told me stories of inventions he wants to make and plans he has with his cousin Michael. Charlie had wonderful manners and behavior, he pointed out to me in the afternoon that he hasn’t been sent to his room all day long.

At school Charlie wrote this:

And Robbie wrote this:

In the afternoon we went to Keller Lake, one of my favorite spots. Usually we have this entire park all to ourselves. There were at least 20 other people there. I guess this park really isn’t our little secret.

The boys climbed on these rocks, watched the fish and tried to catch them with their hands.

I look at this picture and I am still having a hard time believing that I am a Mama to four children.  Could I still be dreaming?

Week 18 – April 30 – May 6, 2012

Week 18 – April 30 – May 6, 2012

Monday, April 30th:  This quilt arrived in the mail from my friend Jan.  I love it.  After cuddling with Nola Mae and inspecting the quilt I am inspired to do more sewing.  I wonder when I will be able to get into the sewing room again!

Tuesday, May 1st:  This hat came from Donna in New Zealand.  Some say Nola Mae looks like a pirate.  I think she looks like an elf.

Soccer started today.  The boys played at the same time on different fields.  We split up our time and watched 15 minutes of each game.

Robbie as the goalie.

Wednesday, May 2nd:  Henry making scrambled eggs.  He did all the steps by himself.

Here are some of my spring flowers.  I needed to take a photo since I have a little boy who likes to pick them for me and for Mrs. Fechter (Charlie’s teacher).  Henry picks them and the stems are always too short for a vase.  I haven’t been able to show him how to pick flowers with long stems.

Thursday, May 3rd:  Another soccer game this week.

  Henry cuddling with Nola Mae.

Friday, May 4th:  Henry talking to Granny.

Henry and I made cinnamon rolls for our company coming this weekend.  I made a double batch and put all these in the freezer for another time.

Grandpa Jerry came for a short visit.

Saturday, May 5th:  My brother and his family were here this weekend.  After they left Henry finally sat down to eat his lunch.  For the life of me I couldn’t get him to stay in his chair when everyone else was eating.

Charlie spent a lot of time on the computer today.  I finally shut it off (I should have done that earlier) and he spent the afternoon downstairs practicing his piano, cuddling with Nola Mae (and Henry),

and reading to Henry about hot lava.  Henry was talking about hot lava being on the floor.

Sunday, May 6th:  It rained all morning, 3 inches!  The boys’ pond filled up and the field developed some ponds that I have never seen before.

We, mostly Henry, washed the mirrors in the toy room.

I attempted this back carry today on my own while looking in the mirror.  I still need a little practice.  Nola Mae was wide awake when we started and within minutes she was sleeping.  She slept for almost two hours.  I cleaned a little, made lunch, ate a hot lunch, and did some sewing.  I had to take her down to wake her up because my body was wondering where the hungry baby was.

I have been working on this Mei Tai for my cousin Jessie.  I was able to finish it this afternoon.

Week 17 – April 23 – 29, 2012

Week 17 – April 23 – 29, 2012

Monday, April 23rd:  Granny made this quilt for me.

Tuesday, April 24th:  Another playdate for Henry this week.  These other two boys are in the same school district as us and they will be in the same grade as Henry.

Wednesday, April 25th:  Charlie’s kindergarten class is hatching some of our eggs this spring.  I am hoping they get a good hatch.  I was inspired to set eggs in our incubator and wanted to be on the same schedule as Charlie’s class.  I was thinking 12 eggs was a good number and then Robbie convinced me that 24 would be better.

Jack made this box, since the color turned out more pink than red Nola Mae is now the lucky owner.

Thursday, April 26th:  I haven’t had caffeine since I got the flu.  I have been drinking decaf coffee and now that is gone.  The only coffee I had in the house needed grinding and happens to be 50/50.  I can use a little caffeine!

Friday, April 27th:  We received a lot of hand-me-down clothes for Nola Mae in the 0-3 month size.  This is one of the very cute onsie that was in the boxes.  She isn’t very happy here, maybe she is thinking of being the only sister to three wild brothers. 

Henry bumped his head a couple of days ago while walking around the house with a blanket over his face.  He can put his own band-aids on.  Thankfully he still had this band-aid on today because he bumped his head again.

Saturday, April 28th:  Jack was busy planting trees and making firewood today.  I wrapped up Nola Mae and we went for a walk to meet Jack and the boys.

I found these nasty tent caterpillars on one of my flowering crab apple trees.  This tree isn’t close to the house so they have gotten out of control.   I remove them as soon as I notice them on my other crab apple trees and apple trees in the yard.

Sunday, April 29th:  My first attempt at sewing with Nola Mae.  She wasn’t happy at first.

Then I put her in my wrap and she instantly fell asleep and slept the whole time.