What Normal Looks Like…to Me

What Normal Looks Like…to Me

I am far from normal, read here for my reasons , if you like, I may be normal in other ways.

There is a great article floating around Facebook titled “What Normal Looks Like”, written by Elizabeth Broadbent.  This article is raging through the mama groups I follow. I didn’t need this article a affirm my way of life/cleaning habits. But it sure has gotten a few mamas to feel better about the household chores that seem to never get done or to realize that to obtain your house’s cleanliness b.c. (before children) seems impossible when you have more important things to do than dust or fold clothes, at least in my opinion.

I live in a house with four busy and very active children. They make messes, they clean them up most of the time and they also do jobs around the house and our farm.

Everything on Elizabeth Broadbent’s article is what happens here.  I don’t host many playdates or have many friends over because of the state of our house.  When I do the house gets the bare minimum of cleaning – bathrooms are clean, floors are swept (maybe mopped) and the kitchen is clean.  All other doors are closed and no one is allowed up stairs!

I am being a little brave here by sharing some of the normal sites you may see if you stopped in unannounced or went in rooms that are not meant for company.

Normal:  I have a two-year old that puts away the silverware:

silverware drawer

Normal:  Trashed kitchen, dishes in the dishwasher are clean, dish strainer is plump full and sink and counter loaded with dirty dishes because I played wallyball last night.  Missing in this photo – the fridge door wide open.

Normal kitchen scene

Normal:  At least one splat of spilled milk EVERY DAY!

Normal spilled milk

Normal: Boxes and bins filled with dye projects “batching” by the wood stove.

Normal dye projects by wood stove

Normal:  Toy room/guest room is always trashed or in the process of being rearranged and organized by Charlie (9-year-old).

Normal toy room mess

Normal:  Mudroom lockers overflowing with stuff from all seasons.  Boys were at school today so this doesn’t include their backpacks and winter clothes, those items can be found spread out on the floor all over the house in the evenings.

Normal mud room mess

Normal:  We have a selection of sandals to ski boots, year-round!

Normal mud room shoes

Normal:  Upstairs bathroom/laundry room.  A boy took a shower and dropped the towel on the floor, living out of laundry baskets (clean clothes on the right side of the room and dirty ones to the left of the shower), clean sock baskets on the counter for boys (over flowing).

Normal bathroom

Normal:  More laundry baskets of clean clothes downstairs.

Normal laundry

Normal:  Books spilling out of book shelves.

reading books spilled

Instead of changing all this mess…

I will go to play dates, meet friends at the library, maybe host some play dates,

library

I will go to the park or a beach.

Sunset Lake 1st day 2012

I will continue to ignore it all so I can read to my child, sew, dye things, write blog posts, go biking

Biking Henry in PJs

bike train

or go skiing!

Ski family Charlie crash

Call me if you want to do something fun!

“Enjoy the little things in life because one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things.”
Kurt Vonnegut

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Dye Projects – September & October 2014

 Dye Projects – September & October 2014

I bought 24 white bandanas to dye, here is the start of them:

dye bandanas

The blue one on the right was supposed to be green and blue but you couldn’t see the green.  I over dyed it with black.

dye bandana blue & black

 dye bandana pink w purple

I dyed the boys bandanas with our school colors:

Dye bandanas orange and black

A few shirts, size 5 or 6T:

dye ice rainbow tanks

Henry has claimed this shirt.

dye ice t-shirt

My favorite white shirt that I tried to do a Galaxy dye on and it flopped.  In my opinion I saved it with adding the black swirl.

dye ice fail swirl w black

Four small bags that were upcycled from the corners of a high quality fitted sheet, so the opening is elastic:

dye shibori bags

I need to find a use or a market for these.  The elastic is in great shape because this sheet was new, but damaged.  I was thinking for fruit that you want to ripen faster or for when you are traveling and short on space in you bag and you need to pack a second pair of shoes – put them in this bag and your clothes won’t get dirty.

A small canvas bag:

dye rainbow canvas bag

Pajama pants for me, rainbow DNA on the side of the leg and I attempted a swirl on the bottom of the other leg:

dye PJ pants

The pants are so comfortable I went back to Walmart’s clearance rack and bought the rest of the ones they had in my size.

A solar system pillow case (king size):

dye solar system pillowcase

Charlie pointed out that Earth is the wrong size compared to the sun and other planets.  That is what I wanted.  I also wanted the sun to be more yellow and Earth to have more land.

I found this new tool at a rummage sale for $0.25.  It will help me apply small drips of dye in small places.

dye injector

Ice dyeing is really my favorite kind of dyeing.  Soon snow will be here and I can use snow instead of buying ice!

dye ice in progress melted dye ice in progress

I have attempted to make dyed scarves.  I am not a scarf-person because I am always hot and I have no clue about fashion.  With the help of my sisters I may wear one of my scarves.

This rainbow infinity scarf was given to one of my sisters.

scarf Kayla

The other half of this scarf was purchased by a friend.

scarf vintage dyed rainbow 4

dye ice rainbow scarf lace 1

I dyed this infinity scarf for another sister.

scarf Danna

This scarf went to my step-mom.

 Scarf Lynn

This scarf is my favorite scarf.  I had a different idea how this was going to turn out (mistake #1 never have any expectations of a dye project).  I used a tie dye method call DNA with liquid red, yellow, and blue dye to do the rainbow squiggly line and then iced dyed the loose fabric with black.  Someone said it reminded them of the Hungry Caterpillar.   This one was sold to a family member.  I am still dreaming up ideas on how to do this method again but with different colors.   I am stuck on deciding the colors, my fabric is prepped and ready for dye!

        dye tie & ice DNA flat   dye tie & ice DNA

This is a full size sheet.  I was testing the folding method and the color combos and was pleased with the results.

dye ice spiral purples cropped

 I want to do flower looking tie dyes, so I am practicing on flour sack dish towels that I bought at Fleet Farm and Target.  The fold is call a mandala.  My first attempt was on these two towels.

 dye tie flour sack mandala orange & blue dye tie flour sack mandala rainbow

I am calling this my birthday sheet.  I bought this white sheet at Goodwill for my birthday to try a mandala design on a larger piece.   I finished this today and it was like opening up a birthday present!  I can’t express how happy I am with these results.

 dye tie mandala purples & green

dye tie mandala purple & greens center

Funny dyeing story:   Jack’s brother, Eddie, called our house.  Henry (5 year old) answered the phone. Eddie must have asked if Henry knew where his mom and dad are. I heard Henry say, “I don’t know. I think my mom is dyeing in the basement.”

I have a bunch of my other dyed scarves, sewn scarves, soaps and other handmade items in my etsy store.  I am too lazy to put them in this blog post. I especially don’t really want to use up my blogging space for photos of that kind of stuff.

Feel free to check out my etsy store (my store name is skiingmama):   https://www.etsy.com/shop/skiingmama

October 2014

October 2014

I started out this month posting about Henry’s Pumpkin, click here to see that post.

Henry's pumpkin

Henry’s teacher had this note attached to a new pumpkin for him to take home two days later…

Letter Mrs Fechter

Robbie turned 11 years old this month.  I decided to do a birthday post for him this year because I haven’t been mentioning him very often in my blog.  Robbie’s Birthday

We don’t give many gifts or big gifts or have a huge party.   During the last year I have been not planning parties where we have many friends over.  Since our family grew to four kids, birthdays needed to be simplified.  Our family celebrates birthdays in a very simple way…we do special things – you pick your favorite dinner meal and dessert, you invite a friend to do something fun with us around your birthday time and we do something fun as a family.

I dyed a sheet for Robbie this summer with the intentions of having it made into a quilt.  Robbie helped me pick out the colors of the rainbow to use.   I loved that idea!  He doesn’t know that he is my “rainbow baby”.    I hired to have it machine quilted  and it was finished just a few days before his birthday.

dye swirl rainbow quilt finished

 I started this quilt in February after learning that my cousin would be having her “rainbow baby” in September.  I finished it the last week of October and gave it to her on October 31st!

quilt rainbow

 

quilt rainbow baby

 

Homecoming week at Iola means the school has an Orange and Black day.   I dyed their bandanas for this occasion and I expect they will get a lot of use out of them.

Dye bandanas orange and black

My sister Emily had her liver transplant in September.  I posted two posts around the time of her transplant.  A Prayer for Emily and A Sister’s Emotions.   She came home in October.  I have saved these before pictures to share an after picture at the same time.

This is the week she was in the hospital before her transplant.  She was very jaundice, I believe her bilirubin levels hit and all time high of 40 the week this picture was taken.

Emily Jaundice w John

I went to visit her and was pleased to see a smile on her face and she her in good spirits.  What else can you do when the doctor says, “You are not going home until you have a transplant.”  When I sat down next to her bed with the hospital window at my back I was shocked to see how yellow the whites of her eyes were and her skin color compared to John’s was also shocking.

Four days before her liver transplant:

Emily jaundice2

Emily jaundice 1

Almost three weeks after her transplant:

Emily not jaundice eyes

Emily not jaundice

Emily is home, recovering and getting stronger every day.  She told me she has lost a lot of weight since her transplant and looks very healthy.

Drinks!  I have a few favorite drinks.  I love coffee the most.  All kinds of coffee!  I also love beer, but don’t get to drink that very often.   Jack’s mom went to Finland, over a year ago (?), and brought a pair of Kuksa (Finnish drinking cups) for us.  We finally sat down next to each other on the couch and broke in our cups drinking Four Roses Single Barrel.

Kuksa cup breaking it in

 

 I also have to share a new find for me – a local coffee roaster is here in my area.  I had no idea!  Here is the link to the article where I learned of them, “Ruby Coffee Roasters sees business perk up”. 

ruby coffee

 Kuksa cup espresso

I also like to make and drink smoothies.  My best friend in college, Bethany, first introduced me to smoothies.  One day I made the mistake of prepping the blender with the smoothie ingredients and not blending it until after the boys got home.  When Robbie saw the blender before the blending happened he scrunched up his nose and said, “what is that going to be?”.  He didn’t drink my smoothie that day.

If he only knew that every day the before blending looks the same, he probably wouldn’t drink my smoothies.

 smoothie before             smoothie

Charlie has begged me for jobs that he could get paid for around the house.  It was hard to come up with something since everyone does jobs around here for no pay, like emptying the dishwasher, feeding the dogs, taking care of chickens, sweeping and vacuuming, cleaning up rooms, making firewood, stacking and bringing in firewood.  I only fold clothes when they come off the clothes line, if they come out of the dryer they get separated into each person’s own laundry basket.  That is as good as it gets around here and sometimes I wonder why we have dressers.  I decided folding laundry was a job I would pay to have done for the sake of it getting done and Charlie earning money.  Nola Mae isn’t very helpful when it comes to folding clothes.

Laundry charlie & Nola Mae

 Nola Mae loves to be measured, we’ll see if all our body measuring pays off when we go in for her well-child appointment this week and if she lets the nurse measure her.  When ever she finds one of my tape measures I measure her head circumference, arms, feet, toes, legs, nose, and ears.  It is a fun little game for us.   After her bath she stood there for a long time so Henry could count every inch.

Measuring Nola Mae

 I have worked really hard to exercise 5-6 days a week.  Doesn’t always happen that many times in a week, but is my goal!   I had recently organized our basement and got my Nordic Track out in the open for when there was a day I had time to get on it and do it.

One day it was windy and too yucky to run outside and I was too lazy to drive to the ski hill to hike on the trails.   I was wishing it was winter because skiing on a day like that would have been fine.  So I climbed on the Nordic Track and skied for an hour.  I had a great workout and imagined I was skiing.  I thought it was funny that our box of ski boots just happened to be right there in my face.  I couldn’t decide if that made it helpful to imagine skiing or painful because I wasn’t skiing on real snow.

nordic track

 Our school had a day off on a Friday this month.  I figured going to the skate board park in Waupaca would be a good idea because we would have the park all to ourselves.

 Charlie had fun riding his bike.swan park 3

 And everyone had fun sliding.

Swan park 2

 Nola Mae ran all over the place and tired herself out!

Swan Park 1

 Swan Park also has a very nice hiking trail.  We went on the trail through the woods and Nola Mae got a little nap.

swan park hike

 Robbie was in charge of the camera.

swan park Robbie selfie

Instead of trick or treating I bought each boy a bag of their favorite candy and we stayed home.  We had a good time in the woods making improvements to their forts.

Fort in woods

 And they had a fun game of 500.

500 Robbie & Charlie 1

 

500 Robbie & Charlie 2

 

 A few babywearing photos:

 I slingafied the other half of my friend’s woven wrap Winter Lilies.

ring sling didymos winter lillies

 

 I made these linen wraps for my cousin a matching one for her daughter.  (Rucksack Carry with Tibetan Tie)

wrap linen blue Cathy

 

 I took the boys and Jack to the ski hill to show them the new trail and Jack took this cool picture of Nola Mae waiting to be wrapped.

wrap Girasol rainbow back carry

 And this one when we were done wrapping.

wrap Girasol rainbow back carry tada

 Double Hammock  Carry with my Ellevill Norwegian Jack wool woven wrap.

wrap ellevill Jack action

 

 Wool wraps are tricky to wash.  I wanted to wash it to soften it up a little more, and it worked!  I had to take a photo of how pretty it looked on the drying rack.  It is a beautiful wrap!

wrap ellevill Jack drying

Swan Park nap in my woven wrap Ellevill  Zara Velvet.

swan park nap

 

 

I was hoping to share my dyeing projects from September and October before this post, maybe that will be next?

For now you can see some of my dyed items in my etsy store:   https://www.etsy.com/shop/skiingmama