Happy Birthday, Charlie Boy!

Charlie’s favorites, age 11

Happy Birthday!


favorite color –  Neon yellow, then I like blue and green.

favorite animal – dog

favorite book – Diary of a Wimpy Kid

favorite movie – Scorch Trials 1 or Yogi Bear

favorite song –  “Firework” and “Fight Song”

favorite sport – basketball

Stilts Charlie road

favorite food – pizza

favorite breakfast – bacon

favorite snack – cherry slush from Shivers

favorite drink – kiddie cocktail

favorite restaurant – Pizza Ranch

charlie skateboard

favorite toy – scooter

favorite friends – Brock, Gavin, Weston & Hunter

Skiing Charlie's friends group

favorite thing to do – snowboard

favorite thing to do outside – downhill skiing

Ice fishing Charlie

favorite thing about school – seeing friends

favorite job – taking groceries to the basement pantry

least favorite job – folding clothes

Laundry charlie & Nola Mae

Legos Charlie a

favorite thing to do with Papa – go snowboarding

favorite thing to do with Mama – going to rummage sales and talking

favorite thing to do with Nola Mae – build forts

favorite thing to do with Henry – bowl

favorite thing to do with Robbie – sports, sometimes we bowl, play soccer, &  basketball

favorite holiday – Christmas

favorite place to go – Uncle Eddie’s housecrab apple Charlie

Where do you want to go on vacation?  –  XtremeAir

What do you want to do when you get older? – gym teacher

If you could have any super power what would it be? –  to be able to fly


Here are more of my favorite pictures of Charlie:


Photos Charlie

Charlie holding Nola Mae

4-4-09 making firewood Charlie

Skis Charlie 1st time


My Dream Come True


life with three boys and a splash of purple!

I never imagined my life to be as good as it is today.  Well, some days I have to remind myself that my life could have turned out worse.  Especially on days when I have a  head ache, two boys playing basketball in my kitchen and one screaming because he wants the ball all the time.  Or when all three are running around in circles or playing ball tag in the house or tooting and giggling non-stop.  Believe it or not, they could be doing all these activities at the same time! Here is how it all started: When I was 19 years old I was beginning to realize that a healthy and loving relationship is possible.  These kinds of relationships really do exist in this world.   I was in college, trying to get out of a horrible relationship and trying to figure out what my major should be and what I wanted in life. I wanted a…

View original post 1,150 more words

Baby quilts

Baby quilts

I have been struggling trying to find a quilt design to make for our fourth baby.

Robbie’s baby quilt: Bears and balloons (completed before he was born)

quilt bears & balloons Robbie

I liked the idea of using Bears as a theme for Charlie’s quilt and I found this one: Bears and bow ties in Playful Patchwork Projects .


 I started this before Charlie was born and completed by his second birthday.  I loved the idea of using the same fabric as what was in Robbie’s. The ruffles were added instead of a binding because he always needed to hold onto the ruffles on my quilt when he nursed to sleep.

quilt bears with bows Charlie

Then we decided to have a third baby, Henry.

I found another bear design. The original quilt design was made out of flannel in bright girly tie-dye colors. I wasn’t interested in that. Since I already knew that Henry was a boy.

Henry’s quilt: Bears with huge hearts.   I started Henry’s quilt when he was 1.5 years old and completed when he was 2.5 years old.

quilt bears with hearts Henry

My idea was to put fabric prints in the heart spot of the things he loves.  I ran out of the pink, blue and yellow fabrics used for the older boys’ quilts. I hated making this quilt.

Now we have a fourth baby on the way.  I am having a difficult time figuring out what to do next.   I don’t feel the need to follow the Bear theme.   I would like to have a good start on this quilt before this baby arrives this spring.  I have my doubts that I will have any time for sewing once we have four children!

I recently shared some ideas in a past post.  Now I think I am ready for a vote from my friends and family!

This was my inspiration for a scrap quilt because I have tons of scraps to use came from this pattern of a table runner: 

I have spent a few hours sewing strips together, ironing and cutting out squares.  Now that I have it laid out I am not happy with how it is looking.  It looks nothing like a baby quilt to me.  I could see these squares made into bags or with more squares added it would be a nice lap quilt.   I did have fun using up all these scraps!

“Scraps Squares”

Until today I was ready to give up on this project. And sew like crazy on other fun things that I have been working on or want to make. Because if I have a girl I may want to make something really pretty with purple fabrics and if I have a boy I could make a definite “boy” quilt.


 The winner of the vote is:

This Bear quilt I found this one at http://natteringssmattering.blogspot.com/2011/06/tumbling-teddy-bears-latest-baby-quilt.html:

“Tumbling Bears”

Project 365 Week 52

Project 365 Week 52

Project 365: Take a photo a day and see your life in a whole new way.

12/26/11 (Monday) –  According to little boys, there one huge benefit of having a wood stove in your living room:  being able to roast marshmallows.  I wouldn’t call this a benefit for Moms.

12/27/11 (Tuesday) –  Christmas break has given Charlie many hours and days to play with his Legos.  He uses this box so he can build anywhere and anytime.

12/28/11 (Wednesday) – We had friends over this week.  They took a break from playing outside to read a little after Charlie’s friend fell on the ice in the driveway.

12/29/11 (Thursday) – Jack moved the Lego table out into the living room for better lighting.  Charlie found a wooden toy making book in Jack’s pile of books and wanted to build one of the wooden toys out of Legos.  (Notice the book propped up on the opposite side of the table.)  Charlie truly sees the world built in Legos and can build anything!

This is the Lego guy he built from the wooden toy book.  His creativity was contagious, I amazed myself by coming up with the idea to give this guy his eyes and mouth.

12/30/11 (Friday) –  I have been going through all my quilting books and magazines to find an idea for a baby quilt to make for the new baby.  I am looking for a design where I can use my scrap fabrics and not have to buy anything for this project.

 Awesome book:

Fresh Quilting: Fearless Color, Design, and Inspiration




12/31/11 (Saturday) –  I finished this cloth basket.  The dimensions are 16 1/2 X 16 1/2.  I have another one that I am making with different fabrics.  I haven’t been able to finish the second basket yet.  I may try a few more of these in different sizes.

The inspiration came from  Scandinavian Stitches: 21 Playful Projects with Seasonal Flair . A book I got from my library.  This book has tons of adorable projects.

 Scandinavian Stitches: 21 Playful Projects with Seasonal Flair

(Click here for a link to Amazon for the book) 

1/1/12 (Sunday) –  I have never gone shopping on New Year’s Day to hit the special sales, until today.  Hancock Fabrics had many great sales with 50% off items that have been on my wish list and $10 off this spool holder that I have been admiring for the last few months.

After our shopping trip Henry and I went to our favorite restaurant. I crave Chinese food terribly bad when I am pregnant.

This is the end of my year with Project 365 as a themed post. I am interested in continuing, but I am unsure what to call my weekly posts of stories and photos. I need to figure out how to title and categorize them so they are different from this first year. One suggestion I read on the internet was to go back and re-name each post “Project 365 Week 52 – 2011”.

Most Project 365 blogs are posting photos daily. I can’t do that! I need to keep it weekly. If anyone has any suggestions or advice I would love to hear from you! I have until next Sunday to figure this out!

Thanks for all the encouragement and comments in this first year!


Graduation Quilt – Broken Star

Graduation Quilt – Broken Star

When I was in college and struggling my mom told me that I could pick out any quilt design and she would make it for me as a graduation present.  That was just the motivation I needed.  I looked through all her quilting books and found a Broken Star pattern with solids and in rainbow like colors and loved it.

After 18 years almost to the day I received my gift.  I get teary-eyed every time I look at this quilt.  I graduated from UW-Stout on December 18, 1993 and received my graduation quilt on December 17, 2011.


 Quilt Broken Star

As you can see it is beautiful! My mom did an amazing job.

In 1993, my mom had three 5-year-old girls to take care of, farm chores to do and very little sewing and quilting was done during this time in her life.

Once the triplets were older and she got back into sewing she has made many quilts and finished quilts that she started before the triplets.  In the past couple years, since my triplet sisters have been in college, my mom has made some very beautiful quilts for others and I have forgotten about this quilt.  This Broken Star Quilt was very difficult to piece and I remember her telling me that she was struggling with it.  I have always imagined us tackling this quilt together or that one day after she died I would find this unfinished quilt and have to finish it alone.

This is my mom’s story:

“I had a little trouble finishing your graduation quilt on time. I didn’t get much quilting done for years after the triplets were born. Once I did get back into making quilts, yours got put aside while I made others; even some for you.

“In 2009, I joined the Curtiss Corners Quilt Club, and someone suggested a “Pizza Box” project for 2010. Each participant was to put a pattern, directions, and fabric in a pizza box.  At the monthly meetings a person would take someone’s box home, make a block and return the box the next meeting. By January 2011 a person would have 12 completed blocks.

“You know how I procrastinate. Well, the night before the meeting I still hadn’t decided on what I would put in my box.  I thought an easy way to do this would be to put the fabric strips for the diamond in the box.  I had 11 of the 32 diamonds completed.  I put a finished diamond in the box as a sample for people to follow, and 12 baggies – each with the fabric for one diamond… I would only need to make 9 more.

“The very next weekend my friend invited me on a weekend quilt retreat because someone in her family had cancelled at the last-minute. I was so anxious to work on the Broken Star, and suddenly it seemed possible that I might actually finish it! That weekend I got all 9 diamonds finished and I started to put it together. It was a very difficult pattern and I’ll never make another like it, but it was very fun to quilt. I finished it in June 2011 and it was shown at the August Quilt Club show. It took 3rd place in the Pizza Box Category and 1st place for all Hand Quilted entries.”

Thank you, Mom! It was worth the wait!!!

Project 365 Week 50

Project 365 Week 50

Project 365: Take a photo a day and see your life in a whole new way.

12/12/11 (Monday) –  In last week’s post I mentioned that I lost one of the bags that I made.  I did a little bit of cleaning and rearranging to get the house ready for our Christmas tree and found my rooster bag.

12/13/11 (Tuesday) – Last weekend we had our “sign-up” day for the youth ski program that I do at Iola Winter Sports Club on Saturday mornings for kids that are 10 years old and younger.  I was pleased with the numbers of new families that will join us this winter.  In order to outfit the majority of the kids in more modern cross-country ski equipment (and warmer boots) I figured out that 14 pairs of skis with 3-pin bindings needed to be converted to Salomon bindings.  Phil did all the work!  Now, we are waiting for the snow to arrive!

My friend, Kat, came over after our kids were in bed to make a tool belt for her son for Christmas.  This is the first thing she has ever made!

The tool belt is adorable!

12/14/11 (Wednesday) –  Kat and I stayed up too late last night sewing and then visiting.  My day was shot, nothing was done around here except the bare minimum and no photos were taken!

12/15/11 (Thursday) –   I seemed to have forgotten that I am growing a baby in my belly because I am still tired from my late night on Tuesday night.

I did have a little energy to go to school for the boys’ Christmas program, make dinner and test more embroidery designs that I have on my sewing machine.  So I have been turning the “tests” into bags.


12/16/11 (Friday) –  I have shared photos of this quilt in progress.  I have titled this quilt “Grandma’s Garden”.  It is getting closer to completion.  I have filled in the spacer squares with flowers that my sewing machine does, pieced it together and put the boarders on the quilt.  The next steps will be deciding on the backing, basting it together, deciding on what quilting design to use and finally quilting it.

A couple of my favorite flowers on the quilt…

12/17/11 (Saturday) – My sister, Kayla, graduated from UW-Oshkosh and is now a Registered Nurse with a full-time job!  She has decided to work in oncology.  I am very proud of her!

I graduated from college 18 years ago this weekend.  My mom gave me my graduation quilt.  It was worth the wait!  Click here to read the story on this quilt.

Quilt Broken Star


12/18/11 (Sunday) – Jack spent the afternoon in the garage forging some projects with the older boys.  Charlie and Robbie made fire pokers for themselves.

Robbie’s fire poker is the shorter one and Charlie’s is the longer one.

How many push-ups can you do?

A few years ago Jack’s cousin, Ruth shared with me the benefits of push-ups. The thought of falling and breaking my wrist or not being able to lift myself up off the ground in my old age because I don’t have the strength scared me. I guess not enough for me to keep doing push-ups back then. 

I started this push-up workout about a month ago.  I guess I am attracted to challenges (Project 365 and now http://hundredpushups.com/ ).    Each workout takes just a few minutes and only three times a week.   The website has workouts based on your ability. My inspiration came from Jack’s cousin, Jessie. If you like you can peak at Jessie’s blog: http://behindthewillows.wordpress.com/2011/02/17/push-up-report

During my initial test I could only do five!  By the end of my second day of my workouts  I was able to do six, consecutively!  Four weeks into this program I am able to do fourteen consecutive push-ups (after 12 work-outs).

Have you heard about the benefits of push-ups as we age?

After reading part of this article that I cut and pasted below, that is if I haven’t bored you already, maybe you would like to join in the fun?


In a 2001 study, researchers at East Carolina University administered push-up tests to about 70 students ages 10 to 13. Almost half the boys and three-quarters of the girls didn’t pass.
Push-ups are important for older people, too. The ability to do them more than once and with proper form is an important indicator of the capacity to withstand the rigors of aging.

Researchers who study the biomechanics of aging, for instance, note that push-ups can provide the strength and muscle memory to reach out and break a fall. When people fall forward, they typically reach out to catch themselves, ending in a move that mimics the push-up. The hands hit the ground, the wrists and arms absorb much of the impact, and the elbows bend slightly to reduce the force.

In studies of falling, researchers have shown that the wrist alone is subjected to an impact force equal to about one body weight, says James Ashton-Miller, director of the biomechanics research laboratory at the University of Michigan.

“What so many people really need to do is develop enough strength so they can break a fall safely without hitting their head on the ground,” Dr. Ashton-Miller said. “If you can’t do a single push-up, it’s going to be difficult to resist that kind of loading on your wrists in a fall.”

And people who can’t do a push-up may not be able to help themselves up if they do fall.

“To get up, you’ve got to have upper-body strength,” said Peter M. McGinnis, professor of kinesiology at State University of New York College at Cortland who consults on pole-vaulting biomechanics for U.S.A. Track and Field, the national governing body for track.

Natural aging causes nerves to die off and muscles to weaken. People lose as much as 30 percent of their strength between 20 and 70. But regular exercise enlarges muscle fibers and can stave off the decline by increasing the strength of the muscle you have left.

Women are at a particular disadvantage because they start off with about 20 percent less muscle than men. Many women bend their knees to lower the amount of weight they must support. And while anybody can do a push-up, the exercise has typically been part of the male fitness culture. “It’s sort of a gender-specific symbol of vitality,” said R. Scott Kretchmar, a professor of exercise and sports science at Penn State. “I don’t see women saying: ‘I’m in good health. Watch me drop down and do some push-ups.’ ”

Based on national averages, a 40-year-old woman should be able to do 16 push-ups and a man the same age should be able to do 27. By the age of 60, those numbers drop to 17 for men and 6 for women. Those numbers are just slightly less than what is required of Army soldiers who are subjected to regular push-up tests.

If the floor-based push-up is too difficult, start by leaning against a countertop at a 45-degree angle and pressing up and down. Eventually move to stairs and then the floor.

Are you still with me?  Anyone want to start doing push-ups?