August 2014

August 2014

A moment when everyone was getting along nicely!

4 kids talking

Charlie is thrilled about his candy DNA he made in summer school.  I had to take this photo for Aunt Danna who is studying Bio-Chemistry at UW-Madison.

Charlie Science

Charlie celebrated his 9th birthday.

charlie bday cake 9 yr

Mask making:

 

blue tape mask

blue tape mask 4 kids

 

We biked to Big Falls this summer for the first time.  Round trip was 16.5 miles.

We went to the Sweet Shoppe for some games and ice cream.

 

 

big falls sweet shop

 

big falls playground

big falls waterfall

 

Charlie’s new hair cut – trim at the beauty solon.

 

 

charlie long hair

 

Then a buzz cut from Papa:

charlie short hair

 

This hen has always acted “broody” so I decided to give it a try to let her hatch some eggs.  I expect chicks any day.

 

chicken coop hatching eggs

Nola Mae loves to come to the chicken coop with me.  She has figured out how to climb so she can collect eggs.

chicken coop Nola Mae

My garden is doing well:

Garlic crop was a success.  I am not sure how many pounds I grew this year.

 

garden garlic 2014

I was able to recruit some helpers for the peeling and trimming jobs.

garden garlic cleaning

garden garlic trim

We got a lot of rain this month.  I didn’t get out to the garden to pick my green beans for a few days.  I was surprised with an 11.5 inch long green bean.

  garden forgotten green bean

We found this cute frog in my purple cone flowers.

garden frog purple coneflower

I have lots of corn in the freezer, about 120 cups.

garden corn

I did some dyeing this month, check out my post Dye Projects – August.

These dyed items found new homes this month:

dye clothes

 

Granny visited us for Charlie’s birthday.  Nola Mae put her glasses on.

   Nola Mae Granny glasses

Napping Nola Mae.

Nola Mae sleeping

A common scene at our house.

Play house swing

I made a new soap this month:

Tea tree and lavender essential oils with ground Calendula flowers.

soap calendula lavender & tea tree

My very popular soap:

Orange and cinnamon, swirled this time.

soap cinnamon orange

Playing on the sinking canoe is always a lot of fun!

sunset sunk canoe

I made this wrap for someone, 100% linen, color is honeysuckle and beautiful!

wrap 100% linen honeysuckle

I had to try it out!

wrap 100% linen honeysuckle action

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May 2014

May 2014

No matter where her owie is the band-aid goes on her face.

Nola Mae Band aids

 

In 4th grade the kids put on a “manufacturing day”.  They manufacture items to sell to the rest of the elementary school.  Robbie recycled crayons into Lego shaped guys and into flowers and stars and made stuffed monster faces.

Manufacturing day Lot

 

Manufacturing day Monsters

Manufacturing day table

We planned a last-minute picnic lunch with our moms for Mother’s Day.

Mother's Day photo 1

My mom stayed for the whole day, so we went for a bike ride with my mom, Robbie, with Henry on the tag-along and Nola Mae in the Burley.

Mother's Day photo

Robbie’s class had a field trip to Madison.  We rode a hot steamy bus together for a total of 5 hours, I quilted for 4.5 of those hours while visiting with him and got a little cuddle time after a long day.

Madison bus w Robbie

 We toured the capital.

Madison Capitol

 

We went to the Wisconsin Historical Museum  – a beautiful place!   I was impressed by how much Robbie had learned in school before this trip.  When we toured the Capitol the kids already knew a lot about the history of our state and about what happens in the Capital.   I first realized this when we were at the museum, Robbie and I walked into a section about Aztalan.  As soon as he saw this area he said, “Oh!  Aztalan, I know all this!”   I pointed out that we need to appreciate this stuff and we needed to walk around and look at all the cool tools in person, not just in books!

While I was on the field trip, Jack stayed home with Henry and Nola Mae.   He took these photos:

Madison H & NM

 Jack finished planting 175 trees this month with Henry’s help.

Jack's day planting trees

 They worked on firewood and made a big pile in the woods.  Henry told me the pile took a lot of work because it is taller than him.

Jack's day firewood

Charlie & Nola Mae soccer

Piano Henry & Nola Mae

Robbie and I met Jack and the kids at piano lessons.  During Robbie’s lesson we walked around town.  I was there when Jack took this photo of Charlie.

Iola Charlie bench

When I was looking at photos from this day I knew this is one I wanted to include in my blog and save in my memory forever!  Because he is looking directly at me, giving me a look I don’t see very often: “love”.  He is the boy that seems to dislike me the most.   I wasn’t talking about candy, minecraft, ice cream, or legos.  We were just looking at each other.  I was thankful for Jack being there because I could hear him taking pictures of something during this look between me and Charlie and I was hoping it was of Charlie.

Iola Little Shivers

 

 We had a rummage sale during our town’s city-wide rummage.  It was a one day sale for us, with constant people coming from 7:30 am – 3:30 pm.  I thought it was worth it and very successful.  But there was still a lot of stuff left.   I was able to invite a few friends over to take one last peek.  Then I loaded it all up and took a full car load to St. Vinnie’s in Plover.

St Vinnie load 1

St Vinnie load 2

St Vinnie load 3

This small load went to friends who couldn’t come check out my stuff but had a “wish list”.

St Vinnie load Friends

We were talking about going on a bike trip and Nola Mae found all our bright-colored biking vest and put them on and told me she was ready.

bike Tomorrow river trail getting ready

 Jack took many pictures and even put together an awesome video from our bike trip on the Tomorrow River Bike trail from Amherst to Scandinavia.

bike Tomorrow river trail

 My mother-in-law would say, “there is some kind of learning going on here.”  These were very old and stale taco shells I found in the cupboard.  I had them on the counter and Nola Mae brought the stool to the counter, pulled out the potato masher and just started mashing them.  It kept her busy while I did my stuff and the mess wasn’t too bad.

Nola Mae potato smasher

 She asked for this “hair band aid”, honestly, it wasn’t my idea!

Nola Mae 1st ponie tail

 Henry and Nola Mae were in the yard getting blankets and books ready for reading in the shade.  Henry came into the house and asked me if he could take the camera outside to take a picture of Nola Mae being cute.  This is one of his photos.

Nola Mae

 My car was in the repair shop last week.  The day it was ready to come home Jack drove the truck to his friend’s house and got a ride the rest of the way to work.   Henry and I biked 10 miles to their house to pick up the truck.  If I was thinking ahead I would have put Nola Mae’s car seat in the truck, instead we had to pack it in the Burley.  Henry talked the entire way,  peddled hard up and down the hills, especially when a scary dog came after us.

Bike to Big Falls Gene's

 

Bike to Big Falls Picnic

 

 We couldn’t pass Big Falls without checking out the water and

Bike to Big Falls Water H

 getting our feet wet.

Bike to Big Falls Water NM

We had a little extra time before the boys got home from school to drive to the neighboring sawmill for some bark mulch – $40 for a truck load.  I think I could have gotten a better deal if I planned a head and went when the guy I know was working.

Wood chips

 Nola Mae and I took  a short trip to Milwaukee for my cousin’s baby shower.  I made her this ring sling this winter, dyed it with snow, Flamingo Pink and Sunflower Yellow (Dylon Dye).

snow dye ring sling pink & yellow snow dyed pink & yellow ring sling in action

Nola Mae and I had a wonderful visit with my Dad and Step-mom, Lynn.

Dad's swing

Dad's Marbles

 We went for a walk and Nola Mae found a dead bird.  Against my Dad’s suggestion she still picked it up and looked at it.

Dad's dead bird Nola Mae

Dad's yard pole Nola Mae2

Dad's yard pole Nola Mae

The boys will be done with school on June 12th.  I am pretty excited about the things we will do this summer.  I have plans for everyone to make a “wish list” of the goals they have, the things they want to do, and where they want to go.

 

July 2013 – Month 7

July 2013 – Month 7

My Uncle Carl from California came to visit this month.  He was able to spend an afternoon/evening at our house.  Nola Mae warmed up to him very quickly.

uncle carl & Nola Mae

Our family went to Big Falls to play in the rapids on a really hot day.  It was the busiest I have ever seen the place.  There were about 30 other people there, usually we are the only ones.  There is a zip-line there where most of the people were.  I would love for the boys to try it some day.

big falls four kids

Just so you know, when Jack went down these rapids his butt dragged the whole time.

big falls Charlie

Nola Mae enjoyed the refreshing feel of the water.

big falls Nola Mae

Good things come in threes:

1)  Jack installed my new clothes line.

clothes line on silo

2)  Jack built a gate for us (my request).  For some reason our road is a toddler magnet.  Every one of our kids loved sprinting to the road.  Maybe it is the thrill of Mama or Papa chasing after them.

Gate for Nola Mae

We have had the W-9 since our first year living here.  It was a tractor of Jack’s dad’s.  We used it to break ground for our veggie garden and that is about it.  It is a big tractor.

Tractor W-9 & kids

We also owned a Farmall H that was useful to us for moving firewood and cleaning the barn.  We decided to sell them both.  It was sad for me to see them go.

Tractor W-9 & H loaded up

3)  I have been trying to convince Jack for at least the last five years to buy me a skid steer.

skid steer

I found some hay!  I am thinking this will be the last winter I buy hay for my horse.  She may need to die or find a new home.  I have fond memories of all the sweat and dust of baling hay on my Step-Dad’s farm.  I had a fun time with Robbie and Charlie going to get this hay.  I pulled them away from the computer to help me one evening.  We drove to the field where the hay was baled and loaded up two loads of 25 bales each.   And then they helped unload it.  In the truck on the way to get our second load Charlie said, “This is fun!”

bales boys unloading

Henry helped unload the second load in the morning.  And helped with stacking it in the basement of the barn.

 bales Henry

My friends and I ordered a total of 170 pounds of blueberries from Country Corner Sales for $2.05/lb.  Last year I paid $2.53/lb.   Not very often can you say, “The price went down this year!”   The pick-you-own blueberry farm is charging $2.50/lb ($0.25 more than what they charged last year).

Blueberry boxes 2013

Nola Mae thought she had her own box.

Blueberry Nola Mae 2013

I harvested my garlic this month and wrote about our garden.

garlic harvest 2013

I boiled eggs one day and went outside before they were ready to be taken off the heat.  I got this exploded egg.  It looks like a chicken head to me.  What do you see?

egg boiled oozing

Charlie has been wanting to bike to town (a round trip is 10 miles) all summer.  We have only done a 4.5 mile loop in our neighborhood a few times.  With complaints and many water stops most of the way.   On this day I added a 2 mile loop, totaling 6.5 miles, to test them out for a trip to town.  I hooked up the train for a bike ride.  Henry on the tag-along attached to my bike and Nola Mae in the Burley attached to the tag-along.  Robbie couldn’t find his shoes so he biked in socks.  Charlie was just plain crabby about the whole idea.

bike train

The 6.5 miles wasn’t that bad after we were done.

A few days later, we went to town on our bikes.  Charlie was pumped.  Robbie was tired before we started.  They raced almost the whole way and I had a hard time keeping up with them.  It took us 36 minutes to go the 5 miles.

bike to town picnic

We had a picnic at the park, then dropped off some of my healing balm at a friend’s house and at the pharmacy.  The pharmacist is testing it to see if they want to stock it on their shelves.   We went to the library for some books on CD for our trip to Milwaukee and then to the ice cream shop.

bike to town ice cream shop

On the way home Charlie was so tired I considered dropping his bike off at my friend’s house (3 miles from our house), putting Henry in the trailer with Nola Mae and having Charlie ride on the tag-along.   Nola Mae was sleeping and Charlie seemed better after more water.  When we were two miles from home Charlie figured out a way to hold onto the bike trailer/stroller’s handle bars with one hand and his handle bars with the other.  He peddled while holding on and there were times I could feel him pushing me and other times when I was pulling him.  He said he would let go when a car was coming and while going up and down the hills.  I could have sworn he was holding on when we were climbing that last hill to our house and I looked back and he wasn’t.   Henry is a good peddler on the tag-along.  It took us 48 minutes to get home.

Often I find Nola Mae walking around with a pen ( or whatever writing utensil she can find) and paper.  Maybe she will be a writer.  She sat with Java for a long time as if she was interviewing her.

Nola Mae & Java

My friend, Lynn, gave me this cute dress for Nola Mae.  I have been wanting to take a cute picture of her in the dress for Lynn.  Nola Mae has been getting the dress dirty before I could get a photo taken.  This is an example of how quick I can be with the camera.  I was in the kitchen, my camera is usually there, I turned around and saw Nola Mae doing this…

Nola Mae on chair

I was admiring how well Nola Mae was playing with this car,

Nola Mae drives tractor

and the next thing she did was take a drink out of this little puddle on the deck.

Nola Mae thirsty

Nola Mae comes out the chicken coop with me often, she is usually on my back, this time she was walking with me.  I feed them and then collect the eggs, so I am not tripping over them or getting pecked when I am stealing eggs.  Nola Mae decided to eat with the chickens.

Nola Mae eating w chickens

Henry is teaching her how to climb ladders.

Nola Mae ladder

I have a friend who got married the same weekend as the Liver Walk.  Earlier this year she asked me if I was interested in making her wedding cake.   I seriously considered it.  I knew she was having a small wedding and she would be the kind of bride I could work with.  My only concern was having the time to make the cake.   During the week of her wedding I was sad to not be making her wedding cake.  I started making a triple layered 9 inch round cake for my nephew’s graduation party.  I needed Nola Mae to be busy for a little while so I could mix the cake by letting her play with the water on a chair AT the sink.  NOT in the sink!

  Nola Mae in sink

Henry was doing a great job reading to Nola Mae.  I was impressed with how well he knew the right sounds and words to Mr. Brown can MOO, can you?

Henry reading

Nola Mae wanted to hold the book and Henry didn’t like that idea.  They both were happier once Nola Mae had her own book to hold.

Henry reading 2

Jack made this beautiful box for Nola Mae.

box Nola Mae

We went to the Liver Walk and had a graduation party for my nephew afterwards. 

Liver walk 2013

I made snake bubbles and they were a hit with all the little kids and even the big kids. 

Liver Walk 2013 bubbles K

Liver Walk 2013 bubbles Ali

Liver Walk 2013 bubbles Kayla & Ali

How to make snake bubbles: 

  • Cut off the bottom of a plastic bottle (soda or water bottle).
  • Cut an old sock just before the heel, so you are using the toe and foot part of the sock to cover the bottom of your bottle.
  • Secure the sock on the bottle with a rubber band.  Since I was traveling and making these a head of time, I also put duct tape over the rubber band.
  • Soap mixture was 1 parts Dawn dish soap and 2 parts water.
  • Dip the bottom of the bottle in the soap mixture and blow.

Note:  Smaller kids may suck in while blowing and swallow or breath in bubbles.  Henry will tell you that is YUCKY!

For colored snake bubbles click here.

Since the skid steer has arrived a lot of projects have been getting done around our yard.

Rock wall 1

Rock Wall 2

Rock wall Nola Mae

skid steer Nola Mae

I have gotten braver with my soaps.  I purchased more essential oils this spring and made this soap in early June.  It turned out beautiful, this has cinnamon and orange essential oils with ground cinnamon.  If you like cinnamon smelling things you would love this!

soap cinnamon orange

Sewing projects this month:

Tooth pillows for a sister and brother.

tooth pillow maddie  tooth pillow alek

A TNT pillow case inspired by Minecraft for one of Robbie’s friends.

pillow case TNT Landon

I made a Mei Tai for a friend’s sister.

Mei Tai kid size

Three beautiful ring slings.

ring sling brown w green steph  ring sling green w br steph  ring sling plum Pam

I bought this fabric at a rummage sale.  It is the perfect weave for a wrap.  I serged the edges and used it for weeks until I finally hemmed it.

Wrap DIY shorty Ruck Under Bum (RUB)  wrap DIY woven naptime

It is shorter than my other wraps and there is only enough room for me to do a Rucksack carry tied under the bum (A.K.A. RUB).  I have learned that I love it for very fast ups and downs and escaping out from the fabric when laying down Nola Mae.

Wrap DIY shorty I escaped

I have another picture of her sweetness in my light rainbow wrap.

wrap light rainbow naptime

I am in a babywearing group on facebook.  Each week they do a “carry of the week”.   A great way to learn a new carry or in this case a new tie off.  This is a double hammock carry with a salt water tie with my Zara Velvet wrap.

Wrap Zara Velevet Salt Water double hammock

My favorite pictures of the month:

baby wearing sibling Ergo Charlie

baby wearing sibling Ergo Charlie woods

Robbie fancy moves

Nola Mae wheel

Nola Mae fence

Week 37 – September 10 – 16, 2012

Week 37 – September 10 – 16, 2012

(Completed on 11/27/12)

Henry’s first day of pre-school.  He goes to school every Tuesday and Thursday mornings.   His smile does show his excitement because he has been waiting to go to school like the big boys for over a year!

Charlie reading to Robbie after school.

We had some dry days for my mullein to dry quickly.

 Reading on the deck.

  I peeled and froze my tomatoes until I could can them at a later date.  This is one of my favorite jobs.

 Entertainment in the parking lot while Papa went into the store.

We tested Nola Mae in my jogging stroller/bike trailer.  She is still too small.

Since I am behind in my blogging this is old news…the progress of the kayak as of mid-September the top of the kayak was started.

We had one last chance to go to our favorite place before the water started to get too cold for swimming.

(Charlie)

(Robbie)

Week 32 – August 6 – 12, 2012

Week 32 – August 6 – 12, 2012

Henry and I took a road trip this week.  He complained that the sun was in his eyes and “looking at Nola Mae isn’t working.”  I usually suggest that he look at Nola Mae, who is to the left of him,  when the sun is in his eyes because it isn’t too long until we change directions on the road.   My suggestion really wasn’t working because we were driving north for a long time and the sun wasn’t moving.  I gave him one of Nola Mae’s hats to cover his eyes.

When we got home he put one of his hats in my bag so it is with us next time.

We picked the older boys up from summer school and went to the Big Falls hydro dam for a picnic lunch and some adventures.  The water is so low we can walk on the rocks everywhere.  You can see the water lines on the rocks in this picture of Henry to get a feel for the low water level.

The dam was turned off so I let them swim over by the rope swing.  There were people going off the rope swing.  It was very entertaining and I may be brave enough to do it if I can talk Jack into coming with us.

While the boys played in the rapids and on the rocks I was able to find a big indent in a one of the boulders and make a nest for Nola Mae.  And it was shady!

While we were there playing in our normal spot where I think it is safe a grandma and grandpa showed up with two grandkids.  They were letting them slide down this big rock into the swirly waters that make me nervous.   I guess with the water being so low this spot makes for an awesome slide.

And the water is about chest deep for Charlie.  They had so much fun!  Unfortunately this is a sunny spot.   We didn’t stay long but I promised we would come back as long as we didn’t get any rain.

The reason for my road trip…to pick up my newest wrap.  This woven wrap is designed in Norway by a company called Ellevill Wraps of Norway.  My wrap is a Zara Velvet.   I purchased  this wrap from a mama in the UK and split the shipping cost with someone else who was also buying a wrap from the same person.

I didn’t love it at first because it seemed to have more pink in the weaves than what I saw in the photo!  It is growing on me and has sort of satisfied my craving for more purple in my life.

My dream purple wrap is a Zara Tri Purple or a Zara Aubergin (if you have a minute you can search Google Images for those two).

Aunt Danna is finally home!  She was gone for a year living in MT working for AmeriCorps.  In my opinion this was the best time to meet Nola Mae.  She was awake and full of smiles for Aunt Danna!

Robbie loves experiments.  He has lots of plans for many different inventions and experiments.  I don’t like them because there is a mess and usually wasted food.  I let them do just about anything in the kitchen.  They learn so much and they are expected to clean up after themselves.  The boys wanted to make jello for dinner.  So I let them pick the flavor and they each made their own dish.  Robbie mixed two tablespoons of every jello flavor I have.  I don’t buy the boxed jello, I buy it in a bag – the directions are 1/3 heaping cup to 1 cup of boiling water and 1 cup of cold water.  He said it turned out pretty yummy.  I have about 7 different flavors and his turned out dark green and sort of brownish looking.  I didn’t try it.  I probably should have.

Robbie had a friend’s birthday party, his first sleepover.  I am almost through all of their friends for giving a pillow case with their name on it.  I don’t know what I will do for gifts next year.

Robbie has been wanting to make a parachute all summer.  I am not sure if he was imagining one for his body or a toy.   We searched the internet for parachute ideas and directions.  While I made the pillow case he made his parachute.  It turned out so nice he made one for his friend and we wrapped a package of gum to the parachute.

I am not sure if everyone knows that Jack started a big project this summer.  (Now everyone will know.)  He is making a cedar strip kayak for our family.  If he doesn’t mind I will share more progress photos of the kayak.

Henry and Nola Mae sleeping while I work on the computer in the wee hours of the morning.

Week 25 – June 18 – 24, 2012

Week 25 – June 18 – 24, 2012

Monday, June 18th:  We rented our field out this year to a neighbor who planted clover, peas and wheat.  His bales look like this and the boys call them marshmallows (Henry calls them Mr Ernst’s hashmallows).

My peas are blooming and producing

and our strawberries are coming to an end.

Tuesday, June 19th:  We got to see our favorite singer/song writer/performer, Tom Pease, at our favorite library today.   I fell in love with him when I saw him for the first time eight years ago.  He is very special to everyone that knows him, look at the handsome smiles he can produce:


If you haven’t seen him in person, you should!  You can check out his summer schedule on his website (click here) or watch a YouTube video of him (click here).  Warning:  most YouTube videos of him are not as great as seeing him in person.  He is awesome in person! And you MUST see him if he is in your area!  (BJ – notice the schedule for June 27th and the end of July – you too, Jessie).  A few of my favorite songs are:  “Love Grows” and “What does your mama do?”  Robbie’s favorite song is “Everybody started out small”  I think because of these words in the song:  “Your mom and dad, seem so giant   they seem so strong and self reliant   but they used to wear diapers and they used to crawl   but everybody everybody everybody everybody   everybody started out small.”

 Wednesday, June 20th: Vacation Bible School was this week in the evenings.  The boys loved it.  Especially on the night they did the slip-n-slide in the cemetery.

They decorated a bucket for the campfire service on Friday night.

 Thursday, June 21st:  The two big boys went to Noah’s Ark for the day with Vacation Bible School.  Henry and I went to the baby support group for a weight check for Nola Mae.  She lost weight in the last week.  The picture I would post here for that would be of a very sad, frustrated and disappointed mama.  My friends were going to be at Sunset Lake today and I wanted/needed to see them after the news of Nola Mae’s weight loss.   Henry and I went to Sunset Lake in the afternoon.  This was our first day at the beach.  Nola Mae got her toes wet, she didn’t like it at first.

Henry was very excited to see friends and spent more time in the sand than in the water.

 Friday, June 22nd:   The temps were a little cooler today and I decided to bake.  I had high hopes of getting a lot done.  (I must have forgotten that four children live here!)  I baked a double batch of these chocolate chip cookies that have garbanzo beans and quinoa in them.  And then a batch of these strawberry mini-cupcakes with strawberry frosting.  I have a good stash of these cookies in the freezer and all the cupcakes were eaten at church!

 

 Saturday, June 23rd:  Jack and Robbie went to Owen to spend the rest of the weekend with Jack’s grandparents.  Charlie sobbed for many minutes because he was missing Robbie.  I thought this was the perfect time to get out the modeling clay I bought.

I bought some wool at the local art store and attempted to felt it on some of my soap.  I have a few other projects in mind and needed to experiment with my soaps first.

It wasn’t bedtime yet and I needed Charlie and Henry to burn some energy.  I suggested they check some of the blue bird houses while I finished the outside chores.  They were down in the field and I heard Henry screaming.  Which usually means that someone (Charlie) is teasing him.  When I looked down the hill I saw that Charlie was a head of Henry and stopped and gave Henry a piggyback ride.

 Sunday, June 24th:  We went to the pond in Big Falls for some fishing, which didn’t last long.  I wasn’t ready to go home so I suggested we go to the hydro dam to check out the water falls.  The water was low enough that we could play around on the rocks.

And the big boys could play in the current.  Robbie was sliding down this rock and floating into the little pond.  I would love to do this someday when everyone is old enough to do it.  I’m afraid by the time Nola Mae is old enough I have a feeling this will be BORING for Robbie and Charlie.