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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March 2014

 March 2014

March was a month full of many highs and many emotionally draining sad days.

Nola Mae’s Christmas gift from Uncle Eddie and Auntie Kay arrived this month.

Nola Mae's Kitchen

Nola Mae dressed herself like this one day.

Nola Mae clothes

My cousin Eric passed away this month after battling brain cancer for over six years.

Eric Hamm & family

This one is one of his daughter, Ashlee’s favorite pictures.

Eric Hamm

Eric was a great cousin to my brother, they were close in age and had made a lot of fun adventurous memories together – no mom would ever want to hear those stories.  Eric, his brother Travis and my brother, Steve, were mostly annoying little boys to me when I lived on the farm.  I do remember thinking those little Hamm boys were cute, sometimes.  Eric grew up to become a kind, loving, hardworking, generous man who was a loving husband and father.  He helped my Step-Dad farm, they had breakfast together almost every morning and was the best nephew and friend anyone could ever ask for.  Because we have two cousins named Eric in our family, he is called  “Grandpa Jerry’s Eric” who gives tractor rides by Henry.  Eric was wonderful with Henry and kept him in the combine with him for a very long time.

Eric Hamm & Henry combine

Here is a story that was played on Wausau Channel 7:  http://www.wsaw.com/home/headlines/We-Are-9-1-1—Fire-Fighters-251835861.html?device=phone#.Uy-6_COhLbt.facebook

Nola Mae had a bit of one on one time with her cousin Joey when we were home for Eric’s funeral.

cousin Joey

 There were many pairs of dress shoes in the entry way at my Mom’s house.   I asked Nola Mae to put her shoes away and she found this comfy spot in Ben’s shoes.

Shoes Ben & Nola Mae

 

 I was able to ski with two of my sisters in the same day this winter.  Becca is training for the Ironman race this fall, so we were required to skiing for at least 1.5 hours.  Kayla’s brilliant idea was to make Becca pull Nola Mae in the sled.  I felt like I was flying on my skis!

skiing sisters

 

 Getting ready for a ski. skiing sled

 

Nola Mae strap and ready for a nap in the sled.

skiing ready in sled

We skied backwards on the trails today for the Ski Backwards Party (annual spring party) . I was cruising and debating which way to go because the difficult uphill climbs are really awesome downhills during this springtime party. Just as I was bringing myself back to reality that I can’t ski ALL the trails today while pulling Nola Mae because she will wake up soon. She started screaming. I looked into the sled and saw her hands were out of her gloves and they were freezing! I sat in the snow bank next to the trail and put both of her hands in my stinky arm pits and nursed her until she was happy and her fingers were warm again. I have nursed all my kids on the ski trails at some point and can remember each time. Because it always involved screaming and a really good ski.

 

skiing milkies break

 When Henry saw our shadow he said it looked like a “two-headed monster.”

skiing 2 headed skiing monster

 

skiing shadows

We hit a beautiful spring day for skiing a couple times this month.  One that is memorable to me is a day that I was unable to convince Henry to take the blue and black trails with me.  He told me “you do the blue loop and I’ll do the green loop.”  There have been times this winter that he skied ahead of me, while I packed Nola Mae into the sled, so maybe a 7 minute head start.  Last year when he was almost 4 years old he left the chalet and headed out on the green trail without telling me.  I had many skiers looking for him for me and he was pretty far out there (for a kid that was almost 4) when someone found  him and directed him back to the chalet.  One day we skied together to the shelter taking our blue loop short cut.  With the promise that I would pull him up the big hill.

Here he is getting pulled down the hill to the shelter.

skiing spring

Once we arrived at the shelter I got him comfortable with snacks and did a small loop around the shelter area multiple times.

 skiing shelter snack time

 

 On another day, we went separate ways with the plan to meet at the shelter.  I skied as fast as I could up the biggest hill on the blue loop to meet him back at the shelter.  He told me he would play around on the hill by the shelter and that he would eat his snacks when he got tired.   It was nice to get outside for the fresh air, exercise, a nap for Nola Mae and Henry getting a boost of independence because he is a big boy!

 

My friend, Michelle, has been a good source of hand-me-downs to our family, was doing some cleaning.  She had this electric guitar that was a little broken and no being loved by her boys anymore.  She wondered if Jack could fix it and would we want it?  I thought, “what the heck”, maybe Jack would want it!  When Jack came home I was a little nervous about what he would say to me adding to his list of things to fix.  His eyes lit up and he told me he was actively looking for a used electric guitar on craig’s list.   Jack was able to fix it and it is being played often at our house.

Henry guitar

Robbie found this thin piece of ice outside and was very excited to show me and have me guess what shape it is.  Can you guess?

WI shaped ice

Before one of the snows we got this month a chicken came out of the barn and was walking around in the yard.  When I tried to “shoo” her back to the barn by the others she insisted on walking to the road, crossed it and there was no way I was going after her then.  I said my good byes and wrote her off as a dead chicken.   Especially when I woke up two days later to find snow on the ground.   Later in the day, Nola Mae was in the living room telling me that there was a chicken outside.  I didn’t believe her and told her that chicken is probably dead.  I looked out the window, she was right, there was a live chicken out there!

lost chicken

I got a piece of bread and caught her!

lost chicken catch

This photo was taken just before my most recent This Moment post titled “Trust”.  Henry helped Nola Mae climb the big snow bank and then she wanted to get down and he was going to help her.

helping

 

 Every chance Nola Mae gets she goes outside.  She often asks to go outside.  This is her first time going to the shop to see Papa all by herself.  I remember each boys’ first trip to the shop without help.  I may even have pictures of them doing it like this one.

Nola Mae heading to shop

 When there are still snow banks you can sled!

spring time sledding hill

 The boys had a blast during the last weekend of their spring break sledding down this snow bank into the muddy grass and muddy puddle.  I actually have great videos.

And when we go hiking in the field for one last sledding adventure sometime you have to pull the sled through the mud and grass.

spring time sledding

Babywearing:

 I had an awesome morning in the sewing room! Nola Mae was on my sewing table twice and the rest of the time she played nicely.  (I say that because she didn’t tip anything over or knock all my bobbins and spools of thread on the floor.)  Nola Mae found a long piece of cheetah fabric and wanted “wrap!” It was too short for us so I suggested she get her baby. She went upstairs by herself to get the baby and we wrapped the baby.

babywearing Nola Mae doll

One day Nola Mae wasn’t taking a nap.  I suggested she get wrapped on my back while we work in the sewing room.  She agreed and within minutes she was sleeping!

Ellevill Jack blue eyes   Ellevill Jack sleeping

 Dyeing projects:

I shared the start of this rainbow ice dye in last month’s post.

This is what I got!

A women’s XL shirt, newborn nightgown, 2T turtle neck, 5T cotton dress shirt, newborn onesise, a pre-fold diaper,

ice dye raibow project

Dylon Dye – 2 packs of tulip red, 1 pack of goldfish orange, sunflower yellow, dark green, ocean blue and intense violet.

A ring sling piece or material for a skirt, and

ice dye raibow ring sling

a piece of cotton quilting white on white fabric 54 X 54.

ice dye rainbow quilt fabric

An ice dye of china blue and ocean blue dyes for this ring sling piece.

 ice dye china blue & ocean blue ring sling fabric ice dye china blue & ocean blue ring sling

The shirt is how I envisioned the ring sling to turn out, with less splotches and less purple.   The cloth napkin sat in the dye that dripped into the bin.

ice dye china blue & ocean blue shirt & napkin

Sewing:

I had extra squares from my scrap quilt that I am making and made this trivet.

                  trivet square scraps

 Henry found this scrap piece and wanted me to make him a teenage mutant ninja turtle mask.

teenage mutant ninja turtle mask

October 2013 – Month 10

October 2013 – Month 10

Fall is one of my favorite seasons.  For many reasons…cooler temps, beautiful colors, yummy apples, my fall projects are so much fun, and winter is almost here.

Fall trees

We (mostly I) picked all the apples off our trees.  One of my biggest fall projects is to make applesauce.  I am hoping a lot of these apples will get eaten!

apples in garage 2013

I waited to pick the last batch of apples after a few good frosts.  I needed to wait until most of the hornets were dead.  The hornets were horrible around the apples.   If I didn’t pick up the windfall apples every day they would be covered with hornets.  I found a few of these apples still on the tree where the hornets ate everything but the skin.

empty apple

This fall I placed an olive oil order for my friends and family.   I bottled up about 12 gallons.

Olive oil 2013

Toddlers in our house are hard on glasses.  When Henry was two he flushed my glasses down the toilet.  Nola Mae recently did this.

bent glasses

My second favorite fall project is planting garlic.  This year I planted 3 1/2 pounds of garlic = 340 cloves.  I expect to get more than 11 pounds of garlic next summer.

garlic to plant

My garlic space, before picture.

Garlic 1

After tilling and raking those nasty weeds.

garlic 3 spot chicken

Since garlic planting takes me about three days to get done because of the distractions I have.  Nola Mae watched the chickens taking dirt baths in the garden and she would copy them

garlic 2 helper

And so did Henry.  He came into the house to show me how clean he was after his dirt bath.

scrub w dirt

Almost done!

garlic 3

My best helpers!

planting garlic

Charlie has had some trouble with a boy in his class not being nice to him.  It has gone on since last year.  The first time I was aware of him was last year in 1st grade.  On morning I walked Charlie to his locker and was hanging out.  This little boy arrived and as they were taking off their coats he  called Charlie some horrible name I think it was “stupid idiot”, right in front of me.  I was shocked and told him what I thought about it in the nicest way I could come up with.

This month this boy drew a very nice picture of a dragon and gave it to Charlie.  The nicest thing he has ever done to Charlie.  I was excited about that.  Charlie said he just wanted to throw the picture away because Kris isn’t nice and why would he want to keep anything from him.  I explained to Charlie that if he did something nice back, like draw him a picture or write him a thank you note maybe Kris would feel some love and try being more kind.  Charlie was not excited about that at all!    He wrote this:

Charlie's note to Kris

Kris has been more kind to Charlie but not 100% of the time.   Charlie is watching him, calling him on his behavior and is making sure the teachers are aware of the times Kris hurts someone.

This month was the last time I hung the diapers on the line to dry.  My last load took three days to dry.  And the sun is definitely not strong enough to do any bleaching!

Diapers last load of the season

One of our kind neighbors gave us a basket full of goodies with directions and a note to pass the Boo-ed on to another neighbor.

Boo-ed to us

I asked the boys what neighbor we should do this back to, they suggested the newest neighbors that we haven’t met yet.  We waited until it was dark and dropped this basket of goodies off on their door step.

  Boo-ed

Nola Mae’s way of playing Legos with Robbie.

lego table

Nola Mae at 18 months:

Nola Mae Smiles 1

Aunt Carol made this beautiful dress for Nola Mae.

Nola Mae turquosie dress

Nola Mae hiding the deodorant container that she is playing with.

Nola Mae hiding

I have made kale chips for me and Nola Mae to eat.  One batch was a little oily.  She must have felt the need for some moisturizer.

Nola Mae face kale chips

I am not sure how the bowl of applesauce got on her head and face, well and everywhere else.

Nola Mae face applesauce

Nola Mae likes to put on the boys’ underwear and likes to try to catch chickens to hug them.

chicken hug

Henry went with Jack pheasant hunting in North Dakota:

ND Jack & Henry

They were gone for eight days.  Henry had a wonderful time.  I am not surprised because he didn’t have to share Papa, Grandma Hanna and Grandpa Rob with any other kids.

ND Breakfast

ND exercises

ND napping

ND reading

ND Henry Sky 1

ND skidsteer

ND Henry w birds

Charlie actually missed Henry.  When they came home Charlie ran out to greet them and carried all their bags into the house.

ND Charlie unpacking

Baby wearing:

Nola Mae has learned to multi-task like me.  Dishes while wearing her baby.

Nola Mae dishes

Wrap scarf Nola Mae pumpkin     Wrap scarf bees

wrap scarf gate 2

  wrap scarf grass

Henry came home from school sad and tired.  He brought me a wrap and asked me to put him on my back. I told him I wanted a picture of us so I could remember this because he is getting really big.  As soon as I got the camera out his sadness turned to silliness.

Wrap DIY Coral funny face

  How can I bottle up this sweet little girl who loves it up on my back?

   Wrap back Nola Mae

I have sold two ring slings this month.

A friend bought this one for Robbie and Charlie’s past gym teacher who they adored.  Even though I made this before I knew who it was going to I packaged it up with a little love and sleepy dust for Mrs. Bourget and her son.

ring sling colorful stripes

I sold this ring sling  to my first “stranger” customer that I met on Facebook and it went far away, Arizona.

ring sling green w owls

I made this ring sling for myself by ice dyeing it.  I have only worn it a couple of times – once for this photo and one day while running errands in Waupaca.  I have more ideas and wouldn’t mind selling this one so I can make a new one.

ringsling ice dye mirror

Do you know someone who is having a baby and wants to enjoy the benefits of wearing their baby?  I can help!

Other posts for this month:

Robbie’s Favorites, age 10

This Moment – Planting Garlic

This Moment – Long Bike Ride

September 2012 – Month 9

September 2012 – Month 9

Robbie found this cool stick (he is always finding cool sticks to swing around) at Iola Winter Sports Club on the day we were doing some trail clean up after a big storm.  It made him think of deer antlers.

robbie cool stick IWSC

Charlie made this wooden car in the workshop with Papa.

Nola Mae w Charlie's wooden car

I scored this Nordic Ware bundt pan at a rummage sale for $1.  We needed a reason to try it out, Susie’s birthday cake!

cake castle susie

And the boys decorated it.

cake castle susie decorated

Nola Mae has decided that she can go down the stairs forward.

Nola Mae stairs

She often gets comfortable in the upside down stool.  I wonder how long this will last.

stool nola mae

Something gross…someone opened a gogurt in my sewing room and it squirted on the wall.  I didn’t notice it until the yogurt was dried up and Nola Mae was scrapping it off and eating it.

yogurt on wall Nola Mae

The weekend of my birthday we met some of our family for a picnic, playing on the rocks and hiking at Eau Claire Dells.

Eau Claire Dells Boys log 2013

Eau Claire Dells Boys 2013

My beautiful sister, Becca.

Eau Claire Dells Becca  2013

We were here five years ago.  We took this photo inside this tree trunk (Henry was in my belly and Charlie and Henry were so little and so cute). 

Eau Claire Dells tree trunk 2008

 This year we did the same pose, notice the difference in the tree trunk.

Eau Claire Dells Family 2013

On my birthday (because I wanted to sleep in) I took the boys to school.  When I came home I notice one of the power lines in front of our house was down.   Thankfully it was a wire that was not “live”.  I called the electric company to tell them and secretly hoped my favorite linemen would show up.  I have a couple of favorites because I use to work there many years ago.  Did they know it was my birthday?  My two favorite guys showed up!

linemen Dick

linemen Alie

I went to my 25th class reunion and made the cake for the dinner.

cake 25th class reunion

My mom and Helen helped take care of the kids while Jack and I went to dinner and stayed late for visiting.  Robbie and Charlie slept over at Helen’s house.  We left Nola Mae and Henry at my mom’s at 4:30 and came home at 12:30.  This was the longest amount of time I have ever been away from Nola Mae.  She woke up looking for me just as we were coming down the road.

 We went to our favorite park, Keller Lake, as usual we had the park to ourselves!

keller lake Robbie

keller lake Charlie

keller lake Nola Mae slide

keller lake Nola Mae climbing

keller lake four kids

My Favorite pictures from this month:

Charlie & Nola Mae sad girl

Henry serious face

Mystique

Nola Mae Watermelon

Nola Mae

From my garden:

I didn’t get to braiding my garlic this year before it really dried out.  So the stems got chopped and I put a notice on Facebook that I had garlic for sale and 11.5 pounds sold within six hours.  Thank you to all my friends, enjoy!

garlic 2013

September 7th I picked my first batch of tomatoes, two of these boxes came from Susie’s garden.  I have already canned 21 quarts of tomato paste and have a gallon bag of dried tomatoes.

tomatoes first picking 2013

By September 12th my raspberries were ripening like crazy and still going strong at the end of the month.   I have about two gallon sized bags in the freezer, so far.

garden raspberries 2013

The mullein has gone crazy in my garden where the garlic was this year.  I am thinking I will be planting the garlic for next year around these plants because there is no way I am tilling them up!

garden mullein 2013

On September 20th we picked all our Honey Crisp apples.  I wanted them to stay on the trees a little longer but with every windy day many would fall off the tree.  Our other tree is still loaded and I will be  picking those later in October to make applesauce.

apples Honey Crisp 2013

Sunflowers

garden sunflowers

garden sunflower autumn mix

We have seen this little frog on the house, on our window and on the door at night.  I found him in my Autumn Joy Sedum during the day.

Garden sedum frog

We have let the chickens roam the yard this fall, Henry took this photo.

chicken barred rock

Climbing the rocks in my flower garden.

garden rocks Henry and Nola Mae

Charlie is a great big brother and very helpful, he loves to wear Nola Mae.

wrap DIY Charlie & Nola Mae

I got out my baby wearing vest for one of our hikes.  It was chilly but not chilly enough for me.  It was perfect for keeping Nola Mae warm.

wrap Mei Tai w vest sept walk

My friend Sara and I with our matching Zara Velvet wraps.

wrap two Zara Velvets w Sara

I washed my light rainbow wrap, it looked so pretty on the line I had to take a photo.

wrap light rainbow diamond weave clothes line

My empty nest

Empty nest refers to when the last child in the family leaves the home. I am feeling a little bit of those symptoms with the start of school right around the corner.

My almost 10-year-old will be going to 4th grade.

photos Robbie

My 8-year-old will be going to 2nd grade.

rain charlies

My 4-year-old will be going to 4-year-old Kindergarten, two full days/week.

henry sitting on fence post

We have been having a pretty good summer.  Better than I expected it to ever be.  The summer has gone by very quickly for me with a few bad/stressful days here and there.  (Exactly what you would expect if you lived in my house.)  This is the first summer that homeschooling has crossed my mind, for just a few minutes.

I thought of “empty nest” because everyone has been asking me, “What are you and Nola Mae going to do when Henry is in school?”   As if Henry was leaving us to go to college.   My first thought is, “I will miss him like crazy!  Thankfully, 4K is only two days a week!”

He is my shadow.  He is the most independent 4-year-old I have ever had.  He is my entertainment with his stories and ideas.  He is my helper in the kitchen and in the garden.  He is my ironing dude in my sewing room.  He is my spy/extra eyes on the older boys.  He is my biking partner and my skiing buddy.  He is Nola Mae’s best friend and her protector.  She is his shadow.  We will miss him!

 Henry on fence post

My friends that have gone through empty nest have talked about how rotten their teenagers were before they actually left.  In a way, making it a little easier to say good-bye.

Since I have been telling people I am not looking forward to the start of the school year because we have had such a good summer.  Henry has turned into a very mischievous and rotten boy.  He has got me thinking things like “I am going to be thankful for school start!” or “The chickens aren’t going to miss him, that is for sure!”  or “I hope he doesn’t say that word at school!” or “Should I warn his teacher about…?”  or “I am going to enjoy my clean house on Tuesdays and Thursdays.”

Lately, Henry is:

The snack sneaker – let’s just say, he stinks at hiding the evidence.

The neighborhood social butterfly – many times this summer he has gone to our neighbor’s house without me knowing.  One day, I thought he was in the wood shop with Jack.  When I went to see how that was going, he never made it to the wood shop, and I found him coming up the path in the woods.

henry blackberries

The money hoarder/thief – Jack was cleaning in the toy room and found my missing piano money and the video camera under the bed.   I am still on the look out for my zipper bag that I keep my checkbook in.  Henry found Charlie’s zipper money bag that had $15 of bills in it and some change.  I asked him to give it all to Charlie.  He did, but later took the bills out and put them in his pocket.  We didn’t know this happened until a couple of days later.  I had no clue what shorts he was wearing.  It took me about three days to find that money.

The boy who disappears – the scariest thing for me is I am wondering what kind of mess he has created or what kind of food is he eating.

Henry running

The boy who wants to always do it his way, always with the intention of being helpful –  First story:  I had Charlie’s birthday cake up high on a table that Nola Mae doesn’t usually climb on and I made that clear to everyone.  It just happened that she climbed on that table later on in the day and I freaked out because she could have knocked the cake off the table.  Later on, without me noticing, Henry carried the cake container into the toy room and put it on the bed.   When it was getting close to cake time Henry went to get the cake, bumped his hand on the door frame and dropped the cake container on its side.   Second story:  I found my 2014 license plate sticker sticking to my car door.  When I asked Henry why, his response was that he thought it needed to be moved where I could see it better.

The egg collector – After many many times of me telling him he is not allowed in the chicken coop without me, he still is going in there to collect eggs.  Sometimes I find eggs broken on the ground on the way to the chicken coop, sometimes eggs just appear in the kitchen and sometimes I notice him coming into the house with eggs.

The chicken bully – First story:   Henry’s most recent apology when we were closing the chicken coop up for the night…”Sorry chickens for being mean to you!”

Me:  Oh?  How were you doing that?

Henry:  I was hurting them with a bat.

Me:  I bet that really hurt them!

Henry:  I just wanted some meat from them.

Second story:  One day when I was looking for Henry (first places to look are the garage, garden, the chicken coop, and then the neighbor’s).  I found him in the chicken coop.  He was talking to someone.  I waited outside the door and listened.  He was saying, “You’re not smart.  You’re not smart.  You are smart.  You’re not smart.  You are smart!”  Then he tried to open the door.  The door knob sometimes sticks.  That is when I grabbed it and held it closed.  Secretly, I wanted him to get a little worried about getting trapped in the chicken coop, so he would be afraid to go in there without me.  Because me just telling him he can’t go in there without me doesn’t work!   He tried the door again and said, “I guess it’s locked.”  I heard him doing a little hard work kind of grunting, so I peaked through the window and saw that he was climbing the 3 foot rock wall to the chicken coop window – with three eggs in his shirt and hands.  He made it out the window without breaking any eggs.

The boy who doesn’t listen – see examples in all the above stories.

Henry really is my sweetheart and I will miss him and his teachers will love him.

Henry smile

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 46 – November 12 – 18, 2012

Week 46 – November 12 – 18, 2012

(Completed on 1/14/13)

I couldn’t find Henry in the house and the last time I heard him he was upstairs.  I expected to find him in my night stand playing with my reading light, or eating my vitamin C drops, playing in the boys’ room with the things he isn’t suppose to touch.  Instead I caught him reading on my bed.  He got some really big hugs and kisses from me after I was sneaky about taking this photo.

Reading caught Henry

I made two batches of soap last week, in order to have them ready for my Christmas gifts this year.  I used two different boxes and learned that the newest box seemed to work the best (an old drawer).  The soap on the left is my favorite soap.  It is similar to “Earth Child” a kind that I have seen on the internet.  The essential oils are Patchouli, Orange and Lemon and I add oatmeal for exfoliation.  The soap on the right has the essential oils Lavender and Lemon grass.  Everyone seems to love this kind!

soap nov 2012

Nola Mae enjoyed feeding herself some steamed broccoli.

Nola Mae broccoli

We got this adorable hat from my friend, Jan.  The little blue ribbon on the hat brings out her blue eyes.

Wrap Light Rainbow DW Jan's hat

Nola Mae is working on pulling herself up to a standing position.

Nola Mae balls of fabric

Henry’s turn to bring snack to preschool was coming up.  He of course wanted to help.  Here he was telling me he was ready before I was ready.   He got out the measuring spoons and the flour.Henry ready for baking We made a triple batch of banana bread and muffins.  I shared some loaves and put some in the freezer. banana bread & muffins

Jack took photos of each of us and put our profile shot in one photo.    I love it!  And soon this photo will be on our wall.

ProfileCollage

Jack took the two big boys home to his mom’s for deer hunting.  I love this smile!

Charlie tree stand

While they were gone hunting and every hunter I know on Facebook was posting dead deer photos I decided I needed to take a picture of my dead animals.  I butchered six aggressive, horny, and too much feed eating roosters.

horny rooster dead

Since the majority of Wisconsinites were dressed in blaze orange this weekend I decided to put Nola Mae in one of my favorite outfits.

my girl in orange

The kayak:

kayak gloss

was finished this week!

kayak tall

Week 41 – October 8 – 14, 2012

Week 41 – October 8 – 14, 2012

(Completed on 12/16/12)

We went to The Paine Art Center for the Ansel Adams’ exhibit.  In the children’s area the activity was to make a Frankenstein head.  They had the blank green heads already made out of milk jugs.

frankenstein heads

Here is one last photo of “yours mullein” with the leaves harvested.  I needed to explain to Henry that I don’t want it cut down because I want the seeds to fall on the ground and plant more mullein.  I was able to redirect his attention to job we were in the garden for…cutting broccoli.

mullein w Henry

My awesome broccoli that wouldn’t stop growing!

Broccoli 2012

tomatoes & broccoli

My light rainbow wrap with a fancy twist.

wrap light rainbow twist

I made pumpkin cheesecake for my book club meeting.  Because I hosted I got to pick the book for us to read and discuss – Her Mother’s Hope.

cheesecake pumpkin

Charlie reading to Nola Mae!  Melts my heart!

Charlie reading to Nola Mae

Henry’s preschool went to a local pumpkin patch for a field trip.

field trip Henry's class

field trip Henry

field trip Henry rides

We got our first egg from the hens that we hatched this spring at home and with Charlie’s kindergarten class.

first egg our hatch

On Robbie’s birthday weekend we had his friends over and also a couple of Charlie’s for a combined b-day party.  This is the cake Robbie designed after for the Elemental Warrior stuff he plays.

Cake RW 9th b-day

This is the second year in a row we carved pumpkins.

B-day party combined pumpkins

Jack helped all the boys make a step stool.  It was a huge hit.

B-day combined stools

B-day combined group

Thankfully we have photos of when Robbie was a baby because I would have told you that he had no hair when he was a baby!  Happy Birthday, Robbie!

RW baby

Week 24 – June 11 – 17, 2012

Week 24 – June 11 – 17, 2012

Monday, June 11th: Today we started doing push-ups.  A long time ago I started the 100 push-ups challenge (http://hundredpushups.com/).  I blogged about the benefits of push-ups in March 2011, click here to read that post.  For some reason I stopped, if I am remembering correctly I had to repeat a certain week three times and was a little frustrated.  Now I am determined to try again.  Our total of push-ups for the three days we did them was 112.

Tuesday, June 12th:  Charlie wanted to carry Nola Mae.  He didn’t last long with her on his back because it took me a while to wrap them together.


Wednesday, June 13th:  Today one of our chickens laid this tiny egg. 

I am finally getting back to using my clothes line.  I had a few items that needed bleaching in the sun.  Most importantly, the reason why I took this picture is because girls’ clothes are so cute on Nola Mae and even on the clothes line!

Thursday, June 14th:  After the morning of summer school we went to the park for a picnic lunch and then to our favorite library.  Henry and I made egg salad for us.

After the library I made these chocolate chip cookies that everyone loved!  Secret ingredient…garbanzo beans!  This recipe came from the Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food  cookbook.  They were much better than the brownies that we made for Charlie to take to school.

Friday, June 15th:  This morning we went to Waupaca to run errands and met with my lactation consultant.  We have concerns that Nola Mae hasn’t been gaining weight at the normal rate a baby should.  I wasn’t too worried about this because I have been feeling like she is breastfeeding enough, even though I think she sleeps a lot, and was probably gaining weight.  I was wrong!  She hasn’t even gained the bare minimum in the last week and a half.  I left there with different things to try and plans to get another weight done in a week and a heavy weight of stress on my shoulders.

By the afternoon Nola Mae was crying, screaming, gassy, pooping and making whimpering/little moaning sounds during her sleepy times.  Henry seemed very concerned and was trying to make her happy here after a diaper change.

I nursed her often and wrapped her up and carried her around and this seemed to keep her happy.  During the night she had a fever.

Saturday, June 16th:  The only thing I accomplished today was finishing this Mei Tai that I made for my friend Sarah.

Sunday, June 17th:  What do Vater Boys do for Father’s Day?  Jack took the boys to the woods to make firewood.  His brother called to wish him a “Happy Father’s Day” and told me that he was building a wood shed with his kids.  I wasn’t surprised Eddie had news of a project to work on.  There is no sitting around in this family!

After Henry’s nap time we went to Little Falls.

Sometime I wish this cage was in our yard.

While I cooked Jack’s favorite dinner, Jack downloaded photos from the day and the boys surprised Jack by unloading the firewood from this morning.

Happy Father’s Day to the best Papa!

Week 23 – June 4 -10, 2012

Week 23 – June 4 -10, 2012

Monday, June 4th:  This evening a storm brought us some much-needed rain and great entertainment for the boys.  Our spring was so dry there haven’t been many dams built here in our “pond” area.

During the storm Nola Mae napped in my arms while I read my book.  Next year she’ll be building dams with her brothers.  Or maybe destroying the dams they build.

Tuesday, June 5th:  I have mentioned before how Henry can be very gentle with our job of collecting 20+ eggs into a bucket and not break a single one.  But when it comes to chicks and chickens it seems like he likes to catch them and stick them in places where they don’t belong…a boot or a cooler are the most popular places.   I sprinted for the camera and then saved the chick.

“Look, Mama!  It fits in my Granny boots!”  He calls his boots “Granny boots”  because we left them there once, he forgot he even had them and when we went back to Granny’s he thought she gave them to him.

 Wednesday, June 6th:  Summer vacation started off with a great first day.  I bought the boys the game Battleship.  I loved playing this when I was younger and I thought they were ready for it.  They started playing this game the night before and were eager to finish it this morning.

Charlie and I planted my five hanging baskets around the milk house.  The big job this summer will be to keep them alive.

All three boys picked strawberries for lunch from our little patch.  I am reconsidering my plan to till up our strawberry patch.

I am not sure what the reason for this little bit of cuddling Nola Mae was getting from Robbie.   It is a rare occasion.   All I remember is running for the camera to take this picture.  I am kind of remembering he was icing his foot.

 Thursday, June 7th:  This maple tree by the garden is much bigger since Henry was a baby in the spring of 2009.  He slept under this tree for many hours that first summer while we worked/played in the garden.  Robbie joined Nola Mae under the tree to do some writing and drawing.  I got a little bit of work done in the garden.

Nola Mae’s first nap under the maple tree.

Lately, Charlie has become more interested in Mystique.  Today he spent a lot of time brushing her.

Our first picnic lunch.  The boys were excited.   I set it up and surprised them.  They ate very well and willingly helped with the clean-up.  I may have to do this more often.


 

Friday, June 8th:  We left this morning for a weekend of hiking and camping on the Mississippi River.   We stopped in Black River Falls for one of our breaks.

I wonder how many Lion bubblers are still around.

We arrived at our final destination…Perrot State Park.  Jack and Helen took awesome photos all weekend.  It was very difficult to choose which ones to post here.  If I can find some time this week I may do a post of my favorite photos from our weekend. 

 Saturday, June 9th:  Nola Mae slept very well for her first night in a tent!

The temps were hot during the day and wonderfully cold at night. I didn’t pack many warm blankets and I forgot Henry’s blanket so Jack and Henry covered up with the table-cloth I brought along.

A little bit of tears and dirty hands make for a cute little boy.

   We hiked for an hour up to the top of one of the bluffs.  Jack carried Henry to the top and Henry hiked down.

Sunday, June 10th:  On Sunday our hike was at least two hours.  Henry wasn’t interested in being carried this time.  So he hiked the whole thing!  We met some hikers on the way up the bluff and the lady made some comment doubting that the boys could do the whole thing.  I wish she was at the end of the trail to see they all made it.

Before we left the park we all took showers.  My hope was to wash away any poison ivy that was touched.  It seemed like it was every where I looked and every where the boys stepped.  (I am busy washing EVERYTHING from the weekend – shoes, clothes and bedding.)  So far, knock on wood, there is no sign of poison ivy!

 As I was looking through my photos for this week’s post I found these of  Nola Mae’s first bath in the sink.  She loved it.  Robbie was our photographer.