September 2014

September 2014

First day of school photo:

First day of school 2014

On the first day of school, Nola Mae and I took a bike ride to town to run errands.  I needed to do lots of things this day, grocery shopping, library, bank, post office, drop something off at school and most importantly get exercise and get away from the house so I wasn’t thinking about missing my boys.  Our way home was a lot of work for me…27 pound child, 15 pound bike trailer, 75 pounds of groceries and library books.

Bike errands

I have planned to dye my hair a non-traditional color (purple) for many months.  I finally got around to doing it and it faded to pink (not one of my favorite colors).  In the last month I have considered chopping my hair just twice to get rid of it.  When my mom first saw me after I dyed my hair, she joked with me that my fabric dyes got in my hair.   Now, I am feeling like I will keep it for a while.  Next, I will attempt purple and maybe more colors.

 hair dye pink

Jack has made many cigar box guitars in the last year.  This month Charlie finished a two string cigar box guitar.

 cigarbox guitar in progress

Jack made a video of Charlie and shared it on facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10202628856665701&set=vb.1326037913&type=3&theater

cigarbox guitar Charlie's

I have an amazing husband, he deserves a blog post all to himself.   He is talented in many areas, he is intelligent, he is teaching our kids many skills, he creates beautiful wooden furniture and boxes.

I was a little skeptical about these ugly pieces of wood when he loaded these into our car.

wooden burrow

One day he handed this beautiful bowl to me and told me he made it from the wooden burrows that we brought home.

wooden burrow bowl

Charlie turned a bowl with Jack.  He took his unfinished bowl to school to show his teacher.  Charlie was eager to finish it and then took it back to school.  One day I was looking for Charlie’s bowl to take a photo.  He told me he gave it to his teacher.

We got together with all the Vater cousins this month, unfortunately because Grandpa Neil passed away.  It was wonderful to see our kids having a blast with their cousins, and visit with the cousins we don’t see very much.  Nola Mae and I missed out on the last family gathering because she was sick.   I am not interested in doing the math on when I last saw Jack’s cousins from CA, it was sometime when Ben was still a little boy.  When Ben opened his mouth I just about died, because he had a man’s voice, not a little boy anymore!  Ben is the tallest man in the Vater family.

vater cousins and family

I have many sisters, four of them, all of them are amazing in their own way!  Early this month, Becca completed her first Ironman in Madison,  2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run.

I wasn’t able to make it to Madison to cheer her on.  I was able to watch her finish from the comforts of my home, 130+ miles away on my computer through the live-feed video on Ironman’s website.

I have my very own finish line photo of her.

IronMan Madison Becca

 Nola Mae loves to put clothes on, take them off, and put extra layers of clothing.  While I was taking a shower  Nola Mae climbed   on the counter and was putting socks on and taking them off.  I took this picture with the intention of doing a blog post with all the photos I have collected of her in her many outfits.

Nola Mae socks happy

Everything was going great.  You can see all the socks on the floor that she had on and took off.  Then she got stuck in these blue socks, that is when things started to get UGLY!  Exactly, one minute later…

Nola Mae socks sad  Nola Mae socks sadder

Two days later…there was an outfit that included many layers and many tears – three shirts, one dress and one pair of tights – she wanted more clothes on and I wouldn’t help her.

Nola Mae flopping

The above photos aren’t so pretty ones of Nola Mae, but this one is!

Nola Mae

When you co-sleep and put your child to bed before yourself they claim their spot.

Yours spot

I knew Henry was outside on the deck.  I heard sounds of a trombone.  I was afraid he snuck Robbie’s  trombone upstairs and outside.  I was relieved, happy and very excited to see him making music with the vacuum cleaner hose, rather than the $754 trombone!

Henry hose trombone

Four days before my birthday a wonderful gift arrived at our house – a spiral ham and caramel popcorn!  I was delighted, ham is one of our favorite things.  Especially, mine because one ham goes a long way here.  If I am remembering correctly this ham gave us  at least four meals, fillings for additional meals, made awesome snacks and were added to cold lunches for boys.  The very last of this ham will be eaten sometime this fall when I make my favorite soup!

bday ham

On September 11th, Nola Mae and I drove to Milwaukee to see my sister, Emily.  Earlier in the week she was admitted to the hospital for liver failure and the talk was “she isn’t going home until she gets a new liver”.  Her MELD Score was so high, she was on the top of the liver transplant list for the Midwest.  As the week progressed and she got more fluids and antibiotics she was feeling and looking better.  I was thankful to see her in better spirits and health later in the week so that when and if a new liver came to her she would be strong enough to make it through a transplant.

Emily hospital 9-11

On Monday, September 15th, around 4:30 AM Emily was told that there is an organ donor who is a perfect match for her.   I am pretty sure this was the longest day in her entire life.  It sure was for me!   The staff took her to surgery for the liver transplant at 5:30 PM.  If I am remembering correctly, I got the call at 12:21 AM, on the 16th, telling me that her surgery was done and she will be heading to ICU.

Click here to read my thoughts on the day of Emily’s transplant, “A Sister’s Emotions”.

I spent the day before my birthday glued to my computer and close to the phone waiting for any news on Emily’s transplant.  I didn’t get much sleep that night and woke up for my birthday in a zombie-like state.  I knew Emily was sedated, well cared for in ICU and I needed to get the heck out of my house!  IT was MY birthday and I wanted my special coffee and I wanted to use my 60% & 50% off coupons at JoAnn Fabrics!  So Nola Mae and I went to town!

I made a trip to my favorite thrift store and found a bunch of dye blanks!

  I bought these fabrics.  The birds and butterflies were on the $4/yard rack.  The bottom white fabrics I bought for making dyed scarves.

bday fabric

A close up of one of the white fabrics.

dye blank for scarf

I made two scarves from this fabric – one for my step-mom and one to sell or give away as a gift (or maybe keep for myself).

Dyed Scarf Rainbow colors

My last stop in town was Starbucks, thanks to my sister Danna and her boyfriend, I purchased a yummy coffee and this beautiful coffee mug.

bday coffee cup

The boys (& Jack) gave me a package of socks, these awesome rubber boots and something else.  I can’t remember what the third thing was.   I love my new boots and wear them every day!

bday boots

Usually my garlic gets planted in October.  The planting window for garlic in Wisconsin is mid-September to November.  I remember this because my birthday is the beginning of this planting window and my brother’s birthday, which is at the end of October, is my absolute last day for planting garlic.   This fall, I started planting my garlic before my birthday and then finished planting 200+ cloves of garlic the day after my birthday.

garlic planting 2014

We are were still picking raspberries into October.

Raspberries 8-31-12

 Every year I find a pair of Walking Sticks in my raspberry patch.  They are always attached to each other every time I see them.  This time I happened to have the camera with me and when I bumped them, they came apart and I took this photo.

walking stick

I have accumulated many dye blanks, I am always looking for more.  Recently, I  had some time to organize and prioritize my dyeing projects

dye thirft store blanks

I also had some time to set up a little dyeing space in my basement and got busy.  In one week I dyed 20 pieces.

dye table

We paddled up the river from Big Falls when the leaves were beautiful.  It was a great way to end the month.

paddle car fall 2014

paddle big falls 2014  paddle rocking 2014

I am making and selling soap again this year.  I started early for Christmas by making four batches.

“Cleansing Calendula”, with essential oils: Lavender & Tea Tree and ground Calendula flowers for a great exfoliation.    Aroma:  Soft, floral.  Benefits:  Renewing, cleansing, stimulating.

soap calendula flowers & lavender & tea tree  

“Cinnamon Swirl”  with essential oils:  Orange & Cinnamon and ground cinnamon, which gives it the dark color.   Aroma:  Warm, spicy   Benefits:  Warming, comforting, energizing

 soap cinn & organe

(these are the same soap, just different batch and different method of coloring with the ground cinnamon)

“Jumping Juniper”  essential oils:  Juniper, Lavender & Rosemary   Aroma: Floral   Benefits: Restoring, empowering, balancing, purifying, &  uplifting.

  soap juniper, lavender & rosemary

I have about twelve pounds of garlic to sell.

garlic for sale 2014

It was a good birthday month for me!

Advertisements

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

June 2014

June 2014

June was a productive month for me.   I am happy with the amount of things we did and the things I accomplished since it was our first month of summer vacation.   Things are getting easier for me with four children, because I remember past years in June I spent the month adjusting to summer vacation and me feeling very frazzled.

I did a lot of dyeing this month, check out my post about those projects here.

purple dress

A friend asked me to make her daughter a rainbow skirt for her birthday.  Her favorite color is pink so I reversed the rainbow and put the pink on the bottom so it is more visible and because I can never make the  same thing twice.  I always have to mix things up!

Spiderman was in the house when I needed a model and

skirt ruffle rainbow for Laura

he was pretty good at twirling around.

skirt ruffle rainbow for Laura spin

I had helpers planting my hanging baskets and flower pots.  I am usually picky about what color flowers go together and how many get planted in certain pots.  Not this time.  Lately, I have challenged myself to “let go” of the middle steps and be happy with the finish product – planted flowers.

planting flowers

I got my garden planted this month.  And my garlic is looking awesome!

garden June 2014

Since I am so late at getting this post done I am able to include a comparison picture of the garden a little over a month later.

garden July 10 2014

Jack had some company while he changed the oil in his car.

 changing the oil

Henry had his 4K graduation.  I also wrote a blog about these awesome socks Henry is wearing.  (Click here to read that)

Graduation 4K Henry

 

 First day of school, September 2013.   Frist day of school 2013

Last day of school, June 2014.

Last day of school 2014

 

Our strawberry patch was going strong this year.  I didn’t have much time to pick them all when they were ripe.  So I often sent kids outside to “eat as many strawberries as you can!”

strawberries Charlie

Strawberries Henry & Nola Mae

Nola Mae playing in her kitchen.  The hole for the sink (was a plastic bowl) is a common place for her body.  She usually goes from standing on the stove, to standing on the narrow shelf, back to the stove and then into the sink area.

Nola Mae kitchen

Aunt Susie came over and switched up our dinner table seating arrangements.  Henry worked it out so he and Nola Mae could share the piano bench.  And they were pretty cute together!

Henry & Nola Mae at table

My sister, Becca, is training for the Madison Ironman this year.  She is amazing!  My Mom, our sister Danna and I went to cheer Becca on at the High Cliff Half Ironman race that she participated in this month.  All I can say is “WOW!”

tri becca

Our cousins came to visit with us for a couple of days.   I had a wonderful time with a house full of children, seven kids – 10 years old to two years old.  Although I had to share my time with Jessie and seven kids, it seemed much easier to visit with her than it is when we are at a family gathering of 50 people.

Jessie field

jessie rock cousins

Our youngest babies together.  These two littlest cousins got along amazingly well for being two-year olds.

Jessie cousin friends

Our oldest babies together.  Some how our middle children got missed, isn’t that what always happens?

Jessie oldest kids

We spent a few days at Granny’s while our cousins (Andrew & Libby)  and Aunt Karen from the West were visiting.  Our visit happened to overlap on my Mom’s birthday.  When I announced my plans to the kids that I was going into the sewing room to make Granny’s birthday present Henry followed me down to the sewing room with his own idea.  He asked me what Granny’s favorite color was and I said blue.  He gathered scraps of fabric, cut pieces out and told me his design – to make Granny’s house.  I serged edges and he sewed the roof, windows and the door on.  This was the first time he has sewn something on my machine.

Henry sewing for granny Henry sewing Granny's house

This is what I made for my Mom from one of my dyed projects.

dye ice on glue resist bag

 You never know what you will find on the farm.  Henry happened to wander into the corn field and found hundreds of little frogs hopping around.

       Mom's Henry's frogs hands 1

He took a handful back to the house to show Granny.

Mom's Henry's frogs hands

I had a blast this weekend.  Visiting with family, watching and playing soccer.  We have our own CrossFit coach in the family, so we did a WOD (I don’t have a photo of that).

Mom's soccer on the farm chopper box

The littlest goalies.

Mom's soccer on the farm little goalies Mom's soccer on the farm

We ended our time with cousins at Diamond Lake.

Mom's Diamond lake resting

Four days after leaving Granny’s I took the two big boys to Grandma Helen’s to spend four days with the Vater cousins in North Dakota.

I didn’t realize this month was full of extended family stuff until I put this post together.  What a great month!

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

August 2012 – Month 8

August 2012 – Month 8

August started out awesome with a Tom Pease concert in Iola!  And spending our wedding anniversary with family at my cousin, Annie’s wedding.   This was our 16th  anniversary.

Wedding thumbs up

We had a little entertainment with our napkins while waiting for the dinner to start.

napkin Robbie

napkin charlie

napkin Henry

napkin Nola Mae

The broccoli, green beans and lettuce are ready for eating.

broccoli bean & lettuce

The cherry and grape tomatoes are just starting.  I needed to do a little lesson on colors and ripeness with my helper.

tomatoes Henry

We took photos in all my favorite spots in the yard for my post announcing my new name for my blog.  This is one that didn’t make the cut.

four kids on rocks

The Waupaca Foundry sponsored an artist who does metal moldings for a community art project that will be put up after South Park’s remodeling.  The two big artists in our family designed our family square.

family plate

We visited friends who have a lot of humming birds.  I mean a lot!  At one time there were 10-20 birds around these feeders at one time.  How many can you count?

humming birds

I took this picture coming into the barn one day.  I like how clear the reflection of the house is on Jack’s new door.

Red door

One night we hiked in the field to see how close we could get to the coyote that has been hunting in our field.

boy searching

Jack took this photo from the top of our hill.

farm from hill

I have recently learned how to hula hoop.  Never in my life could I do it, until now with these homemade ones.  I have been dreaming of making them for years when I first saw them at the Iola Fitness and Aquatic Center.  These were a upcycling project because we used these pipes to get water to our trees that were far from the house.  I only had to pay $0.17 for the connector.  Jack was cleaning them up and going to throw all the pipes away.   Hula hooping  is a good workout!  Have you hula hooped lately?

hula hoops

I had enough to decorate and give some to my nephew for his birthday.  One for him, each of his parents and his aunt that also has a birthday in August.

hula hoops taped

I guess Nola Mae was thirsty.  In the process she spilled milk inside my fridge and got stuck.  I didn’t realize how filthy it was until the spilled milk, thanks Nola Mae!

Nola Mae in fridge

Nola Mae got her first taste of the beaters.

Nola Mae beaters

I love that Charlie likes to decorate cakes.  Takes all the pressure off me.  He wanted a Minecraft golden apple.  So easy!

Charlie's cake Golden apple

For Charlie’s birthday I asked him many questions about his favorite things and blogged about it here.

Charlie's b-day cake

Nola Mae at 16 months old:

Nola Mae cutie

Nola Mae GPS

nola mae in purple

wrap DIY coral woven Nola Mae

Many people have commented how adorable Nola Mae is when she gets comfortable or sleepy when she puts her hands behind her head.  I started taken photos to really see how often she does it.  I won’t bore you or use up all my space on this blog with her in the exact same pose.   She is adorable.

Nola Mae Sleeping 1

Nola Mae sleeping 2

In the month of August I finally finished my post about my homemade soaps.

soap March flakes

Baby wearing:

Or not.  I went for a run one night and Jack took Nola Mae out to the wood shop.   He should really learn to put her in the Ergo by himself to be able to get things done.

babywearing not

I had some creative thoughts about a new Stash Shot of all my baby carriers and the best one was putting them on the clothes line.

wraps stash shot on clothes line folded

Nola Mae trying to wrap herself.

wrap Zara velvet Nola Mae (2)

wrap Zara velvet Nola Mae

My favorite wrap right now, a DIY woven wrap.  It cost me $2 at a rummage sale.  I found a box of fabrics and bought three pieces for $6 – this woven fabric, a wool piece for my neighbor and a dark blue woven piece that seems too stiff for baby wearing.

wrap DIY coral woven Nola Mae and Mama

I am stealing Jack’s phrase for this photo, “Beat in the front.  Beets in the back.”

beat and beets

I saw this dog carrier at a local arts festival.  I never knew they had actual carriers for pets, Outward Hounddog is the brand.

wrap dog wearer

Sewing projects:

A skiing friend ordered this one for a friend

ring sling Ann

and this one for a co-worker.

This is a darker turquoise color in real life.  It is so beautiful I wish I would have seen this color when I was picking out fabric for my ring sling.

ring sling turquosie 1

I feel very blessed to have friends wanting to share the love of baby wearing and for all my amazing friends supporting my little side jobs that give me a little spending money.

One of my first ring sling sales has come back for a second one for her cousin.

ring sling turquosie 2

This ring sling doesn’t have a home yet.ring sling flower print

Neither does this one. 

ring sling narrow stripes

This one is more narrow than the ones I have made.  The shoulder is a gathered shoulder, instead of pleats.  It would be great for a newborn baby.

Or maybe not because it seems to fit us.

ring sling stripes w baby

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

How does your garden grow?

Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells, and cockle shells,
And pretty maids all in a row.

How does your garden grow?

If we compared our garden to last year’s garden (with a new baby in our family) this year’s garden is awesome!  Last year’s garden I had no expectations, whatever got planted, harvested and eaten was a bonus.

This year I expected a huge garlic crop, lots of sweet corn, lots of broccoli and a small amount of tomatoes. Our planting was a little late due to the long cold spring we had.  I had great helpers this year, mainly Henry.  We were rushed at times and had many interruptions because of Nola Mae needing a nap or taking a nap or her wandering around in the garden going under or over the roped off rows and pulling out what we planted.

First the not so awesome stuff…

Two 10 foot rows of sweet corn, with tassels when it is as tall as Henry.  I had 3 1/2 other rows of corn planted and those seeds didn’t grow.

Corn 2013

Behind Henry are pumpkin plants gone wild!  I didn’t want pumpkins, we didn’t really have room for them and I didn’t want to weed them.  Henry added a few seeds to a little rotting manure pile that I had in the garden that I was slowly tilling in.

pumpkin plants 2013

Too many huge tomato plants.  I only wanted four plants.  Jack wanted one plant at work, but needed to buy a 4 pack.  I went to a green house and they had some discounted plants so I bought another 4 pack.

Tomatoes plants 2013

We have a pine snake in my flower beds under the apple trees.   That means I am not weeding!   My flower beds aren’t so awesome!  I know there is one in there, maybe even multiple snakes.   The weeds are horrible!  Snakes are yucky!  Snake story:  Last week when we were playing kickball, Robbie kicked the ball right in the flowers/weeds.  I took a deep breath and said to myself, “What are the chances that darn snake is right where the ball landed?  Just pick it up!”  I put one foot on the edge of the weeds and the other foot on a big rock.  As I was reaching down to grab the ball, then a snake slithered out from underneath the ball!  That is when I decided I am mowing the weeds and flowers down when it is time to pick apples.

Front garden weeds under apples 2013

The awesome stuff…

The first sunflower to bloom is a volunteer seed from last year’s sunflowers.

Sunflower 1st bloom 2013

Awesome broccoli!

I have 12 plants!  The chickens got out a few times in the early spring and ate the leaves off two of them.  Those plants are making a come back.

broccoli 2013

Our apple trees are loaded!

apple trees 2013

Our raspberry patch is awesome!  I am hoping for a very late frost so that we can get the second batch of raspberries this fall.

Raspberry patch 2013

Our blueberry patch is awesome!

blueberry patch 2013

My phlox free garden is doing well.  I have my own comfrey plant, so I can dry my own leaves for my healing balm.

Front garden 2013

My friend, Kat, introduced me to mullein when I was pregnant with Henry.  My midwives reminded me of mullein when I was pregnant with Nola Mae.  I decided this year we were going to get serious about drying some mullein.  My sweet husband has been mowing around my mullein all around our property this summer.  Thanks to Henry riding on the tractor with Papa, pointing out all of “Mama’s Mullein” and insisting on Papa mowing around it.  This week we picked leaves from three plants.  They are drying nicely in my living room!

Mullein drying

July is the month for harvesting garlic.  This year was great for growing garlic.  I haven’t found my notes from last year to know how many cloves I actually planted.  I have about 260 bulbs of garlic.  I am almost done harvesting with about 60 more to dig up.

Nola Mae woke up from her nap and Charlie brought her out to the garden to me.  It was time to stop digging!  I don’t need her kind of help this year.

garlic harvest 2013

My second digging.

Garlic harvest 2013 2nd time

Most of the garlic is drying in the garage, this is 191 bulbs so far.

Garlic harvest drying

How is your garden this year?  What is your favorite thing to grow?

June 2013 – Month 6

June 2013 – Month 6

We started our summer off with the boys signing up for the summer reading program at our local libraries.  We may not attend many activities or hand in our reading logs into the Iola library because we visit the library where our favorite librarian works.   I put up the little pockets for each child on the door for their reading logs.  They can check off their 20 minutes of reading and we never forget to grab them when we are heading to the library!

summer reading logs

The sales of  my beeswax body balms and healing balm have been a huge hit with many of my family, friends and friends of my friends.  Thank you for supporting me and the things I love to make!

balms for sale

Charlie went to a friend’s birthday party and I made this cute bag for his gift.

bag Xzavor

I found some dried grass and some of my broom corn in the grill one day and blamed it on Henry.  I talked to him about leaving the grill alone.   We cleaned it out.  Then a few days later we opened the grill to make dinner and found this awesome nest built out of things that came from all over our yard – leaves, dried grass, broom corn from inside the garage and a lot of the dried stems from my last year’s morning glories that were in the compost pile.  This mama was busy!

nest in grill

When Henry woke up the morning after Mr. Ernst baled the hay field during the night Henry said, “Yep, Mr. Ernst put marshmallows in the field last night.  BIG MARSHMALLOWS!”

marshmallow bales

Jack was cleaning out the gutters and left the ladder up.   I saw Henry heading for the ladder and asked him to not climb it because Nola Mae might follow him.  I grabbed the camera because I wanted to take a picture of the boy who hasn’t been listening.  I was going to do a blog post about this, because I needed to find some humor in our incredibly independent 4-year-old, who has his own way of doing everything.  I never got it done because I couldn’t find the time to do it. 

ladder

A dear friend of the family passed away un-expectantly this month.  After hearing the news I decided we needed to do something that we don’t do very often, fly Charlie’s dragon kite.

kite in field

We had an afternoon of kickball with me being the “all time pitcher” and the kids kicking the ball and running bases for as long as I can keep up.  I was talking about quitting soon and they were not even close to wanting to stop.  My idea to slow them down so I could maybe catch them once in a while was for them to give Nola Mae a kiss when they passed her.

Kick ball kisses R  kickball kisses Charlie    kick ball kisses H

We have been having a little drama here lately.  I heard some whimpering from that same independent 4-year-old that I mentioned earlier, while I was in the living room nursing Nola Mae.  I knew there wasn’t an injury (no screaming or sound of a thump) and I knew that there weren’t any older brothers around teasing him, so I tried to get him to talk to me from the other room.   When I finally came into the room this is what I found…all I could think of is the Wicked Witch of West under Dorothy’s house (maybe because my book club recently read Wicked).

Henry under chair

What is wrong with this picture?/What is good about this picture?

Baby is on the table./Baby is after fruit.

Big brothers not noticing baby on the table./Brothers sharing a chair and not fighting.

Door is wide open./Extra sunlight is coming into the house, no electricity needed.

Nola Mae table

Nola Mae in June, at 14 months old.

Nola Mae blue dress  Nola Mae at window

Nola Mae bench 3       Nola Mae bench 1

 Nola Mae bench 2

It is hard to capture Nola Mae in one place so behind the camera I need brothers to make her smile.  They agreed to have their picture taken with her.

four kids on bench

I started a jobs list for the boys, mostly paid jobs for them of jobs that I hate to do.  Vacuuming is one of the top 5 jobs I hate.  Vacuuming the stairs rarely gets done.  I showed Robbie and Charlie how I expect the stairs to be vacuumed and Charlie wasn’t interested in listening how I do it, but Robbie was.   I asked Robbie to wrap up the cord and put the vacuum away when he was done.  This is what I got…

boy vacuum

My sister, Danna, came to visit us this month.  We took her to our favorite place, but the water was too high for us to play.

Big Falls w Danna

Another weekend, Jack’s brother Eddie came to visit with his extra-large chainsaw.  Our oak tree in the pasture died within the last two years.  This summer is when we are finally getting to that job.

Before:

oak tree

During:

oak tree Eddie

After:

oak tree down

A couple of days later we took the kids down in the pasture so I could see the tree.  Jack took these great photos of them.

photos Robbie

Photos Charlie

Photos Henry

photos Nola Mae

photos all kids

Our first picking of strawberries from our patch.

2013 first strawberries

There was one day (yes, just one day!) that I actually sat down with a cup of coffee and my book.  If I remember correctly it wasn’t for very long, I will appreciate that little bit of time I had on the deck.  My book now stays on my night stand for my late night reading.

reading time

I am thankful for a sweet husband who is handy and can fix my breaks as soon as he realizes they are going bad.

Jack fixing breaks

I don’t know what to say about this one.   You may think I am a bad parent for letting my kid fall asleep like this, but at least I know his teeth were brushed at bedtime.

sleeping toothbrush

I have been busy sewing this month.  I took on a sewing job for a friend who does event planning and decorating.  I don’t know that she has a webpage, but she does have a Facebook page.  These are the beautiful fabrics I am working with:

wedding fabric

The ring slings I made this month:

This one is for me and Nola Mae while at the beach.ring sling pink gauze fabric

I walked into a restaurant in Stevens Point with Nola Mae in my plum-colored ring sling and a mom of a new baby asked me where she could get one of those.  I told her about the ring sling, Maya Wrap and also mentioned that she could make one because I made mine.  She asked me to make one for her.  We exchanged email addresses and phone numbers.

ring sling blue

Then I got orders to make two more.

ring sling green

ring sling plum w pink