Kombucha Lover

I love Kombucha. I know a couple kids that love kombucha. I know a couple of kids that should drink kombucha, but don’t. They don’t know what they are missing!

I am too cheap to buy this stuff in the store.  I had heard about it and did some research.  So when a friend that I respect encouraged me and offered me starter tea and a SCOBY, I jumped on it.

I know a certain sweet girl who loves this stuff and could drink it all day long! The deal is that we have a small glass  after lunch. Today, I realized I am on my last bottle.  I have a sweet boy who likes to sneak some, the reason for my low supply.  I needed to work on the next step and needed a helper.

First we tasted the tea before adding the fruit. This is when I take a small teaspoon and taste a tiny bit to know if it is ready for the flavoring step. It is usually yucky tasting to me. (That is why I add fruit.)

My little helper tasted it and loved it. She is one tough cookie!

kombucha tasting

She added raspberries.

Kombucha making 1  Kombucha making 2

She smashed blueberries and then added them. (If the skin of the blueberry isn’t broken before adding to the tea they don’t give any flavor to the tea)

Kombucha making 3

Nola Mae was more interested in eating frozen blueberries.

Then we let it sit. Taste testing in two days.

kombucha fruit

kombucha fruit tasting

 

We like fizz, so we bottle ours in swing top bottles.

kombucha bottled

 

Drinking…

 kombucha henry drinking kombucha Henry

The recipe I follow:

http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-kombucha-tea-at-home-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-173858

An article with the history of Kombucha, benefits and recipe:

Kombucha – “Tea Of Immortality” (Recipe)

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Nola Mae – 4 years old!

Happy Birthday, Nola Mae!

nola mae fall blog

 

Nola Mae is special to us for  many reasons…

She is named after my Grandma Nola.

Grandma Nola  Nola Mae

She is smart and a great problem solver.  (She didn’t have a bag along, so she stored her notebook in her hat.)

Nola Mae tablet in hat

She will be able to  say that she has skied every year of her life, as long as she doesn’t move away from our winter wonderland.

1st year on skis

Skiing Nola Mae

2nd year on skis

Ski Henry pulls Nola Mae

3rd year on skis (this was on her 3rd birthday)

Nola Mae skiing 2

4th year on skis

Ski Norseman Nola Mae

She is very flexible (she loves to eat snow while skiing).

ski nola Mae 1 yoga pose

I uploaded my video on youtube of Nola Mae going down a fairly steep hill:  https://youtu.be/m05E79MrrFY

She has three older brothers who adore her.

skiing family

She loves being outside.

sledding

 

sledding Nola Mae

 

snowboarding Nola Mae

She loves her babies.

baby doll Nola Mae kisses wrap scarf grass  babywearing nola mae

She loves to help others and do jobs.

cleaning with Bailey & Nola Mae

Because she has no sisters, she has a special friend who she adores and often plays “sisters” with.

  Nola Mae & Bailey

My favorite blog post I wrote about Nola Mae is “With No Mom”:  https://skiingmama.wordpress.com/2015/10/23/with-no-mom/

She hasn’t changed much in many of the areas of her personality since her last birthday post:

https://skiingmama.wordpress.com/2015/04/08/nola-mae-3-years-old/

With No Mom

 Nola Mae is growing up!  A little too fast!

nola mae fall blog

Often, Nola Mae tells me or points out to me things or events that mark that she is getting bigger and will end her sentence “…with no mom.”

She started preschool this fall.  On the first day,  the parents had to stay for the class period.  As we were walking to the school, she wasn’t thrilled that I was staying and told me “The next day I go to school with no mom.”

Nola Mae:  Some day, I can cross the street, with no mom.

Nola Mae:  Some day, I can get chicken eggs, with no mom.

Nola Mae:  Some day, I can take a walk on Sleepy Hollow to visit Anna, with no mom.

Nola Mae:  Some day, I can go bowling, with no mom.

Nola Mae:  Some day, I can drive a car, with no mom.

Nola Mae:  Some day, I can make cookies and eat them all, with no mom.

Nola Mae:  Some day, I can go skiing, with no mom.

Nola Mae:  Last winter when I was three, I skied up and down the big hills, with no mom!

Nola Mae skiing 1

These pictures were taken on her 3rd birthday.

Nola Mae skiing 2

A phrase she likes to use when I am offering to help her do some thing:   “I got this!”  I had no idea where she learned this  until recently I heard Henry using it.

Today she wanted to cross the little street from the parking lot to preschool with no mom and said,

“I GOT THIS!”

nola mae pheasant

As I was collecting all the comments for this post over a period of a few months,  I arrived home late one night and she was still awake:

“I brushed my teeth.  With no father.”

Car Ride with a 3-year old.

blog Nola Mae Nola Mae and I have put on a lot of miles during the last five days, having fun visiting some of my family, even though Jack is having a blast with our boys on the vacation they are on. I have admired the photos Jack is sending me and I have wished I was a long for the trip he his on. I got to visit my Mom for two days,  biked with my mom, I had a short visit with my mother-in-law, lunch with my aunt and 24+ hours with my cousin and her three girls, including a little dye party and mulberry tree shaking with them.

 blog bike ride Henry  blog bike ride Nola Mae

Today, I ended my travels with the car ride from HELL. It was time to leave our cousins. Nola Mae referred to them as “my sisters”, so cute. I put a crabby, tired and almost crying three-year old in the car. She was sad to leave, so sad she was sobbing when the oldest cousin told her it was time to go. She didn’t want to give hugs or wave good-bye.

My fingers were crossed and I was hopeful that she would be sleeping within 10 minutes and I could enjoy my audio book for our 2.5 hour car ride. Within five minutes she was crying and screaming about everything.

Nola Mae: My eyes hurt!

Me: Wear my sunglasses.

Nola Mae: They still hurt! (sobbing)

Me: Close your eyes and rest.

Nola Mae: NOOOOO! Then me will miss seeing a train if we go past one.

I told her I didn’t think there was a train until we got closer to home. She insisted that she saw a train track by a bridge on the way to our cousins’ house.

Crying and screaming at me every time I tried to start my audio book – “NO MUSIC! NO STORIES!”

At the Madison exit…

Nola Mae: That looks like Aunt Danna’s house (she meant work because the buildings look a little like the university, but I wasn’t going to correct her).

Me: Yes, this is Aunt Danna’s town.

Nola Mae: I KNOW! I SAID HERS NAME!

More crying and screaming.

She broke my sunglasses (2nd pair this summer). I told her I was sad about that. I can’t remember what she said, but she sounded more like our 11-year-old, “They weren’t broken. They were twisted apart.” I wasn’t going to argue with her. I just told her that she could try to fix them for me when we got home.

Thirty minutes from home with non-stop screaming and crying up to this point, I remembered I had Smarties in my bag. It was a great distraction and turned her mood around.

Nola Mae fell asleep exactly five miles from home. I at least got five minutes of peace.

I came home to find this blog post from our cousin: http://behindthewillows.com/2015/07/22/the-sign-of-a-great-visit/

Spring is here!

Spring is here!

We celebrated two birthdays last week.

Henry birthday cake 6 birthday cake Nola Mae

dyed birthday shirts

Nola Mae loved her Peppa Pig.

peppa pig love

First paddle of the year, Lake Iola, on a very windy day, April 12th.

first paddle 2015

My paddle with three kids in the canoe didn’t last very long.

We paddled into the windy part of the lake and got blown to the shoreline.  My strategy of paddling in this wind was:  paddle really hard for as long as you can, get blown to a shoreline, aim the canoe to where you want to go, paddle really hard for as long as you can, get blown to a shoreline, aim the canoe to where you want to go.  Repeat until you get back to where you started!  Charlie and I aren’t ready to paddle to a campsite in the Turtle Flambeau Flowage this year.

Our first hike on the River Walk Trail in town.

spring first river walk

Snake Watching:

(There are NO snake pictures on this post!)

We have seen the first snakes of the year. One the other day by the garden woodpile and today by the deck. I try my hardest to not show fear and disgust when seeing snakes.  I have accepted the fact that we have to live on the same planet as each other and I still dislike them very much!   I must be doing well at this because Nola Mae has no fear of them. She is curious and knows to give them space. Today the sun is shining, it is warm outside with a slight breeze and the deck is a nice place to snake watch. snake watching 1

snake watching 2

I was amazed how long this kept Nola Mae occupied.

snake watching 3

Henry's letter

This doesn’t have much to do with springtime, just a cute photo I took of Nola Mae, who fell asleep in my room waiting for me.

Nola Mae – 3 years old!

Nola Mae black hat

Happy Birthday! Nola Mae – 3 years old!

I dyed this shirt for Nola Mae’s birthday. I found this shirt at a thrift store early this month and thought that it needed a little more rainbow to it. Nola Mae Birthday   Nola Mae wasn’t interested in getting interviewed, this is how our conversation went before I gave up:

Me:  I want to know what some of your favorite things are, like your favorite movie?

Silence!

Me:  Is it Peppa Pig?

Nola Mae:  NO, me not watch it. You take it back to the library.

Me:  How about your favorite color?

Nola Mae: Me not telling you.

Me:  How about your favorite snack?  What do you like to eat when you are hungry?

Nola Mae:  Me not telling you.

Me:  Where do you like to go?

Nola Mae:  ME NOT TELLING YOU!

Silence.

Nola Mae: Me want to go to that restaurant. Me want to go a playground. Me want to go to school. WAIT, NOT school, a playground!

Me:  What do you like to play outside?

Nola Mae:  Don’t know, something else.

Silence.

Nola Mae: What do you want to play?

Me: I want to play, “You tell me what you like.”

Me: So Henry, what do you think Nola Mae’s favorite food is?

Henry: I don’t know.

Nola Mae: CANDY! Nola Mae Ellevill wrap Me:  Henry, what do you think Nola Mae’s favorite game is?

Henry: Maybe hide-and-seek?

Nola Mae: YEP!

Me:  Henry, What do you think Nola Mae’s favorite color is?

Henry: Nola Mae, is your favorite color blue?

Nola Mae: NO, blue AND purple! AND RED!

Me:  Henry, what do you think Nola Mae likes to do outside?

Henry: What do you like to do outside, sledding?

Nola Mae: Yes.

Nola Mae:  Playing games. Sledding.  Games. Nola Mae's sled I have given up on her favorites, she loves to talk about what she wants to talk about.  And if I word my questions or statements differently I could get more answers from her.

I want to remember our 2-year-old Nola Mae…

Nola Mae called Henry “Henny” until two days before her birthday.  Now she is saying “Henree”.  Sometimes she would think I was calling her Henny when I would say Honey to her.  In my sleep deprived/fried brain sometimes I think I did call her Henny and she wasn’t very happy with me about that.

Henry and Nola Mae

Nola Mae isn’t keen on nicknames and is very vocal about that now that she knows they are out there.  The first time someone referred to her as a little peanut is when she learned this.  Later she asked me “what a peanut?”  After I explained to her what people sometimes say, she told me in a very clear and loud voice “ME NOT A PEANUT!”

Nola Mae is friendly and very talkative to everyone.  Every day at the ski hill we would see people getting ready to ski and she would want to know their name and sometimes tell them something about what happened that day.  I appreciated all the grown-ups who gave her a few minutes of their time.   And it was fun to see them again and they would talk to her (not me) and make sure she remembered their name from the last time.

Nola Mae has a friend, Lily.  She talks about her almost every day.  Lily is an imaginary friend.  Lily has been at Nola Mae’s school, rides Nola Mae’s bus, is nice and sometimes mean to Nola Mae.  Sometimes Lily is sick.  Sometimes Lily helps Nola Mae.  One day I was sick and accidentally fell asleep, while I was sleeping Lily came over to play.  I think Lily is avoiding me.  Recently, Nola Mae told us that Lily died.  I wasn’t sure if Lily dyed or died, since both words are talked about in our house.  I haven’t noticed much talk of Lily, lately.  So maybe she did die.

Nola Mae was an awesome skier this winter.  She loved the downhills and groomed trails.  At the end of the winter she was flying down the hills in the tracks all by herself.  After a nose-dive into the snow she wasn’t afraid to do it again!

Nola Mae skiing 1

Nola Mae skiing 2

The things I know Nola Mae loves…

  • to paint. “Painting with Pappa!”
  • to cross-country ski.
  • to play our memory game and her version of Blokus and Spot It.
  • to read books with someone and by herself.
  • candy but not enough to motivate her to use the potty.
  • to play outside.
  • to follow her brothers anywhere.
  • to push the kid sized shopping cart around the grocery store.
  • to help with any project.
  • to show any guest to our house her jumping on the bed tricks.

Nola  Mae Painting 2 I know she loves Peppa Pig, so I made this stuffed Peppa Pig out of fleece. peppa pig 1   Click here to read last year’s birthday post for Nola Mae.  

December 2014

December 2014

Jack took our annual family photos:

Family Profile 2014

Family 2014

Aunt Carol brought us the trees behind us in the spring of 2000 (our first spring).  This batch of trees never got cut for a Christmas tree because they were too big when we started having a tree.

We had good snow and great skiing early in the month.  After our first night of skiing Henry wrote a note to his teacher.

Letter from Henry

We had good sledding in our field.   Henry would get a running start and get some serious air before hitting the snow!

sledding Henry air

Nola Mae ran up and down the hill many times.

Nola Mae

The best hats!

Henry black hat  Nola Mae black hat

Early in the month I had two more kinds of soaps that were ready for the holiday: 

  soap vanilla & patchouli soap lavender & lemon grass

The first photo is Lavender, Vanilla & Patchouli.  The second photo is Lavender & Lemon Grass with ground lemon powder.

Charlie dyed a pair of bamboo socks for his teacher.  We did a test pair last month because I wanted him to have a feel for the syringe and working with the dye.  He was easily frustrated with his own socks and it seemed like he hated the whole process.  So I figured we would have to find a different gift for his teacher.  About a week before the last day of school he asked, “When are we going to dye my teacher’s socks?”  I just assumed he hated it and would never want to do it again.  Charlie promised me he would have extra patience for this project.  And he did while he got help from Nola Mae.

dyeing Charlie 3

Mrs. Johnson’s socks:

dyed socks Charlie

The color in this photo is so off from the actual color.  He used a purple and a teal color called Kingfisher Blue.

Charlie and Nola Mae messing around with a backpack:

Charlie & Nola Mae babywearing

We cut our Christmas tree from our property:

I remember planting this tree very well, even what clothes I was wearing, and the pair of gloves I had on. It was one of the first days I accomplished something significant after feeling like crap for months with morning sickness (my pregnancy with Robbie).  I planted a total of 15 trees, only three trees made it this long.  I tried to imagine when we would be cutting this tree down for our Christmas tree.  I didn’t imagine we would have four children around this tree, 11 1/2 years later.

christmas tree 2014

Nola Mae strawberry hat

One of my sisters got engaged this month:

Becca & Ben

Here is some kind of Elemental Warrior equation Robbie made with  some calligraphy pens that I had.

Elemental warrior equation

Dyeing and sewing projects (I have a post all for my December dyeing projects, click here to see them):

My friend, Michelle, gave me some curtains she had in her daughter’s room.  I dyed them, because they were white!

dye ice curtain

Nola Mae and three of her cousins got pretty snow dyed skirts.

dyed ice curtain skirt

My first Maxi skirt for one of my sisters:

sewing maxi skirt becca

Two bags made of dyed fabrics:

bag dyed red mandala

Front of bag:

bag dyed & embrodiery

Back of bag:

bag dyed Aunt Karen

Robbie and I went Christmas shopping and he had the idea that I dye the kids matching shirts.

dyed family shirts 1 dyed family shirts 2

It was my idea to do a “V” for our last name.  Jack helped me with the colors.

dyed family shirts

Jack has been busy in his workshop:

A book shelf for Robbie.

Robbie's book shelf

A tool box for Henry.

Henry's tool box

A bench for Nola Mae.

Nola Mae's bench

We set up the ping-pong table for Christmas break, this could become a tradition I could get use to.

ping pong

More of my favorite photos from this month:

Trombone Robbie

   Robbie Runs

Nola Mae's sled

Monopoly Grandmas

Mama santa hat

Charlie computer

cards Henry

cards Henry smile

October 2014

October 2014

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

Henry's pumpkin

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

Letter Mrs Fechter

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

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

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

dye swirl rainbow quilt finished

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

quilt rainbow

 

quilt rainbow baby

 

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

Dye bandanas orange and black

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

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

Emily Jaundice w John

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

Four days before her liver transplant:

Emily jaundice2

Emily jaundice 1

Almost three weeks after her transplant:

Emily not jaundice eyes

Emily not jaundice

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

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

Kuksa cup breaking it in

 

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

ruby coffee

 Kuksa cup espresso

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

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

 smoothie before             smoothie

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

Laundry charlie & Nola Mae

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

Measuring Nola Mae

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

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

nordic track

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

 Charlie had fun riding his bike.swan park 3

 And everyone had fun sliding.

Swan park 2

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

Swan Park 1

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

swan park hike

 Robbie was in charge of the camera.

swan park Robbie selfie

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

Fort in woods

 And they had a fun game of 500.

500 Robbie & Charlie 1

 

500 Robbie & Charlie 2

 

 A few babywearing photos:

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

ring sling didymos winter lillies

 

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

wrap linen blue Cathy

 

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

wrap Girasol rainbow back carry

 And this one when we were done wrapping.

wrap Girasol rainbow back carry tada

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

wrap ellevill Jack action

 

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

wrap ellevill Jack drying

Swan Park nap in my woven wrap Ellevill  Zara Velvet.

swan park nap

 

 

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

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

 

 

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!

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