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

 

 

Henry’s Pumpkin

On Monday, Henry came home from school with his pumpkin from the field trip he went on that morning. He was very eager to carve it. I asked him to wait until the other boys have pumpkins and we can do them all together. He was not interested.

I didn’t really care that he wasn’t listening to my idea or want to discuss it any further because in the next 45 minutes we had to make and eat dinner, clean up and do homework in order to leave the house for flag football. I had an over tired 2-year-old who was sporadically crying over everything, one boy doing homework and I am not sure what the other boy was doing, maybe running around outside bare footed in 45 degrees and very windy!

Henry's pumpkin

Henry:  I bet my friends haven’t cut their pumpkins out yet.

My response:  You are right because their moms probably didn’t let them.

Henry:  I bet Landon’s mom did, because she is REALLY nice!

It was all fine and wonderful until…

He cut the top all the way around and it fell inside the pumpkin = tears. I kissed him and helped him get the top out.

He continued to carve the eyes, and then the mouth wasn’t working like he envisioned = tears. I suggested he draw the mouth on the pumpkin with a marker so he could follow the lines.

The whole face of his pumpkin caved in = sobbing, serious tears and almost inconsolable.

Henry's pumpkin no face

I am a mean mom because I was kind of laughing inside, considered taking a photo of him crying with the pile of pumpkin chunks on the table and wanted to suggest we throw the stupid pumpkin to the chickens.  Instead, I hunted for a little candle (relieved that I actually had one and found it within seconds), I carved a heart on the back side and showed him how pretty the heart glows. And promised I will buy him another pumpkin when we get pumpkins for the big boys.

Henry's pumpkin glowing

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?