My favorite things, 46 yeas old.

b-day-bike-1

My favorite things, 46 yeas old:

Chocolate

Caramel Cashew Custard from Kopp’s Frozen Custard

Beer

Coffee

Making applesauce

applesauce w H

Picking berries

raspberries

Cross Country Skiing

skiing family

 

Running

Biking

bike train

Tie Dyeingdye towels blue (2)

Fall and Winter

fall-leaves-nola-mae-henry

Watching my kids play sports (and playing with them).

charlie skateboard  Charlie & Nola Mae soccer

My favorite place, Iola Winter Sport Club

skiing Nola Mae & Henry 2014

 

A few people inspire and motivate me:

Inspiration vs. Motivation:  Jillian Micheals made me realized these are two different things.  I can be inspired by people and their activities but it is motivation that gets me outside exercising and being active.

I am motivated by my triplet sisters who are 18 years younger than me.  All three of them are active and do fun things.  I want to be able to keep up with them in their adventures and do fun things with them.  Wait, maybe not keep up at their speed, maybe just do fun things with them.

Frugal Sisters' Half Marathon 13 end

  • My sister, Kayla, is fit and a fast runner.

IMG_4842

  • My sister, Becca, is an Ironman (TWO TIMES!).

becca-ben-ironman

 

Most importantly, my kids motivate me.  I want to be thinner so I look awesome, but that isn’t what gets my butt going.  My motivator is my kids.   I want to be able to ski, run, bike, hike, play soccer, bowl, and play with them for many years.   I am one of those “older moms” and I am NOT getting any younger.  I will be 60 years old when my last child goes off to college.

Robbie is now a faster skier and runner than me.  I thought I would be  faster than him for a little longer.  Oh well, I think I could out last him in a long distance ski race or running race, right now.  But not for long.

kids-running-biking-1   kids-running-biking-2

 

To celebrate my 46th birthday I decided to do 46 miles. I wanted it to be a birthday triathlon, inspired by Becca’s Ironman.  I have this awesome road bike.

b-day-bike-2

b-day-bike-4-mile-15      b-day-bike-3

 Arrived at Sunset Lake for a swim.  It was so refreshing.

b-day-bike-5-mile-30  b-day-bike-5

 Final miles when I arrived home 48.5 miles in less than four hours.

I decided not to run because I got my 46 miles done and  I needed to have energy to finish the day as the mom of the house (making dinner, driving for cross-country practice and to Point for soccer practice).

I picked raspberries while I waited for the bus to drop off the kids and then had one of my favorite snacks, fresh raspberries with rice pudding.

b-day-snack

My adventures aren’t over with, in November I will participate in Rails to Trails Marathon with my whole family.  This winter I hope to ski more days than I did last year and possibly complete at least one ski marathon.

I would love to hear what motivates you.

What adventures do you have planned for the next year?

What birthday activity will you do for your next birthday?

December 2013 – Month 12

 December 2013 – Month 12

I forgot to add this one photo from our Thanksgiving meal at my mom’s.  I have no idea what Henry is so excited about, it was very difficult for Jack to get all the boys looking at the same time.  We are missing the two oldest grandsons in this photo.

Thanksgiving 2013

A couple of us got sick in early December.  Charlie came home sick from school one day and the next day he wasn’t 100%, so he stayed home, slept in, made four snowmen in our yard and shoveled the steps for me.

Sick Charlie day after snowman

When Nola Mae was sick she walked into the boys’ room, laid down and fell asleep for a couple of hours.  When Robbie and Henry came home from school they saw her like this and knew this was a very unusual sleeping spot for Nola Mae.

Sick Nola Mae

She was back to her old self again the next day, coloring on her legs with markers and getting into everything.

Nola Mae cooking

 I went back to my mom’s for our cousin’s cancer benefit.  All of my siblings were there.  Kayla and Becca worked on Christmas candies.

Candy making cremes Candy making Becca  Candy making snowflake oreos

My oldest nephew, Devin, came along and Nola Mae warmed up to him very quickly.  He has always been wonderful with little kids, since most of his childhood, Emily had an in-home daycare.

Devin & Nola Mae

 Nola Mae missed Henry.  My mom has an answering machine message saved on her machine from Henry.  Nola Mae listened to it often.

Nola Mae phone

I am in search of the recipe for this Chocolate Peanut Butter cookie.  Anyone know this recipe?

Cookie Chocolate Peanut butter

Santa came to Henry’s school for the parent outreach activity.  He told Santa he wanted a robot.

Santa w Henry

We traveled to my Mom’s for Christmas.  We also celebrated my triplet sisters’ birthday.  All three are intelligent, kind, loving, hardworking and beautiful inside and outside!

Siblings Danna  siblings Kayla  Siblings Becca

I decorated this rainbow cake for them.

Cake rainbow Sisters

I built a fort for the little ones to play in.

Fort at Granny's

We introduced my nephew to skiing.  He was a natural!

Kale skiing

Robbie loves Grandma Hanna’s raspberry jello. Granny made it for our Christmas dinner and Robbie got to clean the bowl.

Jello Robbie

For the last few years my siblings haven’t exchanged Christmas gifts.  This year I suggested we do an ornament exchange.  They could be homemade or bought and we needed 7 ornaments (one for each sibling, mom and self).  All my siblings participated and made their ornaments for the exchange.  I think they all had fun and I hope that we can do it again next year.

Ornaments Sibling exchange 2013

A long and late drive home.

Sleeping in the car Henry

cuddling

Our Christmas Day family photo.  (Notice the size of the tree behind Jack.)

      Family photo outside Dec 13

I was looking for photos of Java and found this family photo, taken in early January 2004.  We are standing where our wooden fence is now.  Same tree behind Jack.

Family photo outside Jan 04

Nola Mae has her own cape.

cape Nola Mae

All of our kids got a wooden vehicle for their 2nd Christmas from Papa.

   hovercraft

 Jack’s homemade Quarto game.

          Quarto Homemade

I was in the kitchen cleaning and noticed it was quiet.  I grabbed the camera and found all these kids playing nicely and quietly.

Quiet children 1

 

Quiet Children 2

 

Quiet Children 3

 

Quiet Children 4

 Santa found this brand new snowboard for Henry at St. Vinnie’s.

snowboard Henry

The older boys got a bigger snowboard to share from Santa.

snowboard Robbie & Charlie

The boys were outside playing and I was upstairs at the computer and heard this conversation:

Charlie:  Do you think Santa really watches us?
Robbie:  Yes!
Charlie: He knew our snow board broke.  He knew we loved it.  And then he gave us a new one.
Robbie:  I know.
Charlie: Yeah, he is totally real!

Our family went skiing the day after Christmas.

skiing

My dog, Java, who was almost 12 years old started looking pretty old this past year.  She died on January 30th.   I posted a “This Moment” post with a photo of our first two dogs who are both gone now.

java puppy

This is Robbie when he was a baby.

Java w Jenny RW

It will be a long time until I have another dog that I will love as much as I loved those two dogs.

On a happier note, the rest of my December…

A cold morning at breakfast.

Cold at breakfast

My sewing projects this month:

Upcylcled elephants for a friend that is having a baby this winter, made from table cloths from her wedding.  I am planning on making her a ring sling from one of those table cloths.

table cloth elephants

I made these two child size Mei Tai for a friend.

Mei Tai butterflies Henry  Mei Tai Nola Mae

I made these two sweater owls for my youngest nephews for Christmas, upcylced from wool sweaters.

 Owl Kale  Owl Brooks

I also made one for each of our kids.

Owls sweaters w kids

One of the best gifts anyone can give me is time in my sewing room.  Jack and the kids stayed busy upstairs, eventually Nola Mae found her way down to the sewing room and sat nicely on my lap while I sewed the binding on the denim Rail Fence quilt that I made for Jack many years ago.

Quilt denim binding

Quilt denim Jack's

I label all my quilts and when this quilt was close to being finished I anticipated finishing it in 2005.  In case you don’t remember in 2002 we had no kids, just two dogs.  Robbie came in 2003 and in the summer of 2005 we moved to the garage, gutted our old farm-house for remodeling, lived in the garage and Charlie was born two months before the house was finished.  This quilt got worked on off and on over the years.  My mom inspired me to finish this one.  She has made some very beautiful quilts over the last few years and I felt like I needed to finish this one before starting any big projects.

Quilt denim  label Jack's

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

February 2013 – Month 2

February 2013 – Month 2

In late January the boys had a two-hour delay for school due to bad weather and then a snow day.

The morning of the two-hour delay caused some craziness.  Every morning if Nola Mae and Henry are still sleeping when it is time to go out to the end of the driveway I walk out there with the boys.  I take care of the dogs.  This morning I turned on the water to fill the horse’s water tank.

I didn’t know there was a two-hour delay until we were outside waiting for the bus by 6:30 and we were waiting for about 10 minutes.  I saw the county bus go by very slowly, usually this bus is going pretty fast.  I realized then that maybe the wasn’t any school because the roads were probably too bad.  I went into the house to check the school’s website.  In all this craziness I forgot about the running water in the barn.  The nice thing about our old barn and the placement of my water tank is when it overflows most of the water goes to the stairs.

flooded barn

After the two big boys were off to school I scooped the water out with the 5 gallon bucket and the grain shovel.  If I didn’t wear my baby I am not sure when or how I would have gotten this cleaned up.  I was concerned about it freezing and needed it to get cleaned up right away!

flooded barn clean up

flooded barn clean

When we had a snow day I was thinking ahead so we made Valentine cards for school.  I refuse to buy the crap that is in the stores.  I cut hearts of all sizes and all three boys glued and colored whatever they wanted, signed their name and we taped a small package of Smarties or a sucker on each card. Thanks to Granny we had a good supply of Smarties!  Henry signed all of his with one big “H”, up until this time I didn’t know he could write an H.  He saw the boys writing their names and he told me he could do his.

Valentine making

The innocent playing on the kitchen stool has turned dangerous.  Remember last month’s cute photos?  Now, I put the stool away and only bring it out when we need it.

stool Nola Mae 1  stool Nola Mae2

Henry’s preschool does a cake raffle at four high school basketball games as a fundraiser.  These are two of the three cakes I made.  The preschool raised a total of over $400.

Basketball cake   cake heart cake

Henry has watched us play Battle Ship.  On this day he was set on filling every spot and not interested in getting up until he was done.

Henry battleship

I heard the piano keys being played.  I stopped what I was doing in the kitchen to tell Henry how beautiful and gentle his fingers were playing and found Nola Mae standing at the piano.

piano Nola Mae reaching

Henry thinks she needs to sit down to play and put her on a chair.  Nola Mae likes it.

Piano Nola Mae

My friend, Asherrie’s mom made this little hair hat for Nola Mae.

Nola Mae w hair

During some cold temps this month we were unable to start the tractor to bring firewood into the house.  Robbie and I brought this load of wood into the house.

Robbie firewood load

We have had excellent skiing this month.

A snowy day made it a lot more work to ski and pull the sled.  It is a good thing Nola Mae sleeps the whole time because on this day she wouldn’t have been able to see out of the sled.

ski sled w snow

Henry’s skiing skills improved drastically in a week’s time.  He went from me skiing next to him while going down hill, and skiing behind him doing the “duck walk” up the hill to him climbing up hills and zooming down hills all by himself.  He has also gotten stronger during the month of February.  We always went on the green loop.  By the end of this month we going out on the blue loop.  One day he skied for over 1.5 miles.  And another day he skied the entire blue loop (distance?) in 1 hour 45 minutes.

skiing Henry down

I had a few days where Henry would ski as far as he could and when he would get tired I put him in the sled with Nola Mae.  They would both fall asleep within 10 minutes and I could ski as long as I was able to.  On this day I didn’t bring any water with me and had to go back after 1.5 hours.  They could have napped longer and I could have skied longer!

Skiing sled b&w

Aunt Becca came to ski with us during one of our Saturday morning lessons.  The youth ski group skied to the shelter on the green trail for hot dogs, hot chocolate and the reading of  the book called The Race of the Birkebeiners.

skis at shelter

skiing w Becca

Skiing w Becca 1

Three of my sisters met at my house for skiing and visiting.  While they were here it was too beautiful to be inside.  I got the boys out to try to do some sledding.  Kayla and Skyler came outside to play with us and they had an idea to make a snow fort.

Kayla & Nola Mae  Henry and Skylar

Snow fort building

The snow fort started to lean when the temps warmed up.  Notice the leaning sides of the fort.

Snow fort melt down 1

snow fort meltdown 3

The day before it fell to the ground.

snow fort meltdown 5

During this same weekend the youth ski group skied our re-enactment of The Race of the Birkebeiners where the kids brought their babies or stuffed animals and carried them on a special trail that I had groomed for them.

Birkie ski

I had someone interested in buying my Ellaroo wrap.  This was my first wrap.  I haven’t been using it very often so I considered parting with it.  We wrapped with it and I decided I couldn’t sell it just yet.

Ellaroo Ysabel wrap smiles

Nola Mae doing “The Big C” and still staying in the wrap!

Ellaroo Ysabel wrap back arch

I made this ring sling for myself after finding out that I like the ease of getting Nola Mae in and out when going places.

Ring Sling DIY Plum

I got this wrap hammock idea from my friend, Brianna, the one who got me into wrapping.  She has made forts, swings and hammocks with her wraps.  Charlie’s friend rode the bus after school to work on her science project with Mystique (Click here to see her mom’s blog post).

Wrap hammock G

Charlie and Robbie took turns sleeping in the hammock.

Wrap hammock sleeping Charlie

Week 20 – May 14 – 20, 2012

Week 20 – May 14 – 20, 2012

Monday, May 14th: My friend Kristin wanted to decorate a cake for her daughters’ preschool graduation.  She wanted to learn a few tips on cake decorating.  We spent the morning together and I walked her through all the steps to decorate her first cake. Click here to see the finished cake.

I took the boys into the pasture tonight to get some cool photos of all the dandelion seed heads.  The wind the night before blew most of them off.

Tuesday, May 15th:   We put some eggs in our incubator within a day of Charlie’s kindergarten class in hopes that both of us would get a good hatch.  My plan was for it to be worth having the brooder plugged in.  Our first chick hatched.

My Mother’s Day gift arrived…a worm factory.  We got composting worms a week ago and I had been dreading the idea of putting them in the home-made bin that I made a few years ago when we had worms.   I was afraid that my worms died because it wasn’t a great design.

Wednesday, May 16th:  Henry’s request for breakfast was boiled eggs.  He helped with a few of the steps.

Thursday, May 17th:  My sisters Kayla and Emily came to visit.

Kayla wore Nola Mae while I planted beets and peas with Henry.

Friday, May 18th:  Charlie’s kindergarten class hatched some of our eggs.  We brought the chicks home today.  Before coming home the teacher let the kids hold the chicks.  One of Charlie’s classmates was so excited to kiss one of those cute little chicks.  Her mom wrote a sweet blog post about it.  Click here to see the photo and the short story.

After the chicks were put in their new home (our brooder in the garage) I noticed the ones that came from school were less skittish.  Our chicks haven’t had much handling or peeking at due to the dangerous grip of a three-year old.  Henry can be gentle with eggs.  He needs a little work with chicks!

Saturday, May 19th:  Nola Mae’s baby quilt has been started.  I am going to use the Tumbling Bears quilt design.  There will be 12 bears with 12 different prints of purple.

Sunday, May 20th:  Robbie has been reading Harry Potter.  It all started with his teacher reading it to the class, then Jack was reading it at bedtime, then Robbie was following along as his teacher read and now he reads it on the bus, after school and at bedtime.  He recently told me that he is done reading Junie B Jones books because, “that is all baby talk.”