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



Project 365 Week 38

Project 365 Week 37

Project 365: Take a photo a day and see your life in a whole new way.

9/19/11 (Monday) – Fall is here and our apple tree is loaded with apples.  They are not ripe yet, but are starting to fall.  As they fall to the ground we sort them: a pile for applesauce, a pile to eat and a the worst apples go to the animals (chickens or horse).

Henry practicing his throw.

9/20/11 (Tuesday) – The Best Smoothie EVER!  Click here to see my post and recipe for this smoothie.

9/21/11 (Wednesday) – After school hike to burn off energy!

While on our hike we collected all the corn cobs from the damaged corn.

We walked through the woods on our way back to the house and found the last blackberries of the season.

9/22/11 (Thursday) – I am still getting raspberries and until the frost arrives we will keep picking.

9/23/11 (Friday), 9/24/11 (Saturday) & 9/25/11 (Sunday) – A camping weekend filled with many activities with our extended family on a 169-acre island at Brunet Island State Park.

Cooking and eating delicious food made by our camp cook, Uncle Eddie.


Making flaming pumpkins.

Sending smoke signals.



Face painting. Thanks Aunt Susie!

Biking (I know, no helmets! Shame on us!).


Playing kickball.

The Best Smoothie

My best friend, Bethany, from college taught me about smoothies and now I frequently make smoothie for our night-time snack.  I never use a recipe and never keep track of my ingredients.  My standard ingredients are yogurt, milk and bananas. The rest is whatever frozen berries are in the upstairs freezer at the time.

Only a few times the boys did not like a smoothie I made. When a smoothie does flop I freeze it in my ice-cube trays and throw a few cubes into future smoothies.  Or I cut the cubes in thirds and Henry eats them for snacks during the day.   I also do this with any leftover smoothie.

Last night’s smoothie was a huge hit.  I was able to remember or estimate what my amounts were to write this down.

3 bananas (you can also use frozen bananas)

1 cup milk

2 cups of vanilla yogurt

1/2 cup frozen strawberries

1/2 cup frozen raspberries

1 cup frozen blackberries

2 tablespoons of hemp seeds

Blend and serve.  I believe this made about 5 cups (1.25L).

My reviews on this smoothie were the most postive I have heard.   Here is what my critics had to say:

Robbie – This is GREAT!  THE BEST EVER smoothie!


Charlie – Mama, you should sell these!


Henry – YUMMY!


Jack – Very good! ( sorry I didn’t get a photo of his dirty face)

About Hemp seed:  http://www.drbronner.com/pdf/hempnutrition.pdf

Smoothie books that have inspried me (photos taken from amazon.com):

Super Smoothies: 50 Recipes for Health and EnergySuper Smoothies: 50 Recipes for Health and Energy

500 Smoothies & Juices: The Only Smoothie & Juice Compendium You'll Ever Need (500 Cooking (Sellers))500 Smoothies & Juices: The Only Smoothie & Juice
Compendium You’ll Ever Need

Green for LifeGreen for Life

Project 365 Week 30

Project 365 Week 30

Project 365: Take a photo a day and see your life in a whole new way.

7/25/11 (Monday) –  I purchased 50 pounds (1 bushel) of peaches for $20 last week.  Once they were to the ripeness that I like we ate as many as we could.  I made smoothies (even a green smoothie with peaches and bananas), I made peach crisp (three times), and sliced peaches put them onto cookie sheets and froze them (after they were frozen I put them in quart ziplock bags).  Out of the 50 pounds I ended up with about 20 pounds of frozen peaches in the freezer.

25 pounds of peaches, aren’t they pretty?

Two of the three pans of peach crisp I baked this week.  I doubled the peaches in the recipe and not the crisp topping.  I shared one pan with our neighbors and I shared the other with Jack.  Click here to see the recipe.

7/26/11 (Tuesday) – Jack drove the tractor out of the barn to put it outside to sell.

 For Sale: W-9 Tractor

(leave a comment if you are interested in purchasing this tractor)

7/27/11 (Wednesday) –  My boy who likes to problem-slove and invent things, set up this rain-catcher in the rain so we don’t have to waste electricity to pump water out of the well.

7/28/11 (Thursday) –  I was planning on leaving for Milwaukee today and decided not to leave until Friday morning.  We were almost packed and my cake was decorated for the weekend.  I felt like I needed a little more time to breathe at home.   I decided to meet our friends at the beach in the afternoon.  I was hoping to wear the boys out so I could get more things done after they went to bed early.  Henry fell asleep in the car on the way home from the beach.  He played so hard and was so tired.  When we got home at 5:30 I carried him into the house and he stayed sleeping until 7am!

The cake.

7/29/11 (Friday) –  I arrived at Emily’s house in the afternoon.  She took us to the community pool in her neighborhood.

Later we met my brother and his family at my Dad’s.  We took the boys to one of my favorite places from my younger years, Doctor’s Park on Lake Michigan.

7/30/11 (Saturday) – We participated in the Liver Life Walk – Milwaukee Lakefront.

Emily and John had Emily’s Energy t-shirts made for everyone.  My next post this week will be photos from the walk.


Liver Man was giving high-fives and probably dripping with sweat inside there!


The youngest in our extended family to attend the walk and my favorite boy who is still one years-old (for just another month).

7/31/11 (Sunday) – We spent the morning helping my Dad clean up a tree that fell down in his backyard.

After we were done Henry sprayed us down.

Loaded and ready to go home!

Green Smoothies



Smoothie Green

Green smoothies may look unappetizing to some people. When I first saw my frist green smoothie I was very curious about what it was, but didn’t really want to know. Then another friend of mine was drinking one and I got up enough nerve to ask for a taste. It was yummy! Then I asked what was in there.

These are the ingredients to my favorite Green Smoothie:

smoothie ingredients

Apple juice or water, greens, bananas and an apple. 

(Recipe and directions are at the end of this post).

Apple juice or water…

smoothie apple juice

Add greens and blend…

smootie blending

Here is a photo of a “weed” from my garden that I just learned is good for smoothies, lamb’s quarters.

smoothie lamb's quarter

Continue to blend until liquid is smooth looking.

Add fruit and blend until completely blended.

smoothie apples

Green Smoothie

1 cup of apple juice or water.

2-3 handfuls of spinach  or a variety of greens (spinach, beet greens – no stems, lamb’s quarter).

1-2 apples peeled.

1-2 bananas peeled.

Directions:  Add juice or water to blender.  Add greens one handful at a time, blending after each handful.  Once it is smooth add a little bit of fruit while the blender is on.  Yields: 1 quart

Jenny’s notes: I like my Green Smoothies very cold and usually make them at night so they are chilled in the morning.  My other favorite fruit combos are pears and bananas.

Other recipes from the website Green for Life:

Basic Balance
Victoria Boutenko

1 mango
1 cup kale
1 cup water
Yields 1 quart

Victoria’s Favorite Dark Green
Victoria Boutenko

1 bunch dandelion greens
4 Roma tomatoes
3 cups water
Yields 2 quarts

The Laughing Gorilla
Valya Boutenko

½ head romaine lettuce
2 ripe bananas, peeled and frozen
2 oranges, peeled, seeds removed
1 mango
2 cups water
Yields 2 quarts
Warning: consumption of smoothie may
result in spontaneously occurring, extremely
contagious gorilla laughter

Benefits of Green Smoothies:  http://www.incrediblesmoothies.com/green-smoothies/green-smoothie-health-benefits/

Thanks Kat and Jackie for introducing me to Green Smoothies!

Project 365 Week 28

Project 365 Week 28

Project 365: Take a photo a day and see your life in a whole new way.

7/11/11 (Monday) –  Mondays are difficult days for me.  Henry went downstairs to get me a cup of coffee.  The cup he brought to me was half full, cold and very chunky.  I wondered how he managed to find coffee leftover from the day before.  When I went downstairs found my french press opened and on the floor.  I think if he watches me make coffee every day it won’t be long before he can make a yummy cup of coffee for me.

7/12/11 (Tuesday) –  Tuesday morning library program.  We are lucky to have our favorite librarian  also be Aunt Susie.  I was waiting for Henry to climb onto her lap like he does at home. 

My first ripe blueberries!


7/13/11 (Wednesday) –  I have been trying to run this summer and it hasn’t been going as well as I would like.  I am registered to do a trail run in September and I may just die that day.  One of the ways for me to get a run in is by putting Henry in the stroller and the older boys on their bikes.  Well, as you can see here they are way too fast for me.

Today, I tried to slow them down and lighten my load.  I attached our bike trailer onto Charlie’s bike (it doesn’t fit on Robbie’s bike).  Robbie pulls Henry and Charlie rides Robbie’s bike, which makes them both much slower.  

Henry reads his books.  And yells, “Mama!”  If Robbie gets too far away from me.

I try to run close behind Robbie and the bike trailer.  He is weighted down enough that he rides at my pace and I just need to give him a few pushes up the hills.  This view of the boys while I run is much better! 

7/14/11 (Thursday) –  Thursday Night On Main is in its second year in our town.  There is great entertainment every week, you can click here to see the schedule for the rest of the summer.

This week Tom Pease came to Iola!  We had so much fun dancing and singing to our favorite songs!  If you don’t know who Tom Pease is you should! 

The Belly Button song was a huge hit with my boys and I think it is the most popular song with all children.  Especially this time, he warned everyone not to stick their finger in their belly button because that would cause illegal tooting.  Imagine the giggles.


Here is Tom Pease’s website:  http://tompease.com/

Click here to see a YouTube video of Tom Pease in Madison performing the Belly Button song.

7/15/11 (Friday) –  Robbie has started to mow certain areas of our lawn.   He mowed this area and wanted me to take picture of the liver shape in the lawn.  I have mowed this area many times and ended up with this same shape.  I never thought it looked like a liver, but it does.   He seems to always be thinking of Auntie Emmy and livers.  Where ever he looks he sees them. 

More progress on the wood shed this week.

7/16/11 (Saturday) – Our first bowl of blueberries!  Henry seems to have forgotten about them, thankfully.  That is why we have a handful and a bowl full this week.  This morning  I snuck out there to pick them and Henry came looking for me.  I hid in the blueberry patch so he wouldn’t find me while I was picking them.  I heard him at the edge of the garden calling, “are you, Mama?” for “where are you, Mama?” 

Later in the day I gathered from the garden my greens for my green smoothie.  Here are my ingredients.

Click here to read more about the benefits of green smoothies.    Oh so yummy!

Click here to see my post on Green Smoothies.

7/17/11 (Sunday) – My latest aprons were finished today.  I had some lace that I wanted to try on an apron and when one of my friends asked for two aprons for her granddaughters I thought this would be perfect use for my lace.  I may need to find out if there is an easier way to put lace on things.  I am very pleased with how they turned out. 

Project 365 Week 6

Project 365 Week 6

Project 365:  Take a photo a day and see your life in a whole new way.

2/7/11 (Monday) – Robbie is the only Green Bay Packer fan in our house.  Charlie is becoming one only because of Robbie.   On Monday, after learning that the Packers won the Superbowl (because we didn’t watch or listen to the game) Robbie composed a Packer song.


2/8/11 (Tuesday) – Today the older boys got on the bus with our thermometer saying -3 degrees.  When it is cold outside I have a difficult time keeping the house warm with the wood stove so I want to bake.   I made Honey-Wheat Bread.  This is the first time Henry helped me make bread.  He loved the kneading and

throwing the dough.

Later…my homemade Pesto on homemade toasted bread, YUMMY!


2/9/11  (Wednesday) – Another cold day…blueberry scones.


2/10/11 (Thursday) – It was a little warmer today.  Henry and I skied with a friend, sorry no photo of this event of the day. 

But here is one of our night-time snack…blueberry & raspberry smoothies.


2/11/11 (Friday) – I have been avoiding this sewing project after learning that Charlie wants to turn the shirt that he has designed and sewn into a Packer shirt.  Since Charlie does have some Schroeder blood in him I had to give in to his desire to be a Packer fan.  Grandpa Schroeder would be proud of our boys.   During Henry’s nap-time we made progress on Charlie’s Packer shirt.


2/12/11 (Saturday) –   I like bowling but don’t go very often.  Jack hates bowling so we rarely go as a family.  Bowling is in my blood.  Both my grandfathers were very good bowlers, I have many other relatives that are good bowlers too.   My Grandpa that is still alive is almost 82 years old and is still bowling on four leagues.

This is how the Vater Boys bowl.