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

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August 2012 – Month 8

August 2012 – Month 8

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

Wedding thumbs up

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

napkin Robbie

napkin charlie

napkin Henry

napkin Nola Mae

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

broccoli bean & lettuce

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

tomatoes Henry

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

four kids on rocks

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

family plate

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

humming birds

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

Red door

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

boy searching

Jack took this photo from the top of our hill.

farm from hill

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

hula hoops

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

hula hoops taped

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

Nola Mae in fridge

Nola Mae got her first taste of the beaters.

Nola Mae beaters

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

Charlie's cake Golden apple

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

Charlie's b-day cake

Nola Mae at 16 months old:

Nola Mae cutie

Nola Mae GPS

nola mae in purple

wrap DIY coral woven Nola Mae

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

Nola Mae Sleeping 1

Nola Mae sleeping 2

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

soap March flakes

Baby wearing:

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

babywearing not

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

wraps stash shot on clothes line folded

Nola Mae trying to wrap herself.

wrap Zara velvet Nola Mae (2)

wrap Zara velvet Nola Mae

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

wrap DIY coral woven Nola Mae and Mama

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

beat and beets

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

wrap dog wearer

Sewing projects:

A skiing friend ordered this one for a friend

ring sling Ann

and this one for a co-worker.

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

ring sling turquosie 1

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

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

ring sling turquosie 2

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

Neither does this one. 

ring sling narrow stripes

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

Or maybe not because it seems to fit us.

ring sling stripes w baby

Cold Press Soaps – for sale

Cold Press Soaps – for sale

Soap bars cut

I have been making homemade soaps for about five years.  I wanted to make soap for a couple of years before that.  I didn’t do it because I was confused and intimidated by the chemistry mumble-jumble and the investment of equipment and ingredients.  Then I met my friend, Lynn, who makes very beautiful soaps.  She gave me lots of encouragement, sold me the ingredients for one batch and let me use her equipment.  I had a blast and my first batch of soap turned out wonderfully! 

My motivation to make homemade soap was to do something fun, have good homemade soap for our family, and to have extra soap to give away as gifts to family and friends.   Then a few members of my family and some friends have asked to buy my soap.  I love my soap and am flattered that others like it too. 

soap in basket

My Aunt Anita has been a good sales person for me, telling many people about my soap, selling my soap at her craft sale in her vacation home community.  My friends, Lila and Rhonda, are great customers and I love that they are sharing my soaps with others.  (This post was prompted by these women and their inquires to what I have available)

The ingredients:  Water (sometimes snow), lye, olive oil, organic coconut oil, palm oil and essential oils.  Some soaps will have exfoliants added, such as ground oatmeal or lavender flowers or cinnamon.

Cinnamon/Orange with ground cinnamon.

soap cinnamon orange

March Flakes (made in March with snow), ground lavender flowers, essential oils – lemon, lavender and rosemary. 

Sold out!

soap March flakes

Patchouli/Orange, ground oatmeal, essential oils – patchouli, orange, lemon.

soap patchouli orange

Lavender and Lemongrass

Sold Out!

soap Lavender & Lemongrass

This soap is an exception…I have cut small bars, each about 2 oz each and put them together as a set to equal 4 oz.

Top bar: March Flakes (made in March with snow), ground lavender flowers, essential oils – lemon, lavender and rosemary.

Bottom bar: Lemon/Lavender, ground cinnamon, essential oils – lemon and lavender.

Sold Out!

soap small bars

My newest soaps…

Juniper, Lavender & Rosemary

soap Juniper lavender rosemary

Lavender, Vanilla & Patchouli

soap swirl patchouli vanilla

Felted soap…

Essential Oils:  Lavender, Vanilla & Patchouli (these might be closer to 3 oz. bars)  $3

soap felted

My soaps weigh about 4 ounces/bar.  Each bar is $3.

A great gift for someone special could be soap and a small container of my Beeswax Body Balms or Healing Balms.

July 2013 – Month 7

July 2013 – Month 7

My Uncle Carl from California came to visit this month.  He was able to spend an afternoon/evening at our house.  Nola Mae warmed up to him very quickly.

uncle carl & Nola Mae

Our family went to Big Falls to play in the rapids on a really hot day.  It was the busiest I have ever seen the place.  There were about 30 other people there, usually we are the only ones.  There is a zip-line there where most of the people were.  I would love for the boys to try it some day.

big falls four kids

Just so you know, when Jack went down these rapids his butt dragged the whole time.

big falls Charlie

Nola Mae enjoyed the refreshing feel of the water.

big falls Nola Mae

Good things come in threes:

1)  Jack installed my new clothes line.

clothes line on silo

2)  Jack built a gate for us (my request).  For some reason our road is a toddler magnet.  Every one of our kids loved sprinting to the road.  Maybe it is the thrill of Mama or Papa chasing after them.

Gate for Nola Mae

We have had the W-9 since our first year living here.  It was a tractor of Jack’s dad’s.  We used it to break ground for our veggie garden and that is about it.  It is a big tractor.

Tractor W-9 & kids

We also owned a Farmall H that was useful to us for moving firewood and cleaning the barn.  We decided to sell them both.  It was sad for me to see them go.

Tractor W-9 & H loaded up

3)  I have been trying to convince Jack for at least the last five years to buy me a skid steer.

skid steer

I found some hay!  I am thinking this will be the last winter I buy hay for my horse.  She may need to die or find a new home.  I have fond memories of all the sweat and dust of baling hay on my Step-Dad’s farm.  I had a fun time with Robbie and Charlie going to get this hay.  I pulled them away from the computer to help me one evening.  We drove to the field where the hay was baled and loaded up two loads of 25 bales each.   And then they helped unload it.  In the truck on the way to get our second load Charlie said, “This is fun!”

bales boys unloading

Henry helped unload the second load in the morning.  And helped with stacking it in the basement of the barn.

 bales Henry

My friends and I ordered a total of 170 pounds of blueberries from Country Corner Sales for $2.05/lb.  Last year I paid $2.53/lb.   Not very often can you say, “The price went down this year!”   The pick-you-own blueberry farm is charging $2.50/lb ($0.25 more than what they charged last year).

Blueberry boxes 2013

Nola Mae thought she had her own box.

Blueberry Nola Mae 2013

I harvested my garlic this month and wrote about our garden.

garlic harvest 2013

I boiled eggs one day and went outside before they were ready to be taken off the heat.  I got this exploded egg.  It looks like a chicken head to me.  What do you see?

egg boiled oozing

Charlie has been wanting to bike to town (a round trip is 10 miles) all summer.  We have only done a 4.5 mile loop in our neighborhood a few times.  With complaints and many water stops most of the way.   On this day I added a 2 mile loop, totaling 6.5 miles, to test them out for a trip to town.  I hooked up the train for a bike ride.  Henry on the tag-along attached to my bike and Nola Mae in the Burley attached to the tag-along.  Robbie couldn’t find his shoes so he biked in socks.  Charlie was just plain crabby about the whole idea.

bike train

The 6.5 miles wasn’t that bad after we were done.

A few days later, we went to town on our bikes.  Charlie was pumped.  Robbie was tired before we started.  They raced almost the whole way and I had a hard time keeping up with them.  It took us 36 minutes to go the 5 miles.

bike to town picnic

We had a picnic at the park, then dropped off some of my healing balm at a friend’s house and at the pharmacy.  The pharmacist is testing it to see if they want to stock it on their shelves.   We went to the library for some books on CD for our trip to Milwaukee and then to the ice cream shop.

bike to town ice cream shop

On the way home Charlie was so tired I considered dropping his bike off at my friend’s house (3 miles from our house), putting Henry in the trailer with Nola Mae and having Charlie ride on the tag-along.   Nola Mae was sleeping and Charlie seemed better after more water.  When we were two miles from home Charlie figured out a way to hold onto the bike trailer/stroller’s handle bars with one hand and his handle bars with the other.  He peddled while holding on and there were times I could feel him pushing me and other times when I was pulling him.  He said he would let go when a car was coming and while going up and down the hills.  I could have sworn he was holding on when we were climbing that last hill to our house and I looked back and he wasn’t.   Henry is a good peddler on the tag-along.  It took us 48 minutes to get home.

Often I find Nola Mae walking around with a pen ( or whatever writing utensil she can find) and paper.  Maybe she will be a writer.  She sat with Java for a long time as if she was interviewing her.

Nola Mae & Java

My friend, Lynn, gave me this cute dress for Nola Mae.  I have been wanting to take a cute picture of her in the dress for Lynn.  Nola Mae has been getting the dress dirty before I could get a photo taken.  This is an example of how quick I can be with the camera.  I was in the kitchen, my camera is usually there, I turned around and saw Nola Mae doing this…

Nola Mae on chair

I was admiring how well Nola Mae was playing with this car,

Nola Mae drives tractor

and the next thing she did was take a drink out of this little puddle on the deck.

Nola Mae thirsty

Nola Mae comes out the chicken coop with me often, she is usually on my back, this time she was walking with me.  I feed them and then collect the eggs, so I am not tripping over them or getting pecked when I am stealing eggs.  Nola Mae decided to eat with the chickens.

Nola Mae eating w chickens

Henry is teaching her how to climb ladders.

Nola Mae ladder

I have a friend who got married the same weekend as the Liver Walk.  Earlier this year she asked me if I was interested in making her wedding cake.   I seriously considered it.  I knew she was having a small wedding and she would be the kind of bride I could work with.  My only concern was having the time to make the cake.   During the week of her wedding I was sad to not be making her wedding cake.  I started making a triple layered 9 inch round cake for my nephew’s graduation party.  I needed Nola Mae to be busy for a little while so I could mix the cake by letting her play with the water on a chair AT the sink.  NOT in the sink!

  Nola Mae in sink

Henry was doing a great job reading to Nola Mae.  I was impressed with how well he knew the right sounds and words to Mr. Brown can MOO, can you?

Henry reading

Nola Mae wanted to hold the book and Henry didn’t like that idea.  They both were happier once Nola Mae had her own book to hold.

Henry reading 2

Jack made this beautiful box for Nola Mae.

box Nola Mae

We went to the Liver Walk and had a graduation party for my nephew afterwards. 

Liver walk 2013

I made snake bubbles and they were a hit with all the little kids and even the big kids. 

Liver Walk 2013 bubbles K

Liver Walk 2013 bubbles Ali

Liver Walk 2013 bubbles Kayla & Ali

How to make snake bubbles: 

  • Cut off the bottom of a plastic bottle (soda or water bottle).
  • Cut an old sock just before the heel, so you are using the toe and foot part of the sock to cover the bottom of your bottle.
  • Secure the sock on the bottle with a rubber band.  Since I was traveling and making these a head of time, I also put duct tape over the rubber band.
  • Soap mixture was 1 parts Dawn dish soap and 2 parts water.
  • Dip the bottom of the bottle in the soap mixture and blow.

Note:  Smaller kids may suck in while blowing and swallow or breath in bubbles.  Henry will tell you that is YUCKY!

For colored snake bubbles click here.

Since the skid steer has arrived a lot of projects have been getting done around our yard.

Rock wall 1

Rock Wall 2

Rock wall Nola Mae

skid steer Nola Mae

I have gotten braver with my soaps.  I purchased more essential oils this spring and made this soap in early June.  It turned out beautiful, this has cinnamon and orange essential oils with ground cinnamon.  If you like cinnamon smelling things you would love this!

soap cinnamon orange

Sewing projects this month:

Tooth pillows for a sister and brother.

tooth pillow maddie  tooth pillow alek

A TNT pillow case inspired by Minecraft for one of Robbie’s friends.

pillow case TNT Landon

I made a Mei Tai for a friend’s sister.

Mei Tai kid size

Three beautiful ring slings.

ring sling brown w green steph  ring sling green w br steph  ring sling plum Pam

I bought this fabric at a rummage sale.  It is the perfect weave for a wrap.  I serged the edges and used it for weeks until I finally hemmed it.

Wrap DIY shorty Ruck Under Bum (RUB)  wrap DIY woven naptime

It is shorter than my other wraps and there is only enough room for me to do a Rucksack carry tied under the bum (A.K.A. RUB).  I have learned that I love it for very fast ups and downs and escaping out from the fabric when laying down Nola Mae.

Wrap DIY shorty I escaped

I have another picture of her sweetness in my light rainbow wrap.

wrap light rainbow naptime

I am in a babywearing group on facebook.  Each week they do a “carry of the week”.   A great way to learn a new carry or in this case a new tie off.  This is a double hammock carry with a salt water tie with my Zara Velvet wrap.

Wrap Zara Velevet Salt Water double hammock

My favorite pictures of the month:

baby wearing sibling Ergo Charlie

baby wearing sibling Ergo Charlie woods

Robbie fancy moves

Nola Mae wheel

Nola Mae fence

April 2013 – Month 4

April 2013 – Month 4

Our last day of skiing was April 3rd!  A beautiful day for us, except both of us were low on patience and energy.  More pictures and the story are in my post Winter of Skiing.

last ski

Henry had a great wipe-out and was not happy that I was taking photos.  He went down the hill and around the corner first.  When I went down the hill I came to this pile of a boy.

last ski 2013 a Last ski b

last ski c

Grandma Hanna was here for her birthday.  Jack got the boys up earlier to have a birthday pancake with her before going to school on the bus.

B-day Helen

And then a few days later it was Henry’s birthday.

cake Henry birthday

Grandpa Rob brought a lantern for us to send off.  We watched it slowly blow over the barn (I held my breath until it was over the barn), slowly go higher and we saw where it went down about a half mile from our house.  The two older boys rode their bikes and found the darn thing.  Which meant they had to send it off again with a few minor repairs.

lantern send off

And then the next day it was Nola Mae’s birthday.  My three favorite photos of her this month.

Nola Mae born at home 1  Nola Mae in window Nola Mae door way

I made a few cupcakes from the batter of Henry’s cake so Nola Mae could have her own cake on her birthday.

cake Nola Mae cupcake

Around her birthday, Nola Mae, was taking about four steps at a time and two weeks later she was doing about 8 – 10 and almost a month later she is taking more steps than you can count.  Every time she would take a few steps Henry would say, “SHE TOOK FOUR STEPS!” in the most excited voice you ever heard.  I hope that he continues to be her encouraging brother.

b-day cupcake boys

Henry stopped nursing a week before his birthday and one of the things we started doing in the mornings to replace our nursing times is cuddle and read books.  On this morning he waited very patiently for me with his pile of books.  I always say, “Get your books ready while I get my coffee.”  This day I got distracted and he was quietly waiting and waiting.

Reading Henry waiting

Charlie and Robbie had long hair over the winter months.  Charlie came home one day from school and said he was ready for a hair cut and wanted it to be like his friend, Gavin’s.  I don’t go to school very often and didn’t really know what kind of hair-do Gavin had so I asked Charlie to draw a picture of him.  Just to be sure we were clear on what he wanted done.  Pretty simple hair cut!  And he is just as handsome as Gavin.

Charlie before  Charlie after

We had ice and snow come in April that caused a two-hour delay of school.  I went outside to take care of my animals and heard an odd sound coming from the woods.  Then I realized it was the ice coated branches clanking.

April ice & snow

My friend Kristin who is a runner and a skier told me about the Wood County Breastfeeding Coalition 5K run in Marshfield.  I took Nola Mae and pushed her in the stroller.  It was a great morning for a run and it felt good to be running after a long winter of skiing.   I was hanging out after the race getting us packed up and Nola Mae fed before we left so she could sleep in the car all the way home.  I was listening to the awards being announced expecting Kristin to have placed in her age group and to my great surprise I placed 3rd in my age group and got this awesome medal!

medal 5K

Iola Winter Sport Club had a trail run on April 14th, run by Great Lake Endurance which benefits my youth ski program.  There was a great turn out considering the weather was terrible for trail running, they should have worn snow shoes!  I made two nescos of Black Bean Veggie Soup for the race and had to take a photo of my ingredients and the veggies cooking in my big pot.

Black Bean soup ingredients  Black Bean soup veggies

Since I am talking about food this is a perfect place for me to put these egg photos.  I was frying some eggs for breakfast and grabbed the two biggest ones.

In this photo one of the yokes looked like it was supposed to be a shell.

egg double yolk w shell

Here is what a normal double yoke should look like!

egg double yolk healthy

These snow pictures are from the afternoon of April 14th.  Making a snowman!

Snowman Window  snowman Nola Mae wants to help

Actually three of them.

Snowman & boys

It is unbeliveable…Nola Mae is a crazy climber!  One morning I was in the kitchen and heard her laughing and giggling all by herself in the living room.  I grabbed the camera and ran in there to find her on top of the table with her legs dangling down.  At first I accused Henry of putting her up there and he denied it, whole heartedly.  Then I realized that he was playing in the toy room.

Game table Nola Mae

I put her back down on the floor and watched her.  She climbed onto the chair and then onto the table in a matter of three seconds.

Game table Nola Mae tops

Five days after the snowmen Nola Mae found icicles to eat.

Nola Mae icycles

Lately, I have been sewing a lot and Henry has been wanting to make a skeleton.  I had no idea what he was talking about.  We were in the sewing room and he started talking about a skeleton and finally I asked him if he could draw it for me.  He told me, “I ALREADY DID!” and ran upstairs to get his paper.  He picked out the right colors from my bag of felt pieces.  I cut out all the parts, the left legs are suppose to be shorter (just like the picture!) and they must have feet (not in the picture).  He helped me pin it together.  I called this thing a bug many times and was corrected that it is a skeleton.   I was confused and I have learned you don’t argue with a four-year old!   Now that I am writing this story I think he might be talking about a centipede.  I’ll have to ask him in the morning.

Henry's skelaton drawing  Henry's skelaton created

April 26th – crocuses blooming in my ditch.

Crocus in the ditch

We took a walk around town while Robbie was in piano lessons.

Zara Velvet Wrap walk around town

Nola Mae watching and learning or watching and thinking “my brothers do silly things”?

Nola Mae watching brothers

 Play house train

 I love this photo of Nola Mae’s blue eyes.

Nola Mae Blue eyes

I made these capes this month.  Charlie’s cape is made out of some fabric I found at a thrift store and Robbie’s is from a curtain from a thrift store (sneak peak at one of my upcycled sewing projects).

capes

I am starting to move out of my comfort zone in my soap making.  I was inspired to try something new when my friend Rhonda asked to purchase a variety of my soaps.  My newest soap has dried enough to be packaged up.  The cinnamon bars are pretty nice!  They have a little cinnamon smell to them and I can feel the cinnamon particles doing some scrubbing.

 soap small bars

I have used alpaca wool felted soap, my friend who is an awesome soap maker introduced me to her felted soap.  The bar that I got from her I used in the shower on my face.  The wool was soft and felt like it was a gentle scrubbie that cleaned my face very well.  It also lasted forever.  I have searched YouTube and read a few books on felting.  Originally, I wanted to felt some toys for Henry.  The toys never were made and I had some felting wool.   I used the wool for my little bars of soap.  I love it.

Soap felted

soap in basket

Thanks for reading my blog and putting up with some of my rambling!   I get a lot of pleasure out of putting these photos and stories together.  It helps me appreciate the good days, helps me feel like I do get things accomplished and helps me remember what we have done.

March 2013 – Month 3

March 2013 – Month 3

March was a busy month for us and a good month for photos.  We took a lot of photos which made it difficult to decide what to share and put in this month’s blog post.  I was able to post six different blog posts in the month of March to share photos and events instead of putting them all here.

Charlie is very good about getting his reading homework done.  Nola Mae was interested in sitting on his lap for about two of the four books he needed to read.

Charlie reads to Nola Mae

Since we got serious about co-sleeping 3+ years ago we have made our bedroom more co-sleeping friendly. The best improvement was to throw out the bed frame and put the box spring and mattress on the floor. For many months Nola Mae has been able to crawl off the bed. Now she can get onto the bed.  One day I was working on the computer (just outside my room) and Nola Mae was in my room. I heard the sound of tissue being pulled out of the box.  She was so excited, laughing and smiling and trying to roll in the pile.

Tissue Nola Mae 1  Tissue Nola Mae 2

We spent a weekend in the Chicago area (click here to see that post).  Robbie designed and built these vehicles with the Legos we bought from the Lego store.

Robbie's lego design

If you read my Chicago Trip post you learned about my use of bad words.  Which resulted in more bad words being said at home.    I have always had a fowl mouth and having kids has helped me (a little), but not cured me.  The boys like to talk about many “P” words at the dinner table.  Jack started a bad word jar that week.  We all agreed that the money in the bad word jar would go to his Rotary Club.  Money motivates everyone in our family.  We may not have much to give the Rotary Club, after the first few days the bad words drastically decreased.

Bad word jar

A few of my mom friends have taken pregnant belly photos of themselves and then when the baby is nine months old they take a photo of them holding the baby.  My version is on cross-country skis.

  Nine Months In.                      Nine Months Out.

Shadow Baby Belly 2012  Shadow  Baby on back 2013

Jack’s  birthday is this month.

Jack w Nola Mae

March was the best month for skiing, snow shoeing and playing outside.  I have been working on a winter skiing post.  My excuse for not having it completed is that the skiing just kept on going, our last day on skis was April 3rd.  I have many favorite days of skiing this year – one that I will always remember is the day I skied for 4+ hours with friends, our mission was to ski on every trail at Iola Winter Sports Club.

Henry and I invited ourselves over to our neighbor, Anna’s, to go snow shoeing with her.

Anna Snow shoe

We had an ice rink in our field.  Jack took multiple photos of Charlie and made it into one.

Charlie on pond

Henry and I went snow shoeing on our property.  I took the orange sled in case he got tired and then I could pull him.  It turns out he was tired before we even hit our woods.  I got a great workout that day.  (I think he is trying to catch the big snow flakes on his tongue.)

snowshoe 7 sled

Nola Mae is easily entertained watching her brothers play outside.  Lately she has been not happy about being on this side of the window.  She will watch them for a few minutes laughing and squealing with excitement and then flop her body on the floor crying.

Nola Mae window

I was able to drag our whole family to the ski hill two or three times this year.

Family ski

Nola Mae loves the snow (loves to eat it) and tries to escape out of the house every time the door opens.

Nola Mae loves snow

Our school had a few days off around Easter weekend.   We had an egg hunt on the ski trails with my friends Mary and Phil and all of our kids.  It was a blast!

egg hunt on skis

More outside photos are in my First Spring Walks post.

 This Moment – My Skiing Partner.

Nola Mae’s activity around the house has been a lot of fun (for her).  March was the month she has taken her furniture climbing to a new level.

Nola Mae Climbs 2 Nola Mae Climbs 3

Nola Mae climbs 4    Nola Mae climbs 5

And she has gotten into some messy things.

Nola Mae black mouth

Nola Mae Nutella

Jack finished his game table, a very nice addition to the beautiful furniture he has made for our home.

Game table Jack

Coloring eggs is always fun for the boys.

eggs coloring 2013

eggs colored 2013

I am getting a little more brave in my soap making.  I have always wanted to try to naturally color a batch of soap.   My first attempt was with cinnamon.  When I first cut the soap after 24 hours it looked like this, to my chocolate loving eyes, I thought it looked like peanut butter cups.

soap cutting coloring

After the inside was exposed to air for about 15 minutes it darkened to a very pretty dark brown.

Soap bars cut

Jack bought lights and backdrops for his photography.  He took many pictures of us with the black backdrop.

Three brothers  Nola Mae in purple

I seem to have different wrapping photos each month and this seems like a good place to put them.  These are my favorites.

wrap Zara velvet ruck w Jenny wrap Zara velvet ruck wrap Zara velvet eyes

Robbie wrapped himself up in the long brown packing paper that came in the box with Jack’s photography equipment.  Henry wanted to wear his deer with his Mei Tai.

wrap paper  Henry's Mei Tai

In the wrapping world mamas often share a “stash shot”.  If you don’t believe me, google “stash shot” in Google images!  My little stash won’t look so big either.

wrap stash

Henry’s fish DIY Mei Tai, black Ergo, DIY green Mei Tai, top of pile – Zara Velvet 6, Light Rainbow diamond weave 7, DIY lavender linen 7,  Ellaroo Ysable Medium, and DIY plum Ring Sling.

My two favorite wraps are my Zara and my Girasol Light Rainbow.

wrap ligth rainbow DHTT 2 wrap light rainbow DHTT 1

On Easter Henry stopped breastfeeding. I made a cake to celebrate the day.  He went to school and told his class that he has a nuking birthday party on Easter.  The teachers didn’t understand what he was explaining and thought that he had his story mixed up with his upcoming birthday.   This Moment – Tandem Breastfeeding

Cake nuking

Week 51 – December 17 – 23, 2012

Week 51 – December 17 – 23, 2012

(Completed on 1/28/13)

My recent weeks have not been very productive.   A friend asked me to make her some diaper liners.  It was what I needed to get motivated to get back into my sewing room.

sewing cloth liners

I played around and made these for my jars that I like to drink tea out of.

sewing jar covers

I wrapped and labeled some of my soap.

Soap

Jack completed his “container” for the Vaters’ art exchange.  One of the most beautiful things he has made (in my opinion).

Cabinet Jack built

I worked on my “container” and came up with this cloth bowl.  Since it seemed lame to me, comparing it to what Jack was contributing.  I filled my cloth bowl with extra goodies, like honey, tea, my homemade soap and body balm.

sewing clothes bowls

Nola Mae is getting close to joining us at the table in her own chair.

Nola Mae eats at table

Snow shoeing has been fun with the boys.  Robbie is the super snow shoer!  We have been working hard at packing our trails so we can ski on them too.

snow shoe path

It was too cold and too late in the afternoon for Nola Mae to ride on my back so I packed her in the sled so she would be warmer.

skiing sled Nola Mae

Henry had his preschool Christmas program this week.  He (like all our kids) is not a performer.  He just stood in the front row with a smile on his face.  In the days before and after the program he has proven to me that he can sing the songs, just not in front of all the parents.

Henry pre school

I learned of breast milk popsicle for teething babies.  I bought some little plastic shot glasses, pumped some of my milk and froze it with a Q-tip for the stick.  Nola Mae was a little crabby one day and I just couldn’t tell what was going on with her.  I remembered the popsicle that I made and gave her one.  It did the trick because she was very busy working on the popsicle until it was gone.

breastmilk popcicle

Henry thought it was cute to put Nola Mae in the basket.  She liked it only for a short time.

basket baby

Once in a while Henry wants to wear one of his stuffed animals.  I made this Mei Tai for him after I made mine.

Mei Tai kid size

A Christmas tree cake I made for someone who wanted to take a dessert to a Christmas gathering.

Cake x-mas tree

Week 46 – November 12 – 18, 2012

Week 46 – November 12 – 18, 2012

(Completed on 1/14/13)

I couldn’t find Henry in the house and the last time I heard him he was upstairs.  I expected to find him in my night stand playing with my reading light, or eating my vitamin C drops, playing in the boys’ room with the things he isn’t suppose to touch.  Instead I caught him reading on my bed.  He got some really big hugs and kisses from me after I was sneaky about taking this photo.

Reading caught Henry

I made two batches of soap last week, in order to have them ready for my Christmas gifts this year.  I used two different boxes and learned that the newest box seemed to work the best (an old drawer).  The soap on the left is my favorite soap.  It is similar to “Earth Child” a kind that I have seen on the internet.  The essential oils are Patchouli, Orange and Lemon and I add oatmeal for exfoliation.  The soap on the right has the essential oils Lavender and Lemon grass.  Everyone seems to love this kind!

soap nov 2012

Nola Mae enjoyed feeding herself some steamed broccoli.

Nola Mae broccoli

We got this adorable hat from my friend, Jan.  The little blue ribbon on the hat brings out her blue eyes.

Wrap Light Rainbow DW Jan's hat

Nola Mae is working on pulling herself up to a standing position.

Nola Mae balls of fabric

Henry’s turn to bring snack to preschool was coming up.  He of course wanted to help.  Here he was telling me he was ready before I was ready.   He got out the measuring spoons and the flour.Henry ready for baking We made a triple batch of banana bread and muffins.  I shared some loaves and put some in the freezer. banana bread & muffins

Jack took photos of each of us and put our profile shot in one photo.    I love it!  And soon this photo will be on our wall.

ProfileCollage

Jack took the two big boys home to his mom’s for deer hunting.  I love this smile!

Charlie tree stand

While they were gone hunting and every hunter I know on Facebook was posting dead deer photos I decided I needed to take a picture of my dead animals.  I butchered six aggressive, horny, and too much feed eating roosters.

horny rooster dead

Since the majority of Wisconsinites were dressed in blaze orange this weekend I decided to put Nola Mae in one of my favorite outfits.

my girl in orange

The kayak:

kayak gloss

was finished this week!

kayak tall

Week 25 – June 18 – 24, 2012

Week 25 – June 18 – 24, 2012

Monday, June 18th:  We rented our field out this year to a neighbor who planted clover, peas and wheat.  His bales look like this and the boys call them marshmallows (Henry calls them Mr Ernst’s hashmallows).

My peas are blooming and producing

and our strawberries are coming to an end.

Tuesday, June 19th:  We got to see our favorite singer/song writer/performer, Tom Pease, at our favorite library today.   I fell in love with him when I saw him for the first time eight years ago.  He is very special to everyone that knows him, look at the handsome smiles he can produce:


If you haven’t seen him in person, you should!  You can check out his summer schedule on his website (click here) or watch a YouTube video of him (click here).  Warning:  most YouTube videos of him are not as great as seeing him in person.  He is awesome in person! And you MUST see him if he is in your area!  (BJ – notice the schedule for June 27th and the end of July – you too, Jessie).  A few of my favorite songs are:  “Love Grows” and “What does your mama do?”  Robbie’s favorite song is “Everybody started out small”  I think because of these words in the song:  “Your mom and dad, seem so giant   they seem so strong and self reliant   but they used to wear diapers and they used to crawl   but everybody everybody everybody everybody   everybody started out small.”

 Wednesday, June 20th: Vacation Bible School was this week in the evenings.  The boys loved it.  Especially on the night they did the slip-n-slide in the cemetery.

They decorated a bucket for the campfire service on Friday night.

 Thursday, June 21st:  The two big boys went to Noah’s Ark for the day with Vacation Bible School.  Henry and I went to the baby support group for a weight check for Nola Mae.  She lost weight in the last week.  The picture I would post here for that would be of a very sad, frustrated and disappointed mama.  My friends were going to be at Sunset Lake today and I wanted/needed to see them after the news of Nola Mae’s weight loss.   Henry and I went to Sunset Lake in the afternoon.  This was our first day at the beach.  Nola Mae got her toes wet, she didn’t like it at first.

Henry was very excited to see friends and spent more time in the sand than in the water.

 Friday, June 22nd:   The temps were a little cooler today and I decided to bake.  I had high hopes of getting a lot done.  (I must have forgotten that four children live here!)  I baked a double batch of these chocolate chip cookies that have garbanzo beans and quinoa in them.  And then a batch of these strawberry mini-cupcakes with strawberry frosting.  I have a good stash of these cookies in the freezer and all the cupcakes were eaten at church!

 

 Saturday, June 23rd:  Jack and Robbie went to Owen to spend the rest of the weekend with Jack’s grandparents.  Charlie sobbed for many minutes because he was missing Robbie.  I thought this was the perfect time to get out the modeling clay I bought.

I bought some wool at the local art store and attempted to felt it on some of my soap.  I have a few other projects in mind and needed to experiment with my soaps first.

It wasn’t bedtime yet and I needed Charlie and Henry to burn some energy.  I suggested they check some of the blue bird houses while I finished the outside chores.  They were down in the field and I heard Henry screaming.  Which usually means that someone (Charlie) is teasing him.  When I looked down the hill I saw that Charlie was a head of Henry and stopped and gave Henry a piggyback ride.

 Sunday, June 24th:  We went to the pond in Big Falls for some fishing, which didn’t last long.  I wasn’t ready to go home so I suggested we go to the hydro dam to check out the water falls.  The water was low enough that we could play around on the rocks.

And the big boys could play in the current.  Robbie was sliding down this rock and floating into the little pond.  I would love to do this someday when everyone is old enough to do it.  I’m afraid by the time Nola Mae is old enough I have a feeling this will be BORING for Robbie and Charlie.

Week 7 – February 13 – 19, 2012

 Week 7 – February 13 – 19, 2012

Monday, February 13:  I sold many bars of my home-made soap today to a friend. I had three different kinds: Patchouli & Orange, Lavender & Lemongrass, and April Flakes (Lavender & Lemongrass essential oils made with snowflakes from last April’s late snow fall and lavender petals).

 

I have been fighting a cold and a cough since November.  My voice hasn’t sounded normal since then.  Over the weekend it seemed to come back, only for Monday to come around giving me a runny nose again.  My voice is still scratchy and I am coughing, but my cold seems to be gone.  One of the reasons I attribute that to is the garlic cloves that I ate for two days. 

I found a few helpful sites on the web about the benefits of garlic (this could be a blog post all by itself):

 Fighting Colds & Flu Naturally with Garlic

Cold Remedies Using Garlic and Honey

Treating a yeast infection with garlic

Tuesday, February 14:  Jump Rope for Heart – Charlie’s gym class.

 One of the cutest home-made Valentines I have seen!

Wednesday, February 15: Jump Rope for Heart – Robbie’s gym class.

 Henry will need absolutely no convincing when it is time for him to go to school.  I think he enjoyed gym as much as Robbie and Charlie!

 Aunt Susie came for a visit and dinner.

 

Thursday, February 16:  Henry and I skied with some friends who were faster than us.  We had to turn around before they were done.  This gave Henry a chance to check out the snow making machine. 

Friday, February 17:  I finished this baby quilt this week.  I am calling it Grandma’s Flowers.  I made this quilt with my new sewing machine that I purchased with the help of the money left to me by my step-grandma after she passed away.  The flowers are a straight stitch done with the embroidery feature on my sewing machine.  There are two irises, three daffodils and two poppies on this quilt.

Saturday, February 18:  Despite the warm weather and lack of snow fall this winter I am thankful we are still able to ski with the youth ski program on Saturday morning. 

We have had some help keeping snow on the trails with the cold temps at night, shade from the trees and most importantly the man-made snow.  Thanks to my friend Phil for making it and my friend Mary (Phil’s wife) for not getting mad at him for staying up all night and being worthless for a couple of days after his all nighter!

This was the first day I allowed the kids to use ski poles.  From what I have read it is easier for young kids to learn to ski without poles.  My main concern with poles is that they can be dangerous with young beginner skiers.  If you have seen the “pile ups” of kids crashing into each other, like I have, you would understand.

Some kids were excited to use them and some choose not to.   These girls were naturals and pretty fast with poles.  Robbie was able to keep up with them without poles.  He tells me poles are too much work.

Sunday, February 19:  My family got together today to visit in Middleton with my sister, Danna, who is currently living in MT (she is home for a week interviewing at UW-Madison).  We also gathered to see Ben off to Afghanistan.  Ben is my sister Becca’s boyfriend.  He will leave on February 23rd to get ready for his trip to Afghanistan.  Please help us pray that he will be safe during his time there!