Sunday, December 19, 2010

Family Photo Session

C had a photo shoot on Friday, so he left the studio set up and we took some family pictures on Saturday Morning.  His studio is in the bonus room, so it is temporary.  He sets it up when he has a shoot and then has to get it all taken down before the kids do too much exploring.
Anyway, taking family pictures with 4 busy kids is such an adventure.  C still has to go through them and adjust some things, but I just had to share this one.  It cracks me up!

When AuntJ saw it, she remarked that it looks like a "hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil" kind of shot. hahaha

Oh, and I love, love this one.  Even though she is almost 20 months old, Little M has to take frequent breaks for Bahb.  Milk.  She does love her milk!

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Cookin' Somethin' Outta Nuthin': Little Plumb Cakes

Cookin' Somethin' Outta Nuthin': Little Plumb Cakes

I'mn cross posting this because these cookies are so yummy and I know lots of people are looking for holiday baking recipes. I also describe how to make candied goodies. Go check it out!

Friday, December 03, 2010

What's keeping me warm

I bought this sweater a year ago with a birthday gift card.  I heart Anthropologie.  It turns out I'm wearing it a lot these days.
You can find me standing around, wearing my sweater, and holding a steaming mug of tea.
Hey.  At least it's sunny today!  But you know what I learned those years in Moscow at the UofI?  Sun in winter = colder day.

Also going on:  My sewing got all spiffed up by my Mum.  What an awesome birthday present, eh?  So I'been taking advantage of being able to find things by making a mess lol.  My daughter is potty learning.  At 19 months.  And she is teeny.  They don't make panties in a size 12 mos.  So I'm sewing away, making panties and training panties.  Pretty ones too.  I knew I'd eventually have a use for rose print knit scraps.  :-)

And I can't say too much publicly about my knitting project.  But it is loads of fun and involves this yarn in colorway chlorophyll.  Yum!
I have a million more projects I'd like to be working on.  But I have 5 very important projects whom I love very much.  Someday more of them will be a bit more self-sufficient.  SOME of them may even learn to not fiddle with things they shouldn't in the sewing room.  Maybe.
Now, off to make some dinner--that reminds me. I have oodles of recipes I need to get posted to the cooking blog.  Including chocolate syrup!  Then I'm heading to Alicia Paulson book signing up in Portland tonight.  Lucky Me!!  Just makes me aware of my lack of a really cute purse when I go out on my own sans diaper bag. :-(  But I'll have fun neverless.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Lost tooth!

I think the picture pretty much sums it up.
He has been wiggling it like mad lately, and it finally fell out just before school today.  He was a a little concerned about the whole blood thing, but was reassured pretty quickly.  M helped him wrap it up in a tissue and stash it in a sandwich baggy until bedtime.  He is still pondering whether or not to let the tooth fairy take it or keep it for himself.  The latter requires a written letter around here. We'll see what he decides.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Do you miss me?

If you are friends with me on facebook, probably not.  :-)

Just had to share a find for my natural family living friends.  You all probably already knew about it, but I just found it and am loving it.  It is Rhythm of the Home online magazine.  Beautiful!  It really speaks to me.  I'm putting a link in the sidebar for my own reference if you forget and need help finding it again too.
Anyway, I'll try to share more pictures in the near future

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Puffed Oven Pancakes for Shady Lady

Oooh, she got her own title and everything ;-D

Preheat your oven to 425 degF.  In a 10" skillet or pie pan, place 4 Tbsp butter.  Put it in the warming oven while you mix the pancake.
Wisk 3 large eggs together until kinda creamy.  Just well blended--it doesn't need to take forever.  Add 1/2 C flour.  This can be wheat flour or a GF blend.  We like using 1/4C teff flour and 1/4 C tapioca starch..  Wisk that together until smooth.  Then add 1/2 C milk and a dash of salt.  Pour it into your nice hot pan and return it to the oven for 20 minutes.  It will be huge and puffy but will collapse most of the way when you take  it out.
Serve with anything that floats your boat.  Syrup, jam, fruit, cheese sauce, meats, whipped cream.....

Growing things

Yay!  Garden pictures!
First, an overview.  I just love seeing all that green spilling everywhere.  Especially green that I planted and want to be growing there!

The other fast growing things :-)  Baby M is very aware of what to do with a sword.  Thanks to the diligent tutelage of her brothers.

The giant pumpkin!  It is very neglected, so it isn't exactly as giant as the boys were maybe hoping for, but they are sure enjoying watching it grow.  G is especially proud since he planted it.  That kid is a good gardener.  He has some magic touch!  Nearly every seed he plants sprouts and turns into a very productive plant.  I told him he could use the greenhouse this spring to start plants to sell.  I imagine his older brother will want in on that one.  Should be a fun business for them.

Just too cute a picture to pass up taking.  I had put puffed oven pancakes in the oven and the kids asked me to turn on the light.  They love watching them puff and it fills the 20 minutes waiting for them to be done nicely.  And then they are so cute lined up in front of the oven it makes me happy.

Monday, August 09, 2010


First, it isn't a project of mine, and you have to turn your head.  Sorry, I'll try to get that fixed.  Anyway, while shopping at Buffalo Exchange in Portland, dh spotted this dress.  I am in LOVE.  It is all silk and I think it is handmade.  Very well handmade, but it certainly isn't production.  The seams are straight stithced and then serged--not all in one pass.  The sheer seams are true french seams.  It is just gorgeous.  And it fits me.  Lot good that does.  Where am I gonna wear it?  It's is rather sheer, sleeveless, and impossible to nurse in.  Oh well.  I can love it anyway, right?

Next we have my new skirt. I had been looking for a pattern I liked for my linen I had purchased on sale awhile ago.  This fit the bill.  Although I still dislike some aspects.  It has a bias waistline that ties. I do like the way the panels came together.  It was Simplicity 2366 in view B.  It went together very fast, except I used my sewing knowledge, or rather applied my sewing knowledge to make the hem turn out nicely.  Haha, amazing how taking a little time gives some rewards.

Finally, we have the pajama set I just finished for G's friend.  He wants to be a farmer when he grows up, so I thought some farm themed pajamas would be perfect.  I used John Deere flannel and some green mottled flannel for the pants.  The t-shirt is purchased and I added a tractor detail.  You can see the edge of my stencil.  I use freezer paper for my stencils. So much fun and it gives really great results.  Let me find a tutorial if your'e interested.... Found one

I seem to have lost my pictures of the garden.  I'll go take some more I guess.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Hello August

With such a weird summer, weather-wise, it does seem kinda sudden to have August here with heat and sun and sprinklers and all.  We did have clouds the last couple of days, but it's a nice break, really.  My garden is loving all the sunshine.  I really need to take some pictures!  The squash are taking over the backyard, as they are wont to do.  There is one giant pumpkin living up to its seed packet promises.  G keeps daily tabs (at least) on it's growth.  We are still awaiting the first red tomatoes, but the lateness with which we got them in, it's no wonder.
Oddly enough, with all this gorgeous (hot) weather, I am getting bit by the craft bug again.  I always like to create things, but once in a while it sinks it's teeth in and won't let go.  I am desperately crafty!  The large majority of my waking thoughts pertain to making things.  Just within the last few weeks, I have made a new skirt for me, 10 AIO diapers for baby M, a dress for baby M, seamed together the blackout fabric for C's studio and started a pj set for G's friend and rest pads for my friend's daycare.
I just bought Cal Patch's book, Design it Yourself Clothes and am soooo excited to make myself some new clothes.  I did find a skirt pattern from Simplicity that I like okay, but it's not great.  I have been dragging my feet on designing my own patterns because it just seemed like so much work.  But this book goes through the steps without a full sloper.  The only problems I'm going to run into are budget for the amount of fabric I want and the time it will take to design, draft and sew the amount I want LOL  I'll just have to reign in my imagination a tad.
I'll try to get a few more photos taken, but here's one of the diapers

Next week, as in tomorrow, G starts his last summer camp, then it will be on to soccer.  He is so dang excited about soccer!  After next week, M leaves to go to my parents' house for 2 weeks.  He loves that time to be spoiled by both Grandma and Grandpa.  Who wouldn't?
Then, all the boys start school in the fall.  M will be full-day 5th grade this year.  G absolutely insisted on going to kindergarten, so he'll do that.  Then I knew with the other 2 boys in school, E would feel left out.  So he is going to 2-day preschool at the same place G went to.  My friend does such an amazing job.  And she is doing this class just for 3 year olds, so it will be super fun for E.  And all my brain can think of is that with the lighter kid-load, I might actually get some more crafting time this fall!  It's a nice thought anyway.  :-)

Friday, July 02, 2010

Camping pictures!!

These photos are in their un-edited state.  And there's a lot. You  cand thank PapaCoyote for pushing me along on this project.  I'll add some captions later, so check back in a few days if you want to read about the pictures.  I have a van to pack up. :-)

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Preparing for the road trip

This year we are travelling to Idaho to be with family for the 4th.  This entails a road trip of approximately 7.5 hours driving time.  With kids in tow with regular potty and wiggle breaks, this usually figures to somewhere around 8 to 9 hours.  Really it only hits 9 hours when we have a small baby who is still only breastfeeding.  But still, it's a long trip and I have been honing my preparation skills for many years now.
In thinking about what to take in the car this year, I combined a few previous successes and came up with (I hope) a good plan.  I decided to share in case anyone else is looking for ideas for road trip survival.

My kids like kits.  My kids like presents.  My kids get bored.  I think these are all pretty normal.  So I hit upon small kits, wrapped up in individual bags, and a varied selection of activities.  I just bought a package of plain brown lunch sacks.  Cheap and easy.  Here's a list of what's inside.  Oh, and I put together a bag for each boy and rubberbanded them together in groups.  So everyone gets the same(ish) thing at the same time.

1) a stack of mini post it notes in multi-colors.  There is a note on the bag that says, "decorate your window!"
2)Stickers with facial features, dot stickers and crayons with an extra bag.  The note says to make puppets and put on a puppet show for each other.
3)Aerials.  Each bag has something different in the this one, so they have to work together.  Yeah, I know, we'll see how it goes.  They have string, paperclips, paper, rubber bands, and scissors.  The idea is to run the string through the hooks next to lights at each seat and hang creations from it.  Maybe they can send stuff back and forth.  We'll see what they come up with.
4) more facial feature stickers and paper and pencils.  The note says to make up some people and tell mom and dad about them.  They have prompts like, "who is this, where are they going, what are they doing."  Basic stuff like that.

Then there is food!  One set of bags will have crackers, lunch meat and cheese. Another will be cookies, frosting and sprinkles.  Another will be fruit cups.  And snack bars and juice boxes.

The bags are mostly packed.  But I still need to pack up the food packets.  Oh, and hit the grocery store for said food.
And pack the rest of the stuff.  Like clothes.  At least packing to go to grandma and grandpa's house is pretty straightforward.  They really only need clothes.  Grandma spoils them with anything else they could possibly need.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Garden

I have had many requests for pictures of the garden.  Since I just found my camera, here goes.
We start on the ground cover tonight.  Some young men from our church are going to come and help us with their nice young backs.  :-)

The beds as seen from the deck.  The one on the right in the corner will be my perennial bed.

As seen from the yard.  Poor broken down gate.  :-(

A variety of yummy squashes.  Pumpkins, zucchini and I think some gourds.  Yes, I was a bad gardener and didn't label my seedlings.  Makes for a fun surprise later, right?

E is very happy that his parents finally wised up and provided some proper play things.  DIRT!!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Camping at Humbug Mt State Park

I'll have to apologize for the lack of pictures.  They are currently on the desktop in Lightroom, but have not made it past that yet.  I promise to get some over here.  C got some great shots, as usual.

We started our camping trip Monday and came home Friday.  Originally, C suggested a full week.  I looked at him with an odd enough look he adjusted the time frame to 5 days.  It may have been one day too long, but over all we had a great time.

The campground was a 5 hour trip from home and the kids did remarkably well.  It gives me hope for the upcoming 7+ hour trip to Idaho on Saturday. (Yikes!)  Loading the car was a bit of an adventure.  Just packing enough gear and food for 6 people, 2 of whom are in diapers, takes some finesse.  In hindsight, packing extra underwear for 2 of the children may have been overkill.
Unpacking of course is easier.  It involves Dad standing at the van and throwing stuff at laughing kids bobbing around.  The older boys pitched their own tent with a salting of fighting and insulting.  But they got it done and were pretty proud of themselves.  They also helped me pitch the big tent while C took E to the beach.  Note:  Pitching a tent near a 2 year old is ill-advised.
Then, we set up the kitchen.  That would be super important to our family.  I spent about a week prepping menues and pre-preparing food.  The whole food thing went a lot better than I thought it would.  We had enough, it all turned out pretty well and the kids ate it.  For the most part.  Predicting what G will eat requires more prophesying skills than I have.

The first day was beach day.  C had purchased a cabana-like thing for us to use which turned out to be perfect.  It provided some shade and wind protection and a spot to stash our gear.  It also gave the baby a safe  place to play.  Or rather, eat sand from.  Funny girl.  She screamed if I took her next to the ocean.  She screamed if I sat her in the sand.  But she happily shoved fistfuls of the stuff in her  mouth.  The boys of course had a blast playing in the surf, digging in the sand and running all over.  There was a stream to play in too.  That provided the most entertainment really.  It gave E a chance to stay in the water without worrying where the next big wave was coming from.  They floated driftwood, threw rocks and built dams.  Physics courses at their finest!

Day 2 was fishing day. Arizona beach has a kid's fishing pond that is quite nice.  The pond is fairly large and well stocked.  There is a huge amount of grass to run around in and several picnic tables to lay out snacks and fishing gear.  The boys became pretty adept casters.  G caught 2 fish and M caught 1.  That is causing some education in humility.

Day 3 was high adventure.  That was the day we set out to climb Humbug Mt.  It is 1756' high.  The trail is only 3 miles long.  I'll pause a second while you do the math there....

Okay.  So C and I decided that he would take the older 2 up and I would hang with the littles at their pace.  There was a stream about 3/4 mile up the trail and I figured we could play and snack there long enough to wait for the guys to come back and help me down the Mt.  Yeah, right.
E, climber that he is, settled on climbing a mountain as the ultimate task for his 2 year old self.  He told me everyday, "I want climb Humbug Mountain."  All the way up to the stream he refused to be left behind.  Finally, C was able to take G and M and head up to the summit.  But E would not stop.  But he was slowing waaaaayyyy doooowwwnnnn.  3 steps and a pause.  2 steps and apause.  Evertime he paused, I would ask him if he wanted to stop, to turn back, to go back to the campground.  I finally bribed him to play in the stream with our freeze dried ice cream.  But in getting back to the stream, I lost the radio I was using to assure C we were okay.
When E started screaming over eating a cookie, I looked in his mouth.  Turns out the injury to his tongue he sustained last week at he playground was much greater than I thought.  It was swollen, and multi-colored.  And gross.  And miserable looking.  No wonder he was having such a hard time!
So there I am.  2 kids, no radio and no help.  Fortunately I felt compelled to take M in the wrap rather than the mei tai.  So I situated everthing in E's backpack, tied him on my back, criss-crossed M on my front, carried the back pack and headed down the mountain.  I was apparently quite a sight!  But I made it back to camp.  E slep almost the whole way.
The next day, we broke camp and made it safely and uneventfully home.  With an ibuprofened kid.
Dr says he has an infection (duh) and is now on antibiotics which I hope work completely.
But I do want to point out, much to everyone surprise, that E did not sustain injury on the camping trip!  Hooray!!
Now I just need to get everything put away in such a way that it is not too hard to get it out next time.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Images from today

As promised, here is not just another post, but a picture post! Look at me go!
First, the garden in progress.  I took the picture through a screen.  Sorry, but going upstairs was the only way to get a good view.  At the edge between lots of weeds and icky gravel and not so many weeds is where the fence used to be.  It was covered in honeysuckle that had not been pruned in forever.  Maybe since it was planted?  Anyway, it all came out along with the rotting fence.  You can see what the garden beds will look like.  The beds have posts that sink into the ground to stabilize them.  That means someone has to dig a bunch of post holes though.  Hopefully the teen boy who helped last week can come back!

I managed to get E to go to sleep in the stroller last week sometime so I thought I'd try it again today.  WhooHoo!!  Double bonus. Aren't they so stinkin cute?  It was really nice to have some sun in which to do  this.  I may make this a regular daily event. Good for me, good for the kiddos.

While I walked in the glorious sunshine, kid 2 did this:

And I found kid 1 doing this:

Yeah, he pretty much eats non-stop.  Not always the best food choices.  He prefers things of a sweet nature like the above pictured ice cream, but he's 11.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Sorry about that

I stopped by to clean up the comments.  What an incredible selection of options.  I could travel, get any illegal drug I want and see pictures of  things I never thought possible.  Or thought of at all, really.  For any of you who (used to be) are subscribed to comments.  My deepest apologies.

But since I'm here.....
My kids are still amazing. And exhausting.  It's raining and my plants are drowning.  Life goes on.
C is getting more practice with photography.  He is amazing!  I'll try to get some pictures moved around such that I can post some here.  C had a maternity photo shoot a few weeks ago, he has another portrait shoot this week and a senior portrait shoot in July.  He is also working hard on the yard. I posted one collage picture of the house back when we first bought it, but I don't think I ever posted a good picture of just the yard.  It was crazy overrun with weeds.  Nothing had been cared for in a looong time.  So we have a bit of work to do.  Soon, (I hope) the landscapers will be able to tear up my front yard and make it look like less of an eyesore.  They will also re-seed the backyard and make a new flowerbed.
For now, C and a boy from the ward have been working on the garden.  The house had an amazing garden area.  But the soil is not great, it doesn't really drain, and the amount of weeding we would have to do after 3 years of weeds taking over a going to seed was scary.  So raised beds it is.  Seven 8x4 beds and one perennial bed of a different size.  The ground is prepped, the sprinkler pipes are in, the lumber is cut and 2 beds are in.  3 total are built.  Next up is digging holes for the posts and building the rest of the beds.  Unfortunately, C hurt his back, so nothing more is gonna happen there until the nice young man (with the teenage back) can  come help again.  What with the rain and the construction delays, I am looking forward to a nice fall garden.

Baby M is now 13 months old.  She is trying out some steps and is so cute with those wobbly little legs.  She is also getting to be a pretty good climber.  She loves to sing--with hand motions!  And she is getting curly hair.  Oh, and she loves the potty.  Me thinks I'll be helping 2 kids potty learn in July.  I would do it sooner, but I am NOT taking 2 potty learning kids camping for a week and on a drive to Idaho.  NOTNOTNOT!

The boys are getting restless with all the rain.  I send them out to play as much as I can.  But I do need to keep an eye on E or he gets into all kinds of trouble.  I don't really want to stand out in the rain. Plus there are always a million things to do inside.  I miss the sun.

G is done with his year at preschool.  I put him in preschool because he would ask every day who we could play with.  He loved preschool. Adored it.  Then when he found out preschool would end, demanded to go to kindergarten.  None of this be taught at home with mom junk.  He wanted to ride the bus, be with kids every day.  So I've signed him up for kindergarten.  He is just mad he has to wait until September to start.  So I've ordered some stuff from Rainbow Resources and am going through the old homeschool supplies so we can "school" this summer.  He is sooo different from his older brother!

Speaking of older brother.  This has been a rough year with M.  I suspect a lot of it is me, but we were conflicting so much during the day, that I screamed "Uncle".  Our relationship sucked big time and C and I were arguing over M learning.  So, M has been attending public school in the mornings since March.  On  the one hand it has been really rough on him.  He is not too good at the strictly age-peer environment.  Of course I could go on for some length on my views about a strictly age-peer environment.  But he has made tremendous advances in his writing, spelling and math.  What is really awesome is that I feel like he and I are getting along much better now.
It has been really weird to deal with the school though.  Just not something I'm used to.  I am laughing though that we are legally homeschooling for the first time ever though.  Since he is enrolled only half time, I had to fill out the paperwork to declare M as homeschooled.  LOL  At the same time, I am now trying to figure out my role as essentially a non-homeschooling mom.  We will homeschool this summer.  I'm hoping that M having experienced public school, learning to write, and me having had a break, we will do pretty well.  I have always said I would never send a child to middle school.  I am hoping to be able to keep that promise.

For pictures of the kids for now, I'll just send everyone to my dad's post about their visit to see us this last week.  Hopefully I'll be back to write more before another 5 months go by.  I'm off to help with bedtime.  That's a process around here to be sure!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Babies grow fast, Boys have tons of energy, and Be Nice is my mantra

My baby is 8 months old.  8 MONTHS.  This is crazy.  I lost time there somewhere.  She is pulling herself up, trying to crawl, scooting pretty effectively, and can charm the most grizzled of old men in lines at the store. She is still tiny though, so that is some consolation.  I can still cuddle her like a tiny baby.  She just started wearing 9 month clothes and many of her 6 month clothes still fit well enough.  And she coos brilliantly, of course.

I am updating this blog from my bonus room.  I am up here to keep the kids up here so my wonderful husband could load the dishwasher, take out the garbage and do general dinner clean up.  As I sit here on the large floor pillow, clickety, clacking along, the boys are running in relentless circles around me.  They are trying to see who can lap who and how many times.  E solves this competition by just shoving people over as he comes up behind them.  His brothers don't seem to consider him part of the competition, but no matter!

Sitting in the bonus room watching all this craziness amidst a million bits a pieces of toys makes me wonder.  Should I have them pick up the bonus room more often?  Should I purge the toys again?  I think we have too much.  I know we have much less than many families, but I hate the way it all gets piled up and forgotten as they move on to the next toy and the next.  I especially hate that there are lots of pieces to different sets that never seem to make it back together.  Games are the worst.  I don't buy games, puzzles or toys with lots of intricate "must go together to make it work" pieces.  Yes, I know the value of puzzles and games and putting stuff together. I LOVE puzzles.  I have an insane addiction to them.  But I have an aversion to having a stack of things no one can play with because it doesn't have all its pieces anymore.  What people buy is plenty and seems to balance just fine.

Because my boys are boys, I find myself repeating "Be Nice" over and over and over.  Definite mantra.  Toys fly towards heads, fists swing, bodies crash upon bodies, toys are snatched away, cruel words are spoken, tattles are wagged.  

"Be Nice"

I say it so much I wonder if maybe it's just background noise to my children now.

But then I'm watching a movie with E.
"Nice," he says as the villian returns to screen.
"He's not being nice, is he?"
"Nice," he repeats with a slightly familiar inflection.
Maybe background noise gets picked up once in awhile.