Monday, December 31, 2012

Handwritten apology

During our rough patch a few weeks ago, #1 and I had a few tough mornings behavior-wise.  We have been arguing over routines, arguing over bedtimes, arguing over responsibilities... just arguing all around.  These arguments usually resulted in full blown tantrums.  Kicking feet, thrashing hands, screaming... and #1 was pretty bad too.  Ha ha... I'm just kidding.  Like I said, a rough patch!  It must have been her sensing the holiday tension, which is surprising because I really try hard to tone it down now that the little ones are so perceptive!  Happy memories are the most important, not perfect ones.  Anyhow...

She is really working on her communication skills.  We are trying to train her to talk to us if she is having problems instead of "freaking out" over them.  The moment the yelling and tantrum starts, J and I check out (or at least we try to) and won't return until she wants to talk in a calm manner. 

Anyhow, we had a really big argument over the hair brushing responsibility a few weeks ago.  #1 refused to brush her hair, so I did.  I should have just let her go to school with bed head, but I had my bull head on that day and wouldn't let it go.  If she didn't want me to, she should have.  Her hair eventually got brushed, but she cried the entire morning until she got on the bus.  Fun times!  She must have been thinking about it all day because she came home with this note:
It says: "I love you Mommy.  I know I wasn't nice this morning.  I still love you." 

Her first apology.  An unprovoked apology.  This is one for the special box. 

When we send our little ones to school, we let go of a lot.  Going from knowing what they do every day to not knowing what they do for an entire day (relatively speaking) is very hard.  Parents don't get report cards.  Where are we excelling?  Where are we slacking?  What do our children need help with most and where should we focus our attention?  Most of the time we have no clue, but when your child comes home with a note like this, it proves that we are doing something right.  These moments are worth all the battles!

XOXO - I love you little one! 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Soup and Anatomy Lessons

Many moms cook a ham for Christmas Dinner.
Some moms then take the ham bone and cook it down and make soup with it.

And then a home school mom takes the bone pieces that have cooked down, and give a lesson on the anatomy of the knee.

I love little (mom)ents of incidental learning.  Both of the kids watched as I manipulated the bones and showed how the patella acted as a brake to stop the knee joint from going too far forward.  Why?  they ask.   Well, it would be awfully difficult to walk if the knee went all over the place...imagine balancing and moving that way?  After some thought, they agreed that it would be very difficult, but if it did work that way, they'd probably adapt to it. They experimented with their own knees to mimic how I was moving the bones.  They also observed how the knee bone of the pig broke as it cooked overnight.  They saw where the weak points were and we discussed how muscle (ham meat) kept the pig's joint safe as it moved around so the bone was less likely to break.   We looked at tendon attachments and how similar they were to our own.  They also looked at the cut part of the bone and saw the bone marrow.  We talked about how the bone marrow makes blood cells and discussed leukemia.

I find it sad that many moms I know shy away from teaching their children that the meat at the store was once a living breathing creature.  They are afraid that their child will shy away from eating meat.  I find my curious children love knowing that the food on their plate was once alive.  We visit the farm that we get most of our meat from and see the animals.  My son often then says that he'll eat the meat because he doesn't want that animal's life to go to waste.  He wants to honor the animal.  

And as for the soup...
1 ham bone with meat on it
2 onions
5 carrots
1/2 a red pepper
olive oil
beans of your choice (I use a mix of red and green lentils and barley)
Salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning to taste

Place the ham bone in a crock pot with water to cover it and let it cook overnight on low.  Scoop out the ham bone and ham pieces.  Remove any cartilage or bone pieces as well as chunks of fat or skin that you see. Chop the meat and return to the stock.  Saute the veggies with a bit of olive oil and put in the pot.  The saute will add some sweetness to the veggies which complements the sweetness of the ham.  Add the beans and turn on high until the beans are tender.  Add seasonings right before serving as added salt will prevent beans from softening if added too early.

Friday, December 21, 2012

The New Hampshire Ladies are laying!

The New Hampshire Ladies are laying!  We are so excited!
This is the most beautiful dozen eggs I have ever seen!!!
We finally get to start using all the egg cartons we've been saving since June!

Technically, they should have started the end of October, but there was a slight problem with lighting that wasn't figured out until late October (Thanks for the guidance, Country Sister-In-Law's husband).  It was slow going at first, but we are up to 6-7 per day.  For 8 hens, that's not too bad, right?  Plus, our Aruca hens laid those beautiful pastel green eggs, so our dozens will be extra pretty!

We go out to check the coop a few times per day and have been finding that they are laying outside the roosting bins quite a bit.  The Arucas especially.  They will probably find their way into the bins at some point (hopefully).  Maybe if we stick more hay in there to make it more comfortable?!?!

Although we have really been enjoying fresh eggs, we have run into a problem that we are trying to figure out.  They are squishing and eating the eggs.  Only two or three of them that I know of, but it's still a problem.  A problem that is most likely accidental, but needs fixing before it becomes intentional.  The other day, I went out and saw a piece of broken egg shell in the run.  My initial thought was "man... I need to remind J not to put egg shells in the chicken scrap bin."  When I went out the next day, I saw a similar shell inside the roosting bin, and another egg that had been cracked and most likely on its way to being eaten.  I removed all evidence and quickly ran inside to research.  We picked a solution that uses something we had on hand.  Lady Fairway golf balls (Country and City Sister-In-Law, we must remember to replenish before July's LCP Open)!  The point is to trick them into thinking the golf balls are eggs, and when they don't get anything out of them, they will give up and won't continue.  We only had enough to stick one in each roosting bin, but it should still work nonetheless.  

Stay tuned to see if that works out!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Routine Charts

Mornings are tough, as I am sure they are with a lot of you too!  The one thing we are constantly working on (especially with #1) is completing tasks in a timely manner.  Each kid has their own struggles.  #2 is the queen of doing things fast in our house.  #1, not so much.  This is where she struggles.  

After dinner pick up, we tell all of the kids to go brush their teeth and get jammies on.  Twenty minutes later, this is what we find:  #2 with jammies on, teeth kind of brushed and she is dancing around the upstairs singing frosty the snowman.  #3 is running around with no pants on (per his usual) trying to find someone to help him with his jammies.  He can only do pants off at this point.  We're working on shirts.  He's only two.  #1... well, she is just standing on the step stool in the bathroom making faces at herself in the mirror wearing the clothes she wore to school!  Teeth not brushed, jammies not on.  Jammies not even picked out!  She has been doing this the entire twenty minutes.  If you ask her why these jobs have not been done yet, she will say "I forgot what I was supposed to do."  FYI:  This kid is full of bologna.  Generally speaking, 5 year olds should be able to remember and complete a list of at least 5 things, as long as they are part of a routine.  This kind of routine can be established within 2 weeks.  This is a proven fact.  It is something I learned at a kindergarten readiness workshop last year.  It is NOT a dream made up by a mother of three in New Hampshire.  It's a "for real life" thing!!!  

But, in order to keep my sanity and try to force my kids to be more efficient, I created some routine charts.  The "MORNING" one below is the one just outside of everyone's bedroom door.  Keep in mind, items 5-7 are, indeed, a pipe dream.  They never happen.  This doesn't bother me.  I consider it a victory if items 1-4 are completed.  If they are completed within 30 minutes, I want to throw a party!

The charts are more for #1 than anyone else, but I included pictures just so that the other little ones could participate since they can't read.  
So, when #1 tells me she isn't sure what her responsibilities are, I tell her to look at the chart.  It's much easier than me telling her (okay, yelling) "go to the bathroom, brush your teeth, get dressed... etc." seven million times.  It's spelled out for her.  
I have routine charts for morning, afternoon and after dinner.  They help me out tremendously and I find myself yelling a little less.  It was really fun coloring each little picture with the small crayola markers!  Brought me back to my school years! 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Holiday traditions

I have been MIA for a few weeks.  Something happened and set our routine out of whack, but we're back now!  Just in time for the holiday season!  
Every year, I bake a large variety of cookies to give away for the holidays.  Neighbors, friends... and J works at three different practices, so that means three groups of people to bake for.  We love to bake, so this was exciting for us!  (Another minor detail about me:  I am 1/2 Greek and we love to feed people!  It makes us happy.)  We talked with Yiayia and Auntie and came up with a date to hold a cookie baking weekend.  It was this past weekend and it was perfect!
We made our lists (I also love lists) of who we were baking for and what kind of cookies we were baking.  We didn't make all we intended to, but we got a good variety.  Here is a picture of #2's taste test panel.  You must also be noticing 1's hand barricading her samples so that #2 wouldn't take any of hers.  That's love, folks!  L.O.V.E! 
The weekend was great all around.  J took #3 away for the weekend.  They had some excitement of their own.  "Guys night" where they go and buy all the ladies in their life gifts for Christmas.  It was #3's first year participating.  Daddy, Grampy and the little guy.  Three generations!  No picture this year, but it will be on the agenda for next year, that's for sure!  
It's traditions like these that make the holidays so special.  Spending time with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.  Baking (and sampling) some of the yummiest cookies that you only get to have once a year, when the desire to give is so strong and you actually have the motivation to bake (for me anyway).  Shopping for your family and keeping it a secret.  Waiting to see that precious reaction when the gift you bought and put so much thought into is opened.  Traditions carried on from generation to generation. 
It really is the most wonderful time of the year!!!  A beautifully wonderful time of year! 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Ginger Cherry warmer

This morning it was 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
A faint breeze was blowing when I went to the coop to do the morning chores (with a steaming jug of water for the chickens.) I was thankful for their sturdy shed that broke that gentle breeze...when it's cold, even that faint gentle breeze was not making for a pleasant experience.  I am trying to forget for now that soon it will be snowy and cold and blustery.     
Soon after getting into the coop, it felt a bit better.  I went about my chores.  The girls seemed to like the warm water, and my broody hen jumped into my arms for a little snuggle time.  She sure is a silly one, insisting that she could be a good mommy despite the cold.  She also prefers to spend a little time each day getting a quick drink, snack and snuggle before it is time to go sit in her empty nesting box (since I took the eggs she gathered to brood.)
When I got in to the warm house, I realized how cold I was.  I longed for a third cup of coffee, but since I was already way past my caffeine max for the day, I thought maybe some tea.  And then I had another thought.  I had recently purchased some cherry juice (a natural anti inflammatory) for the family as it is winter and joints and bellies get icky this time of year.  I also had about a pound of ginger in the fridge again for its belly help.  What if I made something out of them that would warm me up and get me going?  I started thinking I'd also like it a little sweet...what's better than honey?  

Ginger Cherry Warmer
2 cups of water
1 inch of ginger root peeled and roughly chopped
honey (to taste)
Tart cherry juice (to taste)

In a small pot bring water to a boil.  Reduce heat and add ginger.  Simmer for about 5 minutes.  Strain the ginger water into a jar/mug and add honey.  Stir until the honey is incorporated.  Add a touch of cherry juice until it tastes just right for you and enjoy.

What keeps you warm on a blustery day?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Yarn of sorts

I broke out the drop spindle that I got for Christmas...last year.  I kept meaning to work with it sooner, but found it didn't look like most drop spindles that I had ever seen before.  That's because mine was a Turkish that creates a center pull ball right off the spindle.  I watched youtube videos that were the most recommended...which made me think that the yarn somehow was supposed to wind itself...amazing I thought.  Then when I tried...nothing nada...zilch...except over wound yarn.  So I went to knitpicks and looked at their tutorial (non-video) which made me realize that I had to be the one doing the winding...duh...

So, while teaching about doubling consonants when adding -ed...and about r controlled vowels and how car doesn't have an o for a vowel (like it sounds when you are sounding it out slowly) I began spinning...and spinning...and spinning some more.  I'm thinking that I can work on drop spindle until I get my grandmother's spinning wheel up and going.  It looks like the wheel needs to be fixed a bit and the bobbin has a crack that lets the string jump off (that's my not so expert opinion...)

As for reading...that good old garden reading...the seed catalog.  I'm still thinking about last year and what worked/didn't work and have ideas for next year that are brewing.

joining with ginny and nichole

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Week two of the stash buster/ no cast on rule

I made a bet with myself.
I would not cast on until everything was bound off.
And only one thing can be cast on at a time.
And I am keeping up with this rule.
I also made another rule.
No buying new yarn until I have used up my current supply.
From when I first started knitting again a few years ago, I had a bunch of cotton.

Now I have this:

The pattern is so simple
Cast on an even number of stitches
Row 1+2 Knit
Row 3+4 K2, *K1,P1* until the last 2 stitches, K2 (repeat between the *)
Repeat knitting the set of four rows until you get it the size you want.
Bind off and weave in the ends.

I have another on the sticks in black which I plan to make into a dishtowel with a loop.

I found this on ravelry, but have no idea where...I just kind of memorized the pattern (which isn't too hard.)

I love the texture, I think it will be very scrubby.

I also have been reading more about cable knitting and color work...trying it out on scraps, but not really doing anything big yet.  It mostly is a lot of frogging and redoing until I feel I have the concept down.

In the meantime, I've been listening to lots of reading.
I mentioned that bedtime has changed for my boy.
Instead of tucking him in, he tucks me in my bed, reads me a story, gives me a hug and kiss, and then goes to his room to read until he falls asleep.  I find this one of the many benefits of homeschooling.  If he stays up late, he can sleep in, in the morning.  He doesn't need to get up in the morning, he just needs to get his work done during the day.

He has gotten into the authors Wood and Wood.  His favorites include the Napping House, Heckedy Peg, and King Bidgood's in the Bathtub.  The dark artistry of the latter two especially have interested me since I was little, and I'm glad he's found it interesting too.

linking with ginny and nicole

Monday, November 26, 2012


That magic moment when a child's reading turns from choppy and without comprehension to fluent and stimulating. 

When he goes to the library he asks for more books by "Wood and know they wrote King Bidgood's in the Bathtub."

That moment when he can't stop reading everything he can get his hands on.

That moment when you realize that bedtime is never going to be the same.


When your baby picks up a (non curriculum leveled reader) book and begins sounding out a few words here and there...

And finds a stack of flash cards and announces "hhuh awww ppp...hop...that's a verb!"

What's a verb?

"That's something you can me verb!"

And she hops across the room.

And you know that they are on their ways to being really big kids.

Did I mention that bedtime is never going to be the same?
I can't bear to turn off the lights and tell him to put the book down.
After all, my parents never did.
Thank you mom and dad...Thanks for encouraging me to read.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Dishwasher Blues

Our dishwasher hasn't been cleaning well lately.  It felt like dishes were being washed before putting them in for a wash cycle, which defeats the purpose of having a dishwasher to begin with, right?  Imagine the frustration when they still had leftovers on them after going through two cycles.

Time for an intervention!!!

I decided to peruse through one of my favorite sites for some inspiration (Pinterest of course) and came across a bunch of homemade cleaning product recipes.  Initially, I was a huge skeptic when it came to homemade cleaning products.  Uneducated, really.  Then, I started using a vinegar/water/essential oil spray for all purpose cleaning.  It works great, so I wanted to at least give the dishwasher soap a try, but I really didn't think it was going to work.
It felt like being in 6th grade science class again.  I was presented with a problem and needed to do a scientific experiment and find the best conclusion!  Going into it, I expected to be disappointed.  There was going to be a powdery substance left all over the dishes!  There was no way the glasses would be sparkling!

The dishwasher was full, so here was my chance!  I put in 4 Tablespoons of the Borax mix, filled my rinse cycle compartment with vinegar and hit "start"! 

Here is what the dishes looked like before the cycle.  I picked the perfect dinner dishes for my little experiment.  Eggplant Parmesan! 
Here is the finished product!
Beautiful!  IT WORKED!

If you are interested, you can find the recipe I used here.  The recipe is perfect, but I used a little bit more of the Borax mixture (4-5 Tbsp) and don't measure the vinegar out.  Initially, I filled the rinse aid compartment with vinegar, and now I just refill the compartment each time I run it.  It does the job just fine.  Each refill seems to require only 2 additional Tbsp of vinegar.

It does a beautiful job!  It is also septic safe, which is a huge bonus for us!   

Happy washing! 

Monday, November 19, 2012


On election day Tuesday, I got a lot accomplished before 9:00 am.

I got a shower.
I visited the dentist (with a good report.)
I exercised my civil duty.
I announced  to my husband what I was getting him for Christmas.

For about 6 months my husband has been dragging his copy of Cider around the house (found on the sidebar...he really digs is which says a lot for a boy who never liked math or chemistry and this book contains both.)  He reads it during commercial breaks during the news, or during sporting events.  He took it on warm summer evenings to the side porch to read while grilling or watching the kids play.  He curled up with it at night during family reading time.  In other words, it fascinates him.

So imagine my excitement when I drove by a brew supply store just down the street from one of my clients.  Usually that kid is my first in the morning...early early morning...with many kids scheduled back to back to back after.  But over the past few weeks, our scheduled appointment changed to last thing in the day...a perfect opportunity.

My first time in the shop, the guy led me around showing me the necessities of cider.  No pressure...just helping me get my numbers together.  I also got down the process in a very simple way.   Basically, mix cider, sweetener, and yeast in a container and let sit with an airlock on top.  In a few days put in a carboy and let sit some more with the airlock on top.  Maybe at this point add a little sweetener if you want sparkling cider.  Then put in containers and chill/enjoy.

I made my husband space in the canning cupboard by rearranging the pantry and putting empty jars in the garage for next season.

I scheduled the client for the evening again and bought the supplies.
Honey, a bucket, a carboy, some sanitizer...I think I need to go back and get some bottles and tubing.
I called around to find preservative free cider in the quantities we needed.
The husband picked them up on his way home from work.

Last weekend he mixed up his first batch.  It took a few days but all the sudden, the cupboard started to smell of apples and the airlock started to bubble...first just a little one here and there, and now it's several times a minute.

Now he's talking beer.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Binding off

I did it.
I promised myself no more casting on until I finish all my projects...and last 11:30 pm...I did it.  I finished another pebble vest...this one for C.  I also finished the oaklet shawl that I have been working on FOREVER!

So now I have decided to just cast on a mindless project in order to be able to carry it around and knit when I have a minute or two here and there, as that is all I have time for this time of year.  I'm thinking washcloths.

I also have been trying to learn a few new techniques.
I figure if I have a few small projects, maybe I can add a few little tricks in.
So, I picked up a few books at the library, will watch a few you tube videos and will attempt to educate myself.  I love being a lifetime learner.
Oh...and by the way...citysister designs is having a giveaway here...and there's a discount code.
joining in with yarn along and craft on

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A tinkerbell/giraffe, a witch and a chicken

Halloween is such a fun time!

We have found that #2 is the most creative with her costume choices.  Last year, we asked her what she wanted to be for Halloween.  She wasn't quite sure, so my mom and I took her to a store to pick something out.  The giraffe made the cut!   She has a thing for giraffe's.  She also has a thing for Tinkerbell and in her dress up basket, has a Tinkerbell costume.  A few days before Halloween, she decided to go dressed as "Tinkerbell-Giraffe"!  She was the ONLY one out with that costume!  She liked it so much and decided to dress like that again this year!  She cracks me up!

#1 wanted to be a scary witch again!  This year, she worked on improving the scariness with a witchy growl!  She took her role very seriously!  That is, until she saw her new buddy from school out trick-or-treating.  Then the silly kid came out.

#3 cracks me up!  We went to a consignment shop to pick out his costume and he chose a "foggy" (froggy).  He was proud of this costume.  He wore it to the bus stop, preschool drop off and even to the supermarket with me!  As the night got closer, people would ask him what he was going to dress up as.  Up to that point, his choices were 1: a pumpkin, or 2: the "foggy" he picked out.  What does he come back with?  "A chicken"!  Buddy, that wasn't even in the running!  I refused to buy him a chicken costume.  It would be impossible to find something like that locally and even if I found it online, it would have never made it in time.  BUT, I did happen to find a duck costume at a consignment shop, and that did just fine!  The little hat didn't stay on his head, but the rest fit just fine.  Most people thought he looked like a candy corn.  Nobody thought he was a chicken.  He did though.  It's all that counts!

I can't wait to see what they want to be next year.

Do you have any creative costume stories from your little ones?  Do any of you dress up with your kids? 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Beware the pumpkin spice

Pumpkins are wonderful...
And they taste pretty good too.
Well the husband has become addicted to pumpkin spice coffee...only problem is that they only sell it at the store around halloween...and they are all out.
I love bringing a smile to that boy's face so I decided to work some magic with the leftover squash from dinner last night.

I saw some recipies on line, but they all had canned pumpkin...and I like the real here's my version. The real stuff needs to be blended well so don't skip the immersion blender (or a big blender if you don't have one.) The brown sugar gives it the caramel flavor of fall in a special kind of way.

1 c. mashed pumpkin/orange squash
1c. brown sugar/succant
1.5 cups water
1.5 tsp cinnemon
.5 tsp nutmeg
.25 tsp ginger
.25 tsp allspice

Mix all ingredients in a small pot and blend with an immersion blender.  Bring to a boil over medium heat for about 5 minutes and blend again (since you are using real squashes, you need to get all the fiber broken up.)  Pour into a mason jar and refrigerate.  Mix with coffee/milk and coffee and enjoy.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

100 year old boards in a new house

There is this great blog I stumbled upon where a woman uses old materials from around her house (or from the trash) and creates new things with them.  Her objective is to give new spaces an old rustic look.  She has done things like paint words on old boards, scratched them out a little and made them look like old antique signs.  She attached a few together, stuck some painted legs on them and made side tables.  So inspiring.

There is one project I tried to replicate.  She took 5-6 old boards about 5 feet long and attached them in the back.  She then took a bunch of picture frames, arranged and attached them to this new background and hung it over her mantle as a focal point.  She even attached a little vase to the boards and stuck some fake flowers in there too.  It is beautiful!  

So, I was lucky enough to find someone locally that just tore up a floor in their 100 year old house.  SCORE!  Getting rid of the boards before winter had been on her to-do list for the entire summer!  Finding someone willing to get rid of old boards was on mine for just a few weeks.  She helped me and I helped her!  

The boards were PERFECT!  They were in a pile outside for a few months so they had a bunch of dirt, leaves and junk on them.  J washed and attached them together for me. 

This is my final product!  I just have to add pictures to the frames and maybe a little sign on it with our last name etched on it.
It's kind of blurry, but you get the gist. 

When J assembled the boards, there was little to no space in between them.  They must have swelled from being out in the elements.  The heat from our wood stove sucked the moisture right out of them and left spaces between each board.

I am going to try getting more boards from my new friend.  J is thinking of creating a work station for the girls to put right under this.

So there you have it... 100 year old old boards in our 4 year old house. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Carving a rotten pumpkin

Mistake #1:  We waited too long to go pick out our pumpkins.
Mistake #2:   We let too much time go by before we decided to carve the pumpkins.  #3's rot spot got huge and we couldn't salvage it. 
After J cut out the rot spot, all we had left was a little half circle pumpkin with no top or side.  So, we decided to make it sound cool and told #3 it was a bat cave!!!  We used part of another pumpkin and made a bat (terrible looking bat) and here we have it!  #3 loved it! 
#1 took a permanent marker and drew out her face!  I think she was more excited about the fact that I let her use a permanent marker than she was about doing pumpkins!  She felt extra grown up too because she was the only one that could at least make an attempt to cut her own (with supervision, and of course, with one of those dull pumpkin-carving-kit "knives").  Although she felt like a big kid, she quickly gave up and had Daddy finish for her!  Have you ever tried carving with one of those knives?  Most of the time, they snap in half after the first insertion!
Here is her Mr. Pumpkin with his silly little smirk! 

#2 drew all over hers with the same marker!  She didn't want us to cut anything out.  She just wanted to put the silly eyes on.  This was just perfect!  She loved it! 
Here is our little family of pumpkins waiting for treat seekers on Halloween night!  We didn't get any.
Note to self:  Get pumpkins earlier next year so that #3 can have a better chance at having a cool looking pumpkin!  It would also be nice to carve them at least week or two before the actual holiday.  Not the night before.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Hurricane talk

Last year, Hurricane Irene didn't cause us any problems directly, but it wiped out a large portion of communities just 30 minutes north of us.  Bridges, homes and businesses were flooded and some washed away.  Some communities were left with no way to go in/go out, etc.  The rebuilding efforts took a good 8 months and some places are still rebuilding.  When we saw another hurricane making it's way up here again, we began to brace ourselves and prepare!  

I have to admit, I wasn't that worried for our area.  The weather teams usually hype these things up and it seemed to be on the path towards NY and NJ, not where we are.  I was worried for them! 

Sandy was gentle with our region.  We only lost power for a few days.  We are very fortunate!

When we moved into our current home, we learned to expect power outages at least 3-4 times a year.  In the summer, it's not a big deal (yes, we lose power in the summer, with not a wind in the sky or a rain drop in sight), but when it's as cold and raw as it has been, having no heat makes for a miserable time.  Especially for the kids.  They only thing they don't complain about are the endless amounts of PB&J's that fill their bellies!  

We decided to buy a backup generator to supply us with what minimal electricity we need to "survive" (we have a well so we need electricity for running water), and saved up to buy a wood stove.  They were the best investments we have ever made!  

Sandy may have took our power away for a few days, but we were able to carry on.  Business as usual!  

Nice try Sandy!  Nice try!   

(Mother Nature:  please don't take this as an invitation to try and create something larger to wipe us out.  I was merely trying to be funny!)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A vest for baby b...

I thought I had until the end of November.
Imagine my surprise when I got a call...he came early...6 weeks early.
I had been planning a vest of sorts, and had gotten to the point of buying gender neutral yarn and perused a few patterns, but not much further.
After all, I had at least 4 weeks to finish it, right?

And so when I found out that my friend had her baby 6 weeks early, I had to get a move on.  
I thought about it and made my decision quickly.  I made the pebbles vest in super wash wool as premature babies have a tendency towards being cold and having reflux.  I wanted him to be warm and easy to clean.

I also altered the pattern to only have one shoulder button and three side buttons.
What first time mom needs seven buttons to button up on the little squirmy one?
And the buttons were homemade maple buttons from Citysister designs...found here.
The best only took me about 3 episodes of Grey's Anatomy and a Physical Therapy session to complete.  

As for reading...I'm reading The Friday Night Knitting Club...Pretty good, however I'm not quite that far into it.  I need some time to decide about it, but I will say it is not one of the typical G-Rated books I normally read.

Linked to Nichole's craft along and Ginny's knit along

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Mummy

Currently we are studying ancient Egypt...and Halloween is on it's way...that means only one thing can be happening in our house...that's right...we are making mummies!

Now were to find a body to mummify?

Stop that thought...

Back when I was in 6th grade we studied ancient Egypt...and we made a mummy...out of something that has a skin and mushy insides...we mummified bananas!

And so we continue that in our home school...a mummified banana.

It all started with a banana...or two as a little girl had to get involved.

The Ancient Egyptians used natron to dry their we are plum out of natron (a natural salt) we used a whole container of plain table salt (not the "good salt".)

Then we also discussed the climate of and dry.  As we live in a place that is cold and moist, we decided to counteract that with the oven put on very low.

After a few hours of that, the mummies where left in their pan in the oven overnight.  The next day, we found that the salt had turned hard.  We got out our hammers and rather a butter knife and chipped away at the salt.  It came off the mummies in big chunks revealing that our mummies had turned red.  This then led to the conversation concerning chemical reactions and moisture extraction as well as similarities and differences between people and in people do not have sugar levels that caramelize.

I had an old sheet that I use in the garden as a frost protector that we tore a few strips from to be the "linen" wrappings of the mummy.  W. learned that wrapping a mummy is very difficult.  Then the mummies were placed on a plate on top of the refrigerator.  The steady warmth of the fridge plus the heat rises factor will mimic the heat of Egypt for the next few weeks as we wait to raid the tomb of the mummy.

To be continued....

Friday, October 26, 2012

Fall Soccer Saturdays

Soccer Saturdays are a fall tradition I have been looking forward to ever since I started envisioning my future.  First, get married and have the kids.  Then, force them to play things so that your dreams can be fulfilled!  No, I'm just kidding.  
But in all seriousness, being a soccer mom has been a dream of mine since I was little.  Seems silly, but sitting on the sidelines, freezing my butt off and holding on to a cup of coffee as if it were going to warm our entire body if I squeeze tight enough.  You know, good times!  I love it!  

This summer, all three kids participated in a preschool soccer program.  You might think it is silly to be having kids under the age of 5 play soccer.  Would they really get anything out of it?  Well, #3 only participated in two practices and #2 only one.  She preferred to wear her tutu and cheer for her sister on the sidelines.  #1 got the most out of it, but even she didn't enjoy it like she is enjoying the kindergarten recreation program.
Perhaps watching his sister this fall will encourage him to participate more next summer?  After all, he will be one year wiser.
 I think #2 is a lost cause with this whole soccer thing.  If there isn't constant action, she's not into it.  We'll just stick with gymnastics.  She really loves bouncing on things.  Or perhaps we will just skip preschool soccer next year because hanging on Daddy's back on the sidelines is more fun!  We can do that anywhere!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

It's in the cards...THE WINNER IS...

Exactly 13 people entered the drawing for a free set of buttons from Citysister Designs.  To which my husband said to assign cards to each person...1 ace to 13 king...then draw.  And the winner is the Queen...Kim Corrigan-Oliver of Mothering with Mindfulness.  Congrats! and remember that you still can receive a 10% discount with the coupon code CSCS10 through the end of the month.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Yarn along craftiness...and a final day for a giveaway!

Right now I'm in the homestretch of so many projects...
Like my t-shirt yarn mat/rug...
or my Oaklet Shawl...
or a baby vest  for the little premature baby my friend just had...

I've been reading like crazy...
the new curriculum I got in this week...
or the books I got from the library...about knitting...the Opinionated Knitter is a must read!
or research for our "Ancient Egyptian Times" newspaper...
or a fun book like the Dinopedia

I'm working on a tutorial for T-shirt new love.

And I've been creating like crazy...
buttons and more buttons...
Each piece of wood seems to be talking to me...
dye me with blueberries...
carve a little more off the rim...
but not too much...
I deserve to be a toggle, not a mini button...

Remember today is the last chance to win your choice of buttons from my shop...just pop on over to my new Etsy Shop Citysister Designs and let me know what you like best...and enter to win...just by leaving a comment on this post...tell your friends for an extra chance.  I'll combine those with the comments from the original announcement post!  Leave a comment if you'd like to host your own giveaway and we can talk.
Also, there is a coupon code CSCS10 which will give you 10% off your purchase.

Frontier Dreams keep calm craft on!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Apple Picking... or not!

 We missed the boat on apple picking this year, which is a shame.  It is a New England tradition we hold very close to our hearts, right next to getting warm by the fire at the first sight of snow (which could be any day now). 
It's a good thing some of the orchards have more to offer than just picking apples.  
 The corn maze is always fun.  We had to be extra careful that #3 didn't go run off and get lost.  Could you imagine?  A little 2 year old screaming because he couldn't find his mommy or daddy?  Actually, come to think of it, I don't think he'd care much.  He would probably just run and knock down all the corn stocks laughing his tush off.  He's just a crazy, fun, little dude!  Always finding the positive spin on things (unless you take his toy tractor, Ernie or Elmo from him... then it's game over!). 
 There is also picking out your own pumpkin!
We kind of missed the boat on that one as well.  Most of the pumpkins in the patch had rot spots, or were already composting down.  We still had to do it though. 
We only give the kids one rule when picking them out.  They can have whatever pumpkin they want, but they have to be able to carry it!  My parents used this rule when we were growing up and I think it's a mighty fine one!  That way, they weren't stuck carrying these massive orange things to the car through the patch, then the corn maze.  
The two little ones found theirs in the patch.  Nice and small with no rot spots.  Perfect!  
#1 was slightly more picky.  Big surprise... this kid always knows what she wants!  Nothing wrong with that though.  She found hers in the front of the store.  
We are schedule to carve them next week!  I can already smell the seeds roasting in the oven.  Another heart-warming tradition!