Saturday, February 26, 2011

Saturday Sewing

It's snowing again here in Wisconsin and we've been spending a quiet morning watching movies and sewing.

Connor saw Thomas the Train material earlier this week while Walmart and instantly fell in love. Actually, he falls in love with anything these days related to Thomas the Train. We picked up half a yard and I told him I'd make him a pair of pajama pants. I used a pair of pants I made before Christmas as a template and just traced them onto the material and used fold-over elastic on the waistband.

I love working with fold-over elastic. It makes projects quick and easy. These pants took me 30 minutes and that included ironing the material and tracing the pattern. And that is seriously one happy little man...I know these won't be coming off today!

I also made a new skirt for Emily. I've seen tutorials in the past using outgrown tights under skirts and decided to give it a try. This was also a really easy project...only about 30 minutes again.

This was so simple. I used a half-yard of material and put in a half-inch hem at the top and the bottom and then sewed the seam closed. Then I quartered the fabric and stretched out the tights as I sewed. Results can be seen in the last pictures - She loves it and told me I'm the best mom to my ears.

Off to set up paint for the kids and do some more sewing! Happy Snow Day!!


Wednesday, February 23, 2011


In life, we have choices to make. The choices we make affects ourselves as well as others. As mothers, the choices we make have the biggest impact on our families. One aspects of my life where I often fail is in providing joy on a daily basis. Joy to myself, joy to my family, children, partners, and joy in God and his ministry. I get caught up in negativity. Negativity from outside forces and negativity from internal forces. And it's not just about providing joy, it's about cultivating joy.

Yesterday, I was frustrated with my daughter because she was in a crabby mood while I was trying to get her ready for school. I finally told her she needed to change her attitude and she went onto the bus mad at me. I thought about this throughout the day and realized it was wrong of me to demand she change her attitude. There are many times when I am in a negative mood and take it out of my family by being sullen.

I reminded myself of a Bible lesson I taught at Sunday school last month.

1 Corinthians 12:25-26
All [the body's] different parts have the same concern for one another. If one praised, all the other parts share its happiness.

The lesson talks about how as a ministry, we all share and celebrate God's work that is done by others as well as ourself and identifying our unique places. I realized yesterday I wasn't applying this to other parts of my life. It's also important that I work with others in all aspects of my life and share and celebrate God's work even when that work happens in our family. I was expecting my family to behave one way when I wasn't doing the same. On mornings that I wasn't feeling joy, I let negativity get me down instead of celebrating and finding joy, however, I would demand my family feel joy instead of working to cultivate joy within them.

This morning, I almost let negativity bring me down again. Six months ago, I had an order for training pants and received positive feedback. Last week, I received a message that the training pants no longer fit and asking if they could return them and I replace them because they also wanted to order more but if I didn't work with them, they'd take their business somewhere else. I sent a message back that it had been six months and apologized that they were no longer happy but because of the time that had passed, I could no longer replace them. When I opened my email this morning there was a message that they took their business elsewhere and that I was a bad business person.

This made me sad because sewing is hard work. It takes time away from my family and can be labor intensive for the amount of money that is made. I almost let this email ruin my day. I wanted to reply and defend myself. And then I stopped because I knew this would accomplish nothing but upset me further because the other person was bound to respond back.

And then I told myself that I was not going to let this negativity ruin my day. I walked away and made the decision to fill my day, and my family's day, with joy.

Nehemiah 8:10
“Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”

May your day be filled with joy and may you bring joy to others.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Old Hardwood Floors

One of the downsides of having an old house is hardwood floors that have aged causing small gaps that collect dust and dirt. I've tried everything...vacuuming, sweeping, swiffers. But the thing that works best in getting all that dirt up is this...

They go through a couple pails of water and usually 6 or 7 towels but they can make a floor shine!


The Kitchen Declutter

Yesterday I started decluttering the kitchen. And wow does it feel good. It didn't take me as long as I thought. I still have some spring cleaning and rearranging to do but the majority of it is complete. I think the best part of it was finding more room. By the time I was done, I had a pile of three medium to large sized boxes to donate to Goodwill.

When I was decluttering, I did not think about the item. I just quickly asked myself if I'd used the item on a regular basis. If not, it went into the box. Some of the items were obvious. I had five collanders in the kitchen and we don't need five so I kept three. One large, one medium, and one small. I also got rid of my canisters. You know the ones you are supposed to store things in. Well ours were storage for candy and other things we'd forgotten about. So they all went into the box. I've found one gallon canning jars make much better storage for pantry items like oatmeal, flours, cornmeal,beans, sugars, etc. They hold a lot, are airtight, and I can easily see how much is in there. We also had seemed to have accumulated enough coffee cups to start a restaurant so those were also pared down.

I also quickly went through my closet and sorted my clothes. I ended up with two 30 gallon garbage bags of clothes I knew I would not wear or would not fit. This included two winter jackets and a pair of snow pants. I still need to spend an afternoon in there trying on some clothes to see if they'll fit but it's a good start.

It felt good to accomplish a portion of both of those tasks. Now since the snow has finally stopped, I can load everything into the jeep to take to Goodwill. I know there are several small pieces of furniture that will also go in the first trip to Goodwill. The book I'm reading says I should have a garage sale to make money of what I'm purging from the household. The reason I've choosen Goodwill is because it's one of my favorite places to shop and it's a wonderful charity to support. Also, because it is winter in Wisconsin, I'd have to store these items for several more months. We do not have a lot of storage room and holding onto everything for several more months runs the risk of someone in our household (uumm namely me) suddenly realizing there is something that we must keep and it going back into the household to take up space. Out of sight, out of mind, right??

One of the reasons I've accumulated so many clothes is that I have clothes from before the children were born, maternity clothes, and clothes bought after each child was born. My body has been through so many changes in the last five years that I seemed to have ended up with several wardrobes!

So I've been planning some new clothes for myself. I've been going through all of my patterns and books, picking out things I like that I know I can wear through several different seasons. For example, skirts that can be worn in the summer and then again in the winter by adding a pair of tights. Dresses and tops that can be worn again in another season by adding a turtleneck or sweater. I've been saving my cloth training pants money and buying fabric when it goes on sale. I've done so much sewing for other people it'll be nice to do some for just me!!


Monday, February 21, 2011

I'm a slacker and oh my snow can be beautiful

I'm slacking. I set a goal for myself and didn't finish. Well, actually, I didn't even start. But in my defense. Shane is out of town. Logan has been eating now stop in the late morning/afternoon. Connor has been deciding to fall asleep at 4-5 o'clock in the afternoon thus resulting in him being fully awake and ready to start his day at 4:30 a.m. BUT, this momma is not a morning person which completely throws me off. So, I've been eating horribly which doesn't help the situation.

I also took the kids in for their pictures on Friday. Emily was not in the mood to cooperate and Logan just wanted to eat but Connor was a good little picture taker. After two hours we finally decided to reschedule for Sunday after church. Emily was great and was being a little model. Logan did exactly what I wanted him too. But Connor...well, by the end he needed a nap and was going about 482 miles per hour.

Yesterday, it also started snowing. We were supposed to get up to 20 inches but it changed and we probably got around 8 inches. It's snowing now and we're supposed to get another 4 inches. (UPDATE: My dad just called from Mississippi to tell me it's GORGEOUS and 70 degrees. Thanks Dad I love you too.)

The second picture is the door. The snow comes up to the second window pane and slopes about 4 feet out from the door. It was really windy and we're a little snowed in right now. I'll have to find someone to come shovel us out later this morning.  :) Since I don't know how to drive the tractor, I'll have to "plow" the driveway by running the jeep up and down it a couple of times. Shane tried a couple times to teach me how to drive the tractor but gave up out of frustration and dear fear for his life. He can be SOOOO dramatic at times. I mean, a fence is replacable and I only nicked the door to the shed....  :)

But that just means it is probably a good morning to get started on my projects. I did do some cleaning out in the kitchen but that was more of getting rid of sweets. I started walking on the treadmill this week and for some reason, I've had a horrible sweet tooth. Not good. So I threw out all of the junk food that has seemed to accumulate from Valentine's Day. When I'm tired, I eat and become a middle of the night eater. So the past week has been especially difficult. Because Logan sleeps such a long stretch during the night, I still have to get up to pump and put wood in the woodstove. So I fill the woodstove and then will sit and pick at treats while I pump.

We'll be doing a lot of this today!!


Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Clutter We Collect

I am constantly amazed at the amount of "stuff" in our house. Each time we add a child, hobby, animal, pet, etc., the "stuff" becomes more. Not that the barn animals come into the house, well okay, maybe the goats have wandered in once or twice when the kids left the door open (and one knows how to open the door) and I've had lambs in the house when we've had a weak lamb and we're doing bottle feeds. Oh and okay okay so I've also had baby chicks and turkeys and maybe a bunny in the house once or twice. But really, that's just everyday life when you live funny farm, errr, hobby farm.

Children and hobbies, it's easy to see how we accumulate stuff. Both require stuff. Although children do not require as much stuff as we think they do. When the baby was born, we received a gift card from Target and I was looking at baby stuff online deciding what to buy and couldn't decide. There are all these fun hoppers and jumpers and toys. And then I realized a couple of things. One is that I could easily find these things at the consignment shop in town for a fraction of the price and the second is that they use them for such a short period of time.

We also live in a small house in today's standards. It's probably around 900 square feet. Most people think we are nuts but we've made it work comfortably. Part of it is controlling your stuff, which we have a hard time doing. Sometimes the amount of stuff overwhelms me and I spend a lot of time thinking about this stuff and trying to control this stuff.

I recently received Organized Simplicity and love the book.

When I order books, I often take several days to read them. I first skim through chapters and read snipets here and there. Then I'll read chapters and finally I'll read the book from front to back. And then reference books get read periodically throughout the year.

What I like most about the book is that it doesn't tell you HOW to organize, HOW to live simply. It talks about finding organization that works for your family and finding your family's definition of simple living.

The other part that really hit home was the discussion on our emotional attachment to "stuff." That is usually the biggest reason we keep things and often we don't have an emotional attachment to the thing, we have an emotional attachment to the memory. That's what I need to remember, it's the memory that is important, not the thing. There are also things that I'm storing that do not hold good memories but I've not been able to get rid of them and I need to evaluate that emotion and by letting go of the item, I can let go of the negativity attached to it. The biggest example is items from my previous marriage. I've stored and moved my wedding dress, pictures, flowers, etc., for 10 years. The marriage was not a happy time and I became myself again after the marriage ended. It's time to let these items go. They aren't memories that I want to revisit or that I would necessarily share with my children.

Reading this book has really given my thought process direction in simplifying our household. I don't mean to take it down to barebones but to really think about what we have and the physical space that it occupies.

The book takes a 10 day route to simplying and organizing the house. For me, that just won't work. Not with a hubby who travels and three little kids in the house.

My first plan of attach is my closet and getting rid of the clothes and junk that we store there. I know there are winter jackets that don't fit, as well as clothing that no longer fits or I just don't wear. It can easily be donated or repurposed (t-shirts for example can be made into pajama pants, shorts, sweats for the kids). We also have a large closet and all extras seem to get stuck in there. Like the sewing machine that broke or furniture that we didn't want in the house but were afraid to get rid of it.

My second room will be the kitchen. I know there are cabinets that I haven't been into in months and appliances we haven't used in years. I've set a timeline of 4 days to do both rooms.

I'm so excited!!


Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day

After our daughter was born, Shane and I were snuggled up on the couch with her one night when she was barely weeks old. I asked him if he ever thought he'd love anyone so much. This man of few words said to me,

"There are so many different types of love and because of you I got to find out two more kinds."

I love all of these guys...each in their own special unique way.


Saturday, February 12, 2011

A hat for my baby

My two oldest children have not been home this weekend. Emily went to Grandma's Thursday night and the boys and I picked her up on Friday to go and visit her other grandma (my mom) to deliver her and Grandpa's Valentine's. They wouldn't come home with me. This morning I went to go pick them up and was greeted with, "What are you doing here?" and "We're not going home for 4 days." So it's just me, the man, and the lil' baby. So this momma is kinda lost!!  :)  The house got cleaned and the dishes done. We went to the farm store and ordered field seed and priced out a new chainsaw. I know...such exciting stuff!

I started and finished the pettiskirt for Emily's Valentine's Day dress. I also started another sleep sack. This one is for a baby shower gift. It's the same material as the one in this post. Hopefully I can finish it up tomorrow and mail it out on Monday. I also started and almost completed an order for a customer.

I also started this hat from this pattern on etsy.

PATTERN Daydreamer Crochet Hat Pattern Photo Prop

I'm not sure if I fell in love with the hat or with the adorable baby!!

I would really love to learn how to knit and I've tried several times but I struggle with knitting. I learn one set of stitches and usually end up forgetting what I learned by the time I come back to it. Crocheting however seems to come naturally. I can not work on any crocheting projects for months and always seem to pick it up quickly again just by reviewing the stitches in a book. There are so many great new patterns out there for crocheting and I do like having a crafty hobby that I can easily slip in my bag and take with me.

I'm off to snuggle down with a movie and work on my little hat again.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Natural Lip Balm

For Christmas, my daughter and I made homemade bath products for gifts to give to teachers, grandmas, aunts, and friends. Part of our gift baskets include homemade lip balm. This is definately something that can be done with a child...but only on a day when you have lots of patience.  :)

After researching many different recipes and ordering different oils and wax, I came up with a recipe that I and my family and friends loved. It includes Avocado oil, soy wax, candelia wax, jojoba oil, almond oil, vitamin E oil and essential oils for fragrance.

You can also get the little metal tins for storing lip balm in. I think the next time I need tubes, I will try the tins. I think they would be much easier to clean for reusing. The recipe we made at Christmas was Cherry Blossom and Kiwi. Even the men were asking for their own tubes after trying some and also requested some that wasn't so fruity. So another batch will be cooked up before Easter along with some homemade body butter.

Living self-sufficiently definately can be luxurious!


4 ounces avocado oil
3 oz. soy wax
2 oz. candelia wax
1 oz. jojoba oil
1 oz. sweet almond oil
1/2 oz. Vitamin E oil
20 drops of essential oil of choice

Melt soy and candelia wax together and mix in oils until blended. Add essential oil. Pipe into tubes and let cool. Chap and enjoy!!
*Place tubes in freezer for 30-60 minutes before adding lip balm into containers if using plastic tubes.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Out of the mouths of babes...

Our daughter is very protective of her brothers. She's also very curious about things that happen in her world around her and asks wonderful questions. One thing she's been very curious about is breastfeeding and we've been very open with both kids about what breastfeeding is and not hiding how Logan is eating.

Last night when I was feeding Logan right before bed, Emily looked down at me nursing Logan and then looked at daddy and asked..."If Mommy's boobs have milk for my Logan Michael, do your boobs have juice Daddy?"


 And this one too!!


Monday, February 7, 2011


Today is the first day on my own as Shane went back on call yesterday and had to go into work this morning. But I will say that I do have a wonderful family that is able to help me out. Shane is able to get Em on the bus in the morning and his mom will come out at lunchtime to get her off the bus. These are simple little things that make my life easier. When it's warmer out, we'll take the stroller to the end of the driveway but when it's cold, it's a lot of work to get the boys bundled up, into the jeep to sit at the end of the driveway to wait for the bus.

Baby is still working on finding his routine. He has a 3-hour period of awakeness every day but so far those times have changed throughout the day. He also must be ready to grow because he nursed last night from 8 to 11 p.m. and again from midnight to 2:30 a.m. It makes for a tired day since Connor decided to wake me this morning at 5:30 a.m. Although I will not complain because he wakes me with hugs and kisses.

Right before baby was born, I did finish Emily's quilt. She picked out all of the fabrics and binding color and loves it. The minky and the batting make for a very cozy little quilt and it has a nice weight to it. I have a couple spots on the binding that I need to hand sew that I missed with the  machine but I can't get it away from her long enough to do it!!

I also finished another sleep sack. This time using a brown and turquoise ooga booga print. I seriously love the concept of a sleep sack and wish I would have had them with my first two children.

The baby quilt behind baby is from great-grandma. My parents love auctions and often find material that they give to my grandma. Grandma uses it for her own projects and also takes much of it to church because her circle makes quilts for mission work. All of my kids have received a baby quilt from great-grandma.

My daughter loves the fact that her momma sews and often asks for dresses for holidays. She has a valentine's day party at school next Monday and wanted a new dress. Which I'm more than happy to sew and we even picked out material from my stash. Then yesterday when we were getting ready for church, I remembered a dress I made for her last spring for Easter and she wouldn't wear (I think she said it was too big...which was true). I pulled the dress out and she declared it her Valentine's Dress. Her only request was that it was "poofy" which can easily be accomplished by adding a layer of tulle underneath the skirt.

I am so jealous of that beautiful bright green grass in the background. Looking out the window now I see a sea of white!!!

This morning when I was checking my email and google reader, I was found out that I won a giveaway. Lora from Eager Hands (who by the way has 5 lil' cuties and still makes beautiful jewelry and sewing items for her etsy shop) had a giveaway for a gorgeous lil' blanket made from vintage material.

I normally do not enter giveaways. Mostly because I feel guilty winning sewn items when I'm a seamstress. However, yesterday at church we had a potluck luncheon and during lunch I went upstairs and sat in a pew while nursing Logan. I was thinking of how I should sew a blanket for his baptism since I had with both of my other kids, along with a baptism outfit. When I was reading blogs last night, there was a reminder to enter her giveaway and I did thinking it would be a beautiful little blanket for his baptism. And I feel so blessed to have won something made with God's Love.

Have a blessed day,

Friday, February 4, 2011

The dreaded post-partum period

I always wished there was a book about post-partum pregnancy that was real. It seems so many things are sugar-coated with talks about this wonderful baby-moon spent in bliss with your beautiful newborn. Oh don't get me wrong. I love the downtime getting to know my new baby and our family using this time to grow and adjust to each other as a new member has entered making us a family of five. However, no one ever tells you that it can suck, it's hard, there are tears, frustrations, pity, pain, sadness that go along with the laughter, tears, joys, and accomplishments.

No one tells you that you'll still have to go pee 14 times a night. But only now it's because you're retaining so much water that your ankles blend into your calves. No one tells you that the ability to wear your pre-pregnancy clothes doesn't return the day you leave the hospital...or for that matter, may not return at all! No one tells you that you will now have the ability to cry uncontrollably because you ran out of bar soap during your shower. No one tells you that you'll feel so much joy over only looking "5" months pregnancy. No one tells you how you can feel such love for all of your children while still feeling so much guilt during your children's adjustment period. No one tells you that your significant other fears this time more than menopause or even childbirth itself!

The post-partum period means different things after different pregnancies. After our first child was born, we spent that time adjusting to our new roles are mom and dad and the changes that meant to our relationship. After our second child was born, we spent that time helping our daughter adjust to her new role as big sister and our own adjustment of two children. We expanded routines, added new routines, ironed out old routines, shifted and adjusted until everything fell into place.

Now after our third child, we have new roles and adjustments to make. We have children that are older and need more help in adjusting to our new family. Our children love their new brother so much but as with all things, have emotions and feelings that are new to them, and us, that we need to work on together. There is a need for each parent to make extra time for older siblings along with including them in the newborn's daily activities.

This has also been a time for us for adding and expanding new routines in forms of organization to our household and finances. I've found that sometimes pregnancy and new births are sometimes that best times for adding and modifying routines. There are often so many changes going on that nobody seems to question another change. Some of our changes began during pregnancy when we were organizing and rearranging our house for our newest member. The toy closet was by far the biggest change and has been a wonderful addition to our household. I find that the kids have more respect for their toys and actually play with them more because they go into the room and look for them. They also have to put away bins before pulling out another bin and *usually* all toys are put back at the end of the day.

Other changes that are or have been taking place are with organizing our finances, laundry, mail, bookkeeping/recordkeeping, scrapbooking, sewing and crafting supplies. We're still working on tweeking these so we have the best fit for our family.

Also with this pregnancy we've taken another look at our diets and nutrition. We generally eat organic and most of our food is from our animals or our gardens. However, we our 2 year old becomes more independent, we've found he has an extremely big sweet tooth and does not mix well with sugar and corn syrup as it tends to send him into a crazy, wild spin where he goes about 482 miles per hour. In making changes to the sweet part of our diets, this mom has had to look at one culprit that should have been given up years ago....her diet mtn. dew. Our children have never been allowed to have soda pop but we also know that our children will make better choices when mom and dad make good choices. To avoid headache withdrawals, I'm allowed 12 ounces of coffee (a safe amount for nursing mothers) and non-caffeinated tea. This is a good switch because there are so many lovely, yummy, good-for-you teas out there my tastebuds will not get bored.