Saturday, July 30, 2011

Saturday and then

I got mad at the farmer today. I'm trying to freeze zuccinni and also had to get pickles made that we picked the other day. I am also trying to chase two kids and calm a lil' boy who I think is starting to cut teeth. On top of the normal daily stuff of laundry, cooking, cleaning and being the lead entertainer.

So I had a fight with him in my head because he wasn't helping me. The buzzer was going off for the first batch of pickles, I didn't have enough jars so I was trying to wash and sterilize jars, I had brine simmering on the stove, I was trying to give a shopping list to the farmer's mom who was going to Eau Claire for a big city shopping run, and get the baby some lunch because within the last week he's decided he's gonna eat baby food cuz he's hungry and when he's hungry he's hungry NOW and Connor wanted a snack and Em wanted me to play coloring with her.

So when I have a fight with the farmer in my head...what? don't give me that look like I'm crazy...y'all know exactly what I'm talkin' about.  :) Yeah, thought so! So anyways, usually I win...but today I lost. I started thinking about a book I read lately about farming in Wisconsin in the early-mid 1900s. No electricity, outdoor plumbing and it also got me thinking about my grandma's and how their life was growing up and when they first started raising kids.

I have it pretty easy. They didn't have a television they could turn on to entertain the kids for an hour while I regain my sanity. They didn't have bouncy seats and walkers to entertain the baby. They couldn't cheat to get caught up on the laundry by just throwing it into the dryer or put on a disposable diaper because they forgot to wash diapers last night. They couldn't turn on the air conditioner while canning because it got too hot in the kitchen. They had to pump water from the well and use wood to fill the cookstove. They didn't have a freezer to put away meat, fruits and vegetables. It was canned. ALL of it.

And they didn't have a choice - they had to do it. They grew gardens bigger than mine because that was their primary food source. There was no running into town for pizza if they didn't feel like cooking that night.

I need to keep telling myself that I can get it done. And you know what? Once I told myself that I could get it done, I got it done. The zuccinni is freezing in the freezer and the pickles are cooling on the counter. The babe got fed, the lil' man got his snack, Miss Em got her coloring time with mama, the laundry is being washed, the kitchen is kinda cleaned, and supper was made and on the table.

But not quite entirely without a couple looks from this one...

I wished I remembered the name of the book about farming, it was a story about a family here in Wisconsin. One of the chapter describes the family's wait to get electricity brought into the farm and how exciting it was. Then when the electricity was turned on, the mom went nuts saying how she couldn't believe how dirty the house was once it was all lit up. Maybe I just need to stop using lights and use candles...then I won't feel so bad when I think the house is messy all the time.  :)


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Stained glass coffee filters

My daughter has done these before at school and I know I've seen them all over blogland so this is definately not an original but still fun nevertheless.

Start by coloring coffee filter with washable markers.

Spray coffee filter with water and the colors will mute and blend. (Note - cleaning out sink beforehand is entirely optional.)

Let dry on a rack with a piece of toweling underneath.


Hang with a string in the window.

Reminder - when your 4 YO asks you if she can do the spraying part all by herself. Remember to tell her she has to wait for you.

You can also fold them accordian style, attach in the middle with a pipe cleaner and spread the wings to make a pretty butterfly!


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

T-shirt pom poms for hair

I've found a huge problem with Pinterest. Y'all know what pinterest is right? If not, for your sanity. DO NOT get an account. It's seriously more addicting then blogs. I have relatively few pins but once you start following people, you could seriously get lost for hours. I mean, I stayed up until midnight looking at everyone's pins!

So when I had these leftover t-shirt bottoms and then my hair supplies showed up from Mocosupplies (relatively new on etsy but has FABULOUS prices and a great selection and was great to work with!). I knew I just had to make these pom poms. So I made four!

My favorite is that no matter how much jersey you use, they look adorable. The all white one seems very fresh flowing to me while the brown and white ones looks to cute and puffy!


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Garden Blessings

Our garden is certainly blessing us this year. While we didn't get the early lettuce and spring onions, I do believe that it may be our best year ever!


Horseradish (really needs to be dug up this fall - it's been in for almost 4 years).

Onions (first year they've made it this far - usually the ducks/geese/turkeys eat them).

Beets and turnips

Pumpkins, seedlings of cabbage and califlower, sunflowers, pole beans, sweet corn.

Potatoes - White, reds, and sweet potatoes (anyone know a good way to get rid of potatoe bugs without having to dust them?)

Brussel sprouts - one of my favorite treats for over the winter.

Acorn squash that popped up from last year.

Cucumbers - for 5 years we've never gotten enough cucumbers to do anything with except to eat fresh. Last year was okay but the farmer wanted pickles so 90% came from my parents or the farmer's market. This year he planted 6 packages of seeds hoping for something and we may just have cucumbers coming out of our ears!

More cucumbers and peas - I've already picked 3 buckets of peas and more to come!

Tomatoes - I'm 5'7" and they are as tall as me. They're actually holding each other up!

The basket of cucumbers we already picked.

I have my children addicted to slush puppies. Last summer when I was pregnant we had one every single day. I would walk into church with one. The gas station people laughed at me. But they sure do beat the heat!



Monday, July 25, 2011

Chickens and their habits

I couldn't find one of our hens. She's one that usually runs around so after I hadn't seen her for awhile, I finally accepted that she'd probably got caught by a predator. And then she scared the beejees out of me last night when I was putting away the garden hose which is right next to the lilac bush.

I should have known. She's laid and hatched eggs the past two years from inside this lilac bush.

Guess we all are creatures of habit.  :)


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Fresh summer berries

I'm in the midst of picking and shelling peas. With a 4 YO and 2 YO who want to help...such a lesson in patience.  :)

We went for a walk up the fence line with a pail this afternoon and picked berries. When we came into the house, we topped yogurt with berries and drizzled with honey. Oh heavenly...

You really can't get more local than your own backyard! (with the exception of the yogurt).

I've been debating on trying my hand at making yogurt. Articles and blog posts are popping up all over the place. My only fear is that I give everyone food poisoning! I also thought yogurt was a "safe" food. Come on it's yogurt! So I never paid attention to the ingredients. I knew yogurt was made with milk and a culture. Simple right! Ugh, a while back I was bored while waiting in line and read the back. *Sigh* Full of words I can't even pronounce.

We're making the switch to using plain yogurt that we sweeten with berries or honey. Maybe one of these days I'll work up the guts to try making yogurt at home.


Friday, July 22, 2011

A new mama bag

When I had my first baby, I carried my purse plus a huge monster-butt diaper bag because going to the grocery store meant taking enough milk, diapers, and clothes in case disaster struck. With my second child, I had gotten over the first time parent jitters and downsized to carrying my purse and a small diaper bag. With my third child, I just upgraded to a larger purse and pretty much never take a diaper bag unless it involves an overnight stay.

So I've taken to carrying tote bags and finished up this little cutie about 15 minutes ago. Whew! It was fun and surprisingly easy to whip up.

The outside yellow ruffle is also a pocket. We're heading off to the big ol' county fair tonight so it'll get a good test run. I think I may need a button to help hold the yellow pocket closed when I start putting stuff in it. There's also a pocket on the inside.

Blessings for a wonderful weekend!!


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Broccoli beautiful broccoli

This spring, I had one tire left to plant and didn't know what to put in it. I had two broccoli plants and a packet of broccoli seeds so I planted the plants and sprinkled the seeds. Then kinda forgot about it.

I've been watching the peas because they are SOOOOOOOO close to being ready to pick. We've been watching them scientifically by munching on the sweet tender little peas and peapods.  :)  Sigh...the things we must do in pursuit of greater gardening success!

So anyways, I was going out to taste test the peas again for doneness and I walked past the tire and thought holy moly those broccoli plants are getting big and low and behold they had nice little heads of broccoli inside!

Which would be why the picture is so horrible because my kids were so excited to eat the garden broccoli I barely had time to take a picture.

I think the peas will be ready tomorrow. The weather decided to be friendly and it was a nice 88 degrees today with no humidity. My hair is so much happier today.


Monday, July 18, 2011

The daisy dress

or not.

We took Miss Em to the new Winnie the Pooh today. It was great! I told her daddy was taking his girls on a date and she told me that we had to wear pretty dresses. Hhmmm, not alot in my closets these days. So I figured I had an hour and that's pretty much what it took for me to dig out material and this t-shirt and some 2 inch elastic and sew together. I've seen these all over blogland these days.

Why the daisy dress? When I was getting dressed, the farmer said, oh that's a pretty dress, you're covered in daisies. Uummm no, those are chrysanthemums. Oh really, must be the sun. Uummm, okay old man.  :)

It's hot here in Wisconsin. Like muggy, humid, take your breathe away say thanks for air conditioning and ice water hot. It rained over the weekend and the water from that rain still has not evaporated from the driveway. We even went to the lake yesterday and it was good until you got out of the lake, then it was bad again.

But all this humid weather is good for the garden. I swear you can literally see the plants growing. Weeds to but we're dealing with them slowly. The humid weather is not good for line drying my laundry. Actually it's been so humid that I haven't even been able to use the dryer to dry clothes because it just took too long. Usually my dryer will dry a load in 42 minutes, the other day I did two 42 minute cycles and the clothes still weren't dry. So it's been piling up. Tonight I'm sitting up doing laundry, reading (keeping up on the Bible in 90days) and the blogs in my reader.

I love nighttime. The house is quiet and calm, everyone's sleeping. I can read and sew and have my thoughts to myself. It's my peaceful, recharging time. Sometimes I do lose sleep but this week the farmer is off call so I can sleep in a bit.

I also did fix the mumu dress but it's in the laundry pile so I'll put up pictures later. I actually have a couple more dress ideas I want to do because I need more pretties in my life and dresses are much, much cooler than shorts or capris even.


Saturday, July 16, 2011

I've created a mumu...

Awhile back I cut out a dress using an old tank top and material for a tiered skirt.


I've created a mumu...

I'm trying to save it.

It doesn't look good.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Inspring story

I attend a very small church. It has only been in the past couple of years that we have had enough kids to have Sunday School. For Vacation Bible School, we advertise and welcome kids of all ages or religious denomination. When you live in a village of 200 people, 20 kids is AWESOME!!

Anyways, there are two kids from town who attend. The boy has been rambunctious, yeah, we'll use that word, in the past. This year has been entirely different. He's been a great helper (he's one of the older kids), listens intently, is excited to be doing the mission work and truly listens and understands the stories.

Yesterday as part of mission time, the kids all planted flowers. Today, a couple of kids were outside playing and waiting for parents when he came running in because another boy from the neighborhood, ran his bike right through the flowers they had planted. We went out and looked at the flowers and did what we could and talked about what we do when things like this happen.

It was truly awesome to see him take such pride and ownership in something he had helped create!!


My laundry line challenge

Oh! You were expecting to see clothes on there. Well I could lie and say that line drying has been so effective that I'm caught up on my laundry? Oh right, that's a sin. Okay, well line drying went really good for until Saturday. And then the lil' babe got sick and I did nothing but snuggles and go to church until his fever finally broke.

And we have Vacation Bible School this week and for some insane reason, I said I'd be in charge of crafts. Today the kids were supposed to be putting together these treasure boxes and decorating them. And then they showed up on Friday and well me and a 10 year old boy tried putting them together with Elmer's Glue like the directions said and it didn't go to well. So plans were redrafted, we added another craft to fill time today and instead of putting them together they were just going to decorate them. So over the weekend I had to put together 20 of these. Well see above and yesterday afternoon I started putting them together with hot glue and after it took me an hour to do 3, I called the farmer's mom and she came and helped and it took us 6 hours. Ages 3 and up my rear end!!

And it's been humid and the clothes were on the line all day and still not dry. I also went to a plant sale at the farm store and everything was 75% off. A six-pack of strawberries for $1.99. We went back the next day and they were gone. I also bought acorn squash (which was already planted in the garden) and 40 more cabbage plants and 8 more califlower because they were 44 cents for a 4-pack. We also bought more raspberries and climbing roses. I really didn't need more of either but I was in sale mood apparently.  :)

I've been harvesting food for the barn animals in the garden and finally got the potatoes mulched. The peas are so close to being ready to be picked that I'm drooling. This is also my last week of classes for my bachelor's degree. I just have to test out of three classes and I can graduate. We also have swimming lessons this week and next and I am doing the Bible in 90 days. The farmer has also been working crazy hours at work so I'm sleep deprived because he's been gone in the morning and we have to be at church by 8 to set up so we start at 9 a.m. and we are not a get up and go in the morning kinda family.

But today I'm all caught up for Bible School so am going to go spend some time playing with my kids and smelling some flowers. Oh yeah and since the temperature dropped I can go back to hanging my clothes out on the line and cleaning my house because I'm sure glad y'all can't see us on video because I'd be quite embarressed!


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Mind if I rant a little?

My little guy (5 1/2 monthds old) is sick. He woke up in the middle of the night screaming with 102.2 temperature and vomited. I took him into urgent care earlier today and they don't know why his temp is so high so we were sent home with instructions to watch his temp., use Tylenol, lukewarm baths, and lots of snuggles. Tonight his temperature is at 103.0. The farmer is giving me a little break to catch my breathe so I can go back on momma duty.

But here's my rant.

I'm a very polite person and will typically avoid confrontation so I'm shouting it out here to the world. There are some people who really need to learn urgent care/emergency room etiquette. When I take one of my children into urgent care, or worse yet the emergency room, it is because they are sick. And the other people that are there are all sick too. So let's just keep germy hands, coughs, etc. to ourselves and not coo and giggle and tell me how much you love babies or your kids loves babies and that's why apparently it's okay for you or your germ infested child to play googling games with my kids. I don't want to tell anyone why I'm there, I don't want to know why anyone else is there, and I certainly DO NOT want you coming to sit down next to me so you can "Get a closer look." I choose to sit as far away from the other people in urgent care for a reason and that reason is because my child is sick and your sick and it is perfectly acceptable to not share when it comes to germs. And really, if the fact that I'm in urgent care/ER is not enough of an indication that there might be germs involved, take a look. My kid probably looks like they feel like crap and I usually look like crap because I've probably been up since 2 a.m., I probably have not showered, I may have been puked on and although I probably have changed out of my puked on clothes, there still may be puke on me and it's probably questionable on whether or not I remembered to brush my teeth before I drove 20 miles to bring my kid to urgent care.

Okay, end of rant. Thanks for listening or reading.  :)

Time to go back to snuggles.


Friday, July 8, 2011

The Green Bag Lady

Have you heard of the Green Bag Lady? Well, go check her out cuz she's not only like the coolest woman along with her friends and family making all those bags that they giveaway. She's having a freebie giveaway.

I have one of her bags and it gets used for groceries, the library, camping, and even going to visit grandmas. They make them cute, functionable, and workable...oh yeah...and she gives them away for free.

Controlled weeds

You wanna know a little secret? I kinda like weeds. I'll explain.

We have a lot of birds. I started counting yesterday but they run around alot. In the chicken coop we have 23 -25 layers and one very cocky rooster. For turkeys, we currently have one hen, two toms, and 7 chicks (is a baby turkey called a chick?). We have two ducks and two geese and approximately 100 heavy breeds that we're raising for meat. On top of the birds, we have two rabbits and two goats which have pretty much become pets along with the horse and mule. Then we have the sheep and our calves.

That's a whole lotta mouths and beaks to feed.

But they love weeds. Really love weeds. The horse, mule and sheep will line up at the fence when I'm mowing the orchard because I mow so everything on the last pass gets blown into the pasture. Or else we rake the grass clippings and throw them into the pasture.

And the garden I use a system called controlled weeding. Yeah, I totally just made that up. But it works cuz weeds grow fast and if they're going to weed, I'm going to make them purposeful.

We plant our garden rows wide enough so we can pass the tiller down most of the rows. This leaves weeding close to the plants and then in between the tomatoes and green peppers and the potatoe mounds that I have to weed (mainly because I still haven't mulched them).

So the farmer tills between the rows periodically and every night at the end of chores I go out to the garden and pick a row for weeding. And it gets feed to the birds, rabbits, or goats or thrown into the pasture.

And they love it. The rabbits will run to the front of their cages and wait for me to open the lid, the chickens all line up at the fence on the outside run, and the goats start ninnying as soon as they see their pile. The horse and mule stand at the fence while I weed.

So if you have animals and get frustrated by all your weeds, change your mindset and start thinking of them as ruffage for your animals.  :)  If you don't have animals and get frustrated by your weeds, bring them to me, my animals will love you!

This isn't my garden, it's the turkeys that come to the door in the morning. I'm not sure what they're looking for but the two toms will stand and peek at the door until you chase them away. The hens and chicks just eat weeds outta that flower bed.
Bonus - you can "train" your birds to go after certain weeds. They get used to eating certain weeds and go find them since they have a taste for them. Our turkeys, ducks and geese wander freely because they don't eat my plants anymore. When I let the chickens run around the farm, we put a fence around the garden first.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

I'm sold on line drying

I've been a lover of line drying every since I was a little girl. However, I typically only line dry when it's convenient and fits into my schedule. Usually that means getting laundry done in the morning when I have time to get it out on the line, which doesn't happen a whole lot. I'm also a lover of cutting down our electric bill because I think it's extremely too high. When we build, I want one of those switches at the front door that cuts all power to unnecessary outlets when you leave. Until then, I spend a lot of time shutting off lights and unplugging things.

Then I ran across this article from Country Living, Simple Laundry Tips.

Seriously?!?! 50-65% is from using the dryer.

I have a new mission for the month of July. There will be no more using the dryer for laundry. It can either be hung out on the line or put out on the drying rack. I really want to see if I can substantially lower our electric bill.

Anyone care to join me? I'll post updates throughout the month and when the electric bill comes, I'll post our savings. It'll also be a good way to see how creative I can get in drying laundry on days when I can't use the laundry line!

I feel like Special Agent Oso - Your  mission if you choose to accept laundry dryer for 30 days!!  


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Coloring wallet

We're having a very lazy day around here catching up on energy from the busy weekend. Em's been wanting a notetaker/list maker like mine so I made her one this morning. She is so happy, she immediately gave it a hug and put it into my purse.

I don't like how the crayon slots ended up so I'll definately be tweaking that on the next one I make. As much as Em likes the ribbon tie, I would like to have a button and elastic like mine. I think it would be easier for little ones to close up. The only problem is that because of the way it folds shut, the button would have to be on the back. I'll have to think about that one for awhile.


Monday, July 4, 2011

What a blast

We had an incredible weekend at my parent's cabin. We ate entirely too much food, drank too much soda pop, played hard and took lots of power naps under the shade trees. My dad set up a 75 foot slip 'n' slide for the kids, we swam in the lake, and the kids got pulled around behind the boat on a tube. We shot off fireworks, went for walks, took pontoon rides and pretended to fish. We laughed and talked for hours, told stories and caught up with family. And we ate s'mores. Yeah, life was good.  :)

This momma was even horrified and amazed at the same time. As I sat on the dock enjoying the water lap against my toes with my little 5 month old babe, I look out over the water and there is my 2 1/2 year old on the tube, behind the boat, laughing and giggling and awhile later my 4 1/2 year old went flying by. Ever been really proud of your kids and have your heart drop to your knees at the same time?

On when I went to take my first picture of the weekend, the camera blinked and the batteries were dead. Oh well, there were more than enough cameras to go around and I'll get some pics from everyone else.

When we went out to do chores tonight, I went into the coop to pick eggs and found this. For a second I thought the ducks had gone in and laid an egg but quickly remembered that they are not nearly old enough to start laying eggs. I really wish I knew which chicken kept laying eggs this big!

Now I'm off to fold some laundry and get some sleep. On top of our busy weekend, the lil' babe decided to start cutting teeth and he is NOT happy about it - he is by far my most giggliest child until he decides his gums hurt and boy oh boy can he get crankier than the other two ever got! And like most kids, he only wants his momma, especially if it's the middle of the night!

I hope everyone had a safe, happy, and joyful 4th!