Monday, September 19, 2011

For My Sister...

This post is for my sister... who faithfully checks my blog to see what I've been up to... who is always there for me whenever I need her... who knows just when my day has turned sour and comes through with a pick me up email...

What have we been up to?  It's been quite busy here.  We got ourselves a rescued hive of bees for our new farm, where the walls that came a crumblin' down are being built back up.  Our garden has done amazingly well this year despite the lack of care it generally gets.  I'm up to my ears in tomatoes, apples, peppers (sweet and hot), and zucchini.  I've got apples drying in the dehydrator, and apples being sliced for a tasty delight.  I've got tomatoes cut up and ready for the puree machine hopefully tonight.  I've been purging ourselves of unneeded or unwanted items in this house to make the move as easy as possible (did I just say easy?!?!?!).  And homeschooling and dance classes have begun in earnest around here.

The spirit of fall is already here.  We are all doing our best to keep up with the winter preparations.  There are a bunch of things that need to get done in the new house before cold weather hits.  Not to mention a ton of things here to make sure we are comfy and well fed this winter.

I'm doing my best to tackle what I can and not let the rest bog me down.  Trying to remember to take time out of the busy day to enjoy myself and spend time with those I love.

Wishing you all a lovely Monday evening!  It's chilly and raining here.  Fall weather to be sure.  My favorite season of the year.

And, sister, thanks for being such a wonderful person!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Little Kindness...

Goes a long LONG way!

I had some errands to run today.  And I had to take the kids with me.  At one of our stops - a small health food store - the owner complimented me on my children and how well behaved they were.  And then complimented me on how I was handling them during our shopping there.  (And we were there quite a while since I was searching for a new vitamin...)  The feeling his friendliness gave me was overwhelming.  I really needed to hear something like that.  Lately, I've been feeling quite stressed with the harvest and the new house and school starting and fall coming...  I have been feeling like a less than adequate mother.  The little encouraging pat on the back was just what I needed to help keep me going. 

The kindness of a stranger is a powerful thing.  Spread the kindness.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Summer Corn Salad

We've been having lots of yummy local corn from our favorite organic farm and also from our own garden.  Living here in the corn belt, I've become kind of a corn snob.  I don't like to buy corn if it was not picked that day - as it should be for the freshest, sweetest taste and texture!  I always buy extra ears, but boil them all at once (only for 4 minutes so they retain the sweetest possible flavor and crispest texture).  The next day, with what was leftover, I like to make this salad:

Summer Corn Salad  (serves 6 – 8)

2 cups corn off the cob
1 large cucumber, diced
1 large bell pepper, diced
2 cups diced tomatoes
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
1 T olive oil
2 T apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Toss everything in a bowl.

These are just basic amounts.  Feel free to play around with it.  The key is a light apple cider vinegar dressing.  Just enough to meld the flavors of the veggies together.  

Happy eating!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Chocolate and Zucchini Cake

I have an abundance of zucchini right now.  If you garden, or have neighbors who garden, you may be swimming in it too.  I've been making copious amounts of veggie burgers (my recipe here) for fresh eating and for the freezer.  And lots of zucchini breads.  Yesterday, I felt like something chocolaty.  SouleMama linked to a Chocolate and Zucchini cake recipe that sounded super scrumptious to me.  So I made it.  And I loved it!

What's your favorite thing to do with zucchini?!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Bedside Caddy

A friend of ours asked me to make a bedside caddy for her daughter.  They had a bargain store version that just didn't hold up to the amount of use it was getting.  I was also given a stack of cotton batik fabrics to go crazy with.

So I measured and thought and measured and drew and measured and dreamed.  And then I measured and added and measured and cut and sewed and swore and ripped seams and sewed and ironed...  And eventually came out with this:

The original version had those fun mesh pockets that I salvaged for the new version.  The finished bucket measures about 4.5" in width, 12.5" in length, and 10" in depth.

Each piece of the outer bucket - pieced together front, sides, back, and bottom - is lined with a medium weight fusible interfacing for durability.

Inside, there is a large flat divider that can be used to hold a book or two, and a smaller divider that separates the remaining space in two sections.  Both dividers are sandwiched with medium weight fusible interfacing as well.

Boy, this fabric looks pink in my pics.  It's really a lovely shade of deep purple...

I made a pocket to slide under the mattress that will hold a piece of cardboard.  This way the whole thing can be washed when you remove the cardboard.  (Shown below is the original "under the mattress" part I cut off the old version and used in the pocket of the new version.)

Then it's just a matter of sliding it under the mattress.

And filling it up with your favorite bedtime items.

All in all, it came together fairly well.  I had a few issues with not measuring properly and cutting pieces that were too small (that's the problem with sewing after you should be in bed!).  And only one other mishap involving not attaching the small divider to the large divider, but we won't go into that.  It all came out cute in the end.  And the little girl I made it for had a huge smile on her face when she realized what it was!  That, right there, is the best part about sewing.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Birthday Dress

July is flying by!!  What a crazy month it has been.  We've been up to our eyeballs in summer camps, cleaning, gardening, and preserving. 

Sweetpea turns 4 tomorrow.  Hard to believe my littlest is going to be 4.  For her birthday, I made her a dress.

I'ts Simplicity 4161 and I have no idea what the fabric is.  I thought it was a cotton, but it may be a rayon or something like that.  It ironed funny...  I made her a size 5, but it was way too big at the top.  I had to take in the seam at the armhole down to the waist by a good good bit.

 (And I need a hook and eye.  That seems to be a downfall of mine - not sewing on the hook and eye.  So tedious!!!)

All in all, the sewing went well.  The pattern was fairly simple to follow.  And... I did my first buttonhole!!!  (Thanks, Nick, for all your encouragement!)  With such cute buttons, who could resist?

I'm hooked!  Or buttoned, rather, since we all know how i feel about putting hooks on dresses.  It was so easy, I can't believe it took me this long to try it out!  Way way way easier than lining up a zipper.

Happy Birthday my lil Sweetpea.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


I keep waiting for life to slow down a bit.  So I can do some of the things I've been meaning to do.  Like stare at the clouds.

Play in the creek.

Take my kids to the park.

Waiting for life to stop spinning quite so fast and give me a bit of time.

But life is stubborn.  Life plunges along whether you are holding on or not.

We are responsible for making our own time.  For doing those things we want to do.

For finding our own balance.

***Here is a note added by Nick in the comments.  I thought I'd share it with everyone in case you were looking for some clarity...
It's not clear from those pics (thanks to a fast shutter speed...) but that spinny thing was actually SPINNING.

And pretty fast, too...

And Munch could stand in the center and move her feet fast enough to NOT spin with it. An impressive feat - both physically and metaphorically...