Friday, July 30, 2010

Holding on to 2

Sweetpea is 3 today!  But, if you ask her, she's still 2.  For proof, she shows me her feet and says, "see!  My feet are little.  I not big.  I have baby feet."  So far today she has said "mama, I still a baby" to me several times. 

We gave her some gifts anyway.  I scored this cute little wooden doll crib at a local thrift store for $3, and made bedding to fit.

A blanket and pillow.

A little mattress pad to go at the bottom.

And then, I found this super cute handmade doll from here (I love Etsy) to complete the gift.

She loves it all!  And has even introduced the new baby to her owl friend.

Just this morning, I finished a little dress I was making for her to wear to the party on Sunday.  I was flying along last night, thinking how great it was to be finishing something so effortlessly, when BAM!  The tension got all screwy on my machine.  Drat!  Today held more patience for me.  So here it is. 

I used Simplicity's pattern 2432 and vintage material my mom passed along to me when they moved from the house I grew up in.  The material is great!  Light, fun, summery.

My hubby can't get over the fact that I made something so light for my little girl.  I usually don't put them in anything not dirt colored.  Unless they are eating blueberries, and then they wear blue.

But, I just loved the material and thought it would be perfect for this dress.  (Note:  I still need to attach a hook and eye to the top of the zipper.  Today has not held that much patience for me.)

This is only the second garment I've attached a zipper to.  My first being a skirt I made last week out of this other super cool vintage fabric from my mom's stash (thank you mom!!!).  I didn't really have that much trouble with it. 

You've probably noticed the lack of pictures of Sweetpea in her new dress.  That's because the party isn't until Sunday.  And if I put the dress on her today, it certainly would NOT be this nice color anymore.

So, happy birthday my little sweetpea.  You will always be my baby.  Even if your feet get big!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Solitude for My Soul

All the planets must have aligned for me today.  I have had 6 whole hours all to myself!  As a attacthment/homeschooling mother of 3 young children (10, 6, and 3 on Friday), I rarely get any time solely to myself.  Today, I was blessed.  Blessed by my father-in-law and sister-in-law for taking the 2 youngest for the day.  And blessed by my cousin-in-law for taking the oldest for a night and a day. 

So, what did I do today?!?!  Well, since we have a family party coming up on Sunday - which, by the way, can Never Ever be small due to the largeness of both my family and my husband's - I cleaned.  But, since I am fully aware of how precious alone time is for me, and since I am also painfully aware of just how much I needed this today (in particular), I took some time for myself.  I had a shower.  Alone and otherwise uninterrupted!  I went to the grocery store (which I Never do for lots and lots of reasons, 3 of which were gone today).  Alone!  Actually, I went to 2 stores - one little place where I love to shop and one big chain store where I don't care to shop, but I was looking for something specific for the party food.  Of course, I was unable to find it.  But I did manage to score some organic grapes (green and red) and some organic mangoes.  I'm going to make these tonight...  mmmmmm....  hopefully they'll make it to the freezer!

The last thing I did today was receive a visit from a friend who was picking up my cloth diaper stash and an extra bike trailer I had.  Yay for being able to get rid of my cloth diaper collection!!!  Yay for someone else getting to use them!!!!  Most of that set has been through all 3 of my kids plus one or two other lucky babies.  Now they will go through one more.  And yay for someone taking my extra bike trailer that was taking up so much room in my garage!  We had a lovely conversation.

All in all the day was very pleasant.  I was even excited to see my 2 youngest when they arrived home all worn out but extremely pleased with the day.  I am still waiting on my oldest to come home.  We'll see if she brings home a movie to watch tonight.  If she does, me and her will be watching Prince Caspian tonight.  (Guess who's reading the Narnia series!)

Three cheers for rejuvenating days!  Hip hip.....

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Summer's Simple Things - Nature Bags

For Christmas last year, I put together nature bags as a gift for each of my kids.  The kids love them.  When you put together a bag for exploring nature, you should keep a few things in mind, such as the child's age, how much you think they can comfortably carry, and what they like to do outside.  You can put in some basic supplies (I had soooo much fun doing this) and then let them add to or remove things according to their whims.

Munch's bag (she's 10) looks like this.

I used an old field bag we acquired from someone.  It has lots and lots of great pockets (I love pockets!).  She has some Peterson's fields guides for birds, wildflowers, and caterpillars (I highly recommend Peterson's, they are wonderful!), an animal tracks pamphlet, compass, see through ruler, colored pencils, magnifying glass, notebook, regular pencil and eraser, water bottle, bandaids, alcohol wipes, and an orange carabiner. 

Boy's (who is 6) changes daily.  Right now his looks like this.

For his, I used an old newspaper bag and relined the inside with canvas so I could add in lots of cool pockets.  His has a couple field guides for trees and insects, a magnifying glass, compass, notebooks, colored pencils, a water bottle, and ... ahem... some plastic dinosaurs.  All the important stuff for my fun loving 6 year old!

My littlest Sweetpea rarely carries hers, unless she is wanting to be like one of her older siblings.  But her's (she'll be 3 on Friday) looks like this.

Just the basics for her - a notebook and fun monkey pencil, a magnifying glass, and a hanky.  I made her bag out of the bottom of a ripped up pair of girls jeans and braided shoe laces for the handle.

I tuck in a granola bar or a container full of nuts when they are heading out the door.

Join Kim for some more summer time stuff and her Summer's Simple Things series!!!

Monday, July 26, 2010

First Ripe Tomatoes!!!!

We picked our first ripe tomatoes yesterday.  This was the gardening moment I have been waiting for!

My favorite way to eat tomatoes?

On toast that has been slathered with Earth Balance.

My absolute favorite breakfast!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Hopscotch Bean Bags

My niece, who is 7, has decided she wants to learn how to sew.  I was asked to give them.  So, (sew...) she came over this morning to have her very first lesson.  I picked up some fun starter supplies, which she was very excited about.

Just the basic supplies - needles (colorful and larger for smaller hands), thread, a seam ripper, scissors, a needle threader (that is the technical name, I think) , and some fun butterfly pins. 

For our first lesson, we made hopscotch bean bags.  They are simple and fun to make.  What little girl wouldn't love to have her very own made-by-her hopscotch bean bag!?!

She did a fabulous job!  She picked her own material from my stash, and we cut 2 3-inch square pieces from it.  Slapped them together.  And hand sewed them, leaving a small gap for turning.

Munch got in on the lesson, too.

After we turned them right side out, we filled them with lentils, and stitched the hole closed.  They each made one completely by themselves!

I think they turned out pretty great!  Then they drew pictures of the purses they want to make for next time.

Sweetpea decided that she wanted to take some pictures too.

With her brother's binoculars.  "CHHH."

"mi-wwlllll!"  (translation:  smile.)

Yogurt face...

Thursday, July 22, 2010


I made pizza the other night.  We love pizza!  Now that there are lots of yummy garden veggies, I like to experiment with different topping combinations.

Usually, all the kids get their own mini pizzas to work with.  They knead it, shape it, top it, and we bake it.  But that night, it was just me and Sweetpea.  I went with yellow squash, zucchini, green onions, fresh parsley, and our canned roasted red peppers from last years stash.  Oh, and cheese of course.

Guess what Sweetpea liked the best?

My standard pizza crust recipe is:
3/4 c. whole wheat flour
3/4 c. corn meal
1 scant T. yeast
1 tsp. salt
1 c. warm water
Mix all that together until it's nice and stringy.
Then add in as much white flour as you need to make a nice dough - usually about 1 - 1 1/2 cups for me.  Knead it until it's nice and elastic.  Cover it with a damp towel, and let rise for 20 - 30 minutes.  Flatten, top with whatever, bake at 400 degrees for 5 minutes, top with cheese if you want cheese, and bake for another 5 - 7 minutes.   We bake ours on a pizza stone, so cooking times may vary if you use pans.

This crust happens to not be that recipe.  Nick made whole wheat bread dough the night before, so I just used that.  Also truly delicious.

I also made the standard red sauce variety.

Wish it wasn't all gone.  Writing this post is making me want more pizza!!!

What do you like to put on your pizza?

So Many Options!!!

I'm working on my layout.  There are soooo many options to choose from!  I'm sure things will be changing as I find new things to use...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Pinking Up My Life

My little Sweetpea's favorite color is pink.  I have never been much of a fan of pink.  But, she is bringing it into my life.  Solidly.  I used pink in my favorite owl bag, bought a hot pink bandanna to wear as a do-rag, and now have done this!!

Pink garden benches!!!  Two of them.  Don't they look so bright and cheery?  Don't they make you want to sit on them all the live long day and not do any work in the garden?  Don't they just make you want to make a berry smoothie?!  That's what Sweetpea calls this color - berry smoothie.  It's technically called Crushed Berries, but all her names for it have worked so far - berry smoothie, smashed strawberries, berries mushed...

I'm so glad to have finally finished this project.  I had fun doing it.  The only before picture I really have is this one.

It's not a very good picture of it.  But I think you can see how the pale peach paint was crumbling off.  So I stripped, sanded, filled in some holes, and slapped 2 coats of paint on the bottoms and 3 coats on the tops.  Viola!  Happy Pink Benches.

Bench #1 in it's ever so inviting spot.

And from the back.

And bench #2 in it's happy place.

They are in place and awaiting tired bums, baskets of seeds, cups of lemonade, and whatever else happens to come by.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Summer's Simple Things - Porches!

Porches.  They are an extension of your home.  A semi-sheltered place to move to when the weather is agreeable (or not as agreeable as you'd like).  Porches are for summer-time fun.

This is my front porch.  A place to say "welcome to my home."  I enjoy sitting here (when I actually have time to sit!) and watch the kids play, sip iced tea, and crochet or read.  Right now, it's sheltering my freshly painted garden benches.

My back porch is really an extension of my living space.

It is a place where we like to eat meals and snacks.

Sit and read.

Enjoy morning tea.


A place for baby feet in the afternoon sunlight.

A place to put fun decorations,

grow bay leaves,

and enjoy the flowers.

A place to dehydrate summer goodness.  Yes, our dehydrator has a permanent place on our back porch...

Have a sparkly day!  And be sure to check out The Inadvertent Farmer's Summer's Simple Things series for more summer time fun!

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Road Never Really Does Close

I have an old Schwinn Sprint 12 speed that I got new for my 12th birthday.  That summer, I rode my bike everywhere.  Coming from a very large family (I'm the oldest of 7 children), this was a big deal for me.  It was my ticket to freedom.  My way to escape my loud little siblings (who I dearly love) and clear my head.  My way of getting to my friends houses to hang out.  My way of being able to shop at Hills Department Store.  My way of running to the grocery store for my mom to pick up bread or milk.  My way to get to my babysitting jobs.

That bike carried me through Jr. High and then through High School.  In college and grad school, while I was furiously studying and working, it sat mainly unused, but never unloved.  I took it out on occasion to feel the wind in my hair (no helmets back then).  To feel that freedom.

I got married.  Bought a house.  Started a family.  And my bike has been with me through it all.

So I could continue to bike with my children, we bought a used bike trailer off of a friend suitable for 2 kids and up to a total of 100 lbs.  When Munch out-grew the trailer (we had 3 kids by then anyway) we purchased a used Trek mountain train.  I could ride with all the kids as long as I had someone else to ride with me.  Me to pull the trailer with the 2 younger kids, and someone else (usually my sister in law) to pull the mountain train.

This summer, I have been slow at getting my biking butt into gear.  Only recently have I taken my bike down off it's winter peg, got it ready to go, and hit the road.  The last 2 Sundays, I have taken to the open road.  Just me and my bike.  Riding around the countryside, feeling the wind on my face, hearing the sounds of nature.  I have so thoroughly enjoyed these 2 latest rides, that I am going to make them a Sunday tradition for me.

In some ways, I am very routine oriented.  I like to make my morning tea in a certain way.  I like to hand grind my coffee beans when I make coffee.  And I prefer to bike around the streets I am comfortable with.  The ones I know dogs won't chase after me at my heels while I insanely pedal uphill to outrun them.  Yesterday, I surprised myself.  I started off on a typical path.  But then took a new turn.  A road that I have never been down - not even in the car.  And then another.  It was a really beautiful ride.  The beautiful countryside.  Rolling hills of western Pennsylvania.  I live on the border of Ohio and PA.  I have all my life.  But it never ceases to amaze me that as soon as you cross over that border, the rolling hills begin.

My bike has been with me for 25 years (now you know how old I am).  It is still my way to recharge myself.  Still my way to get out there and clear my head.  To feel the wind, smell the outdoors, see the countryside, hear the world.  To feel good.  To fly.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Breakfast!!! Mmmmm..... (and Peek-a-Boo Eggs recipe)

Breakfast is one of my favorite meals!  Although I am typically a toast girl, I love finding new and fun breakfast ideas.  In our house we eat a lot of toast from homemade bread for breakfast - topped with Earth Balance, nut butter and jelly, nut butter and fresh fruit, or (my absolute favorite when it's in season) tomatoes (I sooo can NOT wait till the first fresh tomato).

But we also branch out and enjoy smoothies.  Mostly I make all fruit smoothies.  Sometimes I get wild and add in some yogurt.

My good friend, Ann's (check her out at Thought Herder), homemade yogurt with maple syrup and fresh berries.

Graham crackers and peanut butter.

And a favorite - peek-a-boo eggs.  My mom made them for us when we were growing up.  Only at that time we called them hole-in-one eggs.  When I started making them for my kids, we changed the name to peek-a-boo eggs, well...  for obvious reasons.  They are such a simple treat.

Take a large piece of bread, butter it on both sides, and cut a hole out of the middle with a glass or some other appropriate thing (like a cookie cutter!).

Put the bread in a skillet with a dab of butter in the hole.  Drop in an egg.

Cook it for a bit, then flip it over.  When both sides are done, and the egg is just as you want it, put it on a plate.  Toast the "hole" in the pan, too.  Like country toast...


Eat it gracefully, with fork and knife.

Till it's all gone.

Lick fingers.  Mmmmmm... 

Some other things we enjoy for breakfast:
muffins (my blueberry muffin recipe is here)
coconut mango rice
applesauce snackcake

What do you like to eat for breakfast?!