December 31, 2012
I think I've totally lost my blogging mojo. My brain isn't giving me many words.
The pictures are blurry because children, especially excited ones, never sit still, haha. We had a very nice Christmas and I think everyone enjoyed their presents. It's been off and on drizzly, which made it even nicer. But now Christmas is over, so I'm ready for spring!
Ben was able to finagle the week off from work, and it was blissfully wonderful. We spent the whole week finishing the garage (ok, he did most of it, but I helped paint), and it looks so nice now. He installed four more lights, so now I have tons of light to do laundry by!
I really didn't want to give him up. But life has to return to normal. Unfortunately, he started overtime again today, and it is supposed to last until at least April. Bleh.
Over the holiday we found out that my mother has a very large tumor/cyst/mass in her stomach. She'll be having surgery to remove it on the 9th. They aren't sure what it is exactly, where it originates from, or if it's cancerous, but they'll find that out with the surgery. Thoughts and prayers would be appreciated.
Happy Monday all, I'll be sharing my goals for 2013 later in the week!
December 17, 2012
|by Rachel Wolf Photography|
I haven't posted since the week after Thanksgiving!
We've so busy! Even if we aren't doing particular events, we've just been busy enjoying each other, and our time off school, and the cold and drizzly weather. Since moving into the closet, I haven't been on the computer as much since it's too far away from the kiddos for me to keep an eye on them. It's been wonderful! My brains has felt so much more relaxed without being as wired into the web. But that is why I've been lax in posting and commenting.
|by Rachel Wolf Photography|
Let's see, what have we been up to?
I hosted a Christmas Cookie Exchange on the 7th. It went really well and was a lot of fun! There were SO MANY cookies, I had to send a whole box to work with Ben because we couldn't eat that many.
|by Rachel Wolf Photography|
The company party for work was this last Saturday, and it was hosted in the same place my sister had her wedding, which I thought was funny.
Even funnier: We played a Guess-the-name-of-the-Christmas-songs-based-on-the-clues game, and since I got 19 out of 25 (with help from the rest of the table), I got to take home the centerpiece. Notice how their are two centerpieces in the above picture? Another game was seeing who had the sticker on the bottom of their dessert plate.... And that would be Ben! So we got to take home a second one as well. Even though it was funny, and I was a bit embarrassed by all the attention, they are really pretty and smell very nice.
|by Rachel Wolf Photography|
Just another reason our neighbors are wonderful: The elderly, but very energetic, neighbor on our right side was on a job and the man he was doing work for was looking to get rid of this tether ball. He thought of our boys and brought it to us. The kids have been loving it. They were out there first thing this morning playing with it. He is the same neighbor who has given us bags of potatoes, beans and rice. He brought us more beans and rice yesterday, as well as a box of different wines and some home brews, in addition to the tether ball. He is so sweet and kind, and we are so blessed to have such wonderful, amazing neighbors.
|by Rachel Wolf Photography|
This week is the week of making caramels and cinnamon rolls. Everyone at work has been harassing Ben about when they are getting them this year. It makes me laugh that now they have decided it's tradition. So I will be very busy this week supplying them with goodies.
I've been working on a few pairs of fingerless mittens for an order. Just a pair of man mitts, and a pair of heart mitts. Once they are done I will be done with orders for the rest of the year so I can focus on family activities. We will be so busy these next two weeks with all the family events we have going on. I'm excited, but already exhausted from just the thought of how busy we will be!
I'm also thinking about changing my business name to something less specific, in order to incorporate some other things like handmade soaps.... What do y'all think? Would you be interested in soaps and things, or should I stick to the knits?
Well, that's what we've been up to.
What are your plans for the holidays?
All the snow pictures are from a trip we took to the mountains about a month ago and were taken by my beautiful sister who does amazing photography. Anyone local looking for a photographer can email me for her info!
November 26, 2012
We ate three Thanksgiving dinners over the long weekend.
I feel like I'm going to explode.
But it was a wonderful weekend! Aside from a brief intermission in which Ben had to go into work for an hour to fix something on Saturday night, I had him for all four days. It was wonderful! Ben is calling it our test run for Christmas, which he is taking the whole week off for.
This is the only picture I took all weekend. This is the bird we did Friday night for ourselves (because it's not a real Thanksgiving unless you have leftovers). Ben smoked it for about 8 hours and oh my was it good.
On Sunday we put our tree and decorations up. I'm so, so excited for Christmas. I love Christmas now that I have kids! It's so wonderful to spend a lazy morning waking up and watching them open their presents and having coffee and yummy things.
I am planning on making a truck load of ornaments for our tree this year, seeing as it's a bit sparse. I have a vision of lots of white and red ones, maybe a few gold. I already have the yarn ready to go, I just need to finish this last fingerless mitten.
P.S. - I feel like the grammar in this post is terrible. Forgive me. We had so much fun I didn't get much sleep this weekend.
November 19, 2012
Motherhood is a funny thing.
At the same time I am so terribly proud of my boys and how big they are getting, it hurts my heart that they aren't my "little" guys anymore - even the baby is a big boy now.
This weekend we bit the bullet and moved everyone around. We bought the twins new bedroom furniture and what used to be our office is now their room. Our office is now in our master closet.
In addition to that, Munchie moved out of the bassinet in our room to a crib in Duder's room.
Those first few nights of the baby moving out are the hardest for me. I can't hear his little breathing anymore, can't reach over and feel him. I was up a lot running in the other room to check on him. Ben keeps saying I'll get more sleep because now I won't hear him fussing.
Well, I still heard him fussing and I kept wanting to go get him, but I tried to be a big girl a let him fall back asleep. He would, and I was only up with him twice last night, but was awake anytime he made a peep. I think he will get used to it fairly quickly though. It's time he learned to be on his own a bit.
I think the person who took it the hardest was Duder. On Sunday morning when we were getting ready to leave for the furniture store
we were telling the boys what we were going to do and reminding them that they were getting their own room, while Munchie was moving in with Duder... And it nearly crushed Duder's heart. He's been one of the boys for so long he's practically a triplet. He was very upset, crying and telling me over and over that he didn't want to sleep with Munchie, he wanted to sleep with his bubbas and he didn't want them to move.
Soothing words and telling him he would have fun with Munchie, and by the time we got back with the furniture he was starting to feel better. Once everything was set up and moved and he realized he could play on the bunk beds with his bubbas, and seeing Munchie move in with him seemed to make it all better. It even made him step into his Big Brother pants, as he would say, when he heard Munch crying after I put him down, "Me can be with Munchie and make him not scared."
When I came in at 2 to check on the baby, Brett had moved his pillow and blanket to the floor next to the crib, to keep the baby company. It is so sweet to see that he has such a compassionate and caring heart, especially after days where he has been tearing up everything in sight and being a turd.
The boys are having a ball with their new beds. They spend all their time in there now, climbing up and down and around. In fact, in the middle of school this morning Ty asked if he could go play on his bunk bed yet. They were very excited to sleep in their "new room" last night, and this morning they were both telling me how they had fun last night.
And with this we move into the next phase of our life.
It's kind of weird.
November 9, 2012
|I wish the weather was like this (from last year), but we did get some sprinkles last night.|
This started out as a Woe Is Me post about how I'm behind in everything and I feel like I'm losing it but... Well I started annoying myself with the self pity, so let's change tracks!
Thank you to everyone who had such sweet comments about our Halloween picture. They have been wearing those costumers nearly every day since that night. Pirates at heart, apparently. It's all pirates, all the time.
I am indeed behind (or feel like I'm behind) in lots of things, but I'm slowly catching up. Blogging being one of those things, and knitting another.
I would love to show you the knitting of the large order I just finished but... I forgot to take pictures. *Gasp* So sorry! Just know they turned out nicely. ;)
I had to replant a ton of stuff that either wasn't coming up, or got munched by snails. I fear I'm a little too late in the season for planting stuff, but we'll see. This year has kind of been an experiment anyways. I am saving toilet paper and paper towel tubes for starting seeds in the spring.
I'm a little frustrated with the position of our garden. Two years of growing with not great results and I think part of the problem might be that the whole thing is in a corner that doesn't get as much sun as it probably needs. But I can't convince Ben to let me move it to the middle of the lawn, hehe.
I'm not sure if I've told you this already, but we might (possibly, maybe) be getting rabbits in the spring. Ben doesn't want chickens here, but he says we could probably do rabbits - well a single rabbit. We want something for soil building/compost and while chickens would be ideal (to me, for eggs as well as manure) rabbits will get the job done and on the up side, their pellets don't need to "cook" like chicken manure does. I am bound and determined to get a decent garden going, one way or another.
We had our first sit-by fire of the year last night. We just light it in the smoker's burn box and leave the door open to enjoy. It was so nice and I'm so excited for this year's fires to come. One of my favorite things is sitting out there with Ben, no TV, no computers, no nothing.
I am greatly enjoy Folks, This Ain't Normal! His sense of humor is wonderful, his arguments and points are well thought out and thought provoking, and his view of life and how things should work and be just make perfect sense. I'm only about half way through the book, but I would already recommend it.
The season of baking is upon us! I want to bake absolutely everything, how about you?
Happy Friday my dears!
November 2, 2012
We've been sick. All but Ben and Munchie (so far).
I've lost 5 pounds - not the best method, but I'll take it.
I have a new book from the library and am joining Knit 'N Needle's Monster Knit-a-long. I'm making Maddox. Times 3.
We decided not to cancel Halloween despite our illness, and went out for a short bit of Trick or Treating, fevers and all.
I finished the last piece for my large order. Now to block, finish and ship.
I'm onto a few pairs of Emilies in various colors.
Happy Friday, hope you're not sick,
October 23, 2012
Posted in What's Cookin'
It's apple season! I love this time of year, not only because of the delicious apples, but the beautiful weather that goes along with them.
On Saturday we made a trip to an apple farm about an hour out of town. My sole purpose was to get apples for making sauce. And I picked up a few for snacks... I probably would have bought out the whole farm if I had the room in the car. Fresh apples are the best heaven on earth.
Yesterday I turned 20 pounds of these
which then became 13 of those lovely pints you see in the top picture. The boys had a few bowlfuls for lunch, including the baby who, after the first bite, responded by opening his mouth very wide and lunging for the spoon. I think he liked it.
I used mostly Golden Blush, with a few (maybe 4 or 5) Red Delicious thrown in. I also added a bit of cinnamon, since I like spiced applesauce. The apples are so delicious on their own that I only added a tiny bit of sugar - a half, maybe three quarters of a cup total for all 20 pounds. I just doubled the juice and cinnamon in the recipe for my 20 pounds.
Applesauce - makes 8 pints or 4 quarts
12 pounds apples, peeled, cored and quartered*
Up to 3 cups sugar - optional and to taste
4 Tbs bottled lemon juice
1-2 tsp cinnamon
Place apple chunks into a large pot with just enough water to prevent sticking. Bring to a boil over medium high heat and boil until apples are soft. Let cool slightly.*I left all of mine with the peels and cores intact, removing nothing but the stem and chopping them into quarters. Then I just ran them through my food mill/strainer and it worked perfectly. So much less work, and so much quicker.
Working in batches, transfer to a food mill or food processor and puree apples. Return to pot, adding sugar and lemon juice. Bring to a boil and stir to prevent sticking, then keep at a low simmer while filling jars.
Fill sterilized jars to 1/2" headspace. Water bath both pints & quarts for 20 minutes.
I still have quite a few Golden Blush left, which I think I will use the make turnovers or some delicious dessert!
October 16, 2012
Posted in House and Home
The homemade deodorant post was surprisingly popular! My beeswax came and I've tried using it in my latest batch of deodorant. It works great! The wax made it solidify enough that it's not runny anymore and will hold it's shape nicely in my recycled container. Be very, very sparing when applying this. It doesn't take much at all!
3 Tbs Coconut Oil
1 Tbs Beeswax
2 Tbs Cornstarch
2 Tbs Baking Soda
10 - 15 drops Tea Tree essential oil
15 - 20 drops Peppermint essential (or scent of your choice)
Melt the oil and wax together in a double boiler*.
Mix together the cornstarch and baking soda in a separate bowl.
Once the oil and wax are melted, stir in the essential oils, then mix the cornstarch and baking soda into the oil/wax mix, stirring with a pair of chopsticks. Remove from heat and stir occasionally until the mixture thickens but is still pourable. Pour into an empty and clean deodorant tube. Refrigerate until hardened, then you can store at room temperature.
This recipe generously filled a 2.6 oz deodorant tube with just a bit leftover.
I tried making some lip balm the other day with a 1:1 mix of coconut oil and beeswax. It was a trial run and I was testing out the ratios. While it was still a decent lip balm (it worked just fine on my chapped lips) it wasn't as silky and glossy as I prefer my lip balms to be, so I remelted everything and added more coconut oil. The new batch is perfect - silky and smooth and just a bit glossy to add some sheen to dry lips.
2 parts coconut oil
1 part beeswax
10-20 drops essential oil of choice
Melt oil and wax in a double boiler*.
Add essential oils and stir.
Pour into small tins or lip balm tubes (clean out your old ones and use them!). Allow to cool before using.
*My "double boiler" for these has consisted of a empty and clean tin can from crushed tomatoes placed into an inch or so of boiling water. Works great!
October 10, 2012
|Random Zombie picture.|
~ First things first! I haven't turned my air conditioner on since Monday morning! I LOVE this weather. It has been a wonderfully breezy and cool mid-upper 70's so far this week. We have a chance of rain tomorrow and I really hope that holds out and happens. I would love a good storm and I really hope we have a wet winter.
~ Our debt free saga continues: While we've been "commercial" debt free since June of last year, we are still working our house. We played around with some numbers and realized that we can pay it off in 6 years for sure, possibly sooner. Considering we just bought it in 2009, I think that's a pretty cool thing. And once that's done we can work toward getting a chunk of land for the farm/ranch we dream of.
~ Last night Ben and I were sitting on the porch enjoying the cool night when I heard a noise on the other side of the fence. We have stray cats all over the neighborhood so I figured that was just what it was, when I looked over and saw the figure scurrying along the top of the fence... And it wasn't a cat. It was an opossum! I couldn't believe it! I've never seen one up close before (it was seriously 5 feet away)... actually I don't think I've seen one in person before, and it kind of freaked me out. We're on the outskirts of town, but still in a fairly populated area, and I didn't know we had that kind of wildlife around here.
|Swirly lace edge wrap in progress|
~ I'm at the tail end of this large order - I have two scarves and two pairs of fingerless mitts done, and that leaves the wrap I am currently working on and one more scarf. After that, an order of Emilies in a few different colorways.
I still have openings for anything that can be completed from mid-November forward. If you'd like to place an order, now is the time!
I think my favorite part about working on orders is not so much the knitting and creating (which is fun, don't get me wrong) but getting the yarn in the mail. I love getting boxes of yarn in the mail. It's like presents! I have one due the beginning of next week and I can't wait.
~ I woke up to Munchie saying "nanananana" and "mumumumumum" on Monday morning. Looks like little Mr. is going to be an early talker. He spent all of dinner fussing at and talking to his food last night, in a very serious fashion. It was really cute.
~ I've been in a housekeeping and organizing slump for awhile - since about the time Munchie was born I think. I've been feeling so scatter brained and really not my normally anal self. A friend gave me an organizational handbook for home and school complete with blank forms and how to use them and as I've been reading through it my brain is feeling more refreshed and ready to get back into the swing of things. I've realized that we need a new schedule now that we are doing school in the mornings (my usual Clean The House time) and it has given me some new ideas on keeping up with paperwork and everything else. It's called The 99 Cent Notebook System, for anyone interested (put out in the late 90's). Thank you Sandy! I think you saved my sanity.
~ We are late in starting our fall garden, but I'm hoping to get seeds in the ground this weekend. All my seedlings that I had started in the garage died - a million degrees and not enough water will do that. Plus out of sight, out of mind didn't help. So! I'll just be restarting everything in our garden beds and see what happens.
~ Quick P90X update: We're in week 5! Some days I really just want to quit, but I'm so glad Ben is doing it to keep me going. I feel like if I quit and he keeps going I'm a total wimp. Good news is I've lost 2 inches since we started. I'm also starting to lose a bit of actual weight now that my muscle weight has seemed to hit the max. For awhile I wasn't gaining or losing, so I must have been switching fat weight for muscle weight. But as of this morning I've lost 3 of the 15 pounds I want to lose. Huzzah!
September 29, 2012
September 27, 2012
We have this picture on our fridge. It is a picture of Ben when he was a baby. I love this picture, because it makes me laugh. Here's why:
Because Munchie is a near perfect clone of his daddy. I couldn't believe it the day that Ben's mom gave me this picture. She would always look at Munchie in the weirdest way, just stare at him, and I could never figure out what the deal was. Then she gave me the picture, and I see now why it would have weirded her out to see her son in my son.
But that's not what this post is about!
I was standing there at the fridge getting some water, a few days after rearranging our closet, starting at the picture.
Something was sticking in my brain.
Then it clicked. When I had cleaned out the closet to get the cabinets installed, I had pulled down a pile of pictures that I got from my Grandma and Grandpa's house when they moved.
One of those pictures was of me as a baby.
Now, ignore for a moment my incredible cuteness and just focus on the background...
We apparently got our pictures taken in the same studio when we were babies.
As I thought about this I remembered that my husband was going to the AWANA program at our church the same time I was (junior high).
And who knows what other places we've appeared at the same time without knowing each other.
Apparently, we've been unknowingly crossing paths since we were born. We were meant for each other. ;)
Happy Romantic Thursday!
September 26, 2012
|The "Secret" is it's not really commercial!|
Y'all know I like to make things from scratch, be it food, clothes, cleansers, or beauty supplies like scrubs and soaps.
But awhile ago I made something from scratch that I've almost been embarrassed about... Deodorant. But now, since my sister-in-law just made a comment about it on Facebook, I figured I would share my findings because now at least ONE person will not think I'm super weird...
I think it's kind of a touchy subject for me because I'm so self conscious about smelling at all. Even a little. I will freak out and go wash and re-deodorize if I think I smell even remotely off. So the idea of people knowing I don't use the commercial stuff and therefore might smell makes me antsy. But this has been such a wonderful thing for me, maybe it's just time to share.
It actually started a few months ago after a lifetime of commercial deodorant. Every few days - and then every single day - I would start itching under the arms. Like, scratch myself til bleeding kind of itching. So annoying, and nothing I did got it to stop. I tried a few different kinds of deodorant. No luck. I've also been a little weirded out that commercial deodorant never seemed to really wash off and learning that it contains aluminum....Well. Straw on the camel's back, if you will.
So after finally being uncomfortable and in pain for awhile and generally creeped out by the ingredient list, I remembered a post that I had found on Little House in the Suburbs about making her own deodorant. I figured it couldn't hurt. I'll try making my deodorant. If it didn't work, I could just go back to the commercial stuff.
So I did. I mixed equal parts cornstarch and baking soda (**Edit: I wrote baking powder at first - I meant soda**), mixed in just enough coconut oil to make it semi-firm, then put in a few drops of Tea Tree oil, which acts as an anti-bacterial (and other things) and some peppermint extract for a nice refreshing smell, then stuffed it into the empty commercial container.
Well it's been well over a month now and I can tell you it's way better than I ever thought it would be. Not only did I stop itching, but I think it works better at blocking any smell than the commercial stuff did. The first thing I noticed was I never got to the end of the day and had that "old deodorant" smell. It was just the same as when I put it on in the morning. We've been doing the P90X thing for 3 weeks now, and I've been through some very vigorous, sweaty workouts without any problems. And did I mention the itching stopped?? It only took 2 days for that to happen. Finally, some relief.
The only complaint I have with it is sometimes the coconut oil doesn't stay solid and will melt to make the deodorant kind of liquidy in the container (not on my body, it rubs in nicely) - but that's a problem of our own making since we keep the house at 76 and coconut oil melts at... you guessed it, 76. I have ordered some beeswax and will put that into the next batch which will hopefully keep it firmed up.
Now, for the really critical part which is just about the whole reason for my posting this. (And this is kind of personal, but I feel it's important.)
I have a mole just under and behind my armpit. Or ... I did...
A little bit before I switched to homemade deodorant I was really noticing this mole. It was kind of a weird color and stuck up quite a bit. It seemed like it had come out of nowhere. It was getting to the point where I was sort of eyeing it, wondering what the heck was going on. I thought maybe I had just scratched it and now it was irritated, but was wondering if I should have it checked out.
Well, a week after switching it started diminishing a bit. And now? Gone. Completely vanished. Can hardly even tell it was ever there. Creepy huh? What kind of stuff was in my deodorant that was causing that to happen?
About a week ago I saw a post on Facebook from one of the businesses I follow (Bar-Maids. Try them. They are FANTASTIC!) stating that 99% of breast cancer tissues contain parabens, which are the preservatives used in antiperspirants and cosmetics - and that most breast cancers start in the area of lymph nodes where antiperspirants are applied. After seeing what happened to that one, single mole, I am a believer of the dangers.
For that reason alone, I will never go back to commercial.
I think it's time to start making my own everything.
Happy Wednesday y'all - go make some deodorant!
September 20, 2012
|Duder - 1 year|
|Munchie - 2 months|
1 - I'm thankful for 4 very fat and healthy little boys. After having preemies and being so sick when I was pregnant with the twins, the health thing is really something we hang onto - and fat is so much nicer than super skinny little things.
|The twins - Almost 4|
2 - I'm thankful for Ben having a full time job, even when the hours suck. He works so hard for us, and tries to have the best attitude he can about the crazy schedules. We've gotten so much accomplished because of him.
|Duder - Potato sleds are awesome|
4 - I'm thankful that Ben encourages me to do things like my designing and selling my knitting, and keeps me going when I want to give up (like working out). It has been a real joy to do this P90x thing with him (well ok my body wouldn't use the word "joy"), and he tells me that I don't get to do "just the fun parts" when I say I'll just do yoga and abs. He's good for me, always has been.
|March 2011 - Readin' books|
5 - I'm thankful for always having food to feed those 4 hungry little boys. They're only 5 and 3 and it already feels like they're eating the house. But we've never wanted for anything.
|Punkin' Hats - 2011|
6 - I'm thankful for happy babies. My babies have always been happy and bright and cheerful. I've heard horror stories about terribly fussy and grumpy babies, but mine have always been so sweet. (And then they turn old enough to get opinions, but that's a different story...)
|This month - Duder had just run off to do something else|
7 - I am thankful for my hands. I know that sounds silly, but these hands hold those happy babies, and make meals for my family, and bring me happiness and peace through the creation of knitting.
September 17, 2012
Today seems like a good day to be random dontcha think?
|Before, but cleaned out. Just picture a ton of crap in here all strewn about.|
I've talked before of how, when Munchie is old enough, we'll be moving him into the bedroom with Duder, and the boys will be moving from that room into the now-office. And our office will be moving into our walk in closet. This required some form of cabinetry to accommodate Ben's computer and all our officey paraphernalia, as well as our clothes and normal closet things.
It just so happens that my dad owns a cabinetry business, so a phone call, a visit, a hand off of some plans I had come up with, and two days of installation got us this:
TADA! Isn't it purdy? I wish I could take better pictures to fully show the amazing organizing wonder that it has become, but it's hard to take good pics in such a small space.
It did close up the space quite a bit, but it is SO MUCH MORE storage space than we had before. The back wall is the desk where the computer will go, and on the right side where the cabinet sticks out is a dresser with shelves on top. The cubbies surround the room. I LOVE it. It's better than I had thought. Now we begin the slow process of moving everything around.
The downside, is we have realized just how much junk we have. A couple of trips to Goodwill are in order.
I feel kind of funny about posting this next part, because I wonder if it's egotistical and boastful, but I will share anyways because I think it's really, really cool.
The Foliage Mitts pattern has exploded! So much so that...
It made it the NUMBER 1 position of the Hot Right Now list on Ravelry.
Dudes. That's huge! It was number 9 last night, which I was totally stoked about, but it hit first position sometime early this morning and as of 12:45, it's still holding out.
This is a very big honor for me. I've always viewed that list as something that only the Really Awesome Designers get onto, so for me to not only be up there with those wonderful designers at all, but to make number one.... It makes me woozy!
The cabled scarf is about half way done. I think I might need to take a break and do the second pair of mitts in the order. I see white cables all over the place! Haha. I can't wait to get this pattern up though, I'm super excited about it.
We have now completed a full week of P90X and hey! I survived. All last week my legs were sore, and today my arms and shoulders were sore and really, I just want to forgo the workout tonight and eat ice cream... But I keep reminding myself "Company Christmas party. Bridesmaid in March..." I can do this. I hope. It is good Ben is doing it, he keeps me going and won't let me quit.
Time to fold laundry!