Sunday, January 31, 2016

Overheard at Cabela's

Cashier: And how old are you?

Boy*: Just as old as I'm supposed to be.

*The boy overheard happens to be my son who was quite happy to be using his Cabela's gift card.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Pictures of a Snowy Day

Saturday was a different sort of day. Between 25 and 29 inches of snow will do that. Measurements vary by measurer. What kind of homeschool are we running here?  Any which way, that's the most snow we've had since we've lived here.

This measurement was in the morning, several hours before it stopped snowing.

That much snow makes taking care of animals interesting. I've never quite had such a workout just getting to the guinea coop. And Calvin reminded me of some crazy sea creature with his leapings through the snow. He had so much fun.

Watch out, Mom! Here I come!

I'm not so sure the cats liked the snow, but they stayed cozy on the front porch.

Hey, Mom, can you put in a wood stove?

The toddler did NOT like having cold fingers.

What is this stuff?

The vehicles were playing hide-and-seek.

The Suburban was nearly covered when all was said and done.

Of course, the kids had a blast playing in the snow even if it wasn't packing or sledding snow. Basically they tried to shovel snow or walk through it. This little girl basically just sat in one spot the whole time eating snow.

She's so intent on eating snow she won't even acknowledge Mommy's plea to face the camera.

I used the time the children and my husband were out in the snow to strap the baby in a carrier and take a few pictures from the comfort of my warm home.

Mr. Cardinal was pretty but shy. He flew away as soon as a opened the door.

Mr. Titmouse tolerated my camera a little better.

I had time to mix up a pot of frothy hot cocoa.

And take a really bad picture of some good cookies.

Before coming in for hot cocoa and cookies, the girl finally acknowledged me.

Hi, Mom. I'm busy eating snow.

And yesterday had the same cozy feel, but now that somebody came to plow us out last night, it's time the hard work of shoveling out in earnest begins. The kids will play in snow today; it looks like the snow might have enough of a crust to be good for sledding. I'll probably stay cozy inside with the baby and get some work done for my homeschool review later this week. I'm almost done!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Talented Folks

I'm a big sucker for buying things from talented folks. I love buying from local artisans. I love, love, love Etsy. Homemade and hand-made are my favorites.

I'm even a bigger sucker for my family. I just love them.

I think I have many quite talented family members. Two of them have places online to buy stuff. While I don't buy stuff from them (because I have been lucky enough to receive many gifts from them and because I can't afford to buy some of the stuff), I know their stuff is great, amazing, and superb.

First is my dear Aunt Alicia. For several years she's posted at her blog, Lucy's Quilts (Lucy was her dog). She makes tons of beautiful quilts like this one.

Quilt for our most recent baby

Here's a close up picture

Anyway, if you like looking at pretty quilts, check out her blog. She has made tons. Probably literally. Recently she opened up an Etsy shop to sell a pattern for denim quilts she's had thousands of requests for (literally).  In the past she asked that those she gave the pattern to donate to either Relay for Life or Lutheran World Relief quilts, but now she plans to give most of the proceeds from her Etsy shop to her favorite charities.  

My Uncle Dave is talented, too. He's works with wood. He's really amazing. I meant to take a picture of the nativity puzzle he made for me when I was little that my children anticipate playing with each Advent, but I forgot and it's already packed away for the year. But you can check out his online store. Here is a sample of his work:  

I've sat in this, I'm pretty sure!

Pretty bowl. I don't have one of these.

If you are interested, I keep links to their stores on the top left side of this blog.

I have other talented folks in my family, too. I don't think they sell their stuff, but I did take a picture recently of a card my cousin (daughter of Aunt Alicia) sent to me. It made me feel very special to receive an original work of art. Thanks, Becky!

A picture for posterity, in case this finds its way into the toddler's hands for certain destruction.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

One of Those Moms

Yep. I'm one of those moms.

Thank you, Mars Company

I bribe my children with candy. Yes, I do. I know it's not right or good. I know it rots their teeth and moral character, but I do it anyway.

My toddler boy has lately been wanting to go potty in the potty chair. He's not really ready to do it all the time, I don't think, so I'm not terribly excited about it. And I'm not actually using the M&Ms as rewards for going potty (though I'm not above that, either).

Trusty old plastic throne

But I have found it mighty helpful to use the candy (or "candy cane" as the 2yo calls all candy) to get that child off the toilet. It's amazing how many times a child can squeeze out a few drops that he thinks necessitates ever so much toilet paper.

Let the good times roll!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

_The Hancock News_ Column--January 6, 2016

I decided to make a New Year’s resolution this year after my mother noticed a bad habit I’d fallen into. “Straighten up!” she begged. You see, I’m literally in a slump. I am a sloucher.

When I was younger, people sometimes complimented me on my good posture which was drilled into me by years of marching in the band. Those days are long gone. Years of nursing and gazing down at a babe in arms have helped my shoulders bow down. Toting about hip-huggers and staggering under the weight of toddlers couldn’t have helped either. While I’m proud of my little ones, I certainly don’t stand tall to show it.

So my resolution is to improve my posture. I’m hoping this resolution is an easy one to keep since it’ll improve both my appearance and health without requiring any extra time or money-- just thought and effort.

Unfortunately, not all worthy resolutions are as easy as mine. Some people truly struggle because of their own bad habits or difficult situations. You know them when you see them because their shoulders sag not out of laziness (as mine do), but instead the weight of the world drags them down.

When you see somebody sinking down, offering the “Straighten up!” that my mother gave me probably won’t help. Instead, try to find a kind word or a smile. Extend a helping hand if you’re able. One small gesture won’t fix all of those heavy problems, but it can lighten the load enough to make a difference.


It seems January is the time people focus on healthier eating. There must be a bazillion different diets out there claiming to be the best one. It’s too confusing! The only thing I’ve seen most of them agree on is that vegetables are good for you. 

My daughter is the self-proclaimed Vegetable Girl. She learned how to make a dip from my friend who watched the children while I was having the baby in September, and now she wants to make it all the time. I must admit, it certainly does help the veggies go down more easily. 

While she normally just wants to throw in the ingredients, we did measure them out the last time so I could share the recipe with you. Please note that my daughter named this dip after herself and also decided it should be famous.

Helen’s Famous Dip

1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream or plain yogurt (healthier option!)
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley (or 3 tsp. dried)
1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
1 tsp. dried dill weed
1/2 tsp. celery seed
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder

Mix everything together in a bowl and refrigerate for at least an hour.

*This post has been shared at Strangers & Pilgrims on Earth for The Art of Home-Making Monday.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year!

Despite strange and warm "winter" weather, we are enjoying our holidays. How strange is the weather? Well, we've had to turn on the air conditioning and/or opened doors and windows during Christmas festivities. Instead of being cooped up inside, the children have been playing outside, often discarding the coats I make them wear because it seems wrong to let them out in short sleeves in December.

And then there was this:

Nice bowl of lettuce!

The children cut a large amount of lettuce outside yesterday and a bunch of parsley. While I'm not complaining about the harvest, it is more than odd.

As for the resolutions, I do have one this year. Mom made me aware this week of the slumping habit I've acquired, so this year I resolve to improve my posture. It will require no extra time or money, so I think I can accomplish it.

Do you have a resolution?