Thursday, September 29, 2011

Wanna know what I am doing right now...

Looking for Christmas sewing/knitting patterns.

I think I will probably end up starting a bunch of stuff and then having a baby and not finishing much.

BUT...I am planning on participating in a few sew alongs in October.

The No Excuses Holiday Sew Along at

And KCWC Fall 2011...something about sewing for your kids for an hour a day October 10-17.  Sound fun?  

Of course, I can't publish my other ideas cuz my mom reads this (hi, Mom!).  Happy season of complete insanity!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

One Quarter at a Time

Monday Laine took his Toms bag with his savings and went into a music store to make his first official instrument purchase.  In July he began asking me to make him a pink guitar.  Side note: be careful with the crafting and such...they will not believe you can make a jacket and not a guitar.  I offered to make him a pink bag and we made a new strap together.  I was feeling very inspired as we fastened his new Thomas strap to his old guitar.  I was proud of having come up with a workable solution.  It pacified him for about a minute and a half.  What he really wanted was a PINK GUITAR.  After several days of begging, he seemed to forget about it.  

Meanwhile, Luke and I began reading and studying some of Dave Ramsey's books.  We are trying to enable ourselves to capture a dream.  Our plans begin with being debt free.  

In the midst of planning our September budget, Laine began asking for a pink guitar again.  You don't think three year olds can remember something for six-ish weeks, but there you have it.  So, with Mommy in frugal education mode we outlined a plan to get the desired pink guitar.  Our plan looked like this: 
  • $0.25 per washed baseboard
  • $0.25 per washed cabinet door
  • $0.25 per load of recycling taken out
  • $0.25 per load of compost successfully taken to the goat pasture
  • Use birthday money left over from last year 
  • Use birthday money from this year
I am super proud to say that even though he could have just waited on birthday money, he made $5.00 all by himself.  Only problem is that he has started noticing when my baseboards look dirty AND when other people's baseboards look dirty.  

He is so proud of his accomplishment.  He keeps telling me that he took his money and bought a pink guitar.  He is also shockingly generous with it.  He hands it off to Annabel regularly.  

He told me yesterday that she needs a yellow one.  Sigh!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Amazing Morning!

Will get a video of this when I can be sneaky enough...

Laine gave such an extended concert this morning that he now has his first guitar player's blister.  At three!  What a talent!  It included snappy dialogue which announced each song and invited me to "sing with me, Mom!"

This is on his new pink guitar.

I will explain when I don't need to change a diaper and my preschooler doesn't have crayons.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I am not an adventurous eater...

So, we finished Fajita tonight.  He was the chicken we harvested in August.  Unfortunately, with our busy weekend, our fajita plans got cancelled, so Fajita become spaghetti and barbecue.  He was skinny and a little tough.  I think I let him get too old and I let him fend for himself a bit too much for a meat bird.  Frankly, I was a little freaked about about eating him.  Not that I thought he would make me sick, it was just that fresh chicken tastes different than store bought.  I know that is the point, but I have always eaten store bought chicken, and this just tasted different.  Not bad, in fact he had lots of flavor.  I am just not used to chicken having its own flavor.  Makes me wonder about all the other corn-fed, mass produced chicken I eat...

If we are going to do this, I am going to have to grow a backbone.  I will say I am surprised that the hard part of harvesting a chicken was eating it and not killing it.

Also, in the quest to find yummy chestnut recipes, I am deleting creamed corn with chestnuts.  Could not handle that weirdness.  I baked it yesterday to be fair, but I ate my obligatory bite and gave up.  Couldn't do Fajita and chestnuts in one meal...slow food takes some time to adjust to (ironic, don't you think?).

Please let me know if any of you have tried chestnut butter.  Thought I might try that and candied chestnuts.  I guess I should also roast them over an open fire.


Miracles keep happening around here!  I finished another project.  No, not the laundry.  Or cleaning up the toys.  No...something vastly more fun!  This is a pattern called Gavyn found on Ravelry.  I modified it a bit (it was a long-sleeved pull-over to begin with) because Laine requested buttons and a vest would fit better under a jacket.  Yarn is Some kind of wonderful alpaca.  I can not find a tag...anywhere.  


The box pattern is super easy.  I was really annoyed about how many button holes there were until I remembered that that was my modification.  

 No, we hardly ever reach the end of the day with pants on.  That is just too much of a pain.  

And you can't have a picture session without this cute face.  She said "ptheeths." (cheese)

So, there you have it.  Fall sweater #1 done.   Let's not talk about the part where Laine tried on the baby's snuggle bag and frogged about two rows.  *sigh*

Chestnut season! Aka free food!

There are chestnuts raining down in our yard.  Any ideas?  

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Yesterday we celebrated Laine's third birthday.  Yes, he did appear as Buzz Lightyear, Space Ranger for a good portion of the day.  We celebrated joyfully with friends and family out in the yard.  It was a fantastic, mountain, September afternoon, and we romped in the backyard/sideyard/frontyard with abandon.  Every day I find new reasons to wish my brain had a bigger hard drive.  I hope I never forget the way that Laine hugged his friend Mason for each of the gifts he received regardless of whom they were from.  I hope I never forget that when I read him the first birthday card addressed to "Laine," he quickly corrected that he was Buzz.  I hope I never forget that my sweet boy picked a Bible story as his birthday theme.  Happy Birthday dear Laine!  You are quite loved!

Buzz Lightyear to the rescue!
This year he requested a Jonah cake.  Seriously.  Despite Pop Pop eating the whale's lower jaw and not having black food coloring (I swear I had some...) the Jonah cake was a reasonable success.  It was a whale, not a shark, and I had green jello for him to throw up with Jonah...but I got stuck on the mechanics of jello and cake and no soggy bottoms and forgot to make a Jonah.  So, there it is, Jonah cake minus vomit and Jonah.  But I remembered the candle and the frosting, so I think all was forgiven.

 Our decorations and activities were simple, and I think I got to enjoy this party more than any other.

Tip to moms of multiple children living in limited space.  Have a present theme.  This allows people freedom to be creative and fun without filling up your space with toys you can't manage.  We chose painting this year.  The beautiful gifts were thoughtful, manageable, and useful.  Also, Wishpot is a great tool.

My little three year old is quite grown up today.   He has adjusted to the fact that he is no longer two and officially passed that mantle onto (big, strong) Henry (the green train).

Also, since our families came in, my dad was around for several days.  He managed to finish the chicken tractor!  He worked for two days and broke his thumb (sorry Dad), but there are four happy chickens living in the chicken tractor.  The kids were thrilled to have the chickens in a smaller space for improved viewing.  Laine even helped catch one chicken during the grand chicken-installation.  We have very tolerant chickens.

Pop Pop and Buzz Lightyear in front of the Chicken Tractor

For those of you who have been itching to know what a chicken tractor is, a chicken tractor is a mobile coop that has a run and an enclosed roosting area.  I selected the "ark" design from Catawba ConvertiCoops with the run below the roost.  The areas communicate with a movable drawbridge!  The chickens are let out of the roosting area during the day where they scratch and fertilize the area within the run.  Once the ground is thoroughly scratched, degrubbed and fertilized, you move the whole contraption over a few feet and let them start over.  I plan to use it in my garden plots over the winter to replenish the soil where we have been gardening and loosen soil where we plan to garden.  After the chickens are done with an area (about two weeks) I will plant a cover crop and leave it until spring.  I hoped to get better pictures today, but it is just plain ugly out.  We will wait for sunshine.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Those two beautiful, perfect eggs are from my chickens!!!! (She says with unexplainable pride)  After six months of waiting those two beauties were laid gently on the hay in the barn.  Note: nesting boxes just replaced the chicken tractor.  Maybe next month I can get that done, but I need nests NOW!

I have all kinds of pithy things to say, but you deserve a break.  Just know, I am super excited and feel like a nano-farmer.

Off to find yummy, nutritious, egg-rich recipes!

Friday, September 9, 2011


Things I really must do:
  • Finish the darn chicken tractor. I will post pictures...I am not talking about this.
  • Get the stupid baskets emptied. You know the ones that you take out to the car to help you empty it out and end up being full for ages!  Yay!!
  • Wash the window sills. I can't help it...I'm pregnant.  Three done, several to do.
  • Find a workable framework for preschool at home. So far I am liking Charlotte Mason. Please don't point out that preschool is a waste of time and I don't need to worry about starting organized learning until my kids are at least potty trained. Laine needs projects. He asks fifty times a day to do a project. So sue me for getting excited early. Anyway he is super bright (just ask me, I am very objective).  Still loving Charlotte Mason.  We have made leaf rubs.  I think I have three kinds of oak trees right in front of my driveway.  And, gumball trees are actually sweetgum trees.  And sweetgum trees are actually sycamores!  Laine cared very little for this.  Almost three year olds do not care what kind of tree the awesome acorns fall off of; they just want to throw them.
  • Plant the fall crop. I am thinking lots more spinach and broccoli this time. Also, excited about the possibility of a wheat crop. It's Luke's idea. That reminds me...Bunnies ate our fall crop...
  • Order wheat seed. Cover crop...I am pregnant...super farm next year.
  • Make Laine and Preggie's fall wardrobe. Looking into fair trade material. Getting excited about the options. There are more and more options for the home sewist who wants to support fairly made material AND notions! Near Sea Naturals and have caught my eye so far.  Having so much fun with this one...except I have nothing done for me, one pair of pants and one sweatshirt for Laine, and three and a half dresses for Annabel...GIRLS ARE WAY FUNNER TO SEW FOR.  Also, the budget dictated upcycling and thrifting this year.  Not quite fair trade, but I am trying!
  • Powerwashed porch
  • Trimmed bushes...badly
  • Tamed toys
  • Tried to clear kitchen counters's quiet time.

Reflection: I found a volunteer cantaloupe in our compost pile this week.  What kind of awesome farming is that...also a pretty failed compost pile.  I have been tossing scraps in this spot for a year now getting it ready for a new garden plot next year.  I have literally done nothing except dump scraps out there, and it grew fruit.  Really good fruit that we ate down to the last piece.  Fruit packed with juice and nutrients.  Fruit I didn't work for.

Sometimes when we despair of the "fruit of our labor," God shows us that it isn't our fruit we are growing after all.  While my ranting yesterday was heartfelt, I am not discouraged about the fruit God can grow in unlikely places.

Last night I watched a family exploding at the park.  A mom, a dad, a daughter and a grandpa were living through the worst kind of hell right there in front of everyone.  Luke and I felt totally helpless in the face of such pain and anger.  Praying seemed so inadequate.  Like throwing scraps on the ground and hoping for fruit.  I was challenged by my disbelief in prayer (is God's action dependent on mine).  I prayed honestly and shakily for that family.  I will probably never know how God worked in their lives, but I do know that God showed me the value of my obedience through a small, ugly, delicious cantaloupe.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Skip this post...

I warned you!

What does it mean when we baptize our children?  What does it mean when we call ourselves Christian parents?  What kind of changes are we willing to make to allow what we say and profess to line up with what we do?

When I look at my life and my church...almost nothing.

No, you say...God is the most important thing in my life.  I believe that through God's SANCTIFYING grace, that will one day be true in our church, but right now, WE are the most important things in our lives.  Do you know one of the lines that we use to convince people to do mission work?  "Even though you are helping other people, it will make YOU feel great."  Another one I heard recently, "you should do mission work because it will make YOU feel so good about YOURSELF."  (An adult said that)

My husband frequently uses a quote from Kenda Creasy Dean about how teenagers want to give their passion to big causes (paraphrase).  I think American, Methodist Christianity is way too easy.  We talk about the disciplines (maybe), we talk about tithing (once a year), we discuss "The Cost of Discipleship," but the truth is; the most Christianity costs us is about 10% of our income (net or gross?).

This kingdom was instituted by a homeless guy who died for what he said.  Although Jesus was trained as a rabbi (comfortable income level) he chose to focus on bringing a kingdom of grace and mercy to earth (homeless).  What are we doing with this legacy?  I don't mean American society, I mean me and you.  When did our culture start shaping our religion?  We love to talk about how we live in a Christian nation, but we need to realize that we live in the world: a world that is raping our religion.  We are driven by what gets us the most for the least effort.

What is your pastor supposed to say when you tell her or him that you won't be bringing your child to Bible study because he or she needs to do homework?  Or baseball?  Or scouts?  Or whatever else...What are we telling our children?  Six year olds who are told that they may skip church for baseball practice will be twenty year olds who give their time and passion to something more worthwhile.  Why bother with the church if something he or she does not even remember doing was more significant.  I am certainly not saying that we should go back to a rigid society that demands mindless observance of a ritual.  What I am saying is, God's kingdom is the most desperately important thing on earth.

There are still people who experience hell all around us, and we still have "not resisted to the point of shedding our blood." (Hebrews 12:4)  That passage refers to sin.  I am saying our selfish culture is not is sin.  It is sin that others are enslaved for our capitalism.  It is sin that teenage mothers feel so rejected they would rather have a dangerous surgery than seek the shelter of churches.  It is sin that our children are unaware of the stories of our faith.

When we baptist our children, we profess that we believe that Christianity is so important we would symbolizing drowning our children and allowing God to raise them into God's kingdom.  Church is not a hobby or a social club or even a healthy community to raise children in.  The kingdom of God coming to earth is the most important thing in the world.  It should be costly.  Is it worth it?  Ask the woman who was willing to accept the crumbs under the table of the chosen people.  (Matthew 15)

So, what do I say when you are too busy for Bible study?  Our churches must have misrepresented what it is they are selling, because if you knew, you would be telling the baseball coaches of the world that it's ok for my son or daughter to sit on the bench, because there are things that are just more important than your practice.

I warned you!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Today is Luke's birthday!  Hurrah for wonderful men who dedicate their lives to serving others!  I really wanted to return the favor today, but today while he turned 29, I turned 32 weeks pregnant.  That means...I really pretty much managed to keep our post birth children alive.  So, sorry honey, I wanted to serve you breakfast in bed (or at all), have the house clean, and have your slippers ready when the kids went down, but instead we lived merrily through another day.  We cried, we laughed, we sat exhausted on the driveway.

Daddy, Luke, we love you and truly appreciate everything you do for us and others.