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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The latest editions to the farm

"Cuddly" and "Jumpy". (Named by Elle) These are angora cross bunnies and are SO soft and fluffy! They are just 7 weeks old. -No, they are not for meat... just entertainment for the kids! They have a cozy little home in the once chicken house, now turned pottery studio.

Homemade wrapping paper

Grammie got Elle these great stamp pads and Elle got to work making our wrapping paper for Christmas. Such a fun way to make a project out of something we need anyway.

Christmas cookies

Friends came over to decorate Christmas cookies!

They sure know how to make them! I think they must have been an inch high with yummies!

Playing in the snow!

 We didn't wait for the snow to come to us, we went to it. Up in the Olympics, we found plenty.

It was beautiful. I love snow.

Cousin Elena

Uncle Jeff

The kids warming up in the back of the van- thankfully the back seat of the van is still in Miami, so there was plenty of room! =)

And I had to just throw this one in there... deer in the head lights?

Thanksgiving in CA

The kids and I drove down to California for Thanksgiving, Michael flew there to meet us from Miami. We stayed with our friends Aaron and Emmy and their two kids. It was SO fun! We haven't seen them in a long time and it was great to catch up.

The kids loved each other and got a long really well, 4 kids were WAY easier than 2! They all entertained each other the whole time and it actually felt like we didn't even have kids!

We went to Lake Tahoe for the day. It was BEAUTIFUL there. Such an incredible place.

The kids were real troopers for yet ANOTHER road trip... =) They are well traveled if nothing else.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Homemade Holiday Projects

Elle and I strung cranberries on thread. I had intended on stringing them onto our Christmas tree, but then realized that they needed to be kept cold to last.... so we hung them outside on the trees that we hung our pinecone bird feeders on (roll them in peanut butter and then in bird seed and hang them up).

I used tapestry needles that are pretty blunt so Elle didn't keep poking herself. Even Christian helped a little. Good eye hand coordination training for them for sure! =) Elle's all ready to work on stringing popcorn on our road trip to California.

My entire house is now glistening with glitter! (It is seriously EVERYWHERE!) We took pinecones, put glue on them and rolled them in glitter. When dry, I will string them and we'll hang them on our Christmas tree. (I have been known to have what is often refered to as a "Charlie Brown tree".) =) Kids love anything that sparkels...and is messy... so of course this was a big hit.

Funniest video!

This was my first time using Youtube. I wanted to be able to sensor one moment (you'll see why) so I hope it works! =) I love my little guys! Never a dull moment.

A video for your entertainment!

It's been a long time...

I have greatly neglected this blog in the last couple months! I have found it difficult to find moments of "clear" thought or sanity with all that has been going on with two of the most energetic kids I know (both mine) under foot! Not to mention I am rediculously unorganized (nothing new there) and my camera memory card has been full for far too long before I finally took it to be put on CD before delelting them all... and I figure the main thing anyone looks at this thing for is photo's! =) So finally I will catch you up on some of our happenings around here.

Little man LOVES bike riding! (Although he doesn't do much but sit on it or push it around... he's slowly figureing out the pedals..)

We emphasize wearing a helmet... ;)

I just had to throw this in because it is so stink'n cute! I love Christian's hair in this one! We took all the blankets and pillows and matress in from the swing bed and were jumping off the ladder onto it. They loved it.

Grape juice from our grape arbor. It is a bit tart for me, but the kids like it.

Here are the fixen's for homemade ice cream! It was a custard we did... SOOOOO Delicious! Sincerely THE best ice cream I have ever had- and that says a lot!

Here's papa (my dad) helping Christian crank the ice cream maker.

Elle is counting the yoks for making noodles.

Here's the noodles hardening on window screens, after a couple days they were ready to be bagged up and we are still using them months later for speghetti and soups.

Elle and Oliver "helping" rake leaves! =)

We got cows! They are a highland/angus cross. These pictures don't do justice- it had just been dumping rain so their fluffy hair is flattened. In real life they look like big teddy bears!

They are sweet cows and it is so nice to have animals on the farm again.
So.. there you have it! We have also been building a new chicken house next to the shelter we just built for the cows- I will put photo's up when done. Nothing fancy AT ALL! (In fact it has recieved a lot of laughs from my dad!) We have been loving living in the barn. The rain on the roof is remarkable! It is the coziest place and Michael says that aside from our new house we finished 2 years ago (that is currently rented) it is his favorite "house" we've lived in (we have lived in 4 others). It is small and was a little adjustment not having a dishwasher, microwave or washer and dryer and bucketing out bath water and dish water, but it is fun and it is simple. The wood stove is keeping us cozy warm and did I mention how cool the rain is on the metal roof?!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Potty Training

I am potty training Christian. For me that means setting up a childs potty in the bathroom and allowing my little man to run around half naked. Elle is on "squat patrol" and living in a place with mostly concrete floors has it's benefits. It is going really well... REALLY well... he loves it. He is so proud of himself and never has accidents anymore as long as he's not wearing any drawers, he goes in the potty.  He needs no reward (other than occational cheering), he waves and says "bye bye potty" as he flushes the toilet. It is actually quite the enduring episode to watch...
The catch is this... he wants to dump his own little tray.... Which would be fine....except... instead of dumping it away from himself into the toilet... he dumps it toward himself.... (I really do wish I could provide a video here.... it is as good as drama can get... will he make it in the toilet... or will it end up on the floor... or himself....and how do I keep my cool- in the name of his enjoying the experiance enough to keep at it- if either of the later occurs.) It can only be comical as he is so stink'n cute about the whole thing and I am just so excited to no longer need to buy so many diapers and any steps toward greater independance are like gold to me- the one he is so dependant on...
Anyway, just a little funny thing I thought I'd be fun to look back on and remember... =)

Friday, September 16, 2011

homemade cast iron tub round curtain rod

So, I knew that a circular shower curtain rod was more expensive than a regular shower rod, but I thought maybe $50 or something and it would still make it worth the savings to have used the cast iron tub I already had (sitting out in the pasture)... but I called the only plumbing place in town that I could find that carried them and the sales lady informed me that the most economic one started at $150!!! "But it is real nice quality, not cheesey or cheaply made." Were her words to try and revive me after I stopped breathing upon hearing "$150".... I carefully picked my chin up off the floor and told her "thank you" and "I'll have to get back to her"... and decided to figure out another way to get something to hang a few shower curtains on.
So... I went to Home Depot (where they actually know me... and my kids.... by name!) and got 2 electrical conduit rods. I brought them back, measured and bent them into the size needed to over fit the tub size and taped the joints together with duct tape (actuall duct tape...used for heat ducts... I had some left from installing the vent for the bathroom fan.. it is more rigid than the other tape.) I put 4 screws in the ceiling where the corners would go and tied ribbon around the rod at the corners and twisted them around the screws to hang the rod.... And woo-la! $6 shower rod that quite frankly I think looks pretty good! Although I will NOT be "selling" it as "real nice quality, not cheesey or cheaply made".... but for $6... and it is FUNCTIONAL... ( THAT is what is suppose to matter... right??) I'd say it's a great deal. =)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

September projects

Okay... so for those of you who are interested.... The September project dates are as follows:

Blackberry Jam... THIS weekend... (Sorry late notice, but I HAVE to get these berries out of my freezer!) So Saturday (the 10th) I will be making them in to jam with anyone who wants to join in. If you want to take some home, then bring some sugar, pectin, blackberries and a jar... or $5 and you can have a jar of mine.

I am going to do the ice cream and butter on the same day... Next Thursday afternoon the 15th. If you want to take any of that home, bring some raw jersey cow milk. (you can buy it at the co-op in Olympia for about $10/gallon) Or you can just watch the process. If you want to make butter with cream and don't want the higher cost of the raw milk- you can bring whatever cream you want to use and do that..That is done in smaller ammounts so I won't have to mix it with mine. I haven't made the ice cream with this maker before so I am not totally sure how it will work out (amount wise) so it may be able to be done in separate batches, but maybe not. Either way- chip in $10 or so (this stuff is more expensive!) and you can take some home.

The Amish noodles...Tuesday the 20th is when I plan to do those. I may think up something else to do in there too because there is some dry time in there... or maybe that's when kids can just play or something... If you want some of these bring cage free/free range organic eggs and gallon size ziplock bags. These take a TON of eggs! Or you can take a gallon ziplock bag home for $3.

This should be fun! So far I have about 6 people interested. Let me know who can come based on these dates and if you think you will be wanting to take anything home (so I know how much stuff to get/prepare for). I just really missed doing things with people while I was in Miami and it really taught me the value and importance of getting together with people to learn/grow and enjoy one another while doing worth while things. So... I am just trying to provide opportunities to do just that. I am not proclaiming to be any sort of expert at these things. Some of them I have never done, some I have only done once or so. The process may or may not work out perfectly, but the idea is just enjoying it all regardless. I am not going to be stressing and doing a lot of prep into any of this. It will just be relaxed and casual. Kids are welcome. (YOU are responsible for them! Our place is NOT 100% child proof by any means- you can inquire further if you have questions.)

Final Before and After...

I FINALLY got my computer fixed! I no longer have to hold the top corner "just so" to keep the screen from turning all white. Now if I could just have consistent internet connection, it'd be ideal... nonetheless... here is the latest...

Okay, so remember this... this was the barn at not even a truly "before" as much had been cleared out, and the demo of the stalls and ladder had begun...

Here was pouring the concrete to level out the floor a bit.

And now for the "After".... I have to say, I just love it! I was happy to live in a dirt floor hut rather than Miami, so this is just a dream! =)

Here's my kitchen...

Love the sink... I had looked forever for old cast iron ones but found the same look for WAY cheaper at Ikea... new...

This photo is kinda dark, but it is from the front door... looks up to the main loft..

Living room. Behind the quilt is the kid's sleeping loft. (I am still needing to make wooden ladders... so excuse the ugly ones) - more on this wood stove later... it's a dream...

Here's down from the kid's loft

Across to our loft.

And the view out my living room window.
It is cozy and only around 600 sq ft, but for just the kids and I it is perfect for us to temporarily stay and will be an awesome space when we're done for work shops, selling goods and a place for guests to stay and kids to play...
I am glad we decided to put our money/energy into our place, rather than spend it on rent somewhere else... We'll see if I feel the same this winter... but for now, I am perfectly content here.  =)