Thursday, January 30, 2014

Savouring the Season

Today is the second day in a row of a light, fluffy snow falling here. How gorgeous it is to see a bright, white blanket of snow resting on all the branches!

Word has it that we are due for another 10 inches of snow yet! Snow doesn't seem to last too long here and the winter here is much milder than what I grew up with so I am truly enjoying this weather!

Spring will be here before we know it! My indoor tulip garden is growing well and getting me ready for the spring, even while we are getting snow!

Love it! Instead of fighting against the weather, it is so much more enjoyable to take it as it comes and savour it!

Now back to my cup of tea and book!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

When a House becomes a Home

Does a house become a home when it is built?

Does a house become a home when there are people living in it? Does it matter if the people living in it are family or friends?

Does a house become a home when it is decorated 'just so'?

Does a house become a home when food is cooked in it? When parties are held? When company is over?

Does a house become a home when it is landscaped? When it has a garden, a deck, a yard, or view?

When does a house become a home?

While house hunting the past few months I have found myself pondering this very subject.
What truly makes a house a home?
When I get a house what do I want to do with it?
What are the goals, what is the 'feeling' I'd like our house to convey to us and for others visiting.
What will we use our house for?

Here are some of my thoughts on what I hope to do to turn our future house into a home!

I want our home to be a refuge from the world. A vacation of sorts and a place in which we can unwind and enjoy to be in. A place when company comes, they wish they didn't have to leave because of the peace experienced away from the hectic world.

I want our home to be a safe place, where our family and friends can be open and not judged. Where we can just be ourselves without having that pressure to be someone or something we are not.

I want to use our home to grow and edify our marriage, our children and friendships with others.

I want to use our home to teach our children to experience life slowly, enjoy life and enjoy our surroundings; to live simply and savor simplicity.

I think our future house will become a home when we move in an start using it with these hopes and goals in mind.

It doesn't matter if I don't get it all decorated up 'perfectly' right away. Sometimes the journey is more important than the destination! (One of the things I'd love for my children to learn!)

It doesn't matter if I get a huge kitchen garden right away, even one tomato plant is better than nothing! A few herbs in pots in the window will do just fine too. These things don't make a house a home any more than a few strands of pearls would make a swine a fashionista.

A house, of any sort, becomes a home when you make it a home!

Happy Home-making!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Tea and Crochet Time

This is a Baby Cocoon/Sleepsack I made for a friend's baby girl. I made it in Pink Camo by Red Heart. This is the first one I have made and I plan on making myself two. One for boy, one for girl. My friend had a wonderful idea and put some nice, soft pink fabric inside to keep out winter drafts. Fabulous idea and a perfect one for winter babies or for those cool, mountain summer nights!
For my afternoon tea today I chose a simple Chamomile tea. I did not stop with a simple tea though. I dressed it up a little bit! Here's what I did for a Renewing Chamomile Tea:
~I let my tea steep a bit longer than usual to account for my 'additions'. I didn't want to lose any flavor!
~I took a thin slice of lemon and squeezed the juice into my tea cup.
~I took about a teaspoon full (maybe a little less) of raw, local honey. But you can add honey to suit your own taste!
I was looking for the calming nature of chamomile, with a bit of lemon for renewal and cleansing and a touch of honey for equal the tart of the lemon and add some extra antioxidants for my immune system!
What a boost! I don't like over sweetened tea so just a tad bit of honey did it perfect.
A perfect cup of tea for a Friday afternoon. Now that I am renewed time to finish my crochet heart dish cloths because I need to start working on some more Baby Cocoons, and I found a fabulous inspiration dress to make for my girls for spring! It will soon be Sewing Time!

Hope you all have a fabulous weekend!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Projects and Pregnancy Rash

Here are some crochet heart dish cloths that I have been making to send out for Valentines Day! I'm planning on sending out one cloth, something unique and locally made here (Tea, Coffee or Soap), and something else that seems fitting to send out.
Although this is my 4th baby, I have acquired the dreaded Pregnancy Rash. In addition to that it seems I also have an allergic reaction rash on the rest of my body not afflicted with the Pregnancy Rash. This has been a most miserable month and I've tried so many things. Such as the following:
~Changing back to my homemade laundry soap from a store bought one.
~Warm, not hot showers and very short.
~Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize.
~Started taking Flax seed oil AND fish oil.
~Made and started using a homemade skin soothing oil (more on that below).
~Cold compresses to help with itching.
~UV therapy- aka tanning.
So far it has just slowly gotten worse until I went tanning for half the time I normally would and it has soothed the pregnancy rash on my trunk tremendously but did not help my extremities or face. (Yes, I know tanning is not usually recommended while pregnant, except in severe circumstances for the rash since you can't take strong steroids to kick the rash in the fanny).
After looking at common intolerances and allergies in my extended family I decided to go gluten free for a month then eating a regular, conventional meal to see if that helps. There are really only 3 things in my extended family relating to food that I know of so that certainly helps out when deciding what to eliminate first.
I made my own skin oil using Organic Safflower oil and doing a 2% dilution total using essential oils of Lavender and Roman Chamomile. The only Roman Chamomile I could find was already diluted in Jojoba Oil but I pretended it was full strength for ease of memory. I found the dilution ratio from one of my favorite companies and the link is found here So now you can make your own with whatever essential oils you choose.
I chose Lavender because of its soothing qualities, wonderful smell, and previous successful use for skin irritations such as diaper rash and baby eczema.
I chose Roman Chamomile because of Chamomile's calming nature, the smell blended well with Lavender and also because it is (in my opinion and knowledge) has antibacterial qualities to Tea Tree Oil but on a lesser level, which would be good in my condition since I originally wanted to use Tea Tree but was concerned about the strength of the essential oil.
You can choose other ones and obviously since I'm not a healthcare provider you should ask yours to see if it is applicable or contraindicated for you. This is just what I use and may not even help you if you have Pregnancy Rash.
Other than Pregnancy Rash, trying to figure out what I'm allergic to and raising three energetic children, I do find time for myself. Sewing, crocheting, even just going online for inspiration for a few minutes is so uplifting! Having this rash has been a discouragement, especially since it is also on my face but creating something with my own two hands has been such a fog lifter for the soul. Besides this could be a blessing in disguise. If I a allergic to something I would rather find out sooner than later!
Now back to making some more heart dish cloths! I have a few more to finish before I can continue working on some more baby cocoons, market bags and then sewing dresses for the girls before this baby comes!
Happy Winter Crafting!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Spring Preview

The past few days it has been a teaser for spring! It makes me feel refreshed and excited to think happy thoughts of getting my hands in the ground and having a garden!

Today is being spent smelling a candle burning, browsing seed catalogs and attempting to realistically plan a garden!

This will be my first "high altitude" garden in a new climate! Despite the higher altitude I am actually in an entire zone warmer! Instead of 4, I am now gardening in zone 5! So exciting to see what I will be able to do in the next few years!

While these are my usual January activities, this above-freezing weather has been getting me even more excited for spring!

So, while I finish up some crochet projects, plan my seed orders and read the 2014 Old Farmer's Almanac, I just can not help but smile and know in a few months I will be busy again outside in the dirt and sun!!! Busy as a worker bee, but so worth it to enjoy and savor the winter by reminiscing over the memories made in the summer and fall and looking ahead to the coming gardening and harvesting seasons! Yay for 2014!!!

Happy 2014 Garden Planning!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Guiding up Girls into Women

A little background "appetizer" to this post:
My husband and I are taking a small group study on the book by Drs. Cloud and Townsend titled "Boundaries with Kids". We already read the Love & Logic for Early Years by Drs. Fay and Fay. The Love and Logic book was good but just didn't 'click' with us. We both read the original "Boundaries" book by Drs. Cloud and Townsend and it was very helpful for us!
The biggest lesson I got out of this past class was the idea of "are we parenting for the future or are we parenting in the 'now'?".

Now to the "main course":
This concept is one that I have been pondering in regards to my girls. In this age of wild women celebrities doing, saying, dressing, acting like, in my opinion, no self respecting woman would do. I am the first example of a woman my daughters and son, for that matter, will know. Obviously I am not going around doing such acts or dressing like I belong in the red-light district, but what else can I do to help guide my girls into respectable, capable, women?
Now, I refuse to keep them in a little social bubble. We live in the world and it is my job to help them to be responsible, respectable and capable in this world. So instead of hiding and dressing in paper bags, I would like to teach them to be creative and be their own person. It's okay to not follow the crowd!
I've been watching since Christmas time, all the spring and summer "fashion" coming out in the stores when I get to town. I am shocked people buy their little girls some of these clothes! Just because it is the only thing easily available does not mean you should buy it for them (or yourself!).
I don't want to see my precious, innocent, little girl dressed in a wrap top showing her little belly while in a mini skirt.
When I grew up, the only people dressed like that were scary looking women in a dark part of town in the scary part of the movie!
When did this become high fashion?! When did this become fashion for little girls and toddlers?!
This is cheapening our children's innocence. This is robbing them of their childhood.
No, this "fashion" is not good enough for my girls. This fashion is not good enough for me.
As for me and my house, we will dress respectable! 

"Consider the lilies of the field..." -Matthew 6:28b

With that said, let's get to the "dessert":

Since thrifting for girls clothes is not worth my time here, since people out here have a "use it up attitude", (yay! for the people here!). I have decided to repurpose adult clothing and sew my girls their own clothes.

Nope, we're not talking prairie dresses and bonnets here. Although, what little girl doesn't imagine being Laura Ingalls Wilder after reading her books?!

What I am talking about is modest, fashionable, on trend and affordable for our budget.

Here is what I plan on making the girls in their choices of fabrics:
~2-3 Cute lengthy summer tops with ruffles and/or lace with coordinating capris
~Spring dress for each
~2-3 Summery dresses for each that go to the knee or below but will give them plenty of range of motion for all their fun activities
~1-2 skirts each to go with some nice t-shirts

I think that will get us through the summer months and since it will be homemade or re-purposed it should hold up to make good hand-me-downs also!

Now I just need to finish gathering up the patterns I would like to use and the inspiration photos I have and get fabric shopping!

I hope to have encouraged you to get courageous and think out side of the fashion box these designers and stores have tried to put us all in. I'm not an expert seamstress by any means. In fact I still consider myself to be a beginner!

You don't need to have experience to try at something. You just need motivation! Remember that old Chinese proverb "All masters were beginners at something once". If you have motivation you can move mountains, just don't give up and keep on working. It will come together someday and remember, there are always YouTube tutorials to help out if you get stuck! I'm sure I will be consulting the ever wise YouTube on my sewing journey! Feel free to join me in this adventure!

Here's to hoping I can get all this sewing done before baby #4 comes in June to help keep my innocent little girls just the way they are without hindering them with the "fashion" of today!

Happy sewing!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Gardening for Hunger

Today's character lesson for the kids was "Helping Others". (Every day we either watch a short video or read a story on character building for children).
In today's lesson it was how these boys wanted to go to this new movie but did not have enough money so they decided to earn money by collecting bottles and then returning them for a deposit. That way they are helping to recycle and make money to go see the movie all at once! They only had to collect a few more bottles but since it was late they went back home and were going to start collecting early in the morning before trash pickup. They went around asking neighbors and business owners if they had any bottles they could have also!

The next morning they got up to go finish collecting bottles but they saw another little boy collecting bottles on their street. They went to go ask him to go to his own street and while they were talking they found out the little boy was collecting bottles for breakfast for him and his little siblings. His mom is sick and has been out of work for a week and they don't have a dad. The first two boys, upon hearing this, thought about it between themselves and decided to give the third boy their movie money to buy groceries for his family. They still got to see the movie after their parents gave them their allowances on Saturday although they had to wait until the end of the week, by waiting for their allowance and donating their earned money to the little boy they provided some much needed food for this family in need.

What a great lesson for my children to hear! Even better, it made ME think. What can I do to be a good neighbor for hungry children and families in my community?

So after thinking about it I decided to dedicate a row in my garden to the food pantry this growing season. Before planting I am going to talk it over with them to find out what they suggest I plant, in other words, what could they use the most in fresh produce?

Plus, with being new in the area, it will help to network and meet new people this way and maybe encourage some others to garden for the hungry!

There are some people, especially in the city, that do not have that knowledge to grow plants- even in pots- for food. Some people may not ever had fresh, natural, organic produce!

Time to share the wealth of gardening and do something I love to do! While it is just one row this year, I know that I will be able to have produce for my own family and share the produce with families in need! Who knows, maybe next year I can do more gardening for hunger!

Planning the 2014 garden,

Monday, January 13, 2014

Playing with Pinterest

This is a photo of our own experiment with a pin I found on Pinterest. It is growing a live bouquet in your house with tulip bulbs! I was unable to trace back the original pin, so I have no idea who to credit with this idea.
All we did was get a tall glass cylinder vase, a small bag of decorative pebbles and some fall tulip bulbs we got on clearance. After putting it all together you put enough water to touch the bottom of the bulbs and place in the light!
 The total cost was $4.97 for this kid-friendly project!
Now, to play with this pin I found we have a vase with Daffodil bulbs in it to see if they will grow like the tulips supposedly will!
We are hoping it will bring a little bit of springtime into our house to tide us over until spring actually comes!
Someday when we are moved into our new home I'd like to have a "Pinterest Party" and have people bring over some snacks to have a "pot-luck" style food table and then do a few crafts found on Pinterest relating to whatever season it happens to be!
If you can find some clearance tulip bulbs give this a try!
Happy Monday!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Book Thrifting

The first weekend of 2014 we went thrifting at the few thrift stores open.

I love books. I love books a lot! I would love to share my love of books with my children too!

So, while we were thrifting, I was looking for antique/vintage kitchen utensils, "living books", cast iron, antique/vintage sewing notions and buttons, basically anything unique and old that I can breath back life into by using as it was meant to be used or to repurpose!

This particular trip ended up being a Book Thrifting trip!

     At one store I was swept back in time by the nostalgia brought on by finding the same old piano books I once used! I never thought I would find books like the ones I had! I scored 2 for $5 and in wonderful shape too! Now my children will get to learn on the same books, once we get our own home and piano that is!

Another store we stopped at was a hybrid
of eclectic, thrift, and gift store. All their books were in great condition, no mold or anything else you have to beware of while book thrifting. There they had some neat old cast iron! Too bad they knew what it was worth so I passed due to the price and condition of the cast iron. It was extremely pitted and while it was unique and may have been worth a lot to a collector, I want to USE it! We looked it up online on my husbands phone and found that it was a very cheap cast iron so hardly any are found today because it was so cheap.

This store also had a wonderful assortment of buttons, but they too knew the worth and while I like to collect the ones still attached to the original paper (I just can't bring myself to use that history!) I like to collect and use the ones not attached. Too bad those were pricey too.

This hybrid store did redeem itself well in the pricing of their books! I was thrilled upon thrilled at the find of "The Burgess Bird Book for Children" by Thornton W. Burgess. I was so excited because it was on my "list" of books to get for my little ones! I only paid $3 for it and it is in uncanny condition for being from the 50's! No odors  or anything but a crease in a few of the first pages. My husband found some books from the 50's on welding hard to weld metals and some on woodworking and a few other mechanical/fixer upper books!

I can't wait to get all my other books unpacked once we get done moving. I can't wait to put out all my books and get the kids into our own little home library!

So the moral of thrifting is to have a list and idea of what you like and what you want to do or what you need and just go! You never know what you will find!

Happy Thrifting!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Crafting Bucket List

When I'm pregnant I get the urge to craft, craft, craft. As if growing a baby and caring for three little ones isn't enough!

I love to crochet, sew, cross stitch and of course cook and bake! Did I mention having fun and teaching the little ones to craft too?!

My "Crafting Bucket List" is to learn some things that I either want to get better in or just plain learn how to do! So here it is in no particular order:

KT's Crafting Bucket List:

~learn to knit
~learn to properly embroider - by hand
~learn to do small piece quilting
~learn quillwork
~learn to do tatting
~learn to do better/proper paintings (oil and acrylic and someday watercolor too!)
~learn to spin my own fibers for crochet and knitting

I think that about covers things for now! Until, of course, I learn of some other lost or forgotten art!

The biggest lesson I have learned from my love of crafting is this: Do what you love in front of your children! Don't get up early, wait for naptime or bedtime. Do what you love now! Share what you love doing WITH your children! Especially if they are showing interest in what you are doing and would like to try it also! Children need to see the adults they love doing something they love to do, not just 'responsible' or necessities like chores. It might take me triple the amount of time to get one project done, but including my children in the process makes it more meaningful for me and for them and will produce many lasting memories!

So craft away fellow crafters and enjoy life each day at a time!

No, don't just enjoy it, savor it!

You'll only have this day once so use it well!


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Reflections and Raindrops

The end of 2012 and all of 2013 were challenging for our little family, mostly challenging for me though.

Looking ahead to 2014, I have great hopes that this year will be better despite current circumstances. A quote I heard once " Without hopes, the heart would break". I wish I knew who to credit that quote with!

Reflecting back on the journey that brought us here has shown me that I am far more resilient than I ever thought, stronger than I thought, much more patient than I ever dreamed I could ever be and my faith and relationship in God has deepened and grown.

With that said, am I glad that life took us on this journey?

No and yes.

No, because I miss my family, I miss having my sister close by for coffee time, I miss having a house- a real house- a house of our own, I miss gardening and going on nature walks with the kids without watching out for predators. I miss *gasp* the humidity of the Great Lakes region, I miss Friday night fish fries, easy driving and good roads despite inches upon inches of snow falling. I miss snow. I miss the flora and fauna and knowing all the back roads by heart and who lives where and who is who in town. I miss our church family and small group and many other friendships and the moms group at church. I miss woods, water and farmland and rolling hills and fertile soil and water easily accessible. I miss so much and so often Montana has some huge boots to fill.

Yes, because it means we are going somewhere. I am not sure where that is as I have to re-learn so much here. Soil conditions, water rights, homeowners associations, where is the middle class here?! Hunting seasons, growing seasons, meeting tons of new people , learning the 'customs' of the west. . .

 Yes, because there is hope.

Hope to learn gardening and growing seasons.
Hope to meet new close friends and make a positive impact on the community by living here.
Hope to get established in a home, a real home for the kids to grow up in.
Hope to get land that isn't price gouged to take the kids on nature walks, grow an orchard and teach them useful country things.
Hope to get land where we can have animals Wisconsin style. Not ramshackle outbuildings.
Hope for us to get established or semi- established before baby #4 comes in June.
Hope to get into a healthy routine again. I miss blogging about our family's home-making adventures!


It is hard to pinpoint what is the hardest part of moving across the country to a new altitude, climate and 'customs/culture'. For me though the hardest part is the mountains. Beautiful they may be they block the sunrise AND sunset. For me, those are my favorite times of the day.
Hope for the day to begin and wondering where the day will take us.
Hope for tomorrow as the sun sinks slowly beneath the tree line leaving behind streaks of passion for life in shades of red, orange, pink, purple or any other color reflected on any last trace of clouds above the trees.

Starting the day watching the sunrise sipping on coffee and then finishing the day watching the sun go down with a hug from my husband, it's no wonder I associate coffee with a hug in the morning!

So as 2013 has closed out I am glad to shut the book on that year and move forward to beginning to write out 2014.

The storm of 2013 is coming to an end and the sun is coming out on 2014!

Here is to a blessed and happy 2014 for me and my family and from us to you and yours!