Friday, December 26, 2014

I'm really not a Grinch...

... but this is the message I put up today on the scrabble message board in the kitchen. (The scrabble board is currently being used for some Six Word Memoirs.)

Christmas was wonderful... but I am glad it's over and life can get back to normal again.

Monday, December 15, 2014

it's beginning to look a lot like...


It snowed all day yesterday... big fat flakes blowing sideways.

It was beautiful...

Now to see if the "Green Bean" (my green Toyota Previa...) can make it up the driveway. It will be a good test of the AWD... the snow is looking pretty deep out there.

Might be a good day for sledding... :)

Friday, December 12, 2014

don't hate me....

The following announcement will probably make me instantly unpopular... (not that I was popular to begin with, so what have I got to lose?).

My Christmas shopping and making is done. 

(Well, except for a little baking for treats for the neighbors... but that doesn't count!)

It helped that we decided to simplify our gift giving this year, and I bought a lot online...  but with seven kids (counting S and our SIL) and 4 grandkids, it was still a fair amount of planning, shopping, and crafting.

I finished up the last gift yesterday... and it's so cute I have to share.

It's a little crayon apron for our youngest granddaughter, who is 3. It holds one box of 24 crayons. (Despite the way the color shows in this picture, it's really a very pretty pink... the color is most accurate on the right side of the photo.)

I didn't have a pattern, just her measurements and a photo I found online, so there was a fair amount of stopping to puzzle it out, but I do love how it turned out.

I especially love all the tiny little pockets...

(The math involved in figuring out the spacing for those pockets was tough... it's an absolute miracle they all fit across the apron and are the same size!)

The machine I used?

The old Necchi Joe got me for Christmas back in about 1981, when our oldest was just a baby. It's been a faithful machine ever since, never needing repair (although it needs a bit now...) and sewing everything from diapers and baby clothes, to quilts and step-dancing dresses. What a lovely old workhorse it is...

K (dd#3) will be arriving from Ghana on Monday for a two week visit, and I may not be blogging much during that time.

Have a blessed holiday season...

Thursday, December 11, 2014

scenes of a morning

I took the camera with me when I went out this morning to do the barn work...

Tucker... always Mr. Nosy... checking out the camera.

A doe I startled (and who startled me!) as I walked back to the house... she was getting ready to jump into the front yard, but changed her mind once she saw me...

Our chickens.... mostly looking fat and happy... except poor Sadie... the incredible molting chicken... isn't she a mess?

I hope she starts growing her feathers back soon, she looks sad and miserable now.

I've been enjoying the warmish weather lately... it's been in the mid 30's each morning this week, and I've taken extra time before the kids get up to work on cleaning the pasture, straightening the barn, etc. We have a cord of wood scheduled to be delivered tomorrow that will need to be stacked, and then the outside work will be caught up... just in time for the snow that's in the forecast for the weekend. I've enjoyed the outside time this week, but I do miss the snow, I can't wait for the flakes to start falling...

Tuesday, December 9, 2014




December 9, 2014

Outside my window... I can see Christmas lights, on my neighbor's barn and on the hills in the distance, twinkling in the early morning darkness.

I am thinking... about my mom this morning. Today is the 11th anniversary of her death, and I wonder if I'll ever stop missing her... 

I am thankful... for this bit of quiet time in the morning before the kids get up.

In the kitchen... I've got a cookie jar full of Cowboy Cookies (M's request after his gastroparesis flare) and I think soup is on the menu for dinner.

I am creating... I actually pulled the sewing machine out (gasp, it's been years!) and have been working on a few little Christmas gifts. 

I am going... to stay home today... I think.... except for a quick trip to Costco later in the day. It's supposed to be beautiful weather, and I'm looking forward to working outside. 

I am reading... the second book of The Christmas Chronicles, How Mrs Claus Saved Christmas. The title sounds childish (and a bit lame) but it's an adult book full of the history of how Christmas has been celebrated throughout the centuries.  

I am hoping... M is settled today. He's been tough lately... holiday stress is having it's effect, in addition to the stress he's already feeling about his (still broken) back. I have this whole month carefully structured, trying to get him (and us) through as easily as possible... but he's edgy, and irritable, not sleeping well, and even had a psychotic episode a week or so ago. So settled would be very nice for today...

I am looking forward to... seeing K (dd#3) who gets home for a visit from Ghana on the 15th. They'll be plenty of happy tears, catching up, and eating out... that poor girl comes home HUNGRY.

I am learning... about focusing on what's truly important, and letting go of situations and relationships that are hurtful and have no resolution.

Around the house... the tree is up, the house is decorated... and there is still a pile of extra pine boughs on the front porch (oops!) that I should get rid of today. ;)

I am pondering... nothing... it's too early in the morning to ponder.

One of my favorite things... the sharp pop of the wood burning in the wood stove, and the lovely heat it puts out... warming up our (formerly) always cold and drafty house

A few plans for the rest of the week... the kids have an RCC service project on Wednesday, Thursday we're going to work at the thrift store and later, see A Christmas Carol at the arts center in town... Friday is a get-together with neighbors and our Christmas Movie Night (It's a Wonderful Life... my favorite!)

A peek into my day...

Our busy month...

...busy but good..


Visit Peggy's blog for more about The Simple Woman's Daybook

Monday, December 8, 2014

because I can...

Miss me last week?

I meant to blog every day, but never made it past the good intentions stage of things... R was sick (cough) with a cold (cough, cough) the early part of the week and M had a gastroparesis flare up the end of the week. Between those two things I didn't get much sleep and spent the early morning hours, when I usually blog, either staring vacantly at computer screen or trying to steal a few more minutes of sleep.

I was going to blog early this morning, but ended up outside shoveling manure, cleaning the paddock, instead.

I didn't have to do it... it's supposed to be R's job (I do all the chicken work, she keeps the pasture clean) but the paddock was a mess, and the rake and pitchfork were right there, and so I did it.

Mostly I cleaned the paddock because I could.

And I was appreciating being able to do something as simple as shoveling manure...

A close neighbor, a woman who is just my age, is battling cancer.


After surgery and radiation two years ago to battle breast cancer, and a looooong difficult recovery, her cancer has returned. I won't share the details... they aren't mine to share... but her treatment involves weekly chemo, daily radiation, and a vastly different life than even the one she had after her first battle with cancer.

So I cleaned the paddock because I could... because I was appreciating and so very aware of the sweetness of hard work... thankful for the satisfying heft of the full pitchfork, the earthy barn smell, the freedom to stay outside and work in the morning, the strength in my muscles as I eventually pushed the full wheelbarrow around to the back of the barn to dump on the manure pile. I relished each bit of the time I spent outside working...

But now it's late... I have firewood to bring inside and stack, a kitchen to clean (yes, last night's dinner still isn't clean up!) and later Christmas shopping to do...

Tomorrow I'm bringing dinner to my neighbor and her family, and have become the fill-in driver for her daily radiation treatments... (when her FIL isn't able to drive her). She'll by in my prayers through these so very tough days and weeks of her treatment.

And I'm pretty sure I'm going to appreciate every minute of this ordinary day.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

I'm not a fan... (aka back to the drawing board)

I've mostly finished up the project to close off the bedroom fireplace. After cutting wood to fit the opening, giving the fireplace a new coat of high-heat paint, and fitting the wood pieces, backed with insulation board, into the fireplace opening, all that was left was adding the "stacked logs" fabric I found at IKEA to the front of the wood.

And that's where the project veered off course...

As soon as I draped the fabric in place (the fireplace screen held it up nicely), I decided I wasn't wild about the mix of patterns... the angular petrified wood that the fireplace is made from, and the large round circles of the logs on the fabric.

But I went ahead and tacked it into place (just using the staple gun) anyway, hoping once it was smoothed and straightened over the wood it would look better. looks about the same, and I'm not a fan. I'm leaving it for now, it's not "hideous" or anything. (I love using that word, it's the same word my oldest daughter used, back when she was a teen, to describe a wall I'd carefully sponge painted. Her passion in hating that wall still makes me smile... )

Anyway... (I'm so easily distracted!) I'm going to leave it for now... but I will probably take the fabric back off at some point and disguise the wood in some other way. I'll also work more on the screen then... I don't want to put much work into it now, when it will probably be coming back off again before long.

I hate it when the picture I have in my head doesn't match how a project turns out.

(Anybody need one yard of stacked logs fabric from IKEA?)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

frosty morning...

After Sunday's fog, I woke up yesterday morning to a lovely coating of hoarfrost on everything....

I especially loved how it looked on the netting covering the chicken yard (keeping the hawks out), it made the usually almost invisible tree netting look like a circus tent...

(Here's Lili, stretching her neck out, and Hazel behind, both insisting there is NO WAY they're going out into the cold! Yes, they basically live in the coop these days...)

We stayed home and sewed yesterday... R has been wanting to learn to sew, and M has always liked sewing, so I helped each of them make a new "warmer" for bedtime (a rice filled fabric tube, heated in the microwave right before bed, makes for a toasty place under the covers for cold feet...). It took most of the afternoon to make two warmers, but it was also a lesson in pinning and cutting out a pattern, reading the markings on the pattern, pinning and cutting fabric, using the sewing machine, etc.

Once M and R's projects were finished, as long as the sewing machine was out, I put it to use and made a Christmas gift for one of my "big" kids. It was good to sew again, I haven't sewn much in years. I still think I prefer more active projects though... like those involving lumber and power tools for example. (I have plans for a lovely, big "slow feeder" I want to built Murphy and Tucker... but alas, it will have to wait until spring. ;)

Monday, December 1, 2014

Happy Monday

Crazy Casa K

What makes me happy?

Watching the weather coming over the hills to the north of us.

This was yesterday afternoon... It started out sunny and fairly warm, then the clouds moved in. I watched the clouds moving over the hills on the northern horizon, knowing a change was coming. The clouds didn't bring snow, just a quick temperature drop and a foggy rest of the day.

(And yes Steve, I did get the nesting boxes cleaned before the cold hit. It was so good to talk to you yesterday... :)