Wednesday, April 23, 2014


Spring is finally here.  It was a long long winter here in Maine, and I'm so happy to have a yard free of snow, even if it is covered in sticks and rocks that need to be cleaned up.

I've been quiet on the blog, I guess because I didn't have much to say in the way of homesteading.  We enjoyed our first season of Maple syrup making, even though it was a short and odd one.  We were able to freeze about 2 gallons of syrup, which will hopefully last our family through til next season.  (We really like syrup, k??) ;]

Right as we decided our syrup season needed to come to a close, we bought ourselves 8 chicks.  4 Tetra Tints and 4 Rhode Island Reds.  They're getting big and mischievous!  I'm so excited for them to start laying, which will probably be the end of summer.  I'm also hoping they'll earn their keep by eating lots of ticks from the yard!

What are you doing now that the ground is thawing out?

Monday, February 24, 2014

tapping trees

We took a little drive Saturday morning to purchase some supplies to tap our Maple trees.  Now, we are a little bit excited about this project, and we probably tapped a wee bit early, but we didn't tap ALL our trees yet.  Just a few. ;]  It was very warm Saturday and we enjoyed being outside.  We all got in on the action, and Z is learning much about the Maple syrup process right along with us.  We don't expect the sap to run much this week, as the temperatures aren't forcasted to be very warm.  We did, however collect a few gallons of sap this morning, and hope that maybe, there will be a little more to grab this afternoon. =]

Also, we've started a bit of structured pre-K here at home.  Z is very smart and knows a lot of the letters and sounds already, I guess because we just try to work learning into everyday life and she'll ask now what letter certain words start with, and how to spell things.  She doesn't know all the letters yet though, and is learning how to write them correctly with the tracing sheets.  By starting now and continuing through summer, I feel like she may be ready for Kindergarten in the fall, even though she won't be 5 until November.  She looks forward to our school time in the mornings while A has his nap.  We've done some tracing, coloring and crafts that correspond with whatever letter we're currently working on, and she even gets to use a learning app on the Kindle.  She'd probably be content to sit for hours and do the app if I let her. ;]

And in the meantime I get to geek out in the office supply section at Target.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

a snowy day

We have had storm after storm after storm this week alone.  And it's mid-late February and I think winter is just getting to everyone.  But the magic of falling snow, and fresh snow, heavy on the branches still makes me gaze in wonder.  I'll probably hate it by afternoon, but the early morning after a storm I do, truly, like snow.

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This afternoon, though, it's very warm. For February anyway. So we went out and constructed the first 'Frosty' of the season. So far every storm that we've gone out and tried to make our Z a snowman, the snow has just been fluffy and no good for packing together and rolling around the yard. So we were excited.  Little A, however, tolerates it.  He doesn't really enjoy sitting in a snowbank, and the suit is kind of bulky so he can't move much.  I did see him leaning over with his tongue out to lick the walkway.  In the picture he is just babbling and babbling loudly at me.  I wish I knew what he was saying!  But soon enough we'll understand every word and we'll try to remember what it was like when he just babbled.  I must remember to take a video of his talking.

And then we came inside, and there was cocoa made with steamed almond milk and homemade chocolate syrup.  Okay, so truthfully, I kind of hate making Z cocoa.  I always usually do, because, that's just what you're supposed to do when you come in from playing in the snow.  But she doesn't really drink it.  She plays with it.  Then she leaves it mostly full on the table and it gets cold.  So that's that.

In other news, I've been trying to muster up a blog post that's kind of a "part 2" to the post I wrote a couple weeks ago titled 'good mornings.'  I have so many thoughts and maybe at some point I'll sort them out, but for now, I just can't come up with a post that makes sense.  I understand it in my head, but on paper it's just confusing and disconnected thoughts.  What I'm trying to get at on paper is that the way I like to start my mornings, isn't the only way to have a good morning.  God has been working on my heart lately in the area of sleep issues and more importantly control over those sleep issues.  Ever since I wrote that post, A has been up around 5:30 each day.  Hilarious, right?  I think I understand what God is saying to me, and I'm in the beginning stages of letting go.  It feels good.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


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Of course melting down old crayon pieces is not new news and probably not really blog-worthy.  But it's something to do when one kid decides 5:30 am is a good time to be up and the other follows close behind.

The paper peeling was taking for-ev-er.  Then I decided to get out my veggie peeler and that helped out a bunch!  I haven't had the pleasure of washing the wax off it yet but somehow I don't think I'll mind.

I saved out all our nicer crayons and just melted the little bits of whatever was left.

My plan is for these big ones to go into my purse or the diaper bag, mostly for use during church, but for whatever reason Z has decided they're great for pretend cakes.  She stands the beeswax crayons I didn't melt down on top and pretends they have candles.

And the colors may have stained my muffin tin.  Which is a little gross.  But I never use it anyway.  I think I'll repurpose it into a "crafts only" tin.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

good mornings

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Some mornings, I wake up with my husband.  Before the sun, and before the children.  I'm able to send him off to work with a lunch I've lovingly packed and a mug of hot coffee in his hand.  Then I sit in the still, dark living room and fill myself with the Word before I'm needed to pour into two little hearts.

But most mornings, I don't even notice as Ben slips out of our bed quietly so as not to wake the baby laying cross-ways between us and makes his own lunch and coffee.  I'm usually woken up by someone climbing on top of my head and sometimes it makes me grumpy.  Sometimes it makes me grumpy to have little people needing things from me before I've even poured my coffee, let alone read my Bible.

I'm going to be striving for that first scenario.  It can be hard to drag myself out of a warm bed when I don't even feel like I've slept yet.  But I think it's worth it.  I know it's worth it.

I want to talk about the way my Jesus blesses me.  I could write a million different blog posts for all the ways we've been provided for.  And hopefully I will sit down and type out some of those stories.  Some of the ways have been BIG.  Like, oh-my-goodness-are-you-serious kind of blessings.  Other ones aren't quite so shocking, but don't make me feel any less loved by Him.  He gives good gifts.

I like pretty things.  Things you don't necessarily need, but oh, don't they look lovely?  Like blue egg trays.

A friend got ahold of me the other day and was like, "This is random but, my husband hates this thing and always takes our eggs out of it.  I thought you might like it.  Do you want it?" (Not her actual words, but you get the picture.)  And that made me feel really special.  And I did want it.  And I had had a really rough week.  And it reminded me that Jesus loves me and wants to give me good gifts.  Like pretty things.

The eggs pictured are from my aunt and uncle's backyard ducks.  I've been working on Ben for awhile on the chicken front.  He's beginning to give in. ;]  And now, with a blue egg tray, I think we need chickens.  Or ducks.  Or both.  My question to you, especially New Englanders, is, what breed(s) do you have or recommend?  Got a coop?  Free-range?  We'd love to hear your tips and suggestions as we make plans for our very own backyard foul. =]

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


I don't feel like I want to tie myself to any sort of midweek crafting check-in, but I also don't feel like I have a whole lot to post in the way of "homesteading" right now.  As the next couple months go by and we start to thaw out up here, I can think of many a thing to post about.  But for now, I'm knitting.

I'm still working away at Asher's birthday sweater.  (His birthday was 1/18, and admittedly, I didn't start it til after.)  I tend to be somewhat of a practical knitter.  Well.  I guess I would say, semi-practical.  I don't buy the cheapest of cheap yarns (which, probably would wear out sooner anyway) and I ogle over, but don't really buy the pricier yarns.  (But I do so daydream about it.)  So then, while selecting a yarn for Asher's birthday sweater - color choice must be practical as well- I chose gray.  Gray gray gray.  Neutral.  Hides stains.  Manly.  Boring.

I'm seriously craving some color!  And I'm thinking of doing some dying.  I've done it once before - with koolaid - and it came out great, but I'm thinking of using something else this time.  Have you dyed yarn?  What's your method of choice?

Friday, January 24, 2014

this moment.

{this moment} A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
. . . . . . . . . inspired by SouleMama

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

On (& off) the needles.

If you've noticed my little instagram feed widget to the right over there you probably see I post a fair amount of knitting photos.  I love the act of knitting and providing knit goods for the ones I love.  It's funny because whenever I'm knitting something I want to work on it as much as I can to finish it.  Then when it's finished I miss knitting it.  Knitter problems. ;]  Please do friend me on Ravelry if you're over there!

So far in 2014 I've knit a few small projects.  First is a honey cowl made with an absolutely gorgeous skein of yarn Ben put in my Christmas stocking.  (For those wondering it's called Fiddle Knits "Beats" the color is Forest Dweller.  I'd never heard of them but isn't it lovely?)  I agonized over the perfect project to knit with that wonderful yarn and I know I picked the right one. I LOVE my cowl.  The color is perfect and it's super comfy and goes with everything.


I posted the picture on Facebook and a friend really liked it.  So I knit her one too.  We met at our LYS (local yarn shop) on a Saturday morning and she bought the yarn and I brought it home with me.  Not a bad deal if you ask me. ;]  (This is Berroco Vintage.  An acrylic/wool blend that I like working with quite well!)


Lastly, another knit born out of my posting a picture on Facebook. ;]  I had posted a hat I knit for a Christmas order, and I got a request for a similar one.  This is Poppy.  Also knit with Berroco Vintage.

Currently on my needles is a (late!) first birthday sweater for my sweet boy. It's Abate by Alicia Plummer and I'm hoping to finish it by this weekend. I'm using Cascade 220 for this and decided to choose a nice dark color that he couldn't stain. ;] DSC01864

In other news, I'm really itching to move into our permanent bedroom and have started to do a bit of work here and there to get us in there.  I'm trying to decide if it's more of a priority to just get in there, or to do more cosmetic work to it before we bring in all our things.

Friday, January 17, 2014

this moment.

{this moment} A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
[Sometimes grainy cell phone pictures just have to do.]
 . . . . . . . . . inspired by SouleMama

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Z's Room

Our 4 year old's room is the first room that we've fully overhauled.  Well, almost.  But the transformation is amazing!

I don't actually have a true before picture, I guess I forgot to bring my camera, but when we moved in this room had pink, old, yucky, stained carpeting.

 Here's Ben and my dad working on removing the threshold so they can start laying down our new pine flooring. They did so much awesome work! You can see the stains on the sub floor from cat pee or whatever else grossness happened over the years. ;] DSC00601 
The floors are down. But the walls are still wood paneling that had been painted blue. DSC00619
Ben pulled the paneling off and voila! There was a mishmash of drywall! DSC00620
 If we had it to do over again, probably new drywall would've been purchased and hung. But instead we decided to mud and tape all the seams (Ben did) and patch every.single.little pin hole. And there were a lot. I now understand why my dad never wanted us to hang posters growing up. Jeesh. DSC01229 DSC01230 DSC01231
It took so much mud. And time. There was frustration. But just look at the result! DSC01653 DSC01655 DSC01656
I think this room is perfect for our little Z.  The antique bed and dresser were mine as a little girl, as well as the doll cradle, built by my dad.

We still need to apply a clear coat to the floors, but aren't they amazing?  The trim needs a coat of paint and really, the windows need replacing, but we're just taking things a little bit at a time.  One thing I'd really love to make for her room is a quilt for her bed.  I just need to find the courage to jump in and purchase all that fabric.  And promise myself that I would indeed press on and finish it.

One room at a time we're making this little house our own.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

What about your other blog?

   If you know us already, you might know that I used to post on a blog called {inspired}.

   "Ben and Melissa do" is a bit of an {inspired} spin-off.  After deleting an old yahoo account that was associated with my flickr (I didn't even think about it!) almost all the photos on my blog were lost.  I've decided to start fresh here and collaborate with my sweet husband.  Our intent is to use this space to bring glory to God, while documenting and sharing our adventures in homesteading, honeybees, homeschool and beyond.

More about us.