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.

DSC01898 DSC01902 DSC01907
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


DSC01887 DSC01888 DSC01889 DSC01890 DSC01891
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

DSC01879 DSC01885 DSC01884
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?