Wednesday, March 23, 2011

In the sewing room...

Aaaah, spring *must* be coming because the girls and I have been inspired to sew, sew, sew.  Well, that and garden, but we can't do *too* much gardening yet here, so it's back to sewing.

The boys were *so* excited to show me that some of the bushes in our woods are beginning to leaf out! Yay!
And there is now green in my herb garden as well...
The chives are up too!
Who knows, perhaps this will be the year that I actually use my herbs!  Hope springs eternal....

But I digress.  Back to sewing.  This past weekend Abbie decided to salvage a favorite pair of jeans
and turn them into a skirt!  I think it turned out so cute!
It was really easy... she simply cut off the legs and then attached the skirt on top.  For the skirt, Abbie sewed three strips of fabric together, then gathered each "set" of three fabrics.  That way it is not quite so "poufy" as it would have been if each layer were a little larger than the layer above it and each layer gathered.  Clear as mud?

There is plenty of swirl and twirl though.  I think she did a great job.  Don't you?

The warm weather inspired me to get out the quilt top that I began last spring.  I decided that it needed some extra blocks.  Bigger is always better, don't you think?  (I don't want to hear any comments about big rabbits, either!)  (wink!)
So I added the green sashing and the blocks around the edges... and now it is too big for the backing and batting that I purchased for it.  So yes, sometimes bigger isn't better.  ; )
That's ok though.  I'll just have to make another quilt so I can use the back and batting that I purchased, don't you think?

Here's a little more green for you... just 'cause I figured that if it makes me happy to see it, it must make you happy too!
And some early spring blue sky...

sigh.  Sending happy spring thoughts your way,

Monday, March 21, 2011

Around here...

I think spring is really, really arriving here! I was able to ride 17 miles outside on my bike both yesterday and today.... it was wonderful! Today it was sunny and close to 80~ I was actually almost too hot. That was a nice problem for a change.

I've been thinking about blogging lately. There are so many bloggers that I admire. There are profound spiritual blogs, photography blogs, decorating blogs, running/triathlon blogs, homeschooling blogs, homesteading blogs, quilting blogs, and the list just goes on. It seems to me that the blogs that are most interesting to read are those that primarily focus on one topic. One topic that the author is most passionate about. My problem? I don't really have just one topic that I'd enjoy writing about day in and day out month after month. I think that I have tried, at times, to "be" the other bloggers that I admire so much.

That simply won't work now, will it? It may have taken me 47 years, but I have come to the conclusion that I must simply, and unapologetically be me. I'm sure that some people will be disappointed that I don't write very insightful articles about parenting or homeschooling or any other vast number of topics. To be quite honest, I most likely will touch on those topics at one time or another, but I tend to be more of a shallow meandering creek than a deep river. (The deep river would be Mr. JoyfulDADofmany~ we balance each other nicely!)

So consider yourself warned! You simply won't know what you'll find here from day to day! I have many varied interests. I guess the revelation for me today is that my "many and varied interests" are ok.
 ; )

This morning while working on school with the younger boys Timmy called out "Look Mother! Look at my dinosaur!"

How cool is that? My super-intelligent 4 year old figured out how to hang his dinosaur from my antique table! "Timmy! That's so cool! Your dinosaur is climbing up on the table! I'll bet he is proud of himself!"

At that point one of my other, shall we say more negative children walked in, saw the dinosaur and commented, "Oh no! Timmy look! Your dinosaur is falling!"

We all had a good laugh about our different perspectives and the need to, in life, choose to have a positive outlook on things. It's a challenge sometimes, isn't it? I think though that the more often I choose thankfulness and joy, the more that those character qualities become habitual for me. I very much long to demonstrate that for my children.

And on other fronts....
Guess what it looks like I'm going to get? Is this not the absolutely cutest rabbit ever?

These are Flemish Giant Rabbits~ and I think I'm in love!

Tom gave me the ok to purchase a Flemish Giant rabbit with some of the money that we earned from selling some of my Nubian dairy goat babies. My plan is to get a doe in the next few days (I found someone nearby who breeds them) and then find an unrelated buck so we can breed them! In the past we have raised both meat rabbits here on our little homestead (we never did really get used to killing such cute animals), and angora rabbits (beautiful, but they required way too much brushing for a busy homeschooling mom). These Flemish Giants should be really, really fun. They are truly "gentle giants," love being petted and held, etc. I'm really excited!

Hope you are blessed with many happy pansy faces on your porch this spring!  These make me smile every time I pass them!

Oh!  Before I forget, we are almost drowning in both fresh eggs (from our free-range chickens), and milk (from our lovely Nubian dairy goats).  If you live in the area and are interested in purchasing either item email or call me, k?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Spring's coming...

This is what we awoke to this past Monday!  As I prepared to take a photo of my snow-laden crabapple tree, a small flock of Robins alighted there!  What fun!  I did feel sorry for them though.  Fortunately for them, the snow didn't even last the day.
We are all doing fine here~ a few sweet friends have contacted me recently to check and be sure all is ok since I haven't posted here recently.  I am fine, just busy!  My ankle is healing nicely~ I'm back to swimming, using an elliptical machine and riding my bike on a trainer.  I *think* I'm going to get to take my triathlon bike outside for a ride tomorrow.  That will be so fun!  I was grateful that I could workout as much as I have since I didn't want to loose the (small amount of) running endurance that I had built up after recovering from my hip surgery last fall.  Nonetheless, exercising indoors by myself is not nearly as fun as being outside with my family.  I can hardly wait for my first real outdoor run with Tom and the children!

In spite of the small bouts of snow, spring is really arriving here!  Check out my daylillies!  LOVE seeing green again!
The children and I planted five of our large raised bed gardens with sugar snap peas yesterday.  Hannah, Abbie and I are busy planning some garden renovations for this spring.  The herb garden is coming back to life as well... chives are emerging, etc.  Yay!
I have become a big fan of Google Calendar the past few months.  This free service allows you to create (and selectively share) as many calendars as you like!  I have created separate calendars for:

  • Family events/appointments
  • Tom's work schedule
  • Home maintenance tasks
  • A perpetual gardening calendar (telling me when to start different seeds, set out seedlings, prune fruit trees, etc~ all set to repeat each year for me!)
  • Birthdays/Anniversaries
  • Menu Planning
  • Training Schedule (training planned out for triathlons that I have signed up for, plus a half-marathon that I hope to be able to run later this year)
  • Tasks: I actually use this as a checklist of when our bills are due~ utilities, mortgage, etc.  As soon as a bill arrives in my inbox or in the mail I enter the pertinent info on the date it is due as a "task."  That way, when Tom is paid every two weeks, I just look to see what is due during the next two weeks, pay those items and then check them off of my list.  Sweet!
Google calendar allows you to "turn off" or "turn on" calendars at will.  This is so helpful!  Most days I only have the "birthdays/anniversaries," "family events and appointments," "menu planning," and "Tom's work schedule," and my "training" calendars "showing."  I like to turn on my gardening calendar and my tasks calendar (our bills) individually.  Make sense?

If you were more organized than me (and more committed to regular blogging), you could pre-plan your blog posts in it's own calendar as well!  Cool, huh?  

In addition, Google Calendar can be accessed on your iPad, iPhone or Android so you can take your schedule with you when you are out.

Google calendar is seriously a busy mom's right hand helper!

Do you use Google Calendar?  I'd love to hear how you use it~ I'm always looking for new ways to organize and be more efficient!