Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Ah... freshly washed eggs

Did you know that somebody had to wash poop off that gleaming batch of 12 eggs sitting in your fridge? Well, they did, and I guarantee they did not enjoy the process. We have to do the same every time we collect eggs from my dad's hens and it is downright gross. However, the difference in taste between fresh farm eggs and store-bought is absolutely worth it. Here is our latest batch - now that there are more hours of daylight the hens are back in "production mode," so we are getting about 8 eggs per day. (In the winter they shut down a bit and we're lucky to get one egg each day.) These haven't been dyed, either - that's the way they come out. Pretty beautiful!

I did buy a dozen eggs at the store this week since we want to dye some for Easter and our pre-colored eggs don't work for that type of thing. Which led me to FINALLY learn how to hard-boil an egg the correct way. Up to now I would leave the eggs in a boiling pot of water and occasionally spear one with a knife, hoping raw yolk wouldn't pour out of the hole into the bubbling water. If this didn't happen I would leave them on for a few more minutes just to make sure, then remove them from the heat. Hm. Apparently I have been doing it wrong for a long time. The whole process is much easier according to this helpful article, and this time I boiled all our eggs without incurring any steam burns. They are cooling off right now and set to be dyed tomorrow. I love Easter crafts, don't you?

Monday, March 29, 2010

I just fell in love

I just found Yangyang Pan's gorgeous paintings via Scoutie Girl, and I am in love. Like, checking-my-bank-account-to-see-how-many-I-can-buy in love. I adore her use of color and how much texture she has put into each painting. If only I had more wall space!!!

Oh, and a big thanks to Scoutie Girl for featuring my lavender sachets over the weekend! Such a great blog for finding lovely handmade things.

Little Farm Quilt

Here is the quilt I've been working on for the last few weeks. I decided to experiment by quilting it heavily, something I've never done. I really like how it turned out - the close quilting seams give the quilt a slightly nubby texture that is quite nice. Titus LOVED it - he kept rubbing his little (clean) hands all over it and smiling at me. I will say that quilting it like this took MUCH longer than usual and was a bit tedious, so I'm not sure if I will be doing it again any time soon! It's available in my shop. (Oh, and the edges of the quilt are straight - it just hung funny and kept blowing in the wind, which makes it look all wavy-edged.)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Goodbye favorite scraps...

See this darling turquoise fabric with tiny orange and white flowers on it? Isn't it DARLING?!?! I've had a last tiny piece of it living in my scrap stash waiting to be used and it finally made its way into a set of sachets. You can buy it here. Of course, I made one extra sachet for myself, too. :)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Night time quilting

A little something I'm hoping to finish in the next few evenings. The last part of making the quilt is my favorite - hand sewing the binding. So soothing.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Ahhhh... Twainie

Man, do we love Twain Harte. This time we spent the weekend at our friends' cabin which they are almost done renovating. I unsuccessfully tried to take some artsy inside photos to show you just how fantastic this place is, but due to a very sick 1 year old and pretty shoddy camera skills they all turned out terrible. So you'll just have to take my word for it - this place is gorgeous. The kitchen is just about the most wonderful place I've ever been. Jordan is a contractor and his wife Jenny has that eye for decorating that I've always envied. Very modern-cabinish. (Yes, that is totally a decorating style.)

The big boys went on various adventures leaving sick Titus and I at the cabin for most of the time. I was reminded of that fact that my own mom rarely came with my dad and us older kids when we had adventures - now I know it was probably because she was at home with one of the littler ones, administering Tylenol and reading books. But it all turned out great - I got some fun outside time with the little guy, a 2 hour nap (!), and it was a lovely, relaxing, beautiful weekend with great friends.

AND, I would love to find the inventor of both the Apple Cinnamon Cheerio and the snack trap and kiss that person square on the mouth. It is a no-fail combination that really does wonders for us non-dvd-player folks on long drives. (Doesn't this picture look like something from the 70's?)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Happy Early Weekend

This week has been a bit light on blogging for me - the weather is too beautiful to sit in front of the computer for long. We've been playing outside and planning our garden, which I hope to get started next week (late, I know!). Then we're off to Twain Harte tomorrow morning for one last play in the snow before spring officially begins. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Rescue Mission

Yep, that's my butt, complete with poopy toddler feet, rubber gloves and kitchen shears.

I was all prepared to write a riveting blog post about how Titus pooped and peed on the coffee table yesterday when fortune smiled upon me and gave me something slightly less disgusting to write about. While checking on my dad's chickens (stealing eggs from them, let's be honest) we noticed that three of the hens had cotton twine tangled around their feet and legs, tying their legs together. They were able to hobble around but not very well, and it was obvious that something had to be done. Now, before you marvel at what a swashbuckling farm gal I am, you have to know that I am deathly afraid of chickens. So is Moses, and, after today, so is Titus. But we couldn't just leave them like that, so we armed ourselves with rubber gloves, a pair of scissors and bit the proverbial bullet.
Moses was in charge of catching them (yes - less chicken touching for me), which took a long time. Even though he is scared of chickens, his pride won't let him admit this fact, so he basically ran around the coop pretending to try to catch them. He would get within 3 feet of one of the tangled hens, dramatically lunge toward her while flailing his arms above his head and shout, "Almost got her! Man, they're slippery!" I, equally unable to admit my fear, followed him around at a safe distance shouting such encouraging phrases as "don't be scared - you're way bigger than them!" and "It won't even hurt if she pecks you - you're wearing gloves!" Lies, of course, but anything to keep me from having to catch them.
While all this was going on, neglected Titus fell into a mob of curious chickens who apparently didn't think he was a human and thus didn't pay him the usual respect of darting away from him in fear of his swift movements. They just closed in closer and closer while he screamed and waved his arms around. I rescued him just before they pecked his adorable chubby body to bits, but he was traumatized. So I spent the rest of the time lying to him while Moses and I finished up our rescue mission: "See, Titus, these chickens are nice!" "Poor old chicken, we don't want anything bad to happen to you," "Look at these cute, uh, scaly feet," and so on. He ignored me and alternated crying and screaming for the rest of the time. We must have made quite a sight for the neighbors. (Though I don't care too much what they think of me because of the two who could have seen me, one of them breeds deaf dogs and the other has a horse named Zachary who she regularly curses at. I mean, people-in-glass-houses and all that.) Picture a four year old wearing baseball gloves bear-hugging a chicken which is squawking and trying to peck his cheek. The four year old is screaming "I'm about to drop her" and his mother, wearing fluorescent pink kitchen gloves, is trimming string from the chicken's feet saying things like "What a nice little chicken" in a tremulous voice while a terrified toddler clutches her leg and screams bloody murder.

We were finally victorious. We caught each hen and untangled their feet without injuring any of them, and more importantly, not being eaten alive ourselves. It was quite a confidence boost - kind of like the first time you ride a really scary roller coaster and then feel like you could do anything. The adrenaline rush is pretty great. Yes, we are the awesomest non-farmy farmers on earth.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Teach your kids to give

Moses' preschool is doing the cutest thing this month and I thought I'd pass the idea along to you. They have adopted another preschool in Mexico whose children are all from an impoverished area. After telling them about the kids (Moses is still amazed that they never get new shoes), the teachers had each child make a "giving bank" and sent them home with a giving calendar. Each day has a fun little activity to determine how much money to put into the bank.

What a fun way to teach our children to give generously! In my experience, young children are naturally quite generous. Though not always willing to share toys with their younger brother (ahem), helping other kids in genuine need is something that sparks their generosity as well as their creativity. I think it is wonderful that Moses' school is tapping into this at such a young age and teaching our kids that they are very fortunate and able to help other people in need. Plus Moses loves doing this - I think his favorite so far was counting every toy in the house and dropping 119 cents into the bank. (I'm sure we have more toys than that... I just got tired of counting. And appalled by how many toys we have.)

So why not create your own giving calendar? There are so many people in need here in our own country, as well as throughout the world. All you have to do is choose a cause, make a bank (ours is an old yogurt container) and a calender, and get to work! This could be adapted for kids of any age, and as you can see, it doesn't require much money at all. Moses is just using spare change that he finds lying around the house. I'd LOVE to hear if you decide to do this as well as any other ideas for teaching kids to give to others!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Behold my $6 tomato

There really isn't much more to say, other than I will be planting some heirloom tomato seeds this year, and saving myself about $17,000.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Make your own stickers

Did you know that you can buy "sticker paper"? It is sold at any office supply store, somewhere near the printer paper, and is exactly what it sounds like: 8x11 sheets of white sticker paper. We spent a long time making our own stickers the other day and both Moses and I had SO much fun! Now we have a huge supply of home made stickers, many of which have been stuck to either Titus or the toilet while I wasn't looking.

Monday, March 8, 2010

I don't want to share

Up to this point in my life I've managed to surround myself strictly with people who do NOT like grapefruit. This works out great for me, because I don't have to share whatever grapefruit I may find myself in possession of. I think I could eat grapefruit for every single meal for the rest of my life. I LOVE it. But now there is Titus (wonderful, of course), and he likes grapefruit. I find myself in a situation I have NEVER been in, that of having a grapefruit vulture in the house. If he so much as hears the faint clatter of the grapefruit spoon as I try to secretly ease it out of the drawer, he comes "running" (still working on that... it's more like frantic fast walking interspersed with falling down) over with his mouth open. Like a huge grapefruit-loving baby bird clutching a miniature car in each hand, he expects to be rapidly fed every other bite (which, as you know, is not easy since eating a grapefruit is an art in itself), as well as at least half of the juice I am able to squeeze out after the fact. *sigh* Seriously, though, my grapefruit and I don't even stand a chance against this cuteness:

Friday, March 5, 2010


Among other good things, like going for a run with both boys (happily) squished into the double stroller and an unexpected visit with friends, today contained one hour of precious time with Moses. As lunch began he discovered a book we didn't even know we had, and we spent the time eating sandwiches and enjoying some calm together. So nice when life slows down unexpectedly to allow these moments. Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

A Tea Moment for me

Yesterday my husband arrived home and plopped a package on the table - something for me! That I didn't order and wasn't expecting! It was from my cousin Jen, basically my surrogate sister, who runs the amazing blog An International Tea Moment. A while back she hosted a tea tasting party and named the best teas of 2009 in various categories. (I know, she is so cool.) She also did a giveaway (which I didn't win) and then sent some of the left-overs to me! Hooray!

My history with Jen and tea goes way way back, before either of us had every tasted the stuff, to my mom. Mom would drink a cup of tea every evening after getting us kids off to bed. I have so many memories of her sitting in her rocking chair wearing her slippers, a book on her lap, both hands wrapped around a delicate fancy tea cup, enjoying a moment to herself. She always insisted that tea tasted better out of a fancy tea cup, and would NEVER have imagined microwaving the water used to steep. When I was in junior high and Jen was a super cool teenager, she visited us and my mom took us to tea. It was love for both of us, and Jen has since become a connoisseur.

I really don't know much about tea at all except that I love it and it reminds me of my mom. And Jen. So of course, this little package in the mail has been a bright spot in the week. I am still trying to decide which one to try first, and what fancy cup to put it in. (Oh, and don't you love the stationary?)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Thanks Design Mom!

You GUYS! Today Gabrielle over at Design Mom posted my birth story and I couldn't be more thrilled. I read her blog every day and am so inspired by her aesthetic and practical ways of involving kids in creating and helping design their own spaces. If you are here for the first time, welcome! And thank you so very much for all your kind comments on the Design Mom post as well as here. It is a wonderful thing to put a vulnerable part of yourself out for the world to see and have it received in such a nurturing manner. You are all fantastic! Thanks Gabrielle!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Don't you just love it? Moses' little airplane stuffed full of finger puppets was so colorful and cute I had to take a picture of it. And then the play mat I was finishing ended up matching the furry flight perfectly. So funny how that happens.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Shark Fishing!

Well, it actually happened: my four year old son went shark fishing. In the ocean. The amazing part was not that he and daddy went, because the opportunity to go fishing with our friend who has a commercial fishing license has been available for a long time. The miracle is that I allowed them to go. I, who have nightmares about being eaten by sharks or other unknown deep-sea-dwelling creatures on a weekly basis, allowed my child to be placed on a vessel in the middle of the ocean and reel these beasts up from the depths. (Dramatic enough for you?) I was a nervous wreck the entire time they were gone, and matters weren't helped at all when I read that there was a "tsunami alert" for the entire west coast due to the Chilean earthquake. Of course, the one day in his life that my son is on the sea is the one day that there is a plausible chance of being drowned by a freak wave.

With all that said, I am SO glad I let them go. Number one highlight: nobody drowned or was eaten. Also, they had such a good time and Moses caught a bat ray (which is on its way to a zoo in Phoenix). He was thrilled with the entire experience and I'm glad I didn't let my fears get in the way of him making such a wonderful memory. Isn't is so hard being a mom?