Springtime Scenes

It’s been raining here a lot lately- it is spring in the Pacific Northwest, after all.

However at some point almost every day, there are breaks in the cloudiness and the sun peeks her head out.

Just enough time to pick some dandelions…

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and to do some cool tricks in the grass.

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The flowers are blooming so beautifully!

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There are baby cows next door and on the surrounding farms. (I know, they’re called calves. I just like saying baby cows better.)

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The kids got to see one being born last week- they thought it was the coolest thing ever. I missed it, so we don’t have any pictures. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ ย We were taking care of some friend’s cows, and the one day I didn’t go help feed them, a baby was born right in front of everyone!

How is it looking around your house? Is it still looking like winter, or are there flowers springing up everywhere?

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Happy Spring! ๐Ÿ™‚

We Have Chickens!! (again)

Yesterday, the chicks came in at the local farm store and we just had to go and get a few.

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Or…

Seventeen.

Yep. Seventeen.

We have the chicks under a red bulb heat lamp to help them stay calm and not peck each other.

We have the chicks under a red bulb heat lamp to help them stay calm and not peck each other. And of course, to keep them warm. They have to be at 95 degrees for the first week.

We planned on getting an even dozen- with us buying six and my mom and dad buying six, but then my mom (who loves babies of any kind) decided that if we ever move out and take our six chickens with us, she still needed a good-sized brood so she wanted ten chicks instead. And then we miscounted and an extra chick somehow made it into the box.

So we have seventeen baby chicks and boy, are they adorable!

As far as breeds go, we have Australorp, Buff Orpington,ย Rhode Island Red and Barred Rock chicks- all great laying breeds and some are dual-purpose for meat birds as well, although I don’t think we’ll be eating any of these. Unless like six turn out to be roosters or something.

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Ethan holding either an Australorp or Barred Rock- they’re hard to tell apart at this age!

We made sure to get organic feed so that we’ll have healthy chicks that haven’t been fed GMO grains and in turn, we’ll have healthy eggs once they start laying in about five months.

I’m happy because the feed is semi-local. It’s from Canada, but in British Columbia, which is only a few hours away and as the chicks get bigger and are able to eat larger grains, we’ll buy feed that is unprocessed, organic whole grain feed and is from Bellingham, WA; only two hours away! So we’re supporting local businesses as well.

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As soon as the chicks are big enough, we’ll let them free range around the yard in a semi-enclosed space, to gobble up bugs and grass and get great nutrition the way God intended- from nature! We have a lot of hawks and eagles around here, so the chicks will have to be under netting or chicken wire most of the time to stay safe. We’re hoping the dogs will also help protect the flock from getting eaten. So far they’re doing pretty well with the chicks, although Daisy tried to pick one up in her mouth. She wants to mommy them, but she’s not too gentle about it! Our dog, Lucy is really protective of the chicks- she remembers the smell from when we had our chickens in Memphis and knows not to eat them. Bailey, the puppy doesn’t seem to care about them. She took one look and then walked away.

The kids sure are having fun with the chicks, they want to go check on them all the time, but we make sure the chickies have enough down time that they don’t get over handled and the kids are not allowed to go in to see them without an adult. I don’t mind checking on the chicks, I think I’m having just as much fun with them as the children! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Maybe I”ll do an upcoming post about how to take care of baby chicks, for those who would like to get a small flock and are not sure how to start. I’m by no means an expert, but this is our second time around with baby chicks and I’ve found lots of great resources on chicken raising. I’ll include some links and tips to get you started, at least. ๐Ÿ™‚ Leave a comment if you think that is a good idea.

Hope you have a great Thursday!

Our Life in Pictures

Hey, everyone!
It’s been a bit since I did an informative post, mostly because I’ve been pretty busy lately, but hopefully later this week I’ll have something to share . For now, here are some pictures of my beautiful everyday life:

My dad brought home a bunch of branches from a tree job he did, and this is how he and my brother (in the excavator) got them out of the back of the truck. Pretty smart, I think! It sure was cool to watch!

My dad brought home a bunch of branches from a tree job he did, and this is how he and my brother (in the excavator) got them out of the back of the truck. Pretty smart, I think! It sure was cool to watch!

My current knitting project: a scarf for my mama. I hope I get it done before it gets too warm to wear it!

My current knitting project: a scarf for my mama. I hope I get it done before it gets too warm to wear it!

Eliana and I made cookies Saturday morning while Hubby and Ethan were at a men's breakfast.
Eliana and I made cookies Saturday morning while Hubby and Ethan were at a men’s breakfast.

Cookies! (my mom actually made these ones)

Cookies! (my mom actually made these ones)

Yes, we have an indoor clothesline. Because we have lots of wool clothing. And it rains so much we always have things to hang up to dry!

Yes, we have an indoor clothesline. Because we have lots of wool clothing. And it rains so much we always have things to hang up to dry!

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My to-do list today. I can cross off "blog post" now! :)

My to-do list today. I can cross off “blog post” now! ๐Ÿ™‚

Books from the library. We go about once a week, and the kids love it!

Books from the library. We go about once a week, and the kids love it!

My fabric stash. I can't wait to make something from that fabric on the top! Don't know what I"m going to make yet though.

My fabric stash. I can’t wait to make something from that fabric on the top! Don’t know what I”m going to make yet though.

Oranges and grapefruit are on sale right now. They're a little bit of sunshine in the rainy days!

Oranges and grapefruit are on sale right now. They’re a little bit of sunshine in the rainy days!

We had ย a lovely weekend full of bonfires, pruning bushes, easy dinners and lots of sitting by the fire reading. I hope you have a great week!!

Friends, Firehouse and Fiesta

On Saturday, our family drove a couple hours north to visit some friends.

Laura and I have been friends since I was 14 and she was 15; we’ve seen each other through high school drama and written letters to each other for years ( yes, with real paper and everything!), been in each other’s weddings and now are enjoying the times when our families can get together! ย We get some girl time, the hubbys can hang out and Laura’s kids Zeb and Lydia can play and become friends with Ethan and Eliana. I feel so blessed to have such a sister-friend; God has truly given me a wonderful gift in her.

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A picture of Me (left) and Laura (right) from 1999.
We were 15 and 16.

Aah! 1999 seems so long ago! Oh wait. It was. hee hee. ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyway…

So, the drive north is BEAUTIFUL; with sweeping fields,

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foggy foothills,

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gorgeous farms

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and of course on a clear day like Saturday; Mt. Baker.

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Someday I’d love to actually goย up on the mountain and explore. That would be fun!ย Seriously, ya’ll. It feels like you’re in a movie or something. The majesty just blows you away.

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Anyway, we visited at the house and the kids caught chickens and ran around and played (they really miss our chickens!), then we went to the beach and found some cool creatures.

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It was COLD so we only stayed for a few minutes, until our fingers and noses were feeling numb and the wind was blowing straight through our coats to chill us to the bone.

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Then…

We went to the fire station.

Laura’s adventurous hubby Bryan is a volunteer fireman and was kind enough to show us around and let the kids wear his gear. ย Ethan (my 5 year old) LOVES firemen and fire trucks and is convinced he is a fireman and will live in a fire house someday, so this was a big deal for E. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Bryan telling Zeb and Ethan about the tools firemen use.

He had SO much fun! The other kids did too; it was pretty cool even for us adults, I must admit. I’ve never seen the inside of a fire station, where the firemen hang out and watch tv and cook and sleep, so this was neat.

The inside of the station honestly reminded me of a small college dorm…with little rooms with a simple twin bed and a computer in each bedroom, then a large common room with a tv and kitchen. I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t a fireman pole to slide down. I guess they don’t do that anymore?
And the alarm for a fire isn’t super loud, like in the movies. It’s more of a tone that chimes throughout the station.

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Ethan looks pretty happy here. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Bryan holding Eliana and Lydia

When we’d toured the entire station, played in the trucks, talked about fire safety and not to be afraid of a fireman if you see him in your house and saw all of the fire hoses, we went back to hang out at Bryan and Laura’s for a while, then they surprised us by taking us out to dinner at a delicious Mexican restaurant. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten out with another family with kids- it went fairly well, considering there were 4 pretty bouncy kiddos. ๐Ÿ™‚ And did I mention it was delicious? Usually when we eat out for Mexican, I just wish I’d stayed home and cooked our own food because ours is better, but this was really good. Maybe we just usually eat a crappy Mexican restaurants.

So that was our trip! It was so much fun, such a relaxing Saturday with dear friends. ย I hope you had a great weekend!

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Lydia and Eliana had so much fun giggling together! They were hilarious.

Fabric “Tea” Bags

My daughter loves her pretend tea set.

She got it for her 3rd birthday back in November and she and it have been inseparable since.

Playing tea set always involves lots of water being poured from one cup to another, with some inevitably ending up on the floor. Do we discourage this? No. We just put a towel underneath and let her have a blast. ย Little girls need their tea time!

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I saw an adorable little project on Pinterestย  the other day, and even though I though that Eliana wouldn’t actually use them for tea (since there’s a lot of water involved and I’d rather not have these little gems get soaking wet) I thought I’d still make them because they are so darn cute! I actually didn’t even go to the website, I just looked at the picture and figured I could do it and went to my sewing machine.

Fabric Tea Bags!!

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Not filled with tea, of course; just with batting.

But they’re super easy to make, so I thought I’d share.

First, decide how many tea bags you want to make.
I made four since Eliana has four tea cups.

(Although in the pictures there are only 3 because I ran out of thread on my bobbin and didn’t feel like winding another one because it was already really late at night and I figured I should go to bed instead of sewing into the wee hours.)

Cut out a few little rectangles, and fold them right sides together and sew up the sides, leaving the top open.

This is the last tea bag, where I ran out of bobbin thread. Sew on both sides, not just part of one. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Turn inside out, fill with a smidgen of batting, then fold the raw edges down, insert a ribbon into the top, sew across the top.

Then, if you want a tea “tag” take a few tiny squares of fabric, sew them together with the ribbon sandwiched in the middle.

And you have yourself an adorable pretend tea bag!

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I think these could make super cute Christmas ornaments too, if you made the tea bag string a loop so you could hang it over the Christmas tree.

Now, go make a few and enjoy a tea party with your little one!

If you haven’t entered my giveaway for some Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil, go do it! Giveaway ends January 27th at midnight!

A Trip to the Mountains

A few days ago my parents had to go over the mountains to pick some elk meat that my dad had dropped by the processor after getting his elk last month, and the kids and I got to go along. We’d been cooped up in the house for a few days and were starting to go a little stir crazy, so this was the perfect opportunity to get out of the house and have a good time.

On the ferry deck
                                                                                 

                 

The view from the ferry towards Everett
Ellie looking carefully down at the water

The tallest mountains had a dusting of snow on them. ๐Ÿ™‚

We had so much fun!
We picked up the elk meat at Owen’s Brother’s, then went and visited Teanaway, which is a valley just over the ridge from Cle Elum. It’s gorgeous, and I grew up camping there with my family nearly every year.

There are a bunch of ranches with cute farmhouses and pretty barns, gorgeous views of the mountains and  more often than not you will find wild turkeys, deer or elk grazing in the meadows along with horses or cows.

At the campground we got out and explored and it was so much fun to see the kids have fun running around playing where I spent so many fall days riding bikes, climbing trees and swimming in the river.

The fall leaves were just gorgeous!! 

Teanaway River

More pretty yellow leaves

The kids found a bouncy log and had fun playing on it 

We walked across this log to get to the other side of the river.
 The kids thought that was SO cool!
I thought it was a little scary, but still cool. 

This is “The Shoe Tree”. For whatever reason, people have been putting shoes on this tree for probably 20 years.
 It’s just a big tree at one of the campsites that’s become a novelty. ๐Ÿ™‚ 

We headed for home as the sun sank behind the hills, looking forward to next spring when it’s warm enough to go camping again and to experience the beauty and adventure Teanaway has to offer. ๐Ÿ™‚

Those Days

You know those days when you just can’t seem to get anything done?

When you want to put some chicken in the crockpot for dinner but you have to keep running to the other end of the house to referee the kids and keep them from putting twist ties in each other’s hair and wrecking each other’s lego creations, then you just get back into the kitchen and remember that you need to switch the laundry, then another fight breaks out and you try for two hours to get that darn chicken into the crockpot but are STILL unsuccessful because you keep getting interrupted??
Oh, and there are no clean dishes so you have to start washing those just to clean a place on the counter so you can put the crockpot where it will reach the electrical outlet?

I am having one of those days today.
I sure can’t do this mom thing on my own!

I am so thankful that I read this verse in my quiet time with the Lord this morning, because I desperately do need HIM:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.”
Proverbs 3:5,6

I need God’s direction today so I don’t go crazy with stress and impatience! My path today has been erratic and twisty and full of stress, just trying to get through the day. Nothing super important has happened, yet the day has just been really hard!
It’s amazing how when we take our eyes off of our problems (however big or small they may seem or actually be) and put our eyes on Jesus, what a peace He gives us and our paths just seem to straighten out and slow down. When we rest in God, everything falls into place because we let Him do His job, instead of us trying to do it for him.

If you’re having a bad day, or overwhelmed with problems, just take a few minutes to fix your eyes on Jesus, and remember that He died on the cross for your sins and rose again for YOU, and that if you let Him, he will make your paths straight, no matter how crooked they may be. It kinda puts things in perspective.

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or faint hearted.”
Hebrews 12: 3,4

I feel so much more peaceful after taking some time to ponder and surrender my day to God.
Oh, and I did finally get my chicken in the crockpot. ๐Ÿ™‚

KCWC- Day 5

So last week was Kid’s Clothing Week Challenge- and I sewed three out of the seven days.

It was a busy week and I just didn’t get to put in as much time as I wanted to, but I did make this cute little skirt for Eliana out of the same fabric as I made Ethan’s lounge pants.
I’m calling it, “The Schoolgirl Skirt”.

It has a nice drop waist with pleats and plenty of room to grow lengthwise, with an elastic waist so its nice and comfy.
I’m thinking of making her a few others in knit fabric for next summer. Making skirts is so much fun because they don’t take long to sew and they usually are fairly easy projects. Unless your fabric gets stuck in the feed dogs or the tension gets messed up or something. 
Thankfully that didn’t happen with this skirt, but it sure has happened on other ones!
She just HAD to wear her “pony hat” for the photo shoot!

Precious little toes
Hope you’re having a good week so far, I’m going to be writing up a few posts on foraging wild for rose hips and what to do with them after you pick them in the next few weeks, so stay tuned if that sounds remotely interesting to you. ๐Ÿ˜‰

A Fun Fall Craft: Leaf Creatures!

 A few days ago I was browsing Pinterest and saw an idea that I just knew the kids would love:

Leaf Creatures!!

The website linked to Pinterest was just a photo, but these are so easy to make you don’t need instructions. I’m going to give them to you anyway. ๐Ÿ˜‰

1.) Gather some leaves.

2.) Find some googly eyes. Varying sizes are best.

3.) Glue or stick the googly eyes to the leaves and then use either popsicle sticks or, if you don’t have any of those, regular sticks to make a little handle for your kiddos to parade the leaf creatures around. I didn’t want to wait for the glue to dry on the sticks, so I just used some twine to tie the sticks to the stem of the leaf.

Bam.
Done!

They are SO cute!
You could even go crazy and make them have mouths, but we didn’t have the supplies for that. I like them with just eyes.

So go find some fall leaves and have fun!!!
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