Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tuesday Tallies & Kid's Organization

As you can see, this week was a little more busy than usual.. only 6 puffs completed.  My favorite of this bunch is the one in the upper left had corner - I'll have to make sure that's somewhere in the middle when I sew all these together :o)
 My sister-in-law sent me a photo of a chore box.  I thought it was such a great idea that I created one for our kids here!
 When she sent me the photo, I quickly put it on my to do list and it just sat there.  Well...earlier this week I wanted to mop the floor and the amount of kid's stuff that I would have to pick up just to start this job seemed daunting.  I realized that sometimes I get frustrated and demoralized because to complete any task there are several steps of "clearing" that need to happen first.  I guess you can imagine what happened next....the floor did not get mopped, but this box was born.
 Then I created the chores.  I kind of just walked around the house and wrote down things that needed to be done.
 Then I typed them up, cut them apart, and folded them.  There were several more sheets than the ones above and now that I have been able to think about it more I have quite a few other "chores" that I have added.  There are also a couple of "free pass" tags in there as well.
 The basket for picking chores.  I hold it just above eye level so there is no trying to pick a certain job.
 Just love it....
This is our box that first day.  One of my sons had all of his shoes in there!  Books, bags, jackets, and a broken toy (it needed to be won back so it could be thrown away).  The kids worked diligently - all of them had things in there - and pretty soon the box was empty.

It has been a few days now and I have not had to add anything to the box.  There has been an unexpected upside to this, the kids are going around every evening to pick up their things (that's not unexpected) and while they are doing that, when they spot something that belongs to a sibling they are either picking it up for them, or calling that kid to pick it up.  It has fostered a general working together and taking care of each other (this is the unexpected part!)

I'll keep you posted on how this continues to work (or not work).  The kid's "To Do" list from last week is still working fabulously.  They get up and it is almost a race to see who can move the clothes pins from one side of their board to the other.  The big test will be if this plan will be workable once school starts and we don't have as much free time.

Check out Carole's for more Tuesday Tallies and check out 5 minutes for mom for more Tackle it Tuesday projects.  These are great sources of inspiration for me :o)

Monday, July 30, 2012

Mothering Monday

Today I was reading a post by Lydia Will that made me sit back and think about things.
 Most of our summer days tend to look like those in this post.  We spend lots of time with family.  My father-in-law, cousins, brother and sister-in-laws. and I feel complete.
 There is no better feeling for me than to be surrounded by family.
I love that my husband and I can have this time right now to enjoy all of it!

However, there are some challenges when we all get together.  My niece and nephew usually come to visit for a good chunk of the summer.  They are fabulous and it is always so fun to see everyone pick up where they left off - no awkwardness - just back to the basics of having fun together.  EXCEPT.....that a couple of my kids argue over my niece.  Age wise she is right in between them so she looks up to my older daughter, but loves to play with the younger one.  My two girls have very different interests and are very strong minded - so when deciding what game to play or what scenario to play out in a pretend game, there is conflict and it usually ends in tears for one of them.  I am totally at a loss on how to handle this.....any ideas?

Friday, July 27, 2012

Small Finishes

I have two rather small finishes this week.  Actually I finished them a little bit ago, but forgot to share!
 I still find dishcloths fun to knit.  They are small and easy to do and we use them ALL the time.
These are slated for the kid's baths.  They love to use the dishcloths (maybe I should call them bath cloths?) that I make as wash cloths.  

Here where we live, there are only 2 1/2 weeks left until the kids start school again.  How did the summer fly by so quickly???  I am of two minds on this - part of me is going to enjoy a little bit of me time again.  I will enjoy being quiet and having some space to think my own thoughts without being interrupted 100 time a day, but most of me is a little sad.  We have had a great time this summer - hanging out together, swimming, hiking, going to the park, doing fun art projects, reading together, and so much more.  We also have an entering senior in high school and I think this is what is really hitting me - our last year together before she leaves for college.  I am so proud of her, but I am going to miss her terribly - Our 7 year old keeps taking pictures of her so that he can "be with her when she is not here".  I just want to keep hugging her!!

WOW!!  Enough of that!!  I will just take it a day at a time and have fun with her now :o)

See more lovely projects at Tami's and Wonder Why Gal.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Berry Picking

Over the weekend we decided to go berry picking.  We haven't done this in ages and the kids LOVE picking berries!!
 The 4 younger kids decided to go on ahead - our 7 year old wanted to ride :o)  What are good big brothers to do?
 We spent several hours just picking Olallieberries and Black Berries.
 After eating, I am sure, pounds and pounds of berries, we left with 10 pounds of berries.  Lots and lots were consumed in the car on the way home.
 Some made it into this pie.  I am not a very good pie maker - it tasted good, but kind of fell apart when we cut into it.
 Some made it into these yummy muffins...
doesn't this look perfect! and some of the berries are still in the fridge.  Quick, I better make some more muffins before all the berries disappear!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Weaving & Reading

These are placemats hot off my smaller loom.  They need to be cut apart and then they need their hems.    There is even a potholder in there!  I love weaving!
 Still reading this book.  I am thinking I was made for a bigger plot of land and a more simple life.....this totally appeals to me.....growing most of my own vegetables and fruits, having a few hens for homegrown eggs....of course I would need to be vegetarian because I would never be able to eat the pets :o)
I have several more books like this that I took out from the library and am enjoying them greatly.  I have all kinds of things growing.  I found this great site called Sprout Robot where you plug in your zip code and it will tell you what you can grow and when to start - so cool.  I now have more seeds to start growing!

Take a look at Tami and Ginny's blogs to see more great things people are working on.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Hexi Puffs and Kid Chore Challenge

My weekly hexi puff update - 14 this week.  I'm not quite sure how this got done, since I feel we have been busier than ever - we had camps, dentist and orthodontic checkups, orchestra "stuff", and....well the list is endless!!
 I really like these color combinations and am working up the courage to start sewing them together.
 I really like these little ones that look like they have hearts all over them.  I learned a new technique with these - how to knit holding the yarns in both hands - one in the right and one in the left - definitely hard to do!  The tension is still not right, but I am working on it and am so happy to be learning something that I have wanted to know how to do for a long time.
My Tackle It Tuesday Project

Lately, we have been having a few challenges with getting the kids to do their chores.  They "forget" or they "don't have time" or any manner of excuses.  I saw this idea on Pinterest the other day and the lightbulb went one.  Literally, I heard a "ding" in my head!!  I sat down with the kids - all 5 - and we talked about the importance of chores and teamwork within a family.  How we all work together to keep ourselves and our home safe and organized and that we are all in charge of taking care of each other.  It was a great talk - not the kind where I lecture them and they roll their eyes - but one where they were totally engaged and had some great input.  I introduced this idea from Pinterest and they were completely on board.  The lists were created by them and I wrote them on clothes pins.  Then we made door hangers out of the back of some empty cereal boxes and clipped them on.  Every morning they start out with their complete list on the "To Do" side, and as they finish their work (we call it work here - and all of us have work), they move the clip to the "Done" side.  We'll see how it works in the long run, but for now they are all excited to move those clips!!  Hopefully this will decrease the amount of nagging from mom!

Head over to Gingerbread Girl for more Tuesday tallies and over to 5 minutes for mom for more Tackle It Tuesday Projects.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Works in Progress

This is some of my current knitting (in addition to the hexi puffs!)
 In true fashion, this little scarf came with me on my vacation and stayed put in the bottom of my knitting bag.  Well.....by the time we came home, the needle had fallen out of the stitches and a few had unraveled - this particular scarf is now in a pile of things that need to be "fixed" before I can continue with it :o)  The books are all about homesteading - they have tons of great information on growing your own food and creative ideas of how to do it in relatively small spaces.  I am totally enjoying them.
 A few weeks ago we moved our patio table and chairs to the front of our home.  We created a little barrier/wall with half wine barrels and now have a very nice place to sit and eat our meals.  You can usually find us out there for lunch and dinner.
 Each barrel holds a different vine/bush - we have Bougainvillea, Red Raspberries, Blackberries (which have tons of fruit and the kids keep eating them as we walk by) and a Pink Jasmine.  When they have all grown in, it will offer us a little more privacy.
 In each barrel, near the front, we have planted carrot seeds - just around the perimeter of the front half.
 Hopefully we will get tons and tons of carrots.
 And....more carrots :o)
 This is our little plot on the side of our driveway.  There are two crookneck squash, two zucchini, one eggplant, one artichoke (that I don't think is going to make it), two celery, and the rows have more carrots.  Can you tell we love carrots??
 The celery is being grown from the bottoms of celery that I bought at the grocery store.  Another pinterest idea.
 These are potatoes.  I researched growing potatoes from potatoes that had been purchased and there were basically two schools of thought.  The first was to put the potatoes in a bucket and cover them completely with soil, then let them grow.  The second....
 was to cut them in half (or several pieces) and lay them cut side down in a deep planter.  As the greens grow, keep adding soil until the level of the soil reaches the top of the planter.  I am conducting an experiment on which method works best.  Will keep you posted!
 Yet another idea I saw on Pinterest - a salad table.  I truly didn't want to build something as big as was shown in the picture, so I just got another long planter and planted all different kinds of lettuce.  In just a little while, we should be able to pick our salad for dinner each night.  How cool it that?!
 We have one raised bed in the back yard and I kind of went crazy on what I decided to plant out there. Who knows if everything will grow and give vegetables.  Above is corn.
 Tomatoes and beans - you can't really see the beans.
 Green cucumber, yellow cucumber and a volunteer pumpkin plant.  There is also a pepper plant up there at the top right.
 Our one lone pumpkin.
Our first beans ever from our garden.  Can't wait to cook them up!

Please head on over to Tami and Ginny's for more works in process!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tuesday Tallies is BACK!!

Gingerbread Girl is back!!  And so are her Tuesday Tallies!
These are my puffs for the week.  10 in all - I am truly addicted to these, but am dreading having to sew them all together!

If you are interested in more Tuesday Tallies, take walk on over to Gingerbread Girl.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Hexi Puffs on vacation

We have been on a fabulous 15 day vacation.  It was so relaxing and fun1!  We drove all over Arizona, Utah and Colorado visiting Native American Ruins.  What a learning experience for all of us!
 With all that driving and hotel time, there was quite a bit of time to knit.  I chose to knit hexis because they are small, easy to do and I have the pattern memorized.  I also need close to 600 of them to make a blanket so I was hoping to make a dent in what is still necessary to knit :o)
 After our first leg of our journey - these are what was finished.
 This is what I knit somewhere in the middle of the journey.
 And here they are in total - I think there are 41 - not too bad for 15 days of work!  :o)
AND...this is the book I am reading right now.  I am trying to grow quite a bit more of our vegetables and herbs - even thinking about chickens.

See more cool stuff at Tami's and Ginny's!