Friday, December 21, 2012

Good News

Several things have happened so far today, and it's barely afternoon!  First of all, we woke up to a bit of snow, which the kids thoroughly enjoyed:

Mostly, Lydia scooped snow with a sand shovel and the boys made snowballs to throw.  It wasn't much snow, but they still had a good time.  Then things got a bit crazy.
We were supposed to call the vet if Katie's eye wasn't better by today, so Nathaniel did.  It does look better than it did, but not all better, so he called to see if we had to bring her in.  He mentioned that her eye is still red (which it has been since the incident), and the vet freaked us out.  He said red is bad, and acted like she might die if we didn't get her looked at right away.  So Nathaniel called and talked to the vet optometrist, and they could get her in, but only if we left RIGHT NOW.  So I hauled three kids and a dog into the car and set off.  The vet there was very nice, and he explained that the red is, in fact, good.  Her eye is healing, and it's actually doing quite well.  The vet that did the surgery did a great job, too.  She has to have her medicine 3 times a day for about a month, but that's about it.  Relief!  Now we don't have to run back right after Christmas to have her checked again, either.
Also today, I finished the doll's dress:

I made the doll as a custom order, but I hadn't finished the dress yet.  Now she's done, too, and turned out quite nicely.
Now I just need to clean the house, do laundry, and figure out what's for dinner....

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Katie in the cone.  The cone is gone now, as are the buttons, but I never did post the picture here.  Her eye has actually looked pretty bad since yesterday, so I'm running her by the vet this morning just to be sure everything is ok.  Or at least, I'm hoping it's ok.

Malachi and Santa at school 
Lydia was too scared to sit on Santa's lap, or to even talk to him.

Lydia at the church Christmas program.  She sang 3 songs with the other preschoolers and kindergarteners.  It was cute.

 This is the boys' play.  I didn't get good photos, really, but Nathaniel took some, too, so maybe his are better.  The kids did a really good job.  Both Elijah and Malachi remembered their lines, so that was a relief!

Elijah is a camel salesman.  Malachi is the camel lot owner's son, and he was thrilled to hear people laugh at his part.  He told me he was glad he had the funny part.  Elijah also had a big paragraph at the end, and he got it all!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Chalk Mats

My chalk mats were featured in this article:

The Hand That Rocks the Cradle: Toys for Traveling with Toddlers: As Christmas nears, many of you may be preparing for travel. As if that's not taxing enough, many of you will have little ones with you! Her...

Peppermint Fudge

I like this blog, girlichef.  I've tried making several of her recipes, everything from homemade chorizo (which was excellent) to dessert.  This latest dessert is wonderful: peppermint fudge.  The link is here:   You must go make some.  It is incredible!  I made a test batch yesterday, to see if I thought it should go into the family rotation this year.  I have to get teacher gifts out early next week, and so I thought if this was ok, I'd add some to the teacher gifts.  It's way more than ok.  It's really fabulous.  I guess those of you that have Christmas with me don't have to make some, because I'm making another batch to bring for Christmas, as soon as I buy more white chocolate!  I was careful to only eat a little bit, because it's basically all sugar and you know I can't just eat sugar anymore, but I managed to enjoy some and not raise my blood sugar, so that was a double bonus.  I've always enjoyed just melting white chocolate and mixing in candy cane bits, but this is a bit more special and will look really nice in a gift basket or cookie tray.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Kids' Theology Lesson

Malachi has been home sick, so he and Lydia have had more time together.  I was cooking yesterday when I overheard their conversation in the living room.  Lydia had been playing with her treasure box, and she asked Malachi, "What is the greatest treasure?"
Malachi replied, "I don't know."  There was a long pause while they both pondered this, then Malachi said, "I know!  Jesus!"

Lydia said, "But you can't go find Jesus."

Malachi: "No, but you can go where he was born, on the other side of the world."

Lydia: "He was born on Bethleham."

Malachi: "Yes, and Bethleham is on the other side of the world."

Then they were both happy and repeated, "Jesus is the greatest treasure."  Then they went on playing.  Those two are so cute together.  You just never know what they'll say next.

Monday, December 3, 2012

O, Christmas Tree

Well, last night we got the Christmas tree up.  It and the nativity are the only things we've got out so far, but we do plan on getting everything else in place over the next few days.

On our tree:
It lists to the right.  It has tons of ornaments on the bottom and few on the top.  It is packed with memories.  It's perfect.

On our nativity:
It was my Aunt Bess's manger scene.  I even keep the bigger basket she puts baby Jesus in.  The nativity originally came from Uncle Jim (her big brother), as a gift to Aunt Bess years ago.  He bought it in Mexico.  I loved looking at it as a child when we'd go to her apartment on Christmas Day evening.  It sat on her bookshelf in the living room.  Now it sits on my mantle, above the living room fireplace.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Hi all

I'm really not ignoring the blog, but I've been having trouble posting pictures.  Nathaniel's going to look at it for me, but he hasn't had a chance yet. 

I have a picture of poor Katie.  My in-laws' dog ripped Katie's left eye out of the socket while we were visiting for Thanksgiving.  The vet sewed it back in, but she's wearing a cone to keep her from scratching it for two weeks.  We are hoping it doesn't get infected.  Katie hates the cone, but she loves getting her medicine in hot dogs.  Overall, she's handling it better than expected at this point.

The boys' church Christmas play is fast approaching.  I hope it's going well.  They know the songs, and I think they are really starting to get their lines.  We listen to the CD at home to help it all sink in.  Lydia's going around singing the songs, so that's a good sign.  (She has her own songs to sing for the program, simpler ones.  That is going to be cute, too.)

Our chickens have been confined to the small yard, since the hawk is still about.  We only have 3 hens and 1 rooster now: Crest, Leaf, and Squatch (the barred rock, also called "Squatty") are the hens, and Puff is our rooster.  I think we'll buy some chicks in the spring, unless one of the hens surprises us and goes broody.   That would be ideal, but Leaf and Squatch have never went broody before, and Crest is at least half Leghorn, and they typically don't go broody, so I don't think the odds are good.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Illness and dead chickens

The last week didn't go so great around here, which is why I haven't posted in a while.  I was quite sick for most of last week, and didn't know for sure until Friday if we'd make it to my mom's Thanksgiving.   Luckily, we did, and that was so nice.  I'm almost back to normal, but still lacking in energy/endurance. 

Our chickens had an even tougher week.  Last Thursday, Elijah found Sol dead.  That is particularly catastrophic to everyone because she is the mama hen.  She hatches the chicks for us, and we were planning on her hatching a new batch in the spring.  Unfortunately, she was killed by something.  We weren't sure what, and were thinking maybe dog, until today.

I now am certain of what killed Sol, because it just killed Angel.  It was a little hawk.  I just buried the remains of Angel.  The hawk didn't even bother to fly off until I was just 4 feet away from it.  I guess it really likes chicken.  Now I'm going to have to tell the kids that we lost another one, and worse, I'm not sure how to protect the flock right now.  Sigh.

On a happier note, Elijah did draw the hedgehog:

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Lydia's Porcupine

The other day, Elijah was drawing hedgehogs and porcupines.  Both animals are very popular with all of my children.  Today, Lydia drew this porcupine on her chalk mat.  This is even more impressive, because Lydia typically just scribbles or draws circles.  The porcupine's head is on the right. 

Tomorrow, I'll try to have Elijah draw his hedgehog for me to photograph.  It's really cute, too.  Malachi draws all the time, but mostly angry birds and TNT boxes.   I'll see if he'll draw me an animal, too.

3 Roosters

We are certain that 3 of the 5 "chicks" are roosters.  The one above is Foghorn.  He's pretty noisy, but he looks really cool.  Below is the black rooster alongside the black and white little hen (Angel).  It's not a great picture, but the rooster is on the left.

The third rooster, Puff, is the one we are planning on keeping.  I don't have a good photo at the moment, but the hens all prefer him.  He seems pretty laid-back compared to Foghorn.  Nathaniel is afraid that Foghorn will turn aggressive later, and I think he's probably right.  Foghorn isn't well liked by the hens, either. 
No slaughtering date has been set.  There's no big hurry, since none of the roosters has caused a real problem yet.  Plus, we would like to make sure we end up with one rooster for at least a few months, so we can hatch again when Sol gets broody.  In order to ensure that at least one survives for a while, we're not in a big hurry to cull yet.
Also in chicken news, I saw a gorgeous hawk sweep across my driveway yesterday.  Although I enjoyed seeing it, I hope it doesn't stick around here.  It might notice the chicken buffet in my backyard, and who could blame it for trying one?

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Family Bike Ride

The boys have loved riding bikes for some time, and Nathaniel got a seat for Lydia to fit on the back of a bike.  He had it on his, but it really didn't work too well.  I haven't had a bike since I was about 10, but Nathaniel changed that a few weeks ago when he got me a cruiser bike off craigslist.  Lydia's seat fits well on mine, and all 5 of us went on the bike trail today. It was a beautiful day, and we had a great time.  Lydia said, "This is the best bike ride ever!"  We'll have to do that again soon.

In other news, we have been helping the boys learn their parts for the Christmas musical.  It lasts close to an hour, and it's the first time the boys have had to memorize speaking parts as well as songs.  I think it's going pretty well with them.  We'll see soon enough!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Online Again

Well, after having no internet access for a couple of days, I'm glad to say that it's fixed.  Nathaniel had to go buy a new modem for us, since the old one stopped working. 

So, I'm back.  We're having a pretty good week.  The sun is shining, the kids are happy; it's been a good day. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Meet Max

This weekend we met my new nephew, Max.  The kids adored him, especially Malachi.  Malachi was particularly impressed that Max has dark hair and dark blue eyes, like Malachi did as a baby.  (In the face, Max looks nothing like Malachi, but I didn't point that out.)

It was fun having a newborn around.  It's been a long time since I've spent much time with a baby that tiny.  I hold babies every week in the nursery at church, but they are usually at least 4 or 5 months old.  (Note that I'm not complaining about holding older babies!)
The boys are excited to have no school tomorrow.  In Kentucky, it's a state law that there can be no school on election day.  Interesting.  It means I'll be taking all 3 kids with me to the polls, but oh well.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


I hope everyone had a great Halloween.  We sure did.  My trick-or-treaters lasted longer than ever before, despite the cold.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Turkeys in the Straw

On Sunday, we went to our church's annual trunk or treat.  The kids love it, but the biggest hit of the night was a bit of a surprise to me:
See that itty-bitty straw pile? The kids couldn't get enough of it.  And I'm not talking about the preschoolers, although they did climb on it a couple of times.  No, I mean the 8-12-year-old boys.  They had so much fun on such a small bit of straw, even when they had bags of candy they could be eating or light sabers they could be whacking each other with.  Straw.
Here Darth Vader is ready for action:

And Indiana Jones loves his whip.

 And our little pumpkin makes an adorable pumpkin!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Doll Cape

Today I sewed a lot.  It was a rainy day, and in between playing games with the kids, I finished Malachi's Darth Vader costume and sewed for the etsy shop.  I made a black cape to go with Malachi's costume, and I had been thinking about making doll capes but didn't have a pattern.  Mom had encouraged me to make up some holiday doll capes, and Missy had given me some faux fur from her grandma-in-law's stash, so I had been toying with the idea for a while, but today I actually did it.
I made it out of fleece and used the faux fur trim.  I am so happy with how it came out.  I've tried to make patterns before but never had such good results as this.  Since I had made a child-sized cape, I had a general idea for how to make a doll one, and I made the pattern pieces myself.  I even have plans to make a similar cape with a hood. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Little Roosters

This morning was the first time I've heard any of the chicks try to crow.  It's funny.  At first, their voices don't quite have it.  It sounds a lot like a teenage boy's voice cracking, except in a rooster crow.  I'm confident that these two are roosters:
We call the one on the left Puff and the one on the right Foghorn (after Foghorn Leghorn, of course). 
I'm still not sure about this black one.  I'm thinking rooster, but not positive:
The other two, Crest and Angel, are definately hens.  Here is Angel in between the two roosters:
And here is another view of Puff:

They are all doing really well.  And so are the 4 older hens.  The old girls are offically over a year old now, as of late July, and so a really full-fledged hens, not just pullets.  I figure it will be about 6 weeks or so before the new hens start laying eggs, but our older ones are doing a great job.  We had 11 eggs over 3 days, which works out to almost an egg a day per hen.  Then they had a couple of slower days, with 5 eggs over 2 days.  I'm guessing we get just under 2 dozen eggs a week right now.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Pumpkin Carving

The pumpkin on the left was designed by Malachi.  He drew the picture of how he thought a jack-o-lantern should look, and I carved it.  The one on the right I also carved, from a pattern booklet we have.  Lydia and Elijah picked it because it was an owl.  They aren't as impressive in the light, but at night lit up, they look really cool.

And, no, I didn't even cut myself this time.  (That scar is still there, as is the knot.)

Monday, October 22, 2012


Well, we had a great weekend. But first, here is Lydia on her field trip Thursday:
Lydia enjoyed the pumpkin patch.

This was so funny.  The hole to look out is too high, but she really didn't care.  She kept getting behind the grim reaper and making scary "ooo" noises and saying, "I'm a Halloween!"
On Friday, we headed to the cabin.  We had a great weekend there, and we celebrated this little man's birthday:

We were short one kid, since one of my nieces is sick.  :(

These two were inseparable.

Elijah caught a bluegill.

My sister did the girls' hair.  Isn't it cute?

Elijah begged to include this picture.  He and Malachi loved climbing on the logs.  You can see some of the new cabin in the background.

Malachi had a great time: a birthday, cabin fun, new toys. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The next weekend

I've been trying to dig myself out of my massive laundry pile before we head off on our next weekend adventure.  Yes, I'm crazy like that, planning 2 camping-style weekends in a row.  We are headed to my parents' cabin on the lake for a nice long weekend.  The kids start fall break on Friday, so we're off to the lake!

We can't wait.  It's been a year since we've been, and I can't wait to see all the things Dad has done since then.  (For those that don't know, he's building a cabin there.)  The kids are ecstatic.  Elijah has been bugging  me for months about going to the cabin, but it didn't all come together until now.

I've also been trying to re-make a fake leather maternity jacket into an Indiana Jones jacket for Halloween.  Shh, don't tell the kids it was originally a maternity jacket.  Plus, I'm painting the control panel onto slick black long underwear for a Darth Vader costume.  Luckily for me, Lydia's going to be a pumpkin, and we actually have 2 pumpkin costumes already made and ready to wear.

The weather is perfect today.  The leaves are looking so pretty, the sun is shining, and it's about 70 degrees. So nice.  It should be cooler tomorrow, but as long as there's no rain, it will be good for Lydia's pumpkin patch field trip.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Camping 2012

We just returned from the big family reunion camping trip of 2012.  Every year, Nathaniel's family gets together at a state park and camps as a unit for about a weekend.  We (and several others) went on Thursday, and by Friday evening, everyone that could come had arrived.  Our site was hopping with 8 kids and 4 adults, since we had our friends with us.  Many sites have a camper and a tent or two, so that we can all fit as many people into our sites as possible.  The weather was beautiful, and we had already started loading up when it started to sprinkle this morning, so we were able to get packed up fairly well with little dampness.  The kids had a ball:
Kids on a bridge

Lydia roaring at Jake.  They were having a lot of fun playing together.

Roaring at each other.  

The boys enjoyed playing Heroica with Jake and Aunt Autumn

Grandma goes for a walk with her entourage.

My kids all love owls, so the nature center's stuffed animal corner was a hit.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Dose of Cuteness and a Loss

How's this for a dose of cuteness?
My nieces came for the weekend, and the kids had a ball together.  We didn't take many pictures, but this one was pretty darn cute.  The girls loved the chickens and spent a lot of time chasing them and having Lydia pick them up.  They also named most if not all of the unnamed ones.  I'm not sure what all the names are, but they named the black and white chick "Angel", so I kept hearing, "Angel, come here!  Come here Angel!" but it wasn't for me.

We gave Malachi his birthday present early so he could get used to riding a bike with hand brakes before we take it camping next weekend.  He is so proud of his new bike.
 You can't tell from the picture, but he also lost his other front tooth this week, so there's a nice gap there.
Although we had a great time and no one wanted to see the girls leave, I'm glad they left when they did.  Just a couple of hours later, Nathaniel and the kids were playing in the backyard when the neighbor's dog jumped the fence and killed Fluffy.  The kids were right there.  I was inside.  I heard Malachi crying and at first thought he was hurt, until I recognized his grief wail.  There is nothing quite like Malachi's grief wail.  It doesn't happen often, but when he cries like that, you know his heart is just broken.  The last time I heard it was the last time chickens died, in July, but this time, he actually saw it happen.  I ran outside.  Nathaniel was trying to get the dog and yelling at the kids to go inside.  Lydia and Elijah were crying, too, but you couldn't hear them over Malachi's soul-wrenching wails.  I grabbed Lydia and took Malachi's hand and got them inside.  Elijah followed, and I dumped Lydia onto his lap for them to cuddle together while I rocked Malachi.    Eventually, we found out that one of the barred rocks was killed, too.  So after a great weekend, we had a very sober evening.      

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Tie Dye

Today, the boys had early release from school, so during Lydia's nap, I let them do some tie-dying.  They had a lot of fun, and although I laid out 6 shirts, 8 socks, 1 sheet, and some fabric for them to dye, they still wanted more.  So then they had fun spraying the grass with the leftover colors:

I spent all morning setting up the consignment sale.  We've never had so much stuff.  It's really amazing the amount of clothes, toys, and furniture we got this year.  I hope we have big crowds to buy it all.