Saturday, May 31, 2014

That Time of the Year!

Everyone is busy making babies around the farm. Yes, the kitty was a planned pregnancy! She is from a long line of wonderful mousers and most of her babies are already spoken for. We didn't expect her to have 6, so I might have a few available, but we're more than willing to keep them ourselves. The mice breed even faster than cats do around here.
One of the banty chickens came out of the blackberry bushes with 8 little babies the other day. Later that same day we discovered this little beauty hiding a nest in the hay bales. Then today, I found this one hiding at the property line when I was mowing the lawn.
And then, Rod found this one hiding under one of the recycling bins.
Just what we need, a billion more banty chicks! They are great layers, they just go broody so often that they hide more eggs than we can find. We've thought about getting rid of all the bantys and just keeping the full size hens who don't seem to go broody as often, but we have plenty of room and the bantys are pretty self efficient as far as food goes, so we keep them. Enough of them get eaten by the Eagle and the coyotes each year that we don't get too over run. I really hate feeding the coyotes, but I can only complain so much about the eagle. It's pretty cool to have a resident Bald Eagle even if it does enjoy a chicken dinner every so often.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

More Sewing!

In addition to using cloth diapers, we also use cloth wipes. When I was pregnant with Devon, I scored on a whole bunch of baby washcloths that were 75% off and then 50% off of the lowest marked price. Then I got a 10% employee friends and family discount. It made them about 10 cents apiece. By the time they'd been through the first three kids, they were pretty worn out. So, when Cameron potty trained, I threw them all out. We weren't planning on having anymore kids at that point.
When I was pregnant with Duncan, I took up diaper sewing. I really wanted some of the cute fitted and all in one diapers, but the price was more than I could deal with spending for something that was just going to get pooped on. Around this time diaper fabric became more readily available, so I started making my own. I had a lot of scraps, so I started using them to make wipes. I've added a few more here and there with each additional kid, but recently ours were getting pretty ratty looking again.
I finally got around to going through my flannel scraps and got some more made up this week. My favorite wipes are one layer of flannel and one layer of sherpa or cotton/hemp fleece (not polyester polar fleece, more like sweatshirt fabric). The flannel is all scraps from other sewing projects or occasionally a cute remnant I can't resist. Now I can throw out all the icky old ones!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Sunny Days!

Front view
We've had some sunny days lately and that means the kids need shorts! Thankfully Oliver + S released their free Sunny Days Shorts pattern just in time to save me from digging through my rather extensive pattern collection to find short patterns in 4 sizes.
Back view over a cloth diaper
The Sunny Days pattern covers all sizes from Brenna up through Duncan (actually Cameron could probably fit in the 12 since they're shorts) in two easy downloads. What I love about downloadable patterns is that I just print out a new pattern each time I need a different size. I don't have to buy a whole new pattern or trace off a pattern. I HATE tracing off patterns. What I don't like about downloadable patterns is taping all the numerous pieces together, but these are shorts, so there aren't very many pieces.
Brenna had lots of fun modeling for me!
Brenna's shorts were made according to the pattern except that I used up all my scraps of the zebra fabric by colorblocking them. I didn't have enough of any one print left, but I think they actually look cuter this way.
I added pockets and lots of top stitching to Owen's shorts. I also pieced the waistband because I didn't have enough fabric left to make it in one piece. I bought this fabric from an outlet so many years ago that I used it to make overalls for Connor back when he was barely walking. I've used it for a few projects since then and had this little square piece left. With some very careful cutting (not according to the pattern), I managed to get this pair of shorts with just enough left over to make pockets. I just winged the pockets. I guess they worked out since Owen is thrilled with them.
See! Pockets!! He told me he can put money in them now.
I still need to get some done for Morgan and Duncan. Then everyone could use a few more pairs, but we'll see on that one. One pair each to start with.
Front view (see Owen's "extra" belly button?)
Back view

@oliverands #SunnyDayShorts

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Finally Finished!

During the Spring 2014 Kids Clothes Sewing Week,  I managed to get several projects finished. I had two dresses for Morgan that only got partially done, however. I finally finished them this last week. I haven't managed to get pictures of the first one I finished, but I got pictures of the pink one last night.
Morgan is incredibly difficult to get pictures of. She's perpetually in motion, so most photos end up blurry, or I only get part of her in the shot. I also didn't get pictures until the end of the day when she had played outside and been in the swimming pool, hence the dirt and stringy hair. But I remembered to get pictures, so we'll call it a success!
This dress is from the Geranium pattern. This is quickly becoming one of my favorite patterns. I made one of these for Brenna during the Winter 2012 Kid's Clothes Week. Morgan loved it and asked for one of her own only in pink. So, now they have "matching" (only not really) dresses. Both of them are thrilled. Now, I just need to pictures of the other dress which is actually my favorite!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Happy Birthday Duncan!

Duncan hit the double digits yesterday! That's right 10, I mean, who told him he's allowed to be that old? It certainly wasn't me.
Duncan was my "bonus" baby. Rod had decided that 3 children plus my two stepdaughters were enough. We moved to a new house when Cameron was 1 and gave away all of our baby stuff (except a bag of clothes I loved and wanted to save). When Cameron potty trained, I almost gave away all my cloth diapers, but I couldn't quite bring myself to, so I stuck them in the attic.
That's right, Rod was done, but I wasn't. I've always wanted a large family. Rod also wanted a large family, but when he said large, he meant 4-6 kids, including the two part-timers. When I said large, I meant 8-12. So, Rod eventually gave in and we got Duncan! It was so much fun to have a little baby in the house again. The older kids loved him to pieces. Or at least they would have, if I hadn't kept a very close eye on him.
And now he's 10! Duncan loves Legos and other building toys, computers, babies, and his cousins. He is one of my "easy" kids. He was the baby I could take everywhere without ever worrying about him being disruptive and the toddler who would sit nicely and play quietly in public. He now occupies himself for hours at a time. He rarely ever fights with his siblings and he gets along with everyone although he prefers a solitary life.
We celebrated quietly yesterday, with homemade pizza and a chocolate -chocolate chip cake. Duncan got Legos, and more Legos, and a pocket telescope/microscope, and a boomerang. All of which Owen was extremely envious of.
In fact, Owen has informed us that all he wants for his birthday (July) is everything Duncan got!

Today, Duncan is busy putting together all of his Lego kits. I just can't believe how big he's gotten.

Happy 10th Birthday Duncan!!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

You Might Be a Homeschooler If...

You stalk the mail box for a week waiting for this to show up!
Connor is using these for something I only barely understand. It has to do with reclaiming gold off of computer parts and involves several steps. My rule is that the kids have to know what they are doing enough to explain it to me (even if I don't understand) and demonstrate the use of proper safety equipment and precautions. This particular experiment is being done outside in the carport since some of these chemicals (or combinations thereof) aren't really indoor suitable without a much better ventilation system than we have. Sometimes I wonder what government watch list we've put ourselves on with all the chemicals and supplies we order. I often have people ask me how I can teach things like chemistry without all the chemicals and equipment. I don't think people realize that you can get all the same stuff at home. Well, there was one thing Connor wanted that would have been difficult to get for home use, but he was able to figure out a way to make something else work instead. Which just seems like even more of a learning experience to me.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Hot Buttered Popcorn! {Ketogenic Diet Recipe}

How much butter do you like on your popcorn? Do you always ask for extra butter? Check out how much Owen gets!
If you look closely at the above picture, you can see the butter pooled in the bottom of the bowl.

Ketogenic Popcorn 3.5:1 ratio 269 calories
 13g popcorn (pop 1/2 cup of kernels in 2T oil, then weigh popped)
 28.2 g butter (melted)

That's it! Super easy and Owen loves it. Just don't forget your spatula, since you'll need it to scoop up every last drop of butter.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Lost and Found

Way back in September, I promised to post the next part of Owen's story. I'd gotten up to the part where we switched to Swedish Hospital and were getting ready for his first  long term video EEG. Then I didn't post the rest of the story. Because I couldn't find the pictures! We had a camera get lost and a camera break and a computer crash in that same time period. When I went to do the post, I couldn't find the pictures from that hospital visit ANYWHERE. I was so upset about losing the pictures that I just couldn't bring myself to do the post.
Fast forward a few months and Baby Carlitos had been born two months early. Kristi was texting me pictures on a daily basis. One day I went to open the picture and my old, tired, non-smart phone informed me that it was fed up and would not upload any more pictures until I emptied out some memory space. So, I asked Rod to load my pictures onto the computer so I wouldn't lose any of them AND guess what he found?! That's right!! A bunch of pictures from Owen's 6 day EEG.  They were literally in my pocket the whole time! I'm still missing several shots that were only on the camera, but I have enough to make me happy again!
So, sometime in the next few days, I'll finally get that post up. For now here's a quick sample.