Snow and Sugar Cookies

We have had a couple snows since I've written last. Nothing too measurable, just enough to get us all in the Christmas spirit and be gone. Replaced with 60 degree weather causing all kinds of seasonal confusion on my part. 

But we had our first snow and so we celebrated. Millie and I decided to bake cookies at Grandma's house for a change of scenery. Sometimes that's necessary for us. 

Last year when I made cookies for the first snow Millie was much smaller. She observed from her fathers arms and we thought about how different her next first snow cookie making adventure would be. 

And different it was. 

I had a handsy, nibblely, screech if I don't get my way, girl on my hands. She was so eager to get in on the action that short and simple instructions were barely possible. I had cookies cut out on top of cookies, on top of cookies, on top of cookies. Our girl didn't know that sugar cookie making was different than playdough playing. 

I also had a couple moments. Moments that seem to be coming more often as this spirited little toddler tries and tests.  She moves faster than I can think most days and I can't always catch up in my reactions either. 

But during our sugar cookie making I was able to slow down, take a tiny step back and take a deep breath. A deep breath that said "Chill out Momma." Chill out and help her learn. Chill out and help her have fun. Chill out and just bake perfectly, imperfect, freakin' sugar cookies. 

Even after almost two years of constant interruptions, tasks taking 40 times longer than usual, messes that I certainly did not make but have to clean up, and a tiny body constantly clinging to me I still run thin more often than I care to talk about. I get tested, in fact I just was released from a test of "How long can mom handle me standing on her leg while typing." test. Thank goodness for Daddies who swoop in and save the day. I get frustrated, I get tired, multiple times a day. 

But even through the tests I'm learning ways to take a breath and chill and celebrate the snow, or the sunshine, or the flowers, or whatever. I'm not sure where that ability comes from. A mother's love maybe. 

Together we figured out how to make sugar cookies toddler style. We got flour on our faces and dough in our hair. They tasted the same as always. Based on that fact I'd count the experience as a success. Millie girl was proud and eager to share her creations and so I feel like maybe we've accomplished something in this parenting gig-a heart yearning to share. 

So that's the adventure of this years first snow celebration. Not much different than every other day in the life of Millie...just a little extra sugar. 



Fall Playdough

A good blogger would have shared this with you a couple weeks ago. A good blogger wouldn't wait until the last minute to share what could be a sanity saving yet creative outlet for all the littles in your life waiting for their Thanksgiving a meal. That's what a good blogger would do.

I however, pride myself on being a mediocre blogger.

So there.

Like with the punkin painting activity I have been trying to do some Fall themed activities. Some sensory stuff. Playdough seemed like a no brainer and the blogger over at Mama.Papa.Bubba. has about a million playdough ideas. I love seeing them and thinking outside the box. I used this recipe for my playdough. It's seriously awesome. The coconut oil makes it!

So one day Millie and I whipped up some playdough. Then I wanted to make it "smell" like fall. So I used pumpkin pie spices. No pumpkin, just the spices. The pumpkin idea is out there but it weirds me out. We then used other mild spices for muted color. SO simple.

Then I was a super OCD mom and only let Millie play with one color at a time. For weeks. Because I worked hard on those colors. Because I knew what she would do to them. Because I have issues.

But finally on the day I decided to take pictures...I let her have it all. I just focused on capturing the moment and took deep breaths. 

This playdough has been a lifesaver. Seriously. For supper prep time I bring the highchair to the kitchen, plop the little girl down, and she plays.

I was thinking this would be a GREAT busy hands activity for Thanksgiving. Super easy and hours of fun and possibilities. Fake leaves, fall themed cookie cutters, cinnamon sticks...all great accessories. 

And see...I was right. This is what happened to all my pretty colors. It was good fun though and I guess that's what counts right?

Now almost time to go to Christmas themed....oh what fun!



Thrifty Thursday: DIY Art

Vintage Botanical Prints and Vintage Educational Posters are alll over the Pinterest scene. Well maybe not right Pinterest looks like the Holidays blew up on the screen but botanicals were all over my Pinterest and I decided I needed in on the action. At a thrifty, DIY, use what I've got price. 

I stumbled on Cavallini Wrapping Paper while in the big city over Memorial Day weekend. I'd seen it online but never had the pleasure of seeing and feeling them in person. They are fabulous quality with beautiful colors...too pretty to only wrap and rip open presents with-in my opinion. They are very reasonably priced when we are talking about using them for art, under $10!

So I picked a couple out. A garden print for the dining room and a Periodic Table of Elements for Jerrels office. I knew just what I was going to do with them. 

From what I understand vintage botanicals can be hard to get your hands on and come at a high price. They were used as teaching materials and now...everybody's gotta have them. So I wanted to mimic look. I had a couple dowels hanging around my craft closet from another project I didn't end up doing..oops. I had really large dowels and pretty small dowels I picked the smaller size and had my handy husband cut the dowels to the width of the paper plus 2 inches, for some wood on the ends of the paper. 

Then I snagged some stain from my parents and stained my dowels. 

I'm serious this project couldn't be any easier. 

Eye hooks have recently become my best friend. I had these little babies from another project as well and screwed them in the center end of my dowels. Next I hot glued the edge of the paper to my dowel. You could staple or superglue too. But my hot glue gun is my favorite tool. 

While hot gluing I would do a bead of glue and then "roll" into it with my dowel. I felt this gave it a more natural look. Not like I just hot glued a dowel on a piece of paper. It looked more like a scroll, I thought. Or I just told myself that to make me feel all warm and fuzzy. 

Next I decided on some string. I've got a lot of this kind of stuff around and I decided on some simple hemp cord that I had from Millie's birthday. It really seemed to fit with style of this project. I simply threaded the string through my eye hooks, tied it fairly tight, double knotted, and trimmed my ends. 


See! So easy and so pretty! All said and done, I would probably like a size or two larger dowels but these work. I had three pieces of art hanging in this spot and I was hankering for something simpler. This is just the ticket. Clean and simple. Because if you look below this pretty you know... where the toddler's not so clean and it's not so simple. 

There you have it. A DIY, Thrifty, use what ya got when ya got it art piece. All in cost? $7. Cavallini has so many pretty prints...I've got my eye on the chickens, the bees, the fruits and veggies, all the butterflies, the bird nests. Basically all of them and basically I have a problem.



Story Time

Story time is all the time these days in our home and I love it. Reading has been a love of mine for as long as I can remember and sharing this with my baby has been on the brain since dreaming about having a baby. But it's not new news that Millie is a busy little thing.

The one thing she slows down for though? Books. It's the most darling thing to watch her flip through her books and deliberately choose one. So I decided to share a couple of her favorites and a bit of two cents I've discovered while exploring the children's literature section in my adult years. 

For Millie's first birthday I harkened my own youth and favorite book and bought her Only the Cat Saw. I remember loving this book and it didn't disappoint when I shared it with our girl. It's a lovely quiet and slow paced book with full page pictures. Millie is fascinated with cats and so this book is a favorite. We read it twice a day at least.


Another reason I love this book? They have a picture of a nursing momma. It's important to us that Millie has biological norms in her media. Might seem strange to think about but when nursing is such a large part of our everyday life I want her to see it in other areas of her life as well. 

On our Colorado vacation I bought Brown Bear Brown Bear, What Do You See? A classic that had been on my list and being in the mountains it seemed appropriate. An instant favorite and great for talking about colors and learning more animals. 

Ahhh, If You Give A Mouse A Cookie. When we see this picture Millie says, "Uh OH" I guess leaning on a glass is a problem. Being a teacher I see all kinds of cause and effect future lessons and I'm always amazed at how focused she is while I'm reading this to her. To me is seems this would be a little above her understanding but she loves it and constantly is bringing it to be. Average 4 times a day. Seriously. I think I could recite it for you now actually. 

I just got Where The Wild Things Are out for Millie-bug last week. I was going through and picking some books that looked like fall. The colors in this spoke to me. And Millie was happy to see this book. Another classic with great full pages of illustrations and encouraging imagination. A fun book for a different pace. 

Daddies Do It Different. Jerrel is reading this to Millie as I write. This book is filled all kinds of stereotypes and gender roles but we still love it. And guess what? We don't get offended by said roles or stereotypes fitting us or not. In the end it's about Mommas and Daddies do one thing the same, love. This book is cute and fun and probably one of the few "modern" children's lit that I haven't been totally disappointed by. Other new works of the written word have just left me scratching my head and disappointed. For the most part I've decided to stick with classics and older publications. 

Other favorites we read daily:
Charlie The Ranch Dog
Charlie and the New Baby
Bear Says Thanks
---All modern now that I think of it. I'm just more picky of the newfangled stuff I guess. 

Now I better go Millie's checking out her books and I can just about tell where her fingers are going to land. I'll give you a hint...cookie. 



Punkin Crafting

This fall I decided to start looking for some seasonal activities for our Millie girl. Somethings that we could have very basic conversations about fall over. Things that she could associate with the season. So as any mother in this decade does, I headed to Pintrest. Finding projects a little tricker with Millie's age and attention span but I've figured a few things out. 

The first, Pumpkin painting. Millie loves painting, of all kind. We watercolor paint a couple times a week at her request. For this painting project though, I took one of our small pumpkins, that Millie helped grow and harvest, sliced it in half to make a stamp. I chose the colors this time, specifically choosing fall colors, showed her how to use a stamp and let her at it. 

And I love how her art turned out! I love how the colors mixed and she got the stamp thing down a couple times! 

We were able to chat about growing pumpkins, remembering the day we picked them, that they are picked in the fall. We also talked about how the leaves and plants turn the colors she is using. 

How much she absorbed this time-I don't know-but that's the thing. We don't know so we should keep on keeping on. Just because I *think* she can't grasp the concept I'm talking about doesn't mean I shouldn't at least expose her to said concept, no pressure. Just talk. Of course there are limits, I didn't mention photosynthesis...this time. 

And in true Millie fashion the activity was completed sans clothing. 

We set to work making paintings for Momma and Daddy and Grandmas and Grandpas all to be proudly displayed on refrigerators. Such an easy idea for 20 minutes of fun! Now that it's November I'm looking for some turkey or Thanksgiving crafts. If anyone has some clever ideas, I'd love to hear.




What does one say after an almost 3 months blog hiatus? What does one share? 

Maybe a picture of a pomegranate? A deliciously annoying fruit that is currently Millie's favorite. She makes me slave over one first thing in the morning so she can delight in day long snacking. First thing in the morning. I am not a morning person and I have come to believe that pomegranates are not morning fruits. 

Or maybe this picture of donkey hair in the sunset. The golden light was wonderful the night I took this photo and the donkey was cooperative. 

But really where have I been? What have I been doing? 

Well, I've been baking bread, doing laundry, reading, I took a photography class. But I haven't, I haven't been writing. Last week I looked around at all the busyness I have been filling my days with and it just wasn't working. It wasn't jiving. Something felt off, I couldn't place it though. Then I realized what I've been avoiding. Writing. One of the things that satisfies my soul. As the words form together into sentences they travel down my arms and settle in my hands. And as my hands hurriedly type or write them out I feel...

It just feels right. Like a breath of fresh air after a rain. Or a cool drink of water on a hot day. The wonky-ness of my day leaves, I get my jive back. Writing is my creative outlet. The thing I need to do. 

And I know that, but I haven't been respecting it. Instead I'd try one creative thing only to be disappointed and discouraged by the effort that seemed to be going no where. All because I just didn't want to take the time to let the words flow. I thought I was too busy. I'm seeing now though I must feed the thing that feeds the rest of my creativity. Does that make sense? 

So while my days are filled with busy-like any Momma's are, I know that my release doesn't come from eating a Little Debbie in the bathroom alone, reading a book in the quiet of nap time, sewing darling crafts for my littles or to sell on etsy, nor does it come from drinking a glass of whine after the house is dark and quiet. No, my release is found in this, weaving words to document our story. 

My release comes from picking my enormous mums and spending 10 minutes trying to get just the right picture to share with you. A picture I will try to caption cleverly until I share it with you. Because it's the words that are constantly filling my brain. I just love 'em. 

Romans 12 is one of my favorite chapters and in verse 5 it begins talking about our gifts and how as the body we all have been given different gifts. So I need to get back to using the gift. Tending to it with the mindfulness the Lord had when he instilled it in me. Using it to glorify. 

So I'm determined to make time again. And not just put it off until 10:30 pm when the man of the house is out and the baby finally in bed. During the day. When the light is bright and the day is going. Reflection after the day is nice sometimes but too often I get to the night and am just tired. I know you other Momma's understand that kind of tired. I'm determined to get around and post more often, to meet a goal I have yet to set. 

Posts that I've had stewing for a while. Posts I was maybe hesitant to put out. Posts that are nonsensical and whimsical, probably more nonsensical though. So please do check in, I'll be around. 

I'm also determined to not let this girl get too many "interesting" habits from her father...but it might be a little late for the whole "drinking the broth from the soup' thing. Momma tried.

See ya soon.



World Breastfeeding Week-17 mo

A wonderful week it is! A week celebrating and bringing awareness to the most precious act of nourishment and nurturing. I know I sound like a lactivist. But I'm kinda ok with that.

I haven't really been very informative on my own breastfeeding journey. And I think that has something do with the fact that it's become so second nature. At 17 months Millie is still nursing. That's right I'm nursing a toddler. Joining the ranks of the woman on the cover of Time magazine a few years ago, women around the world, and millions of mothers whom came generations before me.

But it wasn't always so second nature. I've encountered engorgement, oversupply, (which is a huge hurtle-it's not as wonderful as it sounds) clogged ducts, mastitis, and milk pimples. I've felt overwhelmed with breastfeeding on demand and thought I heard my breast pump say "Psycho, Psycho" at 3 am while trying to find some relief for my rock hard breasts. Psycho for wanting to nurse so badly. Psycho for reading so much about it. Psycho that knowing for me, I had no other option. What a ride this part of motherhood has been.

Now though? Now, like I said it's second nature- it's what I do. I have fallen in love with mothering through breastfeeding. I know that seems to give nursing so much power but for me it has been the cornerstone. Breastfeeding has had me feeling like I have been hit by a truck (mastitis) and like I'm on top of the world (baby rolls, calming tantrums, nursing to sleep). Nursing has taught me to sit down and chill out. Like much of this motherhood gig, it's taught me of giving more of myself to another than I knew I could give.

Quite simply I nurse Millie still because she needs it. Some may roll their eyes at this statement but it's true. Millie needs nursing, for comfort, for security, for nourishment, for health. If you think I have enabled her to be a needy, insecure, and scarred for life human because of our to-term nursing relationship then you have obviously never met my daughter. Nursing is when we slow down from climbing the hoosier, jumping from the coffee table, and terrorizing the dog.

It's just part of our daily life. It's our normal. It is normal. I have been so thankful that I chose to not listen to that breast pump or anyone else. To continue on feeding her the normal food of our kind. To nurture her in the way that came natural to me. I will keep on boobin'.



We Decided To Bloom

We are renters. Have been since we got married 2 short years ago. We live in a small farmhouse that needs TLC. We have ample outside living and love the distance from town. It's a pretty good fit for now. But we know it's not forever. After 2 years here we are starting to get antsy. Itching for a place of our own. Tired of waiting and praying and seeming to continually get the answer of "Not yet."

It's not that we haven't tried. We have looked at homes, homes in town and no matter how badly we want a place to call ours seeing my next door neighbor just doesn't feel right. After one house deal fell sour over a year ago we have decided to step back and see where He is leading us.  We have a roof over our head. The need is met, we can wait for the next move.

A home with land seems to be etched deep within our hearts. A day doesn't pass in which Jerrel and I don't talk about our future home. Something small-for I believe love grows best in small houses and something with green acres surrounding.

But it hasn't happened yet, we don't know the timeline, we only know who holds the time. We found ourselves in a place of "When we have our own place.." and "If we are here next year..." And when I say we I really mean me. It was constant. It was exhausting. It was discouraging.

So this year we decided to bloom. It was time to do what we can with what we've got, even if we are restless and wanting our own piece. Waiting forever to start the life we want wasn't working. There were things we could do right here.


We bloomed. We built a chicken coop and we bought birds. We gather our own eggs every morning.

We bloomed. We tilled up our front yard and planted our garden. We haul in beans, zucchini, and cucumbers each day. We cook, can, and preserve our bounty.

We bloomed. We planted flowers. Flowers in the ground, that push their roots deep into the earth. Flowers I pick and enjoy on my dining room table and kitchen window sill.

We bloomed. We painted walls. We got a dog. We say Thank You everyday.

So for now we are still renters, it fits for now. We still catch ourselves dreaming of when and if but it's not constant, there's a sense of contentment. Who knows, maybe K Farms will be stuck with us front yard gardeners, backyard chickens keepers, crazy kinda crunchy kids forever.

We bloomed and it feels so good. So I'm telling you; stop waiting, BLOOM where you are planted.



I Want to Travel With You

The story I'm about to tell goes back. Back about 2 years. 

Back when I was in a beautiful dress. Donning pearls and a ruby that belonged to my Great Grandmother. 

I had read a letter from my betrothed. It said so many sweet and loving things. Mentioned things we were dreaming of doing and places we would like to go-with one another by our sides.

I had shared with Jerrel I would like to visit all 50 states. He took that nugget of information, tucked it away, and saved it for our wedding day. 

I opened a beautiful map of this United States and green little pins. He thought framing could be a project we work on together. We could pick out the frame and place to hang this piece of art in our new home. This is quite possibly the most thoughtful gift he has gotten me. It always makes my heart sing when I think of the words written in that letter and the thought that went into this gift.

But since that wedding day I'm sad to say that map sat rolled up, in a closet, until recently. I wasn't sure how to go about making it usable for the pins. I wasn't sure what kind of frame I wanted. I just wanted to do it right. But then I realized we had a frame the map would fit in. I had been using it for another piece of art that needed changed out. So then I had to figure out what to do with the map. It was time. 

I bought a roll of cork. I got my Mod Podge out. I took a deep breath and I dove in. I'm not sure why but lining the map edge and cork edge up was the hardest part. I saw some similar tutorials that suggested spray adhesive was a better choice than Mod Podge. But Mod Podge has always been faithful to me. It's never done me wrong. So I trusted it and went along. I spread about 3 inches at a time. Carefully rolling my map out as I went along. Using my hands and the edge of a credit card to work out bubbles.

Then using books to weight it down. Finally when I came to the end I took a deep breath. I did a thin coat of Mod Podge over the entire map then and called it done....for now.

It wasn't perfect. It had some "character." But it looked good. It looked a heckofalot better than it did rolled up in a closet.

Later I came back with another scary task. Trimming. I had my frame measurements. I didn't want to loose my latitude and longitude so I trimmed just a hair off each side and tried my frame, if it wasn't right I trimmed a little more until finally it fit-like a glove.

I used a large piece of cardboard as a backing. Because of how my map fit I only needed the cardboard for stability-since my cork was thin and for the pins to stick into-again because my cork was thin. I cut the cardboard the size of the frame opening as well and hot glued my cardboard to the back of the map.

Tips From Experience
-Use thicker cork
-Find a Brush that doesn't shed
-Spray Adhesive- if that's more comfortable for you.

I hunted around the house and decided our bedroom was the best place for this map.

It looks fabulous. Jerrel was so thrilled with having it up and ready to enjoy. We took a couple minutes to place some all important pins.

Please excuse the blur in the middle of this picture. Someone little got my camera and placed a few scratches....

Our criterion for pin placement is based on "experience" We have to feel as though we have experienced the place we visited, learned something, did something unique. We have to have a general feel for the area. 

Example: Just because we drove through Chicago, doesn't mean it gets a pin. We also slept in De Moins on our way home in a Holiday Inn. It doesn't get a pin. I know nothing of De Moins from our stay. 

Our pinning has been slow since we were hitched. But now the map is up. The baby can travel and we are getting brave. Our latest travel bug is mostly in NE-we want to get to know our state!

Look our world! Here's to buying experiences-not things.

Well, maybe a couple things. Girls' gotta get some souvenirs, right?



Dining Alfresco

A couple weeks ago I was weeding a flower bed. My husband was being dreamy and cooking supper. The little girl was mingling between the two of us, helping one then needing to find the other. It going to be a lovely evening, I could tell. 

Then things got even lovelier. My dreamy husband asked if we wanted to eat outside. I said yes. We had an extra table in the basement we could use. He hustled in and hauled the cast of characters out. And when I looked up from my weeds, this is what I saw. 

I mean seriously? Could this GET anymore adorable? My girl in a denim dress, vintage chairs, vintage table, delicious food. Some people travel hours on a plane to get to paradise. Mine? Well mine was right in my front yard in the warm sun.

Tortas were on the menu that night. We didn't see a need for plates. We just sat down a dug in.

If you have never had tortas you are missing out. You start with a grilled corn tortilla, smear some mayo on there (weird, I know), add shredded meat (ask Jerrel whats in that), top with onion, avocado, tomato, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime. 


Then eat it like this.

Or steal your Momma's and eat it like this. 

We dined in the warm sunshine. We chatted long after the food was devoured while the dog and baby ran around the yard. When the warmth from the sun was gone, we carried our mess inside, vowing to dine alfresco more often. The more we can do out in Creation-the better.



Memorial Day Weekend

I've got some serious catching up to do. For most of the winter it didn't seem like much was happening. Then May came and it seemed like everything was happening. I've decided to make a concerted effort to get caught up, because I've got content! Yippie! 

So lets rewind to our Anniversary. When we got married Jerrel and I came to the mutual agreement that we would follow the "Traditional" guidelines for anniversary gifts. Year one is paper, year two is cotton, year three is leather. We thought this would help us figure out what to give. I am such a free spirit apparently, that this guideline actually restrains me. I spend time obsessing and trying to be creative in the confines of the guidelines. This year, on May 20th at 11:45 p.m. my idea dawned on me. Literally, like a lightbulb. I ran with it and never looked back.  

It's ironic I bought this for him. I throw candy away, I scoop his ice cream for him. I pack multiple vegetables in his lunches. Yet I buy him the Cotton Candy machine? I have one of these in my home? With my child? It's love people-it makes you do silly things. 

I'm accepting my "Wife of the Year" award next week. 

Jerrel bought me a beautiful hammock. We use it as a family all the time and took it camping. It's awesome! He's getting his "Husband of the Year" award next week too. 

We headed to the big city for Memorial weekend, my cousin graduated high school. We decided to break the trip into two days and headed to Ktown to stay with my Grandparents for the night.

To fully secure my husbands dentist bills and diabetes I treated him to frozen yogurt at Topperz once we arrived in Ktown. Happy Anniversary!

After seeing our dishes of yogurt though, I'm not sure who has the bigger sweet tooth. 

We of course had our little sugar babe with us to celebrate. While we didn't know her two years prior we were praying for her. And He answered us, soon! Perfectly soon. 

After a lovely evening with my Grandparents we got up and headed east again. We had supper, dessert, and good company. We were so happy to celebrate with Maddie!

The next day we went to another reception of Maddie's at her church. Again, good food was had by all.

Per usual Uncle Ev acted a fool. But that's why we keep him around. 

Millie and her BFF Kenzie went down the slide.

Uncle Aaron showed off his swinging skills and Jerrel pushed the merry-go-round so fast a stranger's kid fell off. With this crowd though you need to remember, "If you are gonna play rough, you gotta get tough." (Thanks Sandy for the family motto.) Jerrel put on his nurses hat and asked if he was ok-he was. We avoided the 8 year old and his mother for the rest of the party. 

Finally we ended the weekend with a walk around Haymarket. I hadn't been down there for years. So we walked around a bit before we had to pile back into the car. 

We also sat and watched traffic. For we don't have that kind of stuff where we call home. A wonderful way to spend our Anniversary, a wonderful way to spend a weekend-with family.