Saturday, April 25, 2009

summer pants

I am in the midst of a big sewing bug. So far, I still have more plans than products, but I'll try to post more of them as I go.

I'm really into making clothes for Liam. Little boy clothes don't have to be cutesy or sports-oriented. I love the carefree and simple nature of these hippie pants. I roughly traced a pair of pants that fit him well and reimagined them in this fun ocean print.
One of my favorite blogs, Soule Mama, recently posted some of her sewing-for-boys favorites. I loved her idea of attaching size tags to keep track of all of the different hand-sewn baby things that inevitably will fill the wardrobe. I made my own with a scrap of knit fabric (that won't fray) and a free motion quilting foot on my sewing machine.


So now we are officially those people. You know, the ones with the chickens in their backyard. Plymouth Rocks, Rhode Island Reds, New Hampshire Reds, Cherry Eggers, and Red Sex Links (yes, it sounds a bit kinky, but it only means they are guaranteed to be female). We got two of each, which means we brought home 10 of them last weekend. From experience, we know that chicks have a somewhat high mortality rate. Somtimes they just die without explanation. Other times, the dog eats them and leaves the head on my bed. Those things happen. Also, not all of the varieties are guaranteed to be pullets (apparently, that's chicken-speak for female), so we anticipate at least one or two males in the mix. When it's all said and done, we hope to end up with 6 chickens or so.

I'm pretty excited about all of the eggs we'll soon be getting, in addition to the manure for the garden along with the bug control factor.

I've been mentally preparing myself for the possibility that we may eat some of our chickens. Theoretically, I'm okay with it (assuming it is already plucked and headless). I have been purchasing whole chickens from Ozark Natural Foods to cut up and cook for dinner, and have intentionally been envisioning said chicken alive, clucking, and living a happy life before he came to my house. They come from Little Portions Monastery, a Franciscan monastery in nearby Berryville, AR. So, they are Catholic chickens, which makes me really happy.

Until that day comes, we've been busy caring for these demanding little peepers. Take a look at the cuteness:

I'd be happy to take name suggestions...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

In the paper

Liam made the Sunday paper.

We were out for a walk on Friday afternoon when this lady drove by, pulled a U-turn and chased us down. She was a photographer with the Siloam Springs Herald Leader and said she had to take Liam's picture.

So, here it is :

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Whole Foods Prize Package

We have been axiously waiting for Liam's prize to come in the mail from Whole Foods (what for? you ask? Cuteness!). Today was the day.

Liam was pretty excited to see such a huge box
He peeked inside

and found the best surprise ever: packing peanuts!
Nothing could have been better.
They could have skipped on all the goodies and just sent him a box full of the peanuts. These were endlessly entertaining, and I'm still picking up bits of them off of the floor.
But the goodies inside were a big treat for me.
Here's what was inside:
A cute congratulations card

California Baby lotion

California Baby shampoo/body wash

Peter Rabbit conditioner and detangler

Whole Foods label soaps: Grapefruit and Linden flower

Hyland's Vitamin C tablets

Hyland's homeopathic cold tablets

Earth's Best foods:
  • Pureed apples
  • Bananas
  • Banana, peach, and raspberry
  • Carrots
  • Sweet potatoes and cinnamon
  • Apple Juice
  • Letter of the day cookies, Oatmeal Cinnamon
  • On-the-go O's, Honey Nut

Crunchin Grahams honey sticks

365 Organic Cotton Balls

365 Organic Surface Cleaner, grapefruit

7th Generation Baby laundry detergent

7th Generation Baby wipes

All in a sturdy shopping bag!
A great prize!

a bit dapper

Auntie Molly and Rebecca brought back an outfit for Liam from Korea. It sure is spiffy!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

shake shake shake

The other day, I made chocolate chocolate chip ice cream with my new KitchenAid ice cream maker attachment. When it is finished mixing, it is the consistency of a milk shake (and then goes into the freezer for a few hours to "ripen").

Liam needed a sample of the "milk shake" version. I'd say he likes it. Very, very much.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

oh, birds

Our cats are hunters. Coleridge especially. I know this is just a part of his nature, but when we added a doggie door to give the pets free access to come in and out of the house as they please, we altered the natural balance and, apparently, are just begging for their trophies to be dragged inside.

Earlier in the week, Cole brought in a still-flapping mourning dove, bringing it right up to me for my approval. Before that it was a little black bird, that I found Dahlia munching in the living room. A few weeks ago, a squirrel, on our couch...

This is becoming quite the problem fast. I am afraid I'll find Liam playing with the carcass of whatever their next catch is.

So, when I saw feathers all over the laundry room floor this morning, I knew what I was looking for, and I began to make the rounds so I could find it and dispose of whatever kind of bird it used to be, before Liam woke up.

I scanned the floors, and was surprised to look up in the bathroom
and find a robin perched on the windowsill,
eyeing me as if I were the intruder.
Aside from some crooked wing feathers, he seemed to be okay.

Here's Gabriel, doing his manly duty, and setting the robin free outside.
I have a ridiculous apprehension when it comes to birds.
They frighten me.
On that note, we brought home 10 baby chicks today, which we're hoping will mean lots of eggs in the not-too-distant future. More on that later. I haven't taken pictures yet, and I'm avoiding a messy kitchen as I type...

Saturday morning fun

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

the metamorphosis

I've been meaning to post pictures of my new craft room.

This room has had quite a run:
originally, it was our master bedroom (before the remodel), then a guest bedroom.

It became our office when Linda came to live with us (round 1), then a guest room again when she moved back to CA (the small room at the front of the house became the office).

Before Liam was born, the small room became the nursery and this room became the office/guest room.

And then, for Linda round 2, it transformed into her bedroom, and the office was demoted to the diningroom counter space (as it turns out, I love this space for the computer...)

When Linda left last month, I needed a drastic change. Something bright and fresh but also soothingly peaceful. Serene. This gray blue was the perfect change of pace.
I love having a dedicated crafting space. Where y sewing machine is always at the ready, and my fabric stash is conspicuously present, begging for me to delve in to it.

There is also a play area for Liam, an unblocked view into the backyard, and still a guest space at the other end of the room.

I love how the paint color enhances my dumpster-found artwork. There will surely be many pictures to come from this room's creations...

If I had a hammer...

Liam's Grandpa and Grandma Hall gave him a hammer and ball set for Christmas. It's a great wooden toy, but I thought to myself that there is no way Liam will be able to use it in the near future because it takes a lot of force to get the balls through the holes.

But then Liam watched Caleb playing with it on Monday and gladly helped him restock the top with the balls over and over again. When Caleb left, Liam scooped up the hammer and proceeded to knock those balls through all on his own. He's been doing it pretty much non-stop ever since.

So, here's a video to gladly prove me wrong. You must watch it with this tune in your head since it's been ringing through mine:

"If I had a hammer, I'd hammer in the morning. I'd hammer in the evening. All over this land. I'd hammer out danger. I'd hammer out a warning. I'd hammer out love between my brothers and my sisters. All over this land"

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

lots of love to give

We spent the Easter weekend camping at Roaring River with Crystal, Micah, and Simone.

Simone seemed to have the best time, digging in the dirt, eating the dirt, digging in some more dirt, and giving Liam kisses.
She was pretty aggressive about it. Relentless. Liam had about all the loving he could take for the day.

For more of our camping adventure, head on over to my blog.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter camping

We spent the holiday weekend camping just across the state line at Roaring River State Park in Missouri. Gabriel's coworkers had really talked it up, and although it was nestled in the Ozarks, it's real appeal is to campers of the satellite-equipped RV variety. We were the only tent campers in sight. And we didn't come armed with fishing poles. They must have all thought we were a bit loony.

Liam and I picked Gabriel up after work on Friday, a cold drizzly day. The night's weather didn't improve any, and ended up with freezing temperatures. We bundled Liam up for bed: warm pajamas, a sleep sack, a hat, and mittens, all beneath his fuzzy blanket and heavy quilt from Grandma. He seemed tobe warm enough, although he spent the wee hours of the morning snuggled in the sleeping bag with us.

When we woke up Saturday morning, it was still quite cold, and the grass was more than damp, but within a few hours the sun was up and so was the temperature. The Grays joined us just before lunch, and we all enjoyed a hike in the surrounding woods.

Liam's model shot
Simone loved the flowers. So sweet.
The proud papas

So cool in his shades
Family photo

The Grays (somehow, this is the only picture of Crystal I ended up with...)

Coveting the fly fishermen at the river down below... Getting ready for dinner.

Hobo cobbler. Micah's specialty, and yes, it was as good as it looks!

Early Sunday morning, the rain started and didn't let up. We packed our gear in the rain: Micah in wet shoes left out the night before, and Crystal in chacos and soaked socks. It was kind of miserable. We left the camp ASAP, and stopped at Mimi's for breakfast. All of the other diners were in their Easter frocks. We were in wet camping gear. And hadn't brushed our teeth yet. But the food was good.
An Easter adventure to remember...

Thursday, April 9, 2009

wriggly worms

Caleb and Owen spent the day with us again today (it'll be a twice a week thing over the next month or so). We had a fun day. The highlight for all three boys was the afternoon spent digging in the dirt in our backyard.

Barefoot toes + dirt and a shovel = lots of fun

Worms! This was the best part. Owen was braver than Caleb when it came to picking them up.

But Caleb warmed up to it...

I had to bribe them with chocolate chip cookies (dairy and egg-free, of course) to get them to come inside. It almost wasn't convincing enough. Almost.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Baby legs

Now that Liam is finally mobile, we have the problem of keeping his legs both warm and unencumbered. Some of his pants are just so bulky that he has a hard time maneuvering around them.
Solution? Leg warmers. Made from Daddy's socks.

now he's ready for trouble (headed for the stairs...)

Easter Candy

My Grandparents sent Liam an Easter package full of candy...and I let him dip into it.

His first chocolate and caramel egg:

Monday, April 6, 2009

another cold snap and maple walnut biscotti

Saturday was the perfect return to normalcy:

  • A breakfast of pastries and coffee at the Little Bread Company with Crystal, Micah, and Simone

  • The first Fayetteville Farmer's Market of the season, where I purchased some early onions and a fig tree

  • Some browsing in Terra Tots

  • Shopping at Ozark Natural Foods, where we were filmed in the bulk section for an ONF commercial :-)

  • All in 70 degrees weather!

Sunday was a big step back into winter. Grey skies. Freezing temperatures. And it's supposed to freeze again tonight.

Once again, our peach and plum trees are covered in fruit, all of which is likely to shrivel and die. This is the 3rd year in a row that this has happened. At least I haven't planted any tender vegetables yet.

As a move of desperation, Gabriel and I mummy-wrapped the plum tree and select branches of the much larger peach tree. It looks comical and a bit frightening, but if it saves any of the fruit it will be worth it.

So now we wait inside our heated house, hoping and praying for our fruit trees.

I console myself with a cup of coffee and some freshly-made biscotti. The recipe is from the Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites.

Maple Walnut Biscotti

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchent paper or lightly grease with baking spray
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. Lightly beat the eggs and add them to the flour mixture. Stir in the maple syrup, vanilla, and walnuts, mixing just until smooth.
  4. Using a rubber spatula and well-floured hands, scoop half of the dough out of the bowl and onto one side of the baking sheet. Shape the dough into a 15-inch log (about 3/4 inch thick). Repeat with the other half of the dough, spacing them about 6 inches apart.
  5. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top of each biscotti log is firm. Cool on the pan for 10 minutes. Cut each log on a severe diagonal into about fifteen 1/2-inch thick slices and place them cut side down on the baking sheet.
  6. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Hot from the oven, the biscotti may still be soft in the center, but they will harden as they cool. Allow to cool completely. Stored in a tightly closed container they will keep for several weeks.