Thursday, October 30, 2008

Pumpkins and more

Last weekend we went to a friends for their annual pumpkin carving. They have an amazing barn that they rescued from a construction site. Tore down and numbered piece by piece and then rebuilt it on a new stone foundation. It is the most beautiful barn I have seen. (I have a small love affair with barns and miss the barn at our old farm.) They also have horses, sigh..

They are so kind to invite our brood along with a few other families to their barn for pumpkin carving, hayrides and yummy food. There are tables set up right in the barn along the gorgeous new stalls. The kids run amock all over the farm and love seeing the horse. The horses get their fill of apples when we go. Mr. G. is the official carver for the family but everyone gets into the act. Monkey picked a design for his pumpkin and helped clean out the inside.
Princess just wanted a face for hers. Bird helped but didn't carve her own. So we sat and scooped then carved for quite some time. Everyone lines up their finished pumpkins on the stone wall for the official lighting. It is so cool to see everyone's artwork. The kids and kids at heart get to go on a hayride around the farm. My crew loved that! We had some yummy treats, including a biscuit baked with a meat filling that was delicious and perfectly portable. The kids made glow stick necklaces and ran around until we had to go. Bug was exhausted and ready for her crib. It was a wonderful fall day and I was so glad we got to go. A big thank you to the OBriens for their hospitality. This has become a favorite fall tradition.

Cottage Update & ......

The roofers and painters have arrived. At first they thought it might take more time than expected until the suporvisor called for reinforcements. The new roof is on and the outside has a new coat of the loveliest pink. New white trim sets off the windows. There is much debate over the color of the front door. I painted it a red but it is not quite the red that I want so I decided to paint it black. Much discussion ensued from the hired (I mean bribed) help. So for now we are leaving it red. I am still searching for the right red. Now onto the inside. I have a new family who is very excited to take up residence in the cottage. They are hoping to be in for the holidays, I am hoping that too!

Then the other afternoon my kids were yelling from the back yard to come look. I always get a little nervous over that much screaming about coming to look. I ran out back to see a beautiful hot air balloon gliding right over the top of the house.
So I ran back inside to get the camera and put on the right lens and.... When I ran back out these were the only shots I could get. The balloon landed in a field not far from the house. It was very cool to see and the kids loved it. These are the moments that prove I should always have my camera hanging around my neck:)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Today as I pulled out a coat for Monkey boy I realized just how lucky I am. The coat is a hand me down, one of many that we are fortunate enough to receive. It is a Lands End parka that looks brand new. You wouldn’t know it wasn’t new if I hadn’t told you, neither would Monkey. But I did tell him, I told him how it came from his friend and how he should be sure and thank him next time we see him. He was happy to have the new to him coat. He thinks it is cool to get clothes from his cousins and friends and thrilled to be able to pass on his clothes when they are to small. I think it is important for all my kids to realize the value in the things we own. It doesn’t have to be new to be nice. A quality item or piece of clothing can last 10 times longer than a new cheaply made item. I want them to feel good about knowing they are saving things from the land fill by using them and passing them on to be used again. There should never be shame in taking hand me downs or buying used. Quality is quality whether or not I purchased the item new or not. I am thankful my kids don’t really care about where their clothes came from. I am thankful they can see the value in reusing quality things. And even if he doesn't understand all those concepts yet, I am really grateful he doesn't throw a fit about having to have something new from the store. It's new to him no matter where it came from. We are blessed.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Technology Glitch

I have a few posts ready to go but can't get my pictures to load so I will keep trying. Sometimes I would like to throw my laptop on the floor. But then I count to 10 (or 20) and try to remember that technology is wonderful at times, and this will be a wonderful keepsake of our days whenever the pictures get loaded. So off to have another smoothie, I found a great recipe for Orange Julius that tastes just like the ones at the mall. The kids love it and it really isn't bad for them. I'll add the recipe later..... Maybe the picture fairy will be on duty later.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Today was one of those days where I was bent and determined to get something accomplished. The house always calls for attention and although I do try to keep things in fairly good order sometimes I need to get serious. Time to pull out the apron, put on the dreaded sneakers and get to work (at least the apron is pretty). We didn't have to leave the house until 1:45 so I had some time to get to the ever growing list. I settled Princess on the couch with a snack and a smoothie, turned on Princess Diaries and got to work. Bug just crawls around after me following me from room to room. I opened all the windows to air the house, it has been so mild & lovely out. I stripped four out of five beds, washed and dried the sheets and remade the beds. I love a freshly made bed and in an effort to make bedtime go more smoothly around here, a freshly made bed can't hurt. I dusted the bedrooms. Vacuumed up the dog hair and sprayed freshener on the carpets. Princess took a break from the movie to help me clean up the doll clothes in her room. We had to bring in the trash bin because she loves to cut and paste. There were little bits of rubbish all over her floor. Sometimes the mess seems to overwhelm the people who live in it. We freshened up her room and she was very pleased. I attended to the bathrooms next. And after that I decided it was enough for the moment. The girls and I sat down for lunch. We had a lovely afternoon. Princess learned how to use my heart paper punch and made hearts for an hour out of my scraps. Bug napped and I had some time to work. I finished up the cleaning and prepped dinner. Then I spent some time working on Christmas presents and knitting Einstein's blanket. Overall it was a great day. I had accomplished much of my list and had some creative time with the Princess. When the boys came home from school we made smoothies and did homework. Nothing spectacular or crazy but nice. Sweet family time.... and I feel so content after a day like today. Content and blessed.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Nature Walk

Tuesday after school I took the kiddos for a walk at a state park near our home. After the initial coercing of the little two that there was indeed some playground equipment even if it is just swings and a seesaw. With Bug in the backpack we set of on one of the trails.

The leaves are just starting to change and we picked a few off the ground to examine. Einstein had the camera and took the shots posted here. He is turning into quite the photographer and loves to use my camera.

I love to see his perspective and what he chooses to capture. I love the close up shots of the mushrooms and mountain laurel. We headed over to an area that has some huge rocks, perfect for climbing and adventure. Monkey boy was all over that

. Princess gingerly made her way up some of the smaller rocks to pose for pictures and look for fairy beds(moss). She is such a girly girl, I love it! We played on the swings and seesaw for a little before we headed home to have dinner. I actually had planned ahead and prepared yummy beef stew earlier in the day. It was happily bubbling away on the stove at home awaiting our return. We loaded up and headed home to meet daddy. It was a beautiful evening, the weather was perfect, the company was good and the food was great. But the best part was after dinner was finished and baths were had, Einstein came and found me to thank me for taking them to the park. He loved it and wanted to be sure I knew. Sooo sweet. Sooo perfect. Just the thing this mom needed. It is those little moments that burn themselves upon my heart and I am thankful.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A Handmade Holiday

I love handmade gifts. I love to give them. I love to receive them. Handmade gifts convey cozy, warm feelings that say "I care, I'm thinking of you, you are precious to me!" So in that spirit I have begun the task of putting together some handmade gifts. With the thrift drive in mind I tried to plan projects from the supplies in my craft closet. Because lets get real, everyone knows I have enough supplies for a lifetime of projects in my craft closet. There are so many projects I would love to accomplish for the holidays but I am trying to be realistic in how much time I actually have to craft. So as not to allow the house to fall into total disrepair I will have to pick and choose worthy projects. I have narrowed down the list to items which the recipient will be able to use in some way. Blank books, journals, art kits, story books featuring the recipient, hand knit dish cloths, luscious hair bows, fairy jars(not really useful but oh so lovely to look at), aprons in fun prints and yummy treats to eat. So as I pull together my Christmas Planner I am trying to make a workable time schedule. No last minute crafting at midnight for me. At least that is my goal. I will post snippets of completed projects as I complete items. Off to gather supplies....

Thrift Drive

Recent turns in the economy are quite scary. I can't even bear to look at the 401k recap because the number keeps dropping daily. The government bailing out companies who should have known better and no real help for the general public. What is a girl to do? Run and bury my head in the sand? I don't think that will help much. So as my Pap would say I will be watching my pennies closely. Alison from the Vintage Housekeepers and Brocante Home has challenged the group with a thrift drive. A pledge to try and lower expenses by 5% over the next week. I have been working on this for some time now. Getting receipts in order, entering numbers, researching recipes, cutting a few coupons. But now it is time to get serious (I have to order the propane as we are down to 6% left in the 1000 gallon tank, it will be quite an outrageous bill). SO here is what I did today: entered all my receipts into Pear Budget so I know exactly how much I have to spend. Time consuming, yes, but very eye opening. Last month we went way over budget just on little things that added up quickly. After that mind numbing task I had a cup of coffee and Bug had a bottle with a snuggle. Snuggles make the day so much more tolerable. Next up I canceled my automatic coffee delivery, (gasp) , it was hard but I have quite a few pounds stock piled in the pantry. After that I called to research the best propane price in our area and ordered the tank to be filled. We really need to look into some alternatives. And most importantly I stayed home and didn't run around or visit any stores. That alone saved a ton on gas and no temptation to spend. I think I may have already hit my number. Now if Amazon would stop emailing me.....

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Vintage Housekeeper

I have joined The Vintage Housekeeper's Circle over at The Brocante Home and I am so very excited. I have been lurking around Alison's beautiful blog for quite some time now and I was so thrilled when she announced her Circle. She emails the most lovely ideas for bringing the beautiful home. Little touches and treats to make our homes so much more pleasing to those who reside here. It has been a week and I look forward to that little piece of lovely email each day. Alison's writing is compelling and honest. I love that she embraces the role of homemaker, because isn't that what we all long to be? A true home maker. A maker of all things lovely, cozy, beautiful and yummy at home. I know I do. I want to make my home in a way that creates memories for my husband and children. I want them to know how much I value, love and care for each one. I show them everyday by keeping the house, washing the laundry and cooking up something good to eat. My attitude as I go do these things is just as important as doing them. No, cleaning toilets is not my favorite thing to do by far but it blesses my family so I do it. By bringing little bits of loveliness to these everyday acts adds so much more contentment to my days. I want my daughters to realize that I am not trapped at home, I find joy here. I want my sons to see the importance of Mr. G. and myself setting the priority for me to be home. Home should be a sanctuary, not a 4 letter word. Even amid the daily chaos that tends to reign here I want my children to feel good about home, to feel safe and comfortable and most of all loved in this house. So I am proud to say I am a Vintage Housekeeper. I love being the homemaker. I love all of the modern conveniences available to me but I crave the simple life. I used to cringe when the question of what do you do?? would be asked. Why? I am not exactly sure besides the unenthusiastic responses when I would tell people that I am home with the kids. Oh, the wasted potential that is me... Please. I would rather call time my own and pour the best of myself and my creativity into my family and home. And the more I looked around, the more this Internet brings the world home I realized I am not alone. So many other ladies feel the same way. So many long for a simpler life and a vintage homemaker existence. I have found kindred souls and I am thrilled.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Monday Morning & Teething Baby

Oh my! I try to start off the week on a good note. No one wants to climb out of bed on a Monday and head back to school. This morning was no exception. I always start a little earlier on Mondays. It seems to take everyone a few extra minutes to get going. Bird is pretty easy to get moving although she seems to wake up with attitude. Today she was rattling on about how I didn't wake her up early enough, even though I started a few minutes earlier than normal. She's 12, sometimes I just can't win. I choose my battles. I will not tolerate fresh mouth but she will test me at times. She ate 1/2 off a banana. Only a half. I don't think I ever eat half of anything. Oh well off to school for her.

Next up are the boys. Einstein got moving without to much fuss but Monkey boy was not quite as nice. He has a hard time in the mornings. I had his clothes ready for him and help him get dressed. It smooths out some of his crankiness. Princess got dressed and headed down the steps to wait for breakfast. In the midst of all this Bug woke screaming, not a good start. This is so unusual for her that I knew something was not quite right with her. But no stopping progress now, everyone is dressed and fed and headed in the right direction for the bus and school. Bug and I drop Princess off at school and head home for some housekeeping, or so I thought....

I had quite a to do list planned for the morning but Bug had other plans. She couldn't be soothed unless she was in my arms. I soon discovered that she is cutting 2 new teeth. Poor girl! So I strapped her on in her sling(I love my sling!) and off we went to try and accomplish a few things. It didn't feel like I got a whole lot done but I did make some progress on my list. So here is my DONE list for the day, I like looking at it better than what is still on my TO DO: list.


1. vacuuming downstairs

2. dusting downstairs

3. floors washed up and steamed

4. the front steps washed down (with yummy smelling Method Almond Wood Cleaner)

5. the kitchen put in order

6. 4 loads of laundry

7. bathrooms cleaned and sanitized(Boys are gross)

8. mirrors shined

9. snacks prepared

10. dinner prepped and ready for the oven

11. books read with Bug & Princess

12. a few rows knit onto Einsteins blanket.

Progress made considering Bug was strapped on most of the day. Snuggled close and comforted. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Sunday Love

Today was one of the days I want to remember. Not because anything major happened but because it didn't. The morning started off cool but clear. After the normal craziness of trying to make everyone presentable we headed off to church. After church we came home. No plans, no errands, no running around, just home. That in itself is such a break from the normal pace of this family. Mr. G. headed outside to work on staining the new lattice he installed. Bug went down for her nap. Bird went with Aunt C. to do the walk for hunger for the local food pantry. Einstein invited a friend over to play and they occupied Monkey outside playing in the woods and being boys in general. Little Miss Princess floated around between outside with her daddy and with me as I puttered around the house. There is nothing quite as restorative as a lazy Sunday with not much that I have to do. I cleaned up some messes, did a few loads of laundry, read a few magazines and started on some Christmas presents.

As evening approached Mr. G. started a bonfire in the fire pit. It was the perfect weather for it, cool and crisp. We sat around together, the kids played on the play set. Bug loves the baby swing. We toasted marshmallows. Chocolate marshmallows! They were interesting. Not everyone was a fan of the chocolate marshmallows. I think I prefer plain ones as well.

We then took a ride over to the Diner for a little ice cream to end the evening. The kiddos had their bath and put on their jammies. Then stories and off to bed. They didn't go easily but I didn't care. I wanted the day to last a little longer as well. It was such a sweet day. I know sometime in the future(sooner than I would like) when the kids are screaming and we have to rush to be here or there I will be able to remember this day. Remember and breathe..... it is all so very worth it.

Thursday, October 2, 2008


The weather has taken on a fall chill in the air. This morning I had to get up and run around closing windows. I could see my breath, just a little too nippy in the house for me. After I started the coffee I found the thickest, warmest pair of socks I could and donned them with a sweatshirt over the pajamas. A lovely sight I am sure. Once everyone was coerced out of their warm and toasty beds I had to beg them to get into their school clothes. No one was in to big of a hurry this morning. But with some gentle prodding they made it down the steps ready for another day. Walking to the bus stop I could smell that someone had lit their woodstove. That makes it official, autumn has arrived and I am quite excited about it.

With every change of season I have the urge to change things up around the house but so much more so with autumn. The chill in the air, the changing of the leaves, bonfires, caramel apples and pumpkins. All of my favorite things arrive and I like to get ready to enjoy them all. The house needs cozied up a bit. Blankets need to come out of storage. Shelves need cleaned off and organized. The pantry needs a little perking up. Flannel sheets need to be put on the beds. Little things I love so much that signal the arrival of my favorite season.

So today I will tackle the library. It needs a serious going over and rearranging. The books are falling off the shelves on the childrens end. Dust has settled a little to thickly on the mantlepiece. And it needs some fabric touches brought in for fall. I already shampooed the carpet yesterday so I just have to get motivated to tackle the shelves. I am still hunting for fabric to treat the windows, but I haven't found anything I love yet. I keep searching for the right fabric at the right price. I will have to be careful while organizing the books, Mr. G. gets a little touchy about his books but I think he will survive.

I took a few before pictures. Here is my mess and I am actually posting a picture. Oh my!