Friday, May 28, 2010

"down by the bay, where the watermelons grow..."

"back to my home, I dare not go..."We had a lovely camping trip, just my mom and I and the girls to First Landing State Park near Virginia Beach. The park is right on the bay, and apparently it is ideal to go before Memorial day, because we had the beach to ourselves! Anastasia just loved the water (like her mama!). She was quite the mermaid! :)

Isabel (who is modeling the cutest bathing suit EVER) was not to keen on the water until just before we left. She really loved the never ending sand box though!! Isabel just loved running in the sand. It was great watching the girls meet and fall in love with the beach.
I had not been camping since before Isabel was born, and that trip was an exhausting disaster! So I had my inhibitions, but the girls were marvelous! Isabel LISTENED. It was amazing. really. We picked the perfect campsite with really interestingly windy trees to climb over and under to get to our tent. It was also supremely located by the bathrooms (for pregnant mama and potty training kiddo!) and a short (unless you are with toddlers) walk to the bay. The girls really enjoyed the tree, and after our one-night stay Anastasia asked to go back to our campsite as we were on our way home. It was the perfect little slice of nature. We kept dinner simple (and gourmet) with a beach picnic of carry-out shrimp and french fries from a local fish restaurant. We happened to be eating just about sunset and caught some funny little ghost crabs. And our trip was completed of course with the blow-up princess bed:Anastasia did NOT want to leave this bed at first and go to the beach! And I had no trouble getting her to sleep at night!! A bit tacky, yes but totally practical. lol. We also enjoyed a walk in the enchanted forest on our second day:And of course with Monie, we always have fun! :) The girls enjoyed the bridges and the dragonflies at the hiking side of the park. They were pretty tired on the second day though. And the beach was really windy as well on Day 2. We headed home a bit early because sand was blowing all over and the wind was a bit chilly! I dropped my mom off and headed towards the mountains, only to see some lighting on the horizon. Nick called and said the storm was really horrible and that we should turn back and stay at my mom's house for the night. Anastasia was thrilled to watch the cat movie (Aristocats) and sleep in her Princess bed again, but she ended up in the queen size bed with Isabel and I due to the thunder storm that hit just as we were getting to sleep.

It is nice to be home today... but I haven't really unpacked. Instead I have been researching mini vans! I want to go get one this weekend in the worst way!! Please say a little prayer that we find the right one that we can get financed for!! :) I hope you all have a great Memorial Day weekend and remember those who died for the freedoms we can take for granted.

Monday, May 24, 2010

On the Homestead...

Everyone and everything seems to be growing up this Spring. Our 5 week old chicks moved outside, and they are getting so big! I never realized how sweet and endearing chickens could be... but they are so gentle and even though they aren't too smart, they do have a lot of personality. Who would have thought? And I don't feel too bad that chicken seems to upset my tummy right now, because eating chicken gave me a little tinge of guilt when I thought of our little feathered flock.
Our coop has a little fenced area for them, but the Brahmas (our family favorite and the whiteish ones above) always seem to escape! They are the most adventurous and brave chickens in our flock. Unfortunately they can't find their way back in, so when I come by, they are waiting at the gate for me to let them in.

These are all my tomato and pepper seedlings!!! There are about 30 tomato plants and I am seeing salsa lining our pantry shelf this fall! This is the most success I have had with my seeds indoors. I have never had any luck with peppers and my tomatoes never seem to get this big by June!! :) We also have lettuce getting close to picking-age, I transplanted some Swiss Chard that is growing beautifully, my sugar snap peas are over a foot tall (I drool when I see them!!), carrots tops that are just poking above the ground, and I harvested my first 3 radishes the other day!! This is the most success I have ever had gardening, EVER!!! We are trying Square foot gardening this year, and we moved the garden closer to the house so that has helped with pesky bunnies... which I haven't seen yet this year.

In other news, Anastasia completely potty trained herself... overnight!!! We have been talking about using the potty for a very long time now, but she wanted NOTHING to do with it. She completely refused. Then for a couple mornings she woke up and used the potty and one day, she asked to wear her underwear and was potty-trained! I put a diaper on her to sleep in, and it is dry every morning but the one night I gave her underwear she wet the bed. Ooops. We have had a few accidents but overall it has been a HUGE success. My life seems that much easier now!!! So Isabel is back in cloth diapers and hopefully we won't be spending so much money now! Woohoo! :)

And we are starting our goat fund. I am dreaming of quilts I want to make. I need a quilt circle to sit with on my newly-cleaned porch in the heat of the summer sipping iced tea. *sigh*

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Our mermaids didn't have a home. The dollhouse was a bit to dry, and as the bathroom hasn't been installed yet, there was no tub for them to refresh in. I really wanted to make a little box for our travels, and this is what I came up with! The Box-O-Mermaids! The outside is just decoupaged on the front and back, with some mermaids that were actually a print out of an image of Heather Ross' Merdicino Mermaid fabric. I would have bought and used her fabric, except it is discontinued now *sigh* and is too pricey.
I painted the inside with acrylic paints that I had on hand, and glued a flower cut-out from Michaels to the box as a little shelf for the mermaids to sit on. The bottom was painted with yellows and brown and sprinkled with sand and glitter. I also added a little pack of seashells that I picked up for 99cents. So the total for the project was Box: $1.80 (with 40% coupon) + shells: $.99 + flower cutout .59 = $3.38 (plus tax, paint, glue, pebbles and mermaids). The pebbles are glued on... they can be a magic pebble garden or a little bubble pool!
I had to glue some ribbon to the sides to help the back stay upright, and I admit, I am a little worried about how structurally sound the flower and ribbons actually are! Only time will tell I guess. I finished 2 new mermaids as well! The one on the left has green sea-weed highlights and I am slightly envious! :) I am so happy with how it turned out, and while Anastasia already pulled it out before I woke up this morning, I finished it a bit, and it is hidden with the mermaids until our trip. I may add some little ocean animals as well. I hope it makes a nice little sea wonderland for our trip this week!
And now, I want to make some furniture!! Any ideas?? I am thinking of some kind of seaweed bed... and I am hoping to score some more interesting shells this week at the beach. Hope you like it, and it really wasn't too difficult, so try it yourself! :) I wish I had one to play with when I was little! lol. Heck, I might play with it now!
Nick is working today, and I am cleaning my craft room, so it is kind of a lame Sunday. Actually, it feels like Monday. And the worst part is, tomorrow is Monday all over again!! But the plan is to shop, bake and sew until our hearts are content, so it can't be THAT bad. Can it?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Mermaids, and babies, and Anna Maria Horner!!! Oh, my!

I finally got around to going to the Dr. today! Yay! Unfortunately I didn't particularly LOVE the Doctor I saw today and she never told me my due date and I forgot to ask. Thank goodness there is the Internet... I typed in all my info on several due-date calculators, and it looks like we are having a baby mid November. November 10th to be exact! Whoa, way sooner than I thought, but I AM EVEN MORE EXCITED NOW!!!!!!!!! I am however not excited about driving to the city 20 more times before this baby is born. I have become way too country now. I mean, I still have my city driving skills, but I would rather not use them. So, I decided to give bendy dolls another go. I needed to make something for the girls for our trip to the beach next week. And mermaid dolls were indeed a brilliant pick! After multiple bendy doll failures, I have been purchasing lovely dolls from Princess Nimble Thimble on Etsy. I highly (x500) recommend her dolls! Anastasia loves hers and they seem to hold up really well. Unfortunately I have to buy diapers, and lovely fabric for making things for baby #3, so I can't spend all my hard earned cash on cute little dollies for my girlies. So, I used the Nimble Thimble tutorial on Flickr, and lets just say, I LOVE THEM!!! Anastasia took her mermaids to bed with her last night. And that made my heart smile. :)
As you can see, I copied them ENTIRELY almost so they won't ever be for sale in my shop but I highly recommend you try them yourself! I also have a little play set I want to make for these gals, and a couple more mermaids in the lineup!
And Happy Mother's Day to me!!! :) I received Anna Maria Horner's new book, Handmade Beginnings in the mail today (better late than never)! And I have never been more excited ever to be pregnant!!!! I wish I had this book all along, and it is a good thing I am pregnant, because after getting this book, I would probably be motivated to get pregnant! LOL!!! 24 projects, sew little time! I am so excited to make the maternity tunic version of the dress on the cover! It looks flattering for curvy people like me, so I might make 10 of them! I want to be pregnant in a shirt I can LOVE instead of the annoying maternity clothes I have in stock right now!!! And check out Anna Maria Horner's Blog because she is such an inspiration!! 6 kids, 2 books, and beautiful fabric. What an amazing life!
Ta ta for now!! Time to slice some baguette and cheese and make a little fruit platter!! Maybe to enjoy on the porch. Thank you sunshine for coming back!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Berry Busy!

We have been extraordinarily busy the past several days! On Thursday it was overcast. Again. So my mom and I took the kids to Richmond to the Children's Museum! The kids had so much fun for several hours. They played in the water, climbed through a cave, made beautiful masterpieces, played music, and worked on a pretend farm! We will definately be going back!On Friday the girls and I went Strawberry picking with a friend. It was really quite perfect berry picking weather. Not too hot, a little overcast and the berries were delicious! :) It was great going with kids who are my kids age, it really made it fun. There were horses at the farm, and my heart melted when Anastasia walked up to a horse by herself, put up her hand and the horse bent down to her and she stroked his face and mane like a pro. It was really amazing seeing a 3-year old pet a large horse as if she knew the ropes of horses. I keep wondering if horses will be a big part of her life...It was cute seeing the girls run in the fields and eat berries. I am loving the country life! We made 16 jars of freezer jam and some chocolate covered strawberries for dessert! Yum! On Sunday Nick turned 3...I mean... 31! We took a drive to Lost River State Park in WV so he could ride the horsey! Just kidding. We were looking for something more like this:
Natural, well kept, untouched beauty. We love this place. The girls enjoyed hiking and playing with caterpillars. One such caterpillar joined us for the ride home... not sure where he is now. Ooops. Hope you all had a productive fun weekend as well! :)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Work In Progress...

I have been meaning to make a waldorf style doll for a while and am finally getting around to it! My plan was to make it for Isabel's birthday which isn't until October, but it is going a little smoother than I planned. It is a slow process with a lot of sewing and undoing, and resewing. I am pretty happy thus far, except now that I am looking at my picture, her eyes are a quite uneven! Ugh. I re-did the eye on the right twice already... I think it is the left eye's turn!
Here are some tutorials I am using:
For the head I used Moonchild Studio's Tutorial. For the rest I found THIS flickr set. And SilverPenny's directions have proved somewhat helpful as well.
And I bought all the supplies from Weir Crafts. I really like how soft and sturdy the knit interlock feels! I had thought of using a white t-shirt, and dyeing it with tea or something... but I will just say, paying the extra for the actual doll making interlock is worth it. It really is lovely. Also, I have never stuffed anything with wool before, and I am thinking I won't stuff anything with anything else from now on! Its magical stuff! I haven't bought the yarn for the hair yet, and as I plan on making a crocheted cap I am a bit afraid to get to that step since I can't really crochet! Yikes! Oh well, I will post some inspirational doll photos later....
My pizza dough is waiting!

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Wandering Gnome

Meet the new little gnome in my gnome family! Anastasia calls him "Santa Gnome!" Remember when I bought the adoable "Gnome Some Traveler" fabric by Michael Miller a while back... well I finally made what I wanted to make out of it! A bag for the wandering gnome I have been meaning to make since way back when! The wandering gnome was my mom's idea and I really love it!
If you have not heard of the wandering gnome, maybe you have seen the Travelocity Roaming gnome, who has his own home on the web here! I think the idea of traveling garden gnomes originated from the French movie, Amelie. It is a cute, artsy movie, but I can't recommend it because it is VERY RISQUE! More than I can handle anyway... but the idea is brilliant! And after the movie came scenarios like Murphy's story throughout Europe and Australia. There is even a Gnome Liberation Front aimed at liberating gnomes from their "oppressive" life of gardening. haha. Thankfully my little gnome is free of drama, and you don't have to do anything illegal to take him on a few adventures! He also comes with a sleeping bag, leaf pillow, a mushroom and a journal.
This little guy, and his accessories are available now in my shop!! I hope you guys aren't terribly sick of gnomes yet!
On another note, I had a nice Mother's Day with a trip to the arboretum plant sale where I picked up some banana peppers, lollipop cherry tomatoes, creeping rosemary (I am thinking of planting this in a hanging basket so it won't die next winter!), and some Calendula. EXCITING!!! Then my parents, who went to the plant sale too, came over for a BBQ on the new grill they bought us for our birthdays!!! And my mom made me a yummy chocolate cake for my Birthday with Buttercream frosting. I love buttercream frosting!!! So it was a good day! Oh, and Nick cleaned the house for me and did all the dishes the night before! That was splendid!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Green Smoothies and Kombucha

On my quest for healthy, refreshing beverages I decided to try green smoothies and kombucha as they seem to be popping all over the blogosphere. Here is my story.

I decided to try green smoothies because green veggies are really grossing me out right now. I usually love my leafy greens but those darned hormones have changed all that. So, I thought I could blend them with some fruit and make it yummy for everyone. Basically you blend 40% fresh greens with 60% fruit, some ice and a little liquid of choice to get the desired consistency. I tried frozen spinach my first go around, but it was really spinachy tasting. Now I have been using fresh kale, a pear, a few strawberries (I have fresh at the moment, but frozen would be good too), some frozen tropical fruit, apple juice and ice (which I usually put in first!). Sounds bizarre I know... but the fruit really takes the cake as far as the flavor goes, but you get the healthiness of fresh greens. The kids loved it too. Sadly Nick was definitely turned off by the color. I am glad my green experiment went well... because I didn't get further than a bottle of kombucha from the grocery store...

Maybe you have seen it in the healthy section of the store? Little bottles with refreshing names that cost more than a half gallon of organic milk and has little stuff floating around in the bottles. Kombucha is this mushroom-like thing that ferments in tea and sugar... read about it here. So, I was totally optimistic about this amazing healthy beverage and planned on growing my own kombucha mushroom....... but then I tasted it. Yuck!!!!!! All I could taste was yeast... and all day afterwards I could only taste yeast. And when I made pizza with yeast, all I could taste was kombucha. Apparently some people like it. Some people LOVE it and crave it. And then there are people like me who are grossed out beyond measure and wonder if it really is all its cracked up to be if it isn't even palatable.

I just thought I would share my experiment with you... in case you are as crazy as me and thought about trying those things. Or maybe you haven't and are now inspired to add some yummy greens to your life... smoothie style. :)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

these are a few of my favorite things...

Yesterday was my birthday! I am 26 now! I just thought I would celebrate, by posting a quick list of a few of my favorite things.

1. Little girls who dress up as princesses.
2. Our playgroup that is full of princesses.
3. Coffee and Chocolate like my brother sent me for my birthday.
4. Anna Maria Horner's fabric and new book... and giveaways where I might win a copy!
5. Anastasia's love for dresses and her new haircut

6. The fact that the chicks will be outside SOON because they smell. they are messy. they need to run around. their cage is too small. and they smell. but they are still cuddly.
7. The shrimp dinner I ate last night for my birthday.
8. New coffee mugs.
9. Lipton Iced Tea. Lipton is iced tea. No other tea makes such good iced tea.
10. The three bears (and goldilocks) that are FINALLY in my shop... sans furniture.

11. Summer. I know its still Spring, but it is finally getting warm... really warm and I just love it! Summer is Virginia.
12. Open windows and screened porches
13. Little baby plants peeking up out of the soil
14. Two girls who have been very good today.
15. Taking showers in our NEW shower.
16. Breyers Rocky Road ice cream... which seems to make my road more smooth.
17. Blogs where I can type these lists, and all you lovely people who read them!! :)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Weekend Wanderings

Our weekend was relaxing and fun, with a few misadventures. We were supposed to have a cookout with some friends who were camping at a nearby National forest, but sadly they cancelled. Since my birthday is this coming Tuesday, we decided to make lemonade from the lemons, and enjoy my steak dinner a little early. So we went out to Logan's Steakhouse! Yum! The kids were good, the food was good, and we followed up with a drive to Elizabeth Furnace.

The girls enjoyed out first "hike" of the season, and a refreshing dip in Cedar Creek. We went home, took baths, had some strawberry shortcake and went to bed. And I cleaned the house. Then today, after church we decided to take a trip to Skidmore Lake... a place we had never been. It was past Harrisonburg, and after waiting a very long time for lunch at a cafe on the way, a pretty drive in the GW Forest, and a bit of a steep drive on a narrow dirt road, we made it to this isolated lake.

It was more of a fishing destination, as swimming wasn't allowed and there isn't a beach or anything. Just little paths to the edge of the lake from roadside turnoffs. It was so stunningly beautiful though, and the girls really enjoyed throwing rocks into the water... for a very long time.

The trip back from the lake was not so successful. On our way up the steep, narrow dirt road, we heard this flapping rubber sound. "What is that?" asked Nick. I stuck my head out the window, hoping it wasn't what it sounded like, "It sounds like a flat tire." Sure enough, the rear passenger tire was flat. Ugh. We drove to a safe, level spot and Nick changed the tire. We had one of those tiny spare tires that surely wasn't safe to drive all the way home (over an hour and a half away!). So we drove back to Harrisonburg, very slowly, and found one tire center open at 5:30pm! There was a nail in the tire, too close to the rim so we had to buy a new tire. And the tire place was having problems with their power, but thankfully we got our new tire, and were back on the road. We went to Five Guys for dinner. YUM. And stopped one other time to look at this covered bridge:

Overall it was a very picturesque, Virginia day despite our trials and the whining in the back seat. But can I just say 2 things. 1. I used to be so judgemental of people with DVD players in their cars, thinking it was such a pampered, spoiled thing to have... and then I had kids and I want one in the WORST way! LOL. 2. I was SO happy to finally be home at the end of our drive and I think we probably should have stayed home and worked on the garden and house instead of gallivanting around. :) But all is well that ends well I guess!