Friday, December 13, 2013


The days have gotten so much colder, which definitely effects how much I want to get my camera out.  Alas, here's the latest.

One big must on our Things We Want In A House list was "A view of the sunrise, sunset, or both."
These sunrises almost make it okay that it's dark when I wake up.
The kids went on a juicing kick for a few weeks.  Luckily, it was apple season!  Mmm...fresh apple juice!

Trying my hand at a simple homemade solar oven.  Would love to try making a real one...perhaps in a couple of years, I'd like to build a solar dehydrator first.

Halloween package from Bubba!  Candy for all!
Oh Sam, life would be so boring without you.

This is chair that he "sits at" while using the computer.
I say "sits at" because while he can easily focus on things he is interested in for hours on end, he is still a 5 1/2 year old boy who needs to move.
This photo he is posing for me.

This photo he is not.
Yes, the chair falls over many times every day because of the feats he does with it, but no, he's never gotten hurt.
Once, I thought it might be easier with him if he just stood so he could dance around and stuff, but nope, he needs that chair. 

Aaaaand this is Sam cleaning the table.  He asked if he could help and I laughed when I saw his method.

Halloween!!  Look at that giant power ranger in those tiny chairs!  Arrr!

Russ told me less than 24 hours before trick-or-treating that he wanted to be Slenderman.
I tried.  I thought this material would be thin enough for him to see through.  It wasn't.
And his big ol' head ripped right through a pair of white tights.  Alas.
It worked...we would go up to doors while Russ stood at the sidewalk, all creepy like.  Most people would open their doors and seemed a bit offset by him.  One group of kids actually yelled "IT'S SLENDERMAN!!!" from down the was pretty funny.

The whole gang--I was a split-personality (only had half my costume here), Slenderman, Brook was a black for the third (fourth? fifth?) year running, Sam was a Power Ranger.  Then our good friends the Eddy's--a witch and two Roman soldiers.  And then the Starosta's--their daughter was the fisher-girl and they were her catch.
Even though we only went around one block, it was freezing and the kids said they had enough candy before we even finished the block.  It was a good Halloween.

After processing a batch of meat chickens with a cheap food saver, we decided to spring for the big boy since it was on sale at Costco.
Isn't she shiny??  She did great and we're looking forward to many future rendezvous' with her. 

Sam had to check out the new toy..."Hey, what if we put a hamburger bun in there?"
Now you know.  :)

Despite the fact that Brin has turned into a bit of a miscreant as the weather has turned colder (and we spend a lot more time inside), and that Russ has said several times, "I just don't think I'm a dog person"....this still happens.
I have no idea what we were doing here...looks like food color experiments.  Again.

Oh yes, I remember!  Russ turned 31 and the kids were designing their frostings for his cake!
Happy birthday, Babe!

Gah, I cannot wait for spring!
I finished fencing my garden (even rabbit-proofed it by digging the fence down 6"...hopefully that works), Russ built me a gate, and after discovering permaculture, decided to completely change how I wanted my garden planned out.
We are now doing mini-hugel beds--usually you do them on top of the ground, but because we don't yet have much for a windbreak, I am in the process of digging them down.
So once you get them dug out, you basically throw anything you can get your hands on into them--compost, leaves, grass clippings, food scraps, paper products, branches...then throw the dirt back on top of it.  Within a year or two, it should be pretty decent soil.

It's been getting chilly...chilly enough that when I look at the weather and the high is above 32* F, I do a little jig because this won't happen (but it is pretty neat) 3 or so times a day:

We were at Costco and the kids asked for this gingerbread house kit to do over the weekend.
It went really well, given that the entire house was already built!  No walls falling down or anything.  Just lots of fun with icing and candy.
It makes me laugh when the differences between the kids and Russ and I arise.  Russ was all about sneaking bits of the gingerbread for his coffee and pieces of candy, and the kids would get so mad.  "DAD!  IT'S NOT DONE!  DON'T TOUCH IT!  IT'S NOT FOR EATING!!"
Who's kids are these!?  I remember having a gingerbread house as a kid and being horrified that we weren't allowed to dismantle it and consume every possible speck of sugar immediately.
And my kids want to place it on the mantle.

Don't worry though, we fixed that.  :)
In no time, Russ was filling in Sam's "grifter teeth" (he lost his bottom two teeth and Russ has been calling them grifter teeth since, which Sam thinks is pure awesome sauce).

Look Mom, I got new 110% sugar teeth!  Awesome!

After many negotiations, Brooklyn gave the A-OK to stab our work of art.

Sam's turn!

And he caught a half of a roof!
And Russ was right, it was delicious soaked in a warm drink.  My preference lately has been homebrewed chai tea mixed with eggnog.  Steaming hot, of course.  Mmmm...

And winter has officially begun!

The first snowfall was exciting for all, including Brin...

I am one who likes to admire the snow from INSIDE.  And if I do go outside, I need layers and layers (hell, I need layers and layers INside too!).
Brooklyn?  Not so much.
She spent over 2 hours out and about in her fleece jacket and yoga pants, with a scarf and hat.  No gloves.  No coat.  Oh, and cowgirl boots.
Whatever works, eh?
She was trying to make snowballs here, but it was just too cold for the snow to stick.

"Mom, do you have anything so that I can clear the pathways?"
Indeed I do!  Shovel or rake?
"Rake please."

Here's the new rabbitry--much better than the cages hanging under the deck.
They now have lots of straw to burrow into and are spoiled rotten with hot water three times a day.
Oh, and the one on the far left (Thumper) is now in the garage as she now has 8 babies.
We'll be moving another one (Bumble) to the garage in a week or so as well, as she'll be due with a litter.  Exciting times!

I was on my way to bed one night and Brooklyn says, "I'd like to write a comic book, will you help me?"  Uhhhh....sure.
We finally headed to bed around 2am, having accomplished the cover, the title page, 2 written pages and 2 pictures.  Phew!
She talks about it daily and gives us little glimpses into her storyline.
Initially, she said she would sell it and decided on $10.  Now that she's put so much into it, she decided she'll keep the original and sell copies.  :)
She has also decided that she will be making 10 issues, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Messy Kitchen.

Let me introduce you to my messy kitchen...
Kitchen, Readers...Readers, Kitchen...

Now I know it's not super duper messy, but each morning while my tea is steeping, I do a "kitchen sweep" where everything gets tidied up for the day.
This photo is the end of day.  Not unusual for the kitchen to be turned topsy-turvy by day's end, but this particular day I walked in and instead of being overwhelmed, I smiled.
Let me explain...

See that box of Rice Krispies?  It's from a giant batch of rice krispy treats we'd made that day, and devoured for lunch.  Yes, rice krispies for lunch.

The bag behinds it contains the remains of a delicious loaf of bread that Russ cooked for us.

The plastic containers behind that are part of our never-ending collection of plastic containers that Brooklyn plans to use for her plants in the spring.

The crockpot back in the corner?  Some sort of delicious-ness, which was served in all of the dishes scattered about.  Whatever it was, everyone must've liked it.

The cake pan?  Russ and Sam decided to make a Minecraft cake...but only got as far as the cake itself (no frosting or anything Minecrafty about it).  It was THE BEST chocolate cake any of us has ever had.  I have tried to replicate it, but have been unable.  Russ claims it was because Sam was in complete control of mixing.  Guess I'll have to wait to try again when Sam's ready.

The knife and cutting board?  "Mom, can we cut some stuff?"  "Sure, what shall we cut first?"

The box of crackers in the front there?  Leftovers from a cheese-making party at friends' house where far too much cheese was consumed.

The bread-maker bucket over by the sink?  My half of the bread-making process--Russ does the making, I do the cleaning.  It's better that way...people actually eat the bread.

The mugs?  A nice sunny morning with my love, sipping our warm drinks and talking about what the day holds for us, while the kids still slept quietly in bed.

The frosting buckets?  I've been collecting these to put our food storage in.  Russ asks for them at the bakery when he runs to the store for me, even when he doesn't want to.

The wine bottle?  A good end to a great day.

It's hard sometimes to not get overwhelmed at the amount of Mess that happens each day.  But I've found that it helps so, so much not to look at it as Mess, but as Life. that's not to say I always walk into a room and smile at the "Life" exploded all over the wall and ceiling and let's not mention the floors that I can't see...but sometimes it really does help.

Strike A Pose.

Several week ago, we ran into town for our homeschool park day.  Right before then, I met up with a guy at Starbucks to sell him my spare camera.
We had awhile to dink around, so dink around we did.
The monkeys were being pretty silly, so I said, "Hey, strike a pose!"
"Okay, this is mad."

"Wanna see sad?"

"Time for Happy!"

"Let's do Derpy!"

My turn.
"Alright guys, so what do you suppose Smart looks like?"



"Now, I know you can do Crazy..."

"Ooh, what about Suspicious?"
(I was impressed with this one, as no direction was given nor clarification asked for.)


"What about....The End Of The World?"


"Mom, can you tell what this one is?"

"Clothing model!"

I have this one labeled Mad Sam on my Starbucks wrapper.

"Play dead!"

And after a full afternoon of sprinting, giggling, scootering, playground-ing, this is their Dead To The World In Less Than 4 Minutes look.
It was a quiet ride home.  :)

Friday, December 6, 2013

Family photos.


It's's only been ohhhh, 3 years since the last ones.  Half of Sam's lifetime ago...
Bad Trista.
Anyways, it was time.  A friend was going to come snap them for us, but got held up, so we went with the auto-timer.  Whatever, they're done.  And we got some decent ones even!

Of course, at least half of them turned out something like this.

Tough stuff.

I love the documentation of Brooklyn's haircutting experiments.

"Mom, take a picture of me standing on one leg!"

Hopefully I can manage to get more before another 3 years goes by!!