The joy of tapping...

One thing we don't do is go on your typical dinner/movie date.  Even before having kids, our typical dates were on cross country skis or in our kayaks.  Our dates now are a let's go snowshoeing while the baby's sleeping on our back.  Or let's cook an elaborate meal and eat it all while the baby is sleeping.  Or let's slip outside while the baby is sleeping and tap trees.  If you'd ask either of us, we'd prefer it this way.  Real elaborate, I know...but it's what we enjoy.  We've never tapped trees before, but already, we're hooked. 

We likely have 50 maple trees immediately surrounding our property.  To my husband's relief, I suggested we start with just a few trees rather than going all out.

It's so awesome how the sap starts dripping as soon as the tree is tapped when the weather is right.
It's fun to see how much is collecting already!
Of course, we have helpers. One nosy dog.
And 10 chickens.

Home is sounding and looking more like spring with the tap tapping of the sap dripping and the snow melting.  Soon the perennials will be sprouting and the apple trees will be flowering. Of course, after the latest nor'easter.  How I love seasons!

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Quilt 45

Quilt 45 Crib Size 2001
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Back to Thrifting!

Did you notice? I haven't been thrifting lately. A houseful of Christmas stuff has kept us entertained and I just haven't felt the pull to do so. Plus a one year old is a little too helpful in tight thrift stores. But, back at it today. I'm excited about my latest finds.

Two hard covered books
a board book
cute little girl (!) shoes
a pair of pink (!) pants
a pink (!) one sized nightgown (love those)
an LL Bean toddler sized wetsuit
and an expandable tote bag


I promise to not continually be as enthusiastic that I am shopping for pink things. Okay, that's a tough promise to make. But I'll try.
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English Muffins

Ever since I stopped buying any store bought bread (I usually make this bread), I've periodically been energized to experiment with new breakfast ideas.  I try to make bunches of waffles, quiche and cinnamon raisin bread (must blog!) to have on hand for a quick-gobble me up- breakfast. We used to occasionally do English Muffins and Bagels too. But, haven't had those in over a year.  On a whim, I gave English Muffins a whirl. I wanted to start with a simple white recipe and I've been doing a little experimentation to make it healthier.  I like that I can pronounce every ingredient that went into this...which I cannot say the same for the store bought brand.  Although almost every recipe I found called for them to be cooked on the griddle, I experimented and found out a way to bake them.  

So...what are they good for?  Toasted, smothered in peanut butter, honey or homemade jam (thankful for the 10 batches of jam I canned last year).  Homemade egg mcmuffins. Pizza muffins, topped with pineapple, veggies, tomato sauce and cheese (a bit of every food group...and a non-processed snack). This recipe is so immense that there was enough for all of these ideas.  A whole tray of pre-made pizza muffins has been a big hit, husband approved.
These are just half of what it made.

The original recipe was off of, but I've changed it to make healthier and easier and the baking is different the way I did it (listed below).

English Muffins
  • 1 T white sugar
  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 1 cup milk, warmed
  • 1/4 cup veg. oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 T gluten
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour


  1.   In large bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 T sugar in warm water. Let stand until foams, about 5 minutes. 
  2. To the yeast mixture, add the milk, veg. oil, salt, gluten and whole wheat flour. Knead in flour. Place in greased bowl, cover, and let rise for an hour in warm place.
  3. Punch down. Roll out to about 1/2 inch thick. Cut rounds with biscuit cutter. Placed on greased cookie sheets sprinkled with cornmeal.  Let rise 1/2 hour. 
  4. Bake 400 degrees for 10 minutes, flip over muffins, bake for another 5 minutes. 


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Mama Made By Choice

It's no secret that my little guy has definitive taste about his attire.  Just today, it took us 15 minutes of hat testing until we got the 'perfect' one.  To go where, you ask?  For a walk to see dump trucks.  I tried to convince him the dump truck drivers weren't picky, but he disagreed. know what makes this mama soooo happy?  When he chooses to wear something mama made, over everything else.  Lately, he's been wanting to wear this coat I made a while back.  He knows I made it too.  You can ask him "Who made your coat?" and he'll show you "mama".  I love this quote, from the book Knitting for Baby by Melanie Falick and Kristin Nicholas: "When babies wear what we have made for them, they are wrapped in our love-safe, warm and protected".  It's like being snuggled in your mama's love all day long.  And when I see him wear what I lovingly made for him, my heart smiles. 
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February 2011....And a trip down memory lane.

It melts my heart to look at where we were a year ago.  I know everyone says it flies by, and of course it does.  But I can happily say that I have enjoyed and continue to enjoy this little guy each and everyday.  It's hard to believe we'll be setting the table for four a year from now.  Oh, life is so grand!

Colors & Puppets Quiet Book

We have books, books and more books.  But we don't have a quiet busy book.  I thought it would be quite the useful tool, considering there's lots of sitting at church and we have a pending airplane ride approaching. So, here it is:
Here was my inspiration for making the book.  I got these for couple of bucks at one of my thrifting adventures.  I love them.  But I'm the only one who wants to play with them.  Off to seek the solution.

I designed a quiet book to store these little animals in a zippered pouch.  On each page, there's a little pocket to put them in. First try was a huge success.  20 minutes of quiet play with my little guy...then passed to friends in the pew in front of us....which both the kiddo and a dad had a blast playing with them for another 20 minutes.
Each page is a single medley of colors, whipped up from my scrap fabric bin.  I sewed a vinyl pocket on each page for the little puppets.  I also embroidered the color name too.

And here's the back:
It's not too thick, but it's packed with fun.

Here's an up close of my embroidery.  My goal is to improve at that...and it's coming along (I hope).
  Overall, I'm quite happy with how it turned out. But I'm even happier that it's well loved already.
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Travel/Crib Sized Pillow, with Pillowcase

My little guy decided he loves pillows.  Except the one I gave him is too small.  He likes a full mama sized pillow, but it takes up half the crib!  Since this mama is too cheap to buy a smaller pillow, I improvised. 

Posted by PicasaI took a standard sized pillow we had and cut it in half.  I tucked in the open edges and top stitched the pillow closed.  It's the perfect travel sized pillow or crib sized pillow.

Next, a pillow case.  I used to mass produce covered pillow cases when I was a kid.  The rule I always used is measure the dimensions of the pillow and add an inch.  That's the perfect size to cover the pillow.  If you're going to make a pillowcase, add an extra 3-5 inches on one side. Stitch up the three sides.  Turn and hem the open edge. Easy! 

I added appliqued fish to the side.  I appliqued the old fashioned way...pressing the seams in.  I'm reminded why I don't do that too often.  I also embroidered little bubbles, look closely and you can see them.

I'm hoping since my little guy is into fish (which he signs with an open/closed mouth motion as he points to each fish in the fabric) that he'll be excited about sleeping on this pillow.  He has been thinking nighttime sleeping is unnecessary lately, maybe this will change his mind?  At least I get a few extra snuggles with a little guy who thinks sleeping is optional.  I do love snuggles. So good so far...

Five Little Ducks: Softies (FREE PATTERN)

My little guy is a fan of the 'Five Little Ducks' song and book.  You know the one:

Five little ducks went out one day. 
Over the hill and far away.
Mama duck said "Quack, quack, quack",
But only four little ducks came back.  (And so on...)

So I created a pattern to make some softies to go with the song.  They were made out of thrifted wool pants.

I added these to my  Naptime Song/Rhyme Bag .  It joins:

The Puppy Crinkle Toy for "How Much Is that Doggie in the Window"
Humpty Dumpty

Here's one flying solo.
And here they are in use.

And here's the PATTERN

All seam allowances included.  Making one of the pattern makes one duck.  You'll need to make the pattern 5 times to have all five ducks.   I made mine out of wool, but you can use cotton or felt.  Tweezers are really handy for turning the tiny pieces right side out. Enjoy the pattern, but please don't sell, thanks!  The extra template was what I used to make this...which you can make if you'd like.

1) Cut out all pieces per pattern.  

2) Applique eyes on duck body with embroider floss.

3) Sew belly to body, starting at the tail and curving around bottom.  Repeat for other side (You'll run out of fabric on the duck's neck, that's okay).  Sew two duck bodies together along neck first (merging from the belly piece), curving around head to tail.  Leave a gap at the tail for the stuffing.  Turn duck inside out, press.  Stuff.  Hand sew to close.

4) Sew two beaks to each other along sides, stuff.  Pin and sew on duck body, turning seams in.

5) Sew two wings together, leaving a gap to turn inside out. Turn inside out. Press, hand sew to close and sew on duck body (I didn't stuff these).  Repeat for other side.

6) Sew two feet together along sides and bottom, turn inside out.  Press, hand sew to close seams and sew on duck body (I didn't stuff these).  Repeat for other side.

I'd love to see your completed projects if you give it a try!

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Good Morning, Maine

Good morning, Maine.  Even though your temperatures are below freezing and our noses become red, we don't mind.  Snuggled close in the carrier, we leave the toasty wood fire to go out to enjoy you each morning. 
It's quite a treat when we find something to bring back inside. Hold carefully, little one.
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