Goodness, it's tough getting the to cooperate for the camera for Christmas pictures.  I did get a couple of good ones, finally, and need to go through them.  For today, here's the outtakes, which do tell the story of "us". Blessed x3.

Waste Free Christmas

I have two more on board with waste free Christmas!

It's been a number of years since we've bought wrapping paper. The items our family buys for each other are mostly wrapped in reusable bags, most of which I made.  Grandparent presents are mostly wrapped with the brown paper that comes as a packing material and tied with ribbon.   We have a tradition of putting the empty bags under the tree Christmas Eve and Christmas morning we find the bags filled.  Much less work for me! Plus eco friendly. Win/win.  My kids are old enough to make their own reusable bags now.

My kids actually made these bags at a 4-H event. I led a couple of classes teaching a bunch of 4-Hers how to make their own reusable bags at a county wide event. Thankful for my 4-H mom friends (thank you Sara!), as I have this precious picture of me helping my own kids.
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Here is a picture of a past nearly waste free Christmas. Reusable bags, upcycled wrapping paper, homemade stockings and a Charlie Brown white pine from our own backyard.  Plus every unwrapped present below (as well as many in the packages) are second hand.

Was this Christmas pictured magical for my children? Absolutely.

 Sometimes less is more.


Drawing book, a frame so I could finally Frame sweet Anna-Kate's picture, a book, brand new (plastic still on) 2 CDs Laurie Berkner, Paddington, Bird field guide, a wooden circle box and a terracotta pot.

Wood is in!

I guess I'll call it in the 'nick of time'. 

 Thankful for my helpers...and the supervision.

Thanksgiving Re-Cap


Almost all homemade and homegrown...except Stovetop helped me out this year.  Sometimes a girl needs a little help.



Best part was Anna-Kate enjoying the feast and then crashing from all that food!  We have another foodie in the family, nothing that kid won't eat!

7 months!

It's a whole lot of fun with this 7 month old.  Her hands are always going and always grabbing something!  This toy my dad made is getting used again.  Happy 7 months, Anna-Kate!

Black Friday

I don't need it! They don't need it!  We don't need it! That's my mantra. 

I've already shopped for my kids anyway. The annual consignment sale in my town is where I aim to buy for my kids. I usually buy almost everything thrifted and spend ~$20 per kid. There is plenty under the tree for Christmas...and you know...they have no idea it isn't new, nor do they care.  Eco friendly and wallet friendly.

So put on your pajamas, you don't need that coupon. The black Friday deals are not necessary. Head to the thrift store instead. (Or take advantage of online shopping, scouring for those online book sales.) 

Here are my latest thrifteds for Christmas below. Pictures aren't the best because I could not wait for daylight to snaps the pictures. They would see their surprises!

For Adrian: A lined 'farmer flannel', a thermometer with water, mittens, sneakers, magnatiles, metal tractor: $15

 For Audra: Two craft kits, cowgirl boots, a game, a bag of fancy metal hair clips, mittens: $12
 Anna-Kate: Music, Melissa and Doug game, cup, smartwool baby socks. $8.50

Happy Thanksgiving 2017!

All hands on deck, we have a feast to prepare!  Rolls!
 Okay, so maybe not ALLLL hands.  Having her close would meal ALL hands on deck.  She has long arms that move quickly and have a gorilla grip.  We'll just park her here and hope it lasts longer than 30 seconds so we can work on this feast!  (Oh, and this is her "new" vintage highchair from my friend, Jana. Isn't it lovely!  Thanks, Jana!)  Wishing you all a very happy Thanksgiving!


Thankful to live in a state with Fall-like Novembers.  Because if not, would there be apple crisp in my wood cookstove?

This girl and these ducks

This girl rolls out of bed and pretty much does a running/racing/galloping/skipping roll call of all of her animals, indoors and outside.  Morning snuggles!
 I thought I was not going to be a fan of these ducks, but I love them afterall.  Not only are they hilarious to watch, but she loves them too. 

Planning ahead

This week's agenda...

A big helping of:

Thanksgiving prep.
Chapter books.
Long walks.
Wood fire.
Baby snuggles.

Been going full speed ahead lately. This week is for slowing down.


I am in deep, deep, deep into this paleontology project.  Probably over my head.

I asked. I received. 

I'm teaching sewing at a county wide 4-H event this weekend. I need to have these sewing machines working and ready to go.  I tell you, this is probably impossible. Especially since my day tomorrow is taken up with a whole host of other volunteer gigs.

5 donated sewing machines were dropped off at my house for me to get into working order by this weekend.  I just spent two hours taking apart a non working Pfaff from 1986.  Working now! (go me!) She's a beauty, a great sewing machine for learning since she has speed controls.  She's won a place in my heart.

I got to the next one. No bobbin.  I do not have that size bobbin.  Great.

And then I go onto the next one.  I did a little "oof" when I picked it up. It's heavy. Really heavy. It's a dinosaur.  Probably a brontosaurus.  I'm pretty sure it's from well before my grandmother's time. I opened it and may have gasped.  I think that's more than a two hour project.  Good bye brontosaurs.  Not today. 

Reminds me of the sewing machine I learned on.  My grandmother's knee control one. I bet that was an allosaurus. I loved that thing.

And then the good ol' singer. The one she got for her anniversary. Probably a brachiosaurus.  I used to use that thing until it overheated, smoked. Had to pace myself with that one. It's still at my dad's house. So many good memories. I stitched a number of outfits for the 4-H fashion shows back in the day.  It was the 80s. You can imagine the interesting creations I came up with.  I also had a scrunchie business.  Remember scrunchies?  One to match every outfit. That was the goal.

Because my machine kept overheating, I then borrowed a machine.

Then for my sweet 16, my dad got me not a car, but something that I wanted even more.  My loyal, faithful and dependable companion. My sweet Janome.  We have spent hours upon hours together. I love her so.

Truth is, even if I don't get all of these sewing machines fixed up before the weekend, my faithful and true Janome never lets me down. I'll bring her along and another child can learn on her.  Guessing nearly 40 kids have learned to so on her thus far. Although I have (*cough*cough*) 4 Janomes now, this one pictured below, the one my dad gave me, may always be my BFF.
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As for those other dinosaurs of sewing machines? Wish me luck.  Maybe one of these days I'll get them all up and running.

Garden 2017: Update 5

Hey, I grew that.  See that meal? That was hand raised and home grown and homemade.  I did that. 

This is what keeps me going.
I have a love/hate relationship with gardening. Initial attempts gardening on this farm yielded a sparse production due to soil quality. I hauled loads of manure and made heaps of compost.  Soil now is top notch. 

However, the insects.  Those nasty little creatures. I cannot even deal with the destruction so rapidly. 

What I really need to do is start another whole garden so I can rotate. I'm pretty certain there are eggs from pests laid in the garden all ready for next year. I just want to squash them all!

I keep on keeping on.

Looking back, it is amazing that I had a baby on April 24th and planted my 40ft x 40ft garden almost immediately after. I don't know how I did that! While I did plant the garden, I didn't weed much and I didn't water at all.  Yield was about half of what the previous years were. I lost track of the exact number, but I grew ~400 pounds of food.  Not my top year by far, but not so bad either, especially since most was done with an infant in my arms.  Something is better than nothing!

Pictured above are the last flowers before frost and broom corn (my first go with that). We've still been eating salads with fresh homegrown greens.I have a bowl of parsley on my counter now, ready to be made into tabbouleh. I've canned and frozen and dried as much as life with a newborn allows.  While the stuff I grew won't tide is over until next year like last year's harvest did, we still will have some home grown goodness mid winter.  To me, that's cause for celebration.


The top 3 of our trip to Florida? 
-Celebrating life and witnessing my brother recovering from his horrific accident. Such a miracle.
-The two bigs learned how to swim without lifejackets in their grandparents pool, with grammy watching.
-Being able to meet my new sweet nephew, who is so easy to love. Aren't these two so precious?! 

The Mote Aquarium

We had SUCH an awesome time at the Mote Aquarium.  The place was pretty much empty except for us (bonus for homeschoolers-going off season!). Everywhere exhibit, there were 2-3 volunteers flocking to us to answer our questions. Which is perfect because my kids ask them!  

Warm Beaches

Siesta Key with the powered sugar like sand. While we do love our Maine coast, it's easy to love the Florida coast too.

Halloween in Florida

Three interesting facts about Halloween in Florida:

1) Hansel and Gretel did not need snowpants, a parka, a hat, mittens or boots. So different from Maine.

 2)  Retired folks not only give good candy, but the also give money (!!!), enough to take us to the thrift shop. Plus we got these tiny little homemade treat holders. Totally adorable.
3) And as for treats from family?  Peanut M&Ms from grammy and grampy (always!) and Audra told me: "A little something caught my eye. Uncle Matt bought it for me."  Here is her "Little Something" treat that her uncle bought her.  Yup, it was four layers and double the size of her head.  While more sugar was not what she needed, it sure did taste good!

Three smiles

Very generous friends of my brother let us stay in their marvelous guest house in Florida. We are/were so blessed by this act of kindness. Not only a great place, but the backyard was so peaceful. 

Three smiles:

1) We just cannot take the farm out of these kids.  The poor duck was probably confused.
 2) We now have a sitter.  This is my favorite stage. You can just park her, walk away and come back and she's still sitting, happy as can be. (Also smile worthy is this dress I made. Love dressing my littles in mama mades.)
 3) We finally have a family shot that I love. So thankful for my little family.


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