Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Apple Farm

A few weeks ago, The Husband took the kids to the Happy Apple Farm (while I was doing my last Farmer's Market) to pick apples, drink cider, run around the orchards and have hay rides. I told him to take lots of pictures.  This next picture is as close as they got to a hay ride...but Kennedy and Kolby seemed to enjoy it.

Well, maybe Kolby didn't enjoy it so much.  I don't know why he's making that face.  Maybe he discovered a worm in his apple?  I don't know.

Kimble had fun collecting apples in his little bucket, but what you don't see is that he just dumped them all out, and now he's running away from his apple mess.

The kids all picked a bucket full of apples, and they were bagged and bought and brought home. They were very sweet apples!

After a few hours of fun, and a few gallons of cider were also bought, they continued down the road to visit with some friends who live out in wild country. They let the kids shoot some rifles and practice target shooting. Kolby and Keaton loved it, and turns out that Kolby is a crack shot!

They came home happy from a day outside in the beautiful fall weather.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Heroic Tale

Once upon a time, there were two young brothers who liked to do normal boy things.  They played in the park, climbed trees, fought with sticks and dug in the dirt.  However, they had big dreams of what they wanted to become: Superheroes.
With these thoughts  fresh in their mind, they laid down for an afternoon nap.  Just two boys, with big heroic dreams....(begindreamsequencenow)

Curse that Evil Villain!  He tied sweet Bonnie Lou to the railroad tracks!  Poor thing is so helpless.

 In utter despair, she let out a cry for help.  "Help!"  Circling overhead, Johnny Rocket heard her plea while using his super hearing.  He swooped in to see what the trouble was.

"Why hello there.  What seems to be the problem, ma'am?"
She replied with a sigh of relief "Oh Johnny, I mean...Mr. Rocket, sir...I seem to have gotten myself into a predicament.  Please help set me free!"

 "I'll just use my bulging muscles to tear this rope right off you!"

 "Oh Johnny!  You saved me!"
"Why ma'am, it's not only my duty as a superhero, but it's also my pleasure."

A few hours later, as Johnny was watching over the neighborhood, he spotted Bonnie Lou and noticed that she had gotten herself into another pickle.  That cursed Evil Villain had struck again!  "I might need some help with this one", he muttered to himself.  So with their mind link, he contacted his brother, Benny Bolt, and explained the situation.  "She's stuck again?" Benny Bolt said.  "Bless her heart."

"Oh Benny Bolt!  Is that you?" Bonnie Lou was so happy to see him.  In no time at all, he got the ropes free, for he also had super-bionic-extra-strong muscles. 

 "I'd hate to think you went out of your way to save little 'ole me," Bonnie Lou said.
"Quite alright, ma'am.  Tis my duty as a superhero" replied Benny Bolt, and he carried her to safety.

 And so the three enjoyed a quiet afternoon keeping Bonnie Lou out of  trouble. 
However, the moment Johnny Rocket and Benny Bolt excused themselves to go save an innocent kitty that was stuck high in the treetops, Miss Bonnie Lou found herself once again, in danger's evil grip.

 "Bonnie Lou!"  The boys could only shake their heads in disbelief at how often she found herself the unfortunate recipient of the Evil Villain's attention.  Working together, they quickly set her free (again).

Since Bonnie Lou enjoyed flying so much, they took the opportunity to cruise around the city, flying high overhead, while keeping a keen eye out for the Evil Villain. 

 The End.
Special considerations go to...
Sharon Carpenter: props, poses, and patterns, situational confrontations
Shaina Nunnelly: photography, cinematography, patterns, supplies, storyline
And for your viewing pleasure, some behind-the-scenes bloopers.

(You will be happy to know that Johnny Rocket and Bonnie Lou have found a loving home to dwell in safety from the Evil Villain.  Still at risk of capture, is super hero Benny Bolt.  He is available for purchase upon inquiry, as well as an assortment of lovely female damsels in distress.)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Bill Coon

At our heart meeting last week, we had the opportunity to hear from Bill Coon. He is an author of the book Swim and he was on tour throughout the country, discussing the fact that he is a two-time heart transplant recipient, and how his life has changed because he was born with congenital heart defects.
His book is partly a compilation of his journal entries as he was in congestive heart failure, waiting for diagnosis, and having his second heart transplant.  It's written from his perspective of dealing with having a life of heart defects.
His story touched me because he shared his own personal experiences and struggles, from the perspective of having heart defects.  I have a different perspective, that of a care-giver of someone who has heart defects.  I realize that although I'm a great advocate for Kimble, he is going to have his own story to tell, which will be very different from mine.
As I've journeyed through the past three years, dealing and managing our new reality relating to Kimble's heart defects, I've wanted to document everything I could, as it was happening, so I could accurately relate Kimble's story to him when he got old enough to understand it.  Not only that, it was a great way for family and friends to know exactly what we were going through.
However, there is one more part to this reason why I documented everything so well.  It was because I would someday like to share his story in a more public way. I'd love to write a book about our experiences, and hope that our story would help other families going through similar things, and also to promote awareness of congenital heart defects.
Having these goals, and then meeting Bill Coon and realizing he is doing the same thing, really sparks a fire in me to do it too.  Maybe someday in the next few years, I can send Bill Coon my book, and share with him our story, just like he shared his with us.

A Season Comes To An End

I've been busy since June, sewing and making cute things for my farmer's markets (and is the biggest reason for my blog not getting updated as much as I would like).  Last weekend was my last market of the season.  It was a bit cold that morning, so it was good to know it was the last one.  A long and busy season had come to an end, and I was ready for it.
Not that I have a break quite yet. I have three holiday craft fairs to attend during November, and one in December. I hope these shows result in a lot of inventory being sold.  It sure helps our budget every month!  Since I sew and sell my goods because we need to, not because it's simply for fun, a lot depends on the success of these craft fairs.
Above, you see 10 dolls I made last week.  They are so cute and definitely more adorable in person.  I also make headbands, like  the one I'm wearing in the next picture, and other hair accessories, baby bibs, toys, blankets, bags, purses, aprons, and I'm always adding more  things.
My friend, Jen, whom I met at the beginning of the summer, has been sharing my booth all season, and she makes her own items to sell.  Her flower button arrangements are so cute, and we've had a great time with each other's companionship.  Definitely a true friend, Jen is.

Wish me luck as I continue to sew hard these next few weeks, in anticipation of some great holiday markets.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


When we were leaving Give Kids The World, on our last day of Kimble's Wish, we were given a list of names and addresses of people/companies that contributed in some way to GKTW or Make A Wish, and thereby made Kimble's wish possible.  We wanted to let them know that their contribution did not go unrecognized.  So I made up these postcards, with our family picture on one side (including Buzz and Woody!) and a little note on the back, explaining who we were and why we were grateful to them.

On the front, it says "Thank you for helping to make a Wish come true!"  On the back we wrote:
"Our little 2-year old Kimble doesn't know that in a few months he will have his fourth heart surgery.  He doesn't know what a miracle it is that his heart is growing and functioning despite its complicated defects.  He doesn't realize that every day, he lives a status of 'life-threatening'. 
What he does know, however, is that he just had the best week of his life, thanks to Make A Wish and Give Kids The World.  His wish was to meet Buzz and Woody at Disney World, and he loved every minute of it.
Special thanks to you, for being part of his wish. Your contributions made our trip possible, and for that, you have become our hero.
Love, Kimble and Family.
It's so hard to express what a special time that was for our family.  The people/businesses who donate time, money, products, or tickets to people they don't even that's pretty spectacular.  I can only pray that they feel our gratitude for what they did for us.

Citrus Cleaner

I decided a few months ago I would try to make more homemade cleaners. It started with the laundry soap, which I still love love love.  Following that, I thought I'd try something else.  I made a citrus cleaner, which you can use on any surface, and I really love it.

First, take whatever citrus fruit you want to work with.  I suggest either lemons, limes, or oranges.  Slice them up and fit as many as you can into a quart mason jar.  Then, fill the jar with white vinegar, to the top, and screw on your lid.  Let it sit, undisturbed, for three weeks.  After that, pour out the citrus/vinegar mixture into a spray bottle, and then add the same amount of water.  Viola!  Citrus cleaner!

Two things I've learned:  1. As soon as you pour out all the citrus/vinegar mixture into your squirt bottle, add more white vinegar to your citrus slices in the jar.  Screw the lid back on and let that batch sit for another three weeks.  The citrus slices will continue to work over and over again, for many uses.  I'm on the fourth cycle, with the original lemon slices, and it's still going strong.  By the time your squirt bottle runs out of your cleaner, the next batch will be done brewing.  Perfect timing.

2. The second thing I learned was that the original directions said to let the vinegar/citrus mixture sit for two weeks.  I found that to be a bit premature.  The first time I made this, I waited the two weeks, then added water and started using the mixture, but it was really strong with the vinegar smell.  The Husband hated it, and forbid  me to use it again.  The second batch I waited three weeks, and then started using it, and it was so much more syrupy and citrusy (both those words came up wrong with spellcheck, but I'm keeping them that way anyway!).  Plus, the citrus scent is so much more strong and the vinegar is very slight in the background, which goes away quickly and leaves a lovely lemon-fresh scent around the room.  So wait three weeks (or longer) for your batch to brew.

You should try it!

Another Birthday Boy

A few days after Keaton's birthday, it was The Husband's turn for some celebration!  The night before his birthday, the kids asked if they could get up early and make their daddy a great breakfast. With an affirmation of the plan, the kids went to bed happy.  However, when it came time for them to get up a bit early to help me, they were soooo sleepy.  Nevertheless, I went ahead with the plan and made some nectarine pancakes for the family, but most especially for the birthday boy man.
He loved them, proclaiming them super delicious, and as we all sang happy birthday to him, at 6:30 in the morning, we let him blow out a candle for his first wish of the day.  (The recipe for the nectarine pancakes will be in my next cookbook, debuting very soon.)
The rest of the day was pretty normal for The Husband. He got sang to a few times, at work.  He got teased about how old he is, and he got a few gifts from co-workers.  After work, he got home and had a lovely dinner made for him by yours truly.  It was a broccoli and pepperjack stuffed chicken breast and penne with a dijon cream sauce (also in the next cookbook) and for dessert, he requested cookies and cream ice cream with plenty of oreos on the side.

For his birthday present, he got a new rear wheel for his trail bike.  Last year, as he was riding, he got hit by a lady driving a car, who was not paying attention to where she was going. Heath was fine, but the back wheel was crumpled.  So as much as he loves his other bike, his road bike, he missed riding his trail bike.  For his birthday he got a replacement wheel, and he was super happy.

Thus ends the round of birthdays for a few weeks. Up next will be Kimble's birthday!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Becoming 11

Keaton turned 11 years old.  He is a really great kid.  He tries so hard to please, he is the peacekeeper in the family, he loves every single thing I cook, he does his homework independently, he has his "garbage boy" job, he loves being a real boy scout now, he has a sweet soprano voice, he talks about becoming a man, he works in the garage using his dad's tools and he builds different things, he helps his dad out in the garden and is a great assistant when cars need tuning or pipes need cleaning.  He is an outstanding boy and such a sweet and sensitive young man.
On the day of his birthday, he took three dozen chocolate chip cookies to school, to share with his class.  He made sure to bring home enough extras for his siblings, and he saved two for his dad (which Kimble ate when Keaton wasn't looking, but I won't tell Keaton that.).
When school got out, there was a massive rainstorm happening.  The rain was coming down so thick that it was like you were swimming through it.  Since we live barely a block from the school, I wondered if the kids would wait it out, or walk home in it.  They walked home in it and as I was waiting by the open door, with Kimble on my lap (we were watching the rain and smelling the amazing smell associated with a rainshower) we heard the kids come 'round the house giggling and laughing. They were completely drenched (take a look at how soaked their pants were) but were having a great time.

Everyone got cleaned up and dried off (they even needed new underwear, as theirs were soaked through, if that's any indication of how hard it was raining), and The Husband came home. We took our standard family picture and then ate Keaton's requested birthday dinner: Spaghetti.

After dinner, it was time for presents.  I teased Keaton that I had decided not to do presents this year, but he knew better.  I pulled out two gifts, and told him a third was on the way (I hadn't bought his new cubscout shirt/book yet, but that was one of his gifts).  He got a Ninjago set in blue (his favorite color) and he said it was one he had been wanting, so I got it right!  He also got his very own bow and arrow set, which is something he has been wishing for for about a year.

The kids  took the box that it came in, drew some targets on it, and Keaton had fun practicing his aim and getting his stance correct.

After that, Keaton had requested strawberry milkshakes for his birthday dessert. When I went to the freezer to pull out the strawberries and ice cream, I couldn't find the ice cream.  I do remember shopping for it, but apparently it never made it in a bag and home to the freezer.  So, we had some black walnut ice cream that The Husband bought (he loves it).  We asked Keaton if he wanted us to go to the store and get strawberry ice cream, or if he could just have black walnut ice cream.  Being such a peacekeeper, he said he'd just have what was easiest and already at the house.  So that's what we had, and we sung to Keaton in our crazy birthday song way, and he proclaimed it the best day ever.

Not A Vampire

Miss Kennedy had a tooth that was jutted out in such an awkward position, that I don't know how she ate or talked....and yet, she wouldn't pull it.  She refused to let me get near it, saying "you are mean when you pull teeth, momma", which I think means that I get the tooth out no matter if she is crying or trying to back away or if I need to pry her mouth open.  Anyway, she wouldn't let me touch it, wouldn't do anything to promote it falling out on it's own. She babied the hanging tooth,and I couldn't bear to look at it.
So you see that I was quite surprised when she rushed in the house and told me our neighbor was going to pull it out.  Stunned...I said "oh..ok".  She was seriously gone for one minute, and came back with a tooth in her hand.  "It was so easy momma. She just grabbed the tooth and pulled it out and I didn't feel anything!"  Yeah...I could have done the same thing, if she would have let me even touch the tooth.  Crazy girl.  Oh, and Kimble was quite interested in what happened. "I see a too(th)", he kept saying.

She also wrote another note to the tooth fairy.  I love her notes to the tooth fairy.  This was did not disappoint.  "I lost a tooth, but I am not a vampire".  Then she drew herself, labeled "me" and she also drew a vampire.  Love it!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Family Pictures

We took family pictures a few weeks ago.  A sweet friend offered to take them for us because she knows me well, and knew I wanted a current picture before Kimble had his surgery (which was cancelled!).  What do you think of our pictures?