Monday, March 29, 2010

"Gear"ing up for a trip

We are taking a trip very soon that involves air travel. For quite some time I have wanted to sew the boys some new "gear" to take with them. Of course I waited until this weekend to get started. I am pretty happy with how these turned out. I made each boy a drawstring backpack using THIS TUTORIAL from Martha Stewart. These backpacks were SO easy to make. I am pretty sure I made them from start to finish.......both of under an hour. They will be awesome to take on hikes, etc. this summer. I used a contrasting cotton print fabric for the inside instead of nylon recommended in the link. Also........I bought the fabric at Hobby Lobby and they didn't have drawstring cord. So I used really narrow double-fold bias tape. I just had to stitch it together first using a straight seam down the middle. This worked okay but if you have access to cord that would be easier and would eliminate a step. I used Wonder-Under to iron a monogram on each pack.

And I made each boy a drawing pad/crayon holder to match their new backpacks. They both like to draw and write so I knew these would be great for taking on the plane. To make these I used THIS TUTORIAL from Skip to My Lou. I had to adjust it somewhat to make it shorter from top to bottom so it would better fit the drawing pads I bought at Target.

When opened they look like this. I put Crayola Twistable crayons in the pockets. You could also put colored pencils.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

I love you, Goodwill

Today I headed to Goodwill to scout out some new clothes for spring. We are going on a little vacation later this week and I wanted to see if I could find any great deals. Boy, did I! I really need to go to Goodwill more often. I bought 9 pieces of clothing for myself for just over $30. I decided to dedicate this blog post to showing you what I bought. Perhaps it will inspire you to consider thrifting for clothing for yourself. It takes time and patience to score good deals at Goodwill. Don't be discouraged if you come away with nothing. Go back again. Sometimes I find nothing to bring home and sometimes (like today) I find a bunch of great stuff. Below you can see many of my new clothing items hanging in my bathroom.

I was absolutely thrilled to find a brand new (tags still on) MUDD coat for $5.49. It is tan-colored "suede" with a fleecy lining. A perfect transition coat and I really needed one. I also found a cute white cardigan sweater with tags still on for $5.49.

One great thing about Goodwill is that they always have some of their clothing on sale for 99 cents. Today it was green-tagged clothing. I bought this royal blue Starter running shirt for 99 cents.

A pair of shorts and a paisley knit blouse (I LOVE it!) for $3.49 each (I think).

I debated about the flowered top on the left. It has a matching cami with it. They are made from kind of a crepe material. I was a little afraid they look "little old lady", but I know that the trend this season is florals. I felt much better when I saw something VERY similar at Target today. I think I can pull it off........and for $3.49 you can't beat the price. The green knit polka dot shirt was also $3.49.

This blouse was 99 cents and will be great to wear to work.

This olive green knit top is a really flattering fit on me, I discovered. I wished they had it in many different colors, but that usually doesn't happen at Goodwill. When I got home I found a hole in it, but it was in the seam and I quickly stitched it closed on my sewing machine (which was already up and running since I was up late..........1 AM.......working on a project last night. I'll reveal the project soon!). Good as new! And it was $3.49 (I think).

OK..............admit it! You're totally impressed with my thrifting bounty. Now get out there and run (don't walk!) to your nearest Goodwill. Drop me a line and let me know what great things you find, 'kay?

Monday, March 22, 2010

HopAlong is doing well :-)

I wanted to post a quick update to my last (gruesome) post. Sarah is doing really well with only 1 leg. We kept her inside the first night, then put her back out with the flock the next day. We tried to change her bandage this weekend but it quickly fell off so we are leaving it uncovered. Her stump looks like it is healing nicely. She is quickly adapting to her new condition. In fact, yesterday when I went outside to get a photo of her I took a ripe banana with me. I tossed several chunks into the yard for the chickens to eat. They LOVE bananas. Sarah, on a single leg, totally beat Arthur the rooster to a chunk of banana and ran off with it before he had a clue what was going on. This is very impressive since she has only one leg and is less than half the size of him. I was really happy for her, especially since she still has to fend off his "romantic" advances on only one leg. There is a lot of truth to the saying, "Like a rooster in a henhouse." You can see from the picture below that she is looking healthy and happy. I am SO glad.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Bloody Stump

Some other titles that were considered for this post include: "Missing: One chicken foot" or "Where the heck is Sarah's dead foot?" or "Guess what I discovered in the henhouse today?" Instead, I settled for what you see above. Yes, "bloody stump" pretty much sums it up nicely with no sugar coating or beating around the bush.

DH told me when I got home today that he thought Sarah (the chicken with the dead foot) wasn't doing very well. We have been free-ranging our chickens a little each afternoon and today when he let them out Sarah didn't want to leave the coop. Instead, she was huddled next to the nest box. When I went out to check on her I picked her up to see how her sore foot was doing. You can, perhaps, imagine the alarm and shock that I felt when I saw a bloody stump where her foot had been. And no foot in the near vicinity. It was a truly gruesome discovery. I immediately headed inside to enlist the help of my DH. I was a teeny bit panicked if you want to know the truth. My husband was more diplomatic and calm about it. He reminded me that we actually had HOPED her foot would fall off on its own. We discussed it further while waiting for the vet to call us back. I heavily insisted that my husband go out to examine the stump for himself. Truthfully, I didn't want to look at it. Long story short, DH talked to the vet (who happens to be a friend of ours who goes to our church) and we brought Sarah inside (again) for the night, put Neosporin on her stump (DH did that while I held her; he's nice like that), and wrapped the stump in a piece of gauze and taped it up. She is currently resting in the Rubbermaid tub (AKA "chicken hospital") in our bathroom. Hopefully she will fully recover and be a cute and friendly "disabled" chicken. A few people who have learned about her situation, knowing my crafty nature, have suggested I design a chicken prosthetic. However, I am pretty sure that is outside the realm of my capabilities. I think Sarah would just peck it off anyway. I'll keep you posted. You can thank me later for the absence of bloody stump photos.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Seeds Family Worship CDs

I recently heard about a great little thing called Seeds Family Worship. I read about it on Angie Smith's blog. As soon as I checked it out I knew I wanted to order a CD for our family to enjoy. I picked The Power of Encouragement, their newest CD. Each CD contains scriptures set to music. The best part is that the songs are really fun, contemporary and catchy. I love listening to this in the van. Each CD comes with an extra tear-off CD to share with a friend. I gave my extra one to our MOPS group to use as a door prize at our meeting last week. You should head over and check out this ministry. It is really awesome!

I took my boys to a forest for a hike yesterday and we listened to this all the way there and back in the van. It was just what I needed. My mind had been focused on something that happened this weekend and I was not thinking very positively. The Scriptures featured on this CD were perfect for helping me gain a right perspective on things. I have so much to be thankful for.......and it never hurts to be reminded of that.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The cutest book ever!

On Saturday I was killing some time while my oldest son was at a birthday party. I went to a Pottery Barn Kids store at a nearby mall. I was instantly drawn to their children's books and ended up purchasing Spoon by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. This is the most adorable story I've read in quite a while. I LOVE LOVE LOVE it. I think this will be my new standard birthday gift for children. I just looked up the Amazon link to include in this post and was a bit disgruntled with myself for not waiting to buy this on Amazon once I got home. I paid $16 for it at PBK (no surprise there) and the hardcover version is on sale at Amazon for $6.40 which is a great deal. Now head over there immediately and order yourself a few copies. You will NOT regret it. This is a super story with a great message for everyone. LOVE IT!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

On the to-do list

Since I am back in the mood to blog again, I thought I would share what is on my to-do list for today. I had the day off of work yesterday but basically frittered the day away. Honestly, I get much more done when I have less time. Is that true for anyone else?

At the top of the priority list was mucking out the muddy chicken yard. With all the snow melting (finally! Praise God!) the chicken yard (even though it has a roof over it) has been SO muddy this past week. Muddy as in standing puddles of water, boots slipping around mud. I have been researching some options for it on Backyard Chickens. I was originally planning to get a bunch of sand to put down. Then I read about some people who put the old pine shavings from the coop out into the run. Since I needed to put fresh shavings down anyway I thought this was a great option. I told my husband that I felt like a total Farmer Cluck this morning as I headed out to the local feed store just after 8 a.m. I bought 4 big bales of pine shavings (which ended up being way too many..........but I'll need them over the summer anyway). Then I came home and put on my "work boots"...............

And headed out to the coop, shovel in hand. It took very little time to scoop out the old shavings into the chicken yard. Now I have a nice thick layer of shavings and no mud showing at all. I love it. My boots will stay mud-free and my chickens will have clean feet. I have been bragging all morning that I have the cleanest coop in the county. It smells so good after you lay down a fresh layer of pine shavings.

I grabbed the camera to get a shot of the hens "fighting" over the nest box. I had really disrupted their laying schedule with all my cleaning, apparently, and three of the hens managed to wedge themselves into our nest box at one time. In the first photo Sarah's beak is open because she was basically cackling her head off at Abby and Reba.

Then she managed to wedge herself into the box with them. You can just see her white tail poking out. Reba quickly removed herself from the nest box with Abby following shortly thereafter. Then loud-mouth (dead-footed) Sarah had the whole box to herself. She is such a boss!

After that task was completed I wanted to make some homemade granola. So I have that done. This recipe makes a ton, keeps really well, and tastes SO fantastic.

I must be feeling very domestic today because I also have a batch of bread-dough rising as I type this. I am using this No-Knead yeast bread recipe which we like so well. I divide it into two loaves and it never lasts long.

Once the bread is done the boys and I are going to go to Target to pick up some Project Life photos (I am about 2-3 weeks behind) and to a teacher supply store to get birthday crowns for my preschoolers and a birthday gift for a party my oldest son has later this afternoon.

Also on the list.........we need to write a letter to our Compassion child, Fernando. We got two letters from him within a week of one another and have to write back. And I need to finish revising our preschool brochure, find some songs about birds to sing in class next week, run, put away Valentine's decorations. Oh, and take a shower! So it should be a pretty busy day. It's been productive so far. I love Saturdays!!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Where has the time gone?

I know I've been lax about writing on this blog for a while. And I'm even worse about keeping up on Random Acts of Reading. Don't give up on that project if you were initially excited about it. I am really hoping to find the time to pick back up where I left off very soon. It's been so hard to make book drops with the yucky, cold, snowy weather we've been having. I plan to be very inspired and motivated to get going with those again soon. may wonder what's up with our invalid hen, Sarah. We were able to reintroduce her to the flock on Valentine's weekend. She was getting around on her foot and was not very happy in her Rubbermaid "cell" in our bathroom. I was not sad to see her back outside with the other chickens. However, last week I noticed that her "bad" foot was turning black. My little guy and I took her to the vet on Monday and he confirmed that her foot is, indeed, dead. So...........amputation is an option. Since I am not Bill Gates I had to inquire about the cost of this surgery. The vet told me, "For your $5 chicken it would cost you around $150 to do surgery." However, he kindly assured me that even Warren Buffett would have wanted to know the cost and that my asking didn't necessarily imply my indifference to the plight of sick animals. Sarah, for her part, seems as perky and clucky as ever for now. So..........we are opting to wait and see what nature will bring. There is a chance that her foot will shrivel up and fall off on it's own. (I know that sounds very gross...............and I'm not looking forward to going out to the coop one morning and finding a detached chicken foot lying on the ground.) I have heard from other people that they have had chickens or ducks with one foot who survived just fine. So we will see.

In other news, I've been doing pretty well (until this past week) keeping up with my running. I usually run 5K on the treadmill 4-5 times per week. I am really looking forward to running outside very soon. I'm considering entering a 5K race in early May. It will be my first race ever, so it should be fun. I now know I can very easily do a 5K so it's not intimidating from that standpoint. And I think it will motivate me to train for a longer race later in the summer.

Work is keeping me VERY busy but very happy. I cannot imagine any other job that would make me happier than my current job. I love working with preschoolers.

Well............that's what's up around here. I haven't done anything crafty or creative lately though I wish I had so I could post a cute photo or two. Until next time...........