Me and my mini

Xander and I, testing out his new web cam. He’s been growing his hair out…and so have I. 🙂
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Isaac is 11!

The weather was wonderful for Isaac’s park birthday celebration. He is having such a good day!

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Isaac chose Rood Bridge park for his party this year and I’m so glad he did. The giant lawn is gorgeous and the kids seemed to have a good time spreading their play out over the entire area.

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I just love this photo of me with all the littles: Lotus, Simon, Xander, my niece Ava and my nephew Icen. I often imagine life when they are all grown and I’m missing the days when they were little, then I flash back to the present and soak them in. I love them so much and relish our beautiful life right now. Not missing a second of it!

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My Hunbun made me an apron!

Had to cut out the bedhead…yikes! But isn’t my new apron super adorable?

My Mother’s Day surprise: The kids picked out the fabric and Jason did the sewing. Just the thought of sewing makes me tense but Jason feels the same sense of accomplishment I get from knitting. I love it!

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In other news…

We’ve had this hammock from Honduras (a gift from my brother Aaron and his wife Sam) stored in a closet for the last ten years. I said enough was enough, lets hang the thing right in the living room.

Unfortunately the T-shirt material it is constructed with is waaaaaaay too stretchy. Even the kids take it nearly to the floor, so you can imagine the sadness when Jason or I try and lay in it. The potential for a swinging good time is there and we plan on making it happen somehow-most likely with a different hammock.

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post 966…no joke.

It’s a real chore to take my camera out these days. Camera depressed?

Four awesome kids.

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Lotus makes all the moms in the park nervous when she goes on this big slide.

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A friend shared an article about how nasty the new hot dog stuffed pizza crust trend is, so of course I had to try it out. Okay, pizza and a wiener wrap in one sitting *is* a little ridiculous. Plus, I was left wondering if I should have put some mustard on my plate. It was fun to try anyway.

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Our bread machine broke after many years of use. Actually it vibrated itself off the counter while kneading and the lid busted. BUT, it has been the best thing! I finally tried making bread myself and it is so much better. Bigger loaves, four at a time that last all week.

Here’s my last batch puffing up in its warm bath.

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Yummy!

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I *heart* wood stoves

One super high (electric) heating bill lead to a super cold month and a 1/3 reduced bill,

which lead to a new wood stove, a super toasty warm month and a 2/3 reduced electric bill. We love our new wood stove!!!! It heats the entire 1200sf of our main living space and bedrooms. The smell is wonderful and having a fire to look at is cozy too.

Jason seems to really enjoy tending the fire, the look of pride when he gets it roaring is priceless:)

Notice the sweet hearth he tiled for the floor.

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The kids help stack the wood. We haven’t been very good gardeners so this has been a good activity to get us outside, working together.

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Jason built us a small firewood rack for the deck. I love how great it looks from just a few scraps of supplies gathered in the garage. My guy does good work!

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New friends from Japan

We had a wonderful, albeit much too short, CouchSurfing experience with two Japanese guests from Yonezawa, Yamagata, Japan. Mari and her seven year old son Hikaru.

Hikaru doesn’t know any English but the boys all bonded immediately over the universal language that is Mario Kart.

Hikaru showing Xander his school work. It’s interesting to see what any student my kids age is working on, let alone another culture, since my kids homeschool. Xander and I were both pleased to see familiar levels of math. Whew! I’m keeping up! Too bad we couldn’t read the text:)

I do believe a few more months of play and the boys might actually start learning each others language quickly. Xander was already figuring out Google Translator and Hikaru said he wants to start learning English and come back for another visit.

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We love taking our guests to the beach. The boys played with sand toys and took turns flying the kite. Poor Isaac was left sick at home, missing all the fun.

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Camera timer fail…

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Just before we said goodbye. Cheese!

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Simon is five

My little Simon had his fifth birthday. The first birthday he was really excited for:)

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Lotus and Simon painting. This was Lotus’ first time!

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“Keep your brush to your own paper” is an agreement Lotus is not ready to make.

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Ta-da!

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Clean foods

Cleaning up our family’s food has been a work in progress over *years*. Here’s my start back in 2009 when I eliminated processed foods, for the most part. I cooked a lot at home and made things from scratch. Our freezer has been full of grass-fed local beef, BUT….

…we still ate food saturated with pesticides, hormones, etc. through our produce and dairy.

I looked into organics and raw milk again recently and resources are so much better now! Milk I used to have to drive across town for is now just up the road and organic produce is delivered to my door.

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The boxes are a weekly treat for play too…

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I’m having to reverse my usual menu planning style from planning and buying to buying and then planning, which is tough! The difference is amazing though because we are trying new things and eating wonderful foods.

Last week the kids devoured the oranges and bananas but didn’t want to touch the apples and pears so I had to get creative and turn them into something they would eat. The share of apples turned into pies and the pears turned into cake; problem solved and I increased the shelf life.

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Yesterday, I had the collard greens to use up before the new produce came so we made this recipe: Baked Rigatoni with Ricotta and Collard greens. We subbed in elbow macaroni for the pasta and cottage cheese for the ricotta and it was delicious! A very kid friendly dish.

A new sweater for Lotus

This Cascade 128 superwash wool is so soft and cozy!

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Lotus had outgrown all her baby knits and the house is cold so I whipped out a thick sweater. This pattern knits up quickly and the 2-4 size looks like it truly will fit her 1-4 years. Perfect!

I got a sweet smile out of Lotus but she has a terrible cold and feels miserable right now. 🙁

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Market bags

When I finally took my two knitted market bags to the grocery store I found out just how fantastic they are! They hold so much and feel sturdy.

I figured six bags is a good number to hold all of our groceries and have been knitting away on them over the last several weeks. Number six came off the needles last night. Here they all are!

I used the “girlfriend market bag” pattern with modifications listed here. The most important part being the two smaller handles. They are stronger and don’t stretch down when the bag is loaded with heavy items.

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When not in use, they all squish neatly into one bags and get left in the car, ready for the next shopping trip. I find bagging the groceries to be quicker and unloading the bags into the house easier with these bags. They just rock!

Now don’t ask me to make them for you because my hands are not happy with all the rough cotton knitting. I hope they last a long time!

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