Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Yarn Along

Now that the kitchen is done, I've gotten a few more minutes to finish up the Rhubarb Cardigan.  The rhubarb is coming up in "Rhubarb Lane" (which is our rhubarb patch, named years before I ever knew what rhubarb was).  I have been putting off putting out this pattern for far too long.  I really, really want this one to work out just right.

(Rhubarb Lane right now, at the edge of a field.)

See!  Rhubarb starting to roll up.  It won't be long, and this stuff will be in my belly!

The sleeves to the cardigan are now nearly done, and I just have the front button band left.  It's a thin little band, so it should be done soon.  Now I just need to get a sitter for a few hours and get the writing finished up and finalized, and a good day for a photo shoot.

And just for fun, here's some other pictures of my walk out to Rhubarb Lane:

I love that at the end of this "lane" you can see way deep into the field, an one of my favorite trees is right smack in the middle of it.  It's so twisted and inviting.  If I were a child, I would dream of running away to this tree, and build myself a little fort among the strong, low branches, and eat my peanut butter and jelly.  I think one day I may.  I've actually never walked across the field to climb it.  It's further than it looks.  I could though.  That might just be added to my summer bucket list.

There's still a chill in the air in the early morning, so I'm still wearing my Cozy Morning Mitts on my walks.  I love these so much!  I wear them all the time.  I realize in the original pattern pics, I don't have pictures of the motif with the thumb in different positions.  I actually moved that motif around a bunch in my samples, and finally emailed the famous Mary Jane Mucklestone, since she seems to be the expert on such matters, and asked her where motifs were supposed to be.  Traditional Norwegian mittens have the thumb placed directly under the hand.

(traditional thumb placement)

However, many modern patterns, most especially fingerless mittens, have the thumb placed on the side of the hand, not under it.  I wasn't sure which one was "correct."  I loved her reply.  First I loved that she just emailed me right back and was so encouraging and sweet.  Oh my goodness, what a kindred spirit!  She said it should be wherever I wanted it to be.  That's the beauty of designing.  Just put it where I liked it best.  I ended up placing the motif with the thumb under the hand, as she called the traditional "peasant thumb" placement.  I guess I just like tradition.  Also, I like that when my thumb is held out to the side, the motif moves off to the side in a really pleasing way as well.

(common/modern thumb placement)

I'll say again: I love these.  Okay.  Shameless plug is over.  Onto the books discussion.

The kids and I have moved onto Prince Caspian this week.  They can't let go of Narnia for our read-alouds right now, and to be honest, I don't want to leave Narnia either.  I don't think we'll be venturing into any other realm until we read straight through to the Last Battle.

In the mean time, I'm scrounging up some books for Silje as she has finished her curriculum for the year, and I don't want the book reading to stop until next September.  So I'm sort of flying by the seat of my pants with her right now, and moving up the "researching curriculum for next year" up on the to-do list, and starting to pull out projects and curricula intended for next year.  Her library stack is larger these days, and she's spending more time with the animals outside.  She has always been my kid who prefers to be inside with her head in a book, so I'll admit I'm glad she's finding lots to do outside that she enjoys right now.  She knows all our animals so well, it astounds me sometimes.  She's also been working on her 4H projects for the fair.  She's like me and chomping at the bit to get in the garden, so I think she'll be a great help in that.

A lot of people ask when school is done for us for the year, and I find that every spring we end up in this type of situation.  You see, I'm sure moms with kids in all types of schools get frustrated with the with the "I'm bored" comments of summer.  I hate that.  So my kids do school in the summer when they're too bored to think of something to do.  It ends up being about twice a week in the summer and about 4 times a week in other seasons.  My system year round is we do school when we are home, and if we're out and about, or busy around the house we don't worry about it.  Oh, and I usually take the month of December off for Christmas prep.  We end up getting about 1.25 years of school done in one year that way, which is fine by me.  The kids grumble less too.

So my reading has been put on the back burner as I'm going through references and book lists for children's books, and figuring out the plan for the next year, at least in the language arts department, which seems to be the only big element I'm missing on my bookshelves.  She's at that age I think a lot of kids reach where she can read upper grade levels, but isn't ready for upper grade content. I think a trip to the used book store in town is in my future too!

We're studying ancient world history up until the Renaissance for history next year.  So books along that theme will get top priority.  I find a lot in my booklist from Sonlight, and The Read Aloud Handbook always has some good choices, as well as Well Trained Mind, and I've recently found The Story Warren which is a website dedicated to discussing and spreading great children's literature.  That has been inspiring.

Linking up with Ginny's Yarn Along.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


David has counted 64 oak tree saplings now.  More keep popping up every day.  This project has given me hope that I might be able to start seeds again maybe someday.  Well, someone in our house might be able to start seeds.  I'll have to put one of the kids in charge.  Maybe next year.  I tried so many times when they were toddlers.  Either the little hands destroyed them, or I would forget with my cluttered mind, or they failed just because.  I'm getting to the stage of parenting where I have a pool of remotely responsible people who say, "Mommy, can I do this?"  It's wonderful.

The roses are still covered outside, but the tulips are really coming up now.  The lilies are starting to come up for air, and the strawberries leaves are unfolding.  Apparently some of my spinach went to seed last year because I have a patch coming up.  Oops/cool.

Well, now I know that I can at least plant the salad seeds in the garden.  I'll probably get the first batch of lettuce in the ground today, and apparently the next batch of spinach.  I can't believe this spinach is coming up even before the asparagus has started poking through!  Asparagus has always been my first vegetable to show up.  Spinach is not supposed to come back every year like this, and is certainly not good incentive for me to not let them "go to seed" again.  Sometimes getting way behind in gardening does pay off I guess!

The chicks are getting some feathers now.  It will still be awhile before they can join the girls in the coop.  We've already found a couple of ticks on the other animals though, (the grass isn't even green yet!!) and so I'm eager to get these lovely little tick eaters in the yard, because apparently the 9 grown hens aren't cutting finding them all.

I spent a few hours yesterday with the kids just bringing the winter "trash" out of the garden.  I pruned the raspberries for the first time, and I took away so much.  3 wheelbarrows full actually.  In the few short years we've had raspberry bushes, they've spread, and so this year before they started budding, I wanted to prune them back into  their space, and remove all questionable parts.  Not much was left besides a thin, orderly row of stalks, but I'm not worried.  I've seen what these plants are capable of!

I got all rosy cheeked and had to take off my winter hat, and it just felt so good.  I love gardening this time of year.  Ask me again in August and you'll hear a different story, but now?  It's just what we need.

Monday, April 21, 2014

I'm Blessed

I'm so grateful this morning for such a refreshing weekend.

The weather couldn't be better.  I forgot how much I love walks and fresh air.

Missy and I have had some good runs together.

The kitchen makes me smile whenever I am in it, near it, passing it.  Which is a lot.  There's still a few odd things to get done and touch up, but the overall project looks complete.  I have some more decorating and rearranging to do.  That may take me weeks.  It's a fun job.  So far I've brought my rolling pin, and my lefse rolling pin out on display to clear up some drawer space, and they're pretty.  Knut had a tough time of getting them hung.  I'm grateful he was determined enough to make that happen.  The wall I chose wasn't cooperating with him.

I'm so grateful for tears.

I'm grateful for middle of the night baby snuggles.

I'm grateful for cool evenings.

I'm grateful for my kids' numerous cousins.  They have the best built-in friends ever.

I'm so blessed with the scent of roses.  Every single person in my family stops in this room now and just spends a moment just absorbing their presence way down to the toes.  The scent overwhelms, and their sight is good for the soul.

I'm blessed with a hot cup of tea after the kids are in bed.

I'm blessed with fresh, bright eggs for breakfast nearly every morning now.  And cheese.  Cheese is glorious.

I'm blessed.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Last Day

Well, if all goes well, today is the last day of painting.  Right now the "wrong side" of the last few upper cabinet doors are drying, and the "right side" will get painted tonight, and dry overnight.  Tomorrow will be finishing installing, and maybe a bit of touch up as needed.  I'll likely post "after" pictures next week once a I have a few things put together.

I am so ready to have my kitchen back.

I'm so excited to do some baking.  I'm just sitting here at my laptop in the kitchen, smiling.  I love how it looks.  Oh, I'm so glad I did this.  I feel so refreshed.  I have a few decorations put back on top of the cupboards, but they're not all there yet.  The red window still needs a spot.  I'm moving my little buffet to a different part of the kitchen.  We're thinking of utilizing yet another one of the old, long, slate boards salvaged from a one-room school house when it closed that is stored in our summer kitchen.

I'm trying to think of a better storage place for my apron collection.  I think I'm going to finally finish the curtains.  They've been up in one window for about a year, and I haven't put them up in the other window yet because I needed to trim about 6 inches off of the bottoms.  It shouldn't take long, and it will get done easily.  I just need to do it.

The bottom part of the kitchen is completely back, and Knut just loved having things where they should be back in the drawers.  A bit of sanity has returned in that area.

We got a bit of snow yesterday, but it's nearly gone already.  I've grown used to the fact that spring is a constant disappointment.  You think winter is over, but it isn't.  I've learned to not look for the absence of snow in the spring, but the signs of "fight" in the land.  It's fighting to wake everything up, despite the random snowfalls and cold temps.

I love seeing the little tulips come up, shaking their fist at the clouds and saying, "See?  You don't scare us!!"  Maybe that's not what everyone thinks when they see tulips.  I see something that overcame winter.  They made it.

Now that the kitchen is near completion, I'm just aching to get out and clean up the strawberry patch, trim up the raspberry bushes, and asparagus patch, and take all the skeletons of last year's flowers all out to the compost (as it probably should have been done last fall).  Oh, and Missy and I need some serious quality time together.  We have lots of "training" in store.  Wow, she's a sweetheart.

Things will change around here in a hurry.

The tulips told me so.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Many Days Later...

Sorry about the lack of updates.  I've been over here trying to put my kitchen back together and keep my sanity.  :)

So much has happened.  The sprayer never worked out after that first day.  Knut spent a whole morning replacing seals and cleaning out filters.  We could never get the pressure back up to where it should have been.  While he spent time on that, I started painting the inside, since we weren't planning on spraying that.

After priming everything, I put on the first layer of "Delicate Mist" and thought, "Huh.  That's white."  Then I started thinking, "Wow.  This is really bright white."  Finally, I thought, "This is not going to work at all."  I had finished the upper cabinets of the peninsula when I had reached that conclusion.  I wanted a pale blue, but this was a white, tinted blue.  Next to the whites in the kitchen that had been antiqued and yellowed over decades, it looked awful.  It was like I had several natural light light bulbs in the kitchen, and then one fluorescent light blaring right in the middle.  Not the look I was going for.

So Knut and I brought out the color cards, and chose a blue with a stronger value, so that it would have more contrast against the old whites in the kitchen.  I went back to the store and picked up the new color.  We chose "Rain Washed."  I guess we didn't need a delicate mist, we needed a full downpour.  Haha.  Color names amuse me.

I have hesitated in writing anything after that point, mostly because I'm still sorting it out in my brain.  This new color is so different than how the kitchen was before.  It's actually a bit bluer than this picture shows.  It looks more grayish during the day, which I like, but it gets brighter at night.  I don't know why.

I keep wanting Knut to tell me how fabulous the kitchen looks.  The house portion is done and it looks so completely different.  I ask him how he likes it.  He says things like, "I don't hate it." or "I don't dislike it." or "As long as you like it."  I finally pulled from him yesterday: "I like it better than it was before."

The poor man can't lie to me.  It's his curse.

I actually wasn't sure for awhile how I liked it, but I really needed someone right now to ooh and ahh over it so I can go from the fence of liking it to really loving it.  I hate what that says about me, and I'm trying to overcome it.  The only people who have seen it and told me it's fabulous are my children.  I love hearing their ohhing and ahhing, but honestly, I think they would have done it more had I painted it hot pink.

I wonder if I should have gone grayer, I wonder if I should have gone darker.  I wonder if I should have just painted it the same green as the dining room to tie the two rooms together.  I am so extremely impulsive in my home improvement endeavors, and I do truly love this color.  I love it so much.  It's what I would have picked had I been building my home from scratch and just picked what my heart wanted.  I'm not entirely sure it matches the beautiful wallpaper my mother in law left behind, and I'm not entirely sure it's what Knut would have picked out.  It doesn't clash with the wallpaper, but I'm not sure if it's the best choice to match.

Now I just want to tear down the wallpaper.  Next year.  Maybe.  If I get all anxious to do it and all.

Home improvement projects are so psychological, aren't they?  Well, at least they are for me.  I wanted to finally just pick something I want, just for me and as soon as I get the paint on, I'm asking for affirmation from everyone I meet.  It makes no sense.  Honestly I do love it.  My confidence took a little while to grow.  That part surprised me.

Today some of the doors are getting put back on.  I've been painting them by hand in batches here on the kitchen floor, since the temps have dropped outside below a temperature that paint works best.  The timetable I had set for myself was based off of that weather.  So now my kitchen is even more of a mess, but in all reality, if I stay on my new schedule, I'm only losing 2 more days.  That's not so bad in the grand scheme of things.

I've been up late at night, with my mind whirling as to how I want to complete this kitchen.  I went out to the barn, and the summer kitchen, and am pulling out some old broken things to see if I can make some "new" decorations from them.  I found this old window with old red paint, and 1 broken pane.  I'm so in love with it.  I'm not sure what I'm doing with it yet, but I love it.

I also found some old barn wood in the barn with traces of red paint, and I'm thinking of making a big "EGGS" sign or something with that.    I'm really excited to pull this all together.

I changed my mind about the knobs.  I looked into replacing them, but realized I really like the simplicity of them, but I wasn't a fan of the antique brass finish on them.  Plus, a can of spray paint is much cheaper than 30 new pieces of hardware!!  I was planning on painting them white, but seeing the color of the cabinets go up, it all felt so light and bright that I thought maybe some darker knobs would bring them back down to earth a bit.  Plus everything in the house has that old bronze finish to it.  So for some spray paint in bronze, and a sprinkling of copper to age it a bit, I have some new bronze finish knobs to match the rest of the house.

I feel like this project has been my version of sky diving.  I feel like painting these a color is such a big risk, and so bold.  I'm thankful that my family has been so patient with me and so helpful as I just ripped the heart of our home apart and am re-imagining what it could look like.  As much work as it has been, I really needed this.  I really needed to do something big.  Right now I feel like I could conquer anything.  That's the exact feeling I needed as we approach gardening season.  Oh, we have some big plans there.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Kitchen, Day 2 2.  Day 2 was not so kind.

The plan was to do the priming in 2 days.  This is hopefully the 1st of those 2 days.

7am: woke up sore from the work the day before.  Knut took Ingrid from between us and headed downstairs.  I pulled the covers over my head as he started breakfast with the kids.

8ish, give or take a half hour: I got up and had breakfast with everyone.  Coffee...mmmmm...

8:30am: Knut is at work.  I clean up in the kitchen.  Using the term "cleaning up" pretty loosely.

9am: get little kids dressed.  Shoo everyone outside.  Cover recycling bins with plastic in garage for a good place to spray doors.

9:30am: start up paint sprayer I borrowed from Knut's brother.  Primer leaks out one valve like a crazy pump.  I turn it off and tighten it up.  Everything seems to be working fine.

9:45am: I start spraying a door, and the spray works great, but primer is pumping out of the valve by my hand, right under the spray.  HUGE mess.  Lay down more plastic.  Catch the puddle of primer.  Yes, puddle.  Primer on my shoes, primer all over my hands, primer all over my pants.  Oops.

10am: run out of all painting rags, and dig into old dish cloth pile.  I could use some new ones anyway.

10:30am: still can't get sprayer working right, no matter how I try to tighten it.  Close to tears.  Begrudgingly text Knut at work.  Have a little personal temper tantrum because of my "I can do it all by myself!" attitude the resembles my 3 year old.  I wanted to be strong enough to do this myself, but I needed his muscles.  He texts back he'll be there right away.  I told him I didn't need his help for this project, and now I need his help.  Urgh!

10:35am: Knut says, "Whoa.  Hmmm..."  His eyes dart around at everything.

I tell Knut everything his brother told me about the sprayer when I picked it up.  Knut looks over every piece.  He shows me how to use 2 wrenches at a time to tighten the valves tighter.  He discovers that a little washer thingy had fallen out of the hand piece when I put it together, and that's why it was gushing when I was spraying.  We test it and get it working.

11am or so: start spraying inside of all the cabinet doors.  It's going fast.

11:15am: one of the chickens won't go away.  Cats are starting to snoop.  Call all the kids over to block for me, as this is all spread out all over our driveway.  I wonder if chicken prints on my cabinets make it the "authentic" farm kitchen look I'm going for.

11:45am: kids remember where the chalk is, and start a hopscotch tournament.

12:30pm: heat up leftover lasagna for lunch.  Get a call from our neighbor.  We confirm her daughter sleeping over at our house tonight.  She's Silje's best friend.  I ask a favor if she can pick up Silje for me on her way to the book club both girls go to, since my project may prevent from Silje making her meeting.  She says she'll pick her up at 3, and drop both girls off afterwards.

1:00pm: baby girls are happy, and only the drawers and 5 doors are left, so I resume spraying before nap time.  Sprayer stops working during the last door.  So I have half of the last door left and all the drawer fronts.  I take apart nozzle and soak in hot water.  That doesn't work.  I take apart more pieces and wash it out.  Still doesn't work.  Get toothpicks out to try to unclog the sprayer.  Accidentally spill toothpicks all over the kitchen floor.

1:30pm: text Knut at work again.  Tell him I'm sorry, but I can't get it working.  I'm trying to clean out everything, but I still can't get it going.  Girls need to take a nap soon.  He texts back to call his brother for what to do.  I call his brother.  No answer.  I'm pretty sure he's left for Mexico with his youth group.

2pm: put little girls to bed.

2:15pm: hear little girls giggling upstairs.  I go and fiddle with getting the sprayer going, in hopes that they will settle down.  They didn't.  The boys ride bike all around the yard.

2:45pm: hear little girls dancing and/or jumping on beds upstairs.  There's usually a party going on in whatever room Solveig is in.

3:00pm: Silje gets picked up for her book club.  I finally stop fiddling with cleaning out the sprayer and put the little girls to bed.  Again.

3:30pm: girls finally fall asleep.  I bring all of the doors, mostly dry, in from the driveway and into the garage.  The trees are dropping all sorts of things on them, which is fine because they're basically dry, but the chickens won't stay away either.  Such curious creatures.  So the remainder of the painting will have to be done with the garage door shut, and the regular door open for ventilation.  Work on sprayer some more.  Nothin'.

4:00pm: put my feet up and have a snack of Reece's Peanut Butter Cups taken from the hidden bag intended for the kids' Easter baskets.  It's the only logical thing to do at that point.

4:30pm: Boys watch their favorite show.  Girls still asleep.  Silje still at book club.  I take a shower.  Can't stand the smell of myself.

5:00pm: little girls wake up.  I call Knut and ask him if he thinks it's worth it to start painting the portions inside to be done with the roller, but he agrees that there's not much point for the rest of the day, especially with company coming over after bedtime.  I heat up some frozen wild rice soup.

5:15pm: Silje and her friend come home from their meeting.  They check on their chicks outside then watch "Frozen."  Obviously.

5:20pm: I peek in at the kids watching the movie.  Silje's friend has Ingrid in her lap, and is playing David chess while singing all the songs on the movie with Silje.  I love having this friend over.

5:30pm: I pretend to be cleaning up the dishes in the kitchen mess while the kids watch the movie but I actually write portions of this blog post and hang out on Facebook.  Enormous headache begins.

6pm: Enormous headache continues.  Reach for some peppermint oil (my headache go-to) and drink a bunch of water.

6:30pm: supper.

7pm: Get a text from Knut that he doesn't know when he'll be home.  Tech guy for troublesome planter  they're trying to get field-ready just got there an hour ago.

7:30pm: start bedtime routine.

8pm: My mommy friends come over for our twice a month book club.  They all know about the mess, but don't care.  That's why they're my friends.  We go hang out in the clean living room.  My head was pounding so much I nearly called them and cancelled, but I wanted to see them so badly that I just let them come.  I'm glad I didn't cancel.  They're always fun.  We actually talked about the book too.  Twice, I think.

8:15pm: Knut gets home.  Finds the leftovers for supper and actually cleans up some dishes, (instead of theoretically, like I do them).

10:30pm: Mommy friends go home.  Knut brings me a bowl of ice cream.  We set up the hide-a-bed in the den for Silje and her friend.  I try to research a bit what to do about the paint sprayer.  Still don't know.

11pm: most certainly bedtime.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Kitchen, Day 1


6am: Ingrid wakes up, and Knut brings her to our bed and she snuggles in between us, eventually pushing us away so the 3 of us look like the letter "H" laying down.

7am: Ingrid tickles Knut and I awake. (literally: tickletickletickletickle)

8am: everyone eating breakfast in dining room.

8:30am: Knut leaves for work.

8:33am: I call Knut because I can't figure out how his drill works.  He tries to explain over the phone, but speaks a foreign language.  He turns around about 20 feet from the farm's workshop and drives home to show me how to use the drill.  I fall in love with this first power tool.

9am: chores finished and David and Silje help me remove all cupboards, and sort/count all screw and hinges.  Ingrid takes a nap.  Elias and Solveig are watching PBS kids.

10am: All cupboards removed.  We take a break for brownies.

11am: start bubble machine outside, all 5 kids play, with the older ones keeping an eye on the little ones while I bring all the cupboards out to the garage.  The kids watch me from a distance, and chase bubbles.

11:45: kids go inside to watch some "Frozen" and I stay working in garage, sanding and using liquid sander/de-greaser for all the little crevices.  They're over this project now.

12 noon: I ask David to make some peanut butter and jelly sandwhiches and ask Silje to set the dining room table.

12:30pm: break for lunch

1:00pm: catch up with Knut for a few minutes on his lunch break.

2pm: put Ingrid and Solveig down for naps.

2:15pm: I move from the liquid sander to power sand a few areas.  Get addicted to how awesome my new power sander is and end up sanding basically everything possible.  Name my new sander "Walter."

3:00pm: Silje makes mud pies.

3:30pm: Solveig and Ingrid wake up from their nap.  I put some sandals on Ingrid and she enjoys her first jaunt outside ever.  Walking outside by herself, I mean.  That's what happens when you learn to walk during the longest winter ever.  First on her agenda is chasing cats.  Second on her agenda is chasing chickens.  Third on her agenda is sneaking dog food to Missy, who is several inches taller than her.  Silje chases her for me as I keep on hanging out with Walter.  I snap pictures here and there.  Ingrid's sandals used to be Silje's and then Solveig's, and I try not to get sentimental.  I feel like I bought them just last year.

3:45pm: Solveig makes mud soup.

4:00pm: Knut gets home early to change quick and head out to his elder board meeting.  First, though, he checks over my work and says nothing but unconsciously nods his head as he looks things over.  I know him long enough to know this means he approves of my work.  Disapproving would have been lots of sighs, and his eyes would shift like he's frantically thinking.

5:00pm: stick frozen lasagna in oven.  Use liquid sander for the lower half of the interior of the kitchen that needs work while supper cooks.  "Frozen" is put on yet another time.  The kids are beat from playing outside all afternoon.  They're not used to all that fresh air.  It's 73 degrees at this point.  It's the hottest we've felt outside since last November, maybe early October.  It's the hottest day in half a year probably.  Therefore the kids want to watch a show about an endless winter.

6:25pm: eat supper with the kids.

7:00pm: kids pick up their toys in the yard.

7:10pm: kids melt down crying in the yard.

7:30pm: start bedtime routine.

8:00pm: Planned to be reading our story, The Horse and His Boy but David totally fell apart because of the outside toy pick up saga so he had to go to bed.  So I finish some touching up of the sanding in the upper part of the kitchen.

8:07pm: Knut gets home from his meeting.

9:00pm: Silje heads off to bed.  I have a cup of tea, do some blogging, then some knitting in front of the little t.v.

11:00pm: bed.