Thursday, February 28, 2013

State of the Household Address

 State of the Household Address:

 Kelsey loves to spend her extra time watching crafting youtube videos.  She got the great idea to make a duct tape mannequin of herself the other night.  So we did.  Silly girl.

 After I wrapped her up good and thick, I cut her out.
Then she taped the opening closed and stuffed it with newspaper.  It now sits in her room with a shirt on.  Silly girl.  I think I would have bad dreams with a body watching over me all night!

 The next night she wanted to make a melted crayon project she watched on youtube as well.  
Today her Colonial/Revolutionary War project was due at school.  I think she had to do 5 project units and for one of them, she made this sweet poster about period clothing.  She is a smart and responsible girl, and loves to create.  Create anything.

 Kendal is wearing an eye patch on her left eye for 10 hours, 6 days a week.  She is really great about it.
We took her to the eye doctor 2 weeks ago and in the first month she wore the patch, her vision with her glasses went from 20/70 to 20/25.  He thought that was incredible progress.  She has to wear the patch for 2 more months to refine her sight and make that eye stronger, and then she should be great!  YIPPEE!
She loves to play with baby Kenna and is the most helpful little girl around.
Her imagination is in full force and she and Emmitt are always superheros, royalty, or anything else they can dream up.  She is such a sweet little gal and tries so hard to please her parents.

On the days I can get Emmitt to wear real clothes instead of his Spiderman suit, we enjoy a mellow little boy.  When Spiderman or The Hulk take over, he is a wildman!  He usually goes to help Matt on the farm on Tuesdays and Saturdays and loves to help take care of the cows and fences and do whatever it is they do all day long.  He is a busy little boy, and loves it when his sisters get home from school.

Sweet Kenna is now 8 months old and is crawling all over the place.  When we need her to stay semi-still, we put her in the walker.  She can still follow me around the house with her wheels though.  She is a fantastic nighttime sleeper and has a wonderful temperament.  She makes us all laugh with her easy smile and magic blue eyes.

Matt is busy with work of course, and it is trich testing season for the bulls in state.  After his real work, he is busy collecting trich samples from bulls to be incubated and tested for any STD's.  March 5th 2011 was his big accident while trich testing bulls.  He broke 11 ribs, most in multiple places, broke his sternum in two places, separated his shoulder, and then deflated a lung.  With the 2 year anniversary coming up, we are glad he is well, although he still hurts from that accident.  The farm keeps him busy as well, but he loves it and enjoys the work.
I am busy, and suffering from some SPRING FEVER!
Good bye February and hello to March!  YIPPEE!

Friday, February 22, 2013

An old fashioned marriage

 I remember reading one of those super funny articles that was written 50, 60, or 70 years ago in a publication like Good Housekeeping or Better Homes and Gardens that resurfaced and made its way into the email forwarding scene a few years ago.  It was forwarded on to me and I read it.  It was titled something like "30 Duties of a Good Wife."  I remember some of my female friends responding with incredulous surprise and were very put out at what a good wife in the 1940s or 50s should have been doing to earn this title.

I, on the other hand, was not so surprised or put out by too many of the statements.  That is because I did many of them.  One statement in particular that comes to mind was "About 15 minutes before your husband gets home from a hard day of work, go reapply your makeup and lipstick, make sure your hair is in order, and make yourself presentable and attractive to your husband."   Another one I remember went something like "Engage your children in a quiet and peaceful activity, so when your husband enters the house, he will find peace and well behaved children."  Let me share just one more - "When your husband comes home from the office, greet him at the door with a cold drink and usher him to the sofa you have prepared for him.  Offer to take off his shoes and rub his feet while he tells you about his day at work."

Okay, I confessed I did many of the tasks on the old fashioned list, but rubbing his feet is not one of them!  I do however have the kids pick up the house really quickly before he gets home.  Matt doesn't need to see the mess of baby toys all over the living room and tractors strewn down the stairs.  He doesn't need to see the clean laundry folded on our bed, nor the homework scattered across the bar in the kitchen.  I also go to the bathroom right before Matt gets home and spiff up, fix my hair, and even brush my teeth. Honestly.  I love a good smooch as he comes in the back door when he gets home.  I also change my shirt into one that has not been spit up on, pooped on, or dinner smeared on it.  Does Matt notice?  I doubt it, probably not.  But I do.  It makes me feel better about doing 'my job'.

Our marriage can seem to others in this day in age, a bit old fashioned to modern people.  Matt goes to work at 6:30 every morning and gets home at 7:30 or later every night.  I work at home, doing everything that needs to be done here.  At least 3 or 4 nights out of the week, when Matt gets home from work, the kids and I are sitting at the table with a hot meal waiting for him.  Honestly, the kids can be sitting there for 10 minutes while we wait for their dad.  We talk while we wait.  The anticipation of their dad coming home is so intoxicating that they can barely sit still, but they do.  Sort of.  When we hear the garage door open, sometimes they get up from their chairs and run to the back door to greet him or even hide with smiles on their faces, while I say "Guys, hurry, sit back down, here he comes!"  That is my job.  That is part of what I do.  That is what I expect of myself as part of my job.  Matt doesn't expect it of me, but I do.  A few nights a week, schedules are crazy and the kids eat before Matt gets home.  However, there is still a hot meal waiting for the man when he gets home.  I felt badly the other day when that 'hot meal' was just a few cans of Hormel Chili warmed up and homemade cornbread.  But, everyone seemed to enjoy it and it made a hectic day easier.

Everyone gives their best work and performance at their place of employment, well, at least they should.  I try to do that as well.  When Matt and I were first married, we both went to school and got our undergraduate degrees.  We both worked so hard during the summers (we were both fire fighters and worked for the USDA Forest Service) that we didn't have to work during the school years, we just focused on school (and each other).  When I graduated and Matt entered vet school, I went to work while he went to school.  When he graduated from four years of vet school, he got a job, and we became parents 9 months later.  I stayed home.

That was always the deal we had with each other.  I have renewed my teaching certificate through the state of Utah 5 times already.  I am keeping that little piece of insurance up to date and ready to use if needed, but hopefully it won't be for some time.  I do plan on going back to work and teaching school part time in awhile, but right now, this old fashioned marriage relationship works for us.  We make it work.  We live within our means.  We don't have toys.  No 4 wheelers, no camp trailers, no snowmobiles, no boat, no daycare to pay for either. We like it that way.

It is hard for some people to understand.  I hear many phrases like "Man, Matt is so lucky.  He gets a good home cooked meal more often than most husbands."  Well, maybe.  He is also so lucky that he has never done a load of laundry, cleaned a bathroom, done dishes, vacuumed, balanced the check book, canned green beans or weeded them, and many other household duties that I take care of.  But you know what?  I am so lucky as well.  I get to stay home and take care of my 4 little pieces of heaven, I get to help them with homework, hang up their clean clothes, prepare them meals (that they sometimes don't want to eat), I get to hear stories of how school was that day, I get to take pride in a job well done at my house, and I even get to sew a few fun quilting stitches when I get the chance.  I am lucky enough to do this because Matt takes his job seriously. His job as a veterinarian, father, husband, patriarch of our home, and my friend.  I am lucky and hopefully Matt hears phrases like "Man, Rachel is so lucky.  She gets to stay home while many mothers juggle way too many jobs."

One thing that makes my job feel like a 'real job' is that I get dressed for work everyday.  I am not the person that wears sweats all day every day, or even just unders.  I shower every morning, I get dressed everyday in jeans, boots, and a shirt (occasionally that may not happen until 10 am or so), I put on make up everyday, I do my hair everyday, although sometimes it isn't done to perfection every day, but I get ready for work everyday.  I prepare for work just like someone who works outside of the home prepares for work.  It helps me take it more seriously.  I do have an important job!

An old fashioned marriage and relationship won't work for everyone, actually, not very many people at all.  But it works for us.  We make it work.  We both take our jobs seriously and get things done that need to be done.  Hopefully our kids see us both trying and working hard, doing our respective jobs in love and happiness.

I think I found it!  This is what I read a few years ago that sparked this post.  Well, and a few recent conversations with friends where I felt I had to explain myself and why I was the one to fix the flat tire on the bike, take care of the leaky sink, patch and paint the little hole in the wall, service the furnace, and other household duties.  I am not trying to attack working mothers, because I am amazed by you all, I am just defending myself and what works for us.  Granted, I would love it if Matt could fix that flat tire and remove the training wheels, but he is working, for us. So, I am working for us as well.

Thursday, February 21, 2013


Kelsey turned 11 years old earlier this month.
It breaks my heart that she is growing up, but it also makes me so happy to see the fantastic person she is becoming.
She is destined for great things.
Whatever she sets her mind to, she accomplishes; with style and spunk, and perfection.

This is her last week modeling some scarves we made in Relief Society.

 This is her in April of 2007, as she buried herself in the garden.
She thought she was so so funny.  So did I.

This is her at Christmas of 2006.
What an incredible little girl she was, even then. 

This is Kelsey when she was 4 and Kendal was 1 year old.  
She was so excited to be a big sister.

She is a fantastic big sister now as well.
All of her siblings adore her, so does her mom and dad.
How lucky we are to have Kelsey to brighten our house, every single day.  

Monday, February 18, 2013

busy with civil war housewives

I have been busy today.  We are going to make civil war sewing kits, called housewives, at our civil war meeting tomorrow night.  I cut a bunch of my civil war reproduction fabrics that are leftover from quilts and dresses I have made into the pieces needed for these little gems.  I looked at a bunch of patterns, and decided the one on Victorian Sewing was the easiest one for me and the fellas to use tomorrow night, but I did make a few changes to make it easier.

I cut cotton batting pieces, housewife backing pieces, housewife fronts with a little piece of wool sewn onto it, a bunch of pieces for the pockets, and some ribbon and cotton string for closing them up.  One friend got a bunch of sewing kits from the Marriot to supply the needles and some thread, my friend Amanda is bringing a bunch of civil war repro buttons she was given by her dad, and I will bring some more thread and straight pins to add to them as well.

Its going to be great, I hope.  Here is the one I made up today.  It looks a little rough, but it was the rough draft!  I had to make sure my cutting and construction methods were going to work for our awesome soldier-men at our meeting.  Little do they know, they will be sewing, not me!  Its the whole "teach a man to fish" idea.  Not that I tire of sewing on all their lost buttons at events, because I don't, but this way they will be much more authentic!  (that is what I am telling them anyway!)

This one I made can quarter fold into this little package, or roll up into this other little package.  I guess these cute little sewing kits were also called "sewing roll ups" for many centuries as well.  The ribbon seems a bit feminine, so I think I will have the guys use some cotton string if they want it.

The following images are civil war era sewing kits or housewives I just grabbed off of Google images.  Some pretty great specimens.  There is a civil war era quilting specialist named Barbara Brackman that is amazing.  She has a fun blog and also has a blog post about these sweet little housewives you can visit here if you would like some real information.

I love this leather one that rolls up. Those embroidery stitches in it are so pretty!

I love these two as well.  Knowing those were made with mostly silks is just crazy to me.  The one below has some sweet embroidery on it as well, made especially for Frank.  Hopefully, Frank made it home from the war to his sweetheart.

Happy sewing, and hello to Courtney in Minnesota!  I remember you and hope things are wonderful with you!

Post Script:
 Our meeting went well and the sewing was fantastic.  

 This is Carter sewing his housewife.  He said he has only sewn in 7th grade and that was not a good experience.  He is now the ripe age of 9th grade, and hopefully likes it better now!

 This is Carter, Noel, and Alan making the threads fly!
Excuse the bad lighting in these pictures.  The lighting in the building we were working in was not the best lighting for sewing or picture taking.

I took these pictures because it made my heart pitter-patter to see the men fondling the fabric, talking about the reproduction prints, and discussing the best construction methods.  It made me smile.  Thanks for a good night folks!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

cabbage vs SPAM

My dad told me when I was in high school that the reason the Germans lost WWII was because all they had was cabbage to eat, and we had SPAM.  I used to believe him.  I still sort of do.  He thought I was going vegetarian on him, but I have just never really been a meat fan.  I was playing basketball and volleyball and he was trying to get me to realize I needed some protein, some MEAT, to keep up my busy high school life.  I think he was giving me a history lesson as well!

Well, I was feeling a little bit German the other day and craving some cabbage.  When we lived in Pullman, Washington, we had some incredible neighbors.  The Ahman family was from the middle east, Jordan, the Ganvi family was from Hungary, and our favorite family, the Holsts were from central Washington.  We had wonderful meals and neighborhood get togethers often, and I ate so many new things that this country girl had never even heard of before.  Maria Holst made cabbage pockets once and I fell in love. So, I tried to reproduce them the other night. 

I browned some home grown, Gooseberry Ranch grass-fed ground beef and onion first.  I added assorted spices, lots of salt and pepper, a little Worcestershire Sauce, and I should have thrown in some garlic but I didn't. 

I steamed some cabbage and a bit of carrot and mixed it with the beef.

I had helpers of course.  Kenna was content to suck on a wooden spoon, and Kendal was happy to be reading for Literacy Month Minutes for school.

I made some bread dough and divided it into 16 pieces.  Next time, I will divide it further, I think a thinner pocket would be better!  (turn your head to the right)

I put a hefty spoonful of the beef and cabbage onto a rolled out portion of dough and folded them up.  I let them raise for just a little while.

I baked them for about 20 minutes.  They were good, but since I loved the cabbage and beef, I just wanted to eat the filling!  Next time I will roll the dough out thinner or not use so much for each pocket because I want more beef!  That is a strange thing for me, since I am a bread LOVER!  They were good.  Matt enjoyed them of course, Kelsey ate a few, Kendal tried one and just about choked, and Emmitt wouldn't touch them.  Typical dinnertime behavior at our house!

I am doing just plain cooked cabbage tonight for dinner, mmmm, the thought makes my knees weak! Salt and pepper of course.  I am so excited.  No SPAM though.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Science Fair

I went to Kelsey's school's Science Fair today. There are 15 5th grade classes at her school and I am not sure how many 6th grade classes, but I would guess at least 10 or so.  There were only about 60 Science Fair entries.  I was a little disappointed in that number.  When I was in school, it was REQUIRED by all students.  Kelsey's teacher required it and I am grateful.  Not only was the project display board required, but a research paper and a power point were required as well.  Kelsey spent a lot of time on her project and learned so much.  She had a great opportunity to learn, grow and stretch herself.  She was of course disappointed when she didn't win anything, because my little smart girl is used to winning things, but she said "Next year I am going to do .......... It will be awesome!"  That's my girl!

Saturday, February 09, 2013

another project I can't wait to start

My friend was talking about making a new quilt for her husband to take back to Pennsylvania in the summer when he goes back to participate in the 150th Gettysburg reenactment.  
I thought it was a great idea.
I was looking through an old quilting magazine I had the other night while putting Kenna to bed.  This is Fons and Porter's Love of Quilting issue from Jan/Feb 2004.
I saw this one, and thought it was perfect.  They made it using plaid flannels, but wouldn't it look fantastic in civil war reproduction cottons?  I think it would be stunning.  I think I need to make this pattern.  For me!  Even though I am not going to Gettysburg!  
It will be a good way for me to feel involved in such a monumental event, 
and a great excuse to start another project.
It measures 59" by 86" or something like that - the perfect civil war cot quilt size.

On another note, Kenna went to the doctor.
She is a little over 7 months old, 18 1/2 pounds, 27 inches long, and in about the 
73%tile on the growth charts.  
I thought with those sweet fat thighs of hers, she would be higher, but she is great.
She is the sweetest, most mellow baby and is crawling all over the place!


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