Tuesday, May 18, 2010


It's been such a busy time. School ends next week and then we are on to summer! I love this time of year. We had company until last Saturday and had a great time. I do really enjoy having my in-laws come and visit. The kids think it's a special treat as well.

Today was going to be a catch up day, but instead I had a sick child and two pairs of glasses that got broken over the weekend and needed fixing. Then, this afternoon, our goat decided to kid. We had two very cute kids. A little doe and a buckling. I'm not sure I am cut out for this kidding stuff! I always get so nervous and worry about how the doe will do...can you believe it? I guess being a nurse fits my personality and carries over into the animal realm. I do have to say it is a very neat experience to see a birth take place, be it a person or a goat. Here are some not so good photos of our very cute kids. Now it's time to gear up for cheese making. I'm hoping to perfect goat cheese this summer! We can't wait for you to come and play this summer!

I hope it's a great day! It's a big one for you!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Leftover Oatmeal Muffins

Sorry to hear about the terrible fate of chippy. Keep those five gallon buckets covered! ;) It was such a nice weekend, busy but good. We had a great time at our girl mother's day luncheon, but wish you would have been there. It has been so nice to have my in-laws visiting. I really enjoy having them here.

Yesterday I made this recipe and I wanted to share it with you. I frequently have leftover hot cereal and will frequently give it to Ginger to eat... in know you are rolling your eyes as you think that I shouldn't be feeding that to a dog. Instead of giving it to Ginger, now I have a recipe that uses cooked oatmeal and it was even good. I don't have a photo because these muffins were eaten to quickly. Everyone really liked them. You'll have to try it sometime and let me know what you think!

Leftover Oatmeal Muffins
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup sucanat
4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1 egg, well beaten
1 Tblsp butter and 1 Tblsp coconut oil (or just use 2 Tblsp. butter) melted
1 to 1 1/2 cups cooked oatmeal
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Combine dry ingredients and then add egg, milk, and butter. Stir until well blended. Spoon into lined or greased muffin cups. Bake for 18-20 minutes at 400 degrees.
Next time I think I would add chopped apple or raisins as well. They were quite good.

I hope it's a good day. We're still trying to figure out if it's winter or spring here. We got some new snow on the Mountains and a lot of cold rain here in the valley. I am looking forward to a warm weekend.


Monday, May 10, 2010

The Tragic Weekend

Dear Amy,
Happy Mother’s Day yesterday! I hope your day was filled with fun with Pat and Tom and lots of special gifts and favors from the kiddies. Oh, and good food. I know what you were planning for dinner…and YUM! We had a very relaxing day and even enjoyed some sunshine…a marked difference from the rest of the week. It was nice to get a break from the rain and wind.

With leads me to a story…a tragic heart-wrenching story. Brace yourself. A couple of months ago, we noticed a small hole in the ground next to my studio. I was confident that we had a renegade gopher on our hands…a destructive, little rodent hell-bent on wreaking havoc…possibly the very same furry mammal that moved on from our neighbor’s yard just last year.

So, we watched and waited, trying to catch sight of the occupant of said hole. I even lightly covered the hole to make sure that there was something actually residing there. Yep, the hole was uncovered and groomed by the next morning. Huh. Still we watched and waited…watched and waited…waited and watched. Nothing. Then my mind started to race with the possibilities of what might be living in the hole…other unsavory rodents…and right beneath my studio! Eek!

Then I saw him. I was glancing out the back door one evening when I saw the cutest little body working its way around the periphery of the grass. I cracked open the door and off he shot toward the hole. I’d finally met my downstairs neighbor…a chipmunk. He wasn’t wreaking any havoc at all. In fact, he was helping me clean up after the birds under the bird feeder. I became quite fond of Chippy. Otto would chase him occasionally, but of course it was all in good fun and they both enjoyed it. Of course.

A few days ago, I put up an old ladder to use as a trellis for my monster clematis that is overtaking the side of my studio. In doing so, I accidentally brushed some dirt over Chippy’s hole. No big deal, I thought. Chippy will clear it out by morning. But he didn’t. And it wasn’t cleared the next day. And yesterday I started to panic a little. I was gearing up to clear out the opening to Chippy’s abode myself, when Rit delivered some tragic news. She had found Chippy…belly up in a 5-gallon bucket filled with rain water from the storms.
My heart sunk. Poor Chippy! What a horrible way to die! I had left the bucket right side up on the other side of my studio. I know better. I think this was the bucket I was stood on to see over the fence to make sure our neighbor kids weren’t starting our cedar fence on fire AGAIN. I’m racked with guilt. And poor Chippy is gone…cut down in the prime of his life…or so it seemed as if he was at his prime. Sigh. Sad. So sad.

Many, many animals have met an unfortunate demise in our yard. I understand the whole circle of life thing, but this is too much! As an animal lover, it pains me to bear witness to it EACH AND EVERY TIME! The dogs have killed bunnies in our yard (read about one such instance here), occasionally a hawk makes a quick meal of the birds at our feeders, birds have fallen from nests and baby bunnies have jumped to their deaths (read about the Georges here and here).

And now, to make matters quite possibly worse, we have a robin’s nest on our front porch. It’s built directly on top of our porch light to be specific. It has four eggs and we are keeping a close eye on things. And by we I mean all of us, including the boys. DeAngelo is obsessed with seeing the nest every time we leave the house. But I can’t help but feel that our yard is like one big death trap for small, innocent animals. I don’t want to expect the worst, but I’m struggling to hope for the best. Please, please, please, little robins, LIVE AND FLY AWAY!

So, yep. That’s our house. We seem to be magnets for animal misfortune and parquet flooring. I try to make an happy, healthy abode for our animal friends, and yet disaster always seems to strike. We hate our parquet flooring and yet we cannot escape it. The awesome house we have an offer on? Yep, you guessed it! PARQUET FLOORING…and lots of trees…a haven for wildlife…that can’t be good.

Love, Kate

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Summer Jobs for the kids

We are still hoping for a little spring here in Utah. The weather has been crazy...70's one day, snow the next. I never know what the weather will be!! The kids get out of school on May 27, so summer is coming whether we've had spring or not! I love having the kids home in the summer, but it is very different that just having N. home. So I'm starting to plan for it now. Besides doing some cleaning of closets etc. I am thinking about their summer schedules and chores. I have already been asked when we will pick summer jobs. Yes, that's right, my kids get to pick their summer jobs and they love it...at first anyway. Even though your boys are young, they will grow quickly and you may want to give this a try.
I have made some 3x5 cards with jobs listed on them. During the summer, we break jobs down. For example, instead of cleaning the bathroom someone will clean the sinks in all the bathrooms and someone else will clean the tubs etc. These cards have jobs ranging from mopping the laundry room to emptying garbage to even watering the outside planters. The kids take turns picking a card for a job they want to do. I always keep some separate that the younger children can pick from. They all need to pick a vacuuming job, a bathroom job and a dusting job. The older children also get to clean out a drawer each week. I do feel that I need to teach my children how to clean and the variety of jobs gives them different experiences. After they pick their jobs, I make sure I feel that they haven't picked more than they can handle and then I make a chart. This chart is put on the fridge in a sheet protector so they can mark them off. Here's an example of last year. The top line is for the oldest child going down in age to the youngest. Even though it seems that they are required to do a lot every day, the most they ever spend is 1/2 hour.

The first week after school I help the younger children with their jobs so that they can learn how to do them and what is expected. I also have a binder that has all of the jobs and what is expected. These are in sheet protectors so that they can be marked off with a dry erase marker and then erased for next time.

I do save the cards and reuse them every year. This has worked well for us and you'll be thinking about chores before you know it.
Enjoy the bike trailer!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Turning Antique Boxes into a Headboard: IT’S FINALLY FINISHED!

Dear Amy,
We’ve been talking about this for months. And yes, IT IS FINALLY FINISHED! When we first agreed back in January to take our tiny house off of the market and stay here for awhile longer, I was forced to find some creative space-saving solutions. We had just moved our bedroom from upstairs to the main floor. Although we now have an attached bathroom, which is nice (even if it is the smaller than the average closet), our bedroom is a mere 9’ x 11’. The master bedroom closet in our 1930s bungalow is VERY small. In fact, I think I have only a couple of shirts and a few pairs of pants in the closet. It is completely filled with Rit’s clothes. And she really doesn’t have that many clothes either. I dream of the day when I can actually keep my clothes in my bedroom. For now, there simply isn’t enough space.
I digress. So, I had to find a way to fit a queen-sized bed, chest of drawers, large dog bed and a nightstand in this tiny space. Add to that the fact that there are two windows, a freestanding radiator, the bedroom door, the double closet doors, and the bathroom door to contend with when arranging furniture. A nightstand seemed to take up too much space, but I’m a reader and I really want some place to put my many books I'm reading simultaneously, a clock, a lamp, the baby monitors, the phone, etc. Hmmm…dilemma.
Then I came up with an idea. I have long collected “stuff"…old stuff that most people would term garbage. Not “vintage” stuff, but really old stuff from people’s garages, basements and barns. And we do have a lot of barns out here in Wisconsin. I think I got my collecting gene from mom. I remember the first time she came to visit me here. She was like a kid in a candy store…looking around wide-eyed and gasping at my many finds. Yep, it’s in the blood.
I have a rather large collection of old wood boxes…beverage boxes, fruit and potato boxes, etc. I pictured a type of shelving mounted on the wall above the bed. My vision was awesome, but how to make it into reality. I assigned Rit, the family problem solver, to figure out how to firmly mount the boxes to the wall. The last thing I wanted was to be knocked unconscious by a falling box while sleeping. She came up with a great idea involving mounting strips used for closets. Two mounting strips, with a 150-pound weight limit each, are anchored into the wall and the other two are mounted along the bottoms of the boxes. We cleaned up and disinfected the boxes. And magic!
Yes, the cords are an issue. We’re working on that. And things still need to find their place, but I love the look of it. It’s EXACTLY what I wanted! and it has freed up so much floor space!
Next on the list: I just ordered matching chests of drawers. Cheap, but useable. They will replace the one chest of drawers we have. They will fit flush with each other along the short wall by the door, hopefully appearing as one piece of furniture. I’m hoping that the streamlined look of the chests won’t overwhelm the small room. That should give us the extra clothes storage we’ll need.
I’ll keep you posted! Beautiful day today! The bike trailer arrived Friday and I’m in love. We went on a ride this weekend and I swooned the entire time.
Have a great day!
Love, Kate

MakingThe Girl Creative Keeping It Simple