Sunday, August 29, 2010

New skill

Little Miss decided to pull out a new trick today while out to breakfast with me and Grandpa and stacked up a coffee creamer tower four tall. This was the first time I've witnessed her stacking something, and I must say I was impressed! Watching this child develop is a never-ending joy. In the car this evening she kept repeating "Prapa! Mmmmmah!" (translation: "Grandpa! Muah!"). Oh, how she makes me melt! Right now we're watching some Signing Time to wind down and we're at the "milk" sign, which we use for nursing. She's exclaiming, "Nurrr! Nurrr!" and when they show a glass of milk she signs water and says it too ("waaaer"). I think it's funny that there's nursing and then there's everything else that comes in a cup to her, with no distinction between water/juice/etc.--it's all water :)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Our first little family vacation

We took a little road trip up to Edgerton, Wisconsin and stayed at my aunt's trailer she so kindly offered to us for a vacation. We relaxed; Art played guitar, I knit, Lily toddled. On our way home we went raspberry picking at a small little pick-your-own farm, UP Berries, that works on the honor system out in Kingston, Illinois. Once I got home I made a batch of delicious jam :) It was a wonderful long weekend, and it's already a bummer to be back to the regular daily grind!

In Lily's latest verbal development, she says "sure!" instead of "yes" to everything now. A common conversation throughout the day...

Lily: Nuh! Nuh!"
Me: You want to nurse?
Lily: Sure!

Oh, and she's nursing more than she did when she was a newborn, I swear it. I think it had to do with the change of scenery, going up to Wisconsin, but this weekend has been so full of breastfeeding! I'm hoping she relaxes a bit as the week rolls on, but if anything it's good that she has this to fall back on for comfort and security. It's actually pretty comical how much she asks for it though!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Oh, how I'm glad I don't live in Kansas!

Sixty ears of corn! My dad's friend had a corn roast at his company's picnic and ended up with multiple bushels of left over corn. I ended up with one. And so, I set forth canning!

This is what 60 ears of corn looks like on my kitchen table

And this is what half of it looks like there :)

And after many hours of standing over an angel food cake pan with an electric knife, the canned result! 6 pints...

Not pictured: the 8 quarts still in the canner

I used the instructions over at I've used them before for various other canning projects and things always turn out perfectly. The tip to stick the ear of corn in the center of a bunt pant (or angel food cake pan, since that's what we had handy) and using an electric knife to cut the kernels off was genius!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Congratulations, Karen!

You won the reusable snack bag set! I just sent you an email, and can't wait to get these sent off to you!

Friday, August 13, 2010

This Moment (Thanks, Soule Mama)

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

New-to-me stroller

I am so stinkin' proud of my "new" stroller! I found this Peg Perego Pliko P3 for $20. These things retail for $320+! I'm not in need of a new stroller, the light weight one we have suits us just fine, but I can see Lily outgrowing it in height soon, and this Pliko P3 had some perks that I really liked. A) It's really comfy and Lily loves the upholstered seat. B) It folds up umbrella-style, so despite its size, it fits in my trunk with room to spare. And C) It has a little platform on the back for a big kid to stand. So, say, we have another kid and Lily doesn't want to walk, she's got a place to hitch a ride without us investing in and hauling around a double stroller.

So, anyway, this here $20 stroller has good bones, but the red fabric was faded and stained, which made it look old, 'cause it is. The grey parts show barely any wear at all. I toyed with the idea of dying the fabric, or maybe painting on screen printing ink, but neither of those ideas seemed like they would play out so well. So I went out and found some outdoor upholstery fabric (that's even UV rated, ooo) and hand-stitched it onto all of the red fabric parts. I went over any other red stitching with a black Sharpie marker, and ta-da!

(P.S. Have you entered to win a reusable snack bag set yet? Please do, your odds are good!)




I am SO pleased. And, well, Lily is too :)

She has spent most of the evening putting her baby dolls in and out, climbing in and out herself, rolling it around the living room, and wanting to be pushed in it too. I need to get Art to oil up the moving parts to get rid of some creaks, but otherwise we're good to go! And no, not good to go as in have another kid so Lily can utilize the standing platform. Maybe in a few more months :)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010



...quickly turned to this...

Oh, the joys of rice with beans, corn, and cheese!

P.S. Go enter to win a set of reusable snack bags :)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Reorganizing our spaces

I've been looking around our just-barely-too-small home a lot lately to try and figure out what can be rearranged, organized, or donated, and last night it all finally *clicked* in that dusty ol' head of mine. We moved the snake and gecko to be next to the cockatiel in the living room. Animal area? Check. Then we added a small table and chair from Ikea to the dining room. Eating area easily accessible to all? Check. We swapped out the few toy bins in the second bedroom for the corner desk in the living room. Exclusive toy area? Check. Work zone? Check. Yay, check marks! Now there are specific areas in the house dedicated for specific things, and it all just makes so much more sense this way. Our living room layout is awkward and half of it just never feels included, but it works perfectly for a play area now. And the second bedroom will very unlikely ever become a place where Lily sleeps, so that's back to a working space for Art and his music, while my sewing area is just outside the door. The kitchen is still the kitchen, bathroom still the bathroom, and bedroom still the family bedroom. Operation Mega Bed (a.k.a. we're buying a twin and side-carring it to our queen, versus the crib that's there now) is still in the works; we're just waiting on funds to appear. And, well, funds might be short for a while since Art's car was in need of some important repairs, but some day we will be sleeping in Mega Bed!

(Psst, go enter my giveaway for a set of reusable snack bags!)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Giveaway! Reusable snack bag set!

After participating in my first craft fair a few months back, I have an excess of goods left over. I'd love to give away a set of reusable snack bags!

The bags are made with 100% cotton print outer fabric with a nylon lining that is wipe-able, or just toss the whole thing in your washing machine. They close with a single plastic snap, and come in three sizes. Small measures approximately 3"x5", medium 5"x7", and large 6"x9". I sell them for $5 for smalls, $6 for mediums, and $7 for larges. A set of three, one in each size, is $15. Prices include USPS shipping within the U.S.

For this giveaway I'd like to offer either a set of three in either guitar print or blue flowers; your choice!

If you're interested in purchasing any of the snack bags on this post, please send me an email to Currently I have blue flowers (2 small, 2 medium, 1 large), guitars (2 small, 1 medium, 1 large), jacks and yellow balls (1 small, 1 medium, 1 large), black and pink flowers (1 small, 1 medium, 1 large), red paisley (2 small, 2 medium, 2 large), and green dots (1 large).

To enter this giveaway, leave a comment on this post (be sure to leave your email address so I can get in touch with you!). For an additional entry share this post on your blog (and please leave a separate comment here with the link-back!). And for even one more entry, become a fan of this blog on Facebook (please leave a separate comment once again saying that you did!). I will close comments one week from today on Saturday, August 14th, at 12:00 PM and generate a winner using!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Recycled t-shirt baby gowns

I know a million babies being born this year (okay, 8, and 3 of them are already here), but that means it's a'knittin' time, and knitting is what I've been doing. I was starting to get tired of my normal top-down raglans and decided to have a go at something different. I decided to try Snug (on Ravelry) and I learned three things. I don't like garter stitch. I don't like working from side to side. And I should stick with what I like. Gah, this tiny little sweater had me seeing red for way too long, and just when I was nearing the finish line I ran out of yarn. So it's in a (maybe permanent) hibernation. And then I got sick of even looking at baby sweaters on my needles, so I decided to sew some gifts instead

I used this tutorial from This Mama Makes Stuff and was very pleased! My local thrift shop didn't have a large selection of t-shirts to choose from at my 10-minutes-before-closing shopping run, but I'm happy with what I found. Now I just have to wait on all these wee babies to be born to fill them up!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

A little more about me

Since I like to know a bit more about the writers I enjoy reading, here are some basics...

I'm Kristy, 25, and I live in a pleasantly boring suburb of Chicago. I'm married to Art, 28; we have been together ("officially") since December 3, 2000 and we got married on May 30, 2008. The year we got married was absolutely insane: April 3 - my grandma died, April 10 - we closed on our townhouse, May 30 - we got married, June - we'remarriedwhoneedsprotectionsex, June 28 - positive pregnancy test! It's a good thing we were together for 7+ years prior to all the craziness. Well, actually, we'd survived a few years of craziness prior to that too. Not as in our relationship was crazy though; that's never been true. We've always been really level headed--never really fight. Okay, anyway, positive pregnancy test! Lily was born March 8, 2009. I'm all for natural birth and breastfeeding whenever possible and am thankful that both came easily for me. Lily's all toddler-y now an absolutely hilarious to live with.

I dream of buying a lot of land and growing a ton of food and living sustainably. I also dream of getting rid of all of our things and driving around the country with a small house in tow and living spontaneously. At the bare minimum, I dream of getting the hell out of the town I was born in! In all likelihood we're going to end up moving nearer Art's work, since he so wonderfully supports me to stay home with Lily. So we'll settle in a different northwest Chicago suburb, but that's better than nothing. So long as the yard has room for a vegetable garden! (We currently garden in my parents' yard since our townhouse has no space.)

Aside from dreaming and toddler-ness, I love crafting. I knit, crochet, cross-stitch, sew, and just about whatever else I need/want to do. My favorites lately have been knitting and sewing though, the latter of which I'm not so good at, but whatever I make is at least functional. I craft at the sacrifice of house work, much to Art's sadness. I try to keep up, but if my choices are do the dishes or knit one more row of this lace shawl with the gorgeous hand-dyed yarn? Well, c'mon.

If it hasn't been obvious over the past few days, I've been really trying to write in here more regularly. I'm unofficially calling it a NaBloPoMo, but if I slack a day or two I'm not going to throw my hands in the air and give up entirely (as I'm known to do when it comes to writing projects).

I've been trying to think of a direction for this blog to go, but the more I think, the more I realize that any one theme just plain isn't going to stick. I guess you all will just have to put up with my scatter-brained ideas--random crafts, mothering musings, and hopefully a bit more of how to live poor and be proud of it. That's something I don't talk much about, even in real life, but do take great pride in. We live on a small income and do it just fine. We've sacrificed some luxuries; I still can't believe the horror on peoples' faces when we tell them we don't have cable television! And a lot of the more "natural" things we do like cloth diapering and growing a garden tie in so wonderfully to living more frugal too.

So, thank you to anyone who's actually reading this :) It'd be nice to know you're out there, but I don't mind the silent lurking type either. I hope you choose to visit again!

Nap time

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

My boobs are mine, your boobs are yours

We're halfway through World Breastfeeding Week! I'm a breastfeeder. I like breastfeeding. I think breastfeeding is wonderful. I nurse my toddler in public, go to La Leche League meetings, and am friends with a whole slew of wonderful breastfeeding mommas.

But, after being inspired by Lauren over at Hobo Mama, I feel the urge to proclaim: It is every woman's right to feed her baby as she sees fit! I truly do think breast is best (but I also feel that the phrase should have been coined "breastfeeding is normal"). I am absolutely a proponent of better education and correcting misinformation. I like baby-friendly hospital movements, the growth of LLL to offer more mother-to-mother support, and any effort to normalize breastfeeding. I don't feel that formula should be marketed as heavily as it is, nor that hospitals should offer "breastfeeding kits" to new moms that do everything but literally say "you're going to formula feed eventually, here's what brand you should buy."

And with all that said, I don't care if you mentally couldn't even attempt breastfeeding, or if you latched your baby on once and never again, or if you made it three months and then went back to work, or if you pump and bottle feed, or if you promptly wean at six months/a year/whenever. I will continue to help mommas when asked or provide correct information when I see old wives tales being spread. I will keep on supporting other lactating mommas with words of encouragement. And in the same breathe, your baby is not my baby, and I am not you!

(Though I secretly wish I could tell every pregnant woman how lovely toddler nursing snuggles are! But I can't without seeming like a freak, so I keep my mouth shut!)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Free food!

Our local Ikea (Schaumburg) has free meals for kids until the 15th with no adult meal purchase needed! You better believe I was there with Lily today and we'll be going back again soon. I surprisingly enjoy their food a lot, even if it's coming to me in little kid bowls :)

For dinner we had rotisserie chicken from Whole Foods since they're on sale on Tuesdays for $5.99, and that's two dinners for us. I cooked up some collard and kale with garlic and lemon juice on the stove, and roasted some squash, zucchini, bell pepper, and onion in the oven. The collard, kale, squash, zucchini, and pepper were all from our garden! More free food! Okay, I put $100-ish into supplies, seeds, and plants, but that has totally already paid us back in food. I love eating what we grow, and so does our weekly grocery budget!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Why hell hello, morning sun

I haven't welcomed you in a while, morning sun. Mostly I try to pretend you're not there and stay in bed until 9:00 or so with my cuddly sleeping toddler. But today I decided to wake up with you, enjoy a cup of my husband's coffee, and attempt getting some work done before said toddler is demanding my attention. The work was happening in conjunction with some mindless internet'ing until the 30 minute timer went off and the toddler decided she needed some more cuddles. I went back to nursing in bed for a half hour, morning sun, while you lit up my bedroom windows with a golden glow. I didn't bring my iPhone to pass the time, half purposefully, half to my regret, so I just enjoyed the changing light as the toddler settled back to sleep. Now I'm back to the computer work and more mindless internet'ing while you change to the regular day light I'm so used to. I'm not sure if I'm going to continue wanting to see you, morning sun, but maybe I'll try and make this at least a Monday ritual.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Lily's first adventure in finger painting

I was feeling inspired by Meg over at Sew Liberated to entice Lily in a messy art experience. And, well, it was a hit! I looked up a cornstarch finger paint recipe since I've yet to make it to the library to pick up First Art: Art Experiences for Toddlers and Twos (though it's on this week's to-do list!). I found this recipe and cut it in half and modified it just a touch...

1/4 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 tbs sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup water
Food color
Dish soap

I heated up the water and dry ingredients slowly on the stove and stirred it a ton. It only took about 5 minutes for it to start to set up, and I could tell that when it cooled it would be even more firm. I let it cool off, divided it into two bowls, added a drop of dish soap to each, and 2 drops of food colors--one red, one blue.

Then I plopped Lily into an old t-shirt of mine and set it all out on the porch, and the first thing out of her mouth was an excited, "ooo!" She LOVED it!

I think I might introduce her to some play dough next!
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