Shredding Season is Here!

 Our baby girl has inherited her big brother's mini board.
And she is rockin the mountain! Well, the sledding hill in the back yard anyway.

On the Solstice

Trying to enjoy a little bit of daylight on the shortest day of the year.

I think we have a new favorite past time this winter. Our pond (really it's more of a swampy area) is not very large, and only a few inches deep, but it's just right for us.

Winter Wonderland!

 Things have been slow on the blog here, for a while.

 We recently moved into a new house.

And after years of discussions and waiting for the right time, finally decided this was the year we start homeschooling.

Obviously, this has put my little etsy shop and my blog on the back burner for a while, I hope to change that soon. 
But for now I'm just enjoying the beautiful new views out my back window,

Smiling at the littles attempts to make snowmen bigger than their Daddy,

 And adventuring with my kids into our new uncharted surroundings,

We have been very grateful that the cold, wet weather held out for a little while this year. It made the move so much easier, but we were getting a little worried it might never come. Yesterday our worries were put to rest and now that we are cozy, settled and for the most part done moving, we are very excited to welcome this lovely scene.

Craft Gift Reveal, Sorry about the pictures

 The craft gifts were finished in the nick of time this year. Unfortunatley my camera battery died and I wasn't able to get pics of all the projects. And the pics I did get are grainy and dark because of poor light. Ugh.

My son, who drew his grandma's name, made this. He came up with the idea on his own, then he and I trekked into the still unfamiliar woods surrounding our new home to find the perfect branch. He worked with Daddy measuring, sawing, drilling and gluing. He was very proud and grandma loved this little guy.

The kids and I drove out to a farm for a fun beeswax candle making class recently. It was fun so I bought some supplies and I made some Candles that looked like little christmas trees for my sis-in-law, no pic of finished project, sorry. We also had a beeswax filled candle in a jar decorated with ripped tissue paper and mod podge from the youngest for her Auntie. Here's the work in progress.

A gorgouse scrapbook album for me from my middle girl. My mom and her trusty cricket helped her finish her secret project. It's full of fun pictures of me and my girl when she was so tiny. Wasn't that just yesterday?

One project that did not get photographed was the scarf my oldest daughter made for her cousin. She taught her self to knit, we visited a local yarn shop and made some new friends and then she worked for hours. It was so pretty and sweet and she worked so hard on it, finishing at grandma's while hiding behind a chair so her cousin couldn't see. Thankfully one of her aunts got a few shots of her working away and of the finished product so I'll have to get them from her. To finish off, some quickly made chocolate covered pretzles for a nephew from my hubby who was pretty short on time because of a busy workschedule and helping the boy with his project, but the nephew did not complain. Who doesn't love some home made chocolate covered pretzels right?

And now we move on to the Christmas gifts. How is your gift making going?

Turkey Time!

And craft projects are frantically being finished.

I Think the Candy is Finally All Gone!

Hope your Halloween was spooktacular. Now, time to come down from the sugar buzz.

Spaghetti Anyone!

Someone decided she was going to help make dinner yesterday. When no one was looking my youngest dragged her stool to the counter (no easy task) and emptied bottle after bottle of spices into my spaghetti sauce.

When I found it, there were empty bottles all over the counter and a very large clump of garlic floating in my sauce. I debated pitching it, but decided I could make it palatable by adding more tomatoes, and tomatoe paste to the mixture. This morning I have two huge crock pots full of a very basil heavy spaghetti sauce. I guess we're stocked for winter.

School Days!

School, around here, looks a little different than last year.

Our lives are full of new adventures right now!

Our Summer so Far

Wow, I did not intend to be away from blogging for so long. Things got a little hectic around here and, being the inexperienced blogger that I am, I didn't realize how putting off posting a few times could so quickly turn into an epic absence. Well, to quickly catch you up, here is a snapshot, or snapshots, of our summer so far.

Tackling uncles in Grandma's front yard.
I say so far because there is still plenty of summer left to enjoy.

1st time 4-wheel rides thanks to some awesome, crazy (he let my 9 yr old drive!) friends.
I cling to summer for as long as humanly possible so you wont see me admitting it's late summer until most kids are back in school.

Checking the pressure in his tires. He's serious about his bike riding.
In fact I was quite shocked and disappointed the first year I sent my oldest off to school and realized just how much shorter our summers together were going to be.

Exploring our amazing Lake Michigan sand dunes while camping at the shore.
And it's not officially autumn, until I've picked my first apple and had to wear my jacket at least 5 days in a row. Yes, 5 days in a row, anything less could just be the freaky Michigan weather playing a trick on you. So even though we have all been enjoying the warm summer sun for a while now I think I still have time to wish everyone. . .

 "Our Lake"
Happy Summer!

"The World is Almost Filled With Dandelions!"

A favorite quote from my son last spring.
I hope everyone is enjoying their spring. We are buried, once again, in dandelions and loving it.
 We are also taking walks to visit the horses who live nearby,  playing in the mud, and truly loving the outdoors. Inspired by 5 Orange Potatoes Outdoor Challenge.
For more inspiration to get outdoors with kids:
The Magnifying Glass
Children Nature and You
Blue Yonder Ranch
The Boys Book of Survival
Last Child in the Woods
And don't forget your local parks and recreation sites.

If you have any that you'd like to add, let us know in the comments. We'd love to hear about them.
Happy Spring to you!

Today, He Wanted to be an Elephant!

When I turned from the computer while checking e-mails this morning, I saw this little guy busily cutting, drawing and gluing. It was serious business.
Little sis was happy to play along.
He's a little irritated that I took the photos before the glue for the strap was dry, forcing him to hold it up to his face instead of wearing it as he intended.

Yay for Babywearing!

If you haven't heard yet, you need to check out the great stories, pictures and giveaways, going on all week, to celebrate babywearing over at Clean! Here's a pic of my youngest in her Moby wrap on a hike that no stroller could have tackled.
I was slow to the babywearing crowd and didn't start until number two. I had lots of time for cuddling with number one, but when baby 2 showed up 18 months later, things got a little tougher. I started wearing her around the house so I could get things done and I was soon hooked. She slept better, cried less and we were able to bond in a way we never would have been able to if I didn't wear her. For my son I fashioned a home made sling with a large piece of fabric, he loved sleeping in there. And for my last baby I finally invested in a Moby wrap and loved it. It's comfy and soft and you can slip a sleepy baby out of it without waking them when you need to, plus it's the most affordable carrier that comfortably fit our big, strong daddy man. The most helpful time for me to wear my babies was at the grocery store. It's so much easier than carting around a big, heavy car seat and the babies slept the whole time so I could focus on getting the job done, not trying to find a discrete place to nurse. There was also a lot less toddler chasing because there was plenty of room for them to sit in the cart. If you spend time with a baby, plan to have a baby, or you just want to know what all this babywearing stuff is about you need to head over to Clean for the Babywearing Celebration.

Story Time Missed

Someone stayed up too late last night and woke up too early this morning.

When I looked up after cleaning the morning mess and doing some laundry, I saw the picture above, she was waiting for me to come read her a story. I wish I'd stopped working long enough for her to drift off to sleep with her story.

Cowboy Vest Tutorial

Howdy Pardner! The discovery of some long lost toys after cleaning the basement, has spurred a new interest for my son. Cowboys! We have borrowed books from the library about the rodeo, watched clips from old westerns with Daddy, learned about how cowboy hats are made, and then, we just had to have a cowboy costume of our very own.
Now we share our fairly simple vest with you here.
 You'll need,
  • An old pair of  pants you don't want any more.(or any other cowboy vest like fabric)
  • A t-shirt, tank top or vest, that fits the vest wearer well, to trace.
  • Matching thread.
  • Tracing pen or pencil.
  • Fabric Scissors.
If your pants haven't been used for another project already, like mine, you should be able to use a side seam as the seam in the middle back of the vest. Use the t-shirt as a guide for the vest. Pay particular attention to the neck line and arm holes. I traced the arm holes at the seam where the sleeves are attached with a pencil first, making dots as I lifted the sleeve, then cut along the dotted line.
 You need to do this for the front and back, folding the shirt one way then the other to trace it, since the neckline for the front and back are different.
Now, sew the two back pieces together, if you weren't able to use the side seam of your pants. Then you sew the side seams of the vest from the armholes, down. Your vest is basically done here, you can try it on and make any adjustments.
To make fringes make a small zigzag around the armhole where you want the fringes to stop then snip snip snip. You can make more fringes in the same way on the bottom and around the front and neck of the vest if you want.  Or attach ribbon that is fringed like this.

The front may require some shaping since we traced it from a t-shirt meant to be closed all the way to the neck. Just trim away a nice curve from the front middle to the shoulders to make it lay flat. I had my son put the vest on then just cut away along the line that the fabric folded at. (Um, it's probably safer to mark the line then take off the vest to cut it, I don't want to be responsible for any boo boo's.)
My son wanted all fringes removed so I cut them off the arms and rolled all raw edges under then I used a decorative stitch to hem them.
And there you have it, the 6 Berries Cowboy/Cowgirl Vest (because of course little sissy will be needing one soon, maybe pink, definitely fringed.)

A quick update: My son has since moved on to dinosaurs, as I mentioned before. Wouldn't you know it, I actually invest a little time into a costume and today, I have to beg him to try it on for one last photo shoot. The mustache was all it took to convince him though. I made it out of felt and a piece of soft elastic last year and it just goes so well with this cowboy outfit. Don't you think?

A Wallet

I found that little pirate something I was looking for.
Remember the Toddler Purse? Well I thought that I would attempt to make a wallet version for my son.
 I still have lots of pirate fabric laying around so I figured I'd use some of that.
 The end result is okay, but I'm not completely satisfied. Still, the fabrics look pretty cute together and I like the black zipper, button and buckle. And how about the X marks the spot lace up.
 I need to tweak the pattern a bit, the way it folded up didn't work quite how I'd imagined it and it's a little bulky.
 My son, however, has no complaints about this one (other than it took far longer to finish than he would have liked)
But, all those pockets are just perfect for hiding his oh so important tiny treasures.

Dinosaurs Have Taken Over the Garden

And story time and TV time, we're basically living and breathing everything dinosaurs right now. Thank you Netflix, we love you. The pirates, however are not completely forgotten and I have a little something I want to share, but can't find it to get a photo. And we did have a quick obsession with cowboys last week, I'm working on a little tutorial for you. Super simple nothing fancy, but my son loves it and yours might too so check back soon.