Monday, August 30, 2004


It has been way too hot here, the last few days. The humidity has been super high, and it's just like living in a sauna. Of course, Sylvia chose yesterday as the day to finally take a nap off mama, so I felt compelled to do something useful with my time and my two hands. Some temporary insanity made me first blanch and freeze lots of yellow squash, followed by lots of digging for potatoes and weed whacking. What was I thinking???? The sweat kept dripping into my eyes, and I just was so darned HOT! But I did harvest a grand total of seven potatoes. Yes, that's not a typo, not seven pounds, or seven gallons, not just seven potatoes.... I was not impressed! That was 2/3 of a bed full of potato plants, how can they only have grown seven? Maybe it's not a good potato year? Or this was just a sucky bed, since it was the same bed that all my zucchini plants got killed in. How the heck can I have seven potatoes and NO zucchinis from a bed that was full of them?

This morning, we walked, hoping the heat wouldn't be too bad yet. We were wrong. It was too hot still! And my GPS batteries died, so I couldn't even keep track exactly how much we walked. I could see that we had descended about 120 feet already though, just by walking to the corner of the street. No wonder the walk back up sometimes feels challenging :-)

Kate gave Erik a hair cut.... This is the last in a long list of Haircutting Incidents in our household. It hadn't happened for quite a while, guess we were due for one of those... Will post pictures soon.

Today I got my groceries done, a trip to the grocery store was long overdue. Between my CSA box, garden, and farmer's market, I don't need to the supermarket as much as usual in the summer. If I need things like milk, dh just picks them up on his way home from his work. But now I really needed a full grocery trip, ended up spending $300. Amazing how it all ends up so fast! Of course, it will feed us for a while, but still...

Sue wanted to know what kind of material Jane's skirt was made of. I have to admit that I am not sure, it was something that was still in my fabric stash. It's a bit like t-shirt material, but it feels synthetic, not cotton. It's just two rectangles, close the side seams. Make tunnel at the top, put in elastic (so, yes, good guess @ the elastic waist). Then make seam at the bottom, and that was it. Simple, easy, but effective.

She hasn't been sewing since then, because of Storyland, and then she tested for her blue belt for karate, and got a new Nintendo game out of that. Now she has been focusing on that instead of on sewing. I am sure she'll be back to sewing soon though.

Tara turned vegetarian a few weeks ago, she thinks it's really mean to eat animals. She talked and talked to Jane, until she agreed to be a vegetarian too. That is, until there were chicken nuggets to eat today. Jane decided to eat one, claiming that it was only one.

Tonight, in bed, Tara was seriously talking to Jane about that.
'You ate a chicken, that was really mean. OK, not a whole chicken, but a part of it!'
Jane replied 'It was only one time!'
Tara said 'But it still was a chicken!'
Jane exasperatedly 'I just wanted to eat one piece of chicken, one time, now I'll go back to being a vegetarian!'

I guess Jane was a vegetarian by peer pressure, not by conviction :-) And she seems to be fine with being a vegetarian, as long as it isn't meal time.

Kate and little sister

Sunday, August 29, 2004



The kids had a wonderful time, I am just happy I am home again. The trip up there was pretty uneventful. Sylvia slept most of the way, and we only had a minimal amount of fighting and 'She's touching me!!!' going on. We arrived with about 1.5 hours to spare, and decided to eat something at a nearby Dairy Queen. They turned out to have things like hot dogs and hamburgers in addition to ice cream, so decided to have some of those too. I asked about any vegetarian options, the girl looked at me like I was crazy. 'Veggie-what????' I patiently explained about no meat, and she looked at me like I just fell out of the sky or so. After some hesitation, she said they could make a cheese sandwich. I agreed that that would be an ok choice, and sat down to wait.

After ten minutes or so, all our food was ready. Including a nice FISH sandwich for me... Dh said that that must be the closest to non-meat that they could get LOL. She had pressed the fish sandwich button at the register, because there wasn't a cheese sandwich choice. Which made the kitchen decide that I wanted a fish sandwich, they were sure that the cheese sandwich must have been a mistake... Oh well, about another ten minutes later, I finally got my cheese sandwich on an icky white, soft roll.

We were at Storyland around 3pm, which meant that we could get back in for free the next day. The kids enjoyed walking around in the park and trying out a few rides. They seem to enjoy the swans the most, swan shaped motorized boats, which were dubbed bumper ducks by one of the dads. Seemed an apt name, they tended to do a lot of bumping into each other, especially since they reacted so slowly to the steering, and the kids could not always anticipate what was going to happen and how to reach a certain location.

After Storyland hours, we checked into our hotel and were happily surprised about the quality. Their website had claimed that they were very child friendly, but I wanted to see for myself before really believing that. Well, I have to admit that it was a wonderful place to stay with the kids, nice playground, and a warm pool, with lots of pool toys. The kids played and swam for a while before they got stuck watching cable television :-) We had two rooms, so the kids were in one room, while Sander and I were hanging out in the other one. Kate soon joined us, to talk, and talk, and talk, and talk. Cable television just wasn't social enough for her :-)

We did eventually get them to sleep, but it took Jane till 2am or so before she was really sleeping. Only to wake up again an hour later, crying, when she fell out of bed... Erik managed to fall out of bed too, I guess my kids aren't used to sleeping in real beds. At home, most of them sleep on crib mattresses on the floor in our room. Which makes for a much smaller drop if you fall out of bed :-)


The next day, they made sure to wake up early (yes, using the alarm!) to watch even more cartoons. After having breakfast (yes, while watching cartoons :-), and cleaning up the rooms, it was off to Storyland again.

It was a long, long day. Tons of fun for the kids, tons of stress for us. And here we were, waiting in line for attraction after attraction, until we came to a pond with ducks. The four little ones stopped in their tracks, bee lined it to the ducks and sighed happily. 'Ducks!!! I have never seen a real duck so close up!', 'They are so cute!' and spent at least 20 minutes just enjoying the ducks. Geez, we could have done that for a lot less money closer to home I am sure LOL.

Not sure which ride they liked the most, I think they really enjoyed all the rides they went on. One of the rides, the Bamboo Chute, where you ride down a water slide on a 'log' has one of those picture opportunities. You can buy an overpriced picture (at $8 a piece) at the bottom, where you can see yourself going down screaming. We got one for the girls and Erik, but Kate wasn't visible, because she was behind Jane. So we ended up going on the ride again, with Kate in a different position. That was $16 for two pictures.

The boys saw the pics and wanted them too, so they went on the ride again to have their picture taken. Later that day, they went on another ride and left their bag outside. When they came back, their bag was gone :-( Including the overpriced picture. And a towel and two metal water bottles.... It still puzzles me what could have happened, it seems such an unlikely thing to steal. We checked Lost&Found twice, once after it happened, and once after closing, and the bag wasn't there. I hope it will still turn up, it really freaked out Tim, he was very upset. At least it happened late that day, so it didn't color the whole experience.

Of course, I let them go on that picture ride again, so that they still would have a picture. This bought the picture total to $32 for three pictures... A bit expensive. But hey, my kids were extremely happy about them :-)

Kate was starting to get really tired, and totally broke down at the end. She couldn't decide between two things she wanted, and there was only time for one. 'I don't know what's the funnest one!!!!' 'What do you think is the funnest one???' 'What if it isn't the funnest one???' A lot of screaming and crying later, she decided, and then had to go to the bath room, which was really far away, so she ended up not doing the one she decided on :-( Guess we'll have to go back some day, but I do not want to think about that yet!

Stress levels were high by now, and the ride home was a lot more eventful than the ride to Storyland. Highlights were when Erik managed to throw his ice cream over a stack of books, and when Tim dropped his medication out of his mouth into his water bottle when he was trying to swallow it.... Tim totally freaked out, and the pill was stuck on the bottom. We poured out most of the water, so he could drink the water with the pill in it. Pill got stuck on the sides of the bottle now. We dug up the scissors, and cut off the top of the water bottle (cheap plastic one). By now, the water had started to turn green, and after some screaming, Tim decided he did not want it anymore... We had not brought any more pills, so we ended up delaying a new pill till we got home.

It was 10:30pm by the time we made it home, and we all were exhausted. At least they did sleep well that night :-) And they very badly want to go back to Storyland. I don't, but I won't be surprised if I get myself suckered into it some day anyway :-)


Friday, August 27, 2004

Ready to go DOWN

This is why I haven't been posting the last few days, we took the kids to Storyland! I am too tired to write much now, but I will soon tell you about all the adventures we had. The kids had a blast, I still hate going places like that. We slept overnight in a hotel, to the utter delight of my kids who don't have cabel television at home. They even set the alarm for 7am the next day, so they wouldn't miss out on more television watching. They were a tad disappointed that I did veto their plan of setting the alarm for 5am.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Tara's first skirt!

This is the skirt that Tara made for Jane, it turned out pretty well. I am not sure what her next project is going to be, I have heard so many ideas, will have to ask her what she decided on.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004


Tara suddenly is really into sewing things. She spent a few days repairing anything in the house that had holes in it, then progressed to sewing stacks of barbie clothes. This kept her happy for a few days, and then she started eyeballing my sewing machine.

It didn't take long before she started asking me to explain how this worked and whether she could use it and wouldn't it be neat if she could make clothes for every one?

We decided to start with a pillow case, since that's about the easiest you can get. She was amazed how much easier the sewing machine was compared to hand sewing. The next day, she decided to make a skirt for Jane. It came out pretty well too, I have pics, but not uploaded yet, will do that soon. Tara was proud of her work, Jane was happy with the result.

It is really neat to see how she is developing this skill, she even threaded the machine by herself! And it makes me want to sew again, maybe some day I will :-)

Cute thumbsucker

Sunday, August 22, 2004

The Beach

Today, dh was home, so I had planned for tons of things that I wanted to get done while he could hold Sylvia. Started out cleaning the bunny cage, which was long overdue and very much needed. Other plans for the day were grocery shopping and changing the sheets on our bed. All those plans went out of the window when a friend called to invite us to come with them to the beach. I thought about all the boring things I should be doing. I thought about all the fun we would be having at the beach. The beach won!

I did get the bunny cage cleaned and some other stuff done, but nothing close to my plans. But who cares, since we had a wonderful day at the beach! Only a few more months and we'll be in the middle of snow storm after snow storm.

The kids swam, built with sand, played on the playground, ran around, and had a wonderful time. I sat and relaxed with my friends, of course while counting heads continuously. It was such a nice day, sunny, but not too hot. We saw a hot air balloon at the other side of the lake, I was sorry that I didn't bring my camera. So glad we decided on the beach instead of the stupid household chores :-)

Another item I was sorry about not bringing was my GPS. Because we got pretty lost on the way home, still not sure how I managed to do that. Eventually we did find our way back home, but it took quite a while. Sylvia was not impressed with the car ride back home.

I had a weight check for Cees on Friday, he weighed in at 59lbs at almost 13yo. A bit low, he never has been on the charts, but he seems to drop farther and farther, so we decided to do some checking into things. He had blood drawn for thyroid, anemia, and celiac, maybe one more. And if all this comes back normal, we might check his growth hormones. I don't really expect that we will find anything, but I think it's good to have it checked out.

Kate swimming

Baby found cache!


We did it!!! We went geocaching for the very first time ever, and we even found a cache! (more pics at that link) There is a trail system close to our home, we figured we would start there, since it has two caches. We parked at the trail head and started looking for the first one. Hmmm, that one seemed to be really close, so the kids spread out to try to find it. The description said somthing about 30 yards from the trail, under an old log, that couldn't be too hard, could it?

Well, it was! We looked for quite a while, but just could NOT find the darned box. The amazing thing was how it seemed to be really close to the car, I was wondering why they hadn't hidden it a bit farther from the parking spot. But hey, this was our first box, so what did I know? Maybe this was normal. The kids started to get discouraged, so I proposed that we would find the second box first and then come back to this one. They agreed on the wisdom of my plans :-)

We had about ¾ kilometers to go, but it was all up, up, up, and up. Nice climb, I was mentally calculating how much earlier the kids would go to sleep tonight after this steep trail (I was wrong, they didn't go to sleep even one minute earlier...) We made it close to our goal, and spent some time looking around for the cache. I am happy to tell you all that I was the one who found it!

The kids excitedly opened it, and took out all the treasures. I got the logbook and read about the other people who visited. We took a deck of Iraqi playing cards, an alien, key chain, japanese coin, necklace, and Pez dispenser. Left naked barbie, 20-sided die, a few army guys, Snow White, and barbie clothes. No, I am not sure why the barbie had to be naked, maybe because that seems to be the natural condition of barbies in our house? At least it wasn't one of the headless barbies :-)

The bugs were very annoying, we all kept swatting yet another blood saturated mosquito. Next time I might actually remember to bring bug repellant LOL. We also should have brought a stamp pad, we couldn't do the stamp because there wasn't one in the box. I told the kids to just draw the stamp pic in their log book, that would prove that we had found the cache.

We sat down for a while, enjoying the cache, the quietness, the nature, the logbook, and the mosquitoes. Made it back to the trail, where we met another hiker, who had six kids with her. I told her that she must be surprised to meet some one on this usually totally empty trail with more kids than she had with her :-) But I was surprised too, when she started talking dutch to me after she heard me say something to my kids! How amazing to meet a fellow dutch woman in the middle of nowhere.

Back to the first cache. I was sure we would find it now, but even if we wouldn't, at least we weren't total losers since we had found the other cache. Searching, searching, searching, searching, but no cache anywhere! One by one, the kids gave up... Eventually, even I gave up, planning to go to the log of the cache and see whether I could find some additional hints.

We decided to make a visit to Borders before going home, I wanted to get a book about sewing for Tara, who suddenly is very interested in it. Tara got her book, Tim found a dungeons and dragons book he wanted, and we bought a special stamp pad for our geocaching.Quick supermarket stop and then home to rest. Followed by another visit to the pool, where I found out that they will close to the summer on the 22nd! That feels very early!

I did check the log for the cache we couldn't find, and the first thing it said was 'Easy find!!' Hmmm, not in our opinion. For a moment I wondered whether maybe the cache had been stolen or so. Till I double checked everything and realized that I had entered the coordinates of the parking lot in my cache, not the one of the cache... Now that explained why the cache seemed to be hidden so close to the car. And that explained why we never found a 'close to target' reading at 30 yards off the trail.... Oh well, I guess that teaches me to pay better attention, and it enables us to go back there soon and try to find the cache again, but now at the right location :-)

On our way

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Sleeping baby

Birthday Cake

Or How Not To Make An Chocolate Lovers Angel Food Cake....

Today was Tim's birthday party. I was going to be totally organized and get everything this weekend, bake the cake in advance, and basically have everything ready way earlier than needed. That was, until life got in the way. Life tends to do that a lot in our house...

I never got the birthday party supplies bought during the weekend. Or on Monday. Or the cake baked. Or any other birthday party preparations done. Fast forward to Tuesday afternoon, around 5pm, still nothing done. Which logically lead to the decision to take the kids to the swimming pool... Hey, everything hadn't been done anyway, a few more hours of procrastination were not going to make much of a difference :-) And I really really really wanted to give them some swimming pool fun before they close for the summer, I think that will happen next week.

The kids had a blast at the swimming pool. And I discovered that Jane can swim front crawl, only she can't breathe :-) So she will swim 10 or 20 seconds of front crawl, and then has to stop, and stand up and breathe, and get the water out of her eyes. But I was totally amazed that she could swim front crawl at all. I guess the three weeks of daily swimming lessons are paying off.
Erik was so happy that he finally got to swim too. Had to watch his siblings for three weeks, while he couldn't swim at all. Even although it wasn't convenient timing, I am still glad I took them!

Since we were out of the house anyway, and because I was feeling brave, I decided to hit the supermarket after the swimming. Mind you, it was 7:30pm by now, and they hadn't had a real dinner yet, but I was starting to get desperate about ever getting the birthday party things. We got almost all that we needed, and we only had one big fight between Kate and Erik, apart from that, they behaved pretty well.

Of course, it meant we were home late, but at least we had bought most of the stuff now, and the boys were able to make the goody bags. We ate a very late dinner and I was going to bake the cake at night.

Life kept getting in the way though, and I was tired and Sylvia was cranky, so I ended up not baking the cake... I had been able to borrow an angel food pan from a friend earlier that day, because I don't even possess any! So that was one less item to stress about, at least I did have the pan. What I was still missing though, was a mixer... Remember how my mil broke my mixer and just put it back? I had thrown it out, but never gotten around to replacing it yet, because usually I use my big stand mixer. That one isn't as effective at whipping up eggwhites as it is at kneading bread dough, so I wanted a new small mixer.

Was too tired to go out and get one, but I did separate the 16 eggs that the recipe called for. Only had to do one extra egg when I messed up things. Now I just need to think of something to make out of 16 egg yolks and one white :-)

Went to bed, trying not to think about everything that still needed to happen. Slept fine anyway :-) Got up and mixed up most of the cake, but still needed a mixer. No problem, we have a nearby supermarket which would have one for sure... It didn't. Ended up having to drive to Kmart to get the stupid mixer. More time that I couldn't spend baking. I did pick up a tea kettle while at kmart though, not an electric one for now. Still have to decide whether I am willing to try one of those again, after last week's fire.

Finally I could whip up the egg whites, in between making breakfast for all. Apart from dropping a spoon upside down in the batter, that part went ok. Until I had to fill the cake pan. It looked like a lot of batter for the cake pan (the one the recipe told me to use!), but I was sure that it wouldn't rise much in the oven anyway, since there was so much air in it already. Boy, was I wrong.

Not only did it rise a lot, but it rose so much that it spilled all over the sides of the pan and dripped on my baking stone... Which made those pieces get nice and cooked and charred... And made the kitchen smell, ummm, well, let's say interesting... And because it rose so lot, I think it baked slower too. So it wasn't ready in the 40 minutes they claimed it would take. Nor was it ready 15 minutes later. It was more than ready in another 15 minutes, including black peaks...

Did I mention that baking angel food cakes is not going to be my favorite pastime?

Realized that I didn't have enough of the birthday candle holders, those little ones that protect the cake from the candle. Briefly considered making a third supermarket trip, but instead called my friend and begged her to bring some when she came to the party. She is a good enough friend that she saved my butt by doing that, phew! Usually I would just put in the candles without holders, but Tim had been freaking out about the wax that would be on the cake, and since it was his birthday...

Took the cake out, cut off most of the blackness, and put it upside down to cool in the basement, hoping that that would speed up the cooling process. By now the party was going to start in half an hour though, so no way it was going to be finished before it started... So much for being super organized. In between all that cake baking, we got the floors picked up and vacuumed, and the bath room kind of clean. The island cleared off, so we could put food on there. Apart from the cake, we were pretty much ready.

Guests arrived, and a good time was had by all. I was wondering whether the cake would get out of the pan easily or not. Of course, it did NOT get out easily... Well, at least it broke in only two pieces, but it just looked very raggedly... Haven't baked such an ugly cake in a long time! Amazing how I managed to mess it all up.

I melted chocolate chips, so that Timmy could decorate with chocolate lines and such. Made the hole in the bag too much, so those were extremely fat lines, not at all like the delicate lines in the photograph which we were trying to emulate. Well, at least that meant more chocolate on the cake, but still..

After all that, Tim took two bites and declared that he didn't really like this kind of cake, and he would just eat ice cream.

Did I mention that I don't like baking angelfood cakes? They don't seem to be my strength LOL.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

black suitNot much time to write tonight, so just posting a pic of Sylvia in the suit that makes her look like Uncle Fester of the Addams Family :-)

I went to the memorial service for our neighborhood girl today, very sad. The church was packed. Lots of crying and sadness, but also lots of beautiful memories.

Took the kids to the swimming pool, and then to the supermarket, all around dinner time... What was I thinking???? But I had to have stuff for Tim's birthday party tomorrow, haven't even baked the cake yet, guess I will have to stay up late.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Got My GPS!!!

Yesterday, a neighbor came over, handing me the package with my new and shining GPS inside! Of course, this is after Amazon promised to send a new one, so I'll have to get that one returned somehow. Have been playing with it since it arrived, it is fun! It doesn't do the dishes yet, but most anything else it seems to be able to do. It even tells us when the sun sets, like we couldn't see that for ourselves.

We took it out on a few walks already, I now know that the smallest block in our neighborhood is 669.3m (0.42 miles). It also gives the elevations, but I haven't figured out the difference between lowest and highest on our block yet, apart from knowing that our steep driveway always adds quite some elevation to any walk :-)

I walked the somewhat bigger block (1.9km / 1.2 miles) today with a bunch of kids, never even got to hold the GPS till the end, they were too fascinated with it :-) They kept trying to make the maximum trip speed go up, by running as fast as they could while holding the GPS.

Now we are ready to start geocaching! Printed out the directions for the first two caches in our town, hope to be able to find them sometime this week. The kids are really looking forward to this adventure. I do hope that we will be able to find the caches! I know some people really mess up on their first try, don't want to be one of them :-)

Tim had his 11th birthday, he was very excited, and we found just the perfect presents for him. A cd player, some d&d miniatures, and a few other things that he really liked. He will have his party on Wednesday, haven't prepared ANYTHING for it yet, blech. Even although I am feeling better, birthday parties still seem stressful. It doesn't help that tomorrow is really full, have to go to a memorial service (16yo neighborhood girl got killed in a car crash :-( and some other stuff going on too. Hard to try to bake a cake in between all that. And do all the birthday party shopping. Somehow it has to happen though.

Figured out what we did wrong with our tie dyeing. We used the sucky RIT dye, instead of the real stuff. So I spent way too much money at Dharma, but next time it should come out a lot better! I hope :-)

Sylvia is growing so fast!!! Almost all her newborn diapers and wraps are too small now, sniff. On the one hand I love seeing her being able to do more, seeing her grow and develop. On the other hand, I mourn the loss of the newborn she used to be.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Tie Dyeing

We tried tie dyeing today. Had to go around the house to dig up all our white shirts. Our first plan of attack was to hang them from the clothes line and spray the dyes on them, so it would be easy for the kids. That plan had to be ditched when it started raining. And raining. And raining.

Plan B was kitchen table and droppers to drop the paint on the shirts. Actually worked very well, the kids could either drop, or tie, or both. The shirts came out wonderful!

That is, until I washed them, as per instructions... I must have done something wrong, because now I have bluish/ purplish shirts, and all the patterns and all the white is totally gone... They all look kind of the same now. So much for all the work the kids put into it. I still don't know what I did wrong, but it sure is frustrating! I haven't told the kids yet, figured just before falling asleep might not be conducive to a good bedtime... Will show them tomorrow. I feel so bad about messing up all their nice work.

My GPS was supposed to arrive today, but it didn't! Even although UPS tracking claimed that I got it delivered to my front door. It never showed up though, and we were home at the time that it supposedly was delivered. Not happy about it, I emailed amazon about it, but haven't heard back yet.

I found out what has been killing my zucchini plants, I think it's squash beetles. They are extremely ugly and very destructive. I might have exactly one zucchini this year from the 34 plants or so I planted... And they have started on my yellow squashes now. I went out with my trusted Dr Bronner Magic Soap. It worked on the ones that I could hit. But there are soooooooooo many of them, that I am pretty sure I can't have hit them all. Uggg!

My 12yo is still worried about not being my favorite kid. He is sure the 8yo is, for some reason. He comes up with logical explanations like 'If you were in the middle of a big body of water with all of us, and we all would fall overboard, you would only save her!!! That proves that she is the favorite... ' He didn't even ask me who I would save, just assumed! But today's reasoning topped the cake 'I know she is your favorite, because yesterday, you let HER clean the bath rooms, and not me!!!' OK, whatever LOL.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

chickadee in the house


Exciting start of the day today. I came downstairs, put on some water for tea, and sat down to nurse Sylvia. Dh sat down next to me, but suddenly jumps up, cursing, and runs into the kitchen. While he is doing that, I notice the lights dimming and then going back to normal again. The next thing I notice, are flames in the kitchen! Not big, but scary nonetheless. It was at the cord of the electric kettle, close to where it enters the kettle. Dh unplugged the kettle, and the fire stopped burning within maybe ten seconds or so. Phew! Lots of soot, lots of stinkiness, melted cord, burned spot on the counter, but nothing serious.

So now we are without electric kettle, not sure whether I want a new one or not. I have been using a sauce pan to heat water for tea, since I threw out my normal kettle ages ago, in one of my decluttering manias, since we had gotten the electric kettle. I also checked whether the fire extinguisher was still in working order, the little indicator said full, and there is no date or whatever on it, so I assume it is. Well, at least I was really awake now!

Had a LLL meeting today, so baked cinnamon raisin bread, and managed to mess it up! Forgot the salt, added that at the end. And the dough was not behaving well, I think it was too slack, and the bread got flatter than I really wanted. It still tasted good though, it just annoyed me that the look wasn't up to my high standards! We had a very nice meeting! Lots of supercute babies, and a bunch of adorable toddlers. Good discussions, I think every one got something out of this meeting.

This afternoon, we had a bird in the house! A little chickadee, it couldn't figure out how to fly out of one of the doors, it kept flying towards the ceiling instead. We did get it out eventually, by coaxing it on a window screen (which I had taken out so it could escape via the window too), and carrying it over close to the door where it finally managed to go outside. I felt so sorry for the poor little bird, glad we were able to help it.

I ordered a GPS a few days ago. I have to admit that I had been wanting an excuse to get one, and a friend finally gave me the last nudge towards it by mentioning geocaching to me. Again and again. Till I just had to give in and ordered the darned GPS :-) The kids are really looking forward to finding our first cache. There are two within a few miles of our house. I am hoping the GPS will arrive tomorrow and we can try it out.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004


Yesterday, I really felt like baking, I got up with lots of plans. Sander was home to hold Sylvia. I wanted to make something special for breakfast, so looked in one of the cookbooks my friend Rachel gave me a few months ago. I decided on oat cakes, first problem was that I couldn't find my oat groats... How the heck can you lose 50 lbs of oat groats???? Shows you how organized I am LOL. Just used the steel cut oats instead and ground them into oat flour. It took me about an hour to bake the oat cakes, and they had only a few ingredients. That should have warned me not to attempt any more baking

The oat cakes did come out nicely, we ate them with some jam, good start of the day. My next project were blueberry muffins, since I had gotten blueberries at the farmer's market. I started them at 11:30am, so we could eat them with lunch at noon. Well, life interfered, as usual, and I didn't get them ready till 2pm or so. Do you think I set some kind of new record for the slowest blueberry muffins? They were good though, I tried out a new recipe, from the King Arthur catalog. I doubled the recipe, to make 24, but I ended up with 36 of them instead. Means that they lasted about 24 hours instead of only half a day ;-)

I gave up on baking for the day. But hey, at least I got two different things baked, which weren't bread. Have been mostly baking our daily bread lately, not much else.

Two Friends
Madeleine and Sylvia hanging out together

My friend Catherineis back from the hospital. She is on her road to recovery now. My other friend still is waiting for her surgery, I have been over at her house a lot, hence the picture of the two little ones in the sling.

And I feel very tired, very overwhelmed, but somehow not depressed anymore. I know it sounds contradictory, but that really is how I feel. I hope the depression will stay away, and maybe some day, I even will feel less tired, and the house will be in perfect state! (OK, the house might be asking a bit too much, but it would be nice not to be so tired anymore :-)

I did get rid of yet another garbage bag full of stuff today, why don't I see a difference yet???? At least I will never see all that stuff again!

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Learning To Read

I am really enjoying Kate's learning to read process. She is still working her way through Calvin and Hobbes, she isn't really interested in any of our easy readers. So we get painstakingly sounded out phrases like "Calvin, you rotten little kid...... Oh no...... Santa calls me rotten! ..... I am DOOMED!!!!!' And lots of complaints about tricky letters. 'Why do the same letters often sound differently?????' And grumbling about the silent k at the beginning of words. 'That can't be know, there is a k at the start!!!'

I just love watching her learning unfold, watching her figure out more and more words every day. But words like 'duplicator' and 'transmogrifier' are still a bit beyond her current reading skills :-) Today, in the car, she was working on words starting with b. The other kids joined in too, and at some point I even heard Erik saying b-words. Words, which the others hadn't shouted out yet, so I knew he had figured it out on his own. It will be interesting to see when he gets more interested in reading and phonics.

Today was farmer's market day, got my yummy organic corn on the cob. We had it for dinner, it was really really good. I love this time of the year, when fresh veggies are in abundance. My tomatoes have started producing, but a lot of my zucchini plants have died! No idea what happened to them, I might not have the normal over abundance of zucchini, but I am sure I will have way too many tomatoes :-)

Friday, August 06, 2004

Too Tired To Write Much

But wanted to let you know that my friend Catherine went into surgery today at 5pm EST. I am hoping her dh will call me tonight with an update, otherwise it will be tomorrow before I know more. Please keep her in your thoughts.

My other friend is in a lot of pain, please keep her in your thoughts too. She will have surgery next week.

And I am just tired, tired, tired, but somehow not as depressed anymore. Sylvia had her 2mo checkup today, she weighed 12 lbs 7 oz, 90th percentile wow! With one kid totally off the charts (at the bottom) and the rest low on the charts, it amazes me to see them plot her on the 90th percentile line. I am sure she will start dropping soon though, the 90th percentile just isn't where my kids seem to belong :-) She was 24.5 inches tall, which is off the charts at the top, but I don't really trust those length measurements much at this age.

The gp asked about ppd, and I told that I had a touch, but not too bad. And I didn't even burst into tears, saved that for the trip back home...

Yet another frog :-)


Tonight, I got a phone call that my good friend Catherine is in the hospital with a gallbladder attack. She is doing kind of ok for now, but she might need surgery tomorrow. Another good friend is looking at surgery next week, she is local, I have been helping out with her kids this week. Please send good thoughts and healing vibes to the both of them!

Not much interesting happening here. I walked with the little ones, did some weeding, found that all my nice big zucchini plants had died (How the heck did I manage to kill zucchini plants of all things????), and went over to the friend who is having surgery next week. Now I finally got all my kids down, and I actually fell asleep too! Just got up to have some tea, but now I am back to bed, so tired.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

My New Business

Very excited to announce that I did sign up with Unique Family Boutique to become a consultant, and did open an on line store. I am still trying to figure out a good name though, for now I am using But I really would like an URL to redirect to that addy, something that's easy to remember. I was thinking maybe, but somebody else took that already, so maybe or .biz. I also considered with a story about why the name, but was wondering whether people would think it would only be baby things. I have to think more about this, but for now, at least I do have a store.

Picked tons of strawberries today. OK, maybe not tons, but a good bunch. I planted those 'everbearers' this year, which bear the whole summer and it's amazing how well they have done. It's nice to still be picking our own, organic strawberries, when strawberry season usually would usually be long over! We also picked some blueberries, but I think that the birds ate a lot of them too, there seemed to be a lot less than a few days ago...

Kate is starting to read! She is the first one doing this without any 'formal' training. We have told her about the sounds letters make and such, but we never did a learning to read program or whatever with her. But suddenly things are starting to click. Tonight, she was looking at a Calvin and Hobbes book, and asked me things like 'Does this say "I see you"?' and 'Is this "Poof"?' and a lot more of those. She wasn't always right, but a good chunk of the time she did figure it out. She still has problems with words like 'transmogrifier' though... Funny how she uses Calvin and Hobbes as a learning to read book, instead one of the easy readers. And fascinating to see how things are falling into place for her, I don't think it will be long before she will be reading well.

Baby with sunhat

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Rocks, Rocks Everywhere!

And no, this time, it isn't even my backyard! Well, it's rocks, rocks everywhere there too, but that's not what I am writing about today :-) Today, we went to the Quechee Gorge, a 165 foot chasm in Vermont. We had often driven over it, since the bridge is on our way to Woodstock. But this was the first time we actually got out of the car and hiked down to the bottom of the gorge.

I always had been wondering how safe the hike would be for little ones, but it turned out to be totally safe and ok. I went with a friend who had been there before, and she convinced me to try it :-) We hiked down, and at the bottom there are tons of rocks, and a small river. It's amazing how long kids can be occupied by rocks, water, frogs, and crayfish. I just sat around with my friend, nursed Sylvia, and enjoyed watching the kids play. Her 5yo had a great time running around with my kids, and a good time was had by all.

The kids selected a few tons of rocks to take home, but on the way back uphill they decided to ditch more and more of them. It really reminded me of the Hansel and Gretsel story :-) Only the rocks were bigger. Cees had a particularyl huge one, which he managed to carry for about 500 yards before totally giving up on it. Oh well, we still ended up with way too many rocks at home anyway. It always amazes me how the kids can think we really need more rocks ???? !!!!

During the trip home, they negotiated a complicated schedule of who could have a shower when, and what should happen to all the rocks. At home, they divided in groups, some of them hammering rocks, others cleaning rocks, some eating, and once in a while one or a few went to have a shower. They weren't even fighting, somehow any problems were all worked out in harmony. I was wondering whether aliens had abducted my kids and sent perfect kids instead ;-) I am sure they will be back to normal behavior tomorrow though...

We had lunch at Friendly's because Tara had gotten a new blue stripe at karate. It is pretty challenging to take Erik into a restaurant, it's like trying to have dinner with a bouncy ball bouncing all around you... I was hoping it would be a fast lunch, but somehow the Friendly's staff managed to drag it out so we spent TWO whole hours there. But the kids were very happy about the whole experience, so I guess I should not complain either :-)

Two people asked me whether I had any twins. Three people commented on what a nice birthday party this was. Four people wanted to know whether they really were all mine. Five people just sat and stared :-)

I would love to post pictures of the Quechee Gorge, but I forgot to bring my camera... I guess we'll have to go back there to get more rocks and take some pictures!

Tuesday, August 03, 2004



I am sooooooooooo tired today, not sure why. I think it might be the heat and humidity, somehow this is not my favorite kind of weather. On the other hand, I guess it beats snow storms, but not by much. At least I don't have to shovel... Although, I did spend quite some time weeding today, and you barely can see a difference. Almost the same effect as shoveling during a snow storm :-)

I woke up at 6:30am this morning, and contemplated getting up and walking. I would like to get back into the habit of getting up early, and getting a walk in before any of the kids wakes up, just taking Sylvia in the sling. I used to do that (well, sans Sylvia), but got out of the habit during my pregnancy. I would still walk, but mostly after the kids were awake, or even at night. But this morning, I found that I still was way too tired to get up that early, but hey, at least I was awake! Now I just need to work on the getting up part :-)

Didn't do much today, but I did get a nice dinner cooked somehow. That was about my only indoors accomplishment though, Sylvia wanted me to walk her around and pay attention to her, not do stupid housework. I agree with her on the housework, I just wish that my house would somehow self clean while I paid attention to her :-)

The picture today shows the same flower as yesterday, about a week later. It took me quite a while to figure out what kind of flower it was, it looked so different before it really started blooming. A friend finally recognized it as a purple cone flower, or echinacea. I had been trying to look it up in my books when it was still green and spiky looking, and hadn't been able to find it. Glad she solved the mystery!

Sunday, August 01, 2004


Yogurt Making

A few years ago, my friend Catherine gave me a 'low tech yogurt maker'. A small cooler, two liter jars which fit perfectly in it, and a candy thermometer. I would heat up milk, maybe add some powdered milk, and let it cool down to lukewarm. Add some starter yogurt, put it in the cooler, surround it with lukewarm water and put it somewhere out of the way, preferably where the toddler couldn't reach it :-) A few hours later, or the next morning, the yogurt would be ready.

This worked very well for a while, but at some point, I got out of the habit of making yogurt, it seemed too much work. I think it coincided with all the miscarriages, baking samed therapeutic, yogurt making just seemed too much work. Not sure why the difference, but it sure was there. I kept thinking I should make yogurt soon, but instead I was buying it at the store...

Fast forward to a few weeks ago. I had been thinking about getting a 'real' yogurt maker, hoping that that would get me back into the habit of making yogurt, since it's a bit less work. I had looked at them before, but the cost always was holding me back, usually at least $50 or so. I checked ebay and found some reasonably priced ones, and wanted to compare them to the prizes at Amazon. To my utter surprise, I found a promising looking yogurt maker for only $14.99. That was even cheaper than the ones I had found on ebay!

What a cool find! Now I only had to figure out how to spend ten more dollars, so I wouldn't have to pay for shipping. Somehow that wasn't very hard, I decided on Angels and Demons and Life of Pi. Both books were on my very long 'want to read someday' list.

It arrived late last week, now I just needed to find time to try it out. I managed to mess up my first batch, but that might have been because I didn't add any powdered milk. I just emptied a quart of soy milk in a pan, heated it, added some starter yogurt and dumped it in the yogurt maker. It did make something, but I couldn't really call it yogurt... It was kind of separated, like lots of curdles in something waterish. It did smell and taste like yogurt though, it just didn't look very appetizing. I ended up blending it for a few seconds, which solved the separation problem, but it was a lot thinner than normal yogurt now. Then I used it to make a great tasting curry sauce, just added some corn starch to make it thicker. It tasted wonderful. I think if I had added some fruit when blending, it would have been a great yogurt to just drink instead of eat with a spoon. It also would have worked fine for baking.

Yesterday, I tried it again, but this time used soy milk and some soy protein powder. That one turned out much better. I think we'll have it tomorrow morning with some granola. That reminds me that I want to make some home made granola again, haven't done that in a while. I guess I am starting to feel better, since I am motivated to do stuff like this again, which I wasn't a few weeks ago.