The Happyish Homestead

Friday, December 14, 2012

Christmas and Non-Christmas Alike


Here is my Christmas chalkboard.

You know what baffles me?

Chalkboard markers.

I don’t even get how they work.

They’re liquid and powdery all at the same time.

Like bananas, how are bananas both slimy and smooth?

I just don’t know.

I bought my markers at Michael’s, using a 50% off coupon, so it was like $6 for four of them.

They’re way better than regular chalk for this sort of thing.


This was my inspiration.


And I made this clothes pin bag.

It turns out that I didn’t love the apron that I made to hold the clothespins.

Why doesn’t anyone ever tell me when my ideas are bad?

Nothing about wearing an apron with 200+ clothespin around my waist in 100 degree weather pulling my pants down while I’m bending and reaching for four loads of laundry is a good idea.

My friend gave me this garment.

It was her brother’s nightgown.

(She’s in her late 60s.  A little less weird when said within the appropriate context.)

It’s flannel and has some cute embroidery.  I just cut out a circle and lined it with bias tape and then sewed the front, bottom, and arms closed.

I found the wood pink hanger at an estate sale for $.10.

Hope you have a good weekend.


Thursday, December 13, 2012


Quick Update:

You can buy the Christmas Legos on their website.

They're kind of pricey,

but super fun.

Here's the link: Winter Village Legos

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas Decor

Bryce is out of town, again.

I’ve been busy the past couple of weeks finishing Christmas shopping and sewing gifts for the kids.

I saw this idea on Pinterest to make muslin draw string bags for the kids’ Santa presents.  Sorry, I can no longer find the source.

I thought it was a good idea so I didn’t have to wrap all the presents but they would still experience the anticipation of not knowing what was in the bag.

My mother-in-law gave me some old flour sacks that were Bryce’s grandpa’s from when he owned a bakery.

I just added a drawstring to them.

It’ll be easy to transport the gifts to Idaho that way, because they’ll all essentially be wrapped and organized.

I’m going to make muslin tags with the kids’ initials to put on the bags.


Decorating sugar cookies








The Lego Christmas Collection




I pulled that tree out of the dumpster from my neighbor’s house that got evicted.

I was pretty excited about it.

I’m sure you’re all busy with Christmas prep as well.

Hope you’re having a good week.


Thursday, December 6, 2012

So Far

We’re making sugar cookies.

In increments.

Because I have four kids.

And we’ve gotten five inches of rain in the past six days.

(Which also flooded a bit of our basement, apparently, if you have a new pump plugged into a bad outlet, it won’t work, and Christmas presents will get soaked.)

And they’re kind of bouncing off the walls.

So I’m stretching things out.



I made a fitted flannel sheet for Spencer’s bed.

I used my serger for the first time.

All by myself.

Then I high fived Bryce.

It’s like a real sheet.

Here’s the tutorial I followed.

I’m pretty excited about the possibilities.


Tonight I’m working on Spencer’s gift.

I’m making him a tent that goes on a card table.

I honestly have no clue if he’ll like it but I really have no idea what to else to make him.

Open to suggestions.


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Almost Ready….

to think about starting to decorate for Christmas.

And I was going to….


But then it was 65 degrees outside and I had to go rake leaves.

Which doesn’t really put one in the mind to decorate for Christmas.

It does make one start to wonder about saving one’s money for next year to hire a landscaping company,

if only for the leaves

and encourages thoughts about a slow and painful premature


And Spencer has been needy.

Not in a hewantstocuddleandreadbooksandsleeplotsnadhe’ssocutekindofway

but more in a suck me dry kind of way.

And this morning I was contemplating the idea of telling my children that Santa believes that waking up cranky,

and crying,

and obnoxiously early

is grounds for present dismissal.

It is, isn’t it?

The good news is,

I’ve already submitted my Christmas list to Bryce:

new pantry interior

(mine is ghetto and ill planned and U.G.L.Y.)

and rubber work boots for the rainy season.

REI has some boots….

for $110.


I still love them.


on Saturday, we’re going to go cut down our Christmas trees.

We’re getting two! (four seems excessive, ahem)

I’m kind of thinking about getting someone to watch the kids, and just Bryce and I will go.


One would think,

(if life as like the movies and my children were angelic)

if that person hasn’t traipsed all over a muddy mountainside with four children wearing noncuttingdownchristmastreegear.

But I have

and a sitter is sounding pretty awesome.

And today I’m tired.

I go to a Zumba class.

Let’s just say that my hopes and dreams of having a dancing career are not even



I take comfort in knowing that I can always fall back on my ability to

rake leaves.

Have you decorated?

If you’re my real friend, you’ll lie and say ‘no’….

or you can come over and help me

or do it all

or take care of Spencer….


Monday, November 26, 2012

A Little Bit of Sunshine

I’ve had a couple of busy weeks.
I won’t bore you with the details.
A lot of it is raking millions of leaves from hundred year old oak and acorn trees.
And Spencer not feeling well with a double ear infection.
And planning a large church dinner for 100+ adults with a small budget.
{Apparently I’m a liar.}
Since I have awesome coping skills.
I bought some new boots
and decided to make a sign.
Here was my inspiration:

and this one:
and I tried this technique, which didn’t work at all for me:

So I just made it up.
I cut the wood with a jigsaw in my laundry room sink
painted it with the same color as my front door
found a font (allegrian)
supersized it (650)
printed it out
centered the paper on my wood
traced around it with a sharpie
which bled through to the wood
filled it in with paint
painted a shadow
and did a border.
I’m still debating about distressing it…..
I don’t love the location of it {disappointing}, so that will probably change.
But I like how it turned out.
Till later this week,

Friday, November 9, 2012

Just Some Good Old Fashioned Painting

I’m finally getting around to some painting projects.

I was a little worn out after painting a lot of my friend’s furniture this fall.

But fall, summer, spring, and winter are always a good time for painting, so I got to it.





I’m not really sure why I didn’t paint this to begin with.

Maybe I was waiting for the perfect color.

Which, I do love this color.

It’s Sherwin-Williams ‘watery’.

It’s always exciting putting on the first brush stroke and realizing it’s perfect.


Jar cubby


For the kitchen wall.

Don’t you worry, I’ll find something awesome for the bottom cubbies.

This was a ghetto 80’s brown shelf that I picked up at a garage sale for $3.

And then I put it on my porch.

For five months.

After I tried to unsuccessfully spray paint it.


I want to make a distressed wooden sign that says either ‘milk’ or ‘mail’.

Sometime this year.

Definitely before summer.

Maybe over Thanksgiving…


Have a good weekend and stay warm.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012


I’ve been really lazy lately.

Lazy in the fact that I take a nap almost every week day.

Which also makes for a really lame blog.

I’m not pregnant.

Just lazy.

In all honesty, you can only be so lazy with:

1 husband

4 kids

15 chickens

3 ducks

30 raspberry plants

1.13 acres


3 meals a day.

But, this week, I’ve recommitted myself to productivity.

Do you mind if I share?

Yesterday I:

made two loaves of bread

cooked three meals

made one dessert

with the help of one Adeline

canned 14 quarts of grape juice (free concord grapes off of craigslist)


sorted, washed, dried, put away four loads of laundry

picked one basket of raspberries

collected four eggs

delivered a dozen eggs to the neighbor

watched three episodes of “Call The Midwife” (on which is so, so good) while I folded laundry

helped two kids with homework

and ate twenty eight pieces of Halloween candy.

In all fairness to myself, last week I canned 8 quarts of chunky applesauce from free apples,cut out the pieces for three stuffed animal Christmas gifts, sprayed weeds all over the property, and then….took a nap.

I’m hoping to get some painting done later in the week as the weather will be miserable so outside maintenance is limited.

What are you getting done?


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Back Fire

Bryce is out of town.


Moving on.

I rented a movie for the kids and I to watch while eating Taco Bell.

{I try to console myself with laziness and processed food.}

I rented Big Miracle.

Have you heard of it?

Three whales, a mom – Wilma, a dad – Fred, and a baby –Bam,Bam, get trapped under the ice in Alaska and it’s a global effort to free them so they can get to the ocean.

I would quickly like to mention that I thought my kids would love this movie.

Much like they love Dolphin Tale.

If you’d never met Elizabeth, a conversation with her would go something like this:

‘Hi, I’m Elizabeth.

What’s your name?

What’s you favorite animal?

Mine’s a dolphin.

Do you want me to draw you a dolphin?

Dolphins are mammals.

Do you know what a mammal is?

Have you seen a Dolphin Tale?

It’s so good.

It’s my favorite.

Do you want me to tell you about it?’

Ignores all responses and delves into a seven minute explanation about the dolphin without a tail.

Again, thought they’d love it.

And they did,


Bam,bam dies. 

At the very end.

He just floats away, never to be seen again.


Surround hysterics.

For thirty minutes.

Think I’m exaggerating?

Timed it.

Couldn’t even make something up.

It’s based on actual events.

Movie night?

Epic fail.


ghost pancakes for breakfast







Happy Halloween,


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

I am….


*cooking pears for pear sauce.

Do I need more pear sauce?


Do I have time to make pear sauce?

Not really.

Am I sucker for free produce?


*tired of Spencer crying. 

And yelling.

And clinging.

And hitting.

*not ready for rainy season.

What does that mean exactly?

I forget to bring in things from outside: potatoes, shoes, tools, children, laundry, tomatoes, etc.

We haven’t had rain since June.

That’s four months of pure sunshine.

No, I am not ready for rainy season.

*ready to ship Elizabeth off.

Obviously I don’t love her anyway which is why:

I had to make her pajama bottoms instead of letting her pick some out at the store

I refused to make up some homework for Adeline to do so Elizabeth wasn’t the only one with homework

I give Adeline’s classroom more money for unnecessary expenditures like parties

and I let her help me make a pie for like four hours.

*not impressed with the caramel apple cherry pie I made last night with Elizabeth.

*one of those people who hate themselves for going to Wal-mart. 

Some serious self loathing yesterday after I went and they didn’t have things like: mushrooms, cranberries, or frozen cherries.

*trying to use the word ‘hooey’ more often.

*loving the longer nights.

*going to get rid of the ducks.

I’m not as enamored with them as I thought I would be

I have two boys and a girl, which makes things…..


Duck eggs taste like chicken eggs.

I can’t even tell a difference and….

neither can the uninformed guests I’ve served them to.

Hope this finds you well.

Feel free to comment.


Letting me know you’re out there.

That you care.

That my posts stink.

That you’ll take Elizabeth.

See how accommodating I am?


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Halloween Guest Post

I’m guest posting over at Get Your Crap Together.  It’s my sister-in-law’s blog.  She is super organized, and crafty, and nice.

I’m also sick.

So, if you could pray to whatever powers of the universe you believe in that whatever I manage to put into my body would stay there for a while, that would be great, and helpful, and better than what is happening now.

Thanks so much,


Thursday, October 11, 2012

The October Report


Medford is a mecca for free/inexpensive produce.

If you know the right people.

I know a guy, who knows a guy, who grows squash.

I gleaned all of those pumpkins and squash.

For free.

The corn stalks are from the garden.

I also picked up some butternut squash. 

Which my kids love.

Actually, they really hate it.

More than anything.

Possibly more than time outs.

I tend to not care.

I picked up eight of them.


My fall mantel.

My friend gave me some crates and the other things I’ve picked up at….garage sales.

We are all shocked and amazed.


A close up.

I have a collection of Daphne De Maurier.

I think she is the essence of October reading.

Speaking of which, does anyone out there have my copy of Frenchmen’s Creek?


Elizabeth got student of the month.


And so did Adeline.


Bryce had Columbus Day off so we went on a local 2.5 mile hike.


I’m not really sure who let Meg wear white shorts on a dust riddled hiking path…..


At the top.


Hope your October is going well.


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Dining Room Chairs, Again


Dining Room Chairs 005

Actually….I’m sure I’m fooling no one into thinking this is what the seats of these chairs looked like before I re-covered them.

Three years ago.

White fabric.

Four kids.

In fact, it’s safe to assume no amount of cleaning or Scotch Guarding can undo what these chairs have been subjected to after countless babies, meals involving spaghetti sauce, chocolate, strawberries, mud?, tomato soup, etc., dirty hands and stinky feet.

They were dis.gus.ting.

They are the real heroes of the family.

I decided to do them in some vintage-y, happy oil cloth I ordered off line, which for the record, is way cheaper than any store I’ve seen it in.

Now I can just wipe them off and they won’t be advertising on craigslist looking for a more mature family.



In other news, I saw a peregrine falcon trying to take out one of my chickens this morning.

I’m not sure about the new morals for birds of prey.  Really, at 9:30 in the morning?  No scruples.

Have a good weekend.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

I Think You Ought To Know…

That Spencer can say ‘Mom’.

Has been able to for a while now.

He used to be able to say ‘Dad’ but now it’s all ‘Mom’.

But he doesn’t just say it.

He yells it.

It sounds more like a crow cawing than a little boy searching for his mom.

He caws it when he can’t find me,

while he’s looking for me,

when he’s found me,

when he’s right next to me,

when he’s patting my leg after he’s found me and standing right next to me,

when he wants up,

when he wants down,

when he wants in the bath,

when he wants out of the bath,

when he’s in the car,

when he’s mad,

when he’s awake,

when he’s getting his diaper changed,

when he’s hungry,

when I’m hungry,

when I’m in the bathroom,

while I’m making dinner,

when I’m tired,

when everyone else is yelling at me.


Never gets old.

Sometimes he can say chicken.

We’re all about well-roundedness over here.


Thursday, September 27, 2012

curtain addition






I wanted to do something with the curtains.

I want my house to feel light and airy.

Apparently, that can translate into white and boring.

From where I sit in the dining room during dinner time, I have a perfect view of the curtains behind the couch.

I was so sick of seeing just the plain, unobtrusive, white panels.

I was desperate for a change.

It turns out if I have money, I spend it.

I bought this yellow graphic pattern at Joann’s.

The rings at Wal-Mart

and I had the navy blue fabric for the ties on hand.

At the cutting counter, I almost stopped the lady from cutting the fabric.

It’s a little different from my regular curtain purchases.

I still don’t know how I feel about the it.

I love the change, I just don’t know if it’s me and if it really goes with the rest of the room.




Bryce and I purchased this old school bulletin board at an estate sale.

I’ve had it hung up for a while, it just took some motivation and planning to get the 8x10 pictures printed up and everything else going.

I think it looks a little busy, but Bryce likes it.

I love seeing the candid photos of our family.



I tried to find words that described a family: cooperate, coexist, cohere, compact, complain, comrade.

I have a couple other projects churning around so hopefully I’ll have some more things to share.

Hope you’re having a good week.