Pattern Testing: Puffer Shorts

Well, it isn’t quite shorts season here, but hopefully summer will come. I am beginning to wonder if it will ever warm up! I had an opportunity to test some shorts for Abigail. She will need some if/when it warms up. ;) ( Note: I tested these last month.It has warmed up this week! Yay!)

These Puffer Shorts are from Whimsy Couture. They work great is shorts or under a dress. I love that you can have fun with your fabric choices and have lots of color or just a little bit. I think the pockets on the outside are just awesome! A bonus is that they fit over cloth diapers. Abigail is wearing cloth diapers under them in the pictures. I am always on the look out for clothes that fit well over cloth.

The instructions were super clear and I really liked how they turned out. Abigail looks a little less than impressed in the pictures, because it was COLD out that day…and everyday. She also did not want to stand still! Most of the pictures were taken on the run. She has a blast whenever I turn her loose outside.

While Abigail could care less everyone else gave her new outfit their seal of approval!

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Spring Farm Updates

Spring has finally come to the farm! This year we got turkeys and chicks again this year. They were tiny and cute a few weeks ago. They looked like this:

Soft, Fluffy, Cute!


In just four short weeks, they look like this:

Turkey Poults

These are my turkey poults. They are a blast at this stage. Turkeys are much more personable that meat chicks. These ones have been following us around as we work on various projects. Here you can see them eating asparagus! If one of the kids goes running across the lawn, seven turkeys can be seen running along, too! It is a good thing they get less cute as they get older.

This turkey is looking at her reflection in the window.


Abigail really enjoys the critters on the farm. We were working on pitching last year’s manure out of the goat pen. You can see the turkey again hanging out where all the action was!


My Menagerie


Speaking of manure, I am glad to have Richard around to do the grunt work! He has been abusy guy helping with the manure, setting up my clothesline, and trying to get the rototiller back into working order. Hopefully, I will be planting my main garden soon. In the mean time, I have been busy with things like lettuce, beets, carrots, and radishes. My radishes will be ready in a few days! Yippee!


Grunt Man



Our place has lots of apple and crab apple trees. I look forward to when they bloom every spring. We have three full size apple trees, two smaller trees that I planted recently, and six crab apple trees! That is a lot of beautiful flowers! Their scent hits you when you walk out the door.


Crab Apple Blossoms



Linked up to:

Homestead Barn Hop | The Elliott Homestead


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Just Peachy ( or How to plant a tree in a hundred easy steps)

My birthday was recently. ( okay, maybe not. It was 2 months ago, but the tree just came recently.) My Mom asked me what I wanted and one of the things I requested was a peach tree. Growing peaches is pretty iffy in zone four, but I decided I want to give it a try. The tree I got was “Contender”. It is cold hardy to zone four, though we will see if that just means “will be alive when winter gets through” or if it means “it will thrive and bear fruit”.

Contender Peach- Will you grow for me?


The first step in planting my new tree was finding a spot. ” Richard, where can I plant a tree where it won’t get run over or mowed over?” He waved in a general direction and said, “Over there somewhere.”  Hmmm…okay.


Step two was gathering tools and children. They wanted to help me. I rarely refuse help!

Children and Tools gathered


Step three: Dig a BIG hole. Richie enjoyed helping me dig the hole. The girls made sure it was deep enough.


"Is it deep enough, Mom?" Not quite...


A little deeper…


"Now, Mom?"


Yes, that looks good. Now where did we put that tree?

Step four is the part we have been waiting for! Put the tree in the ground. This is where those extra hands come in errr…handy. ;) Richie held the tree straight for me, and we started step five…


My littlest helper


Add lots of dirt and water! The wheelbarrow holds dirt and aged manure. We alternated dirt, manure, and water.


LOTS of water

Ta Da!


Impressive, huh!


Okay, not quite done! We didn’t get it mulched. It started pouring rain. I packed the kids and tools and made a mad dash for the house!


I have to add this picture, because it is just too cute to l eave out!


Linked to:

Homestead Barn Hop | The Elliott Homestead

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SewMamaSew Giveaway Day

One of the funnest days in blogland is here! It is the SewMamaSew Giveaway day! This year I thought I would join in the fun and giveaway some fun things. I couldn’t make up my mind what to giveaway, so I have THREE options! There will be two winners.  This year I will be limiting the giveaway to North America since I have no clue what shipping is internationally.

You can win by leaving me a comment saying which prize you would like to win. For a second chance you may leave me a comment letting me know how you are following me.

You can follow with FACEBOOK, PINTEREST, Feedburner, or email. ( last two can be found on the sidebar)

When you are done entering, click the SewMamaSew button at the top of the page to find LOTS more giveaways!

Option ONE Vintage Sewing Lovelies(needle book, wooden spool, snaps, seam binding. doily not included):


Option TWO Vintage Kid’s Patterns ( size 2)


Option THREE Dress/Slip/Tank Pattern(xs-xl) and Coloring Bag:

Thank you for stopping by! I hope you come back and take a look around when the giveaway is over. Winner will be picked on May16th after 5pm Central Time.

Posted in giveaway, Sewing | 57 Comments

Tummy Talk 5: The Last Installment Weeks 4-8 and Beyond

Better late than never, right?

If you want to read the first four posts in the series you can find them here:

The First Post

My Tummy History

The Beginning of My Diastasis Journey

A Four Week Update

I finished the Tummy Team program on March 20th. It has taken me a while because I am still putting the pieces of the puzzle together and figuring some things out. I didn’t want to give an update until I had thought a few things out. Our bodies are fascinating to learn about and we could spend a lifetime learning how it works! God is truly a marvelous Designer!

During the last four weeks of the program, I learned some great stretches. I found out that I was holding A LOT of tension in my shoulders and my pecs were super tight from nursing four babies. My pecs were pulling my shoulders forward making it nearly impossible to not be hunched over. It was wonderful to learn ways to stretch that tension out and be FREED from it!

My diastasis went from a 5-4- too shallow to tell on the bottom to a 3-2-still not sure during the last few weeks.  I started to wean from my splint. It was a relief not to be wearing it so much. Even though my diastasis closed moreI didn’t see much change in my measurements after I started weaning from the splint. My measurements when I started the program were:

Waist: 33.5 inches

Belly Button:36.5 inches

By week 4 they were:

Waist: 32 inches

Belly Button: 34.5 inches

My end measurements were:

Waist 32 inches

Belly Button: 34 inches

As you can see the last four weeks didn’t show as much dramatic inches lost. I think those last weeks my belly was adjusting to not wearing a splint. I also think I may have weaned off the splint a little too quickly. ( Can anyone say FREEDOM?) But I still closed up some more of my gap! Yeah! Some of the other improvements I have seen are MUCH better posture, my core activating on its own without me telling it to, my bra band size went down, less bloating, and I am fitting into a smaller pants size.

One of the things I like about the program is that you can continue to progress after the program is over. You are given all the tools you need to succeed. If you have questions, you still have access to the Facebook group even after your access to the program is over. Also, make sure you don’t wait until the last day to go over your videos again. You can’t access it on the last day. I made the mistake of waiting and missed out. Thankfully, I have my folder of information I printed out. A recent ( good)  change in the program is that you get 10 weeks access now instead of 9! I could have used the extra week!

My photo for the end…which looks pretty much like the week four picture. I am happy that I have maintained my progress! For my previous progress pictures you can go HERE and HERE.

My gap is not closed yet, and may never be. That is fine with me. I know I still have some progress to make, but I have come farther than I ever expected to come. I have come out stronger and much more knowledgeable in how to care for my body. I am so thankful for Kelly Dean for her wonderful program!

The first picture is about 3 months post-partum, the second is 3months after starting Fit2Be ( diastasis friendly exercises, great program, but not rehab), the third is in January of this year at before starting the Tummy Team Rehab, the fourth is 4 weeks into the program, and the last is this morning- 8 weeks after ending the program. Besides the obvious tummy changes, I noticed that my back is more curved and my tail tucks under less. Sorry about all the wild lounge pants pictures that you have been exposed, too!. Stripes, plaids, polka dots, oh my!

If you are interested in the program, the Tummy Team is having a Mother’s Day sale on the programs, splints, and Skype sessions! Use the code WELOVEMOMS2014 to get 30% off. It ends on Mother’s Day so be quick!

Fit2Be is also having a sale for Mother’s Dy. You can get 50% off a year’s membership with the code mothersday.


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Pattern Testing: The Jennifer Sue Cardigan

Here is Wisconsin it is still COLD. It has “warmed” up into the 50′s most days- about 10 degrees colder than normal for this time of year.  When I was asked if I could test the Jennifer Sue Cardigan for Grits and Giggles, I jumped at the chance! Yes! We still need warm clothes here!

For my fabric, I chose a thin knit that a friend had given me. She told me she has used it for a project 25 years ago! It is soft and colorful. Just perfect for a little girl. The pattern was simple and a fairly easy sew. My knit was a bit rolly around the edges. To keep it from rolling into a  tube on the ruffle I used some starch on it- lots of starch.  Hopefully, when I wash it, it doesn’t roll badly. I think even if it does roll some it will still look okay.


The edges of the cardigan are not finished so be sure to do a nice, neat job attaching the ruffle. The inside seams will show some. I suspect they would show less with a heavier knit.  I really like the gathered sleeves for cute factor. Next time I make it I might add ruffles to the cuffs. It took me a couple hours to make this and probably would have taken less time, but my sewing machine has been a pill lately. I think it is time for a cleaning!

This is definitely a pattern I will make again. I can think of some fun things to do with it, and I have no lack of little girls to sew for! I have tested three patterns this spring ( two from Grits and Giggles!), so you will be seeing a couple more pattern reviews on here soon!

You can see more tester versions of the pattern at the Grits and Giggles Blog.



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Five Ways to Keep Your Kids Well

In spite of eating relatively healthy my family has struggled with staying well. When you have small children they just seem to be germ magnets! Mine all have bad habits that tend to make this worse. I have one (constant) nose picker, two thumb suckers, and one finger sucker. All are at the age when hand washing is not automatic. Not to mention my house is dryer than the Sahara Desert due to heating with wood most of the time. Winter came early this year and so did the battle against the common cold. From October to January my kids had at least two- three colds a MONTH EACH.  Colds that involved coughing, congestion, and waking up at night. This led to some serious frustration on my part. Here are some solutions I came up with that helped.

1. Hand washing. I had to get pretty mean Mom about this one. Hand washing is the number one thing you can do to stay well! I made firm rules about washing before meals, snack, and after using the bathroom. I had to be much more aware of what my kids were doing. When you have four, it is harder to know what everyone is doing! When we were at church I made them wash their hands before they ate or drank anything and as soon as we got home they had to wash their hands. Proper hand washing is with SOAP for 20 seconds and rinse well with running water. To help my younger children remember this I had them sing the ABC song. Now it is fun to hear them washing their hands!

2. We cut back on sugar. Now we don’t eat huge amounts of sugar at our house and almost no processed sugar. The kids were eating the sugary snacks set out on Sunday mornings at church. These were banned until my kids were healthy for three weeks in a row. Here is what Web MD has to say about sugar:

“Eating or drinking too much sugar curbs immune system cells that attack bacteria. This effect lasts for at least a few hours after downing a couple of sugary drinks.”

Since church was the place the kids seemed to be catching their cold from since we didn’t go out much due to having sick kids. The kids and I would go every other Sunday when we were all well- and they would invariably catch something. Having sugar could have been part of the issue. Now that they are not getting sick we can go do fun things!

3. Boost their immune systems. In desperation I did a search and asked friends what worked for them. One friends suggested making some immune boosting tinctures from herbs. I was ready to try anything at this point. She suggested the recipe found in the ABC Herbal. ( it is in the older addition but not the newer ones) I was giving this to them every evening for the first two weeks when I remembered that it should really be given just before you are going somewhere you are worried about getting sick. In our case, this was church. I give them their “medicine” in the evenings starting on Friday or Saturday and go until Monday or Tuesday.

4. Elderberry Syrup. I am also giving them Elderberry Syrup. I used the recipe from Deep Roots at Home. I gave this on  the same schedule as the other Immune Tincture. Three out of four of my children think this is wonderful. One is not impressed, but he likes being well so he takes it!

5. Keep fingers out of noses, mouths, and eyes. I taught one of my children to stop sucking her thumb with a chart, band aids for the first week,  and a reward after 4 weeks. She was so pleased that she did something hard and was able to stop. I am hoping that this will work some of the other bad habits that are floating around in the family!

In the last eight weeks we have had two (milder than normal) colds TOTAL, and those were in the first two week after I started the herbs. There are six people in my house and four in the seven and under crowd. Not bad! Normally my children are still frequently sick until the end of April, so this can’t be because it is later in the cold and flu season! I am so thankful that I found something that works. Now I won’t be dreading next winter- well, not quite as badly anyway.


Posted in Health | 2 Comments

Sneak Peak

Last week I got to test a pattern again! Here is a sneak peak. You can see the rest when the pattern is released.



My current project I am working on is an Easter dress for Lillon. I am hoping to get all the girls a new dress made. That isn’t too likely, but I need a goal to work toward! The pattern I am using is a vintage one that I picked up from the thrift store or a garage sale. Isn’t it cute? I am doing view 2.

I found a couple extras in the envelope. There were some directions for another pattern and a pattern piece for a doll dress bodice with fabric still pinned to it! After reading through the instructions I realized that vintage patterns have way more hand sewing in them than modern ones. This should be an interesting challenge! Maybe I will learn something new in the process.

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Random Update

So lots of little things are happening, but not enough to warrant a post of their own.

The chicken in my basement died.  That was somewhat expected. Chickens just don’t handle trauma well. The rest of the chickens were moved in with the goats for their safety. No more have been killed, but they are driving me nuts! I am trying to trap the critter that killed the others. A friend loaned me a live trap that I am hoping works soon! Something is taking the food but not tripping the trap. I WILL catch it…one of these days. After it is caught, I can move the chickens back in their coop…after it is fixed.

I let my goats out for some sun and fresh air the other day. They escaped and knocked the door off the coop. One of them, Liana, likes to head butt her reflection. Thankfully she just knocked the door out and it isn’t broken!

The baby goat I rescued is doing well. Her owner named her “Hattie”. She is growing by leaps and bounds!

My camera died. ( A Canon sx20) I kept getting a lens error. I tried to take it apart and fix it, but I am not so mechanical. I never got to the lens. After about 40 screws, I gave up in frustration and put it back together. It still doesn’t work. I also came up with 4 extra screws…Time to save up for a new camera! In the mean time, I have to use a cheap one that was given to me about 9 years ago.

I made up a couple fun things for a friend this month. It was her birthday! She got a pouch and a “princess” headband. The girls also made her some pictures.

I picked up some fun patterns at the thrift store! They were on sale for between .05 and .25. They were so cute that I couldn’t leave them there! I probably already have more pattern than I can sew up for my children. These are all size 2 except for the ties. The tie pattern is missing the instructions. Oops.  The book in the upper left hand corner has sewing skills for making little girls clothes!

Spring is slowly coming here. We can see patches of the ground. This week we should have some rain. That should help the snow go away! After that it is supposed to warm up into the 40′s and 50′s. Oh bliss! Spring flowers are much needed this year!

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The Little Kid that Could

My last post was a bit depressing. We did lose another chicken and the injured one is still in the basement. On a brighter note, I helped out a friend this weekend.

My friend and I have a mutual interest in animals and homegrown food. We swap chores frequently. Last weekend she had a wedding to attend, so I was on the “doing” end. She warned me before I left that her buck (goat) had jumped the fence last fall and there just might be babies due. She had one other lady who would be helping out Saturday morning so I wasn’t on duty all weekend. Friday evening I went up and all looked good. I checked the two does for bagging up or loose tail ligaments. They both seemed no where near kidding. I went home in a happy state of mind.

Saturday morning at 8a.m. I was leisurely thinking of what to have for breakfast when I got a call from “Jane” the other goat sitter. ” I see afterbirth in the pasture, but I can’t find the baby!” Uh, oh, not good. She talked to me a little while longer while she searched in the pen and checked to see who looked like they had just given birth recently. It was one of the kids from last year- a very young mother that they hadn’t meant to breed this year. I hadn’t thought to check the young does! I tried to be calm, but I felt horrible like somehow I had let my friend down. Jane took one last look around some large spools that had been left lying around for the goats to play on. The baby was underneath a spool that had been tipped on its side. It was alive! It was a bit weak but okay. Jane said she would get it to eat and all would be well.

An hour later, Jane called back. The baby wasn’t eating and she couldn’t get the mama goat on the stanchion to make it easier to milk her. I told her I would be up as soon as I could. I piled up the three girls in the van, and we were off! When we arrived Jane was holding the baby. Together we coaxed the mom on the stand. The baby was too weak to eat. I milked out the mom and used a syringe to feed the little one. Thankfully she wasn’t too weak to suck on my finger while I slowly squeezed colostrum into the corner of her mouth. I gave her all she wanted and we locked her up with her mom who was finally showing a little concern for her kid. A call to the lady coming to let the dogs in a few hours to tell her to check the goat kid, too, and we both headed home.

At evening chores I made sure the mom was watching the baby and let her nurse off her mom while she was on the milking stand. Baby was stronger. In the morning, she looked even better. She ran up to me knowing that I meant breakfast! After making sure the baby was full, I left for church. Her mom still wasn’t feeding her.  The person letting the dog out was supposed to check on the baby, so I wasn’t too concerned. I would get a call if I was needed. Or so I thought.

When I got there for evening chores, the baby was NOT in the corner that it had been in the rest of the time. I peeked into the pen. The baby was flat on its side by the manger. MAJOR PANIC. I ran in and scooped up the baby hoping it was okay. It let out a weak bleat. It could barely hold its head up. Poor little one! I put the mom on the stand again, but the kid was too weak to nurse. I still had the syringe, so I gave it a small amount of colostrum to try to warm it up. Its mouth was so cold! I had Eden with me and had her hold the kid while I did chores in record time. I needed to get the kid home and warmed up or it could die, and die quickly! I shoved it in my coat for the ride home.

Once we got it home I gave it a small amount of colostrum again, not wanting to overload it when it was already weak. I set it up on a heating pad , wrapped in a towel, while my children held it. I knew she would be happier near people since she associated me with food. I wasn’t sure if she was going to make it. I called my friend to let her know the situation and that I was doing everything I could for her kid. Every so I often I would go over to check and make sure she was still breathing.  After a couple hours I checked on her again and she was hungry- always a good sign! She ate heartily, but was still way below the temperature she needed to be since her mouth still felt cool inside. I wanted to make sure I was doing everything right, so I called my Mom. She is an expert on goat health.

After explaining the situation to her, she told me, ” Don’t give her any milk!” Oops, too late. She told me that when you give milk to a cold kid they can’t digest it. This makes them susceptible to enterotoxemia. She told me to give the little goat kid electrolytes in warm water with molasses. ( I put 2 T. in a qt of the electrolyte water.) When I went to feed the kid she thought it was wonderful. She perked up quite a bit after I fed her the electrolytes and molasses water! She was still cold, so I put a little sweater on her and wrapped her up in a blanket and held her. She was in seventh heaven. I swear the goat was smiling. She thought she was people. I checked her temp with a thermometer since her mouth was starting to feel warmish and not cool. Her temp was 100.4. Normal for goats is between 102 and 104. She must have been pretty cold before! Looking back I probably should have put her in warm water to get her body temperature up quicker.

I did feed her milk that evening when she had warmed up some more. ( at about 12) She woke up again at 5 to eat. When her owner came to get her at 9-ish, she looked as good as new. I gave some instructions on how often feed her and some other details, she was headed home.

The next day I got a call saying she was doing well, but her mom rejected her. She is currently living in the house and thinks she is a person.





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