Saturday, December 31, 2011

Last Minute Goals

So, here it is, New Year's Eve, and I have given little to no thought to 2012 goals and such. Well, I have some -- if you remember the "make your own clothes" resolution -- that was some thought. So, here I am, on New Year's Eve, scrambling to consider 2012 goals/resolutions. Well, I guess I don't have to scramble if I don't want to. But alas, I am just like that.

First things first. How did I do with 2011 goals?

2011 goals started here --

If you follow the "goals" tag, you'll notice that I did really well at thinking about and following up on goals until.... April. Those who have looked at this blog (or know me) know that little Peanut (who is getting an official new nickname sometime soon -- ideas floating around) was born mid-May. And he completely threw my goal keeping for a loop. Ah, well, he is worth it.

And then he, Peanut, interrupted this blog post with the biggest poo-splotion we've had in several months.  Ah, well, he is worth it. (Yes, this happened just now. Hubby felt the need to announce it, as he assisted in the clean up.)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real

Its been a fun, and laid-back week -- so nice!

I have the hardest time with [Pretty], its not a word I use just a whole lot... I'm more inclined to think towards [Beautiful]... So  here's my --


Wiggly, aka Peanut, got to meet his great-grandparents this Christmas.  How fun was that! He is great-grandchild #14 for my grandparents and great-grandchild #9 for Hubby's grandmother.  So many little blessings! 


If that isn't one of the happiest little boys, I don't know what happy is.


Wiggly is really enjoying the bouncy seat that Grandma and Grampa acquired for our time with them. The seat also has lights and sounds, but we turned those off. After the first few days, we figured out that the lights were creating a crazy, over-stimulated Wiggly that wasn't sleeping during the day and was very fussy. 

Its also getting significantly more difficult to get a non-blury picture of Wiggly (thus the nick-name change), so I tried the "sports" setting on the new camera. Its a grainy picture, as if I was using high speed film, but Wiggly isn't all that blury!


I actually packed up and brought my cloth diapers to the in-laws, figuring if used them, great, if not, great.  Well, I used them and, thus, did some diaper laundry.  Let me now declare that Hubby's parent's have an AMAZING and TOTALLY AWESOME washer.  They have a 'sanitary' setting that must be specially made for striping cloth diapers. (I figure it really isn't, but I can pretend.)

See more [Pretty] [Happy] [Funny] [Real] at
round button chicken

Monday, December 26, 2011

Fun pictures -- a bit of history

Well, it might count as history... its only the past few months. But check out these pics...
June 2011

October 2011

November 2011 (or is this December 2011?)
I was browsing old pictures and saw that first one from June, and though... wow! Peanut is so small! Can I still give him the nick name "Peanut"... or does he need a new nickname? Peanut is a fair bit heavier than Hank, now, too.

Thought this was fun and I will totally keep up the Peanut vs Hank pictures.

BTW, Peanut *loves* Hank, but Hank doesn't like Peanut. Peanut will grab at Hank, and make loud noises. As Hank is about 1/2 chicken, he finds that very... scary. Luckily, even with Peanut learns to crawl and walk, Hank is still faster and can get to high places (like the top of the TV cabinet).

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas morning breakfast

This morning, we made Sticky Monkey Brains for breakfast.

Sticky Monkey Brains Recipe


  • 3 (7.5 ounce) packages refrigerated biscuit dough
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease 6 miniature Bundt pans.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the white sugar and cinnamon. Set aside. Use scissors or a knife to cut each of the biscuits into various sizes. Each one can be cut into anywhere from 2 to 5 pieces.
  3. Sprinkle about half of the pecans amongst the 6 prepared pans. Roll pieces of biscuit in the cinnamon-sugar, and place them into the pans, distributing evenly. Sprinkle any remaining cinnamon-sugar over the dough balls.
  4. Mix together the brown sugar and melted butter. Stir in the remaining pecans. Distribute evenly over the pans of dough balls. For ease of getting in and out of the oven, place all of the pans on a cookie sheet.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the biscuits are toasted and cooked through. Remove from the oven, and invert individual pans onto serving plates while still hot.

They were quite good, and rather easy to make. I did, of course, modify the instructions a bit.

I made it all in one bundt pan, which meant it needed to be baked for 30 minutes instead of 20.

I did find that with it all in one bundt pan, it does not need the full 1/2 cup of butter; 1/4 cup should be plenty. With the 1/2 cup, it overflowed in the oven as it baked and made quite the mess.

I paired it with Mulled Apple Cider. It was a fun and easy breakfast.

Christmas should have a special (but easy!) breakfast.

'via Blog this'

Friday, December 23, 2011

Growing things

Many folks have told me I have a green thumb, as I tend to get veggies from the garden. Honestly, though, I think it is most luck.  Nature has killed several of my plants outside and I kill many of them inside.  This last summer, I successfully knocked off a baby Giant Sequoia and seedling peacan, both in pots. They just got to dry and it killed them (easy to do in 100'+ heat). All I had to do was bring them inside. Didn't think of that till early September.

And now...

Friend Liz rooted and repotted several basil and sage plants, and gave me 2 basil and 2 sage. Wasn't that nice of her? I kept the soil moist, and put them in the window for sun... but alas, I have killed the 2 basil and 1 sage is well on its way out. I'm not sure what I did, honestly.... was the window sill too cold? Too much water? Not enough? :::sigh::: 

This why I don't do house plants. Strange to hear myself say that.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

2012 Resolutions

We've got about 1 1/2 weeks till 2012 is upon us, and I've only begun thinking about goals for 2012. I'm a big time goal setter -- evidence here.

I saw this... and it intrigues me... (from

I, ________, take the Seamless pledge until __________________. I will abstain from buying any new clothes until the end of my pledge. I will find ways to be fashionable without breaking the bank and without contributing to the cycle of fast fashion consuming the high street. I will trawl through charity shops, I will attend clothes swaps, I will look for second-hand items on eBay and I will craft my own clothes with my own two hands.

  1. No buying new clothes for the duration of your pledge. By new, I mean any new mass-manufactured clothes.
  2. You can buy second-hand manufactured clothes – so be prepared to get to know your local charity shops awfully well.
  3. Vintage clothing is a-ok!
  4. Anything you’ve made by hand is definitely allowed. Get your sewing machines and your kntting needles out, because handmade is definitely in!
  5. Get involved! Join in on the Flickr group and like our Facebook page. I’ll be looking to feature pledgers on the blog in the future. I’d love to see your second-hand finds, refashions and hand-made creations!
I am so very tempted to go for it, but I doubt my ability. See, I almost never buy clothes. Its not that I just don't have the money, though I am a tightwad, its just that it isn't a positive experience, and I don't think of it until there is something I *need*. For example, I recently purchased 1 pair of blue jeans, and 4 3/4 length (sleeves) tops to round out my new uniform -- blue jeans, long sleeve shirt, tank top and cardigan. 

But I have a week and some before I *must* decide on goals for Jan, and I think I should have till Feb before I *must* decide on goals for 2012. And for all those who think "why make goals?", I am utterly aimless without them. And I really. don't. like. being. aimless.

What's a goal that you are thinking about for 2012, but are unsure about? Or maybe you've got your 2012 goals all figured out?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Sewing without a pattern, and a tutorial

I am NOT one to sew without a pattern. I do very few things without some sort of information, research, or instructions. Not that I always follow the instructions....

But this week, I did two... yes, TWO things sans-pattern.

First off, it struck me to make a dodecahedron. What, in the world, is that? That is a 12-sided figure.  I made a pentagon template and cut out 12 pieces, 3 of each color (4 colors).

Start with one and stick another onto one side. Continue around, stitching pentagons around a central one.

 As you stitch, stitch the adjoining sides together.

You'll eventually have a "bowl" looking figure.

You  now have two options. You can continue to stitch pieces together until you have the ball, then flip it and stuff it. Or you can sew the other 6 pieces together into another bowl, then stitch the two bowls together.

This was the second dodecahedron I stitched. I kept adding pentagons, stitching adjoining sides till I had the ball. The last 3 pentagons added get 3 sides stitched in, and the last one gets 4 sides stitched on.

If you stitch two bowls, then plan to stitch those together, don't do what I did. I lined them up, one in-side out, one right-side out, points to points.

But then I got a star shaped figure. Not a true dodecahedron.

I figured out that I should have lined up points to valleys. I didn't try out, though, so I recommend you do it the first way. Peanut is enjoying the star shaped one, and Hank likes the true dodecahedron, though it is a gift for a nephew (good thing I have more than one, it can still be a surprise for one!). So, I will likely be making more. Plus, it was quick -- one Midsomer Murder episode.

I also jumped at turning a sweater into a cardigan. Cardigans are so much more convenient with nursing, so I picked out 2 sweaters to convert. I followed the instructions here, and also shortened the sleeves to 3/4 length.

The first sweater, and only one so far, that I converted I've had for years and years. I found the fabric at a fabric market in the small town in China that I lived in. I took it to a taylor and had him make a scarf, hat, mittens, and a sweater. I loved this set.  In fact, so much so, that it was my "uniform". A student drew me in this uniform, even. (this is from 2002... so its an actual picture scanned in. Think of that 9 years ago, digital was still a novel idea!)

Here's my new cardigan!  

Now to decide what to do with the little bits left from the sleeves being shortened. I still love these stripes and the colors.  It matches almost everything!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Giveaways Galore!

I'd hoped to be apart of it, but, alas, I don't have anything ready to give away. I'm still working on Christmas gifts for family!

Anyhoo, check out Sew, Mama, Sew and the mass of give aways of this give away week.

Non-sewing craft stuff
Sewing Supplies
Handmade Accessories
Handmade bags
Handmade Baby and Children things
Handmade for the home

I will explore and sign up for a few, I'm sure, but there are just too many to do all of them! They are open all week, so get you entry in by the 16th.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Having fun rotting my brain

I enjoy watching TV. I almost never *only* watch TV; I watch sideways. In other words, I'm always doing something else -- sewing, knitting, crocheting, typing a blog post, reading email, cook, clean and any number of other things. I try to limit my TV watching to 1 to 2 hours in a day, and aim to not watch at all 1 or 2 days a week. With out limits, I'd have the TV on all afternoon and evening. Now, I'm not willing to watch just anything. I'm not nearly as discriminating at Hubby, but I can be pretty picky. I have a limited set of shows that I watch, a few of which I will watch over and over again. I have a few movies like this, as well, ones I will watch over and over again, such that I have most lines memorized. I watch either via downloaded episodes or amazon prime streaming video. We had netflix, but when they upped the price, we cancelled it. In general, I prefer shows that have a mystery to be solved. I also *love* science fiction. I'm not currently watching all these shows, but these are all shows that I might watch at any point. And I tend to finish that show before moving onto the next.


Currently, I'm enjoying "Midsomer Murders". My Dad and his wife introduced this show to me over Thanksgiving break. Yes, its British, as are several of my loved shows. Its a murder mystery, in the classical sense. There is some of the "crime scene investigation" science, but its on the side lines. The mysteries are intricate and there are always details to notice. And of course, Barnaby (the main character) notices things that aren't obvious so he has some revelation to make at the end.

Occasionally, Peanut watches with me and we rot our brains together. We will talk about the colors, or what someone is doing, or what something means, so I figure that helps un-rot our brains... some... hopefully.

And now, I'm off to listen to The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. Radio Drama is my other beloved entertainment, but this is for another post.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Feeling Successful

This morning, I feel successful... as a mother.

We've been working on making day time naps independent of nursing, since last Tuesday. At first, it was hard, but by the 2nd day it was much easier for him to go to sleep, and the 3rd day was a breeze. Saturday and Sunday had some rough spots, but then Monday was a piece of pie! (so says Hubby)

Yesterday, I put him down and listened to him babble to himself for a few minutes then drift off. Wow, I though, this has been *way* easier than I ever thought it would be. Did he sense my determination? Was it just the right time? If only I could see his thoughts, understand Peanut's mind (and body); ah, well. I'm still very thankful.

This morning wasn't so easy, though. He shows signs of sleepiness, we head to change the diaper, bundle up (its chilly these days) and settle down. The settling down didn't happen, though. After going in once to comfort (but not pick up, though he was on his front, and he doesn't like that), I realized at about 20 minutes in, Peanut really isn't happy about something. So, I head in, pick him up to see if he will burp, hold him. Try some gripe water (he loves the stuff), comfort some more. Rock a moment. Give some 'feel less crappy medicine' (tylenol) Figure out that he is okay, he's unhappy about something, but nothing crazy. He's calmer, though still at that 'grasp, cry, wail, gasp, cry, wail' stage. I knew that I could just get him up, or try again on the nap. And at this point, he's so far gone emotionally that he *really* needs a nap now. So, I laid him back down and 5 to 10 minutes later, he is asleep.

Ah, success. I feel like I really did the right thing. Such a nice feeling.

I've gotten a fair number of Christmas decorations up. That feels really good, too!

The tree is up on a small table to keep both Hank and Peanut out of it. Not that its keep Hank out, he had one ball on the floor earlier. I rescued it, though.

we used this train as a count down to Christmas for many years while I was growing up. In fact, I don't remember not using it. This year, I decided to count up. I found some advent cards (they just split the Christmas story into 24 parts) from Happy Home Fairy, and have been hanging them with a small ornament each day -- or 2 in a day if I forgot the day before.

As Hubby is finishing a semester about this time each year, and he doesn't have strong feelings about what we do, its really up to me what family traditions we have. I'm thinking hard about this, as I don't want anything burdensome, it must be easily transported (in-laws, overseas, etc), and it must have significance. I also tend to be non-decisive person, so this could be a long process.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real

Goodness, been weeks since I've done one of these! Bad, Rachael, Bad. But then, my life is rather rote these days. Enjoyable, but mundane.


These were utterly delicious! Its the dough recipe from LittleHomeInTheCountry, stuffed with pepperoni and mozzarella cheese. I made pizza the same night, but we kept each going for one of these "pizza rolls" as I called them.


Peanut loves to eat. I knew this as he is a nursing machine, but he seems to love the solids even more. In general, he has liked almost everything I've offered him. I'm so thankful that his nutrition is primarily still from nursing, so I can just offer him this and that, and not worry about if he's getting enough of this or that.


I never imagined that figuring out orientation while making slippers would be such work. It required all the spacial thinking I could muster, and I still ended up goofing. At first, I ended up with 2 left shoes, and then I had a right and a left, but in different colors. After redoing the uppers twice, I finally was able to make a second set so that I now have two sets, one in each color. 


Laundry is not done till its folded and put away, so my mother and flylady say. I'm trying to keep to spending 15 minutes each day just picking up and putting away, and that includes laundry. For such a little guy, Peanut sure has increased the amount of laundry that I do.

So, there is it. A glimpse into a week with Rachael.

round button chicken

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

It must be chilly

Yes, I want to win something else

An as apart of getting my name entered *again*, I do a blog post. :::sigh::: But I do love this cloth diaper website. I realized I left it off the "favorite blogs" post.... but I think the multiple days of posting for the giveaways makes up for that. Check it out!

Monday, December 05, 2011

My Favorite Things Day 1 Giveaway! All About Cloth Diapers | Cloth Diaper Answers All About Cloth Diapers

My Favorite Things Day 1 Giveaway! All About Cloth Diapers | Cloth Diaper Answers All About Cloth Diapers:

This is a favorite cloth diaper blog. Yep, I'm all about cloth diapering and love to talk about it! Its easy, especially once you get going. This site has been a source of a huge amount of information for me.

Ask me more! I'm happy to tell all I know!

'via Blog this'

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Sweatshirt Saga continues, and slipper goofs

I've had a chance to really do some sewing in the past few days. I'm getting the hand, finally, of getting house work done, while giving Peanut the time he deserves and needs, and still do some of the fun, yet practical, things I enjoy doing.  I finished a pair of fleece overalls for Peanut, for our trip north come Christmas. Hubby's home town is the furthest north I've ever been, and is actually right next to Canada -- which is the utter north in this southern gal's mind. Yes, Wisconsin is only just south of the utter north. Though its never been as cold as I imagine it will be when I've been there. But I've never been there in January or February... which I have heard is the coldest time. I have plans for another set of overalls, a fleece vest, a fleece jacket and a fleece hat. I might even scotguard one set of overalls and the jacket... but that might be overkill.

Anyhoo, the sweatshirt.  I had so much fun putting the snaps on that I put them on too well... and they cut the fabric. 

Argh, I thought. So, I cut the snaps out and am stitching on some patches. I'm planning on getting some sew-on snaps for the slippers, so I'll get enough for the sweatshirt, as well. Hopefully the sweat shirt will be back in usable condition soon because this week is going to be chilly-chilly.

As for slipper goofs... I found a nifty slipper pattern here, but it is sized for a larger foot (I'm guessing a 3 to 5 year old foot?). I printed the pattern and then resized it on our printer/copier. I tried to calculate what amount I should reduce it by (copy at 70%, 60%, or what?), but when I went to copy, I realized our copier only offers particular resizing options (Legal to letter, letter to A4, etc). So, I printed a 70% copy and a 50% copy. One look said 50% was too small. I proceeded to make a "muslin" with the 70% copy, but that was also too small. So, I copied at 83%, and that "muslin" (even though the "muslims" are made with fleece reminents) worked nicely. I modified the upper part some; I made the upper look more like another pair of slippers Peanut has. They came out very nice, I think.

Why, you might ask, is one blue with a white lining and other white with a blue lining? Why didn't you make them the same? Well, this is an aspect of a Rachael goof due to not thinking through right vs left. I think I was in college before I really grasped right and left, honestly. Not sure why those concepts are so difficult, really.

I made them both blue with white lining at first, but then I had two left shoes. Though it will be a while before I truly know if Peanut has two left feet, shoe wise he needs one right and one left. So, I took one apart and figured out how to make it a right shoe. I didn't want to take the lined upper completely apart, so I just flipped it inside-out, resulting in a white she with blue lining.  I plan to make a second pair, where I will try very hard to make a blue right shoe and a white left shoe. Perhaps I will just be one really crazy and radical mama if I let Peanut wear one blue and one white shoe. That might be really groovy.

This week I hope to finish the Peanut winter wardrobe, the second set of slippers, and some slippers for me. I love slippers and house shoes, so I'm quite excited about this. Pictures promised!

Friday, December 02, 2011

Favorite Blogs

I seem to be in blog-fog. I'm struggling to figure out what to post about, which is quite strange for me. Maybe I'm just tired. Ah, who knows. I'm sure inspiration will strike soon.

I have a slew of blogs I enjoy reading and thought I'd share those with you.

Marriage Blogs -- I love Shiela's straight forward dealing with marriage and family. She always gets me thinking.  Brad and Kate have such good insight into relating as husband and wife. I seem to be able to draw something from each post I read.  J is great! Again, she is straight forward and doesn't mince words. That's important to me.

Family Blogs -- Auntie Leila is a source of tons of mom-wisdom. Her daughters write fun posts, as well, and I regularly learn something and I'm often encouraged. I enjoy reading about Heather's journey as a mom, a wife, and a woman. She's frugal, too! She's even got copies of The Tightwad Gazette.  I have enjoyed following this gal's journey as a mother and a wife. Last summer, she gardened hugely to provide her family's veggy needs for the year. And she canned like a mad woman in Aug and Sept.

Sewing -- I'm always finding stuff to make here. Oona writes great posts, and makes such fun clothes. I wish I could sew like her! She also posts at Sew Weekly.

Food -- This site is associated with Pioneer Woman, which I also enjoy. I've found many, many yummy foods here.

Gardening (and cows) -- She has cows and gardens. I know an unbelievable amount about rotational grazing and splitting firewood, which I have no use for now. But I learn something every time I read her posts.

Friends -- This blog is Katie's communication about Leah Grace and her progress. Good friends living in south Asia. Amazing pictures.

This is not *all* the blogs I read, just the ones I jump for. What blogs do you jump for?

Thursday, December 01, 2011

WAAAAA!!!! I won!!!!!

I follow several blogs which I really enjoy, and I plan to present them to my readers soon -- next few days, I think.

Several of these blogs have giveaways... and I always do my part and post a comment or some such.

And I won! There are always tons and tons of sign-ups, so I know my chances are pretty slim, and this is the first win from a good 30 sign-ups.

Here, you will see that I am the 2nd of the Nov 20 winners... I'm getting Martha Stewart’s Handmade Holiday Crafts: 225 Inspired Projects for Year-Round Celebrations, and you know I like Stewart's books.

I'm so excited!