Craft Fair Day

Jeremy’s work has a craft fair a couple times a year. Employee’s can sell handmade goods in a communal room. We have been doing the craft fairs about one a year for a few years now. Sometimes nothing sells, but most of the time we sell enough to make it worth it, get some of what we do out there. This year, Jeremy sold some of his plarn market bags. If you have never heard of plarn it is yarn made from recycled plastic bags, we then use the plarn to make reusable market bags that are amazingly strong. I use them for everything from shopping, to pool bags to catch all bags. He also sold all of that hand milled soap that I made, plus some of my vanilla and unscented base soap, along with my healing body butter. not much of my soap sold, but there was lots of interest which hopefully means maybe in the future someone will order some from me. It is always an exciting time to see what other people think of what you have worked so hard to make. Even though I make it mostly for me not  to sell, it doesn’t mean I wouldn’t like to sell it. I just have trouble picking one thing to make and sell. I really like doing one thing for awhile then I do something else for awhile. That is one reason I enjoy making soaps and lotions so much, I can make a few batches and play for a couple weeks, but then I have enough for months and can do other hobbies between times. Jeremy sent me some pictures of his booth. He works at a secure location so I can’t go see it or visit, I just had to live with text through out the day.Jer craft fair lotion

I hope you find things to make you thrive!



Garden and Chickens

I am struggling with the beat the heat menu, I am not sure what my problem is, I think maybe I am blocking it. I can think of simple things, like Cobb Salad, burgers on the grill, crock pot refiried beans and crock pot just about anything. But I am feeling uninspired, I don’t want all the normal things, but I don’t know what I do want. Silly i know, but it is what it is.

I did find a couple of things for the kids such as a water wall. We are collecting varies bottles for it now and I am hoping it will be one of the first projects for summer break. Right now the pool is holding their attention, and Rebel is spending his quiet time in the hammock with his books. Speaking of Rebel and his books, I am so proud of him. He received a special award at school today for reading, only a total of 6 kids in the school received it. Both Rebel and Princess received medals for completing their year long reading goals. I am a very proud Mama!

Rebel's reading award
Rebel’s reading award

Today we also combined the “teen” chickens with the grown up chickens, they have been roaming around the yard together with no problems for the last week, and I wanted to replant my garden so we decided it was time. They were very unsure at first, and at bed time they didn’t know what to do, they are figuring it out. The older girls seem generally fine with them, it will be much easier now having just one coop.

Girls figuring out what to do.
Girls figuring out what to do.

Lastly, we finally began the process of replanting my garden. Some one let the chickens out right after Princess and I planted last time (and she had grown a bunch from seed as part of her Girl Scout Daisy Journey) and the chickens ate everything. I was very discouraged and thought about just skipping a garden this year since I have so much other things going on. But I just couldn’t do it, something was missing. Last weekend when I went to the farmer’s market I couldn’t resist the veggie starts! But it had been so hot and the chickens had been out I hadn’t been able to plant. Tonight we finally had a free night so I was able to get them in the ground before they died. I am so excited. I know I will have to make some more room because I still have some more plants I want to get this weekend that she was out of last weekend. But at least I have started!garden

Hope you did something today to make you thrive!


Toddler made gifts and Last Spring Concert

ok ok I know I said my goal for today was 5 beat the heat meals and 5 kids activities, but today got side tracked. I will still do that goal but today we had to make some birthday gifts for Monkey’s dad! Originally I was going to do one of them for Father’s Day, but then I got another idea that you will have to wait to see what it is, I wouldn’t want to spoil anything. Albert, Monkey’s dad, loves peanuts…in the shell…and I was surfing around looking at ideas and saw a bunch with variations of “Nuts: for Dad. Leading to our first gift, my original plan was to have Monkey “write” on the tag, but nap time interfered with my plans, so technically he just handed it to Dad and Nona (me) did all the work.nuts for dad

Next while we ran some errands this morning we found a nice size rock. When we got home I washed it and put it in the sun to dry while Monkey slept. After he woke up, I gave him some red and blue paint and let him paint his rock. Luckily it is still pretty warm today so it dried fast and I was able to write “My Dad Rocks: on it. The idea is a paper weight, but you could use it for a door stop or decoration, what ever you like.

dad rocksLastly today we had Rebel’s Spring Concert. This is his first year in band and playing the trombone, but he seems to be pretty natural at it. They were amazing, I would never have guess these kids had just learned how to play. It was pretty exciting too, in one of the songs the trombones were featured, so they all stood up and did this really neat slide thing as part of the song. I was very impressed. Rebel trombone

I did make one beat the heat meal today, pasta salad, super easy to throw together and was able to cook the pasta and chicken in the morning before it got hot. Everyone loves it, except Princess, but it would be pretty impressive if they all liked the same meal.

Hope you thrived today too!


Spring Concerts and beat the heat goals

This is the week of Spring Concerts. The boys had one each last week and another each this week, Princess had her’s today too.

Have I mentioned I don’t do well in weather over about 77 degrees? We have been in the mid 80’s all week! Come on I live in Washington for a reason, I can handle rain, no problem going out in the rain, I puddle jump with the best of them. We usually have a few days each summer, maybe a week or two, of hot temps. It is scaring me that it is the beginning of June and already we have had a week of hot! Poor Monkey and I sit camped out in front of fans all afternoon, it is getting old fast. I think the worst part is it effects my depression and mood so much. I just don’t want to move, my head hurts all the time, therefore my house is a mess, I don’t want to cook. Yikes!! grumble grumble grumble!!

I need a plan of action! Tomorrow my goal is to come back with at least 5 meals to beat the heat and 5 activities to do with kids while it is hot outside. Ok so my goal is now public, I can do this!

Now on a much happier note Princess had her Spring concert tonight. Oh goodness, those kids were so cute! They sang 2 songs, the first was about ocelots and the second featured toucans.Which is why in the picture she is posed as an ocelot and her shirt has a toucan. The overall theme of the concert was Rainforest. Super cute!Sera Concert

Rocket had his spring concert tonight too, at least we had about an hour in between. This was his last concert for school and in a few weeks it will be his last concert. He is taking such a full academic load he doesn’t have room for band anymore. It has been a great hobby for him, and he has gained skills, confidence and friends. He still has one last summer of band camp, so one final performance before he retires his instrument. I missed getting a picture of just him tonight before he had to turn in his uniform, but I have posted him in his uniform before. I am very proud of Rocket.

Learning to thrive in the heat,


Balloon Ping Pong and failed ice cream

Today was hot again, so Monkey and I spent the day keeping as cool as possible, sitting in front of fans and watching anything with singing, That boy loves to sing and dance!

I was in charge of figuring out a game for the Girl Scout meeting tonight with our new Brownies. It is our last official meeting before summer break, although we will be meeting up a few times over summer and then at camp too. I wanted something fun but not to wild, as our girls can be a little energetic. I decided on balloon ping pong, it was a major success! I had a feeling it would be so I made sure I made enough “paddles” and brought enough balloons so everyone could take home a set. I have no idea where the original idea came from, but since I forgot to take pictures here is where I found the inspiration.I used craft sticks instead of paint sticks.

I have also been trying to make sugar free ice cream. So far all my attempts have failed. I used a traditional recipe and just substituted stevia for the sugar. At first taste it was great, but then it sat on your tongue for a minute there was this really nasty after taste, the cookies that I made had a bit of the same after taste but it was tolerable, the ice cream was not. I finally caved tonight and just bought ice cream. I am not giving up, but am feeling pretty discouraged. I think I will go back to using agave and do some more testing, also using smaller quantities instead of trying it out in the big ice cream machine. I have one of those kind that looks like a ball, you roll it around and in about 15 minutes you have ice cream, but it only makes a pint. I should probably start small.

Today was about surviving the heat!

Bridging and heat

Sorry I have been missing, we are at the last couple weeks of school and all the end of the year activities are crazy. That and my depression flare up. But thankfully that seems to be under control again.

Here is a quick view of some of what we did since my last post. Monkey and I ran errands one of which was the feed store. They had the riding lawn mowers out front and Monkey fell in love. He had to try out every single one. monkey tractor

We had Rocket and Rebel’s end of the year concert for music lessons. They both did amazing! Rebel concert rocket concert

And then we had Princess’ bridging ceremony for Girl Scouts. She bridged from Daisy to Brownie. Before the ceremony a bunch of troops were doing swaps, at first she wasn’t sure she wanted to trade but once she figured it out she was all over it. princess swap

My baby girl is growing up!

We are having some hot weather, so we finally got the pool out and set up today, the kids, including Monkey were so excited! Britney and I hit the farmer’s market, I scoped out a bunch of the soap booths, found some new scents that I really like, had the best ice cream I have had in I don’t even know how long. And we both got nice sun burns on top of it all. I will be testing out my aloe soap and seeing if it helps.

Hope you all thrived this weekend!


Dinos in the Dirt and Depression

I suffer from depression. I am on a low dose of medication, which does help me deal with it. Mostly learning about myself, my triggers and how the depression affects me has been the most beneficial thing I have done. Today was a very bad depression day. Honestly, I just wanted to stay in bed all day, read my book or watch tv and eat junk food. Since I couldn’t do that, I was grumpy, easily irritated, tired, unmotivated and head-achy. When I know I am suffering from depression, one of the most important things I do is reach out to my husband and daughter to let them know how I am feeling. There isn’t much they can do, remind me to take my medication (in case I haven’t) or encourage me. Mostly it is so some one else knows how I am feeling and I don’t isolate myself. Then I do the best I can to do the normal things of my day. Today I knew was going to be about surviving the day.

I am still not entirely sure how I got the kids all off to school. I let Princess have hot lunch, one less lunch to make, and cereal or microwaved sausage made into a sandwich for breakfast. Forget braids or anything else in Princess’ hair, she got a messy bun. Ok done, kids to school!

Now, I still have Monkey. Thank goodness I had all those file folder games that I fixed up during his nap yesterday. We sat at the table and played with those, while I downed way to much coffee. But then, I opened the back door to let a breeze in, I am not sure it was a mistake or the greatest gift of the morning. Immediately he ditched the games and wanted to play outside. The sun was out so I was like great! I quickly grabbed the basket of plastic dinosaurs off the shelf and headed out after him. I put the dinosaurs in the dirt, showed him how fun it was to play with them and went and sat at the picnic table with my book. I could see the whole backyard and watch him play, perfect. IMG_4063After awhile, the chickens started to be loud, Bat Girl had laid an egg and apparently she wanted the world to know about it. I decided it was time to get up and move, so I went to give the chickens some scratch. Monkey was more than willing to help. He loves helping me give the chickens scratch, he used to think you threw it AT the chickens, I have finally taught him they do not like it thrown at them. He was so happy and cute doing it I had to give him another bucket to throw in for them, not to mention I think only about half of it made it inside the coop.IMG_4070

Lastly, my survival technique for cup cakes on a day like today, when buying them isn’t an option. I so wish I could find a place to buy sugar free cup cakes. I looked at the back of the cake mix box, easy right? eggs, oil and water…well on a day like today, that seemed overwhelming. Inspiration struck, I had just seen on Facebook about the can of soda added to a cake mix and that was it. I had done this before ages and ages ago and I knew it worked great. I could handle adding a diet coke into the mix and stirring. Now Rebel had a cup cake he could eat after his recital while everyone else got cake.

Yay Me! I survived!


File Folder Games and Flip Chute

All the kids are home today from school and I have Monkey. I was on my toes today! I knew I would need things to do with all the kids so I pulled out some activities that I had been holding on to, things I have wanted to make but just hadn’t gotten around to it yet. Plus, they had to do some extra chores, like clean up their bed rooms!

First up, yesterday I showed you a dinosaur puzzle that Monkey and I colored. While he understood the concept that it was a puzzle, he couldn’t quite figure out how to put it together. I mentioned I had further plans for it. Using another copy that we colored, with Princess’ help this time, I made a completed picture on one side of a file folder with the puzzle pieces in a bag on the other side. Hopefully this will help him learn to use the puzzle. The 2 colors of brown are because we accidentally got different shades of brown. I am trying really hard to let the little things like this go, it is a game for a toddler, it doesn’t really matter if the colors match, right? Right! I received this print out a long long time Dino puzzleago I have no idea where it came from or I would create the source. If anyone happens to know I would love to give credit where it is due.

Next, when I was looking for some shape print outs for Monkey I came across these “basic shape crafts” at  DLTK   I used the actual shapes from them in a bulletin board but set aside the body parts thinking I could make a game to help teach body parts with them. Today I used them along with a potato body shape in a file folder to made another file folder game. I will probably add some of the other printables form the body shape page later, just because they are so cute. Monkey is still taking hipotato file folders nap, but Rebel and Princess had fun playing with them. I always think it is funny when I make something for Monkey and the bigger kids like to play with it just as much.

Towards the beginning of the school year, the elementary school had a math night. At math night we were sent home with flash cards for the kids to use to practice math facts. All I could think of was hundreds of small papers all over the house. I created a multiplication lapbook to hold all of Rebel’s flash cards. multiplication lapbookI worked out great and kept all his cards tidy. I also saw something called a flip chute to use with small flash cards. This has been in the back of my mind to make for a long time but, we hardly ever have those cardboard half gallon milk or juice cartons. Last week, I ran out of milk and Monkey was not going to go down for a nap with out his milk, I got the “are you kidding me” look when I tired to substitute water. So we ran to the corner store, a little Mom and Pop type that cost a fortune but is super close and easy to get in and out of in a hurry. I grabbed a carton of milk and so we finally have one. Back to the point, the flip chute is a really easy function machine that basically turns the flash card over. In reality it is totally not necessary, yes they could just flip the card over. But for some reason putting it through the flip chute Flip Chutemakes it a ton more fun and the kids each spent at least a half hour working with their flashcards. I will be making at least one more so each of the younger kids can have one, they can be used for any subject you can make a flash card to help study. Even Rocket at some point will probably use these. Make your own Flip chute, the directions are super easy to follow and it is insane how much they like using it to practice! There are a ton of free sites online that you can use to make flash cards that work with it too.

Have a great day and remember to thrive!



Monkey and I have started Dino week! We had a busy day with tot school fun. First, I introduced some plastic dinosaurs I found at a thrift store, I brought the Lego mountain in, Monkey added Littlest Pet Shop. There were a lot of RAWWWRS!!

Then we colored a Dino puzzle together and worked on putting it together. I Have further plans for that later.


I found a great memory game at that I turned into a file folder matching game. Monkey is a little young but he liked seeing all the dinosaurs.

Lastly, I introduced scissors. Under very close supervision! Monkey is very good at finding where the kids put scissors, so I am hoping a little discovery time will help take the mystery out of them. Plus, give him acceptable boundaries where he can use them.

Busy day!

And I was still able to cut all the bars of soap!


I hope you are able to thrive today!