21 April 2012

I ate a little bit of Spring today

My trip to visit a friend in Wisconsin was cancelled because of this cold I caught.  So I slept most of the day today.  I woke up at lunch to a present from Abby and Jason: Martha Stewart's Living magazine.  As I was looking at the pictures, reading being entirely impossible in my state, I came across this:
And my mouth started watering.  I couldn't get the Garden Party Grilled Chicken Salad out of my brain!  And so my lovely family made another trip to the grocery to satisfy this food delirium.  

I don't have a photo of our dinner because we inhaled it before I could remember. That's OK though.  Because it looked exactly like it does in the above picture!  Springtime was happening in my mouth I tell you!

Jason (the cook) was smothered in my fever-induced "oooos" and "ahhhs" and "I feel like I'm at a restaurant!".  That man is brilliant.

I'm off to more sleep and hopefully I will have more energy to do some Earth Day activities tomorrow.

Love your Mother.  Happy Earth Day folks!

18 March 2012

rising sap

The sap is rising and we have spring fever pretty bad around here!  Most of our days have been spent out of doors eating, playing, digging, walking, biking and relaxing.  Oh, and working.  There's been plenty of that too! 
Peach (left) and plum tree blossoms

Jason cutting up hop vines
Iris, garlic, chives w/ sorrel in background
Tilled garden
Seed starting setup
Mama mia, pasta machine!
Vintage tins
The whole garden is tilled. I did some of the tilling this year, huzzah!  Usually I'm busy doing other spring chores or wrangling Abby and Jason ends up doing the tilling but this year he hurt his back just in time for tilling, so I helped him out.  Just a little.  We also filled about 30 lawn bags with leaves from our white oak and dead plants from last growing season.  Our fruit trees are blossoming even more with the last two days of sunshine and the plum blossoms smell heavenly!

Inside we have been making a lot of homemade pasta with pullet eggs from Cathe's chickens.  The noodle machine, as I have dubbed it, has gotten a workout!  I bought it 10 years ago in Ames and haven't used it in about 7 years, I don't know why.  Fettuccine has been the choice noodle but this week I'm going to make some butternut squash ravioli.  Yum! The inside chores have not been at the top of the priority list lately but I have had time to clean a little and refresh the top of our antique buffet where the decorations change seasonally.

As for seeds, I have shown you the seed starting setup with two layers, soon to be three (sorry not the best photo).  I'm not planting anything or starting seeds until March 25th, which is the next good day according to the lunar calendar.  I get my planting advice from this guy, he's a super star in my book!  Come the 25th it will be all out planting mania around here.  Starting the rest of my seeds.  Planting onions, shallots, radish, lettuce, spinach, chard, peas, carrots and some other stuff I forget. Usually we work from morning until it is too dark to see what we are doing.  I relish those days and the good feeling of a hard day's work when I go to bed at night, which is what I should do right now.

Before I do though, please notice the fancy button to the right.  This week I'm starting a new sewing project for myself and will be blogging about it then entering the final product in a contest.  You can read more about the contest at Made by Rae.  Good night!

16 March 2012

lost book

"Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished: 
If you're alive, it isn't."

Have you read this book? 

I have read it twice in my life: in high school, then again in graduate school.  Both times it opened up new ways of thinking, seeing and being. And both times the book landed in my life like an apple on Newton's head.  I can't remember exactly how I came to read it,  but I know I didn't search the book out either time.  I'm not a religious person, but I am a spiritual person and this book speaks to that sentiment.

Lately I have been sorting giant piles of paperwork, artwork, bills, catalogs, and receipts.  I came upon the dust jacket for this book but cannot find the book anywhere.  I imagine my book being read by someone, somewhere in the world.  That's what this book deserves.

So, should I buy the book or wait for it to work its way back into my life as it has before?

Much of the book takes place in the Midwest with its rolling hills in Iowa and ancient lake plains flatter than a pancake in Illinois. Maybe that is why I am drawn to it.  Or maybe it is words like this:

"Argue for your limitations, and sure enough, they're yours." 

07 March 2012

getting ready

It's been busy around here lately.  I finished a bunch of sewing for Abby including a shirt, pants, two dresses and two skirts.  The dresses are from the Oliver + S hopscotch dress pattern and were made from men's t-shirts from the Gap.  So, while they weren't exactly Old, they were given a new identity.  I didn't realize until I got the shirts home that I had bought ketchup and mustard colored shirts.  Lots of both get eaten around here, so that's cool.  The skirts are Lazy Days Skirt from Liesl at Oliver + S as well.  They have such sweet and simple pattern designs with easy to follow directions.  The shirt is from Anna Maria Horner's Seams to Me book.  While it was easy to make, I'm not sure that I like how large the arm holes are or the length of the sleeves.  It hasn't actually been donned by Miss Abby yet.  She has a strange habit of running away when I want to test the fit of something I am sewing for her.  When I'm sewing for a customer or for someone else, she is all about it.  Silly girl!

This year will be my third at the farmer's market and I am so ahead of myself this year, I may just have to start reading the third Game of Thrones book tonight.  I started seeds last week (eggplant, pepper, leek, herbs) and will start more this weekend.  Just now there are tiny green sprouts coming up in my seedling flats and outside.  It was warm and windy today.  We are on our way to spring at last!  Also:

--We saw Foghorn Stringband on Monday.  Seats right next to the band, good friends, new friends, lots of dancing, beer and some of the best music on Earth, woo hoo!
--Watched our friend Cathe (of Seven Sister Farm) shear sheep with help from friends and neighbors.
--Finished painting a cabinet to house our bulky office stuff.  
--Jason made those English muffins he had been talking about making for oh, I don't know, 3 months or so.  Verdict: tasty!
--Finding some great fabric at my local second hand stores.
--Trying to pet and snuggle more with our cat, Albert.  He is about 13 years old and is on meds for his heart.  He is our first baby!  
--Lots of coloring, painting, dry erase boarding and sidewalk chalking lately.  Abby can't wait to do outside painting again.
This space will be changing in the next couple of months.  The South Prairie Street Farm information will have a different home in the form of a Facebook (groan) page.  I know how I rant about how I don't like FB but for the Farm, it is the best solution for now.  This blog will continue to include information about the farm but primarily will be for showcasing my frazzled, stay-at-home-mom thoughts and activities.  The FB page will be used to announce dates for selling at the Market at the Square and availability of produce/flowers.

Thanks for reading and I'll keep you updated!  

25 February 2012


I have been winning in my thrifting trips lately.  More canvas bags for my little project I have going, like new shoes and some awesome vintage fabric and linens.  I have also been winning with my sewing and will have some photos for you tomorrow, hopefully the photos will be of the clothing on the model if she is willing.  A bribe of chocolate and/or marshmallows may be in order.   

I'm not really sure what the date is or how many photos I am behind.  I'll fill in some tomorrow but here is one for my Shoes.  These are boots.  As you can see.  They are from my mom who bought them for me in Italy.  I'll never get rid of these and hope Abby will wear them when they actually fit her feet!  I wear these boots year-round with everything. They are soooooo comfy.

Tonight we had homemade mac and cheese, oh my gosh it was good, thanks Jason!  Then we made an impromptu trip to our friend's to look at the moon, Venus and Jupiter through his telescope.  It was cold and getting on bedtime, but we had a blast.  Thanks Damon!  

Goodnight for now y'all!

21 February 2012

catching up

We did a bit of catching up this past weekend.  Jason and I went on our "secret" date night, which included dinner, an art exhibit, cupcakes and espresso, the symphony and a nightcap at one of our favorite places in downtown Champaign.  It was a cold evening made much warmer with flowers, champagne and conversation with my favorite person on the planet (besides Abby, of course!).

I fell asleep toward the end of the first half of the symphony so we decided to hit Radio Maria's then go home.  It was so cold that night that we were glad to be home in our pajamas at (ahem) 9pm.  Yes, we are oldsters!  Thanks for the great night, Jason and nine memorable years of being married!
I know I have left the February photo meme in the dust these last days.  So here is something to make it up.  "Something I hate to do".  Dishes.  Give me any other household chore and I will be happy: scrubbing floors, toliets, laundry, vacuuming, ANYTHING.  We don't have a dishwasher (and never will because our kitchen is the size of a matchbook).  I try to find the zen place of peace about dishwashing, but I'm afraid it will never sit well with me.  

Looking forward to the next week.  I have lots of seeds to start: peppers, eggplant, leeks, herbs, and maybe some tomatoes.  My notes from last year are not very complete and every year I vow to do better because it really is better when I can compare with last year.  Happy Tuesday!

16 February 2012

the new, new thing

Today is "Something New".  If you know me at all, you know that I like anything Old.  We live in a pretty old house.  I buy most of my clothes second-hand. My fabric is stored in vintage suitcases. I'm drawn to anything that has been loved, used, and shows a little bit of wear.  Sparkly new things are pretty to look at, but don't really fit into how I want to live on this Earth.  This belief or philosophy or whatever you want to call it, can conflict me at times.  For example, when something breaks (our French Press) or something is lost (Abby's water bottle) or I need something like underwear or running shoes. I would rather buy something old, but in these cases, new is probably better because of availability, safety, and health.  
Something New

This pattern is in the works.  Have you heard of Collette Patterns? I haven't tried one of their patterns yet, but just looking at the pattern instructions for the Violet blouse has me wondering who deigned it a beginner pattern?  It is straightforward enough with lots of tips and a link to online help.  Yet, when I was a beginner sewist, I never would have attempted a collared, button-up blouse.  The first version of this shirt will be made from a thrifted sheet (see what I'm saying about Old? Ha!).  If I like the way it fits and sews up I will do another in white cotton swiss dot.  Summery huh?
A few things old and new and in between:

-Looking forward to seeing these guys in March.  Would love to host them at our place for a house concert!

-Finished Book 1, heading to the bookstore (used?) to buy Book 2.  Huzzah!

-Come visit my Pinterest boards to see what else I'm up to lately.

-This weekend Jason and I will celebrate our 9th wedding anniversary (it is really on the 22nd) by going on a date.  Although, I don't know when or where this date is...it is a mystery!  Not telling me is hard for Jason so now he just says "It's a kettle" in a British accent.  If you have seen Submarine, and you should, then you'll know Jason is just like the dad in the movie.

-Really looking out for Moonrise KingdomThe Hunger Games first movie and The Girl Who Played with Fire.  

What are you looking forward to?  Have a great Friday!

14 February 2012

13 February 2012

busy Monday

Today I have been on the go doing errands, thrifting, making cookies and even cleaning/oiling my sewing machine.  That's right!  I haven't oiled or cleaned my machine since I have had it.  No, I am not going to reveal how long that is (only Pat knows!).  Now it doesn't sound like someone is using a "machine gun" in the room, which is how Jason describes my machine.  I sew every day and will no longer neglect that hardworking machine, I need it to last a long, long time.

Things I Like
There are a lot of "Things I Like" but I truly enjoy eating and reading at the same time.  When I am into a good book I usually read during breakfast and lunch, snippets of sentences and a few paragraphs here and there.  Then I read before I go to bed, sometimes for longer than I should.  Right now I am reading the first Game of Thrones book, which probably wasn't the wisest choice to read while eating today (blood, raping and pillaging; the book not my lunch).  I'm also reading Montessori at Home.  I've always read more than one book at a time, reading one while processing the others.

In My Closet 
It may not look organized to the untrained eye, but I know exactly what's in there and where it is!  One half is fabric/art supplies/crafting stuff and the other is clothes (both mine and Jason's).  Our house is old so we only have a tiny closet in our bedroom upstairs, which serves as a linen closet as well as clothes closet.  This mess of a closet is downstairs in the guest-sewing-play room.
We found an awesome blue sequined stretchy belt was during this morning's thrifting.  Abby thinks it looks like a mermaid belt.  This may find its way into my outfit for Secret Date Night this weekend. More on that later...

10 February 2012

self portrait

Self Portrait
Today Abby and I stayed in pj's all day.  It snowed, rained, blew and was generally crappy out all day.  I'm not into taking or looking at photos of myself lately.  It has been a long time since I have had a regular exercise schedule and I am not feeling as healthy as I could be.  I can see a long season of work ahead of me with two gardens to tend.  Hopefully the lengthening days and warmer temperatures will goad me out of this lazy spell. So for now, my eye and glasses will have to do!  

09 February 2012

surprise gifts

Don't you love surprise gifts?  This morning when I was heading out to warm up the car I found a gift on our front porch table.  It was from a friend of ours who has moved away, along with her husband and two boys who Abby loves.  I was bummed that we missed them knocking on our door this morning (I think I was showering and Abby was watching Lady and the Tramp) but we will see them this weekend.  Without further ado here is a photo of both gifts.

The felted LOVE bunting is behind the sad-looking girl wearing the cute green sweater that was knit for her by Ms. Kate.  Both the bunting and the sweater found their homes mere minutes after I discovered them on the porch.  And Abby wore that sweater on our visit to the University Primary School this morning.

We have entered the world of preschool.  It is a choice between the Montessori school, which is about 5 min away by car, and the UPS.  I'm all about the Montessori school for many reasons I won't get into now.  Abby loved the UPS and did not want to leave when our visit was over.  She is going to love school when she goes next fall.  If today was not indication enough, I remember a big clue from our visit with her cousins in Portland.  Abby watched their mom, another Ms. Kate, make their lunch and put it in reusable lunch bags. Then she asked Ms. Kate if she could have a lunch bag too, please!

I'm perfectly fine having this time with Abby before she goes to school. 
Today we built cocoons on the bed, modeled hats/sweaters, played hospital and made dog food from her junk pile, perfect day!
Front door

See you tomorrow!

08 February 2012

Abby's Sewing Week

This week, and probably next week too, I am sewing for the sweetest girl I know.  We wrote the list of sewing tasks on our newly-hung chalk board: pants, teddy bear holder, dress, pj's and doll. Both the doll and pants patterns are from the Growing Up Sew Liberated book. Right now we have the fabric cut out for pants, a shirt and a hat.  The reality of sewing with a 3 year old quite different than our task list.  This dress from Oliver + S will be made from some upcycled knits, first I need to order the pattern.  After reading the KNITerviews at made by rae I have a serious need to get sewing on some knits. I'm excited and slightly dreading the encounter with my serger (gifted to me by a lovely lady!), it's been a long time since I have threaded one of those things!

Not to be forgotten, here is yesterday's "button":

This is a very small sampling of Abby's traveling junk pile.  It goes with her everywhere in the house because the one time we brought it in the car, mama spilled the entire pot everywhere. Buttons, beads, beans, Israeli cous cous, and a liberal amount of dirt are decanted into Abby's teapot, frying pans, cups and jars to become hours of entertainment.  

Later: "sun" (we'll see about that one).

06 February 2012

weekend post

There are no photos from the weekend words "stranger" and "10 AM".  First, because I didn't take any photos this weekend. Second, on Sunday at 10AM my eyes were still closed and I was sleeping (whilst my hubby and daughter were at the grocery buying donuts and flowers!).  And last, I don't do computery-type stuff on the weekend.  I ignore the computer unless we are watching a movie on it.  No email, no blog reading, nothin'. 

To make up for the lack of weekend photos about those words, here is "dinner" for today:

This is what we call around here "random dinner", which is made of re-invented leftovers. We had my brother, his girlfriend and another friend over for dinner on Saturday to eat baked potato bar.  It was so easy and good, we will be doing it again.  Since I made about a million potatoes, we still had leftovers to go with all the fixings.  Yum!

Abby looks nonplussed in this picture probably because about 30 min. after this was taken she went poo-poo on her potty for the very first time.  Yay!!  This is a BIG DEAL around here.  We have been putting cloth diapers on her when she needed to poop and finally went cold turkey today.  Mostly because we visited the Montessori school yesterday where the kids have to be potty trained before they can attend.  That requirement was definitely a motivation for all of us.

See you tomorrow with a "button" photo!

03 February 2012

we made pitas with our hands

Yesterday we made pita breads with our hands!  Nothing special, just flour, yeast, water and a little sugar. Abby added all of the ingredients into the bowl with her small, but capable, hands.  She mixed the batter and then helped knead the dough into a soft, yeasty, yummy ball.  Abby kept leaning over to smell the dough as she kneaded it and announced that it smelled "yeasty".  We ate one small pita right out of the oven (Abby's with lots of butter on it).

When I thought of the "hands" post for today I first thought of my own hands and how small and wrinkled they always seem.  Then I thought of other hands: Abby's and how they look just like mine, except little; hands on a clock; holding hands with someone; handing over power or a salt shaker.  The nuances of the English language never cease to amaze.  And, at the risk of using a bad pun, it is in my hands to teach a 3 year old these nuances.

02 February 2012

as if February wasn't busy enough

from http://instagr.am/

I think I'll try this, even though I am a day late (and a dollar short!) and don't have an fancy phone to boot!

Most of my words lately are spoken.  I try to write this blog and journal but most of the time other priorities take over that time.  That' OK.  I listen to NPR most mornings and love the words of local and BBC reporters telling me the news.  I listen to Abby's shows that she usually watches in the morning, especially Word World.  A show, conveniently, about words.  Abby loves words.  Loves spelling them, typing them and hopefully writing them.  Now, when we are in the car she begs me to "Tell me what that word spells mama!".  And so my words are signs, license plates and storefronts.  

This photo shows one of our favorite words "Prairie".  We live on Prairie Street, which is a shady (in the summer), brick paved street with super-friendly neighbors.  When we arrive on our street there is a tell-tale rumble beneath the tires that Abby and our cat are attuned to.  They perk up and look out the window and know they are Home.

I will be here everyday this month with my meme of February pictures following some theme and my words to go along with those pictures.