Wednesday, April 30, 2008


I was hoping to show you two more little chicks this morning but we found out the feed store won't be getting them in until Friday. So we'll have to wait two more days to bring home the last two.

I realize I never talked about us getting chickens on the blog before. It's something I've been thinking about for a few months but it felt like a big undertaking since it was new to us. After seeing my sister's chicks a few weeks ago, it made me want them even more and so we all decided last week that it was time!

We will have 4 chicks total. They should start laying eggs anywhere from 6 to 9 months from now. Having fresh eggs from chickens that feed on insects and whatever else they find in the yard is our main reason for wanting them. But secondly, they will be great pets for the boys. We've been wanting some type of pet for the boys to help take care of but we didn't really want a dog or cat right now so the chickens seemed perfect.

They will stay inside for about 6 weeks and then they'll be outdoors in our backyard. We'll build them a coop that is sturdy enough to keep out dogs, raccoons, and any other predator that might be out looking to score some food. They'll be kept in the coop unless we are outside to watch them and then they can walk and cluck around to their hearts content. I envision many chases between the chickens and the boys this summer.

Urban chicken keeping is becoming increasingly popular, especially here in Portland. The City Chicken is a great source as well as My Pet Chicken and many many others that show up on Google.

And yes we named them! That kind of seals the deal in my mind that they won't ever be showing up on our kitchen table as dinner. :-)

Ian's found the perfect place to hold Emmaline.

Little Miss Clover is a little lethargic today. We noticed that she slept all day yesterday which is pretty normal for one-day-olds, especially considering she was shipped in the mail, but she should have been a little more awake today. Instead she doesn't even want to walk much. So I talked to my sister who said she needed some mush (chicken feed and water mixed) just to get some nourishment in her. She's been eating a little of it and has had a good amount of water and I've noticed she's perking up just a bit. Hopefully by tomorrow she'll be feeling even stronger!


And now a little stop motion courtesy of Ian....

'Dinosaur Rex' sees a tasty treat and begins stalking Emmaline.

Emmaline, unafraid, turns to face the challenge

With her lightening quick moves she takes down Dinosaur Rex in one fell swoop.

The End.


I'm sure there will be lots more adventures. I'm not sure Dinosaur Rex can be taken out that easily!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

They're here!

Ian won't leave their side because we just can't stop looking at them.

Let me introduce to you:


and Clover

Clover is a Black Australorp

Emmaline is a Buff Orpington

And that thing I mentioned yesterday? Is a little chick feeder.

More pictures to come. Ian keeps telling me they are sad and want to get out so I guess some cuddling is in order. And really, who can blame them at one day old. *cheep* *cheep*

Monday, April 28, 2008

While we wait...

Smoothies, dinosaurs, and cowboy hats for breakfast this morning. Yum... I'll take the smoothie, thanks.

Our weekend was full and so nice because the weather was beautiful and just the pick-me-up we needed since it's raining again today.
On Friday we went to a salvage garden sale at a nearby antique shop. I found just the right little bookcase for the little spot wedged in between the couch and the rocking chair. It was just in time too because the next morning I went to our county library used book sale and bought a stash of books (52 but really, who's counting?) that needed a new home.

Yesterday was Thai food and a little stroll down Alberta Street... a really good weekend.

And now we wait. Trying to be patient, until tomorrow, when this little jewel will be needed. Can you guess what it is besides a handy little drum for little boys?

I'll tell you tomorrow...with pictures!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Fun with 3 year olds

We all have to have a story like this to tell right?

Ian was so excited to show me his handy work that also included the rug, leather chair, piano bench, pillows, and the light fixtures we were giving away.

Thank goodness for washable markers. Although we'll never get it out of the couch, it did wipe off of everything else. I think I'll keep the markers and crayons up from now on.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


We finally have our compost worms! I've been wanting to do this for awhile now but just haven't found the time to get everything. In case you think I'm crazy...I'll explain!

Vermicomposting is a way to compost your food scraps (eggshells, vegetables, fruit, etc) by using worms. There are only a couple kinds of worms that will work and red wrigglers are one of them. These little worms love your leftovers and if you have enough of them, they will eat all your kitchen scraps and turn them into compost for your garden! So not only are you saving space in your weekly trash can but you will also have incredibly nutrient-dense food for your plants and garden.

It's super simple to do. I found this website that's set up for kids so it's really easy to follow. And a blog that's full of information. There are also really great books on the subject. Our bin will stay in our basement and now that Ian knows there are worms down there I'm sure I will have plenty of help with our vegetable scraps whenever I want it.

I've been wanting to get them for a couple of months now but just haven't gotten around to it until now. I had been planning on making my own bin which is where the hold up was. So this last weekend while we were on Craigslist, I saw that someone was selling their entire worm bin for $20. I was so happy to not have to start from scratch and then find a place that sells worms that I bought it.

I'll be honest, I was a little underwhelmed by this particular bin once I got it home. The ad said there were LOTS of worms that had heavily multiplied over the last couple of months. Well, in all my digging I've only found a few. I know they can hide and until I empty the bin to separate the compost I won't know how many there actually are.

There were a couple other issues as well which disappointed me because I'd been hoping for a well-run compost bin. But, I'm actually glad I went this route because I was able to spot the problems just from the reading I'd done. Now I know how to avoid certain issues (like shouldn't stink because you're supposed to bury the food whereas the previous owners just threw the food on top), and it made me realize that I don't want to use a plastic bin. So I did a little research and found a wooden bin online and it should be here next week.

I'll take more pictures when it gets here and as I start to separate the worms from the compost to transfer them over.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Living it

By special request this morning... reading in the shark tent.

It snowed here this weekend. Snowed. I think this was one of only a couple snowy days at our house this entire winter and it's April. Brrrr...I hope it warms up soon. jumbled thoughts on our trip to Seattle! With two little kids in tow we couldn't sit at any one booth for too long so our conversations with people were sometimes very short. But we met some wonderful individuals with some great things to say. We didn't really learn anything too new but we both left there feeling an even greater commitment to our health and to the environment.

We've felt a further need this past week to simplify our home. To clear out things we don't need. To take a second look at our stuff and find a new purpose and if not, than a new home for them. I don't want to be such a consumer because the truth's never enough. We can buy and buy until our house is filled and then there will always be more to buy. A better rug, a newer TV, another toy that will be broken in a week. It never ends.

I've linked to the Story of Stuff before but it's so worth another look. Everything we buy comes from somewhere and it's touched many many hands to get to ours.

All of this has left me feeling a greater responsibility in parenting. How can I raise the boys to think about other people first? How can I raise them to think of other countries and how our buying and our throwing away impacts them? To be thoughtful and mindful and to take care of the world around them? And this means where their food comes from... is it locally grown? Was the animal treated humanely?... to the products they are buying... is it fair trade?

The only answer I can come up with is to live it, to demonstrate for them what it all looks like.

"Children will learn far more from your daily attitude in the home than they will learn from what you teach them."
-Nancy Campbell

I have this written on my fridge as a daily reminder because it's true on many, many levels and in every area of our life. When I was bringing my Grandma home from the hospital last week after her surgery, she said a scripture to me that I can't seem to get out of my head. Psalm 71: 17-18:

Since my youth, O God, you have taught me,
and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds.
Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me O God,
till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come.

And Proverbs 22:6:

Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.

I'm realizing more and more how the building blocks for character are formed at this young age. Our greatest desire is to show and teach the boys now who God is and how to have a personal relationship with Him. And with that, we want them to see the responsibility we have to take care of the earth that God has given us and that includes the animals and people that live here on it with us. I want them to tend to a garden, not trash it. I want them to spend summers in Africa building wells for villages to have fresh water. And all of that starts at home.

We spent Saturday night, eating with good friends, and talking about similar ideas. Then we spent the rest of the weekend going through our basement and gathering things we no longer need or use. We sold some of them and gave the rest away on Craigslist and Goodwill. And now the decluttering bug has hit me so I'm searching for more to get rid of. I think we'll get the boys involved too and have Ian pick out a few of his things to donate or give away.

I think what I've realized most of all is that changing one thing at a time is far more productive than thinking about everything and doing nothing.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Time and a yellow curtain

So this is my life with two little kids. Just when I think I'm getting on top of it I find out how much more I need to do. I have a million things I want to do yet find myself only able to keep up with the feeding and cleaning. It always takes me several days to unwind from a trip and here I am, Wednesday night, still unwinding. Loads of laundry calling me, a meal plan still needing to be made with a trip to the grocery store, and the house list goes on and on. Trying to balance all of that with the boys who need lots and lots of attention. Thoughts of house projects, blog posts, and crafts I want to do for myself, others, and the kids fill my head.

I'm finding that more and more of life is laying all those extra things down and just doing the simple. This week it means I spent the afternoon with my Mom and Grandma at the hospital for my Grandma's throat surgery. Coming home and leaving again with the family to say goodbye to one of the foster kids my parent's have had for the past 3 years. He's a good friend of Ian's which means we'll be explaining to him for awhile now why his friend is moving away to a new family.

It means tomorrow the boys and I will get my Grandma and bring her safely home from the hospital. And then there are 3 new baby chicks at my sister's house that we just HAVE to go and see.

I like organization, I like simple, I like order in the house. But my life these days are rarely any of those and I'm not sure it will be changing anytime soon. So bear with me. I have many many thoughts that I would love to post about, pictures I want to take, and so many fun things I want to make and share with all of you. And I will...but not as quickly as I'd like.

In the meantime, I did finish those curtains I mentioned before. I like them in there...the yellow with the blue. It's kind of fun. Tell me what you think. Yes? No? A little weird? Just look past that tiny nail hole in the wall that I accidentally put there and the cute little fuzzy boy in the foreground...he refused to step out of the picture.

I hope to get back on here in the next couple of days to post more on the green convention in Seattle. And then there's the posts about herbal tinctures, a handmade caterpiller, worm composting, fair trade, kids' spaces....

Monday, April 14, 2008

Going Green in Seattle

We're back! We had a wonderful weekend in Seattle. The weather was absolutely beautiful on Saturday and the rain held off on Sunday until we were in our car on the way home.

The Green Festival was exactly what I'd hoped for. Lots and lots of information. So many companies who are fighting for sustainability in their products and for our environment. There were booths covering everything from food to cleaning products to 'green' building materials. There were handmade bags and clothing made from hemp and organic cottons and even some made from recycled plastic bags. We brought back a huge stack of magazines to flip through, lots of brochures, and several purchases.

Aside from being very crowded, the boys had a great time. We spent about 2 hours there each day and that was their limit. Here's lots of pictures from the trip...

The boys enjoying lunch. They ate vegan dogs which were surprisingly good (made of grains) and gives us another option for BBQing this summer.

Can you see how happy I am at the Raw Vegan booth? I found coconut butter, cocoa butter, raw cacao powder and nibs. And at much better prices than I've seen online or at our health stores. I talked with the owner of RawVegan Source for quite awhile. He's such a nice man and said he's planning on being at Portland's VegFest next month so I'll be able to stock up again then..

On the second day we realized it would be easier to maneuver around people without the stroller. So I put on my Ergo and Sawyer fell fast asleep, not disturbed by the noise. Ian and I are looking at a bag handmade in Nepal made from candy wrappers and juice containers! The colors were beautiful. Each wrapper or container was rolled around a reed and woven like a basket. Such a creative idea in recycling!

Jeremy and Ian looking at some of the displays.

He's either confused and trying to figure out what this is or he finds the costume rather boring.
After leaving the Convention Center on Sunday we went to Pike Place Market.

Someone was offering free hugs so we took him up on it. I'm not sure Ian was in the mood for one though.

Ian got to touch a fish's eye at the City Fish stand.

Ian enjoying some honey at the market. (New stoller by the way...Ian's standing in the back!)

Once I gather my thoughts and get things back in order, I'll post about some of the things that really stuck with me at the festival.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Week in review and then we're off!

Happy Friday! We've had another busy week around here and we are a few minutes away from taking off for the weekend so I thought I would jump on and post a few pictures.

The boys and I seemed to be really tired on Tuesday and I knew we needed to do something outside despite the cold and wet. So I grabbed a camera and a nature journal and took the boys out for a walk. It was the perfect day to go puddle jumping. It took us awhile to find some good ones but Ian didn't seem to mind.

It's amazing how even 5 minutes outdoors can turn a mood around even though we ended up getting caught in a downpour, mixed with hail, about a mile from our house. You can imagine the scene as I attempted to run home...for a the rain...with two unhappy kids. Still I was happy we went out and happy still to be home where we were all warm and in fresh clothes and feeling refreshed.


And this little one will be 11 months old tomorrow! In this last month he started waving goodbye, playing peek-a-boo, and singing. He's talking more and more and has Dada down really well but just stares at me blankly when I say Mama Mama over and over again. One more month and he's 1!

And this:

is all the yummy food I'm packing for our little weekend getaway to Seattle. The energy cookies and crispy bars are from my favorite Vegan book and are packed full of pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, cranberries, and all other sorts of goodies. Fresh fruit is always good and extremely portable and lately we've been loving black mission figs. Get them in the bag...they are really moist and really really good (and good for you too!).

We are on our way to a Green Festival ! We thought it would be fun to take the boys and see what 'green' products and new ideas are out there. I can't wait to share it all with you when we get back! Have a wonderful weekend.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Fun in a box

The boys woke up bright and early this morning ready to start the week. They are feeling better but still have the whole lingering icky nose thing. I hope that's on it's way out very soon too. In the meantime I found an old box and they spent the morning climbing in and out and playing all sorts of games in it. They are starting to really play well together and it makes me even more excited for this summer.

If you look closely in this picture you can see Sawyer's two front teeth!

While the boys played with their box, I got out my sewing machine and decided to alter the new curtains I bought over the weekend. On a whim, I bought yellow curtains for my new blue room... and I really like it. It's a different color scheme than I usually lean towards but I've been feeling a need to branch out, to try something new. The colors make me cheerful and will be perfect for those sunny days that I know are coming. The curtains were a bit too long so I cut and re-hemmed them. They still need a few more adjustments but I'll take a picture when they are finished.

Over the weekend I found this blog and ended up reading through all 9 years (so far) of journal entries. I'm fascinated and in total awe at the dedication and hard work this couple have put in to this 270 year old home. If you have's worth a good look.

Friday, April 4, 2008

New job with a new view

Hello hello! I've been away from my computer most of this week! It seemed a little strange but it was nice to get some much needed work done around the house. We've been busy doing this and that and the boys aren't feeling well so all things seem to take a little longer to finish.

We've had some exciting changes in our little corner of the world. Jeremy started a new job this week! It was a bit of a surprise because he wasn't really looking and it seemed to happen very fast once it was offered to him but we are thrilled just the same. He's back at Intel where he'll be doing design. He will be contracting with Intel through his own company again so we are back to being self-employed. A bit scary but there are so many good things about it that we felt it was a good move for him (and for us).

He'll be working from home most of the time which will be a huge change from his most recent job that required a really long commute each day. The boys and I are so excited to have him around more! Coffee together in the mornings...whee! So happy.

So as he was busy starting his new job, I was busy painting the office. It's been sadly neglected since we moved in 2 1/2 years ago and really needed some attention and updating. I finished up the painting last night and we set up his desk and computer this morning. I keep sneaking little peaks in today because it just looks so fresh and clean in there.

I'm tired but happy that the painting is done. I'm sure we'll be moving furniture and adding touches here and there for awhile but that's the fun stuff. For now, we have a couple of grumpy boys with coughs and sniffles that need are attention.

Have a wonderful weekend!