Category Archives: Our business

Finally!

Two posts in one week. Wow! I’m on a roll! Princess (my almost-5 yr old daughter asked for a princess face. I figured why not?)

We are working on many things around here, for life is never dull or boring in this house. Here is a peak at some of the things that we’re up to.

School:

We are studying about the Middle Ages in history and so we made our own castle. Out of sugar cubes. The children had a lot of fun putting this together. We used royal icing for he mortar (royal icing for a castle. Kind of fitting, eh?), blue frosting for the water in the mote and green sugar sprinkles for the grass in the courtyard.  Of course, what castle is complete without a few soldiers and horses? Legos to the rescue!

SAM_1275

SAM_1279

SAM_1280

SAM_1281

SAM_1282

SAM_1283

My quilting:

I have many projects going at the same time. Doesn’t everyone? Winking smile

I am finally getting to our Swoon quilt, which I started almost 3 years ago and has been ready to quilt for at least 6 months! It’s a king sized quilt, so I’m just strait line quilting it.

SAM_1287

My boys just blow through their jeans like there’s not tomorrow! Unfortunately, it’s usually the knees that they leave in shreds, literally, yet the rest of the pants are just fine. I hate to throw them out, but I’m not willing to spend hours on patching them up either. So I decided to cut them up and make a picnic quilt out of them. Denim is very durable and I’ll back it with 1 or 2 blankets that I already have, yet don’t use.  It’s slow going, for I have a lot of denim! I am doing it the “slab” method, a la Crazy Mom Quilts. The whit basket are the cut up pieces and the wicker basket are the pieces sewn together. (yes, I have a purple floor. My husband just about freaked when I came home with that color. Its called “eggplant” and I love it!)

SAM_1288

2015 is the self-imposed year that I’m making lap sized quilts for all of my 10 nieces and nephews, to be given to them on their birthdays. The patterns have been chosen (although I reserve the right to change my mind), most of the fabric has been decided upon, the top for the 1st one is finished (my 1st scrap quilt!), and the cutting for the 2nd has been done. I have a ways to go!

SAM_1290

Catering:

I don’t have any pictures, but we have been super busy! We’ve had 7 weddings this Summer, with our last one in October. We have had countless (or at least I’m not going to count them) business meetings/luncheons, as well as the increasing county meal. In fact, we are double booked every day next week! At least the weekends are free now….

See? I can blog about other things then just quilting! Rolling on the floor laughing

I am linking up with WIP Wednesday, at Freshly Pieced.

In the water

I am entering this quilt into the fabulous Bloggers Quilt Festival, over at Amy’s Creative Side. Seriously, this is a wonderful place to find beautiful quilts, all in one place! I have entered this quilt into the category “Home Machine Quilted” and the voting starts May 23. Be sure to visit all the ones you can and vote for your favorite. There are some sweet prizes up for grabs!!

Last week, I showed you the quilt that I made for an adorable little girl. Now it’s her big brother’s turn.

When my friend contacted me about a quilt for her son, she asked for a sophisticated nautical theme, with his room having that decor. My first thought was to have both an under the sea view, as well as some sky, but not at a strait angle, for I thought that was boring.

Here is the rough draft I came up with. Not all creatures made the cut, though.

noahs quilt 2

Like his sister’s quilt, the creatures needed to be sturdy and I didn’t feel that applique would hold up over time. So I opted to paper piece the sea creatures.  I used the free program Quilt Assistant again and this time, I had a better understanding of what I was doing!

The first creature I did was the sea horse, which came from a paper pieced picture off of Pinterest (I tried to find the source of the pattern, but was unable to). The tail was… something else, but in the end it turned out fine.

SAM_0609

Next up, was the shark. This pattern was drafted from a clip art picture and went more smoothly.  Once the quilt was half way quilted, I saw the fin not quite match up. I’m not sure how that escaped my attention….

SAM_0596

Then came the birds, for a sunny ocean sky must have seagulls! I positioned one to give the idea that it was diving for fish, but my husband said it looks like it’s falling out of the sky, dead. What do you think?

SAM_0595

Nemo The clown fish were next, the pattern being drafted from a picture found on Google. I wanted to incorporate creatures from both the top and bottom of the sea, and what fun fish the clown fish are! (and yes, my children never called them “clown fish”. It was always Nemo and his dad.) They are a much brighter orange than the picture shows. These fish were puzzles that were quite mind bending to figure out! The program usually prints them out grouped together, in the way that I number them. But with these guys, the program printed them out however it wanted, in 20 different, small pieces for each fish! I’m not going to admit how long I sat there and stared at all those pieces, trying to figure out which went where. Suffice to say, it was too long!

SAM_0602

The jelly fish were fun and simple to do, as well. I was trying to decide between these or the large, plump looking ones, both being clip art pictures. I took a vote with my family, and these ones won. The picture doesn’t show it, but the teal one has a darker teal swirl printed on it.

SAM_0594

My favorite creature of the whole bunch is the sea turtle. We found this pattern via Pinterest, as well, found on Sewhooked ( the turtle pattern is found just under the “Animal” heading). I did him in a green and gold fabric that I had gotten from the Traveling Stash Box(es), which reminded me of a turtle’s shell. I tried to keep the small arches going in the same direction, and even though it’s not perfect, I am quite happy with it!

SAM_0598

The sun was another New York Beauty block from Sew Sweetness’s New York Beauty quilt-along. This one was presented by Lee of Freshly Pieced.

Last of the creatures was the sea dragon. Now, if you know what a sea dragon is, you know how incredible it looks! Those “leafy” appendages, the tiny face, the skinny body… so cool! However, God does a much better job at forming those little guys than I do and I just couldn’t figure out how to paper piece it. Applique? No way!! I couldn’t stand the thought of appliqueing on such small, tiny pieces. So I did the only thing I could think of: I embroidered it. While I don’t enjoy hand work (I machine quilt and bind my quilts), I do enjoy embroidering. Some of you might remember my MIL’s quilt that I made for her 2012 Christmas. That was my first dip into embroidery and I really enjoyed it. ( Am I the only one who see’s a pattern here? Let see: I don’t really know how to do something, but let’s jump off into a large quilt anyway. Go big or go home, right? Yeah, that’s me.)

I printed off a fairly simple picture of a sea dragon, traced it onto my fabric and got to work. It took me longer than I had thought, filling in all those areas, which lead me to leave out a few details I was planning on doing. But I think it turned out quite nicely. This was also the specific creature that my friend asked for, so it was a pleasure to do that for her. You can’t tell by the picture, but his body is a yellow and his “leaves” are a yellowy-green.

Noah's quilt seadragon

Once the quilt was together, I got the chance to play! I wanted to incorporate more creatures into the quilt, but not with paper pieceing. From the very beginning of this quilt, I wanted to quilt in some sea life and I designed this quilt to let me do that.

My sea dragon, sea horse, and clown fish all needed homes to keep them safe, so kelp and coral was first up. In the pictures and information I found online, the sea dragon is in one type of kelp, while the sea horse is in another. I ended that problem by quilting in both kinds.

SAM_0609

The clown fish lives in coral, so I chose a type that was a bit easier to quilt, but mostly easy for the viewer to understand what it is: fan coral.

Noah's quilt close up 3

I love dolphins, and was quite happy to put two of those lovely creatures into this quilt!

SAM_0587

I thought a Manta Ray was another well know creature of the sea, so he went in on the other side of our playful dolphins. Unfortunatly, it was too late when I realized that his under side should be a lighter color, not his top side. * sigh *

SAM_0597

Last, but certainly not least, we can’t forget our hungry shark (and bird!). A school of fish is in order, but they need not be fancy or anything. I don’t believe our shark is that picky, do you?

Noah's quilt close up

The top of the water always has fast, agitated movement, with the lower levels being more gentle and slow. I attempted to imitate this with the quilting. Near the top is the agitated bubbles and swirls, moving downwards to more gentle tides, with an occasional swirl of water. At the bottom, we have even more gentle movement, with the easy sway of the kelp.

SAM_0585

SAM_0580

I asked my friend if there was any saying that she wanted me to incorporate into the quilt. The one she sent me was perfect and I quilted it right into the center of the quilt.

SAM_0602

Here is the full view of the top.

Noah's quilt full shot

The back is pieced in a pleasing, yet simple way. I wanted the back to be very different from the top, to give my friend’s son options as he gets older, for he may not always want an ocean theme quilt on his bed.

Noah's quilt back

Noah's quilt binding

Quilt Stats:

Size: 72” x 98”

Design: by me

Quilted: by me

Quilt fabrics: the fabric for the water is Batik Dreamscape Mystic; the sky fabric is Sky; the backing is (center) Boxing Plaid, (skinny border) Intertwining Chevron crimson, ( the outer border is no longer carried); the sand is Mirage carmel;  binding is Intertwining Chevron charcoal. All of these fabrics were bought from Connecting Threads.

All of the creatures and the sun were from my stash.

A starry night

I am entering this quilt into the fabulous Bloggers Quilt Festival, over at Amy’s Creative Side. Seriously, this is a wonderful place to find beautiful quilts, all in one place! I have entered this quilt into the category “Original Design” and the voting starts May 23. Be sure to visit all the ones you can an vote for your favorite. There are some sweet prizes up for grabs!!

Last fall, a friend of mine contacted me about making a quilt for her son and her daughter (which are also commissioned quilts). Each of them picked out the theme, with Mom adding her 2 cents, and I came up with the design. It took me quite a bit longer than I had first expected them to.

For her daughter, she wanted a hunting owl, a sleeping animal, orange and yellow stars in the sky, leaves blowing in the wind, and a boat in a distant lake. Here is the rough draft I cam up with :

mia quilt smaller

Owls hunt in the evening/night, but instead of having a boring sky of just one color, I decided to have a gradient of blue to give the illusion of an evening sky.  To give more depth and interest to the quilt, I wanted to add hills to the landscape. They had gentle slopes, so I was sure they wouldn’t be difficult to piece. Hehehe, famous last words, right?

I wanted this quilt to be the most durable it could be and I didn’t feel that applique would offer that. The only other option was paper piecing the critters. Trouble was, there wasn’t much in the way of patterns for the critters I wanted. So I turned to 2 sources: Quilt Assistant (a free downloadable program) and my computer-savvy husband. With the Quilt Assistant program, you can open any picture of your choice, make the needed sections for paper piecing, then print them out (that is a bit simplified, but once you get the hang of it, it’s really easy). I was a bit nervous, as you might imagine, never drafting my own pattern before and it was quite a learning curve! By the 4th pattern or so, I could look at a picture and know the best way to segment it and label it.  (Some of these pieces, however, were images from Pinterest by other people and they were paper pieced already. So I just had to follow the seams to make my lines. Try as I may, I couldn’t find the original source for these patterns. If anyone knows of those sources, please tell me! I want to give credit where credit is due!!)

Here is the moon that we found (this is the 2nd moon. The first just did not pass any kind of test what-so-ever!).

IMG_20140208_121802

The stars are blocks, pieced the traditional way. I found the tutorial here.

The owl was interesting to piece. This was one of the first pattern I printed out and….well, I didn’t know what I was doing! I figured it out, though, and most likely did things very unconventionally. His eyes are 2 little black buttons.

IMG_20140208_121724

The deer was the 2nd critter to make an appearance.  I’m happy with how she turned out. Her “skin” is from a suede skirt, so it’s nice and soft.

IMG_20140208_121710

Next up, we have our adorable sleeping fox. This one was fairly easy to do, since it had big pieces to it. The hardest part was coming up good looking oranges from my stash for his fur (orange is a color sorely lacking on my shelves). The green looks quite gray in this picture, not sure why. The green with our little deer turned out just fine.

IMG_20140208_121651

Of course, our owl needs to have something to hunt. This cute little mouse fills that role nicely! I found a large wiggly eye button in my stash for her eye.

IMG_20140208_121703

The sun is one of the patterns from The New York Beauty block-along, done with Sarah from Sew Sweetness. I believe my sun came from The Littlest Thistle. I wanted this to be a setting sun, so only half of the block was made.

IMG_20140208_121731

For the boat, I decided on a little house boat, complete with a little girl peeking out of the window. I found this pattern here.

IMG_20140208_121925

After the top was complete, but before it was quilted, my friend contacted me and told me that she wanted more of a burgundy/merlot color instead of the pink. Definitely not what any quilter wants to hear! I was so amazed at how difficult it was to find a burgundy/merlot colored fabrics that’s not a solid! Here is what it looked before the change.

IMG_20140208_121642

While looking around for a good burgundy/merlot print, I wasn’t liking how the colors were going to mesh. The trees and green flowers (seen best with the boat photo above) would be fine, but I wasn’t liking how the multi print (seen best in the sun photo above) would look with such a dark color. I decided to change both the pink and the multi print fabrics at the same time.

I was apprehensive about how the burgundy/merlot print would look, but once it was here, I loved it! As you can see, I put the darker burgundy/merlot print in the back, for I was concerned that such a dark color would overwhelm the quilt. I bought a sweet warm yellow print to replace the multi print. Here is the after picture.

Mia's quilt full shot

Now for the quilting.

I did it all on my machine, a Sewstrong 8700, and had So. Much. Fun!

In the green, I did a simple meander with echo-type flowers.

flowered crop

In the hills, I quilted dragon flies and daisies.

SAM_0425

I quilted simple peaked waves for the water. And in the sky, I quilted around each star, quilted more stars, quilted the wind, and added in fluffy clouds.

SAM_0419

SAM_0423

SAM_0424

For the back, I wanted to create a more neutral palette and my friend wanted some leaves in fall colors.  I appliqued them on in  a wind-blown look.

Mia's quilt back shot

I am glad to report that the whole family loves what I did. I’m quite proud of it myself. Winking smile In fact, there were a few times through out the designing and piecing and quilting stage, that I thought to myself, “Perhaps I do have some skill after all.” We are always far more critical of our own work, aren’t we?

Quilt stats: 

Size: 83” x 85”

Designed: by me

Quilted: by me

Quilt fabrics: (from top to bottom of sky):  rich navy, Persian blue, patriot blue, blue, bluebird, sky from Connecting Threads; the hills are: Dreaming in Pearle in Merlot, Bed of Daisies in Golden, Whispering Trees in Poppy, (I can’t remember what that green floral is); the water is a Batik Dreamscape Mystic from Connecting Threads; the green is Mirage Clover from Connecting Threads; the binding is Little Stars is Navy from Connecting Threads; and the back fabrics are a very soft  flannels (from top to bottom) cream, fawn,  and pioneer and the leaves are a Batik Aurora Heatwave all from Connecting Threads.

I’m linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Our random life

This is one post that I don’t have trouble coming up with things to write about. With as much activity and stuff that goes on around here, random is the name of the game! (I’m linking up with the always fabulous Live a Colorful Life.)

Most of the function we do, I don’t go and serve at. I help get things made and loaded up into the van, but Adam usually goes. This week we had 2 function back to back ~ literally. Tuesday night and then Wednesday morning. Adam did the Tuesday night one, while Isaac and I did the Wednesday morning one, since Adam had the Crandon delivery to do. Isaac was so excited to go, he woke up on his own earlier than he needed to!

On our way home, we passed by a concrete company (we were serving in the same town our church is in) and during the winter they had made a giant snow man. Except now, it’s warmed up enough that the snow man is no longer… all there.

We found out the other week that which gender is winning in our family. Can you guess?

Now the hard part comes: deciding on a name. With Mr. Nick-name Phobia, that is more difficult then is sounds!

Maacah likes to draw, and so received a “how to” drawing book for Christmas. The book shows how to draw certain animals, including horses. She loves it! Most of her free time, when her nose isn’t in a book that is, I find her improving on her skills.

I think she’s doing a good job, don’t’ you?

I had to get a replacement phone this week. The jack, where the micro USB goes in, wasn’t working,. Or so we thought. We ordered the phone on Monday and it was here in less then 24 hours later! And from Texas, too!! Gotta love that FedEx overnight-ing.

Anyway… once it was here, we tried to charge the batter and found that both of the cords weren’t working. How odd is that? 2 cords not working at the same time?! We didn’t try the old phone to see if it truly was the cords and not the phones’ fault, since a new one was already sent (we pay the extra bit each month for the insurance. I’m glad we do.). I bought anew cord and now it charges just fine, although the USB isn’t recognized for the tethering purpose. But the Wi-Fi works fine, so I’m using that.

In the end, it’s all good.

A new venture. Maybe?

I love to sew. That’s no secret. And I would LOVE to find an avenue where I can make things to sell. You know, so I can have the excuse funds to make more. I don’t have a store front nor to I really want to sell anything on commission. I don’t mind that avenue, per say, I just don’t want to… well, I just don’t want to share. Does that make sense?

I’ve kicked around the idea of an Etsy shop, but really, there are so many of them already. Does the world need another one? What would make my stuff any different from what is already being made and sold? I can’t come up with any reasons. I’m not closing off the possibility, but for now I won’t pursue that avenue.

What I will pursue, though, are craft fairs. Of course, I’m not talking HUGE fairs, like the Indy Craft Parade. Only small ones. There is a fair coming up in November, the first of it’s kind, and I will be joining the vendors selling both our chocolates and chocolate nut butters, as well as my own handmade wares. I’m hoping that Adam will join me, for essentially I’ll be having to booths, but we’ll see….

I have the patterns, material, and hardware ordered/already here for the objects I will be making. But I am having a problem.

Price.

What do I charge? I know the cost of what will go into each items and I know how much I charge for my time (one of the hardest things to come up with, for sure!!). But then what? I not only need to make something on my items (obviously), but I need to keep in mind the area where I live. What sells at a larger, more affluent area won’t necessarily sell here, in a smaller, economically-deprived area.

So this is where you come in, my friends!

Below are pictures of the items I will be selling, along with the prices I am considering selling them for. No, they are not the actual items, for those are still being made. But they are the pictures of the patterns I will be making them from and are ideas to give you something to go on. If you are interested in any of them, the pictures are linked to original patterns.

Key Fobs: @ $3 each

Click to Enlarge

 

Coasters: set of 4 @ $7

Oodalolly scrap coasters

IMG_2011

Journal Covers: @ $17 each

Journal cover tutorial

also from pieced scraps

put to use

All images from Stitched in Color.

Pillows: @ $25 each

April Favorites {Blogger's Pillow Party}

Summerlove Spring Birdie Pillow

Makeup Roll: @ $25 each

                                                Version #1

                                                      Version #2

  Version #3

Version #4

All makeup rolls images are from Stitched in Color.

Purses and Totes: @ $35

Short & Sassy

Pretty in pleats cover

Nanette cover

All purse and tote patterns are from Artsy Crafty Babe.

So what are your thoughts? Please leave me a comment and I won’t take offense! I understand that you are giving your advice on what you will pay.

I am linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts “Finish it up Friday”. While this is not a finish, per say, it is a decision to sell some items that was finally made.  

Chocolate Survey

Adam and I, with the Lords leading, are taking the leap of faith and venturing into the world of chocolatiers. Before we get to far in this, however, we need some options.

Your opinion!

Please take a moment to think about these questions and leave a comment with your answers. It’s really important! (If you are here from Facebook, you can go back and leave your comments there, if you wish.)

Chocolate bar:

We will be doing a dark (60%) chocolate bar and a milk chocolate-like bar (except there will be no milk solids and it will not be as sweet as “normal” milk chocolate it). Our chocolates have chocolate as the 1st and main ingredient, NOT SUGAR. There are no artificial flavors or colors. The ingredients are (from greatest amount to the least amount): chocolate, sugar, cocoa butter/butter, organic vanilla bean.

1. Would you buy a plain chocolate bar or one that had things added to it?

2. What type of things to you like in your chocolate: almonds? toffee? caramel?

3. What size of a bar do you prefer: a flat rectangle? a skinny long rectangle? small squat bars?

Truffles:

Will want to add truffles to our product line, both of the dark chocolate and the not-so-light chocolate (we’re not quite sure what to call it, since it doesn’t have milk in it. Suggestions?). The truffle will have a harder shell around it.

1. What kind of filling do you like in a truffle: ganache? chocolate mint? chocolate nut butter? coconut cream? all of the above?

Chocolate nut butter:

Chocolate nut butters will also be featured. Similar to Nutella, but without all the added hydrogenated oils and less sugar. Chocolate nut butter is a chocolate nut spread that is creamy enough to spread on bread, crackers, apples, etc., but is not runny.

1. What type of nut butter would you prefer: chocolate peanut? chocolate almond? chocolate cashew? chocolate hazel nut?

THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP!!!!

For those of you who live in Crandon, we may be calling on you for guinea pigs. See? Sometimes living in Crandon can be a good thing! Winking smile

Working and flying and quilting, oh my!

This week went well. It looks like I’m getting over the “sick once a week” thing that plagued me for the last 4 months. I’m getting things done that have bothered me for quite some time, due to be not having the energy to do even the basics. I’m certainly not nesting, a normal occurrence in many pregnant ladies except yours truly. In all my pregnancies, I didn’t go through the “nesting stage” near the end, but I seem to always do it in stages. A little here, a little there … it works for me. I’m certainly taking advantage of the energy spurts that I’m having. This last week I got all of the children’s clothes switched out for the next season, I cleaned off the front porch (no easy task, I tell you!), we cleaned up the yard, I’m all caught up on the laundry (I do, on average, 18 loads a week. So you can imagine how behind I was!), and I’m mentally “awake” during school with the children enough that I think we’ll actually end on time!

I have mentioned before that in February, my father was diagnosed with brain cancer. The chemo was causing some real problems, both mentally and physically. So the Dr.’s stopped giving it to him and they put a shunt in the base of his skull to alleviate pressure that was in his brain. He is doing much better now, which is a relief. It was looking very grim there for awhile. We were thinking of making a trip out to VA this summer as a family, but I don’t think it would be a good idea right now. He’s not “all there” yet, having troubles remembering his children’s names. That’s not a time to be introducing new grandchildren to him (we haven’t seen him since Isaac was 8 months old, so he has never met Malachi, Nathaniel or Damaris). It has been decided that Damaris and I will be flying out Memorial weekend to visit him. It’s going to be weird taking care of only 1 child for a few days and I’m a bit nervous on how she will be in the plane. We have 2 layovers, each over an hour long, so I’m hoping that will help to get her to walk/run around. She doesn’t sit on my lap for very long, so that is my biggest concern. I have selected window seats all the way, here’s hoping I actually get those seats. We have a little over a month before we leave, so I think I’m going to “practice” holding her on my lap to try and get her used to it. Perhaps then it won’t be so strange and such a struggle to keep her content.

On another note, I think I’m getting myself into trouble with my ideas  (at least that’s what my husband says Embarrassed smile). I LOVE to create things by sewing. Baby quilts, wall hangings, table runners, fabric ornaments, baby toys, fabric boxes, …. just about anything to do with delicious fabric and more delicious fabric! I do like to make clothing as well, but that’s more of a necessity than a hobby. I have been toying with the idea to have an outlet of some sort to not only have a reason to make things, but to sell them as well. Not to make a large profit or anything. I’m not looking to make this a full time business, for I already have 3 of those: motherhood, teaching, and catering! Just something to make enough off of to fund the next project. But I’m at a loss as to the avenue to sell them. I’ve thought of Etsy, but it is so busy as it is, plus the high costs if you sell something, that I can’t think of anything that would set me apart from anyone else. It’s the same thing with Ebay, although that has a much larger customer base. I have thought of making a web site, stating the things I have for sale, but I’m unsure of how to advertise that I’m even there. I do have a blog, but I don’t have much traffic with it, so I’m not sure that would be a good avenue. I’ve thought of having a facebook page, which we have for our catering business. But I’m not interested in paying for an ad, so it would be word of mouth only.

There are two craft fairs that we have here in town during the summer that I have thought about having a tent/booth in. I could sell my wares there. I’m just unsure if I can make enough to keep making more. My idea is to use the time in a whole year, make things throughout that year, and sell them at these fairs. But at $50 for a space (each fair), could I really make enough to fund the next years worth of projects? I wouldn’t have the tent area packed or anything, maybe have 7 – 10 different products with 3-6 items under each product. I’m also not interested in making things to order nor making large quilts (a twin is the largest I really want to do, although I’ve done larger ones). I already have several quilt designs and different craft ideas in my head that are just dying to be made! If this is something I decide to do, I wouldn’t do anything this year. I’d use the next year to build up my stock. … I suppose the only way I’m going to know for sure is by doing it and see what happens. That’s what we had to do when we started making cheesecakes.

I’m ready and willing to take the risk of spending money to make these various items and not sell much. But is my husband? That, my friends, is the big question. Winking smile

What is your opinion?

Jennifer

A little bit here, a little bit there

I felt pretty good this last week, which was quite the blessing. Not just in the sense of feeling good (finally!!), but also because it was a busy week and I need to have the energy to get through everything. The eldest 5 had dentist appointments in a city that is

1 1/2 hours south of us. The children like going to this office for 2 reasons: #1.) There is a slide and video games in the waiting room. Yes, I mean an actual slide! Not the cheesy ones that you’d find on a Walmart type of swing set, but the large, enclosed kind you find at a nice park playground. The videos are fun for them since we don’t have a TV, Nintendo anything, and we seriously limit their computer time. #2.) They can watch cartoons or a movie while being in “the chair”. That’s a far cry from when I went to the dentist! I remember when they wouldn’t even let you bring in a walk man to listen to (oh my! Did I just date myself with that one!). I like going to this office for one obvious reason: all 5 can be seen in a 2 hour period. Score!!

Unfortunately, Maacah got sick in the morning before we left. I felt so bad for her, but we had to go. We’ve had this appointment since last September and we had other important errands to run. It’s bad enough to be sick, but to be so while traveling is just awful! Damaris got sick on the way down, as well. It has since gone through all but 3 of us (Adam, Grace, and myself) and I’m that if we’re going to get it, it comes  before this weekend. We are due to visit some friends then and I don’t want any of us to be sick while there.

We then had a catering event on Thursday. It wasn’t a big one and they wanted a simple lunch menu (sandwich wraps, chips, fruit, veggies w/ dip, and dessert), so Adam was able to do it himself. It was a bit of a rush it get it all done, including the county meal, but all was good in the end. It looks like things are picking up with functions and this is good.

In pregnancy news, I had a horrible bout with heart burn on Sunday. I woke up Sunday morning about 3:30am in some serious pain! No matter what position I was in, the pain was bad. And it last all day and into the night. By evening time, I was also feeling some strong Braxton hicks. I have never felt them this early nor that strong, but this pregnancy has been so waco anyway, that it might as well go all the way! Perhaps it will be more different still in that this baby will come early instead of late. I’m totally cool with that!!Open-mouthed smile

Speaking of labor, at this point we have made the decision not to induce early. From where things are right now, the risks are pretty equal on either side and because there are no definite reasons to cause us to induce, it makes more sense to wait. Of course, there are many things that can happen in 4 months and if something comes to light that puts the risks higher on the side of waiting, then we will take that into consideration. This is not necessarily a “done and closed” decision, for I don’t think it is wise to say “this is what we are going to do no matter what”. There is also the aspect of faith. How can I say that I have faith in God, that I trust His judgment, and yet turn around and disprove that with my actions? It seems very hypocritical to me. Therefore, my actions need to mirror my words. If you ask any Christian who strives to live according to what and how God wants them to, you’ll find that this is no easy task! Yet, it is one of the most important ones for any Christian to do. I know there will be people who disagree with us on this, and that is fine. It is up to each father and mother to decide what is best for their children. At this junction, this is what we believe to be best.

It seems that time is finally speeding up a bit and the days are passing quicker. There are so many things that I want to accomplish: I want school to be done for the girls by the end of May (I switched Isaac’s curriculum mid year, so he is about a 1/2 a year behind the girls. If we went all through the summer, he’d be done about mid Sept. But we will stop at the end of June and pick up again when the girls start next fall. He’ll still be about 10 weeks behind, but he’ll catch up just fine), there are some cleaning and small remodeling jobs I want to get done, and there are many sewing projects I have lined up. I completely cheated this year with Easter dresses, though. I usually make matching dresses for all of us, but we are going to a very close friends sons’ wedding this summer and those matching dresses are reserved for that. However, the girls looks forward to getting new dresses around this time, so I found a dress for each at Goodwill. The neckline needed to be altered on Grace’s and both hem lines needed to be shortened some (Grace wears an adult size 12 for the chest and middle, and Maacah wears an adult size 16). Even so, it was cheap, quick, easy, and the girls are happy. For Damaris, she has a dress with butterfly’s embroidered on it that I had made for Grace when she was this age and I’m fine with the dresses I have. So that leaves 6 dresses, 4 shirts, 2 caps, 2 baby quilts, 1 pinafore, a few slips, some other small sewing projects, clean out and organize the garage, try and finish the girls room, attempt to repair the water damaged wall in the downstairs bathroom (w/ Adam’s help), … all by mid July.  Whew! You better believe I’m praying for good days and energy!

Jennifer

Well THAT was long!

I haven’t had 3 month last this long since my first pregnancy! Sheesh!! Disappointed smile

We had a lot of traveling this week, along with some big purchases. We are very careful with our money, seeing that we are 1 income and we started a new business. Thankfully, Adam is very good with money (while I am not! That makes for an interesting situation sometimes. ). But we have prayed about these things and, since we came across these good deals, we decided to make them right now. We traveled on Thursday to Green Bay, which is 2 hours south of us, to buy a 6×12 enclosed trailer. We have needed this for some time with the catering business. Esp. when doing a wedding for 250 + people! Then on Saturday, we traveled to the Minneapolis, MN area (which is 4 hours west of us) to pick up a walk-in-freezer. We have a 2 door, reach in freezer, but we don’t have enough room in it for everything we need. Thankfully, it is as cold outside as it is in a freezer, so we have some cases of food out there right now. But soon enough, we won’t have that option. When we came across this walk-in-freezer on Craigslist, we went for it. We are hoping to be able to take out one of the windows on the far wall of the commercial kitchen, enlarge it the size of the doorway of the freezer, so that we can have access to the freezer from the inside (while having the body of the freezer outside).

Today, Monday, we have 2 doctor appointments in the next town, about 40 minutes away. While I’m in the office, Adam will take the other 4 children and go to various shopping places to get the things we need. We have Bible study tonight at 6 pm that Adam is leading. That only gives us 4 hours to finish the appointments, get our shopping done, have something for supper, and go 35 minutes in the opposite direction for the Bible study! Whew!! I’m tired just thinking about it! That’s not to mention all the school and laundry that needs to be done. Sigh

On the baby front, I’m just baffled at some of the things I’m feeling. Starting last Thursday or Friday, I’ve been having quite the “growing pains” in my abdomen. I have also been feeling pressure in my pelvic area that I don’t remember feeling until about 20 weeks or so. I have this pressure whenever I stand for 10 minutes or longer. Weird! I’m also feeling movement. Not all the time, but every now and then I feel a flutter. It seems to me that I’ve been feeling movement for a few weeks now, but since I think it’s too soon for that, I must be imagining it. I still can’t eat as much as I usually do, although that’s not a bad thing. Nyah-Nyah I know that I’m sounding like a broken record, but I just can’t get passed how different this pregnancy is from my other ones! If it turns out to be a single baby in there, I’m going to be more shocked then ever before!! For if this is indeed a multiple pregnancy, it would explain so much. Of course, I’m really running the risk of sounding totally loony with having no basis for thinking this way, except for a really strange pregnancy. That’s how the cookie crumbles sometimes, I suppose.

Jennifer

A new year. A new job. A new baby.

Today Adam starts the county job. It’s going to be really weird. He’s going to be in the commercial kitchen working, but he’s still going to be home. And he should be done delivering the food until 11 AM or so. But it’s going to be wonderful having him home. We’ll have to work out how it is going to work with how much we talk with him, bother him, and see him while he’s working in there. He has to have all the food done, about 80 meals a day to 3 different sites, by 9:45 AM to the first site. He’ll be doing as much of the work the day before as he can, so that there is not too much to do the morning of the meal.

I am also looking forward to not having to cook lunch. Yeah! We’ve decided that as long as he’s cooking food that morning, he might as well cook enough for our family for lunch. And that will be so nice! To get lunch finished at a good time, I need to start things at about 11 AM, but we are still doing school at that time and it’s not always easy to do both at the same time. Now I don’t have to! :0) And since Adam will be delivering food 4 days a week, each day he will take 1 of the 4 older children with him. It will be a good way for each child to spend time with Adam, something that doesn’t happen often. Monday’s will only be about 15 minutes, so Malachi will probably go with him that day. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday he’ll be gone for about an hour, so Maacah, Grace, and Isaac will go with him those days (1 child each day). That’s the idea, anyway. We’ll see how it really works.

Nathaniel will be 3 on Tuesday, January 4. It is so hard to get used to each new birthday! They grow up so fast, it about takes my breath away! We celebrated our family Christmas party New Year’s Eve, and since we have 3 January birthdays, we decided to celebrate the birthday that night as well. He’ll still get his birthday meal on Tuesday as well as little things, so the day is still special for him. He’s still no potty trained, but I’m working on it. I’ll admit, that my pride has taken a beating over this. All the other ones were done, both day and night, by age 3. Not him. Sigh And it’s not because I haven’t tried! He’s just so stubborn that he wants to wear “big boy undies” and not diapers anymore, but when we tell him to go to the bathroom (with us or the older girls) and try and go potty, he won’t do it. And so he ends up messing his undies over and over and over again, for days. And. He. Doesn’t. Care. So I’ve thrown up my hands in despair and put him back in diapers. I really think it’s a power thing with him, instead of an understanding thing. But, I’ll try it again. We’ll see. I know he will be trained one day and I’m aiming for it to be before August!

One day I think that the nausea has decreased, then I wake up the next day and rethink that idea! But I suppose all this nausea shows that things are good and all, so I’m not complaining. Much. :0) 8 weeks. 2 months already. I know this pregnancy is just going to fly! Although there are days where it seems to creep, but I think that’s the day itself. It would creep whether I was pregnant or not. I can’t say I’m bored, though. With 6 VERY active children in the house, there’s no chance of it! There are days where it’s nigh impossible for me to go to the bathroom without someone knocking “Mama? Are you in there?” “Are you done yet?”, “Mama! ______ did _______to me..!” It is all worth it, though. I love everyone of my children and I think the Lord for them daily. I really do. They have taught me so much! Things that I couldn’t have learned any other way. And I know that this baby will be as much of a joy to me as they are! Although the screaming and fighting I really could to without….

2 months down, 8 to go!!