Wednesday, December 9, 2009

My New Purse

Mr. Ted went hunting for a week in the woods of Northern MN with the "Men" and left us girlies home on our own back in November. I usually go a bit crazy and do things like painting rooms, chopping down trees, etc when I am up late at night not able to sleep because he is gone.

But since we have school every day, I could not do anything too crazy. My whylie hair did get the best of me one day and I stopped at my favorite quilting store (with the girls, who ran around the store like wild Indians... I can say that because I am Indian, you know...). I picked out this awesome pattern by Amy Butler, called the Frenchy Bag and picked out these fun funky fabrics. I told myself that if I did not stay up and get it all done in one night, it would sit there for at least a year along with all of my other half done projects.

So, I sewed like a crazy lady until 2:30 in the morning and here is my result. I totally love my new purse and I just know you are going to try to steal it from me... Maybe if I can get another one done I will have a contest and you can win it... But don't hold your breath, we're still behind in Math, and there are presents to wrap, Christmas Cards to assemble, you know, you've got a list too!

The pattern has two sizes, this is the larger size. I like the smaller size too, it's just right for carrying a book or if you are a smaller purse lover. There are two large pockets inside, which I decided to sew down the middle of those and make into four pockets, which is perfect for cell phones, pens, etc! I may look like a grungy momma at the grocery store, but I have a totally hip Frenchy Bag now - watch out ladies!

Busy Beavers - Part 2

More pioneer food sampling... (Oops, I put them in backwards again! I'm too tired to fix it though...) These are Johnny Cakes, kind of like Hasty Pudding, but slightly different ingredients and then you fry them like pancakes. We ate them with Apple Butter and Molasses (both traditional pioneer toppings). We all liked them alot!
We went to one of the apple orchards in Southern MN and picked a whole bunch of apples to make apple sauce. Here is Emelia slicing...
And Hannah doing the stirring...
Hannah decided to make Mickey Mouse ears one day, and as you can see, she is quite proud of her new "do".

Busy Beavers!

I know it has been awhile... we've been very busy. The past two weeks we've been sick. Miss Hannah came down with H1N1, and then pneumonia on top of it! Thank you to those of you who have prayed for her. She has now had pneumonia 3 times in her life of 4 years, so we are learning now that we must be very careful with her when she comes down with anything. Thanks to Mr. Nebby (Nebulizer), things are looking up! And amazingly none of us got the H1N1, but I (Angela) have had a bad cold/sinus issues this week. It's really hard to get anything done when we are feeling so crummy... but here are some things we've been doing prior to being sick.The girls had a blast picking out things at the dollar store for the shoe boxes for kids less fortunate. Although there were a few moans about wanting to keep particular items for themselves :)
One day we made our own homemade ink with berries and wrote with feather pens, pretending we were pioneers.
Yummmy! Or is it Yucky? Remember Yankee Doodle? Well, the assignment on this day was to make "hasty pudding". And indeed, it was hasty, easy to make and according to Hannah delicious! (I have to say it was quite good with butter and maple syrup on it). Emelia was not such a fan of it, but was a good sport anyways. Another name for Hasty Pudding is mush, and the other day when I asked Hannah what she wanted for lunch, she said "MUSH!"
Oops, these pics got in the wrong order, but here is the final product - homemade bread!
Emelia and Hannah had a great time mashing and kneading it. We were suppose to share it with a neighbor, but I feared making someone sick, so we did the taste testing ourselves. It was great and we didn't get sick either (what a bonus!)
Making homemade play dough...
And in case you missed the great butter dance video, here's another shot of Millie doing the shaka-shaka-shaka!
Canoe's while studying the Native Americans. Did you all know that I am part Indian? I told the girls I am really Pocahontas. I think they believe me... Really, I am... but it is a really long story...
Science experiments, which Daddy loves to help out with. One bottle has yeast and sugar and one has yeast and salt. Guess which one releases the gas and blows up the balloon? You'll have to come to homeschool at our house to find out!
And now you are probably thinking what an amazing teacher I am. Not really, I'm just following directions in my lesson plans, and No, we do not have this much fun every day. This week I've been kind of a drill sargent since we didn't get much done last week. Hopefully we can dig out of all of this snow soon and get up to the cities for some fun with family and playtime with cousins!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Last Bike Ride of the Season

After two months of rain, rain, rain, we had a sunny day last Saturday and took advantage of the warm Indian Summer Day by loading up our bikes and hitting the trails one last time! It felt sooo good to be out in nature peddling away. It was neat to see things that are usually hidden by all the trees now that the leaves are all off.
Hannah rides in the red "burly" type carrier with all sorts of drinks, snacks and buddies to keep her company. She wants to ride with us like a big girl, so next year we may have to come up with another alternative.
We rode 10 miles (20 total) from Welch Village to Cannon Falls. When you get into Cannon Falls there is an awesome old train station building that is a photographer's delight. I always drool over it when we pass by. I finally got the family to take a break there and smile a few times for me. Someday I'd love to do a full photo shoot there of the girls. I love the textures and colors of the old wood.
Isn't this view beautiful? It is in Welch, where we started our ride. In the summer you can also go tubing there and there is a great ice cream shop there as well:)
Now I guess it's time to put our bikes away and snuggle in for the winter. Hannah and I were working on a quilt for her today so maybe that will get me motivated to get some sewing done over the winter months. I used to hate January because it is so depressing and cold and it reminds me of the babies we have lost, but when I discovered how much sewing I can get done in January, I decided that maybe I could start to like January again.

Oh yeah, and you all would be happy to know that I managed to eat chili tonight, with my kids for dinner - what an accomplishment!

Mom's Dinner Menu - Hostess Cupcakes, Twinkies and Peanuts...

Oh, what is a tired mother to do? Daddy has been gone hunting all week and us girls are going a bit crazy about now. I wanted to hang the children up by their toes this evening, but as we all know that is not acceptable, so I did what I had to do. I put them to bed and then started eating. First a chocolate hostess cupcake... you know the ones with the yummy white filling inside? Then next, a twinkie. Oh, I can feel the stress melting away now. The house is quiet and the chocolate is starting to calm me down...

So about an hour after the cupcake and twinkie, I started to wonder why I was feeling hungry. I went in search of another snack and landed upon some peanuts. Then my brain awoke and I realized that I never ate dinner. Well, I guess it turns out I ate a cupcake, a twinkie and peanuts for dinner. And then because I was such a good girl I gave myself a few candy marshmallow peanuts for dessert. (Don't tell my mom, please!)

Uff Dah. No, don't get all worked up, the kids ate a very nice well rounded meal of mixed veggies and spaghetti - ohs. But somewhere in that mix of dinner I missed the part where I am suppose to join them in the eating of the healthy food. Oops. Anyone out there, can I get an amen? Oh, Ted, please come home soon!

Now, really, we have had some fun, but 3 women in a house all week with no maleness to bring some balance? It's a setup, I tell ya!

On a happy note, us girlie's did make it to the rock climbing outing with our home school group this morning. The girls did an awesome job climbing, but guess who forgot her camera? Has that ever happened before? Not to my knowledge. Yikes! And, even mommy gave it a go at the climbing. I made it to the top two times... It made me feel like I was 15 again, climbing at Taylor's Falls with my youth group. Hopefully next time I can get a few pics of the climbers.

Sleep sweet everyone. It's time for mama bear to sign off. But maybe just one more cupcake before bed.... Just Kidding! (Okay, maybe just a bite of chocolate...)

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Butter Dance

Last week we had some Pilgrim fun as we made our own homemade butter. It was so much fun... it brought back memories of when I made butter in Kindergarten! All you do is put some heavy whipping cream in a glass jar and shake, shake, shake. And just when you think it will never happen, it suddenly turns into a big glob of butter! I know that you are going to want to make your own after you watch this video:)

Monday, November 9, 2009

My Very Verbal Child

I am sitting here correcting last weeks worksheets while Emelia is doing art. Here is a snippet from one of her worksheets that will make you smile.

"Write two sentences about what Don will do with his sled the first time it snows."

Here is her answer:

"Don got a new sled. When it snows I will go sledding. And when it snowed he got out his sled. He went down down down the big snowy hill. It was fun. His mother maid hot chocolate after. It was good. :)"

Yeah, that was 7 sentences...

This girl came out with something to say! I can't wait to see how God will use this gift as she grows!

PS - Did you catch that phonetic spelling, "maid". I think deep down she meant what she wrote, "mother maid". Aren't we all?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Fall Fun Fest!

Since I am not much of a fan of Halloween, but the girls still like to dress up in costumes, we have found a great alternative at the local church called a Fall Fun Fest. They have games and candy for the kids, and it's in a safe, lighted, non-scary environment. So here they are doing the cake walk, which was Hannah's favorite game. The both were excited to win a cupcake:)You can probably tell that Hannah is a Ballerina Princess. Emelia is being the American Girl Molly. These days she loves American Girl anything. And since mom did not get the elaborate costumes sewn for them that she had hoped to (maybe next year!), Emelia the creative woman dug through the closet and came out saying, I've got a Molly costume! Yay for Emelia and Yay for Mom, who did not have to stay up until 3am the night before, sewing:)
And just who are these two adorable honey's you ask? My neice and nephew. It was Clara's first birthday last weekend and I happened to catch a shot of Clara and Zion together for their moment on the rocking chair together. And these two lucky babies are both getting a new sibling next spring. One of my sisters is due in March and one is due just a few weeks later in April. I only wish I could join the pregnancy bandwagon and say I am having one in May, but a friend of mine has taken that slot as well. I've missed the slots for June and July and probably August as well. I've always wanted a fall baby, so maybe God will open up my womb soon and bless it:) In any event, we are all enjoying these new little lives in our family and I love having new subjects to capture. Don't you just want to eat these two up? I know that their Nana does!
And here are all of the cousins together. "Z" is a giraffe, Emelia as Molly, Hannah as Ballerina and Clara as a Bumble Bee. Happy Harvest Ya'll.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

You just need a laugh today...

I have been sorting photos on my computer in anticipation of the yearly photo calendar for the grandparents and ran across these taken in June. I laughed pretty hard myself and could not resist sharing them with you in case you have had a rough week and just need to smile:) I could not quite decide what to call her, "Beach Cowgirl", "Summer Princess", or I guess "Diva" pretty much sums it all up, hugh?
And if she is not already mad at me for posting these (or will be someday), I don't even have to ask you what it looks like she is doing in this last pic. This one is especially to make her Oompa laugh... and we all know Oomps loves a good laugh!

And yes, those are Princess band-aids on both of her knees!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Life Lessons 101

So, one day Mommy got frustrated because the lesson plan called for us to make a 6 foot tall triangle that contained 1000 tiny triangles all glued onto 100 medium triangles, glued onto 10 large triangles, glued into the 6 foot tall "magnificat". Usually I look at the lesson plans the night before so I am prepared, but on this particular day I had not. We were not about to spend our entire day cutting and gluing. So, in my inner frustration I looked outside at the car and went Ah-Ha! Change of plans... what is more important in life, that you can glue a whole bunch of triangles together, or that you know how to clean the grub off your car? (Plus it saved me 6 to 8 dollars at the car-wash!)The girls had a total blast getting dirty, soapy and wet. And it happened to start raining while they were scrubbing which led to incredible laughter and giggling. By the end of the project we were all soaked to the bone and made a few memories that I hope they won't ever forget:)

Wigwams and Tee-Pees

Here's one of our latest projects for school. We have been studying early American History and the Native Americans. First we tore up bits of paper to make wigwams...
Then the girls pained designs for their tee-pees. I'd say they did a great job. Teacher says A+!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sorting and Sewing...

Today we are doing home school inside the house since it is so cold and the three season porch (our school room) is very chilly! So, Emelia and I are in the dining room trying to get work done. Hannah found these magnets that have not been played with for awhile. The funniest thing is that all I suggested to her was to put them on the fridge. This is how she put them on. Can you tell who is my orderly child that used to line up her peas in a row on her high chair? When she said, Mommy, look at what I did, I looked at the fridge and had to laugh. Yep, sweet Hannah will do a great job of keeping Mommy and Emelia in line as we embark on this homeschooling journey!
And look at what my horse enthusiast made last week! We are going to go horse camping with friends this weekend and it can get very chilly in October in a small tent. Emelia picked out two fleece fabrics and Mommy helped her to learn how to sew them together to make a nice snuggly blanket:) She did a great job and I am so proud of her! Now the only thing left to do is figure out how Mommy can avoid being bucked off the horse... (A story for a later time!)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Two Sweeties...

Here are the two sweeties that I mentioned in the post below. This is on the first day of Homeschool. Will post more soon (hopefully!)

Arboretum With My Best Buddy...

Just a few weeks ago I had the privilege of spending the day with my best buddy at the Arboretum, enjoying all the beauty of this outdoor garden. Here's a couple shots of a few of my favorite things... pine cones and roses!

I've Fallen Off The Truck...

Well, not really, but I sort of feel like I have. You see, just three weeks ago the Wests started a new journey in to the world of Homeschooling. Angela has now become a full time teacher as well as Mommy, Wife and various other titles. I should clarify the falling off the truck statement. In these short three weeks so many amazing things have begun to happen. Many things are falling by the wayside (the falling off the truck part) like blogging, laundry, dishes, shopping for groceries, making dinners... You get the picture. But the actual process of Homeschooling is going awesome. I was excited and nervous about this new adventure, but in just a few short weeks He has confirmed that this is the right choice for our family at this time. It has been wonderful for my relationship with Emelia. As many of you know we endured quite the moldy nightmare in Iowa with our house. One thing that has always saddened me is that Emelia had to put up with a lot while we dealt with many issues. It was hard to fully be all that I desired to be for her when we were trying to fix and replace walls, etc. Of course she is a trooper and did not complain, but I did not have the time to spend with her that I desired to.

So fast forward a couple of years and here we are in MN and Emelia is going to a wonderful Christian school not far from where we live. But then we discovered quickly that her bus rides were quite long and she was on the bus 2-3 hours a day. She was having to be woken up at 5:30 in the morning, didn't get home until sometimes close to 4pm and needed to be in bed by 7pm. Which still was not getting enough sleep and it made for an unhappy child in the evenings as she was sooo tired. So we started thinking and praying about the home school option and God just seemed to open wide the doors and usher us in to this new world.

In the past three weeks I have seen such a peaceful happy child. So much has improved just by us all being able to get a good nights sleep. I am discovering that there is much that I must lay aside to properly perform my new duties as teacher, but I am happy to do this. I only wish I would have stopped my life even sooner for these two precious gifts we have been given. I am seeing how short a time we have to teach our children and how quickly they are growing and will want to spread their wings to fly. Well, anyways I know I am rambling and I don't want any of you to feel that I am judging you for choosing another schooling option for your child, but I am just wanting to praise my Father for opening up my eyes to the needs of our two sweeties. (And by the way Hannah is having a blast doing preschool with Mommy too. If she wasn't so young I'd say she was ready for kindergarten this year!)

So, If I am not too great at calling you or emailing you back or doing something I promised to get done for you, please don't take it personally. I feel as though I am birthing something new in my life and am a bit forgetful of other things that may or may not need to get done. Hopefully I can figure out how to get groceries and do some cooking soon so my hubby doesn't starve:)

And if I happen to find another spare moment soon I will try to post some pics from the first day of our school! I've had to make a personal bedtime for my self of 12pm. Which is super late for some of you, but for me the night owl, this can be difficult! As you can see I am cutting it pretty close to my curfew! Sweet dreams all!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Drum Roll Please...

Well, here we are, after about 18 months of being in process, the cabinets are done! Here is what they looked like when we purchased the home. And for those of you who know me well, you know I have this quirk about WHITE kitchen cabinets. I know that its just all stuff and doesn't matter much in the whole realm of eternity... but I do love white cabinets. They are so fresh and cheerful. And you spend much of your day in the kitchen... or at least I do. So while I'm there I'd like to foster that cheerfulness as much as possible:) The first stage was to say goodbye to the stars, stripes and flags and I painted the walls a beige just to calm things down a bit. Then I could not take any more "zebras" as I lovingly called my cabinets, so off came the doors. My mom had seen a HGTV episode where they took plain flat door cabinets and added trim to dress them up. We decided to try it and after some initial debates about how to go about the project (you've got an engineer and and artist trying to come up with a plan:)) we got the trim on, primed and painted them... you guessed it - a lovely shade of white. Actually they are really more creamy to coordinate with the almond colored oven and fridge.

We also got new door handles, pulls and hinges at Menards...
Sorry folks, you are gonna have to say goodbye to the stars and stripes forever....

The only thing left is a kitchen curtain I am working on, which hopefully will not take 18 more months to complete. The walls are a soft, but cheery green and I will accent with my current favorite colors of pink, green and blue. So, here's to show you can remake your kitchen on a dime. A couple of gallons of paint and some new hardware... cheerful, happy kitchen here we come!
PS - A special thanks to my hubby for taking a whole day off of work just to cut and nail on all the trim... what would I do without you?

Friday, August 21, 2009

Look at what I found in my sink!

This is the cutest "dirty dish" I've ever washed in my sink... My niece Clara and my sister came for a visit a week ago. Since my baby tub was way up in the attic, the kitchen sink was the next best thing! Isn't she a honey?

I love to wash dishes!

Yep, It's true. I'm not a fan of chores in general, but here is one that I truly can say that I love. This occurred to me as I was standing at the sink once again this evening. It really is some form of therapy or something for me. I like to wash when I am happy, sad or mad. I love that I can look out my kitchen window at three large and lovely pine trees while I wash. I love the pink hand soap that I keep right by the faucet. I love my pretty dishes, each with their own distinct personality:) I am a firm believer that you should have dishes that you love, because you look at them so often! My recent set that I have been enjoying is actually mismatched old plates with flowers on them (shabby chic). The great thing is that when you break one, just go to your local antique store and find a new one - yay! Ted thinks I break them sometimes on purpose just so I can go find a new one.... (No, I don't! But that may be a good idea if I get tired of any particular dish...)

Anyways, back to washing.... Now, don't get me wrong, there are plenty of times that every dish in the house is dirty and my family is looking at me wondering what to eat off of, but no matter the occasion, once I get started all is well with life. If you are mad it is a good way to work off the steam. It gives you time to think as you soak your hands in warm sudsy water. If you are sad you can stand there and cry and the tears fall nicely into the sink, not making any additional mess.

Now you must know, there are a few rules and regulations as goes with the washing. I love washing the plates first. Then bowls and cups. Cups must be turned over upside down for a few minutes, then turned right side up to dry fully. A few items that I don't particularly enjoy washing are the silverware and plastic containers from work lunches. I don't know why, but I always avoid these guys until the very end. Sometimes the silverware soaks for a day before I will submit and wash them.

And then once they are all done it's time to scrub out the sink. I love to use Soft Scrub with bleach in it to make it nice and white. And Barkeepers Friend to get out all the scratches from metal pans. Is there another lovelier sight than that sparkly white sink? Ok, my children are pretty darn cute, but the sink comes close. For a moment world peace has been achieved until someone walks by and puts their dirty coffee mug in my sink. Thank you Lord for another dish to wash!

Now, I have to give credit where credit is due. Thanks to my dear mom and dad for making me wash so many dishes for all of my growing up years. I am sure I complained plenty when the request was called out, but in the end I fell in love. Way to go on the training us up in the way we should go... it appears that in the end I did not depart from it:)

And on a last note, please, please, please do not ask me to dry the dishes. This, I cannot stand. Why? I don't know, maybe I didn't get to practice that one enough, or maybe it's that there is no window to look out when I dry. Drying is one of those miracles meant to be accomplished by the Lord himself. Thank you Lord for being such a great dryer!

And now that you are convinced of my complete insanity, I say adieu. Happy Washing!

Oh, I forgot one last thing. When you are done don't forget to squeeze out your awesome Norwex dish rag and hang it nicely over the middle of the sink. It hides the big gouge that was on it when we bought the house and if it's a pink dish cloth, it's more pretty to look at:)

Saturday, August 8, 2009


As most of you know, I love to paint. I love to see how I can transform a room with a new color... Here's a peek at what our dining room looked like when we purchased the home two years ago. Do you notice the lovely spider web design that the chandelier casted on the ceiling?Yep, that was the first thing to go. For awhile I had the walls beige, just to calm down the situation so I could think straight, but then I decided on a happy green to bring some cheerfulness to the room. Here's the final product. We found the new chandelier from Home Depot on line, (very reasonable price!). Since there is no office in the house, this room has to function as office/dining room. We found the storage cabinet on the left of the room at Home Decorators, which is an offshoot from Home Depot. It stores all of our computer stuff and office stuff. And when I'm not taking pictures of the room, I keep a bin on it for bills and other papers that need to be dealt with on a regular basis. OK, in actuality it is usually covered with papers, but that's life, right? One more small project I hope to get to some day is to make a fabric cover for the file cabinet so that you don't know it is a file cabinet.
What do you think about these interesting rectangles? We could not quite figure them out so we had to paint them away... Our dining room is off of the kitchen and also goes into the living room.

And if you are wondering what the white thing is that is hanging above the storage furniture, it is a piece of tin ceiling tile that used to be in old buildings. I found it at my favorite store, the Painted Porch and thought about it for about a month before I went back to get it. Ted thinks I am a bit crazy, but I love it and it was way cheaper than buying a new piece of framed artwork for the wall!

We put our kitchen table here for now, but I am dreaming of getting an antique white table that is expandable to seat up to 10 for holidays when family comes to visit. You all can drop Ted a hint when you see him and remind him my birthday is just around the corner. But for now I am very happy and content with my transformation!

about us

The West Ranch currently consists of Ted, head Rancher, Angela, Ted's right hand woman, and two busy little wranglers, Emelia and Hannah.