Not too sure how to explain how I feel right now. We dropped Garrick off at the airport this morning for his ‘deployment’. Even if he is a civilian now, he’s still decided to volunteer overseas and serve our country. Up until this week I forgot this feeling. We’ve been through this before but that doesn’t change the knot I have in my stomach, and the ache in my chest. I miss him. I just want to crawl in bed and sleep. Partly because I haven’t slept all week. I’m exhausted. I hate this feeling. I don’t want to eat or talk to anyone, but there is also this feeling for someone to talk  to, so I can stop feeling sad. It will get better, I just want to cuddle with my girls. We’re a busy family and my job is to keep things together. I’m a military wife which makes me part of the most amazing group of women I know. I hate not being on base with the support system and understanding that only other military wives provide.  But I know just because I’m not living close to my military friends doesn’t mean I don’t have their support. We’ve all been through this before and know how it feels. Even if you’re not military you probably know someone that is or has gone through a deployment. I guess I can’t organize my thoughts right now and am not sure where I’m going with anything. But just keep us and other military families in your thoughts.

Oh and to make this week even worse than it had to be, we’re not moved into our new house yet. We had a home buying nightmare 5 hrs before closing with our bank and weren’t able to move in this week. They had issues with him switching jobs even though we made things clear about his employment. It’s apparent someone, somewhere wasn’t doing their job and we now understand why so many veterans are homeless.  But we’ve switched banks and will close as soon as we get things switched over to the new bank. It’s just tough because Garrick won’t be in the new house with us like we had planned.  It’s been a heartbreaking week, but it will get better. Moving will keep us busy here at home and Garrick will be busy getting settled into his new home for a year somewhere in Afghanistan. And today the countdown to his leave starts so we’ll be able to see him in about 90 days. That is one ‘perk’ about this job compared to a regular military deployment, the fact that we’ll be able to see him for a couple weeks every 3 months. October will be here before we know it.

Have a great sunday everyone!


Monday’s Appreciate 5: Home Edition

It’s Monday!

So I thought with all the home buying craziness that has been going on at Casa Martin and moving in a couple days that I’d do a home edition appreciation. When we first started house hunting we weren’t even looking in the current city we decided to buy in. We were looking in a town almost 3 hours away because that is where I thought I wanted to live. And we still think we might end up there someday, just not right now. And the house we ended up making an offer on was completely not a house I thought we’d never end up with. I’m more of a four-square, bungalow, front porch, wide baseboard, sort of gal. BUT I am loving the house we found and the city that it is in. I am thankful that I kept an open mind and that we won’t be living in my parent’s basements for the rest of our lives.  So here is my list for this ‘Arkansas-weather-like’  Monday.

1. Fireplaces

2. Bike Trails

3. Original wood floors

4. Nanny Suite

5. Dated cosmetic features that I am able to put my creativity

and DIY know-how to use and make something that is ‘US’.

Happy Monday Everyone!

Stay cool and drink lots of water!

Art in the Park

We had an awesome time at Art in the Park today in Bemidji. It’s going on tomorrow also, if you missed the festivities today.  I’m so glad the girls love going to things like this. They probably just go to get their faces painted though. Today was the third time this summer they have had their faces painted by the same people. Jen and Oren do such a great job and my girls love them. Today they decided to be butterflies.

There were a lot of neat booths at the fair but the highlight of my day was seeing a girl walking around with one of my bags. It was such a proud moment. It made my week for sure! Is it too weird to say ‘hi’ in a situation like that? Suppose I should just say something like ‘awesome bag’ and runaway without introducing myself.. lol I know, I’m socially awkward.

I almost forgot about the great time the girls had at the Bemidji Symphony Orchestra booth. They would have stayed their all day if they could. The lady was so nice and let them try out the violin and cello. It reminded me that getting Brooklyn signed up for piano lessons is on my to-do list for this fall.

This booth had some really neat bear skin items, like these huge gloves and fuzzy hat. And next to those gloves are fuzzy bear skin slippers!

The girls recognized the famous Gaea beaver sculpture too. It was so funny seeing them get so excited over her.

It was a great Saturday and a fun day to be in Bemidji. We’re moving into our new house this week, and I’m really looking forward to living in Bemidji. The art community in Bemidji is so supportive. It’s nice to be part of such a unique community. I hope you’re all able to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather and keeping cool. Happy Saturday!!

Berry Farm

Going to the local Strawberry Farm has been on my list of things to do ever since we moved back home. So I think I was more excited then the kids to go. We went last week and had so much fun. It didn’t seem like we were even there very long before our buckets were full. The girls loved it and surprisingly didn’t eat that many berries. After we got home they did though. I froze about 7 quarts of berries so we’ll be able to eat them for awhile yet. For the rest of the day I kept a bowl of berries on the table so everyone could help themselves and enjoy the berries while they were so fresh.


Monday’s Appreciate 5

1. Blogging outside today! Finally Minnesota! Its about time we got some beautiful weather, I was about to go back to Arkansas! LOL jk.

2. Putting together a fool proof plan to move to Germany!

3. My husband and his amazing list of job skills. I think he’s the most employable person I know.

4. Simple things like throwing rocks in the lake with the kids.

5. The awesome underground society of ladies who do freezer cooking. My eyes have been opened to a whole new world. And my freezer is getting full of homemade goodness.

Monday’s Appreciate 5

1. Moving like gypsies again in a few weeks, finally going to be out of the parentals basement and living at the lake for the summer!

2. Good health, a roof over our heads and food on the table. We are truely blessed and taking the time to think about it and really soak it all in.

3. Finding more new and exciting resources about homeschooling everyday. I think we’re really going to do it!!

4. Seeing the baby chicks forsale at Fleet Farm Supply and how the girls could stand there and watch them for hours. Even Nora sat still for once and was in complete awe.

5. My husband for working so hard.


 waste, rubbish, trash, clutter, substance, objects, trappings, nonsense…

All meanings for the word ‘stuff’. And stuff really weighs us down. It stresses us out. And it is expensive to buy, store and maintain. ‘Stuff’ gets lost and we waste too much time trying to find it.  I know there are a lot of people who aren’t content with the way things are at this moment or you feel you don’t have enough. Everyone always wants more and they want it now! Many people  just can hardly wait until that next stage in life, like, when we have more money, a better job, a bigger house, more fashionable clothes, better hair, better behaved kids… But we need to be happy with here and now. We need to enjoy the way things are right now. There is a country song called ‘You’re Gonna Miss This’ by Trace Adkins. The lyrics are so true.

“You’re gonna miss this
You’re gonna want this back
You’re gonna wish these days hadn’t gone by so fast
These are some good times
So take a good look around
You may not know it now
But you’re gonna miss this”

It’s hard to believe that my oldest, now 6 yrs old, was just a little toddler only a few years  ago. It’s hard to imagine  her so little and that she was the only little one we had running around the house. Everyone told my husband and I to enjoy having only one to keep up with and to make the most of every minute because it goes by so fast. I really think we have done a good job of it. But now that we have three little ones competing for our time I think it is that much more important to cut down on the not-so-important things in our lives. I think spring is a great time to re-focus on things like this too. It’s a perfect time to clean out the closets, have a rummage sale, wipe clean your schedule of activities and re-adjust your priorities. Kids don’t need a lot of clothes in the summertime. My girls have their favorite outfits that I know they’d wear everyday if I let them. So why not purge their dressers,pick out your favorites (I use it as the ideal time to get rid of those ridiculous outfits that kids always seem to gravitate too,  like something grandma bought them for a birthday/Christmas that you otherwise would have felt bad for getting rid of) and cut back on the laundry. Summer in Minnesota is too short and I know I don’t want to be stuck inside any longer than I need to, especially doing something not so fun like laundry or cleaning. And when I’m spending time with my kids I don’t want to feel as though I should be doing other things that are  less important. I mean, think about it, kids or cleaning?? I know that I don’t want my house looking like a pigsty, but I can sure cut back on the amount of time that is required to tidy things up. I’m definitely not out to impress anyone by having an impeccable house. I have better things to do with my time. I also want  to set a good example for my kids. I want to show them how to make  the most important things in their lives priority. And I want to show them that they (and their daddy) are my number one priorities. I’m not big on television, or cell phones, I’d honestly rather go without both but this commercial is a great reminder of being here and now and showing people our true priorities. (And I’m not telling  you to go out a buy a new, fancier smart phone to help you reach a new state of minimalism, I’d suggest a home land line phone with maybe a tracfone for emergencies when out of the house.  That is my solution to the problem. =)

Monday’s Appreciate 5

1. Letting my inner child out and getting more excited than the girls to build the most awesomest tree house ever!

2. Windows open, frogs singing and 60+ degree temps today.

3. Oh yeah and no school today so we can get out and enjoy it.

4. Homemade laundry soap and how amazing my clothes smell after the wash.

5. Having the resources and outlets to express my creativity.

“Every child is an artist. The problem
is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”

-Pablo Picasso

Tutorial Tuesday: Shirring

Tutorial Tuesday

Ignoring the fact that it snowed 8 inches over the weekend (it’s almost all melted anyway) Spring is here in Northern Minnesota. On my mind lately have been a lot of summer outfits that I want to make up for the girls. I had just started sewing clothes about a year ago so I didn’t really make anything for the girls last summer. My skills were limited to baby pants and 90 minute shirts. So it’s exciting this summer being able to make the girls some seasonal outfits.

Shirring is something that seems so much more intimidating than it really is, and it’s a handy technique to know that can give new life to an otherwise boring top or dress.

I try to keep things simple and this dress was really quick and easy to make up once you get the basics of shirring down.

I have to admit I sort of chickened out on this tutorial, it’s not exactly a tutorial but more of a guideline.  I am not good with patterns or following directions, I do a lot of winging it so I am a little hard to follow. I am lucky I have 3 girls because even if I mess up it will most likely end up fitting someone. But I will tell you what I did and what did and did not work for me.

I looked at a few other shirring tutorials that are posted online and they are all pretty similar.

Tips I found helpful:

Make sure you back-stitch at the beginning of your row

I did not adjust any tension or stitch length on my machine

Both hand winding and using my automatic bobbin winder worked for me. I have a top loading drop in bobbin

Make sure you will have enough bobbin elastic thread to get all the way around your top. You don’t want to run out half way around. When in doubt re-fill your bobbin.

You are most likely going to sew a lot more rows that you initially think you will need

The first couple rows may not look like it’s getting as shirred as you’d like but it will get more gathered with every row.

Practice on a scrap of fabric to get things perfected before you begin sewing on your final piece

Get Creative! Do some shirring on a peasant top sleeves instead of casing elastic, or shirr around pant legs for a fun effect or the waist of a dress that needs to be taken in.

Links to Shirring Tutorials;

Pritty Ditty

Ruffles and Stuff

What I did-

I started with an 18 x 21 inch rectangle of fabric. This gives me a good size to use as a dress for Cameron (3 yrs old) or a top for Brooklyn (6 yrs old). You’ll also need ribbing or ribbon or coordinating/contrasting fabric for the straps. I had some ribbing that just happened to match perfectly that I used for the straps. And most importantly you’ll need elastic thread, along with your desired color sewing thread and a sewing machine. It all depends where you’re looking for elastic thread on how easy it is for you to find. When we lived in Arkansas I went to a few different sewing/craft stores like JoAnns, Micheals, and Hobby Lobby and they all thought I was crazy when I asked them where I could find the elastic thread. At JoAnns the lady tried to convince me that it didn’t exist and that I had no idea what I was talking about. But now in Minnesota I found it at our small town local drug store that has a very limited crafting section. So I hope you won’t have too much trouble finding any, it all depends where you live I guess.

-For my straps I happened to have some ribbing on hand that matched perfectly. I cut 1/2 inch strips the width of the entire fabric and braided them together. Braids are another thing that remind me of summer and I love the look braiding gives a top. I measured on Cameron to know how long to make the straps since every child is different. Or you can use a top that fits them well as a guide. The ribbing is stretchy so I had a lot of flexibility with my strap length and error a little on the short side.

– Using regular thread I sewed my rectangle of fabric, short ends together, front sides facing. You can serge your seam or go over it with a zig-zag stitch to keep it from fraying. Press and hem around the top of your tube of fabric and attach your straps to the top. I left the bottom hem for last so that I could adjust the length if I needed to. Find the center of your garment with the seam on the side so that it will be under the armpit and I placed my straps 5 1/2 inches apart on the front and back. I also crossed mine. (You could wait until after you’re done shirring to put your straps on also. If your straps are made from a little thicker fabric they might be difficult to shirr over and you should probably wait until after to attach them.)

– I hand wound my elastic thread on my bobbin without pulling too much o

n it. I also used my automatic bobbin winder on my machine and it worked great. With the automatic winder it only takes about 2 seconds to fill and it winds so much more thread on compared to hand winding. I will note I have a drop in bobbin on my machine, and I know others that have the side loading bobbin will probably have to stick with hand winding. But try it out and see what works for you.

– Now comes the shirring. I decided to shirr the top 3 1/2 inches of my dress. And to give myself a guideline I used a fabric marker to draw a reference line. You could also mark and sew a line around as a guide. Some people will mark out every row but I am better at eyeballing it with my sewing foot as a guide. Remember to back-stitch at the beginning, and sew on the right side of your fabric with the elastic thread on the backside of your fabric. I made my rows 1/4 of an inch apart but you can make them wider to your liking. I feel it hides the mistakes if they are closer together. Also, some tutorials have you put a small 1/2 in. band of elastic around the top of your garment and then begin your shirring. I didn’t use it this time because I like the little ruffle that forms at the top but with the elastic it will help keep things in place especially if you were making a shirred tube top.

-Lastly, hem the bottom if you haven’t already and you should be finished!

I hope this was helpful and be sure to send me a comment if you have any questions. I know I’ve said it before, but I really am a scatterbrain. I find myself assuming things in my mind and not describing them when I should be, so be sure to let me know if things don’t make sense.

Monday’s Appreciate 5

Better late than never.

5 things that I appreciate today;

1. Being able to spend more time with my husband this past weekend than I have in about 5 months

2. Spring temperatures which means being able to finally send the girls outside to play for the afternoon. And they have been so worn out the past few days that they have gone right to bed without a lot of fuss which was refreshing.

3. Nora took 2 long naps today and I accomplished more today than I have in the past week , except writing an intended blog post

4. Also Nora has gotten to the point to where she’d rather walk than crawl, an exciting but also sad milestone

5. Reading a wonderful book, the creative family.

Share your 5 Things or at least give it some thought and make a mental note of things.