Sunday Fun

I took a break from screens yesterday, in order to knock out a few projects I’d been wanting to do. (The active part of our device detox starts today! Go back a couple of posts to read about it and get the PDF, if you’d like.)

I had already cut out pieces to make M a new pair of slippers (using this pattern), so it didn’t take too long to sew those up. When I’d asked M what color fabric (from my stash) she wanted, she’d said, “Pink… and brown. And red and orange.” And I was sure I did NOT have anything like that — but look what I found! She’s pretty happy with the colors. I just wish I would have gone up a couple of sizes. I made a 10, which is what I’d buy for her in shoes, but these slippers just barely fit, and I wanted them to be roomy. Ah well. I was probably a little too generous in my seam widths.

I baked a loaf of bread in the morning — or, well, I put the ingredients into the bread machine and told IT to bake a loaf of bread. Then I made a small loaf of gingerbread after lunch. I halved the recipe from How to Eat Supper and baked it in a loaf pan instead of an 8×8″ cake pan. I let the chickens outside shortly after the gingerbread finished baking, and when I came back in, the house smelled like freshly baked bread AND gingerbread — can’t fit that into a candle!

M and I also made some daffodils for the window, a project I saw on Pinterest the other day. We’ve done a few sun catcher projects using clear contact paper and tissue paper squares in the past. (You lay down one piece of contact paper, sticky-side-up, the child helps you stick the tissue paper squares on (and possibly dumps a large amount of glitter on top), then you sandwich it under another piece of contact paper.) It was the cupcake liner center that sold me on these! So cute. And, luckily, one of the daffodils from our indoor bulb garden bloomed yesterday, so M was able to see exactly what we were making.

Device Detox

This past month, a few friends and I have been working through the 30-day tech “detox” from Nancy Colier’s book The Power of Off. While it’s definitely helped start us down the right track, now that we’re nearing the end, we’re still not where we’d like to be, so we decided we’d create a detox program of our very own. Something with a bit more “oomph” — and something that was more closely tailored to our lives. (Though we actually lead quite different lives from one another, we’re all single mothers by choice! So being a parent and having limited free time are recurring themes.)

Since Lent is coming up, we decided to create a 45-day program that we can start this Wednesday and that will take us right up until Easter weekend. I haven’t “done Lent” in years and years, but I know so many people do — AND so many people want to get their internet use under control. So I gussied up our plan into a nice little PDF, and now you can join along, too!

If people seem interested, I’ll post some of my detox musings and lists here as we go along, and I’d totally love to hear from anybody else who decides to give it a try. My friends and I have really enjoyed swapping stories about our previous detox experience.

You can download the PDF right here. Please right-click and download it! And if you’d like to put a link to it on your own blog (or wherever), it would be great if you could link to this post rather than the file itself. I may have to eventually change the location of the file, but this blog post URL should stay as-is.

Take a look! Please join in! I’m super proud of what we’ve created here, and I can’t wait to try it.

Lately

— I’m going through the 30-day device detox from The Power of Off, and apparently that means all my extra time is being directed toward the kitchen. I saved up enough eggs (we’re currently getting 1-2 a day, and I like to keep an “egg buffer”, so we never run out) to make pasta on Sunday. M was in charge of putting the dough into the extruder — you have to feed it little pieces every so often. I did the cutting and laying out to dry. I used most of the macaroni noodles to make a big batch of mac ‘n’ cheese (this basic recipe never fails), and the girls and I ate it up in two days. The baby can really put away some noodles!

— I took some sliced apples (from our neighbors’ trees) out of the freezer to make a pie. It was originally going to be apple-blackberry, but when the blackberries thawed, they smelled and tasted a little… ferment-y? So I gave them to the chickens instead. The pie came out super pretty, but I decided it NEEDED custard to be truly A+.

— I also made beans and rice, even though since it has salsa (aka pieces of things) in it, I wasn’t sure it M would eat it. But she did! F cleaned her plate, too. Success.

— On Monday, I gave M a new haircut. A bob. M looks good in anything, so of course she’s super adorable with her new, shorter hair. I can’t believe how she looks like a little… PERSON now, with her real haircut. She’s pretty proud. And after I clipped her fingernails yesterday, I asked if she wanted me to paint them. I never have before, and I think I’ve only painted mine once since she was born (when she was really little), so it was a new concept for her. But what’s not to love about making part of your body PINK, with GLITTER? She held perfectly still and didn’t smudge them even a little. And after we did her fingers, she decided her toes needed to be painted, too. She’s such a grown-up kid now!

Our Weekend

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1. When I went through M’s baby clothes, I found that a LOT of them had yellow stains around the collar. She wasn’t a spitty baby, but she was happy to let milk dribble out the sides of her mouth as she ate. I knew the clothes were a little discolored, but the stains got even darker while everything was stored away. I tried this method for getting them clean, and it worked! I let the mixture sit on the clothes for an hour, as instructed, but then I rinsed them in a hot bath before putting them in the wash — I didn’t think our washing machine would appreciate having to deal with almost a cup of dish soap! The plain white Gerber and Carter’s onesies didn’t come totally clean, and the mixture left discolored spots on two solid-colored items, but otherwise everything looks as good as new! Those milk stains came out, as did some red marks on a pair of pants (something they were washed with bled on them ages ago). But the mixture was less effective on people-food stains, sadly. Still! That’s a lot of clothes ‘saved’, including that Oilily romper on the top, which I thrifted for less than $1 before M was born.

2. An egg.

3. Which I thought looked like a car after I cracked it. M agreed.

4. Cheese ‘straws’ — like we really need another vehicle for cheese in this house. But M and I agree that they’re delicious!

5. Some of my homemade cleaners, with the ‘fancy’ labels I made for them. I finally have everything I need to make everything I want. Except essential oils — but then I think to myself, Do I care if this smells like oranges/lavender/whatever? Nope.

6. The Fortnum’s hamper this year came with a huge jar of honey, honeycomb included. It’s really cool, but I can’t figure out exactly how to get the honey out without winding up with beeswax in my food. I guess I could fish out the comb now and just try to let as much of the honey drain back into the jar as possible. I do want to try to clean and melt the comb, to save the beeswax for other things.

7. Homemade (home-laid) egg salad on a homemade croissant. So good!

8. It never got above 0˚F (-18˚C) this weekend, but at least it was beautifully sunny! The indoor pets loved it, and even though neither of the chicken coops (the hens’ or the rooster’s) is heated, at least the sun can come in through the windows.

9. These two (Bear and Nova) still wrestle all the time. Don’t let their positions fool you — Bear is definitely in charge. I mean, she weighs a LOT more than Nova! But the dogs used to let her be the ‘dominant’ one when she was just a little cotton ball, so now she returns the favor. Beany doesn’t have time for the kids’ antics.

Weekend Stuff

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We started the new year off right and went screen-free this weekend. We’ve done this three times since the beginning of December (obviously not all in a row), and the first time I had to turn down M’s request for ‘puppy show’ quite a lot. This weekend, though, she didn’t ask for the TV once! And I found it really easy to leave my computer tucked away and ignore my phone. In fact, we had so much fun just doing stuff that I wish the weekend could have gone on forever.

I cooked more. We had French toast for breakfast on Saturday, and since we’re out of maple syrup, I made a blueberry sauce/syrup with some wild blueberries that had gotten all icy in the freezer. Sooo good. Nothing was super out of the ordinary, but I definitely spent more time prepping and cooking rather than grabbing whatever would be quickest.

M and I ran errands both mornings, but otherwise we just stayed tucked in at home, playing together and working on our own projects. It’s not something I’ve only recently noticed, but M is so much happier to do her own thing if I’m actually DOING something, too, rather than staring at my laptop. If I’m in the kitchen, she usually likes to stand in her Learning Tower, either helping out or playing. Her Paw Patrol figures go everywhere with her these days (which maybe explains why she wasn’t so desperate to watch them on TV), and you’d be surprised by how long she can entertain herself with those little dogs.

During M’s nap on Saturday, I moved some furniture around (just sliding it on the carpet, since I can’t really lift tables right now!). To make a long story short (it begins with a room shuffle a couple of months ago), I put my sewing table in my bedroom and moved the old teacher’s desk out to the family room, where our Christmas tree had been. I knew M would love being allowed to use the desk (since she always tried to steal things from the drawers when it was in my bedroom), and I realized it would be the perfect place to store and use her art supplies. It has been a HUGE hit! The art stuff was in the kitchen before, and I didn’t like taking it out and then trying to hide it away again. M colored on Sunday morning, then painted a couple of sun-catchers in the afternoon, followed by a very happy watercolor session. (I need to take/post a photo of one of the watercolor hand prints she made — they look really cool!)

Before M’s nap on Sunday, I traced her old sleep sack (a large Baby Deedee Sleep Nest) onto a big piece of paper. She was very interested to hear that I was going to make a new blanket for her, and she was disappointed that it wasn’t ready for her nap a few minutes later! The old blanket served us well, but she still sleeps in her hip brace, so it was getting too small — and it was literally coming apart at the seams! I made her new blanket (in the last photo) wider and bigger, and I can’t believe that A) I didn’t make any mistakes as I was winging it and B) it fits perfectly. It’s two layers of fleece, totally finished inside (in theory reversible, except that the zipper works only from one side!). Two clearance fleece blankets were just (JUST!) big enough, and I already had the zip, so the grand total for her fancy new sleep sack was less than $6. And M really loves it. I washed it up so she could wear it last night, and I asked her this morning how her new blanket had been. ‘Sooo nice!’ she said, ‘It’s so soft.’ Then, as an afterthought, ‘Silly OLD blankie.’ So I guess she’s a convert.

What else? (This is a long post!) The house stayed a lot cleaner over the weekend, which was only partly because I did more cleaning. Since I was paying more attention to M, even when she was playing on her own, I was able to remind her to tidy away her things when she was done (and set a good example by doing the same!). She’s actually very good at putting her toys away when asked, but she doesn’t remember to do it by herself.

I also started and finished Forrest Pritchard’s Gaining Ground. Rob got it for me a while ago (last Christmas?), and I don’t know why it took me so long to get to it, but it’s fantastically written and SO interesting. Although now I’m thinking that a couple of pet piggies would do such a good job of clearing and turning over the weedy fields… unintended consequences to buying me gifts!