Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Fall Ya'll!

Saturday, before Sandy caused such a commotion, we took all the girls to the park.  We have a sweet little park here in RR.  I walked with Naki around the track until she was dragging.  Then we headed up to see what Shannon and the little ones were up to...

 Pyper learned how to pump her legs on the swings.

 Itty just loves to swing...and feel the crisp air on her face.

 Itty learned how to go down the slide by herself.

 Pyper showed her how big girls do it.

Worth a million dollars.  Love my family!  Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Cold Weather Crafts

On cold dreary days such as today, Pyper likes to sew.  I got some burlap at the fabric store, some big plastic needles and added yarn as the thread.  I hemmed the burlap, and she went to work.  This is an inexpensive and fun way to nurture little one's fine motor skills, hand/eye coordination as well as encourage their creativity.  Hope you all stay warm and safe in the midst of Hurricane Sandy!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Meet Sydney

Have I ever mentioned how fortunate I am to have my friend Brandy?  Brandy is the epitome of a natural mother.  A woman who was meant to have children, take care of her family and make her house a home.  She offered to make Pyper a Waldorf doll for her 3rd birthday.  Here she is.  Meet Sydney.  I am so beyond impressed with the attention to detail (look at that yarn hair!) and the mastery of making all these little outfits for her.  She made her to look like Pyper, and I know Pyper is going to FLIP when she meets her at her birthday party.  I had some scraps of material left over from various sewing projects, pillowcases purchased at the Goodwill and some knitted fabric that was given to me.  I handed them over to Brandy, and take a look at what she created.  Oh, and Brandy is a pretty great photographer, too.  Check out the pics!

 A little diaper...

 Roan and Willow in the background...

 This material is what I've made Pyper and Raegan's Halloween costumes out of...

 This top was made from a pillowcase...

 These pants were made from a tiny linen pillowcase I found at the Goodwill. 

Sydney's PJ's.  Pyper is going to love dressing, undressing and changing her diapers!!!!  Thanks a million, Brandy!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Old And New Friends...

Don't you love it when you reconnect with old friends and then make new ones?  I do!  Farmer Amy and I were friends in high school, and then reconnected several years ago when we both had our horses stabled in King George.  We became friends on Facebook and the rest is history!  She lives in Culpepper on a farm with her boyfriend and emailed me last week to tell me that she was going to visit her friend from college, Audrey in Radford, and if she could stop by for a farm visit.  Of course I agreed!  What a treat!!!  Audrey is a nurse at the hospital Shannon worked at and she has twin girls that are close to Pyper's age.  Double treat!

 Pyper showed off part of her Halloween costume. 

Hannah and Madison love chickens!  My kind of girls!

Our girls watching the chicken girls...

New friends, Audrey and her girls.  

Farmer Amy with Pyper.  You may wonder why I call Amy "Farmer Amy..." It's because she is a real farmer!  YES!  She is the one responsible for my chicken obsession  hobby, she raises and butchers pigs, chickens and lambs! She's hard core...

 Amy and Abby

 Abby is so gentle and loving.

Iney had to get in on the action.

 And of course did Anna.

I love this picture because Audrey handles her girls with such grace, confidence and love. I on the other hand,  would lose my mind.  I have so much respect for parents of twins.  I don't know how my mother in law did it with Shannon and Shawn!  

New friends watching Dora after dinner and playing.  This is one of the wonderful things about living where we do.  Friends far and near meeting up to visit a farm without a name...

Friday, October 12, 2012

Gifts that Keep Giving...

The fall is full of birthdays here in the Dickenson home.  Raegan is a September baby and Pyper is a November baby.  I have carefully thought out our position on toys, and have requested specific toys from family and friends.  This is a touchy subject because I don't want to offend any one's good intentions.  But these are our children, and we want to raise them our way.   I don't want toys that require batteries.  There!  I said it!  You may think I'm keeping my kids in a bubble, but it's OUR bubble.  It's not so much the noise of the blinky, beepy, annoying toys that I'm trying to discourage.  (Although, I must admit, that is SOME of it!) I am trying to ENcourage my children's imaginations by having THEM create the sounds.  I don't want to rob them of creativity or imagination.  So, please, don't send my girls any toys that require batteries.  It will immediately go into the Goodwill pile. 

Here's a sneak peak of what we have already given or will to be given.  Pyper is big into role playing, being a "mommy" and cooking.  You'll see in this past post:, that I have already bought Pyper several great items for her birthday and Christmas.  I try to buy year round, when items are on sale, so it doesn't hit us all at once in the fall.  My dad is making the girls a wooden washer and dryer.  I can't wait to see the end result!!!

Pyper has already made several batches of real cookies, chicken and dumplings and other dishes with me.  I thought she'd really enjoy this baking set.

This is a little family set for Raegan.  It's small for her little hands.  She can put the sleeping bags on each family member, and start to associate color and size difference. 
Pyper is fascinated with how things work.  I found this great tool set with nuts, bolts, washers and wrenches on Etsy.  Many people think that tools are primarily for boys.  Not at all--at least not in our house!  I like how open ended this toy is, and I can really see Pyper enjoying it.
These are large play silks for Raegan.  She is so tactile driven, playing with hair, touching fur, taking food out of her mouth to examine it.  I thought she would love the color and texture of these silks.  Pyper and Hunter will enjoy them too...they can be made into capes, the sky, long Rapunzel hair, grass, etc...the choices are endless.

This past summer, Pyper fished out her winter coats to play with the zippers.  She would sleep in her coats, wear them outside in the heat, and eat with them on.  She is very determined to "do it myself!"  She now can zip her coat up without any assistance.  I found these dressing frames and thought they would satisfy Pyper's love of "working things out."  Snaps, zippers, buckles and ties.  I refuse to hold her back due to her age, and have promised to make whatever thing accessible within limits.   Who says a 3 year old can't learn to tie shoes?  

These are simple plates, bowls spoons, forks and knives.  Pyper will enjoy role playing with these, washing them, and I plan on teaching her to set a table correctly. 
More role playing toys.

We got these lacing beads for Raegan's birthday.  Right now, she's interested in dumping them out, and putting them back in the bag.  Soon, though, she will follow Pyper's lead and lace them, which will encourage fine motor skills, concentration and focus. 
These cute nesting bowls are for Raegan.  Not only will she stack them, but she'll probably sort the beads in the above picture and put them into the corresponding bowl.  The possibilities are endless.
We got this walker for Raegan and she tears up the hallways!  I love the soft clickity-clack of the woodpecker's bills on the wood.   

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Gone to the Dogs

The rescue where we adopted Naki, Imminent Danger German Shepherd Rescue, is having a drive for items they need.  Since Deb, the owner and lady that found us Naki, is so wonderful, we have decided to try to meet the needs of the rescue.  They need dog bowls, food, collars, leashes, toys, medicine, bleach and paper towels, and dog beds.  I love to sew, and I love saving money, so I started thinking of how I can donate dog beds in my tight budget.  They're expensive brand new at the store!!!  I had an old comforter that I've had for 5+ years that I washed and stored away.  I no longer was crazy about the pattern, and thought it would be good for camping.  SO, I got to thinking...scary when that happens!  I laid it out, and cut into fourths.  Perfect sized dog beds for large German Shepherds. 

 Itty wanted to inspect my work...

 Then Naki came along and made herself comfortable.

 I used a large zig-zag stitch on my sewing machine and sewed up the 2 raw sides being sure to sew down the batting.  Naki approved of my work!

 Hammish really liked it too.

Hannibal didn't want to be left out, and I found him trying it out.   These beds are bigger than I had anticipated, but can easily be folded to fit into a crate.  I just like knowing that precious rescued dogs will be enjoying them this winter!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

RATS...and eggs

I had started to notice that we were going through about 50 lbs of chicken feed every week.  That's a lot of food and ultimately, a lot of $$ for 8 regular sized chickens and 2 pullets (Fannie and Barry.)  I knew we had a pest problem.  I knew this because every night, when I would open the coop door (from the inside of the barn) and walk in, the mass exodus of rats and field mice would jump from the 3 lbs hanging feeder to high tail it out of my sight.  One rat was so fat that when he/she tried escaping through the hole in the corner, he/she literally got stuck.  It had to back out, and try another avenue of escape.  I decided to wage war against the rats and mice.  So, I bought these great tomcat rat traps.  I chose these because only rats and mice can enter and exit.  My chickens, cats and dogs--and kids!-wouldn't have a chance to get a hold of the poison.  The rats enter, eat the poisoned blocks, and exit.  I added a bit of feed inside to really make it tempting.  Within a week, the rats and mice were exterminated and now my barn smells like death.  Oh, well.  Hammish cat does a great job mousing, but some of these mice are half his body length.  Nasty critters.

 These are the traps I used.  Wonderful design and VERY effective...see pic below...(and these are relatively SMALL compared to the others we found in later days...)

 This was the death count the first day Pyper and I went out looking for dead rats.  Pyper was fascinated by them, and when I lined them up, she neatly counted each of them.  Who said you can't teach kids on the farm???  These are the ones we could find.  There are still several more in the hay, behind the pile of wood, in their little nests, etc...I couldn't get to them, but we smell them.  It's pretty nasty, but it's better than feeding them. 

 After getting rid of the dead bodies, we let the girls and guy out.  Can you spot Fannie and Barry?  Their not so little anymore!  (My toe is pointing to Fannie and directly behind her is Barry.)  Pyper loves to count the chickens.  It's great since we have 10 and she's comfortable counting that high. 

As Pyper and I were looking through the barn for more rat carcasses, we found Foghorn Leghorn's little nest of eggs.  We know these are hers as she is our only white egg layer.  I love my barn.  I just wish I more time to spend in there...minus the stinky smell of decaying rats.