Heidi @ ? months

How old do you think I am?

Are you daft?  It's OBVIOUS... guess!

Seriously... you need to figure this out before I.... too late... here I go...

Yup, at 5 months, I go from my belly to one side and back with ever growing skill.

Ok, by now I KNOW you've figured it out... but just in case:

I'm 5 months old.  I'm at the 53rd percentile in every way.  Growing much faster than expected!  My mom wonders if it's because she's not a slave to the clock and feeds me when I ask.  Also, if babies grow while they sleep... well, I sure do sleep a lot!

I'm a GREAT sleeper.  I nap about every 2-3 hours and sleep about 10 hours at night, feeding just once or twice.  To help myself sleep, I enjoy sucking my two fingers.

Can you believe I've grown from this...................to....................this?!
photo by Wilson Klugh Photography

Now, LEAVE ME ALONE so I can nap in peace!
Heidi loo who


on a DoItYourself roll!

(DIY= do it yourself)... that little note is for Shannanigans who was baffled by my first sentence in the previous DIY post :)

Remember this skirt?
It's still hard at work!  I think the above pic is a little misleading.  And not simply because it looks like I have a flat belly... hahaha....hahaha...hahaha... 2 babies.... hahahaha....0 working out...hahaha!  You simply can't tell that this Large Tall skirt contains folds and folds of fabric.  You can't tell that I have freaky long legs and a freaky short torso.  So hopefully now you better understand how that skirt became the two dresses, flower and bonnet in the previous post.  But prepare to be AMAZED... 'cause I'm STILL not done with this skirt!

Folks, let me introduce:

  • Heidi's 10- minute onesie dress!  I had already bid on a western sleeper from ebay, but when I saw this pattern, I couldn't resist!  Jake's cousin, Jen, recently sent me some sweet onesies and this horsie was just neighing to be dressed up (umm... my dad thinks it's a giraffe.  hmm...maybe?  what's your vote?).  The ruffles are much better in the back of the dress, but I'm sure I'll be making LOTS more of these in the future and will have time to perfect the ruffles.
  • Jake's skinny gentleman's tie.  He voiced many convincing arguments on why I should make him a loin cloth.  However, since I've invited small children and my mother's bible study group (don't let your preconceived notions of that term define this group.  They are also known as the Swimmen Wimmen... 'cause they swim drink wine in the pool a few times a week... and in some circles, as the Sea Hags!).  Since this tie is more for laughs then for style or the possibility of being worn more than once, I didn't make a real tie.  I simply cut a strip of fabric, ironed it into the shape of a skinny tie and planned on using stitch witchery to hold down the seams.  However, before I mustered the energy to walk to my parents house and raid my mom's sewing box for the stitch witchery (feel free to stay in Alaska forever mom!), I simply put a few dots of hot glue along the back seams.  CLASSY!
  • STOP AND SMELL THE ROSES!  Wait, don't.... they smell like stinky glue.  A sweet friend lent me her cowboy boots, but my clod hoppers didn't fit in them.  So, they've been sitting in my bedroom and recently it struck me how they'd make a cool vase.  Doubting I'd have anything left in the budget for real flowers and due to the ridiculous amount of time I spend looking at future project ideas, I decided to use up some more of the random items in my craft bin (brown felt was for a Christmas project that never happened, sticks are actually shish kabob sticks!).  So, I have 14 roses for the cost of NIL... ZILCH... ZERO!  

Flower tutorial from MADE... click here.

You're not gonna believe it, but I STILL have a few scraps of skirt fabric.  Once my burns heal (darn hot glue gun!), I think I'll make another fabric flower and attach it to a headband (which I plan to make Shannon wear so that everyone staying in my house that night coordinates) and another dozen or so felt flowers (did you notice that the skirt fabric wraps around the base of the flower to cover all the glue and add some pizzazz?).
And finally, lest you think that I have a one track mind, here's another little number I WHIPPED UP (yes, I have my proud face on) Saturday morning so that Hazel would have something beachy to wear to the clambake we were throwing with friends (yes it was delicious and yes my camera battery was dead so I can't post pics).  

Hazel's Uncle Josh went to the Bahamas this summer and brought Jake this tee-shirt which was a little small for him.  No worries, this shirt will get a LOT more use now as a sundress!  It was truly easy using elastic thread and though there are a few things I'll do differently/better next time, I love how it turned out!  Now... how to get my hands on Uncle Josh's vintage tee-shirt collection?  mwahaha!

Please excuse the bedhead and purple underwear.  Between crafting and saving sea turtles, this mama is too busy to care about the insignificant!


Shirred Genius

Oh my goodness, I am tickled pink plaid with myself...  prepare yourself for one heck of a DIY post...

Lest you think that I misled you previously when I claimed to have no artistic abilities, here is a little fact about myself that I've never publicly admitted... I was in "Go Sew" 4-H Club.  YUP... for a few misguided years, I was in a sewing club.  I don't quite get how I made it through that club without actually sewing, but I have very few memories of sewing and lots of memories of running around a church basement.

Here is the product of that time well spent:
yeah.  exactly.  is it a snake?  a dog?  a sog?  check out the fabric painted blobs/eyes.  those fuzzy ears... GLUED on!  the button nose, hanging on by A thread.  amazingly enough, my parents kept this monstrosity and I found it last year.  I'm sure they kept it more out of fear of ridicule from the garbage man than out of love for their daughter.

In a few weeks, I AM TURNING 30!  Wow.  Sweet.  'Ello bonafide adulthood!  In honor of the big day, I'm hosting a SQUARE DANCE!

This post just keeps getting better and better (or maybe just more embarrassing).

Before my mom left for a month in Alaska, she showed me this skirt that had never been worn, whose elastic waist had dry-rot and was bound for my dad's scrap cloth pile:
yikes, mental note:  never again take a picture into a mirror.

She proposed that we put a new elastic waist in and one of us could wear it.  Good idea, but when I tried it on, I pulled it over my bust and thought immediately of this (in case you don't want to look... it's an awesome sewing blog and the woman made a cute swimming cover-up for this summer).  So I Googled "shirring" and did extensive research...err... looked at each link on the first page of search results.  "Huh, looks EASY".

However, Socrates says "KNOW THYSELF" ...... so I took the skirt to a local seamstress.  She said "not enough fabric in the skirt for that and DEFINITELY not enough time for me to get it ready for your party".

(my thought process):  "Huh... well, the BLOGS (much more knowledgeable then a seamstress) said you use enough fabric for a normal fit... and this skirt is WAY bigger than that.  Plus, I'm right by JoAnn Fabrics, what would it hurt for me to buy the elastic thread and simply try?"  I gave myself ONE nap time and if it didn't work, I was only out the $3 for the cost of elastic thread.  I debated for 2 seconds about buying the detailed pattern and instructions from MADE (linked above), but thriftiness won and I merely looked at a few of the links about shirring again.

FOLKS, let me introduce the product of yesterday's sewing jamboree:
1/2 way through making my shirred rows.  Can't believe it's working!   This pattern is great for hiding mistakes!
the entire skirt with a shirred top.
mama & daughter dresses AND matching boots!  both items are a cosmic gift of matchy-ness...not my original plan!
Now, I'm not going to share a tutorial because really, there's enough great stuff already out there!  I made 20 lines of footer-width-plus shirred rows.  I read that the less width between rows, the tighter the shirring is.  As a woman who has been pregnant or breastfeeding for 4 years, support is a MUST!  I was confused on exactly what width to cut the skirt, so I decided to sheer the entire width of it (after I cut off the original waist and filleted the skirt open) and then cut it to size.  

Thank goodness Hazel was the only witness to my "fittings".  Once I finally chose the width, I simply sewed up the side, tried it on again (just in case... figuring I could take out the seam if I misjudged), and then cut off the excess.  I was holding the excess as Hazel came bouncing by.  I wrapped it around her and WONDER OF WONDERS... it was a PERFECT fit!  So I simply sewed up the side of my scrap and then hemmed it!  

I wanted to add straps (refer to previous paragraph where I delicately mention my bust size), but I didn't want to tie it around my neck and I didn't want a V in the front.  So I put a V in the back and brought the straps over each shoulder.  For Hazel, I had a teeny tiny bit of strap left, so I put a V in the front of her dress and it (barely) ties around her neck.  

When we wear the dresses, I really fill my top out and the sheering is pulled rather tight while Hazel's stays nice and pucker-y.  So, perhaps I cut my dress too tight, however, I LOVE this dress and by next summer I will be a smaller mama, so it will probably be more pucker-y then.

I was SO proud of myself, I made both my dad and husband admire my handiwork.  Then I noticed sweet Heidi... hmmm.... I decided to make her a flower headband out of some of the scraps (I have tons of scraps 'cause both dresses were way too long as-is).  I used this tutorial.  So easy!  There will be lots more fabric flowers in my future.

Before I show you the flower, I must admit, Jake had an even BETTER idea.  He said "how about a BONNET for Heidi?".  So, using this tutorial, I cranked this beauty out this morning!  Again, WAY easier than I imagined.  Now I want to make lots and lots of bonnets too!

* I decided to show all these projects not on the actual person they are meant for... that will make my post square dance pictures much more exciting ;)

**For those of you that want more info about the cowgirl had and bonnet:
COWGIRL HAT:  I bought this beauty for $4 at a local store.  It had a thin line of red yard sewn along the brim.  I could have taken it off and should have... instead I simply hot glued a scrap of brown binding tape (left over from HUBBY's last sewing project... a gun case... you've just got to know him to understand!) around the yarn and then hot glued the flower in the middle.  Gonna look pretty darn cute with it's coordinating dress, eh?
BONNET:  The pattern is for a reversible hat.  However, since this homespun (I think that's what the fabric is called) looks the same on both sides, I opted for laziness and did a single layer for the hat.  All was going smoothly and I was impressed with my ruffle prow-ess... when I realized that I put the ruffles on the BACK of the hat!  Oops!  Oh well, I like them there too!  At this point, I was getting careless/lazy and used a scrap from the bottom hem of the dress for the ruffles on the front.  Since it was professionally hemmed, I decided to just use it as is... instead of folding a piece of cloth in half.  I think that's why the front ruffles are a little droopy, they should be twice as thick.  Also, I mistakingly have the wrong side of the ruffle facing up... and it wasn't quite long enough and I had to splice a piece in at the end.  So, don't look too closely!  To finish things up, I used the last of the brown binding tape and will tie it in a sweet bow under Heidi's chin.  Now that she's FINALLY awake, I've discovered that the hat is a tad large for her 5-month-old (almost) head, but oh does she look simply DARLING!

All I have to say now is:  there is still a nice size pile of scraps... LOOK OUT JAKE!


tis the season

I did it... I beat EVERYONE... this is a CHRISTMAS POST!

Oh no you didn't?  Oh yes I AM!

Last night I was googling gift ideas after spending a night at each of my in-laws' homes and secretly looking around for gift ideas.  And then today, on her way to her first day of school (hope she's not wearing lime and hot pink like she used to wear for this big day), my sister called to chat about my Christmas gift.  Last year, I asked her... in no uncertain terms... to please make my family of 4 coordinating stockings, out of felt, with our names on them, that match the advent calendar she made for us a few years ago:
Awesome, eh?  AND for the record, I also painted a wall gray before it was the trendiest thing in the world.
I am SO cutting edge!

Now, before you pick up that finger to shake it at me AGAIN, you should know that if I hadn't specifically asked for this gift, my sister would have made me something ANYWAY!  You should also know that for her, making something like a stocking is EASY AS PIE.  Wait, baking a pie is actually not easy.  Suffice to say, that she'll whip up said stockings while watching a movie and bouncing her almost one-year old on her knee. She's wicked talented and totally underestimates her worth, which is why she STILL doesn't have an Etsy store.  She thinks EVERYONE can make stuff and have it look the way her stuff looks.  Uh... have you ever met ME... you know... your sister whose only artistic talent is bubble letters?

Ok, so Christmas gift giving is ON MY MIND (sorry Carolina!  anyone following that tangent?).

Last Spring, hubby and I decided (I told him) that we would buy one Christmas gift a month and therefore be able to buy everything with cash and not have a panic attack in December.  Guess how well we've done with that goal?  ZERO!  Blame the property tax, school tax and house falling apart faster then we can repair it.  ('nother tangent... I'm not complaining about taxes... just saying that those bills were due this summer and they were OUCH!).

We try to spend $30-$50 for each of our immediate family members.  I know, it's tacky to discuss money, but well, that's a REALLY CHEAP MODEST budget according to current standards and our families already know this about us (and love us anyway).  Even though it's a reasonable sum, our budget doesn't allow for an extra $50 each month without some tight squeezing... so we really need to buckle down and start shopping NOW!

Gift giving is a joy.  sometimes. kinda.  if I squint my eyes.  I do LOVE giving the perfect gift.  The thing that someone always wanted, but never told anyone and would never buy.

Thing.  That word.gets.me.  We're a practical family.  A wanna-be minimalist family (just don't look in my basement... or barn... or garage... or shed...).  I want to give awesome gifts that are useful.  I want to give homemade gifts and not worry about the price tag.  I want to give gifts that show how much I love my family members.

Hmmm... on second thought, I think I'll just go bake a blackberry pie and enjoy the summer breeze.


call and answer

My heart is too full of love to hold it in.  Many of those that know us refer to our property as "The Compound".  Not because we're a cult, but because we have 4 generations living in 3 separate dwellings on 20 acres.  Life is good!

Yesterday my dad told me that he was going to hang a bell on his porch similar to the one on my porch.  So, when Hazel wants to visit (3 times now she has walked the path through the woods without permission... giving me a heart attack), she will ring our bell and if her grandparents are available, they'll ring their bell.
yes, it's in need of a good sand-blast and paint job.
I did recently replace the yellow rope with some retired climbing rope... to make it more Kosker-ish :)

This morning we gave it the first practice ring.  Hazel rang her bell, we heard a bell answer in response... and OFF SHE WENT in her rain boots and swinging her purse (packed with an extra pair of skivvies).

I followed part-way, heart bursting with love for my independent 2-year-old.  She would turn every few steps and say "Bye".  Exactly what I used to do when I walked this path in the opposite direction to visit my grandparents (we now live in their home).  My mom would watch from her window and I would turn and wave every few steps... trusting she was there and feeling the protection and love of her gaze.

So proud that my daughter is brave enough to walk alone... and a little sad that she's old enough to journey without me.



I feel like I've been MIA from blogland.  It's not because I'm on vacation, but I have been busy soaking up all that summer has to offer!  Here's what's going on in my neck of the woods:

  • blackberry picking
  • blackberry everything baking
  • visiting with friends
  • prepping my life toddler curriculum for some toddler time in my very near future (some might call it babysitting)
  • swimming in pools and rivers
  • cooking as many fresh veggies as I can
  • watching the first 5 seasons of Bones (guilty!)
  • putting the finishing touches on Heidi's Birth Story (which will be published in the next issue of Natural Child Magazine!)
  • brainstorming possible foot-in-the-door ideas for my dream of being a children's writer... AND SUCCEEDING!  For now, that's all I'm gonna say 'cause there's still a lot of maybes and certainly nothing published...yet.  But soon, very soon, I hope to share with you something that's left me smiling all day...!
  • prepping (ie baking cookies) for one last summer HURRAH... another family reunion!  This time with Jake's mother's family... some of whom I've never met and many of whom I haven't seen since my wedding!  So excited to spend the weekend with family (and show off my girls!).

  • and finally, spending countless minutes watching my babies sleep.  Oh sweet baby.  I bet one look at this angel will make you smile too:
please excuse the bubble butt.  the small cloth diapers were all dirty and so she's wearing one of Hazel's folded down :)  
she doesn't mind one bit!  she still refuses the paci, but she's a champ at getting 1, 2 and often EIGHT fingers in that mouth!


Tales from the Crib (toddler bed transition)

*this is one of those posts that I write more for my personal memory/ for Hazel to know someday when she's a parent and interested in all the details of her babyhood.

Time and time again, I meet parenting questions and changes by doing RESEARCH.  I love to read.  I love books.  I love experts.  I've spent a lot of years (and money) learning how to do research.  It's inevitable and IT'S WRONG!

I've said over and over again on this parenting journey that I'm going to trust myself and not listen to "the experts"... but old habits are hard to change!

When Hazel turned 2, I made her a TODDLER BED.  Complete with new bedding, a homemade mosquito net-like tent, a book nook, etc.  THE RESEARCH stressed the importance of not making your toddler feel like the baby is pushing them out of the crib.  So, I absolutely positively did not attempt to introduce this new bed until at least 3 months after baby's arrival.  We read in her new bed, cuddled in her new bed, played in her new bed, but when the last book was read, Hazel would SPRING out of the bed and stand next to her crib.  If she was really really tired, she would vehemently point and say "cib" until I carried her over.  She LOVES her crib!

Earlier this week, I was carrying Heidi when Hazel awoke from her nap.  So, in order to lift Hazel out of the crib, I laid Heidi down.  Lo and behold, Hazel found this FASCINATING!  I decided to go with it.  I talked about how Heidi will sleep here once Hazel sleeps in the toddler bed.  Hazel immediately ran to her bed and said "mama.  Hadel sleep!".  We role played sleeping!  Hazel thought it was SO COOL to have Heidi in the same room.

That night she slept in her toddler bed, after checking over and over again that "baby... crib?".  She was perfectly happy to sleep in her new bed as long as Heidi would sleep in the crib.  WOW!

She still loves her crib and asked to nap there yesterday, but for 4 nights now, she has slept contently in her toddler bed!  Last night we left her door open and instead of being awoken with crying/ calls for MAMA/ or even knocking on her own door, we were awoken with a giggly bedhead bouncing into our room and running around the bed saying "HI!".

Now, if only she would learn to stay parallel to the bed instead of sleeping like a jumping bean :)  As for Heidi, she's about 50/50 with sleeping in the crib and sleeping with mama or in the bassinet.  This mama LOVES her sweet cuddles and is way too lazy to return Heidi to a different room after her 3am feeding.  I'm hoping that being in a different room will help Heidi to eliminate her middle of the night feeding... I'll better rested, but a little sad when that milestone is reached :)

EXPERTS, please keep your yappers shut.  I do much better listening to myself!


more than fair

Today we got to go on a family trip to the Venango County 4H Fair.  Might not sound glamorous... but 2 members of this family were ecstatic (as for the other 2... I'm pretty "meh" about animals and Heidi is well, a baby.  However, the joy of the first two carried over and we all had a blast!).

I've been to 4H/ Farm/ State Fairs before, but this was the best experience I've ever had.  Through Hazel's eyes, the Fair was magical.

We started with the rabbits, chickens, and DUCKS.  Her excitement was tangible... these are the animals she's most familiar with.  When she saw the ducks, she started to do a duck dance.  Seriously, she must plot out this cuteness during her nap times.
I don't wanna be a chicken.  I don't wanna be a duck.  All I wanna do is shake shake shake my butt...
So, if you're ever in NW PA, I recommend making time for their 4-H Fair.  I have a sneaking suspicion that there will be a lot of 4-H in my future :)
minutes before, this calf was still in his mama!
These two had to kiss every animal.

and sometime the animals kissed them back
sandbox full of CORN!

body paint... of course she wanted a DUCK!

an empty arena... who could resist a horsey-ride!

The best part was the kiddie game area.  Super cheap games and a FREE toddler area with a blow-up bouncy castle.  So great!  

Until next time... 


5 years

Five years ago today I married my farmer (wannabe).  When I think of 5 years in terms of how long high school lasted PLUS ONE... it seems like it should feel longer.  I guess it's a good thing to feel like I haven't been married that long.

I love being married to Jake and that's all I have to say about that!  Fun, friendship and adventure... exactly what I dreamed a marriage would be.


Here are a few of my favorites that gathered five years ago to celebrate my marriage.  This year my mom's 3 siblings et al gathered again and I've enjoyed a few days of family time, a lot of laughter, a lot of teasing, a lot of eating and some scary similarities :)

How's this for a family resemblance?  (3 of the people above are not biologically related to the elders... I doubt you can figure it out!)


pinterest challenge

So, it's a little misleading to say that I took the Pinterest Challenge... I didn't know about it until yesterday. However, I've been inspired this week and have checked off a lot of tasks off of my DIY list :)

(the challenge is to finally DO some of the DIY ideas we pin/plan to do... but never do)

Here's what's going on in my house:

 Some close-ups...  guess who has a black berry patch right outside her door?  THIS GIRL!  LUCKY ME :)
Hazel is making BLACKBERRY LEMONADE, another Pinterest find, on the learning tower that her Grandpa Orris just made for her.  When there is a woodworker in the family, life is grand!  I only had to email him the plans from ana-white.com THREE times before he took the hint :)  She's spent almost all of her time in it since it arrived.  She even insists on eating her meals there!     (If you live nearby and want your own, I know one Grandpa who is retiring in the near future!  They retail for about $200 so I'm sure he'd be willing to make more for something close to that.)

Also, obviously I placed the flower icon over my wedding invitation because it contains more information then I want to share on this blog :)

All of these ideas are things I see over and over and over again on Pinterest and they were all so EASY!  Makes me kick myself for not doing them sooner!  I'm so encouraged and hoping to keep this ball rolling :)

Heidi @ 4 months

Oh sweet Heidi.  Cool, calm and collected... never thought I'd use those words to describe a newborn!  Granted there are a few cries every day, but only when you're being ignored for too long.

Your cutest thing is your sweet sweet smiles.  They happen readily anytime we give your our full attention.  They're so captivating that I've yet to break away and grab my camera.  You also love to have conversations!  Back and forth we trade "ahhhoohhh"s.

You love your mobiles and spend hours batting at different objects and recently, pulling things to your mouth!  Your control over your hands has dramatically increased!  Mostly, those fingers are in your mouth...one, two, four at a time!

Two birthmarks have appeared... it's looking like you're taking after your mama's good looks (mama has a birthmark on her face that was very traumatic to a preteen!).


this way...

to the berry patch!
This pic was snapped at about 7am on Sunday morning.  I dressed Hazel for church and lil Miss Fashion insisted on putting on her black boots and going berry picking.  It's a very good thing to live in the woods... you don't want to know what I was wearing at 7am... suffice to say, it was NOT church appropriate!

*longer post tomorrow:  Heidi's 4-month post and a few brags about my DIY projects.  I'm getting things done around these parts!