it's craft month!

Shout out to Mara and Sonna who told me they read my blog with their friends during school! Hello ladies! So happy to have this little window into your day! I think you're going to like what I'm about to write about, and I have a feeling you crafty girls will join me in this challenge...

To everything there is a season. I say that aloud or to myself probably thirty seven times a day. And I find so much comfort and rest in that truth. There will be a day. If it's on your heart, it's there for a reason. If it can't be accomplished today or this year or next year, there will be many years after that. If there is something plaguing your days, a hardship, a too will pass. To everything there is a season.

I'm currently in a season where most of my creative energies go into figuring out what I can make for dinner out of mayonnaise, noodles and frozen corn. But it seems every February, a wave of inspiration hits and I get a boost of creative juices.

So you know what season it is now?!! Crafting season!!! Yesterday I saw a really darling window display at a favorite shop in our town with hearts on string dangling behind the clothes and shoes they are selling. And I decided to stop shopping and come home and get out the valentine's decorations.
Then I got all inspired to make my own heart strings. So last night after the kids went to bed, Rory watched a movie about William Bradford and I started cutting hearts. And I remembered that I love cutting and crafting. So I made a little challenge for myself: For the next thirty days I am going to do something creative each day.

It can be super simple. These will not be complex projects. But they will be darling. And they will probably have some hearts. But maybe not. And it doesn't have to be a new project every day. If I get super excited about heart strings, I could make them all month long. I won't, but the rules say I could if I wanted to. It's good to make the rules. Also, these are my projects. The kids can join in if I have the patience, but these don't have to be group projects. (They made cute shoe box mailboxes today...) In fact, I will likely prep the project during the day and execute after bedtime. Also, I'm going to try not to shop for anything. I'll get clever with my own craft stash.

So who's with me?!! Mara? Sonna? You girls in? It doesn't have to be every day (you can make your own rules too!) but let's get crafty!
Turns out I get crafty almost every February. Thankfully I have this blog to prove it. Check out these Valentines posts.

And here's my pinterest board in case you want to make some of these projects too. I'll be adding as the month goes on...

drifts and snow piles

We had a great dumping of snow yesterday. Sixteen inches was the official count! The drifts are incredible and the piles of snow from the tractor are awesome. And today is sunny and blue skies. The kids have a friend over and they are living the dream.

Minnesotans tend to love Minnesota. We're very loyal to this place even in the middle of winter. Even after sad football games. And those cold subzero days can feel very isolating. But now! The snow! The blue sky! The schools cancelled! The above zero temps! We were made for this! The state-wide celebration over a beautiful day is part of the goodness of winter here. And we are living it up. it up with sleds and snow pants and sunglasses.

sunshine for your day

It's snowing and blowing here...a real blizzard! Rory just went out to feed the animals and we talked about Pa Ingalls tying a line from the house to the barn to find his way back from chores. We still have visibility, but he did walk out there backwards since the icy snow is so harsh on the face! 

Hattie wore a new dress to church yesterday, from her Seattle cousins. Usually I can't get Hattie to stay still for a picture, but when I told her I wanted a picture to send to Claire, Simon and Nellie, she lit up and posed so nicely. And after each picture she confirmed, "Nanoo?!" Which is how she says Nellie, a beloved cousin friend who took great care of Hattie during our Thanksgiving visit.
...and casually leaning against the book shelf.

the laundry flu

We are in the middle of our third week of having to clear everything from the calendar because of sickness. We have been passing around some version of the flu to each other since the new year. I have been out of the house a total of six times in 2018. No lie!

I had a pretty chipper attitude about it for a while. It was so cold, I didn't actually want to go anywhere anyway. We have had a roaring fire heating our house and it's cozy to stay put.

But then Ivar got a high fever on Sunday afternoon and I had to call my sister to tell her we wouldn't be coming to her house for MLK day. We would, instead, stay put again. It was a low blow and it got me down. I was really, really excited for a day at her house with all of our kids.

Later that night Rory found me baking cookies in the kitchen. "Wow. Why are you making cookies?"

"Low morale," I replied. And then laughed at the absurdity of it, as well as the absolute truth.

And probably because I'm slowly losing my marbles, I imagined a little Mystery Science Theatre commentary happening while I was baking cookies. I heard a narration team in my head, "Ah, folks, it's too early for her to get the winter blues. We haven't even hit Valentines Day, her typical low point of winter. In fact, that's still a long ways off. Is she going anywhere this winter? Um, not unless you count Iowa in March for her great Aunt's 100th birthday. Right. That's not very far south. Also, it's two months from now. Well, I'd say she's doing the right thing by baking cookies. We agree. And good for her for using Gluten Free flour. They're basically healthy now. Absolutely."

And now, since Sunday night,  Hattie has had what I call The Laundry Flu two different nights. Ivar has The Kleenex Flu with achy bones and a lack of energy. And yesterday I got some version of the flu too. And to be honest, I blame those cookies. I haven't had that much sugar in months, and I think I crashed my immune system. But they were good solace during Hattie's sickness for me...

Anyway, I am about solutions! God made me quite proactive, optimistic and excitable when he formed me, so here's my winter plan for 2018. (And, it's FORTY DEGREES TODAY!!!)

My solution to this long and ill month, and making it through the next two months of winter is to relax on my to do's and play with my kids every chance I get. (My to do's get undone immediately anyway...) The picture above is a huge ship we made on Monday that had to cross the ocean. We could only get off the ship when we docked at a restaurant to eat snacks (Elsie's idea). There were terrible storms, and most fun was nighttime when we'd all lay down and snuggle and snore and talk about the sharks circling our ship.

I also am big into having a lit candle each day, calming music (just discovered DappyTKeys on youtube) and other good Hygge things.

And my latest, greatest idea was two nights ago when we took a Family Re-cation. I hooked up the projector and after supper we all looked at every picture I took from our family vacation last December to Kentucky. It was so, so fun. And it did feel like a little virtual get away. :)

So I'm fighting back. Remember when I regrouped the winter months: January, February and March? Because those are the actual winter months in Minnesota. December was nice and mild until the very end. It usually is. So we are just at the beginning of the winter, in my mind. Way too soon for low morale! So bring on all the cozy things. And the boat rides in shark infested waters.

barn update!

While everyone has been sick in the house this month, something very exciting has been happening out in the barn. The guys that built our barn have been back to enclose the animal and storage area from the rest of the barn. This was done mainly to create a hay mow to store our small square bales of hay for the animals. Tada!
So now when you go up the stairs you can go left or right on the first landing. Going left will lead you to four stairs and to Floor 1 1/2. It's a whole huge room, 8 feet tall at the highest slope and then gradually getting lower. (And don't worry. We will soon build a deck railing all across the top. I am certain my dad's heart rate is up just looking at this picture of Ivar!) 

This new ceiling and walls also means that our storage room is now enclosed so our stuff won't always have saw dust, hay and animal dust all over it. 
It looks so good and feels perfect for this barn. The craziest part is that when we designed the barn, we hadn't planned it this way. It was an idea that came after the barn was built, but when you see it, it feels like it was always a part of the master design. How great is that?