Baby Peas

A while back, we stopped at the Urban Farm Store to pick up a special pitchfork. I’ve always called it a sifting fork, because it’s the style we used to sift the shavings while cleaning horse stalls (which is like cleaning a cat box, only much bigger).  Online they seem to be called manure forks or stall forks.  They’re fantastic for picking up straw, leaves, etc. Anyway, none of that is really important. What’s important, is that Rex picked out a packet of seeds.

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After spending an inordinate amount of time communing with the chicks, he insisted on a packet of Super Sugar Snap Peas from Territorial Seed. Who was I to argue?  We planted his seeds (or, as he calls them, his baby peas) on February 20th. Six days later, they sprouted!  As Liisa says, peas are nearly instant gratification and perfect for kids.

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Four days later, they looked like this.

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Soon, his peas were climbing up the window, in search of tendril holds.  I staked them with BBQ skewers, but they soon surpassed those in height (image below is from March 9th) and we knew it was time for transplanting.  (They should have been transplanted prior to being so tall, but life got in the way a bit.)

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Finally, we moved them to their proper home.  The soil is a mix of local compost and organic potting soil.  I’ve given them a tomato cage to climb and Rex watered them with his new watering can.

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I’m excited to see his reaction when his baby peas grow up and sprout pods.

As a little aside… I used clothespins written on with a Sharpie pen for planting markers this year. They are working great! They clip on to the sides of the little starter pods and then are easily moved when the plants are transplanted. I found the idea online from a variety of sources. I marked mine with the name on one side and the seed ID code on the other. In the fourth image, you can see I’ve used them to mark the tomato starts next to the peas.


Home Day

Sometimes, our busy lives get too busy and we just need a day at home. Today was one of those days.

My allergies are raging and Rex is in full growth-spurt and toddler mode. His breakfast included a meltdown tantrum, simply because I served him the food he asked for. The quest for clothes took several outfits this morning, because he was only happy with his shirt choice until I tried to put it on him. The number of freak-outs, melt-downs, and general toddler-y-ness was amping up by 10am and I knew today was a Home Day.

Rather than let things spiral out of control, I took a few deep breaths, brought my voice down to a low, soft level, and canceled all of our plans. Here’s what we did instead.

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We donned our “boobles” (aka goggles) and sanded down the board I’d had cut for the train table top a few weeks ago. I picked up the table via Freecycle, but the top was pretty much a wash. I pulled off the old one and went to Home Depot where we picked up some red oak laminated plywood*. I had the board cut at the store on their wacky sideways table saw.  At that time, we also purchased primer and polyurethane as well as brushes.

This project has been sitting in the garage, waiting for its turn for a couple weeks.  The problem? The board didn’t fit quite right and the edges were sharp and in need of sanding. I wasn’t about to do that much sanding with a manual hand sander.  Luckily, over the weekend, my father gifted me with his old Makita hand sander. It’s a corded sander in the style that I’ve always referred to as a “jitterbug”, but in actuality is called a palm or finishing sander. Mine looks very similar to this one, but is at least 15 years old. Age didn’t make a difference for this project, because that little sander did just what I wanted!

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I sanded the heck out of the edge that didn’t quite fit as well as smoothing and rounding all the edges. With the sharp sides fixed and the top smoothed out, it fits in there quite nicely. I may have to sand a bit after we paint it, but for now it’s perfect.

With the top sanded and ready, I was able to prime it while Rex took a very unexpected self-directed nap.

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When we acquired the table, my husband had the idea of making it a family project that would take weeks and let Rex feel a lot of ownership over a piece that will ultimately be his.  The plan for this table top is to paint it in layers, using one color at a time. We have a rough idea sketched out of what we’d like the finished landscape to look like. I purchased powdered tempera paints from a local place** so we can mix just what we need to use for each painting session. The tempera paints are easy to clean up and the colors tend to dry brighter than other kid-friendly paints. When the painting is finished, we’ll put several coats of polyurethane over the top to keep it looking great for a long time.

The cost of this project is not cheap (we’re at about $50 in supplies, give or take a little), but it is less expensive than purchasing a train table new. Many of the supplies (tempera paints, leftover wood, primer) are more than enough and will be used for future projects.  The real benefit isn’t saving money, it’s doing a project as a family.


*It was mis-marked on a high shelf as underlayment and was priced at $12.97. At the counter, it rang up at $29.97. They honored the shelf-tag price, phew!

**Shout out for I’ve Been Framed! They were the only place in town that carried powdered tempera paints.  I wish I’d had more time to browse as they have great stuff at great prices.


I’ve gotten back to skating in the last month or two, managing to go about every week or so. There are two rinks here, both a bit of a drive.  Gresham Skate World is an older rink, probably built in the 70s or 80s and it has that weird stone coating on the outside that all rinks of that era seem to have. Inside, the rink is lime green with that dark roller rink carpet and the little snack bar with hot dogs and the like. It’s a nice little rink with decent prices (especially with their summer 10 for $10 punch card) and lots of sessions.  It is reminiscent of my now defunct hometown rink, Roller Odyssey. The other rink is at Oaks Amusement Park.  It’s a little pricier, but the cost fits the experience. The rink is hand-pieced hardwood from the early 1900s and has a Wurlitzer pipe organ suspended above the rink, which was installed in the 50s.  I happened to attend on a night with organ music, which is a unique experience. There were people skating waltzes and little kids just trying to keep their feet under them. On the sidelines, an older gentleman swayed and bobbed with songs remembered from his youth.  Everyone, no matter age or background, was having a great time.

All this is to say that the other day, I had my skates out. I had ordered new insoles for them and was putting them in. Rex got really interested in my skates and even tried to wear them. I took his interest and ran with it. We packed up and rushed down to the Gresham rink, where they had clip-on skates in his size (they don’t make roller skates small enough for him yet). He made it over halfway around the big rink, holding my hands, and only fell once. He’s almost fearless on carpet. Needless to say, I ordered him his own set of clip on skates when we got home. If my boy wants to skate, I’ll make it happen.

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For over 20 minutes, he wandered around the house in skates like it was no big deal. He can get up off the floor on his own and doesn’t seem to care if he falls.  He’s wearing the Fisher Price Grow-With-Me 123 Skates. They’re currently in the “Stage 1” position which locks the front wheels, allowing him to walk instead of roll.  As he gets more confident, we’ll change to the different stages.  As his feet grow, you can lengthen the skates to accommodate shoe sizes up to a toddler 12. At that point, he’ll be more than big enough for regular skates.

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On a side note, I’m looking into new skates. I love my Riedell R3s, but my feet grew enough with pregnancy that they’re just too snug. Because they’re not a real leather, I doubt I can have them stretched.  I changed the way they’re laced, which gave me a bit more room in the toes, but it’s just not enough.  I’m considering a different style of Riedell, but I haven’t decided yet. Anyone have a favorite wide skate boot that they’d recommend?

To and Fro: Idaho

I dropped off the map this week and popped in Idaho. Rex and I traveled by plane and by car to visit my grandparents.  We flew there and drove back, which made for very interesting packing.  As Rex is now two, he had to have his own seat. I also had to transport his car seat as well as all of our luggage through an airport. By myself. Thankfully, there is no photographic evidence of my pack mule look, but know that it was epic. I packed a week’s worth of clothes and supplies into an adult back pack, a kid back pack, a small messenger bag, and a small black travel bag. Through the clever use of space bags and bungees, everything we needed fit.

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Rex rode on the plane like it was no big deal. In fact, the only thing he was upset about was having to stow his books during take-off and landing.  We were met at the airport by my uncle and dropped off at the great-grandparents’ house. From there we met up at the hotel with my folks and my sister and her family.  All told, I moved Rex’s seat in and out of vehicles and on and off of the car seat dolly over a dozen times in 24 hours…

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Rex took naps in a variety of locations, including on Great-Grandma’s couch.  Buddy, one of her rescue chihuahuas thought napping was a pretty good idea.

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Of course, there were toys and balloons and all of the things that come from a trip with grandparents.

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And he ate more ice cream than he usually does in a month.

All in all, it was a very fun trip.  We got to spend some wonderful time with my grandparents and can’t wait to see them in August at the family reunion.  Rex was so sweet and gave his great-grandparents and his grandparents lots of hugs.  It was so neat to see how he changed this year as compared to our visit last year.

New Sandbox

Seven months ago, Woot had a fantastic sandbox for CHEAP.  Normally $129, they were selling it for $59 plus their normal $5 shipping/handling.  $65 for a kickin’ covered sandbox? Yes, please!  Since we acquired the sandbox in September, it hung out in the garage in its box for a while, waiting for the sunshine to return.  Yesterday, during naptime, I assembled the sandbox and today, we filled it!

2014-05-02 16.56.31Looking perplexed because the sandbox has no sand.

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 We also scored him a bicycle helmet for $10 from a great local bike store called Bike Gallery. They were clearancing last year’s colors and we found the perfect fitting one that just happened to have excavators and dump trucks on it.

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Little does he know, he’s getting a balance bike for his birthday. Please admire my self control for not giving it to him early.  I’ve had it assembled and stored downstairs for over a month. Patience is not my strong suit and it has taken a lot of control to leave it in storage…

FO: Tama for Rex

I’m pleased to share Rex’s new sweater!


Pattern is Tama by Kelly Brooker.  I was gifted this lovely pattern and the one for Beyond Puerperium** by my lovely (blogless) friend Jen for my birthday.


This little sweater was a treat to knit.  I worked it up in (new to me) Berroco Vintage Chunky, color #61191.  It took less than 3 skeins, despite the yardage requirements indicated on the pattern.  I have quite a bit leftover from the last skein, enough to make a hat for sure.  I made a slight modification by adding in the missing buttonholes.  The original has one functional buttonhole and the other two buttons are sewn through both layers.  Knowing my boy does not like things tight over his had, I decided to add in the other two buttonholes.  You can read all of my notes and modifications on the Ravelry project detail page.

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Buttons are from Babyville Boutique (#35056) and were also purchased at Twisted when I bought the yarn.  (I had a plan and stuck with it!)  I used this youtube video on sewing buttons onto handknits to attach my buttons. I found it very thorough and easy to follow.  I used small, clear-ish backing buttons out of my stash.

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I tried the sweater on Rex as it progressed (Picture me, chasing a 21 month old around the house in a one-sleeved sweater, still attached to a ball of yarn…), so it fits like a dream!  I’m hoping he’ll get some good wear out of this before spring is over.  And yes, I’m already plotting my next Tama.  I wish it was available for my size!


*She also designed the pattern for the Puerperium Cardigan that I knit Rex when he was first born.

**If you love both sweaters, you can get them in an e-book for a great price!