a good cause

A woman named Colleen passed away on October 17 from a rapidly speading liver cancer. She left behind a beloved husband, Jens, and 2 precious children, Anneke(5 years old) and Fritz (2 years old). You probably don't know this woman. I don't really know her either. But she is one out of a small group of women who sell their hand made wares on Hyena Cart where I have my store, Dwell Wool Knits.

Many ladies have pulled together to create an amazing fundraiser. All the proceeds will go to her children's college fund, per her last requests. The "Celebrating Colleen" fundraiser begins today, October 28, 2pm EST and runs through Tuesday, November 4th.

Like I mentioned, I didn't know Colleen - but when something like this happens to such a small little "online" community, it sends ripples throughout it.

Colleen hand-dyed amazing yarn. I am so glad to have had the pleasure to knit a couple things with her it. I am quite sure that the recipients will treasure their items.

Here are a couple of them:




I am collaborating with Kim of Western Sky Knits and Suzanne of Goodmama to bring together a fun set for cloth diaper users. I'll knit the yarn Kim dyed to match this adorable cowboy print goodmama diaper. You can view my auction here.

So even if you don't cloth diaper, there is something for everyone. It's all for a good cause. Please stop in to the Tiny Lady Cooperative throughout the week!

hyenacart.com/tinyladycooperative/

We set off for our annual hay-ride pumpkin picking trip this year but were almost very disappointed! We pulled in to an empty parking lot and no sign of rides or pumpkins or hay or gourds. Unfortunately our old spot was closed! So off we drove hoping to fine something else, which luckily we did. The kids couldn't tell the difference between an actually get your feet muddy kind of pumpkin patch and a grassy field with ready-priced pumpkins scattered through them and we weren't about to point that out. Look how much fun they were having! They even pulled us out to the little spot on a tractor hayride.









Looks like you're going to be stuck with us in PA for a little while longer after all!!!!

I haven't gotten to tell everyone personally yet - the news is trickling. So please feel free to call if we haven't talked to you yet.

Justin and I had to make a very important decision. After having the move to Montana full swing in the works, a door shut. We really feel God in this and that this is meant to be for us right now. I'm very thankful that we felt the door closing before we moved!

The economy is really the biggest factor right now. Homes don't sell like they normally do in the winter and people are not buying right now. We are very blessed that Justin has a great employer right now, and feel led to keep it that way. To branch off on his own and to sub-contract for them at this point in time may not provide us with security we would need to get by. Now is not the time to chance things.

So where does that leave us? Well... we sold our home already! Rather than trying to buy something or rent right away, we are blessed to have the option to move in with Justin's parents for a time while we sort things out. It will be an adventure and we're thankful that they so readily opened their arms to us.

After the winter we will reevaluate and go from there. Ultimately we'd love to still make it out to Montana. So let's just say it's on hold for the time being. :)

Big Announcement

No no, I'm not pregnant! We are MOVING! To Montana!

Yes, it seems so out there and crazy and I know those who are close to us know the news, but I just haven't had time to announce here. So this will make it official.

Justin, for some time, has just felt something lacking in his job, never being truly happy or content. He wants to have the ability to do more. Never finishing his degree is something that has weighed on him. So after lots of prayer and consideration, it has been decided to pursue going back to school... at Montana State University.

Why there and not here?
1. Excellent program that has certifications in Sustainable Design (something Justin has been passionate about before it became popular)
2. Lower cost of living.
3. Walkability/Bicycle distance from school.
4. Safer than Philly.
5. Cleaner than Philly.

We considered Temple and Drexel, but it came down to not wanting to move our family into the city. Staying here and commuting is not reasonable. It would take 2 hours out of the day.

So the process began... He applied and was accepted. That was step one. The second much larger step was approaching his employer. Justin wrote a very extensive proposal to work for his company as a sub-contractor. Being self-employed he can better manage his hours and enables us to afford to have him go to school full-time while working at the minimum 25 hours a week while in school.

The hardest part about this transition is leaving our family and friends. It's heart-wrenching really, as close as we are to our them. We do plan to come back east for about a month each summer while we are there. Oh - and that will be three years approximately.

So... That's where I've been pretty much while not blogging! We listed and sold our home and have been searching for a rental to live in in Bozeman. We just found it yesterday and have been approved! So it's nice to have an address - one less stress...

I think this will be an adventure. A hard one. No doubt. Justin will be working 70 hours a week and myself.. well, I will be starting over I guess. I plan to get plugged in right away at a church and join a mom's group to meet people. I plan to blog often about our "adventure." I don''t want to lose touch with my friends here, so I hope by blogging that will at least give a means to keep other's a little plugged in to our lives, as that's how I feel reading other blogs. Of course there always is the telephone too!

Our move-in date is scheduled for November 6th. We are hiring a moving service - one of those 'you pack, they drive' services. So that takes about 7-10 days to actually get out there. We will be staying with Justin's family until Justin has to leave to drive out, and I will fly out with the boys on the 6th or 7th. Eeek! Wish us luck! It's coming upon us quickly.

I'll have to do an additional post later to update you on the boys and share some photos! I don't want to overload. ;)

me again

OK, so we're going to ignore the big white elephant in the room. Yes, that thing I say all the time when I take forever to update the blog. I'm not saying it. :)

The summer has been flying. And we've been enjoying it thoroughly. I've been really busy with my new stay at home knitting business. Often I have late nights and early mornings, but overall my plan is that it doesn't get in the way of family. It's a slippery slope.

Here are some highlights from summer fun we've had.

Gone fishin'
We took Jackson down to the reservoir which is just down the street. He had a blast catching little fish there. Justin did the casting, but he was happy as a clam waiting for his bobber to get pulled under so he could reel it in.

Liam was a good sport searching out rocks and sticks to throw in the lake. I love the cute moment they had on the log. (Yes, I made them sit together!) But miracle upon miracle, they stays and acted all brotherly together. They were looking at the worms if you're curious. ;)







The Beach
We only made it once to Long Beach Island this year. I want to go again. Oh heck, I want to live there to be honest! We went with the entire Isabell clan. I love making those memories with family. Liam lived up to his initials (He's LBI, didntcha' know?) and couldn't get enough of the sand, the waves and the "airmanes" flying the banners overhead. Jackson loves it too but can't seem to pick if he's a mountain boy or beach boy better. He had a blast too. It was hard to capture photos of the dude, as he didn't sit still most of the time.







OK, there's more to post, but I have to get moving here. Erin, I hope you're happy! LOL!

OK, I know, I'm a week behind on Fresh Idea Friday. I have a valid excuse. ;) I'll get to that later.

My good friend Lisa blogs at Out of the Blue and each month on the first Friday comes up with a Fresh Idea. This month is share your favorite recipe source and Lisa asked for us to share a favorite recipe from it. Okey-dokey! You asked for it!

Well I'm a cook and a foody. I love both! My poor family is subject to my tinkering in the kitchen and it's not often we eat the same thing repetitively. I know a few times I shared my meal plan on here, African Peanut Soup anyone? Remember that? It was actually really good! They were peanuts, just plain ole peanuts, not special African ones. I know someone was wondering.

My favorite source for recipes is Real Simple. I subscribe to the magazine but their online directly is free to anyone. They have fancy to every day recipes. It's hard to pick a favorite. If I had to the Rosemary Garlic Chicken is up there. My whole family enjoys it.

My second source is an actual cookbook. With pages ya know? Who uses them anymore? Ha! I have one called the New England Cookbook. I bought it when I lived in Boston and I reach for it when I'm missing New England. There's lots of yummyness in there. I frequently make their 5-Alarm Chili recipe that is in there. Someday I'll type it out. I would now but I'm savoring this moment before the kids are screaming fohttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gifr me.

I have a new source I'd love to share that is going to probably rapidly climb to favorite. It's The Pioneer Woman. What a cool website. There's some amazing looking food in there and I just love the conversational tone of the recipes and the photography is amazing. I want to bite the computer screen. These things here are apparently worth their weight in gold. I haven't tried them but it's on my to do list.

So there you have it!

I hope everyone is enjoying picnics and fireworks this weekend! How nice to have a three-day weekend with the family. We'll be going to a couple picnics to celebrate with our nation's independence this weekend.

I just got back from CA where I went to my brother, Bill's, wedding. Got to meet his wife, Melissa, for the first time in her wedding dress! She's gorgeous! And sweet, and most importantly, loves my brother to the end of the earth. It was a really beautiful wedding. Took place in an ocean-side garden in Half Moon Bay, CA.

I wish I had gotten more photos with my camera. I dutifully photographed the rest of the wedding with my brother's camera. ;)


Dad got this one of the sibs minus Trisha. We missed you Trish!


It was sad leaving all the boys behind. I missed them immensely. Sharing a room with Nan was wonderful though, and something I wouldn't trade. It was really special being able to spend that time with her. She is 90 after all!

We visited San Francisco on Friday and took in some sights. What we could see anyhow. It was pretty foggy, but also smokey from all the forest fires they were having out there. My favorite was having clam chowder at this place called Lou's. The. best. It rivaled any chowder I've ever had, and I've had a lot ~ living in New England for many years and all!

One of the souvenirs I not so luckily brought home was vertigo. :( Apparently from the flight I got it. We had a layover going there and back and the doctor thinks that all the changes in altitude/pressure, etc, messed with my equilibrium. Justin thinks I just don't travel well. Either way, I've been feeling like I'm walking sideways since returned home. Not fun! Hopefully it'll wear off soon.

Well I'm really glad to be home! Here are a few photos from the trip!




My friend Lisa started a neat idea on her blog "Out of the Blue" called Fresh Idea Friday. On the 1st and 3rd Friday of each month she's going to post a "Fresh Idea" on her blog and the idea is for all of us to share and then we'll all have no excuses to be out of fresh ideas! :) Love it!

This week's theme is appropriate: " a recipe that we love taking to a picnic"

Here's a recipe I love to bring to picnics. A little different, but everyone always seems to love it! Unless they're just being nice?

Pasta with Spinach, Ricotta, and Golden Raisins
12 ounces Rotini (or another fusilli-type pasta) (4 cups)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 ounce package baby spinach
2 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup whole or part-skim ricotta
Kosher salt and pepper
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts (optional)

Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and return to the pot. Add the olive oil, vinegar, and spinach and toss to wilt. Stir in the scallions, raisins, ricotta, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and the basil.

Divide among individual bowls and top with the Parmesan and pine nuts, if using.

Knitty Gritty!

Where has Andrea been? Certainly not posting. OK, you're not surprised or wondering where I've been. I'll tell you anyway.

Here: Dwell Wool Knits blog and here: Dwell Wool Knits store

I made the leap and now am considered a WAHM (work at home mom). It's very part-time and not too well paying considering how long it takes me to knit. But I'm having fun with it. I really have been enjoying knitting and knitting for others and hope I do well. So far so good! I had a friend design my website and logo and am getting ready to "stock" my store with customs and little knit toys. Wish me luck!

Since I have to go and knit now, I will at least upload a few pics, since pics are always fun. I'll have time to chat more later. Hope everyone's summer is going well! (Wait, it's not summer yet, is it? Sorry, the 98 degree weather certainly has me feeling like summer is here...)



The happiest I've ever seen Jackson.


The boys and their mama on Mother's Day.



Do not, I repeat, do not try to take treats away from Liam. He gets mad.

It all began on a warm spring day. A young boy spent his time running and climbing and sliding at a park. Then he was spotted. Inching along a branch. Big eyes in wonder moved closer. A careful grab. Behold, Mr. Fuzzy! It was a fast friendship with a strong bond. He stayed with his friend the entire day. Shared nap time in a jeweled glass dwelling while his pale-skinned friend rested nearby. Reunion upon waking! The fun began again. Inching along the grass with his friend watching close by. Then, tragedy. A bicycle wheel astray. Mr. Fuzzy, no longer. Rest in peace dear friend.

I hope all the special mom's in my life had a wonderful and blessed Mother's Day! I was touched when chatting with Justin and he presumed it was a "holiday" and stores would be closed. Well that would be nice to be honored that way!

Saturday evening was spent at my sister's where we celebrated my dad's birthday and Mother's Day together with Nan, Mom and Dad Stevenson. Unfortunately neither of the husbands were in attendance. Justin was feeling under the weather and my sister's husband had to work. :( But it was nice being with the Stevenson's! Trisha fed us well and did an awesome job playing hostess with one child in her arms and serving with the other. ;)

Jackson and Ava were looking forward to seeing each other for some cousin's time. It's so fun to see them as they're getting older. Actually playing *together* ya know? (And giving us some adult time too! *wink!*) Jackson declared Aunt Trisha to be his favorite aunt because she has Ava. Hear that Aunt Bethany, Aunt Emily and Aunt Grace? Once you've got some kids you might have a chance too! ;) And Aunt Kate - I'm certain you would be in the favorites category, especially with the little dudes - so Trisha will have some fierce competition once you guys are back in the area! ;)

Poor Liam had a rough time Saturday night though. He took a tumble and landed on his chin, causing his top teeth to bite through his bottom lip. Not all the way, no worries, but enough to cause a minor crisis. He was not quite himself this weekend after that, being very clingy and cranky. Understandable, I'm sure that little puffy lip hurts badly. Poor guy.

Sunday I received the biggest surprise Mother' Day gift from Justin *ever*! A new digital camera! And a nice digital camera at that! I'm still in shock and denial. He was too generous and I know it was a sacrifice for him to purchase it for me. I hope he knows how grateful I am. Look forward to being bombarded with photos in the future!

After spending the morning recuperating from the rough evening had by Liam, we went to Justin's family's home. Dad Isabell took good care of all the mom's with a wonderful dinner (as always!) Justin was feeling better so I was grateful to get some more help chasing kiddos around. Mimi and Poppy's house is always an adventure for the boys. Jackson loves to chase frogs in the little pond, and I know this summer we'll look forward to a couple submersions. It happened last year, with Mimi following right behind!!! The big yarn is full of trees which Jackson has more interest in climbing. Justin helps him. ;)

So all in all I felt blessed and loved this mother's day. Thanks to all around me who made it special! :)

Here are some photos from the day take with my new present!

My boys. :)


Little Liam


The climber


Mimi's kiddos


Frog hunting


Hanging with Mimi

OK. I did it again. I am not too gifted with starting new habits. Blogging being one of them. Things build up and I get intimidated about thinking what to blog about. I don't want to overload, yet I fall behind all the while. Well, I've got to start somewhere! I could back date the posts individually (haha, did that one time!) but I'll just share snippets.

Hmmm, so where did we leave off? Ah yes! Justin's brother, Jon, and Emily got married and Jackson was the ring bearer! On 4/12 (almost a month already!?!) It was a beautiful day - I was so happy for the two of them. We're all super excited to have Emily join the family and the boy gained a new aunt. Yay!

Jackson did a great job making his way up the isle. The only hesitation was after taking about five steps, he turned around (I was in the back helping him) and very loudly whispered, "Mommmm! There are no rings on the pillow!!!" He was pretty distraught. He new his job was "ring bearer," not simply, "pillow bearer." Hahaha, but he still got the pillow up and looked adorable.



Our MVP of the day was Aunt Bethany. What a blessing she was to me this day. Justin was in the wedding so I technically was on my own with two boys, one boy who was in the wedding. Oi. She really blessed me by watching Liam while I helped Jackson in the back before he walked up the isle. Throughout the day she was there to give a hand and I'm so grateful for that. Thanks Bethany! Love ya!



Of course we can't leave Frog behind, now can we?



Next up we had cousin Ava's birthday party. It was a "Princess Party." And Jack was the only boy. Ha. ;) They had a dance lesson and it was the first time I saw the divide between boy and girl. Jackson sat in the corner with his arms crossed over his chest. Daddy would have been proud. Only reason Justin wasn't there was because he stayed home with Liam for his nap. Oh, and didn't you know that if you're a boy, the only appropriate attire to wear is a pirate costume? This is our "happy?" pirate.


Here's the birthday princess in her glory!


The day after the pirate/princess party was my own birthday. Eeek! I'm 30! We celebrated by going to the circus. I know, I know, I'm a big kid. Maybe I wanted to do that to feel younger? ;) We had a wonderful time as a family and I couldn't have asked for more. It was gift to see the boys faces in wonder as they watched all of the circus performances. I probably had that look on my face a number of times as well.





Well that oughta catch you up for now. Don't want to overload you.

Then come on over! Jackson, our in house stylist will be glad to help you. ;)

I was on the phone last night sitting at our computer desk and Jackson climbed up behind me. I totally was not paying attention when he fished scissors out of the pencil cup holder. Next thing I knew, or felt I should say, was the snip of the scissors against my head!!! Don't worry, it's subtle... To give him credit, he was sick, so he obviously wasn't thinking clearly... Also, during his bath last night I grabbed our hair cutting scissors and cleaned up around his ears since Jon and Emily's wedding is Saturday... So it was fresh in his mind that scissors are for cutting hair. I'm pretty proud of myself for not freaking out too much. Could have been that I was on the phone though. When I ran my hand through my hair a small clump came out, but I can't locate where it came from, so that's good! Jackson was pretty mortified and extremely apologetic for cutting my hair and I'm sure he won't ever attempt it again!

I completed my third pair of woolie shorts for Liam! Yay! Stay tuned... I've decided to *open* a little online store of sorts to sell knit items. It mostly will be wool diaper covers but I also plan to make little organic knit toys. :) I'm having fun with this!

Quiet Time

What do you do when your little one wakes up from their nap before nap time is "over"?

With Liam I can't control how long he sleeps per say. When he's up, he's up. Sometimes he'll stay in his crib and play quietly, and other times he'll cry/yell that he wants out, and like, NOW.

Jackson, on the other hand, I can have go back in his room to have Quite Time. He used to sleep by the clock each day from 1-4, but as he's getting older, I'm seeing that diminish. *cry*

He went down for his nap today at 1 and at 2:45 I heard a loud "thud" overhead. Did he fall out of bed I wondered?! He came down a few minutes afterward with every.stuffed.animal.he.owns inside his little sleeping bag that he's insisted on sleeping in lately... I looked at the clock and immediately thought, nope, naptime is not over yet! For me anyway... So I had him go back up to have some quiet time in his room looking at books and just being generally quiet... I feel somewhat guilty having him do this sometimes, but it passes quickly... ;) It's not every day that he does wake "early" from his naps. For the past week he's slept for 3 hours in the afternoon, when suddenly, like today, he'll wake early. Can't figure it out...

The Menu

OK, I thought I'd try to do a menu each week, but was uninspired the past two weeks since posting my last menu. Yes, we did manage to eat, but just thrown together last minute (and not so healthy) things.

This week we will be eating:

Monday - Bruschetta Chicken Bake
Tuesday - Gnocchi with Sausage and Spinach
Wednesday - Pork chops and mashed potatoes
Thursday - Parmesan Pasta with Chicken and Rosemary
Friday - Jon and Emily's Rehearsal Dinner! Oh wait, the boys will eat beforehand... so umm... leftovers...
Saturday - Jon and Emily's Wedding!
Sunday - Orange Chicken with Potatoes
I linked each recipe if you think it's something you'd like to try. The only one this week I'm cooking that we've actually had before is the Chicken Bake (easy and yum!) and the Gnocchi with sausage. Can you tell I like to try new things? :) I'm actually TRYING to stick to more of a meal plan. Unless you count surfing online for things and making a list from that meal planning! LOL!

The Drive Thru

The other day I took the boys to PlayZONE at Mr. B's Coffeehouse - a really fun indoor playground that awesome when we just can't get outside. Anyway, lots of fun was had and on the way home we stopped through Wendy's for a quick lunch since in no way was there going to be time for lunch before naps once getting home. As we pulled up this conversation transpired:

Jackson: Mommy, can you roll down my window? I want to order for myself.
Me: OK, here you go, make sure you talk loud.
Wendy's: Hello! How may I help you? (or whatever they say...)
Jackson: Do you have any orange juice?
Wendy's: Yes we do!
Jackson: In a box?
Wendy's: Yes, it comes in a box.
Jackson: OK, I will have that, and a booger (burger) with cheese and bacon.
Wendy's: So that will be a junior bacon cheeseburger and an orange juice?
Jackson: Yes.

On our way home as he began eating, I encouraged Jackson to say thank you to me for getting him lunch and he said, "I don't need to say thank you because I ordered it myself!" !!!!! Where does this child get it?!

Resurrection


Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.Romans 6:8-11

From our family to yours, may you have a blessed Resurrection Sunday!