Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Year in Review 2014

Why I don't expect to get much work done this year.
The year in review seems to be the thing to do right about now. So, to review: baby born, went on vacation, got a puppy, end of year. What? You wanted more? The New Year's Resolutions? Ok, here goes: feed, clothe and bathe baby; train puppy. I'm pretty sure that we're not going to have too much time for much more than that.

That said, things have been going pretty well for us. We are enjoying time with family and friends this Christmas season. A certain little girl found playing with the wrapped package to be just as much fun as playing with its contents. Go figure. She enjoys scrap paper and empty soda bottles too.

The big thing for us is that with a slightly more predictable sleep pattern from the little girl, we have been able to do a whole lot more work around the house. While it's not a show place (I wouldn't even want that), there have been significant strides in removing clutter and organizing. Hopefully we can use the momentum to continue making progress.

May God's peace rest on you all this coming year.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Christmas is coming!

Thanks Auntie Katie!
Life has been cruising along here at Chez Sheffer. We had a nice Thanksgiving with family and friends out at the farm, and have been working on getting everything ready for Christmas and the new year. Christmas presents are finished and just need wrapping, cards will be addressed this weekend and posted on Monday, and we are working hard to clean and declutter around here, so we don't take extra junk into the new year. Ok. We'll take plenty of extra junk into the new year - I'm just hoping to decrease the amount enough that we can enjoy our space and have room for the things that we actually use and enjoy.

Christmas came a little early for a little girl - she got her two front teeth this week! One came in on Tuesday and its buddy popped through yesterday. This brings the total to 4 in with two more "close" for a few weeks now. (Luckily for us both she has not been using them to chomp down while nursing.) The gummy grin is starting to disappear.

Eating Cheerios in the hospital café.
This last week had some extra excitement. A certain little girl and I went down to Chicago for a few days, so she could hand down her title of "youngest member of the Blakeley Clan" to her new cousin. She as a super trooper with the travel and disruption of her sleeping schedule. We got to see the newest addition to the family, go for walks around Lincoln Square, and spend time with family and friends who are like family. We had a very nice couple of days, and at the same time we were really glad to get home too. Charlie was extra glad to see us because Gretl had apparently been worried about us and fussed and cried all night for the whole time that we were gone. So much for Charlie's plan of a couple of good night's sleep and time to do projects around the house. So much for outdoor Christmas lights. The kitchen was cleaned up, and that's plenty for me. We can do the lights next year.

Until next time.....

Hugs and love.



Saturday, November 15, 2014

Broken Windows and Boogie Sucking

Hopefully I can get this written before the house stirs too much. It has been a rather adventure filled few weeks for us.

Gretl and Elska have started to become bestest buddies. Gretl kisses Elska's feet and doesn't mind having her hair pulled; Elska throws Cheerios, carrots, peas, beans, dill pickles, and everything else on the floor for Gretl to eat. It's a pretty perfect relationship really. They seem to be tag teaming us right now to see just how fast they can make my hair grey and Charlie's fall out.

Let me kiss you Mama!
Veteran's Day with Great-Grandpa
Elska has been cutting two more teeth (to join the two on the bottom - none on the top even look close) which resulted in a stuffy nose for a week along with a lot of drooling. I am SO glad that it's cleared up some for her. None of us were getting much sleep since she couldn't breathe well and didn't like our attempts to better help her with that. (Based on her levels of protestation, I'd like to suggest that the CIA abandon water boarding for terrorists and just suck the boogies out of their noses as an enhanced interrogation technique.) It did give us some time to compare different boogie suckers. For those wondering the results of our testing, the battery operated snot sucker was the quickest and easiest to use while the old fashioned one from the hospital was the most effective when she was really stuffy. We tried a few others including this one (we couldn't get enough suction with a flailing baby kicking the hose on it), and this one (the feature that made it possible to open it up and clean it properly made it pop apart when it was less than opportune).

Elska is growing up so fast. She's now a pro at sitting by herself, has started to lunge forward onto her knees (and occasionally face which is not as much fun), and give everyone rather gummy kisses. She loves chattering on Skype with GG and Granny a couple of times a week, always seems to be laughing, totally rocks out in the Johnny Jump-up, is fascinated by spoons, and has started to occasionally put her food in her mouth instead of immediately tossing it to the dog.

After Gretl broke a porch window because she wouldn't quit jumping on them, she became the owner of a training collar. (It is amazing how much better she listens and follows directions just by wearing it without our even using it.) Charlie and I learned all about cutting sheets of acrylic and replacing broken glass, and we really hope to not need the skill too much as it is a pain in the biscuits. Gretl also has developed a "sensitive stomach," and we are trying to figure out the exact cause(s). On the plus side for her, she has gotten to eat hamburger cooked up especially for her for the last two weeks or so while we reset her tummy. Rawhide chews are definitely out, and we're going to be checking her food next. That dog. It's a good thing that she's so darn cute and sweet in between being a little terror.

Charlie had a second interview at Petco a couple of weeks ago and finally heard back from them late this week. It had come down to him and one other person for the position, and they went with the latter. While he was (and still is) disappointed because he had really been hoping to get the job, he's decided that it's a message from the Lord that he needs to focus on school right now instead. This next week we will be working on filling out forms and applications, so he can start at the beginning of the next semester.

On my end, it's mostly all of the little things that make the household run though I have started seeing a D.O. and going to weekly physical therapy (in addition to the chiropractor) for my back. It is getting somewhat better, but not as fast as I'd like. OK, anything short of "better by two weeks ago" is not as fast as I'd like, but I'm trying to have patience with the process.

I can hear a little girl starting to chatter in the other room..... Have a great weekend!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Prost Mateys!

Seriously Mama? A little help?
It has been an absolutely crazy couple of weeks around here. I wouldn't even be able to figure out what happened if I couldn't look back at the photos to see what has all happened. Hopefully after you're through, you'll be able to excuse the time between posts. We've been so busy with living life that it's been hard to get the time to sit down and write about it all.

A little girl is starting to get to be a whole lot less little. At her six month checkup, she was 27 inches long and 16 pounds 7 ounces. For those keeping track, she's grown 6 inches and gained almost 10 pounds. If we didn't see her every day, we might not even realize that it's the same little girl except that she's still such an easy going baby. (Most of the time.) She now has two (!) teeth and enjoys playing with them. According to her pediatrician, she's doing well with hitting all of her milestones on track even though she hasn't quite mastered rolling over from her back....she can get totally rolled including her hips but hasn't figured out to move her arm and get her shoulders over yet. We're hoping that this means that we'll have an extra few weeks before she gets to cruising around crawling. I'm not sure exactly how we'll do with that. Our efforts to get the house ready for it have not been all that fruitful.
Chilling with ma froggie.

After a brief attempt to use just the big tub for bath time, we have returned to the baby tub. It's not because she wasn't fine with it - she was having too much fun with splashing. Mama and Daddy covered in water and a little girl super excited and unable to fall asleep is not exactly what we were looking to achieve with a bath as part of the bedtime routine. It is fun to see her excitement of discovery though. We'll just save it for those days when she gets a little extra messy earlier in the day and gets a bonus bath.
Tuckered out at the dog park


Seriously dog? 
Gretl has been a bit of a handful to say the least. She's getting bigger and is now probably in the 50 pound range. That, however, is not the problem. It seems that no matter how much time for fun and playing that she gets, we can't quite get the naughties out of her. We have managed to come up with a blend of oil, ground cumin, chili powder, and cayenne pepper that works reasonably well at convincing her to not chew on the woodwork in the kitchen (where she gets to chill out unless we can supervise her closely - this house has way too much woodwork for a teething puppy), but it didn't prevent us from coming home to a blue kitchen floor today after church. After calling poison control and the vet's office, we have at least been assured that the stuff is pretty much non-toxic. However, instead of getting to go to the dog park after church, she got a bath to remove all of the blue crap from her paws and muzzle. On the bright side, our doggie house guests Sadie and Buster have done a way better job of getting through to her that she's in trouble than we have. Buster decided that Gretl needed a timeout and has been barking at her any time she comes out of the corner. I'd feel bad for her except that I'm still annoyed that I had to spend a half an hour cleaning up blue gunk because she can't leave well enough alone.
Pickles...yum!

Gruncle Craig and Grantie Julie were in town the other day, and we met with them as well as Nana and Papa to celebrate Charlie's birthday. No, we did not tell the folks at Texas Roadhouse that it was his birthday. He had threatened to stay home if we did, so we kept it low key. A little girl had a whole lot of fun chowing down on the bowl of pickle slices that the waitress was kind enough to bring. We're never too sure how much actually gets swallowed (some definitely does), but she sure has a lot of fun gnawing on them.


Visiting Great Grandpa.
Lately we have been making a much more focused effort at getting the little girl over to Great Grandpa's for visits. Both of them have so much fun when we do. We absolutely love that he is close enough that we can stop in a couple of times a week for short visits. The staff and other residents really enjoy our visits too. It's amazing how many smiles there are when she comes through the door. (For those with good memories, you may recognize the pink suit that she's got on in the picture. It's currently on it's second generation of little girls wearing it. It's been waiting at Grandma's house for 35 years now.)
Adding lemon to the list of favorites.
 Last week, the little girl and her mama got a chance to go for a ride on the La Crosse Queen paddle wheel riverboat cruise. Not too shabby for her first boat ride; it might set the standards a bit too high for all future rides though. We had a fabulous time visiting with Aunt Becky, and we gave a new food a try. (Lemons are a thumbs up. This leaves the rankings at Good: dill pickle and lemon OK: banana Not fit for human eating: Cheerios. Cheerios are a fantastic toy to throw on the floor for the dog though, so at least they have redeeming value for her.) After we were done, we stopped at the Pearl Ice Cream shop as well as Pearl Street Books. Downtown La Crosse has so many things to do!

Torchlight Parade!!
 Last but not least, the last few days, we have gotten our "fest" on with the La Crosse Oktoberfest fun. Thursday evening, we walked down to the north side downtown for a little girl's first Torchlight Parade and see how she would do with the noise of marching bands and such. Luckily for us, she loved it. The parade was fantastic as always, and it was a lot of fun to see the marching bands (and other floats) all lit up and everyone having a good time.

Mapleleaf Parade!!
The parade went a little too long...
The little girl also got to experience her first Mapleleaf Parade. For those unfamiliar with the event, it's the largest fall parade in the nation (a bigger parade than even the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade although without the giant inflatable stuff). It's also the only parade that I've ever heard of people turning into a full day tailgating event. We got a bit of a late start, but we still had a couple of hours of pre-parade festivities and visiting with friends and family along the route. It was a pretty long day though, and a couple of hours in (and just a few minutes after the Onalaska Marching Hilltoppers went past), it was finally time for a nap before we made the trek back to the house.




Sunday, September 7, 2014

THUNK *SCREAM*

There have been a couple of "I'm a bad parent!" moments as a certain little girl starts growing up and exploring her world. I expect that more will come as she becomes more and more mobile. Most recently I was cleaning while she was bouncing excitedly in her Johnny Jump Up that hangs in the hallway door frame. She loves it. She also got a little carried away Ok, she got a lot carried away and bonked her head on the door frame. I didn't think that she'd be able to swing that far; she couldn't only a day earlier! As I sat on the floor snuggling a sobbing and hysterical little girl to reassure her that she was safe (no bump or bruise - just scared), I started to get scolded by the guilt voice in my head for not doing a good enough job of protecting her from all the things that might hurt her. (That voice is even louder than a screaming baby!) I successfully argued it back reminding myself that this is going to happen. It's probably even supposed to happen as a part of growing up, exploring the world, learning new things, and growing as a person. The happy ending to the story is that after a snuggle the little girl was put back in the bouncy seat and went back to excitedly bouncing and learning how those feet work. I did adjust the height on the swing to account for her longer and stronger legs. 

In other news, our household grew by one more this last week - at least temporarily. Our niece has come to live with us for this school year which started Tuesday. Elska is thrilled as she absolutely adores her cousin. It's a little different to go from just having a baby to having an 11 year old in the house, but everyone is working to get the hang of it, and the upside is that I feel much more obligated to have healthy meals served at the table.

Finally, I've started a 90 day Mental Fitness Challenge. It's not easy, but I've wanted to do this for a while now, and I think that it will be awesome. If anyone would like to join me, I'd love it!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Yay for Yummy Food!

It's been a pretty nice week here. There have been lots of projects as always, and we are continuing to work on getting Gretl trained to be the good doggie that we know she will be. No accidents in the house, and we're working on leash training while on her walks. I'll take it.

Harmony Smurf Mega Blocks - Charlie knows the way to my heart!
This last week, I got to celebrate my birthday over the course of many days. On my birthday itself, we had a nice relaxing family day of chilling and watching movies. It's not quite the exciting birthday that I would have had 15 years ago, but I couldn't have imagined a more perfect day. Friday, we continued the celebration by going out to dinner with Dad and Lynn at the Hungry Peddler and then enjoying some dandelion wine while sitting out in their back yard. Again - fantastic. (Plus, Gretl didn't even have an accident when we lost track of time and left her for way longer than we normally would.) We totally love the fact that we are close enough that Elska can have grandma and grandpa snuggle time, and when she gets a bit older, we can arrange for sleepovers at their house. 

Bananas!!!
Elska had a checkup last week, and she's doing fantastic. She's clearly been eating well because she has definitely been growing. At 14 pounds 5 ounces and 25 3/4 inches long, she is has moved to 48% and 86% on the growth chart. (From 9% and 74% at her last checkup. It's nice to know that at least she's making good use of all those nighttime feedings that she's had lately.) She's able to sit up almost unassisted now too. While it's all very exciting to see how she is growing up, it's also a bit hard for her Mama to see how fast it's happening. At the risk of getting all sappy, how can this be happening so fast? Aren't babies supposed to stay babies for a while? We even got the go-ahead from the doctor to let her start trying some solid food! Since she's been incredibly interested in everything that we have put in our mouths for weeks now, and she can sit pretty well as long as it's in a chair, we started letting her experiment with table food. So far, she's gnawed on some pickles and maybe gotten a bite of banana down. Mostly, she's been just happily playing with and studying what had always been just outside of reach. Lucky for me, a very small percentage of her food has actually ended up on the floor. It's more of accidentally dropping it than throwing it on purpose like a certain little sister of mine used to do to feed the dogs.

Charlie's first ever Kornfest!


Finally, we did actually have a family outing this last weekend. This seems like it should be a given, but sometimes it's hard to actually make the time to get out and do something new or different. Sure, there's errands, church, and occasionally a meal away from home; we just have a tendency to be rather boring homebodies unless we make a point of getting out and doing something. We met our dear friends (and Elska's godparents) at Kornfest up in Holmen and got to eat some delicious sweet corn. For those of you unfamiliar with this delicious tradition - roasted sweet corn with butter painted on it (Litterally. With paint brushes. I'm not kidding.) and sprinkled with salt from Mason jars hanging from strings. It's one of the few places where you'll see them have to put stuff on the grass to try to keep it from being so dangerously slick from all of the butter. My flip flops are still a little greasy from it. It is, in a word, amazing and totally worth the pirate prices for the corn. (Buck an ear. Get it? Ha!) When we discovered that the ice cream tent was shut down for the night, enjoyed a stop at DQ for the ice cream that we had all decided that we absolutely NEEDED. Some people might question how much we really NEEDED ice cream. #1 Nursing mama's sometimes NEED things just like preggo ones do. You shouldn't question it. #2 You try walking around a hot, dusty fairgrounds for half an hour trying to find ice cream and then be like, "oh, never mind I guess I don't want any." See? NEEDED. And you thought that I was exaggerating. 

This week, we have a lot more projects that we are hoping to accomplish. Let's just see how much I can finish getting ready in the kitchen before a certain little girl wakes up from her nap......never mind. I hear her in there now.

"This here's my little buddy Dan. I'll just rest my arm on his head.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Road Trip 2014

Think that it's crazy that we would consider going on a two week long road trip with a 4 month old baby? How about if I say that we picked up a 25 pound 14 week old puppy along the trip? What can I say? The Sheffers love an adventure! I'm just going to need a few days (or longer) to recover from this one!

For years, friends and family all over the country have been asking us to come and visit them. This summer, with Charlie having some time off, we decided that we really need to start doing just that. The first draft of travel plans had us hitting locations from Pennsylvania to Florida and even hitting points west of the Mississippi over the course of a month or more Now, we might be crazy (ok, we probably are crazy), but we're not stupid. We made some adjustments to the plan and arrived at a much more reasonable 14 day trip that had us visiting friends and family in 7 cities in the northeastern and central states. We hit the road not exactly sure what we needed to travel with an infant and completely unsure of how she would handle the trip. Part of me was worried that we would have to head back early because a little girl was unwilling to play along with us. Fortunately, it turns out that we have a good little traveler.

Here's a few highlights and photos from the adventure:

On top of the steps at the art museum in Philly and standing in "Rocky's" footsteps!

Let freedom ring!

Wine tasting with Auntie Abby


Lots of sight seeing with a big floppy hat

Elska was excited to meet her Mama's friend from Chile!

Seriously Mama and Daddy? You wear me out!

The Sheffers welcomed a Bernese Mountain Dog named Gretl into the clan. She's definitely been doing some shennanigans like a Sheffer.

Elska thought that traveling was better with company in the back seat. 

Scott and Emily took a whole lot of extra time to find us some Cokes with our names on them.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

This Post Made Possible By Aldi's

Before going any further, I received no compensation or other incentives from Aldi's....just a really good deal on produce. Ok. On to the post.

Now that the pain meds are out of my system, it might be possible to put together some sort of coherent post. I'm not saying that it will be, but it's possible.

The last couple of weeks have been full as always. Our little girl has continued on her impressive growth spurt. She managed to gain almost 2 pounds in only about 3 weeks and is now long enough that when she's sitting on my lap, I can no longer type on the laptop without her having the range on her feet to kick at the keys and buttons. Not too shabby! Other moments and milestones include: "discovering" her feet and that she can move and grab them, a whole bunch of new (very loud) squawking sounds that are oddly reminiscent of what you would hear from cats yowling at one another, beginning to learn about the fun of splashing in the bathtub, and the beginnings of maybe allowing us to have a somewhat regular nap schedule instead of the "go until you crash and pass out" routine that she's employed to this point. She's getting the hang of assisted sitting and standing and loves doing both, and she absolutely loves to making Daddy's character die on his video games while Mama gets stuff done in the kitchen. (Mama thinks it's pretty funny too.)


In non-baby related events, thanks to some fantastic sales on produce and some cooler weather, I've gotten a chance to get some yummy food stored away without having to swelter to make it happen.

First off, we now have plenty of dried tomatoes for making sauces and other delicious dishes. I know that tomatoes have a ton of water in them, but it's still mind blowing that 20 some pounds of tomatoes that completely covered one of my counter tops don't even fill a gallon plastic baggie. Next up in the dehydrator will be some fruits and possibly jerky.

Even more fun than the tomatoes, I started working this year's jams. So far, we have strawberry, strawberry/rhubarb, and strawberry/raspberry. Yes. Strawberries were on sale, and I wanted to make sure that we had enough jam to get us through until next year. I remembered the number "20" from last year, so I got 20 pounds of strawberries. As I was hulling and crushing them for jam, I remembered that last year I got $20 worth of berries and it was about 9-10 pounds. Oops. So I guess that we're going to have plenty for PB&Js this year. I also was given the mother load's worth of rhubarb. We're going to need a lot of peanut butter.

Charlie had been really nervous for awhile now about taking the compass test for school since it's been so long since high school. While I kept telling him that he was more than capable, we both knew that his test anxiety might mean that he might struggle with the test. However, he was able to calm himself about it and did fantastic on the test. Now all that is left before he can start classes next month is for his high school transcripts to arrive. The program is expected to be full, and they use a first come first served basis, so we'd love prayers that those arrive post haste.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Murphy Strikes Again

It's amazing the changes that can happen in a couple of weeks. Starting about three weeks ago, my stomach started having arguments with my food after I ate it. I was hoping that whatever it was would clear up on its own in time. Looking back, I should have realized that our life NEVER works that way. Murphy practically lives at our house.

The Cliff Notes version is : two trips to ER Saturday, lots of tests, and then emergency surgery Sunday morning to remove what the surgeon called a "really bad gall bladder." Then two more nights in hospital recovering to the point that I could go home yesterday. Apparently, it's possible for gall stones to not show on either the ultrasound or the CT scan but still be jam packed inside that little balloon. I'll get to see/keep them after my follow up appointment in a couple of weeks after pathology and everyone else does their thing.

Elska is still a bit upset about having limited access to Mama and the Milk Things. (We won't even go into how upset her tummy was with the small bit of formula that she got during the turmoil. That won't be happening again if we can help it.) We've been doing lots of extra snuggles to ease her mind about it, and she was thrilled to have both Mama and Daddy to snuggle this morning. Ok, she wasn't the only one thrilled about it. Mama and Daddy thought that it was pretty awesome too.

We are incredibly grateful to all of the folks who prayed for us and who helped with all that needed doing these last couple of days. Thank you for helping get me back on that road to health as quickly as possible!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Heathen No More!

The big event from last weekend was that Pastor Dave Hatch baptized Elska at Our Saviour's Lutheran in Green Bay. Elska listened to Pastor Dave explain all about baptism while she played with her dress and looked expectantly at him when he did the baptism - no fussing at all for the entire time. She was definitely a happy little girl up there.

The rest of the weekend, we got to spend time catching up with family and friends - and some got to meet Elska for the first time. Additionally, we were able to spend a couple of days to have fun sightseeing with Elska's godparents. They hadn't even seen the sights of Green Bay, so we some fun touristy things.The guys even managed to get to Cabella's for a couple of hours. (The gals decided that a nap sounded more appealing.)

In other news:
Four generations!
  • Elska had her three month birthday last weekend! 
  • Our little lambie discovered that her hands can pick things up, move them, and stuff things in her face. She is quite impressed with herself and how much more fun blankets are now. Spoons are not nearly as much. Both Mama and Elska took one to the face while playing at the Pancake Place. We will be finding softer toys.
  • We learned that not all hotels have bathtubs nowadays. This was more than noteworthy since it meant a rather significant disruption to the bedtime routine. We will be traveling with a little plastic bathtub from now on just in case. Three hours of screaming until finally passed out is more than Mama and Daddy want to have to do again.
  • Our little girl is quite the trooper on the road. She doesn't really like that she can't see anyone's face, but she is starting to get the hang of traveling. On the way home, I did have to pull over at one point just so she could see me and calm herself back down. Not too bad though considering how much of the weekend was spent bouncing all over the place and totally off her routines

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Maternity(?) Leave

Chilling at the DMV
Around the time that Elska was born, Charlie and I had some long discussions about his taking time off from work. He could get up to six weeks of leave from work, but it would all be unpaid time off since he was part time and didn't have any vacation time. With the house in Green Bay still unsold, it just wasn't going to be possible for him to take anything more than the few days when she was born and in the hospital. Less than a week after she was born, he was back at work with the hope being that after the house in Green Bay finally sold, he would be able to take some time off before starting school as sort of a delayed leave to spend some quality family time, work on projects around the house, and maybe even go on a family vacation. Last Friday, it all finally came together, and Charlie had his last day at Best Buy.

Daddy snuggles are the best!

This last week has been some fantastic family time for us. (Errands are much easier to accomplish with two adults to tag team the "anti-meltdown" responsibilities too.) Elska loves the change of scenery for her snuggles (and the fact that there's even more of them), and Charlie is getting to spend more time learning her emerging personality. This is one fantastic upside to the delay in his time off....instead of just eating, pooping, and sleeping, she is now smiling, "talking" and even laughing at her own poop and fart jokes. Ok, so she gets a giant grin on her face every time she makes a stinky mess in her diaper. Next up: learning "pull my finger." I'm sure that all of her uncles and gruncles are very proud of her.

This week, Elska went on a "Daddy and me" adventure to Menard's - their first adventure of just the two of them taking on the world. They had fun checking out all the cool stuff that Daddy would love to have at our house. (I'm sure that it was a coincidence that she got her first nightmare that night.) I was left out of this adventure. Poor me. I had to read a book in a bubble bath and then take a nap in a quiet house. It's a tough life, but I might somehow learn to adjust to this sort of thing. I'm going to get spoiled.

Maybe if it ever stops raining long enough to dry things out, we can have some family outdoor adventures.....

Monday, June 9, 2014

Elskapades

What mischief can I cause?
A new word was needed to describe the mischief and shenanigans that are starting to happen around the Sheffer household. One might look to experts' claims that infants don't really know any better. However, they haven't seen the grin that this girl gets when she's being sassy. Think that I'm exaggerating? Check out that look. That's just before she started kicking her Mama's laptop buttons and messing up my attempts to type a post. I just wish that I had photo or evidence from last night's midnight giggle fest or the follow up at 3:30 am. Unfortunately, experience tells me that the lighting is too low for the phone's camera unless I turn all of the lights on and really wake us both up. You'll just have to take my word for it until you visit and can first hand witness it.

Look who's a local celebrity!

Yesterday, we went to the baby shower event at the Children's Museum. A little someone was a bit overwhelmed by the noise (the fact that admission was free instead of $6 each definitely brought a few families), so she was a bit fussy for a fair bit of the time. We got to check out the vendors who had booths as well as a number of info stations from Mayo's baby related departments. The coolest part was getting to see Jamie who did some of our prenatal classes and was one of the nurses up at labor and delivery. As you can see, the reunion was caught by the local news station.

Well, someone has decided that they need completely undivided attention, so I must bid you adieu. It may be a long day....

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Elska = Mary Poppins

Ignore the laundry drying
in the background and just
focus on the cute baby.
Practically perfect in every way. That's our little girl. It's not just us saying it either. Her pediatrician said so at her two month appointment. He also called her alert, responsive, and right on track. She's getting big too.....23 3/4" and 9lbs 9oz. This puts her in the 80th percentile for height and the 9th for weight. Apparently she got her mama's build. She was also a real trooper with her shots - even with an extra one. (The normal combo vaccine isn't ethically produced.)

In other news, we may have found our new (to us) vehicle. Charlie likes it, and I love it. We're having the service shop do an inspection on it today since we would be purchasing from a private party. Here's to hoping that it's in as good of condition as the seller has told us.

Finally, we have the gardening projects update. The celery? It was doing well but growing slowly. I planted it in a pot with some nice potting soil. It died a couple of days later. Go figure. The green onions are growing still but not thriving. I'll be moving the pot outside this week to see if that helps any. The lettuce? Dead. Since last post, I planted some sweet basil that I got in a kit from the Tar-jay dollar spot area. It's growing nicely, and we've harvested a few leaves to dry and use. I attempted to start two packets of tomato seeds. From them, I have one small sprout that may make it. I'll be getting a tray or two from the store this week, so I can actually have tomatoes this year. The two cherry tomato plants in the front planter are growing nicely. Having them visible from the front walk is helpful in remembering to water them. I have a tray of hot peppers that I started from two packets of seeds, and the majority of the seeds have sprouted and are growing. Hopefully they'll be ready for transplant soon. Last but not least, the raspberries have started to flower, and I can't wait for them to be ready. We managed to stretch out last year's harvest, so we're still eating frozen berries from last year, but it'll be nice to get fresh ones again.


Sunday, June 1, 2014

I Washed All of the Dishes. How Come There Are Dirty Dishes?

With lots of rain and even thunder today, there will be no going for a walk or time in the garden to use as an excuse for not finishing this post that I've been trying to get done for two weeks now. Most of these last couple of weeks, we have been doing a lot of the little things like washing dishes and laundry, cooking meals, paying bills....you know - life. It's definitely trickier to get things done with three of us now in the house and SOMEBODY doesn't really pull her weight doing chores around here. We are starting to finally get into a semblance of a routine though, and there was even a night when all of the dishes were washed before bedtime.

There have been a few of the other highlights that merit mentioning:

  • Charlie and Elska did a great job for Mothers' Day this year. There is a Doctor Who poster in a frame and waiting to go on the wall thanks to Elska, and Charlie found the Firefly board game for family game night. Yay for geek family time! Unfortunately for me, the bar is pretty high for Fathers' Day. I'm sure that us girls can come up with something awesome.
  • Elska sleeps through the night now - at least when she feels like it. Even when she does decide to wake up in the middle of the night, it's normally only once, and it has improved the overall sleep levels for her mama. (And made it possible to go shopping for groceries after she goes to sleep for the night. What did people do before grocery stores were open 24 hours per day?)
  • Our house in Green Bay is finally sold. A huge weight has been lifted with that bit of news.
  • Elska got to have her first evening at Grandma and Grandpa's house without Mama or Daddy....we went out for dinner and a movie, and she got to hang out with Grandma for the evening and even got to try out having her dinner from a bottle. A good time was definitely had by all.
  • Charlie has put in his two weeks' notice at Best Buy. He will be getting ready for school to start. After he knows what the workload will be, he will probably look to find something for a few hours a week that will be fun for him to do. We are both very glad that his time in service earned him veteran's education benefits that are making it possible for him to not have to work nearly as many hours while going to school. It's a reminder that while that season in our lives was very difficult, it was worth it.
  • We got a great deal on a couple of ceiling fans that we will hopefully be able to get installed this week. Sure, they'll help keep cooling costs down this summer, but the best part is that in addition to looking cool, we should now have a light fixture in the living room where ALL of the bulbs will be able to be turned on. I know; it's the little things though. 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Hurricane Elska

History is no stranger to tiny tyrants. Folks with a fuse to match their height are scattered throughout time.....Attila the Hun, Napoleon, Stalin, and more. We add to the list the Oncoming Storm of a certain little girl who will stomp her foot and pound on your chest with her tiny little fists if you do not move fast enough to fulfill her every whim. (We're pretty sure that she's yelling "peasants, I want a clean diaper and dinner" on a regular basis, and she even pulled on a whole handful of Daddy's chest hair last night. I couldn't stop laughing - he almost had tears in his eyes she had pulled so hard.) She has started to spread out the time between her diva tantrums though, so there is hope that the balance of power will shift someday.

We have been very thankful for those stretches of quiet the last few days since we have had to spend a bigger chunk of time out and about in public. Last week, the fuel pump went out on the car (the power steering has already been giving us issues for a couple of months now), so we have stepped up the time frame for getting a new to us vehicle. Amazingly enough, we have had zero meltdowns so far while at the dealerships or doing test drives. We are praying that this continues for us through the rest of the purchase process since it makes things a lot quicker and easier for us.

Also to note is that we are getting ready for outdoor gardening. This week I'll be starting seeds indoors for later transplant, and we have a couple of friends who will be joining our fun this summer with either vegetable swapping or help in the garden in exchange for a share of what's produced. Basically, we're planning to go all hippie co-op with the gardening this year. (We're also going to go über-hippie with plans for foraging too. I want to do a few batches of blackberry jam this year if we can find some good patches, and I've got a delicious sounding recipe for dandelion jelly. As much as we want to do wine as well, we are going to wait until the basement is in better shape, so we have enough space.)

Other than that, the only "news" to report is that we are continuing to work on the daily routines that will keep the household from falling apart. Charlie has had clean clothes for work every day, and dinner plans have been figured out with enough time to have stuff thawed in time to eat at a reasonable hour. We're still a long way from where we were six weeks ago, but we're making progress. Maybe if I'm feeling REALLY adventurous, I'll bake some cookies. If anyone would like to help with cleaning, cooking, or baking, feel free to let me know. I am totally not too proud to have y'all take care of some of this....

Peace and God Bless!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Birthday Bash

Birthday Girl!
It is so hard to believe that it's been a month now since a certain little girl made her grand entry into the world. Because this weekend was crazy busy with a road trip to Green Bay and  a wonderful time visiting with family and friends, today's birthday celebration is rather subdued. Ok, so we've spent the day recovering....unpacking, laundry, and napping have taken up the majority of the day. We're going to have a nice dinner of chicken (Mamaw/Gigi style) and smashed potatoes and read a little of the story about Finsterhall. We'll just suggest that everyone raise a glass and toast the birthday girl. What did y'all expect? A big blowout bash? Not exactly the Sheffer style. It'll probably be 11 months from now before there's even a cake. We don't want to set the bar too high. This way if there are ever siblings, they won't feel jilted.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Intermission Between Meals

So, the grand plans of weekly updates this year have not exactly happened. I'd normally expect a very public verbal flogging for this, however, it's Good Friday today....God forgives ALL of our sins, so I'm hoping to be forgiven this one by everyone. We aren't where we want to be, but we're better than we were.

We have had a couple of very eventful weeks here at Chez Sheffer. Grandma came from Arizona to visit, and Aunt Katie made the trek into town to meet an adorable little girl - Mama and Daddy have no illusions that they were the reason for either visit. We have lost our status as primary characters in the story of Sheffers' Shenanigans and now have a secondary roles. However, since we have been relegated to roles of waitstaff and servants, we may soon find ourselves as extras in the background.

Since the baby book is somewhere unknown for the time being (sometimes even the first child doesn't have much written....), there were a couple of noteworthy milestones in the last two weeks. April 8, we did tummy time on the floor instead of in the confines of the bassinet, and someone decided that it was boring and rolled over onto her back. When taunted with, "I dare you to do it again," - she did. The other exciting thing was that this morning, April 18, our little girl discovered her happy voice. It was definitely a nice change from the angry voice that we normally hear around here.

In non-baby related news, the contractor has finished work on our house in Green Bay, and word is that it looks great. We're just working on finalizing all the paperwork and inspections before we can move to part of the process where we sell it.

Well, it's about the time where a couple of girls relax and listen to Frankie, Louis, Duke, and Ella on Pandora.

God Bless!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Fresh Prince(ss)

In the west of Wisconsin we lived our days
With our family and friends we worked and lazed...

Without trying to come up with more horrible rhymes, we'll just say that our lives have totally been flipped turned upside down.

Only a few weeks ago, our lives were slightly under control. We had our routines; homemade meals were the normal; bread was freshly baked a couple of times a week; progress was being made to keep the house clean and organized; and we hadn't been awoken at 3am by screaming since it got too cold to leave the windows open at night and hear the neighbors get into it on their lawn after bar close.

On March 14, we headed up to Osseo for our third annual Pi(e) Day trip to the Norske Nook. It was a gorgeous day for a drive, and the pie was amazing as always. A few day later on the 17th, we had our traditional viewing of The Quiet Man to celebrate St Patrick's Day. Then late Wednesday night/early Thursday morning arrived, and it was the beginning of the end of everything that we knew or even thought that we knew as the stork delivery service made final preparations for arrival.

At first, Sarah was pretty sure that this was just another false alarm - like had been happening for weeks. Attempts (unsuccessful ones) were made at sleeping, and Charlie nervously left for work reassured that if anything actually happened, one of our volunteer drivers would pick him up from the store. This was totally a case of wishful thinking though. After a late dinner, it seemed like it was time to head to the hospital to meet our little bundle. However, labor hadn't progressed enough to be admitted since we live close to the hospital. Home for a night with even less sleep than the previous (ok, none this time), we waited until late Friday morning when we called for our ride to head back to the hospital. This time, we were far enough along to stay. Our future diva wanted to ensure a build up to a grand entrance though, so she decided to wait until Saturday morning to make her debut into the world.


Being born is exhausting!
At 6:45am on Saturday March 22, 2014, this little girl changed our lives forever. Now, we are probably a little biased as excited new parents, but we think that she is absolutely beautiful. If you think otherwise, just keep it to yourself. We are choosing to remain completely oblivious to any contradictory opinions.
Who could have imagined that at 6lbs 11oz and 20 1/4in long she would make as big of a splash as the big guy at the pool doing a cannon ball off the high dive? Somehow, she did.

Ready to head home for the first time.
We took our time getting to know this little wonder before the three of us were able to pick what her name would be. We had gone to the hospital with a short list of both girls' and boys' names, but none of them seemed to be quite right. It took until Sunday night for us to finally feel comfortable her name is supposed to be Elska Rose Teresa Sheffer. Now it seems strange that it took two days to figure it out since it just seems so perfect.

Daddy carrying Elska into the house.


The ladies at the Franciscan/Skemp/MCHS hospital birth center were absolutely wonderful for our entire time there. To say that we got a little spoiled would be the understatement of a lifetime. Lois, Tammy, Jamie, and the rest took fantastic care of us and didn't bat an eyelid at all the times that we hit the call button not having a clue what to do with this little person we're supposed to take care of. We are eternally grateful for all of their advice and suggestions that made for a much smoother transition to parenthood. Also, knowing that they're still available to help is comforting. (Side note about the birth center itself: the whirlpool hot tub is awesome. There aren't a lot of tubs long enough where someone 5'11" can actually relax in the water.)
Cheers for making a stinky diaper!

 We have been home now for a little over a week now. We do NOT have this parenting thing at all figured out yet. The dining room table is somewhere under a huge pile of clean laundry, baby gifts, and probably bills that need to be paid; we forgot to bring in the mail for two days this week, and it's only Wednesday; nothing more challenging that scrambled eggs or a sandwich have been cooked at our house since coming home; and the garbage didn't get taken to the curb this week. At the same time, we have learned a few things so far:
  • Not immediately having a child's name decided causes a lot of people to freak out - and in a bigger way than not knowing in advance if it's a boy or girl. The instant access of the information age has caused a lot of folks to have no patience.
  • Cosco greatly exaggerated the weight range on the car seat that we had purchased. There is no way that a 5lb baby could use that thing. This caused Mama and Daddy a lot of stress on a cold wet day. Cosco - we did not need the extra panic thank you very much. We might be able to start using it when Elska gets to be around 8lbs. We had to get and install a second seat in order to leave the hospital. 
  • The level of sleep deprivation caused by college has got nothing on the zombie mode that a newborn can create. Also, it is amazing how long it's possible to stay functional under the circumstances. New babies should come with warning labels about driving though....exhaustion is probably more damaging to reaction time than alcohol. Just sayin'.
  • I totally forgot that now Mama will change my diaper!
  • Hiccups during a screaming session are completely hysterical. You just can't keep from laughing at how goofy it sounds.
  • Compared to the indignity of childbirth, nursing in public doesn't seem nearly as daunting as it did only a month ago.
  • The time that it takes to write a blog post increases from minutes/hours to days when you have a small distraction who insists on being held at ALL TIMES. You can even see it in her eyes...the look says, "Peasants! Bow to my every whim! Move faster!" We have prevailed upon Aunt Katie to refine these diva tendencies. We are hoping to move to the more manageable Barbara Streisand mode from the current full on Diana Ross that we have now.
  • It is possible to have a child prefer a wet/stinky diaper to the temporarily bare bottom required to change said diaper. 
  • It is possible to fall so deeply into a pair of big blue eyes that you never get out or even want to.
  • There is no way that we could ever thank our friends and family enough for the amazing support that they have given us in just the last few days. The prayers, meals, help with errands, and all the rest have made it possible for us to feel like almost competent parents.
 God Bless!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Projects in Progress

Rest in Peace poor little celery plant
There are a lot of ongoing projects at the Sheffer homestead. It is tempting to only report on the ones that are in the "somewhat" to "fabulously" successful range. However, that wouldn't really give an accurate picture of life around here. It's been a mixed bag. We've had failures, struggles, and successes in a pretty even mix.

First off, we start with very sad news. Today, the celery was pronounced dead. For 38 days, it struggled against the odds (since it was being raised by Sarah) but was unfortunately removed from all life support to go to the big Compost Pile in the garden. Through its death, it will bring new life to other plants.

The dreams it had of being a wonderful nourishing plant will continue on long after its death. This poor plant's sacrifice will be an example for all future celery plants. There will be a day when we have conquered the deep questions of the Celery Project, and we will prevail!

(Note: Yes, the picture just looks like dirt. That's really all that there is to see. We held out hope that something.....anything would grow. Once it became apparent that there was nothing left living in the pot, we did have to finally give up hope of this project working out for us.)

Also on the failure list, we have to put just about all cleaning and organizing. We have both been pretty emotionally spent lately and not had the energy to get it all done. The dust bunnies are in danger of reaching alarming size though, and Sarah is really tired of the pictures and paintings being propped up in a corner instead of on the wall. Hopefully this will be able to be moved into the "making progress" category soon.

Sarah has begun work on a couple of new growing projects. Last week, we planted pepper seeds in hopes that they will be able to germinate. They did come from store bought peppers, so we are hoping that it will be possible to get them to grow. There's no picture of that project right now since it's only been a week, and there's not too much interesting about egg cartons full of dirt.

Also in the grow project works is an attempt to grow lettuce from leftovers. The stumpy bottom just went into water today, and we'll have to see how it goes.There's nothing much to report except that despite using a lettuce knife, there's a little brown on the tips of some of the leaves.

Ongoing in a non-growing related area would be the efforts to produce a delicious, 100% whole wheat sandwich bread. So far, the sticking point has been the sandwich part. Sarah has been struggling to get the bread to look like anything other than short stubby loaves. We continue to hold out hope that "this next loaf" will be the one where the magic trick is learned. Since some have followed the saga on Facebook, there will likely be a posting here that explains what actually finally worked (if Sarah ever learns).

Day 54
Finishing on a high note, there have been some project successes. This last week we were able to actually eat some of the green onions that we grew ourselves. We are still hoping that we can get some of the bigger stalks to go to seed, so we have more to work with. In the interim though, it was pretty gratifying (and super convenient) to be able to grab some fresh food that we grew ourselves right on the kitchen counter.

Also in the "W" column goes Sarah's efforts on the car's power steering. Sure, all that it needed was some power steering fluid, but as someone who doesn't know much of anything under the hood, it's a pretty big deal. Hopefully, the car will stay fixed from now until we decide to get something new (to us). Car repairs add up really fast!

Projects currently on hold until warmer weather arrives are the basement, the Man Cave, and the Comet.

God Bless!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Date Night!

Ok. So we're just getting a couple of $5 take out pizzas and watching a movie on Netflix. It's still a date night. Extra special? It was Charlie's idea. That's right. One very sweet husband suggested a night off from cooking dinner (and the extra dishes that come with it). Now we just need to get the vehicle out of the driveway - the warmer weather today has made the snow too slippery to get any traction. Who could have guessed that there would be a drawback to not having below zero temperatures for a change?

Last week we made an epic journey to Home Depot to get gardening supplies....potting soil and a few more lights. According to the recommendations, it's still a little early to start the tomato seeds, but we wanted to get some while the selection was good and we were thinking of it. It's way too easy to forget to start them and wind up not having time for anything but the much more expensive seedlings. Sarah got a tray of pepper seeds planted. The seeds did come from peppers bought in the store, so we aren't sure if they'll grow. If not, we'll have to pony up the buck and a half for some seeds at the store. It wouldn't really be the end of the world.

Charlie succumbed to the pressures of the Pig-tailed Mafia and ordered six boxes of cookies - five of which are now here and the sixth will be delivered shortly. Sarah had often wondered how so many boxes of cookies get sold every year (since she would definitely prefer homemade cookies)....and then she married one of those sweet guys who just can't say no to a cute kid. Apparently some work will need to be done to change this before we have kids old enough to take advantage of this. The teen years could get really rough.....

Sarah finally finished a major crochet project that has been in the works for months now. Yarn for the next project is currently on order. Should she be concerned that the folks at her favorite craft store now know her and ask about how ongoing projects are progressing? They don't know her name yet which she hopes prevents her from needing to be admitted into a 12 step program.

It seems about time to go get those pizzas....

God Bless!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Crazy and Calm All at Once

It is amazing how you can have both tons of stuff going on and nothing at all happening - at the same time. It feels like we have all this stuff happening, but when we actually look at the happenings of the last week or two, it's mostly just normal life...

Charlie started his new and more predictable work schedule a little over a week ago. He is still worn down from all the crazy foolishness of the previous months though, so he hasn't quite gotten to being in the groove yet with it. His work related stress has gone down some already though, and we are hoping that with another week or so he will start to feel more relaxed.

Last weekend, we went to a "Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage" seminar with a few other couples that we know. For those of you who have never been....if you ever get a chance - GO. It was both very entertaining and has also resulted in a lot of really good conversations from things that we realized about ourselves and one another. Best part - THE GUYS LOVED IT TOO! We did pick up copies of the DVDs too, so we can watch them again when we need to be reminded of things.

So far this week, our big "event" was to pick out some of the seeds that we want to get started indoors for our garden this year. We decided to scale back significantly from what we did last year because we realized that we had taken on too much to start. As much as we really want to have that huge garden that provides us with all sorts of delicious fresh produce and yummy stuff for preserving, we need to build to it. This year we plan to continue with the berries, ramp up our efforts with the tomatoes and some peppers, and try to get some of last year's saved seeds to grow. It's not nearly as exciting as going to pick out all sorts of seedlings and bringing home a huge variety of things, but we decided to go with a boring garden if it means somewhat more predictable results.

The only other exciting news is that Sarah finally got her Shamrock Shake and is very happy about it. Really, it's the little things in life....

God Bless!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Celery Project - Part 1

Given the success of the Onion Project (not to be confused with The Onion which is just awesome in its own right), we decided to give a few other "sproutable" plants a try. There are a lot of options out there, and it was difficult to decide which one to try. The deciding factor ended up being which plant from the list entered our house first during the natural course of events. (Now that we have the light source and soil, this should be a totally free project, right?) Charlie likes to eat celery; Sarah recognizes the potential health benefits of celery and has been trying to figure out how to choke it down; Sarah bought celery to put in chili (one of the foods with enough other flavors to totally hide the celery) and cut up for Charlie's snacking enjoyment. Celery it is.

From the online information that was available, celery is likely to take longer to sprout into something useful than the onions. Luckily, this, again, falls more into the "science experiment" category or even "entertainment" than the "want something to eat" category. It's a good thing too. If we were counting on Sarah's gardening abilities as an actual food source, we would starve. Quickly.

Day 1
This project started out very similarly to the green onion one. The base of the celery was put in a dish of clean water and given plenty of light. Since we already had a lamp for the onions, the dish with the celery was just placed next to the onions on the kitchen counter. (Yes, for anyone who has been looking in the background. That is the Scooby Doo Mystery Machine. It's our cookie jar. Does this really surprise you that we would have a totally awesome cookie jar like this?) These experiments are starting to invade the space for preparing food and doing dishes, so they will probably need to be moved eventually. However, Sarah is rather fearful of allowing them to be out of sight and therefore out of mind any time soon. It's a balance...for now, we'll just make do as is.


We discovered quickly that they weren't kidding when they said that celery wouldn't grow as quickly as the onions. The progress was incredibly slow by comparison. For anyone who wants to try to grow their own food in this fashion, celery is probably not the best choice for a start. It's kind of boring.

Day 4

As you can see, a couple days into growth, there has been only a tiny amount of growth. Mostly, the water is just turning cloudy, and the remnants from the outer stalks of celery are starting to turn mushy and after a few more days, they were pretty far gone.

After a week, the outer stalks had reached a point where they were falling apart. Wanting to take advantage of any nutrients that the mushy outer bits might provide as compost, Sarah planted the celery base in some soil allowing just the tiny it of growth from the center to remain exposed. Since she couldn't find any more pots in the basement, and trying to find flower pots over by the edge of the garden (under the snow) did not seem like the most effective use of time, Sarah improvised a pot. A few holes were punched in the bottom of a sour cream container to allow for drainage, and the whole thing put back in the (now empty and rinsed bowl that had been the home to this experiment for the last few days.

Day 13
Day 13, and we still just have little nubs. It is VERY slow compared to the onions. This is supposedly normal (and boring) since the celery is basically growing an entirely new plant. Three to four months does sound like an incredibly long time to keep a plant alive and will definitely put Sarah's gardening capabilities at their limit. Seriously? How on earth does anyone keep a plant alive that long...there's all that watering and, well, watering....

The growth in the center is actually starting to look like leaves though, and they seem very healthy. They're actually a darker and healthier looking green than the leaves from the original celery stalks that were purchased.

At this point, there has been no fertilizer added aside from the celery that has decomposed. This will probably be changing since the bag of topsoil doesn't exactly have all that many extra nutrients to it.


Day 21
And after ONLY three weeks, we have what might actually be called real leaves. Look at those cute little things!

It's a good thing that Charlie pays attention. Sarah went out of town for the weekend and had forgotten to ask Charlie to check on the growing project. Luckily, he looked at how things were going and saw that a little drink was needed. Crisis averted.

Slightly off topic but not, the parts of the celery that are composting have really started to break down. The soil is incredibly loose, and it will probably be necessary to add a couple of spoonfuls around the plant. Yes - spoonfuls. It's hard to tell from the picture, but this whole thing is pretty small. You can see how little space it takes up in its container, and it's just in a sour cream tub. (For all grammar nerds: Note the correct usage of its and it's in a single sentence. You're welcome.)

Day 27





So, apparently Sarah should have made that extra stop last week to get fertilizer when the first place didn't have it in stock yet. (Seriously Walmart? You normally have all the crap that anyone could possibly need and then stuff that they didn't even imagine. You have all sorts of seed starter kits since it's February, but no fertilizer? People do have house plants to feed.) We will definitely be making a stop at Home Depot tomorrow since they are apparently the only place in town that keeps a reasonably well stocked lawn and garden area year round. We are SERIOUSLY missing Stein's lawn and garden center right now. They do have stores on both sides of Green Bay. Maybe we should see if they'll open them on both sides of Wisconsin? Hmmm.....could this be a future project for Sarah? Upon second (and very quick) consideration the idea of Sarah having anything to do with a garden center is too amusing to give it any kind of credibility. Everyone can laugh here. It's ok.
Day 30

Plant food went into the pot on Day 30. Composting and organic fertilizer is all the rage and definitely is something that we will be using in future experiments/growing projects. However, Miracle Grow is something that we have both used frequently and know, more or less, what to expect from it. Since one of those important scientific principles is to not change a whole lot of variables all at one time, it seemed best to go with a known food for the celery. This free project has now cost $4 for the package of Miracle Grow. At least we were also able to use it to feed the green onions, and it obviously is going to last a LONG time and help on future projects. That makes it an investment? Maybe? No? It just means that $4 was spent to try to grow celery that costs less than that at the store?  It also means that $16 has been spent to try to save $3?

All of those hobby farm and homesteading blogs now are starting to make sense. It is very easy to be so focused on all the future savings that you're going to get from growing/raising your own food that you overlook the cost of starting up the operation and learning how to make everything work. As we make the (frequent) trips to get yet more supplies, it is very apparent to us that we have lots to learn. The nice thing is that we are starting small enough that the cost of our education is pretty reasonable. We could pay 10 times this amount and have it still be less than a single credit for a college class.

Since this project is much slower to develop than our first one, we'll keep you updated as things progress. We'll make it a cliff hanger to keep you coming back.

God Bless!