Monday, August 31, 2009

Handmade Goodness

My dear husband made me this crochet hook holder and yarn needle holder for my birthday.

Also, I finished up a vest for my cousin's new baby girl.

There is nothing like making gifts with one's hands with love.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Good Thoughts Branch Bowls

I just wanted to share a project that is simple to make and can add a touch of beauty and good thoughts in your home.

We cut some branches into slices and then using single alphabet stamps - stamped out the words using ink pads. I crocheted the little basket using wool yarn - this yarn in the picture is from Peace Fleece.

We have it on our kitchen table right now - add words at your leisure - such as hope, faith, gratitude, etc..

Speaking of gratitude, my father called this morning to wish me a happy birthday and one thing he said has stayed with me - "Be thankful that you have had forty years." You know, practicing gratitude truly leads to contentment. I am thankful - so thankful for all the blessings over these forty years.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Free Dance

Abraham, at the tender age of 19 months, enjoys our African music CD. He will find it in the CD holder case among the many others, bring it me and then after I put it on, he goes over to the dress-up hangers and asks me to help him put on his dancing tu-tu. He then spins and claps and simply - dances.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Free Art

While painting yesterday afternoon, my five year old daughter exclaimed, "Mom, now this is an art table!"

While their 19 month old brother napped, we set up the kitchen table for painting. They (Sarah - age 5 and Abby - age 9) were able to use the acrylic paints which they find much more enjoyable than the simple washable watercolor palettes that they are allowed to use with their little brother under-foot.

As much as I enjoy reading curriculum driven art books for children with step by step projects for the children, it seems that they get much more out of just creating. As they get older, I observe them looking through these art books themselves and choosing a project to do. These programmed projects seem more appropriate for children once they reach the age to follow the directions themselves and are self-motivated to follow through to completion.

Also, as parents we set a wonderful example for our children by working on and completing creative projects. Children are very observant and before you know it, they may ask you to teach them to knit, crochet, sew, etc....

Monday, August 24, 2009

Family Weekend and Birthbday Wishes

We had a very successful trip to Massachusetts on Friday. Our old clunker made it without a hitch. We were very thankful.

Saturday we travelled down to my Mom's in northeast Connecticut for a family gathering. My Nana and friend were up from Florida and my uncle and his friend were visiting from Japan. My sister and her family, my "brother" Frank and his wife, and a few other close family members spent the day laughing, swimming, catching up and filming. Yes, filming.... Our two oldest sons shot a sequel to "Attack of the Killing Hummingbird". What a joyous time!!!

(You can view their films at under impact33 - I have never done this online but for those of you that are familiar with utube.....)

And, I had a special surprise - a beautiful homebaked birthday cake and a wonderful rendition of Happy Birthday to me - my fortieth is on Friday.

We are now home safe and sound. Bread is baking, zucchini is waiting to be shredded for chocolate zucchini cake and the week of homeschool planning is awaiting my final thoughts.

Have a joyous day. I like to think of Monday as the day of new beginnings. I have always liked Mondays because of all the new possibilities the new week brings.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Canning Not Crafting

I keep reminding myself that I will have allllll winter to craft in my free moments (smiling)....

My days now are filled with making food with our harvest for our meals and canning some to eat this winter.

Just today as I was picking beans AGAIN, I found myself grumbling again and was immediately filled with remorse. How grateful I should be for the bounty! God has provided us with healthy, delicious food and I need to go into the gardens eagerly to provide food for my family this winter. If anyone has some string bean recipes to share, canned or fresh, please do.

When searching for a canned pickled beet recipe, I came across this great blog - A Bushel
Of What.

Another three pints of beets done today - six pints all together.
Warm wishes,

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Canning Recipe for Green Beans

This is from a terrific book – Preserving the Harvest
If you have many, many green beans right now, this is a wonderful way to preserve them.

Pungent Green Beans

Using a Boiling-water bath canner, makes approximately five 1-pint jars

3 pounds green beans, washed and trimmed
1/3 cup olive oil
1 large onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups water
3 cups white wine vinegar
¾ cup sugar
1 Tablespoon celery salt
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Cut the beans to a uniform size. I like to cut them into pieces about 2 ½ inches long.
Cook the beans in boiling salted water until tender, about 5-6 minutes.
In a large saucepan, heat the oil and sauté the onion and garlic until soft.
Add the water, vinegar, sugar, celery salt, salt and pepper to the onion mixture and boil until the sugar has dissolved.
Add the beans and boil in the vinegar mixture for 2 minutes.
Ladle into hot, clean jars, leaving a ½ inch of headspace.
Seal and process in a boiling-water-bath canner for 15 minutes.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Harvesting and Routines

With the last week of theater camps behind us, we are now striving to return some semblance of routine to our household. Although with harvest season upon us, fall baseball beginning and just because of our large family, keeping our life simple is a constant work in progress.

In addition, with five different grades to homeschool this year, we have begun again with math, Bible and literature this week to slowly ease back in for not only the children but for myself.
I have been canning beans and will share a recipe tomorrow. Today, I will be making coleslaw with the cabbage and carrots. I think I will be using a basic recipe and making it a wee bit more healthy as I do - using some yogurt as well as mayo.

Here is a picture from picking in the gardens yesterday. I pulled out the rest of the garlic, some more onions, picked some lettuce, carrots, calendula, more beans, zucchini, and peppers.

Mike is busy filling in around our new house now that the foundation work is done. He put drainage all around to keep our basement dry.

Here is riding a tractor (that a very kind neighbor lent us) with Abraham (who could not keep his hands off the controls).

I am continually reminding myself to enjoy the moments of this life we have been given.


Thursday, August 6, 2009


We have an organic pick-your-own blueberry farm near us and we have picked once and plan to go back soon.

Here is a recipe for Blueberry Buckle.

Blueberry Buckle

½ cup melted butter
¾ cup brown sugar
1 egg
½ cup half and half or milk
2 c. flour (I used ½ cup millet and 1 ½ cup whole wheat)
1 ½ t. cinnamon
2 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
2 c. blueberries
2 T. sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, beat the butter, brown sugar, and egg.
3. Add half and half, flour, 1 t. cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. Fold in 1 cup blueberries.
4. Pour into an 8” square pan (I used a bunt cake pan). Sprinkle 1 cup blueberries, ½ t. cinnamon, and 2 T. sugar over the top.
5. Bake for 50 – 60 minutes. Wonderful served warm.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Small Town Fun

This past Saturday our little town had a celebration to celebrate itself as well as raise money for building tennis courts, a basketball court and to build a playground. The day began with a parade. This was a really truly old fashioned wonderful parade. There were more people in it than watching it. Many families, farms and businesses made their own floats. After the parade, everyone was in town and the days festivities continued with vendors, a chicken barbecue, dunking booth, pinata for the children, a band and a horse shoes tournament. We were blessed with a sunny day that was sandwiched between two days of rain.

Here is a picture from the parade of a family from a local farm:

Here are some of our children with two friends - all dressed in costumes representing imagination....

Great fun!