Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Yarn Along - Easy Knitting and Easy Reading

Joining in again this Wednesday (no baby yet...) with Ginny of Small Things to share two of my favorite things - knitting and reading.

I cast on to knit a very simple scarf - it is a basketweave pattern - knit two, purl two for two rows and then reverse that - purl two knit two for two rows.  I am using a DK weight wool/merino blend from Peace Fleece in a soft mossy green/brown shade with little specks of color throughout and size 6 needles.

When the baby comes and so much of my time spent nursing I like to have several simple knitting projects kept in various locations where I would stop and nurse.   This is a another simple project to join along with the shawl.

I finished up this enertaining and easy reading before sleep book - Whilstin' Dixie in a Nor'Easter by Lisa Patton.   

I need some suggestions for some new reading.....

Warm wishes,

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Wool Felt Grasping Balls

Sharing how to make some of these toddler grasping balls I have been sewing up lately.

Using wool felt, embroidery floss and wool roving to stuff  -

The pattern measures 5 1/2" long and 3" wide.

You could embroider all kinds of things on each piece.  (Do any of you know what to use to transfer patterns to wool felt?)

I attached the four pieces with the blanket stitch.

Enjoy and warm wishes,

Monday, August 29, 2011

The County Fair

Our family's first county fair - the older boys requested to meet friends there and the younger children were so excited to go.  The joy on their faces as they went on the rides made it all worthwhile.  

Friday, August 26, 2011

{this moment}

Inspired by Amanda at SouleMama ~
{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

~Sarah and Abraham cedar waxwing catching by the pond.  We have been awed each evening as a flock of cedar waxwings fly over and around the pond catching insects.  They actually will land on the sticks.~

Thursday, August 25, 2011

More about Home Learning

I have had several questions about what I like and don't like about various curriculum, so I thought I would share more about what we do.

First, we don't have a large budget to spend at all.  Some years I have prayed that God would provide some materials from somewhere and then I would be blessed to find a whole stack of home school books at a yard sale.

This year I don't think we have spent over $1,000 for all five of our children.  Cost is still a very large factor in our decision making.  I do think, though, that even if we had lots of money to spend, I would want to be a good steward of our money and consider each item carefully.

I do enjoy many aspects of Oak Meadow.  However, buying it new is out of our budget for sure.  This year I was able to buy some used materials.  I like their more varied, hands on approach with very little "fill-in-the-blank" kind of work.

We do follow much of the Waldorf inspired home learning in the early years by not stressing academics and instead letting the children be creative and artistic as much as possible.

This year I have been using some Rod and Staff with Sarah (age 7), because the lessons are quick and reading lessons are simple and repetitive which she needs.  I also appreciate the Christian point of view.  We have never had to actually "teach" reading with any of our other children so this has been a new process for me.    I am also using Five in a Row with her as I think reading the same story to her each day for five days will help with her reading confidence.   I also like the lessons idea that go along with each story.  For example, we will read Ping on Monday and talk about China - look it up on the big roll out map on the floor, talk about how long the Yangtze River is and how many trips to Poppa's house that would be, etc...

For high school literature, we have been using the Learning Language Arts through Literature series.  Thomas is doing British Literature this year and thoroughly enjoying it.

We were blessed to get two complete Saxon Math sets at a yard sale this year for only $20.00 which saved a lot of money.

I also really like the philosophy of Charlotte Mason.  Thus, we add nature study, short lessons and the formation of habits in the younger years.

As you can see, we are truly eclectic home learners that keep ourselves open to what comes our way curriculum wise to keep spending down, while integrating educational philosophies that I agree with into what we have to work with.

I would love to hear from other home school families.

Warm wishes, Tonya

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Homeschool Planning and Knitting

Joining in this Wednesday with Ginny of Small Things.  My time has been spent planning and reading through each of the children's homeschool planning for this year.  I have a planner for each child.

I have finished knitting up another bonnet, small more little gnomes, and continue to work on my shawl.

Looking forward to checking out what others are knitting and reading.

Warm wishes,

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Organized Play Areas

On my to-do list this week was to organize some areas for the younger children.

This is the kitchen and doll area.

This is the dress-up area.

To complete the rainbow silk set, I was lacking a blue and green silk (through the organization process, I weeded out all of the silks with holes in them).  With just one blank silk, I decided to dye it green, and how could I make a dye bath and just dye one silk?  So, I added a skein of Peace Fleece as well.  The picture doesn't show the greens in yarn too well.  But it they both came out with a nice mixture of shades.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

God's Way

With our seventh baby due within the next couple of weeks, I have to continually let go of my wants and my desires of when it would be best for labor to begin, how much I want to get done each day while not being as present as I need to be for my family, not enjoying the precious moments.  I know I need to turn my life over to God each day, each hour and each second.

Today's church service was a great reminder that ~
Man's way is to do what I want, by my power, for my glory
God's way is to do what He wants, by His power, for His glory

"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."     Ephesians 2:10

Warm wishes,

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Simple Joys

Blowing bubble with homemade bubble mix.

Isaac working for our business.

Sarah's grasshopper home.

The beauty around us.

Johnny Jump Ups popping up among the weeds in the garden.

Abraham and Sarah nursing a sick chicken.

Warm wishes,

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Live Performance

Thomas, Nolan and Isaac performed Saturday at the Jay Summer Fest.  They had a 30 minute slot and they spent their time rocking.   An eclectic mix of rock, both new and old, including songs by Bon Jovi, Switch Foot, Night Wish, Guns n Roses, Green Day, and Ozzy Osborne...

It was fun to watch people my age stop to listen when they were playing Sweet Child of Mine.

And then when they finished, this group of young ladies asked to have their picture taken with them!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Simple Knit Shawl Pattern

(Joining in with Ginny this week for the Yarn Along because knitting and reading are two of my favorite things to do.)

On our way home from Maine, I started this very simple shawl.  I have always wanted to knit a shawl for myself.  After trying several too complicated for me patterns, (because I can't keep count when a child needs me or I have to get up and get the bread out of the oven...) I decided on this very simple pattern.

For this shawl I am using DK weight wool/mohair from Peace Fleece in Sea Moss on size 6 needles.

The pattern is as follows:
Row 1: CO 1 stitch
Row 2:  kfbf (3 sts)
Row 3:  Knit
Row 4:  K1, Kfbf, K1 (5 sts)
Row 5:  Knit
Row 6:  K1, Kfb, K to last 2 sts, Kfb, K1
Repeat rows 5 and 6 until you have 11 stitches on your needle
Now for the rest of the shawl
K5 YO, Knit to the end.

See, simple?

I am still reading Lzarge Family Logistics and the second book in the Anne of Green Gables series.

Looking forward to seeing what you are working on and reading.

Warm wishes,

Monday, August 8, 2011


We are harvesting so many beans, that these will be for freezing.  We can only eat so many canned dilly beans, right?

Our gardens are growing beautifully but as you can see, I am not a neat and tidy, weed free gardener.  There are more important priorities that's all.

It is fun watching the pie pumpkins grow up on the fencing.

Sometimes I have to do things in steps, not having the time or energy to get it all done in one day.  Yesterday I cut the cucumbers and today I will can them to make pickles.

We went blueberry picking at a nearby organic blueberry farm.  (Our bushes are still small...)  We have been eating blueberry pie, blueberry pancakes, blueberries straight from the box, and today I am using up the rest making blueberry cake.

Of course, knitting.  Sarah said yesterday that it was a perfect day to knit.  I, of course, agreed.

We were blessed to see this beautiful site over our pond.

Warm wishes,

Thursday, August 4, 2011


Helping with the cutting for canning some beans.  I used the recipe, Pungent Green Beans, from the book,
Preserving the Harvest.

Pungent Green Beans

(Need a boiling-water-bath canner and the recipe will make approximately 5 1-pint jars)

3 lbs. 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
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon celery salt
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper

1.  Cut the beans to a uniform size.  I cut them to about 2 - 2 1/2 inches.
2.  Cook the beans in boiling water until just tender, about 4 - 5  minutes.
3.  In a large saucepan, heat the oil and saute the onion and garlic until soft.
4.  Add the water, vinegar, sugar, celery salt, and pepper to the onion mixture and boil until the sugar has dissolved.
5.  Add the beans and boil in the vinegar mixture for 2 minutes.
6.   Ladle into hot, clean jars, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace.
7.  Seal and process in a boiling-water-bath canner for 15 minutes.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Baby Knits and Large Family Logistics

Joining in with Ginny from Small Things this week to share what I have been knitting and reading - two of my favorite things.

I knit this little sweater with Peace Fleece, in their new shade of Butterfly Yellow, using the free Waldorf Doll Sweater pattern from WaldorfMama.  It should fit the new little one during the cool autumn afternoons and evenings, and then it will become a doll sweater.   Also still on the needles is the other sock to go with this cream color one. 

I ordered this book, Large Family Logistics, while on vacation.  The quiet time to reflect made me realize that I need to be more organized in our home and with baby number 7 due to arrive within the next 5 weeks or so, our family size will be growing which will require even more planning to keep things going smoothly.
Anyone with a large family have some really good ideas to share?

Warm wishes,

Monday, August 1, 2011

Garden Blessings

Upon returning home and finding an overgrown, but plentiful garden, I got right to work using the abundance.

Green Bean Salad

I added feta, red onions from the garden and Annie's Organic Sesame Ginger Dressing.

Zucchini Bread/Cake

Zucchini with garlic, tomato sauce and mozzarella for dinner.

What are you cooking or baking from this bountiful time of the year?