Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Yarn Along

Joining with Ginny again today to share two of my favorite things - knitting and reading.

Emmy modeling her new hat.  I am using the rest of the yarn to knit mittens for Sarah for Christmas.

I just received this book in the mail yesterday - 100 Days of Blessings - Devotions for Wives and Mothers by Nancy Campbell.  I need to be in the Word each day and I am hoping this will be a way to discipline myself.  Each devotional references several Bible verses and I have started a Bible journal where I am copying the verses each day.

What are you knitting and reading?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Handmade Holiday - 2011

Abby is helping me with this gift.  She is making the hot cocoa mix - for each quart jar, 1 1/2 cup organic milk powder, 1/2 c. sugar and 1/4 cup cocoa.  I added the burlap top with the white edging.  We are going to make homemade marshmallows as well.  I haven't googled a recipe yet, has anyone made some before?

I am knitting mittens for Sarah using the rest of the yarn from Emmy's hat.  I have the other one cast on and in progress.  She does keep asking me if I am knitting them for her, but I do my best to avoid answering...

Sharing from another reader ~
Natalie of Remembrances shared two different advent ideas last week.

Please share your handmade holiday ideas in a comment and be sure to leave a link if you have blogged about it.
Warm wishes,

Friday, November 25, 2011

Soup and Pie for Thanksgiving

We had our Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday with family that came up to visit and to see Thomas' performance.  We had 20 people including little Emmy.  I baked a 33 pound turkey that we bought locally.  We actually would see him and his friends free ranging throughout the summer as we drove by this farm often.  Yes, we have been eating turkey every day since.  Knowing that on Thanksgiving day it would just be our family and that we would be working for much of the day, I decided to keep it simple with turkey soup and pie.  Abby made chocolate cream.

I made the pumpkin pie from a pumpkin that we grew and we had delicious whipped cream made from cream from a local farm.  I also made a batch of rolls.

Another tradition is eggnog.  The children love and we buy it just this one time each year.  I thought it quite interesting that neither Sarah nor Abraham had any idea how to open this kind of top to pour.  I guess it is a bit old fashioned now as most cartons have the plastic screw cover now.

How was your Thanksgiving?
Warm wishes,

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Knitting and Reading

Joining in again with Ginny at the beautiful blog Small Things to share what is on my needles and what I am reading.

After finishing Emmy's vest, I decided to pick up some inexpensive 25% wool/75% acrylic in a worsted weight at our little local yarn shop, to knit her a new hat as she is growing so fast.  I also wanted to improve my skills on double pointed needles, knitting in the round.  The needles are size 6 and I cast on 64 stitches.  The rim is a knit 2, purl 2 with enough to fold up on the bottom and then the rest is just knit.

Have I ever written about our local yarn shop?  I don't think so.  The owner is one of the most generous, thoughtful people I know.  She and her husband are dairy farmers.  Their children are grown now.   About a year and a half ago they lost their house to a fire.  Now they live in a mobile home on their land.  Now she rarely shares any of this nor does she share about the pains in her knees that have required surgery, nor the reason why her hands visibly shake, yet she continues to share her love of knitting with others.  To each our daughters she has given sweet gifts from her store - asking them if it was their birthday and although their reply was some time in the past, her reply was well happy late birthday.  This fall she is giving out yarn to all those that will knit for the families of Vermont that lost all in the floods of hurricane Irene.  She is a beautiful example of Christ's love.  To strive to be more like Jesus is a daily struggle.  To be selfless.  To be giving.  To be gracious.  To be grateful. 

I am reading White Fang by Jack London aloud to Isaac and Abby (ages 13 and11).  So far it is an exciting read for those interested in adventure in the Alaska wild lands.  One of the wonderful parts of homeschooling is to be able to learn and read right alongside our children.

Looking forward to finding out what you are reading and knitting today.

Warm wishes,

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Our counters are getting full as our busy season is upon us.

Knitted gnomes off to make a new home.

A birch branch card hand holder for young children who have a hard time holding their playing cards.

This time of the year often makes me wonder whether I can manage all.  I start thinking of all the projects I wish I had time to do with the children and to make for others.  
Then I realize that it is time to stop the pity party and think of all of the blessings that having a family home business bring.  For example, at least one parent is always available and we do spend lots of time together.  As a one car family, because of the flexibility of the hours in our business, we can bring the children to their activities.  They are learning about entrepreneurship and how we must work together.
Having a full time home based family business is truly a dream come true.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Handmade Holiday - 2011 - Supporting Small Businesses

Busy with our little one and our own business, this year I am sure I won't be able to make something for everyone, so I will be buying some carefully chosen gifts from small businesses making goods by hand.   Etsy is a wonderful place to find handmade gifts make by individuals working mostly from their homes.

Heidi of Under the Humble Moon has started a directory of small mama made shops.

Some of the handmade goodness that can be found include

Art smocks from Humble Luna

Sweet little gnome people from Mama West Wind

Adorable tshirts from Mama Gone Green

There are so many more wonderful shops out there.  
If you offer hand made goods this holiday season through an online shop, mail order, through your blog, or some other means, please share your business by leaving a description and link in your comment.  

Friday, November 18, 2011

Teaching and Learning

This sweet girl of ours is learning so much so quickly - now interacting and cooing back at us with all different voices - sometimes a high pitched squeal, other times soft and soothing.  She is learning to use her hands and arms.  She will be two months old on Sunday.

She is also teaching me so much - to be more patient, to value the moments of time I have, and to keep life in perspective.    Her birth has also helped to strengthen my faith in a loving God that cares so much for us, provides for us, and has trusted me, our family and friends to care for and love her.  What an awesome responsibility and a gift.  I am so thankful.

Wishing you a beautiful weekend. We are having a Thanksgiving meal tomorrow with family arriving to share in the meal and then to see our oldest son, Thomas, playing the role of Jekyll  in the musical, Jekyll and Hyde.  I will be back here Monday for the Handmade Holiday post.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Yarn Along - Emmy's Vest is Done

...with DK weight yarn from Peace Fleece and our hand made birch buttons with wood burned hearts.

I am still reading The Charlotte Mason Companion. Reading time has been scarce lately as Emmy is still very fussy in the evening until bed time.  But on the bright side I am getting some extra exercise walking around with her.

Looking forward to seeing your projects and learning about some good reading.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Handmade Holiday - 2011

Sorry for the late post today.  Life is very full but truly it is wonderful.

First, I wanted to share a gem of a holiday magazine I picked up about two month's ago - Holiday Crafts.

Rarely do I purchase craft magazines because there is usually only maybe one project in it that I would do (except my subscription to Living Crafts), but I saw this one on the newsstand, thumbed through it and right away found many projects - many that can be made of wool or wool felt.

Like these sweet needle felted snowpeople...

Yesterday afternoon, I was able to spend time visiting with a friend, and we each started working on our own matryoshka ornament.  I thought it would be a nice gift to tie to a plate of home baked goods.

And please visit Old Gates Farm's blog for some inspiring handmade holiday posts such as her unique packaging idea - a hand knit washcloth with soap in a canning jar - I just love this.

If you have an idea to share or a link, please leave a note in your comment.
Thank you!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Two Little Ducks - a Project with Sarah

When our autumn edition of Living Crafts arrived the other day, Sarah looked through it and proclaimed, "We are going to make these adorable ducks tomorrow!"

So while all was quiet in our home last Sunday afternoon we began.
We do not have a copier to enlarge the pattern as the instructions stated, and instead traced the pattern as it was in the magazine to make small ducks.

Sarah asked to take a picture of me as we were working.

Sarah's duck in progress.  As I was showing her how to do certain stitches and sharing with her their names - the whip stitch and the running stitch - she commented how her mother is teaching her stitches and then she will teach them to her children, and her children will teach them to their children and so on...
what a wonderful thought.

(I just want to share that Suzy of Hip Mountain Mama is having a wonderful string of giveaways focusing on thankfulness.)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thankful for...

Our daily home baked bread and our eggs from our new hens - so glad we bought some new chicks this past spring because our "old ladies" are not laying at all right now.

This growing girl - all of seven weeks now - holding up her head and smiling away at all of us.

the beautiful weather yesterday that brought us all outside - even without sweaters

washing and hanging out to dry our bed quilt in the warm fresh air

the moon's fullness reflecting in our pond last evening

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Yarn Along

Joining in again with Ginny again this glorious Wednesday.  (It is sunny and is supposed to get into the 60's here in northern Vermont today!)

I am still working on Emmy's vest and am enjoying reading the new issue of Countryside that just came yesterday.  Countryside is a homesteading magazine filled with articles written by people who are actually living the life.  I am still reading The Charlotte Mason Companion at bed time and am learning  much that I look forward to putting into practice in our home.

Looking forward to seeing what you are knitting and reading.
Warm wishes,

Monday, November 7, 2011

Handmade Holiday - 2011

I don't have a new project to report on today but wanted to share some links ~

Jen, of Sewn Natural, just posted this great idea for children today - making a needle felting journal cover. (I think this is a great gift idea for parents and children to do together.)

She has some wonderful handmade holiday posts.  Be sure to check out her posts from previous years.

Abbi at Proverbs 31 Living has a weekly Handmade Christmas Post on Tuesdays.

If you have an idea to share, please leave a note in the comment and if you blogged about it, a link to your post.

Thanks so much and Happy Monday,

Friday, November 4, 2011

Moments from the Week

They each made their own costumes.

For those that hang dry your cloth diapers, any tips for keeping them soft?

Sweet Emmy and I - our first photo together since her birth.  She is about 6 weeks old here.

Warm wishes for a beautiful weekend.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Frugal Breast Pads

I have been blessed with an abundance (over abundance really!) of breast milk and require breast pads to help with the leaking.  Sometimes more than one set in a day.

Needing more, I came up with this idea to make some with what I had on hand.  Taking a three-ply cotton cloth diaper, I simply cut out circles and sewed around the edges.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Knitting and Reading again for the Yarn Along

I am knitting Emmy a little wool vest using this free pattern and Peace Fleece lavender yarn in DK weight on size 4 needles.

I took my tattered and probably 10 year old copy of The Charlotte Mason Companion.  So much goodness in her methods and Karen writes in such a clear way and makes the reading interesting and gives so much food for thought.

We have an eclectic style of homeschooling but in the days and years to come, will be adding in even more of the Charlotte Mason style of learning as it just makes sense.
An important part of the philosophy (way of living/learning) is to be sure that your children each day have -
~ Something or someone to love
~ Something to do
~ Something to think about
Charlotte's Mason's writngs go on in much more detail what each of these three can mean and in The Charolotte Mason Companion, Karen Andreola does a wonderful job giving examples of each.

Looking forward to learning what you are knitting/crocheting and reading!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Praying for Grace

I have not been taking on the duties of a new mama gracefully.  My words have not always been kind and building up, my mood often grumpy.  The children's homeschooling, the house, and then we have this full time home business that I am an integral part of....  Oh, what about the animals and cooking and baking?    I have shed tears each day wondering how I can ever meet everyones' needs and all my duties.

Our beautiful new gift from God, sweet Emmy, is a baby that desires to be held a lot - which I understand and carry her around on the front carrier  as I go about our day.  But, she also has periods of intense crying where the only solution is to hold her "just so" and walk around and around until she calms herself down.  Thankfully, this is usually in the evenings, between the hours of 7:00 - 10:00 pm.  Practicing gratitude during those moments is what gets me through.  I remember how grateful I am to have a healthy baby, that is growing and gaining weight and now smiles back at us.    I also think about how much her brothers and sisters love her and truly enjoy holding her and spending time with her.

We bought a pacifier yesterday to see if that might help, something our babies have rarely used.  Last night she didn't want it, but we may try again.

Even before the birth of Emmy, I had been praying for some balance to my life, that God helps me to prioritize and find peace within my too filled brain.

So, for me - I need to -
1.  Spend time in prayer and reading the Bible each morning
2.  Put my husband and children before all us - get the homeschool planning done before wrapping up the business orders, for example.
3.  Care for our home - keep it neat and tidy and organized but don't fret over the dust and that for one day the laundry piles grows instead of shrinks.
4.  Remember that this is a season in my life and to enjoy the seconds as they pass so quickly; that the moments are all I have.

5.  Don't worry if I am not facilitating as many creative seasonal projects as I like to - The truth is I didn't even ask the children if they wanted to carve pumpkins, I was hoping they would forget.  But yesterday afternoon Sarah remembered and how could I possibly say no...

Thank you Ginny  for writing truthfully yesterday.  I know that I am not alone and there was one comment that really helped me to keep it all in perspective -
Sarah wrote, "- the MOST important thing you can give you children is that sweet little brother. Life may be overwhelming now, but Silas is a more valuable gift than all the messy crafts and math lessons in the world. Sleep will come eventually and until it does, slow down, savor the sweet baby and the turning leaves. Read to all the kids, snuggle your sweet little boy, and enjoy this short season. It will pass and your rhythm will return...."