Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Hamburger Stroganoff

I made this last night using Crytal Miller's recipe from her website, The Family Homestead. It was very, very, very good, and super easy to make!

I served buttered baby carrots and a spinach salad on the side. For dessert the family had wonderful chocolate chip cookies Benjamin and Esther had made on Monday.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Example of Stippling... Yoohoo, Janet!!!

Janet asked me to show and example of stippling. A few years ago I made a pinwheel quilt for my son Caleb, and used a nice contrasting thread for the quilting, so I figured that would the one to use for this.

Stippling is a simple free-motion quilting design. Basically you meander around, making what looks like jigsaw puzzle piece outlines. It is very easy, and very relaxing to do.

Here is Caleb's quilt:

Here is a close up of the stippling:

It isn't a very glamorous type of quilting, but it is quick, easy, and sturdy. I especially like it to use it for my kids' quilts as they tend to use them for tents, cuddling up on the couch, or just plan dragging around.

The Newest Craze at the Beehive

I think I have opened Pandora's box in a way. I started knitting about two years ago, but it was very sketchy, and I didn't really start spending much time on it until last fall, and even then, it was off and on. This past summer, much to my surprise, I have really enjoyed it. The surprise was because I thought I wouldn't do any over the summer. I run hot, and when my hands sweat, I just can't knit or crochet. However, though we had enough hot and humid days to count as our fair share, the summer was cooler than normal, and I could sit in front of a fan and knit some evenings with ease. I ended up finishing my first prayer shawl for our Fibers of Faith ministry and started on a Baby Surprise Jacket.

My online knitting friend Jenny, got me addicted to it, so maybe I can blame her! She knits with great speed and ability and has some sweet things that she made for her new baby. You can visit her blog and see for yourself. I believe she has a friends' lock on, but you may request she let you view her blog. :)

I am about halfway through my BSJ, and already planning at least two more with some variations. An ambitious undertaking for this beginning knitter.

So, while I am enjoying the knitting, my daughter Esther has taken it up.

She has been persevering through mistakes and stumbles (she takes after her Mama that way!) and is progressing nicely, despite the fact she had to start her project over recently. I love the yarn she is using.

Over the last couple weeks I have been hearing "Oh I wish I could learn" from this child and that child. So last Friday, for "Home Ec", we did "Knitting, 101". Now you have to realize that me teaching this is like the blind leading the blind, but I figured I could get them started, and when I say "started" I mean at the very beginning.

After finding every spare set of needles that were in the 7-10 size range and scrap yarn, I sat the older four down at our table. I held up some yarn and said, "Okay class, what is this called?"

Benjamin said: "A Skein!!!!"

Wise-guy. Ha ha ha. I knew it was going to be a long class.

I continued: "Now that we know who is in the remedial class, let's start with a slip knot."

Easy, right? Not so much. Elizabeth took to it like a fish to water. Of course, she had had a little private instruction from time to time from Esther, so she had an advantage.

Everyone finally got it, Josiah with a little help from his big brother.

After spending a great deal of time on a slip knot, I showed them how to cast on. I use a simple and easy fingering method that a lady in my church, who is an expert knitter, showed me. Now THAT took some doing! LOL

Again, Elizabeth showed some aptitude at this.

Once we got the casting on accomplished I showed them how to knit the first row. I don't have any pics of this because my hands were very busy with three new students. I enlisted Esther's help as a tutor.

That was Friday morning. By the time we went to bed Friday night, Benjamin had had to restart his project about 7 times. He was not discouraged. I figured he would give it up, but he is keeping on with his project. Josiah seems to enjoy it as well. Elizabeth is making very good progress on her project. Oh, I forgot, they are all making scarves for themselves. Elizabeth is already planning her next project.

This next part isn't knitting, but it is just to prove I am making progress on Jerusha's quilt.

I am trying a continuous line heart stippling pattern. It is new to me and taking some getting used to, but I think I found the rhythm of it. Jerusha had requested hearts in her quilting. She must think I can do anything! LOL So, I do hearts in each of the blocks in the 9 patch, then regular stippling in the sashings. It is taking longer than I thought it would, and I found I am out of "quilting shape" as the back of my neck and shoulders where hurting after a while, but it felt good to be quilting!

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY September 28th...

Outside my window... Gray and rainy.. no walk for me today!

I am thinking... about the many organizational tasks I need to do today.

I am thankful for... The computer.. saves a lot of writing up for me. :)

From the learning rooms... More about apples today for the younger group and my oldest is working on the second module of his science book. Also for history, we are still making our way through the Young Carthaginian by G.A Henty.

From the kitchen... Menu planning!

I am wearing... pj's, bathrobe, and slippers.

I am creating... besides the quilt for Jerusha I am making a prototype of a slip on blouse for matching church outfits for us gals.

I am going... to the library and bulk food store this week.. hopefully!

I am reading... I Corinthians, and "Comfort Food".

I am hoping... to get the prototype done today, but not holding my breath.

I am hearing... children chattering in the background as they do morning chores. The happy hum of production!

Around the house... General chores to do today, homeschooling,a mountain of laundry, and Lord willing some sewing!

One of my favorite things... Snuggling with Isaac when he first wakes up and is all pink, warm and fuzzy from sleep.

A few plans for the rest of the week: A lot going on here! Josiah's birthday is Saturday (he turns 9) and my mom is coming out. I have a Fibers of Faith meeting tonight, and will be starting a new project for that. I also need to decorate the church and house for fall. Busy, busy, busy!

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...

Visit the Simple Woman here.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Sewing Pile

I finally jumped in on my sewing pile with a vengeance... well as much as one can with homeschooling, a baby, a kitten, and trying to keep the last two separate!

Jerusha's long-ago promised quilt is coming along. Today I pieced the backing, sandwiched, and basted it. Yes, I use pin basting a lot. I can't help it: I'm a lazy baster. I love making quilts, but basting is my least favorite part, so I like to use basting pins to speed up the process.

I didn't intend for this quilt to be so big. It was supposed to be twins sized. It is about 82 by 73, which is rather large for a twin. I would say more of "full" sized. It just kept growing on me!

Here is one of my favorite blocks. I love how the tone on tone burgundy and paisley work together:

I also like this block. The blue in the "solid" perfectly matching the blue in the flowers in between the stripes.

I also made two skirts for my friend's daughter this week. Well, they aren't finished, but I need the elastic she got for them. I won't be seeing her until Friday for piano lessons, so it'll have to be put on hold until then. I'll put up pics when then are really done. :)

Up next... quilting the quilt and cutting out our matching jumpers.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY September 21st.....

Outside my window... It is dark out. It is night time here at the Beehive, and all I hear are the crickets and see the twinkling stars overhead.

I am thinking... That tomorrow will be easier than today. Mondays are very busy!

I am thankful for... a few moments of quiet solitude.

From the learning rooms... We contined with our Science Unit Study on apples today, our read aloud time in Island of the Blue Dolphins; I printed up weekly logs for our portfolio, and organized lessons for this week.

From the kitchen... Today was an orginizational day there too. The weekly menu and shopping lists were made up.

I am wearing... my p'j's. Elizabeth and I went for a walk before dark and I got a quick shower before I had a very late supper.

I am creating... still working on Jerusha's quilt and the Baby Surprise Jacket for Isaac.

I am going... Hmmm... no where this week I think!

I am reading... "Comfort Food" by Kate Jacobs.

I am hoping...To get Jerusha's quilt sandwiched this week so I can start quilting this weekend; finish my friend's daughter's skirts by this weekend, and cut out our matching church jumpers.

I am hearing... the white noise of the fan blowing in our room.

Around the house... Too many things I want to get done to list.

One of my favorite things... walking in the evenings.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Sewing,knitting, and hopefully some organizing in some of the neglected areas of the house.

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...

Visit the Simple Woman's Daybook here.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Isaac - Almost 9 months

It is hard to believe that Wednesday Isaac will be 9 months old! This is exactly what I was afraid of: his growing up so quickly!

He is up to 22lbs, and has 4 teeth, with a couple more coming in that we can see. He is getting very socially vocal.. lots of sounds he can make. He loves to hear his voice in the auditorium at church because the tall ceiling makes for interesting acoustics. Cute, but a tad of a problem when his daddy is preaching. Isaac has a couple hot spots for being tickled. One is on the inside of his hand, and another is on his clavicle bones. He is trying to crawl, but does a few paces of crawling then decides to roll, as it is much faster.

He has recently mastered.. well, almost mastered, the art of sitting by himself. I still "spot" him as every so often he still loses his balance and will flop over. He can however go from sitting to on his hands and knees in a controlled motion.

His new favorite game is to make his way over to me, grab my hands, then pull himself up (with a little bit of help from Mama) to standing position. He is very strong, and is able to hold himself up, but has absolutely NO balance yet on his feet.

I wonder if this rubber fish qualifies as his first solid food?

We found this little game to be a favorite too! Maybe a budding musician!

Hey, don't laugh! A gal has got to get in sewing time somehow! (My sewing area is right next to him so I can keep one eye on him)

We love you Isaac!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Fine Arts Fridays

I don't know about your family, but by the end of the week, we are ready for a day that is different from the rest in homeschooling. For the last couple of years I have dubbed Fridays as "fun days" or Fine Art days. I try to have more hands on type of activities and a lighter load of the basics. We work hard on an intense schedule Mondays thru Thursdays, and Fridays, it is time to let our hair down a bit.

Normally through the week we have Math, English, Readers, Bible Study, Read Aloud time, morning devotions, personal Bible reading, History/Geography, Science, Phonics (to those to whom that applies), Preschool stuff,Spanish, music practice.

Fridays I like to have Art, Music appreciation, Home Ec. type of activities (sewing, knitting, baking... etc.), and even games that promote logic or help us use our reading or math skills.

Just for the fun of it, here are some pics of our school day.

After breakfast and morning chores, we start our learning time by learning from God's Word. Those that can read, take turns in reading the Proverb for the day, and I read an excerpt from My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers.

In the morning hours, while I am working with the littles, we have stations set up for some of the older children. There is piano practice everyday:

We also do Spanish on CD by Visual Link Spanish. This has been a wonderful program for us to follow!

We have another computer where I do all the online work and set up for History/geography, and Science. Right now we are reading The Young Carthaginian by G.A. Henty, and doing a Unit Study on it. For Science, my oldest is doing Apologia, and everyone else is doing a unit study on apples.

Speaking of which, Thursday I did an apple craft with Caleb and Jerusha. I cored and apple, then cut the core in half and it made a nice little stamp with a star in the middle.

Elizabeth walked by and wanted to try it out too! LOL

I allowed Caleb and Jerusha to eat the apple slices, but they didn't finish them all, so Benjamin's part of the craft was to eat the rest of the apple pieces.

There are times when we will watch a video or a documentary on Netflix that may be realted to what we are studying.

Usually I like to have some classical music or sacred instrumental music playing in the background. Lately I play music by whatever composer we are looking at. We just started studying Beethoven, so I was pleased to dig out my three CD's full of his music. One is orchestral, one violin, and one is piano. I hope the interest in Beethoven lasts a long time! We did Brahms recently, and just this morning I heard Caleb (7 yo) humming the tune to the first selection on our CD. So precious!

I love the opportunity to watch my children learn, and doing the many activities with them.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

New at our House

In my last post I alluded to a "what were we thinking?" moment. I'll get to that in this post. No fair, looking ahead. I would have posted earlier this week but the batteries in the camera died and I kept forgetting to charge them. Oops!

These are non-consequential, but fun little blessings that have been given to use recently.

I have been wanting to get an aloe plant for years! Not sure why we haven't, but a lady that goes to our church had an extra one and brought it and a spider plant to us. I hope I can keep them alive! I don't have a green thumb at all.

A friend of mine brought this amazing zucchini to us. It is so big, I thought it would be woody, but it wasn't. The outside looks like a watermelon, doesn't it? I made a zucchini, tomato, browned hamburger, and cheese casserole with it, which I didn't take a pic of, sorry!

That same friend brought me this bouquet of wildflowers.

Benjamin tried growing a couple of watermelon plants this year which yielded almost nothing. I don't know of it was the cooler summer, or the rocky soil, or a combination of both, but he only got two tiny watermelons. One he picked too early, and unfortunately, it was uneatable, but the other they split six ways and enjoyed with lunch one day.

This isn't new to us, but it is the first time this fall season we had black been chili con carne and quesa with sour cream on top. With a slice of freshly baked whole wheat bread, it was a filling and cheap meal!

We had a new experience Sunday at church. I was home with Caleb who was running a low grade fever, and Dale and the others went over for Sunday school and found this box on the front steps of the church.

The sign says "Help these kittens. Thanks.)" Cheeky, if you ask me. Why don't you take care of your own kittens? It really irritated that someone would just leave them like that. It shows no sense of responsibility, in my opinion. And what pray tell is the church supposed to do with them? We are a church for crying out loud, not an animal shelter. Okay... stepping of the soapbox...

Leaving animals like that is a felony in NY, but we didn't report it. There were four kittens in the box. They took it in the church, and soon one of the kittens figured out how to escape so Benjamin came running over to the house and got one of my big blue totes that was empty at the moment and breathlessly explained what had happened.

Okay, yeah they are cute. Who could say differently?

Of course we all teased Dale to let us bring one home, but he very adamantly said NO. No question about, no kitten for this family. We have enough chaos anyhoo, and a small house as it is. Adding a pet at this point in our lives just isn't on the radar, though maybe when the kids grow up and leave the house we'll get one. And no, I don't believe that having a pet is necessary to teach the children responsibility. They learn that now through doing chores, helping with the baby, doing schoolwork, etc.

Caleb and I went back home (with Isaac, of course) and had a quiet morning. Later I heard the crew come storming in yelling, "Mom, we need to think of a name."

I tell you, you could have knocked me over with a feather.

Please welcome Mattan (gift of God) to our family.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY.. September 14th

Outside my window... A beautiful day!

I am thinking... What were we thinking?????? (but that is another post)

I am thankful for... Cooler days.

From the learning rooms... We are starting a new science unit study about apples, and continuing a history unit study based on the Henty book, "The Young Carthaginian".

From the kitchen... Menu planning today!

I am wearing... Multi-colored broomstick skirt and matching sage green shirt. And NO shoes. :)

I am creating... A quilt for Jerusha and a BSJ for Isaac.

I am going... To JoAnn'slater in the week, hopefully!

I am reading... The book of Acts at the moment.

I am hoping... to be able to go for a walk this evening.

I am hearing... blessed quietness.

Around the house... the littles sre napping 9Isaac is on my lap asleep, Caleb and Jerusha are in their beds), and everyone else is doing schoolwork despite a new distraction.

One of my favorite things... Watching the leaves change color.

A few plans for the rest of the week: School, sewing, picking corn and as previously stated, hopefully a trip to JoAnn's.

A Picture thought I am sharing:

For guidelines visit:

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Field Trip and Treasure Hunting!

This post was supposed to be done last week, but I got totally sidetracked for some strange reason!

We were happy to have Grandma and Grandpa come for a visit over Labor Day weekend. On Friday, the 4th, we went to the Science Museum for a field trip. Don't you just love home schooling?

This first pic is one of an exercise in leverage. You have someone or several someones sit on the swing.

Then they have the pivot point, and an I-beam with ropes hanging off and someone pulls like crazy.

... Or more than one somebody pulls like crazy, and it lifts the swing. Don't they look like the Van Trapp family swinging around?

My darling daughter (her initials are E.P.... not the one with glasses btw...) said from her perch opposite of this photo "Hey, look Mama! A geezer!"

Seriously, I tried not to laugh, but she was mispronouncing "geyser" and my dad just happened to be standing there when it went off. It was an honest mistake, but I couldn't stop laughing. Aren't I a nice daughter?

Here is where culprit was perched:

On Saturday the 5th, we went Treasure Hunting... a.k.a.... "yard saling". I used to do this a lot more but since we moved a few years ago ministry and a growing family, and having one vehicle for a good part of the time has made this impossible, except for once in a while.

I found to my relief that even "once in a while" can be very profitable. This summer is a perfect example. We have been so busy that I haven't even gone once yard saling until last weekend. All I can say is Jehovah Jireh! He knows what we can and cannot do and blesses greatly.

These were freebies: (Ummm, the puzzles, not the kids)

And these two desks (and a couple chairs not pictured) were free! I was especially looking for the computer desk.

These socks were free as well:

Here are some more finds at good yard sale prices:

This quilt was only $3! It is home made. Not a Singapore sweatshop production. You couldn't even buy the fabric for that cost.

Of course, I had to throw in this pic: