Thursday, October 29, 2009

Hey Mom! Does This Look Familiar?

There is almost an exact replica of this picture only about 30 some-odd years older. Guess who was at the piano in that pic? :D

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sweet Little Blessings Giveaway!

Hear ye! hear ye!

Sweet Little Blessings is having a giveaway... 3 of her fantastic diapers! I have been drooling over these.

Go here for the giveaway guidelines!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Q & A's

Shellee ~
The rolls turned out beautifully, thank you!
And yes... that snow was from that morning. It was gone by that afternoon, and we haven't had any since. In fact, we are enjoying some days in the 60's right now, but they are still gray, damp, and dreary.

Janet ~

Yes, I did a heart in every square, which you can't see in the close up pic.

I could do a tutorial, but there are tons of really good ones already out there if you google it. Plus, I have no plans to make binding right now. It is very easy though, and as I wrote, very satisfying for some reason.

I used Warm and Natural batting... my favorite!

Regarding the blouse~

The pattern I used was an adaptation between the bodice from a dress pattern I have from "The Kings' Daughters" and instructions for the slip on curved hem blouse I got from Ringger Clothing. I added the collar on my own.

According to the directions, there is no zipper or button in the back. However, for the blouses I am making to go with our jumpers, I will do a small slash opening for the back, and raise the neckline a bit. I didn't like how it fell with the jumper neckline. To do that, I will have to have a small hook and eye or small button in the back.

However, when I do our matching box pleat skirts and blouses, I will do the slip on style neckline, and a small ruffle at the hem just for the fun of it.

One of the things I like about sewing is the versatility!

I wouldn't say it was hard, but making sure the neckline was right took a little time. I didn't want it too low, but wanted it so I could slip it over the girls' head. Once you have that marked, it isn't any problem.

Hope that answers all your burning questions for now! LOL....

Speaking of sewing, I need to get my chores done so I can get to it today! We are taking a break from canning today to do some maintenance work as well as make bread, and I am making soup stock from a couple of ham bones. Also, of course, there is some school work to do.

Be blessed in the Lord!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Annual Applesauce Marathon

It's that time of year again at the Beehive! Yesterday morning, despite some unforeseen circumstances, we started the annual applesauce making marathon. 9 bushels of apples, waiting to be Squeezo'd and processed, were tackled yesterday. No, not all nine bushels, just two. We are still trying to get *some* schoolwork done, but the schedule has been pared down (pardon the pun) to the basic core (ha ha ha ).

Today however, I have lofty ambitions of getting 3 bushels done, and thus passing the halfway mark. Wednesday we'll either take a break from the canning, or do just one bushel. We will need to make bread, and I need to make some soup stock from ham bones. What great weather for soup we have been having! Plus, we have prayer meeting on Wednesday evenings, and I would just as soon not have canning to finish up when we get home.

Every year I am so thankful for our Squeezo. My grandmother gave it to us years ago, and even though it is cumbersome, and a pain to clean, when you are doing several bushels of apples, it is well worth it.

Oh, and while all the apple washing, jar washing, apple cutting, cooking down, and running through the mill was going on, our sluggard kitten was staying safely out of the way.

Esther said to me as I was filling jars to put in the canner: "there is something so satisfying about seeing the jars when they are all done, and knowing there is good food put up for the winter!"

I quite agree.

Oh, btw.. those of you who have been asking questions about the sewing... I WILL get back to you soon. I will have a post for the Q and A's, hopefully tomorrow! I just wanted to make sure you didn't think I was ignoring you all.


Monday, October 19, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY...October 19th

Outside my window... full bright and brilliant sun after seemingly endless days of gray, rain and bleh.

I am thinking... Whew! How can so many things break down and not one of them be the hand beater I can't stand?

I am thankful for... A cozy home, albeit somewhat discombobulated at the moment.

I am wearing... jeans skirt, t-shirt, old apron for canning. I did have on a favorite comfy sweater, but shed that while working on cutting up apples.

I am remembering... breathe deep, don't get overwhelmed, enjoy the moment, and don't think about the huge pile of laundry, sewing, cleaning, and apples to do!

I am going... To JoAnn's this weekend to get some flannel that is on sale for pj bottoms for the boys.

I am reading... 2 Peter, and Jack and Jill by Louisa May Alcott

I am hoping... To plow through two bushels of apples today, despite all the chaos this morning from computer woes, coffee maker break down, and the furnace giving up the ghost.

On my mind... Vacation!

From the learning rooms... we are doing the bare minimum today because of doing applesauce. That would include a couple of worksheets for our Elephant Lap books. Also, we are done with our first quarter of school, so this weekend I will need to print up the quarterly reports.

Noticing that... I need to do some major decluttering throughout the house.

Pondering these words... from Oswald Chambers: "The great enemy to the Lord Jesus Christ in the present day is the conception of practical work that has not come from the New Testament, but from the systems of the world in which endless energy and activities are insisted upon, but no private life with God."

From the kitchen...Every large pot I can find filled with apple pieces being cooked down to make applesauce, and every large bowl filled with washed apples ready to be cut up and cooked down. In the crock pot is a delicious ham/onion/cabbage/cheese soup with a creamy base for supper.

Around the house... Just trying to do laundry, applesauce, and some schoolwork today.

One of my favorite things~the adrenaline high from finishing a quilt!

A picture thought for the day:

If you would like to participate in the Simple Woman's Daybook, please visit Peggy's blog for the guidelines.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

More Sewing Completed!

I finished the blouse prototype, and made note of some minor adjustments to make for the matching church outfits that are next on my list.

Here Esther is modelling the blouse with a jumper she made about a year and a half ago.

Of course I had to play with the fun stitches on my sewing machine, so here is a close up of the collar:

I started working on our matching jumpers today, and then I will tackle the matching blouses to the aforesaid jumpers. There is a long list after that, so I will spare you ... for now.


Friday, October 16, 2009

Jerusha's Quilt and Something Special for my Dad

Yes, it is finished! Jerusha's quilt is on her bed, and in use! The tradition in our family is that the child who is getting their first "big" quilt has to trade in their old crib quilt (which was old, ratty, falling apart, and thus spurred the big quilt making in the first place). Jerusha very reluctantly agreed to this before I started her big quilt. I didn't have to exactly pry it out of her hands, but she was still hesitant.

Isn't that ratty looking? It was at the point where I was afraid to wash it!

Here she is standing in front of her new quilt. Thanks to my tall, dark, handsome helper for holding it up for me.

One of the things Jerusha asked for was hearts in the quilting. Okay... well, I've never tried that one before with continuous line quilting, but I looked in a Keepsake Quilting catalog at a picture they had of an example of some free motion heart quilting and tried to figure it out. Not a great execution, but hey, it was my first attempt at the design!

For the back of the quilt I pieced two fabrics in a four patch.

Then I found some fun fabric for the binding. I spent a day, between homeschooling, laundry, feeding the baby, and general every day life hoop jumping making the binding. What is it about making binding that is so satisfying?

And here it is all sewed onto the quilt:

I let Jerusha pick out a font for her tag. I then used our Word processer program to make up the message on the tag. After printing it out, I put it under the fabric I was going to write on, and traced it. Easy! After ironing the edges for a clean finish, I stitched it onto the back of the quilt.

Hopefully Jerusha isn't TOO traumatized by the loss of her old blanky, with a "big girl" quilt to hang on to.

And now... just for my fair-weather-Florida-Fleeing Dad... this pic's for you:

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

October Fest Fun!

Last weekend was "October Fest Days" or whatever they call it, in a little country town near us. We went Saturday for a few hours. Unfortunately, it was drizzly, gray, damp, and chilly, so we decided against going for the corn maize and pumpkin display. However, we can still do that because the farm that has that activity is still open for the season.

I had found out at the Library previously that there was going to be a quilt show, so I had my sights set on that. Since we only had a couple hours before the different displays and sidewalk sales, etc. closed for the day we split up. We decided I would take whomever desired to go look and be inspired by beautiful quilts would be dropped off there, while others who wanted to be bored out of their skulls looking at woodcarving would go with Dale.

Despite my best pitch, only Esther and Isaac went with me to the quilt show. And Isaac only went because he had no choice. He did behave very well, and was cheerful the whole time, and never once asked if we were done yet, or how much longer, unlike his father who shows little interest, and less patience in such matters. I was pleased at Isaac's improvement in attitude as the last time I took him shopping for fabric in a quilt shop, he cried the whole time, much like his father does after I go fabric shopping.

I digress.

After viewing all the beautiful quilts, and having no less that two dozen projects I wanted to try, I bid on a sweet wall hanging in the silent auction. Guess what? Yup, I won! Now the reason I bid on it was because of the pretty applique work. I can't applique, and someday I want to take a class on it, but for now, I greatly appreciate and admire applique work. If I lived closer to my grandmother, I would ask her to teach me, as her applique is gorgeous. You can't even see the stitches! Alas, her being 6 hours away doesn't make for a possible commute, and I don't have the time right now to take a class, so I enjoy "just looking" and stick to piecing my quilts.

For now.

I digress, yet again.

So, without further babbling, here is the wall hanging, nameless, I am afraid!

Here is a close up of the applique work:

This is a close up of the 3-D scalloped border:

And a pic of the backing:

Isn't it pretty? It matches the colors in our bedroom, so I will be hanging it up there. It doesn't have a sleeve, so I will have to get some of those clippy hangy things for quilts.

We also hit the book sale at the Library. By the time we got there they were having a 2$ per bag sale instead of the regular 25 cents to a dollar.

We made a nice haul, I have to say. We filled two bags ( the brown paper grocery variety) with a nice assortment of books. Some were kids books, some fluff, some more educational, and some adult level books. Hey Grandma Van, you would have LOVED it! We figured out that we paid 5 to 10 cents per book, at most.

This week has been busy as usual. Jerusha and Isaac are both sporting sniffles, sneezing and a little coughing at the moment, and I have been fighting off something, making me quite tired by evening, so not much but the basics are getting done.

This Saturday is our Harvest Dinner at church, and I have to make a boatload of rolls, a couple pies, and cook the hams, slice them, and have them ready for the meal. When I signed up for the baking stuff, I somehow totally forgot I would probably end up doing the hams. Oops! Good thing I have good helpers.

We haven't started on the applesauce yet. I have been too low on energy to tackle it. I do feel better today than I have the last few days, despite being up a lot with Isaac last night, so maybe tomorrow I'll start it.

Jerusha's quilt is *almost* done. I am about halfway through slip stitching the binding, then I'll make a label and attach it. I'll post pics when it is completed.

After her quilt it is onto some garment sewing... and getting ready for some hand made Christmas items. The list is never ending!


Monday, October 12, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY, October 12th....

Outside my window... VERY cold, and a heavy frost! Yay!

I am thinking... This week is going to be very busy.

I am thankful for... our warm house (we haven't even had any heat on yet!), and the nice sunshine this morning.

From the learning rooms... We are finishing up a lap book on Johnny Appleseed, and starting a new one on Elephants.

From the kitchen... Split pea soup to cook, bread and rolls to make!

I am wearing... Long jean skirt, a t-shirt, and a warm, mauve, hand knit sweater my friend from church made me a couple years ago.

I am creating... an insane schedule for this week. Whew!

I am going... Over to church to decorate for the Harvest Dinner this Saturday, and hopefully to the Library to pick up some books I requested.

I am reading... "Julie and the Wolves" out loud to the kids.

I am hoping... to finish Jerusha's quilt this week, finish the prototype of a blouse for the twins, and start on our matching blouses or jumpers. Also, working on the BSJ! My knitting time is almost nil these days.

I am hearing... The children splitting up the Proverbs verses and devotional reading for our reading time in a few minutes.

Around the house... I need to vacuum and mop, and do a huge pile of laundry, and get the weekly logs filled out for school.

One of my favorite things... A quiet afternoon of handwork with the sun streaming in through our big picture window.

A few plans for the rest of the week: You know, I get to this part and realize I pretty much already answered this!

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...

Guidelines for participating in The Simple Woman's Daybook can be found here.

Thank You!

I received this award from my pal, Amy from The View from Hidden Valley. Check out her wonderful blog, and THANK YOU, my friend!

Now I am supposed to nominate several people for this award, so here it goes:

Winona at Cat Lover and Quilt Maker... her sewing is wonderful to look at! I get so inspired by her creativity and beautiful quilts and crafts.

Amandajean at CrazyMomQuilts... can you ever get too much of looking at quilts and getting fantastic ideas?

Regina at Homeschoolmummyx3... She is a creative mom and wonderful example of a godly wife. Her blog is like sitting down for a visit over tea.

Jenny at Jengi33... she is the one who got me addicted to knitting! I love to see the work of her hands. She is very talented!

Unfortunately, that is all I have time for right now... baby is crying and duty calls. There are so many uplifting, encouraging, and creative blogs, that it really is difficult to choose!

Oh, I am supposed to list 7 things you may not know about me. Well, I guess you'll just have to read my blog to find out!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Never a Dull Moment!

What a week! I don't know about you, but I'm glad it is Friday. I always am, though for the life of me I can't figure out why. Saturdays are so busy, you wouldn't think that I would be looking forward to them.

Oh, and don't you think that if your own blog is blocked by your filter, that means the settings are set too high? LOL

It has been mostly "business as usual" here, whatever "usual" means. Well, for the most part.

Wednesday turned out to be a bit of a circus here. It was one of those mornings when I woke up, running as my feet hit the floor.


For some reason, whether due to mommy brain, or just living in denial, I always forget that every year around this time, we get mice.

This year is no different.

Only this time, the second my feet hit the floor, I saw a tiny little mouse dart out from under my bed into our closet.

Thus the running. I actually ran AFTER it, because the baby sleeps in our room. It got panicked and darted out and I literally chased it down the hall.

This was my wake up call at 7 a.m. No coffee, not dressed, I hadn't even been in the bathroom yet.

Several of the children were already up and in the living room chasing another little mouse. Then I saw a bigger one. Okay, so far the count was up to three, which totally grossed me out and sent Esther and I to sit on our sturdy kitchen table with the littles while I tried to remember where our traps were and how in the world was I going to get some coffee in me???? First things first. Meanwhile, Benjamin,and Elizabeth were trying to get Mattan interested in chasing the mice. So far he regarded with with a little confusion and disinterest. I told him that if he didn't catch some mice, he would be evicted. Mattan then regarded me with a little confusion and disinterest.

Don't think me a coward. I know mice won't hurt me, but the thing is the "ick" factor for me. They creep me out, so like any good mother, I allowed the children who wanted to, to try and catch or kill the ones running around while I gathered up my wits and courage. This approach worked fine for a few minutes, and I was almost ready to grab a broom to try and kill a couple myself when I saw something that just made me stop and stare. I have heard of this before, but have never actually seen it.

A mouse climbed up my living room wall.

I think what happened was Mattan finally had some sort of instinct kick in. The mice, trapped in the living room by my children trying to get them, had been darting back and forth from under the piano, around the room and under the couch. That seemed to be where they went the most. Mattan made his way back there and that was when I saw what I assume to be the mama mouse climb the wall.

Benjamin said later the look on my face was priceless, laughing at me. Nice, huh?

I should have taken a good swing at the rodent, but it was near a lamp and with my not-so-good aim I didn't want to break it. I did get a pic.

Now tell me that doesn't give you the heebie-jeebies.

That pushed me over the edge and I speed dialed Dale who was on his way to work. He said as soon as his cell phone rang who knew who it was, and knew what I was going to say.

He let his boss know what was going on and she told him "Well, go go go! Goodness, go take care of it!) She apparently hates mice even more than I do, bless her heart.

Dale picked up several different mice catching/killing type thingies on the way home. With a kitten and a baby in the house, we have to be careful. He got a couple of those mouse hotels that traps them, then you can put the thing in a bucket of water and drown the mouse and dump it out, then reuse the trap.

You notice I said "YOU", not me. I don't touch those.

Dale also got some of the snap mouse traps, and put them in places where the baby or kitten can't get them. You can empty those and reuse.

Again, "YOU" can. Not me.

Thankfully Dale has no problem dealing with dead rodents. He doesn't like them, but he doesn't feel like heaving when emptying traps like I don't.

We also got Decon, and put it in the basement here and there, again, safe from baby and the kitten.

Anyway, while we were waiting for Dale to get home, the mouse on the wall eventually climbed down and went back to skittering about with the other two little ones. The kids were still trying to entrap them. Benjamin was all gung ho on killing one with the broom, or at least stunning it so he could club it to death. Charming, huh?

Then one ran across my sewing machine.

That means war.

I jumped down off the table (yup, I had gotten up again) and grabbed the broom from my son. I would have had one of the mice, but then Isaac woke up and I had to tend to him.

Later, after Dale got home, we saw the mice disappear, I think under the cellar door, and go downstairs. What we think is that they made a little spot in the wood. Benjamin can sometimes hear them at night.

With all the traps set we figured it would be good for us to leave the house so hopefully the mice would come out and get caught or killed. So we threw a lunch together and headed up north to get apples. 12 bushels and 5 hours later, we were home and had to hurry to get ready for Church.

Not one mouse caught or killed. ARGH!

I had vacuumed and sprayed and cleaned everything I could before we left to get apples, and interestingly enough I didn't find one mouse dropping. Hopefully that means they haven't been in long, and hopefully that little family is ALL. Some of the Decon was eaten so maybe they will die off quietly over the next week or so.

Also, since Wednesdays "Mice Capades", we haven't seen any at all. None of the bait in the upstairs traps have even been touched. Go figured. Maybe we traumatized the mice so badly that they are keeping a good distance. Maybe they smell Mattan and now he is around now, so they are timid about appearing up in our living quarters. Who knows. Benjamin said he can hear them downstairs at night (his room is in the basement), but he hasn't seen any in the last day or so. I'm tempted to trap Mattan down there for a night and see what happens, but he is just a kitten still. I'll give him a break... for now.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY October 5th.....

Outside my window... I declare, is that sunlight???

I am thinking... Oh so many things this morning.

I am thankful for... a great visit with my mom last weekend.

From the learning rooms... we are starting a lapbook on apples and Johnny Appleseed today.

From the kitchen... I have beens cooking to make an italian bean casserole for supper tonight; and I have two whole chickens thawing out to cook tomorrow, and I need need to get some bread started.

I am wearing... Pj's and bathrobe. Don't worry, I'll be getting dressed soon!

I am creating... a prototype slip on blouse for the twins. If the pattern is satisfactory, I'll use it for making our matching blouses to go with the matching jumpers for church. Also.. all I need to do is make the binding and get it on Jerusha's quilt!

I am going... to the library, either today or tomorrow, hopefully!

I am reading... Still working on Jo's Boys from Daily lit, and in Philippians in the Bible.

I am hoping... That the children will be able to break out of the "bickering" mode they have been in lately.

I am hearing... The fan over the stove running, and birds chirping away outside.

Around the house... Washer is running, dryer is running, beans are cooking, children are in sundry stages of finishing up breakfast and starting morning chores. We are a little behind this morning as I had to fight with the printer for some schoolwork stuff I needed and lost track of the time. The important thing is... I WON! Mwhahahahaha!

One of my favorite things... Time with family.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Going to the library, finishing up the organizational stuff for the week today; and we are doing a menu of "two chickens, four meals" from the Family Homestead.

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...

The Love of my life with the two youngest...

Want to join in? Go here for the guidelines!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Happy Birthday Josiah!

Saturday was Josiah's 9th birthday! We had a fun day with lots of dinosaur decorations, cake, and presents. My mom was out, so it was nice to have her around for the festivities. Here are some pics:

Friday, October 2, 2009

Not Exactly Home and Gardens

Proverbs 14:4 says:" Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox."

I was having one of those days where I felt like no matter how hard and fast I went, the house just wouldn't every be "caught up." You other mommies must know what I mean. I don't think I am a lazy person, but this school year has zapped my time like no other year. Just keeping up on basics is a challenge. I have resigned myself that for now, at least, we are just striving to keep up on maintenance, but not improving in the household cleaning during the week. Anything "extra" will have to fit in at odd times, or on Saturdays.

I walking around the house, and my eyes fell to every area that day that needed some attention. The more I walked around, the more discouraged I got. It seemed like every corner of the house, every flat surface, every place that was a designated spot for putting something away was needing cleaning up. I was getting quite worked up about it when the Lord brought that verse in Proverbs to my mind.

I thought about that for a few minutes, pondering just what was really important in my life right now. I like things tidy, decluttered, and in order. It bothers me to have "stuff" everywhere. We are a large family in a small house, and this is something I have been dealing with. There must be a balance between just chucking everything that we don't absolutely need right this second, and wisely saving for later. However, at this stage as in my life, as much as I would love to toss all the "stuff" out, and keeping the bare minimum... except my sewing stash of course!... it isn't going to happen. With seven children it is wise to keep some of the clothing to pass down. It is wise to save school books for the next child coming up in the grades. It is wise to have the games, puzzles, craft bins.

The thing that was bothering me wasn't the "saved" stuff for later, though. It was the items we use NOW that were all over the place, not put away properly, and cluttering my living room, kitchen, and the kids bedrooms.

But again, the Lord brought Proverbs 14:4 to mind. I meditated on it a bit, and walked around the house again. This time, I was slowly seeing things different.

This unmade bed was representing a child who got up extra early to say good morning to her Daddy, do her Bible reading, then started school work. She was working diligently before I even had coffee!

Here is a pile of some of the school work of my son Caleb. He is learning to read, and do math, and watching him grasping a concept in phonics is exciting to me. I look forward to the day when he can take his turn in our read aloud time for morning devotions.

Here is a messy stove top. The lid is from a nutritious breakfast of oatmeal and applesauce. The bread was made by one of my good helpers that day. Healthy, hearty, delicious whole wheat bread, provided for the family. Oh yeah, and it smelled so good!

Here is evidence of another helper making whole wheat banana and raisin muffins for the family. What a blessing!

Here is an example of some of our manipulatives we use in homeschooling. I am thankful we have these tools to help us, and children that we can teach.

This one about brought tears to my eyes. One of my dd's Bibles. Left on the end table by the couch after she finished her reading that morning. How precious is the sight of our children getting into the Word of God.

What a wonderful thought that these items belong to little ones that God has given to us.

All that music is actually being used by one child or another. What a wonderful sound to hear my children singing or practicing the piano!

One of my favorite spots, despite the clutter of many ongoing projects at the moment. I am thankful for the ability to create clothing, quilts, and do mending for the family that God has blessed me with.

Thank the Lord for my many bookworms!

My ironing that still needs to be done. Thank you Lord, for the bodies that they are to clothe.

Hopefully my perspective has changed. Martha Stewart would not be impressed, but frankly I don't care. I hope to do the best I can and be contented with a wholesome balance of chores and time with the children. So the house isn't spotless.

So what?