Monday, November 30, 2009

Christmas Time is Here~

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving here.  The meal came out beautiful and delicious.  The company was great.  After we ate and looked through the newspaper we had some fierce Wii bowling competitions and Mario Kart Racing.  It was so much fun!!

On Friday we brought out all the decorations.  The tree is up and most of the decorating is done but I have a few final touches.  I need to run to the craft store and dollar store for some last minute things to make everything look just right.

The weekend was so much fun.  We spent the day decorating on Friday, Dh was home from work.  I had to work for a little bit in the afternoon and we spent the evening relaxing.    Saturday, hubby had to run into work for a some things and I ran errands.  My daughter and I went to a super craft show at a local college.  We spent the evening, reading, drinking tea and then watching some Christmas shows.  Sunday was spent at a local historical village whose street is lined antique shops and some of the oldest stores~some 200 years~running.  Such a spectacular time.  I loved every minute of it.

I hope you all had a blessed Thanksgiving with family.  

I have some great upcoming projects to share with you.  I am also working on crossing of some things from my list to complete before 40.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Psalm for giving thanks.

100:1 Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!

Know that the Lord, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his; [1]
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!

For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.

Wishing you and yours a very happy and blessed Thanksgiving!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Giving Thanks with a Grateful Heart

I cannot let this time of thanksgiving pass without sharing what I am thankful for.  I have been so blessed and hope that I don't forget anything.

My family~a great husband who provides and cares for us.  Great kids whom I have 
the pleasure of homeschooling, teaching and guiding them in truth.

Our home~It may not be perfect but it's ours.  It has a good size yard and we have 
been able to do so much with it, including expanding our gardening.

Our daily provisions~in this tough economic time I cannot say how truly blessed we 
are to still be employed.  There have some tough times of uncertainty but God has 
brought us through.

Our health~Another scary issue at this time and I thank God we are all healthy.

Our cars

My online friends~I love all the great friends  I have made through blogland.  You 
are all so great and an inspiration and encouragement.

I am thankful for our woodstove!!

In it all I am thankful for the little things.  The special, small moments that some-
times I tend to overlook.  Those little blessings all add up and fill your heart.

I know there is so much more.  Thank you for all my blog readers for letting me share my heart.  

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Christmas Tags

Had some fun making Christmas tags for a swap.  I loved working with all the different embellishments and glitter an putting it all together.  I could spend a whole day just creating these beauties!!   I hope my swap partners enjoy them as much as I enjoyed making them.  

These are the ones I made to mail out to my partners.  (If you click on the picture you can see them better.)  

Here are the great tags I received.  I love all the special little touches.  So many thought goes into creating these little treasures.

Friday, November 20, 2009

My Favorite Things

I saw this great party on Chrissie Grace's blog and wanted to join in. What fun!!

One of my recent discoveries is these great dvd's by Leisure Arts. I recently borrowed one on crochet from the library. It was all about cables and lace. I loved it. I am not proficient in knitting, just the basics. When I saw this one I knew I had to add it to my list. Can't wait to get it and watch it.

My next most favorite thing is our Krups coffee and espresso maker.  It's always ready to brew me a cup of something wonderful.

I am not much of a tv person but I stumbled upon this show one day and I love it.  It's my favorite!!  The little boy, Brick, is so cute!!  He is my favorite character on the show.

This is a great book that I am devouring for my plans in our garden next year.  I recommend it for anyone who wants to try and live more self-sufficient lifestyle.

This great little church is awesome.  It was made by Jamie at a Forest Frolic.  I just had to have it.  Can't wait until it arrives.

Last but not least, this scarf that I saw on One Pretty Thing is just gorgeous.  I have added it to my must try list.

**I cannot believe I forgot to add this to my favorites list~today is a favorite day for me because my braces came off!!  After 3 1/2 years they were removed about an hour ago.  I am so thrilled.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Ramblings of Our Day to Day

Hard to believe that Thanksgiving is almost here.  It seems like just yesterday was Halloween.  We will be hosting Thanksgiving here.  I enjoy hosting Thanksgiving.  It's one of my favorites.  Unfortunately our whole family will not be together.  My parents will go to my brother's house.  My other brother and sister probably will, too.  I host Thanksgiving for my in-laws.  The menu is all made out.  It is a very traditional menu.  

We will be enjoying:

Turnips and carrots
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Apple Cider

Pumpkin Pies
Apple Pie
Individual Pumpkin Cheesecakes

 I have almost everything purchased.  The turkey will be picked up on Monday.  This is one of the most comforting meals to cook.  It's a time to spend with family without any other hustle and bustle.  It's a great break to think and reflect on the blessings of the past year.  God's goodness to each of us.  Shortly thereafter the Christmas rush will begin.  It's a respite from all the hurrying and day to day.  

Today was a quiet day at home for us and I absolutely needed that.  We did all of our school work.  The morning went very well.  I got the laundry done, the living room dusted, floors dry mopped and vacuumed,  the kid's work all corrected, chili cooking in the crock pot, the fire is keeping us warm and had time to work on some projects that were waiting to be completed.  It was so nice to not have to run anywhere. 

I am working on knitting some hats to donate to charity.  I do not knit very much but am so happy with the progress so far.  One hat is complete, the second is being worked on.  The ribbing is just perfect on this one.  I am hoping to get a total of six hats completed.  I also want to add a couple of scarves in the package.

The wheels are turning for what goodies I can make for the holidays.  What new decorations do I want to create?  Gifts to give?  Maybe some extra treats for the kids' stockings, and can't forget, what to bake?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

39 Things Before 39

I am a little late for this.  I wanted to participate with Chrissie Grace in Make Some Art Monday.  Yesterday turned out to be so busy and I never made it here to post.  I don't think I stopped running the entire day.  My feet hit the floor first thing in the morning and did not stop until I collapsed into bed late last night.  Even though it is late I didn't want to miss out on this great idea.
Here is my little art work~

Part one

Part two

Thirty-eight is creeping up on me very quickly.  I did not want to start a list that would need to be completed in four months so my goal is to complete everything on the list by 39.  I needed the extra time.  Too much pressure thinking of completing everything with just four months.

My List~

1.  Get a daily exercise routine and stick to it. ~Unfortunately I always start this but I never stick to it.  I really want to try and stay on track.

2.  Plan and extend our heirloom vegetable garden. ~ I grew some things from seed this past summer.  I had and still have a lot to learn.  I hope to double the size of the garden this year.

3.  Save some of my own heirloom seeds.  I think I will start with something easy like tomatoes or beans.

4.  Attempt to can veggies from our garden.

5.  Make my own jams and jellies.

6.  Sew my own purses-lots of learning needed for this.  I do have a ton of ideas floating around in my head.

7.  Work out on the elliptical faithfully for 20 minutes or more, increasing my distance.

8.  Take more pictures, capture more moments, have my camera with me always.

9.  Put our pictures into albums - I already have the albums I like picked out.

10.  Make a quilt~I have always wanted to but have chickened out.

11.  Crochet or knit my first sweater.  ~  I have made many things but have never been brave enough to try a sweater.  Time to overcome that.

12.  Spend more time with God-really seeking what He has planned for me.

13.  Volunteer as a family.

14.  Design and sew something-no matter how simple.

15.  Open my own Etsy shop.~  Always been a bit of a chicken about just jumping in and doing it.

16.  Host a nice dinner with friends.  An elegant "wow" dinner.

17.  Read the classics. ~  From Dickens to Austen and anything in between.

18.  Make one thing from each of my craft books.

19. Make my own pie crust from scratch. ~  I have always just relied on Pillsbury.

20.  Go hiking with the kids.

21.  Start planning our weekly menus.

22.  Start creating more of my own things. ~ Just let it happen with out having to think too much about it.  No analyzing~just creating.

23. Have enough market bags to do away with plastic shopping bags.

24.  Go on a sleigh ride if it snows this year.~This is something I have always wanted to do.  The years that finances allowed it there wasn't any snow.  The years with snow no money.  I want to make it happen this year.

25.  Begin taking more time to sketch and draw.  Keep a pad with me always.  Learning more as I go.

26.  Do fun projects with the kids. - For learning and just plain fun.

27.  Go out with hubby alone and not worry about the kids.

28.  Paint our hutch, dining table and chairs.

29.  Learn more about nature.  I would love to spend time outdoors-observing, enjoying and learning.

30. Go to the Brimfield Antique Show.

31.  Visit the indoor farmers' market held locally every Saturday.

32.  Revamp my blog.

33. Relax more-let the little things go.

34.  Learn Photoshop!!

35.  Make valances for living room.

36.  Sew new kitchen curtains.

37.  Work on daughter's high school transcript.  ~Includes reading the book I bought for this.  So hard to get into this.

38.  Cook more things from scratch.

39.  Read all my Mother Earth News magazines.

I will definitely update this as I am able to cross things off this list.  I better get started.

Hope you join in.  I would love to see everyone's lists.  I have had so much fun and this will definitely keep me accountable.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Fresh Out of the Oven

One of the best smells to fill a home is bread fresh out of the oven.  I have wanted to make my own bread for a long time.  A couple of years ago my mom bought me a bread machine.  She thought that this would be a great way to get started.  It was ok.  I made many different types of bread but it wasn't right.  Something was missing. 

Last year, my friend Ronna sent me a sourdough starter all the way from Nevada.  She has had this starter for over ten years.  It survived the trip cross country and I was thrilled when I could make bread with my own hands.  I know long ago this was a necessity to me today it is a comfort.  I feel great when I am baking my own bread.  

I made many loaves of bread through the winter and spring this year but then the weather turned warm.  The garden was calling and my starter sat neglected in the back of the refrigerator.  Many times I meant to store it in the freezer to preserve it but would inevitable forget.  Once fall arrived the family was all talking about my bread.  When would I make it again?  I decided one day to bring out my starter and try to revive it.  It did not work.  My first two attempts were total failures.  I felt terrible.  I thought the starter was ruined for sure.  The bread was not rising and it tasted extremely sour.  

Figuring I didn't have anything to lose, I poured most of my batch of starter down the drain.  Saving only about a half a cup.  I poured it into a bowl, washed and sterilized its container and started again.  It worked.  The starter is completely happy and the bread I made last week was fantastic.
Here is the sponge that I started the night before.  It is happy and bubbly.  Just the way it is supposed to be.  When I removed the towel and saw how happy it was I was thrilled.

Here are the loaves after I kneaded the dough and left it to rise.

This is the fresh out of the oven bread.  So wonderful.  
I can't think of anything more comforting than baking your own bread.  To me it is like therapy.  This is a homemaking art that has been lost for a long time.  It is now becoming more popular.  It is a nourishing for body and soul.

I found great tips and recipes here.  This is the artisan sourdough bread.  

Monday, November 9, 2009

Make Some Art Monday

I have been wanting to participate with Chrissie Grace on Make Some Art Monday for a couple of weeks now.  Mondays can be so busy as we try to get back into the swing of things with homeschool, we usually have errands to run and some house organizing and laundry catch-up from the weekend.  

This week I kept reminding myself that I had to participate.  I checked in early and was almost ready to go and was called away.  I was caught up in the day but did finally manage to get back here now~ Better late than never.

These are a couple of collage pieces I was just playing around with.

Collage frame~now I need something to put in it.
Collage~some pictures that I liked and put together.
I have fun adding things and layering to see what I come up with.  These were some free time fun I had.  I need some time like that where I don't have to think about anything else~only the things I like and enjoy.  I'm sure you know what I mean.

I hope you have enjoyed.  Go over to Chrissie Grace's blog for more wonderful art.


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Nature Walk

We decided that this year we would make an effort to get outside and enjoy nature.  We have had some fun on our latest walks.  Everything is so beautiful~the colors are brilliant.  We are lucky to have a small park across the street.  It is used mostly for softball and soccer but there are open areas and a walking path.  

Love the sunlight in this picture.
We have had quite a few rainy and windy days so the trees have shed most of their leaves.

Found some interesting mushrooms due to the abundance of rain here lately.
We saw this nest way up in a tree.  It's not a bird's nest.
This little guy lives there.  He was watching us closely and warning us to stay away.  He actually made some "growling" noises at my son.  He was still cute~while he was up nice in high in the tree that is.
This is my daughter's nature journal sketch and entry.  She says she can't draw but I think this is great.
My son's journal entry and sketch.  He loves to draw.
Hope you are enjoying nature all around you.

Monday, November 2, 2009

~History Fun and Field Trip~

We are currently studying early American history and the Revolutionary War.  Although the kids have different history curriculums they are both at this time period.  It is one of my favorites.  Studying history is one of my favorites and early American history is rich with men of great character and honor who gave so much for their country and for future generations.  They had a vision for a country that is honorable, noble and free.

A couple of weeks ago I chose to include the HBO John Adams miniseries as part of our history.  It was fabulously done and so true to the story.  We enjoyed it immensely.  I only wish it was ours because I would watch it over and over again.  But thankfully, our wonderful library had this available for us.  I recommend it for anyone who is learning about this time period.  

What could be better than visiting the John Adams Historical Park once we were finished watching the series.  We set up a date, invited our dear neighbors and headed out to Quincy, MA.  We were so thankful that the weather was wonderful on that day.  If you are at all able I would recommend this wonderful trip.  Once you arrive at the visitor's center you can purchase your ticket and wait for the arrival of the next trolley to take you to the actual homes of John Adams and his family.
Our trolley awaits.  We board and are headed to the homes.  Look at the gorgeous day.

We arrive at the first house.  It is still located on the original site.  The homes were in the Adams family until 1979 when they were turned over to the National Parks Department.  They are amazing historical landmarks. The home pictured below is the birthplace and home of John Adams during his early years.

This is the home where John and Abigail started their married lives.  It is the birthplace of our sixth President~John Quincy Adams and also the birthplace of the Massachusetts Constitution.
Unfortunately, I couldn't get a better picture because there is a very busy street there now. 
Once the tour of the birthplaces was complete we boarded the trolley once and again and headed to the Old House.  This is the home where John and Abigail lived when they returned from Europe.  It was the home of four generations of the Adams family.

The Old House

This is the carriage house.  It is one of the few remaining farm buildings of John and Abigail's time.  John farmed the land that he owned at the time.  There were barns and other farm buildings and an orchard that John loved.
Love this door to the old house.  It has a gorgeous porch and there are two identical entrances.  Abigail had an addition put on the house while John was away.

Gorgeous gate~Like the doors there are two identical gates.  I love them!!
There is a stone library on the property.  John Quincy Adams requested that a fireproof structure be built separate from the house for his books and papers.  This is a weathervane from the old Hamilton church given to the Adams's when they funded a new church building.  This is a replica.  The original is stored away but was on display for hundreds of years.
Window to the library.
English garden that Charles Francis Adams had made for his wife.  This is the site of John Adams's apple orchard but Charles wanted his wife to have a proper English garden.

You are not able to take any pictures inside the homes.  Everything in the Old House is original and belong to the Adams's.  The cane that John is portrayed carrying in the miniseries is there by the door~it is the original.  There are so many wonderful features of the home that I wish I could share but am not allowed.  If you aren't able to visit in person you can take a virtual tour here.  I hope you have enjoyed our visit.  

We had such a great time with our neighbors.  Even with my poor sense of direction I was able to find our way out of Quincy into familiar territory where we could have a nice lunch together.  It was such a fun experience.  The kids and I had so much fun and laughed so hard.  They are the best neighbors anyone could ask for and tons of fun.