Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Praise His Holy and Righteous Name!
I pray you all will have a
Blessed Day of Remembrance and
Rejoice in what the Most High has done
for us out of His Love.
Happy Christmas

4 Sweet Sisters
Julie


Monday, December 22, 2008

When the Lord takes over!

Good morning! It's a wonderful crisp day.....but unfortunately we are in for a hot Christmas. I mean the kind were the girls are wondering if they can go swimming. Ugh... Oh well, I keep trying to remind myself it doesn't matter what the weather is like. What are we celebrating? The weather...I think not!

I started a Christmas present for the Little Chef a couple of weeks back and didn't like were it was going. The fabrics were all wrong for what I was making. I was in a conundrum...what to do? I wanted this project to be whimsical and fun. But I had no moola for it. I prayed as I was walking through my daily activities. Guess What? The Lord directed me to this old duvet cover I had! Yippee! I just love it when He takes my best offering and goes way beyond whatever I could have come up with!


A fun Puppet Theater!



I can't wait to try it. I hope she'll let me play and not just watch.


Here are some of the puppets the 2 oldest chicks and I came up with.


Dog, Horse and Shark


These Polynesian Dancers better watch out for that Shark!

A Gingerbread Family....we've made waaayyy

to much gingerbread this year!

So I'm pleased as punch how this turned out! Thank you Father for your wonderful ideas and guidance. I found a "how to" online and changed it a bit to fit my needs. It's all about the fabric! The puppets are funny. I bought the bodies from OT and we decorated them. I'm not sure why we have what we have. I would never have thought of some of them, but they sure are cute. The total project came in under $20. It took me about 3 hours to make the theater. I hope this gives someone some inspiration for birthdays or next Christmas!

Merry, Merry Day!

Julie

Friday, December 19, 2008

Simplicity

It starts with a Big Bowl of these..... Oh so sugary sweet and unhealthy!

Then add a Little Chef who sees and tastes all the value of this delights.


Some patience and perseverance................
Wa La! Christmas Breakfast Necklaces for everyone!

Breakfast, do it yourself Christmas presents and a Smile.

The Little Chef was very proud of herself. This year she wanted NO help in creating her gifts. Every time someone would walk into or near the kitchen she would start (politely) yelling, "no Peeking, no Looking." This made it very hard as she wanted us to be with her the whole time she was creating!
I see crafting and order in her future.
Merry, Merry Christmas!
Julie


Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Year of the Gingerbread House

Good Morning my Bloggy Friends! I'm still working at break neck speed to finish up a couple of projects. Over the past several years I've gotten really good at keeping our schedule very light during the holidays. It gives us an opportunity to help out in some extra ministry opportunities and just be spontaneous and peaceful(?) LOL. But this year I was blogging and saw all these creative things I wanted to try. So that's how I got into my predicament! I will start posting over the next week some of the gifts I have made these last few months to hours. In hopes that it will inspire someone for next year. Don't be crazy like me!

337 Gingerbread Houses and Counting!

We have been very blessed again this year to be apart of Isiah's Inn. They help children and families in our community with school clothes, Christmas needs and much, much more. Each year our church helps to host a party for the children and their families (roughly 500 people, but I could be off). The day before the party a bunch of us crafty, sugar loving women and teens get together and construct between 250 and 300 graham cracker style houses with royal icing! Ohhh so tempting. Then the next evening a huge Christmas party is held for the children and their families. We have a big room for decorating all the houses with more royal icing and candy, candy, candy. There is also a room for face painting ( I'm usually there, but really need some lessons). You should see some of the beautiful work! Chick #2 is getting realy good. They also serve an enormous dinner with leftovers for the families to take home and of course a present for each child. Our whole family attends and helps out wherever needed.

This year as we were cleaning up we were ask by Miss Brenda to come and make 80 more houses for the Christian Outreach Centers after school program. So Grammy, the chickadees and myself headed over. I've never been so tried and happy! It took about 4 hours and a couple of pounds gained. But we are hopeful that we brought joy and helped the center in reaching the hearts of young.

So this weekend (if you don't already believe we are daft) we are making real gingerbread houses to share with friends and family. It's becoming an annual tradition and my girls have a ball and I will be sure to get some pictures!

Happy Christmas.

Julie

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

What we are up too!

Well first off...I got a new camera! Thank you Grammy and Poppy! Grammy got a DsLr and I got her old one. My old one was 3mp and hers is 8.1mp. and the flash doesn't go dead after every shot! The only downfall at this point is how much longer it takes to upload a picture. I'm not sure if that has to do with the mp or the high speed card? Anyone?
The biggest project has been the children's Christmas play. Lots of costumes and time! But so worth it. They did a beautiful job. This years play was about a spelling bee, where the contestants had to correctly spell the names of Jesus to be apart of the nativity. In turn everyone including the audience learns the different names and meanings. The children worked so very hard! Each week they would look up names to take in and share. My chickadees learned alot.All of our chicks participated in one form or another. The sheep on the right and Mary are ours. Mary is quite the actress! Everyone simply happy! They were all terrific!


Our littlest sheep. Last year two of our sheep had to be corralled for mischief
by the shepherd on stage!

Happy Mary





Miss Toni. A courageous, wonderful woman!





Donna another woman with a heart of gold and love for our children.





My sidekick and great costume creator.....Chickadee #1



Craft room after math..... It looks a bit better, but I'm still not done with my Christmas projects.



I really need this room to function better. I'm hoping to draw up ideas and see if I can get my Super Craftsman to implement them! I think it's gonna be expensive to hire him!



Any ideas???? I need at least 4 work stations, preferably 5. Enough room for sewing machines and scrapbooking. We also house the VcR/DvD and a HUGE tv in here for movies. Someone is always crafting. The room is 11x10.
I'm trying to figure out if we could do 16in (deep) shelves with 24 or a bit larger counter tops
on wall space of 3 feet to corner 11 feet, corner, 5 feet corner. Maybe the Tv should go back in closet, that's were all my things are now. A flat panel would be nice! But it all has to come in under $100. So I don't see that happening....
Any suggestions feel free to comment. This is one of the most used rooms in our home, so please share and ideas you may have!
Happy Day!
Julie







Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Priceless...........

66 lbs. of cucumbers ($11)

1 1/2 gallons apple cider

lots of garlic and chilli peppers

28 quart jars

10 pint jars




Splatter burns and back pain from a day of canning.....



The look on my daughter's faces as the enjoy the fruits of my labor...........Priceless!

Some of the reasons I'm so thankful!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Weenie Roast!

Well with school being out for us this week I'm getting a little more time on the blog. I do need to get back to crafting ASAP! I'm so glad I'm not in charge of Thanksgiving dinner this year. One of the chicks went and helped Grammy chop and dice all the veggies. They also had a potato peeling contest with Mike.

But the real reason I'm here..... I wanted to show off some of the Weenie/Marshmallow Roast pics. Two of our daughters birthdays fall during the heavy Christmas season and many years get gypped on a friend party. So we moved their b-days up a month and a party happens! Not every year. I shoot for every other. Anyways, on to the pics!
Before the party night the chickadees and I came up with a fun games list.
Candy Corn Relay, Popcorn Relay, Blindfold Doughnut Contest, 3 Legged Marshmallow Race, Apple Relay, and Bobbing for Marshmallows! (yes i realize they all involve food- that's what made it extra fun!)
Before the children arrived we made up huge events and team signs (i chose the teams before they came).
We also made sit upons as the guest were arriving. I 1st made these when I was a Brownie back in the 1900's. You take wallpaper, newspaper and twine. They are great for keeping your toushie dry and warm from the ground while roasting! The boys just loved that I used the word toushie and made sure to incorporate it into their names on their own sit upons! I was surprised at how well this activity was received by everyone. I was way to busy to get pics. I'm so glad I cut and punched holes in the wallpaper ahead of time!
On to the races! 3 candy corns on spoon, see how many you can get in your teams bowl. The Raccoons and Foxes.
The little chef!
The Raccoons Team Bowl
On to doughnut eating! Of course this was big hit! One of the
Birthday girls. Do you see her little Yoda? I bet you can't guess what she named her
chicken??? Princess Leah!!!!
(hey it's better than one of my grandchildren being named that!)
The boys just lov'in it!
Popcorn anyone? Have team member fill up your popcorn shoes
and see how much makes it into the bowl at the other end!
This was the weirdest, but most fun. Float a bunch of mini marshmallows and have to suck them out with a straw. You were supposed to keep hands behind back.....but who cares! The kids just keep lining up over and over to take turns! Bobbing for Marshmallows
So serious! She must be an expert in this field! I will say it was hysterical when the kids sucked up water instead of marshmallows! Yukaroo!
Even my oldest chick got involved. She was a great help that night! Thanks sweetie!
Time to relax before Flashlight Tag! I was wiped out by this point......... Thank you to my friend Debbie who hung around! I couldn't have done it without you. You deserve a BIG REWARD! Look at the blaze Superman had going.
Miss Fran and Superman roasting and keeping warm. (Miss Fran was my prayer partner back
in my late teens before Superman.)
And what Fall Weenie Roast would be complete with out our Famous 4 Sweet Sisters Pumpkin Bread? I did them to look like cup cakes. We sang Happy Birthday over S'mores!

I was completely wiped out! But it was great the Birthday Chicks were so happy and that made me happy! We did all this for about $60 including sit upons, flashlights, goodie bags, dinner for 25. We used what we had around the house and got "free stuff for signs at Sams". It was great fun!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Julie

Monday, November 24, 2008

Look What We Got!

Well here they are!!!! Can ya hear the excitement? Fannie and Gertrude. Gert is the darker of the two.

After church yesterday, Miss Sandy brought them with the little girls - Puffy, Fluffy, Lucy and Princess Leah. My camera went dead.......Oh Superman you know what I need............. I post some of the little girls later. Here's what we got the this morning! Out of focus due to a 6 year old digital camera that eats batteries (hint hint).



But I know you all know what eggs look like. I just can't believe they came from our backyard!



The silkies won't lay for a bit longer. They were born in August where as the big girls were born in June.


I can't believe we have them! I've been wanting them for about 5 years and here they are! Yippee!


We've had a very busy weekend. The chickadees had a birthday party weenie roast, building the coop and Grammy's birthday celebration (with chicken holding). I'm so glad there is NO SCHOOL today.


I've made polish dill pickles (the girls ((chickens)) enjoyed the cuke tops and bottoms). I started with 8 jars but 3 cracked in the caner (bummer). I was able to save them and did refrigerator pickles. This is my 1st time trying polish, so I hope they are tasty. I put a bit of crushed red pepper flakes and lots of garlic.Yummy!!

Well here they are. I bathed them for 10 minutes hoping to keep some of there crunch. I've made other varieties where I've let them go 20 minutes and the are so limp.

In other news. The weather as been so lovely, although not so great for most of our garden. Alot of the plants are in distress because the temps have been going so low. So I'll be really be surprised if we get much of a yield before it gets colder. We usually don't have these temps consistently until January.

Oh well, I love being snuggled under the blankets and having fires!

Have a Beautiful Day!

Julie

Friday, November 14, 2008

Making Your Home a Haven: Day 5

Good morning. This was rather a hectic week here but I need some accountability so I'll be posting what I hope to accomplish! It would be soooooooo easy to just call it craft day!

-Bible and song
- math and spelling tests
-water garden
-clean master bedroom (never got to it)
-clean master bath (yikes!)
-apple granola?
-milk pick up and pumpkin bread delivery
-oversee pumpkin bread making
-dust and vacuum living room
-older chicks to Bright Lights
-chili dog dinner for Superman and youngers
-oversee painting of the inside of chicken house- younger chickadees
-Craft till I drop night!

I really need to get these things done. It's been hard with being in a unsettling time in our lives... I really can't discuss it now, but some days it does get the better of me. I've been in much prayer and am having difficulty with patience.....just when I think I've conquered it!

Sometimes just doing what needs to be done and concentrating on that brings me to a place of great thanksgiving. Does that make sense? I guess I'm trying to say...there's always some aspect of life that I can lift up in Thanksgiving.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Day 3: Making Your Home a Haven

Well we're back on track. I have grandiose plans for the day (haha), but I realize that what I would like to get done would only happen with me yelling at my dear girls. So I opt for plan B.

*Bible and song with Chickadees
*Water garden
* Tidy school room
*Help make 12 loaves pumpkin bread
*School (which takes alot more time this- more than I realized- part of my needing an attitude adjustment)
*Put away bedroom pile and dust
*Costume fitting with children at church
*Make dinner- taco salad
*Make granola
*Put eyes on Cleo

I'll place some before an afters up later today!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Day 2: Making Your Home a Haven

Today was very busy in a different way. (Superman had the day off and is feeling much better.) We are studying the state of Florida this year as a family and as part of our coop. Some of the wonderful trips that have been planned don't make our budget this year, So I felt impressed upon to study things more locally and use other resources ie. dvd, books, magazines for the places we can't make this year. My mom has gotten on board, so it's making it even more fun!

All this to say: we planned a day excursion to the Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks. Unfortunately my camera is DOA and Grammala has her SD at her house.... So no pics. We saw many neat sites like real sponging boats, all sorts of sponges and shells. We tasted Sulavai, Gyro, Pastisio, and Baklava. We also learned about sponges and the Greek settlers to the area.

It was quite busy day. So tomorrow we'll get to baking lots of pumpkin bread for the 4 sweet sisters business and some deep cleaning in. Hmmmmmmmmm where to start!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Making Your Home a Haven Week

Well, I'm of to a rather poor start! I went to bed very late last night (we watched the movie Luther) thinking of all I needed to do today. As I was praying and drifting of to sleep I kept saying I needed to make a list of what is coming up. I seem to have lost my organizational zeal... If you come across it, I really need it back!

Anyway... Up with a start! Superman caught some krypton which kept him home from work today. So we all over sleep...isn't it the weekend when he is home?

Okay up... Music and Bible with the girls
Apple granola in dehydrator
4 loads of laundry hung/ dried/ folded
water the garden
school chickadees
give counsel when needed to older chicks (youngest in with Superman doctoring him)
make list (should have happened sooner, but it happened)
chicken to boil for soup
take chicks to buy pumpkin bread supplies
work on Christmas gifts
spend some time with Superman

Unfortunately I didn't keep my self control about me. I've really been trying to work on this.
I also feel really pressured by so many projects looming that it makes me want curl up and be left alone (not a good place to be with children about!). Writing the list today did not help as I thought it would. I need to go to the Book. Read and listen, listen, and listen.

Check out the Home Spun Heart when you have a chance. She's doing a whole week on making your home a haven.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Lucy

Frugal Friday
Look what I made for 55 cents! That's right!! My first sock monkey....Lucy. Monica at the Home Spun Heart had the craft up about a month ago, and I vowed to make my chicks some for Christmas. You can go to http://www.craftbits.com/ and look up this cute monkey. But you would probably do better heading over to the Home Spun Heart (in my side bar) and perusing her craft category.
Okay so here's what you'll need:
1 long pair of cute socks (these are child's size so the body is a bit smaller and the legs are longer)
thread
good scissors
sewing machine (you could hand sew the whole thing)
2 buttons for eyes
cotton batting
I had everything left over from previous projects, so all I needed where some cute socks. I got 2 pairs for a $1.04 at Target. It took about 2 hours for my first one. Using the smaller socks is a bit more tricky, but I know I'll pick up speed as I continue on with the rest of the family!
Another tidbit I'd like to bring up is how grateful I am that we have an Emergency Fund. We've had some major dental bills this year. Far more than ever expected and it has been a great to pay them in cash. We even got a $100 off from the dental office to lessen the blow! Praise the Lord. So our EF has been depleted 4 times in the past 8 months. So on to rebuilding and getting rid of any debt!
Head over to Biblical Womanhood (side bar) Friday.
Also I need some cute old fashion names for the rest of my Monkey family (8 names) any great ideas??? Leave me a comment. Go make some Monkeys, Ladies!!
Have a Great Day! Julie

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Fuyu!

God bless you..... Does anyone know what this is? I do. At first I thought it was a scraggly old tomato.

On closer inspection I thought it was a tomatillo. Which I've never tried and wanted to. Visions of salsa went dancing by! Then on even further inspection ( i put on my glasses) and found out it was a Fuyu. Of coarse, I should have known!


I then headed to my somewhat trusty friend and searched "fuyu". Guess what? It's a Japanese Persimmon. So much for calenete salsa!


The chicks immediately wanted to taste it. So open it we did. It looked like an under ripe tomato. I thought it was mislabeled at the field. I mean, where are all the black seeds? We peeled the skin off and sliced it. VERY sweet. The texture was kind of like firm mango. My oldest chick said it was too sweet for fruit. Huh? My mango and papaya loving chick gobbled it up.

Thanks to veg co-op another country we won't need to visit. jk

On to other news we hope to have live chickens in a couple of weeks! We've been working on a little home and playground for them (that's cuz their gonna be suburban chickens and need a place to play because there's so much asfault). The girls are busily investigating the breed and figuring out pefect names. I'm getting Rhode Island Reds. They're getting white Silkes.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

What's for Dinner?



Hello all..... I mean any of you lovely people who still happen by to see what us crazy folks are up too!
Today was veg coop and we got lots of our chicks favorites, including Diakon Radishes. For all who don't know what they are... I'll just send chick #2 to take a pic.

While we're waiting, isn't crazy and mostly wonderful how different all of our children are! I mean I have one who is working on "back" algebra with Superman and another who is debating on how much extra math she'll do to get ahead and counting the days till testing! This is one area I wished they were all more alike!

Okay, back to radish talk. Here's what they look like. Like big white carrots. They taste spicy and crunchy.
Thanks chick #2!

Well are favorite thing to make with the babies are Diakon Pancakes. I'm really not sure if there is a recipe. I kinda made it up. Okay, I cheated a bit and took it from a Potato Pancake recipe. You maybe asking yourself, why? Well, I don't want to throw the produce out just because we are to wimpy to try it. So I thought... hey, I'll hide it and they'll eat it! Sure enough they thought they were Potato Pancakes. Yippee! Another veggie added to the list.

So here's my own recipe...really!

4 LARGE diakon radishes (finely grated & squeezed)

4 small potatoes (finely grated & squeezed) OR you can use 4 more diakons (I do this when I want lower the calorie count)

1 medium grated onion

2 eggs

3/4 cup whole wheat or white flour

Garlic, Salt & Pepper to taste

Make sure you squeezed the excess juices from the diakons and potatoes. Mix in all ingredients with hands! It's great fun. Put a skillet on with olive oil and fry baby, fry.

Yummy! Serve with a BIG salad and fruit.

Give them a try. Tomorrow are fresh apples come. So lots of cooking this weekend. See you soon.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Our Garden Adventure Part 1

Let me 1st make a disclaimer or 2! We are CRAZY Surburites who long for small town country life. We really have no clue of what we are doing, but we think we are experts! Also remember we are in our work clothes, compliments of the 25 cent rack.

We (I) read many gardening books this summer in preparation for our move to the country and/or how to garden in the great state of Florida. My two favorites are Square Foot Gardening and Vegetable Gardening in Florida.

First off we decided on a plot to suite our family needs. Okay kinda, sorta. It's apx. 28ft x 18ft.
I have no gruesome pics off the pulling out of grass. My oldest chick and I did a lot of that while the youngers filled the wheel barrow. We picked up this hand held roto tiller years ago on deep discount, but unfortunately the 1st day our weed whip lost it's whippiness. So we did it alone until we could barrow Poppy's. Some machines are SO worth it!

After Superman was done tilling and all the grass was gone. We added in loads of leaf compost and manure. Then he tilled that in. Then we headed to to our county parks dept and got free mulch to keep in all our improvements and water. (not sure where those pics are, but you get the idea)
We then let the ground sit until the end of August (about 7 weeks) We then had a date night out to plan out our garden. We have 12 4x4 feet plots with 2 foot walk ways and 1 foot perimeter (apx).
Then we re-tilled and improved just the 4x4 plots.
Aren't these boots to cute! They really come in handy.


Can I just say I'm a weekend project person (so this was huge for me- not as big as building our house though).
I was also bummed on and off about whether our house would sell and are were doing all this work for nothing.... Superman, being his usual self said life must go on. So we are living where were are, for now. If someone decides to buy the house, they get a great garden or a nicely cleared piece of land.
Let the fencing begin. Many times I've thought about putting a cute sign out front calling our home Squirrel Pond ( our last place was Rose Cottage). Needless to say from the title you've gathered that we have an abundance of what I once thought were God's cute little creatures! Well they really can ruin things! Do I have stories.................
Anyway, the fence wasn't for them. It's basically to keep the children, dogs, ducks, bikes, and anything else they could think of out!
My oldest chick would have you believe she was the Hammer Princess, but in fact I am the Hammer Queen! Just look at me go....I put almost every stake in!!!!



Here's Superman and one of the little chicks putting up the chicken wire.

Here's another one helping out. I'm not sure where the little chef was?????
We also put a reed fence up to beautify it a bit. I show you more in my next installment! Wait until you see what's growing!!!!