Friday, July 31, 2009

Life Skills

Before I get on with today's post I wanted to show you the super job School Girl did in creating this puppy dog! Cute Huh! Life Skills: Sewing

I think learning many of the lost skills of our past are very frugal. You can save yourself and family a lot of moola and have some one of a kind keepsakes and gifts. Not to mention usable gifts!

This summer Farm Girl has a had a friend (lets call her Cutie Pie) and her mom over for sewing lessons. Cutie Pie is a lot like Farm Girl in that she took right to sewing! They've made homemade pillow cases out of sheets. Then the embroidered their names and cute little scenes on them.

Our next project, which we completed last night was Ruffle Aprons.

You can see that both girls really were serious about their work! No time for fooling around here!

Okay, maybe just a bit. When the work was done they had some of our favorite mini ice cream cones and tried on their creation. Cutie Pie was fixing her hair for the camera

Here's the proud seamstress'. Don't they look cute?

Cutie Pie and her Mom. Mrs. Cutie Pie now is a great seamstress!

Farm Girl and her Mom. Mom's very happy and proud of her daughter!
Head over to Life As Mom for more Frugal Friday tips.
School Girls has now taken over From a Chickens Point of View. You can get there from my side bar or just click on the title!
Have a Great Weekend!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Another one of our favorite fruits is in season. Plums, Yum! My chickadee's sure can eat a lot of them. Last year we had so many from our co-op (we've actually never seen a plumb tree or is it bush?). We made lots of jam, crisps and cobblers. We aren't much for the cobbler but the crisp was a hit. I pitted, quartered, and froze them in quart size freezer bags. When we needed I pulled them out and defrosted. One bag per 9x9 pan. Delish!
We also would just pull them out sprinkle with a bit of sucanat w/honey for dinner. They had a nice fresh, juicy taste. Superman said the reminded him of a stewed prunes, only fresher. I didn't think they tasted like stewed prunes, at least not what I remember.

Well to day School Girl and I are got some jam put up. Actually she ended up working on some school projects for me and watching.

Basic ingredients: 6 cups chopped plums ( i leave the skin on)

4 cups sucanat w/ honey (or any other kind of sugar you like)
1 package of pectin mixed with 1/4 cup of above sugar
1 teaspoon butter ( keeps the foam down)
A couple splashes of lemon juice

Here's about 6 cups chopped with pectin, sugar, lemon juice and blob of butter. (i really don't measure exact on) I'm heating them at about medium to get the juices flowing. Then I turn it up to high to get a rolling boil for 1 minute. Stirring constantly is key!

Here's what it looks like hot and steamy after all the sugar has been added and it has come to a rolling boil ( a second time ) for at least a minute. A bit of foam at the bottom of picture (no biggie).

I would like to show you picks of me putting it into the jars, but I need more hands!

Here's the end result after water bathing for 10 minutes. They always look so beautiful when first canned. The do tend to lose color over the year, but the flavor is still great!

Give it a try!



A week or so ago while I was amidst my morning (torture) laps, I realized I needed a better way than my bean to keep track of my laps. I could be on 10 for 6 laps ( if I get into pray or start playing a game to keep me moving) before I realize I'm not on 10.

Another more experienced swimmer had these big nuts on a string. They looked as if they had come from the South Pacific and I wanted some! They were really cool. Anyway, a swimmer who is on the mend made them for her out of a necklace. Perfect! I can do this.

Well I didn't have much moola in the budget for beads ( i want big funky turquoise ones). So Monday as my feet hit the floor I see that some of the chickadees haven't cleaned up after crafting (ahem)... I scurried into the room and found enough beads and string to work for now.

I would prefer to use fishing line, but the beads have worked out great! I did want to mix colors for easier counting, but I was in a hurry.

So here's what I did: A Clear bead (purity) tied to one end and Black (the dark side) tied to the other. (Did I mention we have a Star Wars fan in the house?) The goal is to move everything over to purity. I then put on 30 beads in between.
Each bead signifies 50 yards for a total of 1500 yards! My goal is a mile in 1 hour. So when I make my next one I'll have to add a couple beads. But this works great for now. They lay in a groove on the pool deck and slide easily. Also, it was free and sometimes when it becomes a grandiose project I tend to quit soon after and have feelings of remorse for the money I put into the set up.
So this really works for me! Head over to Works For Me Wednesday at We Are That Family!

Hey if someone else is reading this beside me, I'd love to hear from you!

Monday, July 27, 2009

My Attempt

Okay, I didn't want School Girl to be left out. So I tried painting a pink cat. Hmmmm. I think I'll leave it to her!
I think I'll stick to canning.
Here's the one she did of me. A very tan butterfly!


Party Planning

Well our youngest chickadee will be 5 in about a week and party ideas are flying!
We've decided on a Craft Party with 4 little girls and 4 helpers in attendance.

The craft line up: painting mini piggy banks
animal pencils
tea hats
decorate your own jumbo cupcake
face painting (by School Girl her gift to the little Chef)

The point is just to get together, have a bit of fun and celebrate. School Girl decided today was a perfect day to practice face painting. Here's her first try on the Little Chef.

She started with the outline.

School Girl with her creation.

A touch of Sparkles and a very Happy Little Girl.

Stay tuned for more creations!

Here's Farm Girl...

3 Sweet Sisters


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Time Warp

Okay, you'll never believe what I purchased for this school year! It uses batteries ( C or D i think). Comes with a built in microphone. It takes a big plastic cartridges that have some long stringy thin plastic inside... Give Up? A tape recorder.

Yup, we are tired of all this progress stuff around here. With mp3, mp4, and recordable cd's that change size, style and color as the wind blows, we (i) have decided it's time to go back to our Pioneering Roots! Remember making tapes off the radio and singing crazy songs with friends to pretend you could be part of a band? Oh, you never did that... Well, I have one on you and it was preparing me for my new audio career as a talking book.

Here's the scoop on my plans (yes there is a method to my chaos). Since I will be schooling children (mine) in High School, Middle School, Grammar School and kindergarten this year. I need a little help with some of the school chores that only I can do. So for now I plan to tape our new Read- to -me -Bible with a little bell noise and page number said when it's time to turn the page. My littlest will REALLY (she better) enjoy this. She's been trying to read it to herself and asks frequently.

Secondly, I plan to tape the Science Reader lessons for my Grammar Girl. She will then listen and read along to herself with the lesson. The next day she will read that lesson aloud to me or one of her older sisters and then listen to the next lesson. This covers word recognition, sound recognition, correct grammar usage etc. Brilliant, I know. I'm patting myself on the back as I plan it. Now all I have to do is tape it!

Truth be told (i cannot take the credit- but it was fun) a friend of mine (my jalapeno friend) does this with Jeanne Fulbright's Science. Her children have really enjoyed it. I know that over the years I've used this for spelling words etc. But I'd forgotten about this wonderful tool. She also suggested that it could be a dictation machine for those who cannot write yet or have severe spelling issues. So this may become the most used electronic (is it a electronic? Superman??) in our house this school year!

What new or forgotten tips do you have to share for this coming school year? Check out We Are That Family for more great ideas.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

What Works

Today is WFMW over at We Are That Family. So I'm chimming in with something small. We use one of those scrubbing bubble sprayers in our shower, but the replacement bottles get a bit pricey. Anyway, I tried making my own version (frugal failure) and I didn't want to pay $4 to $6 a bottle for the other stuff. So we put the unit away.

I went back to spraying Tilex or other products like that. The box stores have their own versions for around $1.50. Well it just dawned on me ( i mean it's been almost a year), why not put that stuff in my sprayer machine? We did! It works beautifully. No more scrubbing for me yippee!

Do you have anything that works for you? Share it over at We Are That Family or just with me if you like.


Great Posts

I've had all these plans for great posts, but summer break is finally here (at least for a couple of weeks) and we're trying to actually do some of the things we've been talking about doing. Like staying up late, watching movies, eating slushies, crafting, quilting, cooking, sewing class and acting like girly girls with some paint parties! We hit Chick-f-la 2 times last week (they actually suggested we come back for dinner:0 ). No cooking for a day! We've also given free bowling a whirl.

The chickadees have felt like it was their birthdays! So excited about the fun events. I mean where can you live, dress like a cute cow and get food for doing it? The bowling alley employees even took pictures... Just to cute.

So here's what I've been up to besides planning the new school year, carting Urban Girl to work , the others to the pool and myself to exercise. Drum Roll Please......bump, bump, bump,bummmmmm......!

Ta Da! My 1st Quilt.

I'm calling it the Courting Quilt because it's the perfect size for a couple to take in a concert on or have a little picnic!

I got the idea over at Little Birdie Secrets and anyone can make one! I used all the old jeans I could get my hands on and one of Superman's new bandannas. I sewed on pockets to hold cell phone and keys. The backing is made from a vinyl table cloth. It is attached by Velcro so that it can be taken off for cleaning or if it needs to be replaced.

With the extra table cloth I zipped up a bag for the car. It holds the quilt nicely and anything else you might need to carry for a picnic.

So I'm planning on offering it on Etsy unless someone claims it before I list it. I have plans to make a couple more.

So that's what I've been doing... How about you?

School Girl is making her own quilt as we speak! Let me know if you need more details on how to make one of these. Like I said anyone can do it and Little Birdie Secrets has a great tutorial. I put my own twist on it and so can you!

Get your Quilt on Ladies!


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

911 & Rolling Pins

It's another Works For Me Wednesday over at We Are That Family and I'm joining in.

Let's start of with 911. I'm truly blessed we have this service in our community! Here's the scoop. Around 10:30 this morning we arrived home from swim team. The family has all been under the weather so Superman was with us. Just down the street from our home he says (rather loudly and very controlled), "What is going on at our house?"

Huh? I'm looking all around trying to figure out what he is talking about. Then as we get closer I see 4 police cars then a couple of undercover vehicles.... We pull up just in front of our home and an Officer says,"Sir stay in your vehicle and back it down the street".

Superman responds by letting him know one of our Chickadees was in the home. He said that he knew.

6 Officers, GUNS DRAWN start up our front steps to the entry. While other Officers were behind the house ready and waiting. I cannot describe what was going through my mind and heart at that moment. I just keep calling on the Lord. The girls were all crying.

We pull back to our neighbors house. My neighbor runs out to let me know our Chickadee is safe in her home. Praise the Lord. I'm still freaked out and teary eyed!

A few minutes later the police come out of our home. They, then take Superman and Urban Girl in for a walk through. The other Officers come out from behind our home. (Still Freaking- me not the Officers).

Seems Urban girl heard some rather unusual noises and tried contacting me. When she couldn't reach me she called 911. I'm very proud of her!!! She kept a level head and did what was best. Of course now she's second guessing herself, but she will bounce back. She made a smart move and it could have saved her life! Praise the Lord!
Superman said I need to get better with keeping the camera on me at all times. He said I could have had some pictures of the gun drawn officers...funny...

On to Rolling Pins! Actually, the Officer asked Superman about my rolling pin fetish. He noticed it next to my side of the bed and thought it was out of place (can I just tell you I'm glad the house was pretty clean:).

I keep rolling pins next to my bed for extra security. No, not really. With the dreams I have I'm surprised Superman lets me keep them there!
I have Plantar Facitis. I use a big leather belt for stretching my foot and the pins are for massaging the heel. Do they work! I do this a couple of times a day and it has made a world of difference. I'm still not able to get out and walk with my walking partners, but I can at least walk around pretty much as normal . I couldn't do that a month ago.

I have 2 sizes. The child sizes works the best and the Foley is an antique I pick up for a dollar. I didn't know it was an antique until after it became a foot massager. I promise not to use it for Holiday Baking!

So those are my WFMW!

Have you ever come home to the Police?



Friday, July 3, 2009

Getting Ready

I had so many titles for today's post: Pantry to Party Potato Salad
Brownie S'mores
Fourth First Aid
Lets get started! Here's my pantry potato salad. Take all the potatoes from your pantry (like red, white, Yukon gold, garden potatoes, and white sweet potatoes ((oops! we'll see if they notice)) clean them, boil them and peel them. Pop in large bowl. Take silkie hard boiled eggs, half an onion and chop, chop chop. Add a lot of BOGO mayonnaise and a couple of tablespoons BOGO yellow mustard a dash of ground pepper and sea salt and this what you get.....
About 10 lbs of Summer Party Potato Salad

Next up Brownie S'mores! I really enjoy having S'mores during the fireworks, but it's just to much work and crazy just before they start. So I started making oven S'mores about a half hour before, but that still took me away from the party. So this year I have created my own version of the Brownie S'more with and without pecans. Yummmy!

Adult version ( I'll drizzle on the chocolate, don't you worry)
Children's version (who are we kidding, I'll eat either!)

And last but not least...every year without fail we have boo boos, ouchies, blood and a nice dose of drama. So I got wise and created a 4th First Aid kit. Can't you just see the Medic (Mommy or Big Sister) running to the rescue with this pail of goodies. Yes, it has stopped many a siren style scream in its tracks!

We've got Neon and Animal Bandages this year!

So this a bit of what's happening here today. We'll save the ugly for another day.

Happy 4th of July!


Thursday, July 2, 2009


Hey it's been awhile. I'm still working on the school/office/everything, but it's near completion.

(we were parked farther out than this!)

Anyhoo. IKEA! We went, We saw, We conquered (all of $15 and change). We were there a total of 5 and 1/2 hours. Scary. I actually didn't think it was possible. Had my feet not been aching so badly and my littlest chickadees not been restless ( you would have thought they had more stamina than that:0) We may have camped out! Although, I don't think they sell tents. One of the few things they don't carry.

( school girl testing kitchens of her future)

I really enjoyed looking at all the stuff, but I have to say it reminded me a bit of Madame Blueberry. That sweet blueberry who needs to have EVERYTHING from Stuff Mart and everything her neighbor has too. Can you tell that I can identify with her? (I'm a reformed blueberry from the mid 90's.)

(Grammy taking measurements for her kitchen...
watch out Poppy)

(the Little Chef cleansing her hands at my farmhouse sink
... in my dreams)

I found there wasn't much that I needed. Yes, they had really neat ideas. Urban Girl took lots of pictures of the way she might like to decorate her future home and I do like roll out drawers in the kitchen. (I'll file that for a kitchen makeover 10,20 years from now- it'll probably be standard by then).

Urban Girl

We had fun looking, being together,walking and eating cinnamon rolls!

Oh the cameras, can't a Starlet dream without paparazzi?

What we did buy:

2pack wooden utensils

2pack pot holders

2 stuffed animals

1 portable draftsman table for School Girl (what a find!!!)

We also bought some swedish treats and found out that Swedes (at least the IKEA kind) don't appreciate payment in quaters. In our defense it was only $4.

We will go again, but not stay nearly as long. Superman may even be able to stand it. He says they carry Krypton...