Tuesday, December 6, 2011

You know You're Famous When....

You know you're famous when......

You're in the shower. School is supposed to be done for the day and isn't.
The phone rings, you hear children making a mad dash to try out their phone
manners. At the same moment hear strange squawking coming from the
backyard. Is a chicken down? Has hawk snatched her? Ahhhh. Fame and
motherhood.

Next your beautifully mannered offspring are screaming through the
bedroom and bathroom doors, " Mister Jemanybbbdko Camp dell is on the
phone." Your screaming, "WHAT?", back through the shower walls. Finally
one of your children creeps in and repeats the garbled name. You say, "please
take a message. I'm in the shower right now!"

You hear the patter (trampling) of 7 and 11 year old feet leaving. Only to be
replaced by 17 1/2 year olds easy glide. "Mom, Jeremy Campbell from Fox 13
News is on the phone and would like to do an interview with you this evening.
It's about our chickens and how the city is allowing more people to have
them.".... You say, "Tell him you're sorry but you're busy this evening."

Your Christmasing the house with your beautiful, loud, crazy, sometimes obnoxious, very creative and caring family!

Yep, you're to famous to do a another local interview..... bring on the
big boys :)

Ps. Oldest daughter was soooooo professional. She told him she was your
secretary. The journalist was so pleased. I wonder if he enjoyed the elevator
music daughter #3 was producing from the other line? Humbling.....

Julie

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Canning, canning, canning

After a busy week of school, soccer games, dehydrating and canning; I'm a bit tired. Fall through early spring is truly the busy season for garden harvesting, pumpkin bread business and holidays here. For some reason every year it takes me by surprise!

We've gotten most of the gardens in, had plenty of rain and are now fighting the varmints and the chickens. Don't those chickens realize a third of the garden is for them? If they eat it now they'll never get to taste those big lovely collard leaves!

On the subject of chickens this is the first time that we've had almost our who crew molt at the same time. That means we have been getting less than 3 eggs a day from 12 girls in the past month or so. It's been a bit disappointing. We really use a lot of eggs here. I usually keep 4 dozen at all times in my refrigerator. Right now I' have about 8 eggs. I really don't want to buy eggs. Hopefully we are coming to the end. We have a lot of featherless hens out there and new feathers should be coming in soon... I pray.

Now back to canning. Here's what I put up this week:

15 quarts of pluot sauce
46 quarts of pears
10 quarts applesauce
4 quarts of apple butter
1/2 of a 5 gallon container of dried apple chips
( I planned on picture but my reader isn't reading.)

School Girl was a big help:)

This week I would like to make up about 12 quarts of chicken stock and pressure can them. I save the left over bones in the freezer until I have enough to make a BIG pot of stock. We tried this about six weeks ago and it was wonderful. It was also the first time I used the pressure canner that Urban Girl bought me for Christmas 2 years ago. What a savings this is! I'm still a little freaked out by it but that will dissipate with use. At least I hope so.

I'm also doing some MAJOR tweaking to my pantry. It is much needed since I'm doing more canning this year. I'm concerned my shelves are not strong enough to handle all those jars. Superman is looking at ways to reinforce them.

I still haven't gotten the perfect system worked out for us. I have even made a stock chart but have failed to check off items when they are used. I think this is going to take some more time. Maybe when I'm a bit less preoccupied.

This week is grocery week and I need to make my buying dollar s t r e t c h ! I've started buying more locally grown items and less organic. The shipping on organic produce is becoming outrageous. $5.45 for a 3 pound bag of apples! And that's a co-op price. Yikes! Pears are still on sale here for 66 cents a pound. Hence the reason for so many canned pears :0)

What great produce have you found? Trees are blessing, but they don't count in this question.
Julie

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Water Kefir Soda Update

We've been making water kefir soda (WKS) for a couple of months now and I've learned a lot.

1.Make a fermenting container. Really important if you plan on making WKS! check this out

2.Play with the types of natural sugars out there:

a) Sucanat- It was our sugar of choice because of the being rich in minerals. We found that it has to pungent of a flavor for making WKS. It actually ends up tasting more like a beer. We even tried adding more fruit syrup but it became over carbonated and we would ended up with exploded bottles! ** We do use it whenever we think our kefir needs a little extra feeding.**

b) Sucanat with Honey- Much lighter flavor but it does have honey in it which can kill your Kefir and it's price is well to pricey now.

c) Turbinado or Raw Sugar- This seems to have just the right amount for daily use. We tend to taste more of the flavor of the fruit syrup and less molasses. WKS taste like a sparkling fruit cider with this sugar.

3. Leave a good 3 inch head space when making your WKS. Trust me!

4. Use a fruit puree or concentrate. We make our own plum sryup and really like the flavor.
Maraschino cherries and vanilla made it smell like rotten cheese and I couldn't stand to be near my husband when he drank it. But don't fret. I love him so much I got him hooked on plum syrup. All is well again!


5. Use heavy duty glass bottles with canning style caps.

6. Again. Have a fermenting bucket. You'll be so happy you did. You'll be thinking how smart you are after your first extra bubbly batch of WKS!


Case in point, since our 1st explosion we always bucket ferment. Last week when Superman and I went to get a 2 day ferment of WKS out we found a hissing mess in one of our light weight bottles. Thankfully it had not shattered, but did pop it's little lid and was seeping out all over the bucket. All we had to do was rinse it out. No scrubbing down of the whole kitchen or pulling shrapnel out of the walls.

Now lets talk about carbonation. I only have theories here because I really haven't tried to figure the science of it. Please remember this. I'm just a mom doing crazy stuff in my kitchen, no expert!

Carbonation, the good burping kind. You know what I'm talking about. Not that I want to burp, but I could if I felt I needed to prove myself to Superman. Who am I kidding, I like the occasional burp. But I digress... We've found that the more pureed and sweetened your fruit is, the better the bubbles. Check daily for the right amount of carbonation. You'll see little bubbles bubbling up to the top of your bottle. Always open slowly in sink. Click here for a quick video on carbonation.

I have chunkier batches of syrup that is also used for pancakes and such. This syrup tends to need more fermenting time. Up to 3 days in fact. When I use a more pureed, sweetened fruit it can take as little as one day. Every batch is different so again check daily and use a fermenting bucket!

This is really a simple process, but you have to get in the habit of making your water, then soda daily. It takes about 10 minutes.

Let me know if you give it a whirl and what works for you!

Julie

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Patchwork Love

My good friend Angela over at Loving Legacy was cleaning out her fabric stash a couple of months ago. Whenever she does this my 4 sweeties seem to come to her mind. It seems someone is always creating something around here.


In this batch of odds and ends there was some very country looking patchwork fabric that the Little Chef just fell in love with. Not her usual style or colors but she really liked it! She even said it would be sooooo nice to have a skirt made out of it. I ended up having a free evening and this is what was created. She was so surprised.


It's very simple. I was in no mood for a pattern. I doubled her waist size and tripled it (waist size) for the ruffle. I used and inch and a half more elastic than her waist. I wanted her to have at least 2 years out of the skirt.

The Little Chef really likes it. We went out shopping last night and she wanted to wear it. She said it just somehow makes her feel different then when she wears it, even more so than a dress or skorts. She feels like a girl. Ahhh. Femininity how I love it :)

Julie

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Thinking

Yes, I do occasionally ponder things (okay usually way to much). So much so that I can miss the big picture because I'm stuck on a small blemish.

If you feel I'm talking in code I may be (and do I even understand it?). This past weekend I squeezed in a fluffy novel about a newspaper owner who was being forced out of town by a set of Good O'l Boys. This newspaper woman loved to serve others because of her love of the Lord. Not from compulsion or legalism but for the shear joy of trying to ease someone elses burden. She was by no means a perfect herself. I needed this story. It reminded that love comes in many different ways, from a kind word and quick pray to feeding the homeless.

Forward to yesterday. I have been struggling with some decisions we are going to need to make. Small blemishes compared to the Lord's big picture. I have been concentrating on myself so much and how it was all going to work out! While I was on the tread mill it hit me. Have I really learned to love others who are stumbling?

Years ago I would have turned away from them because they were messing up big time. Yikes! I've seen many who have fallen into adultery and I have run away from them. Maybe not in actuality but definitely in spirit and love. My attitude has become civil.

Am I fearful that if I'm kind, even loving toward them that their sin will become mine? That I will somehow fall into it? I use to think it was because I wanted to keep my children from any such sin. Trying to keep the bar raised and set a higher standard for our household. (I know how bad this sounds.)

Then while reading over the weekend I watched this fictional character love those other members of the body where they were at. She didn't give them permission for their behavior but she did extend love and forgiveness. Yikes! Can I do that? Have I just been trading one sin for another?

I don't feel that everyone's battle has to be mine, but I could be loving a bit more and try to show forgiveness and understanding. I mean isn't that what I would want in the same situation?

Dear Jesus please help me not to hide behind fear, show truth when needed, grace and forgiveness and love all.

Julie

Monday, September 26, 2011

Nitrate Free Pepperoni

I'm not sure if I should show you the picture or not. I tweaked a recipe from Tammy's Recipes and it is quite tasty. BUT (and it's kind of a big BUT) the color is just not right. So the pepperoni looks a little grey (gross) but again taste SUPER! So here goes nothing....

nitrate free pepperoni

See how gray it looks? That's because I used Real Salt (sea salt) instead of curring salts which have all the nitrates and fake pink color (they do this so people won't mistake it for table salt). That pink dye also gives sausages of all types that nice color we are all so used too.

All the flavor was still in there and I figured if I'm making this homemade I want it to be as healthy as possible for my family. So why would I add the nitrates? Because I didn't use the pink salt I can't just leave this out in my pantry like you could with some of the store bought stuff. If you do to try this recipe and decide to go "all natural" please make sure that you store all your extra pepperoni in the freezer until needed. Safety people safety!

I've checked out many sites on the food safety and we have been making nitrate free beef jerky for years so I felt confident with this recipe. BUT please don't take my word for it. Check things out for yourself :)

I did use 2 pounds of very lean grass fed ground beef and spices from my own garden! I was very excited about this :) I'm always looking for fun, do it yourself challenges. I did grind up all my spices to a fine powder in the blender which I highly recommend. Then I let the meat marinate for 2 1/2 days. The cooking time was 8 hours and was really easy to forget about so I highly recommend a timer. Super easy!

Will I continue to make my own pepperoni? Yes, I think I will.




Would I serve it to guest? Depends on the guest. For some it may not be normal enough. Most of us eat with our eyes and noses. The nose is covered and if you can trick your eyes into thinking its sliced meatballs then you're good to go!




Anyone want to stop by and try some? By the way this recipe makes 4 rolls.




Julie




Oh and I'm linking up with Homestead Revival's Barn Hop!

Friday, September 23, 2011

No Excuses... it's just Our life

That's right no excuses anymore for why I'm not blogging more frequently ( I'm secretly itching to make excuses but I won't). It's just our life right now.

We have been super busy. While everyone elses summer gardens are winding down we are gearing up for our 1st big planting of the season. Fall/ winter here at our home usually starts out our growing season, followed by winter/ spring planting. Next summer I'm hoping to plant our beds full of sweet potatoes as our ground cover.

This summer we added a large 3 1/2 x 24 foot bed to the front of our house behind the white picket fence we installed this summer. Lots of little yummy veggies are starting to poke their heads up :) We had intended to use a old work table to make a salad table, but I think it is way past it's prime and would take to much shoring up. So we've decided to either make a new raised bed out of pallets (if we can get our hands on some) or small round swimming pools ($7 a piece). I need more room for tomatoes and peppers too :0)

I've been working hard at starting our veggies all from seed. I'm happy to report that I'm making some head way, but still need to learn a lot more.

Here's a run down of what has been planted so far:

-60 collard plants (apx) they chickens love them
--we made a new bed and fenced it off from the hungry ladies!
-3 double rows of vining green beans
- Farm Girl's patch of bush beans (20 or so)
-4 double rows sugar snap peas
-8 cabbages
-8 red cabbages
-16 Brussel sprouts
-kohlrabi
-fennel
-radishes
-4 jalapeno
-4 green pepper
-2 cheery tomatoes
-4 Brandy wine tomatoes
-marigolds
-calendula
-chamomile
-bunching onions
-mint patch
-spinach patch
-Texas sweet onions
-rosemary
-dill
-basil
-eggplant
-stevia
- 8 cucumbers

-Need to plant about 30 Kale plants that are about ready.

We still need to figure out the cauliflower, broccoli and eggplant. I'll probably be buying these as plants this year do to seed problems. Also get my lettuce garden up and rolling and a variety of odds and ends.

I've also tried my hand at chocolate syrup and elderberry syrup. I've got homemade pepperoni started in the fridge. I'm hoping it will turn out tasty! Ooooo and we've found something that is helping to keep the marauders out of our gardens!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Garnola Bars



For some reason I've been thinking there is sunflower seeds in 7 grain mix. Anyhow I finally looked it up and here is what is really in 7 grain mix. Hard wheat, soft wheat, oats, triticale, barley, rye and spelt. I like using this mix for granola/cereal bars. Here's my recipe.


1 1/2 sticks butter (melted or softened)

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup honey

1/2 raw sugar, sucanat etc.

2 eggs

1 cup of re hydrated coconut (very wet)

6 cups 7 grain rolled cereal mix or rolled oats

1 cup raisins

1 cup sunflower seeds

1 (scant) cup chocolate chips

1 cup (approximately) oat flour (grind up oats quickly in blender)


You can add or exchange all these ingredients. When I'm going Gluten Free I just use oats and seeds.


The mixture should be wet. Pat into a large cookie sheet.


Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes. Cut bars, let cool in pan. Wrap individually or box up. I love them out of the freezer!


Enjoy,

Julie

Monday, July 11, 2011

Kefir Water Soda Expolsion!

I know I'm getting behind in updates again, but the Great Room Swap of 2011 has wiped me out. I've almost condensed 3 room into 2! I'll show pics once I finish getting this next school year wrapped and ready to go.

That being said I wanted to share with you what happened this Sunday. As you know from my last post we have been testing and taste testing kefir soda and water.

Friday night Superman and I put together a batch of each. Tinkering with the flavor of the soda. He was excited to have a taste on Sunday after church. As you can see from the first photo things did not go as planned!


Sunday after church we opened the front door to the the stinky smell of sweet, cherry cheese. My first thought was, "wow that kefir is really fermenting strong this time". Until I reached our kitchen and found this.....

Praise the Lord no one was in the kitchen when it happened. The bottle as you can see was shattered with shards strewn into the dining area. What a stinky mess. Again I asked myself why are we trying this? Oh ya our health.
I was ready to throw in the towel, but Superman actually likes the soda and wants to keep testing. So now we have new "rules".


-Only fill bottle 2/3 full (i was doing 3/4)

-Only ferment 1 day instead of 2 ( or at least test at the 1 day mark)

-Fermenting soda bottles MUST be placed in a white 5 gallon pail with closing lid. ( I'm pretty sure this should contain any further mishaps)

Already getting bubbly and we started it last night.
I also wanted to show off Urban Girl's first non box cake! Isn't it pretty?


She also made a tasty lemon icing. I love bundt pans. They just make me smile:)


I'm truly blessed that my girls like to get creative in the kitchen. Urban Girl usually just sticks to dinners. I'm more of the baker, so I'm thrilled she's seeing the need to be a well rounded kitchen chef.

Julie

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Kefir Cream Soda

Take a look at the results of our first try at making Kefir Cream Soda. So simple and only to 2 days to go from kefir water to soda.



video


Have you ever made Kefir Soda and do have a favorite recipe?


Julie

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

True Couponing

I've used coupons here and there ever since we've had children. As I mentioned before we do most of our shopping through co-ops and warehouse stores, but there are some things I just can't get there or I have to buy to much of said item. That's were coupons come into play. With coupons, sale prices and BOGOs sometimes its a better deal at my neighborhood grocery store.

Last week I had the privilege of attending a free True Couponing seminar. It was wonderful timing with our buying club taking a break for the whole summer! Basically I learned that I need to be getting more papers so that I have more coupons to work with. I don't have the time or inclination to go dumpster hunting for extra coupons, so having extra papers delivered to my door step at 50 cents a piece is a much better option for me.

I also learned a super easy way to store these piles of paper. I had all the needed supplies to make my storage unit an immediate success! That's one of the things that has kept me from doing more serious couponing. After a couples of weeks of little pieces of paper flying around I get disgusted and throw them all away.

The ladies at the seminar explained everything in detail. Store, manufacture, and online coupons, stacking and sharing. We have no doubling in our area. They only "hard part" would be making sure you know what your stores accepts.

I was so excited to get my papers this weekend and guess what was on the front cover? A $5 off of $30 at Publix and I had 4 of them ( I only used 2 this week)! Yep that has gotten my couponing off to a great start. My goal is to pay 25% on all my grocery store needs, restock our pantry and help others. No extreme hoarding. I have no desire to be on any extreme style show :o)

So here's my totals: purchase price $179.20

coupons -$ 38.35
sale prices-$ 70.42

total out of pocket: $70.43
percent out of pocket: 44%

Pretty good start with not much of a supply (coupons). The store peelie did it for me. The cashiers at our store have been wonderful! They even say, "do you have another coupon for this or that. Or you can also use this coupon with that or stack this with that." They are very knowledgeable and want to help with getting the best deals.

Are you couponing? Why or why not?
Julie

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Changes

Does anyone remember my lovely craft room that Superman created for my birthday a couple of years ago? Click here, if you need a reminder.

Well today my lovely room that has been continually abused and misused is changing. It's becoming the School Room. Superman still isn't sure about all of this...the house is torn apart and quite frankly I'm a bit nervous myself.

I'll post the finish projects (there are 3 intertwind) next week or so. My goal is to have the two and 1/2 basics done by Saturday!

See you Soon.
Julie

Friday, June 17, 2011

Nifty Thrifty

I've deciced to link up with the Shabby Nest for this post. Read here and fly over and enjoy all the frugality there! I started thinking about this post months ago and have just not gotten around to it. Back in winter sometime our 2nd microwave went on the fritz (we've had 2 in 7 years-different models). Maybe it was due to poor quality or maybe it was because of all the rice bag wraps we were heating up before bed. I tend to think it was the first though.

Our first thought when this happened was google it up and check the best deal on a microwaves. We did and found one for about $160 new from one of the box store. We would have to take the money out of our emergency fund and we were okay with that. I mean not having a microwave is an emergency in the biggest way! Right?

Uh, no. I'll admit for about 5 minutes or so it was (ya know when we were googling). But then I decided to try and live without a micro. for a week and see how we did. The week turned into two and I started thinking of ways to use that area are above the stove. A cookbook shelf?

After a couple of weeks I soon realized that I liked the: light over the stove, the exhaust fans and the timer. So a shelf wouldn't cut it. I also was missing the conveinvence of defrost. Defrost means I don't have to plan meals in advance. I'm not big into planning that area of my life right now.

I also didn't like to heat up the big ovens to reheat 2 slices of pizza! But that thought didn't out weigh the feeling I always had when the micro. was on and radiating into my head while I was cooking at the stove. This in actuality may or may not be true, but it's how I felt.

Then Superman came to the rescue! He remembered the Little Chef had been using his 20 year on the job gift/ easy bake oven aka toaster oven. It was sitting in the small pantry while not in use. He checked it out and it fit :)




So for now we have the benefits of both. All my lights, fans, timers and pretty crispy quick reheatablity. The only thing lacking is defrost. It's been almost 6 months and I've learned to do without. I would still like it though and I'm looking into convection ovens for the spot. But we are good for now :)



Pretty thrifty/frugal i'd say!



Do you have any nifty frugal ideas to share?



Julie

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Coconut Flour - My Lazy Experiment

I was reading over at Heavenly Homemakers yesterday about using coconut flour in place of whole wheat. Hmmm. I am wheat grinder from way back and the thought of trying new lower carb flour substitutes wasn't very appealing to me until about a year ago. (I mean why fix what isn't broken right?) Then some close friends of ours had some of there children diagnosed with wheat gluten intolerance and now I've been thinking of ways to make healthy treats for them. I'm a baker at heart.


Anyway, Laura at HH was discussing how much she loves Coconut Flour. (She's a wheat grinder also) So I was wandering if I could take my unsweetened coconut shreds and grind them into flour? I googled it and found some amazingly looonnng process. Not for me!


So I went for it (because I really didn't want to go and clean the school room out). Here's what I did:

-I place about 1 cup of shreds into my blender and blended and blended.

*I had thought about my wheat grinder because it would truly get a flour texture with that, but it cannot handle high moisture items. (That's all Superman needed!)


I did this twice and came up with about 1 1/2 cups of rough grind flour. Remember this is just an experiment and coconut flour is really expensive.


I only needed 1/2 cup of flour for my 12 muffin recipe. So I measured it out and popped the rest into the freezer.


I then added:

6 eggs

1/2 honey (i would use 1/3 cup next time)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

4 tablespoons coconut oil


I mixed the wet ingredients really well. Then add dry.

The mixture was very runny. I figured because my "flour" wasn't very fine.
I then baked them for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

The picture above is what they looked like just coming out of the oven. When they started to cool they sunk in a bit. They tasted like a honey/coconut french toast! A little moist, but tasty nonetheless.


Would I make them again? In a pinch yes, but I think I'll go ahead and order some coconut flour!

Maybe...

***** Update**** My girlies REALLY liked these so I will be making them again;)


What have you made with coconut?

Julie




Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Reclaiming the Garden part 2

Ugh! Can I just say it gain? Uuuugghhhh. This what our garden looked like last fall. If you look at the top of the picture you can see the girlies swing set. The "ladies" coop used to be there. We moved it to the back of our garden now that we have more room. (We bought a section that didn't come with our original lot.)


To be fair the area above is so barren because that is where the swimming pool sits. It's back up now but the "ladies" did almost the same thing to the rest of the garden over the winter and spring.


Any ideas on what we should do with this site in the fall? I had planned a fire ring, but I really don't think it will be used much. Still thinking this idea through.

We purchased this fence almost 2 years ago when one of the do-it-yourself stores had them on sale. The ladies love going onto our neighbors property but they also liked to wander up the next street.

We had a long term plan for this fence. We knew eventually our neighbors-to-be were going to want to put up a wood fence and we would share in the cost. So the plan all along was to move this fence up and section off our produce garden and farm from the suburban backyard zone.


Here's the some of the ladies in there farm zone. If you look through the fence you can see how bad the ground looks.


The ladies really like this little run between the garden and a shady, wooded area on the other side. Here's where they enjoy their daily dirt baths and I'm okay with that. In the next couple of weeks when the garden stops producing we will open the gate and they can rummage in the garden. They love cabbages and collards. We grow collards just for them and wow are they still producing!


The garden and farm zone is about 25 x 85 feet. It also houses our new composting center. It's not finished yet. I'll post more when it is.


How do you keep your chickens out of your people areas?

Julie

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Today over at Smockity Frocks she's asked the question of what mistakes we've learned from in our gardens this year. After you're finished here jump over there and read all the link ups! ( I wish I knew how to put her cute garden picture up.)


The biggest lesson I've learned is that our tomatoes need acid! See look at how gorgeous and green these plants are but there are no blossoms or fruit. I think the problem is this from all the research I've done and the soil testing. I mean we did add about 2500 lbs of composted horse manure last fall. We've large tomato plants and out of the 10 plants we have gotten 2 tomatoes. Ugh! Very frustrating..... We plan on adding lime in the next month or so before fall planting in September. Which is like spring planting for those of you who live up north. Are seasons are fall/winter and winter/spring.

The other thing I noticed today were the blue jays landing in the tomato bushes. I need to find out if they may be eating the blossoms? I thought I saw some but then they were gone.


Anyone have any ideas? I would appreciate some help.


Julie

Reclaiming the Garden project 1

I really enjoy how the English use the English language. My favorite right now is the use of the word garden. It sounds so much prettier than backyard, although I do like a good back yard
b-b-q!

If any of you have chickens and live in the city or suburbs you know that they pretty much take up all of your garden space. They love to hunt frogs and lizards, scratch for bugs, worms and dig holes. Oh no one told you of the holes they dig? That's so they can lounge in a refreshing dirt bath. Yah. Know one prepared me for that part. Consider yourself warned if thinking cute fuzzy chicks.

In all seriousness we love our girls (the hens and the girlies that live in the house). I just have gotten soooo tired of walking out onto the back deck or anywhere else in the garden and stepping in slimmy poo.

So this will be the first installment of taking the garden back.

Superman (remember the guy and his shirt from yesterday?) built and put this screened room up for me two Mother's Day ago. He did it so I could enjoy the "ladies" in the garden and the girlies in the pool without being eaten alive by mosquitoes. No "ladies" are allowed in the screened room. Believe me they try!


Here is our effort at making a shabby candlier. Pretty shabby. I thought there would be a patina on the copper by now. The jam jars look beautiful all lite up at not and the candlier looks 100% better at dusk :)



Here is our old plastic Adirondack chairs that are on their last legs, but still functional. The past six or so years I've been giving them a new coat of paint each spring.


This year Superman requested a place to really relax. We searched high and low for a black daybed frame we had been holding onto for this project. We finally realized we sold it in a garage sale last fall thinking we would never get to it. So we made do with a bed frame and bed risers all painted black. We splurged on a semi water proof bunky mattress and I used table cloths for the cover and pillows throughout the room.


We popped a round circle of plywood on the fire pit (which we don't use in the room). A big raspberry candle for weight.


This a candle lamp we made our second trip as a family to the mountains. UG was itty bitty and our only girlie back then. She collected all the river rocks...


So here's a first look at we are doing to live in happiness with our wonderful chickens. It may take quite awhile for our garden to come back to life. I'm sure hoping it's sooner than later.


How does your garden grow?


Julie

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

So many comments

First off I rarely say much about this handsome man. He is an extrovert living in an introvert's body. If that makes any sense. He is the one who keeps me sane, picks me up when I'm down and breaks things into bite size pieces when I all I can see is the huge snowball ready to plough me over! Ah, snow... sounds nice about now. Anyway this man is the perfect for me. (He can be pretty romantic too.) But this post is not about him. It's about one of his favorite shirts.

Please Read
Here's a close up in case you missed it. Our two oldest girlies bought this for him on our Tennessee trip two years ago.

He brings it out when he feels like making a statement. Sometimes at youth group meetings, the beach, trips to Costco and most recently to the Florida Homeschool Convention. Anywhere there may be many young men around and our daughters are about. ( Yep, he loves them a lot :)

Here's a close up


Well everywhere he went at the convention he got stares, people asking him to stop so they could read, wonderful comments and even teen girls running down corridors to find out where they could get one of those shirts for their Dad :0) This a very smiley post.



The interesting thing is this doesn't just happen at a homeschool convention (although I will say it happened a lot more there). Men and women come up to him or nod their approval from afar when we are out around town. From those who have stopped us we usually hear about how many girls they have and how they did growing their girlies.




Sometimes I think more ill than I should of our society. But this shirt reminds me there are people everywhere who care about their children. So listen up Girlies out there. Dad's love and want to protect you, girls.




Their is also a Father above all who loves you more than you earthly father ever can. Take heart and trust in his love and care.


This is my favorite part. Although it would never happen... the young men around him know that he means business and that he will guard his daughter's hearts as long as they will allow him to.




I wish I could tell you how to find this particular shirt. I would actually be selling it if I could find it. I think we could have funded everyone's education with this and put away for future weddings. I have found similar ones on amazon if your interested.




What do you think?


Julie

Friday, June 3, 2011

Craft Day

It's time to get crafting! I find that my younger girlies really like to craft almost anything. My older girlies do it with more purpose. They need to be motivated. Hopefully they'll have clutter free homes.

We decided that every Friday would be Craft Day here at our home. Opening the house to friends and practicing a bit of hospitality. This is a very laid back event. Other than the fancy punch bowl and dessert.

What we've made so far: rosettes, rings, headbands and pin cushions. Here's a few pictures of our pin cushions.

Very simple project: Scraps of fabric, elastic, pillow stuffing, needle and thread.


Cut 2 rounds of fabric. One the size of a bowl and the other the size of a drinking glass.



Stitch around each circle on the outer 1/4 inch edge. Make sure you're smiling it makes it more fun! Stuff larger circle with pillow fluff and pull ends of thread together tying it off. At this point I sewed more stitches to make sure it would stay. It doesn't have to be pretty, it won't be seen.


Measure off a piece of elastic that fits nicely on your wrist. Stitch down to the bottom of the ball.


Place other circle that you have pulled together over the elastic and stitched area. Stitch this down to hide your elastic and sewing. You can use hot glue for this portion.


Wala! A wristlet pin cushion. You can even add some oil to the cushion before you close it up for a nice scent. We used Island Delight and Melon.


Many of the girls are making sewing kits with their Mom's. What a nice thing to add.


What are you crafting?


Happy Friday,

julie

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Freezer Baking

Whew! What a day. I've haven't been doing much baking lately. I've just needed a break. I've made the occasional batch of cookies and granola bars but nothing like today. Yup, my family has been eating bread from the bakery store. I've been able to get the $4.50 loaves of good bread for a dollar per loaf. So I took a much needed break. But alas the prices are going up and my Husband has really needed some home baking.


His favorite, whole wheat chocolate chip cookies. He really likes the with dark chocolate. I used to make up 14 dozen raw cookie dough balls and freeze them, but I found that we(I) like to eat frozen raw cookie dough.hmmm


A small batch of whole wheat banana chocolate chip muffins. I want to get some millet ones done and coconut.




Bread rising in the background and breakfast biscuits.


Here's a list of everything I accomplished:

7 dozen chocolate chip cookies

1 1/2 dozen banana chip muffins

6 loaves of whole wheat bread ( about a 50 cents per loaf)
2 dozen gigantic breakfast biscuits with homemade turkey sausage

16 1# whole wheat hot pockets (Italian and cheeseburger)


I'm done for today, but I would like to get in a couple dozen granola bars and oatmeal cookies before craft day.


What are you cooking up? Any favorite recipes?


Julie

Curriculum 2011-2012

Here's my curriculum plan for this up coming school. My goal is to get everyone organized and planned in the next 2 weeks so that I can have 6 weeks to play and have fun. We will be starting back to school on August 1st. Yippee!

12th garde:
Alpha Omega Consumer Math- 1 credit
Notgrass Economics - .5 credit
Notgrass American Gov't - .5 credit
Movies as Literature - 1 credit
Body by Design, The Reproductive System & Children's Apologia Anatomy
-she is surveying this course and teaching it to her younger sisters. she doesn't need the credit.
Rosetta Stone French year 2 - 1 credit

8th grade:
Tapestry of Grace year 3 (literature, Bible and history)
Alpha Omega Consumer Science - 1 credit
Artistic Pursuits - 1 credit
Rod and Staff English
Rod and Staff Reading
Apologia Physical Science - 1 credit
Teaching Textbooks Pre Algebra
Rosetta Stone French or Sign Language (class) - 1 credit

5th grade:
Tapestry of Grace year 3
Rod and Staff English
Rod and Staff Reading
Rod and Staff Spelling and All About Spelling (filling in gaps)
Apologia Human Anatomy
Saxon 65
Cursive
Daily Paragraphs for fun
Abeka Health - read alone

Supplement with Sates Cd's, Lyrical Science, Netflix movies, Mind Benders for critical thinking, crafting- skirt construction
**Balance Ball for school time

2nd grade:
Tapestry of Grace year 3
Rod and Staff English
Rod and Staff Reading
Rod and Staff Spelling and All About Spelling
Apologia Human Anatomy
Saxon 3
Cursive
Daily paragraphs for fun

I will be using many of the same extras for the younger girlies. Starting the 5th grader on note taking from movies and journaling again this year with their science.

Summer plans:
Sing the Capitals and States
Lyrical Science
Daily paragraph (not sure about)
Ocean and Sea Creature movies with minor note taking
Finish memorising Times Tables. Prizes! (I'll post when they reach their goals)
Free reading 1 to 2 books per week. Prizes!
Friday Craft Afternoon with girlfriends.
VBS
Swimming and Park

So I really need to get moving and I am procrastinating! I'm excited though, but just one more day by the pool reading...

What's your Summer and School plans for fall?

julie

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

FPEA Convention 2011 in Pictures

Warning~ There are a lot of pictures in this post. Look at your own risk.

This year we splurged and went to the Florida Parent Educator Association's Homeschooling Convention. We haven't been in about 5 years. Reasons:1) We needed to put more of our money to curriculum use in years past. 2) We didn't have a vehicle that we felt could make it there and back. 3) It was no longer being held at our favorite hotel. 4)I knew what curriculum I liked and have stuck with. This still holds true and I felt a bit guilty going for nothing? Not so.

So here's what we did to stay at the 5 star luxury Gaylord Palms Hotel. We saved moo la every month for a number of months. We saved money out for gas, dinners, and brought everything else from home. Breakfast , lunch, and snacks. I printed out all my curriculum needs and wants with Internet prices for comparison. We also reminded the girls frequently to save their pennies for the trip. Lots of fun goodies for children to buy.

It was so nice leaving on our vacation knowing everything was already paid for. Ahhhh.

We had lots of little blessings along the way. We stopped at our favorite produce stand in Plant City and got peaches for 79 cents a pound, yummy grape tomatoes and peach shakes. We had plenty of fresh fruit with the bananas and apples I brought from home.






Balcony 1




Here are pictures of our hotel room which was another Happy Birthday Blessing for Superman. When we went to check in I mentioned it was his birthday and could they possibly give us a atrium view. Well they did better than that! We got a full suite. It was bigger than our 1st apartment. Dining area, living room, huge bathroom, king size separate suite and 3 balconies. It did cost us $20 which was well worth it.







Balcony 2 with a view of St.Augustine. This is not a village its all under one huge glass roof.



Balcony 3. The little girls said hello to all early morning risers as they passed by. They were a great alarm clock. We didn't miss any of our classes.



LC cleaning up after a juicy peach.



A banana break after a long/short trip, depending on how old you are.



A picture of convention floor. So many vendors, so much to look at. We did buy a stay put exercise ball from Walmart when we got home (they were not selling them there. they should). Just like the ones in the picture. We are hoping it will help our bouncier students to concentrate a bit more.



Here's a view from the Key West side of the hotel. Look what FG caught!



Ahhhh the pool. Fully decked out with an Octopus slide. FG in mid slide.





Relaxation



LC in the kid zone. I saw a lot of "big kids" in there.





Love this turtle shot











So glad she didn't forget the goggles.



Real alligators in the St. Augustine section. We got to see them be fed and the little girlies touched them.




Lounging at an abandoned cabin.








Ahhh the end to a perfect trip. We went to some wonderful lectures from creation to the psychology of colors. I was refreshed at classes just for moms. The girls enjoyed running around and meeting up with old friends and making some new ones. Superman enjoyed the king size bed! (i'm a bed hog)




Stay tuned for the most talked about shirt at convention. Seriously.




Blessings,


Julie



FG not excited about going home. Admittedly no one was. What a great way to start summer!