Friday, July 30, 2010

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual inspired by Amanda, aka Soule Mama. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.


In gratitude this week for:

  • a river close by when it's hot
  • a toddler that sings her heart out
  • my husband's graduation TODAY! We're so proud honey.
  • a brother - in - law's visit
  • a trip to the cape. We'll be back late next week.

Wishing you all a glorious weekend!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

13 and Amazing!

It is hard to believe it has been thirteen years since I was blessed to become your mother. You were such a sweet babe. 10 perfect little fingers and 10 perfect little toes. Dark hair and green eyes like your dad. Not at all like me.

The years have gone by so quickly. It has been a joy to watch you grow and explore the world around you.

You have been a wonderful big sister to both Hannah and then Rebekah. They look up to you for advice and support, and you have always been there for them, and I know you always will.

You have always been mature for your age. What three year old when told she could have anything she wanted for her birthday dinner would pick lobster? But you did. Silly me, I thought you would pick mac & cheese or chicken nuggets. And we had lobster for your birthday for the next four years. You probably don't remember, but you were the only one who had lobster that first year. Mom and dad had to eat fish that was on sale. I still get a chuckle out of you carrying the bag with the live lobster around the grocery store.

You are both a serious and fun loving. You can be counted on as friend, sister and daughter.

Anyone who knows you can attest you will always be there to lend a helping hand, and listening ear or a supportive shoulder. You are a true friend.

It has been a joy watching you discover and explore your passions. You weren't a dramatic toddler and I never would have guessed that the theater would call you. However, it is obvious to anyone who sees you on stage, you have found your place.

You have become independent and sure of yourself. You are strong and yet compassionate. You can make people smile and laugh. You are open and outgoing. There are many blessed to call you friend.

You make us smile, you make us laugh. It is amazing to watch you spread your wings and fly.

I am blessed to be your mother. It has been a joy to see the wonderful, caring young woman you have become. I treasure our moments together and look forward to sharing so many more.
Happy Birthday my sweet teenager. I love you more than you know.

Friday, July 23, 2010

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual inspired by Amanda, aka Soule Mama. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.



In gratitude this week for:

  • a lot of silliness
  • peaches: in cream, sliced, whole, jam, and pie
  • picking up an old knitting project
  • dinners outside on the picnic table
  • this life I am so blessed to live

Wishing you all a glorious weekend.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

WIP Wednesday - Handmade Holiday 2010 Up Date

I finished this hat in just two days! It was a quick knit and the pattern is really cute. The picture doesn't do it justice. My model was not in the mood for mom to fool around with the hat or the camera. Of course she wants the hat though. I can see more of these being knit in the future.

I had just a little yarn left. And this yarn is too nice to turn into dryer balls. A quick search on Ravelry gave me a few options for a headband. Another quick knit! And I love it. It actually fits! And of course all the girls want it. Lucky for me it doesn't fit them. But I know I will be making some in smaller sizes.

Here is the first of hopefully many sweaters knit before Christmas. I have a lofty goal of having a handknit sweater for each family member under the tree. This one will be the most tedious, a pattern with a lot of detail I've never done in a lace weight yarn. What was I thinking? Oh yea I couldn't say no to those green eyes and big smile.

As for the other sweaters, the patterns are picked out and two of the four yarns are ordered. Hopefully to be here before we head to the beach. I plan to get a lot of knitting done while we are at the beach!

This is the latest dump store find: a pile of vintage sheets and a basket to keep them in. I plan to make SouleMama's Beach Blanket Quilt. I just need to find a back, a bedspread would work well, so we may be off to the thrift shop later this week. I hope to have this done before we head to the beach. I hope I am not biting off more than I can chew.

A big thanks to Tonya for motivating me to get organized early this year. I have my notebook organized. It is quickly filling up with ideas, sketches, patterns, color choices, and more. Each family member has a couple of pages, there is also a section for wrapping and tag ideas, decorating ideas, food ideas, as well as my card list. (If any of you know of a great toddler winter nightgown pattern I'd love to hear about it.) Now if I can make all the notes on paper become reality before the 25th of December.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

In the Kitchen this Week

The black raspberries are abundant this year. The bushes are overflowing with the beautiful black fruit. The girls and I have been picking, eating and freezing lots of them.

We have also baked a lot of loaves of this wonderful double berry strussel bread. YUMMY!

We made fresh pasta the other night for dinner. The dough was a little sticky and wouldn't go through our pasta cutter, so we cut it by hand. It tasted good, but was a little too thick for the girls liking. We will definitely making pasta again, but will try another recipe.

And finally after what seems like forever, the garden is starting to produce. We have picked 6 pounds of green beans. Most of them have made it to the freezer. Wish I could say the same thing for the peas. They were eaten as fast as I picked them.

We have also had a handful of cherry tomatoes. Boy were they yummy! We have two large tomatoes that should be ready in a day or two and tons of green ones.

And then there is the sourdough starter that a lovely friend gave me. I have been feeding it daily for the last week and finally baked bread last night. It was yummy toasted with butter this morning for breakfast.

What's happening in your kitchen this week?

Monday, July 19, 2010

~ ~ Plain and Joyful Living Newsletter ~ ~ A Snail Mail Blessings

A few weeks back I was contacted by the beautiful Tonya from the blog Plain and Joyful Living. I was honored when she asked me to write an article for her family's newsletter. Little did Tonya know I had been reading her blog faithfully for some time and was saving money to order her quarterly newsletter.

God works in mysterious ways. The night before I received Tonya's request I had said to the girls, wouldn't it be wonderful if I could make a few extra dollars from our blog? I didn't want anything big and commercial. I didn't want advertisements or coupon bar. Just something simple. Something wholesome. Something just like writing an article for a lovely newsletter that embodies what I hold near and dear. So in the morning when I received Tonya's request with the idea of writing an article for a few dollars I was in awe of God's provision. Of course I had to relay this to Tonya who agreed it was God's hand at work. For she had never before asked someone she had not met in person to write for the newsletter!

Ask an it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Matthew 7:7-8

So I wrote my first article and was honored to have it included in the summer edition of the Plain and Joyful Newsletter. The newsletter itself is a blessing. It is handwritten by its contributors with beautiful black and white illustrations. Each article will inspire the reader. There is humor and beauty throughout its pages. It was a pure and simple joy to sit on the front porch with my morning coffee and savor each page. And if you can believe it there are a few more project ideas in this head of mine.

Please visit Tonya's blog, Plain and Joyful Living, and consider subscribing to this lovely newsletter. There is something heart warming about receiving a handwritten newsletter via snail mail. You can find information about the newsletter in the sidebar of the blog.

Friday, July 16, 2010

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual inspired by Amanda, aka Soule Mama. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.



In gratitude this week for:

  • farm fresh milk
  • garden harvest of peas, tomatoes, beans, and succhini
  • a little time to sew and knit
  • good friends
  • this life I am so blessed to live

Wishing you all a glorious weekend.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

How Many Hours are in Your Day?

A few nights ago I was chatting with a few friends. Somewhere in the conversation a few of the blogs we like to visit snuck in. I found it interesting how we each responded to the blogs. We all loved them, but they invoked a very different feeling for each of us. I find them inspiring. Others found them intimidating, making them feel like they aren't good enough. And still others seemed indifferent.

I learned a long time ago not to compare myself to others, whether in real or cyber life. I know this can be hard for some. It helps me to remember that we only see what someone wants us to see. That we don't get the whole picture of their lives. And that in reality it is only our own life and that of our family that should really matter to us. The needs and desires of our own families should be what dictates our days, nothing else. Not the world. Not some other family's life.

So why join on line groups and follow blogs. The community, the support, the inspiration is incredible. I don't know a blogger out there who's intention it is to make someone feel bad. Most of them would tell you they don't feel they deserve the following they have.

So why do we blog? There are as many reasons as there are bloggers. Some of us want a place to record our family's daily lives, some of us want a place to express our creativity, some of us want a place to keep in touch with family and friends, some of us need a way to organize thoughts, some of us see it as a ministry. But none of us do it all!!!
Did you hear that? None of us do it all. The hardest thing to remember as one hops from blog to blog is that not everyone is doing everything. I find the blogs all seem to blend together and at times it seems like everyone knits from yarn they spun themselves, sews, gardens, cooks and bakes from scratch, writes books, has a successful business, has eight kids and a ton of farm animals, and is a professional photographer. NOT! Remember sometimes less really is more.

We all have the same 24 hours in a day. Thanks for the reminder Sonja! And how we choose those hours is up to us. Now granite some of us organize our hours better. And some of us steel a few more moments because we don't need as much sleep. But when it is all said and done, we all get the same 24 hours.

So the next time you are visiting a blog, remember that the writer doesn't do it all. And that behind the beautiful photos and the inspiring words there are things they wish they could do that you do. And they are wondering how to fit it in as well.

So be inspired! Take what you can and leave what doesn't work for you. This life we live is a journey, we are always growing, learning, exploring. So remember to look to the blogging community as an inspiration and a resource and not as a mirror by which you should be judged.

Happy blogging and living!

And if you are so inspired I'd love to hear your tips on avoiding blogger envy or how you organize your day to get the most out of it.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

WIP Wednesday: Handmade Holiday Update

I'd taken a break from knitting lately, except for framer's market dishcloths and scrubbies (which really don't count as knitting). I started a sweater for Sarah and it is a big bite for me. Knit with a fine lace yarn on small needles with some stitches I have never knit before. Leave it to say I was finding it tedious and not enjoyable, so I put it away along with all other knitting. Well, I miss knitting, and the thought of picking up that sweater after not knitting for a while was daunting, so I started another project.

A hat! I love knitting hats! They are usually simple. They are usually quick. A day or two and you have a finished project. So rewarding. So I figure I will finish this hat and then pick up Sarah's sweater again. This time realizing that I may have to have some small easy projects going on at the same time. And that works out just fine, because I have begun the task of organizing my holiday crafting thanks to Tonya over at Plain and Joyful Living.

Every Monday, Tonya post a Handmade Holiday 2010. She has great tips on getting organized and is collecting ideas for everyone on your list. Last week was one of the harder ones - teenage boys. Boy were there some good ideas.

So while you may be seeing a lot of work in process over the next few months, you may not get a lot of details. It is more fun if the gifts are a surprise.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Strawberry Fruit Leather and Giveaway

My children love fruit roll ups and fruit leather. However, I don't like all the extra stuff in most fruit roll ups and organic fruit leathers are not in our budget. The answer - homemade fruit leather. So easy! So good! And mom knows exactly what's in it.

You'll need:
  • Strawberries
  • Apple Sauce-I used our homemade which has cinnamon
  • Honey-we like raw local honey

Wash and remove the stems from your strawberries. I don't measure the berries. I just fill my food processor. Puree the berries until smooth. Add about 1 cup of applesauce and 1/4 cup honey. Puree again until smooth. You can adjust the applesauce and honey to your liking. So taste away.

Line two sheet pan with parchment. Pour half of the puree onto each pan. Smooth making sure that the thickness is even.

Now there are a couple of ways you can dehydrate your fruit leather. It was so hot this last week that we dehydrated it outside on the picnic table. We just covered the pans with cheese cloth. This took about 15 hours.

You can also put it in your oven set on its lowest setting. Ours is 170 degrees. When I dehydrate in the oven it takes about 8 hours.

Or if you are lucky enough to have a dehydrator you can use that. Your dehydrator should have some guidelines or directions on how to make fruit leather.

You want to make sure that the fruit leather is completely dry, but not brittle. It can be tacky to the touch but no puree should come off on your finger when you touch it.

Once it is dry, cut into strips and store in an air tight jar. Of course if your house is like mine, it wont last that long. You can make this fruit leather with a variety of fruits. Have fun experimenting.

And if you don't have a dehydrator, but would like one you must hop on over to Lindsay's blog, Passionate Homemaking, and enter to win your own Excalibur Dehydrator. Her review and ideas on how to use a dehydrator will sell you on having one if you aren't already. Of course, I have entered the giveaway and really hope to win. But I would be psyched if one of my readers won, you will just have to share!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

A Little Sewing for a Birthday Girl

For Christmas I made Rebekah a Princess and the Pea payset. All ski season she took it to the mountain to play with while her big sisters skied. There here friend Logan discover the story of the Princess and the Pea and loved playing with the set. So when we were invited to her 5th birthday party I just knew I had to make her her own Princess and the Pea play set.

I changed the doll for Logan's set. I like this one much better. You can find the pattern and tutorial for this little doll here. They also have different clothes and a boy doll.

I also made the whole set a little smaller. There are 10 mattresses stuffed with cotton batting. The pea is wet felted wool.

Here's the whole set including a book we made of the story. It all fits in a green, little bag with a pocket for the princess and one for the pea.

The party was a blast and Logan loved her Princess and the Pea playset. I love making and receive homemade gifts. We are having a handmade Christmas again this year and I am searching for ideas. I would love to hear about items you have made for toddlers, tween girls, dads, husbands, and grandparents.

And if you are interested in having a handmade Christmas hop on over to Plain and Joyful Living where Tonya is hosting a Handmade Holiday 2010!

Friday, July 9, 2010

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual inspired by Amanda, aka Soule Mama. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.



In gratitude this week for:

  • an extra day with Papa
  • pools, sprinklers, rivers and lakes - boy was it hot!
  • honey - fresh spun, and friends to share it with
  • extra kids running around the house
  • this life I am so blessed to live

Wishing you all a glorious weekend.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Sprout ~ How to Grow Them Yourself

Sprouts are supper yummy! Sprouts are super nutritious! Sprouts are super easy to grow yourself and this makes sprouts super frugal! You don't even need any super duper gadget or equipment to grow your own sprouts. Other than your seeds you probably already have everything you need.

First gather your supplies:
  • quart mason jar with ring
  • cheese cloth
  • 2 Tbsp sprouting seeds (available at most health food stores)

Make sure your jar is clean. Pour your seeds into the jar. Cover the jar with the cheese cloth and secure with the ring.

Rinse the seeds with warm water. Pour off the water right through the cheese cloth. Add enough warm water to cover the seeds by about an inch. Put the jar in a warm, dark place for about 8-12 hours, overnight works well for us.

Here are our seeds soaking next to our kefir, but that's another post.

After the seeds have soak you want to rinse them 2 to 3 times a day. Pour off the soaking water and add more warm water. Gently swirl the jar around and them pour off all of the water.

Once the water is poured off. Gently shake the seed to cover the side of the jar and lay the jar on its side in a warm, dark place.

In about three days you will have beautiful sprouts! One last step before you can eat! Removing the hulls.

Transfer you sprouts to a bowl of cold water. The hulls will either float or sink. Either way you want to remove them from the sprouts. We skim off the ones that float and the remove the sprouts.

Here are our yummy, nutritious, frugal sprouts! We love them in sandwiches, added to salads and stir fries, even as a snack to just munch on. These sprouts were a salad mix, but sprout what you like.

Monday, July 5, 2010

4th of July at the River

It was a scorcher, so over the railroad tracks and . . .

. . . through the woods

along a magical path . . .

we headed to the river to keep cool. Hannah had a hard time getting Beau in the water. He really doesn't like to swim.

Papa build little pools for Rebekah to splash in.

And she did just that.

She figured out how to keep her head cool without going under.

The first time she stood up she declared, "my hair is peeing!" Oh what our children say. We all laughed, which of course made her say it again and again.

Sarah and Papa explored the other side of the river. It was deep enough to jump from the lower ledge. They discovered a smooth rock that was the perfect slide into a deep pool. That kept the big girls busy for quite a while.

A little river art we built and left for others to enjoy.

Hope you had a joyous 4th of July.