Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Egg-xact Date

During my involuntary fast from the internet we had a new addition to the farm.  My little Jacob made the discovery.  My "mommy heart" swelled with love to see the smile it brought to his face, and to know my children are building life-long memories.  This is Speckles with her new little chick.

I also lost my favorite chicken, Marge.  She was our Easter Egger that gave us our blue eggs.  I really tried not to cry over a chicken, but I couldn't help it.  She was a sweetheart who must have thought she was a dog the way she followed me around and let me love on her.  Oh, the circle of life.

On a lighter note, I thought I would share how I organize and store our eggs.  For the longest time, I had a very difficult time remembering which eggs were the oldest and how old each egg was.  It finally occurred to me to put the date on the egg after I had washed and dried them.

I also rotate the eggs every couple of days to move the oldest to the top of the carton.  I can't tell you the last time I had to purchase eggs at the store.  Right now, I have a little over two dozen in the refrigerator.  Our farm eggs are so rich and yellow.  I feel so blessed to be able to raise our own chickens and have fresh, free-range chicken eggs!

Until we meet again, may you be blessed!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

I'm Still Here!

Hello friends!  I have missed you!  My computers have been "sick," so I haven't been able to post anything for a while. I have also just been trying to adjust to some life changes in our family.  I just wanted to let you know I haven't abandoned my blog.  I have new posts coming soon now that one of my computers is back up and running!  I will see you soon!

Until we meet again, may you be blessed!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Kids' Choice Projects

Do you remember when I said I was going to spend some undivided time with the children, and I was going to let the children pick out a project for us to do?  Well, I kept my word.  They each picked out a project.  Of course, I had to do most of the labor, but we had great results.

The first project was Jacob's.  He wanted a cape made from an adult t-shirt.  His project was easy.  There was no sewing or thinking involved, lol!  Here is a look at his.

Alissa's project was a bit more complicated.  It required A LOT of thinking, pondering, procrastinating, and pulling a sewing machine out of a three year hibernation.  Have I mentioned I don't sew?  I thought the project through and planned it in my head, but when it came down to actually sewing, I chickened out!  I had to ask my mother to come down and hold my hand, lol!  That presented another problem.  She didn't have the advantage of having thought the project through as I had. 

This is Mama trying to make sense of what I
was telling her.  Notice, she is not behind the
machine.  ;)

Our ideas of how to put the project together didn't exactly match, but we had fun laughing at ourselves.  She thought I was kidding when I told her I had forgotten the very little bit I had ever known about sewing.  It didn't take her long to figure out I wasn't!  :) 

Haha!  She finally ended up behind the
machine on one little part I just couldn't handle.
I did do most of the sewing, though!

The final product wasn't perfect, but it was good enough to make my little girl happy.  That and enjoying the time with my mother is what mattered most.  Here is a look at Alissa's project.  It is a sleeping bag for her Bummy.  I wasn't ready to tackle a zipper, so we used Velcro instead.  Alissa picked the fabrics.  The inside of the sleeping bag is made from an old t-shirt.

Until we meet again, may you be blessed!

No Bake Mocha Cappuccino Dream Cookies

My friend Terresa in Tennessee and I are 'Nuts' about Nutella.  She introduced me to this recipe.  The original recipe used Nutella, but she didn't have any.  Instead, she used a new product from Jif called Mocha Cappuccino flavored Hazelnut Spread.  The day she shared the recipe on Facebook, I just quickly jotted down the recipe.  I had no idea I was going to like these so much and would want to share them on my blog.  I tried to go back and find it so I could give proper credit, but I was unsuccessful.  I'll be sure to add it if I come back across it.  In the mean time, HURRY!  Go to the store and get this spread!  Then, whip up this recipe ASAP!  If you like coffee, you are going to LOVE these!

3T Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 Stick butter
2c Sugar
1/2c Milk
1t Salt
3c Quick Cooking Oats
1t vanilla
1/2c Mocha Cappuccino flavored Hazelnut Spread

In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, milk, salt, cocoa powder, and butter.  Bring to a rolling boil over medium heat.  Remove from heat and add the oats, hazelnut spread, and vanilla (in that order) stirring well.  Drop by spoonfuls onto foil or wax paper.

I dare you to try and wait for them to cool completely before you try one!

(Update:  Terresa found the original recipe for me!  Here is the link:  http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.grocerybudget101.com%2Fcontent.php%2F316-No-Bake-Nutella-dreams&h=EAQGBBPub  I know some readers don't use Facebook.  Not to worry!  This link won't take you there.  It goes to the site for the recipe on www.grocerybudget101 . :) )

Until we meet again, may you be blessed!

Friday, July 13, 2012

I'm Back!

Hello, my friends!  I'm sorry I haven't been posting as much this week.  We have been really busy.

Three years ago, July 4, we moved in our home.  I knew no one here, and working an hour away kept me from really meeting anyone.  I really missed having a church family.  I visited several churches, but no church felt right.  Since leaving work last year, I have really felt isolated.

Last Friday, my family went out to eat.  While visiting the gift shop beside the restaurant, we received an invitation to a Vacation Bible School.  Upon our first visit, I felt like I was home!  I have spent a lot of time with many of the ladies of the church and have really enjoyed my time.  It has been such a joy to see my children playing with other children again!  There is no way these ladies can begin to imagine what their kindness in accepting me and my children has meant to me.  God has heard my prayers, and he has generously answered!  Thank you, Lord, for your loving kindness.  I am so glad I was patient and waited on you!  Thank you, too, for Jane who has played such a huge role in your plans.  Dear Lord, please generously bless all of these special women, and may I follow their beautiful example.  Amen

Can you believe I forgot my camera every single night?  I had to take a picture of a picture of Alissa and Jake with their class.

Until we meet again, may you be blessed!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Cotton Candy and Candy Apple Memories

(Originally written July 5, 2012)
All day yesterday I debated whether I would take my children to see the fireworks display about twenty minutes away.  I had just about made up my mind not to go.  It was hot and the gnats are awful in this part of Georgia.  I knew the children would fuss and complain about the heat and the bugs.  I also had to take care of all the animal chores, supper, and cleaning up.  My husbands uniforms for work also needed to be finished so he could go back on the road for a really long run.  The thought of doing all the chores and then taking the children to see fireworks by myself just overwhelmed me.  I don't like doing new things by myself, and the fact that I've lost my Jake three times in a public place the last month didn't make me too excited to go either!

I finally told Alissa I didn't think we were going.  The sad, disappointed look just crushed me.  It was a true, humble look, not one to manipulate.  I guess that is what made it so bad.  Then the battle within really heated up!  I fought the good fight within.  I fought the fight to leave my comfort zone and make lasting memories for my children.  I can't always not do fun things because Bill is not with me.  If I want my children to have fun memories, there are going to be many times I am just going to have to put on my big girl outfit and just do it!  It is the nature of my husband's job.  I can't not go and give him the excuse I don't want to because he is not with me.  How must that make him feel?  Surely he has enough guilt having to be away so much.  If I am always using that excuse, doesn't that make him feel even more guilty?  God has really been dealing with me on that issue.  Yesterday, before he went to bed, I caught myself about to do it again.  I quickly stopped myself before the words came out.  Now, I am so glad I did!

I rushed to finish up all my work around the house, still not convinced I was going.  I fixed Alissa's hair into the cutest little braids and dressed them in red, white, and blue, still not convinced I was going.
Sorry!  I had to take pictures, because
I have NEVER been able to braid her
hair until recently.

 I quietly got dressed as Bill slept, still not convinced I was going.  I loaded the kids in the car and left, still not convinced I was going.  There was a chance for storms.  Maybe it would start raining before we got there, and I wouldn't have to actually go through with it.  We pulled up at the venue.  I had a talk with the children that they HAD to stay with me.  Jake was instructed that he HAD to hold my hand the whole time.  We got out of the car and made our way around, eventually ending up at the concession stands.  The children were thrilled by the sight of cotton candy being made.  While waiting on our cotton candy, Jake spotted candy apples.  I was so thrilled with my accomplishments that I also bought a candy apple!  The children had never had a candy apple before.  I am almost possitive that I was a little girl the last time I had one.

We carefully made our way back to the car.  I was more confident that I could do this.  I opened up the hatchback and let the children crawl in to sit.  The cotton candy was opened.  It was too fun watching them eat it!  Yes, surely I could do this!  I spent about an hour fanning them with a hat to keep the bugs away.  The thrill of cotton candy and sitting in the back of the car started to wear off.  The reality of heat induced itching (they have horrible eczema) and bugs started setting in.  Their patience in waiting was wearing thin.  Their complaints were growing, and Jake was asking to go home.  I wanted to load them up and go home.  My patience was wearing thin, too.  Couldn't they just be grateful for what I was doing for them?  Didn't they appreciate the day-long battle I had fought for them?  Of course not, silly me.  They had no idea.  Maybe I was foolish for even going.  Weren't those some of the biggest reasons I had decided not to go in the first place?  Finally, just in the nick of time, the sun settled lower in the sky and a nice breeze began to blow.  The bugs finally went to bed- or wherever they go in the evening.  :)  The smiles returned to the little faces.  Yes, I could and was doing this!  In no time, the fireworks were booming.  Alissa and Jake loved them, Alissa more so than Jake.  After about twenty minutes, Jake was ready to go.  He finally got back in the car and buckled up.  Alissa continually said she wished they would do them forever.  :)

Alissa cried on the way home because she missed the fireworks, and both children asked when we could go back.  Those two funny birds!  What fun it was to get back home where Daddy was waiting just for us to return before he left and hear the children run into the house squealing their excited stories.  How fun to watch Bill's pleased, excited face as he listened to them.  If I had not taken the children and endured the bad with the good, I wouldn't have been able to enjoy the special memories, and Bill wouldn't have been able to enjoy the moment either. 

Where to next?!  ;)

An Old Game with a New Twist

This week Alissa and Jake have been attending Vacation Bible School.  One night Jacob came home with a fishing pole with a magnet attached to the end of the line.  The "Teacher Bells" started ringing in my head at the possibilities!  When the children got home with the pole, they wanted to make fish to play like they were fishing.  I had to convince them it was too late for them and that I would make some while they slept.  I kept my word.  When they awoke, they had a pile of fish awaiting them.  I waited until morning to finish them so that the children could join in the fun of finishing them.  Jacob has been working on letters, numbers to 20, and a few sight words.  As I wrote these on the fish, the kiddos attempted to put gem clips on the fish.  When we finished, the children were so excited about getting to catch fish.  (It was also fun listening to them say they were catching fish like Peter from their Bible story the night before!)  They were so excited about playing a new game that they didn't even realize it was school work.  Haha!  One point for Mommy!  :)

Each time a fish was caught the fisherman had to say what was on the fish in order to keep it.  If the fisherman didn't know "what type of fish" she or he had, the fish had to be thrown back into the sea. 
When the game was over, I had Alissa choose whether she wanted to make up sentences with the words she caught or use the words to make up and write a story since she already knew the letters, numbers, and words.  To my surprise, she decided to make up and write a story.  It was too cute to watch her go catch more fish for her story.

Other fishing game ideas:
  • Let the fishermen catch the words of a memory verse and have them put the words in the correct order.
  • Put each vocabulary word on a fish, and put each definition of separate fish.  Have the fisherman catch to words and definitions and then match each word with the correct definition.
  • Have questions from a story on separate fish and the answers on separate fish.  Have the fisherman match the questions to the correct answer.
  • After catching numbers or letters , have the fisherman put the numbers or letters in the correct order.
The possibilities are endless!  What ideas for other variations do you have?

Until we meet again, may you be blessed!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Summer Project Cram

I have been so busy today!  Where did the day go?  It has flown by in chunks of hours instead of minutes!  In the middle of one of my projects today I got weak and felt shakey.  Jake came in and asked for something to drink.  When I went to the kitchen, the time on the clock shocked me.  It was 2:00 in the afternoon!  I had completely missed lunch time!  Oh, I felt so guilty for not feeding my children!  I had NO idea it was that late in the day!  I was even more surprised the kiddos hadn't complained about being hungry.

Along with helping Alissa with some of her school work, this was the project I was/am working on.

This is part of my Thanksgiving unit I am working on.  I started it last year, but after going through all my classroom materials I had in storage, I am adding to it.  Whew!  What a job!  I'm going to need a bigger binder and a lot more page protectors!  I hope I can finish the majority of the work tomorrow, but I'm not going to stress over it if it doesn't get done.  I'll explain later.

After lunch, I was able to finally get ready to go to town since Bill had gotten up.  I had to mail a letter to a friend and I tried to deliver Alissa's attendance report.  Upon returning home, I started supper and prepared the buttermilk brine for the chicken to marinate overnight (or rather the next  two nights since I had a whole loaf of meatloaf leftover tonight.)  While I was cooking, Bill took the children with him on the Rhino to take the trash to the dump.  I was able to take a couple of pictures for Jake's next sight word book.  I have been waiting a long time to catch them riding it so I could snap a couple of pictures.  After eating and cleaning up, I got the children in bed in hopes of working on my unit some more, but when I sat down to it, I just didn't have it in me anymore.  I decided to browse the internet for a bit and then work on this post.  I've still got to answer a couple of emails.

I guess the fact that it is actually July has finally sunk in for me.  I can't believe that in less than a month it will be time for Alissa's second grade school year to officially begin, and I don't have all the projects done that I had hoped I could do this summer.  I remember those hours before a big exam in college.  The time would be spent studying and studying non-stop until the test was given.  We called it cramming for a test.  I guess that is the way I feel about my projects now.  I am in cramming mode to get them all in.  One thing I am determined to do, though, is spend a lot of undivided time with my children, doing projects with them.  I have been so focused on animals and trying fruitlessly to keep the lawn pristine, that I haven't had much time to do fun things with them.  One of my goals for tomorrow is to let each child pick one project off my "For the Kids" board on Pinterest to complete together.  I can't wait!  I also want to take Alissa to a little Mennonite fabric shop that is about twenty minutes away to see if we can find someone who can teach us a couple of things we can work on together.  I know my friend, Jane, in Pennsylvania would be proud if I did!  :)  I would love to learn embroidery, but anything to do with sewing would make me happy!  Maybe I should focus on learning how to use my sewing machine that has been in the garage for three years!  :)  My high hopes for canning have pretty much flown out the window.  The drought has not been good for the fruit.  Maybe next year.

What projects are you trying to complete this summer?  I'd love to hear about them!

This is a giveaway I entered yesterday.  I thought some of you might be interested in entering too.  Isn't the apron lovely?  Click on the address below the picture to enter.


Mercy, I must go answer those emails and rest my racing mind.  Until we meet again, may you be blessed!

Growing Home

Growing Home

Jacinda is hosting a giveaway on her blog at Growing Home.  I thought some of you may be interested.