Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Kitchen Playset...

I've been adding little things to the kitchen playset here and there. This was by far, the best things we've made (or even bought) for our children. They all play with it. Even the lil' babe loves to open and close the doors and throw everything out of the drawers...

I bought a vinyl decal and love it. I bought it from this etsy shop.

The kids would still like to see some color on it. With that saying (which I LOVE), I want to paint flowers on all the drawers. Although I'm so in love with vinyl decals I just may buy some. Or maybe convince myself that I need a Silhouette and make my own!?! Ha!! I wish!

With the midst of all the sickness going on in our household, it was nice to do something crafty...even if it was sticking a decal up!  :)


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Happy Birthday Baby Boy!

My baby is one making me quite sad this morning.

My third bundle of joy who is already walking and are quite content to spend your days wandering around the house. You smile is infectious and brightens every room you walk into. People comment on how content you are and you are the most happy and content baby I've ever met.

We were only going to have two children and God laughed at my insistence that "2 is more than enough." You were a scheduled c-section that had to be scheduled two weeks overdue because of insurance blunders and you were quite content to wait those two weeks snuggled inside mama's belly.

Mama loves you so much.
Happy Birthday Baby!


Saturday, January 21, 2012

Jewelry and Quilts

It's a balmy 0 degrees outside here in Wisconsin which is an improvement over the -10 it was when I woke up at 6:30 am and news reports say it reached negative 17 degrees in our area. My fellow Wisconsin bloggy friends will attest to the fact that this is cold. Cold that you don't want to go out in. Cold that makes it hard to keep the house warm no matter what you try. Cold that makes it hard to breath when you go outside. We have both wood furnances going. We have our old wood furnance in the basement that we only start up when it gets really, really cold and our new wood furnance in the garage. We also have the electric heaters on both levels going. I also started laundry this morning to get some more heat into the house. We have one of those dryer vents that allows the warm air to be pushed back into the house instead of outside.

And as my friends who have animals know that the cold becomes a big concern. The barn gets locked up tight and the animals are only out during the day. Water has to be checked several times throughout the day because it freezes up so fast and we have to make sure water lines in the barn don't freeze.

So the kids and I are doing some crafting this morning and started some necklaces. I found some jewelry making kits on sale at WalMart. I picked one up for the lil' miss that has lots of colored beads, pendants and elastic string.

I found another one for my lil' monster that uses heavy string and wooden beads.

I also dug out this quilt this morning. It was started by my great-aunt a couple years ago before she died. Her daughters gave her to my grandma who gave it to me.

And there are no directions. I have a name - Basket of Love by Jo Carpenter - but can't find anything. So I've been doing some digging on trying to find the pattern. I would like to finish it for the lil' miss before Valentine's Day.

Stay warm!!


Friday, January 13, 2012

I got nothin' but a headache people...

and a long list of chores and complaints.

Our household has a "bug." I'm not sure what kind of bug it is because it has affected each person differently. I thought it had avoided the baby.

Until we went and got hair cuts and some guy says, "Oh ma'am (I hate being called ma'am, I think I'm too young for ma'am), your baby spit up a little." He was being kind, the baby had actually projectile puked down the front of himself and across the lobby of the hair salon. I was apologizing, wiping, paying and high tailing it outta there as fast as I could go with three kids in the winter.

Our family also lost my beloved uncle this week, so I went out of town yesterday and will be out of town on Saturday for the services. He died suddenly and unexpected so it has been quite a shock to all of us.

So between sickness and a death in the family, my life has been chaotic this week. We have no more clean towels and we're on the last set of sheets and blankets. The clean clothes and dirty clothes have taken over the mudroom. My floors are dirty and the kitchen is a mess. We've eaten convenience, quick foods almost every night this week. The house looks like a level 4 hurricane blew though and I want to sew so badly that I can hear my sewing machine softly calling to me in the middle of the night as I try to soothe one of the children. It has been softly calling..."Please...come play with me."

On the bright side, being that we are on day six of sick bathroom is spotless!


Sunday, January 8, 2012

Pancake Mix and Chicken Stock

Like my newfound experiences with making yogurt, pancake mix and chicken stock are two simple things that I've always bought, when making both is easy and much, much cheaper (and better for you).

I think the reason I don't can chicken stock is that I don't have the freezer space to freeze the stock so I have to can it. But canning it requires me to go up to the attic and bring down the pressure canner (if anyone knows how to do it in a hot water bath, I'll love you forever!) to do 3-4 quarts of stock.

But this weekend I did it. I roasted two chickens the other day so went ahead and made stock after I deboned the chickens. It was more work getting the pressure cooker than it actually was making and canning the stock.

Forgive the coloring. Trying to take a picture in Wisconsin in the middle of winter does not make for good picture quality.

I've also been messing around with trying to find a pancake mix my family will like. I think we'll stick with this for awhile and I'll slowly work out the white flour and sugar (or substitute Stevia?). My kids love pancakes so I know there will be a definate cost savings in me making our mix versus buying the mix. This recipe will fill a gallon jar.

Pancake Mix:
5 cups whole wheat flour
5 cups white flour
2 cups milled flax seed
1/2 cup baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
4 tsp. sale

Pancake Batter:
1 1/2 cup mix
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
dash vanilla and cinnamon

If you're like me and very rarely have buttermilk, here's a quick way to make your own at home.

1 tbsp. vinegar or lemon juice and fill with milk to 1 cup

Anything else I should be making instead of buying???


Friday, January 6, 2012

A birthday

I forgot to post about my Christmas baby.

This picture is of my now 5 year old little baby. She surprised us all when she came along. I wasn't expecting her and she wasn't planned (at least not by me but if I've learned one thing over the years is that God has plans for us we don't know about yet). She knows joy and happiness, she is patient and kind. She cares so much for other people. Last weekend we were at a local event and was worried that the people there may not know God. It makes me happy that she knows God and wants God to be a part of everyone's life. She's bright and imaginative and loves the beauty in the world.

She is a little lady and I learn something new from her everyday.

Mama loves you and thank you for being a part of my life!


Thursday, January 5, 2012

My first necklace

Simple...very simple.

All that simplicity took me three tries and four days!

The picture is cut from some scrapbooking paper. This could be fun with fabric scraps also. This is simply a glass pendant and glaze is applied to seal in the picture. Then I attached a jewelry bail and a length of chain.

I bought all of my supplies from Sun and Moon.

It was fun. The little girl has plans for many more!  :)


Monday, January 2, 2012

Ham and Bean Soup

Yesterday was a perfect day for soup around the farm since it was snowing and blowing and downright chilly outdoors. I also wanted something frugal since finances are tight right now. I settled on a recipe I found in our church's cookbook called Bean with Bacon Soup. Then when I stopped at the grocery store and almost cried at the price of bacon, decided to pick up a ham steak and go from there. Then since I don't have chicken bouillon, decided to use some chicken stock, and instead of canned tomatoes, used some leftover fresh tomatoes with green onions from the previous night's fajitas and used canned beans because I didn't have dried navy beans. So then I renamed the soup Ham and Bean Soup.

Ham and Bean Soup
2 cans white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can great northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 ham steak, trimmed and diced
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2-3 carrots, chopped
1 cup chicken stock
1 bay leaf
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 large tomatoe, diced
4 cups water
salt and pepper to taste

Saute ham steak, carrots, onions, and celery (depending upon how much trimming you did you may need to add a little olive or vegetable oil). Add chicken stock, water, spices, tomatoes and beans. Simmer 1-2 hours. Serve!


Sunday, January 1, 2012

Wristlet from the UFO pile

When I was cleaning up and organizing, I found a pile of projects in the UFO (unfinished objects) pile. One of those things was this little wrislet I had bought from Two Peas in a Pod etsy shop. I bought it January 2011. Yes, this little beauty has been sitting on my sewing pile for almost a year.

I bought a wristlet kit that included everything I needed to make this little bag. It's lined with quilted material on the inside as well as a layer of fusible fleece that gives it a little structure.

My daughter immediately claimed it for her and when I asked when I got it back her response was, "Not anytime soon!" At the time I snapped this picture, it was filled with two My Little Ponies and chapstick.

Once I realized how simple this was, I'll be making a bunch more for me! Of course, that's after I finish all the other projects in my UFO pile!  :)


Out withe old and in with the new

Happy New Year!! My sincerest wish to all of you for a bright, safe, healthy, and JOYOUS 2012.

I do not do well with resolutions. I do like reflecting on where I've been and look ahead to where I'd like to be.

2011 was a year of changes for our family. In January, we were blessed with a healthy, happy third child. In April, the Farmer stopped traveling for work and the company I worked for closed. In went from working part-time to not work to working part-time again in August to full-time plus in September. In October, I found out that I would again be unemployed and in November found out that I could keep my job but would have to travel 54 miles one way. In December, I was offered a job 6 miles from my house with a wonderful lady who set my schedule to work three days because she understands the importance and role of family and the constraints of our farm.

Our farm gave us many blessing this year. We had a freezer full of meat from our beef and chickens that were butchered. Our gardens produced an over abundance of produce that we were able to share with others. We added more bees and were again able to share with others. We had a rough year with animals. We lost all but one turkey (Ol' Red is still with us), to predators. Megan, our mule who joined our family this summer, died this winter. We found a home for our horse Sweet Pea, a young man who will train her and ride her (which is what she needs). We lost two sheep to old age and six young beef cattle to the heat. We added Oscar, an adorably ugly little pug, to our family.

Our children have grown and continue to amaze me. My beautiful daughter talks of God's love and has a sweet and caring heart. My wild middle child fills my days full of laughter, hugs and kisses. My lil' baby, with his constant smile, warms my heart and makes me yearn for more. My children are constant reminders of God's love and work in my life. The Farmer and I continue to be healthy and grow in our relationship and we are a joyous family.

In 2012, we want to continue to grow our farm and to live a healthier, more sustainable, independent lifestyle. We want to continue work towards living a more environmentally friendly lifestyle. We want to continue to explore alternative methods to our lifestyle in all aspects of our life.

I want to eat healthier and exercise more. This was hard in 2011 because we were constantly changing and it was hard to establish a routine. I want to cook more, use more fresh fruits and vegetables and continue to work towards eliminating processed foods. I love to cook and bake and want to find ways to work the kids into the kitchen. I see the joy it brings my children to help cook and bake and want to do more of that.

I want to be more organized and have less clutter! We have a small house and we easily become cluttered with "stuff". I've been working on decluttering this past week and it feels heavenly! I'm also embarressed to say that I took one 30 gallon garbage bag full of "stuff" out of the kitchen and bathroom. This will all come slowly as we settle into a routine now that there is some consistency in our lives.

I want to be more crafty this year and be more serious about my hobbies and crafts. I've become lazy and it shows in my sloppiness in my work. That means slowing down and working through the project. I also wanted to add a new hobby/craft I can do with the kids and the lil' lady choose jewelry. So we've been playing with some new jewelry supplies (cuz you know, sticky glaze and a 3 and 5 year old are perfect together!). :) 
I want to grow my sewing skills and get out of the rut of making simple things because I only have a certain window of time.  And I want to crochet more.

We want this year to be a year of growth on the farm. Of getting things in order and addings to our stock (trees, garden, animals and bees). Just as I strive to be more organized in the household, we're also going to strive to be more organized with the farm. We've talked about milking the goats but we're doing it slowly. Research first, then get prepared, then progress forward (I know! What am I thinking?!?!).

And finally we want to be more as a family. No, I didn't forget a word, we just want to be more. More family time, more laughing, more chasing fireflies and just more. After almost 2 years of working evenings, I'm now working days which will leave us for more family time when we are all together. So we just want more family. More chasing, more giggling, more snuggling, more crafting, more silliness, more games, more books, more popcorn, more hot chocolate, more togetherness!!!

I could really write more but maybe I'll end here and just go get started on that MORE!

Happy New Year!