Sunday, March 2, 2014

For the birds...

Are these not the most adorable little birds that you ever did see?! My extremely crafty (and beautiful) 11 year old daughter, Lacey, made this pattern and she told me she wanted me to share it with you guys.

The next time you and the kids are stuck inside the house with nothing to do…like maybe on a Sunday afternoon or a snowy Winter morning…turn on this song (really loud), pull out the pretty paper, scissors, some glue sticks, make a big mess all over your kitchen table, and whip up some Spring time birds to hang around your cozy little home.

Things you'll need:
Pattern ~----->>>>>>>>>
Pretty Paper ~ we chose to use brown paper bag for the primitive look for these, but pretty spring colored paper would be nice, too.
Scissors
Glue sticks
Thin string ~ for hanging

Right mouse click on the pattern pic, click copy image and paste in word, print. Cut out bird pattern onto your pretty paper. Fold tail piece in half on dotted line. Place onto flat back part of bird body and glue in place. Fold wing piece in half on dotted line and place over the top of tail and neck area of body…(see pic above for better idea on how to place pieces together). Poke hole with thumbtack and place string through the hole for hanging.

Thanks for the pattern, Lacey Gracey Girl!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Together...

Kelly

I love your eyes and gorgeous hair
When you smile I have to stare

You have personality with wonderful glow
Your beauty is like none other I know

I wake up each morning with you on my mind
No better love on earth will I ever find

My love goes beyond body, mind, and soul
You complete me and make me whole

My love for you is so completely true
That I want to spend my life with you

Now I can't go on further than today
without uttering these words I want to say

So listen carefully to this plea
Kelly, will you marry me?




Thursday, February 20, 2014

Garden...

Hey hey my Garden Girlfriends!! You know what time it is…time it is….to plan those Spring and Summer gardens…wahoo! Can you believe outdoor gardening will here so soon? Just next month we'll be planting our sweet peas, lettuce, and spinach..outside..in the garden..yay!

Now that I have my garden plan laid out, it's also time to make a list of all the seeds I'm going to need. I'll check my seed inventory to see which seeds I have and which seeds I'll need to order. For the past few years I've been ordering most of my seeds from this family owned heirloom seed company. I trust that the seeds are in fact heirloom and I've never had a problem with the seeds or working with the company.

Anyhow, what are your garden plans for this year? Are you going to try planting something new this season? I'm thinking I'll stick with our tried and true favorites in the "big garden" and try planting some large gourds in a couple of big containers. I'll set the containers out of the way somewhere so they can be free to grow without me having to worry that they'll take over my vegetable garden. I'm thinking a neat project for the kids to do this fall will be to make some pretty birdhouse gourds, maybe even try to sell a few.

So here it is, our plan for this season….
If you're not familiar with Square Foot Gardening you might be wondering what all those dots on my planning page is all about. Well, each one of those dots represents a plant (Isn't that awesome how you can produce 16 carrots in each sf?!). The plant size determines how many plants can be planted into a square foot area, hence the name Square Foot Gardening. As you can see this technique is much more productive than the traditional row gardening, and a lot easier, too.

The first few conventional gardens we tried failed and left me feeling discouraged. I would look around at all the beautiful Amish gardens in our area and wonder why we couldn't produce something like that. Looking back now I can see that our problem was that we were first..very inexperienced and second..a bit lazy (well I am anyway). We didn't know enough about having the right soil conditions, fertilizing, rotating crops, and watering and weeding and all that. And what I did know about it just made me feel overwhelmed with the whole thing. But, enthusiastically, every Spring we would plant our garden, and every year we would never produce a whole lot of anything, just a bunch of weeds (herbs, if you're an all-around naturalist). We would till the soil and it would start off looking so nice and soft, but then we'd get a good rain and the whole garden would be hard as a rock..our soil is mostly clay here. Plus we would have to consistently weed (and nobody likes doing that, especially in the middle of hot and humid July). BUT, one beautiful Spring day all that changed! I just happened upon a book called Square Foot Gardening. This one little book opened up a whole new world of gardening for us. This book made gardening sound easy and fun. I couldn't wait to give it a try. Finally, there was hope that we could have a productive and attractive garden too. Here's what our first year SFGs looked like. (Some you may remember this from our blog, Joy in the Journey :)

I was amazed at all the plants that we could grow in one square foot. All with no fertilizing, no weeding, no crop rotation…just watering a little now and then. It worked out so well that the following year we decided to convert the "big garden" into one big gigantic SFG. When we did this…it was like magic. We were finally growing lots of yummy fresh vegetables in this garden as well. Here's what our "big garden" looks like after we switched it to SFG. The only down side to having a SFG in this type of set up is that you do have to weed more often than you would doing the SFG in a box which has the weed block underneath, but for some reason weeding doesn't bother me as much now (really, it doesn't). I think probably because the garden looks so pretty that I enjoy keeping it that way. Plus every morning I would be out there looking and inspecting, the weeds never had a chance to take root and ruin my beautiful garden. 





Sorry for all the pics, I just couldn't help myself. I'm sooo ready to be outside working in the sunshine and soil! :)
Well, my Garden Girls, I'm looking forward to hearing all about your gardens and plans for this year, too! :)

Love,
Me


Monday, February 17, 2014

Happy Birthday, Dad...

Dear Dad,

Today is February 17th, your birthday.. but you knew that already. Down here on earth, in PA, it's cold, and snow covers almost everything on the ground outside. But it is a bright, beautiful, sunny morning.

If you weren't celebrating your special day up in heaven right now, I know exactly what you would be doing if you were still here…you would be right now sitting at your favorite greasy spoon having bacon, eggs, and white toast. How perfectly I can see you, seated across from me, flirting with the good-natured waitress as she cheerfully pours your second cup of hot coffee. You'd look at me and flash me a quick wink and grin as you set down your cigarette to add your teaspoon of sugar to your cup. I'd smile back and feel proud of my handsome dad. 

I so miss those times, Dad. The kids do, too. Especially Jared who probably spent the most time in those greasy spoons with you and me. He still remembers mornings at the Beehive and you putting your quarter into the little table jukebox to hear the song by Dion, "He's a Wanderer". While sitting next to you, Jared would bounce around in his seat as he listened to the music. You and I would laugh at his silliness. 

Do you remember the rainy day when you and I went to that indoor flee market. I think it was near Jenkintown, wasn't it? I had just moved out of your place and into that cute little apartment in Andalusia. You had left me for a couple minutes, telling me to wait right where I was. I was innocently  looking around at the crowds of people when all of a sudden I spotted the prettiest brown wicker table and four chairs set. Just what I needed for my new place. I instantly fell in love with it and had to purchase it right then and there (before anyone else could spot it and get it, of course). This all happened so quickly. And all while you went to use the bathroom. So fast that I didn't even have time to think about how I was going to get this beautiful furniture to fit into your little  silver corvette that brought us there that day. When you came back to where you left me and I excitedly showed you my new treasure, you were anything but thrilled….You, in fact, were sooo mad…hahaha...But I had to have it!! And as it turns out you ran into a friend from your work that just so happened to have a truck and he made a special delivery to your house for us. And like I would often tell you and you always hated when I did... God provided! lol

I'd do anything to go back to that day and hear you yelling (in a loving way, of course) at me. I miss you, dad. 

I miss being able to call you on the telephone and hearing your voice.

I miss you sitting at your kitchen table and seeing the motorcycles and parts all over your house, and that yucky smell of cigarettes that would linger on me and the kids for hours after we'd leave. 

I miss our weekly visits together, and hearing you complaining about me and Jay. I'll never forget your enthusiasm and excitement over finding Jimmy that day back in April.

I miss the sound of your motorcycle starting up and watching you as you ride off down the road.

You were a good dad, a good man. I'm proud to be your daughter. I love you and miss you greatly. I'm looking forward to that awesome day when I'll see you again, face to face. 

Whenever I hear this song I think of you. So I'm dedicating it to you today for your birthday. Happy Birthday!

 Love,
Me  




Thursday, February 13, 2014

Love...

~Love~

Though I speak with words that would impress the most educated people around and have not love, I am just talking.

And though I have received the gift of a Jupiter stone grain mill, and possess the best food processor on the market, and have understanding in all there is to know about eating healthy, primitive diets, and the benefits of cod liver oil; and though I have faith in the blessings of butter, so that I could live to be a hundred years old, and have not love, I am nothing.

And though I give money to feed the poor, I pray and go to church 4 times a week, and have not love, it profiteth me nothing.

Love is talked down to, lied to, falsely accused, and is still kind.

Love never tries to make others feel stupid or not good enough.

Love knows that to manipulate, control, or belittle will only poison relationships.

Love doesn't puff itself up or make self appear better than others.

Love enjoys other's differences without trying to change them.

Love rejoices in truth. Believes the best in others.

Love knows that our own imagination can and does work against us.

Love never faileth, but whether I have lots of friends, they shall fail, whether I'm dressed in the prettiest dresses or drive the latest minivan, these, too, shall vanish away.

Often my focus is on the here and now, but then when I see my Lord face to face which of these three will abide?

* My organized, spotless clean house?
* My children's academic abilities?
* Or Love? The kind of love that makes a difference 

John 14:34-35

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Cabin Fever...


HELP! It's February! And it's supposed to be the "love" month. Is there a whole lota lovin' going on around your place? Here, in our little house in the country…we have 6 rambunctious kiddos, a big dog, 2 eternally fighting female cats, and an extremely loud/vocal canary bird (who's just trying to be heard). And on top of all that, right now we all have a major case of cabin fever going on!! We are all snowbound in this house, all day..for eternity(ok, not eternity, just a few days, but it sure feels like eternity sometimes)…together…and, well, things can be anything, but loving around here lately.

Wouldn't be great if we could all just be perfect and get along together, joyfully, lovingly, during stressful times like these? Oh, whata wonderful world this would be! lol But we know that reality is sometimes quite different than what we wish things could be. So, what do I do?

Unfortunately, I've learned, that me being passive will not produce good results, in me or the people around me, in the loving department. Children left to themselves, we know, will bring a mama shame and will drive us to craziness, too. :) We've got our work cut out for us, don't we? It's a mama's job to set the tone in the home. If we're moody, grouch, and lacking love/patience than be sure our children will most certainly act the same way. Children are the mirror image of their parents. We must be a vigilant and active participant, or at least a consistant happy and loving mom, in order to produce good fruit, the fruit of love, in ourself and in our children. Here are a few things that we can do to make our little houses a place where love abounds and to help us make it through this very long, trying, and thankfully shortest month of the year…February.

* We have gotta start with the God of love. Oh, I'm not talking about Eros or Cupid here. I mean God almighty, Jesus, controlling our heart and filling it with His unending love. Without Him, I seriously believe that it will be next to impossible, if not impossible, in this unloving, unforgiving, self seeking day and age we live in, to have a home filled with love and goodwill towards others. It is majorly difficult to maintain a bond of love, when we do have Him. I could NOT imagine trying to succeed in the most difficult area in my life...humbling myself to choose to love, everyday..without Him.  1 John 4:16 kjv

* Listen to good, happy, up-lifting music. One of our favorite singers is the awesome Steven Curtis Chapman. You gotta hear this new song by him, it's our new favorite "love"song…"A little more time to love". Turn it on, turn it up, grab a kid, and dance all around singing and laughing. Now that's love, active love!


* Make a super big bowl of overly buttered (butter makes everybody happy) popcorn and pull out the games...Monopoly, Uno, Apples to Apples, Jenga (thanks to my cuz, George and his family, for introducing us to this game..we love it!), Wits and Wagers, etc, etc. Make sure to make it fun, laugh and be silly.

* Make a big batch of hot cocoa in your handy dandy crockpot..with lots and lots of marshmallows. Gather together all the kids and have them sit in front of the warm cozy fire drawing/or doing something quite while you read aloud "The Long Winter" by Laura Ingalls Wilder or any book, really.

* Remember that this, too, shall pass…February will soon be over and March will make way for beautiful Spring which will usher in warmth, singing birds, forsythia, tulips, plenty of sunshine and rain, and mud, and dirty floors. ;)


Big Batch Cocoa
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup water
1 gallon milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 stick of butter (remember butter makes everybody happy, plus it makes the cocoa taste really, really good..trust me :) 

In large pot mix water, sugar, cocoa, salt till bubbly. Add milk,vanilla, and butter. Heat till warm not boiling. Pour all into crock-pot and keep on low or warm all day long. Have lots of mini marshmallow, whipped cream, peppermint sticks on hand. 


Saturday, March 16, 2013

Family Learning Magazine...

Hello Sweet Mama,

This year we've been focusing on the joys of writing for our learning projects around here. Since doing this we've come up with a monthly magazine. Well, more like a journal. It's an account of our home learning, family centered, Jesus focused journey. Each month is filled with crafts, projects, books we've read, big batch cooking, garden ideas, copy work, and much, much more.

I can't tell you how much fun I've had putting these together. When I first started them in October, I wanted them to be for just our kids, for when they get older and might need a bit of encouragement, especially with home learning. I wanted them to be an inspiration, an encouragement, and a blessing years from now. But why wait? And why save them for the kids only? I believe that If I were a different homeschooling mama, or even if I didn't homeschool, I would be blessed by them.

They are not perfect, I'm sure, we are not perfect. There will be mistakes. We are not experts in any area, but we do try our best. There are lots of distractions and little time for perfection. However, I believe you'll be inspired. My hope is that as we become more experienced in producing these magazines/journals, they will keep improving, as we keep growing and learning.

The magazines will be ready at the end of each month. I know this may be an annoyance to some of you that may look forward to it coming at the beginning of the month. To maybe follow along or something. But like I've said, this magazine is a little different in that it is more like a journal of sorts. Recounting what we've done through out the month. Perhaps, it could eventually turn into more of a magazine that you could follow along with, and we could get the magazine out at the end of each month before, but not right now. Remember, we have limited time and attention to devote entirely to a magazine. We have 6 little ones that must have our love and attention first. You understand, I'm sure.

Here is February's issue. The cost is $5.00 per back issue. $30.00 for 12 issues per year, maybe extras. I'm aiming for at least 30 pages per magazine. They come as digital download or printed format. If you'd like the issues printed there will be an extra cost of shipping/handling.

Please email me with questions, comments, ideas, or just to chat. scottid2@yahoo.com
It may take up to 24 hours after payment is received to access your download to Family Learning PDF.


Family Learning