Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Blessings

We are winding down the projects and activities here so that we can sit on our bums, watch movies and eat lots of food. That's my Christmas tradition. Punch, finger foods, and a few cookies.

Before I sign off to enjoy the holiday and my family I have to first show you the fabric for my quilt I am sewing. Actually, it's a Christmas quilt that I am starting so that I will have it done for next Christmas. I know, I know, but this quilt really speaks to me and so I am motivated to start. It will hang on the wall when it's done, something that will one day pass down to a  child or grandchild:-)

Bright colors like I like them! The quilt can be found at Little Miss Shabby and it has embroidery in each of the 12 blocks. I have enjoyed looking through the Flickr group to see what others have made. I am excited to begin!


Next I want to say that I have thought alot about the North Koreans. One of my very best friends works tirelessly as a human rights advocate for the people there and it has become an issue close to my heart. I decided that I would write a letter to Kim Jong Un. Okay, I know he will never read it, but I am going to write a quick note here because I think North Korea doesn't get enough attention. The oppression there is more than I think we can even begin to wrap our brains around. It's Christmas and I want everyone to remember North Korea this weekend as gifts are unwrapped and food eaten.

Dear Kim Jong Un,

You are in a position seldom thrust upon any person in the history of this world. You have in your grasp the ability to force others into submission and compliance OR the ability to show compassion and true leadership so that people look to you willingly as a great person. It is your choice whether the people of North Korea continue to suffer or prosper. It is your choice whether North Korea remains a rogue, brutal and hermit country or an open, liberated country with allies throughout the world. You are the author of your history. Will the books one day tell the story of torture, forced labor camps and starvation or will they tell the story about a great leader who freed his people and allowed them to develop and thrive. Will you be the leader who helped shape an entire nation for the true good of its people? Will you transform years of brutal totalitarian laws into a republic that respects all life? The world is watching you closely to see what kind of man you truly have become. What will you choose?


Last, I want to wish everyone a very merry Christmas. For many this has been a tough year. There have been deaths, injuries, fights, job loss, and just plain bad luck. I hope that for Christmas you all find the blessings and not just the pot holes. Remember that life is short and that there is always a plan, a reason, and a scenario that plays itself out. We are constantly growing and learning. We are truly blessed to be living in a rich and free world, no matter our circumstances.

Merry Christmas!
From My Barefoot Farm!

Friday Phone Dump:

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

It's a Beautiful Thing

We woke up this morning earlier than usual, ate breakfast, got everyone dressed and brushed hair too. This morning the adoption social worker from DFCS came by for her quarterly home visit. It went fine.
She met the children and got to see where we lived. We had to sign ANOTHER form and she went through our list AGAIN of what specifics we were looking for in a child. Now we again wait. Although we do have some specifics (such as a child 5yrs or younger) we are basically pretty flexible, so we will see what happens as we wait. In His perfect timing.

The week has been one of preparations for not only Christmas, but also for Devin's birthday. We are having a family party tomorrow night complete with his favorite meal and desserts. The younger children decided to make some decorations.

 What's a party without awesome decorations? Handmade banners are the most beautiful thing...
Indiana excitedly crafted a construction paper chain to hang up in the kitchen as well.
On top of the decorating, the kids all bathed and washed their hair and picked out some "fancy" clothes to wear tomorrow night! Daddy is going to have a blowout of a celebration tomorrow!


Yesterday I spent a good portion of the afternoon sewing some gifts. Let me share.

 These are bowls that I made from cotton clothes line and strips of scrap fabrics. I am filling them up with nice chocolates for gifts. I really enjoy making these because they are easy, fast and beautiful. Each one is also unique in color and size. If you live locally, you can take a class to learn how to make these at Sew Bee It. Of course I encourage you to take the class because you will love it!

 These I actually made for the two little boys of the house. These zippered bags are the perfect size to carry toy cars and trains around, especially on trips to grandma's house.
Finally, I made these earbud cases. This was my first one I made and it doesn't look as neat as I like, but my next several looked great. I have teenagers who are using them for earbuds, a child who is keeping guitar picks in one, and my youngest girl is using hers as a change purse. The tutorial to make these is done very well, and you will really enjoy it!


It is a well known fact that many holiday traditions include certain foods. I know that I have certain dishes that I only make at Christmas or during this holiday season. One item that is a MUST is our Frost Holiday Punch.
My kids insist on it. They expect it. They ask me everyday if I am going to make it for Christmas Eve. It's that yummy. I also like that I can put it in my punch bowl and it stays cool and slushy. It goes great with a night of finger foods and movies too.

Frosty Holiday Punch

8 C water , divided
3/4 C sugar
6oz package of cherry gelatin powder
46oz can of pineapple juice
2L ginger ale or lemon lime soda

Combine 2 C of water and sugar together in a large pot and bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Add the gelatin and stir until the gelatin and sugar dissolves. Add the pineapple juice and the remaining 6 C of water. Stir well. 
Put the mixture into small containers or freezer bags and freeze. When you are ready for punch, remove frozen punch base from freezer and allow to stand at room temp for about 2 hours. Place in punch bowl and add 2L of ginger-ale or lemon lime soda.

I usually make up 2 or 3 batches at a time so that I always have a quick punch to make for family movie nights as well as the holidays.

With my grocery shopping done and the social worker visit through, the only other large chore on my "to do" list was house cleaning. I must admit that it went fairly smoothly. It helps that we are all excited to celebrate Devin's birthday party tomorrow and that was a positive motivator.

 Of course there is that old saying about cleaning house with young children and shoveling sidewalks while it is snowing. Fletcher is NOT organizing my cabinet in this picture. Life with curious toddlers.
Have a colorful, beautiful week!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Friday, Friday

So basically I have a huge list of things "to do" and I actually got almost all of those things done, sans the items that take up the most time and effort. Clean house and make candy boards.

I woke up this morning ready to finish all of my sewing projects but instead cleaned out the pantry and my studio, aka the laundry room. I am going to put those two items on the list and then cross them off. It will make me feel better:-)

Today is Friday and Christmas is around the corner so naturally my adoption social worker wants to come by next week for a home visit. At 8:30 am. Welcome to adoption through Foster Care 101: the social workers do crazy things like this 4 months after all of your requirements are finished. She's on the ball.....

I can not close without showing you what Zeb decided to do this week while I was too busy to notice his antics.

Hot Chocolate powder tastes better when you dump it on the counter and lick it up like a dog. It's a sure sign that we have had too many dogs around this kid:-)

I know my photos are not many today because, well, I have been cleaning pantries and laundry rooms and changing diapers. Not what I call photo worthy. I will leave with a phone dump.

Have an incredible weekend!!!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Hit the Trail

Today was a day to decompress. It was a day to hang out with the coolest 16 year old on the planet. It was a day to just enjoy.

 We went trail riding at the stable where Journee takes riding lessons. It was fun and I now smell like a horse.
It is so wonderful to see your kids grow and develop their talents. Journee has natural horsewoman skills and she was a pleasure to watch. My bum is just a little sore:-)


Monday I took the youngsters to Pizza Hut for lunch. It was almost free. If you home school, let me tell you that Pizza Hut has a reading program and home school families can participate. The kids get certificates for reading books each month that gives them a free personal pan pizza. It is a nice treat to take them out every so often for a pizza with a topping of THEIR choosing. I took Zeb along and the kid had a blast.


 We are gearing up for Christmas and my new Christmas quilt came in yesterday from my quilter. I was happy to see it and Fletcher REALLY loved it. I think he must love the bright colors. Who wouldn't? It's festive and beautiful and I have almost finished the binding.
 This time of year is a favorite because it allows us the opportunity to be together and to celebrate just being a family. How wonderful to be a family and to decorate the house and sip hot chocolate every evening. Memories are made with each movie and game we play together. Each book we read together plants a seed that we are a family. When you are a large family the memories are multiplied. I was asked today by the stable owner how I can afford so many kids and why do I want so many?
Simply put, I explained that my kids don't get everything they want. We don't buy them new cars and expensive things. Everyone pitches in and works together. It's a large family way of life and we love it.
As to why I want so many? Why wouldn't I? Who turns down the greatest blessing and gift bestowed upon us?
Of course this time of year also adds a great deal of planning and work. My bees need candy boards this time of the year, as a guarantee that they have plenty of food stores. It also allows them ample food for early build up of brood. So my list of things to do not only includes cleaning the house and baking but also making candy boards and putting them on the hives. I taped my long list to the front of my shiny fridge so that it would look extra tacky and really motivate me to get busy. We will see how that works out.


That is my week so far. How is your week going? Are you ready for Christmas?

Hey, at least I have a little elf to help me!

Hope your week is productive and memorable!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Hand Made Holidays: A Gift Your Kids Can Make Part Deaux

 FIRST!....keeping it real........

For the record, my infant (who is actually 15 months old) still does not sleep through the night. Go figure.
It's perplexing and sometimes down right frustrating. last night I ended up sticking him in bed with me and we both got some sleep...well until he started rolling and kicking me in his sleep at 2 am. I must mention that he was wearing those footed pjs with the textured soles on the feet. That adds a whole new dimension to the pain of a baby kick on your face.

This weekend we actually bribed the kids to watch and play with the little ones for a couple of hours so we could go back to bed! Shameful? Not one bit! I offered $5 to the children but they wanted a 2 liter soda instead. The scene at meal time was crazy.
One day I hope to have them all drinking from a glass! Yep, we have great table manners here. We look like true health nuts! was worth the couple hours of rest though!

I say all of this to say that I woke up feeling a bit overwhelmed with my schedule for the next few weeks. There were too many *things* on it. Too many appointments. This is when my smart self realizes that it is my own fault. To remedy the problem I simply called and moved all of the eye and dental appointments to January. Done. My calender looks better and I feel better. Now I can focus on Christmas and family...NOT a kazillion appointments!

That is my pearl for the day:-)

Here is my craft for the day.
Truly your kids can make these up quite quickly.

Jelly Jar Pin Cushion

 Gather a jam jar with a lid, some scrap fabric, poly stuffing or cotton balls, and pins or sewing supplies such as buttons. You will also need a glue gun.
 Cut a large square from the fabric and tuck it down into the band and start stuffing some poly filling  in it.
 Put the lid down into the band and trim the fabric and also pull it tight.
 You should have something like this.
 Now glue the excess fabric down with your glue gun.
 It will look a little messy, but it should be all glued down.
 Gather some sewing supplies or buttons to fill the jar and then screw the new lid on.

 Place about 10 or so pins on the top.
 Show off your new gift you made!!!!!
 Make another one with a smaller jam jar. Fill this one with pretty buttons!
How's that for fast and easy? Who can your child make one for?


Hope your week's not too crazy ya'll!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Baby It's Cold Outside

 What can I say? I love Sammy Davis Jr. and I think this is my favorite Christmas song!

 The weather has gotten colder and so we decided it was time to pull out the tree and decorate! I am so glad that we did not start decorating before Thanksgiving. The excitement builds and is much for fun with little ones when the decorations come out closer to Christmas.

 We are bubble light fanatics in this house and have a tree that is wrapped with large colored lights and bubble lights. Because the lights get mighty warm, though, we decided to stay with a cool, white light tree to keep little fingers safe.
 We always love home made decorations and the salt dough ones we made last week turned out beautiful. I think the little ones did a fantastic job painting them.
 I tend to just pile all of the ornaments into one big box. The kids spend hours sifting through them, looking for ones they made and ones that they hold dear. This is honestly my favorite part of decorating, to see how excited the girls get and to experience their cherished Christmas memories through their eyes.
 I even have a few decorations that I adore the most. One cannot live here near Chattanooga without Rock City commemorated on the property in some fashion.
 Fletcher thinks the tree is a blast! With toddlers we have found it is best to keep precious and breakables up high. We do keep plastic balls (no hooks) low and a few expendable ornaments low for the little ones to pull off and place back on the tree. I do not see any reason to constantly say "no" to a young child who is naturally drawn to the beauty and glimmer of the tree. Who wants to hear "no" all day? It's better to give them a chance to "help" by placing appropriate ornaments low.
 I finished quilting my new tree skirt just in time and love that I used all scraps from my fabric stash! I now have something handmade that I can pass down one day. The bright colors will look fabulous with the bubble light tree too.
 The dogs enjoy the lights too. It's amazing how a simple, decorated tree can draw every one and every thing together!
 I did place some glass ball ornaments on a cake plate on the table for a display. They are cool and Zeb thinks that it's really cool that he can see himself in them. That is absolutely one of the most beautiful things about having kids too. They can find treasure and pleasure in the most simple things that we, as adults, don't give a second thought to. Have you ever stared into a glass ornament with amazement like that?

 This week we have decorated, made shopping lists and talked about all the preparations we will be making for the up coming weeks of celebration. We are blessed, we are happy, and we are thankful to be a large family.
We also decided to share  our fortunes and sponsor another child. Instead of sponsoring through Compassion, however, we chose a child through Amazima. If you haven't read Katie's book yet, then I highly suggest you do. It's amazing how little it costs to help support a child in Uganda. It was a gift to our family this year. If you are looking for a gift for someone consider a child sponsorship. So anyway, we are now blessed with another family member, Rebecca in Uganda. Life is so good to us.

This weekend we will be finishing up a few projects and getting packages ready to ship out to family members and friends. We will do more school next week and then take a break for Christmas. I will have another craft idea Monday...yeah I know I keep saying that:-)  I was busy this week knitting scarves for some of my lady friends with whom I eat out each month.

On a completely different subject, I have to share a photo of two of the dogs. If you have a weimeranar, then you know their personalities. They are really serious and yet goofy dogs at the same time. They also sit funny. An example is this picture we took of Arwen sitting on Zelda. What was that crazy dog thinking?

Have a super duper weekend!!!!

I am going to close with a phone dump! See you Monday!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Random on Friday

Today I have had a little baby clinging to me. Literally. He hangs and fusses and clings.

 This is life with little ones and hopefully he will be better tomorrow. It was still a good day and I was inclined to celebrate with a yummy drink in a pretty wine glass.

High fructose corn syrup and caffeine always tastes better in a wine glass. It was a simple way to celebrate the day while cooking dinner. *Cheers*

Celebrating the small things. Sometimes the best gifts are the small ones. This week I made a few small gifts and wanted to create a lovely wrapping for the gifts.  

 This was perfect and so easy. In fact, this has been one of my favorite wrappings to sew to date!
It closes up into a pretty flower like pouch. You can find the wonderful tutorial HERE!! You need not be an expert seamstress to make these either:-) Wouldn't you love to get a small gift in one of these beauties?

 Speaking of beauties, Journee found this little guy last night near our chicken lot. He has injured his wing so she brought him inside and has been nursing his wounds.
He is a winter ruddy duck. A male, and boy is he feisty! We hope to rehabilitate him and set him free. If the wing does not heal, we will keep him around the property with our other ducks. He's sure a soft little fella and we are enjoying him.

Finally, in lieu of crafting another gift this week, we decided to make some ornaments. The girls had a friend stay over for the night and so we whipped up some good old fashioned salt dough.
 The girls rolled the dough out and used cookie cutters to make ornaments.
 Even Zeb had a great time rolling his dough out all by himself.
 Tomorrow we will pull out all the craft paint to color them and add some yarn to hang them on the tree.
Need the recipe?

Salt Dough

1/2 C salt
1 C flour
1/2 C water
Mix well and knead. Bake at 200 for about 2 hours.

It's a Christmas memory for the making.

Have a beautiful weekend!

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