Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Boo-thday, I 'm ALMOST Up There

As in ALMOST 40...but not yet. Next year.

One more year in my thirties and we celebrated like crazy this weekend. All weekend long.

First, we had an outdoor movie night, family style, complete with family and friends.
 We ate hot dogs, s'mores, lots of hot cider, popcorn, chips and know, all the healthy stuff:-)
 Kids jumped on the trampoline and played games like chase until the first movie began.
 We even had friends drive up from Huntsville to help us celebrate.
 Fletcher was shy and pretty much hung on my hip all evening, but that's OK. Anytime a baby wants to cuddle is fine with me.

 It did get pretty cold so the little ones, like Rose and her friend Alex, watched the movie in a sleeping bag. I gave them heated up cherry pit packs to keep them even warmer.
 The teens hung around until their movie started, which was Jurassic Park. It was awesome on a large screen with loud surround sound.
 This is the first year we have not gone to trick or treat. Instead we opted to stay home and eat a yummy dinner of crunchy monster claws, ghoul punch and batty cupcakes. The girls made the cupcakes for me.
 My mom took me and Devin to lunch and then we did a little shopping. I decided that my birthday was a home school holiday, so no school with my little ones. Now, back to reality and housework.One more year to celebrate my thirties and I plan to soak every bit of it up!

Later this week I will start my Hand Made Holiday series with a fun, fun, fun gift you can make in an afternoon.

Thank you to everyone who sent me cards and wished me happy birthday! It was wonderful and I am very blessed.
Have a Spook-Tacular Monday!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Toddlers and Pumpkins

 It is a known fact that in order to home school with little ones and stay focused two things must happen.

 1. You must find even the smallest activity to grab their attention and keep them busy for a wee bit. I have not pulled these felt pieces out in MONTHS! That means he loves them and they seem "new" and we can get some more school done with the big kids.

 2. You must learn to relax, be flexible and allow the house to get messy. It only takes a few minutes to tidy up later and those little kids there who pulled out the mess? They are OLD ENOUGH to pick it all up!

Moving on.....

It was pumpkin carving day here today. It was exciting, it was fun, it was squishy, it was everything a child imagines it would be. That was how my kids would describe it.

Me? Well, let's just say I have fact #2 down well today and took the time to reflect on the fun tradition and relax. :-)
It was a lot of pumpkin to carve and clean.

Oh my we did make a discovery of gigantic proportions this morning, however........

Occasionally, a child here DOES wear shoes!!!! This might be a first!!!

Happy Relaxin' Wednesday!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Monday and Home Made Vanilla

It was a nice day, busy, but nice.

The weekend was very productive and I got lots of sewing finished. Once I get through October I will start a Handmade Holiday Series and share what gifts I am making this year.
They are mostly frugal gifts too, so that's a bonus.

I spent a good hour lastnight glancing through old photos that were taken when the kids were young. The days when I had only toddlers and babies at home.
Those were good times. I appreciate that age so much more now and relish everything. OKAY.... so I do nor relish waking up at 3 am with a screaming baby. But, you know what I am saying, right?

*Fletcher examining Zelda's teeth*

*Zelda soaking up attention from the baby*

I also relish having older kids to visit with and help me with stuff around here. Indiana was a huge help this weekend as I was sewing up some projects. HUGE!
*Indiana came in today just to play with Fletcher for a bit*

This afternoon, after grocery shopping with my young set I decided to make some vanilla extract.
Now, I am a die-hard fan of Mexican Vanilla. I have it stockpiled from trips my mom has taken across the border.
A few weeks ago a friend was telling me about her gourmet vanilla and I started drooling. I also want to be like this friend when I grow up, so I figured I would start here.  Wanna make some too?

Vanilla Extract

 You are going to need 1 pound of vanilla beans. Yep, don't go small with only a few beans. We are making a TON of vanilla so you can share. To make this yummy gourmet stuff, look for Madagascar Bourbon Beans. I bought mine from amazon and they were $30 per 1/2 pound.  Yes, I paid $60 for vanilla beans. I am worth it.
 You also need a gallon of vodka. Buy the cheap stuff. I paid $10 a bottle...skip the Smirnoff, it's too pricy and will not make your vanilla any better.

 Chop the hard end off the beans and then slice it down the middle. See the gooey bean paste? YUMMY!
 Slit all of the beans and put them into 1/2 gallon jars. 2 jars is all you need:-)
 Pour your vodka in. There will be just a smidge left....get yourself some orange juice. You know what to do.
That's it! Oh, wait! Your jars need to be shaken a few times a day for about 2 weeks. Store them in a dark pantry and shake them occasionally. You can start using the extract after 6 weeks, but I would wait for full gourmet favor....6 months. It will be worth it! We'll talk about this in April:-)

Let me know if you decide to make some vanilla too!

Have a dog-gone great week!

Friday, October 21, 2011


It has been a day of sewing, knitting schooling, more sewing, baking, cooking and I don't have room to mention the cleaning that went on here!

This weekend will hopefully be  day to catch up on the sewing projects sitting on my table in my studio.

Right now the little ones are in bed and I am watching a movie (sort of) with the teens. It is nice to have the day wrapped up and I am looking forward to tomorrow, because I plan to accomplish a ton!!!!! LOL

A few things I want to share.

First, I have been gathering my ideas for my handmade Christmas this year. I have several projects lined up  and will figure when I want to unveil them and share a tutorial or the sites where I found the ideas. I am super excited about a few of them!

Next, I am about to get started on my recipe database/blog so that it will easy to link some of the menus I use. Hopefully it will prove helpful to some of you who need another from scratch meal idea.

Finally, it was a sad week here in my local home school community as a young mother to five girls lost her life suddenly. Her friends and family have set up a donation account to help cover medical bills and anything else this sweet family may need as they transition to a life without a mother and wife. If you feel compelled, please donate ANY amount! Lots of small donations can really add up. Also, keep them in your prayers. Here is more info:

Christina Jones Hooker Memorial

Hope your weekend is a kickin' great time!!!!
                                            ***Indiana 2009 Halloween***

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Almost Mid-Week Catch Up

It has been a very busy week, as in I have been doing something constantly since I woke up Monday! :-) Okay, I am known to exaggerate.

First off, we had some friends over Monday and Tuesday. It is Fall break in the area so we decided it was a great time to have a couple friends here to play. I must say that it also gave me an excuse to put school books and projects away for a bit.

Wednesday I loaded up the two teens and my mom for a trip to Huntsville, AL. Oh My Goodness!

We had a great time. You see, my best friend Monique moved down there a couple years ago and I decided to forgive her for leaving me and go see her. I am kidding...I forgave her a year ago, maybe 2 years ago.
Sadly, I did not take as many pictures as I wanted because, well...I was shopping. I can't hold my debit card in my hand and take pictures!

 Because my two teens are fans of the show "Psych" I elected that we eat lunch here at Red Robin. Actually, my girls stayed behind at my friends house to play video games with her teens, so it was my way of being text them and say where I was having lunch. I am a great mom that way.

)Other than the service being super slooooowwwwww. It was great and I am officially addicted to the sweet potato fries. IN FACT, Devin took me out this afternoon to look at new cell phone and I twisted his arm to take me to Red Robin TODAY...just for those fries.:-)

 It is a known fact that Huntsville has great shopping, and it proved itself to me yesterday. One of my favorite shops is Anthropologie. I always browse and drool after the very retro/vintage/awesome items. I never buy anything though because I never see an items under $100 I like. Ahhh...yesterday I fell in love with my new favorite coffee mug there. It only set me back $12. Pure bliss...and I have had 3 cups of coffee from it today. The kids agree it is quite lovely.
 I heard Quinn was not much into the Rock Band session, but she loved the movie "The Princess Bride" and now she knows where her daddy gets some of his goofy quotes.
Before we left, our friends took us for ice cream at the place where the boys work. I am still stuffed from the size small ice on earth does anyone finish the size large????

I am thinking once my checking account recovers I may need another trip down there, say this spring?

Oh, and you know my dear friend Monique has always been the person who I can turn to for advice and inspiration. Yesterday she inspired me with some domestic wisdom.

 Why have I never thought of this sign on my cabinet?????? Yeah, she's a smart cookie, even if she left me a couple of years ago! :-)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Video, Please View!

My dearest friend, a North Korea Human Rights Activist, made this video to enter into a contest. It cannot be entered, though, without 200 views. Will you please view it? Thanks a million!

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Time to Relax

I have said it before and will say it again: Most days I do not get everything done that needs to get done, but that's OKAY.

Even though the weekend flew by quickly, and I didn't seem to accomplish much on my "to do" list, it was beautiful and fall-ish outside. It was still a great weekend.

 Journee got her birthday present early, which was riding lessons at a nearby stable. At first I doubted the value to price ratio, until that first lesson turned into a 9 hour day of riding horses! She even went back the next day for another 5 hours! Yep, she is a wee bit sore and is walking funny, but I was happy to drive her there so she could bask in the awesomeness of the equine species.
Later she relaxed outside with her trusty, life-long companion Zelda.


 Devin got sheeting on the roof of the storage building. This afternoon he and a friend were hammering some shingles on top. It is supposed to rain tomorrow, so he was double-timing the effort.
I imagine in a couple weeks we will move my bee equipment and his tools out there. This will clear the basement so that we can slowly work on finishing the space up.


 Fletcher loved being out on the grass and he thinks that he can chase down those baby chicks and grab one. I have to pull him to safety, as that mother hen is quite protective, yet he still chases them down as fast as he can.
 Though he is not walking yet, not even a step, he is standing up and holding on to things as he walks around. No rush on walking little rush.
 So instead of rushing around and staying super busy, my "to do" list was set aside so that instead I could sit in the grass and watch this cute boy. Time well spent.
 Devin even joined us between working so the baby could climb and rest on his daddy.
 It is time well spent because you know what? My "to do' list didn't disappear. It is still here today and I was able to knock a few things off. Maybe the restful weekend gave my brain a chance to rest and catch up. A slower pace seems appropriate this time of year doesn't it? The weather is cooler and I hear that by Wednesday we will be wanting to start the fireplace up in the morning. Yeah, baby! That means time to sip hot cider and lay on the couch to watch favorite least as often as we can.
So this weekend was a reminder of the season to come. A season to hang out with family and prepare for some time to do nothing but be together. It was also a reminder to add hot chocolate ingredients and hot cider ingredients to the week's store list.


I am working on a new format to share our weekly dinner menus and recipes. It will give me an opportunity to share meals that we use to feed a large-ish family while also keeping me more organized and within a budget.
I try to keep my meals with as little or no processed food, so hopefully that will also be helpful to someone. I will keep you all posted once I get to it all on my list:-)

Meanwhile....Have a great week! Relax when you can!

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