Sunday, December 23, 2012

Merry Christmas!

This week has been one full of last minute sewing gifts and whipping up yummy treats in the kitchen.

Today Devin is finally off from work and so we plan to sit around and watch movies. That's all. Of course we will have to milk the cow and do those pesky farm chores first. I say pesky because it is all of a sudden winter here in Georgia. It's a very chilly 26 degrees out this morning.

If you are up north reading this you can stop laughing now:-) 26 is very cold for a southern girl:-)

I told myself that I would try a recipe or two from my Pinterest page. I pin a ton of stuff and never attempt to make them. Well, yesterday I made Santa Mix.

Mine doesn't look as yummy as the original blogger , but it's pretty good and the little boys love those hats! Here is the recipe!


I bought a new quilt pattern a couple of weeks ago because it was on sale and I really loved the snowman quilt. Actually it's 12 quilts...small ones you can hang up.

Talk about a great stash buster! My plan is to make one each month. I started with January and I have set out my fabrics for February. Here is the Happy Snowman for January.

He's hanging up and making the kitchen a litter brighter. I can't wait to start the next one. It's nice to have a short and quick project. I have several quilts that I am a few years into making and at times I am not sure they will ever get finished. That's the life of a quilter though. Too many fabrics and not enough time.
I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas! Eat lots of goodies and enjoy the season and your families!
I couldn't send out a card to everyone, so here is our family picture.....complete with Yoda. He brought some fabulous light sabers for us to use. We had  a great time.
Merry Christmas from My Barefoot Farm


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Denial or Distraction

Today I had a ton of things to do. Tomorrow the weather  is turning more winter like with a cold rain moving in, and so we needed to get the coops padded down with extra straw and all of the outside chores completed.
I made candy boards for the bees and needed to get those placed on hives as well.
So I woke up feeling rather overwhelmed and did what I thought would be the best thing to do.

I spent the morning making candles.

I figure I was either in denial of all that I needed to accomplish or I was simply too distracted with more fun projects.
I bought some soy wax flakes and decided to melt them to make these simply wonderful jar candles. I plan to store a small book of matches under the lids and have a nice set of emergency candles ready to go in the event of a power outage. These will burn about 40 hours each.
Since I was in full candle making mode I pulled out my bees wax too and made even more candles.


I make candy boards for the hives each year and get them on the hives by Dec. 22nd.  Today I am happy to say all of the boards are in place and my hives all looked great...I even got a couple of stings through my bee suit:-)

Candy boards are simply a piece of wood similar to the hive inner cover that I cover with a sugar syrup that is boiled to the hard crack stage. I place them candy side down on the hives so the bees have a little extra food to see them through Jan and Feb.

I usually spend about 6 hours in the kitchen boiling syrup to make the boards but this year I tried a no cook method.
I mixed together granulated sugar, honey (I had some goldenrod honey here that came from my father in law. You can use water if you do not have honey.) and some Honey Bee Healthy stimulant. I mixed it until it looked like wet sand.

I placed a pollen patty in the center of the board and then placed the sugar on there. I pressed it down so that it was more compact.

Once the board was covered I placed it in the oven at 200 degrees and let it bake for about 20 minutes. My goal was to just liquefy it a tiny bit. Once it was done, I carefully set it out to cool.

I stacked the boards with some wood shims between them and allowed them to harden. It took about 24 hours and they were ready to be placed on hives.
This will be much needed food for the bees. The winter has been mild so far and so the bees are more active and eating lots more of their food reserves.


I did get all of my chores completed so I will spend tomorrow wrapping up a few errands then I plan to be home, home, home. The cold weather and the holidays really should be spent watching movies and relaxing. I plan to do as much of both as I am able.

What are your plans this week? Are you ready for Christmas or are you a last minute planner?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Tree, Pigs and Crafts?

The tree went up a couple of nights ago, and you know what that means?
It means that I have less than two weeks to craft, sew, and relax to enjoy the season.

I remember a time, many years ago, when we did not have enough ornaments to cover the tree. Now we have too many!

Of course a tree with a toddler is always fun, right? You get to pick up ornaments off the floor all day and redecorate the tree all day too. Fletcher found himself a branch to call his own and has about 10 shiny balls hanging there.. Thank goodness they now make the shiny ball ornaments from plastic.


I wanted to update on the pigerators. They have done a remarkable job tilling the garden area.
They are still quite active at digging the ground but in the mornings they can be found stretched out and soaking up the warm sun. They have doubled their size since we got them in late October.


Kid craft day.
Every year near Christmas we have friends over to play, relax and make an ornament.
This year we had some friends over that we just don't get to hang out with often enough.
We popped popcorn for a snack and had a great time crafting a tissue paper ornament. This craft can be completed with some help by even your smaller ones.

This craft was inspired by Wee Folk Art. They posted a beautiful winter scene craft using tissue paper.

Seriously, this was a fabulous craft and everyone enjoyed it so much.

I cut up tissue paper (some I saved from the last birthday here) into squares and placed the pieces in a bowl for easy access.
Essentially the kids glued the paper pieces to a piece of cardstock using a simple glue stick.

After the card was covered with tissue paper, the kids drew a design on the back, such as a tree shape, and then cut the design out.

Add a hole at top and a piece of ribbon and you have a hand made ornament your kids can hang on the tree. Don't forget to write their name and the year on back!

These would also make great Valentines and all sorts of ideas can be thought up with this simple idea.

Here's to a busy week . We are celebrating Devin's birthday this weekend and then school will be set to the side until after the new year! I think some baking and crafting will be in the forecast next week.

Kid Craft Day was a success and it is a tradition that we always love. What fun traditions have you added to your school year?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Christmas Yoda

Usually I am that person who can't quite get it together enough to send out Christmas cards. I try.

I like to send out New Year cards complete with a family picture. A goofy picture usually.

I want to capture the real us. We are not the dress up and stand in front of a perfectly decorated tree kind of family. Our tree is decorated only on the top half and we just do not dress up. We don't buy Christmas pajamas or fancy dresses. Heck, we don't even have a single decoration up yet.

This year my big brother gave us a really cool family gift. He gave us a life sized Yoda.

Yeah it's really, really cool. Thanks, David!
Anyway, we decided that (because we are nerds awesome) we would make our family pictures with Yoda....from here on out.
A new family tradition was born this afternoon. Now, we have about 50 pictures to comb through and Quinn is going to tinker with them a bit on photoshop. I will post our official family photo once we have it completed.


Arwen update!

The girl doggie is doing really well. Last week I took her to the vet because she just wasn't quite herself. She was running a fever and needed a new antibiotic. I am happy to say she is doing great now and finishing up her meds.

Sunday we had beautiful and warm weather so I took her outside for a long walk. Here she is chewing on a black walnut. You can see how great her back looks.
The only issue I have now is that she wants outside constantly to roam and I am too apprehensive to let her out alone. I don't trust her or whatever it was that injured her.


I checked on my bee hives over the weekend and darn it two have died. One was actually weak to start with so I wasn't shocked.

The other hives looked great and the bees were bringing in pollen. I have no clue where they are getting the pollen but the weather has been so nice that my grass is greening up again.


My new plan for the new year is to learn to spin wool. I have a friend who spins and she graciously offered to teach me. I am very excited and started reading a book about spinning.

Do any of you guys spin wool or own sheep? I'd love any advice or suggestions!
Shoot me an email!

I hope you all have a great week!!!!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Three Ideas for Holiday Home Schooling

This time of year we get more crafty. There is something about Christmas music humming in the background that makes us want to pull out felt and construction paper and create.

Yes, we are back into full school mode post Thanksgiving but we are also focusing on creating.

Today I wanted to share with you some of the things we are doing because they are pretty cool and some of you will find them cool too.

First, we have Rainbow Dragon.  This is a company I came across at our local curriculum fair this year. They offer these neat designs to color and they are awesome to color and they are REALLY great for those kids who have trouble with focus.

They have large sheets of these designs, but these here are actually ornaments for the Christmas tree.
We also have the markers that they offer. They are a little pricey but they are high quality and worth the cost.

I suggest you check them out. Rainbow Dragon. Our tree will be so pretty with these colorful beauties!

Next we have a custom game that the kids are making. This is again something I bought at the local curriculum fair but only brought it out this week.

Bare Books offers many blanks items for your child to customize, but we are making a board game. The girls decided to base the game off Monopoly and have created Farm-Opoly.
They are coloring and customizing the money, the board and the cards.

Excuse the poor quality picture! :-( The game kit comes complete with the board, player pieces, a timer, spin wheel, blank cards and blank money.
I think these would make great Christmas gifts! If you have a creative kid, go see what Bare Books can offer!

Finally I want to show you all a wonderful music program I bought many years ago and still use today.

Color the Classics is a simple program that teaches a little about music composers and has a matching music cd so the children can hear the songs.
During the holidays, though we pull out the Christmas Book and learn about the famous and well known Christmas songs.

Inside the book are stories about the beloved Christmas songs. After the short history lesson, the kids can color a picture about the song while listening to the actual song.

It is a great way to introduce some music appreciation and learn about the meanings behind the music.

Color the Classics actually has the Christmas Classic program on sale now!

Of course I did purchase some more felt last night and hope to have the kids sewing some more ornaments this weekend. I will post when and IF they turn out like I hope:-)

I hope you are having a great week!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Magic Sand and All That Jazz

I cannot believe that Thanksgiving is already here. Needless to say, it snuck up on me and we did not do all of the Thanksgiving homeschool activities and crafts that we usually do the week of the big holiday.

Oh well. It's not that big a deal, and I am sure we will have another Thanksgiving next year:-)
Sometimes, as a home educating family, it is not possible to fit in ALL of the activities and lessons that you have planned. The important thing is to give yourself a break and move on.
Christmas is coming up next so we will prep and plan for those activities. I am sure we will not fit everything in that I have planned BUT that's OK:-)


Yesterday we had four friends over for the day. After lunch we did whip together a small project.
Can you tell that it had the little boys excited?

The boys literally climbed on the counter to help mix the Magic Sand.

Magic Sand

8 Cups flour
1 C baby oil

Mix well.

This play sand feels incredible and is really fun to mold into shapes and play with, and your tactile learners will enjoy drawing letters and numbers with their fingers.

The weather was nice and I needed to clean the kitchen up from lunch so we took our box of sand out to the back deck. I doubled the recipe and used 16 cups flour and 2 cups baby oil. I buy my flour in bulk from Costco for baking and used that flour for this project.

It was a fun activity that kept the little boys occupied for some time. I plan to take the box to my moms for Thanksgiving so my young set can play with it outside some. The weather will be very nice on turkey day.

And see my hair in that picture?

It's gone pixie this season. Sometimes I throw caution out and do crazy stuff like chop the hair off. It makes getting ready much quicker in the morning and I therefore have more time to savor my coffee from my favorite panda bear mug:-)

Here's to a new season of thanks, magic sand for tots, and a chic look for winter.

Have a GREAT Thanksgiving!!!!!!!!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Fender and Bianca

The list gets larger each year on the number of animals we have here and so does the feed bill. What can I say? We love animals and we have 7 children who love them also.

An old friend from high school contacted me about adopting his two cats and he wanted to include the food and vet care costs to boot. I admit that although I was a little unsure about taking in more animals, the girls have erased that apprehension since the arrival of Fender and Bianca. They are fabulous cats!

The cats "live" upstairs where all of the kids' rooms are, but they like to venture out at night downstairs. This evening Fender decided to brave the downstairs and came to me for petting just as I was sitting down to type this post.

Life for these two sweeties is much different than what they are used to and so they are still adjusting.
They have lots of children and animals around them all day and at night they sleep with one of the kids. Who doesn't love sleeping with a cat at their feet?
I keep hoping one will sleep with me but I think the electric blankets on the kids' beds are more attractive to these new feline family members.

There is no lack of attention around this house, and when you are soft and furry it is a guarantee that someone wants to hold you.

So I wanted to show everyone our new furry friends. They are adjusting well, especially considering they came from a peacefully quiet home to my wild and active home. I expect that within another week or so they will be hanging out downstairs with the entire family and hopefully taking a few naps on my bed. Maybe I should invest in an electric blanket too:-)


Hope your weekend was fabulous!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Dog Drama

I want to catch ya'll up on what happened last week to one of the dogs. I warn you now that there will be a picture that is quite gruesome. If you have a squeamish stomach you might want to just skip todays' post and come back Wednesday:-)

We have three large dogs. Two are American Bulldogs and the other is a Weimaraner

These dogs stay inside and outside. At night I like to keep them on the front porch with a dog bed so that they can keep coyotes off the property. They will often spend their nights running off the porch in a mad dash to chase critters away.

They are all great dogs with children and we love them very much.

Thursday I woke up and upon entering the garage from the kitchen I found what seemed to be a crime scene from CSI. There was blood soaked into my rug and there was blood all over the garage floor. No animals were in site but the children and I quickly ran around trying to account for all of our pets.

The cats were all fine, the cocker spaniel was fine, the bulldogs were fine. The Weim, Arwen, was not fine. We opened the front door to find her standing on the porch wanting inside. She looked like this.

She looked terrible but she was walking fine. She also had a huge slice on her left side.

Journee and I immediately loaded her up and rushed her to the vet. Once we arrived they took her back and within 15 minutes had a plan to send her immediately to surgery. The owner of the vet practice does all of the complicated cases and he was ready to get started.

We have no idea what happened. Here is what the vet can almost 100% rule out.  He does NOT think it was a car or a train (we live right next to a RR track). It was NOT a dog attack or a barbed wire fence. He said it looked more like a knife or large blade type of damage. He also said she had fractured a bony process on one of her vertebrae.
He came to the conclusion that she was sliced with a bush hog mower or some other type of large mower. Of course this happened sometime between 6am-8am and the property right next to us had not bush hogged. I may never know what happened.

After two days of vet stay we brought her home.

She looked so much better! The vet did a great job. He did have to remove a large section of skin and fat so she will always have a little bit of deformity as far as the way her back looks.

She has over 100 stitches and about 8 drains. She is eating well and is taking two pain killers and two antibiotics. I am giving the dog 6 pills twice a day. Thank goodness for sliced cheese:-)

I am keeping her confined in a dog crate in the living room, but we take her out several times a day to go outside and drink water. Most of her drains are drying up with the exception of one in the back that drips like crazy. I hope that it will dry up in a day or so.

It's amazing how well she gets around and wags her tail. Dogs are tough and she was super happy to be home.

The bulldogs were happy to see her, and Duke sleeps in the living room near her crate. He has not wanted to spend much time out at night and I will not force him.

Both bulldogs still hang out on the porch during the day though.

I still lay in bed at night and scratch my head trying to figure out what happened to the sweet dog. It makes me nervous tpo let them outside but I guess that will get beter with time.


Athena is getting better each time she rides. She's slowly fattening up and her rain rot is still getting better. Journee is trying to ride her every day.

Athena is such a well tempered horse. Yesterday Journee had her near the front steps so Fletcher could pet her.

I am not sure what they were discussing in this picture, but the baby was very serious:-)

Here's to a week of NO drama! :-)

I hope your week is drama free too!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Handmade Holidays: Book Mark It

Oh it was a week of trials, the hardest being one of the dogs was severely injured yesterday. She will be home tomorrow from the vet and I will post the story and a couple of before and after pictures.
It's horrific. Thank goodness she survived.

I have also started a rather difficult quilt, well difficult for me. It's a paper piecing quilt that I took a class for this week. I hope to have a few blocks ready to show you all by Monday:-)

Now let's move on to another gift idea. This is for those friends and family who read REAL books....the kind with REAL paper pages. I know that even with the era of electronic devices for reading, there is still something extra nice about an actual object with real pages to turn.

                          ***  Seriously horrible photo, I apologize***

All you need is a piece of velvet ribbon, about 9 inches long, two ribbon clamps and a charm.

I bought my ribbon from M&J Trim and the ribbon clamps I bought from Twilight's Fancy . Make sure you buy one set of clamps with a loop on it for attaching a charm. You might find these items at a local hobby or craft store, but I was having difficulty and they were inexpensive enough to order online. Finally get a charm, something that will make this bookmark more special.

Attach the clamps to each end and smoosh them down gently with pliers. I used needle nose pliers, taking caution not to scratch or dent the clamp. Add your charm( you might need a jump ring) and ta-da!

These would a great addition to a book gift. My oldest got a new, popular book for her birthday.

This book is a great gift for a teen who loves to read!
Maybe you are in a book club and need a good gift for the other members. This is affordable and practical and lovely.

Feel the need to browse  another blog for ideas?

Go check out Domestic Anarchy and her Crap Free Gift Ideas. After all, who needs more plastic crap cluttering up the house? Give something meaningful, something hand made, and something crap free.

Till Monday........

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Handmade Holidays: Washer Necklace

Personalized jewelry is what we are making today! This project was a popular one around this house and so I made a necklace for each of the girls to show you all how simple and lovely this handmade gift is for giving this year!

To start you will need to buy ball chain (I bought mine on a roll at the craft store) and some charms. I suggest you shop around for a sale as these often do get discounted in sales ads or you might use a coupon to grab these supplies at a deal.
The stainless steel washers are at the hardware store and only cost about ten cents each. Get extra because there is a little learning curve to metal stamping.

You will also need metal stamps. I bought mine from Artbeads but I have since learned that they are cheaper at Harbor Freight PLUS their set includes numbers. You want the 1/8 inch size.
If you are a local friend, you may borrow my stamps if you ever want to, just send me a text or email.

You will also need a stainless steel block like this one to hammer upon. Trust need the block. Use a coupon to buy it. Now, I used something different. We live near a railroad track and I found a steel plate  (it's really heavy). I use the gigantic steel plate! I'm a cheapo sometimes.

First you will want to tape your washer to your block so that it will stay in place while you hammer the stamp.

Next you will want to be sure your stamp is on the washer correctly so that the letter is right side up. This is the tricky part, getting the letters spaced correctly. It took me three tries on one washer, so buy extra!

Try and only bang the hammer down one time so as to prevent the stamp from shifting.

All that is left is to loop the chain around the washer and add your charms with jump rings.
 If you want the letters to show up more just color them in with a fine tip sharpie and wipe off excess ink.

I bet you can think of a few people who would love one of these!
Go ahead and make some. Let me know if you do and send me a picture. I would love see what creative ideas you all come up with for your necklaces!

Hope you all have a great weekend! We will be celebrating 2 birthdays on Saturday!
See you Monday!
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