Monday, January 30, 2012

Valentine's Day Gifts

Although Valentine's Day has never been a very big deal over here, I found myself one day drooling over all of the lovely projects on the web.
Before I show you the latest ones I crafted I will admit that I made one for myself as well as others.

It was a make one for her, make one for myself kind of craftiness:-)

 First up is the Valentine Hand Warmer. I found inspiration for this project from Wild Olive
 You need to make a set of two. Fill them with rice and lavender. Heat them for 20 seconds in the microwave. Throw them in your coat pockets and keep those hands toasty for about 20 minutes.
I used a super soft flannel.

 Next up is the Tea Wallet. I really loved these when I saw them on Handmade Therapy.

I was able to make 4 wallets from 2 fat quarters. I really, really enjoyed making these too. They were super easy. Go check out the tutorial.


Now that spring weather has shown itself I must tend to some honey bees tomorrow. It will be 65 and sunny! Of course cold weather is sure to come back, so one must take full advantage when it is nice.
Tomorrow I will place pollen patties on my hives to help trick the queen into thinking it's time to start laying eggs again like crazy. I want an early build up of brood this spring.

Of course after tomorrow's chores who knows what other goodies I might find to sew.

What will you be crafting for Valentine's Day?

Have a terrific Monday!

Friday, January 27, 2012

My Opinion Friday: The Really Bad Birthday Idea

It's a new blog post idea. I am very opinionated, despite the fact I mostly discuss only crafts, quilting, kids, and home school. Risking a little backlash is fine if it offers a little perspective, really.
***That's alot of money in teeth if our fairy whipped out $20 a tooth!***

There are many times when I have said to myself (or out loud to Devin) , "Those people really need to have more than a couple of kids."
Example: the mother who gives her little ones $20 from the "tooth Fairy" for one tooth. Really? That's a bad habit to start. Am I the only one who still thinks $1 is more than enough?

Enter the "Half Birthday."
Have you heard of this because it was a new concept for me? I actually had to look it up and do a little research. Lo' and behold there is such a holiday, a phenomena, known as the Half Birthday.
***Willow LOVES a summer birthday best because it means SWIMMING!!***

As we all know, some kids have summer birthdays and others have fall, spring or winter birthdays. Well, If you are a child with a birthday during the school year you get to bring in some treats to share and be the "birthday kid" for the day. That's fine. What kid doesn't like a party?

Enter the parent who wants her kid to get equal treatment. It IS unfair for the kid with a summer birthday, right? That kid doesn't get the same treatment, right? Well, we now offer the "Half Birthday."
***Sorry, Journee. Your Stocking is the smallest in the family. You will survive!***

Yep, you guessed it. It is a day for all of those poor kiddos with summer birthdays to bring in their class room treats and get the same special treatment as everyone else. It's like the students formed a Union Organization to demand special and equal rights.

It's even happening amongst mothers of babies. The 6 month birthday! Themes have been created for the parties as well. 6 balloons, 6 candles, everything to mark 6 months! I agree 6 months is a celebratory mark in a child's first year, but how about snapping a picture of your baby and putting it in a baby book?
**Zeb at 6 months. Sorry kid, you must wait 6 more months for a party!**

Doesn't a half birthday take away from the importance of the REAL birthday?

I shutter to think about these kids later in life as adults. Why do parents and teachers think it is wise to keep everything "fair" and "equal" for children when in fact things are NOT that way in real life?

It's not just the birthday party affair, but also in sports and any trivial little school day competition.  First, Second, and Third place winners have been replaced with "every one's a winner!"

This is, of course, when I say, " Those people need more kids." One true fact about a large family is that kids quickly learn the simple fact that life is not fair.


Monday we talk Valentine's Day and how you can make a kazillion gifts for everyone you know so that they all feel included:-)

Have an AWESOME weekend!

Friday Phone Dump:
*Phone dump is done using Instagram. I am barefootfarm if you want to find me there.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

My Day Off

I always have believed that one great aspect to homeschooling is that the schedule can be changed at a whim.

Devin's parents wanted to come and get the three younger girls and let them spend a couple of nights there. Of course we always allow for any opportunities to hang out with grandparents. School work can be put on hold for a couple of days.
Of course that means I get a couple of days off from school too! Of course here I am at 10 am and still on the computer, but I fully intend to get some crafting of some sort done. I also hope to tackle a few very messy kitchen cabinets.

 We had a very busy few days with school and laundry. The laundry seems to be building up more quickly these days. I wonder if the little girls are throwing clean clothes in a dirty pile because they are too lazy to put them away. It has been known to happen. Thankfully Indiana was a helper with the washing.
We also decided a last minute impromptu party was in order! I neglected to start the dishwasher at lunch so we pulled pout the paper plates, whipped up some homemade pizza, and ran out to fetch a Redbox rental and some root beer float supplies. Party!

 My beginner crochet skills are slowly taking shape. My first pair of fingerless gloves are finished and now I just need the cool weather to return so I can use them.
I enjoyed my last embroidery project so much that I have started another, smaller project.

My Birdie Stitches quilt is pieced and ready for my quilter next month. This was a really fun quilt to make and I hope that the quilt pieces sitting in my studio are as fun and inspiring to finish because I have way too many quilts needing to be finished.

 Yesterday the weather was nice enough for my bees to fly out of the hives and collect pollen. Though I have a few more hive losses.
 Some of the losses have been due to a raccoon tearing into the hives.
Here you can see where a coon has clawed at this hive body in attempts to knock it down. This hive will most likely not survive.

Despite the losses, I still have many survivors and expect this bee season to be a great one. If you are local, I am offering up a Beginner Bee Keeping Course. April 14th from 10-am-2pm.

This will be a family friendly study of bee keeping for all ages.
Topics covered:
The honey bee and her products
Bee keeping equipment
Bee biology
 Honey plants in our region
Getting started in bee keeping
Diseases and pests
Honey Extraction and processing
Spring, summer and fall management

Please bring your own lunch.
Class INCLUDES copy of Kim Flottum's book "Backyard Bee Keeping"

Cost: $30 per family. Non-refundable deposit of $15 due by March 17th. Full payment due by day of class.This class will be outdoors,dress accordingly! I reserve the right to reschedule class date based on weather conditions. Space is limited. 

If you are interested you may contact me at

Have a fantastic Wednesday!

Friday, January 20, 2012


Where did the week go?

 First off we had a busy school week. Journee had a chemistry experiment too, which always excites the younger set. The younger set studied Massachusets and made a Boston Creme Pie from scratch and that excites the whole family!
 My mouse family is finished. They explored a little bit outside before the rain came falling.
Ghost, who usually shows no mercy to little critters such as these, decided they were friendly enough and is allowing them a free pass.

 Besides, he had a full breakfast already. The mole he caught and ate was quite filling.
Now it is time to explore, or find a comfy spot to nap.

We also got a new desk for the family computer, which meant I had to pile everything up in boxes so we could put the new desk together. Bump It enjoyed lounging around in all of the chaos. I am happy to say that the desk is up and my junk is ALMOST all organized.

 I lack two blocks to complete my Birdie Stitches and then I will be off to the quilt store to buy fabric for sashing and borders. Wonderful!
 I am also organizing a home school bee keeping class. Okay, the idea is in my head and now I just need to get it on paper. In February I will be loading up my oldest child and a few farm critters for the local pre- school "Farm Day." It's an annual event and we are always happy to oblige.
I also pulled out a crochet hook and started me some fingerless gloves. Awesome. Now I just need to make some flowers to attach on there. It was a beginner's project, but I am a beginner. I love You Tube! Thank you to all of you crafters who spend the time to make tutorials.

So it was a busy week with a full weekend ahead, despite the rain and cold breezes. First though we have kabobs for the grill and baked potatoes in the oven. Tonight is a celebration. A celebration of nothing in particular, just a celebration of everyone being home because this mamma loves a good celebration...even if she must make one up! Why not make a party every Friday night?

What do you celebrate?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


I have nothing of significant importance to write about this evening, as if I ever really do. I think the week has so far really been a beater on me, and I have an empty camera to prove it!

School has been going well, although it has taken a significant more amount of time to complete each day. Couple that with laundry, groceries and meals and you have no more free time left. Okay, I lie. It's a little white lie.

I managed to find time to work on block ten on my Birdie Stitch Quilt and I have a new mouse family almost finished. These small hand work projects are simple to do while kids are computing their fractions and writing down their copy work.

Today was especially unmotivating with the extreme cold weather and brutal winds. I realize that 38 degrees and 20 mph winds are making some of ya'll laugh, but this Georgia girl prefers 78 degrees and gentle breezes.

The dandelions are still blooming some and that is food for my bees, when they can fly out. It also has me planning this year's garden and the seeds are on order.

*Last year's seedlings started indoors*

On the subject of multitasking, there will be some new changes coming soon to include a link to all of my recipes. The recipes I use all of the time to feed my large crew. The recipes that I manage to fit into my budget monthly. 

To a completely different topic.

One of my closest friends and I once discussed the "me" mentality in today's culture. It's everywhere, even in commercials. "You Deserve...." or "It's All About Me....." blah, blah, blah. We were shocked at how many mothers around would state,"I would home school but I need "me" time!"
I don't dispute that everyone needs a little time to themselves, especially mothers who care for their kids 24/7. In fact I have a standing monthly lunch at the quilt store. It's a day that I can be with adults who love quilts as much as I do. How much "me" time does a person really need, though? Why have kids if you must have all this "me" time? Having children is not about "me" it's about someone else. It's about putting that other person before your own needs. 
Well, I was shocked not all that shocked to find out that my father in law pointed out to Devin last month that Devin's brother actually "has time for his hobbies (he's a blacksmith on the side) because he doesn't have a bunch of kids. " 
It looks like the "me" culture has creeped itself in through the extended family. Another example of how the enemy will try its best to keep us in a self fulfilled, self absorbed state of mind. You have to keep the armor on.

Enough of my nothing!

Friday I will introduce the country mice!!!!

Tell me, how do you carve out a little time to reboot?

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Switcheroo

It was a week with a new milestone. The baby can now throw pillows off the sofa and spend at least 30 minutes climbing up down like it's a high mountain top.
Which begs to asks, why do you have throw pillows on the couch if they just end up all over the floor?
To which my answer is....exactly! It's great entertainment for the little ones and think of the motor skills he is developing.


This week we did the ol' switcheroo. In technical terms that means I spent countless evenings looking at home school curriculum and decided to buy something new to replace what we were doing.

If you are new to homeschooling then this is a new concept. If you are a veteran, then you know what I am talking about. It's no big deal and in fact it is one of the many reasons TO HOME SCHOOL!

 Not every child learns the same and what worked great for one or two kids may not work for another.
I was finding that my younger set was not retaining enough history and were not engaged enough. My goal was to find something that took more time and required more participation from them.

Enter Trail Guide to Learning from Geography Matters. I actually had been looking for something and happened to see a review for this curriculum on Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers.  I know this gal and value her opinion. She also spurred my interest in this book because I had never even heard of the Trail Guide Series.
I am not a fan of all-in-one curriculum (this does not have math) but I must say that so far it is A) More work for me and the kids but that is OK with me and B) getting the kids more active in their learning.

I also purchased Switched On Schoolhouse Spanish 1 and French 1 for my high schoolers. I also purchased the American Lit set for the two girls. So far I cannot say anything about it because I am computer illiterate and cannot seem to get it all installed on the computer. Devin is off this weekend and will install it.
I am really hoping the language is great because I am too cheap to buy Rosetta Stone since I have kids wanting different language lessons. We used Mango through the public library system and loved it but they have switched to another program that we do not like. I then got the Instant Immersion program but it is really silly and it doesn't focus on anything other than how to order a glass of wine if you travel to France.

I think this is an aspect of home education that outsiders do not quite understand. It is easy to picture kids sitting at desks all day while mom stands in front of the separate school room area lecturing. After all, most of us were educated in government schools and that is the only way we can imagine school. Home school is so much more and it allows freedom to change plans and schedules and books mid way through the year. It's not just all about the books either, it's about learning life skills and developing and nurturing lasting , meaningful relationships along the way.
Now, I am not saying every person should do what I am doing, and in fact my best friend doesn't home school, but we should always have the freedom to choose what is best for OUR CHILDREN.


Aside from the switcheroo, I also did the ol' clean it up-eroo!

This is my very real, very cluttered bathroom closet. It's a pretty large closet and I am ashamed at how messy it STAYS!

Yesterday it was gutted and cleaned. (pat myself on the back) My goal is to keep it that way for a long time :-) Yes, I stock pile shampoo and toothpaste. Yes, that top shelf is nothing but drugs. My husband works in the medical field so we have a nice stash. You never know when you might need your finger sewn back on. True story. I am very careful with my rotary cutter now.

As for the rest of my weekend? I might just start a new animal softie. I started block #9 of 12 on my Birdie Stitches and I am so looking forward to those fried pickles!
What are your plans?

Here's to a groovy weekend for us all!

Let's not forget the phone dump (small, I know)!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

All Business, Some of the Time

Happy Wednesday! If you are near my location then it is a rainy, cold day with a slight chance of snow tomorrow. Unusual for Georgia but it boosts the business at the grocery stores because everyone makes a mad dash to buy milk and bread. Kind of funny. As for me, I hit Costco for hot chocolate mix and bananas.

 As I sit upstairs with Bumpit, she loves watching the kids play outside in the rain, I am trying to get down to business.
Business entails paying bills, compiling a meal list for the next month and also writing out a list of what areas need to be de-cluttered and organized next.
I have so far held to my goal of going through a room or area a week to get the mess out and organize. Over the weekend I decided my studio needed to be organized. It is an area where I sew and quilt and keep some of my fabrics and current projects at hand. I also put Indiana's new sewing machine in there so I could be close to her while she created projects.
It took me a long time to find the best spot for my studio, but I finally found a place close to the kitchen where all of the chaos majority of the days' happenings occur.
Studio sounds grand doesn't it?

Meet my studio, aka the laundry room!!!! (This is my keepin' it real photo of the day!)

 Here it was before I tackled it. I know, I know it's a small room with my laundry equipment, but when you have 7 kids you take whatever space you can manage to find.
 Goodness, sewing is a total mess sometimes, and I really let this space go because I have been so busy with home schooling and sewing little foxes and bunnies.
 It didn't take long to clean the junk out and straighten up the rest.
I got a bit smaller table for Indiana's machine so that there is a little more wiggle room. This week I might tackle my bathroom closet or one of the kids' rooms. It's an ongoing project that is constantly being perfected and tweaked. If I had no children or maybe just a couple of kids I would be able to de-clutter and keep things fairly neat throughout the majority of the house. 7 kids makes it more difficult because kids are constantly growing out of clothes and toys or , like my kids, collecting things such as rocks and sticks. You would be amazed at the number of "shiny rocks" we have in this house!

Another business essential for us with so many kids is my meal planning. I try and keep my grocery budget in check, although some days I find myself at Costco on an empty stomach and the budget suffers:-)
I have tried many different ways to keep meals going and easy such as once a month cooking, Emealz, and couponing. Our needs change sometimes month to month depending on if I am pregnant (and consumed with morning sickness) or caring for a newborn. The last year or so I have resorted to the old fashioned method of making out a menu and planning shopping trips accordingly.

My husband is paid once a month, so I make a menu for the entire month at a time. I write the dates down and put  a star by the days Devin will be working. I do this because he does not eat meals with us on those days (he works 12 hour shifts) so I sometimes choose my smaller, more simple meals on those days such as pancakes. I also try and not repeat a meal within the month. This can be challenging sometimes. I actually typed up a list of meals I make so that I can refer to it when I get "stuck" thinking of a meal. I also change meals sometimes during the month if there is a deal at the grocery store for things such as roast or chicken.

 Speaking of menus and recipes, I have a stash of recipes scribbled down on papers that I need to type up and place in my recipe binder. It is a notebook with most of the recipes I use typed up and in page protectors. This keeps me from having to flip through cookbooks to find recipes we use often. It was a big project to tackle but has been worth it.
Do you see this recipe? Fried pickles are so, so good and I bought everything to make these this weekend. I will let ya'll know how they turn out!
That's business at my house! How do you plan your meals?

Hope your mid week is as good as fried pickles!
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