Saturday, October 31, 2009

My new TOOL

When my in-laws were here early this month they gave me a food processor for a present. As much as I don't like most gadgets because they just clutter up my kitchen, I WAS pretty excited to get this one. I was looking forward to being able to easily process a bunch of zucchini and other garden produce.

Unfortunately the first one didn't work, so Sharyl took it back but then they were out, but they left a gift card for the amount and Walmart got them back in stock and now I have it! I am enjoying it and we have put it to work pretty heavily already.

We are blessed to have cabbage and carrots from our garden so I made coleslaw (minus the sweet dressing which I don't care for) for lunch one day. It was just the kids and I and I used 1/2 a nice size head of cabbage, 1/2 an onion and several carrots and we almost ate all of it up! Jonathan just ate and ate! It is so nice to have something that can do all of that grating in just a few minutes!

I also made a carrot cake "just because" (maybe just because I had a new food processor) which is Ken's favorite. I don't usually make them much besides Ken's birthday because of the grating involved but now that isn't an issue.

Something else I tried it for was to make smoothies. I wanted to try a green smoothie recipe I had seen as I had a bunch of spinach to use up. I don't think it works quite as well as a blender would (There were kind of chunks) but it was all right. The kids were very sceptical when they first saw it but I was so happy with them because all 3 of the older ones tried it and declared it to be "Very Good!". Megan wasn't quite so easy. She declared "I don't want to like it!" and she stuck with that thought the whole time she drank hers.

Anyway, for this Homemaker who is very leery of new appliances - I really like it! Thank you Terry and Sharyl!

Just for interest sake I thought I would list the appliances that I have in my kitchen and then I thought it would be interesting if you would share the ones you think are essential.

I have and use:

  • Fridge
  • Stove
  • Dishwasher
  • Microwave (hey, I would love to hear your opinions on this, I have heard negative and am trying to reduce my use of it, but I would find it very hard to go without all together.)
  • Toaster
  • Wheat Grinder (another gift from Ken's family and one I use all the time! I think it is a great investment.)
  • Hand-held Mixer. (I had a counter one at one time but I prefer the smallness- it can fit in a drawer- of the hand-held)
  • Hand-held blender
  • And now Food processor

Updated to add that I do also have a crockpot and popcorn popper that I use quite a bit and an electric skillet, waffle Iron and Warming tray that I use rarely.

I found something else I want to use my food processor for: Dried Apples (I would use the processor for the slicing part). My friend Emily was telling me how she did them and the look and sound yummy! Oh I do own a dehydrator too but most of the time it stays out on a shelf in the garage.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Double Duty Kitchen Ware

I don't have a very big kitchen but I use it a lot (Pretty nearly all our meals are at home and from scratch) so it is pretty full! Therefore I was quite excited to find extra uses for some of my dishes. Here is the story....

Have you seen those pretty cake plates, you know the glass ones on a pedestal that have a pretty glass lid that covers the round layer cake? Well my sister got one last month and I was admiring it because it just looks so elegant and pretty. However, I decided that I wouldn't want to get one because I don't make round layer cakes very often and I simply don't have room for any more items, especially ones that are rarely used!

Then came Aaron's birthday, and what do you know? He wanted a round layer cake (A smiley face cake!). Well I decided to put it on the glass platter that I have. (I was blessed with some beautiful platters as wedding presents- which thankfully can stack up so they don't take a lot of space.) Then I was trying to figure out what to cover it with and I noticed my clear glass bowl was about the right size.

So I tried it and it worked.

I was so happy because not only did it cover it but I think it looks elegant and almost like it was meant to be. I also thought about stacking it on a vase or something, but in the short time that I ended up having I wasn't able to find one that worked just right, after all I did want it to be sturdy so no cake and glass dishes would come crashing down.

The cool thing is.... I am using things I already have, no more cupboard space required and it doesn't cost me anything!
While I am mentioning double uses for items I thought I should mention that I don't have round cake pans either. I use my casserole dish- both the lid and the bottom to make two round cakes. It works great and again I really appreciate having two uses for one item -taking less space.
Do you have kitchen items (or any other items for that matter) that you use for their intended purpose and for another way as well, getting double duty out of them? I would love to hear your tips!
For more frugal ideas visit Life as MOM.

We are having a Handmade Christmas {Will you join me?}

At our home we enjoy a simple Christmas. Most of our gifts, decorations and food are all made here at home with lots of love. We like it that way. In visiting blogs around the web I know I am not the only one who likes to make things at home for Christmas, there are a lot of you who do that.

Knowing that....
You (Every single one of you!) are invited to join me every Thursday starting next week and going until Christmas (though we will take a break for Thanksgiving) For a Handmade Christmas, here at Proverbs 31 Living.

I am looking forward to sharing with you various handmade stuff that I have been working on, I plan on posting:
  • Tutorials
  • Recipes
  • Decorating ideas
  • Gifts I have made
  • Lovely links I have found (with some great tutorials)
  • Thoughts on having a simple Handmade (and frugal!) Christmas
  • And a way for you to link you posts up!

So please come join me! Write posts on your blog about what Handmade items you are making for Christmas and then bring your link over here and share it with the rest of us! And since I am not above bribery.... I am offering a surprise giveaway for everyone that joins me by linking up their Handmade Christmas post next week.

Also....Would you please be so kind as to grab my Handmade Christmas button and post it on your blog to tell others about this? I would really appreciate it!

We have gotten started~

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Typical Homeschool Day {Our style}

Here we are nearly 2 months into the school year and I don't think I have written anything about "school". The reason I haven't is because for the most part it has been pretty normal, we are having fun learning but we haven't gone on any fantastic field trips nor practically blown up the house with a science experiment or anything of that nature. We have just had fun quietly learning mostly at home.
When I was thinking about that though I realized what is normal and routine for me might not be so much so for everybody else. I feel blessed to have been homeschooled growing up (as was my husband) and so homeschooling is what is normal and easy for me. If I had to send my kids away to school that is when I would become a little unsure (and frantic!).
Anyway, with that said I thought it would be fun to share our "Typical" school day. We have lots of untypical days as well, which is part of the beauty of homeschooling (You can still live life, and learn outside a classroom) but when we are home and don't have company this is our normal day:

Around 8 am: (this is following getting up, prayer, bible reading, making Ken's lunch and breakfast prep) we eat breakfast as a family. Ken eats quickly and heads off to work.
After Breakfast: Chore time! We clean up the table and the kids make their beds and then they rotate doing various jobs including feeding the rabbit, emptying the dishwasher and stuff like that. On Monday we have a lot of cleaning that we try to get done so school work gets pushed back a half hour or so.
9 am: School starting time. To start off our day we:
  • Pray -God's help is always needed to have a good day.
  • Memorize. Currently we are reviewing memory work learned other years. This week we are saying Psalm 15, Psalm 23 and the books of the Bible every day.
  • Manners. We read a short section (about 2 paragraphs) out of a manners book and discuss.
  • Sing. We sing 3-5 songs usually Bible Choruses. I like to do action songs a lot as that way we get in a little exercise as well. Usually we just sing accappella but sometimes I will play the piano and this week we have been trying out singing along with a CD.

That takes around 15-30 minutes.

Around 9:30- 10 am:

The kids work on their core curriculum.
Mara (10 years, 5th grade) : works at her desk in her room (she works best being off by herself somewhere) doing ACE Math, English and Word Building. She also has a Creative Writing book that she is working out of. With ACE she scores most of her own work (but not tests). We have our scoring station set up at Ken's desk. Mara usually finishes her work (doing around 5 pages in each book) before lunch. Mostly she does this work on her own, but comes to me if she needs assistance.

Jonathan (8 years, 2-3 grade): He fluctuates between working at his desk or the dining room table. He also has ACE Math,English and Word Building. He corrects his own Math and Word Building as well and I correct his English. He is between grades because he worked faster at Math. Next year we will most likely have him at all 4th grade work as he is enjoying the other subjects more this year. I do have to help Jonathan fairly regularly but I am able to get work done while staying fairly near by so that I can help him. Jonathan sometimes has work left to do after lunch but he is getting faster and today he had everything done before noon.

Aaron (just turned 6, Kindergarten): This year with Aaron is still very casual. I have read books and heard things that have definitely made me decide not to rush things with kids, especially boys. He does enjoy doing schoolwork and so we have workbooks for him. He is does well with Math and is doing Addition and Subtraction. He is also learning about letters and their sounds. He wants to learn to read, but I am putting absolutely no pressure on him to do that this year, I won't hinder him though either. He works at the kitchen table (though we do also have a desk for him in his room) where I can assist him while still working on household duties. He works on workbooks for about 1/2 hour each morning and then he can play and work after that.

Megan (3 years, preschool) Loves to work at the table with her siblings. I have old workbooks that she colors in, traces letters and numbers and cuts out of. She also will do stuff like write letters to grandparents (draw pictures and dictate words), play with play dough, look at books, or go play elsewhere. She and Aaron play a lot together when the older siblings are busy.

Noon- 1:30 pm: Somewhere in that time we usually eat lunch. I like to wait until Jonathan is done with schoolwork if possible. Lunches are usually pretty laid back - we eat a lot of leftovers.

After Lunch: Reading time! I love this time of day! I read aloud to the kids (the above picture is missing Mara because she was taking the picture) from several different books. This is basically what we do:

  • Bible or Bible story book. Currently we are reading straight from Matthew, before that was Genesis and Judges. Right now we are also writing questions as we read to submit to be used at our church's Bible baseball games.
  • Geography Book. We started doing that last year and read about a different state each week. This year (and probably for quite a few more years) we have been reading about countries. I have found a lot of great books from the Library for that. We have been in Asia for several months now and our current country we are studying is Uzbekistan.
  • History Book. We have read a lot of biographies and a few historical fiction for this section (like the Little House books, Ralph Moody books, etc.) but currently we are reading "The Story of the World" by Susan Wise Bauer. We have found this pretty interesting but at times the boys think it is a little dry and have decided we need a "fun" book too. (In the past our history book was our fun book.)
  • For our fun book we sometimes do short Library books but today we started a chapter book "The Trolley Car Family".

Nap time is what comes next. This has been a wonderful thing in our home. It last around an hour and everybody goes to their bed. The older 2 never sleep unless they are ill but they spend their time reading. Mara reads a chapter in the Bible each day and many other books. She reads fun books but I also help her pick out scientific books (which she then orally tells me about), historical books and classics. Jonathan reads short books and chapter books and is starting to read his Bible. Aaron and Megan also take books to bed to look at. Megan also almost always sleeps and Aaron does occasionally. I usually read, sometimes blog and then also take a 20 minute nap.

Afternoon: We finish up any schoolwork if there is any (hopefully not!), Mara practises piano (unless she had time to do that in the morning) and then we work and play! We have fun doing projects together and we spend time outside and have a good time!

We like to have a life of learning not just the "book work" we do each day. I wrote a post over at Keeper of the Home a while back that shows my favorite way of learning. Check it out to learn about how to have the whole world as your classroom.

This is what works for me. I would love to hear your thoughts, ideas and methods! Please share....

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Sailboat quilt

We have a new little nephew so I wanted to make him a quilt. I like to use stuff I have on hand if possible so I found in my stash a fabric with sailboats on it to use for the back. For the front I decided to see if I could put together some of the already cut blocks that had been given to me. I had to re-cut some of them and cut out a few new ones but for the most part I was able to use up things I had all ready.
I decided to copy the Sail boat idea from the back and cut out a larger one to applique on the front. I also appliqued an anchor (which also matched the fabric) in the lower right corner and then I stitched on a ribbon "rope" to tie the boat and the anchor together.
For this little quilt I did actually use my sewing machine to quilt it a little, eliminating the need to tie it. The quilt went together pretty fast and was a fun project. My sister-in-law seemed pleased with it too.
Are you working on any projects?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Give Thanks to the Lord

"Therefore I will give thanks to Thee, O Lord,
among the nations,
And I will sing praises to Thy name."
2 Samuel 22:50 (David's words)
Like David I will give Thanks.....
73. For living close to my parents so I can have fun spending time with them working on projects. (I am excited to share about the project we were working on in this picture. Can you guess?)
74. For a sewing machine.
75. For fun times creating birthday presents with my kids.

76. For a sweet, newly 6 year old boy!

77. For smiles!!

78. For Carrots.

79. For the fun we could have harvesting them.
80. For a son that is eagerly reading God's word. His question of "Mom can you please help me find some of these verses?" I don't think there is to much more that could please this Mother's heart than to see her children wanting to know more about the great Creator of the Universe.
81. For another son that doesn't want to be left out with something as exciting as looking up verses. "You find the book Mama, I'll find the chapter and verse."
82. For teachers for my kids at church that are helping them to learn and want to know more.
83. For fun times making pretty envelopes with my girls.
84. For clothes to dress up in.
85. For imaginations!
86. For Rain.
87. For Sunshine.

holy experience

Sunday, October 25, 2009

My debt is gone

This picture doesn't really have anything to do with the subject matter
but for my Sunday posts I like to post pictures of beauty in my life
and I think my sweet Megan qualifies!

I have been reading through Colossians lately and have been both encouraged and challanged by it. One of the sections that really jumped out at me was:

Colossians 2:6-14

"As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord,
so walk in Him.
having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him
and established in your faith.
just as you were instructed,
and overflowing with gratitude.
See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception,
according to the traditon of men,
according to the elementary principles of the world,
rather than according to Christ.
For in Him all the fulness of Deity dwells in bodily form,
and in Him you have been made complete,
and He is the head over all rule and authority;
and in Him you were also circumsised with a circumcision made without hands,
in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ;
having been buried with Him in baptism,
in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God,
Who raised Him from the dead.
And when you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh,
He made you alive together with Him,
having forgiven us all our transgressions,
having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us
and which was hostile to us;
and He has taken it out of the way,
having nailed it to the cross."

When I read through God's Word (which I believe the Bible is- inspired by God instructions for my life) I like to think about what I am reading and ask myself some questions:

Who is this written too? Some of the Bible is for specific people at specific times (which if you read the context you can figure that out -I wasn't sent to fight the Midianites for example) but most of the New Testament and parts of the Old are written to direct us now. (It was also written for people then but it applies to all time).

Am I following what is written here?

Here are some example of some of the questions that I asked myself while reading through this passage:

  • Am I walking in Christ? (Verse 6) This is a continual process (not something I can check off as done) but I am trying to walk in Christ and reading this encourages me to strive even more to follow His steps.
  • Am I overflowing with Gratitude? (verse 7) I do feel extremely thankful to our Great God but I want to continue to praise God and thank Him for all He has done.
  • Am I making sure that I follow Christ's teaching and stay away from the World's ideas? (Verse 8) I am trying to stay grounded in God's Word so that I will know the difference.
  • Have I been buried with Him in Baptism? (Verse 12) YES!! Thank you God for giving us a way to die to sin and be covered with Your blood (What we need to save us!) Thank you for the new life that You gave me!

What I was really noticing and enjoying this time of reading through these verses was the word picture that is given of Jesus taking our long list of decrees against us- it is a debt that we could never pay but He got rid of it, it is no longer a problem for us because He nailed it to the cross! I have done nothing to deserve that, there is no way that I can pay but God loved me anyway and Jesus was willing to die for me and get rid of the sin problem that I had. Thank you Jesus!

Desperate times call for desperate measures

Some people might think we have a lot of smoke detectors (do you think 12 in a normal home is a lot?), I suppose some people might even think us paranoid. We aren't really but we do like to be prepared. When I was a child I experienced watching flames shooting up over the tree tops while a neighbor's home burned to the ground with tragic results. And then several years ago Ken and I attended a seminar on Fire safety which made us even more want to be prepared. So we bought top of the line smoke detectors (which of course the ones that put on the seminar sold to us) for a pretty penny.

When we moved to the home we are in now we brought those along with us and added them to the ones that were already here. The expensive ones work just fine (or at least I hope they do, thankfully we haven't really had to test them out!) but the ones that were here are the type that are hooked up to the electricity so when one of them goes off all of them go off. All over the house in ear splitting, deafness creating noise. Usually they just respond to some burning food (oh surely not at my house!) but several times they have gone off with no apparent reason whatsoever. Several off those times were in the wee hours of the morning which of course caused Ken and I to jump out of bed and go running all over the house to see if there is a fire anywhere, and finding none we went uneasily back to bed hoping that we hadn't missed something. Another time was during a Bridal consultation, what fun to run all over the house chasing after a beep while I am supposed to be talking flowers. Eventually we did find the faulty detector that was the cause of all the problems and replaced and all was quite around here.

That is until a couple of days ago when during the middle of the day up they started again, and I wasn't even burning anything (Honestly!!!). One of them started and then soon the whole chorus was going. That sort of noise about drives me crazy!

I ran all over the house to make sure there wasn't anything wrong and finding nothing I decided I better start unhooking all the detectors to find the problem one. Thankfully the first one that I unhooked stopped the chorus but that one itself wouldn't shut up. It had a battery inside that I couldn't figure out how to get out. I decided to set it out in the garage on Ken's work bench where he would see (hear) it and take care of it when he got home.

However our garage is attached to our house and I could still hear it inside. There is little that irritates me worse than a constant beep beeping (just ask Ken about how I react to alarm clocks and keys left in cars while you have the car door open or don't have your seat belt on yet).

So out to the garage I went and decided to bury it under some sleeping bags.

Back inside, I can STILL hear the beeping.

Out to the garage again, I thought about the trash can outside but wasn't sure if it was truly trash and I didn't want to be irresponsible so I decided the empty freezer on the far side of the garage might work.

Back inside, STILL beeping. It is faint but still annoying....

Out to the garage AND the solution:
Can you see it?

In the sleeping bag, in the freezer, in the garage. I can still hear it in the garage, but in the house...

Blissful silence. No beeping, just the sweet sound of children!

Ken got a good laugh about it when he got home and showed me just how simple it was to get the battery out.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Making my home cozy with Pillows and a wreath

I enjoy decorating my home and having it look pretty but I have found that going shopping for decorater items can cost a lot quite quickly! My solution is to usually make my own. Here are a couple of my money saving projects this week:

"New" pillows for our love seat.

Last month I wrote about getting a new slipcover for the love seat and recovering the chair in the same room. The love seat had pillows that came with it so I decided to recover them too. I was able to use material, ribbon and thread that I had on hand (the material was leftover from the curtains that I made for that room) so this project didn't cost me anything at this point. Even if I would have had to buy fabric and ribbon the cost would have been very minimal. I looked at decorative pillows at Walmart and it looked like the cheapest were over $10. So for this quick project I saved over $20.

This is the finished look.

Next project was a fall wreath for our front door. I was inspired by this wreath over at "Moore Minutes" and decided I wanted to make one out of things that I had on hand.

Here are the things I came up with to use:
Mostly it was all collected from the woods, our garden and meadows around our house. I decided to use a bucket lid (which I cut the middle out of) as a base. As always my trusty glue gun got put to work as well as florist wire.
It looks rather wild but it is fun too and I am enjoying it.
The kids favorite parts are the peacock feathers and lotus pod that I decided to stick in.

Have you been doing any frugal decorating lately? Share you ideas, I would love to hear them.

I want to invite you to join my on Thursdays in November and December (though we will take a break for Thanksgiving) for posts on making a Handmade Christmas. I plan on sharing gift ideas, decorating ideas and special foods and entertainment ideas all handmade (and frugal!). I am also hoping you will write posts on the way you have a Handmade Christmas and then link them up over here!
For more frugal ideas today please visit Frugal Fridays at Life as Mom.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Northwoods stamped wall border

One of my recent projects was actually a group project. Several of us women worked together to stamp a border on the wall in the Men's bathroom at church. (you can see some in progress pictures here)

The project didn't end up being quite as simple to do as we first thought, (Painting lines on walls is a challenge, the stamps liked to smear...) but we had fun. It isn't perfect (which you can tell in the picture) but it looks nice and makes the room look more decorated and not so plain.
Stamped borders are really quite cheap to do as they simply take stamps (we used a Stampin' up set that we borrowed from my sister) and acrylic paints that you can buy very inexpensively at places like Walmart. This project took several hours to do (with several women working ) but some designs and stamps will go much faster. I think the sponge stamps actually stamp on walls much better then the more expensive rubber stamps. (You can see pictures of the time I did stamping on the walls using sponge stamps here.)
Have you ever stamped on walls? What are your thoughts on it?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

WFMW ~ Taking time for adventures

If you have kids you probably know how much they love to explore, see new things and maybe get a little dirty. Sometimes as adults we can get so busy with regular life that we forget about doing things like that. Or maybe we don't want to get dirty or look childish.
Though we don't get out and explore as much as I would like, it is lots of fun and I hope to do it more. It is great bonding time with your kids and it Works for Me!
I thought I would share some pictures of one of our recent "Adventures".
We were over at my parents for lunch on Sunday and afterwards Dad got out the 4 wheeler and wagon and off we went through the woods and fields to check out the work the Pipe line people are doing.
Luke got to do the driving with Polly on behind.
The rest of us rode in the wagon......
Peggy, Mara and Mom
Mom and Dad
Keren, Jonathan, Aaron and Megan were on their too, just not pictured.
We had to climb out to walk instead of ride through a deep ditch so these 3 who thought they were the best dressed, decided to have their picture taken.
When we got up to where the pipe line was, we parked and unloaded and then there were some piles of dirt we had to go over. I didn't pay much attention at first and thought they looked like plain old dirt but soon discovered that a bunch of it was mud when my foot slipped in completely, I was now muddy up to my ankle.
Megan was needing some help getting across the piles so Peggy volunteered to get her (after all she came prepared wearing mud boots). She headed back the way I had just come and ended up sinking clear to the top of her boots - both of them. She was completely stuck! She ended up having to slip out of them and the guys helped her get her boots out. (Meanwhile, I rescued Megan.)
We had fun looking at the huge pipes, hollering through them (you can make super cool music!) and checking them all out.

And what happened to poor Keren laying there on the ground?...
Well some people will go to all lengths to get a good picture.

My handsome little boy with his stick. (Always a stick, you can't be a real boy without one!)
On our way back the kids decided to check out the deer stand.

Megan and I went to look at the creek while Luke, Keren and Peggy did a little target practising.
Getting out and going on a little adventure was fun. It Works for Me!
Along the lines of taking the time to go exploring, spending time with your family and most importantly time with God is this post that really touched me: "Slow Down: To Seek " (by Ann Voskamp at Holy Experience). We go through life at often a frantic pace but what is it really that we are looking for? Maybe we need to slow down a little to find out.


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