Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sewing on a Sunday

My Mom used to say, "If you sew on Sunday you'll rip the stitches out with your nose!"  Yeah, I don't get it either.

Anyway, Big Mac woke up with pretty severe back pain this AM so we stayed home from our 45 min. drive to church.  I got my sewing machine out to complete a few projects I've been wanting to finish.  I mended Big Mac's Eagles' lounge pants.  Then I took two wool sweaters that I had felted and turned them into tote bags.

They're pretty cute, if I must say so myself.  I used some of the sleeve material to make the Big Dog a case for his binoculars.  He carries them around in his backpack.

Then I wanted to try the 30-second skirt that I read about on life in a shoe.  I had an old orange T-shirt that was too tight for T-bone's tummy. (that's a good tongue twister..too tight for T-bone's tummy...too tight for T-bone's tummy...too tight for T-bone's tummy...)  I gotta tell you, it's pretty cute and really comfortable!  It buckles a little at the hips, but still not bad. Sorry for the glare on the mirror, but it was the best shot of the skirt I could get.  I gotta say it again, this is just the most comfortable skirt!

Well, hopefully there won't be any nose-induced stitch ripping!  What did you do with your Sunday?


Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Every Tuesday Heavenly Homemakers hosts "Gratituesday" where she shares something for which she is grateful.  Since The Big Dog and I just had a gratitude conversation today, I think I need to participate in Gratituesday today.

Big Dog called from work this afternoon.  As so often happens in corporate America,  he was frustrated.  His attitude was not good at all.  He started to talk about his frustration and then in the next breath he said, "Did you hear about the miners in Chile?"  I hadn't.  So he proceeded to tell me about the 33 men who are trapped in a mine in Chile.  They are alive and in good spirits.  But the kicker is that it could take 2 to 3 months before they can get out of the mine.  They will be able to receive food and water, but they won't be able to get out.

And that's when I said, "Well there you go, honey.  Things may be bad, but you're not trapped in a mine."

Big Dog chuckled and then I said, "I'm serious.  Things at your work are frustrating, but you are sitting in a warm dry office building.  You don't go to work each day fearing for your own life."

Immediately his tone changed to one of optimism and he said, "You know, you're right.  And I'm sure I'm paid better too."

Don't we all need a little perspective now and then?  I'm grateful for Big Dog's job.  I'm grateful because God has lead us this far in our marriage that I have not HAD to work since we've had the boys.  I'm grateful that my darling-dear-husband is safe each day.  Grateful.  Grateful.  Grateful.  And it took 33 miners in Chile to show me how much I have here in Central PA. 

Oh Lord God, bless those miners and their families and bring them out much sooner than everyone is expecting.  Maintain their health and their sanity during this trial and bring them to you.  Be glorified in their rescue.  -Amen

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Bouquet of Lettuce

My neice was visiting on Friday when we received our weekly CSA order. (Community Supported Agriculture)  We have been getting a weekly box of veggies with a dozen eggs and a pound of raw-milk cheese every Friday since May.  I really love it.  Anyway, I was teasing her and saying that the two bunches of Kale I received would make a lovely wedding bouquet.  I mean EVERYBODY does flowers.  Do something different...a veggie bouquet! 

Although I'm kidding about the veggie wedding bouquet, you have to admit that this head of butter lettuce is GORGEOUS!  If The Big Dog and I ever renew our vows, I think I'll carry butter lettuce.

Good job God.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

A Pictorial Tour of My Saturday

Well, Saturday still has several hours left in it, but I just had to take a break!  We have been SO busy!  We hit a nearby flea market/yard sale and I got this gorgeous enamel covered cast iron casserole dish for $4!

THEN we came home and I made T-bone's requested lunch:  grilled cheese sandwiches, caprese salads and chocolate milk.  Caprese Salads are our summer favorites.  When winter comes and the tomatoes taste like the shelf they're sold on, we may try Ina Garten's recipe here.  Here's a picture of the Caprese Salads I made today:

After lunch I gave the boys haircuts.  After The Big Dog finished mowing the lawn, he got a haircut too.  A mohawk for Big Mac and high-and-tights for The Big Dog and T-Bone:

While The Big Dog was mowing, I started cooking for supper.  We're planning on cooking hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill, so I made a pasta salad and a sour cream apple pie for dessert.  I sliced the tomatoes and cheese for the burgers and chopped onion for the burgers and hotdogs.

While I was loading the dishwasher from all my cooking, Favor figured out a new trick:

Yep, he's standing ON the open dishwasher door.  What a dog!  He's as crazy as the rest of us.

Now, everyone has fresh hair cuts (we're getting our family pictures taken at church Tuesday evening) and the house is in half-decent shape.  The laundry is ALMOST done...I'm getting there.  And I'm going to make the mock-danish for tomorrow's breakfast and then hit the showers!  What did you do with your Saturday?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

What We're Doing This Year

We are actually at day 27 in our little homeschool for the 2010/2011 school year.  I wrote on the Store Spotlight blog about how I planned our year using The Schoolhouse Planner.  I'm tickled because we are WAY ahead of where we were last year at this time.  But of course, last year at this time we were shuttling the Big Dog to doctor's appts. and hospitals on a regular basis.  Praise God for a new year!

Anyway, I think now is a great time to tell you about what we're using this year and what we will be learning.

Language arts is a full subject this year.  Each boys is going to be required to read from a specific booklist I culled from  Right now, T-bone is reading The Peterkin Papers and Big Mac is reading Huck Finn. For writing we are using Write with the Best from EduDPS.  We did Write with the Best volume 1 last year and will complete volume 2 this year.  I really love this writing curriculum.  It uses excellent writing as a guide and employs Charlotte Mason's techniques of keeping the work to short lessons each day.  At the end of the unit we are left with a portfolio of beautiful well-tought-out  writing.

We are also hitting up EduDPS for our vocabulary lessons each day.  Roots and Fruits gives the boys a Greek or Latin root word each day with several examples.  The boys copy the words into their notebooks and then look them up in the dictionary and copy the definitions.  Once a week we play a game or use flash cards to reinforce learning the words and their definitions.  Oh, and they're learning the Greek and Latin roots as well!

Our copywork is being taken from Presidential Penmanship.  I reviewed this product at the end of last year from Zeezok Publishing.  So far the boys are really enjoying these quotes from past presidents.  They can't wait to read them to me when they finish copying them.  The quotes are really valuable, and their penmanship is already improving.

For Math both boys are back to Saxon.  I'm sure we will have some review products to supplement.  Last year there was a plethora of math products!  But for our core, we are back to Saxon.  Algebra 1 for Big Mac and Algebra 1/2 for T-bone.

In science we are using Christian Kids Explore Chemistry.  We have finished the first unit and I really love it.  It starts with the basics but I know that the boys will really grasp the concepts of chemistry from this year's study.  We are supplementing with the Elements Newsletter from How to Teach Science where we are working our way through each element on the periodic table.  When I read about an element, the boys color it on their periodic table and then make an element trading card for it.

For art we are finishing Artistic Pursuits Jr. High Book1.  We began it last year and then set it aside because I really wanted to complete it in its entirety this year.  So that's what we did.  Each unit has four days of lessons with four drawing assignments.  I really like this curriculum a lot.

We are learning French this year!  I took a few years of French and have a passing knowledge, so the boys have always been interested in it.  We got an old copy of Powerglide French with a book and audio tapes.  The boys are really doing well with it!  I love Powerglide's approach.  It is not dry at all.  As a matter of fact they are using an adventure story where the boys pretend to be secret agents in a French-speaking country.  This was made for our boys!  And we got to make quiche Lorraine...which makes is a good fit for me :)

We're going to build our history from reading good books and biographies.  We will work our way through the time period from the Revolutionary to the Civil War and then begin a Civil War unit in the new year.

For Geography and a bit more American History we'll use the Star-Spangled State Book and the companion workbook.  I still need to order one more workbook so we haven't started this yet.  At the end of this study the boys should be able to recite all the states and their capitals.

Later in the year we are going to use The Body Book to do a health science unit.  And an old book with biographies of the composers to complete a music unit.  The book is called Stories of Great Musicians by Kathrine Lois Scobey and Olive Brown Horne.  I can't find it on-line anywhere, but there is a similar book at project Gutenberg here.  I plan to read to the boys about a composer and listen to his music on CD. 

Last but always first, we are continuing our memory verses for Bible each day.  I've lost count at the number of verses the boys have memorized.  I used Simply Charlotte Mason's method of reviewing verses with the boys each day.  We have used this system for a few years and it works best for us.  We are also reading each day from the One-Year Book of Christian History.  The boys aren't crazy about these readings because they are often sad.  But I want the boys to know the heritage of believers that came before them.  We are finishing up the last of the worksheets from Your Story Hour and will be earning our final CDs and the case to go with them.  And I read a spiritual book over breakfast each day.  Right now we are reading The Prayer of Jabez.  Afterward, I think we're going to try The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel.

And I always read to the boys over lunch as well.  Right now we're reading The Shakespeare Stealer by Gary Blackwood.  I'm supplementing that with William Shakespeare and The Globe by Aliki.  I've been wanting to introduce Shakespeare to the boys for a while now.  I have Charles and Mary Lamb's Tales from Shakespeare that I've wanted to read to them.  So this might spiral off into a whole other thing!!!

Ok this has been long.  But plans are long, aren't they?  I hope you enjoyed this curriculum stroll.  I'd love to know your plans.  What are you doing this year?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Filling the Freezer

This is not a cooking blog.  Honest it's not.  But I do have another kitcheny-cooking-y thing to tell you.  Lately I've been cooking with my freezer in mind.  I love  I get lots of great sale information and freebies from following this site.  One of the things she does almost monthly is have a freezer cooking day.  How she does it with three small children, I have no idea!  I have a 12 and 13 year old and there is no way I could squeeze in an entire day to cook and fill my freezer.

But the idea of filling your freezer with pre-made meals and snacks is really appealing to me.  So, last week I added 1 chicken casserole, 1 mock ham loaf, and several containers of cream of chicken soup to my freezer.  And it didn't take me an entire day to do it.  I had planned to make the chicken casserole for Monday's supper.  Since I had all the ingredients, I just made two casseroles and froze one.  I did the same thing a few days later when I made mock ham loaf.  On the day I made chicken casserole, I needed some extra cream of chicken soup.  I already had broth from cooking the chicken so I made homemake cream of chicken, which I then froze in can-sized quantities so that I can use it in later recipes.

Which brings me to this morning.  On Monday's we have whatever I feel like making.  Today, it was waffles.  I got a great deal on sour cream last week at the grocery store so I have an abundance.  I found a sour cream waffle recipe on-line.  I doubled it and now I have this lovely stack of waffles ready for the freezer!

Et Voila! My freezer is being filled and I'm not needing to set aside an entire day.  I'm loving this!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

How I Love to Spend a Sunday Afternoon

I took this afternoon and finished a little shawl or shawlette called Travelling Woman.  You'll find the pattern free on Ravelry.  And if you're on Ravelry, why aren't you my friend!?!  Friend me...I'm "crochetlu."

Anyway, here's a picture of the finished product on the blocking board.  I bound off too tightly.  I think I was too anxious to get it finished...So I may need to un-bind, and then re-bind off... patience is NOT a fruit that I've allowed to ripen well enough. 

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Taking Sunday Off

For the past month I've been trying to really give myself a chance to rest on Sundays.  I don't usually do laundry that day, unless something extreme happens.  I try to relax with our little family, or sometimes we see extended family on Sundays after church.

But one other thing I've been doing is trying to cook ahead on Saturday in preparation for Sunday, so that I can rest.  Here's what I do.  For breakfast, I make a casserole or dish that can be made ahead.  I put it together the night before and then just pop it in the oven when I wake up Sunday morning.  Breakfast is served!  I'm also using my crockpot every Sunday so that when we get home from church, lunch is ready.  And then Supper can just be whatever everyone finds in the 'fridge.

So, I just finished my food prep for tomorrow and I thought I'd share it with you.  For breakfast tomorrow, we are having a recipe I adapted from one called "Christmas Morning Surprise" that I clipped from a newspaper several years ago.Cook 1 pound of bacon and crumble it.  I do mine on a rack in the oven.  And I crumbled it in the food processor.  Then melt a stick of butter in a 9x13 casserole dish.  Crumble 30 saltine crackers into the butter, then top with 2 cups of shredded cheese (we're using colby for tomorrow because that's what I have on hand) and the crumbled bacon.  Pour over top 6 eggs that have been thoroughly combined with 2 cups of milk.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.  In the morning bake 30 min. in a 350 oven.

For lunch, we're having ham and green beans. 

I think this is a Pennsylvania Dutch dish, but it's so easy and very delicious.  You put some green beans (I have a little over a pound I think) 2 smoked ham hocks (sometimes the store calls them ham shanks) one large onion chopped, and 4 potatoes cubed into your crockpot.  Cover everything with water and let it cook for a LONG time.  I actually put mine on low tonight and we won't eat it until 1 PM tomorrow.  I like that ham hock to really make a flavorful broth.  And anytime you make a bone broth, the longer you cook it the better.  The potato gives off some starch and this broth gets a little thick.  Before you serve it, remove the ham from the bones and discard the bones.  Put the ham back into the pot and serve.  It's great with a loaf of fresh bread...oooo  I think I need to get the bread maker out of the cupboard for tomorrow's lunch!

Well, that's the plan for tomorrow.  How do you prepare for Sunday?