Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Slow Fade

I can't believe it's over... the nice holiday cheer... the shopping for that perfect gift... the talk about Christ and the the blink of an eye it's over and everyone but me seems to be anxious to get back to the same old grind. I just don't get it! The build up of the holidays seems to lead up to a cliff that everyone seems so anxious to jump off! lol Why would you want to just pack it all away the day after... why not saver it for a few days at least.... take some time to wind down and enjoy a few days of quiet enjoyment before jumping back into the day-to-day bustle of normal everyday activities?  It just makes me so sad to hear people saying that it's so great to have it all over with... on the day of Christmas... or that they can't wait to "reclaim" their houses the very next day! Am I the only one that wants to at least wait till the new year to enjoy the holiday season? 

In a world where you can buy Christmas decorations in June and they have Valentine's goodies out the week before Christmas... don't you just want to go against the flow and enjoy the holiday for what it is before moving on to the next one? As for me.... I will fight to keep this warm and cozy feeling in our house for as long as I can... I love the added light that the decorations bring to the house and I want my girls to learn to savor this time not cast it aside as some silly ritual that we do simply to be going thru the motions...Just because Christmas is passed doesn't mean that winter is over and it doesn't mean that we are ready to get back into the more fast paced days of spring and summer that will surely be here before we know it! I just want to take the time to breath.... to enjoy watching the girls play with their new treasured toys... to take joy in the quiet of a cold morning and a good cup of coffee sipped by the light of the Christmas tree... I am not in a hurry to banish this season of comfort and joy...I want to soak it in and keep it with me throughout the year... not rush off to yet another over commercialized holiday that seems to be losing it's meaning a little more each year...I want to take it slow and enjoy what is left of this year because as time tends to go... the new year will be here before we know it and with it it will bring a whole year full of holidays and other events to fill our days.

I guess what I'm really saying is, I wish this holiday could BE more... MEAN more and be ENJOYED more by people... if it really is the important holiday that it is... why would anyone want it to be over? Isn't it just making it about the presents if the Christmas season is over the moment they are open? Hmm... just a thought... maybe it's me that is holding on to it for too long but for some reason this whole topic makes me think of the Casting Crowns song "Slow Fade". Now, I know that song isn't about Christmas... but if you listen to the words it could be... if you give yourself away... not holding true to the meaning of the season then it's just a slow fade of falling into the general public's view of it...

It's a slow fade when you give yourself away

It's a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray

Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid

When you give yourself away

People never crumble in a day

It's a slow fade, it's a slow fade

... I just want to be sure we are celebrating for the right reasons... and don't want to fall into that grey.... ya know? I'd love to hear your thoughts on I off my rocker?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Bring on the light!

Happy Solstice!

... I know... a day late... but since when can I get anything posted on time these days!?

This was taken during the eclipse... right before the clouds took over!

And this is one of the lanterns we made for our lantern walk on Solstice. We've never really "celebrated" the winter solstice before, I always read these amazing blogs about how others do it and I just always tend to run out of time for any preparations and end up just not doing anything because it won't be perfect.... So this year, I said to heck with it! We are going to do a lantern walk and if it's a flop we'll make it better next year!
We made these pretty little lanterns by covering a balloon with tissue paper and then popping the balloons. The four of us got bundled up and headed out for a walk in the woods... only having to light the candles half a dozen times or so before we made it to the woods! The wind was not cooperating! lol As we got closer to the woods, we saw a little light down by our little duck pond/large puddle.... We called out thinking someone was camping in our yard but no one answered.... and as we got closer we found it was a gnome couple fishing by candle light!!!
The girls were just giddy and even DH admitted later that it was SUCH a cool experience...

So... into the woods caroling we went!

This is the first Solstice that I was eager to welcome... bring on the light!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Five Question Friday!!!

Want to join in on the fun? Fill out these questions on YOUR blog and then link back to My Little Life! It's that easy!

1. Do you regift...and if so, do you have a regifting horror story?
2. Do you know what you are getting for Christmas this year?
3. Who brings the most gifts in your family, you or Santa?
4. What store do you love to by jeans from?
5. Christmas meal: Big, All Out Meal or Snacks and Apps?

And now for my answers....

1. Do you regift...and if so, do you have a regifting horror story?

I guess I probably have regifted although I can't really think of anything in regifting horror story either. Although, I did once recieve a pair of brand new pjs from someone... that I had originally given them too!!! lol I don't think it even dawned on her... and I was glad that I always try to buy something I would like! haha!!

2. Do you know what you are getting for Christmas this year?

I already got what I wanted... he's sitting right next to me! :) I think maybe I'll put a bow on him for Christmas morning... what do you think?? :)

3. Who brings the most gifts in your family, you or Santa?
 Umm... I would say that Dh and I bring more than Santa, but not much. We each usually bring one or two little things  (it all dependso n how much time we have to make them! ) and Santa brings one thing for under the tree and the stocking goodies.

4. What store do you love to by jeans from?
That's a tough one, I like to buy second hand but if I were to actually go to the store to buy them it would hands down be from GAP!!!

5. Christmas meal: Big, All Out Meal or Snacks and Apps?

We usually snack on Christmas day, hang out in our pjs and then actually get around and make a ham for a late dinner, sometimes with friends sometimes just us.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Can't you see it?

It's been almost two years since my obsession with little dogs began. If you are new to this blog you might want to start reading here first to get the whole story... Once again, I have had this eerie feeling that the stars are adjusting themselves and God is smiling down on us in great favor lately...

In light of my past postings about little dogs, it's no secret that for two years I have felt this hole in our lives that could only be filled by a little furry being... oh sure, I know how lucky I am to have the family that I have and the life that we live however I still have still felt this yearning that I can't discribe... Those feels came to a head last weekend.

I've been looking at dogs, secretly for months on Petfinder and Craigslist. Not really saying anything out loud to DH until a month or so ago when a friend sent me pictures of a little dog in Missouri. For some reason, that little furball really spoke to me and I had everything worked out in my mind as to how we would get him north! :) DH didn't go for it tho... so I started looking locally again with a vengence and started sending little "hints" to DH's email... lol Yeah, subtle is not one of my strengths! lol I would just send an email with a link and never mention it again.... I figured that if the pictures spoke to him then it would be the right time and I would just know....So... I waited patiently, or at least as patiently as I get haha! And nothing was said!  I didn't even know if he was getting my emails! lol I finally said a few bigger hints and then I at least got a response that told me he'd been getting them but not really the reaction I was hoping for! I had pretty much given up when we were talking to my mom on the phone about her newest love and I brought up a craigslist ad in front of DH on the computer....

When we hung up the phone from talking to my mom, he just casually said "He's cute, why don't you call about him?"

WHAT!?!?!?!? Did I hear him right? Take a deep breath.... maybe I'm imagining things, could this really be happening?!

As you can tell, I was a bit surprised and my mind was is overload!!!  So, I emailed and got all the questions answered that I wanted and set up a time for the owner to come by the next day!  Holy cow did that really happen? I think I am still in a bit of shock! The owner was a very sweet gal who just wanted the best for her dog. She found that she was working 12+ hour days and he was spending way too much time alone in his kennel.... So, she wanted to find him the best home she could and required a home visit to ensure he was going to the right family. This all transpired on the same day that we tried out our new church so you can see why we feel the warm glow of God showing favor on us...

But I'm getting ahead of myself...she brought him for a visit, and stayed for about 2 hours I think. You could tell it was hard for her to leave him and I was afraid that she might change her mind... but he really did seem happy here, and of course the girls were just crazy about him. Karma didn't seem to care in the least and DH.... well, you could tell he was trying to be the strong and silent type saying not much more than "He's cute" the whole time but I could tell he was interested and couldn't wait to start bonding too...
Now for the freaky I mentioned, it's been almost two years since we "lost" Remi. It was the 30th of January, just two weeks before Valentine's day.... and this new little love of mine was born that February. Yeah, try to soak that one in....I knew even then that there was a bigger purpose. I just re-read my entry from the day we got the phone callfrom Remi's owners, and even then I knew that there was a reason we had to love a little dog only to lose her... I just never could have imagined that it was for a puppy that would be born and raised nearly 2000 miles away!!!

Once again this comes to mind... :)

Isaiah 43:19 (New Living Translation)
For I am about to do something new.
See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?

  And so...that is how Linus came to live with us... isn't he a dear!? lol This picture was taken the first day we had him... Karma hadn't had the chance to warn him about the girls' love of dress-up time! ha!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Straight pins and bobbins

It's been a mad dash of sewing to get things done in time to mail... and there have been straight pins and bobbins covering my table for days!! lol I am going crazy cause I can't share what i've been working on for fear of someone seeing their gift too soon so for now you'll have to settle on this... I think it's the only gift that is for someone without a computer! :) DH's Grandmother is crazy into crafts like me and is a GREAT cook so I thought this was fitting for her!
I got the pattern from Fiber Works in MT. It has got to be THE  prettiest quilt shop I have ever been to! Be sure to check out the pictures of the store when you get a chance! I can't seem to find the pattern on their site but I'm sure if you call you could just ask for it. It's called "Easy Apron by Laura Heine". If you do call, be sure to tell them I sent you! :)

And, I got my fabric at Gee Gee's (my newest favorite outing!) You can order from their site... they have THE best selection I've ever seen!!! It makes it oh so dangerous to go in there! :)

In progress

For once, DH is getting in on the fun of making presents for the girls too!

In a world where everything is bigger and better, we really really try to make an effort to simplify at Christmas. I think last year will always be the year we are striving to recreate... not to much, not too little, just right!

So this year, instead of going to the store and ordering a painted up, run of the mill Barbie house (wooden, plastic or whatever else they come up with these days!) we are creating one that will be bookshelf style and simple... perfect for their imaginations and love of crafting to go wild!

But, as we all know... a house is not a home without some of the creature comforts of furniture! So, Daddy and I went into the woods on the search for "logs" for the beds....I love that we were able to turn what would be garbage to anyone else into something that will brign such joy to the girls. Now I need to get working on the bedding!  :)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The blogger perceptions...

I read a blog today  called Along for the Ride that really hit home and seemed like she has been listening to the thoughts I've been having in my own head lately... I think it's something worth reading...

I too have struggled with these feelings... and continue to do so even more when I get compliments from friends saying "I wish I was crafty like you" or "You have so much talent, I'm jealous"...while all those things make me feel awesome, I also feel bad at the same time because of course what I post is the good stuff...the crafts that turn out or the recipes that are simply amazing...having really nothing to do with me! lol And then that makes me think... those blogs that I adore are doing the same thing... I find my self wishing that my house had more order and my kids were calmer and that life in general was just simple... and then I remember that other blogs are struggling too... only they are just sharing the good stuff... not the messes on the floor, and the screaming kids and the crafts that didn't turn out so great... I think we all have so much to gain from all the messes life brings ourway too...and we all have matter how "perfect" our blogs are! lol :)

The stars are aligning....

There has to be a word, just one single word, that means "the stars are aligning"...if you know of one please share because I'd really like to have a word to describe the last few days...

I'm sorry I've been MIA as far as the blogs go. This time of year is so busy anyways and then when you add in our last few days.... it's just insane...

If you've been following me very long, you know that we have been displaced from our ideal place in this world. Alaska was just it for us... and it left this hole that we just haven't been able to fill. Part of that hole was from simply missing the landscape, part from friends we left behind (one of which is moving here!! Woo hoo!!!) and a big part of that hole could only be filled with our church family.  We tried to find a church family in Texas, but there just never seemed to be anywhere that really made us feel like home...

I don't know if I can truly describe the feelings we had about our church, or the apprehensions we felt about trying a new if any of this comes out offensive to you, please know that it was not my intention, just poor wording.  I don't know if we idealize our church in Alaska and see it with rose colored glasses just because we've been away, or if it really was that perfect....we started going there when we first got married (the first Sunday after our honeymoon actually!)  and we just fit... it felt like home.... and the people felt like family. When we left there was literally this pain in my heart, that even now as I am typing, has brought tears to my eyes. So when we got to Texas, we had such high hopes for any of the churches we tried and such disappointment that we didn't get that "warm fuzzy" from any of them. They all felt like your stereo typical church...fake smiles on "good Sunday church folk" and sermons about going to Hell and giving them money.... so NOT the homey feeling we were looking for... so for four years we were miserable. Miserable in our location, and missing that church family that we longed to have....

Flash forward and move your mental picture farther north to Washington....

There is a little church in the woods, not far from our house, that I have been eyeing since the first day we moved in. I was going to town for a pizza while we waited on the moving truck. Off to the side of the road, back in the middle of the woods, was this community church and it's almost as if a beacon was pulling my attention to it... I couldn't describe it, it just felt like this force was pulling me there. I went home and told DH about it, and looked up their website online. The website said about bringing the word of Christ to the country... and their mission trips talked about going to Alaska of all places! lol

It's been a few months now of passing this church almost every time we've gone to town, but still we had our reservations about going. The website didn't give much detail about the church's beliefs and to be honest I just didn't want to be disappointed again. I would rather have the hope of it being "the one" than to go and be back to square one again....I know that must sound crazy. We kept telling ourselves that it's only an hour or so, and if we don't like it we aren't out much time and we don't have to go I awoke on Sunday to DH... he had already shaved and showered and told him that he just felt like "someone" was talking to him and that today (or rather Sunday) was the day...

There was kind of a calm feeling about it all...we got up and around, picked out dresses for the girls and took the first step to meeting what could be the best journey ever ahead of us...

Again, the words just don't seem to express how blessed I feel right now...from the moment we walked into that church, I felt so welcome. We got to meet so many people and one of them just happened to ask J where she goes to school....the flood gates were opened....and there was this outpouring of homeschooling moms and kids that seemed to circle around us. One of them mentioned that probably 50-60% of their congregation are homeschoolers! I had this huge lump in my throat as they all told me of things in the area for us to do and one even told me about the co-op that she is part of  and I just felt like this bright and shiny light was shining down on us and God was smiling and saying "I told you so, just be patient"...

 This scripture is one that always seems to find us when we need it most... we love it so much so that I have it written on a wipe off board so that I see it everyday... it is this scripture that has gotten us thru so many rough times... issues with my step-son, our move to Texas... our move to Missouri...the change from Missouri to Washington and so many others in between....I know there is always more clarity looking back on what we've done but this scripture has just been such a reminder to me to keep looking forward...

Isaiah 43:19 (New Living Translation)

19 For I am about to do something new.

See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?

I will make a pathway through the wilderness.

I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.

I know I don't usually share this aspect of our lives on my blog a whole lot, and don't worry, I don't plan on quoting scriptures being a regular thing...  I just had to share this experience with you and hope that it helps remind even one person that there is a greater plan for all of us....and my gratitude is so completely overflowing!

For the first time in four years, we are looking forward to the opportunities ahead of us, not looking backwards in sadness....I feel so much lighter and look forward to Sunday again!

Friday, December 3, 2010

5 Question Friday

Can you believe it's already December 3rd? Where o where did the last year go?! I must have blinked because I think I missed November entirely! lol I can't believe how fast time is flying and how lax I have been on this blog lately.... it's not as if I don't think of all of you and want to write, it's just that my days have been so full since we got home from our trip that I hardly have time to eat lunch! lol It's been a flurry of decorating and crafting and trying to get presents finished up (ok lets be honest... started... lol). I'm sure it's the same for all of you too right? Well, I will try to do better, really I will. I have missed writing and will try to do it more often as I know I really do need a break from sewing and such. I am beginning to think my hands are going to permanently stay in place for holding my knitting needles! lolThe typing will be good for them! :)

So, in an effort to stay currant with you all, I am going to take part in the Five Question Friday from over at My Little Life... won't you play along too!?

1. What's on the top of your holiday wish list and why?!
2. What is your favorite Christmas gift from the past?

3. If you had life to do over, what would you be when you grow up?

4. When do you put up your tree?

5. What is your favorite Holiday?

Here's my answers to them...

1. What's on the top of your holiday wish list and why?!

  Hmm... this is a tough one. I don't really have anything that I "need" and I just got my new sewing machine/serger so I don't really feel like it's fair for me to want anything either... but in the spirit of the question and with the idea that anything is possible... as in if Santa brought magical gifts for adults too...I would say a big hat box with holes...and a fuzzy little dog inside... I know, so lame but it's really the only thing that I can think of that would be just for me and totally frivolous (I know it wouldn't really be just for me, as I would have to share with little ones but still)....that would make a magical morning for me. Oh to have wishes like that!

2. What is your favorite Christmas gift from the past?

A few years ago, my husband's grandma and aunt each got me part of a set of Christmas villages from the movie "It's a Wonderful Life"... I was so excited and so surprised! I so enjoy unpacking it every year and remember getting it with such great memories!

3. If you had life to do over, what would you be when you grow up?
I am one of the lucky ones, I am doing exactly what I always wanted to when I was growing up...I can't imagine anything better!: )

4. When do you put up your tree?

We actually put it up on Thanksgiving. While the turkey is cooking, the Macy's parade is playing and we are snacking on chex mix, we all set up the tree and attempt to get it lit...then we decorate it with ornaments the next weekend after we've gotten the rest of the house decorated during the week! I so love this time of year!

5. What is your favorite Holiday?

Growing up it was always the 4th of July but as an adult I would have to say Christmas and New Years....we got married on New Year's eve so this time of year is always special to us!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The week got away from me!

Ooops! We 've been having so much fun here visiting family that I forgot about announcing the give-a-way winner! :) Sorry about that!  I was thrilled to see all the entries and enjoyed reading all the ideas for next months' books! I have one in particular on order and am already plotting out the crafts to go with it! You'll have to be sure to check back and see which one I picked!

Now, I know you are all just waiting to hear who won...

And the winner is...Little Miss Sunshine!! Please contact me at wpooh_9 at hotmail dot com so I know where to send your kit! :)

Thanks to everyone who entered and all the people that I know are spreading the word about our new blog . I know that we are really enjoying the books we've been reading and the craft ideas we've been sharing with all of you! I have os many fun ideas planned for in December and I may even have another give-a-way or two! So be sure to check go read a book to your kids and get crafty! :)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Shutterfly love

No, I'm not talking about bugs that fly...I'm talking about the love of opening those yearly cards that will soon be filling my mail box! And the hope that they will have pictures of our far away friends and family packaged in right along with them! :) I'm talking about Christmas cards!!!

I don't know about you, but I have been thinking about them for weeks now and trying to plot out the perfect picture setting to use in our yearly card. The stress of it all is about to drive me crazy...and then I discovered a way to simplify....I ususally make my own cards, each painstaking piece of art with stamps and ink however this year I decided that I just wasn't up for the mess and the extra you hear it? The angels are singing!That's right...Shutterfly is ready to make your photo cards in a matter of minutes! One less stress checked off the list! Not its just a matter of picking from all their great choices!! lol :)

This one is my personal favorite...I love the idea that a picture of my family will be delivered as a present!

Don't let the fun stop there! You can use these photo cards for just about everything! They would make great thankyou cards for holiday gifts or even birthday party cards! Not to mention baby announcements! I've even used them for pictures of the girls to send to family after a vacation...I love to get/send mail and what's better to send than pictures!? Personalized  gifts like wall calenders and personalized photo mugs!  lol

Tiled Mugs
What's better to give than a useable picture that will be seen every morning?!

My favorite of their products are the photo books tho. They are easy to make and can really be full of so many memories. After our big move this summer, I took all the pictures from the trip and made them into a book for my mother-in-law, who had so graciously made the trip west with us. It was so fun to see all the pictures together in  book, I might just have to make one for myself! :)

What ever you chose to make with Shutterfly, I know you won't be disappointed. If only for this one little thing, take a load off and let Shutterfly do the work! :) Get your cards picked out, your pictures loaded and have your personalized holiday cards delivered right to your door! Now if only the rest of your shopping could be that easy! :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

American girl

For as long as I can remember, I have loved learning about books, in movies and eventually with toys too like those from American Girl. I can remember getting my Kirsten doll and the magic that came from having a "friend" to go with adventures on. Oh sure, it's another doll and I know I had plenty, but this doll was different....she was a child like me, not a baby, and the books that told her story struck a cord with me.

Felicity Merriman 1774

I so look forward to the day that I can pass this doll on to my girls, although I don't know how I will ever expect them to share this one doll! Just moments ago I discovered a blog that might make it possible for me to give them each a doll!! MomsBestBet is offering up a Felicity doll to one lucky reader!! How amazing would that be to win!? Not only could we learn about fronteir life with Kirsten but we could learn about colonial life with Felicity!  And oh the clothes and things we could make for them! lol I have been plotting already how we would use American Girl to learn about history and even lucked onto some curriculum to go with it! Now it's just a matter of waiting for the girls to be ready for it!

So, as much as I would like to keep this giveaway secret and win it for myself...I feel compelled to share it with all of you (plus I get extra entries for doing so! lol) go enter! Even if you don't want it for yourself...there has got to be a little girl in your life you could give this treasured doll to...or you could just send it our way! lol :) Just kidding....kind of ! :)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Books2BridgeMiles give-a-way!

I am so excited to be announcning a new blog called  Books2bridgemiles.....

"In the wee small hours of the morning....two moms were chatting from almost 2000 miles apart. They were seperated by two times zones, 30+ driving hours, a very large mountain range and more rivers than you want to count...but connected by good friendship and four little girls who adore each other.... "

One of my very best friends, Jackie and I are starting this blog as a way of staying connected, both for us as adults and for our girls who miss each other terribly! So, in the spirit of the book "A Year of Mornings" , we are going to have a book club of sorts...via our blog! Each week, we will post a book for everyone following us to read with their kids and then at the end of the week, we'll post about what we did and have a linky for our followers to do the same! What a great way to get ideas, don't you think?

So, to really kick off our first week of blogging, I am offering a give-a-way!


This kit contains everything you will need to make a winter hat! NO sewing required!

There are lots of ways to enter...this give-a-way will be open until Sunday November14th and I'll announce the winner on Monday morning!

Mandatory entry- Go over to Books2bridgemiles and tell me one of the books we'll be reading in November!

Extra Entries

1. Become (or tell me you already are)  a fan of Our Broken Road (1 entry)
2. Become (or tell me you already are) a fan of Books2BridgeMiles (1 entry)
3. Blog about this giveway and come back and leave me a link! (2 entries)
4. Add a linky at Books2BridgeMiles (5 entries)
5. Tell me what book you'd like to see us do for December! (1 entry)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Versatile blogger Award

"You like me! You really like me!"  ...Sally Field

That little quote has been playing through my head all afternoon and evening but things have been busy and this is the first time I have had the chance to share it with you! lol I must admit, I've been giddy ever since Amber over at GlutenFreeMotherhood awarded me with the versatile blogger award! This is a first for me and I am completely thrilled and flattered...yes I know I am gushing...but I wanted to be sure to get my enthusiasm across the screen to you! :)  It's the simple joys in life that mean the most right?

To accept the versatile blogger award the rules are as follows:

1. Thank and link back to the person who gave you the award

2. Share 7 things about yourself

3. Pass it along to 15 blogs you've recently discovered and enjoy

4. Leave your recipients a note telling them about the award

7 things about me

1. When I was younger I wanted to be a mom, a teacher, a writer and a hair I am all of them! :)

2. I dream in the brightest colors when I dream of Alaska and it usually involves our church there...

3.I consider myself to have some of THE best friends ever...I know how lucky I am because good friends are hard to come by!

4. Someday I want to learn how to spin wool into yarn (duh)

5.Some days, I wish I could have another baby because I would do SO many things differently.

6. I hope my girls never tire of snuggling up with me and a good book!

7. My husband really is my best friend and I am so lucky to have truly found my soul mate....ahh.... :)

These are my most favorite new found blogs...go check them out!!

1. By Hook and Thread
2. Day by day in Our World
3. Morning Sun Rae
4. Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns
5. Our Homeschool Fun
6.Our Little Nature Nest
7. Ric- Rac
8. Nitty Gritty Homestead
9. The Letter Writing Revolution
10.The Neighborhood Archive
11.The Toy Society
12. Mama Moon Time
13. Counting Coconuts
14. Acorn Pies
15. Frontier Dreams

Thanks again for the blogging love...I really do enjoy writing this little blog and am glad to know that someone enjoys reading it too! :)

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Demise of a pumpkin

Today we decided it was time to cut into the pumpkins....we've been reading all these great books and couldn't resist!

Out of all the books we read, I think this one left the most lasting's about a class who wants to know how many seeds are in their pumpkin with an underlying story that bigger isn't always better....gotta love a good wholesome story!

Before starting the demise...we all took a guess at just how many seeds we would find...

Small Pumpkin guesses...

J- 60
DH-342 (we thought he was crazy!)
Me- 99

Larger Pumpkin guesses...


and the results?

Drum roll please...

Small pumpkin seeds totaled....


So I guess DH wasn't so crazy afterall! lol

And the big pumpkin?

Are you beating on the nearest surface?

.......I can't hear you....

drum roll please.....

506!!! How cool is that?

We got to make lots of comparisons about the differences we the color of the meat inside...

and the size of the seeds too!

After soaking them in salt water over night these are going to make a great snack!

And the small pumpkin was quickly turned into these...

Chocolate chip pumpkin cookies!

(Recipe thanks to my dear friend Aimee!)


2 1/2 C flour
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1 1/2 t pumpkin pie spice
1 c butter
1 c sugar
2 eggs
1 16 oz. can 100% pure pumpkin
1 t vanilla
1 c chopped walnuts (I left these out-not much of a nut in cookies fan)
1 12 oz. bag semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:1. Preheat oven to 375.

Grease 2 cookie sheets.

Mix flour, powder, soda, and pumpkin pie spice in a bowl

Beat butter and sugar together in another bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time until smooth and well blended. Mix in the pumpkin and vanilla until smooth. Gradually add the flour mixture, stirring to make a smooth batter. Stir in nuts (if desired) and chocolate chips.

Drop by T sized spoonfulls onto prepared sheets.

Bake in preheated oven until edges are golden, 18-20 minutes. Cool briefly on sheets and then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Don't you just LOVE fall? My house is smelling so yummy these days!

Gone batty

Go here to check out the giveaway! Wouldn't he be just perfect for our fairy house? :) I think Elder needs a friend don't you? Oh how we love our wooden critters so!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

What came first...the chicken or the egg?

To go along with the spirit of our One Small Change, we are trying to become more aware of where our food comes from and how it is produced.... not only checking labels for ingredients (have I mentioned how much I hate high fructose corn syrup?) but also purchasing milk that comes from cows that haven't been treated with hormones and buying eggs (when we run low from ours) that come from chickens that have been humanely treated and again, not injected with hormones and fed things we wouldn't feed our dog....

I consider ourselves to be SO lucky to be living in the area that we do because we have the opportunity to actually go to the places where our food is made and see the conditions under which our food is raised/put together! I had no idea how much of the food we eat comes from the west coast! Dummy me, I guess I just never thought about it much...and my list keeps growing and growing for the places to visit!

I was SO excited to see a segment on our local news channel about Wilcox Family farms, a local egg producer and to see that they were having a harvest festival/tour! The coolest thing about it? They are only a stones throw from our house! How cool is that?

Not only did they give us samples but we got to visit with them a bit too. The lady on the left is a member of the family...her mother actually attended the one room school house that is now located on their farm!


The one room school house where members of the Wilcox family once attended... the kiddos got to ring the school bell ( a big highlight!) and they had a lesson on the board. There were also glass cases of old books for us to see. I thought it was so cool because we had at least one if not two of the readers!

It's funny how the simplicity of a water pump could be so interesting to our kids! I just love the hands on aspect of it...they still talk about getting to make the water come out! lol

Another plus to the visit was this old ringer for laundry! Aren't you glad you have a washer and dryer? lol

The girls were excited to see this tho because it is in one of their VERY favorite books. Now they understand what it is and how it worked!

They also got to paint pumpkins! That was an added surprise!

After all the fun activities, we got to go for a hay ride of sorts and they took us down to where the chickens are actually raised...

Now, I don't know about you, but after seeing Food Inc. I have viewed chickens in a whole other light and was a bit nervous/anxious about this part of the tour. To say I was pleasantly surprised is an understatement... spending many years in Missouri, it was inevitable not to drive by a Tyson chicken barn (boo hiss gag!) and the smell that surrounded them could be smelled for miles. This place was nothing like that...we were pulled in right up close and there was essentially now smell!!! They explained how the mechanical roosting boxes worked both to keep the area clean and to get the eggs in a timely manner. They also explained that while this particular field of chickens are organic and free range, their non-organic chickens are voluntarily free range also! I thought that was so cool! We had the chance to ask questions of the workers, who were also fourth generation Wilcox family members. That too impressed me...that the family didn't just set back and collect a check but rather had a hands on approach. The whole farm felt like a family farm...clean and welcoming... It was interesting to me how fast the eggs from this farm are out and on the shelf at our local stores...2-3 apposed to the up to 30 days it takes from other egg producers...can you imagine? 30 days to get to the store, not to mention the time they sit there and then the time till they get to our plates? Really makes you wonder huh? :)

All in all, I think this was one of THE coolest field trips we've ever been on and I look forward to going back and getting to tour the actual production line and see how the eggs are cleaned and packaged. As for us...we are lucky to have our own eggs but will seek out Wilcox eggs in the future as we need them. I know that researching your food is time consuming and at times frustrating when we don't get the answers we want but don't you think it's our duty as caregivers, parents and Americans in general to be informed and to make the best choices we can about what we buy? Would you blindly vote for a candidate for President? I hope why would you "vote" for food that isn't really food and that can cause harm in so many ways...just think of it as voting when you go to the super market...and don't think you have to change everything...start small. Choose one aspect of you family's diet and look into it. Start with say, eggs...every little bit counts!!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Fall into Reading!

This time of year is such a wonderful time. I know each season has it's "perks" but the fall for some reason seems to have more...I don't know if it's just because there are so many celebrations all in a row or if it's simply because, thanks to Mother Nature, we have to slow down a bit? What ever the cause, we are SO enjoying a true's been many years since I've gotten to enjoy such a fall, a real fall...In Alaska we just kinda skipped over fall for winter and in Texas we had summer that lasted thru two seasons and jumped into winter eventually so this transition of the seasons has been a wonderful time for us all! Apple picking, pumpkin painting and fall related reading galore!! These are just a few of what we've been reading!

The pictures in this book are enchanting...this one is going on our list to purchase for sure. It takes you thru the months of the year and shares the sweetest celebrations and other goings on...the girls really enjoyed this one!

Another must have book goes onto our list! This book of a wife doing all this crazy stuff getting ready for winter while the husband sits in his chair exhausted had the girls giggling throughout the story! I am a sucker for detailed pictures and this one was a great crowd pleaser!

As with most of these books, we got this one at the library...J is so sad to see it go back that I think I am going to have to order it ASAP! We so enjoyed the story of how September introduced Christopher to all the "characters" of fall and the feeling of mischief we felt as his new friends sent him on a wild goose chase for his beloved ball. Again, it's all about the artwork for me and these old fashioned drawings just sucked me in...I can't wait to add this one to our collection!

This book was a fun one to read...with a teacher who liked to rhyme and say the wrong words to keep the children guessing! The girls got a kick out of it and we really enjoyed reading it!

I have been enjoying the posts of Learning with Mouse for some time now but hadn't taken the leap to post what we've been reading yet...well, our list of great books keeps growing and it seems so wrong not to share it with everyone! Some of these we have discovered from other bloggers and some we've found just by spending time at the library or our local thrift stores! So for this week I am sharing these fall/harvest/apple/pumpkin related books we've been finding and the crafts and activities we did to go along with it! Be sure to go to her site and check out what they've been reading too!

The great fall crafts seem to be never ending!!! We are so enjoying the crafts but I can't take credit for thinking them up! Check out the sites I've been following an be sure to let them know I sent you! :)

I'm running out of time for all these great crafts but wanted to share them incase you find the time! :)

Our Homeschool Fun- Milk jug jack-o-lanterns

Making memories with your Kids Milk Jug Ghosts

Almost Unschoolers Crazy about Candy Corn!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tuesday Tag-a-long

Welcome to this week's Tuesday Tag-Along blog hop, hosted by Twee Poppets Review and Giveaway! This is a great way to discover new blogs while increasing the number of followers for your own blog. Please feel free to grab the TTA button for your blogroll to help bring more bloggers to this blog hop!
Tuesday Tag-AlongTuesday Tag-Along button art adapted from the "Follow the Leader" illustration by Diana Jones. I encourage you to visit her at her blog, Sketch & Jones, and her online shop to see more great illustrations and all sorts of wonderful crafts! Without further ado...Here's how it works:
Create a new Tuesday Tag-Along blog post. Include the Tuesday Tag-Along button by copying and pasting the code above. (You are also welcome to copy and paste these instructions in their entirety, or any portion of this Tuesday Tag-Along blog post!)
Add your blog name and the URL of your TTA post to the MckLinky below.
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Follow the Blog Hopper of the Week, listed in the second slot. To learn how to be chosen as the Blog Hopper of the Week, read the red text below.
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Follow as many other blogs as you want. The more you follow, the more that will follow you back! Be sure to tell them that you're following from Tuesday Tag-Along! You may also want to leave a link to your blog so they can return your follow more easily.
When you get a new follower through Tuesday Tag-Along, be sure to follow them back! It's just common courtesy. :) The weekly Tuesday Tag-Along MckLinky opens every Monday night at 8:59pm Pacific Standard Time (that's 11:59pm Eastern Standard Time), and the TTA blog post will be posted well in advance of that time. The MckLinky will be open to add your blog until 11:59pm Tuesday night. You then have all week long to visit blogs and return follows!There is a new list every week. The link you enter one week will not carry over to the next week's MckLinky. Please link up again each week to join in the fun!

A new friend stopped by...

A while back I entered a give-a-way on facebook for a doll from KD Doll Shop

I enter giveaways all the time, on a daily basic really, and while I have been EXTREMELY fortunate on the things we have won (I have so many posts to still write about them!) I usually enter them and forget about them figuring I don't stand a chance! Well, this particular give-a-way was one of those times, I didn't think I stood a chance so I was SOOO thrilled to get an email stating that I'd won and that I had the pick of her shop!!!

Having made dolls similar to these, I know the time and love that goes into them and how hard it is to part with one even if it's for sale, let alone GIVING it away! I can't imagine! But I can tell you how amazing it was to win one! PURE JOY!! I fell in love with "Heidi" at first site and quickly made my pick...then it sunk in that my girls were going to have issues...oh my...who to give this doll too? DH and I talked about it and he insisted that the doll is MINE! What? I get a doll? lol At first I thought he was crazy! Pure crazy! But then, I was having a crappy day (nothing major just life getting in the way of a long needed break I had planned) and I escaped into town for a bit of quiet time to myself...only to find "Heidi" waiting for me in the mail. I have to admit, I felt a bit child-like as I opened the box and carefully pulled her out...The pictures don't do these dolls justice! She is so beautiful and so soft and entire mood changed due to this little doll and I knew that DH was right to call her mine!

As it turned out, this special little doll would become even more special in the next few days. While she resides in my room most of the time, gathered with a bunch of new friends from my childhood, she gets to go on special day trips into the girls' rooms when they have done something extra nice for someone else! One day, R wasn't feeling good, and J ended up voluntarily waiting on her hand and really was so sweet to see her be so caring and that night I asked if she would like to sleep with Heidi. She was so excited and quickly welcomed her into the warm covers...until a few minutes later when she came out very concerned that she would lose her hat in bed or what if J slept upside down (as she usually does) and messed Heidi's hair?....she was so concerned because she knew how special Heidi is! So, a bed for Heidi was made on the floor next to her bed and she was fed breakfast the next morning and put back into my room without even being reminded...

I know it sound crazy for me to keep this doll all for myself, but I must admit I do love knowing she is mine and I find that sometimes I just go in and pick her up to hold her. She just looks like such a sweet friend to have and I love that the girls think she is so special.

So, if you are looking to purchase a doll for a special little girl in your life, please consider skipping that plastic doll requiring batteries (for noises you will dread before the toy is even brought home)... and consider purchasing a Waldorf doll....

These dolls are made with love in every stitch (not lead or other toxic chemicals) here in the good ol' US of A (not CHINA!).....these dolls are carefully made of love and natural materials and give the opportunity for a child to receive the gift of imagination and joy from a simple doll....

And to KD Dolls....a heartfelt THANK YOU!!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

An artful journey

For years my husband has been teasing me about this bag of "sticks" that we've been moving along with us for no other reason than I collected them on a trip to Homer, AK and I thought that they will be useful someday! Well, today is the day! lol

This large piece of driftwood (along with many others) was found on the spit in Homer, Alaska on a fishing trip we took with friends who were visiting from Montana. Little did we know at the time, but we were expecting J! I'm not sure what is was about that trip that made it so special...I didn't go fishing or do anything major but we were with friends and we were making memories... while the men were off fishing, the ladies and I went to art galleries and after the men returned with hundreds of lbs of halibut and a few salmon to make up for dinner, we headed to the spit...

I just remember taking lots of pictures of the my husband's hands hold my stepson's tiny 5 year old hands while they fished (with no luck!) and the details of the rocks and the piles of drift wood that had spent so much time at sea but landed there on that spot for me to find and treasure! I had no idea at the time what I was going to use them for but they have come in handy a number of times and make our projects that much more special! That is why I was so excited to think of this...

What better way to use a treasured item than to make it useable and welcome the nature into our schoolroom in one more way!

The girls sat stringing beads and practicing their math (counting for R and adding for J) make their own art display!
We simply attached hangers to the back of it, beaded fishing string onto painted wooden clothes pins and beaded on the galss beads!!! SOOO simple but the girls are so proud of what they "made"!

I love the way the room is FINALLY coming together and starting to feel more welcoming! Let the creative juices start flowing!

Wonder what she's working on? Check out The Letter Writing Revolution! Since our move J has been hard at work on letters to her friends in hopes of getting mail in return someday! *Hint hint* and has even picked up a few new penpals along the way! She is currently working on a detailed letter to one of those said penpals about what we've been doing in school and what she's learning about fall....Emails are great but letters are better!! Go check out the blog and grab a piece of paper and a pen...someone is anxiously awaiting mail too! :)