Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Cause for Thanksgiving

My computer has been having major difficulties, which has also been a reason for my gap in posting. My dear husband has offered that I post from his computer for the time being until the problems can be rectified or I shoot my computer (which ever comes first). That's not my reason for giving thanks. That's just a FYI -- a sort of "heads up" for any further gaps that might occur in my posting. You know shared computer time and all that.

Now... during my posting gap ... one of the things that happened but I was unable to share because of the aforementioned glitch is that


His knee-flexure was last measured as 107 degrees unassisted. Hooray!!! Physical Therapy continues, and he still has some limitations. Yet, we TRULY have cause for thanksgiving and rejoicing. His recovery has progressed much further than was expected. He continues to be bulldog stubborn as he works to gain every last bit of benefit from his therapy!

Thanks to all who have remembered him is prayer! God has been so gracious to us!

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Pause That Refreshes

I am ashamed to say that it has been so long since I have posted anything that I barely know where to begin. I can hardly believe that my last post was nearly 2 weeks ago. We have crammed a lot of activities and visiting into those two weeks. For the first time since we began homeschooling (8 years ago), I have decided to take off the ENTIRE time between Christmas and New Year's Day. In fact, I threw in two more days for good measure -- the day before Christmas and the day after New Years. This past year has been a difficult one for our family, and we need a break.

During this little "vacation" of ours, I have done a good bit of sewing -- some of it has been gifts, some of it is just things that have been neglected and need to be done. My oldest daughter has picked up her needle and thread, also. It has been so busy this past year with the unexpected things of life, and she realized that she had not sewn anything since before school started in the fall. So she shared the dining room table with me. I sewed at one end and she sewed at the other. This was rather nice, because we could talk the whole time we were working on our separate projects.

Using the tutorial for the doll tote and enlarging it, she created this tote for her horse-loving friend who is away at college. It was a great hit when she gave it to her yesterday.

In addition to the tote, she has started a new cross-stitch project with some cross-stitch supplies that she received for Christmas. I can't wait until she completes it, and I can show it to you. It is one of my favorite designs. I, myself, have wanted to stitch it since the first time I saw it in a book.

We hope that all of you are also enjoying this time doing what you love to do and visiting with those you love to be with.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sew Crafty Wednesday (I Mean Friday)

'Tis the season to sew until I am cross-eyed and sleep deprived from staying up too late finishing projects. Oh, and did I mention baking? In the end it is all worth it to me because I love to give gifts that have truly come from ME -- gifts that have my planning and thought and love intwined with their very being -- gifts that no one else will receive a twin of this year. Something unique to someone unique.

These totes and I have been spending some late nights together. The hot pink of the ribbon and lining is just not coming out true; the pictures make the ribbon have an orange cast which it definitely does NOT have.

I especially love the main fabric in this bag. It's rather like a Harrington Plaid. I like the unexpected playfulness that hot pink, polka dots, and rickrack bring to the sophisticated, business-like fabric of this bag.

This bag for my sister-in-law is a little more tote-like. It will be a perfect tote for all the things she carries with her to church. I decided to applique her initials on it to give it a special personal touch.

It may not appear as though it is, but the color of the lining and the ribbon are the exactly same. I made several pockets in the inside to hold pens, cell-phone, and note pads.

These bags are just larger versions of the doll tote I showed in my tutorial. Instead of putting the pockets on the outside, I put them on the inside lining. I also added the tabbed closure and button to the first bag above. So you see you can get a lot of diffent looks and sizes from one basic plan.

What have you been creating lately?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Sounding a Warning

I believe this post at Winter's Edge is well worth your time to read. If you grieve, as I grieve I ask you also to link to it. The more exposure of this type of strong-armed government intrusion the better.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Welcome, Aaron Thomas

A new covenant child has been added to the church. Aaron Thomas S**** arrived a little early, making his debut on Tuesday, December 9th and weighing in at 6 lb. 11 oz. Mama Jess and Aaron are both doing well.

I was happy to have finished his blanket and hat in time.

Here you see the hat more clearly. I always believed that knit items have a more supple feel to them, so I knit the main portion of the hat in a K1 - P1 ribbing. Then I added a crocheted cuff to match the afghan and little flaps to keep those little baby ears warm.

I plan to ammend this post later to include the directions for the ripple afghan (and perhaps the hat), but for right now I thought I'd just show the finished product for Sew Crafty Friday.

For those who might be interested I did notice that Shereen posted an update at her blog last Thursday. While we wait for Shereen to resume her Sew Crafty Friday posts, you might want to visit another Sew Crafty Friday project posted by

sortafrugal - crocheted doll jumper and tee

Great Stocking Stuffer or Small Christmas Gift

My older daughter has entered and won several blog giveaways, and through this we have become acquainted with some blogs that we really enjoy visiting. I need to publicly thank those who have given such lovely giveaways.

The first we would like to thank is Megan at Halfpint House. These cheery tea wallets are great for a tea lover like me to carry my tea bags and sweetner in my purse. No more having nothing to drink, when the only thing being offered 1s coffee. (Love the smell but hate the taste of coffee).

I also wanted to tell you that she is still selling some tea wallets here. They would make great stocking stuffers or a small exchange gift for that tea lover in your life. I can attest to them being very well constructed.


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

More of the Same

Like his mama my manchild is extremely uncomfortable in front of a camera. Very few photos of him portray him as he really is -- a fun loving kid who is always smiling. The moment the camera is pointed at him, he freezes or gets a weird look on his face or worse yet gets a forced or pained smile on his face. It is almost impossible to get a portrait of all three of my children together, because he just can't relax enough before camera to get a nice, natural look.

Having said that, I want you to take a good look at my boy -- you may never again see another picture of him as he really is. What ever could have caused him to give such a naturally broad smile in a picture?

Actually, he couldn't quit grinning after bagging his deer on Friday. I thought he was going to burst. That dimple he flashes is a heart stopper.

I've cropped this picture to spare the faint in heart the reason for this smile.

So last night, HE got THE FIRST BITE of the venison steak -- THE VICTOR'S REWARD!!!!!

... and another night of canning and packing kept us all busy. His deer provided us with

  • 5 quarts of cold-packed meat
  • 9 - 1 pound bags of hot italian sausage
  • 11 - 1 pound bags of sweet italian sausage
  • 3 - 1 pound bags of venison burger

Great job, Buddy!!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Many Hands Make Light Work

Each year we have a family tradition, although it may not QUITE be what you might expect it to be at this time of the year. I've already explained deer hunting season around here. It not only entails missing two days of school, rising at the break of dawn -- no, make that BEFORE the break of dawn, and freezing your gluteus maximus off in 20 degree temperatures; but also includes processing the deer after bringing it home from the butchers. And WE are the processors!

So, back to the family tradition. Hubby starts by cooking a couple steaks with lots of spices. The first bite goes to the one who harvested the deer then the rest of us begin to "pick at it" -- in other words, we nibble at it until it's all gone. Then we get down to business.

Manning our work stations, we ALL begin cutting the meat, trimming the fat, and packing it in quart Mason jars.

We're looking pretty intent here as we work, but we really DO have a good time laughing and making dumb hunting jokes.

With us all pitching in, the work goes quickly. We can prepare and cold pack the meat in the pressure canner in an evening. Next we ready the ground venison for the freezer.

Our older daughter missed part of the evening's festivities (she volunteers at our local library), but when she got home, she twisted up her hair and jumped right into the fray. With the cubed meat in the pressure canner, she manned the vacuum packer as the rest of us took up our separate stations weighing the meat, placing it in the vacuum bags, flattening it out, and labeling the bags.

The final tally was 12 quarts of cold packed venison and 15 one-pound packages of ground venison ready for the freezer. Not too shabby for an evening's work. Many hands do make light work.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Ham Chowder

Traditionally, I try to make some comfort food for when my hunters come home in the evening. However, it is difficult to know just what time supper will be -- that depends on God's Providence. Sometimes they come home early -- having shot their deer in early afternooon. Just as often as not, they shoot their deer in the very late afternoon. This means they are tired and cold by the time they return.

If the weather is warmer, they must get the deer to the butcher quickly (before eating supper). Other times Bill is dead tired after a day of hunting and would prefer to take the deer to the butcher and get it out of the way before he settles in to relax a little before bedtime.

I need a filling meal, that's easy to keep warm and serve -- whenever. This was our very late meal Monday night and it received rave reviews. A recipe to be kept for our family cookbook.

Just in case this sounds good to you, here's the recipe. It only serves 4, so I double the recipe when I make it for our family.

Ham Chowder

½ cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup butter, (cubed)
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) chicken broth
1 cup cubed potatoes
2 celery ribs, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
squirt of prepared mustard (to taste)
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 vegetable bouillon cube
¼ cup all-pupose flour
2 cups milk
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
12 ounces of cubed ham

In large saucepan, saut̩ onion in butter until tender. Stir in the broth, potatoes celery, carrots, mustard, pepper, and vegetable bouillon cube. Bring to boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15 Р20 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

In small bowl, whisk flour and milk until smooth; add to soup. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Reduce heat. Add the cheese and cooked ham and stir until cheese is melted.

Yield: 4 servings

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

State Holiday

Yesterday morning found our household up and moving at 4:30. You can believe me when I say that this is not our normal time for a wake-up call, but the first day of deer season is something akin to a State holiday to many Pennsylvanians. First day of deer means NO SCHOOL (not just for homeschoolers but for public schoolers as well). People who move here from out of state are oft taken aback that schools close and the work force is depleted as people take off work just to go hunting deer.

Although I don't hunt, I always rise early on this hallowed day to get breakfast and help my "deer" husband and children set off on their quest. I don't really function well that early in the morning, but I wouldn't be able to sleep with all the hub-bub that goes on anyway. (I wish my kids showed the same enthusiasm for getting up on a school day).

Now, yesterday morning's weather is not what was wished for. Deer hunters like a bit of snow on the ground (easier for spotting deer and tracking).

As you can clearly see, snow was not the order of the day. Instead it was sort of freezing rain.
This picture is to show off Bill's latest accomplishment since his September accident.
Yes, that IS Bill climbing into the driver's seat.

Our son rides shotgun, while the eldest is reduced to a backseat passenger. Oh, the shame of it all! I've consider auctioning the privilege of riding shotgun to my offspring. I figure I could make a small fortune from their grappling for this coveted seat. I am sure no other mother out there has such a problem with this!

Late morning, they returned empty-handed and a bit downcast. They had not even spotted a deer, and it had begun to rain harder. They had come home to dry off, get warm, and EAT! Around two o'clock the rain had stopped, and so off they headed once more while our younger daughter and I remained comfy at home.

It had been dark when the headed out that morning and dark when they again returned home. This time the object of their quest -- a nice sized doe -- accommpanied them. Bill had harvested this one, the young man missed a shot, and the young lady still had seen nary a deer. However, we were all grateful for the meat this would put in our freezer.

Both kids still want to get one, and we rely on the venison, so they will probably be heading out again on Friday since Bill has the day off work.

And that ends the saga of my "dear" hunters and their first day of deer season.

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