Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Our FANTASTIC Field Trip

Last Friday we went to The U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, AL. 
Honestly… I think it was one of the best field-trips we have ever had!  Soooo much to see, so much to learn, and it goes hand-in-hand with our Astronomy curriculum! 
The day was overcast and just right. A nice break in between all this rain we have been having.
The Space Shot… simulating lift off. Very cool!
Shannon and the girls said these chairs were quite comfortable. :) 
Indoors there is a rock wall dubbed Olympus Mons, the tallest volcano in the solar system. The three oldest all got a chance to try…
We were able to walk through and see what it would be like in the space shuttle… 
Carlie Jean spied a hurricane brewing in the Pacific!
We were all amazed at the enormity of it all…
Shannon liked reading how much fuel each craft used… the thrust capacity and all that jazz. 
It was an incredible trip and we look forward to the chance to do it again someday.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Arts of Virtue~How to Crochet a Granny Square

Hello my friends!!!
I haven't forgotten my series... I have just been having a rough couple of weeks. I am glad to be back with you and today I will be sharing a tutorial I made a long while back about crocheting a Granny Square.  The pictures are not the best... but maybe you will get the idea. :)
If you are a Newbie to Crochet HERE is a site to help you with basic stitches, you will see me refer to several in this tutorial... Chain, Slip Stitch, Double Crochet.

Step 1: Chain 5
Cool, you got that! Alrighty we are on our way!

Step 2: You want to turn that chain into a round so you will go to the first chain and slip stitch...
Now we have our center, we will build on from there! Woohoo!

Step 3: Chain 3
Here we are building out from the center and we will begin making a larger circle to build on from here

Step 4: Two(2) Double Crochets and chain 1
Alright, here we are in process of making our circle, so what we are going to do is we are going to double crochet 2 times and then chain 1.  The chain will make the space we need to help us along in future steps...

Step 5: 3 Double Crochets and chain 1 (3 more times) slip stitch to complete the circle
Now we have a circle!! Yippee... but wait I told you we were making Granny Squares right?  Ok, bear with me we will get to the square in a minute.
So to make sure we are cool to this point, counting the first 3 chains as one DC (double crochet) you will have 4 sets of 3 double crochets with one chain in between.... clear as mud??

Step 6: Chain 3 and then double crochet 2, chain 1, double crochet 3 and chain 1 in the same hole
If you will look at your round you will see 3 double crochets and then a hole/space in between each set of 3.  This space is where you will go into to make your next layer or sets of 3.  Does this make sense... I am trying!
What you are doing now is building your edges... we can't make this granny square stay a circle any longer, we are going to put some corners on it!

Step 7: Look for next hole, double crochet 3 and chain 1~ 2 times in each hole.  (You will do this in each hole till you meet back up with your first set.  This will form your first square. Slip Stitch to complete the square and now you are ready to build on. 

Step 8: Chain 3, double crochet 2, chain 1
You will notice that there is now a hole between each of the four edges, you are going to do almost the same thing in each hole... meaning you don't want an edge you just want a set of 3 dc's to fill the hole.
So dc three times and chain one and move to your edge.

Step 9: Double Crochet 3 times, chain 1, Double Crochet 3 times, chain 1 in corner hole.
Again, you are making corners for this square, you should be catching on to a pattern if I have successfully portrayed this to you.  So in each of the corners you are making 3 dc's, chain 1, 3 dc's, chain 1.  Simple!

Step 10: Slip stitch to join the square together

Step 11: Finish out your next layer of the square the same way as in Steps 8 and 9, the only difference is you will find 2 holes in the in between each edge this time... no big deal just dc 3 times and chain one in each.
***REMEMBER, your first chain of 3 counts as your first dc in your first set.***

Step 12: All the way baby... go all around just as I told you, come together again, slip stitch and tie off your end. 
The lady who taught me only does 4 layers, but of course you can do more if you like. 
Now you want a bunch of these... so get to it!
I don't have nearly as many as I would like to have had done by now, but remember I am teaching myself to hold the crochet needle/hook in the proper way, so I am SLOW JOE right now. 
Once you get several made you can do all kinds of things with them...
Make them into an afghan by stitching them together, make potholders out of them by putting several layers together on top of each other and stitching, use them as coasters, make a pillow cover, make your dd a doll blanket out of a few... whatever you like.
I hope you enjoyed and understood my attempt of spreading the knowledge that I received.  If you see a mistake, feel free to email me or message me and I will change it, and now go get your yarn and your hook and go for it!  If I can do it YOU can do it!

In other news... My friend Lisa at Homestead Originals is holding a contest for three DVD set from The West Ladies. I LOVE their videos! Truly. I would LOVE to win!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Pumpkin Caramel Muffins

Monday’s are our day for Scouts. We are part of a Homeschool Pack so we travel a little ways to meet with them. So in order to compensate we always pack a picnic for our supper.  Not only is it much more economical for our family… it is a lot of fun. 
Juice boxes
and this week Pumpkin Caramel Muffins! WOOT!
I found this recipe over at my dear friend Lindsey’s blog.
***Taken directly from her blog, because she has such wit, and I love her!***
Preheat oven to 400.
Mix together in a big bowl (I use a whisk to mix):
2 cups flour
2 t baking powder
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t cloves
some freshly grated nutmeg (not measured but just a dozen or so strokes on the grater)
1/2 cup sugar, I used sucanat
In a 2-cup measure combine:
1 cup pineapple juice (especially if you made pizza last night and didn’t drink the juice from the pineapple straight from the can the way you usually do) 
splash of apple juice to make a full cup of juice (if your can only yielded 3/4 cup of pineapple juice)
3/4 cup pumpkin puree (or as much as you could dig from the partially frozen can in your fridge)
1 egg (preferable from your ownty-downty chickens)
Pour the wet stuff (well mixed) into the dry stuff and give a brief stir. Throw in:
1/4 cup coconut oil
and finish stirring everything up, hopefully with your awesome hand-carved chinaberry spoon that you bought from the blacksmith conference. Then throw in:
1/3 cup or so chocolate chips (so your kids will eat the muffins)
Here is where I used caramel bites instead!
Another quick pass with the spoon so that one person doesn’t get all the chips.
Spoon into oiled muffins tins (I like to use coconut oil to "paint" my tins too) and bake for 20 minutes. Let cool in the pan for a few minutes.
Everyone enjoyed the muffins.
Here’s Abram’s Jazz hands… or maybe they are his "all done" hands. :) 
It was rather chilly and Cameo wanted to sit in the back of the van… I had to make her let the hatch up so I could get a picture of her. haha
This one is one of my favorites! 
Carlie was cold and so Daddy was being her shield to block the wind. 
Awww, What a sweet Daddy! :) 
Have a blessed day my friends!