Friday, September 30, 2016

Unexpected Blessings!

Yesterday was a full-to-overflowing day of good ole fashioned work. Beginning early in the day and going on all-day-long from one task to another.  I love getting a lot accomplished though. It makes me happy to be productive. Work is good. I think we need to remember that and teach that more often.  

During the work of the day, we found a treasure. The elderberry bushes that my boys had planted for me this past spring not only have grown A LOT, but they also flowered and put on berries!  I'm so thankful we had a small harvest. 
Elderberries in my own yard. Woot-woot!
After some discussion with some likeminded friends, I may move from making our normal elderberry syrup, to a tincture or an elixir with these. I'll let you know if I do, and I'll post how I do it. I'll learn first, then I'll share with y'all. ;) 

Today will be full of more good work. These beauties below have been boiled and have been setting overnight pulling the juices and today will be pressed to make juice and jam. Scuppernongs. Yum!
With two large pots of juice waiting, my unexpected elderberries, and a basket-full of peppers from the last of the summer garden (most likely) today will be busy. Tie in school and normal home-upkeep and mothering and my cup runneth over again and again. Unexpected blessings abound!
Have a wonderful Friday!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Ready or Not

Ready or not... things will happen in our lives. 
These things can be good, or they can be bad. We can let them dictate our mood or attitude or we can take what comes, face it head on and know that God is always in control and do our best with it. 
Easier said than done many times. 

This past summer we did some canning as usual, but with 
...our garden doing soo poorly
... the drought 
... the heat
 ... and with my being ill prepared
... sigh
 I didn't put up nearly as much as I should have and now I am concerned as I sense the first feelings of cool weather come up our mountain and seeing that we little we have put by, 
but not enough... 
never nearly enough. 
Because like I said, hard times come and we may be facing one. 

Hard times can come in many shapes or forms. 
Loss of job
Transfer of job
Getting hurt
A vehicle going down on you
Economic downfall
A big bill coming in that you completely forgot about (or maybe didn't know about in the first place)
Or something else entirely

How about you? Are you prepared for those tough times that may come along? 

Hard times will come, so what can we do to make those hard times a time of just passing through that low valley? 


So by the spurring on of some dear friends and kicking my own self in the booty, I'm preparing today to do what I can RIGHT NOW!

What can I do right now? 

I have a bucket of dried beans that I remembered when I was going through my supplies. I also have about 10 lbs of ground beef in the freezer. I'll be canning up some chili in the next week. I'll also be putting up some beans, for quick meals. I'll restock my pantry as I am able. I'll plan on making some frugal meals. I'll work through the pantry and the freezer. I'll do my best to buy some more dried beans and fill my buckets back up. I'll move forward.

These are not HUGE steps... but they are something. And we can all do something. 
Maybe you eat oatmeal a few times a week to cut down on meal expenses (that's always a go-to for us).
Maybe you turn off your air conditioner and deal with the heat a little bit more. 
Maybe cook out on the grill so it helps keep the house a bit cooler.
Work through your pantry and get creative in the kitchen.
Don't go out to eat.
Say no to unplanned spendings. 
Be careful of what you have and use it even more wisely.

Whatever it is, be willing to work towards taking care of your family and making the best out of the valley days. The top of the mountain is nice, but we can't always stay there because we are not here to be still or idle. Keep striving, keep working, Move forward.

Stay positive and trust the Lord.
That's my plan too! 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Woodlawn's Got Talent

Something our church has been participating in for several years now, is an annual talent show and silent auction. It gives everyone a chance to sing, do a drama, a skit, a comedy act (intentional or not... haha) or just be plain out silly and have a good time and we get to give toward missions and get one great items is a big bonus! 
Several years back a group of ladies and I did a remake of the Whoopie Goldberg version of Sister Act. It was a HOOT! We had SO much fun!
This year, our children's department stole the show for sure. They had glow sticks taped to their clothes and did a dance. It was soooooo good. 
The youth department did a drama, which was a blessing.
We had some stellar hula-hoopers.
And some singing... 

It's a blessing to get to be together with your church family and to get to enjoy a good meal and encourage mission work. 

Monday, September 26, 2016

Boys Camp

My boys went camping a few weekends back, when Carlie and I worked on her dolly quilt, remember? Look at the BEAUTIFUL place the boys had the privilege to stay... I am a little bit jealous. The pictures just had me like "WOW!!! I can't wait to have a family camp there!"
To top it off, they got to camp with some of their best buddies, and that always makes camping or pretty much anything else better!!!
They shared with me about their adventure. Their goal was to only need what they carried on their back. That's hard for me as their Mom... I want to make sure they have EVERYTHING they could possibly need (and more). But this weekend was about trying to make do with little... 
Cans of food. Finding water. Building their own fires. Cooking their own meals.

They talked about the hiking trails they took, the streams, and lakes, and waterfalls. They told me about some of the cool trees, and huge boulders, and bluff views. 
How they were in charge of a lot of the responsibilities of the weekend. Making men out of my boys... That makes my heart swell. 

They hiked a lot! 
They built some shelter for their campfire wood, because there was a chance of rain that weekend. 
It wasn't a long trip or very far away, but even small trips help to prepare our boys for adventures to be had, for responsibilities that need to be cared for, and for the possibilities of what lie ahead. 
I'm thankful for these opportunities for my young men.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Hobbit Day 2016

Yesterday was a special day around here.... Not only was it the first day of the beautiful season of AUTUMN! but, it was also Hobbit Day. We don't always have a feast on Hobbit day, but this year, I wanted to make things a little special. I wrapped my mind around what we needed... Nothing super special, but we wanted to make our table look grand and full like Bilbo's. If only my larder looked as grand... swoon.
So I just planned on roast chicken and drumsticks, po-tay-toes (boil em, mash em, stick em in a stew)(what's taters, precious?), apples, cheese, sourdough bread, broccoli, carrots, apple fritters, and hot tea.

We read a lot yesterday. Mainly from "The Hobbit" but we finished our other lessons also. 
I printed out a few quotes that made the table look extra festive.

And last night we had a wonderful meal and watched "The Hobbit" 
Nothing too extravagant, but memorable and fun, and worth the little bit of effort to put it together. 

Monday, September 19, 2016

While the boys were away...

While the boys were away this weekend camping with our Trail Life group (more on that tomorrow) Carlie Jean and I had some time to ourselves. I wanted to make our time fun, but also useful. We talked and looked through her American Heritage Girls book to find some badges that she could be working on and I thought it was a perfect time to accomplish something fun. One badge she picked out was "Textile Arts". For her age, she will pick out 4 different textile arts and learn a little about each as well as make a small sample of each. We began with quilting. 
Oftentimes I have people message me and say, "Chas, I've got a bag of fabric scraps... would you like to have them or would you know what I should do with this or that?" And oftentimes, because I think I am a bit of a craft-junkie... I say, "YES! I'd love them!" maybe a bit too enthusiastically. haha
So is the case with the fabric scraps above. I was given a bag of tiny rectangles, that I have NO DOUBT in my mind... that they came from the 70's. My bag was FULL, and what colors does my girl pick out? The very same ones that her Moma would. The browns, gold, oranges, rust... I LOVE IT! 
We decided a small doll quilt would be a great beginner project for her. My aunt allowed me to borrow her sewing machine for a little while. *** One day I need to have one of my own again*** So we got started. 
Carlie laid out the placement of the fabrics and I showed her how to sew the seams together to make the quilt rows.
She took the rows and pressed the seams and sewed everything together. 

We sandwiched the doll quilt top, the batting, and the back muslin and machine quilted straight lines down each side of the 'stitch ditch'. 
Then we used a bias tape to bind the quilt. 
It turned out so sweet and Carlie was very pleased with her finished project.

And I am pleased with her excitement to learn new things and her ability to accomplish them with a great sense of achievement. 

Friday, September 16, 2016

Dade Days '16

Last weekend Carlie and her AHG (American Heritage Girls) troop had an evening at their troop leaders home to work on a badge requirement that they girls wanted to attain.
 Cake decorating! A FUN badge!!!
The younger girls went to one house and the older girls went to another. I wish I had a picture of the younger girls work. It was a super cute ladybug.   There was a baker who came to the workshop for the older girls and she talked about what it was like to bake for a living. She showed the girls how to decorate with piping and to make little flowers. 
Here's the cake they made, in the picture below. 2 layers, pretty little flowers and vines. 
When Carlie got home, she told me that she wanted to make a batch of cupcakes for Dade Days, that some of the older girls were wanting to make some as well. We had a full plate for the day anyhow, and I wasn't keen to add more to it, but she was adamant... She had her heart set on making cupcakes to take and sell to help raise funds for her troop. 
I asked her about what she wanted. She told me that she wanted a chocolate cupcake, with a star in the middle and AHG on the star and it to be red, white, and blue, the AHG colors. 
She was VERY specific and knew exactly what she wanted and it was just Mom that needed to help her accomplish it because we were out of cupcake liners! Ack!!! 
Now I don't know about you... but I just had to brush off the tiredness because my little girl was determined and had a plan... I HAD to help.

We got the supplies, we laid everything out. We got the cupcakes in the oven. We mixed up the colors and I had to figure out the star. She was thinking we could pipe it, but I knew just how hard that would be to make them look uniform and somewhat professional. I had bought a bag of 'Starburst' candy. We rolled out the reds and used a small star shaped cookie cutter to cut them out. Then with a small writing tip and blue icing, we wrote AHG on the stars. It worked very well! 

She decided she wanted to pipe a border on the cupcakes also, because they looked a little bit bare.  She piped out the white, added the star, and then a star border and there you go! An adorable cupcake designed and made by my girl. 
A picture of just some of the girls selling their wares. Little cuties.
And a picture of just some of our Trail Men who we shared the booth with. They were handing out flyers and brochures about the group. 

It was a fun afternoon, I tried helping the girls get out of their comfort zone by walking around with them and selling their cupcakes rather than just staying at the booth. Shannon helped pass out brochures with the boys. 

It was a new adventure... we learned some things, we did some things right, we did some things wrong,  and we are excited about what we can do next time. 
Learning and developing new skills... Both of these are great things to accomplish.