Friday, October 25, 2013

A Fall Update

Here we are, in October, and isn't it the most wonderful time of year? I'm most definitely an Autumn lover, and we've been blessed this year with several weeks of wonderful, cool weather. What a blessing after a long, hot, muggy Mississippi summer.

Our little family seems to have been through so many changes in the last year, and the last month found us once again, moving. But not very far this time! We bought a little house about 10 miles down the road from the house we were renting, and have been moved in four about 6 weeks now. We are in love with our new homestead, and it really feels like home. A place where we could put down roots and raise our little brood, if the Lord so wills.

Our little house in the woods is just that--way back in the woods of Mississippi, away from traffic and, well, pretty much any other civilization. It is quiet and peaceful, and teeming with wildlife. We're so far off the beaten path that there is no internet access or cell phone service available. And after talking to our cell phone company, we learned there are not any plans of extending service to our little neck of the woods. Not enough people out there, they say.

So, we have learned to live without texting and Instagram and have gotten reacquainted with the ole practical and dependable landline phone service. Oh, Pinterest, how I long for thee! Seriously, though, it has been a blessing to not have these things pulling at me and constantly competing for my time. My house actually stays pretty tidy now!

Due to the move, we are only in our fourth week of schooling. It is going great so far! Emma has already blown through her entire book of Handwriting Without Tears and is making progress in her 100 Lessons. She is wired completely different than my older two children, who whizzed through two lessons a day. She is just as smart (maybe even smarter), but has a much shorter attention span, so we have to approach our learning a bit differently. I still have not ordered her any Math yet, mainly because I can't decide what to use. Any suggestions?

                                                  (Emma on her 5th birthday, August 14)

Grace and Elijah are both using Sonlight's Core C and absolutely love it! I could devote an entire post to this subject alone. But for now I will say it is working great for us so far. Grace is taking violin and had her first recital last month. She loves the violin. We are so proud of her!

Elijah is growing into such a big, responsible young man. He helps his Dad take care of the quail and chickens that we raise, and is really excited about getting hogs and goats. He loves to read and occupies his time with gathering crickets, frogs, and lizards for his Critter Collection (I draw the line at snakes. NO snakes.)

Josie is crawling around and "floating", getting into everything! I expect she will be walking within the next month. My baby is growing way too fast! Her personality is a lot more mellow than my other girls, and she is a steady-she-goes little girl, pretty much only fussy when something is really wrong, or Mama has delayed feeding time a little bit too long! Her smiles and giggles are the highlight of our days!

John loves it in the country, and it is the fulfillment of a long-time dream of his to have a place in the country where our roosters can crow and we can raise honeybees without disturbing and/or freaking out our neighbors. We love to sit out on our front porch and watch a mother deer and her twin fawns walk across the pasture in front of the house. You want to see a man's eyes light up, that will just about do it! 

I apologize for the long post, but it has been a long time in coming! I do miss blogging, and reading my favorite blogs. I feel like I am away from dear friends, as some of the blogs have become just that to me. Please, leave me a comment and let me know how your fall is going.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Amy, the Reluctant Canner

Last week, my Dad called to tell me that the corn he had planted for us at his house was ready to harvest. I have to tell ya, I haven't done much gardening in my life. My parents grow beautiful, lush produce, but I usually don't come in contact with it until it's sitting on the table. It's OK--go ahead and laugh!

Let's just say, this is an area I need to grow in, and this summer is providing plenty of opportunity for learning. A girl's gotta start somewhere, right? So...I'm a bit proud of the 9 quarts of green beans, 300 ears of corn, and 4 quarts of cut-off corn stocked up in my freezer and pantry. OK, OK,...John canned the beans, and Mom bagged 90% of the corn. But I DID cut-off and bag most of the second batch of corn. AND shucked the 300 ears (with the help of Dad and a friend). AND snapped the beans.


(Above--my cutie-pie shucking, bean-snapping helpers)

I think my main obstacle in this area is that I am not able to let go of my other household duties. I think the laundry must be done, the house must be clean, and the kitchen spotless before I begin such a task. And with 4 kiddos (including a 5 month old), this is pretty much impossible. The produce would probably sit and spoil before all the above actually happens! Breathe in, breathe out. Where is Mr. Miyagi when you need him?

So, dear canning, gardening ladies (Laurie @ South GA Mama and Rebecca @ Renaissance), please keep posting about your abundant gardens and your industrious canning. I desperately need the motivation and inspiration your work provides! You're my Super Gardening Supreme Canning Mama Heros!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Grace's "Cake Boss" 7th Birthday Party!

  Look at this girl! I can't believe she is 7 years old already (sniff). The clock seems to spin ever-faster with each passing year. Ok, enough with the sappiness! This smart, fun-loving, 7 year old gal happens to love browsing my Pinterest boards. So when she saw a pin of a "Cake Boss" themed birthday party, she GASPED (like only a 7 year girl can), covered her mouth with her hands, and squealed, "Please, please PLEASE can I have a party like that this year?" What's a Mom to say??

Lessons learned:
  1. Must be stronger against the whiles of 7 year old sweet girls.
  2. Must limit said 7 year old's access to Pinterest. Could be dangerous.
As you can see, she got what she asked for!

First, we served the little girls with little-girl favorites foods--chicken strips, chips, grapes, and fruit dip with grape punch (it was soo good, and cheap too--two cartons of Minute Maid Grape flavored fruit drink from Wal-Mart--at $1 each!), frozen overnight and set out to slush. Slurp!!

Next, we cleaned the food off the table for the second phase of the party--hat decorating. My talented, sweet Mama made these cute bakers' hats for the girls. We used multi-colored cupcake liners to make flowers with which we decorated their hats.

Then, the girls were itching to get down to business and decorate their cakes. I had pre-frosted a one-layer round cake for each girl to decorate and supplied bright, fun colored bags of icing ready to pipe. They also had sprinkles and pretty candy shapes to add to their creation.

(My niece, Erin, decorating her cake)

Gracie's friend Bree concentrating hard to get it just right!

They took it very seriously (note the concentration on her face).

My Mom made the aprons, as well, and a good friend of ours appliqued them for us. These were the girls' party favors.

The party was hit, and the girls had a blast! It was so much fun watching them enjoy themselves. Now...what will she ask for next year?!?