Thursday, March 24, 2011

Living Gently--What does it mean to you?

To be gentle and live a gentle's easier said than done.  I do aspire to it everyday.  I am in the whirlwind of raising my children and taking them to different places at different times.  It can be exhausting.  However, my children range in age from 9-16 and they are such good children.  I am so blessed. You hear people discussing how they are going to dread their children turning into teenagers.  I will tell anyone that I simply love this stage of life.  It's a joy to have conversations and talks about the future without having to deal with bad behavior all the time. 

What does living gently mean to me?  Hmmmm.  I would have to say it connects me to the past.  I love to quilt and can and cook and garden.  It's a simple way of life.  Not many women do these things any more.  I also am teaching my daughters these things-it keeps these ways alive.  I am striving to be more gentle in spirit--I can tend to be a bit feisty, especially when you put me behind the wheel of a car, hahahaha!  There's no perfection around here, believe me!  I still have lots of areas to work on, but the point is, I am striving to better myself and my surroundings.  I am a lifelong learner and I want to continue to learn new (or old) skills.  Does that mean we live like pilgrims???  Absolutely not.  My children are educated and learn all the new technology through computer classes...they HAVE to be able to thrive and soar in the times they live in.  We use technology to our benefit and are not slaves to it. 

So what do I pass on to my son?  I'm sure you've read about the embroidering that goes on around here.  Well, my son is extremely artistic and he is ALL boy.  Boys are so much different than girls.  I read a line in Dr. Dobson's book Raising Up Boys that I will never forget..."Mothers raise boys.  Fathers raise men."  Doesn't that line give you chills?  It is so vital for a boy to have a close relationship with his father.  Fortunately, we have that in our family.  In fact, tomorrow my son and husband go to hunter safety class.  My son will get his certificate and will be able to hunt for the first time this year (he's been hunting before; he wasn't allowed to shoot anything).  We will get him his very own rifle for his birthday and then he can be a part of providing food for our family.  He is very respectful to me...any time he sees an opportunity, he asks if I need help.  He does his chores and he is constantly drawing or making amazing creations out of paper or cardboard.  Since all my children were little, I have always encouraged creativity and supplied them with every sort of crafting notion they could use.  It's their imaginations that spark it all and I simply love to see their creations.  I would be remiss if I didn't mention our love for books. ( I could do a whole post on that one! )

Gentle living--a connection to the past, simplicity, creativity, a deep and abiding respect and love for one another as we live our lives.  Does it mean perfection?  No.  We are works in progress.  But we do it all together.

What does gentle living mean to you?  I hope you make headway into your gentle life...I'm about to go *tackle* mine for the day, haha!  Blessings to you!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Our House of Embroidery..on a budget

As we are on spring break, I have lovely projects set up for my daughters.  I recently found some flour sack towels on clearance at our local Sam's club.  They were on clearance because the plastic wrap was damaged...they marked them down half-price which means bargain for me!  I paid a little over $6 for 12 of them which is a very good deal!  We were at the craft store yesterday and you would end up paying nearly $7 for two.

Freshly laundered flour sack towels
While at the craft store, I also picked up on sale the Aunt Martha's transfer patterns for $0.99 each.  I bought five--each of my girls picked one for themselves and I picked two.  As you know, my oldest does embroidery.  I've also taught my younger two to backstitch so they are learning redwork.  It's really a lot of fun and there are so many fun patterns to choose from.  Here's a sneak peek at what they are working on:

A lovely rose pattern
This is my youngest daughter who is nine years old.  As you can see, her stitches can use some improvement, the sweet little darling, but already since I've started typing, she has done a great job staying to the lines.  All it takes is practice, practice, practice.

Running horses pattern
This is my middle daughter who is fourteen.  She adores anything with a horse on it!  She would love to have horses in her future.  She does excellent backstitch and I can't wait to see how this turns out for her!

A pattern of a colonial lady with her umbrella

My oldest is working on a bit of a harder pattern because it involves different stitches...she has much more experience so she will use some lazy daisy stitches and french knots.  
It's turning out to be quite the productive day and quite inexpensive.  These transfer patterns are good for additional transfers, plus there were many more patterns they haven't used yet.  The cost for this little project per child came out to $1.45 each.  It will give them hours of enjoyment and they will have a nice finished piece when they are all done. 

What fun projects are you doing on a budget?  Hope you are having a lovely Wednesday...blessings!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Lofty Plans...

Does anyone recognize this spectacular palace?  It is in fact Hampton Court, which was the residence of King Henry VIII.  If you read the previous post, I talked about some exciting developments for my 16 year old daughter.  This is the exciting development...this is where she wants to go to this building.  Is that not magnificent???  What school could possibly be housed in a palace, you ask?  Well, it has an amazing history and it is called the Royal School of Needlework.  It has a prestigious reputation and would be a fantastic place for her to learn and be immersed in such history.  My daughter has a passion for fashion and this would be a great avenue for her to pursue.  She is going to apply for their 2 year foundation degree program once she is done with school, then if she feels so inclined, she can do a third year which would have an emphasis on fashion and textiles.   I had heard of this school before, but never had any thoughts about it for my children.  It came up again last week and I thoroughly researched it and it seems to be the perfect fit for my daughter.  She does great embroidery and this would possibly give her a high-brow entrance into the fashion world.  Once this came up, I talked about it with my daughter the next morning.  She loved the idea and then I went to my part-time childcare job and a good friend of mine just found out she's going on a trip to England with her husband.  I told her all about this place and sent her questions to take to the school because she is in fact going to visit!  She is actually in England right now!  All this has progressed so quickly...we are continually researching and my daughter really wants to pursue this!

So, I have to sit down and realize that my daughter may be going to school in England...that she has to leave home...oh, my heart!!!  We are on spring break right now and she is looking for jobs.  She actually was offered a job without even applying just because we knew the person who is her neighbor.  All of these things are falling into place and I can see how exciting the future is for her...I have homeschooled her since third grade and these are the moments we have been preparing her for.  It's a bit scary.  As a high schooler, she's been doing a dual-enrollment program at a very good charter school and I don't regret it at all.  It's a hybrid program that's been started specifically for homeschoolers.  With all that said, all I can do now is to keep helping her go in the direction she wants to go and to pray.  God has orchestrated all this up to this point and we will continue to leave it in His hands.

If you are interested in information about the Royal School of Needlework, here is the link.  How have you dealt with your children leaving the nest and going to school???  This is my first child so I have three more to go, but the first one is really hard!  We still have two more years, but as you know, time flies! 

There's been the excitement for this week...I hope you are having a lovely week!  Blessings!

Monday, March 21, 2011

My Daughter's Quilting/Embroidery Project

I hadn't posted for a few weeks due to my oldest daughter's fine arts project--I stayed up with her so she had company at all hours of the night.  She is part of AWANA and as a high schooler, she goes to the national competition with her team.  They do Bible quiz, games, and fine arts projects and can win scholarships.  She actually won last year.  She had quite the lofty project this year and almost to the detriment of her health and grades, she finished it.  I must say, it turned out beautifully and has led to some exciting developments.  First, let me share some pictures with you!

View from the center

This project features Galatians 5:22 about the fruit of the Spirit.  The top tier has the reference, the middle tier has the beginning of the verse, and the lower portion has nine miniature quilts with each of the fruit of the Spirit.

One of my favorites is the quilt on love.  All these quilts are embroidered with mostly silk ribbon, and my daughter has perfected the french knot.  Look at the tall flowers...I tell her that I have no other way to describe them except as "delicious", hahaha!!!

Thank you for letting me indulge you about my daughter.  I really am a proud mama because this project was a huge undertaking and took so much work.  She is sixteen and after all this was said and done, we think we know where she would like to go to school.  I am going to do a separate post on that because this would be an exceptionally long post otherwise.  However, it has everything to do with these pictures and will be about a school most people have never heard of.  It's got a magnificent history and as a homeschooling mom who has taught her girls some things about embroidery and quilting, it makes perfect sense for the skills and direction that my oldest daughter would like to go.  It is all coming together so amazingly that the Lord's hand has been on her and it's becoming so clear what she needs to do!

I can't wait to tell you so come back again!!!  Have a great day and blessings to you!!!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Stretching the Food Budget Friday

Fast Food at My House

Are you ever in a pinch and need to make something fast without having to go to a fast food joint???  With four kids and many different schedules, my instinct is to get something quick.  However, the budget is too thin to be going out all the time.  Another problem I have is that I make everything from scratch and sometimes meals take a while to put together.  Things are frozen in bulk and time is of the essence.

So, what do I do?  Well, a little planning never hurt anyone!  Add a bit of creativity and you have yourself a meal!  One of my easy go-to quick meals is bread pizza.  I got a nice loaf of sourdough bread on the clearance rack.  I use my homemade sauce and top with cheese and I throw it in the oven for a few minutes and boom, quick meal with great results. 

I also made a second batch in which I put some leftover sausage.  I have a stash of cut-up green peppers in the freezer which I bought on sale during the summer for such a time as this.  A little bit of pepper goes a long way!  I added the cheese and crushed red peppers and my husband was very happy with it!!!  He eats late at night due to his work shift so this is also a quick dish to reheat. 

This also is a super-cheap meal idea...we have been in a bind lately financially so this was quite delicious and very affordable.  Who doesn't like pizza?

Hope you have a great week...we are going into Spring Break now, hallelujah!!!!  We have lots of cleaning to do and fun projects.  Lots of posts to come!  Blessings to you!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wordless Wednesday...sort of...

Only in the suburbs can you see a fox on your neighbor's shed, hahaha!!!

A couple weeks before the shed incident, these foxes were all in my backyard, relaxing on our deck.  We love that our entire property is full of life...I just don't want to see these critters when I get chickens!!!

Hope you're having a great week...I have lots to blog about and will be back soon!!! It's been non-stop busy around here but I see a nice break coming called spring break...Hallelujah!  Blessings!!!