Thursday, August 29, 2013


Last School year we had a good behavior chart and when we had the kiddos choose a few rewards to earn. One of the rewards the daycare kiddos was to make their own stuffed animal. The inspiration we received for this craft was this photo from Martha Stewart. At the end of the school year, before we shut down for the summer, we told them that when they came back they could make their very own stuffed animal.

The original plan was to use some remnant fabric that Mom had scattered about the farm house. However, when she emptied part of the attic to reduce the amount of clutter up there, she found a bunch of felt. Since felt doesn't need to be hemmed we decided to use it instead of fabric with the kids.

On Tuesday I sat them down and explained the plan. They set to work and by Tuesday afternoon we were cutting out pieces and pining them together. Wednesday after our walk they attached details. One of the kiddos completely finished his project and another had to wait for glue to dry. Today most of them are stuffed and ready to go home. I am really impressed and proud of them. They have worked hard, carefully, and inventively. They have stuck worked on it for days and even when their attention waned. I think we will be seeing more projects like this in our future.

Our creations:
Pokemon Ball with Haunter
Pokemon Ball with Pikachu
Ice Cream Cone
The only limit is your imagination!

Felt of different colors
Floss of different colors
Bits and Bobs: buttons, beads, bells, rick-rack, ribbon, pipe cleaners, lace, ribbon, ect

Liquid Stitch

Step 1:
Draw or sketch out your idea. The only limit is your imagination. One kiddo wanted to make a cube, than a ball, but we asked him to alter his plan to a pillow shape which he was able to make.

Step 2:
Create pattern pieces. We had them finalize the sketch to the proper size and then using the printer/scanner I photo copied it so that we would have two exact pieces.

Step 3:
Cut and pin. Cut out all your pattern pieces and attach them to felt or fabric.

Step 4:
Cut out pieces and pin together. Remember that if you are using felt you do not have to put wrong sides together. You can stitch it and see the stitches and it will look great. For arms and legs or other appendages we stitched them to the inside before putting our main pieces together. Start with your details first so that your knots are all easily concealed on the inside.

Step 5:
Attach details: arms, legs, extra bits to make it special, to the main body.

Step 6:
Attach back and front of main body to complete stuffie. Leave a hole to push stuffing into.

Step 7:

Step 8:
Sew up any remaining holes and you’re done.

We are doing this project with a kindergartner. She needs a lot of help, but is able to do a lot of the stitching herself.

I did this project for Stomper but added some "skill trainers" in the form of two buttons for him to practice with and a zipper on the back so he could use it as a secret pocket for hiding special things in. I considered adding some shoelaces to practice tying, but he's still a little small for tying.


Friday, August 23, 2013

Good Morning

Good morning, how about a little tour and update? We have a few new faces around the farm. The sun was perfect this morning and so after chores I took my camera out to take a few snapshots. 

You can see one of the four Toms slightly puffed up on the far right. Yes, you read that right, four toms. Out of nine turkeys we figure that four of them are male. Daily they strut their stuff to figure out who is boss, but they don't fight. We are hoping that Thanksgiving will come before they feel like fighting. Otherwise we will deal with them accordingly.

The pumpkins are growing, but we did not get as many as we wanted. Dad was really hoping for enough to let the daycare kiddos come out and pick their own. It looks like we will have just enough for our own needs. Jason's grandfather (who is an exceptional gardener) says that his didn't do too well either and wonders if we wound up with too many male plants. 

This is our rooster, Charcoal. Neighbors down the street from us had two roosters and didn't want any fights and asked if we'd like one. We were hoping to get a rooster in the batch of six that we bought this spring and so we happily said "Yes." Little Sister named him Charcoal after the black plumes on his tail. He is adjusting well to having so many ladies to himself, but he has not asserted himself yet over the older twelve hens.

This last month we added in the new six layers, the rooster, and removed a chicken who was pecking the others and it stressed out our flock quite a bit. They aren't laying as much as they used to, but they still are laying. We are getting between 6-9 eggs a day which is just enough for us to eat and sell a few on the side. Hopefully in the next week everyone will relax and get back to laying. The six new hens won't be laying until mid-September or early October.

The hens have not reduced their pen to dirt which has surprised us. They don't eat everything in sight either. The turkeys will eat everything down to stubble, but it seems like our hens are a little more picky. It has been interesting to learn which birds will eat what. For instance: the turkeys devour apples, the chickens just peck at them and the chickens devour bread while the turkeys just peck at them. Also the turkeys don't put themselves to bed a night we have to go out and encourage them into their coop, but the chickens go in as soon as the sun goes down.

This is Kee-La-La, Elle's kitty. The kitty is living here on the farm until my brother and his wife find a new apartment. She isn't too sure about the farm animals or my dog Vinnie. This morning she called me to her and I obliged in pets and rubs.

The garden is doing all right. We got sidetracked with our trip to MI and NY and then the wedding so it didn't get tended to well. We have a nice crop of tomatoes and I will be making salsa this year and some spaghetti sauce. It will be a nice change to do some canning around here. The pear trees are loaded so we will also be making tons of pear sauce. We have really missed pear sauce over the last year, since last years crop didn't do so great. We cannot complain since we don't prune, spray, or pick them, just let nature take its course.

This has been a summer of change and loss for us. Little Sisters kitty passed away in the beginning of the summer and her bunny passed away this week. One evening Jason came home with the above bunny for the daycare kiddos. The kids really enjoyed feeding Sara bunny so I thought it would be nice to continue to keep a bunny for them. Jason's bosses kids participate in 4H and one of the boys raises bunnies. He gave this one to us. Mom named her York Peppermint Patty.

I hope your day is lovely. I'm off to check for eggs and make lunch!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Embraced the Camera :: Silly Faces

I haven't posted an Embrace the Camera picture so here is one from Monday. We were sitting on the front steps watching the men work on the driveway and I was thinking about his photo book I'm putting together  and inspiration hit. I tried to have him make a silly face, he wasn't sure what to do! He really like being able to see himself in the camera (I had the view flipped around) and kept saying "Me picture Mommy! More me, Mommy!" Yes Stomper, we defiantly need more of you in our lives! 

Gobble, gobble

The turkeys are growing and growing. They are getting huge. The last time we weighed them, about a week ago, they were around fifteen pounds. They have been eating a steady diet of store grain, bread, bugs, grass, and scraps from the table. Recently we picked up a bunch of dropped apples and they have been devouring them like candy.

Most of our nine turkeys are spoken for. It has really been exciting for us to see how many people are enthusiastic about farm raised poultry. Next year we hope to offer turkeys fed with GMO free grain. They will not be 100% GMO free as we feed them bread that we receive from the cast offs from the food pantry and scraps from our own table. We will also need to look into if we need give them any supplements which probably won't be GMO free. But, it's a start!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Christmas List

Seems like I am perpetually knitting for Christmas. I have been trying to knit with more goals and purpose this past year (which is why last year I joined the Year of Projects crew) and it has definately given me more focus.

6 Dish Basic Cloths
A vest for Stomper
Maybe start a vest for Jason
2 Owl Hats one for me and one for Jason
2 pairs of Fingerless Gloves  I'm not quite settled on the pattern(s) yet
mittens for Stomper
Socks for Stomper and maybe Bumpa

Here is what I have knit so far:

2 Ribbed Hats using my favorite ribbed hat pattern.

2 Dish Cloths - no pattern just plain garter stitch. The orange one is t-shirt yarn and the red(ish) one is cotton

1 Hedgehog/Squirrel (Rav Page)

For some ideas of fun things to make check out last years DIY Christmas List. I am working on some really cool ideas for this coming year. I hope people like what I come up with!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

What Happened on Saturday

I have been in eleven weddings and been everything from flower girl to bride, but never have I almost cried.

Until Saturday.

My little brother got married!

He married the most wonderful woman and he is so happy. Just one look at his face while he stood there saying his vows was proof of that. But that was not what made me cry.

Do you remember when I introduced you to my niece Elle? Elle is not my brothers blood related daughter, though he loves her as if she was, and during the wedding ceremony he and his bride honored her will a small token.

Her Mom, while putting a heart shaped pendant around her neck said (something along the lines of): "This necklace is our promise to you, to be your family. We love you." My little brother worked the clasp and all three of them were crying!

It was the sweetest thing I have ever seen in a wedding. It was a great ceremony and a great day.

We are so happy to officially welcome Rachelle and Elle into our family, although they've been there in our hearts for a long time!

Little Sister and her favorite cousin made the cake, isn't it amazing! Little Sister also took all the photos!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

On Skipping Over the Ugly Parts

I haven’t been writing and I couldn't figure out why until I read a post by Ginny that got me thinking. I realized that I haven’t shared because I have been feeling a little two faced. I don’t want to write about the hard stuff, I’d rather you see pictures of happy chickens, a smiling nearly 3 year old, our new kittens, or a beautiful blue sky. Not the ugly stuff, the stuff of life. I know a lot of bloggers go through ths at one point or another; the realization that since this is their blog they can choose the content, even if it means skipping over the ugly parts.

I am making a choice. I have challenges I face (like we all do); things I don’t want to photograph or tell you about. We have all pains and some pains are not safe being shared over the internet.

“No matter the temptation to pour my heart out, this is the internet, and my heart is not the only one on the line.”
That being said I will tell you one of the many things that has been heavy on my heart lately: a sibling for my son.

I am ten years older than my brother. As a child I was confident that I had an older brother, possibly evil, that my parents didn't tell me about. It was too odd being an only child. All my friends had siblings. They all told me, of course, that having a sibling was awful and I was “lucky”. I hated being the only child. We would travel a lot and I always imagined that having a sibling would make being in a strange church easier (my parents were missionaries and would travel to different churches to raise support) and visiting strangers more bearable.

When I got older and dreamt of my family I imagined myself as the mother of a dozen children. They would be spaced close together so that they could play together. There would always be children in my home, I told myself.

My son is almost 3. I wanted him to have a sibling and one on the way by now, according to my own personal timeline. God doesn't take our timeline into account though, does he? My Mom wanted three kids, she got all three; eventually. My sister is 15 years younger than me. Fifteen years is a long time to wait to achieve the goal of three kids.

I know that God has a plan. A perfect plan. Not a plan to make me happy, but one that brings Him glory through my life. Maybe it’s His plan that Stomper is an only child. It hurts to even think about having just one child, but I’m sure God will help me through the pain.

While my heart is heavy I thank God that He saw fit it make me a Mom. Even it means a Mom to only one. There are many women out there with empty arms and hearts full of sorrow.

If you think of it, you could pray for us: for guidance, for wisdom, and for strength to do what God sets before us.

(Photos from the recently family reunion – 5 Generations!)

If you are new to my blog some background information on our journey to being a family of Three:
Honey Bee -Stomper was a foster brother for seven weeks and then we said Farewell

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