My new TOOL

When my in-laws were here early this month they gave me a food processor for a present. As much as I don't like most gadgets because they just clutter up my kitchen, I WAS pretty excited to get this one. I was looking forward to being able to easily process a bunch of zucchini and other garden produce.

Unfortunately the first one didn't work, so Sharyl took it back but then they were out, but they left a gift card for the amount and Walmart got them back in stock and now I have it! I am enjoying it and we have put it to work pretty heavily already.

We are blessed to have cabbage and carrots from our garden so I made coleslaw (minus the sweet dressing which I don't care for) for lunch one day. It was just the kids and I and I used 1/2 a nice size head of cabbage, 1/2 an onion and several carrots and we almost ate all of it up! Jonathan just ate and ate! It is so nice to have something that can do all of that grating in just a few minutes!

I also made a carrot cake "just because" (maybe just because I had a new food processor) which is Ken's favorite. I don't usually make them much besides Ken's birthday because of the grating involved but now that isn't an issue.

Something else I tried it for was to make smoothies. I wanted to try a green smoothie recipe I had seen as I had a bunch of spinach to use up. I don't think it works quite as well as a blender would (There were kind of chunks) but it was all right. The kids were very sceptical when they first saw it but I was so happy with them because all 3 of the older ones tried it and declared it to be "Very Good!". Megan wasn't quite so easy. She declared "I don't want to like it!" and she stuck with that thought the whole time she drank hers.

Anyway, for this Homemaker who is very leery of new appliances - I really like it! Thank you Terry and Sharyl!

Just for interest sake I thought I would list the appliances that I have in my kitchen and then I thought it would be interesting if you would share the ones you think are essential.

I have and use:

  • Fridge
  • Stove
  • Dishwasher
  • Microwave (hey, I would love to hear your opinions on this, I have heard negative and am trying to reduce my use of it, but I would find it very hard to go without all together.)
  • Toaster
  • Wheat Grinder (another gift from Ken's family and one I use all the time! I think it is a great investment.)
  • Hand-held Mixer. (I had a counter one at one time but I prefer the smallness- it can fit in a drawer- of the hand-held)
  • Hand-held blender
  • And now Food processor

Updated to add that I do also have a crockpot and popcorn popper that I use quite a bit and an electric skillet, waffle Iron and Warming tray that I use rarely.

I found something else I want to use my food processor for: Dried Apples (I would use the processor for the slicing part). My friend Emily was telling me how she did them and the look and sound yummy! Oh I do own a dehydrator too but most of the time it stays out on a shelf in the garage.

Double Duty Kitchen Ware

I don't have a very big kitchen but I use it a lot (Pretty nearly all our meals are at home and from scratch) so it is pretty full! Therefore I was quite excited to find extra uses for some of my dishes. Here is the story....

Have you seen those pretty cake plates, you know the glass ones on a pedestal that have a pretty glass lid that covers the round layer cake? Well my sister got one last month and I was admiring it because it just looks so elegant and pretty. However, I decided that I wouldn't want to get one because I don't make round layer cakes very often and I simply don't have room for any more items, especially ones that are rarely used!

Then came Aaron's birthday, and what do you know? He wanted a round layer cake (A smiley face cake!). Well I decided to put it on the glass platter that I have. (I was blessed with some beautiful platters as wedding presents- which thankfully can stack up so they don't take a lot of space.) Then I was trying to figure out what to cover it with and I noticed my clear glass bowl was about the right size.

So I tried it and it worked.

I was so happy because not only did it cover it but I think it looks elegant and almost like it was meant to be. I also thought about stacking it on a vase or something, but in the short time that I ended up having I wasn't able to find one that worked just right, after all I did want it to be sturdy so no cake and glass dishes would come crashing down.

The cool thing is.... I am using things I already have, no more cupboard space required and it doesn't cost me anything!
While I am mentioning double uses for items I thought I should mention that I don't have round cake pans either. I use my casserole dish- both the lid and the bottom to make two round cakes. It works great and again I really appreciate having two uses for one item -taking less space.
Do you have kitchen items (or any other items for that matter) that you use for their intended purpose and for another way as well, getting double duty out of them? I would love to hear your tips!
For more frugal ideas visit Life as MOM.

We are having a Handmade Christmas {Will you join me?}

At our home we enjoy a simple Christmas. Most of our gifts, decorations and food are all made here at home with lots of love. We like it that way. In visiting blogs around the web I know I am not the only one who likes to make things at home for Christmas, there are a lot of you who do that.

Knowing that....
You (Every single one of you!) are invited to join me every Thursday starting next week and going until Christmas (though we will take a break for Thanksgiving) For a Handmade Christmas, here at Proverbs 31 Living.

I am looking forward to sharing with you various handmade stuff that I have been working on, I plan on posting:
  • Tutorials
  • Recipes
  • Decorating ideas
  • Gifts I have made
  • Lovely links I have found (with some great tutorials)
  • Thoughts on having a simple Handmade (and frugal!) Christmas
  • And a way for you to link you posts up!

So please come join me! Write posts on your blog about what Handmade items you are making for Christmas and then bring your link over here and share it with the rest of us! And since I am not above bribery.... I am offering a surprise giveaway for everyone that joins me by linking up their Handmade Christmas post next week.

Also....Would you please be so kind as to grab my Handmade Christmas button and post it on your blog to tell others about this? I would really appreciate it!

We have gotten started~

Enchanted Scrapbooking Newest Competition

We are having a great new Competition at Enchanted so pop on in and check it out.

Happy Birthday to Me!!

Yay! It's my birthday!! I'm 31 today. I've always loved my birthday and I think I always will. Even though my day will be filled with childcare and gymnastics class, I will have a pep to my step knowing it's my birthday.

Let me take you back to 1978. The land of the bell bottoms and the long, long hair. Here are a few pictures of me as a new baby.

Isn't my mom beautiful? She was only 22 years old. I was a big baby, wasn't I? Nine and a half pounds! No wonder I had such big babies.

I love this picture. I love the lighting and my Cupie Doll hair.

Snoozing through a stroll with fall leaves on the ground. Sounds like heaven!

Charlotte and I are leaving in the morning to spend the weekend with one of my best friends and her little girls. Jon and Evan have a boys weekend planned that includes bowling and scary movies... well, the movies will be for Jon to watch after Evan goes to bed.... hopefully.

See you guys Monday :)

A Typical Homeschool Day {Our style}

Here we are nearly 2 months into the school year and I don't think I have written anything about "school". The reason I haven't is because for the most part it has been pretty normal, we are having fun learning but we haven't gone on any fantastic field trips nor practically blown up the house with a science experiment or anything of that nature. We have just had fun quietly learning mostly at home.
When I was thinking about that though I realized what is normal and routine for me might not be so much so for everybody else. I feel blessed to have been homeschooled growing up (as was my husband) and so homeschooling is what is normal and easy for me. If I had to send my kids away to school that is when I would become a little unsure (and frantic!).
Anyway, with that said I thought it would be fun to share our "Typical" school day. We have lots of untypical days as well, which is part of the beauty of homeschooling (You can still live life, and learn outside a classroom) but when we are home and don't have company this is our normal day:

Around 8 am: (this is following getting up, prayer, bible reading, making Ken's lunch and breakfast prep) we eat breakfast as a family. Ken eats quickly and heads off to work.
After Breakfast: Chore time! We clean up the table and the kids make their beds and then they rotate doing various jobs including feeding the rabbit, emptying the dishwasher and stuff like that. On Monday we have a lot of cleaning that we try to get done so school work gets pushed back a half hour or so.
9 am: School starting time. To start off our day we:
  • Pray -God's help is always needed to have a good day.
  • Memorize. Currently we are reviewing memory work learned other years. This week we are saying Psalm 15, Psalm 23 and the books of the Bible every day.
  • Manners. We read a short section (about 2 paragraphs) out of a manners book and discuss.
  • Sing. We sing 3-5 songs usually Bible Choruses. I like to do action songs a lot as that way we get in a little exercise as well. Usually we just sing accappella but sometimes I will play the piano and this week we have been trying out singing along with a CD.

That takes around 15-30 minutes.

Around 9:30- 10 am:

The kids work on their core curriculum.
Mara (10 years, 5th grade) : works at her desk in her room (she works best being off by herself somewhere) doing ACE Math, English and Word Building. She also has a Creative Writing book that she is working out of. With ACE she scores most of her own work (but not tests). We have our scoring station set up at Ken's desk. Mara usually finishes her work (doing around 5 pages in each book) before lunch. Mostly she does this work on her own, but comes to me if she needs assistance.

Jonathan (8 years, 2-3 grade): He fluctuates between working at his desk or the dining room table. He also has ACE Math,English and Word Building. He corrects his own Math and Word Building as well and I correct his English. He is between grades because he worked faster at Math. Next year we will most likely have him at all 4th grade work as he is enjoying the other subjects more this year. I do have to help Jonathan fairly regularly but I am able to get work done while staying fairly near by so that I can help him. Jonathan sometimes has work left to do after lunch but he is getting faster and today he had everything done before noon.

Aaron (just turned 6, Kindergarten): This year with Aaron is still very casual. I have read books and heard things that have definitely made me decide not to rush things with kids, especially boys. He does enjoy doing schoolwork and so we have workbooks for him. He is does well with Math and is doing Addition and Subtraction. He is also learning about letters and their sounds. He wants to learn to read, but I am putting absolutely no pressure on him to do that this year, I won't hinder him though either. He works at the kitchen table (though we do also have a desk for him in his room) where I can assist him while still working on household duties. He works on workbooks for about 1/2 hour each morning and then he can play and work after that.

Megan (3 years, preschool) Loves to work at the table with her siblings. I have old workbooks that she colors in, traces letters and numbers and cuts out of. She also will do stuff like write letters to grandparents (draw pictures and dictate words), play with play dough, look at books, or go play elsewhere. She and Aaron play a lot together when the older siblings are busy.

Noon- 1:30 pm: Somewhere in that time we usually eat lunch. I like to wait until Jonathan is done with schoolwork if possible. Lunches are usually pretty laid back - we eat a lot of leftovers.

After Lunch: Reading time! I love this time of day! I read aloud to the kids (the above picture is missing Mara because she was taking the picture) from several different books. This is basically what we do:

  • Bible or Bible story book. Currently we are reading straight from Matthew, before that was Genesis and Judges. Right now we are also writing questions as we read to submit to be used at our church's Bible baseball games.
  • Geography Book. We started doing that last year and read about a different state each week. This year (and probably for quite a few more years) we have been reading about countries. I have found a lot of great books from the Library for that. We have been in Asia for several months now and our current country we are studying is Uzbekistan.
  • History Book. We have read a lot of biographies and a few historical fiction for this section (like the Little House books, Ralph Moody books, etc.) but currently we are reading "The Story of the World" by Susan Wise Bauer. We have found this pretty interesting but at times the boys think it is a little dry and have decided we need a "fun" book too. (In the past our history book was our fun book.)
  • For our fun book we sometimes do short Library books but today we started a chapter book "The Trolley Car Family".

Nap time is what comes next. This has been a wonderful thing in our home. It last around an hour and everybody goes to their bed. The older 2 never sleep unless they are ill but they spend their time reading. Mara reads a chapter in the Bible each day and many other books. She reads fun books but I also help her pick out scientific books (which she then orally tells me about), historical books and classics. Jonathan reads short books and chapter books and is starting to read his Bible. Aaron and Megan also take books to bed to look at. Megan also almost always sleeps and Aaron does occasionally. I usually read, sometimes blog and then also take a 20 minute nap.

Afternoon: We finish up any schoolwork if there is any (hopefully not!), Mara practises piano (unless she had time to do that in the morning) and then we work and play! We have fun doing projects together and we spend time outside and have a good time!

We like to have a life of learning not just the "book work" we do each day. I wrote a post over at Keeper of the Home a while back that shows my favorite way of learning. Check it out to learn about how to have the whole world as your classroom.

This is what works for me. I would love to hear your thoughts, ideas and methods! Please share....

He's Growing Up

This weekend I saw my little boy as both a baby and a big boy... I went into his room to wake him up from a nap and he didn't budge as I opened the door. I ran to grab my camera before he woke up.
He just started to open his eyes as I got to his crib. He looks so sweet when he sleeps. He also looks like my baby in this picture.
Then 2 days later....

He wants to sit on the big potty! He's shown no interest in potty training yet... which is perfectly fine with me (he's only 28 mths). But this weekend he was successful on the potty twice!!

I'm not rushing out to buy tons of little boy undies just yet though. I have a feeling it'll still be a while before he's really ready.
I look at the last two pictures and see my baby growing up. Most of me is thrilled! I picture going on trips without packing everything in the whole world. I dream of eating at restaurants without the sticky high chair. I dream of Evan being able to join his sister outside to play without me being out there with him..... .. but there's just a tiny bit of me that'll miss that baby in cloth diapers... oh wait... he's hated diaper changes from the moment he was born. Okay, I'm ready for my big boy! :)

Mount Doug scenery 10-27-09

Cousin Mary and her three sisters..visiting from Seattle area
From on top of Mt. Doug towards Cordova Bay/Sidney

From Mt. Doug facing the Observatory...BEAUTIFUL DAY!


Yes that's right people - i've got some serious work-in-progress to do :-)
Bought this lovely Wright-brothers' plane panels and have plans for them. Can't wait to see how it turns out . . . 

And this is the other project in the making ..... similar to "Animals in Cars" quilt. Its getting bigger than the first one though. Will post it once done.

Happy creating y'all :-)

CRASH!! *Updated*

That's the sound my camera made as it fell from my fingers and landed on my kitchen floor.....
Well, maybe it wasn't CRASH as much as "thump". I was trying to do too many things at once... entertain children, make their lunch, whip up a batch of brownies for Jon's band (story later), and take pictures for the blog at the same time. Multi-task much?
I forgot to put the wrist strap on as I usually do and the camera fell while I was trying to snap a picture of melted butter. The lens won't retract since it's bent and the camera won't turn on for more then a split second.
It's just a simple "point & shoot".. nothing fancy... but it may as well have been my left arm falling off. I feel lost without it and it's only been dead for 30 minutes. I take pictures of everything. I have so many pictures on our computer that we had to get an external hard drive just to have enough space for them.
I'm not sure what I'll do about a camera right now. I'm sure we'll figure out something until then I'll just sigh heavily and look dejected.
Good thing I don't have a camera to take a picture of myself right now, right??

**Update: My mom is amazing. She's decided to buy me my birthday/Christmas present early and get me a gently used camera from ebay! I'm so lucky to have a mom that is so supportive of me. She knows how much photography means to me. The camera should be here in a few days!! THANK YOU MOM!!!!**

A Sailboat quilt

We have a new little nephew so I wanted to make him a quilt. I like to use stuff I have on hand if possible so I found in my stash a fabric with sailboats on it to use for the back. For the front I decided to see if I could put together some of the already cut blocks that had been given to me. I had to re-cut some of them and cut out a few new ones but for the most part I was able to use up things I had all ready.
I decided to copy the Sail boat idea from the back and cut out a larger one to applique on the front. I also appliqued an anchor (which also matched the fabric) in the lower right corner and then I stitched on a ribbon "rope" to tie the boat and the anchor together.
For this little quilt I did actually use my sewing machine to quilt it a little, eliminating the need to tie it. The quilt went together pretty fast and was a fun project. My sister-in-law seemed pleased with it too.
Are you working on any projects?

Pilot Mountain

This past Sunday, Jon had the great idea to drive to Pilot Mountain to see the beautiful leaves. Pilot Mountain is only about a 45 minute drive from us. This is the first time I've been up the mountain. I was so glad my mom could go along with us!

This is the view from about 10 minutes away. It's blurry but the sun was so bright behind me that I couldn't see the screen on the camera to see if it was focused.
There are two pinnacles of the mountain. The higher one is completely sided by sheer rock and the top has trees on it. The smaller pinnacle is where the road to the top leads. It was a steep drive and there were a lot of people competing for parking spaces. Luckily after looping around a few times we were able to find a spot.

It was chilly Sunday so we brought our light jackets. I forgot about the wind on top of a mountain. It was freezing up there!!!
I packed a picnic lunch for us so we set off to find a place to eat.

Nana showing Charlotte the farms below.

I could have stood there all day if it wasn't for the teeth chattering, finger numbing cold, that is.

We sat down to eat our lunches... chicken salad for the grown-ups and pb&j for the kids. Mom's poor freezing knees! She was fine in shorts when we left home.

Jon contemplating life and his role in it...

Enough contemplating... time to eat!
Then it was time for me to break away for a few minutes to get some pictures of the beautiful leaves and the rocks.



The forest below was like a gorgeous carpet of leaves. This picture is worth clicking on to enlarge it.
Then it was time to go. We had a great time and loved the beautiful views. Next time we'll remember to wear more layers so we can stay longer.

Evan had so much fun that he couldn't stay awake on the way home... the sign of a great day!

Give Thanks to the Lord

"Therefore I will give thanks to Thee, O Lord,
among the nations,
And I will sing praises to Thy name."
2 Samuel 22:50 (David's words)
Like David I will give Thanks.....
73. For living close to my parents so I can have fun spending time with them working on projects. (I am excited to share about the project we were working on in this picture. Can you guess?)
74. For a sewing machine.
75. For fun times creating birthday presents with my kids.

76. For a sweet, newly 6 year old boy!

77. For smiles!!

78. For Carrots.

79. For the fun we could have harvesting them.
80. For a son that is eagerly reading God's word. His question of "Mom can you please help me find some of these verses?" I don't think there is to much more that could please this Mother's heart than to see her children wanting to know more about the great Creator of the Universe.
81. For another son that doesn't want to be left out with something as exciting as looking up verses. "You find the book Mama, I'll find the chapter and verse."
82. For teachers for my kids at church that are helping them to learn and want to know more.
83. For fun times making pretty envelopes with my girls.
84. For clothes to dress up in.
85. For imaginations!
86. For Rain.
87. For Sunshine.

holy experience