Thursday, December 20, 2012

Still Alive

Hey guys!  How's it going? Are you all done with your shopping/baking/decorating/wrapping etc?  I'm getting close... still have a few things to buy.  The gifts are boxed and stashed, but not wrapped.  The Christmas bins are still in the foyer, half full.  The ingredients for baking are here.  Thankfully, Patience is really into baking! : )

You probably guessed what I've been doing.... yep, jewelry!  But, I've just gotta tell you how amazing this all is.  I just made over 100 sales!  Made enough moolah to pay for Christmas for our family.  I'm exhausted but so blessed!  Been working 18 hour days for three weeks straight--I take off Sunday morning, and that's about it!  But, gosh, it's been so cool.  I've gotten to talk with people from allll over the country.  And everybody has been so kind and friendly on Etsy.  I hardly ever get on Facebook anymore!  I love getting feedback from customers telling me that my jewelry has been a blessing to them.  Wow!  What a blessing to me!  This is the first time since I've been married that I've ever gotten a legit paycheck.  I know it's all just the Lord's blessing.  It feels like co-working with Him!  And also co-working with Captain--since he's been so supportive and helpful (he even shops at Hobby Lobby for me after work!!).  My kids also have an opportunity to earn money-- they get paid to smash pennies.  It's so neat to be able to pay them out of somebody else's money rather than our family budget.  They are such good helpers around the house, too.  (Especially when they're getting paid)

I'm thinking that this will all slow down after Christmas.  That's good, really, since I actually have to do laundry and make food, oh, and homeschool.  But for now.... it's the perfect amount of work.  Sooooo amazing, right??!!

So, that's where I've been.  Out in the garage and up in my jewelry studio/schoolroom.  Getting some pretty stunning calluses on my fingers.  But....I'm still alive!

Hope you all are having a merry Christmas season!


Friday, December 7, 2012

Hitting the Wall

Yep, that's exactly what happened.

I was cruising right along, week after week, in my manic inspired state.  Barely sleeping.  Barely eating.  And every time I heard the cha-ching of my beloved iPhone, my heart would beat a little faster.
It was strange.  I've been expecting a crash any day.  Well, yesterday, after filling a ton of jewelry orders that I had been up til late the previous night making, I drove to the big city with my littlest boy to do some emergency craft supply shopping, grocery shopping and a little Christmas shopping.  Oh yeah, Christmas.  Gotta start on that!  And after we shopped and drove and ran around for multiple hours, while driving home... it happened.

I hit the wall.

I came home, curled up on the couch in my coat and boots, covered up my head and went to sleep.

There wasn't a thing I could do about it.

It's an old track and field expression we used to use in distance running.  You'd be cruising along, thinkin' you're winning this race for sure, finish line in sight... and then you just hit the wall.  There was no more gas in the tank.  You could not possibly keep it up.

Sooooo, I have spent the entire day out in the garage pounding coins.  But my mind it fried.

I think I need to go on a cruise.  Yes, that's what I need!!!

As soon as I finish all these orders.... and clean this house... and buy a couple hundred presents.... and wrap them.... and .....

Maybe I just need a nap.


Monday, December 3, 2012

A Cute Cheap Craft

OK, well, TODAY I'm gonna solve my photo/blog dilemma... but right now I'm going out to the garage to hammer.  I have so many cute, cheap crafts to share with you guys!  But for now, I'll just share a link to one that I'm def gonna make with the kids this year...

Have you ever heard of "One Good Thing by Jillee"?  Well, you're gonna love her!

And these salt votives are so cute!

Now I know why I felt compelled to save every single blessed jar I ever emptied!

Adios Amigas.

: )

Friday, November 30, 2012


OK, I'm freakin' out.  I just sold 12 items yesterday! 

 Yes, all in one day.  

And I'm totally amazed!

Well, one good thing about this booming, or should I say budding?, Etsy business is that it totally forces me to think way more than I normally do. 


And not only that...  but it also forces me to be extremely busy.  Which is what I was all summer long with that ginormous garden.  Well, no sooner was the garden a big dead thing, and now I'm overrun with beads and leather and the sound of hammering.


And I think we're actually gonna be able buy Christmas presents!


And if you're looking for a reasonably priced gift for a hard-to-buy-for teen or niece, stop by my shop because these leather wrap bracelets are selling like hotcakes.  Whatever that means.

Oh, and the personalized "guy" bracelet is really popular, too.

But don't take my word for it.  Stop by and look at the latest "sold orders."

It's crazy!


Thursday, November 29, 2012

What Day Is It, Again?

Yeah, so it took me until 6:00 last night to figure out that it wasn't actually Tuesday.

Well, duh.

I've been spending waaaay too much time out in the garage pounding pennies!
Or maybe it's the paint fumes...  : /

Oh, and today I've only got FOUR children.

Totally weird.

Jacob's at college and Grace and Noah are at work.

Somebody was up barfing last night.  Don't know who, yet.

And there's two random deer legs out in my front yard.

I think Annabelle brought them to me as a gift, because she never chews them, she just finds them and lays them in the yard outside the window where I sit at the computer...
So that I can see them.

Isn't she sweet?

Gosh, it's sure hard to do "school" right before Christmas!
Benjamin read his first real words yesterday, and it was totally effortless on my part.  I'm tellin' ya, 
have a whole bunch of kids because the last few are the easiest!

Now, there's a tip, and it's not even Tuesday... or Wednesday.
I think.   : )

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Tip Tuesday: Epic Thrifting

OK, so I lied.  I'm not gonna start the craft/gift idea posts until December 1st.  I'm just not quite there yet.  Don't even have the tree up.  But we are playing Christmas music and that's a good start.  And I have been doing a record amount of shopping...

On Monday my best friend from high school drove three hours--all the way to my house-- with her four adorable (well, the three girls are adorable... her son is cool)  children and she and I got to spend the entire day thrifting!  Yes, all day.  No children.  Every single thrift store in Lexington.  Noteworthy!

I didn't really find much until ---  the last stop.  And then I scored BIG TIME!  And the thing that I bought was so stinkin' big that I couldn't fit it in my ginormous van.  So, I had to come back the next day without the seats in my van and with a big, strong teenager to help me.  And while I was waiting for the goodwill guys to find some tools for us to take the huge thing apart with, I ended up buying more big stuff!  And then I had to call Captain, who was just getting off work, to come and help us.  So he bought us a tool and came and saved the day.  We also got some amazing Firehouse subs.  And I got a new (new for me) kitchen table that seats ALL of us comfortably, for only $30.  That's a major score!

And since it's Tuesday, which I just now realized, I'll leave you with a tip.  If you go to a thrift store and everything seems like junk... it probably is.  Just move on.  Every store is different and each has its own ebb and flow of treasures.  When you walk into a good one, you'll know because the prices will be really great on furniture and there will be lots of brand name clothes.  Since I spent roughly three hours at that last store, I got to talk to the employees quite a bit.  They told me that December is the best month for donations... and good, nice, BIG donations... because wealthier people want the tax deductions.  They also told me that the most donations come in on Sunday evenings after yard sales are over, but that's only during nicer weather.  So, there ya go!

Check out your thrift stores this coming month-- you might just hit the jackpot!

Oh, and I have a question for you guys... what do you think about thrifted gifts?  Would you be offended?  Or do you not really care where something came from as long as you know the giver really tried hard to get you something you would like?  It's been a big conversation topic around here and I'd really like your opinion!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Paying for Pictures and the Family Glue

So, I've got a bit of a crisis on my hands here at the big happy nest.  Blogger has told me that I've reached my limit.  I could have already told them that!  Yep, I've reached my limit, y'all.

No more pictures for me.


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Jewelry In The Making

Hi guys!  I just wanted to share a few new items that we recently listed on Etsy...  I'm having so much fun getting lots of feedback and also a few sales-- Yippee!!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Crazy Girl

Haven't had much to say lately.  A bit of a writer's block, I guess.  I'll just ramble.  Maybe that will help.  OK.  Life's been busy, as usual.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tip Tuesday: Cooking Beans For Later

So, I was having another one of those exciting homemaker-type conversations the other day... discussing the best and cheapest way to eat beans.  Everybody knows that they're a cheap and good-for-you and everything.  The problem is that canned beans are overpriced and you've got to plan waaaay ahead in order to cook dry beans for dinner.  Since I'm more of a thirty minute style cook, that just won't do.

Sunday, November 11, 2012


I printed off a bunch of these for coloring pages.  My kids are filling them up with things they are thankful for.  Thought you might like it.  If you want to print one, just click on the picture so that it gets big, drag it off onto your desktop and then print.  It should fill up the whole page.

PS.  It's from "Life is Good" on Facebook.  They post the cutest stuff!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A Proclamation

I thought I'd share what I came up with for my facebook cover photo last night. 

 I had no idea what an impact it would have!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Tip Tuesday: VOTE!

Because if you don't then you can't complain for the next four years and that would be annoying.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Tip Tuesday: Dealing With Germ Season

It's that time of year again...everyone's sniffling and sneezing, we're passing around the hand sanitizer in the van with more enthusiasm than usual, and I actually remember to pass out vitamins on most days. Honestly, though, we are rarely ever sick. Our pediatrician didn't even know who we were when we all went in for check ups!  I guess that's unusual for a family of NINE.  I know lots of people want to chalk that up to our kids not being at public school, and that DEFINITELY helps, but here's something else that has made a real difference...

Friday, October 26, 2012

New Bling and a Giveaway!

I'm so excited about this new jewelry creation!  I just had to let you guys know about it.

 First of all, I really think the idea was a download from God.  How do I know?  Well, I was praying about a new business idea for several weeks... just wanted to help out our family budget a little  (and eventually help other moms help their own family budgets by being involved in jewelry making).

 I've had an Etsy shop for a while now, but never really tried to promote it or anything.  I love to make jewelry, but hate promoting it.  But now I'm realizing that I've got to do both in order to keep doing the part I love-- jewelry making.  I just felt like I needed something unique and worth sharing.

 That's where these new designs come in...

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tip Tuesday: Turning Flare Into Skinny

Do you have any perfectly good, great-fitting jeans packed away in the back of your closet... hiding there just because they're a little too flare-ey?  We do.  Lots of them!

Never fear!  With only a few simple steps and just a little bit of sewing know how, you'll be back up to fashion par in no time!

 All you really need for this easy project is a pen, pins, thread, scissors and your old faithful sewing machine.

And just so you know how really easy this was...This post took me longer than the sewing job!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Best Homemade Brownie Mix Ever

Don't ya just love my table setting?  
Once you make these I'm pretty sure you will agree that these are the best.
Trust me.
We're brownie conniseurs.

We used to buy brownie mix by the case and mix 'em up every time we had company stop in...and also every time we felt like having some brownies.  Which was often.  But I haven't bought a mix in quite a while.

Friday, October 19, 2012

A Garden's End... Tomato Wars!

My glorious gardening experience has come to an end... at least for this year.

Lots of workers bringing in the harvest before the first frost.

This is what homeschoolers do on lunch break.  : )

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tip Tuesday: Inspect What You Expect

I recently read an interesting book called Large Family Logistics.  It was written by a mom of nine.  I figured that since I only raised eight, I could learn a thing or two.  ; )

Well, the book was really annoying...for the most part.

This lady is terribly organized and boring and not at all like me.  Except for maybe the boring part.  Maybe it was just her writing style.  I'm not sure.  But she also cleans her bathroom every single day.

Every.  Single.  DAY.

Yes.  I know.  What a freak, right?

Just kidding.  Sortof.

But one thing I did learn from the book is this:

Monday, October 15, 2012

Half Way There... Raising "Meaters"

Just in case you were's an update on our very high-speed chicken raising operation.

We call these chickens "meaters" to help us distinguish them from the "layers" when we're assigning chores.  I guess they could be called "fryers" or "roasters" or "crock-potters"... but that gets a little confusing.  What they should be called is "eaters," since that's all they really ever do!

Be advised, you may never eat chicken again after seeing this.  But these guys are actually pretty happy chickens, believe it or not.

So, here's our epic temporary pen... Noah and I built it out of an old dog kennel.  We've got 48 birds in there.  Heat lamps and an old dog house keeps them nice and cozy at night.  Thankfully, we don't have any neighbors, because this thing is a real eye sore.  This is the third year that we've raised our own meat chickens... and having them outside is definitely much cleaner and more humane.

They're always freaking out over the feeder.  You'd think we were starving them!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

My Twilight Zone

Do you remember that old show?

 Me and my big sister used to stay up late and watch it on weekends when we were really little.  I'm not sure if we were even allowed... but it sure freaked me out!  I'd be freaked out for quite a while afterwards, too.

And I've been just a tad freaked out lately, too.  Do you want to know why?  Well, I'll tell ya.  It's because I'm not totally sure that I'm not currently living in the Twilight Zone.

Do you ever hear that weird theme song playing in your head when people act so totally bizarre that you just have to stop and wonder?  I do.

So, here's a few of the latest strange happenings....

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Back Home on the Range

Just got back home from an epic trip to South Carolina...  I drove the "church van" full to the brim with kids and food and clothes and jewelry and props on a seven-hour trip through the mountains to a big festival at our old stomping ground.  Three years ago we actually lived there and I decided to get a booth at Harvest Fest, just to see if I could sell any of my creations.  Well, that year was an amazing surprise and I sold a TON!  This year was a lot different...

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tip Tuesday: Homemade Taco Mix

Homemade mixes are one of my favorite cooking tips-- they not only save money, but also the annoyance of not having what you need on the spur of the moment.  You know, like at 4:30, when you're trying to decide what to make for dinner at 5:00?

Friday, September 21, 2012

How I Roll

I just heard the school bus drive by my house.  My kiddos are still snoozing.  The house is completely silent and dark.  The sound of that school bus reminds me of how blessed I am to home school.  What a privilege it is. What a responsibility.

Truth is, I've been having one of those freak-out-about-everything weeks.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Raising Meat Chickens

Hey ya'll!
Our new batch of 50 peeps arrived in the mail last week.  I thought you might like to take a peek and check them out while they're still adorable...

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tip Tuesday: Eating on the Cheap

Here's a pic of one of my recent grocery hauls.  I think we actually stopped into the store for lunch meat and buns.  But the "managers specials" got the best of me... 

Monday, September 17, 2012

What's Up

Dude!  Things have gotten busy around here.  Bu-sy!  I'm tellin' ya!  I'm not really sure what changed, but the days are fuller than ever and I haven't been bored for several weeks, not even for ten minutes.  And I guess that's a good thing, since a friend of mine recently told me that boredom is actually a need for meaning and purpose, rather than just "activity."

 I'm not sure about the whole meaning and purpose to what I've been busy doing... but I sure have had a lot of "activity" lately.

So, here's a few things we've been busy with...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Tip Tuesday: A Handy "Spanker"

Hey there!  I just got back from vacation this past week and now school is in full swing so I haven't had much time to talk with you guys.  I missed ya!  I'll post a bunch of pictures as soon as our Mac gets back from the doc.... again.  Yeah, now there's a tip for ya...  macs are great and very user-friendly--when they're working.  But, if they break, it's gonna be expensive and you sure can't do-it-yourself.  So, I'm on a borrowed pc, yet again.  And all of my pictures are out there in limbo somewhere.  But that's all beside the point, right?

So....what's up with this "spanker"?

Sunday, September 2, 2012



Thanks to my crazy busy life, I haven't been keeping up with the ole blog too much lately.  But, here's an oldy that I thought some of my new blog friends might appreciate....

Remember the old WWJD days? Yep, been there, done that, even got the T shirt. When faced with a dilemma, you were supposed to ask yourself, "What would Jesus Do?", and then you'd supposedly know what to do. Sounds pretty straightforward, right? Only one major problem... Jesus was a single guy.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tip Tuesday: How to Jog...A Guide For Mommies

Who, Me?  Jog?

 Yeah, right!

I'm as shocked as you are.

It all started when I got this bright idea to exercise at least 20 minutes a day, six days a week starting in August...

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Put Some Windex On It

Do you remember the dad in My Big Fat Greek Wedding?  Gosh, I love that movie.  It makes me wish I was Greek.  But I'm not.  So, I rarely use Windex.  Except for cleaning windows.  But, VINEGAR, on the other hand....

Yeah, now you know my new obsession.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Fruit Flies Meet Their Demise

While I'm on a vinegar kick, I've just got to tell you about my latest amazing discovery.  First my problem....  the kitchen was absolutely, utterly and completely overrun with fruit flies.  I do not know where they come from.  Nobody does.  They just show up.  In droves.

 I think they must have come in with the cantaloupe from the garden.  Did I mention that I grew cantaloupe???  From seed!  And it was perfect in every way.  And absolutely effortless to grow.  But that's another story.

Anyways,  the fruit flies were quite a bother.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tip Tuesday: Amazing Vinegar

I've been meaning to tell you guys about my various vinegar experiments for quite a while now.  But I was concerned that you might think I'm weirder than I actually am.  Which would be hard for me to handle.  Since I'm already realllly weird.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Homemade Lipton Green Tea

I love this stuff!

I buy it on special occasions... like for company or vacation.

That's because it's expensive.  Especially for a drink.  Since we all usually drink water.

But, on one of those rare occasions when I did buy it, I saved the jug.  Since it has a "flex grip, smooth pour."  And what's not to like about that??  And then it turned out that last weekend we needed to bring a drink to a potluck... and it would probably be rude to bring water.  So, that brings me to my amazing discovery.... You can easily make this stuff AT HOME.  And on the cheap!

Friday, August 17, 2012

It's A Bummer

Sorry I haven't written much lately.  I'm taking this whole college thing alot harder than I expected.  It feels too much like a funeral.  I know he's busy and if he needs me he'll call.  But, dude, it's hard.  H-A-R-D.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Big Day

Today was the day.
My first little fledgling flew the coop.
My boy went off to college.

Bye, bye, Jacob.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Friday, August 10, 2012

Back 2 School

Glad to see that the kids are getting good use out of their outrageously expensive calculator!

All these Back to School ads really crack me up.  Just today I saw a Wal-mart challenge to get all your back to school clothes for under $100.  Are you stinkin' kidding me??? For ONE kid??  And that's a challenge?  I think I could get all seven ready for under 100 bucks!

(except for the calculator, of course.)


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Tip Tuesday: Taking Good Portraits with an Average Camera

Today's tip comes to you from my 17 year old daughter, Graci.  She is a total snapaholic.  She brings a camera everywhere and a good number of the pics on my blog come from her.  She doesn't have a fancy camera, so she spends a lot of time messing around with lighting and shooting angles to see what works best.  And she's gotten pretty darn good with her photography, if I do say so myself.

Today she's gonna show you how to use zoom to take a better portrait.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Monday Montage

 So, yeah, I went to the 127 yard sale. 
 It was one honkin' big yard sale.
I saw this table, which was perrrfect for my family of nine.  
I drove a mile through a farm field, dodging pedestrians and big trucks to find a parking place.
Then I walked back said mile dodging pedestrians and random antiques.
Getting more and more excited all the while.

only to find...

Saturday, August 4, 2012

A Fall Garden

Welcome to my office...

It's time for a few Fall plants to go in where the Summer crops are finishing up.  It looks a lot more complicated than it actually is.  And next year I'm sure I'll have a better handle on it.  Hopefully!

So, here's what I'm doing...

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Life on the Farm... Another Montage

Because I'm too busy to write words...
 I'll just show you what's been going on around the ole homestead in pictures.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tip Tuesday: Two Unusual Cleaning Products

Have you ever heard of this?
 I have my sister-in-law's mom to thank for this tip!

You know that weird, black grime that accumulates on the plastic floor of your walk in shower stall?  Well, this is the stuff that will get rid of it!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Boiled Peanuts and Neck Bones

You know how I told you guys that I can see what google searches brought you to me?  Well, here's a reoccurring search.  And it really kills me to be so unhelpful and lead you down the wrong path by saying that I have no clue how to boil peanuts and neck bones and then you search how to do it and it comes to MY blog.  So, I'm gonna tell you how to do it.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

A Homestead Montage

 Here's what's been going on around the ole homestead.

Lots of veggies, as you can see.

Oh my, I'm so amazed by my garden!

Come take a look...

Oregano drying.  There's plenty more growing out there in that pot on the deck.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Blogging Is Funny

I'm still not sure why you guys are reading this blog.  It's pretty amazing to me.  There's a lot more readers out there than there are "followers" or "commenters."  Oh my, I sure loooooove my commenters!  You make my heart beat faster!  I know, it's weird.

If you don't have your own blog,  you may not know that I've got this neat little back room on here that shows me all the "stats."

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tip Tuesday: Do What You Can

 Boy, it sure would be nice to own 100 fertile acres, a root cellar, a spring-fed well, a milk cow, a gigantic thriving garden, an orchard, 1000 canning jars, a windmill, a wood burning furnace, a tractor and a generator.  Oh, well, at least I have a flock of chickens. 

Yep, that, and a few other things.

 Like spam.
 And rice.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

What Hillbillies Do For Fun


First you drive the truck down the trail way back into the woods.
That's our friends' truck, by the way. They brought us a bunch of fence posts for our farm.  
They are wonderful friends.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Fresh Homemade Salsa!

Tomatoes & Peppers & Cilantro, Oh My!
This is one of the best things about summer.  Food wise, anyways!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Motherhood Conundrum

Do you ever get that nagging feeling that you were made for more than this?

Like, Yes, I know that all this Mommy stuff is super important and all, but isn't there something else I should be doing?

And I know that growing food, cooking food and cleaning up after the food is important and all but it feels so temporary.

And raising all these children is so meaningful and eternal and close to God's heart, but...

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tip Tuesday: Use Less

We're always trying to figure out ways of saving money for our family.  Most of the time we first think of how to spend less on the things we need.  How to get a better deal.  But one often overlooked method of saving money is to use less.  Here's where a little thrifty thinking comes in.  Did you know that a whole scoop full of detergent is enough for at least four loads?

Monday, July 16, 2012

A Recipe That Works

Lately I've been on a quest for good, reliable canning recipes.  Thanks to all that rain, I've got lots of veggies to deal with.  It's a good problem to have, but a problem, none the less.  You'd think you could just look up what to do with banana peppers and there would be some sort of consensus on how to safely and easily can them.  But there's not.  There's 45 recipes for the same thing.  And they're all different.  Different ingredients.  Different processing times.  Different etc.   Now, if it was just cooked peppers that I was wanting, I would just pick any old recipe and wing it.  Then eat it.  And not really give it much thought.  But canning is a different story.  Improperly canned foods can kill people.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

College Update: Packing and Procrastination

I just realized that I haven't updated you guys in a while on the whole traumatic first-kid-moving-away-to-college adventure.  I guess I haven't been feeling quite so traumatized lately.  That's a good thing, right?  I'm sure it will hit me out of the blue one of these days and I'll be all freaked out again.  But for now, I'm OK.

So, are you curious how it's going for a homeschooler getting ready to move off to college?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Rain and Rambling

I've been sitting here at my computer for over two blessed hours almost totally uninterrupted.  What a wonderful thing!  The rain has been raining for that long, too.  I can not tell you how happy I am about that rain.  Last night when it was on its way here, I just sat out on the deck and thanked the Lord for sending it.