Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Green Baby

My sister-in-law Natalie has started a new website called that sells beautiful artwork using recycled and salvaged materials...and a lot of artistic talent! Natalie has a double degree in art history and architecture...and it shows in her products.I think a key feature in Natalie's products is her "down to earth" style with just the right amount of decor. Natalie's home reflects this style, too. When I first walked into her home, I was thinking, "Oh no, we've got to be careful...this place is beautiful!" It only took a few minutes to realize this was a beautiful home that was meant to be lived in. No expensive breakables or easy to smudge furniture. Just comfy living. If this is your style, then Green Baby Design is your place to shop.
Natalie is also branching out with aprons, totes, and other art. Isn't this apron adorable?!
What a nice sturdy tote. I also appreciate Natalie's knack for thinking out of the box. A little funkiness, sometimes a little whimsy. Her straight and narrow sister in law must make her crazy!
Well, since this is my blog, I get to choose a favorite:-) I like this alphabet wall art. It is made from salvaged wood flooring (I guess it's handy having a hubby in construction!) and best of has a groove running along the top to post photos. Isn't that a great idea! Pretty handy way to quickly update photos.

So take a look at her website, then keep her in mind for birthdays, baby showers, and new moms. I think folks enjoy "feel good" gifts that are green and recycled. My only complaint about Natalie's website is...there are no pics of darling Abigail!

We're off again to babysitting. We'll be home by noon, so plenty of time for school and practicing this afternoon. Enjoy this weather and the beautiful scenery. The leaves are just starting to turn yellow.

Many blessings ~ Kathie

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Part two of "How do country boys with no tv have fun?" Allen made a hovercraft! This is Maggie trying it out. Very impressive!
The hovercraft only rises about 4" off the ground, but Allen had to put a board behind it so it wouldn't take off like it tried to do.
This hovercraft is powered by my $10 leaf blower that I bought off eBay. One of my Top Ten Best Buys on eBay.
I took this closeup showing the plastic "skirt" underneath. That's what traps the air and lifts it up.
Allen is excited about his success. So what is Allen researching nowadays? He's been given permission to build an observation hive in our living room. I can hardly wait!
I found two pictures online of some other fun projects. When I was at the flea market this past Saturday, I saw boxes and boxes of old books that would make good headboards.
And I think this project is nice. I am always recycling jeans into quilt squares, but I never knew how to recycle those waistbands. Now I know!

We don't have to leave until 10:30 am this morning, so I am enjoying the leisurely start. Our family is helping Maggie's therapist with babysitting this week...and it's taking all our free time.

Maggie's chiropractor has put her on a glutenfree diet since there is a connection between gluten (wheat) and inflammation. So now she is dairyfree, eggfree, and glutenfree. Wow! No fun...but Maggie doesn't seem to mind. She sees it as a fun challenge. Some fun. My husband was on a wheatfree diet for 12 years before learning it was his thyroid that was causing the allergic reaction (severe sinus congestion). As soon as he started his thyroid meds (synthroid), his "allergy" went away. I think a dairy and egg free diet is a piece of cake compared to glutenfree!

Ruthie made a wonderful chicken dinner last night to honor my birthday from Sunday...since we were gone most of the day. I still haven't opened my cards, so maybe I'll do that tonight...even though we have to babysit until 7 pm. We'll see!

Have a good day. Many blessings ~ Kathie

Monday, September 28, 2009

My family had a wonderful time at the St. Mary's County Fair this past Friday. They enjoyed all the exhibits. The above winning pumpkin weighed 452 lbs. That's a lot of pumpkin seeds!

If you read my last post, you know that we were concerned about loud rock music at the fair. We are pleased to say that the only time my family heard any was when they were sitting at the tractor pull...but even then it was faint. Of course, the area with the carnival rides had music blasting...but our family didn't do the rides.
My family talked most about the horse pull. It was actually scary for them since they understood how dangerous it was. The last time I went to a tractor pull, the horses bolted. And those are huge draft horses.

This watermelon was the winning cake. Isn't it beautiful!
Naturally Anna enjoyed all the quilts.
Anna took this picture for me because last year I taught a quilting class to mothers and daughters at another church. I cut out nine patch blocks for them to sew. So it was fun to see one of the blocks show up as a pillow...and win first place!
More quilting projects.
How about this huge weaving loom?! I'd hate to have to thread all those heddles!
Ruthie loved the covered wagon. Someday I hope to take our family back to Texas...and we'll have to go to a western county fair (Texas has more than 200 counties).
I enjoyed studying this picture of a 1900s kitchen. I would love to try living in a similiar kitchen...for a month or so. I guess it depends what the scenery looked like outside my sink window!
The Clydesdales were a big hit. Mike was more impressed with the 18-wheeler that is used to haul them. They sure are beautiful!
My children were impressed with the small children who had huge farm animals. Watch your feet!
Last pic from the fair...the chainsaw exhibit. My mil gave us one of these in 1989. I enjoyed it...but one day it split down the middle, so we tossed it onto the burn pile. My bil was given an eagle...and it is still standing.

Thank you for all the emails and facebook messages for my birthday yesterday. I was gone most of the day...and still haven't opened my birthday cards! Anna and Lizzie had a piano recital...actually it was a hymnfest featuring traditional hymns. It was lovely. When we walked in, the organ was playing. That gave the evening a sacred atmosphere. It was also nice that some of the teachers played and sang. My daughters' perfect performances reminded me of how thankful I am for their gifts and talents. Thank you, Lord.

I'm off and running. I have many errands today...dr's appt, violin lessons, piano lessons, voice lessons, babysitting, so I am trusting in the Lord that I won't goof up and forget something. I read Psalm 104 this morning. What a wonderful Psalm to lift your spirits. Verse 33 says, "I will sing unto the LORD as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being." Our family sang in church yesterday morning called, "I'm in the Saviour's Hand." We are indeed.

Many blessings ~ Kathie
PS ~ I am again behind in answering my emails. Hopefully I will have time on Tuesday to catch up. Thanks for putting up with me!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Wow, we are getting a lot done around here today! Allen blew the porch, Ruthie planted seeds, all the stakes got pulled out of the garden, the hummingbird feeders got washed and put away, and just lots of little odds and ends chores. The windows are open and the weather is perfect.
A few weeks ago, I bought three wrought iron hangers that hang 15" off the porch, and screwed them onto the side of my porch. I was desperate to keep the birdseed off my porch. It worked! I bought these hangers at True Value in Leonardtown for $19.95/each. I have not been able to find the 15" hangers online, so it was worth it for me to pay that price.

The top picture shows my platform feeder for my mourning doves. They love it! Actually...all the birds love it. The second picture shows my heavy steel bird feeder. I was pleased that my new hangers have no problem with my heavy bird feeders.
Our local BJs store sells a Chex Mix that is delicious...but expensive. I have tried duplicating the recipe, but had a hard time finding the little pretzel balls. I finally found them online at Walmart. Our local superstore Walmart doesn't sell them, but when we visited Mom's in VA last week, we found them! And they are delicious! These are not pretzels that you would eat in place of other pretzels...they are $3.45 for 20 oz. But for a party dish they are perfect.

To see if your Walmart carries these, click here. The great thing about these pretzel balls is that they have a kosher rating of pareve...meaning no dairy!
I bought a set of cast iron kitty hangers (they are identical but face each other) for 50 cents at the thrift shop. This morning Allen screwed them to the porch posts. As soon as I buy some black screws, I will have Allen screw those instead. Thanks, Allen! Now we have a place to hang the leashes.

I hope you are having a good day too. Mike is taking Anna, Allen, Lizzie, and Ruthie to the county fair today. We have not gone for more than a decade because the last time we went, the rock music was audible over the entire fair. However, we have talked to folks who say they don't remember hearing it except near the rides. So we are sending out our group of discerners to see if they can enjoy the exhibits without being exposed to the offensive music. I'll let you know how that turns out. I am going to stay home and enjoy the peace and quiet.

Many blessings ~ Kathie

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Where does the time fly to?! It seems like it's always Thursday before I can post here. This week we stopped at a wagon on the roadside, and bought a bushel of sweet potatoes for $15. They are huge. So far we've made sourdough sweet potato dinner rolls and a sweet potato coffee cake...and eaten lots of baked sweet potatoes. I'm not a huge fan of this veggie, but my children love them.
Our paw paw tree is finally ripe. Paw paw trees are actually the largest edible fruit indigenous to our continent! I've heard so much about missionaries eating them that I figured they were native to South America. Anyhow, the paw paw is a large berry that tastes like a mix of banana and mango. Yummy! I don't like mangos, but I do like paw paws.
This week my 24 year old Viking sewing maching (the 990) finally kicked the bucket. So many little things are wrong with it that it would be unwise to spend any money getting it fixed. Boo hoo. Mike bought my machine in Hong Kong, and brought it home on the ship (the USS Carl aircraft carrier). What a wonderful surprise that was!

It is a terrible thing for me to be without a working sewing machine. It is like not having a Bible or a toothbrush. I feel so strongly about having a sewing machine that I even have a treadle machine that I bought during the Y2K scare. Anyhow, I've narrowed down my search for a replacement machine to two machines. Either the Babylock Quilter's Choice (pictured above), or one of the Viking Sapphire series machines (pictured below). If you have opinions on either of these machines, please leave a comment! I'd love to hear from you.

I wanted to stay with the Viking (Husqvarna) because I thought I could use my same accessories, but that isn't true. Viking has enlarged their feet so that none of my accessories would work. Bummer.

The one requirement I have is that I need my new machine to do a rolled hem. This is the hem that you find on linens and tablecloths. I make a lot of basket linings for holiday gifts that require this special hem. Unfortunately, the Babylocks don't have this feature, but all the Vikings do. But I really like the way the Babylock works. I also like the Babylock dealer, whereas the Viking dealer is a deadbeat. Decisions, decisions!

I'll let you know which machine I end up with.

Thank you all who have been praying for Ruthie. The orthopedic dr said she definitely broke her upper humorous (arm), and maybe her elbow (tricky to tell). Nevertheless, the treatment is the same...immobilize the arm and keep it in a sling that is wrapped next to the body. Ruthie (and I) are already tired of it. Five more weeks to go!
For those of you who enjoy listening to conservative christian bluegrass (meaning music that follows biblical principles), try the new CD from the Stewart Family. You can listen to samples on their website. I found this CD while looking for the sheet music to one of their songs, This Blessed Old Book. Didn't find the music, but I sure bought their CD!

So much to enjoy...the weather, my family, my salvation, my health, and my God. What a wonderful way to live. Many blessings ~ Kathie

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Last night we invited some friends over to play airsoft guns and ride motorbikes, then stay to cook dinner over a bonfire. As usual, my plans had to take backseat. While riding a minibike, Ruthie didn't see a log in the tall grass, and flew over the log and off the bike...and now has a broken shoulder. Yes, this is the gal who broke her wrist earlier this year.

So my friend Charmaine helped my daughters with dinner and company, while I took Ruthie to the ER. Ruthie is doing a "sling and wrap" as the doctors called it, until I take her to the orthopedic dr on Monday. (I dread telling her violin teacher.)

It was so nice to come home from the hospital 2-1/2 hrs later and find my friends still here! I really enjoyed the fellowship. As our friends were preparing to leave, they remembered they had brought their spudguns. Wow! (I'm sorry, Charmaine, you guys had just run off. Next time you definitely have to see this.)
Jeff's spudgun has a smaller barrel...and what a difference! Pow! It made a loud sound...but sure went further than Allen's spudgun...and with much more gusto. It was fun to watch the two Dads discussing all their options for more spudguns. Actually, tonight we used hard pears from our orchard. Also, Jeff used a spray deodorant called Right Guard Sport that seemed much more effective than Allen's lighter fluid.
I finally found the "night" setting on my camera for my last picture:-) We didn't get to have our bonfire...the breeze was too gusty.
You'll never believe what I got from freecycle this week...a commercial snoball machine!! I have always wanted one of these but they were too pricey. This machine came from a schoolteacher whose public school had purchased it for one event. It's in immaculate condition. Wowee!
This machine is sold at Sam's Clubs for $569 and uses regular ice cubes. I hope to use it at church picnics, VBS, family picnics, etc. What a blessing!
I was glad to find lots of online recipes for making homemade snowcone syrups...that sure saves a bundle. We were given several bottles of sugary syrup...but I'd rather my family use organic fruit juices. This week I tried a new recipe that flopped. Wow...that is certainly unusual around here. Have you ever tried Kale Chips? According to several food blogs, it is all the rage on the cooking channels. It is very simple, take fresh kale leaves and spread them on the cookie sheet. Toss with oil, salt and pepper, and bake. There are hundreds of variations on this. Some people add vinegar, some bake it fast and hot while others bake low and slow.
This is the crispy finished product. We love kale...but we hated these chips. (And they made us gassy...ugh!) I even tried spraying some of the kale with PAM spray like some recipes called for, but that was worse.

If you have tried this recipe, or something similiar (spinach maybe?), please let me know. We love kale, so I am really disappointed we didn't like this recipe.

Thanks to codeine, Ruthie slept well last night. Charmaine calls codeine her Happy Medicine! I am thankful it is not the middle of summer or Ruthie would be hot and uncomfy. We sure don't deserve God's many blessings.

Enjoy your weekend. Many blessings ~ Kathie

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

We spent this past weekend down in VA at my parents' home. (Just so I don't confuse parents have 3 homes...MD, TX and VA.) This area is called the middle section of the northern neck of VA. Beautiful country down here. This county reminds me of our county 20 years ago. Rural...but the signs of development are starting to creep in. This is Dad and Maggie sitting on the pier.
My children had a fun time kayaking, boating, jet skiing, water skiing, and being with their extended family.
They used the jet ski to pull the waterski.
Mike said Lizzie is a natural on skis. She flew over the wakes. He also taught her how to ski slolam style.
Simba rode the boat nearby while everyone skiied. Being on the water made my hubby homesick for his childhood summer home. His family lived in CT, but had a summer home on a beautiful lake in MA. Mike spent his summers water skiing with a ski club.
Only one little fish was caught this weekend. I've always enjoyed eating the sand sharks from this area.
This is Allen on skis.
This is one of Dad's oyster floats. Dad is raising about 5000 oysters. We cooked some up on the grill. We also had a bushel of crabs and a dozen soft crabs...Yummy! Here in our county, a bushel of crabs costs about $200. Down in VA they cost about $50. Wow! I also noticed a big difference in gas prices. Our Wawa charges $2.45, but we paid $2.33 at the Wawa in VA. But I thought the Walmart prices were much steeper than ours. On the way home we saw this sign, so naturally we had to pull over.
This area has a large native american influence...the mattaponis and the pattaponis, so we weren't surprised by the teepees. This teepee was $450.
This teepee sold for $950. I think these are grossly overpriced. The tipis at Colorado Earthworks are a much better deal. But I would be tempted to support the locals.
One last pic of teepees.
As usual, we laughed ourselves silly all the way home. I'm not sure what it is about coming home from VA. Usually we are exhausted from all the water sports, plus washing and putting away all the kayaks and gear. I always think my children will sleep the whole way home, but they never do. Oh well.

When we got to MD, we ran into a traffic jam of amish buggies. Since it was a Sunday evening, they were probably coming home from a singing. Anyhow, it was a fun end to a fun trip. Thanks Meemaw and Grandad for a fun weekend!

Summer is now officially over for us, and we are heavy into schooling. Sarah got everyone off to a fantastic start yesterday. Hurray! While I did all the laundry and unpacking, Sarah found out where everyone was in their studies and got them going. She also read to them. I saw her madly printing out worksheets. She will be the BEST homeschool mom ever when her time comes! Thanks so much, Sarah. You made my day!

I am so thankful the Lord has allowed my hubby to have a good job so we can homeschool. I'm off to take Maggie to her appts. Many blessings ~ Kathie