Monthly Archives: December 2011

Handmade Christmas

A couple of years ago Proeun and I realized that as our number of children grew so did the amount of accumluation acquired at Christmas. Between  my side of the family and Proeun’s 5 siblings it was getting crazy. So we decided to draw names for Proeun’s side of the family and my side its all about handmade. Here are some gifts going out.

The table runner is the “Kid Art Table Runner” from Handmade Home with one adjustment. We have a laser print and all the iron on transfer paper I found was for inkjet. So we got some fabric markers and embroidery hoops and voila, kid art beauty. That is what we are doing

Here. We made a table runner for my grandma and great-grandma.

Then we have the felted leave coasters for my sister and her new house.

Next we have Shea Butter Brown Sugar Scrub with tangerine and grapefruit essential oil. I learned how to make this treat at one of Erin Piorer’s (herbalist) classes. The girl’s and I had a great time making this but at first I had a hard time convincing them it wasn’t food since it looked and smelled so yummy. I made a double batch so that went out to all my ladies.

Finally the smokehouse almonds.

1 tsp salt
1 tsp liquid smoke
2 tbsp water
4 cups raw whole almonds

Disolve salt in water and liquid smoke. Pour over almonds and stir well. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Place almonds on cookie sheet in one layer and bake for 2 hours.

Now with Christmas over we can really work on our move. The count down has begun. So I will be away from here for awhile. I will be back soon with pictures of our new place.

Sometimes Christmas Makes me Cry

The Sproul family is without a mother this Christmas. Just days before the most blessed day of the year Denise Sproul left her husband and 8 children aged 18-6 to sleep in the arms of Jesus. I have never met her but read her books and heard about her so often in my various circles that I felt I knew her. As a Christian I do not mourn for the dead, but the living. Those children that will grow up now without a mother present and yes I want to cry.

In the midst of the hustle and bustle of a holiday season and a move it is easy to forget to enjoy every moment with your family.  It was a total shocker for me to hear of Denise’s losing battle with cancer. I had always thought of her so young and vibrant and I am reminded nothing is a given. Except one thing.

Proeun told me he thought I should meditate. I am reminded of the verse “Mary hid these things in her heart and pondered them.” As a momma of 4 miracles there is alot that I ponder too. I remember reading somewhere that when you have a child you are giving birth to an immortal soul. Yes I have alot to ponder too. At Christmas it is so easy to focus on the material gifts. Amazing how its so easy to not see the most amazing gift, creation of a life.

Today I am meditating on words–creation, redemption, forgiveness and the only given–love. I am overwhelmed with the wonder of it.

Denise had a sense of wonder, even as the end neared the wonder of it all is what gives up hope. So on this Christmas I am embracing the tears, the wonder and the love. I encourage you to take a moment to meditate on what is really important.

Embracing Your Creative Self

Huge life changes can be so unsettling. Sometimes in a good exciting way, other times not so much. But at this stage in my life I am discovering the wonder of the creative work of life. Thankfully I am home with my children, living the life with them but often I don’t appreciate it and utilize it: but I realize it doesn’t take much to connect to your creative self.

Sorry for the quality of this picture. I had to snap it quick before they realized what I was doing. As I took this picture they were all inside and it was a cave. Before that it was a beautiful home complete with guest bedrooms and before that a stable. As I cull the unnecessary for our move toys have been a particular area of concern. What to take and what to give away? While I am struggling, wondering if my children will have enough toys I am reminded it doesn’t take any toys at all to keep them occupied all morning.

That said I am experimenting with waldorf style toy making. This is Effie’s Christmas gift. I used the Sheep pattern from Living Crafts (scroll down) and created this little treasure in an evening. Yes I thought a black sheep would be cute. Don’t know if the children will dig it as much as I do but the older children think it is so cute for Effie. Using natural products and found items are something I really want to experiment with more.

By far this is my favorite project. I have been wanting a Nativity set for years so when I saw this set I used it as inspiration to make my own. I bought the peg dolls at a local craft store then saw these and more on etsy for a great price. So I will have to get more since I wasn’t sure how to do Baby Jesus. The reason this project is my favorite is because while I have inspiration it is realLy my own drive, no step by step pattern and so it feels “really” creative if you know what I mean. Yes I am discovering a love for peg dolls. What’s your favorite creative outlet?

Farmer Boy

I grew up watching “Little House on the Prairie” while in my opinion it remains one of the great television series we have been reading the books this year and they are oh so so much better. I love that I am finally able to read chapter books with my children and look forward to my story time as much as the children. We just finished the 3rd book in the series “Farmer Boy,” the one book that is actually about Laura’s husband, Almanzo Wilder.

As we embark on our new journey as farmers this book has alot of interest for me. It is fascinating to me that Almanzo’s father raised  merino sheep in the 1850s-60s. Or how careful he was when training horses, how to raise a “milk-fed pumpkin” and the techniques for building a sled to haul wood.

The children loved the pictures and I did to. It is interesting enough to be a fun read but has some interesting instructions that I plan to try out this next year.

Two things really fascinated me about the book–1. The price that Mr. Wilder got for his products, like $0.50/bushel for potatoes, $2/bail for hay and $400 for a team of horse. Yeah if you are thinking what I am thinking the prices haven’t gone up that much in 150 years.

2. When Almanzo’s older brother chooses a career as a shop keeper over farmer and Almanzo must make his own decision the benefits of being a farmer have not changed that much either.

So I would definitely suggest adding Farmer Boy to your winter reading list. Things I really want to try include winter evening taffy pulls and story telling nights. I look forward to slowing down a bit once the move is complete. What’s your plans for quiet winter evenings.

The Announcement

So the past 2 weeks have not gone exactly as planned but here goes with the big announcement–Crazy Boy Farm has found its permanent home. After 3 years of renting land and preparing for this moment it is almost here. Yes almost. These things can sometimes drag one and this is the case for us. So hopefully we will be moving before the end of the year. So I will spare the physical details until then.

Also CSA sales are now open. Hop over to our website using the tabs to the left for more information on our CSA. One important thing to note is that though our farm has been certified organic for the past 3 years our new farm has been farmed conventionally until now. So we will begin the process of certification right away and use the same great farming methods we will not be certified organic again until the 3 year transition is completed. We plan to continue offering the same great variety and use the same growing techniques.

So that is the great, amazing news. We are all so excited. The negative thing is the actual move.

Some things in boxes, some things sorted, but left out for frequent use and some things getting ready to be thrown away. The process has required a reordering of our life and conscious decision about what to keep and what to leave. I am thinking that I should go through a similar clearing out every couple of years. I am employing these 2 rules to decide what stays and what goes 1. is it useful (i.e. have I used it in the last year or so or will I use it in the next year?) and 2. is it beautiful to me?

So even with the clutter and the impending move which is doing wonders to teach us about contentment and the importance of relationships above of all else we are trying to take moments for beauty in this the most beautiful season of all.

Our first gingerbread house.

A bit of Christmas crafting (“elving” ala Soule Mama). More on that after Christmas.

Mama projects abound also. I thought about putting away the sewing and knitting to make way for the practical work of sorting, packing and moving. But I am finding I need it even more now then before. So here is a hat I completed for Two. He loves it and for a boy I have to fight tooth and nail to put on pants versus shorts a hat he likes is a blessing in more way then one.

And there has been quite alot of dreaming. Here are some fabrics I purchased in Banberry Place’s after Thanksgiving sale. These will be pillows and curtains in our new master bedroom. Yes there has been a whole lot of dreaming going on lately.