Thursday, December 20, 2018

Creative Pursuits

 The girls and I really enjoy making things and being creative. Since the cold weather has come (at least for the most part - today was not cold it was in the high 40's!!) we have been using our creative juices inside a little more. I thought it would be fun to share some of the things we have made in the last 2 months.
A new rug for my kitchen! This is done in my favorite rag rug style - many strand braids that you tuck in as you go. It goes together so nicely and I use all old clothes or small fabric scraps to make it.
 Megan made a dollhouse for the paper dolls that she has also been making. She had so much fun working on this and it turned out very cute.
 Some more views of the dollhouse.
 I always love seeing Megan at work on projects as she is so very creative and talented a making things.
 I had one wedding in November to do flowers for (mostly I work on that job in the Spring, Summer and early Fall) and this was the Bridal Bouquet. I love the creative work of floral arranging.
The Sunday before Thanksgiving all of my family on my side was able to be here (over 30 for lunch!) and Megan wanted to make a cookie/candy house for dessert. She spent many hours working on it and also got Mara and cousins Margaret and Lars to help as well.

I crocheted a new sweater for my sweat little nephew.

This picture turned out fuzzy but this shows a little outfit I had fun sewing up for my little niece. It went with a sweater that I had made some years ago for someone else.

We had fun filling some shoe-boxes for Operation Christmas Child and this, a few of the handmade things we put into them. A cloth zippered bag, beaded jewelry and notebooks.

Megan made a bunch of paper dolls to go in one of the boxes. This was a very fun project for me to watch her work on as she decided to make girls from many different countries. She had fun researching what they might look like and what both their modern dress and traditional outfits might look like.

I also figured out how to crochet Hacky Sacks to put in the shoe box. I was excited about his as I was able to use thread that we had a whole lot of and they turned out rather cute, I thought.

  After making the hacky sack I decided to use that same type of thread (which was had been given oodles of) and crochet a dishrag to see if that would work. I think it works pretty decently.
For our SEEDS co-op I made this to decorate a place for Sweden.

These are some of the fun crafts Megan made while at co-op.
She really loved making the origami boxes and wanted to show me how when we got home. Shortly afterward I was fixing up a gift for my niece and I thought it would be fun to use a box for the wrapping. I need a rectangle not a square and figured it could be done - Megan was the one who got it done for me - I was her helped.

A new rug for our downstairs bathroom. I had fun making it to match the pictures Mara had embroidered.

Megan made a set of paper dolls for herself as well.

Mara has been trying out dyeing yarn with some natural dyes.

I finally finished this skirt for me. It is fun to get some sewing done.

  These were mostly November projects. We have been working on some others lately but they are kind of secret until next week.

  Do you do a lot of creating at this time of year?

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Our Hanukkah Celebration- It started with a Dreidal

At homeschool co-op this month we had an "International Christmas Party". Well for the most part it was for celebrating Christmas but we also had a segment about Israel and Hanukkah. My friend Juanita and I were in charge of decorating. We worked at having decorations to go along with the 4 highlighted countries which were Sweden, Mexico, Japan and Israel.  I saw some cute Paper Driedal decorations on Pinterest and so my girls made some for me to use at co-op. After co-op they came home and I checked out when Hanukkah was and since it was going on right then we hung them up.

  This is kind off one of those if you give a mouse a cookie sort of stories. :-) The afternoon that I hung them up was the last night of Hanukkah.
   After I hung the Driedals up I figured I should hang of the Star of David that had been a a craft at co-op.

We already had Ken's parents coming over for supper (there was a football game that the guys wanted to watch) and I had chicken out thawing. I figured I should make some traditional Hanukkah food. So I put the chicken into roast following a Jewish family recipe that I found online. It turned out delicious after being rubbed with olive oil, rosemary, thyme and garlic. I also figured we had better make Potato Latkes which my Jewish friend had said were needed for Hanukkah.  We tried this recipe which was completely delicious! I have tried them with wheat flour once and rice flour once - both were great. Then I figured we had better have the traditional cooked apples too - so we did.
 Megan said that if we were going to have a Hanukkah celebration we must have a menorah. I said: "Great, why don't you figure one out?" So she did. Jars, candles and ribbons where pressed into service.
 Then she announced that if we were going to have a menorah we would need to say a blessing while we lighted the candles. Great! Since we didn't know exactly what sort of blessing was supposed to be said at this time she said we could quote Psalm 100 together.
 Since we were celebrating Hanukkah, Ken's mom, Sharyl had fun telling us about the miracle of Hanukkah (the traditional story).

  All in all we had a great time, it was a super simple, spur of the moment celebration but one that will be remembered. The food was delicious (Sharyl also brought a salad which was wonderful if not traditional) and we had a fun time celebrating together.

  We may or may not celebrate Hanukkah again but it was fun this time. I do hope to make potato latkes many more times but not just at this time of year. Do you celebrate Hanukkah or any other Jewish holidays? I would love to hear about your celebrations.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Overflowing With Thankfulness

I am so thankful for a full table of people that I love. This is a fun mixture of some of our kids, niece and nephews, in-laws, sister and friends. We were celebrated the 4th of July which reminds me of how thankfu I am for the country we get to live in
 I have been thinking a lot about thankfulness lately. We could suppose that it is because it was Thanksgiving lately - and that holiday is a good reminder but truly it has been on my mind for quite a bit longer than that. My decluttering and simplifying challenge in October did help to make me think about thankfulness more as well - when I work at going through things I am faced with just how much stuff we have and how abundantly God has provided for us. But my thinking on this subject goes beyond that. I am thankful 😊 that I was raised by parents who were an example to me of being thankful, I have been blessed with knowing other thankful people and reading books that have encouraged me in that - Anne Voskamp's "1,000 Gifts" was one I enjoyed immensely.

  What really has been challenging me and convicting me in the area of thankfulness this year has been my reading of God's word. There are just so many verses that admonish us to be Thankful! I want to share a few of those with you. I also pulled some pictures from a random file this summer - they all are ones that remind me very much of some things that I am very thankful for. I will add captions to them as well as sharing the verses.
Music! It is such a delight to me that my family shares my love of music. Also the state land around our place where we can have fun roaming.
 Philippians 4:6 & 7
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 

7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
More music! Piano duets are pretty great and I am so thankful for them!

16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 
17And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
So thankful for sweet baby nephews ( I am very blessed in this regard though they are growing up quickly) and for strawberries and all the other lovely berries that we picked this summer.
 1 Thessalonians 5:17 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
God has blessed us so much with wonderful family (on both sides - we are blessed!) and a wonderful community to live in.
Colossians 2:6 and 7
"So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness."

This is the verse that keeps coming up over and over in my mind and convicting me of my need to grow in this area. I need to overflow with thankfulness to God, I should overflow with thankfulness to those around me. Where ever I go and whatever I do this should be what is happening in my life. 

   Is this something you are working on too? May God bless you as you seek His will!

Friday, November 30, 2018

Summer Memories at Voyageurs' National Park

It is a grey, wintery day here but I decided I am going to blog about a fun camping trip that we went on this summer. By the way, I do love winter too and today was a great day - I taught some music lessons this morning and this afternoon Mom and I went on our big buying trip of the year. We bought hundreds of pounds of wheat to grind up to make our bread and other baked goods this year and we also visited another bulk food country grocery where we stocked up on things like oatmeal, split peas, salt, almonds, canning lids, flax seeds, cocoa powder, brown rice, etc. My van was quite loaded down! I personally spent around $250 and got around 600 lbs of food. Mom got a similiar amount (though she was buying to also share with my siblings). 

I have been wanting to write a few more posts about decluttering stories and ideas but my brain is a little to tired for that tonight so I think I will just share some pictures and tid-bits from a trip from this summer.

   In July Ken's sister Beth and her family came out to visit Ken's parents and us. That was really fun. We have spent very little time with them since Beth got married. It is hard because they live way out in Oregon and we are in northern MN. But to be perfectly honest Ken and his siblings just haven't placed a high priority on getting together. Our whole family had gone to their wedding (Megan was quite little) and then we flew out west a couple of years later when their oldest was small and then Ken and I were out for a funeral and met their second child but that was 6 years ago and we hadn't seen them since and they had added another child. 

   So the cousins didn't really know each other at all. But thankfully that didn't stop them at all from having fun. Even with a large age difference and not knowing each other they had a blast together. It was such a blessing. We spent some time being around here at either our house or Ken's parents' house or the state park. We also took them to see the headwaters of the Mississippi. But our bigger adventure was going camping at Voyageurs. Ken's dad rented a pontoon boat for us to use up there. That was a fun experience - when our family had gone there before we had used our canoes and it was super windy and a challenge to traverse the lakes. The pontoon made it pretty easy - though not without it's own challenges. 😏
 Washing dishes while camping can be a fun way to work together.
 The kids found some glorious moss covered rocks and Ken, Mara and I went to check them out too. The place we stayed was truly beautiful - my pictures do not do it justice.

 The swimming was great!
 One morning we were planning on doing some exploring in the pontoon but were having some struggles with getting it started (one simple step was being forgotten) and then it drifted a bit and the guys had to jump out to get it out of the weeds and they got to do a little unplanned "swimming".
 Beth and Kelsey after we did get the boat going. Jonathan was getting a turn with the driving which he greatly enjoyed.
 We were having to be careful to stay out of Canadian waters as we didn't have passports. We did our best but with many of the lakes being split down the middle it was a little hard to tell at times.
 This really old building in an area that is not reachable by land very close to the canadian border. This old building had settled in weird ways leaving a very slanted floor. It was in the hotel that people only go to by boat.
 Coffee-pot falls.
 Islands abound. We had to pay close attention to the map so we didn't loose our way.
 Aaron got a turn with driving too much to his delight.
 It was a bit windy and chilly on the boat. We were thankful for rain coats and sweatshirts.
 One of the special treats of this trip was that we went during blueberry season and the campsite we were at had some of the best blueberry picking that I have ever seen. It was a great year for blueberries. Mara and I had such fun picking!! Some of the others picked some too but they weren't quite so dedicated. We were able to bring a bunch home to freeze and we have still been enjoying them!
 They tasted so good!!

 Campfires are fun!
 My beautiful Megan on one of her exploring ventures. The kids would go exploring and then want to show us all that they had found.
 We love the big rocks up in this area of Minnesota.
Aaron, Megan and Kaleb all tried out tubing behind the boat. They thought it was quite fun!

 All in all we had a very fun trip. It was a blessing to get to spend time with extended family and get to know them better and we had beautiful weather and we sure enjoyed seeing a little more of God's beautiful creation.


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