Thursday, August 25, 2011

Nothing new here

Because of the complications with trying to connect to the internet at all I will be away for a little bit.

I get to rejoin the world of High Speed Internet on Saturday!

They come between 11am-2pm and will be connecting me then.

I will be able to connect and stop having "network timed out" issues.

I will be able to upload pictures, even if they are just from the point and shoot and not my awesome camera.

I will be able to come and post blogs that will be awesome again.

So until Saturday I hope you all have an awesome week.

O and for the record because of the silly "network timed out" issue I can not even read my favorite blogs. Sending my favorite blogs much love I am sure your posts this week have been awesome! I will enjoy going back and reading them all this weekend once I have my high speed net back.

Monday, August 22, 2011


Over the weekend I pulled out a project I had started about 8 months ago. It is a pattern I picked up over on Ravelry (if you are a crocheter or knitter you really need to check out that website! They have tons of free patterns and groups for hookers and knitters alike.)

Anyway the pattern is for a pair of socks. They are the first pair of socks I have ever crocheted. I tried a different pattern once before but it just was not turning out the way it was supposed to. So I scrapped that first project and picked up this one. The pattern is called Origami Turkish Socks and the pattern is free on Ravelry.

My review of these socks:
They fit very nicely. I like how snug they are without feeling tight or pinched. I do not like that I have to sew them up at the end. I do however like that they are easy to custom fit because it is made in a flat pattern. The most complicated part of the whole thing is that you have to measure your foot there is no stitch count to get it right with.

I wish that I could share a picture of these cute socks right now but you all know about the picture issue I am having.

I also made a completely adorable Crocheted choker necklace. That one was my own creation and I will share pictures of it when I get the ability to do so.

Happy Monday to you all~
Have a fantastic;

Where ever you are!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

I forgot...

Just how much I love to kneed bread dough.

It's been YEARS since I have made a batch of dough by hand.

So tonight I took the wooden spoon in hand.

Grabbed a large mixing bowl and got started.

I used a recipe I found online because the only books I have that are bread dough recipes are for the bread machine that I no longer own. I used this recipe and modified it slightly, I added ground flax seed powder, and whole wheat bread as well as allowing the yeast to proof before mixing the dough. I mixed half the flour in slowly then added the second half and the flax seed powder. I also used coconut oil for the oil and honey in one loaf and sugar in the other.

I just made a whole wheat loaf. I used my great grandmothers loaf pan that is really long super tall and heavy duty! This thing is the size of a long store bought loaf of bread. It is maybe the size of those wonder bread loafs. You know that pasty white bread that some people love? Personally I can not stand the stuff. The only "white" bread I like at all happens to be potato bread, which really isn't white but is more of an eggy yellow color.

I also made 18 buns. 18 buns to go with tomorrow nights dinner...

Drum Roll Please....

Barbecue Beef Sandwiches. A whole lot like pulled pork but I never eat pork, it upsets my stomach so severely that it is not worth the effort. We will also be having home made coleslaw and watermelon sorbet for desert.

Speaking of pork products I recently discovered something that has thrilled me! The one thing I have missed more then anything when I gave up pork was bacon. I mean really good crispy smokey bacon. I have tried every turkey bacon there is and they all taste bad. They either do not crisp up or they are just so fake tasting that I can not fake my way into eating it. But I was at the dreaded box store recently and I discovered ...
BEEF bacon! That's right. Bacon that is made from beef. It does not get quite as crispy as pork bacon does but the flavor is superb and the smell is o so divine! I found this review that gives a good bit of info on it, as well as a picture of the exact brand I bought.

(we wont talk about how long it took me to upload that photo!)

Anyway back to the bread, since I just took the buns out of the oven and they smell heavenly...

Do any of you bake bread? Kneed it by hand?
I was so excited with how good it felt that I just knew I had to make a second batch! I will be making as many more batches as I can in the coming weeks. If I can freeze dough then I wont feel obligated to buy bread if I get tired of making it. Plus I could pull a loaf of dough out of the freezer at night pop it in the oven early in the morning and then bake it and have fresh bread each day to eat.

I wonder why so many women found it so challenging to bake a loaf of bread for their family each day? It isn't that challenging nor time consuming. The hardest part is waiting for it to raise to bake it which is why freezing the dough is perfect. I think tomorrow when I make a batch of dough I will also make some cinnamon rolls... They are a sinful treat that I have not had in years because I simply could not bring myself to eat the kind that are made from a can. I smell them and they smell wonderful but O how disappointing they are.

So until next time folks, Have a fantastic
Wherever you are!

Friday, August 19, 2011

When Good Electronics Go Bad...

First it was my internet... which still is so slow that most of the time pages do not load. Which is a great joke since its supposed to be high speed broadband internet. Its enough to almost make it worth while to spend the 40 a month on Comcast.

When the internet IS working my laptop seems to want to disconnect from the slow connection and then wont reconnect. I am not sure if it is because the connection is so slow that my computer just figures there must be a better connection or what.

Now it  is my camera. My beloved camera is not working. I went to take pictures with it a few days ago and even though the batteries were not that old in it it wouldnt turn on and stay on. So I opened the battery compartment to discover one of the batteries had leaked. I cleaned it out and put fresh batteries in it. Now it turns on but after about a minute and a half it turns back off again. The SD card that was in there also appears to have been erased. My Brother in law has a program that he is going to use to try to recover the 1000 pictures that were still on the card.

So I am now without a camera until I can send it to the warranty place and hope that it will be able to be fixed.

What this means for my blog is that I wont be able to post pictures, unless you want to see pictures taken with a cell phone camera. I might be able to take a few pictures with my daughters point and shoot, but they wont be quality shots. It is just a little poloroid point and shoot. Not great shots.

With the lack of ability to load pages properly with my internet connection being so slow loading pictures is a challenge anyway. I am looking into other internet options. I am just not sure yet what I can afford and what its worth to pay for net. I do know that we as unsschoolers life learners we tend to use the internet a whole lot. We download stuff constantly, print stuff more, and use the internet to watch documentaries online as well. Having a slow connection, or non existent connection at times has really slowed down things in the learning area of our lives. when my kids ask me questions that I do not know the answers to, YES that happens and they know it does. We go to the internet and utilize searches to find the answers. I am not happy that we are not able to just zoom around on the interwebs to find the answers we need so that we can go about our lives. The problem I have is that we are on a really tight budget right now and adding even a little to it might just be to much.

So I hope you readers and friends will stick around and listen to the crazy ramblings of a mom without pictorials on some of my loved crafts and adventures, at least for a little bit.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Birthday Boy

Today my sweet little baby turns 7. How time does fly!

I remember the day perfectly. He wasn't born until night time. 7 years ago today I spent the entire day in labor. I woke up at 6:30 am and was clearly in labor. I called my midwife and told her that today was the day and that she should get to my house soon.

Yep thats right folks, I had my youngest at home with a midwife. I was home in my own bed relaxing. I even slept through transition and woke up when he was ready to be born. I had no drug interventions, no IV, nothing but my family supporting me. My parents and sister came and stayed at the house until he was born.

My youngest is my sweetest child. He has a big heart and is always concerned about others around him. He is content in this life to just do what he wants. He loves music and he has taught himself to play instruments on sound alone. He is quiet amazing!

For some reason it is his birth that makes me feel old. I know I am not old, I am only in my mid 30s but man o man do I feel old. I am blessed to be this little ones mom. I look forward to what the rest of his life will bring.

Now off to bake a cake for the little man. He wants vanilla cake with chocolate frosting... So I shall go and create something that tastes devine... not sure how "pretty" it will be though. Cake decorating is NOT my strong suit.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Hopes, Dreams & visions

Well I am still having net issues so we are not posting any pictures anytime soon. However I am still going to try to keep posting. Even if I find blogs without pictures lacking some.

Today I have spent the day dreaming.

There is a little town not far from where my husband's job is that has many victorian homes in need of some pretty major repairs. These homes are for sale for very little. There are actually houses with some great 'bones' for sale for as little as 9,000.00! I found one home that I simply fell in love with. It is called the Smith House. It is in need of some fairly major repairs but O my she could sure be shined up and made beautiful!

I have never made it a secret that I have dreamed of owning and running a Bed & Breakfast. If I could possibly swing a loan and get this house that I am so in love with AND we did a whole ton of the work ourselves I could own my piece of history. The Smith house would be a perfect conversion because it was already at one point converted to an apartment building. So there are already multiple bathrooms in the house. It could easily be transformed back to a single family home. The lot is large enough to have a beautiful rich garden.

So as you can see I have already started dreaming. I do this a lot when I see a fantastic old home. I seem to be drawn to them like moths to flames. I can not seem to get enough of them. I long to live in one again. I grew up in a beautiful victorian home as a child, until my parents moved us out of the city and into the woods. I love the beauty of nature but still long to live in an old home. I long to live in a beautiful home where I can invite people in to admire the work I have done restoring it. I long to feed people my lovely home made dishes and I long to do it sooner rather then later in this life.

I can envision my home and its always a big house with a wrap around porch and gabled roofs. One day She will come to me, My lovely dream home. One day I will own her.

It is important to dream. It is important to set that goal in your life and have it there. It is even more important to take out that dream, dust it off and look at it again. Does it still fit your life? is it still what you long for? If so live in it for a moment and then continue to dream.

Until tomorrows post...

Have a fantastic day Dreaming!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Still no net..

So since the internet is still down and I can not post pictures using this stick I am having to post-pone the Stew and Chili recipes for a bit longer.

Since everyone is talking back to school I thought now might be a good time to talk about "school" in our house.

To say we are eclectic would be a good way to describe it. We do not define ourselves with labels, however most people would consider us "unschoolers"

What is an unschooler? Well there is no real definition that fits the same mold. Easily spotted by a lack of set curriculum and a more child led learning environment.

We rarely use store bought curriculum. I have used work books from time to time and the kids sometimes enjoy them as "fun" when they just want something to do. Yep thats right they consider work books fun.

There are many "styles" out there and we have tried a lot of them. When we first started homeschooling we enrolled our oldest in a charter school. This first charter school was a good school and had classes that met daily but you had to sign up for them. they were different classes and this worked well while we were there. We moved away and I enrolled my children in a another charter school but found that it lacked some of the things I loved about the other one. I also felt that it really was not working for my children. This is about the time I started to study John Holt and Charlotte Mason. Recently many people have taken a Charlotte Mason approach to homeschooling. I personally skipped right past it although I do find that I use some of the beliefs of CM style as we consider ourselves to be "life learners". My friend over at Golden Acorn Homeschool just posted a fantastic post all about CM style, head on over there to see her post.

As Life learners we tend to incorporate learning into everything we do. Even if it is a trip to the grocery store. Walks outside are nature walks where we study the trees and the animals we see. We see the changes in everyday life and take note of them. This is how we approach everything in life. I do not tell my children "its time to start school" instead we just live. We learn each and everyday through learning. Sometimes we watch movies or play games. sometimes they sit and read books. I have not "taught" my children to read. I have encouraged them to read on their own at their own pace. We read to them everyday and sometimes they ask me how to spell a word and I help them, then they learn how to read the word as well as how to spell it.

So while I sit back watching people frantically "plan" their school year out I find myself wondering exactly what the year has in store for my family and I. We do not plan, or have a set schedule. I do not make them do work everyday. I know some people find that this is an important and it works for them. For me it does not work. I find that my children respond better to having control. If my 8 year old tells me that she wants to learn math today we sit and learn math. If they want to work in work books we do that. If they want to practice handwriting thats ok too. We sometimes do what appears to be nothing but is really a whole lot, like playing on the wii or watching a movie together. I encourage them to experiment new things and we enjoy learning all about things that are not typically taught in school. My oldest teen has done many unit studies on certain places. she has books on Rome, on ancient Greek, as well as hundreds on Ancient Egypt. She loves to paint and is very good.

So a peak at the life of our unschooling might be hard to capture what "looks" like learning. I can promise learning is happening. I notice it over time suddenly my children say something that makes me realize just how much they learned over a period of time. My youngest two can tell you all about why the leaves fall from trees, or how to tell if a tree is an evergreen or not. They also are learning to read on their own and spelling at their own pace. Its what works for us.

Now off to watch a movie while I crochet and enjoy spending time with my kiddos, we have a walk planned for later today.

Friday, August 12, 2011


Today's post is just a bit of blathering.

We had a freak thunder storm here yesterday that lasted all of 10 minutes. This storm rolled in late afternoon. Shortly before it actually hit my internet started acting funny. I opted to go do other things since I couldn't get online, when I looked up I saw the storm cloud coming in. The lightening struck the house down our drive way just behind my friends house. Struck the ground! we felt the whole earth shake. Wow what a site.

Since then my net has been off and on, touch and go. I was all set to post about my beef stew and I can not get this net to stay on long enough or load my pictures. So instead I find myself just blathering.

I wonder if there is anything you, my 24 loyal followers, would like to ask me? is there a question you have been dying to ask but never did? or perhaps there is something you would like to know about me that I never talk about? Here is your chance... Ask away in the comments section and I will gladly answer them.

I hope that tomorrow the net works more like it is supposed to. I have a lovely post all set just need to ad the pictures of the stew. I Can't do it until the net is back to normal because it would take me just far to long to upload pictures when I keep getting errors telling me the server has stopped working.

Have a lovely~
where ever you are and what ever time it is where you are.

Now off to make my healthier for you Mac & Cheese for dinner. My Cuddlebugs favorite!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Photo Shoot

Some of you may, or may not, have noticed my absense of posts for the past few days. I had an out of town guest and we were just hanging out. She is from texas, and I met her online! I met her about 5 years ago on the antiquated Myspace. Back when there were groups and people interacted together there. We have been great friends and I have always loved the stories of her boys. She was coming my way and said that she would come a day early if I would like to meet in person. I went the extra step and said she could come stay with us and visit! crazy I know but I am so glad that I did!

We had a great time. She learned to cook a few of my recipes and we had some lovely meals together. I taught her how to make my beef stew, and my chili. She took some lovely photos of each step of the stew, I will be posting that recipe this week. I will also be posting my recipe for Chili but we only have a finished shot of the chili no step by steps there.

My friend also happens to be a wonderful professional photographer. I know she has her own studio and I will have to see if she has a web page for it so I can link it! While she was here she did a photo shoot with each of us and family portraits outside in the beautiful Virginia countryside. I am so happy to be able to share these pictures with you all.
The whole family

My husband and I
The Bookworm

Mr Fixit

The Spitfire

My cuddlebug

Dad & kids

 Mom & Kids

 I hope that you all enjoyed these pictures! I am so grateful for them.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Learning something new

For the past 12 years or so I have wanted to learn how to bead on a loom. I have never done such a thing before. About 9 years ago my Aunt gave me a bead loom. I could not figure out how to start it myself with just the instructions. I often am a visual learner. So for me trying too just read directions was not helping me.

My lovely neighbor uses a loom and knows how to do it so I asked her if she would show me how. She kindly agreed and we had a lovely visit over an iced mocha and some beads. I sat and watched her thread the loom, which honestly still looks a bit daunting and I will have her sit and watch me the next time I do it (which will likely be in the next day or so.) so that I can be sure that I got it right. I started my first project late in the afternoon, around 3pm. I took a break around dinner time and started back up a little after 9pm by midnight I was finished with the whole thing.

So without further ado here are some pictures of my latest creation.

The finished product will be sewn to a piece of leather and then I will use it to pull my hair up. As it sits now it measures 1inch wide by 3 3/4" long.

I am totally in love with this new craft and am looking forward to seeing what other lovely things I can create with this new medium.

I did not imagine that I could create something so quickly after learning it. I have to wait until this evening until my neighbor gets home to take it off the loom because I have no idea how to do that and do not want to mess up my beautiful work, but I am itching to start something else!

What new things have YOU learned lately?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Scarf

I was going to post the pictures of the scarf in the blog from yesterday, but then I decided that it would be easier to just post the pictures here.

The pattern is my own creation and I am going to share it here. It is a simple pattern that I think even a beginner could do.

Here are the photos of the scarf.
 This is taken with just the natural light and you can see the little twist in the material

This is taken with the flash and you can see the actual color of the scarf, it turns out better with the flash. 
This was taken with me holding the scarf up against the blue of the wall. It is more for visual interest.

Crystal's Textured Scarf
J hook
Double Crochet = DC
Modified Crossed Double Crochet = MCDC

Chain 17 and DC in the 3rd chain from hook and across.
chain 2 (I find this makes the sides more even and tight) turn
DC in next 3 stitches, MCDC ( for a MCDC you skip one stitch DC chain one then go behind the DC already made back into the skipped stitch making a crossed stitch) DC in next 3 stitches MCDC, DC in remaining stitches including the top of the chain 2 space at the end. Chain 2 turn and repeat. 
including the first chain you will have a pattern that is 4 DC (chain2 counts as DC) a MCDC, 3 DC, CDC and 4 more DC.
I simply repeat the pattern until it is as long as I want the scarf to be.

I have also made this scarf and added fringe to the bottoms for more detail.  
*note* A traditional Crossed Double Crochet is done in the same manner only instead of going behind the first double crochet you go over it to create an X with the stitches. I have a lovely Scarf pattern that uses this stitch and then front posts to create a cabled look. That will be the one I work on next.

Feed back is always welcomed. My blog is set to allow anyone to comment so even if you are not a follower you can comment on my blog.

Enjoy and have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A special gift

So yesterday I finished a scarf for my husband.

This isn't just any scarf! No its a lovely scarf made from natural fibers that I got last year on our special alone trip to Fort Bragg California.

I loved working with this fiber and it felt so luxurious to be working with natural fibers. I happen to be one of the rare few who are allergic to wool, or the things it is treated with. I have yet to be able to determine that exactly. I do have a reaction to whatever wool I touch, but I can pet a sheep with no reaction what-so-ever. So the question remains is it the wool or is it whatever people do to treat the wool?

Now my real problem is WHEN to give it to him. I had intended to have it finished before last winter but an injury to my hand didn't allow me to crochet at all for about 7 months and even now I can not do so for very long without severe pain. So I got this together and did it all over several days while he was at work. He is the easiest person for me to make things for now that he is working again. Trying to make things for my kids is rather difficult since they are all home all the time.  His birthday is already passed, as is our Anniversary. I don't want to wait until Christmas because I want him to be able to wear it when it gets cold at work.

I will take pictures of this lovely scarf and then post them to this blog. I can't take them now because hubby is still home and I don't want him to see the scarf yet. The pattern is completely my own. I created the pattern last fall and then replicated it for this scarf.

I am so excited with how it turned out and I want it to be a special gift but soon. Any thoughts?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

When is lying ok?

Most of you will likely answer, never.

However tonight I was told by someone that basically the truth wasn't important only the intent behind the lie was.


I work hard to guide my children in truth. The truth sometimes hurts but lies hurt more. They hurt the people who are involved, they hurt the people who hear them and they hurt those who they are about.

We are a social networking society. But do we not all have some small part in keeping the truth out there? Reposting things on Facebook (or any social networking site) when they are not factual should not be looked at as acceptable. They are still lies.

Example: Someone close to me posted this
"**R.I.P.**Justin Allen 23, Brett Linley 29, Matthew Weikert 29, Justus Bartett 27, Dave Santos 21, Jesse Reed 26, Matthew Johnson 21, Zachary Fisher 24, Brandon King 23, Christopher Goeke 23, and Sheldon Tate 27....Are all Marines that gave their lives this week for you. There is no media for them... not even a mention of their names. Honor THEM by posting this"

The truth is that all of these Service Men died in combat, over a year ago. Not all of them were Marines. In fact only a few of them were. More of them were in the Army and were Soldiers. It is a lie to claim they were Marines when they were not, and it is dishonorable to their chosen branch of service as well as to them to claim otherwise. It is not honoring them or their service to post such things. I agree our typical media in the United States is shamefully full of celebrities and sports stars. Most people are severely lacking in ability to comprehend our government or the current financial climate of this country, I believe because they are so wrapped up in those Celebrity lives.

If you want to truly honor Service Men & Women, (and I do mean all people in some form of service to us, Police, Fire, and ALL branches of the armed forces) do so with integrity and truth.

You can look up information for yourself simply and easily. It takes less then 10 minutes to verify facts. You do not need to propagate lies in order to honor those that have fallen in service to us. Yet so many people blindly follow what the other person has posted without checking facts for themselves.

*Stepping off my soap box now*

Spread truth, not lies. Spread Love not lies, Spread tolerance, not hate/lies.  

Monday, August 1, 2011

Treasure Hunt, Finds!

I accomplished several goals for the weekend.

We had some fun.

We found some treasures.

Not all the treasures on my list; and not all were found where I thought I would find them, but they were found none the less.

I found a 3 piece sectional couch for 65.00 on Craigslist. Man I love Craigslist. You have to be careful but I do love the ability to find things I need and pay less for them then I thought I would have to.

Here is the sectional...

I am not a fan of the two different fabrics and the two different colors, but those are simple fixes and the couch itself is in fantastic condition. Especially for 65.00! I can get fabric I like and recover the couch and make it more my personality.

I found this fantastic creamer...

This retro sugar dispenser...

and this Wonderful punch bowl...

The bowl came with 8 cups and the ladle for .... 1.50! Yes that's right I paid 1 dollar and 50 cents for a punch bowl, 8 cups and a ladle!

It also has a slight chip in the bowl...

I paid 50 cents for the creamer and 75 cents for the sugar dispenser. 

I also got the Spitfire this adorable hat for .50 cents.

I also found a copy of ghostbusters and some curtain rods I needed. Total I spent 5.00 for all the lovely treasures I found. Total spent for the weekend for lovely treasures 70.00 I think that I made out really well.

Having fun watching movies piled on the new couch... PRICELESS!

Having fun with my family while hunting for treasures, even more Priceless!

I hope you all had a fantastic weekend!