Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Baking and Beeswax Candle Making




This morning I baked a loaf of bread and a Gluten-Free Apple Cake.  My friend gave us some apples yesterday as they own an orchard and have a business selling hard cider.  I thought I would share the recipe.  You can find it here.


I also poured some more beeswax candles as our stock was running low and I also like to give them for small Christmas gifts when attending a gathering or when I need a little something to express my gratitude.

Warm wishes,
Tonya




Monday, December 2, 2019

Monday, December 2nd



Hello friends,
Today we woke to a few inches of freshly fallen snow and all looks beautiful.

I thought I would share a little bit about our handmade and simple advent season during the days of December leading up to Christmas.


Today, it was Abe's turn to open our little advent calendar filled with milk chocolate pieces.  I bought it at our coop food store for $3.00.  This was an example of a compromise.  Not being able to buy a more expensive fair trade chocolate calendar, I did buy it at our local food coop store so that we can continue this tradition.


Each morning, Emily finds a Christmas story book wrapped under our Christmas tree for us to read and add to our Christmas book basket.  This makes it nice for me because I don't have to wrap 24 books at one time and I can also re-use the wrapping paper and yarn tie each night.

After they came in from helping to shovel and playing, I made them some hot cocoa.  For each cup of milk, add 2 Tablespoons of cocoa and 1 - 2 Tablespoons of sugar.  Whisk all ingredients in a saucepan over low heat until hot.

I baked a loaf of bread and Emily made some sugar cookies.  I finished the turkey soup that was made from our Thanksgiving turkey and that is what we are having for dinner tonight.







I have added little bits of Christmas decorations throughout our home and will add more throughout the month.

Our homeschooling lessons were cut short today when a friend called to see if Emily and Abraham wanted to play as he had a snow day.  He came over to our house and then they went over to his.

The turkey soup was delicious and now I am at my secretary wood burning more ornaments.

Would love to hear about what you are making and doing during this beautiful season.

Warm wishes,
Tonya





Friday, November 15, 2019

Handmade Holiday 2019




So excited to be sharing another year of a mostly handmade holiday with you.

Let me start by sharing why I believe in making handmade or supporting other small businesses.   
  • Shopping local, supporting small businesses, and making for yourself is good for the environment.  Think about all the miles saved with transportation, giant warehouses, less packaging.
  • I challenge you to not support Amazon or Walmart.  When money and power is consolidated in the hands of a few, by default we lose some of our freedoms - freedom of choice, whether it is in our political candidates through financial influence or the fact that they become a monopoly.  Amazon is getting in the business of elections (through the cloud) and military supplies.  Amazon has a contract with the CIA.  Amazon continues to buy out smaller businesses which means that Amazon will determine pay scales, products and so much more.  It is a scary situation and I challenge you to boycott them.  I know it is hard.  Sometimes I think how easy it would be to just place an order for that book I would love, or that product I need within 2 days, or the fact that Amazon is offering that product for much less than anywhere else.  Our family lives on very little financially (perhaps might even be considered to live in poverty for a family our size) but we consider boycotting Amazon to be a principled sacrifice.  Walmart is much the same with so them pricing out smaller businesses putting them out of business and much of their products being imported.
  • There is something intrinsically special about making a gift for someone.  As it is being made, it is fun to think about them and just the act of making is so satisfying. 
  • Supporting local businesses helps to feed a local family that is using their gifts to offer something unique to your community.  
  • There is something much more human about walking into a local store, seeing another human being, speaking to them, creating small talk, and getting to know others in your community.  I am so afraid that we are losing some of our basic aspects of being human when we choose to do so much online out of convenience or to save money.

There are so many more reasons and I would love to hear yours.

If you search this blog in the search box, Handmade Holiday, you will find many posts of handmade ideas from years ago of sharing from blog readers.  It is very inspiring!  

Finally, please use #handmadeholiday2019 to share on instagram and/or leave your ideas in the comments with links if you have them!

Warm wishes,
Tonya

Edited to add:  These are my views and I do not judge others that choose to live or shop differently.  Some of my adult children use Amazon and I still love them!!



Monday, October 14, 2019

Harvest Festival

Sarah with brought one of her chickens.

 Abe and Emily

 needlefelting

 Emily doing the pumpkin on a spoon race.

 Emily

Abe


 Friends working on the cider pressing.

Emily hugging the sweet baby goat.

We moved to the most amazing small town in the world.... at least I think so.   The community is full of caring, involved people that work hard to serve one another.  This past Saturday, the non profit organization in town (which Mike and I have become involved with), but on a Harvest Festival that is geared toward the children. 

There was the cider pressing, the reading of Stone Soup while two cast iron pots of soup boiled over the open fire.  There were donuts from a string, fiddlers, a petting zoo with the sweetest little baby goats, caramel apples, a bouncy house, and more.   I brought wool to do needle felting and it was truly rewarding to see the joy in the children's faces (and adults!) as the wool became a work of art.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Updates

I thought I would post some updates from the last couple of weeks here at our little farm in central Vermont.

We tapped our big maple tree in front of our house, but do not have anything, yet, set up to cook off the sap outside, so we did use the stove top.  It was still worth it.




A little spring knitting with some beautiful small farm yarn that was hand dyed by my friend, Jules

A little pattern you can find here in my blog.

A little doll's vest.

We celebrated Sarah's 15th birthday with my father and a family friend from Massachusetts, and with Thomas.  We went up to Montpelier, where Thomas lives, to walk around and then have dinner at Positive Pie (Sarah's request).








And just now, with a huge rainfall last night,the snow is gone!  Mike worked on putting in a stone walkway going into the farm store over the weekend.   We hope to be planting by the end of the week!




When I was making a post on instagram for Sarah's birthday, I came to my blog to borrow pictures and it made me sad that I wasn't keeping up with documenting our children's growth and changes, as well as my thoughts over the last couple of years.  My goal is to blog here regularly again to have a record of our days.

Warm wishes,
Tonya




.


Sunday, January 6, 2019

Christmas 2018












It was a wonderful Christmas!  Our son and his wife that live in Virginia, came to stay with us for five nights, including Christmas day.  Oh, the anticipation for their arrival (we hadn't seen them for over a year), the joy of having them visit, and then the sadness as they departed.  Although, I felt sad that we wouldn't see them for awhile, it was good to see that they seemed happy and are enjoying their life in Virginia.   We now live just 50 minutes from our oldest son, so he was with us as well.   Moving back to Vermont and seeing him somewhat regularly again has been such a gift.  Our other five children are all still living at home.

Some of Mike's family came to visit on Christmas Eve.  My Mom and step-father came from Connecticut to spend Christmas day with us and my father came the day after Christmas.  Such a busy time for this introvert but so worth it!

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Daily Blog - Beautiful Weekend


Sweet morning hellos from my beloved Madeline.  



Our oldest is home for the weekend before returning to camp this afternoon.  These are our two oldest daughters preparing their breakfast.   



Gathering two "real" heads of lettuce.  We are so inspired to begin the work of establishing our farm in Vermont to provide nutritious food for our community and our family.


Wishing you a beautiful day!
Warmly,
Tonya