Tuesday, February 24, 2009


We don't have conventional electricity, in other words, our house is not hooked up to the wires that run down the street. For our evening light, we use lanterns. This lantern is the one over our kitchen table.

This one is our bedroom lantern.
We use lantern oil instead of kerosene as it burns cleaner than kerosene.

Lanterns offer a soft cozy light that keeps our bodies in tune with the natural rhythms of nature. We tend to start get ready for bed shortly after darkness arrives. Of course, in early winter when it is getting dark at 4:30 pm, we tend to congregate around the kitchen table to talk, sew, knit, play games and cards.
Warm wishes on this beautiful winter day!

Friday, February 20, 2009


A large part of our philosophy of living involves supporting local businesses. Building a local sustainable community is so important to the health of the individuals in that community physically, emotionally and financially.

Today we went to Butterworks Farm to pick up freshly ground whole wheat bread flour, whole wheat pastry flour and cornmeal.

With a family of eight we will go through these 70 pounds of grains fairly quickly. I home bake all of our breads, muffins, and sweets.

Butterworks Farm is a family run farm that specializes in organic Jersey yogurt (we picked up a quart of maple and a quart of vanilla as well as some raw milk while picking up our grains). They seem to keep things pretty simple and efficient yet produce quite a bit. We are lucky to have them just several miles away.



(P.S. Renee, in response to your comment about having more children later in life - I certainly don't think 39 years old is too old, especially if God blesses you with another child.)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Sledding and Sibling Love

One of the blessings of having a large family is the joy the children receive from their younger siblings. Alas, this is not the case 100% of the time, but the joys definitely outweighs the trials.

Yesterday was a beautiful sunny winter day and Abby, age 8, took Abraham, 1 year old, out to sled.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Just wondering

How much the computer has hampered human connections.....

How much technology is really too much technology......

How to set boundaries for my fifteen year old son with his laptop (that he saved for and bought himself) with internet access.......

If the benefits of being online really outweigh the negatives....

Any thoughts?

Friday, February 13, 2009

Thankful For....

  1. Sarah, Michael and Thomas are home safely after oral surgery at the hospital. Sweet Sarah had to be put to sleep to get all of the work she needed done to her teeth. Sarah is just four years old, five in April. I am thankful for the dentist's knowledge and steady hands and Sarah's quick recovery! She brought home a little goodie bag of stickers, puzzles and such. I made her a low sugar, whole wheat chocolate cake for after dinner and I crocheted her this little bird to give her when she arrived home this afternoon with Dad and big brother, Thomas. The pattern was free from Lionbrand Yarns.
  2. The warmth from the woodstove in our little home. Today the weather has turned windy and cold once again.

  3. Abraham's (12 month's old) wonderful development. He is now walking across the room and we are enjoying every moment!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Creating with Branches

Michael makes items of branches for our natural craft business at both etsy and our online store.

Here is his most recent work.

I was tired of playing cards getting continually mixed up so I crocheted a little pouch to keep them in.

Life is continually busy and full here. Please keep Sarah in your prayers as she is having dental surgery on Friday.



Sunday, February 8, 2009

Simple Valentines

We keep Valentines Day very simple - make eachother cards, decorate with simple sewn cloth hearts and by putting these wooden hearts in a wooden bowl on our kitchen table. The wooden hearts are from Nova Natural Toys and the wooden bowl was a gift from our son, Nolan.

I have been sewing some hearts for the girls' gifts and embroidering their names on one side and filling with wool roving and adding some lavender essential oil. They both love lavender. I haven't come up with a clever idea for the boys yet.
Here is Isaac, age 10, crocheting while reading his new edition of Muse magazine, which he just loves! He bought the yarn himself with his American Express Gift card which he received for a Christmas present from his Poppa.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Beautiful Sunset

We were blessed with this beautiful winter sunset the other night.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Joyful Homemaking

The daily household tasks can get draining and repetitive and seem nearly endless (well, they are aren't they?). However, I have found that even with six children that it is possible to be joyful while completing the necessary daily chores. One way we do this is by wearing our aprons. Here is Sarah dusting a book shelf. She is wearing a pink patterned waist apron I found at a consignment shop for 50 cents.
The other thing I do while cleaning is to practice gratitude for whatever it is I am cleaning - even the toilet!! It helps to keep a positive perspective.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Treats for the Day

Now that February is upon us, we all seem to have a bit more enthusiasm about the winter days knowing that spring is truly in our future.

February 1 marks the halfway point of winter. Up here in northern Vermont that means you should still half of your firewood left. Well, the first half of this winter has been colder than the usual cold and has left some folks a bit short I am afraid. We seem to be doing ok with our wood supply, but Michael is considering putting on a pair of snow shoes to dig out some logs from a tree he cut down last fall.

Spending time doing handwork and baking are two of our favorite ways to spend winter days. One of my treats today was to see Abby's (age 8) quilt work that she designed on her own.

Our other treat was this homemade chocolate cake for dessert.

Oh, the simple pleasures....

Monday, February 2, 2009

Oatmeal Raisin Scones

Today I tried a new recipe that I found here at Homespun Living - which is a great with afternoon tea on a winter afternoon such as this.

This is what it is looking like outside these days.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Clothing Reconstruction

I found this idea in the wonderful book, The Creative Family, by Amanda Blake Soule, who has a terrific blog.

Abby was getting low on pants so I took a pair of corduroy pants that someone had passed on to me (I wear skirts) and cut them up and added some denim from a very old skirt to the bottoms of the legs.
Now I have not taken out my sewing machine for a year or two, but all in all it was fairly easy to do and I learned some things to make it even better next time.
Warm wishes,


On our way to do errands in town on Friday, our truck made a detour into the parking lot of our local fabric shop. My daughter Abby, age 8, went inside with me. We had a wonderful time searching through the by the pound remnants and I couldn't resist a stack of precut squares in country colors and patterns.

Over the weekend Abby and Isaac, age 10, have had lots of fun sewing up mini pillows for their stuffed animals. Sarah, age 4, wanted to be involved as well, so I came up with the idea of cutting her out some squares and triangles and letting her make her own quilt by gluing her pattern on a piece of paper.
I hope to try my hand at some simple quilts soon.
Warm wishes,