Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Handmade Christmas continued

I wanted to share a bit more about our Christmas and how things went before moving on to the new year and all the wonderful things that come with it. This Christmas was a really special one for us, one that will be treasured forever. We tried our best to make most of our gifts and the rest we bought via Etsy, craft faires or small local businesses. At first this seemed like such a challenge, could we really make Christmas great on such a small budget with out going to a place like Walmart? Well the answer for us was YES! We usually spend about $50 on each of our girls and this year I think we hit the mark at right around $61, so really not to bad! Now in this I have to take into account that I already had a lot of crafty supplies on hand, like the yarn for the slippers, which leftover's from the stash. Most of the stuff used from stash was yarn, buttons, thread, and a bit of fabric, the rest was purchased for these special projects and included in the budget.

What I am really excited about sharing is the earrings that Micah and the girls made for me, so impressive! They are made from hammered out bottle caps and botany prints from the Internet. I think the most amazing part about this is that he let a 2 and a 5 year old wield a hammer! Ah, the things we do for the sake of crafting ;)

This holiday did of course include some thing that were not made by hand and with those we tried to purchase them from small local businesses. Micah totally scored good by getting me this strawberry tea kettle from our favorite hardware/kitchen store. Be still my whimsical heart!

I have to say though that as sweet as my husband was I don't think I did as well. Which I feel is OK since the husband should get a chance to out do the wife once in a while, right? While I did get him a stocking full of sweets and a box filled to the brim with local mandarins his main gift was a nice pair on UNfinished wool slippers.

This photo was actually taken after I seamed them and wove in the ends, now all we have to do is felt them. These were mostly finished way back in October, but like most crafter's I set them down and started working on something else. Oh well, I know he loves me for more then just my knitting.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Handmade Christmas

A glimpse in pictures of our (mostly) handmade Christmas:

Our Christmas was a very special one, filled with family, thankfulness and lots of handmade goodies. It was so wonderful to see the joy in my children's eyes from something handcrafted from the heart. Oh and boy was I surprised to get 4(!) handmade pairs of funky earrings from Micah and the girls! I love how he really takes on the handmade challenge just for me. Well, I'm going to get back to relaxing and enjoying my little bit of free time I have been blessed with this weekend. I hope that everyone's Christmas was a merry one. God bless.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Cookies

Tonight was cookie decorating night in the Pepper home. We always use Indian Tree Natural food dye for our frosting's and the colors are just so cool. Not your traditional Christmas sugar cookies, but I like it that way.

L and I did the decorating and a bit of snacking....

P has a bit of a lingering cold so she just decorated he own and had a good ole time. Oh yah and check out her haircut! I took off 5 inches!!!!

I almost didn't make sugar cookies this year. This month has been a busy one and I don't like being obligated to bake, I like to follow the whim you know?. Alas, then I remembered that I had just bought a new $20 box of dyes and some all natural sprinkles and I knew I just had to break them out. Since decorating them is really the fun part I forgo ed the cookie cutters. Instead I just rolled the dough into balls and smashed them down on the cookie sheet, fun and time saving!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Happy Birthday Love

(The hat is his birthday present from moi, crummy pic though)

Today I got to celebrate the man I love. I never would have thought I'd end up with someone so amazing. Someone so inspiring that they change who you are without one ounce of effort. He is always surprising me with his love, kindness, and his adventurous nature. Life with this man is just exhilarating and my hope is that will share many more blessed birthdays together. I love you Micah, Happy Birthday.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Guilt Monster

Life has been a bit of a whirlwind this past week. After Phoebe's fall I spent a good few days worrying over what could have happened and pretty much blaming myself for not being vigilant enough. You know, normal mother guilt, that we all put on our selves from time to time. I know it wasn't my fault and I know that it's completely normal for kids to play alone in a room with the door open, but I just couldn't shake how scared I was for days. I relied on my mothering instincts when it happened doing all the right things like checking her over, seeing approximately how high it was and jetting of to the ER taking my little brother along to keep an eye on her in the backseat. Then after it was over the mothering fears, the other side to the mother instinct took over and haunted me for several days.

After much prayer and council with my husband, and time I'm feeling much better. I have to say though that now the nurture mothering side is taking over and that little girl is getting whatever she wants! There has been lots of hugs and snuggles, medicine, ice packs, doctors appointments and even some cookies involved. I know that I shouldn't be babying her as much as I am, but I just can't help it I have a mothers heart.

P.S. The monster pictured above is for my nephew, but P has requested one and of course she will be getting one very soon!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Joy and Heartache

This week started off with one of the most exciting joys that life has to offer. A sweet baby boy entered the family as my sweet nephew. My sister labored like a champ with honestly not a word of compaint, taking it all in stride and even joking around with us. I am truly amazed at the strength we women possess in childbirth, it is such an amazing thing to be apart of. My mom and I were both honored to be there along with my sister husband.

This perfect little guys was born on the first snow of the season and is going to be a huge blessing to our family. What a wonderful early Christmas present!

Then yesterday while still aglow with giddiness we had a very scary thing happen, that makes my mothers heart ache to even think about it. Phoebe tried to fly. Out a window 6-7ft onto concrete. Sick with worry I rushed her to the hospital to find out that she had a broken wrist and a concussion. She is doing much better today and even smiling for us.

I knew that she was wild, but I would have never expected her to JUMP out a window at only 2 years old! She keeps saying "little girls can't fly, only birds can", oh my.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Crafty Time

Today after we finished up some schoolwork and put some brownies in the oven, we embarked on a crafty adventure, one where we all had a great time. A sheet was laid on the table and we set off to have a great time. I made something I have been super excited about ever since I saw it on this blog. I had some vintage bulbs that had been my grandparents that I had been saving, just waiting to put them to good use. I didn't have quite enough so I thought this project just wasn't going to happen, when earlier this week I popped into my favorite thrift shop and they had DOZENS of vintage glass bulbs. I paid $2.50 for the ones I brought home. Next it was off to the craft store where I got a foam wreath and a package of mini glue stick (I use all but one of them!). So it total, this project cost $16.
Here we are working away, my project ended up taking much longer than theirs so they went into the living room to watch Sleeping Beauty. Phoebe kept coming in to check on me though. I ended up breaking only 4 bulbs and with 1 bleeding finger. After all the bulbs were glued on I broke up pieces of an old dollar store garland to fill in the cracks.

The girls glittered, jeweled and tissue papered some construction paper tree. Easy peasy when you already have a huge bag of cut up tissue paper.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


OK, so you are going to have to pardon the bad photos, these thing are really hard to photograph! They seemed to want to glow florescent and fuzz out no matter what the lighting. I don't know, I'm certainly not the best still life photographer.

I made these using this pattern and stash yarn. The purple ones are actually from the leftover yardage from my last years slippers. Buttons were from my button jars as well. Thrifty Christmas giving is so exhilirating (weird I know).

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

(Raw Pecan Pie, recipe from this site)

I know this is a wee bit late, but really for our family Thanksgiving is all about the whole four day weekend. With Turkey leftovers, visiting loved ones, decorating for Christmas, the whole 9 yards. Just wanted to pop in real quick at the tail end of this great holiday weekend and say Happy Thanksgiving! If anyone reads this blog, I love to hear how your Thanksgiving weekend was!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

November Homeschooling

I know, I know, two post in a day is kind of crazy but I feel into bed yesterday without publishing the post for yesterday. I took some photo's of yesterdays homeschooling seeing as it was a really peaceful time. Which is definitely not the norm around here. For some reason the stars alligned yesterday day and both girls sat quitely (even during L's reading lesson) and payed attention to the word coming out of my mouth, so strange! After L's main lessons and P's coloring pages I decided to add on a little art time since it actually sounded like fun.

I laid an old flannel sheet that was mine as a girl down on the table to minimalize mess and let them get to work of trees and turkey cards. Two crafts in one day even!

So they crafted and I snuck a few moment of knitting time with my new project the Cosima cardigan. This one is going to be slow going, but I am really hoping to have it done in time for my birthday in January. We will have to see though since this is a work on at home only project and I have lots of holiday crafting on my plate.

I hope everyone has a truly great Thanksgiving with lots of pie and other mouthwatering goodies!


On Sunday I got the pleasure of going out to a friends farm to learn how to make soap. What a fun adventure that was! We made lavender soap, apple cinnamon soap with apricot seeds, and even some lotions. These are her already made soaps, that we got to see when we first got there.

Here some of are in the kitchen blending a batch.

(soap in the cylinder mold)

I was surprised with just how much I enjoyed soapmaking. I've always been kind of freaked out by the whole lye thing, but once I did it, it wasn't so scary. It took about an hour to do batch of soap and you get at least a dozen 4 oz bars out of it. The lotion was absolutely dreamy though, do harsh chemicals, just melt and blend. Very luscious and a lot of fun. I think I see much more of the is in my future, especially if I ever get to have the goats I've been dreaming of, goat milk soap sounds so heavenly!

Monday, November 16, 2009

A Recipe For You

In my attempt to make something kind of like the Lara Bar peanut butter cookie bars, but with a less "datey" taste I came up with these peanut butter balls. They take only 10 minutes to make from start to finish and that's WITH little helping hands.

Peanut Ball Cookies
3 cups unsweetened dates
1 cup unsalted peanuts
1/2 c. unsweetened coconut
2 Tbsp ground flax seed
1/2 tsp vanilla
A dash of salt
Combine all ingredients into food processor and turn on for a couple minutes until mixture resembles the picture below. Have you and your helper roll into little balls (remembering that little hands need to use smaller amounts of dough). Makes about 18 cookies, refrigerate to keep dates fresh. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Honeymooning on a budget

When Micah and I got married we were broke, pregnant and in love. We had a small but awesome wedding in my parents backyard under a trio of birch trees. There were twinkle lights in the trees and barbecue on the grill, sun dresses and flip flops and we all had bouquets fresh from that mornings farmers market. We couldn't afford a honeymoon, but in didn't seem to matter much. Two kids and five years later we finally managed to get away for a honeymoon. Unfortunately we were still broke and had little time off to work with, we made it work though and we had a wonderful time.

Micah has always wanted to go to Ashland Oregon because it is one of my favorite places and since it is only three and a half hours away we decided to go there to see the Shakespeare Festival. The hotel prices are high there, so after extensive Internet research we decide to camp lake side in a place right outside the city. We packed an ice chest full of food and headed out on our first childless adventures since our marriage. We saw plays, took lakeside walks, drank fancy coffee drinks, shopped in the funky down town shops, and had a simple yet wonderful time.

Isn 't he handsome?

OOh and look I even got some knitting time in, this is the Star Crossed Slouchy Beret by Natalie Larson, the link is to the Ravelry page. This is a free pattern and a very fun knit!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

New Adventures

Wow, that was a much longer break then intended. Things have been a whirlwind around her with moving, homeschooling, traveling, and celebrating Lydia's 5th birthday. Moving to a bigger place has been something we have been talking and praying about for quite awhile now. We wanted someplace a bit bigger that would allow us to have chickens and a small veggie garden and God certainly provided, actually the place CAME with chicken. These are our girls:

They are mostly free range chickens even though we have a chicken tractor to keep them in. The fresh eggs are amazing and but we have found that we also really like just having them around, they are so much fun!

About a week after we moved in we put in our very first winter garden. We have always kind of been wanna-be farmers planting container gardens or share gardens with others with land. This time our efforts are being much better rewarded, check out those seedlings!

These are our snap peas, next these we have regular peas,

Then we have some lettuces, we planted romaine and simpson, but I forgot to mark which was which, but I'm leaning towards these ones being simpson....

Here is the best of our cauliflower plants, they really seem to be thriving!

Here is some broccoli,

And then there is the onions, one row of red and one of white.

More to come soon, I'm off now to watch a movie with my wonderfully patient husband:)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

100th Post

It's funny that today I would log on after almost a month of not blogging to find out that this is my 100th post! Crazy I say, it doesn't feel like that, I still feel as though I'm barely getting the hang of this whole blogging thing. It's even more amusing to think that I was wondering if I even would come back. Lately I've been feeling like blogs are to braggy you know? Look at what I bought, made, did etc. I'm not effectively conveying what I originally wanted in this space. Well, whatever, maybe the next 100 post's will be better, and hopefully more enjoyable to read.

Lately my crafting has taken a bit of a back seat to life. Homeschooling is getting off to a great start this year, we are going through a very laid back charter school and it's turning out to be a great choice for our family. We are doing all sorts of fun things that would have otherwise been impossible on our shoestring budget and I'm using the exact same curriculum I would have picked independently. With the help of my husband and the teacher we are working with I really foresee this being a more enjoyable year for me.

We have also been enjoying the last bits of summer left, that is the summer fruit that's left. A friend of ours gifted us with about 20-30lbs of organic peaches which became smoothie peaches, pie peaches,

and peach fruit leather. We were SO excited to give fruit leather a try using our new dehydrator given to us from the depths of our friends garage. So happy to find out that it did in fact work, yay! A really great way to use up the slightly bruised peaches.

Weekly trips to farmer's market have been a must around here, trying to scoop up the last of the years strawberries to freeze for winter's pie's and smoothies. Northern California Farmer's Markets have the most awesome strawberries, truly they have no comparison to the little hard ones in the grocery store

The prices are unbeatable too, I think what I have photographed there was just a little over $20.