Parenting Tales, Points to Ponder

Fall 2014 in Pictures

If I could choose a brief description of this fall, I would say it was “busy but beautiful.”

Here are a few pictures I have chosen that show a little of what we’ve been up to:

sunset pic

I’ll start with my absolute favorite one. This I snapped with my phone camera one evening a couple weeks ago. I had a crazy day and took a little walk right near sunset. The sight of this literally stopped me in my tracks. I just had to capture the Stop sign in the foreground with the beautiful sky in the back. I felt more than a nudge from my Creator telling me, “Rachel, you just need to stop right now and worship me.” So I did.

Race for Ed 2014 006

A lot of my time has been taken up with leading our school’s PTO. Though I had a couple of years in as Secretary, this was my first year as President with a completely new group of officers. Our one and only fundraiser for the year is a Race for Education, which we do in early October. To say I put a lot of time and effort into this is an understatement. But it is worth it.

Race for Ed 2014 011

Our theme was “Wild Safari,” so our group had a lot of fun with making it all themed out for the kids. It was an awesome day!

10698545_10205081035695298_3710090885776103313_n

My poor husband dressed up as a gorilla and stayed in this costume most of that day. The kids loved it and enjoyed chasing him around.

I’m told he must really, really love me for doing that. He does.Thankfully.

photo (3)

Our family has been really into hiking whenever the opportunity presents itself. We have had a number of gorgeous weekends to take advantage of and lots of pretty trails within reasonable driving distance. This is just a little snapshot of the kids checking out something on one of the trails.

house rock

A shot of my husband sitting atop a huge rock at the end of one of those trails overlooking the Susquehanna River. It is named “House Rock,” due to the fact that it’s huge.

photo (6)

My daughter is in her second year of violin, which she is pretty into. This is my sweet girl serenading us one evening.

10646970_10205220088931542_5509601595624361912_n

Not a very good picture, but this is my oldest son flipping acorn pancakes. Yup, you read that right. Acorn pancakes–as in, made from acorn flour. We took it upon ourselves to experiment with making acorn flour. A long process, but it turns out good! Next fall I would like to do more when the acorns first start dropping. We have a bit left that I put in the freezer to use in another recipe.

Well, that’s all folks. A brief snapshot into just some of what has been shaking around here. Like I said, busy but beautiful. I have LOTS to be thankful for!

Craft/DIY Ideas

Canning Jar Band Pumpkin

Today is a revisit to one of my past favorite fall projects. This particular one is from just over two years ago. Enjoy!

**********************************************************************************************************************

I am such a huge copycat sometimes and this little project is no exception. Granted, I do have a lot of at least semi-original ideas, but some are just imitations of other cute ideas I’ve seen and just put my own little twist on. To be fair, I always try to acknowledge my source of inspiration and I am incredibly grateful when others do the same for me. For this project I completely fell in love with Simply Klassic Home’s canning lid pumpkin and knew I had to try making one.

This was a snap to make and only used a few materials, all of which I had on hand.

For the stem I rolled a length of burlap and glued down. I trimmed this up a bit as well.

Then, simply gather a bunch of canning jar bands of the same size and run a string or twine through their middles. Gather and tie around the stem. Arrange bands so that the tied portion is covered up and there are no major gaps.

I added a green felt leaf for some of the pictures and tried it without for others.

As you can see, I didn’t try to clean up or pretty up my canning bands.

Some are newer, but others are well-worn and loved.

Happy Fall Y’all!

Rachel

 

Craft/DIY Ideas

“Gather” Mini-Grapevine Wreath

Well, apparently I’m on a bit of a wreath kick again. They really are one of my most favorite things to make.

fall decor 2014 001

This time around I went for a grapevine one, just to mix things up.

fall decor 2014 002

It is adorned with these little flowers I made from a cute orange & white houndstooth print fabric.

fall decor 2014 003

Across the top I formed the word “Gather” using scrabble tiles. They are mounted on a rectangle of burlap, which I let peek out around the edges. The burlap is on another rectangle of felt for a little stability. Everything is hot glued onto the grapevine.

I used just a basic gold ribbon for hanging.

fall decor 2014 005

All in all, a quick little project that turned out sorta cute.

Blessings to all,

Rachel

Craft/DIY Ideas

Criss-Cross Fall Wreath

Howdy everyone!

I’ve been a little MIA lately, but it’s all been for a good reason.

School started and I’ve been in PTO mom mode, dealing with beginning of the school year craziness and preparing for our big yearly fundraiser coming up in several weeks.

This is how I deal with stress:

early fall 2014 033

I make stuff. No surprise, eh?

I also take lengthy walks, pray for wisdom and sanity, drink too much coffee, and eat comfort foods.

But I digress. About the wreath…

early fall 2014 034

Again I went with a yarn-wrapped style. This time I picked out a brown with neutral flecks of color in it.

early fall 2014 031

For the flowers I used different neutrals as well, then added in a little pop of pink. IF I had some coral-y orange I may have thrown in a bit of that too for interest. I placed a rectangle of burlap underneath them all, leaving a bit to peek out near the middle. A couple of buttons were used for accents. To make this more interesting, I used a buttery light yellow yarn and criss-crossed it around the portion of wreath not covered by flowers and such.

early fall 2014 029

And since I hadn’t busted out my trusty chalkboard for pictures in awhile, I thought this would be a good shot.

Happy Fall Y’all!

–Rachel

Parenting Tales

Fall 2013 in Pictures

I thought it would be kind of fun to show you all some random pictures from my life just this fall. They are in no special order, just some various ones that show a little snippet of my things that I’ve done (well, besides being a Mom, cook, laundress, chauffer, and the list goes on….).

photo (14)

Early this fall I was at a barn sale and discovered this really cool old shelving unit. I had been looking for something similar for the past 2 years as a storage unit for my boys’ room, so I got awfully excited when I found this. It used to be in a store and hold hardware items, because I found screws, hinges, and the like in the cubbyholes when I cleaned it up.

photo (16)

This fall was especially beautiful in my area and I’ve enjoyed many relaxing walks all around where I live. This is just a snapshot of the tops of a cornfield before it got harvested.

photo (17)

I couldn’t help but snap a picture of this little guy with my phone when I encountered him on a walk. Luckily I didn’t stomp on him, because he was maybe a little bigger than a quarter. I decided to be nice and move it off the middle of the road.

photo (13)

We had a Family Reading Night at my kids’ school one evening. One of the stations was a book character dress-up area, which my kids were all into. This is a shot another Mom took of me and my twins.

1382064_10202244365580318_349439047_n

A couple of weeks this September and early October I was very busy getting our school PTO ready for a huge fundraiser (Yes, I am one of “those” Moms who helps run the PTO–don’t judge). We do a Race for Education once a year and our theme this year was all about knights, castles, etc. My dearly devoted husband dressed up as a knight mascot for part of the almost 90 degree day and we had a little picture together. Did I mention how awesome he is for doing this?

Yes he is.

photo (18)

This is a shot from a cub scout campout that we had for our den. This picture shows my brother-in-law cooking up some breakfast on our campfire grill. Buckwheat pancakes and sausage cooked over the fire for breakfast= just plain awesome.

1381944_10202386306808760_688442640_n

I may be in love with this picture of my Josh, holding up an Operation Christmas Child shoebox that he put together. This is one of my hands-down-favorite service projects to do every year and I love how my kids get so into it as well.

photo (15)

To end this post I HAD to include this shot of my oldest, stuck in a tire swing at our local fair. A local business had a swingset set up as a demo model, so of course my gang was playing on it. What possessed my 12 year old to think he could fit on a small tire swing, I had no idea. I was just about busting a gut laughing because he was so wedged in there and snapped a pic before rescuing him. Of course he was mortified and was all like, “Mom, you better not put this on Facebook!” I kept my promise, but he didn’t say anything about my blog:)

So there you have it, my fall in a nutshell–sorta.

Craft/DIY Ideas

10 Earthy Ways to Decorate for Fall

Just in case you’re finally pulling together some fall decorations, or want to spruce up your current look, I rounded up some ideas that take minimal materials. By scrounging around your home, yard, and surrounding area, it’s likely that you may have most of the supplies for these pretty decor ideas already on hand.

IMG_6959

A pumpkin turned vase for mums–I have actually done this idea before, and it looks beautiful. Some great step by step directions are available on Kojo Designs.

St picnic, canning lid pumpkin 021

If this one looks familiar, it’s because I made it on my blog last fall! No, they’re not “all natural,” but I had to throw it in the list. Mine used canning bands, rolled burlap, and a little felt for an accent leaf.

dff23c849bd6e96fca453c20753622ae

I love the beachy vibe of these linen and driftwood pumpkins. Find the easy picture tutorial over here. (Bet you can’t guess what is under those linen strips!)

cdfa6f9272019a9df9fcf49f62209036

These acorn luminaries take very few materials to make and look great.

fall-decorating-ideas-white-pumpkins-3a

Isn’t this basket of white pumpkins gorgeous? I especially love the burlap chevron ribbon that dresses it up! Check out this blog for more details.

1e2f027c30054f56b77cadbff5e12d67

This burlap no-sew table runner, wheat centerpiece, and white pumpkins are from my cousin Leslie’s blog. (Go check her out!)

11c294b50164146a7614998f4a57853f

This layered hurricane vase contains popcorn kernels, dried red beans, and lentils.

bd7e5a7dbd1e50bae437f91a0e11bdab

I think these sheaves of wheat tied to the stair spindles are unique and elegant in their own way.

Acorn-fall-wreath-crafts-unleashed-682x1024

This acorn wreath is simple and beautiful. A great tutorial for it is found right here.

853f2887bcc2cf7d910639ebfc759f9c

And while we’re on the subject of wreaths, I absolutely adore this one made out of a wood slice. So stinking cool, and great for fall or winter. Check out East Coast Creative for the step by step on how to make it. This idea is one I’ve already shown my better half–just so he has a heads up in case I need to get my hands on a wood slice one of these days! (Yes, according to him, I am the Queen of Not-So Subtle Hints sometimes. Shocking, right?)

Recipes

Crock Pot Root Beer Chicken

I’m still aspiring to use my crock pot more often than I usually do.

Thankfully I added another crock pot recipe to my repertoire that was a hit with the fam.

onions, root beer chicken 018

Oh yeah–a little sweet, and a pop of spice.

Perfect to serve with noodles or over some rice.

(No, I didn’t intentionally make that rhyme!)

I think my kids truly did like it, as they ate a bunch the night I made this. However, I think the name drew them in too.

Oh, and the fact that they got to drink what was left of the root beer with their meal. Their mother doesn’t buy soda too often, so that was a nice little treat for them.

I found the recipe via thefrugalgirls.com, then changed some of the amounts a little:

Crock Pot Root Beer Chicken

 4 – 5 Boneless Skinless Chicken, thawed

18 oz. Barbeque Sauce

12 oz Root Beer

1/8 Tsp. Salt

1/8 Tsp. Pepper

Cook chicken in crockpot on high for 3 hours {covered}.
After 3 hours, drain juices from crockpot.
Mix together BBQ Sauce, Root Beer, Salt and Pepper.
Pour mixture over chicken, and cook on high for 30 more minutes {covered}.