Pioneer Woman at Heart

One Flourishing, Frugal and Fun Family!

One family learning to live off the land, cut back on expenses, and to live a simpler and a more self-sufficient lifestyle.

Adopted Motto

"Eat it up,
Wear it out,
Make it do,
Or go without."
~A Pioneer Sampler, by Barbara Greenwood~

Monday, May 31, 2010

History of Memorial Day ~ Do kids today really know the meaning?

I was astonished this morning.  As I put our United States flag outside, I asked my younger two girls if their school taught them the meaning of Memorial Day.  We watch parades, we see the flags, but do we teach our kids the real meaning?  The answer to that is sad.  My children have not been taught in school.  If it were not for free printable worksheets, free books from the library, and quality time with my kids, they would not be taught.

My 2nd grader said, "we got coloring pages" and my 5th grader said her teacher "mentioned" it in passing but there was no real teaching involved.  With the state test taking and requirements, teacher are not teaching kids in school today.  They are being taught to pass a test, and in doing so, have bypassed history and other teachings in the race against statistics. 

So if you are a parent and you have relied on the schools to teach your children about Memorial Day, and you have asked them about it and they cannot answer you, here are some links for on-line help.  Don't forget to use your library.  Even after Memorial Day, you can still teach through activities, hands-on crafts, poetry writing, and so much more.

The Online Teacher Resource, Memorial Day Worksheets/Printables
Enchanted Learning, Memorial Day Crafts, Projects, and Worksheets
Patriotic Craft Ideas
The, Memorial Day Lesson Plans and Activities

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Kids are flying kites!

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Who says you need electronics to have fun?!

New Crocheted Blanket - In Progress

This one is for my 8 year-old's Hope Chest. The other kids could not make up their minds. This is an "in progress" photo, but you can get an idea of the the pattern. This is a ripple pattern from a very old library book that was discarded. I think the older patterns are much easier to read and follow.
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Still not finished with "spring" cleaning and night time uninvited guests

What a mouth full that title is.

Yesterday my clothesline got a workout.  From early morning until almost 7:00pm it dried clothes, winter coats, zip-up jackets, scarves, gloves, mittens and anything else I found on the girl's floor (or under the bed....long sigh).

It will be nice to pack away the winter clothing - clean.  Everything that was washed and dried, and did not fit anyone went straight into the Goodwill pile.

As for the part about the uninvited night time guests?  The one dog I call the "couch potato" was the one to alert us.  We aren't sure if they were scoping out the barns, trying to steal gas, or peeping in the windows, but the dog's barking ran them off pretty quickly.  I'm sure this is sign of the times and hooligans back in the area.  Times, like they are, bring hooligans through the woods into back doors, stealing what the can, then selling them to whoever for whatever cash they can get.  We were already warned by a neighbor that certain neighbor's older kids were in the area, and to "watch out." 

Friday, May 21, 2010

I made it to the upstairs bedrooms

Stand by, because this spring clean project may take me a lot longer than I anticipated.  I remember now why I never wanted a two-story house.  Now we have one, so I better get in shape so I can climb the teensy stairs daily.  There is always a "treasure" hidden somewhere causing a foul odor.  Like today.

I have dropped all the dirty clothes and sheets to the bottom of the stairs, washed 3 loads of it, scrubbed mattresses, and put a reused shower curtain up for a closet door.  The upstairs is one main area, like in most old farm houses.  Someone, over the years, built a bedroom wall and door in the opposite end, creating a second bedroom.  Both have long closets, but no doors.  Luckily I still has a tension curtain rod, an old plain cotton white shower curtain, and believe it or not, still had hooks.  In no time I had the closet covered. 

Now I need to replace all the tiny kids clothes hangers with adult sized, vacuum and shampoo the carpet, clean the windows, and put up a curtain rod for one of the windows.  They destroyed the tension rod I had in the window, so this time a different one is going up.  I may have fabric to avoid buying curtains also.

It's been several hours and I am bone tired.  I even washed out dresser drawers.  Phew!  I think an iced tea is in order.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Recipe updates

The steel cut oat recipe, my mother e-mailed me, was a huge hit!  It cooked up in less than 7 hours, so I won't be making in at night, as the recipe suggests.  The kids ate it as an after-school snack and said it tasted like Apple Crumble!  We are keeping this recipe, as well as the squash muffin recipe.

The recipe came from the Kroger coupon magazine that gets mailed out.  I'll see if I can locate which one and post it later.

Today I am trying a new Crock pot beef stew recipe, however I am jazzing it up.  I added frozen tomatoes and corn from last years garden, which were the last two bags we had.  I am going to jazz it up with dried and fresh herbs from my garden in place of using beef broth (which is full of sodium).  I'll probably bake the squash muffins and make a salad too.

I am amazed at how little goes into the trash while I cook.  The styrofoam trays are washed and dried for crafting, and what doesn't go in the compost gets fed to the chickens (carrot peelings).  The onion peelings went into the trash.  From what I have researched, onions in the compost will deter worms.

Speaking of compost, I have found it interesting to hear that composting and gardening is too much work to some people.  More often than not.  The pioneers had no choice but to live off the land.  I am so glad we moved to the country so we can raise meat animals as well as grow a large garden and raise dairy animals. It may be work, but it's work that makes us happy to be living our lives.  We wouldn't want it any other way.

Afternoon update:
After seeing that our bounty of eggs is filling the fridge this afternoon, I decided to make Cheese and Chili Egg Casserole for the kids after school snack.  After that, the squash muffins are going in.  My tummy is growling for food.

Movies from the library

I love the library, but I never thought I would have to wait for 1466 people to view a copy of The Blind Side!  You would think, that your local library would place holds for local library patrons first, then send it out to inter loan libraries, but that doesn't appear to be happening.  I've already had 2 movie requests, that held for six months or longer, expire.  I had to place the holds a second time.  I am guessing that most people are simply renting it on account of this wait. 

It appears, by how hard it is to see a library move, that more and more people are visiting and using the library during this recession.  

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Hot pads from beer/pop caps and crocheted covers

My next venture in crocheting. 

I found this pattern by searching the Farmgirl Connection board and my first one (one of several for the first hot pad) didn't turn out too bad. For the pattern you do have to register with
FaveCrafts Quick and Crafty is published by Prime Publishing, Llc. 

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Another finished hope chest project

I finally finished my son's blanket. He asked for these colors, so I alternated with a spike stitch. I egdged it with 2 rows of single crochet. Phew! I can't believe I finished it prior to his graduation!
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New recipes today and Blessing the family with last year's zucchini

After I noticed our zucchini has already sprouted up in our garden, I decided to go through the freezer and use up any grated, frozen zucchini today.  I am blessing the family with 2 new recipes.  One is using up zucchini and preservative free stone ground cornmeal (from a local area mill) that was also in the freezer - Squash Cornmeal Muffins.  The other recipe is a trial run on an overnight crock-pot steel cut oat recipe - Easy Overnight Oatmeal.  It will be fun to see if they are both tasty.

I love to bake and cook, and hope the family likes them both.

Fresh soil for indoor plants

Yesterday I re-potted 10 house plants, and put them outside in the rain to "dust" them off.  It worked very well too.  However, I have 8 more plants to take care of and I ran out of potting soil.  It sure felt good to get the job done.  Now the plants have a fresh pot and look even better.

Monday, May 17, 2010

I got "notered"

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Recycling Flannel Pajamas ~ Rag Rolled Hair

I cut up a pair of old flannel pajamas. We saved the buttons

The case of the missing catnip

Where oh where did the catnip go? Once drying on this herb drying rack, it's suddenly missing? One orange, and very curiuos cat, is enjoying it somewhere in teh house.
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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Horses and Farmwives ~ New Research Projects

Since eHow was purchased by Demand Studios, and writers give all rights to any new articles, I have not written anything new for them.  I've looked over the site. I'm not sure I want to give all rights.

Instead of publishing any new articles on-line, I have spent some time at the local library (as well as spring cleaning the house). 

I've been researching horses (and goats) recently.  Right now I am reading and learning about Thoroughbreds.  While I was ordering books through the inter-loan program, I ordered The Soul of a Horse, Life Lessons from the Herd, by Joe Camp.  My 16 year-old daughter has already noticed it and wants to read it too.

I have a habit of just walking through the library, scanning the shelves and just picking books by random.  I recently pulled Speak to the Earth, Pages form a Farmwife's Journal, written by Rachel Peden.   It was printed in 1974, but contains information from newspaper articles from 1961 and 1966, relating to farming.  Interesting stuff for sure.

5 Reasons Why I Love You ~ Written by an 8 year old

Of course I have corrected the spelling.
1.  You are always with me.
2.  You never lose me.
3.  You look after me.
4.  You smell like love!
5.  You love me.

(another special Mother's Day gift from one of my daughters)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Sharpening pencils remind me of ice cubes and ice cube trays

I know it sounds strange, but if you are a stay-at-home mom, you will understand.  It's one of those chores you do that no one notices until it's not there and then complains.  I cleaned out our "junk" drawer today.  It's not really a "junk" drawer, but holds pencils, rubber bands, phone books, etc.  I organized it again and sharpened every pencil - again. 

I fill the ice cube trays, dump them and fill them again.  When there aren't any, they notice.  When it's full they are satisfied.  But if I leave an empty ice cube tray on the counter, they complain someone didn't fill it, even if they don't fill them themselves.

Maybe the kids will learn something as they write in their gratitude journals this month. 

Monday, May 10, 2010

My Mother's Day Gifts ~ Handmade

The top photo is a picture my 18 year old son did with drawing pencils (on mat board). He is so talented and I plan to have it professionally framed. Below that are two bracelets. The "Go Mom" was made by my 8 year old daughter, and the macrame one with pink beads was made by my 13 year old daughter. I'm so glad I encouraged them to participate in a "homemade" Christmas last season, and that participating in the Farmgirl Connection merit badge program encouraged me.

My 16 year old daughter went to a birthday overnight party, and the first thing she asked was "what can I make her?" Needless to say she made a Paint Splatter gift/storage box for two gifts (for two parties). I'll post the instructions on S.C.R.A.P.

I'm glad the kids have been influenced to be more creative and to live more "green" around here. They have so many talents they don't even know they have yet. The macrame bracelet was her own pattern, and not from a book too.
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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Scraping with buttons ~ Earrings

Another pair of fun button earrings I made by using jump rings to connect them .

Dog Funny

Yesterday, while my oldest daughter was out giving water to the chickens, her dog (pictured above) was out running around. The second school bus pulled in and stopped in the usual spot in our horseshoe shaped driveway. This crazy, but loving dog, walked right up the bus steps to great them! I guess she wanted to go to school!
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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Roasted Dandelion Root "Coffee"

I was surprised that this "coffee" did not turn out a bit darker. It almost looks like tea in this clear mug. It's not for everyone, but worth the trouble to dig, wash, chop, roast, and brew. I am sure that we will continue to dig dandelions for this purpose. The recipe is in MaryJane's Outpost book (written by MaryJane Butters).

I now look at dandelions in a whole different way. It's not that ugly yard week anymore, but something useful. I may even make the jelly in her book too.
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Monday, May 3, 2010

Digging up Dandelions ~ Coffee Roasting Day

I am thrilled to find out that my pasture of dandelions is worth something.  I'm digging up enough dandelion roots to roast coffee today.  I have enough for one pot, but need to head back out and dig enough to fill a 5 gallon bucket.  Thanks to MaryJane Butters and her recipe, I have found another way to save money.  The petals can be used for making wine too.  I'm hoping the kids will be as excited as I am and help me in the digging process.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Buttons ~ Farmgirl Learning

I posted a photo of my button jewelry on my S.C.R.A.P. blog.  Be sure to visit and see how nice the earrings and bracelet turned out.  The girls are making bracelets also.  I will be teaching them how to sew a button onto a shirt next week.  There button collections are going in old canning jars and into their hope chests.  They are actually have a fun time with the buttons.  Thanks to my wonderful Aunt, they have about 22 buttons in each of their collections now.  She sent them a bag of assorted buttons and were thrilled to receive them.