Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My dad's new friend...

Dad's here on a visit and one of the chickens have taken a liking to him.

Monday, August 29, 2011

When God speaks...

Pillowcases with chicken...

This post may get a bit heavy(hence the chicken in the photo-thought it would lighten up the mood a bit).
About a year ago I heard God calling me to help children with cancer.  I don't know why and I didn't know how I was going to do it.  I kept pushing it away and it kept coming back...over and over and over.
Well, about a month and a half ago, I listened.  I kept wondering why he would choose me for this and would this mean I would be personally affected by having a child with cancer.  I placed myself several times over the year in a parent's shoes with a child that may have cancer...waiting to hear a diagnose and receiving that terrible news and my heart would break.  As I tucked my little ones in bed, I would weep for those parents and I would hug my children a little more that day, and be diligent in prayer for them-praising God for their healthy bodies...
Anyway, he chose me and I don't know why but I wanted needed to listen.  What could I do?  I'm a homeschooling mom with a newborn baby?  How could I serve or help?   I'm busy, I'm tired at times, I have family to raise, children to teach, etc.,etc., etc..
 Well, I posted my thoughts on a homeschooling forum and got my answer...
ConKerr cancer-A Case for Smiles

I took this from the website so you could see what this wonderful organization is all about:

ConKerr Cancer started when Cindy Kerr’s son was diagnosed with cancer in 2002 and she began making pillowcases to brighten up his hospital room and to put a smile on his face. He loved it and so she began making pillowcases for other children on the Oncology Unit at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Since then the pillowcase project, A Case for Smiles, has grown in amazing ways. We have provided nearly 400,000 pillowcases made by thousands of volunteers from across North America and in South Africa. School groups, sewing circles, church groups and fabric stores have all pitched in and are making pillowcases for the kids. An exciting new program has been to take fabric and sewing machines to hospitals and sew with the patients and their families.

ConKerr Cancer has been able to make amazing progress towards fulfilling our goal of making hospital stays as pleasant as possible for chronically ill children and their parents. Simultaneously the pillowcase project has fostered a spirit of community and volunteer service in communities across North America. Unfortunately the number of sick children never ends, and we must continue to expand our efforts to help brighten patients’ lives and raise awareness about childhood cancer. 

This was right up my alley!  My love of sewing could help children with cancer!  I started out with a couple of pillowcases(which are pictured above with Missy Hen).  But, I wanted to go bigger, do more.  I know I could make some pillowcases, but I know if I had a bunch of people helping, we could really make a difference.  44,000 children have cancer in the U.S. right now and ConKerr cancer is trying to collect a pillowcase for each child in the month of September to coincide with Childhood Cancer Month.
Well, I thought about it and prayed about it and decided to see if my homeschool group was interested in me teaching a sewing class on how to make these pillowcases and the response has been overwhelming-praise God! 

So, with God's help, on Sept. 22, I will be teaching a class on how to sew these pillowcases.  I don't know how many children/moms/grandmas I will have yet but the church I'm teaching at has advertised to their congregation and I will be asking both my homeschool groups participate(my one group already knows and have given a wonderful response!)  But, I need your help as well.  If you feel led to donate some money for fabric and notions, I've provided a way for you to help us.  I have included on my  sidebar on the right a donate button under my email address.  When you donate that will go directly to my paypal account.  Please prayerfully consider helping this cause.  My prayer is that soon, we won't have to do this, that cancer will have a cure..but until then..maybe we could all help to bring a smile to a child in the hospital. 

If you have any questions, please email me a i-choosejoy@hotmail.com

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Preserving the Harvest at Hickory Nut Homestead

I got to can some bread and butter pickles this week from our wonderful supply of Japanese cucumbers we grew.  We are hoping to enjoy these in the next couple of weeks and through the winter.
I'm hoping to can some banana peppers this week as well, as we've had a lovely crop of those as well.
And, we've had a bumper crop of okra and I'm researching canning okra as well. 
Our tomatoes didn't do great this year.  I've made some mistakes such as planting them too close together.  We also got infested with tomato horn caterpillars..yuck!  I've planted a fall garden this week and hope to get some yummy cabbage(for sauerkraut), broccoli, sugar snap peas, brussel sprouts and such.
Overall, I've learned alot this year and hope to have a much larger garden next year. We plan to fence in the area this winter and make it look more attractive. 
Also, we plan to start clearing some land for some pigs we'd like to get in the spring as well. 
Busy times on Hickory Nut Homestead but it's so  much fun!
Oh, forgot to add...I'll be selling homemade vanilla on the website in the next coming weeks so be sure to be on the lookout.  This vanilla is made from Madagascar vanilla beans and you only use a little bit-it's pure, strong, and makes your baked goods so much better...stay tuned!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

First Day of School

August 22, 2011
First Day of Fourth Grade

Our first day of fourth grade was...o.k.  It certainly wasn't my ideal first day and apologies have been said on both sides(yes, mama needed to apologize...I had some upsetting outbursts last night over some issues).   We had intended on taking the boys out for a special dinner and those plans faded as well due to just having a horrible night.
But, today is a new day and we have been having a great day!  In Bible, we are doing some memorization and made up gestures and hand signals to help us remember.  The boys loved doing this(I can't believe I've never thought of this before!)  And Joey, well he's just a trooper.  He just adds to the excitement of the day!
Every year gets a bit tougher to handle, the schoolwork gets harder for the boys(and mama), but I'm determined to make this work and do my best.  I believe it is my calling and I do enjoy our time together(even the times when I want to pull my hair out).  I love being with them.  I just need more patience and some prayer...

Sunday, August 21, 2011


We were at Babies R' Us recently and Nicholas spotted a bear he liked.  Nicholas LOVES stuffed animals and has a special bear himself.  When he spotted the bear, he asked if he could borrow some money so he could buy it for Joseph.  We thought that was so sweet and we offered to pay for it, but he insisted..he wanted it to be from him so we obliged.  Peanut loves his new bear and is always talking to it and cuddling it, which makes Nick so happy.  Little Peanut made a thank you card for Nicky and it made his day...
I love that they love...

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Dare I say it?

It actually feels...nice outside....
Last night was B..E..A..U..T..F..U..L..cool with a breeze...is fall starting to roll in?
Are the 90 degree days a thing of the past?  Am I jinxing us here in the Carolinas?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Pool days for Peanut...

After Peanut played in the water for a bit, he was pooped....

And of course...

His brother had to join in the fun!
(I was suprised Nicholas did this..he's not a fan of heights)

Summertime fun...

We've been getting together with some friends for a last hurrah before school starts.  Pool days, fun bouncy house playplaces and many more suprises to come...

Matthew absolutely LOVED this high dive.  It's all he could talk about when he got home.  I'll tell you...this made me extremely nervous as I bit my tongue when he told me he wanted to go on it and I held my breath when he jumped...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A quick weeknight meal

Here is a quick meal to make on a weeknight when your pooped, or your kids have baseball in an hour, or you have to nurse the baby and still have homeschool lessons to finish up and the dinner you had planned to make just is going to take too much time and that stresses you out to the point where you are contemplating hiding in the closet with a glass of wine and the phone to call whimpering to your husband to please come home....you get the idea..this meal is easy, quick, brainless, and yummy!

First chop up some veggies you've got in the fridge.  Today, I had green peppers, onions, mushrooms and zucchinii(from my garden!)

Then you need some Italian dressing seasoning.  I make my own mix but you can purchase some or even use Italian dressing if you've got it in your fridge. 

Heat up a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and saute your veggies with some of the Italian seasoning-about 2 tablespoons(no body's measuring just put in what you think)

Meanwhile, boil some water and add some whole wheat pasta.  I used elbows but use what every floats your boat...

After your veggies are nice and sauteed, add in about 2 cups of chicken stock.  Mine is homemade but store bought works just fine.

Then add in a package of cream cheese(cubed) and about 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese(or Romano-which is what I had in the fridge)..see this recipe is forgiving and you can adapt it to what you have!

Bring to a boil and then simmer until the chicken stock has thickened and the cream cheese has melted.  Then throw in your cooked pasta.

Top with some grated Parmesan(or Romano) and serve!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The proof is in the yoke..

When making breakfast on Saturday, we used some eggs purchased from the store with eggs our hens blessed us with..can you see the difference?
Look at how wonderfully dark and rich the farm eggs are compared with the store bought ones.  I know our hens are giving us good, healthy, rich eggs.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Hickory Nut Homestead..updates on the farm..

Our ladies are laying!  We were so excited when we were coming home from vacation and my brother(he was staying at our home) found the first egg!  Ever since then we've been getting a couple of eggs a day-it's so exciting..the boys go out several times a day to check and come running back to the house when they find one.  Hopefully, we'll be getting a bunch soon!

This is our rooster.  We ordered all pullets(or hens) but we got a surprise.  He hasn't been aggressive yet so we are o.k. with having him around.  To be honest, I like his cock-a-doodle-dos in the morning...it makes it feel more *farm-like*.  We haven't named him yet, but I like to call him Sergeant...what do you think?

Our garden is doing well.  We are getting TONS of okra-I 'm assuming it's because of the crazy heat we are having.  I've noticed a ton of squash bugs on our zucchini so hopefully I can save the  plants by picking the squash bugs off.  Our pumpkin vines have started to spread too so hopefully we'll get some nice pumpkins for fall!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Superheros and a test in mama's attention span...

The boys have gained an interest(really an obsession) in superheros lately.  I'm not exaggerating when I say that for the last two days, I have listened to HOURS upon HOURS of superhero talk.  Superheros they want to be, Superheros they like, Superheros that do cool things, etc.  Nicholas wants to be like Spiderman and has for two days tried to figure out how to make himself like him.  He has pondered and talked with me about how he can make the costume and Spidey hands.  He has talked so much about it his throat is sore.  He keeps asking me if he's boring me, and of course, I say no.  Superheros are definitely not my thing.  And to be honest,  I don't even have the slightest interest in Superheros.  But, I am intersested in my sons and I love seeing the joy in their faces as they try and figure out how to make costumes for themselves.  Today, they want to be a new Superhero and rescue and save people.  And today, I've listened as well.  Nicholas has even followed me around the house as I do lesson plans and asked me specifically if he could still talk with me about Superheros.  I find that so charming and cute!  Of course, I'll listen with open ears and an attentive face because I know that listening today, he will want to talk with me in the future as well.  I hope to always have an open dialogue and hope he knows he can always share his dreams(no matter how far fetched) they are and I will be there..listening and enjoying my time with my son...